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.
This is a very simple, quick, and forgiving soup. Very satisfying with complex flavors from the ingredients, and filling. Perfect with a crusty, porous, spongy bread, on a cold and rainy day.
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)
Bonda is a south Indian delicacy where urad dal batter or spiced vegetable mix is coated in a chickpea flour batter and deep fried. It’s ideal for an afternoon tea. There is the plain bonda/mysore bonda which is made with an urad dal batter spiced up with pepper, coconut, and cumin seeds. Then there is the filled bonda which is where today’s recipe comes in – it has an outer covering made of a chickpea flour/rice flour batter, into which boiled and spiced up veggies (primarily potatoes, and optionally mixed vegetables) are dipped in, and then deep fried. They are all deep fried.
It can be served with a chutney such as coconut or peanut chutney. Or just by itself, as it’s spicy enough. Have it with a cup of coffee or tea on a rainy day to perk you up. I made these beauties for game day this weekend for the Jags playoff game. They lost, but the snack was a win!