July 20, 2009

Masala Vegetable Pasta

Macaroni with vegetables in white sauce is an absolute favourite of mine. When S and I met a friend in Hyderabad, he told S that I was a good cook. And that I tried very hard to match my mother's cooking standards. He went on to say that there were many dishes that I made really well, but that there was this one dish I just couldn't make the way she did. I can only keep trying!

1 cup Macaroni (Or any pasta of your choice)

1 cup Mixed Boiled Vegetables (Carrot, Beans, Peas, Cauliflower, Potato), diced
1/4 cup, Mixed Capsicum, chopped
1 tbsp Butter/Olive Oil
1 tbsp Flour
1 cup Milk
1 tsp Sambar Powder

1 tsp Oil

Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 slice Low Fat Cheese (optional)

Cook the macaroni in a cooker with a little salt, a teaspoon of oil, sambar powder and sufficient water. Drain.

Heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the capsicum and fry for a minute. Add the flour and fry without browning the flour. Add the milk and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring continuously. If adding cheese, add it at this point and stir the sauce well. As the sauce thickens, add the salt and pepper. Add the boiled vegetables and the macaroni to the sauce.

Dig in!

July 18, 2009

Sundried Tomato and Cheese Muffins

A trip is always fun. A trip by road is even more fun. A trip by road in your car is even more fun. A trip by road in your car with your good friends is even more fun than that. But the best of them all is a trip by road in your car with your good friends and a basket full of homemade food.

We set out on this journey last month to an old Haveli in Rajasthan. S and I, along with out friends P and N. We were not sure of the roadside eateries on this route and didn’t want to stop for dinner on the way. We really wanted to get there as early as possible. I made some sweet muffins and these savoury muffins to eat along the way. With some sauce on the side, these were gone in no time.

1/8 cup Oil
1/2 cup Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tbsp Sugar
A pinch of Salt
1 egg
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme

1 tsp Paprika

1/4 tsp Chilli Flakes

1/4 cup Sundried Tomatoes, chopped

1 Onion, chopped

25g Cheddar Cheese, diced

Preheat the oven to 190 C (375 F). Place paper cases in a nine inch muffin pan.

Sift the dry ingredients and keep aside. Whisk the eggs, milk, oil and thyme. Slowly add the dry ingredients and stir gently. Add the onion, sundried tomatoes and cheese and mix together. Place a spoonful of batter in each cup.

Bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy while warm though they keep for a couple of days.

July 16, 2009

Tinda Koora

Tinda is one summer vegetable that I absolutely detest. But I bought a packet of it last summer and tried this. This year, I am even stronger in my resolve to eat with the seasons and not try and find winter vegetables in summer, pay through my nose for them, and then feel that they weren’t really worth it.

My dear friend P now works for Field Fresh, a company that is into fresh produce. Every week I get my supply of fruits and vegetables from her. Some of them are even part processed. This is a picture I took in the winter. This feature repeats every week, you just have to replace the winter vegetables with summer vegetables. So now, P is not the type of person who will take no for an answer. When I told her I didn’t know how to make Tinda, she even started teaching me different ways to cook the vegetable. I figured it was simpler to just allow the vegetable to make its way into our basket.

I put Tinda in sambar once and we quite enjoyed it. (OK, I know that sambar can mask the taste of a vegetable if you make it in that manner.) A week later, I decided to make it in the south Indian way (like an Upkari/Karumadhu). Now, where I come from, turmeric and cumin are not part of such steamed vegetable dishes. S finds the absence of turmeric in these dishes quite conspicuous. So I ended up making this dish with cumin and turmeric to please S. Both of us “enjoyed” eating Tinda (probably a first for both of us).

Here’s a very north Indian vegetable cooked in a very south Indian way.

1/4 kg Tinda, peeled and diced
1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Urad Dal
1/4 tsp Chana Dal
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
2 Red Chillies
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1 tbsp Coconut, scraped
7-8 Curry Leaves
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pressure pan. Add the urad and chana dals, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves and the red chillies. Fry for a minute. Add the chopped tinda, turmeric and the salt along with a little water. Cover and cook for one whistle.

When done, open and cook without the lid to let the excess water evaporate. Add the coconut and mix well.

This is a perfect side to a meal with rice and sambar.

July 14, 2009

Peach and Ginger Cake

Our trip to the Piramal Haveli in Rajasthan coincided with not one, but two special events in our life. Of the two days that we were there, one day was the anniversary of the “dinner” that S and I had at Pebble Street in Delhi. That life altering dinner where sparks flew and we knew that we weren’t going to spend the rest of our lives being “just friends”, that we were going to be much more than that. The other day happened to be the day that we completed 1000 days of being married. Cheesy, you say! But what’s life without a little romance, eh? (And incidentally, this day(14 July), two years ago, I posted a record 17 posts. Everyone, Sig included, thought I'd gone off my rocker! So, after this brief hiatus, this cake and its timing seem perfect.)

I baked this cake to take along and hid it in my friend’s bag so S wouldn’t see it. We cut the cake at the Haveli to celebrate. This is a simple peach and ginger cake, moist from the peaches and with a zing that only ginger can bring.

1 cup Flour

1 cup Peaches, chopped
2 tbsp Candied Ginger, chopped

1/2 cup Sugar

2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda

a Pinch of Salt

1/2 cup Milk
1/4 cup Oil

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

1 Egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350F (180 C).

Grease and flour/line an 8-inch cake tin.

Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the candied ginger and mix well.

In a mixing bowl, add the egg, milk, sugar, oil, and vanilla essence. Beat well together. Add the flour mixture to this and blend well. Add the chopped peaches and mix well.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife/skewer, inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean.

P.S. I used some slivered almonds to write the number 1000 on the cake as I didn't want to mess around with icing.