Friday, February 27, 2015

Tofu edamame salad

Lunch Option
Tofu edamame salad
Lunch just got more interesting. This colorful soy duo is packed with protein and flavor. I have added some baby corn, red pepper, celery for crunch, carrots and leeks to this salad. You can add anything you like. Cucumber would be great here as well. Serve it warm or at room temp. Everyone in my house loved it. Packs very well for both school and work lunch.  

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

350 gm extra firm tofu (1 package)
2 cups edamame
1 can baby corn, drained and quartered
1 large red pepper, chopped to bite size pieces
2 carrots, grated
4 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 stalk of leek, finely shredded
Black sesame seeds
Dressing (Blend all together)
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce or to taste
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Hot chili sauce to taste or crushed red chili flakes
2 tbsp maple syrup
2-3 cloves garlic grated
1 inch ginger grated
  1. Drain out all the liquid from tofu by squeezing it between paper towel or a clean dish towel. Cut into bite size pieces.
  2. Heat a non stick pan to medium heat and spray with some oil. Add tofu and brown them slightly on both sides. Keep aside.
  3. Cook edamame in boiling water till cooked through(do not overcook to a soft pulpy state, keep it tender firm).
  4. Now take all the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing and mix well. You can add more or less of everything in the dressing as per your taste. 
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. You can also add some roasted crushed peanuts. I avoided it as this was being packed for school.
  6. Can be eaten at room temperature or warm. 

Tofu edamame salad

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cinnamon Apple kheer

Cinnamon apple pudding
Kheer gets a fruity makeover. Apple imparts a natural sweetness and some tartness giving this dessert a fresh and interesting taste. This dish makes very quickly unlike the traditional rice pudding. You can use it as offering during any phalahaar festival like Navratri, Janamashtami, Shivratri.

Like traditional kheer you can flavor it with green cardamom. I however love the combination of apple and cinnamon. You can flavor it as per your taste buds. Keep in mind that as it cools the pudding thickens. So keep the consistency accordingly.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
2 apples, grated with peel
4 cups whole milk
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar as per taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
Palm full chopped almonds and pistachios
  1. In a pan bring the milk to boil. Lower the heat and cook stirring frequently till it thickens reduces to about three quarter. 
  2. While the milk is thickening, take the grated apple and sugar in a pan and cook on high till most of the water evaporates and the apples cook a bit. 
  3. Add the thickened milk to the cooked apples. Stir well to combine. Cook on medium high till the kheer reaches the desired consistency. Keep in mind that it will thicken further as it cools down. 
  4. Remove from heat and add cinnamon and chopped nuts. 
  5. Refrigerate to cool. It tastes great cold. If it thickens too much add some milk before serving.
Apple pudding

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies
This was my daughter's first successful attempt at baking cookies. She wanted a treat for her Jazz band group for Valentines day and what better thing to bake for a bunch of teenagers than huge choc chips cookies - America's most favorite cookie. We used the recipe written at the back of the chocolate chips package. For sure this recipe is a keeper. It gives a chewy rich cookie with a soft center and caramelized edges. Make sure not to over bake. We did not add the nuts as it was for school.    

Ingredients: (Makes about 40-45 large cookies) 
(170 calories each with nuts)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
1 cup chopped mixed nuts like walnuts, pecans, almonds(optional)
  1. In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Keep aside.
  2. In another bowl beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add the two types of sugars and beat until fluffy (about 2 minutes). You can use an electric or hand mixer.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla. You might need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Now add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix until. The mixture might be too stiff or dough like at this point to use the mixer. So use a wooden spoon and mix by hand. Add the chocolate chips about half way through mixing. If you are using any nuts then mix them in now.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile preheat oven to 375 F with rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough (use an ice cream scoop for even size) onto the prepared baking sheets about an inch apart. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Cool completely on wire rack.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Punjabi Kadhi

Kadhi is a spicy yogurt based gravy which often contains chickpea flour and vegetable dumplings called pakoras, and is served in combination with rice. There are several versions of kadhi and each version has slightly different ingredients and spices. This is Punjabi kadhi which is a traditional recipe for the northern region of India. I like to serve a leafy green vegetable alongside kadhi and Rice. My fave are Aloo methi and haaq. Find these recipes here.

Ingredients for pakora (dumplings):
1/2 cup Besan (Gram Flour)
1 Tbs plain yogurt
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped spinach
2 tbsp kasuri methi
2 garlic cloves grated
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 green chilies chopped
  1. Mix all above in a a bowl and make a smooth thick batter of a droppable consistency.
  2. Heat oil in a pan.
  3. Drop one inch diameter dumplings into the oil and deep fry on a medium heat.
  4. Keep aside.

Ingredients for broth:
1 cup besan
2 cups plain yogurt
5-6 cups water  (proportion of besan:yogurt:water is 1:2:5)
salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbs canola oil
2 tsp panchphoran (mixture of 5 whole seeds-Nigella, fennel, cumin, mustard and fenugreek)
1/2 tsp garam masala
Chopped fresh corriander

Tempering / tadka
1 Tbs ghee (clarified butter)
2 cloves garlic grated
chili powder
  1. In a large mixing bowl take besan and add the yogurt to it. mix well. Add water and salt, turmeric and coriander powder, grated ginger and mix well making sure there are no lumps. Keep aside.
  2. In a large stock pot heat oil on medium high.
  3. Add panchphoran and let it sputter for 30 seconds. Carefully add the besan mixture into the stock pot and stir.
  4. Bring to boil and add the dumplings into the broth.
  5. Bring back to boil and simmer covered for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir occasionally ensuring the kadhi doesn't burn and keep the temperature low
  6. If the mixture becomes too thick then add some water.
  7. Remove from heat and put a tempering (tadka or baghaar) of ghee and garlic and red chillie powder. Mix some garam masala. Garnish with chopped coriander. 
  8. Serve hot with plain boiled rice and a leafy green vegetable.

Friday, February 6, 2015


Chicken lasagna with spinach, mushroom and zucchini

The ultimate comfort food and the ultimate one dish meal, Lasagna is one of my most fave ways to indulge. It is a classic pasta casserole dish with layers of pasta, cheese and sauce. Many variations exist depending on the type of sauce and cheese being used and if it contains meat and or vegetables. This one here is a classic meat lasagna. I have used minced chicken since I am not a beef eater. But you can substitute beef, lamb or pork for chicken.

1 Package Oven ready lasagna noodles
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella (or your fave cheese)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large zucchini chopped
2 cups mushrooms chopped
For the cheese sauce
500 gm ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 lbs fresh spinach washed and finely chopped
For the meat sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large red onions chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 lbs ground chicken or lamb
4 large tomatoes chopped
1 can tomato puree
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste
3-4 bay leaves
2 tsp each basil and oregano
hot pepper sauce (optional)

  1. To make cheese sauce mix all the ingredients together. Keep aside.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil and brown the mushrooms. keep aside. In the same pan add zucchini and stir fry for 5-7 minutes till it becomes tender crisp. 
  3. To make tomato sauce/meat sauce heat olive oil in a large stock pot and add onion and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes till onions soften a bit. 
  4. Add ground chicken/lamb. Cook on high stirring often for about 2-4 minutes till chicken cooks a bit. 
  5. Add all other ingredients and bring to a rolling boil for about 3-5 minutes. 
  6. Simmer covered for about 30 minutes stirring every so often. Take out of heat and add the sauteed mushrooms and zucchini in the sauce. 
  7. To assemble the casserole take a deep rectangular baking dish and grease it. Spread tomato sauce at the base evenly. Layer lasagna noodles on top without overlapping since they will expand on cooking. Spread half the cheese sauce evenly over the noodles. Top with another layer of lasagna noodles. Now spread tomato sauce evenly covering all the noodles. The moisture from the tomato sauce will cook the noodles. Sprinkle with half the shredded cheese evenly. Arrange another layer of lasagna noodles, followed by cheese sauce, followed by lasagna noodles , followed by tomato sauce, followed by the final layer of shredded cheese. 
  8. Cover with foil and bake at 350 F for 45 to 50 min till everything is bubbling in there and noodles are cooked. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes to brown the cheese. 
  9. Take out of the oven and cover with foil again. Let rest for about 15 minutes before serving. 
  10. Serve this with a green salad.
Chicken lasagna with spinach, mushroom and zucchini

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Spinach-Mushroom cream soup

Spinach-Mushroom cream soup
A steaming hot bowl of freshly made soup with a buttered toast on the side, mmmm yum.  My most favorite duo to serve for lunch. Its hearty and wholesome packs away lots of veggies for the family and above all, it's delicious. It is the easiest way to warm up those cold winters or drab rainy days. 

I love making soups. Mostly because it helps clean my crisper, and I don't need to follow a recipe to get it on the table. Almost all veggies can be turned into soup. If you have a bunch of random stuff in your fridge and you have broth, then you are all set to make a soup.  

This version of spinach and mushroom soup is not heavy on the belly. It is perfect for Spring when there is an abundance of fresh spinach and earthy mushrooms. I used Cremini mushrooms hence the color is slightly brown. You can use the white button mushrooms as well. Fresh mushrooms taste heavenly in this creamy delight without the addition of any cream.

Ingredients: (serves 4-5)

4 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoons dry thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 cup milk
4 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
4 cups packed fresh spinach

  1. In a large pan, saute mushrooms, garlic, and onions in butter and oil until lightly brown. 
  2. Stir in flour and seasonings and cook until blended. 
  3. Gradually add milk and broth. Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add more broth if it becomes too thick.
  4. Stir in spinach. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until heated through. 
  5. Serve with a slice of buttered toast. 
Spinach-Mushroom cream soup