Pineapple Sweet Corn Rice

19 Jan

Pineapple sweet corn rice doesn’t just taste delicious, it’s also a great way to finish off leftovers – boiled rice from last night’s dinner, sweet corn you did not add to that stir fry, the big chunk of pineapple sitting in your fridge – use them all in this recipe.

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Papad ki Sookhi Sabzi (Dry Curry)

16 Jan

For a long time, the only way I knew how to eat papad was as a plain accompaniment with an Indian meal (usually khichdi), much like chutney or pickle. I liked papad, just that it didn’t seem all that *consequential*.

When I moved to Bombay, my friends there would order masala papad as a starter in restaurants. This was something new, something interesting – papad as a standalone dish, and a mighty good one at that. I started experimenting with papad in curries – very convenient on days when I opened the vegetable tray of the fridge and found nothing.

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Sautéed Pineapple with Spices

15 Dec

I made methi chawal (fenugreek rice) for lunch today and wanted a light, tart accompaniment to balance its bitterness. That’s when the pineapple sitting in the fridge caught my attention.

A knob of ginger, some Sri Lankan curry powder that a friend had got back for me from her Colombo vacation, and couple of other spices went in as seasoning to make this simple, tasty sautéed pineapple recipe.

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Ridge Gourd Tomato Curry

7 Dec

I discovered ridge gourd only after moving to south India.  The first time that I bought it, my driving force was curiosity – I had no idea how this vegetable, which looked a cross between sponge gourd and bitter gourd, would be cooked, or what it would taste like. Pushcart vendors outside my apartment stocked ridge gourd in heaps, and it seemed to be the freshest, least expensive vegetable on sale. One day I walked up to a vendor, pointed and tried asking him to name the vegetable. In response, he swiftly wrapped two ridge gourds, held out the package to me and named the price!

And so I returned home, ridge gourd package in hand, and typed into Google image search: "long green Indian vegetable with spikes". Google didn’t disappoint – I found not just the name but also many ways to cook ridge gourd.

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Khatti Meethi Masoor Dal: Red Lentil with Tamarind and Dates

25 Nov

I came across Nigella’s recipe for Lentil Tamarind and Date Dhansak last week, which prompted an internal conversation with the self.

Dal without salt? Did the ingredient list miss that by accident or is this dish really meant to have no salt?

Well, moong dal halwa is dal without salt, and that’s the finest dessert ever.

But there’s garlic-infused oil and tamarind in this recipe – no dessert worth its er…salt…has garlic.

Who said this is a dessert?

Guesswork much? Just follow the recipe and find out for sure.

So I did follow the recipe, with a couple of tiny adaptations. I ended up with an unusual, rich and tangy dal, the taste of which grew on me with each spoonful.

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Bharwan Bhindi: Okra Stuffed with Peanut Spice

18 Nov

Bharwan bhindi (okra stuffed with peanut spice) is a beautiful dish to make on leisurely days when you have tender, small-sized fresh okras on hand. The stuffing that goes into the okra can vary – this peanut spice is among my best-loved okra fillings.

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Chili Garlic Mixed Vegetables

10 Nov

A variety of vegetables go into this Chinese-style recipe that’s great on the side with chapatis or fried rice. Chili garlic mixed vegetables is cooked on high heat  (using the Chao technique, or so Wikipedia tells me), which retains the texture and color of the vegetables. The dish gets its zing – and its name – from the pre-made chili garlic sauce that’s added to it.

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