Tag Archives: cooking

World Palate Recipes: Banana Flower Vegetable ( Kele ke phool ki sabji)

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World Palate Recipes: Banana Flower Vegetable ( Kele ke phool ki sabji)

Life cannot exist without trees.’

In gratitude for all the fruits and flowers, bees and butterflies that Nature surrounds us with, here is a post, from our very home garden.

Its summer, and our small kitchen and flower garden is blooming! Hubby spends hours of hard work in preparing soil, planting and caring, researching about plants, their care, fertilizers and composting methods. I do my teeny bit preparing the kitchen waste for composting. Gardening is indeed very rewarding! Every new leaf or flower brings a sparkle to the eyes, a visiting butterfly or bird (and oh no! caterpillars, insects) brings a smile (or a frown).

”All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seed of today.”  

Chinese Proverb

It’s been over a year we have planted banana plant of Cavendish variety. The plant ( it is not a tree) yields only one fruit bloom, then it needs to be cut down so as to encourage new growth from the rhizome. In case few suckers (small plant shoots) spring up, only the healthiest is left to grow, the others are discarded. The plant grows in sub tropics, needs plenty of well drained moist soil. There are different varieties of bananas – some for dessert, raw ones for vegetable or chips. South East Asia, Sri Lanka, coastal India, Hawaii and Fiji islands are top growers of this plant. Interestingly! every region has its own story and culture around this much revered plant.

For Story Time check these: Monkey and banana plant, Banana tree and Goddess Laxmi, Kepler and Rust in HanaHou magazine talk about preserving bananas in Hawaii.

Every part of this plant is useful, thus the importance becomes meaningful.The trunk is hollow from inside, the broad leaves are used as bio-plates to serve food to the Gods and guests, as suggested in a Vedic ritual, the flowers make for a delicious curry, and the fruit easily slips into desserts, porridge, snack, fritters and more.

The plant is a gigantic herb, with a false stem- made of of layers of sheath. It produces a flowering spike, that drops down with its own weight. The deep purple/pink calyx or bracts tightly enclose the yellowish white long flowers. There could be up to 10-15 bracts, tightly bound. They open up slowly revealing the florets. The last few florets that do not open are then cut off, so as to let the other florets bloom and grow into banana fruit.

Here I am engaging in a fascinating science lesson at home! Everyday we checked if another bract had opened, when could we cut off the unopened bloom? Why is it important? How tall did this plant grow? How these broad leaves are sturdier than other banana plant leaves that are often sold in markets. What will the hollow sheath look like once the plant is cut? How do you cut and grow the sucker shoot?

As we wait for the tiny bananas to grow plump and change colour, this is the first time I prepared this exotic vegetable. My mother used to cook it differently, using tuvar dal and not adding any peanuts or shredded coconut.

Banana Flower Vegetable /Vazhapoo Thooran/ Kele ke phool ki Sabji

The preparation time to clean the florets is very time consuming, and the yield is small. But EXOTIC it is!

Ingredients: ( difficult to give exact amounts, as it depends on yield and taste)

Cleaned up florets, ( stamen and white sheath covering to be removed)

diluted buttermilk ( yoghurt diluted very watery)

Shredded coconut

peanut powder (optional, if allergic)

For tempering: oil, cumin seeds, curry leaves, turmeric powder, salt and chilli powder ( or dry red chillies) to taste.

Cleaning the flower:

Oil your palm, else they turn dark colour! Open each bract carefully, remove each floret. Open each one to remove the black stamen and the clear white sheath cover of each floret. YES EACH one! These will not cook! ( I can hear you grumble, mumble).


 

Cut the remainder of the florets and soak in very diluted buttermilk. Prepare the tempering, hear the splutter and the aroma bursting. Put in the florets, discarding the watery liquid. Add salt and chillies, sprinkle the coconut and peanut powder. Cover, cook on low flame, adjust little water, to cook, so it does not become dry.

Serve hot with warm rice. (Jasmine or jeera rice will be great!

It does not store well, as it goes bit bitter. I served it fresh and warm.

 

If you have another way of making this, please post your comments. Is you have never seen the bloom, how do you feel? Where do you live? 

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2020) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.comPlease see copyright disclaimer

 

 

 

 

World Palate Recipes: Curry Leaves (Kadipatta) Chutney

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Hello everyone!

The world is going through an intensely difficult time due to the COVID 19 virus. Stories of labour migrating to villages, loved ones strained across continents, medical and essential staff working round the clock, closure of schools and colleges leaving many children stuck at home, online classes using technology,  free online courses, craft, exercise classes and meetings using the popular app ZOOM. Dealing with multiple issues has brought upon stress and anxiety socially and economically, to some. Philosophically, though we now better understand that money cannot buy everything…not health, not peace of mind!

So everyone – Stay at home, stay healthy, stay safe! Let’s not be a burden on the hospitals and government.

Now that I’m home bound too, our garden is getting much attention. Every new leaf and flower bud is noticed and talked about…and here come the butterflies too. That means, watch out for hidden caterpillars! Fresh herbs add lots of flavour and colour to food. Today, I’ve plucked plenty of curry leaves that stand washed on my kitchen top.

The Kadipatta or curry leaves plant loves plenty of sunshine and is sub tropical plant. A mature plant grows a hardy stem that can reach 4 feet tall! So its best to prune it once a while, so one can reach the fresh top leaves. The leaves are extremely aromatic. They are dark green in colour and are liberally used to flavour  curries, rasam and sambar, and even rice. The leaves are used as a herb in Ayurveda and Siddha medicine. ”If you want to grow dark lustrous hair, eat a few fresh leaves, first thing in the morning” remarked my friend, an Ayurvedic doctor…pointing at many white hair peeing out on my scalp.

Pin on Kinyua K

Courtesy: Pinterest Kinyua K.

It’s kadipatta chutney today. Look at the gorgeous leaves…munch , crunch…flavour and health!

I also made kharampodi (dry powder) blended with masala. This can stay bottled for over a month and can be used as flavouring masala (especially when curry leaves are unavailable).

Ingredients:

1 cup curry leaves, de stalked, washed and dried on towel

1 inch ball of tamarind or pulp

1tsp jeera /cumin seeds

1 tsp dhania /coriander seeds

1 tsp. white urad dal (broken variety)

salt to taste

3-5 dry red chillies ( or green if unavailable)

2-3 tablespoon cooking oil

hing /asafoetida ( optional..if you do not like the smell)

Method

As suggested remove leaves from the stalk, check any fungus or wilted leaves, wash and dry the leaves on a towel for some time.

Prepare the ingredients on a plate, in the meanwhile.

In a pan or wok, heat the oil, toss in jeera, dhania, red chillies, tamarind and dal. Stir fry till the aroma fills the kitchen. Remove and let cool. Toss the curry leaves in the hot pan, add a drop of oil and roast till mildly crisp, so that moisture has evaporated. There is slight discoloration as the leaves go darker in colour. Cool.

Use a blender to mix and powder the dry ingredients. Add the roasted leaves, water and salt as required and blend the chutney. Enjoy with idli, upma, dosa or warm fluffy rice and a dollop of ghee. You may also use it as a paste and roll a stuffed roti, or make a kati roll. The aroma is full and it even lingers on the fingertips! Stay healthy with this nutrition filled chutney.

For a little creative Art therapy, this afternoon, a friend had posted this challenge (now that everyone has so much of time on hand, due to COVID 19 outdoor movement restrictions).

Here is my humble response. Why don’t you get creative too?

Do let us know how the prepared chutney tasted or whether you engaged in Art therapy. 

My response

Mondrian said: “The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.” and thus, he led a life of modernist experimentation, augmenting existing trends and later, defining his own language. ( Courtesy: Piet Mondrian paintings, bio )

Now get started. What are you waiting for?

World Palate Recipes: Coconut Stuffed Banana( Malabar Style)

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When you mention bananas, lush tropics immediately come to mind. The banana tree is not a tree, but a herb. It is encased in a sheath of leaves, that blooms with a pendulous flower head, that will bear multiple tier of fruit. Bananas are high in nutrition – potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6. The easily digestible starch in them provides fiber and keeps hunger at bay. To lift your mood and keep blood pressure away – eat a banana. It contains serotonin and dopamine nutrients. Even the peel is very high in nutrients, and makes for a rich addition to kitchen compost. Humble banana!

Know your banana well! Cooking banana or dessert/ fruit banana, which one? Dessert bananas come in different sizes and colours. They are sweeter due to higher starch content. The yellow ones that sit on supermarket shelves are just one variety – others are deep purple, red, amber and yellow.Just a simple snack or smoothie or frozen banana yoghurt – bananas are just so versatile yet delicious!

The mild taste of bananas is great for cooking, frying or baking. Green raw bananas are popular in Kerala, Carribean, Honduras, Phillipines for making chips or fried vegetable.

Young banana plant growing in our garden. I love to make rice pockets with the leaves, or use them plate liners.

Recently I bought a dozen thick peel, delicious bananas. After munching a few as a snack, I wanted to experiment on a few desserts. Here is a very popular Malabar/ Kerala style dessert /snack called Pazhum Nirachatu ( stuffed banana) that I share with you today. Though I am not from that region, I remember my mother used to cook this delicacy for her ‘ladies lunch meet’ And as hungry children, we would get our share of warm stuffed bananas, right after school. Nutrition pack!

Ingredients

3 small size just ripe bananas (yellow or red skin)

1 cup grated fresh coconut ( use frozen/thaw if fresh unavailable)

4-6 cloves of cardamon

2 spoons maida / plain flour

1/2 cup fine sugar

few raisins, cashews for garnish

3-5 spoons of ghee

Method

Peel the bananas, check their firmness. Make a lengthwise slit /scoop and keep aside. In a pan add 2- 3 spoons of ghee , lightly roast the coconut, add sugar and stir. Do not let it caramelize! Keep aside and cool, add cardamon powder and raisins.

In a small container put the maida and add drops of water to make a thick paste.

Now use this stuffing to fill into prepared bananas. Coat the stuffed side with the paste lightly.

In a pan, add ghee, place the prepared bananas and roast them to a deep brown colour on all sides. See that they retain some firmness. Remove cool, garnish with raisins. Serve warm or at room temperature. If you wish, add a dollop of vanilla ice cream for a twist. Enjoy!

Stay healthy and blessed with Nature’s gifts.

 

Let me know if you make this recipe and have changed it a bit. How else do you cook your banana for dessert? 

World Palate Recipes: Alu Patal Bhaji (Colocassia Leaves Curry)Maharastrian style

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Colocassia is popularly known as Elephant ear plant, Taro, Arvi, Arbi, or Alu (in Marathi). It is a tropical herbaceous perennial. It is a gardener’s delight – needs rich fertile soil and plenty of water, it is used in landscaping too as well as the leaves, stem and roots are edible. The Romans used to cook it with celery and pork, the Sindhi community deep fry the boiled roots and use it in Sindhi curry. In India and the subcontinent various communities have their own versions of cooking and use. In Nagaland fish is steamed in the leaves, in Maharahstra and Gujrat the leaves are coated with spiced gram flour Besan to make delicious Patra. In Sri Lanka the boiled roots are made into chips or a fried curry with fish.

To learn more about the immense goodness in nutrition ( iron, folate, magnesium, vitamins) see here:  https://foodfacts.mercola.com/taro.html

With such a rich volume of nutrition in just the leaves, we decided to definitely grow this plant in our vegetable garden. Look at the pretty, large triangular leaves. Today, I share a traditional Maharashtrian recipe using the delicate greenish purple leaves. Isnt’ that a treat?

 

Alu Chi Patal Bhaji ( Colocassia leaf curry)

Ingredients:

6-8 leaves (preferably tender with stems)

half cup gram flour (Besan)

1 inch jaggery ( brown sugar)

1 spoon tamarind or tamarind paste (as desired)

salt and red chillies to taste

1/2 cup roasted peanuts (optional) or cashews(optional)

water as necessary

1-2 cups of buttermilk/lassi/ Aiir/ liquid yoghurt

1-3 tbsp. cooking oil

few seeds of mustard and jeera for the splutter

The tamarind juice helps negate the itchy feeling when consuming the leaves, this is due to the oxalate content in them.

Method:

Wash the leaves and stems – notice how the water runs off the surface. ( Spiritually it reminds me not to get entangled with our possessions…just let go of moods and anger). 

Cut the leaves finely, pare the stems gently to remove the tough,non-edible outer layer of stem. Chop finely, discard any tough bits.

Place all the above in a large pot of water (1-2 cups) and boil. Keep aside to cool, do not throw the nutritious water, use to adjust the curry consistency. Soak the tamarind and jaggery in little water to soften well.

In a large bottom pan /wok heat some oil and add seeds, red or green chilli, peanuts, asafoetida (hing), and let it splutter, lightly toss the oil mixture for even heat. Add the boiled leaves, coat them with gram flour (adjust required thickness), add salt to taste. Add tamarind and jaggery juice. Keep stirring the mixture as it begins to thicken. Add buttermilk and left over boiled water, adjust the thickness to a pouring curry consistency. DO NOT let the mixture boil – keep stirring. The tamarind juice helps negate the itchy feeling when consuming the leaves, this is due to the oxalate content in them.

Adjust the taste – a tangy, sweet, spicy, leafy taste. Serve warm with millet Roti, wheat roti or just plain rice.

No traditional Maharastrian wedding is complete without this delicately sour, sweet and nut filled nutritious curry! Yumm…i can remember my childhood as we sat down in a Pangat ( sitting cross legged on mats, laid in rows) waiting to be served the steaming hot rice and patal bhaji, along with other Maharastrian food like koshimbeer, batata bhaji, usaal and Shrikhand. Mouth watering colourful and aromatic food.

 

As they say in Marathi – ‘Savakash Jeva…Anna he poorna Brahman’ which translates as – Eat slowly, for food is revered as Poorna Brahman.

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2018) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.comPlease see copyright disclaimer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Palate Recipes: Raw Papaya Avial (Kerala Style)

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Our small patch of vegetable garden is blooming, thanks to much planning and effort of hubby dear. This morning’s bounty was: purple brinjals(aubergines), fresh green mint and some gourds. Indeed it is so gratifying and therapeutic, as we work in the garden. A very relaxing, yet rewarding exercise!

My friend from Kerala ( southern India) visited me recently, and admired the papaya tree. ‘Wow, can you give me one green papaya, please? I’ll cook you a delicious Kerala curry.’ Smiles exchanged, papaya given!

 

Raw papaya is often used in Kerala cuisine, not so much in other parts of India though. But in North India it does find its way into chutneys and masala parathas. It’s relatively bland flavour makes it versatile to combine with other vegetables like potato, carrot, peas, beans, bottle gourd, chow-chow etc.

Being a powerhouse of enzymes it has many benefits from cleansing the internal system, to making face mask and to providing papain for good digestion. No wonder it’s very sought after for medical and skin care products. (I rub the ripe papaya skin on my face and hands, for a cleansing effect, then wash after 10 minutes:)

https://food.ndtv.com/health/4-remarkable-raw-papaya-benefits-from-internal-cleansing-to-glowing-skin-1679908

Raw Papaya Avial (curry with coconut paste). Serves 5-8.

Ingredients:

1 raw papaya( with a slight yellow tinge)

1 raw plantain / banana

2-3 drumsticks ( not chicken, but a long green slender vegetable)

1/2 coconut grated

1/2 inch ginger

2 tsps cumin seeds lightly roasted

2 -3 tsps Coconut oil for cooking /or other oil

2 sprigs of Curry leaves

4-6 green chillies

1-2 red chillies (for garnish)

1 cup thick yoghurt

salt to taste

Method:

Wash well and peel all the vegetables. Cut them into 1 inch squares or lengthwise as prefered. Put a large pot with 2-4 cups of water to boil, place vegetables in it, add some salt and cook till almost tender ( 15- 20 mins. approx.)

Till then, make a paste of grated coconut either in blender or traditional method of using stone mortar. ( this is a wonderful arm exercise, but needs rigour and skill to keep pushing the coconut to the centre, as it tends to spill on sides). Crush and paste the roasted cumin seeds- a burst of aroma fills the kitchen! Make a paste of ginger and chillies, add salt while crushing.

Check the boiling vegetables, reduce heat!

Now add the ground paste and coconut to the vegetables, lightly stir. Adjust salt and chilli as required.

In an iron pan / or non stick wok pour oil and heat. When warm, add a few cumin seeds, tear and add curry leaves and 1-2 red chillies. As this splutters, pour on top of boiled vegetable mix. Reserve some for garnish.

Now take off the heat, add and stir thick yoghurt with care. Mix gently. Heat for 5 minutes. Its’s ready for serving with a bowl of steaming rice.

To serve, take some Avial / curry place it in serving bowl. Garnish with spluttered oil, cumin, red chilli mix. Enjoy the meal.

What have you planted in your garden? How do you enjoy the flowers or vegetables?

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2018) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.comPlease see copyright disclaimer.

 

 

World Palate Recipes: Snake Gourd Vegetable (Potlakaya Poriyal)

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It’s been an exciting learning curve in our newly planted kitchen garden. The sun’s direction, weather changes, water supply and fertility of soil were our primary challenges. Then came the deciding factor of choosing plants and their positioning.

As the Bhindi (okra) and potlakaya (snake gourd) began thriving, we (first timers) counted each new leaf and pod:) The potlakaya creeper is a fast growing plant and soon climbed up the prepared trellis and gave small white flowers in abundance. ‘Look! let’s count the potlakaya hanging underneath’ I later muttered to hubby. We even tied a string and stone to each so it would grow long and straight…haha!

Over to the kitchen- with the garden fresh gourd  in hand.

padval, chirchinda. It grows best in warm climate and sandy, loamy soil with a bit of compost. It is high in fiber and has much water, so it’s low in calories. It has Vitamin A, B and C and is used in medicinal properties like treating dandruff and diabetes. The pith and seeds are discarded after slicing.

A variety of recipes can be made from this vegetable. One can just temper /fry it for a curry, boil it and add some yoghurt for a raita or make stuffed curry. What’s your preferred recipe? From which region?

(Potlakaya Poriyal) or Snake gourd Vegetable

Ingredients

2 snake gourds medium length

1/2 cup fresh grated coconut (or dry roasted, if not available)

Tempering:

1/2 spoon urad dal + chana dal mixture

1 sprig of curry leaf

1 spoon mustard seeds

1 spoon turmeric powder or haldi

1-2 dry red chillies

(optional – green chilli and ginger paste as required)

Traditional Spice box or Masala Dabba

Method

1-2 snake gourds, choose tender ones. Slit lengthwise and de seed, removing all the pith. Wash and sprinkle some salt, let it rest. Discard the water.

In a wok/ kadhai add 2 spoons of oil. Once warm, sprinkle the lentil mixture, mustard seeds and dry red chilli. Add a sprig of curry leaf or kadipatta. Let this tadka or tempering crackle, take care this does not burn.

Add the gourd pieces and stir cook. Add a bit of water to cook if required else cover the kadhai with a some water on the lid. Stir as required and vegetable cooks quickly. Add the fresh grated coconut, adjust the salt.

I avoid adding any ginger / garlic to these garden fresh vegetables to keep their inherent taste. Suit yourself. Garnish with kadipatta or curry leaves. Serve with rice or roti.

 

A very quick and easy preparation, and light on the stomach. Enjoy!

What’s growing in your garden?

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

World Palate Recipes: Dry Fruits Barfi (Noughat)

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Once again it’s the festival of lights – Deepavali. All over India homes, shops and streets are decked in bright colour, tinkling lights, and garlands of marigold flowers. The festival celebrates ‘light over darkness’ and rejuvenating ourselves with knowledge. People lit diya or mud lamps in their homes and offices, symbolically to spread light.

Rangoli floor design

Indulgence in sweets mithai comes only naturally as friends and family  visit each other exchanging traditional home made sweets like Ladoo, Karanji, Doodh pak, Kalakand, Gulab Jamun. In recent times, fusion food followers are making fresh efforts to introduce new ingredients and recipes. Rose water, figs, khoya and baadam, chocolate, avocado and variety of nuts give a twist to the traditional recipes.

Here is a quick, easy and nutritious recipe using dry fruits.

Dry fruit Barfi

Ingredients

30 gms of each – almonds, figs, dates, pistachio, cashew nut ..and any other nut you may wish to introduce

20 gms roasted sesame seeds

10 gms poppy seeds or khus khus

2 spoons ghee or clarified butter

2 spoons wheat flour (optional)

Method

Finely chop the figs, dates and lightly soak them in very few drops of water for about 5-10 mins.

Coarse grind almonds, pistachio, cashew nuts and roasted sesame seeds – all separately! Keep aside in small separate portions.

Put a large pan on the burner to warm, add ghee and stir as it melts. Add the flour and roast till it gives aroma. Add in the dry fruits and nut mixture. Keep aside some pistachio powder and khus khus for garnish. Stir the mixture till all is well coated and mixed. Remove from burner and roll into cylindrical shape tightly. Tie a plastic wrap or aluminium foil and refrigerate.

Once cooled, remove from wrap. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Roll the edges with khus khus. Decorate on plate. (Optional – coat with silver edible foil if you wish, adds a festive touch).

Happy Deepavali. Enjoy the treats with your dear ones.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

World Palate Recipes: Sagan Ni Sev (Parsi Style)

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Go to any Parsi household on a Sagan, auspicious day you will always find a big bowl of Sev or vermicelli at the table. Thanks to my Parsi friend, for inviting me to lunch and specially making this nutty sweet Sev. She reminisced how her mother always made Sev for birthdays or Sagan and garnished it with plenty of pistachios, raisins and almonds. ‘Bananas and mithoo dahi, sweet yoghurt was served too’ she added.

Parsi Sev (Vermicelli)

Parsi Sev (Vermicelli)

Iranians (Persians) were involved in trade with India since many centuries. The Parsi from Iran seeking refuge from the Islamic invasion landed in Gujarat, India. Their Zoroastrian faith shared much in common with that of the Hindus. On arrival in Gujarat, Jadi Rana the local ruler refused them entry and sanctuary to these warrior-like people. But soon the priests convinced the ruler that the Parsi would be ‘like sugar in a full cup of milk, adding sweetness but not causing it to overflow.’ Jadi Rana ordered them to adopt the local dress, customs and adapt the cuisine to blend with the Gujrati locals.

Though the Parsi prefered meat and fish they gradually incorporated local cereals, pulses and masalas into their cuisine. However the Persian ingredients of apricots, pistachios and nuts remained a favourite and a distinct reminder of their origins.

                           Dessert Recipe:  Sagan ni Sev

Be liberal with ghee, and have plenty of patience while cooking!

Ingredients

1 packet thin vermicelli

5-8 spoons of pure Ghee (clarified butter)

water as needed

Sugar 5-8 tsps. or suit your taste

For garnish: saffron strands, pistachios, almond flakes, raisins.

Nutmeg and cardamom powder (jaiphal and elaichi)

Ingredients for Sev

Ingredients for Sev

Method:

Crush the vermicelli lightly, leaving medium long strands and keep aside. It will shorten while roasting. Put a big pan on the stove, put 4-5 spoons of ghee and melt it. Add the nuts mixture, roast lightly. The aroma soon fills the kitchen space:). Keep a small amount aside for garnish.

Now add the crushed vermicelli and roast lightly, adding a dollop of ghee again. Sprinkle over some sugar, the Sev gets a dark colour due caramelized sugar.

Sprinkle few drops of water, just enough to wet the mixture. Caution! too much water will make a ‘londho’ or lump! Keep stirring to even out the mixture. Cover for few minutes.

Remove cover, add another dollop of ghee and the Sev is now ready cooked and lightly crisp. Add the cardamom and nutmeg powder. Garnish with nuts mixture. Remove in a decorative plate.

Serve warm. Enjoy the distinct Persian flavour while narrating the ‘Quessa e Sanjan’ and Jadi Rana’s story, just like my friend did.

Sev. (Parsi style)

Sev. (Parsi style)

 

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer.

 

 

World Palate Recipes: Nawabi Style Sitaphal Phirni ( Custard Apple and Rice Pudding)

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Today I share with you a traditional Nawabi style fruit filled dessert: rice pudding or Phirni.

Rice pudding is one of the basic desserts found in many cultures. Preparation is simple using two easily available ingredients of rice and milk and then sweetening it. Whether its a traditional Danish Christmas meal with risalmande, or a Hindu custom of Annaprasana, of introducing solid food to a baby preparing a rice kheer or the popular Arabic dessert Muhallibiya made from rice flour, milk and dates. The rice pudding plays an important role in many cultures. Here are some more names for the same:Dudh pak, Phirni, Kheer, Bubur Susam, Riz au lait.

Adding fruits to desserts is yet another tradition. Different seasons different geography and cultures, but the house cook has the same task! Gathering, cooking and preserving Nature’s bountiful fruit. From farm to kitchen to table…fruits add nutrition and taste to chutney, sauce, puddings, tarts, jams and kheer.

Custard apple, Sitaphal as it is popularly called, is in season in Hyderabad, India. The then ruling Nawabs of Hyderabad popularised this traditional Phirni adding the seasonal fruit for a delicious twist.

Today, it was a laborious joy of opening the soft, squishy fruit, deseeding it and mashing the pulp to add to Phirni or Kheer. sitaphal-fruit

Sitaphal Phirni (Custard Apple and Rice Pudding)

Ingredients

1 cup full flavoured rice (or any of choice)

1 litre full cream milk (or use a condensed milk can)

2 cups sugar

Sitaphal pulp about 200 gms ( 3-4 fruits)

For garnish: few cashews, pistachio, saffron strands

phirni-ingredients

Method

Soak the rice in 2 cups water for over an hour. Then process to rough grainy consistency in blender, along with water. Put milk to boil in large bottom vessel on low flame ( yes! time consuming, but traditional method in most cultures.) (Or use condensed milk, lightly thinned with water or milk.) Add the grainy rice paste and keep stirring and boiling. (till patience runs out:) and the mixture turns thick.

boiling milk for phirni

boiling milk for phirni

 

Open the fruit, deseed and keep pulp aside. Lightly mash, keep covered. Prepare cashews and pistachio for garnish, slice them thin. Soak saffron strands in warm milk for few minutes till colour turns bright orange.

Add necessary amount of sugar to the rice-milk pudding, keep stirring. Add fruit, this too lends sweetness! Add half of garnish.

Take vessel off the heat and stir mixture / Phirni well.

 

 

 

Serve warm or chilled, pouring it into desired containers. Use silver cups for regal or festive, baked mud cups for traditional serving. Garnish with remaining fruit pulp and pistachio and saffron.

Happy feasting! Let me know how your friends and family liked this treat.

Sitaphal Phirni

Sitaphal Phirni

 

I take much enthusiasm and energy to prepare food and capture photos. Please respect and give credit as needed or contact me.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

World Palate Recipes: Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Vegetable Curry

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The fall season is almost here, leaves are changing colours and pumpkins are abundant! Soon Halloween and the pumpkin carving fun will be upon us. Pumpkins come both with orange and green coloured skins. They are rich in fiber and vitamin. Being versatile, pumpkins are easy to cook up many cuisines from savoury to sweet recipes, be it soup, curry or even desserts!

pumpkins

Pumpkins. Courtesy: Wikimedia commons /pumpkins

Just yesterday, I attended a ladies meet. There was plenty of home made food, laughter and non stop chatter. Amidst the fun we exchanged some recipes and enjoyed the delicious pumpkin curry made by our hostess. Crunchy skin and roasted seeds added texture to the sweet, spicy curry.

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Vegetable Curry

Pumpkin curry with roasted seeds

Pumpkin curry with roasted seeds

Ingredients:

350 – 400 gms of orange pumpkin (keep the skin)

2-3 medium size onions

1-2 green chillies

salt, water, oil as desired

For Gravy:

50 gms of khus khus seeds

50 gms dessicated coconut ( fresh preferable)

2 tsps. sesame seeds

1 inch ginger

3-6 garlic cloves

For Tempering:

1 spoon cumin seeds (roasted for full flavour)

1 tsps. turmeric powder

curry leaves (optional)

coriander leaves for garnish

roasted pumpkin seeds (remove outer skin)

Pumpkin vegetable ingredients

Pumpkin vegetable ingredients

Method:

Wash and cut the pumpkin into small cubes with skin intact, remove the pith and seeds. Keep the seeds aside on paper, later roast them in oven or heated pan and cool. Keep aside.

Chop the onions, garlic, ginger, chilli and coconut and grind into fine paste. Lightly roast the sesame seeds and khus khus. Cool and powder them.

Heat 2 big ladles of cooking oil in heavy bottom pan or wok. Splutter the cumin, add turmeric powder and curry leaves. Add fresh paste of onion -ginger and lightly roast till soft brown, the strong aroma fills the kitchen – Beware! Add the seeds paste and some water to keep mixture from browning.

Pumpkin cut in cubes

Pumpkin cut in cubes

Add the cubed pumpkin, salt and just enough water to cover the curry mixture. (if you wish add a pinch to sugar…to bring out the sweetness). Cover, gently cook the curry, till pumpkin is just tender and bit crunchy.

Take off the gas stove, pouring cooked curry into desired dish. Garnish with chopped coriander, roasted seeds that add to the crunchy texture.

Enjoy this delicious curry with contrasting flavours. Serve with rice or Roti /Naan / Pita bread.

Pumpkin Curry garnished with roasted seeds

Pumpkin Curry garnished with roasted seeds

For another Pumpkin recipe see here.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

World Palate Recipes: Egg-xtra Special Mother’s Day Breakfast

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      Why not treat Mother an egg-xtra nutritious breakfast? Whether on Mother’s day or a Sunday, or on holiday when mother is visiting. I was treated to one such yummy breakfast, specially made with love and attention to details and brimming with nutrition.

Breakfast is the first meal of the day, and should ideally be packed with goodness to survive and combat the day’s nutritional needs. So don’t skip this important meal, rather make your choices with awareness.

Eggs are easy to cook, versatile, and very nutritious, they make a healthy option (for those who eat them). Packed with proteins, vitamins and minerals, both egg white and the yellow yolk can be consumed, though the yolk has cholesterol. There are many varieties of eggs, the most popular one is the chicken egg, other gourmet eggs being that of quail, goose and duck.

            Top tip… A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float.

A healthy breakfast plate

A healthy breakfast plate

Ingredients:

2 large or medium eggs

salt and pepper to taste

5 spoons of milk ( high fat tastes better!)

2 tbsp. water

1-2 tbsp. olive oil / other oil of choice

heavy bottom pan, egg whisk and bowl.

Garnish /Side

Half soft ripe avocado

5-6 sprigs of asparagus

herbs of choice

4-5 mushrooms

wheat crackers (optional)

Dollop of Hummus (optional)

Frozen Berries or summer fruit

1 cup low-fat yoghurt

Method:

In a bowl, crack the eggs ( leave out yolk if any cholesterol issues), discard the skin. Add few drops of water and milk, salt and pepper and whisk gently, taking care to incorporate air. Do not over whisk, or peak the egg whites stiff.

Heat up a heavy bottom pan or skillet. Add some olive oil or butter or other oil. Do not over heat pan. Gently add the egg mixture and keep stirring, folding in the eggs as they begin to cook. Reduce flame as desired. Keep folding in the mixture till nearly done, switch off flame. The heat in the pan will cook the eggs further, but keep them fluffy and soft. Toss gently on to prepared plate.

In another heated pan, add olive oil. Break and discard the hard bits of asparagus. They are NOT fun to chew upon while enjoying breakfast. Toss the asparagus into the heated pan, drizzle with more oil, add herbs, salt and pepper. Cook till just bit tender and chewy. Do not over cook. Set aside. Now sauté the sliced mushroom in a similar way.

Garnish the plate with slices of avocado, dollop of hummus ( or thick yoghurt), scrambled eggs and dress them up with cooked green asparagus shoots. Serve with toast or wheat crackers.

To a bowl of yoghurt, add some frozen berries or fresh-cut summer fruit. The colours will highlight the serving and bring extra smiles of contentment to Mother. ‘Ah…what a satisfying meal and start to the day’.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

  

                 

 

 

World Palate Recipes: Andhra Palli Pachadi( Peanut Chutney)

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   Andhra Palli Pachadi (Peanut Chutney)

Groundnuts or peanuts are extensively grown on the central Indian Deccan plateau. Regional produce thus, often finds its way into regional cuisine!

Deccan cuisines of Maharashtra, Gujrat and central Andhra often incorporate the crunchy, nutritious peanuts in a variety of ways. Boiled with salt they are served as street snack, lightly roasted in oil they add crunch to salads (koshimbir), and when ground to paste they blend into gravies – thus finding their ways into recipes. Peanuts add texture, colour and nutrition!

Are peanuts the world’s healthiest food? Cheaper than almonds? Maybe. Rich in proteins and minerals, comparatively cheaper than exotic almonds and hazelnuts. Often in the agricultural rural regions, peanuts are a perfect answer for the poor man, farmer or labourer toiling away.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=101

Thanks to my domestic helper Satyavati, in Hyderabad. She taught me to make this simple, rustic and quick chutney…typical rural method.

Aren’t you lucky she shared her simple knowledge with us all?

Image result for quotes about sharing knowledge

Courtesy: Internet.

Ingredients

Peanut chutney ingredients

Peanut chutney ingredients

250 gms lightly roasted peanuts ( or buy a pack from supermarket)

2 small onions

1 inch ginger

2-3 sprigs coriander for garnish

water as required

salt as needed

2 red chillies ( or as desired)

Tempering:

1tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds) 2-3 curry leaves, 2 tsps. cooking oil.

Method:

Place peanuts in heavy bottom wok /kadhai and lightly roast them, continuously stirring them for about 10 minutes. Place aside to cool, remove skin. Cool completely. (Else use pre roasted peanuts from jar or pack:)

Make the tempering – heat oil in pan, splutter the mustard and jeera seeds. quickly add red chilli and switch off gas. Add curry leaves. Cool.

In a grinder, place peanuts and make coarse powder, stirring in between to check consistency. Mix well, grind further to finer paste. Remove and place in container.

Grind the onion and ginger to paste, using water sparingly. Mix with peanut powder. Adjust salt, chilli and water to this mixture to make a runny consistency.

Add the tempering, mix well. Chutney is ready in a jiffy! Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve preferably along with dosa, uttappa or rice. Leftovers can find their way into sandwich or Roti.

Chutney and Uttappa

Chutney and Uttappa

Do you have another method for this chutney? Or if you wish to contact me for another peanut recipe, leave a message. Remember to share.

 

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2015) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer