Friday, May 11, 2007

P for Pattagobhi-aloo and Peas-daal :).

When Phullgobhi is here, can pattagobhi be far behind ;). Pattagobhi (leafy gobhi, literal), as we refer to cabbage in Punjabi, is another favorite! And a big time comfort food. Mom used to make this often and i would ahve it not just with chapati or parantha, but even with Maggi noodles ;). And then there's daal, always yummy, as soup or as an accompaniment to your chawal or chapati. Add your favorite condiments, daals accept them all with open arms :). So easy to customize :)). And yes, they do symbolize comfort. It is all about comfort foods :).

Today, i'll share a simple Pattagobhi-aloo recipe, made using Purple potatoes (Nupur, thanks for reminding me about them!) and an equally humble, yet delicious daal with peas, adorned with rosemary and cloves :). The pattagobhi recipe is similar to how Mom used to make it, except that tomato and green chilli lover in me added those to the sabzi. Purple potatoes are similar to the regular potatoes in taste and look gorgeous, thus providing a lovely fest of colors. So here's Pattagobhi aloo and Peas daal, for Nupur's A-Z get together, featuring the letter P :).


We need:

  • 1 small cabbage (chopped)
  • 2 purple potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard seeds (sarson)
  • Ginger (chopped, to taste-i use about 1 tbsp.)
  • 1 small tomato (chopped, optional)
  • Turmeric and red chilli powder (to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. melted ghee or oil
  • 2-3 green chillies (chopped, optional)
  • Garam masala (a pinch)
  • 1 tsp. lime/lemon juice (optional)

Wash the cabbage, remove the base and a cpl. of outer leaves. Cut the cabbage into halves and chop. Wash and peel the potatoes and cube them. You can use regular potatoes also :). In a pan, heat oil or ghee (i prefer ghee, because ghee and ginger give a wonderful aroma) and add mustard seeds. Once the seeds start popping, add the chopped ginger and saute' for 2-3 minutes. Now add the tomatoes (if using) and stir beriefly. Add the turmeric and red chilli powder. Stir again and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cabbage and potatoes and stir. Cook on high heat for 4-5 minutes. The cabbage will reduce in volume and get a lil' tender. Now add salt and cover to cook on low heat with occasional stirring. If you want to use green chillies, chop or slit them and add halfway through, while the potatoes still are firm. When its done, the potatoes in the sabzi should hold shape and yet be soft. Sprinkle with a pinch of garam masala and its ready to go :).

Cabbage has a lot of water, which is good as it helps cook the potatoes :). To avoid mushy sabzi (especially if you are using tomatoes),check often and cook on high for the last 4-5 minutes to dry the water. Don't use too much garam masala, a pinch is enough. The major flavor here comes from mustard seeds and ginger. Green chillies enhance the flavor :).

Peas -daal:

We need:

  • 1 cup Toor/Tuvar/Arhar daal
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1/4 onion (optional)
  • Ginger (chopped, to taste)
  • 1 Roma tomato (chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard seeds
  • Hing (a pinch)
  • Turmerci and red chilli powder (to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp. oil

Wash and pressure cook the daal (3-4 whistles). Let the pressure cooker cool down. Stir the cooked daal, it should be completely cooked and smooth. Add some water if its too thick. For the tadka, heat the oil and pop the mustard seeds. Now add the onion (if using) and saute'. Follow this with chopped ginger and saute'. Now add hing and mix. Add tomatoes, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir and add the green peas. Mix and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add this tadka to the daal and mix. You may now add the dried rosemary leaves and cloves and then allow the daal to simmer on low for about 10 minutes.

Enjoy the delicious daal with rice and dahi/curd or chapati and sabzi.

I once had moong daal that had matar at a party hosted by Mrs. A. I liked the idea and thought may be toor daal would go with matar quite well too. Toor daal has its own aroma and i felt that rosemary and cloves/laung would enhance the flavor. and ofcourse a subtle hint of hing does wonders to arhar/toor daal. But if you are using moong daal or masoor daal ( or a Punju style moong-masoor combo), use jeera instead of mustard seeds. You may also like to use corn instead of peas. Enjoy pattagobhi aloo te Peas daal :).

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Aloo-Gobhi :)

Aka, an all time comfort food, atleast for me :). This dish reflects comfort in multiple ways for me: Mom made the most delicious aloo-gobhi ever, and as a kid even though i wouldn't have this sabzi as such, i would eagerly have it after she mashed it up for me or stuffed it in paranthas.....and then this dish has potatoes, enhancing the comfort factor. I just love it :).

There are multiple ways of making aloo-gobhi, even when you are talking about just Punju cuisine. There is the Amritsari gobhi, where the gobhi is deep fried (and if you use potatoes, you deep fry them too), another type where you marinate gobhi in curds and masala and then deep fry it or cook it etc etc. Then there are uber-stylish and healthy baked varieties of the same. And a delightful simple gobhi fry from my Boston kitchen, courtesy my dear friend Ms. Moon. But today, i am sharing a simple, home-style aloo-gobhi, my take on how Mom used to make it. The only additions to her recipe are tomatoes and green chillies (for color and mirchi ka swaad/flavor or green chillies).

We need:

  • One Cauliflower (cleaned and cut into big florets)
  • 2 Russet/Idaho Potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 1/4 Onion (chopped fine)
  • Ginger (julienned or chopped) to taste
  • 1 big tomato (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp. jeera
  • 1-2 tsp. melted ghee
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric and red chilli powder (to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • Garam masala (a pinch)
  • Green chillies 9chopped or slit, to your taste)
  • Cilantro (chopped)

Lets first cut the cauliflower/phoolgobhi/phullgobhi (Punjabi) into big florets and the potatoes into big cubes. While cutting the cauliflower, remove the base/stalk. Punjus use them for making dandhal/danthal (stalk) stir fry. Will post that recipe sometime. In a pan, lets heat the ghee (feel free to use any other cooking oil, but ghee adds to the flavor and aroma), add the jeera and let it splutter. Now add the onions and saute, followed by half of the chopped ginger (i use about 1/2 tbsp at this step, i love ginger, and that is the key spice in this dish) and saute. Add the chopped tomatoes (Mom hardly used tomatoes and it would still be good, really good! i just use it for color and tangy taste). Stir and add turmeric and red chilli powder (as per your taste). Cook for 4-5 minutes. Now add the cut vegetables (cauliflower and potatoes) and stir to coat the vegetables with this mixture. Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp. water and mix. Reduce the flame, cover the pan and cook on low with occassional stirring. Half way through (when the vegetables look a bit cooked and tender) add the rest of ginger and green chillies.

Once done, the dish should should look firm and yet not crunchy (you should be able to mash a floret easily). Add a pinch of garam masala (not more, just enough to complement the ginger) and cilantro/coriander leaves.

Serve hot with chapatis and dahi or paranthas. For those who enjoy tangier stuff, some amchoor or lemon juice is completely a welcome addition :).

Notes: The second addition of ginger is completely optional. You shouldn't add too much water, else it would result in a mushy preparation. The key is to stir gently, so the florets would remain intact. Cook on low heat for best results. Did i say that this sabzi also makes the best stuffing for paranthas ever! It does :). For me gobhi parantha actually means parantha with left over aloo-gobhi! and it goes well in sandwiches. I also mash it up, add some chopped raw onions and squirt some lemon/lime juice and enjoy it with toasted bread or paav!! Enjoy :).

Saturday, May 5, 2007

O for Opo squash lachha :)

And that my dear, is another way of serving you the good ole' Ghiya :)). As i wondered on which dish to make starting with O, after my favorite, Olan got featured here and here ( and i am not complaining, i got my fill drooling at the yummy pictures) and after my trip to the grocery store to find good, fresh okra disaapointed me, the fancy sounding label for doodhi/lauki/ghiya came to my rescue. Opo squash is a lovely vegetable, as i have discovered got me something to present for A-Z event at Nupur's hot stove :)). Jokes apart, while as a child i turned away from gourds and squashes, over the years i have grown to like them, love them. Sig's thoughts do echo my own :).

Opo squash makes a great addition to daals and raitas, and also can be the vegetable of choice when you are craving something yummy and quick. How, lets see :). Lets make the Opo squash and onion lachhas (lachha-grated stuff). This recipe is my take on the traditional Punjabi ghiya bhartha, prepared with grated and steamed ghiya, cooked with spices of your choice, with or without onions and tomatoes. I chose to prepare it with pearl onions and tomatoes. You can also prepared with grated onions.

We need:

  • 1 Opo squash (grated)
  • 9-10 pearl onion (peeled)
  • 1 Roma tomato (chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp. Ajwain (Carum seeds)
  • Turmeric and red chilli powder to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 3-4 green chillies (slit)
  • 1 tsp. melted ghee
  • 1 tbsp. Lime/lemon juice
Lets first grate the squash after washing it. We needn't peel the squash, the peel gets cooked quite well. If you do peel the squash, you may save it to make a yummy chutney. Microwave the grated squash on high for 5 minutes in a covered container. In a pan, lets heat ghee and add the carum seeds/ajwain. Now saute' the pearl onions (or 1 regular red onion, grated, not chopped). Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes till tomatoes are tender. Add the cooked squash lachhas, stir and add turmeric and red chilli powder. Add the salt and stir. Cook on high with frequent stirring till the water dries (squashes have lots of water). Add the slit green chillies and lime/lemon juice. Serve hot with dahi and chapatis, paranthas, daal-chawal or as a sandwich with your favorite bread. Its a simple and delicious quick fix recipe. You make the tadka as the squash goes through microwaving. The ajwain, ghee, mirchi and lemon give it simple, fragrant and subtly spicy feel. Don't use mirchi if you prefer it simpler. Usually this is served as a tangy and spicy side dish with either dahi or a simple daal.

You can also prepare just onion lachhas following the same recipe. That makes a super yummy sandwich stuffer. In my gradute school (IISc Bangalore) they used to have an onion toast in the tea-board (a canteen so named as a humorous take on another neighbouring canteen with affiliations to The Coffee Board and called just that, the coffee board!), which was quite delicious :).