The options were innumerable. Endless counters of almost every cuisine dotted the lush green lawn under a starry clear chilly night. A big fat Indian wedding settles for no less. Star restaurants and myriad masterchefs cater and treat you like royalty, kids usually go berserk in places like these.
Their dilemma ranges from picking a variety of chocolate fountains to fresh hot clay oven pizza to live pasta counters to dozens of steaming hot dimsums….
So when she pointed to a certain stall, I was surprised. I asked again if that was what she wanted. A humongous, thick red hot iron griddle hosted a variety of luscious mean looking vegetables on it. The man behind the griddle kept an active hand in tossing turning and serving the spice coated stuffed veggies. Okras, baby brinjals, potatoes, jalapeno, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli.. some stuffed, some marinated, all grilled on a flat thick red hot iron griddle! We love this spicy Indian side, eaten with soft hot phulkas or Indian bread. But for a 7 year old to ask for it? Perplexing!
Apparently she had eaten it sometime earlier in some other ceremony, with my mother. You know how grandmoms are…. they give all the food that we eat to kids to taste, whereas girls nowadays(this includes me!) are weary of trying anything new. We want them to eat healthy and nutritious all the time. Or we worry that a particular food might be too oily or too spicy. But my mom encourages her grandkids to try everything. Let them decide, she says.
Her newfound love forced me to try this vegetable dish at home. And oh! I pass with flying colors 🙂 I pick some of her favorites, like okra, mini brinjals, potatoes and mushrooms. Fresh, tender and preferably small ones work best for this recipe.
sautéed garlic, onion and tomatoes makes a yummy stuffing. There is another one too.. where the dry masala and spices are roasted, powdered and then filled. But for this post I stuck to the onion tomato mix.
I got a huge batch of baby brinjals. The tinier the better.
She reserves a bunch of them just for herself, insisting, to be given in her lunch box the next day.
- 2 cups of your choice vegetables, like baby brinjals, mushrooms, bell peppers, baby potatoes, okra, jalapenos
- 2+ tsp oil
For the stuffing:
- 1 tsp oil
- 1.5 minced onions
- 6-7 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2-3 green chilies, minced
- 2 big red tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric pwd, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp garam masala
- salt to taste
- juice of 1/2 a lime
- 4 tbsp chopped coriander leaves – yes! the more the better. Adds amazing flavor.
For the stuffing –
Heat oil in a wok, once hot, crackle cumin. Throw in onions, garlic and green chilies. Saute till onions turn brown. Add tomatoes at this stage, along with all the dry masalas. Cover and cook very well till all the oil leaves the sides. It should not be of gravy consistency but that of a semi dry thick masala.
Season with salt, lime juice and coriander leaves. Mix well. Keep aside.
For the stuffed tawa sabzis –
Wash all the vegetables and wipe them with a towel to remove any excess water.
Using a sharp knife, make slits on brinjals, okra, jalapenos and potatoes. Make sure the slits do not reach the end of the vegetable. Just deep enough to fill the yummy masala.
Once the slits are made, using a small spoon, stuff the pre made, cool masala into it. Heat a flat-iron griddle, spread a tsp of oil. Place stuffed vegetables(only as many as can go on the tawa, don’t over-crowd) neatly on the hot griddle. Now, focus completely, keep tossin and turning the veggies till they are cooked.
Remove from griddle and serve hot with Indian rotis or flatbreads or rice or even on bread!
Note: Do not over crowd the griddle. If you have many veggies to be sauteed, then do so in batches.
Note: Do not slit mushrooms. Remove the mushroom stalk, scoop out a bit more, then stuff your masala. If you go to slit the mushrooms, they will all fall apart.
Roasted fresh veggies, hot chappathis, a bowl of curd and some salad by the side, a complete meal.
The following pic is styled and photographed by my spunky 7 year old. She insists on laying them on one side… make them sleep, she goads. Carefully she loops the heavy camera around her neck and under my vigilant eye, she clicks.
‘Put it up’ she orders. I comply. 🙂