Umesh is a freelance writer contributing his creative writings on varied subjects in various sites and portals in the internet.
Every vegetable has got its own taste and generally we prepare vegetables based on the single vegetable or a combination of two or three vegetables. In the latter case they are known as mixed vegetables. Sometimes what happens is that we have got many vegetables in our house but none of them is available in good quantity and we cannot make it alone. So we are forced to go for some sort of combination mixed vegetable.
In such a case we can try to make a vegetable by combining four or five different vegetables all of which are available in small quantities in our house. This type of preparation is known as mixed Bhaji in India and is very common not only in houses but even in the hotels and restaurants.
We cannot mix the vegetables at random but there are some combinations which go well than that of others and we would go through one of them in this article. Generally the rule of the thumb in this matter is that we should avoid mixing bitter vegetables with the other ones. Other precaution is that we should not keep the quantity of those vegetables more which have a strong flavour and taste as they would suppress the taste of other vegetables.
Selecting vegetables for mixed Bhaji
For this particular preparation we have selected the following vegetables -
- Cottage cheese.
It is not necessary that we should have all these vegetables available with us in some small quantities. Even if we have three or four of them it would suffice the purpose.
Generally while preparing such mixed Bhaji we do not use bitter vegetables in this combination as that would make the whole thing bitter. For example we should not add bitter gourd in the above combination.
We can of course make bitter gourd in other combination like -
- Bitter gourd.
- Sweet potato.
There are also some other combinations of vegetables which are used in some parts of India for making a mixed Bhaji and one of them is -
- Bottle gourd.
- White Radish.
Another one is -
- Green raw banana.
- Green Peas.
In this preparation we are aiming the dish for 3-4 persons when taken with other meal items at the time of main meals. The cooking time is about 30 to 35 minutes. We will be using a microwave for cooking but one can use the conventional pan on the stove cooking also.
- Cauliflower - 100 to 200 grams.
- Carrots - 2 numbers.
- Capsicum - 1 to 2 numbers.
- Tomato - 2 numbers.
- Cottage cheese - 200 gram.
- Potato - 2 numbers.
- Onion - 2 numbers.
- Cooking oil - 1 tbsp.
- Garlic - 8 cloves.
- Ginger - 1/2 inch piece.
- Cumin seeds- 1 tsp.
- Coriander powder - 1 to 2 tsp.
- Turmeric powder (optional) - 1/2 tsp.
- Dry fenugreek leaves also known as Kasoori Methi (optional) - 1 tsp.
- Red chilly powder (optional) - 1/2 tsp.
- Mango powder - 2 tsp.
- Green coriander leaves - 1 cup.
- Cloves - 2 to 3 numbers.
- Salt to taste.
Wash all the vegetables and drain them. Cut cottage cheese into small pieces. Also cut tomatoes, cauliflower, carrots, and capsicum in small to medium pieces. Peel the potatoes, onions, garlic, and ginger piece. Cut the potatoes in small to medium pieces and chop onion, garlic, and ginger together finely and keep in a bowl. Chop the green coriander leaves and keep it separately.
Take a thick glass (or microwave compatible) bowl and pour cooking oil in it. Now add chopped onion, garlic, and ginger to it. Also add cumin seeds, coriander powder, turmeric powder (optional), dry fenugreek leaves (optional), red chilly powder (optional), cloves, half of the chopped green coriander leaves to it and then keep in the microwave in 2nd level heat (read the notes on microwave in the end of this article) and cook for 3-4 minutes. The onion-garlic-ginger pieces will turn as little brown.
Take the bowl outside and now add all the cut vegetables, cottage cheese pieces, mango powder, salt, and about 3/4 cup water and mix well and keep back the bowl in microwave and cook for 12-15 minutes. Check the consistency of the dish in between about 4-5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
The dish is ready. Take it out and add the remaining half of green coriander leaves to it.
Note: Adding 3/4 cup water is an important step and should not be forgotten. In microwave cooking presence of water is a must failing which there are ample chances of getting the dish charred.
The dish can be served directly on the platter. It goes well with the bread or rice or oats. There would be about 8 - 10 servings available as per the raw quantity used in this dish.
1. For increasing the taste to general liking one can add some tomato sauce to the dish.
2. Cheese, butter, boiled eggs etc can also be added to the dish.
3. The above dry vegetable can be used as a filling in the sandwiches.
4. Tofu can be used in place of Cottage cheese.
5. This mixed Bhaji can be converted into a curry by adding 2 to 3 cups of hot boiling water.
Notes on microwave cooking
Microwave ovens are generally used in our households for heating the food or preparing some snacks like pizza and quick cooking jobs like that but if used in a correct and proper way they can be effectively used for preparing main dishes like curries, dry vegetables, cakes, puddings etc.
For those who are not much familiar with microwave cooking these notes will be of some help and some of the tips provided here would also be useful in their microwave cooking.
Coming to the basics, generally, a microwave oven has five ranges of heat and all cooking is done using those ranges separately or in combination (in sequence). These ranges are - very high, high, medium, low, and very low heat. Very high and high are generally used for main cooking purposes while the low is used for simmering of food and very low is used for keeping the dish warm as we do in a hot case. Sometimes very high is called as 1st heat level, high is called as 2nd heat level and so on. Vegetables are generally cooked in 1st or 2nd heat level though I personally prefer the 2nd heat level.
In microwave cooking, the main precaution which we have to take is that we have to always take care in adding the mentioned or stipulated quantity of water in the dish before we keep it inside the oven. One can find it in the microwave recipes given in various internet sites or learn by one's own experience.
A single lapse in this matter can spoil the dish as there is always a danger of getting the dish charred in absence of water. It is imperative that we have to add sufficient water beforehand.
One interesting thing about the microwave cooking is that the microwave doesn't require cooking oil for cooking the food. It can cook the food just by the presence of water in it. So health-conscious people can avoid oil in their microwave dishes.
Some tips that I will like to share with the readers for microwave cooking are -
- Always check the dish for consistency just 3-4 minutes ahead of end time. This immensely helps in taking corrective actions, if required, and save the dish for getting spoilt.
- Adding a little more water than that of as suggested would be advisable.
- If you are making two different dishes in sequence then clean the microwave inside with a damp cloth after completion of the first dish.
- Water to be added beforehand and quantity will change as per the quantity of raw food material and that is to be adjusted. As a rule of thumb 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water is sufficient for a dry vegetable being prepared for 2-3 persons while quantity of water has to be increased to 1 to 1-1/4 cup for making preparation for 6-7 people.
- Making curries in microwave is relatively simpler as there is no danger of drying up or charring of the dish as sufficient water would be added beforehand for the required curry volume.
As we saw that we can prepare this dish with oil or without oil and in that case the approximate calorie value of the dish would be 80 to 85 calorie per serving for oily version and 70 to 75 calorie per serving for oil less version. Due to the cottage cheese the calorie is slightly to the higher side but removing it or replacing it with tofu will decrease the calorie to about 45 to 50 calorie per serving.
Dry mixed vegetable (Mixed Bhaji) is a very common item consumed by people across the globe. It can be prepared easily with limited resources available in the house especially when no single vegetable is available in the house in good quantities.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Umesh Chandra Bhatt