Vegetarian Pesto Pasta

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When you come back from a long office day, do you feel like, “o god, no more planning and cooking!”? Well, I feel like this most of the days. But, let me tell you one thing, A QUICK TASTY DINNER IS POSSIBLE!

Here is my recipe for a quick dinner menu — vegetarian pesto sauce pasta. Pesto sauce has a beautiful texture, a nutty flavor and it already includes all the seasoning and flavoring needed. Just add some garlic bread on the side, and some wine, and you are ready to host a beautiful dinner for your special one.

This recipe serves 2-3 people.

Ingredients:

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  • Around 100 grams spaghetti;
  • 1 cup diced broccoli and carrot;
  • 3 tablespoon pesto sauce (I have used store-bought; its easily available and quite handy);
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil;
  • 2 cloves of crushed and diced garlic;
  • Salt and pepper.

Method:

  • Sauté the garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil till lightly colored;
  • Now add diced vegetables and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, keep aside.
  • Boil a large pot of water and add 2 tablespoon salt.
  • Once the water starts boiling, add your spaghetti and cook for 7-8 minutes, or as per instructions. Before draining, save 2 ladle full of pasta water (and DO NOT rinse pasta in cold water, until and unless you are preparing for a salad).
  • In a pan, take 1 tablespoon olive oil, and stir in the pesto sauce. Cook for 20-30 seconds, and add the sautéed vegetables. Adjust the seasoning, I add chili flakes at this stage to make it little bit spicier.
  • Add in the reserved pasta water, and now add the drained pasta. Give it a stir, and its done.

Serve with some Parmesan on top and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

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Brown rice pulao

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Many people don’t like brown rice (me included shhh!). But brown rice has many health benefits, which we can’t find in white rice. It has high fibre and is rich in essential minerals. And of course, it’s a boon to weight-watchers who can’t live without their daily doses of rice, like me 😛 .

Today’s brown rice pulao recipe is simple and delicious with goodness of vegetables. This recipe serves 2-3 people.

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup brown rice, soaked for 2 hours. Rinse and drain well;
  • 2 cups of assorted vegetables of your choice. I used green pepper, tomato and sweet corn;
  • 2 green chilies, slit;
  • 1 medium onion sliced;
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder;
  • 1/3 teaspoon garam masala;
  • 2 whole cardamoms;
  • Salt and pepper;
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil.

Method:

  • Heat oil and add the cardamoms.
  • Now add onions and fry till they are lightly brown.
  • Add rice to the onions and cook for 6-8 minutes on medium heat. Do not leave the rice unattended, as it may stick to the pan.
  • Now add all your vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add all the spices, including salt and pepper and cook for a minute or two.
  • Take a microwave safe dish, and pour the rice into it. Even out the rice with a spatula.
  • Now pour just enough water to cover the surface of the rice layer. Remember the rice was already soaked for hours.
  • Microwave the pulao for 15-17 minutes, and your brown rice pulao is ready. If you do not want to microwave it, then add around 2 cups of water to the pan and cook your rice till its done.

Serve it with some raita and fresh salad.

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Pineapple cake with lemon glaze

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How many of you like the idea of giving personalized gifts to your loved ones. I love giving personalized gifts. White there are many options to choose from, home-cooked goodies are my favourite gift items. A nice, healthy, home-baked cake is something that everyone will love for a gift.

Unfortunately, in this busy schedule, few of us get time to make, or even think of such gifts, and we end up buying sugar-laden sweets, pastries and muffins from stores. To solve this problem, I am presenting a very simple and yet extremely delicious pineapple cake that you can make in jiffy. This cake will not only win your loved ones’ hearts, it will also make you a pro-baker 😀

So, let’s start. This recipe makes an 8-inch long tea-cake.

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup all purpose flour;
  • ½ cup vegetable oil;
  • ½ cup powdered or icing sugar;
  • 2 eggs;
  • 3 slices of canned pineapple or ½ cup chunky pineapple puree;
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder;
  • A pinch of soda bicarbonate;
  • A pinch of salt;
  • Pineapple flavour 2-3 drops;
  • Yellow food colour (optional).

For the glaze:

  • ½ cup icing sugar, sieved;
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Method:

  • To make the pineapple puree, pulse the pineapple slices in your food processor. We do not want a fine paste, but want some very fine pineapple chunks. If you do not want to use canned pineapple, use fresh cut pineapple. The final puree will measure ½ cup.
  • Sieve together all purpose flour, icing sugar, baking powder and soda bicarbonate; keep aside.
  • In a bowl add vegetable oil and the 2 eggs, and whisk together till well-combined (about 2 minutes).
  • Now add to the wet mixture, food colour and pineapple flavour.
  • Incorporate the wet mixture into your dry mixture. Your batter will look little dry at this stage.
  • Now add the pineapple puree into your cake batter and mix with a spatula. Your batter will be now of perfect consistency.
  • Line a cake loaf tin, with parchment paper, and pour the mixture. Even out the top with your spatula.
  • Bake this cake in a pre-heated oven, at 180 Celsius for 25 minutes.

You can enjoy your cake as is, or you can go ahead and glaze it. And what’s better than to decorate a pineapple cake with a tangy and fresh lemon glaze!

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Let the cake sit till it cools down to room temperature. Make the lemon glaze by mixing the ingredients. Now gently spoon it over the cake and refrigerate it for 30 minutes and voila! Your awesomely yummy pineapple cake is ready.

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Mixed pasta in an easy veg sauce

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Who doesn’t like pasta? I love all those yummy, rich sauces with chicken or seafish. But who knew the soybean keema can also take a pasta sauce to a whole new level!

Yes, as an experiment, I tried making minced soybean sauce, that turned out to be so yummy, that I will make it again and again. And what more, I even used a easy substitute for cheese used in the sauce!

So, friends you crave for pasta in the middle of the night, but you do not have fancy cheese or minced meat or cans of tomatoes. Fret not dearies, because I present you the most easy to make, with only a few ingredients, pasta that you will love and cherish.

This recipe makes for 3-4 people.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of mixed pasta (I used a mix of penne, spirali and farfalle);
  • 1 cup of soybean keema or minced soybean;
  • 3 large tomatoes;
  • 3 large cloves of garlic;
  • 3 slices of brown bread;
  • 2 tablespoon of cream;
  • Olive oil, generous amount of chilli flakes and herbs of your choice;
  • Salt and pepper.

Method:

  • Grind the bread slices until fine, and bake them in a preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius for 10 minutes;
  • Soak the soybean in boiling water. Drain and keep aside;
  • Prepare the pasta as per instructions; reserve 1 cup of pasta boiling water, before draining. And never ever pour cold water in your pasta, if you are not making it for a salad;
  • Purée tomatoes, along with garlic; keep aside;
  • Now heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil, and add chilli flakes and herbs to the oil; you can also add garlic powder;
  • Now add drained soybean and cook for 3-4 minutes; Add salt to taste;
  • Add the tomato purée; cook for 3-4 minutes. At this time, you can add the reserved pasta water, if the sauce looks thick.
  • Mix in the cream and freshly ground pepper powder, and cook for 2 minutes; Switch off the flame.
  • Now add the pasta and mix well.

When serving, sprinkle a generous amount of baked bread crumbs, which resembles Parmesan, but tastes equally (almost) awesome!

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Hope you enjoy this recipe; stay tuned for many more easy cooking recipes.

 

 

Pan seared Mackerel with sesame seeds seasoning

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I love all kinds of fish, big or small. Although, for me nothing beats a crispy fried (in mustard oil) rohu piece, I love experimenting with flavours added as marinade to fishes. Today, I am sharing sesame seeds flavoured Mackerel fried recipe. This seasoning can be used for other medium sized fish as well. It gives a nutty and spicy flavour; and what more, drizzling olive oil while serving it enhances the taste even more.

It is quite an easy recipe, with time required mostly for the marinating process. Hope you guys give it a try!

Ingredients:

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  • 2 mackerel, cleaned and washed. Make slits at a regular interval.
  • 3 tablespoon sesame seeds, soaked in water 3-4 hours,
  • 2 tablespoon ginger – garlic paste,
  • 3 tablespoon chopped coriander,
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green chillies,
  • Few whole black peppers,
  • Salt and pepper,
  • Olive oil for frying and also drizzling on top,
  • Lemon juice.

Method:

  • Make paste with sesame seeds, ginger-garlic, coriander, whole peppers, green chillies and salt.
  • Marinate the fishes in the above paste for at least half an hour. Try to add the paste into the slits and also the cleaned insides.
  • Now drizzle olive oil on a pan, and fry the fishes on medium heat. Fry for around 7-8 minutes on each side.
  • Serve with a generous drizzle of olive oil, a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice and pepper powder.

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Stir fried “gatte ki subzi” (gram flour dumpling)

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One of the many perks of being married into a Marwari family? You get to eat awesome vegetarian food that you have never heard of before. Being an Assamese, and spending most of my life in a small town in Assam, I hardly knew about Marwari cuisine. However, after my marriage, the food, including other North Indian dishes, was sort of a revelation! I never thought that vegetarian food can also be so so tasty and so many different varieties are possible.

For instance, consider the use of besan (gram flour); you can make the usual pakode (fritters) and kadhi (curd based curry) or make gatte, besan ki chapatti (gram flour Indian bread) and not to mention laddoos (sweet treats), the possibilities are endless. While in Assam, for us, besan meant only and only pakode!

In Marwari cuisine, “gatte ki subzi” (gram flour dumplings curry) is quite famous and also a very common dish. My mother-in-law showed me how to cook it and make awesome curd-based curries with it. However, one variation of this ingredient caught my imagination; and that was the dry fried version, made with small cut pieces of gatte, fried in oil flavoured with curry leaves and black mustard seeds. It was brilliantly flavourful. Inspired by that version, today, I am presenting my own variation of stir fried gatte.

I am a big fan of colourful food. Therefore, my variation is made with colourful vegetables.

This recipe serves 3-4.

Ingredients:

To make gatte:

  • 1 cup gram flour,
  • 3 tablespoon oil (flavourless),
  • A pinch of baking soda (soda bicarbonate),
  • Salt according to taste (Around 1 teaspoon),
  • ½ teaspoon each of carom seeds and nigella seeds,
  • ½ teaspoon each of chilli powder and cumin powder,
  • Water to knead the dough.

Vegetables for stir fry:

  • ½ cup each of shredded cabbage and carrots (feel free to add your favourite veges),
  • 2-3 garlic minced,
  • ½ teaspoon green chilli chopped,
  • 1 spring onion chopped,
  • 1/3 teaspoon turmeric,
  • Salt according to taste.
  • Oil for frying.

Method:

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Make the gatte:

  • Mix all ingredients and knead.
  • A sticky dough will form.
  • Apply little oil on your palms, and roll the gatte dough in slim cigar shapes.
  • Boil around 5-6 cups of water; drop the cigar shaped dumplings into the water.
  • After 2-3 minutes, the dumplings will puff up and rise up.
  • Keep boiling for 6-7 minutes more, and then drain and keep aside.

Stir fry vegetables:

  • Heat oil and add garlic.
  • Now add all the vegetables.
  • Add turmeric and salt, and fry the vegetables for 3-4 minutes or till dry.
  • Now chop the boiled gatte into small round pieces, and add to the vegetables.
  • Mix carefully and fry on high flame for 3-4 minutes.
  • Switch off the flame and its ready! You can squeeze some lemon juice to give it a tangy feel.

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Hope you like this!

Stay tuned for many more easy recipes.

Green chana (choliya) tikki

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Green chana or choliya is a regular food item in my grocery list, because my husband loves it so much! I am not a fan of the black chana curries, but I really love choliyas; they are healthy, easy to digest and easy to cook. I generally make aloo-choliya curry; but today I felt like making these tikkis, as an accompaniment for my couscous salad. This makes for a beautiful Middle Eastern type of dinner menu, with couscous and green chana “falafel look-alike” :P.

The following recipe makes around 5-6 medium sized tikkis.

Ingredients:

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  • 1.5 cup green chana or choliya,
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic,
  • 2 green chillies,
  • 1 medium potato boiled,
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion,
  • 3-4 tablespoon corn flour,
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder,
  • Salt, pepper, cumin powder and chilli powder.
  • Breadcrumbs to coat the tikkis.

Method:

  • Use a food processor to grind together green chana, garlic and chillies to make a paste.
  • Mash the potato.
  • Now mix all ingredients together with chana paste.
  • Adjust the amount of corn flour to get the right consistency.
  • Coat each tikki with breadcrumb and shallow fry over medium heat.

Serve these with chilli sauce and any of your favourite sauces! Here, I am serving these with a healthy couscous salad (click here to go to the recipe for this).

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Healthy vegetarian couscous salad

image Some dishes have the potential to not only lift your health up but also lift your spirit. They are healthy, colourful and not to mention flavourful. Couscous is one such food that can be made into a beautiful salad that instantly lifts your mood, and of course your appetite. I love couscous, because I can make both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes out of it; its versatile and very light. Overall, it’s a “happy food”. So, today, I am sharing my go to recipe, whenever I feel like making something simple and yet tasty. This recipe makes for two good portion servings. I am using instant couscous, which requires only boiled water. Ingredients: image

  • 2/3 cup of instant couscous,
  • ¼ cup of boiling hot water.
  • Mixed vegetables:
  • ½ cup zucchini chopped,
  • 1/3 cup each of cucumber and tomato chopped; remove the seeds from the tomato,
  • 1 cup of red pepper chopped,
  • 1 cup of paneer chopped,

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoon orange juice,
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice,
  • ½ teaspoon each of chilli powder, cumin powder, salt and pepper,
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil.

Method:

  • Boil the water with a pinch of salt and a few drops of olive oil,
  • Pour this on the instant couscous; cover and keep aside. You can also follow the instructions written on the back of the couscous packet to prepare it.
  • Lightly sauté red bell pepper, paneer cubes and zucchini in little oil, separately in that order. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
  • In a bowl, mix the dressing ingredients.
  • Now fluff the couscous with a fork and mix in with the dressing.
  • Add all the vegetables and mix with a fork.
  • Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander.

Your healthy couscous salad is ready. Enjoy this recipe as breakfast or a hearty meal for dinner. Here, I am serving this salad with green chana (choliya) tikkis (click here to go to the recipe for this). image Stay tuned for many more healthy food.

Pan seared basa fillet, with shallot cream sauce

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A nice fillet of roasted or seared fish, presented with luscious white wine sauce, I must be in a dreamland! Well, I am not, and this is not the luxurious white wine or béchamel sauce, but it is equally yummilicious and silky.

I had these Indian basa fillets lying in my refrigerator and was wondering what to make. Then I thought let’s try the white wine sauce. Unfortunately, I had no wine with me and its pouring since yesterday here. So, I decided to use my own little invention of this silky smooth sauce that tastes so good that it can be used with anything, from roasted chicken breast to pan seared tofu to fish fillets, you name it! This sauce is really easy and quick to make, has the crunchiness from the shallots and the richness of cream and milk.

This recipe will serve two.

Ingredients:

  • 2 fish fillets, I am using Indian basa fillets.
  • 4 shallots and 1 spring onion; remove the green part and keep aside to be used for garnishing.
  • 3 gloves of garlic and 1 green chilli, very finely chopped.
  • Butter for frying the fish and to cook the sauce.
  • Salt, chilli flakes, pepper, and pinch of meat masala (optional).
  • 1/3 cup low fat cream.
  • 1/3 cup milk.
  • 1 teaspoon corn flour.

Method:

Marinate and fry the fish:

  • Clean the fish fillets and marinate with salt, pepper and my magic ingredient meat masala. Meat masala is completely optional, but it gives that yummy spicy kick. Keep aside for half an hour.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of butter, and fry the fish fillet, starting with skin side down. Fry for around 4 minutes on each side or till the fillets are cooked through.

Prepare the sauce:

  • Heat 2 tablespoon of butter.
  • Add garlic and chilli and fry for a minute.
  • Cut each shallot in half and also chop the white part of the green onion. Add these to the pan.
  • Fry for 3-4 minutes, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Now add cream and milk, mix and cook for a minute.
  • Add corn flour to thicken the sauce and cook for 2 minutes; adjust the desired consistency with milk.
  • Switch off the flame and season with green onions.

To serve, place the fried fillet on a plate and gently spoon the sauce on top of it. Here, I am serving this with mashed potato (click here to go the recipe).

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Hope you enjoy this!

Stay tuned for many more yummilicious recipes.