I was craving desi food tonight (I blame all those awesome desi food blogs that I've been reading lately!), but didn't quite feel like anything rich or creamy. And I wanted something different. So, I did what I love doing - started reading a cookbook trying to find the recipe for tonight. I got India's 500 Best Recipes as a gift a while ago, but hadn't tried too many recipes from it. Tonight, I stumbled upon the Balti section -this sounded like the best of all worlds - all the desi flavors, but much lighter than authentic punjabi cooking.
The recipe I liked asked for chicken in a green sauce - I started morphing it to work with the veggies I had on hand. Half a ridge gourd, bell peppers, fava beans, broccoli, hmm ... seemed like I could do it! Also, I cut down the apple in the sauce and threw in some green tomatoes instead.
1/2 ridge gourd
2 bell peppers
8 fava bean pods - shelled and boiled till cooked (only took about 7 minutes)
1 small head of broccoli
1/2 green apple - cut into cubes
3 small green tomatoes
1 shallot - chopped
3 green chillies
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup of yogurt
4 T coriander leaves - chopped
2 T mint - chopped
1 t sesame oil
7-8 chopped almonds
12-15 chopped sugar plum tomatoes
Puree the apple, green tomatoes, garlic, ginger, mint, coriander, yogurt and shallot into a coarse paste.
Heat the sesame oil in a wok and pour in the yogurt mixture. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
In the meantime, chop up all the veggies other than the fava beans into large chunks (atleast 1"). Toss all the veggies into the yogurt mixture and cook covered on low-medium for about 12-14 minutes till they are fully cooked.
Garnish with the almonds and tomatoes and maybe some cilantro.
Obviously, this dish was begging for some roti to go with it. After poking around my fridge, I finally decided to go with some carrot parathas. After boiling a couple of carrots, I mashed them into the dough (mix of organic pastry and stone ground wheat flours) and added some sumac and garam masala for seasoning. This seemed like an easier option than stuffing the parathas with the carrots, I only have my sheer laziness to blame here :) Turned out decent, so no complaints!
Asma asked for more details on how I made the carrot parathas, so I'm attempting to outline proportions here:
3 cups of whole wheat flour (I usually use the organic flour from the bins at PCC, but regular atta should totally work)
1 T salt
1 T cayenne pepper
2 carrots - boiled and mashed
1 t sumac powder
1 t garam masala
1/2 cup warmed milk
1 T olive oil
warm water for kneading the dough
Mix the spices and carrots with the flour, constantly adding the milk to soften it.
After kneading for about 5-6 minutes and the atta starts getting mixed in, add warm water one tablespoon at a time till the dough gets an elastic consistency.
Now add the oil and continue kneading for about 5-7 minutes.
Cover with a damp paper towel for about 15 minutes before rolling it out into parathas.
Make 1.5" balls of the dough and roll each into a flat circle.
Fold this circle into half and then a quarter.
Roll this quarter out again till it gets the right thickness for a paratha.
Cook each paratha on a tava, adding oil spray as needed (Obviously, you can use butter or oil here :))