Saturday, March 30, 2013

Shredded green beans with coconut (Beans poriyal)

This is a side dish which is a go to in any South Indian home. The frozen french cut green beans are perfect for making this side and cook up in no time at all. In fact a few weeks back we were visiting a friend for tea and she asked us to stay for dinner. In 30 minutes, she made this bean dish, with some lentils and steamed rice. It was a great home cooked meal and we enjoyed it thoroughly I used fresh green beans and sliced them using the food processor. In an Indian household, the beans would be cut immaculately into quarter inch pieces.
Simply stir-fried with mustard seeds, lentils and garnished with dessicated or freshly grated coconut, it is a perfect green beans dish.

Shredded green beans with coconut

1 lb fresh green beans
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon urad dal (white lentils)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafetida
1 sprig of fresh curry leaves(optional)
2 tablespoon dessicated unsweetened coconut
Salt to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the mustard seeds and urad dal. When the mustard seeds start to pop and the urad dal has turned light brown, about 30 seconds, add the asafetida, and the curry leaves (if using) and stir for a couple of seconds.
2. Add the green beans and salt and mix well. Continue cooking stirring occasionally till the beans are cooked - around 10 minutes. The beans will be crisp but cooked.
3. Garnish with dessicated coconut right before serving. Serve hot.

Serves 3 to 4 persons as part of a multi-course meal.

Green bell pepper and peanut relish

This beautifully vibrant, tangy and spicy green relish is a wonderful accompaniment to any steamed or fried dish. The cilantro gives it the vibrant color and the lime juice gives it a lovely tang. Peanuts add bulk as well as some texture.

In India it is typically served with idlis (steamed rice and lentil cakes), dosas (crisp rice and lentil crepes), or uttapams (blinis made with lentils and rice). But I have found many other uses for it. Spread over grilled chicken or grilled fish, it tastes exceptionally good and it also spectacular with fish cooked in parchment paper.

Green Bell pepper and peanut relish

½ large green bell pepper cut into 1 inch cubes
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon, peeled chopped fresh ginger
¼ cup roasted peanuts without skin
1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 green chili, chopped (use jalapeno for mild heat or serrano for extra heat)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon lime juice (lemon juice is not sour enough)
  1. Heat a small saute pan with olive oil over medium heat. 
  2. Add the cumin and the bell pepper and cook till the bell pepper has softened but still has its color.
  3. Cool the mixture slightly and transfer to a blender. Add the ginger, peanuts, coriander leaves, green chili, salt and lime juice and blend till it is an almost smooth paste.
  4. Serve at room temperature. Keeps refrigerated for a week.
Yields one cup.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Baked potato patties with peanuts (tikkis)

This is the vegetarian version of my fish cakes which I made for my vegetarian family. They were equally delicious and even more crisp than the fish cakes. I substituted the fish with peanuts to add the extra crunch and some protein. This is a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes, put it in a burger bun for a tasty school lunch or just serve it as an appetizer at a party. If you are serving them at a party, make three per person since they are very addictive.

Baked potato patties with peanuts(tikkis)
1 large russet potato

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1 tablespoon sumac
1/3 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
3 tablespoon canola oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2. Mash the boiled potato and mix it with the onions, cilantro, green chili, black pepper and salt to taste. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Add the peanuts and mix them so that it is distributed evenly.
3. Take little balls of the potato and peanut mixture and make little patties by flattening the balls. You should get 8 to 10 from this quantity.
4. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil to a baking sheet and place in the pre-heated oven on the middle rack for 5 minutes to heat the oil. Now place the patties on the pre-heated baking sheet. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of canola oil over the cakes and place the baking sheet back in the oven in the middle rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the patties and place it back in the oven for another 15 minutes. The potato patties will be golden brown on both sides.
5. Serve warm with ketchup.

Makes 8 to 10 patties