Bagara Baingan / Vankaya Masala / Brinjal (eggplant) cooked in Spicy Gravy | TummyKhush


The best things in life happen in the least unplanned manner. That is how this recipe was born. The very fact that this blogpost doesn’t have many pictures proves the point. The husband bought very cute,tiny,round brinjals from the farmer’s market and wanted me to make bagara baingan. (It is one of his top favourites curries by the way). So after putting off making the recipe for almost a week, I decided enough is enough let me make it. I referred online for the recipe (my constant source of information of all types) and decided almost all the recipes were too complicated. So I just washed the brinjals and started frying them and decided to go with the flow and followed my instincts.And it was a hit. That’s when I decided to share it with you guys. This dish is a labour of love. So without further talking, let me go to the recipe.

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Here are the ingredients I used to make this recipe.

Brinjals – 1/2 kg
Peanuts – 1/2 cup
White sesame seeds (thella nuvvulu) – 3 to 4 tsp
Bengal gram dal/senaga pappu/chana dal – 2tsp
Urad dal/minappa pappu – 2 tsp
Jeera/cumin seeds/jeelakarra – 1 tsp
Red chillies – few as per taste
Coriander seeds/dhaniyalu – 3 to 4 tsp
Onions – 2 medium finely chopped
Green chillies- 3 to 4 finely chopped
Tomatoes- 2 finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Turmeric – a small pinch
Red chilli powder – optional to taste
Kitchen king masala/garam masala – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Dry masalas like cinnamon, cardamom pod, black pepper, cloves – as per availability and personal preference. I added just a couple of each since we are low on spice.
Oil- for shallow frying the brinjals and for frying the spices
Tamarind juice – 1 tbsp or adjust according to taste and consistency of your juice

Prepare the brinjals by making criss cross slits in the brinjal on the lower part while making sure that the top doesn’t get seperated. This will retain the integrity of the brinjal while making sure it is properly cooked.
Heat 1/2 a cup of vegetable oil in a deep bottomed non stick pan. After the oil in sufficiently warm, add the prepared brinjals one by one into the oil. Do not overcrowd the pan, as we need all the brinjals to fry evenly. I fried the brinjals in two batches. Keep the heat on medium and keep turning the brinjals with a fork or tongs. All the sides need to brown evenly. This ensures proper cooking. Don’t brown the brinjals completely. We just need them to be half cooked as we will continue cooking them in the gravy later.

While the brinjals are frying up, heat another pan for dry roasting the peanuts and the sesame seeds. Fry the peanuts and once they are almost done, add the sesame seeds too. Sesame seeds fry very quickly. So you need to be careful once you have added the sesame seeds. Once they are done, place them in a mixie/blender jar and allow them to cool down.
Also dry roast the dry masalas. Place the the mixie/blender jar to cool them down.
In the same pan, warm the oil and add the channa dal and udad dal. Allow them to brown slightly. Add the coriander seeds,cumin seeds and fry for a minute. When the coriander seeds change colour and start giving out the aroma, add the dry red chillies and fry for a minute. Remove from the stove and allow to cool down. Add this to the mixie/blender and once everything cools down make it into a powder. This will form a part of the gravy.
 
Heat up oil in the non stick pan. You can use the oil left over after frying the brinjals. To this, add chopped onions. Once they brown slightly, add the green chillies and ginger garlic paste. Once the raw flavour disappears, add the finely chopped tomatoes and allow them to soften.

Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, kitchen king masala/garam masala, salt and other powdered masala that you would like to add. Mix well
To this add the powder that has been made in the blender. Allow everything to cook. The oil should leave the sides of the pan which is a sign that it has cooked well.
Add the tamarind juice and some curd (optional) and continue cooking. You could also add some cream if you are feeling indulgent.

Add a cup of water to the cooked gravy and mix well. Now carefully add the fried egg plants one by one. Mix carefully to maintain the integrity of the eggplants. Bring to a rolling boil, lower the flame and continue to cook till you are ready to serve. The more time you slow cook this, the better it tastes. This curry enhances it flavour overtime. So if there are leftovers, don’t fret. Tough I am sure there won’t be any leftovers!!

You cans serve this rice with masala rice, chapatis, puris, jeera rice or plain rice.

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Kakarakaya Ullikaram/ Stuffed Karela(Bittergourd) | TummyKhush


Bittergourd.. you either love it or you hate it. There can’t be an in between. I fall in the former category. I love bittergourd. I also love any vegetable that is stuffed with onion paste and cooked. So, then, this is one of my favourite curries. The sweetness of the onions offsets the bitterness of the bittergourd creating a wonderful contrast. This is definitely one of my comfort food curries.

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You would need:

Bitter gourd : 1/4 kg

For the stuffing:

Onions – 3 to 4 medium sized.
Turmeric – a pinch
Jeera/cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Chilli powder – 2 to 3 tsp or to taste.
Oil – for frying

How to make it:
Chop the end off the bittergourds. Cut them into equal pieces as shown in the pic. Remove the seeds and slit in the centre to hold the stuffing. Set aside.

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For the stuffing, peel the onions. Cut them into quarters and add the to your food processor along with turmeric, jeera, red chilli powder and salt and ground into a fine paste.

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Heat some oil in a frying pan. Add the onion paste to it and fry till the moisture disappears completely, the raw aroma disappears and the stuffing starts to change colour. You can check seasoning at this stage to add more salt or chilli powder and adjust quantities.

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Once the stuffing is cooked, set it aside to cool down.

Now stuff the stuffing into each of the prepared bittter gourd pieces.

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Once again heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough, place each of the stuffed bittergourd pieces into the oil carefully. Allow the pieces to fry on each side till the colour changes and the bittergourd pieces are cooked.

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Keep turning the pieces occasionally with tongs or slotted spoon making sure that all sides are cooked and fried evenly. A few minutes before turning off the stove, you can add any remaining stuffing left over to the pan to make sure it is warmed up enough and flavours the curry.
Serve hot with rice and ghee.

Variations:
1. If you do not like the strong bitterness of the bittergourds, boiling them might be an effective way to remove the bitterness. You could bring a pot of water to boil with some salt in it, place the chopped and slit bittergourd pieces in it, boil for a few minutes till the colour starts changing. Then drain the water and squeeze the excess water off the pieces and now they are ready for stuffing.

2. You can also add a couple of spoons of besan/senagapindi/gram flour to the ground paste before frying. This will give the finished product a delicate flavour balancing out the bitterness.

Carrot Kheera Chutney | TummyKhush


I keep talking a lot about fridge raid recipes to use up left over veggies in the fridge. For a change I am gonna talk about a recipe that I’d love to make after finishing my shopping trip. I can’t resist filling up my cart with fresh veggies when I go shopping. I love the sights and smells of fresh produce in the market. After one particular shopping trip, I had some fresh carrots and cucumbers and a brain wave…to make something with a combination of these two. Since both of them were fresh, I didn’t want to cook and spoil those awesome flavours. And I was planning to make dosas for dinner. So chutney it was. I simply took the basic principles of chutney making and instead of sauteing the veggies which is the normal method, I simply used them raw and voila a new recipe was born. It is still one of my favourite chutney recipes and I am proud to say it is completely my baby from conception to completion.

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Here is how I made this carrot kheera chutney.

Ingredients:

Fresh carrot : 1 medium size peeled and chopped
Fresh lemon cucumber or kheera : 1 small peeled and chopped
Coriander leaves: few chopped
If you would like to use the stems too, just add them to the tempering

For the tempering:

Bengal gram dal/senaga pappu/chana dal : 2tsp
Urad dal/minappa pappu :2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds/methi : 1/4 tsp(optional)
Mustard seeds : 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera : 1 tsp
Dry red chillies : 4 to 5
Hing/asafotida: 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp
Green chillies: 2 to 3  add more if you like spice
Lemon juice : of half a lemon or as per taste (You could use tamarind extract too)

To prepare the tempering:

Heat some oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough add the  bengal gram dal and allow to fry. Add the udad dal too. When both the dals change colour, add the fenugreek seeds. After they have fried a bit, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies. Once all the ingredients are fried sufficiently, add turmeric and asafoetida powders.Add green chillies and allow all ingredients to fry. Turn off the heat and allow the tempering to cool

To prepare the chutney:

Once the tempering is cooled, powder the tempering in a mixie or a blender.
Add the chopped carrots and blend again till the carrots are coarsely chopped.
Now add the kheera pieces, coriander leaves, salt and lemon juice and blend once more till you get consistency of your choice.

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Serve with hot rice or with a tiffin of  your choice.

Bendakaya Senagapindi Kura/Besan Bhindi Sabzi/Okra cooked with Chickpea Flour | TummyKhush


Lady’s finger is a tricky vegetable to cook with. The slimy texture causes a lot of people to hate it. But a few tricks can reduce the sliminess and it is very tasty. A few friends of mine who hated ladys finger actually liked it very much when I cooked it with some chick pea flour. The chick pea flour reduces the sliminess of the lady’s finger and at the same time gives it a very fritter like flavour which makes it palatable and tasty.

Just a few things to remember when preparing lady’s finger for cooking:

1. Remember to remove the lady’s finger from the refrigerator atleast a couple of hours before cooking. Wash them and allow to dry on a newspaper or a paper towel. The lady’s finger should be completely dry before you start to chop them.
2. The knife should be completely dry when chopping the lady’s finger. If you observe sliminess while chopping the lady’s finger, keep wiping off the knife to a paper towel regularly.
3. If you find the lady’s finger pieces still a little slimy, just place the chopped pieces on a paper towel and pat them dry.
4. Making sure that there is no moisture either on the knife or on the lady’s finger will ensure less sliminess

This recipe is very basic and easy to make and at the same time flavourful.

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Ingredients:

Lady’s finger : 1/4 kg chopped
Salt: according to taste
Chilli powder : according to taste
Chick Pea flour : 2 tbsp
Coriander powder : 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds : 1/2 to 1 tsp
Oil: 2 tbsp

Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and allow them to splutter.
Turn the heat to slightly low and add the chopped lady’s finger. Do not stir the pieces. Just spread the pieces in the pan well. Allow the pieces to cook slightly on one side before turning the pieces.

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I observed that using wooden spoon helps in reducing the sliminess of the pieces. I also keep paper towel handy and keep wiping the spoon off regularly to remove any moisture from the spoon.
Now stir the pieces gently and allow the sides of the the pieces that are not cooked to fry.

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Mix together the chickpea flour, coriander powder and chilli powder in a bowl and blend well.

Once you have made sure that all the pieces are cooked well, add salt and mix well.
Now sprinkle the chick pea flour mix onto the pieces and blend well. You can also sprinkle some water onto the pieces. This will create some steam in the pan which will help the chick pea flour to cook.

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Once you are sure that the flour has lost its raw smell and the chick pea flour is fried slightly the dish is done.
You can sprinkle some finely chopped coriander if you wish.

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Serve hot with rice and rasam

Spicy Spinach Stir fry/Palak saag/ Palakura vepudu | TummyKhush


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The first thing that springs to mind when someone says palak is either palak paneer or palak dal. These are the pretty standard recipes that we adore. But there is just so many times you can eat either of them. So how about palak stir fry?? I like using the combination of ginger, green chillies and onions in a lot of recipes.

They add ton of flavour to the otherwise bland run-of-the-mill vegetables. Some of the veggies I like with this combination are palak/spinach, thotakura/amaranthus, aratikaya/plantain and who can forget the eternal combination of ginger and chillies with brinjal. This cooking method is very nutritional as the overall cooking time of the greens is less and since you are not adding any other major ingredient, you will end up eating more of the greens.

For making this palak stir fry recipe you need:

Spinach – 1 medium sized bunch, stems removed, washed and chopped
Onion – 1 small finely chopped
Ginger – 1 inch piece, peeled and grated
Green chillies – 3 to 4 or according to taste chopped
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Corainder powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – according to taste
Oil – for tempering

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Heat some oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough add cumin seeds and allow to splutter.
Add ginger and green chillies and fry for a minute till the raw smell of the ginger disappears and the green chillies blister slightly.

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Add the chopped onions and continue frying till the onions turn translucent and fry slightly.
Add the coriander powder and turmeric powder and mix well so the all the spices combine well.
Add the chopped spinach and fry till the spinach wilts. Do not add water as the spinach will release some of its moisture as it is cooking. Also add the salt at the end. Spinach tends to reduce a lot in quantity as it cooks. So it is always good to add salt at the end.
Mix all the ingredients well.
Serve hot with rice.

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Vegetable Fried Rice | TummyKhush


This is a simple fridge raid recipe for those times when you have to just finish up those one or two vegetables left in the fridge before that weekend shopping trip or when you have left over rice from the previous night and crave for some comfort food. This is a very forgiving recipe as you can simply throw in a few ingredients to the pan and modify the recipe to your taste. I always like my fried rice simple with a few ingredients with no extra sauces added. You can always throw in some soya sauce and tomato sauce to get the typical road side bandi flavour.

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For now I am sharing this recipe which is very basic and the ultimate comfort food for me.

I warmed up some oil in the pan for tempering. You could use butter or ghee to enhance the flavour.

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