Friday, April 7, 2017

Tomato Saar (Tomato curry)

Another simple preparation in the Bakasoor kitchen today...

My tomato saar recipe is from the coastal regions of Maharashtra. Saar is nothing but a soupy or liquidy preparation usually enjoyed with hot steamed rice or just by itself. Well, a small piece of fried fish to go along with this saar would'nt hurt anyone!

There are a ton of tomato saar recipe variations you will find. My house has 2 different ones we prepare. But regardless of which one you feel like trying, be assured that it will be cooked in a jiffy. Ideal for those tiring weekdays when you just want to cosy up with a quick hot meal and be done with your day.

Let me share one of the variation prepared at my home with you.

Level: Easy
Serves: 4 people

4 medium tomatoes
3 green chillies
2 tblsp coconut
2 tsp ghee/clarified butter
3/4 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
3 pinches asafoetida
8-10 curry leaves
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
5 sprigs coriander leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste
2 tblsp jaggery or to taste
1/2 tsp red chilly powder or to taste (optional)

Step 1 - Blanch the tomatoes: Slightly slit (mark an X with a knife), on the tomato and completely immerse them in a large pot of water. Add the green chillies. Boil the water with the tomatoes and chillies till the skin of the tomato starts to peel off. This should not take more than 5 - 6 mins. Remove the tomatoes and chillies and let them cool down. Do not discard the water just yet.

Step 2 - Add the cooled tomatoes and chillies in a blender. Add the coconut and cumin powder and blend everything well for 2 - 3 mins till it forms a smooth paste.

Step 3 - Heat the ghee in another pot. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add asafoetida and curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds. Add the turmeric powder. Saute for a few more seconds. Add the blended tomato-coconut mixture from Step 2.

Step 4 - Start boiling the mixture. Add water, preferably the one you used to boil the tomato and chillies. Well, it doesn't really matter much if you forgot to save that in Step 1. Just go ahead and use normal water here.  Add coriander leaves and jaggery and let the curry continue to boil. If the green chillies have not provided enough spice, add some red chilly powder to the curry. Boil for a good 10 - 15 mins on medium to low flame.

Serve hot with some soft, slightly overcooked rice.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Kobichi Bhaji (Cabbage stir-fry)

'Kobichi Bhaji' is a very quick and simple stir-fry preparation that is made almost in every Indian home.
The recipe that I have shared is a typical Maharashtrian preparation and has minimal spices that helps the taste of cabbage shine through.

Cabbage is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol and a good source of fiber. That makes it a great choice if you are watching your weight.

The addition of cumin, green chilies and gram dal (chana dal) makes this mild vegetable very flavorful and interesting. This preparation tastes great with some hot rotis smeared with ghee.

Moving on to the recipe...

Source: Aai
Level: Easy
Serves: 4 people

1 medium cabbage, roughly chopped
4 tblsp chana dal, soaked in water for min. 4 hours
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
3 - 4 green chilies
6 - 8 curry leaves
2 tblsp oil
Salt to taste
Coriander to decorate

Step 1 - In a flat bottomed pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add in the cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add the asafoetida, green chilies and curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds.

Step 2 - Add the turmeric powder. Saute for a few more seconds. Quickly add the chopped cabbage and the soaked chana dal. Toss everything well till the spices coat all of the cabbage. Cook covered for 5 - 10 mins stirring occasionally.

Step 3 - When the cabbage cooks down, add salt and increase the heat. Saute the cabbage for 2 - 3 more mins. Turn off the heat and decorate with some coriander.

And we are done!
Serve hot with some hot rotis.

The cabbage starts leaving water as soon as you add salt. More so with the variety you find in the US than in India. So I would recommend adding the salt after the cabbage is almost done and then increase the heat for further cooking. We will cook the cabbage for no more than 2 - 3 mins once the salt is added.

You can replace the green chilies with red chilly powder to get a different flavor. Add the powder when you add turmeric. Make sure you do not burn the spices.

You can skip the soaked chana dal (especially if you have forgotten to soak them before hand).
But traditionally this dish is made with soaked chana dal at our home and I do like some added protein in my 'kobichi bhaji'.
That being said, I have come across recipes that add chana dal (not soaked) directly in the oil with the green chilies and curry leaves. Personally not a fan of the crunchy lentil contrast in this soft vegetable. But you can try it!