Baby Corn Masala (Gravy style)

It was supposed to be a small remodeling of the kitchen but it put mine out of commission for nearly a couple of months. What’s that saying about humans making plans and the gods laughing on it?  

Sprinkle  in extra chaos of spring break – before , during and after, some 4 year old chores and AP exams and prep for A1 . Then add in some gymnastics meet schedules for A2 and spring soccer for A3 – complete with game schedules, make ups , thunderstorms and more( we won the last game – yay!), I just think we were lucky to just have plain simple fare to fill the bellies.

Add to it a missing contractor. Just when we thought we should put out an APB ( I did contemplate it for a whole min – I promise !) for this chap , he shows up . Yippee ! Now that work is almost done, I can get back  some of the sanity that was in short supply during these couple of months  !!! . And therefore on an impoverished day , canned baby corn come to the rescue. This was got in the hope that some day it would inspire me to make MSG – less version of it from a popular Indo- Chinese fusion restaurant that draws in hoardes near my place.

Baby Corn Masala (Gravy)

This is such a simple and delicious fare that you can add your own twist to it and it still works out handy. A friend of mine sampled it on the day it was made and had nothing but good things to say. Serve it with a wedge of lime, add a dash of cream to make it extra special. Serve it with basmati pilaf, hot phulkas, laccha parathas or fried rice. You just cannot go wrong with this.

Baby Corn Masala (Gravy)
Baby Corn Masala (Gravy)

Of course the main reason why this could be made in 15 -20 min or so is because we pan cook the tomatoes and onions before grinding them to a paste. And also we use readily available dry masala powder to shorten the process time.

Prep time : 5-8 min  Cook time : 8 -10 min Total time 15 -20 min

Ingredients :

  • Canned baby corn : 2
  • Onions : 2 ( diced)
  • Tomatoes : 2 ( diced)
  • Green bell pepper : 1 ( chopped into big pieces)
  • Cashew/ Almonds : 10 ( broken if possible)
  • Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
  • Crushed Kasuri Methi : 1 tbsp.
  • Chopped fresh Cilantro : 1/4 cup
  • Garam Masala : 1 tsp.
  • Kitchen king Masala : 1 tsp.
  • Kashmiri Mirch powder : 1 tsp.
  • Red chili powder ( spicy ) : 1/4 tsp. + adjusted to spice tolerance
  • Optional : 3 Tbsp. light cream, for serving
  • Flavorless oil : 2 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp.
  • Salt : to taste
  • Water : 1/2 – 3/4 cup

Method :

  • Drain the baby corn of the liquid in the can , wash well with cold water , cut into smaller pieces about an inch long or so and keep it drained in a colander. The idea is to get rid of the brine as much as possible.
  • In a heavy sauce pan or wok, on dry heat roast the cashew or almonds until very warm or slight brown and set aside.
  • In the same wok add the 2 Tbsp. of oil and  fry the onions and then the tomatoes in sequential order for about 5 -6 min so you are left with a very thick stew. The purpose is two fold – one is to cook the onions and tomatoes so the raw edge of the veggies are wiped out and the second purpose is to hasten the cooking process of the gravy. Remove and set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil in the wok and add in the cumin seeds and once it sputters add in the chopped bell peppers and sauté till it retains the texture but almost cooked. Say about 3 min or so.
  • Now add in the chopped baby corn and stir it in.
  • Add in the Garam Masala. Kitchen King masala and chili powders and a tsp. of salt and stir for about a min or so.
  • Grind the roasted cashews / almonds and then the sautéed onions and tomatoes with about 1/2 a cup of water till you get a thick gravy. It was about a min in my Vitamix.
  • Add this to the vegetables and let it boil for about 5 min or so. You will see the change in the color a tad bit . Taste for salt. Add in the crushed Kasuri  Methi , stir again.
  • You will have a very thick stew with slightly crunchy bell peppers and tender baby corn !
  • Serve hot garnished with fresh cilantro ! Add a dash of lime or drizzle in some heavy cream and your kids will lick their finger tips !!
Baby Corn Masala (Gravy)
Baby Corn Masala (Gravy) served hot with steaming peas pulav!

FAQ:

  • Can I use frozen baby corn? 

I wish I got those here  in these parts of the world. Definitely would be my preferred choice over canned ones. Follow the instructions on the pack for cooking directions or if there are none, I would thaw and then dunk in boiling water for about a min.

  • What if I do not have the Kitchen King Masala or Garam Masala on hand?

Simply adjust the quantity of one for the other  or use whole masala in their place. Of course it requires additional time of roasting and grinding.

  • Why do you need both the chili powders?

One is of low heat and gives a vibrant color and  the other adds the heat.

Beet, Oats and Flax Seed Tikki / Croquette/ Cutlets

 

  • Hot weather in Spring : Check
  • Crabby kids : Check
  • Crabby mom : Check ( Nah, I am an angel!)
  • Weekly produce cleaning and org: Check
  • A bunch of beets : Check

It was hot sultry calm before the storm in NC. Very hot and humid weather and temperature in higher eighties.. We know what happens next here – thunderstorms and heavy rains. Predicted in the next 24 hrs.  That still did not stop us from cribbing and hoping we could have a bit of the cooler breeze. But nonetheless, as part of the fridge cleaning process, I came across a bunch of beets.. And that’s what became of these..

This was such a delight to have.. Made a cool Minty Cucumber Greek Yoghurt Dip and it was absolute heaven on hot sultry night.. Kids loved it! The only indulgence was the addition of bread crumbs made easier on self cause I used the wheat kind. The shredded raw beets and crunch of sesame on the top and great blended flavors from the spices boosted this to just another level !

Beet, Oats and Flax Seed Tikki / Croquette/ Cutlets

Prep time : 30 min  Cook time : 30 min Yield : 36 cutlets

Ingredients

For the base:

  • Fine Shredded Raw Beets : 1 and another 1/4 Cups
  • Fine Shredded Raw Carrots : 3/4 cup
  • Fine shredded Onion : 1/4 cup
  • Boiled Potatoes : 2, peeled and mashed
  • Bread Crumbs : 1/4 cup
  • Roasted and powdered Oats : 1/4 cup
  • Roasted and Powdered flax seeds : 1/4 cup
  • Fresh Cilantro Chopped  :1/4 cup
  • Fresh Mint Chopped : 1/4 cup
  • Fresh Jalapeno : 2 chopped fine ( optional)
  • Red chili powder : 1 tsp. ( optional and adjusted to spice level)
  • Garam Masala : 1.5 tsp.
  • Chat Masala : 1 tsp.
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp.

For the outer covering to create the crunchy crust:

  • Bread Crumbs : 1/2 cup
  • Sesame seeds : 1-2 Tbsp.

 To cook :

  • Oil as desired

Method:

  1. Pulse everything listed under the base in your food processor or if not in wide bowl by hand. The idea is to bring it all together to form a wet mass. This is achieved when the wet sticky potato mass combines with the fresh ingredients. You typically will not need any water at all to bring it together.
  2. Make 2 inches flat patties in diameter and about 3/4 of an inch thick out of these and set aside.
  3. Mix everything listed for the crust and set aside. If you do not wish to add bread crumbs but just the sesame seeds, it will bring out the richness and color of beets but you will still miss the crunchiness of it.
  4. Coat these patties  well in the bread crumbs –  sesame seeds mixture. Nope, I did not initially dip it in milk, corn flour paste, flour paste or any such thing. The wetness of the patty was enough to coat the bread crumbs mix..
  5. Note: The patty was wet but definitely not sticky.
  6. In a wide skillet, add a Tbsp. or so of oil  and gently swivel it so it coats the entire surface of the skillet and then heat it . ( A nonstick would be pretty useful here).
  7. Gently place the patties on the heated oil surface and cook for about 5 – 9 minutes. Flip it once in the 4-5 minute interval and gently press down to ensure they are cooked thoroughly but not smushed.
  8. Do cook it in medium high heat. In very high heat just the outer layer would be cooked and you will have soft raw middle.
  9. Serve it with cool yoghurt dip.

Minty Cool Yoghurt dip:

  •  2 cups of Greek / very thick yoghurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup of very finely shredded cucumber
  • 1/4 cup of very finely chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp. of chaat masala
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

 Mix all together and serve!

Option 1 : Yes you can deep fry this.  Yes it will taste absolutely delicious, but man why would you want to do it on a hot spring night and also kill the beets?

 Option 2 :  Baking . I did try baking it on 375 – 400 for about 15 minutes. The pan version yielded better taste though.

 

 

 

 

Ivy Gourd with Black Chickpeas and Cashews / Kadle Manoli/ Tindora and Kala Channa Sabji

# Ode to ED Series

 There is this neat little group called Euphoric delights  that has impressed on me the intricacies of virtual relations and it’s impact on our day-to-day lives. This thriving little place also brought me into contact with many vibrant personalities . And it’s amazing how inhibitions fall off and you discover roots that have interspersed somewhere eons ago. While talking to Sash and discovering about her roots from Mangalore, I could connect to the usage of Jaggery and coconut in so many dishes. Somewhere along , my distant genetic calling from Mysore and Bangalore harked at me to try out this dish’s recipe.

What a discovery and mélange of flavors this turned out to be ! Tender Ivy gourd, sautéed along with boiled Kala Channa which lends the bite to the dish enhanced by crispy cashews . Add in the spices and fresh cilantro chopped and you have a winner on your hands ! I made this along with simple Dal Tadka and Jeera Rice and it was just perfect. I am sure this would be a good accompaniment to soft roti as well.

 Recipe Courtesy : Sashree Shetty

Prep time : 20 minutes     Cook time : 20- 30 minutes   Serves : 4-6

 Ingredients:

  • Chopped Ivy gourd or Tindora:  3 cups
  • Boiled/ Pressure cooked Kala Channa  – 1.5 cups
  • Cashew halves : 2 Tbsp.
  • Oil : 1 Tbsp.
  • Mustard seeds : 1 tsp.
  • Hing : A big pinch
  • Split Urad dal ( white) : 1 tsp.
  • Grated Jaggery : 1 tsp.
  • Fresh/ Frozen  coconut  shredded : 1 Tbsp. ( optional)
  • Dry Coriander or Dhania powder : 1 Tsp.
  • Red chili powder or Kari powder: 1 tsp.

 Procedure:

  • Soak Kala Channa 6 hrs.- overnight and boil or pressure cook it with a bit of salt. You want it to retain its shape but also cooked tender.
  • Cut the ivy gourd  length wise into slim strips or you can use a chopper like how I did and dice it as well.
  • To cut short the cooking time , I steamed the cut Tindora for about 5-6 minutes in the microwave.
  • In a big wok or pan, add the oil. Once heated add the cashew pieces and in a couple of minutes they would be a nice brown  color and sautéed crisp in it. Remove, drain and  set aside.
  • In the same pan with the remaining oil add in the mustard seeds and hing and urad dal. The mustard seeds need to splutter and the urad dal turn into nice brown color before you proceed with the next step.
  • Add in the microwave steamed Tindora and toss it with a bit of salt.  
  • Add in the Kala Channa when Tindora is nearly cooked and toss it with a bit more of salt if required and some chili powder, dhania powder and/ or South Indian Kari powder.
  • If using coconut, add in the tablespoon of fresh grated coconut and the tsp. of grated jaggery, add in the cashew nuts and cook for a minute or so.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro if desired. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

It's yum!

 

Chole (Channa) Masala – Easy, quick and in 2 versions!

#An Ode to ED – A new series that offers a glimpse in to the myriad of recipes that are from my near and dear and those getting to be there. Welcome!

 A few people in your life you end up meeting virtually – as in cyber space. I happened to meet this whackalicious bunch on a group through ED.  A neat little group/forum where people air everything from recipe request to neighbor issues. A melting pot of emotions is what it is! And so began the conversations and finally brought in that one factor that tie most people in together – Food! While we did get talking about it , I was intrigued enough to weasel out  a few ( and in the future maybe more) of their recipes and stories.

 And here I present one such version of Chole/ Kabule channa/ Garbanzo beans.. Call it what you may, but there are enough recipes floating around in the internet to feed you and your family for the next 7 generations with enough twists and variations in each. But that’s the  beauty of such a ubiquitous dish – we all have our own special take on it.

 Presenting one such variation – in Shrad’z words – Awesome Chole for Aloo Tikki.

This is best served with aloo tikki and chutney to provide the tanginess and sass in your dish!

Chole Masala

 Shradz ke Tikki Wale Chole 

 Ingredients:

  • Dry Garbanzo beans (white) : 2 cups
  • Turmeric : 1/2 tsp.
  • Red chili powder : 1 tsp.
  • Chole Masala : 2 – 3tsp.
  • Oil : 2 Tbsp.
  • Amchur : 1/4 tsp
  • Black Cloves : 3
  • Bay leaves : 2
  • Black peppercorns: 2

Method:

  • Soak 2 cups of Kabuli channa overnight or at least for 8 hours in a good amount of water, and preferably in a wide pan.
  • Rinse them well and put to boil in the pressure cooker with a tsp of salt and turmeric and bay leaves, Use a couple of cups of water or as much requires so it boils well in it.
  • Let the chole boil for at  least 5-10 minutes before you pressure cook them in medium to high flame. We need these cooked well and not al dente.  Check them to see if they are cooked to a slightly mushy consistency, then you are done.
  • In a heavy bottomed kadhai add 2 tbsp of oil and the dry spices. Add in the masala as well and then add in the boiled garbanzo beans and stir .
  • Mush in the chole a bit to get the required consistency and add in red chili powder for a bit more for of a spicier version.

To serve:

Best served served over a couple of aloo tikkis garnished with imli and green chutney and fresh cilantro and spices.

 Quick version 2: Jay’s jugaad chole 

  • Garbanzo beans or kabuli channa : 2 cups
  • Big red onion ( diced) : 1
  • Tomatoes : Big red ones : 3-4 ( diced)
  • Chole Masala: 2-3 Tsp.
  • Oil : 1 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp.
  • Bay leaves : 1-2
  • Cinnamon stick: 1/2 inch
  • Black Cloves : 2
  • Green cardamom: 1
  • Fresh chopped cilantro : 1/4 cup
  • Salt : to taste
  • Red chili powder : 1/2 tsp.

 Method:

  • Soak the Kabuli channa or white chole overnight in about 6 cups of water.
  • Pressure cook the chole with a tsp. of salt, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves and green cardamom in about 2-3 cups of water. Once cooked, drain the water and reserve to be added to the stew if desired to bring it to the right consistency. Also remove about 3 tbsp. of the cooked chole aside to be added to the grind mix.
  • In a big saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. of oil and sauté 3/4th of the cut onions until translucent and then add in the chopped tomatoes as well. The tomatoes need to cook well and lose much of its water content. Remove and keep aside to cool for grinding.
  • In the saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tbsp. of oil and add in the remaining 1/4th of the chopped onions and sauté well until translucent.
  • Add in the chole masala and stir it for a minute or two and now add in the  cooked chole. Also add in the reserved stock to bring it to a nice boil.
  • Meanwhile grind the sautéed onions and tomatoes along with the reserved 3 Tbsp. of boiled beans to a smooth paste.
  • Add this to the boiling mix of beans and masala and cover and cook for another 10 minutes on low heat.
  • The resulting mix is a thick stew of beans and gravy and is delectable.
  • Serve garnished with cilantro and a wedge of lime.
  • Goes great with kulcha. rotis,pooris.. or just eat out of a bowl!
Chole Masala served with Kulcha
Chole Masala served with Kulcha

Ricotta Cheese stuffed Parathas – Whole wheat flatbreads stuffed with cheese , potatoes and spices!

I had a whole tub of Ricotta cheese sitting in the Fridge. This is not one measly tub , mind you! One whole big tub of this equals to nearly 3 cups of cheese… Sigh ! Costco shopping can be quite dangerous to me. And to the Fridge ! And to the waistline.. I mean there is only so much kalakkand and caramel cheese fudge I can make..

So there I was staring at the fridge and literally looking at the tub of Ricotta cheese and thinking – I did not buy that ! But you do what you have to do. And dinner was calling in a couple of hours . And necessity is the mother of invention ! With a little help because of the near bare contents of the fridge and little chemistry and more of if-you-are-hungry-you-can-eat-anything-, this one was made.

In any case , this one thing I created on the whim became a huge – I mean it guys… HUGE, HUMONGOUS hit at home !

Ricotta cheese is a bit like the modeling clay you can get in your hands. A blank slate to create what strikes your fancy. This time the tub of cheese became wonderful stuffed Parathas.

This one was awesome and the recipe is a sure shot keeper…

Prep time : 30-45 min   Dough resting time: 1 hr       Cooking time : 45 min      Serves :6- 8

Ingredients:

For the Stuffing:

  • Ricotta cheese : 3 cups cheese,
  • Boiled Potato : 2-3
  • Grated ginger : 1 tsp
  • Turmeric : 1 tsp
  • Salt : 1-1.5 tsp
  • Green Chillies or Chilli powder : Added to taste and spice level
  • Coriander – Jeera powder : 1.5 tsp
  • Garam masala (Optional) : 1.5 tsp.
  • Kasuri Methi : 1 tsp. Crushed well.

For the Dough:

  • Whole wheat flour: 3.5 cups
  • Ajwain : 1 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder / Haldi : 1/2 tsp
  • Kashmiri Chilli pwder : 1/2 tsp
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.
  • Oil : 1-2 Tsp.
  • Very warm water : 1.5 cup + as required

Prep work :

For the stuffing:

  • The ricotta cheese I used, was very very moist and there fore I emptied it out on a wide Corelle bowl, whisked it well and microwaved it for about 7 min initially. The idea is to get rid of the moisture in it, if not we will have a soggy mess on our hands. Since the quantity was nearly 3 cups to begin with, it took me an additional 7 min in intervals to achieve the granular structure of cheese. Now remember , you don’t want it turn brown at all. So keep an eye on it and cook it in stages. Soon you will have very soft and granular cheese. Objective achieved!
  • Boil or pressure cook the potato.
  • Mash them all together with the spices and make 16-18 round big lemon sized balls/globes out of these. 

For the Dough:

  • Knead the flour to get a nice soft pliable dough. Oil the surface of the dough and rest it for atleast an hour.
  • Make about 16-18 sized big globes out of these and keep them covered.
Ricotta Cheese stuffed Parathas - Whole wheat flatbreads stuffed with cheese , potatoes and spices!
Ricotta Cheese stuffed Parathas – Whole wheat flatbreads stuffed with cheese , potatoes and spices!

 

Making the stuffed Parathas:

  • Roll out the dough globe ( by dipping it into the flour if required . Usually dusting the surface of the workspace does the trick ) to a about 5 inches in size or so.
  • Place the smaller globe of stuffing mix in it and cover it . The idea is to tent it beautifully and seams need to be overlapping .
  • Roll it out gently to get a nice big sized disc of about 10-12 inches of size.
  • Heat a flat griddle, and shallow fry it with a tsp of oil on both sides.
  • Serve the sizzling hot brown flat bread stuffed with yummy goodness of cheese, potatoes and spices with a dollop of butter, a side of yoghurt and some delish mixed veg pickle.
  • Pack on the yummy power!
Ricotta Cheese stuffed Parathas - Whole wheat flatbreads stuffed with cheese , potatoes and spices!
Ricotta Cheese stuffed Parathas – Whole wheat flatbreads stuffed with cheese , potatoes and spices!

Dates and Nuts Sugar Free Roll ( Sugar Free Khajur and Nuts roll)

Dates and Nuts Sugar Free Roll- Khajur and Nuts roll… Royal Diwali Mithai with no added sugar and rich with nuts ! A sure crowd pleaser !

This recipe is a slight modification from my earlier one. Last year I had made the Dry fruits and Nuts Burfi and Ladoo.

Without much ado, here it goes. A sure winner in Diwali Mithai list!

                                          Prep time : 15 min                   Cooking time : 10 min                         Setting time : 1 hr                     Yield : 15- 20 pieces 

 

Happy Diwali 2014
Happy Diwali 2014

Ingredients:

  • Chopped Dates : 2 cups
  • Chopped Nuts : 3/4 cup ( mix of cashews, pistachios and walnuts)
  • Poppy seeds / Khus -Khus : 2-3 Tbsp.
  • Clarified Butter / Ghee : 1.5 tsp.

Method:

  • Chop the dates ( I used the sticky seedless kind) to yield about 2 cups of the chopped quantity. About 20-25 dates would yield this depending on the size and quality of the dry fruit.
  • Run it in the blender. This is going to be a slightly sticky mass. Do not over process it or add any liquid to this.
  • In a wok or non stick kadai, toast the poppy seeds on medium heat and keep aside. An easier option would be to nuke it in the microwave for about a min.
  • Also toast the nuts for a min or two. The result is 2 pronged – you get the crunch in the nuts and get rid of the raw edge of it too. Again do not over process it. Remove it and keep aside.
  • Next add in the 1.5 tsp. of ghee or clarified butter and add in the blended dates. Please process this on medium heat for about 5 min or so. You will notice the darkening in the color of the dates and a heavenly fragrance too.
  • Add in the nuts at the stage.
  • Make sure the nuts are distributed throughout the dates base. Now depending on the freshness of your dates, you might need to add in a teaspoon more of the ghee to bind it all together if required.
  • Turn off the heat and remove on to a parchment paper lined plate.
  • Let it cool for just a minute and roll out into logs of your desired thickness.
  • Coat it with the toasted poppy seeds and set it in the fridge for about an hour.
  • Remove, slice the logs to yield thick wedges of this .
  • Result is a delicious slice of dates and nuts without any added sugar!