Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gnocchi in a minty tomato sauce

Phew....what started as a hobby has now become a high pressure job! Yes, I am talking about the blog ;) - I have so many ideas floating and buzzing but when it comes to execution less than 1% of my ideas actually become a reality. I have to put in a praise for some blogs that I frequent and follow- the pictures, the innovative recipes & some are exceptionally talented in writing. Here I am struggling to get in one decent post per week :(

Okay, enough with the negativity and focussing on creativity here is my post on a pasta dish- Gnocchi (soft dumplings made with flour, egg, cheese and potato). I love gnocchi & cooking it is super easy. You can make gnocchi from scratch but a lazy bone like me prefers to get it ready made from the shop and keep things easier ;) What is special is the sauce I made for the dish- a simple blend of tomatoes with mint touch. I am partial to this pasta and can eat gnocchi all day long! ah, yum! Go on, indulge-


  • 500 grams Gnocchi 
  • Olive oil 
  • 4-5 tomatoes (pureed)
  • One large onion (chopped)
  • Mint leaves (small bunch of leaves)
  • 1 or 2 dry hot red chillies, broken into pieces/ alternatively you can use paprika powder 3/4 tsp or 1/2 tsp depending on your spice level
  • Salt (according to taste)
  • Garlic- 4-5 cloves, minced
  • Crushed black pepper 
  • Grated cheese (parmesan) for topping

In a pan, saute the onion and garlic with olive oil. Once the onion has softened, add the pureed tomatoes and paprika powder. Cook the mixture for few minutes before seasoning it with salt and pepper. Allow it to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes till it thickens to a good sauce consistency. Wash the mint leaves and chop them roughly. Add it to the simmering sauce and give it a quick stir. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi for two minutes in salted boiling water. Once cooked, drain excess water and keep it aside. Final touch- add the sauce to gnocchi and mix well. Serve with grated parmesan!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Paneer gravy with sweet corn recipe

Me and Mom share a very special relation- We are two giggly people chatting away to glory on insane topics and we always catch up on our special topic- food. If I try out anything special, she is the first one to know about it and she makes me feel special even for a small recipe. In this buzy world, she is the only soul who sincerely wants to know what I ate for the day and I love the bond we share :) - Over the weekend, I made paneer gravy with sweet corn and was explaining all about it to my mom (who as usual made me feel that I am the best cook in the world). She loved the whole concept and here I am blogging all about it....The gravy rocks with paneer and sweet corn and will make you fill up your plates for a generous third serving! Doesn't need too much effort and goes great with rice/rotis.

What goes in??

Sweet corn kernel- 1 cup (boiled and tender)
Paneer (cubed) - 150 gms
Green bell pepper- 1 medium (sliced)
Garlic - crushed & chopped (4-5 cloves)
Ginger- grated (1/2 tsp)
Onions - 2 medium sized (finely chopped)
Tomatoes - 2 medium sized (finely chopped)
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Salt according to taste
Oil for cooking

For the additional punch-
Coriander leaves (chopped)
Fresh cream (optional)
Kasoori methi leaves / dry fenugreek leaves (1 tsp)

  • In a wok/kadai, heat some oil.
  • Add cumin seeds and allow them to sputter.
  • Add onions and fry till translucent.
  • Add garlic and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and cook on a medium flame till they become mushy and blend well with onions.
  • Now comes the spices- add coriander powder, garam masala powder, red chilli powder.
  • Mix all the ingredients and cook till it the oil separates from masala and floats above.
  • Add a bit of water (not too much- around 1/4 cup or less).
  • Mix in the corn & bell peppers.
  • Add Kasoori methi leaves and allow the bell peppers to cook with the gravy.
  • Adjust salt according to your taste.
  • Add paneer cubes to the gravy and cook it on a low flame for few minutes.
  • Mix in the fresh cream (optional).
  • Garnish with coriander leaves!

Arachuvitta sambhar (tamarind gravy with a coconut twist)

I have been waiting to post this recipe for months - Finally, I am able to post the most authentic south Indian cuisine that tastes great with dosa, idli or rice. What is sambhar? It's the celebrated tamarind gravy cooked with rich spices(sambhar powder), lentils and vegetables of your choice. How different is Arachuvitta sambhar from normal sambhar? Sambhar comes in all varities- this one is cooked with roasted spices and grated coconut to lend in an enhanced flavor. If you haven't eaten arachuvitta sambhar, you haven't had the real deal yet!

Hands down, shallots are the popular choice for sambhar (called chinna vengayam arachuvitta sambhar). However, I decided to go with drumsticks (second popular choice) and boy, I still have the taste lingering in my mouth.


Toor dal- 1 cup
Drumsticks- cut like sticks, about the size of your finger (used about 1 1/2 drumsticks)
Tamarind (about lemon sized ball)- soaked in warm water (we need the essence of the tamarind)
Sambhar powder- 2tsp (this is a spicy powder that you can get in any asian store)
Turmeric powder (1/2 tsp)
Salt according to taste
Mustard seeds (1 tsp)
Asafoetida powder (dash of it)
Curry leaves (for seasoning)
Onion-1 (sliced)

Ingredients for the spicy powder-

Coriander seeds- 11/2 tbsp
Dry red chilli- 3 pieces
Chana dal- 1 tsp
Grated coconut- 1/4 cup
Fenugreek seeds (vendhayam) 1/2 tsp

Initial preparation-
  • Pressure cook the toor dal with a dash of turmeric powder till they are soft and tender.
  • Dry roast the ingredients mentioned under the spicy powder- just ensure you don't burn it- keep the flame low and gently roast the ingredients till golden brown. The aroma you get by roasting these ingredients is pure bliss!
  • Once roasted, allow them to cool and grind them to a fine powder.

Let's get the show started-
  • In a pan add oil and once hot saute the onions.
  • When the onions turn transparent add the tamarind extract with two cups of water and bring it to boil.
  • Add turmeric powder, salt and sambar powder.
  • Add the drumsticks and allow it to boil.
  • Mash the boiled toor dal and mix to the boiling pot.
  • Allow the drumsticks to get enriched with the lentils, tamarind extract and sambar powder. leave it simmering for good 20 minutes.
  • Now add the roasted spice mix. Allow the sambar to boil for few minutes.
  • In a separate pan, add some oil and add mustard seeds. Once they begin to pop, add curry leaves, asafetida powder.
  • Add them to the sambhar and allow it to boil for few minutes.
  • enjoy with dosa/idli!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

vermicelli n parantha

I had made a perfect breakfast and was pretty pleased about it- good old Vermicelli upma. It's one of those days when you create a masterpiece and there are no takers for it. I had a bowl of upma as the leftover and had no clue what to do with it. In my morning rush, I quickly dumped it in my fridge thinking I will figure out something in the evening. The threshold of upma isn't much and by evening there was this huge question of what to do with a bowl full of vermicelli upma! I thought I could add more veggies and spice it up? Honestly, who would want to eat upma for night- not me or my husband :(

So, I come up with this innovative parantha's - vermicelli stuffed paranthas... You might think that I have gone nuts to do this but trust me, the parantha's were soft and nice and had everyone wondering what is the stuffing inside! I not only managed to get a innovative food on the table but was also saved from wasting my food. Brilliant, I say :P

What do we need?

For the base-
Wheat flour

For the filling-
Vermicelli upma (rice noodles/fedelini cooked with mustard and curry leaves)
1 medium sized onion (chopped)
1tsp fenugreek leaves

Note- since I cooked my vermicilli without onions, I used onions for filling in the parantha- it's completely optional! Adjust salt according to your taste.


  • Knead the flour with salt and water to a smooth dough (add oil towards the end to make it silky). Set it aside (I used about 11/2 cups of flour, you can use as per your requirement).
  • In a separate bowl, mix vermicelli upma, onion, and the fenugreek leaves. 
  • Toss the filling well and ensure it is a dry mixture and not soggy.  Some people tend to saute the onions before using it for filling. But I tend to use it raw (the onion flavor comes out really well, if used raw).
  • Our filling is ready!
  • Now, take a small ball of dough and flatten it with a rolling pin.
  • Add around 1 tbsp of filling in middle and fold it to a pouch (with filling in middle).
  • Flatten this pouch on a lightly floured surface to a medium sized round shape.
  • Cook the roti (both sides) on a frying pan with sufficient oil.
  • Serve hot with mango pickle and raita! Enjoy-

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Buttery green mung bean! (Mung dal)

It's easy to cook, packed with proteins and you can create something special with them- Mung dal both yellow and green are used in Indian kitchen extensively. To be honest, as a kid, I always used to be baffled with different dals. My mom used to have big jars of them and would act like a magician mixing potions and creating different cuisines with different dals. I remember watching her with wide eyes thinking how the hell I am going to remember the names and how the hell am I going to know which one to use for which dish...I have come a long way and I love all my dals.  

This recipe is different- I used my dal makhni recipe with mung bean and it tasted really special. Confused? Ok, Dal Makhni is a very popular dish that is served in Indian restaurants. The catch is Dal makhni is made with whole black gram (sabut urad dal) & red kidney beans. But I used green mung beans with the same ingredients and loved the outcome! Go ahead and indulge yourself in buttery lentils with Indian spices....

What do we need?

Green mung dal- 1 cup
Grated ginger- 11/2 inch piece
Butter/clarified butter (ghee)
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Onion- 1 medium sized (chopped)
2 medium sized tomatoes (chopped)
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing
Garlic - chopped (5-6 cloves)
Salt according to taste

How did I make it?

Soak mung dal in water for at least a couple of hours. Drain and pressure cook it with half portion of the grated ginger till they become soft (reserve the other half portion of grated ginger for later use). Melt butter in a pan. Add cumin seeds. As they start to change color, add onions. Fry onions till they become golden brown. Add garlic, remaining ginger and tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes are mashed and has mixed well with the rest of the ingredients. Add cooked dal to this. Add around one cup of water and adjust salt according to your taste. Mix red chilli powder, garam masala powder and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Add fresh cream (optional) and mix well. Cook your dal on a low flame for 5 minutes. Serve with rotis/rice. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Note: This dal is the easiest to cook and takes only a couple of whistles with the pressure cooker. You can get this dish out on the table within half an hour.


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