Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sweet potato and paneer stuffed peppers


One vegetable I love to use is sweet peppers.It tastes great paired with almost anything from rice based dishes like biryani or pulao to soups, dal or other vegetables. It makes for a great salad, served with a creamy dip or  stuffed like this  recipe with cheese. Here I have filled these with sweet potatoes and paneer and then cooked them till they got slightly charred. I also made a gravy to go along with it, but these were good even without the gravy.


 For stuffed peppers

12-14 mini sweet peppers
2 sweet potatoes
200 grams grated paneer
1 small red onion finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger and green chilies (finely chopped)
1 tsp clove powder
1 tbsp chaat masala
2 tsp. black salt
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. red chili powder
1 tsp. turmeric powder
a bunch of chopped cilantro

For gravy

1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup grated green mango
1 large red onion chopped
3 fat garlic cloves
4 cloves ground
2 dry red chilies
2-3 slit green chilies
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp brown sugar or jaggery powder
1 tsp red chili powder
5-6 curry leaves
3 tbsp coriander cumin powder
Oil as required

(Stuffing for the peppers)
Heat oil in a pan, add cumin. Once it splutters drop the onion, ginger and green chilies. Saute for a minute and add the turmeric and clove powder. Now add the grated paneer and transfer the contents in a bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes and add them to the paneer mixture. Now mix in the dry spices (chaat masala, black salt, red chili powder). Add regular salt if needed and fold in the cilantro leaves. Mash everything well.
Wash and pat dry the sweet peppers. Make a slit in the peppers and stuff it with the paneer and sweet pepper mix.  Now take around 2 teaspoons of oil in a non stick pan and place all the peppers, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes. It should get slightly charred. Turn over carefully  and let it cook for another 10 minutes. The peppers can also be baked in the oven.

Preparing the gravy
Heat a non stick or a cast iron pan and dry roast the chopped onion, garlic, dry red chilies, slit green chilies and sesame seeds. (Sesame seeds can be roasted separately too as they tend to roast faster).
Take all the roasted ingredients along with the peanuts and grind them. Heat a little oil in a pot and transfer this mixture in it. Add around 1/2 cup water along with the dry spices (red chili, garam masala, coriander cumin powder, clove powder and salt). Keep stirring regularly and cook on medium heat till the raw smell of spices goes away (5-10 minutes). Pour more water to get a desired consistency. Add the jaggery or brown sugar and curry leaves.  While it is simmering, grate the mango and mix that in the gravy. Turn off the heat and blend the mixture one more time with a hand blender, just to incorporate the mango and blend all the flavors together.
The gravy is ready. Serve by placing the peppers in this gravy. Garnish with cilantro.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Methi and sesame seeds paratha

 Methi (fenugreeek) leaves are one of my favorite greens. Dry methi leaves or kasoori methi makes any simple dish special and similarly fresh methi can be used to make numerous dishes. With fresh leaves being available this time of the year I try to enjoy them in a variety of different ways. I recently made methi muthia, pakoras and methi paneer. So I will be posting some more methi recipes soon.
Here is a simple methi  and sesame seeds paratha recipe. It is great for breakfast and even a day old tastes equally good. Simple potato vegetable or just a pickle like sweet lime is good for me with this paratha.

2 cups whole wheat flour (aata)
1 cup besan
2 cups fenugreek leaves (washed and picked from the stems)
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp asafoetida 
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp salt
3 tbsp ginger/garlic/green chili paste
2 tbsp brown sugar or jaggery powder
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup yogurt (or use as much as needed to knead the dough)
Oil for making the parathas

Wash and trim the methi leaves. Mix the whole wheat flour and besan. Give a rough chop to the methi leaves and mix it with the flour along with the rest of the ingredients. Make a dough using yogurt. Take sesame seeds in a plate. Make small balls with the dough and press each ball in sesame seeds, dust with dry flour and roll it to make parathas. Cook on the parathas on tava on both sides with little oil till done.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cannelini beans pasta

 I love cannellini beans as they have a mild flavor and a creamy texture. They blend very well in rice dishes or soups and pasta.  I usually try to add some sort of protein like beans or tofu and lots of vegetables to my pasta dishes. I have yet to develop a taste for the healthy whole grain pasta varieties. I am sure there are some good brands that taste good  The ones that I have tried tasted bitter. Here I have made a thick soup with cannellini beans and rosemary (which tasted good by itself) and added that to the pasta along with parmesan cheese and roasted cherry tomatoes.

1 can cannellini beans
1 tsp rosemary crushed
1 large yellow onion (sliced)
1 tbsp. minced garlic
½ cup picante peppers (mild)
2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt, pepper
Olive oil
Grape tomatoes (halved)
Penne pasta
Heat olive oil and a little butter and cook onions on medium heat till they get caramelized. Add rosemary and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the beans, water, pine nuts, picante peppers,  and salt and bring it to a boil. Puree everything with a hand blender. Add parmesan cheese.
Spread the halved grape tomatoes on a baking tray and season well with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put it in the oven at 450 degrees for 5-10 minutes, or until the tomatoes get roasted.
Cook pasta according to directions. Pour the cannellini bean sauce over the pasta. Top with roasted tomatoes.
I served it along with grilled asparagus seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Zucchini and meyer lemon pizza

I have to admit that I had never tasted meyer lemons before. But have heard so much about it and they are in the market now. Every store seems to be carrying it and everyone seems to be talking about how delicious they are in pies and other desserts or even otherwise. I believe they are available for a limited time during the year so I was keen to try some. I am not very good with making pies or other beautiful looking desserts but I still wanted to use these lemons. So I decided to put them in a pizza. I found this recipe of a zucchini pizza on the blog --eatliverun and LOVED the idea. What a great way to incorporate veggies! I added chopped meyer lemons to the cheese and it was delicious.


two zucchinis (grated)
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
black pepper
crushed red pepper
italian seasoning herbs (dry)
one meyer lemon chopped
two clove garlic
two soy pita bread

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix black pepper, crushed red pepper, minced garlic, crushed oregano, rosemary and chopped meyer lemons in a  bowl. Add the ricotta cheese and mix everything well. Grate the zucchini and squeeze excess water from it. Mix it with the mozzarella. I like to add some garlic here too.
Take a pita bread and spread the ricotta cheese mixture on it. Top it with the zucchini and mozzarella. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top. Bake till the pita bread becomes crisp and the cheese has melted completely.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gobhi aloo (Cauliflower with potatoes)

This is one of my favorite vegetables. I like to use cauliflower a lot and try to  make in it many different ways. I like to add it to rice dishes and make it with chickpeas, spinach and even paneer,  but this is one recipe that I love the most. It is simple but has strong and bold flavors of mustard oil, asafoetida, mustard seeds and ginger.

1 medium sized cauliflower trimmed and cut into small florets
1 potato cubed
1 cup frozen peas
1 tbsp ginger chopped finely
1tsp mustard seeds
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
salt to taste
mustard oil for cooking

Heat mustard oil in a pan or kadhai. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter, add hing, turmeric and ginger. Stir and quickly add the cauliflower and potatoes. Add salt, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Now add the peas and cook uncovered till the water in the vegetable dries out. Finally add the red chilli powder and mix well.