String beans curry, Quickly in a microwave!

This is  a very simple dry curry which is very common in South Indian meals.

The curry concept or  as in kannada we call it ” palya”is very common and has a vital place in the south indian meal. As rice is the main course along with sambar or rasam, the palya is often prepared as a side dish to go with the rice.

Different vegetables and greens can be used to make the Palya, like cluster beans, Amaranth greens, Spinach, Okra etc.

In each case, the cooking process  is similar. The ingredients used are very simple . The coconut garnish is really important to enhance the flavor. Most cases a bit of Jaggery is added to sweeten the curry. But I have omitted it here in my recipe.

This simple stirfry is a great accompaniment with Rotis or chapathis.

The tenderness and the natural sweetness of the string beans , makes it melt in the mouth.

The tempering adds a little nuttiness and spice. My favorite way to enjoy this curry will be with some creamy yogurt rice!

String beans curry

1 big bowl of string beans, cut into 2 inch pieces

Salt

For Tempering:

2 tbsp oil

1 pinch Asafoetida

2 red chillies, dry

2 green chillis, chopped

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp black gram( urad dal)

Coconut for garnish

Method:

In a microwave safe bowl, put all the cut beans and fill the bowl with water, just enough to cover the beans.

Cook for about 5 minutes, closing the lid on the bowl.

Meanwhile, work on the tempering.

In a small pan, pour some oil. once it is heated, add mustard seeds, asafoetida, black gram, green chillis and red chillis.

Fry all of them for about less than a minute, on a slow flame. once the seeds splutter and urad dal turns a little golden brown, turn off heat.

Now take the cooked beans, drain excess water from the bowl, add some salt and pour the prepared tempering on top of it.

Mix well. Garnish with fresh coconut.

Red Chilli Garlic Powder seasoned Penne Pasta with Roasted vegetables

Pasta has become a staple in our kitchen from the past few years. In a given week, I sometimes would have cooked more pasta than rice. Reason being it is simple, wholesome, one pot meal.

It is amazing to see how we acquire new tastes over a period of time. For me,  pasta and its sauce is an acquired taste. Also American coffee, salad dressings, olive oil, mayonnaise, Mustard, garlic and many such more.

For a red chilli powder eating South Indian,  pasta with just  tomato sauce is very bland and tasteless. But over a period of time my poor palate have compromised with the taste, better yet, started  liking it.

But I must admit, my taste buds do have some limitations in adaptations. I still cannot eat pasta with Pesto or Alfredo sauce. That is some leap which I have not taken. I have tried to like pesto, but it is something about the nuts and cheese which makes the sauce too dense, which does not please me. .But, that is just me. May be someday I will be going All Pesto! On the other hand, I love pasta with no sauce. The one that is just tossed in some olive oil and garlic. The one that we can find in Cheese cake factory called ,Evelyn’s favorite pasta 🙂

 This time I was at it again. Cooking pasta in the kitchen. I boiled the penne until Aldente, sautéed some vegetables and was just about to pour in some pasta sauce. I would have stirred in all the things together, sprinkled some salt , poured in some generous amounts of pepper powder and red chilli flakes and would have just enjoyed it that way, like any other pasta night. But, not tonight. Tonight the South Indian in me came alive. It said, NO NOT AGAIN! not that same under-salted, no spice tomato sauce again. come on!

For a minute I froze. I had to think. I had to think quick about what should go in to that pan before those veggies started to burn. I had to make up my mind between sauce and no sauce.

A minute later, I knew what I wanted. I had made up my mind. No sauce. I turned to the freezer and pulled out the small packet that was tightly tucked behind the frozen coconut all the way at the back.

And there it was. A small packet rolled and tightly fastened with a rubber  band. a packet of dry red garlic chutney powder. A soulful condiment for a South Indian. I took a second to take a whiff of it directly from the packet and the next second I was dreaming of a spicy masala dosa.

I took a tablespoon full of the red powder and sprinkled it all over my roasted vegetables in the pan. Gave it a nice stir. Finally I added my long waiting pasta in to the pan. Mixed it thoroughly. Minutes later my whole kitchen was filled with aromatics. I decided to toss in some curry leaves too. Very South Indian now!

And there it was, my no sauce, very South Indian Penne Pasta.

What we need:

1 cup of penne pasta cooked al dente

2 tbsp oil

1 cup of Japanese eggplant cut into cubes

1 cup of cauliflower florets

1 cup of red onions sliced length wise

1 tbsp of red chilli garlic chutney powder(available in Indian stores)

1 sprig of curry leaves

salt as per taste

Method:

In a pan heat the oil. once hot ,add onions and fry them on medium heat very slowly until it caramelizes and the sweet flavor pop out.

Next add the eggplant and fry until the eggplants cook  very soft.

Add cauliflower and fry along with the onions and eggplant until it is cooked yet firm.

sprinkle some water to add moisture and speed up the cooking process.

Next add the curry leaves and red chilli garlic powder and stir well so that the powder coats all the vegetables

add salt.

Finally add the cooked penne pasta and stir well altogether.

serve warm

Notes:

You can substitute any other vegetable too. But the above combination of veggies were just perfect.

Vary the amount of red garlic powder according to your spice level

If after adding pasta, the dish looks dry, just drizzle some Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It gives a great flavor while making the whole dish nice and shiny.