(and how I hack it)

The dislike I have for vegetables runs in my blood.

Both my brothers and myself always opt for (read demand) a meat option if presented with a vegetarian food. Lucky for us, our spouses are not that hardcore and sometimes vegetarian dishes DO land on our dining tables.

Our veggie-abhorring stories are found hilarious by some people. My elder brother specially has some unique habits. For example

He can’t stand onions in his omelette.

While having noodles, there’s a halo of vegetables along the sides of his plate.

Say ‘bhindi’ in front of him and see the reaction.

His famous dialogue once uttered to us was, “I’m the eldest, I don't like bhind, what's your excuse”…me and my little brother were like… WHAT!!

Needless to say okra is a mutually disliked vegetable, including courgette, bitter gourd, pumpkin etc etc. (a long list)

At restaurants, veggies are ALWAYS left untouched, whether they come with steaks, burgers or pasta. Even the salad has the lowest priority. According to my younger brother “paisay bhee do aur sabziaan bhee khao..no way”

After moving to UK, we attended an Indian ceremony where the entire menu was vegetarian. Looking at it was like getting a question paper at exam and not knowing answer to a single question.

There's no concept in our dictionary as vegetarian pizza.

BUT

After experimenting and getting thumbs up from my husband by introducing veggies in usually an all-meat food, I have come up with my versions of meat-plus-veggie dishes.

Here are a few

While making mince, I add veggies, like carrots, capsicum, peas, french beans, corns, mushrooms whatever is available, just before finishing up. Then I top it up with green coriander, green chillies and lemon juice. The veggies actually add taste to it. I call it “barkati qeema”, as it almost doubles the size after adding veggies. Means one less cook for me.

I often make a base ‘meat sauce’ by adding minced onion, ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, salt and a bit of water in the meat (mutton is best for this recipe). Then water and cook till its tender. I put any vegetable (courgettes, bottle gourd, potatoes, cauliflower, spinach, fenugreek) and cook till everything combines. Add oil, give it a good stir.

Usually I make this meat sauce in large quantity, divide it in sections and freeze. Later it can be defrosted and used with different veggie.

While making red masoor daal, I add french beans (called Sam ki phali back at home) when dal is half cooked. They give daal an interesting flavour and beautiful texture. I also use french beans in place of peas while making peas pulao.

French beans, stir fried in oil with salt and a bit of chilli powder makes a great side for chicken roast, fish or rice.

Button Mushrooms, simply sauteed in oil and adding a bit of salt and mixed herbs and a dash of soy sauce also serve as a perfect side.

Hope you like these hacks!…will add some more later.

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