Monday, April 17, 2006

Spring Time Rice aka Tomato Rice

You know it is the end of winter when you see produce like this at the market!

But what to do with these tomatoes for a weekday meal? Something that would do justice to these beauties... Answer Tomato Rice. Another recipe from Hemant Trivedi. Don't frown at the long list of ingredients -- it's simple to put together and really tomatillicious. If not for taste, you can eat it for health reasons, Lycopene found in tomatoes, is one of the most sought after antioxidants. On that note, I would like to submit this to the weekly healthful ARF event hosted by Cate .

Tomato Rice
1 cup long grained Rice
1/4 cup peas
1/4 cup carrots, chopped
2 tsp salt
Cook rice with salt, until grains are separate. Drop in the peas and carrots during the cooking process
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
Heat oil in a wide pan. Add seeds, when they start to sputter, add tomatoes and stir fry till oil separates
1 red onion, cubed
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, grated
Add onion and cook till soft. Then add garlic and ginger, cook for 3-4 minutes
1 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp pepper powder
4-5 curry leaves
Add the dry spices and curry leaves and cook for 2-3 mins. The tomato mixture must be pulpy by now. Take off heat.
1 tsp oil
4-5 cloves
2 inch cinnamon stick
For tempering, heat oil add cloves and cinnamon. When the cloves puff up, add to the tomato mixture. Add cooked rice and vegetables to the tomato mixture and mix well.

Serve with yogurt or raita

Check out Sweetnicks place to see a round up of other healthy ARF entries.

Food Bloggers Around the World Meme

Wonderful Sumi tagged me for this Food Bloggers Around the world meme. Just for that, Sumi, I have decided to emerge out of my blogging sabbatical :-) I've missed blogging and visiting around!! Unfortunately, my dear readers, be prepared for more interrupted blogging from my side until atleast the end of April. After that, I hope to return in full ferver. Until then, enjoy the meme :)

1. Three recipes recently bookmarked to try

a) Tri-Colored Paneer Kababs from Sailu - With summer almost upon us, this is a great barbeque recipe. I love the colors so rich and pleasing! I do intend to try it out some time this summer.

b) Vindalu Vegetables from The Fat Free Vegan Kitchen - For some time now I've been curious about slow cooking/crockpots. I thought they were only useful for cooking meat or beans. But this one is an adaptation of a vegetable recipe cooking entirely in a slow cooker. One of my projects this summer is to find out once and for all if slow cooking is any good for our lifestyle and eating habits.

c) Rich Fruit Plum Cake from Annita - Plum cake is awesome! Annita provides such detailed explanations, that I think I might be able to manage this! And I do love plum cake...

2. A food blog in your vicinity

Most of the food blogs from the US are close to me! Distance of course, is relative :-)

3. A food blog or more that is located far away from you

Happy Burp, from Germany

4. A food blog (or more) that you've recently found

Recently? I'm going to take that as in the last two weeks.

Sumi's Kitchen
Happy Burp

5. Any people or bloggers you would like to tag

Ah... so many people I know have already taken part in the fun... But lets see..


You guys are tagged!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bharelu Shaak: Gujarati Style Stuffed Vegetables

Gujarati food is another unique cooking style in India. Majority of Gujaratis are vegetarians and their cuisine comprises of the simplest of ingredients, which combine to deliver a signature taste and texture. Gujaratis love their food. Maybe thats an understatement :) If you have ever visited a Gujarati family or a Gujju restaurant, you know. They are absolutely passionate about food! There is seldom a Gujju restaurant without a huge Thali spread, commonly unlimited. From their simplest kadhis (curd based dish, served with rice), to the multi flavored oondiyu (signature dish, mixed vegetables slow cooked with special spices), each dish can offer something new to the taste buds! Some of their preparations can come across a bit sweet (small amount of sugar added to enhance other flavors), if you are new to the cuisine. This is essentially true of the Kathiawadi (a region in Gujarat) style preparation. On the other hand, the Surati (another region) preparation is predominantly savory. While on the topic of Surati food, Surati Farsans (snacks... fried snacks) immediately come to mind! Jalebi (Indian Funnel cake) with Fafda (chick pea flour fritters) is a nostalgic brunch combination. Dhokla, Khandvi, Handvo, Patra ... all snack items!

Also, another interesting point to note is that Gujaratis are the #1 consumers of cooking oil in India! Thats what makes their food so irresistable I guess :) One of my favorite Gujju dishes is a stuffed vegetable preparation, which very suprisingly is NOT deep fried! More surprisingly, inspite of being non-deep fried, it is one of Hubbie's favorites too. Just bring up this recipe, and you will undoubtedly hear him rave about how well his grandmother makes this and sigh in foodie nostalgia! I suspect it is one of his favorite childhood memories.

Indian food bloggers have blogged about varieties of stuffed eggplant... Andhra, Maharashtrian and modern-deconstructed version. Here is another variety - stuffed Eggplant, Baby Potatoes and Onion. Kanda-Batata-Ringana Nu Bhareli Shaak (Onion-Potato-Brinjal stuffed Curry)

The trick here is in choosing the vegetable and stuffing it. Choose small baby purple brinjals, baby potatoes and small red onions. Usually you would make a plus shaped cut to stuff the vegetables. But stuffing them can be a gentle art, especially frustrating for stuffing onion. Here is are some stuffing tips directly from Hubbie's favorite chef (his grandmother)
Onion - Trim the tips, peel and wash
Potato - Peel and Wash
Brinjal - Wash and trim the stalks.

Hold each vegetable vertically and make a diagonal slit, 3/4 into the vegetable. Then turn it upside down and make a similar slit on the opposite diagonal. Instead of the cross cut of the same side, you have the two slits on the opposite ends. This enables easier and more abundant stuffing. Now here the the details of the recipe

Clockwise from left Potato, brinjal and Onion

Stuffed Onion Potato and Brinjal Serves 2
2 small red onions
4 small brinjals
4 small potatoes
Peel/wash and make slits on the vegetables as described above
1.5 tbsp chickpea flour
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp minced coriander leaves
2 tbsp oil
Mix all these ingredients until they form a coarse lumpy texture. Stuff generously on both slits of the vegetables. Place the vegetables in a steamer basket and steam for about 20-30 mins or until a knife goes through gently into the potatoes.
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
Heat oil in a large (wide) non stick pan, add the seeds and allow to sputter. carefully drop the steamed vegetables. Toss them around in the oil being careful. Avoid using a ladle and just shake the pan gently to move the vegetables around for 2-3 minutes.

This preparation goes best with juwar rotli. An excellent guide to the delectable rotlis can be found at the Cook's Cottage. Here is what my attempt at the rotlis looked like.
Wam, fluffy rotis also make a great accompaniment to the stuffed veggies.