Banarasi Aloo

Valentine’s frenzy is over in all the blogs by now. Everyone is probably thinking about Easter already but I am enjoying the warmish weather that is blessing the land of Midwest these days. The upcoming week-end is promising to be a whopper 61. I can’t stop thinking about the activities I should plan. Oh, but wait, I think I might be working though since I am on call this week-end. Bummer. Neverthless, it would be nice out and I am sure we would get in a trip to the park for sure.

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I have made the Banarasi Aloo recipe countless times with lots of variations. In the beginning, I used to make it the traditional way by frying the potatoes. Eventually, I found this healthier option without compromising the taste. Hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

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Ingredients:

  • Potatoes about 5 medium size
  • Tomatoes 3 medium size (I used Roma tomatoes)
  • Ginger Garlic Paste 1 tsp
  • Cashew nuts about 15
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • Fennel seed powder 3/4 tsp
  • Chili Powder 1/2 tsp
  • Cardamom 6 whole
  • Fenugreek leaves dried (Kasuri Methi) 3 tsp
  • Honey 1 tsp (increase if your tomatoes are too tangy)
  • Oil 1 1/2 Tbsp
  • Salt per taste
  • Vegetable broth 2 cups

Directions:

  • Boil and peel the potatoes. Cut them in about 2 inch pieces. If they are bit on the softer side from boiling, make larger pieces.
  • Roast tomatoes on open flame until skin is charred.
  • Puree Tomatoes and Cashew nuts in a blender.
  • Heat Oil on medium flame. Add Cumin seeds and let them crackle.
  • Add the whole Cardamom.
  • Add the potatoes and saute gently for 4 to 5 minutes. Don’t move them around too much. If you move them too quickly, they will stick to the bottom.
  • Add Ginger Garlic paste and cook for a minute. I usually add it on the side of the pan directly touching the bottom. It’s my little trick to avoid using several pots and pans.
  • Add the Tomatoes – Cashew Nut Puree and Fenugreek leaves and let it cook for a 3-4 minutes on low to medium flame.
  • Add Fennel seed powder, Chili Powder, Honey and Vegetable Broth. Cook for about 10 minutes gently simmering. Add salt per taste.
  • Serve warm with Roti or Rice.

Enjoy. 

xo

 

 

Basil Fried Rice

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When you look at the list of ingredients, you are going to think this sounds like a Thai Fried Rice then why didn’t she say so. Well, look at it again. It says, Duck Sauce. Duck sauce is Chinese-American sauce so I couldn’t call it Thai Basil Fried Rice. When I started making the rice, I mentally scanned my pantry and thought I definitely have some Oyster sauce in the fridge. I made the Rice and then started taking out the sauces and…. no….Oyster…Sauce. Frantically thinking about options, I figured I could use, Duck sauce. The result was great though so you are seeing this recipe.

Also, just for my worried vegetarian friends, Duck sauce is not made of Duck. It is just a sweet and sour sauce, originally made to go with Peking Duck. That is where it derives the name from.

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Serves 2 and a Toddler (just being specific)

Ingredients:

  • Jasmine Rice cooked about 2 1/2 to 3 cups
  • Onion 1 medium cut in thin strips
  • Red Pepper 1 small cut in thin strips
  • Basil leaves 1 1/2 cups
  • Eggs 2 beaten
  • Garlic 2 large cloves minced
  • Duck Sauce 3 Tbsp
  • Soy Sauce 3 Tbsp
  • Fish sauce 2 Tbsp (skip if you are a vegetarian and increase quantity of Duck Sauce and Soy Sauce to make up)
  • Sugar 1 tsp
  • Salt as needed

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Directions:

  • Mix Duck Sauce, Soy Sauce,  Fish Sauce and Sugar and keep aside
  • Heat the woke on medium high heat. Add Oil and heat.
  • Add Onions and saute for a minute.
  • Add Garlic and saute until cooked but not burned
  • Add Red pepper and cook until almost done. It should still stay crisp.
  • Add the sauce mix and let it warm through.
  • Add the cooked Rice and using one fork in each hand, quickly but gently mix the sauce and rice together.
  • When mixed and hot, remove from heat
  • Add the Basil leaves. Keep some of them torn and some of them whole and mix again.
  • Check for Salt and add as needed.
  • Serve warm with a simple salad

Enjoy.

xo

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Sesame cookies

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On Makar Sankrant, one of the favorite festivals of Maharashtrians, traditionally a sweet is made out of Sesame seeds and Jaggery. Since almost everyone makes this sweet, I figured I should try something different this time. Sesame Cookies were on my list of recipes to make since last year. This was a perfect occasion to post them.

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Although the Festival is over, if you have leftover sesame seeds that you don’t know what to do with, give these a go.

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Ingredients:

Makes about 20

  • Bread Flour 1 1/2 cups
  • Almond Meal 1/2 cup (optional – Substitute with All purpose Flour if you don’t have it)
  • Sesame Seeds 3/4 cup
  • Butter 1 Cup (at room temperature)
  • Granulated Sugar 3/4 cup
  • Eggs 1
  • Confectioner’s Sugar to sprinkle
  • Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
  • Almond Extract  1 tsp (Optional – Substitute with Vanilla Extract)
  • Baking Powder 1/4 tsp
  • Salt 2 pinches
  • Milk – any type for dipping – 1/2 a bowl

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Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius)
  • In a bowl, mix Bread Flour, Almond Meal, Salt and Baking Powder and keep aside.
  • In a stand mixer, Cream Butter. Add Granulated Sugar to Butter and mix on medium for couple of minutes.
  • Add Vanilla and Almond Extract and Mix for 30 seconds.
  • Add Egg and mix for another 2 minutes.
  • Now start pouring the dry ingredients very slowly while Mixer is on lowest setting.
  • Stop once every while to let mixer do its work
  • Once you finish pouring, let the mixer run on medium setting until dough is formed.
  • Take the dough out and knead for a minute if you can and feel that it needs to come together.
  • Set up a station with dough. a small bowl of Milk and a bowl of Sesame seeds.
  • Make the dough in equal pieces of flattened disks about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. Dip each disk in the Milk and then roll into Sesame seeds to completely cover with Sesame Seeds.
  • Place on a cookie sheet and bake on the middle rack for 17 minutes. Do not let the sesame seeds brown.
  • Once out of the oven and slightly cooled, sprinkle with Confectioners Sugar.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomgranate

Brussels Sprouts is one of the prime Winter vegetables. Full of slightly bitter flavor that can be combined with sweetness of almost any fruit. Brussels Sprouts should never be eaten raw in my opinion otherwise you will not touch it again. Roast it in the oven and the sweetness will come forward. Here I combined it with ripe Pears and sweet and tart Pomegranate. Result is amazing with my favorite dressing. 

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Ingredients:

  • Brussels Sprouts about 20
  • Pomegranate 3/4
  • Pear 1 medium
  • Balsamic Vinegar 1 Tbsp
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 Tbsp for dressing and 2Tbsp for drizzle
  • Maple Syrup 1Tbsp
  • Salt per taste
  • Pepper per taste

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Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.Cut Brussels Sprouts in half and place cookie sheet.
  • Drizzle with Olive Oil and bake for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • Mix Vinegar, Oil, maple Syrup, Salt and Pepper and set aside.
  • To serve mix Brussels Sprouts, Pomegranate seeds and small cut pear. Pour over dressing and mix.

Enjoy.

xoxo

 

 

American Chop-Suey

Happy New Year, fellow foodies. Let’s start this year with one of my favorite dishes. If you haven’t’ tried it, I urge to give it a try to this wonderfully tangy and sweet dish.

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When I was in college in India, American Chop Suey was one most ordered menu item in our favorite Indo-Chinese place. I am not sure why there is “American” in the name because I can’t find this dish anywhere in America.In fact, when I first came to America, I was extremely disappointed when I didn’t see this dish on the menu in N’s favorite Chinese restaurant in Dallas.

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The original dish also has very thin fried noodles but I didn’t want to go through the trouble of frying the noodles so I found a fried noodle packet in my grocery store.

Ingredients:

  • Fried Noodles 1 package
  • Egg 1
  • Onion 1 medium
  • Red Pepper/Capsicum 1 medium
  • Corn Starch 1/2 tsp
  • Water 1/3 cup or vegetable or Chicken stock 1/3 cup
  • Tomato Ketch up 2Tbsp
  • Vinegar 1 Tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar 1 tsp or more as needed
  • Black or White Pepper powder 1/4 tsp
  • Oil canola or grape seed 1 tsp plus 1  1/2 tsp
  • Red Chili sauce 1/2 tsp or more per taste

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Directions:

Cut Onion and Red pepper in thin small stripes and set aside

Mix Cornstarch with water and set aside.

In a wok or large saucepan, heat 1 1/2 tsp oil. Break the egg directly on to the pan. When the whites start cooking, gently spread the yellow around until cooked through. When slightly cooled, cut into thin strips and keep aside.

Add Onion and saute for couple of minutes. Make sure Onion doesn’t turn brown.

Add Red Pepper and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the mixed sauce and let it come to boil.

Add salt and red chili sauce if desired.

Add water with cornstarch to the vegetable mixture and mix well.

Let cook for a minute or 2 and remove from heat.

To serve, in a plate, place the fried noodles and top it with the prepared Onion pepper topping. Top it with Fried egg strips.

Notes:

If you think the sauce is not tangy enough for your taste, add a bit of Soy sauce.

If you do not want to use Fried noodles, you can use Ramen noodles cooked per instructions. You can also get gluten free Ramen noodles now.

 

Frittata – make ahead

I was going to post this recipe before Christmas so my friends can make this ahead of time and relax on Christmas morning while everyone is opening presents. Better late than never though. I am sure there are a lot of week-ends when you would rather relax than fuss over breakfast.

 

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Ingredients:

Eggs 3
Egg whites 1/2 cup
Kale chopped 1/2 cup
Arugula chopped 1/2 cup
Basil leaves a handful chopped
Onion chopped small 1/4 cup
Thyme dried 1/2 tsp
Cheese Parmesan 1/2 cup
Milk 3 Tbsp
Salt and Pepper per taste
Cayenne pepper (optional) per taste

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Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat eggs and egg whites together.
  • Add chopped Kale, Arugula and Thyme leaves and mix.
  • Add Onion, Salt and Pepper and Mix.
  • Add Cheese and Milk and mix thoroughly.
  • Spray an ovenproof dish (I used 8 inches skillet) with oil spray
  • Pour the mixture in the skillet
  • Bake for about 20 to 24 minutes
  • The top should become Golden with brown tinge and not too brown.
  • You can make the mixture ahead of time and throw it in the oven when its time for breakfast.

Warm Lentil and Carrot Salad

Midwest is completely frozen. The village I live in has small lakes and ponds just about every corner of the road and they are all frozen. The ground is covered in snow and it all looks very pretty when you are staying cozy inside your home by the fireplace sipping a warm cup of tea. But life is not all cozy. We have work to go to and schools to attend. When we all finally make it home late in the evening when its already dark out, we all crave nothing but the warmth. A cold salad creates fear in my mind on these cold wintry days. Isn’t it better to have a warm salad then? Healthy and cozy – What more could you want?

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Ingredients:

French Lentils 1 ½ cups dry

Carrot julienne or cut in stripes about 2 medium size

Cloves 3-4

Bay leaf 1 large

Cumin seeds 1 Tbsp

Olive Oil 3 Tbsp

Honey 1tsp or more as needed

Lemon Juice 1Tbsp

Tahini 1 Tbsp

Cumin seed powder ½ tsp

Salt as needed

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Directions

  • Wash French lentils a couple of times in running water and discard water.
  • In a large saucepan, add Lentils, Cloves, Bayleaf and three cups of water and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until done. If you are using pressure cooker, cook for 2 whistles and let cool down on its own. The Lentils should be cooked through but still look firm.
  • In another cup or a narrow utensil, mix Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Honey, Tahini paste, Cumin seed powder and Salt. Mix thoroughly and keep aside.
  • Once Lentils are ready, mix with Carrot and drizzle the dressing over while Lentils are still warm.

xoxo

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