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कारल्याची भाजी / Karlyachi Bhaji / Bitter Gourd Stir Fry in Maharashtrian Style

5 different tastes in one bite! It's a culinary master piece!

I have always told people who asked me about my favorite vegetables that I love Karlyachi Bhaji and especially the way my mom makes it. The surprise on their face made me feel proud for earning brownie points for being a good kid who eats all vegetables, including bitter gourd.

Any preparation of bitter gourd will have a pronounced bitter taste and it should, it’s not easy to mask bitter taste but it plays well with well chosen ingredients. This particular preparation which uses tangy tamarind, nutty peanuts, creamy coconut, sweet jaggery and spicy Goda Masala is a classical example of Marathi cuisine from Konkan region.

karlyachi bhaji

I was very happy with my attempt to mimic  mom’s magical taste. The best reward was that my husband really enjoyed it, which was quite a shock for me!karela with Goda masala

Karlyachi Bhaji

Karlyachi Bhaji

5 tastes in one byte! It's a culinary master piece!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. If you are using ready made tamarind paste, skip this step. Else, in a small bowl add 1 spoonful of tamarind and some water, microwave it for 10 seconds and let it sit aside.
  2. Wash bitter melons and cut them length wise, if you see any bigger seeds remove them with a spoon or inner side of a peeler. Now chop them into smaller equal sized pieces.
  3. Add these chopped pieces to a bowl with some water and add 1 tbsp of salt, mix it well. The salt makes the bitter gourd release some juice and it takes away some bitterness. This step is optional but highly recommended.
  4. Now in a kadhai / heavy bottomed pan, heat some oil.  I use peanut oil and it works really well for this dish.
  5. Prepare phodani or tadka, by adding mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, hing and turmeric powder.
  6. Now add bitter melon pieces by removing all the water. If you like squeeze out the water as much as you can.
  7. Stir fry it for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Now add ground peanuts, grated coconut, tamarind paste and mix it well.
  9. Add red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder, Goda masala and finally some salt. Mix everything together and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  10. Add jaggery, cook it further for 2 minutes.
  11. Adjust the amount of jaggery / salt as per your taste.

Enjoy it hot with poli or fulka! Bon apetite!

bitter gourd stir fry

Maharashtrian/ Subji / Curry

भरली भेंडी / Bharali Bhendi / Bhindi Masala / Okra Masala

Last time when I travelled to India, Cathay Pacific served bhindi masala for lunch. In my humble opinion, if people don’t know how to make bhindi that should just refrain from it. As soon as I reached home, the first thing I asked my mom to make was “भरली भेंडी / bharali bhendi”. It’s called “bharali” because it’s stuffed with masala. Disclaimer – This recipe is not same as Punjabi Bhendi Masala. This is truly a Maharashtrian version and if you ask me it’s the best version 🙂

Bharali Bhendi / Bhindi Masala

Bharali Bhendi / Bhindi Masala

Little heavy on oil but totally worth it!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Wash bhendi and let it dry completely. 
  2. Make slits so that you can stuff the masala inside. Cut it into halves lengthwise so that it's easy to eat.
  3. In a small bowl, prepare the masala by mixing everything together except for salt.
  4. In a medium pan, take oil and make tadka by adding mustanrd seeds, cumin seeds, hing, curry leaves and turmeric powder in that order.
  5. Now stir in stuffed bhendi and let those cook properly.
  6. Sprinkle salt and mix it lightly. Make sure the masala doesn't come out.
  7. Keep it covered for 3-4 minutes. 
  8. Once bhendi becomes soft and masala is cooked, it's ready to serve hot with rotis.
This dish demands a bit more oil than usual cooking but it's totally worth it. Also try to use a non stick pan in order to avoid sticking-at-the-bottom problem.

It is a good source of Protein, Riboflavin, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium and Manganese. Read More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2498/2#ixzz2CRq5FNaA

Indo-Chinense/ Subji / Curry

Veg Manchurian

Indo-Chinese cuisine is like American-Italian which you can get only outside China and only in India! It’s that unique. A perfect blend of Chinese ingredients and Indian spices so made to order! Here is one of such classic recipes – Vegetarian Manchurian.

Here is the recipe by one of the most renowned chefs – Chef Nilesh Limaye. Hope you will enjoy it.

Punjabi/ Subji / Curry/ Superfoods/ Winter Special

Methi Malai Mutter with Cashew Cream

Winter is here and so is the smell of fresh Methi leaves. Fenugreek, widely known as “Methi” in India, is a leafy vegetable with small green leaves mainly grown in winter. It’s the bitter taste of its leaves and seeds that makes it so unique.

Methi Malai Mutter as the name says, is rich and flavorful. The slight sweetness of green peas (mutter) and the richness of cream (malai) well compliment the bitterness of methi leaves.

Methi Malai Mutter

Since I didn’t have cooking cream, I decided to use a healthier and an easily available  alternative – cashew cream and the result was outstanding. You have to try it to believe me. Here is what you need.

Methi Malai Mutter

Methi Malai Mutter

An aromatic combination of fresh methi leaves with green peas cooked together in cashew cream sauce.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Separate the leaves from stem and wash them well. Sprinkle some salt and keep them aside.
  2. In a small bowl, take cashews and poppy seeds and let them soak in milk.
  3. In a small pan, mix all dry masala (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black peppercorns and 1/2 tsp cumin seeds) and roast them lightly for 2-3 minutes on low flame.
  4. Add roughly chopped onion, freshly grated ginger, garlic, green chilies and 1/2 tsp cumin seeds with a pinch of salt in a grinder and make a smooth paste.
  5. Heat a medium pan and add 2 table spoon of oil. Once oil becomes hot, add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and let them crackle.
  6. Meanwhile, squeeze out all the liquid from methi leaves and give them a quick chop. Add these leaves to the oil and cook them for 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Once done, remove the leaves from the pan and keep aside.
  8. Add remaining 1 tb spoon oil to the pan. Now add the onion-garlic paste and fry it nicely for 5-6 minutes.
  9. Strain the milk and add cashews and poppy seeds to grinder and make a smooth paste. Add few spoons of milk if needed.
  10. Add this cashew cream to the pan and fry for 1 minute.
  11. Heat the leftover milk and let it simmer.
  12. Add the fresh garam masala (the roasted masala finely powdered) to the pan and mix well.
  13. Add the milk and some water to adjust the consistency.
  14. Add thawed green peas or boiled if using fresh.
  15. Add fenugreek leaves and mix well
  16. Add salt, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of turmeric and let it come to a boil.

Tips -

  • When you soak the cashews in milk, microwave it for 30 seconds, so cashews absorb the milk quicker and become tender.
  • Once the subji is done, sprinkle a pinch of kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) of additional aroma.

 

Maharashtrian/ Quick n Healthy/ Subji / Curry

Vangi Batata (Eggplant Potato curry) Unbeatable!

Eggplants in Creamy Sauce loaded with Healthy Fats!

I have adapted my mom’s recipe of “bharli vangi” (भरली वांगी) to make it super simple and extremely delicious. The one thing I like about eggplant is it’s readily available in all grocery stores and this curry does not need any special ingredients. It’s super easy and super delicious.

Ingredients

5-6 medium sized eggplants
2-3 small potatoes (optional)
For masala -
1 tb spoon cumin-coriander powder
2.5 tb spoon peanut powder (दाण्याचे कूट)
1 tsp kala masala (गोडा मसाला)
1 tb spoon shredded coconut
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp sesame seeds (roughly powdered)
1 tsp tamarind paste (or tamarind chutney) or 3-4 Aamsul pieces
1/2 tsp jaggery
for tadka (फोडणी)
1/2 tb spoon oil (just enough for tadka)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds,
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp hing powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

Method:

The original recipe does not contain any potatoes so feel free to omit them. I sometimes add potatoes to increase the quantity.

Potatoes take more time for cooking, so start with them first. Wash potatoes and dice them in cube sized pieces.

In a medium sized pan, heat some oil and prepare tadka with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing and turmeric. Add potato cubes and mix well. Let them cook for 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, you can cut washed eggplants into cubes. Keep them immersed in water with a pinch of salt. That avoids the discoloration. Transfer these eggplant pieces to the pan and also add few spoons of water.  Add tamarind paste or aamsul and let them cook for a minute or so.

Now we add the masala – Peanut powder, roughly grounded sesame seeds, red chili powder and kala masala.

Also some salt to taste. Add fresh coconut. (Dry coconut works too.) Add some more water to maintain the consistency. Let it boil for few minutes until all veggies are cooked nicely.

Once done, turn off the heat. Add jaggery and mix well. It’s ready!

Extra Credit –

I like to use तिळाची चटणी (dry sesame seed chutney), कारळ्याची चटणी and also जवसाची चटणी (flax seed powder) These seeds together with coconut provide a lot of healthy fats and also make super creamy sauce. As you can see, it requires very little oil to make this dish 🙂

Maharashtrian/ Rice & Dal/ Soup/ Subji / Curry

पालकाची ताकातली भाजी (Palakachi patal bhaji)

Spinach goodness with Garlic tadka in one pot dish

This is yet another Maharashtrian classic recipe. Spinach cooked with buttermilk and besan (chick pea flour), ginger and green chilis, chana daal and peanuts for added crunch; topped with garlic tadka; you cannot go wrong with this one. I  enjoy it with rice, bhakri or even like soup. It’s quick and delicious.

 

Ingredients

a bunch of spinach - washed and chopped
1-2 tea spoon grated ginger
1/2 cup yogurt or buttermilk
4-5 tea spoons besan (chana daal flour)
3-4 tea spoon chana dal
3-4 tb spoon peanuts (ground nuts)
4-5 green chillies - chopped.
3-4 aamsul / or 1/2 tea spoon tamarind paste
1 tea spoon sugar
For tadka -
mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing, turmeric curry leaves, garlic, green chillies
and oil/ghee
salt to taste

Soak chana daal and peanuts in water for an hour so that they cook faster. It’s better to use non-roasted peanuts as they absorb water nicely and taste better when cooked.
Get water boiling, add chopped spinach leaves, peanuts and chana daal and grated ginger and aamsul. Use just enough water to immerse spinach. Let the spinach and daal cook for 5-7 minutes. In another bowl, whisk yogurt and besan and add it to the cooked spinach, let it simmer for another 3-4 minutes. I like to add one/two chillies while the spinach is cooking and rest I use in tadka.

Nest step is to prepare tadka and add it to the cooked spinach. I prefer Ghee to oil for this dish. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and if you like, add a few coriander seeds. Once they start splattering, add hing and turmeric powder and then garlic and green chillies and curry leaves. Add this seasoned ghee/oil to the spinach mixture. Add salt and little bit sugar. The “patal bhaji” is ready.

A little bit of sugar nicely compliments the tangy touch added by aamsul. The garlic tadka makes this simple dish out-of-this world! i

A Quick Note –
To maintain the nutritional value of spinach, it’s important not to overcook the tender leaves. Add spinach after daal and peanuts are cooked, spinach takes hardly 2-3 minutes of cooking time.

Sending this to Kiran‘s “Cooking with Whole Foods – Spinach” event hosted at cook’s joy.

Maharashtrian/ Subji / Curry

Moong, Kale Chane, Chavali Usal

Usal is a very common main dish in Maharashtrian homes and especially useful when you don’t have a full pantry. It contains any sprouted grains such as moong, kale chane or Chavali (black eyed peas) mixed together with sautéed onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic. The special Maharashtrian touch comes from Goda masala + grated coconut and a bit of jaggery.

This recipe can be used for any grains or combination. The other day I didn’t have enough moong or kale chane so I mixed them and it turned out just perfect!

You need to soak moong and kale chane overnight and preferably use warm water. I used Kepra’s Onion Garlic Masala with some homemade Goda masala. You can easily get these in Indian stores.

Moong Kale Chane and Chavli Usal

Moong Kale Chane and Chavli Usal

The same recipe applies to matki usal.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

I use two special masalas- Kanda lasun masala (Onion-garlic)  and Kala or Goda masala. Both are easily available in Indian grocery stores. You can also use whole garam masala if you like.

  1. Mix all sprouted grains in equal amount of water in a pressure cooker, add whole Garam masala and a small piece of raw onion with 1 tsp of salt and cook for 3-4 whistles. Mixing whole Garam masala and onion while cooking really induces nice flavors.
  2. Usal does not need much oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing powder in order to heated oil. Add chopped garlic and curry leaves and onions. As usual add some salt to make the frying process quicker. Saute the onions till they become translucent, now it’s time for grated ginger and diced tomatoes. Smash the tomatoes as they start cooking.
  3. Lower the heat and all the masalas. I used onion-garlic masala. (This could be very strong and may overpower other flavors so taste it first) and Goda masala for the taste of home cooking! Add chili powder and salt to taste. Make sure this mixture is not dry which can cause masala to burn easily.
  4. Mix everything and add water as needed.
  5. Add shredded coconut, and let it boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add a bit of jaggery (or sugar) and squeeze some lime juice for just a punch it needs to be perfect.
  6. Garnish it with freshly chopped coriander. It’s ready!

Sprouted grains make up for the lack of protein in vegetarian diet, so enjoy yourself!

South Indian/ Subji / Curry

Potato Subji with South Indian flavors

Quick and Easy with flavors you don’t want to miss!

Urad daal and curry leaves are very prominent in South Indian preparation. The two ingredients add distinct aromas making any dish instantly tempting.

Potato Subji with South Indian Falovors

Potato Subji with South Indian Falovors

The south Indian flavor is infused by Urad daal and curry leaves.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

A frying pan works better than a deep pan or kadhai due to larger surface area.

  1. Prepare tadka in a pan over medium flame.
  2. Add urad daal to tadka. Let the daal turn golden brown.
  3. Next goes red chilies and finely chopped ginger and turmeric powder.
  4. It’s time for curry leaves, let them fry for a minute.
  5. And then add chopped potatoes. Sprinkle some salt. Mix well and let it cook for 4-5 minutes with lid on.
  6. Remove the cover and let them cook further.

Garnish with fresh coconut and chopped cilantro.

Tip –

The subji tastes better if potatoes become slightly crispy. Once potatoes become tender, remove the cover and let them cook further for a two – three minutes. This way potatoes don’t become soggy.

Maharashtrian/ Spring - Summer Special/ Subji / Curry

मटारची उसळ / Mattarchi Usal – Greenpeas in Green Curry

Luscious green curry sure to seduce your taste buds!

We had a small get-together at our place and my mom had made “Mattarchi Usal”. I still relish those moments, the taste is still alive in my memories. After a long time I tried to recreate it with slightly different ingredients. It’s very easy to make and doesn’t require any special ingredients. I am sure you will enjoy it as much I did.

 

Matarchi Usal

Matarchi Usal

Yet another traditional Maharashtrian recipe!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Make a fine paste with coconut, cilantro, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, ginger and garlic. Add some water if required.
  2. In a cooking pot, heat oil.
  3. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing.
  4. Add turmeric powder if you like. Add curry leaves and red chillies cut into halves. Fry for another minute.
  5. Now add the green paste and let it cook until the paste starts leaving oil.
  6. Add salt as per taste.
  7. Add green peas and enough water to maintain the desired consistency for the curry.
  8. I like to add 1 or 2 star anise while the curry is boiling, but make sure you take them out once done.
  9. Let the peas cook for 10-15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and sugar.

Serve with hot bread slices or rotis.

Side Note

Traditionally the green paste is made using heavy stone grinder and it’s called “Watan वाटण” in Marathi. Needless to mention, it tastes wonderful and also makes the dish very aromatic.

http://www.fotopedia.com/items/everlasting-rXz8uvQVpnU

Sending this to ‘Flavors of Maharashtra‘ event hosted by SeduceYourTasteBuds and Simply.Food

 

Entertaining/ Subji / Curry

Pav Bhaji – Yum O!

Pav bhaji is my weak point. It tastes best when you have it at a road-side place or not-so-healthy place It was a long time since I made it so when we invited Kandy for dinner, pav bhaji was our first choice. He loved it. This is how I made it.

Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji

Ingredients:

Instructions:

If you are not making khada pav bhaji, roughly chop green pepper, carrots and potatoes. Add these veggies and also cauliflower florets to a pressure cooker with enough water to soak all veggies and let them cook for not more than 3 whistles. Add some salt and whole garam masala to the pressure cooker, if you like.

While that’s happening, finely chop onions and tomatoes, and also garlic and grate ginger. Heat oil in a big pan. I like to add some Amul butter with the oil, but feel free to skip this step. Add cumin seeds, don’t wait long till you add garlic else cumin seeds start burning. Let the garlic pieces turn brownish and then add onion. Add some salt which helps quicken the frying process. Once onions are done, add tomatoes and let them cook down. Add tomato puree, if you have it.

At this point, you are ready to add the masala. Add red chili powder and half of pav bhaji masala and let that mix nicely with the oil and rest of the ingredients. Don’t let it become dry, add some water if needed. And now it’s time for all other veggies and green mutter. If you are using frozen mutter, you can add them directly to the pan else you might want to cook them in advance. Drain the water and mash down the veggies using a wooden / steal masher. That’s makes that process very easy and add it to the masala. Also add the water you used for cooking the veggies. Now add salt and more masala if you like and let it come to a boil with lid on. Let it simmer for a few minutes and keep the lid on to lock down all flavors.

 

Now comes the best part, just before serving, heat some butter in a small tadka pan and add some pav bhaji masala and let it fry nicely. The smell is out of the world! Add this masala butter to the bhaji and mix it. That’s makes it restaurent style.

 

Garnish it with chopped onions mixed with finely chopped cilantro and lemon juice! Enjoy with hot toasted pav and be gentle with the butter, just for that day

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