Category Archives: side dishes

Carrots, Peas with Dill – Lucknow inspired

Here is another food story inspired my the memories of many winters in spent in Lucknow, India in my grandfather’s house and the houses of my uncles and aunts throughout the state of UP.

Somehow the archives of food snapshots in your mind brings a nostalgia filled smile and some strangeness. The simplicity of meals prepared in my grandparents house still seems so pure to me. There was a large family to feed so little ingredients went a long way. The laughter and the joy of togetherness at the lunch table in Hussaingunj with a simple meal of Dal and Vegetables is instilled in my memory to this day. There was always the abundance of “romali” (paper thin) roti that our “bua” ( god bless her) cooked in bulk over on a sawdust stove in a dark kitchen.

Bringing one of those vegetables to life in this blog is homage to the lady who cooked our meals,  “bua” and my grandparents who also inspired us to be creative, smart, simple and good humans.

The house was defining and built character in every child, teenager and adult that spent time within its walls. The picture is recent but a fossil of an amazing before. 

The house of memories – Lucknow, India

It is an honor to be to hosting the Fiesta Friday this week where I can showcase the beautiful memories of food. Looking forward to the dishes that you all will bring to the party so please join us!!

Gajar Matar with Dill

  • Difficulty: easy
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Vegetables with Dill - Lucknow Inspired


Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

  • Mustard Oil ( or any preferred oil) – 2 tbsp
  • Carrots – 2 cups chopped small
  • Potato – 1 cup chopped fine
  • Dill – 1 1/2 cup Fresh chopped fine
  • Green peas – 1 cup frozen
  • Cumin seeds – 1tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Chili Powder  – 1tsp ( or manage the heat to taste)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Salt to taste


Directions

  • Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. If using mustard oil, it need to be smoking before you add the next ingredients
  • Add the cumin and mustard seeds and let them pop of a few seconds.
  • Add the carrots and potatoes and sauté for about 5 mins
  • Add the spices and cover an cook until the carrots and potatoes are almost done ( probably 15 mins)
  • Taste and adjust the salt if needed
  • Add peas and then add dill leaves.
  • Mix well and cook covered for another 5 mins until all the vegetables are tender.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice and serve with fresh rotis or rice. I have served with rice and beans with a side of pickle

the door to childhood….
Carrots and Peas with dill and spices

Station Wale Aloo – Simple Potato curry

What is that title you may say 🙂

Let me explain by a trip down memory lane…Throughout childhood,  my family embarked on the winter trip from the icy cold winter in Srinagar, Kashmir to the weirdly uncomfortable winter in Lucknow, UP to bask in the sunshine of my grandparents.

Once winter descended in Kashmir and school wrapped up for winter vacation, it became bitterly cold, electricity was a novelty for the most part and activity was limited to playing in the snow or running around the house making up games. We would then prepare to make the trek to spend the winter with our grandparents and extended family in Lucknow.

Lucknow houses were big and open which reluctantly welcomed a moderate winter but full of warmth and laughter from the cousins, uncles and aunts that waited anxiously for our arrival each year.

My siblings and I absolutely loved the adventurous trip… so I am getting to my story that ties to the recipe….The yearly adventure first involved getting to the city of Jammu from Srinagar which could be a long bus or car ride ( airplane in later years). Then the famous “express” train which would take 2 days from Jammu to Lucknow. A day in life in trains in India  was sweet, surreal, seductive, scary, inspiring, dismal, reflective and never ending all at the same time.  To this date if I close my eyes, I can feel the wind (and the dust) through the grilled train windows.

The train ceremoniously stopped at numerous railway stations during this journey at strange hours of the night and day and I would eagerly await the one that called out the potato curry and puris (fried bread).

That gets me to the point of Station Wale Aloo. The simple potato curry being served for a couple of pennies through the grilled train windows at indistinct stations is a memory that is deep rooted.

Food memories reside deep within your soul and can be recreated through flashbacks and visuals and the sense of smell and taste through time and experiences. I have not been on a train in India for about 25 years  but this is my version in my American kitchen weaved together from magical childhood memories

It is essentially potatoes in curry with no onions or garlic. You can omit the oil as well if you like.

A simple vegan dish that will nourish your soul.

Station Wale Aloo

Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

 

  • 4 -5 Boiled potatoes
  • 2 tomatoes – pureed or 1/2 canned tomato pureed
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 tsp methi ( Fenugreek) seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 inch grated ginger
  • 5-10 curry leaves ( optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Hing ( Asafetida)
  • Oil if using ( 1 tbsp)
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


Directions

 

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. You can remove the skin if thick or leave it on depending on the potato. . I use my hands to break the potatoes into chunks ( 1 inch or so) and set aside. You can chop if you like.
  2. Soak the methi ( Fenugreek) seeds in warm water for about 20 mins and grind.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. If not using oil you can add the spices directly to the pan and monitor that they do not burn.
  4. Add cumin, Hing, curry leaves and green chilies and sauté for a minute
  5. Add the ground methi seeds and fry for a few second and then the pureed tomatoes and ginger.
  6. Cook everything for 5 minutes and add the rest of the spices.
  7. Add vegetable broth and then the potatoes.
  8. Cook everything until it gets to a thick gravy consistency
  9. Garnish with lemon juice and cilantro.
  10. I have served with this with sprouted wheat and lentil roti…but the choice of puris(fried bread) or rice would be great too.

Kashmiri Chutney – Dodh AL ( Bottle Gourd in Yoghurt)

Kashmiri culture and ways of preparing the food lends to its exquisite and unique taste. An art form which is then accented by how the food is served….in copper dishes, with flavorful white rice, rich yoghurt and tart chutneys.

In the series of Kashmiri chutneys, this one is a little unusual and delightful. Made with boiled bottle gourd (Lauki), yoghurt and a dash of honey, it brings a slight sweetness to the table of spicy food.

In my version I have omitted the honey and the raisins but do add them if you prefer the sweetness. I also made a vegan version by using coconut milk instead. Either way it will come out just superb.

These are images of Bottle Gourd growing and being sold in the floating vegetable gardens on the Dal Lake in Kashmir. A visit to the pre-dawn vegetable market on the lake is a memory that does not leave your soul.

Dodh Al - Bottle Gourd Chutney

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Kashmiri Chutney

Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

  • One small bottle gourd, seeds removed and grated
  • About 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of full fat yoghurt ( plant based yoghurt is fine)
  • 1 tbsp organic honey (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black cumin
  • a few strands of saffron crushed
  • 1 tbsp of yellow raisins (optional)
  • chopped cilantro and mint leaves

Directions

  • Boil the gourd and garlic until tender about 5-7 mins. Drain the water and cool. ( you can save the water for soup or broth in other dishes)
  • Put it in a sieve or muslin, mashing the garlic cloves and squeezing the water out.
  • Put it in a sieve or muslin, mashing the garlic cloves and squeezing the water out.
  • Add this to the yoghurt and mix the other ingredients.

Serve as a side topped with black cumin and cilantro/mint leaves. This is also perfect as a dip with pita bread.


Harissa crusted Cauliflower salad

It’s a vegetable overload weekend in our household. We had pea protein packed smoothie this morning and then ran a 5k in freezing temperatures. But the sun was out which gave energy to the mind and body. Riding the veggie theme for lunch I wanted to make something that continues to feed the body with energy.

So what I have here is a simple harissa roasted and charred cauliflower that is a sensory gift to the taste buds. The fact that it is plant based and has plenty of protein is something wonderful. The cauliflower is crusted with a mix of harissa paste, Labneh and Tahini dressing that amplifies the taste. The Avocados add the much needed fat and the citrus from the grapefruit balances it all.

Harissa roasted cauliflower

Cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into thick steaks.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 1 tablespoon labneh ( or greek yoghurt)
  • 1 tsp of the tahini dressing

Tahini Dressing

  • 2 tablespoon tahini
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoon pomegranate vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 handful of cilantro
  • Pink or Sea Salt – to taste

Salad greens and Topping

  • Arugula and Baby spinach
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Grapefruit slices
  • Sliced Avocados

Putting it together:

  • Blend all the ingredients for the tahini dressing adjust for consistency and salt.
  • Mix the harissa with labneh and a teaspoon of the tahini dressing.
  • Smother the cauliflower steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  • Roast in a 450 degree oven for about 20 mins until slightly charred.
  • Dress the flowerets with the harissa dressing and put back in the oven for 5 mins. Remove and cool
  • Remove the grapefruit meat in slices being careful to remove the skin.
  • Slice the avocados
  • In a large bowl add the arugula and spinach and dress lightly with the tahini dressing
  • Plate the green, adding the grapefruit, avocado. Top with cauliflower and walnuts.
  • Drizzle some more dressing
    • Enjoy!

Sharing on Fiesta Friday where the cohost this week is Julianna @ Foodie on Board 

Haakh Tchaman- Kashmiri Cheese and Greens

The magic of Kashmiri cooking always inspires a smile and a happy tummy. So simple and fragrant served with steaming steamed rice and some pickles. The cheese can be homemade or you can buy a block of Indian Cheese which is pretty readily available in supermarkets now.  I do find the homemade version with organic milk much better and softer.

For the greens, I prefer the leaves called Chinese broccoli but collard green work really well too. Remove the leaves from the stems. If the stems are thick, peel the skin and use the inside, they are packed with flavor

The key flavor enhancer, I find is the use of Mustard oil. You can always substitute with regular vegetable oil. I used a pressure cooking but you don’t have to, it cooks just fine in a regular pot.

Here is the recipe

Ingredients:

  • Collard greens or Chinese broccoli – 2 bunches
  • Indian cottage cheese sliced into 2 inch pieces
  • Cloves 2 pices
  • asafetida – 1/4 Tsp
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • Ground ginger powder – 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder – 1 Tsp
  • Turmeric powder  – 1 tsp
  • Fennel powder – 1 tsp
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup mustard oil
  • 2 cups of water

Directions:

  • Fry the cottage cheese pieces in oil until lightly golden ( not too dark), remove and immerse in warm water. Set aside
  • In a pressure cooker add the same mustard oil and the cloves. Add Asafetida and garlic. Add water and the rest of the spices and bring to a boil. Add Salt to taste
  • Add the greens and pressure cook for 5 mins.
  • Remove the lid and add the cheese.
  • Cooks for 5 – 10 mins until the flavors combine and the cheese is soft.
  • Serve as a main dish or side dish with steaming rice.
Haakh Tchaman with Roganjosh

Linking at Fiesta Friday where co-hosts this week areMollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens

Cauliflower Pizza with Asparagus, Kale and Mushrooms

Ok…. so this is not much of a recipe but more of the art of putting it all together…but I just had to post. Such an amazing crunch and taste that it leaves you craving for more. And it is healthy, nutritious and scrumptious. If Gluten bothers you, this is GF.

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My cauliflower pizza base is Cauliflower and Corn flour from Trader Joes or Moms Organic market. On my trip to MOMs, I brought back beautiful garlic, asparagus, fresh Kale, Jalapeño, and mushrooms.  I had some Parmesan and Halloumi in the fridge so putting this together was a breeze.

Note this is not a typical pizza smothering in tomato sauce and cheese. This one showcases the beautiful vegetables so adjust if you need more of the cheeses or add some tomato sauce.

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The Kale and chopped mushrooms need to be sautéed in chopped garlic with a pinch of salt and set aside.

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Slice or chop some Asparagus, Jalapeño, Roma tomato and set aside

Slice the cheeses.

Cook the crust according to instruction until it is firm and slightly crisp. The TJ version had me cook at 450 degrees and flip the crust to cook 12 mins on each side. That was perfect

Top the crust with veggies and cheese and put under a broiler for 3-4 mins.

Douse with some good avocado or olive oil and red chili flakes.

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Enjoy

Sharing at Fiesta Friday featuring Laurena @ Life Diet Health and Alex @ Turks Who Eat as co-hosts this week.

 

Matar Paneer Curry – Peas and Cheese

Sometimes the simpler the food the more rewarding for your taste buds.  Visions of many beautiful vegetarian tables with paneer, lentils, and pickles seem to stay with me.  The memories range from restaurants to friends houses after school, to street side travel shacks and many more…..but they are always vivid and connect me to a rich past.

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Growing up our family were big meat eaters…it would not be “food” without lamb or chicken 🙂 However, every now and then we would have a vegetarian day where Paneer would be the showcase.

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When I first moved to the US, store bought  paneer (cheese)  was not an option so making the paneer at home was the only way. Don’t get me wrong, homemade cheese is the best but sometimes a working girl needs a premade handy version so dinner can be cooked at moments notice.

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The local Asian stores now have the most amazing Paneer available so I keep a block in the fridge or freezer for quick dinner situations.

This is a curry, which as always is spicy, tangy, rich, gentle, soft and ever so delicious.

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I have paired it with butter rice, lentils and pickles. Naan or roti would be perfect with the platter.

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Matar Paneer

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A quick and easy matar paneer

Ingredients

  • 1 block of Paneer cubed ( I used Nanak Paneer)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 large  chopped red onion
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 7-8 garlic cloves – sliced
  • 1 inch ginger – grated
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 4 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Directions

Putting it together:

  • Add 2 tbsp oil to a pan on medium heat and add the chopped garlic cloves,  ginger and  onion into the pan and fry this for a few minutes until the onions start to soften.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and little salt, cover the pan and cook the mixture until the tomatoes have softened.
  • Blend this sauce in a food processor ( there should be any need to add water)
  • Using the same pan  add 2 tbsp oil into the pan on medium heat, add
  • Add cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds until they pop, add turmeric coriander and chili powder.
  • Now you can add the prepared tomato sauce mixture and bring the mixture together.
  • Throw in the cumin powder and a few tablespoons of water and let it cook for a few minutes. Do stir to ensure it does not start sticking
  • Add yoghurt into the sauce and continue stirring.
  • Add the frozen peas and then the paneer cubes
  • Adjust for salt and water for consistency and cover and  cook the curry for  on low heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with Cilantro and a squeeze of lemon and serve with rice or bread.

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Sharing on Fiesta Friday!