May 19, 2008

Crunchy Asparagus in Chilli-Garlic butter, Palak Dal-Roti from "City of Joy"


I made a simple and delicious Steamed Asparagus flavored with Chilli-Garlic butter for Marta from "An Italian in the US" blog for her "Fresh Produce of the Month" event. She has chosen "Asparagus" as her choice this month. Enjoy Marta, hope you like my simple side dish!:)




Since it's a steamed dish in the Microwave, I am also sending this to Srivalli from "Cooking 4 all seasons" blog's "Microwave Easy cooking" event with a theme of "Steamed" dishes. Thanks to you too Sri!:)

About Asparagus:


Asparagus is a perennial, an almost leafless member of the lily family. Asparagus has been used from very early times as a vegetable and medicine, owing to its delicate flavor and diuretic properties.It was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Only the young shoots of asparagus are eaten, often stir-fried or steamed.
Asparagus is low in calories, do not contain fat or cholesterol and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of folic acid, potassium, dietary fiber. Info from WIKIPEDIA and you can read more about Asparagus is here.



Steamed crunchy Asparagus in Chilli-Garlic butter:
I usually stir-fry these Asparagus and sprinkle the spices and little Mayo or any sauce over it to serve as a side dish with Chicken patties like this post I have posted before. This time I have steamed and semi-fried in the Microwave and topped with Chilli-Garlic butter for a super quick side dish. Enjoy! :)

Crunchy Asparagus in Chilli-Garlic Butter4

To make it, you need:
Chill-Garlic butter first: 1 tbsp (ie 3 tsps) softened butter, pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp Garlic pd or 1 plump garlic,chopped finely, 1/4 tsp chilli pd.Mix everything and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
Prepare the Asparagus: About 20-25 young Asparagus, 1/4 cup water or chicken stock, 1 tsp (1/3 rd of of above chilli butter mix) butter in chunks, 1/4tsp of salt if you are using just water (stock has salt already,do not add more!), 1/8 tsp coarsely ground pepper corns.
Crunchy mix: 1/4 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) plain or seasoned, 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp garlic pd, 1/4 tsp dry Italian mixed herbs. Mix everything and keep aside.

How to make:
1. Hold each Asparagus at both ends and snap. It will break at the tender spot itself. Arrange them all in a Microwave proof dish.
2. Add water or stock, salt, 1/3rd of chilli-garlic butter and pepper, cover partially and cook on high for 3 mins. Uncover, flip the Asparagus gently and microwave again for 3 more minutes without cover.
4. Take the dish out, sprinkle bread crumbs mixture on top, add 1tsp more of chilli butter and microwave for 1-2 mins.
5. Take it out and add rest of (last 1 tsp) chilli butter on top and cover with a plate to melt it. Serve on the side with any meat dishes or veg dishes.


That's it!! Crunchy Asparagus flavored with Parmesan, Panko, Italian herbs and chilli-garlic butter is now ready to devour!:D

*****************************************************************************************************************

Bhags from "Crazy Curry" has launched a new and interesting event for us to cook a dish from a novel you have read or movie you watched and named it "This book/(movie) makes me cook!". Sounds great. huh? Well....I had to get in there at the last minute because Bha as I call her is a great book lover like me. I chose to make a very humble "Dal-Roti" as the poorest people of Anand Nagar or "City of Joy" cook and enjoy in their everyday life! Yes, Dal-roti may not be not as glamorous as some dishes in other novels but it keeps their tummy full and fills the heart of all the poor but good hearted citizens of "the City of Joy" no matter what their daily struggles are. Hope the book enlightens you, makes you think how lucky you are compared to many slum dwellers' reality and these humble, comforting and delicious everyday dishes gladdens your heart too! :)

Sri reminded me of her "Roti Mela" event which going on in full swing right now. I am sending my Palak dal and roti to Srivalli from "Cooking 4 all seasons" blog for "Roti mela" as well. Enjoy Sri!:)

The City of Joy(Anand Nagar):
This book "The City of Joy" is written by Dominique Lapierre, who lived in Calcutta for sometimes to study, document and write this book, which is half fiction as well, based on his experiences there. Story has been made into a film with the same name with Patrick Swayze(Max Lowe), Pauline Collins(nun) and Om Puri(Hazari) as main characters.
I had read this book long time ago. Recently, I borrowed the movie from the library and watched it again. Do read if you haven't already or watch the movie. Story in brief goes like this:

Hazari Pal, a farmer from Bihar couldn't pay off his debts and moves his family to Anand Nagar, a slum in Culcutta (Kolkota) in the hope of making enough money to pay his debt and marrying his daughter but looses all his saved up money to a fraud who poses as a landlord as soon as they land in the city.
In desperation, he takes up a job of driving a hand driven Rikshaw, which is managed by a local "Dada", "Bhai" or "God father", underworld mafia style. During his work, he meets a Texan doctor who is visiting India to "find himself" who develops a friendship with him when Hazari rescues the robbed and beaten doctor who lying on the streets bleeding. Together, they meet a nun who introduces them to utter poverty and terrible conditions the slum dwellers live in, whom they try to help to improve with whatever little they have, running a free medical clinic.
When God father dies, his son takes over who determined to destroy the slums and uproot the people who live there, including shutting down the medical clinic run by the nun. As Hazari and the doctor sides with the nun, Hazari looses his only means of livelihood ie the Rickshaw and still doesn't give up hope as long as his family is with him to support and love!
The author writes in his book that inspite of all the trials and travails of the poorest of the poor in Anand Nagar, Calcutta, how they still manage to smile, enjoy simple pleasures of being with their loving family, help the neighbors with kindness in their time of need and enjoying the humble daily meal of warm Dal-Roti on the plate at the end of day spent doing hard physical labor as well as celebration of festivals with fragrant and delicious food served at these celebrations like dal, roti, Tandoori chicken and mint-coconut chutney with such joy which surpasses all the suppression, abuse of everyday and replaces it with faith, hope, love and dignity for life! :)

A humble plate of Hazari family's Palak Dal and Roti:
Palak dal literally means Spinach cooked with spicy lentil gravy and rotis are chapatis made of flour and baked on a griddle, a Indian flatbread similar to Tortilla, a nutritious and filling combo as common in North India as "meat and Potato" in US. Here is a step by step tutorial how to make rotis or Phulkas, the soft and puffed rotis. Enjoy the dal-roti!:)

Rotis/Chapatis:
You need: 1 1/2 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup Wheat flour, or 2 cups of wheat flour/atta, 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsp oil and about 1 cup or more warm water, just enough to make a soft and pliable dough. Do not add too much water at once when mixing, which makes the dough sticky.
To make Rotis/Chapatis:
1. Mix and knead all the above ingredients with enough water well to make a soft and pliable dough. Cover and rest for 15mins and divide the dough into 6 balls, roll each out to 6" circle.
2. Heat a iron or any griddle, bake each roti both sides and brush with little butter when done and keep warm until they are served.
Palak Dal:
You need:
1 cup Tuar dal, or Chana dal or Moong dal or Masoor dal (I used chana dal), 2 bunches of fresh spinach, chopped or 1 pack of frozen Spinach,thawed, about 2 cups water, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp oil.
To season: 2 tbsp oil or butter, 1/2 mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds, 1 onion, chopped, 2 garlic-1" ginger grated or ground to paste, 1 red chilly, 1/2 tsp chilli pd, 1 tsp Coriander seeds powder, 1/2 tsp Garam Masala, salt.
1 tsp lemon juice and cilantro for garnish.
To make dal:
1. Cook dal and Spinach with water and turmeric until soft. Mix well, add more water if it's too thick. I personally like my dal thickish to help scoop it up with soft rotis. Add enough salt.
2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, 1 dry red chilli and onion. When slightly reddish, add ginger and garlic paste, fry for 1 min and all the dry spice pds, stir for a minute.
3. Add cooked dal and spinach to the pan and simmer for 5 mins. Adjust the salt and spices.
Garnish with lemon juice and cilantro and serve with rotis and onion slices or mint chutney.

Have a joyful week. No matter how your day begins and ends, always count your blessings and keep smiling! :)

65 comments:

ranji said...

asparagus is my gav greens..they taste so great when roasted...hmm love the taste....ur combo looks great.would to try that...palak dal roti is also delcious!!!lovely entries asha:).

bhags said...

Nice book you have chosen, i had almost forgotten about it. Thanks for the entry.
The deadline has been relaxed though till this weekend as others want to participate. I was going to drop u a mail about this but before that got your mail...will be pasting an update about it in today's post

Cham said...

Wow yummy and easy way to make asparagus , love the palak dal roti 2 :) Have a great monday!

Asha said...

Ranji, for many years I never bought Asparagus to cook at home and once I tasted them in the restaurant, love them now!:)

Bha, now you tell me!!;D
I hurried with both recipes so I catch up with you since I loved the book and the Movie too. Glad I did though. Enjoy the great event, made me remember the lovely book! Already looking for books with recipes for next month!:)

Altoid said...

Heyy Asha :)

Never tried asparagus before, maybe NOW i will :). Dominique Lapierre- back in college I was hooked to his writings. You must read freedom at midnight. Its my favorite of his. Hope you are doing well

take care
-altoid

Divya Vikram said...

Love the asparagus this way..lovely entry..Love the dal and roti too..Simple yet too good..comfort food..

bee said...

my german friend klaus will call this "grungy asparagus". so will my mallu relatives. i'm convinced the two gene pools converge somewhere. by the way, isn't 1 tbsp 3 tsps?

Sagari said...

never tried cooking with asparagus at home ,love your recipe ,crumbs topping looks soo yummy

kamala said...

Never bought Asparagus Ashaji.Like to try this.Roti too is looking good

Asha said...

Hi Cham, hope you try this recipe. Bread crumbs gives it a great crunch!:)

Hi A, good to se you girl.I have ordered his other book too, is in the mail. I can't wait to read it!
Try Asparagus this way, it is very tasty and makes great side dish!:)

ms said...

ditto with altoid, love dominique lapierre's Freedom at midnight. Chilli garlic butter sounds wow! The version Ive seen involves chilli flakes. Thanks for a lovely post - I especially liked the synopsis of the movie.

Asha said...

You are right DV, nothing better than dal roti any day of the week!:)

HeHe! German and Mallu make a great combo, da bomb!!:D
Oops! Yes, 1 tbsp is 3 tsp, typo!:D Just making sure 1 tbsp of spicy butter we make is used 3 times, 1 tsp at a time at different times in this recipe. Thanks for pointing that out Bee,I was in a hurry this morning! :)

Asha said...

It's best eaten immediately Sagari, Panko is excellent, very crunchy!:)

Hope you try Kamala, something new to try, tastes wonderful too!:)

ms,I usually add some chilli flakes for simple Asparagus too, this time I wanted it to be VERY COLORFUL! :D
I Can't wait to read his other book!:))

Uma said...

Just had lunch and again hungry looking at your pictures, asha! What a wonderful display of dishes. I love everything, asparagus, palak dal nad roti!

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Hi Asha...
Those asparagus were looking so appetizing with the color of the chilli. I love the palak dal recipe, it was with simple ingredients and yet so healthy. Really wanted to try it out.

Suma Rajesh said...

i can imazine how the the taste would be ....am a garlic lover....its sooo mouthwatering also the palak dal roti...lovly entry

Kalai said...

Love that crunchy topping for the asparagus!! Looks delicious. Spinach is one of my favorites, too. The dal-roti combo looks wonderful as well! :)

Asha said...

Thanks Uma. Wait until dinner time to make them!:D

Hope you try Sukanya, dal and Spinach combo is always a comfort good!:)

Me too uma, love Garlic. I love to eat those small Indian garlic raw with rice and Sambhar! US garlic doesn't have that flavor but still good in cooked in dishes!:)

Meera said...

I too cooked Asparagus recently by making Bee's Patholi. Your book review is very good. & I just loved ur daal-roti.
Great entries for the events, as always!

DK said...

aaaah at last! I have made the Asparagus dish before..No not exactly like yours but similar.

You have killed so many events as usual! I still have few more to go..I hardly get any time asha! Oh well....should buck up and do it soon :)

Richa said...

loved the asp... dish, lovely! btw, what other dishes do u use the chili garlic butter, it's sooo yum ;)

TBC said...

Never had asparagus before.:)

I 've seen the movie a long time back. Good one.

Mansi Desai said...

I made asparagus salad too! just discovered how tasty it can be! nice one Asha:)

srivalli said...

Thanks for the mec entry asha..you are a dear!..it looks wonderful...and you can send me those rotis for roti mela too!..more the merry you know right!..:)

Shubha Ravikoti said...

Loved ur asparagus.... I always felt "can I try making them anytime syndrome.." when i saw it... Its look so tempting... I actually dunno how to start making asparagus... Ur recipes looks so delicious. I think I will take the step toward making asparagus... will keep asking u for tips and advice.... hope u will help me dear...:)

Can u tell me how they taste?? I mean does it have any distinct smell when it cooks??...

Maya said...

The Asparagus dish looks too good, and Palak Dal roti is a great combo. I will try n watch tht movie, since I haven't read the book..That will be faster I guess ;)..

Madhuram said...

Love the chilli garlic butter for the asparagus. The dal-roti is also very good. It's also one of our favorite comfort foods. Thanks for also giving a synopsis of the story, it was really interesting. I will rent it very soon.

Red Chillies said...

I have never cooked anything with asparagus myself. I have watched Rachael Ray cook it though.

You come up with such unique recipes all the time. Loved the palak daal roti.

sowmya said...

love dal roti and that too with palak is a delicious combination...

Purnima said...

Asha, never tried Asparagus! Is Japanese bread crumb any different frm normal ones? Those rotis n subji look great! Loved the excerpt of City Of Joy! Tks for the recipes! Hv a grand week! (u must b busy wt both kids n exams!)

Nags said...

asparagus is one thing i am yet to cook with. great to see u back after the break. thanks a ton for ur wishes :)

Sig said...

I love asparagus in any form, so quick and easy to prepare and tastes great too... Love the chili garlic butter idea ....

Swati Raman Garg said...

i love dal palak n roti... do check my lasooni dal palak version...

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I've been eating asparagus for weeks now, and I'm still not tired of it. Looks like I'll be trying this recipe next!

Asha said...

Thanks Kalai, hope you try. Panko is one crunchy breadcrumb!:D


Meera, that book makes you think how fortunate we are sitting in our secure homes and leading a relatively grand life! Enjoy the Asp and dal-roti!:)

dk, I understand! Don't feel guilty because there are SO MANY events now that it's just impossible to cook for everything! I try and squeeze in somehow since most hosts are all my friends!:D
Can't wait to see your Asp dish!:)

Asha said...

Richa, I use it on slices of baguette as garlic bread with Pasta, use it to mix with cooked Spaghetti too. It's very versatile, can use with grilled veggies too!:))

Try it once tbc, tastes great!:)
Loved Om Puri in that movie! He says "God Father has eyes everywhere like Pineapple!" Hahaha!

Manasi, I love Asp, didn't cook with it for many years,looking at the tips and stems until 2yrs ago!:D

Raaga said...

Nice - but asparagus is so expensive here!!

Asha said...

Sri, that's right! But it's very ordinary roti though, nothing special. But do take the URL and that photo if you want, I will edit and add your MEC link there too!:))

Shubha, I hope you do try atleast. It doesn't smell but it does have a different taste which I love. You cook or stir fry Asp very lightly, just for few mins. When you bite, it should have a crunch, great as side dish. Simple stir fry is best with just few spices. This recipe has little juice with it, best served right after cooking.
You can ask me anything anytime girl, will help if I know!:))

Maya, movie is also very well made,close to the book, do rent from library! Om Puri is fab in it!:))

Asha said...

Enjoy Madhu. Chilli garlic butter is very versatile, can use in many other dishes too!:))

RC, you MUST try this Asp. It's so yummy, doesn't take much time at all since Asps should be crunchy!:)

Thanks Sowmya, hope you try the Asp dish!:)

Asha said...

Purni, you bet! It's not just busy, very stressful too for me this week, managing both kids with their exams, all at the same time. Tushar just went to school, 7th grade exams today!
Yes, Panko is Japanese bread crumb, VERY VERY crunchy and it tastes great too topped on dishes. Try the Asp!:)

Hi Nags, so good to see you! New bride in a new home, it must be all new to you huh?! Glad you are back too, I am coping with everything somehow after a LONG break!:))

Asha said...

Sig, you are right! One veggie you can do within 5 mins anytime, even this dish is easy! I have seen fried Asps Paula Deen did on TV like long Pakoras with Tempura batter! :)

Hi Swati, I love the palak dal too, will check out your version. I am a garlic lover!:D

Susan, hope you try this recipe. Delicious and so crunchy.You can do this on stove top too instead of Microwave! Enjoy Asp all Spring!:)

easycrafts said...

Another creative one from you

Vanamala said...

Asparagus yet to try.hmmm this is nice recipe..will try it sometime when i am free :). Dal & Roti delicous comfort food.

Jyothsna said...

I'll try this the next time I pick asparagus. Like the chilli garlic butter....

Asha said...

Raaga, I am surprised that you even get these there in India! I have never even knew this veggie before I came here. Yeah, I can imagine the price, it's not an easy find!:)

Thanks EC, there are only few dishes you can do with these, this is my fave!:)

Asha said...

Mala, it takes few mins to make these, not much work in the MW, if you butter, garlic pd and chilli pd. Try it!:)

J, chilli butter is yummy just on toast too, add a thin layers of some cucumber and tomato slices!:

priya said...

I have never tried too Aspargus Asha. Will sure go with this.

Siri said...

the asparagus dish looks yum ashaji and nice and inspiring story..have to get a copy somehow..dal roti look yuumm..:D

Indeed we are blessed to live our lives like the way we want. May god bless all..:)

Siri

LG said...

Your posts leave me drooling..and hungry Ashakka. As usual u r fabulous! Will try asparagus, I always run away from it.. :D

Purnima said...

Pls chk my blog...todays post..take care..hugs to you, Asha.

Asha said...

Priya, hope you try. Most of the time, we hesitate to try the unfamiliar veggies which I did too!:)

Siri, it's truly makes you think how lucky we are to live like we do. That's why I don't like when people whine that traffic is long and my Microwave is not working! Compared to slum dwellers, we are in Heaven!

Asha said...

Lakshmi, I didn't use Asp for a long time too,love it now. Try once!:)

Will check ASAP Purnima!:))

Roopa said...

You know that last line you wrote is definitly a very inspiring thought:) I felt very good reading that:)
I have never tried asparagud, though I liked munching on them when they are served in restaurants, I am planning to include those too in my mission to add more veggies:) I have already included swiss chard and mustard leaves, water cress etc, now its asparagus's turn:)

ranji said...

HI an An award is waiting for u in my blog:)...enjoooy!!

Asha said...

Asps are very tasty, you must try. I think you can add to Kadhi too, make it very Indyan!:D
Be happy and content with what we have is the way to go!:)

Ranji, I will check out ASAP!:)

Vani said...

Hi Ash! I'm having trouble getting onto FH site, for some reason. The computer just hangs. Anyways, hope youa re doing well. Love Spinach dal & I make it in almost the same way as you. I rememebr reading the City of Joy years ago & not being able to finish coz it was so full of hardship & sadness! The asparagus looks yum! Hope kids are doing well. They must be on a summer break now, right?

Asha said...

Hi Vani, sorry FH is giving trouble, don't know why. It happens sometimes!:)
Kids went thru' many many exams this week, that's what I wrote about FH and made Naan, check later when traffic is slow. Trisha is done with High school a year early and will attend college and commute from home. School is off from June 12th until Aug 25th. LOONG time!:P
Yes, this book is very tough to read. Angela's Ashes is like this too, about Irish poverty and hardships.
How is M doing? She will be in Kindergarten before you know, they all grow up so fast!:D
Take care, hugs.

delhibelle said...

lovely combo chilli, garlic,butter: nothing can sound yummier!
Love it:)

Suma Rajesh said...

theres a surprise for u..plzz check my blog

Asha said...

It's true DB, very versatile butter!:))

Hi Suma, will check ASAP!:))

Pravs said...

Love Asparagus,just simply stir fried in butter and now with chilli- garlic- butter.. super ! Got to try this.

Asha said...

Asps are best stir fries in light spices, hope you try Pravs!:)

chemcookit said...

Asha,
thanks a lot for taking part to the event, and with such a wonderful post! I never thought about using microwave for steaming, that's a great idea!
I also loved your description and recipe from The City of Joy. I love Dominique Lapierre's book, and I have to read this.

Asha said...

Hi Marta, thank you, loved cooking these Asparagus.
City of Joy is shocking to a reader who is not familiar with Indian culture, wonderful to learn.Hope you do read it!:))

Anonymous said...

Amiable fill someone in on and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you for your information.