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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Coral Broccoli Gratin with Chipotle Gouda cheese

As I promised here is the recipe for Coral Broccoli .

I don't have to go too far to find a decent way to cook my favorite veggies n stuff. Cheese is the number one ingredient on my list of ingredients to pair with something else.
Well I am trying to avoid it as I have seriously gained 30 pounds in 10 years of my living in US. Though my hubby refers to it as slightly overweight!!!!! He is truly in love hahahah!!
Yes I am sooooooooooooo in love with cheese. I love all kinds of cheese that isn't made with animal rennet.

All cheeses made with vegetarian rennet and culture is fine with me.

If someone would ask me to write a meme this would be the first random fact. And if someone would ask me about; if I were on deathbed, what would be my final meal, and I would say a block of cheese sounds perfect !!!!! I know some of you must be raising your eyebrows, but that is how I am. I am not sure from whom I inherited this trait, as my mom is kind of okay with cheese, and my Dad loves it but in a decent way, not going bananas like me.

So here is the dish with Chipotle Gouda cheese, it's a cheese that is mixed with smoked Jalapenos called Chipotle and hence the Chipotle Gouda cheese.

But the good thing about Gratin is that you can use any cheese from semi-firm to semi-soft and you can pair almost any vegetable.

Ingredients for Gratin vary from region to region. Like french gratin has creme fraiche and Gruyere, Emmental or Comte cheeses, where as English Gratin has single cream and cheddar cheese. Nowadays you can find all sorts of Gratins with flavored cheeses like pepper flavored,

smoked flavored, with bacon, salami etc.

To the recipe: (you can look at the pictures to follow the recipe)

One head of Coral Broccoli, about 2-3 pounds, trimmed and separated into florets
1 medium potato parboiled (optional)
Freshly grated nutmeg about 1/4 tsp
2/3 cup freshly grated Chipotle Gouda
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp flour
1- 1/3 cup milk
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 tbsp bread crumbs

Prepare the béchamel (white sauce). Have the butter, flour, and milk measured and ready. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to sizzle, add the flour all at once and stir it into the butter with a wooden spoon Cook for 3 minutes without coloring, stirring continually until the mixture turns creamy. Pour in the milk and whisk it into the flour , making sure you don’t leave any clumps on the bottom and sides of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes, stirring with the wooden spoon or the whisk as the mixture thickens.
Set aside to cool for a few minutes.Season the béchamel with salt, pepper, and a whisper of nutmeg.
Sprinkle the Coral Broccoli with salt and steam for 15 minutes, until soft.

Preheat oven to 180°C 350°F. Now slice the parboil potato thinly and layer it in the greased gratin dish.

Transfer the Coral Broccoli in a medium gratin dish. At this point, you can add strips of brine-cured ham or leftover chicken, if you have some lying around in the fridge. I didn't as I am a vegetarian.

Pour the béchamel evenly over the Coral Broccoli, top with the Chipotle Gouda cheese, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and pop into the oven to bake for 20 minutes, until heated through and well gratinéed at the top; you can switch to the broiler setting for the 5 final minutes. Let rest for five minutes and serve.

Any effort on making or reproducing this recipe can cause a serious blogging disorder!
Enjoy folks!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Watermelon-Avocado Salsa

This again is my entry to AFAM-July, if they consider it. It is hosted by Jugalbandi and originated by Maheshwari of Beyond the Usual
Here is to your rescue my blogger friend Asha of Foodie's hope. Another recipe for watermelon.
I saw this recipe couple of years ago on Food Network. And suddenly remembered that I had the recipe.
So here it is. Ashaji I hope you will like it. And since you are a
non-vegetarian, let me mention that the recipe was along with the Tuna Tacos.
4 people approximately.
1 cup cubed seedless watermelon
1/2 cup cubed ripe avocado
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped parsley leaves
1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/3 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped Serrano pepper
1 teaspoon finely minced jalapeno pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 ounces premium tequila (optional)

Combine the watermelon, avocado, red onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, lime, peppers, salt, pepper, oil, and tequila in a medium-sized bowl.

Toss all ingredients together gently. Let it stand for 30 minutes.
I served it in the avocado shell.

I did not use garlic, parsley, Serrano pepper and tequila. I did all the ingredients.

You can omit parsley and Jalapeno pepper works just fine.

Tequila!! left to your own discretion.

Pickled Watermelon Scallion Salad

This is going to the A Fruit A Month (AFAM) - July, hosted by Jugalbandi and originated by Maheshwari of Beyond the usual.

I know this is too late but I am sending this any way. Well the inspiration for the recipe came from here.

I made the recipe with few changes.

I used the regular vinegar as I did not have rice wine vinegar.
And I did not use Mirin, I think red wine would work just well.
I did not use the red wine either

And I also did not use the toasted sesame oil, as the flavor is too intense, I don't like it.
I used the olive oil instead, you can use the regular sesame oil, I think that would work too.
All the other ingredients are the same.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Palak Paneer with Pickled Jalapeño

I was making Palak Paneer today and my husband said that he would only eat if it is hot and spicy. He thinks I make the dish too bland, So I had to make him rethink that if you want you can make the dish real hot and spicy. He had to put his foot in his mouth.

When I started making the Palak Paneer, I thought I had all the ingredients, but when it came to adding spices I did not have the right ingredient. I don't like too much red chili powder I don't know why. So I looked in the fridge and I had only two small green chilies which weren't enough to add the heat my husband was looking for in the sabji.
So I looked at the pickled jalapeño jar and thought for a minute and came up with this.

Palak Paneer recipe:

1 bunch of fresh spinach washed and chopped or 1 pound of frozen spinach
1 cup of paneer cubed and fried(store bought or home made)
1 big onion chopped finely
4 garlic cloves chopped finely
1/2 inch ginger grated
salt to taste
4 tbsp oil or ghee
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp haldi
pinch of hing
1 tsp jeera
1 tbsp or more chopped pickled jalapeño

Heat half of the oil or ghee in a pan and add half of the chopped onion, saute till its golden brown, now add half of the garlic and saute for few minutes, now add the ginger and saute again.

Now add the spinach and salt and cook till it's almost done. Cool slightly.
Add the whole spinach mixture into the blender or processor and process till its smooth and pureed.

Now heat the remaining oil or ghee in a pan and add jeera, once it pops, add hing and then the rest of the onion and saute. Now add the remaining garlic and fry for another minute or so and then add all the masalas and the jalapeño and then add the spinach mixture. Add little bit of water if the mixture seems too dry. Adjust the salt and other seasonings and then add the paneer cubes. Simmer the sabji for 10 minutes and then serve with Naan or Roti or Paratha.

The jalapeño gives it a nice tangy and spicy taste, it doesn't alter the overall punjabi taste.

Verdict: Hubby dear was happy and me too!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bitter gourd curry and Peach lassi with cayenne pepper

The inspiration for this recipe comes from Kajal's post about the same curry.
I haven't changed the recipe a bit except that I didn't fry the bitter gourd.
I just peeled the bitter gourd a bit, sliced and baked it in the oven till it was cooked crisp. I also made the sabji little dry as I was gonna eat it with roti and dal.

Thanks Kajal, it does taste really good.
See the recipe here

I know you must be thinking what a weird combination is this. But these were made on two separate days, just posted together

I love lassi with different combination and looking at the weather, I thought it was time to venture into a new lassi making session

This Peach Lassi is my entry for JFI for August -Chillies hosted by Nandita of Saffrontrail and brainchild of Indira.
Thanks Suganya of Tastypalettes for reminding me this.

For the Peach lassi:

1 cup canned peaches or 2 fresh peaches. (both works well)
2 cups yogurt
sugar to your taste
kewra essence few drops
a pinch of cayenne pepper

Blend everything together in a blender along with couple of ice cubes.

Yes cayenne pepper gives this a nice kick. You can use more if you really like the heat.

Warning: Do not use the Rose water with this Lassi as it would be a disaster, unless you are an adventurous soul, who can drink those combinations.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Phudina Naan and Chole

If it weren't for Jai and Bee (Jugalbandi) , I had given up on making naan at home. It's not like I had disasters, but the results were okay. But when I saw Jugalbandi's naan, I was tempted to make it but didn't get a chance. But here it is now. I have tried to follow their recipe but with some modifications. I have used dried mint which I sprinkled on Naan. As I have always had Naan with dried mint and not fresh.
And I read in this book "The Professional Chef's Techniques of Healthy cooking" (The Culinary Institute of America) that any time you replace white flour with whole wheat flour, double the amount of yeast the recipe calls for. Ofcourse that was for the pizza dough, so I thought why can't it work for the Naans too? right?, so that was the other change I made to the original recipe. I did use the potato but in dry form (the potato flakes). See the naan for yourself!
I baked this naan in my regular oven under broiler and they came out perfect. I set the oven first at 450 degrees F and then turn the broiler and I placed the naan on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil so they don't stick and baked for about 5-7 minutes and they were done.

For the Chole recipe:
1 can of chickpeas (drained)
1 small onionn chopped finely
2 tsp of ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp kasuri methi
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil,
1/2 tbsp punjabi chole masala (any)
1/2 tsp haldi
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dhania powder
1 tsp jeera powder
2 tomatoes chopped

Heat oil in a pan and saute onions on high heat till they are slightly brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for few minutes and then add the kasuri methi and stir for couple of minutes. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook till the oil floats on top. Now add all the masalas except the garam masala and cook for about 2 minutes and then add the chole and simmer for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the garam masala and check the seasonings. You can adjust the salt and spices according to your taste. Sprinkle chopped cilantro and serve with Naan or Bhature, onion rings and lemon/lime wedges.

"Go vegetarian to save money"

This article is about how being vegetarian can save you money, it was on MSN site.
Hope you will like it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rice porridge and Pigeon peas

This is my all time favorite food. When I am a little low on energy and need a break from all the spicy and oily food, I make this. I know the name sounds too fancy but it is a very simple Jain Gujarati dish, that we make quite often. We call this Ghensh and Tuvar in Gujarati. I don't know what it is called in Hindi and whether other people except Gujaratis make this or not.
Do you see the ghee floating around the sides?

For the Rice porridge (Ghensh)
You will need:

1 cup rice (I use a mix of jasmine and basmati rice) makes it so fragrant
salt to taste
Plenty of water to cook the rice to porridge consistency, about 4 cups or more
1 cup yogurt (should be sour)
Wash and soak the rice for half hour. Now bring the water to boil and add salt to it.
Add the rice and cook it for about 20 minutes till its fully cooked, now whisk the yogurt and add it to the rice and whisk the rice vigorously to get the yogurt incorporated. Do this as soon as you add yogurt, or else the yogurt will curdle. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes and the porridge is ready. Some people eat this with milk. I eat this with little ghee added to the porridge and then the tuvar.
For the Pigeon peas (tuvar)

For the pigeon peas you have to use the dry peas and cook it in pressure cooker. I am not sure whether you get canned pigeon peas. The ones that you get in can are the fresh green ones so the only option is to use the whole dry pigeon peas.

Soak the pigeon peas overnight and pressure cook it adding salt for 6-7 whistles. Yes it takes longer for the whole tuvar to cook.

1 cup dry whole pigeon peas cooked
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp haldi
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp dhania powder
a pinch of hing
salt to taste

you can adjust the spicyness and salt according to your taste
Heat the oil and add hing and then add rest of the masalas and little water just about a tsp and then add the cooked pigeon peas and stir and simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
Serve it with the Rice porridge.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Coral Broccoli

Saturday's farmers market trip ended with this priced possession.

If you're a brassica fan, fond of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, you'll love it too. I am talking about the Coral Brocoli. Foremost an interesting object with a shape and color reminding me of coral or outer worldly landscapes. It is also known as romanesco, minaret, romanesco cauliflower, often called romanesco broccoli or calabrese romanesco - especially in Italian recipes.
You must be thinking it's simply a genetically modified freak. But this website will prove it's not the result of genetic manipulations.
You will love the lime green florets with bewitching design.
The flavour is somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower, with a sweet, vegetal nuttiness - and it's bereft of the slightly bitter edge cauliflower can have.
Well I haven't tasted it yet,but will post the recipe soon.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Black Bean Hummus and the Wrap

Black beans are one of the 12 best foods for us to eat, since they rank at the top of the legume family for antioxidants, and are high in folates. Eating them helps lower cholesterol and LDL levels, reduces cancer risk, and scavenges free radicals.

Here is the Black Bean Hummus I love and it's not just a dip, actually you can use it as a spread for veggie wraps. Tastes delicious and it's a healthy substitute for the fat laden mayonnaise and the cream cheese spreads.

For the hummus:
1 cup black beans cooked, or 1 can (15 oz) drained
1 tbsp tahini
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika (optional)
handful of cilantro leaves

Combine all the ingredients in a processor and process till smooth.
You can adjust the salt, lemon juice, and the spiciness according to your taste.
I ate some with my usual corn chips and below is the recipe for the wrap.

1 flour tortilla (10")
4-5 thin slices of cucumber
2 tbsp of black bean hummus
1 red radish thinly sliced
3 slices of tomato (thinly sliced)
1/4 cup of thinly shredded lettuce
baby spinach leaves (optional)
3-4 black olives chopped
sliced pickled jalapeno (optional)
thinly sliced onion (optional)

I have listed the above veggies optional as it is up to you, what kind of veggies you want in your wrap. Either you can have all or may be some of them.

Warm the tortilla in the microwave.
Spread the hummus on the tortilla and arrange the veggies in layers and then wrap the tortilla like the way you do a burrito.

You can add hot sauce, maybe mustard or wasabi (made from horseradish) to the wrap to jazz it up a bit.
Here's the link to the article that I contributed to Meeta's Daily tiffin blog
you will find the article on superfoods every month contributed by me on daily tiffin blog.
Don't miss it.
I will soon be practicing as a Holistic Nutritional consultant! yeahhhh!! hopefully.
I have few months left to my graduation in B.S in Holistic Nutrition.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mango and Strawberry Lassi

This is a cool and refreshing drink for summer. I love any kind of lassi. So come summer and I make this every other day as I drink this as part of my lunch. I just love the combination of yogurt, ripe mango, Cardamom and Rose water with some sugar. But this time I thought that if I am mixing strawberries with mango, the Rose water and Cardamom might not go well with it, so I used Orange Blossom water instead of rose water and cardamom.
For anyone who doesn't know what Lassi is, it is an Indian yogurt drink (like smoothie). Plain lassi is made of yogurt, cardamom and sugar blended. To make different lassis you can add different fruits to the basic yogurt lassi while blending.

1 ripe mango peeled and chopped
5-6 strawberries
2 cups yogurt
sugar to taste
1 tbsp orange blossom water.

Blend everything in the blender. Serve chilled.

What I did was I made two separate lassi, one with mango and one with strawberry and then poured them one after another in the serving glass.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Oats and Cabbage Muthias

This is my entry for WBB#13 brainchild of Nandita of Saffron trail
and hosted by Madhuli of My Food Court.
This is a simple and nutritious recipe.
I wanted something different for this event as I do not like sweet stuff for breakfast. So here is the savory muthias.
Oats, like any other varieties of grains, belong to the Graminae family (grasses)'s called 'Jai' in Hindi and Jav in Gujarati.
I used the quick oats and gave it couple of pulses in a processor to make it coarse flour like consistency
and also used little bit of wheat flour to bind the dough.
Here is the recipe:

For the muthias:
1 cup grated cabbage
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
5 tbsp low fat curds
1 tbsp chopped coriander
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp ginger-green chilli paste
2 large cloves garlic, grated (optional)
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
a pinch of baking soda
sugar to taste (optional)
salt to taste

For the tempering:

1 tsp mustard seeds
1tsp sesame seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp oil
2 tbsp chopped coriander For the garnish
oil for greasing

Combine all the ingredients for muthias in a bowl and knead to make a soft dough using very little water as Cabbage has lot of moisture. (Don't let the dough rest as it will get all watery and gooey because of the oats and cabbage). Divide the dough into a 3 equal parts and shape each portion into a cylindrical roll. Place the rolls on a greased steamer and steam for 10 to 12 minutes till firm. Remove, cool and cut into thick slices.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the sesame seeds and asafoetida . Add the sliced muthias and sauté over a low flame till they are lightly browned. Serve hot, garnished with the coriander.
P.S. Before you make the dough for muthias have all the ingredients ready and set water to boil in a big pot in which you will steam the muthias and grease the steamer so when your dough is ready you can steam the muthias.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Chana Daal Khaman with Methi leaves

When I think about eating snack, I love fried stuff, but what if you want to stay away from all that oil and calories. Well my list of options include, steamed muthias, chilas, dhokla, or khaman, because it's not fried, so less calories and it's healthy.

This is the recipe with Methi leaves. The recipe is the same as chana dal khaman from my earlier post. Click here for the recipe.

You add the chopped Methi leaves to the batter before you add the baking soda and then steam the khaman and do the tempering with the same ingredients mentioned in my earlier chana daal khaman post.

So simple and delicious!

I was asked by Burekaboy of Is that my bureka about what's the difference between Khaman and Dhokla.
Well Khaman are always made with either Besan or any of the Daals soaked, ground, femented and then steamed.
Where as Dhokla is always made with equal parts of Rice and Daal, soaked and ground together and fermented and then steamed.
So that is the basic difference.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Pineapple-Strawberry-Green Pepper Salsa

Some foods you just can't get tired of. For me it's salsas. I never get bored with salsas, the reason being, they are so fresh and vibrant in colors and the contrast of the ingredients, the crunch, the texture, I can go on and on with this.

Here is one more from my list of salsas.

1-½ cup fresh or canned pineapple, diced
¼ cup red bell pepper, minced (optional)
¼ cup green bell pepper, minced
¼ cup strawberries diced
¼ cup red onion, minced
1/2 tomato chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 ½ teaspoon jalapeño, seeded and minced
¼ teaspoon lime peel, grated and minced (optional)

If using canned pineapple make sure you drain it well, or the salsa will be too watery.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt.

I tried adding rock salt to the salsa and it tasted great!
Similarly if the taste is too bland for you you can add the red chili powder or cayenne pepper for extra heat.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tofu Chili fry -Desi Style

This recipe is based on the Indo-Chinese version of Paneer Chili fry. I loved this with paneer and wanted to see how it taste with the well reputed tofu. Tofu itself is very bland and has to be marinated or smothered with some kind of sauce to bring out its flavor. This dish could be fiery if you are really in love with green chilies.

Sometimes fusion food can do wonders. See it yourself!

1 pound extra firm Tofu
1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce for marinating Tofu
1 green pepper (Capsicum) cut lengthwise
1 onion sliced
green chili sauce to taste( if you don't have the sauce then you can make a paste of 2 jalapenos or green chilies with vinegar and use that) or see the recipe here
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp sesame oil or any oil
1 tsp vinegar
2 green chilies cut lengthwise for garnish

Marinate the Tofu overnight in the Teriyaki sauce (make sure you leave it in refrigerator)
Next day drain the Tofu and reserve the Teriyaki sauce if any left. Mix the cornstarch with the water and put it aside. You will be doing some high heat sauteing so keep all the ingredients chopped and ready.
Heat the sesame oil in a wok or stir-fry pan and stir fry the Tofu for about 7-8 minutes. Heat should be between high and medium high. Now add the onions, followed by green peppers and stir fry for about 4 minutes. Once the onion and peppers get little sweat, add the salt, pepper, green chili sauce, soy sauce and stir. Now add the cornstarch mixed with water and give it a good stir.
Add the reserved Teriyaki sauce and turn the heat off and add vinegar and serve hot.

Make sure you make this dish just 15 minutes before you plan to serve to retain the freshness of the dish.

Mango, Radish and lime salsa

Here is another salsa from
my favorite list of salsas.
This one has ripe mango , red radish,
red onion etc.

It goes like this:

2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into small pieces
1 red onion, chopped
6 red radishes, chopped,
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
Salt to taste
chili powder to taste
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp lime juice

Mix everything together and chill for half hour in the refrigerator and serve with tortilla chips or with tacos.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pepper-Jack Pasta in a jiffy

This is a dish with simple ingredients and almost no cooking time. By no cooking time, I meant everything is done in snap. Come on 20 minutes in a kitchen for me is considered a snap. What about you guys?
You can add any vegetables to this pasta, like canned Artichoke hearts, black olives, broccoli, carrots,
green peas, corn, green beans, spinach etc.

You will need:

1/2 pound of pasta wheat or white and any shape
1 cup mix veggies (I used frozen corn and green peas)
salt to taste
1 cup Pepper Jack cheese (any brand)
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp butter

Boil the pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta is boiling you can grate the Pepper Jack cheese (It comes in an 8 oz block, never comes pre-shredded).
An when the pastas are al dente (means when they are almost cooked but still they have a bite to it) add the frozen veggies and after 3-4 minutes, strain everything.
Put the pasta in a big bowl, add the milk and the pepper-jack cheese and mix well till the cheese is melted and incorporated in the pasta. Adjust the salt and other seasonings. Though the pepper-jack cheese is hot with all the peppers I still added finely minced jalapeno in the pasta.
(Of course after the kids were done eating)


You could use 2 Tbsp or more pickled diced jalapeno peppers, drained and one cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese if you cannot find Pepper Jack cheese.

Rotini, Penne, Orechietti, and bowtie or Farfalle pasta holds the sauce well compared to other pastas.

Mix the milk and cheese when the pasta is still hot so the cheese gets melted easily.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Doodhi nu shaak

Doodhi (lauki, Ghian, bottlegourd) no matter what you call it, is a humble vegetable and has medicinal value to it. According to ayurveda, bottle gourd is not only rich in essential minerals, iron, protein and trace elements; it is also rich in fibre.
The bottle Gourd is regarded as a symbol of longevity and good fortune in both the Taoist and Buddhist traditions. It is believed to be filled with the nectar of health and vitality.

This is Nandita's (saffrontrail) version of Dudhi ki Sabji, which I loved when I saw it on her blog.

I made few simple changes to it.
I actually tempered (tadka) the sabji rather than just boiling it in water.

I heated some oil and sauteed garlic added some basic masalas like haldi, chili powder and a bit of dhania powder with little bit of tomato puree and everything else was the same. I added the boiled doodhi, threw in some green peas for the crunch and the masala paste and salt and everything.