Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bhopla and Baingan Bharta

I thought of combining red pumpkin (bhopla) with eggplant to make this bharit/bharta as I am always looking for ways to incorporate bhopla in our diet, given its health benefits. I try to make one item with red bhopla every week like - Pumpkin Curry, Squash Curry, Pasta Sauce or Gharge (sweet pumpkin puris). Since trying this combination bharit the first time, it has now become a regular feature for me.

Here's how I make the Bhopla and Baingan Bharta:

1 large eggplant
1 cup cooked mashed red pumpkin
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finelt chopped tomatoes
handful of frozen green peas
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp cumin pwd
1 tsp coriander pwd
1/4 tsp red chilli pwd
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp kitchen king masala
2 tbsp yogurt
Salt & sugar to taste
chopped cilantro to garnish

Make 4-5 lenght-wise slits in the eggplant, rub all over with little oil and roast in a 400F oven for 1 hour turning every 15 mins. I use a baking sheet covered with aluminium foil, to collect the eggplant juices and make clean-up easy. When the roasted eggplant cools enough to handle, peel off the skin. it should peel off easily at this point. Mash the eggplant pulp into little pieces with a knife.

The red pumpkin I buy from the Indian store in usually cut into large chunk. I chop it into smaller pieces, peel it and cook with very little water for about 15 mins on medium heat. It will soften very easily at this point and can be mashed with a fork.

To proceed with making the bharit, make the tempering by heating the oil, adding the cumin seeds & when they sizzle, adding the chopped onions. Fry the onions till softened, then add the ginger and paste paste. Fry 2 mins, then add the chopped tomatoes, coriander pwd, cumin pwd, red chilli pwd, garam masala pwd and kitchen king masala pwd. Stir well and cook on medium heat about 7 to 8 mins. Add the mashed eggplant and red pumpkin. Add salt and sugar to taste. Add the frozen peas. You can add a few drops of water to prevent burning, but remember the bharta/bharit is on the dry side, so don't add a lot of water. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 mins. Then add the yogurt and stir to mix well. Heat gently and take off the stove. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Kande Pohe

Kande Pohe is a popular breakfast/snack dish. It is made with beaten/flattened rice (called pohe in Marathi). Though it is quick & easy to make, the tricky part for me is getting the right texture - the pohe should be neither too dry nor too mushy. After trying many techniques over the years, I have finally settled on this.

So here's how I make the Kande Pohe:

2 cups thick pohe (available in Indian stores)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric pwd
3 green chillies - chopped
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup frozen peas
handful of peanuts
chopped cilantro for garnish
shredded fresh coconut for garnish
lemon juice, salt and sugar - to taste

Take the pohe in a fine meshed colander and wash well under cold running water. Drain off the water and cover the colander with the soaked pohe in it with a plate.
Heat the oil in a kadai/wok, drop the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric pwd, green chillies and chopped onions. Fry on medium heat until onions soften nicely (abt 10 mins.), stirring occasionally. Fluff the wet pohe gently to break up any lumps and add to the kadai/wok. Add salt and sugar to taste. Add the frozen peas. Given it all a gentle stir, cover and cook for another 5 to 10 mins stirring gently in between.
Take off heat, add the lemon juice. Garnish with chopped cilantro, coconut and peanuts. Serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.
Goes very well with a cup of chai.
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