Friday, July 30, 2010

Ridge-gourd with cauliflower sabji

This was a last minute kitchen sink sabji experiment that turned out exceptionally well so I thought I'll quickly post about it. I had one sole ridge-gourd at hand. Now one is not enough to make a sabji for two so I kept it in the fridge hoping to use it next time with a sambhar or in some mixed vegetable concoction. Now a week later, the ridge-gourd was still sitting alone in the fridge so I finally decided to quickly make a kitchen sink sabji with it. I had some cauliflower at hand so thought of making a cauliflower potato sabji and adding ridge-gourd as an extra kick. A lone red bell pepper was threatening to go bad so I added that too at the end. Overall I wasn't expecting much but the sabji turned out to be really good!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Carrot ginger and roasted leek soup

Life has been crazy recently.. well, more specifically, work has been crazy recently. If it felt like I have abandoned you all, that was because of the crazy work schedules for the past few weeks. I have even started batch cooking and freezing on Sundays. Always a sign of crazy times ahead. I don't know though, I have still quite not gotten used to the idea of eating defrosted food. I freeze ~4 different portion size dishes for two on Sundays and defrost a new dish everyday morning before leaving for work. The plan goes well for may be till Thursday; somehow by Thursday I always start feeling that I am eating stale food. May be its just a mental block; it is still freshly defrosted food, right! Do you eat frozen foods much? Do you feel the same way? What do you do to liven up defrosted food?

Anyway, so coming back to the point, last Thursday my mental block came back in full-swing and we finally decided to dinner out to this nearby salad & soup place where I had this absolutely awesome carrot, ginger and roasted leek soup. I ate bowls and bowls of it with their house bread and immediately tick-marked it to try at home for the weekend. So this is my take on this soup. It has a hearty sweet component from carrots and sugar; roasting brings out a wonderful slightly sweet smoky flavor of the leeks and the carrots; and ginger-cinnamon just give your throat that much needed warmth with every sip of this soup. Perfect soup for a tired evening! Well, if it would freeze well that is ;) Enjoy, and assuming things do not get over-powering again, I promise to be around more often now. Happy Sunday.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Black bean curry

Of all the beans I got introduced to after moving to US (and wow, isn't there a variety!) black beans are the ones I got adapted to most easily. Black beans are sure an integral part of the Mexican cuisine but their hardy taste and pair-ability with many spices makes them an ideal bean to be experimenting with. In particular, over the years of cooking with black beans I have realized that black beans and dried oregano is a match made in heaven! I always keep a bottle of dried oregano in my pantry just for the black beans :)

This black bean curry was born out of necessity (don't they always say necessity is the mother of invention ;)). One day all I had was a can of black beans and a few tomatoes at home so I made a quick black bean saute with onions-garlic-tomatoes and it was a big hit with both of us. Over the years I have tuned this recipe in more ways than one. It still remains my go-to recipe when I have 20-mins or less to bring something to table. Incidently, believe it or not this curry pairs extremely well with Injeras! Marriage of two vastly differently cuisines indeed.. if ever you do have some extra injeras lying around, do make this curry with some misir wot and I guarantee it will be a meal you will remember ;)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tandoori chicken

Summer is here and so are the outdoor grilling parties and picnics! Tandoori chicken is one of my go-to grilling dishes (not that I am any good with grilling, I rather prefer indoor roasting). It cooks up super fast with minimal preparation (except the ahead of time marinating) and the best part is, pretty much everyone (yes, even people who generally dislike spicy Indian food) end up loving this simple moist roasted chicken when served with some yogurt mint raita. And not to mention this dish is also very economical to feed a large party because this is one chicken dish where drumsticks and legs actually work better than costlier chicken breats portions. I always buy all-natural organic chicken and anyone who has seen the prices recently will attest when I say that buying organic chicken cutlets enough to feed 10-12 people will cause anyone to go broke ;)

Tandoori chicken is prepared by marinating chicken with yogurt and Indian spices and then roasting it in clay ovens for a moist and tender meat. Traditionally tandoori chicken is cooked in these large clay ovens called tandoors. Now-a-days having a tandoor is very very rare so an oven with a broiler or an outdoor grill are good alternatives. Yogurt is a natural meat tenderizer so marinating the meat with yogurt and spices is essential for a good tandoori chicken. More the marinating time, the tender and moist the chicken will be. I usually marinade for around 4-6 hrs. It is also said that cutting slits into the chicken pieces before marinating helps the inner parts to get tender and spicy.

After the chicken has marinated you can either grill it, bake it (like the recipe below) or do a broil-bake combination. All three work very well. I do not own a grill and ever since I moved into my new house which incidently is missing the broiler pan, baking has been my only option but feel free to experiment with other cooking techniques.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pav bhaji

Pav bhaji (translates literally to fluffy Indian bread with a spicy vegetable concoction) is a very famous street food in India (or Pune/Mumbai to be more precise). Bhaji is a pan-fried vegetable concoction with tomatoes, peppers, cauliflowers, potatoes and of-course a special blend of pav-bhaji masalas which give it that tangy, spicy chaat-like flavor. Pav is an Indian version of a small fluffy bread which is served pan-fried with butter and spices. 

On a typical pav bhaji platter, you get a few butter toasted pavs, a mound of spicy bhaji and a lot of condiments like chopped fresh onions, chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes, lemon wedges and of-course to finish off more butter :) Some people eat the pav-bhaji like they would eat roti and vegetables, mopping up the bhaji with slices of pav while others make a small sandwich for themselves by stuffing the bhaji and condiments in the slits between the paav. Either way anyone who has ever had this dish in India will vouch for the fact that its absolutely finger-lickingly delicious!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A peek into the garden

When we moved in about four months ago, three fourth of the yard was cemented and half of the remaining one fourth was occupied by a small lawn patch. The only open space to plant any new vegetables was around the perimeter of the yard. The perimeter was largely occupied with rose bushes with spaces in between. People who lived before us must have been rose lovers because at the last count we had 21 rose varieties! Yes, we have white roses, yellow roses, pink, red, crimson.. you name it and we probably have it. My husband is specially happy because now even if he forgets the anniversaries and the birthdays all he has got to do is run to the garden and pluck a few different roses :) The roses probably deserve a post for themselves, so this post I'll stick to the vegetables and fruits instead.

One of the first two plants that were our addition to the house were a fig tree and a lime tree. This mission fig tree is about eight to ten months old but is already bearing fruit that is very sweet!
(mission figs)
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This page and all of its contents is copyright of Prajakta Gudadhe. All rights reserved.

This is a web catalog of the recipes that I have tried and tasted in my kitchen. While these recipes and instructions have worked well for me, please use all the information and the recipes from Ginger and Garlic at your own risk.