Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vegetable Jalfrezi

Vegetable Jalfrezi (spicy vegetable mix) - Or as I like to call it, "Vegetable Jal-Crazy," is one of the most popular dishes I have made for others.  I love it because it is vegetarian and FULL of healthy vegetables with a tiny bit of unhealthy frying.  Others love it because it melts in your mouth, has tons of flavor, and is simply "ma-za-dar" (delicious)!  I discovered it in a cook book my mother-in-law gave me (Zubeida Tariq, a well-known cook born in Hyderabad, India now in Karachi, Pakistan) and have always made a few minor modifications (along with some short-cuts).  I often get asked for the recipe, so here it is! :)

Chop up 1 small cabbage (or half of a really large cabbage) into 1" squares, 1 green pepper, quarter and separate layers of 1 large onion (or 2 small onions), and put in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix 1 Tablespoon sliced/peeled, fresh ginger, 2 thinly sliced green chilies, 1 Tablespoon white vinegar, ~1 Tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper.  You'll use this later ;).

Heat 1/2 cup of vegetable/canola oil with 4 whole, long red chilies in a large pot on medium heat.  Cook until dark red, flipping as needed.

(I used two above, because the person I made it for has NO spice tolerance...  If you, yourself, have this problem, I highly recommend using this amount or skipping this step all together.  If you love it spicy and your loved one does not, simply "baghar!" (see previous posts, or heat chilies in a small amount of oil until cooked) yourself 4 whole, long red chilies, and 2 chopped green chillies and add it at the end of the dish.)

Add your big bowl of vegetables in the hot oil and add a bag of frozen carrots/peas mix.  Stir fry for about 5 minutes.

Add the tiny bowl of seasoning/spices and fry until vegetables are softened (at least 10 minutes).

Meanwhile, slice up 2 small white or golden potatoes like french fries (pictured above).

In a separate small frying pan, pour enough vegetable/canola oil that it will cover the fries and heat up to medium/high heat.  Then add your sliced potatoes.  It will get all fun and bubbly.  :)  If this is your first time deep frying, be careful not to let the popping oil burn you as you put your potatoes in.  Be gentle, use the side of the pan to slide them in.  The less watery your potatoes are the less the oil will spatter.

When they turn a golden brown (pictured above), remove them with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel.

Add the potatoes to your jalfrezi mix, along with a 6oz can of Tomato Paste and an 8oz can of Tomato Sauce.  Also, add 1 teaspoon powdered cumin seed.

To be honest, I don't always add the entire 6oz of tomato paste unless the pot is really full of vegetables.  You don't want a watery jalfrezi, but at the same time, you want it to be saucy.  Whether you use half of the can or the full can, it will still be delicious -- I guarantee it!  Isn't Pakistani cooking amazing?

Cover the pot and cook on low heat for at least 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with ~1/2 cup fresh cilantro and serve with basmati rice.  :)

Monday, January 14, 2013


This might seem a little odd to some people that I am making a post on how to make FarFar, but this is really for all the achi gori bivi's out there that would have no idea otherwise.  I had never even heard of this before and whenever I saw these colorful ringlets, I would simply think they were some weird macaroni or pasta noodle.  Wow, are they ever not macaroni.  Instead, they are more like rice puffs, only you are puffing them up yourself.  They work almost just like those '90s dinosaur capsule sponges that you put into water and watch them grow!

First, heat up a pan of vegetable oil so that it fills the base and would cover these small ringlets on medium/high heat.

Add your FarFar rings.

And watch them expand before your very eyes!!!

Quickly now, take them out and put them on a paper towel before they dry and before they burn!

Make more!

Serve with chai (tea) and something sweet (like chocolate zucchini cake)!  (I will maybe make another post sometime on how to make Kashmiri chai, pictured above).

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Subzi Aloo (Vegetable Potato)

*Phew* My apologies for the 2 week hiatus...  Between the end of the year holidays and taking a week long trip to Minnesota, recipe blogging got pushed to the back burner.  I haven't forgotten though!  I am thoroughly enjoying keeping this blog and hearing all the wonderful feedback from people.  

Subzi Aloo (Vegetable Potato also known as Sabji Aloo) is a quick and easy vegetable dish using potatoes, peas, carrots, and tomatoes as your primary ingredients.  This is a great side dish (or main dish if you're vegetarian) to serve to guests when your main dish is gosht (meat).  

Start by chopping up a 1/2 onion (or 1 really small onion) and frying it on medium/high heat in about 1/4 cup of oil (it should cover the base of the pot and the onions) with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds.

Next chop up two tomatoes...

...and chop up one medium sized potato (gold or white potatoes work best -- not those hefty Idaho baking potatoes... If you're going to go Idaho, get a small one and add 10 minutes to the cooking time).

When your onions look soft, add your tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes.

 It'll look like the above picture.

Next add your potatoes and half of a 10oz frozen bag of peas/carrots mix (if you want to do fresh, use 4 carrots, and 2 cups of peas).  Every achi bivi knows how to take short-cuts ;).  Add half a teaspoon of tumeric powder, 1 teaspoon red chili powder, and approximately 1 tablespoon of salt.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes on low heat, covered.

Most of the liquid should have evaporated and it should look like the above picture.  Potatoes should be soft when a fork goes through them.

Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala and 2 green chilis.  Enjoy with naan or paratha!