Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mixed Vegetable Pulao in Pressure Cooker





This is what I made last Sunday when I was short of time and  and craving for hot and spicy carbs!
A simple rice and vegetable dish that is filling and nutritious too.

I used my pressure  to make it. Pressure cooker speeds up the cooking time and also preserves the nutrients in the food so it is healthier for you.

This dish does not require much prep time. Just use whatever vegetables you have in the house like onions, potatoes, peas, tomatoes. If you have mixed frozen vegetables those can be used.

I ate it with a side of yogurt, raw onion salad and mixed vegetable achaar (pickle).

Nothing better than a steaming hot plate of pulao with dahi (yogurt).









Ingredients

2 cups uncooked rice
1 teaspoon mustard seeds 
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
a pinch of asafoetida
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons red chilli powder (use less if you don't want it too spicy)
1 tablespoon coriander powder
2 teaspoons garam masala or pav bhaji masala ( you can use a little bit of both too)
1 cup mixed vegetables (green peas, carrots, beans, lima beans etc.)
1 onion 
1 potato
2 tomatoes
1 green chilli
Cilantro for garnish
2 tablespoons oil
Salt (according to taste)



Method

Wash and soak the rice till you prepare your vegetables. If using fresh vegetables, chop all 
vegetable and keep them aside. Slice onions and potatoes.

Heat oil, add cumin and mustard seeds. Let them splutter and then add onions and potatoes. Cook for about 5-7  minutes, till the potatoes get a slight golden crust.

Add the garlic and chopped green chillies.Then add all the dry masalas (red chilli powder,turmeric coriander powder, garam masala, pav bhaji masala). 

Stir for about a minute, then add the tomatoes and mix everything well. Once the tomatoes disintegrate, add the rice and the vegetables.

 Add one and a half cup of water to it and put the lid of the pressure cooker. I gave it 3 whistles and let the steam escape completely before opening the lid. 

You can add a dollop of pure ghee to the pulao after it is cooked for flavor.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.





Sunday, December 7, 2014

Kala Chana (Black chickpeas) in Tomato and Onion Based Gravy





Kala chana  is an excellent source or protein for vegetarians and tastes delicious whatever way it is prepared. It can be made dry or gravy based. This is the third time I am posting a recipe with kala chana on my blog. This recipe is similar to the one I made earlier with a slight variation in spices.  It has to be washed and soaked in plenty of water before you boil them (preferably for 6-8 hours).

Other recipes with kala chana on my the blog
Shakahari shami kabab with kala chana and sweet potatoes





Ingredients

1 cup dry chana soaked over night in water (it will double in quantity)
2 black cardamom
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 heaped tablespoon ginger garlic paste
2 tablespoons coriander cumin powder
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon chana masala or garam masala
3  tomatoes chopped
chopped cilantro
Half a lemon
Salt
Chaat masala (optional)









Method

Boil the soaked chana with enough water, salt and black cardamom till soft but still hold their shape. I used a pressure cooker and gave it 5-6 whistles.

Heat  two tablespoons oil and fry the onions till golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Now add all the dry masalas (turmeric, red chilli powder, chana masala, coriander powder) and the chopped tomatoes. Mix everything well and cook till tomatoes are soft. Add the boiled chana and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes on low heat.
Just before serving, squeeze the juice of lemon, chopped fresh cilantro and sprinkle some chaat masala.








Sunday, November 30, 2014

Zucchini Hasselback





I recently stumbled upon this article on The Huffington Post about the health benefits of zucchini. It was one of those side bar links which invite you to open them and then that leads to another dozen side bar links. I forgot what the original article was that I was reading. But it drew my attention as I had cooked a lot with zucchini this summer and it reminded me about the zucchini hasselback that I had made. Fortunately I had taken a few pictures of it!  I had also tried other recipes with zucchini like zucchini spaghetti and lasagna substituting the real pasta with zucchini. Both the dishes tasted good and are much healthier than eating the real pasta but I missed the real taste and feel of pasta.
But I was the happy with zucchini hasselback. Here I did not really miss the potatoes and with the flavors of garlic and cheese, this dish was delicious. I did not over cook the zucchini and there was still a bite to it with the cheese nicely melted and edges slightly browned.

This recipe is easy, delicious, healthy and practically guilt free

I served it with garlic bread.







Ingredients

4  zucchini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Mozzarella string cheese (or any cheese you have at hand)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste





Method

Make garlic oil by adding 2 cloves of mashed or grated garlic in olive oil and heat on low medium heat for about 5 minutes. The garlic should not burn. Once oil is almost ready to boil remove from heat and let it cool completely.


Wash and dry the zucchini
Make slits in the zucchini, keeping the bottom intact.
Brush the zucchini with garlic oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over it.
Slice mozzarella cheese and insert in the slits of the zucchini.
Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese and put it in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook till the cheese melts (about 10 minutes).







Friday, November 28, 2014

Egg-less Pumpkin Pie with Walnut Topping





Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Here is a recipe to celebrate Thanksgiving...a Pumpkin Pie! I have never been a big fan on pumpkin pies or at least I have not liked the store bought ones that I have had in the past.
This pie has no eggs in it but the texture and consistency was perfect and taste wise this was the best pumpkin pie that I have had:)

The nut topping added extra flavor and crunch to the pie and I really loved that. But  that is  optional and can be left out if anyone is allergic to nuts or do not like the taste.


I have a lot to be thankful for ..family, friends, good health, my blog, good food and more....



Here is the recipe.






Ingredients 


1 store bought frozen pie shell
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can condensed milk
1/4 cup cream cheese or sour cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (a mix of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon)

Optional
1 tablespoon candied ginger finely chopped 

For the topping
1 cup walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter






Method


Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour the condensed milk and cream cheese and corn starch in a bowl and mix till cheese is well blended.
Add the pumpkin puree and mix till it has a smooth consistency and there are no lumps in it. Add the powdered spices and candied ginger and mix well.
Pour the mix in the pie shell. Put it in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake till the crust is browned and the pie is set (about 45 minutes to an hour. Baking times may vary depending on the size of the oven so check to see when it is set by inserting a toothpick in it.

If you are not adding the toppings then the pie is ready to eat once it cools. It can be served with fresh whipped cream on top.

 .





For the topping mix the walnuts or pecans, sugar and butter.
Take out the pie from the oven when the pie is set and is almost ready (the last 10 minutes ) top it with the nuts and put it back in the oven for 10 minutes.




















Thursday, November 13, 2014

Aloo Methi (Potatoes and Fresh Fenugreek Leaves)










Methi is one of my favorite green leafy vegetable. It has a distinctive bitter taste. I learned to make raw salad with methi leaves and was reluctant to try it the first time but when the leaves are mixed with salt, a little sugar, lemon juice, chilli powder and sesame oil it makes a delicious salad.

Today I have made a very common dish that is prepared in most Indian households...aloo methi.
I am trying to include greens in my daily diet due to the health benefits that all greens have.



Ingredients:
2 bunches of methi leaves.
(Trim roots, pick out the leaves from the stems and wash several times in cold water)
3 medium sized potatoes (cubed)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3-4 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
2 dry red chillies (optional)
Pinch of asafoetida,
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Oil

Method:

Heat oil in a pan and drop the cumin seeds, asafoetida, and red chillies. Once cumin seeds start to splutter, slide the potatoes, sprinkle salt and let the potatoes cook.
Roughly chop the washed methi leaves.
When potatoes are completely cooked add turmeric powder and methi leaves.
Mix everything well. The methi leaves will wilt and coat the potatoes. Once that happens continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes. Add more salt if needed.

Serve with rotis or rice and a side salad for a delicious and healthy Indian meal.














Saturday, November 8, 2014

Vegetable Biryani







Here is another rice based dish that almost everyone loves.....Biryani.
I have been experimenting with vegetable biryani for some time and this is by far one of the best recipes that I have now.
It takes a while to make and has quite a few steps but, it is definitely well worth the effort.
One of the secrets of making a good biryani is boiling the rice just right. It should NOT become too soft.




Ingredients:

3 cups basmati rice washed and soaked in water for half an hour)
3 large onions ( thinly sliced)
3 tablespoons ginger garlic green chilli paste
3 tomatoes
1/4 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons turmeric (haldi) powder
2 teaspoons red chilli powder (use more or less as per taste)
2 tablespoons coriander and cumin powder
3 heaped tablespoons biryani masala or garam masala
2 sticks cinnamon, a few bay leaves, 3-4 small cardamoms
2 cups mixed vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, green beans, peas, corn)
(If using fresh vegetables, chop and parboil the vegetables. Frozen vegetables can be used once thawed)
2-4 sliced green chillies (optional)
Half cup fresh chopped cilantro and mint leaves
8-10 cashews and a few raisins
1-2 tablespoons ghee
Salt according to taste
Oil for cooking















Method:

1. Heat oil in a large pan and fry the sliced onions till golden brown and caramelized. (Add some salt while frying the onions). Remove about 1/4 cup onions from the pan using a slotted spoon and reserve it for later use.
2. Add the ginger, garlic, chili paste to the fried onions in the pan. Mix well and cook till the raw smell of the paste goes.
3. Now add all the dry masalas (red chilli powder, turmeric, coriander/cumin powder, biryani masala or garam masala). Mix well. Add the chopped tomatoes and the yogurt. Add the mixed vegetables, adjust the salt. Cover and cook till oil separates. Top it with sliced green chillies and half of the mint and cilantro. Do not mix now.

Preparing the rice.
1. Bring a large pot of water with salt cinnamon, bay leaves, and cardamon to a boil. Add the rice and cook till rice is al dente. About 5-7 minutes. Strain the rice and keep aside. Take a cup of rice and pour the saffron soaked milk in it.
2. Heat ghee and fry the cashews and raisins

Assembling the biryani
Take an oven proof pot and add a layer of rice. Top it with the vegetables and another layer of rice. Gently mix the saffron rice with the top layer of rice.
Top the biryani with cashews, raisins, fried onion and the rest of the cilantro and mint leaves.
Cover tightly with a foil. Place the biryani in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for half and hour.
Just before serving gently mix.

Serve the biryani with mixed vegetable raita.








Sunday, July 13, 2014

Methi/Fenugreek Rice











Here is a recipe sent by my cousin who lives in Bangalore. She got it from her cook and friend...Pushpa. Here's what she had to say about Pushpa....

" .....a good-hearted woman who has seen more than her share of tragedy in life. But she is strong of spirit, and I hope that the smile never leaves her face for too long"

When she told me about the  dish, I begged her for the recipe and I could not wait to try it out. So I substituted the beans with black eyed peas that I had at home but I am posting the exact same recipe as Pushpa makes it. 

This was such a delicious dish and a complete meal with a side of raita. The beans add a lovely texture and the fresh cilantro and mint along with ginger and garlic makes every mouthful burst with flavor and happiness!






Ingredients:

I cup Rice 
250 g Surti paapdi/vaal seeds - soaked overnight to remove the outer skin the next day (this is called "hitikida avare kaaLu" in Kannada)
100 g fresh double beans - the brown speckled variety
1 bunch fresh fenugreek leaves
 fresh mint leaves (about 20-25)
coriander.cilantro leaves (half a bunch)
green chillies (5-6)
1 large onion - julienned
1 large tomato - chopped into small pieces (not too small)
whole spices - bay leaf, star anise, "marathi moggu" (these are dried pistils of the silk cotton flower), cloves, cardomom
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
garam masala powder







Grind the mint, cilantro and green chillies to a paste. Chop the fenugreek/methi leaves. Heat some oil in a pressure cooker, and add the whole spices (2-3 of each). Then add the onions, ginger garlic paste and fry till pink. Add the green paste, fry for a minute, and add the methi leaves and the tomato. Fry till the cooked smell of methi is released. Add the green beans (paapdi) and the double beans and stir for about 2 minutes. Add washed rice, and water as required (two and a half cups is recommended). Add salt to taste(I taste the water since this requires more salt) and garam masala powder (2 1/2 tsp). Mix well and cook for 3 whistles at medium flame. Open only once steam has released on its own.
Enjoy with a mixed veg raita of onions, tomatoes, green chillies and coriander!