ZUCCHINI VEPUDU

Zucchini Vepudu

Vepudus are fried (but not deep fried) or stir fried dishes from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Crisp, fried foods are a basic part of the meal and add a textural element when served alongside a plain tadka dhal. In Andhra or Telangana, vepudu is made using vegetables such as okra or small tender brinjals and I have used the same technique for zucchini.

4 plump zucchini

3 tablespoons chick pea flour (besan)

1 tablespoon ground cashew nut

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 clove garlic finely chopped

1 teaspoon chilli powder (mild or moderate hot)

Salt to taste

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

METHOD

Wash, top and tail the zucchini. Depending on how big your zucchini is, cut in half or thirds. Put the zucchini piece upright on your cutting board and make a slit of about 3 centimetres down towards the centre. Do the same on the other side but in the opposite direction to the top end slit. So if you do one left to right, then make the other one north to south so if the slits were to meet they would make quarters of the piece of zucchini. However you do not want them in quarters and do not want the slits to meet.

In a bowl mix the chick pea flour, ground cashew nut, cumin seeds, garlic, chilli powder and salt. Add a couple of teaspoons of oil and mix with your fingers. It should look like bread crumbs. Use your fingers to stuff the zucchini pieces with the chick pea flour mix in the slits being careful not to break the piece in half. If there is any leftover mix, reserve this to sprinkle on top of the fried zucchini in the end.

Stuffed Zucchini

Heat a heavy based fry pan and add the remaining oil. When hot enough add all the zucchini pieces and set your pan on high heat. Cover with a lid for 3 to 4 minutes. Using two spoons or tongs gently turn them over and reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for a further 3 -4 minutes. Remove lid, reduce heat to low sprinkle a tablespoon of water and let cook until everything is evenly roasted. About 12-15 minutes. Serve hot as a side dish to your Indian meal.

SPICY POTATO WEDGES

Spicy Potato Wedges

750 grams potatoes washed (Agria or Red Desiree potatoes)

4 teaspoons vegetable oil like canola

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon chilli powder or ground cayenne

½ teaspoon hot chilli flakes

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon mild paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

Dry the washed potatoes thoroughly. No need to peel. Cut to make about 8 wedges from each potato (depends on how thick your potatoes are). Place the wedges in a large mixing bowl. Mix all the spice powders in a separate small bowl and sprinkle on the wedges tossing them as you go along. Then drizzle the oil and toss to ensure all wedges have a bit of the spice mixture and the oil. Lay them out on a large shallow baking tray. Place on top shelf for 40 minutes turning them once or twice during cooking. Serve hot.

RAINBOW SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING

This is a very colourful and scrumptious salad that can be served on its own, or as a side dish to quesadillas or tacos. Poached chicken is optional.

For the Salad:

¼ small red cabbage

¼ small green cabbage

1 large carrot

3 or 4 pink table radishes

2 sticks celery, peeled and sliced

3 or 4 spring onions sliced

Handful of parsley roughly chopped

Handful of mint leaves sliced

½ cup sunflower seeds toasted (optional)

For the dressing:

4 tablespoons tahini

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons liquid honey

2 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground pepper

For poached chicken (you will need an instant read thermometer)

400 grams chicken breasts

2 -3 pods of garlic

1 teaspoon pepper corns

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 sprig of coriander or parsley stalk

If using poached chicken, prepare this first so chicken has time to cool. Place chicken in a deep sauce pan. Add enough cold water so the chicken is at least submerged 5 centimetres deep. Add the remaining ingredients. Put the sauce pan on gentle heat and check temperature has reached to 65 degrees Celsius at the thickest part of the breast. This normally should take about 10 -12 minutes depending on the size of pan and amount of water. Once the desired temperature has reached, remove chicken breasts and let cool completely on a plate before slicing on a diagonal.

Prepare the salad by finely slicing the cabbages and julienning the carrot and radish. I normally use a mandolin for this. Mix all the prepared salad vegetables and set aside in a large bowl as it yields about 12 cups or so. You can add the parsley and mint after dressing the salad.

For the dressing, mix all the dressing ingredients until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference. Set aside.

Mix the dressing a little at a time with the salad vegetables and chicken if using (I normally take out enough for one time use and store the remaining vegetables in the refrigerator). Once the dressing is mixed in, I stir in the herbs and garnish with the toasted sunflower seeds on top.

BROCCOLI SALAD WITH MISO DRESSING

1 large broccoli washed and trimmed into florets (the stems are sweet and tasty, just peel lightly)

For the Miso dressing

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon white miso paste

1 small garlic grated

2 teaspoons grated ginger

1 teaspoon sesame oil

¼ cup vegetable oil like canola

Salt and pepper to taste

Put the broccoli florets into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 6 minutes or less if you prefer the pieces crunchy, taking out after three minutes and giving the broccoli pieces a shuffle. Drain any liquid and set aside to cool.

Prepare the dressing in a large bowl by mixing the ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. When the broccoli is warm to touch, pour in the dressing and mix well. Serve at room temperature. Serves four.

Vegetable Korma

Ingredients:

½ medium sized cauliflower cut into small florets

1 onion finely chopped

1 large carrot cut into 3 centimetre cubes

1 large potato cut into 3 centimetre cubes

1 small bunch of green beans cut into 3 centimetre pieces or 1 cup of frozen cut beans

½ cup frozen or fresh peas

½ cup natural yoghurt

60 grams blanched peanuts dry roasted and ground

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander powder

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon sugar

1 hot green chilli

5 centimetre piece of ginger

6 plump garlic cloves

10 -12 thick coriander stalks roughly chopped

4 tablespoons vegetable oil like canola oil

Salt to taste

Steamed Rice or Roti or Pita Bread to serve

Method:

Using a mortar and pestle or a mixer, grind the ginger, garlic, green chilli and coriander stalks to a fine paste.

Heat oil in a large fry pan. When oil is sufficiently hot, throw in the cinnamon stick and fry for 30 seconds. Then add the finely chopped onion and fry for a minute. Add the cauliflower, carrot and potato pieces. Turn the heat to the highest setting and let them sizzle for two to three minutes. Clear a bit of space so you can see the bottom of the pan – now add the cumin, coriander, chilli and garam masala powders along with the pinch of sugar and salt. Incorporate the spice powders into the vegetables and continue frying for a minute. Now add the yoghurt and ground paste mixing everything so the spice paste adheres to the vegetables. Add a cup of water, mix, cover with lid and let cook for about 15 minutes. (The vegetables need to be just about done but not too mushy) Add the green beans and peas and continue cooking with the lid on for a further five minutes. Finally add the ground peanut powder. Give everything a good stir. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve hot with steamed rice or roti or pita bread.