Stew is typically slow-cooked, with chunky vegetables which steeps in the flavor. The last few weeks, stews/soups/salads have kept me company as I strive to eat more vegetables and limit grains. Stew comes particularly handy, if you are cooking for crowd with varying preference as it can be eaten like a soup, with or without a bread on the side or over rice or chappathi/roti. Read the rest of this entry »
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For the longest time, soups (and salads for that matter too) were synonymous with diet food, to me. I never truly enjoyed them and didn’t care much for them. I could never have them for a meal; I tolerated them enough to have them soups as an appetizer before a big buffet lunch. I could have never foreseen that I would be making soups regularly at home for dinner and ENJOY eating them. Oh! how we all change with time 🙂
When I was perusing the cooking section @ my local library, this book – Love Soup – seemed interesting enough to pick. I glanced through this book and found quite a few interesting recipes – some old, some new and some wild. I have earmarked quite a few of them to try and this was the first one that I made. If I can make a judgment call on 160 recipes based on just 1, then this book is a keeper. There are some recipes that sounds really exotic but you know it won’t work for various reasons and some that sounds exotic and plausible but doesn’t turn out as good. This one sounds exotic (the soup is named “Indonesian”, for crying out loud 🙂 ), downright practical, comes together in a jiffy and tastes delicious. So, now tell me, whats not to like about this soup and this book?
I picked this soup out of the scores of others that I had earmarked as I had all the ingredients needed for this soup handy – yes, I am cheap and lazy 🙂 But don’t ask me, why I bought parsnip, for the first time, during my previous grocery run – I have no clue either. It was there, sitting fresh and pretty in a parsnip-y way and I couldn’t resist buying it. Most often, I buy things out of a whim and scurry around for a recipe to use them but this time somehow, everything came together ever so correctly.
Not sure how many of you out there are true recipe followers but I am not. Almost always, I cannot stay 100% true to a recipe, I always add a little something of my own to it, and in a weird way, feel that it completes my cooking experience. The little twist that I added to the recipe makes it mine and personal. This recipe has my twist as well and I have made a note of it, so that you can omit it, if you are not upto it.
Spicy Indonesian Peanut Soup
1 Parsnip – peeled & cubed
2 Sweet potato – peeled & cubed
1 Carrot – peeled & cubed
1/2 radish – peeled & cubed (this is my addition, omit it if you are not a radish fan)
1 onion – chopped finely
4-5 Garlic cloves – chopped finely
3-4″ ginger piece – chopped finely
2 green chillies
1 Tbsp – Tamarind paste
1 tsp coriander-cumin-red chillies powder (original recipe called for curry powder, and I don’t use this, just like most Indians)
A handful of curry leaves (original recipe called for coriander, since I didn’t have it @ home, substituted with curry leaves)
2 tsp – Peanut Butter
2 Tbsp – Lemon Juice
In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients except peanut butter & lemon juice, add sufficient quantity of water, close the lid and let it cook for about 30 mins. Alternatively, you can pressure cook this too. (Note: as per the original recipe, you have to boil the vegetables & saute onion, garlic, ginger, tamarind & the curry powder and then add the sauteed mixture to the vegetables. I just boiled everything together so I can make it in a single pot.)
Once the veggies are fork tender, blend them well, preferably using a hand-blender.
Now add the peanut butter & lemon juice and let it simmer for about 5-10 mins. Believe it or not, that’s it and the soup is ready to devour!
Optionally, you can toast some peanuts and use it for garnishing the soup.
For a generation of Indian kids (raised in the 80s / 90s), noodles are synonymous to Maggi and we look no further. Slowly but steadily, Maggi & noodles became comfort food, especially when I lived away from home. But this is the time, when I also explored the plethora of dishes from the Indian-Chinese cuisine. Noodles are a mainstay in any Chinese food (be it the traditional or the Indian Chinese kind); Hakka Noodles is a perfect fusion of Indian and Chinese cuisine – cooked in Chinese style to suit the Indian taste bud. Read the rest of this entry »
8, no! make it 7, years back after I had started working and driving in this new mad world where I had made my home, I wanted to take K for a nice surprise birthday dinner. Conferred with a friend of mine on the cuisine / place / what to wear and what not. That’s what girl friends are there for, aren’t they? Finally decided on an Italian choice, a safe choice if I think about it now, but sounded absolutely fascinating then, as I thought of pasta as an universal dish (still think) and there is a kind that everyone of us loves. Think of the variety – Spaghetti, Penne, Fusilli, Linguine – the list is almost endless.
As the weather is turning south and the air is getting a little nippy, I turn to my kitchen to remind me of summer. Pasta Primavera is one such dish and the fresher the ingredients are, the more refreshing it ends up being. This is such a colorful dish that can be served as one of the entree in your Italian themed dinner or just had as a simple one-pot meal.
Handful of these veggies, cut into 2″ pieces and boil, so that they are cooked but still retain a crunch:
Whisk together the following ingredients to prepare the Vinagrette.
2 Tbsp – EVOO
1 Tbsp – White Wine Vinegar
1 tsp – Crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp – Salt
1 tsp – Black Pepper
Boil water and cook a cup of pasta (Penne, Bowtie or Fusilli works best) al-dente. Strain the pasta and mix in the boiled veggies and vinaigrette and give it a good toss. As simple as that!
Now that the first step in making bisi bele bath has been completed successfully, the next step is to prepare the rice. With little preparation ahead of time, making bisi bele bath can really become a breeze. I usually have cooked rice and toor dhal in my fridge, which saves me a lot of time on weekdays, when we constantly are running short of time.
When I got married and moved here, I didn’t think too much about having K’s sister and her family live in the same locality as well. Over time, we have grown to cherish each other’s presence in our lives, look up to each other for guidance / advice and forged a lovely relationship. Her husband likes to be called Nalan (of the famous Nala-Damayanthi story who is supposed to be a great cook), atleast in the blogosphere and not without reason. He is an awesome cook; his vegetable biryani is to die for and he makes one of the best (home-made from scratch) pizza, I have ever had.
K and I land up in their house almost every other weekend (if not every) under some pretext or the other; why would we not when we get awesome food every time we go there 🙂 He had made this pasta for a potluck family night dinner and when I tasted it, I knew I had to post this on my blog. It is such an easy, simple and healthy dish that is extremely kid-friendly; my nephew and niece will attest to that.
How do you prepare for a lunch and an afternoon with strangers in person but you know them virtually? Will it be a quick luncheon for may be couple of hours with tall promises that we will keep in touch and meet regularly, but heart-in-heart you know that in all probability you will never meet them again? Well, these were some of the questions / thoughts that I was pondering on the morning of 16th February 2008, the day when the Bay Area Food bloggers decided to meet and eat, as said by The Cooker. In fact, what to cook was the easy part for me, thanks to Shankari – the organizer of the meet who sadly couldn’t make it. Well there was just one very simple rule for this event (similar to the very many blog events :)); the dish should be selected from one of the fellow Bay Area blogger.
My in-laws are leaving for India tomorrow and last time when they had come to the US, I bought for them some awesome home-made chappathis to take on their flight journey. They were made by a Punjabi lady – perks of living in the Bay Area I guess 🙂 They really cherished it, as my MIL did not have to cook right after she landed in India. She could get by a day or two with these chappathis. Fast forward 2 years. My MIL wanted me to buy her some chappathis to eat during travel and afterwards. GOK (for the uninitiated, God Only Knows), where the chappathi-lady is now. How can you say no to a request from your MIL? 😛 Thus started my hunt for finding someone who can make good chappathis.
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As our weekday lunches are usually packed box lunch, we like to have a nice sit-down lunch during the weekend. Well, I said we like to, but we normally don’t 🙂 I am not an early riser and getting early (read 8:00 AM) on weekends is a challenge for me. Unlike me, Elle is an early riser and when we were room-mates (I guess that would be a different post), she would become restless by 9:00 on weekend mornings and force me to wake up. It was indeed nice to have her as a room-mate and I never felt that I was staying away from home. Thanks Elle!
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