Tag Archives: cooking

World Palate Recipes: Radish leaves and Chickpea Flour Crunchy Vegetable

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From the garden to the kitchen table! Space and time are such a treat in a busy city life.

Having planted radish seeds about a month ago, we have been watching the growth, leaf by leaf. The fresh young leaves were crunchy and tart, and I munched them off, sometimes, early morning garden therapy. I know the leaves are a storehouse of minerals and reward you literally cleaning up the stomach as they secrete acidic beneficial juices during digestion.

Radish are a North Indian winter crop. Acres of farms along the fertile Yamuna river bank are a picturesque green in rich hues. Radish, carrot, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, beets and spinach all the leaves have a different green colour and texture. Can an artist match his palette to Nature? Experiments at home to grow carrot and radish looked quite promising as fresh leaves sprung from seeds. Soon bulbous white radish peeked from the ground beneath, our eyes popped gleefully too!

Then came a mild cyclone Nivar. Rain filled the Earth. Aahh! Nature wins!

Operation Chop Up! Garden to kitchen counter. Gas stove to blog!

I tweaked my mother’s recipe. She used spring onions and their leaves to make a dry vegetable with chick pea flour, adding an extra dash of oil for tempering. I substituted with fresh radish leaves, added some crunchy roasted peanuts for nutrition and served with hot roti or parathas.

Ingredients:

A bunch of radish leaves ( about 200-250 gms)

1 cup chickpea flour

1 big ladle cooking oil ( add extra if reqd.)

Tempering with

mustard seeds, ajwain, red chillies, hing or asoetifida (optional), turmeric, salt as necessary, handful of roasted peanuts (optional if allergic!)

Method

Check underside, clean, wash and pat dry leaves with young stalks. Chop finely. Roast peanuts and keep aside. Prepare ingredients for tempering.

In a pan or wok, heat oil, add ajwain, mustard seeds, turmeric, asatoefida, and crushed dry red chilles. Stir fry, add peanuts, stir. Add the chopped greens and salt. Stir.

Quickly add the chickpea /besan flour spoon by spoon, keep stirring, remove lumps if any. Add a dash of oil. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Flour tends to go dry, so sprinkle few drops of water or add oil, cook well.

Place in a bowl and serve warm with hot rotis or parathas….or just nibble away this nutritious, crunchy vegetable, by itself! Any left over leaves can be chopped and added to wheat flour to make parathas…on another day.

Radish leaf crunchy vegetable

It’s almost year end. What’s cooking in your kitchen or growing in your garden? Share your pictures if you do cook this recipe or tweak it to your taste.

World Palate Series:Ripe Banana Masala Poori (fluffed bread)

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   Life is full of banana skins. You slip, you fall…you carry on. 

Daphne Guinness.

Well, if you’ve read the earlier blog about banana plant and pith, now its time to talk about ripe bananas! Many fresh bananas have been gifted to neighbours, friends and the needy. The Sanskrit phrase from the Rg Veda teaches us ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbam’ the world is one family (Vasudha= Earth, kutumbam= family, eva= One) and bounty MUST be shared!

The ripening process itself taught us many a lesson. How to store, where and how to place the fruit, what happens inside the paper bags or cloth coverings, and how often to check….Ooops! 2 clusters have over ripened the juice flowing out! The sweet aroma of ripened bananas is wafting through the house, and is getting a bit heady too:) Is that why they say ‘I’m going bananas!’

We have made banana bread, banana milk shake, banana with cereal, and our yummiest fried bananas with coconut. See here 

Time for some masala snack, in the rainy days here. I am sharing my mother’s recipe of masala banana poori (fluffed wholewheat bread) today. Most homemakers will find more than one way to use over ripe or abundant fruit. I remember on a visit to Germany, our Airbnb hostess plucked (exotic) kiwi fruit and was making jam after distributing fruit to neighbours!

Mother used to make these spicy -sweet pooris for our school days snack. Roll it, munch on it and run and play. Instant energy! Just yesterday, as I spoke to my sister she chuckled “I remember how I once bought over ripe bananas purposely when Mother asked me to buy some. I wanted her to make those delicious, hot, brown pooris” Well sis…eat them virtually now.

Ingredients to make dough

2-3 ripe bananas ( they get brown spots on skin)

3-4 cups wholewheat flour ( as required)

1-2 tsps of sooji rava semolina (optional – used for texture)

spices – roasted cumin powder, turmeric, fennel powder, chilli flakes ( add to your taste)

salt as required

oil for frying

Fry the pooris preferably one by one, or two at time only.

Method

Mash the bananas in a bowl, add the powdered spices, salt, chilli flakes, oil ( NO WATER!!) and the whole wheat flour slowly. Keep turning and blending. The mashed mixture will decide the amount of flour required to make a dough consistency. Remember…the longer you keep it aside…it will go runny and difficult to roll out. ( I have frozen 2 batches).

Heat oil in a big wok, throw in a small pinch of dough to see if it rises, checking the temperature.

Make small balls of the dough, dust with bit of flour if sticky. Roll out into round poori, bit thick so they fluff well. Place gently into the hot oil, tap with ladle ( special sieved ladle is good for frying). Turn over when fluffed. Remove when a bit browned/golden. Keep aside on plate lined with tissue, if required to absorb the oil. ( that’s why sieved ladle is better, as it removes excess into the wok itself).

Serve warm with chai at snack time ( before the children munch them up) or serve with a gravy vegetable dish at meal time. The pooris stay well for 1-2 days in airtight box too for a later date. Enjoy with family and friends.

In your culture, how do you cook bananas? Is there a story behind the cooking process?

If you ever make them, do leave your experience here to share. i sincerely hope food from my kitchen travels to you all. Stay safe, stay healthy!

World Palate Series: Banana Pith and Cucumber Salad

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World Palate Series: Banana Pith and Cucumber Salad

It’s such a pleasure (and excitement!)to share news from our garden with you all. Our first banana plant (Cavendish fruit variety) has now borne fruit! It took over 10 months of growth from a baby plant to a mature one yielding fruit! Such a treat as we saw the broad green leaves unfolding slowly, one by one. The plant grew taller and then bore a purple flower bloom!

Yeah! we’ll soon have bananas! we muttered.

For a recipe with the flowers see here

The banana plant is called KalpaVriksha –each part of this plant is SO useful in daily life. The leafy sheath/pseudo stem can be cooked into variety of dishes and has many medicinal properties. The inner pith is used in making fibre and even shirts!The leaves become eco friendly plates specially at religious functions and Indian weddings. In Malaysia, Thailand a number of soup bowls, decorative wrapping and food cover is popularly made with the leaves. Banana peel/skin is used to make paper, and boards. The flowers are exotic and used in variety of edible dishes. The fruit itself -is a tropical delight that is carried to all parts of the world and sits on almost every supermarket shelf. Can a government topple because of this golden fruit? Check out the internet. Do leave your comments which part of the plant you use and how? 

Today I will share some photos and one recipe with the inner white pith. You can find a number of recipes ( In Tamil – Vazhaithandu, in Malay – Gulai Batang Pisang, a rare curry served during weddings).

As the plant bears fruit just once, it is then chopped off, leaving the side shoots or suckers intact and allowing them to grow. The central stem made of overlapping leaf sheaths was then chopped into smaller pieces, removing the outer layers to expose and retain the inner white core (pith). Thanks to hubby and househelper, an interesting but labourius commitment!

 

Using a sharp knife the big bunch was first separated from the plant. Each ‘cluster of hands’ were then chopped leaving the ‘banana fingers’ intact. The clusters were wrapped in newspaper layers and a cloth layer to facilitate the ripening process. Google research on ripening has proved useful. National geographic  has a wonderful colour code range of the banana ripening process.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nationalgeographic.com%2Fenvironment%2Furban-expeditions%2Ffood%2Ffood-journeys-graphic%2F&psig=AOvVaw1RHVkCsHaKN4eU-l-S2z3x&ust=1596535332480000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=2ahUKEwi5kJfc4_7qAhVHFLcAHeA8Dj4Qr4kDegUIARD-AQ

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.promusa.org%2Fblogpost579-Gros-Michel-or-Cavendish-which-is-the-yummiest-

banana&psig=AOvVaw1RHVkCsHaKN4eU-l-S2z3x&ust=1596535332480000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=2ahUKEwi5kJfc4_7qAhVHFLcAHeA8Dj4Qr4kDegUIARDZAQ

http://www.kitchenmagpie.com

 

Till our fruit ripen and I prepare the pith, an elaborate process…how about a story?

Here is a Philippine story about how a turtle outwits a monkey for the banana plant.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turtle_and_the_Monkey

The pith is finely sliced into round rings to remove the strands. Oil your palms and gently pull out the fibres in circular motion. Drop the rounds in very dilute lassi or buttermilk or lemon juice. This helps to retain colour and flavour, else it will go rancid! Check on You Tube ‘how to prepare banana pith’

Boil them, keep aside, cool. they can be refrigerated for a day or two.

The pith is bland in taste, thus versatile in cooking. You can add it to sambar or lentil curry, or make a smoothie with yoghurt.

I made a simple salad with assorted ingredients and boiled pith pieces. Add a dash of lemon, some salt and pepper and some curry leaves or coriander for garnish. Enjoy the bounty!

Mix all the ingredients and crunch….munch! Eat healthy.


As much as I enjoy cooking, taking photographs and writing these posts, I also like my viewers to talk about what and how they like here. Your comments are valuable. Thankyou.

 

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