Potato Mushroom Masala

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They say time flies when you do things you love. But what I have found out is time flies even if you do absolutely nothing. You can crib about the weather once in a while to keep yourself engaged. So you see, two weeks have flown by and I am gaping at how time flies!

What did I do in these two weeks? Ehhh…Ermmm…Wellll…Can’t think of a thing! Nada. Nothing. But boy…time did fly fast and I was watching it zoom away from the comfort of my couch :D.

The minute kid gets out of the door in the morning, I curl myself into a ball and position myself in the couch under a warm cozy blanket. I pull it right over my head and spend at least half my day there. One more month of this chilly, windy weather and then we will be back to times where you can just open the door and walk out.

Open the door and just step out – that’s something I have been taken for granted most of my life. Until last winter. Now, it seems like such  a luxury! We have to remember the jacket, cap, gloves and boots before stepping out. Scarves, multiple layers or sweaters and umbrella if its really cold or raining.

Boy! I am never going to take Summer for granted! But like everything in life, you learn to adapt and enjoy, even biting cold weather, if it lasts long enough. I am a lot better than I was last year. And I know coming year is going to be a lot better than now. And so it goes…

Now I know what I was doing the last two weeks. Reflecting on life and such big things…all from under the comfort of that blanket!!

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BM #61; Week 4; Theme: Root vegetables

Recipe source: Mia Kitchen

Serves : 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, chopped finely
  • 2-3 green chillies, sliced into two
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder (or per taste)
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 small tomato, chopped roughly
  • 200 gms mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • salt as needed

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a thick pan. Add the sliced onions, ginger and green chillies. Cook till onions turn pink.
  2. Add the spices one after the other – coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder and HALF the garam masala. If the masalas burn, add few drops of water.
  3. Saute for a few moments for the masala to get cooked. Add the diced tomatoes. Mix it in and let it cook for 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes look mashed. Add salt as well.
  4. Add the potatoes, mix it in and cover and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle some water if the curry seems dry at this point.
  5. Tip in the mushrooms and the coconut milk. Mix well and cover and cook until the potatoes are done. Keep stirring in between.
  6. Taste test and add remaining garam masala if needed. You can add some water if the gravy turns out too thick. Serve with rotis or jeera rice.

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Potato broccoli patties

broccoli patties

Tea times are far more interesting when there is something to nibble on. The unhealthier the nibble is, the happier I am :D! It doesn’t mean that the healthy ones don’t satisfy the craving, but the deep fried ones hit the taste buds faster.

Here is something that isn’t quite healthy as a sandwich, but something that isn’t dripping in oil as well. These patties make their way into my son’s snack box frequently. Its a great make ahead dish. You can make and even shape the patties and refrigerate until the time to prepare.

I have been trying to take pictures with darker backgrounds and this was one of the first successful attempts. There is a picture of the setting below in case you are interested in checking it out. All you need is some black cloth, a salwar top in this case, and you have your dark background! I didn’t try to diffuse the light, that’s for the next trial.

Read on for the recipe.

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Pictorial:

Pressure cook 2 medium potatoes and 1 cup broccoli together for 2 whistles. Once its cooked, drain the water completely.

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Dip one bread slice in a plateful of water. Take out immediately and squeeze out excess water.  Add this bread piece (or 1/4 cup bread crumbs) and 1/4 cup of thawed spinach or methi with salt and pepper as needed to the potatoes and broccoli.

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Mash everything well together until no lumps remain. Check the seasonings and adjust if needed.

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Make patties and keep it ready.

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Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a shallow pan.

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Add the patties. Let it cook and become golden brown on the bottom.

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Flip over and cook the other side.

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Take off the heat and place on a paper napkin.

Recipe adapted from Always Hungry

Makes about 10-12 medium patties

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • one slice bread
  • 1/4 cup spinach or methi
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Method:

  1. Pressure cook 2 medium potatoes and 1 cup broccoli together for 2 whistles. Once its cooked, drain the water completely.
  2. Dip one bread slice in a plateful of water. Take out immediately and squeeze out excess water.
  3. Add this bread piece (or 1/4 cup bread crumbs) and 1/4 cup of thawed spinach or methi with salt and pepper as needed to the potatoes and broccoli.Mash everything well together until no lumps remain. Check the seasonings and adjust if needed.
  4. Make patties and keep it ready. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a shallow pan.
  5. Add the patties. Let it cook and become golden brown on the bottom. Flip over and cook the other side.
  6. Take off the heat and place on a paper napkin. Serve with ketchup.

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The set up for the photo shoot. Black cloth is the background and a brownish black table on the front.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 58

Bengali Thali

I was standing there, watching the waves dance. Hubby and kiddo were playing hide and seek with the waves. Teasing the water to come and touch their feet.

At the horizon, the anchored ships had switched the lights on, they were now twinkling like little stars far far away.

I decided to let the waves kiss my feet. I wanted to feel the salty, chilling water wash away all my worries. I looked down to watch them come and bury my feet in the sand.

Only I couldn’t. My paunch was coming in between.

Not one to take a hint easily, I stretched a bit further to see the waves bury my feet. I could still not see my feet, only my paunch was visible.

OK, I get the message. Time for some serious measures to watch my weight. No more fatty food.

While I ponder over the point, you guys enjoy this great thali, dishes prepared from the state of Bengal. Just like dieting sounds alien to me, Bengali cuisine is also foreign for me. So thanks a ton, Vaishali, for your insight into Bengali food and for helping me design the menu. Without your help, I would have been totally lost!

Like Kerala Sadya, Bengali food too has some rules when it comes to the food. I read about Bengali Cuisine here, written by Sandeepa of Bong Mom’s Cookbook.

Rice is the main cereal there, just like in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The first course has bitter gourd or neem leaves (something bitter) in it, this is supposed to have cleansing properties.

It is followed by rice and dal, with a fried bhaja or any other seasonal vegetable as a side dish. Fish and meat courses follow, but for vegetarian meals, paneer is a common substitute.

Then comes the chutney round. I tried getting pineapples, but I was out of luck that day. Went in for a raw mango chutney, and boy! it tasted so good.

The last round is yogurt and then some sweet. I made misti doi. I cooked the milk in the pressure cooker and I don’t know what I did wrong, the texture didn’t come out right. The taste was yum, but the texture didn’t come close to even my usual thick yogurt. Just bad luck, I guess.

The menu:

  • Vegetarian Dishes/ Curries
    • Ucche Bhaja : Bittergourd cooked and fried in oil
    • Begun Bhaja : Deep fried eggplant
    • Aloo Poshto : Potato in Poppy seeds (I was not able to grind the seeds properly!)
    • Cholar Dal : Dal made with chana dal, made on festivals and special occasions.
    • Chanar Dalna : Paneer and green peas curry
  • Rice
  • Sides
  • Sweet
    • Rasgolla : Paneer balls, cooked in sugar syrup

Ingredients for Eggplant fry (Begun Bhaja):

For Ucche Bhaja, bitter gourd fry, substitute brinjal with bitter guard and follow the same recipe. 

  • Eggplant , big variety              : 1
  • Turmeric powder                     :  1/2 tsp
  • Salt
  • Oil for deep frying

Method:

  1. Wash and pat the brinjal dry. Cut into 1/2″ thick round slices.
  2. Apply salt and turmeric powder.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Deep fry brinjal until crisp and brown on both sides.
  4. Drain on a paper towel and serve hot.
  5. I have cut mine too thin. It should be a little more thick.

Except for the rasgolla and the dal, I am making everything for the first time. I hope I have done it right. This is a first time Bengali thali for me and I really loved the food. Who thought eggplants would be so tasty when fried with salt and a pinch of turmeric?!

Aam Pora Sherbet:

Ingredients:

  • Raw Mangoes          :        2
  • Sugar                           :   a varying quantity, depending totally on the sourness of mangoes. Start with 1/3 cup
  • Salt                               :     a pinch
  • Mint leaves               :   a handful, optional
  • Water or Soda for serving : 4-5 cups, again need to taste test and adjust accordingly.

Method:

  1. The first step is to get the mango pulp. Then for serving, the pulp can be diluted with water or with soda.
  2. Wash, clean and pat the mangoes dry. Roast them directly in open flame (like how we do for Baingan bhaja) or I guess you can bake them until they are soft as well.
  3. Turn the mangoes with a pair of tongs cook both sides. Once the skin is black and blistered, keep aside to cool.
  4. Once its cool to handle, peel the charred skin off. Wash thoroughly so that there are no burnt pieces left and squeeze the pulp out. Collect it in a bowl.
  5. Add sugar and a pinch of salt and handful of washed mint leaves (optional) and blend in a mixer/blender.
  6. This is the concentrate. I finished off mine then itself , so never really got around storing it.
  7. Add 3-4 cups of water and blend again. Check the sugar and add more if required. The quantity of water and sugar will depend on the sourness of mangoes. So start with a lesser quantity and work your way upwards.
  8. Pour into tall glasses and serve cool with ice cubes.

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Potato and Green Gram Dal

Weekend. Hearty lunch outside. Happy state of mind. Long drive, hubby’s favorite. That’s when I hinted a wish for shopping. Hubby looked worried and scared, kiddo clutched his tummy and pretended stomach ache.

They offered to drop me and my friend at the Mall, if we can spare them the agony of shopping. I gladly accepted the offer, happy to escape their repeated “Are you done now? Can we go home?” question.

And so, hubby dropped us and drove back home. Without taking the house keys and his mobile from me.

I received the SOS call he made from our neighbor’s place. I assured him that I am rushing back home, I just had one more shop to visit. Three hours and five bags full of purchase later, we reached home. Thank god for the friends and relatives living near by to feed and engage my family!

So now whenever my hubby drops me somewhere, kiddo anxiously checks with his dad,”Do you have the keys and mobile with you?” while I look outside, with a defensive look which says ‘Guys won’t understand the relation between women and shopping’.

This is a recipe from one of my neighbors. The flavor in this curry comes from the green chillies, ginger and garlic. No curry powders and no masalas. Its simple and really flavorsome. You can try substituting the green gram with sprouts and potatoes with sweet potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes                                      :               3 – 4, medium
  • Whole Green Gram                 :                1/2 cup
  • Onion                                            :               1 medium, sliced
  • Tomato                                        :                1 medium (optional)
  • Green Chillies                            :                3 – 4, per taste
  • Ginger                                           :                1 – 2 ” piece, chopped fine
  • Garlic                                            :                 5-6 pods, chopped fine
  • Salt
  • Oil

Method:

  1. Cook or pressure cook the potatoes and whole green gram using separators for 2 or 3 whistles.
  2. Slice the onions and roughly cut the tomatoes. Finely chop the chillies, ginger and garlic.
  3. Heat two teaspoons of oil and when its hot, add the onions, green chillies, ginger and garlic.
  4. When the onions becomes pink, add the tomatoes, if using. Saute for 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes get cooked.
  5. Add the cooked green gram and a cup of water. Cut the cooked potatoes into cubes and add.
  6. Add salt, cook for 5-10 minutes, mashing the potato pieces a bit with the ladle in case the gravy is not thick.
  7. Serve with chapatis. Perfect!
  8. You can use sprouted green grams and sweet potatoes too in this curry.

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