After a long eventful break, I’m back with my signature concoctions with a twist of California! Well, sort of…

The boxes have gone out of sight; we cheated at unpacking and I have a ton of stuff in the garage! But the useful things are out which make our new house, a cozy home. Most importantly, the kitchen is back in business and I’m also back to blogging from the other coast of the country. In the upcoming posts, I promise to bring you California-inspired concoctions, as I explore my new neighborhood and my new state!

In the first few weeks as we were settling in, I made some simple but unusual jhatpat subzis for lunch and dinner. When it comes to cooking day-to-day food, I like to play with the ingredients once in a while and make something different, for a change. It certainly adds fun to my cooking and a pizazz to the everyday dishes!

Bhindi with Caramelized Onions

(Indian-style Stir-fried Okra with Caramelized Onions)

Crispy bhindi is my go-to recipe for a quick fix meal with okra. This time, however, I came up with a rather unusual way to make this vegetable. By caramelizing onion in the hot oil before tossing the okra into the frying pan, it adds a mellowed sweetness to the dish. To compliment it’s subtle flavor, I didn’t season it with any spices but just some salt, coarsely ground black pepper and chopped fresh chili peppers for a little kick.

Serves 2

1 medium red onion, sliced into ¼ inch long, rings separated out

½ lb okra, cut into 1 inch thick slices at an angle (I recommend using fresh okra)

3-4 tbsp oil (canola, sunflower, corn, vegetable)

2-3 bird’s eye chillies (See Concoctions 101 for more info), cut in half at an angle

salt

fresh ground black pepper

fresh cilantro/coriander, finely chopped for garnishing

Heat oil in a frying pan or kadhai over medium flame. Add the onion rings  and toss to coat with oil. Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir-fry for about 8-10 till they turn golden brown.

Add then okra, chopped chilli peppers and season with salt and black pepper. Continue sautéing for 5-10 mins on medium heat, stirring every now and then to make sure okra cooks but still has a slight crunch to it.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve on the side of rice or hot rotis.

Green Beans with Corn and Grated Coconut

I love green beans and I make a couple of different Indian-style stir-fries using them – a Maharashtrian recipe with chopped roasted peanuts and a South Indian version using a generous amount of grated coconut in it. Both variations are mildly spicy and highlight the natural flavor of the vegetable.

This time, I put a spin on the South Indian classic by tossing in frozen corn kernels along with the beans. The dish has a subtly sweet with the addition of corn but still maintains its original light and refreshing flavor.

Serves 2

½-¾ cup frozen corn, thawed

½ lb green beans, cut into 1 inch long, at an angle (I recommend using fresh, but cut frozen would work fine)

2-3 tbsp oil (canola, sunflower, corn, vegetable)

½ tsp mustard seeds (rai/mori)

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 pinch asafoetida (hing) (See concoctions 101 for more info)

4-5 curry leaves

1-2 dried red chillies

½ cup of grated coconut (fresh or frozen, thawed)

salt, to taste

fresh cilantro/coriander, finely chopped for garnishing

Heat oil in a frying pan or kadhai over medium flame. Add mustard seeds along with the turmeric powder, pinch of asafoetida, curry leaves and dried red chillies. When the seeds splutter, add the corn and green beans. Turn the heat up to medium high and stir-fry for a few of minutes. Season with salt.

Continue sautéing for 10-15 mins on medium heat, stirring occasionally to make sure the beans cook but still retain a slight crunch and also don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with rotis.

Mushroom Kheema

(Spicy Curry of Minced Mushroom with Peas)

Kheema is a spicy, more of a dry curry or stew made with any kind of minced meat like chicken, goat, lamb or beef and peas. I’ve made a vegetarian version of the “kheema” before many times by substituting the meat with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) crumbles and it’s delicious. This time, I decided to play with some mushrooms and it turned out surprisingly amazing! Not only was it yummy, but it was also ready in less that 30 mins!

If you are not a fan of mushrooms, you can always use cauliflower and I promise, it will taste just as good.

Serves 2

½ cup frozen peas, thawed

½ lb white or button mushrooms, minced (If you don’t like mushrooms, use cauliflower instead)

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2-3 tbsp oil (canola, sunflower, corn, vegetable)

½ tsp mustard seeds (rai/mori)

½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 pinch asafoetida (hing) (See concoctions 101 for more info)

½ tsp cayenne pepper or red chilli powder

1-2 tsp garam masala

½ cup chicken/ vegetable stock or water

salt, to taste

fresh cilantro/coriander, finely chopped for garnishing

Heat oil in a frying pan or kadhai over medium flame. Add mustard and cumin seeds along with the turmeric powder and a pinch of asafoetida. When the seeds splutter, add the onion and sauté for a few mins till it becomes translucent. Season with salt, cayenne pepper and garam masala.

Add the peas, minced mushrooms and stock or water. Cook uncovered for 10-15 mins on medium heat, stirring occasionally till the moisture is absorbed and the veggies soften.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with rotis.

Print Friendly

Comments via Facebook

comments

6 thoughts on “back in business

  1. I love mushrooms =) (probably one of weird few people). I always used to wonder what to do with a whole packet, since I am the only one who eats it. Now I know! Thanks Vaas, I’m going to try the Kheema.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *