Sunday, August 18, 2013

Shevai Kheer

This is a quick dessert that can be cooked up in a hurry when unexpected company arrives. Here's how I make Shevai Kheer:

2 tbsp. ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 cup assorted chopped unsalted nuts (cashew/almonds/pistachio)
few raisins
1/2 cup shevai (vermicelli)
1/2 cup condensed sweetened milk
1 cup milk
big pinch of cardamom pwd
few strands of saffron

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan on gentle heat. Fry the nuts for 5 mins. Add the raisins and vermicelli. Fry till vermicelli gets golden brown, about 5 mins. Add the milk and sweetened condensed milk. Increase heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, till vermicelli is cooked. Add the cardamom pwd and saffron. Take off heat.

Serve warm or cold. This kheer (pudding) will thicken as it sits. Add more milk and reheat if too thick.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Soy Nuggets Bhaji

Soy Nuggets are a good vegan alternative to paneer and my daughter loves them just as much as she loves paneer. I usually buy the Nutela brand soy nuggets from the Indian store.

Here's how I make Soy Nuggets Bhaji/Subji/Curry:

2 tsp oil
Tempering ingredients - 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of hing (asafetida), 1/2 tsp turmeric pwd
2 handful of soy nuggets
1 to 2 cups other chopped veggies - I have used onions, potatoes, green beans, carrots and tomatoes
Salt to taste
Other seasonings to taste - 1 tsp coriander pwd, 1 tsp cumin pwd, 2 tsp goda masala, 1/2 tsp red chilli pwd, 1 tbsp. gul (jiggery)

Drop the soy nuggets in boiling salted water. Cover and take off heat. Let soak for 5 mins. They will soften and almost double in size. Drain the water (you can use this later in the bhaji). Squeeze the soy nuggets to release some of the soaked up water. Cut the nuggets into smaller pieces.

Heat oil in the pressure pan. Drop in the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add the other tempering ingredients and sauté 2 mins. Add the chopped onions, fry 5 mins. Add the potatoes, fry another 5 mins. Add the beans and carrots, fry a few more mins. Add the tomatoes, soy nuggets, salt and other seasonings. Add about 2 cups water, including that in which the nuggets were soaked. Give it all a good stir and increase heat to high. Close the pressure pan and cook for 2 whistles. After the pressure cools down, your bhaji is ready to serve. Garnish with some chopped cilantro.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Sprouts Chaat

This is a healthier version of regular bhel, a popular Indian street food. A friend had made it a few months back for a dance practice for our kids. It was appreciated by young and old alike. Her version had chana, I decided to add other sprouts too. So here's how I made this Sprouts Chaat, no specific quantities here, just a handful of this & that:

Sprouted mung, Sprouted matki
Boiled black chana
Canned chickpeas - drained and rinsed
Other veggies - boiled potatoes, onions and tomatoes - all chopped
Chutneys - Mint Chutney and Dates/Tamarind Chutney (home made or store bought)
Roasted kurmure (puffed rice)
Puris or crushed chips (I have used crushed tortilla chips)
Chopped cilantro
Pinch of chaat masala

Prep the basic mix by combining the sprouts, chana, chickpeas, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and the chutneys. Mix lightly, check and adjust chutneys.
Just before serving, add the roasted kurmure, shev, crushed puris/chips, cilantro and chaat masala. Again mix lightly and serve.

This was our dinner last night.

I had some leftover mix of sprouts and veggies, which I used in today's chaat salad for lunch.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Vegetable Khichadi

Khichadi is a rice and mung dal preparation, a great comfort food, quick and nutritious. I have previously posted Mung Daal Khichadi. Recently I have started added veggies to it - onions, potatoes, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, peas, tomatoes etc are all good choices.

The basic procedure is similar to the one I posted earlier. After making the tempering, add the onions, potatoes, carrots, green beans and cauliflower or any of these that you are using. Fry for 5 minutes before adding the soaked rice and mung dal. Add water and seasonings, bring to a quick boil. Cover and cook on medium heat. I add veggies like tomatoes and frozen peas after about 10 mins as these cook quickly. Continuing cooking for a total of about 20 mins. till rice, daal and all the veggies are well cooked.

Serve hot as a one-pot meal or with accompaniments like simple kadhi/papad etc.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Zucchini Thepla

Thepla is a flatbread made with wheat flour, gram flour, spices and some combination of veggies like fenugreek (methi) leaves, grated bottle gourd, zuchhini etc. My aunt always gives me a bunch of theplas when I leave Mumbai for US. They make excellent travel food as they stay good for 2 - 3 days and taste good eaten as is.
Yesterday I made theplas with grated green and yellow zucchini. Here's how I made them:
1 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup gram flour
About 1/2 cup grated zucchini
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cumin pwd
1 tsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd
1/4 tsp amchur pwd
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tbsp. crushed kasuri methi
1 tsp cumin seeds
pinch of hing
3 tbsp. yogurt
3 tbsp. oil
Take all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl.
Mix well and knead into a smooth pliable dough. Use only a few tbsp. of water to knead. The dough should be slightly firmer than roti/poli dough, but softer than puri dough. Cover the dough with a wet towel and keep for 15 mins.
Then divide into 7 balls. Roll each into a round shape.
Roast on a skillet until brown spots form on both sides. I have roasted 2 without oil, rest with oil. This made 7 theplas for me.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pasta with Avocado Sauce

This is a very quick recipe, ready in 10 minutes flat and great for all avocado lovers like me. Here's how I make it:

2 handfuls of pasta of your choice (1 handful per person) - Cook per package instructions.

As the pasta is cooking, cut open 1 avocado & scoop out the flesh. Put in a blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste and 2 tbsp. lemon juice. Add some chopped sun dried tomatoes and 2 tbsp. prepared pesto, both these are optional, but I like to add them. Pulse or blend till desired smoothness is achieved. Check and adjust seasonings.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving few tbsp. of the cooking water. Immediately add the avocado sauce to the hot pasta. If required, add the reserved water.

Serve warm with some garlic bread on the side.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Oats and Rava Upma

Upma is a breakfast favorite, usually made with rava (semolina/sooji). For the past year or so, I have started adding quick cooking rolled oats to my upma to increase its nutritive value.

Here's how I make Oats and Rava Upma:

2 tbsp oil
1 cup roasted rava
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
Tempering - 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of hing, few curry leaves, 2 green chillies - chopped, 2 dry red chillies - broken, 1 tsp udad dal, 1 tsp chana dal, 1 tsp ginger paste, handful of peanuts
Veggies and beans - In the above picture I have used about 1/2 a chopped onion and about 1 cup frozen shelled edamame beans. Other veggies I add at times are - tomatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, potatoes and green bell pepper.
2 tsp salt or to taste
2 tsp sugar or to taste
1/4 tsp red chilli pwd or to taste
Garnishings - shredded fresh coconut, chopped cilantro, lemon wedges

Heat the oil in a kadai/wok. Add the mustard seeds, when they stop spluttering, add the rest of the tempering ingredients one by one. Roast on medium heat for 2-3 mins. Add the chopped onions and a pinch of salt. Fry till softened. Add the edamame beans and three cups of water. Add the salt, sugar and red chilli pwd. Give it all a good stir. Bring to a quick boil. Then reduce heat to medium or medium low and slowly add the roasted rava and oats, stirring constantly to prevent lumping. The rava will quick absorb the water. Cover and cook on medium low heat for 5 to 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Check and adjust seasonings if needed. Let stand for 2-3 mins before serving.

Serve hot, garnished with fresh shredded coconut, chopped cilantro and wedge of lime. Some people also top it with shev.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bhendi Masala

I have adapted this recipe from Makes for a good dry side dish for rotis and rice.

Here's how I made this:

Okra/bhendi/bhindi - slit lengthwise - about 2 cups
handful cashew nuts
3 tbsp oil
Masala - 1 tsp sesame seeds, 1 tsp coriander pwd, 1 tsp cumin pwd, 2 tsp goda masala, 1/2 tsp turmeric pwd, 1/2 tsp red chilli pwd, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp amchur pwd, 2 tbsp shredded coconut, handful of chopped cilantro (adjust any of the masala ingredients per taste)

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large wok and fry the slit bhendi on medium low heat, stirring often. In 10-15 mins, the bhendi will be cooked. Drain and fry the cashew nuts in the same wok. Drain. Add the remaining oil and toast the sesame seeds for a minute on medium low heat. Add the rest of the masala ingredients. Give it a stir, add the cooked bhendi and the cashew nuts. Stir to coat the bhendi with the masala, heat uncovered until heated thru.

That's it. Serve warm with roti/phulka or varan-bhat.

Friday, August 2, 2013

One Pot Pasta

A friend had posted this recipe for One Pot Pasta on FB. It instantly caught my eye, what a brilliant idea to cook the pasta in the sauce itself and save oneself the additional step usually required.

Here's how I made it:

6 to 8 oz pasta of your choice (I have used spaghetti)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup julienned sweet onion
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup veggies of your choice (I have used frozen peas and carrots)
2 cups vegetable broth
Seasonings - salt, pepper, pinch of sugar, red pepper flakes, dried oregano and dried basil
 Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pot. Saute the onions for 5 mins till softened, add the garlic and saute another 2 mins. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, other veggies, broth and the uncooked pasta. Give it all a good stir. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 10 mins till the pasta is cooked, stirring in between. Add seasonings as desired. At this point, the sauce may be little runny. That's okay. See picture below.

Cover and leave for 5 mins. The pasta will absorb the excess sauce and become all the more yummier for it. 

Serve warm, topped with parmesan cheese and some garlic bread on the side.

I have served this pasta with simple garlic bread made by toasting up some sliced French bread and spreading with a mix of butter, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and dried parsley.
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