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Andhra Stuffed Gherkins (Paraval)

2 cups gherkins (dondakaaya)
3 tbsp ghee
turmeric powder
salt to taste
tsp asofoetida
1 tsp red chili powder

For the Stuffing:
1 tsp ghee
1 tbsp cumin, roasted and powdered

Wash and cut gherkins (dondakaaya), putting a crisscross along half the length. Mix the stuffing and put it into the dondakaaya. Heat ghee in a big wok and place stuffed dondakaaya in it, frying on medium low flame and occasionally turning gently. Cover the pan and cook till done. Remove the cover and fry for one more minute to remove moisture, if any. Add red chili powder and asofoetida and stir well. Offer hot.

Nepali Cheese-Stuffed Cabbage

1 head fresh cabbage
Salt to taste

For the Filling:
1-1/2 pounds Paneer, crushed
1 cup cooked rice
2 teaspoons dill weed, minced
1 teaspoon ginger paste
3 fresh red chilies, minced
teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon asofoetida
1 teaspoon flour
1 tablespoon buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter

For the Sauce:
in. ginger
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 cup yogurt
1 cup rich vegetable stock
1 tsp asofoetida
2 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon chili powder
teaspoon jwanu (lovage seeds)
Cilantro, chopped for garnish

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except cabbage. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour. In the meantime, core the head of cabbage, steam with salted water till soft. Separate into leaves, and place in ice-cold water. Remove the thick veins if necessary. Spread a cabbage leaf on cutting board, place two tablespoons of filling, fold sides, and roll up. Hold the loose end of the leaf with small bamboo sticks or toothpicks. Repeat with other leaves. Rub butter generously on the stuffed rolls and stack in a steamer. Steam till the stuffing is cooked through, about 8-10 min. Transfer the steamed rolls to a large plate.

For Sauce: Ina little ghee fry the mustard seeds till they splutter, then add the ginger and chili powder and fry for a minute over low heat. Add tomatoes, broth, jwanu and salt and pepper. Simmer the tomato mixture until the sauce thickens up, about 15 min. Transfer the stuffed cabbage rolls to the sauce and heat through, frequently turning, about 10 min. Garnish with cilantro and offer.

Stuffed Cucumber

18 pieces (2'' long) of cucumber (khira)
4 tbsps ghee

For the Filling:
1/2 cup coriander leaves, chopped
1/2 cup coconut, grated
1/2 cup moong dal, cooked crushed
1/2 tbsp green chilli-ginger paste
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp asafoetide
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon dry mango powder (aamchur)
1 teaspoon sugar

Khira is a long, ridged, pale green north Indian variety of cucumber available in summer. Cut pieces and make one slit lengthwise in each piece for stuffing. Mix all ingredients for filling and stuff in the cucumbers. Fry the cucumber pieces in a little hot ghee. Cover and cook on medium heat till cucumber is cooked but tender and crisp, not over cooked. Offer hot.

Stuffed Karelas

8 small karelas
1 large-sized tomato
1 tbsp aniseed
2 tbsp coriander seeds
4-5 tbsp ghee
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp asofoetida
1 tsp chilli powder

Scrape the karelas and make slits. Apply salt liberally in the slits and outside. Leave for 5-6 hrs. Knead them well till they are soft and the bitter salt water is released. Wash with fresh water 2-3 times and squeeze dry. Heat ghee in a kadai, add a few karelas at a time and fry them at low temp till brown. Dry roast aniseed and coriander in a hot kadai and grind. Fry all the spices in ghee. Cool the mixture. Fill the karelas with the masala. Tie with thread to prevent the filling from coming out. Fry few pieces at a time at low temp. Do not add water. Add little amchur or lemon juice, if desired. Remove the thread before serving.