Panch phoron (literally, ‘five spices’) is a whole spice mix popular in the cuisine of Bengal and neighboring regions. The mix contains fenugreek seed, nigella seed, cumin seed, mustard seed and fennel seed. Panch phoron is typically used for tadka (tempering in hot oil) while cooking dal and curries.
Broccoli and red pepper are not traditionally used in Indian cooking, but they take to Indian spices very well. A simple red capsicum curry works wonderfully when you want to cook quick. With a bit more time and a few more ingredients on hand, take a stab at this colorful mixed vegetable recipe.
Red pumpkin bharta is a dry preparation of pumpkin, a simpler version of red pumpkin curry with stronger notes of mustard oil.
Unlike traditional bharta (mashed vegetables) like baingan bharta, this one does not use boiled/roasted vegetables as its base. Pumpkin cooks quickly and mashes easily without pre-treatment. This is also a chunky bharta instead of a typically smooth one, which works well with pumpkin.
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.
Kathal ki sabzi (raw jackfruit curry) is an Indian vegetarian delicacy cooked especially around the month of Holi, when jackfruit is in season in north India.
Newbie cooks, be warned – you are up for a challenge if want to make kathal ki sabzi. The prickly, tough-skinned jackfruit requires skill to peel and cut, and then takes ages of cooking time. Part of the hurdle is handled these days – supermarkets stock packs of peeled and chopped jackfruit, ready to cook. Go right ahead and pick up one of these packs if you can. If not, I’ll point you to the always-awesome Rak’s Kitchen for illustrated steps to peel a jackfruit.
Green eggplant in mustard-fenugreek masala is for those who turn their noses up at nuts or sugar in their curries, who say no to recipes like bittersweet baingan. The spices in this one are heavier, headier, not for the faint-hearted.
I made this dish with long green eggplant, which is the mildest-tasting variety of eggplant I know of. The eggplant’s blandness gives a nice base to the strong flavors of the spices. (more…)
Doesn’t food acquire an exotic sheen when described in language alien to its roots? Mangodi sounds like something grandmas from my native place would add to curries simmering in earthen pots. Sundried lentil dumplings? That’s like stuff my hostel-residing cousins in Bangalore would cook on a rare Sunday, as they do pasta and bruschetta.
But there you have it. Mangodi = sundried lentil dumplings. Choose the name you like. Made of ground moong dal with a hint of salt and spices, mangodi globules are sun-dried for 2-3 days before they are ready to use in curries.