Friday, April 30, 2010

GastronomicGallivant: Haitian Mango Juice, Red Beans Rice With Hot Sauce

My knowledge of Haitian cuisine is very minimal. From what I understood, I can tell that they have a little Spanish and a lot of French influence since Haiti was controlled by both these countries, among others, at different periods of time.After scouring the net for various Haitian recipes I decided to make Riz et Pois Rouges(Red Beans and Rice) and their Mango juice,my way ofcourse.Haitians normally eat their rice with a super spicy sauce called "Ti Malice(Tih Mah-liss)" that is made with tomatoes and Hot cherry peppers/Jalepenos. Love the name of that sauce, don't you? A very malicious sauce that will make you pay the following morning for indulging it. Get my drift? Lol. Well, I didn't get time to make it. So my rice is smothered with bottled hot sauce.
This makes its way to Joanne's Haiti Themed Regional Recipes Event and Legume Love Affair held @ Ruchika Cooks,brainchild of Susan, the well seasoned cook.
For the Mango Juice:
  • Frozen/Fresh Ripe Mango Chunks - 1 cup Or Sweetened Mango Pulp - 3/4 cup
  • Fresh/Carton Orange Juice - 1 cup
  • Carrot - 1, skinned and pressure cooked
  • Sugar - 1 tsp(optional)
  • Ice cubes - As needed
  • Puree all the above ingredients and consume immediately.
For the Red Beans and Rice:
  • Uncooked Basmati Rice - 1 cup
  • Red Beans - 1 cup, pressure cooked with salt
  • Clove - 2
  • Cinnamon Stick - 1
  • Onion - 1, small, diced
  • Garlic - 2 cloves
  • Green Squash - 1, diced (ham might be substituted instead)
  • Cracked Pepper and Crushed Red pepper flakes - for taste
  • Salt as needed
  • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Clean the rice and soak it for 20 minutes in water.
  • In a deep saute pan, add the olive oil, garlic, clove, cinnamon stick and onions.Saute until the onions are translucent.
  • Drain the rice completely of water and add it to the pan. Fry until the rice is coated with oil.
  • Add the diced green squash and then sprinkle salt, pepper, pepper flakes and pour 21/2 cups of water.
  • Cook the rice for 7-8 minutes on low flame.
  • Add the cooked red beans and stir to incorporate.
  • Cook for 5 more minutes and sprinkle water if necessary.
  • Serve the hot rice with a little hot sauce or authentic made-from-scratch "Ti-Malice"
Makes 3 servings.

  • Be mindful of the salt as the Red beans is cooked with salt too.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

ReviewAndARecipe:TriColor Rotini With Herbed Shallots, Mushroom N Green Squash

A few of my favorite things - Boiled Potato(Potato),Cooked Chickpea(Chickpea and Salt),Baked Salmon(Fish, Salt and Pepper), Tri-Color Pasta Dish(Veggies, Pasta, Oil and Ariosto Seasonings).Few Ingredient Fixing is what I like best. That doesn't mean I will compromise on flavor. No way! For this dish I used Ariosto's "Aglio e Peperoncino"- A very picante seasoning made with garlic, dry red chilli, sea salt, parsley and spinach.I used only 3/4 tsp for this recipe and that was a little too much. So now you know how spicy and flavor-packed it is.This is probably what I will make whenever "Easy does it" becomes the order of the day. This goes as an entry to this week's Presto Pasta Nights hosted at Thyme for Cooking.
  • Tri-Color Rotini/Corkscrew pasta - 4 cups, cooked
  • Mixed Veggies(2 Baby Green-Squash, 10 Button Mushrooms, 1 shallot, 1 Roma Tomato) - 2 1/2 cups
  • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Ariosto Seasoning "Aglio e Peperoncino" - 3/4 tsp
  • In a skillet, add the olive oil and saute the mixed veggies for 5-10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the seasoning and add the cooked pasta.Mix gently until evenly incorporated.
  • Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and garnish with tomatoes and some shallot slices.
Makes 3-4 medium servings.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ReviewAndARecipe: Rustic Oven Fries With Ariosto Seasonings

Ask yourself these questions - Do you love Italian Leather Shoes/Bags? Are you a sucker for Designer Italian Shades/Apparels? Are you in love with Italian Fine Filigree Jewelery? Do you crave for Pizza and Pasta? Do you find the angelic voice of Andrea Bocelli irresistible?Does listening to Antonio Vivaldi's compositions make you cry in joy? If its an Yes to most of these questions then you are like me. So I am sure you will love this product from Italy too -- Ariosto SpA Seasonings. When I got this package from Milan, I couldn't wait to try something out of this. This is not your usual spice mix. Its a finely ground, perfect blend of herbs that can be used for vegetables, poultry and seafood, be it starter or main course.Look at the range of seasonings available in the picture. So far I have tried two of these seasonings and I tell you, they pack quite a punch. They are intense and "less is more". Tried the seasoning "For Roasted or Fried Potato" to make Rustic 3-Vegetable Fries and they were insanely good.Me and my family absolutely loved it!Tx Saverio.This brand has distributors in USA, Canada, Australia, UK, Belgium, Germany and a few other countries. Check their website to know to where you can find these seasonings locally.

This along with Mocha Flavored Pumpkin Cakelette and Eggless Pineapple Carrot Mini Loaf goes to this week's Bake-off@ Bangalore Baker's Versatile Kitchen.
  • Russet Potato -1, large or Yukon Gold - 2, medium
  • Carrots - 2, medium
  • Rutabaga - 1/2, large
  • Ariosto Seasonings(Insaporitore per patate fritte e arrosto - For Roasted and Fried Potatoes) 
  • - 1 tsp
  • Olive Oil - 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Peel the skin off on all the vegetables.
  • Cut the vegetables into a fairly long and thick sticks.
  • Blanch them in a pot of hot water for 5 minutes.Shock the vegetables in cold water for a couple of minutes to stop cooking.
  • Pat the dry with paper towel and drizzle with Olive Oil.
  • Sprinkle the Ariosto seasonings and mix them well with both hands.
  • Spread them on a oven proof cookie sheet without overlapping and bake for 15 minutes on the top rack keeping a close eye on them. Bake 5 more minutes if you like them extra crispy. 
  • Serve immediately with some ketchup.
  • Do Not blanch the vegetables in salted water if using Ariosto Seasonings. The seasonings have salt in them.
  • The baking time might differ depending on the thickness of the vegetables. 
  • Rutabaga is bitter when raw, but mellows after baking because baking brings out the earthy sweetness out of it. Do give it a shot. It will grow on you as it did on me.
Makes 2 Medium Servings.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eggless Pineapple, Carrot and Walnut Bread with Orange Zest

Have your ever wondered how a combination of Pineapple,Carrot,Walnuts and Orange Zest would taste like in a bread? I craved for such a combo that I had neither made nor tasted elsewhere.So I googled for a recipe that would satisfy this curios craving. Surprisingly,I found one to my liking and decided to do a test-run in my kitchen. It tasted heavenly and I was extremely happy with the results. Was the craving appeased? Yes, for the time-being, but it has also induced a hunger for more of the same.The only change I made to the recipe was to substitute eggs with oil.
  • All Purpose Flour - 1 cup
  • Butter - 1/4 cup, melted
  • Olive Oil - 6 tbsp
  • Sugar - 3/4 cup (Use a little less for less sweet)
  • Carrot - 3/4 cup, shredded
  • Orange Zest - 1/2 tsp
  • Crushed Pineapple - 6 tbsp, drained
  • Skimmed Milk - 6-7 tbsp
  • Walnuts - 1/4 cup, toasted and roughly broken
  • Baking Powder - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon powder - a dash
  • Salt - a pinch
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a bowl, mix all the wet ingredients - butter, oil, milk, crushed pineapple, shredded carrot.
  • In another big bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  • Add sugar, chopped walnuts and mix all the wet and dry ingredients together using an electric mixer.
  • Grease 2 Mini Loaf Pans and transfer the mixture to both the pans.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes on the upper rack or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Important: Cool Completely prior to slicing.Else it will crumble.
Makes 2 Mini Loaves.


Monday, April 26, 2010

RecipeReplica:Split-Pea & Spinach Stuffed Paratha

Paratha - Stuffed Unleavened Indian-flat bread. For this recipe, I went to a cozy blog where Art(Read Cardmaking) and Artsy-cooking thrives.Yes, Asha is a very talented person who has more than one skill-set up her sleeves. I took a liking to this recipe so much that I bookmarked it as soon as I saw this post in her blog. Even though it is a bit time consuming due to the fact that everything needs to be made from scratch,the end-result is well worth the effort. It needs a bit of practice. So, don't expect to perfect this at the first attempt.Also,slight alterations to the spice proportions were made and spinach was included in the the stuffing. Ate this with Indian Mango Pickle and Greek Yogurt. A very happy burp quickly followed. :)
Hey,Watch out. I am on the hunt and your blog might be next for my next edition of "RecipeReplica".
For the Dough:
  • Whole Wheat Flour - 2 cups
  • Fennel Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • White Sesame Seeds - 1/2 tsp (Optional)
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Warm Water - 6 tbsp
For the Stuffing:
  • Frozen Green Peas - 1 1/2 cups
  • Spinach - 1/2 cup, cleaned and fine diced
  • Green Chilli/Serranos - 2, seeds and membranes removed
  • Onions - 1, small, fine diced
  • Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - a pinch
  • Garam Masala Powder, Any brand - 1 tsp (Available at any Indian Stores)
  • Cracked Pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Sal for taste
  • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp(for stuffing) + 2 tbsp(for frying the Parathas)
  • Knead the dough with all other ingredients under "For the Dough" to make a "Stiff" dough. This will help the dough retain the stuffing better. Set aside.
  • Steam/microwave the fresh/frozen peas, mash/grind to a smooth paste without water.
  • In a skillet, heat 2  tbsp of olive oil , add cumin seeds, onions, chilli and saute until onions are transparent. Add all the powders,spinach, mashed peas, salt and cook for 5 minutes without maybe a tbsp of water. The end result should resemble something like a goop. Check for taste. Switch off the stove and cool the filling completely.
  • Make small lemon sized balls(about 8 for this recipe) and roll it out flat until its 11/2 inch diameter. Make slight indents(like small bowls) in the center and add a spoonful of filling.
  • Bring the edges together and seal it tight by pinching the edges together. Pat them like discs.
  • Dust the surface with flour and using rolling pin, roll it out flat making sure the stuffing doesn't leak outside.
  • Coat a skillet with little oil and fry the parathas for about 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Serve it hot with thick yogurt and some Indian Pickles.
Makes 8 Parathas.
  • If rolling out is a problem, pat it with hand gently until its about 1/4 inch thick and about 31/2 inch diameter.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

ReviewAndARecipe: MarxFoods "Eco-Vision" Palm Leaf Bio-Plates And Eggplant Timbale

Dear All, Happy Earth Day 2010!

Earth Day?? - Earth Day aims to inspire awareness of and appreciation for earth's environment. While some folks celebrate Earth Day around the time of the vernal equinox, others observe the occasion on April 22 each year and is currently observed in more than 140 countries around the world.

Earth Day can be on any day if only we take conscientious steps towards keeping our Mother Earth Healthy, not just for ourselves but for the generations to come.Else, the Mayan Calendar Predictions may come true. Maybe not on December 21, 2012.. but eventually. As it is, Mother Nature is unhappy and she is Shaking(Read Earthquakes) and Spitting(Read Volcanic Ash) at us for being Nasty to her. Let us all do what we can towards a Greener and Happier Earth, shall we? I for one don't use wads of TT, shutdown my computer(Not put it in "Sleep" or "Hibernate" mode), don't keep the water running while I brush my teeth etc etc..Little things like this matter. After all, small droplets make a mighty ocean, right?

Okay, Here are some suggestions to "Get, set, ECO" -

1. Reduce, Recycle and Reuse - This includes Water Bottles, Beer/Soda cans, Plastic Spoon/Forks etc etc.
2. Walk, Take a bike, Use Public Transportation or Car Pool
3. Pick roadside Trash
4. Plant a tree or two, if not at-least a bush
5. Buy "Local and Organic" food whenever possible
6. Be a TreeHugger - Use biodegradable products, like Marxfoods' "Eco-Vision" Palm Leaf Bioplates

Just yesterday I got a package of these plates from Marxfoods, so I can blog about this beautiful plates on Earth Day. How appropriate is that?Thanks a bunch, Justin.
Awesome looking plates, aren't they? They are made from Adaka Palm Leaves that are gathered from the forest floor that are cut and sun dried. Yes folks, no tree was harmed or cut-down to make this splendid party plates. Besides looking good, they function beautifully. They are really sturdy and does not get soggy unless you soak them in the water.And they are biodegradable- decompose over time as a result of biological activity and does not harm Mother Earth. They come in different shapes and sizes and to fit everyone's budget! Please go check out this excellent product at their site.Besides plates, they have plenty of fine foods like Wild Mushrooms, Organic Grains/Seeds, Truffles and more. Go check!

Eggplant Timbale With Pepper, Mushrooms and Ziti filling:(Serves 2)
(Adapted from Giada's Everyday Italian, FoodNetwork)
The original recipe calls for "Grilled" eggplants but I baked it instead. I would recommend grilling the eggplant slices since mine turned out a little crunchy and made the cutting difficult.But the filling was delicious.I will definitely make this again but with grilled eggplants.

This goes to Presto Pasta Nights event held at The kitchen slave. This along with Criss-Cross Cottage Pie goes to Champa's Bake-off event.
  • Eggplants - 2, Mid-sized, sliced 1/4 -inch thick
  • Mushrooms - 3 #s, medium, cleaned and coarsely chopped
  • Onion - 1/2, medium, fine diced
  • Mini Peppers - 3#s, fine diced
  • Garlic - 2 cloves
  • Ziti Pasta - 2 handfuls, cooked as per package directions
  • Hot sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Marinara Sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Cracked Pepper - a few grinds
  • Salt for taste
  • Mozzarella Cheese - 1/4 cup or more
  • Olive Oil - 4 tbsp
  • Fresh Basil - 1 tsp, chopped
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bake the cut eggplant slices in single layer for 10 minutes with 2 tbsp of olive oil and salt till it becomes soft. (Original recipe calls for grilling and its best that way).
  • In a pan, heat the remaining oil and add garlic, onions, peppers, mushrooms. Saute for 10 minutes or so and add both the sauce, cracked pepper and salt. Mix it and add the cooked pasta and cheese.
  • Line a baking dish(In my case, with the baked eggplants and let a few slices overlap and hang on the sides.
  • Spoon the mixture into the dish, tightly packing it.
  • Fold the eggplant slices like in the picture and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  • Cool for 10 minutes prior to cutting and serving.
Makes ~ 2 small-sized servings.

  • Grill the eggplants for a softer timbale.Mine was a little crisp which wasn't what I wanted in my Timbale.
  • Don't care to make a timbale, chop the eggplants and add it to the veggies and use it as a pasta topper.Either way, it tastes good.
Enjoy!Original Recipe with Meat-filling can be found here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

RecipeReplica:Quick-Bake "Masala" Chicken

Masala, Not Marsala, in Indian cuisine is a mixture of ground roasted-spices along with ginger, garlic and onions etc etc. Grinding the spices along with any other ingredients intensifies the flavor. This recipe has been adapted from the blog, The Novice Kitchen.Ms.Sharfu is undermining her culinary capabilities.She is anything but a novice and all her recipes are truly mouthwatering. Check out her posts to see what I am talking about.Except for some changes in the spice I stayed true to the original recipe that can be found here. Don't be scared by the color of the chicken in the picture, its mainly from crushed tomatoes and the heat factor is not overwhelming.Also, the reason why I call it quick-bake is because part of the cooking is done on the stove-top and then finished off in the Oven.

Hey, watch out, I am on the hunt and your blog may be next for my "Recipe Replica" post.
  • Chicken - 8, thigh pieces, skinned, cleaned and slit from under
  • Red Onion - 1/2, medium, chopped
  • Garlic - 5 cloves
  • Ginger - 1 inch
  • Curry leaves - 5 stalks (Don't skip it. Available in all Indian stores)
  • Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 tsp (Readymade ground spice-mix. Also available in Indian stores)
  • Cracked Pepper - 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp or less (Haven't tried but Paprika may be used)
  • Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
  • Lemon Juice - 1 tsp
  • Crushed Tomatoes - 6 tbsp
  • Olive Oil - 4 tbsp
For the Marinade:
  • Yogurt - 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder - a dash
  • Cracked Pepper - a few grinds
  • Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients under "Marinade" and let it sit for at-least an hour in the refrigerator.
  • In a wide skillet, heat 2 tbsp of oil and add fennel seeds, garlic, ginger, onions, cracked pepper, curry leaves, Garam Masala Powder and saute for 10 minutes.
  • Add the chilli powder,crushed tomatoes and salt. Do Not add water.
  • Cool the mixture and grind to a smooth paste with lemon juice.Important - Taste the mixture and check for taste. Add more salt or cracked pepper, if needed.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In the same skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and bring it to a smoking point.
  • Sear the chicken on both sides until they are evenly browned.
  • Spread the ground mixture on the chicken pieces and cook for 2 minutes per side.
  • Transfer the chicken thighs to a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes in the lower rack.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, flip the chicken pieces and bake for 10-15 more minutes in the middle rack.
  • Serve warm with steaming rice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jazzed-Up "2-Minute" Maggi Noodles

On days when I don't want to cook(but have to), I sometimes resort to these "2-Minute Maggi Noodles" for sustenance.Maggi Noodles are manufactured by Nestle` and are very popular in India, Australia, Brazil, Nepal and many other countries. True to what the brand claims they are quick cooking noodles that comes with a variety of seasonings. For this recipe, I used "Masala" flavor pack,jazzed it up with plenty of vegetables to make it a colorfully appealing and filling meal.In the US, they are available at almost all Indian/Asian stores.
  • String Beans - 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Bell Peppers in diff colors -1/2 cup, chopped
  • Split Pea - 1/2 cup, fresh or frozen
  • Carrot - 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Red Onion - 1, small, chopped
  • Maggi Noodles - 2 packets (Seasonings are included in the packet)
  • Salt for taste
  • Olive Oil - 3 tbsp
  • Lemon Juice - Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • In a skillet, add olive oil and saute onions,carrots, beans, bell peppers until the carrots are slightly browned.
  • Sprinkle the seasonings from the Noodle packet and fry for a few more minutes.Add salt and check for taste.
  • Bring plenty of water to boil in a sauce pot. When its start bubbling switch off the stove. Add the noodles and let it cook for 2 minutes. Drain the noodles and dump it into the skillet.
  • Gently mix and transfer to serving bowl.
  • Pour the lemon juice on top and serve hot.
Makes 2-3 servings.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Eggplant Parmigiana "Lite" With Mini-Peppers, Spinach and Olives

Today morning around 6AM I was all set to hit the gym but my mind was still sleeping.Like an automaton,I pulled out the sedan from the garage only to hear a loud screeching/scraping noise that could have woken the dead..That was because the driver-side mirror of the sedan was putting a deep dash on the SUV parked beside, as I was backing out. I almost got a heart attack then and there.Certainly this was no way to start a week.My hubby goes ballistic if I do anything to his babies.When I meant babies, I meant the vehicles.As a matter of fact, they get better pampering than me. I dreaded the moment I had to tell my hubby about this misfortune that befell his favorite SUV.I mustered courage and told him anyway.Surprisingly, he took it easy.**Sigh**.In a matter of few seconds I had set our bank balance by a few hundreds. Because I was feeling so miserable,he even went as far as to cheer me up when clearly he was the one who needed cheering.
Since he was so nice, I made one his favorite dish for lunch - Eggplant Parmigiana - to thank him.Certainly lifted his spirits. I call this a lighter version because I used very little cheese. Scroll down for the "Lite" version of this fabulous Southern Italian recipe.
  • Chinese Eggplants - 3, mid-sized
  • Mini Peppers - 6-7
  • Spinach - 1 cup,shredded, packed
  • Black Olives - 2/3 cups
  • Whole Wheat Bread - 2, stale
  • Salt and Pepper for taste
  • Marinara Sauce - 1 1/2 cups
  • Olive Oil - 3 tbsp
  • Parmesan Cheese - 1/3 cup, shredded
  • Mozzarella Cheese - 2/3 cup
  • 9 inch Shallow baking pan/ Pie pan
  • Grind the stale bread into a fine powder and spread it on a shallow dish.
  • Halve the mini peppers, remove seeds and membranes. Spread them on a cookie sheet.
  • Cut Eggplants into quarter-inch thick roundels. Spread them on the cookie sheet.
  • Drizzle the Olive oil all over the veggies. 
  • Sprinkle cracked pepper and salt all over them.Using hands make sure they are properly seasoned.
  • Crust the eggplants with bread crumbs and line them as as single layer on the cookie sheet.Don't discard the remaining bread crumbs.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Bake the Veggies for 10-12 minutes until the tips of the peppers are browned/charred.Chop the mini peppers.
  • Grease the Pie pan with little oil.Add a thin layer of sauce.
  • Arrange a third of the baked eggplants roundels as a single layer. Top with chopped baked mini peppers,then another third of eggplant roundels, Spinach and olives and finally with the leftover eggplant roundels Pour the remaining marinara sauce.
  • Mix the leftover bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle on top and then with Mozzarella.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes.
  • Let it rest for 10 minutes. Garnish with finely chopped parsley. Serve warm.
Makes 4 Servings.


Friday, April 16, 2010

GastronomicGallivant: English "Criss-Cross" Cottage Pie

An English Meat pie or Cottage pie usually has a ground meat filling with crusty potato on top.For a change, I made a vegetarian version of this a few days ago with leftover mashed potato on the top.It was a one-pot wonder!Good choice for people on a diet, grazing on dishes with minimal carbs.The recipe is a general guideline and the spicing is minimal to best suit my family, especially my toddler. Feel free to add more or less of any seasoning/spice.

This along with "Meatless Ragu With Dhal Fritters",  "Sauteed Asparagus With Chopped Rigatoni" makes its way to Daisy Blue's Leftover Delicacies.
  • Mushrooms - 10#s, small, cleaned and diced
  • Mini peppers - 6-7, cleaned and diced
  • Carrots - 2, medium, skinned and diced
  • Sweet Pea - 1/2 cup, fresh or frozen
  • Garlic - 3-4 pods
  • Onion - 1, small, diced
  • Worcestershire Sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Hot Sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Cracked Pepper and Salt - for taste
  • Olive Oil - 3 tbsp
  • Mashed Potato - 2 cups (Recipe follows)
  • In a skillet, heat olive oil and saute garlic, onions until the onion is translucent. 
  • Add the diced Carrots, Peppers, both the sauce, cracked pepper and salt.
  • Fry until the carrot are browned, stirring constantly.
  • Add the mushrooms and sweet pea and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Check for taste. Add more pepper or salt if needed.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Transfer the vegetable mixture to a baking dish and using a piping bag, make criss-cross with the mashed potatoes on the top of the dish.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops of the potatoes are browned.
  • Serve warm.
Makes 3-4 servings.
Easy Breezy "Lite" Mashed Potatoes:
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes - 5-6, medium
  • Partly Skimmed Milk - 6 tbsp
  • Butter - 1 tbsp
  • Cracked Pepper and Salt for taste
  • Boil the potatoes until tender. Peel and transfer to a bowl.
  • Mash it using a Potato Ricer/Masher  along with the other ingredients while still hot.
  • Serve by itself or as a topping for cottage pie.
Makes ~2 cups.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

GastronomicGallivant:Turkish Tabboleh "Kisir"

"Kisir" or "Turkish Tabbouleh" is a very popular salad in the middle-east that has ingredients like Bulgur, Spring Onions, Mint, Peppers and Olive Oil. The Lebanese have a variation of this called "Tambouli" and Armenians call it "Eetch". What do I call it? The best ever Tabbouleh I ever tasted. Ergo, Splendid!
A salad it may be but can certainly do double duty as a standalone main dish. Finish off the meal with Bulgur pudding.
Recipe Courtesy: Turkish Cultural Center
  • Fine Bulgur(Duru Bulgur) - 3 cups
  • Water - 3 cups
  • Onion - 1, medium, fine diced
  • Green pepper - 1, fine diced
  • Red Pepper - 1, fine diced
  • Dill Pickles - 3, finely chopped
  • Garlic - 2 Cloves,  minced
  • Parsley - 1 bunch, cleaned and finely chopped
  • Spring Onions - 4 stalk, finely chopped
  • Mint - 3 stalks, finely chopped
  • Basil - 3 stalks, finely chopped
  • Pepper Paste - 2 tbsp (Available in Lebanese, Turkish stores)
  • Pomegranate Syrup - 2 tbsp (Also available in Lebanese, Turkish stores)
  • Olive Oil - 1/2 cup
  • Lemon Juice - Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Cumin - 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Red Pepper Flakes - 1/2 tsp
For Garnish:
  • Lettuce Leaves
  • Tomato - 1
  • Mint Leaves - 3-4 stalks
  • Bring the 3 cups of water to a roiling boil in a pan.Pour the Bulgur into the hot water and switch off the stove. Close the pan with a lid and wait till the Bulgur absorbs all water.(This happens in 15-20 minutes).
  • In a skillet, heat half the olive oil and saute the onions,Garlic,Green and Red peppers for 5 minutes.
  • Add the pepper paste, all the spices, chopped green onions and mix.
  • Pour the juice of lemon and Pomegranate syrup.Add the Bulgur and mix gently until evenly incorporated.
  • Cool completely and add the herbs - Parsley, Mint, Basil.
  • Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top.
  • Pile the salad on Lettuce leaves and garnish with sliced tomato and mint leaves.
Makes 8-10 Servings.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cocoa N Saffron Vermicelli Pudding

A milk based pudding/payasam flavored decadently with Cocoa,Saffron threads,garnished with dry fruits plus nuts.This is my mom's specialty that I made today for TamiZh New Year.Well mom makes it minus the Cocoa powder. I borrowed her recipe and added some Zing. So how do you like it?Sending this as an entry to PrestoPastaNights hosted @ More than Words. For more pudding choices go here and check the links for at-least half a dozen puddings from there. Enjoy!
  • Vermicelli(Semolina) - 1/2 cup
  • Whole Milk - 3 cups
  • Cocoa Powder - 2 tbsp
  • Raisins, Craisins - 1 tbsp each
  • Cashews - 2 tbsp
  • Sugar - 4 tbsp
  • Saffron threads - 1 tsp, soaked in 2 tbsp of warm milk
  • Butter or Ghee(Clarified Butter) - 2 tbsp
  • Cardamom - 3 pods, smashed and shells discarded
  • In a skillet, heat a tbsp of butter and fry the nuts until browned. Add the dry fruits at the very end and saute quickly until they are slightly plumped.Set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add another tbsp of butter and add the Vermicelli.Brown it and set aside.
  • In a thick saucepan, heat the milk, add cardamom, cocoa powder and sugar. Keep stirring constantly for 5 -10 minutes until they are evenly incorporated.
  • Add the vermicelli and cook for 10 more minutes. Pour the milk soaked saffron threads and switch off stove.
  • Transfer the pudding to a serving dish and garnish with browned nuts and dry fruits.
  • Serve warm or chilled.
Makes 3-4 servings.

  • The pudding thickens after a while. Cold milk can be added if a lighter consistency is preferred.
  • Cocoa in the pudding makes it slightly bitter. Adding more sugar helps or enjoy as is.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vegan Secret-Spiced Taro Root Fry

Psssttt..This is my secret "Seed-Spice Blend" recipe that I had meant to take to the grave..but since I am a very magnanimous person with a splendid spirit to share, I have decided to let you all have it instead.What is so special about this spice mix? Nothing except the fact that I came up with this recipe after many trail and errors. All in all, its a very simple recipe with a major flavor kick. And. Not. At. All. "Spicy".
**This spice blend can be used for Potato and Yucca-Root/Cassava/Tapioca fry or even Steamed chick peas**
  • Taro Root -  12#s, midsized
  • Olive oil - 3-4 tbsp
  • Salt for taste
For the Secret Seed-Spice Blend:
  • Peppercorns - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/3 tsp
  • Coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Granulated garlic - 1/2 tsp (Fine garlic powder may be used instead)
  • In a pot, add the taro root and cover with water. Boil it until its almost cooked but firm enough to retain shape.
  • Dunk it in cold water for 5-10 minutes. Remove skin, roughly chop into big chunks. Set aside.
  • In a skillet, dry roast all the ingredients except granulated garlic until they exude aroma.
  • Using a mortar and pestle, powder the roasted ingredients along with granulated garlic to a fine powder.
  • To a wide skillet, heat oil and add the spice blend.
  • Add the chunky taro, sprinkle salt and fry on low flame, stirring constantly until they are browned evenly for about 15-20 minutes.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Baked "Broccoli Rabe, Mozzarella and Lean-Ground Turkey" Meatballs

When in need of comfort, make meatballs. So here I am with yet another version of meatballs that is as comforting as Mother's love. My strict and staunch vegetarian mom would be annoyed and unhappy that I am equating her love to Turkey Meatballs. Sorry Ma, I mean it in a the good way.
The cheese and the broccoli rabe in the meatballs act as flavor and texture enhancers.If you are a meatball lover like me and enjoy them as much as I do, check here and here for alternate choices. They all taste heavenly!
  • Lean Ground Turkey - 1 1/2 pounds
  • Mozzarella - 2/3 cup, shredded
  • Broccoli Rabe - 1 bunch, cleaned
  • Garlic - 3 cloves, minced
  • Onion - 1, medium, fine diced
  • Stale Whole Wheat Bread - 2, slices, ground
  • Fennel Seed - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Crushed Black Pepper - 1 tsp
  • Egg - 1, beaten
  • Tomato-Basil Sauce - 12 ounces
  • Red Pepper flakes and salt - for taste
  • Chop the broccoli rabe finely and boil in hot water for 2-3 minutes. Completely drain of water and set aside on a dish.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a bowl, mix ground turkey,mozzarella cheese, garlic, onion, pepper, pepper flakes, salt, egg, breadcrumbs and divide them into small balls(This recipe yield 38 mid-sized balls).
  • Arrange the balls in an oven-proof dish.
  • Bake the balls for 20 minutes. 
  • In a pan, heat the Tomato-Basil Sauce and drop these balls and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot with choice of pasta.
Makes 38 mid-sized meatballs.

  • A portion of the cooked meatballs with sauce can be frozen for later.
  • Add more pepper for heat.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Avocado, Pineapple and Black Olive Salsa

This appetizer is something that will invigorate a person to jump and do a Salsa. Me for instance, as I am totally feeling the blues due to the Pollen allergy. My loud sneeze is giving my little boy heart palpitations and the watery, itchy eye is driving me nuts.Don't feel like doing anything at all but curl up on the couch and vegetate.
  • Avocado, Pineapple, Tomato - Each 1/4 cup, fine diced
  • Black Olives - 1/8 cup, fine diced
  • Red Onion - 2 tbsp or more, fine diced
  • Jalepenos or Cracked pepper  and Salt for taste
  • Lemon juice - 2-3 tbsp
  • In a bowl, add all of the above ingredients and toss gently to incorporate.
  • Chill for an hour before serving.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Leftover gets a Makeover-1: "Meatless" Ragu,"Circle of Love" Roti Pizza and Caption Contest

Well, this is for all the vegetarians who wonder what an authentic Ragu tastes like..what I mean is that this comes close enough. So what went into the making of this Meatless version? Those "Dhal" Fritters that I had made and posted about a couple of days ago.Yeah,the Fennel,spices and the Split Chickpea makes the Dhal Fritters a convincing stand-in for the "ground meat portion" of the Ragu.
  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti - For 2 people
  • Dhal Fritters - 6 #s, Crumbled(Recipe here)
  • Kidney beans - 1/4 cup, cooked or canned
  • Onion - 1/2, large, chopped
  • Garlic - 3-4, small cloves, minced
  • Tomato Basil n Garlic Sauce(Pasta Sauce) - 1 cup, Homemade or Store-bought
  • Dry Red Wine(I used Sebastiani "Sonoma Country" Merlot) - 1/4 cup (Water can be substituted)
  • Cracked Pepper and Salt  - for taste
  • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
  • In a skillet, heat the oil and add garlic and onion. Saute until onions are browned.
  • Add the crumbled dhal fritters and the sauce.
  • Bring it to a boil and just when its thickening add the red wine and let it simmer.
  • Enjoy with Pasta.
Makes ~2 Servings


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Banana Berry Pancakes

And this is how I make Banana Berry pancakes for myself and my family. If you liked my cocoa pancakes, then I am sure you will like this too. The fine diced strawberries and banana puree in the pancakes takes the flavor up a notch.Certainly a crowd pleaser! Scroll down to grab a wedge of these yummylicious pancakes  before anyone else does.
This along with the Cocoa PancakesSavory Whole Wheat Pancakes,Ball Pancakes, Spongy Rice Pancakes, PigeonPeas Stuffed Ball Pancakes makes its way to the "Pancake Event" held @ Priya's Easy N Tasty recipes.
  • All purpose flour - 3/4 cup
  • Baking Powder - 1 tsp
  • Egg - 1
  • Olive oil - 1 tbsp
  • Banana - 1, very ripe, pureed
  • Strawberry -3, medium, fine diced
  • Whole Milk - 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp
  • Sugar - 2 tbsp or little less
  • Salt - a pinch
  • Vanilla Extract - 1/2 tsp
  • Sift together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a bowl.
  • Whip egg, oil, banana puree, milk, vanilla extract in another bowl.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the flour.
  • Add the chopped strawberries to the mixture and whisk it just until everything is mixed.
  • Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
  • Heat a griddle/ non-stick pan and pour a ladle full of batter.
  • Cook for 2 minutes on a medium flame and flip and cook for 2 more minutes.(Read Note)
  • Repeat the above step, stack the pancakes and serve immediately with Maple Syrup or Honey.
Makes 8 fluffy mid-sized pancakes.
  • From observation - If an even colored pancake is desired(like the one in the picture), add oil only to the sides while cooking.Nonstick pans work best for this.
  • Pancakes may not be a perfect round due to the chunky berries in the batter.
A portion for you my dear(s) -

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Dhal" Fritters with Compound Flavors and 10 Complex Women who Inspire

Don't these look awesome? These savory fritters are one of my all-time favorite snacks. Crunchy and packed with compound flavors coming from some fabulous ingredients, they are a splendid treat to the taste buds. They are called "Vada","Vadi", "Vadai", "Masala Vadai", "Aama Vadai", "Parippu Vadai" etc etc and a household name in many parts of India. Enjoy them as is or douse them generously with ketchup and have at it.Come back Friday to see what I did with the leftovers.
This makes its way to Legume Love Affair held @ Ruchika Cooks,brainchild of Susan, the well seasoned cook.
  • Split Chickpea - 1 cup (Measuring cup), soaked for 4 hours
  • Garlic - 5 cloves, small
  • Clove - 2
  • Cinnamon stick - 1/2 inch
  • Fennel seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Dry Red Chilli - 2
  • Green Chilli - 2-3
  • Red Onion - 1, medium
  • Cilantro - a few stalks, cleaned and chopped
  • Salt for taste
  • Corn oil for deep frying
  • Lemon - juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Grind cloves, ginger, garlic, red chilli, green chilli and the fennel seeds.
  • Add the soaked split chickpea to the blender and coarsely grind with no/very little water.
  • Add salt and chopped cilantro to the coarsely ground mixture.
  • Add the juice of lemon and shape the mixture into small balls(this recipe yields 22 balls).
  • Heat oil in a fryer pan until its almost smoking. 
  • Gently pat the balls into oval patties and drop them gently into the oil.
  • Cook for 2 minutes per side until they are browned and drain on paper towels.
  • Repeat the above 2 steps and fry them in batches.
Makes ~20-22 fritters
    10 Complex Women who I find very Inspiring(Chain Post):
    1. J.K. Rowling (Writer, Harry Potter) - Endless Fascination at her boundless Imagination -Love the way she has children and adult alike entranced and drawn into her fantasy world of Harry Potter
    2. Indra Nooyi (CEO, Pepsi) - A force to be reckoned with - Her brilliant acumen and determination helped her rise to the top of the American corporate ladder and earned her the name "Iron Woman"
    3. Joannie Rochette (Olympic Figure Skater, Winter Olympics 2010) - Amazing Grace and courage under Pressure - Got to admire her graceful performance at the Winter Olympics 2010 Finals, just a day after her mom passed away. Bravo!
    4. Nigella Lawson (British Celeb Chef and Author) - Domestic Goddess - Love her easy breezy take on cooking and the way she makes every dish look scrumptious.
    5. Angelina Jolie (Actress and Goodwill Ambassador) - Sexy Siren with a Merciful Heart - Love her transformation from a wild girl to a well respected philanthropist.
    6. Laura Ling (Journalist) - Gutsy Girl - Who wouldn't love this girl for her courage and bravery for stepping into North Korea and after surviving jail time for 120+ days(in North Korea) for suspected spying. She certainly has a big chunk of my admiration.
    7. Dr.Kamala Selvaraj(Gyneacologist and Fertility Specialist) - The Baby Maker - I can't help but admire this woman who makes dreams come true for many infertile women.
    8. Tina Fey (Comedienne) - A woman with Sharp wit - No one can beat her Witty remarks, Wise cracks and Super-quick comebacks.Its like her brain is on a roll all the time.
    9. Dr.Kiran Bedi (Director General, Ministry of Home Affairs, India) -  Trial Blazer - The first woman to join the rank of IPS(Indian Police Services) who has mile long accolades given to her for her courage, gallantry and reforming many issues like Narcotics Control, VIP Security and Drug Abuse Prevention etc etc..She is truly one of a kind.
    10. Celine Dion(Songstress) - She who has a voice of an Angel - When she opens her mouth, I close my eyes, enthralled by the unchained melody flowing into my ears. It is indeed a god's gift to be bestowed with such a captivating voice.
    I am passing this to Mia(Bright Morning Star), Nisha(An Open Book), PJ(Ginger And Garlic), Preeti(Relishing Recipes), Sonia(Nasi Lemak Lover),Asha(Asha Oceanichope).

    Thanks to Nithu for passing on this nice Tag/Post.

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Sauteed Asparagus With Chopped Rigatoni

    I wanted to whip up a quick meal yesterday as I wasn't in the mood for any elaborate cooking(which is the case most of the times). I had some leftover Sauteed Seasoned Asparagus that I had made the previous day that came quite handy for making this excellent and filling meal. My DH gave me 2 thumbs-up for this dish.
    • Sauteed Asparagus - 1 cup (Scroll below for Recipe)
    • Rigatoni - 1 cup, cooked and chopped
    • Lemon - Juice of 1/2 lemon
    • Oil - 1 tbsp
    Procedure(For Rigatoni With Sauteed Asparagus - 1 Serving):
    • In a skillet, add a tbsp of olive oil and add the Sauteed Asparagus and Chopped Rigatoni.
    • Toss it around until they are mixed evenly.
    • Move it to a serving bowl and top it with the lemon juice.
    • Serve Immediately.
    Sauteed Asparagus(Yields 2 cups):

    • Asparagus - 1 bunch
    • Onion - 1, large, chopped
    • Garlic - 3 cloves, diced
    • Curry Leaves - 2 stalks, chopped
    • Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
    • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
    • Green Chilli - 2, chopped
    • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
    • Salt for taste
    • Curry Powder - 1 tsp
     Procedure(For Sauteed Asparagus):
    • Cut off the spears from the asparagus and clean it gently. Set aside.
    • Discard the thick ends of the asparagus stalk. Clean the rest and horizontally chop them like thin discs.
    • In a skillet, heat the oil, add cumin seeds, garlic, onion, chopped curry leaves and saute until onions are browned.
    • Add the chopped asparagus and fry it for a couple of minutes along with turmeric powder, curry powder and green chillies.
    • Sprinkle salt and toss around to evenly incorporate. Add the spears and switch off the stove.
    • Serve with rice or use it with pasta for a nice filling meal.
    This makes its way to Presto Pasta Nights #158.


    Monday, April 5, 2010

    RecipeReplica:Curried lamb in Pepper Gravy

    For this recipe, I hopped over to Akal's Saapadu(= A Sister's Feast), a bilingual blog that is a treasure trove for multi-cuisine recipes. There were plenty of recipes that I have bookmarked but I chose the scrumptious "Lamb Pepper Fry" recipe that drove me into a frenzied shopping for some succulent Australian lamb shanks and try the recipe soon after. Rather than doing a dry version, I liked mine with a bit of gravy to go with steamed rice. So yummy it was, we ate almost all and I didn't have much to photograph.
    • Lamb with bones - 2.2 pounds, cleaned and cut into bit size pieces
    • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
    • Fennel seeds - 1/4 tsp
    • Bay leaf - 1
    • Olive Oil - 3 tbsp
    For the Marinade:
    • Onions - 2, large, coarsely chopped
    • Tomato - 2, medium, cut into chunks
    • Ginger - 1/2 inch, chopped
    • Garlic - 3-4 cloves
    • Dry Red Chillies - 3
    • Peppercorns - 1 1/2 tsp
    • Turmeric Powder - a pinch
    • Cilantro - 1/2 bunch, cleaned and coarsely chopped
    • Lemon Juice - 2 tbsp
    • In a pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil and add the Onions, Garlic, Peppercorns and dry red chillies. Saute until the onions are browned.
    • Add the turmeric, ginger to the pan and follow-up with tomato after a couple of minutes. When the tomato begin to lose shape, add the cilantro and switch off the stove.
    • Cool the mixture and grind.
    • Pour the lemon juice, spinkle some salt into the ground mixture.
    • Marinate the lamb chunks in the ground mixture for about an hour.
    • Pressure cook the lamb along with the marinade for about 2-3 whistles. Switch off.
    • Grind the fennel and cumin seeds coarsely in a mortar/pestle.
    • In a deep saute pan, add the remaining oil and the add the ground spices plus the bay leaf.
    • Transfer the pressure cooked mixture to the saute pan and cook until a desired consistency is reached.


    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Cocoa Pancakes

    The Guarantee - Eating this version of pancake(s) will put a smile on your face,a gleam in your eyes, a dance in your walk and a jaunt in your steps. Umm its true, a surefire thing. Scientifically speaking, Cocoa/Cocoa derivatives injects happy hormones in the blood and make people happy albeit temporarily. I have been making these pancakes ever since I came across the recipe in Google at least half a dozen years ago and every time I eat these pancakes, am subjected to all of the above changes. Have a stack of these with Honey or Log Cabin's Original Maple Syrup and fall in love.
    • All Purpose flour - 3/4 cup, leveled
    • Sugar - 4 tbsp
    • Cocoa Powder - 1 1/2 tbsp
    • Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp
    • Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
    • Buttermilk - 1 cup
    • Egg - 1, beaten
    • Olive Oil - 1/8 cup
    • Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
    • Salt - a dash
    • Oil for cooking
    • In a bowl, sieve the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder.
    • To it add sugar and mix the dry ingredients.
    • In another bowl, add egg, oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract and pour into the other bowl.
    • Mix it gently with a whisk and let it sit for 15 minutes.
    • In a skillet, coated with oil, pour a ladle full of batter and do not disturb or flip until you see holes on the top.
    • Gently flip and cook for 2-3 minutes per side and stack them up on a serving plate.
    • Serve warm with choice of honey or maple syrup with some chopped strawberries and walnuts.
    Makes 10-12 mid-sized pancakes

    • Go easy with the cocoa powder if you want light-colored pancakes