September 24, 2015

Roasted Asparagus & Bell Pepper Salad

It's not everyday that you will find Asparagus in the supermarket here unless you go to a Gourmet food store or order it online. So, the other day I found really fresh & tender Asparagus at a local store here & I immediately grabbed a bunch. They were really nice & fresh so instead of using it in a soup, I made a lovely salad out of it.

Asparagus Salad

After feasting on a lot of goodies in the last few days, I really wanted to make a hearty salad for lunch. So, this warm salad was perfect.

I made a simple dressing using Dijon Mustard as the base. And with a dash of Honey, It was just perfect. I almost always ending up using a bit of Honey in all my salad dressings as I feel it balances the tartness from the Vinegar,

Roasted Asparagus & Bell Pepper Salad

You Will Need:

  • A bunch of Asparagus about 250 g
  • 1 small Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 small Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small Carrot
  • A handful of fresh basil 
  • A handful of walnuts
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Cooking oil or use a Oil Spray

For the Dressing:
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard 
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Basil

How To:

Trim about half an inch from the bottom of the asparagus & cut them into 3" long pieces. Cut Bell Peppers, Onion & carrot into thin & long strips. Chop the basil & walnuts & set aside.

In a Grill Pan, spray some cooking oil. Place all the diced vegetables  except Basil without overloading the pan. If necessary, do it in two batches, Sprinkle some salt over the vegetables & roast the vegetables over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, I didn't have a grill pan so I used a regular heavy bottomed Iron Skillet.

The vegetables should be slightly cooked & should retain their crunch, Once done, transfer the roasted vegetables into a bowl.

Meanwhile prepare the dressing, In a small wide bowl, add all the ingredients mentioned in the list & whisk well. Pour the dressing over the salad. Add chopped basil & walnuts. Give it a good mix. Serve warm & enjoy your meal

This salad can be eaten cold too, but I love it when warm. Make a meal out of it or serve as a side dish. Either way, Its yummy 

September 15, 2015

Ghee Rice

In a restaurant, If you give me a choice, I would mostly pick Rice dishes over Naans & Kulchas. My idea of a nice meal would be a lovely fragrant Biryani with raita or a subtly flavoured Peas Pulao or Jeera Rice with some Dal Tadka or a gravy. I love eating nice & soft Phulkas, mopping them up with a good side dish but most restaurants do not serve Phulkas so you would mostly find me ordering a Rice Dish.

Ghee Rice

In restaurants, especially in South India, you will also find Ghee Rice on the menu, A subtly flavoured Rice dish made using long grained Basmati Rice. It's main ingredients are just Ghee & Rice with a few spices thrown in for  flavour & garnished with caramelized onions, It is often served with a Vegetable or Meat based Korma. The Korma has a robust South Indian flavour with the addition of coconut. 

The family loves Rice so this features often on our menu. A good Saturday lunch is often Ghee Rice with a nice side dish that gets done under 30 minutes. 

Ghee Rice

How To:

Wash & clean Basmati Rice under running water several times. Soak Rice in water for about 15 minutes. Drain & set aside.

In a pressure cooker, heat 1 tbsp Desi Ghee. When Hot, Add Cloves, Cinnamon & Bay Leaves. Fry on very low heat for a about 30 seconds. Add the rice & Fry well for about 2 minutes till it aromatic, Add Salt. I cup water & 1/2 a cup of milk. Mix well.

Allow it to pressure cook for 1 whistle. I use a Hawkins Pressure Cooker, so mine gets done in just one whistle. Turn off the flame & set aside for the pressure to drop.

Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat a tsp ghee & fry cashewnuts until crisp & golden. Set aside. In the same pan add another tbsp of ghee & once hot, fry the onions gently until they turn crisp & brown. This should take about 10 minutes or so. Drain & set aside

Wait until the rice cools down a bit to avoid breakage. Fluff the rice with a fork. Add the onions & cashew nuts & mix gently, Transfer to a serving dish & Serve with a nice side dish


You can also replace half the quantity of Basmati rice with Jeera Rice ( A fragrant short grained rice variety) , It has a nice flavour, I often do that. 

September 8, 2015

Little Millet Pulao

The other day I was telling my grandmother, how Millets have become the latest  health fad these days. And, she was not surprised because Millets were widely consumed in the older days especially in South India. Wheat was not so widely consumed in Southern part of India back then. They were mainly Rice eaters & Finger Millet (Ragi) , Foxtail Millet (Navane) & even Little Millet ( Saame ) were consumed quite frequently. And they had never heard of Gluten Free Diet :)

Little Millet Pulao

As times changed, people got used to processed food, Polished Rice got popular & slowly Millets were forgotten. Foxtail Millet & Little Millets became more popular as 'Bird Food'. Though Finger Millet (Ragi/Nachni) is very widely used in Karnataka, the other Millets somehow were less used.

Now Millets are back in limelight because they are Gluten Free & they have a low Glycemic Index. You will now find all varieties of Millets on the Supermarket Shelf & it is hailed as a Super food .. Back to Basics I must say

Millets can be cooked just like rice & eaten alongwith with Dal/Rasam/Sambhar or you can even make Upma, Pulao or Khichdi out of it. My Grandmother says that Millet Rotis were frequently made during the olden days, Apart from Ragi, even Little Millet & Pearl Millet (Sajje) were ground into flour & were used to make Rotis

I made a very easy peasy Pulao using Little Millet. I had a bit of Mung Sprouts & very conveniently used the store bought Pulao Masala & this dish was ready in about 20 minutes or so. Millets cook very fast so its falls under your 'under 20 minutes' dishes caterory

Millet Pulao

How To:

Wash Millet & pressure cook using 1:1 ratio. Once the pressure is released, allow it to cool & set aside.

In a heavy bottomed Kadhai, Heat oil/Ghee. Splutter cumin seeds. Add the green chilli & ginger garlic paste & saute on low flame just for about 10 seconds, Add the chopped onions & a pinch of salt & turmeric, Saute until it turns pink. Add in the tomatoes and mix well

Add the Pulao Masala & cook on medium flame until the tomatoes are soft. Add diced bell peppers & Mung Sprouts & mix well. cook for about 3-4 minutes until they are cooked & firm,

Add the Millet & some salt & give it a good mix. Turn off the flame. Garnish with chopped Mint

Serve with a Raita of your choice & you are good to go 

September 4, 2015

Aloo Broccoli | Potatoes & Broccoli Stir Fry - The Indian Way

Broccoli is a nutrition powerhouse & I am always on the lookout for new ways to use Broccoli. Broccoli absorbs flavours really well, making it easy to use them in Indian dishes. I make an excellent Sweet Potato & Aloo Paratha & it has been a family favourite.

Since the family is a huge fan of Aloo Gobhi, I recently tried replacing Cauliflower with Broccoli & the result was excellent. I made it a tad healthier by using par boiled potatoes which reduces the cooking time & the amount of oil used

    6481090537_e2dcb87143_o (1)

This Stir fry makes a brilliant side dish with warm Phulkas or you can even it it as a salad. I do not like to overload my dishes with spices these days, so I've added just a tiny bit of chiili powder for that heat. 

Another recent discovery is the Everest Subzi Masala that I picked up from the supermarket. It has a very mild flavour unlike the Garam Masala & I've been using it in my stir fries these days & I quite like it, 

You Will Need:
  • 2 medium sized Potatoes
  • A medium sized head of Broccoli
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 4-5 cloves of chopped garlic
  • A big pinch of turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Everest Subzi Masala
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

How To:

Wash & scrub the potatoes & chop them into cubes. Dunk the cubes into a pot of water to stop them from turning brown. Chop the Broccoli into florets & set aside

To make them slightly healthier, I parboil the potatoes before adding them to the pan. So, you can either cook the potatoes on a stove top or like I did, you can microwave them in a bowl of salted water for about 5-6 mins.

Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 tsp oil & splutter cumin seeds, Add the grated ginger & garlic & saute for about 10 seconds. quickly add the broccoli florets along with some salt & turmeric & mix well. Now, add the chilli powder & the Subzi masala & give it another stir. Cover the pan with a lid & let it cook on low flame for about 5 minutes. Stir in between to avoid the bottom of the pan from getting burnt. Broccoli gets cooked really fast, So, do keep an eye. Do not over cook the broccoli & make it mushy,

Now, add the parboiled potatoes & check for salt. Mix well & cook on low flame for another 3-4 minutes till the potatoes are completely cooked & the flavours are incorporated well

Turn off the stove & transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm iwith Phulkas or as a side with steamed Rice & Dal