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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Vegetables au gratin


Vegetables au gratin: I made it with cauliflower, broccoli, long beans, petite red potatoes and leeks. Carrots are often added too.

Ingredients:

1 Cauliflower, cut into florets ($4.39/lb)
1 broccoli crown, cut into florets ($2.49/lb)
3 -4 petite red potatoes, cut into thick slices ($2.20 each, you might get them cheaper at local grocery stores when you buy in bulk)
4-6 long beans, cut into inch long pieces ($3.29/lb)
Chopped leeks ($1.49/each, you may skip using it if it is not in your pantry. You may also add freshly chopped parsley instead)
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

For the sauce:
Butter 2 tbsp (Use some to grease the baking pan)
Plain flour 2 tbsp
Milk

Method:
  1. Boil water with salt in a steamer. Boil or steam the vegetables(except the leeks) till just tender. Set aside and drain excess water in a colander.
  2. For the sauce: In a saucepan, melt butter on low heat and add plain flour while stirring continuously. Do not let it turn brown. Now add milk slowly ( to avoid lumps) till the sauce is thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. You may add grated parmesan in the sauce. 
  3. In a greased baking pan, pour the steamed vegetables, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste (you may use ground spices of your choice too), fresh leeks, and the sauce. Top with breadcrumbs and cheese of your choice. Alternately, you may top with some crushed parmesan crisps(my style). Bake until the sauce is bubbly or at 400 F for 30 mins.

    This dish is best served hot off the oven. 
A variation is broccoli cauliflower casserole is here.
I added sliced fingerling potatoes and sliced onions

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Meatball gravy with achari spices

You may use fresh homemade meatballs or frozen ones for this recipe.

Ingredients:
1 packet frozen meatballs
1 onion - diced
5 big garlic cloves, minced
Thai chilis -halved 5-7
Achari spice
Nutmeg powder
1 tbsp Sour cream
Chicken broth


Method:

  1. Heat frozen meatballs in a pan until thawed. Add diced onions, green chilies and minced garlic. Add chicken broth, achari spice and a pinch of nutmeg (my secret ingredient).
  2. Bring it to boil.Add  1 tbsp sour cream. Mix well with the gravy. Add more chicken broth if needed. Serve hot.

Brussel sprouts with salt and pepper


Roasting some brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper (you may add bacon). Winter is a good time to use the oven. The warmth from the fire is an added bonus.

I had them with meatball gravy with achari spices.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Pressure cooker pot roast

You may choose to slow cook and go the traditional way. I sauted the ingredients with a little wine and pressure cooked it to perfection. This is similar to one of my lamb recipes, but I use minced ginger and jalapenos with the lamb.

Ingredients:
Olive oil  2 tbsp
Butter 1 tsp
1 lb beef stew cut (you may use other cuts of meat if you don't eat beef)
Salt
Whole garlic cloves- 5 big
Red potatoes, quartered 2
Celery stalks, chopped
Baby carrots 8-10
Peppercorn 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds 1 tsp
Nutmeg powder 1/8 tsp
Two sprigs of fresh rosemary
Red wine, a dash

Water for gravy- warm, 2 cups

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil and butter in a pressure cooker. Add the meat, sprinkle liberally with salt and crushed pepper. Add the peppercorn, coriander seeds and sprinkle nutmeg powder. Cook the meat on both sides. Apply the dry ingredients equally on both sides.
  2. Add whole garlic cloves, quartered red onions, quartered red potatoes, celery, and baby carrots.
  3. The kitchen should smell of pot roast by now. Add rosemary sprigs and a dash of red wine. Cook further.
  4. Add 2 cups of warm water and pressure cook it till the meat is tender. Serve hot.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lamb stew with potatoes and carrot

Ingredients:
Lamb loin chops- 4 pieces (1 lb)
Onion-1 medium, diced
Carrot- 1 medium size, diced
Potatoes- 4 small size/petite, halved
Garlic - 5  big cloves, minced
Ginger- 1/2 inch, minced
Cloves- 8
Coriander seeds- 1/2 tsp
Peppercorn-10
Organic Chicken broth (low-sodium), may use water as substitute.
Salt to taste
Jalapeno- 1, diced

Ground nutmeg

Method:

  1. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp butter in a pressure cooker.
  2. Add diced onions, ginger, garlic, cloves, peppercorn, coriander seeds, and halved potatoes. Saute till the ginger-garlic don't smell raw anymore. Add the lamb chops and jalapeno. Cover and cook both sides. Add the diced carrots and then chicken broth. You may also season with crushed pepper and ground nutmeg for a richer stew.
  3. Bring to boil, cover and cook under pressure until done. If you are using a dutch oven, it may take longer to cook.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lime-jalapeño chicken

Ingredients:
Jalapeño -sliced, 2
Boneless, skinless chicken thigh- diced into bite size pieces
Crushed coriander seeds
Juice of lime - 1/2 (you can work with vinegar too for the tartness)
Onion -1 minced
Garlic, ginger- minced

Method:

  1. Mix the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, turmeric, lime juice. Set aside.
  2. In a wok, heat olive oil and fry the onion, garlic, and then the ginger. Add crushed coriander seeds and sliced jalapeño.
  3. Add the chicken. Saute and then cover to cook. You may garnish it with cilantro.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Lohikeitto (Finnish Salmon soup with potato, leeks, and dill)

One thing I really enjoyed eating during our recent trip to Finland was their traditional salmon soup. On a cold evening, all you need is some hot soup and bread, a glass of your favorite white wine ( a rich Chardonnay maybe) and someone to talk to about nothing and everything.

You may serve meatballs as a second course.

Ingredients:
Butter - 2 tsp for cooking, 1 tsp (optional) for topping
Leeks - 1, chopped
Water or chicken broth- 2 cups
Potatoes- 2-3 medium sized, diced into cubes
Salmon fillet - 1 lb, cut into cubes
Onions- 1 medium sliced
Heavy cream- 1-2 cups
Dill- fresh, chopped 1 tbsp
Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
1 bay leaf

Method:
  1. In a dutch oven, add 2 tsp butter, bayleaf, potatoes, onions, and leeks. Saute. Add salt and pepper. 
  2. Add chicken broth and bring the mixture to boil. Add heavy cream and dill. Add fresh salmon cubes and cook till the fish is just cooked.
  3. Top with another tsp of butter and serve warm with bread

Monday, October 5, 2015

Shrimp linguine with garlic, butter, and lemon



  1. Boil pasta as per instructions. Alternately, break linguine into half and immerse in boiling water with salt. Cook for 9 mins or until al dente. Drain in a colander.
  2. In a non-stick, heat olive oil and add minced red onions, minced garlic, chopped cilantro stems, green chilis. Add frozen/fresh shrimp (peeled and deveined) and peas (and other vegetables if you want. Not necessary).
  3. Add freshly ground black pepper, salt, garlic powder, dry oregano, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Add the boiled pasta. Chop 1 tsp butter into pieces and place the pieces evenly on the pasta. Let it melt, then stir. Taste for salt and lemon juice. You may garnish it with sliced lemons.

    You might also like Linguine with homemade basil pesto, grape tomatoes and wilted spinach (vegetarian pasta).

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Breakfast eggs #1

Make a bed of mushrooms, red onions, cilantro, and green chilies. Sprinkle salt. Break 4 eggs (for 2 people) carefully. Sprinkle some more salt. Mix half cup milk with 1 tsp cream cheese and spread evenly on the eggs. Cover and cook for a few more minutes till the milk boil to a creamy goodness.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Patra/colocasia leaves with dry shrimp (চিংড়ি শুটকি দিয়ে কচু পাতা বাটা )


চিংড়ি শুটকি দিয়ে কচু পাতা বাটা

  1. Wash the colocasia leaves and parboil them in water with salt and vinegar (vinegar lessens the itching by reacting with the calcium oxalate in the leaves). Blend to a puree.
  2.  Wash dry shrimp in hot water, strain.
  3. In a wok, heat mustard oil, add minced garlic and dry shrimp. Stir. Add the colocasia leaves puree and cook with frequent stirring. Add salt, turmeric, and red chili powder. Cook thoroughly till oil seperates
This is the first time I tried colocasia leaves and quite liked it. /nobody in my family eats the leaves. They just make' kochur saag' using the stalks. Gujratis steam and fry it into pinwheels called patra

Bonus recipe: Kochu baata (YouTube link from the BEngali Cooking show, Pancha Byenjon)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Pepper chicken II (Andhra style inspired)



A while ago, I made an experimental Gol Morich Murgi (Chicken with Black pepper). I used chicken thighs with bones, quartered onions, ginger-garlic paste, and cilantro for that recipe. In this variation, I used finely sliced onions, ginger, garlic, fresh tomatoes, curry leaves and of course, generous amount of crushed black pepper. The dish will be slightly dark in color.

Ingredient:
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
Cinnamon sticks- 2
Broken red chilies- 3
Green chilis, halved horizontally 3-5
Coriander powder  1 tbsp
Crushed black pepper 2 tsp
Thinly sliced onion(1 1/2) garlic (6-8 cloves) and ginger (1/2 inch)
Sliced tomato-1
Curry leaves about 8-10
Salt to taste
Turmeric a pinch

Original Andhra style pepper chicken also calls for lemon juice in the marination and cumin seeds for tempering.

Method:
  1. Rub fresh ground coriander powder, pepper, salt and turmeric to chicken.
  2. Heat a wok or nonstick frying pan, big enough to stir the pieces. Heat mustard oil (or sesame/coconut oil for authentic taste), add thinly sliced onions and sliced garlic. Add the chicken with some cinnamon sticks broken into pieces., broken red chilies and curry leaves. Fry well.  Cover.
  3. Add sliced tomatoes. The water from the tomatoes should be enough for the chicken to cook through if you are cooking for two people.  Add sliced ginger. Slow cook the chicken until the water is dried. Take care not to over cook. Use more crushed black pepper and halved green chilies to turn the heat.

    (Do not use yogurt or other dairy-based product that will neutralize the heat for this recipe.)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Linguine with homemade basil pesto, grape tomatoes and wilted spinach.


Method:

  1. Boil a saucepan of water, enough to cook the pasta al dente. Stir once to separate.
  2. Remove from heat and drain pasta in a colander, running through cold water.
  3. In a non stick pan, saute sliced onions, celery, and garlic. Add grape tomatoes cut into halves, some baby spinach, salt and pepper.
  4. Add pasta to the pan and the homemade pesto (I used basil, garlic powder, olive oil, salt and pepper).
  5. Sprinkle grated parmesan and serve warm.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Barbeque pork fried rice



Ingredients:
Left over rice/cooked rice drizzled with low sodium soy sauce and chinese salt
Diced red onion- 1 medium
Handful of green peas
Some thoroughly washed snap peas
Cooked barbeque boneless pork loin, cut into strips
Dry red chilies , sliced thin ( a pair of kitchen scissors work best)
Scallions and Chinese peppers (optional)

Method:
  1. In a wok, fry diced onion, snap peas and  green peas. Add salt. Add the scallions and Chinese pepper if you are using them,
  2. Add the cooked pork and then the cooked rice. Sprinkle the sliced red chilies. Mix thoroughly. Serve warm.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Lobster tail with ginger, garlic and scallions



I was inspired by this YouTube video, though I did not use chicken stock to remove the grease, because I like the crust crunchy.  Instead, I drained excess oil in paper towels.

Ingredients:
2 lobster tails
5-6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (use more if you are not using garlic powder)
1/2 inch ginger, sliced and crushed (no need to peel)
Bunch of scallions
Low sodium soy sauce
Garlic powder spice mix (taste for salt)
Paper towels
Cooking oil
1 tbsp Butter
Salt

Method:
  1. Cut the lobster tails lengthwise with a sharp knife (and mallet, if you need it). Sprinkle garlic powder spice mix and flour.
  2. Deep fry in canola oil for 5 minutes or until the tails turn red. Fry bottom side first because the tails bend on heat and then it is difficult to cook the downside uniformly. Drain excess oil in paper towels.
  3. In a non-stick pan, add butter, ginger, garlic and the lobster. Drizzle soy sauce. Cover on low flame. Add scallions, chopped into inch long strips.
  4. Serve warm, with lemon wedges.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Soya kabuli

This is a recipe inspired by my aunt who made soya nuggets with vatana.

I was hungry in the morning and had no pre-soaked vatana which I usually use for making Bengali ghugni. However, my pantry had a can of chick peas. I got to work


Ingredients:
1 medium sized diced potato
1 cup soya nugget
1 can of chickpeas 28 oz or about 800 gm (Alternately you may soak chickpeas or yellow vatana overnight)
Minced onion- half of 1 large OR one full medium
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
Salt, turmeric, cooking oil, garam masala and ghee

Method:
  1. Heat mustard oil in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaves.
  2. Add diced potato, minced onions, some soy nuggets (soaked in warm water until they are soft, then squeeze the excess water).
  3. Add the chickpeas, salt, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala and ghee.
    (If you prefer to use onion paste to make the gravy thicker, stir fry the paste with potatoes. Make sure it is cooked thoroughly.)
  4. Add 2-3 cups of warm water and boil on pressure or until soft.
You may serve it as a snack, or with poori.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Chal Potol (Pointed gourd with rice)



চাল পটল 

Ingredients: 
2 packets frozen parwal/potol/pointed gourd or about 15-20 fresh (cut in halves)

Pre soaked kalonji rice- about 1/4 cup
1 tbsp ginger paste
1/2 medium sized onion paste
Cumin powder
Garam masala
Ghee
Cooking oil

Optional:
Dry red chilies 2
panch phoron powder (a pinch)

Method:
  1. Heat mustard oil. Temper with whole cumin, bay leaves and 2 red chilies (broken into halves).
  2. Add onion-ginger paste, stir fry and add the pointed gourd (you may shallow fry them if you are using fresh vegetables)
  3. Add pre-soaked kalonji rice to the vegetables. Add turmeric, salt, cumin powder, panch phoron powder (a pinch). Stir.
  4. Slow cook till the water released by the vegetables dry off and the rice is cooked thoroughly but is not mushy. Add garam masala and ghee. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spinach and feta puffs


Greek spanakopita inspired spinach feta puffs

Method:




For Filling:
  1. Melt olive oil/butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook until  tender. Add (frozen/ fresh chopped) spinach and cook until the liquid evaporates, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper and spices to taste. Set aside.

    You may use leftover palak matar for filling too.
For puff pastry
  1. Prepare the puff pastry sheets according to instructions (I used  Pepperridge Farm for this recipe) : Bring a sheet to room temperature  for 40 mins or until soft. Lay it on a clean, lightly floured cutting board. Cut into rectangles and brush egg wash (1 beaten egg + garlic powder). 
  2. Spoon about 1 tsp spinach filling, minced onions, and crumbled feta on each rectangle. Fold the pastry in half (into triangle or rectangle). You may crimp the edges with a fork to seal. 
  3. Brush the egg wash one more time over the pastries on both sides.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes in pre-heated oven at 400 F or until golden brown.
Eat within a few hours of baking. Preserve the unbaked pastries in freezer for later use.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Chicken, gnocchi and spinach soup


  1. In a saucepan, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add diced red onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. 
  2. Add baby spinach and cooked chicken (leftover rotisserie breast will work fine). Season with salt, pepper , and crushed coriander.
  3. Cook the gnocchi separately in salted hot water until it rises to the serface or with the other ingredients in the saucepan. Add organic chicken broth.Simmer. Serve with grated Parmesan.

    You may skip chicken and use vegetable broth for a vegetarian option. I added a pinch of flour- you may skip it to have a clear soup and add some more for the Olive Garden version.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mussels in white wine and herbs




I found some good looking mussels at Zanotto's Family Market at Naglee Ave, San Jose, which we  discovered quite by chance after our brunch at Bill's Cafe at Bascom Ave. ( I ordered a Smoked Salmon Benedict with country potatoes and I can't wait to go back again.)

Method:
  1. Scrub the mussels with a brush and cut any dangling beard with a pair of scissors.
  2. Place them in a saucepan  and liberally sprinkle garlic salt, crushed coriander, black pepper, salt, old bay seasoning, minced red onions, garlic, green chilies, celery, canned chopped tomatoes, parsley, cilantro, thyme, 1/4th tsp butter, 1 packet organic chicken broth (about 32 oz or enough to cover the mussels). Add vinegar (or lime juice) and white wine to taste (I used 1/2 cup) half way through. Simmer and then bring to boil for 10-20 mins or until all the mussels open. Discard any that don't.
  3. Serve warm with bread.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Grilled Chicken with charred sweet peppers and spinach salad with parmesan basil pesto


Grilled chicken rubbed with kashmiri red chili powder, garlic salt, old bay seasoning, crushed coriander, pepper, yogurt, bay seasoning, olive oil and dry parsley leaves. Grilled outdoors for 40 mins on medium and then high heat, turning every 7-10 mins.

Salad with baby spinach,  walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dry cranberries,and parmesan basil pesto dressing.  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Garlic shrimp in coconut milk




  1. Marinate shrimp with lemon juice ( or white vinegar), 1 tsp of minced garlic, salt, turmeric, garlic salt, Kashmiri red chili powder, crushed pepper and coriander seeds


  2. In a wok heat oil, add 5-7 slit green chilies, 1 finely chopped New Mexico chili, 1 tsp minced garlic and whole coriander seeds. Add the marinated shrimp.
  3. Stir fry, turning often. You might add thinly sliced red onions here (optional).

  4. Add 1/2 cup coconut milk, chopped green onions. Cover and cook. Taste for salt when done.
The flavors are distinctly different from Chingri Malaikari, which is another favorite if you have jumbo prawns waiting to be devoured.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Deep fried asparagus

Homemade batter with chickpea flour, egg, bread crumbs, crushed peppercorn and coriander seeds. Serve with chaat masala and ketchup (Indian style) or with yogurt dip.

For more, you may view: How to Cook Asparagus: A Definite Guide For Beginner 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Whole red lentil (sabut masoor) with vegetables


Pressure cook washed whole red lentil with cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, pumpkin and tomatoes. Add turmeric and salt to taste.

Temper with panch phoron and red chilies in 1 tsp ghee in a small pan. Add to the boiled lentil. Simmer. Eat with rice, chappati or in a bowl as soup.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Finger food for game nights

The World Cup Cricket season just started and we need something to munch on while we watch the game with our friends. I will post some finger food ideas as I make them.

Day 1: India vs Pakistan


Ghugni chaat, open toast with egg salad, and tortilla chips with queso dip

Day 2: India vs South Africa
Italian bread toast with mozzarella, tomato and basil #quickfix
Pop the set up in over for 10-15 mins until toasty

 Farfalle with tuna, and meatballs with bell pepper, onions and chipotle 

7 beans salad (salted and steamed) with cracked pepper and lime juice

And that was a delicious victory...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Eggplant in tahini sauce


Eggplant in tahini sauce


I used small Indian eggplant for this recipe.


  1. Wash and wipe the eggplant, remove green stem and cut into uniform sized wedges. Rub salt and turmeric. Light fry in a wok with olive oil  and a pinch of nigella seeds (prefer mild tasting oil for this recipe).

  2. Add fresh or frozen green peas, slit green chilies and amchur (dry mango powder).

  3. Whisk homemade or store-bought tahini (sesame paste) in a bowl/glass with water , add into the wok. Cover and cook in low flame because the eggplant can get mushy. Sprinkle water once or twice if you feel the sauce is drying. Add sugar and dry red chili powder to taste.