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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stuffed Eggplant

Some dishes always retain their exotic status no matter how often you cook them or how common they are at very many dinner tables. Stuffed Eggplant is one such dish. Of the million versions of this classic dish, I try a new each time with little or more success. The recipe below uses Goda masala, a traditional Maharashtrian spice mixture. As expected, it added a lot more flavor to the dish.

Baby eggplants – 8
Dry Coconut powder – 6 tsp
Chopped cilantro – ¼ cup
Tamarind paste – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Red chili powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Goda masala – 1 tsp
Diced garlic – 1 tsp
Grated ginger – 1 tsp
Diced Onion – 1 medium
Asafetida – a pinch
Water – as needed
Oil – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste

Dilute the tamarind paste by adding a little water so that it has syrup like consistency. Add coconut powder, chopped cilantro, cumin, coriander, turmeric and red chili powder, goda masala and salt to form a mixture. Use half of this mixture to fill up the eggplants.

Chop off the top green portion of the baby eggplants. Make 3 slits in each eggplant to carve an opening. Take roughly 1 tsp of the mixture prepared above and stuff the eggplants one by one. Set aside once all are nicely prepped up.

Heat oil in a skillet; add asafetida, diced onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions are done. Add the remaining mixture and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and bring to boil. Place the stuffed eggplants one by one in the skillet and cook covered for 30 minutes or so. Do not stir the eggplants too much in between. Alternative transfer the contents of the skillet to a pressure cooker and blow three whistles.

The use of Goda masala made this dish a little extra spicy, just the way we like it sometimes.

Serving suggestions
·         With Roti/Rice

·         Dry Mango Powder (Amchur) can be used in place of tamarind.

  Interesting fact
·    Eggplant has more nicotine than any other edible plant but not so much as compared to passive smoking.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Italian Idli

A couple of months back when I started writing recipes on Pasta and Paratha, Shivangi, a friend and also a follower on this blog asked me what to do with leftover Italian breadcrumbs. Now, I feel extremely flattered when someone asks me for a recipe or an opinion. And so this query by Shivangi set me thinking. I was toying with the idea of making Idli or Uttapam with bread crumbs but didn’t actually get to cooking it. It is when one of my favorite blogs (NOW SERVING) posted a recipe of an unusual kind of Idli that I remembered I had to live up to a friend’s expectation.

So here it goes, but before that, Thank you Shivangi for having enough faith in my recipes and Thank you Priya for reminding me of my promise (via your blog!).

Italian bread crumbs – 1 cup
Rava/semolina – ¾ cup
Yogurt – 1 cup
Baking soda – ½ tsp
Baking powder – a pinch
Dried parsley – 4 tsp
Salt and pepper
Oil – 4 tsp
Water – as needed

Combine bread crumbs, semolina and yogurt to make a paste. Use water as needed. Keep aside covered for 30 minutes.  Heat 2 tsp oil and 2 tsp water in a small skillet. Bring to a boil, turn the heat off and add baking soda and powder. Stir and empty the liquid in the paste made earlier with bread crumbs and semolina. Add dried parsley, salt and pepper and some water to form a batter.

Boil 4 cups of water in the Idli vessel or a large pot. Grease the Idli trays with remaining oil and fill with the batter. Sprinkle pepper on top of each Idli. Steam for about 15 minutes or so. Insert a knife and check; if it comes out clean, the Idlis are done.
Italian Idli tried and tasted by Shivangi
A note here about the final outcome. Shivangi sent me pictures of this recipe tried by her. Looks like her Italian Idlis turned out even better than mine, and I couldn’t be happier for it spells success for Pasta and Paratha.

Serving suggestions

·         With Ketchup/Olive oil

·         The ratio of breadcrumbs to Semolina can be half and half or 2:1 either ways. The texture of the Idli will come out different depending on that ratio, feel free to experiment!

 Interesting fact
·   The process of steaming originated in Indonesia and subsequently the cooking method inspired other regions giving rise to the modern day Idli.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Veggie Hot Dog

A Hot dog may seem extremely tempting to children I suppose, especially if all their friends are having one. My daughter’s annual barbeque party from school last summer had swings, slides, lemonade and hot dogs. After a whole lot of running around and playing, she was super excited to eat with her friends and the veggie hot dog with soy looked as good as the real deal, but one bite and my daughter could eat no further.  Of course, being an adult I realize the health advantages of soy, but for a hungry kid it was not what she wanted to eat.

I forgot all about the hot dog until last week when she brought up the subject again and said, Mom, I like to look at it, but don’t like to eat it. Point taken. I set to work and in about 20 minutes a delicious veggie hot dog was on its way.

Red kidney beans – 1 can
Boiled potato – 1 small
Red chili flakes – as tolerated
Cumin powder – ½ tsp
Oil – as needed
Diced pickle (dill) – 1 tsp
Diced onions- 2 tsp
Mustard – ½ tsp
Tomato ketchup – lots and lots
Hot dog buns – as required
Drain the kidney beans and wash with cold water. Transfer to a bowl. Mash them well. Mash the boiled potato and add to the kidney bean mixture. Add salt, pepper, cumin powder, red chili flakes and mix well. Heat a skillet and grease with 1 tsp oil. Roll the kidney bean and potato mixture in shape of a hot dog. Grill them two at a time on the skillet, flipping sides. The veggie hot dogs are done when a crispy layer is formed through out.

Now take an open hot dog bun, layer it with diced onions. Put the hot dog in the middle and top it with mustard, diced pickle and ketchup. Enjoy the hot dog without the meat!

Serving suggestions
·         With iced tea/lemonade

·         Pickled dill has been used in place of relish here, which would have been an original choice.

  Interesting fact
·         Baseball games and hot dog stands go hand in hand.

This Veggie fast food goes to: