Beans, Methi and Besan Palya


String Beans happens to be one of my favorite veggies and there are so many things one can do with it. String beans are quite ubiquitous in Indian cooking and can be added to anything from Sambar, Pulao, Kurmas, Upma to simple palya or stir fry. One of my favorite ways to eat it is the simple palya with anna (rice) and saaru(rasam). That for me is comfort food! This recipe is a slight variation and tastes good with roti. This one’s from my mom’s repertoire of improvisations!

Ingredients : Serves 2-3

1 pound or half kilo of string beans

1 cup of chopped methi leaves

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

2 pinches of hing

A pinch of turmeric

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 tablespoons of besan or chickpeas flour

2 tablespoons of oil

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon lime juice

Chop the beans finely, steam it and keep aside. In a pan heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, once it splutters, add turmeric, chilli powder, hing and besan. Fry this for a minute on low flame. Add the methi leaves and fry for 1-2 minutes. Now add the steamed beans and salt and mix well. Fry this for another minute. Add the lime juice and mix well. Enjoy this with roti or chapathi.

Onion Thokku/ Chutney


This is one of the recipes that I learnt from my mother-in-law. This is a favorite accompaniment in my house with akki rotti. Steaming hot akki rotti, with onion chutney and a dollop of butter! Ah! Heaven on a plate 🙂  It also tastes great as a spread for a piece of toast!

Ingredients :

1 large onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

8-10 red chillies

1 teaspoon jeera/cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

1 cup of cilantro/coriander

1-2 small cubes of jaggery

5-6 curry leaves

1 tablespoon oil

Salt to taste

 

Heat the oil and add the onions, garlic, red chillies, coriander and cumin seeds for 4-5 minutes. Once the onion softens and turns translucent, add curry leaves and cilantro. Saute for another 2-3 minutes. Let this cool. Once cooled, blend all sauteed ingredients,  with tamarind paste, salt and jaggery. Blend this to a smooth paste with very little or no water.

Transfer the contents back to a pan and let this mixture boil for another 10 minutes. This increases the shelf life of the chutney.

Baked Garlicky Fries


Sitting in my freezer was a batch of veggie patties and some burger buns in my fridge . What is the perfect accompaniment to burger? Fries of course, the American staple :).  But  I wanted something a little more healthy..keeping in mind that I had  soy bean patties and whole wheat burger buns. I had tried this recipe from the Purple Foodie’s blog a  while back and it had turned out to be a delicious alternative to deep-fried potatoes.  The basic recipe is the same but I have made a few alterations to make up for the ingredients that I didn’t have.

Ingredients

2 russet potatoes cut into wedges

2 tablespoons olive oil/vegetable oil

2-3 cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper for seasoning

1 teaspoon mixed Italian herbs

2 tablespoons of corn flour ( I used rice flour since I didn’t have any corn flour )

Microwave the potatoes for about 3-4 minutes with little water until they are 3/4 cooked. They should not be too soft but you should be able to pierce them with a fork. Pat them dry on kitchen napkins.

Heat the oil on medium heat and add the garlic. Take care not to burn the garlic. Once the garlic releases all its aroma take it off the heat. Toss in the potatoes, flour, herbs, salt and pepper. Make sure all the wedges are well coated with seasoning.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray some cooking oil on the sheet. Spread the potato wedges on the sheet and in a pre-heated oven bake the potatoes for about 30-40 minutes at 375-400 F. Turn them over once in a while and bake till they are golden.

Carrot Ginger Soup


What do you do when your stomach is rumbling and it is not quite dinner time yet and you want to eat something healthy? Make soup of course! Tired of heating store-bought organic soups, I decided to make this easy soup as a healthy snack. This one I learnt from sis and has become a favorite in my family.

Ingredients : Serves 2

Carrots : 3-4 medium-sized.

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1 clove of garlic

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

2 sprigs of mint

1 cup of milk or vegetable stock

Salt and Pepper for seasoning

For a fast and easy method, cut the carrots into 1/2 inch pieces and pressure cook them. Once cool, transfer to a blender, add the garlic, 1 spring of mint, ginger, lemon rind and milk. Grind to a smooth paste. Transfer the contents to a vessel and heat the soup till it starts bubbling. Add salt and pepper to taste. For added flavor, you can add a blob of butter to the soup or you can use creme fraiche as garnish just before serving. I added a bit of grated parmesan on top!

Alternately, you can saute some onions and carrots and let this boil in the stock and then blend it with the rest of the ingredients. But I like it quick and easy so I skipped this step.