भिंडी तरी वाली (Okra in gravy)

In North India normally this vegetable is cooked stir fried or sauteed with no water added. But in East and South India okras are cooked in a gravy also. Here it is made as a very simple dish using the ingredients shown in the first picture and other spices were added while cooking - turmeric, coriander powder and salt. I ran out of tamarind :( and had to make to do with Kokum, another souring agent, and actually the taste came out even better than I had anticipated.


TURAI (Ridge Gourd aka Chinese Okra)


Wash, peel, slit into 2 lengthwise and cut in 1/2" pieces.
Heat Oil, add zeera (cumin seeds), sliced onions, saute for 5 minutes. Add the cut Turai, saute for 2 minutes, add salt and cook till done.


Gwaar Patha Subzi (Aloe Vera)

Aloe Vera is an unusual kind of vegetable, known more for its therapeutic value rather than its culinary uses. It has a slightly bitter taste and chewy texture. It is boiled with Methi Dana (Fenugreek seeds) to reduce its bitterness and then rinsed thoroughly. The finished dish is almost like a pickle and eaten also in like amounts - sparingly. Its best combination is with Makki ki Roti (Maize flour bread) or with Rice and Lentils.
1. Wash the Aloe Vera leaf and trim the sides


2. Cut it into small even pieces


3. Bring water to a boil, add turmeric, methi seeds and the cook the aloe vera dices for 7-8 mins.


4. Drain, rinse thoroughly twice and keep aside.


5. In a pan heat mustard oil, add cumin seeds, and when they splutter add turmeric, cayenne and coriander powder. Saute for 15 seconds.

Spice names.jpg

6. Add hot peppers and chopped ginger and saute another 15 seconds.
7. Add Boiled Aloe Vera pieces, salt and cook over slow heat for 5 minutes.


8. Add beaten yogurt, fennel powder and amchoor.


9.Cook till oil separates and there is no liquid left. You may add a pinch of sugar.



Garam Masala -

-the Indian all-spice
One of my regular guests at Passage to India had a strange request-wanted to buy Garam Masala from us. Given the recent popularity of Indian food & realizing that a lot of people would want to know the ingredients (as we make it) here is our downscaled recipe for domestic use--

Cumin seeds 2 oz.
Coriander seeds 2 oz.
Green Cardamom 2 oz.
Black Cardamom 2 oz.
Cloves 2 oz.
Peppercorn 2 oz.
Mace 1 oz. (Myristica fragrans)
Nutmeg 1 no.
Bayleaf 1 oz.
Cinnamon 2 oz.

Lightly dry roast all spices on slow heat to remove moisture (from husks and shells especially).

The spices can be left overnight in an oven with the pilot flame on for the desired results.

Let cool and then grind finely.

Store in an air-tight container.In different parts of India other ingredients are also added to the garam masala.

Dried rose petals in the Mughlai cuisine of North, Star anise in the West, Kabab Chini (Fructus Cubebae) and Patthar ka Phool (Parmelia Perlata) in the Hyderabadi cuisine of South.

Look at the different whole spices used for the Garam Masala on this Google link

Festive Veggie recipes

These are recipes for festive dishes and are best enjoyed with Poories-the fried wholewheat bread. Most dishes during any festivity are vegetarian and in my parents' house they do not even add onion or garlic.Cook and enjoy (email me in case of any clarification)

ALOO TAMATER RASMISSA (Potatoes in a tomato gravy)

Potatoes (boiled, peeled, dices 1") 3 nos.
Tomatoes (chopped) 4 nos.
Ghee/ Oil 2 tablespoons
Cumin Seed 1 teaspoon
Asafetida ¼ teaspoon
Turmeric powder ½ teaspoon
Chili powder ¼ teaspoon
Coriander seed powder 1 teaspoon
Cilantro chopped ¼ cupSalt to taste
Water 1 ½ pint

Heat ghee/oil in a heavy bottom pan.
Add cumin seeds, stir as they crackle.
Add asafetida.
Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric, salt, chili & coriander powders .
Stir and cook on slow heat till tomatoes are mushy.
Add water and bring to boil.
Add potatoes and cook on slow heat for 15 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro and serve.
If tomatoes not sour enough you may add a dash of lemon juice.

KADDU KI SUBZI (Tempered red Pumpkin)

Pumpkin with Green skin 2 lbs. (insides discarded and cut in 1’ dices)
Mustard Oil 3 tablespoons
Fenugreek seeds ½ teaspoon
Green chilies (slit) 5 nos.
Turmeric powder ¼ teaspoon
Jaggery powder ½ teaspoon
Raw mango powder (Amchoor) ½ teaspoon
Salt to taste

Heat mustard oil in a heavy bottom pan till clear.
Remove from fire, cool a little and add fenugreek seeds, stirring till they brown slightly.
Add slit chilis and pumpkin, stirring so that the pieces get oil coated.
Cover with tight lid and simmer for 10 mins.
Add turmeric powder and salt , mix well and cook on slow heat, covered for 20 mins.
Add jaggery and mango powder mix and cook for another 5 mins.

Wagshal's Demo Recipe

CHICKEN KABAB (Char-grilled morsels of chicken): Serves 4
Chicken Breasts (cut in 2”dices) 2 lbs.
Low fat yogurt ¼ cup
Soybean oil 2 Tablespoons
Ginger paste 1 Tablespoon
Garlic paste 1.5 Tablespoons
Mace }
Green cardamom } All three powdered- 2 Teaspoons
Nutmeg }
Turmeric powder ¼ Teaspoon
Gramflour (roasted) 1 Tablespoons
White pepper powder ½ Teaspoon
Lemon juice 2 Tablespoons
Salt To taste

1) Whisk yogurt till smooth.
2) Add all ingredients except chicken and mix to a smooth mixture with no lumps.
3) Add chicken and mix gently in the marinade. Leave aside covered in fridge for 4 hrs.
4) Remove from fridge and skewer pieces evenly.
5) Grill on medium heat for 10 min. (12 min. at 325`F in an oven)

TANDOORI LAMB CHOPS (Lamb chops marinated and grilled): Serves 4
Loin Chops (cut to ¾ inch thick) 2.5 lbs.
Low fat yogurt ¼ cup
Soybean oil 2 Tablespoons
Ginger paste 1 Tablespoon
Garlic paste 1.5 Tablespoons
Garam Masala 1 Teaspoon
White pepper powder ½ Teaspoon
Lemon juice 1 Tablespoons
Salt To taste

1) Flatten the chops using a steak hammer.
2) Make marinate with all the ingredients mixed to a smooth paste with no lumps.
3) Marinate the lamb chops for at least 4 hours in the marinade and leave them covered
in the refrigerator.
4) Skewer the chops and cook over a medium grill till done to taste (10-15 minutes).
Alternately they can be placed on a seasoned grill directly. In an oven broil them
For 12-15 minutes.