Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash
It is amazing how this firm winter squash with its camel exterior and orange flesh easily cooks down into a soft mashed consistency. This dish was served at my book launch party at Whole Foods Market and the guests were raving about it! Children also love this dish, and it makes a nice little sandwich when stuffed between a soft dinner roll...even adults love the mini sandwiches!
Okra, known as “lady’s fingers” in India, has a beautiful fresh, bright green color and looks wonderful on the table. This simple and easy way to cook okra will leave you with a delicious dish, without any of the okra "slime!"
Indian Cornbread (Makki ki Roti)
Indian cornbread (makki ki roti) served along with Mixed Winter Greens (saag) sprinkled with some jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) is a popular meal from the northern Indian state of Punjab. Growing up, it was always a treat when my mom made this for a meal in the cooler months. It makes a unique addition to the Thanksgiving table as well. My daughter loves kneading the dough and patting out almost perfect circles all by herself...makes me a proud mamma!
For Thanksgiving, instead of the familiar green bean casserole, this easy to make green bean and potato sautéed dish is a great substitute for something different, delicious, nutritious, and healthy.
Quinoa Cashew Pilaf
(Kid favorite and WINNER of Phoenicia's Mommy's Favorite Recipe contest!)
This tiny, nutritious, gluten-free protein-packed grain is all the rage, especial among mothers of vegetarian children. I cook it with tempered cumin seeds, vegetables and cashews and often pack it for my daughter’s school lunch.
Smoked eggplant is one of my favorite Indian dishes, and is fun to make, although it might make a small mess on your stove! This dish can be served as an appetizer along with lightly toasted wedges of pita bread.
Rice and Lentil Porridge (Kichidi)
To this day, if I complain of a tummy ache, my mom will suggest a light and nutritious meal of kichidi and a side of plain yogurt. In India, this rice and lentil porridge dish is also a common choice for older people and babies, both of whom need light meals that don’t require chewing, go down easily and are light on the stomach.
The delicate hint of cumin and beautiful color of green peas in this rice dish make it my favorite everyday rice. It is quick to make and very flavorful as well. I use Basmati rice when making this dish for added taste, beauty, texture and fragrance instead of using plain long-grained white rice.
Kheer, or rice pudding, is a popular dessert that is found around the world in different variations such as arroz con leche (rice with milk) from Mexico and rizogalo (rice milk) from Greece. In India, kheer is a much loved dessert served at weddings, temples, or at any festive occasion, or simply to treat yourself to a delicious dessert!
You will feel like royalty when eating this elegant, yet very easy rice dish made with saffron, dried fruit, and nuts. A small amount of saffron gives an exotic aroma and flavor and a beautiful natural yellow tint to the rice. Cashews, almonds, and golden raisins made from dried white (pale green) grapes add rich flavor and texture to this rice dish. You can also use other nuts, like walnuts and pistachios.
A pilaf is a rice dish in which the rice is first lightly browned by cooking it with onions in oil or butter, and then adding in fragrant spices and vegetables. You could describe this one-pot meal as the Indian version of vegetarian fried rice. I include edamame (green soy beans) to add protein to this dish.
Like my mother and most Indians, I always have plain yogurt in my refrigerator. Yogurt is typically eaten along with meals as a cooling condiment that soothes your stomach from spicy foods. To jazz up plain yogurt, it is common to whisk in different vegetables and just a wee bit of spices to make a raita. With a big Mexican influence here in Texas, especially with the cuisine, avocados and corainder (also called cilantro) are very popular, so I thought of making a raita out of them.
Copyright 2011, 2012, 2013 Shubhra Ramineni. All rights reserved.