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!

 

 

Tomato and Feta Galette

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Looking for an easy and delicious baking project (aka fun) for this weekend – get ready to be smitten over by this Tomato and Feta Galette. Fruit Galettes are too mainstream, a warm savory pie is what you need for these beautiful chilly evenings. Rustic and comfort is what this galette is all about.

I personally love pies, whether it is sweet or savory. However I am kinda lazy in making pies at home. It stresses me out. There are way too many do’s and don’t. I guess I should take up a challenge soon to make pies at home. Nevertheless galettes are the closest and  the easiest free form pies where all the goodness is tucked in together and put into the oven. And now I guess you know why I love galettes. The look absolutely gorgeous. Throw in ingredients you love you are done!

Tomato and Feta Galette is a classic one. The buttery flaky crust, the creaminess of the feta and the tangy-ness from the cherry tomatoes makes you fall in love with it. Try this recipe over this weekend and I bet you’ll love it as much as I do!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 1 – 9 inch pie)

For the galette crust:

  • 175 multigrain flour + extra for dusting (you can use all purpose flour also)
  • 113 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3 – 4 grams salt
  • 4 – 5 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

For the filling:

  • 1 larger onion, diced
  • 16 – 18 cherry tomatoes, halved or used as is
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 8 – 10 fresh basil leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • In a bowl take multi grain flour, salt, sugar and mixed herbs and mix it well,
  • Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the flour until it forms coarse crumbs. It is okay to see small chunks of the butter.
  • Now add the ice cold water a couple of tablespoons at a time and bring together the dough.
  • Dust the kitchen top with flour and transfer the dough on it. Add more water if needed and bring it together to make a ball. Cling wrap it and refrigerate it for an hour atleast.
  • Once its kept in the fridge for sometime, preheat your oven to 200C for atleast 15 – 20 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Once the dough it chilled, take it out and roll it out to 15 inch circle. Transfer the pastry to the baking sheet.
  • Now place the chopped onion on the rolled out pastry dough keeping around 2 – 2.5 inch gap from the edges.
  • Take half of the feta crumble and sprinkle it over the onion layer. Sprinkle some salt and pepper too.
  • Now layer it with whole cherry tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes or a mix of both. Sprinkle the remaining crumbled feta on top.
  • Fold the edges over the tomatoes gently or make pleats if necessary. Garnish it with a few leaves of basil.
  • Take the lightly beaten egg and using a pastry brush, brush on the folded edges which will give it a nice golden color.
  • Allow it to bake for 25 – 28 minutes at 200C or until golden crisp brown.
  • Once done, transfer it to a wire rack and allow it to cool. Make slices and serve!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sesame Crusted Baked Mushrooms and Paneer

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My favorite ingredients in an oven baked version – yum! The flavor blast in every bite of this dish makes it a complete winner. I love and kind of prefer baking and roasting veggies in my small little oven rather than boiling and (over) cooking them on stove. Couple of reasons – put everything in the oven and it does the rest. You get time to focus on other errands simultaneously. Secondly, its definitely healthier and tastes darn good.

Make a single batch of sesame roasted mushrooms and cottage cheese or a huge batch, this gets over in no time. Whether you want to upgrade your appetizer game in a part, top it up as an add-on to your lunch meal or eat this as is, you’ll definitely obsess over it again and again. Its simple, its quick and super delicious.

This recipe is adapted from Sarah Jampel’s recipe for Crispy Sesame Baked Tofu and Shiitake Mushrooms. The ease of her recipe and the use of pantry staples makes me fall in love with it.

Soft and tender from inside, crunchy from outside, the flavor combination is stunning. The umami from the mushrooms, nuttiness from the flecks of sesame seeds and the aromatic oils – all this comes together beautifully. Hearty and healthy – this dish is here to stay!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 1 -2 people)

  • 150 grams mixed mushrooms ( I used a mixed of button and shiitake mushrooms)
  • 200 grams cottage cheese cubes (you can use tofu also)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 1/2 tbsp mixed sesame seeds + extra for garnish
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • handful of micro greens, for garnish

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 220C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Wash and clean the mushrooms. Cut the mushrooms into medium slices. Make sure not to cut it think since it will burn too easily in the oven.
  • Take half of the above mentioned quantities of – cornstarch, vegetable oil, sesame oil, mixed sesame seeds, chili flakes, soy sauce and salt – in a bowl. Put the mushrooms in it and toss it so that all the pieces are well coated.
  • In a another bowl, take the cubes of paneer/ cottage cheese. Add the remaining amount of cornstarch, vegetable oil, sesame oil, chili flakes, soy sauce and salt, sesame seeds and the entire Panko bread crumbs quantity.
  • Make sure to toss the cottage cheese gently in the mixture and ensure its generously coated.
  • Place the mushrooms and cottage cheese cubes on the parchment paper. Make sure that the pieces are places beside one and another and not stacked one top of the other.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the pieces are golden brown and crisp.
  • Take it out of the oven, mix it up, serve on a plate and garnish with micro greens.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

Baby Spinach and Burst Cherry Pasta

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Pasta – Weeknights – Are you serious!? Welcome to the weeknight meal extravaganza. After a hectic day at work, enjoying a rustic bowl of pasta is pure bliss. For me pasta is my comfort food at any hour of the day. I must confess that I am not an everday roti-sabzi kind of girl. Perhaps that my go – to food when I am ill or have been eating out a lot. I must also confess that I get bored very easily eating the same food. The whole experience of enjoying my meal fades away.

Weekdays being hectic, dinner is always a challenge. I often resort to cooking a quick simple pasta loaded with goodness of herbs and veggies. There is something about pastas that makes you fall in love with it every single time. Rustic or fancy – you just fall in love with it. Cooking it (and then eating it, of course) is therapeutic! This Burst Cherry Pasta has become my recent favourite. It is simple with no frills and fancies. It delivers on deliciousness, simplicity and a beautiful play of colors. Garlicky, subtly spiced and loaded with freshess – weeknight meals sorted!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2  – 3 people)

  • 250 grams of uncooked whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 6 – 7 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 150 grams baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest (optional)
  • salt, to taste

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METHOD:

  • Put a pot of water on high heat. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, put the spaghetti in it with salt and let it cook on medium het until al dente.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200 C. In a bowl take the cherry tomatoes, 1.5 tbsp olive oil, salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper. Coat the cherry tomatoes generously and transfer it to the baking sheet.
  • Allow the cherry tomatoes to roast in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes until it starts to burst open.
  • Meanwhile if the pasta is cooked, drain the water and run it under cold water and keep aside.
  • Take a saucepan and put it on low heat. Take the remaining olive oil. Once its heated add the garlic and let it cook on low flame for a minute ot two. Now add the chilli flakes and saute for 30 – 40 seconds.
  • Once the cherry tomatoes are out of the oven, transfer it to the saucepan and saute for 40 seconds to a minute.
  • Now add the baby spinach and let it cook for a minute or 2 until its soft on medium flame.
  • Add the chopped basil leaves and stir in the mixture. Add the boiled pasta and saucte it for minute or 2.
  • Now add the salt, cream cheese and give the pasta a quick mix.
  • Add in lemon zest, toss it , garnish with basil leaves and serve.

Enjoy!

 

 

Goodness Salad

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My simple salad is calling me yet again! This salad has everything I love – fresh produce, colorful ingredients and a sweet zippy dressing. I often end up making salads at home because I am cognizant of the ingredients that go into it, about its freshness and quality. Being allergic to a few cut vegetables, I refrain from ordering salads at restaurants, until I am extremely craving for one (and also ready to face the repercussions).

This quick salad makes you land in a win -win situation because is healthy and amazingly delicious.  Vibrantly flavoured, each element in this dish has immense character. The smokiness from the beets and corn, the creaminess from hung yogurt, the freshness from the microgrees (my new love) and those salted caramel walnuts – enough said! All of this with a honey mustard dressing, it can’t get any better.

Easy and yummy – welcome to my version of healthy eating!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 people)

For the salad:

  • 2 large beet
  • 20 pieces walnuts
  • 1 large corn cob
  • 3 cups microgreens, nicely cleaned
  • 1/3 cup hung curd
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced shallots
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chopped basil leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to  taste

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 220C for atleast 10 minutes. Meanwhile line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Take a beets and wash and scrub it with water to remove all the dirt. Pat dry it using a kitchen towel.
  • Place the beets in a foil, coat the beets generously with olive oil. Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt. Cover it tightly with aluminium foil and put it in the oven to roast for 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • Meanwhile char grill the corn on the flame. Take a sharp knife and remove the corn kernels from the cob and keep aside.
  • Take a saucepan and put the sugar and let it melt. Once it starts to melt add the walnuts and 1/2 tsp salt and using a spatula start coating the walnuts and turn off the heat. Take the walnuts off the pan and keep aside.
  • Add the remaining salt to the hung curd and mix it and keep aside.

For the dressing:

  • Take honey, mustard, lemon juice and

Cheese and Mushroom Empanadas

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Monsoon therapy with rustic Cheese and Mushroom Empanadas – pure joy! The rains lashing against the window panes, steaming cup of coffee and empanadas – perfect rainy afternoon. Dreamy yummy creations which is bursting with flavors. You have to be crazy to not enjoy these savory pockets!

If that wasn’t enough to lure you to try these out, probably your childhood memories surely will. Remember those vegetable patties and pies you enjoyed at the neighborhood bakery store… oh so delicious! The crisp and flaky pastry and the absolutely gorgeous stuffing…I am already dreaming about it while writing this post. While I was in the US, I often missed those patties until I stumbled upon these hot pockets filled with sumptuous stuffing called empanadas from a famous food truck in San Francisco. It ticked all the boxes for the things I was missing. Homely and satisfying.

I was trying my hands to make empanadas at home and guess what, I  was bursting with ideas. It almost took 1 week for me to calm down and decide about the filling. You can fill the dough with all your favorite things and enjoy these wonders.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes around 14 – 15 pieces)

For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour + extra for dusting and rolling out the dough
  • 2 eggs
  • 115 grams butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 120 ml ice water
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 200 grams button mushrooms, chopped
  • 200 grams cottage cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup spinach, blanched and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp chili flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

For the dough:

  • Take all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt in a bowl and whisk it.
  • Using a pastry blender/ 2 forks or using the tips of your fingers, blend the cold butter into the flour mixture until it forms a coarse crumb like mixture.
  • Beat 1 egg, ice cold water and white vinegar in a bowl and keep aside.
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour-butter mixture and using a fork combine the entire mixture. Do not over knead it.
  • Generously dust the kitchen top with flour and transfer the dough on to it.
  • Bring together the entire dough together by gently kneading it.
  • Divide the dough into 2 halves, cling wrap it tightly and refrigerate it for atleast 1.5 hours.

For the mixture:

  • While the dough is resting, take a saucepan on medium heat. Put oil in it.
  • Once its hot add 1 tsp chili flakes and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add chopped onions and saute it for a minute until it turns translucent.
  • Add mushrooms to the mixture and let it cook for a minute.
  • Now add the remaining chili flakes, salt, black pepper and basil leaves and saute the mixture for couple of minutes,
  • Once done take it from the stove and allow it to cool completely.
  • Once cooled add grated cottage, spinach and mozzarella cheese and form a mixture using a spoon.

To Assemble:

  • Preheat your oven to 230 C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge. Take some dough and roll it out on a flat surface into round discs of similar sizes ( approximately 6 inch diameter)
  • Take the stuffing and place it on one side of the circle.
  • Take the other end of the dough and form a semi circle. Seal the edges as shown in the picture or by making knife impressions.
  • Once all the pies are formed, beat one egg and using a pastry brush, egg wash the top of the empanadas before they go into the oven to bake.
  • Place the pies atleast 1 inch apart and put it into the oven to bake at 200 C for 18 – 20 minutes, until the empanadas a golden brown and crisp.
  • Serve it hot with a yogurt dip and enjoy!

Laksa – from the scratch!

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Monsoons for me means sitting by the window and enjoying the crisp cool air, the fragrance of “gilli mitti”, reading a book and relishing a bowl of piping hot and comfort food! I am already hoping that it rains again today and I can relive these moments again. And when you get a bowl full of goodness – piping hot curry noodle soup, your day can’t get any better! Laksa is a Malaysian curry noodle soup which is hearty and perfect for monsoon lunches and dinner.

This recipe here might not be the most authentic Laksa recipe, but it’s modified to what my family enjoys and the flavors we can relate too. Spicy, sweet, zing and lots of goodness. I must admit that cooking Asian food is not my forte, but I wanted to try my hands on this dish particularly. I tried, retried and re-retried and almost perfected myself in making Laksa. While the coconut milk lends the creaminess and sweetness to the dish, the “made from scratch” Laksa paste adds the much needed fieriness to the whole dish. The colorful medley of veggies provide the necessary nutrients. All this with a dash of lemon is sublime!

This soup reminded me of my mum’s tomato soup which she would load with noodles and veggies to make our meals more exciting. So just when you were pondering about what to cook next, my version of Laksa is here to spark up your weeknight dinners and a comfort laden weekend meal!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 people)

For Laksa Paste:

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 dried red chili, soaked in hot water for atleast 30 minutes (you can add more if you like the paste to be spicier)
  • 1 fresh red chili
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh turmeric root, roughly chopped (you can use ground turmeric instead)
  • 1 medium red onion, roughly diced
  • thumb of ginger or galangal, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste

For Soup:

  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 150 – 200 ml water
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, par boiled
  • 1 medium sized red bell pepper, julinned
  • 1 cup carrot, peeled and cut into circles and par boiled
  • 6 – 7 pak choy leaves, cut into threads.
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 200 grams tofu, cut into cubes
  • 100 grams button mushroom, cut into thick slices
  • 1.5 cup cooked rice vermicelli, cooked according to packet instructions
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts (optional)
  • 1/3 cup french beans, cut into long pieces and slightly boiled (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fresh thai basil leaves (optional)

METHOD:

  • In a mixer grinder take all the ingredients for the Laksa paste along with 2 tbsp of water and make a smooth puree out of it. Do not use the water in which the dried red chilis were soaked.
  • Once the paste is made, keep it aside.
  • Take a saucepan and put 1 tbsp of oil in it and put it on medium heat. Add the entire Laksa paste and let the paste cook completely. You will know the paste is properly cooked once it starts to leave slight oil. This would take 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile take another pan on medium heat. Put the remaining oil. Add chili flakes and the white part of green onion and saute for a few seconds. Now add broccoli, carrots, french beans, bell pepper and mushrooms and saute until it starts to get slightly charred. Add salt and give it a good stir. Once cooked keep aside.
  • Once the Laksa paste is cooked, add coconut milk and water and let the gravy simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add the diced tofu so that it soaks up some flavor of the curry. Let the curry simmer for atleast 5 minutes.
  • To serve, first take a bowl and add some cooked rice vermicelli. Add some veggies and then pour the tofu and the coconut curry. Add some more veggies on the top.
  • Garnish with lemon wedge, roasted peanuts, coriander leaves, spring onions and thai basil.

Enjoy!