September 20, 2014

Russian Tomato & Cucumber Salad

This is a very simple Russian tomato and cucumber salad that doesn't need a separate post, but I'm doing it anyway. The dressing is very very simple with just vinegar, oil, salt & pepper. Very refreshing and healthy salad. 
Russian Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Salad Olivier -- Russian Potato Salad

I found this Russian Potato Salad called Salad Olivier on Smitten Kitchen. It is a very simple potato salad but the addition of dill pickles, carrots and peas makes it a little different. I never bought dill pickles before and I didn't realize there were 20 different kinds of pickles in the store. It took me good 10 minutes to figure out what to buy. Carrots and peas make the salad look more colorful. 
Salad Olivier -- Russian Potato Salad

Borscht -- Russian Beet & Vegetable Soup (Vegetarian Recipe)

When I think of Russian food, first thing that comes to mind is Borscht --  beet & vegetable soup. To be honest I'm not a bog beets fan, so this was soup was something that I was not too excited about and kept looking for other dishes. But finally I realized I had no time and then ended up making the soup anyway. I was surprised that I liked the soup, it is very hearty and technically I didn't taste the beets as much as I feared I would. The color sure makes the beet presence apparent and I really loved how photogenic this soup was.
Borscht -- Russian Beet & Vegetable Soup (Vegetarian Recipe)

Russia -- A Simple Vegetarian Russian Meal

BM# 44: A-Z Cooking Series -- Around the World in 30 days
Country: R for Russia
Dishes: Borscht (Russian Beet & Veggie Soup), Tomato & Cucumber Salad, Salad Olivier
We are going to Russia today. Russia is a country in northern Eurasia. Russia has over 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous people in Russia. Ethnic Russians with their Slavic traditions, Tatars and Bashkirs with their Turkic Muslim culture and so on. My knowledge of Russia was from the Russian folktale books that we used to read as kids. My dad used to buy these books at book exhibitions and we also had a subscription to a kids magazione called 'Mischa'. My mom still has those books and my son loved reading them while we were in India.
Russian cuisine widely uses fish, poultry, mushrooms, berries and honey. I wanted to bake the famous Russian Black bread, but I wasn't sure if there will be any takers for it at home. Pirozhki and Blini were also on my to-make list but never materialized.
Russia -- A Simple Vegetarian Russian Meal
This meal was not actually on my initial plan, but the amazing meals that Varada & Pradnya have been making for the BM inspired me to make a meal too. So here I am with a few Russian dishes that can be served for a meal.

I decided on trying simple, easy-to-make dishes form Russia and here is what I made:
Russia -- A Simple Vegetarian Russian Meal

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Vegetable Rice for Festivals (Saakannam/ Shakannam)

Saakannam is one of the dishes that is made on the 7th of Navratri/ Dasara. Saakam (shaak) means vegetables and Annam means rice, so it is nothing but mixed vegetable rice. When making any dish on a festival day, we usually refrain from using onion, garlic, garam masala etc. Also using premade or store bought masalas is not preferred.
Vegetable Rice for Festivals (Saakannam/ Shakannam)
I tried looking for an authentic rice recipe that is made for festivals, but I couldn't find anything. I asked one of my cousins and she said she makes a simple mixed vegetable rice with ginger. I went with my instincts and made this dish with what I had in the fridge.

September 19, 2014

Recipes for Dasara/ Navrathri (Dussehra Specials)

Navrathri/ Dasara:

Make these festival special dishes to offer on the 9 days of Navrathri.
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Qatar -- Motabel (Smokey Eggplant & Tahini dip)

BM# 44: A-Z Cooking Series -- Around the World in 30 days
Country: Q for Qatar
Dish: Motabel (Smokey Eggplant & Tahini dip)
We are going to Qatar today because from the little I know there are no more countries that start with Q :-) Qatar is a sorerign Arab country located in Western Asia. It is world's richest country per capita due to the presence of large natural gas reserves and oil reserves.
Qatari cuisine is very similar to other Middle eastern countries. I picked a eggplant dip recipe from Qatar. It seems like some version of eggplant dip is present in all of the Mediterranean cuisines. Motabel/ Moutabel is almost like Baba ghanoush with smokey roasted eggplant as the main ingredient.
Qatar -- Motabel (Smokey Eggplant & Tahini dip)

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