November 25, 2014

Bolivian Quinoa Stew - One Pot Broth ! Weekend cooking recipes

After yesterday’s Sindhi Sai Bhaji, the next one that caught my eye and fancy was Harini’s Bolivian Quinoa Stew . I have noticed over the past few years from Harini, that both of our family's cooking and eating preferences are similar, so I was very keen to select something from Harini’s blog.

Use of Quinoa was something that I was keen to use (both to clear the present stock in the pantry and also to make something new other than the Colombian Quinoa Mango Salad I had made earlier), and I was very happy that it was liked by my elder one also. Thanks Harini - this is definitely a keeper both for the ease and taste it imparted on a nice nippy evening :-))

She didn’t sense it had quinoa in it, and sipped it like a broth along with some warm bread for a weekend supper.

Prep time : 15 mins  | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 2
Spice level : Medium
Difficulty level : Easy
Serving suggestions : Bread or as it is

  • Quinoa – ¼ cup - soaked in warm water for 10 mins
  • Garbanzo / chickpeas (cooked) –1 cup (I used kala channa)
  • Veg Stock – homemade – ½ cup
  • Onions – 1 large
  • Bay leaf – 2 nos
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Veggies : I added carrots, beans, peas : 1 cup
  • Bell pepper chopped – ½ cup
  • Minced garlic and ginger – 1 tsp (i skipped the garlic)
  • Oil – 1 TBSP
  • Tomato puree / Pasta sauce – ¼ cup
  • Red chilli powder – ½ TBSP (I used Kashmiri chilli powder)
  • Jeera – Dhania powder – ½ tsp
  • Cilantro – ½ tsp
  • Salt – to taste

  1. In a pressure cooker, add oil. Saute onions and bay leaf. Add grated ginger and garlic and sauté till onions turn golden brown.
  2. Add tomato puree, bell pepper, veggies and sauté with salt. Add the cooked garbanzo, red chilli powder, jeera –dhania powder, Quinoa, stock, water and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
  3. Let the pressure die down on its own.
  4. Simmer for 3-4 mins till you get desired consistency, add cilantro and serve immediately

November 24, 2014

Sindhi Sai Bhaji from Pakistan | bookmarked recipes

How do you choose 3 recipes amongst 300+ all-star recipes that were dished out as part of the international blogging Marathon that concluded recently ? It was indeed a tough task, but based on my personal favourites and family preferences, tried out 3 dishes (and more!) for this week's theme of Bookmarked recipes. 

The first today is Sindhi Sai Bhaji (from Pakistan, actually) bookmarked from PJ's blog. She had about 80+ salad and soup combos too - but I had done enough justice to both salads and soups in my own blog, so this curry caught my eye as soon as I saw it. 

Thank you PJ (and Vaishali), for a wonderful recipe - contrary to what I thought, we loved the garlicky taste and aroma of the curry. Although I didnt follow it to the T (mashed brinjals is not on my fav list :D), we enjoyed it with steamed rice for a lovely dinner (that explains the low light in the pics :-)). 

With nippy winters, spinach is available fresh and easily. I am sure we shall be making this very often. Sending this dish to BM 46 under bookmarked recipes (ABC world Marathon)

Prep time : 15 mins  | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 4
Spice level : Medium
Difficulty level : Easy
Serving suggestions : Plain Rice  / roti

  • Mixed veggies – 1 cup (potato, carrots, cauliflower, beans is what I used)
  • Spinach – ½ bunch
  • Dhuli moong dal (slightly dehusked green gram, with skin on) – 2 handfuls
  • Channa dal – ½ cup
  • Onion – 1 large
  • Tomato – 1 medium
  • Garlic pods – 2
  • Dry masala powders : Coriander, cumin, garam masala, red chilli and turmeric
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 1 TBSP

  • Garlic pods – chopped - 2 nos
  • Jeera / cumin seeds – ½ TBSP
  • Asafoetida – ½ tsp

Soak the dals for ½ hour in warm water.
Pressure cook the dals, vegetables, greens with salt and half of the masala powders – let it cook for 2-3 whistles.
Once done, add 1 cup of water and mix well.
In a pan, sauté chopped onions, garlic pods, tomatoes, half the minced garlic till onions turn slightly brown.  Add the cooked stuff from the pressure cooker - Let it simmer, add the rest of the spices and check for salt.
Turn off the flame when you get a thickish gravy

To serve:
Prepare tempering with remaining garlic, 1 tsp oil and jeera (cumin seeds) 

Pour over the gravy and serve immediately with plain rice and papad

November 19, 2014

Eggless Lemon Almond Cupcakes | Butterless, Eggless Lemony Cupcakes

After a series of savoury lemony dishes, its time for Lemony cupcakes. And to be honest, I have never been fond of citrusy bakes.... till I found this awesome combo of almonds and lemon (why almonds - thats a different story).. But till then, me and my family loved this citrusy cupcake with a hint of almond... with or without glaze, this works perfectly well for hi-tea or even as a pick-me-up after a light dinner. I used brown sugar as I am fond of it, you can use jaggery or even normal crystalised sugar. I took inspiration from this recipe and made some changes, which turned out very good.

You can also make it vegan by replacing the milk and yoghurt with vegan options. Its a very forgiving recipe and you can easily double or triple the quantities. This recipe made 10-12 medium sized cupcakes. As it was for my kiddo (who loves lemons), I frosted half the cupcakes that I was serving the kiddo. Rest of the cupcakes were equally good even without the frosting.

Sending this to BM 46 under Lemon Dishes. Hope you enjoyed the series with Lemon Sevai, Lemony Broccoli stir fry and today's dish - Eggless Lemon-Almond Cupcakes. Will be back with a different theme next week.

Prep time : 15 mins | Bake time : 20 mins | Cooling and frosting : 1 hour

  • Maida / APF - 3/4 cup + 1 TBSP
  • Whole wheat flour - 3/4 cup + 1 TBSP
  • Baking Soda - 3/4 tsp
  • Baking powder - 3/4 tsp
  • Oil -  2 tsp less than 1/2 cup ( I used olive oil)
  • Packed Brown sugar - 3/4 cup
  • Milk - 1/3 cup
  • Lemon juice - 1/4 cup
  • Lemon zest - 1 TBSP
  • yoghurt - 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
  • Ground almonds (I used home made almond meal) - 1/3 cup

Lemon frosting:
  • Butter - 3 TBSP (softened)
  • Icing sugar (or powdered sugar) - 3/4 cup
  • Lemon juice - 3 TBSP
  • Lemon zest - optional - 1/2 tsp

  1. Sieve the flours, soda and baking powder in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together milk and lemon juice. Set aside for 3 min till it slightly curdles
  3. Now add lemon zest, vanilla essence yoghurt and brown sugar and stir well till the sugar dissolves.
  4. Add wet to dry ingredients and slowly blend in the almond meal.
  5. Pre heat oven to 180 deg C / 375 F
  6. Spoon mixture into lined cupcake / muffin pans
  7. Bake for 18-22 mins till a skewer comes out clean
  8. cool completely on wire rack for 40-45 mins (if you plan to frost)

Beat butter and sugar till creamy. Add the lemon juice and zest as much as you need it to be tangy. Cool the cupcakes thoroughly and then spread the frosting. If you are piping over then you need to double the frosting. Mine was a very light glaze as I cut down the butter.

Lemony Broccoli Stir Fry | Easy stir fry recipes

For day 2 of lemon based dishes, I made something that we always liked but never got around clicking the dish. This lemony broccoli stir fry is our family favourite and it's something that sure to perk up your day.

I usually make lemon rasam, lemon pickle , lemon Sevai using Lemons. Today's stir fry is an universal cuisine - you could eat it as a salad or team it up with ridge gourd dal and rice like we did for today's dinner. Simple to make and yummy to taste. For those of my readers who are fond of subtle lemony dishes, this is a winner.

Update : Once I served to my daughter (and she' s a broccoli lover too), she said "Amma, the lemony taste swirls in my mouth... " - what better compliment could a mom get :)

Sending this to Day 2 of BM 46 under Lemon Dishes theme

Prep time : 15 mins | cook time : 15 mins ; serves : 3
  • Broccoli - 1 medium head (about 150 gms) - cut into medium sized florets
  • Onion - 1 medium
  • Oil - 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice - 1 TBSP
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Paprika / red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala - 1/2 tsp (optional)

Method :

  1. Blanch the broccoli in salted water for 8-10 mins
  2. In a pan, heat oil. Sauté onions, splutter cumin and fry till onions turn slightly brown.
  3. Add salt, spices and the blanched broccoli. Sauté for 3-4 mins till spices cost them evenly
  4. Switch off stove and finish wit lemon juice.
  5. Serve warm.

November 17, 2014

Lemon Sevai - Version 2 | Lemony string hoppers | Easy Breakfast ideas

When life hands you lemons, make a lemonade - so goes the saying. Well, we made more than lemonade in this week's series of "Cooking with Lemons as the star ingredient". Today's dish is a much sought after breakfast in my kitchen. Even DH who is not so fond of sevai / vermicilli or string hoppers happily tucks this in , on a Sunday Morning :-)) Serve it to him on weekdays, and errrr... that makes for a different story :D

So, if you are fond of citrusy / tangy foods, stay tuned on this week's dishes. Today's post - Lemon Sevai is a breeze. You can make it as plain as you want or crank up the fibre content adding more veggies (my personal favourites being capsicum, shallots and fresh peas - they take it to another level altogether). You can also make it with store bought paniyaram or make the string hoppers from scratch as I did for Ragi Sevai. Either way, ensure the strings dont break too much, and in this dish  remember Lemon is the star :-))

Sending this to BM # 46 under "cooking with lemons" theme.

Prep time : 15 mins | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 4
Serving suggestions : Coconut Chutney or as it is
Spice level : Medium

Lemony string hoppers 

Ingredients :
  • Cooked sevai / string hoppers : 3 cups
  • Oil - 2 TBSP
  • Cashewnuts - few
  • Peanuts - 1 TBSP (optional)
  • Onions - 1 large - minced fine
  • Veggies - shredded bell pepper, peas (about 1/4 cup)
  • Lemon juice - 2 TBSP
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Tempering : Mustard seeds, Urad Dal, curry leaves, Green chillies (3 -4 nos)
  • Coriander leaves
  • fresh coconut - 2 tsp (optional)

Note : I made this sevai at home - from scratch:  Make a dough of fresh rice flour and hot water with a pinch of salt. Put into the chakli / ompudi mould and onto a idli stand, steam for 15 mins till done. Cool and gently fan it out on a wide flat plate
  1. If using ready made sevai, cook the rice sevai according to packet instructions.  Cool thoroughly 
  2. In a pan, heat oil. Temper with tempering ingredients, add peanuts and cashewnuts and fry till golden brown (about 2 mins). 
  3. Add onions and veggies and saute till onions turn golden brown and bell pepper is crunchy.
  4. Now add the cooked sevai and toss lightly taking take not to break the strings.
  5. Switch off flame. Tip in lemon juice, coriander leaves, fresh coconut.
  6. Toss once more and serve immediately - as it is or with fresh coconut chutney

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