Thursday, July 11, 2019

Instant Pot Pinto Beans - No Soak Method

Making Pinto Beans in the pressure cooker is the quickest, easiest and the BEST way to make them. The taste and flavor of these beans is just like the canned ones, I promise! 


Mexican food is one of our favorite dinners! One of the most important ingredient in these meals is Pinto beans. Whether these are cooked and enjoyed as is or processed further to make refried beans; these are found in almost ALL Vegetarian Mexican meals. 


As we need them so often in various forms, it is a great idea to make them at once and freeze any leftover. Making them in the Instant Pot is my favorite way to make a batch that lasts atleast two meals. Plus, this method needs no pre-soaking of the beans and has just a handful of ingredients.

Video Recipe



Why make Pinto Beans in the Instant Pot?

One pot recipes are always winners. This recipe is just like that. I make the beans and enjoy them as-is with a side of brown rice. If you need them as filling for quesadilla or tacos, just use the immersion blender to blend it to a grainy texture. It makes a perfect filling for all Mexican dishes.


I used to make the beans using a pressure cooker for the longest time. This method needs the beans to be soaked overnight. More often than not I forget to soak the beans and then I have to change the plans to make the beans. 

The Instant Pot needs no soaking and about 40 minutes of cooking time. So I start with the beans and then while they cook, I get everything else ready for the meal. That way I can have it all sorted in about an hour. This makes it my favorite method to make the beans. 



How to make beans in the Instant Pot?

As I mentioned above, the method to make beans in the Instant Pot is as easy as 1-2-3. Add all the ingredients to the pot, add water/ stock and cook. To add some flavor I have also added onion, garlic, taco seasoning and jalapeños; but all that is completely optional. They impart a brilliant flavor to the beans and I strongly recommend adding them. 

This method is for beans that have not been soaked. Some people do prefer to soak the beans overnight and then use them. I do the same if I have enough time at hand. So the cooking time will depend how soft you like the beans and whether or not you have soaked them. 


The timing I use for these beans as well as black beans is here: 
  • Very soft beans: 40-42 minutes
  • Soft beans: 35-36 minutes
  • Firm beans: 28-30 minutes
  • Soaked overnight: 18 minutes

Using and storing the Beans

Once you have the beans made, it is super quick to whip up any dish. The way I enjoy them is to serve them with a side of rice or quinoa and some salad for a complete meal. 

The leftover I either freeze as-is or in the refried beans form. To make that I drain the beans (reserve the liquid), process using an immersion blender or regular blender adding back liquid as required and transferring the purée to a silicone tray. I freeze the tray and store the cubes in a freezer bag. This way it is easier to thaw just a couple of cubes for a meal.


There are plenty of recipes that need beans. Here are some of my favorites: 

Variations

The recipe I have here is for Pinto beans. However, the same can be used for black beans or kidney beans too. The beans are equally firm and so the time required for them is same. 

I have added onion, garlic and jalapeño that I like to keep in the beans. If you would just like to flavor the beans, leave them as big pieces that you can fish out after the beans are cooked. Adding seasoning to the beans after they cook is an option too, but adding salt before works well. 


Love a different kind of seasoning for the beans? Skip the taco seasoning and add that. I sometimes like to add adobe sauce or smoked paprika for flavor. The beans made using that are great for grilling recipes like grilled tacos etc. Some people actually like to add some liquid smoke. I have not tried that but I hear it is  great option. 


Ingredients

Dry Pinto Beans 1 1/2 cups
Onion 1/2 medium, diced
Garlic 1-2 cloves, minced
Jalapeño 1 tsp, minced
Olive Oil 2 tsp
Taco Seasoning 1 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 1/2 tsp
Water 6 cups
Cilantro and sliced jalapeños to top




Method

Set the mode of the Instant Pot to 'Sauté'. Once the display reads 'Hot' add Olive Oil. 

Add garlic and onion and mix. Let them cook for a couple of minutes. Add the dry pinto beans and water. Stir.

Next, add the jalapeños, cumin powder, taco seasoning and salt. Stir everything well. 



Press 'Cancel' and then press 'Pressure Cook'. Set mode to normal and time to 35 minutes. 

Once the cooking is complete and the pressure releases naturally, open the Instant Pot. 

Drain the beans using a colander and transfer to a bowl. Serve topped with sliced jalapeños and cilantro. 



Friday, June 28, 2019

Paatra | Steamed Colocasia Rolls

A delicious steamed Indian appetizer made from colocasia leaves rolled with a spicy mixture of gram flour and Indian spices, Paatra (Patrode) is a MUST-TRY recipe!   



Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Indian savories are always fun to make and great to enjoy. They take me down memory lane as they formed an integral part of my childhood. These savories are made quite often in our house and we enjoy them as a part of a meal or as an evening snack on weekends. 

These savories are also called Farsan; a dish that features in Indian thalis. The typical thali consists of a curry, a dry vegetable, dal, sweet dish, farsan, roti and rice. It is quite a filling meal and calls for an afternoon nap for sure! 

Farsans are either steamed or fried. Steamed delights like dhokla, khaman dhokla or muthiya are very popular. The fried ones are delicious; ranging from bhajiya or pakoda to vadas of various types. Paatra is a popular farsan too. This dish is made from colocasia leaves, layering them with a spiced chickpea flour mixture, rolled and steamed. The steamed rolls are cut into slices and tempered just before serving. 

Paatra has been a favorite in our family for years! I loved it as a child and continue to LOVE them now! Though the method to make them is a little tedious, the results makes ALL the effort worthwhile. This is the recipe that my grand mother made, and my mom and me still make it using the same recipe. 



How to make Paatra

As I mentioned above, paatra is a dish made from colcassia leaves. A popular snack in Maharashtra and Gujarat, this is also called Patrode or Alu Vadi in Marathi. This dish requires some patience and a handful of ingredients. There are few things to follow to get the recipe right each time! 

To start with, paatra leaves are the basis of this recipe. Available easily at most Indian stores, these leaves generally come in a stack of 8 or 12. I try and get a couple of packets with similar size leaves so that I can make it at once and relish them! Make sure the leaves are not withered or have too many holes. 

Start with removing the veins of the leaves. The veins tend to have thorns and not removing them will waste the effort completely. be careful not to rip the leaves while doing so.



Make a mixture using gram flour and other ingredients mentioned below. Keep the mixture thick so that it can be layered on the leaves easily. Taste the mixture before starting as that is the only way to add salt or spice in the recipe. 

Make the rolls tight as they tend to open up if not rolled well. Place the rolls leaving some space between them so they do not stick to each other. Test for doneness by piercing a knife in the centre. It should come out clean. 

Let the rolls cool completely before slicing. Else the gram flour will crumble while making the slices. These rolls can be enjoyed as is or can be converted to something even more delicious! 


How to serve Paatra

If you are serving the steamed paatra as is, just sprinkle some coconut and cilantro on the steamed slices and serve. This is the easiest way to serve them.

Another way to serve paatra is by tempering the slices with green chili, sesame seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves in hot oil. The paatra can be added to the pan and made a little crispy before serving. 

If you are a fan of fried dishes, just fry the paatra slices and serve. This is THE most delicious way to enjoy them! Though full of calories, I like this version once in a while.  

A popular Gujarati recipe called Rasiya Paatra involves adding snake gourd and paatra in a sweet and spicy curry. A popular serving at many Gujarati weddings, this dish is a must-try if you like Indian food! 



If you are a fan of Indian recipes, check these out: 



Ingredients

For the Paatra
Paatra Leaves/ Colocasia leaves 8 medium
Ginger Chili Paste 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder  1/2 tsp
Jaggery 2 tbsp
Oil 2 tsp
Baking Soda a pinch
Salt 1 tsp

For the tempering
Oil 3-4 tbsp
Asafetida a pinch
Curry leaves 4-5
Green Chilies 1-2

Shredded coconut and cilantro to top



Method

Wash and pat dry the leaves. Place them upside down and using a sharp knife thin out the thick spine and veins. Be careful not to rip the leaves. Set aside. 

In a bowl mix together Jaggery and Tamarind pulp till it dissolves properly. Add 1 tsp water if required. Once it all dissolves, add in the remaining ingredients under paatra. Mix well and make a thick paste.Add water if required.

Place a leaf vein side up. Apply 1 tbsp of the paste to completely cover the leaf. Place the next leaf on it and repeat. I used 4 leaves in one roll. If you want thinner rolls, use 2-3 leaves. 

Tightly roll the leaves to form a roll. Repeat for the remaining 4 leaves and make another roll. 

Add 1 cup water in a pan and heat it. Place a steamer basket an inch or two above the water level. Grease the steamer with some oil or non stick spray. 

Place the rolls on the steamer basket and cover. Steam for 20-25 minutes on medium heat. 

Turn down the flame, remove the rolls and slice them into 1 cm slices. 

In a pan heat the oil and add all the ingredients under tempering. Once the mustard seeds crackle, add the paatra pieces. Mix gently and let them coat with the tempering. 

Sprinkle cilantro and coconut and enjoy! 




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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Grilled Balsamic Garlic Mushrooms

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MarinadesWithMazola #MakeItWithHeart #CollectiveBias

Button Mushrooms combined with an easy to make Balsamic Garlic glaze makes a great Vegetarian Grilling option that everyone will LOVE!


Love Vegetarian grilling? If you do, this recipe is made for you! Grilled mushrooms with an easy to make 6 ingredient marinade is perfect for everyone. Balsamic Vinegar, minced garlic, fresh herbs and Mazola Corn Oil makes a great marinade for all kinds of vegetables and meat. A clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, see Mazola.com.


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Grilling season is our favorite and we love to make innovative recipes using different vegetables and marinades. This year we are trying marinades that come together quickly and need less than 10 ingredients. This recipe is PERFECT for that. Plus, super customizable with options mentioned below! 



Video Recipe



The PERFECT Marinade for Mushrooms

For the longest time I have been in love with a yogurt marinade that works well with paneer, tofu and vegetables. But that makes the grilled recipes super heavy and we can only enjoy a couple of skewers. Then I discovered Balsamic glaze for my grilling. 

Ever since I found that, I have been using it over and over again. I use Mazola Corn Oil in the recipe and it turns out great each time. This oil is an all-purpose, cholesterol free cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy choice for your family. The oil has a neutral taste that lets the natural flavor of your food stand out.


Mazola has a smoke point higher than most cooking oils at 450°F and performs well in a variety of cooking applications. This makes it PERFECT for grilling compared to the other oils. 





How to make the BEST Grilled Mushrooms

Mushrooms are ingredients that can sometimes be tricky to work with. But follow a few simple tricks and get it right each time! The first step is picking the right kind of mushrooms. This recipe works great with Button mushrooms and Crimini mushrooms. Fresh mushrooms grill the best so buy them the day you are grilling! 

Next is to pick the mushrooms of similar size. Hit the bulk bin in the stores and pick the ones that are more or less evenly sized. They cook well together taking the same time, yielding perfect results. 

CLEAN the mushrooms well in cold water. Any kind of mushroom can be muddy and need to be cleaned really well. I like to soak them in cold water for 10-12 minutes and then pick them out from the water. This cleans them well. 

Marinade the mushrooms in a light marinade that is flavorful. I like to keep them for about 30 minutes so the flavors soak in. Balsamic Vinegar and Corn Oil work great for mushrooms. And yes, garlic and herbs are perfect to flavor the marinade. 

Grill them at medium-high flame on a gas grill or only after the charcoal is hot. They tend to cook fast, so make sure they are on the flame for only 5-7 minutes. After that, they tend to shrink and become rubbery.


Swaps to make the recipe Better for You! 

A few swaps can make this recipe better for you! Here are the swaps I made:
  • I have used FRESH garlic and parsley and would TOTALLY recommend that. Not only are they flavorful, they are not processed like dried herbs or store bought minced garlic. They make the mushrooms flavorful and free from processed ingredients. Use parsley or replace it with basil, cilantro, oregano. They all work well. 
  • As you read above, I have used Mazola Corn Oil for the recipe. With a high smoke point, this oil makes the recipe healthier than using butter. You must try this oil for your grilling too! 
  • Last, the dipping sauce. Give a break to store bought ketchup, mayo and the like. Swap it for delicious homemade yogurt dip. I have included a recipe that is great with the flavorful mushrooms. Do try that too! 

Variations

This recipe uses a handful of ingredients that are easy to find. However, these can be substituted with other ingredients to make them.

The star ingredient here is Mushrooms. I used Button Mushrooms but Crimini Mushrooms work well for the recipe too. Pick your favorite and make the recipe.


Balsamic Vinegar has a flavor that cannot be matched. I would totally recommend getting a bottle for this recipe and for pizzas and bruschetta! We love it here and I always have a bottle in my refrigerator! 

Add some extra vegetables or protein if you like. Peppers, onions, broccoli, tofu and even pineapple works well with the marinade. 


Ingredients

White Button Mushrooms 15-20
Garlic 4-5 cloves, minced/grated
Parsley/ Cilantro 2 tbsp, roughly chopped
Balsamic Vinegar 1 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Black Pepper Powder 1/2 tsp


Method

Clean and dry the mushrooms. Cut all the big mushrooms into half and leave the small ones as is. 

In a pan add all the ingredients except the mushrooms and mix well. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat well. 

Let the mushrooms marinate at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water at this time. 

After that time arrange the mushrooms on skewers, grouping them by size. Save the marinade that remains in the bowl. 

Set a gas grill to medium high or heat a charcoal grill till the coals are red. Grill the mushrooms on the open flame for 5-7 minutes, flipping them once. The mushrooms may give out some moisture but that is perfectly okay. 

Remove from the grill and brush the remaining marinade on them. Transfer to a bowl, add some extra black pepper on top. 

I served these with some chopped onions and a delicious yogurt dip. 

To make the dip whip 1 cup Greek yogurt, add 1/4 cup grated cucumber, 1 tsp chopped cilantro, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp cumin powder. Serve with the mushrooms. 


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Instant Pot Garlic Edamame

Use the Instant Pot to make steamed edamame; a great snack or starter for an Asian meal. Make it even more delicious by adding garlic and chili flakes. 10 minute recipe that you need to check out! 



Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Edamame, pods of soybean make a great snack or appetizer in minutes! We LOVE this for a quick snack while watching our favorite movie at home. We first tried this version of the steamed beans at a sushi place and have been addicted since! 

Have you tried this snack yet? It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare in the Instant Pot, is healthy, good for you and definitely delicious. If you have not tried it yet, I would strongly suggest you try it once. It is addictive and will have you hooked on to it quickly! 



For those who do not know edamame; these are pods of tender soybeans that are enjoyed by separating the beans from the pods. It makes a quick snack that can be enjoyed by everybody. It needs a handful of ingredients that are generally easy to find. 


Video Recipe



Why make Edamame in the Instant Pot?

The most basic recipe of making edamame involves boiling them in salted water, draining and enjoying immediately. I have made that version over and over again. This version of the recipe is made in the Instant Pot and is way simpler than boiling in hot water. The pods need to be boiled for ATLEAST 10 minutes to get them perfectly tender. 



Using the Instant Pot makes the recipe very simple. All it needs is to pressure cook the pods for zero minutes. If you are wondering what that means; here is what it is. When the time for pressure cooking is set to zero minutes; the Instant Pot comes to pressure and once the pressure is built, it releases all the pressure. This makes sure the vegetables do not become mushy or tasteless. 

The same method is used to steam broccoli, beans, cauliflower and others. Plus, sometimes the method comes handy to make beans or carrots. It is a popular way to cook ramen or Indian Maggi in the Instant Pot too! 


Spicy version of Edamame

The traditional version of steamed or boiled edamame is often served with sushi or other Asian dishes. It is generally topped with coarse sea salt and is bland for a lot of people. 

To make this I use frozen edamame pods. They are perfect to buy at Trader Joe's or buy them online. This brand is something that I like to get pretty often. 



The same edamame can be spiced using minced garlic, chili flakes and sesame seeds. This addition takes the dish to a whole new level! Like most Asian dishes, this one is BEST made in sesame oil. The pungent flavors from the oil give the dish a great flavor. 

For all my Asian recipes I like to use this Chili Oil. Made from infusing chilies in sesame oil, this one is flavorful and pretty spicy. A little oil goes a LONG way! I always have a bottle in my pantry. 



Apart from the oil and edamame, the other ingredients can be modified as you like. If you are a garlic fan, get a couple of extra cloves in the dish. If you like some soy sauce, add that in the bowl too. I sometimes add some sesame seeds too. The crunch from the garlic and sesame is great with the creamy edamame beans.


Variations

A great snack for anyone looking for a spicy treat; this edamame recipe is easy to make. However, if you like a non spicy version, skip the last step of adding chili oil and garlic to the pods. You might just want to add sesame oil and sesame seeds in the edamame and make a delicious version.



Making a soy glaze using soy sauce, water and some oil is a great idea too. Just make sure the salt is balanced as the soy sauce is generally salted. Just pour that on steamed edamame and enjoy! 

If you would like to use the edamame beans in a recipe, steam them and shell them. Use the beans as desired in any kind if Asian recipe. They are healthy, yummy and super awesome in rice, noodles or curries. 


If you are looking for Asian recipes to enjoy with steamed edamame; try these: 


Ingredients

Coarse Sea Salt 1/2 tsp
Chili Oil 1 tsp
Sesame Oil 1 tsp
Garlic 3-4 cloves, minced
Chili Flakes 1/2 tsp


Method

In the base of the Instant Pot add 1 cup water. Place a trivet in the water. 

In a steamer basket add the edamame. Place the steamer basket in the Instant Pot and close the lid. 

Press Pressure Cook and set the mode to Normal. Adjust the time to 0 (ZERO) minutes. Close the lid and move the vent to sealing. 



Once the Instant Pot beeps, move the vent to venting and let all the steam out. When the silver valve drops, open the pot and remove the steamer basket. 

Transfer the edamame to a bowl or plate and sprinkle Coarse Sea Salt over it. 

In a small pan, heat Chili Oil and Sesame Oil. Once hot, add garlic and chili flakes. Let the garlic sauté for a minute and transfer everything on the edamame. 

Mix well and enjoy topped with black sesame seeds (optional). 


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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Baingan Bharta | Mashed Smoked Eggplant Curry

A curry made from roasted eggplant, onion, tomatoes and Indian spices; Baingan Bharta is a MUST-HAVE Indian curry! 



Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Eggplant, a vegetable that is either in people's most favorites list or on the list of least favorite. For us at home, we LOVE eggplants in every form and size. So much so that we have an eggplant plant too! The eggplants from that are super awesome and I use it in different recipes. 

From all the eggplant recipes that I make, Baingan   is a family favorite!  This Indian dish is made from fire roasted eggplant, onion, peppers and Indian spices. Baingan Bharta is best enjoyed with roti or bajri roti (pearl millet flatbreads), urad dal and some spicy garlic chutney. 



Making PERFECT Baingan Bharta

Baingan Bharta is a recipe that can sound super intimidating. But it is not very difficult to get it right. Plus, there are a number of variations that can be made. Every family has their favorite ingredients to add to the bharta and the end results might differ slightly. This version is our favorite and I make it SO often! 

The first step to get the recipe right is to pick the perfect eggplant. This recipe is made from the large ones so one large is enough for 2-3 people. Pick an eggplant that is even, dark in color and has no holes. The bottom of the eggplant should have just a dot and not a line. The ones with lines have a LOT of seeds that gives a bitter taste. 

Once you have the eggplant, it can be roasted in several ways. Roast the eggplant well and remove the skin while it is hot. It is way simpler to get all the skin off when it has just been roasted.

When the eggplant is skinned, remove any large seeds that might be in there. The seeds are often bitter and do not give a good taste to the curry. 

Once the eggplant is roasted, the rest of the process takes only 15-20 minutes. Put everything together and a super flavorful and tasty curry is ready! This recipe calls for a few other ingredients except eggplant. Tomatoes, onions, peppers and carrots are added. In case you do not like any of them, you can skip them. Garlic is the flavoring ingredient here and if you can find green garlic scapes, use that. Else regular garlic works well too. 

The curry can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen. The taste deepens with time and so I like to make it atleast an hour or two before serving. Before serving, just heat the bharta in a pan and top it with cilantro and green onions. 




How to Roast the eggplant

Roasting the eggplant is an essential step in the making of the bharta. There are many ways to roast the eggplant. Pick the method that works best for you.
  • On an open flame: If you would like to roast the eggplant on the stove, just make slits on the eggplant, apply oil and roast it. I like to place some foil on the burner to avoid the juices from creating a mess. 
  • In the oven: This is an easy way to roast the eggplant while preparing other ingredients on the side. To do so, make the slits and apply oil on the eggplant. Heat the oven to 450 F and place the eggplant in a tray in the oven. Grill for 20 minutes, turn over and grill for another 20 minutes. Then set the oven to BROIL for the last 5 minutes.
  • On an outdoor grill: An outdoor gas or charcoal grill is my favorite way to grill the eggplant. The process remains the same but if a charcoal grill is used, the eggplant turns out smoky and flavorful. A gas grill heated to medium high works well too. It takes about 10-12 minutes and more than one eggplant can be made at once! 

Variations

The recipe for Baingan Bharta is pretty simple. It involves preparing the eggplant, mixing all the ingredients and flavoring with spices. The ingredients I have listed below are the ones I use. They are easily available too. However, if you cannot find any or do not like it, you can skip them/ replace them.

The large eggplants are used in the recipe. As that is the base of the recipe, it cannot be substituted. So make sure you find the eggplants. They are available in Indian stores, Asian stores and quite often at farmer's market too. 

If you are a garlic lover like our family, add a couple of extra cloves to the dish. It gives an extra punch of flavor to the bharta. Green peppers can be substituted with yellow or red peppers. Green onions do give the dish a great flavor so I like adding them. Skip them if you cannot find them. 

The spices used are the ones that can be easily found in any Indian pantry. If you like making Indian food, it is a great idea to have these in the pantry. 


Finally, the yogurt used in the recipe is great to bind all the flavors together. In case you do not have that, add 1 tbsp sour cream to the recipe. That works well too. 

Love eggplant? Try these recipes for sure: 



This recipe has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in 2014.

Ingredients

Eggplant 1 large
Onion 1/2 cup diced
Green Pepper 1/2 cup diced
Carrot 1/2 cup diced
Garlic 5-6 cloves minced
Ginger 1/2 inch minced
Tomato 1/2 cup diced
Onion greens 4-5 stalks chopped
Mustard Seeds 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds  1/4 tsp
Asafetida a pinch 
Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
Coriander seed powder 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala 1 tsp
Yogurt 3 tbsp
Oil 2 tbsp
Salt 3/4 tsp
Lime Juice 1 tsp
Cilantro and green onions to top


Method

Wash and dry the eggplant. Make 2-3 vertical cuts in the body and apply a thin layer of oil on it. 

Roast the eggplant directly on medium flame, rotating it continuously till it is charred from all sides. This will take about 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the eggplant. This can also be done on a charcoal grill or gas grill. An oven works great for this too.

Once completely charred, place the eggplant on a plate. Let it cool just enough to handle by hand. While it is still hot, remove all the charred skin, cut off the top green portion and mash the eggplant. If there are large seeds in it, remove them too.

In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafetida. Once the seeds pop, add the garlic and ginger. Sauté till the raw flavor vanishes. 

Next add onions and peppers and cook till they soft. Put the chopped tomatoes in next and let them cook till mushy. Then add yogurt and whisk well till it completely mixes in. 

Next add the carrots and mashed eggplant. Mix well. Add garam masala, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and mix well. Add salt and taste if more is required.

Cook till the vegetables are soft. Turn down the flame, and add lime juice. Garnish with cilantro and green onion. Serve hot with millet flatbreads.




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