Tag Archives: vegetarian

Bottle gourd Curry (Doodhi/Lauki kadi)

bottlegourdcurrymain

There is immense joy in putting your heart and soul to offer your love to someone.

There is immense joy in putting your heart and soul to offer your love to someone. And I offer my love through food. It was way back somewhere in early 2011 that I started making soups. For my cousin who had just delivered a couple of months ago. For me healthy soups were essentially about boiling vegetables, adding flavours and pureeing them to a smooth soupy consistency. It was well received. But she moved out and then I completely forgot about it. It was only when my dad was back home after a series of surgeries that I wanted to make something for him. Mom was quick to suggest that the doctors mentioned bottle gourd being good for him. And I made the bottle gourd and tomato soup. Time passed by, dad was well and I completely forgot about soups, again!

Only until recently, when I was in the home-cooks dilemma of what to prepare for the next meal, utterly bored of just adding chopped bottle gourd to daals when I suddenly thought of soups. But to include it in our family meals it just had to be something more. So off I was to give the humble bottle gourd another avatar. I hope you will find it as comforting as I do.

I am growing quite fond of the Bottle gourd. I find its simplicity charming. What attracts me is its versatility, such that with utmost ease it can be made into a sweet or a savory dish. Previously, I have blogged about baking the Bottle gourd and clove tea cake and this time I chose to cook something savoury. What makes this recipe different is that cooked bottle gourd itself is pureed to make it into a thick gravy.

bottlegourdcurryplate

Bottlegourd Curry:
(Serves approx. 4)

Ingredients:

Oil 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp
Onion 1 medium
Garlic -Ginger paste 1/2 tsp
Tomato 1 medium
Turmeric 1 tsp
Bafat Powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1 and 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Bottle gourd 1 (approx 360 gms when peeled, deseeded and chopped)
Salt to taste (approx 2 tsp)
Water 2 cups (for pressure cooking)
Coriander leaves chopped (approx 1 tbsp) for garnishing

Method:

In a pressure cooker, add oil. When it is hot, add cumin seeds. When it sizzles, added chopped onion and garlic-ginger paste. Saute it till the onion is translucent. Add all the spice powders and saute for 30 secs. If it sticks to the cooker, add 1 tbsp of water. Add tomato, salt and allow it to cook. After a minute or so when the tomatoes are soft, with the back of the spoon gently mash the tomatoes. Add the bottle gourd and water, pressure cook it for 1 whistle. After a whistle immediately switch off the gas and allow it to cool for 10-15 mins.

Once it has cooled, transfer some of the bottle gourd and onion/tomato mix into a blender. Leave some pieces behind. You can take little of the soupy water as well and blend it to a smooth puree. Add the puree back to the soupy liquid. Prepare for tempering.

For Tempering: (OPTIONAL)

Oil 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves 6-8
Garlic 3-4 small pods crushed
Dried red chillies (small round/ boriya mirch) 2

Take oil in a tempering dish. Add mustard seeds, when it begins to splutter add curry leaves, garlic and dried chilles. When the garlic browns a little, add this to the curry and cover for about a min.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with steamed rice, papad and pickle.

 

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Cooking Fusion Food – Pasta in Spinach sauce

pasta in spinach sauce

Everyone has a style of cooking. Whether you’ve picked up recipes from your family members or dabbled with disasters learning on your own, each one who cooks does it in their own unique way.

Some rely on recreating dishes they are familiar with while some others are bold enough to think out of the box and come up with some splendid creations. And then there are people like me, heavily influenced with international cook shows/cook books, mapping familiar flavours from local dishes to prepare a different dish, that I refer to as “Fusion Food”.

I hope to share with you some of my Fusion Food ideas. Here’s one – “Pasta in spinach sauce”
Pasta, classic Italian. Need I say more about it? In India, the Palak Paneer (spinach and cottage cheese) combination is famous as a dish in itself. The attempt here is not to just put some palak paneer over pasta but to use palak/ spinach as the base for the sauce and to add paneer/cottage cheese and peanuts to give the dish another dimension.

pasta in spinach sauce

Pasta in spinach sauce with cottage cheese and peanuts
(Serves 2-3)

Ingredients:
Pasta (penne) 1 1/2 cup
———————
Spinach chopped 1 cup
Coriander leaves chopped 1 tbsp
Garlic crushed 4 pods
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Pepper 1/4 tsp
———————
Butter 1/2 tbsp
Plain flour/ maida 1 tsp
Milk 1/2 cup
———————
Cottage cheese cubes 6-7
Olive oil, Salt & Pepper to taste (to coat & fry the cottage cheese)
Roasted peanuts 1 tbsp

Method:
1. In a pan add olive oil and garlic. When the garlic turns golden add spinach and coriander and saute. Add salt and pepper. When the spinach leaves have wilted and turned dark green (about 3-4 mins), take it off the flame, cool to room temperature and puree this mix.
2. Add butter, flour and milk in another pan and keep stirring. Once the mixture starts to thicken. Take it off the flame. Mix the spinach puree with this white sauce and set aside.
3. Drizzle olive oil on the cottage cheese and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Fry the cottage cheese cubes in a pan till the sides turn golden.
4. Boil the pasta as per instructions on the pack or Al Dente. Drain the pasta and start assembling.
Assembling:
Spread out cooked pasta in a dish, add the spinach sauce over it. Top it with cottage cheese cubes and roasted peanuts.

Onam Sadhya/Onasadhya

Last week, I fell in love with South Indian food. A trip down south and I was so impressed with the food that I’ve been craving for it everyday. Simple and delicious is how I would categorize it. Oh vegetarian too!

Today, every Keralite household celebrates Onam. The harvest festival which also marks the homecoming of King Mahabali. It’s Onam and the best time to get south Indian food.

I learnt this afternoon that on this day every Keralite household will have Onam Sadhya. With repeated reference to the word Sadhya (Like restaurants offering Onam Sadhya, Onam Sadhya recipes, etc..) I found out that Sadhya means ‘banquet’ in Malayalam.

Did you know that a typical Onam Sadhya has approximately 20-30 dishes? And all these dishes are served as a single course on a plantain leaf.

Onam Sadhya

 

 

(Image Source)

Among all other dishes, I like the Sambaar, Avial, Papadum and Payasam.

P.S: If you are in Mumbai – Dakshin Culture Curry at Lokhandwala will have special Onam Sadhya Meals from 29th Aug till 5th Sep’ 12. Details. I havn’t eaten at this place so I’m not really sure how authentic it will be. But definitely worth a try.

Happy Onam! 🙂