Eggplants in a spicy Coriander sauce

This is another authentic Andhra recipe that I had tasted at a friends place long back. The fresh coriander leaves and ginger gives this dish a unique flavor, and the combination of silky, tender eggplants when paired with the fresh herbs can not go wrong.

The recipe below is adapted from here, but the only addition I made was that I added onions, and it gave a nice flavor as that is how I remember my friend making this dish.

Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped length wise

2 long purple eggplants

2 cups fresh coriander leaves, chopped

3 to 4 green chillies (adjust according to your spiciness)

1" fresh ginger, chopped

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

For tempering:

1 tbsp cooking oil

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp urad dal

4 or 5 fresh curry leaves

Method:

1) Remove the ends of the eggplants, and cut them up lengthwise into about 1" pieces. Place the chopped eggplants in a bowl of salted water. This will help release the bitterness from the eggplants.

2) Take the chopped cilantro, green chillies, salt in blender and make a coarse paste without water. If you have a mortar and pestle, you can use that.

3) Heat oil in a skillet. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal and when it starts to splutter add the curry leaves. Fry it for a few seconds. Follow it by sliced onions, and fry it until translucent.

4) Drain the water from the eggplants, and add it into the skillet. Sprinkle turmeric powder and salt. Stir fry for a minute or two. Cover the skillet partially, and let the eggplants cook. You can sprinkle little water n between to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. When the eggplants are soft, add the coriander leaves paste, and mix well. Stir fry for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the fresh coriander smell emanates from the dish!!

Serve with rice or rotis!

Onion Pakoras/fritters

Who does not like Onion Pakoras?! It's a perfect tea-time snack on a rainy day, or any other day! Thinly sliced onions mixed along with spices, besan and deep fried till golden can be a treat along side a hot cup of tea! This can be made in a jiffy - whenever I have remaining besan batter left over from deep frying anything, I simply add sliced onions, rice flour, some crushed coriander seeds, and voila, you have onion pakora batter ready to fry!

There are various recipes, but here is my version which is very easy.

Ingredients:

2 medium onion, sliced thinly lengthwise

1 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp red chili powder

1/2 cup rice flour or corn starch (adjust this accordingly)

3/4 cup besan/bengal gram powder (adjust this accordingly)

salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

Method:

1) In a bowl, add the thinly sliced onions, red chili powder, rice flour, besan (bengal gram powder), salt and mix well until everything is combined without using any water. Set this aside for about 10 to 15 minutes.

2) The mixture will be much softer now as onions releases moisture which should be good enough to bind everything together. At this point, add the coriander seeds and crush it a little using a mortar and psetle. If you feel its a bit watery, you can add a little rice flour and mix again.

3) Heat oil in a frying pan, and when oil is smoking hot, drop the onion mixture in small batches, and fry until golden. When done, carefully remove using a slotted spoon and drain on a kitchen paper towel.

Serve hot with Chai!

Andhra style Eggplant fry

Here is another Andhra recipe that my lovely neighbor shared with me. She makes quick, easy recipes that are so tasty! This recipe calls for the least number of ingredients, but the end result is so simply amazing! The eggplants I used in this dish are the thin long purple eggplants, also known as japanese eggplants. My neighbor has grown varieties of vegetables, and she shared a bountiful with us! They tasted so good and fresh which we can never find in the store brought stuff. You can also substitute Eggplants with Green beans, tindora/gherkins etc., and makes an excellent side dish!

Ingredients:

2 Japanese eggplants/Brinjal, thin long ones.

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp red chilli powder

Salt to taste

3 tsp Dalia powder/Fried Gram/Fried Chana Dal

3 tbsp cooking oil

Dalia Powder:

Take 1 cup Fried Gram/Chana Dal and add it into a coffee grinder and make a fine powder. You can store this powder in an air tight container for other recipes.

Method:

1) Remove the ends and cut the eggplants/brinjals lengthwise thinly and then crosswise to about one-inch length pieces. Drop the pieces into salted water. This will prevent the eggplants/brinjals from getting bitter taste. Place it for 5 minutes or so, then drain the water and set it aside.

2) Heat oil in a pan, and when its hot, add the cut eggplant pieces and fry on medium flame for about 5 minutes or so, or until the eggplant pieces are cooked. It should be browned by now a little. Switch off the heat.

3) Take a mortar and pestle; add cumin seeds, red chili powder, and garlic clove and crush until its combined together into a coarse paste.

4) Using a slotted spoon, take the fried eggplant pieces in a bowl. Then add the spice mixture from Step 3 and mix carefully. Sprinkle about 2 tsp Dalia powder, and mix further until everything is combined.

Serve with rice!

Black-eye peas curry or Lobhi curry

Black eyed peas is a light cream colored legume with a dark spot in the center. It has a distinct flavor, and has a very high nutrition value. Its an excellent source of calcium, folate. I make this curry often along side rotis. I often forget to soak the beans, so I end up cooking it directly and I usually cook for a longer time. This is a very easy recipe, and tastes good as well.

Ingredients:

1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked in water

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 gloves garlic, minced

1/2 " ginger, minced

2 tomatoes, chopped finely

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp Kitchen King powder

4 tsp Cooking oil

2 tsp ghee or clarified butter

1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds

Salt to taste

1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped for garnish

Method:

1) Drain the Black eyed peas and wash thoroughly, and pressure cook the beans until soft and tender. If its soaked for couple of hours, it will cook quickly. When its cooked, reserve the water, too.

2) In the mean time, heat a oil and ghee in kadai/pan. When hot, add cumin seeds and let it sizzle. Follow by chopped onions, and fry until golden. Add the minced garlic and ginger and fry for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the raw smell fades away.

3) Now add finely chopped tomatoes, and fry until its pulpy, and you see oil separating at the edges.

4) Add red chili powder, Kitchen king powder, turmeric powder, and fry for a minute or two.

5) Now add the cooked Black-eyed peas along with water reserved about 1 cup or so. Add salt and mix well. You can mash the beans a little so the curry thickens naturally. Adjust the spice level.

6) Garnish with coriander leaves

Serve with rotis or rice

Oven Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli

What do you do when you have 1 head of Broccoli, and a small head of Cauliflower lying in the fridge! You oven roast it -Yes! When you roast these two wonderful veggies, the end result is a tasty snack! This is a very easy recipe to put together. You will need a handful of ingredients and you will have a healthy and guilt-free snack ready! You can serve this along side Rice and rasam, too and will make a perfect meal in itself! You can use one vegetable at a time, and do this, but since I had to clear up the vegetables, I used both of these.

Here is what you need:

Ingredients:

4 to 5 cups of cauliflower Or Broccoli florets. (washed and dried)

Few shakes of pepper

3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced finely 2 tbsp olive oil Salt to taste

Method:

1) Pre-heat the oven to 400 degree F.

2) Cut Cauliflower Or Broccoli into florets, and then place it in a single layer in an oven proof baking dish. Toss the garlic, and drizzle the olive oil. Sprinkle with Salt and pepper and mix it well.

3) When the oven is pre-heated, place it uncovered and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is slightly brownish. When done, remove from the oven and serve hot. Some people also add lemon juice, and when ready, sprinkle generous amount of parmesan cheese.