November 24, 2011

Roasted Bell Peppers Tomato & Penne Pasta Soup

There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of Soup on a cold winter night. Throw in some pasta along with it & it makes a hearty meal. I had some leftover Penne Pasta from the previous day & it was made into this really delicious  soup with roasted bell peppers, tomatoes & basil .. 

Roasted Bell peppers Tomato & Penne Pasta Soup

You Will Need:
  • 2 handfuls of Penne Pasta - cooked according to package instructions.
  • 1 red bell pepper - cut into halves
  • 1 yellow bell pepper - cut into halves
  • 2 onions - diced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes - diced
  • 2 tsp grated Ginger
  • 3 garlic Cloves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water/vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp garted Parmesan Cheese (Optional)
  • Salt as per taste
  • A few Basil leaves
How To:
  • Preheat the oven to 200C. Rub oil on bell peppers. Arrange them on a baking sheet & place them in the highest rack in the oven. Roast for  about 30 mins until the skin starts to wrinkle & turn dark brown. Allow them to cool & peel off the skin
  • Heat oilve oil in a pan, saute onions, Basil leaves, tomatoes, ginger & garlic. Add some salt & red chilli powder.
  • Blend roasted bell peppers, tomatoes & onions into a smooth puree adding very little water if required.
  • Return the puree to the pan/soup pot. Add water/stock, Milk & salt. Add Parmesan cheese if desired.( I didn't add any) Simmer on low flame for about  mins. Add Pasta & simmer for another  mins. If you find the soup thick, add a bit of stock/milk while simmering.

Garnish with Basil leaves & Serve HOT with a crusty bread .. Enjoi !!!

NOTE:
  • I should have ideally used smaller shaped Pastas such as Farfalle or Macaroni. Since, I had leftover Penne, I used it ..
  • If you don't want to roast the bell peppers, you can even saute them in olive oil along with onions & tomatoes

November 16, 2011

South Indies: Mysore Rasam

For a South Indian, nothing beats the comfort of some home made piping hot Rasam .. All South Indian states have different ways of making the basic Tomato Rasam .. Being from Karnataka, the Rasam that we make at home is from the Mysore region & we call it Saaru but its better as Mysore Rasam all over the world ..

Mysore Rasam

A true blue South Indian makes Rasam Powder at home, but if you live in the South, you will have the luxury of buying good quality Rasam powder from stores as well. There are small little shops in most South Indian cities, that sell very good Rasam Powder that tastes as good as home made ones, you can also use MTR (NOT any other brand ) Rasam powder to get good results.

My Ajji (maternal grandmother) & my Amma make the Rasam powder so much ease .. so with their help, I will do a post on Homemade Rasam Powder soon :-)

You Will Need:
  • 1/2 cup Toor Dal
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes- chopped
  • 1/2  tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp Rasam powder/Saarina Pudi (use MTR Rasam Powder)
  • 1 tbso tamarind juice
  • 1 tbsp thin coconut milk
  • A small lump of jaggery
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt as per taste
  • A few stalks of fresh coriander
To Temper:
  • 2 tsp desi ghee
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
How To:
  • Pressure cook toor dal & tomatoes, with turmeric & a tsp of oil ..
  • Once, it cools add 4 cups of water, curry leaves, jaggery, Rasam powder, salt, tamarind juice & a few stalks of coriander & bring it to a boil.
  • Simmer on low heat for about 10-12 mins until the raw smell of the Rasam powder disappears & the flavours incorporate well.
  • Discard curry leaves & coriander. Temper with mustard seeds,cumin seeds, asafoetida . Garnish with fresh coriander
Serve HOT with steamed rice, A curry, some pickles & yogurt on the side .. Makes such a Happy Meal .. Enjoi !!!

NOTE:
  • A good Rasam should have a bit of heat from the rasam powder, sweetness from jaggery, sourness from tamarind juice .. so make sure you balance these flavours .. you will need a bit of practice to learn how to balance these flavours well
  • Asafoetida has a very strong flavour, so make sure you use only a tiny bit
  • The dal settles down after a while, so before serving, give the rasam a good stir.
  • You can even strain the dal & serve as a thin Soup .. We love drinking it that way

November 10, 2011

Mixed Sprouts Chaat

Chaat, in Hindi literally means 'To Lick'. Traditionally these roadside snacks were served on a leaf and it was so tongue-tickling that one could not resist licking the last morsels from the leaf before discarding it, thereby giving a descriptive name to the cuisine. And truly, Chaat tastes best when had on the roadside.

I & Shankar both love chaat. Our weekends are never complete without our regular visit to the local Chaat Wallah. The ChaatWallah across our street makes a lovely Chaat with Mung Sprouts. Its lip smackingly delicious & healthy as well .. I bought a packet of mixed sprouts from the supermarket & made a different version of out favorite Sprouts Chaat

Mixed Sprouts Chaat


You Will Need:
  • 2 handfuls of mixed sprouts ( I used Green Mung. Green peas, Black eyed peas, Kala Channa )
  • 1 small onion - finely chopped
  • 1 meduim sized potato - peeled. boiled & chopped into small cubes
  • 1/2 red pepper - finely diced
  • 1/2 yellow pepper - finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp green chilli paste
  • 1 /2 tsp chaat masala
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh coriander for garnish
  • Fine Sev for garnish
How To:
  • In a large bowl, all the ingredients mentioned except the ones for garnish. Mix well. Serve them in individual bowls & garnish with coriander & Sev before serving .. Enjoi !!!
NOTE:
  •  You can omit the use of olive oil, if you do not like the flavour ..
  • Add a handful of grated carrots & a handful of chopped cucumber for extra crunch