Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kathirikai Poriyal / Simple Brinjal Fry | Indian Curry Recipes

I am always in the lookout for more brinjal recipes. DH being a big lover for Ennai Kathirikai Kulambu, Chinese Stir-fried eggplant or Eggplant Parmigiana we cannot get enough of the dishes which has eggplant. This is one particular recipe I arrived at when I was watching the cookery show by Chef Dhamu. I made it for lunch one day and it was a big hit at home. I love how the aroma of the fennel seeds and curry leaves flavours this dish.
Brinjal / Indian eggplants - 8
Fennel Seeds / Sombu - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 4
Onion - chopped - 3/4 cup
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
Black Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Salt - to taste
Oil - 3 tbsp
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - for garnish
Cut the stem off the brinjals and chop them into wedges. Place the cut brinjals in a bowl of water to prevent discoloration. Heat oil in a non-stick kadai over med-high heat and temper the fennel seeds and curry leaves. When the fennel seeds stops sizzling add the chopped onion. Fry until the onion shrinks and turns translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste and follow the 2 minute rule (below). Drain the water from the brinjals and add to the pan. Spread in a single layer and allow it to sear for a couple of minutes. Using a wooden spoon turn over the pieces carefully. Sprinkle some salt and continue cooking until the brinjals are three-fourth done, turning over only occasionally. Add the turmeric, chilli and coriander powders and mix. Check for seasoning and add pepper as needed. Cook until completely done and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot as a side for rice. Best pair for curd rice.
Ginger Garlic paste and the 2 minute rule:
This is a trick I follow to fry ginger-garlic paste without burning them. Before adding the paste reduce the heat to medium. Add the paste and fry continuously for 2 minutes. Perfectly fried, raw smell gone and not burnt!!
Linking this to Cook like a Celebrity Chef event; Taste of the Tropics - Ginger and HITS - Diabetic Friendly and to Veggie/Fruits a Month - Eggplant.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pesto Pasta Primavera & One bowl Eggs Florentine | Easy Pasta Recipes

Our weekend lunches are mostly simple. I would prefer to keep cooking time to minimum to spare more time for cleaning or other chores. If you are looking for a simple and wholesome meal look no further. This is a fusion of two of my favorite pasta dishes, Pesto Pasta and Pasta Primavera. I used the vegetables I had at hand to make this dish. It is a simple dish with whole grain pasta, loads of vegetables complete with a cheesy and filling omelet. 
For the Pasta:
Serves - 2
Spaghetti - 1/4 of a box (angel hair)
Asparagus - 6 spears 
Zucchini - 1/4 cup - julienned
Red bell pepper - 1/2 - julienned
Italian seasoning - 1 tsp
Red pepper flakes - 1/4 tsp or to taste
Basil Pesto or any Herb pesto - 1/4 cup (Click here for Home made Pesto recipe)
Milk - 2 tbsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste (optional since pesto and cooked pasta already has salt)

Cook pasta in 4 to 6 litres of salted boiling water until done. Drain and set aside to cool. Heat oil in wide skillet and toss the vegetables in high heat. Add the red pepper flakes, italian seasoning and salt to taste. Add the cooked cooled pasta and toss well. Remove from heat and add the milk and pesto. Mix well and serve garnished with fresh basil leaves.

One bowl Eggs Florentine

DH being a vegetarian, I made this One Bowl Eggs Florentine just for me. This recipe can easily be doubled. Traditional eggs florentine are poached eggs on a bed of spinach on a cheese sauce. I took a shortcut and made this omelet style eggs florentine with egg, spinach and cheddar cheese. 
Egg - 1
Spinach - a handful chopped
Low fat Milk - 2 tbsp
Grated Cheddar cheese - 2 tbsp
Salt & Pepper - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

In a bowl whisk the egg well until frothy. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Coat a skillet with 1 tsp of oil. Pour the egg-spinach-cheese mixture and let it cook on medium heat for 1 or 2 minutes. Patience is the key to not change this fluffy omelet into scrambled eggs. Anyway, it tastes awesome either way. Flip over with the spatula and continue cooking for another minute. Serve with Pesto Pasta Primavera for a complete meal.

Sending this plate to Pari's Only-Continental event; Your Kitchen in Spring and Let's Cook for Kids.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pad Thai Tofu Lettuce Wraps / Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps

Being an Indian, I love the other Asian cuisines very much since the complexity and levels of flavours are so similar in all of them. Grazing through my menu one could see that I love Thai food and tried quite a number of varieties. One of my favorite go-to dish in thai restaurants is Pad Thai (meaning "Fried, thai style"). While the authenticity of the origin of the dish is still in question, I do not mind where it originated given it being tasty. Another cuisine I love is the Chinese and the PF Chang's Tofu lettuce wraps is an inspiration for making this dish. This recipe is vegetarian and Vegan too.
Serves - 2 as a meal; 4 as an appetizer
Firm Tofu - 1/2 block
Lettuce wraps - as needed (I used iceberg lettuce)
Peanuts - 3 tbsp
Scallions / Spring onion - cut on a bias - for garnish
Lemon juice - for garnish
Oil - 2 tbsp
For Tofu Marinade:
Low sodium Soy sauce - 3 tbsp
Agave syrup - 2 tbsp (see notes below)
Red pepper flakes - 1 tbsp
Grated ginger - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
For Sauce:
Tamarind extract -  3 tbsp (see notes below)
Agave syrup - 1 tbsp (see notes below)
Low Sodium Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
Red pepper flakes - 1 tbsp
Salt - as needed
Press the tofu and remove excess water. Cut into tiny pieces or into desired size. Mix the ingredients for marinade in a ziploc bag and put the cut tofu in the bag. Close the bag and mix well for the marinade to coat the tofu pieces. Store in the fridge until ready to use. Anywhere from 4 to 24 hours is good. 
Dry roast the peanuts until toasted. When done, allow to cool, remove skin and crush into little pieces. Mix the ingredients for sauce and do a taste check. Balance out the flavours according to your palate.
When ready, heat oil in a wide pan and add the marinated tofu. Let it sear for a couple of minutes in med-high heat and then toss. Allow it to sear for couple more minutes and then transfer to a plate. Add the sauce to the same pan and allow it to boil. Reduce the heat and add the tofu and mix. Remove from heat after about 3-5 minutes and garnish with crushed peanuts, lemon juice and spring onions. Serve over lettuce cups.
1. I used big gooseberry sized tamarind to make the extract. If using ready to use tamarind paste, mix about 1 tsp of the extract with water to make 3 tbsp.
2. I have used salt very sparingly since the soy sauce already has salt.
3. I used agave nectar for a mellow sweetness. Feel free to substitute with brown sugar or honey. Increase the amount though, since agave is sweeter than sugar or honey.
Sending these beauties to PJ's Celebrate Women's day; Susan's MLLA#57; Taste of the Tropics - Ginger; Flavours of Cuisines - Chinese;

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mocha Chocolate Ricotta Creme for a Celebration | Easy Dessert Recipes

I have a sweet tooth and I often crave for simple desserts which does not make me spend hours in the kitchen. This is one such recipe I came across. It is similar to ice cream but has just one-third of the calories in ice cream and is actually good for you. The part-skim ricotta cheese fills you up without weighing you down. And how can anything chocolate-flavored does not taste good.
Coming to the "Celebration" part, my space crossed 5 lakh hits last week. Whats more perfect for a celebration than something chocolatey?!!

Preparation time: 10 mins; Serves - 2
Part skim ricotta cheese - 1 cup
Unsweetened Cocoa powder - 1 tbsp
Bittersweet / Semi sweet Chocolate chips - 1 tbsp
Instant coffee powder - 1/2 tsp
Low fat milk - 2 tbsp
Sugar or Sugar substitute - 2 - 3 tbsp

Mix all the ingredients except cheese in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Mix well and allow it to cool. When cooled mix with the cheese and pulse a couple of times in a blender. Serve Chilled.
Linking this yummy goodness to the following events..
Anu's Healthy Recipe Substitution; PJ's Celebrate Women's day; Sumee's Bon vivant - Kid's Delight; Let's Cook for Kids; Nithu's Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids; Jagruti's Choc Full Easter.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Idli Milagai Podi | Side Dish for Idli Dosa

This is another version of podi I make for Idli/Dosa. As I had said in my previous post, here I am with my sister's version of idli podi. Wow, It is going to be 2 years already since my previous post on idli podi. This podi is a staple in my pantry and always will be present when I make Idli and is my most favorite combination for Idli. What is your favorite combo for Idli?
Per standard measurement cup
Toor Dhal - 1 cup
Chana Dhal - 1 cup
Moong dhal - 1/2 cup
Dry Red Chillies - 25-28 
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Salt - 1-1/2 tsp
Dry roast all the dhals one by one until light brown in color. Roast the red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida slightly. Take care not to burn the red chillies. Allow to cool and grind to a slightly coarse powder in a mixie or coffee grinder with salt. Mix with gingelly (sesame) oil and serve with hot idlis.
Linking this to Srivalli's Kid's Delight.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Lettuce and Rajma Soup | Soup Recipes

When I was searching for soup recipes which would be wholesome and make a complete dinner, I landed on Kalyn's recipe. For those who have not checked Kalyn's space, hers is a huge collection of tasty and healthy recipes. If you think healthy has to be boring you should definitely check out her space which would change that idea. I adapted her Chicken, Black Bean and Cilantro soup to make this Lettuce and Red Kidney beans soup.
Serves - 4 for dinner
Lettuce - 4 cups - chopped
Red Kidney beans / Rajma - cooked - 2 cups OR use 1 can rinsed
Chicken stock / Vegetable stock - 3 cups
Water - 2 cups
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - handful - chopped
Juice of half a lime
Oil - 2 tsp
Onion - chopped - 1/2 cup
Celery - chopped - 1/2 cup
Tomato - 2 - chopped
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Salt - to taste
Heat oil in a wide bowl and saute the onions and celery until soft. Add the cumin powder and chilli powder. Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Saute for a couple of minutes before adding the beans and lettuce. Saute until the lettuce wilts. Add the chicken/vegetable stock and heat for 10 mins. Now transfer half the contents to a blender and pulse for a few seconds. Alternatively you could use an immersion blender. Continue cooking until it boils. Now add the cilantro and simmer for 10 minutes. Squeeze the lime juice and continue to simmer for 3 or 4 minutes and remove from heat. Serve hot for a delicious and filling meal.
Linking this soup up to Spotlight - One pot Meal; HITS - Diabetic Friendly event by Sangeetha; Winter Foods - 30 min challenge.