Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sesame Crusted Tofu Salad with Broccoli and Bell Pepper | Indian Tofu Recipes

I could use all the protein I get from vegetarian dishes since DH is a pure vegetarian. Tofu is a great source of vegetarian protein, hence I am always in the lookout for more Tofu Recipes. I have started experimenting with substitution method for recipes. This recipe here is which I have tried with potatoes from Sailu's space a couple of years ago. It stuck me, why not try tofu in this. And so I arrived at this tasty delight. I am linking this up for Vegan Thursdays.

Adapted from Sailu's recipe
Serves - 2-3
Broccoli - 1 crown - precooked/steamed for about 2 mins  
Red Bell Pepper - 1
Red pepper flakes - 1/2 tsp
Extra firm Tofu - 1 block - pressed and cut into 1/2" cubes
Sesame seeds - 2 tsp - toasted (White/Black can be used)
For the marinade:
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Almond meal - 2 tsp (optional)
Oil - for pan frying
For the Sauce:
Oil - 1 tsp
Ginger - minced - 2 tsp
Garlic - minced - 2 tsp
Tomato Ketchup - 2 tsp (optional, I added for a slight sweet touch)
Chilli Sauce - 2 tsp (I used Sriracha)
Soy Sauce - 2 tsp (I used Low Sodium variety)
Lime juice - 2 tsp (Vinegar can be substituted)
Salt - to taste
Mix the tofu pieces with the marinade. Heat oil (1 tsp per batch) in a wide pan  and fry the tofu in batches. Make sure all the sides are browned. Set aside. Add the broccoli, red pepper with chilli flakes and toss in high heat for a minute. Set aside. In the same pan, heat 1 tsp of oil and add the ginger and garlic. Fry for about 2 minutes in medium heat. Throw in the other ingredients for the sauce and allow it to boil. Add the fried tofu, remove from heat and toss well. Add the toasted sesame seeds and mix to coat. Serve it mixed with the broccoli and red bell pepper as a salad.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Vazhakkai Varuval / Plantain Fry | Indian Side Dishes

Vazhakkai is not something that is frequently featured in my kitchen. I pick this humble vegetable rarely when I go shopping and when I pick it goes for making bajjis (batter coated fritters).  This time I thought I would cook something other than bajjis and to please a bajji lover at home I made this simple fry. Also check out my Vazhakkai Podimas which I had made earlier.

Plantain / Vazhaikai - 1
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Water - a few teaspoons
Cut the ends of the plantain and peel the skin. Cut into two and drop into boiling water and cook in medium heat for about 10-15 minutes or until a knife inserted can pass through it easily. When done, drain and allow it to cool. Mix the other ingredients to form a paste. Slice the cooled plantains to thin discs and mix with the spice paste. Set aside covered for 10-15 minutes. In a flat pan, heat 1 tsp of oil and place the plantain pieces and cook about 3-4 minutes on each side or until crispy. Serve as an appetizer or a side for rice and curry. I could just snack on these beauties.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bottle Gourd Sambar / Suraikai Sambar | Sambar Recipes

Looking at my Menu Page I found that I hadn't posted the famous south-Indian Sambar recipe. Sambar features almost at least once in a week in our home for rice and the day I make idlis. Though I make this way sometimes, most frequently I follow the simple Pressure cooker method (recipe coming soon). If you are looking for a basic sambar recipe, I bet you will love this. 

Toor Dhal - 1 cup
Onion - 1 cup
Tomato - 1
Bottle gourd - 1 cup - cubed
Tamarind - size of half a lemon - juice extracted to make 1 cup
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 5
Sambar powder - 1 1/2 tsp (I used Madras Sambar powder)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Wash and soak the toor dhal with plenty of water for 30 mins. Cook with turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp salt until soft and mashed when pressed. Cook the bottle gourd pieces with water in a closed pan for about 10 minutes or soft. I used a MW oven to cook for about 3-4 minutes. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter the mustard seeds and urad dhal. Add the curry leaves, asafoetida followed by the onions. Cook the onions until soft. Add the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and cook until mushy. Add the sambar powder and fry in medium heat until the raw smell of the masala disappears. Add the cooked bottle gourd pieces, cooked mashed dhal and tamarind extract. Adjust for salt and allow it to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Serve over rice.
The tamarind smell should vanish in the cooked sambar. 
The amount of sambar powder varies on its spice level. The brand I used is little on the spicier side so I just used 1 1/2 tsp.
You may also add a quarter tsp of chilli powder, though that is completely optional.
Other vegetables that can be used are drumstick, carrot, beans, ash gourd etc.
A combination of the above vegetables can also be used.
Linking this to Vardhini's Dish it Out.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Simple tomato rice | Indian Rice Recipes

Tomatoes are in abundant this summer. I am in summer vegetables indulgence spree and tomatoes are one of them. This simple tomato rice is another one of DH's recipe. It is an easy to make rice recipe (a true bachelor version) with tomatoes and other simple spices available in the pantry. 
Serves - 2
Basmati Rice - 1 cup (1 1/2 rice cooker cup)
Tomatoes - 4 ripe
Onion - 1/2
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon - 1" piece
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp (Use 1-1/2 tsp if using kashmiri chilli powder)
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste

Cook rice and spread in a plate to cool. Heat oil in a kadai and add the cloves and cinnamon. After about half a minute add the onion and fry until light brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry in medium heat for 3 minutes. Now add the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and saute until cooked through and mushy. Add the turmeric powder, garam masala and chilli powder. Mix well and allow the spices to cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add salt to taste and add the cooked cooled rice. Remove from heat and mix gently until the tomato masala is coated uniformly in the rice. Serve hot with any curry of your choice.
Adding a handful of mint leaves before adding rice would be lovely. I just reserved it for garnishing.
Another simpler method is to prepare the masala in the pressure cooker and add the rice to it and pressure cook. It becomes an easy one pot meal then.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Kothamalli Thuvayal / Coriander Chutney for Rice | Indian Chutney Recipes

I picked up three bunches of coriander leaves on my grocery shopping last time because they were on sale. Firstly, it is one of my favorite herbs, secondly, It is summer and the fresh herbs are in abundant and I reckon I should use it to the fullest. This is a simple thovayal recipe, a great side for rice. Substitute cilantro with curry leaves or mint leaves. The recipe works great for those too.
Coriander leaves / Cilantro - 1 bunch
Grated Coconut - 1/4 cup
Urad dhal - 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Garlic - 2 big cloves - halved
Dry Red Chillies - 5
Tamarind - size of a small gooseberry
Oil - 2 tsp
Heat oil in a kadai and add the urad dhal, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garlic and red chillies with tamarind. Fry in medium-high heat until the urad dhal turns light brown. Add the coconut and fry for a minute. Reduce the heat, add the coriander leaves and fry for another minute. Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Grind to a smooth paste adding a little water. The chutney should be of thick consistency. Great side dish for idli, dosa, chapathi or bread. I love a dollop on hot rice with a few drops of gingelly oil. Divine!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sweet Potato Fry | Indian Side Dishes

Grandma used to make little dumplings with boiled sweet potatoes with grated coconut and ghee for use for evening snack. That was the only way I had sweet potatoes until I started cooking. I started incorporating it in parathas, baked chips with them and my recent favorite is this simple stir fry. It is a little on a sweeter side, so would make a good side for a spicy main course.
Serves - 2
Sweet potato - 1 medium - cut into 1/2" pieces
Salt - to taste
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp (based on spice level)
Oil - 2 tbsp
Heat oil in a pan and add the cut sweet potato pieces. Mix and fry for about 10 minutes mixing occasionally. When a crust forms, add the spice powders and salt and continue to cook in med-high flame until it is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Mine took about 10 minutes after adding the spice powders. Serve as a snack or side.
Notes: It is good to cut the sweet potato into same size to help in even cooking

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mushroom Briyani | Indian Rice Recipes

Mushroom is another one of my favorite vegetables and I don't fail to pick up a packet when I go to the store. In fact, my blog also has quite a few mushroom recipes. It is most versatile and can be used in omelets, frittatas, casseroles, curries, pizza topping and in briyanis.  This is a basic briyani recipe with a simple spice paste which can be used for vegetable or chicken biryani as well.
Serves - 2
Brown Basmati Rice / White Basmati Rice - 1 cup (1 1/2 in rice cooker cup)
Mushroom - 5 oz / 150g
Onion - 1 cup - thinly sliced
Ginger garlic paste - 1 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Mint leaves - a few
Make a paste:
Green chilli - 2 or 3
Cinnamon - 1" piece
Cloves - 3
Fennel seeds - 3/4 tsp
Khas khas / White poppy seeds - 1/2 tsp
Grated Coconut - 1 tbsp heaped
Clean the mushrooms and slice into thick pieces. Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes in plenty of water. Make a smooth paste of the ingredients under "make a paste". Heat oil in a heavy pan or pressure cooker and saute the onions until light brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes in medium heat. Add the ground paste and saute until the raw smell disappears, about 4-5 minutes in medium heat. Add the mushroom, drained rice, mint leaves, salt and water. Add 1-1/2 cups for brown basmati rice. Cover and pressure cook until done. Serve with raitha or any curry of your choice.
1. If using white rice, use a little shy of 2 cups water and cook for 2-3 whistles.
2. For brown rice, cook for 5-6 whistles in pressure cooker.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Guacamole is a favorite dip for chips or a yummy spread for bread/burritos and is an indispensable part of the Mexican cuisine. As a part of Vegan Thursdays this month here is a simple yet scrumptious recipe for guacamole. 

Ripe Avocado - 1 big
Red Onions - chopped - 2 tbsp
Tomato - chopped - 2 tbsp
Jalapenos - chopped - 1 tsp
Cilantro - leaves from 4 twigs - chopped
Lime - 1
Salt - to taste
Cut the avocado lengthwise around the pit. Twist one half to separate the halves. Remove the pit with the help of a knife or spoon. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and mash with a fork. Add the other ingredients and give a good mix. Keep covered with a plastic wrap in the refrigerator until ready to serve to avoid browning. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Strawberry Banana Smoothie | Summer Drinks

Strawberry and Banana is a delightful combo isn't it? Strawberry giving the sweet and slightly tangy flavour wonderfully masks yet complements the banana's taste. I love this combo and have tried it in a number of different ways, the most frequent one is this smoothie. You can really play around with the proportion of the fruits-yogurt-milk and still end up with a great tasting smoothie.

Serves - 2
Strawberries - 6 or 8
Banana - 1 big
Greek Yogurt - 3/4 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Sugar / Any sweetener of your choice - 4 tsp

Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Serve chilled garnished with strawberries and a drizzle of melted chocolate.
Linking this up to Jagruti's My Bowl of Snack.