Methi Chole Sabzi / Fenugreek Leaves and Chickpeas Sabzi

When you want to pack proteins in your diet, get going with chickpeas. North Indian style curries with chickpeas are perfect for lunchbox recipes. Methi Chole is a popular Punjabi dish that combines fenugreek leaves with chole in a spicy gravy. It’s also a convenient way to include greens in your meal in a tasty manner. The aroma of this curry is amazing and it’ll make you want to eat it as soon as you make it.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients :

  • 2 cups methi leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 big tomato, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cardamom pods (break and finely powder)
  • 2 green chillies, slit in half along the length
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp aamchur / dry mango powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp oil

Methi Chole

Methi Chole


Method:

  • Wash the fenugreek leaves and chop them roughly.
  • Fenugreek leaves

    Fenugreek leaves

  • Wash and soak the chole in water for 6 – 8 hours.
  • Drain the water and add the chole in a pressure cooker along with 3 tsp of salt and 3 cups water. Pressure cook this for 6 whistles on a medium flame. Then switch off the cooker and let it cool till the pressure is naturally released.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, cloves, cardamom powder and let them crackle for a few seconds.
  • Now add the chopped onion, a pinch of salt and saute them till they are translucent. Add ginger garlic paste to the onions and continue cooking till they are golden brown.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and green chillies at this stage and fry them for 2 mins.
  • Then add the turmeric powder, garam masala powder, dry mango powder and coriander powder. Mix well to combine. Let this paste cook for 2-3 mins.
  • Add the chole along with the cooking water. Taste and add more salt, if required.
  • Cook the chole for around 10 mins on a low flame.
  • Finally add the chopped fenugreek leaves and mix them well and cook them for another 3 mins. The aroma of the sabzi is amazing.
  • Methi chole

    Methi chole

  • Tastes good when served hot and best paired with roti or naan.

Tips:

  • Make sure the chole is well cooked before you add it to the gravy. You can cook it for some more time in the pressure cooker if needed.
  • Ensure that the methi leaves are washed well. Rinse them multiple times before cutting.
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Chayote Sabzi / Chow Chow Sabzi

Chayote is a light green, pear-shaped tropical squash with coarse wrinkles and can be used in a variety of preparations. It is a good source of dietary fiber and has Vitamin C in it. Commonly known as chow chow, this ingredient works well in dry as well as gravy based curries. The mild flavour of chayote makes it perfect to take on the addition of spices which seep into it to give an enhanced taste. While peeling chayote, you can apply oil to your palms for ease. Make sure you peel it well, as the outer skin is rough. For those staying in Singapore, chayote is available in NTUC and the other supermarket stores.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 600-700 gms (2 medium sized) chayote, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 1 big onion, finely diced
  • 1-1.5 cups tomato puree (homemade or ready made)
  • 1-2 inches of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced (optional)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp Kitchen King masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder>
  • 0.5 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp oil

Chayote sabzi

Chayote sabzi / Chow Chow Sabzi


Method:

  • Place a pressure cooker over a medium-low flame and add 2 tbsp of oil to it.
  • Once the oil is warm, add the mustard seeds and let them crackle.
  • Add the onions and cook gently till they are soft, but not browned.
  • Once the onions are soft, add in the tomato puree and cook till the raw smell goes away.
  • Now add coriander, kitchen king and red chilli powders followed by salt and turmeric.
  • Cook covered, stirring occasionally till the mixture thickens and releases oil.
  • Add the chayote pieces and mix well till the pieces are fully coated with the tomato-spice mixture.
  • Add 1 – 2 cups of water (depending on how thick you want the final gravy) and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
  • Switch off the flame and let the cooker cool down.
  • Taste the chayote and gravy and adjust the seasoning.
  • Add garam masala and crushed dried fenugreek leaves.
  • Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Tips:

  • The amount of water you have to add depends on the chayote type you are using as the water content may vary.
  • Do not overcook the chayote as it will turn into mush.

Potato Okra Stir Fry / Lahsuni Aloo Bhindi Sabzi

Potato and okra are two basic vegetables in Indian cooking that come together beautifully in this dish. The spice powders add heat and complexity and the garlic twist adds a huge amount of flavour to the dish. This simple preparation goes great in lunch boxes and appeals to all ages.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 40 mins
Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients :

  • 800 gms Okra/bhindi, washed and kept to dry for 30 mins and then chopped into small pieces.
  • 1 big onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut approximately the same size as okra
  • 10 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 4-5 dry red chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3 tbsp oil

lahsuni aloo bhindi

Lahsuni Aloo Bhindi


Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan and let it warm a bit. Then add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add in the cumin seeds.
  • Swirl the pan to spread the oil a bit on the sides of the pan and wait for the cumin seeds to turn slightly brown.
  • Then add the dry red chillies and asafoetida and immediately add the garlic.
  • Addition of garlic

    Addition of garlic

  • When garlic becomes light brown, add in the potatoes. Then add half of turmeric powder and salt required just for the potatoes. Cook through for around 4-5 mins.
  • Addition of potato

    Addition of potato

  • Add the chopped onions and fenugreek seeds and mix them well together. Let the onions cook through till they become soft.
  • After this, add the okra, rest of the turmeric powder and salt. Mix everything well and cook it in open pan. First cook it in high flame and then after 3 mins, keep it on medium low flame.
  • Addition of okra

    Addition of okra

  • When the okra is 90% done, add in the coriander powder and red chilli powder.
  • Spread it evenly across the pan and cook more till the okra turns nicely crisp.
  • Switch off the flame. Goes best with jeera rice and rotis.

Tips:

  • Once you add the okra, keep stirring from time to time to redistribute the veggies – you may get burnt bits otherwise.
  • You can add less garlic if you don’t like the flavour – but I would recommend adding some at least.

Cauliflower in Yogurt Gravy / Dahi Wali Gobhi

My travel tales generally have a strong association with food. As a child, I used to travel to North India for vacations. I clearly remember yogurt was extensively used to make the gravy for side dishes that go along with rotis. Cauliflower is a vegetable that blends easily into any form and is generally liked by everyone. The yogurt gravy in this recipe adds a tangy flavour along with the kick of the spices. The florets soak in the spicy essence of the gravy and end up being a delight on the taste buds.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients :

  • 400 gms cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh green peas
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 cup yogurt/dahi
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp gram flour/besan
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander to garnish

Cauliflower in yogurt gravy

Cauliflower in yogurt gravy


Method:

  • Wash the cauliflower and cut them into small florets. Use the picture below as a size guide.
  • Washed cauliflower florets

    Washed cauliflower florets

  • Soak the florets in warm salted water for about 15 mins. After 15 mins, drain away the water to remove impurities. Lay the florets out on a kitchen towel so that excess water is absorbed.
  • Heat oil in a pan and let it warm a bit. Then add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add in the cumin seeds.
  • Add the grated ginger and saute well.
  • Now add in the cauliflower florets and turmeric powder and mix them well so that the yellow colour spreads evenly.
  • Next, add the green peas, salt and 2 cups of water and cover with a lid after mixing well. Cook this stage on a low flame.
  • While this is cooking, take a bowl add the curd, a bit of salt and gram flour and mix well. I used Greek yogurt which is a bit thicker than homemade yogurt. Adjust the consistency of yogurt as you see fit.
  • After the florets have cooked through, remove the lid and add in the yogurt mixture to the pan. Also add the garam masala powder.
  • Finally, add the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Let this cook for another 5 mins. You need not cover the pan at this stage.
  • Switch off the flame and serve hot with rotis. Also goes great with steamed white rice.

Tips:

  • Don’t overcook the cauliflower. You want them to retain their shape.
  • Depending on the thickness of your yogurt, you may need to add some water to thin the gravy.

Beetroot and Paneer Curry

As I explore cooking, I have come to realize the versatility of beetroot in curry and dessert preparations. Apart from the immense health benefits, it cooks quickly and can be used either grated or diced – which adds a lot of texture to dishes. Paneer acts as a good ingredient in gravy dishes as it soaks in the flavours of the curry beautifully. This also adds variety to the standard lunchbox recipes as it is an unusual combination which has a great balance of taste and texture. For vegans, you can substitute tofu instead of paneer and it tastes equally good.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 3-4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 2 beetroots, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 250 gms paneer, cubed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala /Kitchen King powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil

Beetroot and Paneer Curry

Beetroot and Paneer Curry


Method:

  • Take a pressure cooker and add oil in it. Add the beetroot cubes, onions, ginger, garlic, chillies and salt in it. Add 1.5 cups of water and close the lid. On a low flame, let the cooker steam out 3 whistles. Then switch off the flame. After this, wait for the pressure of the cooker to release naturally.
  • Open the lid and add in the coconut milk, paneer, coriander powder and garam masala powder and bring the curry to a boil on medium flame. Stir the gravy so that the added spices coat the paneer and beetroot nicely. If the gravy seems thick, add a little water as per your judgement.
  • This curry is absolutely delicious and goes great with rice and rotis.

Tips:

  • Don’t add too much water. If you want a thinner gravy, use a combination of coconut milk and water.
  • For a deeper taste, cook on a very low flame once you add the paneer and spices and let it rest for some time before eating.

Beetroot and Carrot Stir Fry / Beetroot and Carrot Sabzi

Easy and healthy cooking is a combination that can be achieved by using nutritious vegetables that cook quickly. Beetroot and carrot are vegetables that are good for health and fast to cook when grated. I made a quick stir fry with these ingredients and used South Indian spices for a hit of heat. These veggies can be steam-cooked, and require almost no oil. This is a quick, healthy, and delicious dish that can be made even at the last moment.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 3-4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 1 beetroot, grated
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp sambar powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal
  • Salt to taste

Beetroot and carrot stir fry

Beetroot and carrot stir fry


Method:

  • Peel off the skin and grate the beetroot and carrot on the largest grooves of the grater.
  • Beetroot and carrot grated

    Beetroot and carrot grated

  • Finely chop the onions.
  • Take a pan and heat a little oil on low flame. Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter. Then add the urad dal and curry leaves.
  • Once the urad dal turns golden brown, add the onions and cook them till they turn translucent.
  • Add salt, turmeric powder and sambar powder.
  • Once the spices are cooked, add the grated beetroot and carrot and mix well to combine. Sprinkle a little water on them and cook for 8-10 mins. Stir in between for uniform cooking.
  • Beetroot and carrot cooking process

    Beetroot and carrot cooking process

  • Switch off the flame and serve with rotis or rice.

Tips:

  • Don’t add too much water – you don’t want the vegetables to turn mushy.
  • If you don’t have sambar powder, use a combination of coriander powder, red chili powder, and garam masala to spice the dish.

Sweet Potato Patties/ Sweet Potato Sandwich Filling

After trying out a few recipes, I have realized that sweet potatoes can be as versatile as potatoes. They can be baked, fried, sautéed or grilled – and the dish turns out to be good each time. While thinking of how they can replace potatoes, it struck me that I could make them into a patty, slather some ketchup on them, and make some delicious burgers. I have also tried them as a filling inside sandwiches and they are pretty good that way too. The sides can be ketchup or coriander and mint chutney and the dish feels totally complete. They are easy to make and can be served in parties too.

Recipe Details :
Makes: 8 patties
Time: 40 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp gram flour/besan
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Oil as required

Method:

  • Boil the sweet potatoes in a lidded vessel on high flame for around 20 mins. The skin will start peeling in the water which is fine. Switch off the flame.
  • Now wash them under cold water and peel them completely.
  • Mash the sweet potatoes and add the remaining ingredients including the spices. Mix well to form a smooth mixture
  • Brush a saute / non-stick pan with a little bit of oil and place it on medium heat.
  • Sweet potato patties on the pan

    Sweet potato patties on the pan

  • Make a round shape of the mixture in the palm of your hands and place it gently on the pan as shown in the above pic.
  • Cook one side for about 3 – 5 mins and then flip. Brush the other side with a little oil. Dab the patties slightly using a spatula and make them slightly thinner. Cook until brown. Flip till you see both sides crisp as shown in the picture below.
  • Sweet potato patties

    Sweet potato patties

  • I used the the extra mixture as a sandwich filling with toasted bread. That tasted equally delicious with the crisp and crunchy toast balancing the delicious sweet potato filling.

Tips :

  • Be careful while peeling the sweet potatoes post boiling. They will be very hot.
  • Cook the patties on a medium – low flame and do not crowd the pan.
  • If you’re sweet potatoes seem to be on the sweeter side, increase the spice and lime to compensate.