Sambhar

Sambhar

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Serves: 4

Sambhar is a staple of South Indian cuisine. It is served with variety of dishes like idali (steamed rice cakes), Dosa (crepes of dal and rice), Medu Vada (dal fritters) and Uttapam (rice and dal pancakes with vegetables).
Ingredients
  • 1 cup tuver dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables like eggplant, zucchini and carrot, diced
  • 5 to 6 pieces of sargavo (drum sticks), See Note.
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dhana-jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin)
  • 2 teaspoons sambhar masala, See Note.
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
For Vaghar:
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal (optional)
  • 12-15 curry leaves
  • 1 small yellow or red onion, ¼ inch diced
  • 1-2 dry red chilies (optional)
Directions
  1. Wash split pigeon peas few times. For oily dal make sure all the oil is washed off. Soak dal in about 2 cups of water for 1 to 2 hours or until peas are soft in a medium size soup pot. (Soaking is optional).
  2. Add diced tomato. Cover with a lid and cook it with water on a medium heat until peas are very soft, about one hour. Once the dal is cooked, take off the heat.
  3. Add ½ cup of water and mix it with a whisk or an immersion blender until it has a consistency of slightly thick soup.
  4. Start heating the dal on medium heat. Add salt, turmeric, dhana-jeeru and sambhar masala. Add mixed vegetables and drum sticks. Stir dal and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes on low heat or a simmer burner. Next, follow step 6.
  5. To cook sambhar in instant pot: Wash split pigeon peas few times. For oily dal make sure all the oil is washed off. Soak dal in about 2 cups of water for 1 to 2 hours or until peas are soft in a medium size soup pot. (soaking is optional but it will speed up cooking process). Add diced tomatoes. Set instant pot to pressure cooker setting and cook dal for 20 minutes. (for unsoaked dal increase time to 30 minutes). Once dal is cooked, release steam and follow step 3. Next, set instant pot to sauté for 15 minutes and follow step 4. Reduce simmer time to 10 minutes. Next, follow step 6.
  6. For Vaghar: In a separate small heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat oil on medium high heat until shimmering. Add fenugreek seeds and let them sizzle. Lower the heat, add mustard and cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add asafetida, curry leaves, red chili and chili powder. Pour oil with everything over sambhar. Mix it with sambhar, add lemon juice or tamarind pulp and let it simmer for two to three minutes. Garnish with cilantro before serving.
Notes
You can get sambhar masala and also mixed vegetables which includes drum sticks for making sambhar in frozen section in Indian grocery store

 

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Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji

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Serves: 6

Pav (bread) Bhaji (mixed vegetables) is a street food available all over India. The bhaji should be soft and mashed which you can scoop up with a pav. This recipe uses small quantity of variety of vegetables which is great use of left over vegetables. You can also use left over mashed potatoes for this recipe.
Ingredients
  • Quarter of cabbage, shredded
  • 3 to 4 florets cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1 Japanese eggplant or ½ of large eggplant, peeled and ½ inch diced
  • ½ dhoodhi (Indian squash), peeled, deseeded and ½ inch diced (optional)
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 2 large red onions, finely diced (reserve ½ cup for serving)
  • 3 large Roma tomatoes, ¼ inch diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil or butter
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dhana-jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin)
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt or to taste
  • ¾ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons pav bhaji masala
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro, for serving
  • 1 lime, cut into quarters for serving
  • 6 soft buns (pav), any kind
  • Butter for brushing on buns
Directions
  1. Combine cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, eggplant and doodhi in a large microwave safe bowl or large soup pot or Dutch oven. Cook vegetables in microwave (7 to 8 minutes) or stove top (10 to 12 minutes) until soft. Vegetables will release some liquid, keep that liquid. Mashed vegetables with potato masher and set aside. (You can use same soup pot or Dutch oven to make bhaji. You can transfer cooked and mashed vegetables to a mixing bowl).
  2. Heat oil or butter on a medium high heat in a large soup pot or a Dutch oven until oil is shimmering and butter is melted, 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium, add garlic and sauté it until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onions and sauté them until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Next add all dry spices except pav bhaji masala and sauté with onions and garlic for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and sauté them until softened, 2 minutes.
  3. Add mashed potatoes and combine with sautéed vegetables. Let potatoes warm through before adding rest of mashed vegetables, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add rest of mashed vegetables, season with salt, stir and cover with a lid. Let bhaji cook for 7 to 10 minutes on low heat until flavors meld, stirring frequently. If bhaji is sticking to bottom, add some water. Uncover, add peas, pav bhaji masala and let bhaji cook for 5 to 6 minutes on low heat.
  4. Spread butter on buns and toast them on a griddle or frying pan until light golden brown but still soft.
  5. Serve hot bhaji with pav (buns). Garnish individual serving of bhaji with 1 tablespoons of cilantro. Serve reserved onion and lime on side.

 

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Undhiyu

Undhiyu

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Serves: 4

This mixed vegetables recipe is quintessential Gujarati dish. It is a very famous dish from city of Surat in Gujarat. The variety of green beans called papadi used in this recipe are named after the city. The fresh papadi is available mostly in winter months in India. In US it is mostly available frozen in Indian grocery stores along with other vegetables. Most of the time, undhiyu is cooked on stove top but it is also cooked underground in a clay pot called matalu covered with food fire, known as matala undhiyu.
Ingredients
  • ½ lb. frozen Surati papadi, thawed
  • ½ lb. frozen Surati papadi lilva, thawed
  • ¼ lb. frozen tuver lilva, thawed
  • ¼ lb. frozen ratalu (purple yam), thawed
  • 4 Indian eggplants
  • 4 small yellow or red potatoes
  • 1 sweet potato, 1 inch diced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ajwain seeds
  • 4 teaspoons green garlic or 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 jalapeno or serrano chilies, finely minced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 recipe fried methi muthia
Masala (Spice mixture):
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • 3 tablespoons ground peanuts (optional)
  • ¼ cup dhana-jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin)
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 4 teaspoons sugar or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ cup grated fresh coconut
Directions
  1. Wash eggplants and potatoes, and pat dry. Make an X cut on ⅓ of eggplant on stemless side, keeping the stem. Make an X cut on ⅓ of potato on one side. Repeat the same with rest of eggplants and potatoes.
  2. Combine spice mixture plus 2 tablespoons of cilantro, 1 tablespoon minced chili, 2 teaspoons garlic and 2 tablespoons oil into a medium mixing bowl. Set aside ½ of spice mixture. Gently widen an eggplant and stuff it by gently pushing stuffing down by hand. Try not to break it and not over stuff it. Repeat the same with rest of eggplants and potatoes. If any stuffing remains, add it to set aside spice mixture.
  3. Heat remaining oil on a medium-high heat in a roasting pan or a Dutch oven until shimmering, 2 to 3 minutes. Add ajwain seeds and let them sizzle. Add remaining garlic and green chili. Sauté it for 30 seconds. Lower the heat to low while you arrange vegetables on top.
  4. In a Dutch oven, first arrange stuffed eggplants and potatoes in single layer. On top arrange papadi, papadi lilva, tuver lilva. Spread ½ of spice mixture on top. Next arrange sweet potatoes and ratalu in single layer. Spread remaining spice mixture on top. Or in a roasting pan, arrange first eggplants vertically on one side, next arrange potatoes, and then arrange one by one papadi, papadi lilva, tuver lilva, sweet potatoes and ratalu. Spread spice mixture evenly on vegetables except eggplants and potatoes. Add ½ cup water in Dutch oven or roasting pan. Cover with lid or aluminum foil. You can either cook vegetables on stove top on medium heat or a preheated 375 degrees oven until vegetables are tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Check on vegetables half way through cooking and stir gently with spice mixture. If vegetables are sticking to bottom, add more water.
  5. Once vegetables are cooked, add muthia and stir to combine everything. Let undhiyu cook for 3 to 4 minutes, uncovered. Garnish with remaining cilantro before serving. Serve warm with puri or other Indian flat bread. Serve cilantro chutney, garlic chutney and thin sev (thin crispy chickpea flour noodles) on side to add to undhiyu to enhance the flavor.

 

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Cauliflower Manchurian

Gobi Manchurian

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Serves: 4

This recipe is a fusion of Chinese and Indian cuisine to suit Indian taste. It is believed to be created by Chinese community living in city of Kolkata (State of Bengal), eastern part of India.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium sized cauliflower (gobi), cut into 2 inch florets
  • Neutral Oil for frying
For Batter:
  • ½ cup AP flour
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste, see Note.
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Water as needed
For Sauce:
  • ½ cup tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 jalapeno or Serrano chili, minced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
Directions
  1. To prepare sauce, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small sauce pan until shimmering. Add chili, ginger-garlic paste and white parts of scallions and sauté them until soft, 2 minutes. Add ketch up, honey and soy sauce and stir to combine. Let sauce come to boil and let it simmer for 7 to 10 or until sauce thickens. Cover sauce and set it aside.
  2. While sauce is simmering, combine batter ingredients except water in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add water to make thin batter (like tempura batter). Add cauliflower florets and gently stir florets to coat evenly with batter.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan until hot enough to fry. Shake off excess batter from florets and fry them in batches of 6 to 7 until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain excess oil on paper towel lined plate.
  4. Once all florets are fried and drained transfer to a large mixing bowl. Pour sauce over florets and stir to coat with sauce. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with green parts of scallions. Serve immediately as a side dish and/or Scallion Paratha
Notes
Ginger-garlic paste is available in Indian grocery stores.

 

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Buffalo Cauliflower Florets

Buffalo Cauliflower Florets

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Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 medium sized cauliflower, cut into 2 inch florets
  • ½ cup fine corn meal
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • Neutral Oil for frying
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley
Buffalo sauce:
  • ¼ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
  • ½ cup hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
Ranch dressing:
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon ranch seasoning powder
  • 1 teaspoon chives, sliced thinly
Directions
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauce. Transfer cauliflower florets to a large mixing bowl. Pour buttermilk mixture over florets. Stir gently to coat florets with buttermilk. Let florets marinate for ½ to 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile prepare Buffalo sauce by heating hot sauce and honey in a small sauce pan. Once hot sauce is bubbling, add butter 1 tablespoon at a time and whisk to combine until all butter is added. Cover sauce and set it aside.
  3. In a small mixing bowl combine ingredients of ranch dressing and transfer to serving bowl.
  4. In small mixing bowl, combine corn meal, corn starch, salt and pepper. After cauliflower florets are marinated, drain buttermilk. Sprinkle flour mixture all over florets. Gently stir florets to coat evenly with flour mixture.
  5. Heat oil in a frying pan until hot enough to fry. Shake off excess flour from florets and fry them in batches of 6 to 7 until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain excess oil on paper towel lined plate.
  6. Once all florets are fried and drained, transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Pour Buffalo sauce over florets and stir to coat with sauce. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with scallions and cilantro or parsley. Serve immediately with ranch dressing on side.

 

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Chickpea Flour Rolls and Fries

Khandavi

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Serves: 6

The chickpea flour is known as besan and the rolls are known as Khandavi. This dish was my mother's specialty. My mother used to make it on special occasions and whenever guests were coming over. She is not able to cook anymore but she has passed on this recipe to many of us. This is not an easy recipe to master. It took several attempts for me to make it right.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chickpea flour (besan)
  • ½ cup yogurt (not Greek)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced green chili (jalapeno or serrano)
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated coconut, see Note.
  • Oil for brushing on baking sheet
For Tempering (Vaghar):
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon asafetida
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
Directions
  1. Prepare two large or three medium sized baking sheets for spreading cooked besan. Invert baking sheets and brush them with oil and set them aside. You can also use silicon mat or spread on a stone kitchen counter.
  2. Whisk together besan, yogurt, water, green chili, ginger, turmeric, asafetida and salt in a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan until smooth.
  3. Start cooking besan on low heat, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook besan until it is fully cooked (like polenta), about 7 to 10 minutes. Immediately spread besan on to baking sheets in thin layer (like thickness of tortilla).
  4. Sprinkle two tablespoons each of cilantro and coconut on baking sheets evenly. Make 2 ½ inch cuts evenly on spread batter vertically along the width of baking sheet.
  5. Gently start rolling khandavi as tight as you can, until all spread batter is gone. This batter will make 12 to 14 khandavi. Arrange khandvi vertically on a casserole dish.
  6. Prepare Vaghar: In a small heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat oil on medium heat until simmering. Add mustard seeds and let them sizzle, 30 seconds. Add remaining vaghar ingredients and let it cook 10 seconds. Pour over arranged khandvi. Garnish with remaining cilantro and coconut. Serve within few hours of making at room temperature.
Notes
Fresh grated coconut is easily available in Indian grocery stores in frozen section.

 

 

Chickpea Flour Fries

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Serves: 3

Ingredients
  • ½ cup chickpea flour (besan)
  • ½ cup yogurt (not Greek)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced green chili (jalapeno or serrano)
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated coconut
  • Oil for brushing on baking sheet
  • Neutral oil for frying
For Tempering (Vaghar):
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon asafetida
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
Directions
  1. Whisk together besan, yogurt, water, green chili, ginger, turmeric, asafetida and salt in a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan until smooth. Brush with oil a small 6 x 10 baking sheet.
  2. Start cooking besan on low heat, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook besan until it is fully cooked (like polenta), about 7 to 10 minutes. Immediately spread besan on to baking sheet in even layer.
  3. Transfer the baking sheet to freezer for 2 to 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Cut the batter into ½ inch thick fries. Heat oil into a frying pan until hot enough to fry. Fry the fries in 3 to 4 batches until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Transfer fries to paper towel lined dish or on a wire rack to drain excess oil. Once oil is drained, transfer fries to serving dish or bowl.
  5. Prepare Vaghar: In a small heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat oil on medium heat until simmering. Add mustard seeds and let them sizzle, 30 seconds. Add remaining vaghar ingredients and let it cook 10 seconds. Pour over the fries. Garnish with cilantro and coconut. Serve warm.

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Dabeli

Dabeli

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Serves: 4

Dabeli is an Indian Street food available all over India. It is grab and go like food which people can eat as a breakfast, lunch or a snack in a hurry. It is basically a vegetarian slider, the patty is made out of mashed potatoes and spices.
Ingredients
  • 2 russet potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Dabeli masala, See note.
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup tamarind and date chutney, See note.
  • ½ cup salted or spicy peanuts, chopped finely
  • ¼ cup coconut, finely grated
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 12-15 black raisins, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup nylon sev (fine crunchy chickpea flour noodles), See note.
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup garlic chutney, See note.
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 slider buns
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan on a medium high heat, 2 minutes. Add shallot and sauté it until translucent, 2 minutes. Add mashed potatoes and stir to combine with shallot. Add ½ cup of tamarind and date chutney, dabeli masala, salt, sugar and lemon juice. Stir to combine with masala. Let mixture cook for 2 to 3 minutes. If mixture is too dry, add some water.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a plate or a baking sheet and spread it in even layer. On top of mixture sprinkle peanuts, coconut, pomegranate seeds, raisins, half of sev and cilantro. Stir the mixture with your hands to combine everything. Divide the mixture into four equal parts and make small patties to fit into slider buns.
  3. Slit the buns without cutting through all the way. Spread about 1 tablespoon each of garlic chutney on one half and tamarind and date chutney on another half. Sprinkle about ½ tablespoon sev on both sides of patty and slide into bun. Press the bun tight to seal the patty. Repeat same process for remaining buns.
  4. Heat non-stick pan or a griddle on a medium heat and add butter. Once the butter is melted, toast the buns with patty on both sides by gently pressing, about 2 minutes per side.
Notes
The Dabeli masala, nylon sev, tamarind and date chutney, and garlic chutney are easily available in Indian grocery stores.

 

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Bhindi Masala

Bhindi Masala

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Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 lb. okras (bhindi)
  • 1 medium yellow or red onion, ½ inch diced
  • 1 medium plum or Roma tomato, ½ inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chili, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dhana-jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin)
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt or taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish
Directions
  1. Wash okra and dry it with paper towel. Okra should be as dry as possible otherwise it will become too slimy. Cut into ½ inch thick pieces, discarding top and ¼ inch bottom pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a non-stick pan on a medium high heat until shimmering, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mustard seeds and let it sizzle. Add onion, garlic, green chili, all dry spices and sauté them until onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Next add tomato, ginger and sauté until the mixture is almost dry, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add okra, season with salt and stir everything. Cover the pan and let okra cook until tender, 7 to 8 minutes, stirring few times. Initially okra will be slimy but as it cooks it will become less slimy.
  4. Uncover the pan, lower the heat and let okra cook until curry is almost dry, 7 to 10 minutes.
  5. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm with Nan or Paratha.

 

 

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Baghara Baigan

Baghara Baigan

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Serves: 4

This eggplant curry is from city of Hyderabad, Southern part of India (in a state of Telangana), and it is usually served with Biryani. It is made with small purple egg sized eggplants (known as Indian eggplants).
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. Indian eggplant (8 to 10 baigan)
  • ½ lb. green chilies, spicy or mild or mix of both (8 to 10)
  • ½ cup raw peanuts
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup fresh shredded coconut
  • 15 to 20 Curry leaves
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chili, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste, See note.
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
Directions
  1. Wash eggplants and pat dry. Make an X cut on ⅓ of eggplant on stemless side, keeping the stem. Repeat the same with rest of eggplants. Wash chilies and pat dry. Keep them whole with steams, cut them in half if long.
  2. Heat a skillet or a cast iron pan. Add peanuts and roast them until very light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add sesame seeds and roast them for 30 seconds or until they start to pop. Immediately add coconut and roast until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes. Once it’s cooled, combine roasted peanut mixture, shallot, jalapeno or serrano chili, ginger and garlic in food processor bowl and make a thick paste. Add couple of tablespoons or more water to move the contents in food processor. Set it aside.
  3. Dissolve tamarind paste into ¼ cup of water in a small bowl and set it aside.
  4. In a frying pan, heat oil on a medium high heat until shimmering. Add eggplants and sauté them for 3 to 4 minutes until skin is light brown. Remove from oil and let excess oil drain on a wire racked sheet pan or paper towels lined plate. Lower the heat and remove extra oil from pan, leaving about ¼ cup of oil. Reserve extra oil. Sauté green chilies in oil until they start to blister, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove chilies from oil and let excess oil drain on a wire racked sheet pan or paper towels lined plate.
  5. Add more oil to frying pan to make about ¼ cup from reserved oil. Increase heat to medium high again. Once oil shimmers add cumin and mustard seeds and let them sizzle, 30 seconds. Add curry leaves, let them crisp for 40 to 50 seconds. Be careful as they will splatter oil. Add peanut mixture paste, turmeric, garam masala and chili powder. Sauté the paste with spices for 3 to 4 minutes or until you see oil separating. Add tamarind water and stir. If gravy is too thick add some water. Season the gravy with salt. Add eggplants and submerge them in gravy. Cover the pan and let eggplants cook until soft but not mushy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover and add blistered chilies. Stir the contents and let everything cook in gravy for 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Before serving garnish with cilantro. Serve hot with Nan and/or Biryani.
Notes
Tamarind paste is readily available in Indian stores.

 

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Vegetable Biryani

Vegetable Biryani

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Serves: 4

This dish comes from city of Hyderabad (in State of Telangana), Southern part of India..
Ingredients
For fried shallots and marinade:
  • 1 lb. shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or melted butter or canola oil
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dhana-jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 lb. paneer, cut into 1 inch dice
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1 inch dice
  • 10 to 12 cauliflower florets
  • ½ of green pepper cut into 1 inch dice
  • ½ of red pepper cut into 1 inch dice
  • 2 carrots cut into 1 inch dice
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, for garnish
Dough lid (optional):
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup or more water
Rice:
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or butter or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Biryani:
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • ½ cup warm cooking water of rice
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon rose water (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Directions
  1. Make fried shallots: Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or butter or oil in a large non-stick skillet until shimmering. Add shallots and let it cook on medium heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally. This takes about 9 to 10 minutes. Let shallots cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. While shallots are cooling, mix yogurt, salt, lemon juice, remaining oil or ghee or butter, ginger, garlic and dry spices into medium mixing bowl. Add vegetables and paneer except peas. Stir with yogurt and spices to coat them with marinade.
  3. Once shallots are cooled, reserve one third in a small bowl. Add remaining shallots to vegetables and paneer. Stir the mixture and let it stand for 30 minutes or so.
  4. While vegetables are marinating, make dough lid. Mix flour and water in a medium mixing bowl until soft dough forms. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth. Make a ball and roll into ¼ inch thick rope which can be wrapped around the lid of large size Dutch oven. Cover the dough lid with kitchen towel.
  5. Make rice: Rinse rice in cold water until water runs clear and drain excess water. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a large sauce pan. Wrap whole spices into a piece of cheese cloth and tie with a kitchen twain. Add to sauce pan along with oil or butter or ghee, salt, nutmeg and caraway seeds. Stir in rice. Bring rice to simmer and cook only half way, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the spice bundle and reserve ½ cup cooking liquid.
  6. Assemble biryani: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine saffron and pinch of sugar or salt into a mortar, and with a pestle make it into fine powder. Transfer to a measuring cup. Pour warm cooking water from rice over it and mix until saffron is almost dissolved. Spray large Dutch oven with non-stick spray to avoid paneer sticking to bottom. Drizzle 1 tablespoon ghee or butter in a large Dutch oven. Spoon half of vegetable mixture over it and spread it in even layer. With a skimmer or a fine sieve drain excess liquid from rice and spread half of rice over vegetables. Top with half of remaining ghee or butter, shallots, garam masala, saffron water, rose water and cilantro. Repeat the same layering once more. Cover with lid and wrap the dough lid on top of it. Press the dough to tightly seal it. Bake the biryani for 15 to 20 minutes or until the dough lid is golden brown. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Remove dough lid, uncover lid, top with green peas and cilantro. Serve immediately with cucumber raita.

 

 

Quick Vegetable Biryani

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Serves: 4

This recipe can be made with leftover rice.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup assorted vegetables
  • ¼ cup frozen green peas
  • 2 teaspoons ghee or butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 whole gloves
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cardamom pods
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chili, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika or chili powder
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  1. Heat ghee or butter with oil on a medium high in a frying pan or a wok until simmering. Add cumin and mustard seeds and let them sizzle, 30 seconds. Lower the heat to medium. Sprinkle saffron threads over oil while crushing them with your fingertips. Sauté saffron in fat until fat picks up color, about 30 seconds. Next add whole spices with bay leaf and sauté for 30 seconds.
  2. Add onions and sauté those until edges are brown, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and green chili, and sauté those for 1 minute. Next add garam masala and paprika or chili powder and sauté those for 30 seconds.
  3. Increase heat to high. Add vegetables and stir fry those for 2 to 3 minutes until vegetables soft but still crunchy. Add cooked rice and season with salt. Stir fry rice with vegetables until coated with spices, about 1 to 2 minutes. Next add peas and stir to combine with rice. Lower the heat to low. Cover the pan or wok with a lid and let everything cook together to blend all the flavors for 2 to 3 minutes. Before serving garnish with cilantro. Serve warm with cucumber raita.

 

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Sweet Potato and Chickpea Taco

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Taco

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 6

This recipe is a fusion of Indian and Mexican flavors.
Ingredients
  • 3 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 15 oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 large poblano pepper, cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • ⅛ teaspoon asafetida
  • 10 to 12 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 to 3 dry red chilies
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ cup grated fresh coconut
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt to taste
  • 18 to 20 small tortillas
  • 1 cup crumbled Cotija or feta cheese
Directions
  1. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Transfer diced sweet potatoes to baking pan. Drizzle potatoes with canola oil. Season with salt, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder. Toss potatoes to coat with spices and make even layer of potatoes. Roast potatoes until edges are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. While potatoes are roasting, heat coconut oil in a large wok or frying pan until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and let then sizzle. Add asafetida, curry leaves, dry red chilies and let curry leaves fry for 30 seconds. Add turmeric and chili powder. Add poblano pepper and sauté it for a minute. Add chickpeas, ½ teaspoon cumin powder, and coriander powder. Season with salt and stir everything to combine with spices. Let chickpeas cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Once sweet potatoes are roasted, combine them with chickpeas. Add coconut, cilantro and stir. Let potatoes and chickpeas cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.
  3. Combine yogurt, lime zest, lime juice, ½ teaspoon cumin powder, and ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder into a small mixing bowl. Whisk yogurt with spices to make it smooth. Season with salt.
  4. Heat tortilla on stove top or in a microwave. To serve taco, put about ¼ cup chickpeas and sweet potatoes on tortilla. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon chili-lime yogurt. Sprinkle with cheese. Other toppings can be added to taste.

 

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Vegetarian Hot Dogs

Black eyed Peas Hot Dog

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 15 oz. can of black eyed peas
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons brown or white rice flour or corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 2 to 3 cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 hot dog buns
Spice mix:
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil into a small pan, about 2 minutes. Add fennel seeds and let them sizzle, 30 seconds. Add shallot and red pepper flakes. Sauté those until shallots are translucent, 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté them for 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté it for a minute with shallot and mushrooms. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
  2. While shallot mixture is cooling, drain and rinse black eyed peas. Mash them into food processor until almost mushy.
  3. Combine spice mixture into a medium mixing bowl. Add mashed peas and shallot mixture. Add 2 tablespoons rice flour, yeast and Worcestershire sauce. Mix everything well. Try to form a small ball, if mixture does not stay together, add one more tablespoon of flour. Divide the dough into four equal parts.
  4. Cut about 1 foot of plastic wrap piece. Put one part of dough on to plastic wrap and form into about six inch hot dog shape. First wrap plastic wrap tightly around hot dog, then twist both ends of plastic wrap as tight as you can. Tie each end with a piece of twain. Poke few holes with a toothpick. Repeat the process for remaining three hot dogs.
  5. Boil water in at least 5 quarts of pot. Transfer the wrapped hot dogs to boiling water. Lower the heat so water is simmering. Let hot dogs simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from water and let them cool down, at least 30 minutes.
  6. Heat remaining oil into a large nonstick skillet. Brown the hot dogs on medium heat all around, about 5 minutes. Be gentle while turning hot dogs so they do not break. Serve them on your choice of buns and condiments.
Notes
Hot dogs can be made ahead.

 

 

 

Pinto Beans Hot dog

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 15 oz. can of pinto beans
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons masa harina
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ red onion, finely minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dry oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Canola oil for brushing
  • Butter for spreading
  • 4 hot dog buns
Cheese sauce:
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • ½ cup shredded Mexican cheese
  • 3 Slices American cheese, roughly torn into few pieces
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
Pico de gallo:
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, ¼ inch diced
  • ½ red onion, ¼ inch diced
  • ½ serrano or jalapeno chili, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of ½ a lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
Directions
  1. Drain and rinse pinto beans. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil into a small pan, about 2 minutes. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle, 30 seconds. Add onion and garlic and sauté them until onion is translucent, 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté it for a minute with onion. Add pinto beans and dry spices. Season with salt and stir to combine. Let beans cook with spices for 5 minutes. Let beans cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer beans to food processor bowl. Add 2 tablespoons masa harina, cheese and an egg. Pulse until beans are almost mashed. Try to foam a small ball, if mixture does not stay together, add one more tablespoon of masa harina. Divide the dough into four equal parts.
  4. Cut about 1 foot of plastic wrap piece. Put one part of dough on to plastic wrap and form into about six inch hot dog shape. First wrap plastic wrap tightly into tube shape, then twist both ends of plastic wrap as tight as you can. Tie each end with a piece of kitchen twain. Poke few holes with a toothpick. Repeat the process for remaining three hot dogs.
  5. Boil water in at least 5 quarts of pot. Transfer the wrapped hot dogs to boiling water. Lower the heat so water is simmering. Let hot dogs simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from water and let them cool down, at least 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  6. While hot dogs are cooling, make cheese sauce. Heat evaporated milk in a sauce pan until almost boiling. Combine cheese, corn starch and spices in a bowl. Once milk is heated, add cheese mixture. Heat on low heat until cheese is melted. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  7. Combine ingredients of pico de gallo in a serving bowl.
  8. To grill hot dogs, brush them with canola oil. Grill hot dogs until brown all around, about 3 minutes. Spread butter on hot dog buns and toast them. To serve, put hot dog in a bun, pour about 2 tablespoons cheese sauce and add about 1 tablespoon pico de gallo on top.

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