Showing posts with label Chutneys & Sides. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chutneys & Sides. Show all posts

Apr 15, 2016

Vegan Green Goddess Dressing

cilantro bell pepper onion ginger dressing vegetarian creamy easy

This vegan version of the classic Green Goddess dressing is just as smooth, creamy, savory, and vibrantly green in color and flavor as the original! Traditionally this dressing is made with herbs and anchovies on a decadent base of sour cream and eggy mayonnaise. This recipe replicates those bold, lush, and bright flavors with a more health conscious blend of ginger, garlic, bell pepper, lime juice, and your choice of oil.

Truth be told, when it comes to chutneys and dressings Bibi usually just chucks whatever looks good fresh from the garden into the mixie and hopes for the best. This was definitely a very happy accident! I've made this several times with olive oil, tahini, sunflower seed oil, rice bran oil, and it is always delicious1 It mixes up to that gorgeous green you see in the photos and is every bit as luscious as the original. Don't let that chili pepper in the photo fool you, this dressing is not hot. Serve drizzled over leaves of romaine, a wedge of iceberg lettuce, as a dip for crudité, or perhaps even as a dip for samosas or pakoras!

1 large bell pepper/capsicum, seeds and white membranes removed, roughly chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger/adrak, roughly chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic/lahsun
1/2 C onion, roughly chopped
1-2 green chilis/hari mirch, roughly chopped
1 TBS lime/nimbu juice
2 TBS oil of your choice (or tahini)
1&1/2 C cilantro/dhania leaves & stems, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Blend or grind all ingredients to a smooth emulsion in mixie, blender, or food processor. Salt to taste and keep in refrigerator in airtight container until ready to serve.

Helpful Hints:
I have yet to try this with an avocado blended in, I bet that would be superb!

Apr 2, 2016

Boba's Baingan Bharta (Spicy Smoked Eggplant)

When my husband says a dish I've made tastes just like his mother made it, I know it's perfect! 

My mother in law's nickname is Boba and this her recipe for bhaingan bharta. "Bhaingan" means eggplant and "bharta" refers to the mashing technique with a wooden spoon. Similar to Middle Eastern "baba ghanoush" the eggplant is first roasted over a open flame or coals. This is what infuses the dish with smoky flavor. The roasted eggplant is then sauteed with a flavorsome blend of traditional north Indian spices. The result is a rich, savory pâté of eggplant almost caviar like in richness and intensity. The final step is a handful of chopped cilantro or mint stirred through just to add a bit of brightness. 

indian baba ghaneoushh aubergines Desi

Despite being from different cultures and not even speaking the same language my mother in law and I always shared a love of cooking and very similar tastes. Boba could neither read nor write nor had she ever left the city of Srinagar in her entire life. She never used any recipes but seasoned each dish to perfection. Boba would have taken the eggplant to the tandoori bakery down the street from her home, the bakers would place them into the tandoor oven to roast in a matter of minutes. Boba said that roasting the eggplant in the tandoor ovens was the only way to get the smoky flavor that was so important to this dish.

We're going to try and replicate the charring effect of a tandoor oven on the eggplant over a gas burner. It's not quite the same, and it does take a bit longer but the end result is still quite delicious. Kashmiris would top this dish with a garnish of their beloved local walnuts and perhaps a dollop of local curd or yoghurt. As eggplant is a notorious oil sop be sure to use an oil that you like in this dish. I seriously considered styling this dish with my nacre caviar spoon due to it's richness. (What else am I going to do with a caviar spoon in Nepal?)  Baingan bharta is traditionally served with rice or chapattis warm or at room temperature.

2 large eggplants, about 1&1/2 lbs
1/4 C cooking oil
1 onion, diced finely
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
1 tsp ginger/adrak paste
1-2 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped finely
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania
2 tsp ground cumin/jeera
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika +1/2 tsp cayenne)
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
1/2 tsp garam masala
5 black peppercorns/kali mirch, ground coarsely
2 tomatoes, diced finely
3 TBS cilantro or fresh mint, chopped finely
5 walnuts, chopped coarsely  (optional for garnish)

Here's what to do:
1) Roast eggplants over a medium gas flame. Keep turning and cooking until outside of eggplant is charred and blackened evenly all over. The eggplant will seem to deflate as the flesh within cooks. Set aside to cool.

2) Peel off charred skin from roasted eggplants. Don't worry about black flecks that remain on the soft flesh as that will help give us the smoky flavor we seek.

3) Heat oil in kadhai or heavy bottomed frying pan. Fry walnut for garnish and set aside if using. Fry onions with 1 teaspoon salt until translucent. Add garlic, ginger and chilis and fry for 2 minutes.

4) Add tomatoes, and spices to onion mixture. Fry until tomatoes begin to soften.

5) Put the roasted eggplants in the pan with the tomatoes spice mixture. Stir and mash with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes.

6) When the mixture becomes smooth and shiny stir through the cilantro or mint and salt to taste. Garnish with fried walnuts if desired and serve warm or at room temperature.

Helpful Hints:
If you don't have a gas burner you could also roast the eggplants over an outdoor charcoal grill,  an indoor electric burner, or on a foil lined baking sheet under a broiler in an oven.

An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog"  AND "Best New Blog" awards on the  nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:

Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.

Mar 21, 2016

Sweet and Sour Mint Chutney

recipe, Indian chutney pudina mint easy Sweet and Sour Mint Chutney mint lime nimbu vegan vegetarian dip sauceI first tasted a chutney similar to this served with samosas at a roadside restaurant on our way to Kathmandu. Quite simple but a brilliant blend of flavors. The little bit of sugar in this chutney really brings out the floral notes in the mint and lime juice. This chutney is not hot at all but it's tangy, floral, and zesty flavor profile perfectly complements spicy fried Indian snacks such as pakoras, samosas, and aloo bhonda. 

I think this chutney would also suit American French fries, jalapeno poppers, and onion rings. Probably anything deep fried would work with this zingy relish. The mint I have in my garden is a peppermint, if you have spearmint or pineapple mint I'm certain the floral aspect would be even more predominant in this recipe. That would be absolutely lovely served with lamb chops or a lamb roast.

1/2 to 3/4 C fresh mint/pudina leaves, washed & destemmed
1 onion, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic/lahsun
1/2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/4 tsp cayenne + 1/4 tsp paprika powder)
1 TBS lime/nimbu juice
1 TBS olive oil or oil of your choice (optional)
2 tsp sugar/chini
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Grind all ingredients to smooth paste in mixie, blender or food processor. Salt to taste and serve. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Helpful Hints:
I put a tablespoonful of olive oil in this chutney because I find it really improves what I call the "mouth feel."  This is not something Desis would do. I find it softens the acid tang just a bit while carrying the flavors of the mint, garlic, and onion. You can certainly use any oil you like or omit it entirely.

The head chef at our friendly neighborhood diner here in Nepal is cooking up somethin' good!

Mar 1, 2016

Tamatar Dhania Chatni (Tomato and Cilantro Chutney)

Tamatar Dhania Chatni Tomato and Cilantro Chutney

Ever the iconoclast, Bibi whizzed the ingredients of her favorite Mexican salsa through the mixie. "Et voila!" she had a delicious chutney! Yes, it tastes every bit as good with tortilla chips and atop tostadas as it does with rice and chapattis. A brilliant "fusion" dish you say? Nah, just a classic, piquant, combination of fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables that always reminds me of summertime in my native California. You simply can't improve on that. It's also fat free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, halal, gluten free, and probably some other hip things I don't even know about. But most importantly, it is "que delicioso!"

Tamatar Dhania Chatni Tomato and Cilantro Chutney

2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 C cilantro/dhania, roughly chopped
4 green chilis/hari mirch
4 garlic cloves/lahsun
1/4 C onion, roughly chopped
1 TBS lime juice
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Place all ingredients in mixie, food processor, or blender and grind until smooth. Salt to taste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Tamatar Dhania Chatni Tomato and Cilantro Chutney
The mighty mixie mixes chutney!
Helpful Hints:
Feel free to adjust the proportions of the ingredients to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. This recipe is practically "un-screw-uppable," within reason of course.

Feb 21, 2016

Tamatar Wangan (Kashmiri Tomatoes With Eggplant)

indian mughal tamatar aubergines spicy

From the vale of Kashmir comes this delectable combination of warmly spiced tomatoes and eggplant. Tamatar means tomato in Hindi and wangan means eggplant in Kashmiri.  In this dish tomatoes are slowly infused with the aromatic flavors of cardamom, cassia, cloves, cumin and a fiery burst of crimson Kashmiri chili. The eggplant is sauteed until tender yet delicately crisp. Both are combined in the final step of this dish to create a brilliant fusion of flavors and textures.

This dish is intensive to make even with the time saving advantage of the pressure cooker. I do promise you it is worth it though. The flavor of the tomato sauce is like nothing I've ever tasted before. It's a bit Middle Eastern in feel but still Indian, very different but very delicious. It's also vegan, dairy free, veg, gluten free, and ticks all the right boxes for the "clean eating" that's so fashionable these days.

7-8 long skinny eggplants/wangan, sliced into quarters with caps & stems attached
1 C cooking oil, (mustard oil if you wish to be authentic)
1 tsp salt
For tomato sauce:
1/2kg/1lb of the ripest, reddest tomatoes you can find, chopped roughly
5 cloves garlic/lahsun, peeled and chopped roughly
1 TBS onion, diced finely
2 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini
5 cloves/laung
2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
4 brown cardamoms/kali elaichi, bruised with mortar and pestle
5 green cardamoms/elaichi
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne powder)
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
3 TBS mint/pudina leaves, chopped roughly (optional)
1/4 C cooking oil (mustard oil if you want to be authentic)
2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Place all ingredients listed for tomato sauce into pressure cooker. Seal pressure cooker and allow to cook for 10 minutes. 

2) While tomato sauce is cooking we'll going to shallow fry the eggplant. Heat 1 C cooking oil and 1 tsp salt in a deep heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai for 9 to 10 minutes or almost smoking. Slice eggplants lengthwise into quarters leaving the stems and caps attached.

The eggplant MUST be sliced this way or "It will not be tasty'" says my Kashmiri family. I had never seen eggplant cut this way before.

3) When oil is hot fry sliced eggplant until evenly golden brown on the outside and just tender inside. This usually takes about 2 to 3 minutes on each side of the eggplant, use tongs to grasp eggplants by the stem to flip them over. Set eggplants aside to cool.

4) Back to the tomato sauce: remove lid from pressure cooker when cooled, the mixture inside will be a bit soupy. Place pressure cooker over low heat and bring mixture to simmer. Stir mixture frequently and mash tomatoes with the back a large wooden spoon to help the tomatoes, onion, and garlic break down to a smooth paste. Allow mixture to simmer until reduced to a deep red sauce that pulls away from the sides of the pot and oil separates out.  This usually takes about 10 to 20 minutes. 

This is Bibi's big ol' hand carved Kashmiri willow wood spoon. Great for mashing tomatoes & dals while cooking. Also works a treat for disciplining smart mouthed teenagers, disobedient husbands, & troublesome in laws.

5) Salt the tomato sauce to taste and combine with fried eggplant. Stir well to combine and allow to warm through over low heat for 3 minutes. Serve with rice or pulao. Any leftover sauce can be served at room temperature as a chutney.
The oil has separated from the sauce and the tomatoes and spices are rendered to a smooth paste.

Helpful Hints:
If you wish to do this without a pressure cooker then place just the tomatoes, salt and oil in a deep, heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai. Fry tomatoes over low heat for about 10 minutes, then add garlic, spices, and onion and fry over low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes. Stir frequently and mash tomatoes with the back of a large wooden spoon. If mixture begins to scorch or stick add 1/4 C water and reduce heat. Keep frying over low heat for about another hour until oil separates out and mixture has been reduced to a deep red paste that pulls away from the pan.  Salt the tomato sauce to taste and combine with eggplants that have been sliced and fried as in steps 2 and 3, then warm dish through over low heat for 3 minutes. Your dish is ready to serve.

In Kashmiri this dish would be called "ruhwangan wangan," because "ruhwangan" means tomato in Kashmiri. That just sounded too silly so I named it "tamatar wangan."

Feb 17, 2016

Pudina Dahi Chatni (Mint & Yogurt Chutney)

mint yogurt chutney esi

It's a veritable mint-a-palooza in Bibi's garden these days. So let's just show that mint who's boss and whip up a tasty chutney. Fresh, savory, and slightly tart this chutney pairs well with kebabs, tandoori, or just about any lamb, mutton or chicken curry you can think of. 

1 C fresh mint/pudina leaves, tightly packed
1/4 C onion, roughly chopped
1/4 C yogurt/dahi
1/4 C bell pepper/capsicum, roughly chopped
2-3 garlic cloves/lahsun
2 tsp ginger/adrak, minced finely
2 tsp lime juice
2-3 green chilis, chopped
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Place all ingredients in a mixie, food processor or blender and grind until smooth. Salt to taste. Keep in an airtight container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Feb 2, 2016

Tamatar Bhindi (Okra with Tomatoes)

indian recipe east okra tomato curry

"Bhindi" means okra and "tamatar" means tomatoes. Okra is simmered until tender in a rich and spicy tomato sauce in this easy to make dish. Bold with the flavors of Indian spices but mild in heat this recipe pairs well with rice, rotis, or chapattis.

3 C okra/bhindi (fresh or frozen and thawed), chopped into 1/2 inch rounds
2 onions, sliced thinly into half moons
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
1 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
3 TBS cooking oil of your choice
Grind until smooth for masala sauce:
3 tomatoes/tamatar, about 1&1/2 C roughly chopped
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne)
2 tsp ground cumin/jeera
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania
1/2 tsp tumeric/haldi
1 tsp salt
1 C water
Here's what to do:
1) Grind all ingredients listed under masala sauce until smooth in mixie, food processor, or blender until smooth. Set aside. (If you don't have a mixie, food processor or blender just chop the tomatoes finely and mix with ground spices.)

2) Heat oil in heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai for 5 minutes. Add onions and fry until beginning to brown. Add garlic and cumin seeds, fry for 2 minutes.

3) Add chopped okra, stir well.

4) Add tomato mixture to fried onions and okra, stir well. Allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes uncovered. Stir occasionally, if mixture begins to stick or scorch add another 1/4 C water.

5) Keep simmering until most of liquid has evaporated, okra has cooked to desired tenderness, and oil has separated from the sauce. Salt to taste and serve. 

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