Breakfast power smoothie


dsc_1104As days get colder I get lazier. leaving the comfy confines of a chair that’s been warming under you simply to make breakfast feels a bit treacherous, but we gotta eat and breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

And I’ll tell you what’s better than a healthy quick morning breakfast.. one that doesn’t need much eating. Yeah all you gotta do is drink and feel your insides give you a thumbs up.

This breakfast morning smoothie is fast, ferociously energizing and full of good things. It’s fresh, fruity and fantastic.

 

dsc_1098-copyYou can of course change any of these ingredients according to whatever your fridge spring or local fruit market sustains. All fruits, any kinds are welcome, and these are what I put in. A mushed up half of an avocado, pineapple, banana and frozen grapes.

 

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just bung everything in a blender.

 

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add a bit of water just to help everything combine, or it might get too thick

 

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admire the colours and blend.

 

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make a mess while pouring

 

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Ingredients

Pineapple: 150g (1 cup heaped)

Grapes: 110g (1/2 cup) (use frozen for a thicker smoothie texture)

Avocado: 1/2 or 1

Banana: 1

Water: 2-3 tbsp

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Recipe instructions:  Blend together all the fruits. Add a little water if the consistency is too thick.

Serve.

Note: you may use any fruits of choice. Either ones from your deep freeze or fresh. Add some blueberries, or frozen strawberries with banana. Apples and peaches work well too.

Enjoy

 

 

Mushroom noodle soup


DSC_0680This isn’t the first noodle soup recipe on this blog, and most assuredly, not the last; this however is (as immodest as it may sound) the alpha and the omega of soupy noodle world. Meatless magic in all its crimson glory. The red blush that stains this fantastic broth is courtesy ‘Gochujang’; that vividly red Korean paste of hot peppers, easily available at your nearest Asian grocery store.

To stave off unwarranted hunger pangs at odd lunch hours, this soup is the way to your soul. Calm cooking, languorous eating, dangerously addictive. A big bowl of hearty sustenance and full bodied flavours , almost as piquant as you’d wish your dreams to be.

 

DSC_0639copyGreens of choice. I’m using Chinese lettuce here. Coriander, mushrooms, green onions, ginger and garlic, noodles, soy sauce and gochujang.

Use whatever mushrooms are handy. I’m using a mix of oysters and white beech mushrooms.

 

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Mince or chop together ginger and garlic

 

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as well as the white part of green onions. Save the green tails for later.

 

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In a pan or wok of choice, heat some oil and add the chopped/minced ginger+garlic+white part of green onions.

 

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cook until fragrant, or just about translucent

 

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add in the mushrooms

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and give it a good tossing about in the oil.

 

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add in a bunch of coriander into the pan with mushrooms. Save the rest for later.

 

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add water/stock to the pan.

 

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followed by a bit of salt. Only a bit.

 

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cover and let it come to a boil, letting it rapidly boil for 5 minutes.

 

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Chop the green ends of the spring onions

 

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and the coriander.

 

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add in an unapologetically fat glob of gochujang to the boiling mushroomy broth

 

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ah, the fierce redness. Let it come to a boil before adding in the noodles.

 

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cook noodles in the broth until they’re done.

 

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add the green ends of the green onions in the bottom of a serving bowl and douse liberally with soy sauce.

 

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layer on the lettuce

 

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upend the cooked contents of the pan. Broth and noodles.

 

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blanket the surface with chopped coriander

 

DSC_0680slurp hot!


Ingredients

stock/water: 750mls (3 cups)

mushrooms: 200g (2 cups)

green onions: 2

garlic: 1 clove

ginger: 2-3 cms piece

coriander: small bunch

gochujang: 60g (4tbsp)

soy sauce: 2tbsp

noodles: 1 nest

lettuce leaves: 3-4

salt to taste

*this recipe is a single serving big bowl.  Increase or decrease as per requirement


Recipe instructions

Heat two tbsp oil in a wok/pan and add in the chopped ginger, garlic and green onions. Cook until translucent and add in the mushrooms. Saute for a minute, add a few strands of coriander and add in water/stock. Sprinkle salt if needed.

Cover and let bubble for 5 minutes. Add in the gochujang paste and let it come to a boil before adding in the noodles. Let the noodles cook in the mushroomy broth.

Add to the serving bowl the chopped green onion tails and soy sauce. Layer with lettuce leaves and tip the contents of the cooked noodles in broth into the bowl.

Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve hot.

DSC_0681Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Breakfast noodles


DSC_0554

Who on earth has noodles for breakfast? you might well ask. Well..a lot of people do..more than a billion to be exact. No kidding. Noodles are a Chinese breakfast staple and they have one too many variations. Chow mein, lo mein etc just to name a few.

During early morning hours you can see little shops dotted all around along the roads in every Chinese city, selling one or the other kind of noodle dish. Among the most popular are rice noodles immersed in pork bone soup, which you can garnish with any permutation combination of toppings that are usually lined on a table in small bowls.

These breakfast noodles are a somewhat take on Chinese lo mein, and I cook them much too often on mornings that I know I’m in no rush. These are delicious, nutritious, hearty and light at the same time. Easy to conjure with whatever vegetables you’ve languishing in the fridge, add in any meat, fish or go completely vegetarian.

Once you’ve cooked these, you’ll be hooked and you can have them cold as well as warm.

 

DSC_0528 copyThe ingredints do look like a lot to take in but they can be as many or as few as you want. For the flavour base-chopped garlic, ginger and white part of spring onions. For the sauce-soy sauce+oyster sauce+black pepper+sugar. Vegetables -lettuce, mushrooms, carrots. Cooked noodles of your choice, prawns (optional), egg. For garnishing-coriander leaves and green part of spring onions.

Yes, this does look like a lot but it really isn’t. The chopping doesn’t take as long as writing the list of these ingredients does. You can use any veggies of your choice. These are just what happened to be in my fridge.

 

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DSC_0532First, lets just scramble that egg in a bit of oil and set aside.

 

DSC_0533Once that’s done..heat some more oil in a pan on medium high heat.

 

DSC_0535and add in the chopped garlic, ginger and white part of the spring onion

 

DSC_0536stir it around a bit till its fabulously fragrant, but not brown.

 

DSC_0537in with the prawns and stir them around for a minute

 

DSC_0539add in the carrots and mushrooms and saute for another minute

 

DSC_0541and finally in with the lettuce.  They’ll wilt in seconds

 

DSC_0542add in a bit of salt (not pictured) and stir it around till the lettuce wilts and the vegetables are nicely coated with fragrant oil.

 

DSC_0543add in the sauce mixture

 

DSC_0544and stir around a few seconds until all’s coated with these lovely salty sweet juices

 

DSC_0545finally, tip in the noodles. I’m using potato noodles and stir them around

 

DSC_0546That’s it, nearly done. Top with chopped greens of the green onion and coriander.

 

DSC_0548oh and don’t forget to add in the scrambled eggs.

 

DSC_0562Voila. Breakfast noodles!

 

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Ingredients

Boiled noodles- 1-2 nests

Prawns (optional)- 100g

Egg- 1

salt- 1/2 tsp

for the sauce

Soy sauce- 1tbsp

Oyster sauce- 1 tbsp

Black pepper- 1/2 tsp

sugar-1 tsp

(in case you’re vegetarian, omit oyster sauce and increase soy sauce amount to 1.5 tbsp)

——-

Mushrooms- 4-5 sliced

lettuce- 5-6 leaves chopped

carrot- 1

garlic-2 cloves chopped fine

Ginger- 2 cm stem chopped fine

Spring onion-1 chopped fine

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Recipe:  Heat some oil in a pan and scramble the egg and keep it aside.

Heat some more oil and once it’s hot add in the chopped garlic, ginger and white part of the spring onion and saute in the oil for a few seconds until fragrant. Add in the prawns and cook for a minute or so. Add in the chopped vegetables, salt and cook until almost done.(just a few minutes).

Tip in the sauce and stir briefly. Add the cooked noodles and stir around till they’re well coated with the sauce. Add in the scrambled egg and garnish with coriander and chopped green part of the spring onion.

DSC_0554Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon fried rice


DSC_0265

This is just the kind of food you want to indulge in from keeping your waistline into an ever expanding universe. Healthy, nourishing, nutritious and all too tasty..how often do you even read all these adjectives in the same sentence?

Well my darlings, if you’re still on about healthy eating this year (why?), then this fantastic recipe is the one for you. Packed full on with flavours, yet strangely subtle. This bowl promises to comfort without making you fat. It’s sustenance and all too easy to scarf down in heaping abundance. No guilt, only pleasure. Your taste buds will thank you and your insides will give a content round of applause. It’s so easy and quick to put together that you’ll see yourself tottering in smug satisfaction as you lay this humble yet celestially righteous bowl of gratifying health for all to see and eat.

This does a superb double take as not only a solitary lunch but also as a quick meal for many.

 

DSC_0224 copyA bit many ingredients, but they’re not a whole lot.paprika, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice, chopped onions, ginger and garlic as the flavour base. Salmon, peas and spinach, hard boiled eggs and that’s really it. (psst. use any fish you have available)

 

DSC_0227dry roast the cumin and peppercorns, until they’re just fragrant

 

DSC_0230These need to be crushed along with other spices

 

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DSC_0232In with the salt and paprika

 

DSC_0233and you crush it within an inch of their existence, or until they’re nicely crushed

 

DSC_0235like so..

 

DSC_0236now for a gentle massage or rub..however you prefer

 

DSC_0238an now for a bit of tasteful dismemberment..or you can just cut in to chunks

 

DSC_0239In a pot of choice, heat some oil and add in the chopped onions

 

DSC_0241casually throw in the chopped ginger

 

DSC_0244followed closely by lemon zest

 

DSC_0245and in with the fish chunks. Cook for a few minutes, until the fish is more or less cooked.

 

DSC_0247Add in the chopped garlic and stir for a minute more.

 

DSC_0248Plonk in all the vegetables (peas and spinach) and stir for just another minute until the spinach wilts. (I’m using frozen peas, so it takes just a minute for them to cook. If you’re using fresh peas, you might want to add them a bit earlier or pre cook them)

 

DSC_0251now for the rice. I used a rice cooker and steamed the rice with a clove and black cardamom pod (totally optional)

 

DSC_0252In they go

 

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mix it well and add in the lemon juice. taste for seasoning, you might want to add in a touch more salt.

 

DSC_0269Embellish with eggs if you please. This recipe has real oomph and wow factor. It looks simple, and it is simple, but the flavours manage to hit all the right spots without jarring your senses.

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Ingredients

Salmon fillet: 170g

Onion: 1 medium sized. finely chopped

Ginger: 1 inch stem finely chopped

Garlic-2-3 cloves finely chopped

Paprika: 1/2 tsp

Cumin seeds: 1 tsp

Black peppercorns: 1 tsp

lemon:1 (zest+juice)

salt: 1 tsp + more

Cooked rice: 150g-200g (about 1 cup)

Peas: 100g (1/2 cup)

Eggs (optional) : 1-2 (hardboiled or to your preferred doneness)

Spinach: big bunch (it wilts down to almost nothing when cooked. Use a lot if you really want to see it in your dish)

Salmon fillet or fish chunks: 150g

Oil to cook: 1 tbsp

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Recipe instructions: Dry roast the cumin seeds and black peppercorns for a minute or so and crush along with paprika and salt. Rub the salmon fillet on both sides with this dry mixture and cut into chunks.

In a large pot, heat some oil and add in the chopped onions and ginger. Cook for a few seconds until translucent and add in the lemon zest and stir fry for half a minute. Add in the fish and cook for a couple minutes until fish is almost done. Add in the garlic and stir together for a minute or so.

Add in the peas and spinach and cook for another minute, until the spinach is wilted and fish is completely cooked.

Add in the cooked rice and stir it all together, until all rice is well incorporated throughout the mixture and each grain is coated with flavour.

check for seasoning, add more salt if you prefer.

Finally squeeze in the lemon and briefly stir.

Serve hot, flecked with chunks of hard boiled eggs.

Enjoy!!

 

Salmon, baked potatoes & pea puree


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This might look like a chaotic blip of technicolour profusion, but I promise you it’s wholly edible, and not just edible, but lip smacking zen level scrumptious. Zen because it isn’t overloaded with fat or an orchestra of varied spices, and lip smacking because eating so many different colours will only infuse your insides with digestive rainbows, and since when did that become a bad thing?

If you’re still on the healthy eating bandwagon and haven’t budged yet from your new years resolution then as annoying as you might be, this is the perfect recipe for you. It’s fish, it’s potatoes and peas..just three simple instruments to serenade you into making a fantastical composition that looks good and tastes even better. You can make a solitary meal for one or fancy meal for many, either which way it’s just as easy and delicious.

 

DSC_0190 copyjust potatoes, peas (I use frozen), a clove of garlic, salmon fillet and olive oil.(salt and pepper not pictured)

 

DSC_0192let’s prep the potatoes first, since they will take the longest to bake. So peel ’em

 

DSC_0193halve them

 

DSC_0194half each half into half or quarter it as some might suggest

 

DSC_0195dice each quarter into equal pieces.

 

DSC_0197line on a baking sheet

 

DSC_0198drizzle oil

 

DSC_0201salt and peppa!

 

DSC_0202arrange and bake at 190°C for 30 minutes, or until they turn crisp and golden and gorgeous.

 

DSC_0203in the meanwhile as the potatoes bake, bring a pot of water to boil, and add a clove of garlic

 

DSC_0204followed by peas. I use frozen peas, but use whatever you have handy.

 

DSC_0205let ’em boil until the peas are fully cooked, not just tender but totally absolutely tender.

 

DSC_0206fish them out and puree them into a blender or food processor along with the now cooked garlic. Don’t make it into a soup, keep the nubbly texture..it should gloop off a spoon, not drip.

 

DSC_0207finally, salt and pepper on both sides of the fish. (I just have the salt one, but imagine there’s pepper in it too). Try and use a good salt if you can. I’m using Maldon salt.

 

DSC_0212cook on a very hot pan, about 3-4 minutes each side.

 

DSC_0213turn it over. Mine took about 3 minutes each side, but depending on the thickness of your fish you might have to decrease or increase the timings.

 

DSC_0214in the meantime let’s have a look at them potatoes.

 

DSC_0220plate it as you want. I like the pea puree to form the base for the fish to settle on and potatoes on the side. There isn’t much in terms of seasonings and flavourings, and that’s what makes this taste exactly how it should. The peas are sweet with the slightest hint of garlic, the salmon is light and flaky, just enough salt blending with peppery depth, and the potatoes work as a robust accompaniment to these delicate flavours. All in all, a great light meal for anytime of the day.

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Ingredients

olive oil : 1-2 tbsp

garlic: 1 clove

potatoes: 2 medium

salmon fillet: 1 (150g)

peas: 150g (1 cup)

salt and pepper to taste

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Cooking instructions:

peel and quarter your potatoes lengthwise. Cut each segment into equal parts. Line on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and paper, mix well and bake at 190°C for 30 minutes or until crisp and nicely browned.

In a pot of boiling water add garlic and peas and cook until they’re tender. Blend into a nubbly puree.

salt and pepper the salmon on both sides and cook on a very hot lightly oiled pan for about 3-4 minutes until bothe sides are nicely browned and the fish is cooked through.

Arrange on a plate with peas and potatoes and Enjoy!.

 

Fat free granola


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This one’s for all you new year resolution junkies out there, those who think and believe that promising themselves to eat better for one whole year (gasp) will make them thinner. It will make you thinner if you eat better and healthier, but one whole year..who does that? and we all know these resolutions come with an expiry date, spanning anywhere between few hours to few weeks, so onto the bandwagon we go.. with health food for the new year.

Health food has such eew connotations, as it should and why not, but this fat free or almost fat free granola is really good. For starters it’s extremely easy, not to mention it’s also pretty tasty. So in case you’re a fridge/pantry pirate, looking for booty to snack on (that so didn’t come out right, but my new years resolution is to be wrong and not bother), then this granola is just the thing for you. easy on the waistline, high on the crunch and the best part is, you can fill it up with all your favourite nuts and dried fruits.

So here, we, Go!

 

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easy peasy ingredients. almonds and walnuts (or nuts of your choice) raisins (or substitute with dry fruits..I tried to keep it fairly simple), vanilla extract, rolled oats (not instant oats), honey and sesame seeds.

  • please feel to use any seeds or nuts or fruits to your liking. You can use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, melon seeds, dried apricots, dried blueberries etc. really up to you. This is the simpler easy to make version..also if you want absolutely no sugar in it, then use stevia instead of honey.

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DSC_0099into a very dry pan, roast the nuts and sesame seeds until the nuts and sesame seeds are just lightly browned and smell nuttier and sesamier (?)

 

DSC_0100then on a dry board, smash them with a weapon of choice, get rid of your daily stresses..no more tears..just smash these nuts to smithereens, you’ll feel better.

 

DSC_0101smash them until some is powder, some flakes and some chunks. We need texture.

 

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Into a large bowl of choice, add in the oats

 

DSC_0106and the sesame seeds

 

DSC_0107and the nuts

 

DSC_0109the raisins

 

DSC_0110honey

 

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and finally vanilla.

 

DSC_0112mix them all together. This will take a couple of minutes until each oat is coated with honeyed goodness.

 

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it will kind of clump together, maybe stick a bit but all for the greater good.

 

DSC_0114on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, spread them as evenly as you can.

 

DSC_0117something like this, and bake at 180°C for ten minutes

 

DSC_0119pull it out of the oven, and they’ll be very lightly scorched, but we’re not done.

 

DSC_0120turn them over as best as you can, and spread again evenly and bake at 180°C, again for ten minutes

 

DSC_0123you’ll know they’re done because the raisins will looks burnished and plumped up and the oats will assume a rosier hue, and of course your kitchen would be smelling divine. Leave these on the counter for at least ten minutes or until they’re completely cool, because when they’re hot they’ll be soft to the touch and you’d wonder what went wrong.

 

DSC_0126after they’ve rested, you can just scoop them out

 

DSC_0125and break into little chunks

 

DSC_0128and fill in your jars.

These make delicious health snacks, and once you’ve made them, you’d look for excuses to get healthier.

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Ingredients

rolled oats: 1 cup

raisins: 1/4 cup

nuts: 1/2 cup

honey: 1/3 cup

sesame seeds: 1/4 cup

vanilla extract: 1/2 tsp

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Recipe instructions:

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together until throughly combined. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil and bake at 180°C for ten minutes. Pull the tray out of the oven, and using a large spoon turn them over, and spread in an even layer again. Bake at 180°C for ten more minutes and leave them out to cool.

Once cooled, store in airtight containers.

DSC_0131keep a jar where you work, and snack on ’em all day. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Chinese fried rice


DSC_0983Zen, pure and a work of moments. These fried rice are a breeze to make and their savory, mellow, fresh taste makes it a delight to eat. They are nutritious, low-fat, versatile and catapult your leftover cooked rice into a delish meal.

This dish can be cooked using whatever leftover vegetables you have in your fridge and somehow it never goes wrong. This recipe was given to me by my Chinese friend and it is as much a pleasure to cook as it is to eat. Try this and you’d never want another recipe for your fried rice.

DSC_09441The ingredients are really up to you and what you have in your fridge, but this is as basic as it gets. Spring onions, Chinese chives, leftover mushroom & onion mix from my sandwich (this is optional), peas, carrot, red pepper, sugar, ginger, soya sauce & egg (not pictured)

I’m not using any garlic here, because my Chinese friends tell me that if a recipe includes spring onions there is no need for garlic.

DSC_0946Starting with pepper

DSC_0947De-seed, de-vein

DSC_0948and chop into about 1/4 inch dices

DSC_0949I used half of that carrot I showed in the picture simply because this was a solitary meal and how much can a gal eat?

DSC_0950carrot into two segments. each segment into three segments.

DSC_0951chopped into chunky small pieces.

DSC_0952ditto with green onions.

DSC_0953I reserve the white and light green part for the initial cooking as a flavour base and the green ones to put in later for flavour enhancement and garnish.

DSC_0954and these Chinese chives. I have a soft spot for these, and end up putting them in everything I cook.

DSC_0955As with the green onions, I use the lighter part for initial flavour base and the green part for second flavour layer and garnish.

DSC_0956Here we are with our chopped vegetables and the pictured egg.

DSC_0958Oil into your favourite wok, as you can see mine is pretty old and has seen many a burnt foods and adventures and I love it to bits. It’s my moms actually, I stole it from her and carried it to China.

DSC_0959while the oil is getting hot, here is my rice. It’s not much, but enough to feed me.

DSC_0961make sure the oil starts smoking before you add in your vegetables. The oil has to be ferociously hot. In a big swoop add in the peppers, carrots, white part of the chives,finely minced ginger and spring onions. It’ll sizzle and you’d salivate.

DSC_0963in with the peas

DSC_0966pepper, lots of it.

DSC_0967leftovers.. mushrooms in my case

DSC_0968pinch of sugar and this doesn’t sweeten anything but rather balances all the flavours.

DSC_0969finally half of the soya sauce

DSC_0971bring it all together and mix well for a few seconds.

DSC_0972add in the rice. I have here some beautiful jasmine rice, but use any rice you have.

DSC_0974mix well until most of the rice is slicked with vegetables and oil

DSC_0976now grab a handful of the green parts of the spring onions and chives and add to your hot wok. This boosts the flavours and brings together this entire dish

DSC_0977Now crack in the egg.

DSC_0978Mix until it’s scrambled and coated each rice strand.

DSC_0979Add in the remaining soya sauce

DSC_0980another handful of greens and mix and adjust for seasoning. If you need more salt and black pepper, now’s the time. My soya sauce was very salty and I really didn’t need any more salt but make sure this dish isn’t under salted. Mix well and it’s done.

DSC_0991how easy was this? rich rewards with minimum effort. You have to make this.

Ingredients

  • Rice: 1/2 cup
  • spring onions:  3-4
  • Chinese chives: 2-3
  • mushrooms: 4-5
  • egg: 1 large
  • peas: 60g (about 1/4cup)
  • carrot: 30g (scant 1/4 cup)
  • ginger finely minced : 1 teaspoon
  • red pepper: 1 medium size
  • soya sauce: 1 tablespoon
  • black pepper: 1 teaspoon
  • sugar: 1/4 teaspoon
  • salt: to taste
  • Vegetable oil: 2 teaspoons

(this recipe doesn’t really need measurements since it’s up to you, how much or how little vegetables you need. You can double or triple the amount of rice and ingredients to suit your needs)

Recipe: Chop the vegetables into 1/4 inch thick chunks. Reserve the green part of the chives and green onions for garnishing and later layer of flavours.

In a wok, heat oil and once it nearly starts smoking add in your ginger,vegetables, except the green parts of the chives and spring onions. Mix well. add the pepper, sugar and half of the soya sauce. Mix until well combined. Add in the rice and mix until the rice is slicked with oil and vegetables. Add in half the green part of spring onions and chives, crack in the egg and mix again until the rice is fairly coated with scrambled egg. Finally add in the remaining soya sauce and the remaining green parts of chives and spring onion, adjust for seasoning and serve hot.

This is not a very pungent, or overwhelmingly flavourful dish. It’s a very mild, subtle and fresh tasting rice dish. It’s pure and simple and a perfect light lunch or dinner.

DSC_0989Enjoy!!

Roasted Red Peppers : How to


DSC_0654What can I say about roasted peppers, except that they are divine. They’re the equivalent of a food poetry. They bring to life anything they are added in. Their subtlety of flavour livens up even something as meagre as a stale slice of bread. It’s like the rhyming word which makes a verse all the more interesting.

The slightly smoky, charred flavour is harmonious with almost everything.You can add this to a sandwich, throw it in a bowl of pasta, puree into a soup or just drizzle it with olive oil and serve as a side dish. This is guaranteed to brighten your table, your mood and your food. Also it’s really easy, and you could do this in a matter of minutes.

You don’t need a whole list of ingredients, except perhaps some peppers. You can roast any pepper of your choice, I’m doing red peppers, but you can go ahead with whatever suits your preference and your colour of the day. yellow, orange, green.. whatever coloured pepper is available.

I’m a stove top girl, when it comes to roasting peppers. You could just as easily pop this in a hot oven, but for me, this technique is better suited since it’s charred and burnt evenly on all sides.

DSC_0637Place the pepper on stove top like so. The flame should be high enough to not only roast it but blacken it.

DSC_0638Time for tong action!! You really do need a tong for this. keep rotating on all sides until it’s seriously blackened. Leave no side even a bit coloured, including the tip. You really need to blacken up these babies.

DSC_0642Once it’s coal-black, lose no time and put the peppers in a ziplock bag and seal it. This step makes it easier to take the skins off, and makes these peppers juicy. Let them be in the ziplock for at least 15 minutes, and you can get on with your life till then.

DSC_0651See!! I wasn’t kidding about roasting them to a nice shade of Hellish black. These peppers have had their 15 minutes in the ziplock, and it’s time to reveal the divinely delicious peppers that have metamorphosed into food poetry.

DSC_0653You need to get your hands dirty, and you won’t even complain. Just peel the skins and they will come off real easy. I do not like to be too fastidious with the skinning process, since a bit of charred remain is desirable, as it’s the bits of charred skin that gives these peppers their characteristic smoky flavour.

DSC_0656This is what I as talking about. Lipstick red but tastier, aromatic, jewel bright and oh so delicious. Just de-seed them before serving, also a few seeds don’t hurt nobody..

There are millions of serving suggestions:

-tear into shreds, drizzle some olive oil, crumble some feta and eat.

-tear them and throw into a bowl spaghetti lightly drizzled with olive oil and parmesan

– add it to your sandwich and watch the flavour go up a hundred notch

– puree along with some sour cream, salt and garlic and make a delightful pasta sauce.

– add it to your hummus, and make an electric red coloured bowl of greed.

Once you’ve made these at home, you wouldn’t want to buy an expensive jar of roasted peppers. It’s an easy process and it’s so much better when you do it yourself.

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Recipe: On a medium high flame of your stove top place the peppers and keep turning them every 30-40 seconds until they are all evenly charred. Make sure to roast the tip as well.

Once you’re satisfied with the colour, place in a ziplock bag and seal it. Let these peppers sit for 10-15 minutes.

Finally just peel off the charred skin, making sure some skin remains to ensure a smoky flavour.

De-seed before serving.

Enjoy!!!!

Minestrone di zucca aka Pumpkin Soup


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Well, I think it sounds better in Italian than a plain old pumpkin soup…If you’re freezing your butt in your part of the world as well, then I think this is the best recipe to salvation.  Apparently !!!! this freezing weather has sort of motivated us to hit the gym more frequently than ever, simply because piles of warm clothing can’t act as a ruse forever..winters act as a catalyst to pile on the pounds as well.. which is why I came under a lot of pressure to cook something tasty and healthy.. we all know if it’s healthy it ain’t gonna be very tasty.. come on admit it.. So anyways.. I was going through all my recipe’s, my cook books and the internet looking for all the healthy/tasty recipe’s, which is when I stumbled on this recipe for ‘pumpkin soup’ by Ritu Dalmia. It’s in her cook book ‘Italian Khana’ and well, I gave it a try…… to a roaring success.. My husband couldn’t get enough of it, and since that day I’ve made this more than a dozen times.. You have to make this to believe it..

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bwahaha..okay let’s be serious..

Ingredients

adapted from Minestrone di zucca | Pumpkin soup |Verona | – Ritu Dalmia’s Italian Khana

500 gms pumpkin peeled and cubed

1 large onion chopped

1 clove garlic minced

1 lt chicken stock/vegetable stock or just plain ol’ water

1 tbsp olive oil (the original recipe calls for 75 gms butter, but I adapted this to make a healthier version)

300 mls low-fat milk (use whole milk if you like)

1 pinch grated nutmeg

grated parmesan (optional)

salt & pepper to season

1/2 tsp paprika & 1/4 tsp chilly flakes (my addition. leave them out if you want)

Season the pumpkin cubes with salt, drizzle a bit of olive oil, place in a baking tray and roast in preheated oven at 200℃ for 20-25 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and cook the onions till pink and add the garlic. and cook for another minute. Add the roasted pumpkin and stock or water and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool a little.

In a blender puree the soup till it’s all reached a smooth consistency.

Pout back into the pan with the milk and heat again, seasoning with salt pepper, nutmeg and chillies if you’re using..

Ennjjjooyyy !!!!!

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Okay, here’s another picture..

South Indian Sambhar


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Sambhar is a very popular South Indian vegetable stew/broth/curry.. whatever you might want to call it..  Subtly sour, full of vegetables, low calorie, and the greatest accompaniment to rice

This dish has so many different ways of making depending upon where it’s made. This recipe right here is how my mother makes it, without using those boxed sambhar masala’s. I don’t really like that flavour, and this is how I have eaten this dish forever. No, I’m not some sambhar purist and It’s entirely up to you to use a packaged masala.. But this is the way I roll, or rather my mom did, and trust me you have to taste this to know how fantabulous this actually is.

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Vegetables!! The main ingredient. I have used beans, green peppers, brinjals. You can easily use any vegetables you like, drumsticks, cauliflowers etc etc.. whatever you want- the onions and tomatoes are a must.

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these are 200 gms of pigeon peas (split toor dal). These form the base of our sambhar.

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Into a deep pot, put in all the ingredients. The chopped vegetables, the lentils and add the water. This will be 600mls of water.

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Now the spices. 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder. (hing)

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1 tsp turmeric powder. It does bring out the yellow, and oh boy, yellow it is.

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salt- a little short of 1 tbsp. It’s a lot of sambhar, and under salted food is vile.

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Mix them all together now and put it on a boil. We need the vegetables to be well cooked, in fact softened and almost not blended. Also the lentils do take some time to cook. I boiled them for about 40 minutes.

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Now for part 2. and this is what makes this dish truly South Indian. These spices, sort of form the soul of this food. I have here 4 cloves of garlic. 1 tbsp of coriander seeds, 2 tsps fenugreek seeds, 1/2 cup shredded coconut.- If miraculously you happen to have fresh coconut, then nothing like it.

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Into a very hot tablespoon of oil, add in the garlic cloves

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Going next are the coriander seeds and the fenugreek.

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in goes the shredded coconut

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keep frying them all together until the mixture turns brown, like so. Now this is when your house house will smart smelling like a spice incense. It’s heaven I tell you.

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Into a blender they go. Mix in about 1 tbsp of water so that everything comes together beautifully.

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This is what the blend looks like.

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Now if you wish to make your dish more spicy, add in some ground red chillies (completely optional). usually one adds dried red chillies before blending, but since my husband is not a friend of the spicy stuff, I like to do this to control the chilli.

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The final blend.

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The last in line of taste and aromatics. I have some curry leaves. It’s a handful really. But in case you have the fresh stuff 8-10 leaves will do. Also 1 tbsp of tamarind paste. This tamarind gives the sambhar its distinct subtly sour taste.

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The unveiling of the vegetables and lentils. I cooked them for about 40 minutes and this is how they turned out. The vegetables were soft and mushy in golden yellow curry and the salt was just fine.

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Remember the blend from the coconut etc. .. well, it’s time for it to meet its destiny. In it goes in the lentil and vegetables mixture.

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the curry leaves go in.

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Finally the last ingredient- the sour tamarind paste. This all needs to cook again for another 10 minutes, before you serve it piping hot with rice.

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Here we go- the moment of TRIUMPH. Doesn’t this look gorgeous? It tastes even better. The best part about this recipe is that it’s not heavy, its not very oily and it can be eaten just like that- as a sort of soup. I love it, and so will you..Enjoy !!!!!

Ingredients

200 gms of pigeon peas (split toor dal)

chopped vegetables of your choice.

1 thinly chopped medium sized onion

1 thinly chopped medium sized tomato.

600 mls water

1/2 tsp asofoetida (hing)

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp coriander seeds

4-5 cloves of garlic

2 tsps fenugreek seeds

1/2 tsp crushed red chillies (optional)

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 tbsp oil.

8-10 curry leaves

1 tbsp tamarind paste.

In a deep pan mix the chopped vegetables, onion, tomato, water, asofoetida, salt and turmeric. Cook them on medium flame for about 35-40 minutes (covered) or until the lentils are cooked and the vegetables mushy.

In a separate pan, heat the oil, tip in the garlic, fenugreek and coriander seeds, coconut. Fry until it’s all golden brown. Once these spices are golden and fragrant, blend them with a tbsp of water. Add crushed chillies as per taste- they’re completely optional.

Into the pot of cooked lentils and vegetables, add the blend of spices, the curry leaves and the tamarind paste.

Cook for another 10 minutes.

Serve warm.