Recipes Beyond Borders- sometimes Exotic, mostly Healthy, always Delicious

Ingredient: Black peppercorns

Goan Bitter Gourd Kokum Dal – Easy Indian Lentil and Gourd curry

Goan Bitter Gourd Kokum Dal – Easy Indian Lentil and Gourd curry

My first foray into Goan Cuisine, and it turned out so well! I found a large variety of vegetarian recipes to try out, and wanted to use ingredients specific to the Goan and Konkani cuisines. The Goan Bitter Gourd Kokum Dal that I finally came up with, tick marked all the boxes I set for the post: Tasty, nutritious, easy, authentic and it incorporated the two ingredients I had been set for this month’s Goan Theme challenge from the FB group I belong to, Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge. More about this group, later on.

First, a little about some of the ingredients I used to make the Goan Bitter Gourd Kokum Dal. The recipe I finally firmed up  after browsing the internet and the few cookbooks I could find, needed kokum as well as terphal, a species related to the Himalayan Sichuan Pepper (which seems to be variously known as teppal, tefla etc). I consulted my daughter Mridula as to what the ‘tefla’ in the recipe was (I thought it was a kind of fish!)  I could have tried sourcing the kokum and terphal in one of the many Mangalorean stores dotted around Bangalore, but then opted to buy them online from amazon as I was not sure I would be able to get the terphal spice elsewhere. The rest of the ingredients were ones I already had at home. Bitter gourd or karela is a favourite on my dining table. If you hesitate to take karela because of the bitterness, then do try it in this dish – the jaggery, the kokum and the spice all go to reduce the bitterness and in fact enhance the taste of the bitter gourd. And you know it is chock full of nutrition and health benefits, right?

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Delicious Summery Fresh Cherry Mint Chutney with Orange Peel

Delicious Summery Fresh Cherry Mint Chutney with Orange Peel

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Cooking with cherries is fun. They look gorgeous, taste delicious (you can’t help popping a few into the mouth as you make the preparations, can you?) and manage to appear exotic all while being easy to work with. Except of course for pitting the cherries, which is not a happy task, though I can think of worse things to do (like prepping banana flowers for a traditional South Indian curry). The Fresh Cherry Mint Chutney was worth the little effort needed to pit the cherries, with its sweet and tangy taste and the light flavour of the orange coming through.  (more…)

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Mutter ka Nimona – Spiced Green Pea Curry

Mutter ka Nimona – Spiced Green Pea Curry

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Recipe 3 of my 100 Healthy Recipes Challenge: Continuing my exploration of recipes from Eastern Uttar Pradesh, seasonal green peas go into this delicious Mutter ka Nimona, a regular part of a winter meal in Awadhi cuisine. Use fresh ingredients to bring out the flavour of this aromatic dhal like side dish. Traditionally served with rice, but tastes great with hot phulkas or with plain parathas too.

Married into a family from Eastern UP but settled in South India, I used to listen with all my foodie antenna at alert, as my husband went into a monologue every winter about childhood days of enjoying luscious fresh peas straight from the plant, and of the pea crops grown in acre after acre in their native village at Basti, near Gorakhpur. I have tasted the peas straight from the plants too, in the little kitchen garden my mother had at our house in Kharagpur, eons ago. In Chennai, the sight of large carts covered with fresh peas and with red ‘Delhi’ carrots every December, was an invitation to make tehari, mutter ka nimona, mutter paneer, aloo mutter, and everything green. This year at Bangalore, the peas have been a long time surfacing in the shops in large volumes, and I do hope they stay for a while.

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