Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Squash Curry

This unique and delicious curry is based on a recipe I read in Raghavan Iyer's cook book. My cousin who is an ophthalmic dr always advises us to include orange/red squash/pumpkin (laal bhopla) in our diet as it is very good for the eyes. So I try to make a squash or red bhopla dish once a week. But it is hard to get my daughter to eat subjis containing cubed pieces of this veggie - she picks them out and eats the rest! I do make squash puris (gharges) and a squash sauce for pastas, both of which she loves. So when I came across this recipe, it opened up a new way for me to sneak in this healthy veggie in our diet.

To make the squash curry - if using cubed pieces, boil them with 1/2 cup of water for 15 mins until very soft. If using the frozen cooked squash, you just need to thaw it to room temperature.

To make the masala for the curry - dry roast 2 tbsp coriander seeds, 2 tsp udad dal, 1/4 tsp methi seeds and 1 or 2 dry red chillies per taste. Roast at low heat till aromatic. Take off heat, cool. Grind this along with the cooked or thawed squash.

To proceed - Heat 1 tsp oil and make the tempering by adding mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering add cumin seeds, asafotida, turmeric pwd and curry leaves. Add veggies of choice. I usually use colored bell peppers, onions and potatoes. Saute well for 5 mins. Add the squash curry. Season with salt to taste. Add 1 tsp jaggesry and 1 tsp tamarind paste. Stir in upto 1 cup of water, cover and cook on medium heat till veggies are cooked. Adjust seasonings and water per desired consistency.

Garnish with chopped cilantro. Excellent with rotis. The first time I made this and set it out on the table, my daughter stopped right in her tracks as she was passing by and remarked "This looks very interesting!". And proceeded to lap it up, eating it with twice the rotis she usually has. What more can I ask for!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Okra - Potato Stir Fry

The idea of mixing okra and potato came to me from a Raghavan Iyer cookbook, but I decided to make it dry. This was the first time I made it and the one lesson I learnt is that this subji should be made in great quantities if you want to get any share of it, which says a lot about its taste.

Here's how I made it:

Tender okra - caps cut off and halved lenght-wise
Red potata - cut into fngers
Tempering - oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafotida, chopped curry leaves, turmeric pwd
Other seasonings - salt, cumin pwd, coriander pwd, red chilli pwd, amchoor pwd
some more oil to shallow fry
chopped cilantro for garnish

Take some oil in a wide shallow wok, fry the okra for 15 mins on medium heat, stirring now & then. Drain the okra and fry the potatoes in the same oil. You can add a little more oil if required for frying. Drain the potatoes. At this stage, both the okra and potatoes should be well cooked but firm.

Make the tempering by heating the oil, then adding the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add the other ingredients. Saute few seconds.

Then add the fried okra and potatoes. Add the seasonings to taste. Mix gently and let it heat thru.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

This Okra-Potato Stir Fry goes well with rotis and rice.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Penne in Ricotta Sauce

I got this recipe while browsing thru a bookstore. I was looking for a way to use up some left over ricotta cheese and this recipe fit the bill perfectly.

Here's how I made it:

1 cup whole wheat penne pasta cooked per package directions & drained (reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water)

For the sauce - Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until fragrant, abt 5 mins. Add roughly chopped spinach and chopped sun dried tomatoes. Cook till spinach wilts. Take off heat, add the ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash seasoning (or any other per choice) and about 1/4 cup of the water in which the pasta was cooked. Stir well to make a sauce like consistency. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Pour the ricotta sauce over the pasta. Serve warm with some garlic bread.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tofu Omelette

This recipe idea is courtesy of a lovely lady I bumped into the other day at Trader Joes. We just got talking and she gave me some wonderful tofu recipe ideas. I did not waste any time in trying this out.

Here's how I made the tofu omelette:

1/2 block soft tofu
1/2 cup semolina/rawa
Seasoning to taste - salt, red chilli pwd/green chilli paste
Veggies to add - onions, bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, cilantro - all finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients, add abt 1/2 cup water to make a batter. Pour 1 ladleful on a hot pan and drizzle a few drops of oil. Roast until golden brown, flip and roast similarly on the other side.

Serve with ketchup or chutney.

The batter

Omelette being roasted

Omelette being roasted

Friday, September 30, 2011

Eggless Applesauce Cake

This recipe is adapted from Rachel Ray's Better Food For Kids. I was surprised to find an eggless cake recipe in it and tried it out immediately. My daughter and all her friends love it and ask me to make it again and again. I've made it as a loaf, muffins and a cake and it works well every time.

Here's how I make it:

1 cup flour
1 tsp all spice mix
1 tsp baking pwd
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown or white sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter - softened
3/4 cup applesauce
handful of walnuts - chopped

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking pwd and all spice together
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric blender or manually until well combined. Add the apple sauce.
Add the flour mix to the applesauce mix in installments, stirring gently each time until well mixed.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured cake pan or muffin pan or loaf pan.
Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for about 45 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool to room temperature before removing.

This Eggless Applesauce Cake goes to the Apple event at Ramya's Recipe.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple - Cucumber Koshimbir

This is a simple and interesting combination for me. I tasted it at a cousin's place last month where she added yogurt and made it like a raita. I made it in the style of 'khamang kakdi", using a combination of mild cool cucumbers and tart green apples.

Here how I made it -

1 red or green apple - grated
1 cup grated cucumber
handful of crushed peanuts
Tempering - 1 tsp ghee, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, red or green chiles per taste
salt per taste
cilantro to garnish

Make the tempering by heating the ghee and sauteing the cumin seeds and chiles for 1 min. Mix all the other ingredients and pour the tempering over it. Garnish with cilantro.

Enjoy cool Apple-Cucumber koshimbir with rotis and subji.

This Apple - Cucumber Koshimbir goes to the A for Apple event at Ramya's Kitchen.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Potato-Spinach-Cottage Cheese Parathas

These parathas are adapted from Saffron Hut. While we all love the stuffed paratha, my daughter is not particularly fond of potato stuffed parathas, or potato anything for that matter, which is totally surprising and beyond me. Anyway, in order to get her to eat these, I adapted the recipe by including the potato in the spinach-cheese dough.

Here's how I make these parathas:

1 cup whole wheat flour (I use Pilsbury brand)
1 cup spinach leaves - roughly chopped
1/2 cup frozen shredded hash browns - thawed for 2 mins in the microwave
1/2 cup cottage cheese
Seasonings to taste - salt, sugar, cumin pwd, coriander pwd, red chilli pwd, chat masala.

Run the spinach leaves and cottage cheese thru a blender for a few minutes to get a smooth paste. Then mix it with all the other ingredients to form a dough. Add a little water only if needed. Let this dough rest for atleast 1/2 hr. Then roll into parathas. Roast on an iron griddle with a few drops of oil, until brown spots develop on both sides.

Serve with yogurt/ketchup/pickles.

These Potato-Spinach-Cottage Cheese Parathas go to the Dish it Out event at Mharo Rajasthan Recipes. This event was started by Vardhini.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Almond Cookies

These delightful cookies are very similar to the Walnut Cookies I posted some time back. I used the same proportions, except I sedd additional 2 tbsp butter and 3 tbsp brown sugar instead of white. The cookie dough was a little dryer/crumblier than before. But I could easily pat it into my baking pan.

The Almond cookies came out wonderfully crisp and delicious....not too sweet, with the dusted sugar adding a touch of extra sweetness.

These Almond Cookies go to the Almond Dessert Event at Anuz Healthy Kitchen. This event was started by Raven.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Avocado Chutney

I have adapted this recipe from Raghavan Iyer's 660 Curries. I loved the fusion of Indian and Mexican flavors in this chutney.

Here's how I make it:

2 avocados - chopped
1/4 red or sweet onion - finely chopped
1 tomato - finely chopped
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp salt
1 green chile - deseeded and deribbed for lesser heat - chopped
1/2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
few curry leaves - finely chopped

Mix the avocados, onions, tomatoes, tamarind and salt in a bowl.

Heat the oil in a small pan, add the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add the chiles and curry leaves. Take off heat and add to the avocado mix.

Mash lightly with a fork.

Serve this Avocado Chutney as part of an Indian meal or as a filling for wraps or alongside veggie quesadillas or any other way you can think of. Today we made a totally fusion meal out of this - I had some leftover rotis and cabbage-peas subji. I made "quesadillas" with these and we had the Avocado Chutney along with them.

This Avocado Chutney goes to Srivalli's Condiment Mela.

This Avocado Chutney also goes to the Life is Green event at Yummilicious Food.

Lasun Tikhat (Dry Garlic Chutney)

Lasun Tikhat is a great accompaniment to the everyday poli-bhaji (roti-subji) or varan-bhaat (dal-rice) as it adds a kick to any ordinary meal. You can also use it innovatively like atop butterred toast, in wraps, in vada-pav etc.This dry garlic chutney can be stored in an airtight container for 2 weeks at room temperature or even longer if you keep it in the fridge.

The dry garlic chutney, also called gun powder, available in stores is too spicy for our taste, this version suits our everyday needs better as it has a good balance of heat, salt and tang and a lot of flavor.

Here's how I make it:

1/2 cup dry shredded coconut
5 big cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli pwd
betel-nut size ball of tamarind (seeds and husk removed)

Roast the dry shredded coconut in a pan on medium low heat until lightly browned. Cool completely. Add all the other ingredients and grind in a dry grinder or coffee grinder.

Store in an airtight container.

This will make about 1 cup of Lasun Tikhat.

This Lasun Tikhat goes to Srivalli's Condiment Mela.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fruit Tart

This is an incredibly easy dessert with a wow factor. I adapted it from Show Me The Curry. Here's how I made it:

1 roll of ready-made frozen pie crust
2 - 3 cups choice of fruits - I have used bananas, mangos and strawberries, all sliced thinly
For the glaze - 2 tbsp orange juice, 2 tbsp water, 1 tsp corn starch, 2 tbsp sugar, pinch of salt, pinch of orange zest

To make the crust - Thaw the pie crust roll per package instructions. Divide into 4 parts. Gently roll each part with palms to form balls. Roll each ball into a circle abt 5 inches in diameter, use some flour to dust while rolling. Bake the circles at 400F for 20 mins turning once in between. Cool before assembly.

To make the glaze - combine all the ingredients in a small pan and heat gently, whisking continuously till it comes to a gentle boil. Take off heat, cool before assembly.

To assemble the Fruit Tart - lay the fruit on the baked crusts, brush with the prepared orange glaze. Chill for 2 hours. Then cut into wedges and serve.

This Fruit tart goes to the Celebrate Sweets event at Raks Kitchen.
This event was started by Nivedita.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tofu & Veggies Fried Rice

This has recently become one of my daughter's favorite dishes. Here's how I make it:

1 cup white rice - I use short grain variety for this and cook with abt 2 cups water in the pressure cooker for 1 whistle, then let it cool in the cooker itself.
2 tsp veg. oil
1 green chile & 1 dried red chile
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/2 cup firm tofu - crumbled
pinch of turmeric pwd
Veggies I usually use are - onions, green bell peppers, carrots, green beans (all finely chopped), cabbage (shredded) and broccoli florets
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
Salt and sugar to taste
Chopped green onions for garnish

Heat the oil in a wok, fry chiles & garlic for 2 mins. Fry onions till slightly softened. Add the crumbled tofu and fry on high heat till all its water evaporates and tofu starts browning. Then lower heat, add all the other veggies, turmeric pwd and saute 5 mins till the veggies cook slightly but still retain their crunch. Then add the soy sauce, vinegar, cooked rice, salt and sugar. Mix well and take off heat. Garnish with chopped green onions.

This is a good way to get picky kids/adults to eat veggies and tofu.

This Tofu & Veggies Fried Rice goes to the Rice Recipes event at My Culinary Creations.

Rava Ladoos

Made Rava Ladoos as offering for Krishna Janmashtami. The recipe is from Show Me The Curry. Here's how I made them:

1 cup medium rava
1/4 stick unsalted butter (4 tbsp)
3/4 cup dry shredded coconut
1 cup sugar
2.5 oz evaporated or regular milk
Handful of toasted broken cashew pieces
Pinch of cardamon pwd and saffron strands

In a thick bottom pan, melt the butter and roast the rava in it on medium low heat for 15 - 20 mins or until aromatic.

Add the shredded dry coconut & sugar. Mix well and continue roasting for 5 mins.

Add the cardamon pwd., saffron strands and cashews. Mix well.

Add the milk, take off heat and mix till well incorporated.

After 2 mins., start moulding the laddos. Grease palms frequently with some ghee while shaping into balls.

This makes 20-25 small lemon size ladoos.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade

I had saved this recipe from my newspaper...but we have been having such a mild summer here in the Seattle area that I didn't get a chance to make this. Finally we saw some 80+ degree F days, so promptly made it. Here's how I put it together:
Pureed strawberries to make a cup of puree. I did not feel the need to strain this, but you can if you wish. Add 2 - 4 tsp sugar, depending on sweetness of strawberries and sweetness desired. Divide this concentrate among 4 cups. Add 2 tbsp lemon juice to each cup. Top with chilled sparkling water.

Enjoy cooling strawberry lemonade!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Squash Thalipeeth

Thalipeeth is a popular Maharashtrian b'fast/snack item. I recently started adding frozen cooked squash to make it healthier. Here's how I make it:

2 cups ready-made Bhajani Flour (see note)
1 cup frozen cooked squash (thawed)
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
chopped cilantro
1.5 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp red chilli pwd or to taste

Mix all the above ingredients. Add water, a little at a time, to form a dough. Consistency of the dough should be a little looser than regular roti dough.

To prepare the thalipeeth, take a ball of dough the size of a large lemon. Flatten it on a plastic sheet with your fingers to get a round shape. Poke a few holes in the flattenned dough.

Roast on a pan/tava on medium heat with a few drops of oil until golden brown on both sides.

Serve warm with homemade butter/yogurt/pickle/chutney.

Note - I bought my Bhajani Flour in Mumbai. It is a mixture of jowar, bajra, wheat, udad, chana and mung flours with some coriander-cumin pwd. You can simply mix any/all of these flours in desired proportion if you do not have ready-made Bhajani flour.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Penne Pasta in Squash Sauce

This is adapted from a Rachel Ray cookbook. I absolutely love the sauce, its so unique and healthy and tasty. You can use any kind of pumpkin or squash puree, I have used the frozen cooked squash from the grocery store.

Here's how I made it:

Saute some chopped shallots in olive oil on medium heat for 3-5 mins. Add minced garlic and saute another 2 mins. Add 1/2 cup vegetable stock, 1/2 cup thawed cooked squash and a dash of milk. Simmer for 5 mins to thicken the sauce. Season with salt, pepper, pinch of nutmeg, Mrs. Dash Original Seasoning Blend (or any other seasonings per your choice) and a dash of hot sauce. You can also add some cheese per your choice - today I added a little goat cheese I had on hand. Stir well till cheese melts. Keep on low heat.

In the meanwhile, cook penne pasta per package directions to make about 1 cup of cooked pasta. Drain, reserving some water to thin the sauce if needed. Add the hot pasta to the sauce.

Top with chopped basil and oregano (I used dried).

Enjoy warm with some garlic bread.

This Penne Pasta in Squash Sauce goes to the following events:

PPN # 229 at Ruth's Once Upon A Feast

Fusion Food Pasta at Ramya's Recipe

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tender Methi - Mung Dal Salad

This recipe is from Tarla Dalal's magazine. Since it called for tender methi, I planted a handful of methi seeds in a plastic tray on my patio and in about 8 days, harvested the tender saplings which were just enough for this refreshing salad.

Here's how I made the salad -

1/3 cup mung dal - soaked in water for 1/2 hour and cooked in boiled, salted water for 10-12 mins. till cooked but still firm.
Handful of tender methi shoots - leaves and stalks
1 small Persian cucumber
1 green chilli pepper - chopped
Salt, sugar to taste
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Just mix all the ingredients together and enjoy this salad at room temperature.

The tender, fresh methi had only the mildest of bitter tinge, which was perfectly set-off by the mung dal and cool cucumbers.

This was the first time I made this salad, next time I may try adding chopped onions and tomatoes also.

This Tender Methi - Mung Dal Salad goes to the Fenugreek Event at What's Cooking.
This event was started by PJ of Seduce Your Tastebuds.

Also contributing my all time favorite Methi Subji - Methi with Gram Flour (Methi chi Peeth Perleli Bhaji) to the above event.

I'm sending this Tender Methi and the salad I made with it to the Fresh From ur Garden event at Taste Buds.

Bread Pizza

Bread Pizza is an easy snack/light meal for kids and adults alike. Here's how I make it:

Toast bread slices till crisp. I usually use whole grain bread and toast in my pop-up toaster.
Cool and smear with a tbsp of ready-made pizza sauce. Yesterday I used Trader Joe's pizza sauce. Most store bought sauces are a little bland for our taste, so I add a pinch of salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash original seasoning blend.
Toppings - try to keep them as colorful as possible. Yesterday I used onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, green and red bell peppers, frozen corn, spinach leaves and shredded carrots. I like to chop the veggies fine since they do not get cooked much.
Lastly sprinkle the cheese. I think fresh mozarella tastes the best on pizza, but any other kind will also work. Like yesterday, I did not have fresh mozarella on hand, so I used a shredded cheese blend.
You can either microwave the bread pizza for 30 secs per picture above or cook it covered on the stove top on medium low heat with a little butter till cheese melts.

Serve immediately.
I find that the stove top method result in a crisper crust than the MW method, in any case, neither results in soggy crusts.
These Bread Pizza slices go to the Kids Delight - Colorful Fruits/Veggies event at Give Me Some Spice. This event was started by Srivalli.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Adorable Rotis

These are made with beets & tofu, which gives them a pink hue. My daughter nicknamed them "Adorable" rotis. The idea came from a friend - the moment she mentioned the this combination & the pink colored rotis, I wanted to try them myself.

Here's how I make them:

1 heaped cup wheat flour
4 small beets drained from a can of beets
1/2 block tofu
Seasonings to taste - salt, cumin pwd, coriander pwd, red chilli pwd, amchur pwd, ginger-garlic paste

The canned beets are cooked and very soft. I just mashed them up by hand and combied with the rest of the ingredients to form a dough. No additional water is needed. Let the dough rest for 1/2 hour. Then roll out into rotis and roast as usual. Smear with some ghee and serve hot.

Goes well with yogurt/pickles/curries.

Also good as a lunch-box item.

These Adorable Beet-Tofu Rotis go to the Pink Food event at Torview.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Strawberry Muffins

This delightful recipe came about from a combination of recipes I had seen online and my basic recipe for eggless cake.

1 cup APF
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking pwd
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
3 oz milk
1 cup strawberry flavor yogurt
few chopped strawberries

Mix all the dry ingredients from APF to salt in a mixing bowl. Add the melted butter, milk and strawberry flavor yogurt. Fold the mixture gently. Add the chopped strawberries.

Fill the mix into muffin pans filed with paper cups. Bake in a pre heated oven at 350F for abt 30-40 mins until tops are lightly browned.

Cool completely before serving.

This yields me 12 mini muffins and 4 regular size ones.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mung Beans Dumplings

I found this unusual & interesting recipe in my current month Kalnirnay calendar. I was looking for ways to use up a batch of sprouted mung beans and decided to give it a try.

Here's how I made these dumplings:

For the mung bean filling -

1/2 cup sprouted, boiled mung beans
1 inch piece of ginger
big handful of cilantro
1 green chilli pepper (increase for more heat, deseed & derib for less heat)
Seasonings to taste - salt, coriander pwd, cumin pwd, pinch of turmeric pwd, little jaggery
1 tsp oil

To make the filling, grind the ginger, cilantro and chilli pepper with 1 tbsp water.
Heat the oil, fry the ground mix for 2 mins, add the mung beans. Add a little water, cover and cook 10 mins. Then add the seasonings, mix well, cook some more till the water is absorbed.
Mash part of the mung beans mix with the back of a spoon.
Allow to cool.

To make the dumplings -

Heat 1 cup water along with pinch of cumin seeds, salt to taste and 1/2 tsp oil. When it boils, add 3/4 cup rice flour. Stir quickly to mix well. Cover and let steam on medium low heat for 10 mins, stirring occassionally. Take off heat and cool to room temperature. Wet hands and knead well for 5 - 7 mins.

Cooked Rice flour mix and mung beans stuffing
 To proceed -

Take a lemon sized ball of the rice flour mix. Flatten on a wet plastic ziplock bag. Fill 1 - 2 tsp of the mung beans mix. Shape the dumplings as desired. As you can see in the picture below, I made a few "modak" shaped and "karanji" shaped ones.

Ready to be steamed
Steam for 10 -15 mins. in pressure cooker, without the whistle.

Steamed dumplings

These Mung Bean Dumplings go to the MLLA 34 event being hosted by Desi Soccer Mom.
MLLA is the brainchild of Susan, The Well Seasoned Cook.

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