Corn Curry

In the summer when corn is plentiful I always think about this flavorful corn dish. My cousin shared this recipe with me years ago – I have made it many times with both Indian and western meals (adjusting the amount of green chilies according to taste).

Curry leaves do add to the flavor of the dish but they are optional – they are the only ingredient you may need to buy from an Indian grocery store (if you don’t already have a curry leaf plant in your garden!).

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Ingredients

1 large green chili

1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (separated)

2 teaspoons grated ginger

13 curry leaves, approximately (separated)

1/2 cup cilantro leaves + more for garnish

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons oil

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup half and half

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

3 whole dry red chillies

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

4 curry leaves

1 tablespoon flour

4 cups  fresh cut corn or frozen

1 -1/2 teaspoons salt

Method

Blend the green chili, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons ginger, 8 curry leaves, 1/2 cup cilantro, water and oil into a paste.

Heat oil, add remaining 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and mustard seeds, and as the mustard seeds start to crackle add the dry red chillies and 5 remaining curry leaves . Stir and add the green paste, cook for about 1 minute. Add the flour and and stir till well blended. Add the milk & half and half very slowly to make a thick paste. Bring to a boil.

Add the corn and salt and cook for about 4 minutes .

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

 

Green Masala Chicken

This dish is one of my regulars – it is quick and easy since you simply  blend the ingredients for the marinade together, and then grill. It incorporates veggies into the sauce so perfect for our family!

 

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Ingredients

1 teaspoon each, garlic paste and ginger paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut in small cubes
1-2 green chillies
1/2  large green bell pepper
2 cups packed spinach leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 medium onion, chopped, fried brown or  1/2  cup package fried onions (from the indian grocery store)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 lime

Preparation

Marinade chicken with the first 5 ingredients.

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Blend the remaining ingredients except the lime, to a smooth paste, in blender or food processor.IMG_2923 (1)

Add this to the chicken and marinade for several hours or overnight.

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Skewer the chicken and grill for about 3-4 minutes or each side.

Squeeze the lime over the chicken and serve with slices of onion.

Poha

Poha, also called Pohe, is beaten or flattened rice – a popular dish from the state of Maharashtra. Though traditionally eaten for breakfast or a snack, it is a super quick option for any meal.

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Ingredients

1 cup Pohe (raw beaten rice) – the medium to thick variety

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1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2-3 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

1-2 small green chillies, slit

a few curry leaves (optional)

1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 small potato, boiled and cubed (optional)

1/2- 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)

1/2 lime

2-3 tablespoon cilantro leaves chopped

Preparation

Place the raw poha in a sieve and rinse it with water for a minute or two. Set aside.

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Heat oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds. As the seeds start to pop, add the onion and saute for a few minutes till it becomes light brown. Add the green chillies and curry leaves, and stir for 30 seconds.

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Add the turmeric, salt and potatoes and the rinsed poha Stir until combined and add one or two tablespoons of water, if the mixture looks dry.

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Cover and cook over low heat for about 3 minutes.  If adding peas, add the peas and continue to cook for another minute. Squeeze the lime  and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

 

 

 

 

Upuma

In the southern part of India, Upuma, a simple breakfast, snack or lunch dish is made from cream of wheat mixed with a few spices.

The cream of wheat used in this dish is of a finer variety, bought in the Indian grocery stores. The cream of wheat found in the supermarket can be used, it is just a little coarser in texture.

When my daughter was working in Atlanta I came up with this home made “upuma mix” which she could use when needed for a quick dinner.  Adding boiling water & some frozen or left over veggies,  it is also nutritious as cream of wheat has iron and some protein.

 

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Ingredients

Upuma Mix:

  1 cup cream of wheat

  1 tablespoon oil

  1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

  1 small red dry chilly, broken

  1 teaspoon urad dal

  1 small onion, finely chopped

  1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

  1 teaspoon salt

1 small tomato, chopped (optional)

1/2 cup cooked vegetables  (green peas, beans, carrots etc)

Preparation

Homemade Upuma Mix:

NOTE: When I’m making the mix, I typically make 4 times this recipe, and store it in the fridge. 

Heat the cream of wheat in a skillet over medium heat until it turns light brown, stirring constantly. Remove from pan and set aside.

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Heat oil in a skillet; add the mustard seeds and when they start to pop add the red dry chilly. Stir for a few seconds and add the onion. Cook the onion till brown, add the ginger and stir for 1-2 more minutes.

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Add the urad dal and nuts, if using, and stir until the dal turns brown (for a few more minutes). Add the toasted cream of wheat and salt and stir well until the cream of wheat is thoroughly mixed in.

If using as a “mix” cool and store in a container in the refrigerator.

Heat 2 cups of water to boiling, and if using vegetables add them now (I added beans that I had in the refrigerator, and a small tomato). Turn down to simmer and add 1 cup of your homemade upuma mix, stir until slightly thickened.

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Cover and continue to simmer for about 3-5 minutes or until the mixture is thick.  Upuma is usually served hot, with a little bit of Indian hot mango or lime pickle.

Pasta and Veggie Dhokla

Dhokla is a traditional Gujarati dish, a savory steamed bread with a light and spongy texture. It is typically made with channa dal (split peas) but I’ve had various types, made with rava (semolina or cream of wheat) and besan (chickpea flour).

A friend recently introduced me to her version, incorporating vegetables.  You can use any veggies in the recipe – I always seem to have carrots, bell peppers and frozen peas on hand so I used those.

You might be wondering about the pasta… the angel hair pasta and potatoes simply help bind the ingredients together!

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Ingredients

3/4 cup uncooked, broken angel hair pasta

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1/4 cup frozen green peas

1/4 cup finely cut carrots

1 small raw potato, finely diced

1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced

1 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon each, ginger and garlic paste

1/2- 1 teaspoon, finely cut green chillies

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cream of wheat (coarse variety, if buying from an Indian store)

2 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon Eno or baking soda

1/2 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

Chopped cilantro for garnish

  Preparation

To steam the Dhokla, boil 2 cups of water in a large 4 or 6 quart cooking pot and keep it simmering. Place a small cooking rack or an overturned small metal container or bowl at the bottom. Grease an 8″ cake pan.

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Add pasta to a mixing bowl and mix in the vegetables.

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Next add the yogurt and spices, cream of wheat, and oil and mix well.

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 Lastly add the Eno or baking soda.

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Pour into prepared cake pan, cover with a lid and steam for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil, add the sesame seeds and mustard seeds and when the seeds start to pop, remove and pour and spread over the steamed dhokla. Remove pan and cool for 5 minutes and cut into diamond shapes.

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Remove to a serving plate and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Dosa-Waffles

I have been reading lately about the many non-waffle recipes you can make in your waffle iron. There’s even a blog (waffled tofu & frozen fries!) & cookbook called “Will it Waffle” – 53 “unexpected” recipes!

I decided to experiment with a dosa recipe (Indian lentil pancakes) using green moong dal. It is quicker & easier than making dosas on the stove, one by one! I did have to add a few extra ingredients (oats & baking powder) but they turned out great.

The dosa-waffles can be served with cilantro chutney or even with a spicy ketchup (make your own by mixing regular ketchup with a little of Siracha or hot sauce). These also reheat well and can be frozen.

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Ingredients

1 cup whole green moong dal, (soaked for about 4 hours)

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1/2 small onion

2 whole green chillies

1/4 cup oat flour (you can also grind oats in a blender)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup water

Preparation

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and process till smooth.

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Add a little more water, slowly, to get a thick pouring batter (like waffle batter!).

Preheat the waffle iron, brush the grids with a little oil, add about 3/4 cup batter (depending on the shape and size of your waffle maker) and cook them.

Remove and place on a wire rack.

Serve hot with chutney or spicy ketchup.

Swiss Chard or Spinach Focaccia

One of my weaknesses is bread! I enjoy looking for different types of bread recipes. Somewhere along the way I came across the idea of adding swiss chard to focaccia. I just don’t feel as guilty consuming so much bread when I am having something healthy along with it!

This focaccia recipe is great as an appetizer and also perfect for lunch with a bowl of soup. It freezes well – it’s a handy side to have on hand since it is so versatile with meals.

Best of all, the “No Knead Focaccia” recipe from the King Arthur Flour website is the simplest recipe I’ve come across since it doesn’t require kneading! I’ve adapted the recipe slightly below.

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Ingredients

Dough:

1 1/2 cup warm water

3 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 tablespoon instant yeast.

Topping:

2 bunches swiss chard , ( remove the thick stem) and  coarsely chopped ( 6-8 cups)  OR

6-8 cups coarsely chopped spinach

1-2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ( preferably)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1-2 green chillies ( hot ) finely minced or ground (optional)

1/3 cup olive oil

Preparation

Lightly grease a large cookie sheet with about 2 tablespoon oil.

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a large mixing bowl and beat at high speed with an electric mixer or 1 minute.

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The dough will be sticky. Scoop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread with a spatula or greased hands.

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Let rise for about 45 – 60 minutes till the dough doubles.

In the meantime, combine all the ingredients for the topping .

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When the dough is risen, add the swiss chard to the dough and spread to cover the dough.

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Bake at 375  for about 20 – 25 minutes. Cool. Cut in squares.

Podi Gudu (Spicy Scrambled Eggs)

Podi gudu and puris were a typical breakfast of mine, growing up in Hyderabad.  For obvious health reasons, puris (fried puffy bread) aren’t the most popular breakfast item any more, and even I don’t feel like making them often because they are fairly time-consuming! I’ve found though, that this flavorful scrambled egg dish is a great lunch item  – as a wrap filling, using a chapati or tortilla- for us adults or kids. For those who do not eat eggs, using tofu is a great substitute.

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Ingredients

2 large eggs, beaten (OR 4 ounce tofu, drained and crumbled)

1 tablespoon oil

1-2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped

1-2 tablespoon bell pepper, finely chopped

1 tablespoon tomato, finely chopped

1-2 green chillies, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon, each salt and pepper

1 tablespoon coriander leaves (cilantro), finely chopped

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Preparation

Heat oil in a small skillet. Add the onion and sauté for a couple of minutes until light brown. Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté for another few minutes or till soft. Add the tomatoes, green chillies and seasonings.

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Stir for 30 seconds and pour in the beaten egg or crumbled tofu.

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Cook on low heat for one minute. Stir until the eggs are set; add the cilantro and serve.

Millet Patties

On my recent trip to India, my sister in law told me that she had recently started cooking with Millet. She explained that it has nutritional benefits similar to Quinoa and some other grains but cheaper and easier to find. Millet is a drought tolerant plant which has been grown in many countries pretty easily whereas Quinoa is pricier because it is mainly grown only in the Andes region of South America. Although not a complete protein like Quinoa, it still has quite a high protein content.

Millet is a leading staple grain of India – it is ground and used as a flour to make “rotis” (indian unleavened bread) and also eaten as “ragi” porridge. Though I remember as a child I was given this porridge and I did not like it at all!

Substituting millet for rice was an easy way to start experimenting with recipes, so I used the hulled millet which was available at Whole Foods. I toasted the millet and cooked it like rice. Everyone seemed to eat it though the consensus was that they preferred rice.

The next day I decided to do something different with the remaining cooked millet. After looking online at a few recipes for cutlets and croquettes, I decided to try making my own version combined with leftover vegetables which was a big hit!  It seemed like the perfect grain for making these cutlets, perhaps because of the starch in the millet, egg or breadcrumbs aren’t needed to bind or coat the patties.

I used my favorite frying pan which is my cast iron pan – very little oil is needed and it is practically non stick. (I use my cast iron pan daily… to make pancakes, grilled cheese, chapatis or dosas to name a few!)  The pan does take a little while to heat up – I usually turn it on to medium heat and then after 5-10 minutes or when it is hot, I turn the heat down to low. The patties turned out crisp using the cast iron skillet and I didn’t need to add much oil.

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Ingredients

1 cup hulled millet

2 1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup coarsely grated carrots

2 cloves garlic, grated

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

1-2 small green chilies, finely cut up

1/2 cup cooked corn kernels

1/4 cup finely diced green or red bell pepper

2 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped

oil for sauteing

Preparation

Toast the millet in a skillet for 3-4 minutes till the millet starts to pop. Add the millet to a saucepan and add 2 1/2 cup water and the salt and bring to boil, simmer till the water is absorbed and the millet is cooked.

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Using a potato masher , mash the cooked millet. add the remains ingredients.

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Take about a 1/3 cup of the mixture, flatten into patties.

Heat a cast iron ( or non stick skillet ) and add 1 tablespoon oil to it and add the patties. Cook on low to medium heat, and cook on low heat for 5-8 minutes till the patties and brown and crisp.Serve immediately or keep warm in a warm oven .

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Spicy Swiss Chard , Spinach and Corn

My very good friend from Spain introduced me to Swiss Chard. She told me she would buy it regularly, but the stores in Columbia didn’t carry it at the time. So, she asked one of them to stock it for her. Now I know why; it is a delicious leafy green vegetable which is full of antioxidants, Vitamin K, and Calcium. It’s easy to digest and all of the nutrition is great for bone health!

The first time I made it I combined it with baby spinach because I had some left over from a previous meal. It cooks quickly and is easy to make – Swiss Chard has become a frequent guest at our table. Instead of corn, you could add Paneer (Indian cottage cheese), tofu cubes, or mushrooms!

Ingredients

4-5 cups Swiss Chard leaves, chopped coarsely (discard the the thick stems)

4 cups baby Spinach (or regular Spinach)

2 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

2 green chillies, cut fine

1 cup onions, cut fine

1 teaspoon garlic paste

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup corn, cooked

Preparation

Put a large pot of water on high heat. When it starts boiling, add the swiss chard and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Drain, saving about 1/2 cup of the water. Blend the greens with this water until smooth.

Heat oil in the same pan; add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Stir for 1 minute till the mustard seeds start to pop. Add the onion and green chilies and cook until the onions become light brown in color.

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Add the blended greens , salt and turmeric; stir for 2 minutes.  Add the corn; simmer for a few minutes until done.

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