Bhindi Dopiyaza – Spiced Okra & Onions

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Lady fingers, okra, bhindi. Whatever you call them…they tend to split the opinion polls! Some love them. Some hate them-well they think hate them…I am of the opinion that they just haven’t had them cooked well yet!  I am (obviously) a fan and a huge one at that. Okra tends to get a bad rep for it’s slimy texture but with the right recipe, this dish will become a favourite and a firm part of your culinary repetoire.

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Containing high levels of vitamin A & B and folic acid, okra is super healthy and quick to make. Layered with heat, tang and slight sweetness, bhindi dopiyaza is perfect gobbled up with buttery chapatis.

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Bhindi Dopiyaza
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  3. 1 tsp nigella seeds
  4. 500g okra
  5. 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  6. 2 birds eye chillis, finely chopped
  7. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  8. pinch of sugar
  9. 1 tsp garam masala
  10. 1/2 tsp paprika
  11. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  12. 1 tsp amchur (sun-dried mango powder)
  13. 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
  14. handful of chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a non stick pan. Now add the cumin and nigella seeds.
  2. When they begin to sizzle, place the onions, chillis and okra in the pan and add salt. Mix well and cook on medium heat for approx 5 minutes, mixing every couple of minutes. You will see slime strands at this point.
  3. Reduce heat low and place lid on pan and cook for 5-7 minutes, mixing it every couple of minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the slime strands begin to reduce and eventually disappear.
  5. Now add the spices and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and coriander and mix. Check for salt and adjust accordingly. Mix well and remove from heat.
Notes
  1. It's important to cook out the okras until the slime strands disappear. Slightly overcooked okra is perfect for this type of dish!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Indian Spicy Masala Porridge

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It’s been a busy start to the New Year! My other half and I decided it would be a good idea to begin 2016 by completing a job that had been collecting dust at the bottom of our “To Do” list for a little while. A task we had been putting off for months… redecorating the house. 

What followed were multiple trips to various DIY stores to pick everything from masking tape and sanding paper to paint brushes and light fittings. Annoyingly, we scrutinised over every detail. The combination of being indecisive and new to the situation did not help either. It also meant we learnt LOTS along the way. For example did you know that skirting board comes in more than one size – and that you should probably check you have the right size before cutting it. Who knew?! (Ps. If anyone needs some 14cm skirting board please holler… my shed will thank you). 

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If you have ever had work done in your home, you will know two things very well: 1) How disruptive it can be to your everyday routine… and… 2)How quickly dust becomes your arch enemy-it gets everywhere! We cleared most things into our guest room and kitchen which meant that cooking, was well… a royal pain in the bottom. It also meant that during that time, I often defaulted to cooking dishes that were stress free and quick and easy to make. That brings me to today’s recipe! (Excellent segue skills, I know). Spicy masala porridge is my go to dish when I’m craving something filling & comforting and it should be yours too. It also gets bonus points for only taking 10 minutes to make! It’s creamy & crunchy and topped with some mango pickle and plain yoghurt, it’s a real crowd pleaser. So much so that the dating website Match.com featured this recipe on their website! (Check it out here).

Ps. I am now very pleased to say that our decorating is now complete and we have now settled back into our fresher & somewhat newer looking, home (yay!). 

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Indian Spicy Masala Porridge
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (240g) of porridge oats
  2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  3. 2 ½ cups water
  4. 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  5. 1 tomato diced, diced into ½ cm pieces
  6. 1 small carrot, diced into ½ cm pieces
  7. 2 broccoli florets, cut into small chunks
  8. 1 green birds eye chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  9. 1tsp salt or according to taste
  10. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  11. ¼ tsp paprika
  12. ¼ tsp garam masala
  13. 1/4 tsp amchur/mango powder (optional)
  14. handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat a non-stick pan and add the porridge oats and cumin.
  2. Toast on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously.
  3. When you see the oats being to change colour and become slightly darker, add the water immediately.
  4. Increase the heat to high and add the onions, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli and chilli.
  5. Mix well. Now add salt, turmeric, paprika, garam masala and amchur.
  6. Allow the porridge to thicken and come to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle on fresh coriander and remove from heat.
  8. Enjoy on its own or with a dollop of yoghurt and mango pickle!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Jeera Aloo (Cumin Potatoes)


There are so many different types of Indian potato dishes but I think this i, by far, one of my favourites. Jeera Aloo (also known as cumin potatoes), is one of the first dishes my Mum taught me how to cook just before I moved away to university, namely because it doesnt require much prep or cooking time. Great as a main or a side dish. Infact, I’ve recently started making chappati wraps stuffed with these potatoes and taking them to work with me. Little bit more snazzier than my regular, plain ol’ cheese & tomato sandwiches :). Check out the recipe and let me know how what you think!

Serves 4

What we need:
4 potatoes-roughly 1lb in weight (I prefer red potatoes but you can use any)
1 tsp salt or according taste
1/4 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tsp dried mango powder (amchur)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida (optional)
10 curry leaves, chopped (optional)
handful fresh coriander, chopped

How we do:

  • Boil potatoes until cooked and tender. You can also cook them in a microwave for approx 12 minutes. Chop into even, bitesize pieces on a board.
  • Sprinkle salt, paprika, mango powder and garam masala evenly on the potatoes and mix well.
  • Heat oil in non stick wide pan or wok. Add cumin, mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves. When they begin to sizzle, add the onions. Stir well and add the potoaoes.
  • Mix the pototoes and add the coriander.
  • You’re done! Serve with hot chapatis and enjoy.