Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mixed vegetables and Liebster award

Last week I was pleasantly surprised  to see an award from Janiene of Thebishopfamilysite  It lead me to discover her blog where she journals about her life, homeschooling and her beautiful three children. Thank you Janiene!


Now it is my turn to forward the award:
Here are the rules:
  • Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  • Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
  • Give your top 5 picks for the award.
  • Inform your top 5 by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Post the award on your blog.
So here are my picks for forwarding this award:
5.Spice n Sugar Tales

I love all the above blogs for their innovative recipes, photographs and beautiful write-ups.

Today's recipe is again a simple mixed vegetable. It is very flavorful without too many spices and cooks in the juices released by the vegetables. I added some cashew paste to make it richer. But it can me be without adding cashews too.  I love to use panch phoran as a spice mix in my vegetables and even lentils.


1 medium cauliflower florets
1 potato cubed
1/2 cup peas
1 cup spinach leaves
1/2 cup paneer cubes
1 tbsp panch phoran
1 tsp turmeric
2 dry chillies
curry leaves
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp mustard oil
1/2 cup cashews soaked in water for half and hour and ground to a fine paste with water

Heat mustard oil and add the panch phoran seeds, asafoetida, turmeric, red chilies, and curry leaves. As the seeds start spluttering add the cauliflower and potatoes. Add the salt, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. The potatoes should be almost cooked, when you add in the frozen peas, paneer, spinach and garam masala. Mix everything well and stir around for a minute. Now pour the cashew paste and add more water to get the desired consistency.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Palak Paneer, Meethe Chawal

Palak Paneer is something I make quite often. I like to mix other greens along with the spinach and this time I used kale. I like kale for its taste and also its nutritional properties, but it is time consuming to wash trim, chop and then cook the leaves. But I learned a trick from a friend (thanks "A") who freezes the leaves in a zip lock after they have been washed. Whenever you need it just take out the bag and crush the leaves in the bag. The leaves crumble easily and can be added to soups or other vegetables.  Here I mixed it with spinach. I also made a sweet saffron rice which is a popular North Indian rice dish but I had never made it before. It tasted quite nice with the palak paneer and kale and balanced the slight bitterness that kale leaves tend to have.

1 cup frozen spinach leaves (thawed)
1 cup kale leaves
1 medium onion (sliced)
2 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
1 tomato (chopped)
1 green chilli
2 sweet peppers (optional)
1 cup cubed paneer
6-7 cashews (soaked in water)
1 teaspoon each of cumin seeds, turmeric powder, garam masala, red chili powder
1 bay leaf, 2 black cardamon, one stick cinnamon.
salt according to taste
1 tbsp. oil for cooking


Heat the oil and add cumin seeds, black cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon. Fry till the seeds splutter and the cinnamon swells up. Now add the sliced onion and green chilli and fry till the onion just start turning golden. Mix the ginger garlic paste and all the dry spices. Fry for a minute and add the tomatoes and cashews. Cover and cook till the tomatoes wilt. Now remove the whole spices with a fork (cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf). Add the spinach and mix everything well. Transfer into a blender or using a hand blender grind the vegetables. Pour it back into the pan and add water if needed. Stir fry the paneer and sweet peppers with a teaspoon of oil and mix it with the spinach. Cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes. I served it with this sweet rice.

Methe chawal (sweet saffron rice)

1 cup rice (soaked for an hour)
2 cups water
1/2 cup milk
 sliced mixed nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts)
a few raisins
3-4 cloves
3-4 green cardamom
3/4 cup sugar
a few strands of saffron soaked in milk
1 tbsp ghee

Heat ghee in a pot, add the cloves, cardamom, raisins  and all the nuts. Give a quick stir and add the rice. (Drain the water from the rice before adding). Mix well. Boil the 2 cups of water along with the milk sugar and saffron in a separate pot. Once it boils add it to the rice. Cook uncovered till most of the water is absorbed. Reduce the heat to very low and cover the pot. Cook for another 10 minutes till the rice is completed cooked. Fluff the rice immediately.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Roasted eggplant raita

This raita is for those who love bold, spicy and pungent flavors. The taste will linger in your mouth even after you have finished eating it. It can be adjusted easily to make it more palatable for those who cannot take the heat by reducing or omitting the green chillies and mustard oil. But that is what makes it so flavorful and delicious. It has to be eaten as a raita or can be used as a dip with pita bread, used in a sandwich with falafel.

1 medium sized eggplant
1 small red onion
1 tomato
3-4 green chillies
1 lemon
2-3 cloves garlic
bunch of cilantro 
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
2 tsp roasted cumin powder
2 cups yogurt
1 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
black salt and chaat masala (optional)
salt to taste


Roast the eggplant till the outer skin is completely charred. Remove the skin and mash the eggplant. Chop the onion, green chillies, garlic and tomatoes in a food processor and mix with the eggplant. Add juice of half a lemon, chopped cilantro leaves, salt, red chilli powder and mix well. Beat the yogurt with a little salt and mix it in. Drizzle the mustard oil over it and sprinkle with roasted cumin powder, chaat masala and black salt.
Instead of raw mustard oil a tempering of heated oil and cumin seeds can also be poured over the raita. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Simple every day food

Simple everyday food.
Long beans (barbati, I wonder what are these called in other languages) cooked with onions, garlic and potatoes, along with red lentils (masoor dal). Serve with cumin flavored rice or just plain rice, roti and a side salad.

(Long beans)
2 cups chopped long beans (should be tender)
1 small red onion chopped
1 fat garlic clove (minced)
1 medium potato (cubed)
a few curry leaves
mustard and cumin seeds (one teaspoon)
1 green chilli (chopped)
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1tsp coriander cumin powder
salt to taste

Heat a tablespoon of oil. Add the mustard and cumin seeds. As they splutter drop the chopped onion, garlic, curry leaves, and green chilli. Cook till the onion start wilting. Add the turmeric powder, coriander-cumin powder and red chilli powder. Now add the chopped long beans and potatoes. Mix everything well. Cover and cook till the potatoes are soft and the beans are cooked through.

(For the dal)
1 cup masoor dal
 (about 3 cups water)
1/4 cup chana dal
2 cloves garlic
1 tomato
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida 
1tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 teaspoons ghee 
juice of half a lemon
 chopped cilantro

Wash the lentils and soak it in water for half and hour. Add salt and turmeric and boil it till well done.  I use a pressure cooker (3 whistles). Mix the cooked lentils well. Mash a little if needed and if it is too thick then add a little water. Grate or finely chop the tomato and add to the lentils.  Now prepare the tempering by heating ghee. Drop the cumin seeds and let it splutter. Now add minced garlic, asafoetida, and red chilli powder. Pour this over the lentils and cover. Just before serving add the lemon juice and garnish with finely chopped cilantro.