Thursday, 5 April 2018

BABY EGGPLANT WITH SWEET AND SOUR GRAVY



BABY EGGPLANT WITH SWEET AND SOUR GRAVY

HYDERABAD STYLE BAGHARE BAIGAN


Hyderabad is the capital of an Indian state of Telangana and the fourth most populous city in India. Hyderabad is famous for its tourist attractions and historical monuments like Charminar etc. Hyderabad is also famous for its cuisine, particularly for chicken and mutton biryani, and lots of other sweet and sour Mughlai dishes, baghare baigan is one of its popular dishes. In many restaurants in India and abroad, anyone can find these famous Hyderabad dishes in their original names because of its awesome taste, these dishes are very popular.

 

A few months back when I was talking to my brother on the phone, who lives in Delhi, India, we talked about his tour to Hyderabad, he told me that apart from so many other things, he really enjoyed the food there. During his visit to Hyderabad and while eating in restaurants, he saw the famous biryani being packed in nice takeaway packaging, which people were taking even on long distances. He told me that he also decided to take a packet of the famous biryani to Delhi which is very far, around 1500 km, at that time he was travelling back to Delhi by air. So he called the restaurant, one hour before and gave the order of two packets of biryani of his choice, when he boarded in the taxi to the airport, on his way he collected the packets of biryani for his kids, and his kids in Delhi, really enjoyed this tasty and unique gift from their father.



A few years ago in Botswana, during my holidays, I travelled around 600 km and visited my friend and stayed with her for a week. At that time, she was living in a beautiful town called Maun and my family and I enjoyed visiting the beautiful surroundings of the town and of course the world-famous Okavango Delta. During the stay, my friend's neighbour who was originally from Hyderabad invited us for dinner; we enjoyed the dinner and talked a lot about Hyderabad cuisine. The next day we invited her over to come and demonstrate the cooking of a few dishes from Hyderabad. That is when I learned this recipe of baby eggplant in sweet and sour gravy. I have made this recipe in many gatherings and parties at our house after that, and every time, people have really enjoyed it and appreciated the recipe.




RECIPE
INGREDIENTS

  • 500 grams baby eggplant/brinjal
  • One big onion (200 grams)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • A small piece of ginger
  • 3 tbs raw peanuts
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds
  • 3 tbs lemon juice/tamarind juice
  • 2 tbs desiccated coconut
  • 1-2 tbs sugar or to taste
  • salt and chili powder/flakes to taste
  • 1 tbs coriander powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • few fresh green curry leaves OR Coriander/Cilantro
  • 3 tbs oil

METHOD


  • Finely chop or grate onion, garlic and ginger. Slit the eggplants lengthwise.
  • Dry roast peanuts, coconut and sesame seeds and let it cool.
  • Heat 1tbs oil in a frying pan on a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter, then add eggplants with salt, turmeric, chili and coriander powder and cook till they are soft and cooked properly by covering the lid.
  • Till eggplants are cooking make a paste of the roasted peanuts, coconut and sesame seeds by adding 1/2 to 1 cup of water in a blender.
  • Take out the cooked eggplants in a plate and in the same frying pan heat the 2 tbs oil and roast curry leaves, ginger, garlic and onion till brown in colour on a medium heat, then add the paste of peanuts etc. in it. Now add the lemon juice and sugar in it; mix well and fold the cooked eggplants in it.
  • Serve hot with rice, naan or any other flat bread.
I am sharing this recipe with the following link parties-Cook once eat Twice and Fiesta Friday
and Full plate Thursday and Hearth and soul blog hop and Sweet Inspiration link part, with Meatless Monday












Friday, 16 March 2018

CREAMY SPINACH CURRY

CREAMY SPINACH CURRY


This is one of my favorite recipes, which is regularly made in my kitchen. I use different types of spinach to make this recipe and enjoy it every time. In my long stay in Africa, I used white silver beet spinach, which was the only type that was locally available there. I even enjoyed cooking with this type of spinach straight from my kitchen garden in Africa. This type has long and hard leaves like kale, takes more time is chopping, cooking and the taste is also a little bit different. There I had no choice but to use that type only because tender baby spinach or English spinach was not available, I even tried to grow the soft and tender baby spinach in my kitchen garden but failed, I think the harsh African sun, the dry and hot climate there was not suitable for it.


Here in Calgary, baby spinach is available in plenty throughout the year and if I buy a big packet, it is triple washed, which I am also using in my salads. Because of its availability in abundance, I am using it a lot in my old recipes which were already made in my kitchen and trying some new recipes as well.


I tasted this recipe, the very first time, in a four-star hotel, around 20 years ago, where I stayed with my family for 2 and half months. It was a long time ago, isn’t it? I was staying in the hotel after getting transferred from a town to a city, I couldn't get accommodation in teacher's houses available in my school. The head chef of that hotel was very nice, I met him personally and informed him that all four members of my family are vegetarian. He really made our stay enjoyable with his lovely and tasty vegetarian dishes, which were made by him personally every day. Some of the days he really surprised us by serving some tasty Indian vegetarian dishes as well.


This recipe is not only my favourite recipe but the whole family likes it, even my grandchildren. Spinach is one of the vegetables which they really enjoy, so I try to use spinach in different curries, salads and lentils as well so that they get the health benefit of this green vegetable. This is a simple recipe, which can be enjoyed with rice, naan, Indian flat bread or even with dinner bun.



RECIPE
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 kg fresh baby spinach (frozen can be used in this recipe)
  • 500 ml fresh/whipping cream
  • 1 big onion (200 grams)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • A small piece of ginger
  • 2 green chili (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbs coriander powder
  • salt and chili flakes to taste
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 2 tbs tomato puree

METHOD

  • Chop and wash the spinach thoroughly.
  • Grate or finely chop the onion, ginger, garlic and green chili.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds, once changing the colour add the ginger, garlic, onion and green chili and saute till onions are brown.
  • Add spinach and salt, chili and coriander powder and cook for 8-10 minutes till spinach is cooked and the extra water evaporates.
  • Add cream and let it boil for 2-3 more minutes, then add the tomato puree, mix well and switch off the stove/gas.
  • Serve hot with rice, naan, roti or dinner bun.








Wednesday, 28 February 2018

GREEN PEAS PARATHA (INDIAN FLAT BREAD STUFFED WITH PEAS)

GREEN PEAS PARATHA (INDIAN FLAT BREAD STUFFED WITH PEAS)


In 2016, when I went to Delhi, India, I stayed longer than usual, for about 9 months due to many reasons, and also because now I am retired and I can stay longer when travelling. During my working career, while I was in Africa. I used to go to India only for 4-5 weeks in December holidays, which is the winter season in Delhi. I had no experience of staying in the hot summer of Delhi for many years. So in 2016, I found it very difficult to cope with the hot days and humid nights. But there was no choice, I had stayed on and experienced a very hot summer for six months, short rainy season and mild winter which was also short for two months only.


Here I would like to share a funny incidence – while I was in India, One day I was talking to my grandson on the phone; who lives in Canada. At that time he was in grade four, he told me that he read in his social studies course about seasons in India, and told me that there are four seasons in north India. He wanted to check my knowledge and asked me to name them. That time I was too frustrated with that long hot and humid weather that I replied, “Yes my dear, they are four – hot, humid, very hot and extremely hot.” He laughed a lot and asked, “Grandma, what's wrong with you”? Then I told him that I am really tired of this long hot and humid weather here in Delhi and I want to leave this place as early as possible.


In Delhi, winters are short, and mild which mainly last for 2-3 months. After that long summer, I really enjoyed winter season in Delhi. Apart from the nice weather, the other best thing about this winter was the colourful fresh organic vegetables which were available in that season: dark red carrots, cauliflowers, turnips, sweet potatoes, beets. And green peas were the main attraction for me. I really enjoyed the fresh green peas, which I got in plenty in that season and at a very reasonable price. I used them in many recipes and enjoyed them fully. In my long stay in three countries of Africa, i.e. Kenya, Botswana and South Africa, getting fresh green peas was a dream, which never came true. Fresh green peas were not at all available in Africa, and that is why I really missed them and was forced to use the frozen peas only. Even in Calgary, it is a luxury because it is available for a very short time, in Indian vegetable shops only and they are very expensive.


Being a foodie and a food blogger, I experimented a lot with this tiny, cute and green vegetable during my stay in Delhi and tried and tested some new recipes with it. Green peas recipes are not only tasty but healthy as well because peas are considered as the powerhouse of nutrients and have a lot of health benefits of eating green peas. Whenever I cook something with green peas my grandchildren will say, “Hey, today we are eating a powerhouse”, because I always force them to eat their vegetables and particularly the green ones like peas.


This is my favourite recipe, which I am sharing with you today. I really like the taste of these parathas and I am glad that even my grandsons like them too. Last night when I made them, both my grandsons told me that they would love to take these parathas in their lunch boxes for their lunch in school. Both fresh and frozen peas can be used in this recipe.



RECIPE
INGREDIENTS

  • 500 grams brown bread flour/whole-wheat flour/aata
  • 1 tbs oil
  • salt to taste
  • ! cup or more water to make the dough
  • oil for roasting the parathas

FOR STUFFING
  • 200 grams fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste

METHOD

  • In a bowl, take brown bread flour, add salt and mix water slowly to make a medium-firm dough, neither very hard nor soft, glaze the top of the dough with oil and leave it aside.
  • In a frying pan heat 1 tbs oil, add cumin seeds, when they turn to brown colour add peas with salt and pepper, mix well and cover the lid, leave it on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes till the peas are tender and done well and there should be no water left, peas should dry completely.
  • Let it cool, with a potato masher mash the peas.
  • Divide the dough in 8-10 pieces, make small balls and roll each ball as the size of a cookie,( 4-5 inch in diameter) stuff one tbs peas in it, pick all round area and close the mouth of the parathas and roll into 6-7 inch big in diameter, dust the flour when needed.
  • Heat the heavy-bottomed frying pan or cast iron flat pan. When the pan is hot,  roast parathas on both the sides, add drops of oil in all the surrounding of the paratha.
  • Cook until brown and crispy from both the sides, serve hot with any pickle or chutney of your taste.