Monthly Archives: March 2015

Idli Fry-my Italian combination

 

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Idli , a personal favourite breakfast food that made my Sunday mornings special, as a child. It is something that I prefer even now for our weekend breakfasts, with the full family in attendance. But it also happens to be something that is on a ‘Not to Eat’ list of my daughter, so even though me and hubby would look forward to this breakfast she would always be absent from the breakfast table on these days under some pretense.

Idli’s are made up of a fermented batter of ground rice and Urad dal (Black gram), are a complete balanced food, rich in protein, one of the best breakfast foods. They are usually served  with Chutney and Sambar that makes it a wholesome balanced meal, the Sambar is made with lentils that has vegetables added.

This particular recipe was made as an attempt to make my daughter give the idli’s a try. As she never relished the plain steamed version, hence I used some pizza topping ingredients and made this dish and served to my hungry kiddo as her evening snack. She simple loved the taste, and thus this simple recipe was created. It is simple and hence young kids who are interested in cooking can also try this out. The left over Idlis can be best used in this way.

INGREDIENTS:

Idlis: 4 number

Olive oil: 1 Tbsp

Red Chilli Flakes: 1 Tsp

Parmesan Cheese: 2 Tbsp(grated)

Salt & Dried Oregano Herb: As seasoning.

Mozzarella Cheese: Optional

Note: Any cooking oil of choice can be used. The cheese used also can be of choice, but using Parmesan was my choice.

METHOD:

Steamed Idlis cut into small
  1.  Cut the idlis into small cubes.
  2. Heat a pan on the gas flame and add the cooking oil to it. Add the idli cubes to the oil and toss till the cubes become crisper.
  3. Sprinkle the chilli flakes, salt, oregano herb and toss well so that the idli cubes get coated.
  4. Grate the Parmesan cheese on the idlis and give it final toss. Then switch off the flame of the pan. The yummy idlis are ready to be served with a tangy chilli sauce.
With grated Mozzarella cheese on top.
With grated Mozzarella cheese on top.

This simple yet nutritious food can be served in many ways. Here I have made my kiddos favourite recipe as the first one on Idlis, many more posts will be posted as my upcoming posts, as and when I make them in my Kitchen. Until then if you find this interesting then do give it a try.

Wishing you all happy and healthy eating days!

Enjoy! 🙂

ashu

 

 

 

 

A journey down memory lane-Singada or Water Chestnuts

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Singada or Water Chestnuts

Last November, I had visited my Home Country for attending my Niece’s wedding. It was indeed a fantastic trip, as apart from the marriage functions I was able to travel by road to meet the rest of my family members. During this travel we took a break for some snacks and hot cups of tea/Chai. At that place I noticed this man with his stack of freshly boiled Singadas, as they are called at home. The English name is Water Chestnut. During my childhood, my mom would bring home these from the weekly vegetable market and in no time they would be all over. The sight of these stopped me in my track and I requested the vendor to give me 100 Singadas, and also asked him if I could take pictures as he went about cutting them for me. I love the Singadas and it is difficult to stop eating after 5 or 6 and hence the 100 were ordered 😉. The kind fellow agreed to my request for taking the pictures and hence I am able to write this post. When one keeps moving from place to place like a nomad, then these simple pleasures of eating things found in home town have to be forgotten. My kids were at loss to understand my excitement at eating them, and in no mood too to wait at the place as I kept catching a word or two with the vendor.

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A single boiled Singada with its thorns, the sharp ends broken.

These Singadas are collected from the ponds and taken home by these farmers, then cleaned and washed, as they are covered with mud. Then they are boiled in water with salt so that the salt can seep inside it. The boiling makes the outer covering soft and then one can easily cut them. Cutting is required to remove the sharp thorn ends and to make an opening to open the outer cover.

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This special cutter is used to cut the thorns of the Singada.

I was in awe of the man as he was cutting each Singada with so much expertise, holding the  cutter in the toes, and ‘chop’ chop’ going with his hands and carefully placing them on the top of his bamboo basket cover in a neat circular arrangement. After he was done cutting 100 Singadas for me, he made a cone of a Newspaper and started counting and putting them in the cone.

Thorn cut Singadas
Thorn cut Singadas
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Look how amazing these Singadas look!

One can easily remove the outer cover of these cut Singadas to eat the white, sweetish yet somewhat salty edible inside part. The hands do become little black as we go about removing the cover, but then to enjoy something this tasty I presume that is not a big deal. One can always wash the hands, right!!😉

Have a great day friends.

 

 

Mixed Fruit and Vegetable Salad

IMG_6426The month of March brings with it the Indian festival of Holi, which is a  festival of colours that creates an atmosphere of fun and joy all around. This festival, a celebration of arrival of Spring, brings together people of all age groups enjoying throwing and splashing colour and water on each others. It is one of my favourite, and I definitely had lot of fun moments this year too.

Friends, just as the colours in Nature marvels our mind and soul, a couple brush strokes of paint on a white canvas brings out life in form of a picture, so does the different coloured vegetables and fruits in our diet work their wonder on our body. They are power packed sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fibres etc. adding bulk and fullness. Just with mixing of couple raw vegetables and fruits we too can create something wonderful in our kitchen to give us a reason to raid the refrigerator without a guilt, on a hot summer afternoon. My food plate has to have a splash of colour in terms of the food choices and today sharing here one of my favourite salads, a very colourful one for the sight that definitely draws our attention and tickles the taste buds with its combination of sweet and tangy flavours. The combination of fruits and vegetables added purely depends on personal taste, and one could make it as versatile as one wants it to be. To get a nutty taste do not forget to throw in some dried nuts of  choice.

INGREDIENTS:

Bell peppers: 1/2 Yellow, Green, Red, Orange

Carrot: 1 Small

Cucumber: 1 Medium

Strawberries: 3-4

Blueberries: a handful

Grapes: few (preferably seedless)

Apple: 1/2

Orange: 1

Pomegranate: 1

Nuts: Almonds or Walnuts: A handful.

Salt and Pepper- For seasoning.

Olive oil: 1Tsp

METHOD:

  1. Wash and towel dry all the vegetables and fruits.
  2. Remove the pearls from the pomegranate.(Click Here to see how to do it) Remove the skin of the apples and orange.
  3. Cut all the vegetables and fruits into small even size and put into a bowl. Mix the pomegranate pearls into this.
  4. Sprinkle sliced almonds or any roughly crushed nuts of choice into the bowl mix. Add the olive oil.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and toss all the ingredients together to mix properly so the different flavours are infused together.

I like the salad cold and hence use all vegetables and fruits that are just taken out from the fridge. Use fresh fruits and vegetables to get the crunch in the bite. One could also add sliced pistachios or cashewnuts. Chat masala can also be added, but I prefer only salt and pepper.

Go ahead, try eating this fresh salad after a good workout😉, you will definitely feel refreshed.

Enjoy!

Shrimps Stir Fry In Schezwan Sauce

Hello to my dear friends, family, and all the readers of this post. Starting this month’s blog post using Shrimps as the main ingredient of the dish, a favourite food at my place. Most of the non-vegetarian eaters would agree with me that shrimps are one of the very tasty seafood varieties. They are smaller in size and taste sweet and this stir fry recipe brings out the best of the sweetness of the shrimps and fiery taste of the chillies in the sauce. My household, as well as many others in my family have a typical cooking style for seafood, mine is mostly influenced by the curry that I have grown-up eating since childhood. After marriage, the time when I started cooking, I have developed a favouritism to the Goanese style of making seafood curry, something that is relished a lot with plain, hot steamed rice.

Different culinary experiences have influenced change in the choices and taste buds of the family, something that I find is good but sometimes equally challenging, especially on days when this chef has no mood of cooking. Yes friends, you have read it correct, I too have moments when I shut down my kitchen as the chef in me wants a break 😉. But with the abundance of variety of junk food around to woo and tempt, and spoil the eating habits of the young generation, the mother in me has to dish out dishes that can appeal to the kids and make them come back for more. My cooking is my way of ensuring to the young minds that home cooked food can be innovative, appealing, restaurant style and at the same time tasty too!

This weekend was a seafood special in my kitchen, so Thursday evening I was at the Fish Market buying the choicest of fish from the fish vendor, I have always done my seafood purchasing from this one person since living in this place. The best part of buying from the same vendor is that he knows what type of fish we buy and always gives the best stock, and as you would all agree that fresh food always tastes yum. As I was driving home with my load of the three varieties of seafood I was making plans to cook something different from the shrimps. My kids are fond of shrimp fritters that I make, my modified version of the recipe I ate at my Aunt’s house first time. I had planned to make and it would have been posted here now, but something else got cooked and now that fritter recipe would be shared as a future post. (Do keep visiting the blog for the other recipes mentioned that would be posted sometime soon)

This easy stir fry recipe was super hit with my Jr. who could not stop coming back for more of it. It could be served as an appetizer or side dish with noodles, or enjoyed as the main dish of the meal like my Jr. did.

SHRIMPS STIR FRY IN SCHEZWAN SAUCE

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INGREDIENTS:

Shrimps: 400 g

Onion: 1 Medium

Bell Pepper: 1 nu.

Ching’s secret Schezwan Sauce: 1 Tbsp IMG_6111

Oil: 1 Tbsp

Salt: To taste.

METHOD:

  1. Peel, devein, and wash the shrimps clean. Pat them dry and keep in the refrigerator till we prepare other vegetables.
  2. Slice the onion and bell pepper.
  3. Heat the cooking oil of choice, I used extra virgin Olive oil. Add the sliced onion and bell pepper and sauté. Then add the shrimps. Sprinkle salt as per taste.
  4. Add the Ching’s secret stir fry Schezwan sauce to the pan and toss all the ingredients so that it gets evenly coated. Cook for a couple of minutes keeping the pan on high flame so that the sauce is coated well and the shrimps look cooked and bit grilled.IMG_6057
  5. Remove the pan from fire and empty the contents on to a serving plate and serve hot with a tangy spiced salad using chat masala or ketchup if you prefer a more sweeter taste.

The sauce added can be adjusted to ones preference depending on the chilli taste required in the dish. The shrimps or prawns do not require long cooking as this makes the flesh tough and that alters the taste and eating experience. Stir frying of food  by mixing it with spices, or herbs, or sauces of choice adds a different dimension to the same old regular ingredient. Adding vegetables to the meat adds the crunch in the bite and also one could play around with varied tastes using different vegetables. Adding the onion and bell pepper gives out a more sweeter taste to the sweet shrimps and the chillies in the sauce make it hot at the same time.

Happy cooking and tasting this simple, yet satiating recipe. See you all soon with a new post.