Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Veggie Might

Reading Time: 6 minutesPacked full of vitamins and nutrients, adding vegetables will make your next meal a culinary delight


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Indian cuisine boasts a huge variety of ways in which to cook vegetables. With the wonderful produce available to us in Australia, and with the wealth of methods in our traditional cuisine, there should be nothing stopping us from dishing up some truly scrumptious vegetable dishes.


Karela Masala

5 medium-sized karela or bitter melon

3-5 tbsp shredded coconut

3 medium onions

1 medium tomato

1 ½ tbsp khus khus (poppy seeds)

½ tsp turmeric

Red chilli powder to taste

1 ½ tsp coriander powder

1 tbsp tamarind paste

½ tsp mustard

1 sprig curry leaves

Salt to taste

3 tbsp oil

Soak the tamarind in half cup warm water.

Wash and cut bitter melon into rings, remove hard seeds, but retain softer ones. Sprinkle salt over and set aside for 30 minutes. Dice onions and tomatoes. Grind together tamarind, coconut and khus khus into a smooth paste. Remove into a bowl and add salt and the other spice powders. Rinse out blender with water and reserve liquid.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or kadhai. Squeeze out water from bitter melon and fry in hot oil till half done. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Add mustard and curry leaves and wait till seeds splutter. Add onions and cook till colour changes. Add tomatoes and stir. Introduce ground mixture and liquid from the blender and stir till well-mixed. Bring to a boil. Then add in the bitter melon, cover and simmer till melon is well done and the sauce thickens.

Serve hot with rotis or plain rice.


Celery Indian Style

1 bunch celery

½ cup yellow moong dal

Red chilli powder or dry red chillies to taste

Pinch asafoetida

½ tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

1 tsp powdered jaggery or brown sugar

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp dhana-jeera powder

1 sprig curry leaves

2 tbsp oil.


Wash and soak moong dal in water for half an hour. Wash and cut celery into match-stick length pieces.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or kadhai. Add mustard and cumin seeds and allow to splutter. Then add asafoetida, turmeric, red chillies and curry leaves.

Add soaked moong dal and stir briefly. Then add celery. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or till cooked. Keep stirring intermittently. When done add salt, brown sugar and dhana-jeera powder.

To garnish, sprinkle fresh grated coconut over, and top off with coriander leaves.


Kadhai Babycorn

2 cups chopped babycorn (either canned or fresh)

2 large capsicums (one green and one red), deseeded and chopped finely

1 large onion cut into thin strips

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 tsp chopped ginger

5-6 tsp tomato sauce

1-2 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp sugar

Salt to taste

3-4 tsp oil

Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


Dry grind the kasuri methi, coriander seeds and cumin seeds together and make a fine powder.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or kadhai and add the chopped onion and the ginger and garlic. When the onions turn translucent, add the chopped capsicums and stir well. Now add the tomato sauce and the dry powder. Mix well and add the cut babycorn. Add water if needed, cover and simmer till almost done (about 10-15 minutes). Then add the sugar, salt, chilli powder and the fresh coriander. Simmer for a further five minutes.


Besan-stuffed Banana Chillies

10 medium banana chillies

4-5 tbsp oil for frying

Salt to taste.

For stuffing:

1 cup besan (chickpea flour), sifted

Red chilli powder to taste

4 tsp cumin powder

Salt to taste

4 tsp ghee

Pinch asafoetida

1 tbsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)


Mix together the ingredients for stuffing.

Wash banana chillies well and dry with tea-towel. Cut the stems carefully.

Slit each vertically in the middle, leaving the ends intact. Stuff in the besan masala carefully.

Heat oil in a flat-bottomed pan. Lay as many banana chillies as possible in the oil in one layer. Cover and cook on medium heat turning the chillies over carefully once or twice.

When done, sprinkle salt and red chilli powder over.


Besan Capsicum

500 gms green capsicum

2 tbsp besan (chickpea flour)

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

Green chillies to taste, finely chopped

Pinch asafoetida

Salt to taste

1 tsp ajwain (carom)

1/3 tsp turmeric powder

1/3 tsp coriander powder

1/3 tsp amchoor (mango powder)

1/3 tsp garam masala

1/3 tsp aniseed

Oil for frying.


Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add asafoetida and ajwain.

Put in chopped capsicum and cook till soft. Add salt, turmeric, coriander powder, aniseed and cook briefly. Then add besan, garam masala and amchoor. Mix well and cook for a further minute or two.


Capsicum Cabbage

2 cups shredded cabbage

2 capsicums (1 red, 1 green)

½ cup kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

3/4 cup paneer, grated

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

Red chilli powder to taste

½ tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp black pepper

Salt to taste

Fresh coriander leaves.


Chop capsicums finely. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add cabbage and capsicum and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add all other ingredients, cover and cook till capsicum and cabbage are done. Keep stirring intermittently.

Serve hot sprinkled with chopped coriander leaves.


Mushroom with Paneer

150 gms mushrooms, sliced

150 gms paneer, cubed

3 onions, chopped finely

3/4 cup tomato puree

1/2 tbsp ginger paste

1/2 tbsp garlic paste

Green chillies to taste, chopped

2 tbsp oil

1/4 cup milk

Salt to taste

Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing

Mix together:

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp red chilli powder.

Heat oil in a pan. Add ginger-garlic paste and simmer for 5 minutes. Add onion pieces and fry till golden brown. Add the mixed powder and simmer for a minute. Add green chillies and salt and mix well. Add sliced mushrooms and cook on medium heat till half done. Add tomato puree and mix well. Add milk and paneer pieces. Cook till sauce thickens. To serve, garnish with coriander leaves.


Garlic Curry

250 gms garlic

8-10 shallots

Green chillies to taste, chopped finely

Red chilli powder to taste

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 ½ cup coconut milk

2 tsp tamarind pulp

¼ cup hot water

Salt to taste.


Peel garlic cloves and shallots. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and fry garlic, shallots and green chillies over low heat. Then add fenugreek seeds and stir till golden in colour. Add chilli powder and turmeric, stir briefly and add coconut milk and salt. Allow to simmer.

Before boiling point, reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes, or till garlic is soft. Dissolve tamarind in hot water and strain into curry. Cook till well-mixed.

Serve hot with boiled rice.


Carrots with Dill

250 gms carrots

2 bunches fresh dill

3 tbsp oil

½ tsp cumin seeds

Pinch asafoetida

Green chillies to taste, chopped finely

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

1 tsp coriander powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste.

Cut carrots up into discs. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or kadhai, and put in cumin seeds and when they splutter, asafoetida. Stir for a second and then add ginger and green chillies. When brown, introduce the carrots, turmeric and coriander powders. Mix well, then put in the dill and the salt. Stir and cook, covered, on medium heat till carrots are done.


Eggplant in Tamarind Sauce        

500 gms eggplant (use the long thin variety)

½ cup fresh grated coconut

3 medium-sized onions, sliced

2 tsp ginger paste

2 tsp garlic paste

50 gms peanuts

3 tbsp til (sesame) seeds

3 tbsp tamarind paste

Dry red chillies to taste

Pinch asafoetida

Oil for deep frying

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp poppy seeds

Salt to taste

1 sprig curry leaves.

Heat a little oil and roast together coconut, ginger, garlic, peanuts, sesame seeds, dry red chillies, asafoetida and poppy seeds together. Grind the roasted ingredients into a paste.

Slit the eggplant into four and deep fry them till cooked.

Heat some oil again; add the ground paste and fry. Add the fried eggplant and tamarind paste and cook till masala is incorporated into the eggplant. When done, check seasoning and serve garnished with fried curry leaves.


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Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

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