Vegetable Bharta

A spicy puree of fresh vegetables, Vegetable Bharta (bar-tan) a dish that is traditionally served as part of a North

Indian meal. Serve with Poppadums, Puris or crisp savoury biscuits.

4 carrots, scraped and sliced

1 large onion, finely chopped

12 oz. fresh peas, weighed after shelling

1 ½ teaspoons salt

2 oz. butter

½ teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground mace

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cornflour

5 fl. oz. chicken stock or milk

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley

Place the carrots, onion, peas and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a medium-sized saucepan and pour over enough water to cover. Place the pan over moderately high heat and bring the water to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and drain the vegetables in a colander. Using the back of a wooden spoon, rub the vegetables through a large strainer into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set the puree aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the vegetable puree, the curry powder, cayenne, mace, the remaining salt and the pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

In a small mixing bowl, blend the cornflour with the stock or milk. Stir the mixture into the vegetables and continue cooking for a further 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat.

Spoon the bharta into a warmed serving dish, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.

Vegetable Casserole

A delicious vegetable dish, Vegetable Casserole may be served as a main course with crusty bread and lots of ice-cold lager.

8 oz. fresh spinach leaves, washed and shaken dry

3 carrots, scraped and sliced

2 turnips, peeled and sliced

8 oz. fresh peas, weighed after shelling

8 spring onions , trimmed

8 oz. broad beans, weighed after shelling

6 medium-sized new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced

1 lettuce, outer leaves removed, washed and separated into leaves

1 large tomato, blanched, peeled and sliced

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ pints boiling chicken stock

1 oz. butter

1 oz. flour

1 oz. Parmesan or Gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to moderate 350 °F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Cover the bottom of a large ovenproof casserole with the spinach leaves. In a large mixing bowl, place the carrots, turnips, peas, spring onions , beans, potatoes, lettuce leaves, tomato, salt and pepper and, using a wooden spoon, stir well to mix.

Transfer the vegetable mixture to the casserole. Pour over the chicken stock. Cover the casserole and place it in the centre of the oven. Cook for ½ hours or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the casserole from the oven. Drain the vegetables in a colander and reserve the stock. Return the vegetables to the casserole.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat and, with a wooden spoon, stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Gradually add the reserved stock, stirring constantly. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce is thick and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce over the vegetables in the casserole.

Sprinkle the cheese over the top and serve immediately.

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