Vangi is the Maharashtrian name for eggplant or brinjal, or baingan as it is known in Hindi). This is a Maharashtrian recipe that uses a spiced paste to stuff the vegetables. Use the shiny, oval, deep purple Indian eggplant for this dish. You can also use the striped variety. And as Mum says, the thornier the stem, the tastier the eggplant!
Naan is flatbread that is a staple in North Indian cuisine. Traditionally cooked in a clay oven, it is smeared with butter or ghee before serving, and torn into bite size pieces to scoop up curries and vegetables.
I tasted these mock clams at a vegan restaurant and loved them! The next day, I experimented cooking up a batch of oyster mushrooms and was delighted with the way the ‘clams’ turned out! The coating was airy and crisp, and there was a pleasant crunch to it. The texture of the mushroom inside was almost similar to clam strips
One of my favourite ways to cook salmon – an exotic outcome with the least effort. You can leave the skin on the fillet as I sometimes do, in which case, bake it to a crisp for a delicate crunch.
A delicious, bright green soup that feels good all year round. Don’t shirk away from extra effort to zest the lemon – that’s what contributes to the soup it’s liveliness.
From North India, tandoori chicken is either served whole or as large chicken pieces to be eaten with a bread called naan. Both chicken and naan are baked in a clay oven, called a ‘tandoor’. Alternatively the chicken can be cooked in an oven or in a grill (a charcoal grill is the best for this!).
While in Genoa, we sampled Ligurian ‘focaccia’ which was almost nearly similar to the flatbread called ‘schiacciata’ (literally translated ‘flattened’ bread) which we ate while travelling through Tuscany. Seasoned with olive oil and sea-salt, then baked in an oven, it’s characteristic little dimples capture the olive oil and herbs. Crisp at the bottom, but soft on the inside, its toppings ranged from savory (onions, mushrooms, ham or olives) to sweet (honey, figs).
This was a tradition in our home for as far as I can remember – Shrove Tuesday (rather, Pancake Tuesday as I preferred) falls on the day before the season of Lent commences. On that day, I’d return from school to find my mum preparing a batch for the family in the kitchen. Soon, I’d be savouring a plateful of this warm, sweet delicacy – the sweet, succulent filling of fresh coconut and raisins spiked with green cardamom, encased in a silky, soft wrapper. With a cup of hot tea on the side. Jaggery imparts a rich taste to the filling, and I prefer it to using white sugar.
Indians cook a variety of pulses, which include dals (lentils) and beans, and are eaten almost every day as an accompaniment to steamed rice & wheat breads. Predominantly a vegetarian society, it depends largely on cereals & pulses as the main source of protein & energy. ‘Pancharatna’ means Five Jewels, and this stew used five (skinless) varieties of lentil.
This is my mum-in-law’s recipe and is a great accompaniment with basmati rice and daal with a few papads/papaddums on the side. Although Mama Kay is vegetarian, she has cooked the most delicious non-veg food for us. This recipe has some flavors from Tamil Nadu in South India – she attended college in Madras.
There are many fancy juicers available in the market with juice and cleansing diets becoming so popular, but I’ve been using an old Oster blender that was bought initially for crushing ice. It blends the vegetables and fruits fine, and although there are some miniscule bits of fibre here and there I don’t mind consuming them, at least I am not throwing the good stuff away.
1/2 medium cooked beet, chopped
1/2 apple, chopped
2 cups chopped Swiss chard (green, red or rainbow)
1/2 tsp grated ginger
Juice of 1/2 a lime
3/4 cup water
- Place all ingredients in a blender. Adjust the amount of water to create a drinking consistency that you prefer
This is one of my favourite ways to eat vegetables. Undhiyun is usually made in the winter season in India, and originates in Saurashtra (Southern Gujarat), using a unique combination of fresh winter vegetables. This Indian state has two streams of cuisine – Kathiawar and Surat schools. Surati preparations tend to be sweeter, due to the addition of jaggery or sugar.
It was my first experience cooking hominy at home. I couldn’t find the dry grain at the local Whole Foods store (the store assistant was Mexican and said she made posole as well, but using only the canned version since the grains took forever to cook). I was determined to use the dry grain, and finally found it in the Spanish section in a grocery store. (Hominy is whole kernels of lime-treated maize, and when ground, you get the ‘masa’ for corn tortillas and tamales). To this Mexican stew of hominy and pork (you can use chicken instead) I added Hatch chiles from Hatch, New Mexico. Usually I order these roasted chiles online, but this particular time I was lucky to find them at the local grocer’s, so I roasted them myself at home – all in all a far too lengthy way to make posole, but so much fun! If you can’t get Hatch chiles substitute fresh poblanos that you can smear with oil and roast over the stove or in the oven. But really, it’s not the same thing.
This is a family favourite – simple daal cooked with drumsticks – no really. Native to India, the moringa or drumstick tree has delicate light green leaves and is widely grown all over the country. I remember the foamy cream-white flowers shrouding the tree just before the heat of summer, followed by green slender ribbed pods that emerged and grew up to 2 feet in length! Sometimes if we saw trees that were on public property, we’d create a makeshift tool with a long bamboo stick and wire at one end to break the pods which would grow in clusters from the tree. In markets, These pods were either sold loose or tied into slim bundles with banana string, and I learnt how to choose the young, tender ones just by watching my mother and mother-in-law fussing over the basket of drumsticks much to the vendors frustration! It’s packed with protein, minerals and anti-oxidants and benefits those with high blood pressure, diabetes, anaemia, ulcers and more.
This is a bonafide Borthwick family recipe, a stew that was wolfed down with much enthusiasm. Anglo-Indian cooking is a unique and little-known tradition that evolved during the days of the British Raj in India. An era when English ‘sahibs’ had Indian butlers and cooks, the kitchen staff added regional touches to ‘English’ dishes, fortuitously creating one of the earliest fusion cuisines – an English menu elevated to new heights by injecting ingredients used in South Indian, Bengali, Goan and Mughlai cooking. This tradition continued in mixed race Anglo-Indian homes after the departure of the British in 1947.