Monday, December 1, 2014

Baked Vegetables in Creamy white sauce

The other day I was remembering the dishes , I  grew up having and  this dish came to my thought ,it felt nostalgic how My mom used to prepare this with so much love and we loved all the things she cooked, because it was so special and all her dishes  had lots of flavor to it.

Baked vegetables, is also a great way to make your kids eat vegetables and they like the addition of cheese and enjoy the taste.

Baked veggies in white creamy sauce


1/4 cup green peas and carrots

 chopped into tiny cubes
100 gm cauliflower cut into small pieces

1/4 cup american yellow corn
1/4 cup spring onions chopped fine
1 capsicum sliced into thin rings to garnish
1/4 cup pineapple pieces ( can use canned pineapples)
4 to 5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely or minced

1 tbsp Butter
1 small tomato sliced into rings for garnish 
1/2 cup of grated cheese

2 tsp tomato ketchup


Add  Butter to sauce pan

Add flour to the butter and stir well till light golden brown

Add milk , and black pepper to finish preparing white sauce 

Method for preparing the vegetables for white sauce .
1. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a medium size sauce pan,  add grated  garlic. Sauté for a minute , next , add in chopped spring onions , then start adding par boiled  cauliflower, carrots, peas ,corn, stir together for few minutes. Next add the pineapple and season with salt and pepper . Add 1 tbsp of tomato ketchup and keep aside.

Ingredients for White Sauce

1/2 cup All purpose white flour(Maida)
2 tbsp butter
1 cup milk
Salt to taste 
2 tsp Black pepper

1/2 cup Parmesan grated cheese 

Bake in the prepared white sauce, with the vegetables in an oven at 350 degrees F

Baked Vegetable 

Method  for preparing white sauce 
1.Heat butter. Add flour, keep stirring ,making sure the flour doesn't stick to bottom of the pan and gets cooked well.
2. As  flour begins to bubble, and turn's light golden , lower heat and start adding milk , continue stirring . Season with salt and black pepper.
If you enjoy spicy food, add 1 tsp hot sauce for the heat .
As the  sauce comes together and begins to thicken, close heat.
3.Next for baking, using a greased baking dish. Add the sauteed veggies to white sauce. Pour into the baking dish, garnish with capsicum, and tomato rings and grated cheese.
Bake in oven at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.
Enjoy by itself or with brea

Chili peanut Chicken

Thanksgiving time is a lovely holiday, all friends get together, celebrate, eat , drink and just have a good time.
I took this starter a potluck party last week to my friends place. Not only adults, but kids too enjoyed the spicy, and sweet tart  flavor of pineapple, and I was glad it went like hot cake.
Do give it a try and make your friends and family happy too.

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp each ginger,garlic paste
3 to 4 green chilies chopped
Salt to taste
2 tsp Lee Kim chilies garlic ready paste

2 tsp corn flour 
1.Clean chicken , and marinate with above ingredients for about an hour.
2.Before frying add 2 tsp corn flour to marinated chicken and mix well.
Heat oil in a kadai , and fry  chicken pieces , on low to medium heat, till they appear golden brown and are done . Drain and keep aside.

Sauce Ingredients

2 tsp Soy sauce
2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp red chili powder
3 to 4 dried red chilies
2 spring onions chopped fine, save some for garnish
1/4 cup peanuts 
1 small tin of pineapple pieces cut 

Spicy Peanut Chili Chicken

1.Using the same kadai, add 1 tsp red chili powder , 2 tbsp soy sauce , 2 tsp vinegar , spring onions , dried red chilies, pineapple bits and then as the sauce sizzles , add in the fried chicken and sauté for another 3 to 4 mins .

2.Garnish with peanuts and leftover chopped spring onions. serve hot.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Healthy Breakfast and Lite snacks

Breakfast and lite snacks ideas .....
As we all know eggs contain 6 gm of high quality protein, they are very versatile, as you can prepare many forms of egg dishes , also rich source of other vitamins like A, E and vit B12, so its  a great source of energy. 
Eggs are desirable, making it a healthy option too. I like to add veggies like, green bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach to the omelet, adding low fat milk ,shredded cheese can be a good source of calcium.
If you are in a hurry during breakfast time, especially on week days, you can just scramble eggs, or prepare 6 to 7 boiled eggs before hand and store in the refrigerator.
As a vegetarian, the options to get protein and fiber can be obtained by making:
1.Oatmeal smoothie with chia seeds, using low fat yogurt.
2.Granola bars , prepared using dried fruits, nuts and  rolled oats are a great energy source. Peanut butter can be added, for protein. 
3.Greek yogurt parfait prepared at home ,are a good source of calcium and protein. 
4.Kale and avocado smoothie is another great morning starter high protein drink. Also beet juice , carrot juice and apple juice , combined together is a power house of energy and healthy too.
  Today, I will be making a healthy chevda, that can be enjoyed as a snack , its good for all, because of the healthy ingredients . This chevda uses very little oil. It is a mixture made  by using nuts, cornflakes,rice krispies cereal,sunflower seeds, flax seeds, healthy snacking without the guilt.

1 cup ready store bought cornflakes
1 cup rice Krispies (cereal)
1 cup kurmura ( puffed rice, available in Indian grocery)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped almonds, cashews, peanuts each (all unsalted) 
1/4 cup raisins 
3 to 4 curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds 
2 tsp white sesame seeds
2 tsp sunflower seeds or flax seeds 
salt to taste
1 tsp chaat powder (available in Indian store)
2 dried red chilies

Diet / healthy  Chevda 

1.Heat  2 tsp oil ,add  mustard seeds, allow to sputter , next add in  cashews, almonds and peanuts, saute` for a minute or two.
 2.Add in dried red chilies, curry leaves,salt, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chaat powder.
3.Add in cornflakes, continue stirring on low heat, next add rice crisps,kurmura (rice puffs) mix all together,on low heat, stir for another 8 to 10 minutes and close burner.
On cooling,store prepared chevda (Diet mixture) in an air tight container , and enjoy as a healthy snack.

Downward facing Dog pose#4
A yoga pose  that resembles an inverted  V letter ,very beneficial pose, elongates the spine, and gives strength and body circulation.
Stand tall with feet hip distance apart. Shoulders relaxed.

1.Breathe in ,raise your arms up ,stretching your hand up above your shoulders.
2. Breathing out , lower the arm, and bend forward,with knees slightly bend, place palms on the ground,  spread  palms to help distribute the body weight.
3. Lift your hips up and head down, looking at the feet and body into an inverted V shape. keep this pose for a minute or two, and then bend knees to the floor, exhale and relax.
. Do not exert or push yourself, through the pose.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Harabhara Kababs

Whenever I am throwing a party for guests, planning for starters , is always a dilemma, there is never one thing that I feel confident for starters. When I heard about these Hara bhara Kababs, it sounded something that would impress  guests,but  not easy to prepare, then my friend showed me that its not difficult after all and I prepared them , she was right , they seemed straight forward to make.

Hara bhara kababs, as the name suggests is prepared by using  greens, and potatoes, along with spices, and later shallow fried. The outer coating gets a crisp finish and the warmness of inside creates a unique texture and makes them special to eat.

Harabhara kababs coated with sooji 

Hara Bhara Kababs 

4 to 5 medium sized boiled potatoes ( try to use the potatoes that are a little dry after being boiled)
1/4 cup boiled  (blanched) spinach 
1/2 cup boiled green  peas ( Puree both  spinach and green peas, add 2 tsp lemon juice  and  keep aside)
2 tsp freshly minced garlic ginger paste
1 tsp finely chopped green chilies
1/4 freshly chopped green coriander leaves 
2 tsp salt
2 tsp gramflour ( available in Indian store)
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp garam masla powder ( available in Indian stores)
1 tsp chaat masala powder (available in Indian grocery store)
1 cup Rava sooji for coating ( Also called semolina flour, available in Indian store)

1. Firstly peel and mash the boiled potatoes, to this add pureed spinach and peas.Mix together, add all spices, ginger garlic paste, green chilies and coriander.Check for salt, and if less add 1/2 tsp salt. 
2.Add in 2 tsp chickpeas flour and using a spoon, spoon out little portions and using your palms, shape them into 2 inch diameter round shaped  patties  .Flatten the top a little, and coat with sooji, and shallow fry on both sides, for about 5 minutes on low to medium heat, till the cutlets appear brown in colour.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Pistachio's and saffron rice pudding (Kheer)

Kheer, a traditional Indian sweet , prepared by most of the Indians. The rice is cooked along with milk, and the addition of sweet cardamom provides the scented aroma, also pistachios and additional nuts adds  richness and flavor to this Indian sweet dish ,  Kheer. It can also be referred to as rice pudding, but call it what ever this recipe will make you want to try it immediately and enjoy the richness and  taste.

4 cups whole milk ( use low fat is preferred)
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
1 can condensed milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sliced pistachios
1/4 cup sliced almonds
pinch of saffron 
3 to 4 seeded small cardamoms seeds

Pistachio & saffron Kheer

1. Begin by washing  rice and adding it to  4 cups of milk, add  sugar and cardamom seeds and begin to  cook rice and milk, in a heavy bottomed medium sized cooking utensil, over low to medium heat. Add in pinch of saffron. Continue to stir the rice, and cook for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, as the rice appears to be cooked , add in pistachios and continue cooking on low flame. Reserve 2 tsp pistachios for decoration.
2. Next, stir in  condensed milk, and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, and check for sweetness, if  not too sweet ,add another tablespoon of sugar, but if you prefer less sweet then this is perfect.
3. Close the burner and pour out the ready kheer  ( rice pudding ) into a serving dish , garnish with more pistachios, and almonds and refrigerate.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day 4 Breakfast

Day 4
Its been warm these few days , so thought why not make some juice and  smoothie. Planned to make the  smoothie  using dates, as a good protein. 
 Lets start with some deep breathing and yoga.
Today we are doing Yoga pose #2 its called the Soldier pose and Pose #3 Mountain Pose.
Soldier Pose Stand straight, tall with legs about a  feet apart, facing straight. Starting with the right leg,turn right foot  90 degrees with the toe of the right foot pointing outwards,keeping you left foot straight, extend your arm to the sides, with palms downwards. Bend the knee of the right leg slightly but not past the leg. Focus over your arm, deep breadth and then repeat by switching sides. 10 times breadths each side. In yoga and during the exercises, always focus on your breadth.
This pose greatly helps not only to focus,but a great stretch to the legs, ankle and upper body.It helps strengthen the chest area.

Mountain Pose
Another very effective pose in yoga. For this pose  stand tall, with feet together and hand folded in Nameste. 
Take a deep breadth, raising your hands overhead, reach up to the sky. Feel the stretch in your arms.
As you breadth out , lower the arms back to the side. Repeat 10 times.

Dates with Almonds smoothie
This is an energy drink, saw a recipe on cooking show and am going to try it out.
Dates as we all know have lot of nutritional value, without the cholesterol , they make a good snack. Also they are loaded with fiber. Making this is as easy as saying 123, simply add the pitted dates ( make sure to take out the seed), almonds, milk,few drops vanilla essence, 2 tspn honey and blend together, adding few ice cubes. I loved this drink and I'm sure you will enjoy it too.

Ingredients (along with blender:)))

Dates and almonds smoothie

Grapes Juice 
The purple grapes not only look good, but they  taste very good too.
 The unique texture, sweet tart taste of grapes and nutritional value makes it a favourable to eat.
For grapes juice simply wash them with water. Put in a blender, add 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup crushed ice cubes and 2 tspn chat powder. Here I also added 2 apples, but you can add any other fruit of your choice.

Apples &  Grapes

Grapes juice 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Day 3 Healthy Breakfast

Day 3
Its a sunny day, so I decided to take an early morning walk, in the park close by, along with my friend. We walked 2 miles, great to catch up ,chatting  and good exercise too ;))we stopped at a near by place for a cup of hot coffee (regular coffee no sugar and then headed back home.
At home I wanted to make some thing that wouldn't take time to prepare and yet nutritious. So I decided to prepare Upma . It's prepared with  Semolina flour. It is very light and easy to digest. You can make it more nutritious, by adding vegetables. I have used corn and capsicum , onions and tomatoes to prepare this Upma.

1 cup coarse sooji
1 small onion diced small
2 to 3 green chillies finely chopped
1/2 cup ready frozen yellow corn
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 medium tomato chopped finely 
3 to 4 curry leaves (available in Indian store)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp Hing (Asafetida)
1/2 cup water
1/2 bell pepper diced small
1/4 freshly chopped coriander 


1.Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a kadai. Add 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, allow them to crackle.Next add in Hing, curry leaves (kadi patta).  Add in onions , stir and allow them to get little brown, add tomatoes and the veggies, add cashew pieces,lemon juice and next add in water.
2. As the water begins to boil, lower the heat and start adding in the semolina (sooji), keep stirring for about 3 to 4 minutes , till water evaporates and the sooji is cooked and garnish with freshly chopped coriander. Serve warm.

Cooking the ingredients 

Add the semolina flour and cook together 


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Day 2 Breakfast post

Day 2
We all understand and know the importance of yoga and meditation, in today's stressful times. The benefits of yoga are many. It not only improves the physical  strength, also helps us focus better . Practising yoga poses greatly provides the right balance and flexibility.

Tree Pose 
Stand tall, with legs a feet apart. Starting with the left foot, bend the left leg knee, so the sole of the left foot sits on the inner thigh of the right leg. Fold hands in Namaste, and try to focus , looking straight. It requires balancing and that's what this pose helps. Alternate, with the other foot. Repeat for 2 rounds, This pose is called the Vrkrasana  (Tree Pose) and it helps strengthen the spine, thigh and neck. It helps perfect the balance of mind and body and is relaxing too. Beginners if you want use the wall for balance.

Tip of the morning
Ginger, is a root plant with many beneficial properties , cut 1 inch ginger piece into long strips,sprinkle them with little sea salt, add 1/2 lemon juice and eat these ginger strips. Having 2 to 3 strips of ginger a day helps our immune system and  our digestive system.

Menu of today 
Uttapam ( Rice pancakes with veggie fillings)
 savoury pancakes,filled with ingredients of your choice, mostly veggies... 
500 gms  Dosa batter ( ready store bought) 
1 medium onion chopped finely
3 to 4 green chillies finely chopped 
Salt to taste
1 medium size red tomato, chopped finely
1/4 cup freshly chopped coriander
1/4 cup water
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp chaat powder (optional)
Coriander chutney (store bought or prepare using my previous recipe)

1.Heat  a non stick pan (flat pan), add few drops vegetable oil.
 Mix the batter , if its  too thick, add 1/4 cup water to give the batter a medium consistency. Using a spoon, spoon a tablespoon of batter on to the hot non stick pan, using the back of the spoon spread the batter make a round pancake like shape. Add few drops of vegetable oil,and continue cooking the uttapam.
2. In another bowl, mix chopped onions with green chillies, add chopped coriander leaves, chopped tomatoes, season with salt, red chilli powder and tsp chaat masala (store bought) Mix together 
3. While the uttapam is still  cooking , add a spoonful of this onion's mixture onto the surface of uttapam and cook it on low to medium heat, by adding few drops of vegetable oil.Turn and cook on the other side for a minute or two. Serve hot uttapam with store bough coconut chutney.
These uttapam are nutritious and make a good filling breakfast. (breakfast is break the fast) 


Flip to cook on both sides
Friends do share your views recipes , tips for breakfast an important meal of the day.Share it on the comments box on Spicenflavors.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Breakfast morning Day 1

Today let's decide to take a  step further towards  healthy eating by starting with  a nutritious breakfast, that will keep us fit and  filled for at least good 2 hours, and prevent cravings to have unhealthy foods!!   
With some research I arrived at this conclusion, that we shouldn't  be fooled any more by these gimmicks of advertising trying to sell us foods that add to our waistlines!!!!! Be smart and try to make the same dish at home , using sensible ingredients and doing some good for your self, your wallet and most of all for the good feel that all this is good food.
Breakfast, is an important meal. I enjoy making and having a nutritious  breakfast,  keeps us fuelled for the day's activities.
  I will be sharing some of these breakfast recipes . The idea here is to try to keep it simple and healthy.  Since everyone is so busy , there should be proper planning in buying ingredients before hand, so that we cook smart and quickly!!
Also, try using fresh ingredients as far as possible. 

Day 1
Exercise, stretch  or meditate for 20 minutes, daily or at least 3 to 4 times a week.
Meditation, helps us relax and de stress, and keeps one more focused. 
 sit upright, on a chair, in a quiet place  close your eyes and take a deep breadth, chant OM, 5 times for 2 or more rounds. 

Tip for the morning.
Warm a glass of water ,squeeze in 1/2 a lime juice,add a dash of black pepper,  drink this water, after brushing in the  morning time ,its  good for your system, acts as a cleanser.

Drink of today 
Smoothies, are quick and easy to prepare. You can choose the ingredients you want,  fresh or frozen fruits,also good idea to add protein powder or Whey protein and that way make it not only delicious but very healthy drink.
I have listed below some  recipes I have tried out, they came out good.

1. Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
1 banana cut into slices
1 tspn honey
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 cup low fat yoghurt
1/2 cup milk ( or you can use almond milk too)
1/4 cup  cooked oatmeal

1.In a blender,add chopped banana ,honey,yoghurt and 1/2 cup skim milk. Add oatmeal and blend for about 2 to 3 minutes,till its smooth and creamy.Add a spoonful crushed ice into a glass, pour the prepared smoothie, enjoy immediately or take it along on the go.


Banana Oatmeal smoothie

2. Mango and strawberry smoothie
Try another smoothie by combining fresh mango cubes, (Peel the outer skin of two ripe mangoes, and cut into cubes) ,  take 3 to 4 strawberries, sliced  and add  cup low fat yoghurt , 2 tspn sugar or 1 tbsp honey  and crushed ice. Blend for 3 to 4 minutes in the blender and pour cool smoothie into the glass. It is refreshing, with the tropical taste of mangoes and filling too. Great way to start the day, combine with with some nuts and you are good for a couple of hours:)


Mango with strawberries smoothie

Do share your views in your valuable comments, and lets make a healthy start and let us know your breakfast ideas too!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Paneer Makhani

Hi Friends, I was getting some requests to make a party  dish without onions!! I thought nothing more creamier and perfect for entertaining than Paneer makhani, the twist is this isn't your usual Makhani gravy that has onions, this one is without onions , so half the effort and results are well right in front of you :))

500 gm Cottage cheese (Paneer) cubed into 1 inch sized
2 medium size tomatoes pureed
1/2 cup ready canned tomato puree
1/4 cup cashews (about 10 to 12 cashews)
1 tbsp Honey
1/4 cup Kasoori methi ( dried fenugreek, available in Indian stores)
2 tsp salt 
2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp garam masala powder ( available in Indian stores)
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 to 3 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream/ or use low fat version  
1 tsp ginger garlic paste . You can use freshly grated ginger too
1 tsp finely chopped green chilies

For marinating paneer
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp chaat masala powder ( available in Indian stores)
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/4 cup thick yogurt

Marinate the Paneer in yogurt

Add marinated Paneer  to tomato gravy 

Paneer Makhani

1. Wash and puree tomatoes in a mixer. Keep aside. Soak  cashews in 1/4 cup warm water and grind to a paste. Keep aside.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp butter in a medium sauce pan. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaves. Add ginger garlic paste,green chilies, cashews paste and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, as it start's turning golden color , add in  spices, salt, red chilies powder,garam masala.  Stir in canned tomato puree, continue cooking. Add in  pureed tomatoes from  mixer. Check for salt, add little more if required.
3. Now add in 1 tbsp honey to cut off the sourness, add full cream, continue stirring on low to medium heat for another 4 to 5 minutes , the gravy is almost ready.
4. In a separate bowl take cubed cottage cheese ( Paneer cubes) add 2 to 3 tsp water, this will keep the paneer cubes moist, add 1/2 tspn salt, 1/2 tsp red chilies powder, 1 tsp garam masala, chaat  powder and 1 tsp ginger paste. Add 2 tsp plain yogurt and keep marinated  for about 10 minutes, before adding it to gravy.
5. If  gravy is too thick you can add 1/2 cup of water and bring the gravy to a boil, add in  marinated paneer and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Serve Paneer makhani  warm with rice or Indian bread.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Trifle Pudding

Trifle is an English dessert, prepared with custard milk and cake,  fruits  that are layered. The dessert is very refreshing and a perfect dessert for a party gatherings and just for your own self too. 

1 medium plain sponge cake (store bought)
16 oz  container of cool whip cream ( preferably light )
1 packet raspberry jelly
1 packet ready vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small can pineapple slices ( in syrup)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup fresh strawberries sliced into halves.
1/2 cup Blue berries (optional)

Trifle Pudding

1. Using  instructions, given on the pudding mix box, prepare custard by heating 1 cup milk on low to medium heat,add pudding mix contents ,stir continuously for 4 to 5 minutes, until the milk thickens and custard forms. Add 1/4 tspn of vanilla extract. Cool and  refrigerate for an hour.
 2. To prepare Jelly , heat 2 cups of water ,as it begins to boil, lower  heat and start adding  contents from jelly packet,stir and pour into a glass bowl, allow to cool before keeping in the refrigerator to form jelly.
 (You can use a flavour of your choice for Jelly, but since we are using strawberries I thought Raspberry and Strawberry go well)
3. Slice the strawberries, cut the pineapple slices into halves. Layering of Trifle
1.Using a transparent bowl. Place cubed pieces of  cake, arranging to create a layer at the  bottom of the serving dish. Add 2 to 3 spoons of  pineapple juice to sponge cake pieces, will help to  keep them moist. Next add sliced pineapple slices and for next layer add a layer of prepared jelly. 
2. Follow with  a layer of fresh sliced strawberries, to this add a layer of prepared pudding mix. Repeat the layers again by starting with cake cubes . For the top layer, cover with a layer of cool whip,decorate with sliced strawberries.  Allow to refrigerate for an hour before serving. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Shahi Mutton Biryani

Biryani, is a rice based dish. It is cooked with Chicken or Mutton, and there are spices used in cooking this dish, that add to its taste and make it a very special dish. I prefer to always use Basmati (long grain rice) to prepare biryani.
A favourite dish of the Mughal Emperors and till date is a favourite with all. Biryani is known for its flavour and spices and has a royal look and taste.
There are a few steps but its totally  worth it , as the result is amazing !!!
Ingredients for Marinating Mutton
2 pounds goat mutton (cut in small pieces with bone)
2 tsp plain yoghurt
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 to 3 green chillies chopped finely
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilie powder
2 tsp ready Shaan mutton biryani masala powder (available in Indian stores)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves

Marinate Mutton pieces

Layering of Biryani

Cooking Biryani

Biryani cooking further in Oven

Mutton Biryani

Mutton Biryani

1. Marinate mutton with all the above ingredients.
 Mix and add 2 tsp store bought Shaan Mutton biryani masala .Add finely chopped mint leaves and fried sliced onions. Mix well and cover to marinate for at least 1 hour.

For Rice
3 cups Basmati long grain rice
3 to 4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 Bay leaves
4 to 5 peppercorns
2 big cardamom
3 to 4 small cardamom
1 tsp salt 

2. Heat water to boil  rice, add  rice and the remaining ingredients. Cook  rice till almost done. Drain and keep aside.

Mutton Gravy
2 finely sliced onions
1 cup tomato puree
1 tsp salt (can add less salt as the marinated mutton has salt ) 
1 tsp  red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 to 3 finely chopped green chillies

1. Heat 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) add sliced onions,allow to turn golden brown. Next,add ginger garlic paste , add the marinated  mutton, and continue cooking for another 10 to 12 minutes, till mutton appears softer and the oil separates.
 2.Then add tomato, stir for 4 to 5 minutes, season with salt,turmeric,red chilli powder,coriander powder and add 1 cup water and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles.

 Layering ( Placing cooked rice and cooked mutton in layers to cook further in the oven)

I like to use a deep baking tray that I bake the rice and serve the biryani in.
1.Grease the tray with very little ghee. Add a layer of cooked rice , followed on top by sliced fried onions and mint leaves. 
2.To this add a layer of cooked mutton along with very little curry, that will help keep this dish moist. Also add few drops of saffron milk.( In 1/4 cup milk, add 5 to 6 strands of pure saffron) Followed by again a layer of rice, and this way repeat the layers. Cover with silver foil and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes and enjoy piping hot biryani with yoghurt or just by itself :)))

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Spicy Chipotle Pasta

Chipotle peppers are found in the Southern parts of Mexico and South America. Basically jalapeno pepper that are left to dry  become red in colour. Later they are processed and given a smoky flavour .When added to the pasta sauce , this Adobo chipotle pepper sauce  adds a kick to the dish with its spicy flavours.
We have tasted  Spicy Chipotle pasta dish  at Cheese Cake Factory, a restaurant close by, and it is an absolute favourite. Till my daughter experimented  this recipe and made this dish at home and its now a favourite for all of us.

Last weekend we planned a get away with 2 other family friends. We booked a vacation home, in Sonoma county for a 2 day get together. We decided to cook there and the dish my daughter made is this Spicy Chipotle Pasta, it turned out so good  everybody loved it's taste and wanted to know how to prepare this dish. Here you go.. enjoy making it with love and have a good time with friends and family.
Talking about this place where we went its close to Russian River in Sonoma county, up in the hills with stunning views of the the valley below and the pretty starry nights as the sun sets. Oh yes and the rising sun was very peaceful too.
We took lots of pictures , very scenic and the got the opportunity to star gaze at night time!! It was magnificent and magical views !!!
The kids, enjoying kayaking in the river,  was a great trip.

1  pound box Penne Pasta 
2 medium bell pepper's ( red and yellow preferably)
1 medium white onion (diced in tiny cubes)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 small can  ready chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce (store bought)
Salt to taste
2 tspn Honey
4 cloves garlic ( don't worry we won't use all  the garlic in the sauce, save some for later,will let you know )
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese 
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped finely for garnish
1 packet tortilla strips colourful for garnish (available in American grocery stores)

Saute onions

Add veggies

Bake asparagus

 Pasta sauce 

Party time with spicy pasta 

Method: 1. Using a chopping board, dice onions into tiny cubes, next dice both the bell peppers, keep aside. Finely chop cilantro , and keep aside. Remove the outer skin of 4 to 5 cloves of garlic and finely chop.
Clean, and trim off the heads of the asparagus  and chop the asparagus into medium size pieces.Using a a mixing bowl,add olive oil 2 tspn, add salt, black pepper and the asparagus. Stir and keep aside.
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees, and lay the cut asparagus on an oven tray, and allow to bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Take a large boiling pot, fill with 1/2 water,add 1 tspn salt, 1/4 tspn oil and allow  water to boil. Add in  pasta and cook for about 15 to 20  minutes,making sure the pasta are well done :) Strain and keep aside. 
3. For preparing sauce, heat a medium sauce pan on medium heat,add in butter and olive oil, add in the diced onions, as they begin to appear translucent add the finely chopped garlic, cook for another 30 seconds till the onions and garlic appear well mixed. Add in 2 tspn honey. Next add the diced bell peppers, and stir to cook the peppers for about 4 to 5 minutes, add 2 to 3 tbsp of  adobo sauce(for that smoky flavour)
4. Now add in peas, continue stirring for about a minute. Check for salt, and add 1/4 tspn if required.  Reduce heat and stir in  2 cups of heavy cream. This will give a softness and richness to the sauce. Add the pasta, next add parmesan grated cheese and allow the sauce to cook for another 4 to 5 minutes as it thickens, close the burner.
Serve warm pasta , garnished with freshly chopped coriander leaves and tortillas strips.

With  the remaining garlic pods I have another interesting side dish to go along.
3 to 4  remaining garlic pods
2 tspn olive oil
2 tspn balsamic vinegar
1 tspn salt 

Simply cut off the top of  whole garlic's, drizzle a few drops of  olive oil, on each garlic, wrap it in foil and bake on a baking sheet for about 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees, till garlic appears soft and little browned in colour.Open the foil and sprinkle each cooked garlic pod with balsamic vinegar and enjoy this cooked garlic with toast or bread 
A complete dish , have fun with friends, over a glass of white/red wine......enjoy:) Will post some pictures of baked garlic soon

Misal Pav

Misal, means  a mixture, of 2 or 3 beans that are soaked, overnight and later cooked in a spicy curry and enjoyed with pav ( bread). It is a very popular dish  in the Western region of India in the State of Maharashtra. Also  prepared for breakfast.

For making Misal, first wash and soak overnight , moong, moth and matki (beans) in 2 cups water. Next day strain the water and allow the beans to sprout , by placing them in a cloth and tieing  the cloth  loosely, sprinkle some water over the cloth to keep it moist. Next day it starts to sprout , these sprouted beans are considered very nutritious and wholesome full of fibre. Indian cooking not only tastes good, but most of the dishes prepared have nutritional quality and the spices we all know offer medicinal values too. Do try making these as they are good for you:)

1 cup Moth sprouted (ready sprouted beans are available in store)
1 cup Matki sprouted (beans or legumes)
1/2 cup Whole green Moong sprouted
1 tspn salt to taste
2 to 3 green chillies finely diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic chopped finely
1 inch ginger grated or chopped finely
1 medium onion finely chopped
1/4 cup dried grated coconut
2 to 3 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
1/4 cup freshly chopped coriander leaves for garnish
1 cup spicy ready mix chevda available in Indian stores
1 packet ready pav ( bread)

Misal Pav

1 Wash and soak all three legumes (beans), and next day drain the excess water if any , and tie them loosely in a cloth and sprinkle few drops of water. If you want them to sprout more , than leave them another day and use the next day to prepare the dish. Or else, you can pressure cook the soaked legumes in a pressure cooker by adding 1 cup water and 1/2 tspn salt. After 2 whistles, close the pressure cooker.
2.In a pan, heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil. Add cloves and cinnamon,add the chopped onions ,stir for 5 to 6 minutes,add ginger ,garlic,green chillies, add the grated coconut and  continue stirring.Add in the chopped tomatoes, and cook till they appear softened. Now add in the seasoning's,salt,red chilli powder, cumin powder,turmeric  and 1 tspn freshly squeezed lemon juice. Drain the cooked beans, and add to the  pan and carefully mix together. Cover with a lid and cook another few minutes,close burner and garnish cooked Misal.
Serve with pav, and garnish with ready mix and chopped coriander.

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