This recipe is from our friend Gautam, who dabbles in gardening, cooking, baking, grilling, photography, and on the side, is a neurosurgeon! He grows a bunch of varieties of green chilies including some of the hottest varieties, and like any Indian worth his salt, pickles them. I love this pickle and followed his recipe to make my own from my garden produce, as I was running out of his stock! Eyeballed most of the ingredients.
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!
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.
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:
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.
It’s summer. Today’s recipe is an easy cooler that’s healthy as well. Play with the spices and come up with something that you like the best, but stick to a few basic ones – salt, a bit of sweetener, some chaat masala, and roasted cumin powder. And of course, fresh lime or lemon juice.