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Indian Vegetables

Here are our recipes for Aloo Gobi (cauliflower) . Aloo Methi (fenugreek greens) . Dahl (lentils) . Grilled Corn with Garam Masala ( Please read about how to choose fresh corn) . Palak Paneer (spinach)


Aloo Gobi
Potato and Cauliflower

serves 2 hogs

Ingredients

Preparation

aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower)
  1. Put oil into a wok and add the chillies. Leave them to fry until they are dark brown (usually the time that it takes to cut up the ginger, onion and garlic). Add the ginger and saute til light gold. Add the turmeric and cumin seeds and stir. Quickly add onions (otherwise the turmeric will burn) and saute til the onions are transluscent.
  2. Add garlic, sliced potatoes and cauliflower pieces and stir to cover every piece with oil. Continue to cook until eveything takes on a nice golden color.
  3. Add water, cover the wok and cook for 5 to 10 minutes - til the cauliflower and potatoes are done. Uncover, stir in salt and pepper and let sit over a low heat so any liquid will evaporate.

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Indian Dishes:
Palak Paneer (spinach) . more Indian and/or vegetable recipes

Palak Paneer
Spinach and Cheese

palak paneer (spinach and cheese)

The first time I had palak paneer (aka saag panir, aka spinach & cheese with many and various spellings) was at the Indian Rice Factory in Toronto. I swooned. But I was told that even though this was stellar palak paneer, it still wasn't quite as good as the palak paneer at the Amber Restaurant in Calcutta, where (I was assured) the absolute best palak paneer was made. So we went to Calcutta so I could taste the palak paneer there. Oh my!! Heaven! We tried many other palak paneers in various Indian towns as we wandered by train along the Ganges and I had to agree. The Amber Restaurant in Calcutta makes the best palak paneer I have ever tasted. All palak paneers are measured against that Ambrosial dish. Back in Toronto, we tried the palak paneer at our now favourite Indian Restaurant, Nataraj to have their palak paneer. Whoa!!! It is so close to being as good as the spinach at the Amber - we almost expect to walk out onto the wild streets of Calcutta. (The Indian Rice Factory is still good but their palak paneer is not consistant.)

We decided to try to create our own spinach dish. We are quite pleased. While we don't expect to hear the raucous horns and loud speakers of teeming Calcuttan streets outside our window, we can almost imagine that we smell smoke from Indian cooking fires.... Do give this wonderful dish a try - we hope you like it!

serves 2 (revised January 2004 and revised again August 2004 and once more in October 2004)

Ingredients

Preparation

  1. Wash the spinach well. Put washed spinach into a colander. Sprinkle with 1½ Tbsp salt. Toss to mix and set aside to drain for 20 minutes. (It is not necessary to salt the coriander leaves.)
  2. If you are going to include cheese: Slice the cheese into 4 or 5 rectangular slabs that are not more than a quarter inch thick. slice the paneer into 4 or 5 rectangular slabs Fry the cheese in vegetable oil or butter til golden brown on all sides. Cut into bitesize cubes and set aside. We usually use about 6 cubes and refrigerate the rest for later use.
  3. Squeeze out the spinach with your hands til it is quite dry. Discard juice. Let it rest in colander for a few more minutes. Squeeze again. Do this 3 or 4 times in total. (The spinach may look like you've destroyed it.) Rinse the spinach well in cold water to get rid of all the extra salt. Squeeze out all the water. Taste to be sure there's no excessive salt. While this method is probably not used in India, we prefer it to the more traditional blanching and squeezing out the spinach for three reasons. One is that it is MUCH easier to squeeze room temperature salted spinach. The second is that there is one less pot to wash. The final most important reason is that in the finished dish, the spinach retains its wonderful emerald colour.
  4. Fry the mustard and cumin seeds in oil til they start popping. Please note that the mustard and cumin seeds are optional. Add ginger and saute til light gold. Add onions and fry til the onions are almost caramelized. Add garlic and continue to cook until garlic is golden. Reserve a small amount to use as a garnish.
  5. Add the butter and squeezed spinach (and coriander leaves, if you are using them) and stir into the onion mixture. Sauté a few minutes til the greens are wilted and any water has evaporated.
  6. Put the mixture into a food processor and puree til smooth.
  7. Fold the cheese into the spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste - you may not have to add any extra salt. Garnish with reserved onion mixture and a few fresh coriander leaves.

Serve with flat bread (rotis) or naan, curry and dark beer.

We buy paneer (fresh cheese) at the Indian Grocery. We find that once we've opened the package of paneer, it's best to fry all of it and put whatever is not used in the spinach in the fridge for snacking or use in other dishes such as rice pilaf (Pilau or Biryanni), more palak paneer, matar (green pea) paneer, cauliflower curry.... (If paneer isn't available, firm tofu can be used in its place. Or, although I have yet to try it, paneer can be made at home. Take a look at Indira's recipe for paneer at Mahanandi.)

Paneer is virtually the same as the Latin American cheese called Queso Blanco.

We used to blanch the spinach and press it against the colander when draining it to remove excess water but switched to using the method for preparing spinach in the recipe for torta verde in Colman Andrews' article "The Italian Torta" in SAVEUR magazine May/Jun 1998.

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Indian Dishes:
Aloo Methi (fenugreek greens) . more Indian and/or vegetable recipes

Aloo Methi
Fenugreek Greens and Potato

aloo methi (potatoes and fenugreek greens) 22 Feb 2006

If you do not have access to fresh methi, you can substitute spinach, chard or mustard greens - in which case, it would be called Aloo Saag (Potatoes and Greens). Note that this recipe does not call for any chilies. This is because we generally serve it with a very hot fish curry and like to have the contrast.

Ingredients

Preparation

  1. Clean methi well and discard the thick tough stems.
  2. Coarsely chop onion, ginger and garlic.
  3. Coarsely chop fresh methi.
  4. Medium slice potatoes about ¼ inch thick.
  5. Place wok on medium high stove and heat the mustard oil until just about smoking.
  6. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and wait 5 or 10 seconds until they begin to pop.
  7. Add turmeric and fenugreek powders followed immediately by the onion, ginger and garlic. Fry for a few minutes until the edges begin to color.
  8. Add the potatoes and stirring occasionally, cook covered until they are almost done.
  9. Add the fresh methi and cook uncovered until tender.
Serve with Bengali Fish Curry, steamed rice or Indian bread.

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Indian Dishes:
Dahl (lentils) . more Indian and/or vegetable recipes

Beans and Pulses:
Baked Beans . Black Bean Stew . Borlotti (Cranberry Beans) Pasta Sauce . Cassoulet . Chicken and Lentils . Chili con Carne . Chole . Dahl . Falafel . Fuhl . Fuhl revisited . Haricots Blancs . Hummus . Lablabi . Mexican Pie . Mexican Pot Beans . Mjdarra (lentils) . Mjdarra revisited . Puy Lentils . Refried Beans . Refried Beans Casserole . Vegetarian Burgers

Dahl
lentils

dahl (lentils) serves 2 - We usually use yellow lentils but this recipe will work with brown lentils too. (click on image to see larger view)

Ingredients

Preparation

  1. Sort through (check for stones!) and wash lentils well. Soak in cold water for 30 minutes.
  2. In large pot, cover lentils with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer til lentils are the consistency you like. (30-40 minutes) DO NOT ADD SALT until lentils are soft. When lentils are the consistency you like, season with salt (or chicken stock powder).
  3. While lentils are simmering, heat some vegetable oil in a pan (medium high heat). Add ½ tsp (more or less) of whole cumin seeds and a whole dried chili and saute.
  4. Just as the seeds begin to pop, add the onion to the pan and saute til they are golden. Add the garlic at the end (it will burn if it's put in at the same time as the onion).
  5. After the lentils have been salted, add the onion mixture and pepper. Add butter if you like. Garnish with coriander leaves (cilantro) if you have them.

Serve with flat bread (rotis) or naan, palak paneer and dark beer. Dahl is also great with Bengali fish curry and aloo posta with green beans.

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Indian Dishes:
Grilled Corn . how to choose fresh corn . more Indian and/or vegetable recipes

Grilled Corn with Lime and Garam Masala

We often see small gas barbecues outside of stores all over India Town. Beside the grills are ears and ears of corn. This is typical streetfood. I'm told that in India, dried corn cobs are used but here in Toronto, it is always fresh sweet corn. We like to serve this kind of grilled corn for summer dinners in the garden.

serves 2

Choosing Corn: Pull back the husk a little to expose the top of the corn cob. The exposed corn kernels should be dry to the touch. As soon as you get the corn home, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until husking time - which is just before you grill the corn....

Ingredients

Preparation

  1. Husk corn and strip of the silk. Discard the husks. Roast corncobs directly on the grill over hot coals. (no foil!) Turn a couple of times. Some of the kernels will get a little caramelized with brown.
  2. Take the half lime and rub it in garam masala and salt. Squeezing the lime gently, rub it all over the hot corn, so that the corn gets lime juice and spices on it. Serve immediately. (Please note that butter is NOT used for this style.)

Serve with any grilled meat and a green vegetable.

An alternate method for grilling corn is to pull the husks back without removing them. Strip away the silk and then replace the husks over the corn. Liberally spray the outside of the rewrapped corn with water. Grill as above over hot coals. Don't be overly concerned if some of the leaves turn black. The corn inside will still be completely fine. Serve with butter, salt and pepper.

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Indian Dishes:
Bengali Fish Curry . Biriyani . Butter Chicken . Curry . Cashew Chicken . Chili Chicken . Chicken and Lentils . Jaggery Chicken . Tandoori Chicken . Green Chili Omelette . Moringa Leaf Omelette . Hard Boiled Eggs with Chilli Paste . Aloo Gobi (cauliflower) . Aloo Methi (fenugreek greens) aka Aloo Saag . Aloo Posta (white poppyseed) with Green Beans . Aloo muttar . Bindi (okra) . Cabbage with ginger . Chole (chickpeas curry) . Grilled Corn . Pakora . Palak Paneer (spinach) . Raita . Curry Powder . Garam Masala . Chapatis/Rotis . Naan . Paratha . Samosas . Srikund (dessert) . Lassi . "Special" Chai

Vegetable Dishes:
Bubbly Squeak (potatoes and kale) . Brussels Sprouts . Greens with Garlic . Green Beans . Green beans in Aloo Posta (Indian) . Grilled Corn with Garam Masala (Indian) . Other Indian . Roasted Garlic . Roast Potatoes . Roasted Red Pepper . Oven-dried Tomatoes . Mashed Root Vegetables . Scalloped Potatoes




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ejm (aka llizard) 2002, 2004, 2006
Toronto Ontario Canada

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