Category Archives: This, that and the other

Ginger tea

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This week’s BM theme is anti inflammatory foods. Sore throat or pharyngitis is throat inflammation. Gastritis is a kind of stomach inflammation. There is arthritis related inflammation, but thankfully, I haven’t dealt with it yet.

Sore throat and an occasional gastritis symptom is not so uncommon for me. This ginger tea is good for both the cases, when your stomach isn’t agreeing with you completely and your throat is literally scratching you! A hot cup of this tea will sooth your throat and be easy on your tummy.

We Indians add  ginger to the traditional tea( boil milk + tea leaves + grated ginger; strain and sweeten with sugar) and call it ginger tea as well. But this version is a simple one. All you have to do is boil ginger and water and flavor it with lemon and/or honey if you wish.

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BM #61 Week 2;  Theme: Anti inflammatory foods

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water per person
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled, per person
  • honey to taste
  • lemon to taste, optional

Method:

  1. Peel and slice the ginger pieces.
  2. Add this to the water and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for 7-8 minutes.
  3. Take off the heat and add honey and lemon per taste.
  4. Drain the ginger pieces off and drink your tea.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for more themes and recipes from the other participants.

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Mango Mastani

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Its winter here. How can I use cold mango puree? Out it came from the fridge and sat on counter top waiting patiently to come to room temperature.

It’s very cold here. How can I use ice-cold milk? The milk joined the mango puree on the counter.

Now, lets blend it all together. Blend, blend, blend.

Get chopping with the nuts. Chop. chop, chop.

Pour in a tall glass, one for me and one for you.

Its freezing here. How can I top the milkshake with ice cream?

Lets bring out the sweater and wear it and eat it, for I am not going to say No to ice cream!

Scoop, scoop,scoop.

Slurp, slurp, slurp

Oh…YUMM!

Now that I have come back from heaven, let me tell you a bit about mastani. Mastani is a thick milkshake topped with ice cream and decorated with dried fruits and nuts. Apparently its popular in Pune and any kind of fruit can be used to make one. Mango mastani seems to be a popular choice going by the internet.

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Recipe source: Flavors of Mumbai

BM Theme: Regional (Maharashtra)

For one portion:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mango puree*
  • 1/4 cup milk*
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or per taste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped nuts (pistachios, cashew nuts)
  • 1 teaspoon tutti frutti
  • spoon ful of chopped mango pieces (I didn’t have any)
  • Cherries for decoration
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream

*These are not strict measures. Adjust according your preference.

Method:

  1. Blend mango puree, milk and sugar. Taste and adjust sugar per taste.
  2. Pour into a tall glass and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  3. Sprinkle the nuts and tutti frutti. Decorate with mango pieces and chopped cherries, if using.
  4. Enjoy!

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#60 

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Bye bye 2015, Welcome 2016

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Sometimes the simplest things are the most difficult to pin down. As another year rolls pass by, I am finding it difficult to reflect on it. 365 days of happenings can hardly be fit into a small blog post.

As the year fades away slowly into the past, it brings out memories that hurt, some that bring joy and others that bring peace. Like a video tape stuck in a particular place, the mind just goes to those significant moments that defines the year for me.

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One of the major events was the Chennai floods which happened in December. It had me praying for so many people I knew and so many more I didn’t. Having spent many years in Velachery and OMR, a lot of people I care for were affected by the floods. It was a moment where man was nothing before Mother Nature.

But then, let’s not talk about Mother Nature.

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It’s about the New Year now. About new hopes. New resolutions. New dreams.

A whole new beginning.

It’s about letting go of the year past and moving forward. The circle of life will continue. Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter all over again..There is some comfort that pattern, it’s the way mom nature tells us that this too shall pass!

Happy New Year everyone!

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Soupe au Pistou recipe

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It was during a shopping trip together that my neighbor told me about this recipe that her mom makes. Dried beans,brown rice and mixed vegetables cooked like a soup in pressure cooker and served hot with salt and pepper. A light, yet filling and healthy, dinner for the whole family.

I picked up all the needed stuff for the recipe and back home I realized that it is a very close version of the French soup – Soupe au Pistou. This soup also has a mix of vegetables, dried beans and pasta (or even rice) in it. The only difference is that at the end, you add a spoon of Pistou (its Pesto minus the nuts) which adds a good flavor to the soup. Well, the pistou soup has to use some pistou in it, right!?

The recipe here, is adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s book – around the French table and I know I am going to try the version with rice as well later!

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Pictorial

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Soak your choice of beans overnight or at least for four hours until the beans have doubled in size.

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I used one cup from the 16 bean soup pack.

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Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter in a pressure cooker or a thick bottomed pan. Add four minced garlic pods and one sliced onion and saute until the onions turn soft. Season with salt and pepper.

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Cut 1 carrot, about 10 french beans and one small potato into slightly big pieces. The choice of vegetables is up to you.

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Once the onions are cooked, add the vegetables. I had some sautéed mushrooms as well to be used up, so that also went in.

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Add about four cups of stock or water.

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Follow this up with 1/3 cup pasta, one cup of soaked beans, one tomato diced and 1/2 cup corn.

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Check the seasonings and adjust as required.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian herbs ( I didn’t have the fresh ones in hand).

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Pressure cook for one whistle or cook in low flame until everything in the soup is cooked well. Once the pressure drops in the cooker, serve hot in a bowl with a spoonful of pistou (pesto without nuts).

Recipe source: Dorie Greenspan’s book – around my French table

Serves: 2 as a meal

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of beans of your choice, soaked overnight or one can of beans*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion chopped fine
  • salt and pepper as needed
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1/4″ semi circles
  • 10-12 beans, cut into 1″ long pieces
  • 1 small potato, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup sautéed mushrooms (I had this, so it went into the soup)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1/3 cup pasta of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more) of dried Italian seasonings
  • pistou, at the time of serving ( You can use pesto as a close substitute)

Method:

  1. Soak your choice of beans overnight or at least for four hours until the beans have doubled in size. I used one cup from the 16 bean soup pack.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter in a pressure cooker or a thick bottomed pan. Add four minced garlic pods and one sliced onion and saute until the onions turn soft. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cut 1 carrot, about 10 french beans and one small potato into slightly big pieces. The choice of vegetables is up to you.Once the onions are cooked, add the vegetables. I had some sautéed mushrooms as well to be used up, so that also went in.
  4. Add about four cups of stock or water.
  5. Follow this up with 1/3 cup pasta, one cup of soaked beans, one tomato diced and 1/2 cup corn.
  6. Check the seasonings and adjust as required.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian herbs ( I didn’t have the fresh ones in hand).
  7. Pressure cook for one whistle or cook in low flame until everything in the soup is cooked well. Once the pressure drops in the cooker, serve hot in a bowl with a spoonful of pistou (pesto without nuts).

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This recipe goes to Blogging Marathon 55, under French recipes.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 55

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Ribollita

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I tell many times that I am lazy, but in reality, I am not. Its just that I don’t like cooking every single meal, every single day. Another thing is that after years and years of trying to find shortcuts, I have finally come to accept that the stomach commands and we obey. Such ‘gyan’ (knowledge) makes you accept the everyday cooking with a little positivism.

That doesn’t mean that I have given up on looking for shortcuts. I still look at every possible way to cut down extra or even regular work. So you can imagine my happiness when I came across this heavy vegetable laden recipe for ribollita. This Tuscan thick soup has it all – vegetables, bread, beans and lots of flavor. I am guessing its kind of stew with all left overs cooked together, like our kootu or avial recipes. But still, its a great healthy choice for dinner for the whole family.

So make these, serve these with love and accept that if you don’t struggle against your stomach, your life is pretty much easy and very tasty.

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Source:  Food.com

Serves : 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil or oil of  your choice
  • 4-5 garlic pods, minced or crushed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped savoy cabbage/spinach/kale or any green leafy vegetable
  • 2 cups of cooked beans of your choice, 1 can cannellini beans in the original recipe
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock or water
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes or 1 cup of pureed tomatoes
  • 1/2 loaf sourdough bread, torn into pieces
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning- optional
  • salt, pepper, red chili flakes – for seasoning

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add the garlic cloves. Saute for a minute and add the chopped onion, celery and carrots. Let it cook for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the cabbage/kale/spinach and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in the crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, cooked beans and all the seasonings. Let it come to a boil.
  3. Take 1 cup of the soup aside and let it cool. Blend it to a coarse paste and add it back to the soup and bring it to a boil.
  4. You can toast the bread and add it to the soup and cook until the soup is thick and the flavors blend. Check seasonings and consistency. Adjust according to your preference.
  5. If you don’t have the crusty bakery bread, you can toast the bread and serve it on the side like I did.

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This recipe goes to Blogging Marathon 55, under healthy dinner recipes.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 55

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Palak Khichdi

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Most of my knowledge about Indian mythology is from Amar chitra katha, the Indian comics. Interesting stories presented with beautiful pictures,  never fails to hit the mark!

Not just mythology, you had a lot of history based, folk based and even humor based stories. Now, the last category holds a special place  in my heart. Stories of the funny Tenali Rama or the wisdom laced humor of Birbal always leave you wanting more!

This khichdi is inspired from a Birbal story. On their morning walk around a cold lake in winter, a debate gets started whether someone would be so crazy as to stay in the water for a whole night in return for a reward. To test this out, Akbar announces the challenge to the public and soon someone accepts it.

That guy spends the whole night in the cold water with some guards around him to ensure that he doesn’t cheat. The next morning, Akbar asks him how he survived the night and he replies that he focused his sight and mind solely on a far away lamp to get him through the challenge. Akbar gets irked by the answer and decides not to pay the reward on the grounds that the lamp kept him warm.

Birbal felt it wasn’t fair. To prove his point, he invites Akbar for lunch to his place. The food seems to take a long time to get ready. After a long wait, Akbar walks into the kitchen and sees that Birbal is preparing khichdi. The problem was that the pot was hung about 10 feet over the stove.

Akbar asks Birbal how is he planning to get the khichdi cooked, as the pot was so far away from the stove! Birbal smartly replies,”If a lamp 50 feet away can keep a guy warm in an ice cold lake, why can’t a pot full of khichdi kept 10 feet away get cooked in time?” Akbar understands his mistake and orders the reward to be paid.

And they went back to the palace for a wholesome lunch, I hope!!

I have no idea whether this story really took place or not, but its a popular story and the saying “Birbal ki khichdi” even came out of it.

So here I have for you food from kids literature : Birbal ki khichdi, prepared by moi :D.

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Pictorial

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Cook 1 cup rice and 1/4 cup moong dal with 4 cups water. Keep aside.

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Heat 1 tablespoon ghee and add 1 teaspoon jeera in it.

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Once it changes color, add 1 tablespoon chopped garlic to it.

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Add one big chopped onion and saute further.

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Once the onion turns pink add one chopped tomato and cook 2-3 minutes. Add salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder.

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Grind 2 cups of spinach with 2-3 green chillies and 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste. You can add 1/2 cup coriander leaves and 1/4 cup mint leaves as well, if you want to.  Add this puree to the onion-tomato mix. Cook 3-4 minutes until the raw smell goes off.

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Add the cooked rice and dal mix and keep mixing until the color turns fully green.

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Add 2-3 cups of water till you get the consistency you desire. Take off the heat and serve with a dollop of butter on top. This dish pairs very well with yogurt and pickle.

Serves : 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/4 cup moong dal
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt

grind together

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves

Method:

  1. Cook 1 cup rice and 1/4 cup moong dal with 4 cups water. Keep aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee and add 1 teaspoon jeera in it. Once it changes color, add 1 tablespoon chopped garlic to it. Add one big chopped onion and saute further.
  3.  Once the onion turns pink add one chopped tomato and cook 2-3 minutes. Add salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder.
  4. Grind 2 cups of spinach with 2-3 green chillies and 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste. You can add 1/2 cup coriander leaves and 1/4 cup mint leaves as well, if you want to.  Add this puree to the onion-tomato mix. Cook 3-4 minutes until the raw smell goes off.
  5. Add the cooked rice and dal mix and keep mixing until the color turns fully green. Add 2-3 cups of water till you get the consistency you desire.
  6. Take off the heat and serve with a dollop of butter on top. This dish pairs very well with yogurt and pickle.

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Linking this entry to Valli’s Kid’s Delight, hosted by PJ this month. The theme is ‘Cooking from Storybooks/TV shows’.

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Tawa pulao

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There are times when you feel like preparing an elaborate meal and then there are times when you feel like just putting everything in a pot and getting over with it. This recipe falls in the latter category. You still need to prep the base vegetables – but once that’s done, the job is almost over. A simple raita or plain yogurt is all that’s needed on the side and the rest of the evening is free to do whatever you want.

Pictorial:

Soak one cup rice for at least half and hour and keep aside.

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Heat 1 tbsp oil/ghee/butter in a pan and saute one big chopped onion.

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Add 1 tsp ginger garlic paste and cook until its done.

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Add 2 chopped tomatoes and cook until its mashed.

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Tip in one chopped capsicum. Add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp chilli powder and 1 tbsp pav bhaji masala.

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Add the rest of the vegetables and cook further until its all mixed well. I used 1.5 cups thawed frozen mixed vegetables.

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Add 2 cups water, salt and the soaked rice. Check the seasonings and adjust if you have to.

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Cook until the rice is done and serve with raita.

Recipe adapted from: Veg recipes of India

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 big tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 capsicum chopped
  • 1.5 cups mixed vegetables
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp pav bhaji masala
  • salt
  • oil/butter or ghee

Method:

  1. Wash well and soak the rice for half an hour at least.
  2. In a wide pan, heat 1 tbsp of ghee, butter or oil.
  3. Add the chopped onion and saute until pink. Add ginger garlic paste and saute for 20 seconds.
  4.  Now its time to add the chopped tomatoes and cook until its mashed up.
  5. Add the chopped capsicum and saute for a few more minutes and then add the spices (turmeric powder, chilli powder and pav bhaji masala). Mix well and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the rest of the vegetables and mix well.
  7. Pour 2 cups water and salt. Check and adjust the seasonings. Add the soaked rice.
  8. Cook until the water is absorbed into the rice and its cooked well.
  9. Take off the heat and serve with a cup of raita.

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Banana Ice cream

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There are few things in this world that everybody loves. Ice cream and chocolate can be counted in that few. Young or old, summer or winter, healthy or sick, everybody wants to have these. (If you don’t like it, please don’t tell me. You will be shaking one of the most fundamental beliefs in my life).

Unfortunately, ice cream is high in calories. Fortunately, we can create our own recipes that are healthier and totally guilt free. Like this one ingredient banana ice cream here. This is a great cheat recipe. It’s not quite the real deal, but comes pretty close to it.

Enjoy the recipe and cheat with these once in a while…

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Recipe source: thekitchn

Makes 2 small servings (depending on the size of the banana)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, sliced into rounds

Method:

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Slice the bananas into rounds and freeze them overnight or for at least two hours.

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Once its frozen, run it in a small food processor for 3-4 minutes.

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You are looking for smooth ice-free ice cream texture. Keep beating it until its smooth and creamy. I did this in two batches and each one took about 5 minutes.

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Pour into a freezer friendly bowl. Cover and freeze the “ice cream” again until its hard. Scoop out and serve with your choice of toppings. I served it with honey and chopped pistachios.

Things to keep in mind:

Bananas discolor. So scoop these out only at the time of serving.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 53

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Multigrain pancakes

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Morning time is the worst at my place. The kid’s school bus comes around 8:15 AM, but we get up from our slumber at 7:40. It’s an active, adrenaline filled half an hour of the day. Me and my son would rush up, run down, drink milk, brush teeth, take bath, eat breakfast and get ready in general. Not in the same order, but you get the meaning. It’s like an emergency room in a hospital, no casualty – but lots and lots of activity. Oddly enough, we have never missed his bus despite getting up so late.

There is no way I can serve anything other than a bowl of cereal at that time. And there is no way the kid would eat anything other than cereal at that time. So we have a mutual understanding about weekday mornings.

But weekend, that’s when I relax and prepare something more elaborate than corn flakes. I ignore the demands for cereal from the protesting kid and serve him whatever the blog demands. And the blog demanded guilt free indulgences this week and so a healthier, multi grain version of pancake was on our breakfast plate this weekend.

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Recipe source: The perfect recipe for losing weight

Makes:about 16 pancakes, depending on the size

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup whole wheat flour ( I used multi grain atta flour)
  •  1/2 cup each all-purpose flour, oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients ( flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt) in a bowl.
  2. Add the liquid ingredients and mix well in a separate bowl.
  3. Combine both and whisk until no lumps remain. You might have to add a little more milk if the batter is too thick or a bit more flour if its too thin.
  4. Heat a pan and spray oil on it. Add 1/4 cup full of batter and cook until bubbles appear and then burst on top.
  5. Flip and cook the other side. Take off the pan and repeat until the batter is used up.

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Fruit Ice pops

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We moved again. This time to an apartment close to my husband’s office. So another school change for the kid. The good thing is that there is only two more weeks to go before the summer vacation starts. The bad thing is that he has been to three schools for his 3rd grade! First in India, then in our previous place in US and now, the current one…talk about being a global student!!

I do feel bad about pushing so many changes into his life, but then you gotta go where life takes you. And wherever we go, the kid has to follow us. The earlier we accept that, the easier it is. He is getting around that, but yet the pining for home and his friends hasn’t gone yet.

It’s a guilt laden life at the moment. No wonder, I wanted to go guilt free in the food department at least!

Coming to the recipe here, this is a recipe that I had seen in Vaishali’s place long ago. Its simple, fun and totally guilt free. Perfect indulgence for summer.

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Recipe source: Ribbons to pastas and Martha Stewart.com

Ingredients:

  • Sprite/lemonade/white grape juice, as needed (I used about 2 tbsp per mold)
  • Choice of fruits – chopped, as needed ( I used kiwi, strawberry and mango)

Method:

  1. Slice the fruits. Fill the ice pop mold with the sliced fruits.
  2. You can add as many or as little fruits as you want. The more fruits you have in, the more packed it is and the better it looks. I was short on fruits, so I put only 5-6 pieces in each.
  3. Fill the mold with the liquid of your choice. Any see-through liquid is fine. Freeze overnight. Done!

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