The "K" of Indian Vegetables
The letter K inspired twenty-two appetizing Indian flavors!
The K vegetables today are not vegetables at all :)
Let's start with two rich, delicious and nutritious K unvegetables, one is a fruit and the other, a nut...Khajoor or dates, and Kaju or cashew nuts. These two natural goodies come together in a beautiful sweet treat called Khajoor Kaju Laddu made by Sreelu of Sreelu's Tasty Travels.
Then, we have a fungus masquerading as a vegetable, Kumbh or mushroom. Wild mushrooms are used in some select parts of India, and cultivated mushrooms have just become popular and readily available in the last decade or so. Even so, Indian cuisine has taken to mushrooms eagerly and we have tons of recipe for cooking them Indian-style. Here, Vani of Spiced... shares an easy way to use mushrooms and all the vegetables you have on hand to quickly create a satisfying Kumbh Pulao.
Next, we have a flower, or rather, a part of a flower, imitating a vegetable: the lotus root, known in Hindi as Kamal Kakri. Trust Linda of Out Of The Garden to use this gorgeous root to make a delicious creation...she dips slices of the kamal kakri into batter and fries it into an unusual snack: Kamal Kakri Pakoras.
The next word is a bean rather than a vegetable, Kale chane, translating into "black garbanzo". These are a variety of chickpeas that are smaller and darker than the garbanzo beans that are commonly used. Richa of As Dear As Salt cooks these tiny beans into a delicious tomato-onion based curry called Rase Wale Kale Chane.
K also represents a taste: Khatta in Hindi, meaning "tangy" or "sour". Indian cuisine uses a staggering variety of ingredients to impart a tangy note to so many dishes: tamarind, raw mango, dahi (Indian-style yogurt), tomato, lemon and lime, the list is endless. We have two tangy dishes here...
Richa of As Dear as Salt combines moong and dahi into the simple yet delicious dish called Khattu Mag. This is a Gujarati favorite, Khattu in Gujarati means tangy.
Musical of Musical's Kitchen uses jimikand (a type of Punjabi tubers) and cooks them with a tangy sauce to make Khatte Jimikand, which she then serves with some spicy puris.
Next comes a gorgeous, festive curry, the Korma. A popular restaurant-style dish as well as one made at home for special occasions, kormas are made using many different recipes in different parts of India. Latha of Masala Magic makes her version of Korma with tons of vegetables delicately laced with a cashew-cream sauce .
We now come to a dish that is creamy and comforting, and at the very core of Indian home cooking: Kadhi, a curry or sauce that is based on buttermilk or yogurt. We have four delicious versions of the kadhi...
The first is a version from Sharmi of Neivedyam, who makes a Punjabi Kadi that features golden spinach dumplings swimming in a tangy yogurt sauce, restaurant style.
Another version of kadhi with dumplings comes from Prajakta of Swaypakghar. She makes a Maharashtrian version with little lentil balls that are cooked in yogurt sauce to make these delicious Kadhi Gole.
Next comes an easy, made-in-minutes version of Spinach Kadhi by Tee of Bhaatukli. This is her debut post! Welcome to the food blog world, Tee.
Traditionally, Kadhi is paired with a rice-and-lentils medley called Khichdi. The mere thought of eating a bowl of khichdi-kadhi is enough to put most Indians in a good mood, and it is certainly my all time favorite comfort food. Here, Coffee of My Khazana Of Recipes presents a beautiful step-by-step guide to creating a heart-warming meal of Khichdi and Kadhi right in your own home.
(UPDATED: I am terribly sorry that I inadvertently left out one entry in the original round-up, and this is where I intended to insert it, and somehow forgot at the last minute :( My heartfelt apologies to Swapna!)
Apart from the K ingredients and dishes, an indispensable tool in the Indian kitchen is also a K word: the Indian-style wok, called a Kadhai. The kadhai is very useful for so many different kinds of preparations: frying, stir-frying and much more. Indeed, a particular kind of North-Indian stir-fry (highly popular in restaurants) is named after the kadhai! Swapna of Swad shares a delicious recipe for Kadhai Vegetables, a medley of vegetables in a gorgeous spicy curry.
Coming to an array of regional dishes...
Kunjulli is Malayalam (language of Kerala) for "shallots". Reena of Spices of Kerala introduces the shallot as the "unsung hero of many of the scrumptious Kerala dishes" and makes a flavorful, traditional curry of eggs with shallots or Kunjulli Mutta.
Kovakkai is Tamil for "ivy gourd" (tendli/ tindora). Sheela of Delectable Victuals uses this tender green vegetable to make her favorite dish, Kovakkai Paruppusili, by sauteeing the ivy gourd with steamed lentils.
Kothimbir is Marathi (language of Maharashtra) for "cilantro". Anjali of Anna Parabrahma mixes a liberal amount of cilantro with chickpea flour to make a steamed cake that is sliced and fried into some golden, savory Kothimbir Vadi.
Kudamilagai is Tamil for "green pepper". Ranjani of Eat and Talk cooks this ever-popular and easily-available vegetable into a delicious stir-fry called Kudamilagai Poriyal.
Kobbarikaya is Telugu (language of Andhra Pradesh) for "coconut". Shivapriya of My Cookbook makes a medley of the "sweet coconut and sour mango" to create a tasty chutney called Kobbarikaya Mamidikaya Pachadi.
Kariveppilai is Tamil for "curry leaves". Revathi of En Ulagam talks about the curry leaf as "n often forgotten ingredient but nevertheless filled with micro-nutrients" and goes on to make a spicy Curry leaves powder that can be mixed with steamed rice for an instant tasty lunch.
Kakdi is Marathi (and also Hindi, although the two words are pronounced slightly differently) for "cucumber". Mahek of Mahek's Kitchen makes a breakfast dish with cucumber that is popular in Goa, a rich and sweet pancakes redolent with cardamom, called Kakdiche Bhakri.
Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi make a Tamil dish called Kootu, literally translating as "combination". Their version of Kootu is a nutritious medley of toor dal and red chard, sprinkled with a crunchy topping of pumpkin seeds.
Asha of Aroma/Foodie's Hope makes a Gujarati dish called Khandvi, which is just about a work of art: batter ladled onto a flat surface, then rolled into a savory delight. Asha presents a step-by-step guide to making tasty home-made Khandvi.
Suma of Veggie Platter makes a dish from Karnataka called Kosumbari. With cool cucumber, soaked moong dal and a sprinkling of herbs and lemon juice, Suma's version of Kosumbari looks like the perfect snack for the hot summer months ahead.
Finally, a regional specialty from a reader, Saylee D., who has her own stock market blogs but this time, wanted to share her Mom's and Grandma's recipe rather than financial advice! She e-mailed a recipe for kanda kairi, two K words that mean "onion" and "raw mango" respectively in Marathi. This is a typical recipe for a mouth-watering relish or quick pickle from the Vidharbha region of Maharashtra, or Varhadi as it is referred to. Here is Saylee's recipe, in her own words:
Kairi or raw mangoes 2
Ready mango pickle masala (i used k .pra) 3 table spoons
Oil 2 tablespoons
Asafoetida 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric pwd 1 teaspoon
1. Grate the raw mangoes, put them in bowl, then add the sliced onion to it.
2. Add salt as per your taste, add the mango pickle masala
3. In a saucepan, heat the oil. Temper the oil with the mustard seeds and the pinch of asafoetida. Add the haldi pwd and let it cool.
4. After it has cooled, add it to the above mixture. Mix it properly and the pickle is ready.
K is for Kati Roll: Vegetables and Paneer
Dairy foods play an important role in Indian cuisine. Dahi (Indian-style yogurt) and ghee (clarified butter) are part of almost any Indian meal. Another milk-derivative that is a prominent part of Northern Indian cuisine is paneer, the only cheese that is indigenous to India. Paneer is easily prepared at home without the use of enzymes like rennet, using souring agents like lime juice to "split" milk (biochemically, to make the milk proteins insoluble and precipitate them by lowering the pH of the milk) and by collecting the resultant solids (mostly the milk protein casein) and pressing them down into cheese cakes.
Paneer, with its mild, milky and pleasant taste, is well-liked by most people. Paneer does not melt on being heated, instead it can fried to give it a golden crunchy crust. With its general appeal, paneer in its various forms is used in many many dishes in Indian cuisine, from curries to desserts. In curries, it is an easy way to add some additional protein to a vegetable-based dish. Often, vegetarian versions of meat curries will substitute fried paneer cubes for the meat. Can tofu be used as a substitute for paneer in Indian dishes? My answer would be, yes and no. Yes, in many cases, you can make the substitution with great results. No, tofu tastes quite different from paneer so you should not expect the results to be identical. I often make a compromise: I save real paneer for special occasions and use tofu for weeknight dinners in place of paneer. If you really manage to squeeze the water out of tofu and then bake/ shallow fry the cubes, it will absorb the sauces better.
For lovers of paneer, a vegetable-paneer curry may often be much more appealing than the vegetable curry alone. Adding paneer is an easy way to make a dish more festive. In this series, I certainly wanted to make one dish with vegetables and paneer, and of the dozens that are out there, I chose one from my favorite food categories, street food! Kati rolls are a creation that takes on different avatars in different parts of India. "Kati" translates as stick, and the idea is just to take a roti or flatbread, stuff it with one of many tasty stuffings, and roll it up into a cigar-shape that makes for easy eating on the run. In NYC, I got hooked onto these kati rolls at the Kati Roll Company in Midtown Manhattan.
This is my super-quick version of paneer kathi rolls. There are three parts to my recipe: (a) the roti. The best way would be to make your own rotis. The street food version uses rotis made from all-purpose flour, but making atta (whole-wheat flour) rotis would be much more nutritious, and just as delicious, I bet. I really had no time the night I made these, and ended up using store-bought whole-wheat tortillas with great results. (b) the filling. I make a spicy dry curry that almost resembles the kadai paneer that you get in restaurants. To this, I add a lot of chaat masala for the spicy and tangy flavor. (c) the crunchy salad, to add a fresh note to the whole thing. I used raw onions and carrots, and lots of herbs: fresh cilantro, and *ta da* fresh methi that I grew myself (the very first time I have ever managed to grow anything at all, so please excuse my out-of-proportion enthusiasm):
This also happens to be a reader-request dish. A reader, Prajakta D., who also lives in Missouri, mailed me some weeks ago asking for a recipe for kati roll. Here it is!
1. Make the filling: Chop 1 large onion and 1 large green pepper into big cubes. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet. On high heat, saute the onion and pepper until slightly browned and blistered. Add 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste, 1 tsp red chili powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric and salt to taste. Stir in 1 packet (about a cup or two) paneer cubes (thawed). Stir-fry on medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp kasuri methi and 1 chopped tomato (fresh or canned) and stir-fry for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in 1 tsp chaat masala.
2. Make the salad: Slice a small onion very thinly (I used a mandoline). Cut 1 carrot into thin slivers. I find the taste of raw onion too sharp sometimes, so I marinated this salad for 5-10 minutes with 1 tsp lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt to "cook" the onion a little bit (ceviche-style). Then, add some herbs. I used 2 tbsp minced cilantro and 2 tbsp minced methi or fenugreek leaves (home-grown!). You can add some mint too.
3. Assemble: Heat a tortilla/ roti in a pan. Then place some filling and some salad on the tortilla/ roti, like so:
4. Roll it up, and it's a wrap!
Kati rolls are designed to be extremely tasty, and every bite should be a flavor explosion, so if you find that your kati roll tastes too tame, sprinkle additional lemon juice, chaat masala, chili powder or all three until it tastes right.
Variations on a theme
1. Make a mint-cilantro chutney and smear it on the roti before filling it.
2. Make a version with potato: using cubes of boiled potato instead of the paneer.
3. Make an egg version by using a spicy omelet as a filling.
How do you serve this dish?
1. Eat it as a snack in the evening, or serve it as part of a chaat party.
2. Pack it in a lunch box or on a picnic.
3. Cut each roll into little pieces and serve as a tasty appetizer.
Fellow bloggers have come up with many delicious Vegetables and Paneer. Here are some of my favorite finds:
Making Paneer from Mahanandi,
Chili Paneer from Hooked on Heat,
Mutter Paneer from Indian Food Rocks,
Paneer Pepper Jalfrezi from The Spice Who Loved Me,
Methi Chaman from Cook's Hide-out,
Palak Paneer from Sailu's Food,
and one from my own archives:
Previously on the A to Z of Indian Vegetables...
A is for Aloo Gobi: North-Indian Stir-Fry
B is for Bharli Mirchi: Stuffed Vegetables
C is for Carrot-Cashew Payasam: Desserts
D is for Dum ki Arbi: Dum Style of Cooking
E is for Egg-Fried Rice: Rice and Vegetables
F is for Foogath: South-Indian Stir-Fry
G is for Gobi Paratha: Vegetables in Breads
H is for Hariyali Tikki: Vegetables in Appetizers
I is for Idli with Vegetables: Vegetables for Breakfast
J is for Jalfrezi Vegetables: Restaurant Style