Bajji! (Batter-dipped fried vegetables)

Srilatha Indian, South Indian Leave a Comment

If you asked me what my most favorite snack is, I’d say bajjis! in a heartbeat. And my favorite weather is a breezy, cloudy, midly rainy day (but not so rainy that it’ll disrupt life). Put these two together, and you have the perfect day! It’s been raining for a week now, and I kept resisting frying something, trying to be healthy. But yesterday my resolve crumbled. Plus, I had these peppers I’m growing that were meant for bajjis! They were sad, and begged me to dip them in batter and plunge them in hot oil. Okay that’s going too far, but I did feel I was depriving them of their fateful destiny, and from reaching their full potential. (I resolved to walk extra when the weather got better)

Simple to make, ready in less than 30 minutes, and vegetables, whether fried or not, are still a good choice!

Guest Post by Allison Dale: Samosa and Gluten Free Samosa Chaat

Srilatha Punjabi, Sides, Snacks And Light meals Leave a Comment

This recipe is from Allison, who has been dating my son for about 31/2 years now. Allison is vegan, and a big fan of cooking and eating Indian food. She can polish off a big bag of bhel mix all by herself. This was one of the first recipes she made with/for my son, and has also made for us one Thanksgiving.

Mirch Ka Salan

Srilatha Indian, Main Dish Leave a Comment

A complex dish with an unusual combination of spices, souring agents, and the star vegetable that’s actually a condiment! I have made bhaghare baingan which is very similar, but made with eggplant/brinjal. This year, I am getting a bounty of slim, long green chilies in my garden and was searching online for suitable new recipes, and ran into this. I have never actually had this dish in a restaurant but decided to make it, since we love bhagare baingan.
While looking for recipes, I did some research on the origins of the dish, and came across the fascinating story of how green chilies made their way into India. Hard to believe, but they are not native to India, considering how much every cuisine of India uses them, and how seamlessly integrated they seem, as to make one think they are native to India. Nope, just like tomatoes, they were brought to India by the Portuguese, specifically the famous Vasco da Gama who brought the saplings wrapped in moss as a gift — he picked them up from Spain, Brazil and Africa! In return, he took home the precious black gold, aka pepper!
Read all about how they made their way into Akbar’s and all the kitchens of India in this story:
http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/food-wine/food-story-the-saga-of-mirch-ka-salan/
By the way, I learned that Akbar was a staunch vegetarian! Wonders never cease, and Akbar continues to amaze me. This dish, with the influence of Karnataka, Telengana, and Marathwada cuisines, apparently appealed to Akbar’s “unifying Hindustan” sensitibilites. I love food stories! On to the recipe now.

Kadai Paneer

Srilatha Indian, Sides Leave a Comment

Kadai paneer is a rustic dish, with big chunks of vegetables and paneer, cooked al dente, coated in a freshly blended spice mix incorporated into a semi dry gravy. Most restaurants serve it floating in a ton of sauce, everything cooked to death, with all the flavors overpowered by the ubiquitous tomato onion gravy. My husband and I have been looking for a semi dry dish, with the vegetables retaining a lot of the texture and fresh flavor, and the paneer just soft enough to chew. I finally found this recipe online, tried it once,and its a winner.
Recipe Source: (with very minor modificaitons)
http://www.chefandherkitchen.com/2012/12/kadai-paneer-recipe-paneer-recipes.html