Kadai Paneer Recipe

On our recent trip to the Farmer’s market, I went nuts over the varieties of the bell peppers they had on sale. The colors were vibrant and the prices were pretty decent too. Usually the ones in the regular grocery are pretty expensive but also not as fresh and vibrant as these. Suffice to say I went overboard and ended up with load full of those gorgeous beauties.

 

 

These are referred to as Capsicum in India and at least while I was growing up, I had not seen any other color other than green. The shapes and sizes are different too. I enjoy bell pepper in most of the dishes. The trick that I have learnt is to fry the chopped bell peppers separately and then add them to dishes like Poha, Upma, Pulao etc. This way the taste is retained and the texture is not lost.

 

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Black Beans and Methi Stir Fry (Usal)

 When I saw her event for FIC Black or Purple I was intrigued to say the least. She wants us to send her food that has hues either of black or purple. I am not sure about purple, but to prepare food that has hues of black in my opinion is challenging.

  I walked around with my head shaking and wondered if she was kidding. I looked at the event detail again to confirm and well, I guess not and it is not even April. In all these years of cooking and experimenting in kitchen I have managed to burn bread, cakes, vegetables, masalas just about everything. Now that is black hue for sure, but I guess that is neither appealing nor appetizing for anybodyJ. I have used Kala Chana (black chickpeas), but even though it is called “Kala” (Black) it has a dark brown hue to it. 

After much thinking and prodding I settled for Black bean stir fry. Black beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. In addition to lowering cholesterol, black beans’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans a good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, black beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein. (Source: here)
I like to cook the black beans until it is soft and tender, that way it blends well with cooked onions and methi. Feel free to cook it up to the consistency that suits your taste buds.
This is my contribution to FIC Black or Purple and sure enough I will be watching the roundup very closely.                 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black beans (dry or canned)
  • ¾ cup chopped onions
  • Handful of fresh methi (fenugreek) chopped
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 2-3 garlic chopped
  •  Mustard seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut(optional)

Method:

  • If using the dry variety, make sure to soak the beans overnight or for about 8-10 hours in enough water.
  • Drain the soaked water completely and pressure cook the beans using sufficient water. Allow to cool.
  • Take a heavy bottom pan. Add oil and prepare the seasoning with mustard, curry leaves, jeera seeds.
  • Add the grated garlic, onion and green chillies and sauté until the onion turns transparent. Add salt, chopped fenugreek and mix well.
  • Add the cooked beans to the onion mixture and stir well. Check for taste. Add more salt, chillies if required. Fianlly mix in the coconut.

Serve hot with rotis/phulkas or with rice. 

 

Lemon Rice Recipe(Chitranna)

Lemon Rice also called Chitranna in Kannada is an easy to prepare yet flavorful rice dish. This is also a good way to use the left over rice or maybe a quick dish idea when unexpected guests arrive. The flavor of this depends on the strong seasoning (Tadka) that is prepared before the cooked rice is added. Even though the seasoning is prepared using simple and  readily available ingredients like curry leaves, asafetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, daals they combine together to form an aromatic, sapid base to accommodate the rice. Peanuts add a nice crunch while the coconut balances the taste and adds little bit of sweetness.

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Growing up in Bangalore we used to live very close by to Venkateshwara Temple and some days this would be offered as Prasadam after the Lord’s Maha Mangala Aarthi. Some days the prasadam would be different but their Curd Rice and Cucumber kosambari were the ones to die for! During our summer holidays we used to make a bee line to collect this prasada and savor it after we got back home. The Prasad would be served in a special leaf cup called “donne” and that would maybe enhance the taste of this rice.

There are different variations even for this simple recipe. My mother prepares this without adding onions, while my MIL makes this by adding onions and sometimes even garlic. But usually onion and garlic is avoided while serving this as Neivadyam.

This is my contribution to Rice Mela hosted by Srivalli.

Ingredients:
  

 

  • 2 cups cooked rice (make sure it is fluffy and grains are separated)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¾ cup chopped onion (optional)
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup groundnuts
  • 3-4 green chillies (chopped finely)
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
  • salt

For the seasoning (tadka)

  • 2 tsp urad daal
  • 1 tsp chana daal
  • Curry leaves
  • Asafetida
  • 1.5 tsp Mustard seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Oil
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Method:

  •  Take a big plate and spread out the rice making sure there are no lumps. Add salt, mix and keep aside.
  • Take a heavy bottom pan, add oil on medium heat. Add mustard seeds and allow to splutter, next add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafetida. Mix well. Now add the peanuts, green chillies, both the daals and roast until the peanuts get crunchy.
  • Note: The flavor comes from mustard seeds, so add more thatn usual. Also the quantity of oil should be more than usual.
  • Add the chopped onions (optional) and fry until it gets transparent.
  • Add the rice, turmeric and mix thoroughly. Cover the lid and let it cook for a while.
  • Finally add the coconut, chopped coriander leaves and juice of a lemon. Mix well. Serve hot.
  • Note: Make sure to add the lemon juice when the prepared rice has cooled down a little, else it tends to add sourness to the rice.