Monday, March 20, 2006

Deconstructed Gutti Vankaaya kura

This is a Rachel Ray-like take on my favorite, Andhra classic Gutti Vankayaa kura, a delicious stuffed eggplant curry. It not only takes a lot of time but it relies on the availability of tiny, round brinjals at the local market. Good, small, round fresh eggplants that look like these are hard to come by. So this recipe recreates all the flavors and is also very quick-cooking dish.

Adding channa to eggplant dishes is my mom's tradition. I like the protein component. You can always leave it out.


Tender, medium sized Indian eggplants or the Japanese ones- you should get about 4 cups, when they are quartered

1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp grated jaggery
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 cup cooked channa

Dry roast and powder the following:

1 T sesame seeds
2 T roasted peanuts
1 T coriander seeds

Heat 1 T oil and saute the onions and ginger garlic paste until onions turn golden. Add tomatoes and turmeric and fry till pulpy and mashed. Add eggplant slices and salt. Sprinkle some water and cover and cook on medium-low heat till eggplant is 3/4 th cooked. Add tamarind paste, sesame powder, red chili powder and saute for another minute. Now add 1.5 cups of water, channa and the tamarind paste and let it come to a boil. The sauce will thicken quite a bit. If you want a watery gravy, you can add about 2 cups water. Garnish with cilantro.

Serve with rice or chapathis.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sandwich with delicious yogurt spread

You are going whaat, aren't you? But this yogurt cheese spread is delicious. It is even better when made like a toasted cheese sandwich. I had eaten something of this type several years back. I recreated this using a few versions found here and there. The yogurt does not disintegrate, if you are worried. It is almost like cream cheese and of course, so good for you.

Sandwiches with yogurt spread-6 sandwiches

1 cup low-fat yogurt, strained well for several hours
1/2 a medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 T cilantro or herbs of your choice
2-3 green chilies, finely chopped
salt, pepper
1-2 tsp mint chutney(optional)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp paprika

Mix all the above. Prepare a tadka of 1 tsp cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp mustard seeds in 1/4 tsp oil. Add to the yogurt mixture.

12 slices of bread (normal sliced bread is fine)
Butter, for toasting (optional)

Spread the yogurt mixture on six slices and cover with the remaining slices. Butter the sandwiches on the outside, if needed. Toast in a skillet or in a sandwich maker.

The spread is full of Indian flavors. But you can almost add any flavors to it. It is a light, delicious snack.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Happy Birthday, Green Jackfruit!

Today is my blog's first birthday. I **gulp** remembered about my first post only when Nupur wrote about her blog's birthday about two months back. My first post seems ages away and I could have almost forgot... Work and the move has kept me from concentrating too much on this blog and even from reading some of my other favorite blogs. For the occasion, I baked a Devil's food cake with Chocolate butter frosting (recipe from Lisa Yockelson's new book 'Chocolate chocolate'). Layer cakes are quite challenging for me but it came out wonderful. More on that later...

My fascination with blogs started with the blog legends-101 cookbooks, Orangette, Chocolate and Zucchini, The Amateur Gourmet and other great forerunners in food blogging. I never thought for a moment that I could do it myself. But I was motivated and encouraged by bloggers from Mahanandi, From the Pantry, The Cooks cottage and One hot stove. For me, they were the predecessors for Indian food blogs. That is how 'The Green Jackfruit' evolved. By the way the name came from my love for green jackfruit or kathal subzi made Kerala style.

Thank you readers for all your support, opinion and suggestions. Looking forward to more years of fun-filled, informative blogging about cooking and eating.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A delicious mesclun salad with goat cheese medallions

I am a goat cheese addict- mainly the soft, creamy Chevre. I know there are some stinky varieties of goat cheese too. But, I think I will pass those...

I have been waiting to make a salad with goat cheese medallions on top. But either there are no greens in the house, no vinegar or no goat cheese. This time everything came together and I am so happy that the results were delicious! I have several recipes 'coz this salad is quite common in most cookbooks but this recipe seemed very promising and simple too. We have never had a salad as an entree and this was our first. This salad is a meal by itself. The goat cheese is warm and melty-soft. Every bite is different and interesting. This is not your common 'house salad'.

Mesclun salad with goat cheese medallions

4 cups mixed greens
1/2 large ripe pear, diced into 1 inch cubes
a handful of walnuts, toasted

1 cup breadcrumbs, panko is great
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper

1 egg, beaten with 1 T water

Soft goat cheese, cut into 4 1-inch thick rounds
Oil, to shallow fry

2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
salt, pepper

I made a dressing with the above, as mentioned in the link. This makes more than what is needed for the salad.

Goat cheese medallions: Dip the goat cheese rounds in egg. Mix bread crumbs with oregano, salt and pepper. Dip the eggy goat cheese rounds into bread crumbs and coat very well. Chill the coated goat cheese at least for 1 hr.

Toss the greens with walnuts, pears and the dressing. I used only around 1/4-1/2 of the dressing.

Heat 2-3T oil in a saute pan. Add the goat cheese rounds and shallow fry until both sides are golden brown (You will not have a gooey blob, as I doubted). Keep the medallions on top of the salad and savor immediately.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Vegetable kurma-1

Veggie Kurma Posted by Picasa

Vegetable kurma is a beloved dish among South Indians. It is similar to the mughal influenced korma. South Indian hole-in-the wall restaurants serve kurma as an accompaniment for chappathis. There is no cream in the dish but it is enriched with ground coconut and coconut milk. It is also spicier and in my opinion, more flavorful. To make coconut milk at home, check out Mahanandi .

There are quite a few versions I know. But this version is ideal for people who don't eat garlic. I made it for a dinner party this weekend. When I am not sure if everyone eats garlic, I make this version. There is no compromise here, taste-wise.

Vegetable kurma- Variation 1

2 large onions, finely chopped
3-4 tomatoes, finely chopped
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables (you can use a mixture of diced carrots, potatoes, cauliflower florets, peas and green beans)
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
1 tsp garam masala

For seasoning:
Ghee or oil
2-3 cardamom, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 inch cinnamon
2-3 cloves

Cilantro, for garnish

Make a smooth paste of the following:
1/2 cup grated coconut (fresh preferably)
1 T poppy seeds
10 cashewnuts
1 1/2 T roasted gram (pottu kadalai)
3 green chilies
2-3 red chilies
1 T ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric

If you are using fresh cut vegetables, pressure cook them with salt and turmeric . Heat 1 T oil or ghee in a saute pan. Add the seasoning spices and let them color slightly. Add onions and fry till golden. Add chopped tomatoes and stir until it turns pulpy. Add the paste and stir for a few minutes, till it no longer smells raw. Add enough salt.

Strain and any water in the cooked vegetables. Reserve for another use. Now add the vegetables (fresh cooked or frozen) to the saute pan and stir for a few minutes. Dilute the mixture with little stock.

If you are using frozen vegetables, cover and cook for 2-3 min. Add the garam masala and coconut milk and simmer on medium-low heat for another 2-3 min. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Paneer marinated in lemon pickle (Paneer achari)

The thought of using a pickle as a marinade is new to me. I came across a recipe similar to this one in Neelam Batra's '1000 Indian recipes'. I have got hooked onto this book. Ms.Batra has a lot of homestyle recipes and since she lives in USA, she uses readily available ingredients too. Her collection of chickpea recipes in itself is worth getting the book for.

I make a lot of 'achari' this and that. But I usually use pickle spices like kalonji, fennel, ajwain etc. but not pickle itself. I tried this last night and it was fantastic. The paneer is marinated in lime pickle so that it has a light coating. Just let it marinate for an hour but if you let it sit for longer, it will be better.

Paneer achaari- serves 4

8 oz block of paneer- cut into small cubes
1-2 tsp lemon pickle (or rather any kind)

1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 large green pepper
2-3 green chilies, slit
1 inch ginger, cut into thin match sticks
1/4 tsp amchur or a dash of lemon juice (optional)

for tadka:

a pinch of ajwain
1/2 tsp kalonji (nigella seeds)

Marinate the paneer cubes. You need to really use your hands to coat the paneer. Heat 1 tsp oil, add ajwain and kalonji. When they sizzle, add onion, ginger and green chilies. When onion turns golden brown, add pepper and let it cook till it becomes slightly soft. Add salt and paneer. Thoroughly mix. Cover and cook for 2 min or so. The dish is quite dry. Taste and add amchur or lemon juice if needed (I did not need more sourness).

Today, I served the left-overs on a bed of baby greens for an Indian style salad. Yum!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Welcoming Spring with Raw Zucchini Salad

Spring is almost here. Now what better way to know that than by visiting farmers' markets. The delicious veggies artichokes, asparagus, spring peas are already showing up. Not to mention baby vegetables...

The tiny potatoes, baby artichokes and tender zucchini are things I look forward to buying. They are available now in farmers' markets in the west coast. It is better not to mess around with these guys. I like to leave them alone and steam or braise them. They should be even better raw. With this thought I made this zucchini carpaccio salad. The basic recipe is from Tyler Florence's 'Eat This'.

Raw Zucchini salad- serves 2

2 small and tender zucchini, cut into paper-thin rounds
1/2 lemon
EVOO for drizzling on top
2-3 T finely chopped dill, chives or any herb of your choice
1 T finely chopped red or green onion (Tyler suggested using leek)
salt and pepper
2 T crumbled ricotta or goat cheese
a few sprigs of mint

Arrange zucchini on a plate. Add salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon juice over slices and also drizzle with EVOO. Scatter onion and chopped herbs on top.

Refrigerate at least 15 min. Before serving, crumble cheese on top and also tear up the mint and add to the salad.