Kadai Vegetable, Restaurant Style

Quintessential Kadai Vegetable

Quintessential Kadai Vegetable

Location: A simple Indian home in the 90’s housing a calm, tolerant and mostly busy mother, a loving, indulgent father who never entered the kitchen or helped in any of the housework and three feisty spirited young girls with mind and tongues of their own.
Act 1: Pre Lunch preparation for some random guest.
Scene 1: Girls fighting for the sole spare burner in the hot messy kitchen of this noisy raucous house.

She: I need that kadai, you always try to take things that I need. Give it back, right now.
Me: I took it first, so I get to make my dish first.
She: You are so mean, the moment I said I want to make my curry now, you jump in with this crap. So Wicked!! Me(proving her point, with a wicked grin): Yes!! Need to be.. with irritating sisters like you!!

. . . More rumbling grumbling, a tug here and a pull there and finally mother’s discordant yell settles it. She wins. I get to use the burner when she is done. And I knew very well.. she will take her own sweet time to make that horrid spicy vegetable melange, the recipe of which she refuses to part with.

I seethed and fumed. Threw a fit and a fuss. Refused to do my bit and walked out sullenly to the comforts of my room. Blocking my ears with earphones and all that unbearable noise and camaraderie of sister-mother, I impatiently wait to be called by mother. Now this was routine.

Sisters, with not many years parting them, fight like cats and dogs. And whats also routine is, the dismissed child expecting to be appeased by the decisive parent. So, I waited.

Till mother comes to assuage, let me fill you in the workings of this mad house. We are three girls, young, noisy, controlling, fighting yet extremely loyal and always in support when we have to tackle the big bad world outside. And when we entertained we always helped. Helped in tidying up the house, though it was given to the youngest one – who didn’t have a choice but listen to two ruling prevailing sisters. Helped in the kitchen… gladly choosing our signature dishes( which by the way never changed) to cook and present to our esteemed guests 🙂

So mother makes what she usually makes best and that which requires massive effort and experience. I keep experimenting and trying something new every time and she, she cooks one curry, every time – for the next 5 years 😉 Though, to be fair, that spicy masaledaar Vegetable curry had many takers and much appreciation, made me so resentful and envious that I would refuse to put a morsel of it in my mouth. Sigh! How immature you would say. Yes, I do agree. But we were teens waiting to be appreciated and admired at the drop of a hat. Well! no amount of slickness from me could get hold of the highly guarded formula either.

Complete Meal

Complete Meal

Well, several acts and scenes later, and of course not to forget, age, marriage and kids later, we behave like how sisters ought to behave 🙂 Like real ladies.
Bridges shortened, holes mended and love reignited, we now switch ideas in managing work, house and kids, not to forget over-grown babies called husbands. And of course we swap recipes 🙂

And for that spicy masaaledar vegetable kadai, which I so vehemently dismissed as Horrid!! In truth, every bite was relished albeit far from the sisters prying eyes. So when I made it a point to feature on my blog and asked for the recipe, It was no surprise that a wonderful detailed mail waited for me, along with exhortative suggestions to do some mean photography with her prized signature dish!

Restaurant style gravy

Restaurant style gravy

Kadai Vegetable is a fiery mix of of vegetables simmered in a thick delicious gravy. Ideally the entire dish is made in an hard iron thick bottomed kadai or a wok, hence the typical name.

Easy alternative to paneer

Easy alternative to paneer

The recipe:

Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups diced vegetables ( par boiled) – I used carrot, beans, potatoes, cauliflower and peas
    • 1 capsicum, diced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 tbsp oil
    • 1 chopped tomato
    • 1/4 cup diced paneer – optional
    • 2-3 tbsp of cream – if need arises
    • ginger julienne and coriander leaves to garnish
    • Dry masala : 1-11/2 tsp red chilli powder 1 tsp coriander or dhania powder 1/2 tsp cumin or jeera powder 1/2 tsp garam masala 1/4 tsp turmeric or haldi powder 1/4 tsp pepper powder 1/2 tsp saunf or fennel seeds 2 tsp of khus khus or poppy seeds 6-7 cashewnuts
    • Wet masala: 1 handful of coriander leaves 1 tsp ginger garlic paste 3 tbsp curds 2 tbsp of cream 1/4 tsp sugar
Thats pretty much all you need.

Thats pretty much all you need.

Method

      In a wok or kadai, dry roast all the dry ingredients for a couple of minutes till they become fragrant. Remove and keep aside to cool. Grind the wet ingredients and keep aside. Once the dry ingredients are cooled, grind to a fine powder. In the kadai, heat a tbsp of oil, and shallow fry onions and capsicum. Remove and keep aside. In the same wok, throw in the dry masala and roast for less than a minute. Add wet ingredients and sauté till oil leaves sides. Add chopped tomato and sauté for a couple of minutes. Finally add cooked vegetables, onion, capsicum and paneer. Give it a nice boil. Flavour with salt. If the gravy is thick or spicy, add milk or cream accordingly. Garnish with coriander leaves chopped and thinly sliced ginger. Serve with hot chappathis, rotis, naan, rice or bread.
Julienne ginger and green chili garnish - typically North Indian

Julienne ginger and green chili garnish – typically North Indian

Note:
You can add any vegetable of your choice, although gourds don’t really taste in this kind of gravy.

Note:
A bit of paneer or cottage cheese makes this dish richer.

Note:
Alter the spices according to your level of heat

Note:
We always had a bowl of yoghurt with this kind of lunch, it helps beat the heat!!

Ideal For Sunday Fiestas

Ideal For Sunday Fiestas

I soon realise the recipe is pretty simple and not at all time consuming. So when I wondered aloud to her as to why would she ever take so long in prepping this simple dish, her smug replies leave me wanting to bite her head off!!! Sisters I tell you.. wicked bunch they are!

Taking sister’s signature dish to lovely Angie’s weekly visual potluck – Friday Feista, #63. Peek in to see some great delicacies.  Hope they like it!

Lentil Nugget Peas Curry/ Mangodi Matar

Summers Now: Lots of Frozen Yoghurt, Lemonade, Swimming Camps, Crash Courses for kids, Playdates and Exotic Holidays.

Summers Then: Relentless play under the sun, Nimbupaani, matka kulfis from kulfiwalas, Nani house and Mom making pickles, stocking spices for the entire year and drying mangodis.

Mangodi Matar

Mangodi Matar

Mangodis/Mung Wadiyan, are nothing but sun dried mung lentil nuggets. They are usually made in the summers when ample sunshine dries them perfectly to store for an entire year.

In my house, a day was pre-decided and fixed to make these nuggets. Work started early, with soaking, grinding and then dropping them on to clean plastic sheets(spread on the terrace for maximum sun). I particularly remember the task mom gave us. To find 4 stoppers, like a brick or a stool/table or some unused broken box – to place on the corners of the plastic spread, to prevent it from flying away. Now why didn’t mom use thalis/plates? Well, at that time, they made huge batches to stock for a year catering to at least 12 or more people. Thats why, plastic sheets worked better than thalis.

Yearly stock of mangodis

Yearly stock of mangodis

It is actually very easy to make these, but I’ve never attempted it.

Simply because, my yearly supply comes from both sides – mother and mother in law. Hence never found the need really. If you ever want to attempt making these nuggets, I did find a very resourceful link here.

Usually these nuggets are mixed with some fresh vegetable like potatoes or peas or corn. You can make them plain too, but combine it with a veggie and you are in for a treat.

Simple Curry, takes less than 10 minutes to make this.

Simple Curry, takes less than 10 minutes to make this.

I made a simple no onion, no garlic mangodi-matar. It’s so quick, that I put that wok on fire just 10 minutes before we sat for lunch.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mangodi
  • 1 cup fresh peas, you can use frozen too.
  • 1 tsp ghee/clarified butter
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • a pinch of hing/asafetida
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder, salt to taste
  • lots of fresh coriander to garnish

Method

First, heat an empty thick bottomed pan, dry roast the mangodis, till they are slightly brown. I usually do it on an iron tawa/flat griddle(used for making rotis). Keep turning the nuggets else they will not brown uniformly. Once done, keep aside.

In a deep pan, heat ghee. Once hot, splutter cumin seeds, add hing/asafoetida. Throw in the peas, along with salt, turmeric, red chili powder and little water. Once the peas are almost done, add 2 cups of boiling water( I have a kettle, so it works faster for me). Add the mangodis, give it a mix, and let it boil for another 4-5 minutes. The lentil nuggets absorb water and swell up. Making sure it is not completely dry, you can switch the flame off.

Garnish with coriander leaves. Best when served hot with phulkas/puffed chappathis.

No onions, no garlic

No onions, no garlic

It is advisable not to mix too much with your ladle once the mangodis are inside. The nuggets tend to break and mash. We don’t want that. The curry should show the mangodis in their distinct shape, as my mom says.

yummy Bite

yummy Bite

This is a perfect recipe for days when you want to cook without onions and garlic or when you’re just too lazy to make something fancy. With hardly any chopping required, mangodi matar proves to be scrumptious and filling.

Paneer Makhani

Cottage Cheese in Creamy tomato gravy

Cottage Cheese in Creamy tomato gravy

Paneer makhani is a popular curry from the northern states of India. Add fresh home-made paneer or cottage cheese to a simmering hot blend of onions-cashews and tomatoes. Crushed kasuri methi lends that mesmerizing aroma, which fills your home with such love, that neighbors know you are cooking something special. Its a great accompaniment with naan, chappati, rice or simply toasted bread.

Top on the husband’s list of favorites, it’s a sure winner every time I make this. Ideal for sunday lunches and on party menus. I make it rarely as it is loaded with butter and cashews and FAT. But whenever I do, the family pigs out.

Served with onion ring salad

Served with onion ring salad

I don’t use any artificial coloring agent, but instead I chose red ripe tomatoes and the chili powder I used was naturally bright red but low on the heat. That kind of chili powder is called ‘kashmiri chili powder’. I even avoided the ‘garam masala’, as we have used whole spices instead.

Ingredients

  • 200 gms paneer, diced into neat big pieces
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small tiny piece of ginger
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • a fistful of cashew nuts
  • 1 cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chili powder or according to taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves.
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp butter
  • salt according to taste
  • 1 small capsicum or green bell pepper, sliced
  • chopped coriander to garnish

Method

Heat oil in a kadai/pan. When hot, throw in garlic, ginger, onions, cashews and the whole spices. Add little salt, cover with lid and let it cook. After 5-6 minutes, add tomatoes, along with the dry masala powders – turmeric, red chili and coriander. Now cover again and cook for 10-15 minutes, taking care to keep mixing it in between. It should be cooked well enough for the oil to leave sides. Once done, cool the mixture.
Then with the help of milk, grind the cooled onion tomato mix to a fine smooth orange paste. In another pan, heat butter, saute the sliced capsicums. Once almost done, add this orange gravy, and let it simmer for a minute. Sprinkle crushed kasuri (fenugreek) leaves and salt. Mix well. Add the diced paneer. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve along with onion ring salad.

Ideally served with super soft rotis or naans. Any kind of bread or rice also goes well with this flavorful curry.

Note: If you like, slightly saute the paneer in butter and add them to the gravy. But I added them as it is. This is a rich full fat curry, did not want to add more.

Bell Peppers and Paneer make a neat combo

Bell Peppers and Paneer make a neat combo

Rich and Creamy

Rich and Creamy