Soba Salad with Rhubarb-Ginger Tahini

(adapted from Otsu Recipe on 101 Cookbooks)

Dressing (makes more than what you need for the recipe, but nice to keep around):

1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1-2 tablespoons (or more;) Brooklyn Delhi Rhubarb Ginger Achaar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons pure sesame oil
1 tablespoon tahini paste

Soba noodle salad
8 oz. soba noodles, cooked according to package directions
6 oz baked tofu or 8 oz extra firm tofu, cubed (directions below)
1 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 scallion, green and white part, cleaned and thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut in half lengthwise then cut across into thin half-moons.
sesame seeds
more cilantro for garnishing

If using extra firm tofu: Add tofu to a large non-stick skillet without any oil and toss over high heat until all water has evaporated. Add canola oil, reduce heat to medium-high and fry, tossing frequently until tofu is firm and bouncy. Drain over paper towels.

In a blender, combine all the dressing ingredients. Blend well. Add tahini and blend together.

In a large mixing bowl combine drained soba noodles, cilantro, scallions, cucumber. Slowly add dressing and toss Add more dressing to your taste. Arrange salad in center of large plate and top with baked or fried tofu. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs. Serve with more dressing on the table just in case!

Spicy Roasted Garlic Aioli

1 tablespoon Brooklyn Delhi roasted garlic achaar
1/2 cup mayo (can sub with vegenaise or aquafaba mayo)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Mash roasted garlic achaar. Whisk in mayonnaise, olive oil, and lemon juice. Season to taste with coarse salt and pepper.

TIP: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Majjige Huli (Cucumber Yogurt Curry)

1-3 green Serrano chilies (to taste based on size and desired “hotness”)
1/2 bunch green coriander leaves washed and cleaned
1/4 cup of a fresh coconut OR 1/3 cup unsweetened desiccated dry coconut
1/4 cup roasted channa dal*
1/8 to 1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2-3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 red chilies
2 sprigs curry leaves (optional)
3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1” wide pieces
1 1/2 cups of plain yogurt** (natural style without gelatin or other additives)
Salt to taste***
1 tsp oil for tempering

*You can use chenna dhal soaked in hot water for 15 mins. if you don’t have roasted channa dal.
**The amount of yogurt can be adjusted to taste based on spiciness.
***Cucumber water has salt in it, so taste before adding more salt

Peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and cut in half again lengthwise. Then cut into 1” wide pieces.

Boil in salted water until tender (about 10-15 mins.). Cover for the last 3-4 minutes. Drain but retain about 1 cup of the water and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a blender container add the following ingredients in the following order: roasted channa dal, coconut, green chilies, coriander leaves, turmeric, cumin seeds, and leaves from 1 sprig of the curry leaves. Now slowly add the cup of cooled cucumber water and blend to a smooth paste – add just enough of the remaining cucumber water as needed to keep the blender blades moving.

Whisk the yogurt to a smooth consistency and add the blended mixture to it. Continue to whisk until well blended. Taste to adjust salt. Add the cooled cucumber pieces and stir to mix.

In hot oil, fry the mustard seeds till they pop (use lid to prevent spattering). Immediately reduce the heat, add curry leaves from the remaining curry leaf sprig and the red chilies. Heat for about 30 seconds. Immediately add to the yogurt mixture and mix well.

This can be served either cold or at room temperature.

Other vegetables that can be used: boiled potatoes; boiled Chinese winter melon (ash gourd); stir fried okra pieces; or stir fried Japanese eggplant.

Gobi Paratha

Dough
2 1/2 cups chapati flour (or 1 1/2 cups whole wheat and 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ghee, melted (or oil)
2/3 cups warm water

Cauliflower filling
2 cups shredded cauliflower
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ginger, shredded
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Dough
Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Drizzle in melted ghee and rub with fingertips until mixture has consistency of course breadcrumbs. Add the warm water, bit by bit, to form a dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Place dough into a bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Dough should rest here for at least 15 minutes.

Filling
Mix grated cauliflower and salt in a bowl. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Squeeze out as much water as you can and put handfuls into another bowl. (This is important to do because dough will not cook properly if there is too much moisture from cauliflower.) Mix strained cauliflower with rest of filling ingredients.

Assembly
Divide dough into 10 even pieces and roll into balls. Flatten a ball and dip into dusting flour. Roll out to 3 inch diameter. Place one tablespoon of filling in the center. Wrap the edges up and pinch closed at top like a dumpling. Make sure the top is sealed and smooth out the crease. Repeat for all ten dough pieces.

Turn on skillet to medium heat.

Sprinkle your rolling surface and the top of the filled dough ball with some flour and roll out to 6 inch diameter. Make sure to roll out with sealed side on top.

When the skillet is hot (you can check with a drop of water – when it sizzles the skillet is hot), place a paratha on it. When bubbles start to form, turn the paratha over. Cook for 10 seconds and spread 1 teaspoon of ghee or oil over the top surface of the paratha. Flip over and spread a bit of ghee or oil over the top of this side of the paratha. Press the puffed areas with a spatula lightly. Flip again and press with the spatula making sure the dough is cooked and the paratha is golden-brown with spots on both sides.

Chapati

Chapati
Ingredients (makes 6 rotis)
1 cup of flour
~1/2 cup lukewarm water
extra flour for rolling
Method
Sift the flour into a bowl and slowly add water while kneading until you get to a dough that is soft, smooth and pliable. The longer you knead the dough the better but 5 minutes of heavy kneading will do.

Take the dough ball and cover with a damp cloth for a minimum of 30 minutes (you can also make the dough and put in your fridge for making another day).

Divide the dough into 6 dough balls or loee and roll them in flour.

Flatten each each dough ball with your palm and roll out to a 6 inch diameter, using extra flour so it does not stick.

Heat an iron skillet on medium heat. When it is hot (water drops should sizzle immediately), place roti on.

Let it cook and when you start to see bubbles form in many places, flip it over and cook until the other side does the same.

Over a medium flame, with flat tongs or chimta place the roti until it blows up or browns on both sides. (If you are cooking on an electric stove, you can press the roti in different places with a cloth to make it blow up a bit right on the skillet)

With the tongs, hit the roti against a surface to shake off any excess flour.

Butter one side with ghee and place in an airtight container lined with paper towel.

South Indian Vegetable Curry

Ingredients
1 tablespoon oil
pinch of hing or asafetida (optional)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped fine
1 carrot, chopped into 1/4 inch rounds
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch ginger, grated
2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch squares
1 bunch broccoli, broken into florets
1 yellow zucchini, chopped into 1/4 inch rounds
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 package of baked tofu, cubed
juice of 1/2 lime
cilantro, handful chopped
salt to taste

Heat oil under medium-low heat. Throw in a pinch of hing and shake up a bit. Throw in onions, leeks and carrot and fry until onions are translucent. Add in ginger and garlic and mix well. Throw in the spices and mix well, frying for a minute or so. Next throw in the rest of the vegetables and make sure to coat them in the spices. Mix in the brown sugar and salt. Pour in coconut milk and bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Mix in the tofu until heated and turn off stove. Mix in the lime juice and chopped cilantro.

Serve with rice and hot Indian pickle.

Moong Dal with Coconut, Ginger, and Peas

1 cup dry moong dal
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen peas – thawed
~1/2 inch cube ginger – thinly sliced sticks
lemon juice (optional)
3/4 cup fresh grated coconut – I use frozen and thaw it out
chopped cilantro

Chaunk (spices fried in oil that you pour over the dal at the end)
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 whole dry chili (optional)
1/4 teaspoon of chana dal, urad dal, mustard seed
pinch of hing

Wash the moong dal in water, until the water is almost clear and drain. Add 4 cups of water to the dal and soak for a minimum of 3 hours. I usually soak this overnight so that I can just cook the dal whenever I want the next day.

Drain the dal and get 1 cup of water ready.

Combine coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne (optional) and 1 tablespoon of water.

Heat the oil over a medium flame and when it is hot put in half of the ginger sticks and a few seconds later pour the spice mixture from the cup and stir once. Quickly put in the drained dal and mix it all up. Add the salt and 1 cup water. Once the dal is boiling, cover it and turn the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. The dal should be tender. To this add the peas, coconut and ginger and cook for 5 minutes or so. If you want the dal to be thinner, just add some warm water while cooking. Turn off the heat and at this point you can add some lemon juice (I highly recommend this, but I just can’t have lemons right now!).

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil with the seeds and optional chili. Let the urad dal brown a bit and pour this over the moong dal. You can also fry onion with this, but this adds acidity as well. Garnish with cilantro.

I like to eat this dal with rice and yogurt.

Gojju

This gojju uses eggplant and green peppers, but you can make many gojju variations: green onion, okra, bitter gourd, tomato and even pineapple! Also you can make this dish to suit your preference as far as how soupy you want it.

For cooking vegetable
2 tablespoons oil
pinch of hing or asafetida
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 dried red chili pepper
3-4 fresh curry leaves
1 1/2 cups Japanese eggplant, cut into 1 1/2 inch long and 1/2 inch thick wedges
1 cup green pepper, rough chop
1 cup onion, rough chop

For grinding
3-4 dried red chili peppers
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 tablespoons roasted chana dal
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
few sprigs cilantro
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut (can use thawed out frozen)
1/2 cup or more water

1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
2 teaspoons teaspoon jaggery or sugar
salt to taste

Put oil in pan under medium-high heat. When hot, put hing and mustard seeds in. When mustard seeds start to pop, put in fenugreek and let it turn golden brown. Turn the heat to low-medium and put in the red chili and curry leaves and coat with oil. Cook for a few seconds and throw in the onion. After the onion has softened a little, put in the green pepper, eggplant and salt to taste. I add a bit of water too so that the vegetables stay moist. Cover.

While the veggies are cooking put the dried red chili peppers, black mustard seeds, roasted chana dal and turmeric into the blender and grind. Next add in coconut, cilantro and water and grind. If it is looking a bit dry, you can add some water to make it more paste-like.

When the vegetables are almost done cooking, mix in the grinded paste and bring to a boil. At this time you can add some water too if you want to have a more soupy texture. Add in the tamarind paste and the jaggery and mix well. Continue to boil for a few minutes and then simmer. Add salt to taste. Turn the heat off and it will thicken a bit.

I like to eat this with roti and recently have been rolling it into a whole wheat tortill with rice.

Sambar

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons oil or ghee
1 medium red potato
1 carrot
1 cup masoor dal (red lentil)
6 cups water
2 tablespoons sambar powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons frozen fresh coconut (optional)
cilantro leaves for garnishing
salt to taste
For frying:
3 teaspoons oil or ghee
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 fresh curry leaves (fresh or dried)
1 dried red chili (broken into pieces by hand)
1/2 red onion

Note: can use a combo of the following vegetables for this recipe – string beans, japanese eggplant, cabbage, spinach (good with potato), radish (indian variety called mullangi is the best) or watery squash like chayote, etc.

Wash masoor dal until water is clear, drain and set aside.

Heat ghee or oil in a pot at medium heat and put in carrot and potato. Coat with oil and stir a bit. Add in drained lentil and sautee for a few minutes. Add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil under medium/high heat. Ladle out any foam that comes to the surface. Once foam stops, add turmeric and mix up. The dal and vegetables take about 30 minutes to cook.

Add sambar powder and mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt to your taste, tamarind and coconut and mix well. Turn off heat.

In a separate small pan, heat 2 teaspoons of ghee or oil and put in mustard seeds. Wait for them to pop a bit. To help this happen, you can put a lid over the pan. Once its popped for a few seconds, turn the heat down a little and put the curry leaves and broken up chilis. Coat the leaves and chili with the oil and fry for a few seconds. Pour this oil mixture over the lentils and vegetables and mix well.

In the same small pan put a teaspoon or 2 of ghee or oil and fry onion until they are fragrant. Add these onions to the sambar and mix well.

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

You can serve with rice and some yogurt on the side.

Tandoori Paneer and Peppers

14 oz. block fresh frozen paneer, thawed out and cut into 1 in. cubes (Nanak brand is good)
4 tablespoons Patak Tandoori Paste (mild)
3 tablespoons yogurt
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 large red pepper, large chop
1/2 large green pepper, large chop
small red onion, large chop
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
pinch of hing (asfeotida)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
red chili powder to taste
salt to taste
juice from 1/3 of a lemon

Put out paneer block to thaw (you can also defrost in the microwave, but make sure not to make it too soft, it starts to fall apart easily). In a bowl, mix the tandoori paste and yogurt well to make the marinade. Cut the paneer and put into a baking dish. Carefully coat all of the paneers with the marinade and put in the fridge for about 3 hours.

In a non-stick fry pan under medium-high heat, warm 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, put in pinch of hing and cumin seeds. Shake up the pan. Once the cumin seeds start to brown, put in the onions. Fry until they become translucent. Put in the coriander powder, turmeric, chili powder and some salt. Mix well. If it is a bit dry, you can add little oil. Then throw in the peppers and mix well. Cook until the peppers are a bit soft, but not too soft. Turn off heat and place in a dish to the side.

In same fry pan*, place 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil under medium heat. When hot, carefully place the paneer pieces into the pan. (There may be some sputtering from the marinade so be careful.) Watching closely, fry the paneers until they start to lightly brown and turn them so at least two sides are browned with marinade (mine are a bit darker in the photos because I like it cooked more:) Try not to mix it too much because the paneers will break. Make sure not to cook it too much because it will get rubbery. *If you don’t want to fry, you can grill the paneers or bake them in an oven until they start to brown.

Mix them up carefully with the peppers and onions so they don’t break. Ideally, lay the curry out on a flat dish and squeeze lemon on top just before serving.

Green Bean Palya

1 tablespoon oil or ghee
3/4 pound green beans – cut into about 1/2 inch long pieces
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
1/2 teaspoon chana dal
3 fresh curry leaves (can use dry)
1 dried red chili – broken into pieces
1/2 teaspoon sambar powder
2 tablespoons frozen fresh grated coconut – thawed out
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste

Heat oil under a medium flame. Put in a pinch of hing or asafoetida, mustard seed, urad dal and chana dal.

When the mustard seed starts popping and the dals start browning, put in the curry leaf and broken up chili pieces. Mix everything around for 10 seconds until everything is coated with oil.

Next throw in the green beans.

Mix it all up.

Add a little bit of water, turn the heat to low, cover and cook until the beans are almost tender. Mix in sambar powder and cook until the beans are tender. Add the coconut and cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat off and add in the lemon and salt and mix well.

Tomato Rasam

1 cup toor dal, also called split pigeon pea
6 cups water
1 tablespoon oil (peanut, sunflower or corn is best)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
5 fresh curry leaves
bunch of cilantro stems, chopped
4 tomatoes (4 cups), chopped (you can also use canned)
2 teaspoons rasam powder
1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste or fresh tamarind pulp
1 teaspoon brown sugar or jaggery
salt to taste
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed

Wash toor dal thoroughly in luke warm water until water is clear.

Put 6 cups of water and the dal in a pot over medium high heat. This dal has a tendency to foam very much. Keep removing the foam and throw it away in the sink. (You can add a bit of ginger which decreases this foaming.)

When the water is boiling and you have gotten rid of the foaminess, add the oil, turmeric, curry leaves and cilantro stems. Next add the tomatoes and mix it all up.

Place the pot over a medium flame with a lid partially covering it. Check on it often so that it does not boil over. This will take about an hour for dal to get tender. (Note – you may need to add more water as needed).

If you are using tamarind pulp as opposed to tamarind paste, break off lime size ball of tamarind and submerge it in warm water for about 15 minutes. Then press the softened pulp and liquid through a strainer over a bowl to separate the usable diluted pulp from the seeds and fibers. Set aside.

When the dal is finished cooking add the rasam powder. Make sure that the powder is homogeneously mixed and that there are no lumps. Let it boil to a golden brown color ~ 15 minutes.

Add tamarind paste or pulp.

Add brown sugar orjaggery and some salt to taste.

Let it all boil. After it has come to a boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat.

In a small pan take 1 tablespoon of butter and heat it under a medium flame. Add asafoetida and cumin seed. When the cumin seed is golden brown and fragrant, pour over. Add cilantro for garnish.

Cabbage Potato Curry

1 small Savoy cabbage, chopped
3 small red potatoes, boiled and chopped in bite size chunks
2 tablespoons oil or ghee
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger grated
pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste
juice from 1/2 lime
cilantro for garnish

Heat ghee or oil in a pan under medium-high heat. Put in cumin seeds and pinch of hing and shake the pot up so they mingle. Once the cumin seeds start to turn darker brown and fragrant, turn the heat to medium and mix in garlic and ginger. Sautee them together for 30 seconds.

Throw in cabbage and sautee. Put some water in the pan if you feel the cabbage is burning or getting too dry. Add the spices and cook for about 5 minutes. Next add the potatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Add salt to taste. Turn the heat off and add lime juice and cilantro.

Cantaloupe Chutney

1 cantaloupe, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 tablespoons ghee
2 dried red chilis broken in two or can use dried red chili flakes to your taste
6 cardamom pods, peeled and crushed
4 cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1/2 cup jaggery or brown sugar
1/2 cup blanched and sliced almonds, toasted
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup honey
1 cup yellow raisins
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped rough

Crush the cardamom and cloves in a mortar and pestle and set aside. Toast almonds in a non stick pan under medium low heat and set aside.

Heat ghee in a pan under medium heat. Put in red chilis, cardamom, cloves and ginger. Fry for 30 seconds. Next add in jaggery and almonds and mix all around for 15 seconds. Throw in cantaloupe and rest of ingredients in pan. Mix well and bring to a boil. Taste for more chili and add flakes accordingly. The chutney should be sweet but with a spicy kick at the end. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until chutney is syrupy.
Puree coursely in blender to make it spreadable.

Yellow Peanut Rice

1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon oil + 1 tablespoon oil
1/3 cup raw peanuts
pinch hing (asafoetida)
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
1/2 teaspoon chana dal
1 dried red chili, broken in two (alternative is chopped green chilis which adds more spice)
4 fresh curry leaves
juice of 1 lemon
handful frozen fresh grated coconut, thawed
cilantro for garnish
salt

Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on stove with water and turmeric mixed in. To make the rice not stick I sometimes add a little oil. Set cooked rice aside.

In a small pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil and put in peanuts under medium heat. Fry peanuts until they are fragrant and turn golden brown. Put peanuts aside. (They will get crunchier as they sit out.)

In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil under medium heat. To test the oil is hot put in a couple mustard seeds and they should start sizzling. Then add the rest of the mustard seeds and hing. Shake up the pot and cover (this is so the mustard seeds don’t pop out of the pan and burn you!) Once they pop for a few seconds, lower the heat and add the urad dal, chana dal, dried red chili and curry leaves (rub leaves between your hands a little before putting in pan to release oils). Coat them with oil and fry for a few seconds. The urad dal and chana dal should turn a brownish hue. Add the rice into the wok and mix well. Fry for a few minutes.

Turn the heat off and mix in the lemon juice and coconut. Add in the peanuts and salt to your taste. Garnish with cilantro and serve with yogurt raita.

Green Tomato Chutney

1 tablespoon canola oil
4 green tomatoes, chopped
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek
1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated
8 green chilis (more or less to your taste)
water
1 bunch of basil leaves
handful of cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt
1 cup yogurt (or more to your taste)

Heat oil in a pan under medium heat. Put in hing, cumin seed, mustard seed and shake up pan. Add in the urad dal. When the mustard seeds start to pop and the urad dal is turning golden, throw in the fenugreek seeds. Fry for a few seconds until they turn brown (if you fry these guys too much they taste super bitter). An alternative to frying these seeds is to roast them separately and powder them in a coffee grinder. You can then sprinkle this mixture when you throw in the tomatoes.

Throw in the onions and fry a few minutes. Mix in the turmeric and fry the onions until they are translucent. Mix in the garlic, ginger and chilis. Stir well and add in the tomatoes and salt. Cook the tomatoes until they are soft ~ 20 minutes. If the pan is dry, add in some water. You can also cover with a lid to cook faster.

Spoon the tomato mixture into a blender and puree with the basil, cilantro, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Add more chilis if you want it to be spicier. Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix in yogurt to your taste.

Serve as a side with roti or rice.

Vangi Baath (Eggplant Rice)

2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
pinch of hing or asafoetida
2 fresh curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 small eggplant, cut into 1 inch long strips (can use different varieties)
1 green pepper – same size as eggplant
1 small red onion
2 teaspoons vangi baath powder (recipe below)
1 cup cooked and cooled rice
juice of 1/2 lemon (or tamarind extract)
fresh frozen coconut – optional if not in powder

In a frying pan or wok under medium heat, add oil, mustard seeds and hing. Wait for the mustard seeds to pop and then add in the curry leaves and coat with oil. Add in the onion and fry until translucent. Add in the eggplant and green pepper and the turmeric and stir well.

Cook the vegetables until the eggplant is half-cooked. Add in the vangi baath powder and stir fry thoroughly so that the spice mixture is on all of the vegetables. Turn the heat down to cook through and stir periodically.

Once the vegetables are cooked, add in the rice and stir well. Turn off heat. Squeeze lemon and mix together. Top with coriander leaves and serve with yogurt, raita or majjige huli.

Notes: This was a rice for long car rides or on picnics. It’s quite hardy and since it’s so flavorful, you can just eat it as is. Traditionally, vangi baath is made with eggplants, but it can be made it with cauliflower too. You can also fried peanuts to the mix which was really good. Serve it with plain yogurt, raita or majjige huli.

Kadai Paneer

2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
14 oz cubed paneer, lightly fried
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch ginger piece, shredded
1 teaspoon cumin seed
pinch of asafetida (hing)
1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
salt to taste
fresh cilantro

Heat ghee or vegetable oil under medium heat in a wok. Add in cumin seed and asafetida and shake up in the pan. When the cumin seed starts to brown, add in the onions. When they are starting to get translucent, mix in the garlic and ginger and fry for 30 seconds.

Add in the tomato paste and stir well. Mix in the coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder and salt. If the pan is starting to get dry, add a touch of water to loosen it up. You don’t want this to get saucy, more of a coating for the paneer so keep that in mind. Fry this all up until the spices get fragrant.

Mix in the paneer gently, until it is coated with the tomato mixture. Turn off heat and garnish with cilantro.

Serve with rice, roti or as an appetizer with chutney.

Cauliflower Coconut Curry

1 head of cauliflower*, cubed
2 green chilies, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 yellow, white or red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 inch piece of cinnamon
3 cardamom pods, optional
15 curry leaves
1 (15 Oz) can coconut milk
Handful cashews, roasted (optional)

Mix the cubed cauliflower pieces with turmeric, garam masala, salt and lime. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. When you see ripples on the surface of the oil, see if it is hot enough by throwing in a mustard seed. If the oil is hot enough, the mustard seed will sizzle. Fry the whole spices and curry leaves for just 15 seconds or till the mustard seeds pop and you can smell the rich aroma of curry leaves and cinnamon. Be careful as the oil may splatter. I like to use a large lid as a shield.

Sauté the onions and green chilies for 3 minutes or till the onion is translucent. Add the cauliflower and most of the cilantro (reserve the rest for garnish) and stir well. Once all the cauliflower is coated with oil and sautéed for 3 minutes, add the coconut milk and turn heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 12 minutes or till the cauliflower has softened to your liking. Add salt to taste.

Garnish with cashews and cilantro. Serve with rice.

*You can substitute paneer or tofu for half the head of cauliflower.

Source: Veena Prasad