Thursday, July 03, 2008

Less is More: Vegetables

Getting your 5 (or more) a day is easy and delicious when you find the right recipes...that's what I have been learning from the bloggers.

First up, a gorgeous and couldn't-be-simpler subzi from Arundathi. A mild hint of cumin and mustard allows the fresh colors and flavors of spinach and corn to shine through. Arundathi tells us that this is a recipe she carried with her as a student, and it is a nice reminder that such recipes are worth going back to even after the bare-bones pantry days are gone.

Spinach + Corn + Cumin seeds + Mustard seeds = Spinach with Corn

I served this simple and delicious spinach-corn with rice and bhindi ni kadhi from Coffee. This okra kadhi is a superb recipe. I was almost tempted to eat the spicy stuffing with a spoon! My attempts at frying the stuffed okra were quite fruitless this time around; the stuffing leaked out :D Next time, I might bake the stuffed okra before making the kadhi.

Next on the list, an irresistible radish relish from Anita. The zingy flavors of radish are paired with bright lemon juice, with red chillies providing heat and color.

Daikon radish + Chillies + Tempering + Lemon juice = Mujj Chatin

I probably committed a cardinal sin in using peanut oil instead of mustard oil in this recipe. I don't have mustard oil in my pantry and when I look at the bottles of toasted sesame oil, raw sesame oil, peanut oil, and two kinds of olive oil in my pantry, I feel like I just can't bring home another one, hence the substitution. The mujj chatin, just like every other recipe from Anita's blog, was spot-on! It turned a dal-rice dinner into something mighty special.

We come to another spinach recipe- I'm getting serious about eating my greens! This one comes from Nandita. Her traditional lunch series is my absolute favorite, sharing those most precious recipes that make up the taste of home-cooked food. Nandita says, "This is a fine example of typical Tamil Brahmin cuisine, where less is always more and the flavours of the main ingredient are relied upon to the maximum without adding strong flavours like onion or garlic." Less is always more, you say? I had to try this recipe for my event!!

Spinach + Rice flour + Urad dal + Red chillies = Keerai Masiyal or mashed spinach.

Nandita got beautiful results with her traditional stone pot and mashing spoon; I managed with my heavy-duty le creuset casserole and a hand blender. My only tweak to the recipe: I added some lemon juice at the end. You have to taste this to believe it.

I served the mashed spinach with steamed rice and a sesame potato stir-fry from Latha

Potatoes + Sesame seeds + Red chilli powder + Turmeric + Tempering= Bangala Dumpa Vepudu.
Nothing more and nothing less! When I sat down to enjoy this meal, I could not take my eyes off the beautiful colors on my plate- the jade spinach and the golden potatoes.

Sure, ginger/garlic/ any one of a hundred different ingredients could be added to each of these recipes, but the truth is that they taste perfect just in this minimalist state. Needless to say, all these vegetables are being packed to-go, straight to MBP: Less is More.

Entries are already trickling in and I hope you will participate too! If you have a favorite few-ingredient recipe on your blog, leave a comment and I'll try and make it for this event.

*** *** ***

...and for dessert, another cupcake. The recipe comes from the ridiculously talented Hannah of BitterSweet.

Enjoy the weekend. Here's wishing my American friends a happy Fourth!


  1. Wonderful array of dishes Nupur but my fav has to be dessert :D Have a great weekend!

  2. ooh thts lovely! hope you got my entry :)

  3. Dear Nupur, As always your posts are a joy to read - not saying this cause u tried one of my recipes :-) hahahah
    Love the colors of the dishes! The wya u have described these i feel like trying them right away! The bhindi kadhi looks delicious - surely gonna try it! Keerai masiyal is our absolute favorite at home, i also add some cooked moong dal to give it volume and protein!
    And of course the aloo stir fry looks much better than mine!
    Have a great 4th!

  4. Oh Nupur , thats so nice of you to offer me Pearl couscous. I am really touched to read that. I am trying to find it from another local grocery stores. If I can't, I will surely be back to you . You offering me something is an honor for me . you are such a sweet heart.

    Such a nice array of dishes here. I loved the ideas of baking stuffed okra. the pace with which you do these knittings I am amazed. My mom is also an expert with that. I wish if i could have learned this from her when I was in India. First it was Ghee making process of Asha and now your knitting , I miss my mom more than ever now.

  5. Lovely creations Nupur, I love diakon.. though its just sambhar and poriyal for me... I should try this from anita's blog. Also , did you know that le creuset has brought out our very own indian karahi in cast iron, the best part is that they call it a karahi. I have my mind on it.. but expensive though :)

  6. Oooh, lovely dishes all, N! Love the MBP theme of minimalist cooking. Alrighty, off to scouring posts for "Less is More"! :)

  7. Fabulous creations Nupur... it's lunch time now and I wish these dishes weren't virtual :)

  8. The best part of the meal is the dessert! Love the cupcake.:)

    I've added some of the dishes here to my list now.:)

  9. oh goody! i was wondering what to do with the sesame seeds i have on hand (i bought it for a recipe from your blog!) and now there is this wonderful aloo-sabzi that i can make. looks easy too :) and spinach is my absolute favourite vegetable. i see you have been very very busy :))

    love, shoots.

  10. the desertake takes the cake!!?? :) you are fabulously talented. I rad your blog regularly even if I don't comment always. such an inspiration, you are! the recipes sound delish!

  11. Oh Nupur - everything looks soooo good! The color of that mashed spinach is spectacular and that meal in particular (with those great looking potatoes) really appeals to me. The other spinach dish is also very tempting and of course, your cupcake is adorable!

  12. love the stunning greens!! loved dessert the best...what a cute cupcake!!

  13. I love the simplicity of these recipes... great post :-)

  14. the dessert is spectacular ;-)! But the veggies are great too. Lovely!

  15. Of course there is room for another bottle of oil! I have all those you mention and mustard!
    Thanks for a quick recall of some of the recipes I have tried from other blogs and some new discoveries!

  16. goodness - that looks absolutely delicious. thank you so much for trying the spinach - its one of our favorites.

    off to make the masiyal and sesame potatoes for lunch! :-)

  17. Great recipe -- I've been eating spinach every day, as it's high in iron, and I'm looking for all sorts of recipes to try.

  18. hi nupur, thanks for your useful posts..i am a maharashtrian and frequently refer to your website for recipies.

    had a question..what is the best way to preserve coriander/curry leaves..


  19. Can I submit 2 recipes for Less is more, can choose any one you like ! :) Im very very confused which one 2 turn in ! I should be able to give you the recipes by this weekend ! :)

  20. Priya, You have to finish your vegetables before you can touch the dessert :D

    Nags, I did!

    Latha, You wouldn't believe how much we enjoyed that simple and tasty potato-sesame combo! The bhindi kadhi is a must try, and I love the idea of adding moong dal to the keerai masiyal. Hope you are enjoying a wonderful long weekend!

    Pooja, Try some middle Eastern grocery stores and ask for "pearl couscous" or "Israeli couscous". It looks like big sabudana. E-mail me if you can't find it :)

    Dee, Ooh, daikon poriyal sounds good. I should try that next time. I do love it in sambar too. How nice that le creuset is making a harahi now...I can't afford their stuff; the only reason I have a pot and a casserole dish from them is because generous friends gave those as a gift :)

    Vani, I hope you find something good :D It is really fun to look for these few-ingredient dishes.

    Laavanya, Oh, I know, blog-hopping at mealtimes can be sheer torture :)

    TBC, I know these are the kind of simple recipes that you enjoy too! Glad you like the little cupcake :)

    Shoots, Hello! The aloo sabzi is super easy and totally delicious :) Good to know that you like spinach! These are all recipes that are easy and perfect for weeknights. Hope all is well...I'll e-mail you in a few minutes.

    DotThoughts, What a nice thing to say. Thank you!

    Cathy, Everything here is simple home-style food and these are the best meals I can imagine :)

    Arundati, Thank you :)

    Raaga, The simplicity really made the flavors pop!

    Meeta, Thanks :)

    Anita, I might give in one of these days and bring home a bottle, if I can find a small one :) Everything seems to come in gallon-size jugs...

    Arundathi, Your spinach-corn recipe reminded me how wonderful vegetables taste just as themselves.

    Lydia, It is such a great idea to eat greens every day. I think I manage to eat them only 2-3 times a week right now.

    Madhavi, I simply wrap these leaves in paper towels and put them in an airtight box in the fridge. Keeping the moisture under controls seems to keep them fresh for a couple of weeks (more for the curry leaves).

    Sameera, You can submit any number of entries so you don't have to choose between these two. Feel free to send both in.

  21. wow Nupur they all look delicious, esp the cupcake :) I have to look for some spinach in the Farmer's Market.

  22. I don't think I've ever combined spinach with corn but that looks delicious!

  23. Nice collection of dishes

  24. Amazed - and such a delightful platter! My fave is keerai masiyal anytime:)

  25. So many wonderful dishes...hey I have a treat for you in my blog.

  26. So many wonderful dishes. lovely entry.

  27. Nupur, I like your blog and the recipes are fantastic! The spinach and corn looks yummy:)

  28. Hi Nupur!Have been a quiet visitor to your blog .. but now that I have started to pick up recipes from here and try ... guess I should let you know that you have a great trove of recipes here .. right now am starting off with the onion chutneys. Great pics too. And I love the cute things you have crocheted. :-)

  29. Thanks for the spinach recipe. My husband loves spinach recipe.I am sure it will taste as good as the picture. I am going to make it this weekend. Let's see how things turn out.


Thanks for leaving a comment- I try to respond to every single one.