Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Asparagus Palya | Asparagus Thoran | Asparagus Poriyal

We had an eventful and a memorable "Souramana Ugadi"(Indian New Year) or "Vishu" (an Indian festival) this year. Because of the storms, we did not have power for 30+ hours.We were freezing because of the uninvited snow. Yes, it is spring on the papers but snow on the ground :p Anyways, by the end of the day, we got the power back & I was happy that I could pray to God. All's well that end's well, isn't it?

Back to today's recipe. Some time back I posted a pic on my FB page asking, what do you cook with asparagus? I would make this "Asparagus Palya". It's a very simple, quick and yet tasty side dish that goes well with both roti (Indian bread) and rice. Here is the recipe for your guys to try it out.

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Serves: 2-3

Asparagus: 1 lb/ 1/2 kg
French beans: a fistful, optional
Oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Urad dal: 1 tsp
Channa dal: 2 tsp
Green chili: 3 nos, slit in half
Curry leaves: 4-6 nos, torn
Salt: As needed
Jaggery : 1 tsp, optional
Water : About 1/4 cup, more or less

For the garnish:
Grated coconut: 1/4 cup, fresh or frozen
Lemon juice: 2 tsp
Coriander leaves: 2 tbsp, finely chopped

Wash and remove the hard end of the asparagus spears. Chop them into 1/2 - 1 cm pieces (as shown below). Trim the ends of the french beans & cut them as mentioned for asparagus.

Heat oil in a broad sauce pan. When oil is hot, throw in the cumin & mustard seeds. When seeds splatter, throw in the urad dal & channa dal.

Roast the dals on a low-medium heat until they are golden brown. Once the dals are done, throw in the slit green chilies and curry leaves.

When curry leaves wilt, add the chopped asparagus and the beans together. Mix it well.

Add the salt, and jaggery.

Add about 1/4 cup of water, mix well & cook it covered on a medium heat until the asparagus is cooked and soft. It should not take more than 10 mins to cook the asparagus.

Turn off the heat. Add the grated coconut, lemon juice & coriander leaves. Mix well & serve the asparagus palya | sabzi hot with rice or roti (Indian bread).

Do not overcook the asparagus. It must be soft & yet holds its shape. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bharwan Bhindi | Okra Stuffed with Indian Spices : Punjabi Recipes

I generally avoid buying okra. Not because, I don't like it.., but I feel it takes a helluva time to prepare it. Even if I buy, I make either bhindi besan or bendekai gojju. However recently when I bought okra, my friend suggested me to try out bharwan bhindi. She referred the Harpal Singh's recipe. I tried his recipe & we all liked it. You can try it too!

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves: 2-3

Okra: 1 lb/ 0.5 kg
Onion: 1 medium sized or 1/2 cup cubed onions
Ginger: 1 inch piece, finely chopped
Garlic: 2 pods or 4 -5 small pods, julienned
Green chili: 2 nos, slit
Oil: 2 tbsp

For the stuffing/spice powders:
Coriander powder: 2 tbsp
Cumin powder: 1 tsp
Amchur powder (Mango powder): 1 tsp
Chaat masala: 1/2 tsp
Salt: As needed
Red chili powder: 1 tsp, more or less
Asafoetida: a big pinch
Turmeric: 1/4 tsp

With a damp towel, clean the okra & let it dry completely. Or, you could also wipe the with a dry paper towel instead of air drying it. Trim the edges of the okra & make a slit in the center of the okra leaving 1/2 inch gap on each side.

Mix all the spice powders including salt in a small bowl.

Fill in the spice powders carefully in the okra. Keep the stuffed okra aside.

Heat oil in a broad pan. When oil is hot, throw in the garlic & ginger. When garlic turns golden brown, throw in the slit green chili.

Add the cubed onion & saute till the onions are translucent.

Add the stuffed okra & if you have any left over spice powder mixture, pour it over the okra.

Mix the okra gently & cook it covered on a medium heat. Do stir in between to avoid burning of the okra & the spices. Cook for about 15 mins until the okra is soft, but not mushy.
Remove it from the heat & garnish it with coriander leaves. Serve the stuffed okra hot with roti (Indian bread) or rice and lentils.


  • It is important to use equal sized okra to ensure even cooking.Also, do not buy long okras. 
  • Okras are very slimy. Hence, it is important to dry the okras completely before slitting them.
  • Shallots taste much better than the normal onions. If you get shallots, use them instead of the onions. 

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