For folks here in the United States hope you had a wonderful Thanks Giving weekend. We had a relaxing time where in we spent most of the time indoors along with family and friends, thanks in part to the weather. The weather has now changed and we are inching closer to those dreaded cold snowy, winter days.
Like I said we spent most of the days at home, cooking some feel good food, comforting food, apt for cold weather. Luckily we get most (if not all) ingredients that we grew up eating and it is not difficult to re-create the taste in the kitchen. Food is a part and parcel of our lives, be it a celebration or not and it is a wonderful way to bring back memories and re-live those treasured moments.
In Konkani cuisine, it is quite common to find a seasoned coconut curry with the combination of bean/legume and or vegetable. The ground coconut paste is called ‘Maasolu’ and depending on the type of seasoning that is done (mustard, garlic, onion), the curry is referred to as that (Ambat/koddel/ghashi) At home we love the tempering of onion, garlic and curry leaves and so I have made this ‘Ambat’( curry) that way.
We use Horse Gram (called as Kulith) and raw Jackfruit in our cooking. For people not familiar with raw or young Jackfruit it is a smaller version of ripe jackfruit. It is called as ‘Kadgi/Chakko’ in Konkani and has mild flavor, with unique thick green texture and unlike the ripe fruit does not have a sweet taste and goes well in making curries. We found this in the frozen section at an Indian grocery. You can see how it looks here and some other recipes here and here.
This spicy coconut curry is a delight to have during cold days, the pungent flavor of the chillies along with the sweetness of onions and garlic is sure to drive away those winter blues.
It has been a long time since I have participated in Food related event. But I could not let this go as Lisa’s blog is one of my favorites and being a vegetarian her cooking style is close to my heart. This recipe is my contribution to the event “A celebration of Indian food” at Lisa’s kitchen.
- ¾ cup chopped Unripe Green jackfruit (fresh frozen) [optional or substitute with chopped potato or chopped raw banana or yam]
- ½ cup kulith/ huruli/ Horse Gram (soak it in enough water for 6-8 hours)
- ¾ cup coconut (shredded) [fresh or frozen]
- 4-5 red chillies ( I use byadgi variety) [roast this in 1 tsp of oil]
- Tamarind juice – 2 tablespoon
- Water (as required to make fine paste)
- 4-5 garlic pods (peeled and crushed)
- ¼ cup chopped onions
- 3-4 curry leaves
- 1 Tbsp Oil (coconut or regular vegetable)
- Pressure cook the horse gram in enough water for about 8-10 whistles. (yes, mine takes a long time). Keep aside to cool.
- If using fresh jackfruit then peel the skin and chop it into small pieces. (You can see how it looks here). Boil along with salt till jackfruit gets cooked completely. If using frozen then defrost and heat it in little water for 5 minutes.
- Roast the red chilies in little oil till they are crispy.
- Grind the roasted chillies along with coconut, tamarind to a smooth paste. Add water as required.
- Heat a container and add the paste, salt, add the cooked horse gram along with the water, boiled jackfruit and continue to boil. Simmer on medium for the next 15-20 minutes until the gravy thickens a bit and then switch off.
- In another small pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil and then add the onions until it turns pale and then fry garlic, curry leaves. Add this seasoning to the boiled horse gram curry and mix well.
- Serve hot as a side dish with rice along with Aloo Raita and some pappads.
At work, we have ample occasions when we go out for team lunches. It is a good opportunity to get away from work, relax and connect with colleagues. The tricky part is to come up with a place that suits everybody’s taste palettes. With people from different nationalities working together; it’s a challenge to agree on common cuisine. But then one cuisine that many of us agree upon is the Thai cuisine which has good offering for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
Luckily there is no dearth of Thai restaurants in our area and we have taken it upon ourselves to explore as many restaurants as possible. Each restaurant has its specialty, be it Pad Thai, Yellow Curry, Green Curry, basil noodles etc all Thai specialties. There is one restaurant that makes the best peanut sauce dressing (for Thai salad) and a sweet sour vegetable dish which I enjoy the most.
I love this combination of sweet, spicy sauce cooked along with bounty of veggies. First of all you feel good eating all the veggies and then by the time you are done eating 3-4 spoonfuls of rice you start feeling filled. Well, it is a good way to restrict the amount of rice if you counting the carbohydrates in your diet.
This is a good side dish, suitable for accompanying plain steamed rice. For this dish the sour comes from vinegar and the sweet from the sugar and chilli sauce. I like making this sauce little spicy compared to the ones we get at the restaurants. But this is balanced by the combination of sweet and sour.
- 1 medium onion, diced
- ¼ cup thinly rounded carrots
- 1 small bell pepper, diced
- ¼ cup chopped chestnuts
- ¼ cup broccoli
- 1 Tbsp ketchup
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce
- 2 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3-5 basil leaves
- In a large bowl, mix together the cornstarch and vegetable broth until the corn starch dissolves.
- To the same add vinegar, sugar, ketchup, and cayenne pepper until well mixed. Keep aside.
- Heat a large skillet or wok, add oil and then garlic, onion, and pepper.
- After a minute add the soy sauce, broccoli, chestnuts, carrots stir fry for about 5 minutes, until carrots begin to soften.
- Now add the vegetable broth mix to the veggies and cook until mixture thickens (about 4-5 minutes).
- Serve with warm rice, sprinkle some crushed peanuts and enjoy!
People who use Paav Bhaaji masala are very particular about the brand that they use. Most food bloggers swear by Nupur’s approved Everest Paav Bhaji masala brand. In a recent Facebook discussion people had few other recommendations. I am yet to try the Everest brand as I have heard raving reviews about it. I am hoping to try most recommended brands in the near future. I have started with the Baadshah brand and so far, I am loving the taste of this masala.
I have made Paav Bhaaji with it, the Tawa Pulao and also add it to regular sabzis.And boy does it change the character and flavor of the sabzi ! (in a good way).
If you prefer this version of Cauliflower sabzi which has minimal spices then you may want to try jazzing it up a little by adding some paav bhaji masala.
This goes well with Daal rice, rotis, Pooris or chapathi.
- 1 small cauliflower
- 1 big potato
- 1 small onion
- 2-3 medium tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp paav bhaaji masala ( I used this)
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1“ ginger
- Handful of chopped Coriander leaves
- ½ tsp jeera seeds/cumin
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- Salt to taste
- Cut the cauliflower into florets (remove the stems) and wash them thoroughly.
- Peel the potato and dice it into small cubes.
- Chop the onions and tomatoes into small pieces and keep aside. Grate the garlic and ginger and keep separate.
- Take a big skillet; add about 2 Tbsps of oil. Add jeera seeds, mustard seeds and allow it splutter.
- Add grated garlic, ginger, mix it well and cook. Then add the diced onions.
- After the onions are sautéed add salt and chilli powder and mix well.
- Add the tomatoes and sauté well until the tomatoes are slightly cooked.
- Next add the chopped potato to this and mix well. Sprinkle little water and cover with lid and let it cook. Stir in between.
- After the potatoes are ¾ way cooked, add the chopped cauliflower florets and toss them together.
- Sprinkle water and cover with lid on medium and allow it to cook.
- After it is cooked add the paav bhaji masala, little oil, salt, chilli powder (if required). Stir well and let the masala blend it with the vegetables. Cover or few minutes and cook.
- Lastly garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve with Rotis/ phulkas or with Rice.