Friday, January 28, 2022

Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry Sabzi

This combination of shaved Brussels Sprouts with Indian spices is easy to make and super yummy with roti or rice. 

It easily doubles up as a salad too!

Brussel Sprouts Stir Fry in bowl


Stir fries are a big part of Indian cooking. We stir fry so many vegetables, proteins and sometimes even salad!

These stir fries often have interesting ingredients like gram flour, ground peanuts, coconut etc. These bring out the flavor of the veggies SO well! 

Earlier on I was not a big fan of these stir fries, because I ate it too often at home and events.

After moving to the US I almost never saw these stir fries. And that is when I started craving them and started making them at home.

Ivy gourd with potatoes and gram flour, okra and onions with gram flour, eggplants with peanuts and so on.

Certain not so conventional combinations did come up and Brussels Sprouts is one of them.

There are so many recipes on making shaved Brussels. They have a lot of delicious add-ins making them great salads and stir fries. I decided to make an Indian inspired stir-fry using them. This one is a great side for rotis or rice! 

What are Brussels Sprouts?

A popular vegetable that looks like small cabbages, Brussels sprouts are delicious and pretty easy to cook.

A seasonal green that is available on the stalk or as individual small rounds, this vegetable is used for stir fries, appetizers or even main dishes. Learn more about these amazing sprouts here

It needs only a few minutes to cook and overcooking them gives them an unpleasant gray color and onion garlic kind of odor. 

They are SUPER popular as baked or air fried appetizers and I have used them to make a delicious Indian inspired stir-fry.

The flavors of Brussels is as is and it combines with Indian spices and roasted gram for some extra texture. 

This stir fry is great with rotis, parathas or rice. It is also a great salad. Salty, a hint of spice and sweetness and has all the good for you ingredients. I would totally dig right in with a fork! 

Brussel Sprouts Stir Fry in bowl

This Indian Inspired Brussels Sprouts Stir-Fry

  • is super quick and easy to make
  • makes a great side for rotis and rice
  • can be enjoyed as a salad 

  • can be made ahead as part of meal prep and reheated to serve
This dish is a combination of Gujarati classic sambharia and shaved Brussels sprouts salad. 

I like to make this as long as I can find brussels sprouts in my farmers market. It is nutritious, delicious yet super quick and easy to make.

So often I shave the brussels and powder dalia as part of meal prep. Then the recipe comes together in under 15 minutes for weeknight meals. 

If you are looking for a variation from the regular stir fries for your meal, this one is definitely worth trying.

Adding Indian spices and seasonings along with roasted chana dal gives an Indian flavor to the otherwise popular American shaved brussels. It does go really well with one another. 

I have made this as part of many lunches with friends and family in the past and they have all loved it. Finally the recipe makes it to the blog! 

Brussel Sprouts Stir Fry with roti

Other Brussels Sprouts recipes to try

If you LOVE Brussels Sprouts as much as our family does, you MUST try these:

Video Recipe


Ingredients to make this stir-fry 

Ingredients for Brussel Sprouts Stir Fry

Brussels Sprouts: These are obviously needed to make the recipe. Use big ones or small, the choice is yours. 

The Brussels can be shaved using a food processor (my favorite way) or using a madoline. It can even be cut into thin strips using a knife. 

Using any method, you need a heap of almost evenly sliced brussels.

Roasted Chana Dal: An essential ingredient to bind the brussels is dalia or roasted chana dal. Available at Indian stores and on Amazon, roasted chana dal is an easy way to make the recipe.

However, this can be replaced by chickpea flour. The flour needs to be dry roasted on medium heat before using. 

Spices: This stir fry needs only a handful of spices. The whole spice used here is cumin. Adding some sesame seeds or mustard seeds is an option too. 

I also added curry leaves and a dried red chili for taste and flavor. These can be added or skipped based on availability.

Seasoning: The common spices of Indian cooking are used in the recipe. Salt, sugar, turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala and dhania jeera powder are used. 

Red Chili powder can be substituted with green chili. Dhania jeera powder can be skipped. Turmeric powder and garam masala are good to have in the recipe for flavor and color. 

Oil: Any oil that you use in everyday cooking can be used here. I have used a blend of olive oil for the recipe. 

Step by Step Instructions to make 

Before starting, wash and pat dry the brussels sprouts. Shave them using a food processor with a thicker blade. Process dalia to a fine flour. 


1- Add oil in a pan and heat it.

2- Once the oil heats up, add cumin seeds, curry leaves and dried red chili. Wait for the cumin seeds to pop.

Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts steps

3- Add the shaved brussels and toss them to coat in oil. 

4- Add the spices and seasoning. Mix well.

 Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts steps

5- Let the brussels sprouts cook for 8-10 minutes. 

6- Once the sprouts soften, add powdered dalia (roasted chana dal), mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts steps

7- Add lime juice and cilantro. Mix well.

Stir Fried Brussels Sprouts steps

8- Serve with roti and rice. 

Brussel Sprouts Stir Fry in thali

Tips and Notes

  • The recipe calls for dalia or roasted chana dal. In case you cannot find that, lightly roast besan (chickpea flour) and use it. 

  • Brussels sprouts come in various sizes. I used the small ones but the bigger ones work equally well after they are shaved. Store bought shaved brussels work for the recipe too.

  • If using super tiny brussels sprouts, the recipe can be made with halved sprouts too. 

  • The same recipe works for chopped asparagus and diced peppers too. It is equally delicious with okra. 

Brussel Sprouts Stir Fry in bowl



Thursday, January 20, 2022

How to make Chili Oil

 Super flavorful, delicious and easy to make; this Chili Oil is PERFECT with potstickers or over noodles. 

Full of chili flakes and garlic this condiment is a MUST-HAVE for Asian food lovers!

Chili Oil in bowl

Chili oil is such a flavorful condiment of Asian cuisine. Flavored with various add-ins, it is a staple for so many homes. 

Looking at the ingredients it does look intriguing to make at home, but trust me; once you try this version you will ALWAYS make it at home. 

This oil is handy if you are enjoying dumplings or bao at home (hello Trader Joe's!). The dumplings with this chili oil can easily bring home the same experience you would have at a Chinese restaurant! 

For the longest time we have been BIG fans of dumplings. Whether we make them at home or enjoy the store bought ones, they are ALWAYS served with Chili Oil. 

I confess to buying so many different brands of Chili Oil before I started making my own. But ever since I started making it, there is no looking back!

What is Chili Oil?

An Asian condiment that is a staple in Asian households, Chili Oil is now a popular recipe in so many places.

The glass jar filled with red colored oil with chili flakes and garlic at dumpling houses and so many Asian restaurants is essentially Chili oil. They all taste similar but not the same. 

Every Asian restaurant will have their recipe and list of ingredients that go into it. Similarly, we have a version. that we enjoy the best and it is this one. 

It may be similar to the ones you have tried before or different; but it is definitely super flavorful and delicious.

It is a five minute recipe that needs just a few ingredients and results in a bright colored oil with all the flavorful add-ins. 

Chili Oil in glass bottle

This Chili Oil

  • is super quick to make from scratch.

  • needs only a handful of ingredients.

  • is a great condiment to have with noodles, rice or dumplings.

  • can be made in a big batch or small batch as you like.
This oil has been a favorite in our household for a long time. Whenever we are having Asian dishes like steamed buns, dumplings or potstickers it is definitely on the table.

With it's bold flavors, bright color and taste it has found it's way over so many of our Indian dishes too. 

Whether it is a flatbread like paratha or fried rice or dal of some kind, a little bit of this flavorful oil makes it EVEN more delicious. 

This condiment is just like so many other Asian condiments; a small spoon of it takes the dish to a whole new level. 

Chili Oil in glass container

Video Recipe 

   


Ingredients to make Chili Oil

Gochugaru Flakes: The key ingredient here is Gochugaru. These Korean style red chili pepper is super spicy and full of flavor. 

I like to use a tsp in 3/4 cup oil for the spicy flavor. The amount can be reduced if you like the oil to be less spicy.

Chili Flakes: The flavor and the color in the oil comes from these flakes. They can be added in more amount or less based on how you like your oil.

These are milder than Gochugaru and help balance the flakes. 

Garlic: Most Asian recipes become EVEN better with some garlic in them. This oil becomes flavorful with the garlic that cooks in the hot oil. 

I like to add it and love the flavor it imparts. However, it can be skipped too. 

Salt and Sugar: Salt is necessary to bring out the flavors from the spices. 

The sugar gives the oil a hint of sweetness but does not make it sweet at all. I would recommend not skipping these at all.

Oil: Hot oil is required for the spices to flash cook. Any oil works for the recipe. 

I use a 1:1 mix of light Olive Oil and Sesame Oil. Only sesame oil is way too strong for us to enjoy. 

This combination or Vegetable oil will work. Often people use grape seed, avocado, soy bean, canola or canola oil.

A lot of spices like bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise are often used in this oil. Also onion, green onions, ginger can be used. Fresh red chilis are sometimes used too.

Chili Oil ingredients

Step by Step Instructions to make Chili Oil

1- Add chili flakes, gochugaru, salt, sugar and minced garlic in a heat proof bowl.

Chili Oil Method

2- Heat the oil you are using over medium flame till it is hot (350-370F). 

3- Pour the oil over the prepared spices and mix well to distribute the oil in the aromatics. 

Chili Oil steps

4- Wait for the oil to cool and transfer to a bottle. 

5- Enjoy as you like. The chili oil can be stored at room temperature for 2 weeks and refrigerated for 5-6 months.

Chili Oil in glass bottle

Tips and Notes

  • Make sure the oil is super hot. If the oil is not hot enough, the spices will not cook in it.

  • Use a heat proof bowl to make the oil. 

  • Using a higher proportion of chili flakes to gochugaru will yield a milder flavor oil.

  • Sichuan peppers can be used in place of gochugaru flakes for a spicy numbing flavor.

Chili Oil in bowl with bao


Monday, January 10, 2022

Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

Ditch the Thai restaurant take-out soups for this delicious homemade Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup.

 Hot, sour and slightly sweet this warm broth based soup is FULL of vegetables and tofu.

Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup in a bowl

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Soups are perfect for cold days. A warm bowl of soup with a delicious side is our favorite for dinner.

We are big fans of soups and stews and Asian soups TOP the list of favorites! Whether it is made from scratch or ordered from the restaurants, it always makes a delicious meal.

These soups are generally easy to make at home, super amazing and can be made in the Instant Pot and on the stovetop.

Most of these soups are broth based and FULL of vegetables. Protein can be added to them and noodles blend in with these really well too. 

This is the Vegetarian version of a Thai classic; Tom Yum Soup. It is made with vegetables, tofu and a super flavorful lemongrass and lime based broth. 

What is Tom Yum Soup?

A super flavorful broth based Thai soup, Tom Yum is very popular all over the world.

Served in Thai restaurants and made at home, this soup is hot and sour and great with all the vegetables added to it.

As per Wikipedia, Tom means the process of boiling and Yum is mixed. So the soup can easily be understood as a preparation made using flavorful ingredients that are boiled together.

In order to replicate the flavors of boiling it for hours, we pressure cook the aromatics, hardy vegetables and broth using the Instant Pot. It extracts all the flavors from the aromatics and cooks the vegetables.

Tom Kha is another popular soup that can be made from this Tom Yum soup. It is essentially this soup with some coconut milk or cream. The addition of cream makes it thicker and rich tasting. 

Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup in a bowl

This Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

  • is Vegetarian and Vegan friendly

  • comes together in under 30 minutes

  • is super flavorful from all the aromatics and spices used

  • is a broth based soup. It can be converted to Tom Kha soup by adding coconut milk to it.
This soup is perfect for a cold winter dinner. With a great mix of vegetables, aromatics and broth, the soup is warm and soothes the throat.

It is Vegan by nature, just bear in mind to pick a Vegan Tom Yum paste. All the other ingredients are naturally Vegan.

Video Recipe 

   

Ingredients to make Tom Yum Soup 

Ingredients for Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

Vegetables: For this soup a mix of vegetables can be used. I like to add carrots, baby corn, broccoli, cucumber and mushrooms for the recipe. 

Adding spinach, bamboo shoot, green beans, cauliflower and cabbage is an option too.

Pick vegetables and divide them into quick cook and those that need some time. Add the ones that need time to the broth while cooking and the rest later. 

Aromatics: Given that the soup is a super flavorful one, some ginger or galangal, lemongrass, kaffir like leaves and green onions are used. 

The aromatics are cooked with the vegetables and the broth to get the maximum flavor from them.

Vegetable Stock: Making this soup is best with vegetable broth. It adds so much more flavor to the soup compared to just water. 

Store bought stock, homemade stock or better than bullion can be used here.  

Tom Yum Paste: Available at Asian stores and on Amazon, this paste is perfect for the soup. It has all the ingredients ground up and is packed with flavor. 

I like to use this one. It is Vegetarian friendly one which does not have shrimp, fish etc. 

Tofu: To add some protein to the recipe I have added firm tofu. It makes a great vegetarian protein for the recipe. 

Paneer, tempeh or a protein of your choice will work for the recipe. It can be skipped if you want only a vegetable based soup.

Tomatoes: Adding some tomatoes to the recipe adds a lot of taste and sourness to the soup.

I would strongly recommend not skipping these. They do not have an absolute substitute but adding lots of lemon juice and some zest does help. Or a little tamarind extract.

Apart from these ingredients, salt, pepper, a hint of sugar and some soy sauce are needed for the recipe.

Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup in a bowl


Step by Step Recipe to make this Soup

1- Add vegetable stock to the Instant Pot. 

2- The aromatics go in next. Add the lemongrass, green onion whites, lemon leaves and ginger. 

Steps for Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

3- Add chopped baby corn, carrots and mushrooms.

4- Add salt, sugar and black pepper powder. Mix well.

Steps for Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

5- Close the Instant Pot lid and set the mode to pressure cook. Turn the valve to sealing and time to 5 minutes. 

6- Once the cooking is complete, wait for 2 minutes and then release all the pressure in small successions till the valve drops.

7- Open the Instant Pot and fish out the lemongrass and lime leaves.

Steps for Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

8- Add the tomatoes, broccoli, chopped cucumber and firm tofu.

Steps for Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

9- Add in the tom yum paste and soy sauce. Mix well. 

10- Turn the Instant Pot mode to sauté and let the soup simmer for 4-5 minutes. 

Steps for Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup

11- Turn the Instant Pot off and serve the soup immediately. Top it with chopped cilantro and green onions. 

Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup in a bowl

Tips and Notes

  • Use homemade or store bought vegetable stock for the recipe instead of water. It adds a lot of flavor. 

  • Tom Yum paste is a great way to add all the flavoring agents together. If you do not have that, use 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste, 1/4 tsp lemon zest and 1/4 tsp tamarind extract.

  • Adjust the salt based on the salt in vegetable stock, tom yum paste and soy sauce. They all tend ti have some salt in them.

  • The same recipe can be made on the stove top. Cook the broth and vegetables for 10-12 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. 

  • Adding some coconut milk or cream makes this soup into Tom Kha Soup.

Instant Pot Tom Yum Soup in a bowl

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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Instant Pot Ragda

An essential ingredient of Indian chaats, ragda is a mildly spiced white peas preparation. 

This curry is naturally Vegan and comes together quickly using the Instant Pot!

Instant Pot Ragda in a bowl

Chaats are India's favorite street food. And when it comes to chaat, pani puri, ragda pattice and bhel puri are in the limelight. 

In order to make a lot of chaats ragda is an essential ingredient. It is a delicious hot addition to otherwise cold pani puri. It is perfect with pan fried or deep fried potato pattice and a great side for samosas. 

If you ever have street side chaat, you would know what I mean. All stalls have a large pot of ragda boiling at the stall. The sight is amazing and so is their ragda. 

Exploring Indian chaats will tell you how many different kinds of chaats we have. So many delicious recipes that can easily take me back to the streets of Mumbai! I really miss them all; thank God I can have it all here by making it at home!!

What is ragda?

An essential component of Indian chaats, ragda is a stew made from dried white peas with a bunch of spices.

Made in the pressure cooker or instant pot, this stew needs only a handful of ingredients and comes together really fast. 

Ragda is a great side for Indian breads, a great dip for breads and a great way to make Indian chaats.

An essential ingredient for chaats like ragda samosa, ragda pattice, pani puri and ragda puri; this one can be made ahead of time and served when needed. It does refrigerate well and tastes great the next day too.

Instant Pot Ragda in bowl

This Instant Pot Ragda Recipe

  • is super easy and quick to make

  • makes a great side for bread, an addition for chaats 

  • can be made with a handful of ingredients

  • is a comfort meal with parathas or rice

  • can be made with soaked peas or with unsoaked ones
Ragda can be made very quickly using the instant pot or the pressure cooker. While both methods work well, I like to make it in the Instant Pot. It is hands-free and needs only a couple of steps to come together.

The recipe can be made using the stove top pressure cooker. However, the Instant Pot version is hands free and comes together in one pot. All you need to do is mix everything and pressure cook till done!

Ingredients to make Ragda

Instant Pot Ragda Ingredients


Ragda/ white peas: The main ingredient here is white peas. The peas can be used after soaking them for a few hours or directly.

Whether or not to soak depends on you. The recipe remains same, only the time required for dry peas is more. 

I like to make them with soaked peas. To soak them, submerge them in water that covers the peas completely and is an inch above it. Leave them overnight or for 6-7 hours.

Aromatics: Garlic, ginger and green chili are the aromatics used in the recipe. Adding onion and tomatoes is an option too. I have skipped it here.

The recipe can be made without garlic too. It does change the flavor, but still tastes amazing.

Spices: Basic Indian spices like turmeric powder, asafetida, red chili powder, garam masala and dhania jeera powder are used here.

Whole cumin seeds are the only whole spice I use here. Mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds can be used too.

The other ingredients used here are water, salt and oil. Cilantro is used to top the prepared ragda. 

Step by Step Instructions to make ragda

Wash and drain the white peas. Soak them in water that covers them completely and is one inch above the peas. Once soaked for 6-8 hours, drain the peas and set aside.

Instant Pot Ragda-steps

1- Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Once it displays hot, add oil.

2- Add the cumin seeds and let them splutter. 

3- Add in the grated garlic, ginger and green chili. Sauté for a couple minutes till the garlic loses its raw flavor.

Instant Pot Ragda-steps

4- Add the spices and sauté for a minute. 

5- Deglaze using 1/2 cup water. 

Instant Pot Ragda-steps

6- Add the drained white peas and salt.

7- Add the remaining water and mix.

Instant Pot Ragda-steps

8- Cover the lid and set valve to sealing.

9- Change the mode to Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.

10- Once the cycle ends, let the pressure release naturally. 

11- Open the lid and set to sauté till the excess water is absorbed. Add more water if required.

Instant Pot Ragda-steps

12- Add cilantro leaves. Mix well and serve. 

Instant Pot Ragda in Bowl

How to use this ragda

This prepared ragda is perfect for addition to chaats like ragda puri, pani puri, ragda pattice or samosa. 

Served alongside parathas or naan it makes a great meal and it is also a good side for steamed rice. 

I love a slightly soupy version with sliced bread too. The bread soaks up the soup and tastes great with some sliced onions on the side.

A drier version is amazing with kulchas too. Matar Kulcha is a classic recipe with some add-ons like onions, chutney and cilantro. 

A variation to regular ragda pattice is this version of smashed potatoes with ragda and chutneys. It makes a great chaat that is easy to make. 

Instant Pot Ragda with Smashed Potatoes

Tips and Notes

  • The recipe works for soaked peas and those without soaking. The cooking time will be more for that are not soaked.

  • Adding onions and tomatoes in the recipe is a good idea too. They can be added before putting in the peas.

  • The ragda tends to get thicker once it cools. Ensure it has some liquid before turning off the Instant Pot else it will become too dry.

  • Garlic can be skipped and the amount of green chili can be adjusted based on taste preferences. 

  • Using dried green peas in place of the white peas is an option too.

Yield: 3
Author: Smruti
Instant Pot Ragda

Instant Pot Ragda

An essential ingredient of Indian chaats, ragda is a mildly spiced white peas preparation. This curry is naturally Vegan and comes together quickly using the Instant Pot!
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 10 MinInactive time: 8 HourTotal time: 8 H & 25 M

Ingredients

  • Dried White Peas 1 cup
  • Ginger 1 inch piece, peeled and grated
  • Garlic 1 clove, grated
  • Green Chili 1, grated
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • Asafetida a pinch
  • Red Chili Powder 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder 1/4 tsp
  • Garam Masala 1/2 tsp
  • Dhania Jeera Powder 1/2 tsp
  • Salt 1 tsp
  • Any neutral oil 1 tbsp
  • Water 3 cups
  • Cilantro to top

Instructions

  1. Wash and drain the white peas. Soak them in water that covers them completely and is one inch above the peas. Once soaked for 6-8 hours, drain the peas and set aside.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Once it displays hot, add oil.
  3. Add the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  4. Add in the grated garlic, ginger and green chili. Sauté for a couple minutes till the garlic loses its raw flavor.
  5. Add the spices and sauté for a minute.
  6. Deglaze using 1/2 cup water.
  7. Add the drained white peas and salt.
  8. Add the remaining water and mix.
  9. Cover the lid and set valve to sealing.
  10. Change the mode to Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
  11. Once the cycle ends, let the pressure release naturally.
  12. Open the lid and add cilantro leaves. Mix well and serve.

Notes:

  • The recipe works for soaked peas and those without soaking. The cooking time will be more for that are not soaked.
  • Adding onions and tomatoes in the recipe is a good idea too. They can be added before putting in the peas.
  • The ragda tends to get thicker once it cools. Ensure it has some liquid before turning off the Instant Pot else it will become too dry.
  • Garlic can be skipped and the amount of green chili can be adjusted based on taste preferences. 
  • Using dried green peas in place of the white peas is an option too.