Mixed Vegetable Vaangi Baath

So, typically, Vaangi baath consists of eggplant. Literally Vaangi means eggplant and Baath means rice. Vaangi Baath = eggplant rice.

But, care for a change?Then insteadof just vaangi, why not add some mixed vegetables and go about preparing the dish as usual.

Here is how

We need:

1 cup of cooked rice,cooled and grains separated.

1 cup of mixed vegetables( carrots, capsicum, peas, green beans)-preferably cut  lengthwise.

2 tbsp oil

1tsp mustard seeds

1tsp urad dhal(black gram dal)

2 red chillies slit

2 tbsp Vaangibaath powder(MTR or ANY brand)

asafoetida-a pinch

Method:

In a wide pan heat oil on medium heat. once hot, add mustard seeds, asafoetida and Urad dal.

When the seeds splutter and urad dal turns red add the red chillies followed by the mixed vegetables. Saute the  veggies until tender on a medium heat. once the vegetables are tender, add  the Vangibaath powder and salt and stir well.

Turn off heat. Finally add the cooled rice and mix well evenly.

Squeeze lemon before serving.

Ajwaini Tadka pulav

Some of the strong flavors are coming together in this recipe. As the title says, the basic seasoning or the tadka for this pulav is ajwain or the carom seeds,and nothing else!

Typically, the tadka consists of cumin seeds, Hing(asafoetida) turmeric and such. But here, in this recipe I have not added anything except a teaspoon of Ajwain. I could not believe the dens flavor of ajwain once the dish was done.

Now, this dish may not be for all. because, I know, many people hate Ajwain. But for those who Love them, like me, you are in for a treat.

I love ajwain in many cases, like parathas, masala buttermilk, pakodas etc. So here is another dish with Ajwain.

Along with Ajwain, the pulav also have other usual strong flavors of ginger-garlic paste and  garam masala.

What we need:
2 cups of cooked Basmati rice

1 cup of mixed vegetables

1 tomato sliced

1 onion sliced

3 tbsp oil

1 tsp ajwain

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ginger garlic paste

1 tsp red chilli powder

salt.

Ajwain seeds

Method:

In a pan heat oil and add the Ajwain

once ajwain crackles, add the onions, tomatoes and mixed vegetables. Add Ginger garlic paste and saute for few minutes until the raw flavor is gone and then add salt

next add the spices and fry until the oil separates

turn off the flame.

Add the cooked rice to the vegetables and mix well. adjust salt.

Green gram Khichidi

Khichidi. A comfort meal. You might have heard that line a gazillion times before. And why wouldnt you? Because it is indeed a comfort meal. A one wholesome pot of sheer satisfaction. A sick day’s soothing medicine.

Khichidi, traditionally a combination of rice and moong dal, cooked to a creamy consistency. spices may include and vary from just cumin to ginger, garlic , cinnamon and cloves!

But it is always the simplicity that does the trick. So just spicing up with cumin and crushed black peppers is enough to work wonders for your tastebuds.

In this particular recipe instead of yellow moong dal I have used the green moong.  It just makes the dish one level up, healthier! Also, the spice girl that I am and since I love green chilies, I have added them in this recipe.

So read on, and find your way to seventh heaven!

1/2 a cup of soaked green gram

1/2 a cup of  Jasmine or sona masuri rice

1 tbsp finely grated ginger

2 green chillies finely chopped

1 tsp cumin

1 pinch turmeric

and a generous pinch of Asa foetida

2 tbsp oil

4 cups of water.

First, soak the dry green gram in water for atleast 2 hours. the longer you soak , the creamier it cooks.

In a wide pressure cooker, add 2 tbsp of oil or ghee.

once hot add, cumin, ginger, turmeric, asafoetida and green chillies and saute for 2 minutes.

Next add the soaked green gram and the rice and fry for 2 more minutes. add salt.

Lastly, add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.  finally close the lid and pressure cook until 3 or 4 whistles

Serve hot with more ghee and yogurt on the side.

Note: It is important to put equal proportions of rice and dal for the khichidi. also it is important to make the consistency creamy or watery. Because with time, the dish gets way too thick and it does not feel good.

Ghee or clarified butter is vital for taste enhancement. However, if you want to keep your fat intake in check, substitute with oil.

Navratna Pulav

Nav- Nine, Ratna- gemstones. That is what it means. nav ratna – nine gemstones. Except we are not cooking with gemstones here. But the nine important ingredients that come together in this recipe are nothing less than gem stones, that makes this dish rich aromatic and flavorful .

There was a time, when I was not web savvy, I used to jot down recipes the moment I heard it from some one or watched it on TV. I used to just grab a notebook lying on the coffee table and start quickly jotting down the recipe. The recipes would find spaces in those last pages of the book or in the corner of an already filled up page or sometimes I even used to rip a tiny bit of paper and used to cram it with words almost illegible.

It was the excitement of finding a new recipe or the fear that if I miss it at that moment I would never learn that recipe ever. Those days were fun when I wanted to learn to cook and was all ears when my friends or family  talked about the dish.

Now times have changed so much that if I want to know about a recipe I know I will get it for sure, on the world-wide web. Well, most of the times.

This pulav  is one such recipe which I found  on the back pages of an old notebook when I was doing some closet cleaning. It was funny to see how I had almost squeezed the writing on the edge of the paper that I had to almost guess what those last ingredients are.

But don’t fear, now that I am quite a seasoned cook, I am confident about what I put in the dish and it is all safe.

Now, I am not exactly sure, to which place or culture this dish is indigenous to. I am guessing it is a Kashmiri cuisine. But please correct me if I am wrong about that.

Typically, this dish is rich with ghee, nuts like Pista, almonds and raisins for garnish. and also the dish is typically a combination of 9  fruits, vegetables and nuts. That is what makes it Navratna in a true sense.But I am forgoing all of that, reason simply  being I did not have those ingredients on hand and also I don’t like mixing sweet and spice together.

Oh Bummer, eh?

Introducing the Nav-ratnas:

Fresh grated Coconut- 1 cup

Cashewnut- A handful soaked in water

Poppy seeds- 1 tbsp soaked in water along with cashews

Cinnamon 1 stick

Star anise -1

Cloves- 3

Cardamom pods- 2

Saffron- I generous pinch soaked in warm water/milk

Yogurt- 1 cup

Others:

2 cups of Basmati rice, cooked and cooled for the grains to separate.

1 red onion grated

1 tomato pureed

1 cup of parboiled mixed vegetables( Cauliflower, beans, carrots peas)

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

2 tbsp oil

salt to taste

Method:

For Grinding: Grind in to a smooth paste, coconut ,cashews and poppy seeds. ( the soaking of cashew and poppy seeds aids in smooth fine grinding)

In a thick bottomed pan, heat oil. To that add Cinnamon , cardamom, star anise, cloves and fry for about 30 seconds until flavors pop out.Add ginger-garlic paste and fry until raw smell is gone.

work on medium heat through out.

Next add grated onion and fry for about 2 minutes until the rawness goes away and onion paste separates from oil.

Next, add the tomato puree and fry for about a minute until the paste cooks and separate from oil.

Next add the ground coconut paste and mix well . Let it cook for about a minute.

Next, add the parboiled vegetables and mix well for about a minute.

Add salt and chilli powder and mix well.

Finally add yogurt  and let the whole mixture cook for another 2 minutes.

Turn off the heat.

Mixing:

In another wide pan spread the cooled rice .add the soaked saffron all over the rice. the beautiful warm orange color starts spreading.  Pour the spicy vegetable mixture on top of the rice. I like to work with my hands at this point. Mix with your hands thoroughly the rice and vegetables and the gravy altogether, so that the mixture evenly coats all of the rice.

Add salt if needed. If the dish is dry, mix in some olive oil on top. Cover the pan with aluminium foil.

Now turn on the heat to  medium low. Keep the pan on heat for about 10 minutes and let the whole dish cook through.

Serve warm with some raitha on the side.

Easy Restaurant Style Vegetable Biriyani with Tofu

This simple and easy recipe makes you forget dining out.

What we need:

1. 1 cup of mixed vegetables, fresh or frozen (beans, peas, carrots, corn)

2. I cup of Cauliflower florets.

3. about 10 chunks of extra firm tofu

4. 1 onion chopped

5. 4 ripe and juicy tomatoes chopped

6. 2, 3 green chillis slit lengthwise

7. spices: 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp garam masala( rajwadi badshah brand), 1 tsp cumin, 2 tsps Shahi paneer masala( badshah brand), 1 stick cinnamon, 3 cloves, 1 pod cardamom, 1/2 star anise

8. 2 cups of basmati rice cooked and cooled into separate grains.

9. 2 tbsp of oil.

Dont be overwhelmed with the list of ingredients. the actual preparation is quite simple and u will love it.

 

method:

1. In a thick bottomed pan heat 2 tbsp of oil. once oil is hot add turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and star anise and saute for few seconds.

2. Now add onion and saute until onions turn translucent

3. Now add the slit green chillis, cauliflower florets and mixed vegetables and saute for few minutes until veggies get tender but not too soft.

4. then add the chopped tomatoes and mix in with all the veggies. Cover with a lid and let them cook for few minutes until tomatoes become very soft an form a gravy. There is no need to add any water.

5. Now add chilli powder, garam masala and shahi paneer masala and salt and stir in the mixture.

6. Finally add the tofu and give a quick stir and let the whole mixture simmer for 5 minutes.

Now you have a beautiful mixed vegetable curry-like base ready to be mixed with rice.

Take the cooked basmati rice and spread on the vegetable mixture . add salt and oil on top and mix the rice well. Turn on the heat and mix the whole rice on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat.

Garnish with finely chopped mint.

Your restaurant style biriyani is ready.

tips: add all spices according to your taste. the cauliflower should be tender yet firm. tofu should be added in the end and can be replaced with paneer.