Fun Food / Salads

Steamed veggies with caramelised garlic

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A few years ago, when I had just started reporting (once upon a time, I was a ‘working’ journalist!), I had an interview with the owner of a five-star hotel. I used to travel by bus back then and it took me more than an hour to reach this hotel, which is in the outskirts of Chennai. I was famished by the time the interview was over.

I usually carry home-cooked food and don’t eat out when at work. But I’d forgotten my lunch box at home that day, so, when the guy suggested we have lunch at the hotel, I readily agreed. I don’t particularly like dining in a formal atmosphere because I like to load my plate (literally LOAD it up) with a little of everything.

But here, it would look a little odd, so I decided to take a ‘regular’ serving of dishes I’d never tried before. One such thing I had that day was steamed vegetables. I quite love beans, but I’ve never enjoyed the vegetable as much as I did that day. Giving company to the tender green sticks were carrots, green peppers, peas, sweet corn and spring onions.

It was so simple and the dish played quite a medley of flavours on my tongue – you could distinctly tell the flavour of all the veggies plus some garlic and lemon juice. The next time I ate a very similar dish was last year at an Indian-continental fusion restaurant close to my place. The version here also had broccoli, coloured bell peppers and zucchini and a splash of wine and was totally wow.

After that, I’ve tried making the same many times at home with mixed results. At times, the garlic was too strong, while at other times it was too lemony. Today though, it turned out close to ‘slurpilicious’ as one of my friends describes her favourite chocolate pizza (although there’s no ‘slurp’ factor either in the pizza or steamed vegetables! But sometimes, you’ve just got to use a word for its ‘ring’.

PS: Listed below steamed veggies is the recipe for rasam made with water in which beet has been cooked

Steamed veggies with caramelised garlic


(Yields 3-4 cups)

Beans – ½ cup (chopped into 1-inch long pieces)

Carrots – ½ cups (cut into roundels)

Coloured capsicum – ½ cup (diced)

Cauliflower – ½ cup (cut into florets)

Broccoli – ½ cup (cut into florets)

Zucchini – ½ cup (diced)

Peas – ¼ cup

Sweet corn – ¼ or ½ cup (steamed)

Potatoes – ¼ cup (boiled and diced, optional)

Garlic – 2 cloves (minced)

Lemon juice/vinegar – 2 tsp

Olive oil – a splash (optional)


(PS: I did not have broccoli, zucchini and sweet corn today. You can add whatever other vegetable you want to. The idea is to make it as colourful as possible.)


Steam all vegetables together except potatoes, peas and capsicum

Steam it all in a steamer or place all vegetables in a broad bowl. Pour half an inch of water into a pressure cooker. Place the bowl inside, close lid and place weight. Switch it off when the cooker is about to let out the first whistle. If you keep it any longer, the vegetables will become mushy

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan. Add garlic and let them turn brown but not burn (this is called caramelised garlic)

Add coloured bell peppers immediately and keep tossing on high heat for 30 seconds

Reduce to medium heat and add salt and other steamed vegetables, boiled and diced potatoes and peas

Toss well for a minute or so

Take off heat. Add lemon juice/vinegar and a splash of oil just before serving

PS: For those of you wondering about my sudden transformation in today’s post from ‘mami preparing rasam and curry’ to ‘she who wants to show off her caramelised garlic and bell peppers’, it is just that I use foreign names when I’m preparing stuff that’s interesting and not everyday food!

Rasam with beetroot water

I learnt this rasam from my mother-in-law. It tastes quite mild and fresh


(Serves 2)

Water in which beet has been cooked – 1 cup

Tamarind paste – 2 tsp (or pulp extracted from half of a lemon-sized ball of fresh tamarind)

Tomatoes – 2 (medium)

Rasam powder/sambhar powder – 1 tsp

Chopped coriander – 1 tbsp



Boil tamarind paste/extract with a cup of water and chopped tomatoes till it reduces to half the quantity (8-10 mins)

Add rasam powder and beetroot water and reduce heat to medium

Boil till rasam heats up and starts to rise and form a cap (Another 5-8) minutes

Take off flame. Add salt and chopped coriander and serve

PS: There’s another spicy version of beet rasam. Here’s the link for that one:

2 thoughts on “Steamed veggies with caramelised garlic

  1. For those of you wondering about my sudden transformation in today’s post from ‘mami preparing rasam and curry’ to ‘she who wants to show off her caramelised garlic and bell peppers’…..

    At this point, I thought you were going to say, “remember I practice yoga these days (which is a very Western thing to do) 🙂

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