August 29, 2010

Mung zucchini

The initial plan was to cook a zucchini from the garden for lunch. Accompanied by some lentils, it would make a simple and good lunch with rice. To fetch ‘masoor’ lentils from the utility, I saw a packet of green mung beans that is there for quite some time now. Why do not I combine these green mung with the zucchini into a single preparation? As I thought, I went ahead with mixing the lentils, zucchini, and spices. And out came this simple and tasty dish.


500g zucchini
250g green mung (green soy)
1 small onion
1/2sp turmeric
1sp red chili powder
1tbsp mustard powder or seeds
1/2sp garam masala


1. Boil the mung lentils with a bit of salt and sugar. Take care that it is not over boiled. Remove from heat when the beans are soft and starting to split but still separate. Drain and keep aside.
2. Make a paste of the mustard powder if you are using powder. If you are using seeds, make a fresh paste of the seeds. Do not use the Dijon or similar mustard sauce.
3. Peel and cut the zucchini into medium sized long pieces, and finely chop the onion.
4. Heat oil in a pan and add the zucchini pieces.
5. Fry them on medium to high with minimum stirring until they are a bit soft.
6. Add mustard paste, salt, sugar and chili powder.
7. Cook on high heat for a couple of minutes and remove from heat.
8. Heat oil in a separate pan.
9. Add the chopped onion and fry until it turns brownish.
10. Add the boiled mung and fry on high heat for 4-5mins.
11. Next, add the fried zucchini.
12. Add the garam masala.
13. Stir gently. Cook for 3-4mins.
14. Serve with rice.

Take care that the mung beans are not over boiled.

August 28, 2010

Paneer pepper bhurji

I invited Blaž to my place for a simple dinner of vegetable pulao. I had got all the vegetables beforehand but messed up with something. Therefore, that day on way home I decided to buy chicken and make chicken pulao instead. However, luck was not in favor of pulao that day. The small nearby shop had its meat section closed and did not have any good vegetables. It was a bad situation. The dinner was supposed to be simplest, but I had nothing to cook even for the simplest dinner! With only one big bell pepper at home, I was supposed to cook a dinner for two! I was annoyed, and searching for ideas. And then, I remembered how simple it is to make paneer. My problem was solved. Paneer pepper bhurji was on the menu with rice; and it was liked. The crunchiness of pepper and freshness of paneer makes it a quick and tasty dish.


225g paneer (from one lit. milk)
1 big red bell pepper
1 small onion
1sp whole cumin (Indian)
1/2sp chili powder
Ground pepper


1. Make paneer from 1 lit of milk (how to make paneer), crush it and set aside.
2. Finely chop the onion and cut the pepper in cubes.
3. Heat oil in a pan.
4. When oil is heated, add the whole cumin and let it crackle.
5. Add the pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes.
6. Add the fresh crushed paneer.
7. Season with chili, salt, a pinch of sugar and pepper.
8. Cook on medium heat until the pepper is crunchy but not soft, and the paneer is fried.
9. Serve with steaming rice or hot roti.

Kaju barfi (Kaju katli)

Kaju barfi (katli) is one of the most popular and tasty sweets of India, a must for almost every occasion. No wonder, it is one of my favorite too. And here is Slovenia, I missed it. I had brought a packet from India, which even after eating ‘miserly’ did not last long. Thus, I decided in venturing to make it on my own. I searched online a bit for recipes and found dozens. Different recipes said two different methods, one with milk, and another with water. The one with milk would take much longer time, and I decided to start with the simple water one. Adjusting and combining a few recipes/measurements to make it easiest, I tried it for the first time. The only thing missing was the thin silver foil; otherwise, I could have easily said it to be from market. This quick and simple recipe makes such delicious, authentic kaju barfi that now I do not think of trying with milk anymore. Adding milk can reduce shelf life, but that, however, is not a concern, it hardly lasts for days! Maybe I will try someday for fun. But this one is just perfect.


250g cashew
120g sugar
50ml water
Silver foil (if available)


1. Grind the cashew in a fine powder (the finer the better).
2. In a pan, add the sugar and water. Start heating slowly.
3. Heat until the sugar melts and the syrup start boiling and frothing.
4. Make the heat low and quickly add the cashew powder with continuous stirring.
5. Cook on medium heat for 3-4 mins more to make smooth dough.
6. The dough will leave the pan. Take a small pinch and roll it between fingers. If you can make a smooth ball, the dough is ready.
7. Remove it from heat and put the dough on a greased surface.
8. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes while it is still hot (wear gloves!).
9. Roll the dough into 0.5cm thick; (add silver foil on top if you are using it), and cut into diamonds.
10. Separate the pieces and let it cool before serving.

Add a little bit of milk if the dough is too dry and brittle. However adding milk can reduce shelf life.

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