Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Flavors I love ~ Peppers with Potatoes

Peppers with Potatoes
Green, Yellow and Red ~ For Jihva Bell Pepper Celebration

This is what I used to prepare and take in a lunch box during my 8 to ? job days. The ingredients are common and the cooking process is basic. But the taste somehow exceeds the expectations. I used to like it a lot and still do, though I rarely prepare this “curry in a hurry” now. See if this is per your taste.

Peppers with Potatoes
(makes 2 to 4 meals for 4 to 2 people)

3 bell peppers (green or any color)
8 small, new crop potatoes or 3 regular sized ones
4 tomatoes
1 onion
1-tablespoon ginger-garlic-cilantro paste
1-tablespoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon each - chilli powder and salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
oil or ghee to taste and tadka ingredients

Coarsely chop the listed vegetable to chunks. When I say coarsely, I mean really coarse, about one-inch sized pieces. Onions, tomatoes everything. The size matters here in this dish and adds extra special flavor.

Add oil to a kadai or wide skillet and heat. Add and toast cumin and mustard seeds. Add onion and sauté them to translucent. Add potatoes and tomatoes. Cover the skillet and cook for about five minutes. Moisture from tomatoes creates steamy environment for potatoes to become tender. When they are halfway done, add the bell peppers. Also the listed seasoning. Mix and cover the skillet with a tight lid. Keep the heat medium and continue cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes. Do not add water. When you lift the lid, what you see is soft vegetables in semi-moist consistency. (nothing should be in puddles of water). At this point you are ready to serve.

Tastes wonderful with warm chapatis or rotis and also with steamed rice.

Matta Rice with Pepper and Potatoes

Peppers and Potatoes with Rosematta Rice ~ Meal Today and for Pooja’s Jihva

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Bell Pepper, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Peppers, Baby Potatoes, Jihva For Ingredients (Wednesday May 28, 2008 at 5:37 pm- permalink)
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Potato Curry Puffs ~ A Pictorial

curry puffs

Potato puffs also known as curry puffs are one of the most popular items sold at Indian bakeries. Flaky wrap and spicy filling, people love them a lot. They are prepared with puff pastry like dough, and the filling varies. Common is potato, then there is egg and also chicken etc. Baked to golden perfection, hot from the oven, with coffee or tea, the chat and the laughs - I can see going back to college days.

Thanks to ready availability of good quality puff pastry, I can bake them at home easily. My version has all the flavor and eye appeal of bakery-style curry puffs, but they are smaller in size, hence more figure and finger friendly.

For filling, I prepared potato curry with red potatoes. Boiled the potatoes to tender, and then peeled the skins, cut them to tiny pieces. Sautéed them with tadka seasoning, onions and peas. Added salt, chilli and turmeric to taste. The potato filling was ready.

For wrapping, I used the frozen puff pastry from Trader Joe’s. There are four sheets in one pack, and they were stuck to each other. So I cut them to three strips. Rolled each one to a thin rectangle. Divided again into eight equal portions. Placed a tablespoon of potato curry in each portion, did a roll, and baked them at 350°F for about 15 minutes to golden-brown.

Here is the whole process in images.


Puff Pastry Strip and Potato Curry Filling


Puff pastry strip rolled into a thin rectangle and divided into eight equal portions. Then wrapped around the potato curry filling. (I’ve refrigerated the dough after rolling and after wrapping for about two minutes each time, to firm-up the dough and for sticky free results.


Potato puffs on a baking pan. (I placed the attached ends on the bottom side, so that they won’t open up during baking.)


Baked at 350°F for about 15 minutes, Potato puffs ~ Hot out of the Oven


Potato Curry Puffs with Red Pepper Chutney ~ for Potato Fe(a)st at DK’s

Notes:
Puff pastry doesn’t like heat. Refrigerate frequently and work with firm dough for sticky-free results.

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Wheat Flour (Durum Atta) (Thursday February 21, 2008 at 9:16 pm- permalink)
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Dalma

Chari Phutana and Dried Red Chillies
Chillies and Chari Phutana (Cumin, Fennel, Fenugreek and Mustard Seeds)

Dalma is a popular Oriya comfort food, and prepared with dal-vegetable combination. In dalma, the demure dal becomes dashing, due to a special spice-mix called chari phutana. You know how sunshine can cure winter blues? The chari phutana is the sunshine for this dal-dalma. While preparing Dalma, I realized the reason for the recent negative outburst on my website. Winter blues! No wonder people are cranky. I can’t wait for the spring and sunshine to get here.

Dalma recipe is courtesy of doctor, food writer and nutritional expert, the lovely Nandita of Saffron Trial. You can find her recipe and my photos in January edition of Men’s Health India magazine. I would like to thank Nandita, and Tithi Sarkar, the sub-editor of Men’s Health India for contacting and giving me this photo opportunity.

Dalma with Ruby Red Grapefruits
Dalma with Rice, and Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice ~ to Ease the Winter Blues

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Toor Dal, Chana Dal, Arati Kaaya (Plantain), Vankaya (Brinjal) (Friday February 8, 2008 at 4:44 pm- permalink)
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Aloo Gobi with Kasuri Methi

You know how it is sometimes. You prepare a new recipe, you like it so much, you have to make it again the next day. That’s what happened to me with cauliflower. I loved the gobi I prepared last weekend very much, I made it again today. This time, I also added few potatoes to the pot. The friendship between brain-like cauliflower and belly-like, comforting potatoes is legendary. The fragrant kasuri methi and the sweet golden raisins addition made this lovely friendship even more endearing to me. I can surely say that this is the best cauliflower curry I have ever made next to my amma’s recipe. Good use of cauliflower that’s in season.

Aloo Gobi with Kasuri Methi and Golden Raisins

Recipe:

3 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup, cubed potato
2 cups, finely chopped tomatoes
½ cup, finely sliced onion
Seasoning:
1 tablespoon each - grated coconut, and kasuri methi
½ teaspoon each, or to taste - Turmeric, red chilli powder and salt
¼ cup - golden raisins
For popu or tadka:
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 garlic, finely chopped and a pinch each- cumin and mustard seeds

The preparation is easy. Heat oil in a sturdy pot over medium heat. Add and toast garlic to pale brown, and then cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add onions. Saute to soft. Next goes the tomatoes. Cook them to soft on high heat, and mush them using a sturdy spoon or spatula.

Add potatoes, and cook to just tender. Add cauliflower. Also the items listed in seasoning, along with half cup of water. Mix. Cover the pot and simmer. When cauliflower reaches the tenderness you desire, turn off the heat. Serve the curry hot with rice or with roti.

Kasuri methi adds wonderful aroma, whereas golden raisins soaked up in spices add khatta-metha taste to aloo-gobi. Delightful!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Cauliflower, Methi, Kasuri Methi (Tuesday November 27, 2007 at 5:40 pm- permalink)
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Baby Brinjals and Potatoes

Vankaya~Urlagadda Vepudu:


Brinjals and Red Potatoes ~ Babies Dressed up in Kobbari Kaaram

Last weekend, I purchased these baby brinjals and tiny red potatoes at an Asian grocery shop. Tender and cute, they are about one to one and half inches in size, like small night bulbs. I pressure-cooked the potatoes but for brinjals, following my mother’s philosophy of “less we do, the more the brinjal’s delicate flavor comes through”, I just made two small slits in plus shape and steam-sautéed them. Within ten minutes, the lavender colored brinjals turned to beige and fork-tender. Once the brinjals were done, I just added the potatoes and the kobbari kaaram podi. That’s it, a nice side dish was ready for our meal today.


Small Night-bulb Sized Baby Brinjals and Baby Red Potatoes

Recipe:

Peanut oil - 1 tablespoon
Curry leaves 6, cumin and mustard seeds - Pinch each
Onion, thinly sliced lengthwise - half cup
Baby brinjals (1-2 inches long) - 10, cut in plus shape
Baby red potatoes - 10, pressure-cook or boil to fork-tender
Kobbari kaaram podi - 4 tablespoons
Turmeric and salt - ½ teaspoon each or to taste

In a wide skillet, heat peanut oil. Add and toast curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds. Add onion and fry to soft.

Add the brinjals. Sprinkle about two tablespoons of water. Cover the skillet and steam-saute the brinjals to tender, stirring in-between. The young brinjals turn to fork-tender quickly, in about 10-15 minutes.

Add baby potatoes. Sprinkle kobbari kaaram podi, turmeric and salt. Gently mix and cook another 5-10 minutes on low heat. Serve hot. It’s a good side dish to have with rice and sambar or pappu chaaru.


Brinjal-Potato Saute with Kobbari Kaaram and Tomato Pappucharu mixed with Rice ~ Brunch today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal), Baby Potatoes (Monday August 20, 2007 at 11:38 am- permalink)
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Vegetarian Beet Borscht

Vegetarian Beet Borscht

This vegetarian version of Russian Borscht is a delight to make during summer time, when fresh beets, carrots and potatoes are in abundance at local farmers markets. I also add the cabbage and fresh dill to the pile, following the traditional borscht recipe. The attractive fire-red color is from beets but thanks for the success of this dish must go to the Indian spice-blend and the modest amount of powdered cashews that I usually add. They help to create a rich, flavorful sauce that binds all the ingredients in an endearing way.

Although I have enjoyed the beet borscht as a light soup at restaurants, I usually make it as the main meal of the day at home, by adding big bulky style pasta. Daring liberties are taken with good intentions, so I would like to think the darling people of eastern Europe would approve of my beet borscht.


Red Onion, Lime, Carrots, Beets, Cabbage, Fresh Dill and Red Potatoes ~ From Ritu Bazar for Borscht

Recipe:
(for two adults with a healthy appetite, for two meals)

Beets, carrots and red potatoes - peeled and cubed, 2 cups each
Cabbage - coarsely cut to pieces, about two cups
Red onion - finely sliced, about a cup
4 cloves of garlic - finely sliced
Seasoning:
Quarter cup - roasted cashews, powdered to fine
Quarter cup - fresh dill, finely chopped
Quarter cup - lime juice
1 tablespoon - cumin:clove:cinnamon:coriander powder
½ teaspoon - chilli powder, salt and turmeric (or to taste)
1 tablespoon - ghee or butter
Pasta:
1 cup ( I chose the Trottole pasta for this recipe.)

In a sturdy big pot, heat the ghee or butter. Add and saute garlic and onions to soft. Add potatoes, beets and carrots. Saute for about ten minutes, stirring in-between. Next in line would be the delicate cabbage. When cabbage starts to wilt, add the seasoning - cashew powder, fresh dill, spice blend, lime juice, chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Mix and cook for couple of minutes.

Add in about 6 cups of water. Cover the pot with lid and simmer the ingredients on medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. By this time the potatoes, beets will be turning to tender. Have a taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

Add in the pasta. Cook until the pasta is al dente. Turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Ladle the pasta-beet borscht into serving bowls and enjoy!


Beet Borscht with Pasta and Kiwi Fruit ~ Our Meal Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Cabbage, Beetroot, Suwa (Dill) (Wednesday August 8, 2007 at 7:23 pm- permalink)
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Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts Cookbook Review and Recipe ~ by Veena Parrikar

Veena Parrikar is a dear friend of Mahanandi and me and an occasional guest author on Mahanandi. Her first article was on Iceland. This is her second article, an insightful and engaging cookbook review. I thank Veena for this wonderful contribution!
~ Indira

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There are perhaps as many misconceptions about Indian cuisine as there are restaurants named “Bombay Garden”.

Indian food is tandoori chicken, aloo-matar, saag-paneer, and naan.
It is hot and spicy.
Vegetables are cooked to death.
It starts with frying onions and tomatoes to pulp and ends with a garnish of coriander leaves

One can hardly blame the Western and even some of the Eastern world for harboring these notions. Most Indian restaurants outside India serve the same tired old fare under various guises. The exceptions to these are the upscale “fusion-Indian” restaurants; after all, Indian food cannot be admitted into the Michelin club without a French or “contemporary” accent (pun intended). Over the past few years, South Indian restaurants have slowly gained ground and it is not uncommon to see a Chinese eating masala dosa with her bare hands or a middle-aged white guy slurping rasam at the neighborhood Madras Cafe or Udupi Palace in the USA. The silly notions about Indian food, however, are far from being a thing of the past. For example, the threat of homogenization, albeit of a different kind, hangs heavy like the odor of yesterday’s takeout. The complexity and variation among and within the cuisines of the four states of Southern India (Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu, and Andhra Pradesh) could never be guessed if one were to go by the menus of these South Indian restaurants. Most of them do not stray far from the familiar idli, vada, masala dosa, uttappam, sambar and rasam, with an indifferent nod to some rice varieties, such as curd rice, lemon rice and tamarind rice. Desserts are still “balls in sugar syrup” (gulab jamun), “ricotta cheese in evaporated milk” (rasmalai), or the occasional rava kesari, leaving in the cold a rich repertoire of jaggery-based sweets that is one of the hallmarks of the cuisines of Southern (and some other states of) India.

To be sure, even within India, availability of the authentic, traditional fare is limited to small niche restaurants, special festivals at star hotels, or if you are lucky, at the homes of neighbors and friends from other communities. Your best bet then, is to recreate many of these dishes in your kitchen, with the help of such cookbooks as Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See, Chandra Padmanabhan’s Dakshin, Saranya Hegde’s Mangalorean Cuisine, Saraswat Mahila Samaj’s Rasachandrika, and Jigyasa-Pratibha’s Cooking at Home with Pedatha.

A new addition to this stellar lineup of traditional Indian cookbooks is Ammini Ramachandran’s Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts: Recipes and Remembrances of a Vegetarian Legacy.

Grains, Greens and Grated Coconuts ~ Cookbook by Ammini Ramachandran
Grains, Greens and Grated Coconuts ~ Cookbook by Ammini Ramachandran

Ammini’s book fills a lacuna in the Indian cookbook landscape. Books on the cuisine of Kerala abound; however, most of them have a predominance of seafood dishes. Small wonder then that Kerala food, like most other coastal cuisines, is perceived to be primarily non-vegetarian. One food writer and journalist in India even declared that most Malayali vegetarian dishes are terrible! One knows, of course, not to take such statements without the proverbial pinch of salt, and a large one at that. Having encountered the delectable and varied vegetarian fare of the coastal cuisines of Goa and Karnataka, I had always suspected a similar treasure existed in Kerala. Eating and learning it, was another matter altogether, what with the lack of Kerala-food restaurants, close friends from the state, or opportunities to set forth on a voyage of discovery to its shores. With Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts, some of the vegetarian food of Kerala is now just a coconut (or two) away.

The present state of Kerala was formed by the merger of Kochi (Cochin), Tiruvithamcore (Travancore), and Malabar. Each of these regions, originally Hindu, was subject to varying degrees of Muslim and Christian influences. Accordingly, Kerala cuisine represents the confluence of Hindu, Muslim, and Christian traditions. Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts presents the traditional vegetarian cuisine of central Kerala including some from the Kochi royalty. It is one of the first cookbooks to focus on a Hindu culinary tradition of Kerala.

Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts is one of the finest Indian cookbooks to have been written in recent times. Here’s why:

1. Traditional food, when presented for a worldwide (read Western) audience, undergoes a simplification, motivated largely by the authors’ and publishers’ goal to widen the book’s market reach. Recipes are modified to exclude exotic or not-easily-available ingredients; difficult processes might be eliminated or substituted with commercial alternatives; and dishes that do not conform to the health fad of the day might be passed over. Except for a few dishes, food from Kerala is obscure even to many Indians, leave alone the non-Indian readers. Ammini has barely made any changes to her family recipes, yet her presentation makes them seem extremely do-able. She does not hesitate to include preparations with such exotic vegetables as breadfruit, jackfruit, and suran. Ammini has pulled off a seemingly impossible feat in Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts: she has preserved the originality of her traditional family recipes, and made them accessible to those outside the tradition, without overwhelming the reader with tedious detail. Novice cooks might miss having pictures of the finished dishes; the clarity of instructions, however, make up for this to a very large extent.

2. There is none of the anything-goes attitude to ingredients adopted by many modern Indian cookbooks published in the West. No false assurances are provided about difficult ingredients such as coconut milk. She tells us that coconut milk powder can be used instead, but clearly informs that the taste will not be authentic. We are told right at the onset: “My mother always insisted, “Never skimp on the quality or quantity of ingredients,” and I believe it is the first lesson in good cooking.” This is reflected in the meticulous detail provided in the chapter on ingredients.

3. Ammini’s family recipes create dishes that would go a long way in dispelling some of the popular myths about Indian cuisine. Spices are used in skillful moderation (garam masala powder never makes an apperance in this book), the vegetables and grains hold their shape and retain their flavour, and you will encounter delicate and subtly-flavoured curries that will never be found in a restaurant.

4. There is a detailed chapter on the history and development of ancient spice trade in Kerala, and to those who have not previously enquired into such matters, this chapter offers many surprises. The book also provides a very engaging account of the kitchens, culinary customs, and festivals and celebrations of Ammini’s maiden family. A world that is now almost extinct rises vividly from the pages and for a brief while, you forget the harried and hurried pace of your existence (and the pre-made frozen food in your kitchen). This is a serious yet enjoyable work, not just another cloying food “memoir” that is in fashion these days.

The book has been written for a Western audience, but readers in India will find much of profit. Such ancient traditional recipes do not come by very often. I am no alarmist, but it seems as though our traditional cuisines will soon exist only within the homes of determined souls or in five-star hotels. Even wedding feasts in India - the last stronghold of traditional food - seem to have embraced a global integration philosophy: Mushroom Pasta and Gobi Manchurian now jostle for buffet space with tava vegetables, Spanish rice, and Shahi Paneer.

Our culinary traditions, not unlike our ancient classical music, have been poorly documented for far too long, what with the practitioners jealously guarding their treasures from outsiders for various reasons. With the passing of generations, more and more of this body of knowledge will be lost. We hope there will be many more Amminis, who will not only document their family or community recipes painstakingly and truthfully, but also share it generously with others.

Srimati Ammini Ramachandran
Srimati Ammini Ramachandran ~ Cookbook Author

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Pacha Sambar: Sambar with Fresh Green Spices
(Recipe from Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts)

I was intrigued by this recipe as it did not include sambar powder, and at first glance, seemed similar to some of my daal-vegetable preparations. The finished dish was neither like the familiar sambar nor my usual daal-with-vegetables. With powdered spices (except asafetida and turmeric) as well as ginger-garlic absent, the flavour of toor dal is allowed to hold centerstage, complemented by the freshness of the potatoes, herbs, and lemon juice. I stayed faithful to the recipe as I am wont to do when attempting traditional recipes for the first time. There is a slight error of omission in the recipe, but a missing pinch of turmeric is not a show-stopper.

Recipe:

1 cup toor dal
1 medium russet potato or 3 taro, peeled and cubed
2 medium tomatoes cubed
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
¾ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
¼ cup finely chopped fresh fenugreek leaves (preferred, if available)
or ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek
6 fresh green chilies (serrano or Thai), thinly sliced (less for a milder taste)
4 tablespoons lemon juice

For seasoning and garnish:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 dried red cayenne, serrano, or Thai chili, halved
¼ teaspoon asafetida powder
20 to 25 fresh curry leaves

Ingredients for Pacha Sambar
Clockwise:Toor Dal, Fresh Fenugreek, Tomatoes, Curry Leaves, Green Chillies, Potatoes, Lemons, Cilantro

Wash and clean the toor dal in several changes of water, until the water runs clear. If you are using oily toor dal, the oil must be washed off before starting to cook. Place the toor dal in a saucepan with two and a half cups of water and a half-teaspoon of turmeric powder. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, then turn down the heat, and cook for twenty-five to thirty minutes. (As an alternative, you may use a pressure cooker to cook the dal, following the manufacturer’s directions. It will take about six to eight minutes to cook in a pressure cooker.) As the dal cooks, it should be fairly thick but still liquid; stir in another half-cup of water if it is too thick. Mash the cooked toor dal thoroughly with a spoon, and set it aside.

Combine the potato (or taro), tomatoes, salt, turmeric, and two cups of water in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring it to a boil. Stir in the cilantro, fenugreek, and green chilies. Reduce the heat, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Stir in the cooked toor dal, and simmer for four to five minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Remove it from the heat, and set it aside.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a small skillet, and add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start sputtering, add the halved red chili, asafetida, and curry leaves. Remove it from the stove, and pour the seasoning over the cooked curry. Cover and set aside for ten minutes, to
allow the flavors to blend. Serve hot with rice and a second curry.

Makes 4 to 6 servings if served with another curry, as is traditional.

Pacha Sambar: Sambar with Fresh Green Spices
Pacha Sambar: Sambar with Fresh Green Spices

~Guest Post by Veena Parrikar

Notes:
Ammini Ramachandran’s website : Peppertrail.com.
For a detailed list of contents and exceprts from the book, see www.peppertrail.com.
Grains, Greens and Grated Coconut is available at Amazon.com, iUniverse.com and Barnes&Nobles
Recommend this cookbook to your local libraries
Author and Book Cover Photo Credits: Ammini Ramachandran, Recipe Photo Credits: Rajan Parrikar
Veena Parrikar’s previous article at Mahanandi: Iceland

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Toor Dal, Kottimera(Cilantro), Menthi Kura(Fenugreek), Reviews: Cookbooks, Veena Parrikar (Monday March 19, 2007 at 12:22 am- permalink)
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Tempting Tikkis ~ Alu Tikki (Potato Cutlets)

Alu Tikki with a slice of Tomato, Lettuce and Tomato Ketchup
Alu Tikki with a slice of Tomato, Lettuce and Tomato Ketchup

Dainty, miniature alu tikkis (Potato Cutlets) from India are a delicious and decent snack. Flavorful golden crust on alu tikkis make them irresistible to children as well as adults. The following recipe is kid friendly and can be put together in a short time.

Recipe:
(For eight to ten alu tikkis)

3 big Russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
½ teaspoon each - salt and garam masala powder
¼ teaspoon each - red chilli powder and turmeric
Ghee - 2 tablespoons or as needed

Preparation:

1. Place unpeeled potatoes in a pressure cooker or large pan of water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Drain. Peel as soon as possible, while potatoes are still hot but cool enough to handle. In a big vessel, mash the potatoes to smooth, without any lumps.

2. Sprinkle lemon/lime juice on mashed potatoes. Also add turmeric, salt, garam masala and red chilli powder. Combine thoroughly using a big spoon.

3. Divide the spicy mashed potatoes into lemon-sized equal rounds. Press and shape each portion into a round patty, about your palm size. Keep them side by side on a plate ready to cook.

4. Place a wide, flat skillet on stovetop. Keep the heat medium and season the skillet with ghee. When the skillet is hot, place potato tikkis side by side with gap between them for uniform browning. Cook each side for about 2 to 4 minutes on medium heat until a golden-brown crust forms on top. Remove and repeat the steps to cook remaining alu tikkis.

5. Serve with ketchup or sweet tamarind chutney. Using bread rolls or mini pita bread/naan and with some tomato slices and lettuce, you can also prepare alu tikki burger or an open faced alu tikki sandwich.


Open Faced Alu Tikki Sandwich with Mini Pita Bread and a Glass of Orange Juice ~ Our Midday Snack

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato (Tuesday March 13, 2007 at 9:54 am- permalink)
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Potato ~ Brinjal Curry with Punjabi Wadis Scrumptious Subzis ~ Aloo Baingan Wadi Ki subzi

My temperature got a rise; from a cool 98 it reached 99 this afternoon. No, it’s not another flu attack and I think it is all because of our lunch.

This morning I prepared a special curry. Potatoes, brinjals and tomatoes together cooked with Punjabi wadis. Like Punjabi Sun, wadis - the sun dried lentils and spices mixture, a Punjabi specialty are hot, the kind that makes one warm, tingly and perspire. They look pale brown in color and inside, you will find a maroon colored combination of lentils, like urad dal, moong dal and spices like black peppers, cumin and red chilli. They are ground together and the mixture is sun dried in round shapes. Usually added to curries, they are savory, full of flavor and completely delectable! Just the right thing to have when recovering from a flu attack to wake up those taste buds.

I first heard about wadis at Mika’s beautiful The Green Jackfruit blog. Her description of wadis captivated me. After trying them, I can truly say that their flavor profile is unique and they are quite addictive. Give it a try.

Tomato, Purple Brinjal and Red Potato with Broken Pieces of Punjabi Wadi
Tomato, Purple Brinjal and Red Potato with Broken Pieces of Punjabi Wadi

Recipe:

2 each - red potatoes, brinjals and Punjabi wadis
4 ripe juicy tomatoes
1 onion
1 teaspoon -ginger-garlic-coriander paste (GGC paste)
1 teaspoon - coriander-cumin-cinnamon-cloves powder (CCCC powder/garam masala)
¼ teaspoon each or to taste - red chilli powder, turmeric and salt
1 tablespoon of oil and popu ingredients

Peel the potatoes, wash and cube them to bite sized pieces. Remove the petals of brinjals, wash and cut to one-inch chunks. Add them to a bowl of salted water and keep aside. Break Punjabi wadis (each wadi is usually the size of a big tomato) to 4 to 5 pieces in a cup. Finely chop tomatoes and onion to small pieces.

In a wide skillet, heat oil. Add and saute the broken Punjabi wadi pieces to honey color. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep them in a cup to the side.

In the same skillet, add and saute popu ingredients (half teaspoon each-cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves). When mustard seeds start to jump around, add the onion and cook to soft. Next, add tomatoes, potatoes and brinjal pieces. Stir in GGC paste, CCCC powder, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt along with a cup of water. Mix and cook on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes become tender, stirring occasionally.

Just before turning off the heat, stir in wadi pieces. Cook for another 5 minutes so that they would get softened and absorb the curry flavor. Serve warm with chapati or naans.


Potato-Brinjal Curry with Punjabi Wadis and Garlic Naan

Notes:
Punjabi Wadis are available in Indian grocery shops, here in US.
Recipe adapted from Mika’s The Green Jackfruit

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Vankaya (Brinjal) (Tuesday March 6, 2007 at 2:37 pm- permalink)
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Microwave Potato Chips

Microwave Potato Chips

Yesterday, we were craving for something crunchy, like chips. But because of our present health condition, fried stuff is off limits for few more days for us. What I did was, baked some potato chips using microwave oven, to snack during lunch.

I used a mandoline to cut potato so that the slices will be uniform in thickness, and they would bake evenly. One medium-sized red potato, gave about 20 slices. Arranged them side by side in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Sprinkled some salt for taste and baked them for about four minutes, turning to other side once after two minutes. In crunchiness they came close to deep fried stuff, and in taste, they are more like dehydrated version of potato. Not bad for the four minute effort. Decent taste to quench the crunchy cravings during recovery time, we thought.

If you are going to try, two things you have to be careful for. One, use a mandoline for uniform thickness and maintain minimum thickness. If potato slices are too thin, they will stick to the plate and even though they turn to crunchy, removing them from the plate would become difficult. Two, while microwaving, after you turn them to other side, keep a watchful eye. Cook in 30 seconds interval. Don’t let them burn, as they tend to get really done really fast at the end.

Potato Rounds Ready to get Microwaved
Potato Rounds Ready to get Microwaved

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato (Friday March 2, 2007 at 2:06 pm- permalink)
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Plain Potato Curry for Jihva~Potato

Vijay went through a severe case of flu-like illness last week. It started suddenly with fever and within a day it got worse with 104 °F temperature. We had to go to emergency and after several tests the doctors diagnosis was Acute Viral Syndrome. With prescription Tylenol, fever is under control now and he is recovering slowly. Poor guy, he dropped nearly eight pounds in a week. That bad. Compared to him, I had a very mild case of flu. Mainly I lost appetite. Sonti Kashayam, tomato rasam, plain toordal rasam, orange juice and capsules in-between - that’s all we could manage these past few days.

We are feeling better today and I couldn’t resist participating in Jihva~Potato event hosted from Pune, India by lovely Vaishali Kamath of Happy Burp. I prepared potato curry for lunch. Just plain, light oil and no onion, the variety we usually have on festival days. Nice, simple side dish and good to recover the appetite.


Red Potato ~ Raw, Cooked and Cubed

Recipe:

Boil or pressure-cook 4 medium sized potatoes to tender. Peel and remove the skin. Cut the potatoes to cubes.

In a wide skillet, heat a teaspoon of oil. Add and toast a half teaspoon each - cumin, mustard seeds, dried red chilli pieces and curry leaves. Add the potato cubes. Sprinkle turmeric, red chilli flakes and salt to taste. If you want you can also add fresh grated coconut and garam masala powder to taste. Mix and cook on medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes until potato pieces brown a bit. Serve hot with a cup of rice and dal or rasam.

Plain Potato Curry and Microwave Oven Baked Potato Chips with Plain Toordal Rasam and Rice
Plain Potato Curry and Microwave Oven Baked Potato Chips with Plain Toor dal Rasam and Rice
Our Meal Today and My Entry to Jihva~Potato Event by Vaishali of Happy Burp

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Jihva For Ingredients (Thursday March 1, 2007 at 2:04 pm- permalink)
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Scrumptious Sabjis ~ Methi Matar Malai

Here is an easy meal idea that will taste like you spent hours in the kitchen, when in reality all you would need to do is pluck few leaves, open few packets and grind some masala paste. 10 minutes in front of the stove, the result would be a very comforting creamy curry that is appropriate for family meal or a gathering of friends.

Speaking of friends get-togethers, we were invited a potluck party yesterday and I prepared some sweets with homemade malai. I kept a small cup of malai to the side to prepare this scrumptious sabji today. Store bought evaporated milk or concentrated almond milk/rice milk also works for this recipe. Give it a try.


from Hindi to English - Methi (Fenugreek), Matar (Peas) and Malai (Cream)

Recipe:

Fresh fenugreek leaves (methi) - 1 cup
Fresh peas (matar) - 1 cup
Malai (cream) - half cup
(homemade or store-bought evaporated milk - unsweetened variety)
2 red potatoes - peeled and cubed to bite sized pieces
Salt and turmeric to taste or half teaspoon each
Peanut oil or ghee - one teaspoon

Masala paste: One small red onion or shallot, one inch size ginger, six green chillies, two cloves, one inch piece of cinnamon stick, one teaspoon cumin and quarter cup of fresh peas (peas are added to thicken the sauce) - Grind to smooth consistency by adding half cup of water in a blender.

Heat oil in a wide skillet.

Add and saute the masala paste for 5 minutes on medium heat until the paste starts to turn red.

Now add one after another, first potatoes, then fenugreek leaves and finally peas. Do a quick stir-fry until the leaves wilt.

Add malai (evaporated milk). Stir in salt and turmeric and about 1 cup of water. (I also added a half teaspoon of jaggery which helps to bring out the sweetness of peas. But this is optional.) Cover and cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat until potatoes and peas are cooked to tender and the sauce thickens. Serve warm. Tastes superb with chapatis or with naans.

My latest find is garlic naan from frozen section of Trader Joe’s. One packet is priced at 2 dollars and contains 4 good sized naans which are prepared in India and vacuum packed. We just have to heat them on stove-top or in oven. The flour, the layers, the garlic topping - very flavorful and quality stuff. Well, they are from India. Need I say more?

Methi Matar Malai with Garlic Naan
Methi Matar Malai with Garlic Naan ~ Our Meal Today

Recipe adapted from Vee’s Past, Present and Me

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Milk, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek), Baby Potatoes, Peas (Bataani) (Thursday February 15, 2007 at 2:31 pm- permalink)
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Chayote Curry (Bengaluru Vankaya Kura)

Chayote (Bengaluru Vankaya or Cho Cho)

Cho Cho, Christophen, Mirliton, Xuxu - the vegetable Chayote has more names than any other vegetable, I think. The name changes with ethnicity of grocery shop. In Nandyala, my hometown in India, chayote is sold as ‘Bengaluru Vankaya’. Our tiny town imports this vegetable from Bengaluru (Karnataka) region, so the name. The kind we get has more prominent ridges, unlike the very smooth surfaced ones that’s common here. Pale green and pleasantly sweet, chayotes are favored in curry and sambar preparations in our area.

Although available year round, this is the season, where you would see the prices come down for this vegetable here in US. We can buy 2, or sometimes 3 chayotes for a dollar. And 2 are needed to make a decent portioned curry to eat with chapatis for two people. Often I combine the chayotes with potatoes and carrots to make it more substantial and to last at least two meals for us.

Mild flavored chayotes dressed up in coconut-chilli seasoning and little bit of turmeric, together with potatoes and carrots make a delicious curry and a welcome addition to the meal at any time of the day.

Choyate cut to half, seed removed and diced to cubes
Choyate cut to half, seed discarded and diced to cubes

Recipe:

2 each - chayotes, small red potatoes and carrots - lightly peeled and cubed to bite sized pieces. I usually remove and discard the seed from chayote (see the photo above) following the traditional method. Reason given by elders is that seeds are not good for health. I am not sure how true that saying is but still I follow.

1 tablespoon of fresh grated coconut and 6 small green chillies - grind finely in a spice grinder or in a mortar.

½ cup of fresh green chickpeas (green garbanzos/Hara chana or Choleye)
½ teaspoon each - salt and turmeric

popu or tadka ingredients - 1 tsp each - peanut oil, cumin, mustard seeds and 4-6 curry leaves.

———-

In a wide skillet, heat peanut oil on medium heat. Add and toast curry leaves, cumin and then mustard seeds. When seeds start to jump around, add the green chickpeas. Saut? them for few minutes.

Add the chayote, potato and carrot cubes. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring in-between. Just when they are getting tender, stir in the green chilli - coconut paste, salt and turmeric. Mix thoroughly and cook for few more minutes, covered until the vegetables reach the tenderness you desire. Chayote releases water on cooking and this water helps to tenderize the potatoes and carrots.

Serve warm with chapatis or with naans.


Chayote curry wrapped in chapatis with a cup of yogurt on the side ~ Our afternoon meal

Fresh, green chickpeas purchased from - Indian grocery & and also at Trader Joe?s Frozen section.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Carrots, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Baby Potatoes, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas), Chayote (Cho Cho) (Wednesday January 3, 2007 at 2:02 pm- permalink)
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Brussels Sprouts, Potatoes & Garbanzo Curry

Lonely Brussels Sprout
Brussels Sprout

If cabbage has a mini me, it would definitely look like a brussels sprout, I think. To compensate what they lack in size, they got lot of that cabbage sp(t)unk. Somehow this tiny, tightly wounded veggie brings out the bad in people here. Blah, eew, yuk, is what you hear often with the mention of brussels sprouts. Blanching them whole and buttering them up, I would say yuk too. My way of preparing brussels sprouts is different and cooking curried way makes this winter season vegetable pleasantly pleasing.

For our lunch today, I saut?ed the brussels sprouts with potatoes and fresh green chana (garbanzo/chickpeas). Little bit of chillie and little bit of garam masala, together with sweet taste of green chana - one tasty curry was ready for chapatis.


Brussels Sprouts, Cooked Potato and Fresh Green Garbanzo (green chana)

Recipe:

15 fresh brussels sprouts - outer leaves removed and finely chopped lengthwise
2 medium-sized potatoes - Boiled to tender, skin removed and quartered to cubes
½ cup of fresh green garbanzo beans (green chana/chickpeas)
1 red onion - finely sliced lengthwise
Green chillies to taste or 6 - finely chopped
Garam masala, coconut powder, turmeric and salt - to taste or 1 tsp each
Popu or Tadka Ingredients:
Cumin, mustard seeds, curry leaves - ½ tsp each

In a big skillet, add and heat a teaspoon of peanut oil. Add and toast tadka ingredients first. One by one add and saut? onions, green chillies and garbanzo beans. Add in brussels sprouts. Stir in garam masala, coconut powder, turmeric and salt. Mix. Cover and cook for few minutes until the sprouts start to wilt. Add in cubed potatoes. Cook covered for another 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring in between, until the sprouts reach the tenderness you desire. Keep in mind just like cabbage and cauliflower, brussels sprouts also release unpleasant odor on overcooking.

Serve hot with chapati or with rice.


Brussels Sprouts, Potato, Green Garbanzo Beans Curry

Fresh, green garbanzo beans - Frozen section, Indian grocery & Trader Joe’s
Recipe Source: My own creation

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Chickpeas, Brussels Sprouts (Wednesday November 8, 2006 at 9:22 am- permalink)
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Soymilk Skin (Fresh Yuba) ~ Savory & Sweet


Fresh Soymilk Skin (Fresh Yuba, Uba, Bean Curd Skin, Fuzhu, Foo Pi)

Few months ago, after much hesitation I dared and prepared soy milk at home. The milk was alright, but what I liked most was the skins that would form while boiling soymilk. Do you remember from India, when you boil cows/buffalo’s milk, a thick layer of skin would form on top of boiled milk. You can just lift the layer and eat - Milk meegada or malai, do you remember the taste? Mildly sweet and irresistible because of limited amount. Same thing here with soymilk.

Soymilk skins are much thicker, almost like samosa/wonton wraps. They taste sweet and have a distinct soy smell. What I gathered from the web is that Japanese call this soymilk skin “Yuba” and they are an expensive delicacy. Famously and religiously prepared by Buddhist Monks and used in several Buddhist recipes for its protein richness.

I wanted to try an Indianised yuba recipes and prepared two entries with soymilk skins. A savory and a sweet - Yuba:Potato Curry Rounds and Soymilk Halwa. As entries to IMBB+SHF ~ Soy, hosted by Reid of Ono Kine Grindz. Started the whole process first by preparing fresh soymilk. And then boiled the milk for about an hour. Constantly picking up the milk skins with a chopstick. I wrapped these milk skins around the potato curry and sauteed them for few minutes. With leftover soymilk skins and soymilk, I prepared halwa by adding sugar, finely chopped dates and freshly grated coconut. Simmered the whole thing until it came together like pala kova. Removed to a box and kept it in the freezer to make the halwa little bit firm.

Both the yuba-potato rounds and soymilk halwa tasted superb. Time consuming but worth my effort and I am glad that I tried this ancient classic Buddhist delicacy.

Here is the whole process in images. Enjoy!


Boiling homemade soymilk to pickup soymilk skins (Yuba, Milk Meegada)


Wrapping Potato curry in soymilk skins (Yuba, Milk Meegada)


Sauteing the Soymilk skin (yuba) wrapped potato curry rounds on low heat


Golden colored yuba-potato curry rounds - in closeup


Yuba-Potato Curry Round in fresh soymilk skin (soy paala meegada) with red chilli-garlic powder as garnish


Soymilk Halwa with dates and fresh coconut


More about Yuba - Here and from Egullet
Yuba making - in images
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Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Soy (Tofu, Yuba), Dates (kharjuram), Sugar (Friday June 23, 2006 at 9:33 am- permalink)
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