Boiled Egg Curry!

Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients – options are endless!  Boiled egg curry is one of the most popular ways eggs are used in Andhra Pradesh, a southern state in India, cuisine. Variations with boiled egg are quite a lot too – you can saute them plain, or with onions, or with onions and tomatoes, or make them with gravy (again how you make the gravy has lots of variations too), or with tamarind juice…seriously, options are endless.

Buying eggs, when we were growing up, meant going to a store that only sold eggs.  This store had floor to ceiling shelves stacked with egg crates – each one holding two dozen eggs – and the floor was usually littered with light feathers.  You could smell the store as soon as you turned into the street.  Not a very nice smelling street that was!  We used to have a egg crate box with a handle that we would take the store to bring eggs back in them.  When I first came to United States…I was so surprised to find eggs sold in refrigerated section in their own little foam egg crate boxes…it was the most bizarre thing for me!  I sometimes get very nostalgic for the old way of doing things – buying locally and bringing your own bags…reduce and recycle!

Today I tried a slight variation of boiled egg curry – I added a handful of methi leaves and was quite happy with the results.  Methi(fenugreek) adds a nice flavor to all non-vegetarian dishes.  I usually buy fresh methi, clean it and freeze it so I can throw in a handful of leaves whenever the dish I am cooking demands it.  Dried fenugreek leaves can be used but I like the fresh frozen leaves better in some dishes.

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Ingredients:

  • Boiled eggs: 6
  • Medium size onion: 2
  • Ginger/garlic paste: 1/2 tsp
  • Methi leaves: handful
  • Green chillies: 1-2 (optional)
  • Curry leaves (optional)
  • Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder: 1tsp (or more if you like it spicy)

Directions:

  1. Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a pan
  2. When the oil is hot add mustard seeds and when they start splattering add cumin seeds.
  3. Add chopped onion, green chillies and curry leaves and saute until onions brown nicely.
  4. Add ginger/garlic paste and saute until the raw smell disappears
  5. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and saute for a minute
  6. Add methi leaves and saute for another 2 minutes
  7. Add boiled eggs and saute until the eggs absorb the masala – around 2-3 minutes
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with hot rice.

 

Japanese-Style Salmon Parcels!

Today’s dinner has literally been adapting the recipe to suit the ingredients I had on hand.  I had salmon and was looking through a cook book for some inspiration and Japanese-Style Salmon Parcels caught my attention.  I love parcel recipes for salmon since the fish always stays moist but I didn’t have most of the ingredients…so I skipped some and substituted a couple others.  This accompanied with steamed vegetables would be a healthy no-carb meal but can also be served over brown rice, white rice, noodles etc.  I made vegetable hakka noodles (a popular indo-chinese dish) to go with the salmon.

 

Here is the actual recipe with my modifications:

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 4 salmon cutlets or steaks (I used fillets)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger (omitted)
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 4 spring onions (I used a small red onion)
  • 1/4 tsp dashi granules (omitted)
  • 3 tbsp mirin (omitted)
  • 2 tbsp tamari (I used soy sauce)

Directions:

  1. Cut 4 squares of baking paper large enough to enclose the salmon steaks.
  2. Preheat oven to 450º F.  Lightly toast sesame seeds for 1 minute.
  3. Wash the salmon and pat dry.  Place a salmon cutlet in the center of each paper square.
  4. Cut the ginger into paper thin slices.  Slice the celery and spring onions into fine strips.  Arrange a bundle of celery and spring onions and several slices of ginger on each salmon steak.
  5. Combine the dashi granules, mirin and tamari in a very small sauce pan.  Heat gently until the granules dissolve.  Drizzle over each parcel, sprinkle with sesame seeds and carefully wrap the salmon, folding in the sides to seal in all the juices.  (I just drizzled soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and some red chili paste over)
  6. Arrange the parcels on a baking tray and cook for about 12 minutes, or until tender.

 

 

Dondakaya Pachadi

Roti pachadi is a traditional side dish in cuisine from Andhra Pradesh (a southern state in India).  It is made with vegetables and is tangy and, as all dishes from Andhra Pradesh go, quite spicy.  Traditionally these pachadis (pickles) are made in mortar (rolu) by pounding vegetables with green chillies and tamarind…and hence the name roti pachadi (mortar pickles).  A blender has replaced the mortar these days but essentially it’s the same recipe.  Vegetables – like sorakaya, dondakaya, cabbage, red bell pepper – or vegetable peels (especially beerakaya) can be used to make pachadis.  No authentic meal from Andhra Pradesh (AP) is complete without this spicy accompaniment.  The pachadi is not only great with rice and rotis but I also use it in salads (as salad dressing…spice up things a bit) and as a sandwich spread for cucumber sandwiches.

This weekend I tried dondakaya pachadi – recipe from Sailu’s Kitchen (my go to place for traditional, authentic and fail-proof recipes).  I like coriander flavor in my pachadis and so add a handful of coriander (both leaves and tender stems) while sautéing the vegetables.  If we don’t have company I like to skip the seasoning (who wants more oil, right?).

Recipe can be found here.

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Bolognese Sauce

In my quest for serving more protein for my growing boys I stumbled on to a gem of a recipe for bolognese sauce on NY Times Cooking site.  I have tried this several times with awesome results and get a lot of compliments for this.  “It’s like eating in a restaurant” is what I hear often – I am not a great cook and not an expert in making pasta dishes so that compliment says a lot about this recipe.

The recipe – Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce – can be found here.  Some notes on this:

  • Toss pasta with baby spinach or kale.  More veggies…yay!
  • I prefer using San Marzano tomatoes
  • Used fresh tomatoes once when I didn’t have canned.  Boiled the tomatoes a bit and peeled the skin off before chopping them into pieces.  To get that canned tomato flavor added about a tbsp of ketchup
  • I don’t cook for 3 hours – one to one and half hour seems to work fine
  • I use cabernet sauvignon for this.  Crane Lakes (I get it at Wegmans) is great at around $3 per bottle
  • Nutmeg is optional.  I cooked several times without nutmeg and it turned out fine.
  • Basil…can never go wrong with this!

 

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Smoothie Bowls!

I have been planning on trying smoothie bowls for some time now and some of the recipes I browsed looked so refreshingly yum!  A smoothie bowl happened quite unexpectedly this morning – I made a smoothie that was quite thick and as I proceeded to add more milk to make it thin…I was struck by bowl inspiration and made a smoothie bowl by chopping some banana and throwing in some seeds, nuts and dried fruit.  Finally…after months of sitting on recipes…I made a smoothie bowl!

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Ingredients:

  • Frozen berries – 1 cup
  • Almond and coconut milk – 3/4 cup
  • Frozen kale – 1/2 cup
  • Banana – 1
  • Chia seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Hemp seeds – 1/2 tbsp
  • Almonds sliced – 1/2 tbsp
  • Pumpkin seeds – 1/2 tbsp
  • Dried cranberries – 1 tbsp

Method:

  1. Blend berries, almond milk and kale until smooth and pour it into a bowl.
  2. Top it off with sliced bananas, seeds, nuts and dried fruits and enjoy!

Makes 1-2 servings