Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays !!

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No recipe today. Just some fruitcake to wish you a very merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Go ahead, Help yourself !!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Simple Lentil Dal with Whole Spices

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At every visit to the library I squeeze in a few minutes to skim through the books in the culinary section. In fact I was pleasantly surprised to see several books about indian cusine. The best part was that these weren't by the  likes of the Tarla Dalals and Sanjeev kapoors. Oh yes their recipes are good, no doubt after all they are professional chefs.But what I find more interesting  is the food cooked by simple people like you and me. The recipes that have passed over generations and from one kitchen to another.

  Last week I picked up one such book by Suvir Saran. The book has a fine collection of recipes that have been part of families known to the author. I love books with lots of pictures (feast to the eyes) and the book could have done better on this front. Nevertheless the author makes up with a short history about the origin of the recipe. Is there any cookbook that you referred to often  ?

 This weekend  I tried this comforting dal from this book. There was a lot of eating out for us this past week - Office parties, birthday parties, on the go lunches and so forth. I and consequently him too were craving some light, home cooked food. Something not too spicy yet tasty and comforting.

On to the recipe for the lentil dal : -

Simple Lentil Dal with Whole Cinnamon, Cardamom and  Cloves
(Inspired by recipe from  Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran)

1C cooked masoor dal or red lentils (pressure cook with turmeric,hing)
1 2-inch stick of cinnamon
2-3 cloves
6 cloves of green cardamom, lightly crushed to release the seeds
1 heaped tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 green chillies cut into to 2-3 chunks
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 tbsp or 1/2 chopped onion
handful of cilantro
1 tbsp of lime juice
salt to taste
3-4 tbsp oil
  • Combine the oil with the cinnamon,cloves and cardamom. Allow the spices to release their aroma.
  • Then add the onion,green chillies and the ginger-garlic paste. On medium heat saute for 2-3 min.
  • Then add the lentils and the salt.Allow to come to a boil on medium heat.
  • Add handful of cilantro and lemon juice.
  • Enjoy with plain rice.

I poured ladles of it over plain rice and devoured it to the last bit. And did I tell you the dal tasted even better the next day. And Aamod liked it too. That gives me all the more reason to make it again.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kasuri Methiwali Gobi ki sabzi

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Don't you  love this time of the year ? With all the Christmas decorations at homes, offices and at the malls it seems like everyone is in the party mood, hopeful of the good times ahead. The trees are lighting up , the gift-buying is almost done and the wrapping up is in full swing. The weather has been supportive too (at least here). And I really hope it continues this way. With a few stints of chill its mostly-been low humidity and cool days for us. Oh I am so looking forward to the holidays. Just a few days to go ....

And while all of you gear up for the holidays here is one recipe that is quick,easy and somewhat healthy too.
With a limited choice of vegetables in winter I often seek different ways to serve them. A few days back I bookmarked this recipe on Monsoon Spice. Its a nice change from the way I usually make Gobi. Simple enough for a weekday meal.

Kasurimethiwali Gobi ki Sabzi
(Inspired from this recipe on Monsoon Spice)

1 head of cauliflower ( chopped into bite-size chunks or florets)
1 heaped tsp of kasuri-methi
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 heaped tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp fennel seeds (coarsely crushed)
1 tsp cumin seeds (coarsely crushed)
1 tsp coriander powder ( can substitute with garam masala powder)
1 large tomato chopped
salt to taste
a handful of raisins
3-4 tbsp olive oil or any other oil

  • Heat up the oil and add to it the cumin and then ginger-garlic paste. After half a minute add the tomatoes, turmeric,chilli powder, kasuri methi,coriander powder and fennel seeds.
  • Allow the mixture to cook till tomatoes become pulpy .Meanwhile enjoy the heavenly aromas of fennel and kasuri methi.
  • Next add the gobi and give the whole thing a good stir. Add a few teaspoons of water. Simmer,cover and let cook for about 5-7 min.
  • Uncover and check if soft. I like them just tender rather than mushy.
  • Add the raisins and the salt.Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add more water in between if the mixture dries up.
  • Serve with rotis or rice
 Curries such as this quickly become a regular on my dinner rotation.. They are so easy to put-together and make a great fit for the lunch-box. 

Enjoy !

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Salmon and Bean Soup

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With every year that passes by, life becomes all the more busier with more responsibilities and chores. Its so easy to get caught up in the routine - career,job,home,kids. We often leave behind the things we loved to do. So imagine my surprise when some of my friends teamed up to do a marathi entertainment program. I had more than respect for them - it was deep admiration too. How in the world could you have time , I said. But I agree, amongst all the things life throws at us we need some time for some own therapeutic activity. It may be just a few minutes a day , once a week or so. The challenge is in doing what you love without the guilt.

By now you must have guessed that blogging and cooking are curing for me too !! So lets get to the important issue at hand - Food. 
This winter I have made a secret resolution to cook soup at least once a week. Why once a week ? Because that way I am forced to find at least one good soup recipe. If the recipes are blog-worthy you will surely see them here.

The first soup that I had bookmarked since ages is this Salmon and Beans Soup. This soup is a good combination of all the good things that one needs. Protein from the beans , heart healthy omega3 acids and whole lot of flavor making it all delectable.

Salmon and Beans Soup
(Inspired from this recipe)

4 pieces of salmon ( I used frozen ones, 2 per person )
1 C cooked mixed beans ( I used the them from the 16 bean soup mix )
1 onion sliced
1tsp turmeric powder
2tsp chilli powder
2tsp coriander powder
1tsp cumin (coarsely crushed)
2-3 bay leaves
4C vegetable stock ( or chicken stock )
1C of water
salt to taste
olive oil as needed
1-2 black cardamom( optional )
2 crushed red chillies
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste

  • Cook the beans with a tsp of salt in the pressure cooker. The beans should not mushy and preferrably retain their shape.
  • In large pot heat the olive oil add the cardamom,onion and the ginger-garlic paste. Cook till the onion  becomes soft.
  • Then add the spices - turmeric,coriander powder,cumin, chilli powder. 
  • Then add the stock and the water.Add the bay leaves and adjust the salt.
  • Slide in the salmon pieces and let the whole thing come to a boil. 
  • Check to see if the salmon has cooked and is fork tender.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with some crusty bread.

Both of us loved this soup specially after coming back from the cold winter evening. The crushed red chillies, cumin and the coriander adding a slight heat that instantly warms you up. 

 Have great weekend ahead !!