Category Archives: Indian

Carrot Pickle

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carrot pickle

I adore Indian food. The spices, bright colors and flavors could sustain me and bring joy to my palate for eternity. I never tire of the  deep rich combining of so many ingredients to make one dish. Carrot pickles are one of those complexly layered side dishes that not only delight visually, but also in flavor. There are lots of ingredients, but once you have them all measured out, it only takes a few minutes to make these and they keep for at least two months in the fridge if you don’t share them. The problem I have is when people tastes them, they just want more and more and soon they are gone.

My friend and writing mentor Monica Bhide shared my recipe for Carrot Pickle in the Washington Post a few years ago. Not much has changed in my recipe. It is a classic that everybody raves about.

Carrot pickle mise en place

Carrot Pickle  

Ingredients:

8 carrots, peeled and cut into julienne

¾ cup canola oil

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and rough chopped

4-6 small red chiles (depending on how hot you like it)

6-8 cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons mustard seeds (I use brown, but black is fine too)

1 tablespoon methi (fenugreek) seeds

1 tablespoon of cumin seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon of fennel seeds

A hand full of curry leaves

2 tablespoons urad dal

1 teaspoon chili powder (hot)

1 tablespoon turmeric

A pinch of hing

4 tablespoons grated jaggery (or Thai palm sugar)

1 teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons vinegar (apple cider or white vinegar)

Method:

Lay carrots on a thick towel and roll and squeeze to remove all the water.

Puree the onion, ginger, chiles and garlic together in a food processor or mortar and reserve.

In a wok, heat the oil.. Add mustard seeds, methi seeds, urad dal, cumin and fennel seeds.

When they sputter, add 1 large onion, a chunk of ginger, and 4-5 garlic cloves that have been pureed together.

Throw in the curry leaves and fry the mixture until light golden brown. Lower the heat and add chilli powder, turmeric, cumin powder and a pinch of hing.

Add jaggery and salt.

Turn off the heat and add vinegar. Taste and adjust the spices – you want it to be hot chilli wise, but slightly sweet and sour from the sugar and vinegar. Mix in the carrots, place into a clean glass jar and store in the fridge. This will keep for several weeks. The recipe can be doubled so you can share some!

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Most WONDERFUL Crispy Okra and Curry Leaf Raita

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My friend Ruta Says: “Odly enough, children in India love okra. But it’s hardly surprising; whether sautéed, fried or stuffed, the vegetable is prepared in a way that makes it’s texture pleasing rather than gooey. In this recipe, for instance, the okra becomes crunchy and addictive on it’s own; stirred into spiced yogurt, it is even better. This can be eaten on it’s own, or served with thalipeeth.”
Ruta wrote the book  5 Spices 50 Recipes, a wonderful play on Indian cooking that makes delicious Indian food accessable for every home cook. Several years ago I was invited to a press dinner at her home in Berkeley, California where we cooked and ate a most amazing meal. I have only changed the recipe slightly, adding a bit more mustard seed and added flavor and crunch of curry leaves. They may be hard for you to come by, but they are available at most Indo/Paki grocery stores. I grow my own. If you cannot find them, the dish is still quite good without them, but even better with them. The flavors and textures in this Raita make my mouth sing. You will want to double the ingredients after you have made this once, it is highly addictive.

Ruta has a new book out now, Quick Fix Indian. There are also rumors that she is planning on a restaurant in Goa where she spends some of her time.

 Ingredients: 

8 ounces fresh or frozen, cut okra

3-4 stems of curry leaf, leaves pulled off of the stems.

6 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 cup plain whole or low fat yogurt

¾ to 1 teaspoon salt (I used my smoked salt for this)

½ teaspoon sugar or jaggery grated

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you like a real kick)

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (so good for you)

2 teaspoons mustard seeds (I use half golden and half black)

Method:

Wash the okra and towel dry each one thoroughly. Slice into ¼ inch-thick rounds. If using frozen okra, do not thaw.

Heat 5 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is very hot, add the okra, toss and let sizzle. Toss occasionally. The okra will slowly crisp and turn brown. Note: frozen okra may not crisp as well, this is OK, just be sure to brown it well. Once all of the okra is well browned, remove to a paper towel lined platter and set aside till ready to serve. Repeat with the curry leaves. They crisp up really quickly, so keep your eye on them.

Make the tadka: Whisk the yogurt with the salt (to taste) and sugar place the cayenne and tumeric in a small pile on the raita, but do not stir in yet. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a butter warmer or small skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the mustard seeds, covering th pan with a lid or spatter screen. After the mustard seeds stop sputtering, pour the hot oil directly on top of the cayenne and turmeric powder. This cooks the powdered spices without burning them. Do not stir the dressing in yet.

For presentation prior to serving, place the crisp okra & curry leaves on top of the dressing. Stir the okra and dressing into the yogurt while serving. I promise you will be licking the bowl in before the night is over.

Serves 2-4