Vegetarian Concoctions

October 22, 2007

Navarathri Golu

Filed under: Festivals and occasions, JFI, Navarathri, South Indian — Hema @ 1:57 pm

It has been a busy 10 days with lots of people coming home for Golu and lots of visits to other poeple’s golus. The Garba celebrated in a modest way at the temple filled me with nostalgia transporting me to my college days at Baroda when my friends and I used to have the time of our lives dancing garba and raas way past midnight. I wanted to post this earlier and invite you all home for golu, but I still want you to be a part of it. This time I tried to recreate a barn for my daughter who loves old McDonald and his farm animals. To read more about the significance and tradition of golu read this and this.

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This goes to Vee who is hosting this special edition JFS:Dassera

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May 1, 2007

Celery thokku

Filed under: Celery, Chutneys and Thughayals, JFI, Tamilnadu — Hema @ 9:43 am

My Mother-in-law is one of the most enthusiastic cooks I have seen…not to mention one of the best! She manages to cook up a ‘Kalyana virundu’ (Marriage feast) everyday. The minimum she prepares is a sambhar, a rasam, a kootu, two curries, a pachaddi (raita), a salad and a pickle…all within a matter of two hours. The list would have featured a sweet as well if not for the diabetes that runs in my husband’s family. Sweet preparations are limited to special days now. Not only is the food prepared, the kitchen is left spic and span within that time-frame. Her policy is to wash every dish as soon as it finds its way into the sink. ‘This way you will not feel the extra work of cleaning the dishes at the end’, she says. She was never inclined to use the dishwasher during her stay with us. She very rightly never trusted it to work as well as the hands.

She used to eagerly wait for our flea market trips during the weekend. That was her ultimate idea of entertainment…..picking up vegetables for the week. The India-like climatic conditions in Florida yields all the vegetables that we find back in India. MIL was surprised to find veggies that were not available even in Delhi where they live. Not only was I introduced to her old-time traditional favourite recipes, but was also taught new ways of making everyday veggies. Celery thokku is one of her innovations too. She first made them with some left-over celery I had used for making my usual soup. Now-a-days, I make soup from the left-over celery that I buy for making thokku. This tastes so good mixed with rice and a dash of til oil or just with curd rice too. Here’s my contribution to JFI-Greens at Indira’s.

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What you need:

Celery – about 5 stalks

Green chillies – 4-5 nos

Hing – 1/4 tsp

Methi – 1 tsp

Cilantro – 1/2 cup chopped

Ginger – 1/2 inch cube

Mustard: 1 tsp

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Gingerly oil (til oil) – 1/4 cup

Chop up the celery and saute it with cilantro in about 1-2 tbsp of til oil for 4-5 minutes. Set aside. Next heat up another tbsp of oil and add methi, chopped chillies, hing and ginger. Let this cook for 5 minutes. Put this and the celery in the blender and grind to a fine paste. Heat up about 6-7 tbsp of the oil. Add mustard seeds and once they splutter, add the paste. Add salt and turmeric and keep cooking till the oil leaves the sides of the pan. This step takes a while. The thokku should have a thick paste like consistancy. Add more oil if required. Serve with hot rice and appalam or vadam.

February 27, 2007

Potato and Leek soup

Filed under: Barley, Celery, JFI, Leeks, Mixed Veggies, Orzo, Parsley, Potato, Soup's on, Soups — Hema @ 4:43 pm

It is crunch time!  I did’nt realize February has but 28 days. It has been a busy month and I have missed out on posting a strawberry treat for AFAM. Reading my previous post on hot and sour soup, Asha suggested that I send my soup for Alanna’s “Soup’s on” event. I sent in the link to Alanna without even mentioning the event in my post:) hehe…stupid me. That, obviously is not acceptable. So, here is another soup that I brewed up keeping in mind the deadlines for two events: the “Soup’s on” and ……..yeah, you got that right “JFI-Potato“. This time, it is my chance to say ‘Ek pathar se do shikaar‘(two prays with one stone). I mixed and matched ingredients from 4 different recipes in 3 different books (Potato, leek and pea soup, Spinach and orzo soup, spring soup with barley and leak and carrot soup). Hence, the recipe is very versatile and additions and deletion can be made according to taste…just make sure you use the potatoes and leeks though, if you want to retain the name on it. Potato gives the soup its texture and leek its fabulous flavor. Here is what you need:

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Potatoes – 2 nos medium sized

Leek – 1 no

Bay leaves – 2 nos

Red onions – 1/2 medium sized

Garlic – 2 cloves

Parsley – 1/2 bunch

Celery – 1 stem

Barley – 2 tbsp uncooked

Orzo – 2 tbsp uncooked

salt to taste

pepper to taste

Olive oil – 1 tbsp

Water – 5-6 cups

Chop up the potatoes, leeks and celery to 1/2 inch pieces. Heat up olive oil and saute the onions till they are translucent. Add the garlic and bay leaves and saute for a minute. Add all the veggies and cover it up with water. Add salt and let this simmer away till the veggies are cooked well. Take half the soup out, let it cool down and then puree it. To the other half that is on the stove, add uncooked orzo, barley and chopped parsley. Continue cooking till the pasta is done. Dilute it further if required. Now add the pureed half and add salt and pepper according to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

January 29, 2007

Ingi (Ginger) Thughayal

Filed under: Chutneys and Thughayals, Ginger, JFI — Hema @ 8:29 pm

As soon as I saw the ingredient for this month’s JFI, the first thing that came to my mind was our morning cup of tea. Ginger is such a versatile ingredient that finds its use in various cuisines and is an extremely medicinal root as well. Cakes, breads, cookies, beverages, sauces and our very own Indian pickles, murabba, curries, kashayams…the list is endless.
Thughayal is a thick-chutney like dish that is eaten mixed with rice and sesame oil. Appalams and vadams or even potato chips are a great accompaniment to this rice. Curry leaves, cilantro, mint leaves, coconut,  eggplant,ginger and onion are very common thughayal varieties. And since it is ginger month in the blog world, that’s the one I picked!

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What we need:

Ginger peeled and cut into small pieces – 2 tbsp

Udad dal – 2 tbsp

Red chillies – 3 nos (this is 8/10 spicyyy…reduce if required)

Tamarind extract – 1 tbsp or tamarind concentrate – 1 tsp

Asofetida(hing) – 1/8 tsp

Sesame oil – 1 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Mustard – 1 tsp

Heat up the pan and spoon in a tsp of oil. Add the Udad dal, hing and red chillies. Use the block hing if possible. Roast till the dals turn brown. Add the ginger and saute for a minute. Turn off the heat, add salt and let things cool down before transfering to a blender. Add the tamarind extract and grind into an ‘almost smooth’ paste with minimum water. Heat up the rest of the oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add it to the thughayal and it is ready to be packed off to JFI-Ginger!

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