Pasta aglio e olio

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Pasta aglio e olio doesn’t need any new introduction. I think its the easiest pasta recipe! I make it quite often, whenever, I am too tired to think of anything elaborate or am just plain tired. It is fulfilling and a pretty beautiful dish.

Here is how I make it; it serves two.

Ingredients:

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  • Boiled spaghetti; I add dried basil and little salt in the boiling water;
  • Split cherry tomatoes, around half cup;
  • 1/3 cup fresh green peas;
  • 1 medium onion sliced;
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely sliced;
  • Olive oil (extra virgin);
  • Salt, pepper, garlic and herbs dried mix, parmesan and chilli flakes.

Method:

 

  • In a pan, heat olive oil;
  • Add onion and garlic, and sauté till garlic is cooked. Do not burn the garlic;
  • Now add peas and tomatoes, and cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes;
  • Add salt, pepper, chilli flakes and herbs, and mix;
  • Now switch off the flame and add the drained pasta, and mix;
  • Top it up with pepper and parmesan, and serve!

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Hope you like it. Stay tuned for many more quick recipes.

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Easy mini burgers using home-made English muffins

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I have been looking for English muffins everywhere to make egg benedicts. However, so far, my search has not resulted in any discovery of these beauties! So, I decided to try making some at home. The recipe to make these muffins is an easily available one; but the challenge I faced was that I needed to use a griddle to bake these buns. And, well, I don’t have any griddle.

Therefore, I used a normal wide bottomed frying pan with a lid, and cooked these on my gas stove; and voilà, they came out awesome! I can’t believe how easy these are to make. And they can be stored refrigerated for 2-3 days; when you want to make anything, just heat them up for a few seconds.

I just couldn’t wait till tomorrow morning to make any breakfast with these buns; so, I made mini easy to assemble burgers, which can be enjoyed as evening snacks or as breakfast!

Here it is, the easy mini burgers with home-made English muffins.

Ingredients:

For the muffins: I checked online and found that the following recipe has been used by many; so, you can also directly click on these links and go to the recipes.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/english-muffins/

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/english-muffins-recipe.html

The only exception with mine is that I used a frying pan to make these. And my recipe makes six small to medium sized buns.

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  • 3 cups all-purpose flour.
  • ½ cup each of milk and water.
  • 2 teaspoon sugar.
  • ½ teaspoon salt.
  • ½ packet of unflavoured yeast (around 4 grams).
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil.

For the burger:

  • Mushroom, spinach, onion, chicken lyoner or any vegetables of your choice.

Method:

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To make the muffins:

  • Boil the milk and take off from heat.
  • Add sugar to milk and stir to mix completely; and keep aside to cool.
  • Take water in a microwave safe bowl and heat it for 20 seconds (DO NOT heat the water too much, otherwise, it will kill the yeasts and buns won’t rise up). Now add the yeast to it, stir lightly and keep aside for at least 10 minutes.
  • In a bowl, take 1 cup of flour, salt, vegetable oil and add the lukewarm milk and the yeast mixture. Stir and mix well.
  • Now add the remaining flour to make it a dough. Keep kneading (you may require a little bit more or less flour to make the dough).
  • You will end up with very soft and smooth dough, which will NOT stick to your fingers. Grease an airtight container and keep the dough there to rise. I kept mine for an hour.
  • After an hour or 1.5 hours, punch out the air from the risen dough and knead again with little flour.
  • Cut the dough in two halves and roll out, keeping around half an inch thickness.
  • Take a cookie cutter or metal glass to cut round shapes (make them as big or small as you prefer).
  • Lightly dust a plate with corn flour and place the cut out dough shapes on it; also dust the top of the buns and cover. Keep covered for half an hour and let them rise again.
  • Now heat a wide bottomed frying pan (mine is the Futura non stick one, which has a thick bottom) for around 2 minutes on low to medium heat.
  • Place three buns (keep a gap between buns, as they will expand), lower the flame and cover.
  • Check after 3 minutes, whether they are getting cooked or not. Turn side after 4-5 minutes of cooking on one side and cook for a total of 10-12 minutes.
  • English muffins are ready! Use these to make egg benedicts or enjoy with your favourite jam!

To make the stuffing for the burger:

  • Lightly sauté each of the above ingredients, each one separately, with little salt and pepper.
  • Now cut the buns in half, lightly butter one half and arrange your stuffing.

Enjoy you English muffin mini burger snack!

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Stay tuned for many more easy recipes.

Veg-loaf, meatloaf with a twist!

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When I first heard the term “Meatloaf”, I thought it’s a piece of bread with meat pieces inside. However, as I grew more aware of it, I always wanted to try cooking it at home. And today, I thought why don’t I try to make it vegetarian. O well, it’s not completely vegetarian, as I have used an egg in the recipe! Nonetheless, this meatloaf, or should I say Veg-loaf is really easy to prepare and can be enjoyed with mashed potatoes or a side dish of baked broccolis. I have checked and tried many recipes and have come up with this vegetarian version.

I hope all you wonderful chefs will give it a try and share this wholesome goodness with your loved one, whether she is a vegetarian or not.

This recipe serves 4-5 people.

Ingredients:

For the loaf:

  • 1.5 cups of soaked and drained minced soybeans.
  • 2.5 slices of brown bread.
  • Half cup of milk.
  • 1 large onion (I have used the white variety) chopped.
  • 3-4 garlics chopped.
  • 1 tablespoon each of coriander and green chilli, finely chopped (you can reduce the amount of green chilli according to your taste).
  • 1 teaspoon sugar.
  • 1 egg (if you do not want to use egg, then you may substitute with corn flour, however, an egg provides better binding while baking).
  • Pinch of cumin powder; salt and pepper.
  • Oil for cooking the onions and garlic.

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup of tomato purée.
  • 2/3 cup of tomato ketchup.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

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  • Soak the minced soybeans in warm water for 5 minutes, and drain and squeeze out the water. Make it as dry as possible and keep aside.
  • Sauté the onions and garlics in half tablespoon of oil, till onions are translucent; lightly season them with salt and keep aside to cool.
  • Soak the bread slices in the milk and leave them for around 15 minutes.
  • Now mash the bread slices, if too drenched, squeeze out some milk.
  • Mix all the ingredients (soaked bread, fried onions, soybeans, the egg and all seasoning). You will have a thick mixture that is easy to ply.
  • Lightly coat a baking dish with some oil, and arrange the soybean mixture in a loaf form. If any time you feel that the mixture is too runny or not holding the shape, then add little all-purpose flour and shape it again in the loaf form.
  • Now mix the ingredients for the glaze and pour it gently over the loaf.
  • Bake it at 200 degree Celsius for 25 minutes and then at 180 degree Celsius for another 15-17 minutes.

Once done the loaf will be easy to cut into slices without breaking apart.

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Enjoy your Veg-loaf with mashed potato or any of your favourite side dishes.

Stay tuned for many more easy recipes.

Banana flower fry with soya nuggets (Koldil aru soybean bhaji)

 

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So, you’re preparing your Assamese dinner, and you have made the appetiser (Khar), the fish curry (very essential), and now what? You definitely need a fried vege recipe that is power packed with all good vital minerals and loads of iron. Therefore, today I present to you a very Assamese banana flower preparation that is extremely simple to cook, but awesomely nutritious.

My kitchen today is smelling like my childhood home! We would cook banana flower almost every week, at least once. They are so nutritious, the health benefits of banana flower are numerous. Apart from possessing antioxidant properties and loads of iron, this particular vegetable is believed to be very good for nursing mothers or during pregnancy. Further, a cooked bowl of banana flower is also believed to help during the difficult days of menstruation. No wonder, we Indians worship banana trees so much.

This recipe serves 4-5 persons.

Ingredients:

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  • 2 cups chopped banana flower. To clean and chop the flower: peel away the outer thick layers and the small florets that you will see near the stem, till you reach a smooth layered skin, and can’t peel away easily. Now rub some oil on your hands and start chopping from the bottom. The head part, near the stem can be discarded if too hard. You will see that as you are chopping the flower, the chopped up parts become darker; do not worry about that, its natural.
  • 1 cup of soybean nuggets. Soak the nuggets in warm water and then squeeze them dry. I like to wash the nuggets under running water, as well.
  • Half cup of chopped onions.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • 2-3 green chilli, crushed.
  • Half teaspoon cumin seeds.
  • Half teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper.
  • Oil, turmeric and salt.

Method:

  • Heat oil and add cumin seeds.
  • Now add onion and fry till translucent.
  • Add garlic and chillies and fry for a minute.
  • Now add the soybeans, coriander and turmeric.
  • Fry the soybeans for 3-4 minutes and add salt.
  • Now add the chopped banana flower and cook on very low flame. Cook covered and in between keep stirring.
  • Now add freshly ground pepper powder, and cook further for 7-8 minutes.
  • Switch off the flame and serve.

Here, I am serving this with boiled rice and boiled daal, on an Assamese traditional “Kanh” (Kansa) plate and a bowl.

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Hope you enjoy this nutritious sabji.

Stay tuned for many more traditional simple food.

Healthy prawns and turnip soup

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The season of warm and comforting soups is gradually reaching to an end, as we are getting ready to welcome Spring-Summer. No matter how hard I try, I am not being able to say goodbye to those steaming bowls of goodness; therefore, today, I am presenting my recipe for a very healthy prawn and turnip soup, with predominantly spiced by ginger.

Turnips are considered very healthy seasonal vegetables that are rich in Vitamin C. With all the seasonal flu and fever going around, consumption of Vitamin C has become most important.

In this soup, I have used my choice of vegetables to go with the main two ingredients. Feel free to use any vegetable of your choice.

This recipe serves four.

Ingredients:

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  • 10-12 large prawns; I have used frozen de-veined and cleaned prawns,
  • 1 medium to large sized turnip, cut in slices,
  • Half cup each of sliced carrot and green bell pepper,
  • Two spring onions chopped,
  • 1 tablespoon of very thinly sliced ginger,
  • 1.5 cups of chicken broth,
  • Half teaspoon of corn flour (optional)
  • Olive oil to fry.

 

Method:

  • Lightly sauté the prawns, with very little salt. Fry till the prawns are lightly golden in colour and keep aside.
  • In a large heavy bottomed pot, drizzle two tablespoon of olive oil,
  • Add all the chopped vegetables along with the spring onions,
  • Add salt and fry till the vegetables are half done, covering the pot.
  • Now add the ginger and fry for 4-5 minutes,
  • Add the prawns and fry for a minute,
  • Now add the corn flour and chicken broth and cover and cook for 6-7 minutes,
  • Adjust the thickness of the soup as per your taste, by adding more or less water,
  • Add pepper powder and switch off the flame.

Serve this soup with a garnishing of coriander and pepper powder.

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Hope you enjoy this recipe! Stay tuned for many more healthy recipes.

Pasta with easy Arrabiata sauce

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My husband loves spaghetti in home-made Arrabiata sauce. And I think its one of the easiest sauces to cook, when you want to have something nice for dinner, without much effort. This is my version of the sauce and I am sure all you lovely people would have your own special recipes (Please do share your home-made sauce recipes, in the comments below).

This sauce is not very thick, but loaded with flavours. The recipe serves around four.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized tomatoes,
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, cut in small pieces,
  • 6-7 cloves of garlic,
  • 2-3 tablespoon of red chilli flakes,
  • 2 teaspoon of basil (I am using dried),
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar,
  • Spaghetti or any pasta of your choice.
  • Olive oil and salt (I do not use extra virgin for this sauce).

Method:

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  • Make one small slit in each of the tomatoes and boil them for 15 minutes. Keep them aside to cool,
  • Cook your pasta; I add little bit of basil in the boiling water before adding my pasta. Once cooked, keep the pasta in the water.
  • Now remove the skins of the tomatoes by simply peeling them away. Also, remove the seeds.
  • Make a very fine paste of the tomatoes, garlic, chilli flakes and basil, and keep aside. The paste will be of nearly runny consistency.
  • Heat olive oil and add the mushrooms, fry till they are fully cooked,
  • Now add salt and sugar,
  • Add the tomato paste and keep cooking uncovered, till the sauce thickens.
  • Adjust the seasonings.
  • Add pepper and switch off the flame.
  • At the time of serving, drain the pasta and mix it with the sauce. Serve it with a generous sprinkling of parmesan. Here, I have served it with a healthy “prawns and turnip soup” (click here to go to the recipe for this soup).

 

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Hope you try this and share with your loved ones!

Stay tuned for many more tried and tested recipes.

Carrot cake (with less butter)

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I believe that on some days you can totally indulge, especially if its your friend’s birthday. And what better gift can you arrange for a sweet friend than a rustic home-made cake!

I am crazy about baking and loved watching my mother bake an awesomely aromatic, soft and fluffy tea cake in a pressure cook. After marriage, I tried once or twice to bake a cake, however, it always ended in disasters; sometimes, the batter is too runny and sometimes the cake is burnt etc etc. But after a lot of trial and error, I somehow got the idea, and now try my hands at baking any type cakes, be it chocolate, vanilla, coffee, banana, and so on and so forth.

For this particular cake, however, I tried, for the first time, icing a cake. So, the icing design is, well, not a sight to behold (bear with me on this one and I promise I will improve). But the cake tastes so good; moreover, its home-made with good quality ingredients and without the use of extreme amounts of butter or sugar. Its my tried and tested Carrot cake recipe, and you can never go wrong with it, whether you want to do icing or just enjoy it as is.

Here, I have used a six inch diameter cake tin to make two separate carrot cakes. I have also added home-made buttermilk into the cakes; buttermilk makes cakes amazingly fluffy and also helps in reducing the fat content. The finished cake will serve 6-7 persons.

Ingredients:

For ONE carrot cake:

  • Two eggs,
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour,
  • 1/2 cup refined oil or melted butter,
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoon powdered sugar,
  • Around 3 tablespoon buttermilk (to make the buttermilk, take 3 tablespoon cold milk and add 1 teaspoon vinegar into it. Do not stir, let it sit for 10 minutes. The milk will thicken and you can use it in your cake),
  • Half cup very finely grated carrots; do NOT squeeze out the juice,
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder.

For icing: (I have used the available brands at my local grocer)

  • 150 gms or 2/3 of a packet of Philadelphia cream cheese,
  • 2/3 cup of powdered sugar,
  • 130 ml or 2/3 of a packet of Amul whipping cream

Method:

Preparing the cakes: I have made two separate cakes; the following method shows how to make one cake.

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  • Beat the butter and the sugar till pale yellow in colour,
  • Add eggs and beat again,
  • Add the carrots and mix with a spatula,
  • Now add the sifted flour and baking powder, alternating it with the buttermilk, and mix,
  • Grease and line your cake tin, both the bottom and the sides, with parchment paper and bake the cake at a 180 degree Celsius  (always pre heat the oven) for 26-28 minutes (keep checking, as every oven is different).
  • Keep the cakes aside to cool.

Icing:

  • Beat cream cheese (softened at room temp) and sugar till light in colour (it won’t be very fluffy)
  • Beat the refrigerated whipping cream, using a chilled whip and a chilled bowl, till stiff peaks,
  • Fold in the whipped cream into the cream cheese; if not using immediately, keep it refrigerated. You can add food colour, according to your choice of design;

Also, please feel free to use any icing recipe, as per your taste; however, the taste of an carrot cake gets enhanced many times, if the icing is of cream cheese.

Prep the cakes for icing:

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  1. Here I am sharing an easy tip to level your cakes, without using a cake leveller.
  2. Use a bowl or a plate that fits into your cake tin; the bowl should be as deep as the dome of the cake that you want to discard.
  3. Now place the inverted bowl in your cake tin and then place your cake on top. The dome of the cake will rise above the brim of your tin; now use a large serrated knife, rest the knife right on the brim of the tin, to very gently cut away the top of the cake. And voilà, you have a perfectly levelled cake without using any cake leveller!
  4. Put some icing in between the cakes; invert the top cake, so that the smooth part stays on top,
  5. Keep it refrigerated for half an hour to set.
  6. Now, decorate your cake as per your choice
  7. Refrigerate for at least 5-6 hours or overnight and then enjoy the soft fluffy goodness!

I am not that much into decorating a cake, although, I am trying to learn. But hey, home-made meaning rustic, but with lot of love and care.

imageHope you give it a try!

Stay tuned for many more tried and tasted recipes.

 

 

 

Hot and sweet fish curry (Rou maasor juul)

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After the appetizingly simple papaya curry, let’s move onto main course dishes. There are many different types of curries that are a part of any regular Assamese meal. However, the most important (yes, I mean it) one is fish curry. In Assam, we have access to varieties of sweet river fishes. I remember, when I was little, we used to be visited by fish vendors at our homes. They would carry their daily catches of mixed varieties of fish on a bi-cycle and sell it at our doorsteps, just as we see vegetable vendor carts here in Delhi.

I am a big fan of all types of fish, and why not! These are tasty, loaded with good fat/oil and minerals, and easy to digest. However, for people like us, living in Delhi or other parts of India, it’s difficult to source regular river fish. The most common ones available here are Rohu or Katla and occasionally Pabhda or Hilsa. Therefore, today I am using Rohu fish to show you my recipe for this hot and sweet curry, served as a main dish with boiled rice. This one is simple yet rich in flavours and colours.

This recipe serves two.

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Ingredients:

  • 3-4 pieces of Rohu fish
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • A little more than ½ teaspoon of black sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoon tomato ketchup
  • 3-4 green chillies and 2-3 red whole chillies
  • Salt, turmeric, cumin powder, red chilli powder and pepper
  • Coriander and raisins (optional) for garnishing

Method:

Marinate the fish:

  • Wash and clean the fish pieces.
  • Marinate the pieces with turmeric, little salt, cumin powder and black pepper.
  • Leave it marinated for an hour

Cooking process:

  • Shallow fry the fish pieces in mustard oil, till they are half done,
  • Make tomato puree in a food processor, with tomatoes, garlic and green chillies,
  • In a pan, heat one tablespoon of oil and add black sesame seeds,
  • Add red chillies and sugar,
  • Now quickly add the tomato puree,
  • Add turmeric, cumin powder and red chilli powder, and salt,
  • Cook for 7-8 minutes,
  • Add tomato ketchup and 1.5 cups of water,
  • Now add the fried fish pieces,
  • Cover and cook for 13-15 minutes; at this stage, check for the gravy thickness. If you want more gravy add more water.
  • Add chopped coriander and raisins and switch off the flame.

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Serve this dish with some fresh coriander and split green chillies on top. Here, I have served this fish curry with rice, along with a side dish of eggplant and potato fry (aloo-bengenar bhaji).

Hope you enjoy this recipe.

Stay tuned for many more simple Assamese recipes.

Corn and iceberg lettuce salad

 

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Salads are a great way to refresh your tummy and your mind. I love them because, I never feel guilty after gobbling a bowl-full (although I never feel guilty after eating any yummy food 😛 ). Here is a recipe of a very easy to assemble, quick and tasty salad that can be eaten at any time of the day!

The following recipe serves two, or one if you eat salads like the way I do 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of sweet corn kernels,
  • 2 cups of roughly chopped icerberg lettuce,
  • ½ cup of cherry tomatoes
  • Salt according to your taste
  • 1 cup or a handful of plain salted potato chips / wafers.

For salad dressing:

  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green chilli

Method:

  1. Drain the corn kernels and keep aside
  2. Wash and roughly chop the lettuce
  3. Cut each cherry tomato in half
  4. Mix all these ingredients with salt (according to your taste); do not add salt if not serving immediately.
  5. Pour the dressing (see ingredients above)
  6. Keep the salad refrigerated till serving time
  7. Serve it with some broken potato chips on top as garnishing and enjoy!

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Hope you like this recipe.

Stay tuned for many more quick and easy recipes.