Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cabbage Mishmash

Today was one of the rare days when my refrigerator vege section was nearly empty .. I mean I almost always suffer from the other extreme of having too many vegetables but not today. All I had was half a bell pepper, half an onion, one measly carrot, almost a third of a head of cabbage and that was by far the biggest portion, a couple of tomatoes, one small potato. So I decided to make something with this mishmash and since cabbage was the highest in quantity I have decided to call it a Cabbage Mishmash. This time I would say that the "whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts". The flavor of this vegetable mishmash was so yummy that I decided to post the recipe so I can make it again.

1/3 Cabbage sliced thinly
1/2 Capsicum cubed
1/2 Onion cubed
1 Small Potato cubed fine
1 Carrot diced
2 Tomatoes diced
Handful of Frozen Peas
1 Pod Garlic
1 Small piece ginger
1 Tbsp Oil
1 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tsp Corriander Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
Small piece Jaggery (optional)

1. Heat oil in a pan. Add ginger and garlic sauté for a minute, then add onions sauté for a couple of minutes then add carrots, potato keep stirring. Add cabbage, mix well and continue sauteing. Then add capsicum and  peas continue to sauté.
2. Add salt, and all dry spices. Mix well.
3. Add tomatoes and continue till cooked. Add jaggery mix well cook till jaggery is dissolved switch off the gas. Adjust salt and seasoning as needed. Garnish with fresh cilantro, serve with phulkas.

Notes: This mishmash reminded me of the vegetable filling in the vegetable puffs available in farsan shops and local railway platform shops in Mumbai.
2. This will make a beautiful filling for vegetable wraps or grilled sandwiches, inside pita bread or frozen puff pastry dough mishmash endless possibilities .. Enjoy !!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Small Batch Strawberry Jam

All I can say is I am a happy woman. I have always wanted to experiment with making jam at home but a couple of things (or lack of them) have held me back - namely Pectin and no knowledge of canning / preserving techniques. However, this time I decided to try it with a small enough batch of strawberries so I can simply save it in a glass jar and use it up real quick and I am so very happy with the result. If any of you out there decides to try this please let me know how it turns out and if possible share your pics and also if you decide to use different berries or different amount of sugar etc do let me know. I am a newbie and would love to hear your experiments and experiences ...

1 lb Strawberries
1 C and a little less than 1/2 C Sugar
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 pieces Candied ginger chopped fine (*Optional)

1. Cut up strawberries into really small pieces .. you could also pulse them a few times in the food processor I think ...
2. Put a couple of small plates in the freezer to chill ...we need these to test the consistency of the jam.
3. Take a heavy bottomed pan with tall sides ** tall sides are important otherwise you will have a tough cleaning job on hand **  and mix together mooshed strawberries, sugar and lemon juice.
3. Put on medium heat and let it cook. Keep removing the whitish foam that floats to the top ...
4. You will notice that the mixture will go on thickening as it reaches a rolling boil - a rolling boil is basically when the liquid bubbles in your pot threaten to explode in a colorful spray around you .. be careful sugar burns can be dangerous.
5. Let it boil for 8-10 minutes or till the mix starts to appear like an almost set jello or fruit jelly. At this point remove one plate from the freezer, and run a small amount of jam in a straight line. Tilt the plate if the mix is too runny, let it cook for a couple of minutes more and repeat the test. If the jam appears to be just a wee bit thinner than regular bottled jam it is time to switch the gas and take the pan off the heat.
6. Since this is a small batch I did not use canning techniques. I just nuked a small glass bottle in the microwave for a couple of minutes. I removed it from the microwave and filled hot jam into the hot glass jar and put a lid on it but not before leaving out a good tablespoon on the cold plate for me and hubby to enjoy immediately.
7. Leave the jam to cool for about 10-12 hours then ..well then just enjoy it with toast or pancakes or ....

I know I have the ingredient candied ginger listed above, I had intended adding it once the mixture started to bubble vigorously but I forgot to add them. I have sampled strawberry jam with candied ginger at one of the farm stands a while back and it does taste yummy.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A hot and spicy bowl of Vegetable Jalfrezi

I have been MIA from my blog. Last year was a momentous one for me I became a mother and well another great thing that happened was I got to spent a good five months with my own ma learning the tricks of being one from the best one. This was the longest time I have spent with my mother after I moved to Bombay for my studies and it has been the most wonderful time of my life. I have written earlier also that my mummy is a terrific cook, I got to savor my favourite foods when she was here and found out that over the years she too has been experimenting a lot with food. I am sharing one of her recent recipes which she has reverse engineered from her favourite take-out place menu - Vegetable Jalfrezi. I have no idea why it is called "Jalfrezi" but I love the flavor of this vegetable and the fact that it is simple and quick can be paired with Roti, Bread or Rice or eaten plain straight from the bowl. Another good thing about this one is that you can add / subtract and or substitute vegetables of your choice. I am giving you the version I enjoy.

P.S: I forgot to thank my good friend Subha for patiently clicking the pics ...

14 Oz Paneer
2 Medium Onions
1 Green Bell Pepper
10-15 Green Beans (less or more is upto you)
1 or 2 Carrots 
1 Tbsp Ginger / Garlic Paste (More ginger less garlic, can also add green chillies if you like it hot)
2 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1-2 Tbsp White Vinegar
2 tsp Corriander Powder
1 tsp Turmeric Pdr
1-2 tsp Red Chilli Powder (More if you like it spicy)
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp Oil

1. Chop the onions in big cubes, similarly cut bell peppers in big chunks, peel and chop carrots into rounds or if they are really big in half moon shape. String the beans and cut them in 2 inch pieces.
2. Cut Paneer into cubes. I like big chunks for this recipe. Also, here in the US I use Nanak brand Paneer and I like to wash the Paneer cubes with cold water and microwave them for 2 minutes before adding them to the wok as I think it yields softer paneer.
3. In a wok heat the oil, add onions and sauté for a couple of mins till slightly translucent but not mushy. They should still have a crunch in them.
4. Add ginger and garlic paste saute, add carrots, beans, paneer and mix. Add salt and seasoning sauté till vegetables and paneer are coated with spices. Add bell pepper and mix. Now add the ketchup and vinegar, mix it all together. Let cook for a couple of minutes. All the veges should still have a bite more like chinese stir-fry veges take care not to overcook else you will end up with a regular mixed vegetable.
5. Adjust salt, spices and sweet and tart balance by adding more ketchup and / or vinegar as needed. You can also add a couple of spoons of water if you want it a little bit on the wet side.
6. Put it in a bowl and enjoy. Even my non-Paneer loving husband enjoys this one ...

NOTE: I will be honest, I usually eyeball and add my ingredients so most of my recipes are approximations rather than exact quantities. You can adjust the quantities to suit your taste buds.