Friday, August 20, 2010

Zucchini curry/Sabzi and Palak raita

by Priyanka posted at 9:19 PM 0 comments

After reading Monica Bhide's "Modern Spice" i had a brainwave.....It goes without saying that the brainwave was food-related (especially with regards to the zucchini that i had languishing in my fridge)...Because what else would i have on my mind other than food, food and food:) The author inspires you to use your creativity in combining western and eastern cuisines. Her recipes are simple yet delicious. Give it a try if you come across her book at your local library. You can subsitute the zucchini with red pumpkin a.k.a bhopla, lauki/bottlegourd and turai/dodki/turiya.

Some days back one of our family friends invited us over to dinner....The menu was simple, healthy and yet yummilicious- it comprised of matla undhioo (in a chef's lingo- what is simply means is that its a new take on undhiyoo deconstructed) which means Undhiyoo cooked in a handi/earthern pot (will post the recipe some other time), gujarati dal, pulao and lettuce raita (it was just fabulous- the crunch that the fresh lettuce adds to the dish is just amazing). Doesnt it take you down memory lane (if you have lived in Gujarat, that is). I would like to thank Vrinda for this amazing soulful meal:) Fast forward a couple of days later.....I didnot have any lettuce on hand, but what i did have was some leftover spinach and thats how the palak raita came to be. But if you have lettuce at home, use that because it will win hands down over the spinach in texture and taste when combined with this raita.

Zucchini curry


Serves 3

2 small zucchinis/1 medium-sized zucchini- diced into quarters (do not peel off the skin- it helps prevent the dish from turning mushy)

For curry paste (makes 1 cup approx.)
1 small red onion
2 tomatoes
2 small cloves garlic
1 stick cinnamon, 2 cloves garlic, 1 bayleaf- all toasted
3 tablespoons dry grated coconut- toasted
1 tsp coriander seeds- toasted
1 tsp cumin seeds- toasted
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp oil

For the tempering
2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1 pinch of asafoetida

1. Toast all the dry ingredients for the curry paste first.
2. Heat oil in a pan, add the onions and garlic and saute till translucent.
3. Next add the tomatoes and saute for 5-7 minutes.
4. Let cool and then combine all the ingredients mentioned above for the curry paste and put them thru a blender to make a smooth paste. Set aside (this curry paste can be used for other dishes too- if refrigerated it stays good for atleast 5 days)
5. Heat oil again, add the cumin seeds and after they splutter, add turmeric, asafoetida and the curry paste.
6. Saute for 5 minutes then add the zucchini and salt to taste.
7. Cover and let cook- do not add any water since the zucchini itself releases water.
8. Stir occasionally and when it feels that the zucchini is cooked, remove from heat, garnish with cilantro and serve with rotis.

Palak raita

Serves 4

1-1/2 cups spinach chopped
1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts
salt to taste
sugar to taste

For tempering

2 tsp ghee
2 green chilies-chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
a pinch of turmeric
a pinch of asafoetida

1. Wash and chop the spinach.
2. Combine the yogurt, spinach, crushed peanuts (they must be roasted and semi crushed to provide crunch), salt and sugar
3. Heat the ghee, add cumin seeds and when they splutter, add the green chilies, turmeric and asafoetida.
4. Pour over the spinach yogurt mixture.
5. mix well and serve.

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