For all of you who thought that WIN 15, Blogadda’s celebration of blogging and bloggers was ONLY about blogging obviously missed something. WIN15 was also about food – Good Food! Visit Blogadda’s own report to know what you missed at this great event where there was more than food for thought.
I often think I must have been a Sindhi in my last life because I simply love their food and feel most at home while eating it. But I feel equally at home eating Chinese food, Italian food, English food, French food, Punjabi food …….hey I can’t be remembering food memories from so many lifetimes so I think I’d better accept the fact that I simply LOVE FOOD.
Well, there are lots of people like me in this world (you included , dear reader or you won’t be reading this!) and I love trying out new recipes from old ingredients. By this I don’t mean re-cycling food but trying out new dishes from ingredients that have been around for centuries like drumstick and brinjal and cluster beans and yam and pumpkin etc etc. These vegetables are seen often enough in the market but I’ve always given them the go-by till one day I saw Sindhi Curry Mix on the Big.Basket web site.
Now being a busy grandmother leaves me with very little time to actually do my weekly vegetable shopping and grocery shopping with the horrendous traffic and even more torturous wait in the check out lines has me running to my computer in the middle of the night and all else is still to check out my supplies online. Local Banya, GreenCart and Big Basket are so far my most used sites though I am toying with the idea of going to Reliance and Nature’s Basket.
I know I’m digressing but the point being that something made me click on this photo especially when Pampa my cook at the time suggested making Sindhi Tomato Curry as an alternative to our usual mixed vegetable curries.
Pampa has long since deserted me but the taste for this yummy curry hasn’t. So I had to scour the net for various recipes of this dish that is particularly great to have on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I finally amalgamated a few recipes and came up with this. To start with I collected all my vegetables together and kept on hand the following ingredients:
For the tempering
- 1 tbspn oil
- 1/4 tspn methi seeds
- 1/4 tspn mustard seeds
- 1/4 tspn cumin seed
- 1/2 tspn turmeric powder
- pinch of asoefetida
- 2-3 curry leaves
- 1/2 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
For the curry
- 3 tomatoes
- 2 heaped tspns chick pea flour
- 1 green chilli
- salt to taste
1 packet of Sindhi curry mix failing which you can use
- 1 drumstick
- 1-2 baby brinjals
- 1/2 cup cluster beans
- 1/2 cup okra
- 1/2 cup yam
- 1/2 cup red pumpkin
Here’s what I did :
1. I coarsely chopped the tomato and put them with a little bit of water to cook in the pressure cooker for 2 whistles. I let this cool before pureeing it in the blender to a fine paste.
2. In the meanwhile, I washed the vegetables and lightly peeled the drumstick taking off the coarse outer layer. If you don’t use the ready Sindhi Curry mix, make sure the vegetables are cut into large bite sized chunks.
3. In a deep steel pot, I heated the oil and added the spices for the tempering.
4. I lowered the heat and added the drumstick and yam and stir fried before adding the chick pea flour.
5. Just before the flour began to burn I added some water so that the flour becomes a thick paste. To this I added the tomato puree and allowed the mixture to come to a boil.
6. I then added the rest of the vegetables, lowered the heat, covered the pot and allowed the vegetables to cook .
So this is how I made my Sindhi Mixed Vegetable Curry. I know traditionalists will balk at this easy recipe but I assure you that the taste is authentic.
End Note :
Most of the recipes for this dish will have more oil and will advise the addition of tamarind pulp but since we like to use less oil and avoid the extra sour foods, I often give this a skip like today when the tomatoes were already sour. But if the tomatoes are ripe and sweet, you’d do well to introduce the sourness with tamarind pulp.
Food memories are indelible and I can never forget the juicy beefburger patties sold at McRonnell’s in Bandra. Those of you who’ve grown up in this beautiful Bombay suburb in the ’60’s will remember this bakery that was an institution of sorts on Hill Road. Every burger I’ve had since has had to measure up to this burger and for many years I tried to replicate it. Finally, I think my dinner yesterday was the closest I’ve got to it so far.
I’m not a die hard meat eater but the 4th March ban of slaughter of cows in my home State raised my hackles. Surely democracy includes the freedom to eat what a person wants and not what the State deems right? Luckily things were clarified and beef is now easily available at all licenced butchers and meat vendors and since then, I’ve been trying to have beef as often as I can ( once a month may be) .
I was happy to find that Mr. M had ground beef and even though I’d asked for just 250 g, he gave me twice the amount so I had to make extra large patties. I would much rather make smaller and flatter ones with half the quantity of meat.
To make around 6 really large patties you will need :
500 g beef mince
1 tspn oregano
1 finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely grated Amul cheese
1 tspn dried parsley (you could use fresh coriander or fresh parsley but I didn’t have any)
1 tspn soya sauce
salt to taste
1 lightly beaten egg
Here’s what I did:
I washed the mince and let the water drain out well. Then I mixed together all the igredients and allowed it to sit in fridge for a while. About half an hour before cooking I divided the mixture into patties, flattened them and let them sit in the fridge for another 10 minutes. Just before cooking, I heated some olive oil to smoking in a deep frying pan and gently let in the patties and allowed them to cook on one side before turning them over. I removed the nicely browned patties and allowed the excess oil to drain off before serving them up with a slice of cut tomato sitting on a generous helping of mayonnaise slathered on top of each burger.
I served this with steamed beans and carrots and parsleyed potato.
You could of course use these as regular burger patties and have the best burgers ever but I prefered to eat them like cutlets .
Needless to say they were yum!
Surprisingly when I got my new Hamilton Beach Panini grill, I thought I’d be grilling enough food for the whole of Bombay. Sadly though there weren’t enough people around to eat the food so I had to go easy on using the grill. However, that didn’t stop me from making this delicious aubergine steak.
Now aubergine as we all know is the humble brinjal that most people turn their noses up at. “Eeeks Brinjal” is what most people think even if they do not voice it when they see it place in front of them. But somehow, I feel that when a brinjal is called an aubergine ( the French word for it), it becomes more exotic and sophisticated. So even if Shakespeare feels that a brinjal by any other name will still remain the same, I beg to differ.
Moreover, if the aubergine is grilled to perfection it makes a perfect steak. So what I did was to line up a nice big fat brinjal, cut it into slices and marinate them with some salt, pepper, red chilli powder and a dash of soya sauce. I then heated up the Hamilton Beach grill and gently placed the marinated sliced aubergines on the lower grid. Then I carefully put down the top and allowed it to grill for around 2 minutes.
I removed the slices from the grill and topped it off with some spicy sour cream and dressed it with a bit of yellow pepper.
The first time I ever ate Portobello Mushrooms it was in Minneapolis I was intrigued by the name than attracted by the description of the dish. I just couldn’t get over this huge big brown mushroom with its strong, robust meatlike flavour! I immediately thought this was a great option for vegetarians who are otherwise doomed to eat only Paneer or aubergine as a substitute for steak. So when I found that Portobello mushrooms are now available in India, I make it a point to look for them in the market. Sadly aren’t available easily throughout the year so when they are seen in our Winter markets, I always make it a point to buy them and now with my new Hamilton Beach Sandwich Toaster and Indoor grill, I just had to try it.
So off I went to Nature’s Basket from where I picked up the biggest mushrooms I could find. Sadly in these pre-packed parcels one really has no choice and has to make do with one really large one with others getting progressively smaller. However, size doesn’t really matter, you could always eat two instead of just the one!
To start with, I bought a slab of Mother Dairy Paneer which I marinated for around 10 minutes with some light Kikkoman Soya sauce, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and some salt. Be careful to rub the salt in, else the paneer remains tasteless and bland.
In the meanwhile, I washed and patted dry the mushrooms, took off the stalks/stems which I chopped finely. To this, I added some Chilli garlic vinegar and some powdered black pepper, salt and a dash of Soya Sauce.
As a special zinger, I slit a fat red chilli down the centre and stuffed it with some crushed garlic, a bit of salt and a dash of pepper.
Then I heated the Grill as per instructions and when the plates were hot enough, placed the paneer, mushrooms and chilli, put down the upper cover and allowed the food inside to cook. When done, I removed it and plated it with seared mixed peppers which I had cooked separately in an other pan.
I can’t tell you how delicious it was.
Grilled food especially in a non-stick grill is healthy as it requires absolutely no oil. But if you can do with some more oil or fats, then you can add some grated mozzarella to the Portobello mushroom and red chilli to make it even tastier!