Monday, December 8, 2014

Cumin Potato with Pomegranate Seeds

Cumin Potato with Pomegranate Seeds

My today’s recipe is quite short and sweet. Cumin potatoes with pomegranate seeds. Yes, I agree, the name is long but the recipe is not! It just takes 10 minutes to pull together and serves as a perfect appetizer.

Cumin Potato with Pomegranate Seeds

Cumin potato literally translates to Jeera Aloo which is a popular recipe in India. Jeera as in cumin and aloo as in potato. My husband has quite mysteriously fallen in love with this dish after trying it at some random place!

So it became a challenge for me to create a better version of the same and here it is!

Cumin Potato with Pomegranate Seeds


This appetizer has quite a punch in it and I love the crunch which comes from the sesame seeds. It’s also a good way to incorporate such healthy elements into our diet.

And with pomegranate seeds, it becomes a level higher in terms of nutrition. But the best part is - hubby dearest loved it way more than what he ate outside! At least that's what he made me believe and I am happy with that!

Cumin Potato with Pomegranate Seeds

Cumin Potato with Pomegranate Seeds

 Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Potato – 500 gms, boiled
  • Pomegranate – ½
  • Sunflower or any other flavorless oil – 4 tbsp
  • Black mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 4 tsp
  • Sesame seeds – 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 8 to 10
  • Red chili powder – 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder – 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Fresh coriander leaves – ½ cup, chopped
  • Lemon – 1
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Cut the boiled potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Set aside.
  • To remove the pomegranate seeds, place it over a large bowl with cut-side down and hit with a back of a spoon (you can use your rolling pin also!), catching the seeds in the bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the mustard seeds and let them crackle for a minute over medium heat.
  • Then add the cumin seeds, sesame seeds and curry leaves and stir-fry for a minute until fragrant.
  • Next add the ground spices – red chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder and coriander powder.
  • Stir in the cubed potatoes and season with salt to taste. Mix well.
  • Stir-fry everything on high heat for 4 to 5 minutes until all potatoes are coated well with spices.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the chopped fresh coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds.
  • Sprinkle the lemon juice and serve hot!
Cumin Potato with Pomegranate Seeds

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Roasted Pepper Soup

Roasted Pepper Soup

Freshly roasted red pepper soup can be the best thing to happen to you this winter! If you happen to be a pepper lover! Like me!

You gotta trust me on this – roasted pepper soup is just amazing and if you haven’t tired it ever yet, you are definitely losing something in life!

Roasted Pepper Soup


Peppers are my favorite ingredients among all veggies and I guess I had already made this point quite evident in one earlier post. I just can’t help but love peppers of all colors – red, yellow, orange or green. They simply make me happy.

I am not a general soup-lover or anything. I do sometimes try soups while dining out, but it’s not a regular thing in our home-meal.

But this pepper soup is here to stay for long; not only because I love peppers, but also because this soup is a winner in all fronts – it’s tasty, it’s healthy and it’s filling. It is a wholesome dinner for winter with some crusty bread to suit its perfect smooth texture.

Roasted Pepper Soup


Couple of points to note with respect to roasting of peppers  - you can either do it under a broiler or you can do it over the stove top by holding the pepper with a tong over the flame.

I did the stove version this time since it’s easy to keep tab on the amount of charring I need on the peppers. If you are roasting the peppers under the broiler, be very careful not to burn out the whole peppers as broilers are too powerful and quick.

If you get a hang of this roasting bit, the remaining steps will happen like a breeze and you will be rewarded with a warm bowl of nutritious roasted pepper soup!

Roasted Pepper Soup

Roasted Pepper Soup

 Serves 2

Ingredients

  • Red bell pepper – 2, medium
  • Onion – 1, medium, chopped
  • Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Olive oil or any other vegetable oil – 2 tbsp
  • Vegetable stock or water – 2 cups
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sugar – ½ tsp (optional)

Instructions

  • Brush the bell peppers with oil and roast them under a broiler for 10 minutes on each side until their skin gets charred. If you don’t have a broiler, you can roast them by holding over medium flame using a tong.
  • Let the charred peppers cool down. Then peel of the charred black skin and chop them roughly.
  • In a small pan, heat the remaining oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the bay leaf.
  • Next add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Saute them until soft and golden brown.
  • Now add in the roasted and peeled peppers and saute on high heat for 5 minutes stirring continuously.
  • Add the vegetable stock (or water) and let it come to a rolling boil. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, take out the bay leaf and using a stick blender (also called hand blender), blend the soup until smooth. You can also transfer the soup to a jug blender for blending if you do not have a stick blender.
  • When the soup is pureed nicely, boil it for some time to thicken it a bit (I like thick soup! If you don’t, you can serve right away!)
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot with some crusty bread! Enjoy the winter! 
Roasted Pepper Soup



Friday, December 5, 2014

Spanish Omelette {Tortilla Espanola}


I am back yet again with a breakfast recipe after my Indian favorite vermicelli upma! And this time it’s a classic – Spanish omelet!



You might be thinking I have taken my shortcomings with respect to breakfast a little too seriously. Well, may be yes!

We have already missed a fair share of breakfasts of our life and it’s high time I take this matter under serious consideration. I mean, yeah! We are getting old man which is a terrible thing to think of! When will we have breakfast in our life if not now!


Now let’s talk about today’s dish – Spanish omelet. But the problem is; there is nothing much left to talk about this one – this classic is so popular all over the world that a lot had been already said.

This recipe speaks for itself. It is a meal on its own and we can actually call it our weekend brunch since it made us so full we had to skip our lunch.



If you are already an egg-lover, you won’t need any new reason to love Spanish omelet. But if you are like me who isn’t too fond of eggs, this will be a delightful treat for you!

I am a dedicated fan of frittata; but Spanish omelet has also made its way to my list of favorites for breakfast! 



You will also love it for the fact that it just needs 3 basic ingredients – eggs, potatoes and onions – which are mostly always available in our pantry; so you won’t need any elaborate pre-plan to prepare this.

Process is easy; only takes a little test of patience while frying the potatoes and onions, which is fine given that the final result would be so rewarding. 


Spanish Omelet

 Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Eggs – 6
  • Potato – 5, small
  • Onion – 2, medium
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut each potato into four pieces lengthwise. Then slice each quartier into thin strips. Set aside.
  • Slice the onions into thin strips.
  • In a deep frying pan, heat enough oil so that all potatoes and onions are immersed into the oil while frying.
  • When the oil is hot, turn the heat to medium and add all the sliced potatoes and onions into it seasoning them with salt. Fry them till golden brown and thoroughly cooked.
  • Take them out from oil and keep on a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.
  • In a large bowl, beat all the eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Add the fried potatoes and onions to the beaten egg.
  • In a large shallow skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  • When the oil is hot, slowly add the egg mixture, swirl the pan and spread the onions and potatoes evenly all over the omelet. Let it set on medium-low heat.
  • When the omelet is set in the bottom, slide it onto a plate, invert the skillet over the plate and flip it along with the plate so that the omelet returns to the pan with the uncooked side on the bottom.
  • Cook it for another 2 to 3 minutes until it sets.
  • Cut the Spanish omelet into wedges and serve hot for breakfast.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Vermicelli Upma

Vermicelli Upma

This flavorful yet light vermicelli upma is my savior as I always struggle with breakfast!

Breakfast is one meal which I am unable to cope with since long. Indian breakfast generally comprises of savory stuffs. Though I can still manage with a bowl of sweet porridge or any kind of cereals, my better half simply detests sweet things in the morning! Habit is after all a habit!

Vermicelli Upma


I keep on hunting breakfast recipes wherever possible. But the problem is – I do not like to do a lot of cooking in the morning. If I do, I will be so engrossed into it that it will invariably distract me from my official work and I will be in a complete mess!

This one recipe suits my routine perfectly with very less prep work involved in this. It can really be made in flat 20 minutes. I just love this kinda recipe!

Vermicelli Upma


This is a popular delicacy from the Southern region of India and thanks to my stay here, I am fortunate to learn their style of cooking. This again reminds me that India has so much variety to offer in terms of food that it never fails to amaze me!

Vermicelli Upma

 Serves 2

Ingredients

  • Vermicelli – 200 gm
  • Cashew nuts – ½ cup
  • Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  • Fresh curry leaves – 8 to 10
  • Asafetida – ¼ tsp
  • Onion – 1, small, thinly sliced
  • Green chilli – 1, chopped
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Green peas – ¼ cup

Instructions

  • Heat a small frying pan and toast the cashew nuts in hot oil until golden brown. Sprinkle salt and set aside.
  • Lightly fry the green peas in the same oil until they soften and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok over medium heat and add mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafetida. Let the mustard seeds crackle and curry leaves become crisp.
  • Then add sliced onion, chopped green chilli and turmeric powder. Give it a stir and sauté till onions soften.
  • Now add the vermicelli, sauté for a minute and stir in 1 cup water. Cover and cook till vermicelli softens, for about 5 minutes. Keep checking every one minute as vermicelli may turn mushy very quickly. 
  • Add sugar and salt to taste and mix well. Cook till sugar dissolves.
  • Stir in the toasted cashew nuts.
  • Scatter the fried green peas and serve warm. 
Vermicelli Upma

Sweet Pilaf

Sweet pulav

Since rice is one staple which we Indians can’t live without, I always keep on experimenting with creating flavorsome rice instead of the regular plain white version and this sweet pilaf is just another attempt of such trials of mine!

In regular Indian households, the pilaf, or ‘pulav’ as we call it, is usually prepared for special occasions. But not in my kitchen! For me every meal can be celebrated as a special occasion and we really do not need any milestone date to relish good food!

Sweet pilaf


You will also love this recipe simply because this could be the best way to do away with left-over rice! And plain rice is just like blank canvas where you can paint with any colors of your choice.

Possibilities are endless! You can add vegies of your choice. You can go non-veg also with this by adding some cooked and shredded chicken breast.

This particular sweet pulav is best enjoyed with some spicy Indian curry. If you are a meat lover then your perfect pair with this would be butter chicken or flavorful mutton curry!

Sweet pilaf

Sweet Pilaf

 Serves 2

Ingredients

  • Basmati rice – 1 cup
  • Cashew nuts – ¼ cup, broken
  • Raisins – ¼ cup
  • Cinnamon stick – ½ inch stick
  • Cloves – 4 to 5
  • Green cardamom – 4 to 5
  • Black cardamom – 1
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Granulated sugar – 4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Saffron – 1 small pinch
  • Milk – 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter) – 4 tbsp

Instructions

  • Heat 1 tablespoons of oil (or ghee) in a small frying pan and fry the broken cashew nuts until lightly golden. Take them out and set aside.
  • Boil the Basmati rice till three-fourth cooked. Drain and let it cool completely.
  • Warm the 2 tablespoons of milk in a small bowl and add the saffron strands into it. Set aside and let the color of the saffron infuse the milk.
  • Now in a large wok, heat the remaining oil (or ghee) and temper it with whole spices – cinnamon, cloves, green and black cardamoms and bay leaf. Sauté those for a minute till the oil is nicely fragrant. 
  • Add half of the rice, turmeric powder, sugar and half of the saffron-infused milk. Stir lightly so that all rice is coated with bright orange color.
  • Once the rice is well mixed, add the remaining half and remaining saffron-milk. Season with salt and mix well but with a light hand so that the long grains of Basmati rice do not break.
  • Add the fried cashew and raisins and give a final mix.
  • Serve hot with a spicy Indian curry of your choice.
Sweet pulav

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Greek Tomato Rice with Chicken

Greek Tomato Rice with Chicken

It has been a while now since I am back from Greece. But I have not even accomplished ten percent of my plan to prepare Greek food at home! My bad!

This rice with chicken and tomato is one tempting recipe which my husband selected from the Greek cookbook I bought there and I thank him earnestly! I didn't imagine that such an easy dish can be soooo tasty!

The only thing that’s coming to my mind to describe this one pot meal is the awesome flavor! The chicken and rice are cooked together in the broth which lends fantastic aroma to every bit.

Greek Tomato Rice with Chicken

The recipe suggested using the whole leg portion i.e. keeping the thigh and leg intact which unanimously is the tastiest portion of chicken and lends maximum flavor. This is best for such casserole like dishes.

While making this dish, make sure to use bright red tomatoes since it is the base of the dish and all the other seasoning ingredients work like magic with the flavor of well-ripe tomatoes.

This is the perfect one-pot meal for lazy days which is one more reason to love it!






Greek Tomato Rice with Chicken

 Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Chicken whole leg – 2
  • Long grain rice – 100 gms
  • Ripe tomatoes – 2, large, finely diced
  • Onion – 1, large, finely diced
  • Garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Olive oil – ½ cup
  • Dried oregano – 1 tsp
  • Dried basil – 1 tsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sliced black olives to garnish
  • Water as required (As a thumb rule, add double volume of water as compared to rice)

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet with high sides with olive oil in it. A saute pan is perfect for this recipe.
  • Once the oil is hot, saute the onions and garlic paste in it for 5 minutes until aromatic.
  • Add the chicken portions and let them turn golden brown on both sides.
  • Add tomatoes and some water (not too much! Add in between if things start to stick too much.), salt and pepper and let everything cook for an hour.
  • Add rice and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Check if the rice is completely done.
  • Boil off any excess water and serve hot garnishing with sliced black olives. 
Greek Tomato Rice with Chicken

Monday, November 24, 2014

Curried Mushrooms with Tomatoes

Curried Mushrooms with Tomatoes

While making this mushroom curry, I suddenly realized that half of my days are spent either by reading various food blogs from all over the world or by watching cooking videos on YouTube. 

But I wonder why this thought came to my mind during this recipe; because this one is neither from a blog nor from YouTube! Crazy human mind! Eh!

But the fact still remains the same! I am fanatic about anything related to food/cooking – blogs, cooking videos, cooking programs on television, cook books, cooking tools, utensils, kitchen gadgets or anything I can think of which is related in some way or the other to food!

I spent literally hours on online shopping sites to browse through home and kitchen section!

Curried Mushrooms with Tomatoes


I am kind of embarrassed sometimes to see how my collection of cookbooks has piled up! My mum would definitely snub it as ‘pure-waste-of-money’ and she might be right in some sense; but I just feel such irresistible attachments to cook books that it becomes impossible to drag myself out without bringing one home with me!

My today’s recipe is one from the recent addition of books in my collection. This book promises a lot of enthusiastic recipes but it’s not of any particular author. It’s a collection from all over the world which I liked.

The curried mushroom with tomatoes has a smooth texture and subtle hint of the spices. I feel it is best served with rice as we had it.

Curried Mushrooms with Tomatoes

Curried Mushrooms with Tomatoes

 Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil – 5 tbsp
  • Button mushroom – 500 gms, quartered
  • Fresh cream – 100 ml
  • Ripe red tomatoes – 2, large, finely chopped
  • Fresh coriander leaves – 1 cup, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For Spice Paste
  • Garlic – 4 cloves, 
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece, roughly chopped
  • Onion – 1, large, roughly chopped
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Water as required

Instructions

  • To make the spice paste, put all the ingredients listed under spice paste in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Heat 3 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet until hot, add mushrooms and stir fry over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the contents to a bowl.
  • Heat remaining oil in the same skillet, add curry paste from the blender and stir fry over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Return the mushrooms and all the juices to the pan.
  • Add the cream and chopped tomatoes and cook, stirring continuously, for 3-4 minutes or until tomatoes have cooked down a little and mushrooms are soft and cook through. Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Remove from heat, stir in the chopped coriander leaves and serve immediately. 
Curried Mushrooms with Tomatoes