Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Baby Brinjals & Paneer in spiced yoghurt cream sauce.

Baby Eggplants & Panner in Spiced Yoghurt Cream Sauce.

I have always waxed eloquent about my husband`s love for eggplants/Brinjals in any form. As soon as my local Indian grocer stocks baby eggplants I immediately bring a couple pounds home as I know I would have eggplants at least twice a week! When I picked up these babies, I was already conjuring up recipes in my head for my husband, for the weekend. I already had some leftover paneer from last week tightly wrapped in cling to lock the freshness and texture. I knew I had to use that up too. A quick look at my pantry and I knew I had to put the green peas in , both for nutrition and for that splash of colour. I had seen my friend using yoghurt as a base sauce and I was completelty taken by it, I knew I had to put it to test in my kitchen too….Here is the recipe, tried and tested in my kitchen….to yours…

INGREDIENTS:

1 Medium Onion.

10 Baby Aubergines.

1/2 cup diced Paneer.

Handful of green peas.

1 cup Sour Cream.

2 Tbsp Heavy Cream. (Optional).

1 cup Yoghurt.

3 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste.

1 1/2-2  Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

2 1/2 Tsp Dhania Powder.

Handful of cashews.

2 Inch Cinnamon Sticks.

1 Tsp Elaichi Powder.

10-12 Cloves.

2 Bay leaves.

1 Tsp Sugar

Salt to taste.

PREPARATION:

  • Slice the baby eggplants in to four keeping the calyx intact. Spray oil and salt in to the eggplant and allow to cook in  the microwave for 5 mins on high.
  • Optionally you could cook it in the oven at 350F for 5-7 minutes until the eggplants are well cooked and soft. Set aside.
  • Grind the onion in the mixer along with the cashew and salt to a smooth paste.
  • In a kadai, add 3-4 spoons of oil and when hot, add the whole masalas – Bay Leaf, Cloves, Cinnamon and Elaichi Powder. Allow to roast for a few minutes until the aroma fills the air around you.
  • In a cup full of water, add the masala powders – Tumeric, Red Chilli Powder and the Dhania Powder and mix well.  We do this so that the powders do not get burnt when we add them to the hot kadai.
  • Pop in the ground onion paste and add the ginger garlic paste at this stage. Allow the onion paste to fry well in the oil on medium flame until the water from the onion completely disappears and becomes a whole brownish pink mass that comes  together. Keep stirring to prevent clumping.
  • Add the masalas dissolved in water, to the kadai at this stage . Again keep stirring on medium flame until the water is completely evaporated  and you see the oil seperating from the sides.
  • Cooking on slow flame cannot be replaced as it adds valuable taste to the dish. Do not attempt to override this and finish quickly by bringing the flame up.
  • This is the most important stage of preparation as after adding the yoghurt the heat has to be tempered and the cooking finished.
  • Add the brinjals, peas and the diced panner at this stage and mix well. Allow a quick couple of minutes for the masalas to delve in to the veggies.
  • Beat the sour cream in the mixer with a little water and dilute it to 2 cups. Add the  one cup of yoghurt beat togther to get 3 cups of smooth thick buttermilk.
  • Add the 3 cups of thick buttermilk, cream to the stove and stir in carefully.
  • Keep the heat on medium low as high heat could lead to buttermilk curdling.
  • Allow 5-6 minutes of low flame cooking for the gravy to come together.
  • Switch off flame, garnish with chopped corriander leaves and serve Hot with Peas Pulav or Butter Naan.

And my husband had it for lunch the next day too….with aromatic Methi Theplas!!!


Awards

Birthday Gift – Chef`s Choice- Waffle Pro Express Five of Hearts…

My good friend J of KailasKitchen had a posting some time back asking for a comment to be a random pick for winning the Chef`s Choice Waffle Maker,.  At that time, I never gave any importance to what was in the post. I read the post about the giveaway and I was pleasantly happy to see it. She promptly remimded me to add a comment to her post, on the very last day, at 11 pm….which I duly did. Little did I realise that I would be the random pick of the giveaway. A few days later J sent me a mail on the details of the shipment with…I received the Waffle Pro Express Five of Hearts Waffle Maker yesterday almost as a birthday gift ….

Thanks a lot J, wishing you were here with me!!!

Rice Varieties.

Mushroom & Peas Pulav slow cooked in spicy tomato gravy.

One of the things I really run out of ideas are one pot meals. I love to spend weekends with my family rather than to put together an elaborate meal. One pot meals are the best as they bring together vegetables and rice in one go. I also like to have a completely different tasting pilaf to take out the monotony of smelling ther self same garam masala. This is one dish that has no garam masala added to  it…Try it and I am sure you would love its taste and texture.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Medium Onion.

2 Ripe Tomatoes.

3 Tbsp Fresh Grated Coconut.

2 Tsp Poppy Seeds/ Khus Khus.

3 Cloves.

2 Roma Tomatoes.

1 Tsp Salt.

1 Tsp Kitchen King Masala.

1 Inch Cinnamon.

1 Onion finely diced.

1/2 cup Beans.

1/2 cup Diced Mushrooms.

1/2 cup Fresh Peas.

Ghee, Cinnamon, Jeera, Star Anise for tempering.

Salt.

Turmeric.

Red Chilli Powder.

PREPARATION:

  • Wash 2 cups of Basmati Rice and keep ready in an electric  rice cooker vessel.
  • In a mixer add grated coconut,  poppy seeds, cloves, tomatoes, salt, kitchen king masala, small piece of cinnamon and puree with a little water to a fine paste.
  • Add this paste to the basmati rice. This should be part of the 3 1/2 cups of water that is added. So pour out the contents of the mixer in to a cup. If it is little less than a cup, add water and make it one cup.
  • Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of water, and a dollop of butter to the rice. Allow to cook.

  • When done, open and puff up the rice with a fork and allow to cool.
  • In a kadai add 2 spoons of ghee and all the tempering ingredients.
  • Now add onions and allow to saute well.  When done pop in the beans, peas and the mushrooms.
  • Add salt just for the veggies as the rice already has salt added to it.
  • Keep stirring and add turmeric, red chilli powder and a pinch of kitchen king masala to the veggies.

  • When the vegetables are well cooked, add the rice already cooked in spicy tomato paste.
  • Mix well and garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Serve HOT with chilled Cucumber Raita.

HINT:

This particular rice dish tastes better with time. So make sure that you make it at least an hour ahead of serving. All you would need to do is to pop it in to the microwave or in to the oven.

Poriyals / Kootu Varieties.

Zucchinni & Peas Poricha Kootu. ( Zuchinni and Peas simmered in ground coconut paste with spices.)

Some of our most favourite foods would always be comfort foods made by our mothers or grandmothers that we have grown used to eating over our childhood years.  In fact all of the palakkad cuisine cooked at home, translates to comfort food for me many times, being so far away from home. Most of our comfort foods are those that are whipped up with very few ingredients and in a short time. This kootu is something of a comfort food made by my mother in law…Teamed with Jeera Pepper Rasam and Paruppu Urindai Kuzhambu, this is a keeper!!!

INGREDIENTS:

2 Zucchinis diced in to small pieces.

Handful of Peas.

1/2 cup Moong Dal.

Salt to taste.

Mustard to Season.

To Roast in Oil and Grind to a smooth paste:

1/2 Spoon Pepper.

3 Red Chillies.

4 Spoons of Split Urad Dal.

Pinch of Hing.

Handful of fresh coconut.

PREPARATION:

  • Cook the moong dal in water to a soft consistency. Mash and set aside.
  • Cook the zucchini in the microwave for 3 minutes. Set aside.
  • In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and season with mustard,hing  and curry leaves.
  • Now add the cooked zucchini, peas, and the cooked moong dal. Add turmeric, salt and a pinch of hing and a little water if needed. Cook to bring them together for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Roast the ingredients listed above in a little oil and grind with water to a smooth paste.
  • Add the ground paste to the zucchini and stir in well.
  • Serve HOT with Jeera Pepper Rasam and Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu.
Rice Varieties.

Simple Tiranga Pulav (Tri coloured Pulav with whole spices made in a jiffy!)

Tiranga Pulav

Everytime I make an elaborate gravy like the Butter Mushroom Masala or the Aloo Dum or Stuffed Tomatoes in Green Gravy etc, I make it a point to keep the main pulav very simple and straight.  Tiranga Pulav is a very easy option to fall back on when you are really crunched on time, but cannot compromise on flavour. One of the main ingredients of course is Basmati Rice, and as you must have collected from my blog postings, I swear by Daawat Basmati Rice. It has a very rich flavour and aroma which is bearing on the taste of the final preparation. On to the preparation…

INGREDIENTS:

2 cup of Daawat Basmati Rice.

1/4 cup Light Coconut Milk.

3 1/2  cups Water.

A blob of butter.

Salt to taste.

3-4 Star Anise .

4 Cloves.

2 Bay Leaves.

2 inch piece of Cinnamon.

1 Tsp Elaichi Powder.

Handful of Broken Cashews.

1 cup finely diced Carrots.

1 cup Fresh/ Frozen Peas.

PREPARATION:

  • In the rice cooker take 2 cups of rice. Wash well add 1/4 cup Coconut Milk + 3 1/2 cups of Water. Add salt and a blob of butter and allow to cook.
  • If butter is not available, add a spoon of oil/ghee. This coats the rice with a layer of oil and keeps it non-sticky and also prevents the base of the cooking vessel from browning.
  • When the rice is done, puff it with a fork and allow to cool.
  • Pop the carrots in to the microwave for 3 mins so it gets half cooked. Set aside.
  • In a wide mouthed wok/kadai, add 2 spoons of  ghee. Roast the cashews and set aside.
  • Add a little more ghee if needed and slowly add the whole spices – Anise, Bay leaf, Cinnamon, Cloves and finally the elaichi powder.
  • With a spatula allow the spices to fry well in the ghee.
  • Add the carrots and peas and stir in well with the spices. Add sufficient salt.
  • When the vegetables are sauteed for a couple of minutes, add the cooked basmati rice.
  • Stir in well and switch off the stove.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and serve Tiranga Pulav with Aloo Dum or Mushroom Butter Masala.