February 28, 2007


When I read that this month's JFI host is Vaishali of "Happy Burp", I was thrilled.I was even more thrilled to hear that she has chosen Potatoes for this month! YAY!! I love Potatoes and my favorite variety is Red Potatoes for cooking most dishes since they not only taste great and hold their shape while cooking too.

As you know there are literally thousands of Indian and non-Indian dishes you can make with Potatoes.I am posting several dishes I made for lunch or dinner at home for us,so no step by step photos this time.I thought why not make this whole post all about easy and delicious Indian Potato dishes and cook until I faint!:p

I am just kidding people. No,I didn't cook all these in one day but over 3 weeks and collected for this post.I had almost a month to cook with Potatoes since I came to know about JFI theme for March. Enjoy! :)

My favorite Red Potatoes:

The potato originated in southern Peru and is important to the culture of the Andes, where farmers grow many different varieties. Potatoes spread to the rest of the world after European contact with the Americas in the late 1400s and early 1500s and have since become an important field crop. The potato is also often strongly associated with Idaho, Prince Edward Island, Ireland and Russia.Potatoes contain a number of important vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B6,thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, Fiber and zinc.potatoes are best known for their carbohydrate content.(More at WIKI)

Let me start with my personal favorite dish and the "official" entry to JFI Potatoes; Potato-Spinach in Yogurt-Gram flour sauce.

Aloo-Palak Kadhi:
Usually,I make Kadhi with Pakodis(fritters) but this time I thought I will make it a little special and add Potatoes with Spinach to make it more tasty,nutritious and of course make some fritters on the side as an option.What kind of Pakodis,did you ask?! You will have to check at Aroma for that on Friday!!;D

You Need:
1 cup fat-free Sour cream or Yogurt mixed with 1 1/2 cups water,2 tbsp Besan(Chickpeas flour),1/2 tsp Turmeric, 1-2 tsp Coriander seeds pd,salt,1/2 tsp sugar,a pinch of Hing or Asafoetida and 1/4 tsp chilli pd(optional)and whisk all these together until everything is well mixed.
Season: 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp oil,1 Bay leaf,1 tsp cumin seeds,1-2 Garlic minced,1/2" ginger minced,2 dry red chillies.
Powder: 1" Dalchini(Cinnamon),2 cloves,4 Pepper corns.
Vegetables:2 medium sized Potatoes cooked,peeled and cubed,2 cups fresh Spinach or a canned or frozen Spinach,chopped fine.

How To:
1. Heat butter and oil,add all the seasoning ingredients.When garlic slightly soft,add powdered masala and stir for a second.Turn down the heat,add 2 tbsp of water to cool the pan down to prevent yogurt mixture from curdling in the high heat.
2. Add the besan-yogurt mixture,bring to simmer very slowly on a low heat,keep stirring.Let it simmer until it cooks and looks like thin soup.
3. Add Potatoes and Spinach.Simmer again until you get a good aroma.Serve with rice and fritters.Sprinkle some Cilantro if you like.

Note:If you want to have this Kadhi with Rotis or Parathas,add 1 tbsp more Besan to yogurt and cook until you get a thick sauce.

Easy Potato-Zucchini Stir-Fry:

To Make it:
1. Slice 1 Zucchini and 2 Potatoes, 4 Green Onions(Scallions)to 3" long pieces.
2. Heat 2 tsp oil,splutter 1 tsp Cumin seeds,1/2 tsp Sesame seeds, 1 red chilly broken,sliced curry leaves.
3. When reddish,add potatoes first,stir fry for few mins.Then add all the cut veggies,salt,1 tsp coriander seeds pd,little pepper pd and keep stirring until they are cooked.Adjust the spices and squeeze a little lemon juice if you like.
4. Serve the stir-fry with any Rice dishes or Chapatis as a simple side dish.

Alu-Kanda Bhaji(Potato-Onion Gravy):

How To:
1. Peel and cube 2 medium Potatoes,slice 2 medium onions and chop 2 Tomatoes.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil,splutter 1/2 tsp each Mustard and cumin seeds.Add Potatoes and stir for few mins.Add in all the onions,stir until they halfway cooked and soft.
3. Add Tomatoes,1/2 tsp or more chilli pd, 2 tsp each coriander and cumin seeds powder,1 tsp Garam Masala,salt ,Turmeric,1/4 cup water and cilantro.Cover and cook.
4. When tomatoes are soft and gravy is thick,it's ready to serve with Chapatis or Phulkas.Tastes yummy.

Dahi Aloo-Matar:(Potato-Peas in Yogurt)

How to make it:
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil/butter,splutter 1/2 tsp mustard seeds,1 tsp cumin seeds and 1 dry red chilli.Add ground 1" ginger and 2 Garlic with 3 tbsp water,along with 4 tbsp minced onion,little Turmeric and stir fry for 2mins..
2. Add 2 tsp Coriander pd,1 tsp Cumin pd,1 tsp Garam Masala,1/2 each tsp Paprika and chilli pd,fry until oil shows on top.
3. You can add 1 tsp Kitchen King masala if you have it and 1/2 cup water.Simmer.Now whisk 1 cup fat-free Sour cream or plain Yoghurt, 1cup frozen Green Peas,add to it making sure the heat is on medium,keep stirring to avoid curdling.Simmer for 5-10 mins.Add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.
4. Add in 3 medium red potatoes cooked and cubed to the sauce,salt and adjust the spices to your taste and simmer until you get a thickish sauce.
5. Serve with either rice or Chapatis.Tastes great with both.

Aloo Baingan:(Potatoes with Eggplants)
I am back with yet another Aloo-Baingan people!:D I love Eggplants and I love to make different dishes with this delightful veggie.Potato tastes great with Eggplants,spices for this are similar but not the same as Mirchi Aloo which will be in my future post.Here it is,make it and enjoy this with Rice rottis or Parathas.

How to make:
1. Toast and powder 3 tbsp Coriander seeds,1 tsp Cumin seeds,1 1/2 tbsp Chana dal,few dry red chillies,1 tbsp dry Coconut,3-4 cloves.Keep it aside.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil/ghee,splutter 1/2 tsp mustard seeds,1 dry red chilli.Add 2 medium red potatoes peeled,cubed and cooked,fry for few mins.
3. Add in 3-4 long Eggplants(I found 4 white Eggplants!) cubed,fry for a while.Now add 2 tbsp Tamarind juice,slat,ground masala powder,1/2 tsp sugar and fry again.
4. Add in 1/2 cup water and cook until almost dry without liquid without covering the with the lid.Sprinkle some cilantro.
5. Adjust the salt and spices.Serve with Rice Rottis or Chapatis.

Easy Aloo Biryani:Serves 2
Here is a super easy Aloo Biryani to cook in a jiffy.You can add any veg or non-veg to this dish.

How To:
1. Cook 1 cup rice,long grain or Basmati, cool and set aside.Cook 2 large Potatoes and peel and cube.Set aside to cool.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil,add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds,2 cloves,1" cinnamon,1 bay leaf,1 large onion finely sliced and fry until reddish and crisp.Add 1" ginger and 2 garlic both ground and stir for 2 mins.
3. Add 1/4 tsp turmeric or Saffron water,salt and put in cooked rice and mix well.Keep this aside.
3. Heat 1 tbsp oil/butter in seperate pan,add 1/2 cup Tomato sauce,1 tsp coriander pd,1/2 tsp Cumin seeds pd,1/2 tsp garam masala and chilli pd,little salt,1/4 tsp sugar,fry until it leaves the sides of the pan and thick.Add cooked potato cubes and mix well.
To assemble Biryani:
In a dish,layer 1/2 of the rice,half of the Potato mixture,layer with rice and potato again.Sprinkle 1 tbsp milk on top,cover and microwave for 2-3 mins.
Your quick Biryani is ready!! Enjoy with salad and crisps.

Be happy and have fun this weekend! I think we had enough of vegetarian only dishes,don't you? So, I am planning a non-veg and a veg dishes next time!:)

February 21, 2007


Hope you had a good Shivaratri, that is whoever celebrated last Friday! :)

What's ShivRatri?
Maha Shivaratri is one of the most important religious festivals for Shaivas, (Shiva's followers) which was celebrated this year on Friday,the 16th of Feb. ShivaRatri literally means the "Night of the great Lord Shiva",this festival brings around the best time to express our devotion and prayers to Lord Shiva and seek his blessings.Devotees of Lord Shiva observe a fast or Upavasa (didn't happen in my house nor did we spend the night awake reading the "book"!!) during this day and recant stories (Shiva Purana) of Shiva the whole night ,called Jagarane!

Ahem!! However,when they break the fasting and gone through all the stories the whole sleepless night,they are ready to feast the next day!! AHA!!! Now we are talkin'!!:D Here is the feast we had, sans fasting and sleepless night but we DID say a little prayer to Shiva before we ate! Good enough,don't you think?!

Here's a beautiful and majestic picure of Lord Shiva taken by Mahek at Murudeshwara Temple, barrowed from Mahek's blog with her permission of course.Thanks friend!:)

Well..these dishes are very traditional Karnataka festival food as they make in my Grandparents' home.Of course,being a big family and with the help of cooks, they make it more elaborate than mine of course! We are just four people in my family,so I had to cut down many of them and chose a few which we like most.These dishes are familiar to many South Indians,nothing special but these are my versions!:))

All vegetarian Shiva Ratri feast:

Menu: Bajjis/Fritters,Raita,Beans stir-fry,Carrot-Moong dal salad, Bisi Bele Bhath/rice,Mosaranna/Yogurt rice, Chiroti with Badami milk/Almond milk.Here are the recipes for all of these.

Let me start with the appetizers:

From right to left: Green Bell Pepper,Onion rings,top;Plaintain/Balekai Bajji,bottom;Cabbage and Tortilla Bondas, Cubanos Peppers Bajji.

How to:

Batter for Bajjis:
1 cup Besan/Chickpea flour, 2 tbsp Rice flour,1 tbsp Corn-starch,chilli pd,salt,1/4 tsp baking soda,(my secret ingredients but not any more!),ground 1 tsp cumin seeds,2 cloves,1/2" cinnamon,1/4 tsp Ajwain,1/2 tsp Fennel seeds,1 tsp coriander seeds to coarse pd,2 tsp finely chopped cilantro,turmeric.Mix all these with 1 tbsp hot oil first and then enough water to make a thick enough batter to just cling onto the veggies.

Don't make it too thin,if it is add some Besan to thicken.Adjust the salt and spice.Heat oil to deep fry at 375F or medium hot.Now take each of bell pepper,Cubano Pepper,Plantain,peeled and sliced halfway first then across to 4-6 long slices as shown in the picture,slice 1 onion in to thick round slices.Sprinkle some salt and lemon juice on everything.

Dip each and deep fry until golden and drain on the paper towels.If any leftover batter,add chopped onion,cabbage,Tortilla pieces, jalapeno, cilantro or any veg. in the fridge and drop blobs of batter and fry.These Bondas were tastier than the Bajjis!:D

Now on to a very popular Karnataka Entree` Mysore Bisi Bele Bhath.This is my grandmother's recipe!
Bisi Bele Bhath literally means "hot Dal-Rice" in Kannada and is a classic Karnataka dish.I make the gravy a day before unlike my grandmother ,so all good spices and vegetables get seeped and marinated overnight.I add the cooked and cooled rice few hrs before serving and really cook down the gravy in the microwave to make it thicker.This dish tastes even better on the third day!

You Need:
2 cups Sona Massori rice cooked separately, 1 cup Tuar dal, tamarind juice, jaggery,2 red ripe tomatoes,3 cups mixed vegs. like Green beans,Carrots,Green peas,cooked separately.No fleshy or soft vegs like cabbage,Potatoes or Cauliflowers!!

Roast and grind:

BBB powder:

8 tbsp coriander seeds, 4 dry red chillis, 1 tsp pepper corns, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds, 2 tbsp chana dal, 8 cloves, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1" cinnamon (dalchini), 2 tsp poppy seeds, 10 curry leaves, 3 tbsp dry coconut,roast all this until reddish and powder with 1/2 tsp turmeric.

Note: I have given the above amount to make BBB Pd about a cup and also to store for future use as well. Use only as much powder as you need to make this recipe BBB, you won't need the whole amount. Use the rest for Sambhar/bele saaru.

Season: 2 tbsp ghee, 1 tsp mustard seeds, few curry leaves, 2 red chillis, 2 tbsp peanuts, 2 tbsp cashew nuts, 2 big onions sliced.

How To:
Cook Tuar dal until soft.Heat ghee in a huge dish and add all the seasoning ingredients with onions and fry until onions are soft and reddish.Add cooked dal with at least ten cups of water, tamarind juice, salt, jaggery, all the cooked veggies, tomatoes and ground masala powder.

Boil until you see the oil specks on top, add more water if necessary to make it thin. Keep it overnight in the fridge. Next day,boil the gravy again.Cook 2 cups rice and cool in a wide pan nad add to the gravy,simmer until thickish. Adjust the Salt.It's ready to serve.Cut down the amount to half since this serves 8 people!I love leftover BBB! ;D

Mosaranna/Yogurt Rice:
Since Bisi Bele Bhath is quite spicy,I always serve with Yogurt rice and Yogurt Raita.

Click here for the recipe which is already in my post.

Next are two delicious Salads and a stir-fry:

A cooling yogurt,cucumber and Tomato Raita/salad, a classic Mysorean tangy Carrot and Moong dal Kosumbari/salad and my personal favorite Green Beans Stir-fry!YUM!

Here is how to make them one by one:

Carrot and Moong dal Kosumbari/Salad:

Soak 2 tbsp Moong dal in water for 2hrs and drain(raw,no cooking).Add to 2 cups of grated Carrots and mix with 1 tsp lemon juice,salt,few cilantro.Heat a tsp oil,add a 1/2 tsp mustard seeds,2 curry leaves,1 chopped Green chlli.Add to Kosumbari and mix well.

Green Beans Stir-Fry:

Chop Green Beans about 2 cups,microwave it with salt and water until little soft(not soggy but should still crunchy) and drain.Heat 2 tsp oil,add 1 tsp each chana dal,Urad dal,1/2 tsp each mustard and cumin seeds,curry leaves,2 red chillies broken.Add 1/2 finely minced onion,fry until reddish.Add cooked beans and fry for a second,mix in 1 tbsp dry coconut,salt and mix well to serve.

Yogurt-Cucumber-Tomato Raita:

Mix 1 cup each Yogurt,cubed Cucumber and cubed Tomatoes with salt,1/2 tsp cumin seeds pd,cilantro and chill until it is ready to be served.

Finally,the big Finale! Dessert!! What is it?! One more classic Karnataka dessert!

Chiroti with Badami Halu/Almond milk!!
No Kannadiga weddings are complete without Chirotis soaked in sweet aromatic Almond milk! Chirotis are Tortilla like circles or layered into shapes made of flour and semolina and deep fried in to delicious flaky dessert served with sweetened Almond milk!It's most delicious dessert and can be made simple to complicated ways.Some of you have posted Chirotis in your blogs,try mine as well!:)

Simple one is just rolled out into circles and fried,sprinkled with cardamom flavored powdered sugar.
Second way is to fold into shapes like I have done and served with Almond Milk.
Third and a elaborate way is to make several circles,stack 5-6 on top of each other with butter in between,rolled like a tube,cut into little circles again,rolled out and fried and served with Payasa/sweet porridge.Phew!!This one was tiring just to write.Okay,let's do second one with my short cut way,shall we?:)

How To: Makes about 6-8

Take 1/2 cup Plain flour,1/2 cup Chiroti rava(Fine grained Semolina),1/4 tsp Salt,2 tbsp powdered sugar,Clove powder 1/4 tsp,Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp,2 tbsp Ghee or butter,mix all these with enough water to make firm pliable dough,keep aside.Heat oil to deep fry.

Divide the dough to 6-8 portions,roll out each into thin circle,cut into a square by cutting the edges and join all four pointy edges in the middle lightly and stick a tooth prick thru' four corners to hold the shape in oil.Repeat with the others and deep fry until golden and drain on paper towel.Take out the tooth picks.

Quick Almond Milk:
Pour 1 12oz can unsweetened Evaporated milk in a bowl.Soak the 1/4 cup Almonds in hot water for half an hour.Peel the skin as much as you can to get a white milk and grind into smooth paste,add to milk with 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar,1/2 tsp Cardamom pd,pinch of Saffron,heat until thick.That's it!Or boil 2-3 cups of Fat-Free half and half milk until reduced to half and make it in the same way.

To serve: Place a Chiroti and pour the Almond Milk and sprinkle some toasted, crushed Almonds on top.
Chirotis taste best when they are crisp and serve as soon as they are fried rather than keeping them for half a day!My kids who don't like anything with cardamoms but love Vanilla flavor usually,LOVED this dessert and had second helpings!:)

Well...That was about it for me this time around! Hope you try some of these and enjoy.As far as I am concerned,I am done with all these festivals until next Deepavali!PHEW!! See you all next week with JIHVA Potato!!:)

February 14, 2007

FROM MY HEART TO YOU!! Butter Chicken, Kaddu-Palak Malai Kofta

Saint Valentine's Day or Valentine's Day falls on February 14.The holiday is named after two men,both Christian martyrs named Valentine! The day became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.In the United States, the marketing of Valentine's Day has tagged it as a "Hallmark Holiday"!(Info:WIKI)

So my buddies, are you ready to do some frivolous spending on a nonsensical holiday like this one??!!;D I know,I am very cynical!!I am not into this V'day too much,just glad that Arvind comes straight home EVERYDAY to me but happy to cook something for bloggers' V'day events!! But you make sure to enjoy the day though and have fun! Here are some dishes I cooked last week and a cake baked for today.

To all my beautiful blog friends,Happy Valentine's Day!!:))

The day is most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines". Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards. The Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.(WIKI)More info here!!

This week's Menu:
A Heart shaped Cake with Pink Frosting(for V'day!),two more from Aroma to choose,
Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani),(made this last Sunday for lunch)
Kaddu-Aloo-Palak Malai Kofta(Butternut Squash-Potato-Spinach rounds in Cream Sauce)
(made this on the 9th for Arvind's 45th B'day!)

Butter chicken:Serves 4
(you will get 1tbsp butter each, so quit whining! :D)

This Butter Chicken is one of the favorite dishes of my kids and Arvind I have created after many trials to find the easiest and tastiest gravy.There are not many ingredients in this and tastes great after a day when you give all those spices and meat a chance to mingle and seep thru' overnight.Make sure you have 4 cups of gravy for both dishes.Cook some rice or Parathas or Pitas and salad, you are good to go or make it vegetarian by adding your fav. Koftas (Veg balls)!

To make it vegetarian,cook the gravy in advance.Make some Koftas and bake in the oven to make it lighter since gravy is rich some cream and some butter and add to the gravy just before serving! What a great idea, don't you think? Two in one recipe.YUM!!

You Need:

3 boneless,skinless Chicken Breasts,cubed to bite sized pieces and cooked, 2 big Onions sliced, 2" ginger,2 Garlic both chopped,1 1/2 tbsp Coriander seeds pd,1/2 tsp Chilli pd,1 tsp Paprika,1/2 cup Tomato sauce, 1 tsp Garam Masala,1/2 tsp Turmeric,1/2 tsp cardamom pd,Pinch of Nutmeg and a tsp of Fennel seeds pd,2 tbsp Cashews or Almonds, 1 tsp Tandoori masala if you have it,1/2 cup Fat-Free half and half or 2% milk,4 tbsp Butter and Cilantro minced.Lemon slices to serve.

How To:

Heat 1 tbsp oil,fry onion slices until soft and reddish on the edges.Add ginger and garlic and saute for a minute.Put them all into a blender.Now toast the coriander seeds,2 cardamoms peeled and seeded,cashews or Almonds, until you get an aroma.Add to the blender along with chilli pd,paprika,turmeric and Tandoori masala,tomato sauce,blend to a smooth paste.Take it out in to a bowl.Heat 1/2 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp of Butter in a pan.

Add ground paste and fry until it leaves some oil on top.It will be quick since they are already fried.Add 1 cup water,boil and turn down the heat to low,add half and half or milk while stirring constantly until well mixed and simmering.Add cooked chicken,Garam Masala, Nutmeg ,Tandoori pd and Fennel pd.When you see oil specks on top,add last of butter and turn off the heat,and let the butter melt.Mix well,keep it in the fridge overnight.

To Serve:
Garnish with minced cilantro and dot with cream just before serving.Serve with Basmati rice,Pita or Parathas or Naans with a salad and crisps.
For vegetarian butter masala,heat the gravy next day and then add warm Koftas and serve as soon as possible.

Here is a plate of delicious Butter Chicken:

Malai Kofta:

Kaddu-Alu-Palak Koftas or Vegetable Balls:
Kaddu is Butternut squash or any gourd made in to balls with Spinach and Potatoes.

Butternut squash is sweet as you all know,so if don't want to taste too much sweetness in your Koftas,cut down the amount of Kaddu to 1/2 cup to mellow the sweetness.I used 1 cup,tasted good.

Here's how to make the Koftas!

Peel and grate or cube 1 cup Butternut squash and 2 cups of Potato.Add into the blender with 1/2 cup chopped Spinach,1 tsp cumin seeds powder,1 tbsp Coriander pd,1/4 tsp chilli pd, 1/2 tsp Garam masala,1/2 onion minced, 1/4 cup Besan (Gram flour(add more later if needed)) and 1 tbsp Corn starch,salt and blend to a very coarse paste without the water.

Adjust the seasoning and thickness to roll into a ball by adding as much as besan or corn flour needed depending on the softness of koftas and make about 8 balls.Chill in the fridge for half an hour.Take them out.Now either you can deep fry as I did or spray some oil on them and bake at 400F for 30 mins or until reddish on top.Cool.Add to the Malai(Cream) sauce just before serving.

Malai Masala: Same as Butter masala except cut down the butter to just 1tbsp and add 1 more cup of fat-free half and half mixed with 1 cup milk and water to thin it to 4 cups of gravy.Simmer on low and serve with Koftas and lemon ,onion slices.

A plate of Malai Kofta with rice,lemon slice and onion rings:

Enjoy the special occasion meal of either Butter Chicken or Malai Kofta and have a dessert on me!:))

Here is a beautiful cake for dessert I baked for us with lots of love and affection as main ingredients for V'day!:))

I know I didn't bake this cake from scratch but used a ready bake Devil's cake with some additional ingredients.But I did make it pink to make it special for Valentine's day!:))

You Need:
one package of Duncan Hines Devil's Food cake mix,3 eggs, 1/3rd cup Veg. oil,1 1/3cups water,1 tsp Vanilla Essence,1 Tub whipped Fluffy Vanilla Frosting,one drop of Red food color,Hershey candy coated Kissables and 2 9" heart shaped baking pan.

How To:

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Spray the non-stick pan and keep it aside. Mix cake mixture,3 eggs,oil,Vanilla essence and water as directed on the package until well combined.Pour into both pans and tap it lightly on the counter to get the trapped bubbles out.

Bake them in the for 30-36 mins or until the knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.Take them out and invert on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath to cool completely.To make the frosting:Take out the Vanilla frosting into a bowl,add a drop of Red food color,mix.Microwave it for 30 secs at a time until it's thin enough to spread easily,Do not heat until hot,it will curdle.

Making sure that cake is completely cool,pour warm frosting all over until it spreads itself on top and falls on the side.Do not try to spread yourself,you won't get smooth covering,if you do.Warm it again for 30mins if you want.Cover the whole cake with frosting,lift off of the cooling rack and onto a plate.Decorate with Kissables,chill in the fridge.Serve at room temperature.Enjoy!!

Pilsbury V'day cookies I made for Trisha's friends at school:

Here are two more V'day desserts I made last week for you to enjoy:

Strawberry Shortcake

Carrot-Beet Halwa(pudding)

Have fun! See you all next Wednesday with pure Kannadiga vegetarian Maha ShivaRatri(which is on Friday 16th) goodies!;)

February 07, 2007


Hope you all had a great Super Bowl Sunday and ate lot of food!:D
It was great game this year unlike last year,so much twists and turns and surprises!!We loved it!I cooked some easy Mexican food and enjoyed the game as well.I didn't want cook too much and be too tired to watch the game like I did last year!

I chose to make Enchiladas for lunch on Sunday and for the game before 6pm,I made few Taquitos,Empanadas, Guacamole,Cheese dip(Con Queso on Fondue pot!:D)and hot salsa
for Tostitos,and with some soft drinks for me(Beer is not something I like)and kids and Beers for the big guy to wash it all down! We clear all the furnitures and crash right infront of the TV on the carpet to watch and pig out!:D

I didn't cook too many dishes this week but some random recipes, a MeMe and some photos!! Arvind was toying with the camera while we were watching the game and took some pics of the game on TV,I thought I put one of those up too!

Here is the picture of our NFL grub!

Black Bean Enchiladas: Serves 4

You Need:
7-8 8" flour tortillas,3 cups Red chile sauce or store bought Enchilada Sauce,1 cup shredded cheddar cheese,2 Green Onions for garnish,1 small sweet onion,minced.
You also need Black bean filling ingredients as listed below.You can add Kidney beans,cooked Chicken or browned ground beef if you like but this time it's just vegetarian Enchiladas here!:))

How To:

Take 2 cups Black Beans Canned,1/2 cup Spinach cooked,1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese,2-3 tbsp Hot Salsa,3 chopped green onions,2 garlic, 1 tbsp Cumin powder,2 tbsp chopped cilantro,salt,2 tsp lemon juice or sour Cream ,mash all these into a coarse paste.

Take a 13x9" baking dish,pour 1 cup sauce into the bottom.Keep 2 cups of sauce in a wide pan.Take a 8" Flour Tortilla,dip the whole thing in sauce and lay on a plate.Place 3 tbsp of bean filling and fold both sides over it.Gently lift and place it seam side down in the baking pan.

Make 3 more to cover the bottom,sprinkle sweet onions,1/2 cup Cheddar cheese on top.Make 4 more Enchiladas, layer on top and Pour all the remaining sauce over the Enchiladas.Repeat with cheese and onion,garnish with spring onion rounds.

You can add Pimientos,Jalapenos if you like Pre-heat the oven at 350F and bake the Enchiladas for 20mins or until cheese is bubbly on top.I know the filling doesn't look that attractive but it is very flavorful and nutritious!!Hope you will try!:)

Red Chile Enchilada Sauce:
If you don't have store bought Enchilada sauce at hand ,here is an easy recipe how to make it at home.You can use this with all the Mexican dishes like Burritos,Huevos Rancheros,chili etc.What kind and how many red chillies you use here is up to you.

Boil few red chillies,1 medium onion chopped, 2 garlic in a pan until soft and drain.Add to a blender along with 2 tbsp plain flour,grind smooth.Add to a pan with 2 cups of water,salt,1 tsp Oregano,1 tsp Mexican or regular Cumin pd,1/2 tsp Paprika,1 cup Tomato sauce,stir and heat until fairly pourable, but not very thick though.Cool,add water if it's very thick and heat again.

That's it!! That was one delicious Sunday lunch for us!:)

Tomato Penne Bake:
Here is an easy but delicious dish with Penne pasta smothered in Tomato and cheese and also full of bone building calcium which is good for the whole family.Tastes wonderful just out of the oven. Serve with a salad for healthy balanced meal.

No! I didn't make this Italian dish for NFL but it was in there in my draft for a long time,thought I would add it here!Enjoy!:)

To make it vegetarian, add 2 cups of mixed veg,Soy granules to replace meat.If you don't have canned Basil tomatoes, add diced tomatoes with 1 tsp garlic pd, 1/2 each tsp dry Basil and Oregano.If you would like cut down the amount of cheese to just 8oz,that should be okay too.

You Need:
12 oz. penne pasta ( 3 cups), or any other kind,uncooked,1 lb. lean ground beef or Soya Granules or Italian Sausage,Ground Chicken or Turkey,1/2 cup grated mixed veg,2 cans (145 oz. each) Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, undrained,1 can (15 oz.) Tomato sauce,2 packages (8 oz each ) Shredded Mozzarella or Bistro blend Cheese, divided,(Reserve half for topping; stir remaining cheese into pasta mixture)1/4 cup Parmesan cheese,No-Stick Cooking spray or Olive oil.

How To: Serves 6

Cook pasta ,drain and keep it aside. Preheat oven to 350F.Heat 2 tsp butter, saute` grated vegetables like onion, Green bell peper,carrots ,celery etc in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.Add in ground meat ,brown.

Stir in tomatoes and tomato sauce, bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 6-8 minutes. Add salt and pepper.Add cooked pasta to meat mixture or veg.Toss well. Add half of the of the cheese; mix again.

Spray a 13 by 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray,or any deep dish unlike me!:)Pour pasta mixture into dish; top with remaining cheese.Place it in the oven.Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.Take it out of the oven.Serve with salad. (Recipe: courtesy of Hunt's and Sargento.com with my variations of course!)

Another MeMe:
"Five things about me which the world does not know!!"

I am tagged by Supriya of 'Sias Corner' blog who took great delight and immensely enjoyed tagging me! Thank you Sups! This MeMe is short(?) and sweet,so I will let you live!!!:))
I am also tagged by beautiful Shirley of "melting Wok" for the same MeMe!!:)) Thank you sweetie for thinking of me.Reading my rather long MeMe, hope you both don't regret tagging me!! ;D

What the World doesn't know about me? Hmm..!!!

1. I NEVER EVER cooked(I did bake some cakes though!) a single dish until I was married and then I don't remember being scared of that fact that I couldn't cook! Because once I started cooking real food for others by following the cookbooks barely 2 weeks after my wedding, it was as if I had always cooked and it was in me somewhere hidden.I didn't even watch my mom cook or helped her growing up as we always had a cook at home. Am I born with it? I think some of us just are!:)

2. I consider myself "mostly vegetarian", if there is such a thing!:D
I grew up in a 100% vegetarian family,never touched or tasted any meat until I was about 17! I remember throwing up for 3 days when I first tasted the Chicken!! Then I got used to it. Even today,I cook veggies 5 days a week but weekends are always kids' choice for their Sunday lunch and you can guess what they always choose to eat! If I had a choice when we are out and about,I always choose vegetarian!I could easily give up meat,not miss it at all and become pure vegetarian anytime happily if I had to!I said "if I had to"!!!

3. I am not a very religious,do not believe in rituals but I am spiritual.I enjoy reading Philosophy and love cooking for festivals just for the fun of cooking rather than religious reasons!;D
Since I am a born Veera Shaiva(Warriors of Shiva), I choose to believe who else but in the "Big Man" as I call HIM or rather use HIM to scare my kids to behave! I threaten them with HIS "list of bad things you do in life" he keeps and the consequences!(you know like "he deep fries you up there like chicken on Skewers in oil if you are not good to others" etc!):D
In US schools,kids are taught Shiva is a Hindu GOD who is a "destroyer" and do not try to explain any further,so that helps too to scare the kids! (He is a destroyer of our sins,the old order and cycle of birth for Hindus, so we can be free of re-birth and be one with HIM,which is good kinda "destroying", if that is really how it works!)

4. I am not a very emotional person.I have NEVER EVER cried in the movies no matter how tragic the stories are!It's true!If it's real life story,then I will feel empathy and sympathy but never cry.
I used to be short tempered but not anymore.The only very strong feeling I feel is rage when somebody hurts my kids and they come home crying real tears!(not those 'Oh mom, I fell and got hurt" kind)But when adults and kids are mean to them for no reason,racist and prejudiced remarks etc.I see red and I will go to their doorsteps to deal with it.Hope I don't get shot one day,I am in the South remember!:D
(NO!! Carolinians are not that bad except one nalayak(good for nothing) neighbor,who is a grown up guy but lives off of his old parents, told my kids that he will shoot our little Bichon bcos the dog did the doody one day in his yard when my kids were walking him, Which scared the heck out of my kids! Yup! we went there to "his" house, threatened to call the police on him! He never apologized, but his old father apologized to us for him! Why couldn't the macho man talk to us instead of scaring the little kids?!)

5. I pretend to be a Nanny/baby sitter and I am a real Beautician!
When the Jehovah's witnesses or pesky sales people come to my door,they always ask me "can I speak to lady of the house?"!!At first,I used to be polite,smile and say "I am the lady",used to put up with their long talks and goodbyes! But after sometimes I got so fed up,now I say "sorry,she is not home,I am just the nanny" and take the booklets,their cards and promise them I would give them to the "lady"! They believe it without murmur and go away in a jiffy. YAY!!!(Hope they don't come back at 8pm to see the same "nanny" hanging around!);D

After I graduated in Psychology,I had enrolled in Law school,didn't like it and dropped out after a year,got married instead! Arvind went to UK, while I was left behind in India for few months.To kill time,I joined "Shaman college of Beauty" owned by Ms.Shirin,an Iranian Indian in Commercial street ,B'lore.Susheela Vaswani visited us often if you know who she is!I have Diplomas in Electrolysis,Facial,Hair Styles ,Bridal Make up and Henna Art! Of course,didn't use any of those skills as I moved to UK shortly after. But I am the official hairstylist at home for kids and Arvind!:) (I was a Tomboy growing up,never was a "girlie girl",never behaved like a female for a long time! My grandfather always said I should have been a boy and I am in the wrong body!:D And to think that I have these Diplomas in "Beauty Therapy" and became a good cook as well!!Whoa!!Hope grandpa is watching me from up there now!):D

There they are,my can of worms for you! Sia is right when she says I have many Avatars, in other words,multiple personalities!! Any "shrinks" amongst you my blog friends,I do need help!!:D

Here it is the photo Arvind took while watching the game. We bought this 50" Plasma last year just before NFL game.Yeah! Arvind couldn't wait until the price went down a little!!

Have a fun weekend and see Y'all on V day!!