May 9, 2012

Spinach Penne in creamy Pumpkin Sauce

This is yet another attempt at using pumpkin which needless to say goes to my ongoing event "Cooking For Kids"......

3-4 oz of cubed squash
8 oz dry penne
6 oz chopped spinach(I prefer the fresh)
1 small onion
3 garlic cloves
red pepper flakes as per taste
1 tsp maida
1/2 cup of milk
Pasta sauce(store bought) according to taste
Salt few pinches while cooking the vegetables

Cook the pasta according to the box instructions.  Drain and set aside.

Cut the onion into thin 1 inch slices.  Grind the pumpkin, 2 garlic cloves and red pepper flakes adding little water and some oil.  Take 2-3 tblsp of olive oil.  When it is slightly hot add the onion and the remaining garlic clove grated.  Once the onion becomes translucent, add the pumpkin puree and let this fry in the oil till the raw smell goes.  Combine the maida in the milk and add this to the pumpkin which is cooking.  Let this come to a boil and cook for a minute or two until it thickens.  Now add the chopped spinach, salt and cook until the spinach wilts.  Add the pasta sauce as well and let this all cook well and combine thoroughly.

Now add the cooked pasta and stir everything until it mixes well. 

"Cooking For Kids" event update...

I just noticed that the linky tool in  my event posting was missing.  This is because, I had a trial membership taken a month ago which had apparently expired.  If you want to send in any entries please drop off an email at with the following details....

Recipe Name
Recipe URL
Blog Name
Blog URL

Please include a picture along with the email.

April 27, 2012

Butternut Squash Parathas

This is yet another attempt to try something different with the pumpkin/squash.  I prepared these parathas with some butternut squash one of my favorites in the squash group.  This again goes to my own event "Cooking For Kids - Pumpkin/Squash" started off by Kalyani.

2 cups flour
1 cup of cubed squash
1/2 handful of cauliflower stalk
coriander leaves plus stalk handful
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
3 big garlic cloves
1 to 2 tsp chopped green chillies
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp amchur powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ajwain seeds
salt to taste

Process all the vegetables, salt and the spices together.  Leave this aside for few minutes.  Add the flour, a couple of tablespoons of oil and process it further till it comes together like a ball.  There is no need to add water.

Divide the dough into equal portions and roll it out into thin circles.  Cook the parathas on both sides without oil on a hot pan.  Smear some oil on the top side and flip it over to cook till brown spots appear and similarly the other side.

Enjoy these parathas with some raita or just plain curds!!!!

April 25, 2012

Mixed Vegetable Pulao in Pumpkin Masala

Here I am attempting this pulao for the first time.  This is a preparation that I cam up on my own.

4 ounces cubed pumpkin pieces(or butternut squash which is what I used)
1/2 cup each of chopped carrots, peas, capsicum and potato
1 cup basmati rice
4-5 cloves of garlic
2-3 green chillies
1/8tsp red chilli powder(optional)
1.5 inch ginger piece
few coriander leaves
cumin seeds
salt to taste
1 tsp pav bhaji powder( or more according to taste)

Puree the pumpkin  with ginger, green chillies, garlic and coriander leaves.  Soak the rice for 1/2 hr and then drain.  Roast the rice in little ghee or oil until you get a nice aroma.  Take a tbsp of oil, splutter the cumin and add the puree.  Let this fry for about 2 minutes.  Add the vegetables, salt and chilli powder and stir this again 2 more minutes.  Add 1and 3/4cups to 2 cups of water and let this come to a boil.  Let it boil for almost five minutes.  Transfer this to a vessel and pressure cook this for 15 minutes or upto 3 whistles.

You have some nice, yummy and colorful pulao ready!!!

PS: You can reduce the amount of pumpkin if you do not prefer the overpowering taste and smell of the pumpkin

This preparation goes to my own event "Cooking For Kids - Pumpkin/Squash" which I am guest hosting for Kalyani.

April 17, 2012

Announcing Cooking For Kids/ HLI - event

Most of my friends out here must be aware of the very famous "HLI" event of Kalyani @ Sizzling Tastebuds and I am guest hosting this event for the month of April. The event has been renamed as "Cooking For Kids" .  This is also my first in hosting an event and I must say I am pretty excited about this whole thing.  When the opportunity came up I did not hestitate to take it but at the same I was a little bit skeptical as to what I can come up with for myself because of the theme.  Yes, the theme for this month's event is Squash/Sweet Pumpkin.

Pumpkins are squash like fruit that widely range in sizes.  As they both share some botanical classifications, both squash and pumpkins are used interchangeably.  The colour of the pumpkin is derived from the orange pigments in them.  Beta carotenes being one of the main nutrients, these vegetables are rich in Vitamin.  It is no wonder that pumpkin puree forms an important part of  a  toddler's diet apart from carrots and sweet potatoes. 

It is believed that pumpkins originated in North America.  In the US and Canada, pumpkin is a popular Thanksgiving and Halloween staple- Pumpkin Pie being the traditional dish.  Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking.  Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers.  When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed, or roasted. The flowers can be dredged in a batter and then fried in oil.  Pumpkin seeds also known as Pepitas, is a very popular snack when roasted.  These seeds have good health benefits as they are a good source of protein, zinc, magnesium and vitamins.  It is also believed that they can lower the cholesterol(source:Wikipedia)

The event officially runs from 15th April till the 15th of May.  The event details are as follows

Prepare something healthy using the featured ingredient and post it on your deep fried recipes
Vegetarian dishes only are acceptable
Only new entries(no limit) and a mximum of 2 archived entries are long as they are linked and reposted again
Link the posts to this announcement and to Kalyani's original announcement page
Include the above logo in your post
Please send in your entries to
Non bloggers are also welcome to participate. 
Eventhough the event is open only till the 15th of May, I am going to keep it open until the 17th of May due to the initial delay in announcing the event. 

March 8, 2012

Banana and Apple Oat Muffins-100th Post!!

After having made the Banana Bread(eggless), I am posting this yet another egg free baked goodie as  my 100th post.  Needless to say all my baked goods are and will be eggless.  I choose to bookmark only those recipes wherein I will be able to skip the eggs.   I was not averse to eggs until about a few years back when I started trying eggless recipes.  My first ever attempt during my non blogging days to bake something eggless was the wonderful Banana Bread which has been posted here on my blog a few days ago and later on an eggless apple cake.

Since then I have been hooked on to these eggless treats and encourage my kids also to try out baking in the kitchen without eggs.   Suddenly, when they get the urge to bake something, they just simply use my idea of milk and oil combination where the recipe calls for just one egg.  This ofcourse has been borrowed from here which also lists out very many other ideas.  I find this easy to adapt as I have to correspondingly increase the amount of oil and milk that is already being used in the recipe.

Today I attempted this very healthy muffin using oats as the main ingredient.  I was looking to use a banana as well as some apple and searched one on here to find this muffin recipe.

3/4 cup quick oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp all spice powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon milk(low fat)
4 table spoon or 1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped tart apple
1/4 mashed ripe banana

Mix all the ingredients until brown sugar in a bowl.  Beat the oil and the milk and add it to the dry ingredients.  Stir until just moistened.  Fold in the chopped apples and the bananas.  Fill the muffin cups and bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Notes and Observations
The original recipe called for one egg, 1 table spoon oil and 1/3 cup milk.  Following my method of substitution, I have come up with the above oil and milk measure.  The recipe says to stir the wet and the dry until just moistened.  My batter was quite would not have mattered even if I had gone for little less milk.
I used quick oats instead of old fashioned oats.  I crushed up the oats with my fingers a little bit.
I baked the full 30 minutes.
I used gala apples.
The sugar was a little bit on the lower side which neither of us did not seem to mind.  If you wish to increase the sugar by a table spoon or so, the milk can be reduced to 1/4th cup.
If a recipe calls for all spice and you do not have some at home the closest substitution would be to mix equal parts of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg powders in equal quantity and use the required amount of this combination. That is what I did in my recipe.  However, on the link that I have added above for all spice,  there is also a suggestion to use cinnamon, ginger and cloves in equal parts or cinnamon, cloves, pepper and nutmeg.
Some chopped nuts can also be added to this recipe.
This recipe makes 6 regular sized muffin.

February 25, 2012

Eggless Banana Bread

An all time  favorite of the kids as well as adults.  This is a very simple recipe that I heard from my cousin.  Every time I make this bread I just blindly follow this and it is so simple and easy to remember.

The recipe my cousin gave me calls for 3 big bananas for 2 cups of flour.  But the bananas I had were small in size and some portion had to be discarded.  Hence, I decided to halve the recipe and it turned out to be really good.

3 small bananas(I lost some and would have effectively used about two and a half or you can use one and a half big ripe bananas)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
pinch of salt

Mash the bananas in a small bowl.  Add oil and the brown sugar and combine this thoroughly.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a bigger bowl.  Add the banana oil and sugar mixture to the flour and combine well. Add water if needed to get the right consistency.  The batter will be thick but should flow down smooth and slow but not too fast or too slow when taken in a spoon.  Add the walnuts.

Bake this at 350 degrees for 40 minutes in a small loaf pan.

This recipe goes to Eggless and Vegan Bakes event of hosted by Priya's Easy and Tasty Recipes

February 21, 2012

Mixed Vegetable Stew in Almond Milk

This was prepared before I went on a vacation during winter break.  I wanted to clear out most of the vegetables in my refrigerator especially the chayote squash.  I could have prepared a kurma or a kootu but decided to try out a stew kind of dish using almonds instead of coconut milk.

1 medium chayote squash chopped
1 med carrot cubed
1 potato cubed
handful of peas
1 onion finely chopped
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 green chillies
3-4 garlic cloves
1 inch piece ginger
1 tbsp oil
3 tsp sliced almond soaked in little milk
1 tsp coconut
salt to taste
1/8 to 1/4 tsp chilli powder

Take oil splutter the cumin seeds, 2-3 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon and pinch of elaichi powder, small bay leaf.  Add onions and saute it on med heat for 2 minutes.  Add the grated ginger, garlic and green chillies and saute for a minute.  Add all the vegetables, salt, pinch of turmeri powder and stir for a minute.  Add water so that the vegetables are just covered and pressure cook for not more than five minutes or upto one whistle.  Grind the almonds with the coconut adding water till it is smooth.  Otherwise you can use store bought almond milk or prepare the almond milk at home.  I did not have the patience to do that just ground the almonds with water.  Add this to the cooked vegetables and let it boil for 3-4 minutes and simmer it for ten minutes.

Serve this with rice or parathas.

February 18, 2012

Minestrone Soup

Mention soup and Minestrone soup is what comes to my mind.  There cannot be anybody who does not know or like this soup.  I can confidently say that this tops the list of my kids favorite soups and also pull  up my collar for they like the homemade version better than the ones at restaurant.

1 small carrot
1 small potato
1 handful frozen peas
2 trimmed celery sticks
1/2 of a medium onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 a can of chick peas
3 small tomatoes
3/4 cup of uncooked pasta any kind
1/2 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp each of coriander and cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste
some butter and 1 tbsp olive oil

Heat up the butter and olive oil.  When it is slightly hot add the onions and garlic and saute for half a minute.
Add the bay leaf and all the chopped vegetable.  Add little salt and saute these vegetables for a minute.  Add about 4 cups of water or the amount needed to get the vegetables completely covered.  Add a pinch of turmeric, paprika powder and the cumin coriander powder and let these vegetables cook until they are a bit tender.  I had this quick variety of penne pasta(cook time is only 3 minutes) which I could directly cook along with the vegetable.  If using any other pasta which takes a longer time to cook, prepare it separately and add it to the soup. When the pasta is cooked well, add the chick peas to it.

In the meanwhile, blanch the tomatoes in boilling water for few minutes.  Once this cools, blend the tomatoes into a paste and extract all the smooth pulp.  Use water if necessary to get all the pulp out.  Normally, diced tomatoes are sauteed and cooked.  But since I like to have a tomato based stock, I prefer to do it this way.  Add this to the soup and the necessary salt and pepper and the Italian seasoning.  Let this cook for few more minutes.

Enjoy this wholesome soup with some nice toasted french bread or some bread sticks.

Tips:  It would be good to use either home made or store bought vegetable stock instead of water to begin with.
The pasta is going to soak up in the soup and make it thicker.  It is okay if the soup is a bit runny as soon as it is completed.  On the other hand, if you know you are going to consume everything right away and you prefer it thicker, add the water accordingly.

February 15, 2012

Masoor/Moong Dal Idli

Today we hear of everyone talk about finding alternate ways to keep their carbs consumption minimal.  However, there are these certain dishes which becomes irresistible to our taste buds.  One such dish being the famous Idlis.  Taken with some spicy sambar or the spice powder nobody can say no to these delectable savory steamed rice cakes.  However, the carbs in these do more good than any harm.  In combination with black lentils, it is considered as the most nutritious food providing the necessary carbohydrates, proteins, fiber with minimal fat.  The process of fermentation breaks down the starches so that they are more nutritious and easily digested.

Having said all this,  it only makes more sense to enhance its nutrient content by adding more lentils for the calorie conscious people.

3 cups idli rice
1 cup urad dal
1/2 tsp methi seeds
1 cup masoor dal/yellow moong dal

Soak the rice, urad dal and methi seeds for about 8 hrs before beginning to grind.   Grind the urad and methi seeds until they are smooth and fluffy.  Remove the batter, and now grind the rice to a fine rawa texture.  Combine this with the urad dal paste and add salt and leave it to ferment overnight.   Next morning soak the masoor dal for about 3 hrs.  Grind this in the food processor with little ginger, 2 chillies and few coriander leaves to a coarse consistency.  Transfer this to the idli mixture and the batter is ready for making idlis. You can also prepare the dal batter few hours before preparing the idlis and leave it at room temperature before adding to the idli batter

Enjoy with some sambar or some chutney.  We enjoyed these idlis with some nice spicy onion, tomato and capsicum chutney.

February 9, 2012

Bok Choy Kootu

Bok Choy also know as Chinese leaf cabbage is a very popular crop in the oriental regions especially in China.  It is well known for its light, sweet flavor, crisp texture and nutritional value.   It is not only high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium, but also low in calories.  Combined with dal and minimal spices, this makes a very delicious and healthy side for rice.

1/2 cup of yellow moong dal
2lb of baby Bok Choy(each is about 3-4 inches in height)
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1/2 tsp sambar powder
mustard seed and urad dal for seasoning
oil or ghee

Wash the bok choy thoroughly.  Trim the ends of the bok choy and chop the rest including the stem part. You will lose almost a pound of bok choy after trimming.

Pressure cook the moong dal with little salt and turmeric.  Transfer the cooked moong dal to a wide mouthed vessel and add the chopped bok choy salt, cumin seeds to it.  Once it settles and shrinks a bit add the sambar powder and hing powder and cook further until all the raw smell is gone.

Splutter mustard, urad dal and add hing in the end to half a spoon of oil and add it to the kootu.

Serve with some hot rice.  

February 8, 2012

Celery and Coriander Thokku

I always like to try out common recipes with some non traditional ingredients.  One such attempt is this thokku with celery.  Though celery is best eaten when raw,  I tried this for a change after having used in salads, soups.  

8 stalks of trimmed celery(you can add the trimmed leaves while grinding)
1 big handful of trimmed coriander leaves
4 green chillies
3-4 tsp of tamarind paste
1 tsp each of coriander and cumin powder
1 small ginger piece
salt to taste
pinch of turmeric powder
pinch of brown sugar/jaggery(optional)
2-3 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
nice pinch of hing powder

Chop the celery stalk into small pieces and steam cook them for a couple of minutes.  Let this cool down.  Grind this along with the rest of the ingredients to a fine paste.  When you grind this, it is going to be little liquidy.  Take oil in a pan and splutter the mustard and urad dal, add the hing powder and then the paste.  Saute this on medium heat until the paste comes together and begins to leave out oil.

This can be mixed with rice and eaten or is a good accompaniment on the side for curd rice.

February 7, 2012

Green Peas/Vatana Masala Vada

This traditional lentil masala vada has been prepared mainly using dried green peas.  This is equally flavorful but more light and crisp in texture compared to the traditional counterpart.

1 cup dried green peas
2 tblsp each of tuar and chana dal
1/2 of a medium onion
1 tsp fennel seeds
2-3 garlic clove
3-4 green chillies
small ginger piece
salt to taste
chopped coriander leaves

Soak the green peas overnight.  Soak the tuar and chana dal 3 hours before grinding.  Drain out the water completely from both the dals and grind with the fennel seeds, garlic, ginger and salt.  You can reserve little bit of the tuar and chana dal to add in the end to the batter and use the rest in the start.  Towards the end add the coarsely chopped onion and coriander leaves.

Take about a spoonful of the batter, flatten it into a 1/2 inch thick circle and deep fry in hot oil. Remove when golden brown in color.

Enjoy these vadas with some ketchup or chutney.

January 6, 2012

Cucumber Parathas

I am in the habit of mixing in grated vegetables while preparing chapathi dough as it not only healthy but also lets anything go unwasted.  However, I have never thought of using cucumbers in rotis until I happened to watch it on a cooking show on a local Indian channel.  And these turned out to be really good!!

1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup  chopped cucumber(tender ones with not much seeds inside)
1/2 cup chopped onions(I used spring onions)
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8-1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 long chilli
1 tblsp oil
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
half a handful of coriander leaves

Mix all the chopped vegetables, ginger, chillies and coriander in a bowl.  Now add the powders and salt to it.  Wait for a few minutes before adding the flour.  Knead well along with the oil.  It is not necessary to add water to the dough.  The vegetables will let out water enough to form a dough.  If needed add by spoonful.  Alternately, if it feels sticky add little more flour and knead to form a soft dough.  Divide the dough into uniform sized balls and roll it out into circles.

Heat up a tawa and cook the paratha on both sides and then again with some oil.  Serve with yogurt or pickle.

I usually like doing such kind of parathas in the food processor as the vegetables are then camouflaged well.

Take all the dry ingredients in the food processor and run it for a few seconds to mix well.  Add the chillies, oil, salt, ginger, coriander leaves and the vegetables and run it till it combines well.  Do not add any water to it.  Wait for few minutes and the dough would have let out some water.  While doing this process, I added little more flour(about 1/4 cup) and a few spoons of water to form a nice soft dough.  Take out and knead it once again and leave it covered until you are ready to make the parathas.

I got seven parathas which we enjoyed with some nice simple moong dal.

I am sending this post to Veggie/Fruit a Month-Cucumber an event started by Priya.

January 4, 2012

Methi Mattar Paneer

A very Happy New Year to all of you out there.  I wanted to welcome the new year by posting the Badam Cake which I prepared a couple of days back but as I was not ready with a picture I decided to do this post.

I have been seeing and hearing of late about this dish called Methi Mattar Malai that I thought I should try it one day.  I had this bunch of methi leaves which was purchased by my better half without my knowledge and also the paneer which was bought on my request.  I asked for the paneer with the intention of preparing some Mattar Paneer.  So when I noticed this bunch of methi leaves, I could immediately only think of Methi Mattar Malai.  I also had some whipping cream waiting to be used up.  So I decided why not use up all three in one dish and hence ended up with this dish.

After looking at some recipes on the net I decided I was going to start off the way I would do Mattar Paneer and add the methi leaves towards the end.  Eventhough I have my own way of preparing the gravy(bookmarked from a recipe book about more than a decade ago),  today I was using the base gravy procedure of VahreVah chef. Not much of a difference between the two except as to when you add the spice powders and the former recipe using some black pepper.  The latter recipe does not use black pepper but uses green chillies.   In the former you season the onion, ginger garlic, all the powders, then the tomatoes.  Add water cook this by boiling it nicely and puree to make a sauce which is again brought to a boil.  In the latter, fry the cashews, onion, ginger, garlic and tomatoes.  Then make a paste, fry, add the powders and chilli and some water and let it boil to make a sauce.

1 medium size onion finely chopped
2 roma tomatoes or 1and a half big tomato(could have used one more small one)
5 cashews broken
1 cup frozen peas( I used only 3/4th cup which did not seem enough)
1 small to medium size bunch methi leaves
6 oz paneer cubes
2 tbsp oil
1 green chilli
1 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp chilli powder or more according to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp each of cumin and coriander powder
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tblsp cream

Take a tblsp of oil fry the cashews and fry the onions.  After it becomes slightly brown add the ginger, garlic and green chilli and fry until the smell goes.  Add the tomatoes and saute until it is soft.  Add all the powders now itself.  Grind this into a smooth paste.

Take some oil again and splutter the cumin seeds.  Add the paste, let it fry for a minute and add 2 cups of water.  Add about 3/4 tsp of salt and let it come to a boil.  Let this gravy simmer on  medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, boil the peas in the microwave for two minutes with little water.  Add the finely chopped methi leaves and the peas to the gravy and let this boil for 5 more minutes.  Fold in the garam masala and add the paneer pieces.  Let this boil for a couple of more minutes and fold in the cream.  Let this continue to cook for two more minutes after the cream is added.

Just for taste I added a pinch of kasoori methi.  I have also not fried the paneer pieces as the soft texture is preferred at home.

I used only 3/4th cup peas which did not seem enough
Could have used one more small one - roma tomatoes are never that tangy
I have mentioned to add the powders except garam masala while tomatoes are frying as this ensures that the spices are cooked properly.   If adding them later into the sauce remember to boil it well.
I have also not fried the paneer pieces as the soft texture is preferred.
You can also substitute the cream with some milk other than fat free.  The paneer can be substituted with tofu.
I forgot to use the cumin coriander powder.  But the dish still tasted good!!!