These days it’s wonderful to see that herbs and spices are being recognised for their medicinal value. Ginger root, the superstar turmeric, fennel, coriander and cumin and so many other spices and herbs have been incorporated in Indian cooking from many hundreds of generations. When spices and herbs are cooked in an appetising manner they enhance the flavours of chutneys, dals and vegetables. When these ingredients are relished and eaten, the bio availability of nutrients in the dish increases and the body is better able to assimilate the healing and nourishing attributes of these spices. The use of spices and herbs provided immunity, strength and the requisite flavours in the dishes for our ancestors to remain healthy in the tropical climate prone to bacterias and viruses. The benefits of spices and herbs can be obtained in the best possible manner by incorporating them into our food rather than swallowing them in the form of a capsule.
I have been cooking so many of my favourite recipes using a multitude of fresh herbs and spices throughout the lockdown. In these pandemic times, the task of fetching fresh fruits and vegetables and sanitising them with salt water, washing them with plain water thereafter and then storing them after they have dried has given me a chance to engage more closely with the produce that I cook with and the food we eat. Truth be told, I have always cleaned (or got cleaned) my vegetables and fruits this way even in the pre pandemic era. The added responsibility here is that of washing my hands multiple times through this process after touching the bags etc.
But the sight of fresh clean vegetables on my kitchen counter and in my refrigerator also gives me immense happiness and ideas for cooking great meals, so all the procedures of procuring and preparing the produce for consumption seems worthwhile.
Baby corn masala is a dish I prepared on a sunday afternoon for lunch along with some ghee rice and a whole moong dal called dal mashqalian, a rich and vibrant dish reminscent of the mughal era served in the Dum Pukht restaurant of ITC Maratha in Mumbai.
This baby corn masala is filled with aromatic spices and herbs that have tremendous healing properties. And that is why this dish is soul satisfying apart from being so nourishing. The chunky baby corn pieces are a perfect foil to the mouthwatering gravy.
Baby Corn Nutrition
Baby corn is a very easy vegetable to store and hardly requires any prep work as there is no peeling or a great deal of chopping involved. Besides its loaded with fiber, is a good source of folate and has a fair amount of B and C vitamins and some amount of calcium, zinc and iron.
Try this delicious dish for a family get together, a weekend meal or anytime your heart craves a good Indian curry! This dish will surely make its way to your heart through your stomach and give you all the comfort you crave. 🙂
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Baby Corn Masala Recipe
400 gm (3 cups) baby corn
For the masala:
4 to 5 tomatoes
100 gm (1 cup) grated coconut
½’ tsp black peppercorns
1” piece cinnamon
2 cardamom pods, shelled
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2” piece fresh ginger root
1 green chili (optional)
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder or to taste
125 ml (½ cup) water
For the seasoning:
2 to 3 tbsp oil
½ tsp asafetida
fresh coriander (optional)
kasuri methi (optional)
2 tsp salt or to taste
Trim the ends of the baby corn and cut them into halves. Boil the baby corn in water or steam them in a steamer or instant pot.
Remove the centre eye of the tomatoes with the help of a knife, place them in a saucepan or a small pot, cover with water and boil the tomatoes till done, about 10 to 12 minutes. After the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin of the tomatoes and place them in the blender along with the rest of the ingredients for the masala and grind to a fine paste.
In a pot or pan large enough to hold the masala and the baby corn, add the oil. Once the oil is hot enough and before it starts to smoke, put in the asafetida powder. Stir for a few seconds and add in the ground masala. Cook on a medium flame until the gravy comes to a boil. Put in the kasuri methi if using, lower the heat and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the raw aromas of the spices are cooked through.
Once the masala is nicely cooked, add in the babycorn and mix nicely. Sprinkle in the salt and adjust the consistency of the gravy with water according to your liking.Cook for 4 to 5 minutes more until the baby corn absorbs the flavours of the spices.
Turn off the heat, garnish with the optional coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or breads of your choice.
Serves 4 to 6