Aloo matar/Potatoes and peas in a tangy sauce

This is a very easy and simple recipe and always comes to my rescue when guests drop by or be it just another day, a crazy one. The sweetness from peas and the tanginess from the tomatoes blended along with onions simmered in spices makes it rich and a delicious gravy along side rotis or rice. I add a little cashew just to give it a little extra rich texture and flavor.

There are tons of of recipes and I am sure each one has its own unique taste. Below is my version:



Ingredients:

1 cup frozen peas
1 cup diced potatoes boiled
2 medium size onions chopped(reserve about 4 tsp for tempering)
4 ripe tomatoes(chopped)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 " ginger chopped and crush it.
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 to 4 tsp cashew pieces
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp ghee or butter
1/2 tsp coriander cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp(or less) turmeric powder
1-1/2 cups of water
1/2 tsp kasoori methi
2 tsp chopped coriander leaves
salt to taste.

Method:

1. Heat oil in a heavy wok or a saute pan, and add fennel seeds, onions, ginger, garlic and saute till golden on a medium heat. (about 10 mins approx)

2. Now throw in the tomatoes and fry till its melts. Let it cool for some time and then grind to a smooth paste by adding cashew pieces.

3. Heat the same pan and add ghee and add the cumin seeds. When it starts to sizzle, add the reserved onions and fry till golden.

4. Add the onion-tomato mixture and keep mixing/frying on a low medium heat.

5. Add the turmeric, coriander-cumin powder, red chili powder and fry for about 2 minutes or so.

6. In a microwave safe dish, boil the peas with little water on high for about 5 minutes. If you do not have a microwave, then, boil it on the stove top until its tender.

7. Add boiled peas and potato pieces into the onion-tomato paste and mix well. Add enough water and salt and mix well until you get the right consistency.Cover and let it boil for 5 to 10 minutes and turn off the heat.

8. Garnish with coriander leaves and kasoori methi and mix one last time. Serve hot with rotis.

Fish fry anyone?

This is a long awaited post and I am so happy that finally I am posting it; I can very well say that this is a continuation of my previous post. Fish fry is a favorite in my household. I am not a fan of it but I love to cook it for my hubby dear and family. I dislike the smelly part but out of my little experience I have seen that if the fish is fresh, then, it doesn't smell as much and its tolerable. My brother-in-law bought some fresh sea food. It was really fresh because it didn't smell bad and i was asked to try a bite and i found it tasty too. I learnt the below recipe from my sister's mother-in-law and she makes the best fish curry and fry. She had visited us few years back and hubby got some fresh fish and she made the best fish fry and curry for him and he was so happy that he said he never such good fish fry and curry in a long time. I believe the asafoetida and coriander powder in the marinade mixture makes the fish tasty and yummy. Also, marinading and letting it set overnight makes it suck in all that spice mixture and it will definitely not go wrong. As you can see in the picture, there are few Shrimp pieces too. We used the same spice marinade for shrimp and fried the same way as Fish.



Recipe follows

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh fish, tilapia or croakers cut into steaks(about 5 pieces roughly)

For marinade:

2 to 3 tsp red chilli powder(adjust accordingly)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida
salt to taste
1tsp tamarind paste or lemon juice

For frying:

Corn meal or semolina(suji) for breading
Oil for frying

Method:

1. In a bowl prepare the marinade - add salt, chilli powder, coriander powder, tamarind paste, asafoetida and few drops of warm water, make a thick paste and set aside.

2. Cut the fish into steak like pieces(as shown in picture) and clean thoroughly using salt(cleaning with salt helps remove the smell).

3. Add the cleaned fish pieces into the marinade and mix well until the spice mixture coats the fish. Set aside overnight. Before frying, check the salt and spice mixture and adjust it again if you think it needs more of it.

4. Heat a griddle and add few tsps of oil and coat the pan evenly. Bread the fish pieces with corn meal and lay on the pan. Drizzle few tsps of oil on the fish pieces and cook on medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes or until evenly cooked. Carefully, flip the fish and cook the other side again for about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a flat spoon and serve as you please.

Impromptu Shrimp Curry

Shrimp marinated in spices and then cooked along with browned onions, garlic and tomato makes a delightful curry. My brother -in-law brought some fresh sea food when he visited us last week. These suckers were fresh and originally they were intended to be shallow fried so my hubby marinaded all of it, but fried only few of them(a batch) because, they were too full after enjoying a big feast with fish fry and later, decided to use them in a curry and thus, this recipe. I was originally planning to make a simple shrimp fry with onions but since both my hubby and brother-in-law are not too fond of dry curries, i thought of adding some tomato puree and it made a tasty and delicious curry. The overnight marinade made the shrimps to suck in all the spices and tasted very good.




Ingredients:


1/2 lb shrimp, cleaned and deveined(about 25)


For marinade:


1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
a pinch asafoetida
salt to taste
1 tsp lemon juice

For curry:

2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
3 to 4 curry leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
3 garlic cloves, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp cooking oil
salt to taste


Method:

1. In a wide bowl, add all the marinade ingredients and shrimp, mix well and set aside at least for 5 to 6 hours. Overnight works best. (You can add few drops of water to make the marinade, but not much).

2. Heat oil in a pan, when hot add mustard seeds, when it starts to sputter add curry leaves. Add the thinly sliced onion, little salt and sautee until brown on a medium flame. It will take about 10 to 15 minutes, but browning the onions makes the curry gives a nice taste so worth it.

3. Add all the powders, turmeric, red chilli and garam masala and fry for a minute. Be careful not to burn.

4. Add the marinated shrimp and fry until you see the shrimp getting cooked. Add the tomato puree, and little water(1/2 cup), then, cover and let it cook for some time. About 5 minutes or so. Check the salt and spice level.

5. Serve hot with rice.

Paan Polo/Rice crepes

Paan polo is a thin crepe made with rice and tad bit of coconut. Some people totally skip coconut. This dosa does not need to be fermented and can be made instantly by simply soaking the rice for an hour or 2 at the most. Paan polo is a famous breakfast staple from South Kanara region. 'Paan' in konkani means 'leaf' and 'polo' means Dosa/crepe and, since we fold the Dosa to leaf like looking, it is known as Paan polo. It is known as Neer dosa in Tulu speaking community. Neer in Tulu means water, and since the batter is watery and runny in texture it is called Neer dosa, again this is only my interpretation. Actual meaning might be different.

This is a favorite breakfast in our household. We usually served this with chutney, sometimes ravo(a thick syrup made from jaggery, cardamom and pepper corns), mango pickle or any spicy curry. My mom made spicy vegetable pickle and we enjoyed paan polo with pickle. I will post the recipe for Pickle soon.



Below is the recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups long grain rice
1/2 cup fresh coconut
salt to taste
1/4 tsp jaggery

Method:

1. Wash the rice in 2 to 3 changes of water, and soak for about 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

2. Then, in a blender, add the drained rice, coconut and grind to a smooth batter using enough water.

3. Transfer the batter in a vessel and add enough water salt, jaggery and mix well. The batter should be thin and runny.

4. Heat a griddle/tava, spray oil and sprinkle the dosa batter Or you can pour a ladleful of batter and tilt/turn the griddle so the batter is coated evenly. Cover with a lid and cook for a minute or until the top of the dosa is cooked through. Then, using a flat spatula, remove the dosas by folding into half and then fold again to form a triangle.

5. Serve hot with your choice of side dish.

Ambe Upkari/Mango Curry

Ambe upkari is a sweet Konkani dish made using ripe mangoes. The sweetness from the ripe mangoes and the tamarind juice extract along with some jaggery/brown sugar, green chillies makes it a very delectable dish. I loved this dish as a kid and still do. We had a lot of mango trees and in summer this dish was made every single day until the mango season was over. We had varieties of mangoes in our farm and I remember my grandmom carefully picking the small varieties to prepare this dish. I never really made this dish all these years, but now since my mom is here she makes all my favorite food. In the below recipe, she used just 1 mango. The mango used was appus from Indian store. You can use any variety but make sure it is ripened completely. You can add more mangoes and double the recipe easily.



Ingredients:

1 large ripe mango
2 tsp all purpose flour/corn flour
4 green chillies, slit
1/2 cup brown sugar or jaggery, grated(adjust the sweetness according to your taste)
1 tsp tamarind paste
salt to taste

For tempering:

4 tsp cooking oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
4 to 5 fresh curry leaves
1 or 2 dried red chillies

Method:

1. Peel the mango and chop the pulp into bite size pieces, and reserve all the juice along with the seed and add it in a saucepan.

2. Heat this by adding about a cup of water and add the the brown sugar/jaggery, green chillies and tamarind paste. Let it cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. The color of the mangoes will change when its cooked and will look pale.

3. In a small bowl, add the all purpose flour and some water and make a smooth paste without any lumps in it. Add this mixture into the mango curry and mix well. At tis point, you can add some water if its too thick and adjust the consistency.

4. Take a small pan and heat oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds, when they start sputtering, add the curry leaves and red chillies and fry for a minute or two. Add this to the mango curry and turn off the heat.

5. Serve hot or cold as a side dish or as a dessert!

Enjoy!!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Fresh tomatoes sauteed along with onions and garlic to perfection and then, pureed with basil which is then simmered in butter and cream cannot go wrong. This vibrant and hearty soup can be made with fresh or canned tomatoes. It's so hearty with the richness of tomatoes and the basil imparts nice flavor, freshness and makes it so fragrant. It can be served with a sandwich and will make a perfect meal.
I found this recipe online and have made this 2 times back to back now using our home-grown tomatoes. This soup recipe is definitely a keeper. It tastes so good! I can say its almost a replica of Panera's Creamy Tomato soup. I don't know how Panera makes theirs but this soup recipe is definitely healthy. I used up a lot of my garden fresh tomatoes and basil to make mine. Below is the recipe.



Ingredients:

1 tbsp Olive oil(i used light Olive oil)
1 tbsp butter
1 medium finely chopped onion
4 cloves of garlic, minced
15 to 20 good size finely chopped fresh tomatoes
1/3 cup of water
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%, but the original recipe had 1 cup whipping cream - I am sure adding cream will make it more rich and tasty)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Salt to taste
a pinch of sugar to cut the acidity of tomatoes
1 tsp crushed/powdered black pepper

Method:

1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan, and add olive oil. When hot, add the chopped onions and tomatoes and cook until for about 5 minutes.

2. Now throw in the minced garlic and cook for an additional 25 to 30 minutes on a medium heat until the tomatoes are melted and cooked all the way. Turn off the heat and let it cool down.

3. Take a hand blender or a regular blender and pour the tomato mixture, basil leaves and puree it until desired consistency. I like mine smooth.

4. In the same pot, add the butter and pour the blended tomato puree. Add the milk or cream, crushed pepper, salt and continue cooking for about 5 to 10 minutes on a medium-low heat until the soup has reached a desired temperature(about 5 to 8 minutes). Do not boil it for too long.

5. Serve in a bowl with croutons.(I did not have croutons, so I served it with fresh basil chiffonade).



P.S: You can make this soup with part fresh tomatoes and a can of crushed tomatoes and I am sure it will taste great, but in my opinion fresh tomatoes that too from ones own garden tastes the best.

Refreshing Tomato and Potato gojju/soup

This year we had a lot of fresh tomatoes from our garden and we really made good use of it by using them in soups, different curries, rasam and salads. The below recipe is a very quick and easy recipe. All you need is some tomatoes, onions and potatoes which makes a simple and refreshing side dish. You can skip potatoes all together if you don't want it, but adding it gives a nice body and texture since it acts like a thickening agent. Tomatoes alone can be very thin and soupy. My mom made this very frequently when we were kids and we enjoyed it so much. I all together forgot about it until now when she made it few days back using the garden fresh tomatoes - it brought back fond memories. This was a new dish for my dear hubby and he too enjoyed it as its refreshing and tastes delicious!

Below is my mom's recipe for tomato gojju.




Ingredients:

10 medium size ripe tomatoes
1 medium size potato, boiled and mashed.
1 medium onion, finely chopped(red onion is preferred)
4 to 5 green chillies, cut into rings
salt to taste
1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped for garnishing

3 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
3 to 4 curry leaves, fresh

Method:

1. In a sauce pan boil water and add the tomatoes. Cook them till tender for about 10 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and let it cool.

2. Take a wide bowl, and when the tomatoes are cooled down, peel the skin and remove the seeds and mash them up really well. To this add the boiled and mashed potatoes and mix everything well.

3. To this, add chopped onions, green chillies and corinader leaves, salt and mix everything until combined.

4. In a small pan, heat oil. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds. When it starts to crackle, add curry leaves and fry for a minute. Turn off the heat. Add this on the Tomato-potato mixture and mix again.

5. Serve with rice or rotis.



P.S: It is usually served in room temperature. We usually make it fresh and consume it as we hardly have any leftovers from it. However, if you make a big batch, then you can refrigerate and serve it. You can serve it either by heating it for a little bit or place it outside much ahead of time before serving so that, it comes back to room temperature and not freezingly cold.

Potato Saung

This is one of my favorite dishes. I would say everyone in my household absolutely loves this dish. This is one of those dishes which can never fail to impress a person who has it for the first time. Batata Saung is a signature konkani dish. The spicy masala made from frying coconut, red chillies and tamarind complements the onions and potatoes so well. Again, my mom made the best saung and she has been making batata saung for us every week now since they have been here and we are not tired of it and will never be :). There are a lot of recipes to make this, some people skip coconut, some add coriander seeds and each has its own taste in variations.



Below is her recipe.

Ingredients:

2 medium sized potatoes, boiled and cut into small cubes
3 medium sized onions chopped

For Masala:

10 red chillies roasted in a tsp of oil(kashmiri and regular) - increase or decrease spice to your taste
2 tsp coconut gratings(dry works too)
Peanut size tamarind
a pinch of brown sugar or jaggery(optional)
Salt to taste
Cooking oil

Method:

1. Take a heavy bottom kadai/saute pan and heat about 3 tbsp oil, and add the chopped onions. Add some salt and saute till golden.

2. Heat about 1 tsp oil in a kadai/pan and add the coconut gratings and toast it till brown on a medium heat.

3. Then, in a blender add the toasted coconut gratings, red chillies and tamarind. Using little water grind it to a smooth paste.

4. When the onions are brownish, add the boiled chopped potatoes, salt and water and mix well. Let it boil well - approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

5. Add the ground masala and some water, combine everything well. Cover it and cook for sometime, about 10 minutes or so.

Serve with rice and Dalitoy.

Poori bhaaji

Poori(pronounced as 'poo-ree') is a bread made from wheat flour deep fried to golden and lightly crisp until its puffed up like a ball. A perfect poori will be golden in color and will be puffed up. It's a quintessential Indian dish which can be served as breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack or dinner. Yes, people like to serve this or eat this be it any time of the day. It makes a complete meal in itself. Growing up my mom made poori bhaji for breakfast during the weekends and during fasting days, like Sankasti etc., this was our lunch. We loved poori bhaji and as kids used to look forward to weekends. Aloo bhaji is perfect accompaniment for puffed puris. There are a lot of dishes that can served with poori, like Vegetable Korma, Sagu, Peas usli to name a few. But Aloo/potato bhaji is the perfect combo.



This weekend, again as usual my mom made this yummy breakfast. Below is her recipe:

Ingredients:

To make pooris:(makes about 20 pooris)

2 cups Whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp suji rava(optiona - this will make pooris crispy)
Water as needed(to knead the flour)
Cooking oil for deep frying(about 3 cups)

Method:

1. In a wide mixing bowl, add salt, wheat flour, suji rava (if adding) and add water little at a time and start to mix to form a dough. Poori dough should be firm and stiff (the idea is you should be able to roll the pooris), so go slow with the water. Add it only as needed. When the dough forms like smooth ball, cover and set it aside for 30 minutes or so.

2. Divide the dough into small balls between your palm till they are smooth without any cracks. On a clean counter surface sprinkle some flour and start rolling out these balls using a rolling pin into 4 to 5 inch circles about 1/4 inch thick.

3. Heat oil in a kadai or deep frying dish(do not fill the dish, just about half should be good enough). When hot(Test for readiness by placing a small piece of dough into the hot oil. If it bubbles and rises to the surface immediately, it is ready). Add the flattened pooris one at a time. The pooris will sink to the bottom, but will rise up immediately. Using the back of a slotted spoon, carefully apply little pressure and submerge the pooris until it puffs up. Slowly, turn it over on the other side. The other side of the poori is usually thicker, so, fry a bit longer until nice and golden. Carefully remove the pooris using the slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain the oil. Repeat the procedure with the remaining pooris. Serve immediately, if possible, or keep warm, covered, until ready serve.

P.S: When fryying, be careful to keep the oil at 350° to 375° for even cooking. If the oil gets too hot, then the poori will brown too fast and may remain doughy add uncooked inside. If the oil is not hot enough, it will not puff up and the dough will absorb a lot of fat.

To make Potato bhaji:

3 medium size potatoes, boiled and chopped to small pieces
1 large onion, chopped finely
4 green chillies, chopped
1/2 tsp minced ginger and garlic
4 tsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
1/2 tsp urad(black-gram) dal
1/4 tsp chana(bengal-gram) dal
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
5 to 6 curry leaves
Salt to taste
5 to 6 stalks of Coriander leaves, finely chopped for garnishing

Method:

1. Heat oil in a kadai/pan, add mustard seeds, when it starts sputtering, add cumin seeds, urad dal and chana dal, when they start sizzling, add curry leaves, green chillies, ginger-garlic, turmeric and fry for a minute or two.

2. Add chopped onions and fry until translucent. About 5 to 6 minutes, approximately.

3. Now add chopped potato pieces and mix together. Add about 1/2 cups of water, salt and combine well. Add more water if its too thicky to make a semi-dry dish.

4. Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Check salt and adjust if necessary. Add coriander leaves and mix one last time and turn off the heat.

Serve with hot pooris.

Chane Ghashi/ Chickpeas and Jackfruit simmered in coconut sauce

This is an authentic Konkani cuisine. Without this dish any auspicious occasion would be incomplete, I would say. This curry can be prepared using either black chana or white(kabuli) chana. Again a protein rich legume which has a nutty and buttery flavor. You can read a whole lot about it from, here. Typically raw jackfruit is added to the curry along with the chickpeas, but since raw jackfruit is seasonally available only for couple of months, yam or suran is also added which makes it equally tasty and delicious. You can use canned jackfruit and chickpeas as well which is what I ended up for jackfruit.

Chane Ghashi with Kabuli chana:



Chane Ghashi with Black Chana:




Below is my mom's recipe.

Ingredients:

½ cup chickpeas – soaked for about 8 hours(black or kabuli)
½ cup raw jackfruit diced(you can use canned ones)

¾ cup fresh or frozen coconut
4 to 5 dried red chillies
1” tamarind or ½ tsp tamicon paste
5 to 6 fenugreek seeds(optional)
¼ tsp turmeric powder(optional)
4 tsp cooking oil
5 to 6 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
salt to taste

Method:

1. First of all pressure cook chickpeas and jackfruit for up to 6 whistles or until cooked well. Reserve the water. (If using canned chickpeas, then, drain the water and rinse well and set aside).

2. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and fry fenugreek seeds for about 2 minutes(until it starts to sizzle).

3. Take a blender and grind to a smooth paste coconut, red chillies, tamarind and fenugreek seeds and turmeric with water as needed.

4. Heat a saucepan and add the cooked chickpeas and jackfruit along with the reserved water, add salt and mix well.

5. When it starts boiling, add the blended masala/paste, mix again for about 5 to 10 minutes until the raw smell from the masala fades.

6. Heat 4 tsp oil in a small kadai/pan, when hot, add mustard seeds and when it starts sputtering add the curry leaves and fry lightly for a minute or so, turn off the heat and add this into the chickpea curry, and switch off the heat.

7. Server with rice and pappads.

Corn Bread

Corn bread is a quintessential part of American cuisine particularly in the South-western region. You can read more about it here.

Below is a quick and healthy recipe that one of my good friend shared with me. I used Honey instead of sugar and it was really perfect for us in terms of sweetness. If you intend to bake yours sweet, you can add more of honey or sugar. I added about 1/2 cup of fresh corn kernels and I think that made the bread even more tasty; whenever i took a bite the fresh sweet corn kernels gave a unique flavor and added more taste to it. There are hundreds of recipes out there. You can modify and add different ingredients like cheese, scallions, chillies or jalapenos; I am sure it will taste equally fantastic.





Ingredients:

Combine Dry Ingredients:

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour/maida
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl:

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
3 Tbs. honey or sugar
3 Tbs. melted butter/cooking oil
1/2 to 1 cup of fresh corn(optional)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Stir wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix as it might make the bread hard.

3. Butter a pie plate - 8 inch square casserole, or 8-9 inch round cast iron pan whichever you have.

4. Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes. When done, the center should spring up when lightly pressed and the edges will look at little brown.

P.S: If you’re using a glass pie plate or casserole, it can take a little longer to bake.

Vaali Bhuthi

Bhuthi is loved by everyone in my household. We prepare it quite often with Cabbage, Cauliflower, Mushrooms to name a few. I always buy spinach since its known for its health benefits. I usually make dal palak, simple spinach stir-fry with garlic, or Palak paneer, or sometimes ambat, another konkani dish made with ground coconut and tad bit of toor dal.

I had never tried preparing bhuthi with spinach until now. I had heard a relative mention it long back but never really made it. I had a big box of organic spinach sitting in my refrigerator. My parents are here visiting us, and so when I told my mom about Vaali bhuthi, she was all set to prepare it. It was very tasty. Some people make spinach bhuthi with cashews and it adds a nice flavor and makes it even more tasty. I did not add it this time since mine was a last minute decision so skipped it.



Ingredients:

1 pounds spinach, cleaned and chopped
1 medium sized onion chopped.
1/2 cup cashew nuts soaked in warm water Or boiled until done.(optional)

For masala:

½ cups of fresh coconut
5 to 6 fried red chillies (add more if you want it spicy)
¼ tsp tamarind concentrate
2 tsp Coriander seeds
salt to taste
oil for cooking.

Method:

1.Chop the spinach and onions and keep side.

2.Heat oil in a kadai or deep skillet and add the chopped onions and sauté till light brownish. Add the chopped spinach and fry until the it starts wilting about 5 minutes I would say.{You can add cashew nuts at this point]

3.Whilst the onions are browning, in a blender add in the coconut, red chillies, and tamarind & coriander seeds and grind all these ingredients with little water to a fine paste.

4.Add the masala in and little water; mix it all together so that the masala incorporates with the spinach. Cover again and cook further till the masala is cooked. Adjust the spice & salt one last time.

5.Serve with rice & Dali toy or rotis.

Matar Paneer

Who does not like rich and creamy Matar paneer, right? Onions and spices sauteed until brown along with fresh juicy tomatoes and then blended well to a creamy paste and cooked with fresh peas and paneer a.k.a cottage cheese is one of its kind. It is a very popular dish from the North Indian region made its way into the culinary world. The dried fenugreek leaves adds a little magic to this dish and makes it aromatic and flavorful and takes into a different level. We have been having bountiful plum tomatoes and I made good use of them by using it Matar paneer, Tomato soup, Tomato rasam etc., The freshness from the tomatoes made a whole lot of difference to this recipe.



Below is my version of Matar Paneer.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp oil
1 large onion finely chopped(about 3 cups)
Whole spices such as 2 cloves, 1 cardamom, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp poppy seeds, 1" cinnamon stick
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
3 to 4 medium size ripe tomatoes finely chopped
1 tsp kasuri methi(dried fenugreek leaves)
2 tsp cashew pieces
2 tsp ghee/butter
1 cup boiled peas
1 cup paneer pieces
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder(optional)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
A pinch of sugar(optional)
2 tsp cream/malai
salt to taste

Method:

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the whole spices, chopped onions, ginger garlic paste and fry until golden. (add little salt to speed up this process).

2. Meanwhile, heat a griddle and apply a tsp of oil and place the paneer pieces and fry on both the sides till golden. You can deep fry them too, but i prefer this way.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry until they are cooked till soft and melted completely. Add all the powders and fry for a minute or two. Let it cool for sometime and then add this into a blender along with cashew pieces and blend to a smooth paste adding little water.

4. Heat the same pan and, add some ghee or butter and pour the paste and fry on a medium flame. Add about a cup of water to bring it to desired consistency. Let it come to a boil.

5. Add the boiled peas, mix and let it cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

6. Now add the Paneer pieces, salt and combine everything well together and let it simmer on a low flame for 6 to 10 minutes.

7. Add cream, kasuri methi and mix well and adjust the spice and salt and switch off the heat and let it stand for sometime before serving.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with naan/roti and sliced onions.

Easy breezy vegetable pulao

Now, when it comes to vegetable pulao, there are thousands of recipes out there. Pulao is an easy and tasty one pot dish. Whenever I am in a fix as to what to prepare and run out of ideas, be it a regular day or the days we have unexpected guests, Pulao always comes to my rescue. Everyone in my household loves pulao so i prepare it quite often. This is my Mom's recipe and its really good!



You will need:

2 cups basmati rice (washed and drained)
4 cups hot water(1:2 ratio)
1 medium onion chopped
1 cup vegetables -peas, chopped beans, chopped carrots
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp canola oil
2 bay leaves
4 tsp cashew pieces
Few strands of Saffron(optional)

Make a coarse paste of the whole spices using a Mortar and pestle:
4 cloves
2 cardamom pods
2" cinnamon stick
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
4 to 5 green chillies
3 cloves of garlic
1" ginger

salt to taste.

Method:

1. Heat butter and oil in a pressure cooker or a heavy bottomed pan and add the onions,bay leaves and cashew pieces and saute till golden. [Adding salt to onion will speed up the frying process].

2. Now add the coarse paste and fry until the raw smell fades, about 5 to 8 minutes on a medium heat.

3. Add the drained rice and slowly mix until it is well combined with the browned onion - whole spice mixture. Fry for a 2 to 3 minutes. [Be careful that it doesn't stick to the bottom].

4. Add the vegetables and mix and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Pour boiled water(1:2 ratio), add salt and saffron strands and mix well. Check the salt and adjust everything as desired. Pressure cook for upto 1 whistle. [I pressure cook for 1 whistle and turn off the heat; this makes the rice grains separated and cooks evenly].

Serve with your choice of raita.

Going bananas with Banana Nut bread!

This is one of those breads that is easy to prepare, healthy and delicious. I often let the bananas go ripe on their own so that I can bake a Banana nut bread. Ripe bananas and buttermilk makes the bread moist and naturally sweet. I usually make with whole wheat flour and tastes excellent. Below is a recipe that I found on the internet which claims to be Starbucks Banana bread recipe. As soon as I saw it, I know I had to try, since I love Starbucks' Banana bread. Its very easy and quick and absolutely delicious. I have tried numerous Banana bread recipes but this one is definitely a keeper!



Dry Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour(You can substitute 1 cup with whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt


Wet ingredients:

3/4 cup Sugar(original recipe had 11/3 cups but I reduced it to 3/4 since I don't like mine too sweet)
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tbsp butter milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe medium-large bananas(mashed)
1/2 c + 1/3 c chopped walnuts(for mixing and garnish)

Method:

1.Pre-heat the oven to 325 degree F. Grease a 9*5*3 loaf pan and dust with flour.

2.Blend together the dry ingredients nicely- flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

3.Mix together the egg and sugar and vegetable oil until combined.

4.Add the flour mixture and when blended add the buttermilk, vanilla and mashed bananas and mix until combined.

5.Fold in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Top batter with remaining 1/3 c chopped walnuts.

6.Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before removing from pan. Serve a slice with a hot cup of coffee or just on its own!

Mung bean curry




Here is a another easy mung curry. I usually make this to go with rotis, but goes well with rice too. Mung which is also known as green bean is a very wholesome and nutritious legume rich in protien and dietary fibre. It can be eaten raw when sprouted which makes a very healthy snack!
The recipe below is a quick recipe.

You will need:

Mung bean(whole) ½ to ¾ cup, washed and soaked in water

Onion finely chopped about 1 medium
Tomatoes 2 to 3 finely chopped
Ginger paste-1/2 tsp
Garlic finely chopped-1 tsp
Red chilli powder -1/2 tsp or to taste
garam masala powder ½ tsp
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Coriander-cumin powder
½ tsp jeera/cumin seeds
salt to taste
jaggery/brown sugar a pinch
Cooking oil – 2 tbsp
Ghee or clarified butter – 2 tsp(optional)
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Method:

1. In a pressure cooker cook mung for up to 4 whistles or until done.

2.Meanwhile, heat oil and ghee in a pan and add jeera and fry till it sizzles. Then add onions and saute till golden. Add ginger and garlic and fry further till the raw smell fades away.

3.Add tomatoes and fry till its soft and pulpy. Now add all the powders and fry for few more minutes on a medium flame.

4.Now add the cooked mung bean and mix everything together. Add little water if its too thick.

5.Add salt, jaggery and mix everything together and cook for few minutes (approximately 5 to 10 minutes). Turn off the heat and garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or rotis.

Stir-fried Asparagus

I have been meaning to post this recipe for so long, but, I never got to it. Things got busy and food blogging took a back seat in my life. This is a very easy and nutritious recipe. I make it almost very regularly for my dear hubby. I never used to buy Asparagus thinking what will I cook out of it until one good friend told me about this recipe. Its become a everyday dish in our household now. Try this on its own or with dal and rice.




Ingredients:

1 small onion chopped into length wise pieces
4 garlic cloves crushed
4 cups Asparagus(cleaned and washed)
4 tsp Olive oil
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper

Method:


1. Heat Olive oil in a non stick pan, when oil is hot add the crushed garlic pieces and fry till they are light golden in color.

2. Now add the onion pieces and fry till they are translucent on a medium heat. Add salt and fry for a minute or two.

3. Add the chopped Asparagus and the black pepper and stir fry on high flame just until they start turning vibrant green(until they are steamed) may be roughly about 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and turn off the heat and set it aside.

4. Serve hot with rice and rasam/dal or just by itself.