Category Archives: Vegetables

Kooky Mess

Kooky Mess

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Kooky Mess

 

 

 

 

 

 

At times, there are recipes that I concoct which defy categorisation or even label and this is a very good example.

The day I was making it, I was asked by three people what I was having for dinner and I was at a total loss for words. I mean, how do you explain a bowl of mixed mash, which briefly sums up this kooky mess?!

To quote Francois Mauriac, “To love someone is to see a miracle invisible to others.” And that is exactly how I feel about today’s recipe.

a bowl of mashed vegetables may not be to everyone’s taste but I am totally in love with this utterly comforting mess!

Ingredients

1 Medium sweet potato

1 Cup shredded cabbage

1 Large carrot

1 Large onion

1-2 Tablespoons cheddar cheese, crumbled

1 Teaspoons olive oil

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash, boil, peel and mash the sweet potato.
  2. Wash, scrape and finely grate the carrot.
  3. Peel, wash and finely slice the onion.
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  5. When hot, lower the heat and throw in the sliced onions along with salt to taste.
  6. Mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Uncover and add the shredded cabbage and grated carrot.
  8. Once again, cover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes.
  9. Uncover and add the mashed sweet potato, freshly ground black pepper and cheese.
  10. Mix well and pat the mixture down.
  11. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  12. Serve hot or warm with some hot sauce.

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Baingan Bharta/Smoked Aubergine, The Indian Way

Baingan Bharta/Smoked Aubergine, The Indian Way

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Baingan Bharta/Smoked Aubergine, The Indian Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think age is catching up on me because I often find myself checking my own blog to see whether I have posted a particular recipe! As was the case with today’s one and I cannot believe that having been blogging for nearly a year now, I have not written about one of my favourite Indian vegetable preparations.

baingan bharta is an ode to all aubergine lovers, or so I like to think

Smoked aubergine cooked with onions, tomato and garlic for a velvety, delicious vegetable which can be scooped with any type of bread or equally divine on some plain boiled rice – what is there not to like?!

Earlier, I used to smoke the aubergine directly on a gas burner as is. But I have recently discovered that if you oil it a bit, it truly imparts that smokey aroma and flavour. If you don’t have a gas burner, you can try it on a grill although I can’t vouch for the end result in terms of smokiness.

When choosing an aubergine for baingan bharta, go for one which doesn’t weigh too much (irrespective of size). The heavy ones have more seeds in them.

Ingredients

1 Medium size aubergine

2 Onion

1 Head of garlic

2 Tomato

2-3 Fresh green chilli

Fresh ginger the size of your thumb

1/2 Cup fresh coriander

1-2 Teaspoons cumin seeds

1 Teaspoon turmeric

1 Teaspoon chilli powder

1 Teaspoon garam masala

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash the aubergine and apply a bit of oil all over.
  2. Place the aubergine on a gas burner and cook it till its skin is charred and the vegetable softens about 90% (you don’t want it completely collapsing). This does become slightly messy so be prepared to clean the burner afterwards!
  3. As soon as the aubergine is almost cooked on the open flame, transfer it to an airtight container. This way, it will cook in its own steam a bit more.
  4. In the meantime, peel, wash and dice the onion.
  5. Peel and chop the garlic.
  6. Wash and slice the green chilli.
  7. Peel, wash and grate the ginger.
  8. Wash, chop and dry the fresh coriander.
  9. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  10. When the oil becomes hot, lower the heat and add the cumin seeds.
  11. As soon as they stop spluttering, throw in the onion, garlic, tomato, green chilli and ginger.
  12. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt to taste. Mix well.
  13. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  14. While the onion mixture is cooking, go back to the aubergine.
  15. Remove the charred skin and roughly chop the flesh.
  16. Once the 10 minutes are up, uncover the pan and add the aubergine and garam masala powder. Mix well.
  17. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  18. Take off the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  19. Add the fresh coriander before serving.

Kantola & Pumpkin Curry

Kantola & Pumpkin Curry

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Kantola & Pumpkin Curry

 

 

 

 

 

 

My love affair with kantola continues as I try to make the most of this elusive vegetable which is nearing the end of its season for this year.

Today’s recipe is another experiment from my kooky kitchen. I wanted to try out kantola paired with another vegetable in a curry (as opposed to a dry version).

Pumpkin came to mind because of its contrasting texture and taste.

The sauce is yoghurt based to give a bit of tarty kick.

I have also thrown in some tomato for good measure to boost the nutritional value of the dish.

opposites attract and, in this case, they make a very delicious pair

Will go equally well with any type of bread or rice. Serve some sliced onions doused in lime juice on the side.

Ingredients

250 Grams kantola

150 Grams pumpkin

2 Large tomato

Head of one large garlic

Small bunch fresh coriander

1/2 Cup tart/strong/sour yoghurt

1 Tablespoon cumin powder

1 Tablespoon coriander powder

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1 Teaspoon garam masala powder

1 Tablespoon minced ginger-green chilli paste

1 Teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)

1 Teaspoon mustard seeds

1 Teaspoon fennel seeds

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash and dry the kantola.
  2. Depending on their size, either quarter them or slice them.
  3. Wash and cube the pumpkin. I prefer to leave the skin on but you can peel it if you wish.
  4. Wash and roughly chop the tomato.
  5. Peel and slice the garlic along its length.
  6. Chop, wash and dry the coriander.
  7. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  8. Once it is hot, lower the heat and throw in the mustard seeds followed by the carom and fennel seeds.
  9. Stir around for 30 seconds.
  10. Add the sliced kantola with salt to taste.
  11. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  12. In the meantime, whisk the yoghurt and add all the spices: coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder, turmeric powder and paste of ginger-green chilli. Mix well.
  13. Return to the kantola. Uncover the pan and add the pumpkin, tomato and garlic.
  14. Add the spiced yoghurt mix.
  15. Combine everything together, cover and cook for 30 minutes till the vegetables are soft.
  16. Take off the heat and let the curry rest for about 5 minutes.
  17. Uncover, add the coriander leaves, mix and serve.

Sweet Potato Wedges, The Stove Top Way

Sweet Potato Wedges, The Stove Top Way

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Sweet Potato Wedges, The Stove Top Way

 

 

 

 

 

Say hello to one of my most successful, dead simple and guilt-free indulgences which never fails to impress, can be enjoyed as a one pot meal if you are looking for comfort food or can be served to a crowd along with drinks and other snacks.

Sweet potato is a nutrition dense vegetable rich in complex carbohydrates with high fibre content and a whole host of other health benefits.

This recipe is nothing more than sweet potato, a bit of olive oil and seasoning of your choice, all cooked on a stove for a yummy potato wedge experience.

crispy on the outside and meltingly soft inside

A note on the seasoning. In the photograph above, I have used Schwartz Garlic Pepper. Variations I have tried in the past include freshly grounded black peppercorns and paprika. Both work equally well. You can even skip the seasoning if you fancy plain salted.

Ingredients

250 Grams sweet potato

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1-2 Teaspoons seasoning of your choice

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash and cut the sweet potato into wedges. Make sure that they are all the same size so that they cook evenly. I prefer mine with the skin on but you can peel them if you wish.
  2. Combine the wedges with olive oil, seasoning and salt to taste. You can do this ahead of time if you prefer.
  3. Heat a frying pan on the highest temperature.
  4. Once the pan is hot, add the wedges along with all of the marinade (oil, salt and seasoning).
  5. Stir around for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Next, lower the heat to minimum, cover and cook the sweet potato for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Uncover and check for doneness.
  8. Cook the wedges for 10 more minutes without the lid.
  9. Enjoy hot or at room temperature with some ketchup or hot sauce.

Karela & Rataloo, The Kooky Way/Bitter Gourd & Sweet Potato, The Kooky Way

Karela & Sweet Potato

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Bitter Gourd & Sweet Potato

 

 

 

 

 

I restrict my potato intake to once a week and try to substitute the tuber with sweet potato wherever I know that it won’t distract from the end result.

In today’s fuss-free recipe, the bitterness of karela (bitter gourd) is offset by the slight sugariness of sweet potato (also known as rataloo in some parts of India).

a twist on the more familiar karela and aloo (potato) which is cooked in different avatars across the Indian subcontinent

Many people sprinkle salt over over karela and squeeze out the bitter juices before cooking. Personally, I skip this step but you can do so if you wish. Bear in mind that the sweet potato naturally reduces any obvious bitterness of karela.

Bitter gourd is commonly available in Asian grocery stores so if you have ever wondered how to cook the vegetable, give this kooky creation a go.

Goes well with roti, naan, tortilla or even sliced bread.

Ingredients

250 Grams karela

1 Medium size sweet potato

1-2 Heads of garlic

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1-2 Teaspoons chilli powder

1 Tablespoon coriander powder

1-2 Teaspoon cumin powder

1 Teaspoon amchoor powder (dry mango)

1 Teaspoon asafoetida

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Peel and slice the garlic across its length.
  2. Wash and finely slice the karela in shape of matchsticks.
  3. Wash and slice the sweet potato same shape as karela.
  4. Sprinkle some salt all over the sliced sweet potato and set aside
  5. In a bowl, mix the powders: turmeric, chilli, coriander, cumin and amchoor.
  6. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  7. Once hot, reduce the heat and add the asafoetida.
  8. After about 10 seconds, throw in the sliced garlic.
  9. Stir around for a couple of minutes till the garlic is about to change colour. You don’t want it brown.
  10. Add the powdered spices and mix well. Cook for a minute or so.
  11. Next, add the karela and a bit of salt to taste. Remember that you have already sprinkled some salt on sweet potato.
  12. Mix, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
  13. After the time is up, uncover and add the sweet potato.
  14. Once again, mix well, cover and let this cook for 20 minutes.
  15. Take off the stove and let the vegetable sit for 5 minutes before having.

Tinda (Apple Gourd) & Yellow Courgette, The Indian Way

Curry of Apple Gourd & Yellow Courgette

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Tinda & Yellow Courgette, The Indian Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tinda is a summer vegetable and one reason I love it is because it is so light and easy on the stomach.

Its numerous health benefits include anti-inflammatory agents which control or prevent heart disease, blood pressure and cancer (prostate in particular); fiber content which aids digestion and carotene which slows down the ageing process.

In this recipe, I have tried to balance colours – green tinda, yellow courgette, red tomato and white onion.

one dish which instantly and deliciously provides you with 4 of your 5-a-day

This will go very well with any type of bread like roti, naan, or even plain sliced. I had mine with some ragi roti. You can also enjoy it with rice.

The following is my own kooky recipe, not a heritage one or family or grandma or any other associations!

Ingredients

4 Tinda

1 Yellow Courgette

2 Onions

2 Tomato

1 Tablespoon paste of ginger and garlic

6-8 Baris* (sun dried lentil dumplings)

1 Teaspoon cumin seeds

1 Teaspoon mustard seeds

1 Tablespoon fennel seeds

1 Teaspoon cumin powder

1 Tablespoon coriander powder

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1-2 Teaspoons chilli powder

2-3 Dry red chillies, broken

1 Teaspoon garam masala powder

1/2 Cup yoghurt (tart/sour/strong)

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  2. Wash and dice the tomato.
  3. Wash and chop the tinda in bite size pieces.
  4. Wash and chop the courgette same size as tinda.
  5. Dry roast the baris.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric powder. Add 1 tablespoon of water to make a paste. Set aside.
  7. Heat the oil in a wok like pan.
  8. When it is hot, lower the heat and add the mustard seeds.
  9. Once they start crackling, add the cumin seeds followed by fennel seeds and broken dried red chilli.
  10. Stir around for 30 seconds.
  11. Next, add the chopped onion and salt to taste.
  12. Mix well, cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
  13. Uncover and throw in the ginger-garlic paste.
  14. Cook – uncovered – for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  15. Add the chopped tomato and paste of coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli powders.
  16. Stir, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  17. Whisk the yoghurt and add to the pan.
  18. Cook – uncovered – for 3 to 4 minutes.
  19. Add the chopped tinda and courgette.
  20. Mix everything together, add about half cup of water, baris and garama masala powder.
  21. Cover and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes till the vegetables are tender.
  22. Take the pan off the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Note:

  1. If your baris are the size of popcorn, 6 to 8 is enough. If they are larger, take 2 to 3 and break them into small pieces before dry roasting.
  2. Make sure that the yoghurt is tangy; this won’t taste as well with mild yoghurt.

Sprout, Pumpkin & Quinoa Souffléd Stuffed Pepper

Sprout, Pumpkin & Quinoa Souffléd Stuffed Pepper

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Sprout, Pumpkin & Quinoa Souffled Stuffed Pepper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am so very excited to share this recipe with you.

a delectable and delicious way of enjoying stuffed pepper

My relationship with sprouted grains and legumes is very haphazard and filled with uncertainty. I work backwards as in sprout first and than wonder how to make use instead of planning a recipe and sprouting according to requirement.

This time round, I had a batch of beautifully sprouted green desi chana (small green chickpea) with long white tail. Since I haven’t had quinoa for a while, I thought of combining the two but realised that there would be too much protein and so came up with the idea of stuffing some peppers with both along with pumpkin for balance.

Sprout, Pumpkin & Quinoa Souffled PepperThese are one of the best stuffed peppers I have eaten. Sorry if this sounds far from humble but they are just so utterly piquant and heavenly and also totally satisfying.

Since there was some stuffing leftover, I used it to fill a couple of  tomatoes. Works beautifully. Which makes me think that the stuffing would work well in courgette and aubergine as well.

I served some quickly stir-fried mushroom and broccoli on the side. Once the peppers are cooked, remove them to a plate. Add a couple of spoonfuls of Worcestershire sauce to glaze the pan, throw in the vegetable of your choice with a pinch of salt, give it a stir, cover and cook on low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes. You will have perfect accompaniment to the stuffed peppers.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup uncooked quinoa

1 Cup sprouted beans of your choice

2 Large pepper

2 Onion

2 Tomato

1 Head of garlic

5-6 Bird’s eye chilli

250 Grams pumpkin

1 Stock cube (chicken or vegetable)

2 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

8-10 Walnut halves

2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds

1-2 Eggs

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste

 Method

  1. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  2. Wash and finely dice the tomato.
  3. Peel and finely slice the garlic.
  4. Wash and finely mince the chilli.
  5. Wash, peel and finely grate the pumpkin.
  6. Dry roast the sunflower seeds and walnuts till they turn a couple of shades darker. Set aside to cool.
  7. Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
  8. Once it is hot, lower the heat and throw in the onion, garlic and chilli.
  9. Add salt to taste, mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  10. Next, add the tomato and cook (again, covered) for 3 to 4 minutes.
  11. Uncover and add the sprouted beans and quinoa.
  12. Add 1.5 cups of water along with the stock cube, stir thoroughly, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes till the quinoa is cooked.
  13. Uncover and add the grated pumpkin to the pan.
  14. Mix well and let the stuffing cool down.
  15. Wash the peppers, halve them and remove the seeds and core.
  16. Take a couple of drops of olive oil in the palm of your hand and rub the pepper halves all over.
  17. Beat the egg(s) and add them to the stuffing along with crumbled feta.
  18. Break the toasted walnuts with your hands and add them, along with the sunflower seeds, to the stuffing. Mix well.
  19. Fill the pepper halves with the stuffing.
  20. Heat the pan in which you had made the stuffing. It should have some residue oil remaining so you don’t need to add any more oil but if you feel the need, add a couple of drops and swirl it around the surface.
  21. Once the pan heats up, gently place the peppers, lower the heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  22. Uncover, flip them over, cover once again and cook for 10 more minutes.
  23. Uncover and gently turn the peppers over so that the stuffing is facing up.
  24. Slide them onto a plate and serve.

Note:

  1. These peppers can be eaten hot but are equally enjoyable at room temperature.
  2. You can make the stuffing ahead of time and keep it till you are ready to cook the peppers.
  3. Try and use different coloured peppers.
  4. The quantity of chilli may seem a lot, specially since the bird’s eye variety is hot, but they provide the right amount of oomph to counterbalance the natural sweetness of peppers and pumpkin. You can reduce the quantity if you prefer.

Purple Yam, Aubergine & Green Pea Curry

Purple Yam, Aubergine & Green Pea Curry

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Purple Yam, Aubergine & Green Pea Curry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As summer peaks its head from around the corner, it is time to say au revoir to green garlic, fresh turmeric and purple yam.

here is a quick, simple and delicious vegetable curry which is easily adaptable to what’s available or in your kitchen

I made it in under an hour while enjoying The Soul Of Motown. I love Gladys Knight & The Pips’ version of I Heard It Through The Grapevine, what do you think (in at 17:09)?

But I digress…

Coming back to today’s recipe, you can use white or sweet potato instead of yam. Substitute green peas with any other type of fresh beans or even dried beans. As for the aubergine, I used the small black variety but, again, you can use the type which is fresh and/or in season.

Will go well with roti, bread roll or even tortilla.

Ingredients

150 Grams purple yam

150 Grams aubergine

1 Cup Green peas

3-4 cloves Garlic

1 Cup fresh coriander

1 Tablespoon grated coconut (dessicated will also do)

1 Teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)

1 Teaspoon asafoetida

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1 Tablespoon cumin powder

1 Tablespoon coriander powder

1 Tablespoon minced green chillies

1 Tablespoon grated ginger

Salt to taste

1 Tablespoon oil

Method

  1. Peel, wash and cube the purple yam into medium sized pieces.
  2. Wash the green peas.
  3. Wash and cube the aubergine and leave it in water to prevent it from turning black.
  4. Chop and wash the coriander leaves.
  5. Peel the garlic and lightly smash the cloves with the knife.
  6. Heat oil in a wok-like pan.
  7. Once it is hot, lower the heat to minimum and add the carom seeds followed by the asafoetida. Stir for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the smashed garlic cloves and beat them with the back of the spoon (they will break easily).
  9. Stir for a minute.
  10. Add the purple yam, aubergine, green peas along with half cup of water.
  11. Toss in the turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, chilli, ginger, coconut, coriander and salt to taste.
  12. Mix well, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.
  13. After 20 minutes, uncover to check whether the vegetables are cooked. If so, take off the stove. If not, cover and cook for 5 t o10 more minutes.
  14. Enjoy hot.

Souffléd Aubergine Boats

Stuffed Aubergine Boats

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Souffléd Aubergine Boats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First off, a clarification. The black crust you see in the photo is not burnt soufflé but aubergine skin. I cooked these boats in a frying pan instead of baking them in an oven and had flipped them over to brown the top side which is when any residue skin of the aubergine from the pan got stuck to them.

I suppose I could have cooked the aubergine side for less amount of time to prevent the skin from getting charred but I got so engrossed in Steve Buscemi’s entrance second episode into the fourth series of The Sopranos that I cooked them a bit longer than needed. Honestly though, when you have two great talents like Mr. Buscemi and the late great Mr. Gandolfini sharing the screen space, for once, it is easy to forget the stove (at least, that’s what happened to me).

Coming to today’s recipe of souffléd aubergine boats, it was an experiment which I thought should work but was also aware that it may not. Specially because I was making these in a frying pan…

if you like aubergine and are fond of eggs, I think you would like these

They are surprisingly very light on the stomach and are good with some steamed vegetables (as you can tell from the photo, I had mine with french beans and sweetcorn).

If you plan to bake them in the oven, put them in an ovenproof dish and cook uncovered for about 40 minutes.

Ingredients

1 Medium sized aubergine

2 Onions

2 Tomatoes

1 Head of garlic

2-3 Red chillies

2-3 Fillets of anchovy in oil (optional)

2 Medium eggs

1 Tablespoon grated cheddar cheese

1 Tablespoon pine nuts

1 Teaspoon mixed herbs

1 + 1 Teaspoon olive oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  2. Wash and finely dice the tomato.
  3. Wash and finely slice the chilli.
  4. Peel and chop the garlic.
  5. Dry roast the pine nuts till they turn a couple of shades darker.
  6. Take a wide based frying pan and heat 1 teaspoon oil in it.
  7. Add the chopped onion, tomato, chilli, anchovies (if using) and salt to taste.
  8. Mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  9. While the vegetables are cooking, get working on the aubergine.
  10. Wash it and slice it horizontally from the tip to the stem.
  11. Scoop out the flesh leaving 1/2 inch wall of aubergine skin.
  12. Finely chop the flesh and add it to the onion mixture along with the mixed herbs.
  13. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes.
  14. Rub a little bit of salt inside the aubergine boats.
  15. Rub 1 teaspoon oil outside the aubergine boats. Set aside.
  16. Once the aubergine flesh and onion have cooked, take the pan off the heat and let this mixture cool down.
  17. After the mixture is completely cool, add the toasted pine nuts and cheese. Mix well.
  18. Now gently beat the two eggs and fold them into the aubergine mixture.
  19. Combine everything together and stuff the aubergine boats with this mixture.
  20. Heat a frying pan and place the aubergine boats, skin side down.
  21. Cover, lower heat and let the aubergine cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  22. Uncover and if you see that the eggs have set and the soufflé risen, flip the boats over gently.
  23. Cook the other side for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  24. Flip over once again so that the soufflé side is up.
  25. Serve hot.