Friday, June 24, 2016

Shrimp tostadas



Tostadas are crispy tortillas that are piled high with toppings that are often held in place with a base of guacamole or refried beans. They are just like crisp tacos, only flat. Anything that goes in a taco can go on top of the tostada. So you can use any toppings of your choice - small pieces of grilled fish or chicken, salsa, cheese, sour cream, refried beans. 

The greatest question however would be - how to make these crispy tostadas. Most commonly you can take corn tortillas and fry them crisp. Another option, which I prefer as it requires less monitoring, would be to spray them with oil and just stick them in the oven for a few minutes. They come out perfect. While they are cooking you can chop and prep the other toppings. 

These delicious toastadas with smoky shrimps and crunchy sweet and sour pineapple slaw on creamy guacamole are sure to hit the spot and they are perfect for those tropical themed meals. Just add a citrus margarita to make it spectacular.

Corn tostadas
Ingredients:
8 small corn tortillas
Vegetable oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Spray the tortillas lightly with vegetable oil on both sides.
  3. Place on the oven rack and bake for 7-8 minutes till crisp and lightly toasted.
  4. Do not over cook. They keep toasting for a bit even after you remove them from the oven.
  5. Spread a generous layer of guacamole, top with pineapple slaw and jalapeno peppers. Place the grilled shrimp on top. 
  6. Serve hot and crisp.
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Grilled Shrimp
Ingredients:
25 Raw shrimp
Salt to taste
1 tsp Red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lime juice
  1. Peel and de vein the shrimp.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together and grill till cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. 
  3. Or cook on medium high in a pan for 3-4 minutes per side till cooked through.
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Pineapple Slaw
Ingredients:
Red cabbage
Pineapple
Red onions
Carrot
Fresh coriander
Lime juice
Olive oil
Salt and crushed black pepper
  1. Finely shred cabbage, thinly slice the red onion, grate carrots and chop pineapple and coriander. 
  2. Mix lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Let flavors blend for 30 minutes before serving.   
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Guacamole
Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Salt to taste
2 tbsp lime juice
Mash the avocados and mix all ingredients together.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Battered shrimp tacos

Tonight's Menu
Crispy battered shrimp tacos with sliced avocado
Grapefruit orange salsa
Jalapeno cream
Beer


Tacos, the traditional Mexican dish made of corn tortilla folded around a simple filling for a weeknight meal or a more elaborate filling fit for an extravagant night of entertaining, are just right for almost any occasion. This version here fits the extravagant bill.
Crispy fried shrimps inside a corn tortilla drizzled with a spicy jalapeno cream and a side of tangy crunchy grapefruit orange salsa - colorful, flavorful spread. I love using fruit in savory dishes like this specially in summer. Certainly adds a lot of color to the plate. Feast for the eyes even before it hits your taste buds.
All the flavors and textures work very well together here. The pairing of crispy fried shrimp with the juicy sweet and sour orange salsa, crunchy cabbage, crisp radish, gentle heat of the jalapenos, silky avocado slices with a drizzle of the jalapeno cream in these tacos is simply divine. A must try.
 
Crispy battered shrimp tacos 
Ingredients:
8 small corn tortillas
Battered shrimp (recipe below)
Shredded cabbage
Thin avocado slices
Thin slices of radish
Jalapeno rings (optional)
Jalapeno cream (recipe below)
Orange grapefruit salsa (recipe below)
  1. Warm up the tortillas in a hot griddle till lightly crisp.
  2. Place 2 fried crispy shrimps in it.
  3. Top with some shredded cabbage, sliced radish and avocado. 
  4. Drizzle a tsp if the jalapeno cream on top.
  5. Add some jalapeno rings on top if you prefer a spicy taco.
  6. Serve with a side of orange grapefruit salsa.
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Crispy battered shrimp
Ingredients: (For 8 tacos)
24 raw shrimps
3/4 cup flour
1/3 tsp baking powder
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Water to make a batter
Oil for frying
  1. Heat oil in a pan for frying.
  2. Remove the shell and vein from the shrimps. 
  3. Make a thick batter of pancake like consistency with flour, baking powder, salt  pepper and water.
  4. Dip the prepared shrimp in the batter and coat it evenly with the thick batter. Drop them in the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Remove the fried shrimp on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil.
  5. Keep them there until ready to serve.
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Orange grapefruit salsa
Ingredients: (For 8 tacos)
2 ruby red grapefruits
2 navel oranges
1 small red onion
Handful fresh mint and coriander
1 jalapeno pepper
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Peel and chop the grapefruit and oranges into small bite sized pieces. Do this in a bowl to catch all the juices that will flow as a result of chopping. 
  2. Chop onion, jalapeno, mint and coriander. 
  3. Add these to the chopped citrus fruit. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
  4. Taste. If the fruit is sour enough then your salsa is ready. Sometimes the oranges and grapefruit are sweeter than you want. In that case add some lime juice to taste. Cover.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Jalapeno cream
Ingredients:
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp sour cream
3-4 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
1 large clove of garlic, grated
1/2 jalapeno pepper minced fine
3-4 sprigs of fresh coriander, chopped fine
Salt to taste (Remember mayonnaise has salt, so use sparingly)
  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix together all the above ingredients. It should be a pourable consistency. 
  2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Friday, June 10, 2016

5 delicious coleslaw variations



A good slaw is crunchy, refreshing and flavorful. Whether you're a fan of the creamy mayonnaise dressed slaw or the bright, acidic vinegar dressed slaw we can all agree that it really brightens up the meal. All these slaw recipes make good use of cabbage, carrots, onion and more. They make great accompaniment to your summer barbecue, fall pot roasts, fried chicken/fish, fillings for tacos, sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs. Try one today.


1. Pineapple slaw
Pineapple adds a whole lot of tropical feel to this delicious slaw. Serve it in a taco, or alongside your grilled meats, it is sure to please all taste buds. This is truly summer in a bowl.
Ingredients:
Red cabbage
Pineapple
Red onions
Carrot
Fresh coriander
Lime juice
Olive oil
Salt and crushed black pepper
  1. Finely shred cabbage, thinly slice the red onion, grate carrots and chop pineapple and coriander. 
  2. Mix lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Let flavors blend for 30 minutes before serving.   
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2. Red Cabbage slaw
Ingredients: 
1/4 medium red cabbage
2 small carrots
1/2 medium red Onion
Handful fresh coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large clove of garlic, grated fine
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1-2 tsp olive oil
  1. Core and shred the cabbage fine and chop coriander. Grate carrots and thinly julienne red onions. Toss together.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lime juice and zest, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the dressing to the veggies and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
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3. Southwestern slaw
The zesty flavor of this slaw is perfect on a fish taco.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 cup fine shredded cabbage
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
1 jalapeno minced
handful chopped coriander
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
salt to taste
Combine everything and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving
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4. Jamaican Coleslaw
The vinaigrette dressing for this slaw is tangy and sweet. No mayonnaise is used so the slaw remains crisp. The longer the salad sits with the dressing, the better it gets.   
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar/white wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp granulated sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 small green cabbage, shredded
2 small carrot, shredded
1/2 large red onions, thinly sliced
Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
  1. In large bowl, whisk together the first five ingredients.
  2. Add cabbage, carrot and green onions; toss to coat
  3. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. 
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5. Creamy cabbage apple slaw
Crunchy and a little creamy with a hint of sweetness from the apple. 
Ingredients: (serves 4)
1/4 head green and purple cabbage each shredded
2 carrots grated
1/2 red onion sliced
1 apple grated
Dressing
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp grainy mustard
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste (optional)
freshly grated black pepper
2-3 tbsp water to adjust consistency
  1. Combine all the ingredients for dressing and stir well with a whisk.
  2. Combine all the veggies in a large bowl. Pour dressing mixture over it and toss gently to combine. Chill.

Friday, June 3, 2016

20 Awesome BBQ side dishes


Its that time of the year. Spruce up your back yard, clean the barbecue and soak up some sun. To make the most of the few precious months of warm sunny weather, here is a collection of some tempting side dish recipes that are the perfect accompaniment to grilled food, outdoor parties, picnics or even for your weekend supper. Featured here are some fresh, healthy and weather appropriate dishes that are flavor packed and capture the essence of spring and summer.

Most of these dishes are make ahead dishes. Assemble and refrigerate till serving time. This works great when you have company. Prep everything in the morning and then enjoy with your guests. Most of them will also make excellent dishes to pack for a picnic. Choose 2 or more of these sides with your main dish for a grand meal and have a spectacular summer.



1. Watermelon Salad
No other fruit says summer like the luscious, thirst quenching watermelon. Making them a part of the meal adds color and vibrancy.
This anti-oxidant rich fruit is a great thirst quencher and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. This salad pairs perfectly with any grilled fare.
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2. Pineapple Salad
Crunchy, tangy pineapple with red onion, fresh herbs and lime juice all in one.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
Pineapple in bite sized chunks
Red pepper chunks
Yellow pepper chunks
Red onion chopped
Handful fresh coriander chopped
Handful fresh mint chopped
Jalapeno peppers chopped
Salt to taste
Lime juice
Combine all the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to blend in the flavors.
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3. Thai Green Mango Salad
This is a very simply dressed salad which is refreshing and balances the heat when served alongside any hot Thai dish. The tart green mangoes are the main ingredient. The crunch comes from red onions and roasted peanuts white a handful of red peppers incorporate color.
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4. Mango Salsa
For Mango salsa, peel and chop 2 mangoes into bite sized pieces. Also dice 1/2 red onion, 1 red pepper, handful of fresh coriander and mint, a few green chilies. Toss them all together and dress with a couple teaspoons of sesame oil, a drizzle of lime juice, salt, freshly ground black pepper.
Make this salsa ahead of time and chill for a minimum of 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve cold. This makes for a wonderful accompaniment with any grilled fish or meat dish.
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5. Orange Salsa
Ingredients:
3-4 oranges, seeds removed cut into chunks (or 2 cans of mandarin oranges drained)
1/2 red onion chopped
large bunch coriander finely chopped
2-3 green chillies or habanero, chopped (optional)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
Mix everything together and let flavors blend for about 1/2 an hour before using.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


6. Waldorf Salad
This timeless American classic dish consists of apples, celery and grapes dressed in a creamy dressing and topped with candied walnuts. It was originally dressed in mayonnaise but has since undergone some transformation to make it more modern, light and refreshing. Be sure to add it to your menu, you will be delighted with the combination of textures and flavors. Here is how I make this salad.
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7. Deviled eggs with guacamole
Whats not to love in this. Eggs-yummm..., guacamole- double yummm...Combine the two together and you have a winner. A great dish for a party starter, or for those evenings when you don't want to spend eternity in the kitchen.
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8. Lemon couscous
This light tasting couscous salad is a perfect side dish with any BBQ. Incorporate any veggies in this such as red onions, peppers and any fresh herbs you have at hand.
Ingredients: (serves 5-6)
1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
Salt to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 English cucumber diced
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 green onion thinly sliced
1 tbsp lemon rind
Big handful each of fresh mint and Coriander finely chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
Handful dried sweetened cranberries (optional)
  1. Take boiling water in a large bowl. Add salt and couscous. Mix well, cover and set aside for 5 minutes. 
  2. Fluff with a fork, add all remaining ingredients, and toss to combine. 
  3. Serve at room temperature.
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9. Israeli Couscous salad
Israeli couscous (called 'Ptitim' in Israel) is similar to regular couscous in that it's a small, whole grain-like food made from semolina or wheat flour. But unlike the regular couscous it is twice as big and toasted, rather than dried. Toasting gives it a slight nutty taste. It has a sturdy composition and cooks with a slight bite to it. Use it in soups or salads or as a side dish cooked like rice pilaf. It is also called 'pearl couscous' or 'Jerusalem couscous'.
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10. Tabbouleh Salad
This classic Middle Eastern salad is a refreshing parsley salad with bulgur wheat, cucumbers and tomatoes dressed with a simple lemon vinaigrette.
The recipe calls for soaking the cracked wheat in cold water, but in our house we like it a little soft, so I used boiling water. Use hot or cold water as per your requirement to re-hydrate the wheat.
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11. Lemon Quinoa
Inspired by the chitra anna (or lemon rice) recipe, the quinoa is tinted yellow with turmeric and flavored with lemon, fried peanuts and spices.
Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa (I used white quinoa here)
2 cups water
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
Pinch asafoetida(hing)
1 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp peanuts
2-3 whole red chilies
2 green chilies finely chopped
1 tsp ginger grated (traditionally not used, i use it, gives a great flavor)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Red chili powder to taste
Lemon juice as per taste
  1. Wash quinoa in cold running water, drain. 
  2. Place it in a pan with 2 cups water and salt. 
  3. Bring to boil and simmer covered for 18-20 minutes till translucent and all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and keep aside to cool. 
  4. For good results always advisable to cook quinoa a few hours in advance. 
  5. In a large pan heat oil and add mustard seeds. Let them roast for 5-7 seconds, then add hing, urad dal, peanuts and whole red chilies. Roast till dal turns golden. 
  6. Add the cooked quinoa, green chilies and ginger and stir to combine. Keeping the heat at medium, add turmeric and chili powder. Saute well to combine everything for about 3-4 minutes. 
  7. Finally add the lemon juice as per taste and adjust any seasoning. Serve hot.
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12. Saffron Rice
This recipe kind of evolves from the pilaf recipes of the Mughlai cuisine, and goes very well with any BBQ dish.
Ingredients:
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 tbsp milk
2 Tbsp ghee or clarified butter
4 green cardamom pods
1 small (2-inch) cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 cups water
Salt to taste (optional)
1 tbsp orange zest
3 Tbsp pistachios
3 Tbsp blanched slivered almonds
1/3 cup cranberries
  1. Wash rice and drain the water.
  2. In a heavy bottomed pan heat ghee and add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon. stir for 10 seconds and add rice along with zest and cranberries. stir to coat the rice with ghee and spices.
  3. Add water and salt. mix well. Add the saffron threads soaked in milk. Stir well if you want the entire rice to turn yellow OR just give it one random stir to get the effect you see in the picture.
  4. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes till rice is cooked through and all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the almonds and pistachios.
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13. Thai inspired peanut noodles
If you like Thai food then you will love these flavors Sweet nuttiness from the peanut butter, coupled with sesame oil and lemongrass makes a wonderful blend. You can use any type of noodles here, I used spaghetti.
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14. Garlic Potatoes
Ingredients: (serves 4-5)
4-5 large potatoes
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tbsp Greek seasoning
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp lime juice
Salt to taste
Greek Seasoning
1 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp each onion and garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mint
1/3 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan, and add crushed garlic. Cook till light pink. 
  2. Add all other ingredients and a sprinkle a palm full of water. 
  3. Mix thoroughly, simmer and cover. 
  4. Cook for 10-15 minutes checking frequently to prevent it from burning till potatoes are cooked through. 
  5. Serve hot with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.
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15. Plantain Chips
Green plantains are starchy and taste like potatoes, but as they ripen they become yellow and soft and sweet. Fried sweet plantains are commonly served as a side to savory dishes such as fish. Trick to making delish fried plantains is to know how to choose them. If you want sweet crisp dish then choose the riper bananas - the more beaten up and black the skin looks, the riper and sweeter they are.
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16. Southern Corn bread
Slightly sweet with lots of flavor from garlic and jalapenos cornbread can be served anytime of the day.
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17. Vegetable kebabs
I have used mushroom, onion, zucchini and peppers for these kebabs. You can use any veggie combo you like.
Ingredients: (serves 4) 
Mushrooms whole
Red onions
Green and/or Red peppers
Zucchini
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic paste
salt to taste
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp dry basil
freshly ground black pepper
  1. Keep the mushrooms whole if they are the button mushroom variety, otherwise half them. Cut all other veges into large chunks.
  2. Mix all ingredients for the marinade and marinate the veges in it. for 1/2 an hour.
  3. Skewer the veges alternating each type in on skewer.
  4. Grill on high for 10-12 minutes till desired tenderness or crispness is achieved.
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18. Greek salad
Ingredients: (serves 4-5)
Lettuce
English cucumber
Tomatoes
Red onion
Olives
Feta cheese
Dressing
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cloves garlic, grated
1 1/2 tbsp Greek seasoning
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp sugar
Greek Seasoning
1 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp each onion and garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mint
1/3 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg
  1. Tear lettuce into small pieces, cut large chunks of tomatoes and cucumbers and slice red onion into rings. Put all these in a large bowl. 
  2. Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing and toss into the above bowl. Cover and refrigerate to let the flavors blend(30 minutes). 
  3. To serve spoon a large helping on the serving plate and top with kalamata olives and some crumbled feta cheese. Mmmm mmm good.
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19. Pineapple Slaw
Ingredients:
Red cabbage
Pineapple
Red onions
Carrot
Fresh coriander
Lime juice
Olive oil
Salt and crushed black pepper
  1. Finely shred cabbage, thinly slice the red onion, grate carrots and chop pineapple and coriander. 
  2. Mix lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Let flavors blend for 30 minutes before serving.   
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20. Jamaican Coleslaw
The vinaigrette dressing for this slaw is tangy and sweet. No mayonnaise is used so the slaw remains crisp. The longer the salad sits with the dressing, the better it gets.