Peas, potatoes, carrots in Olive oil and lemon sauce

BM# 97: Week 4, Day 3
Theme : Flavors of Greece

I had initially selected a date and chickpea rice recipe for today’s post. But I changed it in favor of this simple stew. This recipe in the book The Foods of the Greek Islands. The author mentions that on the islands, this is a classic vegetable stew made with wild fennel. The recipe had dill instead, but I skipped it since I didn’t have any at home. The stew can be a main dish with some feta cheese and bread on the side.

I served to my son when we was back from school and he didn’t like it at all. I was just done with cooking the stew and unfortunately, the vegetables weren’t done when I served it to him. I had to cook for some more time to get it right and it was perfect for our dinner. It had a mild fennel flavor infused with lemon and was very delicious.

The recipe uses a lot of olive oil, about 2/3 cups. I couldn’t bring myself to use that much so I reduced it a lot. The end result was still yummy. The stew needn’t be watery, though we prefer it that way.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
  • 3 large potatoes, diced into 1.5″ cubes
  • 4 cups green peas*
  • 3 carrots, diced into 1″ slices
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dill, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

* Green beans is a substitute for the peas and so I used 2 cups peas and 2 cups beans.

Method:

  1. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onions and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add in the sliced fennel and sauté until its soft.
  2. Add the potatoes, cook for 4-5 minutes. Add 1.5 cups of water/stock along with the peas and beans, carrots, crushed fennel seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat. Cover and let the stew simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of water or stock, remaining olive oil (the recipe used 1/3 cup, I used only 2 tablespoons), 1/4 cup chopped dill and all of the lemon juice. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and done. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup dill on top and serve warm with some bread and feta cheese on top.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#97

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Githeri – Kenyan Bean and Maize dish

BM# 96: Week 4, Day 2
Theme : Southern Hemisphere

Like I mentioned yesterday, I landed up in the Kenyan Masala tea recipe when I was checking out a recipe for Githeri. Githeri is a Kenyan dish with maize (white corn) and beans and a bunch of vegetables. The vegetables and even the kind of beans can be customized to your preference.

I read about the recipe first at Mireille’s blog and then visited Mayuri’s blog where Mireille had originally chosen the recipe from. This recipe uses white corn and not yellow corn. Mireille has suggested canned white hominy or Choclo Corn (South American white corn) for this. I used the canned white hominy for this.

I used black beans (that’s what I had today), but you can use black eyed peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, butter beans or a mix of whatever kind you have in your pantry. The choice of vegetables are left to you. Mayuri mentions that for Starchy vegetables, potatoes, plantains, sweet potatoes, yuca are commonly used. The consistency can also be adjusted to your preference. Some of the recipes I looked at mentioned adding coconut milk or cream, but I didn’t add any today.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves : 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black beans, soaked overnight and cooked separately
  • 1 cup white corn
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1″ piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (or puréed)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Pinch of turmeric powder
  • About 15 beans, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 cup of spinach, roughly chopped
  • Salt and water as needed

Method:

  1. Soak the beans overnight and cook it separately. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add chopped ginger, garlic and onions. Sauté until the onions turn slightly brown. Add the tomatoes, salt and the spices. Mix well and cover and cook until the tomatoes are very soft and mushy.
  3. Add the beans, maize, diced potatoes, carrots and beans. Add 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the pot and cook for about 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are done.
  4. If needed, add 1 (or even more) cup of water if it is too thick. Add the spinach and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Taste test for salt and adjust if needed. Serve hot!

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#96

Quick baked potatoes

BAKEDPOTATOES-UPLOAD

I realize that, me and my husband have fallen into predictable patterns a lot more now than we were a decade before. There is no “we will figure out as we go” in our lives anymore. We prefer to play safe, plan ahead and stick to the plan. This is getting reflected in the food aspect of our lives as well.

Where as once we were open to all kinds of food any time of the day and any day of the week, now we like our daily food to be Indian, if possible, South Indian. Idlis, dosas and rice are the things we literally live for! Chapatis are tolerated with grace intermittently. We are open to food adventures on Fridays and weekends, but that requires some mental preparation.

So you can imagine our disappointment, disbelief and denial, when I tell you that our 8 year old (who doesn’t like food in general) dislikes Indian food in particular!! Rice is his main enemy since that’s what we serve most. Dosa and chapatis compete for the second place.

His idea of food is a nutella sandwich for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Now, for this BM, I had planned on making jacket potatoes. Now, if I had served these to my husband, he would have fainted, fallen down and had a heart attack. But I served these to my son, who loved it, ate it and asked for seconds!!

Sometimes, its just a question of knowing your audience ;-)!

BAKEDPOTATOES-UPLOAD1

Recipe source: Quick baked potatoes

Ingredients:

  • One potato/sweet potato of the same size per person
  • about 1/2 tsp olive oil for each potato
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Method:

  • Heat the oven to 400 F/ 200C.
  • Wash, pat dry and cut the potatoes into half lengthwise.

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With your hands rub oil all over the potato coating it well. Rub salt and pepper as well.

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Bake for 30 mins with cut side down. (I over baked -ok,burnt!- it a tad :D).

Serve topped with baked beans and cheese or butter/ sour cream or as you wish.

BAKEDPOTATOES-UPLOAD2

Pav Bhaji

Its time for Tina’s Crazy Cooking Challenge again and this time we are searching for the Ultimate Mashed Potatoes recipe.

Potatoes are cooked in an Indian household in every possible manner. We have them as side dishes for rice, in curries for rotis, as stuffing for rotis and sandwiches, for snacks as cutlets or deep fried beauties like bondas …the list for dishes using potatoes is literally endless!

In short, we are fine with potatoes as long as they are in the ‘main supporting role’ for the dinner. But they are not really liked as main dish. So if I am serving Baked Potatoes at home, I better keep the restaurant’s take out number handy. Chances are I am going need it!

So when the challenge recipe was Mashed Potatoes, I knew I would have to serve it the Indian way. I was thinking of a hundred recipes where mashed potatoes are used, but finally settled on Pav Bhaji. The main tool for preparation of this dish is the potato masher.

Pav Bhaji is the ultimate street food, where the bread (Pav) is served with spicy mashed potatoes (Bhaji). It is so popular that it is now featured in almost all the restaurant menus. Pav Bhaji is so filling that it can be had as a meal as well. With the Pav bread so easily available in supermarkets now a days, making this dish at home is also common now a days.

Traditionally the main ingredients are tomatoes and potatoes, with bell peppers or cauliflower thrown in at times. But when making this at home its common to add a lot of vegetables, since its a good way to sneak in vegetables.

I am a big fan of Aparna’s blog and I have chosen the recipe for Pav Bhaji from her space. You can read a lot more about this dish at her blog.

Ingredients for Bhaji:

  • Potatoes                            :          3 big, cooked and mashed
  • Mixed Vegetables         :          3 cups, cooked and mashed (Optional)
  • Onion                                 :          2 big, chopped
  • Tomatoes                         :          3 medium, chopped
  • Ginger Garlic Paste      :           2 tsp
  • Pav Bhaji Masala           :          1 – 2 tbsp
  • Chilli Powder                  :          2 tsp
  • Coriander Leaves         :           3-4 tbsp
  • Oil                                       :           2 tbsp
  • Butter

Method: 

  1. Cook the potatoes, mash them roughly and keep aside. We will be mashing them a lot more when we are cooking.
  2. Cook the vegetables (I used carrots, cauliflower and beans), mash them and keep aside. In case you are skipping the vegetables, you can cut the rest of the ingredients by half.
  3. Heat oil in a wide pan. Add the onions and cook until they start to brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for a minute more. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they are soft.
  4. Add the pav bhaji masala, chilli powder and salt. Cook for a 2-3 minutes and then with a potato masher, mash the onion-tomato mixture till they are totally pulpy.
  5. Add the mashed potatoes and vegetables. Mash thoroughly till the gravy becomes thick. You can add water in 1/4 cupfuls, if the gravy appears to be dry before the veggies are mashed.
  6. You can keep mashing until the bhaji is totally smooth or you can stop when the veggies have been mashed to your level of preference. Do a taste test and adjust seasonings accordingly.
  7. Add the chopped coriander leaves, 1-2 tbsp of butter and mix. Bhaji is ready to be served.

Aparna has adapted a recipe for soft white dinner rolls for the Pav here.

Ingredients for Pav: 

  • All purpose flour               :          3 1/2  – 4 cups
  • Yeast (Instant).                  :           1 1/2 tsp
  • Milk                                         :           1 1/2 cups
  • Butter                                     :           1 1/2 tbsp
  • Sugar                                      :            2  tsp
  • Salt                                          :            1 tsp
  • Butter                                     :            1 – 2 tbsp for brushing the top

Method:

  1. Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a big bowl. Whisk.
  2. In a small pan, heat the milk and the butter (1.5 tbsp) together, whisking now and then, till the milk is lukewarm.
  3. Mix the lukewarm milk- butter to the flour and knead till you get a soft elastic bread dough.
  4. Form a ball, cover and leave the dough in a greased bowl to rise till doubled in size. About 1 -2 hours.
  5. When it becomes double, punch the air out, knead for a minute and divide the dough into 15 equal portions (I got 14). Shape them into balls and place them in a greased rectangular baking pan, leaving about 1/4″ between them. I got 4 rows each of 3 balls and one final row with two dough balls. Cover and let it rise for another 30 min.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 225 C for 10 minutes till they start browning. You need to take them out, brush them with melted butter and then put it back for another 5 minutes.
  7. Take the rolls out and cool them in a rack.
  8. I brushed some butter on the rolls as soon as they came out of the oven. You can see the butter bubbles on top!

Assembling and serving: 

  1. In a pan, heat a tsp of butter. Cut two pieces of Pav (the bread roll) across and then place them the cut side down in the heated butter. When they becomes slightly brown, take them out and place them in a plate.
  2. Add some bhaji (the spicy mashed potatoes gravy) and some chopped raw onions side by side.  Cut a lemon in half or quarter and place it next to the onions. You can add some chopped coriander leaves and a dollop of butter if you want to, on top of the bhaji.
  3. Squeeze the lemon and add it to the raw onions and bhaji while eating, it tastes delicious. Enjoy!
Note:

Ideally you have to keep mashing until the bhaji becomes a thick smooth gravy and you cannot differentiate the vegetables in it. But since we like it a bit crunchy, I stop mashing before the veggies become too smooth.

I rushed through the dough raising time, so it didn’t raise as much as it should have. I was under the attack of too many hungry people!

You can watch a video of the authentic Pav Bhaji making here (Courtesy Aparna’s Blog).

You can check out here to see the fellow bloggers take on Mashed Potatoes.

Linked to Bake Fest also.