Sabji Recipes

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Bhindi Subzi Recipe (Spicy Okra) Recipe

The taste and texture of okra differ drastically depending on the cooking method. I’m not a fan of the "slimier" preparations of okra, so I typically pan fry the veggie to keep it dry. In this recipe I used onion-flavored oil to cook the okra, then seasoned it with the usual Indian spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chili powder and a touch of garam masala. Once the okra was softened, I drizzled it with lemon juice and added a bit of sugar to balance the flavors.

I usually serve this with dal (lentil dish), barbari bread (sesame-studded Persian flat bread) or basmati rice. My mother-in-law and the girls have all gone on vacation for the summer, so it's just Lulu, baby Aria, Daddy (my father-in-law) and me at home. Daddy really enjoys Indian spicy food, so I hope my cooking makes him miss his wife and girls a little less. 


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Indian Style Black Eyed Pea Rice (Pulao Recipe) Recipe

Feeding a vegetarian crowd isn't as difficult as it may seem. I usually pair a legume with rice, which is the perfect balance for a vegetarian diet. I've been getting fresh black-eyed peas (also known as "cow peas") at the local stand, and instead of serving them as a boring bean salad, I incorporated them in a rice dish, flavored with Indian spices. I've made this dish in the past; it's called "pulao". Our family loves the burnt rice at the bottom of the pot, called "kurchan".

First, I sautéed black-eyed peas in onions, garlic, cider vinegar and red chili powder. They're very firm, so they take slightly longer to cook then the parboiled dried variety. I let them simmer until tender, then finished cooking them with steamed basmati rice and baby spinach.


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Pulao Recipe (Indian Vegetable Rice) Recipe

Pulao is an Indian rice dish filled with sabji ("vegetables" in Urdu). In this version, I flavored the rice with only three vegetables: lima beans, carrots and green peas. Lima beans are packed with protein and are very filling. The combination of lima beans and rice makes a perfectly balanced meal for a vegetarian diet.

I served this one-dish meal family style with raita or chutney on the side. This weekend, we prepared a large pot and everything was gone at the end of lunch time! My favorite is the fried "burnt" rice at the bottom of the pot, called kurchan.


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Aloo Gobi Recipe with Purple Cauliflower and Potatoes Recipe

Aloo gobi is an Indian vegetarian dish made with potatoes (aloo) and cauliflower (gobi). I gave a little twist to the dish by using purple cauliflower and Peruvian purples, which are Fingerling-sized, purple-tinted potatoes. Except for these changes, the recipe remains the same.

The lilac color from the cauliflower slightly fades once it's cooked, but it's still a great addition of color to the Indian dish. It stokes curiosity and brings a new experience to the dinner table. I've made the same recipe using orange cauliflower and sweet potatoes in the past, and it also worked quite well.

Now, I'm off to test carrot purée using Okinawan sweet potatoes and purple carrots. I’ve been having way too much fun with this!


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Okra Tomato Curry Recipe (Bhindi Masala) Recipe

I used to eat okra just plain, cooked in boiling water for a few minutes, seasoned with salt and drizzled with a little sesame oil. When I first met Baji (my husband Lulu's grandma), she was surprised by how I prepared okra (it's called bhindi  in Urdu). She immediately showed me what she called sabji masala. Sabji means vegetables in Urdu, and for the longest time, I had no clue why Baji would always talk about sabji with me because I didn't understand the meaning of the word. The okra, once pre-cooked (Baji deep-fried them), are finished by simmering in a spiced tomato mixture.

Some people object to what they call the "sliminess" of okra. If you do, you need to deep fry them. That’s everyone’s favorite preparation, but it’s not the healthiest. Give both a try, and see which one you like.


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