Sunday, 28 April 2013

Techa (Spicy Pounded Mixture of Garlic,Green Chili and Groundnuts)

Techa
Techa basically means pounded to coarseness. In Maharashtra a spicy very hot mixture is prepared from garlic, green chili and groundnut by pounding them together, thus it has got the name Techa. Now a days since pounding equipment like mortar and pestle have become rarity in Indian households thus grinder / mixer is used for making the coarse paste of Techa. Techa is eaten along with Jowar roti and Pithala (Thick broth of black gram flour). Even though it is very spicy and hot yet it is quite healthy as it contains garlic, green chili and groundnut. It can be stored for 7-10 days outside the fridge, but believe me it will be polished off before that time.

Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 10 min
Servings: 10 very small helpings

Ingredients Required For Making Techa:
  • 50 gm. Garlic
Peeled Garlic
  • 50 gm. Green chili
Green Chilies
  • 50 gm. Groundnut
  • 0.5 ml. Oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions For Making Techa:
  • Peel and cut the garlic.
Garlic peeled and cut to pieces
  • Wash, dry and cut green chilies.
  • Roast the groundnuts.
Roasted Groundnuts
  • Remove the peel of groundnut.
Roasted and cleaned Groundnuts
  • Heat 1/2ml. oil in a thick wok and when oil is hot put green chili pieces and garlic pieces in it and cook for 4-5 min. with continuous stirring.
Garlic and Green Chili pieces being cooked in 0.5 ml. Oil
  • The green chilies will change the color and garlic will start getting brown color.
  • Add a teaspoon of salt and mix.
  • Remove from heat and allow to them cool. 
Cooked Green chilies and Garlic
  • Take cooked garlic-green chili mixture and roasted groundnuts in a grinder/ mixer and make a coarse paste without adding water.
Techa
  • If you have grinding stone / pastel then pound the mixture to thick coarse paste. Techa made by pounding on a grinding stone / pastel  tastes authentic, but most of us make it in mixer / grinder now a days.
Tips:
  • Green chilies and garlic can be cooked without cutting also.
  • Water should not be added at any stage of cooking.
Suggested Variations:
  • The amount of green chilies can be increased according to your liking as well as the hotness of chilies.
  • Roasted sesame seeds can be added to the Techa after the Techa mixture has been pounded / ground to coarse paste.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Coconutty Beans and Carrots (Beans and carrots Cooked In coconut Milk)


Beans and Carrot Vegetable in Coconut Gravy
It is great feeling of excitement to experiment in the kitchen and yet better feeling of satisfaction when the experiment is well received by the family members. My husband calls himself my guinea pig as most of the new dishes go on his plate for approval, he is my best critic. I love south Indian food and being a North Indian I love blending North Indian taste with south Indian food. The freshness of beans and carrots and their color remain intact in this dish thus making it very appealing. Beans and carrots make the vegetable rich in Vitamin A,C, Calcium, Iron, Protein and also provide good amount of dietary fibers. The richness of coconut milk, curd gives a lovely flavor and unique taste to it.
Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Servings: 4 Medium helpings

Ingredients Required For Making Coconutty Beans and Carrots:
  • 100 gm. French Beans
  • 100 gm. Carrots 
  • 1 Fresh Coconut 
  • 100 Gm. Thick Curd
  • 1/4Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2Teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 1/2Tea spoon Mustard seeds
  • 5-6 Curry Leaves
  • 1-2 Whole Red chilies
  • 1 Pinch Asafoetida
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1/2Tea spoon white pepper powder
  • 1 ml. olive oil / cooking oil
  • 2-3 Sprigs of Fresh Green Coriander

Directions For Making Coconutty Beans and Carrots:
  • Wash and pat dry the Beans and Carrots.
  • De-vein the beans and cut hem to 2-3 inch long thin pieces.
  • Clean the carrots of all small roots hanging from it and cut to 2-3 inches long thin strips.
Carrots and Beans cut to strips
  • Grate the kernel of fresh coconut and grind it to thin paste by adding water in little amount.
  • Squeeze all milk out of it by using a fine cotton cloth.
  • Keep this thick coconut milk aside.
Thick Coconut Milk
  • Grind the remainder solid after taking out milk again with water and squeeze the remaining milk again.
  • Keep this thin milk separate.
  • Take oil in a thick wok and heat till smoking hot.
    • Lower the flame and add
    • 1/4Tea spoon Mustard seeds
    • 1/4Teaspoo Cumin seeds
    • 3-4 Curry leaves
    • 1 Red chili
  • Cook for 30 sec. The seeds will split, color of curry leaves will become dark, Red chili will become brown red and wonderful aroma will start coming.
  • Add cut beans and carrots
  • Mix and cook on low flame till they just become tender. Do not overcook them.
Beans and Carrots being sauteed
  • Add white pepper powder and mix. Cook for 31-2 min.
White Pepper powder added to sauteed vegetables
  • Add the thin coconut milk and cook on high flame for 2 min.
  • Beat thick curd to fine homogenous mass.
  • Lower the flame and to the vegetable and coconut milk mixture add
    • Thick coconut milk
    • Beaten thick curd
    • Turmeric powder
  • Mix nicely and cook on low flame for 2-3 min. the gravy will become thick.
  • Add salt and mix.
Salt and Turmeric powder added and given one boil
  • Switch off the gas and cover the wok with vegetable and allow the flavor of coconut milk to seep to the vegetable.
  • Coconutty beans and carrots are ready to be served.
Coconutty beans and carrots
  • Heat the Coconutty beans and carrots and take out in a serving bowl.
  • Enjoy Coconutty beans and carrots with Roti, paratha, rice.

Tips:
  • Never peel the carrots, just remove the dirt by washing and remove the fibrous roots with knife. 
  • Do not cut the carrots too thick.
  • Do not overcook the vegetables else the color of beans and carrots will not remain bright and the crunchiness of the vegetables will be lost.
  • Keep the thick and thin milk separately and always add thin milk first.
  • Salt should be added last else the coconut milk may curdle.
  • Always add Mustard seeds before cumin seeds, red chili and curry leaves.
  • Do not add water to the vegetables while cooking the water of coconut milk is enough to cook them to crunchiness.
Suggested Variations:
  •  Heat 1/2ml. of oil in a pan.
  • To the hot oil add
    •  1/2tespoon mustard seeds
    • 1/2Teaspoon Cumin seeds
    • 3-4 Curry leaves
    • 1Red chili
    • Cook till the seeds splutter, and the aroma of spices starts coming out.
    • Pour this seasoning over the vegetable and serve.
  • In the absence of fresh coconut canned coconut milk (200ml.) / 100 gm. Dry Coconut milk can be used.
  • If dry coconut milk is used,  then to make milk dissolve it in 200 mil. Luke warm water coconut milk is ready.
  • For change in taste few strips of cauliflower can be added along with carrots and beans.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Masala Bhindi (Okra Cooked With Spices)

Masala Bhindi (Okra cooked with spices)

Bhindi is also known as Lady Finger and Okra. It can be cooked in various methods. I have already blogged Stuffed okra and Bhindi made in Kumauni (Pahari bhindi) style. My daughter in – law likes all forms of bhindi but masala bhindi is her specialty and she makes it to perfection. I share the recipe for the perfect masala bhindi which she makes.
Preparation Time:15 min.
Cooking time : 30 min.
Servings: 6 medium size serves

Ingredients Required for Making Masala Bhindi:
  • 500 gm. Bhindi/Okra/Lady finger
Bhindi /Lady finger / Okra
  • 250 gm. Onions
Onion
  • 250 gm. Red Tomatoes
Tomatoes
  • 1 tea spoon Cumin seeds
  • 2-3 Whole Red Chilies
  • 1/2Tea spoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 Tea spoon Red chili Powder
  • 1Tea spoon Amchur Powder (Dry raw mango powder)
  • 1/2Tea spoon Garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 10 ml. olive oil /Mustard oil any cooking oil
Directions For making Masala Bhindi:
  • Wash and dry the bhindi.
  • Remove the tip and base from bhindi and cut them to 1/2cm. thick rounds.
Bhindi cut to 1/2 cm. thick rounds
  • Cut onions finely.
Finely cut onions
  •  Cut tomatoes fine.
Cut Tomatoes
  • Heat 5 ml. oil in a thick bottom wok.
  • When the oil is smoking hot lower the flame and add cumin seeds and whole red chilies.
Cumin seeds Whole red Chilies in hot oil
  • Cumin seeds will splutter and red chilies will change the color in 30 sec.
  • Add cut bhindi in it and mix nicely.
  • Cook on low flame with regular gentle stirring.
  • Take another thick bottom wok and heat  5 ml. oil in it.
  • Add finely cut onions in it and cook on low flame.
    Bhindi added to oil and spices and being cooked with out salt
  • Cook the onions and bhindi side by side to save time.
Finely cut onions being cooked on low flame
  • When the onions are cooked to softness and to transparent state then add finely cut tomatoes in it.
To onions cooked to transparent state finely cut tomatoes are added
  • Mix nicely and cook on low flame till tomatoes get cooked. The cooking of onions and tomatoes will take approximately 20 min.
Onion and tomato mixture ready for Bhindi to be added
  • By the time tomatoes and onions are cooking bhindi will also be cooked.
Bhindi ready to be added to onion masala
  • To check if the bhindi is ready to be added to tomato and onion, its texture should become soft and the slimy liquid should not be seen in bhindi. It will take approximately 20 min.
Bhindi and onion tomato mixture being cooked side by side 
  • Add partially cooked bhindi to onion and tomato mixture and mix thoroughly but gently.
Bhindi added to the onion and tomato mixture and mixed
  • Add salt, red chili powder, amchur, turmeric powder, garam masala and mix nicely.
Salt,Turmeric,Red chili powder,Amchur, garam masala added
  • Cook on low flame without covering with regular mixing and gentle stirring for 2-3 min.
Spices mixed and cooked for 10 min
  • Remove the cooked vegetable in a serving bowl and serve with roti/paranthas/puri.
Masala Bhindi
Tips:
  • Bhindi should be completely dry before cutting.
  • Salt should never be added to bhindi while cooking till the slimy liquid is there.
  • Mix salt and other spices only when semi cooked bhindi has been added to  cooked onion tomato mixture.
  • Cook on low flame and do not cover at any stage.
  • This vegetable tastes best with mustard oil but olive oil is other healthy option but oil can be changed as per choice and eating habit.
Suggested Variations:
  • Bhindi can be cut to 1 cm. pieces and then deep fried till they change color to dark green not brown and kept aside. Mix these deep fried bhindi in onion tomato mixture and cook.
  • Amchur can be replaced by fresh lemon juice. If one is using lemon juice then it should be added and mixed in last and after adding lemon juice the vegetable should be cooked for just one minute.

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