I love surprises! And a surprise where I discover that I don’t have to cook after coming home from work sounds delicious to me. I do get such lucky moments occasionally when Swapnil decides to cook and I play his sous chef role. He is a great cook. He rarely follows recipes but he literally plays with his favorites vegetables and especially spices. He is very intuitive when it comes to food combinations. This spinach mushroom was a result of his experirments and it was yooummmy!!
Spinach Mushroom with Green Garlic Sauce
One word, Yummy!
- Wash and chop mushrooms in big pieces. Wash spinach and keep it aside.
- Heat oil in a wide pan. Add chopped garlic.
- Add chopped onion and sauté it well until it turns translucent.
- Add chopped mushrooms and don't stir them a lot. Else they will start releasing water. Let them become softer.
- Add spinach, greens of green garlic and also sesame seed. Mix well.
- Stir in Italian seasoning and some salt.
- Add hot and sweet ketchup as per your taste and mix it well.
- Let it steam for a minute and then serve it hot!
My favorite summer pasta toppings include chunky vegetables, a good sauce and aromatic herbs and well seasoned al dante pasta. I like to keep the ratio of pasta and vegetables almost equal, so it’s a plate full of different colors, textures and flavors.
It’s almost end of the summer and these beautiful pattypan squash are at their peak season. I just love how they look, bright yellow skin with a small green hat 🙂
It’a a very simple recipe and perfect for weeknight dinner. You can add all your favorite pasta vegetables in this one pot dish.
Spaghetti with Pattypan Squash
Spaghetti topped with marinara sauce and all your favorite vegetables!
- Wash and chopped all vegetables as needed.
- Cook spaghetti as per instructions on its packet.
- In a big pan, heat some Olive oil and add smashed garlic. If you want take them off before adding other vegetables.
- Add other vegetables, and let them cook a bit. Add salt and pepper.
- Keep these vegetables aside. In the same pan add 1 tbsp of Olive oil and add marinara sauce and chopped basil leaves. Also add some italian seasoning if you like.
- Add cooked vegetables into the sauce and mix well.
- Let them cook little more and add cooked spaghetti and toss everything together.
- Serve hot, garnish with basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese.
Chettinad is a region in south Tamilnadu and is well know for its unique cuisine which emphasize the use of various whole spices and fresh coconut. This month’s SNC challenge was a savory curry made in chettinad style. This was my first time preparing Chettinad cuisine and since I have not tasted this particular curry, I was not entirely sure about what to expect or how it should really taste. But take my word for it. it was absolutely delicious. The addition of coconut, cashews and roasted chana dal adds a whole new dimension to our regular onion-tomato gravy and also alters its texture in a soothing way. Curry leaves and the roasted chana dal reinforce the south indian flavors while chana dal pakoda with crushed fennel seeds offer a new surprise at every bite. All in all, it’s a wonderful dish, you can serve it with rice or idli or dosa.
Thanks to Priya from Priya’s Versatile Recipes for sharing this Chettinad speciality with us.
Chettinad Pakoda Kuzhambu
Chana dal pakodas dipped in South Indian gravy makes a perfect pairing with rice.
For preparing Pakoda -
- Soak chana dal for at least two hours.
- Grind chana dal with some fennel seeds and dry red chilis to a coarse paste. Add water only if needed.
- Heat enough oil in a pan so that you can deep fry multiple pakodas at a time. Make pakodas with your fingers and drop them in hot oil on low-medium heat. Fry them until golden brown. Keep them aside.
For preparing gravy -
- Grind all ingredients listed under "To Grind" above to a fine paste with some water.
- In a heavy bottom pan / kadhai, heat some oil and all whole Garam masala listed under "For Seasoning" and fry for a minute or so or until you can smell it.
- Add chopped onions and garlic and fry it for 2-3 minutes.
- Add chopped tomato and let them cook for sometime.
- Now add the coconut paste and also add 4 cups of water. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt and give it a stir. Let it cook for 5 minutes with lid on.
- Add pakodas and let it simmer further for 2 minutes. Add more water if needed. Pakodas will absorb the water so make sure you add enough.
Serve it hot with rice / idli or dosa.
Tofu and I share a strange relation. Whenever I see it in a store I feel inspired to use it in some recipe interesting recipe and a thought of having protein rich food encourage me to buy a packet but then it sits in my refrigerator until I start reminding myself to use in a recipe and finally it ends up in some Thai Curry with other vegetables.
When my friends came over for coffee (without any prior notice) I had noting to offer except for coffee. It was pouring outside and I was thinking of batata wada but deep frying and again cleaning that mess was too much of work … When I saw tofu in the fridge it reminded me of this super simple recipe I had seen on my favorite show. This was enough reason to try it out.
The original recipe makes dry stir fry with just some seasoning and no vegetables,I changed it to add some basil leaves and more sauce.
Super quick recipe to enjoy the amazing benefits of Soy!
- Drain liquid from Tofu package, cut it into larger pieces and press out excess liquid.
- Cut it into bite sized pieces.
- In a non-stick skillet, heat some oil.
- Add finely chopped garlic and green chilis. (Is you are using Chili sauce skip green chilis). Also add onions.
- Add a pinch of salt and stir fry it for 15-20 seconds on medium heat. Make sure that garlic doesn't burn.
- Add cut tofu and stir fry again for a minute or so.
- Now add soy sauce and tomato chili sauce, sugar and black pepper. Toss it for a minute and allow it to thicken and coat tofu pieces.
- Add basil leaves and if seasoning is fine, take it out.
- Serve it hot.
- Strain out the liquid completely.
- If you have time, pound garlic, green chilis and spring onions together with a pinch of salt and use it as a sauce.
- Deep frying tofu will add extra depth.
There are some dishes which you never make at home because you always like to have those at restaurants. Dal Makhani was one of these until I had ‘the best dal makhani ever’ made by S. He was famous for his recipe during his college days and I must admit he did a great job. On a second thought the butter, and more butter, the cream and the masala did a fantastic job. Later, I served him dal makhani made without butter and cream and it was still as fabulous as his version, he looked surprised!
Urad Dal is rich in protein and dietary fibre. It’s also a great source of minerals especially Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, and Copper. It also has good amount of Folate and Vitamin B6.
Black Urad is not commonly used in Maharashtrian cuisine. As the name suggests, its a Punjabi dish and extra cream will make it more “Makhani” like any other Punjabi preparation.
No butter and no cream can still make a delicious dal makhani
- Soak urad dal and kidney beans in water overnight (7-8 hours)
- In a pressure cooker, add soaked dal and beans with double amount of water. Add peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and a bay leaf to the daal. Let it cook with 5-6 whistles. You can also add a tea spoon of salt.
- Meanwhile, you can keep onion, tomato, ginger and garlic ready and start with the tadka.
- In a medium pan, heat some oil. Once it becomes hot, add cumin seeds.
- Add chopped garlic and let it turn slightly brown.
- Add some chopped cilantro and let it fry for a minute.
- Now add chopped onion, and cook them nicely. Sprinkle some salt to quicken the process.
- Once onions are cooked 80%, add tomatoes and mix well. It takes another 2 minutes.
- Smash tomatoes with spatula.
- Reduce the heat and add red chili powder and Dal Makhani masala and stir well. You should be able to smell the aroma of the hot masala.
- Next, add cooked dal and rajma along with some water.
- Add salt if needed and mix well. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes and your dal is ready to serve.
- garnish it with chopped onions while serving.
This is going to Vardhini’s Dish it Out – Lentils & Garlic event hosted at nivedhanams.
When I saw a small red pumpkin in farmer’s market, it reminded me of my childhood. My gradma (aajji) used to make gharage (घारगे) and dhapate (धपाटे). I used to love eating gharage after coming home from school. ‘Gharga’ is a sweet pumpkin puri and of couse a deep fried puri. Dhapata on the other hand, is a savory version and it’s not deep fried, so it’s more like a paratha or thepla.
It must be healthy as there is nothing unhealthy – either ingredients or the process. Give it a shot.
Red Pumpkin Paratha / Thepla
Easy to make, no special ingredients and no much preparation.
- Cut pumpin into big pieces, wash it nicely and also remove the center part that might contain seeds,
- Steam these big pieces for 5-8 minutes, until the pumpkin becomes tender.
- Meanwhile, cut green chilis and garlic into fine pieces. Grate some ginger.
- Once steamed, let it cool. Rinse it with cold water to quicken the process.
- Smash it with hands and make sure there are no lumps.
- Add finely chopped chilis, garlic, ginger, salt, sugar, turmeric and all the seeds.
- You can also cilantro but it's optional.
- Add whole wheat flour and besan gradually and prepare dough. Pumpkin should have enough water so add water only if needed.
- If the dough feels very sticky, add more wheat flour but also adjust the amount of salt.
- Use some oil, to knead the dough.
- Now make small balls and roll it into small parathas, use wheat flour for dusting.
- Roast them lightly on a tawa using ghee.
- Ready to serve!
Healthy can be Yummy!
There was a time when I had Falafel wrap from Dish N Dash at least once a week. I really miss this place. Falafel was on my list for a long time but “deep-fried” and “cleaning-after-deep-frying” were the main reasons to put it off. This weekend I decided to give it a shot and instead of frying I baked flattened falafel balls and here is the result –
It takes much less time and it’s a no-mess recipe. Definitely a keeper. I served these falafel with cool cucumber dip.
Easy, Healthy and Delicious!
- I did not use canned Garbanzo beans, hence I soaked them overnight in water. Next day I cooked them in a steamer until you can smash them with a fork. Don't overcook else it will form a paster when you grind them. If you are using canned beans, skip this step and instead just drain the water and follow along.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a food processor (DO NOT use grinder / blender), add chana (garbanzo beans) and roughly chopped cilantro and pulse it few times until you get roughly chopped mixture. Be careful not to over blend it.
- Now take the mixture in a medium mixing bowl and add all other ingredients which include finely chopped onion, finely chopped garlic and olive oil and other spices and salt to taste. Add lemon juice and mix well.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease the paper with few drops of oil. Alternatively, you can use the cooking spray but it's not needed.
- Drop one table spoon of mixture on the sheet leaving enough space to spread the mixture.
- With your fingers, slightly flatten the balls on the baking sheet.
- Since these are baked and not fried, only the flatten sides with become crispy so if you want go ahead and make them thinner.
- Bake these for 15-17 minutes until their bottom becomes golden brown. Once done, they slide out easily.
- Take them out and turn each falafel and bake the other side for another 10 minutes.
- Serve hot with tahini, hummus or cucumber dip.
Linking it to Foodomania’s Christmas Cook-Off Contest
Winter is here and so is the smell of fresh Methi leaves. Fenugreek, widely known as “Methi” in India, is a leafy vegetable with small green leaves mainly grown in winter. It’s the bitter taste of its leaves and seeds that makes it so unique.
Methi Malai Mutter as the name says, is rich and flavorful. The slight sweetness of green peas (mutter) and the richness of cream (malai) well compliment the bitterness of methi leaves.
Since I didn’t have cooking cream, I decided to use a healthier and an easily available alternative – cashew cream and the result was outstanding. You have to try it to believe me. Here is what you need.
Methi Malai Mutter
An aromatic combination of fresh methi leaves with green peas cooked together in cashew cream sauce.
- Separate the leaves from stem and wash them well. Sprinkle some salt and keep them aside.
- In a small bowl, take cashews and poppy seeds and let them soak in milk.
- In a small pan, mix all dry masala (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black peppercorns and 1/2 tsp cumin seeds) and roast them lightly for 2-3 minutes on low flame.
- Add roughly chopped onion, freshly grated ginger, garlic, green chilies and 1/2 tsp cumin seeds with a pinch of salt in a grinder and make a smooth paste.
- Heat a medium pan and add 2 table spoon of oil. Once oil becomes hot, add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and let them crackle.
- Meanwhile, squeeze out all the liquid from methi leaves and give them a quick chop. Add these leaves to the oil and cook them for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Once done, remove the leaves from the pan and keep aside.
- Add remaining 1 tb spoon oil to the pan. Now add the onion-garlic paste and fry it nicely for 5-6 minutes.
- Strain the milk and add cashews and poppy seeds to grinder and make a smooth paste. Add few spoons of milk if needed.
- Add this cashew cream to the pan and fry for 1 minute.
- Heat the leftover milk and let it simmer.
- Add the fresh garam masala (the roasted masala finely powdered) to the pan and mix well.
- Add the milk and some water to adjust the consistency.
- Add thawed green peas or boiled if using fresh.
- Add fenugreek leaves and mix well
- Add salt, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of turmeric and let it come to a boil.
- When you soak the cashews in milk, microwave it for 30 seconds, so cashews absorb the milk quicker and become tender.
- Once the subji is done, sprinkle a pinch of kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) of additional aroma.
Usal is a very common main dish in Maharashtrian homes and especially useful when you don’t have a full pantry. It contains any sprouted grains such as moong, kale chane or Chavali (black eyed peas) mixed together with sautéed onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic. The special Maharashtrian touch comes from Goda masala + grated coconut and a bit of jaggery.
This recipe can be used for any grains or combination. The other day I didn’t have enough moong or kale chane so I mixed them and it turned out just perfect!
You need to soak moong and kale chane overnight and preferably use warm water. I used Kepra’s Onion Garlic Masala with some homemade Goda masala. You can easily get these in Indian stores.
Moong Kale Chane and Chavli Usal
The same recipe applies to matki usal.
I use two special masalas- Kanda lasun masala (Onion-garlic) and Kala or Goda masala. Both are easily available in Indian grocery stores. You can also use whole garam masala if you like.
- Mix all sprouted grains in equal amount of water in a pressure cooker, add whole Garam masala and a small piece of raw onion with 1 tsp of salt and cook for 3-4 whistles. Mixing whole Garam masala and onion while cooking really induces nice flavors.
- Usal does not need much oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing powder in order to heated oil. Add chopped garlic and curry leaves and onions. As usual add some salt to make the frying process quicker. Saute the onions till they become translucent, now it’s time for grated ginger and diced tomatoes. Smash the tomatoes as they start cooking.
- Lower the heat and all the masalas. I used onion-garlic masala. (This could be very strong and may overpower other flavors so taste it first) and Goda masala for the taste of home cooking! Add chili powder and salt to taste. Make sure this mixture is not dry which can cause masala to burn easily.
- Mix everything and add water as needed.
- Add shredded coconut, and let it boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add a bit of jaggery (or sugar) and squeeze some lime juice for just a punch it needs to be perfect.
- Garnish it with freshly chopped coriander. It’s ready!
Sprouted grains make up for the lack of protein in vegetarian diet, so enjoy yourself!
Take a short trip to Italy in the comfort of your own kitchen!
The biggest inspiration for this dish was the delicious pasta made by my friend in almost no time. I have promised him not to mention his name in public. I modified his recipe by adding some vegetables. But otherwise, it’s a very simple recipe and in fact I consider it to be a part of “maggie-league”. It’s that simple and yummy!
I used Barilla Mezze Penne pasta but you can use any other penne pasta and boil it as per the instructions given on the box AL Dante. Most of the ingredients are to taste so just follow your instincts
Tomato Basil Pasta
Take a short trip to Italy in the comfort of your own kitchen!
That may look like a long list but almost all vegetables are optional.
- Start boiling the pasta in a pan with some salt added to the water. This is your only chance to add salt to pasta.
- In a medium sized pan and add some olive oil and finely chopped garlic on a medium flame. This is the most important step where we flavor the oil with garlic and then Italian seasoning and some basil powder and red chili flakes.
- Now add in all vegetables starting with onion, bell pepper and lastly mushrooms. Mushrooms don’t take much time to cook so make sure you add them last. Sauté all vegetables and mix them well.
- Stain the boiled pasta.
- In another bigger pan, melt some butter on a medium flame. Add the boiled pasta with some salt and black pepper. Mix it well and add the vegetables.
- Now it’s time to add the sauces. Vodka sauce has the real taste while Alfredo sauce gives the pasta creamy, buttery texture.
- Turn off the heat, add cherry tomatoes, cut in halves and some basil leaves, roughly chopped. You can add oregano and Italian seasoning if you want. The pasta is ready!