April 29, 2009

Avocado Yogurt Dip

I have taken quite a liking for Pita Chips off late. They are incredibly delicious, addictive & easy to make & is so much healthier than a bag of potato chips.

These fresh from oven triangles pre-brushed with olive oil & coated with herbs pair up with dips really well, & makes a crunchy munchy snack.

I had a ripe Avocado craving for attention, not wanting to make the usual Guacamole or Salsa, I tried my hand at Avocado Yogurt Dip


It turned out creamier than the usual guacamole because of the addition of yogurt. Ground cumin & thyme did add a dash of fresh taste.

If you have guests coming over, this is perfect party material.

You Will Need:

  • 1 Haas ripe avocado
  • 3/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 red onion - finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped green chillies
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 garlic clove - minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Method:
  • Cut the avocado lengthwise into halves. De seed & scoop out the avocado from the peel & put it into a large mixing bowl.
  • Mash the avocado with a fork. Make sure to retain a few chunks.
  • Add chopped onions, green chillies & garlic
  • Add yogurt & salt & mix well
  • Sprinkle ground cumin & dried thyme
  • Cover the bowl with a lid to prevent oxidation
  • Refrigerate for 30 - 40 mins for the flavors to infuse

Serve with Pita chips, tortillas, veggies or even use in sandwiches as a spread .. Enjoi !!!

NOTE:
  • Bury the Avocado pit in the Guacamole before refrigerating it. This will prevent Guacamole from turning brown. Do remember to remove the pit before serving :)
  • If you don't have yogurt, you can use sour cream instead

This goes to Mahimaa's Event 15 Minute Cooking !!!

April 23, 2009

Aloo Palak - Not Quite The Typical Way

While I love most Punjabi curries, there is something I dislike about a typical Aloo Palak or a Palak Paneer. Yes, its the pureed spinach gravy Iam talking about. Iam not too fond of digging into this green colored gravy somehow, But I really do love its taste

So, to make my job easier, I've found an easier way of making Aloo Palak, quite not the typical way . . I let the chopped spinach leaves & onions remain rustic. They add a nice little bite.


If you are not too fond of the green looking gravy, don't give up on this awesome dish, Try it this way. This one's a real time saver & is a boon if you are having a lazy day. It was a winner in my kitchen, Iam sure it will be in yours too . . .

You Will Need:

  • 4 large potatoes - cubed
  • 2 cups spinach - washed & chopped
  • 1 onion - finely chopped
  • 4 - 5 green chillies - low to medium spiced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt as per paste
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala (Optional)
  • 2 tbsp oil

Method:

  • Heat a tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add cumin cumi seeds & allow them to splutter. Add slit green chillies, grated ginger, turmeric powder & allow them to sizzle for a while. Do not let this get burnt
  • When done, quickly add chopped onions & saute till the onion turns pink
  • Add potato cubes & a tsp of salt & mix well. Add another tbsp of oil, cover with a lid, & let it cook on medium flame. Keep mixing in between to avoid the potatoes from getting burnt
  • When the potatoes are half cooked, add chopped spinach & add about 2 tbsp of water & mic well. Cover the lid again & let it cook. Check for salt
  • Once the spinach leaves are wilted & potatoes are completely cooked yet firm, turn off the stove. Add Garam Masala & Mix Well

Serve HOT with Rotis .. Enjoi !!!

April 11, 2009

South Indies - A Series on South Indian Cuisine

This year around, I plan to start a series on South Indian Cuisine. Why South Indian ?? In my opinion, South Indian Cuisine is quite an under-rated one. I often meet people who think South Indian food is all about Idli, Dosa & Sambar. Surprisingly, South Indian cuisine has much more to it than these obvious ones, Apparently, it is among the world's richest & most varied cuisine.

I am from the South & I love my roots. Ever since I entered into the blogging world, I have always wanted to showcase South Indian Cuisine in a way appealing to the rest of the world. I was really really inspired by this upscale restaurant in Bangalore, called South Indies which serves exotic vegetarian South Indian cuisine in a contemporary style. I was very impressed with the food there, & What I really loved was the concept behind it.

Since there are a very few attempts made to showcase South Indian cuisine on the same pedestal as North Indian food or probably Punjabi cuisine, here's my attempt attempt to do the same in my own small way & a sincere one at that


South Indian cuisine is distinguished by greater emphasis on rice, which is a staple grain, ubiquity of sambar & Rasam, liberal use of coconut, tamarind, & curry leaves.

Even though, coconut, red chillies, tamarind & jaggery are the most commonly used ingredients across the 4 states, each of them have their distinct tastes & methods of cooking. I will be showcasing recipes from 4 beautiful Southern States,

-- Andhra Pradesh -- Karnataka -- Kerala -- Tamil Nadu

This is NOT an event per se, but will be featured as a regular series. I look forward to recipes, ideas & contributions from my blogger friends & other readers as well. I will hand pick a recipe, either my own or from contributions sent & will feature it every fortnight/month depending on the response.

I do hope, many of my non-South Indian readers will be inspired to cook some real nice recipes, South Indian Cuisine offers.

Mail your recipes/ideas/suggestions to vegetable.platter@gmail.com

Stay tuned for a cuilnary journey, Southwards . . .

April 3, 2009

Pindi Chana - Chickpeas Cooked in Rawalpindi Style

Sometimes you find some really great recipes in the unlikeliest of places don't you?? I don't know if it happens to you, but I seem to get some lovely stuff at such places, more often than not.

Like I said before that, I found the recipe for Chana Dal Tadka at a restaurant in Paris, & I discovered some great Chettinad Biryani in Goa, This time around I found the authentic recipe for Pindi Channa in a cooker booklet.


Pindi Chana is not your your usual Chana Masala like I had thought. For once, it does not have the quitessential onion-tomato gravy. It has the tangy Dry Mango powder along with Pomegranate seeds which gives this dish a whole new kick. And the dark brown hue comes from tea bags

Here's Pindi Chana for you in true Rawalpindi style.

You Will Need:
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas/chana - soaked overnight or atleast for 5-6 hours
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 4 Green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch stick of cinnamon
  • 2 tea bags ( use only Orange Pekoe )
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder/amchur powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • A small piece of ginger - grated
  • 4 green chillies - slit lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp desi ghee/clarified butter
  • Salt as per taste
  • Onions & cilantro for garnish

Method:

  • Pressure cook chickpeas in 3 cups of water along with tea bags, cinnamon stick, cardamoms, cloves & a pinch of salt. Once cooked, discard tea bags & whole spices, drain excess water & set aside
  • Dry roast Pomegranate seeds & cumin seeds & make a fine powder
  • Heat desi ghee in a wok, add green chillies, grated ginger & saute. Add coriander powder & garam masala. Add ground pomegranate-cumin seeds mixture & saute for a few seconds
  • Pour this evenly over cooked chickpeas. Heat this mixture until smoky & excess water had evaporated. Keep mixing in between
  • Transfer to a serving bowl & garnish with onion rings & cilantro

Serve with any Roti/Rice Dish of your choice. Enjoi !!!


What I really loved about this is that lovely tangy taste from Dry Mango Powder. The absence of onions, tomatoes & garlic was a welcome change. We had our with some Jeera Rice & we loved it completely.

This tastes so good on its own that it could be had as a starter/Chaat too.