Shakshuka

BM #114 : Week 2, Day 1
Theme : Brighten Your Breakfast

Shakshuka is a breakfast dish from Middle East and North Africa. It’s eggs served with a tomato based sauce cooked with peppers and onions. This is an easy dish to prepare. You can add veggies of your choice and serve this dish for a quick lunch or dinner too. The regular spices that goes with this dish is paprika, chili powder and cumin.

There are many variations to this dish. You can add cooked polenta or tofu for a vegan/egg free version. I didn’t have enough fresh tomatoes to make a puree for this, so I used some readymade marinara sauce that I already had. I added some dried herbs to it and now it’s an Italian version Shakshuka :-). We had this as our brunch, so I served this with toasted bread and some avocados. This is a stovetop recipe, but it can be made in Instant pot as well. I would be trying that next.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or per taste
  • 2 teaspoons dried herbs (Italian seasoning)
  • 2 cups marinara sauce or puréed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water, optional
  • 6 eggs
  • salt as needed

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a wide pan. Sauté onions, pepper and garlic. Once onion turns pink, add the spinach in and couple for a couple of minutes until it wilts.
  2. Add paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt and dried herbs. Add marinara sauce or puréed tomatoes and water. Let it come to a slow boil and cook for about 7-8 minutes until it’s not runny anymore.
  3. Crack one egg into a small bowl. With the ladle, make a small hole in the curry and carefully add the egg. Repeat with the rest of the eggs.
  4. Let the eggs cook until they are done. Covering the pan would help it cook faster. Remove from heat once the eggs are cooked to your preference. Serve with bread slices and some avocado.

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Okra curry with coconut and sesame seeds

BM #113 : Week 4, Day 3
Theme : A-Z Curries

A typical South Indian meal includes rice, sambar of some kind and one or two veggie side dishes. On the days when I am not in a mood to cook all this, I just make a curry and serve with plain basmati rice or jeera rice. This is one such curry I had made with some ladies finger I had at home. When I saw this recipe in Vegan Richa’s Indian cooking book. I wanted to try it out. I have never had this combination of sesame seeds and coconut with okra, I am glad I tried this recipe, because it’s a keeper!

It doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare this recipe. It involves cooking of okra first and then making of the masala. The masala is a little different from the usual onion tomato base because of the addition of sesame seeds and coconut. It lends a nice and different taste to this gravy. This is slightly thick curry, but you can adjust it to your preference.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon oil, divided
  • 4 cups okra, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1” piece of ginger
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dry coconut flakes
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a wide pan. Add the okra and cook, stirring in between, until it’s done and slightly crisp on the edges. Transfer to a bowl and set aside for now.
  2. In the same pan, add a teaspoon of oil and add the coriander and cumin. Once the sesame seeds starts changing color, add the chopped onions, ginger and garlic. Sauté until onions are cooked.
  3. Add the spice powders next – chili powder, turmeric, garam masala and salt. Once it’s all well mixed, add the tomatoes along with sesame seeds and coconut. Cook until the tomatoes are done and mushy. Take off the heat, let it cool completely and transfer to a blender jar.
  4. Make a paste of the onion, tomato, coconut mixture, adding about 1/2 cup water to make it a smooth paste.
  5. Add this puree back to the pan and bring it to a boil. Add the cooked okra and let everything cook on a low flame for about ten minutes. You can add more water to bring it to a consistency you like. Taste and adjust seasonings. Take off the heat and serve with rice or roti.

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Nimona – green peas curry

BM #113 : Week 4, Day 2
Theme : A-Z Curries

This curry has been on my bookmark list for a long long time now. I had this is my mind for the alphabet G ( green peas curry), H (hare matar ka nimona), M (matar ka nimona) and finally am doing it for N. This is an easy to do recipe, almost all the ingredients are staples for me. I always have frozen peas at home and that’s what I used for today’s recipe after thawing.

This is the first time I am preparing and my family loved this dish. I already have requests for repeats 😁. I served this with jeera rice and it was a good combination. Plain rice or roti would also pair well with this curry.

I followed the recipe from this YouTube video for most part. I saw another video which didn’t use onions and used puréed tomatoes. I might try that version the next time. This particular video didn’t use any masala powders, but I went ahead and added it anyway.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tablespoons oil/ghee, divided
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 2 cups green peas
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into long pieces
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced into long pieces
  • half a bunch of coriander leaves
  • 3 green chilies
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2” piece of ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Pulse the green peas in a blender jar couple of times until it’s a rough coarse paste. If you are using frozen peas, it needs to be thawed before using.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add the cubed potatoes and cook for a couple of minutes. Now add the ground green peas paste. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, mixing frequently to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  3. Remove from heat, transfer the peas mixture into a bowl. Set aside for now.
  4. Make a paste of the green chilies, ginger, garlic and coriander leaves without adding any water. Keep aside.
  5. In a clean pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee. Once it’s hot, add the onions. Sauté until it turns pink. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder and salt. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes until the tomatoes are mushy. Add the ground coriander paste now. Keep stirring to avoid burning. Keep cooking tomatoes are completely done and mushy.
  6. Add the green peas and potato mixture to the pan now. Mix well, cook for a minute or two. Add 2 cups of water and once it comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and let it boil for about 10 minutes. You can add more water to suit the consistency you prefer. Turn off the flame after ten minutes. Serve hot with rice or roti.

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Misal Pav

BM #113 : Week 4, Day 1
Theme : A-Z Curries

Have I ever mentioned that the Indian stores in US has a lot more variety in terms of grocery than the local stores in India? Since the stores here cater to all Indians, they are stocked up in stuff from all parts of India use. Where as a local South Indian store won’t stock up on an item like Goda Masala that’s not part of the South Indian lifestyle. They won’t be able to sell it and so naturally they won’t stock it up too.

The reason for me saying that is because I have never had Misal Pav at Trivandrum or Chennai. The first time I had this was at a chaat place couple of years back. It was here in US that I tried this popular recipe from Maharashtra!!

Anyway I was happy I had the opportunity to try it, because oh boy!! It was so delicious! I have already made the authentic version from scratch a couple of times, but I was not able to click pictures then. The recipe here is not the authentic version, it’s a shortcut all in one version from here. But this also tastes good, so now this is my go to recipe if I am not in a mood to make the masalas from scratch.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 4 green chilies or per taste
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2” piece of ginger
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes , chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon goda masala/garam masala/achar masala
  • 2 cups moong or moth sprouts
  • Coriander leaves to garnish
  • Salt to Taste

Method:

  1. In a small blender jar, make a coarse paste of green chilies, garlic and ginger. Keep aside.
  2. Pressure cook the sprouts with 4 cups of water for one whistle. Let the pressure release naturally.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the mustard crackles, add the onions and sauté until pink. Add the ground chili paste and cook for a minute more. Add the tomatoes and mix it in. Now add all the masalas- turmeric, chili, coriander, cumin and goda masala (or it’s substitutes). Cover and cook until the tomatoes are mushy. Add a tablespoon or two of water if it’s too dry.
  4. Once everything is cooked through , add the sprouts along with the water it’s cooked in. Let it come to a boil and cover and cook for about ten minutes or until the oil floats on top. Turn off the heat.
  5. Sprinkle chopped coriander on top.
  6. To serve, add this curry to a bowl, add some farsan and finely chopped onions on top and serve with pav bread. I didn’t have any pav left, so I served with regular bread.