Sunday, August 20, 2017

doodh wali guwar subzi | cluster beans cooked in a milky curry

Doodh wali guwar subzi or cluster beans cooked in a milky curry  is a discovery I made recently. I love it when my readers interact with me on my social media pages and exchange recipes too. I would admit I don't try those recipes always but some of those ideas are so good that I work on them immediately. Doodh wali guar ki subzi was one of them.

Guwar is one vegetable that can grow for almost all through the year I realised. A good news for me as I keep experimenting with this vegetable a lot. The mild bitterness and the fleshy texture is what I like but I think my mind starts preferring whatever is healthy for the body, I have some conditioning since childhood for sure. I remember how we used to get only a certain variety of guwar in Banaras as no one eats it there and it is used mostly for the animal feed, the beans are considered great for milch animals. 
The variety available in those days was smaller in size and used to get very fibrous if mature, everyone else in the family hated that fibrous guwar and my father always insisted it is so good for the body, him being the seasoned agronomist and seed technologist. Even I didn’t like that  in those days but now that we have started getting the bigger, softer and fleshier varieties of guwar I have started liking it a lot, much to my husband’s displeasure. Thankfully, this milky curry with guwar became his favourite too, just like the guwar with peanuts and guwar dhokli subzi.

The idea of this doodh wali guwar ki subzi came from a client who is on my regime to treat a few health problems of hers, she follows me on my Facebook page and it was there that she suggested a recipe of guwar with added milk. I was intrigued and cooked the guwar that way, and since the addition of milk reminded me of this doodh wali lauki, I decided to keep the flavours a little similar. The mild bitterness of methi seeds lends a really good flavour while the guwar changes its texture to a creamy softness so unlike guwar if you ask me. 

Such recipes leave me wondering how a humble ingredient can take a new identity if cooked differently. Such a wealth nature has given in our hands.

(2 servings)
300 gm guwar beans chopped in 1 inch bits (remove stalk but retain the tail) 
½ tsp methi seeds 
2-3 whole dry red chilies 
1 tsp chopped garlic 
1 finely chopped green chili
¼ tsp turmeric powder 
Salt to taste 
1tsp mustard oil 
1 cup of milk 
2 tsp ginger juice (just grate an inch piece of ginger and squeeze it into the curry when required) 

Heat the oil, tip in the methi seeds and dry red chilies. Wait till they get fragrant and then add the garlic and chopped green chilies. Fry them till fragrant again, keeping the flame medium so it doesn’t burn.
Add the chopped guwar, turmeric powder and salt, mix well and cook covered for 5 minutes. 

Add the milk, mix well and cook covered for 2-3 minutes or till it becomes soft and the flavours blend well. Add the ginger juice and mix well before taking the curry off the stove. 

You can add more milk to make the curry a little more saucy or cook a bit more to make it dry, I like it both ways and have been cooking it almost every week this season. 

Please try this doodhwali guwar ki subzi and let me know if your family likes it too. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

recipe of malai tinda | apple gourd cooked in a creamy curry

Malai tinda is one recipe that will convert a tinda hater for sure. I have witnessed it myself and I think the key is in making the food look good even if it has a bad reputation regarding taste and texture.

Every tinda hater I came across wouldn’t even touch a regular tinda subzi if served along with other foods but when it is in the form of Malai tinda or shahi tinda that I make, they won’t even bother asking what subzi is it. They will pick up, eat, take second helpings and rarely realise it was tinda, more because one bad experience with tinda turned them off for ever and they really don’t know how it taste like.

Many punjabi homes cook tinda with loads of tomatoes and onion and though I like that recipe too, my favourite will this malai tinda and the achari tinda that I make sometimes. The shahi tinda is great too but I cook it rarely. Tinda chana dal is made when I have to make a quick meal that tastes great too.

In fact tinda takes the flavour of its cooking medium quite well, if seared for a few minutes and then cooked with whatever flavour you want to infuse it with. And yes, there are some flavour that don’t go well with tinda, the doodh wali lauki or lau shukto when cooked with tinda was a big failure. Imagine similar sounding vegetables have such finer nuances in terms of flavour pairings.

There are many versions of malai tinda made in punjabi families and some of them are quite rich with cashew paste and loads of malai (cream). This recipe of malai tinda has been adopted to my family’s taste and has undergone a few changes over the decades it is being cooked in my home, the original recipe came from some family friend as much as I remember.

(2 large servings)
300 gm tinda (tender apple gourds)
1 medium onion (70 gm approximately) diced finely
2 green chilies slit lengthwise
Pinch of red chili powder or yellow chili powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp everyday curry powder
¼ tsp special garam masala
1 tsp fine ginger paste (preferably juice of ginger)
Pinch of green cardamom powder
2 tejpatta
Salt to taste
1 tbsp mustard oil
1 cup milk
1 tbsp malai (fresh home made clotted cream)

Clean the tinda surface, no need to peel them, and chop each one of them in quarters.
Heat the oil, add green chili, chopped tinda and onions at once. Stir fry at high for a minute, lower the heat and add the tejpatta. Keep stir frying till the tinda quarters get a little brownish patches around the edges.
Add all the powdered spices and stir fry for a minute so the spices turn aromatic, pour the milk, lower the heat to minimum and cover the pan to cook for 8-10 minutes or till the tindas are cooked through. The cooking time depends on how tender the tindas are.
Once cooked, add the malai, stir gently and empty the malai tinda in the serving bowl. Adding the malai at the last step brings out the creamy colour beautifully.

To make the malai tinda richer, you can add 1-2 tbsp of cashew paste along with the malai or just increase the quantity of malai.

Some people like to add kasoori methi to the malai tinda but I like it plain. But I make it hot many a times with an extra dose of chili, ginger juice and pepper sometimes, you might try doing that if you like hot curries.

The best thing is, that malai tinda taste great with our multigrain rotis and multigrain sourdough kulchas that is regular in my home. It is great with any type of roti, paratha or even poori I suppose, though I have never tried it with pooris.

Do try the recipe and let me know how malai tinda treats you.