Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Ratatouille ~ India Inspired

Cheeseless and Cheerful, India Inspired Ratatouille
Cheeseless and Cheerful ~ India Inspired Ratatouille

When it comes to international cuisine, French cuisine ranks among our favorites. Then again, we are devotees of Tibetan, Thai, Mexican and Italian … well you get the picture. But back to French food, if we may. So delighted are we of the new Pixar animated movie, we decided to recreate one of our favorite French recipes at home. Cheeseless and cheerful ~ The Ratatouille.

Dictionary defines Ratatouille as “A vegetable stew, usually made with eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and onions, seasoned with herbs and garlic”. Ratatouille, Pulusu, Kurma or Subzi …different names in different languages but the underlying wisdom is the same. Isn’t it? When vibrant and fresh looking vegetables are available, the recipe served will make happy people happier and comforts those who aren’t. Really, we don’t have to do much in order to make a miraculous meal.

The India inspiration is addition of poppy seeds. When added to bobbling vegetables in the pot, the powdered poppy seeds will bring sweet aroma and subtly enriches the ratatouille in a typical Indian way.

Cheeseless and Cheerful, India Inspired Ratatouille
Farm Fresh Vegetables from Pike Place Market for Ratatouille ~ Round Zucchinis, Red and Green Capsicum, Shallots, Purple Garlic, Baby Carrots, Fresh Peas, Tomatoes & Green Brinjals (Total Cost $8).

1 teaspoon peanut oil
¼ tsp each – cumin, mustard seeds and 6 curry leaves
4 garlic cloves and 2 shallots – finely chopped
6 each – tomatoes, brinjals, carrots & 2 each – zucchinis, capsicums ~ cut to chunks
Half cup each – freshly shelled peas and finely chopped coriander leaves
Quarter cup poppy seeds – powdered fine in a spice grinder
¼ tsp red chilli powder, salt and turmeric or to taste
In a big saucepan, heat the oil until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles. Lower the heat to medium. Add the curry leaves and toast to pale brown. Toss in cumin, mustard seeds. When seeds start to jump, add the garlic and shallots. Stir fry few minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and peas. Cook, covered for about ten minutes. The vegetables start to get tender and you will see lot of water in the pot. At this stage stir in poppy seed paste, chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Sprinkle coriander leaves, mix and simmer another ten minutes, until the sauce becomes thick but pourable.
Serve warm with rice/chapati/bread or pasta.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper,Poppy Seeds,Vankaya (Brinjal),Zucchini (Tuesday July 10, 2007 at 9:06 pm- permalink)
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Zucchini Kurma

Zucchini Kurma
Zucchini Kurma

When we buy vegetables that are in season, they reward us with incredible fresh flavor. I guess, as if saying thanks for saving them from a fate of an artificial light enhanced, wax coated, every 30 minute sprinkler spray hell of 24-hour open, chain grocery shop environment.

Zucchini is one such vegetable. My first few times cooking this vegetable, the result was not good. The vegetable went all weepy with no taste or substance. I thought what a loser and why would anyone pay good money to buy this. Keep in mind that we don’t get this vegetable in India. After a year break, the next spring, I couldn’t resist giving them another try when I saw the farm fresh, tender skinned and no waxed zucchinis in an appealing shade of pale green. They rewarded me for buying them fresh. The curry with them tasted good, almost like ridge gourd, my favorite vegetable from India. I guess that’s why people often say moving to a new country is a learning experience. Everyday is a new day to find out something new about people, traditions and particularly about food.

We can get zucchini that is freshly picked for the day from neighborhood “Rulli Brothers” grocery shop. I like to cook them by baking & broiling for few minutes or as traditional Indian curry. This is one such recipe where zucchinis are cooked with other fresh vegetables like bell peppers, new crop potatoes, carrots and springtime tomatoes. A satisfying taste and filling side dish suitable to any time of the day.

Zucchini, Carrot, Red and Yellow Bell Pepper, Baby Potatoes and Cherry Tomatoes


Cut and chop:
Fresh Zucchinis – 2, cut into big bite sized cubes
Bell Peppers – 2, cut into small pieces
Baby potatoes – 6 to 8, cut into cubes
Carrot – 1, cut into cubes
Tomatoes 6 to 8 or 1 pound cherry tomatoes – chopped
Onion – 1, chopped into small pieces

Heat in a large pan over medium heat:
1 tsp of peanut oil. To it add and toast
1 tsp of each – minced garlic, cumin, mustard seeds and few curry leaves (tadka)

Add and cook:
First onion, then tomatoes until they soften.
Next, 1 cup of overnight soaked dried green peas
Also all the chopped vegetables – Zucchini, bell peppers, potatoes and carrots
Add 1 cup of water and mix. Cover and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat.

Stir in:
1 tsp of each – red chilli powder, salt and turmeric or to taste
1 tsp of cumin-coriander-clove and cinnamon powder (CCCC)
1 tsp of amchur (dried mango) powder
Mix to combine. Simmer another 10 to 15 minutes, covered on medium heat, stirring in-between.

Serve warm with:
Chapatis or parathas.

Zucchini Kurma with chapatis
Zucchini Kurma with Chapatis

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zucchini (Friday June 16, 2006 at 4:17 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

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