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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Creamy Cheesy Pasta


My kid started having pasta after 1 and half years. I used to prepare my own pasta sauce, the kid loved penne pasta with white sauce. Here is the recipe for creamy cheesy pasta.

Ingredients:
  • Pasta: 200 gms / 2 cups (penne, fusille, spaghetti, fettucine)
  • Cheese (Mozzarella / Parmesan), grated: 1 cup
  • Milk: 1 cup (as required)
  • Garlic, finely chopped: 2-3 flakes
  • Butter: 1 tbsp
  • Olive oil / white oil: 1 tbsp
  • Oregano: 1 tsp (optional)
  • Salt to taste
Method:
  1. To prepare White Sauce, blend ½ the cheese & milk together in a blender to form a creamy cheesy mixture. Keep aside.
  2. Melt butter in a non-stick pan. Add chopped garlic and sauté for a minute.
  3. Gradually add a flour (a little at a time), mix with the butter, stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed.
  4. Slowly add milk & chesse mixture to the butter & flour mixture, while stirring continuously. Add a little pinch of oregano and mix well.
  5. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta. Cook al dente (soft but not not too soggy) following the timing instructions on the package.
  6. Drain the pasta, toss immediately with the cottage cheese mixture, and serve hot.
Sending this delightful and light pasta dish to Foods For Stages Of Life-Cooking For Infants & Toddlers event by Radhika & Sudeshna, EC's WYF-Light Meal and Sara's Say Cheese event...

Gulab Jamun - ICC (October Challenge)


Gulab Jamun is a delectable sweet famous among Indian people, specially prepared during festive seasons like Deepawali and happy occasions. I have already posted a recipe on Gulab Jamun, you can catch it here.

Srivalli proposed 3 different ways of preparing gulab jamuns, she choosed from the yum blog, Indo and Alka's blog. I followed the recipe as stated in the Yum Blog, sending this tempting & delicious Indian sweet to Indian Cooking Challenge for the month of October.

Ingredients:

  • Khoya – 1&1/2 cups
  • Maida – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 3 cups (if you want excess syrup, increase by a cup)
  • Water – 1 cup (increase if you’re increasing sugar)
  • Cooking Soda – 3 pinches
  • Cardamom – 4 pods
  • Saffron leaves – a few
  • Oil – 1 cup (for deep frying)

Method

  1. Combine sugar and water in a flat bottomed broad pan and simmer on a low heat until sugar dissolves. Add cardamom powder and saffron leaves and remove from fire.
  2. Knead khoya, maida and soda and quickly shape into balls. (Apply a little ghee to have a smooth texture).
  3. Heat oil on a medium flame. Fry the jamuns till golden brown over a low to medium flame, keeping oil temperature uniform.
  4. Drain the jamuns and soak in the warm sugar syrup. Serve the jamuns after half an hour

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Akuri (Parsi Scrambled Eggs)

I have prepared scrambled eggs before with various chopped vegetables (tomatoes, capsicums, boiled beans & carrots) and spices. While searching for more Parsi dishes, I came across Akuri, a spicy scrambled eggs recipe, a popular Parsi breakfast dish prepared with spices including cumin seeds, black pepper and chopped onion, tomatoes, ginger and garlic. It is served with pav / double roti.

Ingredients:
  • Eggs: 6
  • Milk: 1/4 cup
  • Onions, finely chopped: 4 medium
  • Tomatoes, finely chopped: 2 medium
  • Capsicum, finely chopped: 1 medium
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Garlic cloves, finely chopped: 2
  • Ginger, finely chopped: 1/2"
  • Green chillies, finely chopped: 2
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves, finely chopped: 1-2 bunch
  • White oil: 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper powder: 1/2 tsp

Method:

  1. Beat eggs in a bowl, add salt and milk and whisk well.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan, add chopped onions, saute a little till onions becomes tender and light golden brown.
  3. Add cumin seeds, chopped ginger & garlic, saute a little, add chopped tomatoes & coriander leaves and fry for 2-3 more mins.
  4. Add the beaten eggs, mix well and stir continuously over medium heat till eggs are well cooked and resembles scrambled eggs.
  5. Garnish with sliced capsicum rings, serve hot with buttered bread / rotis.

The dish is somewhat liquid in texture, I dried a bit and it tasted superb with roti. Altough the recipe didn't mention capsicum, I prepared with chopped capsicum. Sending this scrambled eggs to RCI-Parsi Cuisine, guest hosted by Meera of Enjoy Indian Food, event started by Lakshmi.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Masoor Daal (Red Lentil Soup)


In the early stages of life, babies feed primarily on breast milk, which provides all the essential nutrients required by the infants; satisfies their appetite and also protects from susceptible dangers of several diseases. Once babies start growing, their nutritional requirements enhances so the diet has to be rich, providing complete nutrition.
It's important to watch out for iron deficiency after kids reaches 1 year of age as it can affect their physical, mental and behavioral development, sometimes leading to anemia. So once the baby turns a year old, you can gradually reduce the amount of milk (A one-year-old does not need more than half a litre of milk a day) and increase iron-rich foods / solids in your child's diet.

Milk should be given in the morning and afternoon only, and lunch and dinner should consist mainly of the household food, like mashed vegetables with a chappati / little rice and light lentil soup / daal.
Masoor dal is a type of lentil (part of the legume family). Lentils have a very high percentage of proteins, and also essential amino acids (isoleucine & lysine). Masoor daal is also an important source of nutrition as it contains high quantities of iron, adviced for pregnant ladies, adolescents or those who suffers from iron deficiency.
When the infants start to take rice, make a paste with light masoor daal for easy intake of food. Though Masoor Daal can be prepared in several ways using spices like garlic, cumin seed. I used Split Red Lentils and prepared this daal / soup in a very simple way, perfect for your infant and also to have with a sandwich at dinner time.

Ingredients:
  • Masoor dal (Red lentil): 1 cup
  • Onion, finely chopped: 1 small
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
  • Mustard oil: 1 tsp
  • Water: 2 - 3 cups
  • Sugar: 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Wash the Masoor Daal, drain well and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add the chopped onions and saute a little till light golden brown (do not fry too much or else they may turn blackish).
  3. Add masoor daal, turmeric powder, water and salt, mix properly and bring to a boil.
  4. As soon as the water starts boiling, put the lid and cook the daal until 2-3 whistles.
  5. Check whether the cooked daal is complety soft or not (or else cook till 1-2 whsitles more).
  6. Check the salt & sugar and water consistency when the pressure cooker cools, pour the Masoor Daal in a bowl and serve hot.
Sending this healthy and nutritous Masoor Daal / Red Lentil Soup to Radhika's & Sudeshna's Foods For Stages Of Life-Cooking for infants & Toddlers & to EC's WYF-Light Meal...

Parsi Pora (Parsi Omlette)

Parsi Pora is a popular Parsi Omlette, prepared with lot of spices to give an authentic taste. It tastes best, served between two pieces of toasted & buttered bread (white / whole wheat) along with tomato / mango chutney.

Ingredients:
  • Eggs: 5-6
  • Onion, finely chopped: 3 medium
  • Tomatoes, finely chopped: 1 large
  • Green chilies, chopped: 2-3
  • Coriander leaves, finely chopped: 1 cup
  • Dhana jiru powder (fresh coriander seeds & cumin seeds ground to form powder): ½ tsp
  • Ginger & Garlic paste: 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper, freshly grounded: 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chili powder: 1/2 tsp (to taste)
  • Turmeric (optional): 1/2 tsp
  • Ghee / white oil: 2 tbsp

Method:

  1. In a bowl, lightly whisk the eggs well to combine egg whites & yolks. Add the chopped ingredients, dhana jiru powder, ginger & garlic paste and salt and mix well.
  2. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add 1-2 drops of ghee / oil and coat on al sides. Pour a ladleful of the egg mixture in the centre. Carefully tilt and rotate the pan so that the egg mixture forms a perfect circle. Cover and let it cook for 2-3 mins.
  3. As soon as the lower side is cooked and turns light brown, gently turn / flip the omlette and let it cook the other side.
  4. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Serve with hot bread / toast.

Traditional parsi way to cook poras is to shallow fry one at a time in oil without folding to form a rich dark brown pora. Different types of Poras can be prepared by adding raw / ripe mangoes, boiled potatoes (cubed) with a little gram flour.

This is my second entry to RCI - Parsi Cuisine, hosted by Meera, event started by Lakshmi.

Khara Papeta

The Zoroastrian Parsi community is a prosperous, peace and fun-loving community. Their cooking combines techniques and ingredients from across the globe, specially known for the unique blend of spices & flavours that makes the food very appetizing, nutritious and wholesome.

At present, Parsi cuisine or Parsi Bhonu (feast fit for a king) is a delicious blend of western and eastern influences. Parsi community in India adopted foods and recipe cooking processes, procedures and ingredients from the Persians, British, French, Germans, Portuguese, Irish, Italian including several others.
They settled in India, first at Sanjan, Udvada, Navsari and Surat in Gujarat and later spread to Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune and other places and adopted the regional cooking techniques. Parsis are known to prefer non-vegetarian (Iranian cuisine) dishes like fish, meat and chicken. They also have a large selection of delectable vegetarian (Gujarati - Indian cuisine) recipes.

The basic feature of a Parsi lunch is rice, eaten with lentils / curry. Dinner would include a meat dish, often accompanied by potatoes / other vegetable curry. Onion-cucumber salad, known as Kachubar is a must for most meals in Parsi household.

Here is the recipe for Khara Papeta, a popular Parsi recipe, made of papeta (potatoes) and tomatoes.


Ingredients:
  • Potatoes, peeled and diced: 4-5 medium sized
  • Onions, finely sliced: 2 large (sliced)
  • Tomato, roughly chopped: 1 large (chopped)
  • Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
  • Garlic, finely chopped: 4 flakes
  • Ginger, finely chopped: 1” size
  • Green Chiili, finely chopped: 1-2 (as per taste)
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • White Oil: 2-3 tbsp
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped: 2-3 bunches
  • Chopped coriander leaves & tomatoes and a little grated ginger, for garnishing

Method:

  1. Heat oil and fry the onions until translucent / golden brown in colour.
  2. Add cumin seeds, chopped ginger & garlic and saute for 1-2 minute.
  3. Add potatoes and salt and saute for 2 minutes (I didn't use turmeric, if you want, you can use a pinch for a yellowish tinge).
  4. Add a little water, lower flame and cook until potatoes are tender. Try to dry the water. (Basically this is a dry curry / sabji, but if you want a little gravy, adjust the water accordingly).
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Remove from fire, garnish with chopped coriander leaves & tomatoes. Sprinkle some grated ginger on top and serve hot.

Sending this recipe to RCI - Parsi Cuisine, hosted by Meera, event started by Lakshmi.

Capsicum Rings


Capsicum rings, a light and crunchy dish, perfect for a hot cup of tea / coffee. The mint leaves provide unique flavour to the dish.

Ingredients:
  • Capsicums, firm: 3 medium sized
  • Paneer (cottage cheese), grated / crumbled: 1 cup
  • Raw Potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed): 1/2 cup
  • Mint (pudina), finely chopped: 4 tbsp
  • Green chillies, finely chopped: 1-2
  • Cornflour: 1-1/2 tbsp (as required)
  • Salt to taste
  • Cornflour (for coating capsicum rings)
  • Oil (for deep frying)

Method:

  1. Wash the capsicums, cut the stems and deseed them. Cut the capsicums into medium sized thick rings and keep aside.
  2. Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Hold one capsicum ring in between the palms, carefully stuff the mixture and press tightly.
  4. Coat the capsicum ring with cornflour form all sides and deep fry in hot oil till they are golden brown. Repeat with the remaining capsicum pieces.
  5. Serve hot sprinkled with the chaat masala.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chire Bhaja (Fried Pressed Rice)

Chire Bhaja (Fried Presse Rice / Avalakki) is a light snack, perfect for a rainy evening accompanied with a steaming cup of tea / coffee.
Chire (pressed rice) can be either dry roasted (to give a crispy taste) or fried in white oil to give a crunchier taste.

One thing to remember while frying, that you have to get the correct temperature, or else if the oil is too hot, the chire will get burnt (turn deep brown in colour) or it will be sort of soggy with oil (if the oil is not heated properly). As the chire / pressed rice tends to soak oil, always fry each batch with little oil.

The fried chire can be served as it is or you can add ingredients as per your choice to make a perfect crunchy and savoury dish like fried peanuts & papads, mixed with sliced onions, chopped green chillies.




Ingredients:
  • Chire (pressed rice): 100 gms
  • Peanuts: 2 tbsp
  • Plain / Masala Papad: 2-3
  • Onions, sliced: 2
  • Green chillies, chopped / whole: 2 (as per taste)
  • White oil: 3-4 tbsp (as required)
  • Mustard oil: 2-3 drops
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper, freshly ground (optional)
  • Bhujia / chanachur (to garnish)
  • Coconut slices (optional) (to garnish)

Method:

  1. Heat white oil in a deep bottomed frying pan. Make sure that the oil is of right temperature (fry a little pressed rice to see whether it puffs up in the oil). Fry the remaining chire (add oil as required), drain quickly remove from fire. Keep aside.
  2. Lightly fry / saute the peanuts and papads in a little oil and keep aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine fried pressed rice, peanuts and papads. Add sliced onions, chopped green chillies, bhujia, salt and a few drops of mustard oil (be careful, otherwise everything will be soaked in oil) and mix thoroughly.
  4. Garnish with a some more bhujia and coconut slices and consume immediately to retain the crispiness.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Methi Aloo Parantha


Fenugreek is used both as a herb (leaves) and spice (seeds). The plant is mainly consumed and cooked as a vegetable, “Methi Saag”. Fenugreek leaves and seeds are rich in minerals like potassium, calcium and iron. The leaves have ample amount of vitamins, specially Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
Fenugreek leaves add flavor to the cooking and it can be added to a variety of coking like dal, vegetable, rice or wheat flour (atta). Here I prepared this parantha as more of a chapati / roti and toasted with a little oil, so it's healthy as less oil is consumed.

Ingredients
For dough:
  • wheat flour (atta): 1 cup
  • salt: ½ tsp
  • oil: 1 tsp
  • water (as required)

Stuffing:

  • Fenugreek (Methi saag) leaves, finely chopped: 1 cup
  • Potatoes (Aloo), boiled & mashed: 1 cup
  • Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
  • Ginger paste: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tsp
  • White oil: 1-1/2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste

Method:

For the dough:

  1. Combine the ingredients, knead into a soft dough with enough water. Cover and keep aside.

For the stuffing:

  1. Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds. When the seeds crackle, add the fenugreek leaves and saute for 2-3 mins.
  2. Add the ginger paste, spices and salt and mix well.
  3. Add the potatoes and saute for another 2-3 mins. Cool completely and keep aside.

For rolling paranthas:

  1. Divide the dough and the stuffing into equal portions (5-6).
  2. Roll out one portion of the dough into a circle. Place one portion of the methi stuffing in the centre of the rolled out circle.
  3. Gather together all the sides in the centre and seal tightly.
  4. Roll out again into a circle (use wheat flour to prevent sticking).
  5. Place the rolled dough on a non-stick hot tawa / griddle, lower heat and slowly cook till brown spots appear on the sides.
  6. Use a little oil on the sides, flip the parantha to coat evenly and fry till golden brown.
  7. Repeat with the remaining dough and stuffing and serve hot.
As I prepared the parantha with whole wheat flour and coriander powder, sending this delicious and nutritious recipe to CFK - Wheat, hosted by Sireesha of Kidz Delight and Think Spice-Think Coriander seeds guest hosted by Priya, event started by Sunita.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tangy Rajma Curry


Rajma curry is a typical North Indian recipe, usually served with rice as it's famously known as "Rajma Chawal" It can also be served with Paranthas / Chapatis. While cooking rajma one day, I happened to see that the tomato was not available in sufficient amount, so I added a little tomato sauce to give a tangy flavour to the dish. I also do not use turmeric and I like the reddish colour of the dish. So now, I substitute the requisite amount of tomato with half the amount of tomato and the other other half by adding tomato sauce. Here is the recipe for Tangy Rajma Curry.

Ingredients:
  • Red kidney beans: 2 cups (soaked overnight, preferably 12 hours)
  • Baking soda: ½ tsp
  • Bay Leaf: 1
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder: 1 tsp (to taste)
  • Garam Masala powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Water (as per gravy)
  • Tomato sauce: 1 - 2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped tomato, coriander leaves, onion rings (for garnishing)

Ingredients to grind:

  • Onion, medium sized, chopped: 2
  • Tomato, medium sized chopped: 1
  • Ginger, crushed: 1 tsp
  • Garlic, crushed: 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon: a small stick
  • Green cardamoms: 2
  • Cloves: 2

Method:

  1. Soak the rajma for overnight, drain and keep aside. Add enough water in a pressure cooker, add a little salt and baking soda and pressure-cook the soaked rajma.
  2. Cook it on high heat level, lower to sim after 2-3 whistles and further cook for 15 mins or until the rajma is soft and tender.
  3. Grind the above mentioned ingredients in a mixie to form a paste (do not grind too much, keep a little coarse). Keep aside.
  4. Heat oil in a kadhai / frying pan. Add bay leaf and the onion-ginger & garlic paste. Saute till oil separates from the sides of the kadhai.
  5. Add the soaked rajma and mix thoroughly with the paste.
  6. Add the remaining dry spices and mix well. Check the salt (be careful in adding salt, as the rajma is already pressure cooked using salt).
  7. If you want more gravy, add water as per your requirement. Add the tomato sauce, mix well. Finally add garam masala, mix well and remove from fire.
  8. You can either keep the dish a litle dry or make gravy as per your liking (only check the amount of tomato sauce you are adding or else the whole dish will be too tangy).
  9. Garnish the rajma curry with finely chopped tomatoes and onion rings. Serve hot with rice, parantha / naan.
Sending this Rajma dish to JFI - Rajma, hosted by Divya Vikram, started by Indira of Mahanandi.

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