Side dishes

Okra Sidedish (Bhende Upkari)

Bhende Upkari
Bhende Upkari

Upkaris are the integral part of Konkani cuisine. We make upkaris with almost all the vegetables and they are a must in any Konkani meal. The vegetables are very lightly spiced to bring out the unique flavor of it. Bhende upkari is one such dish loved by all. Okra(bhende) is cooked in very minimum spices and then garnished with fresh coconut.

When I was a kid, my granddad used to grow a lot of vegetables in out garden. Okra was one such vegetable that was grown. The taste of freshly plucked and cooked okra used to be divine. I feel there is a huge taste difference between the okra that I grew up eating and the one we get in Indian store here in USA. But still it is one the vegetables we love the most.

Pictorial:
Apply salt and turmeric to the cut okra and keep aside. Cook okra in the seasoning. Garnish with coconut.
bhende upkari1 bhende upkari2 bhende upkari3 bhende upkari4

Okra Sidedish (Bhende Upkari)

Bhende upkari is a Konkani classic dish prepared by cooking okra in minimum spices and garnished with coconut.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 -4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb 1/2 kg apprx okra(bhende) cut into long pieces
  • 1 tea spn mustard seeds
  • A pinch asafoetida
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 4-5 curry leaves optional
  • 1 tbl spn fresh/frozen coconut
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Cut okra into long pieces.
  • Apply some salt and turmeric to it and set aside. (This step reduces the sliminess of okra when cooked).
  • Heat oil and add mustard seeds.
  • When they start popping, add asafoetida, curry leaves(optional), green chillies slit into halves.
  • Add the okra and mix well.
  • Fry for 2-3 mins and then close the lid and let it cook on medium heat.
  • When it is cooked, sprinkle the fresh coconut on top and take off the heat.
  • Serve hot as a side with rice or chapatis.

 

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Bottlegourd Raita (Lauki Raita)

Lauki Raita
Lauki Raita

Few months ago, our friend Mahi had invited us for dinner and she made this lauki raita along with many Andhra special dishes. I had never tasted this before. After coming home, I googled it and I realised it was a pretty popular dish. This is my version.

Bottlegourd or lauki is one of the vegetables I buy during almost every trip to Indian store. It was mostly used to make this khadi(burfi) or payasa when I was growing up, I loved these dishes. Now I mostly make savory dishes with bottlegourd. This raita goes very well with chapatis or rice.

Pictorial:
Make a seasoning and then add bottlegourd, cook.
lauki raita1 lauki raita2 lauki raita3 lauki raita4
Add yogurt, salt and serve.
lauki raita5

Bottlegourd Raita (Lauki Raita)

Lauki raita is yogurt based sidedish with cooked bottlegourd and spices
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 -3

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups 1 medium sized bottlegourd bottlegourd pieces
  • 1 cup thick yogurt curd
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/2 tea spn urad dal
  • 1 red chilli optional
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • A pinch asafoetida hing
  • 1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil and add mustard seeds and urad dal.
  • When they start popping, add hing, curry leaves, red chili cut into two pieces.
  • Add the bottlegourd pieces, green chilli slit into two pieces.
  • Pour 1/2 cup water and cook. I pressure cooked it for 2 whistles.
  • Once it is cooled down, add curd(yogurt), salt.
  • Serve immediately with chapati/roti or rice.

Notes

Instead of adding the seasoning (mustard, urad dal, curry leaves, red chilli) first, it can be added at the end after adding yogurt. That will retain the crunchiness of seasoning.

 

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Pigeon Peas Sidedish (Tuvar Lilva Bhaji)

Tuvar Lilva Bhaji
Tuvar Lilva Bhaji

I was introduced to frozen tuvar lilva (pigeon peas) by my friend P. She makes a delicious bhaji with these and sweet potatoes.  This tuvar lilva bhaji must be one of my favorite dishes cooked by her. I have tried to pair this with sweet potatoes, normal potatoes and even paneer. It makes for a healthy and tasty side dish to go with chapatis/rotis. Last time I added some spinach to it and it was delicious. I normally make this directly in pressure cooker to save time.

Also check tuvar lilva in coriander masala recipe.

Pictorial:
Fry onions and ginger-garlic paste.

tuvar lilva bhaji1 tuvar lilva bhaji2
Add all masalas followed by tomatoes.
tuvar lilva bhaji3 tuvar lilva bhaji4
Add spinach, tuvar lilva, potatoes and cook till done.
tuvar lilva bhaji5 tuvar lilva bhaji6 tuvar lilva bhaji7

Pigeon Peas Sidedish (Tuvar Lilva Bhaji)

A healthy and delicious sidedish with fresh pigeon peas and potatoes(or paneer)
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 -5

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen tuvar lilva pigeon peas
  • 2 cups potatoes or sweet potatoes or paneer cut into cubes
  • 1 cup choppes spinach optional
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 1 tea spn ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tea spn garam masala or goda masala
  • 1/2 tea spn coriander powder
  • 1/2 tea spn cumin powder
  • 1 cup tomatoes
  • 1 tbl spn dessicated coconut
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 1 tea spn chilli powder
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil and fry onions, ginger-garlic paste.
  • When they turn translucent, add garam masala (or goda masala), coriander-cumin powder, coconut, turmeric, chilli powder, salt. Fry for few minutes.
  • Then add tomatoes and cook till they are mushy.
  • Add spinach, potatoes (or sweet potatoes or paneer), tuvar lilva, half cup water.
  • Cook till potatoes and peas are cooked.
  • Serve hot with chapatis/roti.

 

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Palak Paneer with Almond paste

Palak Paneer with Almonds
Palak Paneer with Almonds

My new year resolution is to eat/cook with more vegetables. The problem I face with this is, I buy lot of vegetables in a week and then they sit in fridge and pass their prime time. This weekend, after a very long time, I prepped all the vegetables – washed them, cut them into pieces, dried them and stored in boxes/zip lock bags in freezer or refrigerator. This is helping so much in fast cooking during weekdays and I hope this will also bring down the wastage. Now I have to figure out something similar with spinach(palak). I buy big box of baby spinach from Costco. I make dal, paratha etc with it, but still have some leftover. Last week I prepared this palak paneer with almond paste. I called it palak paneer, because it had palak and paneer!. This is probably the closest to the classic palak paneer that my family will eat. I made it quite spicy, the way we like it.

Many years ago, on a cooking show I had seen the addition of kasoori methi (dried fenugreek) to Palak paneer. I followed the same to give it a bright methi taste.  This is by no means traditional palak paneer (calling it a palak paneer may be a stretch!)n- I made it to suit our taste buds. Check Anita’s Palak panir or Manisha’s Palak paneer posts for authentic versions.

Pictorial:
Blanch tomatoes in boiling water. Make ginger-garlic paste.
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Blanch spinach.
palak paneer with almond paste2
palak paneer with almond paste3
Blanch almonds. Fry onions with ginger-garlic paste.
palak paneer with almond paste5
palak paneer with almond paste6 Add masalas and fry.

palak paneer with almond paste7palak paneer with almond paste8
Add ground spinach-tomato paste, kasuri methi. Then add almond paste.
palak paneer with almond paste9 palak paneer with almond paste10
Add paneer and cook.
palak paneer with almond paste11

Paneer in Creamy Spinach - Almond gravy

Creamy, delicious and spicy twist to the humble palak paneer with the addition of tomatoes and almond paste
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -5

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 big tomatoes about 2 cup chopped
  • 1 tea spn freshly made ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/2 tea spns cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 tea spn garam masala
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 1/2 tea spn coriander-cumin powder
  • 8 oz 227grms paneer cubes
  • 1 tea spn kasuri methi dried fenugreek leaves
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Boil 2 cups of water.
  • Add tomatoes to it, after about 3 mins, add spinach.
  • Switch off the heat, let it sit there for a mins.
  • Take the tomatoes and spinach in mixer bowl along with green chillies and grind to smooth paste.
  • In the same water, add almonds and boil for 4-5mins (I use them with skin).
  • Grind the almonds to a paste (I made a coarse paste for some texture).
  • Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds.
  • Then add onion, ginger-garlic paste. Fry for few minutes.
  • Add garam masala, cumin-coriander powder and fry for 2 mins.
  • Now add the ground spinach paste, salt and cook.
  • Crush the kasuri methi slightly with fingers and add it to the gravy.
  • Add almond paste and then paneer cubes. Cook for 5-6 mins.
  • Serve hot with rotis/chapatis or rice.

 

 

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Breadfruit Phodi (Palapansa phodi)

Neerpansa Phodi
Phodi

Different people call it by different names – Palapanas, Neerpanas, jeev kadgi to name a few. Many years ago, we had a long discussion about Konkani name of breadfruit. When I visited India this time, our tree was full of beautiful breadfruits. My parents were very happy that I visited during that time and I could enjoy one of my childhood favorites. They tell me that they have kept this tree mainly because of me. I also saw lot of tiny breadfruits getting sold in the market. Aayi had prepared a huge batch of chips for me. She also prepared the delicious randayi. But my favorite has to be the phodi. Fresh breadfruits make the best phodis.

Pictorial:
Breadfruit on the tree
palapansa phodi1
Cut breadfruit put in water.
palapansa phodi2
Apply salt, turmeric and asafoetida to pieces.
palapansa phodi3
Roll the pieces in rava and shallow fry.
palapansa phodi4 palapansa phodi5

Breadfruit Phodi (Palapansa phodi /jeev kadgi phodi)

One of the most popular items on the menu in North Kanara during the rainy season are these shallow fried phodis prepared with fresh breadfruits.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 pieces

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbl spns rava sooji
  • A pinch asafoetida
  • 1 tea spn chilli powder
  • A pinch turmeric powder
  • Oil
  • 1/2 tea spn tamarind extract
  • Salt
  • 8 breadfruit pieces

Instructions
 

  • Remove the green skin and inner most hard white part of breadfruit.
  • Cut the edible part into pieces(refer pictures).
  • Put the pieces in water while cutting them.
  • Mix pieces with asafoetida, turmeric powder, salt, tamarind juice.
  • Keep aside for 10-15min.
  • Heat a tava and apply little oil to it.
  • Mix rava with chilli powder and little salt.
  • Apply it on all sides of breadfruit pieces and shallow fry on the tava.
  • Close the lid and let it cook.
  • After few minutes, turn them upside down.
  • Check the phodis after few minutes by poking them with a knife/spoon.
  • If they are still not done, sprinkle some water, cover and cook for another 5-10mins.
  • Serve hot with rice and dal.

 

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Beetroot – Black eyed peas Sidedish

Beetroot - Black eyed peas Sidedish
Beetroot – Black eyed peas Sidedish

While growing up, we ate lot of dried beans. Of late, beans have become side lined in my kitchen. I am trying my best to bring them back to table. One of my favorite legume was black eyed peas – we called them alsande. I loved dishes like alsande randayi, padwale randayi etc that my aayi made. I make these very often now. Recently I started experimenting with alsande, combining it with other vegetables to make new dishes. One such dish is this beetroot – black eyed beans sidedish. We liked this so much that it has become very regular now.

Pictorial:
beetroot-black eyed peas sidedish1 beetroot-black eyed peas sidedish2 beetroot-black eyed peas sidedish3 beetroot-black eyed peas sidedish4

Beetroot - Black eyed peas Sidedish

A very easy delicious and healthy dish with beetroot and black eyed peas
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -5

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cup beetroot pieces use thick stems and leaves also
  • 1 cup black eyed peas alsande
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1 tea spn mustard seeds
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 2 tea spns chopped garlic optional
  • 1/2 tea spn cumin powder
  • 1/2 tea spn coriander powder
  • A pinch turmeric
  • Oil
  • 1 tbl spn fresh/frozen coconut
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Heat a little oil and add mustard seeds (I directly make this dish in my pressure cooker).
  • When they start popping, add curry leaves, green chillies, garlic.
  • Now add chopped beetroot, black eyed peas, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, salt.
  • Add 1 cup water and cook for about 3 whistles.
  • Serve garnished with coconut.

 

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Spicy Bittergourd-Potato Fry (Karathe Batate Talasani)

Karathe-Batate Talasani
Karathe-Batate Talasani

Bittergourd has become a latest addition to our diet. Whenever V does shopping at Indian store, he invariably picks up few bittergourds. They have pretty short shelf life, so I have to use them up quickly.Karathe kismuri is the only dish I end up making with it since we love that dish so much.  Recently, whenever I fry bittergourd to make this dish, both V and Ishaan keep eating the fried pieces as it is, before even it gets into any dish!. I prepared Aayi’s karathe nonche last time. I was looking for something different again, so I tried this.

I got these small thin potatoes – fingerling potatoes a while back. They taste great roasted just with some garlic and chilli powder. Any potatoes can be used, but these give a nice bite to the dish. A generous squeeze of lemon takes this simple dish to a whole new level. This dish tastes great when made spicy. Serve with rice and simple dal for a comfort meal.

Pictorial:
Fry the bittergourd with salt.
karathe-batate talasani1 karathe-batate talasani2
Add the potatoes and cumin seeds.
karathe-batate talasani3 karathe-batate talasani4
Add the spices and cook till done.
karathe-batate talasani5

Spicy Bittergourd-Potato Fry (Karathe Batate Talasani)

Lemony spicy fry with bittergourd and potatoes tastes great served with rice and dal
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 2 -3

Ingredients
  

  • 2-3 bittergourds
  • 1/2 lb potatoes about 2 cups when cut
  • 1 tbl spn lemon juice
  • 1 tea spn chilli powder
  • 1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tea spn garam masala
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Cut bittergourd into thin pieces and apply salt.
  • Heat little oil in a thick bottomed pan (I use cast iron pan) and fry bittergourd pieces till they are crispy and almost black in color.
  • Wash the potatoes well and cut them into bite sized pieces.
  • Add the potatoes, cumin seeds to the bittergourd and fry till they are tender (do not add water, fry on low flame).
  • Add the spices, a little salt, mix well.
  • Sprinkle lemon juice, mix.
  • Serve hot.

 

 

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Spicy Drumstick Fry

spicy drumstick fry
I  recollect a colleague of mine from Northern part of India telling that in their menu,  he had never seen drumstick. When he along with his friends hired a cook, he prepared a drumstick curry with rotis. These bunch of friends apparently told cook, if at all you prepare anything with this vegetable, we are going to find replacement for you. I pity – not the cook but this bunch of friends as they fail to explore potential of drumsticks. One can make several dishes out of drumsticks. They are healthy and tasty. This spicy drumstick fry is invention of my wife – Its simple, quick to prepare, healthy and tasty. A typical side dish that fits well in today’s fast paced life. If there are kids in family, they have strange liking for drumsticks and nothing like it.

Pictorial :
Cut, peel drumstick and put it in water. Cook them with a pinch of salt.
spicy drumstick fry1
Heat oil, add seasonings and all spices.
spicy drumstick fry2spicy drumstick fry3
Add the cooked drumstick and mix.
spicy drumstick fry4 spicy drumstick fry5

Spicy Drumstick Fry

A simple spicy and healthy sidedish prepared with fresh drumsticks
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 -3

Ingredients
  

  • 2 drumsticks
  • 2 tea spns coriander powder
  • 1 tea snp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tea spn turmeric powder
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 8-9 leaves curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Cut drumsticks approximately in two inch pieces. It’s a good practice to make incision and peel off from other side. Soak these drumstick pieces in water for around 10 minutes to remove the
  • bitterness.
  • Take out these drumsticks and discard the water. Cook drumsticks in water with pinch of salt for around 10 mins. Discard water and keep it aside.
  • In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves, allow them to splutter. Add asafoetida, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder and salt. Fry for 2 mins on low flame. Ensure nothing gets burnt.
  • Add cooked drumsticks to this and fry for another 5 mins. 2 tsps of water can be added so that spices are coated evenly to the drumsticks.
  • Serve the spicy drumsticks with hot rice as side dish.

 

 

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Green Peas Usal (Usli)

green peas usal
green peas usal

We get frequent requests from our readers to post some very simple recipes that even beginners can cook. We normally cook many such dishes every day, but when it comes to blogging, we start thinking if it is really worth posting?. But now we are going to make a conscious effort to post such recipes here. This is a very simple green peas usal(usli) that my sister prepares frequently.

Green peas is very seasonal here. Frozen peas are not available in market in our place. So when we visited our daughter, this was one of the dishes I made frequently. It is a simple dish where every ingredient gives a nice taste to the dish. When frozen peas are used, it gets ready within few minutes.

Pictorial:
Add mustard, cumin seeds, green chillies/red chilli powder, turmeric to hot oil.
green peas usal1  green peas usal2
Add green peas, little water, salt, cover and cook till peas are done.
green peas usal3 green peas usal4
Garnish with coconut and coriander leaves
green peas usal5

green peas usal

Green Peas Usal (Usli)

A simple and easy usal with green peas and few spices
3 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups fresh/frozen green peas
  • 1 tea spn cumin seeds
  • 1 tea spn mustard seeds
  • 3-4 green chillies or 1/2 tea spn chili powder
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 1 tbl spn coriander leaves
  • 1 tbl spn fresh/frozen coconut
  • Oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds. When they start popping, add green chillies or chilli powder, turmeric.
  • Add green peas, a little water, salt, cover and cook till peas are done.
  • Take off heat, now sprinkle coconut, coriander leaves. Serve hot with chapatis.

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Zunka (Pitla-Patal version of Zunka)

zunka
Zunka is a popular Maharashtrian dish and it is also very popular in Karnataka-Maharashtra border area. Though I got exposed to several dishes when I was studying at Belgaum, this Zunka is something I could never appreciate till I got married !! The dryer version of Zunka has a texture and husky smell of Chickpeas flour(Besan) which kept me away from this.
The credit of making me like this dish goes to Rashmi, my wife. When she decided to prepare this for first time, I remember telling her, there are very few dishes on earth that I don’t like and Zunka is definitely one of them. However my opinion got changed when I tried this ‘watery version’ of Zunka. The texture and taste of this is quite different from traditional thick one and perhaps that results in a different appeal. But please note that thicker version is more popular and if you visit restaurant and order for this, you are most likely to get the traditional one(and this is not that version).

Ingredients:
4 tbl spns besan (bengal gram flour)
1 cup chopped onions
½ cup grated coconut
1 tea spn mustard seeds (rai/sarson)
1 tea spn cumin seeds (jeera)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
5 slit green chillies
1/2 tea spn turmeric powder (haldi)
2 tbl spn coconut oil(or olive oil or any other oil)
Few curry leaves
Salt and water to taste

Method:
zunka5

Mix besan in half cup of water and stir to ensure no lumps are formed and keep it aside(Most important step to get consistency and uniform taste).
zunka1 zunka2 zunka3 zunka4
Heat oil in a thick bottomed vessel, add mustard seeds.
When they start spluttering, add asafoetida, curry leaves, pinch of turmeric powder and green chillies. You may add 1 tsp of crushed ginger(not added in pictures) and jeera and fry for a minute.
Add onion and fry till it becomes translucent stirring occasionally.
Mix earlier dissolved Besan to this.
While stirring, add a cup of more water. This is desired to get right texture and especially if you don’t like smell of Besan flour.
Add salt as desired. Add grated coconut.
Aayi's Recipes
Bring it to boil and keep stirring till gravy thickens. Do not attempt to dry out additional water. The real skill and perfection of this dish lies here.
Serve hot with rice or jawaar or baajra rotis. Pictures shown here are with rice rotis.
This dish has to be spicy and milder version may not go well with rotis.

PS: There are various other versions of this in terms of ingredients and texture. You may use red chilli powder instead of green chillies or along with them. You may add crushed garlic. Instead of opting for semi-gravy texture, you may go for thick paste.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 20mins

Update: Thanks to comments from readers. I have updated post to bring in more clarity between Zunka and its ‘sibling’ Pitla. In my family and amongst my relatives this version is known as Zunka. However I did cross check with some of my Marathi speaking relatives and they clarified that patal(thin) version of Zunka is known as Pitla. Since this is more of Maharashtrian dish, I would give due credits while naming. Hence I have updated the title as well.

 

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