Friday, March 23, 2012

Exotic Vegetables & Mushroom Medley

Looks like my recipes are getting popular!! Because a Vegetarian friend was disappointed with my earlier meat recipe!  How can I disappoint my fans?

Here I come ‘Dear Vasan’ with a special dish for you and all my vegan fans! Enjoy.  

The so called exotic vegetables are no longer exotic; as they are cultivated and available easily in most of the super markets. Most of them though amenable to raw salad, will taste better when stir fried or sautéed with little spices. One gets to appreciate the individual flavours and their taste much better in this way. The colourful outcome of this recipe is as added attraction.  

    1. Button Mushroom……… 200g            2. Capsicum Red & yellow 1 each
    3. Big Onion …………………1 no                4. Baby Corns…………………6 no
    5. Broccoli………………………100g            6. Tomato …………..small -1
    7. Zucchini ----------medium-1             8. Brussels sprouts……….6 no/ 50g
    9. Lettuce……………..Two leaves           10. Celery ………………..1 stalk
  11. Cheese …………………10 g                   12. Ginger Garlic paste….1 tsp.         
  13. Butter/ cooking oil – 1 Tbsp             14. Optional- Cream…50ml

Spices mix
Coarsely pound in mortar, Cumin- ½ tsp; Dry coriander-1/2 tsp; cloves- 2no; Mace- 1g; Black Pepper-1 tsp. Or you can use Garam Masala powder- 1 Tbsp
Salt to taste

Wash and clean all the vegetables and mushroom. Cut the mushroom in to four pieces. Cut the vegetables in to 3 to 4 cm pieces. Slice tomato and discard seeds. Dice the celery stalk in to 1 cm bits. Cut the Brussels sprouts into halves. Cut the lettuce to long stripes.

Heat butter/oil in a Kadai. Add onions and ginger garlic paste, fry for a minute.

Add half of the spice mix prepared and sauté. Add all the vegetables and mushroom except the lettuce to the kadai and stir fry without adding water over a medium flame.

When the vegetables leave out water; raise the flame and fry them constantly stirring for a few minutes.

Add rest of the spice mix to the kadai and add required salt. Sauté that for few minutes till the water reduces. Make sure not to over boil the vegetables and let them retain their crunchiness.

Garnish with lettuce, other greens and grated cheese!
For those who like wet curry; add the cream just before taking out of the kadai.   

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mutton Fry with Capsicum and Kashmir Chillies

   For one who has been weaned on Mutton (goat/lamb) meat from childhood, I can hardly resist the home made Mutton curries and fries even now!  

   Indian curries and especially meat preparations are all dark in complexion as they are heavily loaded with spices, and takes long time to cook.
   The question of why not make an Indian Mutton curry with a medley of colourful Salad (salad like!) twist; which is easy on the palate and pleasing to eye, led me to try this! I have used minimum ingredients and spices to cook up this recipe!  The capsicum and the Kashmir chilies give colour and flavour to the dish and result is tangy and yummy!

  1.        Goat/Lamb meat (Boneless) – 250 to 300 g
  2.          Onion – 1
  3.  .   Capsicum(any colour) big – 1
  4.  .   Kashmir Chilies-  6
  5.  .   Dried Red Spicy Chili (round)- 5
  6.  .   Coriander Powder – 1 Tbsp
  7.         Clove – 2
  8.      Cinnamon stick – 1 cm
  9.      Turmeric powder – 1Tsp
  10.     Cooking oil – 1Tbsp
  11.    Salt to taste.   
  12.    Garnishing – any cut leaves of coriander/leek/mint/parsley 

  Cut the meat to small pieces (2 to3 cm) Pressure Cook the meat with a cup of water and the turmeric powder for five minutes to make it tender.
  Cut the Capsicum and onion in to medium (2cm) pieces. Break the Kashmiri chillis three pieces each.
  1.   Heat a Kadai/wok and add the oil. Once the oil is heated, bring it to  medium flame.
  2. Add the cloves and Cinnamon to the oil and fry for half a minute to get the flavor.
  3. Add dried red spicy chilies and fry for half a minute.
  4.  Add the cut onions, capsicum and Coriander powder, and fry for two minutes along with a pinch of salt. See that the color of the capsicum remains green and not over cooked.
  5. Transfer the cooked meat to the kadai. Add the Kashmiri chilies and coriander powder. Add salt to taste while cooking. Fry for a minute.
  6.  Finally add the meat stock and cook on a medium flame for a few minutes. The water helps the meat to absorb all the flavor and spices.
  7.  Do not over fry it. Let the vegetables, chilies and the meat stand apart. Transfer the meat once all the water is dried to the serving bowl.
  8.   Garnish as you wish.
  9.  Goes well with all Indian breads and rice.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Flower Show at Lalbagh, Bengaluru -Jan,2012

The famous Flower show of Bengaluru happens twice in Lalbagh corresponding to our Independence day and Republic day every year. Commissioned by Hyder Ali in 1760 and completed by Tipu Sultan, Lalbagh has grown from 45 Acres to 240 acres of verdant greenery and a veritable Botanical lung space for the city of Bengaluru.

Flowers  are an attractive mechanism devised by plants by which it bewitches and covet insects to visit them for their pollination, propagation and sustenance of their species on earth. Fairer sex in the evolved beings of mankind too found flowers an useful tool through their colours and fragrance to attract the opposite sex, as the many cultures has shown through history.

'Say it with Flowers' have become integral part of the lives of mankind as it takes part from birth to death through various occasions.

No wonder the 'Flower Shows' attract right from children to old equally. I am remided of the lyrics from a melodious song --- ‘Poovin mozhi, nirama..manana ? ( Vairamuthu)
Is the language of Flowers - their Colours or their Scent? Seem to me it should be both !

   I was thrilled when my class mate Mr.J.Balasubramanian (consultant- Horticulture & Medicinal Plants) a walking encyclopedia of plants accompanied me to this year's Show. It was double whammy when yet another store house of knowledge my class mate Mr. S. C. Gunasekaran (chief Manager P.N. Bank) also joined us.

We leisurely went past the organised flower show at the Glass House through the milling crowd; thoroughly enjoying the riot of colours presented through flowers of various shapes and sizes each vying for attraction and importance.

Dainty Asters, cosmos, celosias, Linerias and statis, Dazzling Pansies and Petunias held their forte against the common Dahlias, Zinnias & Marigolds and much acclaimed Phelenopsis Orchids & Tiger lilies. There were regal Streltzea; the bird of paradise nonchalantly imposing their superiority among other showy Heliconias.

Beds of Geraniums, Chrysanthemums, begonias and pansies looked like the delightful brush strokes of an innovative painter.

Apart from the groups of flowers there
were floral arrangement done by professional advertising their firms.

The central theme of Buddha stupa looked jaded and lacked the glitter, as the flowers used to decorate were listless and withered due to lack of humidity!

However The floral cascade with Peruvian (Alstromeria) lilies were colourfully spectacular.  

What is expected of the results of the visit by tens and thousand people, were all there - noise, chaos, unruliness and trash. School Children in gay abandon was seen meddling with pop up sprinklers, plucking and vandalizing plants and trees! You guessed it right; I was drenched by the sprinklers thanks to the boys playing with it. Luckily my camera escaped the showers!

The show also had the share of humour & goof ups by  the organizers; in the labeling of plants and awarding even for the wrong plants! Even the police outpost there spell t the place as Lalbag ! The meticulous banker in Gunasekar helped spot all the bungling. 

 It was time to see the exotic and rare trees and Balu was in his best to educate us about Saracas, Tipuanas, and Guiacums etc. The giant kapok (silk cotton) tree there is a sight to behold!

We saw a 60 feet tall mahogany tree in majestic form.
We walked till our legs ached and it was time to rest and relax.

It is indeed sad that slowly the sanctity of the Botanical Garden is lost in transforming to a public park!   Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan surely will turn in their graves!!

Which brings us a question, why no new Botanical parks are planned even after 300 years? 

Botanical Gardens can serve as centre for educating children and general public on environment, ecology and of the various plant species and the importance of preserving them for posterity.  


Monday, November 7, 2011

Shredded Parotta with Exotic Vegetables

(Alias ‘Vegetable Kothu Parotta’)

    The sight and sound of making ‘Kothu (mincing for Tamil) Parotta’, (layered Indian pan bread) by the street Food stalls, with the resultant aroma captivates all passersby attracting like the forbidden fruit.  Yes the art of ‘Kothuparotta’ is a veritable feast to all our senses!! But then Kothuparotta is always associated with meat and egg!
Why not a Veggie Kothu? Now try this for a change! Though this is devoid of the sound (Kothu) there is enough and more for sight and aroma!!


1.     Two Kerala Parottas (available in any super markets as ready to cook)
2.     Capsicum Red and yellow – One each
3.     Baby corn -  6 no
4.     Button mushroom –100g / 6 no
5.     Cauliflower/ Broccoli – 100g
6.     Zucchini – 1
7.     Onion medium – 1no / shallots(small onions) – 5no
8.     Garlic – 5 cloves
9.     Celery- a Handful finely chopped
10. Carom seeds – a pinch
11. Pepper corns- 6 to 8 no
12. Green Chilly- 1 or 2 finely chopped depends on your taste
13. Garnishing- Few curry leaves, a table spoon of shredded cheese
14. Coconut oil- 2 tea spoon for frying parotta
15. Any cooking oil -2 tea spoon for frying vegetables.
16. Salt to taste

     Heat a Tawa and cook the Parottas both sides over medium flame adding a tea spoon of coconut oil for each. Cool it and shred them in to 2 to 4 cm bits either with a scissors or by your hands.
Cut and dice vegetables and mushroom into small pieces. Heat a kadai / frying pan, add cooking oil when ready add the carom seeds, garlic, followed by onions and celery fry for two minutes. Add finely chopped vegetables, mushroom and salt; cook them on a low flame covered with a lid for three to five minutes. No need to add water as the mushroom and vegetables itself will give out enough to get cooked. The vegetables have to retain its crispness and hence don’t overcook.  
Now pound the carom seeds and pepper corns coarsely. Sprinkle them on the vegetables and toss them.
Add the shredded Parottas* on to the vegetables and mix them well over a low flame for about a minute or two.  Take out in a serving bowl and garnish it with shredded cheese and curry leaves.

* Whip an egg with little turmeric and add along with the shredded Parottas if you like.
** One can substitute mushroom with chicken sausages cut in to one cm pieces.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

'Mushroom-Baby Corn Stir Fry’- A Quick Food- Healthy & Yummy

     Hi, here is a quick dish simple and yummy! You just need a vegetable and a Fungus, I mean the Mushroom, stir fry with little spice and condiments ... Voila ! You have a tasty and filling meal in a jiffy!

     People around the world including our state collected natural grown mushrooms after rains, as they were a delicacy. As a student of Agriculture, we were taught about the edible Fungi, known as Mushrooms. But only during mid 70 ies I have tasted them in soups. Those days’ button mushrooms were available only as a canned product. Oyster (Pleurotus) Mushroom made an entry in the eighties around Coimbatore and other plains and was instantly become popular. Only in the last decade the Button (Agaricus) mushrooms are seen in many supermarkets and vegetable shops in India.

     Mushroom and Baby corns are in fact exotic in origin. Button Mushrooms available in supermarkets are the cultivated edible ones containing essential B-vitamins, minerals and fibre. Baby corns are good source of dietary fibre, carotenoides, sugar and protein.


1.       White Button Mushroom – 250g
2.       Baby corns- 10 no / 150g
3.       Small onion/ shallot -4 or Onion– 1 no - finely chopped 
4.       Garlic cloves- 5 no -diced
5.       Ginger – 1 cm cube finely chopped
6.       Mint leaves- 12-15
7.       Coriander leaves finely chopped– 50g or Handful
8.       Green Chilly- one
9.       Cumin seeds- Half Tea spoon
10.   A tea spoon of cooking oil or one spoon of butter
11.   Pepper corns –5-6 pounded.
12.   Salt to taste- 2 to 3g

Preparation (5- minutes)

Always wash and clean the mushrooms of any soil. Dice the mushroom as half or quarter as per the size. Cut the baby corn in to four long slices. Add oil or butter to the frying pan; heat it on a medium flame. Add the cumin and fry followed by onion, garlic, chilliy and ginger. Fry them for a minute or two with a pinch of salt. Now toss in the finely chopped mint and coriander leaves; fry them for a minute more. Now add the mushroom and baby corn stir fry them adding the required salt. The water in the mushroom will start coming out and will be sufficient to cook them both. Cover the pan with lid for a while to cook partially. Then toss them to remove the excess moisture. A good aroma will tell you that the dish is ready! Sprinkle the pounded pepper and finish the dish. Make sure the mushroom and corn are rightly cooked and should be crunchy when tasted.
Now the delicious yet filling dish is ready as a main course!
Still it can turn into a good side dish too. One can role it in a chapathy or make a sandwich with bread. Also can accompany with a bowl of steamed Rice for a sumptuous meal ! 

 I recommend this to our children who are in different corners of the world; pursuing their higher education; always hard pressed for time to cook a decent meal! Instead of falling again for a fast food, I wish they try this Quick filler!
I hope my nieces and nephews will mail me back after trying it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tossed Bread with Egg & Vegetables - My Culinary Escapades!!

                                          “Egg and Vegetable Bread Toss”

After few days of intense Landscape designing on my computer and with aching neck and stiff back; what better way to relax yielding to the call of the Kitchen!
Good recipes as they say strike at the spur of the moment! All the more if, you are hungry and have to stir out something fast for the morning breakfast, and you realize that your culinary grey cells (is there a part of the brain identified with culinary skills?) switch instantly to the overdrive mode and throws up amazing ideas!!
Well it happened to me today; when I entered the kitchen as my better half left me fending for myself and was enjoying her bath. There were four slices of brown bread and a noodles packet welcomed me and I could have gone for the easy way out with them. The moment I saw few cut vegetable left by my wife, Bingo! I had a solution right there!
Why not vegetables and bread tossed together! I mean literally! And it didn’t take me long; in fact seven minutes exact to cook up this idea with whatever I could find in our kitchen!
India has adopted bread in various forms like bread channa, bread uppma, bread bajji etc. Now here is one more simple meal out of it!
Ingredients: (what I found in my hurry)
1.   One cup of finely grated cabbage
2.   Two baby corns chopped
3.   Two cloves of garlic.
4.   One  small green chilly chopped finely (if only you like spicy food)
5.   A pinch of cumin/ few pepper corns
6.   One table spoon of oil
7.   Hand full of chopped Spring onion leaves
8.   Four slices of Brown bread cut into one inch squares
9.   One egg beaten with a pinch turmeric.
10. Coriander leaves and slices of cheese for garnishing   

Once the oil in the kadai is heated up, I added the cumin. After the splutter I have added the chilly, garlic and spring onion and stir fried them for a minute. Then chopped vegetables were added, and lightly fried them for two minutes adding a pinch of salt.
The bread pieces were added and tossed them well for a minute. Finally I poured the beaten egg and added one pinch pounded of pepper and tossed them well. The egg gets soaked in the bread and the stirring helps the pieces not binding them together.
Now it is ready for serving! Garnish it with chopped coriander leaves and pieces of Cheese. Any sauce or chutney will go with it.
 I had a sumptuous breakfast, filling yet healthy too! The brown bread/ whole wheat bread becomes more tasty and healthy when combines with the crunchy vegetables. I like spicy stuff and hence the green chili and pepper corns while the garlic, cumin and egg gave the inviting aroma.

Children will love it (without chilly of course) and working couples can make it in a jiffy. You can always try some variations to suit your taste. Enjoy then !!  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Say ' Welcome Back'

I saw this video clip send by my friend, and enjoyed every moments of it- the surprise, the joy and happiness felt by the recipients and the performers at the air port.
Well it conveyed many a things to me.
Lets face it..
We, our friends, relatives, employees, employer.....or spouse or children....well everybody makes mistakes, errs, misunderstand others, judge their motives, scared of  what others do....
In our life we have time for every thing except to show true Love, compassion or felt sorry to near and dear whenever it matters!!
We are not inanimate but are emotional beings, hence susceptible for all our misgivings !!
Time is running away but Life is short.
Let us Break our egos and embrace humanity!!

Welcome back our friendship, relationship.
Welcome back empathy and LOVE in our life
Welcome back the magic of SHARING called LIFE !! .