मटारची उसळ / Mattarchi Usal – Greenpeas in Green Curry

Luscious green curry sure to seduce your taste buds!

It was a small get-together at our place and my mom had made “Mattarchi Usal”. I still relish those moments, the taste is still live in my memory. After a long time I tried to recreate it with slightly different ingredients. It’s very easy to make and doesn’t require any special ingredients. I am sure you will enjoy it as much I did.

Ingredients

2 cup peas (shelled)
3/4 cup fresh coconut, grated
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp ginger, grated
8-10 curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)
1/2 tsp hing
2 dry red chillies/ or chilly powder as per taste
salt as per taste
1/2 tbsp coriander powder or 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp oil
1 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1-2 star anis (optional)

Method –

Make a fine paste with coconut, cilantro, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, ginger and garlic. Add some water if required.

In a cooking pot, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing. Add turmeric powder if you like. Add curry leaves and red chillies cut into halves. Fry for another minute. Now add the green paste and let it cook until the paste starts leaving oil. Add salt as per taste. Also add star anis. Now add green peas and some water to maintain the desired consistency for the curry. Let the peas cook for 5-10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and sugar.

Serve with hot bread slices or rotis. Enjoy!

Side Note

Traditionally the green paste is made using heavy stone grinder and it’s called “Watan वाटण” in Marathi. Needless to mention, it tastes wonderful and also makes the dish very aromatic.

http://www.fotopedia.com/items/everlasting-rXz8uvQVpnU

Sending this to ‘Flavors of Maharashtra‘ event hosted by SeduceYourTasteBuds and Simply.Food

 

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Potato Sabji with South Indian flavors

Quick and Easy with flavors you don’t want to miss!

Urad daal and curry leaves are very prominent in South Indian preparation. The two ingredients add distinct aromas making any dish instantly tempting.

South Indian Potato Sabji

Cooking time - 15 min Prep time - 15 mins
Ingredients -
3 large potatoes, washed; peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped (I do it without onion)
1 tsp urad daal
1 tsp channa daal (optional)
1 tsp ginger, finely grated
for tadka -
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seed
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
6-8 curry leaves, roughly chopped
5 dried red chillies, roughly chopped
3-4 tb poon oil
2 tsp salt or to taste
shredded coconut and chopped cilantro for garnish

A frying pan works better than a deep pan or kadhai due to larger surface area.

Prepare tadka in a pan over medium flame. Add urad daal and chana daal to tadka. Let the daal turn golden brown. Next goes red chilies and finely chopped onion, ginger and turmeric powder. Sauteé the onion for another 7-8 minutes. It’s time for curry leaves, let them fry for a minute and then add chopped potatoes. Sprinkle some salt. Mix well and let it cook for 4-5 minutes with lid on. Remove the cover and let them cook further.

Garnish with fresh coconut and chopped coriander leaves.

Tip –

The subji tastes better if potatoes become slightly crispy. Once potatoes become tender, remove the cover and let them cook further for a two – three minutes. This way potatoes don’t become soggy.

पालकाची ताकातली भाजी (Palakachi patal bhaji)

Spinach goodness with Garlic tadka in one pot dish 

This is yet another Maharashtrian classic recipe. Spinach cooked with buttermilk and besan (chick pea flour), ginger and green chilis, chana daal and peanuts for added crunch; topped with garlic tadka; you cannot go wrong with this one. I  enjoy it with rice, bhakri or even like soup. It’s quick and delicious.

palkachi patal bhaji

Ingredients

a bunch of spinach - washed and chopped
1-2 tea spoon grated ginger
1/2 cup yogurt or buttermilk
4-5 tea spoons besan (chana daal flour)
3-4 tea spoon chana dal
3-4 tb spoon peanuts (ground nuts)
4-5 green chillies - chopped.
3-4 aamsul / or 1/2 tea spoon tamarind paste
1 tea spoon sugar
For tadka -
mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing, turmeric curry leaves, garlic, green chillies 
and oil/ghee
salt to taste

Soak chana daal and peanuts in water for an hour so that they cook faster. It’s better to use non-roasted peanuts as they absorb water nicely and taste better when cooked.
Get water boiling, add chopped spinach leaves, peanuts and chana daal and grated ginger and aamsul. Use just enough water to immerse spinach. Let the spinach and daal cook for 5-7 minutes. In another bowl, whisk yogurt and besan and add it to the cooked spinach, let it simmer for another 3-4 minutes. I like to add one/two chillies while the spinach is cooking and rest I use in tadka.

Nest step is to prepare tadka and add it to the cooked spinach. I prefer Ghee to oil for this dish. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and if you like, add a few coriander seeds. Once they start splattering, add hing and turmeric powder and then garlic and green chillies and curry leaves. Add this seasoned ghee/oil to the spinach mixture. Add salt and little bit sugar. The “patal bhaji” is ready.

A little bit of sugar nicely compliments the tangy touch added by aamsul. The garlic tadka makes this simple dish out-of-this world! i

A Quick Note –
To maintain the nutritional value of spinach, it’s important not to overcook the tender leaves. Add spinach after daal and peanuts are cooked, spinach takes hardly 2-3 minutes of cooking time.

Sending this to ‘Flavors of Maharashtra‘ event hosted by SeduceYourTasteBuds and Simply.Food 

Moong, Kale Chane, Chavali Usal

Usal is a very common main dish in Maharashtrian homes and especially useful when you don’t have a full pantry. It contains any sprouted grains such as moong, kale chane or Chavali (black eyed peas) mixed together with sautéed onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic. The special Maharashtrian touch comes from Goda masala + grated coconut and a bit of jaggery.

This recipe can be used for any grains or combination. The other day I didn’t have enough moong or kale chane so I mixed them and it turned out just perfect!

You need to soak moong and kale chane overnight and preferably use warm water. I used Kepra’s Onion Garlic Masala with some homemade Goda masala. You can easily get these in Indian stores.

Cooking Time : 20 min

Ingredients –

1 cup sprouted moong
1 cup sprouted kale chane
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3-4 curry leaves
1/2 tsp Kanda-Lasun(Onion-Garlic) masala
1 tsp Goda Masala
1 tsp red chili powder
3-4 tb spoon shredded coconut
1/2 tsp jaggery / sugar
1 tb spoon oil for phodani/tadka
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Hing powder
salt to taste
Whole Garam Masala (optional)
2-3 peppercorns
1 clove
1-2 cardamom
a small cinnamon stick

Mix all sprouted grains in equal amount of water in a pressure cooker, add whole Garam masala and a small piece of raw onion with 1 tsp of salt and cook for 3-4 whistles. Mixing whole Garam masala and onion while cooking really induces nice flavours.

Usal does not need much oil, so heat just enough oil to the chopped onion. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing powder in order to heated oil. Add chopped garlic and curry leaves and onions. As usual add some salt to make the frying process quicker. Saute the onions till they become translucent, now it’s time for grated ginger and diced tomatoes. Smash the tomatoes as they start cooking.

Lower the heat and all the masalas. I used onion-garlic masala. (This could be very strong and may overpower other flavors so taste it first) and Goda masala for the taste of home cooking! Add chili powder and salt to taste. Make sure this mixture is not dry which can cause masala to burn easily. Mix everything with some water used to cook the grains and now mix the cooked grains with sufficient water. Add shredded coconut, and let it boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add a bit of jaggery (or sugar) and squeeze some lime juice for just a punch it needs to be perfect. Garnish it with freshly chopped coriander. It’s ready!

Sprouted grains make up for the lack of protein in vegetarian diet, so enjoy yourself!

moong and kale chane usal

Moong and Kale Chane Usal

Vangi Batata – Unbeatable!

I adapted my mom’s recipe of “bharli vangi” to make it super simple and extremely delicious. The one thing I like about वांगी/brinjal/eggplant is it’s readily available in American grocery stores and this subji does not need any special ingredients. It’s super easy and super delicious.

vangi-batata

Ingredients
5-6 medium sized eggplants
2-3 small potatoes
For masala –
1 tb spoon dhana-jeera powder
2.5 tb spoon peanut powder (दाण्याचे कूट)
1 tsp kala masala ( गोडा मसाला )
1 tb spoon shredded coconut
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp sesame seeds (roughly powdered)
1 tsp tamarind paste (deep tamarind chutney works well)
1 tsp jaggery
for tadka (फोडणी)
1 tb spoon oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds,
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp hing powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
4-5 curry leaves
salt to taste

If you want you can make tamarind paste at home but I really like Deep Tamarind Chutney instead. But make sure you account for the salt and chili powder contained in this chutney.

Let’s get started. The whole did does not take more than 25 minutes. Wash eggplants and pat them dry and dice them and keep these cubes immersed in water added with a pinch of salt to avoid their discoloration. Same for potato. Time taken = 5 mins.

Prepare tadka in a pan and add curry leaves after you add turmeric powder. Now add potato cubes and few drops of water. Let it cook for 2 minutes with lid on. Now transfer eggplant cubes to the pan and add some more water. I like to use the same water used for immersing eggplant pieces. Again, if you decide to use this water, remember to adjust salt accordingly because the water does contain some salt. Now let it cook for 5-7 minutes before we add our masala.

Mix all dry ingredients of masala together except for tamarind paste and jaggery. If you add jaggery early in the process, eggplant and potato take longer to cook.

dry masala

Okay, so add the masala to the pan and also add some more water to mix it together. Add salt and let it cook for another 5-7 minutes. Eggplant doesn’t take long to cook so just make sure potatoes are cooked properly. Now add tamarind paste and jaggery and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Done. Yummy creamy vangi batata bhaaji is waiting for you!

Extra Credit –
Once I ran our of sesame seeds so instead I used तिळाची चटणी (dry sesame seed chutney) and कारळ्याची चटणी. Also add flax seed powder if you have some. It not only boosts omega-3 intake but gives the subji its creamy texture without using more oil.

Mushroom Mutter

This is one of my favorites. It’s quick and does not demand any off-beat ingredients except for my secret ingredient – Saunf powder (Fennel powder)
Check the nutrition info below.
Ingredients

Button mushrooms, sliced 16-18
Green Peas 1 cup
Tomatoes, chopped 2 medium
Onion, chopped 1 medium
Ginger garlic paste  1 tbsp
Cream 1/4 cup
Dhana-jeera powder 2 tb spoon
Garam masala – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Chilli powder to taste
Black Pepper powder 1/2 tsp or to taste
Saunf powder – 1 tb spoon
Salt to taste
Few cashewnuts chopped (optional)
raisins 10-12 (optional)
oil 1 tb spoon

Make sure you wash mushrooms before slicing and add a pinch of salt and turmeric to the water while washing. Slice all mushrooms vertically. Fennel powder is the secret ingredient of this recipe. Slighty roast fennel seeds before grinding them to make powder. Roasting them lightly really bring out the aroma and the flavor. We use half of this powder to flovor the oil before you add roughly chopped onion to the oil in a pan. Saute the onion till it caramelizes and then add chopped tomatoes and ginger garlic paste. If you have fresh ginger and garlic, even better. Cook the mixture till oil starts separating. Let it cool for few minutes before grinding it to make a fine puree. You might need to add some water to bring to proper consistency.

Transfer the puree to the same pan and add all the spices, including the remaining saunf powder. Add sliced mushrooms and green peas and let them cook by keeping the lid on. Mushrooms and peas don’t take long to cook so keep an eye on it. Now turn off the heat and add fresh cream and mix it well. The creamy mushroom mutter is ready to serve! Garnish it with some chopped coriander leaves.

You can use yogurt instead of cream but make sure it’s not sour. You can also use milk instead of cream but milk but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Mushroom Mutter

I generated a nutrition label for it on nutritiondata.com –

Pav Bhaji – Yum O!

Pav bhaji is my weak point. It tastes best when you have it at a road-side place or not-so-healthy place 😉 It was a long time since I made it so when we invited Kandy for dinner, pav bhaji was our first choice. He loved it. This is how I made it.

Ingredients for bhaji :

Potatoes, boiled and smashed         3 medium
Tomatoes, finely chopped             3 medium
Onions, finely chopped            2 big (for bhaji) 1 small (for garnish)
Green pepper (capsicum), rough chopped      2-3 medium
Cauliflower, cut into big florets    1/2 small
Green peas                           1/2 bowl
Carrot, cut into medium peices       1/2 medium sized
Ginger, grated                       1 inch
Garlic, grated                       4-5 big cloves
Cilantro, finely chopped             8-9 springs for garnish
Oil                                  2 table spoons
Tomato puree (without garlic)        2-3 table spoons (optional)

Pav bhaji masala                    2 tea spoons ( or to taste ) (divided)
Red chili powder                    2 tea spoons ( or to taste )
cumin seeds                         1/2 tea spoon
Amul butter and Pav                 as per requirement.

If you are not making khada pav bhaji, roughly chop green pepper, carrots and potatoes. Add these veggies and also cauliflower florets to a pressure cooker with enough water to soak all veggies and let them cook for not more than 3 whistles. Add some salt and whole garam masala to the pressure cooker, if you like.

While that’s happening, finely chop onions and tomatoes, and also garlic and grate ginger. Heat oil in a big pan. I like to add some Amul butter with the oil, but feel free to skip this step. Add cumin seeds, don’t wait long till you add garlic else cumin seeds start burning. Let the garlic pieces turn brownish and then add onion. Add some salt which helps quicken the frying process. Once onions are done, add tomatoes and let them cook down. Add tomato puree, if you have it.

At this point, you are ready to add the masala. Add red chili powder and half of pav bhaji masala and let that mix nicely with the oil and rest of the ingredients. Don’t let it become dry, add some water if needed. And now it’s time for all other veggies and green mutter. If you are using frozen mutter, you can add them directly to the pan else you might want to cook them in advance. Drain the water and mash down the veggies using a wooden / steal masher. That’s makes that process very easy and add it to the masala. Also add the water you used for cooking the veggies. Now add salt and more masala if you like and let it come to a boil with lid on. Let it simmer for a few minutes and keep the lid on to lock down all flavors.

Now comes the best part, just before serving, heat some butter in a small tadka pan and add some pav bhaji masala and let it fry nicely. The smell is out of the world! Add this masala butter to the bhaji and mix it. That’s makes it restaurent style 🙂

Garnish it with chopped onions mixed with finely chopped cilantro and lemon juice! Enjoy with hot toasted pav and be gentle with the butter, just for that day 😉