Tag Archives: easy

Deviled Potatoes

I love having people over, and I love hosting parties. I love everything to do with the hosting – planning, sending out invites, the prepping, and I don’t even mind the clearing up after everyone’s left too. There’s one thing I just hate doing though - preparing starters that entail deep-frying. Much as they are the easiest to dish up, I just abhor the thought of standing in front of the frying pan. Not my cup of tea. Uggghh! So when Nags suggested we all come up with ideas for savoury appetizers that would be easy to make in bulk (for about 50 people or more), it had me all excited. It was like she had leafed through my mind and decided to give me a chance to fix for my problem.

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Healthy Masala Paranthas

I was bored of the regular sukha rotis, and I was too lazy to make paranthas (when the lazy bug hits me, its hits pretty hard). This is an in-between I take to when it is one of those times. Try them, and you’ll love them in no time! Did you know that Bajra (Pearl Millet) is rich in Vitamin B6, folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc, all at once?!! It also helps in reducing body heat. Nice for summers no?

Ingredients:

  • Whole Wheat flour – 2 cups
  • Jowar flour – 1 cup
  • Bajra flour – 1 cup
  • Flax seeds – 2 tbsps (toasted for 30 seconds in the microwave, and finely powdered; yeah, I obsess with flax seeds and always have the powder handy to make my dishes ‘healthier’)
  • Onions – 3 nos (medium sized)
  • Carrots – 2-3 nos (medium sized)
  • Ginger – 1″ long piece
  • Garlic – 5-6 pods
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a handful, finely chopped
  • Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera powder – 1 tsp
  • Dhaniya powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Water – as needed
  • Oil – 1 tbsp

Procedure:

  • Prepare a paste with the onion, ginger, garlic and set aside. Also, clean and grate/mince the carrots and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add the three flours and mix well.
  • Add the salt, flax seed powder, chilli powder, garam masala, jeera powder, dhaniya powder, jeera. Mix well to incorporate all the ingredients.
  • Add the onion-ginger-garlic paste, coriander and grated carrot. Mix well again.
  • Finally, add adequate water and knead well to form a firm dough like your regular roti/chappathi dough.
  • Lastly, add the oil. Knead some more and allow the dough (covered) to rest a good half hour.
  • Take a small amount of the dough and flatten with a rolling pin.
  • Roll out to a thickness slightly more than that of your rotis and slightly lesser than that of stuffed paranthas.
  • Heat a griddle/tawa and cook the parantha on a medium flame.
  • Use oil on both sides (this is the only unhealthy part), to cook the parantha, else it wont get cooked well.
  • Serve hot with thick curd, some tomato slices and onion rings. Wholesome and delicious!

These ‘ot-’ot paranthas are going straight to SriLekha’s ‘EFM – Parathas and Gravies / Curries Series!

Tomato Pickle | Tomato Thokku

This one is from Daddy to you all. I’m posting it here on his behalf. Only the picture courtesy is yours truly, all other credit goes to him. He gave me the pickle long back, but since I hadn’t taken the recipe from him, I kept delaying posting it. This is a finger-licking-good pickle that you just cannot get enough of. Goes super well with piping hot rice, rasam rice, sambar rice, curd rice, paranthas, chappathis, rotis, idlis, dosas, akki rottis, sandwiches…OK, you get the drift, it goes with just anything! Go on, dip your finger in the picture and lick it!!

Ingredients:

  • Lush red, juicy, ripe Tomatoes – 10-15 nos
  • Ginger (optional) – 1″ long piece
  • Garlic (optional) – 7-8 pods
  • Chilli powder – 3-4 tbsps (alter to suit your taste)
  • Jeera powder – 1 tsp
  • Dhaniya powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Methi/Fenugreek powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Mustard seeds – 2 tsps
  • Asafoetida – more than a generous pinch
  • Oil – 1/3rd cup

Procedure:

  • Wash the tomatoes and clean dry them using a clean towel. Allow to air for another 15-20 minutes and then blend to a puree along with the ginger and garlic (if using) in the mixer. Set aside in a dry bowl. (By letting the tomatoes air before pureeing, you are ensuring there is no external moisture content, and hence, enhancing the life of your pickle).
  • In a wok (preferably thick-bottomed), heat the oil. Add the asafoetida and pop the mustard seeds.
  • Add the methi powder. Stir for a few seconds.
  • Add the tomato puree and cook till mushy, stirring in between.
  • Once the tomato is done cooking, add salt and stir well. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Now, add the chilli powder, jeera powder and dhaniya powder. Cook on a low-medium flame till the oil separates from the pickle on the sides. Stir in between, every once in 5 minutes, to avoid the bottom of the wok from getting scorched.
  • Once ready, the pickle should have the consistency of a semi-solid paste.
  • Allow to cool and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. This should stay a good 15-20 days (if you don’t finish it before then!). If you do not store in the refrigerator, it might last about 3-4 days in hot weather, or maybe a little longer in cold weather.

Mix this pickle with piping hot rice and voila…you’ll have Tomato rice in a jiffy! Try it, and let me know.

I’m sending these yummy pickled gooseberries to ‘CWS: Cooking with Fenugreek‘ event guest-hosted at SE’s blog this month. The monthly ‘Cooking with seeds‘ event is Priya’s brainchild.

Spinach-Cheese Pancakes

Spinach/Palak is my most favourite among the greens. And why not, when it has so many health benefits. So don’t be surprised to see that there are a lot of recipes with spinach on the site. Remember I mentioned I always have spinach stocked up in my refrigerator? Yeah, I chose spinach over the other veggies today (though I had other veggies, unlike the other day). Aren’t pancakes a really quick fix for breakfast? Whip up the batter, pour them on the griddle to cook, and you’re ready to go in a matter of a few minutes! Pancakes per se, make those rush-hour mornings a lot more easy to deal with. So here’s another one to add to the collection.

Oh and btw, Cook-curry Nook has crossed 10,000 hits today, in just a little over 4 months of being on blogosphere! Im thrilled and tickled pink! Thank you all once again for being such avid and supportive readers! Do keep coming back for more and more…

Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour/Maida – 1 1/2 cups
  • Milk – 1 cup (replace with water for a Vegan version)
  • Barley (optional) – 2 tbsps (finely powdered)
  • Flax seeds (optional) – 2 tbsps (roasted for 30 seconds in the microwave and powdered)
  • Spinach/Palak – 2 clusters (washed well, cleaned and blanched)
  • Green Chillies – 3 nos
  • Cheddar Cheese (grated) – 1 tsp for every pancake
  • Pepper powder – 1 tsp (alter to suit your taste)
  • Salt – to taste

Serves: 2 persons (If you have a husband like mine), else 3 persons. The batter makes about 10 pancakes.

Procedure:

  • Allow the blanched spinach to cool and puree with green chillies (without adding any water).
  • Mix together all the ingredients (sans the cheese) and stir well to form a smooth batter without any lumps.
  • Allow batter to rest for 30 minutes (if you can spare the time), else just prepare the pancakes right away.
  • Using a deep ladle, pour the readied batter onto a tawa/griddle, into slightly thick pancakes (about 1/8th inch thick, like set dosas).
  • Sprinkle cheese on top and cook on a low flame. No need to turn over. (I steam cooked mine to avoid using oil).
  • Serve hot with ketchup. Tastes yummmmmmmmy!


Spinach Raita

I always have spinach stocked in my refrigerator and if im running short of any veggies, it is dear old spinach to the rescue. I needed to make some raitha yesterday morning and I quickly whipped this up since the vegetable tray had only spinach. Really easy-peasy! So the next time you have to make raitha, do try this for a variation from the regular cucumber-tomato-onion raita.

Ingredients:

  • Spinach – 1 bunch (cleaned and super finely chopped)
  • Curd – 1/2 litre (whisked to a smooth texture)
  • Red Chilly powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Amchur powder – 1 tsp
  • Pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Kala Namak – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Cooking oil – 1 tsp

Procedure:

  • In a non-stick wok, heat the oil and fry the super finely chopped spinach till it is cooked well and all the water content has evapourated .
  • Once the spinach is cooked, combine all the ingredients mentioned, in a bowl and stir well. Voila! (told you it was easy-peasy!).
  • Serve with any flavoured rice/pulao or even your favourite paranthas – good combo.

This one is off to ‘Think spice: Think Amchoor‘ hosted this month by Bhagyashri.

‘No-cook’ Poha

I saw this easy, no-fuss poha dish on Suma’s blog. You should positively check out her blog…she has amazing ‘Cakes and more’ which will have you drooling in no time. Thanks Suma, for sharing this recipe.

This is the easiest breakfast I have fixed. If you are on a diet or you just like eating healthy, this is the perfect breakfast for you. It is also good for an evening snack for when you come back from work and are ready to wolf down any junk you can lay your hands on. This is much better than adding on all those calories. Since it takes just about 10 minutes to fix, you cannot really complain about starting to cook as soon as you’re back from work either! This dish is also called ‘Toysidda Avalakki’ in Kannada which means ‘soaked poha’. I made a few changes from Suma’s original recipe to suit my palette, and here we are.

Ingredients:

  • Poha/Beaten rice – 3-4 cups (the medium-thick variety, and not the very thick or paper thin variety)
  • Onion – 1 no (large sized; finely chopped)
  • Tomatoes – 3-4 nos (medium/large sized; finely chopped)
  • Cucumber – 1 no (cleaned, peeled and finely chopped; I dint add any since I dint have it at home, but it tasted just as good)
  • Green Chillies – 2-3 nos (finely chopped; alter quantity to suit your taste)
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a handful, finely chopped
  • Fried Bengal Gram – 4 tbsps (finely powdered)
  • Freshly grated coconut – 1/2 cup (I don’t use much coconut; go ahead and add more if you feel like it)
  • Lime juice – from 1 lime
  • Salt – to taste
  • Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil (optional) – 2 tsps (you could completely omit it if you wish, I personally felt this dish doesn’t need any oil but since I wanted to get the benefit of EV olive oil, i stirred some in)

Procedure:

  • Wash the poha gently in a colander and set aside for the water to drain out (about 5 to 7 minutes should do, to soften the poha).
  • Transfer to a shallow, wide bowl. Stir in all the ingredients (except grated coconut) and mix well.
  • Garnish with grated coconut and serve immediately. If you’re serving at a later time, add the veggies just before you do, to prevent the poha from getting soggy.

This is another entry of mine going to Padmajha’s ‘No-cook’ Event. Padmajha, you really have got me started on your ‘no-cook’ concept. Will try and dish up more if I can. Till then, thanks for giving us a heads up on heaps of those really useful ‘no-cook’ ideas! Can’t wait for the round-up!

The 2-Minute Chocolate Wonder Cake in a Mug

Devil in me: Chocolate Cravings, chocolate cravings! Gimme something with chocolate in it, quick. Else, i’ll have an attack of hypo-chocomia (akin to hypo-glycemia)!!

Angel in  me: Noooooo, don’t you dare.

Devil in me: Isn’t it a special occasion anyway? There’s nothing wrong in celebrating. Anniversaries come just once a year.

Angel in me: Oh, shut up. That’s what you say every time. You pick on some occasion or the other, or you say it’s been a long time since you had something with chocolate in it. NO, I am NOT giving in. Don’t forget your promise to eat healthy this year.

Devil in me: Fine, so don’t bake a big cake and pig on it for the next one week. Make a small one to celebrate the occasion, have a bite and forget all about it. Is that too much to ask huh?

Angel in me: Small cake? Small ‘chocolate’ cake? Bah, I don’t know. I’ve never really made a ‘small cake’ and a ‘chocolate’ one at that. Don’t give me ideas now.

Devil in me: Bake that 2 minute Chocolate mug cake you put together. It will churn out just one mug-cake each, for you and him. It’s just purrrrrrrrrrrrfect!

Angel in me (finally conceding defeat): Alright, alright, but only because it is Anniversary time. Lets find my recipe notes and surprise the mister at midnight!

Devil in me: Phew, finally! Yayyyyyyy, let’s do it!! :D

Angel in me: You gotta double your walk tomorrow, only then I’ll get down to making this. Promise me…right NOW!

Devil in me: Yeah, whatever!

Angel in me: PROMISE ME!

Devil in me: OK, I promise, I promise! Now let’s get cracking on these, or we’ll ruin the plan.

These were the battles I had going on in my mind before I had even contrived to make us these 2-minute Chocolate Mug Cakes for our Wedding Anniversary yesterday. So what do you do when you want to eat cake like ‘NOW’?? Like really really Right NOW!! And yet, you don’t have the time, or the patience, (or the need) to bake a big chocolate cake and then feel all guilty about it for the next one week and sulk in remorse. I’ll tell you what you could do to fulfill those cravings! (Yeah, my shiny, red, devil’s horns are glowing their brightest ever). I put this together sometime back but never really had had a chance to make it after the trial run,  and was it perfect for me now or what? The serving size is just about the size of a slice of cake, so there is no chance of overeating! So I decided to bake this, surprise the mister for our anniversary, and still not go on a guilt-trip, all at once. Now how many cakes actually let you do that? ;)

For the first time, I decided to work with an egg-replacer I’ve heard so much about – Flax seed. Though I use flax seed in my cooking daily, I’d never used it in my baking earlier. Well, there’s always a first time for everything, isn’t there?

Don’t the mug cakes look all smug and cute?

Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour – 1/4 cup (or 4 tbsps)
  • Brown Sugar – 1/4 cup (or 4 tbsps), firmly packed. Note: You could add 1-2 tbsps more to suit your taste (If you don’t have brown sugar or if procuring it is tough, just go ahead and use the normal, white sugar).
  • Cocoa powder – 2 tbsps
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Flax seed powder – 1 tsp mixed in 1/4 cup warm water (substituting 1 egg)
  • Milk – 3 tbsps (replace with equal amount of water if you want to make a Vegan version)
  • Oil – 3 tbsps (I used Rice Bran, the next best to Olive Oil)
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Chocolate Chips (optional) – 3 tbsps ( I dint add any, chose to frost my mug cakes)

Procedure:

  • In a bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  • Add the milk, oil and vanilla extract
  • Add the flax seed powder mixed in warm water .
  • Whisk well to form a smooth batter. (I just worked with my spatula).
  • Pour equal quantities into 2 microwave safe mugs.
  • Microwave one mug at a time on high power, for one and a half (1.5) minutes. (My microwave sets to 900W at high power. Please check yours and increase/decrease the time by 30-60 seconds, or as required). There is no need for baking in the convection mode! (If you’re one of those who couldn’t bake all this time cos you din’t have a convection MW or oven, you are gonna give one big whopping cheer when you read this!!).
  • Check and give it another 30 seconds only if needed. It should be cooked, but the middle should be gooey. So don’t overcook since it continues to cook during standing/cooling time.
  • Top both mugs with equal amounts of chocolate chips at this stage (during standing time) and keep covered. The chips will melt into a nice, gooey molten liquid on the top of the cake. I would suggest doing this rather than stirring in the chips before cooking. If you stir them in before cooking, the chips would all either sink to the bottom or melt and fuse with the cake…what’s the use if you cannot see and experience the sin, when you are sinning? ;)
  • Allow the mug cakes to cool and serve with some fresh cream/ice cream, or better yet, just dig in!! :D :P

Oh, and did I mention…all in all, to whip up the batter and bake the cake, it takes just 5 minutes tops. Give it another 5 minutes to cool if you’re using any topping, else just dig-in!!

Here are some more topping variants I tried – with silver mint balls and coloured sugar balls; with frosting topped with chocolate vermicelli; with butterscotch chips; with frosting topped with coloured sugar balls (in the same order).

Pasta alla Marinara

Since I’m not keeping too well, I wanted to keep dinner simple last night. Was bored of the daal-chawal which I had overdone in the last 2-3 days. If I’d served the mister anymore varieties of daal, he’d have kicked me without much ado!

I quickly whipped up some fusilli pasta with marinara sauce and it sure did please the palettes, considering I had hardly spent about 15-20 minutes to make it.

Ingredients:

  • Fusilli pasta – 500 gms
  • Onions – 2 nos (large sized; diced)
  • Tomatoes – 10-12 nos (medium/large sized; super finely chopped)
  • Garlic – 7-8 pods
  • Oregano – to taste
  • Black/White pepper – 2 tsps (alter to suit your taste)
  • Red Chilli flakes – 2 tsps
  • Lemon pepper (optional) – 2 tsps (to add to the tangy-ness)
  • Basil – 2-3 leaves
  • Salt – to taste
  • Olive oil – 2-3 tbsps

Serves: 4 persons (of moderate appetite)

Procedure:

  • Set the pasta to cook in a wide, thick bottomed vessel. Add salt and couple of drops of oil (any oil should do) while cooking the pasta so it won’t stick together when done. You will need to cook the pasta to just about 75%, or al dente,  since it will get fully cooked later in the oven. Drain water, rinse once in cold water and drain. Set aside.
  • To get started on the marinara sauce, grind together the onion and garlic to a fine paste.
  • In a wok, heat the oil. Add the onion-garlic paste and saute till the raw, pungent taste is gone.
  • Add the super finely chopped tomatoes and salt. Cook covered for 2-3 minutes on medium heat, till mushy.
  • Mash down the tomatoes with fork or masher; not too much mashing, just a little.
  • Add the black/white pepper, red chilli flakes, lemon pepper (if using), basil and oregano and stir well to mix uniformly.
  • Allow to cook on a medium flame for about 5-7 minutes. Keep stirring in between to ensure the sauce doesn’t get burnt at the bottom of the pan.
  • Remove from flame.
  • Transfer the cooked pasta to a microwave-safe dish. Top with the marinara sauce (don’t stir yet) and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes depending on the power of your microwave.
  • Remove from the microwave, stir well with 2 wide, flat spoons so that the pasta is well covered in the marinara sauce.
  • Transfer required portions to serving plates. Garnish with more oregano/chives and serve hot with/without garlic bread.

Im sending this to Jyoti’s ‘Pasta Party‘ at Panch Pakwan.