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!

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Healthy Delicious Cottage Cheese Wraps

Wrap of goodness

Wrap of goodness

I was bored. Bored out of the routine which had not altered for the past few weeks. Bored out of doing similar things at similar timings – daily. I needed a break. Taking a sabbatical from work and home means going out and enjoying a scrumptious meal with family… but I was bored of that too! Fussy me.

Scrumptious

Scrumptious

Lethargic dull company can have widening effects on you. So said the husband. Woken up all peppy and permeated with new found vivacity, he thought he could infect me too with it. It didn’t. I stay as dull as dishwater. After much coaxing-haggling we decide to role reverse for the day.

Great as a take away.

Great as a take away.

The guy would chip in with Milee, make lunch, do laundry, get the house to sparkle and I? Oh I was to just lie on the couch, watch TV, lick Nutella, make a mess around me and then doze off to candy land. (I secretly wish for a place really made out of chocolate – where ganache flowed, trees sprouted choco bars, flowers bloomed into candies, clouds were made of cotton candy and houses of dutch truffle – sigh!).

But somethings are just not meant to be.
Just when I put my feet up, just when I start to enjoy the reruns of Suits(Harvey Specter — I love you). Just when I haven’t even licked the spoon clean… dishes fall, water spills, kid goes hungry, maids lament…the kitchen turn into a mini battle field. Oh! my insouciance go-to-hell. Drowsy my foot! Husband has a knack of waking me up even if I were in a grave.

Fresh, cheesy warm yet crisp

Fresh, cheesy warm yet crisp

Shutting the TV off, I return to my territory with such a look that puts the inept to shame. Taking in all the annihilation, seething with rage, secretly cursing my diminutive brain for not foreseeing the future. I set to work.

Resolved not to forgive, I plotted to desecrate our Sunday. But fate was not on my side that particular day. Again.
The lunch turned out fabulous. I didn’t want it to be. It turned into a treat. I didn’t want it to be. I Sulk. And more sulk.
The dad daughter duo enjoyed every last bite, while I scowled to the last bit.

Crunch from the veggies and the melt from the paneer... goodness in every bite!

Crunch from the veggies and the melt from the paneer… goodness in every bite!

To make 6 wraps:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of paneer bhurji (recipe at the end)
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas/Chappathis
  • 6 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 cup thinly shredded salad vegetables like onion, cabbage, carrot, capsicum and spring onion greens
  • 7-8 fresh lettuce leaves
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • salt and pepper powder to taste
  • Chaat masala to sprinkle – optional
  • 6 tbsp grated mozzarella – optional

Method

Soak the salad veggies in lime juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Keep aside.
Now its just assembly basically:
Take a chappathi, place lettuce on it. Smear a tbsp of mayonnaise on the lettuce. Place a table spoon or more of paneer bhurji in the center of the tortilla. Now, top the bhurji with shredded soaked salad veggies. If using chat masala and cheese. Add it on the salad veggies now. Fold from both sides tightly. Pick the entire assembly up with a flat spatula. Roast on a hot flat griddle till toasted and crisp. If you like you can use a little bit of olive oil for toasting it.

Serve hot with a lot of extra salad and something cool to sip on.

Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch

Paneer Bhurji –
Bhurji is a term used for crumbled paneer in a tangy spicy tomato onion gravy. The paneer is mashed and soft. It serves as a great side to chappathis/wraps and on breads.

You need –

  • 1 cup crumbled paneer/cottage cheese
  • 1 tomato, minced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 green chilies, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • juice of half a lime
  • coriander leaves to garnish
  • salt

Method-
First, crumble the paneer(FUN!!) and keep aside. I didn’t crumble actually, I minced it. Little tiny perfect squares. But it doesn’t matter if u crumble or mince them.

Heat oil in a pan. Crackle cumin seeds. Saute ginger garlic paste. Add in onions-green chilies. Saute till pink. Next throw in the chopped tomatoes, along with the turmeric, chili powder and coriander powder. Cover and cook till oil separates from sides. Once done. Add the paneer. Give it a good mix. The end is a cohesive mix of the gravy and the cheese. turn the flame off. Add garam masala, lime juice and coriander leaves. Mix well. Use as required.

The onion turns red with vinegar and salt.

The onion turns red with vinegar and salt.

Sometimes I think it’s my man’s tactic to avoid doing things that he doesn’t want to do. What I mean is, Do it badly, chances are she will never ask again. Ah! well. Whatever it is. Lesson learnt. Kitchen cleaned. Lunch done. Peace regained. All that matters.

Yummmmmmmm

Yummmmmmmm

Vermicelli Noodles

Milee started primary 2 weeks back. With this new academic year comes brand new fundamental changes in our daily schedule. Apart from “waking up before the sun” there are more pressing matters to be dealt with. What do I put in her lunch box? The pre primary phase of her school pampered us mothers by “compulsory” providing them with snacks, but now the dream period seems to be done. They pass the batons to us, and what do we do?
We rack our puny brains to fill awesomeness(read: yumm yet healthy) in tiny tiffins so that the persnickety remains satiated and filled. Phew! A towering task.

Yet, the food must be made, the box packed, the child gratified.

Vegetable Vermicelli Noodles

Vegetable Vermicelli Noodles

Here I have this delicious sly camouflaged snack, which will fill the box as well as Mr/Miss Picky’s tummy.
Roasted semolina vermicelli is sautéed with veggies in chinese style, with minimal sauces but huge flavors from garlic and scallions leaves. A nutritious close cousin of our very dear traditional noodles.
So, I have whole grain from semolina, all great nutrients from the host of fresh vegetables in it and ofcourse yummness certified from Miss Milee. Yay! got one more dish in my what-to-give-in-her-lunch-box list!

Awesome alternative to Refined flour noodles

Awesome alternative to Refined flour noodles

I know, not all kids eat all their greens. So play around with the vegetables. Customize the recipe according to your child’s favorites. Use more of what he likes, a little lesser of what he grimaces at. Peas and Corn are a no-no for mine, but I indulge her fussines by not hounding her dish with the forbidden eats… but adding a little bit nonetheless.

Nutritious

Nutritious

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup roasted semolina vermicelli, I used MTR’s
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp colored peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of veggies, sliced thin. I used cabbage,carrot and beans
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1-2 green chilies, sliced length wise – use accordingly
  • 1 spoon oil
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • pepper powder to taste
  • 1 tbsp spring onion greens

Method

First, boil the vermicelli like how you would do it with noodles. That is in a pot of boiling water, throw in salt and little oil and put the vermicelli in. Since it is roasted, this process hardly takes time, so keep an eye. Once almost done, cover the pot with a lid. Keep aside.

In a wok, heat the oil up and like traditional noodles we proceed. Saute ginger garlic paste, green chili and onions. Then thow in the colored peppers. Saute. Once done, add the sliced veggies and salt. Sprinkle a few drops of water. Stir fry on high. Once 3/4th done, add the sauces and pepper powder. Mix well. To this add the strained vermicelli, and onion greens. Turn the flame on high, toss.

Serve hot or if you intend to pack in your little one’s box, slightly cool the mock noodles and shut tight.

Quick Tasty Bite

Quick Tasty Bite

They resemble and taste a lot like the usual fare, but this version with “sevviyan”(vermicelli) is healthier and guilt free. So pile on in those tiffin boxes and be mighty pleased when it returns empty.

Scrumptious Snack

Scrumptious Snack

Cherry Tomato and Cottage Cheese Salad

Shopping at the local vegetable bazaar, an earnest vendor, sitting with a spread of fresh vegetables before him, implored me to take a sneak peek at his wares. I indulged him. Chatting away merrily, he removed a small basket, discreetly hidden under the showcased produce. Glittering under an arid hot sun, were these precious Rubies! My face lighted at his presentation. The little rascal knew how to win my heart. He knew I was a potential, very indulgent buyer. In my pursuit to find the freshest greens, I end up losing myself to these twisted tactics of hawkers. Like a kid in candyland, I go overboard, and later family and friends bear the brunt of my extravagance.

Tomato Cheese Salad

Tomato Cheese Salad

So, armed with a handful of cherry tomatoes, racking my brains on how to incorporate them in our diet. I set out to make supper.
Diced Cottage cheese, fresh crisp cucumber, onions, tiny red pearly pomegranate blended in with a beautiful dressing! Wow, what a meal we had. Made the salad along with pumpkin soup, and we were feeling so light and healthy, that the entire home had a zen like feeling. Yeah! I like to play with my words the same way I play with my food 😉

Little Cups for everyone.

Little cups for everyone.

To make 4 servings –

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cherry tomato, each cut into half.
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup diced firm cottage cheese / paneer
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped

For the dressing –

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder

Method

In a big mixing bowl, combine all the veggies and cheese. Chill for 30-40 minutes. Just before serving, pour the dressing on it. Toss and Serve immediately. With soup and some bread, it’s a complete meal.

Succulent and Fresh.

Succulent and Fresh.

Our dinner was Pumpkin Soup and this yummy salad —

Colors so bright, add to your diet!

Colors so bright, add to your diet!

Flavorful Treat

Flavorful Treat

Potato Fry

Crispy fried, slightly spiced.

Crispy fried, slightly spiced.

All kids love potatoes(Alu in hindi), and my Milee is no exception. She trips on french fries, alu parathas, alu puri and various other creations.
Here, in potato fry, you don’t need copious amount of oil to make your tuber tasty.
This recipe is simple, mildly spiced and sauteed in minimum oil.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium sized potatoes, peeled, and diced into small cubes.
  • 1-2 tsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder and salt to taste
  • Optional: juice of 1/2 a lime

Method

In a broad pan, heat the oil. Add the chopped potato cubes. Fry on sim flame till the potato is roasted well from all sides.
Key is to slow saute the potatoes for a slightly long time.
Remove in a bowl, sprinkle red chili powder, salt and lime juice. Toss well. Serve with rice or rotis or just plain as a snack.

Disappears in no time.

Disappears in no time.