Friday, August 31, 2007

Bisi Bele Bhath

Bisi bele bath (BBB) is a hot favorite of mine and I can't think of anything more nutritious, well balanced, easy to make and delicious. This is another dish with so many variations that it's quite hard to keep track but there's one version that I tried a few years ago and have stuck by it for most part. This recipe is from the master cook Hemant Trivedi who promises that this will be one unforgettable BBB. I have made some slight modifications to add a personal touch and cater to our culinary preferences ... so here it is...

BISI BELE BHATH


Ingredients

Rice - 1 cup
Thuvar (Toor) Dhal - 1/2 cup
Potato - 1 small, diced
Green Beans - ~ 15, cut into 1 inch pieces
Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Lima Beans - 1/2 cup (optional)
Carrot - 1, big or 2 medium, cut into 1 inch pieces
Shallots - 10 or 15 OR Onion - 1 big, diced
Green Bell Pepper (capsicum) - 1 medium, diced
Tamarind - lemon sized (soaked and juice extracted)
Salt, to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Ghee - to taste

For the Masala:

Cinnamon stick - 1 inch piece
Clove - 1-2
Dried Red chillies - 10
Asafoetida - a couple pinches
Sambar powder - 3 tsp
Biryani Pulao Masala - 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp
Coconut - 1/4 cup, grated
Ghee - 1 tsp

Method:

1. Pressure cook Rice and Toor dhal with some Salt until soft.

2. Microwave the vegetables (potatoes, carrots, peas, lima beans and green beans) with some salt and about 1/4 cup water for about 7 minutes, or until almost tender.

3. For the Masala powder: in a small sauté pan heat 1 tsp of ghee and add the clove, cinnamon, asafoetida, red chillies and fry for a few seconds. When the red chillies start browning a bit, add the sambar powder and biryani pulao masala with the grated coconut and fry that for a couple minutes more. Cool and powder this in a mixie.

4. Heat 1 tsp of oil in the same sauté pan and fry the onions and capsicum with a pinch of salt till done.

5. Now, the grand mixing - Combine the cooked rice and dhal mixture, the vegetables, fried onion-capsicum, spice powder, tamarind extract and salt (if required) and let this rest for about 30 minutes to an hour.

6. Add water to this mixture until it reaches a semi-solid consistency and pressure cook it for 1 whistle. Add some ghee to taste (optional) and serve with vadaams and cool yogurt.
I would like to send this as my entry for RCI-Karnataka which is hosted by lovely Asha:)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pan-roasted Cauliflower

This Cauliflower fry is made crispy by adding some flours and I wanted to try making this since it doesn't involve any deep-frying. My mom made this a few times while she was visiting us but as luck would have it, I was not supposed to eat it then since I was on a special 'post-partum diet' in which cauliflower was a no-no. All I got was one small floret - to taste and that only increased my yearning because it was really good.

PAN-ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

Ingredients:

Cauliflower - half of a big one, separated into florets
Besan - 1/4 cup
Rice Flour - 3 tbsp
Cornflour - 1 tbsp
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 to 2 tbsp

Method:

1. In a microwave safe bowl, put the cauliflower florets, some salt, turmeric, a few tbsp of water, cover and cook for about 5 minutes (or until par-boiled)

2. Carefully remove the florets (without the water) and toss with the besan, rice flour, cornflour, chilli powder and salt. Let rest for about 20 to 30 mins.

3. Heat the oil in a wide skillet on medium, add the cauliflower pieces, toss gently (I find that a silicone spatula works best) until the cauliflower is coated with oil, as evenly as possible. Let cook, uncovered, until roasted and crispy, tossing gently every once in a while.

p.s. You could add some breadcrumbs if you wish to increase the crispiness but I haven't tried that so far.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Theeyal

My warm wishes on Onam to everyone. Our malayali neighbour back home used to serve us Onam Sadya every year and I loved all the dishes, especially the chakka pradhaman - thanks Usha aunty.

Well, in view of Onam being celebrated today, I would like to post a recipe from Kerala - Theeyal. I simply love theeyal... always have. Shobana periamma makes a really good version of it and would always make it when I visited Trivandrum during my summer holidays... This is her recipe though my mother-in-law's version is also similar. This can be made with quite a few vegetables but I make it with black channa. It tastes great with rice or even Puttu.
Those who like vathal kuzhambu will love this too.

THEEYAL (with Black Channa)

Ingredients:

Black channa - 1 cup, soaked overnight and pressure cooked till soft with salt.
Coconut - 1/2 cup shredded (Dessicated / Fresh)
Jeera - 1 tsp
Red Chillies - 6 to 7
Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
Curry leaves - few
Shallots (small onion) - 5 or a third of a big onion.
Garlic - 4 to 5 small cloves
Black Peppercorns - 10 to 15
Tamarind - lemon sized (soaked in warm water)
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt, to taste

For Seasoning:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Methi seeds - a few
Red Chilli - 1
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry leaves - few

Method:
1. Heat 1 tsp of oil and saute dried red chillies, coriander seeds, onion, garlic, pepper and curry leaves till browned. Remove and allow to cool. In the same pan, roast the coconut till it turns almost blackish brown (with dessicated this step will be done quicker). Cool this as well and grind with the remaining roasted ingredients, with sufficient water to a fine paste.

2. Extract tamarind juice from the soaked pulp. Add salt, the paste above, cooked black channa and sufficient water to the tamarind juice and allow this to boil well until it thickens to the desired consistency

3. Finally season this by heating a tsp of oil, add mustard, urad dhal, methi seeds, curry leaves, hing and red chilli broken in half and add this to the theeyal once the mustard seeds crackle. Tasty theeyal is now ready.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ulundhu Saadham (Urad Dhal Rice)

This dish has some unique flavours - there is, of course the urad dhal (ulundhu in tamil) which lends a slight creaminess to the rice, then there is the cumin flavour that you bite into, a slight bitterness from the methi , a hint of garlic and the slight sweetness of the coconut paired by jaggery bits with a subtle saltiness in the background. I know it sounds like too many things going on at once but it's very good. I've had this a couple of times at my home and also at my grandmother's place. This also makes for an ideal post-partum food, by the way.
My husband is also a big fan of this dish and I infact got this recipe from my mother-in-law...

ULUNDHU SAADHAM

Ingredients:
Rice - 1 cup
Ulundhu (White, split Urad dhal) - 1/4 cup
Methi seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Garlic - 2 cloves, peeled and sliced.
Grated coconut - 1 tbsp
Gingelly Oil (Nallennai ) - 1 tsp
Salt, to taste

To serve:
Gingelly Oil or Ghee
Crushed jaggery
Coconut Thovayal or
Gotsu

Method:
1. Dry roast ulundhu in a pan for a few minutes. Don't let it brown. Add this to rice. Also add about 3 cups water (or whatever proportion you normally use to cook rice + a little more for the ulundhu) and salt.

2. Heat the tsp of oil and fry cumin seeds, methi seeds and garlic. Don't let the garlic brown too much. Add this to the rice mixture along with the tbsp of coconut and cook till done.

3. Serve hot, drizzled with some gingelly oil or ghee. My husband loves to sprinkle crushed jaggery on top and I like it with coconut thovayal. Gotsu also makes a good accompaniment.

I would like to send this as an entry for JFI-Rice hosted by Sharmi and originally thought of by Indira.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bell-pepper Besan Curry

This is a quick, tasty curry with Bell peppers (Capsicum) and Besan (kadalai maavu). I normally serve this with Chapathis.

BELL PEPPER - BESAN CURRY

Ingredients:

Bell Peppers - 2, big
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Tomato - 1, small, finely chopped
Ginger - 1/2 inch, chopped
Garlic - 3 to 4 cloves, chopped
Green chillies - 3, chopped
Besan - 3 to 4 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt, to taste
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 to 3 tsp

Method:

1. Heat oil in a wide skillet and add cumin seeds, after a few seconds, add the chopped onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies. Sauté this until the onions soften and brown a bit.

2. Add the bell peppers, salt and continue frying for a few minutes longer before adding tomatoes, chilli powder and coriander powder.

3. Let this fry until the masala is well cooked. Now slowly add the besan and keep stirring. I normally spray some oil at this point and keep frying on a medium flame so it doesn't get too sticky.... and we are done!


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ammini Kozhukattai

I have fond memories of my paati making a variety of kozhukattais - some would have an assortment of shapes, some with fillings, others just seasoned. We would help her shape them and wait eagerly while they got cooked. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I came across this recipe, years back, because it seemed to describe exactly the kozhukattai that I love. It was such a simple recipe too so I tried making it... it was very good and it has remained a favorite at home since then.

AMMINI KOZHUKATTAI

Ingredients:
Raw Rice (Pacharisi) - 1 cup
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad Dhal - 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Grated Coconut - 1 tbsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Gingelly Oil (Nalennai) - 2 tbsp
Curry Leaves - few
Salt, to taste

Method:
1. Soak Rice for atleast 30 minutes. Drain and grind to a smooth paste adding required water. Add salt to taste and ensure that the batter is a bit watery.

2. Heat about 1.5 tbsp of the oil in a pan on medium heat (i used a non-stick pan). Pour the batter and keep stirring continuously until it becomes thick. This only takes a few minutes.


3. When it is dry enough, remove from the stove and let cool slightly before lightly kneading it.




4. Grease your palms lightly and make small, smooth balls (abt 1 cm in diameter). Put these in a greased idli pan and steam for 10 minutes (just like you would an idli). They will get a nice sheen once cooked.



5. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan, season with mustard seeds, urad dhal, asafoetida, curry leaves. Add the chilli powder and immediately add the kozhukattai. Fry this for a few minutes, add grated coconut and switch off the stove. Yummy kozhukattais are now ready to be eaten up as a tea-time snack.



I would like to send this as an entry for JFI-Rice hosted by Sharmi and originally thought of by Indira.

For other kozhukattais made usually for Vinayaka Chathurthi, check the recipes for - Sweet Coconut Pooranam & Ulundhu Pooranam Kozhukattais.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rava Dosai

Rava dosais were hardly my favorite when we visited restaurants, as a kid... though I distinctly remember my father ordering them quite often. I warmed up to it when I tasted Onion Rava Masal Dosai at the Komalas in Singapore but because of the variety you get there, I didn't order again. At first, I tried my hand at making these using the ready-mixes one gets at stores because my husband is a big fan but all that I managed to whip up were some soft ones which hardly held their shape together and were a nightmare to scrape of the dosakal. Arun sadly munched on those while wistfully telling me about the wonderful rava dosais that his mom made.

There is a silver lining to this dark, gloomy, cloud - we tasted crispy, perfect rava-dosais at my friend Raji's place and after helping her make them, my confidence grew. Armed with her recipe and proportions, I tried at home and this time they turned out really good - success at last. Since then I've stuck to this recipe pretty much.

RAVA DOSAI

Ingredients:
Rava - 1 cup (add about 1/4 cup more if very fine)
Rice flour - 1/2 cup
All purpose flour (Maida) - 1/2 cup
Buttermilk - 1/2 cup
Water - 6 cups or so (check the consistency)
Salt - to taste
Oil - to drizzle and cook

Seasonings: (Add the ones that suit your taste, I add them all)
Ginger - 1/2 inch, finely chopped
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Green chillies - 2 to 3, finely chopped
Curry Leaves - few, chopped
Coriander leaves - few, chopped
Jeera (cumin seeds) - 1/2 tsp
Pepper, powdered - a couple pinches or to taste.

Method:
1. Mix the flours with the water, buttermilk and salt. Add the seasonings as required. It will be pretty watery but that's fine. Let this mixture rest for about 30 mins to an hour, atleast.

2. Heat the dosakal (pan), rub lightly with some oil. Everytime before pouring the dosas, mix the batter because it tends to settle, then scoop from the top.

3. Pour onto the hot pan (it will be lacey with several holes). Drizzle some oil and leave it undisturbed until the edges turn brown. Actually it will easily come off the stove when it is cooked well and has browned, if it doesn't come out then let it rest a few seconds more before attempting again. Flip over and let the other side cook (done faster than the first side).


4. They take more time to cook in comparison to normal dosas but it is worth the wait - I think. Crispy rava dosais are ready to serve with Tomato Thokku or Coconut Chutney or even sambar.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Tomato Thokku

Revathi aunty makes a lipsmacking, tangy, tomatoey, spicy thokku. So, when we visited her place for lunch after our wedding (years back) I made sure I got the recipe from her. With luscious tomatoes in the market at good prices, it was difficult to resist the temptation to make this thokku...



TOMATO THOKKU

Ingredients

Tomatoes - 750 gms, cut into big chunks
Onions - 2, cut into big chunks
Garlic - 6 cloves
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Tamarind - gooseberry sized
Chilli powder - 1.5 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek powder - 1/4 tsp
Sesame Oil (Gingelly or Nallennai)- 1 tbsp

For Seasoning:

Sesame Oil (Gingelly or Nallenai) - 3 tbsps
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Dried Red Chillies - 4, broken in half

Directions:


1. Heat the 1 tbsp of Sesame Oil, and add onions, garlic, ginger and saute till golden brown. Add the tamarind and tomatoes with salt, turmeric and chilli powder and fry till the tomatoes get mushy. Allow this to cool.

2. Blend this in a mixie to a paste.

3. Heat the 3 tbsp of oil in the same pan and season with mustard seeds, asafoetida powder and dried red chillies. Add the ground paste and stir for a few minutes. Once it starts boiling, make sure that you cover it with a lid or atleast use it as a shield because this mixture can splatter and it's definitely unpleasant to have boiling tomato goo on your arm!

4. I normally cover it and keep it on a medium flame for 5 minutes before stirring it. I do this until the mixture turns thick and becomes a darker shade of red. After this, it's quite safe to operate without a lid. When it has thickened sufficiently, add the fenugreek powder, stir well and remove from the stove. Thokku is now ready and is a perfect accompaniment to idlis and dosais and even upmas.

TIP: When Tomatoes are not in season, you can use a can of tomato paste which is added to the fried onion-garlic-ginger-tamarind paste.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cooking from Other Blogs # 2

Here are some recipes that I recreated at home with inspiration from the super-duper bloggers around. Though there are tons that I want to make, there are only some that I actually got to .... but all in time :)

1) I made Nupur's Undhiyu and Sia's Rajma Masala (sans Mushroom) to go alongwith Chapathis for our dinner - we really enjoyed both dishes. For the Undhiyu, I used frozen Undhiyu vegetables with the masala in Nupur's recipe.



2) Indira's Sprout Stew - more details here

3) Suganya's Vegetarian Dumplings, but with my recipe for Tofu Scramble as filling instead of the one in her recipe because my husband is not a big fan of uncooked Tofu.



4) Raaga's Masala Buns which turned out really good, especially the next day after re-heating it. I changed the filling a bit to include more vegetables instead of potatoes as the main ingredient, added home-grown chives in the buns and also reduced the yeast in the bun recipe to 1 pkt of Active Dry Yeast (2.25 tsp).

Chopped Home-Grown Chives


Masala Buns out of the oven...



5) Asha's Broccoli Cheese Soup sorry no pictures here but we liked it and my husband said it was close to the one he has at the 'Corner Bakery'

6) Vineela's Vangi Baath - which is a hot favorite at home and I'm really pleased because Arun is not an eggplant fan normally except for a few dishes.. - again sorry no pictures.

Thank you all for such wonderful recipes.

I've been given a Schmooze Award by TBC and it was such a pleasant surprise. Thank you TBC. I'm not sure though if I fully deserve it but it sure did bring a smile on my face that stuck pretty much throughout the day. I try my best to be a 'schmoozer' though I am yet to get really good at it :)

The Power of Schmooze Award is for bloggers who "effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don't limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship."

I see quite a few in the blogging community have been honoured already... I'd like to pass on this award to:

Richa of As Dear as Salt
Tee of Bhaatukli
Bhags of Crazy Curry and
Cinnamon of Cinnamon Trail
Sharmi of Neivedyam - Am sorry I missed you the first time, I incorrectly thought that you already got this award until I checked now!

Thank you everyone for making blogging so enjoyable, informative and for being so encouraging and inspirational.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Jana Gana Mana ...

Happy Independence Day everyone.

I came across this vocal rendition of our National Anthem on the Airtel website after watching the video of an instrumental renditon on Sun TV - which was simply soul stirring.

I couldn't find the instrumental rendition (which is only available as a DVD) but here's the voice of famous singers...

UPDATE: I found it - thanks to Pooja



Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vegetable Biryani

My close friend Suman's mom and chithi visited us in Singapore around her graduation time and they cooked up a feast for us everyday - I fondly remember this Vegetable Biryani and the Gobi Manchurian that her chithi made. We hunted for mint on Serangoon Road since she said that it was essential for this Biryani and gives it an unforgettable flavour. This is the Biryani recipe that I make often though I have come across so many version of this much-loved dish.

VEGETABLE BIRYANI



Ingredients:
Basmati Rice - 1 cup (soak for 20 minutes)
Mixed Vegetables - 2 cups, cut into cubes (carrots, beans, peas, cauliflower)
Coconut Milk - 1/2 cup
Tomato - 1, chopped
Soy Chunks - 15, soaked in boiling water for 10 mins & chopped (optional)
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds (jeera) - 1 tbsp
Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Bay leaf - 1
Salt, to taste

Grind (For Paste 1) :
Onion - 1, cut into chunks
Garlic - 4 to 5 cloves
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Green Chillies - 7
MTR Pulao Masala - 1.5 tsp (or grind your masala with cinnamons, cloves, elaichi, poppy seeds and saunf)

Grind (For Paste 2):
Mint - 1/4 cup leaves (loosely packed)
Coriander - 1/4 cup leaves (loosely packed)

Directions:

1. Drain the soaked rice. Heat a tbsp of oil in a wide pan, add 1/2 tbsp of cumin seeds and the bay leaf, add the drained rice and sauté until the rice turns a bit glossy and has a good fragrance. Keep aside.

2. In the pressure cooker, add 1 tbsp of oil + 1 tbsp of ghee, add the remaining 1/2 tbsp of jeera and the Ground Onion Paste (paste 1). Fry this for 5 to 6 minutes.

3. Next add the Mint-Coriander paste (Paste 2), and the chopped tomato. Fry for another 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Now add the chopped vegetables and sauté for just a minute, add 1 cup of water and some salt. Close the cooker with the weight on top and keep covered for just 2 minutes on medium-high flame (there will be no whistle).

Note: For 1 cup Basmati Rice we need 1.5 cups of liquid (water + coconut milk)

5. Open the lid, add the rice, coconut milk, 1/2 tsp chilli powder and cover again with the weight on top. Keep closed for 5 minutes (there will be no whistle). Switch off the cooker after 5 minutes and leave undisturbed for 20 minutes before opening the cooker to serve. ( I have followed this method since chithi told me about this and it results in perfectly cooked rice)

Vegetable Biryani is now ready to serve with a Raitha and Chips.



I would like to send this for JFI-Rice, hosted by Sharmi, which is a wonderful event started by Indira. Thank you Ladies.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Macaroons

As a kid, I loved these puffy, white, cones of sweetness - still do, infact. They were crunchy for most part with a little bit of chewiness and had chopped cashews in the mix. Whenever my father went to Tuticorin he would buy these for me, even now he sends these along when possible. When I saw 'meringues' here in the US for the first time, I was thrilled thinking that I had found macaroons again but they didn't taste anywhere close to the 'real' one that I adored. I don't know if the box i bought was bad or if all meringues taste that way because I never ventured to taste them again after the first attempt.

Anyhow, when a friend of mine mentioned that these can very easily be made at home, I didn't hesitate to try. This is my 2nd attempt at these and even though I don't get the cone shape, the taste matches what we get in India.

MACAROONS

Ingredients

Egg Whites - 2
Sugar - 2/3 cup
Cashews - 150 gms (unsalted, not roasted)

Method

1. Let egg whites stay at room-temperature for 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (no need to grease)

2. In a large bowl, beat (with an electric mixer) on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl).

3. Now, start adding sugar, 1 tbsp at a time (adding sugar little by little is key), while still beating.

4. Continue beating for about 7-10 minutes until stiff peaks form (tips are straight) and sugar has almost dissolved.

5. Put cashews in a mixie and powder till slightly coarse. Fold this carefully into the beaten egg white mixture.

6. At this point, you can put this in a pastry bag / ziploc bag and cut off a tip to pipe this onto the parchment paper. I just kept it simple and dropped spoonfuls of this on the parchment paper leaving some space in between.

7. Put this in a 200F to 225F (low heat) oven and bake for 30 minutes. You can switch off the oven at this point and let the cookies stay in the oven for a while to make then even more crisp.

8. Let cool fully before storing them in air-tight containers.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Veggie - Black Bean Quesadillas

I generally like Quesadillas but find the restaurant versions very cheesy and quite a bit greasy, so I prefer to make them at home with healthier ingredients and lot more veggies spiced to please the Indian palate. These quesadillas are a breeze to prepare and make a balanced, satisfying meal with whole wheat tortillas, veggies, black beans and low fat cheese. I'd like to send this entry to Shaheen's Summer Express Cooking Event .

VEGGIE - BLACK BEAN QUESADILLAS

Ingredients
Whole wheat tortillas - 5
2% Shredded Cheese - 1 cup (or to taste)
Black beans - 1/2 a can, drained
Onions - 1/2 large, sliced and cut into 1inch lengths
Red Bell Pepper - 1/2, julienned
Green Bell Pepper - 1/2, julienned
Mushrooms - 5, wiped clean and sliced
Carrot - 1 small, julienned
Tomato - 1/2 medium, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
Cilantro - 1/4 cup, chopped
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt, to taste
Ketchup - to taste
Light Sour Cream - to serve (optional)
Oil - 2 to 3 tsp

Method

Minutes 0-9
1. Slice onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and carrots. Chop the garlic, cilantro and tomato.
2. Open the can of black beans and drain the liquid.
3. Get the ingredients out and by the stove.

Minutes 10-20
4. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan on med-high heat and add onions and garlic, saute till golden, then add the mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots and after a few mins, add tomatoes and salt. Next, add the turmeric, coriander powder, chilli powder and cumin powder. Cook till done.

Minutes 20-25
5. Heat a pan (one used to make rotis or dosais) on med. flame. Coat with a thin layer of oil.

6.Take a tortilla and on one half, spread about 1-2 tbsp of cheese (acc. to preference), followed by black beans, cookied veggies, another 1-2 tbsp of cheese, coriander leaves and a few drops of ketchup. Bring over the other half and cover.


7. Carefully take the assembled tortilla and slide gently onto the hot pan and cook both sides for 30 seconds each or until golden brown.

8. While one is cooking, you can assemble the next one.

Minutes 25-30
9. Cut each quesadilla (semi-circle) into 3 wedges and top with a dollop of sourcream.

10. Add a store-bought salad and a 3 minute Banana-Strawberry Smoothie to make this an even more elaborate meal. Enjoy!


This is such a versatile dish since you can change the fillings to suit your taste. Spinach-mushroom combination is a popular one and you can use refried beans instead of black beans or avoid them altogether.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Quick & Healthy Meal

Inspired by Indira's sprouts series, I set about sprouting some green mung dhal and tried out her Sprouted Masoor Dal Stew (but substituted with mung dhal and added a bit of ginger). I then coupled this with some grated carrot with yogurt and Peppered potatoes for a complete meal which is nutritious and quick so I thought I'd send it for Shaheen's Summer Express Cooking Event .



Here are the timed instructions...

Minutes 1 to 6
1) Chop onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic and tomatoes for the Stew

2) Cube a potato (to make this even easier, use a boiled potato which has been refrigerated for a while)

Minutes 7-30
2) Heat 2 pans. In the first one, add oil, potatoes, pepper and salt. Toss and let them cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally.

3) In the second one, heat oil, add seasonings, curry leaves, onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies and toss till light brown. Then add tomatoes, salt, turmeric and once they soften a bit, add the sprouts, water , cover and allow to cook. (Please refer to recipes linked above for measurements)

4) Meanwhile, (while the potatoes and sprouts are cooking) grate carrots and mix this with some yogurt. Add a couple pinches of salt (or to taste)

5) Cut fruits of your choice (I used oranges)

6) Check on the potatoes and sprouts from time to time and once they are done remove from stove, garnish as desired and serve.

This wholesome meal is now ready.

After 50 Minutes...


Well, every bite was a treat - the coolness of the carrot-yogurt balanced the spiciness of the sprouts stew and the potatoes. The oranges were a delicious end to this all. Best of all, I felt really good about this being so healthy.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Roasted Vegetable Penne Bake

This is a recipe that incorporates roasted vegetables, penne rigate, pasta sauce, some pepper jack cheese and is topped with some breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese to give it a crunchy topping. This is a variation of a Ziti recipe - less cheesy, less tomatoey and has a lot more vegetables which is the way we like it at home. Baking the entire pasta dish give it a nice chewy texture, with a tangy coating of tomatoes and vegetables.

ROASTED VEGETABLE PENNE BAKE

Ingredients
Roasted Vegetables - 2 cups (Recipe Here)
Penne Rigate - 8 oz (dry) (or any other tubular pasta)
Garlic - 2 to 3 cloves, chopped
Onion - 1/2, chopped fine
Tomato - 1 to 2 medium, chopped fine
Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Dried Italian Herbs - 1/2 tsp
Light Pepper Jack Cheese - 4 oz
Parmesan Cheese - 1 to 2 oz
Whole wheat bread - 2 to 3 slices
Margarine or Butter - 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tsp
Salt, to taste

Method:

1. Cook the Penne in plenty of lightly salted water until slightly more cooked than al-dente (this will ensure that it doesn't get too chewy when baked later)

2. In a pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil and saute garlic, onions till soft. Then add chopped tomatoes, salt, chilli powder and dried italian herbs. Once the tomatoes soften a bit, add about 1/2 cup water and let it cook some more. Keep the pasta sauce aside. Alternatively, you can skip this step and use store bought pasta sauce instead.

3. In a mixie, powder the bread slices until crumbly. Mix with 1 tbsp of softened butter and the grated parmesan cheese.

4. In a big bowl, combine the cooked pasta, roasted vegetables, pasta sauce and shredded pepper jack cheese.

5. Butter a large baking dish (9 x 13) with the tsp of butter. Spread the above mix onto the baking dish and top with the breadcrumb mixture.

6. Put in a pre-heated oven at 400 degree F and cook for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese melts and the top is golden brown.

7. Let cool slightly before digging in. Serve with a salad for a great meal.