Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pancake Fest

We have never been too fond of IHOP, and find it too sweet for our taste. Recently, Samir, Rudra and I hade been to Costco. There we had a sampling of theirr waffles. And Rudra, who was 20 months old at that time, loved it. This started a weekend ritual at our house. Samir and Rudra go swimming on the weekend and I make brunch. Pancakes with maple syrup, chicken sausage and eggs.

I get Aunt Jemima pancake mix. We use real maple syrup, which is a little expensive, but lasts a long time and is really yummy.

For pancakes
1 cup aunt Jemima pancake mix
1 egg
1 tblsp oil
3/4 cup milk

Mix the above and keep aside for 10 mins. Make the pancakes.

Chicken sausage
We get the sausage from costco or wegmans. We generally use the sundried tomato and herb chicken sausage.
Heat 1/2 cup water in a non stick pan. Prick the sausage with a fork and add to the water.. Cook on medium heat till all water dries up and the sausage becomes brown from the outside. Sausages come fully cooked but you just have to heat them completely.

We also have sunny side up eggs and freshly sqeezed juice with this.

The only problem is that after this meal, its realy difficult to do anything other than sleep.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lobia masala

I have loved lobia (black eyed peas) since childhood. My nani loved them too. So whenever we went to stay with our nanaji naniji, lobia would make a regular appearance. It doesn’t take much time to cook and is really tasty with rotis and raita.

1 cup lobia
2 medium onions finely chopped
1 large tomato finely chopped
12 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala
1 tblsp oil
Salt to taste
Chopped coriander for garnish

Wash and soak the lobia in water for an hour.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker.
Add cumin seeds and when they change color, add onions. Fry till onions become brown. Then add ginger garlic paste and fry for a min.
Add turmeric, chili and coriander powders and fry for 30 sec.
Add tomato and fry till the masala gets cooked and oil separates from the masala.
Then add the lobia, mix well with the masala, add 1 ½ cup water and salt.
Close the cooker, and after first whistle, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 10 mins.
Open the cooker after the pressure drops, add garam masala and cook for 4-5 mins.
Garnish with green coriander.

Linguini with marinara sauce

Linguini with marinara sauce

Preparation time 5 mins
Cooking time 15 mins

Pasta has become one of our favorite Wednesday meals. Why Wednesday?
After the weekends go by, spent in lazing round, eating lots of yummy food and having fun, the week just drags. By Wednesday, I am in a mid week crisis. I get bored of the roti, sabji, dal, chawal routine (both cooking and eating it) and crave some thing fun. And Samir just loves the fact that he can have wine during the mid week. So pasta it is. And the best part is – its ready in 15 mins. I have seen this recipe on Food TV, though I do not remember the show.

Ingredients (for 2)

½ pound dry linguini
½ jar (app. 1 ½ cups) of tomato basil marinara sauce (I use trader Joes organic sauce)
½ small onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp chili flakes
1 Tblsp maggi hot and sweet chili sauce – it’s different (optional)
1 Tblsp good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil – EVOO
2 Tblsp grated parmesan cheese
2 Tblsp salt
Chopped parsley for garnnish

Heat lots of water in a big pan and add 2 tblsp salt. When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 9-10 mins, according to the directions on the package.

In the mean time, heat olive oil in another pan. Add chopped onions, garlic and chili flakes and cook on low heat for 4-5 mins. Do not let the onions or garlic brown.
Then add the marinara sauce and maggi sauce and cook 5 mins.
Drain the pasta, reserving ¼ cup liquid. Add the drained pasta and liquid to the sauce. Add the parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve, garnished with parsley.

It’s really easy to make the sauce at home, but it’s just more convenient to use a readymade one.
I use the magi sauce to give the sauce a kick and a bit if sweetness. I love magi.
Our regional libraries have a lot of cookbooks. Do check them out if you have the time.
I get many of my pasta recipes from these books.

Friday, August 3, 2007

kolhapuri chicken

My mom-in-law is the best cook in the whole world. My husband is from Goa, and Aayi makes the most amazing fish and chicken I have ever tasted. I feel I still have a long way to go before I can cook like her. Here is a recipe that turns out really great. It’s different from Aayi’s chicken saguti recipe, but tasty nonetheless.

1 full chicken cut up, around 2 ½ pounds (we get ours from halal store, so it tastes like the one back home)
8 cloves garlic - grated
1 inch piece ginger - grated
2 big onions – sliced, keeping aside 1 table spoon chopped
2 tomatoes - chopped
½ cup dry grated coconut
2 inch piece cinnamon
2 green cardamoms
5 cloves
1 black cardamom
10 black peppers
2 tablespoon kolhapuri masala
1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
1 tbl sp Green coriander
½ tsp tamarind paste
Salt to taste
2-3 tbl sp oil

Wash the chicken well. Marinate with salt, kolhapuri masala, ginger, garlic and kashmiri chili powder... Keep aside at least for 1 hour.

Heat 1 tbls sp oil. Add sliced onions and fry till brown. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper and dry coconut. Fry on slow flame till coconut turns brown. Then cool and grind to a fine paste, using a little water.

Heat oil in a pan, add the chopped onion and fry. Add the marinated chicken and fry for 10 mins.
Then add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 10 more mins.
Add the ground masala, a little salt and mix well. Add 1 cup water and cover and cook for about 30 mins, till the chicken is done. You can add more water if required. Garnish with green coriander.

Traditionally, all the masalas are roasted separately, and then coconut and onions are also fried separately. But that takes too much time and so I just fry everything together.
If you do not have kolhapuri masala, then you can use 1 tbls sp coriander powder, ½ tsp turmeric powder, 2 tsp chili powder and a little garam masala powder. And while frying the onions and coconut, add 1 tsp sesame seeds and 1 tsp poppy seeds. It will taste a bit different but still be good.

bharwaan karele

Stuffed karela is a dish that even karela haters will like. Dal, chawal and stuffed karela are a whole meal by itself. It does take some time for the preparation because you have to make the stuffing and then fill the karelas and fry them. But they keep well in the fridge for upto a week and so I tend to make about 8-10 at one time and we have them everyday till they are gone. My husband is a goan but he loves these karelas as much as fish. So that's saying some thing about them. Just try them once and you will be hooked.


6 small sized tender karelas
1 jumbo onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp kalonji or onion seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/s tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp amchoor powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1-2 tsp Punjabi pickle masala
1 tbl sp green coriander or cilantro
1-2 tbl sp oil
Salt to taste

Peel the karelas and slit them and remove all the seeds.
Apply salt liberally both inside and outside. Keep aside for at least 1 hour.
In the meantime, prepare the stuffing.
Heat oil, add jeera and onion seeds.
Add finely chopped onion and fry till brownish in color.
Add turmeric powder, chili powder, amchoor, coriander powder, pickle masala, fennel seeds, salt and cilantro.
Fry for 1-2 mins and the stuffing is ready.
Wash the karela very well and dry them.
Stuff the above mixture in each one, filling them completely and then tie each karela with a thread so that the stuffing won’t ooze out when you fry them.
Heat oil, put the karelas in a single layer and fry on low heat uncovered, turning them every 10-15 mins, so that they brown up on all sides.
Remove the threads a serve.

My mom makes the mango pickle at home and it has fennel seeds, mustard oil, methi seeds and other spices. We take a tsp of this masala and add to the stuffing. Here in the USA I generally use either Pachranga mix pickle or Sanjeev Kapoor’s Punjabi pickle and use that masala. You can use any mango pickle or mix pickle for this. Just use the masala and do not use any pieces of mango etc in the stuffing.

Gobhi Aloo

My mom makes very delicious aloo gobhi. She deep fries the aloo and gobhi, and then prepares the masala. Our generation shies away from deep fried stuff. So I just shallow fry the aloo and gobhi. The rest of the recipe is similar to my mom’s. Enjoy.

½ cauliflower cut into small florets
1 potato cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium sized onion chopped finely
1 medium sized tomato chopped finely
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chili powder
1 ½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp garam masala
1 tbls sp yogurt
1 tsp kasoori methi
¼ tsp garam masala
1-2 tbl sp oil
Salt to taste
Green coriander to garnish

Cut the cauliflower into florets and soak in salted warm water for 10 mins.
Heat 1 tbl sp oil. Add the cauliflower florets and shallow fry them till they are golden brown in color.
Shallow fry the potatoes till golden brown. Remove them on tissue paper to drain off excess oil.
Heat 1 tbl sp oil and add cumin seeds.
When they become brown, add onions and fry till brown.
Add ginger garlic paste and fry for 1 min.
Add turmeric, chili and corriender powders and fry for 30 secs.
Add tomatoes and fry till oil seperates.
Then add yogurt and mix well.
Add potatoes and salt and 1 tbl sp of water and cover and cook till potatoes are ½ way cooked.
Add the cauliflower and salt, mix well, add some more water and cover and cook till done.
Sprinkle with garam masala and green coriander.

Soaking the gobhi in warm water helps clean the florets.
Adding yogurt to the masala gives a very good color and terxture to the dish and makes it creamy.