Saturday, 24 September 2011

Masala gobhi (Indian styled spicy cauliflower)

Would I mind receiving a cauliflower (gobhi ka phool) from V on a valentine day or any other romantic occasion? I think not! So much better than those hybrid flowers which are just for show. Unlike odourless roses and carnations, it is what it promises to be- beautiful and delicious. Plus, we could have a romantic dinner of masala gobhi and parantha too if he gifts me a gobhi ka phool . Are you listening V? ?
Beautiful! Isnt it?

So, with the help of recipe tips from my mother and mother-in-law I started to make it. I have previously made cauliflower with potatoes (aloo-gobhi), but this time I wanted it to be spicier and with a little gravy too.

Masala gobhi (Indian styled spicy cauliflower)
Gobhi (Cauliflower)-10-12 medium sized florets
Potatoes- 2 medium sized
Tomatoes- 3 medium
Onions- 2 medium
Ginger- paste of 1" piece
Garlic- 2 cloves
Green chillies- 2
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Coriander powder- 1.5 tsp
Cumin powder- 1 tsp
Powdered red chilly- 1/2tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Garam masala (Indian spice mixture)- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Cooking oil- 3 tbsp
Water- 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves- for garnishing

Peel the potatoes, cut them into long pieces. Chop the tomatoes finely. Cut the onions into 4 big pieces each and puree these with garlic cloves and a green chilly. In a kadahi (deep frying pan), heat the oil and add cumin seeds. Lower the heat and add, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder and turmeric. Stir this spice mixture for a minute. Now, add pureed onion and ginger paste. Stir this mixture for about 2 minutes on low heat. Now, add the potatoes and some salt and stir to coat the potatoes with the spice and puree mixture. Cover the kadahi with the lid and let it cook on low heat for about 7-8 minutes. Remove the lid, stir the contents and then add the cauliflower florets. Stir the florets into the spice and potato mixture so that they are covered with the spices. Cover the kadahi again and on low heat let it cook for 5-6 minutes. Remove the lid and check whether the florets have become tender. The cauliflower should retain some crunch. Next, add the chopped tomatoes, give them a stir and then add the water. Place the lid again for about 1-2 minutes. Add garam masala and mix. Garnish with chopped coriander and a green chilly cut into two length wise. Tastes best with hot-off-the-tawa chapatis or paranthas.

Isn't your mouth watering already? At least mine is! I am thinking of making some delectable gobhi paranthas for tomorrow's dinner. What I find most amazing about this vegetable is that it's so versatile, you can make paranthas (Indian flat bread), pakodis (Indian gram flour fritters), sabzis etc and the end results always look gorgeous!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Kaddu ki Sabzi (Indian styled pumpkin)

Having fed ourselves to our hearts' content at Subway, we thought of skipping the usual dinner at home. Our mistake! We underestimated our satiety centres; it was at 7 PM that we had the subs and by 9:30 PM we started to feel hungry again! So I opened the fridge to check what could be cooked easily and I found a pretty pumpkin staring back at me :).
Pumpkins and I go a long time in past. I associate it with two distinct memories; one of festivities in my childhood house and the other of picnic by the river Ganges near my hometown. Both the events had pumpkin being eaten in large quantities with puris and kachoris. Its strange when you think, how a humble vegetable can stir up so many memories and make you feel nostalgic.
Coming to the recipe part now, I took help from my mother (who is a great cook herself). It is quite simple to cook it and it's really amazing to see how with such few efforts the sabzi looks and tastes so great.

Kaddu ki Sabzi (Indian styled pumpkin)
Kaddu (Pumpkin)- 500 grams
Fresh green Chillies- 2
Dried whole red Chillies- 2
Sesame seeds (White)- 1/2 tsp
Nigella seeds (Kalonji)- 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida- 1/4 tsp
Dried mango powder- 1/2 tsp
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Mustard oil- 2 tbsp

Peel and chop pumpkin into bite sized pieces. Chop one green chilly into small pieces and slit the other one into two parts lengthwise. Break the dried red chillies into small pieces. Next, heat the mustard oil in a deep pan till its smoke point. Reduce the heat, add the dried red chillies and all the seasonings except dried mango powder, sugar and salt. Add the chopped green chillies. Stir it for a minute. Next, add the pumpkin and stir it to coat it with the oil and the spice mixture. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes or till the pumpkin pieces become soft and can be easily mashed. Add the dried mango powder, salt and sugar and stir it for a minute so that it becomes a little mashed. Garnish with the green chillies cut lengthwise. Serve with Indian breads like parantha or roti.
This simple yet tasty preparation is full of antioxidants. So try it soon!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Stir fried Szechuan vegetables

Its neither because of V's constant coaxing nor is it because of the creativity issues (the lack of) in my life that I am starting a blog of my own. There is rather a very simple reason behind it, which is- I have recently discovered my love for cooking. I have very lately realized that it is something that I enjoy doing all the time; it soothes my senses, allays my tensions- a total stress buster! 

Although I truly love spending my energies in the kitchen, I must admit that I am a novice as of now. Thus the name of the blog :). I hope that I can, in good time change the name to 'a Veteran's kitchen' but till then I am going to share my freshman tales of experiments in the kitchen.

To start with, today I made Stir fried Szechuan vegetables. Being the Chinese food enthusiast that I am, I keep experimenting with different sauces, styles and ingredients. V is not very fond of Chinese cuisine but he loved this one. It would be blowing my own trumpet but it was actually very nice. Having lots of exotic vegetables at hand was definitely a contributing factor (Courtesy: There is something that I do before cooking anything new; a lot of research. I ask anyone who can tell me about the recipe and the nuances, I do a thorough online search and then finally with some personal tweaks I do what suits the occasion best. 
So here it goes:

Stir fried Szechuan vegetables
Baby corns- 4 pieces 
Zucchini- 1 (about 8" long)
Broccoli- 10-12 florets
Egg plant- 3 small sized
Cabbage- a quarter of a medium sized bulb
Carrots- 2 medium sized
Garlic(crushed)- 3 cloves
Ginger(shredded)- 1/2" piece
Dried red chillies(crushed)- 3
Sesame seeds(white)- 1tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Chinese salt- 1 tsp
Szechuan stir fry sauce (Ching's secret)- 3 tbsp
Cooking oil- 3 tbsp

Cut the Baby corns, broccoli, cabbage and carrots into equal bite sized pieces. Cut the egg plant and zucchini into round thin slices. Stir frying involves stirring the vegetables at high heat and is done quickly so it is essential that the size of the vegetable pieces are approximately equal to cook them uniformly. In a large wok at medium-high flame heat up the oil, season it with garlic, red chillies and sesame seeds. When the garlic starts to turn brown, add the baby corns, carrots and the egg plant stirring constantly. After 2-3 minutes, add broccoli and zucchini and stir for 2-3 minutes. Finally add the cabbage and stir for 2 more minutes. Add the Stir fry sauce, salt and the chinese salt. Stir for a minute more and serve sizzling.
I would suggest, just try it out with any vegetables that are in the fridge. It is pretty easy to execute, tastes wonderful and looks gorgeous when served!

I don't have a very good picture since it was taken from my cell phone as the camera has some technical problems.