1

I was following this recipe (I've pasted it at the bottom of the question) for which the cooking time mentioned is 30 min. Although for me, it took around 45 min for the vegetables to get cooked.

Three questions:

  1. Instead of waiting 45 min for the vegetables to get cooked, would it have been better to fry the onions in the cooking pot and meanwhile put the vegetables and some water into a cooker, wait until the first whistle, then take out the vegetables and add it to the onions in the cooking pot? I'm assuming that this would reduce the cooking time a lot, and hence save a lot of LPG gas too.

  2. As asked above, would it be advisable to first cook chicken in a cooker before shifting it into a cooking pot for further boiling? It took me an hour to make chicken curry, starting from the onion frying, until the meat getting properly cooked.

  3. After cooking, I noticed that the vegetable curry tasted bland. There was none of the spicy or tasty feel to it. Perhaps I added too less salt, but how exactly does one make the gravy (tomato puree was the gravy in this case) tasty? Is the salt added in-between meant to seep into the vegetables and give it a better taste or is the gravy supposed to form a greasy layer on the vegetables and give it a good taste?


The recipe

Mix Veg Recipe: Indian Mix Vegetables Recipe

AUTHOR: dassana
RECIPE TYPE: side
CUISINE: indian
PREP TIME: 20 mins
COOK TIME: 30 mins
TOTAL TIME: 50 mins
SERVES: 3

Simple and tasty recipe of mix vegetables made in indian style

INGREDIENTS

(measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)

  • 2 cups of mix chopped veggies – cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, french beans, capsicum, peas.
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • 2 tomatoes chopped finely
  • 1 green chili chopped finely
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tsp coriander powder/dhania powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder/haldi
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder (use more if you want it to be spicy)
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 8-10 paneer cubes (optional)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp cream or malai
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • a few sprigs of cilantro/coriander leaves chopped
  • salt as per taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a kadhai or thick bottomed pan, heat oil.
  2. Add cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add the chopped onions.
  3. Fry the onions till they become transparent.
  4. Add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry for a minute or till the raw smell disappears.
  5. Add the tomatoes. Keep on stirring till the tomatoes become soft and pulpy. When the mixture becomes smooth and one, then add all the spice powders mentioned above.
  6. The process of frying the tomatoes takes a little longer. If you want to quicken the process, add some salt to the onion-tomato mixture. Fry the tomatoes on a low flame as you don’t want the tomatoes to get burnt.
  7. Now add all the spice powders one by one.
  8. Stir the spice powders with the onion-tomato mixture. Add the green chili.
  9. Mix in the chopped veggies, salt and water.
  10. Cover and let the veggies cook.
  11. Once the veggies are semi cooked…… that is they are half cooked. Add the cream. Give a stir.
  12. Cover again and simmer the veggies till they are done.
  13. Don’t forget to check the veggies after occasionally.
  14. Add more water if the water dries up and if the veggies are still to be cooked.
  15. If using paneer, then add the paneer once the veggies are cooked. Simmer without the lid for 2 minutes.
  16. You can also garnish mix vegetable dish with fried paneer cubes. Otherwise simply garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  17. Serve mix vegetables dish hot with pooris, parathas, kulcha or chapatis.
2

This recipe confuses me in a number of ways. First the simplest: It calls for adding the remaining spice powders in two places, steps 5 and 7. One of my favorite food ethnicities is Indian, and in all my years of cooking and eating it there has always (with very rare exception) been one very important rule: Cook the spices. The difference in both taste and texture is what really what makes the food.

In my opinion, this is what you should be doing: In a small skillet heat a couple of tablespoons of oil until the oil is shimmering, the add the cumin seeds and fry until they become aromatic. Add the remaining spices; coriander powder, turmeric powder, chili powder and the gharam masala and cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Set this pan aside. In your cooking vessel, fry the onion and the chopped green chili until softened, then add the ginger-garlic paste, sauté just until aromatic, then add the tomato and the pan of cooked spices.

As far as your first question regarding boiling or pressure cooking the vegetables, not sure I understand why you would want to. Have you thought about cooking everything in the pressure cooker, including the chicken? If that sounds appealing then use the above method for the spices, onions and green chili, then add the veggies, water and, if using, the chicken (par-cooking the chicken can save time). This is the method I use when using a slow-cooker which should work for this.

As to question 3, go ahead and add salt at the beginning when adding the veggies, and the add more to taste after the major cooking. And yes to both of the final parts regarding the salt and the "greasy" layer (prefer the word "oily"). Adding salt early in the cooking process can make a lot of difference in both taste and texture, and the oily layer (which comes from the frying of the spices) carries a lot of flavor.

I hope this helps. Ask more if needed.

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