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.
Bharwan bhindi (okra stuffed with peanut spice) is a beautiful dish to make on leisurely days when you have tender, small-sized fresh okras on hand. The stuffing that goes into the okra can vary – this peanut spice is among my best-loved okra fillings.
A variety of vegetables go into this Chinese-style recipe that’s great on the side with chapatis or fried rice. Chili garlic mixed vegetables is cooked on high heat (using the Chao technique, or so Wikipedia tells me), which retains the texture and color of the vegetables. The dish gets its zing – and its name – from the pre-made chili garlic sauce that’s added to it.
The tuber colocasia or taro root (arbi in Hindi) is the potato’s less popular cousin, but when cooked right, can charm you like none other. Try this arbi masala (curried colocasia) to see how.
Tasty spinach recipes that would coax even the staunchest spinach opponent into a change of heart. From palak paneer to spinach pasta, my pick of recipes from the blog that use this lush leafy vegetable in varied avatars.
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 :-)