This is an absolute favorite at our house. My mom used to make this when we were in school - we would totally love it. I always asked my mom to make it for us when she visits us here. I always thought it was a complicated process. But, the craving to eat it overcomes the difficulty of preparing it! And I realized, it was not that difficult after all.
You can use a lot of different fresh vegetables in here - just ransack your fridge and find what you can and add it in here! I added cauliflowers, carrots, beans, peas and potatoes.
I also do have to confess that I screwed up on the quantities as I was making the white sauce. I kind of just added more to compensate - and so I really don't know how much of each I put! Sorry!
To begin with, add 1 stick of butter. I used unsalted butter - but if you are using salted butter, reduce the salt later when adding to the veggies.
Melt the butter till its nice and golden.
Add 1/2 cup so maida or all-purpose flour to the melted butter. Keep the flame on sim while doing this. Mix briskly when you add the maida to the butter.
Mix well and make sure there are no lumps. Keep stirring to cook the maida.
Add a cup of milk to this and mix well. This is where I got all messed up. I ended up adding more maida by mistake - so I just kept going. I added a little more butter and some more milk. But, I was glad I messed up because the quantity was perfect for my veggies!
Keep stirring and make sure there are no lumps. You will need to get a good consistency for the white sauce. It should not be watery and at the same time not too thick. You can add a little more milk if you think its too thick. But, if its too thin, do not add more maida but keep cooking and stirring it. Eventually, this will thicken up because of the maida.
Here are my veggies all chopped and mixed up. My mom precooks the veggies a little bit before baking them. Please feel free to do that. I somehow like mine with a little bite to it and not completely cooked. But, I did steam the potatoes in the microwave before I added it to the other veggies. Maybe you can steam all the veggies in the microwave for about 5 mins before adding the sauce and baking.
Now, add the white sauce to the veggies and mix well till combined.
Add salt to taste here and mix well again. You can also add a little powdered black pepper at this time or later when you eat it.
Here's a step I added - when mixing the veggies with the white sauce, add about 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and mix along with the veggies. I bought an 8oz pack of shredded mozzarella cheese. Used about half to mix in with the veggies and saved the other half to top off before baking.
Add a little bit of dry oregano or basil and mix well. You can surely skip this step if you don't have the dried spices. This was my own step for a little kick.
Move the mix into a baking dish - I just used my pyrex glass dish.
Top off the veggies with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake in pre heated oven at 350F for about 20 - 25 mins or until the cheese on top is golden brown.
Looks Divine..doesn't it? Just scoop it out and eat in a bowl!