Curry and Rice, together is nice!

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 27th, 2005 | 1 Comment


I consider curries to be comfort food. There’s something about the curry flavour that just calms my senses and relaxes my nerves. It begins this whole new healing process.

I made this dish for dinner last night when I was tired after work and wanted something soothing and comforting which wouldn’t take me a whole lot of time to cook. I call this curry fried rice, since it has that familiar wonderful curry flavour binded together with spices and veggies.

Spicy Curry Fried Rice

Curry Fried Rice

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice (allow them to cool in the fridge for sometime since it is much easier to fry cold unclumpy rice)
1 cup chopped veggies of choice
1 medium onions chopped
2 eggs
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1 cube chicken bullion
salt, to taste
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves

Method:

Beat eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Scramble eggs in a pan and set aside.

Add sesame oil to the remaining oil in the pan and fry oinions till transparent. Add vegetables and cook for a minute or two. Add salt, pepper, curry powder, chili powder and bullion cube and cook till spices are nicely integrated.

Add scramble eggs and rice and stir till rice is nicely mixed in with eggs and veggies. Add soya sauce and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

Sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves and freshly ground pepper for added heat.



Cold days and hot soups…

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 14th, 2005 | 6 Comments


Winter’s just on its way and I’m starting to get strong cravings for hot soup and stew-like dishes. When I think of soups in Indian cuisine, there’re not many options available. The closest resmblance I can make to a thick soup would be in the form of Indian lentils, called Dal.

This recipe is one of our family favourites. My mom would always make this during winter and serve it warm with rice when we got back from school. I like to add a little more water than usual to get a nice soupy texture.

Dal Palak (Spinach and Lentil Soup)

Ingredients:

½ cup Yellow Split Gram Lentils
2 cups chopped Spinach leaves
½ cup chopped Tomatoes
2 tbsp sliced onions
1 tsp chopped Green Chilies
1 tsp chopped Ginger
½ tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp Cooking Oil
Salt, to taste
3 cups water
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Method:

Heat oil in a pot and add cumin seeds, green chilies and ginger. Sauté for a minute and add onions. Fry onions till start to brown a bit and then add tomatoes, turmeric powder and chili powder.

Heat oil in a pot and add cumin seeds, green chilies and ginger. Sauté for a minute and add onions. Fry onions till start to brown a bit and then add tomatoes, turmeric powder and chili powder.

Cook for 2-3 minutes till tomatoes become tender, and then add lentils, spinach and water. Let boil for 20-25 minutes on medium-low heat till lentils are tender.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.



Flavourful Fenugreek

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 12th, 2005 | 4 Comments


Fenugreek is one of the world’s oldest medicinal herbs. It can be found in the form of fresh leaves, seeds and even as a dried herb called Kasoori Methi in Indian gorcery stores. It has a strong curry aroma and a tangy flavour. Fenugreek has a slightly bitter taste with the tendency to take over a dish, and hence should be used in appropriate proportions.

I tried this dish on a whim on day when I was in the mood to create something out of my ordinary regular menu. What started out as an experiment with different flavours, turned out to be an aromatic favourite!

Methi Keema (Ground Meat with Fenugreek Leaves)

Ingredients:

1 lb ground meat (lamb would taste the best, but I tried it with ground chicken and it was great too!)
2 cups chopped fenugreek leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
salt, to taste
2 tbsp cooking oil

Method:

Heat oil in a pan and fry onions, ginger and garlic till lightly browned. Add red chili powder, coriander and garam masala and fry for a minute.

Add ground meat and fry it starts to brown and dry up.

Add tomatoes and fenugreek leaves, and cover cook for 10-15 minutes. Add water if a thinner consistency is desired.



A pot full of Rice…

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 5th, 2005 | 14 Comments


It’s getting cold outside and I have this sudden craving to eat warm flavourful rice. That’s when I thought of Nasi Lemak, or Malaysian Coconut Rice. This dish is so simple and yet, bursting with flavour!

Nasi Lemak (Malaysian Coconut Rice)

Ingredients:

2 cups of rice
3 1/2 cups of coconut milk
1 stalk of lemon grass
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
Salt, to taste

Method:

Bring coconut milk to a slight boil in a non-stick pan.

Add rice, salt, ginger and lemon grass and cover cook for about 10 minutes on a medium flame till liquid dries up and rice is cooked through.

Enjoy with my spicy Chicken Curry!



A Potato Salad with a twist…

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 5th, 2005 | 3 Comments


I’m not really a salad person. So there are very few salad that appeal to me. I’m don’t like salads that are all leaves, but prefer something with more textures and tastes. Just because its a salad doesn’t mean it has to be reall dull boring now, does it?

I hate mayo and the creamy potato salads just make me sick. Here’s a very simple Potato Salad recipe that is simply delicious. You can change the flavours by adding anything you like to it. Its just so versatile. That’s exactly why I love it!

Spicy Potato Salad

Ingredients:

3-4 medium sized potatoes, boiled (I like using both, the white and red potatoes. Its combination is taste is just wonderful.)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup chopped coriander leaves
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp chaat masala

Method:

Peel and slice potatoes into a salad bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Spicy Notes: Chaat masala is a blend of multiple seasonings, including cumin, coriander, black salt, ginger, and the tart and tangy dried mango powder (amchoor). It is easily available at any Indian grocery store.



A Bittersweet Addiction…SHF #13

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 4th, 2005 | 9 Comments


Okay, so I confess! I’m addicted to chocolate. Well, maybe not…I mean, its not like I HAVE to have chocolate every day! There are times when I can go days without even craving for this taste of heaven.

I have a whole section in my pantry dedicated to these ‘lil beauties and I can honestly say that they have been lying there safe for a long time now without me taking a grab at them every other minute! But then, once I get a craving, there’s no stopping me! It doesn’t take much to tempt me to have a bite. Just the thought of it is more than sufficient. I love the way it just melts as soon as I lay it on my tongue.

Chocolate is the best comfort food I can think of. Just one bite of its extraordinarily smooth taste and I’m instantly transported to that happy place. And with the holiday season just around the corner, I can never get enough of this heavenly sin!

You can’t imagine my excitement when I decided to start participating in SHF, and found this month’s topic, The Dark Side!! I created this recipe on on of those chocolate-craving moments. It’s to DIE for…

Chocolate Nut Tartlets

Ingredients:

1 cup cream
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp instant coffee powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Assortment of chopped nuts
12 mini tart shells ( I use the frozen ones and prepare them according to the packaged instructions)

Method:

Heat cream till it is warm enough to melt the chocolate chips. Do not let it come to a boil.

Add chocolate chips, sugar, coffee powder and vanilla extract, and stir till the chocolate starts to melt.

Remove the mixture from heat and keep stirring till chocolate melts nicely and forms a thick paste. Set aside to cool for 15-20 minutes.

Fill each tart shell with the melted chocolate and sprinkle with choice of nuts.

Serve warm or chilled!



Mad over Mangoes

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 4th, 2005 | 3 Comments


Hmmmnnn… Mangoes!

One of my best memories of mangoes is being in India during the months of May, June and July when the country is bountiful of this succulent fruit. There are so many varieties to choose from, in so many colours, shapes, sizes, tastes and of course, smell!

Now that the mango season is coming to an end, I wanted to do kind of a grand finale to celebrate my favourite fruit. While browsing for recipes, I came accross many for mango salsa. I decided to combine the flavours I liked and omit those I didn’t, and came up with this easy 2-minute lip-smacking creation!

Spicy Mango Salsa

Ingredients:

2-3 mangoes (you want them to be ripe so that they are sweet)
2 tbsp chopped onions
1 jalapeno finely chopped (make sure you throw away the seeds or else it would be too spicy!)
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Method:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and the salsa is done!

Serve chilled with crispy corn chips and enjoy!



For my love of Eggplants!

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 3rd, 2005 | 8 Comments


Did I mention I love eggplants? Haha! Yes, I sure did!! Here’s a recipe that’s a delight to entertain with. It always leaves my guests licking their fingers!

Bagare Baingan (Stuffed Eggplant)

Ingredients:

8-10 pieces of tiny eggplants
1 tbsp red chili powder
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp jeera powder
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp lemon juice

Method:

Mix all the ingredients of the stuffing in a bowl and set aside. Wash the eggplants and slit half-way through the middle without cutting them into halves. Spread the filling into the slits of the eggplants.

Heat oil in a non-stick pan and add the stuffed eggplants. Cover cook for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat, turning them every few minutes to get them brown on all sides.



Another from my Chutney files…

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 1st, 2005 | 1 Comment


Tamarind Chutney

Ingredients:

1 cup tamarind paste
2 cups water
½ tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp of dried ginger powder
¾ cup jaggery (brown sugar can be used as a substitute)
Salt, to taste

Method:

Add tamarind paste, water and jaggery in a deep pan and bring to a boil.

Add salt, ginger powder and chili powder and continue to boil over medium heat till the consistency becomes thick as that of a sauce.

Allow to cool and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.



Oh how I love to take a dip in you!

Written by Meena Agarwal on October 1st, 2005 | 2 Comments


Chutneys are a big part in Indian cuisine. There are so many varieties ranging from those made from fruits, vegetables and so much more. Chutneys differ in texture, taste and of course the preparation method all over India. You get hot, sour, spicy, sweet and also a mix of these flavours. But however you make them, they are a delight in every bite!

Mint-Coriander Chutney

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh chopped coriander leaves
1 cup chopped mint leaves
2-3 green chilies
Salt, to taste
½ tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp chopped ginger

Method:

Add all the ingredients in a mixer with a little water and grind to a fine paste. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.