Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vegetarian Moussaka

Moussaka is a Greek dish made with eggplant and lamb. Its a baked dish with layers just like a lasagna so it is fun to make and eat. I had heard of this dish a while ago but never attempted it. Again from a bunch of sources, here is my version of the vegetarian type. And it tastes delicious, the earthy tangy tomato-lentil sauce, the firm yet soft vegetables, the balancing white sauce and the salty feta cheese bite. Please try it once...
Ingredients:

1 large eggplant (like for baigan bharta), sliced thick
2 zucchinis (about 6 inches), sliced medium
2 potatoes (about 3 inches each), sliced thin
1/3 cup red pepper chopped
1/3 cup green pepper chopped
1/2 cup raw lentils of choice, I used split moong daal 
1 onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic
1 (8 oz) can tomato puree
1 medium tomato
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 cup white sauce
3 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
Salt 
Pepper

Soak the lentils overnight. Pressure cook the lentils in fresh water to 2 whistles or cook in 2 cups of water over stove top for 20 minutes till done. Place the eggplant slices on a tray, sprinkle salt on them and leave them for about 30 minutes to weep the water out. When done, pat dry. 

In a deep pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add the onions and garlic. When they turn translucent, add the peppers and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add the tomatoes, vinegar and lentils along with the spices, salt and pepper. Add about half cup of water, bring to a boil and cook down till it is a chunky sauce. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and brown the potato slices. Repeat for zucchini and eggplant.The zucchini will need an additional 1 tablespoon  of oil but the eggplant should be browned without oil else they will turn soggy.
To assemble, layer a casserole dish (I used 9x9) with half the tomato-lentil sauce. Layer with eggplant slices, then potatoes and then zucchini. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle half the feta cheese.  Then continue with another layer of eggplant, potatoes and zucchini. Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. 

While the vegetables are baking make the white sauce. Pour the white sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle the feta. Cook for another 15 minutes till cheese starts to turn golden brown. Broil for a minute to brown the top. Serve hot with a side salad or some couscous. Opa!
I am sending this dish to AWED: Greek hosted by Curry Leaf, event Started by DK.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Palak Paneer (Spinach with Indian Cheese cubes)

We went to the farmers market this weekend and they had lovely bunches of spinach. We brought a bag full and guess what we made? Palak Paneer! Its a childhood favorite. Mom used to make it often for Sunday lunch. I am recreating her recipe here with some changes. I used the microwave to cook the spinach but you can pressure cook it for one whistle.
Ingredients:

3 bunches fresh spinach or 3 cups frozen spinach
12-15 cubes fried paneer (150 grams)
1 medium onion (125 grams)
3-4 garlic cloves
3-4 green chilies
1 inch knob of ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1/4 teaspoon raee (mustard seeds)
Pinch hing (asafoetida)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon dhania-jeera powder (cumin coriander)
Salt

Wash the spinach well and cut the stems from the leaves. Sprinkle some water on the spinach and microwave for about 5 minutes on high power, stirring once, till it is wilted and partly cooked. Set aside to cool.
In a blender, make a paste of onion, garlic, chilies and ginger. Keep aside. Then puree the cooled spinach with about 1/2 cup of water.
In a large pan, heat the oil and add the hing, jeera and raee. When they start to crackle, add the onion-garlic-chilies-ginger paste. Saute for 4-5 minutes till the raw smell goes away and add the spinach puree. Add the turmeric and dhania jeera powder along with salt. Cook till it starts to bubble. Add the paneer cubes and cook for another minute. Serve hot with rotis, parathas, naan or jeera rice.

I am sending this recipe to 'Healing Foods Event - Spinach' hosted by Divya and started by Siri

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tzatziki - Greek Yogurt Dip

I have eaten this dip many more times than I have made it. Last week with my falafel platter I wanted to make this as well. Yogurt is a coolant and it contrasts well with the deep fried falafel. It gives a moistness to the bite which is delicious. And it is pretty straight forward to make as well. About Greek yogurt. Its a thicker, more creamier yogurt than the American whole milk yogurt. It is made with milk which has about 5 to 9% fat content as opposed to 3.5% in American whole milk.

Ingredients: 

2 cups Greek yogurt or hung yogurt
1 medium cucumber peeled and grated
2-3 cloves garlic finely minced
1 tablespoon dill chopped
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
Salt

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and serve! I drizzled a few drops of olive oil on top for garnish.

I am sending this dish to AWED: Greek hosted by Curry Leaf, event Started by DK

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rava Toast / Rock Toast

I first saw this recipe on TV many years ago and they called it rock toast. I am not crazy about upma, but I love bread so this seemed like a good combination. Its a simple recipe but is a hit with kids and adults alike. We had it for snacks when we were younger and now its brunch with some hot tea or coffee.

Ingredients:

1 cup rava / sooji (cream of wheat)
1/4 cup onions diced
1/4 cup tomatoes diced
1/4 cup green peppers diced
1/4 cup red or orange peppers diced
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
3-4 tablespoons yogurt
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
6 slices bread (any type is fine)
Oil
Salt
Mix the rava, vegetables, yogurt, chili powder and salt. Add water to make a thick batter. Taste and adjust the salt and spice. Spread on one side of the bread. In a non stick flat pan or griddle, put a few drops of oil. Put the bread, rava side down, on the pan. Cook on medium heat. Press down slightly with a spatula to cook the rava evenly. If the rava side slides easily when the pan is shaken, it is cooked. When cooked, flip the bread and crisp the other side. You do not need to put oil on this side. Remove from pan and serve hot with green coriander chutney or ketchup. Enjoy with a hot cup of tea or coffee!

I am sending this to Divya's Sunday Snacks: Healthy Snacks Event and Suma's Jihva: Breakfasts, an event started by Indira. Also to Bhagyashri's Cooking for Kids - Filling Breakfasts, an event started by Sharmi of Neivedyam.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I am competitive and more so when the prize is a gorgeous thing like the bracelet that Sanjana has. It was difficult to pick one charm but since cakes are my all time favorite, this cake was born. It's slim (like the charm) and oh so tasty. It a chocolate explosion in your mouth, rich and decadent. And if ever there's a last chocolate cake I can ever have, I want it to be this one. I googled for the recipe, consulted a few recipe books and picked what I like to make it.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate 
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup ground walnuts (or almonds)
6 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon brandy (optional)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 8 inch springform pan and keep aside.
In a large vessel, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and microwave again for 30 seconds. Repeat till all the chocolate is melted. Add butter and sugar to the chocolate and microwave in 30 second intervals, just like chocolate. Then add the vanilla, coffee, walnuts and brandy and mix well. 
Separate the eggs into yolks and whites. Whisk the yolks till they are lighter in color and add to the chocolate mix. Whisk the egg whites till they are form stiff peaks and fold 1/3rd into the chocolate. When fully folded mix the next third and then the remaining third. Pour into the buttered springform pan and bake for 45 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool. The cake will rise while baking and fall when it is cooled.
Serving suggestions:
Serve warm with side of vanilla icecream and a berry coulis drizzled on top
Serve cold sprinkled with powdered sugar on top with a dollop of whipped cream and strawberry
Serve cold with chocolate ganache on top and serve with a dollop of whipped cream and strawberry

I am sending this cake to KO Rasoi’s ‘Wear Your Food’ competition. This cake was inspired by her cake/pie charm. And the garnish by the strawberry charm. And to Divya's The Best Chocolate Cake Event.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Whenever we see ripe red strawberries, the first thought in our mind is - ohh smoothie. Today was another such time. Since I started blogging we (yes dear husband loves to make it) must have been made it at least half a dozen times but I never clicked a picture. Tonight was the exception and I should say sorry for the bad lighting. So here is the recipe - if you can call it that... for two huge servings. This is an approximate recipe. If you like one ingredient more, you can add more of it.

Ingredients:

1 cup milk
1/2 cup ice
1 banana
8-10 strawberries
Sugar if needed

Add all the ingredients except sugar, in a blender and blend till frothy. Taste and add sugar if needed and blend more. Pour into a tall glass, garnish with a strawberry and enjoy!

I am sending this to Madhuri's 'Summer Soothers I: Juices, Shakes, Smoothies' Event.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Khatta Dhokla

This is one of my favorite breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack dishes. Being a Gujarati, it is assumed that I like dhokla and I do, but not khaman, khatta dhokla is my must have. This is an easy recipe with very few ingredients. So here goes...

Update: I should have mentioned about the dhokla flour before. Its a 3:1 mix of rice flour and urad daal flour. You can find it in Indian stores labeled as khatta dhokla flour. If you dont have access to the flour, you can soak the rice and daal for a couple of hours, grind them into a paste and let them ferment overnight. Almost like an idli batter. And if you dont have a steamer or steel plate, they can be made in an idli mould as well. They will just be shaped like idlis :)

Ingredients:

2 cups khatta dhokla flour
Hot water
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 teaspoon chili paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon oil
Pinch hing (asafoetida)
1/2 teaspoon raee (mustard seeds)
1/2 teaspoon sugar for garnish (optional)
Chopped coriander for garnish (optional)

Make a batter with the flour, hot water and yogurt till it is a thick consistency. Let it ferment overnight. When you are ready to steam them, add chili and ginger paste and mix well. Coat a steamer plate or a steel plate with high sides (atleast 1 inch) or cake pan with oil. Heat water in a steamer or a pressure cooker (use without its whistle) and bring it to a boil. Pour about 1/4 inch thick into the plate. Steam for about 10 minutes till the dhoklas are done. Check by inserting a toothpick in the center. Remove from steam and cool for a few minutes.

For seasoning, heat oil and add the hing and raee. When they start to crackle, pour over the dhokla. Cut into squares and serve. Another method to season is to heat oil in a wok, add the hing and raee. Cut the dhokla pieces. When the seasoning starts to crackle, add the dhokla pieces, add sugar and coriander and toss well to coat. Serve hot with green coriander chutney!

I am sending this to Divya's Sunday Snacks: Healthy Snacks Event and Suma's Jihva: Breakfasts, an event started by Indira. Also to Bhagyashri's Cooking for Kids - Filling Breakfasts, an event started by Sharmi of Neivedyam.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Minestrone soup

I say my Minestrone soup as I have added ingredients I like and made the soup. I always liked big pots of soup boiling and this was just that. Hearty chunky soup with protein, vegetables and lots of tomato. I couldn't resist adding a spoonful of cream to round of the flavor but you can omit it if you want. There were some leftovers and the next day it was even yummier. I made this a while ago and as I was going through the drafts, I remembered the last time I had this and thought of Jagruti's event. It was sub zero temperature in Vail, Colorado and we saw this pizza shop. This soup and pizza there was like manna from heaven. It warmed us up and saved us from the biting cold! Needless to say this soup goes to her event. Here is a picture of Vail village, close to where the pizza shop was located.
Ingredients:

1 jar (28 oz) crushed tomato
1 cup cooked kidney beans
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup washed chopped spinach
1/2 cup small pasta, mini penne or broken spaghetti
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic minced 
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons cream (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Salt 
Pepper
Heat oil in a large pot and add the onions and garlic and saute till they are soft. Add the vegetables and saute for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, spices, pasta, salt and about 3 cups of water and boil till the pasta is done. Add cream and most of the Parmesan. Boil for a minute more and serve hot garnished with some Parmesan.

I am sending this to MLLA # 21 hosted by Manju and here is the host lineup for future events. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kadak Muthiya

This one of my favorite snacks. Every time I come back from India, my mother packs a big packet of these. And mind you this is the only food I bring back. Last year when my mom was here, guess what I asked her to make before she left? Yes kadak muthiya. They are crispy filled with methi and are spicy with sweet undertones. They pair beautifully with hot tea and so easy to make. The portion below will make about 20 pieces. 

Ingredients:

2 cups (250 grams) coarse ground/thick wheat flour or semolina (rava)
1/3 cup (~50 grams) besan (gram flour)
3/4 cup methi leaves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons jaggery (chopped in small pieces)
Salt
Oil

Mix the flour, spices and salt. Wash the methi leaves and add the leaves to the flour along with the jaggery. Cut the flour with about 2 tablespoons of oil. The flour should clump when you pinch it. If it doesnt add more oil. Bind into a very tight dough using as little water as possible. To form the muthiyas, take a fistful of the dough and squeeze it to remove air pockets and pack it well. When all the muthiya are formed, deep fry them. First fry them in medium heat to cook the inside and then high heat to crisp them from outside. Eat them while they are hot! The store well in an airtight container for up to a week.

I am sending this to Divya's Sunday Snacks: Healthy Snacks Event. Also to Bhagyashri's Cooking for Kids - Filling Breakfasts, an event started by Sharmi of Neivedyam.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hummus

Joining the falafel platter from yesterday, here is hummus. I like hummus not only for its taste but its versatility as well. A basic version can be made in many different flavors by adding ingredients. I am posting the basic version here... You can use a tablespoon tahini instead of sesame seeds if you like. You will then need a little less oil.

Ingredients:

1 cup raw chickpeas
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Soak the chickpeas overnight and boil them. In a food processor, grind the chickpeas, garlic, sesame seeds, lemon juice salt and pepper adding water as needed to get a smooth paste. Then add one tablespoon of oil at a time and blend, it it becomes a nice creamy dip. Taste for spices and salt. To serve, spread the dip in a bowl. Make an indentation in the hummus with back of spoon and drizzle some olive oil. Sprinkle some pepper on top. Enjoy!

I am sending this to MLLA # 21 hosted by Manju and here is the host lineup for future events.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Falafel

The first time I had falafel was at my cousins place and was hooked. Then there were Mediterranean buffets here in Dallas which had a variety of other salads, dips and vegetables and it soon became one of our favorite cuisines. And other than the deep fried falafel (which I have also baked on previous occasion), the food is healthy and protein packed with the main ingredient being chickpeas. I used to buy falafel mixes before, but after a couple of food network appearances by the dish, I felt confident enough to try it at home. The attempt was very successful and the recipe is a keeper! I made it with tzatziki, two types of hummus and a simple salad. In the recipe I used chili powder instead of green chilies as I made a big batch, enough for two meals. Some times the ground chilies tend to make the dish spicier if stored. This version tastes best only when fried, I tried to bake it but the results were not good.

Falafel 
Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups raw chickpeas
1/2 medium onion
4-5 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons cumin seeds (jeera)
3/4 cup washed coriander leaves
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt
Pepper

Soak the chickpeas overnight. Par boil them. Mix and the ingredients except the baking powder and grind it into a thick pasty batter. Use as little water as possible. Heat oil in a deep pan. Shape the batter with a spoon and drop gently into the oil. Cook till brown on the outside. Serve hot in a pita pocket slathered with hummus and tzatziki. Stuff the salad next. Enjoy!

Simple Salad
Tomatoes
Cucumber
Onion
Peppers (different colors)
Coriander finely chopped
Lemon juice
Salt
Pepper

Take all vegetables in equal quantities and chop in a small dice. Mix with the lemon, salt and pepper. Ready to serve.
Other recipes to follow...

I am sending this to MLLA # 21 hosted by Manju and here is the host lineup for future events.  

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Khatte Aloo (Tangy Potatoes)

Potatoes are my favorite and you will find very few people who don't like it. That makes this dish a perfect dish for a crowd. Its simple and tastes yum. It is also a Jain dish - no onions and garlic, perfect when my in-laws visit.

Ingredients: 

2 pounds baby potatoes (or halved potatoes)
2 tomatoes
2-3 green chilies
1 inch knob of ginger
1 tablespoon oil 
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1/4 teaspoon raee (mustard seeds)
5-6 curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon tamarind concentrate or 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon dhania jeera powder (cumin - coriander)
Pinch turmeric
Salt
Coriander leaves

Boil the potatoes and peel them. Make a puree with the tomatoes, chilies and ginger. In a large pan, heat the oil and add the add the jeera and raee. When they start to crackle, add the curry leaves along with the tomato puree, tamarind and the spices. Cook till the oil separates. Add the potatoes and salt, cover and cook for another five minutes. Add the coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis or parathas.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Paneer Tikka with Gravy and Naan

Paneer tikka is a delicious and a common appetizer. Usually it is made with a tandoori or a red marinade. Since I make most of my curries with tomato / red masala of some kind, the green marinade is a tasty alternative. The coriander gives it a freshness makes the dish a little light. I got the idea of making it a dinner entree from a local restaurant which serves tikka in a naan wrap, with red gravy as a dipping sauce, an item we order every time we go there. Mine is a deconstructed version. The portion below is for two for dinner.

Ingredients:

400 grams, 14 oz or 8 - 10 pieces of paneer approx 1 inch in size
1/2 green pepper (capsicum)
1 tomato 
1/2 onion 
1/2 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
Naan 

For the marinade:

1 1/3 cup or 300 grams thick yogurt (drain regular curd on cheesecloth)
1/2 cup of washed coriander leaves
5-6 leaves of mint (optional)
3-4 green chilies
1/2 inch knob of ginger
1/2 medium onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon Garam masala
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon oil
Salt

Take all the ingredients of the marinade except the yogurt and grind them in a paste. Mix with the yogurt. Keep aside a half cup. Deseed the tomato and the pepper. Cut the onion, peppers and tomato into 1 inch pieces. Mix the paneer and vegetables with the marinade and keep for about 1-2 hours. Soak the skewers in water for about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Wipe and skewer the vegetable and paneer, alternating paneer and veges. Bake on a foil covered baking sheet for about 20-30 minutes, till the paneer edges start to brown.
For the gravy, heat the oil and add the jeera. When it starts to splutter, add the marinade kept aside and any leftover marinade from the vegetable mix stirring continuously on low heat. Add about 3/4 cup of water and bring to a boil.

To serve, place one skewer in a plate, put pieces of the naan and the gravy in a small bowl as individual dipping sauce. The perfect bite? Naan with a piece of paneer and veggies on it, dipped in gravy!

I am sending this to Sri's EFM Theme - Parathas and Gravies / Curries Series. 











Thursday, March 18, 2010

Irish Spread for St Patricks Day! Boxty, Broccoli and Peas Casserole and Irish Coffee

I usually think too much while preparing new recipes. Google and blog search and the works. But this meal was easy. Irish food is meat, cabbage and potatoes. No meat and I don't like cabbage so potatoes it was. And there has to be green... so that is peas, spinach and broccoli. I picked peas and broccoli, nothing against spinach, but I am trying to finish broccoli. And drink? Whiskey of course but not neat, in Irish coffee! So here was the spread, Irish potato pancakes called boxty, broccoli and peas casserole and Irish coffee. Boxty is usually topped with butter and syrup, and eaten along with eggs and bacon, but I cant do syrup on potatoes. So my version had salt and pepper. They were delicious! The portion below for boxty and casserole is for four people.

Boxty
 Ingredients:

1/2 cup potato grated
1 cup potato boiled and mashed
6 tablespoons AP flour
1 egg
1 cup milk
Butter
Salt
Pepper
Mix the potatoes and add the flour to it. Add egg and milk to make a thick batter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat a non stick pan and apply a little butter to it. Pour about a ladleful on the pan. When the side starts to brown flip it and cook on the other side. Serve hot or warm!

I am sending this to Priya's Pancake event

Broccoli and Peas Casserole
Ingredients:

2 cups broccoli chopped
2 cups rice cooked
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons AP flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon cheddar cheese 
2 tablespoon Pepperjack cheese
1/2 cup peas
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 onion chopped
Salt 
Pepper
In a non stick sauce pan, heat the butter and add the flour. Cook for a couple of minutes till the flour becomes a pale brown. Add the milk while continuing to stir. Heat for about 5-8 minutes till it starts to thicken up. Add the cheddar and half of the pepperjack cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well. The cheese sauce is ready. 
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. In a deep pan, heat the oil and add the onions. When the onions turn translucent, add the broccoli and peas. Saute for a couple of minutes. Add the cooked rice and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cheese sauce and mix well. Transfer to a baking dish and top with the remaining pepperjack cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes till the cheese is melted. Serve hot or warm. 
Irish Coffee
 Ingredients:

1 cup brewed coffee
1 teaspoon sugar
1 shot Irish whiskey (I skipped this as it is early evening)
Whipped cream

Pour the coffee into a serving glass. Add the sugar and whiskey and stir well. Top with whipped cream and serve hot!

I am sending this drink to KO Rasoi’s ‘Wear Your Food’ competition. This drink was part inspired by her cocktail and part by coffee cup charm. I am also sending it to Jagruti's Joyful Eating whilst Traveling Event. My Colorado trip was with a bunch of friends and at the end of the day, after skiing, skateboarding, snow-shoeing (I did that) we would hang around at the bar and swap stories about our day. We were together but each one's fall was different :) Along with beer and cocktails, this Irish coffee was perfect. It perked you up to head towards dinner and warmed you enough to brave the snow again. Below is a pic of the ski lifts from the trip...
And the beer ;)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sevaiyya - semi-microwave version

Happy Ugadi and Gudi Padwa everyone. I had this one in drafts and thought today would be a good day to post it. I love sevaiyya, I love the dry version (Gali sev) and this one with milk. This one is a favorite also because unlike basundi, this one is very quick to make. The starch in the vermicelli thickens the milk very quickly. And semi microwave helps. I roast vermicelli and heat the milk in the microwave and finish up in on the stove top as I like the dish to be thick almost like rabdi. The portion below is for 2 dessert portions (if your spouse doesn't have a sweet tooth :-)).

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons vermicelli 
1/2 teaspoon ghee (clarified butter)
Large pinch cardamom powder or 1 green cardamom pod
3-4 pistachios
3-4 cashews
3-4 raisins

Take a microwave proof bowl and put the ghee and vermicelli in it. Mix and microwave for 20 seconds. Mix again and microwave for 10 more seconds. Check the color on the vermicelli. It should be light brown with a few strands a little darker. Mix pour in the milk, add the sugar, cardamom and dry fruits. Heat for 1 minute. Mix and heat for another 30-60 seconds. 
At this point I switch from the microwave to the stove top. Heat a non stick sauce pan and transfer all the contents to it. Boil on high heat constant stirring. The vermicelli becomes soft and the mix should thicken up in 3-4 minutes. Sevaiyya are ready to serve! It tastes great warm but we prefer it chilled.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kasuri Methi Paratha

This is a Punjabi specialty and it is made often in my husband's home. And it pairs well with simple vegetable gravies as it packs quite a punch by itself. Here is my take on it. The quantity below makes about 5 medium size parathas. These can be made in ghee also.

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 cups flour
Oil
Ghee
Salt
Kasuri Methi

Take the flour in a deep bowl and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil to it, called maun. Mix well so that it forms small nuggets of flour-oil mix when you clump it in your hand. If the dough does not clump, add a little more oil. Add water to make a semi-soft dough. It should be firmer than a chapati/roti dough but softer than a bhakri dough. Divide into 5 equal parts.
Roll out the dough into a round. Apply some ghee to one half of the round. Sprinkle some kasuri methi leaves and salt on the ghee. Fold into half. Apply a little ghee and sprinkle a little more salt on it. Fold into quarters. Pat down and roll into triangular paratha. 

Heat a few drops of oil in a non stick pan and put the paratha in. Apply a little oil on the surface on top. After about 20 seconds, flip the paratha and apply a little oil on this surface. When the paratha starts to puff with steam, flip it again and cook till done. Serve hot with vegetable of your choice.

I am sending this to Sri's EFM Theme - Parathas and Gravies / Curries Series. 










Sunday, March 14, 2010

Paneer Butter Masala Pizza

The first time I had this pizza was in Seattle and we were hooked. My cousin had told us about this pizza and we thought it was a joke but it sure exists! This recipe below is my best copy of that pizza. My husband loved my version so much that it is now our preferred pizza. It is a great leftover recipe as well.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Marinara
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup onions chopped
1/2 cup green peppers chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander (optional)
1/3 tablespoon basil
1/4 cup milk (if needed)
Salt and pepper
2 12 inch Pizza bases (I used readymade)
Mozzarella cheese (I had a mix with cheddar)
In a deep pot, heat the butter and add the garlic. Saute till translucent. Add the onions and peppers and continue to saute for a minute. Add the paneer butter masala and the marinara along with the basil, coriander, and pepper. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes. Taste and add salt. If the mix is too thick add some milk. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. This is your PBM pizza sauce.

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees. Spread the PBM pizza sauce on the base. Spread cheese and bake for 20 minutes till the cheese has melted and the edges are crispy. See this or this post for more detailed instructions on baking the pizza. Cut into wedges and enjoy while its hot!
I am sending this dish to Lavi's Global Kadhai: Indian Flavored Pizza an event started by Cilantro. I am also sending it to Jagruti's Joyful Eating whilst Traveling Event.
Below is a picture of Mount Rainier near Seattle. Its a National Park and one of the must-see places when you visit the city. Further below is space needle for which is a famous landmark in Seattle, the top being an observation deck. The view of the city from there is truly spectacular!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Marinara

I use this marinara in most of my pastas. It can also be used as a dipping sauce for cheese sticks, jalapeno poppers or these spinach spirals. You can double or triple this recipe as needed. If you want to use fresh tomatoes, blanch, peel, deseed and chop to use. The recipe below makes about 3 cups.

Ingredients:

1 can (28 oz) crushed tomato
1/2 onion (1/2 cup) chopped
3-4 cloves (1 1/2 tablespoons) garlic minced
1 teaspoon dried basil or 4-5 fresh basil leaves
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 bay leaves (optional)
Salt

Heat oil in a deep pot and add the onions and garlic. When translucent add the tomatoes, herbs and spices. Cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Add salt and sugar and taste.  The sugar helps cut the tartness of the tomato. If the tastes have meshed and the spices are as needed, marinara is ready. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for further use.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Microwave Coffee with Cinnamon whipped Cream

I am partial to eggs, toast and coffee for breakfast. Its easy to whip up and yum. And on days when I feel like pampering myself, I add cinnamon to my coffee. Cinnamon makes me happy. Its like Christmas and holidays. Back to airports where Cinnabon has the smell of cinnamon rolls wafting through the terminals. Makes me feel like I am going on a vacation. Before I start buying tickets, here is how its made...

Ingredients:

1 cup milk
1 teaspoon coffee
1 tablespoon sugar*
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 1/2 tablespoons whipping cream**

Boil the milk in the microwave and add half the sugar, half the cinnamon and coffee. Stir till dissolved. In a bowl, add the remaining sugar and cinnamon to the cream. Whip till stiff peaks form. Pour the coffee in a mug and top with the cream. Sprinkle some cinnamon and coffee on the cream. Serve hot and stir the cream in the coffee and sip as it melts!

* This tastes just as good with honey or agave nectar
** For a low fat version, skip the cream, add all the cinnamon and sugar in the milk and whip the milk with a hand blender to make it frothy.

I am sending this drink to KO Rasoi’s ‘Wear Your Food’ competition. This drink was inspired by her coffee cup charm. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kobi bateta nu shaak (Cabbage and potato vegetable)

As a kid, I did not like cabbage much, I used to call it cabbage-garbage. The potatoes were added so I would eat some of it at least.  Now I do eat cabbage, but I still like potatoes in it. It isnt in my top 5 still but this preparation is well liked by me and my family. 

Ingredients:

1 small potato
1 medium sized head of cabbage
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds 
Pinch hing (asafoetida)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dhania jeera powder (coriander cumin seeds)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt

Wash and peel the potato. Chop into small dice. In a wok, heat the oil and add the hing, jeera and mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add the potatoes. Mix well and cover. Stir after every couple of minutes to assure even cooking. In the mean time wash and chop the cabbage finely. When the potatoes are cooked, add the cabbage to the potatoes and mix well. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat stirring at least twice in between. At this time most of the moisture will have cooked off and the cabbage will reduce in volume to almost half. Add the spices, sugar and salt and stir well. Cook for a minute. You can serve it now or if you like it extra cooked (like in the pic) cook for about 3-4 more minutes. Enjoy with rotis, curd and an Indian style salad.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spinach and Cheese Spirals

I had seen these spirals many times but never made them. I finally got a packet of puff pastry and made these. They are relatively simple to make and take minutes to assemble. I have used frozen spinach but you can use fresh spinach as well. Just blanch and pat dry to make the quantity.

Ingredients:

1 packet puff pastry frozen
3/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed and moisture squeezed out
1/2 cup shredded cheddar and pepperjack cheese
Pinch salt and pepper
Thaw the puff pastry at room temperature. When thawed, roll out on a flat surface. Spread the spinach evenly on the puff pastry. Next sprinkle the cheese, salt and pepper. To roll the pastry, start from the short side and make a tight roll. When you reach the end seal well with water, else it will open up while baking. Cut the roll into 1/2 inch thick slices. Spread parchment paper on the sheet pan to prevent the slices from sticking to the pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 15 mins or till golden brown.

I am sending this recipe to 'Healing Foods Event - Spinach' hosted by Divya and started by Siri. And to Divya's Sunday Snacks: Healthy Snacks Event. 

Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer is a staple in Punjab and every house has its favorite recipe. And I had to have mine with a Punjabi husband. One foolproof recipe which came out right every time. After experiments (too much tomato puree) and suggestions (maybe cream not milk) and observations (kasuri methi is a good addition) here it is - my best duplication of Paneer Butter Masala. It was yum and liked by seasoned Punjabi eaters (my in-laws) so I know its a keeper!

Ingredients:

2 cups paneer cubes
1/2 can (16 oz) tomato sauce
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 medium onion
1/2 inch piece of ginger
3-4 green chilies
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
Pinch asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 teaspoon dhania jeera powder
Salt

Make a paste of onions, ginger and chilies. In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat half the oil and fry the paneer till golden. Drain and keep aside. In the same vessel, add the remaining oil and add the hing and jeera. When the jeera starts spluttering, add the onion-ginger-chilies paste. Saute till all the raw smell and moisture is cooked out about 7-8 minutes. Add the tomato paste, salt, and spices and saute for a minute. Add the milk and cook for 2-3 minutes till it is cooked well and makes a good gravy. Finally add the paneer and the heavy cream and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Take care not to boil the cream else it will separate. Serve hot with naans, parathas or rice!

I am sending this to Shama's Family's Favorite Event and to Sri's EFM Theme - Parathas and Gravies / Curries Series. 









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