Avocado Mint Pesto

Avocado Mint Pesto
After moving to the US, I got introduced to several new cuisines and flavors. While I immediately fell in love with some, there were a few that I just repelled. I can’t believe I am saying this today, but the taste of avocado was one of them. From its confusing texture, to the smell and taste, there was nothing about this fruit that impressed me. I gave it a few tries but then made peace with the fact that this fruit is just not for me.
Healthy Green Pasta
Then, just like with every winter holiday, we went on a vacation as a family. This time it was a week spent in Mexico. The week that turned out to be one of the most delicious weeks ever. Apart from the breathtakingly gorgeous surroundings and the colorful Mexican culture, it was mainly the food that blew our mind. When on a vacation, we try to experience the cuisine through street food and hole-in-the-wall kind of places. It was at one such roadside vendor that we tried fish tacos. Fresh caught fish in the morning turned into mouth watering tacos by noon. Wrapped in warm handmade tortillas, topped with simple guacamole and a light squirt of lemon juice and you’re set. This was when I, really for the first time, enjoyed avocado and then there was no looking back. Now avocado is one of the must haves on my kitchen counter.

Pasta
Avocado and Mint

Today I tried to mix avocado with some of my other favorites and turned it into a healthy dinner. A very simple and healthy pesto but loaded with robust flavors. Earthiness from mint and pistachios, a zing from lemon juice, creaminess with avocados and topping it all off with loads of parmesan. It is my go-to dish for weeknight family dinners.

Avocado Mint Pesto Pasta

Like any new food blogger, during those early days I would spend hours staring at my computer screen drooling over some amazing food blogs. Their beautiful writing would make me want to write more from the heart, flawless photography would tempt me to spend more time behind the camera and innovative recipes would take me back to the kitchen and play around more. Many such food blogs became my daily companions and slowly their authors became great friends. One such friend is Sia of Monsoon Spice.

Avocado Mint Pasta

Recently, Sia with her family, decided to make some changes in her life. They decided to wrap up the home they created in a foreign land and decided to move back to where they came from. They left England, their son’s birthplace and went back to India, their own birthplace. Closer to family and the streets she grew up in. So while she was busy unpacking I thought I’ll cook something for her. So to check out the recipe for this refreshing light pesto please head over to Sia’s blog and while you are there, look around and you are in for a treat!

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Iced Masala Chai

Iced Masala Chai 1
Oh summer! How much I longed for you. How I wished and prayed for you to come visit. How I hoped for the sun to shine upon me and how I craved to put away my coats and gloves and pull out my bags of shorts, carefully hidden in the back of my closet. I had all these plans to bathe in your sunshine and had dreamt of not leaving my backyard for days. And then you came with all your glory. Oh, you came with all you glory! And now I wanna run away from you and hide in the bottom of a pool or glue myself to the air conditioning that my house doesn’t have (lucky me!).
Iced Tea

All this was still alright as you were much awaited until you snatched the cup of my hot masala tea I relished every evening with a slice of banana cardamom cake. That made things a little cruel, I have to say. Not many have the capacity of taking that cup of evening chai away from me but to savor a cup of anything steaming hot on this hot, hot summer is close to torture. But to completely stay away from the warmth of masala mixed in a creamy cup of chai is impossible too. So I had to improvise. I used the same spices, boiled it with my favorite tea but instead poured it in a bottle and chilled it in my refrigerator and fooled the summer!

Mint and Lemon

Chai Masala

Typically Indian homes use a pre-made chai masala powder, where every family has their own set of favorite spices. Dried ginger, cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom, fennel, star anise are typically used to make this masala. These spices ground together in a ratio based on taste preference. Just a few pinches on chai masala in the end mixed to chai before straining into mugs makes all the difference.

Iced Tea with Milk

For this Iced tea I used whole spices though because I wanted a mild flavor of spices and also because I had run out of my stock of chai masala in my pantry. I also picked the spices I believed will suit my family’s palette. Feel free to add or take out the spices of your choice. You can add extra flavor to the chai by adding milk, fresh herbs or citrus of choice. I like my iced tea with a few teaspoons of coconut milk, Abhishek likes his with mint leaves mulled with lemon juice. You can use this concentrate to make hot tea also. Just mix it with some hot milk and serve with biscuits on the side. So basically feel free to use your imagination and play around with all sorts of flavor combinations but beware, iced or hot call it Masala Chai only!

Iced Masala Chai

Ingredients:
5 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
2 inches fresh ginger root (sliced or coarsely chopped)
10 green cardamom (smashed)
8-10 cloves (whole)
4-5 tablespoon brown sugar (can substitute with a choice of sweetener like honey, agave, coconut palm sugar)
6-7 Tetley Black & Green tea bags
Additional flavors that I tried and tasted great with the tea-
A few teaspoons milk. Coconut and soy are my personal favorite. You can use a milk of your choice.
A few crushed mint leaves.
A squirt or a couple slices of lemon.

Method:
In a medium sized saucepan bring water to a rolling boil.
Add the spices, sugar and tea bags. Turn the heat off. Let it steep for 15 minutes. Longer if you prefer a stronger taste of spices.
Strain hot tea through a strainer. Let it cool a little and then transfer to a flask or pitcher.
Place in the refrigerator until chilled.
To serve, fill a glass with ice. Pour the tea. Add milk or lemon juice and mint or enjoy as it is on a hot summer day!

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Lamb Kofta Curry

Lamb Kofta Curry

I don’t remember how old I was at the time but I think I was in grade four or five. Papa and I were arguing over a wrist watch. Well, me not having one wouldn’t have mattered much if Seema’s dad did not get her one. Seema, my classmate and “competition” at school. As usual she did something nice and her dad got her this watch. “Seriously, who buys a watch for a 5th grader? Well, loving dads of course,” I was thinking while also admiring hers that had a black and white dial and a golden circular rim around the edges. It looked fancy and her wrist nice, against my bare arm. So I went to Papa and demanded that I deserve a new shiny one too. Papa thought “deserve” was a big word but promised if I scored above some 80% marks in my final exams, then I can have one. Instantly I considered the watch mine! It was a sweet deal. All I had to do was to wait a few more months and just study. And boy, did I study that semester! I worked day and night, asked questions, found answers, did whatever I thought could take to score that watch, I mean 80% marks.

Whole spices 1

Exams went well. I felt good about it. Then the day of result approached. Like every results day, in the morning I woke up with a knot in my stomach although I was still confident. Took a shower, put on nice clean clothes mummy had put out for me, sat behind Papa on his scooter and went to school to see the results. My hand was sweaty the whole time Papa was holding it while my class teacher spoke about how I did. Then she handed over the report card to Papa. I stared at his face horrified while he opened the report card, smiled and said how proud he was while rubbing my head. He sure looked happy but all I cared about was the 80%. As I flipped the report card, I found out that I fell short by just a few numbers. Oh that hurt like an arrow straight to heart!

Koftas

Off we went to our customary ice cream treat after a good result. This time even my favorite chocolate strawberry sundae tasted like mud but I gulped it down. Then we headed back home. No one spoke of the watch although someone still had some dying hopes in her heart. At home mummy was eagerly waiting for us with lunch ready. The house smelled like celebration as mummy had made lamb kofta. Lightly spiced meatballs, deep fried to give them a crispy, dark brown exterior still juicy and tender from inside. Served in a creamy masala sauce made it rich with cashew paste and some milk. Today that lunch would make up for any heart break. That day, not so much. But I still stuffed my face with whatever goodness came my way.

Lamb Kofta

Packing for Las Vegas today. Excited to be receiving an award for the blog and Papa feels I should use the word “deserve” this time. That makes it more exciting. Still the mind keeps wandering back to two things. The watch that Papa did buy me eventually, a consolation I suppose. And to Mummy’s lamb kofta, which warms your heart and can brighten up any day. I made some to share with you today before hopping on that plane.

Ingredients:
For Koftas:
1/2 lb ground lamb
1 medium size potato (boiled, peeled, mashed)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (coarsely crushed)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds (coarsely crushed)
1/4 cup onion (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
Salt

For Curry:
1 1/2 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 whole green cardamom
2-3 whole black cardamom
4-5 cloves
1 dry bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoon cashews
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
2-3 thai green chili
Salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon Kashmiri Lal Mirch (for color mainly)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I usually substitute it with 2 tablespoon cream cheese. It works surprisingly well)
3-4 tablespoon cooking oil

Method:
Pre heat the oven to 375deg. F.
Mix all the ingredients of kofta well together. About a tablespoon each in size roll it into balls.
Line on an oiled baking sheet. Place in the oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
Traditionally the koftas are deep fried in oil. Can then either be served with a dip as an appetizer or dipped in a rich curry.
While the koftas are baking coarsely grind the first seven spices either using a mortar pestle or in your spice grinder. Set aside.
Soak cashews and pumpkin seeds in milk until they are soft enough to be turned to paste. Atleast 1 hr. Blend into a smooth paste. Set aside.
Grind onion, ginger, garlic and green chili together into a paste. Set aside.
Heat oil in a thick bottom pan. Add ground spices. As they sputter add the prepared onion paste. Stir well.
Cook on medium heat until all the liquid is evaporated and the paste turns light golden. 8-10 minutes.
Add salt, sugar and turmeric. Mix well.
Reduce the heat to medium low. Add garam masala and Kashmiri Lal Mirch.
Stir in cashew and pumpkin seeds paste. Stir well. Cook for a minute.
Add heavy cream. Mix well. At this point you can add upto 1 1/2 cups of water depending how thick you want the curry to be.
On a medium heat bring the curry to a boil.
Transfer the koftas to the curry. Stir to cover in sauce. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 3-5 minutes for the koftas to adsorb some goodness of the curry.
Turn off heat. Serve with choice of hot naan or rice.

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Khasta Gobhi /Crisp Caulflower Fritters

Crisp cauliflower fritters

Fried snacks and starters are a hot favorite during winters.As cauliflower is very easily available during this seasons so we make many recipes and starters with cauliflower.
My favorite is Aloo gobhi ki subzi and Gobhi matar ka keema  .There are so many fried snacks but I often make this easy,delicious and crispy cauliflower fritters which I make in few variations.
Today I am sharing my favorite version of making gobhi pakora ,to make this blanched cauliflower florets are dipped in gram flour,corn flour and semolina batter and then deep fried to a nice golden colour.These Gobhi pakoras are good to serve a crowd or on any special occasion,can be served with tomato ketchup or any tangy and spicy dip.

cauliflower fritters

cauliflower fritters

Prep time-10 min
Cooking time-8-10 min
Difficulty level-easy
Cuisine-Indian
Type-snack,starter
Serve-4

INGREDIENTS-

  • Cauliflower /gobhi  – 250 gms
  • Gram flour /besan – 3/4 cup
  • Corn flour – 3/4 cup
  • Semolina /sooji – 1/4 cup
  • Red chili powder – 1tsp
  • Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Cooking oil- to deep fry
PROCEDURE-
  1. Make medium size florets from cauliflower.
  2. Boil 2 glasses of water add 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder.
  3. When it start boiling add cauliflower florets and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Drain and let it cool down completely.
  5. In a bowl add gram flour,corn flour,turmeric powder, semolina, salt, chili powder and cumin powder.
  6. Add water in the mixture and whisk well.
  7. Make a medium thick batter and rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Dip the cauliflower florets in the batter and deep fry in hot oil on medium heat.
  9. Fry till golden in colour.
  10. Drain on a paper napkin and serve hot.
Serving suggestions-serve with tomato ketchup or any spicy dip

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake -Eggless

Pineapple cake with the topping of caramelized sugar and pineapple slices

I have started baking after a long break. I often used to bake cakes for my children, but now  they are grown up and started avoiding sugar and fat loaded goodies so I don’t feel like baking anything just for the two of us….why? Perhaps baking, for me, is associated with kids only :). 
But this pineapple upside down cake is still there favorite so I try to make it on some special occasions.This pineapple cake is easy to make and assemble as its don’t need any icing to decorate it and still looks tempting and taste awesome.I have added some finely chopped pineapple pieces in the batter but this is optional you can add or skip it according to your taste preference.
Be careful while caramelizing the sugar ,if you overdo it then it will burn and ruin the taste so give a nice golden colour and spread it in the pan,always prefer to use a nonstick pan to make this cake.
For more eggless bakes on my blog check- here

pineapple cake eggless


          

eggless pineapple cake


Prep time-10 min
Cooking time-45 min
Difficulty level-medium
Cuisine-International
Type-bake,dessert

 INGREDIENTS-

  • Refined flour(maida)-250 gm
  • Condensed milk -1 tin (400 ml)
  • Butter – 125 gm
  • Sugar – 6 tsp
  • Pineapple slices – 10
  • Club soda –    1 bottle
  • Baking powder -1 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Salt  -a pinch of.
  • Yellow food colour – 1/2 tsp
  • Pineapple essence-  1/2 tsp
  • Glazed or fresh cherry – 6
PROCEDURE-
  1. Take sugar in a nonstick pan and caramelize it on medium flame (cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon,until sugar dissolves and turn into a golden brown syrup like honey).
  2. Immediately remove from heat and pour in the baking dish to coat the base evenly.it may not cover the whole bottom now,but will melt and spread while cooking.
  3. Now arrange pineapple slices over it,and put cherry or walnut pieces in between the pineapple slices.
  4. Mix refined flour,salt, baking powder and baking soda and sieve twice.
  5. Take a mixing bowl and add melted butter(on room temperature),essence, colour and condensed milk and mix well.
  6. Chop 4 pineapple slices into small pieces and mix in the butter and milk mixture (A)
  7. Now add 2 tbls flour mixture in the mixture A,mix well
  8. Now add 2 tbls of soda water and mix it and keep repeating this process(step7 and 8)i.e-add some flour mixture then add some soda water then flour ,then soda water ,dont add all together. keep repeating untill you finished the flour mixture.
  9. Don’t mix the full can of soda water.you need approx. half can of drinking soda
  10. The mixture should be of dropping consistency (slightly thicker then the pakora batter)
  11. Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degree C  for 40-45 minutes.Place the cake in the center rack with both rod on.
  12. Check with a tooth pick insert it in the center, if cake is done perfectly then  it comes out clean .
  13. When done,remove from the oven and cool off  for 10 minutes.
  14. Run a sharp knife around the edges and then invert the cake onto your serving plate.
  15. Don’t allow the cake to be in the baking tin for more then 5-10 minutes,otherwise the caramel become hard again and the pineapple topping will stick to the pan .


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Moong Daal Pakora / Bhajiya

Crispy fried nuggets made with yellow lentil, fresh fenugreek and potatoes

During winter season we all  like to have hot and crispy snacks .This daal ka bhajiya or Vati daal na Bhajiya is a easy and popular snack in North India.These lentil  fritters are called as vadas in Southern India and in North India they as popular as bhajiya or pakoras. 

Yellow lentil or moong daal is soaked and ground and then few spices ,fresh chopped fenugreek leaves and potatoes are added in it and then small nuggets are dropped in hot oil and fried to make golden crisp pakoras /vadas .

You can also make these pakoras without fenugreek leaves if not available easily,and can also use chilkewali moong daal(split moong daal with skin) instead of yellow moong daal or use half of each daal.

I have also posted a different version of Moong daal pakora which is a popular snack /street food of Delhi- Ram ladoo /Pakora chat

lentil fritters



Prep time-15 min
Cooking time-15 min
Difficulty level-easy
Cuisine-Indian
Type-snack
Serve-4

INGREDIENTS-

  • Yellow lentil /moong daal- 3/4 cup
  • Potato,boiled – 2 small
  • Fresh fenugreek/methi , chopped-3/4 cup
  • Green chilies, chopped- 2 tsp
  • Chili powder/Mirch- 1 tsp
  • Salt- to taste
  • Asafoetida /Hing- 1/3 tsp
  • Cumin seeds /Jeera- 3/4 tsp
  • Cooking oil- to deep fry
  • Coriander seeds/Dhaniya, crushed- 1.5 tsp

PROCEDURE-

  1. Wash and soak moong daal for about 3 hours.
  2. Grind daal to make a smooth and thick paste(no need to add extra water)
  3. Peel and chop boiled potato into small pieces (like we chop to add in poha).
  4. Wash and finely chop methi leaves  and coarsely crush coriander seeds in mortar and pastle.
  5. Take ground moong daal paste in a bowl and whisk well.
  6. Now add all the spices and methi leaves and mix well.
  7. Then add chopped potatoes and mix gently.
  8. Heat oil in a deep and wide pan to deep fry.
  9. Drop small portions of lentil mixture in the oil with the help of your fingers or with a small spoon.
  10. Deep fry on medium heat till golden in colour.
  11. Drain on a paper napkin when done.
  12. Serve hot.

Serving suggestions-serve hot with green chutney,tamarind chutney or ketchup.

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CurrySimple posted a blog post

CurrySimple posted a blog post

New Thai Food Website!

We love everything Thai food and that means more than just curry of course. When traveling through Thailand it is always amazing to try all the different types of Thai street food and what is offered in the local restaurants. We are talking bowls of noodles, fried fish, giant prawns, fresh vegetables and lots of spices. If you are looking to make some of these amazing Thai dishes you might want to check out our Thai food friends at What is Thai Food? They offer tons of recipes that are easy to prepare. We don’t expect you to eat just curry every day of course. They are a new site so please post a link on your Facebook and Twitter to get the site going. You can also add your own Thai food recipe on the site to show off to your friends.The site offers tons of information related to Thai food history, culture, cooking techniques, photography and recipes. Check it out – What is Thai Food?See More

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