Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Shell Pasta with mixed peppers and black olives


"What do you want for dinner?"

"Paastaa!!" (the little one cries out)

I smile...She has shared my love for pasta. She wants it almost every week now.

I keep the pasta for boiling . 

"I want to see pasta." 

"ok, but you can't touch anything"

"Put tomatoes"

"I will. Now sit and watch."

"Don't put vegetables"

"hmmm"

I chop basil

"What is that?"


A glimpse of the chitter - chatter which goes on when I cook for my daughter. I just put a few ingredients together and came with this simple but satisfying recipe. The best thing was that it was really enjoyed by my little one. She even took second helpings (my inner domestic goddess was dancing!).

You will need
Pasta - 1 and 1/2 cups
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Tomatoes- 4 medium,chopped finely
Fresh basil- 2-3 tbsp, chopped finely
Mixed pepper strips - 2 tbsp
Broccoli florets- small, 1/2 cup approx.
Black olives- 5, chopped like small rings.
Black pepper- 1 tsp
Kosher salt- 1 tsp  or according to taste (you can use normal salt also)
Olive oil- 1 tbsp

Method
Cook pasta till al dente. Add turmeric powder while boiling.
Take a wok. Pour olive oil and heat on low flame.
Add Broccoli and mixed pepper strips and cook for a few minutes.
Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. cook for 4-5 minutes. I just wanted to release flavours but if you want a sauce like consistency then cook tomatoes for longer.
Add the cooked pasta. Mix well. Taste for adjustments in salt and pepper.
Serve and enjoy with your loved ones.

Yields 2 hearty servings



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Focaccia Bread

This is one of the tastiest breads that I have ever had, and I have always found it very easy to make.

I stumbled upon this recipe on Anushruti's blog and have never looked back. My own recipe is adapted from the stated one.

You will need

For bread
Atta /Whole wheat flour- 2 cups
Maida / white flour- 1 and 1/4 cups
Full fat Milk- Warm (not hot) 1 and 1/3 cups
Olive oil- 1/8 cup and some to grease your palms
Instant yeast- 1 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Sugar- 1 tsp

For the topping
Olive oil- 1/4 cup
Heeng/Asafoetida- a pinch ( you can add more if you like)
Basil - 2 Tbsp, chopped


How to make the Bread
Take atta and maida in a mixing bowl. Add salt, sugar and Yeast.
Mix them and make a well in the middle. Pour olive oil and warm milk in it.
Knead till the dough comes together. If it is too stiff, then add a little milk, one spoon at a time.
Take your baking dish and spread the dough in it by pressing with finger tips. Alternately, you could roll it into the desired container's shape.
Cover and keep the dough in a warm place till its doubled approximately ( as we have used atta, it'll take some time to rise). I kept it for 1 hour in summers.

How to prepare topping
Warm the oil. Add Heeng and basil.
Remove from flame and keep it covered for about 30-60 minutes for flavours to develop. You can keep it for longer also.

Baking the Bread
Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Punch holes in the dough with finger tips and pour the prepared oil.
Keep the baking dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The top should be slightly browned. Overly brown is a no-no.
Take it out and let it rest for 5-10 minutes while your house is filled by the rich aroma of baked bread.

Enjoy with Tomato salsa, or plain cheese or some chilli.







Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tomato salsa- the Italian way

Salsa is mostly defined as a spicy sauce having tomatoes, onions and chilli to accompany Mexican foods like nachos.


Salsa is also a dance...how apt!

You can dance around with the ingredients and make salsa to your liking, just like Mark Bittman

Here is a little something which I made over weekend with Foccacia bread.

You need:
  • Tomatoes- 3, chopped
  • Parsley- 2 Tbsp , chopped 
  • Olive oil- 2 tsp
  • Vinegar- 1 Tbsp
  • Black Pepper- 1 tsp, crushed
  • Kosher salt - to taste

How to
  1. Pour oil in a flat pan. 
  2. Add chopped tomatoes (you can de-seed them if u like. it'll change the texture a bit)
  3. Add the parsley.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Mix and cook for a minute.
  5. Add vinegar. Simmer and cook till its mushy, but still chunky.
Serve at room temperature.


PS: my mom would call it a simple chutney but Rose would smell sweet even if it was called by some other name. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Paneer curry - the way I make it

Paneer is almost the king of dishes in a vegetarian cuisine. With it chewy mouthfeel, lovely texture and an ability to take on various flavours...maybe it deserves to be just that.
Be it a festival, a party or a wedding, paneer dishes are served everywhere in India. The best part is that it can be used without any cooking in salads too!
Here is a regular paneer dish that I usually make when I feel like making something nice for dinner.

Ingredients

  • Paneer- 200 gm approximately ( I make at home, but you can use store bought ones)-cubed
  • Onion- 1, chopped
  • Garlic- 2, chopped
  • Tomatoes- 1 big or 2 small ones
  • Green chillies- 1 ( you can increase the amount
  • Ginger- 1" piece
  • Oil- 1 Tbsp ( you can use butter also)
  • Milk-1/2 cup
  • Haldi (turmeric powder)-1/4 tsp
  • Dhaniya (coriander seed powder)-  1tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chilli powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala- 1/2 tsp


Method

  1. Make puree of tomatoes, garlic, green chillies and ginger.
  2. Heat oil in a Kadhai/ wok.
  3. Add chopped onions and fry till they are browned at the edges.
  4. Now add the tomato puree mix and stir in all the spices.
  5. Cook till the oil leaves the sides.
  6. Now add 1/2 cup of milk and keep mixing. If it dries up too much i.e. its ticking to the bottom then add 1 tbsp of water.
  7. Add the cubed paneer and add 1/2 cup water. Mix well and simmer for a few minutes.
  8. Serve hot with chapati,naan or bread even!

Serves 2


Friday, March 13, 2015

Bedmi / Bedvi poori and potato curry- A weekend brunch

This is a dish which brings childhood memories with each bite. My mother and my aunt, used to make it in huge quantities as we all had a habit of snacking on this poori.
My mausi and mom used to have it with tea, and sometimes with pickles, while me and my cousin would just grab one from the huge pile in the kitchen and munch on it happily.


Usually this poori is made by stuffing it like a kachori , but we make it by kneading the soaked and grounded dal with the flour.


 You will need:
  • Dhuli urad dal/ washed black lentils- 1 cup
  • Sooji- 1/2 cup
  • Whole wheat flour-2 cups
  • Ginger-1"
  • Green chillies- 2, chopped finely
  • Salt- 1 tsp or to taste
  • Garam masala- 1/4 tsp
  • Dhaniya powder- 1tsp
  • Red chilli powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Oil- 1tbsp
  • Oil for frying


How to
  1. Wash the dal well and soak it for 2-3 hrs. You can also soak it overnight. I usually do that.
  2. Drain the water. Add ginger and green chillies. Grind the dal coarsely. 
  3. Take the coarse dal in a bowl. Add all the spices. Add whole wheat flour, Sooji and 1 tbsp oilKnead them together. Add very little water if required. The dough should be little stiffer than a chapati dough.
  4. Cover and keep for 1/2 hour. Knead again for 10-15 seconds.
  5. Make small lemon sized balls.
  6. Apply a little oil on the Chakla. Roll them into 4-5" diameter circles.
  7. Heat the oil for frying in a kadhai.
  8. When the oil is hot, then lower the flame and fry the pooris.


I made it as a weekend brunch with potato curry and we all were tummy happy.
The best part is that my little one likes it too!!