Some days, we devour for the most simplest recipes with almost no cooking involved. This is such one absolute beaut. Roasted brinjals are quite famous for making Bhartha. Today’s recipe uses roasted eggplants in the simplest way. A sweet and sour dip style curry with a hint of chillies, this makes the best companion for the lazy days!
200 gm White Brinjals (5-6 no. medium sized)
1/4cup Tamarind Extract (from lemon sized tamarind pulp)
2 nos. Green Chillies
2 tbsp Grated Jaggery
2 tbsp Chopped Onions
1tbsp Chopped Fresh Coriander Leaves
Salt to taste
Ghee (just enough to coat the brinjals)
Water (1/2 cup to 1 cup)
- Wash and dry the brinjals. You could as well pat them dry with a cloth.
- Prick it with a fork on couple of places.
- Grease the brinjal with ghee and roast over low heat using the mesh pan or you can place them directly over the stove. Flip them to all sides, to make sure it gets cooked evenly. This might take 5- 10mins. (depends on the size of brinjals and the size of mesh pan).
- As they cool down, peel of the skin and mash the pulp with your hand or a fork.
- Take a bowl and add mashed brinjal pulp, grated jaggery, tamarind extract, green chillies, salt.Add half a cup to one cup of water and adjust the consistency of the salsa.
- Adjust the salt and top it up with fresh coriander leaves.
- Serve it with hot rice or steamed mung dal rice.
Ghee is often used in festive recipes. This is optional and you could avoid ghee while roasting eggplants. This recipe tastes well with white brinjals. It is usually paired up with steamed mung dal rice, called ‘Athesira Annam’ in Andhra region. This rice item is usually paired up with Vankaya Pachi Pulsu or eaten plain with a huge dollop of ghee. Simple and comforting food, all together!
- Charring green chillies is optional. Poke a hole and smear oil before roasting them. If you don’t poke a hole or make a small slit, the chilli would pop on the stove. Freshly chopped chillies could also be added.
- You can add tempering to the dip. Heat oil/ghee in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the cumin seeds and urad dal and let the dal turn red. Add the red chillis, hing and curry leaves, fry for a few more seconds. Pour the tempering into the mashed up dip.
- You could add some roasted sesame seed powder for enhanced taste.
Light on the stomach, with almost no preparation time, I loved this dish when my friend’s mother introduced it to me a year back. Since then it has become my go to salad style dip along with rotis. Sautéing capsicums while making a curry changes its vibrant colour. Though this process gives a curry the delicious touch, I sometimes used to miss on the crunchiness of a capsicum and this recipe exactly works on retaining the crispy texture of this vegetable. With no masalas or grinding involved it can be done by anyone and finishes off in a jiffy.
1 Cup Curd (Yoghurt)
¼ cup Chopped Capsicum
1 tbsp Chopped Chillies
1/2tbsp – 1 tbsp Oil (as per choice)
Salt – to taste
1/8 tsp Mustard Seeds
¼ tsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
1/8 tsp Turmeric
- Whisk the curd and salt in a bowl with a fork. Whisking gives a smooth texture to the curd.
- Heat a small pan; add the oil and ingredients listed under tempering.
- As the seeds crackle, add the chopped chillies and capsicum and give it a good stir.
- Sautee capsicum bits for less than a minute and remove them from heat.
- Add it directly to the bowl of curd. Taste and adjust salt accordingly.
I generally have it with rotis. But it goes well hot pulav or parathas too. At times, I relish it off as it is. All the raitas at home are made without any tempering added to them. So not sure if it can be called so. But, found this recipe under raitas by few bloggers. Whatever be the name, taste is what we all look for, right? 😀 By the way, one of them added an interesting additional paste made of coconut and sesame seeds into the curd. Try making it and let me know how you liked it. Also, share if you prepare it in a different style.
- If you prefer, you could mix a pinch or two of dried gooseberry (amla) or mango powder (amchur) in the curd.
- Fresher curd gives the best taste
Tug of wars are never easy, especially when they happen inside our brains. Today it was between the eagerness to watch the season finale episode of the HBO’s TV Series, GOT (Game of Thrones) and dishing out Parwals. It’s tough to mute the series buff in the head, but once I got to cooking, I completely forgot about the episode. Restraining from some indulgences, do pay off well at the end of the day. Here, in the form of a tasty curry.
Let me brief you about Parwals. Also known as, Potols in Andhra region, these are oval shaped summer vegetables from the family of cucumbers. My introduction to this vegetable happened few years back in a vegetable shop near my home in Hyderabad. Each visit to a vegetable shop or farmer’s market or a super mart, my head veers in all directions possible for interesting finds. It’s like a kid’s fetish for a new toy or that of gadgets or clothes as an adult. I found these vegetables in a tray filled with water. At first, I mistook them as an unknown variant of Dondakaya (Tindora). Found out its name and basic recipes using it from a fellow shopper then. I tried my hands to make Potato Parwal fry, which took a lot of time. Their skin is so hard that a simple fry would definitely take more time. Not ideal dish to make when you are short on time. Todays’ recipe is extremely simple in execution. Couldn’t recollect the source of this recipe, but the method is so simple, so went ahead with spices as per my taste. All you have to do is make a simple masala mix, stuff it into the Parwals, shallow fry them! Tying the stuffed parwal is so fun! While you wait for them to cook on stove, enjoy the smell of the roasted parwal in the kitchen, aaha, tempting!
Parwals – 6 (Medium sized)
1 tbsp – oil
½ cup besan/ gram flour /senagapindi
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp fennel powder
½ tbsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tbsp chilli powder
2 tbsp oil
Salt as required (I used ½ a tsp)
1 tbsp (approx) water
- Wash and chop the stalks on either side of parwal.
- Make a longitudinal slit on one side. Remove the pulp if the seeds are too hard.
- Take all spice powders mentioned in the masala along with the oil and mix well.
- Stuff the parwals with this masala. Tie the parwals with a thread. This ensures that the masala doesn’t get out of the veggies.
- Put oil in a frying pan and once the oil heats up, place the veggies in it.
- Cook covered in low heat for 5-6 minutes.
- Now, open the lid of the pan and turn with tongs and cook on low flame for 5 minutes covered.
- Keep an eye on the pan in between so that it doesn’t get burn.
- If the skin of veggies is too hard, add a spoon of water.
With closed lid, the masala inside the vegetable steams up and gets a unique taste. I like to consume these stuffed parwal as it is with rice. You can also make gravy alongside these stuffed veggies. They are delicious to eat as a snack too!
Fresh seasonal produce always excite me and I think staying away from metro life has brought them closer and easily available than ever. In between simmering summer temperatures and onset of monsoons, unripe cashew fruits make their way into local farmers market. In Andhra region, from where I come, tender cashew nuts are relished with drumsticks and onions curry. Andhra curry recipes always have this subtle sweetish spicy taste, which make me consume more rice. Well, I think delicious food always comes with an invisible tag warning, ‘eat more at your own risk’.
Unripe Cashew Fruits
Had the cashew fruits bought were ripe; I would have had the chance to know what they taste like. Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat, sometimes at least. Do you know this – what we commonly call as cashew fruit isn’t the actual fruit. As you can see, there are two parts –the kidney shaped part which has seed or nut and the juicy part. Scientifically speaking, the fleshy part is the modified stalk of the flower. The true fruit is the kidney shaped half which has the nut. I learned about it in the eleventh grade botany class. It was one the many fascinating things I learnt while learning botany. Do you know that there are plants which eat insects? Yes, it’s true. Okay, I will talk about the recipe now.
The traditional Andhra ‘Pachi Jeedipappu Kodi curry’ uses the fresh cashew in whole. But, I wanted to have it along with roti, so reserved only handful of them for the crunch and pureed the remaining. Mom already marinated the chicken by the time I woke up. She just used some chilli powder, salt, turmeric and curd. I left it that way without any further add-ons and let the chicken soak it all for about 4 hours. As most of you might have known, the more time you marinate the chicken, the better it would taste. Just remember to refrigerate if your margination time is beyond 6 hours or right way if you are living in hot climate. I didn’t follow any particular recipe (lazy to research actually) so, the measurements are not to the T. Adjust spice and salt levels according to your taste.
- Chicken – ½ kg (boneless preferred)
- Fresh cashew nuts – 1 cup
- Roughly Chopped Onions – ½ cup
- Large sized tomatoes – 1
- Green Chillies – 4
- Drum sticks – 1 nos ( 6 – 8 nos 2 inch pieces)
- Shahjeera – 1/2 tsp
- Green cardamom – 1 nos
- Dried bay leaf – 1-2 nos
- Red Chilli Powder – as required (add half into marinade and half into curry)
- Garam Masala – 1tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1tsp (add half into marinade and half into curry)
- Ghee – 1tbsp + Oil – 2tbsp
- Salt – as required
Step –by- step:
½ tsp – turmeric powder
1 tbsp – chilli powder
½ tbsp – ginger garlic paste
2 tbsp – Curd
½ tsp – Salt
Clean the chicken pieces with water and take them into a bowl. Add the above ingredients into it and mix well, such that all the pieces are uniformly coated with the marinade.
- Place the cooking pot/pan on heat. Add the ghee and oil and wait till it gets hot and put in the bay leaves, cardamom and shahjeera.
- After a minute or half, toss in the slit green chillies, handful of fresh cashew nuts and chopped onions. Sautee the onions for a minute and add the drumsticks. Add the remaining amount of turmeric powder, mix well and put on a lid.
- As the onions turn translucent, add the marinated chicken into the pot. Mix well, replace the lid and check the pot after ten minutes. The heat level can be from medium to high now.
- Meanwhile, pulse the fresh cashews and tomato in blender.
- The juices from the chicken ooze out. This provides enough water for the chicken to cook. Add the red chilli powder, salt and tomato- cashew paste and mix. Let the lid on for another ten minutes.
- Now, add the garam masala and place the lid for another 2 minutes. Check for the spice and salt level. Adjust accordingly.
- By this time, the gravy comes together. Let the curry stay on heat for some more time, if you want thicker gravy. Serve it with rotis/rice/biryani.
I stored the left-over curry in the fridge and interestingly, the taste of the curry improved ten times the next day. I never experienced this before with chicken curries. Some post-cooking marination magic!
- Removing the cashew seed is a tedious process. Wear gloves while working with them. If not careful, the resin from the unripe fruit gives a burning sensation to the skin.
- Garam masala used in the recipe is mom’s recipe. It is a fresh blend of poppy seeds; garlic cloves, cumin, cloves and coriander seeds.
- Never add spices when the oil is at room temperature. Warm oil allows the spices release their aromatic compounds.
- This recipe works well with dry cashews too. Just soak them in water overnight or warm water for about half an hour.