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.
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.
All you eggplant haters – do try this recipe – you’ll never look at it the same way after you’ve tasted it prepared like this! Also called ‘bharit’ in Maharastra (Bombay is the capital of this Indian state), this is a wonderful recipe that uses a large eggplant. You need to roast it over a charcoal or stove fire, or in the oven. Pray, do not microwave, boil or steam the eggplant! I have seen some recipes that call you to do that which is unfortunate, because the essential flavour of this dish is derived from the ‘charring’ process.
Also know as Palak Paneer, this is another popular and well-loved North Indian preparation using creamed spinach and Indian farmer’s cheese. You can substitute paneer with firm tofu – cut tofu into squares, dust lightly with flour and fry lightly. And I have cooked this with a mix of seasonal greens – chard and tender kale, beet and mustard greens. My preference is to keep the spinach in the recipe, and not eliminate it altogether, as it adds a touch of creaminess to the dish. Although tomato is not traditionally used, if there is one in the refrigerator that begs to be of service, I will. Kinda adds a tangy sweetness to it – like a #4 on a major scale if you know what what I mean. And yes, it’s okay to use oil instead of ghee or butter.
A tasty and healthy mix of lentils and beans, Daal Maharani (Dal Makhani) is a recipe from North India. This is a richer, creamier daal than others (e.g. the simple Indian daal and can be eaten with naan/roti and a pickle on the side.
Okra is a very popular vegetable in India and and the full flavor of this semi-dry dish can be savoured when eaten with lighter Indian breads such as chappatis or rotis.
A trucker’s delight from Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh), Chicken 65 is a great side with naan or roti, but can be more interesting as a starter accompanying a cool glass of beer.
North India enjoys more pastoral land than the South and has a tradition of dairy farming. The abundance of milk has influenced the cuisine of Punjab and its neighbouring states with milk products such as yoghurt, butter and the fresh cheese paneer are used frequently. This popular dish is also known as Paneer Makahani or Butter Paneer.
If you like food with a hot garlicky green kick to it, this preparation from Andhra Pradesh, India is for you. I need to have this dish hot enough to make my eyes water, so if I’ve said to use six green chillies, you know better. Also, be brave and taste the chilli before you cook (just a quick lick to the inside of a slit chili), sometimes they aren’t as hot as they look so you’ll need to up the quantity! In authentic Andhra restaurants in India, they serve a small bowl of sugar cubes on the side, just in case your palate gets unbearably scorched!
I love chickpeas and can eat them just plain boiled. This is a very popular North Indian style preparation from Punjab, and is usually served with deep fried bread or ‘bhature’ . I’ve had the best versions of this dish at rural dhabbas or trucker stops in the North, and still recall its spicy deliciousness balanced with the cool lassi that washed my throat every now and then.
This is an Indian coastal recipe for a fragrant prawn curry made with coconut milk. Best eaten with white rice, jeera rice or a light pea/vegetable pulao
This is one of my favourite “everyday” kind of daals. Masoor (split pink lentils) is easy to digest, and cooks faster than most other lentils. I mix in some tuvar (split yellow peas) or moong (split green or golden gram) depending on which ones are available in my pantry at the time. Don’t ignore the ghee – just a tad – that will go right on top of your steaming rice and daal before you dig in!
Fibre, iron, magnesium and more – a cup of these can provide one with half of the daily fiber requirement. Beans are often blamed for intestinal gas which is why you must use ginger liberally when cooking these beans as this recipe does. Serve with either naan or rice and a yogurt relish on the side
An easy egg curry using hard-boiled eggs, with South Indian flavours using cardamom & coconut milk. (You can also modify the recipe and try the “Goa” version of anda curry by using a cup of diluted tamarind juice with the tomatoes, 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon powder and a tsp. of cumin to the dry spice mix. Use jaggery instead of sugar).