Thursday, August 31, 2017

Methi (Fenugreek) Chicken

12 small chicken thighs
2 cups yogurt (plain low fat)
2 tsps dried Fenugreek leaves(Kasuri Methi)
2 tbsps mustard oil
2 tbsps ghee
1 medium red onion sliced long and thin
3 – 4 tbsps each chopped ginger and garlic
1 green chilli chopped
1 tsp red chlli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp methi seeds

1) Marinate chicken with salt and yogurt and keep in the fridge for a couple of hours
2) 30 minutes before cooking, add 2 tsp of Fenugreek dry leaves into the yogurt and mix
3) Slice half a red onion thin and set aside
4) Mince ginger garlic paste; chop green chillies and set aside
5) In a saute pan (dutch oven works well here) add 2 tbsps each of mustard oil and ghee
6) Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp dry methi seeds; do not let it burn; Immediately add ginger and garlic followed by the green chillies. Add the spice powders then add the onions.  Saute this mixture until onions are light brown
7) Add the marinated chicken
8) Cook on medium high for 20 mins, stirring occasionally.  Let the water evaporate to achieve a semi-dry consistency.
9) Serve with delicious basmati rice

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Soy Ginger Chicken

This is a staple in our house and I can't believe I haven't posted it in so long!  I make it literally every other week because its so easy and so delicious. It's a huge favorite.  The marinated chicken can stay in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days and you can make them for dinner just before you get ready to eat.  Really convenient for a busy lifestyle.

8 Chicken thighs (2 packs from Publix where they are always fresh and cheap too)
3 Scallions (green part only chopped)
1/2 cup of Light or Dark Soy
1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce
Ginger paste (fresh or jar)
Pepper fresh ground
Salt (kosher)

1) In a large glass bowl, place the chicken thighs and make gashes in them with a sharp knife (3 to 4 per thigh)
2) Add the ginger, worcestershire, soy, scallions, salt and pepper
3) Mix well opening and coating the chicken (i use my fingers which work best)
4) Transfer to ziplock and store in fridge
5) When ready to cook, heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil to a nonstick pan. Before the oil is too hot, add the chicken and cook on medium to high for 4 to 5 minutes. It will blacken/char but reduce heat if too charred depending on how you like it
6) Turn and cover with foil. This is a tip I got from blue apron and it works really well here. Cook for 5 minutes.
7) Serve with a vegetable like green beans and rice pilaf or eat as a sandwich with multigrain slices. Enjoy!
TIP: Store then chicken in a large ziplock bag to reduce clutter in your fridge. Its easy to pull them out one at a time with tongs and all you need is a small non-stick pan to make them in. 

Simple green beans with cumin and coconut

Today I found a bag of frozen green beans that were small diced and I got an idea to make them with cumin and shredded coconut. Sort of like I used to eat at home in India. It turned out to be a keeper!! I had to blog it so I wouldn't forget it. Its a really simple dish but has good flavor. It passed my toddlers test so its a kid friendly dish too.  So if you are in the mood to spice up your green beans sometime, try this!

Small diced green beans (fresh if you have time or frozen is also ok)
Cumin seeds (1/2 tsp)
Mustard seeds (1/2 tsp)
Turmeric powder (1 tsp)
Coriander Powder (1 tsp)
Ground coconut (frozen from fresh)

1) In a non-stick sauté pan, heat a couple teaspoons of canola oil
2) When the oil is hot, add cumin and mustard seeds and wait till they crackle. Immediately add the powdered spices.
3) Add the green beans and saute for 5 minutes. Top with softened coconut. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Wholesome lentil soup

This is a very simple soup that is way better than any store bought or canned soup you can ever eat.  Its very healthy and probably takes around a couple hours to make. If you have a dutch oven (like in the picture), I would highly recommend it. Otherwise, I would use a heavy bottom pan.  This recipe uses the French green lentils.

French green lentils: 1 bag
Chicken stock 1 Quart or 32 Ounces + 2 cups (from boullion or can)
3 small yellow onions chopped
Garlic 4 cloves, diced
Carrot fresh, 1 bunch or 5 to 6 medium diced
Celery: 3 cups medium diced
Olive oil (1/4 cup)
Salt: 1 tblsp
Fresh ground pepper: 1 tsp
Tomato paste: 1/4th cup
Fresh thyme: 1 tblsp
Cumin: 1 tsp
Leeks 2, white park only chopped (o
ptional, I did not use)
1) Soak lentils in hot water (boil in microwave or from a tea kettle). Then drain in sieve. 
2) While lentils are soaking, chop carrots and celery, thyme and minced garlic
3) In a dutch oven, heat oil and sautee onions, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, cumin and garlic
4) When translucent, add carrots, celery and tomato paste
5) Then add chicken stock and lentils
6) Close, bring to boil and then simmer for 35 minutes 
7) Enjoy with a drizzle of olive oil, cheese (parmesan)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Strawberry Muffins

Strawberry Muffins
This makes 2 trays of 12 or 24 small sized muffins.  Tashi went strawberry picking to
Strawberry Belle Farms and came back with a gallon of yummy strawberries (Thanks Shaun!).  So we decided to make muffins this weekend.
Thanks to Barefoot Contessa for her inspiring recipe!!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups diced fresh strawberries (on the ripe side) or more if you have more
1 cup sugar

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tins with paper liners
2) Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Stir gently with hands to combine
3) In a glass bowl, combine the milk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla.
4) Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and pour the wet mixture into the well.  Stir until just combined. There will be some lumps but don't overmix the batter!! Add the strawberries and sugar and stir gently to combine.
5) Using a 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop, spoon the batter into the muffin cups to fill the liners. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops are nicely browned.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Creamy Penne with Asparagus, Peas, Mushroom and Pancetta (Kid Friendly Collection)

I have been looking for some toddler friendly recipes and I finally came across this one from Cooking Light.  The easy part about this is that it is a "one pot" dish (just a bit more involved). Anyway, the outcome was pretty delicious. and blog worthy.  I like the fact that the white sauce is not from a jar or bottle in the grocery aisle but made with 2% milk, flour and butter the old fashioned way.  Interestingly, no cheese.  Also love that there are so many vegetables in here for kids. If you have a spice garden in the spring/summer, it would be really convenient for fresh herbs but maybe dried herbs would work too.

Pancetta (1/2 inch thick slice from deli chopped into small squares)
Mushrooms sliced (any type)
Frozen peas (1 cup)
Asparagus bunch (Cut into 2 inch pieces and discard ends)
Fresh Thyme (1 tablespoon chopped) and fresh Parsley (3 tablespoon chopped)
1 Bay leaf
Lemon rind (1 teaspoon) and juice used instead of wine to deglaze
1/4 cup white wine (I use 2 tablespoons each lemon juice and water instead and it works great!)
3 cups unsalted chicken stock
2% Milk -- 2.5 cups
Beurre Manie (2 tablespoons all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons butter, softened) - this will be used for thickening later
1.5 cups uncooked penne (whole wheat brown or regular)
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

1) Make Beurre manié by combining flour and butter in a bowl until a paste forms.
2) Chop Asparagus, mushrooms and keep them ready.  Zest the lemon.
3) Use a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil, heat and add pancetta.  Toss for 2 minutes and add mushrooms and asparagus.  Sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Add wine to deglaze and add salt (1/4 tsp). Remove and set aside
4) To the same pan, add 3 cups stock and 2 cup milk + penne + bay leaf  Bring to a boil.
5) Cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas and cook. Salt to taste (1/2 tsp)
6) Add 1/2 cup milk, salt (1/4 tsp), thyme. Mix and add butter-flour paste, in pieces, stirring.
9) Remove from heat; stir in mushroom and asparagus mixture, parsley, rind, and black pepper (pinch is ok and gives strong flavor due to lightness of sauce).
So delicious!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chicken in a Creamy Yogurt Sauce

This is one of my husbands favorite chicken dishes.  The two main ingredients are chicken and yogurt if you have all the other staple spices in your pantry.  This is best as a two day process -- marinate overnight on day 1 and cook on day 2.

Chicken thighs ( 2 packs) or 2.2 lbs
Onions - chopped 1 small yellow
Green chilli whole (1)
Cardamom pod 1
Cilantro (optional)

Garlic 6 to 7 cloves
Ginger 1 tablespoon
Yogurt 1 to 1.5 cups (fresh yogurt is better since it is less watery; discard any water/liquid that may have settled on top of the yogurt)
Coriander powder 4 tsp
Red chilli powder 1/2 to 1 tsp (1/2 is enough)
Garam Masala 1 rounded tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp

1) Start making the marinade with the garlic, ginger and little yogurt so its gets pasty
2) Add the rest of the marinade ingredients
3) Put the marinade and chicken into a large ziplock bag. Close ziplock and massage marinade into chicken before storing in the refrigerator overnight

1) In a pan add canola oil and fry onions and chilli whole.  Add the cardamom. Cook for around 5 minutes till onions are soft
2) Add the chicken with marinade and cook on high for 15 to 20 minutes until the watery curry becomes creamy and covers only one third of the chicken
3) Cover the pan and cook the chicken over a very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until chicken is tender and the gravy is rich. Add water if needed. Add coriander optional only.  Delicious!
4) Serve with hot roti or Naan, something to soak in the yummy sauce!

Potato AuGratin in Muffin Tin

Here is one for an Easter collection.  I am always trying to figure out a way to make potatoes especially for special occasions like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Here is one easy and unique recipe that tastes delicious!

Ingredients for 12 servings in muffin baking dish:
2 medium to large Golden Potatoes (peeled, quartered and sliced thin)
Milk (3/4 cup)
Parmesan Cheese freshly grated (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
Butter 2 tblsp
Garlic 3 cloves
Flour (2 tblsp)

1) Heat oven to 400. Spray muffin tin with a cooking spray or grease with cooking oil
2) Heat 2 tblsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir garlic in the melted butter until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add 2 tblsp flour to garlic mixture; cook and stir until mixture is smooth and thickened, about 2 minutes.
3) Slowly pour milk into flour-butter mixture while continuously stirring with a whisk until sauce is smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes.
4) Remove saucepan from heat and stir Parmesan cheese into sauce until cheese melts from the heat of the sauce; season with salt and pepper.
5) Divide the potatoes among the 12 prepared muffin cups and spoon cheese sauce over potatoes. Chives and dill are optional.
6) Bake in the preheated oven until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie (toddler-friendly collection)

With Tashi now eating a lot more foods, I have been thinking about making some yummy dishes that are wholesome with protein, vegetable and carbs all in one. This is one for the Tashi aka todler-friendly specials!
One such comforting dish is the chicken pot pie. So I looked around for the recipe that  liked best. I was attracted to this one recipe (courtesy Sunny Andersen, food network) because it used the cast iron skillet. Im sure it would also be good in a a glass baking dish.
So I used a 10-inch cast-iron pan

Chicken tenders -- around 2 packs or around 12 tenders
Paprika 1/2 tsp
Dried Sage 1/2 tsp
Oregano 1/4 tsp
Garlic 2 cloves
Salt and pepper
Flour - 2 tablespoon
Chicken Stock 2 cups
Heavy cream 1 cup
Pie crust (from the store, unbaked in the frozen section; thaw for 15 mins outside or also leave in the refrigerator to thaw)
Egg - lightly beaten for egg wash
Peas and carrots 1 cup (used frozen bag)
Pearl onions 1 cup (I couldn't find these at the local grocery so I used a yellow onion chopped)

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Sprinkle the chicken tenders with paprika, sage, oregano, salt and pepper.
3) Heat a 10-inch cast-iron pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Sear the chicken to brown -- about 4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side. Remove the chicken and set aside for a few minutes. Chop into 1/2-inch cubes.
4) To the same pan, add the garlic and sautee for a few minutes till fragrant. Then add the onions and peas and carrots and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the onions become tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
5) Sprinkle in the flour and stir until the flour dissolves into the vegetables and juices. Add the chicken stock and raise to a simmer, stirring until thickened. Once the liquid has thickened, stir in the heavy cream. Season with salt, if needed.

6) Return the chicken to the pan. Unfold the pie crust and place over the top of the filling, tucking the excess edges inside the pan.
7) Brush the crust evenly with the egg wash. Using a knife, gently cut 3 vents in the top of the crust. Place in the oven and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

It is just delicious and worth repeating!

Tuna noodle casserole (toddler-friendly collection)

Continuing in my quest of finding some delicious kid-friendly one pot recipes, here is a favorite!  So simple and yet wholesome with tuna, vegetables and noodles.

1 package egg noodles (16 oz thin or wide)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cups shredded cheese (mild cheddar or any type you like)
1 cup frozen green peas and carrots
2 (6 ounce) cans (or 1 12 oz big can tuna in water, drained
2 (10.75 ounce)cans condensed cream of mushroom soup (I've also used cream of celery or cream of potato)
1/2 to 1 cup of evaporated milk (Whole Vit D)
1 cup crushed potato chips (kettle brand) or french fried inlions

1) Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 4 to 6 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
2) Preheat oven to 425 degrees
3) In a large bowl, thoroughly mix noodles, onion, 2 cup cheese, peas and carrot mix, tuna, soup cans and evaporated milk.  Add a dash of pepper.
4) Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish (or two small 1.5 quart), and top with potato chip crumbs/fried onions and remaining cheese (handful).
5) Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is bubbly.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Delicious Homemade Baby Food for a 6 to 8 month old

So I now have Tashi in my life and she is simply a sweet, happy, strong awesome 8 month old who loves to eat -- I am enjoying every minute!  Being a new mom and a fan of cooking, I got very interested in cooking baby food at home.  Let me tell you that there are very few websites providing guidance on delicious foods for babies.  The minute I tasted the food in those jars, I decided that I was going to make T's food. So here we go.....

The time to start introducing foods should be confirmed by your doctor but it is usually around 6 months.  Other guidelines -- try and start organic, wash thoroughly, always peel the skin, feed one fruit or vegetable at a time to test for allergies initially. Later on they can be mixed.

The best "first foods" in my opinion are:

1) Sweet Potato
Wrap in saran wrap and zap for 6 minutes or bake if you have time
Cool, scoop out and use a hand mixer to puree. Add quite a bit of water to make thin, You should be able to pour it into a bowl -- that's when you know its right.

2) Apple
Red delicious or any other variety work.  Peel and steam in a saucepan for covered for around 15 mins.  She loved and still loves her apples/applesauce.

3) Lentils
Pressure cook the lentils to save time or just boil in water.
The ratio is 1 cup to 2 or 2.5 of water. Add a pinch of salt you can skip the salt if you like but it was a lot tastier for her with a pinch)

4) Peaches or Pears
I live in Georgia and we are the Peach state so peaches are everywhere! They are sweet, soft, juicy and delicious so I thought this would be a good idea. T just loves them and eats up full bowls of peaches steamed or stewed.

Pears also come out great. You have to peel, cut and steam for 15 mins.  The puree is a nice thickish consistency.

5) Carrot and Melon (Cantaloupe melon)
This is a wonderful combination because the cantaloupe is too thin on its own but the carrots thicken it up to make a just perfect consistency.

6) Yellow squash
This one I peeled, cut and roasted in the oven for 25 mins at 400 degrees. Then I pureed.

7) Green Beans
These are easy. I bought organic at first.  They need to be washed well.  After that, cut, steam, puree and freeze.

8) Chicken, carrot and pea stew
I used a couple chicken tenderloins and sauteed in little olive oil, salt and pepper.  When browned I added some carrot and peas.  Add a bit of water, cover and cook. Taste it -- its a yummy simple stew.  Now of course you have to puree it for the little one. T loved this too and ate it every evening for dinner.

I ended up making my own system. I ordered Oxo Tot containers from Amazon  OXO Blocks Freezer Storage Containers . They come with trays. Don't spend on labels. I just used Mask tape -- its easy to peel.

STAY AWAY is what is difficult to puree:
- Stay away from Blueberry puree. It makes a gelatinous mess!
- Plums are ok but they were hard to peel after steaming or boiling. They were also bitter after boiling and I had to add apple or pear to sweeten so its a lot more work than I expected
- Potato doesn't freeze well and is not good unless its mashed potato made and given immediately

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Banana nut bread

This recipe has a secret ingredient (buttermilk) that makes it really delicious, moist with a crispy crumb on the exterior.  Its the perfect snack and it helps you get rid of those mushy bananas that are exactly what is needed or this recipe. I've also use whole wheat flour for a healthier version and it was great. Note also that I don't use a stick of butter like 90% of the recipes call for. I think the canola or vegetable oil actually make it more moist.

Dry Ingredients:
All purpose flour  -- 1 and 3/4 cups
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar

Pecans crushed 1/2 cup

Wet Ingredients:
Bananas (blackish mushy) 3
Vegetable or canola oil  1/2 cup
vanilla (optional -- the essence doesn't come through because of the bananas so I would say this is an optional ingredient)
Buttermilk 1/3 cup (Mix 1/3 cup of milk with 1 tsp of white vinegar to create buttermilk)
Eggs 2

1) Heat oven to 350
2) Butter and flour a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan (steel or glass)
3) Mix dry ingredients
4) Whisk the wet ingredients (except pecans)
5) Fold in the pecans
6) Bake for 1 hour and 5 mins or till top is golden brown. Insert toothpick and make sure it comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack for 15 mins and turn bread out onto the rack to cool completely.

Slice with bread knife and either dust with confectioners sugar or serve with cream cheese (yummy!)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Valrhona chocolate brownies

This is a really good recipe for dense decadent chocolate brownies. Valrhona is my favorite cocoa in the world.  These brownies will be really good paired with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup to make a sundae! Would also be good paired with some raspberries.  It makes a tray -- 9x13x4 inch glass or baking dish

Ingredients for a full tray
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
2 cup white sugar (as a variation next time, I will use 1/2 cup white and 1 cup brown sugar to make it not so sweet)
4 brown eggs
1 cup self-rising flour (or if you want to use regular flour you can use 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 tsp baking powder)
1/3 cup + 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Valrhona is the best cocoa but you can use a different brand too)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and lightly flour a 9X13 inch baking pan.
2) In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Add eggs, and mix well.
3) In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and salt. Stir into the sugar mixture.
4) Mix in the vanilla and stir in walnuts if desired. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
5) Bake for 25-35 mins based on your oven until edges are firm.  Mine was best at 34 minutes.
6) Cool before cutting into squares. Use the chop and scoop gadget to cut & scoop brownies from the glass baking dish -- it works really well.

New York Cheesecake Cookies

These are some new cookies I decided to make this year. I saw them on food network -- it was a special where different chefs were talking about their favorite cookies. Sandra Lee talked about these and I got the recipe from her. They are like mini-cheese cakes and really yummy!

1 1/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers (1 sleeve or use Keebler's readymade crushed graham crackers in a box!)
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, separated
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2) In a large bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, flour and baking powder
3) In a medium bowl, beat together the butter with the brown sugar using an electric hand mixer. Add the egg white and beat until well combined. Add to the graham cracker crumbs and blend until just combined.
4) In a separate medium bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese with the granulated sugar, egg yolk, lemon zest and vanilla until well combined. Set aside.
5) Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out the cookie dough and place on a nonstick or parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly, pressing your thumb in the center of the ball to create a small bowl shape. Repeat with the remaining dough. Spoon the cream cheese into the indents in the cookies.
I actually made tiny balls (same as if you were making meat balls) and flattened it a little bit with my palm. Then I created indents with my thumb.  The cookie tends to crumble but it's ok, it does fine when baked. I created about 16 cookies.
6) Bake until the filling is barely set and the cookies are lightly golden, 12 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets before removing them and cooling completely on a wire rack.

Tadka Dal (Lentils)

This dish is probably the most common dish made in every household in India. There are many types and preparations of dal. Here is a recipe for one of my favorites.  Dal is usually enjoyed with chapati/phulkas (flat wheat tortillas) or with steamed rice.

1 cup mixed dal/lentils (orange and yellow)
1 - 2 fresh tomato (or 1/2 canned)
1 small onion chopped

Tadka or Spiced Mix:
Canola oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
1 or 2 dried red chilli (and/or green chilli)
3 to 4 curry leaves
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
(Ginger or garlic are optional)
Cilantro, for garnish

1) Boil 1 cup of mixed daal (I used a mix of orange masoor, yellow toor) in 2 cups of filtered water.  Add some salt.  As soon as it comes to a boil, remove the foam from the top with a spoon.  It will prevent the constant overflow and give a nicer look to the finished product. Boil for around 20 minutes or until pasty.
2)  In another non-stick deep pan, start the tadka with oil, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafoetida, red chilli, and curry leaves. Add the turmeric, coriander powder, red chilli. Sautee for a minute. Add tomatoes and onions.
3) When this masala is ready, add the boiled dal.  Let the whole mixture boil for 15 minutes. Make sure there is enough water. Top with cilantro garnish. Serve with steamed rice.

Spinach Lentils(Palak Dal) Option: To the boiling dal, add 1/2 bag spinach (stems removed). Increase water by half cup.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Chicken and White Bean Chili (toddler-friendly collection)

I got this recipe from good housekeeping -- the article was called 'drop 5 lbs with good housekeeping recipes'.  This dish gives you 8 large servings -- each serving has only 370 calories, 18 g total fat and protein 25g. Its a very healthy meal option but also really tasty and toddler friendly!

2 pounds ground chicken
4 teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 bay leafs
1 small medium red onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
cumin 1/4 tsp is optional
Two 15 to 19-ounce cans white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
One 16-ounce jar mild salsa verde (green)
Swanson reduced-sodium chicken broth - 16 ounces or more is necessary (I usually buy 32 Oz of broth and end up using three fourths of that container because I like it soupy)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

1) In a large dutch oven (or other heave bottom pot), add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and saute chicken till cooked. Season with salt and pepper as you cook. Break up the chicken so it doesn't clump.
2) Place chicken aside in a bowl.  Often, I set aside 2 cups of the cooked chicken and use it for tacos because I like having less meat in the chilli but you can adjust as you like.
3) In the same dutch oven, add rest of oil (2 teaspoons). Heat and saute garlic till it sizzles. Add bay leaf, onions and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add Oregano, cayenne pepper and cumin.  Next add the jar of Salsa Verde followed by the beans and chicken stock
4) Add the chicken, cover and cook on high until boiling. Then lower and cook for 20 minutes.
5) Sprinkle cilantro at the end

This is delicious and was enjoyed by Tashi, Margaret and Cyla!

Mahi Mahi Kerala Fish Fry

The credit for this recipe goes to Sara, my friend who mentioned it to me one day on the phone and asked me to try it.  It is really delicious and I've tried it with different types of fish. I think Mahi is a better firmer fist for this dish. It is delicious!!

Mahi Mahi (frozen 2 packs)

Tempering spices:
Curry leaves
Mustard Seeds

Marinade (Mix the below in a small food processor):
Canola oil (2 tsp)
Cilantro - small handfull
Green chilli - 2 small thai chilli or 1 jalapeno
Turmeric 1 tsp
Chilli powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1.5 tsp
Ginger garlic paste (in grinder) - 2 tablespoons

1) Create marinade in a small food processor
2) Dry the fish with paper towel and start coating the fish. Sprinkle all purpose flour (2 tsp) as you go so that the marinade sticks to the fish
3) Keep for 15 to 20 minutes (or overnight)
4) Heat very little oil in a small non-stick. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves until splatter
5) Add the fish. cook on each side until masala burns
6) Cover and cook for 5 minutes. During this time, cut fish in center to see if done

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Smoked Salmon Dip - Easy 10 minute appetizer

This is such a simple and tasty appetizer if you like smoked salmon.  This is also a "less than 100 calorie" recipe from Cooking Light magazine.
1/4 cup low fat sour cream (or crème fraîche)
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1 4-ounce package smoked salmon
Chopped fresh dill or chives

The easiest way to chop dill or chives is to snip the chives with scissors. You can buy these anywhere or online - check out the Kyocera Ceramic Kitchen Scissors - 2.3" Blade (Google Affiliate Ad)

1) Stir sour cream, lemon peel and dill in small bowl.
2) Crumble the salmon into another bowl.  Add the cream mixture a table spoon at a time. Stop just before it gets too creamy -- it is important to keep tasting as you go to maintain the delicious smoked salmon flavor and not let the cream cover it up too much.
3) Serve with stone wheat cracker (a somewhat bland cracker works best to bring out the taste of the salmon)

Sweet Potato & Pecan Phyllo Appetizers

This is a really delicious and healthy appetizer from cooking light magazine.
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white
2 packages mini phyllo shells (Brand Athens in frozen section of grocery near the pies, pie crusts)

1) Preheat oven to 350°
2) I usually microwave the sweet potato. Wrap in seran and microwave for 4 to 5 minutes for a medium sized.  Combine sweet potato, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add a bit of olive oil because this paste tend to be dry based on the sweet potato
3) Combine pecans, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg white
4) Spoon about 1 teaspoon sweet potato mixture into each phyllo shell, spreading to edges. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon pecan mixture over sweet potato mixture
5) Place filled shells on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Curry Tofu Salad

I tasted this salad for the first time this week in our work cafe and really liked it. So I decided to try it at home.

Extra firm Tofu (1 pack)
Craisins (dried cranberry)
Slivered almonds
Baby Spinach

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons light mayonaise
1 tablespoon yogurt
2 to 3 teaspoons mcormicks curry powder (adjust to more or less as you taste)
1 red bell pepper chopped fine
3  scallions chopped fine
2 thin fresh carrots chopped fine
1 green chilli or half jalapeno
1/4 lemon juice
3 teaspoons of mango chutney (international aile of grocery store)
2 - 3 tablespoons of Agave Necter (adjust as you taste)
Olive oil (a few teaspoons)

1) Mix all the ingredients of the dressing (Adjust mayonaise, olive oil and yogurt to achieve the consistency that is more like a dressing)
2) Drain the water from pack of tofu. Drain tofu further by placing tofu in a colander, covering with paper towels and placing a weight on top.  Cut the tofu into half inch squares
3) Add tofu to dressing
4) Store in refrigerator overnight (it allows the flavors to mix into the tofu)
5) To serve, add one layer of spinach followed by the tofu mixture followed by the craisins followed by the almonds on top
6) Season with salt if needed
7) Top with boiled egg (optional)
Home Styles Kitchen Island (Google Affiliate Ad)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala

This is a bright orange colored dish that can be served as Chicken Tikka (chicken chunks without the sauce ideal for bbq) or Chicken Tikka Masala (chicken chunks mixed into a tomato-cream sauce ideal compliment to steamed rice).
This dish is super popular in London and is served in almost every Indian restaurant in the UK. It has a delicious taste and is simple to make. Wikipedia says that there are 44 different versions/recipes to make this dish. Well, here is  an easy stovetop version from me. Enjoy!

1/4  cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 tablespoon tandoori masala powder (Best purchased from farmers market or indian store. If you don't have it, create a mix of 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp cayenne/paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp coriander powder. This is a close substitute)
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (use chicken breast if you prefer), cut into halves or smaller pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon Indian chili powder
1 cup tomato sauce (1 can of tomato paste mixed well in water to create a sauce)
1/2 cup half and half (or 1/2 cup cream or 2 table spoons cream cheese. I didn't have half and half so I used 1/4 cup 2% milk and 1 tablespoon cream cheese. This ingredients calms the spices and makes the tomato paste more opaque so use it per your judgement/taste)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt

1) Stir the yogurt and tandoori masala powder together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined; add the chicken and toss to coat evenly. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour. Drain and discard any excess marinade
2) Puree the onion, ginger, and garlic with the water in a blender until it forms a smooth paste; set aside
3) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet (or dutch oven) over medium heat. Cook the chicken in the hot oil until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 - 6 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside. This is your basic chicken tikka without the masala. An alternate popular version is served grilled.
4) To make the sauce, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons in the skillet/dutch oven. Fry the onion paste in the hot oil until the moisture is mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle the garam masala and chili powder over the mixture; cook 1 minute more.  Add the tomato sauce, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook another 5 minutes. 
5) Return the chicken to the pan along with the half and half; bring to a boil. Add the butter and salt; reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until the chicken pieces are no longer pink in the middle, 15 to 20 minutes.
6) Garnish with cilantro, lemon wedge. Serve with Naan or Steamed rice

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

I was very excited to make these because I was using my newly ordered Valrhona Cocoa Powder and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla (both ordered from Amazon!).  
Valrhona is a French chocolate made from 100% dutch processed cocoa. It is real delicious in cakes and desserts and considered to be one of the best (if not the best) chocolate/cocoa in the world.The Recipe Makes 18 cupcakes (I halved the recipe to make 9).


For the cupcakes
1 1/4 cups flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, preferably Madagascar bourbon
1 cup whole milk (I used 2% milk)
1/2 cup Valrhona cocoa powder

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 baking cups, and a second pan with 6 baking cups.
2) Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.
3) Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Stop to add the sugar
4) Add the eggs one at a time.  Combine the vanilla extract and milk in a large liquid measuring cup.
5) Reduce the speed to low or just use spatula to mix. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then add one-third of the milk mixture. Repeat in thirds until all of it is used up. 
6) Add the cocoa powder, beating (on low speed) just until incorporated.  Be careful to use a mixer on low speed or else the powder flies all over. 
7) Use a standard-size ice cream scoop to fill each cupcake paper with batter, so that the wells are two-thirds full. 

8) Bake for 16 to 17 minutes (start checking at15 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for 30 minutes.

For Strawberry Frosting (I cut this recipe in half)
1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch of coarse salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1) Puree strawberries in a small food processor
2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. 
3) Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. 
4) Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

Frosting the Cupcake:
Take a butter knife (or offset spatula) and gently slide the icing over the cupcake. 
You could also pipe the icing on with a bag (I used a ziplock bag).  Simply scrape the frosting into the bag with a spatula, twist the bag at the top and snip off the corner. Make a small snip to retain some control on the flow of the icing. 

Couscous and Chickpea salad

2 cans of chickpeas
1/2 red onion
1 tomato
1 cucumber
1 pack of couscous
Parsley chopped
Cilantro chopped
Olive oil - 2 tablespoons
Lemon juice of 1 -2 lemons

1) Make couscous according to package instructions (1 and 1/4 cup water to boil with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the spice packet provided with the pack or skip the packages spices and just add some dried parsley/italian seasoning, salt and pepper. After it comes to a boil, take off heat and cover for 5 minutes)
2) Chop onion, cucumber and tomato
3) Mix chickpeas, couscous, olive oil, fresh ground pepper and salt, red onions, tomato, lemon juice.
4) Keep tasting and season as needed. Add the parsley and cilantro.
5) Enjoy as an accompaniment/salad to any main dish 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Green Beans Stir Fry with Indian Spices

This is a dish I grew up eating. It's a yummy easy way to make green beans very tasty.  This is a version of beans poriyal but it is modified with much less coconut or can be made without the coconut -- it is delicious.  It takes only about 20 minutes.

Green Beans 2 handfuls (ends clipped)
Vegetable oil - 2 tablespoons
Dry Whole Spices:
Kalonji (onion seeds) 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Kosher Salt

2-3 Thai green chilli (make slits so they dont pop in the oil)
Cilantro - small bunch
Coconut - 1 tablespoon (frozen grated works well)

1) Heat oil and sautee all three whole spices. Wait till you hear the popping noises.
2) Reduce heat to medium.  Add 2 green chillies and cilantro. Cover immediately.
3) Add beans, toss  and cover.  Add kosher salt to taste.
4) In the next 15 minutes, toss every 3 minutes but mostly let it be covered and on low to medium. You could be hearing crackling noises and this is fine.  Extend time to another 5 to 10 minutes if you need -- this depends on how tender the green beans are.
5) Sprinkle coconut (optional).
6) Garnish with cilantro and Enjoy! 

Ground Turkey Keema

Turkey is a high protein meat with much less fat than other meats.  It is also a great source of protein (40% in a serving), Iron, Vitamin B3 and B6.  This dish can serves as a perfect filling for Turkey Tacos by just topping with chopped onions, grated cheese and pico de gallo.

Ground Turkey (approximately 1 lb fresh pack from Whole Foods)
Red onion half chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves chopped fine
Ginger - 1 tsp chopped fine
Frozen peas - 1/4 cup

Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder 2 tsp
Cinnamon stick - small
3 Cardamom
1 bay leaf

1) Heat oil and sautee whole spices (cinnamon,bay leaf, cardamom)
2) Two minutes later, add garlic, ginger, onion. Sautee.
3) Around 3 minutes later, add the masalas (turmeric, red chilli, coriander)
4) Next add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (from can) and 1/4 cup of water. Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes till the spices mix well creating a flavorful and rich sauce
5) Add the turkey and stir. Add salt to taste
6) Add 1/4 cup fresh peas
7) Cover and simmer for 15 minutes
Garnish with cilantro ir scallions and serve with rice or as a taco filling. A chilled radish and cucumber salad (also shownk) is also a good accompaniment. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Simple Chana Masala in a Tomato Sauce

This is a simple, super fast, healthy and simple dish that I make a lot. My version is lighter in spices (not as much garam masala or oil) than usual recipes.  It has more of a tomato and onion base and I prefer using green chilli for heat versus the ground red chilli.

Can of Chickpeas
Can of tomatoes diced
Half an onion sliced lengthwise - red or yellow onion (diced also ok)
Garlic 2 cloves diced
Fresh thai green chilli 2 slit (optional)
Spices: Turmeric powder (1/2 tsp), Coriander powder (2 tsp), red chilli (1/4 tsp; double if not using the green chilli), garam masala (1/2 tsp)
Milk 2% 1/4 cup
Sugar sprinkle
Cilantro for garnish

Sautee garlic and onion in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil.  let garlic brown and onions brown slightly too.  Add the green chilli if using. Add all the dry spices. Sautee for one minute (without letting it burn).  Add the can of tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt and sugar.  Add the chickpeas and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the milk and simmer for 5 more minutes.  Sprinkle cilantro at the end or garnish with cilantro.
Serve with steamed rice or bread, raita (cucumber and yogurt) and potato chips. Delicious!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mexican Brisket Tacos with Guajillo and Ancho Chiles

This is a recipe that Cindy gave me and I think it is the most yummy and easy brisket for tacos.  Although the recipe calls for oven, we ended up making it in a crock pot for Cinco De Mayo and Ernesto's 40th b'day and it was so easy!

4 dried New Mexico or guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
One 5-pound beef brisket with a layer of fat, cut into 3 pieces (Leave some fat and carve out the rest if needed)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise; 1/8 inch thick
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
5 large plum tomatoes (1 1/4 pounds)—cored, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
One 2-inch cinnamon stick
2 cups chicken stock (I used 1 chicken and 1 vegetable bouillion)
Freshly ground pepper
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

1) In a medium bowl, cover all of the chiles with hot water and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain the chiles and discard the liquid.
2) In a dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add garlic and saute till smell is released. Add cumin and coriander seeds and onions. Cook for 3 minutes till onion is translucent.
3) Stir in the soaked chiles, chopped tomatoes, jalapeño and cinnamon stick. Sautee until combined for a few minutes.
4) Add meat to crock pot. Dish out sauteed mixture of chillies, tomatoes and onion into the crock post to cover meat. Add broth to cover the meat.
5) Cook for 5 or 6 hours on high.
6) Discard the cinnamon stick. Transfer the meat to a work surface and let cool. Using your fingers, shred the meat.
7) Working in batches, transfer the contents of the casserole to a blender and puree until smooth.
8) Pour the sauce over the shredded meat, toss and serve. It is really delicious and crowd favorite!!

Corn Tortillas
Pinto Beans (optional)
Fresh Salsa (Chopped tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro)
Fresh cilantro

MAKE AHEAD: The meat can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I love barefoot contessa and who better for some deliciously simple and fresh roasted brussel sprouts! 


  • Bag of Brussels sprouts (whole foods has the best quality)
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
1) Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Leave the small one whole but cut the bigger ones into half so that all pieces can get a crispy coat
2) Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. 
3) Transfer them on to a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. 

Lady Finger Cookies

These are my favorite simple shortbread cookies for holidays or everyday snack.

1 stick butter, softened
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup flour
1.5 tsp vanilla extract (be sure to use a good brand)
chopped pecans
powered sugar (icing sugar)

1) Combine butter and sugar.
2) Add vanilla, then flour, then pecans.
3) Shape into bars about 2 to 3 inches long
4) Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 425 for 10 to 13 minutes. Make sure cookie sheet is clean and no stains from previous cooking
5) While warm, roll in powdered sugar. This is tricky because they break very easily. I sprinkled sugar on a pan and then put them on the pan and sprinkled sugar on top again.  Let them cool a coupl eminutes before rolling to help them firm up a little bit.
6) Let them cool overnight and store away for delicious snack

Holiday Crack

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Homemade French Bread

This is my first loaf of fresh homemade bread.  I've been anxious to start using my brand new Red Kitchenaid (Artisan KSM 150PSER Food Processor 325W)!!! that we got as a gift from my sister Nameeta and brother in law Ajay for our wedding!
Makes 2 loafs

4 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 and 1/2 cups warm water

1) Add warm water to the glass bowl. Add yeast and sugar. Let it rest for 10 minutes.  It will look fermented. Now fix the dough hook to food processor and add flour, salt and olive oil. Stir until it becomes a lump of dough (around 4 to 5 minutes).
2) Set dough into a bowl, cover with lid and leave for 2 hours for it to rise

3) It should be twice its size, soft and silky

4) Knead by rolling several times. See video on youtube titled 'how to make french bread in ten minutes'

5) Cut into 2. Knead again. Spread and roll using Julia Childs technique (in video and on youtube)
Make 3 slits using a very sharp knife. 

6) Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. When you put the loaf in, splash a cup of water on the botom of oven to generate steam. This can be very hot steam so be careful and dont have your face too close to the oven door.

7) Loaf should be crisp on the outside and soft inside. Enjoy with butter!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Paneer mutter (Indian Paneer & Peas)

Paneer 1 package 14 oz (from any Indian store)
Peas 1 cup (frozen peas work really well)
Tomato paste (half a can)
Onion garlic and ginger paste (Puree with 1/2 onion, 3 cloves garlic and 2 inch ginger)
Turmeric powder 3/4 teaspoon
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1.5 teaspoons
Red Chilli powder 1/2 teaspoon
Bayleaf 1
Garam Masala 1/2 tsp

1) Cut paneer into bite size cubes and lightly fry in canola oil. They will get a nice brown color very quickly. Set aside
2) Puree onion, ginger and garlic in a small food processor
3) In a nonstick and using 3 tablespoons of oil sautee bay leaf, and onion paste until light brown
4) Add all the spices, salt and sugar.  Sautee until they cook together and so the flavors blend. Very soon, add the tomato paste and 1/2 cup of water. Stir gently to loosen up the sauce and create a nice tomato sauce mixed well with the spices
6) Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the oil seeps out of the sauce. Add water if it get dry.
7) Add peas and paneer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and season as needed.
8) Serve with steamed rice or naan