Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Palko Mogar

Palko Mogar is a combination of moong daal and spinach. Palko Mogar is a name I adopted in Jodhpur and modified the recipe a bit. The term 'Mogar' refers to the moong daal, which is yellowish in colour and without outer skin. The leafy vegetable 'Palak' means spinach.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  • 1/2 cup mogar ( moong daal without skin ) 
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/8 tsp cumin seeds 
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida ( hing )
  • 1/2 tsp subrus masala 
  • 1 cm ginger root finely chopped 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • Cilantro chopped (optional)
Ingredients (mogar in bowl)

  1. Wash daal 3 times
    Add 1 cup of water and start heating on medium heat. 
  2. As water starts boiling, lower heat little so that it does not boil over.  It will be cooked in 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add spinach and cover for 5 minutes so that spinach shrinks a bit. Adjust to the desired consistency by adding water.
  4. Add salt, ginger, and cilantro.
  5. Prepare tadka (roasted spices) separately. I find metal measuring cup (1/2 cup) with handle useful for this purpose. In oil put 1-2 grains of cumin for checking oil temperature. When the oil is hot enough, add cumin seeds, then asafoetida and masala.
  6. Add tadka to dal, mix and let it simmer  for few more minutes

The Palko Mogar can be consumed as a soup or as a part of dinner with roti or rice.

Here it is as a part of dal roti sabzi combo:


Monday, July 3, 2017

Green Beans Potato Sabzi

This is another simple sabzi to make, similar to the tiranga sabzi described in a previous post.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  • 2 cups of cut green beans ( about 1/2 to 3/4 " length) 
  • 1 red potato cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida ( hing )
  • 1/2 tsp subrus masala ( spice mix - see prior post for details )
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 stems of cilantro leaves and stems cut separately ( optional )

Chopped ingredients

  1. In a non-stick pan, put oil and start heating. 
  2. Put 1-2 cumin grains to check oil temperature.
  3. When oil is hot add cumin seeds, then asafoetidasubrus masala, and potato. 
  4. Stir well to cover potato pieces. 
  5. Add beans, salt and  mix well. Add 2 tbsp water, and cover while on stove to steam.
  6. After 10 minutes reduce heat, add cilantro stems. 
  7. Add 1 tbsp water if needed, cover, continue heating for 5 minutes
  8. Check if potato and beans are cooked by mushing with spoon a piece of potato and bean. Cover and heat for 5 more min if needed. Garnish with Cilantro leaves. 
Below are the three stages of cooking:

After adding potatoes

After cooking 10 minutes

The finished sabzi

Saturday, July 1, 2017

NYTimes Kale Salad With Apples

I had an over-supply of kale which I needed to use up quickly. A quick Google search led me to this NYTimes recipe for Kale Salad with Apples and Cheddar. This is very simple but I will post it anyway, with my variation on it as well my sense of how it came out.

Ingredients (Serves 2):
  • 4 cups of kale, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple (I went with Gala), diced to 1/4"
  • 10 almonds, chopped
  • 10-20 raisins
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp olive oil (EVOO)
  • Pinch of salt
Ingredients before prep

Ingredients after prep

  1. Prep the ingredients as above

    If you notice the knife in the photo above, it is a Victorinox 8" Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife. I am not much of a cook, but I bought it because of the rave reviews, and it has lived up to the reputation! Especially when paired with the NYTimes Basic Knife Skills guide.

  2. Place the kale, apple, almonds, and raisins in a salad spinner
  3. Stir the salt, lemon juice, and olive oil until it is homogenous
  4. Add the dressing to the spinner and push push push!

The dressing
Unlike the original recipe, this one omits the cheddar, mostly because I did not have any at hand. Overall, it came out pretty good! The total prep time was about 15 minutes. The last tip from the NYTimes was key though: letting the entire mixture sit for 15 minutes after mixing helped break down and soften the kale a bit. I would happily make this salad again!

The finished product: Kale Salad with Apples

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tiranga Sabzi

One of our favorite vegetables is Tiranga Sabzi, or Three-Colored Vegetables. The name is generic but in my case, the three vegetables we use are green / bell peppers, red potatoes, and carrots. Coincidentally, these are the colors of the Indian flag (more or less, haha). The last three ingredients comprise the 'tadka', so named for the sound it makes when the oil becomes heated.

Chopped carrots and bell peppers
Ingredients (Serves 3-4):
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Red Potato medium size( your favorite potato variety )
  • 1 to 2 tbsp Vegetable or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chili/cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

  1. Chop all the vegetables in strips approximately 2.5 x 1 cm (see photo)
Vegetables fully cut to size
  1. Add the oil to a frying pan and heat it on medium-high heat (6 out of 10 on my stove)
  2. Add a small amount of the cumin to the oil until it starts to simmer. 
  3. Once it does, add all the 'tadka', lower the heat to low-medium (4/10) and add the potatoes. 

  1. Partially cover the potatoes to steam them and heat for 7 minutes.
  2. Add carrots
  3. Add bell pepper, mix and heat for 5 more minutes

  1. Make sure all three kinds of veggies are cooked. If not, heat for another 5 minutes.
  2. Add salt, mix well, lower heat, and heat for 5 minutes. 

The dish is easy to make, quick, and relatively healthy. It is usually paired with roti, a common type of Indian bread. This is arguably the most patriotic sabzi an Indian can make, as the colors match those of the Indian flag!

Ready to eat!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Is Emeril's Vegetarian Chili Any Good?

We attempted to make Emeril Lagasse's Vegetarian Chili last week. The full recipe can be found on The Food Network under the title Vegetarian Chili Recipe:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped red bell peppers
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 to 3 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced, depending upon taste
1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean and cubed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespooon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 cups cooked black beans, or canned beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable stock, or water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Cooked brown rice, accompaniment
Sour cream or strained plain yogurt, garnish
Diced avocado, garnish
Essence, recipe follows, garnish
Chopped green onions, garnish 
In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and serrano peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Add the beans, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.

To serve, place 1/4 cup of brown rice in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the chili into the bowls over the rice. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and spoonful of avocado. Sprinkle with Essence and green onions and serve.

So, a few notes about our concoction. First, we could not find any zucchini in our local market, so we substituted in yellow squash. We did find some pepper jack cheese though! Yum! Anyway, we also omitted the garnish. The most important distinction though may have been that we used water instead of vegetable broth.

The recipe estimates prep time of 25 minutes and cook time of 30 minutes, serving 6 to 8. Our experience was more like prep time of an hour, cook time of 30 minutes, and servings of at least 8, but maybe as much as 12 (we're still eating leftovers!). Admittedly, we are slow preppers but there are a lot of individual ingredients to wash, clean, and then chop up so the time adds up quickly. But, there were two of us working on this so you would think it would be faster, right?

After cooking the chili, we dug in. While the chili was highly edible, it was somewhat lacking in that "oomph" punch we were expecting. That may have been our fault in how much we added as far as spices, so perhaps err on the side of more rather than less if you give this a shot. Oh, and I think we definitely should have used vegetable broth. The chili was just too.... soupy for my tastes as I was expecting a thicker product. Oh well, it's still edible which is the very low bar I set for myself, and tasty - I think the main downer is that it wasn't very "chili" like. But hey, it's great as a chunky soup!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is Cabbage Underappreciated?

A recent article in the New York Times praises cabbage as the most unappreciated of vegetables, especially in winter. As a longtime anti-Cabbabrigian (neologisms are fun), I was surprised to hear such high praise for such a humble veggie. However, the article does make some intriguing points about this much maligned mushy greenleaf. Read on to learn more: 

January 11, 2011: Cabbage’s Sweet Side - By ELAINE LOUIE

Chefs praise cabbage. They embrace its sweetness. They delight in its crunch in raw slaws and its melting smoothness in cold-weather braises.

More often than not, their customers do not share this love.

“I personally love cabbage,” said Floyd Cardoz, who was the executive chef of Tabla in Manhattan until it closed last month. He offered lightly caramelized cabbage wedges that had been spiced with cloves, black mustard seeds, shallots, garlic and ginger. Mr. Cardoz brought out the sweetness of the cabbage, and in the plating of it, its beauty. But few people ordered it.

“They have eaten overcooked cabbage so often, they begin to hate the mushiness and the smell,” he said.

Cabbage is often an unloved, homely vegetable. It’s smelly. It’s cheap. It’s the food of the poor. But those who can get past this initial aversion know it as one of winter’s quiet overachievers.

Right now, when green beans are selling for $4 a pound, and baby spinach for $9 a pound, red and green cabbages from local farms can be had for around 75 to 99 cents a pound. The low price is in part a reflection of cabbage’s longevity. It stays fresh in the refrigerator from two to five weeks, and even longer in farmers’ bins.

For more on the benefits of cabbage, click here to read the rest of the article at For a Desipe that involves cabbage, check out the Desipes Tehri recipe, or search any recipe site for 'cabbage.'

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Indian-Style Eggplant Dish (Eggplant Sabzi)

Eggplant is prepared in many ways. It has many names, such as Brinjal, Baingan, Ringna and Waange. Eggplant comes in many varieties, shapes, sizes, and colors. Here I am going to describe how to prepare Japanese eggplant in an Indian style.

Ingredients (Serves 2):
  1. Dice eggplant into 1/2 inch thick discs.
  2. Dice tomato into medium size pieces (about 18).
  3. In a 2 quart pan, add oil. Heat on medium heat.
  4. Add mustard seeds. When they begin to make noise, turn off the heat.
  5. Add cumin followed by fenugreek, asafoetida, and subrus.
  6. Add eggplant and toss so as to cover all pieces with oil and spices. Add 2-3 tbsp water. Put on medium heat with cover for 10 minutes.
  7. Add tomato pieces and Rajah Garam Masala. Mix well. Cover and simmer for another 7 minutes.
  8. Add coriander just before serving.
It can be made as a mixed vegetable by adding complementary vegetables such as potato, carrot, peas, or spinach.