Lauki ke kofte ki sabzi (grated bottle gourd dumplings in curry)

Louki, gheeya or bottle gourd… use any name but this vegetable hardly brings smile on anyone’s face. My mother used to prepare this in plain curry form with tomatoes and I always liked it. But other than my mother and me everyone else in the family used to eat it forcibly.

But there is one more way through which we can cook this vegetable and serve to our guests. It’s slightly time consuming but tastes wonderful and no one can deny once served on his\her plate!!!!

Process :

1.To prepare Kofta:
Besan (gram flour)     just enough to bind koftas

Grated bottle gourd 1+1/2cup
Red chilli powder 1/4 tsp
Chopped green chillies 1 tsp
salt… as per taste
Asafoetida… a pinch
Coarsely grinded fennel seeds 1/2 tsp

2.Gravy/curry

For paste:

Onion… 1 medium size
Tomatoes…. 3 medium size
Green chillies…. 3 medium size
Ginger…. 1tiny piece
Garlic……. as per your taste (I didn’t add)

Spices :

Red chilli powder 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 1tbsp +1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Garam masala 1/2 tsp

Green coriander leaves for garnishing.

Process :

Peel and grate bottle gourd.

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Squeeze out all the juice from the grated bottle gourd. Keep this juice safe because we will be using it for curry.

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Mix red chilli powder, salt, hing(asafoetida) , besan (gram flour) and fennel seeds (sauf) in grated bottle gourd and prepare koftas(small balls.)

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Heat oil in a pan and fry these koftas keeping the flame between sim and medium. Once done, keep them aside.
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Now chop onion, tomato, garlic,  ginger and green chillies.

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Grind them in a paste and heat oil in a pan, crackle rai hing jeera and add grinded paste. Add rest of the spices.

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Let this cook on medium heat until it leaves the oil from the sides.

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Now add two cups of water including squeezed out bottle gourd juice and let it boil for 10-15 minutes on sim to medium heat. Add kofta in the gravy after 15 minutes.

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Cook for 5 more minutes on sim heat and take out louki ke kofte ki sabzi in a serving pan and sprinkle green chopped coriander leaves. Serve with plain rice or roti.

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Methi Palak ki sabzi

Green leafy vegetables are my weakness. I can have them in lunch and dinner both. And these nutritious leaves can be cooked in many different ways. We can cook them as normal vegetable, can add them to prepare green paratha, roti or poori, can add them in curd, prepare chutney or add them in salad.
In the morning my next door vegetable vendor sometimes gets really good green leafy vegetables . Yesterday he had clean bunches of methi, palak and pudina. I used mint leaves to prepare dry powder and spinach and fenugreek leaves to prepare sabzi.

Ingredients :
Spinach leaves 2 bunches
Fenugreek leaves 1  bunch
Potato 1
Tomato 2 medium
Green chillies 1
Rai                 1/8 tsp
Hing                a pinch
Jeera                1/4 tsp
Oil                    2 tbsp
Coriander powder 3/4 tsp
Red chilli powder   1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder    1/4 tsp
Salt           as per your taste

Process :
Cut the roots and thick stems and wash spinach and methi leaves. Keep them on a strainer so that all water drains out.

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Once water drains out, chop the leaves.

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Heat oil in a pan and crackle rai, hing jeera. Peel, wash and cut potato into small pieces and add in the pan and let it cook for a minute.

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Add spinach and fenugreek leaves and cover it. Keep the heat on sim. In five minutes the whole bunch of leaves will settle down. Now you will have an idea for how much quantity of spices and salt you need to add.
Add chopped greens chillies, coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt according to taste.

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Mix well and cover it again till potatoes become soft.

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Add chopped tomatoes.
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When tomatoes are soft and completely cooked , switch off heat and serve nutritious palak methi ki sabzi.

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Chole (chickpeas with gravy)

Chickpea, kabuli chana, chole…. address them as per your choice, but there is no doubt that this dish has special place in our kitchen.

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We cook them to make our Sunday special, when we have guests for lunch, for birthday parties, kitty parties; they are part of food menu for marriages and restaurants and kids are happy to see them on their plate….

Chole complement rice, bhature and poori very well. Nowadays they are added as a part of salad also. My sister Nandini is a rice eating person. She can have rice every day in lunch and dinner. Except her, my parents and my other siblings are roti lovers. So, rice used to be part of our Sunday lunch followed by chole. Now Nandini is a mother of two children but her love for chole chaawal still remains the same…..😊

Ingredients:

For boiling……

Cabuli chana 200 gm
Water 3+1/2 cups
Salt 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Mix of whole spices (saabut ya khade masale)… Black pepper 6…. cloves 4….. anise flower 1……cinnamon stick 2 medium size….. bayleaf 2 black cardamom pods 2

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For cooking :

Rai 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida 1/8 tsp
Onion 1 big size
Tomatoes 2 small size
Green chillies 3-4
Ginger 1 small piece
Coriander powder 2 tsp
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder 1 tsp (can increase or decrease as per your taste)

Water     1 cup

Process :

Wash kabuli chana twice and soak it overnight in 2+1/2 cups of water.

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In the morning they will look like this…

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Don’t throw away water and boil them in pressure cooker in the same water by adding 1 cup more water along with salt, turmeric powder and all whole spices. Personally I don’t add whole spices directly in the cooker. I tie them in a clean piece of cloth and then I add them with chole to boil. This process will help you in avoiding getting whole pieces of spices in your mouth and at the same time let you enjoy the intoxicating flavor of these spices. Boil chole till they are soft.

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While chana is boiling, we can prepare gravy.

Chop onion, tomato and green chillies separately and grate ginger.

Heat 1 tsp oil and sauté chopped onion till it is brown. Take them out and grind in a fine paste. Keep it separately.

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Now grind chopped tomatoes, green chillies and grated ginger.

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Again heat 2 tbsp oil and crackle rai, asafoetida and cumin seeds. Add chopped tomatoes, green chillies and grated ginger followed by coriander and chili powder.

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Saute it till oil starts leaving the sides – add grinded onion, mix it and add boiled cabuli chana along with its boiled water. Add 1 cup more water, otherwise chole will be very thick. Add salt as per your taste. Keep the heat on sim and let them cook for 10 – 15 minutes

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Switch off the heat and add garam masala. Before serving add finely chopped green coriander leaves.

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Baigan ka bharta (roasted balloon eggplant/brinjal cooked with spices)

For the last two days Apoorva was really sick with cold, cough and throat pain – so I wanted to pack something really good for her school lunch box. At 6:00 in the morning I decided to prepare baigan ka bharta. She doesn’t like baigan ki sabzi (though I don’t spare her for that) but she loves bharta a lot! If I prepare bharta for dinner, she keeps the rice aside and wants to have one extra roti to relish with her favorite bharta.

So when she came back from school I asked her if she liked her lunch. She said that she was barely managing to get some baharta for herself because all her friends wanted their share!!!

Who wouldn’t love to hear such nice stories about his\her cooking😂😂.

But honestly there are so many people who don’t want to eat brinjal veggie, but if you cook this bigger size oval shaped balloon brinjal in a different way, they love it. So, if you are interested in learning how to cook brinjal in such a different way that it becomes every one’s favorite, let’s start…….

Tips:
1. Always buy big size balloon brinjal to prepare bharta.

2. Check brinjal by slightly pressing it; if it’s too hard, don’t buy because there will be many ripened seeds inside and they don’t taste good at all. Buy the one which is fresh and soft.

3. Always check minutely if there is a tiny hole – if it is there, don’t buy….. it means insects have entered inside..and it’s their cave, so leave this cave for them……..generally it happens a lot during rainy season.

4. Keep a careful eye while roasting brinjal… burnt brinjal wouldn’t taste good.

Ingredients :

2 big size brinjals
3 medium size chopped onions
2 medium size chopped tomatoes
3-4 choppped green chillies
1/2 tsp grated ginger
salt… as per your taste

 

3 – 4 tbsp oil
5 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1/8 tsp rai

1/8 tsp asafotida

Finely chopped green coriander leaves

Process:

Roast brinjal either in your oven or gas top as per your convenience, till it is soft and tender.

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At the end of the roasting, brinjals will shrink and will be very soft. Make sure not to burn them.

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Keep them aside and let them cool down. Heat up oil in a pan and crackle rai, cumin seeds and asafotida. Add chopped onions and sauté them till they are light brown. Add chopped tomatoes, green chillies, grated ginger, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and a pinch of salt. Mix all together and let it cook on sim heat till tomatoes are cooked. Keep on turning this mix upside down in between.

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By now roasted brinjals would have cooled down. Peel out their outer skin carefully and take out all the pulp in a pan and mash it.

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Add this to onion tomato mix and add salt as per your taste. Mix well, cover it and let it cook for 4 – 5 minutes.

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As brinjals are roasted, tomatoes and onions are already cooked, so this 5 minutes time is sufficient to absorb all the flavours by brinjal pulp. Add some finely chopped coriander leaves and mix it. Switch off gas and shift bharta in a serving bowl, sprinkle some more coriander leaves and serve with your meal.

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Sukhe aaloo ki sabzi (boiled potatoes with Indian spices)

Potatoes are everyone’s favorite! This vegetable is cooked in many ways all over the world and liked by all age groups. In my  fridge, vegetable basket can be empty in 3-4 days but potatoes, never ever…..

I use potatoes  to prepare aaloo ki tikiya, dry veggie or veggie with gravy and aaloo ka halva, some snacks and aaloo ke paratheAaloo ka Paratha (paratha with spicy potato stuffing)

Last weekend my daughter had a get-together in our house with few of her friends. Preparing lunch for teenagers is a challenge as they are very fussy about their likes and dislikes. So, to be on the safer side I decided to prepare one dish called “sukhe aaloo ki sabzi” as many like it.

We can prepare this with raw potatoes or with boiled ones. I decided to prepare with boiled potatoes. It’s very easy, hassle free dish.

 

Ingredients :

Potatoes, green chillies, green coriander leaves, rai, cumin seeds, asafoetida, oil, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, dry mango powder or lemon juice.

Process :

Wash nicely and boil potatoes. After boiling keep them in a strainer and let them cool down.

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In a heavy bottomed pan heat oil and crackle rai, cumin seeds and asafoetida. Mash potatoes with your fingers and put them into the pan. Add finely chopped green chillies, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, coriander powder and dry mango powder or lemon juice.

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Keep the flame on sim and mix everything, cover it and let it cook on sim flame for 1/2 an hour. In between keep on turning them upside down. You may wonder what is the need for cooking so long when we had already boiled these earlier. Additional cooking makes potatoes absorb the flavours of all spices and makes them crispy. Sprinkle finely chopped coriander leaves and serve.

 

 

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Stuffed Capsicum (bharva shimla mirch)

Stuffed vegetables add charm to your dinning table! Though preparation takes slightly longer time, but the end result is really really good. Stuffing can be done with boiled potatoes, paneer, roasted gram flour or simply with some spices of your choice.

From my childhood, I had always liked boiled potatoes filled stuffed capsicum a lot. I have experienced that the taste of capsicum is not much appreciated by everyone, but if you serve it in stuffed form, people really like it. After our marriage, in Chennai Manish and I had invited some of  his colleagues at home and I had cooked stuffed capsicum and I remember that everyone liked it a lot!
In Bangalore also my dear friend Padmaja had called me once to her house to cook stuffed capsicum, so that she can see the entire process.

Not exaggerating, but my mother-in-law also very much likes stuffed capsicum prepared by me. Once I packed for her when they were going back to Jaipur from Bangalore and got rave reviews.

So now you have enough reasons to give stuffed capsicum a try……

Ingredients :

Green Capsicum

Potatoes

Finely chopped green chillies

Oil

Spices: salt, red chilli powder, dry mango powder(amchoor), garam masala, asafoetida(hing) and turmeric powder.

Process :

Boil potatoes in pressure cooker. Never let potatoes become over boiled where they get a big crack in between – this way water seeps in and they become soggy.

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Keep boiled potatoes in a strainer so that all water seeps out.

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Peel potatoes and once they cool down, add all spices, mash them and mix everything together.

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Heat a pan and add 1-2 spoons of oil and add ready mix of boiled potatoes. Keep on turning them upside-down from time to time to avoid potatoes sticking to the pan. Don’t add too much oil here as we just have to roast them lightly for 10 minutes.

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Potatoes will stick to the pan as we have added only couple of spoons of oil. To avoid this use small pan support – it’s very helpful in slow cooking.

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Once they are done, let them cool down.

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Wash and dry capsicum. Always buy  vertically shaped small sized capsicum for preparing stuffed capsicum. With vertical shape,  it’s easy to deseed them.

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To remove seeds, make a vertical cut.

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Fill in the prepared potato filling. Don’t stuff too much filling, otherwise while cooking it will start seeping out.

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Heat the pan and add 4-5 spoons of oil, spreading all over the pan. Next, place all the stuffed capsicums and cover the pan.

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Stuffed capsicum should be cooked on sim heat, so you can use small pan support again.

Keep on turning them upside-down till they are tender from all sides and done.

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Serve with roti, plain paratha or rice.

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