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.

Pooris with Green peas and Tender cashew usli

Green peas and tender cashew usli is a tasty combination, and when its paired with hot piping pooris, its makes it even more worthwhile. Growing up, my bapma and amma used to make this usli when shelled green peas was available in abundance, and they also added few cashew pieces which made it even more tasty! The sweetness from the tender peas, and the wholesome cashews along with a hint of spiciness makes it a perfect combo with hot pooris. You can also have this along side chapathi/rotis. In this recipe, I used the dried cashews with skin on that I got from India. This has to be soaked in hot water for sometime, or if you have microwave, it can cooked in be microwaved for 3 or 4 minutes, and then when its easy enough to handle, peel the skin off, and then add it into the saucepan. You can use the dried ones, too, but it will need to pre-cooked so the texture is a bit soft.

Below is the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups Frozen green peas or fresh peas

3/4 cup tender cashews, peeled and cooked

2 green chillies slit

1 red chilli (torn into pieces)

½ tsp mustard seeds

2 tsp cooking oil

5 curry leaves torn into pieces

¼ tsp asafoetida/hing

2 tbsp coconut gratings

Salt to taste

2 tsp Jaggery/brown sugar

Method:

1.In a microwave safe bowl, add the tender cashews with enough water and heat for about 4 minutes or so. When done, remove and set aside, and then when its cooled, peel off the skin and wash well.

2.In a sauce pan, add the frozen peas and sufficient water and cook until done. Add the slit green chillies, too.

3.When the peas are cooked, add the cooked cashews, coconut gratings, salt and brown sugar and mix well; cover and cook further for about 2 minutes. The usli must be soupy, so add water as necessary. Switch off the heat.

4.Then, take a small pan and heat oil. When hot, add mustard, seeds and when they start to sputter, add curry leaves, asafoetida and few tron red chili pieces and add it to the cooked peas, and combine well and cover. Server hot with Pooris.

You can find the recipe for Poori here

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Okra or Ladies Finger Chutney

Here is a lip smacking Okra aka Ladies Finger chutney recipe from Andhra Pradesh. My neighbor who is from AP makes authentic Andhra chutneys, curries, and she had shared this tasty chutney few days back, and its as authentic as it can be. Both my husband and I were intrigued at first by the ingredient as we could not guess what vegetable she had used. So, when I asked her, she said its 'Okra Chutney', which was totally a new recipe for us! This chutney is spicy, and the flavor from the roasted garlic, and green chillies gives it a nice kick and makes it appetizing!

When I asked her for the recipe, she was very kind enough to come to my place and offered to prepare it for us! Its such a quick recipe, and goes very well with rice and rasam with a dash of ghee.

Ingredients:

1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera

4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly crushed

10 to 12 green chillies, slit

4 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

3 cups of okra/ladies finger, chopped into small pieces

Method:

1) Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a pan, and add the cumin seeds. Fry until it sizzles. Follow with Garlic and fry that for a minute. Now, add the green chillies and sauté until its fried well, takes about 2 minutes or so. Remove this from the pan and add it in a mortar and pestle. Add little salt and crush it until it forms a coarse paste.

2) Add the remaining oil in the same pan, and add the chopped Okra/ladies finger, and fry well on a medium heat. It should be slightly brown in color. It took me about 5 to 6 minutes. Switch off the heat, and add the fried okra into the mortar and pestle along with the crushed garlic and green chili paste, and combine everything with a spoon and crush till it looks like a coarse paste. You can also add a tad bit of tamarind when crushing the mixture.

NOTE: I used my wooden mortar and pestle what we call 'kolmbula', and its perfect for these kind of recipes.

Serve with rice and rasam. Enjoy!

Coffee Cake with Crumb topping

I have no idea how I forgot to post this wonderful Coffee Cake recipe. I had baked this couple years ago when my parents were here visiting us. I always loved coffee cake in Starbucks, but since its loaded with sugar and calories, I always tend to stay away from it. The rich taste and the crumbly topping makes it a heavenly delight.

I got the recipe from Joy of Baking. I absolutely love this site, and anytime I have to bake something, this is the first web site I visit, as her recipes are always easy, and tasty! I have made some small changes to the original recipe. I did not have chocolate chips so I completely skipped it. I also reduced the quantity of sugar for the cake itself as I don't like it too sweet. And, in the original recipe, it calls for an electric mixer. I don't have one so I used my hand and whisked the ingredients. She also layered the crumb topping and the cake mixture in multiple layers, but I did not - I simply did only one layer, and it tasted heavenly!

Ingredients:

For the crumb topping

1 cup walnuts or pecans

1/4 cup light brown sugar

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp all purpose flour

For Coffee Cake

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C), and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray a 9" pan.

2)For Crumb topping:

Place the nuts on a a baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the nuts are fragrant. Be careful not to burn it. Once cool, chop it coarsely. Then, in a mixing bowl add the chopped nuts, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and flour. Mix well and set aside.

3)Now for the Coffee Cake:

a)In a bowl, add the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set this aside.

b) In another bowl, add the softened butter, sugar and beat well until its fluffy. This might take time if you are using your hand. Then, add the eggs one at a time, and continue to beat. Add the vanilla extract, and the sour cream/yogurt and mix well until everything is combined. Now, slowly add the dry ingredients (mentioned under (a)) and mix only until everything is combined.

4) Now, pour the cake batter into the greased pan (I used a glass dish, and it worked perfectly for me) and smooth the top portion with a flat spoon or spatula. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of the batter.

5) Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Once done, remove from the pan, and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Indo-Chinese Lo Mein

Here is another easy Indo-chinese lo mein recipe that I tried some time back, and this is definitely a keeper. The tangy spicy sauce, and the crunchy vegetables stir fried along with noodles makes this dish appetizing and wholesome. I say wholesome because I load it with veggies, and use Whole wheat noodles so the nutrition quotient is high.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb whole wheat linguine or any other noodles that you prefer

1/2 tbsp Soy sauce

1 tsp red chili powder (adjust the spice accordingly)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2" ginger minced

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp Maggi tomato garlic sauce (this sauce is the key to the recipe)

2 cup Vegetables such as bell peppers (capsicum), green beans, carrots, scallions, broccoli chopped length wise

1 medium onion, chopped length wise

Salt to taste

Oil for cooking

P.S

- Adjust the Maggi sauce, red chilli powder, salt and brown sugar accordingly. Just make sure you taste the sauce prior to adding it into the pan and the taste should be very spicy, a bit sweet.

Method:

1) In a mixing bowl, add the soya sauce, red chilli powder, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and the Maggi tomato garlic sauce. Mix this well and set aside.

2) Mean while, bring a pot of water to boil, add salt, and boil the noodles al dente, drain, and set aside as well.

3) Then, heat a wok, add sufficient oil, and fry onions till golden. Then, add the veggies like capsicum, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, scallions etc., and stir fry on high. Then, add the sauce that we mixed at step 1.

4) Finally, add the cooked noodles and combine everything well on a medium flame.

That's it! This is a simple recipe but a keeper for sure.

Homemade Mango Ice Cream

I have been hooked to this delicious ice cream for about 4 months now. Ever since my little one started enjoying Mango ice cream, I was determined to try it at home. I googled and found so many recipes, but it was really challenging to find one that I thought I could try at home, not because the recipe did not appeal to me, but for the mere fact that it was my first attempt at making ice-cream at home! But after reading David Lebovitz's blog, I got a little confident and then tried a recipe that I found. The first recipe I tried had Milk, heavy whipping cream, condensed milk and mango pulp. The recipe seemed good to me, and I was all set to prepare using the Braun Hand blender I had. And, guess what! The result was pretty darn good! However, I must admit that the condensed milk is really not required in ice-cream, IMO.

So, the next time I tried, I sticked to just Milk, Mango pulp and Heavy whipping cream, and the result was great! I found the ice-cream to be just perfect, not too sweet, which is what we prefer.

The Ice-cream mixture ready to freeze!

Ingredients:

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 30 Oz can mango pulp

2 cups whole milk

Method:

1) Take a wide and deep pot and add the whipping cream and blend it using hand blender on high for about 3 to 4 minutes until the cream thickens and fluffs up.

2) Then, follow it by adding Mango pulp and blend again on high until its combined with the cream.

3) Add the milk and blend again on high for about 3 to 4 minutes. The final product after blending these 3 ingredients should be thick, similar to dosa batter.

4) Take a freezer proof dish that has a lid and pour the ice cream mixture, and place it in the freezer. Then, as it starts to freeze near the edges, remove it from the freezer and stir it vigorously with a whisk, or use the hand blender and beat well and break up any frozen ice crystals. Return to freezer, and continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes and follow the same procedure for at least 4 to 5 times. This will make the ice-cream smooth and creamy. It will take at least 4 to 5 hours for the ice-cream to set.

Enjoy!

Poori Kurma


Kurma is always considered the best accompaniment with Pooris or rotis. The rich aromatic gravy with assorted vegetables makes it a delectable and appetizing dish. There are various recipes to make kurma but the basic ingredients are whole spices, and coconut blended into a smooth pasted and then added into boiled vegetables.
Growing up we loved visiting Diana in Udupi every other weekend and Poori Kurma was one dish I always loved to order. The rich and aromatic gravy and the piping hot pooris was one of the best dishes on their menu. I never miss an opportunity to visit Diana even to this day, if I am in Udupi. Here is my attempt to recreate this mouth-watering dish.

Ingredients:

2 cups of assorted vegetables (Peas, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, cauliflower)

For Masala/Paste:

1/2 cup fresh or frozen coconut
1/2 cup or 1 small chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2" ginger chopped
3 or 4 green chillies
2 red chillies (dried)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
4 Cloves
2 Cardamom
1/2" Cinnamon
1 tsp poppy seeds or Khus khus
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish

Method:

1) Cook the vegetables in about 2 cups of water and set aside.

2) In a blender, add all the ingredients mentioned under 'Masala/Paste' and grind into a smooth paste using little water.

3) Now, add the blended paste into the cooked vegetables and bring it to a boil. Add salt and mix well adjust accordingly.

4) Finally garnish with coriander leaves and switch of the heat. Serve with pooris/rotis.

Andhra Chicken Curry

This is a classic Andhra Chicken curry recipe. A very good friend of mine Mrs. P, who hails from AP shared this recipe with me, so it can't get any more authentic than this. She is an awesome cook herself, and whatever simple dish she whips up with the most basic ingredients tastes just simply amazing, and I keep asking her for recipes. I don't eat chicken or any other meat except sea food (very limited) and eggs here and there. I have been cooking chicken for my DH, though, and every time I try a new chicken recipe, its always an experiment on him, and I honestly have no clue how its tastes and I simply have to trust his opinion. My DH, my BIL and few other friends who have tasted this recipe always gave me a thumbs up! The aromas from Fenugreek leaves Or Mint leaves (whichever you choose to use) makes it aromatic and gives that nice flavor. In the recipe below, I have not used cashew-milk paste, but P said if you want a more rich gravy, then you can grind handful of cashews along with milk and add it instead of water. I am yet to try it, and I am sure, it will only make the gravy more creamy and rich!

Ingredients:

1 Kg chicken, cleaned and cut into small bite size pieces (I used the ones with bones)

3 medium onions, finely chopped

2 or 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped

2 tsp ginger garlic paste

4 cloves

2 cardamom

1" cinnamon stick

1 bunch mint leaves OR 1 cup fresh fenugreek/methi levees cleaned and chopped coarsely (I have also used 1/2 cup Kasoori Methi (dried leaves) when I was out of Fresh Methi and it worked fine, too)

4 tbsp cooking oil

salt to taste

3 tsp red chilli powder or more as per the spiciness you prefer.

1/3 tsp turmeric powder

For Marinade:

Marinade chicken in a bowl ahead of time with about 1/3 cup yogurt, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste for about 30 minutes. Longer you keep, the better it is.

NOTE: Make sure to fry chicken very well before adding water. Also, for a rich gravy, grind some cashew pieces with milk and add when adding the water.

Method:

1) Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. When hot, add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick and fry for a minute. Then, add finely chopped onions and ginger garlic paste and fry until nice and golden. Add mint OR fenugreek leaves and fry for few minutes.

2) Add tomatoes and fry until it starts to melt. Add haldi/turmeric and red chilli powder and fry until the oil starts to leave from the side.

3) Add marinaded chicken pieces and fry until the chicken is brown and oil starts to come from the side. Now add water, salt and mix everything well. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with rice or naan.

Spicy Coriander Mint Pulao

Here is another recipe for a spicy and delicious pulao. This recipe uses fresh herbs such has Cilantro Or Coriander leaves and Mint leaves along with other spices. It gives a nice green color, aroma and a nice fresh flavor. This is an easy one pot meal that can be served for lunch or dinner along side raita. This is a favorite in my household. The below recipe makes 5 to 6 servings.

Ingredients:

11/2 cups Basmati rice, washed and drained

Vegetables about 11/2 to 2 cups like carrots, green peas, beans.

Water less than 3 cups, may be 2.5 so the rice does not get over cooked.

1 large onion thinly sliced

1 small tomato, chopped (optional)

1 Bay leaf

Salt to taste

2 tbsp Cooking oil

1 tbsp Butter or Ghee (clarified butter)

1 tbsp cashews

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Make a paste using below ingredients:

1 cup Coriander leaves with stems, cleaned

1/4 cup Mint leaves, cleaned

5 Green chillies or as per desired spiciness

2 garlic cloves

1" Ginger

2 tsp Fennel seeds

5 Cloves

2 Cardamom

1" Cinnamon stick

2 tsp chopped onion

Method:

1) In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and ghee (you have to be liberal with oil so the rice does not stick to the bottom). When hot, add onions and cashew pieces and fry till the onion is golden brown.

2) While that is browning, make a smooth paste of all the ingredients listed under 'Make a paste using below ingredients:' using little water and set aside.

3) When the onion is nice and golden, add this paste and fry on a medium heat until the paste is cooked through and you see oil leaving the sides (takes about 10 mins or so). You must fry this paste really well. At this, point add turmeric powder and fry for a minute or two.

4) When the paste is fried and cooked through, add vegetables and stir fry for another minute or two.

5) Now add the rice and gently mix everything together. Add water, salt and check the spice level and mix again. Pressure cook for 1 whistle and then turn off the heat; this makes the rice grains separated and cooks evenly. Serve with your choice of raita.