Friday, 2 November 2012

Vegetabley Colourful


My Lunch today- Mixed Veg with Palak Chapathi
Now that I am back to those days of my having ample amount of leisure, after finishing my new expedition of gaining knowledge in Culinary skills, I will be sharing more of my kitchen stories here. Just out of the moon, felt like creating a colourful yet striking canvas on my kitchen bench top. It was getting too boring but unfortunately my fridge and pantry was not complimenting my thoughts. OK dealt with it, move on, took it as a challenge and I remembered all the techniques and culinary terms- moist heat cooking and dry heat cooking. Sorry friends, will not start one of those lectures...but kind of keep getting inclined to those terms and tips when I am cooking..Simple dish from basic and daily vegetables- Carrots, Beans, Cauliflower..I would generally make them quite simple stir fry or sautéed and that's it...Done!! But today has to be thought of using steaming, sautéeing and broiling...Looks like complex but trust me ..not complex , its just the air of using all the techniques of cooking and giving a different crunch. Actually you can start with blanching the veggies, if steaming is an issue (like not proper equipments or timing). And this is handy when you have a list of things to do simultaneously and you want to also divide your attention to your little one doing a project of his own or something. This is when multi tasking is on demand!!

OK, why did I bake again, a trick which helps to retain the colours as well as crunchiness. Of course, I could also get the similar texture with a Chinese wok and more oil and high heat...but yes here goes my health watcher mind. I actually did not use more than 1 tbsp oil and may be a teeny tiny bit of butter as a finishing touch (which could be optional). And this is another version of crunchiness ...a western shift from the Chinese wok. I think I have given quite a few reasons supporting my "Combi cooking techniques" but I can assure you that the outcome was Yummy!! And my judge at the dinning table R approved it.

What I used-

Carrot strips ( not Juliennes)- 1 large
Beans - 1 cup ( diagonal strips)
Cauliflower florets- 1 cup
Onion (chopped fine) - 1 small
Ginger (chopped fine)- 1 inch
Garlic (chopped fine)- 3 cloves
Olive oil- 1 tbsp
Italian dried herbs- 2 tbsp
Worcestershire Sauce- 1 tbsp
Sweet Chili Sauce- 1 tbsp
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Butter- a dollop to give the shine.

How I cooked-
1. Season the vegetables with salt and steam them. I actually used a bamboo steamer for the cauliflower and the beans. I used a stainless steel steamer for the carrots. Not for any particular reason but just that I wanted to do it all simultaneously. Here I rational mind, automatically which stopped me from mixing carrots with other..had to cook the lovely orangey carrots in isolation as they are fastest ones to soften. "Ladylike" ( actually read good adaptability and flexibility..!!)

2. Now put your pan on fire and add olive oil. Do not wait for it to smoke. Another bit of advice here , olive oil has a very low smoking temperature unlike your other cooking oil. And mind you it will not just smoke your garlic but actually burn it or sometimes in polished culinary tempo "caramelised garlic". Ofcoure we do not need that..we just need the nutty flavour from garlic to enhance the overall aroma and taste eventually. We are not going to be harsh on any of the vegetables here, just a soft touch and some TLC ( tender love and care). So in goes the ginger and garlic ( in the same order, as ginger takes longer time to cook than garlic). Then throw the onions and stir till translucent.

3. Now what I eyes were longing for- the colourful medley. Throw in the steamed soft yet firm veggies mix them well with already sauteed onion mixture. Coat all the pieces well , do not be biast to any.

3. Add the seasonings - Worcestershire sauce , Sweet chili Sauce, Italian herbs , salt and pepper. You could go well with chillies too but I just wanted to keep a subtle flavour. Don't want to move towards a stir fry.

4. Do not cook much on the pan. Transfer onto a warm dish, add the butter and shove it in a preheated 160 degrees oven and bake it covered for about 15 minutes. Uncover and broil for 5-6 minutes to get the colour. Ideally the hot pan used on the fire should go on the oven. But mine was not ovenproof, so warmed a glass dish in the oven for few minutes.

So here goes my fusion medley of vegetables- Subtle with flavours and crunchy veggies retaining their shine and natural colour. Have it nice and warm with Roast chicken or pasta or even love it with Indian Roti


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