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The Perfect Food (Ande ka Funda) - Indian Scrambled Egg

A very widely held belief is that Egg is the ‘Perfect Food’. Not sure what that really means but it is certainly filling, versatile and healthful. That is, if you can avoid too much yolk. Not to mention, it’s quick and easy to cook.

 

So the ‘perfectionist’ in me started looking for the ‘perfect’ egg recipe. Many searches later, it suddenly dawned on me that the good old Egg Bhurji (Indian scrambled eggs) was what I was looking for. As a popular Hindi song goes – ‘Aao sikhaun tumhe main ande ka funda……yeh nahi pyare koi maamuli bandaa….’

 

Ingredients:

- 8 egg whites with 4 yolks

- 1 medium onion, finely chopped

- 1 small jalapeno, finely chopped

- Vegetable/Canola oil – 3 tablespoons

- Jeera/Cumin seeds – ¼ teaspoon

- Hing/Asafoetida – 1 pinch

- Haldi/Turmeric – ¼ teaspoon

- Jeera/Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon (up to 1 ½ tsp for spicier bhurji)

- Red chilli powder – ¼ teaspoon

- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

- Salt (to taste)

- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

 

How To Make:

Beat the egg whites and yolks together and set aside. Heat the oil in a wok (kadai), and add cumin seeds, hing and turmeric. Add the finely chopped onions and shallow fry until golden brown. Add the chopped jalapeno, jeera powder and red chilli powder and sauté for a couple of minutes.

 

Add the beaten egg mixture, salt and pepper. Stir continuously to incorporate the egg and onion mixture, until the egg is well scrambled. Avoid large chunks as bhurji is meant to be in small bits.

 

Make it a meal!

Serve with whole wheat bread and hot soup such as Tomato Carrot soup (see article ‘Mother of Invention’ for the soup recipe).

 

Till the next time, wishing y’all ‘Perfect’ health!

Guilt Trip - Barley & Garbanzo Salad

Hello friends! Hope you had a wonderful Diwali. May the festival of lights bring you peace and happiness. I had a nice weekend with friends and lots of good (read heavy) food. So, as you can imagine, begins my guilt trip. Sure, I can starve myself for a couple of days, wear out the treadmill and get back in shape. But I don’t think my family is ready to put up with my crabbiness in the meanwhile. The solution..….a very tasty but healthful Barley & Garbanzo salad.

 

Ingredients:

- Cooked barley (3 cups)

- Garbanzo beans (1 can)

- 1 Red bell pepper, finely chopped

- ½ Red onion, finely chopped

- 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped

- 1 medium tomato, chopped

- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

- Salt (to taste)

- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

- Olive oil (1/8 cup)

- Lime juice (2 small limes)

 

How To Make:

Drain the garbanzo beans from the can and wash them well. In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients. Drizzle with the olive oil and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 people.

 

Tips:

- Cook the barley in a pressure cooker with minimum amount of water. Alternately, use a slow cooker

- For a variation, use kidney beans or a mix of garbanzo and kidney beans

- Make extra salad and refrigerate in an air-tight container. Stays well for 3 to 4 days. The more it marinates, the tastier it gets.

 

Make it a meal!

Serve with a warm pita bread drizzled with garlic butter and mango lassi.

 

Till next Monday, ciao and happy eating! Be sure to share your experiences, recipes, tips and tricks via comments on this page.

War of the Worlds - Upma

As a child, I loved savory and spicy food. Of course, my brother had to have a sweet tooth. Needless to say, the ‘War of the Worlds’ raged in our house for many years, especially at tea time. I can’t forget the days when we came back from school in the afternoon, and the aroma of roasted rava (cream of wheat) welcomed us home! Was mom making Upma, or had she whipped up its sweet cousin? And thus began the epic battle of ‘Upma vs. Rava Halwa’.

 

Call it Rava Halwa or Shira or Rava Kesari, it continues to invade my savory world. This time with a one-two punch from my husband and my daughter, the ultimate sweet connoisseurs. So, its time for revenge! Here is a much deserved toast to the tasty Upma. Shira will just have to wait!

 

Ingredients:

- Bombay Rava/Soji (3 cups)

- Chopped onions (1½ cups)

- 1 medium sized green chili, sliced

- 7 to 8 curry leaves, torn

- ½ tsp grated ginger

- Urad dal (1/3 cup)

- 2 cups frozen mixed veggies (green beans, carrots, peas, corn). You can substitute fresh if you prefer.

- 3 tsp ghee

- 1 tsp jeera/cumin

- 1 pinch hing/asafoetida

- Salt (to taste)

- Sugar (to taste, optional)

- Lime/Lemon juice (1 tsp)

 

How To Make:

Roast rava on medium heat in a pan/wok until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Heat ghee and add jeera, hing, onion, green chillies, curry leaves and ginger. After a minute or so, add urad dal. Saute the mix until onions are golden brown and urad dal is soft.

 

Add roasted rava to the mix and sauté for another couple of minutes. Add defrosted veggies, salt and sugar. Boil 3 ½ cups of water in a separate pot and add to the rava mixture. Cook on medium high heat until the mix boils again and rava starts to plump up. Add lime juice. Turn the heat to low and cook covered until all the water is absorbed and upma looks fluffy.

 

Tips:

- Make extra roasted rava mix ahead of time and freeze. Stays well for a month. To make instant upma, just defrost the required quantity of mix, and add boiling water to finish cooking.

The Impostor - Eggless Omlette

‘The Impostor’ has been in my life for…er...let’s just say many years now. It was a chance encounter one afternoon when I came home from school. There he was, at the dining table, in all his glory. He looked just like a dear friend but there was something different and inexplicable about him. I approached him cautiously, not knowing what to expect. But one taste and instantly I knew that the tomato omelette was a friend for life!!

 

I love the contrasting textures of this hearty and wholesome omelette. The slightly crisp edges make way to a full bite of goodness. It is an excellent option for vegetarians and kids love these ‘pancakes’. Enjoy!!

 

Ingredients:

- 4 cups tomato omelette flour mix (prepare in the ratio of 2 cups rice flour and 1 cup besan)

- 4 medium finely chopped tomato

- 4 cups water

- 2 tsp salt

- Handful of chopped cilantro

Following ingredients are available in local Indian stores

- 1 tsp ajwain

- ½ tsp haldi/turmeric

- ½ tsp red chili powder

- Pinch of hing/asafetida

 

How To Make:

Mix all the dry ingredients, except ajwain. Rub the ajwain between your palms to release the aroma and then add to the dry mix. Add chopped tomato, water and stir the mixture until homogenous. Cover and let it sit for 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

 

Heat an omelette pan and spread a little oil to avoid sticking. Pour the batter and spread into a thin omelette. Sprinkle chopped cilantro as a garnish. Cover and cook until one side is browned. Turn over and cook until the other side just starts browning (but not completely browned).

 

Tips:

- Add finely chopped onions and jalapeno for a spicier omelette.

 

Make it a meal!

- Serve with a variety of chutneys and curd rice for a complete meal.

 

Till next Monday, happy eating! Be sure to share your experiences, recipes, tips and tricks via comments on this page.

Flavor of the Day - Chutneys & Pickles

 

Growing up in southern India, one can’t help but be exposed to a constant onslaught of pickles and chutneys. They are everywhere - in your friend’s lunch box, on the kitchen shelves, wedding lunches, picnic baskets, kitty parties, and the list goes on. People eat them day in and day out…..basically with anything edible. 

 

The hot pickles and tangy chutneys were a symbol of good will and camaraderie. Neighborhood aunties shared freshly made ‘Flavor of the Day’ along with equally spicy doses of gossip. There were (and still are) specialty stores dedicated to the selling of these flavorful accompaniments. 

 

I am truly blessed to have experienced hundreds of varieties of pickles and countless types of chutneys; a gift that my less enlightened friends and relatives from elsewhere can’t comprehend. So allow me to share this blessing with you, one recipe at a time.cranbrychut11

 

Cranberry Chutney

Ingredients:

- 1 cup cooked/steamed cranberries

- 1 tsp salt

- 2 tsp sugar

- 1 tsp black pepper

- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder

- 1 tsp cumin/jeera seeds

- 1/2 tsp fenugreek/methi seed

- 1/2 tsp vegetable oil


How To Make:

In a small non-stick pan, heat the oil and fry cumin and fenugreek seeds until browned. Set aside to cool and then grind them in a spice/coffee grinder. Steam the cranberries in the microwave in a covered dish. Needs about 3 to 4 minutes of cooking over high heat. Gently mix all the above ingredients with the cooked cranberries and let it stand for about 2 hour before serving.

 

Tips

- This chutney tastes wonderful with naan and roti (Indian breads) as well a rice

- For a spicier version, grind one small green chilli pepper and mix with the cranberries

 

Spinach Chutney

Ingredients:

- ¼ cup urad dal- 1/8 cup chana dal

- 1 tsp hing/asafoetida

- ¼ tsp methi/fenugreek seeds

-  2 red chillies

- ½ tsp turmeric

-  ½ tsp salt

- 4 tbsp vegetable/canola oil
- 3 cups wilted or frozen defrosted spinach

- 1 tbsp tamarind paste

 

How To Make:

In a large skillet/wok (kadai), heat 3 tbsp oil and saute the spinach until well cooked. Set aside. In the same wok, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil, add hing, turmeric, methi, chillies and the dals. As the dal start turning golden brown, add the salt and tamarind paste, cook covered for a minute. Mix this with the sauted spinach and let cool to room temperature. Grind the mix in a food processor until well blended. Adjust salt and chilli powder according to taste. Also, add more water if a thinner consistency is desired.

 

Tips

- This basic recipe works for a variety of chutneys including tomato and zucchini

- Pairs well with tomato omelette (see ‘The Impostor’ for recipe) or any type of rice

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