Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mushroom Barley Soup

Last day of 2011!!  Last post of the year 2011. I am so excited to  end this year with a warm comforting bowl of mushroom barley soup! This one is a perfect blend of vegetables and barley.

You will need-:

  1. 1 cup Pearled Barley
  2. Olive oil.
  3. White button Mushrooms- sliced
  4. Celery-  diced
  5. Carrot -  chopped into small cubes
  6. Tomato-  chopped into small cubes
  7. Onion - chopped into small cubes
  8. Garlic - minced
  9. Low sodium Vegetable broth
  10. 1 bay leaf
  11. 1 cup water
  12. Mint leaves for garnishing
  13. Salt to taste
  14. Freshly ground black pepper

Here is how you will prepare it-:

Wash the pearled barley in water and drain. In a pan, bring 4 cups of water and 1 cup barley to boil on high. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 30-35 minutes. Turn off the heat when the barley becomesoft.

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add garlic and onions. Cook for about couple of minutes. Add carrots and celery. After about 5 minutes add mushrooms and then tomatoes. Cook until they are tender. Add vegetable broth. Also add 1 cup of water. You can add more broth and water to make the consistency you want your soup to be. Add the bay leaf. At this point you can also add any fresh or dried herbs like thyme, oregano if you like. Simmer for 10 more minutes before adding cooked barley. Mix well, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add salt to taste, but remember that the broth you have added also has some salt. Also flavor with some freshly ground black pepper.

Garnish with a pair of mint leaves and serve hot.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Jeera Fried Rice With Peas

Simple and very easy, rice dish. A quick dinner, if you serve it with any kind of dal - a perfect combination of protein and carbs.

Here is all you need-:
Oil - 2 tsp
Rice- 1 cup
Water - 1 and 1/2 cups
Peas 1/2 cup
Onion - Chopped
Cumin Seeds - 1 tbsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Peppercorns - 2-3
Cloves - 2
Bay leaf- 1
Salt to taste.

Cook the rice with water. Add the salt and then cook rice. It's the right time to flavor the rice. Also add couple of peppercorns and a clove. You can pressure cook it or you can cook it in a pan with a lid on it.

Add oil into a pan. When oil gets hot, add Jeera (Cumin seeds). When they splutter, add asafoetida, cloves and peppercorns and bay leaf. Then add onion and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add thawed peas, mix well and add cooked rice, mix well. Cover for a minute. Add chopped cilantro.

This is my one more entry towards CWS Peas Event.


Thanks Priya for hosting.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Matar Kurma ( Green Peas Curry)

A nice blend of tomato puree, green chillies, ginger garlic paste, caramelized onion, with aromatic spices like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, sesame seeds and fennel seeds along with the great green peas with their bursting nutritional value, makes this Indian dish even more delicious. It can be enjoyed with Indian bread (Naan/roti) or with any kind of rice.

Whenever I want to make green peas curry, I go with the traditional Maharashtrian style preparation called Matarachi Usal. I love it. The grounded coconut makes it special. Although this time I was going through one of the recipe books, and that's when I decided to make this yummy matar kurma, which has a combination of tomato puree and peas.

The ingredients I used:

Desi Ghee/ clarified butter- 4 tbsp
Green Peas: about 1 Lbs
Tomatoes: 3
Green chillies- 3
Ginger: grated about 2 tsp
Garlic: Finely chopped/ or you can use the paste, I used 2 cloves
Onion: 1 medium sized white onion finely chopped, you can use any onion you have on hand.


Cloves: 2-3
Cinnamon: 1 stick
Cardamom: 2-3
Sesame seeds- 1 tbsp. Toast the seeds and grind them to turn them in a powdered form and keep it aside.
Fennel Seeds: 1 tbsp
Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
Cumin powder: 1tbsp
Salt to taste,
Coriander/ cilantro chopped for garnishing.

Step 1:
Blanching the tomatoes:

I started with blanching the tomatoes for couple of minutes, and gave them a bath in icy cold water later. The process of blanching is explained here. After blanching I peeled the tomatoes off and made a puree in a blender.

Step 2:
Caramelizing Onions:

On a medium flame, I tossed finely chopped onion in about 1 tbsp of butter. The process of caramelizing onions is explained here.


In a large pan add the remaining butter. In a moment, add the good old spices. Roast them for a minute or two. Add the caramelized onion and the green peas. Saute everything together for 3-4 minutes more. Then add the tomato puree and mix everything well.

Step 4:
Add water as much as you want. It's your choice, adding more water will make it great combination with rice, because it will have a thinner gravy, or just keep the water content low and it will turn in to a nice thick gravy, which will go very well with the Indian bread. Make sure that the everything should come to a boil before you switch off the flame.

Step 5:
Add salt as per your taste and serve it with chopped coriander/ cilantro.
You can garnish the kurma with a dash of cream as well.

I am sending this entry to announcing cooking with seeds - Peas event hosted by Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes. 

I am also sending this to  Sweet Heat challenge hosted by Food and Football and Baby.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

6 Layer Dip

Last month, my little kiddo turned 2. We had a party at our home with a very few close friends. I wanted to keep it simple with less people and more fun..:) My dad was also here to celebrate.
So let's get straight to the menu! I made a 6 layer dip to go with organic corn chips, 2 types of chaats -bhel puri and ragada pattice. We also ordered vegetable biryani and a cake for everyone. To top it off I made a Kulfi and a vegan cake for V.
Kulfi and the 6 layer dip was a total hit. Vegan cake was a total failure. I am not so good when it comes to baking, somehow I don't get it. People say baking is easier than cooking, I find it other way round.  I am used to eyeballing my ingredients so much, that it's hard for me to measure everything precisely and put it all together. Strange but true!

Okay, so here is what that 6 layer dip looked like-:

The recipe called for a 7 layer dip, when I searched through the Internet. I omitted the layer of shredded cheese and made it 6 layer, which turned out to be of a great taste. It was very simple to put together and looked very fancy.
Layer- 1
The first layer was organic re-fried beans mixed with a packet of taco seasoning.

Layer -2
Organic Sour cream

Organic Medium salsa


A dollop of sour cream

Sprinkled chopped spring onions over all the 5 layers.

Spread all the layers across the plate on top of each other, starting with layer one and there you have it. I would say , take out as much water as you can from salsa and then add the layer carefully to avoid the tomato sauce dripping over the layer of sour cream.
If you want to add the shredded cheese, you can add that layer in between layers of salsa and guacamole. I thought adding cheese might include too much of fat than the recipe can handle.
You can also add chopped cilantro to the sour cream , mix and then spread, which I think will enhance the flavor.

Give it a try this holidays, and have fun!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sweet Murmura

This  recipe is one of the accidents.(which I can proudly call an experiment..:) I was actually trying to make Murmura ladoos, something went wrong and I wasn't able to roll out the ladoos. So I thought, let's just keep it that way and eat with a spoon as a snack ( as a sweet chivada!)

This is a healthy and crunchy  snack, if your kid needs something different and you don't want to stuff his mouth with all the unhealthy snack that's out there. It's just jaggery, murmura , some water and a pinch of cardamom powder and that's it, you are done. Being a natural sweetener,  jaggery has both nutritive and medicinal values. It is a product of sugarcane and a great source of iron and minerals. During summer the water with a small piece of jaggery helps to alleviate the bad effects of excess heat on the body.

So as I mentioned earlier, all you are going to need is Jaggery, water, cardamom powder and murmura. 
Water- 1 cup
Jaggery - 1 cup powdered ( if you are going to use the pieces , try putting in about 4 - 2 inch pieces of jaggery.)
Murmura- 4 cups

Cardamom powder- a pinch or two

The measurement doesn't have to be perfect unless you want to actually roll out the mixture and make ladoos...:P

Heat the jaggery and the water in a heavy bottom pan. Let everything come to a nice boil and and continue heating the mixture and let all the jaggery melt. Keep stirring untill it becomes something like the consistency shown in the picture below. It takes about- 15- 20 minutes on a medium high heat to come to this consistency. 

Add cardamom powder and mix in the murmura, while stirring constantly. Mix well to get all the murmura coated with the jaggery and water mixture. Keep the heat on for 2 more minutes and then turn it off. 

If you have done everything well, you might actually be able to roll the ladoos from the mixture, otherwise just grab a spoon or hey...just a handful....:))

I am sending this recipe Spice your life and Cook's hideout.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Crunchy Makhana

Let me take this opportunity to share with you my favorite crunchy and super simple snack known as Makhana. Also known as Phool Makhanas.You get this wonderful beauties at most of the Indian stores. They are basically lotus seeds. Makhanas are very healthy, rich in iron, calcium and protein. I came across this crunchy treat in a book called, "Women and Weight loss Tamasha"- by Rujuta Diwekar. I am a great fan of her work and follow her suggestions as much as possible. A separate post on the diet she suggests(which works wonders), my experiences with that is in my TO DO list and stay tuned for that..:)

Coming back to Makhanas. I find them better than popcorn, full of nutrients and super simple to make.

You will need-:

  1. Phool Makhanas- as many as you want to make.
  2. Desi ghee
  3. Salt 
  4. freshly ground black pepper.
Heat desi ghee in kadai/pan , add makhanas to kadai, season them with salt and pepper. On low to medium flame, toss everything together until they get crunchy.
This is how they will change the color after roasting.

 Usually it takes me 6-7 minutes depending on the quantity. If they are not crunchy enough, let them stay in for couple more minutes. Turn off the gas and let them cool. Store them in an airtight container.

Oh..and did I mention? 

They have anti-aging properties.

Don't forget to scoop out some for you on a great afternoon..:)

 I am sending this recipe to Sweet Karam Kapi and to Rekha's Event.


Flax-Seed Chutney

What a great way to have your daily source of omega-3, if you include a spoonful of chutney in your dinner!
Flax-seeds - back in India we call these 'Javas'. It's mostly made in winter for it's heat properties. Flax-seeds are also great source of dietary fiber.
It is a dry chutney. This is the quickest chutney I have ever made. Here is all you need-:

  • Organic sprouted ground flax-seed
  • Garlic cloves
  • Red chilly powder
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of sugar.
Chop the garlic in to 2- 3 pieces, and toss everything together into a blender. Grind until powdered. You can enjoy this chutney with any Indian bread. Works very well with any kind of parathas.

You can certainly use the whole flax-seeds and roast them before grinding them in the mixer. But I think using ground flax-seeds gives a nice texture to the chutney and it also saves the time of roasting the seeds.
If you use ground  seeds, the chutney hardly takes 2 minutes to get ready. I mean it. TWO minutes only! Try it yourself and let me know..:)