Sunday, March 29, 2009

Garnishing tip and techniques for food: The contrasting color charisma

Bonjour! Welcome back to post four of Garnishing tip and techniques for Indian food. It's Spring and the perfect time to try new garnishing adventures in the kitchen. The world around us might still be a little drab right now, but soon it will be bursting into lush and radiant colors. An easy way to kick-start spring indoors is by using vibrant color contrasts on the plate. So here we are today exploring the charisma of contrasting colors in food.

Today's post features my Paris located reader, PriyaSuresh. Priya is a talented cook who is also endowed with crafting skills. No wonder then does aesthetic sense and food decoration come across so naturally!

Priya says her technique to make food look more inviting is to sprinkle on it an edible. The key however is to choose an edible that has a different color than the dish itself.

Priya's garnishes her beautiful Rose kalakand, with green pistachios while her Mango and Tapoica pudding has been decorated with white almond flakes.

No doubt do contrasting colors brighten and spring up the look of a delicacy. Salsas, chutneys, and condiments etc can sometimes add a riot of color to a bland presentation. Try serving them on the plate instead of in a dish on the side. Your efforts will be rewarded with Wows. So next time you are confused over the garnishing part of a dish that took you hours to cook, consider throwing in some color to add life to your delicious treat and sit back to enjoy the rave reviews!

As they say it, we eat with our eyes as well as our mouths. A dish that arises an appetite is the one that makes your mouth water just at the sight of the dish. To make a dish looks appealing may only need simple instructions and some forethought to make it look that enticing. So keep reading, Food Fanatic has many more posts on Garnishing tips and techniques coming up!

Garnishing tip and techniques archive:
Unconventional wonders: garnish using a stencil
Marvel with vegetables: garnish by carving carrots
Simplicity sensation: garnish using ingredients of the dish

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sambhar (Spicy south Indian lentil stew)

Sambhar is a popular South Indian and Sri Lankan dish liked by North Indians the same. Sambhar is a vegetable stew or chowder based on a broth made with tamarind and toovar dahl.
South Indian food, people, and culture are inexorably linked to a ubiquitous dish as in idli (rice cakes) and sambhar, sambhar and rice and so on. Each state in the South prepares it with a typical variation, adapted to its taste and environment.
Sambhar is my all time favorite. A lot of things changed but my liking for sambhar never did. Sambhar was the first few things I learned to cook.

No preparation required. Serves 4-6. But I can finish this all by my self :P


1. 7 fists arhar/toor dahl
2. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
3. 2 teaspoons salt.
4. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
5. 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
6. 1 small onion, chopped
7. 1 small tomato, chopped
8. 1/2 zucchini or bottle gourd cut in inced sized squares. You can also add okra, eggplant, drum sticks if you want.
9. 3 teaspoon sambhar masala. I used MDH.
10. 2 tablespoons olive oil
11. 1 heaping teaspoon mustard seeds. I like to add fenugreek seeds and asafoetida as well but my mom butted in and didn't let me this time. ;-)
12. 4-5 fresh curry leaves
13. 1 dried red chili
14. Tamarind pulp (imli ka saar)
15. 1 green pepper, chopped into inched sized squares.


For the dahl
1. Soak arhar dahl in water for about 15 mins. Wash and then put it in a pressure cooker.
2. Add turmeric powder and salt.
3. Add water water to this - about a finger's depth of water from the dahl to the surface.
4. Cover the lid of the pressure cooker and let 2 whistles to blow.

For the masala
1. Heat olive oil in a pan and when hot, add mustard seeds.
2. When the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and red chili.
3. Add onions and fry until they turn golden brown.
4. Add ginger and garlic and fry for a few minutes. Then add tomato.
5. When the tomato is al dente, add green pepper, zucchini, and sambhar powder.
6. Add tamarind pulp.
7. Cover and cook until all vegetables are al dente.

When the pressure cooker's lid opens, add the masala and boil with an open lid for about 5-10 minutes.

Server hot with steamed white rice and roasted potatoes for lunch. Alternatively, you can have this with idli (rice cakes) or dosa (Indian crepe) which I will show you how to make in another post.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bharva Karela (Stuffed Bitter melon)

OK. I made this for the first time in my life today. I have had it before but never cared to learn how to cook this vegetable. But as I get bored of cooking the same stuff everyday, bitter melon needed my attention!

Bitter melon is a vegetable that originated in South Asia. The vegetable has a distinct warty looking exterior and an oblong shape. It is hollow in cross-section, with a relatively thin layer of flesh surrounding a central seed cavity filled with large flat seeds and pith. Bitter melon comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The bitter melon more typical of India has a narrower shape with pointed ends, and a surface covered with jagged, triangular "teeth" and ridges. Coloration is green or white. Bitter melon has great medicinal value and stimulates digestion, aids in curing diabetes, HIV, malaria and so on. It's a vegetable high in vitamins, specially vitamin C. Who would be stuck up on it's appearance after knowing all this? Not I.

Bitter melon is stuffed with spices and then fried in oil, which is very popular in North Indian cuisine. The bitterness is mellowed down by the sweetness of fried onions stuffed in the shell to create a perfect balance to truely awaken your taste buds. Here is how you go about it:

1. 1 medium sized onion, sliced into thin slices
2. Olive oil for frying
2. 1 teaspoon fennel powder (sauf)
3. Salt to taste
4. 1.5 teaspoons coriander powder
5. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
6. 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
7. 1 teaspoon amchoor powder (dried mango)
8. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1. Lightly peel the triangular 'teeth' ridges of the melon.
2. In a pan, heat olive oil. Then lightly fry the melons on medium heat until it turns blackish. Keep turning to avoid burning. When done, remove from the heat and let cool.
3. When cool, slice the melon vertically and remove the seeds from the inside. All we need is the shell.
4. Lightly coat the inside of the melon with a pinch of turmeric and salt.

For the masala
1. In a separate pan, heat olive oil then add sauf.
2. Fry onions and sauf until the onions turn golden brown. The sauf (fennel) and fried onion counter the bitterness of the vegetable.
4. Add sauf powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, salt and cook for 5-10 minutes.
5. Let this cool.

Add the masala inside the slits of the melon. Cook the melon on low heat for about 5 minutes.

Serve with steamed rice and dahl.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cabbage Peas

So, my mom has been spoiling me all this while. Although I help her, she never let's me cook the full meal. But today I finally managed to get both my hands on the stove. Here is what I cooked up.

1. 2 pounds Cabbage, shredded or sliced
2. 1 medium sized potato, chopped into wedges
3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
4. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
7. 2 heaping teaspoons coriander powder
8. 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
9. 1 bay leaf
10. 1 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango) powder
11. Salt to taste
12. 3/4 cup peas
13. 1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced
14. 1/4 tablespoon ginger, minced
15. 1 small tomato, chopped
16. Pinch of heeng

1. Heat oil in a big pan.
2. When the oil is hot, add a bay leaf and mustard seeds.
3. When the seeds start to crackle, add cumin seeds, ginger, and garlic.
4. Add turmeric powder, heeng, red chili powder, and sautee on medium heat for a few minutes.
5. Add tomato and cover lid. Cook on low heat for 5mins.
6. Add potato wedges and cook until they discolor slightly.
7. Add cabbage and coriander powder and mix well.
8. Add peas and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, mixing occasionally.
9. When the vegetables start to stick to the bottom, add salt. This will make the vegetables release water and prevent them from sticking.
10. Add amchoor powder and cook for another 15 mins on low flame or until done.

Garnish as desired and serve hot with paranthas or as a filling to a sandwich. Green leafy vegetable galore!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Garnishing tip and techniques for food: Simplicity sensation using ingredients from the dish

Welcome back to post three of garnishing tips and techniques for Indian food. Through Garnishing tips and techniques we endeavor to project myriad and fascinating ways to make food look more appealing. As a part of this series, every week we will present an exciting and new garnishing style from fellow foodies around the globe. I hope that my readers have been thoroughly enjoying this series as much as I have been having fun presenting fellow foodies and their incredible food decoration styles. I've been by swamped by emails for this event and I sincerely thank all those who came out to willingly share their garnishing secrets with us.

Today, I present in front of you: Kalva from our own CurryinKadai. I am particularly fond of Kalva's simple yet sensational garnishing style. From the United States, Kalva sends us her Seasoned Spicy Black Eyed peas garnished with edibles! Kalva's says her garnishing mantra is to use ingredients of the recipe for the garnish. Isn't that an easy yet smart thing to do? Her black eyed peas stole my heart as she placed a fresh green curry leaf at the center of the bowl and as she threw in some lively bright yellow ( with a piece of lemon on the side) to add visual interest. Kalva is one of those people I have admired for being modest and for being able to make an impression without having to try too hard. This dish looks great and I am sure it tastes great too! The garnishing definitely makes your dish more inviting, Kalva! Thanks for sharing this with us!

Next week, we will bring forth another incredibly talented fellow foodie. Keep reading!

Garnishing tip and techniques archive:
The unconventional wonder: How to use a stencil for decorating food
The vegetable marvel: How to carve carrots

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bharva baigan reloaded!

In a previous post, I showed you how to make bharva baigan with Indian eggplants. Today, we use Chinese eggplants and a slightly modified spice mix to make this dish.


1. 1/4 teaspoon heeng
2. 4 teaspoons dhania (coriander) powder
3. 1 teaspoon red chili powder
4. 1.5 teaspoon fennel powder
5. 1.5 teaspoon salt or to taste
6. 1 tablespoon olive oil
7. 2 teaspoon cumin powder
8. 1 teaspoon garam masala
9. 2 teaspoons amchoor powder (dried mango)
10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
12. Chinese eggplant

1. Cut the Chinese eggplants into 2 inches long cylinders and make slits on one side
2. Fill the slits with the masala
3. Heat oil in a pan
4. Cook eggplants on low heat, covered, until the eggplants soften. Turn gently occasionally so that it gets evenly cooked.

Serve with steamed rice and dahl or as a sabzi (vegetable) with paranthas!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Salad decoration

Salad goes with about everything and will be welcomed by everyone alike because it's healthy. There are many types of dressings out there but sometimes it's just fun decorating vegetables and not worrying about the dressing. There are lots of ways to make your salad look pretty. This is one simple way. It was fun doing this. The key was to group together similar shapes and colors. Having orange in the middle circle and light colors on the innermost and uttermost circles brought out the visual interest. The directions to make the strategically placed tomato rose will be presented in another post. Stay tuned...

How do you decorate your salad?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bhature (Indian fried bread)

Chole bhature (Hindi: छोले भटूरे) is a famous North Indian dish. It is also a street food. It's not the healthiest option for dinner but definitely a relished one. I had bhature after more than two years today.

I've previously posted the recipe for chole. Here is the recipe for bhature.

Needs Preparation. Serves 4.


1. 500 gms maida (all purpose flour)
2. 1 teaspoon sugar
3. 1/2 teaspoon sugar
4. 4 tablespoons oil
5. 8 tablespoons fat free plain yogurt.
6. Canola oil for frying.

1. Mix all with water and knead to make a dough. Leave the dough covered overnight.

To make the bhature:
1. Make small balls of the dough and using a rolling pin, flatten to form an oval.
2. Heat oil in a vessel. The oil must be very hot to be able to fry the bhature. To check this, add a tiny bit of the dough to the oil. If the dough surfaces immediately with tiny bubbles around it, the oil is ready to fry the bhature.
3. Fry the flattened bhature until it turns golden brown.

Tak it out on a paper towel to absorb the oil. Serve hot with chole.

Try chole bhature with onions on the side and have lassi (Indian yogurt drink that I will show you how to make in another post) as a drink. Total bliss!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gazar ka halwa (Carrot Pudding)

Gazar ka halwa is a famous North Indian dessert. It is popular during the winter days in North India. I made this dish after more than 10 years! Great recipes are never forgotten ;-)

Serves 4-6. No preparation required.

1. 300gms carrot, shredded
2. 2 litre milk
3. 1 fist raisins (kishmish)
4. 5 tablespoons sugar
5. Few strands of saffron (kesar)

1. Boil milk in a huge vessel. Stir continuously until the milk boils to avoid it from burning or sticking.
2. Add the shredded carrot and stir continuously until the milk boils.
3. Keep cooking the carrot milk on medium flame and stir occasionally.
4. Add raisins, saffron.
5. When the milk has almost been absorbed by the carrot, add sugar

Garnish with blanched cashews and almonds.

Serve warm as dessert. I am told that carrot pudding is heaven together with vanilla ice cream or without. Try it and let me know what you think ;-)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Garnishing tip and techniques for food: Marvel with vegetables, carve a carrot

A beautifully crafted dish can flirt with your senses to create an emotional response that is both captivating and romantic.

Welcome to Post two of Food Fanatic's weekly showcase on ideas for decorating food, presentation techniques, and tips for garnishing.

Today, we are featuring SitaKiran from the SpicyLovers fame. From Australia, SitaKiran sends over her carrot marvel. SitaKiran, on request, put together a step by step procedure for creating florets from a carrot for this post. Thanks, SitaKiran! I am totally fascinated with the look of this juice - so inviting!

Carving vegetables dates back to AD 618-910 (1000 years ago) and originates in Asia. Food lovers from around the world till date express their admiration for beautifully crafted dishes, and there is on going acknowledgement of the aesthetic sense and the pleasure, the creativity of a food carver can bring to the table.

Unfortunately, many people such as myself are still unfamiliar on how to use a knife to do wonders with a vegetable. So, join me in going through a carrot floret carving session?

We have a lot more coming up. Stay tuned for many more garnishing tips and techniques! As a part of this weekly series, we present an exciting and new garnishing style from fellow foodies around the globe.

Want to participate? Click here.

Garnishing tip and techniques archive:
Be unconventional: use a stencil

Friday, March 13, 2009

Salty Sevaiya (Vermicelli) and AWARD!!

1. 1 cup sevaiya
2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
3. 1.5 teaspoon salt
4. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
7. 2 teaspoons coriander powder
8. 1 green chili, chopped
9. 1/2 onion chopped
10. 1 small tomato, chopped
11. 1 cup frozen vegetables
12. tamarind pulp (imli)
13. 1 cup water
14. 1 tablespoon minced garlic and ginger

Serves 2. No preparation required. Inspired by Kitchen Flavours, I went about making this.

1. In a wok, add 1 tablespoon olive oil
2. When the oil heats up, add vermicelli and fry until it turns golden brown. Keep stirring to avoid burning.
3. Set aside.
4. In the same or different wok, add another tablespoon of olive oil and then add mustard seeds
5. Allow it to splutter then add cumin seeds
6. Add onion, green chili, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry until golden brown.
5. Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, and the vermicelli that had been set aside.
6. Add tamarind pulp, vegetables, and water
7. Cook covered until all the water is absorbed.

Serve with ketchup as a snack.

Meenal Mehta sent me an award that made my day. This award comes with the following tag:

Your blog is exceedingly charming. You are a kind blogger aiming to find and be friends. You are not interested in self-aggrandizement. ”

Thanks, Meenal, for this appreciation. I am humbled. I pass on the award to the regular readers of this blog. If you are a regular visitor of my blog, please accept this award with a big thank you for your encouragement and support!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Garnishing tip and techniques for food: Be unconventional, use a stencil

A beautifully crafted dish can flirt with your senses to create an emotional response that is both captivating and romantic. The sense of sight has to do with the sense of taste. Believe it or not, the look of a dish can make it more delicious. It's psychological. Science has proved that the nose and mouth are connected to the eyes which is connected to the brain.

So, welcome to our first post of Garnishing tips and techniques for Indian food - a weekly showcase of ideas for decorating food, presentation techniques, and tips for garnishing!

Today's post features Nazarina A from GiddyGastronome. Naz is my personal favorite blogger when it comes to making food look pretty with style and color. Check out her blog yourself if you don't believe me! You will be in awe. Naz says she doesn't have any rules where presentation and garnishing are concerned. She will use just about anything to complement the main dish. The edgier and the more unconventional the better! Truly, I can see this does work!

Today, Naz presents one unconventional style for food decoration. Her entry for Garnishing tips and techniques for Indian food is Butterscotch almond thumbprint with balloon. She used a stencil(!) and some cocoa powder!
I have no doubt that these taste great. I am confident that kids will particularly love to eat these cookies because how cute they look.
Thank you Naz for being kind enough to willingly share your style secret!

Through Garnishing tips and techniques we endeavor to project myriad and fascinating ways to make food look more appealing. As a part of this series, every week we will present an exciting and new garnishing style from fellow foodies around the globe. Here is to our first post. Stay tuned for many more ahead!

Want to participate? Click here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cucumber Raita (Yogurt)

Raita is my favorite condiment, specially when accompanied with Aloo ka parantha (Indian stuffed bread). It is easy to make, refreshing, and healthy if you leave out sour cream.

Here is the recipe.

1. 375g of no fat Plain yogurt
2. 2 tablespoons sour cream
3. 1 teaspoon rock salt (kala namak)
4. 1/2 teaspoon table salt
5. 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
6. 2 teaspoons cumin powder
7. 1/2 cucumber, shredded.

Put everything together and mix with a beater. Serve chilled.

Believe me it tastes grrreat!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Food fanatic figures plus Tips to healthier, tastier cooking

Sorry folks for being away for the past few days. It snowed (again!) here and I got pretty sick. I have been living off instant noodles and home delivery during this illness and therefore, no recipes. :( Thanks to everyone who kept checking in despite not being able to find anything new here. I've received an overwhelming response from readers with my efforts on this food blog. For how without my readers would I have had a little less than 850 visitors in no more than 3 weeks?! In this short time, I was also featured by Kitchen Flavours here. Google Analytics reports that my blog's benchmarking is way higher than any other blog my size. The average time spent by visitors on my blog was 7,953.6% higher than visitors on other blogs with comparable size. Page visits were recorded to be a whopping 233% more than the average! So thank you very much everyone and I look forward to your continued support in... devouring with me the delicious and myriad flavors of food!

Now getting back to our favorite topic - Food! Being sick just made me just realize that Indian food can typically be so much work. Cooking Indian dishes ideally means starting from scratch. Although frozen vegetables/ cut canned food is available in the market, the dish prepared from those ingredients cannot satiate an Indian's food craving. Who can beat the taste of a dish prepared with fresh ingredients? If you use frozen peas as opposed to fresh peas in an Indian dish, it will make the dish more watery which will dilute the spices and make the food bland. Using fresh vegetables is always good for health reasons, and food prepared with fresh stuff lasts longer. So, it's not about taking the easy or necessarily longer route, it's about quality cooking and focusing on the right approach - smart work versus hard work.

How can we cook fresh food smartly to make it taste or feel better, last longer, and look prettier without too much of an extra effort? This post is an attempt to share, discuss, and discover some quick tips and tricks for cooking that can help the end product look better, taste better, or feel better without having to add too much of an overhead. Cooking can be an ordeal but when a home made meal turns out good, the effort is all worth it!

Here are some of my ideas to make my dishes look better, feel better, and or taste better.

1. Pamper the Potato: Potato is a used widely used product in Indian cooking. Typically, I've seen potato being added to a dish to increase the quantity of the dish or to simply add flavor. Lots of Indian street food use potatoes, and some curries are made of a potato base too. Mashed, boiled, deep fried, or baked - Potatoes are good all the way!
But the thing with potatoes is that when left peeled and cut for more than 5 mins, they discolor. This is because the carbohydrates in the potato react with air and undergo the process of oxidation. Discolored potatoes can make your end dish look ugly and more importantly may affect the nutritional value. To prevent potatoes from changing colors, place cut and peeled potatoes in water such that they are fully immersed. When you are ready, drain the water and dump your potatoes in the cooking vessel.
If you want to be able to use freshly cut and peeled potatoes after a day, add lemon juice to the water. This will neutralize the oxidation process.

2. Boil the Beans: Beans have great nutritional value. To pick the fresh beans, try snapping them from the middle. The ones that snap easily are fresh. Beans are the vegetables that go bad the fastest. I've learned over time that I need to wash them then dry them as soon as I get back from the grocery store and then store them in an air tight zip lock bag before putting them in the crisper in the fridge. This keeps them fresh longer. Another thing I learned while watching the Food Network was to boil beans before stir frying/cooking them. This ensures that the beans don't get overcooked or discolored when stir fried with spices or soy sauce and keeps the nutrients intact.

3. Overly dry the Okra (or lady finger or bhindi).
Okra is my favorite vegetable. Okra is not widely available in North America and is seasonal. To pick fresh Okras, you can press them between your forefinger and thumb. If it's too soft you know it's rotting. If it's too hard, it won't be edible. To get the freshest Okras, try snapping off the tail of the Okra. The fresh ones snap off easily.
When you cut Okra, it secretes a sticky fluid which makes it hard to handle and makes it look ugly when cooked. To get around this, make sure the Okra is fully dry before cutting.

4. Retain only the Rice, then rotate it :)
Using a rice cooker is the easiest way to cook rice. However, this is not healthy because the starch gets absorbed by the rice in the cooker. This starch can be fattening. So, the best way to cook rice is to do so in a big pot. Boil water in a pot, then add the rice. Keep checking until the rice is soft and easily breaks when pressed between your thumb and forefinger. When rice is cooked, cover the pot with a steel plate, and drain the water. This eliminates the starch from the rice. But this is risky because the boiling water turned into starch can burn hands. Once you have mastered this technique, you will start loving to eat starch free rice!
Steamed rice looks best fluffy. So don't forget to turn the rice gently when cooked and then leave it covered for 5 minutes. This makes the rice fluffy!

What tips do you have for a fresher, healthier, prettier, happier meal?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tomato cucumber salad

I have been cooking lots of Indian lately, for my dad, and therefore eating lots too. I have been skipping going to the gym too because I want to spend time with him when I am home. Saturday night I wore a top and realized how much I have put on weight in just two weeks! So eating healthy starts now! :) (We will see how long this lasts :P)

I have never made salad any other way other than the Indian way. But I have tried all sorts of salad. So today I pledged not use any Indian spice. I looked up several recipes and adapted it to suit my palate. Some recipes added sugar but given that today was No-Indian-Healthy-diet Day, I passed on the sugar.

No preparation required. Serves 1.

1. 1/2 fresh cucumber, sliced
2. 1 small tomato
3. 1/4 red onion, sliced or chopped
4. For the dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
A dash of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tablespoon garlic salt
Salt to taste

1. Cut vegetables in a big glass bowl
2. Add olive oil, garlic salt, lemon juice, salt, black pepper and toss.

Relish with a guilt free smile!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Carrot Peas

I discovered a new way to cook carrot. This has been adapted from A_and_N. Highly pleased to cook something healthy :D

1. 4-5 slender carrots, peeled and sliced vertically
2. 1 cup frozen peas
3. 1 cup milk
4. 1 teaspoon olive oil
5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6. 1/2 onion, sliced
7. 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
8. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
9. 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
10. 1 teaspoon garam masala
11. 1/4 teaspoon sauf or fennel powder
12. Salt to taste

1. Cook carrot in the microwave for 5 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a pan, then add cumin seeds
3. When the seeds turn dark brown, add onion, ginger and garlic paste and stir fry until onion turns golden brown.
4. Add turmeric powder, garam masala, fennel powder, red chili powder and cook for a few minutes.
5. Add peas and carrot.
6. Add milk and cook for 15 minutes on low flame, stirring occasionally.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tarot Root (Arbi)

I am tired cooking the same ole vegetables everyday. I want to try something new. But what?? How about Arbi!! That is what I thought to myself today.

I remember that as a kid I used to find Tarot root the ugliest vegetable in the world. And therefore, I was also biased towards it's taste. When we moved to a Northern state in India is when we first discovered Tarot root. It was also a popular vegetable in that state. My mom experimented with this vegetable for the first time with reservations. But after a few tries, my family started liking Tarot root. I was still resistant to change, I would eat it but with a frown. I never thought I would cook it one day in my kitchen. But things change, situations change, and so do people. And change is good. Because of my long lived disinterested in this vegetable, I never knew how to cook Tarot root. But today I was up for something new. I gave up my inhibitions and tried to recollect how my mom would cook this vegetable. I ended up cooking Tarot root unlike my mom cooked it. But what turned out was something tasty, and I figured I could make use of what I cooked in very many ways. I am up for cooking Tarot root again! Here is the recipe if you're interested ;)

1. 4-5 tarot roots (arbi)
2. 1/2 small onion, chopped
3. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
4. 1/2 tablespoon garlic ginger paste
5. 1 teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek)
6. 1/2 teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
7. 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
8. Salt to taste
9. 2 tablespoons olive oil
10. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
11. 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
12. 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
13. 2 potatoes, small

1. Boil arbi and potatoes in a pressure cooker until 2 whistles blow. (If you don't want to boil, roast or microwave it. The skin is hard to peel off otherwise. Also tarot root is said to release some fluid that can irritate the skin if you try to remove the skin when it's raw)
2. Drain the water, Let cool. Peel off the skin of the potato and arbi, then slice them up.
3. In a non stick pan, heat olive oil
4. Add methi and let it turn dark brown.
5. Add onion, garlic, and ginger
6. Stir fry until onion turns golden brown.
7. Add cumin powder, garam masala, red chili powder, ajwain.
8. Add tomato paste and mix well. Cook until the paste leaves the oil
9. Add potato and arbi and salt. Mix well, trying not to break the soft vegetable. Cook until the arbi/potato starts getting crisp and turns slightly golden brown.

Garnish with fresh and chopped coriander leaves.

This can be used as a dry vegetable, or as a filling to sandwich if mashed slightly, or as a filling to Dosa (crepe).

How would you eat this??

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