A vegetarian Burmese Khow Suey

A sister-in-law of mine once told me that what we call Burmese Khow Suey only exists in our Indian imaginations. In her three year stay in Yangon, she didn’t come across anything remotely like it .

However, I first came upon Khow Suey when I was all of 13 years old. A much travelled aunt who used to make a big production of being invited by her , once included my brother and me when she invited my parents to her much prized Sunday brunch

. To say I was gob smacked is an understatement. For me it was like dying and going to heaven.

For several years I used to think that  Khow Suey was the ultimate in exotic cuisine and kept her reluctantly shared recipe close to my chest. That was before the now defunct Busaba opened up Burmese cuisine to the everyday Mumbaikar.

The other day I was slurping down my chicken Khow Suey at Palladium Social when Hubby Dear expressed a keenness to try the coconut curry.

Since he had assiduously passed up the Khow Suey every time it was made at home, I was once again gob smacked !

And what was more shocking was that he asked me to make a Vegetarian version for Sunday’s lunch .

So here’s what I did 

Burmese khow suey

Burmese khow suey

Ingredients

  • For the curry
  • 1 x 200 g coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic ginger paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon red chill powder ( depending on how fiery you like it)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander powder
  • 1 heaped tablespoon chick pea flour ( besan)
  • For the vegetables
  • 1 cup pre-cooked Nutrela Soya nuggets
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 3 baby corn
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced mushroom
  • For the garnish
  • 1 finely sliced onion made into a barista ( deep fried to a crisp golden brown)
  • 2 teaspoons golden fried chopped garlic
  • chopped coriander
  • chopped green onion
  • coarsely ground roast peanuts
  • crumbled boiled egg
  • lemon quarters

Instructions

  • To make the curry :
  • Heat the oil in a pan and add the grated onion and stir till pink. Then add the garlic ginger paste and continue stirring. Reduce the heat to avoid sticking.
  • When the onion is golden brown, add the turmeric, red chilli powder and coriander powder. Roast till you get the aroma of roasted spices ( around a minute or so).
  • Add the chick pea flower and continue stirring till the flour is slightly roasted.
  • Toss in the vegetables one by one starting out with the baby corn, then broccoli, mushroom and bell peppers. Finally add in the cooked soya nuggets.
  • Add just enough water and cover with a lid .
  • Allow the pot to simmer till the vegetables are just done.
  • Remove the lid and add the coconut milk.
  • Once again allow the curry to simmer - letting it thicken a bit.
  • Adjust the salt before serving
  • Serve with steamed noodles or steamed white rice.
  • Khow Suey is served on top of the noodles/rice with all the accompaniments added on top . Mix together to get an interesting mix of crunch and flavour.
  • You could add a dash of lime if you like slightly tangy, citrusy flavour.
http://foodities.in/veg-burmese-khow-suey/

Being Vegetarian and improving stomach health

Red and yellow bell peppers and fresh asparagus
Red and yellow bell peppers and fresh asparagus

Despite being born a vegetarian into a traditionally mandated vegetarian family, I was weaned on “BOVRIL” in an effort to increase my weight. While my poor grandmother who dutifully stirred the black goop in my feeding bottle was blissfully unaware of its animal origins, my stomach was converted for life into non-vegetarianism.

But every once in a while I turn vegetarian:  sometimes it is for 4 months ( Chaturmas or the four months starting on Ashadhi Ekadashi and which ends on Karthiki Ekadashi spanning the entire monsoon season), sometimes it is for a year of Wednesdays, sometimes it is over the 10 days of the Ganesh Festival  or sometimes like this year, it is for Navratri. Most of the time the reasons aren’t in the least bit religion or tradition driven but a mere response to my stomach’s protest at being used and over used. So when the peptic acid begins to falter and the Hydrogen Sulphide begins to build up, I know it’s time for me to go back to my vegetarian roots , to give my system a rest and improve my stomach health, so that I can go back to being a non-vegetarian.

I feel good during the days I am vegetarian – I feel light and cleansed and I actually begin to see a halo shine faintly above my head as I imagine I’m sparing some poor animal from slaughter just to indulge my pampered taste buds.

But then on other days I feel particularly deprived especially when I see something as simple as an omelet in the dish next to mine for even though I’m vegetarian, I still cook non vegetarian food for my family and it’s hard not to dip in and taste for salt or other seasonings.

But I’m going to persist in being vegetarian till Dussera which is only a few days’ away now……..

Frankly, though, isn’t this picture of peppers and asparagus tempting enough to become vegetarian forever?????

Easy Peasy Sindhi Tomato Curry

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:

IMG_1618

 

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.

IMG_1619

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.


I am participating in the ‘Ready For Rewards’ activity for Rewardme in association with BlogAdda.

 

How to make 12 lemons into a yummy pickle

 

My father always told me that every person thinks his mother is the greatest cook on earth because that is the first taste he’s been exposed to. Luckily for him, my own mother and his wife turned out to be as good a cook as his mother so he continued to have great food all his life, the way it tasted since he first tasted it! So spoilt was he for choice that he used to turn his nose up at pickles and chutneys, denouncing them as the crutch of the rotten cook. Having thus condemned pickles and chutneys so vehemently, my mother assiduously avoided making them leave alone keeping them on her table so I’ve grown up pickleless as a child.

However, when I got married, I found that my husband and his mother’s table not only had a pickle but an entire range of pickles and chutneys served for every meal in a tray with assorted bottles and spoons – a pickle for every taste and every mood. And the only time I ever enjoyed a pickle was when I was pregnant (my early pregnancy detection test actually) and it is only now that I eat the occasional pickle.

 

IMG_0724
My lemons finding their place in the sun!

 

Lemon Pickle is by far the easiest pickle to make and one that is particularly yummy when you are nursing a cold and indifferently eating soft khichdi or when you want to spice up some curd rice on a hot, summer day. This lemon pickle also goes well with sweet shira .

So when I found the market flooded with lemons ( they are freshest and cheapest this time of year) I immediately decided to make some lemon pickle.

Ingredients:

  • 12 lemons cut into 4 wedges
  • 1/2 cup of red chilli powder
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tspn turmeric powder
  • 1 tspn fenugreek (methi) seeds
  • 1 tspn asoefetida powder ( Hing)
  • 2 tspns oil

Method:

  1. Wash and dry the lemons and cut into quarters
  2. In a saucepan heat up the oil and add the fenugreek seeds and saute. Lower the heat and add the asoefetida powder and then the turmeric powder . Allow to cool and grind into a paste.
  3. In the meanwhile add the salt and redchilli powder to the lemons and mix them up well in a glass jar. Add the tempered turmeric, fenugreek and asoefetida paste and give it a good shake. Keep the bottle in the sun for around ten days till the lemons turn squishy and pickled!

Store in an airtight jar and enjoy on a rainy day!

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Paneer – a tangy Spring welcome

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!