Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pasta in Italian Sauce

Well, I am not a lover of Pasta nor my hubby. But I decided to try this out over the weekend. I liked it. Its quick, includes veggies and 'A' liked it too.
Ingredients -
1) 1/2 packet Pasta of any kind. I used Penne
2) 2 cups chopped vegetables of your choice. (I used 1/2 packet of frozen stir fry vegetables)
3) Pasta/Italian sauce. I used the Traditional "Prego" brand
4) 1 tbspn chilli powder and cumin-coriander powder each
5) Salt as per taste
6) Olive oil
Ingredients -
1) Cook the pasta as per the instructions. Drain the pasta and hold it under cold water. Keep it aside.
2) Heat oil in a wide skillet and saute the vegetables.
3) Add salt and chilli powder. Mix well and saute for some more time. Do not over cook the veggies.
4) Add the pasta sauce and the cooked pasta. Mix well.
Serve hot.

Veg Quesadilla

This weekend I decided to try different cuisines. Mexican being my favourite, I tried out these Veg Quesadillas and loved it. The best part is you can include your choice of fresh veggies and enjoy them with hot Salsa. A perfect dish for weekend brunch or a quick dinner.
Here is what you need -
Ingredients -
1) 2 strigs green onions chopped finely
2) 1/2 cup bell peppers (green, red, yellow) diced finely
3) 1 tomato chopped finely
4) 1/2 cup spinach chopped finely
5) 1/2 cup mushrooms cut into halves
6) 1 tspn chilli powder or chilli flakes
7) Salt to taste
8) Shredded cheese of your choice
9) Olive Oil
10) Flour Tortillas
Method -
1) Heat olive oil in a wide skillet.
2) Add all the veggies and saute for some time. Add salt and chilli powder. Mix well and saute till the veggies are dry. Mushrooms leave water when cooked so make sure that the veggies are completely dry.
3) Heat few drops of oil in a pan. Place a tortilla and immediately flip over. Cook until golden brown.
4) Spread a layer of cheese on the tortilla followed by a layer of the veggie mixture.
5) Cover with another Tortilla. Put few drops of oil on the tortilla and flip it over.
6) Cook until it is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
7) Remove from heat and cut it into quarters. Serve it with salsa.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Vegetable & Egg Caserole

Well, this was an awesome dish i tried today. Its healthy as it includes lots of veggies and less oil. I liked it. It can be made as a brunch on weekends or even as dinner on weekdays. Well, but the whole credit goes to Hetal & Anuja from I simply followed it and liked it.
Ingredients -
1) 1 cup spinach, mushrooms diced, bell peppers chopped finely and 1/2 cup green onions chopped finely. You can use any vegetables of your choice.
3) French bread sliced into big pieces.
4) 4 eggs
5) 3/4 cup milk
6) salt and black pepper
7) 2-3 green chillies chopped finely and a bunch of cilantro washed and chopped finely.
8) 1 cup Tomato Salsa
9) 1/2 cup shredded chees (optional)
Method -
1) Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
2) Beat eggs in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, coriander, green chillied and green onions. Mix well. Now add salsa to this and mix well. Keep aside.
3) Take a baking try and coat the surface and the sides with baking spray or vegetable oil.
4) Spread spinach at the bottom. Over it add the mushrooms and then the bell peppers.
5) Layer the French bread on top of the veggies.
6) Now spread cheese over this layer and pour over the egg mixture.
7) /bake uncovered in the oven for 45 minutes.
8) Let it cool down for 5 minutes and then serve.

I served this with ketchup. You can also serve it with additional salsa.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Paneer Butter Masala

I have eaten this dish only in restaurants but never tried at home. I had some leftover Paneer in the pantry so thought of giving this a try. You would need -
Ingredients -
1) 1/2 pound Paneer
2) 3 small tomatoes
3) 2 green chillies
4) 1 inch ginger
5) 1/2 tspn cumin seeds, a pinch of asafoetida and a bay leaf
6) 2 tbspn yogurt
7) 1 tspn red chilli powder, 1/2 tspn turmeric powder
8) 1 tspn garam masala
9) Oil and salt to taste
Method -
1) Heat 1 tspn oil in a pan and fry the paneer from both the sides.
2) Blend tomatoes, ginger and green chillies together.
3) Heat little oil in a wide skillet and add cumin seeds, bay leaf, asafoetida and turmeric powder. Saute for some time and then add the blended mixture. Mix well. Cover and saute for 2-3 minutes.
4) Now add the red chilli powder and garam masala. Saute for some more time.
5) At this time add the yougurt and mix well. Keep stirring for a minute and add the paneer cubes.
6) Cover the lid for 2-3 miniutes. Paneer Butter Masala is ready. Serve hot!!

Corn Pulao

I had joined a cookery class before marriage and thats when i learned this dish. The method is quite lengthy but worth giving it a try. It was awesome. You can have it with any gravy of your choice or simply with some raita. Here is what you need -
Ingredients -
For the gravy -
1) 1 cup boiled corn kernels
2) 1 small onion
3) 2 tomatoes pureed
4) 2 tbspn frozen shredded coconut
5) 2-3 dry red chillies
6) 2 tspn cumin-coriander powder
7) 2 cloves, 2 cardamom, 1 cinnamon stick
8) 5-6 cloves garlic
9) Salt as per taste and
10) Oil
Method -
1) Cut 1 onion lenghtwise. Heat very little oil in a pan and roast the onions, red chillies and all the spices along with the shredded coconut and blend it to a smooth paste with little water if required.

2) Take the tomato puree in a vessel and add the boiled corn kernels and the blended mixture, some sugar and salt as per taste and let it boil for some time.

For the rice -
Ingredients -
1) 1 cup cooked rice.
2) cloves, black pepperons, cardamom - 2 each, 1 bay leaf
3) 1 onion cut lenghtwise.
Method -
I baked this rice in the oven. But you can heat oil in a skillet, add all the spices, saute for some time. Then add the cooked rice and the tomato puree mixture, salt to taste. Mix well. Cover the lid tightly and let it cook on medium low flame for about 15 minutes.
For baking - Take a oven safe bowl. Spray little baking spray or simply coat the bowl with little oil. Now give layers of the rice and tomato gravy. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees and bake the rice for 30 minutes.
It tastes awesome. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Magic Of Sago

Sago or Sabudana looks like small hard white balls. But when they are properly soaked and cooked it tastes surprisingly awesome. We usually eat Sabudana during our "fast" but it can be prepared otherwise too. You can make Sabudana Khichadi, Sabudana Vada, Sabudana Kheer, Sabudana Thalipeeth. It tastes just too good in any forms. I made Sabudana Khichadi for Sankashta Chaturthi when we observe fast. Here is what you need -
Ingredients -
1) 1 cup sabudana soaked overnight
2) 2 tspn pure ghee
3) 1 tspn cumin seeds
4) 2 green chillies minced
5) Salt and sugar to taste
6) 4-5 tbspn roasted and crushed peanuts
Method -
Wash the sago poperly and soak it in little water. The water should be just enough to cover the sago. Cover and leave it overnight. The results should be a fluffy and soft sago. Add the peanuts, salt and sugar to the sago and mix it well.
Heat ghee in a wide skillet and add cumin seeds. Once they crackle add the green chillies. Now add the sago and mix it well. Cover and cook for around 4-5 minutes.
Garnish it with cilantro and add some lemon juice before serving. Serve hot!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Egg Masala

Well, this is much like the Egg Curry. The only difference is that this is more of a thick gravy than the curry. My grandmom used to make this. Here is what you would need -
Ingredients -
1) 6 hard boiled eggs
2) 1 large onion
3) 2 small tomatoes
4) 3-4 peppercons, 3-4 cloves, a cinnamon stick and a bay leaf
5) ginger garlic paste
6) 3 tbspn sesame seeds
7) 1 tspn turmeric powder
8) 1 tbspn cumin-coriander powder and chilli powder each
9) Salt to taste and Oil for frying
Method -
1) Cut the onions and blend them to a smooth paste.
2) Dry roast the sesame seeds and blend them with the diced tomatoes to a smooth puree.
3) Heat oil in a skillet. Add the spices, turmeric powder and the blended onions. Saute for few minutes till oil leaves the onions.
4) Add the tomato puree and saute for some more time.
5) Now add all the powders. Fry for a few minutes. Add little water. We want to make it on a little thicker side.
6) Let it boil for some time and then add the boiled eggs.
7) Mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
8) Garnish it with cilantro and server hot with chapatis.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Katachi Amati

Katachi Amati is a kind of dal/soup. I had mentioned this in my post of Puran Poli. "Kat" means the water that is drained when pressure cooking the chana dal while making the puran for Puran Poli. Puran Poli-Batatyachi Bhaji(Boiled potatoes seasoned with spices), Katachi Amati-Bhat is a perfect meal.Wow....I simply love this and I can drink bowls and bowls of this. Here is what you need -
Ingredients -
1) 2 cups Kat
2) 1 small onion sliced lenghtwise
3) 3-4 tbspns dried coconut
4) 2-3 garlic cloves and 1 inch ginger.
5) Oil for frying
6) Salt to taste
7) 2-3 tspns chilli powder. (I used kolhapuri Masala)
8) 1 tbspn jaggery crushed.
For the seasoning -
1) 3-4 peppercons
2) 3-4 cloves
3) 1 bay leaf
4) a cinnamon stick
5) 1/2 tspn turmeric powder
6) a pinch of asafoetida
Method -
1) Add 1 tbspn oil in a pan and roast the onions cut lengthwise, coconut, ginger and garlic together. Cool and blend them to a fine paste.
2) Mix this paste with the Kat.
3) Heat oil in a skillet and add the turmeric powder and asafoetida. Add the rest of the seasoning ingredients.
4) Now add the Kat. Add salt, chilli powder and jaggery and let it boil nicely for 10 minutes.
Amati is ready. You can have it with plain rice or simply have it as a soup.

Puran Poli

Puran Poli is a typical Maharashtrian dish and made on every special occassion whether it is Holi, Gauri Pujan or any other Pooja at home. Puran Poli is a must. Well, for those who don't know let me tell you this is the favourite dish of all Maharastrians. You can say its a sweet chapati made by filling puran which is a sweet stuffing. You cannot enjoy Puran Poli without lots of ghee on it. So, keep your dietary plans aside and do not be calorie contious to enjoy this relish. I made this on the account of Holi yesterday.

The very first step in making Puran Poli is to make the Puran. You would need -
Ingredients -
1) 1 cup chana dal
2) 1 cup crushed jaggery/gur
3) 1/2 cup sugar
4) a pinch of cardamom powder
Method -
1) Wash the chana dal and pressure cook it with 4-5 cups of water. Make atleast 5-6 whistles. Chana dal takes a longer time to cook. To check whether the dal is cooked, press the dal with your finger and it should not be hard.
2) If the dal is not hard and cooked properly drain the extra water and keep aside. This water is later used to make Katachi Amati. If the dal is little hard and not cooked properly then, take the dal in a wide skillet and add about half cup of warm water and let it cook. Keep checking the dal in between. Once done drain the excess water.
3) Now add the jaggery and sugar to the dal. It will leave more water. Cook the day till it is dry and the water has evaporated completely. Keep stirring continuously. Once done, keep it aside and let the mixture cool. Once cooled add the cinnamon powder. You can also add very little nutmeg powder to this mixture. I did not have any.

Now lets see, how to make the dough in which this puran would be filled. You would need -
Ingredients -
1) 1 cup whole wheat flour
2) 3 tbspn All Purpose Flour or Maida
3) Oil and water to knead
Method -
1) Take all the flours in a mixing bowl. Add almost 2 tbspn of oil and knead it to a soft dough with as much water required. This dough should be more soft and thinner than the usual dough made for the chapatis. To make the dough soft keep on kneading it with water. At the end take some oil in the hands and knead once again to make a soft ball.
Our stuffing as well as the dough is ready. Now, its time to roll them.

1) Take a small portion of the dough and roll it to a small round with your hand itself. Place a small amount of puran and cover the ball. Pull up the egdes to cover the filling. Roll this stuffed ball with rice flour/wheat flour or maida if required in between.

2) Fry this on a hot griddle with few drops of oil from both the sides.

Puran Poli is ready. Store these in an air tight container. They lasts for around a week. Just heat it in the microwave before eating and enjoy this with lots of ghee on it.
Another way of eating Puran Poli is to break the poli in small pieces and soak them in cold milk. You can have it as a desert. It tastes just awesome!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Vegetable Puffs

This has been a long pending post. I got a chance to try it out last week and we loved it. Vegetable Puffs brings back memories of our days in Pune. "Hindustan Bakery" is a famous bakery which is very famous for these puffs. Usually, these used to be our Sunday morning breakfast. The hot puffs with tomato ketchup. feels so nostalgic.
Ingredients -
1) 1 pastry sheet thawed at room temperature
2) 4-5 medium sized boiled potatoes. Mash them and keep aside.
3) 1 cup boiled green peas or frozen
4) 1 tspn fennel seeds
5) 1 tspn mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric powder each
6) a pinch of asafoetida
7) 1 tbspn cumin-coriander powder and red chilli powder each
8) Salt to taste and Oil for frying
Method -
1) Thaw the pastry sheets at room temperature.
2) Preheat the oven at 450 degrees.
2) Heat oil in a skillet. Add the fennel seeds. It leaves a very nice aroma. Then add the mustard seeds followed by cumin seeds, turmeric powder and asafoetida.
3) Now add in the peas and the mash potatoes. Mix well and add in all the powders and salt to taste.
4) Cover for few minutes and cook it. Turn off the gas and let it cool completely.
5) By this time the pastry sheets are thawed completely. Take some All Purpose Flour and roll the sheets with the rolling pin. Now, cut them into small rectangles. I used the Pepperidge brand from Walmart. And I made 9 puffs out of 1 pastry sheet. You get a packet of 2 sheets.
6) Take 2 spoonfuls of the potato-peas mixture in the rectangle and cover it sealing the sides with water so that the stuffing does not come out.
7) Repeat this for all the rectangles.
8) Bake it for about 20 minutes. Take them out and let them cool for some time.
9) Serve them with ketchup.
You can make any filling of your choice. Non-Vegetarians can fill in Kheema and make Kheema pattice. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Besan Ladoo

I am not very fond of sweets and when it comes to any kind of Ladoos, its a strict No-No. But my husband loves sweets and especially Besan Ladoos are his favourites and are in high demand. I make them quite often and this time i made them in the microwave. They were just awesome.
Ingredients -
1) 2 cups besan
2) 1 cup sugar
3) 1/4 cup ghee
4) raisins and cashews for decoration
Method -
1) Mix the ghee and besan in a large microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 10 mins stirring after every minute.
2) The besan should be nicely roasted(a little dark). It leaves a nice aroma once its done.
3) Cool this mixture completely and then add the sugar and the dryfruits.
4) Mix well and shape them into small balls.
Besan Ladoos are ready!!! They are soooooo easy...

Methi Paratha

Methi is mine and my husband's all time favourite vegetable. In India, back home we get methi all through the year. But it arrives in US only during the winter season. Though we get frozen methi in the Indian stores but I never felt like using it. I always loved the fresh ones we get here in Farmers Market and you can see people almost grabbing it before it is out of stock. This time I made Methi Parathas. Our dinner was Methi Paratha with Corn Soup. A perfect combo on a cozy wintery night. I would share the recipe for corn soup later. Here is what you would need for the Methi Parathas -
Ingredients -
1) 1 cup Methi/Fenugreek leaves
2) 2 cups Wheat Flour
3) 1 tbspn Ajwain seeds
4) 1 tbspn red chilli powder
5) 1/2 tspn turmeric powder
6) 2 tbspn besan or chickpea flour
7) Salt as per taste
8) Water and little oil for kneading the dough
Method -
1) Wash and chop the methi finely. Cook it in the microwave for 60 seconds.
2) Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and knead it to a soft dough. Keep the dough covered for 15-20 minutes. As you have cooked the methi in the microwave, it would leave water so watch the amount of water needed while kneading the dough.
3) Make small equal sized balls of the dough and roll each ball to a flat round paratha using some flour whenever necessary.
4) Place the paratha on a hot griddle and add few drops of oil on both the sides.
5) Repeat this with all the balls. Your Parathas are ready! Serve Hot.
I served them with pickle. You can also have them with curd, any gravy of your choice, any type of vegetable or you can simply roll it and relish them.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Vegetable Pulao

Pulao/Biryani has always been my favourite. I like to make different variations in this so that it becomes a full fledged meal/supper. This time I made Mixed Vegetable Pulao and used up the packet of frozen vegetables from my pantry. Here is the what you need.
Ingredients -
1) 2 cups Basamati rice
2) 1 cup mixed veggies of your choice. (I used half of the packet of frozen vegetables)
3) 1 medium sized onion cut lengthwise
4) 2-3 green chillies
5) 2-3 cloves garlic and 1 inch ginger
6) 3-4 peppercons, cloves and cardamom each
7) 1 stick cinnamon
8) 1 tspn turmeric and cumin-coriander powder each
9) 1 tspn red chilli powder
10)Salt as per taste
11) And Oil
Method -
1) Wash the rice and soak it for 15-20 minutes.
2) Grind the spices(peppercons, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon) together.
3) Blend the green chillies, ginger and garlic to a paste.
4) Heat oil in a large skillet and add the mustard seeds. Once they crackle add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric powder.
5) Add the blended spices and the paste and saute for few seconds. Then add the onions cut lengthwise and saute for some more time.
6) Once the oil starts leaving the onions, add the vegetables. Mix well and add the cumin-coriander powder. Cover and cook the veggies till they become tender.
7) Now, add the rice and mix it well with the veggies. Add 4 cups of warm water, salt as per taste and the red chilli powder. Mix it well. Cover the lid and let it cook. This takes around 10-15 minutes.
8) Vegetable Pulao is ready. You can serve this with any kind of raita.

Bread Pakoda

Bread Pakoda or Bread Masala, you can call it by whichever name you want. I didn't find any suitable name for this but it is a perfect evening snack with tea/coffee especially when you are very hungry. You would need -
Ingredients -
1) Bread,any kind. I used sandwich bread
2) 1/2 cup besan/chickpea flour
3) 1 small onion chopped finely
4) 1 small tomato chopped finely
5) 2-3 green chillies
6) 1 tbspn red chilli powder
7) Salt as per taste
8) Water
9) Oil for frying
Method -
1) Mix besan and water in a bowl. The consistency should be on a thicker side but not as thin as you make for dosas/idlis. It should be easy to spread over the bread.
2) In this mixture add all the other ingredients and set aside.
3) Heat a pan and add little oil. Slice the bread into half.
4) Spread the mixture on the bread and shallow fry it. Turn over and fry the other side too.
5) Serve it with ketchup.