Leek and Potato Soup, cooked in 10 minutes.
I am one of those people who thinks that there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a nice bowl of hot soup. Who doesn’t like soup? Is there anybody, really? Well, this one is my go to extra quick recipe when I need something fast. I make it for breakfast, after dinner and sometimes when I am home alone and hungry. Nursing a sick child at the moment, so this was her lunch.
I use 2 large leeks and 2 potato, but by all means, use more leeks to potato ratio, if you would like a stronger flavor of leeks. I use a pressure cooker to speed things up considerably, but you can use a pot with a lid instead. Do check out the quick video below.
Quick Sambar | Speedy Breakfast Recipe
For those of you who love to have idli or dosa for breakfast, here is a Quick Sambar recipe. Made with just whole, peeled shallots and potato, it is very easy to make. God knows we all need easier dishes for breakfast time, being so hectic – especially if you pack lunches and need it all to be done before 9 am. Use you favorite sambar powder or use the recipe for home made sambar powder given below. A quick and tasty recipe that will come in handy, I am sure.
Vanpayar Ularthiyathu | Brown Bean and Shallots Mash
Vanpayar Ularthiyathu is the classic Kerala comfort food. The ‘brown beans’ (red cow peas / red gram / ‘red chawli’) are a brownish version of the ‘green bean’ or whole ‘mung dal’. It also looks similar in shape to the ‘black eyed bean’, except it’s smaller.
In Kerala, this dish is very often served with rice porridge, where the Kerala ‘Rose Rice’ is used: an indigenous variety of rice grown in Palakkad District of Kerala. It’s a chubbier grain and is found throughout Kerala and parts of Sri Lanka.
The beans are cooked prior to stir frying with a delicious blend of shallots, garlic, pepper and dried red chilli and then mashed lightly to add a very-yummy-creamy quality.
This vegetarian item may be served with rice or even chapatis, but the classic combo will forever be Kanji and Payar ( Porridge and Beans). Poppadum’s , pickle and shallot chutney are also often served on the side. ‘Kanji and Payar’ is also often served when you are under the weather or suffering from an upset stomach.Read More
Dill Pickles | Easy Homemade Refrigerator Pickles (with slideshow)
These dill pickles are my favorite instant pickles.. They may be used just after 24 hours. It’s no doubt that home made products, usually beat the flavor and reliability of store bought. Pickles are no exception! And the dill pickles from the store usually contain too much sugar and artificial coloring! Make your own fresh, crunchy dill pickles, that require no special pickling equipment and temperature control. You will be surprised how easy they are to make. First time I made these, I was amazed at how good they were. Fresh and crunchy, retaining the nutrients of the fresh cucumber.
Obviously, Dill weed is essential in making the pickles. Fresh is always preferred but the dried herb may be used if you can’t find it! And when it comes to pickling cucumbers, they say the the kind of cucumber that make you burp, are best for making pickles, due to the higher lever of cucurbitacin. You can use whole cucumbers, spears or slices. I tried a few varieties and I found these snacking baby cucumbers to be the best for my pickles. If I want to use them for burgers, I simply slice them up after pickling. We use these pickles in salads on a regular basis.
Asparagus Dip | Creamy Simple Asparagus Spread
This Asparagus dip, is extremely quick and easy to make! Quite tasty and even kids will enjoy this vegetable in spreadable form! I am always looking for ways to get the kids to eat certain veggies.. Sometimes, a dip is the easiest way to achieve this. Creamy and tasty, its super, served with toasted pita wedges.
Asparagus is a member of the lily family and has been found to be an aphrodisiac, since ancient times. It is packed with nutrients. High in vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, beta -carotene, vitamin E, zinc, manganese and selenium.
It’s also especially rich in detoxifying compound, glutathione, which can help destroy carcinogens. For this reason, asparagus may help fight or protect against certain cancers.
Slata Mechouia | Tunisian Grilled Pepper Salad
Slata Mechouia | Tunisian Grilled Pepper Salad is one of the most popular and traditional foods served in Tunisia. If you love dips and are always looking for something different, this is excellent. The combination of peppers, once grilled gives a unique and delicious flavor as well as enticing aroma. Slata Mechouia, pronounced ( S-lata Meshweeya) means ‘Grilled Salad’ in Arabic, but it is more of a grilled salsa than a salad.
Serve with traditional Arabic, or North African breads or toasted pita. According to the variety of peppers used, it can range from mild to spicy, however, the milder ones are more common and preferred. It is customary to top the salad with flaked tuna, olives and boiled egg.. I was skeptical at the addition of tuna but it actually works with the spicy, grilled sweetness of the peppers. Serve with traditional Arabic, or North African breads or toasted pita.
An extremely popular appetizer in Tunisian homes and restaurants.. this is one of my posts honoring all the people I have met from across the world and their wonderful cuisines. Thanks to my high school friend Nadege, for some lovely Tunisian Recipes.
Spicy Grilled Baby Corn
My daughter often wanders into the kitchen, proclaiming she is hungry and that I must fix her something yummy to eat. Three meals a day is hard enough, it’s not possible to give the kids cooked, tasty snacks everyday.. usually our tea time, is biscuits and Milo for the kids. Naureen helped herself to the baby corn I was using for a salad. “Hmm, this is nice – maybe we could make something spicy with these and some lemon!”, she giggled. She didn’t think I would let her take the ingredients, I had intended for our salad. I thought it was actually a pretty good idea , so we ended up making these Quick, Tangy, Spicy Grilled Baby Corn Skewers!
I also skipped the ‘grilling’ part and simply seasoned some of the corn… kids liked that too!
Delicious Green Chutney | Green Coriander Dressing
This is my take on a Delicious Green Chutney or ‘Dahi Wala Hara Chutney’. My recipe is slightly different, but give you a perfect, creamy sauce like chutney that is perfect for all types of Tikkas and Kebabs. It is also great in sandwiched like my Chicken Tikka Baguette or a Bombay Sandwich.
Mung Dal Tadka – Perfectly Cooked and Seasoned Lentils
What is it about the humble dal, that makes it a comfort food that transcends cultures? Simple, healthy and just plain delicious. Let’s take a look at the different elements to consider if you want to make that perfect Dal!
First and foremost, if you are new to preparing dal, here’s some things that might help. Dal is defined as being a split pulse, but generally the term is used for any dried bean or peas. Tur Dal, Chana Dal, Maash Dal, Masoor Dal… there are around 5 dozen varieties…
The term Dal is also used for the dish prepared using these lentils. It might be on the drier side and it might be more curry like. Some dals require a long soaking period. Some dals require dry roasting to release the flavors, prior to cooking. In this recipe, we are using husked green bean, which is called Mung Dal. It can be cooked without soaking, although some may argue this point. It is often the first dal given to a toddler, since it is easily digested and can be very smooth. It is also very nutritious.
Next, is our mode of cooking. These days many will resort to pressure cookers to cook the dal quickly. I am a fan of pressure cooking. I find that many Indian Meat dishes particularly, are actually enhanced by using a pressure cooker. However, in the case of the humble dal, I would recommend taking that extra time to slow cook it, for the ultra smooth and luscious consistency. All the flavors get time to ‘get to know’ each other during the cooking process. Quick cooking can cause the flavors to turn frigid.. they just need time to ‘melt’ into the mix. Remember – Slow and Low. I also love cooking in heavy based pots or earthen ware, to prevent the dal from sticking to the bottom.
We also take into account the different additional ingredients. Dal is often mixed with other vegetables like cauliflower or various squash varieties. It is sometimes cooked with a ground coconut paste. Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Green Chillies and tomatoes… all of these are often used.
Salt is essential in the perfect dal, but too little or too much can make a drastic impact on the end result. I have found, the old wives tale of not adding salt at the beginning to be helpful. Salt is best added after the dal has softened. Always add a little at first, if unsure.
Then theres the ‘Tarka’ – the Tempering of the dal, with oil or ghee and spice. Although ghee (clarified butter) makes a dal all the more delicious, groundnut oil, coconut oil or bran oil are other good options. The oil is heated and spices like cumin, black cumin, mustard seeds, dried chillies , curry leaves, and other whole spices are sometimes added. The spluttering mixture is poured over the cooked dal. After allowing the dal to rest briefly, it can be served.
Okay, enough of that, let me tell you how a make a simple, humble and delicious dal.
Dal Makhani Punjabi Recipe | Delicious Buttery Lentils
Whole Black Lentils (Urad Sabut Dal) is used to make this creamy and well blended dish. Dal Makhani, may not be as quick as other lentils to prepare as it requires a longer cook time. For those who may not know, the black dal is the same dal that is used to make Idli or Dosa Batter, just that it is with the black husk intact. Another popular dish made with this is Mah ki Dal (Kaali Dal). This is made using only the black dal. The Dal Makhani , however combines a little bit of Kidney Beans (Rajmah) and sometimes a little bit of Yellow Dal (Chana Dal).. A very comforting and traditional dish that goes well with roti or rice. Even the kids love it.
Due to the lengthy preparation process, many Indians only prepare this dish for special occasions, but using a pressure cooker the dish can be prepared easily.. just plan ahead as the dal requires a good amount of time for soaking. Once you sit down to enjoy this creamy and rich meal, you will delightfully realize that it was worth the time spent! Worth the buttery calories too. 🙂 A little butter is good for you, I swear. 😉
Depending on what you are serving the Dal Makhani with, you can make it a thicker gravy like mine or a little more loose in consistency.