Tag Archives: quick

Dilliwale Bhindi Stir-fry

I had organised an event related to work sometime last year, and when I was deciding on the menu with the banquet manager at the hotel, he suggested I try this dry sabzi. The name got me curious and when I asked him what it was like, he said to wait till I tasted it! He did assure me that everyone would love it. So I took his word for it, and went with Dilliwale Bhindi fry, and I’m glad I did, because that was the beginning of a new love story with this karram-kurram sabzi! The crunchiest, choicest, baby bhindis I had ever had, and they had this lingering tangy taste I couldn’t get enough of! I took the liberty of approaching the banquet manager to get me the recipe from the chef, which he promptly did. How sweet of them both! This sabzi cooks very often in my kitchen now and is one of the top items in our comfort foods’ list.

Ingredients:

  • Baby Bhindis/Okra/Ladies finger – 3/4th kilo (it reduces to fill a mere small bowl once done)
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chilli powder – 2 tsps (adjust to suit your taste)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Lime – 1/2 no (cut into 2-3 slices and de-seeded)
  • Oil – 4 tbsps

Procedure:

  • Wash the bhindis and pat dry. Spread on one day’s opened-up newspaper to absorb any extra moisture and leave under the fan for a good 15-20 minutes.
  • Once the bhindis are thoroughly dry, cut into oblong pieces (like in the picture just above). Before you start cutting, please ensure that the chopping board, knife and bowl you put the cut pieces into are all bone-dry. Else, you’ll end up with a goey mass and will have to satisfy yourself with it, in place of a crunchy sabzi!
  • Once all the bhindis are chopped, transfer to a microwave safe bowl. Pour 2 tbsps oil and using two spatulas, give the bhindis a stir so that all the pieces are evenly coated with the oil.
  • Microwave on high for 5-6 minutes till the bhindis are near cooked.
  • In a wok, heat the remaining 2 tbsps oil and give the pan a gentle swirl so that the entire surface of the pan is well coated with oil.
  • Add the nearly done bhindis to the wok and stir fry for 5 minutes on a medium flame.
  • Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Stir well to coat all the bhindi pieces.
  • Allow to cook on a high flame, stirring once every minute or two.
  • When the bhindis are fully cooked, thrown in the lime slices. Continue to stir fry on high, while gently squeezing the lime juice with the spatula every now and then. Take care to stir continuously.
  • After about 10 minutes, you should feel the bhindis turning really light while stirring. Keep it on for another 2-3 minutes, while continuously stirring.
  • Remove from flame and serve the crunchy-tangy sabzi with piping hot rasam and rice. Perfect-o comfort-o food-o!

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.

Potato & Bell Pepper Stir-fry

Another quick and easy sabzi to go with your rotis. This one has both my favourite veggies. Perfect comfort food!

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes – 4 nos (large sized; steam cooked wholly, peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces)
  • Capsicum/Bell Pepper – 2 nos (medium sized; diced)
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Red Chilly powder – 1/2 tsp (adjust to suit your taste)
  • Garam Masala powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Dhaniya powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Amchur powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 2 tsps

Procedure:

  • Heat the oil in a wok. Add jeera seeds and allow to splutter.
  • Add the capsicum and turmeric powder. Saute on a medium flame till the capsicum is cooked.
  • Add the diced potatoes and salt. Stir fry on high for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in all the spice powders and stir fry on high for 5 minutes till the sabzi is well coated with all the spices.
  • Serve hot with straight-from-the-pan rotis and some fresh tomato-onion-cucumber salad!

Southekayi Avalakki (Cucumber Poha)

Ever heard of Cucumber Poha? Neither had I, before my dear friend Gowri told me about it a few months back. We were chatting one day and when I asked her what she had dished up for breakfast that day, pat came her reply – “Southekayi Avalakki”. Well, if you are a regular in the kitchen, when you hear of a new dish, most times you can do some guesswork on how it will be made and most of those times, you will have gotten your guesswork right! But when I heard of this, I was pretty clueless because I had never before heard of either the combo, or the dish. My curiosity stirred, I was instantly asking her for the recipe. I loved the simplicity of the recipe and set out to make it the very next day for breakfast. Now, it has become a regular breakfast in my household. I made this for breakfast today and wanted to share this yummy, quick-fix breakfast with you all. Thanks so much for sharing it with me Gowri!

Ingredients:

  • Cucumber – 2 nos
  • Poha (medium thickness) – 4 cups
  • Onion (optional) – 2 nos (small sized, finely chopped)
  • Green Chillies – 2 nos (finely chopped/slit)
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a sprig, finely chopped
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Sugar – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Cooking Oil – 1 tbsp

Procedure:

  • Clean, peel and grate the cucumber. Add the sugar and salt. Mix well.
  • Soak the poha (dry, without washing) in the grated cucumber. This is what lends the dish its flavour. Mix the dry poha and grated cucumber well, so that all the poha is coated with/soaked in the grated cucumber (as in the image above).
  • Set aside the poha-grated cucumber mixture for about 15 minutes, to allow the poha to soften.
  • Once the poha is soaked, heat oil in a wok, add the asafoetida and pop the mustard seeds.
  • And the jeera and fry for a minute.
  • Add the green chillies and fry for another minute.
  • If using onions (which Gowri does not recommend, since the cucumber flavour gets diluted), sauté them with a little salt till they are cooked well and tender.
  • Now, add the soaked poha and stir well. Fry for 3-4 minutes till the raw fragrance of cucumber is gone.
  • Remove from flame, garnish with finely chopped coriander/cilantro and serve hot!

Now thats what I call a quick-fix breakfast! Do try it out and let me know if you liked it.

Co-incidentally, Gowri too had made this for breakfast today and she shared a picture of her poha for you all to see. Here it is -

Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas to everyone! Ho! Ho! Ho! (Psst, don’t forget to hang up your stockings tonight. I’ve already put mine up ;))

Chatpata Pineapple Rasam

I had bought some pineapple yesterday evening and I decided to put it to some use other than making juice or just eating the fruit. I simply love the tangy, sweet twist of this rasam!

There are two-three ways to make this. What I’ve posted now is how I made it last night. I could maybe post the alternate methods some other time. Well for one, this method is quicker and easier :-)

Ingredients:

  • Tomatoes – 3-4 nos (medium sized)
  • Pineapple – 1 nos (small sized)
  • Rasam powder – 1 1/2 tsp (you could alter this to adjust the spiciness you need)
  • Jeera/Pepper powder – 1 tsp (coarse powder; you can make it yourself in the mixer)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Curry leaves – a sprig (chopped)
  • Cilantro/Coriander – a fistful (finely chopped)
  • Water – as required
  • Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Ghee (for tempering) – 1/2 tsp

Method:

  • Separately blend the tomatoes and 2/3rd of the pineapple into smooth pastes. Keep aside.
  • Chop the remaining 1/3rd of the pineapple into small pieces.
  • In a wok, add the tomato paste, rasam powder, jeera/pepper powder, salt, curry leaves, cilantro and boil for 4-5 minutes. Add water as required, to adjust the consistency.
  • Next, add the pineapple juice and allow to boil well for 5 minutes.
  • Add the chopped pineapple pieces and allow to boil on a low flame for 15-20 minutes.
  • Prepare the tempering and add to the rasam just before serving.
  • Serve with piping hot rice and potato wafers! Yummylicious! :-D

I’m sending this to Nithu’s ‘Think Beyond the Usual – Soup, Curry and Chutney with Fruitsevent.