Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mushroom Zucchini Skillet Noodles

What is your idea of a quick lunch? Mine is a simple rice or noodles with lot of veggies and fresh herbs. A little olive oil or sesame oil would sure be there for that flavor. This skillet noodles is something that can be whipped up in under 20 minutes start to finish. While your noodles is cooking, clean and chop up the veggies. Stir fry the veggies when the noodles is cooling.
I made this in my new addition in my kitchen. My cast-iron skillet. My new love. I see me reaching out for my skillet for most recipes and I love it.

Serves - 2
Whole Grain Spaghetti / Soba Noodles - 5 oz 
Mushroom - 8 oz ~ 250 g
Zucchini - 1 medium
Garlic - 1 clove
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 2 tbsp + more if needed
Fresh Rosemary - 1 tbsp
Salt & Pepper - to taste
Cook the pasta/noodles according to instructions. Drain and set aside, loosely covered. Clean and cut the mushrooms in to thick slices. Slice the zucchini into thin quarters. Crush and peel the garlic. 
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet and add the crushed garlic. When the garlic starts to brown, remove it from the pan, we just want to infuse the garlic flavor to the oil. Add the cut mushrooms and layer it on the pan. Allow it to brown on both sides. Now add the zucchini and fry for a minute or two until it starts browning. Add the finely chopped fresh rosemary with salt and pepper. Add the cooked noodles and remove from heat. Toss the noodles well in the pan. Serve hot.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Persimmon Pecan Crumble (Gluten-free) | Dessert Recipes

Here is a simple yet decadent recipe for your Thanksgiving Day desserts. What is more seasonal than a delicious fruit crumble with a fall fruit in it. Persimmons, the orange-y fruit is something I came to know about just an year ago. There are two varieties of it, the fuyu with the flat bottom with somewhat crispy flesh and the hachiya variety with a pointed bottom and a pulpy flesh. I have used the fuyu variety here. You can use either, although if using hachiya variety use the ripe ones.

For the Persimmon filling:
Persimmons - 3 
Maple syrup - 2 tbsp (see notes)
Salt - a dash
Lemon juice - 1 tsp

For the Crumble Topping:
Oats - 1 cup (see notes)
Pecans, coarsely ground OR use Pecan meal - 1/2 cup (see notes)
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup (see notes)
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Ginger powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Butter, cold - 4 tbsp, cut into cubes

Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Grease a 8" round/square baking pan with butter. Mix the oats, ground pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Incorporate the cold butter in the oats mixture with your fingers. Cover and refrigerate. Chop up the persimmons and mix with the remaining ingredients for the filling. Place in the buttered pan. Pull out the oats mixture from the refrigerator and sprinkle over the fruits. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Serve warm, preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Use brown sugar instead of maple syrup for the sweetness in the fruit filling if preferred.
To make pecan meal, roast the pecans in medium heat, allow to cool completely and pulse in the blender until it is coarse. If you don't bother gluten, use 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour instead of the pecan meal.
The 1/4 cup of brown sugar used in the crumble topping is not too too sweet, so add 2 tbsps more of sugar if you love a sweeter topping.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pumpkin Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Every cuisine has its own special recipe with sweet potatoes. I already have posted a snack recipe with Sweet Potatoes. The sweet potato balls is a snack grandma would prepare for us when we return hungry after a long day at school. This recipe here is my own and is actually a spin-off on my Sweet Potato Balls recipe. What is better than to prepare a "mashed" version of these? After all, it is the Thanksgiving season. And to make it synchronous with the fall season I also added a small pumpkin.
Looking for more mashed potatoes recipes - Check out my Garlic Mashed Cauliflower - no guilt, just great taste.

Serves - 2
Sugar Pumpkin - 1 small (see notes)
Sweet Potato - 1 medium (I used the one with white flesh)
Butter, room temperature - 1 tbsp
Whole milk, warm - 1/2 cup
Salt - 1/2 tsp + more as needed
Pepper - 1/4 tsp

Halve the sweet potato (skin on) and drop in salted boiling water. Cook until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Cut the small sugar pumpkin into four. Remove the seeds and the fibrous inside. Drop to the potato boiling water in the last 7 minutes, it gets cooked fast. Drain water and allow the sweet potato and pumpkin to cool. When cool enough to handle peel the skin and mash with a potato masher or a fork. Return the pot back to medium heat with the mashed sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Add all the butter and the milk (little by little) and mix with a wooden spoon. When all of the milk is used up, remove from heat and add pepper and a pinch of salt. Serve warm.
If using pumpkin puree from can use 1/2 cup for this recipe. Using canned pumpkin would give a more pronounced orange hue.
1. Don't wash the cooked drained potatoes in cold water. The sweet potatoes becomes gooey. This tip is applicable for regular potatoes as well.
2. Don't use a blender or any sort to mash the sweet potatoes. The blades release too much starch than needed and the sweet potatoes (or potatoes) will become gummy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Aloo Paratha | Roti Paratha Recipes

Parathas are stuffed flatbreads. Getting my little one to eat chapathi/roti was one humongous task which yielded mostly zero success rate. It is when I discovered he likes, no loves stuffed versions like aloo paratha / gobi paratha or sweet potato paratha. Ha! mission accomplished. It gives me a little liberty to make something different for dinner other than (the always present) dosa.
Parathas don't often require a curry, a simple pickle and yogurt is sufficient. But if you do plan to make a side, try the Kadai Paneer

Wheat flour / Atta - 4 cups (160 ml cup)
Water - 1-1/2 cups
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp + more for cooking the parathas
Butter - for topping (optional)
For the potato filling:
Potatoes, medium - 2 (I used Yellow potatoes)
Onion, finely chopped - 1/4 cup
Chaat Masala / Amchur Powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Oil - 1 tsp
Mix the flour and salt well. Add 1 tbsp of oil and incorporate it to the flour. Pour the water little by little and mix until the dough comes together. Knead to a smooth dough for about 5 minutes. Cover and rest for 15 minutes. 
Cut the potatoes into halves. Boil the potatoes in water with 1/4 tsp of salt. Drain the water and allow it to cool. Peel the potatoes and mash well until smooth. Heat oil in a small pan and fry the onions until soft. Add the spice powders and salt. Remove from heat and mix with the potatoes. Divide into 8 portions make balls.
Divide the kneaded paratha dough into 8 portions and roll between the palms to make balls. Dust the balls with wheat flour and roll into 4" diameter circle. Use your thumb to make slight indentation in the center of the rolled out dough. Place one potato ball in the center and bring the edges together and pinch them together. Dust with flour again and start rolling out with a rolling pin with the seam side up. Spread it out as much as you can without the filling spilling out. Heat a griddle and place the rolled out paratha. When one side is cooked for about a minute, flip over and apply some oil. Cook for another minute and flip over. When both sides are cooked through, remove to a serving plate and top with a pat of butter. Serve with any curry of your choice.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Crystallized Ginger / Candied Ginger / Inji Murappa

Ginger, the warm spice is a integral part of every Indian kitchen. It is a great medicine for cold, cough and sore throat. A teaspoon of ginger juice mixed with equal part of honey relieves sore throat and cough immediately (source: self experience). It also aids in digestion and thereby improves metabolism.
Crystallised Ginger known as Inji Murabba in tamil (well "Murabba" is an arabic word meaning sweet preserve) is famous for it anti-nausea properties and sold in railway stations and bus-stands in India. People who have motion sickness would buy these to help them during the travel.
My son has a serious case of motion sickness and the I wanted to try giving this to him. Incidentally I came across this recipe and never had a second thought to try it. But I was skeptical if he would like ginger. Thankfully he loved them since it has a crispy sugar coating. I have made a couple of batches since then and always had with me when we travel. 

Fresh Ginger - 1/2 lb (250 g) 
Sugar - 1-1/2 cups, divided
Water - 1-1/2 cups

Peel and slice the ginger root into thin rounds (about 1/8 in thickness). When I measured the peeled and sliced ginger it came to about 2 cups. Mix 1 cup sugar with 1-1/2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and add the sliced ginger. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 45-50 minutes until the ginger is cooked and soft. If the water evaporates before the ginger cooks, add water little by little to enable cooking. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the remaining 1/2 cup sugar evenly. When the ginger is cooked, remove the pieces with a slotted spoon and spread over the sugar in a single layer. Coat all sides with sugar and allow it to cool for 2 hours or more as needed, even overnight. When the ginger is completely dry, transfer to a airtight container.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Avarakkai Mochai Kuzhambu / Broad Beans Curry | South Indian Curry Recipes

Cooking for loved ones is special. Well, I do that on a daily basis, but cooking some dish for the loved ones which they really love is more special. This is one such dish. DH is a food lover but what he likes is not complicated. A simple South-Indian meal is his go to preference on any day. 
He loves avarakai aka Broad Beans. It was a delight when I came across them in the Farmer's Market and immediately bought it. I made this kulambu the same day which he loves have with rice.

Serves - 3-4
Avarakkai / Broad beans - 20-25
Mochai / Fresh Hyacinth beans - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1/2 of a big one, chopped
Toor dhal - 1/2 cup (120 ml)
Tamarind - lemon sized
Gingelly oil - 1-1/2 tbsp
Thalippu Vadagam - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves - a little
Make a paste:
Fresh Grated Coconut - 1/4 cup
Coriander powder - 2 tsp (heaped)
Chilli powder - 1 tsp (or 1/2 tsp if spicy)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Pearl onions - 2, small

Cut the ends and pull out the fibrous veins. Chop into 1 inch pieces. Remove the mochai (pods from the beans) if any as you chop. These can be added to kuzhambu. Place the chopped beans, pods and chopped onions in a microwave proof bowl with half a cup of water and a pinch of salt. Microwave for 8 minutes stirring once in between.
Make a smooth paste with the ingredients under 'make a paste' adding water as needed. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of warm water. Extract about 2 cups of tamarind juice.
Wash and soak the toor dhal for 15 minutes. Pressure cook the dhal with 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder for 3 whistles. Drain and reserve the dhal cooked water. Mash the dhal with a maththu or the back of a wooden spoon. 
Now add the reserved dhal-cooked water, ground coconut paste, salt, cooked vegetables and the tamarind juice to the dhal. The kuzhambu can be slightly thin at this point, it will thicken as it boils. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the kuzhambu thickens and the flavors meld. 
Heat oil in a small pan and splutter the vadagam and curry leaves. Pour this over the kuzhambu and serve hot with steamed rice.