Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lunch Box - Oct 31

Matar Pulao, Konkani Tindora, Fried Curd Chilli

Mushroom Rice, Brussel Sprouts Stir Fry, Papad

Mujadarah, Butternut Squash with Black Beans, Badam Halwa

Black Beans and Vegetable Quesadilla

Adapted from

Whole Wheat Tortilla / Lightly cooked Chapati - 4
Black Beans - 1/2 cup, soak overnight and cook in the cooker till done
Roasted Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Yellow Onion - 1/2, sliced
Green Bell Pepper - 1/2, sliced
Red Bell Pepper - 1/2, sliced
Garlic - 4 cloves, thinly sliced
Green Chilli / Jalapeno - 2, chopped
Red Pepper flakes - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
Cheddar Cheese - 1/2 cup, grated

Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a pan. Mash half the black beans and add it to the pan. Then add the other half of the beans, cumin powder, salt and red pepper flakes. Saute for a few minutes, remove and keep aside.

Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil and add the garlic slices. Then add onion, green chilli and the bell peppers. Adjust salt and pepper. Saute till the vegetables are done but crisp. Keep aside.

Heat a tsp of oil in an iron skillet. Spread one tortilla with a little cheese. Put half of the cooked beans on top. Then add half of the sauteed vegetables and sprinkle some cheese on top. Gently lift the tortilla and place it on the skillet. Press another tortilla on top.

Cook for a few  minutes until the bottom tortilla becomes brown and crisp. Flip it over, add a tsp of oil and cook the second side. Repeat the process for the other 2 tortillas. Cut the tortillas into wedges and serve.

Butternut Squash with Black Beans

Adapted from

Butternut Squash - 1/2, peeled and cut into cubes
Black Beans - 1/2 cup, soaked overnight and cooked in cooker till done
Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Ginger - 1 tsp, finely sliced
Green Chillies - 4
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Roasted Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Toasted Walnuts - a handful
Lemon Juice
Cilantro - a handful for garnishing

Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and green chillies.

The add the butternut cubes and ginger slices. Cook on high heat, tossing frequently, till the cubes turn light brown on all sides.

Add black beans, salt, cumin and red chilli powder, a quarter cup of water and cover and cook till the cubes are tender.

Add the toasted walnuts, lemon juice and garnish with cilantro.

Palong Shak'er Chorchori / Bengali Style Mixed Vegetables with Spinach

Baby Spinach - 2 cups
Butternut squash - 1 cup, cut in cubes
Sweet potato - 1, small, cut in cubes
Radish - 4, small, cut in cubes
Eggplant - 1 cup, cut in cubes
Bori / Dried Lentil Dumplings - 1/2 cup
Panch Phoron - 1 tsp (5 spice mixture of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek, nigella, fennel)
Dry Red Chillies - 2
Green Chillies - 3, chopped
Turmeric Powder - a pinch
Mustard Powder - 1 tsp, mix with a little water to make a thick paste
Olive Oil - 1/2 tbsp
Mustard Oil - 1 tbsp

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the boris and saute till golden brown. Remove and keep aside.

Heat the mustard oil in the same pan. Temper with panch phoron and red chilli.

First add the sweet potato and butternut squash. Saute for a few minutes. Then add radish and eggplant, green chillies, turmeric and salt. Saute on high heat for a few minutes and then cover and cook till the vegetables are almost done.

Add the spinach leaves and mustard paste. Cook for a few more minutes. Sprinkle the fried boris on top and remove from heat.

Green Peas Rice

Brown Rice - 3/4 cup, cook in the cooker till done, fluff with a fork and keep aside
For more flavor, the rice can be cooked in the cooker along with all the whole spices. Remove the spices and cool.

Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
Black Cardamom - 1
Cloves - 5
Cinnamon - 1
Black Peppercorns - 10
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Bayleaf - 1
Star Anise - 1

Ginger - 1 tsp, grated
Frozed Green Peas - 1 cup
Heat oil in a pan. Add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, cumin seeds, bayleaf, star anise.

Saute for a few seconds and then add the ginger, frozen peas and salt and pepper. Cook on medium flame for a couple of minutes till the peas become tender.

Mix rice and the roasted cashewnuts, adjust salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Tindli / Kundru / Ivy Gourd with Coconut

Tindora / Ivy Gourd - 40, ends trimmed and cut sidewise into thin roundels
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 5
Turmeric - a pinch
Spicy Chickpea Powder - 1 tbsp
Grated Coconut - 1 tbsp
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)

Heat oil and temper with mustard seeds.

Add the tindora roundels and saute on high heat for a few  minutes.

Add grated coconut, salt and a pinch of turmeric, reduce the flame and cook for about 10 minutes till the tindora slices become soft and lightly brown.

Add curry leaves, red chilli powder, chickpea powder and cook for five minutes more. Serve hot.

Mujadarah - Jordanian Rice with Sprouts

Adapted from

Brown Rice - 3/4 cup, soaked overnight
Sprouts - 1 cup, any or mix of lentil and beans sprout can be used, I used green lentil sprouts
1 each of black cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, bayleaf
Cloves - 5
Red Oinion - 1 small, thinly sliced
Sugar - a pinch
Olive Oil - 1 tbsp

Heat oil in a pan. Add the sliced onion and sugar. Saute on low heat till it caramelises well and becomes slightly crisp. Remove from the pan and keep aside.

In the same pan, add the spices. Then add the brown rice, sprouts, salt and pepper and saute for a minute.

Transfer the entire mixture to the rice cooker and cook with 2.5 cups of water till done.

Remove, fluff with fork, sprinkle the caramelised onion on top and serve.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Badam Halwa / Almond Fudge

Almond Flour - 1/2 lb, around 12 heaped tbsp
                         I used Bob's Red Mill finely ground Almond Meal/Flour
Milk - 2 cups
Sugar - 6 tbsp (adjust according to taste)
Saffron - a few strands, mix it with the milk
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Ghee / Clarified Butter - 2 tbsp
Roasted Cashew nuts and Raisins - handful

Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan.

Add the almond powder and saute on medium heat for about 10 minutes till it emits an aroma and changes color slightly.

Add milk and sugar and cook stirring continuously for around 20 minutes. The mixture will initially become bubbly and then start thickening. Remember that the halwa thickens further when it cools down.

When the mixture becomes fairly thick, add the another tbsp of ghee and cardamom powder and the dry fruits. Mix well and remove from heat. Serve at room temperature.

Can also be served hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Karela Chips

Karela / Bittergourd - 1
Brown Rice Powder - 1/2 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Oil for pan fry or deep fry

Mix brownrice powder, turmeric, salt and red chilli powder and keep aside.

Wash the karela and pat dry. Cut it sidewise into very thin roundels. Remove the seeds. Mix the roundels with the brown powder mix and marinate for atleast 15 minutes.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Lay the karela pieces in one line and cook till the bottom side becomes brown. Then flip them and cook till the other side becomes brown. Remove and serve

Alternatively heat oil in a kadai and deep fry them in batches till they are crisp.

Radish Rasam

Adapted from

Tur Dal (Pigeon Pea)- 1/2 cup, Cook in the cooker with water and a pinch of turmeric till done

Oil - 3 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Hing / Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry Leaves - 5

Red Radish - 5, cut in thin round slices
Radish Greens - a bunch (optional), chop into small pieces

Turmeric - a pinch
Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind  - 2 tsp, soak in a little water
Rasam Powder - 3 tsp
Heat oil a pan and temper with mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves.

Add the sliced radish and saute for around 5 minutes.

Add turmeric, chilli powder, rasam powder, tamarind, salt and mix well with the sliced radish.

Add half cup water and cook the radish for a few minutes. Then add the tur dal, add some more water and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve over brown rice with a little homemade ghee.

Brussel Sprouts Stir Fry

Adapted from

Brussel Sprouts - 1/2 lb, around 12, wash and remove the hard bottom and outer leaves and cut in quarters  lengthwise

Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida / Hing - a pinch
Onion - 1/2, chopped
Ginger - 1 tsp (grated)
Tomato - 1, small,  chopped
Roasted coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Roasted Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - a pinch

Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a pan. Saute the brussel sprouts till light brown. Remove and keep aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and temper with cumin seeds and hing. Add onion and ginger  and cook till the onion becomes soft. Add chopped tomato, salt, sugar and the rest of the spices and cook till oil leaves the sides of the pan.

Add the brussel sprouts and mix well with the masala. Sprinkle a little water, stir in between  and cook for around 10 minutes till the sprouts are tender.

Rasam Powder

Coriander Seeds - 1 cup
Black Peppercorns - 1/4 cup
Cumin Seeds - 1/4 cup
Fenugreek (Methi) Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Chana Dal - 1/4 cup
Whole Red Chillies - 10
Asafoetida / Hing - 1/2 tsp

Dry roast all the above ingredients(except Hing) on slow fire one after another in an iron skillet until they change color and release their aroma.

Cool and grind to a fine powder. Mix with Hing and store in an airtight container.

Bisi Bele Bhath Powder

Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Roasted Chana Dal / Dalia - 1/2 tbsp
Dry coconut - 1 tbsp
Whole red chilli - 1
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch
Cardamom - 1
Cloves - 2
Asafoetida / hing - a pinch

Dry roast all the above in an iron skillet. Cool and grind into a fine powder and store in an airtight container.

Spicy Chickpea Powder

Grated Dry Coconut - 1 tbsp
Garlic Cloves - 1
Dry Red Chillies - 2
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Roasted chickpeas / Dalia - 2 tbsp
Salt - a pinch

Dry roast the following spices in an iron skillet over low heat and ground to a fine powder.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Roasted Tomato Basil Pasta

Whole Wheat / Brown Rice Fusilli Pasta - 2 cups (serves two)
Tomato on the vine - 4
Fresh Basil - a bunch
Olive Oil - 3 tbsp
Garlic - 4 cloves, sliced
Sweet Onion - 1/2, thinly sliced
Red Pepper Flakes - 1 tsp
Sugar - a pinch
Shredded parmesan cheese - 3 tbsp
Pasta Cooked Water - 1/2 cup

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut each tomato into 4 quarters, drizzle with olive oil and roast in a foil lined baking sheet for 45 - 60 minutes, until soft and slightly dried.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water till al dente. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. (Ideally we should cook the pasta and the sauce in such a way so that the noodles can be drained and directly added to the cooked sauce without waiting).

Heat oil in a pan. Add the garlic slices and saute for 10 seconds. Then add the sliced onion and saute till caramelised. Add the roasted tomatoes, basil, salt, sugar and red pepper flakes. Stir in 1/2 cup of pasta water to make a sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the cooked pasta and toss everything well. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaf on top and remove from heat.

Lunch Box - Oct 24

Black Eyed Peas rice, Bori diye Lau, Karela Chips

Tomato & Peanut Rice, Spicy Tondli

Methi Thepla, Chhundo

Black Eyed Peas Rice

Adapted from

Brown Rice - 3/4 cup, cook in a rice cooker till done and spread to cool
Black Eyed Peas - 1/2 cup, soaked overnight and cook in the cooker till just done. Dont overcook
Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Black peppercorns - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 1 stick
Cloves - 8
Cardamom - 2
Green Chillies - 4, finely chopped
Garlic - 3 pods, grated
Roasted Coriander Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Aamchur / Dry Mango Powder - 1/2 tsp

Heat oil in a pan. temper with cumin seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom.

Add grated garlic and green chillies and saute for a minute.

Then add the boiled black eyed peas, salt and coriander, cumin, aamchur powder and saute for a few minutes.

Add the cooked rice, adjust salt and mix well. Cook for a minute. Serve hot.

Bori diye lau / Bottlegourd with dried lentil dumplings

Lau / Bottlegourd - 1, small, Cut into very small thin pieces or preferably grated with a grater
Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
Bori / Dried Lentil Dumplings - 1/2 cup,
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Bayleaf - 1
Green Chilies - a few, chopped
Ginger - 1 inch, grated
Tomato - 1/2, chopped or grated
Turmeric - a pinch
Raw Turbinado Sugar - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Ghee - 1 tsp (optional)

Heat oil in a pan. Fry the boris till brown. Remove them, crush them a little and keep aside.

In the same pan, add some more oil and temper with cumin seeds, cinnamon, bayleaf and green chillies.

Then add the chopped lau, ginger and turmeric. Saute for a few minutes and then add salt and cover and cook. Lift the cover and stir in between. In between when it is half cooked, add the grated tomato.

When the lau is cooked and the liquid dries up, add sugar and ghee cook for a minute more. Sprinkle the crushed boris on top, mix well and serve.

Tomato & Peanut Rice

Adapted from

Brown Rice - 3/4 cup, cook in rice cooker, remove and spread on a plate to cool
Roasted peanuts - 1/2 cup
Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 4 cloves, finely sliced
Red Pepper Flakes - 1 tsp
Tomato - 1, grated
Roasted Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Lemon Juice - 1 tsp

Heat oil in a pan. Add the garlic slices and red pepper flakes and saute for 10 seconds.

Then add the grated tomato and salt and cook on slow fire for around 15 minutes till the tomato is completely cooked and the paste becomes a little thick.

Add the rice, peanuts and roasted cumin powder. Mix everything well and check seasoning. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and serve.

Aloo Methi

Red Potato - 2, cut into small cubes
Methi / Fenugreek leaves - 1 bunch
Mustard Seeds
Cumin Seeds
Urad dal - 2 tbsp, soaked overnight
Onion - 1/2
Green Chilli - 4, chopped
Red Chilli Powder
Curry Leaves

Heat oil in a pan and temper with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, chopped green chillies.

Add the urad dal and saute for a few minutes till it becomes light brown. Add the chopped onion and cook till they become caramelised.

Then add the chopped potatoes, turmeric and salt. Cook till the potatoes becomes soft. If required sprinkle a little water in between so that the potatoes dont stick to the pan.

When the potatoes are almost cooked, add the methi leaves. Mix well and cook for 5  minutes more. Serve hot.

Crispy Bittergourd with Pumpkin / Karela Kumro Bhaja

Karela / Bittergourd - 2
Pumpkin - small wedge, peeled and cut into thin, 1 inch length pieces
Nigella Seeds / Kalo Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Green Chilli - 4
Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - a pinch

Wash the karelas and cut into half lengthwise. Remove the seeds from the middle. Then cut sidewise into very thin halfmoon slices.

Heat  oil in a pan. Add half of the nigella seeds and 2 green chillies. Then add the punpkin pieces and cook for 10 minutes till the slices are cooked and slightly brown. Allow the pumpkin pieces to get brown on one side before turning them over to the other side

In the same pan, heat a little more oil and add the rest of the nigella seeds and the remaining 2 chillies. Add the karela slices, salt, turmeric and red chilli powder. Saute on low fire till they are crisp and brown. Mix with the crispy pumpkin pieces and serve.

Bhat Bhaja / Fried Rice with leftover Rice

Leftover Cooked Brown Rice - 3 cups
Red Potato - 1, cut thinly into one inch long pieces
Onion - 1/2, thinly sliced
Frozen Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Frozen Corn - 1/2 cup
Cauliflower - 1/2 cup, cut into tiny florets
Eggs - 2
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Green Chillies - 4, finely chopped
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Fresh ground black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Roasted Cashewnuts - a handful
Raisins - handful
Lemon Juice - 1/2 lemon

Heat oil in a nonstick pan. Add the potato pieces and saute for 15 minutes till they are slightly brown and crispy. Remove and in the same pan add the peas, corn and cauliflower. Sprinkle salt and cook on high heat for 5 minutes till the vegetables are done but crisp. Keep aside.

Beat the 2 eggs with a little salt and pepper. Heat oil in the same pan, add the beaten eggs and scramble till done. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds and green chillies. Cook for a minute and then add the sliced onion. Cook till the onion caramelises well. Add the rice, salt, pepper, garam masala, cooked vegetables and eggs. Mix everything well and cook for a few minutes more. Sprinkle lemon juice on top and serve.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lemon Cake

All-purpose flour - 1 ½ cups
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Whole-milk yogurt - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 1/3 cup, divided
Eggs - 3, extra large
Lemon zest - 2 tsp, (zest of 2 lemons)
Pure Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Butter / Oil - 1/2 cup
Freshly squeezed lemon juice - 1/3 cup

For the glaze:
Confectioners’ sugar - 1 cup
Freshly squeezed lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan or a small round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, cream 1 cup sugar and butter(if using). Then whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Adapted from

Balushahi / Buttermilk Donuts

All Purpose Flour / Maida - 2 cups
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Baking Powder - 1/4 tsp
Unsalted Cold Butter - 1/2 cup (or cold ghee can be used)
Cold Yogurt - 1/2 cup

For sugar syrup:
Water - 2/3 cup
Sugar - 2 cups
Cardamom Powder - 1/4 tsp

Oil for deep frying

A few pistachios for garnishing

Makes 24 balushahis.

Mix flour, baking soda and baking powder together. Cut the cold butter into tiny cubes and mix it with the flour with your fingers till the mixture is crumbly.

Add the yogurt little by little to make a soft dough (but do not knead the dough).

Cover the dough with a slight damp cloth and keep aside for 30 minutes.

To prepare the syrup, add water to 2 cups of sugar and bring it to boil. Simmer till the syrup reaches one thread consistency. Keep aside.

Heat oil over low heat in a flat pan for deep frying .

Now knead the dough gently just enough to hold it together. Divide into 24 equal balls. Make a deep dent in the center of each ball.

To check if the oil is ready, drop a tiny piece of dough in the oil. The dough should sizzle and should not immediately rise to the top. If it rises then the oil is too hot and the temperature needs to be reduced.

Place a few of the balushahis in the oil. Do not overcrowd as the balushahis expand. Cook on slow fire till the bottom side becomes golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side till that side becomes golden brown.

Remove from heat and place on paper towel for a minute to soak up excess oil. Fry the rest of the balushahis in batches. Dip the fried balushahis in the warm sugar syrup all over for a  minute. Remove and garnish with pistachios.

Serve at room temperature.