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Recipes that use herbs and spices as a key ingredient.

Baingan Bharta: Smoky Eggplant Mash

12 Oct

For a really good baingan bharta, getting the eggplant perfectly roasted is half the battle won. And for a perfectly roasted eggplant, the ingredients you need most are patience and balance – patience in cooking the eggplant on a low, open flame through till the core, balancing the heat all around without charring, leaving no spot raw or burnt.

The proportion of other ingredients and spices, the duration of post-roasting sautéing, can vary, but if the heart of the dish – the mashed eggplant – is nicely done, baingan bharta turns out delicious.

With that thought, on to my baingan bharta recipe in all its smoky splendor :-) 

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Red Pumpkin Curry

21 Sep

Red pumpkin does a great job of absorbing spices and mingling with a range of flavors: spicy, sweet, tangy, salty. These traits of the vegetable are put to perfect use in this glorious red pumpkin curry recipe.

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Papaya Peanut Salad

16 Sep

I make this papaya peanut salad when the fruit is somewhere between green and yellow, having a hint of sweet but still crunchy. A light dressing works well when the papaya is at this stage. No garlic or strong sauces, more fruity goodness.

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Capsicum Cherry Tomato Curry

4 Sep

Capsicum and cherry tomatoes are tailor-made for worknight meals, with simple chopping needs and small cooking times. Combine with some pre-cooked tomato masala and you have a capsicum cherry tomato curry that looks so regal, it’s hard to believe how easy it was to create.

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Quick Weeknight Dinners with 3 Make-Ahead Food Parts

31 Aug

Weekdays are busy times for many of us who come back from work late evening and then fix a meal. We want weeknight dinners to be easy to put together, taking little time to move from kitchen to plate. [Not counting the blessed few like Rohit's boss with the gusto to whip up a fancy meal at that hour ;-)]

One could cook loads on Sunday and freeze for the week. But that’s not so exciting, is it? So how does one reach that elusive balance between easy+quick (pre-cooked) and tasty+interesting (freshly cooked)?

Here’s a middle ground.

Make-ahead food parts. Mix and match. Embellish.

Use the Pareto Principle to your advantage: identify the steps in cooking that consume a majority time and labor, and do them beforehand. The chopping of greens. The slow-frying of spices. The boiling of dal. When the time comes to make your weeknight dinner, all that remains to be done is the remaining 20% of cooking that produces 80% of the result.

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Spiced Fried Onions

26 Aug

Few things compare to the taste and smell of just-fried onions. What’s usually an embellishment to pulao or a minor ingredient in curries plays starring role in this recipe.

Spiced onion strips – a mélange of fried onions with an aromatic spice mix. Try it!

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Sattu Paratha: Stuffed Flatbread, Bihar Style

18 Aug

Till about a decade back, a mention of sattu in conversation with a non-Bihari audience would be greeted with puzzled stares. Things have changed today. The world around is more health-conscious, and sattu has gained currency for its great nutritional benefits. Rich in minerals, proteins and fibre, low of glycemic index – sattu is said to be the most economical antidote to diabetes.

The better-known style of consuming this miracle food is probably in the form of a cooling drink, but my favorite way is as sattu paratha – flatbread stuffed with a spiced sattu filling.

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