The "Y" of Indian Vegetables
The letter Y inspired nineteen joyous Indian flavors!
Let's begin with the Y vegetables...
The first vegetable is the Yam! The terminology of yams can be highly confusing, but here is what I understand: As far as vegetables are concerned, yam is a common term for the edible tubers (swollen storage organs of a plant) that belong to a particular group of vines. Yams are starchy veggies, and generally pretty bland-tasting: they can be flavored in many different ways. The confusion arises because in the US, sweet potatoes (which come from another plant altogether, and have a sweet taste and are not as starchy and bland) are *mistakenly* called yams. In my book, sweet potatoes are sweet potatoes, and yams are yams :) and the two terms are not interchangeable! Otherwise, we would be calling potatoes "yams" pretty soon. But everyone has their own ideas about this, and we see some sweet potatoes sneaking in here (but we always welcome them; sweet potatoes are brimming with nutrients) :D
Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi use the "proper" elephant yam (called suran in Hindi) and make a traditional stir-fry from Kerala: cooking cubes of yam in coconut oil with mustard seeds and curry leaves to make this flavorful Yam Mezhukkuparatti.
Musical of Musical's Kitchen provides a sweet disclaimer, then goes on to combine nutritious sweet potatoes with fiber-and-antioxidant-rich black blacks into a beautiful stew of Yam with Black Beans.
Tee of Bhaatukli, in her own words, "advantage of the fact that Sweet Potatoes are called Yams here in the US" :) and cooks them into the most fantastic three-ingredient recipe ever: her Yam Caramelized in Jaggery Sauce take "candied yams" to the next level.
Aarti of Aarti's Corner cooks sweet potatoes with milk, sugar and cardamom into a creamy and delicious Yam Halwa that looks like a real treat.
You can always count on Live2cook of Live To Cook to come up with something unusual for this series! This week, she tells us all about Yampi, a yam variety from Jamaica. Here, the yampi is cooked, the leathery and rather formidable-looking skin is peeled off, and the yampi is stuffed into dough to make these crispy and inviting Yampi Paratha.
The next vegetable is one I never would have thought of: Yardlong beans! These bright green lanky beauties are widely used in Chinese and South-Asian cuisines. Laavanya of Cookery Corner turns them into a flavorful side-dish: her YardLong Beans Thoran has tender beans cooked with a tasty coconut paste.
We now come to an array of sunny and summery Yellow vegetables; the deep yellow color of these vegetables is a hint that these veggies contain a burst of healthful pigments.
First up, the Yellow Capsicum, adding sweetness and a splash of color wherever it is used. Asha of Aroma/ Foodie's Hope cooks them in a typical Kannada style to make a tasty side-dish, Yellow Capsicum Gojju.
Next come the gorgeous and rather unusual Yellow Beets. TC of The Cooker tosses cooked yellow beets with nuts, herbs and lemon juice to make a bright Yellow Beet Salad.
The last yellow vegetable is very much in season at this very minute: the Yellow Squash. Here are three exciting and innovative ways to cook it:
Cathy of My Little Kitchen cooks up a feast: she combines masoor dal, yellow squash and whole spices to make a flavorful Yellow Squash Dalcha, and serves it with Yellow Yogurt (Carrot Raita) and brown rice for a healthful and utterly satisfying meal.
Zlamushka of Zlamushka's Spicy Kitchen makes something that looks like a work of art: her Yellow Squash Baked Boats consist of hollowed-out yellow squashed stuffed with a savory mixture of herbs and rice, baked to perfection.
Linda of Out Of The Garden uses the freshest squash possible: it comes straight from her mother's garden. Linda cuts thick juicy slices of the squash, then dredges them with flavorful sambar powder and fries them in pure ghee to make this elegantly simple ode to summer: Yellow Squash Saute.
The next vegetable is Yelimichangai, which means lime in the Tamil language. Tangy limes bring a burst of fresh flavor to so many Indian dishes. Raaga of The Singing Chef gives them the spotlight with her recipe for Yelimicha Sevai- a simple stir-fry of thin rice noodles perked up with fresh lime juice.
Hima of SnackORama takes up the challenge of the rather difficult letter Y and comes up with a whole Y Vegetable Andhra Thali. This plate contains an arraY of delicious home-style vegetable dishes: Yellow Squash dal, Yam curry and Yogurt Chutney.
The next Y food is cool and creamy Yogurt. It is highly prized in the Indian diet, especially during these hot summer months. Yogurt is often eaten by itself as a accompaniment to the meal, but can also be combined with vegetables with fantastic results.
Nothing is ever wasted in the traditional Indian kitchen: Suma of Veggie Platter shows a typically Andhra way to use up sour yogurt. Snake gourd is cooked until tender, then combined with whisked yogurt and a spicy ginger-chilli paste to make a tasty dish of Yogurt with Snake Gourd.
Madhuli of My Foodcourt shares a fiery recipe for a chutney that is as kicked up as it can possibly get: Fire-roasted green chillies are blended with cooling yogurt to make this tantalizing Yogurt Mirchi.
Dhana of Fresh Kitchen makes a crowd-pleasing dish: Crispy fried okra is mixed in with tempered yogurt and a hefty pinch of turmeric to make this gorgeous Yellow Dahi Bhindi.
The next dish is full of simplicity and goodness: Jyothi of Andhra Spicy mixes cooked rice, tempered yogurt and lots of fresh cilantro and a few crispy dried chillies to make an inviting bowl of Yogurt Rice.
Manasi of A Cook At Heart celebrates her first blog-birthday with a bowl of Yogurt Wadas- a cool and delightful treat in summer.
We end with two Yummy snacks, both a lovely shade of Yellow! G V Barve of Add Flavor makes a crunchy duo of Yellow Cornflakes Chivda and Yellow Jalebi.
Y is for Yam Phodi: Vegetables as Themselves
After months of cooking vegetables in all kinds of dals and curries; and combining them with eggs and yogurt and all kinds of other vegetables, this post is dedicated to celebrating vegetables in their own right! And lucky for you, since I just returned from a trip and am a little tired, this post will be a short one :)
For the letter Y, I turned to the one Y veggie I could think of: the Yam! I wanted to use the Indian purple yam, often called suran. Beneath a nondescript skin lies this gorgeous color, and the pattern reminds me of tie-dyed fabric:
This was the very first time I ever cooked yam, and I decided to go with Shilpa's recipe for Rava Phodi. Slices of vegetables are smeared with a tasty tamarind paste, then dipped in semolina/ rava and shallow-fried: the result is a crisp and delicious side-dish that can turn a simple meal of dal-rice into something quite special. This was the very first time I cooked purple yam, and I was expecting a rather bland and starchy taste. The truth is, purple yam tastes sweet and delicious!
(serves 2, adapted from Shilpa's recipe)
1. Wash, peel and slice purple yam to yield about a cup or so.
2. In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp tamarind paste, salt, chili powder and turmeric to taste, and a pinch of asafoetida. Smear each of the yam slices with the paste and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. In a small dish, combine 1/4 cup of rava (semolina) and salt to taste.
4. Dredge each slice of yam in the rava mixture and shallow-fry until crispy on each side.
5. Serve right away as a snack or a side-dish.
Here are some delicious recipes from fellow bloggers, featuring vegetables as themselves...
Phodis from Past, Present and Me
Sweet Potato Crisps and Chips from Jugalbandi,
Roasted Tindora from Towards a Better Tomorrow,
Simple Fried Eggplant from Salt and Pepper,
Oven Fried Banana Chips from The Spice is Right,
Tandoori Vegetables from The Spice Cafe,
Grilled Corn (Bhutta) from Manpasand,
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
K is for Kati Roll: Vegetables and Paneer
L is for Lasuni Dal Palak: Vegetables and Lentils
M is for Malai Kofta: Dumplings
N is for Nargisi Kebab: Vegetables and Eggs
O is for Onion Chutney: Vegetables in Chutneys
P is for Pattagobi Pachadi: Vegetables in Salads
Q is for Quick Carrot Pickles: Vegetables in Pickles
R is for Radish Paratha: Root Vegetables
S is for Spinach Amti: Green Leafy Vegetables
T is for Tomato Red Pepper Saar: Soups
U is for Undhiyu: Regional Delicacies
V is for Vegetable-Cheese Sandwiches: Mixed Vegetables
W is for Wild Mushrooms and Walnuts: Fungi, Fruits, Nuts
X is for eXploration: Pattypan Squash Sambar