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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Karele ki subzi - Bitter Melon in tomato and peanut sauce

 I love Karela or bitter gourd / bitter melon. Every time I see it at the produce market I end up buying them. The only problem is I'm the only one in my house who loves them. Because of its bitter taste most people stay away from them. I could say its an acquired taste - some love them and some cannot stand them at all. 

I wish everybody could give Karela a try because it has tons of health benefits.It has antiviral, antimalarial, anticancer and cardio protective properties.  Also its found to be beneficial for people with diabetes.  

 Ingredients :
  • 4 karela /bitter gourds / bitter melons 
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies slit
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin -coriander powder
  • 1 tsp amchoor powder(dry mango powder)
  • 1/4 cup toasted and ground peanuts 
  • salt to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp oil 

  • Cut the Karela / bitter melons length wise and scrape out the seeds which are discarded. Then slice the karela and sprinkle salt on them liberally. Keep them aside for about half an hour. Salt will help to release most of the bitter juices from the karela. Now wash it really well.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add the tomatoes and green chillies. Add the dry spices- turmeric, red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder, amchoor powder and salt. Mix it well.  Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes till the oil separates and then add the sliced karela. Stir it well. Add about 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook on medium flame for about 8-10 minutes. Just about when the Karela is almost cooked add the ground peanuts and mix it well. Cook uncovered on slow flame till karela is cooked (about 2-3 minutes).  
  • Karele ki subzi - Bitter Melon in tomato and peanut sauce is ready to be served. Garnish with freshly chopped Cilantro. Enjoy it as a side dish with some cumin rice and dal or with hot phulkas / rotis.        

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Zucchini Malai Kofta

For those of you who are not familiar with Koftas, they could be described as meatless meatballs or vegetable balls. These koftas are then cooked in a creamy sauce and served with any Indian bread or rice. This might  look like a laborious recipe, but once you have tasted this delicious and classic dish you will want to make them again and again.

 This is my mom's recipe. She makes these koftas with bottle gourd (lauki/doodhi). I've made her recipe with Zucchini since I had them and I'm trying to find more and more recipes with this summer vegetable. I happen to get them for free- one of our family friends  has her own vegetable garden and  this has been a good season for Zucchinis.  

Ingredients :

For the koftas
  • 3 cups of grated Zucchini 
  • 1/4 cup grated Paneer (Indian Cottage cheese)
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin - coriander powder
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour / besan
  •  1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • corn starch (optional) 
  • salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
For the Gravy :

  • 1 cup onion puree
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste 
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin- coriander powder
  • 10-12 cashews soaked in milk(grind)
  • 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt to taste
  • oil

Preparation :
 Making the Koftas - A very important tip to remember to make perfect koftas is to squeeze all the juices out of the vegetable(zucchini). This could be retained and used to knead the dough or use it in the gravy.
  • Mix all the ingredients mentioned under koftas except oil. Make it like dough and gently make 16-18 lemon size balls. These are then deep fried on medium flame until golden brown. The oil should not be too hot or not hot enough. We are trying to cook the zucchini as well while frying the koftas. Now if the koftas fall apart feel free to add a little chickpea flour/bread crumbs. Sometimes  when the Zucchini is not squeezed well it might retain a little water. DO NOT PANIC. Now the corn starch comes to the rescue. Just roll the koftas onto a plate sprinkled with corn starch  and fry. Keep the koftas aside.
Making the Creamy and rich  gravy 
  • Heat oil in a pan/ Kadai . Add the bay leaves and black cardamom. When the cardamom splutters,  add the onion puree. Fry on medium high till its turns golden. Add the ginger garlic paste. Fry for about a minute and add tomato puree. Stir well. Now add all the dry spices- turmeric, red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder and salt. Let it cook on medium until the oil separates(this is a clue your gravy is cooked). Now add about 2 cups water. Let it boil and then add the koftas. Let the koftas cook in the gravy covered for about 5 minutes on medium - low flame. Now add the cream. Stir well. Add the ground cashews-milk paste. Give it a good stir. Let it simmer for about 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. Your Zucchini Malai Kofta is ready. Serve it with any Indian bread (Naan, Parathas, Phulkas, Roti ) or with cumin rice.