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Recipes that use herbs and spices as a key ingredient.

Dahi Arbi: Colocasia in Yogurt Sauce

22 Feb

When I cook arbi (colocasia/taro), my default recipe is the tomato-based curried colocasia. Last week I tried something different and loved it: a pairing of colocasia with yogurt.

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Peanut Flaxseed Chutney

15 Feb

I’ve been looking for interesting ways to incorporate flaxseed into my meals – this peanut flaxseed chutney is a surefire winner. You can actually try it on those who turn their noses up at flaxseed: the peanutty, sweet-sour flavors of this chutney mask the taste of flaxseed. If anything can get your flaxseed-hater to convert, this is it.

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Chaulai Dal: Amaranth Leaves with Lentils

7 Feb

Of leaf vegetables, my kitchen staples are spinach and fenugreek. Till a while ago, cooking with amaranth greens was unchartered territory for me. What better way to start a new year, I thought, than with tackling a new beast?

I had been reading on the goodness of this power food (no wonder that the word "amaranth" comes from the Greek amarantos, meaning "unfading" ) often of late, and then learnt that amaranth in Hindi is chaulai, the leaves of which my grandmother used in chaulai saag. That got me curious, and I was soon trying ways to cook amaranth in my own kitchen.

Amaranth leaves with lentils has come to be a special favorite. I love to mix and match, and this recipe puts that to great use: it’s a combination with boiled dal, which you can make ahead for more than one meal and assemble in different ways later (tomato toor dal another day, spinach dal the meal after?)

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Pineapple Sweet Corn Rice

19 Jan

Pineapple sweet corn rice doesn’t just taste delicious, it’s also a great way to finish off leftovers – boiled rice from last night’s dinner, sweet corn you did not add to that stir fry, the big chunk of pineapple sitting in your fridge – use them all in this recipe.

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Papad ki Sookhi Sabzi (Dry Curry)

16 Jan

For a long time, the only way I knew how to eat papad was as a plain accompaniment with an Indian meal (usually khichdi), much like chutney or pickle. I liked papad, just that it didn’t seem all that *consequential*.

When I moved to Bombay, my friends there would order masala papad as a starter in restaurants. This was something new, something interesting – papad as a standalone dish, and a mighty good one at that. I started experimenting with papad in curries – very convenient on days when I opened the vegetable tray of the fridge and found nothing.

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Sautéed Pineapple with Spices

15 Dec

I made methi chawal (fenugreek rice) for lunch today and wanted a light, tart accompaniment to balance its bitterness. That’s when the pineapple sitting in the fridge caught my attention.

A knob of ginger, some Sri Lankan curry powder that a friend had got back for me from her Colombo vacation, and couple of other spices went in as seasoning to make this simple, tasty sautéed pineapple recipe.

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Ridge Gourd Tomato Curry

7 Dec

I discovered ridge gourd only after moving to south India. The first time that I bought it, my motivator was curiosity – I had no idea how this vegetable, which looked a cross between sponge gourd and bitter gourd, would be cooked, or what it would taste like. Pushcart vendors outside my apartment stocked ridge gourd in heaps, and it seemed to be the freshest, most abundantly available vegetable on sale. One day I walked up to a vendor, pointed and tried to ask him in gestures (I did not know Kannada) to name the vegetable. In response, he swiftly wrapped two ridge gourds, held out the package to me, and named the price.

And so I returned home, ridge gourd package in hand, and typed into Google image search: "long green Indian vegetable with spikes". Google did not disappoint – I found not just the name but also many ways to cook ridge gourd.

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