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.
Zuchhini and tomatoes, in their miniature avatars, are really quick cooking (not to mention, really pretty looking!). This recipe of microwaved baby zucchini with cherry tomatoes and feta cheese is just right for days when you are ravenous and want to spend no time at all preparing your meal, or when you have had a heavy lunch and want to go light for dinner.
This red capsicum curry (red bell pepper curry) is among the quickest dishes you can make on rushed days. It doesn’t take long to cook and more importantly, doesn’t demand meticulous slicing: cut the vegetables into large irregular chunks and you’re good to go.
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.
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 :-)