Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Veggie love, Indian and Italian Style!

Last week, I spent an afternoon cooking. I like to make multiple meals when I get to cooking, and always make extra, for leftovers, guests, mom, neighbors, or the freezer, lol. I had a drawer full of veggies that were starting to be not so fresh, and so I knew it was time for sambhar. This is a south Indian meal served almost daily with dosas, idlis, vadas, or just plain rice. Most families eat this at least once a day in the south of India, and usually with some fish. When mummy first came for a visit several years ago, I watched eagerly, and learned how to make this tasty dish.

I make this once a week, or two at the most. It's a wonderful way to use up all your veggies, and hello, it is sooooo tasty, and nutritious. My husband and I love it spicy, but I usually make it more mild so everyone else can enjoy it, and we just add some lemon pickle to it, for my enjoyment. More on lemon pickle at another time, lol, just know its lemon, and its pickled, in LOTS of red chilli powder, lol. It is sooooo good. We usually just eat our sambhar with rice, but sometimes I do make dosas.

Ok, now for the Italian part, well, I was looking at my lovely veggies, and thought how about I show all you lovely people how I make two completely different tasting meals, with the literally the same veggies. Enjoy reading the rest as you see how people from two different parts of the world, enjoy the same food, but with the addition of some spices, how it can change dramatically. I thought this was pretty cool, so I wanted to share with all of you.

Oh and since I was on a roll, I just went ahead and made three more meals, with some leftover chicken from soup a couple days earlier.

Five meals, and a whole lotta veggies. Check it out!!!

hmmm, what do we have here, well, let me break it down for you ok.
In the front of course the stars of the show, the veggies.
In the middle I have my daal, chicken and carrots, spinach, pickles, and ginger garlic paste.
In the back I have peas, cream of mushroom, mayo, mustard, beans, green sauce, canned tomatoes, and veggie broth.
Lets get cooking shall we!!!
I diced up onions, and celery, and carrots, with some fresh garlic, and a chili pepper. Then let it saute.  This was the base for my MINESTRONE soup.
I added the veggie broth, canned beans, canned tomatoes, cut up zuchini, and squash,  shredded some more carrots,  and added a bunch of italian dried herbs, as I didn't have any fresh. Then I let this baby cook, until everything was nice and tender and then I added my cooked whole wheat pasta.

What makes this Italian, is of course the lack of indian spices, and addition of italian ones, and the EXTRA tang from all those canned tomatoes, which I love, and the difference in legumes. Rather than daal, we used red kidney, and white northern beans, as my protein. Everything else is the same. How cool, right?

Ok on to my sambhar....
Washed up some daal, and put it in my pressure cooker. 
Diced up all the rest of my veggies, big bites, and put that all in the pressure cooker.  I threw in a big handful of curry leaves, and a couple teaspoons of ginger garlic paste, and 3 packets of sambhar seasoning. This is only the 3rd time using these packets, as I've always made my own sambhar mix, but whenever I buy the dosa mix (and I buy it often, as it's instant dosas ) it comes with a packet of sambhar mix. I had so many that I thought I had to try it, and its not bad at all, so for now, I will be showing you this way, since its SUPER easy.

You can add any veggie you like in here, but I like to use carrots, squash, zuchini, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, and these little cucumber looking veggies you find at the indian super market. Didn't have any this time, but they are really tasty. I have also started using radishes, and like the flavor it gives. 
Add water,  to fill, and you can put the lid on here, and let it go. I add a bit more for some extra flavor, and you can too. 
The hing powder, (on top) also called asafoetida and the fenugreek are what give sambhar its unique flavor. SO I added just a bit more of these, along with you guessed it chilli powder, as the mix is very mild.

At this point I simply put the lid on and turned on my pressure cooker for about 40 minutes, then letting it go for another 15 or so on low, then turning it off, and letting the steam go down on its own.

I like my veggies to be a bit firm, but mostly cooked very soft. I then add my seasoning, which I didn't take a picture of.
All this means, is taking a bit of oil, and frying up some flavor in it. I choose, mustard seeds, onions, curry leaves, cumin seeds, red chillies, and a bit of hing powder at the end. I poured this over my sambhar and let it sit. Then I added my tamarind paste, which is soaked to release the pulp. Sorry for not taking pics of these steps, don't know why I didn't, but next time I will try to be more thorough.
GREEN CHICKEN ENCHILADAS.... one of my favorites. 
I also did not take pics of the daal, or the chicken salad. Next time I will make these I will surely take some better pics. I guess I was focusing on the veggie dishes above. Oh well, I hope you liked that, and if you are ever in need of a healthy veggie meal, try one of my suggestions above. You'll love it!

I am linking up to these parties:
Metamorphosis Mondays
Get your Craft On
Topsy Turvy Tuesdays
Talented Tuesdays

Inspiration Friday

Also don't forget that I have officially started my AMAZE me AUGUST weekly party starting every TUESDAY, so please go HERE to enter and join in the fun. Show me what you got girls, I look forward to all the AMAZING things you will be sharing.
As always ENJOY!

Special requests, or mad love always welcome:)


  1. Great recipes!!!! I love making a lot at one time. Total time saver. Thanks for posting an also thanks for your sweet comments on my blog.
    Bonnie :)

  2. Thanks for posting this!!! Looks delicious, I love having recipes that make a lot that I can freeze or have to pass on to a neighbor!!!

  3. Mmmmmm.... the sambhar looks delicious... way better than mine looks!! I LOVE sambhar too.... especially in the winter it becomes a total comfort food with rice idlis!

  4. Fenugreek is good for producing breast milk as well! LOL Dude, this looks so delicious!!! I'm on a diet :( lol

    Which means I can not eat anything that looks good and either can my family! LOL

  5. This looks SOOOOO great! I love that it makes so much because this time of the year with our busy schedule I need to be planning ahead! Thanks so much for joining the Inspiration Friday Party this week! I hope we will be seeing much more of you! Also, if you click on the picture of the Vinegar jars in the party links it will take you to my sister's food blog where you will get more great recipes and inspiration!

  6. These look delicious....and healthy! Thanks for sharing and thanks for swinging by my blog today! :)

  7. Mmmm~! Thanks for linking up to Topsy Turvy Tuesday's! I'm starving just reading all of this.

  8. WHOA! That's a TON of food! But, I also like to cook in bulk several dishes (the kitchen is already dirty, right?) too. Saves so much time.

    Dr. Laura

  9. Great use of so many healthy veggies!!


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In my spare time I enjoy cooking, and baking. In fact my mother and I have been making cakes for over 30 years. I also love gardening, traveling, and all things crafty. I struggle daily to keep my like organized, along with my never ending battle to keep the house clean. I adore my three kids MOST of the time, and can usually be found doing the mom thing from morning till night. I try to catch a few mommy moments, but those are hard to find in this wonderful life of mine. I am blessed and happy, and am thrilled you stopped by today :)