Cheese and Broccoli Pasta in white sauce

cheese&broc pasta

White Pastas – my son’s favorite!! I always try and make different varieties of the same dish. Recently, while shopping at the supermarket, I saw this Easy-to-Cook Broccoli and Cheese Pasta. And ta-da that gave me the idea to try it on my own and make a fresh version without any preservatives.

Before trying out anything new, it has become a habit to search online for some tips, ideas, recipes. After doing my research on Cheese and Broccoli pasta on bbcgoodfood.com and about.com, I decided to go with the stove-top version. I collected all required ingredients and made this yesterday. It came out really well.

It’s a nutritious meal so in case you want to add broccoli into your kid’s diet, try this. I am sure he/she will enjoy this, just like my son did. So, without wasting any time further, let’s get to the recipe.

I hope you will love making this as much as I did and let me know how it turned out for you.

Serves: 2 people

Ingredients –

150 grams durum wheat pasta (penne, fussili or conchigelle)
2 cups broccoli florets
Water
1 tea-spoon oil
1 tea-spoon salt

For the sauce –
2 teaspoons butter + 2 tablespoons oil
2 garlic cloves – peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons Maida / all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (you can use any milk – normal fat or semi-skimmed)
2 tablespoons cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon white pepper powder
Salt to taste

Preparing the pasta –1. Heat water in a pan, add oil and salt, bring it to boil.
2. Add pasta to it.
3. Add broccoli pieces and let cook
[I prefer to cook Pasta till soft, you cook it till al-dente if that’s your preference].
4. Once it gets soft, take it off the stove and drain the water.
5. Toss it under cold water. And set aside.

Preparing the white sauce –

1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan, add butter and oil.
2. Add chopped garlic pieces and fry till they become soft
3. Add the Maida and stir till it becomes a frothy solution.
4. Once it becomes frothy without lumps, add milk and let it boil.
5. Once the milk starts boiling, add grated cheese.
6. Once milk gets thick, add pasta with broccoli pieces, sprinkle white pepper and salt to taste. Stir it evenly such that pasta pieces get coated with the sauce.
7. Once it’s done, take off the stove. Serve it on a plate.

Enjoy as your meal is ready!!

Advertisements

Palak paneer (Spinach and Cottage cheese gravy)

Palak Paneer

This is a very simple and healthy dish and can be made within minutes if you have the main ingredients – Spinach and Paneer at home. I had the best Palak Paneer at my friend Neha’s home in Mathura. She used home-made paneer in that, but this works equally well with shop-bought paneer as well.

This goes perfectly well with Naan or Chapathi. It looks so tempting with the green colour of Spinach contrasting with white paneer. Without wasting any time further let me get to the recipe such that even you can make this and enjoy.

But do share with me how it turned out for you.

Serves: 2

Ingredients –

200 grams spinach – washed, blanched and puréed
1 onion – finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
220 gram paneer – cut into cubes
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
Salt to taste
4 green chilies
3 tablespoon oil

Recipe –

1. Take a mixer grinder, add the blanched spinach (minus the water) and green chilies. Make it into a purée. Set aside.
2. Heat a pan with oil, add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
3. Add chopped onion and fry till it becomes golden color.
4. Add ginger garlic paste and stir it till the raw smell fades away.
5. Add the set aside spinach purée and let it cook.
4. Add spice powders (turmeric powder, coriander powder, and salt to taste).
5. Add the paneer cubes and mix it evenly.

Once it starts bubbling, switch off and take off the stove. Serve hot with roti, Naan or rice.

Enjoy as your “meal is ready”

Note –

1. Before adding to the curry, you can fry the paneer in a little oil. At my home, everybody prefers it as it is.
2. I have omitted the use of red chili powder as green chili is used in the Puree.
3. You can adjust the amount of chilies according to your taste.

Rajma Rasmisa (Kidney Beans in a spiced and creamy gravy sauce)

IMG_4702

Rajma is a very popular North Indian dish. Nowadays, it is available everywhere. I prefer having Rajma with rice as compared to roti or other flat-breads.
This particular name – Rajma Rasmisa – is used by Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. This recipe is an adaptation of his version. I have tried making this dish for the past few years with lots of permutations and combinations. I like this dish being slightly creamy so I use curd here.
I prefer making it with fresh beans as my son will have the same food. But you can even use canned kidney beans and if that is the case, then you need not pressure-cook it.
Without further ado, I would like to get to the recipe. Do share how it turned out for you.

Serves : 3 people

Ingredients –
250 grams Rajma or kidney beans soaked overnight
2 garlic cloves
1 onion – finely chopped
3-4 tomatoes – blanched and puréed
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoon Rajma masala
Salt to taste
2-3 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon curd (You can even use Cream)
2-3 green chilies finely chopped
Few sprigs of coriander leaves – to garnish.

Recipe:-

1. Pressure-cook the soaked Rajma along with peeled garlic pods and a little salt to 4 whistles.
2. Once pressure eases, take off the cooked Rajma and set aside. Do not drain the water.
3. Heat a heavy bottomed pan, add oil. Once oil is hot, add bay leaves. Then add chopped green chilies and mix till it changes color.
4. Then add onions and fry till it becomes golden in color. Add ginger garlic paste and cook till the raw smell fades away.
5. Then add tomato purée and stir it evenly. Once tomato purée starts leaving the sides of the pan, add the spice powders – Rajma masala powder + turmeric powder + salt to taste.
6. Slowly add the stock of cooked Rajma to this and bring it to a boil.
7. Finally add the cooked Rajma with garlic and stir it. Mash the garlic while stirring.
8. Take a handful of cooked Rajma in a cup and mash it finely, then add this to the gravy. Stir evenly.
9. Once bubbles start and it gets mixed, add curd and switch off the gas. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve with roti or rice and enjoy as your meal is ready!!

Notes –
1. The use of curd or cream is completely optional here, we like it a little creamy.
2. In case, you don’t have Rajma Masala, you can replace it with ½ teaspoon turmeric powder + 2 teaspoons red chili powder + 1 teaspoon cumin powder + 1 teaspoon coriander powder + 1 teaspoon garam masala powder.3. In case, you want to use shop brought tomato puree, you can very well use it but adjust the salt accordingly.

Banana & Chocolate Upside down cake –

cake

You smell ripe bananas at home and wonder-how to use them? You could do the usual – a banana shake, or a fruit custard. But if you are looking to try something new, like me, then you are at the right place – yes, I am making banana and chocolate upside down cake.

I initially made this in an oven. My friends in India wanted to know whether this can be made in a pressure cooker, and so I tried that as well. Blogs like edible garden and wiki-how helped me. Both cakes came out well – from the oven and from the cooker. The recipe remains the same, and I shall discuss both the methods here separately.

I have enjoyed every part of this cake – making, baking, serving and most of all eating it. I hope you will love this as much as I did and let me know how it turned out for you. Let’s get to the recipe without further ado. Comments are always welcome.

Ingredients –

For the topping:

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (60 g) brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 ripe large bananas
A few drops of lemon juice

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups (210 g) self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (30 g) melted butter, salted or unsalted
2 medium eggs
1/2 cup banana puree (about 1 banana mashed by hand or mixer)
2 tablespoons yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (80 g) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate pieces

Method –
Making it in the oven:
1. To make the topping, place the brown sugar and water in an 8-inch (20 cm) square / round cake pan.

Warm the pan directly on the stovetop over low heat, stirring until the sugar is thoroughly moistened.

Simmer the mixture for about 45 seconds. (It won’t melt to become completely smooth, and there may be a few bare spots, which is normal.) Let cool to room temperature.

2. Peel and slice the bananas in 1/4-inch (1 cm) slices or rounds. Arrange them in slightly overlapping rows over the melted brown sugar. Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice.

3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

4. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl, making sure there are no lumps. Mix in the granulated sugar.

5. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, eggs, banana puree, yoghurt, and vanilla.

6. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients until almost combined. Do not over-mix. Gently fold in the chocolate pieces.

7. Scrape the batter into the pan over the bananas, then use a spatula to carefully spread the batter over the sliced fruit.

8. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cake feels just set in the center when you touch it or check it with a toothpick – it should come out clean.

9. Cool the cake for about 20 minutes, then run a knife along the edges of the cake to help it release from the pan. Invert the cake onto a serving platter.

Serving Suggestion:
The cake is best served warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or by itself as a snack.

photo1CANY3VID

Making it in pressure cooker:

1. To make the topping, place the brown sugar and water in a round cake pan or any bowl which will go inside the cooker. Make sure you use a cake pan (please do not use non-stick ones; aluminum works best, even stainless steel was OK as I used that here.) that fits comfortably in the pressure cooker without the sides touching.
Warm the pan directly on the stovetop over low heat, stirring until the sugar is thoroughly moistened.

Simmer the mixture for about 45 seconds. (It won’t melt to become completely smooth, and there may be a few bare spots, which is normal.) Let cool to room temperature.

2. Peel and slice the bananas in 1/4-inch (1 cm) slices or rounds. Arrange them in slightly overlapping rows over the melted brown sugar. Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice.

3. Preheat the pressure cooker with a plate having a stand on it (like an idli plate) and minus the gasket and weight on the cooker lid, on high heat for 2 minutes. [You can even use sand in the pressure cooker in place of the plate. It is just to ensure that the bottom of your cake bowl should not touch the base of the cooker directly as otherwise the bottom of cake will cook very fast as compared to other sides]. Do not add water to the cooker, otherwise you will end up steaming the cake.

4. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl, making sure there are no lumps. Mix in the granulated sugar.

5. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, eggs, banana puree, yoghurt, and vanilla.

6. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients until almost combined. Do not over-mix. Gently fold in the chocolate pieces.

7. Scrape the batter into the pan over the bananas, then use a spatula to carefully spread the batter over the sliced fruit.

8. Use a pot-holder to keep the cake pan inside, since the cooker will be hot because of the pre-heating.

9. After placing the batter in, close the lid and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes and then lower the flame to just a simmer. The cake, depending on the size of your cake pan and pressure cooker, will take anywhere between 40 minutes to 1 hour to bake.

10. Keep checking until the cake feels just set in the center when you touch it or check it with a toothpick – it should come out clean.

11. Cool the cake for about 20 minutes, then run a knife along the edges of the cake to help it release from the pan. Invert the cake onto a serving platter.

Serving Suggestion:
The cake is best served warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or by itself as a snack.

cake slice

If made an hour or so in advance, it can be inverted on the serving platter, and left with the cake pan over it, to keep it warm. Otherwise it can be rewarmed in the microwave, or can even be enjoyed at room temperature.

Storage: The cake can be made up to two days in advance, although it is best the day it’s made. To freeze it, wrap it securely in a plastic wrap; it can be frozen for one to two months.

Notes

1. In case you don’t have self – rising flour, you can substitute it with all-purpose flour + 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt. Rest remains the same.
2. Do not use gasket and weight on the pressure cooker while using it for baking a cake.
3. Use a pressure cooker that is at least 3 liters, but I recommend 5 liters if you have it available.
4. The main object of placing sand or plate with a stand inside the cooker is to help distribute heat evenly, In case, you don’t have any – then you place the pressure cooker on a flat griddle or tawa and cook the cake. It’s just an insulation between the flame and the bottom of the cooker to protect the cake.
5. Do not add any water to the cooker as we are trying a oven-like base for baking just using a pressure cooker. If you use water, it will be like steaming the cake.
6. The heat generated in pressure cooker will be enough to cook / bake a cake.
7. Make sure you use a cake pan that fits comfortably in the pressure cooker without the sides touching the cooker.
8. It’s probably best not to do this in a non-stick pressure cooker since dry-heating a non-stick surface without water or oil is not advised.
9. Baking in a pressure cooker reduces the life of the pressure cooker i.e. the safety valve and so regular baking is not recommended. Anything like once or twice a year is fine..

Rice kebab

image

Do you plan before you cook? I am sure you do. But do we plan for a leftover rice? Nah! It happens and especially when we have guests over; where we feel it’s better to have more food than less. So, what you do with the leftover rice? Before knowing about this “kebab” idea, I just made curd rice or onion-garlic rice.

Last week, I was talking to my very good friend – Jagriti. We discussed interesting ways to reuse leftovers. She said that it’s a little boring to have leftover rice just like that and it’s better to give a revamp. I agreed with her on this. She introduced me to her recipe – Rice Kebab.

I liked the idea. So the next time I had leftover rice, I got to try my hands on my friend’s recipe – Rice Kebab.
I have followed her instructions completely with just a small addition. I added bread crumbs at the end to give it a crisp and crunchy coating.

Let’s get to the recipe and I hope you would love it just the way I did while making it.

Makes: 12 to 14 kebabs (or tikkis)

Ingredients –
2 cups leftover rice
2 tablespoons besan (chick pea flour)
1 tablespoon rava (semolina / sooji)
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 teaspoon chaat masala
2 tablespoons roasted groundnuts – powder it in a mixer grinder and use it. (Helps in binding the mix)
Salt to taste
Oil to shallow fry.
1 bread slice – crumbled in mixer grinder into bread crumbs

Recipe –
1. Take a bowl, crush the leftover rice by hands.
2. Add besan, rava, and spice powders like red chilli powder, black pepper powder, chaat masala and salt to it. Mix it evenly.
3. Add roasted ground nut powder to this and bind it properly.
4. Divide the mix into small lemon size balls. Take a lemon sized ball in your hand, and flatten it lightly. Similarly make other kebabs or tikkis.
[This yields around 12 to 14 kebabs]
5. Take a plate with bread crumbs, roll over the flat shaped kebabs over bread crumbs.
6. Heat a pan with oil to shallow fry. Drop the flat kebabs into it and fry till both sides become golden brown in color.
7. Take out and drain in oil absorbing towel or tissue paper.
8. Keep it in the hot case, and serve it with tomato ketchup or chutney of your choice.
Your Rice Kebabs are ready for you to enjoy!!

ALOO PARATHA (Stuffed Potato Flatbread)

IMG_4238

The name itself makes us drool. I have enjoyed this dish ever since my childhood. The best ones I had were during my road trip from Mathura to Delhi – Yes, the roadside dhabas make lovely parathas. And the best part about these parathas is that they are filling and go with an easy side dish of pickle and yoghurt.

Many households make it for breakfast. Adding a dollop of butter on a hot paratha is heavenly.

Whenever I make this, it takes me back to my childhood memories – like our car trips, or the stories we shared while peeling the boiled potatoes, the paratha-making race etc. So, here I am, reliving those Childhood moments.

Find the recipe below and I hope you will enjoy it just like I always do. Making this may sound tedious to some, but the final outcome is enjoyed by one and all. And the Lays tagline applies to this too – ‘’bet you can’t eat just one,”

Serves – 10 to 12 parathas

Ingredients –

For the stuffing masala –
3 big potatoes – boiled, peeled and mashed
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cumin coriander powder
Salt to taste

For the dough –
3 cups whole wheat flour (aatta)
Lukewarm water
Salt to taste
Oil

For making paratha –½ cup melted ghee / butter

Method –

Preparing the Dough –
1. Mix aatta, salt together till aatta becomes crumbly.
2. Add water little by little to this mixture and knead it by hand till it becomes a soft dough and none of the atta sticks to the vessel.
3. Knead it for 5 more minutes and make it into a big ball.
4. Add oil at this stage, and knead it once again.
5. Cover it with cling film or in a box with lid and set aside for 15 minutes.
This will help the dough become soft enough to roll.

Preparing the Stuffing Mixture –

Mix all the ingredients to mashed potatoes and set aside.

There are 2 ways to out these parathas – One is the sandwich – method which my MIL uses; and the other that my mother uses which is the traditional method where she makes a circle of that ball sized dough, fills it and closes it from all sides using fingers. Well, I will discuss both the methods here.

Traditional Method –
1. Take a ball of dough in hand, flatten it to a shape of circle either by hand or using a rolling pin; and put 1 spoon of filling into it.
2. Then bring all sides together using fingers and close it.
3. Flatten it in your palm, dust aatta to both the sides.
4. Roll it out using a rolling pin to a fairly good round shape.
5. Heat a flat pan, and once it is hot, put this rolled-out paratha, and once you see brown spots appearing, turn it over.
6. Apply ghee / butter to this side and let it cook. Flip it over.
7. Once both sides are puffed up and are brown, take off the pan. Store it hot in a hot-case.

Sandwich method –
1. Take 2 balls of dough, roll it using a rolling pin; roll one slightly bigger than the other.
2. Place 2 spoons of stuffing mixture in the bigger chapathi.
3. Place the smaller chapathi over the mixture, fold the remaining sides over smaller one and press it with your fingers.
4. Dust the flour on both sides.
5. Roll out to a desired size.
6. Heat a flat pan, and once it is hot, put this rolled-out paratha. Once you see brown spots appearing, turn it over.
7. Apply ghee / butter to this side and let it cook. Flip it over.
8. Once both sides are puffed up and are brown, take it off the pan. Store it hot in a hot case.
Enjoy with a dollop of butter. And pickle and curd to the sides.
Bet you can’t eat one, enjoy as your meal is ready!!

Deep Dish Spinach Pie

IMG_4465

Just the other day, we saw British Bake off on BBC 2 where they bake delicious dishes from scratch. My idea of baking was limited to cakes, cookies and muffins. So it was great to see them bake a whole meal. Now my hubby gets to eat these dishes at work but for my son and me, the only way of eating these baked dishes is to make them at home!

I finally tried my hands on a French baked dish – Deep dish Spinach pie. I collected all required ingredients and baked this yesterday. I hope you will enjoy this as much as I did and do let me know how it turned out for you. Let’s get to the recipe finally.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
160gm spinach, chopped finely
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 to 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup roasted pine nuts
1 teaspoons salt
2 sheets jus roll puff pastry
1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash

Recipe –
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit / 200 degree Celsius
2. Heat the oil in a sauté pan and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender.
3. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 minute.
4. Meanwhile, squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place in a bowl.
5. Add the onion mixture, eggs, salt and pine nuts. Mix well.
6. Unfold one piece of puff pastry, roll out into a rectangle, and poke with a fork and place in a rectangular baking dish with the edges draped over the side. [Important note: puff pastry gets very sticky so it is recommended that you sprinkle some flour on the counter and flatten it with a rolling pin.]
7. Scoop the spinach mixture on top of the pastry in the baking dish.
8. Roll out the second piece of puff pastry on a floured board until it is also a rectangle.
9. Place the second sheet of pastry in the opposite direction over the spinach and tuck the sides down into the baking pan being sure it reaches all the way down to the bottom piece of pastry.
10. Then roll up the flaps from the bottom pastry. In a circular motion go around the entire parameter of the baking dish and roll and seal pinching along the way to make a seal on top.
11. Brush the top with egg wash and then use a fork to poke the top of the pastry a few times. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned and puffy. Let cool 20 minutes before slicing.
Your French meal is ready

pie<
Enjoy!!