This time at the library, I found loads of books on sale and I was excited to see magazines like Vegetarian Cooking, Parents,Midwest Living etc om sale. I was browsing through one of them when my eyes fell on the Twirly Whirly Pizza in the Parent Magazine. I had also seen it in Madhuram`s page here.
Today was a lazy Saturday and I wanted to cook a light filling italian dinner for my family. I remembered the Pizza Rolls and the asparagus I had bought at the produce section yesterday. Another all time favourite of mine is zucchini which is a versatile vegetable. I made the following:
My all time favourite sauce/dip is the Pesto based sauce. I am a regular at Crazy Bowls and Wraps and I simply love their noodle bowl with broccoli, beans, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and portabella mushrooms drizzled generously with Basil pesto creamy sauce, sprinkled with Asiago Cheese. I have been wanting to recreate this sauce at home and today was my maiden venture on this.
Simply toss in all these ingredients and pulse in the mixer for a couple of seconds.
4 spoons of store bought pesto sauce.
1 spoon of cream cheese.
4 spoons of light sour cream.
Juice from half a lemon.
A dash of pepper.
Pulse this in the mixer for 2 seconds and there you have Creamy Basil Pesto Dip. Slightly dilute this with the salty pasta water to make a sauce.
Tomato Rice is an all time delicacy that we always enjoy. The ingredients required for this are available in our pantry and refridgerator everyday. It`s always a quick fix rice dish that I make quite often. The tomato rice that amma used to make was more simple, but over the years, I have rehashed it to make it a lot more flavourful and ambient with multiple tastes. I am not sure if there is an official recipe for tomato rice, but this one works very well for me.
2 cups of Basmati Rice cooked in 31/2 cups of water and cooled.
Thinly sliced garlic out of 5 pods.
Thinly sliced ginger.
5-6 Vertically sliced green chillies.
5 ripe tomatoes sliced in to long pieces. (I gently scoop out the seeds and water from the tomatoes to keep it dry)
This has been one of my all time favorites since the day I ate it for the first time. Pudina is one ingredient that my mom hardly used to cook with. I have seen two distinct groups as far as this herb is concerned – One that swears by the pudina, and one that will never venture to even try it. My mom was in the latter group, but nevertheless, whenever I used to go to the vegetable market, I used to to love to see freshly made bundles of green pudina leaves, gently sprayed with cold water, near fresh pudgy lemons and succulent gooseberries and mango ginger. Some how vendors in Chennai, always used to group these things together. It would be a sight to watch them laid out fresh against the calming green of the banana leaf all riddled with moisture and water. There is a slow pleasure in watching baskets of fresh colorful vegetables, displayed to sell by street vendors, rather than seeing them packaged in a plastic cover, sealed and artificially preserved in refrigeration.
Pudinawas one such lovely herb , I felt I had to cook with. I was looking for recipes to use this amazing leaf which has many ayurvedic curative properties. My good friend S`s mom used to make Pudina Rice with tamarind and lots of powders, but that was a variant that was pretty strong in masalas and with no veggies. I learnt this variation also from another friend L, who makes it with peas and potatoes. I loved the colours of orange coming through the green rice so I also add carrots, bell peppers and some times cauliflower also if available. Try it, and you`ll love it. It`s an easy option for travel foods. On long drives, this could be made the previous night, and taken for a very filling lunch.
2 cups of basmati rice cooked and cooled.
1 bunch of Mint leaves cleaned.
1/4 cup of coconut powder or dessicated coconut.
6 Green chillies.
1/3 cup of peas.
1/2 cup of diced carrots.
1/2 cup of diced potatoes.
1/3 cup of cauliflower florettes.
1/2 cup of diced green peppers.(Optional)
1/3 cup of cubed Paneer.
Bay Leaf, 2 Cloves, A piece of cinnamon stick, 1 1/2 spoons of powdered cardamom (elaichi), 6-7 halved cashew crescents.
1 spoon of urad dhal, 1 spoon of bengal gram, 2 spoons of Jeera, curry leaves.
In a mixer pulse the pudina leaves, green chillies and coconut powder to a coarse mix. Do not add water.
In a wide mouthed kadai, add 2-3 spoons of ghee and when hot add the seasonings in the following order – Bay leaf, Cloves, cinnamon, elaichi, urad dhal, channa dhal, cashew, jeera and lastly curry leaves.
Allow the seasonings to get fried in the oil and now pop in the vegetables on by one – carrots, potatoes, cauliflowers, bell peppers, and finally the peas.
Add turmeric, salt and allow to get cooked in the oil. Optionally I precook the veggied in the microwave for 4 minutes, so my prep time on the stove is reduced by more than 60%.
When the vegetables are almost half cooked, add the coarse pudina paste and mix it in well. Allow to cook well till the raw smell of the pudina and the chillies leave.
Add the cooled rice to the kadai, add salt and mix well. Take care that when mixing the rice does not break.
Lastly add the cubed paneer slices and serve HOT garnished with coconut and sliced lemon and a side of Cucumber Raitha.
This is another versatile chutney that is a great accompaniment to Dosa, Idlis or even Bread Sandwiches. There is a slight twist on the regular tomato chutney as this has its own fresh ground spices that render a unique taste. It`s a tasty spread and I have used it in my Colourful Stuffed Dosa Rolls. I`ve also added a spoon of flax powder for added fiber.
2 Ripe Tomatoes.
A small sprig of corriander leaves.
A spoon of sambar powder.
Roast in Oil and Powder:
2 spoons of urad dhal.
2 spoons of bengal gram.
2 red chillies.
4-5 curry leaves.
Chop the tomato and carrot in to slices and set aside.
Allow the powdered spices in the mixer to cool.
In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and when hot, add mustard and curry leaves and immediately the slices tomato and carrot pieces.
Add required quantity of salt, turmeric, hing, a spoon of flax powder, and a spoon of sambar powder and allow to cook till mushy. Allow to cool.
Grind the tomato carrot mush, along with the spices and a bunch of cilantro leaves to a chutney consistency. There would be no need to add water, as the tomato already releases water when cooked.
For added flavour, grind with a spoon of coconut milk. Another option is to use Onions.
Dosas are always a pleasure to have at anytime. My daughter and husband, would nt mind dosa everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It`s also possible to variate the dosa with so many different sides like Tangy Tomato Gravy, Tomato Carrot Chutney, Coconut Chutney etc..Many times, I would like to supplement dosa along with some thing a little more healthier. Dosa for lunch becomes a problem as it gets very dry and brittle, and is hardly filling. Stuffed Dosas are a great lunch idea, as they are lined with a healthy chutney and layered with a stuffing that is hearty and filling, making them into bite size pieces.It`s filling, healthy, non-messy and non-fussy!!! Try it and you will love it!
Tomato Carrot Chutney.
Potatoes,Carrot,Onions & Peas filling.
Make soft dosas on the tava and set them aside in a casserole so they remain warm. It`s essential that the dosas for this preparation are SOFT and not brittle.
Place a dosa on your work surface. Line it with the prepared Tomato Carrot Chutney. This forms as a layer for the filling to stick, and also to keep the dosa moisturised.
Spoon out enough filling to cover the top of the dosa. Do not spread near the corners of the dosa as this may spill out when you roll them.
Place a second dosa on the filling. If the dosa is warm, it will immediately stick to the filling.
Carefully roll this and slice it diagonally in to little cartwheels.
Serve with a side of Chutney or a little cup of curd.
This a great picnic snack as well as a travel snack!
The filling could be anything that you have. Depending on the kind of filling, you could make the sauce.
If you have leftovers of a dry subzi, from the morning, you could line the dosa with pudina chutney or sweet tamarind chutney and serve with a cup of curd garnished with chat masala and cilantro.
One of the most staple preparations at home, when I was a little, was the Molagootal. It`s the kerala preparation of the “kootu”….only its not a side.It`s our substitute for sambar or kuzhambu. The molagootal is a slightly bland broth and so we have spicy tangy options to go with it. One such side is the Inji Pulikachal. Simply translated it means “ginger simmered in tamarind”. One of the highlights of Pulikachal is the rush of tastes when you lick even a drop of it…There`s the heat from the chillies, the spice from the ginger, the slight sweet lingering in your mouth from the jaggery and the tanginess from the tamarind. What can one say of the result ??? Heavenly!!!
There is really not a specific measurement – It depends on one`s own requirement of spice, heat and tanginess. These are my indicative measurements. Again, there are differences in the tamarind, chillies etc, so you would need to adjust the proportions accordingly.
1 1/2 cups of Tamarind Juice.
3 Tbsp of Chopped Ginger.
3 Tbsp finely chopped green chillis.
2 spoons of jaggery.
1 spoon of rice flour dissolved in 4 spoons of water.
Salt to taste.
Bengal Gram Dhal, Mustard & Curry Leaves.
In a kadai, add 4 spoons of gingely oil and when hot, add bengal gram, chopped ginger and chopped green chillis.
Allow it to fry in the oil well and then add the mustard and curry leaves.
Now add the tamarind juice, hing, salt and the required turmeric.
Mix well, add the jaggery and allow the gravy to simmer on medium flame for about 30 minutes or so.
At the end, add the rice flour dissolved in water to thicken the pulikachal in a “pachadi” consistency.
As an option, you could allow it to simmer for more time, until all the water evaporates and it gets in to a paste form. This will keep for many days in the refreigerator.
Every evening I have to think of healthy easy quick fix snacks for my husband and daughter…I am not a snack peson, but I have to cater to two completely different palates. There is always the resolve to add as much green leaves and vegetables to our daily food intake. Sometimes I have to give in to certain kinds of snacks like “Bhujia, Chips, etc which are not healthy. So I try to make it up by adding healthy food which my daughter does not prefer to go with the not-so healthy snack, wherever possible. Like this Easy Bhujia Chat. I have added thinly diced raw carrots, raw tomatoes and a spoon of flax powder. I also add a 1/2 cup of pomogranate seeds whenver I have them.
2 cups of Bhujia.
1 carrot diced small.
1/4 onion chopped to small pieces.
1/2 tomato chopped in to small pieces.
1/2 cup of pomogranate seeds.
2 spoons of flax powder.
A dash of squeezed lemon.
Sweet Tamarind Chutney for garnish.
In a bowl add the bhujjia, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, diced carrots and pomogranate seedsand give it a quick mix.
The water from the tomatoes helps in binding the ingredients together.
Add 2 spoons of flax powder and do not worry about it altering the taste. It acts as a catalyst and boosts the fibre in your food, but never changes or alters the taste.
Serve on to cups, add a dash of squeezed lemon and garnish with chopped cilantro and sweet tamarind chutney.
Your kids can help assemble this and its also an easy pre-party snack.
Mushrooms are my all time favourite and I add them to anything I make- Pulavs, side dishes, subzis, pastas, salads etc. Yesterday was an official not-too-much-time-in-the-kitchen-day. So I grabbed some vegetables and my leftover mushrooms and created this rice dish. There is a small difference in the way this dish is made, which makes its taste also different. There are no harsh masalas and heavy garnishing. Its an easy tasting pulav and has no onions or potatoes, so its easy o the waistline. It`s also a quick fix entree so here it goes.
2 cups of Daawat Basmati Rice cooked and cooled.
1/2 cup of Peas.
1/2 cup of diced carrots.
1/2 cup of cauliflower florets.
1/3 cup of diced mushrooms.
1/4 cup of chopped mint leaves.
1 tsp garam masala.
1 tsp of chilli powder.
Pinch of turmeric.
1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder.
2 spoons of powdered old fashioned oats.
Seasoning: Bay Leaf, Cloves (2), Somph and curry leaves.
Take a wide mouthed kadai and pour about 2 spoons of oil. Add the cloves, somph, bay leaf, cinnamon powder and curry leaves in that order and allow them to fry in the oil for a couple of seconds.
Next, add the vegetables – carrots, cauliflowers, peas,turmeric and the required salt for the vegetables.
You could pre-cook the cauliflower and the diced carrots in the microwave so it lessens the time in front of the stove.
Stir in the chopped mushrooms and then sprinkle the chopped pudina, and red chilli powder over the vegetables and mix it in well.
After a few minutes, add the cooked rice to the vegetables. Add the garam masala and salt for the rice and mix it well. Take care that the mushrooms do not break, so stir it carefully.
Weekends are always a time to sit back and laze, read your favourite books, watch your favourite tv shows, listen to the music you`ve always wanted to, eat simple delicious home cooked food and enjoy a lazy siesta…I never prefer to spend a lot of time in the kitchen over the weekends as this would essentially take time away from my family. Weekends are, therefore Khichdi times…I would prepare easy khichdi and some subzi on the side to go with it. As one item is essentially easy and the process of cooking is done inside my pressure cooker, the subzi gets done along with the khichdi.
Sometimes, when its cold, and I want to have comfort food, Khichdi it is. My daughter loves it, as she helps me in the preparation. I dollop an extra spoon of ghee on her serving, so she is thrilled. It was this one time when she was three, and we had been to the Saravana Bhavan Gujarati Restaurant in T.Nagar. Chennai. They serve this amazing simple thali, and the main course would be some pulav and this khichdi. He would bring it steaming hot, in one of those heavy silver pots, and serve huge ladlefulls on our plate and top it generously with ghee. The taste is simply heavenly and combined with the fact that its piping hot – It was sweet heaven. Since then, this dish has been a regular in my weekend cooking.
Your kids and family would definitely love this mushy khichdi so, go ahead and try it out this weekend
1 cup raw rice.
1/2 cup toor dhal.
1/2 cup moong dhal.
2-3 pods of garlic.
1 inch piece of ginger
5-6 green chillis
2 spoons of jeera
3-4 spoons of ghee.
In a pressure cooker, add 1 cup of water and switch on the flame. Measure out the rice and the dhals together in a container. Wash the rice and dhals and add water in the ratio: 1 : 3 1/2. This means for the 2 cups ( 1 cup rice + One cup Dhals) we need to totally add about 7 cups of water. Add adequate salt.
Allow 3-4 whistles in the cooker and switch off.
Take the mortar and pestle and crush the ginger, garlic and chillis together to form a coarse mix. We don`t grind it in the mixer, as this would overpower the taste of the khichdi.
In the meantime, take a seasoning kadai and add 3 spoons of ghee. When the ghee begins to get hot, add jeera, the garlic-ginger-chillies mix, and the curry leaves.
Allow a few seconds for the seasonings to get fried in the ghee and then pop it over the cooked khichdi. Mix well. I
If you feel that the consistency is not “mushy” , you could add 1/2 cup of milk.
Serve Hot with a spoon of ghee and a side of Channa and Mango Thokku.
Sending steaming hot bowls of Khichdi and Pickle to Recipes for the rest of Us – Dinner, the brainchild of Ramki of One Page Cookbooks , and hosted by Siri of Siri`s Corner.