Monday, May 24, 2010

Snake Gourd

Snake gourd is a very mild vegetable without much flavor in it. Here is the wiki link to this vegetable,for those who have not heard of it

I like to to prepare snake gourd with coocnut so that the bland taste of the vegetable gets compensated. There are some other ways to cook this vegetable too like kootu(with lentils) or add it in avial. Recipe for Avial .

Snake Gourd - cut to small cubic pieces - I used about 2 snake gourds

Grated coconut(fresh or frozen) - for garnish

Mustard seeds - 1/2 spoon

Curry leaves - a few

Cooking oil - 1-2 spoons

Chilli powder - to taste

Salt - to taste

In a skillet, heat oil and add mustard seeds and curry leaves once hot. Next, add the chopped snake gourd pieces and give it a good stir. Let it cook on a medium flame uncovered, stir ocassionally. The snake gourd will start to wilt. Allow it to cook completely(wilt completely). This will take about 10 minutes on medium flame. Once, it has cooked add salt and chilli powder. Mix well and switch off the stove. Add the coconut and serve. I had this with rice and dal. Goes well with rotis too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Chayote is a mild tasting Squash variety. This is the same family as Cucumbers.

Here is link from Wikipaedia that gives more information about Chayote

I used Chayote today to make a tamil(South Indian) dish called Chow-Chow kootu. Chow chow is the Indian word for Chayote. This dish is made of chayote and lentils and coconut gives a rich flavor.
Here is the Ingredient list:

1 Chayote,chopped
2-3 spoons,shredded coconut
2-3 Red
Moong Dal,1 cup(Split Green bean)
1/2 small onion,chopped finely
Curry leaves,few
1/2 spoon, mustard seeds
1/4 spooon,jeera
Turmeric powder,1/8 spoon
Asafoetida, a pinch
Salt,to taste and Cooking oil for the seasoning
Corriander leaves/Cilantro,garnishing

Boil the lentils in water till it is cooked well. I used a pressure cooker and swtiched it off after 2 whistles. In a separate pan, boil chayote pieces for about 3-4 minutes in water or milk. I used milk as it gives a unique richness to this dish. Keep aside. In the meanwhile, coarsely grind coconut with red chillies and jeera. Again, take a pan and add the dal(lentils) and the chayote. Let it come to a boil. Add the ground coconut paste. Again,let it boil so that the coconut paste mixes well into the dish. Now,in a skillet, add cooking oil,about 1 spoon and when it is hot add the seasoning ingredients: mustard seeds, turmeric powder, asafoetida and curry leaves.Finally, add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. This seasoning is to be added to the boiling chayote gravy. Switch off the stove and garnish with cilantro/corriander leaves.

I served this with Spinach parathas and raita. Dinner is complete.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vegetable Upma

Vegetable upma is a very healthy and easy to prepare recipe. This dish is great for break fast but I know quite a few people who have it for dinner too. If not a meal, you could make it in a jiffy and enjoy as a snack.

2 cups, semolina/rava/sooji
4 cups water
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 cup ,chopped,carrots and peas(optional)
Lime juice for garnish(optional)
Cilantro/corriander leaves for garnish
Salt to taste

For the tempering:
1/2 spoon,mustard seeds
4-5 green chillies,slit vertically
turmeric powder, a pinch
a few curry leaves
2 spoons,cooking oil

Heat 1 spoon of cooking oil in a skillet and add semolina to it. Mix well so that semolina gets a little cooked and it coated with oil too. This will take about 2 minutes. Switch off the stove and keep the roasted semolina separately. Again, heat the remaining 1 spoon oil in the same skillet and once the oil is hot add the tempering ingredients followed my chopped onions. After about 3 minutes the onions would have cooked ,now add the other vegetables(if using) and saute for a couple of minutes more. Next,add water and let it start to boil. Add salt.At this point, also,add the roasted semolina slowly mixing it well as you keep adding it. Mis well till semoina gets absorbed well into the water. Cook on a low flame for some time(I cook for about 2 minutes) and switch off the stove. Add lemon juice and cilantro. Serve hot or warm. Upma can be enjoyed with any dip like chutney,sauce or with sugar,pickle etc.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tomato Rasam #2

I have already posted a recipe for tomato rasam. Here is another variation to the taste and preparation. Again, the main ingredient is tomato.

2-3 cups,dal Water
1/4 spoon,tamarind paste or 1 cup tamarind water
1 medium tomato,chopped
a few curry leaves
1 spoon,Rasam powder
salt to taste

cilantro for garnishing

For the tempering,
1/2 spoon mustard seeds
1/4 spoon turmeric powder
a pinch of asafoetida
1/2 spoon,cooking oil

3-4 green chillies,slit or chopped finely

The trick to preparing this rasam is using Dal water. Dal water is the extra water that is available when dal is cooked. Boil dal in a pressure cooker or any vessel and use the water. Decant this water and this is what is used in Rasam.
Note.:This Dal water can be prepared earlier in the day or the previous day too. But, using dal water more than 1 day old would make the rasam lose a lot of flavor.

Take a pan and add dal water and salt. Add in tomatoes and curry leaves. Once it starts to boil add the tamarind paste,rasam powder and some more water,if needed.

In the meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet and all the tempering ingredients.

After 4-5 minutes, add the tempered ingredients to the boiling rasam and switch off the stove. Add cilantro and Serve hot with rice and your vegetable side.

Tomato Rasam #1

Tomato Rasam is a dish that I make almost twice or thrice a week owing to its wonderful taste and ease of preparation. It can be made easily with just tomatoes and some other basic spices that one would generally stock in the pantry. I make tomato rasam in two different ways and both taste similar. Here is the first recipe .

2 medium tomatoes,chopped
2-3 cups,water
1 spoon,Rasam powder
1/4 spoon tamarind paste or 1 cup tamarind water
1/4 spoon,Pepper powder
2 garlic pods,crushed(optional)
a few curry leaves
salt to taste
Corriander leaves/Cilantro for the garnish
For the tempering,
1/2 spoon,mustard seeds
1/4 spoon,turmeric powder
3-4 green chillies,slit or chopped finely
1/2 spoon, cooking oil( Note that extra oil spoils the taste of the rasam)

Grind the chopped tomatoes to a coarse paste in a blender. In a pan,add this paste followed by water ,salt and curry leaves and turn on the stove.
In the meanwhile, prepare the tempering in a separate skillet. Heat oil, and throw in mustard seeds, turmeric powder and green chillies.
Once the tomato paste comes to a boil, add the tamarind paste/water ,rasam powder, crushed garlic and pepper powder. You may add another cup of water now if you want to adjust the consistency.
After 1-2 minutes, add the tempered ingredients and switch off the stove. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot. Rasam can be had with white steamed rice and a vegetable side. My favorite side for rasam is potato masala.Rasam can be enjoyed as it is too in the form of a soup.

Did you notice that the entire cooking time on the stove was just about 5-6 minutes?Yes, it is that simple. And, getting the rest of the ingredients ready will not take you more than 5 minutes. This means your tomato rasam can be made in just 10 minutes!!!