Thursday, April 3, 2014

Homemade Sprouts And Sprouts Chaat Papdi

Sprouts Chaat
I hate doing dishes. I have friends who find standing in front of the kitchen sink, rinsing one plate after the other, gently rubbing the edges of spoons and forks with a dish scrub and then arranging them neatly in the dish washer, "therapeutic". I don't. I love those friends and wish they would come home more often, but I do not like washing those dishes. If I wasn't mother of a four year old girl who I desperately wanted to impress everyday, secretly hoping she would "wanna be like mommy", I would not look at that kitchen sink for weeks. I would keep throwing dirty dishes in there one after the other until they begin to fall off. But I cannot do that for given reasons, so I do my dishes, on time. It was one of those mornings when all these thoughts were cluttering my mind. While I was clearing up the kitchen sink and rubbing the inside of my stainless steel sauce pan with all the aggression I had in me, my phone beeped. Another beep after a few seconds and then a few more. By the time my sink was squeaky clean I had several tweets, Facebook messages and emails congratulating me of Indian Simmer making a cut at the Best Food Blog Awards 2014 hosted by Saveur Magazine. I was in utter disbelief for a while! But now I feel honored and thankful and I need your help. See that new shiny badge on the right? Please click on that and help Indian Simmer with your votes. It will only take a couple minutes but will mean the world to me. Thank you!

Sprouts Chat
Not sure if its my honest effort to change things or just a general interest to follow the "trend" but we have been trying to eat healthier lately. Well, we never liked frequenting the fast-food joints or ever drowned our diet in sugar but I guess it just sounds cool to say "eating healthy" so we are doing more of that. Anyway there's a lot of smoothie, raw food and sprouts business going on around here. In the same spirit a couple months back I did a 3 day cleanse (another cool word people have been slapping around lately) and was blown away with what it did to my tummy, brain and skin. Mainly skin! That gave me a kick. Carrying that on to the blog, today I am sharing with you a rather basic recipe along with a very common practice in Indian kitchen, soaking your own beans and making your own sprouts at home. We Indians have to put a little chili and masala in everything so I had to do the same with my sprouts too. So I picked a world famous Indian street food, Dahi Papdi Chaat and filled the crispy fried balls with spicy sprouts mix and kicking it up a few more notches with some tangy chutneys. But lets begin with the basics first:
Homemade Sprouts
I used dried mung bean. You can use any dried bean of your choice. Soak the beans in water for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain soaking water. Then in order to sprout the beans I use two methods:
Homemade Sprouts
a) Transfer soaked beans into a mason jar. Cover it with a cloth. Lie it down on a plate and place in dark for up to a day. b) Transfer soaked beans into a damp clean cloth. Bring all the corners of the cloth together. Tie. Place in a bowl or dish. Cover the bowl and place in dark for up to a day.
Homemade Sprouts
Open next day and enjoy your sprouts.
Homemade Sprouts
Longer you keep them away, longer the sprouts will get. Although I'd suggest not doing it for more than 2 days.
Sprouts Salad
For my Chaat Papdi I mixed the sprouts with onion, tomato, chili, a couple herbs and spices.
Ingredients: For Sprouts Chaat Papdi (Serves 2-3)
1 cup sprouts (follow the instructions above or just used store bought)
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup cherry tomato, chopped (optional)
2 thai green chili or jalapeno pepper, minced (optional although recommended)
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chaat masala
12-15 crispy puri (find any local Indian or ethnic store)
tamarind chutney, per taste (recipe follows)
Spiced yogurt, per taste (recipe follows)
Hot green cilantro chutney, per taste

For Tamarind Chutney:
4 tablespoon seedless tamarind
1 1/2 cups water
3-4 tablespoon jaggery (can substitute with dark brown sugar)
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 teaspoon nigella
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 bay leaf

Soak tamarind in water for a couple hours. Use warm water to speed up the process.
Once soft mash tamarind in water and then strain through a strainer. Collect pulp in a bowl.
Heat oil in a sauce pan. Add dry spices. As they sputter add tamarind pulp. Stir. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium low. Add jaggery. Let the mixture reduce for 8-10 minutes until jaggery dissolves in the tamarind chutney and thickens it in the process.
Turn heat off. Let cool. Store in an airtight jar in a cool dry place for upto a week.

For Spiced Yogurt:
1/2 cup thick plain yogurt
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together.

Assembling Sprouts Chaat Papdi:
In a bowl mix together sprouts, onion, tomato, chili, salt, cilantro, mint and chaat masala. Set aside.
Poke holes on one side of the crispy puri. Make sure not to poke through the other side.
Fill with sprouts salad. Drizzle the chutneys per taste. Serve as an appetizer with choice of drink. Makes a great hot day snack.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bharwan Baigan (Indian Style Stuffed Eggplants)

One afternoon while we were chatting over a long chain of text messages, my friend Kankana asked if I had the recipe for bharwan baigan I can share with her. Well it was a simple question but it got me very confused. . You see I do not have the recipe for bharwan baigan or Indian style stuffed eggplants. I have at least five or maybe more than that.

Bhrwan Baigan
One is my mum's recipe that I grew up hating (what a fool I was!) and now crave for a bite of it.  She uses Chinese eggplants in her recipe and stuffs it with 6-7 dry pickling spices along with raw garlic and fries it in mustard oil. Then there's my mum-in-law's recipe which I cannot admit but is an absolute killer too. She uses those small, stout, softer skinned Indian eggplants and fills them with a spicy onion, ginger garlic paste.

Varieties of Eggplants
  Then growing up I had a neighbor aunty (Indians have a habit of addressing all your mum's friends, friends friends, house help, stranger walking on the street, basically every woman around your mum's age as aunty). So this particular "aunty" of mine hailed from the south of India. Now she made some amazing stuffed eggplants too but hers used lighter skinned eggplants and were filled with a paste made of peanuts, coconut and a few other spices.

When talking of bharwan baigan recipes and my inspirations then I should also talk about the cook at our hostel mess kitchen. I wouldn't call her one of the best cooks in the world although I cannot blame her either. Cooking anything for a tough crowd of 50, weight watching, acne ridden, college going young girls everyday, three times a day can take toll on you. But however watery her dals would be or leather tough her rotis were, she sure made some mind blowing bharwan baigan. She used the commonly used Indian eggplants but used chickpea flour as a stuffing, a recipe again which was to die for.

Stuffed Eggplants
Like many other Indian dishes every family and cook gives a different twist to this dish depending on the region they belong to. So when someone like my friend Kankana asks me for the recipe for bharwan baigan I rightfully get confused. I stalled her for a few days before I finally confessed my dilemma with her and then confused her too. Just like me she couldn't pick one because all of them are amazing in their own way. So I promised her to share my own recipe which has an essence of all these recipes that have inspired me. So there you go!

8-10 small of medium size Indian/Asian eggplants
1 cup red onion
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 thai green chili
1/4 cup mustard oil (olive oil or vegetable oil is fine too)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder (aam chur)
1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
1/4 cup dry desiccated coconut
Salt to taste.

Wash and pat eggplants dry. Using a carving knife make long deep slits into the eggplant running from top to bottom without the knife passing through the other side. Set aside.
Coarsely grind onion, ginger, garlic and green chili in a food processor.Set aside.
Heat oil in a thick bottom pan over medium high heat.
Add mustard and fennel seeds. As they sputter add the onion paste prepared before.
Mix well. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring every 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom.
Once the paste begins to turn golden brown add salt. Stir well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until oil separates.
Add the remaining spices. Mix well and cook for another minute or so.
Turn the heat to low.
Now stuff approximately 1 teaspoon masala paste into each eggplant. Drop egg plants into the same pan. Leave any extra masala in the pan. Try to be careful with hot masala. Can also let the masala cool down completely if its tough to handle.
Again turn the heat to medium low. Toss the eggplants in the pan to coat with the remaining grease and masala in the pan. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the eggplants are cooked through. Toss and turn the eggplants carefully every 2-3 minutes making sure all sides are cooked well.
Serve on the side with hot rotis, dal and rice.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Beetroot Gnocchi With Spicy Coconut Sauce (First Video Post!)

Beetroot Gnocchi with Spicy Coconut Sauce from IndianSimmer on Vimeo.
Rubbing those sea deep brown eyes, in his arms, the butterfly and her papa entered the kitchen. I was straining his tea and prepping to warm up her milk when they sneaked from behind and hugged me. Landed countless “monster puchis” (those big fat kisses, the butterfly nomenclatured so) on either of my cheeks and got a family group hug in response. Although the very next moment was not something they were used to for the past couple weeks. The rushing look on my face told them that the party was over and we are back to business! First day back to school, work and the daily grind. A disappointed sigh and then off to the drill. Stepping out the doorstep the butterfly cried a little in agitation and if he could then her papa would have done the same. “Just a couple days with your friends at school before we leave for our big India trip and Mama’s (uncle, mum’s brother) wedding!”, I tried to console her which still wasn’t enough. Yet off they went with a droopy face. I don’t blame them, a two week long break, away from all the “man made” craziness of life does that to you.

This break was specially relaxing for the husband who between his school, work and “chores” barely finds time to satisfy his passion - photography. Not sure if enough people know but he is the photographer in the family. Abhishek is the one who started me with the basics. He was the one who brought the first DSLR home and he’s definitely more educated about the techniques than I am. Only if he had more time, although he says, “one day!”. So for this winter break, since unlike every year we were not away on a long trip we decided to play around with something we wanted to do together for a while. We tried our hands on videography. Or more like he tried his hands on videography as I was always in front of the camera, which just for the record is SO boring! But together we were able to create something for you.

Beetroot Gnocchi
For our first video together, we thought it would only be appropriate to share a recipe that the two of us created together and have been enjoying for a couple years now. The recipe started with me wanting to try my hands at making gnocchi, one of our favorite dishes. With time a simple gnocchi evolved and got the color and flavors we enjoy as a family.
I was hoping to share this post before we hopped on a plane to leave on a month long trip to India. A trip which was supposed to be very special and turned out to be nothing less. We were to join a very special person in my life for a very special occasion in his life. My little brother, my partner in crime and my best friend was getting married! I was thrilled and then amongst all the excitement, planning and preparation, this post went on a back burner. We put it on simmer and left for India. But now we are back and it has been cooked to something of our liking so I am sharing it today with you.

The recipe here for beetroot gnocchi makes double the quantity suitable for the amount of sauce. I usually save one half of the dough for later. You can either do that OR reduce the gnocchi recipe to half OR can also double the recipe for sauce if your are entertaining a larger crowd.

For Beetroot Gnocchi: Serves 6
500 grams russet potato (yields 2 cups mashed potatoes)
230 grams beets (yields 3/4 cups beetroot puree)
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour + extra for dusting
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Spicy Coconut Cream Sauce: Serves 3-4
2 tablespoon unsweetened grated coconut (fresh or dry, dessicated)
1 tablespoon ground almond
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tsp grated ginger
1-2 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup coconut milk

For Beetroot Gnocchi:
Pre heat the oven to 350 deg. F.
Wash the beetroots. Pat dry. Chop the leaves and ends off. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes until fork tender.
Pull out of the oven. Let cool before peeling the skin off. Chop. Puree in a blender or food processor. Set aside to cool.
Boil water in a sauce pan.
Peel potatoes. Chop into chunks.Boil in water until cooked through. Strain water.
Mash potatoes using a masher or food mill leaving no lumps. Set aside to cool.
On a clean counter top bring all the ingredients of gnocchi together.
Mix well and while dusting occasionally, knead into a smooth soft dough, dry to touch.
Divide into two parts. Wrap one half and save for later.
Divide the other half into 3-4 smaller portions. Roll into long dowels about 3/4 inch in diameter.
Cut into 3/4-1 inch long dowel pieces. Flick pieces into the back of a fork or gnocchi maker.
Boil a pot of salt water. Add 2 tablespoon oil. Drop the gnocchi.
Cook for a few minutes. Once cooked gnocchi float to the surface of the water. Fish them out. Collect in a dish.

For the Spicy Coconut Cream Sauce:
In a medium hot pan, dry roast ground almond and coconut for a few minutes until the coconut turns golden in color.
Add bay leaf followed by ground spices and salt. Quick roast for 10-15 seconds.
Add salt followed by coconut milk. Mix everything well together. Simmer on low heat for a minute.
By now the gnocchi should be cooked. Add to the sauce. Toss to coat gnocchi with sauce.
Serve immediately with your choice of wine.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bourbon Kissed Spicy Pecans

Bourban Kissed Spicy Pecans 2
All the way from kindergarten till I was ready to go to college, I went to a catholic school. Skirts five inches below the knee and hair tightly tied into two side ponytails with a ribbon matching the school uniform, catholic school. A huge Christmas celebration in the courtyard of the convent and the school chapel twinkling of red, green and yellow Christmas lights for the whole month of December, catholic school. So having grown in a country where Christians were in minority, although never considered so, I have been celebrating Christmas since I was wise enough to know what Diwali is.

Pecan Halves
Although that was not why right after burning the last box of fireworks on Diwali I would cross my fingers, hold the breath and eagerly wait for December. Santa visited us in our classrooms with a bag full of gifts, which unfortunately were a sad book and a pack of color pencils, every year. Neither was it due to the beautiful sound of Christmas carols students would practice exactly during our geography class. But it was mainly because of the sweet and insanely aromatic fruit cake distributed to everyone at school a day before Christmas. With a light tinge of orange color, it was like a pound cake although not as airy and light with specks of red cherries, orange peaches and green (something!) here and there. There was a thick slice for every student with a tiny bag of toasted sweet nuts. Now that I look back, I understand that those little Christmas treats were not exactly a culinary genius but for my ten year old self that was the highlight of my December.

Bottle of Bourban
A few days back while listening to the butterfly’s story of how her PE teacher, coach George, turns into a Santa on Christmas and also thinking of a Christmas gift for friends this year, I went back to that thick slice of fruit cake and the bag of sweet nuts. So I thought lets toast some sweet pecans. Now, since I’m not a ten year old anymore, I have the freedom of boozing it all up. So I popped open a bottle of Abhishek’s most treasured bourbon and poured it on my pecans. I still felt that the punch from that single barrel Kentucky beauty was not strong enough, so I threw in some cayenne too which beautifully brought in both a kick and smokiness.

Spicy Sugar
So this is it! This is going to be filled in boxes, wrapped, packed and sealed to be carried to friends with a bottle of wine or his favorite bourbon probably. What's going into your Christmas package this year?
Roasted Pecans
250 gm pecan halves
2 1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (brown sugar works equally fine)
2 tablespoon good quality bourbon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 300 deg. F.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir in palm sugar (brown sugar). Mix well.
Add bourbon. Mix. Cook for 1 minute.
As it starts to bubble, stir in pecans.
Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Cook in the oven for 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.
Pull out of the oven. Let it cool slightly.
In a bowl, mix sugar and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle over pecans. Toss to coat.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pav Bhaji

The day was warm, and the sky was china blue. Bees buzzed among the foxgloves, and Daisy wandered down the lane, humming a little tune to herself. Suddenly, from the corner of her eye, she caught sight of a beautiful yellow butterfly stuck in a spider's web. As she crouched down to take a closer look, a black spider emerged from beneath a leaf and began crawling across the web towards it.
Pav Bhaji 2
It was time for her bedtime story and cuddled at one corner of her bed with my arm wrapped around her, the butterfly (my butterfly!) and I were reading her favorite book "Daisy Dawson is on her way". A book about this little daydreamer Daisy, just like the one squeezing my arm sitting next to me.
With her feather soft, plush, pink hello kitty blanket drawn till her nose, and her legs slowly curling towards her chest, I could see that she just couldn't take the thrill. "Do you want me to stop and maybe we can read it later?" I suggested.

"No, no... go on", she insisted shaking her head, fast, sideways, with eyes still glued on the yellowing pages of her book. And started whispering softly along with me as I smiled and continued ...
Pab Bhaji
"Oh, no, you don't!" said Daisy, cupping her hand protectively around the struggling insect. As the spider scuttled back to its hiding place, Daisy scooped the butterfly out of the web and carefully pulled some sticky strands from its wings ...
" Yay!", she shouted and repeated again after me.
"There you go," she said. "Back in the world again."
Then she smiled and opened her palms toward the sky....
Lemons from the backyard
And with her plush pink hello kitty blanket thrown to a side, I could see her two arms open wide in the air and then a loud clap. "That is such a nice thing to do Maa. I like Daisy, a LOT! But Maa, why does anyone hurt anyone?"
"I'm really not sure honey", I responded rather hurriedly for I had no good answer to that question.
"Well, they should not, because its just not nice!"
And just like that she left me feeling proud, blessed and guilty all at the same time. Wish we looked at life with the eyes of a four year old. Things would have been so much simpler and better.

Pav Bhaji 3
With her belly still warm with the pav bhaji all of us made together for dinner that evening and her heart content, she hugged Pinky, her pink pig, closed her curious eyes and fell asleep. I kept exchanging glances between her peaceful and innocent sleeping self and the moon and stars coming out of the ladybug lamp on her side table and reflecting on the walls of her room.

Ingredients: Serves 6

For Bhaji (vegetable curry):
4 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled (any kind is fine)
1 1/2 cups carrots
2 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sized bell pepper, cleaned, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 1/2 cups tomato, chopped

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed (fresh is fine too. Adjust cooking time accordingly)
1 tablespoon pav bhaji masala
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (adjust according to taste)
Cilantro for garnish

Dinner Roll, approx. 2-3 per person
2-3 tablespoon butter for buttering dinner rolls + extra to be served with bhaji
1-2 teaspoon chili/cayenne pepper powder

For Bhaji:
Bring first three ingredients together in a pressure cooker or a pot. Boil till cooked through. Drain excess water. Mash. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large thick bottom pan on medium high heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Saute till soft, 3-5 minutes.
Add turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper, salt and ginger. Cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato. Turn the heat to medium low. Cook until the tomatoes are soft, 5 minutes.
Add peas. Cook for a minute. Add mashed vegetables. Mix well.
Add pav bhaji masala and lemon juice. Mix well. Cover and let simmer for 5-8 minutes until flavors marry well together.
Turn heat off. Uncover. Garnish with cilantro. Top with a dollop of butter and lemon wedges on the side.

For Pav:
Slice pav horizontally into two cutting from the middle. Brush cut sides liberally (as liberal as you can get!) with butter and sprinkle some pepper powder.
Heat a thick bottom skillet. Toast both sides of pav on the skillet till lightly browned.
Serve pav and bhaji together with a side of simple Indian salad.
Heat a thick bottom skillet.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Shrimp Sizzler With Tandoori Masala

Shrimp close up
It's a thick diary. Leather bound, dark maroon in color with some golden imprints on the outside. One of the most treasured belongings of my mother in law and also probably one of her best kept secrets. No one can read it, open it or even touch it. So when asked for her tandoori masala recipe during her last US trip, she asked me to go open her cupboard and grab her "maroon diary", I realized I was now part of the family!

Without losing a breath and before she could change her mind, I turned around and rushed towards the diary. I quickly tried to flip the pages on my way from her cupboard to the living room. Aged pages inside with some oil stains here and there. Aroma of spices trying to escape from between the pages  telling several old stories of their own. News paper cuttings, many of which are more than 30 years old, clipped carefully and hand written recipes in Hindi. There's everything in there. Everything from 15 ways to pickle a lemon to her famous bharwan masala recipe and also my husband's favorite gulab jamun.

Shrimp sizzler
I hand it over to her halfhearted. A part of me wanted to hold on to it a little longer - long enough to at least make a quick cheat sheet. Another part of me was still hopeful that maybe she will ask me to put it back in the cupboard too. But instead she asks me to bring a pen and a recipe book of my own. On finding that I did not have one, she sure looked a little disappointed and appeared to rethink her decision. But she doesn't know I have a popular food blog which some might argue is better than a recipe book. But anyway, we did not have that amount of time. I fetched the closest thing next to a 30 year old, hand written recipe book I could find - the back of my daughter's last week home work sheet! We spent the rest of the afternoon sharing recipes and noting down techniques.

Shrimp on ice
The recipe I'm sharing today is very simple, quick and soars with the taste of my mother in law's tandoori masala. This was our go-to summer recipe that paired amazingly well with a bottle of chilled beer. The photos might tell you so, mostly because Abhishek took them back in summer (yes I was nursing them in my computer all these months). We've cooked it while camping, served while entertaining friends at home and whipped in minutes for the butterfly's lunchbox. It will work equally well with family gathered around the toasty fireplace while snow freezes the outside world this Christmas.

Shrimp Tandoori
Ingredients: Serves 4
1 lb shrimp (clean)
1 1/2 cups sliced onion
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon tandoori masala
Salt to taste
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil 

Heat oil in a thick bottom skillet. Add onion. Saute for 3-5 on medium high heat until soft and golden.
Add shrimp. Toss and cook for 3-5 minutes until cooked.
A couple minutes after adding shrimp, add rest of the ingredients. Toss and stir well. Continue cooking until done.
Serve sizzling hot as part of fajitas, as appetizers with beer or as a side in your holiday feast.

Friday, November 22, 2013

An Indian Thanksgiving Feast and The Guardian

Indian Thanksgiving Feast
We never celebrated Thanksgiving growing up. In fact, I barely knew about the festival before stepping into the US. Then for the first couple years I would more eagerly wait for the day following it than the day itself. You must know why! The Black Friday madness caught me fast. But then one year, slowly the smell of rosemary and lemon stuffed turkey being baked at my neighbor's house began drifting in through my windows and the laughter of their friends and family was hard not to overhear. The festival slowly began to intrigue me and I had to try and learn more.

Top Sht Chicken
Coming together with your loved ones sounded much like Holi and Diwali, thanking god for his bounty sounded like Sankranti or Baisakhi and enjoying delicious meal sounded exactly like the celebrations I grew up having. And here, oceans away from the family, we have to try a step harder to give our daughter her own family and her own memories. So in our own little way, with a few friends who are like a family now, we started celebrating this beautiful festival.

Murgh Musallam

Recently The Guardian asked a few of us bloggers a simple question. If we can replace one dish from a traditional thanksgiving meal what would it be? Without a doubt, the first thing I thought of was Murgh Musallam. It is a traditional Mughlai specialty that the Mughals brought to India and we welcomed it with open arms. Like the Mughals themselves, this is a rich and regal dish where whole chicken is stuffed and covered in a creamy spice paste. It is then browned on both sides and slowly cooked until tender and juicy.

Spread masala

Like several Indian non-vegetarian specialties, Murgh Musallam was a dish that I learned to cook from Papa. With this Murgh Musallam, I took another take on Papa's recipe and tried to replace the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. But not just that, I also made two dishes to go with Murgh Musallam and can adorn your Indian Thanksgiving table. For the feast I made green beans poriyal, a simple vegetable pulav and a simple salad. Please visit The Guardian for the recipe for Murgh Musallam. Rest of the recipes from the feast are as follows.

Green Beans Poriyal:
1 lbs fresh green beans (washed, cut to 1" sizes)
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 dried red chili (whole)
1 teaspoon urad dal (skinless)
1/2 cup dessicated coconut (can use fresh)
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, urad dal and dry chili.
As they sputter, throw in beans. Stir. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add salt. Mix. Cover. Cook until tender, 3-5 minutes.
Add coconut. Stir well to mix. Turn off heat.

Simple Indian Pulav:

1 1/2 cup long grain basmati rice (soak in double the amount of water for 15 minutes)
1 1/2 cups vegetable of choice (I used carrots and peas)
1/2 cup onion (thinly sliced)
2 tablespoon ghee
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 dry bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4-5 cloves
1 cinnamon stick

Drain soaking water from rice. Set aside.
Heat ghee in a pot of large pan with lid.
Add cumin seeds and other whole spiced. As they sputter add onion.  Saute on medium  high heat until light golden.
Add vegetables and salt. Saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
Add rice. Stir to coat the rice with ghee. Add 2 1/2 cups water. Bring it to a quick boil on high. Turn the heat to low. Cover and let simmer until rice is cooked.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Can add raisins, slivered almonds, cashews or other nuts of choice as garnish. Fry the nuts or dried fruits in ghee before garnishing.

Simple Indian Salad: 
1 medium sized onion (thinly sliced)
1 tomato (thinly sliced)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
thai green chillis
handful of chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Toss everything together in a bowl. Serve with the meal.

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