Sunday 5 January 2020

Bean and Vegetable Bake

Wishing you all a Happy New Year! and here is the first recipe of the Year!
A very simple and quick recipe, which I tried over the weekend. The best part is that you can make your own variations too :)

Ingredients-
1 packet Mushrooms (200 gms)
100 gms Baby Corn
Spinach- 2 bunch (roughly 4-5 cups, shredded)
1 slice bread (churn in a mixer for crumbs)
Salt, Pepper, Chilly flakes
Baked Beans- 1 cup
2 tbsps Butter
Mozzarella Cheese- 4 tbsp

White Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 onion Chopped
1 tsp minced Garlic
1 1/2 tbsp maida
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper

Method

1. In a Big Pan, put about 1 tbsp butter and put in the shredded spinach. Cook till all water is evaporated. It'll be reduced to 1/4 th of the actual quantity. Mix in the bread crumbs and Salt & Pepper to taste



2. Spread this mix in a baking dish



















3.  Spread Baked beans on this layer of Spinach



















4. Cut Baby Corn into 1/4" pieces. Remove stalk of mushroom and cut into half, vertically. Cut mushroom into 4 pieces. Add little butter in another pan and saute mushroom and babycorn together, till brown specs appear. Add chilly flakes, salt and pepper to taste


* This picture is a little hazy, because of the steam. However, it will give you an idea about how it cooks. You can also see green particles, that's because I have used the same pan, that I used to cook spinach. Would suggest you to use another pan as the bread in the spinach sticks to the pan and might give a burnt taste to your veggies.











5. Spread the veggies over the baked beans layer















6. To make the white sauce, in a pan add butter, garlic and onion, saute till onion is transparent. Add Maida and Milk, keep stirring to avoid any lumps. Add salt and pepper. Pour this over the veggies and sprinkle Mozzarella Cheese on top
7. Bake this at 200 degrees, preheated oven. Serve with Garlic Bread or enjoy it as meal in itself. 


Friday 12 April 2019

Pumpkin and Broccoli

Here's a simple recipe, with no onion and no garlic, which I'm sure you'll enjoy making and eating as much as I did.
Perfect for children, considering spice levels are low, it's a little sweet and colorful to look at.

Ingredients
Pumpkin- 500 gms
Broccoli- 1 small
Tomato- 1
Jeera- 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Methi seeds- 1/4 tsp
Kalonji- 1/4 tsp
Hing- a pinch
Coriander powder- 2 tsps
Red Chilly Powder- 1/2 tsp
Haldi- 1/4 tsp
Salt- 1 1/2 tsp or as per taste
Curry leaves- a few
Finely chopped ginger- 1/2 tsp
Mango Powder- 1 tsp
Sugar- 3-4 tsps
Mustard oil- 1 tsp

Method-
1. Cut Pumpkin into 1" pieces and keep aside



2. Cut Broccoli into small florets and put them in boiling water with little salt and sugar and blanch for 2 minutes and drain. Adding Sugar makes the green veggies retain their colour


3. Collect jeera, kalonji, mustard seeds and methi seeds together



4. In a Pan put little mustard oil, add hing, curry leaves and the collected seeds

5. Once, it starts to splutter, add pumpkin, ginger and all the other spices. Mix well

6. Add 1/4th cup water and cover and cook for about 10 minutes, till the pumpkin is done 

7. Meanwhile, remove the pulp from tomato and cut into 1" pieces
8. Once the Pumpkin is done, add broccoli, tomato, sugar and mango powder
9. Serve Hot

Saturday 11 February 2017

Nourishment through mamaearth

'There is no way to be a perfect mother but a million ways to be a good one'- Jill Churchill. Being a chef and a mother of two pretty girls, I believe in nourishing my babies not only through food, but also using the natural products for their massage and bath. Elders in my family steered me to use, coconut oil and olive oil for massage and milk and besan for giving them a bath. However, I was never convinced about the hygiene levels, while using these old methods. I tried a few available baby brands available, but was again not very happy as they felt synthetic and a typical smell that enforced how unnatural the products were. Then I came across Mamaearth products, which have been certified by MadeSafe for being toxin-free.

Being a leery mother, I had to try out these products at least once and then decide for myself. I carried on the complete routine, started with giving a massage, bathing with the baby wash, shampoo followed by a moisturising. The best part about these products is the natural smell, which proclaims that it is made of all real oils and not just flavours. Each product of @mamaearth contains separate set of oils, which gives complete nourishment to the babies.


Now I don't have to change oils, every alternate day but with just one oil, I'm able to give my children the best of all. The baby was is really gentle to touch and feel and leaves the baby's skin soft and supple. For my 2 year old, I had to shampoo her hair twice to get rid of the oil but with @mamaearth, once is good. The baby lotion is gentle and non-greasy and works well with a little quantity. Not to be missed these #toxinfree products, can be used for age 0-5 years, so now I do not have to stuff my shelves with separate set of toiletries for both of them. Certainly #MamaKnowsBest and I am absolutely convinced on settling on @mamaearth products, where the tradition meets innovation!

Thursday 26 May 2016

Traditional Phirni with a fruity twist

The love for Phirni travels from Punjab to Hyderabad. Be it the homemade grandmother's recipe in a Punjabi household or the dessert during Ramzaan, it tastes equally refreshing if served at the right temperature with the right flavors. 'Phirni' is a 'Kheer' like dessert but made with the rice paste and Kewra dominating all other flavours. Here is my twist of the traditional phirni, made with fruits and making it light on your tummy after a heavy Indian meal.

Ingredients-
3 1/2 cups milk (approx. 700 ml)
1/3 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup sugar or Sugarfree sweetner
15 almonds- blanched and ground to paste using little cold water
4 almonds- shredded
2-3 chhoti elaichi (green cardamom)- powdered
1 drop kewra essence or 1 tsp ruh kewra
A pinch of saffron soaked in a tbsp of water or a little yellow colour
Fruits- Mango and Apple

Method
1. Soak rice for about 2 hours and grind to a fine paste using cold water
2. Dissolve the rice paste in 1/2 cup of milk and mix it with the rest of the milk
3. Bring it to a boil and simmer it for 5 minutes till it becomes thick and creamy. Remember to keep stirring the milk, otherwise it might get burnt. To prevent lumps being formed, you can even use a whisk to stir it 
4. Add sugar, cardamom and saffron water, bring to a boil again and simmer it for 1 minute
5. Remove from the flame and mix the almond paste with the phirni
6. Let it cool. Once, it comes at room temperature, mix the shredded almonds and kewra essence. Do not add the essence to a hot phirni, it reduces the flavour of it

7. To assemble the phirni, use a glass jar. The fruits can be sliced or chopped. Apart from Mangoes and Apples, you can use fruits like melon, watermelon, green and black grapes, strawberry or chikoo. Put a layer of fruits and then the phirni. You can make as many layers as the depth of your jar allows 






Traditionally, full cream milk gives the best taste to the desserts but I can assure you, skimmed milk does not taste bad either.
Addition of fruits, give the natural sweetness to the dessert, so feel free to reduce the amount of sugar and increase the quantity of fruits.  

An exciting platform where you can share your adventures with food is #Foodventures by Axis Bank Dining Delights.
So, make sure you keep sharing your unique Foodventures and you could get a chance to meet the stars of the culinary world,Vikas Khanna or Vir Sanghvi.

Saturday 16 April 2016

Sweet and Spicy Mango Pickle

With the 'Mango' season coming up, we see plenty of 'Kacchi Keris' with the vegetable vendors. My mother-in-law got a few raw mangoes with the stock of vegetables, which kept lying the fridge for a couple of days. None of us gave a thought on, what to do with them. Then grandmother came up with her sweet mango pickle recipe, which I chose to alter and make it my way, sweet but spicy at the same time. Here is the simple Sweet and Spicy Mango pickle recipe-

Ingredients-
1/2 Kg Keri (Raw Mangoes)
1/2 Kg Sugar
1 tbsp Methi Dana (Fenugreek Seeds)
2 tbsp Saunf (Fennel Seeds)
1 tbsp Kalonji (Onion Seeds)
2 tbsp + 2 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Red Chilly Powder
6-7 Whole Red Chillies

Method-
1. Cut the mango in 2" long pieces and rub in 2 tbsp salt. Keep it in your balcony or the kitchen shelf for 24 hours
2. In a Pan, dry roast Methi Dana, Kalonji and Saunf till fragrant
3. Put Sugar, along with 1 litre water
4. When you see that the syrup has started to thicken, add whole red chillies, while breaking them into small pieces
5. Add red chilly powder, 2 tbsp salt and mangoes after removing any water from the plate
6. Let it cook, till the mangoes become soft


Only when it cools, put it in a jar and you can store it for the rest of the year. The salt and sugar act as preservatives. However, never close the jar with hot pickle, it will start spoiling quickly.

Experiments, make the good food even better.  Such adventures with food lead to #Foodventures. These little adventures with food, just make the daily routine of meals more interesting. Vir Sanghvi, very beautifully describes the Indian flavors of sweet and spices put together in our dishes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufdpg9jv9eg
Vikas Khanna, takes on another interesting journey, while describing the flavours https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-t2uz9lkC8

Do keep experimenting in the kitchen and keep sharing your experience, you might be the one to be featured in these videos with one of the above celebrities on #Foodventures by Axis Bank Dining Delights.




Friday 26 February 2016

Luxury amidst the wild and the green

We visited Patlidun, in the month of January. The truly Indian welcome, with the tikka and the drink; hot ginger honey water at the Patlidun Safari Lodge, leaves you curious for more.



Each corner of the property has been thoughtfully built, with a story to tell. Let's start with name 'Patli- Dun', meaning Narrow (Patli) and Valley (Dun). You arrive at the property in a 4by4, with tall Sal trees around you, which is an experience in itself. The first thing you notice is the beautifully painted wall of the sitting area. The drawing is called 'Aipan', a traditional art of Kumaon. It is a 'Rangoli' like painting, which is considered to be auspicious for wealth and power. The locals, also, paint these 'Aipans' on cloth and and on the floor at their house entrances.


The stones used to build the rooms at Patlidun, have been procured from old houses as the stone mines producing Uttarakhand Stones, were shut down in 1982. There is also 'Italian' marble used, which is approximately 200 years old. All rooms have paintings depicting the Kumaoni festivals, which gives a local and welcoming touch.


We checked in to the property at late evening hours, where a bon fire was arranged with a classy bar on the side and an array of hot exotic snacks, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. High chairs for the kids let you enjoy the drinks, without worrying about them. The evening session was followed by Chinese dinner in our  rooms. The first sight of the cottages as you open the door, is nothing but pure luxury. There is a sitting area with all amenities and a bathroom and then as you enter the room, you see fine pieces of furniture, hand picked by the owners themselves from various parts of the country, mainly Jodhpur. The cottages are huge, and also have an open area to sit and admire the beauty of the jungle and the hills. As you move further, you see another big room with bathing and the wash. The bathtub with the wild look, adds on to the beauty of the cottage. The most fascinating part, was the 'Star Window', you can lie down on the bed and keep gazing at the stars, till you go off to sleep.
 The private pool, along with all cottages is enough to lure you for a dip.







A very interesting place that caught our attention was the dhaba, which opens only in the evening for 2 hours. You can sit back and relax, with Masala Chai being made and served the Dhaba way. Also, the containers and accompaniments and the whole decor gives you a rustic but a cozy feel.








The restaurant is big enough to accommodate a large number of people, with an option to sit in the open area. Also, the food served is extremely well made and delectable to all palettes.
Next to the restaurant, a TV room lets you chill after an early long day with nature. The big screen with projector, adds on to the whole experience.




The safari and other activities, which are provided by the resort are highly recommended. The minutest of the requirement is taken care of. Even if you skip your tea, while rushing for the morning safari, a hot cup of ginger tea awaits you, right before you hop on the jeep. The courteous staff, also arranges for a blanket and hot water bottle for one to enjoy the drive amidst the jungle, while spotting some wild animals. If luck favours you, a tiger can be spotted too. The morning hunger pangs are also taken care off, with the packed breakfast and hot tea. Having breakfast in a jungle, can be well imagined as adventurous and exciting.



As souvenirs, the gift shop, has a large variety of items to choose from at a decent price.

'Patlidun' is not just another resort, it is an experience to remember. 

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Foodventures in the kitchen

We all love to taste and try out new foods and cuisines. Don’t we? Then why in our kitchens do we have to stick to cookbooks and standard recipes passed on to us by our mother and grandmother?  Quite often, we accidently create a sumptuous meal in our kitchens. Such an incident, done with a purpose, is what I call an Innovation.
Adding ‘Lauki ki sabzi’ to Pao Bhaji was my grandmother’s idea. ‘Idli Ka Poha’ was my mother’s brainchild. My experiment with food is the Makhani Lasagne. Stuffing the regular lasagna sheets, with mixed vegetables and pineapples, topping it up with cottage cheese and baking it till golden brown.

6-8 Lasagne Sheets, 4-5 tbsp grated cottage cheese

FILLING

3 tbsp Olive oil
½ cup diced carrots spinach
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
½ green capsicum, ½ yellow capsicum- shredded
1 ½ cup paneer- roughly crumbled, 150 gms
2-3 slices pineapple
¾ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper

MAKHNI SAUCE

250 grams or 4 to 5 medium ripe and red tomatoes
 2 to 3 tbsp dairy cream
2 tbsp butter
1 bay leaf/tej patta
1 tsp ginger garlic paste (1/2 inch ginger + 3-4 small garlic crushed to paste in a mortar-pestle)
½ tsp red chilli powder or kashmiri red chilli powder or deghi mirch
1-2 green chillies, slit
¼ garam masala powder or tandoori masala powder
½ to 1 tsp honey or sugar - add as required* check notes
½ inch ginger, julienned
½ tsp kasuri methi leaves/dry fenugreek leaves, crushed
1.5 cups water
salt as required

METHOD

1. Rinse the tomatoes very well. chop them and make a smooth puree in a blender or grinder. keep the tomato puree aside.
2. Melt butter in a pan. first add the tejpatta/bay leaf and saute for a few seconds till aromatic.
3. Add the crushed ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw aroma of the ginger-garlic goes away.
4. Add the tomato puree and stir well.
5. Add the red chili powder and saute this mixture till the fat begins to leave the side of the tomato paste. takes about 14 to 15 on a low flame. keep on stirring often.
6. When you see the tomato mixture clumping together and the fat leaving the sides, then add water.
7. Stir and simmer till the gravy or sauce thickens a bit. takes about 7 to 8 mins on a low flame.
8. Add the slit green chilies and ginger julienne. stir and simmer for a minute.
add the honey or sugar, salt and crushed kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves.
9. To complete the Makhni sauce, add cream
10. For vegetable filling, sauté all of them together with little salt and pepper except pineapple. Add pineapple slices in the end
11. To assemble lasagne, Spread 2 tbsp of Makhni sauce at the bottom of the baking vessel.
12. Dip 2 lasagne sheets in water and place it side by side leaving some gap around it.
13. Spread some makhni sauce and filling with a little paneer on top and repeat the process with 2 more lasagne sheets.
14. Cover with foil and bake it at 180 degrees for 45 mins. Now bake it uncovered for another 4-5 mins so that it turns slightly golden.

Innovative dishes can be created with the leftovers in the fridge or a fusion of cuisines or simply trying to google recipes with the fancy ingredients lying in your house and cooking them up your way. Often, I have seen people getting anxious over exact measurements. My advice is RELAX!!! Give your food your own touch, if your cake doesn’t rise too high like the one at your favorite bakery, just drizzle whatever sauce/crush you have, whether chocolate or any fruit and serve it as a gooey cake to your family after dinner and keep adding those compliments to your kitty.

I also came across something that Vikas Khanna and Vir Sanghvi are doing-  #foodventures , which sounds exciting and highlights the adventures done with food. Tastiest food is not created with perfect recipes but with the good thought of serving. ‘Share’your food adventures too.