Thai Rainbow Salad with Ginger Soy Dressing

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I have started to believe that I have a thing towards fresh produce and making everything from scratch whether its salad dressings, breads, ghee and possibly everything within my scope. There is still a long way to go, lot of skills to learn however I am loving this. Using local and fresh ingredients rather than frozen ones adds such a depth of flavor and a feel good factor in everything you make. The effort that goes in making everything perfect for your family and friends, making everything pure and good is a true epitome of love and affection.

This salad is all about freshness – delicious and crunchy ingredients, a flavorful dressing, beautifully tossed together and yay! its ready. A perfect way to welcome the summer and enjoy every bit of homemade thai flavors.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 4 – 5 people)

For the salad:

  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup red carrots, julineed
  • 1/3 cup mixed bell peppers, julineed
  • 180 – 200 grams rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 red chilli, for garnish

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup soy
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp honey (optional)

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METHOD:

For the dressing:

  • Whisk everything together until incorporated and keep aside until ready to use.

For the salad:

  • Take a bowl filled with boiling hot water and place the rice vermicelli noodles in it. Let it soak for 2 – 3 minutes or until the noodles is cooked.
  • Once done drain it and wash it with tap water. Allow the water to completely drain off.
  • In a large bowl mix together red cabbage, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, coriander leaves, black sesame seeds and noodles and toss it so that everything is almost evenly distributed.
  • Add the dressing and toss it.
  • Garnish with red chilli, peanuts and coriander leaves and serve!

 

 

Baby Spinach, Apple and Nuts Salad

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The season of festivity is over and its time to get back to the grind – eating clean, eating fresh and enjoying the best winter produce in your town. And thats why I say The New Year Salad Magic is here! I remember a few years back I always made resolutions of quitting sugar, eating healthy, eating more salads with the start of the new year. Obviously these resolutions worked for a few weeks and then I went back to the old way of living – cheating, cheating and more cheating! However having made no resolutions of quitting anything in the recent times, I feel I have started eating healthier and tastier food. This Baby Spinach, Apple and Nuts Salad is just a testimony to that.

Lush green and absolutely delicious, this salad makes you fall in love with it. The beautiful blend of flavors – earthy, fresh, nutty, zingy and sweet is what makes this salad complete. The lovely earthy essence of the baby spinach leaves, the tart granny smith apples, the spiced nuts and seeds, the sweet cranberries and the creamy goats cheese, all blend in wonderfully to boast of this cozy and comforting salad. Whisk together a basic homemade dressing and you are done.

So get back to the kitchen, toss up some deliciousness for your family because this salad definitely screams winter yumness to me!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (for 2 – 3 people)

  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 1/2 medium sized granny smith apple, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 12 – 15 walnuts, broken into 2 pieces each
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2  tbsp melon seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (you can use 1/2 tbsp lemon juice if you like less tangy)
  • 5 – 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • pinch of dried garlic powder (you can used 1 – 2 cloves of crushed garlic)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl whisk 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and lemon until well incorporated. Add chopped basil leaves, garlic powder, salt and black pepper and whisk it and keep aside (preferably in the fridge until ready to use).
  • Put a saucepan on low – medium heat. Add 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Add paprika and saute for 5 – 6 seconds. Add walnuts and melon seeds and saute for 30 – 40 seconds until the nuts and seeds is coated with paprika.
  • Once done remove it from the heat and keep aside.
  • In a bowl mix baby spinach, apple slices, onion slices, paprika coated nuts and seeds, dried cranberries and the salad dressing kept it in the fridge.
  • Toss it gently together using a salad spoon. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with crumbled goats cheese and serve immediately!

Voila!

Fresh Sorghum/ Jowar Hummus

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Happy 2018 folks! A new year, new aspirations, new vigor and new learnings. The year gone by was a great year with continuous learning and unlearning. And as we have ushered into the new year, I want to make this year more memorable, more fun filled and more enlightening be it learning how to become a better person, a better cook and a better human. This is not a resolution for 2018, but a small effort to embark on a journey of perfection and happiness.

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When it comes to food, I want to explore different cuisines, understand the food culture, eat clean and enjoy. What better way to start learning and cooking with local Indian produce. Winters in Indian brings a plethora of fresh produce – lush green spinach, fresh turmeric, fresh garlic and fresh grains. Loaded with so much goodness, these fresh produce is a constant reminder how beautiful India is. And what happens when you take local produce and turn it into something as simple and lovely like a Hummus. This Homemade Fresh Jowar/ Sorghum Hummus lends an exotic flavor to the usual Hummus. Easy to make with some basic ingredients and a healthy snacking option. Get your creative juices flowing because you can do just so much more than the recipe shared below. Add your favorite herbs or slather it on your toast with some veggies, this recipe will surely win your hearts this winters!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Make 1.5 cups)

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh Jowar/ Sorghum
  • 2 1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 – 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt, to taste

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METHOD:

  • Put a saucepan on medium-low heat and dry roast the white sesame seeds until fragrant. Once done, remove it from the heat and let it cool down.
  • In a food processor, add the toasted sesame seeds and 1 tbsp olive oil and grind it to a smooth paste. Once done keep it aside
  • Now take the fresh jowar, parsley leaves, garlic cloves, the toasted sesame paste and extra virgin olive oil in a food processor and grind the mixture into smooth paste.
  • Scrape down the sides, add lemon juice and splash of water (if needed) and blitz it to form an almost smooth paste. (it is okay if you feel the chewy texture of the jowar in the paste)
  • Transfer it to a serving bowl, drizzle some olive oil and dried mint leaves and serve with toast, crackers or crudites.

Enjoy!

Mayo – Hung Curd Sandwich

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Hello folks! Everything around me looks so festive and merry. The beautifully adorned Christmas tree in every nook and corner of the street, the colorful lights hanging everywhere, the cafes beaming with lots of freshly baked goodies and not to forget the conversations going on everywhere as to how one is celebrating Christmas. Amidst the endless baking going on in my kitchen, I feel I need a small break to make something comforting and simple. Hence we have a Quick Homestyle Sandwich Alert!

Sometimes all I need is a simple sandwich to feel good. Chop some basic ingredients, slather it on yoru favourite bread, toast it and you’re done. I made these Mayo and Hung Curd Veggie Sandwich for breakfast a few days back and it was yummy! Chopped few veggies, mixed it with hung curd and mayo, seasoned it, toasted my bread and my breakfast was done. I felt like a superstar. Save this recipe now because you can use all your teeny weeny leftovers to get this delish homestyle sandwich. No frills, no fancies – only goodness!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 4 sandwiches)

  • 8 slices of multigrain bread (you can also use white sandwich bread)
  • 4 tbsp of store bought mayoniesse
  • 1 cup hung curd (you can also plain Greek Yogurt)
  • 1 large onion, finely choppeed
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup corn kernels, boiled and cooled to room temparture
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp freshly parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD:

  • Take mayo and hung curd in a bowl and whisk it until combined. Now add onion, bell peppers, grated carrot, corn kernels, chili flakes, parsley, coriander leaves, salt and black pepper and mix it well.
  • Put a gridle pan on medium flame. Meanwhile take one slice of bread and generously fill it with the mixture you have made in the first step. Make sure to leave some space towards to the edges will putting the mixture.
  • Take another slice of bread and place it on top of it.
  • Take a little butter and put it on the pan. Place the sandwich on the griddle pan and let it cook for 1 minute – 90 seconds. Meanwhile lightly butter the bread on the top.
  • Carefully turn the bread over and let the sandwich cook on the other side for 60 – 90 seconds.
  • Once cooked and golden brown on both sides, take it off from the griddle pan and place it on the kitchen top. Diagonally cut it making sure the mixture doesnt ooze out of the slices of bread.
  • Serve immediately with ketchup or as is.

Corn, Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake

 

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Looking for a perfect partner for this winter? We have an answer for you. Look forward! Winters makes me snuggle into cozy jackets and blankets. It makes me feel lazy and I wish if my personal robot could accomplish all my to do list. The struggle starts right from waking up early in the morning and continues till the end of the day where I have gorged on some extra comforting food that I can almost feel the needle of the weighing scale moving no longer by grams each day, but kgs.

Winter calls for some doozy meal makeover to the commonplace dishes. Freshest of produce available in the market, it gives everyone an option to paint their own canvas, create their own paintings. As I mentioned earlier my association with winter food is Soups, Casseroles, lots of dry fruits and lots of cheese! Mum often threw the veggies she loved (which obviously I loathed) into a glass baking container, garnished it with cheese and into the oven. This recipe draws inspiration from her famous Au-Gratin. The creaminess from the white bechamel sauce, the goodness from the winter produce and cheese crust – all ties together to bring a delicious family meal. Just about the easiest and the tastiest thing you can ever make when the weather makes you want to work less.

Chop chop, crank up your oven and enjoy this hearty bowl of awesomeness now!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 1 cup corn kernels, blanched until tender (I used frozen corn, you can use fresh too)
  • 150 grams broccoli florets, blanched until tender
  • 200 grams cauliflower florets, blanched until tender
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 40 grams all purpose flour ( you can also use whole wheat flour)
  • 1 1/2 cup of milk, room temperature (you might slightly more based on your white sauce consistency)
  • 1 tsp of dried mixed hers (I used dried oregano and dried basil)
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup processed cheese, grated
  • 1/ 2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • few sprigs of micro greens, for garnish

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C for atleast 15 minutes.
  • Take a saucepan on low flame and put in 40 grams unsalted butter into it. Once the butter melts, add 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic and sauté.
  • Now add the flour and keep stirring and cooking the mixture to avoid the flour from burning. This would take about 1.5 – 2 minutes.
  • Now add milk slowly and keep stirring to avoid forming lumps. You can add a 4 – 5 tbsp of water if the consistency is becoming too thick.
  • Bring it to boil on medium flame. Add processed cheese, mixed herbs, chili flakes, sugar, salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Mix well and keep aside.
  • Meanwhile take the remaining butter in a saucepan. Saute garlic cloves, pinch of chili flakes and dried oregano. Now add the bread crumbs and sauté for 30 – 40 seconds and keep aside.
  • Take a baking container. I used a borosil baking tray dish. Put 2 – 3 tbsp of white sauce. Then layer it with the blanched veggies (corn, cauliflower and broccoli) and then pour the remaining white sauce mixture.
  • Garnish with cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese evenly (leaving one table spoon of each aside).
  • Now layer with the panko bread crumb mixture evenly and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
  • Put this to bake for atleast 20 – 22 minutes or until the crust starts to bubble and turns golden brown.
  • Take it out of the oven, garnish with micro greens and dive in!

Roasted Pepper and Tomato Pasta Soup

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The soup season is officially here and I am completely smitten by it. Warm jackets, hoodies, cozy blankets and everything to keep me warm is finally out and shining bright in my wardrobe. All I need is delicious comforting food to kick start my winter in the best way possible. And what better than this Roasted Pepper and Tomato Pasta Soup. Snuggled up in my blanket, this soul warming delicious soup is the perfect way to spend my winter evenings.

I remember as a child that right from the onset of winters, mum made tomato – carrot soup to lush green spinach soup or probably lemon coriander soup. This was followed by a creamy and cheesy casserole and then the usual Indian dinner. I admit I am lazy and can’t cook a myraid of things at once. Not a superwoman like my mum however hard I try. This soup is an inspiration from what she makes during winters – Soup + Pasta = Deliciousness!

The reddish hue comes from the beautifully roasted plump tomatoes, red peppers and fresh red chilis. The Indian and Italian herbs lends bags of flavor to this dish. Fresh herbs to finish it off and everything comes together beautifully with pasta. So grab your pots and pans now because this recipe is a must try.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 -4  people)

  • 10 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large red pepper, cut into big cubes
  • 1 red chilis (they look like jalepenos, optional)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 piece clove
  • 2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (you can made more for spice)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • fresh basil leaves, to garnish

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METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 200 C for atleast 15 minutes and slightly grease your baking tray with melted butter or oil and keep aside.
  • Meanwhile take a big bowl with the mentioned quantity of olive oil, dried oregano, dried parsley, salt and black pepper and mix it using a spoon.
  • Now add quartered tomatoes, 4 pieces of garlic cloves, bell pepper chunks and red chili to the olive oil mix and massage the veggies generously until coated with oil.
  • Transfer it to the baking tray and bake it for 30 minutes at 200 C.
  • Once done remove it from the oven and let it cool down.
  • Meanwhile take a pot of water, add salt and bring it to boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook it according to instructions given in the packet.
  • Once pasta is cooked, wash it under cold water and keep it aside.
  • Now take a saucepan and add butter. Once hot add bay leaf, chili flakes and clove and saute for 30 – 40 seconds. Now remove the clove and add chopped garlic and cook it for 30 – 40 seconds on medium heat.
  • Add onion and cook it until is translucent. Add the fresh basil leaves and cook it for 30 – 40 seconds.
  • Now add the pan of roasted veggies and herbs to the saucepan and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Add vegetable stock and let the mixture come to a boil.
  • Take it off the heat, remove bay leaf and using a stick blender, blend it to a fine pureé.
  • Add it back to the saucepan on medium flame and adjust for seasoning and let it be hot.
  • To serve, divide the pasta equally into serving bowls, put the soup on top of it, garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve hot!

 

Dal Makhani

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Dal is staple to almost every Indian household. With a myraid of options to choose from, every one in the house has their all time favorite Dal. My favourite being my mum’s Dal Makhani. Yes mum’s extra dose of love in anything she cooks is incomparable but when you eat her Dal Makhani you are bound to fall in love with it. Lentils cooked to perfection, the aroma of the Indian spices and that creaminess – you can’t resist it.

This recipe is a variation of her recipe but super simple to make and definitely delicious. With the nip in the air, a bowl of this famous Punjabi style Dal Makhani along with chopped onions and rice is along you need. So snuggle yourself in a cozy warm blanket with this bowl of deliciousness and savor the amazing desi flavors.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 -4  people)

  • 1 cup whole black lentils/ whole urad dal
  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes, pureed
  • 3 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup cream + extra for garnishing (I usel Amul cream)
  • 1 green chili, split lengthwise
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 – 3 pieces of clove
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 green (small) cardamom
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp shahi jeera or regular cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (you can adjust in case you like it more spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp dried kasuri methi leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander leaves, to garnish

METHOD:

  • Soak whole black lentils and rajma overnight in water and in separate containers.
  • Next day, wash the lentils and rajma with fresh water a couple of times and put it in the separate pressure cookers.
  • Put 4 cups of water in the pressure cooker with black lentils with a bit of turmeric powder and salt and put the lid on. Allow it to cook on low-medium flame for around 12 whistles or until tender and cooked.
  • Put 2 cups of water in the pressure cooker with rajma along with salt and a pinch of turmeric powder and allow it to cook for 3 whistles on low-medium flame. Make sure the rajma is cooked but not completely masked inside the pressure cooker.
  • Let the steam escape on its own from both the pressure cookers.
  • Meanwhile take a saucepan and put it on low flame. Take cinnamon stick, black cardamom, small cardamom, cloves and bay leaf and dry roast it from 1 minute. Remove it and keep these condiments aside in a plate.
  • Take butter in the same saucepan and put it on medium flame. Once its melted add cumin seeds and green chili and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add the dry roasted condiments and saute for another 30 seconds. To this add tomato puree and let it cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add salt, turmeric powder and let the mixture cook for a couple of minutes. Now add red chili powder and ginger garlic paste and let the mixture cook for 4 – 5 minutes or until the mixture starts to leave oil from the side.
  • Now add garam masala and saute for 1 minute.
  • To this mixture add the cooked rajma and black lentils and saute for 1 minute. Add 1.5 – 2 cups of water and let the whole mixture simmer on medium flame for 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Once the mixture has cooked add dried kasuri methi and low fat cream and mix it.
  • Take it off the flame, garnish with coriander leaves and some cream and serve!

Enjoy!