Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rajma/ Kidney Beans Curry

Rajma chawal has always been a classic and a favorite in many households.Kidney beans can sometimes be a difficult task to get the right softness without overcooking them. Here are some handy tips to help us cook kidney beans to perfection.

The first method is to boil the beans for two minutes, take pan off the heat, cover and allow to stand for two hours. The alternative method is to simply soak the beans in water for eight hours or overnight, placing the pan in the refrigerator, so the beans will not ferment.

Before cooking the beans, regardless of pre-soaking method, drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans with clean water.
To cook the beans, you can either cook them on the stovetop or use a pressure cooker. For the stovetop method, add three cups of fresh water or broth for each cup of dried beans. The liquid should be about one to two inches above the top of the beans. Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, partially covering the pot. If any foam develops, simply skim it off during the simmering process. Kidney beans generally take about one and one-half hours to become tender using this method. They can also be cooked in a pressure cooker where they take about one-half hour to prepare. Regardless of cooking method, do not add any seasonings that are salty or acidic until after the beans have been cooked. Adding them earlier will make the beans tough and greatly increase the cooking time.
(Source: the world's healthiest foods)

4 cups of  cooked rajma (Kidney beans)
2 cups finely chopped onions
2 cups finely chopped tomatoes
1tbs oil
2tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 bay leaf
4 cloves
1 small sized cinammon
1tsp jeera
2tsp corriander powder
1tsp red chilli powder
1/2tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
cilantro for garnish

Take some oil in a pan and add jeera, bay leaf, cloves and cinnamon. Once done add onions and cook till it turns transparent. Add chopped tomatoes and ginger garlic paste. Add all the powdered massala, some water and allow it to cook for sometime (about 5 mins). Add boiled rajma and salt to taste.
Bring it to boil and simmer the stove. Let it cook for 20 mins and garnish with chopped cilantro.
Serve hot with steamed rice or tortillas.

This is my submission to this week's BSI:Kidney Beans, hosted by Sandhya's Kitchen.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beet Appetizer Salad/Moroccan Beet Salad

Moroccan salads play a big role in Moroccan cuisine, and most families serve them almost daily. Garden-fresh vegetables might be peeled and chopped before being tossed with a vinaigrette, or they might be cooked with spices and olive oil to make dip-like salads. Most salads can be refrigerated for 2-3 days.

Handling of beet has always been a concern for me....I found some helpful tips on how to handle beets:
  • Choose beets of uniform size to promote even cooking.
  • To retain nutrients and color, boil, bake or steam without peeling first. The skin will easily rub off under cold running water after they are cooked.
  • When trimming, leave at least an inch of the leaf stems attached and do not remove the root. The stem and root are removed after cooking.
  • If you must peel before cooking, a swivel vegetable peeler works better than a paring knife.
  • To avoid staining your fingers, wear rubber gloves when handling beets.
  • To remove beet juice from fingers, rub with wet salt and lemon juice and then wash with soap and water. For cutting boards and plastic containers, use a
  • bleach solution.
  • 1 Tablespoon of vinegar added to beet cooking water will not only reduce the odor of the cooking beets, but also help them retain their bright color.
  • For older beets, try adding a pinch each of sugar and salt to each cup of cooking water to revive sweetness and color.
  • Beets are naturally high in sodium, so no salt is necessary in the cooking water.
  • To microwave whole beets, pierce the skin and place one pound in a micro-proof dish with 2 Tablespoons of water. Cook on high for 9 to 12 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before cooling and peeling.
  • To avoid bleeding of color into other ingredients, add beets just before serving if possible.
  • When cooked, drain off the hot water and fill the pot with cold tap water. Do this a couple of times, until the beets are cool enough to handle. Now take each beet in your hands and just slide the skin right off with your fingers. How easy!!!

2 medium sized beets, boiled & diced 
1 small onion, diced
1 tomato, skinned, seeded & diced
1 tsp crushed garlic cloves
2 tbs finely chopped parsley
2 tbs finely chopped cilantro
4 medium sized potatoes, boiled & sliced
For the dressing
2 tsp vinegar
4 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
green or black olives for garnish

Mix together the dressing ingredients.
Combine beets in a salad bowl with the onion, tomato, garlic cilantro & parsley.Pour over half the dressing, toss gently. Place the sliced potatoes in a shallow bowl & toss with remaining dressing.Chill both beet and potato salad for 30 minutes.
When ready to assemble, arrange beets, tomato & onion in the center of a shallow bowl & arrange potatoes in a ring around them. Serve cold garnished with olives.

This is my submission to this month's destination Morocco hosted by My Kitchen, My WorldVegetarian Foodie Fridays hosted by Breastfeeding Moms Unite!, Healing Foods - Beet, hosted by Mharo Rajasthan's Recipes & Siri's Corner, Low Oil/Low Calorie hosted by Mharo Rajasthan Recipes & Foodelicious, Dish name starts with 'B' by Learning-to-cook, and finally to this week's Souper Sundays hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Coconut Milk Pilaf

Honey what's for lunch?
Me: hmmmmmm coconut milk rice :)
Hubby: hmmmmm...why coconut rice?no not today...
Me: why?
Hubby: you will just  season it with some grated coconut and I don't like coconut....
Me: but it's going to be different...I promise you...
Hubby: no not today I want something special
Me: ok :(

2 cups basmatic rice
31/2 cups of coconut milk
1 cup chopped onions
1 tsp of crushed garlic
3tsp of butter/ghee
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
7-8 pieces of cashews
2 bay leaf
1 cardamon
4 cloves
fried onions for garnish

Soak the rice for an hour. Take butter in a pan and saute bay leaf,onions, cashews, cardamon and garlic until onions are  soft.Add rice, salt and turmeric powder. Mix the ingredients well by adding coconut milk and cover the lid. Let the rice cook on low flame for about 20 minutes (or pressure cook).

Garnish with fried onions and serve hot with any curry.

I had to prepare this dish to give hubby a real taste of what I meant by coconut rice.......

And the result, he loved it and told me that it is much better than the coconut rice I was planning on making.......... yes whatever you say honey ;)

This is my submission to this month's Festive rice event, hosted by Torview.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chicken Chop Suey

Taste & Create is a monthly event where blogger are paired with each other and have to create one of their recipes. It was time for me to explore new blog for a different taste.....

NO REASON NEEDED is my partner for this month's event. I short-listed few recipes below:

Lime Chiffon Dessert
Chicken Chop Suey
Sweet n Sour Pork
Spaghetti Sauce

I don't like elaborate cooking and found the above easy and quick to cook.
Well they are a good handful pick and confused as always....I asked my husband to pick one for dinner..and the result: Chicken Chop Suey...

The selection was spot on and it turned out to be an absolutely satisfying meal. The flavor was just perfect and very different in comparison to spring onions and garlic that are most commonly used in Indian-Chinese cuisine....

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
1¼ cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp. corn syrup (I used honey)
½ tsp. ginger
1 Tbsp. cooking oil
2 cups sliced celery
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
I added an additional cup of green pepper

Rinse chicken; pat dry. Cut into ½-inch pieces. For sauce, stir together the broth, cornstarch, soy sauce, molasses, and ginger; set aside.
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. (Add more oil as necessary during cooking.) Stir-fry the celery and onion in hot oil for 2 minutes. Add fresh bean sprouts, if using, and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes more or till celery and onion are crisp-tender. Remove vegetables from wok or skillet.
Add half the chicken to the hot wok. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or till no longer pink. Remove chicken from wok. Repeat with remaining chicken. Return all chicken and cooked vegetables to the wok; push from the center of the wok. Stir sauce; add to the center of wok. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Add canned bean sprouts, if using. Stir to coat with sauce. Cook and stir about 1 minute more or till heated through.
Serve immediately over noodles or steamed rice.

A must try and will surely make it again. Hope you're having a great weekend.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mixed Baby Corn & Cinnamon Salad

I was going through my list of events for this coming week and I came across no croutons required hosting corn as the main ingredient. I couldn't resist corn is my favourite veggie and I use it a lot in my cooking.... I have already posted three recipes with corn in them :)
So here I am with another one....

You can either cook or serve the corn raw (I prefer it cooked). Baby corn, unless overcooked will retain its crunchy texture, especially since you eat the whole corn including the core. On its own, baby corn can have a slightly sweet flavor.It retains the flavors of sauces applied to it and adds interesting texture and visual appeal to a dish.

2 cups cut canned or fresh baby corn (I used canned ones)
1 cup sprouted beans
1 cup chopped gherkins (used gerkins with yellow mustard)
1/2 chopped green olives
1/2 chopped tomatoes
2tsp finely chopped celery
1tsp of cinnamon powder
1/2tsp dried basil
2tsp Olive oil
1tsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all the ingredients in a bowl and serve cold.

This is my submission to this month's No Croutons Required, hosted by Lisa's Kitchen and Tinned Tomatoes and this week's Souper Sundays, hosted by Kahakai Kitchen.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sprouted Mung & Pomegranate Salad

Sprouting of mung can be a little bit of extra preparation for this crunchy salad. DK form Chefinyou gives a detailed description on 'how to sprout mung beans', a must read...

Pomegranate adds a little sweetness to the salad. Its great flavor and health benefits have made it a great candidate for those who seek natural health foods.

Tips on how to buy & store pomegranate: (source

Look for pomegranates that feels heavy for their size, indicating particularly juicy fruit.Pomegranates should have soft, leathery skin; avoid fruit with shriveled skin.

Store pomegranates at room temperature for up to 3 weeks or refrigerate for up to 2 months.Pomegranate seeds and juice can be frozen for up to 6 months.

2 cups of sprouted mung beans
2cups of pomegranate
1cup finely chopped cabbage
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (seeds omitted)
4tsp grated coconut (preferably fresh)
4tsp finely cut cilantro leaves
2tsp lime juice
2tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all the ingredients in a bowl and serve cold.

This is my submission to this week's Souper Sundays, hosted by Deb from Kahakai Kitchen and My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Apple & Cinnamon Sorbet

I personally like the blend of apple and cinnamon..... I sometimes dust powdered cinnamon on cut fruits and they really taste good :)
We are just out of monsoons and what better way to enjoy the frozen dessert in the coming season of heat and humidity.

1 big apple
1 cup water
3tsp natural brown sugar or demerara sugar(you can add more if you like it sweeter)
2tsp lemon juice
1tsp cinnamon powder

Slice apples into thin slices, leaving skin on.Blend the apple in a liquidiser to get a smooth purée.
Make a simple syrup with sugar and water, bringing liquid to a boil.It should have a thin syrup like consistency.Let the syrup cool.
Combine the syrup with purée,lemon juice and cinnamon.Freeze overnight or till it is set . Spoon it into martini glasses and serve immediately (serves four).

This is my submission to this month's SOS Kitchen Challenge, hosted by Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Kim of Affairs of Living.The SOS challenge invites blogger/non blogger to create new recipes based on one key ingredient and should be vegan, no refined sugars, and natural, whole foods ingredients only.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sauted sausages with parsley

Though sausages are a dominant feature in this recipe, parsley enhances the taste. Parsley is a wonderfully nutritious and healing food, it is often under-appreciated. Most people do not realize that it is more useful than just a decorative garnish.
Parsley is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It helps in keeping healthy heart and protects against rheumatoid arthritis.

Here are some tips on how to store and use parsley:

Fresh parsley should be kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. If the parsley is slightly wilted, either sprinkle it lightly with some water or wash it without completely drying it before storing in the refrigerator.

Fresh parsley should be washed right before using since it is highly fragile. The best way to clean it is just like you would spinach. Place it in a bowl of cold water and swish it around with your hands. This will allow any sand or dirt to dislodge. Remove the leaves from the water, empty the bowl, refill it with clean water and repeat this process until no dirt remains in the water.

If you are making a light colored sauce, use the stems from this variety as opposed to the leaves, so the sauce will take on the flavor of parsley but will not be imparted with its green color.

250gms cooked sausages cut into half
1 medium sized capsicum
1 medium sized onion
1 tsp soya sauce
2tsp oilve oil
2tsp finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Lightly coat the pan with olive oil and set to medium heat.Once hot, place the sausages in the pan. Brown each side (about a minute).
Heat some oil in the pan and add onions. When the onions turn transparent, add capsicum, a pich of salt (remember sausages already have salt) and pepper. Add soya sauce and sausages and mix well. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

This is my submission to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Anna from Anna's Cool Finds.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Red Thai Curry

Thai curry is mainly coconut based with a strong flavour of spices and can be from mild to red hot depending on your taste.This dish normally has a soup-like consistency and is served in a bowl and eaten with steamed rice.
The authentic curry is originally made from shrimp paste which renders inappropriate for vegetarians.Here is a more simpler version and adding your favourite veggies is always welcomed.

8-10 medium sized button mushrooms, chopped as desired
1 cup sweet corn
5-6 basil leaves
2tps Olive oil
2tsp chopped garlic
1 cup tomato paste
2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp lemon grass finely chopped
pepper and salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan and add chopped garlic. Add tomato paste and cook until you don't smell the raw taste of tomatoes.Now add coconut milk, mushrooms, sweet corn, salt pepper and lemon grass. Cook until the curry looks thick enough and garnish it with fresh basil leaves.

Serve the curry with steamed or garlic rice.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Garlic Rice

The moment you hear or eat garlic, garlic breath becomes a concern for everybody.Due to this a lot of people avoid eating garlic and lose out on it's health benefits.

A clove of garlic a day keeps cancer away.....

Garlic has a very strong flavor, and it needs to be mixed with other foods in order to be enjoyed. The best way to eat garlic would be to add it in food while cooking it. Allicin gets distributed throughout the meal, providing you with the benefits of its anti-carcinogenic and antiseptic properties.

Make sure you peel the garlic before cooking it. Cooking garlic in its peel destroys its curative properties. Similarly, peeling the garlic days before and crushing and storing all the crushed garlic together to be used a little at a time may be very convenient as a time saver, but you lose many of garlic's potent health properties.

Garlic rice is simple and easy to prepare. I like garlic and if the breath bothers me too much, I just brush my teeth :)

1 cup Basmati or any other long grained rice, left over rice is preffered
2 tsp olive oil or any other refined oil
10 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tsp soya sauce
a pinch of pepper powder
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
about 2 tbsp spring onion
salt to taste

Take oil in a pan and saute garlic until they become a little brownish and crispy.
Add rice, salt, pepper, soya sauce and spring onion and mix well.

Serve hot with Chinese or Thai curry.I served mine with Red Thai curry.

This is my submission to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Graziana from Erbe in cucina.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sweet & Pearl Modaks

Ganapati Bappa Morya!!!!

Festival of Ganesha is the most happening festival in mumbai. This festive season comes in August/September and is well known for decoration of mandaps upto 10 days.
By far the most popular of hindu Gods and Godesses, Lord Ganesha is considered to be bountiful and eternal. He is the endower of joy, the God of knowledge and of wisdom. Lord Ganesha is worshipped at the beginning of every puja and his holy name is invoked before starting any venture.

No festival is complete with good food and sweets. Like Ganesha, I too love modaks and wait every year to eat them. As it is my first stint at making modaks, I refered to Chefinyou to prepare Sweet Modak and Pearl Modak.

It was my first time experience cooking with rice flour and the sweet modaks became a bit thick. The filling was just perfect and compensated for the thick covering.

Pearl modaks are made from the left over modak rice flour dough.I seasoned it with mustard seeds, curry leaves,a pinch of asafoetida, tumeric powder, green chillies, grated coconut and cilantro.

I'm enjoying my festive foods and hope you are enjoying yours too.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi.

This is my submission to this month's Iron chef Edition, hosted by One Hot Stove.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sweet Corn, Red Pepper, Gerkin & Green Olive Salad

As the name suggests, the ingredients are not tough to guess. It is simple and easy to make any time and anywhere.The entire combination of veggies is cruncy and refreshing.

Gerkin is a fruit similar in form and nutritional value to cucumber. They are usually picked when 4 to 8 cm (1 to 3in) in length and pickled in jars or cans with vinegar (often flavored with herbs, particularly dill; hence, "dill pickle") or brine to resemble a pickled cucumber.In India we have a wide range of spicy pickles and pickled gerkins are not in use in many households.
The ones that I have used, are flavored with yellow mustard. You can use gerkins without any flavoring too...

1 cup sweet corn
1 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup gerkins
1tbs green olives
1tps red wine vinegar
2tps olive oil
1/2 tps pepper
salt to taste
cilantro & mint for garnish

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and garnish with cilantro and mint. Serve at room temperature or cold.

This is my submission to this week's Souper Sundays hosted by Deb.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mushroom & Corn (Indian style)

Whenever I hear or taste mushroom, I always remember my grandma for going into the woods to fetch them.It was always fun watching her pick and choose the right ones for her cooking. While on our search hunt, she would tell me why it is important to use mushrooms in our daily diet:

Mushroom contains about 80 to 90 percent of water.Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower elevated blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke.Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium, yet they provide several nutrients that are typically found in animal foods or grains.

Today, mushrooms are enjoyed for their flavor and texture. They can impart their own flavor to food or take on the flavor of other ingredients. Their flavor normally intensifies during cooking, and their texture holds up well to usual cooking methods, including stir-frying and sauteing.

250gms button mushroom nicely cleaned and chopped
1tps ginger garlic paste
1/2tps chilli powder
1tps coriander powder
1tps turmeric powder
2tps oil
salt to taste

For paste

1tps oil
1tps cumin seed
1/2 stick cinnamon
3-4 pieces of clove
1tps pepper corns
1 cardamom
1 cup onions
1 1/2 cup tomato

Heat oil in a pan and add cumin,cinnamon, cardamom, clove, pepper and onions. Add tomatoes after the onions have become soft. Take pan off the stove, when the tomatoes look soft and pulpy. Let the mixture cool. Grind the mixture to a fine paste.

Heat some oil in a pan add ginger garlic paste and the prepared paste. Add chilli,coriander,turmeric and salt.Let the mixture cook till you don't get any raw flavor or smell. Add chopped mushroom and corn and simmer the stove to cook for 10 minutes.

Garnish it with cilantro and serve hot with tortilla or rice.

This is my submission to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Saveur.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Macaroni with sausage n peas

This works great with kids and it's easy to prepare after a hard day's work, when you don't like to spend too much time in the kitchen.If you don't like sausages, you can use boneless chicken and for veggies you can add mushroom, broccoli or even corn.This is a basic macroni and you are at an advantage to add whatever you like.So go ahead and show off your culinary skills :)

For Macaroni
250gms macaroni
200gms sausages
200gms peas
4 tps garlic
olive oil
chilli flakes (optional)
basil fresh or dried (I used dried basil)
salt to taste

For white sauce
1 tbs butter
1tps flour
1.5 cup milk
cheese (as per your taste)

Cook and drain macaroni and keep it aside.You can cut the sausages as per your desired size. Heat some olive oil in a pan and saute garlic, sausages and peas. Season them with salt (be careful with salt as sausages already have salt in them),pepper,basil and chilli flakes. Once done,mix macroni and keep aside.

Heat butter in a pan and add flour. Pour milk and take care that there are no lumps found (If there are any lumps, take the pan off the stove and mix the mixture briskly until you get a smooth flow). Add some cheese to the boiling sauce and allow it to melt. Viola your sauce is ready.

Mix all the ingredients and serve hot.
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