Sweet corn vegetable noodle soup

No onion no garlic version

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    A very happy new year to all of you out there! Wish 2014 is a year full of good health, safety and prosperity for each one of us.

    This being my first blog entry in this new-year – I thought I will start with a healthy dish. And this healthy dish is none other than a soup!

    Sweet corn veg soup is my favourite. Tried adding a twist to my favourite – spaghetti noodles to Sweet corn veg soup – and ta-da, I have my twisted new dish ready.
    This is a no onion no garlic version for those who avoid them, and also for those festive days when we can’t have onion no garlic. Without further ado, let’s get to this healthy recipe !!

    Ingredients –

    1 cup sweet corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
    1 Carrot – peeled and finely chopped into small pieces
    3-4 beans -de stringed and finely chopped
    3-4 cups water
    1-2 tablespoon corn flour plus 1/2 cup water
    6-10 spaghetti sticks broken into thin strips
    1 teaspoon black pepper powder
    a drop of oil (to avoid spaghetti sticking to each other)
    Salt to taste

    Method –

    1. Boil water in a heavy bottomed pan. Add to this – carrot, beans and sweet corn. Let it cook for a while till tender.
    2. To the same pan, add broken spaghetti and let it cook with veggies till soft.
    3. Add a drop of oil to avoid sticking of spaghetti and salt to taste.
    4. Once veggies and spaghetti turn soft (don’t let it become mushy though), add corn flour paste – and mix it.
    5. Add a teaspoon of black pepper powder and adjust salt to taste if needed. (Remember you have already added some salt earlier)
    6. Bring to boil such that raw corn-flour smell fades away.
    7. Once boiled, switch off and serve hot.

    Your healthy soup is ready to enjoy.
    Hope you all liked this recipe.
    Your comments and suggestions are welcome. Will soon come with another recipe!.

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Restaurant Style Paneer butter masala

paneer butter masala3

Garlic naan was on the menu tonight, and I was thinking about a side dish that goes well with it. And Paneer seemed to be the best option – and what better than Paneer Butter Masala. A Restaurant style combination of garlic naan and paneer butter masala makes me drool. So, inspired by “veg recipes of India”, this is an adapted recipe adjusted to my needs.

Without further ado, let me get to the recipe such that you all can make it, eat it and enjoy it.

Comments are always welcome.

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:-

100 – 150 grams paneer/cottage cheese, cubed or diced
2 tablespoon cashew (around 15-20 in number) – soaked in milk for 10 minutes and then ground to a smooth paste. If you have less time, then just grind the cashews to a smooth paste.
3 medium size tomatoes – pureed
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1 tablespoon oil + 1 or 2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon kasuri methi/dry methi leaves ( optional)
½ teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 bay leaf / tej patta
1 cup water , if needed
A few coriander/cilantro leaves for garnishing (optional)
Pinch of salt and sugar (you can add more sugar if you like it sweet but believe me, the cashews in the milk with a pinch of sugar impart a wonderful taste)

Instructions –

1. Heat oil and add butter in a pan.
2. Add bay leaf and fry for some 10-15 seconds or till the oil become fragrant.
3. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw aroma disappears.
4. Add the tomato puree and stir well.
5. Add red chili powder after 2-3 minutes and stir again. Sauté till the oil starts to leave the sides of the tomato paste.
6. Add cashew paste and stir well. Sauté the cashew paste till the oil begins to leave the sides of the masala paste.
7. Add water (if needed) and stir.
8. Simmer on a low flame.
9. Add salt and sugar and simmer till the curry begins to thicken.
10. Add the paneer cubes and cook them for 2-3 minutes till they become soft.
Please ensure you do not cook for a long time as the paneer will become dense.
11. Lastly, add crushed kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves (if you have it) & garam masala. Stir. Switch off the gas.
12. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Your Paneer Butter Masala is ready to be enjoyed hot with plain naan, garlic naan, rotis or steamed basmati or jeera rice.

I served mine as a side dish with garlic naan. And enjoy as your meal is ready!!

garlic naan with pbm

Punjabi Lobia masala (Black-eyed peas or cowpea in a spicy gravy sauce)

Punjabi lobiya masala

Lobia or blackeyed peas
– usually enjoyed only in the month of March in my home when we celebrate Karadaya Noumbh. This time, for a change I wanted to try it in a different avatar – just like other gravy dishes of choley and rajma. And I must say this version was awesome. It serves as a great side dish to roti and can substitute our day-to-day dal for a change.
Without further ado, let me get to the recipe such that you can enjoy this Punjabi Lobiya Masala from the comforts of your own kitchen.
Hope you will love this recipe. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome!

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients –
Main
1 cup lobiya soaked overnight ( around 250grams)
Pinch of salt
Sides
1 onion finely chopped
2 tomatoes – finely chopped
2-3 green chilies finely chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin coriander powder
Salt to taste
2-3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Pinch of black pepper powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder ( optional)
3-4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ginger paste
2-3 cups water
2-3 tablespoon oil
Coriander leaves to garnish

Method –
1. Soak lobiya in water overnight with a pinch of salt in it.
2. In the morning, pressure-cook the soaked lobiya with 2-3 cups of water, for 4-5 whistles.
3. Once pressure is down, take it off and set aside.
4. Take a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil in it. Once it is hot, add bay leaves and cumin seeds.
5. Once they splutter, add green chilies and garlic, fry till they change color.
6. Now, add the chopped onions and sauté. And mix in ginger paste till raw smell fades away.
7. Add the chopped tomatoes and mix it evenly.
8. Now add the stock (in which lobiya was cooked) little by little to this and stir.
9. Add all the spice powders and adjust salt to taste. Mix it evenly.
10. Now, add the cooked lobiya to this and stir it.
11. You can mash a handful of cooked lobiya and add to the gravy, it helps in thickening the gravy.
12. Once bubbles start, switch off the gas. Garnish with coriander leaves.

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

Eggless upside down Pineapple Cake (Pressure Cooker Style)

pineapple cake

Because I no longer have an oven has made me think of alternate ways of baking a cake. This tool is easily available in every household and is used on a daily basis by everyone – yes, a Pressure cooker came to my rescue and let me cook a home-made cake.
Also, In India, my family doesn’t use eggs. So, if I wish to make and eat a cake – it has to be an eggless one. So I went ahead in trying my hands on baking an Eggless Upside-down Pineapple Cake. An upside down cake is special as fruits retain the same shape and colour and this adds to the beauty of the cake

Without further ado, let me take you to the recipe of Pressure – cooker style Eggless pineapple upside down cake.

Preparation time: 20 – 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 to 60 minutes

Ingredients –

Maida – 2 cups
Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
Baking soda / cooking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
Butter – 1/2 cup (melted)
Powdered sugar – 1 to 1.5 cups
Curd – 3/4 cup
Milk – 1/2 cup
Pineapple rounds – 5
Pineapple syrup – 2-3 tablespoon [ I used canned fruit so the liquid in which pineapple pieces were there was used here]
Brown sugar – 2 tablespoon
Water – 2 tablespoon

Recipe –

1. Take your cake pan (preferably stainless steel or aluminum – please do not use nonstick utensil for pressure cooker style) of a size whose sides don’t touch the pressure cooker’s sides. Add brown sugar and water. Heat it over a medium flame till the sugar caramelizes. Set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile , take a bowl and add in Maida, baking powder, and baking soda ( if using self-rising flour then omit the use of baking powder), and give it a mix.

3. Make a well in the middle and add butter and mix.

4. To this, add yoghurt and mix well.

5. Add in the powdered sugar and mix evenly.

6. Slowly add in the milk and mix till it get a not too liquid nor a solid consistency (consistency should be somewhat like idli batter).

7. Finally add in the pineapple syrup, and set aside.

8. In the meantime, dress your caramelized solution with pineapple rounds covering the base of the dish. My dish used 3 full rounds and semi circles of the remaining rounds.

9. Add the prepared cake batter to it. You can smoothen the surface with a spatula.

10. Make your pressure cooker ready (I used 6.5L aluminium cooker) – remove gasket and do not use weight for this. Keep a small stainless steel cup inverted in the cooker. This acts as a stand for our cake dish (it is to ensure that the cake dish doesn’t touch the base of the cooker directly).

11. Do not add water as you are going to bake it and not steam it. If you have sand at home, you can use it in the cooker in place of that cup

12. Preheat the cooker on a high flame for 2 minutes.

13. Now with a tong, keep the cake dish inside and be careful not to touch the cooker parts as they will be hot because of the pre-heating.

14. Cover the lid and bake / cook it on a high flame for starting 5 minutes.

15. Then simmer it and cook for a minimum of 45 minutes to 1 hour.

16. Please keep checking in between by inserting a knife in the middle. If it comes out clean – your cake is ready.

Once the cake is done, take it out with care and let it cool for 15-20 minutes.

just out from cooker

17. Slowly insert the knife around the outer circle and try and invert it onto a plate.

18. When inverted, your pineapples shine at the top. Your (pressure cooker style) eggless pineapple upside down cake is ready to serve.

upside down p cake

Enjoy and dig in as your meal is ready!!

It is best served when warm. You can serve it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream also. Or else enjoy it on its own.

Comments and suggestions are welcome!!

Happy cooking!!

Punjabi Kadhi

pkadhi

The name itself tells you where the dish is from. I have had this a few times in my childhood but never got to cook it as it involves deep-frying. My sister makes this regularly (The fact that she is married to a Punjabi might be the reason). Anyway, I finally got around to cooking it some time back.

The best thing about the dish is the flexibility of the pakoras – You can make it with onion, or with mix veg, or with potato, or with spinach. I used spinach as my son loves spinach. What better than what he loves.

Made this for the first time, but I must say, it came out awesome and we all enjoyed it. So, without further ado, I am getting to the recipe so that you can also fill your kitchen with the aroma of this dish.

Makes: 2-3 servings

Ingredients For the Spinach Pakoras –

1/2 cup gram flour/besan
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Oil for deep frying

Ingredients For the Kadhi-

3/4 cup of gram flour
1 cup of thick yogurt
2.5 cups of water
2 onions finely chopped
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/4 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafetida
2-3 whole dry red chilies
1 tablespoon of ghee or oil
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

Method for Pakora’s –

1. Heat oil for deep frying in a small deep frying pan, so there is less wastage.
2. Add water little by little and mix all the ingredients for the pakora until it forms a smooth batter.
3. Once the oil is ready for deep frying, drop the batter by spoon-full (about 1 tablespoon) into the oil.
4. Add the remaining portions of the batter one by one in batches.
5. Remove from oil when the pakoras have become medium brown and crisp.
6. Drain on a paper towel or absorbent tissue. Keep aside.

Method for the Kadhi –

1. Whisk the yogurt, gram flour, water, asafetida, chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and salt until well-blended.

2. Heat ghee / oil in a large sauce pan; add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and the whole red chilies. Allow them to crackle. Add the onions and ginger and sauté until onions turn golden and tender.

3. Turn the heat to low, and gently add the yogurt mixture into the sauce pan. Use caution as ingredients tend to splash around. Allow the mixture to boil on medium high heat for a few minutes. You will see the kadhi has thickened. Stir occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom. The kadhi has to be of pouring and smooth consistency. It should have a shine to it.

4. Add the pakoras into the kadhi mixture and simmer for about 5 minutes again stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom.

5. Transfer the kadhi to the serving bowl. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with steaming hot white rice or pulav.

Enjoy as your meal is ready!

Doodh peda (Milk sweet-balls)

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Pedas – I just had shop bought ones till date, and had never ventured into making one. I was reading Sai Satcharitamthe book about life and teachings of Sai Baba. In that book, I got to know that baba likes this peda made of milk, which gave me the idea of trying my hands on this. So, today being a Thursday – Baba’s day – I decided to make it.

It is a very simple recipe – it just uses milk powder and condensed milk. No khoya, sugar etc and the peda is ready in just a few minutes. Hope you will love this recipe. Offer it as naivedyam or bhog to god or just make as a sweet to munch on. It’s perfect!

Do share in your comments as your comments will help me in making the blog better.

Sairam!!

Recipe –

Yield: 15 – 20 pedas

Ingredients:
Milk Powder: 2 cups
Condensed milk: 1 can (400 g OR 300 ml)
Ghee 6-8 teaspoons
Nuts: Cashew nuts ( you can use any nuts like almond, pistachio or Raisins)
[ if you are using cashews like me, roast lightly in ghee and set aside].
Cardamom powder (optional)

Method:
1. Melt the ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel.
2. Add the condensed milk and milk powder and mix well. Cook on low to medium flame, stirring constantly, till it becomes a thick paste, and mix it till it becomes difficult to move the ladle around.
3. Add cardamom powder and mix well.
4. Turn off heat and allow cooling till you can handle the mixture with your hand. Knead the dough well using hands.
5. Lightly grease your fingers and palm, shape the mixture into small balls and flatten them slightly.
6. You can decorate the doodh pedas with any nuts of your choice. I did mine with roasted cashews.
Store the pedas in an air-tight container and place in the fridge. Remove the pedas from the fridge an hour before serving.

photoCAFZ1YPS

Offer as naivedyam to god and serve to all. Indulge and enjoy!

Tips:
You can have different flavored pedas. Substitute cardamom powder with a small pinch of saffron. Crush saffron and mix with 2-3 tea-spoons milk, add to the peda mixture while it is cooking and mix.
Alternately, you can add 2 tablespoons powdered pistachios to the peda mixture while it is cooking.

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!!