Talking off the off beat vegetables, Tinda (टिंडा) stands out. It is also called “Indian squash”, “round melon”, “Indian round gourd” or “apple gourd” or “Indian baby pumpkin”. Tinda is also called “tindsi” in Rajasthan part of India. When I was kid, I used to make faces thinking of eating Tinda, thanks to ad reputation it carries for no real reason. When I tasted it for the first time (force fed by mom), I was astonished to see how nice this vegetable is!
Whenever am making a south indian dish, be it idli, dosa, uttapam, or pongal, I prefer to make chutneys that goes with it, else somehow I find justice is not done to the food. Two most common chutneys that I make are 1) Coconut Chutney and 2) Onion Tomato Chutney. Both of these are easy to make (Who does not like easy recipes?), as well does not take huge effort and ingredients for this chutney are available in generally in kitchen cupboard.
Mango Pickle, Chilli pickle, Lemon pickle etc are common pickles you will find easily however when talking of less common pickles Jackfruit pickle is one I really crave for!
Jackfruit pickle (कटहल का अचार) is one thing that surely I can say my mother-in-law is an expert. Jackfruit is a seasonal fruit is normally available fresh during March through May, and for someone like me who lives in UK, its a novelty to find fresh Jackfruit.
When was the last time you visited an authentic south indian restaurant? If you have been there, yo will find a coconut based chutney served normally along side dosa, idli, etc. Being a north-indian (read bought up in sleepy town), I was less exposed to all south-indian cuisine, so when I got to Delhi (thankfully has got some decent south-indian food serving restaurants), I not only familiarised with scrumptious south-indian taste, I learnt lot more about south-indian cuisine.
Rajma does not need any introduction for an Indian household. Likewise Kidney beans is widely known term in west too. Having said that Rajma has not been so popular as Chole (Chick Pea) or Samosa in west. Objective of my recipe here is to familiarise this to my audience in west as well as for the from Indian subcontinent to suggest how to make restaurant style authentic punjabi rajma masala.
Cucumber Raita (खीरे का रायता) is a great cooling dish which goes with any fiery dish, or sometimes just acts as one of many ways to make plain yogurt exciting. Less often I have used this as part of dips as well. Cucumbers are extremely beneficial for general health and this is one of my ways to feed Cucumber to my family.