Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Easy Cheesy Vegetable Bake

I tasted this vegetable dish first time at my SIL's place in chennai. You can also call it vegetable Augratin, yeah.. that's what it is! It's very kid friendly as it has lots of cheese and vegetables in it. They can just eat it or as a side with roti's. I served it with garlic bread ( pepperidge farm.. they are awesome) and my son said" very good Amma"! It made my day! My little one also ate it without a whimp as I coarsely pureed it for her.

You don't need any measurements. Yes, I always say that as I throw in lots of things just be eyeballing it.

1- 1/2  cup Vegetables ( Cauliflower small florets, cubed carrots, diced beand, frozen corn and peas)
 Grated Cheese ( I used Montery Jack)
Bread crumbs

For the white sauce:
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
 salt to taste

Method: Please don't stop reading as it may look like a lot of steps.

  • Boil all the vegetables till they are soft. If you want a crunch don't fully cook them.
  • Drain all excess water and set aside
  • In a pan, melt butter. When it nice and bubbly add the flour and whisk. Constantly whisk it till its golden and cooked. The raw small has to go.
  • Now add milk, whisking  as you to do. Keep fire on low.
  • the sauce will start to thicken.
  • add salt, pepper according to taste
  • If the sauce is too thick add more milk till it's like dosa batter.
  • remove from fire.
  • Add this sauce to the vegetables.
  • Throw some cheese and toss the  vegetables till everything is coated white.
  • Pre heat oven to 350F
  • Grease a baking pan and spread the veggie cheese mix into it.
  • Top it with more grated cheese and bread crumbs.

Bake for 25- 30 mins till the cheese melts and all bubbly.

  • to get a crunch I broiled it on low for 5 mins.
  • Remove from the oven.
  • Indulge into the cheesy goodness.

This is what is called easy peasy cheesy...

The bread crumbs give a nice crunch on the outside.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mutter Panner

This post has been sitting in my draft for a while now. never got the time to edit and play with it.
My son calls it 'peas and cheese curry" which is literally what mutter paneer is. It's a perfect combo with chapathi or poori.

What You need:

1 medium sized onion
3 medium sized tomatoes
1 cup frozen thawed peas
1/3 cup paneer cubed (  don't even bother to measure it, more the merrier)
1tsp Khus Khus or poppy seeds
1 tbsp broken cashews
1 tsp cumin powder
1tsp coriander powder
1tsp redchilli powder
1tsp garam masala powder
3 tbsp oil
2 whole cardamom with skin
1 tsp cumin seeds
water1/4 cup
Cilantro for garnishing
salt ot taste.

  • Soak khus khus and cashews for 30 mins to an hours in water.
  • Slice the onions and dice the tomatoes
  • In a  pan add 1 tbsp oil. When heated fry the sliced onions for 5- 10 mins till they are light brown. This is a key step as carmalized onions bring out the best flavor in the gravy.
  • Now add the tomatoes and fry well for 5 mins.
  • Turn off the heat and let it cool.
  • Transfer this to a blender and puree the fried onion and tomato mixture with the soaked cashew and khus khus to a fine paste.
  • Take a deep pan, add 2 tbsp of oil and fry 2 cardomon with the skin, a tsp of cumin and let it crackle.
  • Crefully add the tomato onion gravy as it may splash and splutter all over. That's why I suggest a deep pan.
  • Fry till the oil separates from the gravy ot for about 10 mins. As it is frying add the powders and salt according to your taste.
  • after 10 mins, add the thawerd peas and cook covered for 5 mins.
  • If the gravy is too thick add some water.
  • Add the cubed panner and let it simmer covered for 5- 7 mins.

Muttar Paneer is ready for the GI tract! haha.. that's the doc in me:))

Serve hot garnished with cilantro.

Please leave your comments, as usual.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chilled Spicy Avocado Soup


Avocado is a fruit packed with nutrition, which is also very tasty! I did not grow up eating avocado. But once I tasted it, just fell in low with the versatility pf this fruit/ vegetable. I could be used in guacamole, which every one knows. But did you knw it can be used in smoothies, cakes and desserts too!

Here is a spicy chilled soup for the hot summer.
It is pretty hot and humid in Virginia right now and this cool soup will be refreshing!
It's very easy to make and tastes delicious.

Get Ready

  • 1 small avocado
  • 1/2 small cucumber
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 in. ginger peeled
  • 1/2 cup Plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp. of lemon juice
  • A handful of cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • Paprika to garnish (optional)


  • Peel and pit the avocado.
  • Chop the cucumber and take out the seeds.
  • In a blender, add the flesh of the avocado, cucumber, green chilli, ginger, cilantro, salt, 2 tsp. of lemon juice, and blend till creamy.
  • If the soup is too thick, add water or plain yogurt according to the consistency you want.
  • Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and serve!




I am sending this recipe to Veggie/Fruit of the Month.


Saturday, June 26, 2010


Shrikand is a popular West Indian desert made with Yogurt. It is very creamy and served cold and balances the heat from the curries. Yogurt is strianed to remove all the whey water and the creamy part is used to make this wonderful dessert.

One could use either home made yogurt or store brought fat free yogurt and strain it or for a quick fix use greek style yogurt. Greek yogurts are generaaly much creamier than the fat free one.
 I made the saffron, pistachios and almond one. One could use any seasonal fruit puree to make it more special and colorful.

You need these to make Shrikand:

Fat free yogurt 1 cup
Powdered sugar 1/2 to 3/4th cup depending on how sweet you want
warm milk 1 tbsp
saffron threads a pinch
pistachios chopped 2 tbsp
sliced almonds  2 tbsp

How I did it:

  • Put yogurt ina cheese cloth or muslin. Twist gently and tie a knot at the top.

  • Hang it from a faucet or leave it on a strainer with a bowl underneath for 4-6 hrs. If you don't it to be sour, keep it in the refrigerator.

  • Discard the whey water.

  • Soak the saffron in warm milf and rub it with your finger. This is infuse all the flavor of fragrance and give you a beaytiful orange color.

  • Add powdered sugar to the strained yogurt and mix well.

  • Add the infused saffron to the yougurt and mix well till creamy.

  • Add the chopped nuts and reserve some for garnishing.

  • Serve chilled.

I made this for fathers day and my family enjoyed it.

Please give your valuble comments.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Spaghetti With Veggie Balls

Yes! That's exactly what I said!

Spaghetti With veggie Balls.

Many people would have heard about Spaghetti with meatballs or "cloudy with a chance of meat balls". My dear carnivorous friends, what can I say.. Try this and you won't miss the meat at all!

This is what you need:

Spaghetti, of course... duh!

Marinara sauce- I used a store bought one. But if you are readsy to put more effort, please go ahead and make your own!

For the Veggie balls:

(No measurements used.)
One samll potato boiled and peeled
2 hand full of peas boiled
1 hand full of grated carrots
bread crumbs, I used Panko, a japanese style bread crumb as a binder for the balls
Cayenne chilli powder according to taste
 salt acc to taste
Oil to fry


1. mash the potato, peas and carrots. Add salt and spices according to taste. Add the panko/ bread crumbs and mix well. Shape them into balls and fry in oil till golden brown. set aside.

2. Heat the marinara sauce in a pan and cook for 2-3 mins.

3. Cook spaghetti according to packet instructions.

4. To serve, serve spaghetti on a plate, add the marinara sauce. add 3-4 veggie balls and top with more sauce.

5. Slurp up... and it's really good!

6. I served it as dinner with texas toast and carrot and coriander soup. ( Recipie to follow soon).

Carrot and Cilantro Soup

This is a nutritious soup which can be enjoyed all round the year. I was inspired by This to make my version of this delish!

You don't even have to think to make this. ( serves 2-3)

All you need is

1/2 red onion chopped
2-3 carrots, washed, peeled and cut into big chunks
1 small potao
lots of cilantro
water/ vegetable broth
 salt and pepper.

In a pan, add oil saute Onions till golden.add the carrot and potato and saute for 2- 3 mins. Add the cilantro, water, salt and pepper and pressure cook for 2- 3 whistles.

When cool, puree them either smooth or a bit chunkier .

Serve hot!

I cooked some baby star pasta and added the  soup and gave my 18 month old daughter who loved it too.

Thank You mriganayani!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Aaloo Palak

I had some left over spinach from a bag bought last week. Making kootu is not enough for all 4 of us. So I made aloo palak. An easy and satisfying dish which could be served with rotis or steamed rice. I am sure the recipie could have taken more spinach. But, I was in no mood to go grocery shopping mid week.

The spices i have used are mild, compared to Indian standards. If you are up to some heat adjust the spices accordingly.


1/2  of a large russet potato, peeled & cubed.
1 clove of garlic
3 small tomatoes
1 cup spinach
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp garam masala.
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp oil.
water 1/3 cup as needed


1. Wash the potatoes and cook separately till soft, but not too mushy.

2. Boil a pan of water, add the  spinach and cook for 2 mins. drain the water , let it cool. make into a puree and keep aside.

3. Add oil in a pan. when it is hot add the cumin seeds and let it crackle.

4. Add the onions and garlic and saute till they are brown. it takes about 10 mins.

5. Add the tomatoes and saute till they are mushy.

6. Add all the spice powders and salt to taste and fry till the oil separates on the top.

7. Now add the potatoes and pureed spinach , a little water and let it simmer for 10 mins.

8. Serve hot with rice, roti's or chappathi's.

Adding a little bit of heavy cream or plain yogurt will make this dish much richer.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tasty Vegeterian Tacos

It was Taco Night and that too on a weekday! I am not talking about eating out. It was in my own kitchen having the taco night. It was so easy to put together and yet so tasty to your palates.

All you need is some planning ahead to shop for the right ingredients to stock your pantry. And there you have complete weeknight meal.

Things you need:

Taco shells (1 box, I used the Old El Paso crunchy Taco shells)

For the filling:

Refried beans 1 can
1 tsp. cumin powder
2 tbsp. oil
1/4 tsp. lemon juice or according to taste
A little water
Shredded lettuce 1 bag
Montery jack Cheese 1 pkt
Low fat sour cream 1 small container
Salsa-store bought 1 bottle
Cilantro lots chopped
red onion 1/2 chopped-divide in 2


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange the taco shells on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes. This will keep them crisp and helps to hold the filling.
  2. In a pan, add 2 tbsp. oil and saute half of the chopped onions (you can add green chillies if you like your tacos spicy.).
  3. Add the refried beans and mix well.
  4. Add 1 tsp. of cumin powder and stir well.
  5. If the mix is too thick, add a little water and let it cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Turn the heat off and add lemon juice according to taste.
  7. Arrange the fillings from lettuce to red onions in a bowl and set up the taco bar (You may add chopped bell peppers, guacamole, or anything you like to bite into your taco.).

To serve:

Spoon in the refried beans inside the taco shell. Top it with salsa, shredded lettuce, onions, cheese and sour cream and dive in....

How easy is this to put together!