Posts Tagged ‘Indian food’

If you’ve got potatoes, green beans, and eggplant…

Apologies once again for the ridiculous lapse in posting.  It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, I’ve just been busy putting together term paper research, outlines, etc.  I have, however, totally remembered to take pictures of this food I haven’t blogged about all this time. So get ready for this:

These two dishes were actually made on two consecutive nights, but since I cook for an army and always have leftovers, the second night meant MORE variety on my dinner plate. Hooray!

Dish #1: A rather simple dish of spiced up, roasted potatoes and green beans

  • 1-2 tbsp (or as much as you’d like) Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Chili powder – My mom blends her own, but you can also buy it in the spice section of any major grocery store.
  • Turmeric
  • Mustard seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Urad Dahl
  • 1 large potato, chopped in cubes
  • Equivalent volume of green beans. I used the frozen cut green beans in this one, because I always have a variety of frozen vegetables on hand. If the supermarket allows, you can use fresh green beans and  cut them into thirds or quarters.
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  1. Heat olive oil on a pan and add the mustard seeds, urad dahl and cumin. When the mustard seeds start popping add the potatoes and make sure to coat them evenly in the oil.
  2. When the potatoes are 1/3 of the way cooked (you can tell by the color of the potatoes),  add the green beans.
  3. potatoes

  4. Add turmeric and salt (approx. 1/4 tsp of each)
  5. Cook on medium heat until the potatoes are fully cooked. By this time, the green beans will be cooked too.
  6. Add chili powder, salt to taste and mix thoroughly.

cooked

Dish #2: Eggplant Curry, more commonly known in India as Baingan Bharta, altered from this recipe.

  • 1 large eggplant, chopped in cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced in semicircles
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (Or 1.5 tsp of ginger paste and 1.5 tsp of garlic paste)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Mix in cumin seeds and onion. Cook and stir until onion is tender.
  3. Mix ginger garlic paste, curry powder, and tomato into the saucepan, and cook about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in yogurt. Mix in eggplant and jalapeno pepper, and season with salt.
  5. Cover, and cook 10 minutes over high heat.
  6. Remove cover, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking about 5 minutes, or until eggplant is fully cooked.
  7. Garnish with cilantro to serve

dinnnerhs

As always, dinner was served with two chapathis, instead of rice for two reasons. First, my mom made me a bunch of delicious chapathis and I’ll take every opportunity to eat them, and second, I like chapathis better than rice. Of course, these two dishes can be eaten with rice. I recommend Basmati rice or a long-grain rice.

Enjoy!

Green Plantain Curry

I’ve made dinner several times and forgotten to take pictures… again. However, I made lunch yesterday AND remembered to take pictures!

plantains

Now, this plate looks nice, with 2 vegetable dishes and chapathis (an Indian bread). The chapathi recipe is my mother’s secret, and thus I cannot divulge it, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find many good recipes online if you Google it. No, I’m serious. To eat with the chapathi, I made Green Pepper curry, the recipe for which will come another day, and Green Plantain Curry.

Star Market is full of green plantains, which means, everyone upon reading this recipe, should go buy some plantains and make this dish.

Green Plantain Curry (Approx. 5 servings)

  • 2 large Green Plantains, diced into cubes
  • Dry Coconut
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 inch Ginger root
  • 1 tsp. Chilli powder
  • Salt, lemon/lime
  • Brown Sugar
  • Curry leaves & coriander

Frying Ingredients*

  • Olive Oil (Coconut Oil if you want to be more authentic)
  • 1 tsp. Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. Urad Daal (available at Shaws sometimes, definitely available at Allston Market or Shalimar in Central Sq.)
  • Pinch of Asafoetida Powder
  1. Make masala (powder) from dry coconut, brown sugar, garlic, ginger & chilli powder in a blender.
  2. Cut plantains into cubes after pressure cooking with skin on in, cut in halves, in a bowl of water.
  3. Put a generous amount of oil in a pan on low flame, and wait for the oil to heat up.
  4. Add frying ingredients and curry leaves, and wait for the mustard seeds to start sputtering/popping.
  5. Then, add plantains, coating all of it with oil
  6. Once the plantains have been cooked, turn off the stove if it is electric. (If it is gas, leave it on).
  7. Add the masala and mix thoroughly so all the plantains are coated.
  8. Remove from flame, add salt, lemon, & coriander.

Serve with chapathis or jasmine rice. Enjoy!

*I specified frying ingredients so in the future, when I reference it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Traditional Sambar with Green Beans & Potatoes

What is this ‘Sambar’ of which I speak? It’s almost like a stew, lentil-based and chock full of veggies and protein (from the lentils, duh). It’s a dish traditionally cooked and found in south India, and it makes up an essential component of any traditional south Indian dinner, since it has nutrients in abundance.  Protein is hard to find in a vegetarian diet unless you’re into the fake meats, tofu, or such, all of which I kind of hate.

Generally, I make this sambar with French cut green beans, carrots, and baby onions, but last night, I was missing carrots.  (Here’s a good recipe for Carrot and Beans Sambar by Radhika, in India.) Instead, I substituted potatoes, which works just fine.  In fact, one of my favorite sambars is made with baby potatoes and baby onions. It’s cute and it’s tasty and it’s easy to make.

sambar
The basic recipe for a sambar is simple, and the veggies can be substituted as desired.  However, once you start getting into the leafy greens (spinach, for example), the spices vary slightly, and the dish is called ‘huli.’ Anyway, enough theory of Indian vegetarian cooking, here’s a recipe:

Green Beans and Potato Sambar

~Serves approximately 6~

  • 1/2 cup Toor dal (if you can’t find this in Shaws, try Shalimar in Central Square or the Indian Market in Coolidge Corner)
  • 2 medium potatoes, chopped in cubes
  • French cut green beans, frozen – use the same volume of beans as potatoes
  • 1/2 extra large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium can of whole tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. Tamarind paste/pulp (if you know how to soak and extract pulp)
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2-3 tbsp Madras Sambar Powder
  • Salt – to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2-3 Whole red chilli, dried or fresh
  • Asafoetida (a powder/spice that comes in a white plastic bottle)– 2 pinches
  • 2-3 Curry leaves
  • Coriander Leaves – for garnishing
  1. Clean Toor Dal (sift through and make sure no dark pieces are there) and either pressure cook it with 2 drops of Oil and turmeric – this makes it cook fast. Remove after 3 whistles and let it cool down – or add 1.5 cups of water, oil and turmeric in a small saucepan and let simmer on medium-high until the lentils absorb the water, soften and expand. Stir often to prevent sticking on bottom of the saucepan, and remove from flame once all the water is absorbed.
  2. Dice oniones, chop Potatoes to 1″ cubes, and remove beans from freezer and let needed amount defrost to room temperature.
  3. Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric, and then add chopped onions. Sauté till they turn clear (are cooked), then add the can of tomatoes, mashing them with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the potatoes and let simmer until potatoes begin to soften.
  5. Then add the cooked toor dal (slightly mashed with wooden spoon), green beans, and  tamarind pulp.
  6. Add the sambar powder, red chilli powder, asafoetida, and salt.
  7. Cook on high flame for 5 mins, then simmer for 10 mins or until the vegetables are cooked well.
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Happy Eating!

  • Have you ever made Sambar before?
  • If so, how do you normally make it? Do you use vegetables other than carrots, beans, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes?

Tis the Season for Some Curry: Channa Masala (or Chole)

Indian food.  If you haven’t had it yet and you live in Boston, for shame. (unless you’re allergic to spice, then you’re excused.  And no, “I don’t like anything except plain pasta or potatoes” is not an allergy. Just saying.) You have two options:

  1. India Quality – Kenmore Square – Delicious, affordable, variety of North Indian cuisine in generous portions so you can just eat your college-student heart out. (Or Bhindi Bazaar, right around the corner on Mass Ave, if the line at India Quality is just too long and it’s cold outside.)
  2. Learn to make Indian food! Don’t worry – everything is available at Shaws in the ethnic food aisle (Indian)! (Star Market)

On the menu for tonight, then, is:

channa masala

Channa Masala (as we call this dish in south India. It is more commonly known as Chole in north India.) and Naan

~30 minutes prep & cooking, serves approx. 5

  • Naan – sold in packages of 2 at Shaws. I generally eat 1/2 or 1 naan, but if you’re using the naan to combat the spice, you’ll probably consumer 1 to 1.5 naan. They’re very filling, though, so be careful. Also, garlic naan is my favorite, but it will increase the spice level overall.)
  • 1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans) – This can be found in the Spanish food aisle
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large potato, chopped to approximate size of chick peas
  • 3 spoonfuls of tomato paste
  • 1 Green chilli (serrano pepper)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Inch of ginger root, chopped
  • 2-3 Bay leaves
  • 1 spoonful of red chilli powder (found in regular spice aisle)
  • Channa Masala Spice mix (sold in small boxes)
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
  • Vegetable oil 3 tbsp.
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh, chopped coriander for garnishing
  • Fresh lime for final flavoring
  1. Chop the onion, garlic and ginger.
  2. Grind the ginger and garlic in blender. If you don’t have a blender, you can saute the garlic and ginger with the onion, but make sure to mince well.
  3. In a saucepan, heat a bit of oil (2-3 T). Add the onion and saute till the onion turns clear. Add about 2-3 spoonfuls of channa masala seasoning and saute til fragrant.
  4. Add the ground ginger/garlic mix and green chilli. Saute for a few minutes til most of the liquid has evaporated. If you like it a bit on the spicy side, add a couple more green chillies.
  5. Add the chopped tomato, potato and bay leaves and salt to taste.
  6. Cook until potato starts becoming tender. Add canned chick peas.
  7. Allow everything to stew at low-med heat for at least 10 minutes, or until liquid reduces (smashing some of the chick peas can help to thicken the sauce, if necessary).
  8. Slice the lime in quarters and squeeze on a quarter per serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro!
  9. While channa masala is simmer and reducing, butter both sides of the naan(s) and toast on a flat pan. If you’re tired or pressed for time, you can also make the naan in a toaster oven, but only butter the side facing up.

Enjoy your international dinner!

India Quality – Kenmore Square

I said previously that I’ve been expanding my cooking repertoire outside the bounds of traditional Indian cooking, but I should have specified that my family comes the state of Karnataka in South India.  This restaurant, located conveniently at the east end of the Boston University campus serves North Indian cuisine, but both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.  I find restaurants with a good selection of both food styles great because there’s something forever.

The vegetarian selection is what one would expect at an Indian restaurant, and because I keep repeating my favorites, I haven’t yet tried all of the vegetarian options there.  They have over 10 different types of vegetable curry alone, as well as appetizers, specials, dinner plates, and a page of different indian breads.  The vegetable selections in the curry include potatoes, peas, spinach, chick peas, eggplant, mixed vegetables, cauliflower, and combinations of the above.  They offer at least 5 different types of naan (which is a pita-esque Indian bread) and they offer other breads as well.

The pricing is affordable for those living on a budget, especially college students. A meal for two including appetizers, two types of curry, two types of bread and a dessert will run you around $40, but that’s the amount of food I generally order for  four people.  My first couple of years here, I would go to India Quality for dinner at least twice a month – that’s not too hard on the wallet. I recommend India Quality for the college student who wants flavorful food with quick and attentive service but doesn’t want to break the bank.

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