Into every life some Zucchini must fall

I am usually stumped when I go to a vegetable shop. My confidence and candour in meat shops and fish markets desert me here. This is a problem. Especially, since I try to have vegetarian lunches at office to balance out the meat in my life. Plus I am currently on a drive to improve the quality of the packed lunches that I get to work. So I headed to Lalu’s at Pali Market to buy stuff to make a ‘roasted vegetable and pasta dish’ suggested by Miri of Peppermill Recipes.

Bought the stuff she suggested. Then was stumped. What does one do with zucchini? Do you peel them? And baby corn? Do you chop them? Would the ‘Mummy Corn’ be fine with that? Banu, my often disappearing sous chef and maid, had come to work that day. She had no idea either. So she peeled the zucchinis! I put up the question on The Finely Chopped Facebook page.  In case you are wondering, ‘don’t peel’ is the verdict.

Here’s what we did, inspired as I said, by Miri’s suggestion. Here's her other blog, Peppermill.

Peeled and chopped one zucchini, a few cloves of garlic, half a chopped onion, chop a dozen odd baby corns, one tomato, 250 g button mushrooms, one colourful bell pepper and put all of this in a micro bowl. Added two tablespoon of olive oil and toss. Slip in a couple of slices of slim cheese. Add salt, crushed pepper, two teaspoons of Tabasco Sauce and a few cm’s of rosemary. Basil would work good. And some slit chillies. We had bird’s eye chillies. I added them.

We did this in the afternoon when Banu was there so that the chopping was taken care of. Some benefits of living in a ‘developing economy’. Don’t get J, she bunked the next day

Put the mix in the micro at night for about ten minutes in two rounds of five minutes. Finito. I love ‘press of the button’ cooking.

Here’s what we did with it:

• I had some with two slices of toast for breakfast
• K took a bowl as salad for work
• I tossed some in pasta boiled a la dente (firm) with olive oil and took to work

The verdict?

K loved it. As did her art partner H who eats salads for lunch everyday. Ips had some of my pasta version in pasta without heating. She seemed to like it quite a bit too.

What about me? I heated the pasta in the micro at work and ate it.

Well, let’s say that it was better than most of the other lunch options around me. As Forrest Gump would say “and that’s all I have to say about that”

By the way this is what Miri had suggested:

"Do you like roasted vegetables? If you do, then you could load a pan of chopped veggies (1" pieces of bell peppers, pumpkin,zucchini,tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, babycorn)into the oven the previous night and roast with one tbsp olive oil, herbs,salt and chilli flakes for 25 minutes. Remove and mix into some boiled pasta. Season according to taste (tabasco sauce/grated parmesan/crushed pepper/balsamic vinegar)and pack for lunch the next day! "

Here's the riveting discussion on what to do with Zucchini from the Finely Chopped Facebook page.

Me: bought zuchhini as recommended by a reader. What on earth do u do with them? Peel or not peel? Babycorn? Chop? Not chop? Banu and i are flummoxed. Went to poultry for therapySunday at 13:00 · Comment ·LikeUnlike · View feedback (14)Hide feedback (14) · Flag

Veera Bhacka Zuchhini can be had like corn, just boil and eat!

Sunday at 13:03 · · Finely Chopped toss in olive oil and micro roast was the suggestion for office lunch. How do you eat cucumbers?

Sunday at 13:39 · Veera Bhacka I usually eat cucumbers peeled, raw with salt and red chilli powder on thema, unless they are in a corn just boil

Sunday at 13:41 · ·  Regina George Zaleski Try this..cook 250 gms of penne pasta for about 7 mins..I prefer it al dente, then heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan, add thinly sliced zucchini, cook over a gentle heat until soft, add two tbsp of chopped mixed herbs, 1 tsp of chilli flakes freshly ground pepper and grated cheese, ( i use Parmesan), stir the zuchini into the penne and simple as that!..lemme know how it goes!..i cook Zuchhini almost three times a week and have loads of recipes..gimme a shout if you need more :)

Sunday at 13:48 · ·  Veera Bhacka I am trying to create my own Finely Chopped inspired pasta....garlic, turkey bacon, mushroom, corn, olives, capers, herbs, sauted in olive oil with a dash of Nando's hot to add the sauce, pasta and some other stuff....pray for me!!!!!:)

Sunday at 14:25 · ·  Jyotika Purwar where do you get turkey bacon and nando's peri peri in Mumbai?

Sunday at 19:33 · · Sunayana Sarkar I love zucchini... great for grilling. And I have been making baked zucchini fritters coated in breadcrumbs with italian spices and herbs (if you fry, it's even better). Sautee with pasta too... it was a more robust taste than cucumber... don't peel (at least we don't need to here... we don't peel cucumber either... not so bitter as in India)... ...

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and gets a smoky taste when grilled or sauteed. Try for inspirations. I am not fond of zucchini bread... but it's quite popular in the southern states in US.

Sunday at 19:36 · ·  Arjun Roychowdhury zuchhini is best eaten grilled. I love zuchini with steamed and pan fried brussel sprouts with a bit of parmesan cheese topping

Sunday at 22:12 · ·  Finely Chopped @Regina...thanks for writing in. I've made something similar today. Will post it once I eat it tomorrow and approve of it :) Do you peel the skin of the zuchini. I prefer pasta to be a la dente too

@Vee, may the force be with you

@Sunayana: all this is for my office lunch. Fritter sounds tasty but sauteed with pasta more practical

@Arjun...will try that

Sunday at 23:50 · Jyotika Purwar Dont peel the zucchini... all the nutrients are in the peel... slice them cut them in quarters.. EVOO, garlic, chili flakes, salt and pepper ... Simple and delcious.. with a simple pasta or a white sauce topped with fresh basil... i know you have already cooked it.. but just throwing some future suggestions... you could flavor the oil by frying ...

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some bacon bits in it to add some crispy texture (pasta is soft so is zuch once cooked) and of course then your house smells like BACON!

where do you guys get turkey bacon in mumbai?

Sunday at 23:55 · ·  Regina George Zaleski Hehehe it has taken me 4 months to muster up the courage to actually say something!..i stumbled upon your blog by sheer chance and im so glad I did!..with regards to Zucchini, dont peel it as most of the nutrients are in the let me know how your lunch fares tomm :)

Yesterday at 01:48 · · Finely Chopped @Regina: 4 months!!! Do I sound that intimidating. I am not a bad guy to know. When I am not hungry at least :)

@Jyotika, Regina... most restaurants serve zucchini unpeeled. Neither my maid, nor I, knew what to do. Won't strip the zuchhini next time

@Jyotika: I know that you get Turkey Ham and Chicken bacon. Don't know if you get Turkey Bacon. Try Nature's basket, Hyper City or Sante (Bandra)


Mumbai Diva said…
i know. i get stumped too when i go to a veggie shop. i go to this particular shop at pali which is shared by a guy who sells the regular stuff and this lady who sells your more fancy stuff broccoli et al. she always seems to know what i should buy. loads of suggestions. i find her very amusing.
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Mumbai Diva... I know whom you are speaking off. Enterprising and cheerful lady. Used to go to her for years. Shifted my 'business' recently as her colleague's a sour puss
Anonymous said…
liked it is ajn understatement!
Loved the read... Pasta with grilled veggies and some sauce is yummy!
Sonia said…
You could stir fry/roast zucchinis and use in pasta or tacos etc. You could also cut into cubes, boil and mash and add yogurt, salt, sugar and tempering of jeera, hing, mirchi and make a nice raita out of it :)
Miri said…
Aww - so glad that worked for you!! And yes, zucchini need not be peeled - tastes beautiful when roasted (do you have a convection oven?) but can be microwaved too like you did.

Thanks for the links - and give me a shout if you need anything to do with veggies :)

BTW, next time you are in Gurgaon, we must try to meet up. I work in Gurgaon and live in Delhi

Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Ips: Well the broken fork did sort of tell me that. Always a pleasure

@Sommo... and the best part was the 'sauce' was natural... mushroom stock which came out while grilling

@Sonia: Encouraged by my experiments with chicken pate...I am quite excited to try out what you suggested too

@Miri: No just grill and regular. Something tells me that I'd be doing more Delhi trips soon :)

Gosh Zuchhini is really popular huh?
What a detailed writing report on food.
Great recipe.
Pasta is fast becoming my favorite food too.
Thx for sharing this one
Sharmila said…
I love oven roasted veggies in my pasta but stay away from the zucchini ... releases too much water and makes everything mushy. :-)
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Sharmila, this was my first experience with Z. Used mushrooms too which give out water. I saw it as stock and was fine with it.
AMIT said…
You know much things on food.Nice writing.

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S said…
Hello...this is a gush-y comment. inspired by your post, i made something similar, with zucchini, babycorn, bell peppers, mushrooms, olives, basil, garlic and sprinkling of cheese...popped it into the microwave for a bit, and tossed it with some fussili...made for an AWESOME lunch salad...thankee for the wonderful idea!
S said…
oh...and there was brocolli too :)
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Hey thanks S :) Glad it worked out. I have bought the all the stuff for a repeat. banu didn't come since then and we've been eating out. Hate chopping and cleaning
Christy Gerald said…
Wow! Just luved ur blogging.