Brinjal Theeyal

BM# 101: Week 4, Day 2
Theme : 
1 ingredient, 3 side dishes

At my parents house, every single day, the lunch consists of a coconut based sambar and a vegetable side dish. A bean based (Chana, rajma, moong beans, even peanut) chundal is also made on most days. There are two reasons for the coconut sambars. One – my father doesn’t like dal based sambars, he claims it gives him gas. Two- we have a lot of coconut trees in our backyard and so coconuts are available to us throughout the year free of cost.

I have already shared my mother’s most used recipe here, it just involves grinding shredded coconut with sambar powder. Today’s post is a little more elaborate than that. This was not a frequent recipe at home, but my brother used to prepare it every now and then with great results. He prefers pearl onions or bitter gourd for theeyal. You can use any vegetable of your choice, I have used brinjal here today.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

For roasting and grinding

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 3-4 dried red chilies (or more per taste)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

For the gravy

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • A pinch of hing
  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 eggplants, sliced into thin long pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add the coriander seeds and dried red chilies, sauté for a couple of minutes until the coriander seeds change color. Take off the heat and transfer to a blender jar.
  2. Now add shredded coconut to the same pan and sauté until it turns golden brown, this might take about 6-8 minutes or so. Keep stirring all the time and keep the heat medium-low to avoid burning. Transfer it to the blender jar and once it’s cooled, grind into a paste adding a little water as needed. Set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the seeds crackle, add the fenugreek seeds and hing.
  4. Add the sliced onions and brinjal pieces. Cook, stirring in between, until it’s almost cooked.
  5. Add the prepared coconut paste. Add one cup of water to the blender jar to dislodge the any remaining paste stuck to the jar and add this water also to the pot. Add another cup of water along with the tamarind paste. You can add more water if you want it a little thinner consistency.
  6. Bring it to a boil and cook covered in low heat for about 10-15 minutes until it turns thick and oil floats on top. Turn off heat and serve with rice and a side dish of your choice.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

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Brinjal curry

BM# 101: Week 4, Day 1
Theme : 
1 ingredient, 3 side dishes

For the last week of Blogging Marathon, I will be posting three eggplant based recipes. Initially I was thinking of paneer or potatoes for this theme. Then when I was shopping with my friend she suggested eggplants. It got me thinking that we don’t give this simple vegetable it’s due. This is an everyday veggie, but it never gets the limelight.

We use brinjal in sambar or other gravies, it also gets prepared as a dry side dish. At my home, we sauté this with salt and sambar powder until the vegetable is done. My mother in law prepares a fresh spice powder and makes podi kathirikkai (Brinjal with spice powder). But today’s post is my friend’s version which has sautéed onions and tomatoes and all the spice powders in it. It doesn’t take a lot of time to cook and tastes delicious with rice.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source : My friend Devi

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
  • 10-12 medium Indian eggplants
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Cut each eggplant into two halves and each half into 3 pieces each length wise. So you will get about 6 pieces for each eggplant. Else just dice it.
  1. Heat oil in a thick pan. Add onions and minced garlic, sauté until onions turn pink. Add tomatoes and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the spice powders and salt. Reduce heat, cover and cook until tomatoes are done.
  3. Add the eggplant and mix into the tomato masala carefully. Cook under medium-low heat, stirring in between, until eggplants are done. Take off heat and Serve with rice and sambar.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

Chana masala

BM# 101: Week 3, Day 3
Theme : 
Creamy gravies

Last month, my old neighbors had come over home. With the kids at school, there was enough time to relax and catch up with each other. We had a mini pot luck and had a great lunch. I had made three gravies that day, two of which I am posting for this theme. I hadn’t picked this theme when I was preparing the meal, it was just good luck that I took pictures of the thali. My friends had brought in vegetable biriyani and bisibela bath. It was served along with the Chana masala, Chettinad mushroom curry and a mixed vegetable curry. Do check out the carrot halwa recipe too, it is a simple and easy way to make this great dessert.

Coming to the Chana masala recipe, this is again from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. After trying the mushroom curry recipe from the book, I made this first when we had some friends coming over. I didn’t have enough time to soak Chana, so I cooked it for one hour in Instant Pot before making this gravy. If you have time, you can soak the Chana overnight and cook it before making this curry. I already have a recipe for Chana masala in the blog, but this recipe has enough differences to make a separate post.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: Vegan Richa’s Indian kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 6 medium tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 2″ long piece of ginger
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon oil or ghee
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • A good pinch of hing
  • 2 teaspoons Chana masala or Garam masala
  • Salt as needed
  • About 2 cups of water*
  • Coriander leaves and lemon juice for garnishing and serving

*You can use the water Chana was cooked in.

Method:

  1. Drain and Pressure cook the soaked Chana with enough water until it’s done. Let the pressure release naturally. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, combine tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chilies and 1/2 cup cooked (and cooled) chickpeas. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil or ghee in a pan. Add the chopped onions and cook till it turns pink. Add all the masala powders – cumin, turmeric, chili, garam (or Chana) masala, hing and salt. Mix well.
  4. Add the puréed tomato paste. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring in between to prevent tomatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a little water in case that happens. Reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes until the mixture is dry and starts to leave the side of the pan.
  5. Add cooked chickpeas and about 2 to 2.5 cups of water. You can use the water in which Chana was cooked. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, taste testing in between to adjust the seasoning. Take off the heat and serve garnished with coriander leaves, minced onion and lemon juice. This pairs very well with rotis and plain basmati rice.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

Saag Paneer

BM# 101: Week 3, Day 2
Theme : 
Creamy gravies

There was a time when paneer was a once in a while treat, we would order it when we go to restaurants or buy for a stores on special occasions. Now, it’s so common that the fridge is always stocked with a block or two of paneer. My go to recipe for preparing this is Paneer butter masala, but palak paneer is a close second. I also add it in Pulaos or mixed vegetable curries. Another way to use it is as a sandwich or dosa filling. And that makes me realize how many more recipes I need to add to the blog!!

Coming to the recipe here, this is Saag paneer, another dish that I make often. Traditionally saag is served plain, not with paneer in it. Saag means greens and can be made with any greens available. If I see fresh mustard leaves at the Indian store, I buy it along with some spinach and methi leaves to make this. I use Instant Pot for making this instead of the stovetop pressure cooker.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source : Veg Recipes of India

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 cup methi leaves
  • 1 bunch sarson ka saag
  • 1 big onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2″ piece ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 4 green chilies
  • A pinch of hing
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour (yellow maize flour)
  • Salt as needed
  • 200 gms paneer, cut into cubes
  • Ghee

Method:

  1. Wash the leaves well to remove any dirt. Roughly chop it. Add the spinach, methi, saag, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chilies, hing and water to the Instant Pot or a pressure cooker. Cook for about 8 minutes or 8 whistles. Let the pressure naturally release.
  2. Add maize flour/ corn flour to it. Take an immersion blender and purée everything. Else wait for the saag to cool a bit and blend in a mixie and add it back to the instant pot or cooker.
  3. Add salt and Let the saag cook for another 10-15 minutes, the more it cooks, the tastier it gets. Taste test and adjust the seasonings. Add the cubed paneer pieces towards the last five minutes. Take off the heat and serve with a dollop of ghee with rotis or parathas.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.