Okra Stir Fry – Deliciously simple fare!

#BacktoBasics

So there I was at the good old grocery store of Patels, in the sweltering heat of NC and chit chatting with the guy at the counter. Stuff about India, how hot it was in early spring and the idiosyncratic need to repeat the same song or bhajan in the store, when I spotted the an unopened box sitting on the counter. You know the kind, that is a crate and has the green stuff peeking out of it. It seemed suspiciously like okra, the green okra from across the ocean. Siren’s call heard and yielded.. I bought 3 pounds of it ! Fresh and tender and so green..

There are a gazillion recipes for okra, but this is one that brings out the simple flavors of it with minimal effort and great taste! This particular dish is the dry sabji kind and tastes heavenly with the south indian meal of rasam and rice. Comfort food to the core I say!

Comfort because it calls out to my mom’s kind of cooking. Simple fare , but fit for a king!

 Prep work

  • Wash the okra very well in a couple of bowls of water and let them air dry on a towel.
  • Once they are completely dry, pat dry once more to remove even a trace or droplet of water with a towel.Moist, damp okra will yield stringy cuts with mucus. Not your best option on the menu!

 Ingredients:

2 Lbs Okra : washed, patted dry, ends snipped and cut in 1/2 inch pieces 

For seasoning:

  • Urad Dal split : 1 tsp
  • Channa Dal : 1 stp
  • Dry Red chillies : 2 split
  • Mustard seeds : 1 tsp
  • Mom’s special kari powder : 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida : 1 pinch
  • Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Salt : 1 tsp / to taste
  • Saffola / cooking Oil : 1 Tbsp

Method:

  • In a large non-stick wok, heat up the oil and add in the Asafoetida. Add in the mustard seeds and once it splutters, add in the dal seasonings and red chillies and let them brown.
  • Add in the turmeric powder and then add in the cut okra.
  • Gently stir fry it in medium heat. The idea is for the okra to get nicely stir fried and tender cooked. Adding in salt before it is well cooked will bring out the natural water from it and you will have a soggy mess on your hands 🙁
  • Once the okra is well cooked, season with salt and Mom’s special Kari powder.
  • Gently toss it to ensure the spices and salt is well coated and serves it hot with a bowl of rasam and rice or as part of large meal.

Mint Coriander Chutney- Green , tangy dressing anyone?

Fresh Cilantro and Mint Chutney- Green , tangy dressing anyone?

  Super quick post..Been wanting to add this in the Basics for some time. Prompted to do this cause of FB request from a dear friend asking me for my version of this. Of course if you troll the inet, everyone and their cousin will have one of this , but I simply love this version.

Want a dressing that is ?

Low fast : check

Quick : check

Filled with green stuff : check

Passes taste test: check

Freezable : check

Multiple uses: check

So without much ado…

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Cilantro leaves : 1.5 cup packed ( chopped finely)
  • Fresh Mint leaves : 1 cup packed ( chopped finely)
  • Dhalia/Roasted Channa Dal : 1/4 cup
  • Cumin seeds : 2 tsp
  • Green chillies : 10-12 ( as required)
  • Lime : juice of 1
  • Sugar : 1 tsp
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp
  • Tamarind paste : 1 tsp

Procedure:

  • Grind the roasted channa dal or dhalia with the cumin seeds . ( You can substitute any nut to this. The idea is to create a thick base. on occasions, I have used almonds, peanuts or even walnuts).
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients except the lime juice and blend it well. Add water as required. You can make it quick thick and dilute on requirement. Or serve this as thick sandwich spread.
  • Once blended , nice and smooth add in the lime juice, give it a whir and store it. the purpose of the lime juice is two fold – it prevents discoloration and has the zing factor !
  • In the fridge, stays fresh for a week or so.
  • For rainy day use, stick it in the freeze in smaller quantities, so you can defrost the required amount only.

Notes:

For flavor variation, a fresh piece of mango ginger does wonders. Also you can make this completely nut free and lentil free and just stick to the greens.

 

Uses: sandwich base, chaat dressings, dressing on salad, dips and more

Minty Masala Medhu Vada – Urad Dal Doughnuts ???

This post has been languishing in the drafts for a fair bit of time. In all fairness there are other posts that have to take precedence, but I seems to channel the bit of ADCD.. The attention deficient cleaning disorder ! Only in this case it seems to be on the case of cleaning up my drafts folder.

My little(st) imp turned all of 6 a few weeks back ! And since we have 2 May born in the family, I try to keep the birthday celebrations menu a bit diverse, this one was created for A3 ..This child has sweet teeth.. No seriously, he can dig into anything sweet, but he also loves these Vadai or Urad dal doughnuts  or fried dumplings for lack of a better term.

And I try and create, inculcate, mix and match a few of the flavors to keep it diverse for him as much as possible ..

So here goes..

 Ingredients:

  • Urad dal split or whole : 1.25 cups
  • Brown  basmati rice : a handful
  • Whole Black peppercorns: 1/2 tsp
  • Onion: Chopped finely, 1/2 cup
  • Fresh Cilantro: Chopped finely ,1/4 cup
  • Fresh Mint : Chopped finely , 1/4 cup
  • Green Cabbage: Chopped finely, 1/4 cup
  • Fresh Ginger: 1 inch, peeled grated finely
  • Salt : 1 tsp and adjusted to taste

Preparation:

  • Soak the Urad Dal, rice and pepper corns in a 3 cups of water for a couple of hours.
  • Once it is soaked very well and has completely hydrated itself, drain the water and reserve if required for grinding.
  • Grind it to a thick dough consistency in a blender . Use as little water as possible . Using the south indian style wet grinder would yield the fluffy dough very well, but a blender works very well too.
  • The batter would resemble a very thick pancake batter. Add salt and fluff it up with a fork or whisk.  Air incorporated this way would actually yield the  airy and puffy vadai kind. Plus the addition of rice, would give you the crispier outer texture.
  • Add in all the chopped ingredients and stir in gently.
  • Fry these dumplings your style – doughnut style or simple blobs in hot oil.Just ensure they are fried until golden brown in medium hot oil!
  • That’s it ! Drain on absorbent paper and serve hot with a relish of your choice !

Notes:

This is seriously a very forgiving recipe. Add in grated carrots, chopped spinach, onions for another flavor. Can take up more heat? Add in fine diced Jalapeños!

 

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Eggless Black Tea and Spices Infused Cake – Chai Cake! – Moist, Quick and Delicious!

I had been toying with this particular thing in my mind for some time. And then came the sudden trip of DH to the west coast. My BIL has a penchant for teas.. Of all kinds. I vividly remember my SIL ( being a non tea drinker) enthusiastically making a cup of strong ginger tea for us, only to discover that it turned out to be the dark chocolate tea kind. Oh well ! Knowing his fondness for these and more so because I was experimenting to get the eggless variety right, and buoyed by the recent success of Thandai Chai Masala Cake, this was born – About 4 hrs before my DH boarded the flight !

Black Tea Spice Cake 

Ingredients

  • Self rising APF : 2 cups
  • Non-Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk : 14 oz can
  • Butter : 1/2 cup  (Melted)
  • Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp
  • Walnuts: 1/2 cup chopped 

For Making the Black Tea Concoction:

  • Water: 1/2 cup
  • Milk 1% or 2% : 1 cup
  • Black Tea : 6-8 tea bags or 3-4 tsp of black tea
  • Fresh Ginger : 2 inches. finely grated
  • Black cloves : 4
  • Green cardamom: 6
  • Black peppercorns : 6 . Crushed finely
  • Fennel seeds: 1 tsp (optional)

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Spay oil  and dust flour on the pan of your choice. I used a 9 inch round pan for this.
  • Sift the APF and Baking Soda together and whisk it.

Making the Tea concoction:

  • Boil the water with the ginger, cardamom ,cloves and pepper initially for a few min. The idea being to let the spices steep in.
  • Add in 6-8 tea bags or add 3-4 tsp of black tea and boil for a 2 min or so.
  • Now add in the 1 cup of milk and let it all boil so the flavors are well steeped in.
  • Filter this very thick concoction out and you should have a cup of the final extract in measurement
  • Let this cool down.Should be luke warm in about 10 min or so.

Preparing the batter

  • Melt the 1/2 cup of butter and add it in along with the thick tea concoction and condensed milk to the dry flour mix.
  • Stir it in gently so the flour is completely incorporated.
  • Now add in half the chopped walnuts in this and stir it in.
  • Add in the batter into the pan.
  • Add in the rest of the chopped walnuts – sprinkle on the surface

Baking:

  • Bake it in the oven for 38 min or so at 350 deg F.
  • This will be a very moist , flavor intense , slight dense but very soft cake.

 

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Oats and Almond Butter Choco Cookies – Eggless and delicious!

A mouthful of  a name.. But that’s all right, cause this is one cookie you will fall in love with.  A breakfast cookie, crunchy crumbly cookie, a bite into low sugar decadent piece this is. And thanks to Sonal’s post on her blog and the Epicurean delights group on FB, this recipe beckoned to me. Plus I was on the lookout for a flourless one as well, eggless too. The clincher, this is not one of those overtly sweet cookies.
 
I honestly wanted to follow the recipe to the T, but then again I had a jar of almond butter sitting in the refrigerator. It did need to get used up , so switching things  a bit, I ended up with this cookie.
Also I used unsweetened cocoa powder and used brown sugar entirely.

Ingredients:

  • Almond Butter: 1 cup (I used the creamy one made from roasted almonds)
  • Oats ground : 1 cup(Roasted quick oats are pounded to get this)
  • Brown sugar : 1/2 cup packed.
  • Baking powder : 1 tsp
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder :1/3 cup
  • Milk :1/3 cup (Added in intermittently to help the binding the dough)

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350deg F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Whisk all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Add in the almond butter and mix thoroughly. At this point the mix is partly crumbly and part sticky.
  • Add in the 1/3 cup of milk intermittently to get a soft pliable dough. You don’t want a runny mess on your hands, so depending on the brand of oats in use, you might need more or less of the required amount of milk.
  • Drop in spoonful’s of batter  and press gently or roll into small lime sized balls and slightly flatten them on to the cookie sheet. I was actually able to roll it out into small globes because of the almond butter.
  • Bake at 350 deg F for 15-18 min.
  • Enjoy them warm with a glass of milk or just eat them plain!
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Chilled Sweet Corn Salad – Refreshing!

#30days30salads

 

Day 4 dawns with a sunny and bright disposition.. Hitting 90’s weather and it is still officially spring in NC. Unofficially though it’s like we rolled out of winter with bare cursory knock into spring and right into summer! It’s time for chilled salads, popsicles and fruit treats!

A trip to the grocery yielded much of the bounty but I was so tempted to bring in these sweet white corn. Oh, they looked just perfect !

And todays lunch called for cold, crunchy nutritious salad.

 

Minimal ingredients, low effort , awesome satisfaction..

Chilled Sweet Corn Salad Ingredients: 

  • Sweet white/ golden Corn ears: 4
  • English seedless cucumber : 1( finely chopped)
  • Sweet baby carrots : 8( finely chopped)
  • Mint leaves : A handful ( finely chopped)
  • Cilantro : A handful ( finely chopped)

 Dressing:

  • Lemon : 1-2 ( juiced)
  • Black Pepper : 1/2 tsp
  • Salt : 1/4 tsp
  • Honey : 1/2 tsp(optional)
  • Paprika Flakes : 1/4 tsp (optional)

Preparing the corn:

  • In a huge saucepan , boil enough water so you can dunk in the shucked corn ears.
  • Boil it in this water, say for about 5 min. The corn ears are al dente and tender , and not mushy or over cooked.
  • Drain and cool for about 2-3 min.
  • Slice of the kernels.

 Preparing the Dressing:

Combine all the ingredients in the dressing category and whisk it lightly together.

Preparing the salad:

  • Combine the sliced kernels of corn(make sure they are separated well and you don’t have any big clumps), cucumbers, carrots and toss it in gently with the mint and cilantro.
  • Refrigerate  for an hour or so.
  • Just before serving , add in the dressing and toss it gently.

 

This is one extremely refreshing salad and you can introduce a ton of variations to this.

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FoxNut Munchies ( Salt and pepper spiced Makhana)

Lotus Nuts, Fox nuts.. What’s in a name?  Except this provides more nutrition than your average munchies and huge plus, this is not deep fried. I faintly remember this being brought into the menu by my maternal grand mom. But in Chennai where I grew up , this was not a common occurrence. I had been eyeing this in the stores and went on to read about it a bit. On a catch up session with my mom, she remembered how it was catered to in our household . So there you folks, a simple and quick recipe,that is made in a Jiffy and the next time you feel like reaching for the bag of chips, or butter smothered popcorn , or just like that during the in between times, this is what you would be reaching for ..again and  again , I promise !

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Thank you! Happy Mother’s Day ! Welcome Home :-)

Published from my blog at wordpress.com site

Thank You! Thank You! to all the comments , suggestions and the gentle prod to do ” something on your own”. I started this blog on a lark. Hmm.. Not quite so. I had this on my mind for  sometime and wanted to do this blog thing. Not just another blog on the block but something my kids and family and friends and the people  who read and subscribe to this ,would get to know the sluices of this flood water called life.While we all have this gathering place in our homes for the impromptu get to gather, the crisis resolution place, the place to share the news of the world, you get the picture.. In my home, it’s usually around the kitchen table. People gather here to share their test scores, the next big thing, the family resolution center, the “I am not sure what hit me so can you rescue me place?” and more.

With three kids and “hoping for a dog”  in the picture, I am often amazed at the myriad of emotions and I am privileged to be a part of this amazing journey that motherhood entails. I watch the older ones nourish and  influence the younger ones in so many ways. I watch as they hold their hands and heart strings literally and invisibly when faltering and doubts shake their foundations. I watch as they laugh, cry and bond together as one would siblings do. I am much moved by the emotions within me today as much as in any other day. I watch as my kids huddle together to create the a secret project, a poem, a card , gift. I watch as my oldest a teenager pats the youngest on the back and encourages him to go for it. I watch as my middle one, the butterfly rescues her older brother from the challenge of literary skills. I want to gather and cherish this moment. I want to capture it . I want to picture it again and again.

It is such a lovely day today and I take this opportunity to thank my supporters and friends and my readers. Please support me as I take the next step in the journey to start my own website.

http://veggierumblings.com.

Please find me here, subscribe to me here and I sure hope  you will like this new home for my thoughts, recipes and more !

As always I welcome your feedback, suggestions and more.

Thanks!

Jay @ VeggieRumblings

[email protected]

 

Thandai Chai Masala Eggless Cake – Of Friendship, Gossip and More!

Ever wonder how some people just cross paths for a reason.. Or for no reason! When we first moved to NC, we left behind a horde of family and friends in California. Sunny California and the Bay area was teeming with our friends, family, friends of family and family of our friends.. (You get  the drift)

I thought I loved people ( well most of them anyways 🙂 ) and then I meet DH and his family . They simply dwarfed mine. These guys seriously loved people and people seriously loved them. We just became one big crazy family.. Crazy alright !!

The move therefore while we welcomed it, definitely created a pang in our hearts. So just about 2 months of our moving into this new neighborhood in a new state all the way on the opposite coast, a lady in a min-van filled with chirpy kids stopped my MIL on the street , welcomed her home for chai – a cup of tea and some company. My MIL, though could not take up on it but I happened to meet this lady , our neighbor soon thereafter and so began a wonderful friendship.

 Here’s a toast to one of the finest to have crossed ( and stayed in) my path!

“Dear SP, you are one heck of woman ! I love your chai addiction, your margarita madness and your steadfast company!  Filled with many moments of laughter, lunches, crazy talks and some more crazy moments – or shall I say sparkling moments of insobriety.. Dialing in thin air and holding conversations to yourself, monologues and more… You go girl!

While I did want to bake a chai cake ( I promise, I will do it soon), I experimented this on a lark and got to combine your favorite flavors of chai masala and Thandai ..

Happy Happy Birthday Dear SP and please have your “Queen” moment soon.. For I cannot wait to witness it !”

( This recipe is an amalgamation and innovation of a recipe from ED site  and my eggless recipe cake)

Chai Masala Thandai Spice Cake Ingredients:

  • Self rising APF : 2 cups
  • Non-Fat Sweetened Condensed Milk : 14 oz can
  • Butter : 1/2 cup  (Melted)
  • Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp
  • 1% Milk : 1 cup
  • Thandai masala : 1 tsp
  • Chai Masala : 1 tsp
  • Saffron : crushed, a few strands
  • Walnuts: 1/2 cup chopped 

Method:

  • Preheat the overn to 350 deg F.  Spay oil  and dust flour on the pan of your choice. I used a 9 inch round pan for this.
  • Sift the APF and Baking Soda together
  • Dry whisk it with Thandai Masala, Chai Masala and Saffron  Strands
  • Melt the 1/2 cup of butter and add it in along with the milk and condensed milk.
  • Stir it in gently so the flour is completely incorporated.
  • Now add in half the chopped walnuts in this and stir it in.
  • Add in the batter into the pan.
  • Add in the rest of the chopped walnuts – sprinkle on the surface
  • Bake it in the oven for 35 min or so at 350 deg F.

 Notes:

Please keep an eye on the oven as the quality of the flour and materials used could cause slight variations in the baking time.

Mine took about 38 min to bake. In hindsight, I think I should have reduced the temp from 350 to 325 midway during the baking  process. I have read that this would ensure more even baking .

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Sprouts of Joy : Green Sprouts Salad

Day 3: Sprouts of Joy : Green Sprouts Salad

#30days30salads

What a wonderful Saturday morning it turned out to be. We had a refreshing family time in the water yesterday. And on the kids request, all of us pigged out on their favorite foods. Laden with joy and calories, and marching on today I fall back on the family favorite of all time. This salad is so refreshing and so versatile that it can be eaten as a side, main course or dressed up to yield a satisfying result.

Cook time : 10 min        Prep time : 15 min   Serves : 4

The family favorite Salad

  • Sprouted Whole Green Moong Dal: 2 Cups
  • Peeled Green Cucumber: 1/2 cup (Finely diced)
  • Green apple : 1/2 cup (Finely diced)
  • Red Apple : 1/2 cup (Finely diced)
  • Baby Carrots : 1/2 cup (Finely diced)
  • Pomegranate seeds : 1/2 cup
  • Mint : 1/4 cup Fresh, Finely chopped
  • Cilantro : 1/4  Fresh, Finely chopped
  • Lime/ lemon : 2 . Juiced
  • Thai green chili: 2 Finely chopped ( optional)
  • Red Onion : 1/4 cup Finely chopped ( Optional)
  • Black pepper : 1/4 tsp. Fresh ground
  • Chaat Masala : 1 tsp (Optional)
  • Salt : 1 tsp + as required

 Prep Work, Assembly, Serving:

 Sprouts Prep:

  • Add 2 -3 quarts of water in a big saucepan and bring it to boil with a tsp of salt. Once it is boiling , dunk in the sprouts for say 3 -4 minutes.
  • The idea is it is not completely cooked but more like to give a blanched effect, al dente, with a crunch in the bite. Rinse it in cold water and let it cool completely. 

Salad Prep:

  • Now add in the diced vegetables , chopped mint and toss it in gently.
  • Cool this in the refrigerator for atleast an hour.

Serving:

  • Just before serving, add in the lemon juice, salt , chaat masala and garnish with cilantro and serve.
  • Best eaten Cold. 

Notes:

  • Adding in the mint in the initial part of prep, imparts a nice flavor when it sits in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
  • Also remember to just salt before you serve. Adding it initially will result in a watery mess!

 

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