Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quinoa & Samo Rice Spicy Pulav

Quinoa is an ancient grain like seed. It is gluten free source of good protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Quinoa is easy to cook, tastes great and has nice unique excellently pairs with various cooking dishes. I have used Quinoa in mix lentil-grain curries and it perfectly cooks like any other grain, brings great enrichment and texture to curry. This is my first attempt in making main dish with Quinoa. I added equal part Samo rice and it complimented well in Pulav..This dish turned out very aromatic with nutty and spicy taste.

Ingredients :-
  • 1/2 cup Quinoa - thoroughly rinse and soak in water for half an hour.
  • 1/2 cup Samo Rice (Variche tandul) - thoroughly rinse and soak in water for 15 minutes.
  • 1 medium size onion finely chopped - ( 1 Cup)
  • 1 inch piece of Ginger - finely crushed
  • 4-5 Garlic cloves - finely crushed
  • 4-5 green chilies - finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 Tb.spoon cooking oil
Whole Spices :-
  • 1 Bay leaf - 3 inch long
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 Star anise
  • 2 cardamom
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 25-30 whole pepper corns
  • 1 T.spoon shahi jeera
Method of Cooking :-
  1. Heat 1 1/2 tbspoon oil in heavy gauge pot. First add bay leaf, cinnamon, star anise - saute for 20 seconds. Quickly add cardamom, cloves and pepper corns - saute for 15 seconds.
  2. Add chopped onions and saute. Add shahi jeera after 2 minutes.. saute onions for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add finely crushed ginger, garlic, chopped green chilies - saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add carrots and two cups water. Increase heat to high and let water boil for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Drain out all water from soaked Quinoa and Samo - add it to the pot. Add salt. Mix well.
  6. Immediately reduce heat to lowest heat setting. Cover pot with lid.. let it simmer for 7-8 minutes.
  7. Now add corn and green peas. Combine all in pot. If needed add 2 tb.spoon water. Cover lid and let it cook on extreme low heat for another 12 regular interval gently stir pulav. At this stage you will find that all water is absorbed and quinoa, samo grains are fluffy/tender. Switch of the heat and let it stay for another 5-6 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!!.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bing cherry, Beetroot & carrot salad with Raspberry flavor.

Today I cooked Bing Cherry and Beetroot salad for dinner to celebrate Valentine's Day...preparation was simple. Bright color and fruity taste made a sweet addition in Valentine's Day spirits.

Ingredients :-
  • 1/2 Cup Beetroot - cut half inch long in broad stick pattern.
  • 15-20 Bing cherries - cut each cherry lengthwise into 4 pieces, discard seeds.
  • 1/2 Cup carrots - cut in mixed shapes of - discs, half circle, slivers.
  • 2 Tb.spoon - Raspberry spread.
  • 1 T.spoon - vinegar.
  • 2 - green chilies - finely chopped.

Method of making Salad :-
  1. Boil beetroot in microwave for 4 minutes...drain and keep it aside.
  2. Boil Carrots in microwave for 2 minutes...drain and keep it aside.
  3. In a bowl mix Raspberry spread, vinegar, green chilies and 1 tspoon beetroot drained stock. Whisk all well and make thick dressing.
  4. Combine Beetroot, carrots, Bing cherries in a bowl. Drizzle above dressing and mix until well blended. Keep it covered with plastic wrap for half an hour before serving..... Enjoy!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

MahaShivratri Vrat - Dinner Thali.

Today is auspicious day of Mahashivratri and I wish all my readers and visitors a Happy and Blessed MahaShivratri. I wanted to avoid eating regular food so today's dinner menu was Vrat/Fasting food, I cooked Vari (Samo) rice, Sabudana Khichdi, Fingerling potatoes with Jeera Tadka, potato+Sabudana porridge...with very few ingredients and light efforts very satisfying satvik dinner was cooked and enjoyed by my family.

Potato and Sabudana Porridge

Cauliflower subzi with Tapioca,Green beans,Lima beans,Green peas and Carrots.

Cauliflower is my favorite routinely cooked subzi. It is quick to cook and gives wonderful vibrant dish if cooked in combination with other veggies. Cauliflower+ Potatoes is very popular combination in Indian cooking.Today I replaced potatoes with Tapioca and it blended well with cauliflower, added lima beans,carrots and green peas to bring color and varied texture. I mildly flavored it with Garam masala and gave hot zest with ginger and green chilies. Result was delicious!!

Ingredients :-
  • 2 Cups - Cauliflower florets -1 inch size
  • 1/2 Cup - Green beans cut in 1 cm size
  • 1 Cup Tapioca - cut in half inch size cubes
  • 2 small size tomatoes - diced
  • 1/2 Cup - frozen Lima beans
  • 1/2 Cup - frozen green beans
  • 1/2 Cup - carrots cut in disc shape
  • 1 medium size onion - chopped finely
  • 2 inch ginger - finely crushed.
  • 4-5 green chilies - finely crushed
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • 1/2 Cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 T.Spoon - Garam masala
  • 1/2 T.spoon turmeric powder
Pre-Boiling Tapioca :-

Take 7-8 inch long tapioca. Chop out both ends. peel the skin with potato peeler. Cut into half inch size cubes. Rinse in water and boil in microwave with mildly salted water for 6-7 minutes. Most of the water will get absorbed , discard excess water.

Method of Cooking :-
  1. Heat 1 tbspoon oil in heavy gauge pot. Add chopped onions and saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat till they turn soft and translucent.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes and saute for two minutes. Add finely crushed green chilies, ginger,7-8 curry leaves along with 1 tspoon Garam masala and turmeric powder. Mix all well and saute for one minute.
  3. Add green beans and cauliflower florets. Add half cup water and let it simmer with covered lid for 5-6 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add lima beans and carrots. Mix all well .. if all water has dried up then add half cup water. Add salt and little cilantro. Cover the lid and let it cook for another 6-7 minutes.
  5. Lastly add green peas and boiled tapioca , remaining curry leaves and cook for another 3-4 minutes on low heat. I didn't keep much gravy and left more like stir fry texture, you may adjust water to have your choice of consistency to gravy.
  6. Garnish with remaining fresh cilantro and enjoy with rice and roti.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Spicy Rustic Chicken Curry with Khada Masala for a Snowy weather.

Mother nature blessed NC with 7 inches of snow over weekend. Cold temperatures and beautiful atmosphere around home temped me to cook something spicy and rustic. This chicken curry is out come of those temptations. I didn't use any Masala powder except turmeric powder but used Combination of Khada Masala (whole spices), also avoided any grinding process..all ingredients are either cut/chopped or diced. Curry was spicy, comforting and made us feel cozy on cold snow day.

Ingredients :-
  • 4 Chicken thighs - cut into medium size pieces and marinate with salt. (alternatively-use 1 1/2 lb. chicken of your choice preferably with bones.)
  • 2 Large onions - cut lengthwise.
  • 2 Extra large Tomatoes - diced.
  • 2 inch piece of ginger -cut into 1/2 inch size slivers.
  • 8-10 garlic cloves - cut lengthwise.
  • 1 Cup pressed - chopped fresh cilantro.
  • 2 Tb.spoon cooking oil.
  • 1/2 T.spoon turmeric powder.
List of Whole spices (Khada Masala) :-
  • 2 Bay leaf - 2 inch long.
  • 10-12 whole cloves.
  • 4 Cardamom.
  • 1 Star anise.
  • 4-5 Nagkesar (optional)
  • 1 Tb.spoon whole peppercorns.
  • 3 inch long piece of cinnamon.
  • 6-7 whole red chilies.
  • 1 T.spoon Fennel seeds.
  • 1 T.spoon Shahijeera.
Method of Cooking :-
  1. Heat 2 tb.spoon oil in a heavy gauge pot. Avoid heating oil to smoking hot temperature, it should be hot enough to mildly sizzle spices. Drop first eight listed whole spices and saute for 1 minute.
  2. Add chopped onions and saute for 2 minutes on high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add fennel seeds and Shahjeera. Mix well, continue sauteing onions till they turn soft and transparent - another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add chopped ginger and garlic pieces and stir-fry with onions for one minute.
  4. Add chicken pieces and turmeric powder. Mix all well and let it cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes till chicken turns white. Keep stirring with wooden spoon.
  5. Reduce heat to medium low, cover pot with lid and let chicken cook for 6-7 minutes. At regular interval do stir. At this stage inside steam will generate little gravy.
  6. Add half quantity of chopped tomato and little cilantro, little salt. Mix well and saute chicken on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and let it cook for 7-8 minutes in covered pot.
  7. Now add remaining diced tomatoes. Let chicken curry simmer uncovered on low heat for another 8-10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy hot with rice and roti.

Enjoy the Glorious snow scene around my home.