This Easter, let your desi roots do the talking by creating a spread that also includes Indian flavors. Popular PBS cooking show host and author Alamelu Vairavan gives us Indian recipes that fit right in into traditional Easter menu.
By Alamelu Vairavan
(The writer, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, hosts a popular cooking show on PBS, “Healthful Indian Flavors with Alamelu.” She is also the author of “Healthful Indian Flavors with Alamelu.”)
Festivals in America serve as an excellent reminder of the diversity that forms the country. With the United States having the world’s largest number of immigrant population in the world, immigration has often been cited as one of the reasons for cultural changes throughout the country’s history.
If you look around, you would notice that no festive dinner table in the US is complete without reflecting a bit of culture and food habits derived from around the world to form the holistic American table.
So, this Easter, let your desi roots do the talking by creating a spread that also includes an Indian favorite that fits right in into the traditional Easter menu.
Eggs have been regarded as symbols of new life, renewals, fertility and rebirth. Eggs play an important role during Easter. Eggs, as we all know, have long been recognized as a source of high quality protein, rich in potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins.
Eggs are often used to make omelets, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs and in baking. I use eggs to prepare all of the above with added flavor. When I have one or two eggs in the morning it really sets me right for the day. I feel full till lunch time. I also have a “microwave egg boiler” to make hard-boiled eggs. Very quick and easy to make hard- boiled eggs in less that 8 minutes. (These microwave boilers are available on Amazon for less than $10.00.) Forget the fuss of dropping the eggs in the water and boiling for few minutes and wondering if it is done.
Here is one of my favorite recipes that I make weekly. “Egg Kulambu,” (a saucy dish with flavors) served as a side dish, or served over rice. I also cook flavorful crunchy green vegetables with coconut to go with egg dishes.
Both of these recipes can be found in the cookbook, Healthful Indian Flavors with Alamelu available on Amazon.
Egg Kulambu (Eggs in a saucy, flavorful dish)
2 tablespoons oil
2 or 3 (1⁄2-inch-long) slivers cinnamon stick
1 dried bay leaf
2 to 4 curry leaves optional
1⁄4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1⁄4 teaspoon urad dal
1⁄4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1⁄4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1⁄2 cup chopped onions
1⁄4 cup chopped tomatoes
4 garlic cloves quartered
1⁄2 fresh green chili pepper chopped
1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
1⁄4 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon Black Pepper and Cumin Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup tomato sauce*
1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves 4 large hard-boiled eggs peeled
*You can add an additional 1⁄2 cup of tomato sauce for a milder taste.
1 Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When oil is hot, but not smoking, add cinnamon stick, bay leaf, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds. stir gently and cover and cook until seeds pop and urad dal is golden brown, about 30 seconds.
2 Immediately add onions, tomatoes, garlic, and chili pepper. stir and add turmeric. When onions are tender, add curry powder, cayenne, tamarind paste, Black pepper and cumin powder, salt, tomato sauce, and 1 cup of water. Mix well and allow the mixture to come to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 2 minutes. add cilantro.
3 Score the hard-boiled eggs with cross marks on each end and add the eggs to the simmering sauce and spoon the sauce over the eggs so they will absorb the flavor of the sauce.
4 Remove from heat. cover and let the eggs soak in the sauce for 5 to 7 minutes and serve.
Green Beans with Coconut
This recipe is quick, simple, and full of flavor. Try it instead of serving plain steamed green beans!
2 teaspoons oil
1 whole dried red chili pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1⁄2 teaspoon urad dal
3 cups chopped green beans about 1⁄2-inch pieces
1⁄2 teaspoon chutney powder
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger 1⁄2 teaspoon salt more, if desired
1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, but not smoking, add red chili pepper, mustard seeds, and urad dal. cover and fry briefly until mustard seeds pop and urad dal turns golden brown, about 30 seconds.
2 .Add green beans to skillet and mix with the seasonings. add chutney powder, ginger, and salt. cover and cook over low-medium heat until green beans are tender.
3. Stir in coconut. serve warm.
(Alamelu Vairavan can be reached by visiting her website www.curryonwheels.com)