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.