Multicoloured Salad

Balanced Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hadn’t prepared anything for last night’s dinner because I was supposedly going for a Thanksgiving dinner. Turns out I had got my dates mixed up – doh!!! So had to come up with something quick to cook yet healthy and this is the end result.

Think of it as a balanced meal: balance of colours (white, purple, orange, yellow, red and green) and balance of carbs, protein and vegetables.

This salad is very easy to make and you can substitute with whatever is fresh, available or you have in your refrigerator.

have it as soon as it is cooked to enjoy a warm winter salad or chill and serve during summer months

Ingredients

3-4 potatoes

8-10 Cherry tomatoes

0.5 cup Sweetcorn kernels

1.5 cups French beans

2 Carrots

A couple of handfuls of salad leaves (I used amaranth, hence purple)

1 Tablespoon mayonnaise (I used the diet kind)

1 Tablespoon prepared mustard (I used Colemans)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Juice of half lemon or lime

1-2 Teaspoons freshly ground black peppercorns

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash the potatoes and steam them for 15 minutes or till soft. Once done, cut them in two. I had left the skin on, you can peel them if you like.
  2. Wash the french beans, snap them in half and steam them. Wash sweetcorn kernels. Steam the corn and beans together for 10 minutes or till just tender. I have a double decker steamer so I had put potatoes in one deck and french beans and sweetcorn in another and steamed them all together in one go.
  3. Wash and dry the salad leaves.
  4. Wash and coarsely grate the carrots.
  5. Wash the cherry tomatoes.
  6. Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  7. Put the salad leaves on a serving plate.
  8. Mix together the potatoes, french beans, sweet corn, carrots and cherry tomatoes along with the dressing.
  9. Put this salad on top of the leaves and enjoy.

serve with a glass of full-bodied red wine

 

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Methi Per Eedu/Fenugreek Leaves with Eggs

Fenugreek Leaves with Eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My very dear friend Meher is a Parsi. We regularly exchange notes on what’s for dinner in our respective homes and she often mentions methi (fenugreek leaves) or bhinda (okra) with eedu (eggs). Parsis love their eggs and add them to many vegetables during the final cooking stage.

I had fenugreek leaves left over after I had made the muthia and wanted to try something totally new. I thought of Meher’s eggy dinners and came up with my interpretation of methi per eedu (fenugreek leaves topped with beaten eggs).

The final dish is a soft, spongy vegetable and egg mixture which is totally divine. Definitely on my “make again” list!

serve with some crusty bread or rotis

Note:

  1. I am not claiming this to be an authentic Parsi recipe, just my take on their famous “per eedu” vegetable dishes.
  2. If you don’t have fenugreek leaves, try it with okra, potatoes or spinach. It will taste just as good.

Ingredients

2 Cups fenugreek leaves

2 Onions

2 Tomatoes

3 Green chillies

2 Tablespoons ginger-garlic paste

1-2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce* (optional)

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1 -2 Teaspoons chilli powder

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon oil

2 Eggs

1-2 Teaspoons coarsely ground black peppercorns

Method

  1. Finely chop the onions, tomatoes and green chillies.
  2. Heat the oil in a wide base frying pan. When hot, add the onions, green chillies and the salt. Mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes on low heat.
  3. While the onions are cooking, chop and wash the fenugreek leaves (or whichever vegetable you are using).
  4. Now, let’s go back to the onions. Once the 5 minutes are up, add the ginger-garlic paste to the onion mixture and stir for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, turmeric powder and chilli powder.
  6. Mix well, cover and cook for further 5-7 minutes (or till tomatoes are well cooked).
  7. Add the fenugreek leaves and mix everything together. This may take some time. In the process, you will notice that the leaves wilt.
  8. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  9. While the fenugreek leaves are cooking, beat the 2 eggs with a pinch of salt and ground peppercorns.
  10. Open the lid of the frying pan and pat down the fenugreek mixture with the back of a spoon. Once it is level, pour the beaten eggs all over the surface. Do NOT stir or touch.
  11. Cover and let it cook for 20 minutes.
  12. Switch off the burner and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
*Worcestershire sauce is usually not used in Indian cooking. I had read a recipe in a Parsi cookbook by Jeroo Mehta which listed this as part of a “per eedu” recipe. Since I had a bottle on hand, I thought I would try it. Although it is optional, it definitely gives the end dish a nice zing.

This is what the spinach mixture looks like once you level it.

Methi per eedu1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After which, you pour the beaten eggs.

Methi per eedu2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final result, once the eggs are cooked.

Methi per eedu3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cut in wedges and serve

 

 

Multigrain Mixed Vegetable Muthia/Multigrain Mixed Vegetable Steamed Dumplings

Multigrain Mixed Vegetable Muthiya Uncooked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I  am very fond of muthia –  my go-to dinner when I am at a loss as to what to make. Since I make them often, I like experimenting with different flours and vegetables.

Today’s recipe, which has multiple vegetables and grains, came about because of what was lying around in my refrigerator. As with most of the recipes on this blog, you can improvise and substitute. The purpose is to make the most of what you have in your kitchen!

Ingredients

3/4th cup muthia no lot/muthia atta/muthia flour/a combination of wheat and chickpea flours with some semolina

1/4th cup ragi flour

2-3 tablesspoons jowar dalia (coarsely pounded sorghum)

1 cup finely grated cabbage

1 finely grated carrot

1 cup finely chopped fenugreek (methi) leaves

1 tablespoon minced ginger and green chilli paste

2 tablespoon white sesame seeds

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 tablespoon coriander powder

2 teaspoons turmeric powder

A pinch of bicarbonate of soda (I used Eno)

Salt to taste

One tablespoon sesame oil

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients except oil.
  2. Make sure you mix well so that everything is amalgamated together. The end result won’t be dough like consistency but it will be soft enough for you to mould.
  3. Take a handful of the mixture in your palm and roll into oval shape.
  4. Place on a clean plate and do the same with the rest of the mixture.
  5. Now place all the muthia in a steamer and steam on high heat for 30-40 minutes.
  6. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick or a knife in one muthia. If it comes out clean, this means that the muthia are cooked.
  7. Drizzle some sesame oil before serving.

Note:

  1. You can prepare the muthia in advance and keep them in a refrigerator till you are ready to steam.
  2. I don’t put any oil in the mixture while binding but you can add a tablespoon of sesame oil if you like.
  3. Any leftover can be sliced and shallow fried in some mustard seeds and white sesame seeds.

serve with green chutney

Cabbage Idada/Cabbage White Dhokla/Savoury Steamed Cabbage Cake

Cabbage Idada

Idada is a specialty from the state of Gujarat in India. Made of rice and skinned, split black lentils (urad dal), the batter is similar to that of idli.

Idada batter before steamingThis is a versatile dish as in you can have it for breakfast, as a snack, for dinner or accompaniment as part of an elaborate Indian meal.

To my mind, there are two main differences between idada and dhokla (another Gujarati dish with similar cooking method). Idada are white in colour (and, so, called white dhokla by some) and there is no tempering involved before serving.

In my family, we tend to ferment the idada batter before cooking although you will find some recipes on the internet which skips this stage.

Here, I would like to share with you my idada recipe with a twist. The addition of cabbage increases this dish’s nutritional value without taking away from the original taste.

The above photo was taken before steaming. Not sure whether you can see the specks of green but this is what the batter looks like with the inclusion of cabbage.

Ingredients

3/4th cup white rice

1/4th cup skinned split black lentil

one cup finely grated white or green cabbage

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black peppercorns

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon oil for greasing

1 tablespoon sesame oil to drizzle

Method

  1. Soak rice and lentils for 8 hours.
  2. Finely grind them in a mixer or a blender with some water. The consistency should be neither too runny, nor too thick.
  3. Now put the batter in a large container, cover and place in a dark corner of your kitchen for 8-10 hours for it to ferment. The reason we are using a large container is to allow some extra room for the batter to rise.
  4. When you are ready to cook the idada, mix the cabbage and salt in the batter.
  5. Grease a cake tin or a thaali, pour the batter in it and sprinkle the coarsely ground black peppercorns all over (see photo above for visual reference).
  6. Put the container with the batter in a steamer (or over a pot which is half filled with water), cover and steam for 30 minutes.
  7. To check whether it is cooked, insert a toothpick or a knife. If it comes out clean, you know that it is done.
  8. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  9. Drizzle some sesame oil over the cooked idada making sure it is evenly spread, cut into diamond shapes and serve.

Idada cooked

This is what my cabbage idada looked like once cooked and oiled. The cabbage has visually disappeared!

serve idada with green or red chutney

Hot Sauce/Red Chutney

Hot Sauce/Red Chutney

 

I don’t know about you, dear Blog reader, but I love a bit of hot sauce with some foods. So today, I would like to share with you my very quick, no-cooking recipe for a spicy condiment.

Chili Peppers
Chili Peppers (Photo credit: sarowen)

Serving Suggestions:

  1. Use it as a sandwich spread or on pasta.
  2. Also goes well with noodles, dumplings and momos.
  3. Mix with some yoghurt and serve as a dip with crudites.

Ingredients

1 red pepper (red capsicum)

1 pod of garlic

5-6 dry red chillies, broken (you can adjust the quantity according to personal preference and how hot the chillies are)

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash, halve, remove seeds and coarsely chop the red pepper.
  2. Remove skin from the cloves of garlic.
  3. Put all the ingredients in a mixer or a blender.
  4. Blend till you get a smooth puree-like consistency.
  5. Transfer to a screw-top glass jar.

will keep in the refrigerator for several days

Khow Suey

Burmese Khow Suey

The other night, we had friends for dinner and I wanted to make something with a bit of a “wow” factor. At the same time, I wanted to use what I had on hand as I didn’t much have time to shop. Khow suey ticked all the right boxes and so I would like to share with you, today, my interpretation of this famous Burmese dish.

Khow suey is noodles served in a chicken/vegetable coconut based sauce and served with various garnishes. If you prepare the garnishes ahead of time, cooking the noodles and the sauce doesn’t take much time.

Our friends loved it and we also loved it so much that we plan to make it again soon!

Although I had made vegetarian khow suey, you can substitute chicken if you like.

Garnishes for Khow Suey

this photo shows the garnishes that I served

Top row (from left to right): fresh coriander, chopped spring onion, chopped boiled eggs

Bottom row (from left to right): roasted peanuts, lemon wedges, fried garlic, chopped green chillies

So, let’s get on with the recipe. This one serves 4 people.

Garnishes (you can have some or all of the below)

One small bunch fresh coriander (leaves and stalk if tender)

One bunch spring onion, chopped

6 hard boiled eggs, chopped

5-6 tablespoons roasted peanuts

2-3 teaspoons chopped green/red chillies

One pod of garlic sliced along its length and fried in one teaspoon of oil till it is brown and crisp

Lemon wedges

Handful of potato straws or crushes potato chips (I didn’t have these)

Ingredients for noodles

350 gms dried egg noodles

Water to boil noodles

Ingredients for sauce

4 onions, chopped

1 pod garlic

Fresh ginger the size of a thumb

4-5 stalks lemongrass

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 tablespoon coriander powder

4 tablespoons gram flour

1 stock cube (optional)

2 cups coconut milk

500 gms mixed vegetables cut in medium sized pieces (I had used broccoli, baby corn, french beans and cauliflower)

1 tablespoon oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Make a paste of ginger, garlic and lemon grass.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Once hot, add the chopped onions and salt.
  3. Once the onions are cooked (3-4 minutes), add the ginger-garlic-lemongrass paste.
  4. Add turmeric, chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder.
  5. Mix well and let this cook for about 5-7 minutes on low flame. Keep stirring regularly so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  6. While the paste is cooking, mix the gram flour and stock cube in the coconut milk. I used chicken stock cube, you could use vegetable one instead or omit the stock cube altogether.
  7. Make sure there are no lumps in the coconut milk mixture.
  8. Now go back to the paste, add the vegetables (or chicken) and give it a good stir.
  9. Turn the flame high and add the coconut milk along with 2 cups of water. Stir, bring it to boil and once it starts bubbling, lower the flame, cover and let the sauce cook for about 10-15 minutes till the vegetables are cooked.
  10. While the sauce is cooking, boil water for the noodles and cook them according to instructions on the packet. Drain and divide them in dinner bowls (I used pasta bowls).
  11. Pour the sauce over the noodles and serve with the garnishes.
  12. Squeeze of lemon on top gives it a nice lift.

Tip:

If you would like to use chicken instead of vegetables, marinate cubes of boneless chicken in some salt and turmeric powder for 30 minutes. Cook for 30 minutes till chicken is done.

If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out.

Creamy Grits with Sweetcorn, Avocado and Spring Onion

Creamy Corn Grits

As the evenings are getting colder, I have been going through my pantry to see what I can use to make warm, hearty dinners.

pearl barley and grits were both competing to see who gets to me first

Grits won because I had an avocado which needed to be used. So, I thought of teaming the two with some tomatoes and spring onions.

Corn
Corn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This recipe becomes rich and comforting thanks to the creamy avocado and a bit of cheese (both good healthy fats).

Also, it is fuss-free, doesn’t require too many ingredients and can be made in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

1 cup grits (corn dalia)

3 cups water

1 bunch spring onion (scallion)

100 grams sweetcorn kernels

1 small ripe avocado

2 tomatoes

Chicken or vegetable stock cube (optional)

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon grated cheese (I used Cheddar)

Salt to taste

Method

  1. First, prepare the vegetables. Wash and chop the spring onion, keeping the white and the green parts separate.
  2. Wash and dice the tomatoes.
  3. Wash the sweetcorn kernels (if using canned, drain and keep aside).
  4. Heat oil in a saucepan and when it heats up, add the spring onion (reserving some white part for garnish).
  5. Turn down the heat, add tomatoes, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the sweet corn and salt, mix, cover and cook for further 2 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat to high, add water, stock cube is using (I used chicken for this recipe) and let it come to boil.
  8. Once it start boiling, add the grits, mix well, turn down the heat to minimum, cover and let it cook for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Make sure to check in-between in case it is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  10. While the grits are cooking, peel and finely chop the avocado.
  11. Once the grits are cooked, open and add the avocado and cheese. Give it a good stir, cover and cook for 2 more minutes.
  12. Turn off the gas and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  13. Transfer to a pasta bowl and garnish with the reserved spring onion.
  14. Serve with some chilli sauce. I like mine with the hot Tabasco.

Chana Masala/Spiced Chickpeas/Spiced Garbanzo Beans

Spicy Chickpeas

Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are very low in fat, high in dietary fibre and full of vitamins and minerals. They are also versatile – toss them in a salad, puree them for a pate or add them to stews.

In this version of chana masala, boiled chickpeas are cooked in some dry spices.

It is another one of my quick cooking recipes, even quicker if you are using canned chickpeas

Serving Suggestions

  1. I like to have a bowl of spiced chickpeas on its own for dinner. Low in fat, high in yummy quota and a little goes a long way.
  2. Although Indian in taste, you can serve it as a side accompaniment to any dinner.
  3. If there are any leftovers, coarsely mash and add to a baguette, pita or ciabatta bread with some chopped cucumber, tomato, onion, iceberg lettuce and gherkins for a delicious sandwich.
  4. Serve as nibbles along with drinks.

Ingredients

1 cup boiled chickpeas (I used this method to soak my chickpeas before boiling)

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon amchur (dry mango powder)

1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)

1 teaspoon asafoetida

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon oil

Method

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan.
  2. When hot, turn down the heat and add the asafoetida followed by all the dry spices and salt.
  3. Mix well or 10-15 seconds.
  4. Add the boiled chickpeas, combine with the spices, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Turn off the burner and let it sit covered for 5 minutes before taking out of the frying pan.

serve with a wedge of lemon and some onion rings

Speeding up the Soaking Process for Dried Beans

Dried Beans

If you are anything like me, at times, you will forget the whole “soak the beans overnight” part of a recipe.

In such situations, I find the following helpful.

  1. Wash the beans in a saucepan.
  2. Add water (ratio of 1 part beans, 3 parts water) and put on a burner.
  3. Bring the water to boil rapidly and turn off the burner.
  4. Cover and keep in a dark place for four hours.
  5. By now, the beans should be nicely plump and swollen.
  6. Cook according to your recipe’s instructions.

You are invited to share your tips and tricks on how to speed up the pre-soak process for dried beans.

Hope this helps!

Carrot & Cabbage Bajra (Pearl Millet) Idli

Carrot and Cabbage Bajra Idli with Tomato-Ginger Chutney

A couple of months back, I had made the most delicious jowar idli. I am currently out of jowar so decided to replicate the experiment with bajra (pearl millet) instead.  Additionally, I decided to add grated carrots and cabbage to make a nutritiously balanced dinner.

like tomatoes, carrots are more nutritious cooked

Ingredients

1 cup whole bajra (pearl millet)

0.5 cup urad dal (split black gram)

2 tablespoons brown rice

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)

2 grated carrots

Half a head grated cabbage

Salt to taste

Oil/ghee to grease idli moulds

Method

  1. Wash and soak bajra, urad dal, brown rice and fenugreek seeds for 10-12 hours.
  2. Finely grind them making sure the batter is of pouring consistency.
  3. Transfer to a container, cover and leave in a warm, dark place for 8-10 hours to ferment. (If you are in a cool climate, place container with the batter in a larger empty container which you have just warmed. My personal experience is that this speeds up the fermentation process.)
  4. When ready to cook the idlis, mix the carrots, cabbage and salt to the batter.
  5. Grease idli moulds and pour the batter.
  6. Steam for 25 minutes.
  7. Once cooked, take out the moulds and let them rest for about 5 minutes before removing the idlis.
  8. Serve with tomato and ginger chutney.

This is what the fermented batter looks like:

Fermented Idli Batter

Here are the idlis cooked to perfection:

Idlis Hot off the Steamer

Tip:

If you don’t have idli moulds, you can still make this recipe. Just pour the batter in a cake tin or equivalent and steam. Once cooked, cool and cut in squares before serving.