Category Archives: Entree

Couscous Pulav (Pilaf)

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Though I have heard lot about Couscous, never cooked/ tasted it. During our trip to California we visited a Mediterranean Restaurant called “Gotta Eatta Pita” , I liked everything they served; falafels, eggplant, baklava (top in the list:-)) and couscous. After returning home got a pack of couscous. Whenever I try something new I always try incorporating a way I am familiar with, hence the pulao

Ingredients:

Couscous – 1 cup

Mixed Vegetable – 1 cups +1/3 cup  (I used carrots, beans, corn, green peas and bell peppers)

Ginger Garlic paste – 1/2 tsp

Garam masala – 1/4 tsp

Onion – 1

Green chilli – 1

Water – 1 cup + 1/4 cup

Cardamom Pods – 2

Cinnamon Stick – 1/8 tsp

Feneel seed – 1/8 tsp

Bay leaves – 1

Star ansie – 1

Salt – as needed

Oil – 2tsp

Method:

  • In a medium pan bring 1 cup + 1/4 cup water to boil. Add 1 cup of couscous, 1/2 tsp of oil and 1/4 tsp of salt; close the lid and boil for a minute . Switch off and let it stand for 6-8 minutes. Fluff the cooked couscous with a fork and set aside
  • Add 1 tsp ofoil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add onions and saute till the onions turn translucent.  Add a pinch of salt and sugar; cook till the onions are caramelized (Sugar is optional, with little more oil this can still be achieved, but I like little sugar in all dish to neutralize flavour and yes I can hear your question, its not sweet). Keep aside
  • Add 1 tsp of oil to the same pan. When the oil is hot, add whole spices and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ginger garlic paste and green chilli; cook  till the raw smell goes off. Add vegetables and salt; cook till the veggies are cooked, if required sprinkle little water and cook. Add garam masala and cook for 2 minutes
  • In a separate wide pan spread the couscous and fluff it again (If required). Add the sautéd vegetables and caramalized onions; mix gently. Check for the seasoning and enjoy the puloa with raita or any gravy

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Spinach Roti – Guest post from Sandhya

11000038_826894400697634_1422569458_o Today we have a toddler friendly recipe from Sandhya – Sandhya’s kitchen. I got connected with Sandhya through Social media.  Sandhya is sweet person, and being a mom she shares lots of tips. After starting toddler friendly recipes, I thought of asking few moms I met in this blogging world and Sandhya was one among them.  I am a big fan of her food photography and her yummy dishes. Sandhya gave me few options, and Spinach roti was my favorite! Over to sandhya. A fortnight ago, like every morning, after sending my elder one to school, I was sipping my morning tea. I was having some time for myself checking my emails, facebook , news and so forth. I read a message from Vidya about doing a guest post in her space , specially for toddlers. She such a lovely and warm person , I have known e-socially over the last couple of months .How can I refuse ? I had no second thought as I knew I was going to do that. Thank you for giving me all the time in the world and let do this interesting delight at my pace. We are a family who love to have a mixed variety in a meal all through the week. I am sure, in this modern world most people would. Our diet varies from Palakad South Indian cooking to a North Indian Paratha, Curry  to  a Pasta Bake and what not? Guess this post will have a never ending page, if I have to list the elaborate choices we have. I have grown up eating my mum’s super soft flame baked phulka’s literally every day, either for my school lunch or a meal at home. This has been one of my comfort meal any day. Undoubtedly we love our regular flame baked phulka’s with any dry vegetable curry or may b dal or paneer delicacies or if pulse arenas. We love spinach and its richess in iron is definitely something that makes us include in our diet ritually. When it comes to kids, getting my son V eat his spinach in gravy or a molagutal ( southindian lentil coconut curry) is slightly tricky. Knowing his love for Parathas , I decided to use them in the dough. It was a complete win win situation, as all the required spinach is being consumed and yet there no complain from the boy of 7 years. All that he tells me is that the Green Chapathi is Yumm. This is an easy way of sneaking the greens into our diet using the whole wheat spinach phulka’s.

Palak Phulka Makes 20-22 Nos 1612883_826894427364298_2123537941_o INGREDIENTS

Whole Wheat Flour 2 Cups
Spinach ( Palak ) 130g
Water ¼ Cup + a few tablespoons
Ginger ½ Inch
Cumin Powder 1 Tsp
Salt ¾ -1 Tsp
Mango ( Amchur ) Powder  ( Optional) ½ Tsp
Green Chillies ( Optional) 1 -2 No’s
Sunflower Oil  or Oil of your choice 1 Tbsp.
Ghee As desired.

* Cup size us IKEA plastic cup

DIRECTIONS

  • In a large pot, heat some water and add the spinach leaves along with some salt. Allow them to blanch for 5-6 minutes. Drain the hot water from the spinach leaves and run them under cold tap water.

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  • Grind the spinach leaves along with ginger and make a fine puree. This puree approximately came up to ¾ Cup. Add very little water if required. **In case you are not making it for kids, you can include green chillies to grind along with the spinach leaves.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the spinach puree, wheat flour, salt, cumin powder and mango powder and start kneading. Add a little more water as you knead until you achieve soft pliable dough. Splash the oil onto your hands and the remaining on the dough and knead until we have a clean bowl. Set the dough aside for 20 Minutes or so.

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  • Divide the dough into 20 equal portions. Pick one portion of dough at a time, dust some flour and spread them with the roller into thin phulkas. Heat a non-stick pan / tava and cook each phulka on the pan slightly for a few minutes until you start to see some bubbles. Flip the phulka and cook for another a minute or so . Now put the phulka on the flame carefully , watch them begin to puff up slowly. Flip it and allow it puff up on the other side as well.  Remove from the flame and apply some ghee, if you like. Pile them into a casserole and serve them along with a paneer curry or just some yogurt and pickle.

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  • ** Incase you do not want to flame bake it, you may cook for a few more minutes on the pan. Put a gentle pressure using a flat spatula on each side and then set them aside in a casserole to keep it warm.
  • When you are serving the kids, you may let them roll and enjoy it as it is or dunk it in some yogurt.

11023384_826894730697601_1605528396_o  VARIATIONS: I tried filling some mashed potatoes inside the spinach phulka dough and served it like a paratha to my son. It came out really well and flavours were very mild and lovable. NOTES:

  • If you like your phulkas with a ting of heat, include the green chillies while grinding the spinach leaves.  Do avoid if you are cooking for little ones.
  • Mango powder is optional. I love the slight hint of tanginess.
  • In case you do not want to flame bake it, you may cook for a few more minutes on the pan. Put a gentle pressure using a flat spatula on each side and then set them aside in a casserole to keep it warm.

Capsicum Rice

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I usually prepare Capsicum rice with onion , ginger garlic paste, whole garam masala etc. When my mom visited us she prepared Capsicum rice with curry powder, and I loved it.  I frequently use green bell peppers for preparing this but one day was out of it, and tried with mini peppers. This colorful rice will be a kids favorite lunch box menu.

Capsicum Rice

Preparation Time : 10 mins | Cooking Time : 30 mins | Serves : 3

Category: Entree

Ingredients :

Cooked Rice – 2 cup (I used regular rice but bastmati rice can also be used)

Mini Sweet peppers – 10 (I used 4 red, 4 yellow and 2 orange, to make it colorful:-))

Roasted peanuts – 1/4 cup

Asofoetida – a generous pinch

Turmeric powder – a pinch

Salt – as needed

Oil – 1 tsp

To temper:

Sesame Oil – 1/2 tsp

Mustard seeds -1/4 tsp

Channa dal – 1 tsp

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Spice Powder:

Channa Dal  – 1 tbsp

Coriander seed – 1 tbsp

Dry Red Chilli – 3 (According to your spice level)

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Method:

  • Cook rice with 1:2 water for 2 whistles, and after the steam is naturally released, spread the rice in a wide pan
  • Dry roast all the ingredients mentioned under “Spice Powder’ till they are golden brown. Switch off and set aside. Once they come to room temperature grind it without adding water
  • Add 1 tsp  of oil to the pan and saute the bell peppers  with salt, until they are cooked
  • Add 1/2 tsp of oil and add the mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, asofetida, curry leaves and peanuts till they become golden brown, and add the tempering to the cooked bell peppers and keep aside

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  • Add the cooked rice, spice powder, peanuts to the peppers and mix well. Check for the seasoning and add salt if required.

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My Notes:

  • You can use regular green capsicum instead of mini peppers

Pudina (Mint) Rice

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For a lazy cook like me variety rice items are favorites, as I need not spend much time in kitchen, and it tastes delicious with a gravy/ raita. When we get a take out order in Indian restaurant, if we order gravy, they give a box of complimentary rice. Caramelized onion in that rice gives mild sweetness to the dish and should I say that is the reason I liked it:-) I tried a mint and ghee rice inspired by that rice. Should I call this rice as “Ghee Rice” or “MintMint Rice”, I am confused. Let me call it Ghee/Pudina Rice:-)

Check out my other Variety Rice,

Mint Rice

Preparation time : 10 minutes | Soaking time : 30 minutes to 1 hour | Cooking time : 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice – 1 cup, soaked and drained

Mint – 1 bunch

Onion – 1

Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tsp

Water – 2 cups

Cardamom Pods – 2

Cinnamon Stick -1/8 tsp

Star Ansie – 1

Bay leaf – 1

Sugar – 1/8 tsp (optional)

Salt – as needed

Fennel Seed  powder – 1/8 tsp

Ghee – 1 tbsp

Oil – 1/2 tsp

Method:

  • Soak rice in warm water for 30 minutes and strain the water
  • Add oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add onions and saute till the onions turn translucent.  Add a pinch of salt and sugar; cook till the onions are caramelized (Sugar is optional, with little more oil this can still be achieved, but I like little sugar in all dish to neutralize flavour and yes I can hear your question, its not sweet). Keep aside

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  • Add ghee to the same pan. When the ghee is hot, add whole spices and cook for 30 seconds. Add cashew, and when they turn golden brown, add ginger garlic paste and green chilli. Cook till the raw smell goes
  • Add mint and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and cook for a minute

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  • Add required salt and transfer the mixture to rice cooker and add 1:2 water and cook. Add the caramelized onions and mix well. Serve Mint Rice with gravy/raita

pudina rice

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My Notes:

  • Instead of using caramelized onion can sauté onions and use them or use fried onion
  • Instead of whole spices garam masala can also used
  • Mint can be pulsed and added

Tomato Biryani

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Variety rice are easy to make  and a perfect lunch box food. Usually I prepare tomato rice with just tomato and onion. After cooking coconut rice with coconut milk, I want to try coconut milk with tomato rice and prepared tomato biryani.

Tomato Biryani

Basmati Rice – 1 cup

Tomatoes – 3, finely chopped

Onion – 1 large sliced thinly

Spring onion – 3

Peas – 1/4 cup

Coconut Milk – 1/2 cup

Water – 1 cup + 1/2 cup

Red Chilli powder – 3/4  tsp (Adjust according to your taste)

Turmeric Powder – 1/8 tsp

Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp

Coriander Powder – 1/2 tsp

Cumin Powder – 1/4 tsp

Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp

Green Chilli – 1, slitted

Salt – as needed

Sugar – 1/8 tsp (optional)

Oil – 1/2 tbsp

Cinnamon – 2 inch stick

Cardamom – 2

Fennel Seed powder – 1/4 tsp

Bay leaves – 1

Star Ansie – 1

Method:

  • Soak rice in warm water for 30 minutes, drain the water and keep it aside
  • Add oil to the  pan. When the oil is hot, add whole spices and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion and ginger garlic paste and sauté till the raw smell goes off

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  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes get mushy. Add all the spice powders, salt and sugar; saute for 2 minutes

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  • Add peas and rice and saute for a minute. In a rice cooker add the rice – tomato mixture, coconut milk and water. After the rice is cooked sprinkle chopped spring onions  on top and Serve it with raita/gravy

Tomato Biryani2

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checkout my other variety rice,

Notes:

  • Instead of basmati rice samba rice can also be used
  • Fried onions can be added to garnish
  • Can be cooked in heavy bottmed pan or pressure cooker for 2 whistles

Aloo Paratha

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My co-sister’s mom is an expert in making Aloo paratha. Whenever I meet aunty, I always ask her to make Aloo paratha for me. There was time when making chappati was my nightmare – Not only during my college days, but even after marriage chappati is my scary take. Thanks to the marriage life, hubby prefers skipping rice for dinner. So I started doing many cracked wheat recipes, oh ya it all started to skip making chappati:-) when something becomes your routine you master (shall I say that, I don’t know, well let me put this way, I can manage it:-) seeing my Naan, avocado paratha and mixed veggies paratha recipes, my sister asks me – really?? U doing all this?????

Coming back to Aloo paratha,  this recipe was in my draft for 6 months. This is my second paratha recipe don’t know why but I always kept postponing to post this. Yesterady I prepared Aloo paratha and while cooking I  decided I am publishing this post today, my mind voice finallly!!!

Aloo Paratha

Preparation time : 10 mins | Standing time : 30 mins – 1 hour | Serves : 2

Ingredients:

Chappati dough:

Whole wheat Flour – 1 cup

Water – as needed for the dough

Oil – 1 tsp

Salt – as needed

Potato Masala:

Potato – 2, medium sized

Peas – 2 tbsp

Turmeric powder – a pinch

Coriander Powder – 1/2 tsp

Cumin Powder – 1/4 tsp

Fennel(Sombu) powder – a pinch

Ginger garlic paste – 1/2 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1/8 tsp

Garam masala powder – 1/4 tsp

Oil – 1 tsp

Salt – as needed

Method:

  • Make a soft dough, as we do for chapathi and keep it covered for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Cut the potato into half and boil the potatoes (I microwaved them for 7 minutes). Peel the skin and mash them (You can use a fork to mash)
  • Add 1 tsp of oil to a pan. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Add onions and saute till onions are translusent. Add garam masala, red chilli powder, fennel seed powder, turmeric powder and allow it to cook for a minute. Add mashed potato and peas, and cook  for 2-3 mins. Switch off and keep the stuffing aside. When its cool make small balls
  • IMG_8256Knead the dough and divide into small balls, and  roll it into a small circle. Keep one potato filling

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  •  Seal the edges together. Then gently roll it like regular chapathi (with less pressure). Do the same for the remaining dough and filling.

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  • Heat a griddle and when it is hot, place the rolled paratha, drizzle some oil. and cook for a minute or so  and flip it over to the other side. Cook till the other side cooks

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My Notes:

  • Can add 1 tbsp of yogurt instead of oil while making dough
  • Instead of keeping the filling and sealing can also make two chappati and put the potato spread, flatten it and seal the edges

Avocado Paratha

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Avocado is one of my favorite fruit and after hearing its healthy benefits, I started buying them regurlaly. My frequent take with Avocado is Guacamole in Indian style. In our home we love this as side dish for chappati, put it in bread and do Guacamole Sandwich, few Mexican style dishes like Burrito and Quesadilla. Every since I saw Avocada Paratha in my friend Malar’s space, I wanted to try but somehow I kept postponing Finally I did it, and I regretted for delaying it, softest paratha I ever tasted. Now a days once a week I am doing this

Avocado Paratha

Preparation time : 10 mins | Standing time : 30 mins – 1 hour | Serves : 2

Ingredients:

Whole wheat Flour – 1 cup

Avocado – 2, small; ripe avocado pitted and mashed

Pepper powder – 1/8 tsp

Coriander Powder – 1/2 tsp

Cumin Powder – 1/4 tsp

Lemon juice – 1/2 tsp

Oil – 1 tsp

Salt – as needed

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Method:

  • In a  bowl mash avocado and add lime juice; mix well. Add wheat, oil, salt, pepper powder, coriander powder and cumin powder to the mashed avocado pulp; combine well and make a pliable dough. Moisture in avocado should be enough to make dough but if the required add 1-2 tsp of water. Cover it with damp cloth and leave it for 30 mins – 1 hour

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  • Take small portions of dough and make small balls; roll it with rolling pin, dusting wheat flour. Heat a griddle and when it is hot, place the rolled paratha. and cook for a minute or so till the chappati starts puffing , flip it over to the other side. Cook till the other side cooks

avocado paratha

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My Notes:

  • Can add onion, garlic or any other Masala like garam masala, pav bhaji masala etc. for flavors
  • I didn’t use oil while cooking the paratha but you can drizzle some oil/ghee/butter
  • Instead of lemon juice Apple Cider Vinegar can be used to prevent Avocado from changing color
  • Can add 1 tbsp of yogurt instead of oil while making dough