Tag Archives: carrots

A One Sentence Recipe – A Simple Carrot Salad

One of things that is so special, , in my opinion,  about the carrot koshimbir that I make very often, is the tangy taste created by the combination of sugar and lime juice.

Inspired by that, I sometimes make this simpler carrot salad which is so much lighter to eat, quicker to make and yet very tasty too.

Carrot Salad

peeled and grated carrots

lime juice, salt and sugar to taste

Toss the carrots with the seasoning and serve.

That surely qualifies for the “world’s shortest recipe” competition !

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Carrot and Coconut Soup

Well, what this really is, is a tomato and carrot soup with packaged coconut milk added in towards the end of the cooking process.

The result is a delicious variation on an otherwise regular sort of vegetable soup in our home.

The girls loved it when I served it for dinner yesterday, so I was glad for the impulse that had made me reach for the pack of coconut milk and pour it in while the soup simmered.

The following quantities made enough soup for two meals for the 4 of us.

2 thin (which is what I had in the fridge yesterday) or 1 thick leek

6-7 large tomatoes

7-8 carrots

3 garlic cloves

4 tablespoons of olive oil

salt to taste

one 200 ml pack of coconut milk

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Carrot and Green Bell Pepper Pulao

One day I will cook a “pilaf”, just to be able to post about it so I get to use the word pilaf, which I love  because it has such an exotic ring about it !

In the meanwhile – this is the recipe for the pulao I wrote about last summer but which I haven’t made since, until this past weekend. I have adapted it from the original recipe which is in Viji Varadrajan’s “Samayal”, a cookbook about the cuisine of the Tanjore and Palghat regions of southern India.

In the summer last year it was Noor who said she loved this pulao. Then on Sunday it was Indira who wanted to know if there’s be enough left over for Monday. I guess that means we can put it in the Favorites Foods column.  Or at least for now, for they may change their minds in some weeks in their sometimes fickle way 🙂

(An update to that from 15 Sep 2010 – Indira said again, when we had this for dinner last night, that she loves this pulav)

The use of the podi is what gives it it’s distinctive, delicious taste.

Carrot and Green Bell Pepper Pulao

Basmati rice – 1 cup

1 large green bell pepper, sliced fine

3 medium sized carrots, peeled and diced in to thin half-moons

1 tablespoon of Pitlai podi

3/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder

lime juice, to taste (but at least 1 tablespoon)

3/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds

8-10 curry leaves

salt, to taste (or say about 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons for the rice and 1/2 a teaspoon to be added while cooking the vegetables)
Wash and soak the rice in cold water for 20-30 minutes, then cook it with a little less than twice the amount of water (I use an electric rice cooker and therefore add 2 and a half cups of water) with salt added in.

Let the rice cool before you start to cook the vegetables so that you are able to separate the grains of rice gently, by hand or with a flat spoon, without breaking the grains.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil, then add the mustard seeds and the curry leaves. When these begin to crackle, add the carrots and fry them on a medium high heat till they are soft enough without being mushy (i.e. they should retain a bite).  A few minutes before you think the carrots will be done, add the bell pepper slices and fry everything together till the latter are cooked (I prefer that these should retain a bite too) as well.

Add the salt, the turmeric powder and Pitlai podi and fry everything for another couple of minutes.

Now add the rice, mix it with the vegetables, then put the lime juice and  toss everything together gently but quite well over 4-5 minutes.

This makes a very nice meal with varan and salad, or just a raita in the summer.





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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Rice-Pulavs,Biryanis,Baaths

Indira’s Favorite(at the moment) Salad

This is so pretty with the red,white, orange and green, I like to make it as much for the visual treat as for the taste of the bell pepper and feta cheese !

The same day, some weeks ago, that we had the delicious steamed fish at Celine’s home, her mother Doris also made a green salad to which she added feta cheese.

Up until then, Indira and Noor had never quite taken to the taste of this sheep’s milk cheese which is why I usually only mix it with boiled potatoes to make croquettes with it, but that evening Indira declared,  “I love this cheese !!”

Which suits me because Shri and I like it a lot too 🙂  So since then we have started to add it to salad, though we have yet to convert Noor.

As with most other salads, I make this at least an hour before we are ready to eat. Tonight we had this with chole masala and rice.

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Bell Pepper,Feta Cheese and Carrot Salad

1 small red bell pepper, sliced fine

2  carrots, peeled and grated

100 gms of feta cheese, cut in to small cubes

some salad leaves

Mix all 4 ingredients and dress with olive oil, lime juice, sea salt  and dried basil flakes.

For another dash of color, you could add some sweet corn too.

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Carrot Raita

This is another great way to use carrots.

I have grown very bored of eating this vegetable  in pulav and salad.  So I was very pleased to find this recipe in Kumud Marathe’s “Maharastrian Recipes – A Family Treasury”  – my bible for this kind of cuisine.

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Carrot Raita

2 large carrots, peeled and grated fine (a hand grater serves better for this than a food processor  I think, as the latter would not grate the carrots fine enough to allow them to blend well with the other ingredients)

350-450 gms of yoghurt (vary this amount to taste)

1 teaspoon of cumin powder (or to taste)

salt to taste

1/2 to 1  teaspoon of sugar

1 or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Whisk the yoghurt gently with all the ingredients (add a little water and semi-skimmed milk if the yoghurt seems too thick) except the carrots, then fold these in last.

Leave the raita in the refrigerator for a while to chill, if you want, but do make it at least an hour ahead so that all the flavors blend.

The original recipe calls for 1-2 green chillies (chopped fine) to be added as well, but I skipped this.

This raita makes for such a  pretty bowl to serve on the side with any meal; I think it lifted one notch the level of the lunch I gave everyone last week (when Shri was home and on holiday as well) which consisted of just khichdi with peas and this raita 🙂

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A Simple Summer Lunch -Carrot & Green Bell Pepper Pulao with Cucumber Raita

Once again today Noor melted my heart with her  “you make very nice food , Mama” statement.

I love it when they seem to enjoy their meal.

Indira expresses the same feeling when she comes sniffing around the kitchen; she is one for showing her appreciation with her nose.

But it is Noor who often tells me “I love all the food you make ” and sometimes “you are the best cooker ever”.  So just for her I’ll come back to put down the recipes for today’s lunch – vegetable pulao ( a south Indian sort with a spice mix called pitlai powder) and cucumber raita.

Indira seemed to think , while she watched me make the raita, that it was one she didn’t like ( I haven’t made it  since last summer, probably)  but the heat has been so bad this week I thought it was what we needed to eat today.

So it was good to see her polish off two katoras of it and a little more…

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Carrot Muffins

Just before dinner tonight, Indira said “Mama, what can I take for gouter tomorrow?”

Tomorrow being Tuesday, they will be going swimming again from school , and I know she enjoys having a special gouter to eat on the bus coming back, rather than the usual clementine or apple slices.  So I suggested that I could make some carrot cake, since this is a current favorite with her.

She was quite pleased with the idea, but requested that I make muffins, instead of a cake, so that is what I did.

The recipe is the same as for the carrot cake that I wrote about recently, except that I put the mixture in to muffin trays, and the total baking time was around 15 minutes shorter than it would have been for the cake.

I don’t know what it is about muffins – but I do believe the ones I have made tonight taste nicer than the cake I made the last time with the same recipe (I have been eating the bits stuck to the muffin tray)

Two small changes that I made – I skipped the vanilla essence this time; and I used a wheat flour available here that is called “semi-complet” ; it is sort of halfway between the whole wheat and refined kind. it makes the muffins more prone to breaking if not handled carefully when you are taking them out of the tray-though they hold just fine after that- but I don’t like the idea of using refined flour too much because it is “empty” calories, as they say.

With half the quantities as in the recipe for the cake, I was able to make 12 muffins.

And now, I will need to try and resist a midnight snack !

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Remembering Biji – Gajar ka Halwa

I started this blog by talking about the shakkarparas and gajar ka halwa I made for Diwali last year.

So I am back to write about the halwa, a dessert that Indira and her father just love.

Though it is in my mother’s kitchen that I first learned to make it myself, I still remember watching my Biji (my maternal grandmother) cook this halwa on her chulha in my grandparents house in a village in Rajasthan, stirring in the cream – or ghee- that gives it that special taste. It was a special treat when we visited her during our winter holidays from school, and a couple of times  we even carried some back all the way from Rajasthan to Bihar, in a big steel box, for our father who loved it as much as we did.

And back in those days, since there were no microwaves, she would – as does my mother to this day -add a little more ghee to keep the halwa from sticking to the pan every time she re-heated the leftover portion, which enhanced the taste a little more each time…

My brother likes to tell my mother  that though she is a good cook, her gajar ka halwa is not in the same league as Biji’s.

Maybe it is the love and effort they put in to it, or it might well really be because of the copious amounts of cream and ghee; either way, I do agree with my brother that their gajar ka halwa is the best in the world.

Here’s my recipe, based on theirs:

Gajar ka Halwa

500 gms carrots

500-600 ml full cream Milk

4 tbsp ghee

10 almonds, skinned and halved

2 tbsp raisins

¾ cup sugar (a 200ml measuring cup)

5 green cardamom pods

a few small strips of beaten silver leaves

Peel, wash and grate the carrots in a food processor. Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the carrots, stir the mixture and leave to cook on medium heat, stirring quite frequently until the carrots are very soft and the milk almost completely dries up.

In the meanwhile, after adding the carrots to the milk, soak the almonds in hot water for about 20 minutes, then remove their skins  and halve them. Soak the raisins as well, in half a cup of hot water, then drain the water after 15-20 minutes. Powder the seeds from the cardamom pods.

Once the milk in the pan has almost dried up, add the sugar and cook again until the milk dries up completely. Now add the ghee and cook the halwa for another 7-8 minutes. To finish, stir in the raisins, the almonds and the cardamom powder and after transferring to a serving bowl, layer the silver strips on top.

You could also add a few teaspoons of khoya or dessicated coconut towards the end of the cooking process.

This is just a great dessert on a winter evening.

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Carrot Koshimbir

Not just the four of us, but most everyone who has ever tasted this salad loves it.

I first found this recipe 8 years ago, when I invested in a book that has since become my cooking bible -Kaumudi Marathe’s “A Family Treasury”, a great collection on Maharashtrian cuisine.

My mother-in-law was a Maharashtrian, so my husband has grown up on varan, puran poli and salads such as the one I am going to write about today.

I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Ma after I got married, though I did learn to make poha, puran poli, and varan her way. But since then, I have learned to cook many of my husband’s other favorite foods chiefly from this book. Thank you, Ms. Marathe !!

As to the salad – it is the form in which my kids like carrots best. And I have to agree with them, it is the nicest way I have ever eaten this vegetable too, barring my own mother’s-and grandmother’s- gajar ka halwa.

Carrot Salad

4 large carrots

3 tbsp fresh grated (or dessicated) coconut

3 tbsp ground peanuts(the koot I have mentioned earlier)

2 tsp sunflower oil

a pinch of turmeric, a pinch of asofetida

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

4-5 curry leaves

salt, sugar, and lime juice- to taste

1-2 tbsp fresh, chopped coriander leaves

Method:

Peel, wash and grate the carrots. Heat the oil in a small pan, then add the mustard seeds and wait till they pop. Move the pan off the fire (this keeps the ingredients that you will be adding next from getting burnt) and quickly add the asofetida, turmeric,cumin seeds and curry leaves. Stir them for a few seconds then pour this tempering over the carrots. Now add the coconut and peanuts, the salt, sugar, lime juice, and coriander, and toss everything well before serving.

If you want to make this a few hours ahead, then add the tempering to the carrots earlier but mix in the rest of the ingredients just before serving, otherwise the salad can become somewhat soggy, sometimes.

Also, while you can use dessicated coconut to save time, use freshly grated coconut if you can – this takes the taste to another level 🙂

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A Taste of Provence- Vegetable Soup with Pistou

This morning, I was standing in front of the refrigerator, wondering which vegetable to “sort” for the day.

(Note – “Sort” does not mean “to sort out”. It means “to take out”. This is how living in France for 9 years has ruined my English, without making my French fluent. For some years now, I have found myself often thinking in a  melange of the two languages. Oh well…)

I wanted to cook dinner during the morning, since later this afternoon I had to go first to Noor’s playschool for the end of year “spectacle” (I can no longer instantly recall the equivalent word in English ), then to Indira’s to help at one of the games’ booths, part of their end of the year show. And I knew that there would be almost instant demands for dinner on getting back home at around 7pm.

I also wanted to achieve two other objectives – cook something simple, since I wanted to spend some part of the morning cooking ahead for a dinner at our place tomorrow evening, to which we have invited 3 families.

And I wanted to make sure the girls got a good portion of vegetables tonight, since I know from past experience that at these school fetes (hey !! that’s the word, isn’t it !) what they typically enjoy eating is barbecued/grilled sausages,cake, and les frites(french fries).

Luckily I saw that I had everything I needed for my variation of  a very flavorful provencal vegetable soup called soupe au pistou, so this is what I made today.

The pistou (available bottled though the fresh paste – made by crushing fresh basil,olive oil, and garlic- is better) is optional, though of course this paste is what the soup derives its name from. My daughters certainly prefer it with a little pistou or pesto -the Italian version of pistou, this paste has pine nuts and parmesan cheese added to the other ingredients – stirred in.

But either way it is full of flavor, light, and wholesome.

Vegetable Soup with Pistou

(Enough for 6-8 adults)

Two leeks, tough portions chopped off

I medium sized courgette(you can substitute green beans,chopped in to half inch pieces, for courgette)

2 small turnips

4-5 tbsp of olive oil

4 carrots

4 tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic

100 gms of vermicelli or any other small wholewheat pasta shape(optional)

1. Remove the tough outer layers of the leeks, and then chop them fine.

2. Peel and chop the carrots in to thin half moons

3. Peel and dice the turnip.

4. Was the courgette thoroughly and dice it without peeling it. This adds to the color of the soup plus I tend to think this keeps more of the nutrition in.

5. Chop the tomotoes into chunks that are neither too large nor too small.

6. Warm the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan, then sweat the leeks and the garlic on a low heat, taking care not to let either brown at all. After 5 minutes, add the carrots and the turnip, and cook together with the leeks and garlic mixture for about 15 minutes (keep the pan covered so that the vegetables soften in the steam) making sure to stir regularly so that the vegetables don’t burn. If you are using beans instead of curgette, you should add those with the carrots and turnips.

Next,add the courgette and cook everything together again for 5-10 minutes, till the courgette starts to soften. In the meanwhile, boil  approx 1 litre of water in the kettle.

Now add the tomatoes, cook everything in the pan together for 5 minutes, season with salt and black pepper, add the boiled water, put the lid on again, and leave the whole mixture to cook till the vegetables are as soft as you’d like them – 30 minutes to 1 hour. if you want to add pasta to this soup,  add it 10-15 minutes before you are ready to take the soup off the heat, so that it is cooked by the time the soup is done.

This soup develops more flavor if it’s left to sit, after it’s been cooked. That’s another reason I like to cook it ahead.

When everyone is ready to eat, serve some pistou or pesto on the side. Just 1/2 a teaspoon-add more if you like – really adds to this soup’s appeal for a lot of people – and indeed this is the classical way it is eaten in Provence. But I personally enjoy this soup without either paste added to it, since the soup already has a wonderful, delicate taste of it’s own, due to all the vegetables.

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