Thursday, May 27, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus + tips for other flavors

Now this is a easy post. Just like the recipe. I have already covered Hummus in my previous post and this is a variation of that. The red peppers add flavor without a lot of heat and roasting them adds a little smokiness and the hummus doesn't have a raw taste. You can also make other flavored hummus' the same way - garlic, zucchini, tomato. For a coriander hummus, add a 1/2 cup of chopped coriander leaves.


The ones in this post
1 large red pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil 
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or paprika

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the core, seeds and stem. Cut into quarters. Take the olive oil and coat the pepper with it. Place the pepper on a sheet pan and roast till the skin starts to pop and blacken, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and peel off the skin. Follow the procedure from the hummus post and blend along with the other ingredients and chili powder till creamy. To serve, remove in a bowl, make a depression with a back of a spoon and pour some olive oil in the space. Garnish with a sprinkle of chili powder. Serve with pita chips, falafel or crudites.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dal Makhani (Lentils in Butter)

My husband's good friend, S, makes the most delicious version of dal makhani I have ever eaten and mind you, I have eaten a fair share. I have begged and pleaded for a recipe but like all expert cooks, he just goes by gut. His recipe? He just adds every spice he has. Well considering that we don't have the same spice box, here is my version which I have tried to make as similar to his as possible. My husbands verdict - oh this is great, creamy but not mushy, don't change anything ever. That is good enough for me. So here is dal makhani my way...


To boil lentils with:

1 cup black lentils
1/2 cup kidney beans
1/2 inch ginger root, cut in 2 pieces
2 green chilies, slit through the middle
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Little salt

To make the daal:

2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onions chopped fine
1 large tomato chopped fine or 1/2 cup tomato puree
2 green chilies choppped very fine
1 inch knob of ginger grated very fine
Pinch hing (asafoetida)
1/4 teaspoon raee (mustard seeds)
3/4 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon cream

Wash the lentils and beans in cold water. Then add the other ingredients listed and 3 cups of water. Pressure cook for 2 whistles and allow the cooker to cool naturally. When cooled, remove the ginger and chili from the lentils and beans.
In a large pot, heat the 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. After it melts add the hing, raee and jeera. When they splutter, add the onions, chilies and ginger. Saute till onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and spices and cook for a few minutes. Add the cooked lentils and beans along with the water in which they were cooked. You may need to add additional water to reach the desired consistency. Cook on low heat for about 20-30 minutes for maximum flavor. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and cream. Mix well and serve hot with roti's and sabzi, or rice.

PS: There is a giveaway going on at my site - you have a few days more to participate. Please leave a comment!

And SS sent me a lovely award. Thanks so much! Its posted under Awards and Winnings page. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Almost Caprese Panini

Now the purists will balk at this version and rightly so because there is nothing as tasty as a fresh mozzarella, juicy tomato and fragrant basil on a soft focaccia roll. But my husband doesn't like them. He won't touch them - too bland for him. So this version was born... like a compromise between caprese sandwich and a pesto panino. It is delicious and the garlic and Parmesan from the pesto with the warm gooey mozzarella take it to a different level. The portion below makes four sandwiches. Ideally from a 1 1/2 inch ball of mozzarella you can make 8 slices. And I get about 8 slices from a medium roma tomato too.


8 slices Italian bread
8 slices mozzarella 
1/2 cup (or 4 tablespoons) basil pesto
2 medium roma tomatoes
Butter (optional)

Spread about a tablespoon of pesto on the slice of the bread. Layer 4 slices of tomato next with 2 slices of mozzarella after that. Cover with another slice of bread. Butter the outer side of both the breads, it will give it good color. Place in a panini grill or on a flat frying pan with some flat weight on top. Grill till golden on each side. Slice and enjoy with hot cup of tea or coffee.

Now a days with the weather warming up, we have our evening tea on the patio with some easy snack like this one. Everything tastes better with the warm (but not hot yet) evening sun shining on us. Try it and let me know how you enjoyed tea on the patio or balcony...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kesar Pista Kulfi (Indian Saffron and Pistachio Icecream)

Kulfi is a household favorite and something my mother made every summer. The freezer always had some delicious kind of kulfi present. Growing up and even now, malai was my favorite flavor with kesar pista a close second. This kulfi recipe is a memory of that and of a favorite place to eat it. Parsi Dairy Farm. They were creamy, cold and delicious and our favorite after a plateful of chat, they also made yummy chats and flavored yogurts. Parsi dairy made kulfi in discs and when you ordered it, they unwrapped it from parchment, sliced it up and gave you a wooden spoon cut as a spike. I (and my mother) always make kulfi to resemble those cubes and here is my attempt at making their kesar pista kulfi. Mine is a little heavy on the dryfruit, you can reduce the amount without affecting the taste. Also when it is warm, it should taste a little extra sweet, that way you know that it will be the perfect sweetness when frozen. Recipe below makes about 6 portions.


2 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup milk powder
1/2 can condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
7-8 strands saffron
1-2 tablespoons raisins
1/2 cup pista chopped
1/4 cup chopped almonds and cashews

Heat the milk and bring it to a boil. Remove 1/4 cup in a separate cup and soak the saffron in it. In the remaining boiling milk, add the milk powder and condensed milk. Stir well and smooth out any lumps. Add the cardamom, raisins, dry fruits and the milk and saffron mixture. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Cool it and pour it in a thali (Indian metal plate with edges) or a cake pan about 1/2 inch thick. Freeze for 4-6 hours till solid. Cut with a heavy knife (slim flimsy ones will break at the handle - I have done that) into quarters in the mold and remove slice onto a serving dish. If it is difficult to cut into or unmold, leave it on the counter for a minute or two. Slice it in cubes in the serving dish and serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Triple Bean Southwestern Burger, my 100th post and a Giveaway

Yay! I reached my 100th post. And for this post I deliberated between sweet and savory. My friends would guess sweet but I wanted some big, heaping and oh so craveable. And voila here is my triple bean burger. Its made with beans and spices and layered with the usual suspects, lettuce  and tomato but adding a new dimension is sauteed onions and peppers with a chipotle mayo. The result is a spicy burger with melt-in-the-mouth patty, spice from the mayo and onions saute and crunch from lettuce/tomatoes making it a cannot-put-down burger. The portion below makes 7-8 burgers.


For the burgers:

1 can red kidney beans
1 can cannelini beans
1 can black beans
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 green bellpepper chopped fine
1/2 cup jalapenos (pickled) chopped fine
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Oil to shallow fry


1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
1 orange (or red) bell pepper julienned
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos chopped fine
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon chipotle chili juice or chili sauce
1 ball (1 1/2 inch diameter) Queso oahaxa cheese
2 tomatoes sliced (as thick or thin as you want)
7-8 burger buns

Heat oil in a non stick pan and add the onions, garlic and peppers. Saute till translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the jalapenos. Rinse the beans properly and drain well. Add to the onions mixture and mix. Mash with a potato masher till all the beans are mashed. Don't over mash else the mix will become sticky and mushy. A few half-mashed beans are fine. Add chili powder, seasoning and salt and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Keep aside to cool. Make patties with the bean mixture and shallow fry them in oil till crispy on each side. I made the bean patties using a round mold as it is easy to pack down the mixture in it. Use a non stick frying pan / griddle. 

In another pan, heat the oil and the onions, peppers and jalapenos. Saute till translucent and add salt. Keep aside.

Mix the mayonnaise with the chili and keep aside. Slice the cheese and keep aside.

Take the base of a burger bun and apply the chili mayo on it. Spread some lettuce on it and place the bean patty on that. Top with cheese slice and put a large spoonful of onion-pepper-jalapeno saute on top. The heat from the burger and saute will slowly melt the cheese. top with tomato slices and cover with the top bun. Take a huge bite and savor the flavor. A side of fries and soda makes it perfect.

Now for the giveaway... I was recently contacted by CSN stores for a $50 one time use gift card giveaway for use in any of their online stores. CSN has over 200 online stores that carry everything from bedroom decor to tv stands to children’s toys and furniture! Check out all their stores here! If kitchen items are what you are looking for then these may catch your eye... - this kitchen utensil set comes with FREE shipping! - set of 4 Reco stoneware soup bowls! - stoneware Certified International Firenze Ivory Round Baker with Lid

CSN’s mission statement:
Our Mission To build a lasting organization that succeeds and grows by making online shopping rewarding for our customers, partners and employees.

So leave a comment, become a follower, tweet and blog about about the giveaway for chances to win. Leave separate comments for each of the above. I will be pick the winner along in my 106th post by using

Friday, May 14, 2010

5 minute breakfast - Scrambled Eggs and Toast

There are some mornings when the sight of the kitchen makes me groan. But the stomach rumbles and I look into the refrigerator. This dish satisfies on those days. Along with coffee this is the perfect breakfast on a lazy morning when the weather outside is calling you... The portion below is for 2 people. 


5 eggs
2 tablespoons salsa
1/2 tablespoon butter or ghee
1 tablespoon coriander chopped
4 slices bread

Heat a non stick frying pan and add the butter. Crack an egg in a bowl and add to the pan. Repeat with remaining eggs. Always crack each egg separately, so if you have a bad egg you can toss it out. Add the salsa. Slowly start mixing in the egg from the edges inwards. Scrape and mix. Add salt, pepper and coriander. The eggs should be cooked in about 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Toast the bread slices. Voila your scrambled egg and toast breakfast is ready. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fangavela Mag (Sprouted Moong beans)

The moong beans were staring at me from the pantry for a long time. But I had very specific plans with these... I wanted to sprout these to make one of my most favorite dishes, sprouted moong seasoned with garlic, cumin and lemon. Its a simple preparation but tastes really great.


1 cup moong 
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1/4 teaspoon raee (mustard seeds)
Pinch hing (asafoetida)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dhania-jeera powder (cumin coriander)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Coriander for garnish (I didn't have any so I skipped it)

To sprout the moong:

Soak the moong in about 2 cups water overnight. The next morning, drain most of the water and cover with a moist cloth or thick kitchen towels like viva or bounty. Then depending upon the temperature of room, the amount of sprout length wanted, keep the covered for 24 to 48 hours. Here are my pictures as the moong sprouted, 12 hours, 24 hours and 48 hours. You can store it in the refrigerator for upto a week in an airtight container. 
To make the moong:

Microwave the moong on high for about 5-8 minutes on high till they are cooked. Heat oil in a wok, add hing, jeera and raee. When they start to splutter, add the garlic. Saute for a minute and add the moong to it. Add the spices and the salt and stir well. Cook for a minute. Just before serving add the sugar. Add the coriander and serve hot with a squirt of lemon.

Serving suggestions:
Serve it with kadhi and rice - yum!!
Can also be eaten as a bhel, add some chopped onions, date and tamarind chutney and sev.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dudhi chana ni daal

There are some dishes which remind you of home more than others. Dudhi chana ni daal is one of them. One of the quintessential Gujarati dishes, no one in school or among our friends here had heard of it. So when I would meet cousins and relatives here, this was high on my request list. Now I do make it myself and enjoy it with hot fluffy rotis or fragrant basmati. It is also a 2-in-1 meal where the daal and sabzi's are cooked together. Add a side of mango pickle or papads for some spice.


1 cup chana daal
1 1/2 cups (4 inch long and 3 inches thick piece) dudhi (bottle gourd)
1 tablespoon oil
Pinch hing
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1/4 teaspoon raee (mustard seeds)
2 cloves garlic
1 inch knob of ginger, minced
3-4 green chilies, slit through the middle
1/6 teaspoon turmeric
1 square inch jagerry cube
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
Coriander for adding in and garnish

Soak the chana daal for atleast 2 hours. Peel and cube the dudhi. Pressure cook the daal along with the dudhi for 2 whistles. Let the cooker cool naturally. In a large pot, add the daal and 3 cups of water. Add more or less water to achieve desired consistency. Add the chilies, ginger, jagerry, turmeric and chili powder and bring to a boil. In a small seasoning vessel, heat the oil. Add hing, jeera, raee. When it starts to crackle, add the garlic and saute for a minute. Add the dudhi and the seasoning to the daal (after 1st boil). Add salt to taste and boil for 5-10 minutes on medium heat. Finally add a tablespoon of chopped coriander. Serve hot garnished with some more coriander.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mango trifle

Summer is the season for Mango. I remember fondly the many number of luscious Alphonso mangoes savored in hot Mumbai summers. We always bought raw mango and then had a makeshift hay corner where they were ripened. My father would pick out the ripest and most fragrant mangoes everyday for us to eat. Not here. We get a Mexican hybrid mango which is good but not the Alphonso, so I usually skip them. This particular mango was a better one than most I have seen... the trifle does it justice. The cake is a nice soft vanilla angel food cake and the custard is a cardamom one. If you like it more mango-ey, you can make a mango custard as well. 


4 slices plain cake, pound or angel food, cut to size of the serving bowls
1 large mango, cubed, reserve the juice

For the custard:

1 tablespoon corn flour
1 cup milk
2-3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 teaspoon cardamom powder

In a non stick deep bowl, heat the milk. As it comes to boil, remove two tablespoons in a separate bowl and add the corn flour in it and mix so that there are no lumps. Return to the boiling milk along with the sugar and cardamom. Boil till it thickens and reaches custard consistency. Remove from heat, and strain to remove any lumps. Cool. 

In individual trifle bowls, layer the bottom with a slice of the cake. Soak with 1/4 of the mango juice. Layer 1/4 of the cubed mango next. Then layer with 1/4 of the prepared custard. Repeat the layers. Chill in the fridge for two hours for the flavors to mingle. Serve cold.

I am sending this to Anupama's Mango Moods event. This dish also goes to Priya's Cooking with Seeds - Cardamom.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pina Colada

This is one of the first cocktails I ever had. And the cocktail I had for the longest time before chocolate took over! I had my first pina colada in Florida and now whenever I have this it reminds me of beaches, vacations and good times. Well I am blogging about this before summer is for three reasons, first is Jagruti's Joyful Eating whilst Traveling event for which I am thinking about the best travel-food memory, and second is Indrani's Spotlight: Summer foods and drinks and Srivalli's Thanda Mela. I cannot think of a cocktail dearer than this one and with better memories. So this one goes to their events. 


2 oz pineapple juice
2 oz coconut cream
1 1/2 oz light rum or malibu coconut rum (skip this to make a virgin version)
1 cup crushed ice

Blend all the ingredients and serve in a hurricane glass (for authenticity). Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a cherry. Enjoy and dream of beaches!
Below are some of the photos from our travels, Sarasota, Miami and West Palm Beach.
Sarasota beaches have white sands with 7 different types of textures as you move along the coast. The east coast sands, Miami and West Palm beach are brown.


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