Posts Tagged ‘Bell Peppers/Capsicum’

Vegetable Biryani- Chettinad Style


2011
03.31

IMG_9199

Known to be the spiciest and the most aromatic cuisine of India, the Chettinad cuisine is one of my favorites. I’ve spent many glorious evenings in Chennai wiping away plates of Biryani and sucking on spicy succulent crab meat while my totally vegetarian best friend V, looked on with great amusing interest. I’m sure her smirk would disappear in a tick had she only known the great void (tragedy) her vegetarian life had conferred on her.

Anyway, coming back to serious cooking,  here’s a vegetarian version of the popular Chettinad biryani which is so flavorful that I’m sure even a die hard meat eater would easily go for a second helping :) .

Ingredients
1 lb veggies of your choice. (I used, cauliflower and broccoli florets, diced bell peppers and carrots, peas and  potatoes cut into long strip like fries)
3 cups basmati rice
1 large  or 2 medium sized red onions finely sliced
3 large tomatoes, diced in chunks 
2 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
11/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp chopped mint 
5 cloves
4, 1/4 inch pieces of cinnamon
2 bruised whole cardamom
1/2 tsp red chili powder, alter this based on tolerable spice level
2 tsp paprika, for color
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder  
refined vegetable oil
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup curd
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Spices for Grinding

3 cloves
2,1/4 inch pieces of cinnamon
seeds from 1 cardamom
1 tsp of fennel seeds

Directions

  • Soak washed basmati rice with 4 cups of water and set aside for an hour. 
  • Dry roast the spices mentioned for grinding and grind to a semi coarse powder
  • Heat refined oil in a wide bottomed pan that can be fitted with a tight lid and doesn’t let steam escape and fry the veggies one at a time until almost cooked and set aside.
  • In the same pan add ghee and  add more oil if necessary,
  • When hot, add the whole cloves, cinnamon and cardamom and let them puff up.
  • Add the chopped onions and sauté until deep brown (the onions should look fried).
  • When the oil comes clear, move the onions to the sides of the pan and add turmeric and the ground spices to the oil accumulated at the center of the pan and sauté for 30 secs.
  • Add remaining ginger-garlic and sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the diced tomatoes, chili powders and sauté until oil separates.
  • Reduce the flame to low and add the coconut milk, curd, lemon, salt, cilantro and mint and let it simmer.
  • Add 1 tbsp of ghee, salt and cook the rice until the water boils and the rice is only  3/4 done.
  • Drop in the fried veggies into the masala mixture mix well and flatten it at he bottom of the pan
  • Pour in the boiling rice into the pan making the rice form a layer on top of the masala and veggie mixture and has no direct contact to the bottom of the pan.
  • Close the pan tight shut and let it sit on the very low flame for 15 – 20 min or until the rice at the top is done.
  • Remove from the stove and mix in the rice and masala
  • Serve with raitha and mango pickles.
  • Navratan Korma


    2011
    03.25

    Navratan Korma, meaning a mixture of nine gems is a delicious vegetarian dish from the Mughlai cuisine. The nine gems indicate the nine veggies, fruits and nuts that go into the dish. Influenced by the imperial kitchens of the Mughal empire this is as grand and as rich as any vegetarian dish can get.

    IMG_9085

    Ingredients

    10 oz of paneer/cottage cheese
    1/2 cup cashew nuts 
    1 large onion chopped
    1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    1/2 tsp cumin powder
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp white pepper powder
    1 tsp punjabi garam masala
    1 1″ piece of cinnamon
    2 bay leaves
    1 pod of bruised cardamom
    4 cloves
    3-4 cups mixed veggies(I used cubed potatoes, chopped French beans, diced carrots,green peas,cauliflower florets, diced bell pepper)
    1/4 cup pineapple chunks
    10-12 raisins
    2-3 tbsp heavy cream
    2-3 tbsp refined oil
    Salt to taste

    Directions

  • Cut the paneer into slabs (not cubes) and toast them on both sides in a non stick pan in 1 tbsp of oil. Make sure you don’t over do it. Both the sides should have just a slight hint of brown to bring out the nutty flavor of the paneer.
  • When all the slabs of paneer are toasted cut them up into small cubes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
  • Grind 1/4th cup of the cashews along with the onions.
  • Parboil with salt all the veggies individually (cooking time for each varies) and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add turmeric and cumin powder and sautéfor 30 secs.
  • Add the remaining cashew nuts and the whole spices.
  • When the spices puff up add the cashew onion paste and the ginger garlic paste and sauté until oil separates.
  • Add the garam masala and pepper powder.
  • .Add one cup of water and bring to boil.
  • Add the the veggies, paneer, raisins and pine apple and let it simmer until the veggies are cooked.
  • Garnish with heavy cream
  • Server hot with Indian breads
  • Kadai Paneer


    2010
    10.15

    This all famous colorfully vibrant Punjabi dish goes perfectly well with all Indian breads. It is a very simple dish to make but can look very attractive on the table when you are entertaining. It is not just about the looks either, the taste’s amazing too. The powerful Indian spices ignites a roaring flame of passion between the mild and sweet colorful peppers  and the nutty cubes of paneer. Just one bite and you’ll know exactly what I’m harping about.

    IMG_8663

     

    Ingredients

    2 cups mixed multicolored bell peppers
    14 oz of paneer/cottage cheese
    1 medium onion chopped fine
    1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    1 large tomato chopped into chunks
    1/2 tsp turmeric 
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp katoori methi / dried fenugreek leaves
    1 tbsp coriander powder
    2 tsp chopped green chilies
    1 tsp red paprika/ kashmiri mirch
    1/2 tsp 3 Cs spice mix
    1 bay leaf
    1 star anise
    1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
    1 tbsp cashew-almond paste -optional (cashew nuts and almonds in equal proportions ground to a paste with little water)
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    2-3 tsp fresh cream for garnish
    refined oil
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Cut the paneer into slabs (not cubes) and toast them on both sides in a non stick pan in 1 tbsp of oil. Make sure you don’t over do it. Both the sides should have just a slight hint of brown to bring out the nutty flavor of the paneer.
  • When all the slabs of paneer are toasted cut them up into small cubes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
  • Heat a tbsp of refined oil, add star anise, bay leaf and cumin and sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the chopped onions, sauté till golden brown
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute
  • Add salt, chilies,paprika,  turmeric, coriander, spice mix, cashew-almond paste and tomatoes and sauté till the oil comes clear.
  • Add the bell peppers and kastoori methi and sauté till the veggies are cooked but yet crunchy.
  • Stir in the paneer cubes and let it cook for a couple of minutes till it all comes together.
  • Take off the flame. Garnish with heavy cream and cilantro
  • Serve hot with Indian Breads .
  • Shrimp And Red Pepper Quesadillas


    2010
    03.28

    IMG_5948

    Quesadillas are like burgers you can make them any which way you want as long you have tortillas and cheese with you. Everything else that goes inside depends on what you are looking for. You can add tomatoes for the tang, onions for the crunch, meat to make it hearty, vegetables to make it healthy, guacamole if you think it is not rich enough already, and spices if you want to make it interesting. I use jack pepper cheese because you know, being Indian and all, I just can’t kill my addiction to heat! You can serve it as the main or as the side. Depends on what else you have on the plate.

    Ingredients

    1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced small
    1/2 pickled jalapeno, chopped
    1/2 cup red onions, chopped
    5 -6 medium sized shrimp, coarsely chopped
    1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
    4 6-inch flour tortillas
    3/4 cup shredded jack pepper cheese
    2 tbsp tomato sauce (from the can)
    1 tbsp butter or 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    big pinch of ground cumin (optional)

    Directions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick sauté pan.
  • Add onions and peppers, sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • Add tomato sauce, jalapeno and the shrimp. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the shrimp is cooked.
  • Add cilantro. Divide the mixture and three equal portions.
  • Heat a little butter on a wide non stick pan.
  • Place a tortilla, spoon over the cooked mixture onto the tortilla. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese.
  • Top with another tortilla and press down.
  • Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown and crisp on the bottom.
  • Carefully turn to the second side, and continue cooking until golden on the second side.
  • Take off the pan, and on cutting board, cut into wedges.
  • Repeat with the remaining quesadillas.
  • Serve hot with sour cream and other Mexican sides or by itself.
  • Mexican Rice with Bell Peppers


    2010
    03.28

    IMG_5934

    This rice was my saving grace when I was pregnant with Nish. Though horribly nauseous all the time, I still craved for rice. Now, don”t ask me how that works. Apparently, nausea and craving go hand in hand during those most confusing months in the lives of many women. While I longed for rice, I was put off by the smell of any kind of rice preparation. In his desperate quest to find something to plug the whining gob of his wife, Roy, discovered that the Mexican Rice did the trick. It got him at least a couple of hours of relief from her  incessant annoying drone and heaving. I think it had to do with how simple the rice is. Everything about it is subtle. Perfect for a preggy’s oversensitive olfactory system.

    Called arroz, which means rice,  it is served along side the main dish. It can be made with or without the vegetables. I usually use vegetables to keep it healthy, but limit it to just one kind. That helps retain its identity and not over power the dish.

    Ingredients

    1 cup long grain rice
    2 cloves of garlic, diced fine
    1/2 cup of onion, chopped fine
    1/2 cup puréed tomato (I prefer to use the can since the sauce is more dense)
    2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable stock)
    1/2 cup of bell peppers diced small
    2 –3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1 chopped pickled jalapeno (optional)
    2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

    Directions

  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
  • Add in the rice and sauté over medium heat for a minute or two until the rice is nicely toasted.
  • Add onions, garlic, jalapeno and bell peppers and sauté for a minute or until the onions turn translucent
  • Pour in the chicken broth and tomato purée and bring to boil.
  • Reduce the flame to low, tightly shut the pan and let it simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes till the rice is cooked.
  • Fluff up the rice gently using a fork. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
  • Paneer and Bell Peppers in Raisin Crème Sauce


    2010
    01.02

    This vibrant colorful dish, is not only visually enticing but a definite palate pleaser! The crisp and juicy flesh of the bell peppers, team perfectly with the nutty toasted chunks of paneer and chewy raisins. They settle easily in a mildly spiced crème sauce forming an exotic treat of sweet and spice that will simply explode in your mouth at the very first bite.  Oh wait a sec, I forgot to mention the best part of all – this dish is soooooooooper simple to make!!!!  If you don’t believe me, try it and if you think I stretched it too far you can have your money back :D!!

    paneercapsicum

    Ingredients

    14 OZ paneer(cottage Cheese)
    1 lb bell peppers (capsicum) – choose one of each color if you have the choice
    1 onion finely sliced
    1 tbsp grated ginger
    1/4 tsp Three Cs Spice Mix
    1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder( or 1/2 tsp whole cumin)
    1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    3 -4 green chilies
    1/4 cup raisins – I use black raisins to add more color to the dish, you could use any kind you like.
    1/2  pint of cream ( or you could use 1/4 pint of cream and 1/4 pint of milk, depending on how calorie conscious you are. Also, i f you don’t have cream, you could fluff up 2 – 3 tsp of cream cheese in a little bit of milk instead. it works perfectly as well)
    2 -3 tbsp refined vegetable oil
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Cut the paneer into slabs (not cubes) and toast them on both sides in a non stick pan in 1 tablespoons of oil. Make sure you don’t over do it. Both the sides should have just a slight hint of brown to bring out the nutty flavor of the paneer.
  • When all the slabs of paneer are toasted cut them up into small cubes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
  • Heat a table spoon refined oil, add cumin sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the chopped onions, sauté till golden brown
  • Add Three Cs Spice Mix and green chilies.
  • Crush ginger, add to the pan and sauté for another few minutes till the oil comes clear.
  • Add raisins and sauté for a minute till they slightly plump up
  • Add diced bell peppers and turmeric and sauté till they are cooked, don’t over cook them or over mix them. They should remain firm and crisp even when they are done.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Reduce the flame to low, add in the paneer and the cream and mix the dish, adjust the salt and switch off the flame
  • dollop with sour cream (optional, purely for aesthetics)
  • Serve with hot Indian breads or Jeera rice
  • Paneer and Bell Peppers in Raisin Crème Sauce


    2010
    01.02

    This vibrant colorful dish, is not only visually enticing but a definite palate pleaser! The crisp and juicy flesh of the bell peppers, team perfectly with the nutty toasted chunks of paneer and chewy raisins. They settle easily in a mildly spiced crème sauce forming an exotic treat of sweet and spice that will simply explode in your mouth at the very first bite.  Oh wait a sec, I forgot to mention the best part of all – this dish is soooooooooper simple to make!!!!  If you don’t believe me, try it and if you think I stretched it too far you can have your money back :D!!

    paneercapsicum

    Ingredients

    14 OZ paneer(cottage Cheese)
    1 lb bell peppers (capsicum) – choose one of each color if you have the choice
    1 onion finely sliced
    1 tbsp grated ginger
    1/4 tsp Three Cs Spice Mix
    1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder( or 1/2 tsp whole cumin)
    1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    3 -4 green chilies
    1/4 cup raisins – I use black raisins to add more color to the dish, you could use any kind you like.
    1/2  pint of cream ( or you could use 1/4 pint of cream and 1/4 pint of milk, depending on how calorie conscious you are. Also, i f you don’t have cream, you could fluff up 2 – 3 tsp of cream cheese in a little bit of milk instead. it works perfectly as well)
    2 -3 tbsp refined vegetable oil
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Cut the paneer into slabs (not cubes) and toast them on both sides in a non stick pan in 1 tablespoons of oil. Make sure you don’t over do it. Both the sides should have just a slight hint of brown to bring out the nutty flavor of the paneer.
  • When all the slabs of paneer are toasted cut them up into small cubes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
  • Heat a table spoon refined oil, add cumin sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the chopped onions, sauté till golden brown
  • Add Three Cs Spice Mix and green chilies.
  • Crush ginger, add to the pan and sauté for another few minutes till the oil comes clear.
  • Add raisins and sauté for a minute till they slightly plump up
  • Add diced bell peppers and turmeric and sauté till they are cooked, don’t over cook them or over mix them. They should remain firm and crisp even when they are done.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Reduce the flame to low, add in the paneer and the cream and mix the dish, adjust the salt and switch off the flame
  • dollop with sour cream (optional, purely for aesthetics)
  • Serve with hot Indian breads or Jeera rice