Shital's-Kitchen

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tawa Bharwa Sabzi

When it comes to grilling or charcoal cooking, it is normal to feel overwhelmed,  nervous,  or confused. Do not worry, basically anything that can be cooked over heat or baked in an oven can be cooked over charcoal grill. 

So while we had our grill and gazebo all set up last weekend, we had great time using it. I created my small backyard kitchen with my spice box and ingredients needed, and created a fun meal.

Not just Paneer tikka, kababs, corns, and yams...BBQ and backyard parties can be enjoyed with so many fun recipes!!

Tawa vegetable, or tawa bhindi (check my recipe here) is one of my husband favorite. So after slightly tweaking the recipe I created a fun meal that can be used for BBQ parties. Tawa (griddle) Bharwa (stuffed) Sabzi (vegetable) is a platter or veggies stuffed with spices and cooked on a griddle. This is perfect for serving crisp, cooked, and spices veggies as-is or with flat bread. And I love to use various veggies for this!! I can say use whatever you like. There are just no restrictions for creating something delicious.

Ingredients (serves 4-5)
Veggies:
4-5 medium to small potatoes
2 cups okra
3-4 round small eggplants
Yam
2-3 karela/ bitter melon
4-5 small onions
2-3 Anaheim peppers
2 cups button mushrooms
  • Wash and wipe veggies well. 
  • Lightly scrape bitter melon/karela and slit it. remove large seeds from inside. Use around tsp. of salt and rub it well inside and out. Leave it aside for 10 minutes. Then wash bitter melon well and pat dry with paper towel. This will take away most of the bitterness still keeping the flavor of this veggie.
  • Peel yam or scrape the peel lightly. Slit and keep it aside.
  • Slit other veggies to stuff them.
For stuffing
1 cup oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 inch cinnamon stick
5-6 cloves
5 tbsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
2-3 tbsp. red chili powder
1 tsp. kasuri methi
1 tbsp. amchur powder (raw mango powder)
1 tsp. chaat masala
2 tsp. salt
1 cup besan/chick pea flour
1/4 cup grated jaggery (optional)
  • In a pan heat 3 tbsp oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon stick. Fry for a minutes till mustard seeds crackle. Add coriander seeds and turn of the heat. 
  • Let the fried spices cool for 5 minutes.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, kasuri methi, chaat masala, amchur powder, and salt, 
  • Mix well.
  • Grind the spices well in mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.
  • Mix the spice mixture with 1 cup besan/chick pea flour and jaggery. Add 3 tbsp. oil and mix it well till spices, jaggery, flour, and oil mix well
  • Use this mixture to stuff into all the veggies.
  • Heat a large tawa/griddle or a pan. 
  • Add 2 tsp. oil.
  • The veggies layered on tawa/griddles will be in the order of thei cooking time. Hard veggies or veggies that take longer time to cook will go first on the griddle and will be given 5 extra minutes to cook before adding the next stuffed veggie.
Here is the order in which I add veggies
1. Stuffed potatoes and Stuffed yam
2. Stuffed karela and stuffed eggplant
3. Stuffed onions
4. Stuffed okra/bhindi and stuffed Anaheim peppers
5. Mushrooms
  • Put some oil over the veggies to cook. If cooking in the pan, you can cover the pan with a lid, and allow veggies to cook while tossing them occasionally.
  • If using a grill, cover the grill and lover charcoal heat so that veggies cook in well. Veggies might appear charred from outside but are well cooked from inside.
Here is step-by-step pictorial recipe

4-5 medium to small potatoes
2 cups okra
3-4 round small eggplants
Yam
2-3 karela/ bitter melon
4-5 small onions
2-3 Anaheim peppers
2 cups button mushrooms

Wash and wipe veggies well. 
Lightly scrape bitter melon/karela and slit it. remove large seeds from inside. Use around tsp. of salt and rub it well inside and out. Leave it aside for 10 minutes. Then wash bitter melon well and pat dry with paper towel. This will take away most of the bitterness still keeping the flavor of this veggie.
Peel yam or scrape the peel lightly. Slit and keep it aside.
Slit other veggies to stuff them.



In a pan heat 3 tbsp oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon stick. Fry for a minutes till mustard seeds crackle. Add coriander seeds and turn of the heat.

Let the fried spices cool for 5 minutes.
Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, kasuri methi, chaat masala, amchur powder, and salt, 
Mix well.
Grind the spices well in mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.




Mix the spice mixture with 1 cup besan/chick pea flour and jaggery. Add 3 tbsp. oil and mix it well till spices, jaggery, flour, and oil mix well


Use this mixture to stuff into all the veggies.


Heat a large tawa/griddle or a pan.
Add 2 tsp. oil.
The veggies layered on tawa/griddles will be in the order of thei cooking time. Hard veggies or veggies that take longer time to cook will go first on the griddle and will be given 5 extra minutes to cook before adding the next stuffed veggie.

 Stuffed potatoes and Yam

Stuffed Karela and Stuffed eggplants

Stuffed onions

Stuffed okra and peppers


Mushrooms









Enjoy the Grilling Season!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Grilled Peppers

After owning and using several small charcoal grills, and doing plenty of BBQ parties...we think we are ready for a big charcoal grill. My husband has had his eye on this charcoal grill since past 4 years now. The fun part of this grill is a handle to crank up the charcoal tray. A new toy for him! :) But on a serious note: it indeed is a useful and a fun appliance for my backyard kitchen.  The pictures below are self explanatory.

So we spent last weekend not only setting up our new grill and grill gazebo, but also BBQing. And the first recipe that sizzled with taste, flavor, and aroma were my grilled peppers.

We love grilled peppers: sweet peppers stuffed with cream cheese is my husband's favorite. I have made them ample number of times cooked either in a pan or baked in an oven or deep fried with a batter.  They just taste delicious in all combinations. Check out various pictures and recipes below.

http://shitals-kitchen.blogspot.com/2014/06/purple-yam-patties-and-stuffed-sweet.html

Stuffed with Cheese and Onions

http://shitals-kitchen.blogspot.com/2014/07/sweet-pepper-pakode.html

Sweet peppers stuffed with potatoes and pan fried with little oil and cumin seeds.

Ingredients to make Grilled peppers:
10-15 colorful sweet peppers
1 cup boiled, peeled, and mashed potato
1 cup grated paneer
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 tsp. salt
Finely chopped green chili (as per your spice level)
chopped cilantro
  • In a bowl mix mashed potatoes, grated paneer, cream cheese, salt, chopped green chilies, and chopped cilantro. Mix all ingredients well till it comes together like a dough. The mixture should be cold. If not, stuff the peppers and refrigerate it for some time.
  • Slit sweet peppers, remove seeds if any, and keep them aside.
  • Stuff each pepper with the stuffing. The stuffing needs t be cold and not room temperature. The reason here is that while grilling you do not want the cheesy stuffing to ooze out of peppers. Cold stuffing will turn soft and creamy after grilling, but if your stuffing is already room temperature and soft, it might ooze out and create a mess on the grill. If grilling after few hours, it is a good idea to keep stuffed peppers in a plate, cover them, and refrigerate till ready to use.
  • Use double bar skewer to secure peppers. If using bamboo skewers, it would be a good idea to to use 2 secures parallel to each other to secure peppers so that then are easy to flip on the grill.
  • Grill on high temperature. till it chars on both sides.
  • Serve immediately while the stuffing is soft and warm.
Here is step-by-step pictorial recipe:
In a bowl mix mashed potatoes, grated paneer, cream cheese, salt, chopped green chilies, and chopped cilantro. Mix all ingredients well till it comes together like a dough. The mixture should be cold. If not, stuff the peppers and refrigerate it for some time.


Slit sweet peppers, remove seeds if any, and keep them aside.

Stuff each pepper with the stuffing. The stuffing needs t be cold and not room temperature. The reason here is that while grilling you do not want the cheesy stuffing to ooze out of peppers. Cold stuffing will turn soft and creamy after grilling, but if your stuffing is already room temperature and soft, it might ooze out and create a mess on the grill. If grilling after few hours, it is a good idea to keep stuffed peppers in a plate, cover them, and refrigerate till ready to use.


Use double bar skewer to secure peppers. If using bamboo skewers, it would be a good idea to to use 2 secures parallel to each other to secure peppers so that then are easy to flip on the grill.


Grill on high temperature. till it chars on both sides.


Serve immediately while the stuffing is soft and smooth from warm cheese.


Let's Get Grilling!!!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Masala Kandh/Ratalu

Just before winter starts, yams, and sweet potatoes, and other root vegetables rule farmer's market in India. Streets full of vendors with veggies pilled in a large basket or just a cloth is not a rare sight. Women get out of the house to shop fresh veggies and prepare delicacies for their family... of coarse winter is the time to indulge in food. :)

Although most vegetables are no longer seasonal, but available year round, we still enjoy the flavors of the food in that season. Like spicy, hot, and delicious Undhiyu in preferred and enjoyed more in winters rather than summer. So while it is not summer in California yet, I found our favorite purple yam/kandh/ratalu. This underground root vegetable is purple, is pretty, and delicious too :)

Purple yam brings me memories of Rajasthan...our trip to Shrinathji/Nathdwara, 100 km away from Udaipur where we specifically go to worship our God. This small town of Nathdwara has colorful shopping and delicious food experience.  Below are pictures of our family trip to Nathdwara. Sorry about posting so many, but the train experience, the food, family fun... is making me mostalgic. You will also see pictures of food carts, cows in a shed where we specifically go to feed and worship them, little hand carts and rickshaws as means of transport.

The expression from my dad reveals everything about Masala Kandh/spicy purple Yam





















So while I do bring Kandh Masala from Rajashthan, here is my attempt to create my own too. This masala or spice mix is so versatile that it can be added onto any roasted, grilled, or fried veggies to make it deliciously chatpata.

Kandh Masala or Spice mix
1 tbsp. red chili powder 
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fine pepper powder
1/4 tsp. rock salt

Mix all these well and store this spice mix in a glass jar.

To make Masala Kandh
Purple Yam/kandh
Kandh Masala or spice mix
Lemon juice
Opitonal: Fried Chilies
  • Peel kandh. Wash it well and pat dry it. 
  • Cut into 1 inch thick slices.
  • Fry slices in hot oil for 3-4 minutes. This is just partial frying to partially cook them. Let it cool.
  • Cut into cubes and re-fry till they form crisp. You could also bake in a 400 F oven for 20 minutes.
  • Remove fried cubes in a bowl and add spice mix and juice of a lemon.
  • Mix well and serve immediately.
  • For authentic feel, serve in a leaf bowl (duna) and a pick :)
Here are few pictures.

Peel kandh and wash it well and pat dry it.

Fry slices in hot oil for 3-4 minutes. This is just partial frying to partially cook them. Let it cool.



Cut into cubes and re-fry till they form crisp.

Remove fried cubes in a bowl and add spice mix and juice of a lemon.
Mix well and serve immediately.


For authentic feel, serve in a leaf bowl (duna) and a food pick :)
Fried chilies are optional.
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