July 27, 2015

Veggie Pasta Salad

I was wanting to post this recipe for the longest time, But somehow, every time I made a bowl of this salad, I could never take pictures or the salad vanished really quick even before I made plans to take pictures.

The first time I ate this Pasta Salad was at my friend's Ashwini's place & I have been recreating this in my own kitchen since then, This salad is quite filling & is a meal in itself. If I have leftover cooked pasta, then this salad is usually what my next meal is. This one definitely features in one of my easy to make favourite recipes.


Pasta Salad


You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked Pasta - Macaroni or any Small sized Pasta
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper - finely diced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper - finely diced
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Purple Cabbage
  • 5-6 Baby corn 
  • Salt to taste

For the Dressing:
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Tabasco Sauce
  • 2 tsp minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp Chili Flakes
  • 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dried Basil
  • A handful of Mint - finely chopped

How To:

Cook Pasta according to Package Instructions. Drain & Set aside. Dice the Bell Peppers. Cut Baby Corn into rounds & steam them.

For the Dressing, whisk together Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Tabasco Sauce, Minced Garlic, Chili Flakes, Dried Basil and Apple Cider Vinegar.

In a large bowl, add cooked pasta, Diced Peppers, Shredded Cabbage, Baby corn & chopped mint. Pour the dressing & some salt to taste. Mix well with a fork.

Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, f.or the flavours to infuse. You can also chill it in the refrigerator and serve it as a cold salad.


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I would have loved to add a bit of sliced Olives but I didn't have any. I love Olives so I always add them. My friend Ashwini also adds a bit of sliced Cherry Tomatoes & Diced Cucumbers.

This recipe is very easy to make in large quantities so it fits perfectly in a party menu. Plus, it can me made way ahead of time. It also makes for a good lunch box option if you have leftover cooked pasta from previous night's dinner.


July 13, 2015

Italian Fare @ ALBA, JW Marriott - Bangalore

We recently received an Invite to an Exclusive Dinner at Alba, JW Marriott, Bangalore & we were more than glad that we made it to the event because it was an awesome experience.


ALBA, is an Italian Restaurant at JW Marriott located on Grant Road, Next to UB City, Bangalore. It offers an exciting new menu designed by renowned chef Antonello Cancedda

To begin with, ALBA has a beautiful ambiance. It looks like an amphitheater & those beautiful big chandeliers makes it a perfect place for a romantic dinner.

The Chef, Antonello Cancedda himself suggested the dishes keeping in mind that we are Vegetarians. We started off with some lovely Bruschetta ( One of my favourites ) & the Burrata. I am not very big on cheese so I was a bit reluctant to try this. But this one literally blew me away. It had the freshest & the softest Mozarella Cheese I had tasted in a very long time along with some grilled tomatoes.

Next came the classic Spinach & Cheese Ravioli along with Eggplant Parmigana, It had thick slices of eggplant with melted mozarella cheese & a nice robust Tomato Sauce,

We ended our meal with my all time favorite Tiramisu which came in a nice big bowl & I polished off more than half of it in no time.



All along the course we shared stories about Food, Life, Italy &  funny anecdotes with the Chef. An added advantage is that the Chef loves music & plays the Guitar very well. He does entertain the guests with his lovely music quite often, So, If you are lucky, you will also get to hear some good tunes with awesome food for company 

This one will be one of my finest Italian Dining experience in a long time.

ALBA is located at

JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru, Grant Road, KG Halli, Shanthala Nagar, Sampangi RamaNagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001  Phone:080671 88553


July 9, 2015

Kashaya | Spiced Herbal Drink

I was slightly under the weather in the beginning of the week all thanks to Bangalore's unpredictable weather. All I wanted to do was to snuggle under a cozy duvet & drown in cups of Hot Chai or Kashaya,

Kashaya is medicinal concoction made with various herbs & spices & simmered along with milk & water & usually sweetened with Jaggery, It is a very common home remedy for common cold & sore throat in most South Indian homes during the rainy & winter months. If you are prone to catching a cold easily, replace a your morning Coffee with a cup of Kashaya 

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Kashaya Powder is very easily available at most Ayurvedic stores & they are very good but it never hurts to make it at home. And, it hardly takes any time. Plus. you have control over what goes into the powder as per your preference.

Here's a very simple Kashaya Powder that has been made at home since ages.

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How To Make Kashaya Powder:

In a Skillet, Dry roast Cumin seeds, Fennel Seeds, Black Pepper & Cloves one at a time until they are slightly aromatic. It should take less than a minute each. Spread it on a plate & allow it to cool

In a heavy duty mortar & pestle, Crush Dry Ginger & Jeshtamadhu. Now alongwith the roasted ingredients, Grind into a fine powder in a mixer. Transfer into an air tight jar & use as and when needed

You can also add Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cardamom & a few other. But a lot of spices increases body heat & may not be suitable for daily consumption. 


To Make Kashaya 

  • 1 Teaspoon Kashaya Powder 
  • A small piece of Jaggery
  • 1/2 a cup of Milk
  • 1/2 a cup of water
  • 8-10 mint leaves - optional

How To:

In a Pot, Add water & Milk and bring it to a boil. Add the mint leaves, jaggery & kashaya powder & simmer for about 3-4 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Strain the mint leaves & Serve Warm.

You can replace Mint Leaves with Doddapatre/Ajwain Leaves or you can add both. Its an excellent remedy for cough

June 30, 2015

Methi Gajar ki Sabzi

I love including stir fries as a part of my meal, Simple Stir fries that bring out the flavor of the vegetables used rather than masking the entire dish with heavy use of spices.

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This Carrot & Methi Leaves stir fry is as simple as it gets, As the name suggests, It is packed with the goodness of carrots & fenugreek leaves. It has just a bit of heat from a couple of green chilies used & a hit of flavor from Garam Masala. Its that simple yet a very lovely dish.

Eat this with Phulkas or parathas or have it alongside Dal Chawal or Rice & Rasam. You can even stuff this in your sandwiches or make Kathi Rolls. Either ways, you are going to love this one

Methi Gajar Ingredients

How to:

Wash & peel the carrots. Thinly slice the carrots lengthwise & set aside. I used a Vegetable Slicer to do this. Pick & wash methi leaves. Drain all the water & pat them dry using a kitchen towel.

In a heavy bottom pan, Heat cooking oil. once hot enough, splutter cumin seeds. Add chopped green chilies along with diced carrots. Add some salt & mix well. Let it cook gently for about a couple of minutes. 

Add chopped methi leaves & give it a good mix. Saute for a couple of minutes more. Add the Garam Masala next. sprinkle very little water & close the lid. Allow it to cook on low flame for another 3 - 4 mimutes more. Saute in between so that the bottom does not get burnt. The carrots should be well cooked yet should retain its firmness, 

Check for salt & give it one final stir before turning off the heat. 


June 25, 2015

No Coconut Tomato Chutney


There is always a good stock of coconut at home & if cooking South Indian food which is almost every single day :-) we never ever cook without Coconuts and making a Chutney without using a good amount of Coconut is probably unheard of in our household. 

But, Unlike my other family members, I can survive without coconut & sometimes I skip adding coconut because I am lazy to grate them

No Coconut Tomato Chutney

So I once attempted making a coconut less (what's that ?? )  chutney & the results were pretty good. 

You Will Need:

  • 2 Big Ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 big Onion
  • 5 Dry red chilies - I used Byadagi variety
  • 2 tbsp Chana Dal
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 2 cloves of Garlic (optional)
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • Fresh coriander for garnish

How To:

Roughly chop the onion & tomatoes & set aside. In a large bottomed pan, heat a tsp of oil. Add the onions, Garlic & tomatoes & saute for about 5 - 7  minutes until it is well cooked & soft. Set aside for it to cool slightly.

In a smaller pan, heat about 1/2 a tsp of oil. Roast Chana Dal, Urad Dal & Red chilies. Roast on low flame until the dals turn slightly golden & aromatic. Transfer this to a mixie jar & grind into a powder. Add the cooked onion & tomatoes & add some salt. Grind into a smooth paste without adding any water. Transfer into a bowl

Heat the remaining oil & splutter mustard seeds & asafoetida. Pour over the chutney & mix well. Add some chopped coriander & serve with Idlis/dosas or Upma

If you are a coconut lover like my family, I would say that you are definitely going to miss the flavor of coconut in it. Otherwise it tastes pretty good. I also like to use this as a spread on a slice of crisp toast


June 15, 2015

Mung Sprouts & Pomegranate Kosambari


Kosambari is a fresh Raw Salad served as a part of the Traditional Kannada Meal. It is usually made using soaked & drained Mung or Chana Dal with fresh diced cucumbers or grated carrots with a generous dose of fresh coconut.  A meal served on a plantain leaf during weddings/festival or other auspicious occasions will always consist of 2 types of Kosambari, 2 types of Vegetable stir fries along with other yummy goodies. 

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Kosambari is also made using Mung Sprouts, Roasted Grounds & even Sweet Corn. This Mung Sprouts Kosambari has just 4 ingredients & is very easy to put together. I make Kosambari quite often for its high protein content. If you are a health freak & want options for a high protein vegetarian meal, this makes a great option. 

Mung Sprouts Kosambari Ingredients

How To:

In a wide bowl, add all the ingredients in the list. Give it a good mix & serve. I sometimes add a Tadka/Tempering of mustard seeds & curry leaves. Its optional though.

I sometimes replace Pomegranate with grated carrots or boiled Sweet corn kernels.

You can use store bought Sprouts or make them at home. To make Sprouts at home, do follow This Post for detailed instructions.

It makes a great evening snack for kids. Not too heavy on the stomach but nutritious enough to keep them going till dinner time 

June 10, 2015

How to Sprout Mung Beans


Making Sprouts at home is not such a big deal but it does require a bit of planning. But it certainly is better than picking up a packet of sprouts off the shelf in the supermarket. If you look at it, store bought sprouts are quite expensive also why buy when making it at home is so easy peasy :)

I do admit that I have picked up sprouts from stores more often than not, but off late I have been making them at home. Of all the legumes, Mung Beans takes the least time to sprout & can be eaten raw, while others like Chickpeas or black eyed peas sprouts do require steaming

  Sprouts Kosambari

How To:

Clean about half a cup of Mung Beans in several changes of water. Soak the Beans in plenty of water. Once the beans are soaked, they double in size so make sure you use plenty of water. Set aside for about 7-8 hours or overnight. Drain all the water & transfer the beans into a vessel. I use a perforated steel container that looks like a colander. Close the lid & set aside in a corner of your kitchen or in a nice warm place & keep it undisturbed for about 15-18 hrs or until the beans have fully sprouted. You can also use a colander or tie the beans in a  muslin cloth to make sprouts 

It takes anything between 15 to 20 hours to sprout fully, depending on the weather. It takes lesser time during the warmer months & during winter, it may even take 24 hours 

To to make sprouting a wee bit faster during winter, heat the oven for a couple of minutes until its slightly warm. turn it off & place the container in the oven. Make sure you don't turn on the oven by mistake :)
Once the sprouting is done, store them in an airtight container in the fridge.  Follow a similar method to sprout other beans too but it may take longer to sprout 

Sprouts

I make sprouts once a week & store it in an airtight container & use as an when required. I use them in Salads, stir fries, soups & I simply eat a handful when I feel hungry. 


We make a very simple Raw Salad called Kosambari that uses Mung Sprouts along with Pomegranate & fresh Coconut. Very Simple but very tasty & packed with nutrition.
That's coming on the blog next ..