Thursday, March 31, 2011

Phad Thai

1 pound noodles(rice noodles or fettuccine)
1 pack firm tofu diced
1/2 cup peanuts chopped
2 eggs beaten(optional)
1 onion sliced
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 green chili
1/4 tsp ginger, crushed
1 red bell pepper sliced finely
1/4 cup peanut butter
4-6 spring onions sliced
1-2 tbsp cilantro chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup soy sauce
juice of 1-2 limes
1 tbsp brown sugar
peanut oil

Bring some water to a boil and add the noodles, cook for 5-10 minutes until soft. Drain.
While that is happening, fry the diced tofu in a pan until golden; set aside. Then toast the chopped peanuts in a little oil until they just start to brown. If using eggs, heat some oil in the pan and when hot pour in the eggs and make a light omelet. Cook for a few minutes until it sets and then remove and set aside. Cut into thin strips.
Next, saute the onion, garlic, chili, ginger and bell pepper. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. When the onion is soft, put in the peanut butter and mix well. Then add the noodles and stir them in.
Next, add the tofu, spring onion, bean sprouts, omelet strips and half the cilantro. Heat through, stirring. In a bowl mix together the soy sauce, lime juice and sugar. Pour over the noodles and stir to blend in the sauce. Scatter the peanuts and remaining cilantro on top before serving.

Serves 4

Tip of the day: When mincing garlic, sprinkle on a little salt so the pieces won't stick to your knife or cutting board.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Butternut Squash Curry

1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 chili cut into half
1/2 tsp turmeric
spalsh of soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 butternut squash, de-seeded and diced(you can substitute pumpkin)
2 sweet potatoes diced
1 can coconut milk

Put the onion, garlic, ginger, chili, turmeric, soy sauce, lime juice, oil and salt in a blender and puree to make a paste. Heat the paste in a pan stirring and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the squash and sweet potatoes. Turn them round and coat with curry flavors.
Add coconut milk and mix well. Cook gently, uncovered, for 25-35 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally so that the mixture does not burn. You may need to add some water time to time (or more lime juice) to prevent the sauce becoming dry. Serve with rice or roti.

Note:You can make it more quickly if you first parboil the butternut squash and sweet potato in boiling water for 5 minutes or so.

Serves 4

Tip of the day: Bread will stay fresh longer if a celery rib is stored with it in the package.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bean and Pumpkin Salad

1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 tomatoes chopped
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 can white kidney beans
1 can sweet corn drained
2 cups/250 g pumpkin, cut into chunks and parboiled
2 tbsp basil chopped
a little water/milk mix
salt and pepper

Saute the onion in a pan and when it is soft, add the garlic and the tomatoes, paprika and cumin seeds. Cook for a few minute. Next put the beans and sweet corn into the pan. When these are warmed through, add the parboiled pumpkin pieces and add a little water. Stir well.
Cook for 5 minutes or until everything is soft. Then lightly mash the ingredients with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Season, and add half of the basil, stir. Add more liquid as required to get the consistency.
Cook over a low heat and when hot scatter the basil on top.

Serves 4-6

Tip of the day: Avoiding over-spilling milk when boiling : Before pouring milk into a pot for boiling, rub butter along the top edge and inside lip of the pot. When the milk foams up, it will stop over spilling when it hits the butter.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bell Peppers stuffed with Rice, Spinach and Tomatoes

4 large bell peppers(red, yellow or green)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil or ordinary tomatoes chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large bunch spinach, washed, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3-4 cups cooked long grain white or brown rice
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Slice off the top of the peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. Plunge the peppers into a pot of boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.
Remove the peppers from the water and set aside, cut side down, to drain.
Chop the tomatoes and set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the spinach, garlic and tomatoes. Cook until the spinach is wilted, 2-3 minutes.
Add the rice, parsley and salt and pepper and stir to combine. Fill the peppers with the rice mixture and place upright in a baking dish. Add a few tablespoons of water to the baking dish, cover, and bake until the filling is hot and the peppers are tender, about 20 minutes. Serve hot with tomato sauce.

Note: This rice mixture can also be used to stuff zucchini or other vegetables. Sun dried tomatoes can be replaced by ordinary tomatoes. For more spicyness add 1/2 a tspn of cayenne pepper.

Serves 4

Tip of the day:  Remedy for Salty Curry : Wash a potato. Cut into two. Place the two halves in the curry and it will absorb the extra salt.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lasagna - Italian Cuisine

6-8 lasagna sheets
1 1/4 cups green lentils soaked 
1-2 onions sliced
2-3 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
6-10 mushrooms, sliced
2  tomatoes, chopped
2-4 tbsp tomato puree/paste
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper

2 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp plain flour
1 1/4 cups milk
2 cups grated cheese
1 tbsp parsley
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350F.
Cook the lentils in stock or water for about 15 minutes until they are tender; drain and rinse.
Using a large pan, fry the onions and garlic until soft. Then add more oil if/ as necessary and saute the bell peppers; stir fry for a few minutes. Follow them with the mushrooms, cook to soften a little before spooning in the lentils. Stir to mix the ingredients.
Next add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, oregano, paprika, nutmeg and seasoning. Leave to simmer gently while you make the sauce.
For the sauce, melt the butter in a pan then add the flour, stirring well to make a smooth mix. Cook for half a minute or so and then very slowly add the milk, stirring all the time so that the sauce is smooth, without lumps. Continue to cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring, until the sauce thickens.
Place half the lasagna sheets on the bottom of the dish, and spoon the vegetable mixture over. Next cover this lasagna sheets and remaining sauce. Now pour on the white sauce; smooth over the top. Grate the cheese over.
Place the lasagna in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until it is browned on top. Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve.

Serves 4-6

Tip of the day: To prevent potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes!  Change the apple every week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Speedy Cabbage Curry

1 inch fresh ginger cut into narrow strips
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
1 cabbage cut into thin strips
2 tbsp cilantro chopped
lime juice

Heat up some oil in a pan and throw ginger, cumin and fenugreek. Stir rapidly for half a minute and then add the turmeric, coriander and curry powder, give a quick stir and spoon in the coconut milk. Stirring, bring it up to a brisk simmer and add the cabbage.
Now turn up the heat and cook, again stirring, until the cabbage is still crunchy and just done - a matter of minutes. Add salt, lime juice to taste and sprinkle with the cilantro to serve. This goes well with rice.

Serves 4

Tip of the day: Stubborn stains can be removed from non-stick cookware by boiling, 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1 cup of water for ten minutes. Before using the pan again, season it with salad oil/vegetable oil.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Carrot Rasam

Tur Dhal - 1/4 cup
Carrot - 1
Tomato - 1
Peppercorns - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Curry leaves (for grinding) - 1 or 2
Tamarind paste (opt) - as req
Ghee or oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
salt - as req
Coriander pdr - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish - as req

Pressure cook Tur Dhal, Carrot, Tomato, little water for 2 whistles. Once the pressure leaves, open the cooker and cool it. To this add peppercorns, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, hing, a couple of curry leaves and grind it. Keep this ground paste aside.
In a pan, add some ghee or oil. To the heated oil, add mustard seeds. After the mustard seeds splutter add curry leaves, the ground paste, salt, water, a tsp of coriander pdr. You can also use some tamarind paste now (opt). Once the rasam comes to a boil, garnish with some coriander leaves and then switch off the flame.

Tip of the day: The best way to store celery is to wrap it in a aluminium foil and put it in the refrigerator - it will keep for weeks.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Creamy Mixed Vegetable Curry

1-2 tbsp ghee
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion finely chopped
1/2-1 green chili, de-seeded, finely sliced
1 tomato chopped finely
2 carrots, halved length ways and sliced finely into sticks
1 cup/150g green beans cut into bite size pieces
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sambar masala
1 tbsp flour
2 cups/150g mushrooms, sliced finely
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup/240 ml milk
3/4 cup/100g frozen peas
lime wedges to serve

Heat the ghee in the frying pan until hot and throw in the garlic, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, onion and chili. Stir rapidly on high heat for a minute, until the garlic is fragrant and the onion begins to soften.
Add the tomato and fry for a minute longer. Now add the carrots and beans; stir, then moderate the heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Stirring all the time, add the powdered spices. When fragrant add the flour, mushrooms and bell pepper and stir ,scraping the pan for a further minute or two. Now add the milk, little by little, stirring all the time.
Let the mixture simmer for about 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are nearly done, stirring occasionally, and then add the peas and simmer for a further 3 minutes. Season with salt and add a little more milk if the sauce is too thick. Serve with lime wedges to the creaminess of the dish. Goes well with Quinoa and roti.

Serves 3-4

Tip of the day: Drain deep fried foods on brown paper grocery bags to retain crispness.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Veg Burger with French Fries

3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup corn kernels
7 mushrooms, diced(optional)
3 scallions (green onions) diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 carrot, grated
1 small potato, grated
1/4 cup tofu(optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs

In a blender or food processor, process tofu until creamy and set aside. Saute the corn, mushrooms, scallions and bell pepper in one tablespoon of oil for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and cook for one more minute.
Remove from heat and add the carrot, potato, tofu, salt and pepper. Add bread crumbs until the mixture holds together. You may need a little bit more or less than a half a cup.
Shape the mixture into patties and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Heat remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and cook each patty until the veggie burgers are done, about 3 minutes on each side.

Potato Fries

2 large potatoes
olive oil
chili powder(according to taste)

Cut the potatoes into finger shapes fries.
Place the potatoes in a large bowl of cold salted water. Let soak for 20 minutes.
Remove the potato slices and drain thoroughly. Pat with paper towels until completely dry.
Pour the olive oil onto a cookie sheet. Transfer the potato slices to a cookie sheet.
Sprinkle with the chili powder and salt, turning the potato slices to coat them with the mixture all over.
Cook the fries in a preheated oven, 400F/200C, turning frequently, for 40 minutes, until they are browned and cooked through.
Drain the fries on paper towels to remove excess oil and then serve with burger.
Stove top: Heat some oil in a pan and toss the potatoes with the chili powder and fry them until they are browned and cooked through.

Tip of the day: Microwave garlic cloves for 15 seconds and the skins slip right off.       

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Karamani Kara Kulambu(Black Eyed Peas Gravy)

Karamani - 3/4 cup(any type of beans)
Tamarind - a small lime sized
Oil - 3 Tbsp
Curry leaves a few
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 1 tsp
Garlic Flakes - 4
Small Onions -6
Tomatoes - 3/4 cup
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Chili Powder acc to taste
Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
Coconut - 1/2 cup

Soak Karamani for 4 hrs and pressure cook it till soft. Extract juice from tamarind. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and garlic flakes. Add onions and fry well. Add tomatoes and cook till it gets mashed. Pour the tamarind extract, add turmeric powder, chili powder and coriander powder, simmer for 15 minutes. Grind coconut to a fine paste with water and add this to the kulambu. Add cooked karamani. Let it simmer for some more minutes. Serve hot with rice and pappad.

Tip of the day: To keep cauliflower white while cooking, add a little milk to the water.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Grilled Tomato and Onion Soup

12 ripe plum tomatoes cored, halved and seeds removed
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 tbspn olive oil
2 large red bell peppers roasted, peeled and seeded
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tbspn unsalted butter
2 tbspn all purpose flour
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Kosher or fine sea salt
2 tbspn fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Spread out the tomatoes,  skin side up. Toss the onion quarters with some oil in a baking tray and broil the tomatoes and onions. Flip the tomatoes over and broil until softened about 3 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and continue broiling the onion, if necessary, until blackened in spots and softened. Remove the skins from the tomatoes and coarsely chop the tomatoes.
Then put the onions, tomatoes, and roasted peppers in a blender or processor and puree until smooth. With the motor running pour in about half the vegetable broth and puree until very smooth.
Heat the butter in a pan over medium heat until foaming. Add the flour and garlic to cook, stirring ,until smooth and bubbling ,about 3 minutes. Add the tomato mixture and the remaining broth and stir well until boiling. Adjust the heat so the soup is simmering. Add the oregano and cumin, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.
Stir the chopped cilantro into the soup, taste, and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve hot with pasta as sauce or top the soup with croutons.

Serves 6 cups

Tip of the Day: Microwave a whole lemon for 15 seconds. You will get twice the juice on squeezing.