Sara Dhanani

Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Eggplant Bharta

In Appetizers, Favorite Recipes, Vegetarian, Week night meals on April 12, 2016 at 9:43 pm

My not so new instant pot has been working hard for me lately. I love the convenience of having a slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer all in one handy electric pot. It adapts especially well to desi cooking. I steamed the eggplant in the instant pot and finished the curry on the stovetop, though you could easily make it in the instant pot. 

One eggplant 

Half an onion finely diced

Half a cup of strained tomatoes

A heaping teaspoon of ginger garlic paste

A little turmeric powder (1/2 tsp)

A punch of cayenne powder

A teaspoon of cumin powder 

Half a teaspoon of coriander powder

Fresh coriander leaves to garnish (which I didn’t have)


Cut the eggplant into quarters and steam in the instant pot (I added a cup of water and used the steamer insert). While the eggplant is steaming, heat a little oil in a saucepan, add finely diced onions and sauté till translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for a few minutes being careful not to burn the ingredients. Add salt along with turmeric, coriander and cumin powders and cayenne if you are using it. Once fragrant, add the tomato purée and stir, let it cook on a low medium heat till you see the oil separate. Once the eggplant is done, Mush the eggplant lightly with a fork and add to the saucepan. Combine the eggplant well with the masala and cover the saucepan with a lid. Let it simmer in its juices for 10-12 minutes on low heat. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Bhindi ki Sabzi

In Favorite Recipes, Vegetarian, Week night meals on December 20, 2014 at 11:34 pm

I can cook meat easily, but vegetables in the traditional way is a different kind of a beast for me. And then I saw fresh, plump Okra at the grocery store and how does anyone resist that lovely long vegetable. Well I bought them on a whim and sat staring at them for a few days and then asked my trusty friend Z, who is a master cook, recipe creator and the one person who I would share this blog with (one day she will write a post or few!) for a recipe and Z does not fail to deliver! Here is her recipe. Hugs to you Zaidi!



Okra – 2 cups, ends trimmed and cut in 1.5 inch pieces

One Onion chopped finely

1/2 cup of crushed tomato

Two – three chillies

1/2 teaspoon cayanne pepper

1/4 teaspoon haldi (turmeric)

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

One teaspoon ground cumin powder

a few tablespoons of oil

salt to taste – a few pinches


Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the cut okra, fry till not sticky and slightly browned. Take out and place aside. Now saute the onions till translucent and add the masala, fry till fragrant. Add the tomato and simmer at a medium heat for a a few minutes till well combined. Cut the chillies into strips, Add the salt, okra  and chillies and turn heat to low, cover the pan with the lid and simmer covered for 15 minutes till the oil separates. Serve with hot chapatis.

A traditional Pakistani breakfast

In Breakfast/Brunch, Favorite Recipes, Vegetarian on May 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm


The warm summer sun is ablaze in Phoenix! Over the long weekend, rather than barbequeing we were craving halwa puri. From Boat Basin, thin puri’s packaged in oil soaked newspaper, haldi yellow alu and fiery cholay with a thin layer of oil, that would make my mama shudder every time. And the gorgeous orange halwa, super sweet with tangy achaar.. makes me salivate first and then remember the heart burn!

So with bitter sweet memories I looked up a recipe from a pakistani cooking show (which was painfully entertaining!), and we had halwa puri for brunch. Delicious!! Without the heavy, artery clogging feeling after. Surprisingly the recipes are very hands off, basically dumping all the spices with the beans or potatoes and cooking till the curry forms. I peeked in on them periodically and gave a stir, adding water is needed, so feel free to adapt to your liking. The key is not to fry the spices separately but rather allow everything to cook together. I fried tortillas instead of making puri’s from scratch. It works in a pinch, but fresh puri’s would have been incredible!

One Third cup sooji (Semolina flour)

Half a cup ghee

One cup sugar

Two cups water

One teaspoon orange food coloring ( I had yellow at home)

5 cardamom pods (opened up)


Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan. Fry the suji in the ghee for 4-5 minutes till it looks lacey. It has a beautiful nutty aroma. Add the cardamom. Remove from heat. In another pan heat water and sugar till the sugar dissolves (chashni). Add the food coloring. Now stir in the cooked sooji and continue cooked on a medium low heat till its thick (if you stir a spoon it should leave tracks). It will thicken more as it cools.



Two cups Garbanzo beans soaked overnight in water

1 medium sided onion grated

1 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon soonf

1 teaspoon cayanne pepper (powdered)

1 tablespoon red chilli flakes

1/4 teaspoon haldi

1/2 teaspoon corriander powder

salt to taste

1/3 cup oil


Boil in 5 cups of water, the soaked garbanzo beans till mostly soft. Drain most of the water saving approximately 2 cups of water. Add the grated onion to the garbanzo beans and water and boil further till soft. Add all the spices and the oil and continue cooking for 30 minutes till a thick curry is formed. Garnish with chopped corriander.

Alu Ki Tarkari:
Five – Six medium sized Russet Potatoes, peeled

One teaspoon Crushed red pepper

One Fourth teaspoon Haldi

One teaspoon kalonji

One teaspoon cumin powder

Two tablespoons oil

One – 1.5 cup water

One teaspoon achaar (optional)


Chop the peeled potato’s into 2 -3 inch cubes. Add water with all the spices and oil (except the achaar) and cook on medium high heat till a thick curry forms. You may want to mash a few tablespoons of the potato while they’re cooking to facilitate the curry. Mix in achaar in the end.( I preferred the taste without the achaar)