These recipes are from my sister-in-law, Brinda. Brinda is a horticulturist who of course loves to garden. She is a researcher and worked in some of the best botanical gardens in Tamil Nadu. She has now retired and has an amazing terrace garden. She is also a good cook and makes the best Mysore masala dosa. These are some of her easy, quick recipes you can cook for a weekday meal.
STIR FRIED VEGETABLES (ALOO BAINGAN CAPSICUM FRY)
- 1 cup green peppers (capsicum) cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 cup Eggplant (baby eggplants if available)- sliced into 2 inch pieces
- 1 cup potatoes- peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces.
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp besan (gram flour)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala (optional)
- salt to taste
- In a kadai or wok, add 3-4 tbsp of coconut or vegetable oil
- Add vegetables to it with salt and turmeric powder. Mix well
- Reduce to a medium flame. Cover and cook. Stir occasionally
- When potatoes are almost cooked, take off the cover and cook for a few minutes
- In a bowl mix the gram flour, chilli powder and 1/2 tsp salt
- Mix into the vegetables and cook till the raw smell of the gram flour is gone.
- Serve hot with chapatti/ rotis or naan/pita bread
BlackEyed Pea OLAN
Olan is a dish made in the state of Kerala in South India. Their food is simple to make with the freshest of ingredients. The ingredients speak for themselves and is not masked with too many masala or spices. Kerala is spice county and grows pepper, cinnamon, cardamom among other spices and invaders came to India to look for these spices. They also have an abundance of coconut and so all their dishes have coconut or are cooked in coconut oil. In most dishes, coconut oil is drizzled on top (like olive oil would be drizzled on italian food). Earlier I have posted avial, which is also a dish from Kerala https://chaiwithpreethi.com/2017/04/01/adai-and-avial/. I suppose dishes in Kerala showcase their spices. Each dish uses one or two spices so it stand out in the dish I may have to write a separate post on that.
- 1 cup black-eyed peas (cow peas)
- 2 cups of white pumpkin or kerala yellow cucumber or snake gourd or chayote squash or ash gourd
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 2 green chillies, slit
- 1 tbsp curry leaves
- 1 cup coconut milk (optional- I add it while I cook vegetables, makes it creamier)
- Soak 1 cup of black-eyed pea (also called cow-pea)
- Pressure cook in cooker or instant pot for 3 minutes
- In a sauce pan add sliced vegetables, chillies and cooked peas; add 1 cup water (or coconut milk), salt to taste and cook
- Once the pumpkin is cooked, keep aside
- Drizzle coconut oil and garnish with curry leaves
- Serve with steamed rice
sweet and spicy BITTER GOURD
- Wash 3 bitter gourds thoroughly and cut into small pieces.
- Heat 3 tbsp oil in a Kadai or saucepan, add bitter gourd, some salt and stir fry. Cook covered on a low flame. Toss every couple of minutes to avoid burning. Add a tbsp of water if required.
- When a few pieces start to brown add a teaspoon of chili powder. Reduce or increase the quantity of chili powder depending on the spice level.
- Remove lid and mix well
- Check for seasoning. After a few minutes, add one tablespoon of sugar and keep tossing till well cooked. The bitter gourd should not be mushy, should have a bite to it and almost crispy.
- Bittergourd, as the word suggests will be bitter. But the addition of spice and sugar mellows the bitter taste. Adding some acid like tamarind pulp or lemon juice also reduced the bitterness.