Vegetarian Mexican delight..!

Guacamole

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
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If there is one thing that Mr. A loves and can dish out personally, then it has to be that One-mean-Guacamole..!! He makes it sound like rocket science but going through our recipe here, you would realize that it is child’s play. Excellent as an evening dish. Completely vegetarian and easy to prepare. Traditionally used as a dip (along-with Nachos), you may just go ahead and eat it all out if you don’t have chips.

Ingredients

  1. Avocados – 2
  2. Green Chillies – 1
  3. Chopped Onion- 1 medium sized – required half
  4. Tomato – 1 medium size – required 3/4ths
  5. Coriander (Cilantro) – One fistful
  6. Lemon – Half
  7. Salt

Directions

Step One

Wash the avocados and scoop out the fruit into a steel or glass bowl. Discard the seed. Steel or glass bowl – because we need to mash the fruit with a masher or spoon and you don’t want to spoil or leave scratches on your non-stick or ceramic vessels.

Tip:

(a) Picking out Avocados can be tricky. In order to prepare a Guacamole, we need the fruit to be slightly ripe. Extra-ripe means the fruit has already darkened and softened beyond our taste and Under-ripe means that the fruit is very hard inside and we wouldn’t be able to scoop it out  completely. It wouldn’t even mash well. Picking the right fruit comes with experience of picking it several times. So don’t fret if you get it wrong the first time. The Avocado needs to press slightly when you buy it from the market.

(b) After scooping out the fruit do not leave it open for too long as Avocados have a tendency to darken when kept in the open just like Apples. The oxidation turns it brown. Hence we need to be quick here.

(c) Choice of Avocados is really important. I have personally experienced that Mexican or American Avocados taste better than the Kenyan or Ugandan ones. However, the former are thrice as expensive than the latter. 

Step Two

Mash the Avocados until they are slightly chunky. Do not over-mash them into a smooth pulp.

Step Three

(a) Take the Onion – half as suggested in the ingredient list and chop it finely. Do not leave big chunks.

(b) Similarly Chop 3/4th of  a Tomato into a similar size. Make sure of discarding/ draining the liquid and the seedy part of the tomato away.

(c) Take a fistful of Coriander and chop them into tiny pieces as well.

(d) Cut the single green chilli into tiny pieces.

Step Four

Empty the chopped Ingredients into the bowl where we have kept the Mashed avocados ready. Mix well to ensure consistency of the chopped ingredients spread all over the mashed avocados.

Step Five

Squeeze the juice out of half of the lemon into the mixture. This splash of acidity balances the richness of the Avocado.

Step Six

This is important. Avocados are bland. It doesn’t have a heavy flavor unlike all other fruits and in addition it is pretty heavy/rich. Hence, we need to supplement it with a good dose of salt. This could be more than what we use for preparing other foodstuffs and at the same time different people would have different tastes.

My suggestion would be to sprinkle a full tea-spoon of salt > Mix the mixture well > Taste it > Add more salt if you cannot taste the salt yet > Stop when you are satisfied.

Step Seven

Serve with some Nacho chips. If not, take that spoon and dig in..!

Tip:

(a) The most important aspect in preparing a Guacamole is “Ratio”. If any of the ingredients increases then it may result in a lop-sided flavor. So make sure that you don’t add extra tomatoes/onions/lemon juice or chillies. It HAS TO be just right. 

(b) One Avocado serves one person.

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An Indo-Chinese Veg Rice preparation!

Hungry? Care to have 5,000 of something ? Try this Fried Rice recipe with all your favourite veggies..!!

Vegetable Fried Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients

  1. Rice- 1½ cup
  2. Ginger-garlic paste- 1 tsp
  3. Finely chopped Onion- 2 medium sized
  4. Finely chopped Capsicum- ½ cup
  5. Finely chopped carrots- ½ cup
  6. Finely chopped beans- ½ cup
  7. Finely sliced Baby Corn- ½ cup
  8. Sweet Corn kernels- 1 cup
  9. Green Peas- ½ cup
  10. Oil- 1 tsp
  11. Vegetable Stock cube (Maggi)- 1 cube
  12. Soya sauce- 1 tbsp
  13. Pepper- 1 tbsp
  14. Salt

Directions

Step One

Cook the rice in about 3 to 4 cups of water for 15 to 20 mins. Add quarter tsp of salt. Once the rice is cooked, set it aside to cool.

Step Two

In a non-stick pot, heat 1 tsp of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 10 seconds on high heat till the raw smell disappears. Add the finely sliced baby corn; allow it to cook for about 10 mins.

Step Three

Simulataeneously, in a separate vessel, boil both green peas and sweet corn kernels with a pinch of salt. Once it is cooked, drain the green peas and sweet corn and set it aside.

Step Four

Once the baby corn is partly cooked, add the finely chopped beans and carrots. Saute for about 2 mins. Add in the cooked green peas and sweet corn. Then, add the finely chopped capsicum and onions. Add in the vegetable stock cube and season with pepper. Add a tablespoon of soya sauce.

Step Five

Add the cooked rice and mix well. Garnish with finely chopped spring onion (optional) and serve along with some Cauliflower or mushroom manchurian.

Tip: Fried rice must always be cooked on high flame to help retain the crunchiness of the vegetables. Squeeze ½ lemon or add salt to avoid the rice from getting mushy. A wok is the most appropriate vessel to make fried rice; alternatively use a pot. Couple the vegetable fried rice with some cauliflower (gobi) or mushroon Manchurian.

Vegetarian appetizer 

Weekends are a prefect time to host friends for dinner. However, this dinner plan was rather interesting as it was going to be a complete vegetarian menu. I spent days thinking what the menu should look like. After a couple of hours of serious contemplation, I remembered the Subz Kadak Seekh Kabab that I had at Sahib Sindh Sultan Restaurant in India. Voila, I got my first starter..!

Vegetable Seekh Kebab

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • Finely chopped French Beans- 1/2 cup
  • Finely chopped Cabbage- 1/2 cup
  • Finely chopped Carrots- 1/2 cup
  • Corn kernels- 1/4 cup
  • Green peas- 1/4 cup
  • Ginger- garlic paste- 1 tbsp
  • Green Chilli paste- 1 tbsp
  • Boiled and mashed Potatoes- 2 medium sized
  • Finely chopped Coriander Leaves- 1/4 cup
  • Caraway seeds (shahi jeera)- 1 tsp
  • Gram Flour- 2 tbsp or as per requirement
  • Oil- 1 tbsp
  • Salt- to taste

Directions

Step One

Boil the medium sized potatoes in a pressure cooker. Keep aside till it cools a bit and then peel the potatoes. Roughly mash the peeled potatoes and keep it aside.

Tip: The potatoes should be mashed before it cools down completely; the potatoes need not be smoothly mashed.

Step Two

Take a medium sized pan and heat a teaspoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, crackle a teaspoon of Caraway seeds. Add Ginger- garlic and green chilli paste.

Tip: Excess oil can alter the dryness of the kabab. This Kabab is shallow fried with very less oil.

Step Three

Once the rawness of the ginger-garlic paste reduces, add all the finely chopped vegetables and saute till it is cooked. Season with Salt. Keep aside for a while till this mix cools down.

Step Four

Coarsely grind the cooked vegetables and check for seasoning.

Step Five

In a small sized skillet, roast 2 tablespoons of gram flour on medium heat, so that you get a nutty flavor.

Tip: Use medium heat while roasting the flour as it may burn quickly. Increase or decrease gram flour as per the requirement to roll the kababs into a tight shape.

Step Six

In a bowl, mix the coarsely ground vegetables, mashed potatoes and gram flour. Add more salt, if required. Roll the kababs into any shape, either into small flattened balls or cylindrical rolls. Lighly brush some oil on a skillet and fry the kababs.

Step Seven

Serve the kababs with either ketchup or green chutney.