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Friday, April 27, 2007

Asparagus Soup

I have always liked vegetables from all around the world. So this time it was asparagus and thought about giving it a try. I have eaten asparagus straight out of the can, but never really prepared anything with it. So here it is my vegetarian version of Asparagus soup.

And it is followed by roasted asparagus which my 4 year old loves.

You will need:

1 pound asparagus
6 cups vegetable stock or just plain water
1/2 cup minced onion
1 potato, grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Plain low-fat yogurt or low-fat sour cream for garnish
Couple of asparagus tips for garnish

Peel and trim the asparagus, reserving the trimmings.

In a large saucepan bring stock or water to a simmer, add trimmings and let stand 15 minutes. Rinse spears, pat dry and cut into 1 1/2 pieces, reserving tips. Strain stock or water into a large saucepan and add the asparagus stalks, onions, potato and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, or until asparagus is tender.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan of boiling salted water blanch the asparagus tips until just tender, drain and refresh. Puree the soup in a food processor or blender in batches until smooth, adjust seasoning and return to saucepan. Heat until hot.
To serve: ladle soup into bowls and garnish with reserved asparagus tips, sour cream, or yogurt.

For Roasted Asparagus you will need:

1/2 pound asparagus spears washed (trimmed and peeled)

2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Pat dry the asparagus spears and coat them with olive oil. Spread them on cookie sheet and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Roast the asparagus for 20 minutes or until crisp tender.
Serve as a side dish or eat just like that.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Chemicals in Food

This is the link to the article that I contributed to Daily Tiffin blog. It is about chemicals in food that can cause serious health problems http://dailytiffin.blogspot.com/2007/04/chemicals-in-food-how-to-avoid-them.html

Gaanthiya nu Shaak

This dish is a regular favorite in my house.
My two year old would just pick all the gaanthias and eat it.
It is really good with roti or rice.
Jain Gujaratis make this a lot.

You will need:
(for 4-6 people)
For gaanthia:

2 cups besan (chickpea flour)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dhania-jeera powder
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste
water to knead a semi-soft dough.

For the gravy: 5-6 cups of water 1-1/2 cup yogurt
oil for tempering
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp hing
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
Method Mix all the ingredients for gaanthia and make semi-soft dough. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Now take a small amount of dough and on a flat surface roll it like a thin noodle (sev). See the picture

If you do not want to roll it by hand you can put the dough into sev machine and make the gaanthias with that. It took me about 3o minutes to roll this gaanthia.

Now for the gravy:
Boil 5-6 cups of water in a stock pot. Add salt and turmeric powder to it. While the water is boiling add the gaanthia to it and break it with a wooden spatula . Don't worry the gaanthia won't stick. Let the gaanthia boil for 10-15 minutes and you can taste it to see that they are done or not. They shouldn't taste like raw besan.

Once the gaanthias are done, add the yogurt and simmer the gaanthia for couple of minutes.

Now for the tempering: Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds, once they pop turn the heat off and add hing and red chili powder, and pour the tempering over the gaanthia and simmer for a while. Adjust the salt and other seasoning according to your taste.

We prefer this dish a little sour in taste, you can add lemon juice if the yogurt is not too sour.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Last week while gocery shopping I came across this beans, they looked kind of a mix of cranberry and pinto beans, so I looked at the one pound bag to see what it was and they were Roman Beans it said. I was curious enough and wanted to see how they tasted so bought that one pound bag. Still undecided how to use it I searched for some recipes on the internet but was not happy to find any recipe close to the vegetarian palate.
So came up with my own way to cook them. I just cooked them like the way you cook Rajma (Kidney beans).

Enough for 4 people

1 pound (16 oz) Roman beans
1 big onion chopped
1-1/2 tsp ginge-garlic paste
3 geen chillies chopped
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup tomato puree (or you can use 3 chopped tomatoes)
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4th tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1-1/2 tsp Dhania-jeera powder
1 tsp garam masala
4 tbsp oil or ghee
salt to taste

Soak the beans overnight. Drain and pressure cook with 2 cups water and salt till three whistles. In a pan heat oil or ghee and add bay leaves after 1 minute add the chopped onion and saute till translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for another minute and add green chillies. Saute it for about a minute and then add all masalas except the garam masala. Fry them for till you smell the aroma of the spices, then add the tomato puree and fry till the oil floats on top then add the yogurt and simmer for about two minutes and then add the boiled Roman beans, keep stirring till everything incorporates well. Add salt and let it simmer, now sprinkle the garam masala and stir and simmer for couple of minutes and garnish with coriander and dollop of sour cream serve hot with rice or roti.

The only difference I found with Roman beans and Rajma was that the Roman beans were more creamier and had a depth of flavor.
P.S. Do not over cook the beans or you will end up with a mushy soup.

Zucchini Thepla

This is my version of Zucchini Theplas. I just followed Trupti's recipe for Zucchini Thepla
Enjoy of course with Tea or offee.


My entry for "Champagne cocktails" on Married with Dinner blog.

I have named this drink "La Rouge" because of its color.
For this cocktail I used:

2 tbsp of fresh strawberries pureed
2 tbsp of unpeeled apricots pureed(canned)
6 oz Pink Champagne (any)

In a bowl add 2 tbsp of fresh pureed strawberries. Then add the apricot pureed.
Then slowly add the pink champagne. Strain the mixture and pour into the champagne flute.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Yummy snacks

I was in a mood to eat something fried, be it bhajias, patties or tikkis.

I suddenly remembered a recipe that I saw on Sanjeev Kapoor's "Touch of Turmeric show".

It was about raw bananas (plantains). I have always loved plantains, either in the form of chips, sabji (try plantain and green pea subji), or making Kelawadas ( yes it is a gujju term meaning plaintain wadas, and especially jain people often make it). Being raised in a jain family; plantains were a good substitute for potatoes as you know lof of jain people still don't eat onion, garlic potatoes etc. So never had problem eating plantains.

Here is the recipe for those tikkis. I have religiously followed the recipe.

Plantain Tikkis
Approx servings 4 as an appetizer

4 plantains (raw bananas) boiled and grated
2 carrots grated
1 medium onion chopped
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
4 green chilies chopped (can add more if you want spicy)
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
salt to taste
2 tsps lemon juice
1 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp dry mango powder
8-10 mint leaves chiffonade (finely sliced or chopped)
15-20 raisins 6 dates chopped finely
1/2 cup peanuts (without skin) roasted and powdered

Heat oil in a non-stick pan, add mustard seeds when crackles add chopped onion, ginger-garlic paste, chopped green chiles and stir-fry for 1/2 minute. Add the grated boiled plantain and carrot. Mix it well and turn the heat off. Make sure the mixture has to semi-dry, not too moist and not too dry.Cool the mixture and add salt, red chili powder, amchur, lemon juice, mint leaves and mix well. Make a patty and stuff it with raisin and chopped dates.And roll the patty in peanut powder and deep fry it. Serve hot with your favorite chutney or sauce. You can also shallow fry the patties in non-stick pan.
But don't skimp on mint as it imparts a nice backdrop to the tikkis.
If you don't want to stuff the tikkis you can just make plain tikkis.


Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Salads and breads

Do you ever have that craving for fresh baked bread?
And not just plain bread, I wanted tons of garlic and fresh herbs flavor in it.

So I looked for the recipe and made this delicious focaccia bread. Not only does it tastes heavenly but when you bake it the smell in your kitchen can't be more divine than this.

(sorry, those who doesn't eat onions and garlic)!

Below is the recipe

I used 3 cups of plain flour, 1 tbsp instant yeast (it is much better as you can skip the proofing process) 1-1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1tbsp chopped garlic, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp fresh rosemary 1 tbps coarse black pepper, 1 cup water, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese, (you can use Romano if you prefer).

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, half of the chopped garlic , oregano, thyme, rosemary and black pepper. Mix in the olive oil and water. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with the remaining galic parmesan/romano cheese .

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Have you ever wondered that salads can be a complete meal too. I know some people still think salad is boring cucumber, tomato, onion, lettuce mixture. But if you explore this culinary side, you will be amazed how simple it is to whip up a salad with unusual ingredients and how scrumptious it can be. I made two salads this week, both are my personal favorite. And the other thing I do is I make my own salad dressings. Don't be fooled by the bottled ready made dressings. You don't know how many calories you consume with each tablespoon. And the home made also taste better.

The first salad is a very refreshing one.

Corn and Black bean salad.

I used one can of corn kernels, 1 can of black beans, 2 medium tomatoes chopped (I prefer Roma tomatoes) 1/2 cup chopped scallions (green onions), (you can use red onions too, to make it more colorful and for different taste) 1/2 cup chopped cucumber, 1 small green pepper chopped, 1 jalapeno chopped (you can use more depending on the heat you want in the salad), 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, juice of half lime or lemon, (lime is more refreshing) 1 tsp of cumin powder, 1/2 tsp of chile powder, salt to taste.

Mix the ingredients in the order they are and serve at room temperature.

What I did was I served the salad on the romain lettuce leaves, it looks exotic.

This is the other salad I was talking about.
It has an unusual combination of red radishes and apples with sour cream.
I have just followed Rachael Ray's recipe, except that I omitted the lettuce part, I just wanted to taste the combination of radish and apples. But you can add lettuce, as I have also mentioned in the recipe. And if you are like me I don't like the red wine vinegar taste with sour ceam so I used lemon juice instead. I used dried dill instead of fresh dill.
10 radishes, thinly sliced 2 Red Delicious apples, cored, seeded and thinly sliced and tossed with 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 1 head romaine lettuce or red leaf lettuce, chopped
Dill and Poppy Dressing: 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon poppy seeds 2 tablespoons chopped dill or 2 teaspoons dried dill
Combine radish, apple (coated in lemon to retard browning) and onion with chopped lettuce. In a small bowl, combine vinegar with sugar and salt. Whisk in oil, stir in sour cream, poppy and dill. Drizzle dressing evenly over salad and serve.