Archives for category: Indian

This week is National Vegetarian Week apparently. Well in the UK and I know only from twitter and online newspapers I read. Since I mostly eat and have a dear love for vegetarian food here is a tasty paratha version I made for lunch today. Paratha are a type of Indian flatbread and I love endless variations. On a trip to India a few months ago I had the pleasure of cooking with some pretty amazing cooks and was great to see the varieties even the simple Paratha has from different parts of India. The biggest difference is of course either stuffing the paratha or mixing the flour with ingredients but the even using ghee, butter or olive oil can make subtle differences in taste. With a fresh batch of ghee made and some Japanese kabu I thought I would make a twist on the Mooli Paratha. Kabu are a great little vegetable with lots of Vitamin C and dietary fiber and I finely chopped and added some of the shoots which gave a rather lovely colour.

View full recipe

Advertisements

A classic Indian Gujarati dish here, made from baked eggplant cooked with onions, spices and tomatoes. I like to make it without tomatoes sometimes and with sliced green chillis, a mix of spices, garlic and ginger it has strong flavours yet a very delicate texture. The onions should be cooked for fairly long, browning and sweetening as they do, and the eggplant baking for 30-40 mins until the skin is black and can effortlessly be removed. The smoky flavour is truly incredible and although you could make a tasty dish without baking the eggplant, it is worth the extra effort and produces a very comforting result. With chapattis, pita bread, rice, or a daal it is a light meal and some plain yoghurt is something I love having with it.

View full recipe

Spinach is one of my all time favourite leafy vegetables.  It has amazing health benefits and needs very little cooking, preparation and can be incorporated in anything. High in calcium, Vitamin A, C, K, folic acid and iron it is good for our bones, memory and provides important nutrients and minerals for protecting us against a whole range of diseases. Containing important enzymes, the best way to reap the benefits is by chopping the spinach, not tearing, and not overcooking. The ensures you get the best from the enzymes, and they are broken down and absorbed easily.  This rice is an easy dish to make, very pretty with any curry or side dish, and with the cumin and onions, added flavour and health benefits can be enjoyed.

View full recipe

A healthy curry here, perfect with some fresh chappatis, pita or as a side dish. Potatoes have a bit of a bad reputation with the popularity of low-carb diets and some people I know have totally eliminated them from their kitchens. I like potatoes. It’s not the potato that’s bad for you but more the way it is prepared. Keeping the skin on ensures you get the most from the vitamins, fiber and minerals and baking, steaming, light frying in olive oil are good ways to make sure you don’t take all the goodness out of them. There are also perfect on a budget and as a firm believer of eating well I don’t feel you need to always buy the most expensive ingredients to eat tasty food. This simple curry is very easy to prepare and all you need is potatoes, spinach and whole cumin and a small cinnamon stick. Spinach really needs very little adding as it has such a lovely flavour by itself. I like it just barely cooked as the colour is vibrant and the slightly acidic taste balances well with the tender potatoes.

View full recipe

Happy New year! Hope you all had a lovely break if you managed to get one and are now starting 2011 on a positive note. I was thinking about making a little something for New Year’s Eve and Dhokla seemed to be the perfect treat. Dhokla/Dhokra are a Gujarati snack made from fermented Chickpea flour, yoghurt, a few spices in and steamed for about 15 minutes. I have the best memories of eating them on a weekend afternoon. Mountains of coriander thrown over, soft and spongy and so easy to munch on. Served with fresh coriander, grated coconut, fresh green chillis, mustard seeds and sesame seeds they taste best when freshly made. Although possible to make the gram flour mix yourself, a very good alternative for people who don’t have any of the ingredients is to use a GITs packet. These ready mixes make dhokra unbelieveably easy to make and are easy to buy from most Indian groceries or online here in Japan. Don’t be put off by the name. Unlike trying to ferment and make the batter yourself which can have mixed results,  GITs make perfect Dhokla everytime. All you need is 2 tablespoons of oil, some water a very gentle stir, and cooked in a hot steamer. The way to serve them is to first cut the dhokla and sprinkle with grated coconut and freshly chopped coriander. Heat oil, and let the mustard seeds pop with the sesame seeds and fresh green chillis and pour this over the dhokla. I made a coriander chutney which mixed with yoghurt made a refreshing dip and the recipe for a Tamarind chutney will be up soon which is also a winner.

View full recipe

A real favourite this and being able to eat it straight away is a total bonus. There are lots of different ways to make this, some recipes call for peanuts, ginger, cumin and other ingredients to be included. I personally make mine with a bunch of coriander, fresh garlic, fresh green chilli, lemon juice, salt and a touch of turmeric powder. I’m sure with all the added extras it tastes good and sometimes experiment with extras but always prefer the original version. I think when you eat it with food that already has plenty of spices, like the Aloo Tikki or a Biryani, it’s nice to keep chutney flavours bold and simple. The green chutney is is bright wonder after you’ve blended it and it’s good to taste as you make it, tweaking it with more lemon, salt, or green chili as you prefer. It’s best eaten freshly made but can keep up to a week or two in the fridge and don’t worry if the color darkens by a couple of shades.

View full recipe

Loved by many, unknown to some and feared by a few, I was pleased when I came to Japan and discovered this lovely vegetable is eaten here too. I grew up with mixed ideas about Karela, Goya or Bitter Melon as it is known. I had only ever had in curries, sometimes very sweet and mushy, possibly to disguise the distinct bitter taste, other times crunchy and refreshing. One thing I noticed is that there are different varieties of this and used widely in Chinese and Okinawan dishes I really like the different ways it is used in this side of the world. Thinly sliced and raw in salads, stir-fried and stuffed are often how I cook use them and after a friend loving this curry I made last week I thought it might be a good curry to share. Fat ones, thin ones, furry ones, smooth skinned, there are a huge selection out there and I know the shinier the skins the fresher they are, so do look around and see what you can find.

Goya is super healthy, an uncle of mine used to have a glass of freshly squeezed juice every morning to help his diabetes. For anyone who has tried this, hardcore. I remember tasting it and wincing with such extremity, ooo bitter. Aside from this it has plenty of health benefits so worth trying and adding to the weekly shop.

When cooking with it, soaking or boiling the sliced goya in tamarind, sugar or salt can help remove some of the bitterness and depending on how crunchy you like it, you can get really creative with how you use it. This curry is quick to prepare and is great with potatoes as I often make it. Try it and see what you think!

View full recipe

%d bloggers like this: