Warm Gooey Goodness…Hmmnn…

With the dreadfully cold weather and all the holiday humdrum going around, its no surprise that food has been on my mind, a lot!! There are times when I just want to cozy up on the couch with a good book and mug of warm Mochalate, and then, there are times like today, when I just crave for warm comfort food.

After pondering in the fridge and the pantry, my eyes fell upon a lonely can of red kidney beans sitting all forgotten in a secluded corner. The rest was easy! A couple of minutes later, I had a big pot of Rajma simmering on the stove ready to served on a bed of warm Basmati rice. But I’ll save that for a later post.

With dinner all ready and a salad cooling in the fridge, I still craved for more. I wanted the works!! Yes, dessert too!! And there’s nothing more comforting that a bowl of warm Sooji (Semolina) Halwa. Hubby dear is a big fan of halwas, and Sooji Halwa is one of his favourites. I must admit though, that it’s one of my favourite desserts as well. And you won’t even believe how simple it is to make! So without further ado, here’s how to make one of easiest and most comforting desserts in the Indian cuisine!

Sooji Halwa

Sooji Halwa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Sooji (Semolina)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 7-8 green cardamom pods (seeds taken out and crushed)
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp chopped almonds
  • 2 tbsp ghee

Method:

  • Heat water in a small pan to dissolve sugar completely. Set aside.
  • In a non-stick deep pan, heat ghee and add sooji, stirring constantly on low heat till slightly golden.
  • Add the water-sugar mixture, raisins, and cardamom, and continue to stir till water begins to evaporate and it forms a thick mass.
  • Mix in almonds and serve warm after a hearty meal!

Comfort food at its best!!

Reminder: Don’t forget to join in on the “From my Rasoi” event. Do feel free to download and post the banners on your site. Deadline – December 30, 2005!!

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I felt in in my fingers…as well as my toes!

It was cold today, no…I mean – COLD!!! Even with the heating on, I was chilly! And missing my morning cup of coffee definitely did not make things any better!

By the time it was late afternoon, I was craving for warmth, and caffeine. But coffee was not on my mind. I wanted something much more richer. Something that would defrost my almost numb toes. Something, that tasted and gave me the comforting feel of chocolate. So what gives you the rich chocolatey warmth as well as a much needed caffeine kick? – Mochalate!

I just love the taste of Mocha. And why wouldn’t I! It combines my two all-time favourite flavours – Chocolate AND Coffee!! So I dragged my frozen feet, wrapped in thick socks and my cute pair of fuzzy slippers, into the kitchen and turned on the stove. I worked on intuition and poured the simmering beauty into a huge cup. One sip and I just knew I had done it again. This was going to be another regular winter drink for me, after my wonderful Peppermint Hot Chocolate!

Hot Mochalate

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 2 tbsp bitter-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee

Method:

  • Heat everything in a small pan, stirring constantly till chocolate melts and milk is warmed through.
  • Pour in a large cup and enjoy it warm.

Aaahh! The pleasure of feeling my toes again!



On a sunday evening…

After a long tiring week and an eventful chore-full Saturday, me and hubby dear just love to chill out at the cozy comforts of our home. Most of the time, we like to cook together, just to get that little extra “us” time. We’ve cooked together tons of times, with me ordering him on what and how to chop, and the poor thing crying over his onions!

Yesterday was one such lovely day. After four crazy hours of christmas shopping, we went home and decided to make our most favourite meal. An hour later, we were comfortably settled in front of the TV, watching a funny movie and relishing a wonderfully fabulous team-work dinner! 

Matar Paneer (Cottage Cheese with Green Peas)

Matar Paneer

Ingredients:

  • 400 gms of Paneer (cottage cheese), cut into 1-inch cubes and fried till lightly brown on all sides
  • 2 cups onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped for garnish

Method:

  • Add cumin seeds to warm oil and let it begin to sizzle. Add in onions and fry till they turn slightly brown.
  • Add green chillies and tomatoes and cook till all the juices dry up and it forms a thick consistency.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste, tomato paste, red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric and salt and cook till fragrant and all spices blend in nicely.
  • Add water and let it come to a boil. Throw in paneer pieces and peas, and cover cook for 10-15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle garam masala and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve warm with rotis or naan.



Warming up to the cold… a Winter treat “From my Rasoi”

The dreaded snowstorm has finally hit. It’s predicted to snow atleast 25 inches today, so lets see. With nothing much else left to do, I decided to hit my lovely kitchen and enjoy myself. Cooking has always been a relaxing activity for me to do and I especially love the smile that erupts on sweet hubby’s face when he comes home and sees a bunch of treats ready for him!

With the dreadful cold we are having today, I’m craving for something warm and fulfilling. And what better than stuffed parathas, especially stuffed with potatoes – yes, Alu Parathas!

Mom always made Alu Parathas for brunch, more so during the winter season. Even though winters in Delhi might not be as gruesome, it still gets pretty cold out there. These delicious stuffed beauties are just right to satisfy that winter hunger. Eaten with mango pickle or just by itself with cup of masala chai defintely makes this a crowd pleaser for the cold winter weather, and a contender for the Winter theme!

Alu Parathas

Alu Parathas

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (atta)
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 tbsp ghee/oil
  • water as needed

Method:

  • Mix mashed potatoes with salt, onions. coriander leaves, red chili powder, and green chillies and set aside.
  • Mix flour (atta) with salt, carom seeds (ajwain) and one tbsp of ghee/oil and form into a smooth dough with water. Separate dough into golf-sized balls and set aside.
  • For each dough ball, roll out the dough into a small circle and put around one tbsp of potato mixture in the centre. Bring the ends of the circle together and form into a ball. Seal the edges completely so that the stuffing does not come out.
  • Roll out these dough balls and into a 6 inch circle. Fry on a heated pan adding a bit of ghee/oil around the edges to crisp it up.

Serve hot.



A cup of Chai…

I’m a coffee person, and if I can say so myself, kind of a coffee addict. I’ve never like tea and that has always shocked people around me. You see, tea is sort of the national drink in India. A hot cup of tea is always served to guest right as they enter the door. I’ve got many a wierd look when I kindly refuse to take the steaming cup and ask for coffee instead.

But that’s just the way it is. I don’t know how or why, but I became a coffee lover – much to the amazement of my parents! Hubby dear on the other hand, is a true blue Indian tea lover. Nothing can soothe and calm his senses any more than my special cup of masala chai, that I must honestly confess, he taught me how to make! But after all this time of brewing the perfect cuppa for him, he admits that I make it much better than he ever did.

Masala Chai (Indian Spiced Tea)

Masala Chai enjoyed with Onion & Egg Patties

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp tea powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 5-6 green cardamom pods
  • a pinch of crushed black pepper
  • sugar, to taste

Method:

  • Boil water in a small pan and add tea and spices.
  • Add in milk, lower the heat and allow it to come to a boil.
  • Pour into cups through a strainer and add sugar according to taste.
  • Serve hot and feel your nerves begin to relax.

Tastes great with any sort for fried Indian snacks – like the Onion and Egg Patties seen in the pic!



Speeding things up!

I have always preferred rice over rotis, and always tend to make a little extra just so I have leftovers for the next day. I like it when I take a peek into my fridge and find a box of leftover plain rice. It drives my imagination wild, since there is so much you can create out of plain boiled rice.

I have tried so many rice dishes over time but fried rice has always been a favourite. There is so much you can do to alter the taste and so many ways you can use to make a big bowl of fried rice. I often use whatever veggies or meats i have at hand, throw in a variety of flavours, and I have a great wholesome meal ready to be served.

This is another easy breezy recipe that hardly takes anytime at all and can be put together in minutes. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve cooked this up at the end of a long tiring day. And it never fails to please me!

Vegetable Fried Rice

Vegetable Fried Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked plain rice
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, beans, celery, cabbage…go wild! Frozen
  • vegetables would also be a great option)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 chicken buillion cube (substitute with vegetable buillion cube for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • chopped spring onion for garnish

Method:

  • Heat oil in a non-stick pan and fry onions till transparent. Add vegetables, bullion cube, salt, pepper and chili powder and fry till all the water from the vegetables evaporate.
  • Add rice and mix well. Splash soya sauce and stir-fry rice till everything is mixed well.
  • Garnish with spring onions and serve warm.

A great side to spicy Pepper Chicken!



On one of those days…

Sometimes, you just want to get away from the hoohaas and settle down with something simple and wholesome. With all the festivities and holiday humdrum going around, food has taken the centrestage. Recently our meals have comprised of anything and everything from being fancy to exotic.

But today, I just felt like taking things easy. With the thick blanket of snow outside, i just want to cuddle on my couch, watch a good movie and have a simple and satisfying lunch. And there’s nothing simpler I can think of than a big bowl of rice, drowned in Dal (Indian lentils). As I have said many times before, Dal is cooked in many ways all over India. I, myself, make atleast ten or more variations of it.

This recipe is one that me and hubby crave for after every couple of days. It hardly takes any time and effort, but yet still feels like a meal fit for a King. Afterall, are we no less?

Tadka Dal (Lentils with a Spicy Tempering)

Tadka Dal

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentils (lal masoor)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, chopped
  • 2 cloved of garlic, sliced
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • a pinch of asafoetida powder (hing)
  • 1 tbsp ghee

Method:

  • Boil lentils with onions, tomato, green chillies, garlic and turmeric powder till lentils soften and pulp. Add salt and stir well.
  • In a small frying pan, make tempering by heating ghee and frying cumin seeds, fennel seeds, red chili powder and asafoetida powder till it all starts to sizzle.
  • Add tempering into dal and stir well.

Serve warm over rice.



On trying new things…

For the last one month, especially since Diwali, I have been on a cooking spree. I try to make new dishes, using different recipes and different ingredients. I’ve tried my hand at making things that I’ve never made before and thankfully, most of them have turned out great, leaving hubby dear asking for more!

On out last trip to the Indian grocery store, I saw a vegetable that neither me, nor hubby has ever been fond of. Its called the Round Grourd, Indian Squash, or simply as we know it in hindi, Tinda. Recalling my childhood years, I never liked it and would always try to scurry for something else to eat.

But I wanted to try this vegetable now, not as the way I knew it, but as I would like to. So I bought about four of these little babies leaving hubby dear with a frown on his face.

Today, while I was cleaning up the fridge, making space for next week’s groceries, I saw them lying in a corner of the crisper, almost forgotten. I accepted the challenge and got to work. I stared at it for a while and then it struck me – a great new way to eat it! Can’t wait for hubby to get home and try it, I know I love it, and am guessing it’ll put a smile on his face as well!!

Tinda Fry (Sauteed Round Gourd)

Tinda Fry

Ingredients:

  • 4 tindas (round gourd), peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • a pinch of amchur (dried mango powder, available at the local Indian grocery store)
  • salt, to taste

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan and fry the tinda wedges till they start to brown.
  • Add salt and spices and fry for another minute or two.

Serve warm.



Cozying up with a large pot of soup…

The snowfall here as increased tremendously covering the entire place with a thick white blanket. This kind of cold harsh weather definitely calls for a large pot of soup simmering on the stove. With hubby away at work, and me stuck alone at home with the TV on, I decided to put on a big pot of comfort and bask in its steaming aroma!

I was reminded of Mom’s simple tomato soup that we all loved. Our favourite combo, was to eat it with plain boiled rice and fried chicken. That gave me an idea! Spicing things up my way, I came up with this soul-soothing recipe. Perfect for a cold winter day!

I always make sure I have a good stack of chicken broth lying around, especially in winters, no matter if its home-made or store bought. Store-bought broths are not all that bad! I always get mine low-fat and with less sodium content, and spice it up to my liking. This recipe was a delight to make as awell as slurp. Serve it over soft-boiled flat rice noodles or vermicelli and feel it warm your soul!

Hot and Sour Tomato-Chicken Soup

Hot & Sour Tomato Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, sliced diagonally into 2-inch sized pieces
  • 1 2-inch chunk of ginger
  • 3-4 large cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 large red chillies, sliced in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
  • fresh chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

Method:

  • Marinate the chicken breast in turmeric, chili powder, lemon juice, salt and black pepper for about half an hour. Fry the marinated chicken in a little bit of oil in a thick bottomed pan, till brown on both sides. Cut chicken into thin pieces and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add the remaining oil and fry sliced onions till transparent. Add chopped tomatoes and cook till tomatoes pulp and form a thick consistency.
  • Add chicken broth, ginger, garlic, lemon grass, red chillies, salt and pepper and let it come to a boil.
  • Add chicken pieces and let soup simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro leaves and enjoy over soft-cooked noodles!


Weekends call for a good Brunch!!

Every saturday we spend almost half of the day carrying out with our usual weekend chores like cleaning and grocery shopping. By the time we are done, its evening and time for dinner soon! Most of the time we are either eating on our way or don’t eat at all. A tiring and fully booked weekend definitely calls for a fulfilling meal.

When we were kids, sunday was always the day for a heavy and satisfying brunch! We would make up half-way through the day and be greeted with the delicious aroma of Parathas, Puris and other mouth-watering treats that Mom would be cooking up. I always looked forward to these meals eagerly and cherished every bite.

I woke up this morning and was in a mood for some of Mom’s magic! That’s when I realized we had some left-over paratha dough waiting for me in the fridge. That gave me the craving for piping hot parathas and a bowlful of delicious scarmbled egg, Indian style!!

Indian Scrambled Eggs

Indian Scrambled Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs, beaten in a bowl
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped
  • fresh chopped coriander leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

Method:

  • Heat oil in a non-stick pan and fry onions and green chillies till transparent and tender.
  • Add tomatoes and cook till they soften. Add salt and chili powder, and cook for a minute.
  • Add beaten eggs and continue to stir, scrambling eggs and mixing it with the spices till cooked.
  • Sprinkle garam masala and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with warm parathas!