Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ridge Gourd or Chinese Melon curry

(AKA) Beerakaya Kura(Telugu), Beerkankai Kuttu(Tamil)

B1 Growing up I never liked this vegetable until once I tasted this preparation done by my dear dear aunt(My Father's sis). It was so simple and yet tasted so great with just plain rice. A perfect accompaniment for this rice and vegie is a south Indian pappad.

My mom used to cook this vegie along with fresh or dried prawns too. I still remember my how dearly dad used to enjoy this combo preparation of hers. Being so far from home I often miss the pleasure to cook for my parents especially for my dad. Anyway coming back to one other way of preparing this vegie, is to cook it with mutton also..Again what ever is the preparation or combination this vegie is mostly good with just plain rice itself..

B6 An important feature of this vegetable is that it is a must in all the south Indian households especially in Andhra when they have to prepare a meal for a lady who has just delivered. They believe that including this in the diet of a women who has given birth will help her in nursing of the baby. So all soon to be moms add this into your diet when you give birth to your baby.

Another feature of this vegetable is we don't need too discard its thick coarse skin..The skin can be combined with spices, lentils and made into a spicy tasty chutney, which I will publish in my next post.



As much as it is Indian, I'm happy that even in this part of the world we can easily get them in Indian or Asian stores under name Chinese melon

And here is my simple South Indian preparation of this Chinese melon:
B2 Note : Chinese melon is reduced in its size drastically once cooked, so when u are seasoning it with salt take care not to add lots. Here less is more.

2 large Ridge Gourd/Chinese melon(Beeakaya) - Skin removed
1 Tbsp oil
5 - 6 Garlic pods
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 Red chillies slit
1 tsp Channa dhal(yellow lentils)
8 - 10 Curry leaves
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
Salt to taste

Peel the rough edges of the skin first, discard it and then peel off the skin totally and reserve for later use to make chutney.B10 Now cut the melon into cubes.
B11 In a wok or kaddai, add oil after heated allow mustard to splutter.
Add channa dhal, and fry till color changes slightly.
Add cumin seeds, red chillies and curry leaves and fry.
Add garlic and fry till nice aroma emits.
Now add the melon cubes and season with little salt and chilly powder.
Mix thoroughly to coat the vegie with the spices and oil.
Cover and cook on medium till the melon emits waters completely. Around 5-7 min.
Remove lid and let the water evaporate as the vegie cooks till done and oil emits.
Once the oil emits remove from heat and serve with plain rice.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Baked Sweet Potatoes

DSC02992 In this increasingly conscious diet world, healthy food choices are a must than ever. We are under constant look out to replace fatty foods with foods rich in complex carbohydrates, or in good carbs or rich in protein. One such Vegetable which falls into this health group is "sweet potato".

Sweet potato is ranked high in nutrition of all vegetables, for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium.

It has almost twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 42 percent of the recommendation for vitamin C, four times the RDA for beta carotene, and, when eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal. All these benefits with only about 130 to 160 calories!

Among root vegetables, sweet potatoes offer the lowest glycemic index rating. That’s because the sweet potato digests slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar so you feel satisfied longer. Many of the most popular diets these days have this in the "good" carb list.

Growing up I and my brothers used to enjoy a sweet potato each, as an after school evening snack..passionately boiled by my great grandmother. At present I go one step further to bake the semi boiled sweet potatoes, brushed with a little butter and sprinkled with brown sugar to get the best flavour and caramelized effect.

DSC02987 Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes
1 tbsp Butter/PAM/I can't believe its Butter/Becel Margarine
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
Salt to taste
Pepper dust as required
Aluminium Foil
1 Baking Tray

Semi Boil the sweet potatoes with enough salt, cut into large chucks and discard water
Remove skin and cut into 1 inch semi circle pieces.
Mean while pre-heat the oven to 325F
Spread a foil on the baking tray.
Spray some PAM or any kind of melted butter on the foil and arrange the sweet potato pieces

DSC02986 Pour the remaining butter on the top the pieces to coat them moist
Now sprinkle brown sugar and pepper dust on the pieces and bake them for 20 - 25 mints.
After 12- 15 mins, flip the pieces to the other for even browning on both sides.
Remove from the oven and serve as side dish for any main course.
Mostly good for spicy meat or chickpeas or beans.