Thursday, January 26, 2017

Schezwan Pasta

Hello everyone, Yet here is another Pasta dish from me ! I wanted to eat something that is flavorful and healthy, yet simple to make with Pasta. I came up with this Schezwan Pasta. This  fits in beautifully for a weekday dinner and lunch for the next day!
I had a packet of Schezwan noodle masala powder lying around. So I decided to throw everything together. It never goes wrong with noodles masala powder :)). Sautee a bunch of veggies like broccoli or cauliflower or potato with this powder and you get a flavorful side dish for rice or roti ready !
I have used Cavatappi shape Pasta, since it has a texture to it and holds sauce in its grooves.

Pasta               - 3 cups

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as per the directions in the pasta box and drain it.

Oil                        - 2 tbsp.
I used Chilli oil* and Sesame oil (optional) Use any oil you would use normally
Mustard seeds      - 1 tsp
Onion                   - 1 small, finely cut
Garlic                   - 1, finely cut
Green chilli          - 1, sliced fine
Tomato                 - 1/2,diced small
Red Capsicum      - 1/2, diced small
Schezwan powder - 1 packet (or Schezwan sauce)
Turmeric powder  - a pinch
Salt                        - to taste

In a heated pan, add oil and the add the above ingredients one by one .Season with little salt whenever you add a new vegetable, rather than adding salt in the end. You can slowly build the flavors, layer by layer !
Add the red capsicum after the tomato is mashed nicely. Finish with adding the drained Pasta and sauté for few minutes till the flavors are nicely incorporated.

Piping Hot bowl of Schezwan Pasta is ready !! Till I figure out a way to  make my favorite Schezwan sauce, this is how I have planned to make Schezwan Pasta for now .

*Chilli Oil
Chilli flakes   - 1 Tbsp.
Olive oil        -  1/2 cup

It is very easy to make.Combine the above two in a bowl and let it sit for few days. Once the oil color changes to a shade of red, Your chilli Oil is ready for use. I love the flavor of Chilli Oil to a dish like Pasta or drizzled over Pizza or with Garlic bread .

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Have you ever wished for something warm for a cold day, soothing for tummy yet flavorful and little spicy, kid approved,one pot meal, fast to cook with very less ingredients ???

Yep...There is actually one...Kichadi. It is called by different names in different parts of India.We , in South India make "Paruppu Sadham" meaning "Dhal rice ", which is a close cousin of this Kichadi with few more ingredients and slightly different preparation.It is a very flavorful one pot meal for a well suited for a lazy day. Whenever there is kid's movie night in our house, we have a steaming bowl of kichadi in our hands :)))

Typically you can add whatever ingredients you would like to this kichadi, to get it according to your taste. Here is my version of the ever versatile 'Kichadi'

For Pressure cooking:
Rice             - 1/2 cup (whatever you use for normal cooking. I used sona masoori rice)
Moong dhal - 1/2 cup
Asafoetida   - a pinch
turmeric       -  less than 1/4 tsp
water           - 4 cups
salt              - 1/2 tsp

Wash rice and dhal together. Add the rest of the ingredients.Cook the above ingredients for 3 whistles.
If cooking in open pot, soak for 30 minutes or so and add more water and cook until it is nice and soft which will take typically 20- 30 minutes.

For sautéing :
Oil/ghee    - 2 tsp
Cumin      - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - few
Onion       - 1 (small) (optional)
Garlic       - 1 , cut finely
Green chilliest -2 , cut medium
Tomato    - 1 (medium)
coriander leaves - chopped

Add oil in to a heated pan and add the above ingredients one by one. Take care not to burn the garlic. It  spoils the entire dish. Wait till everything turns in to a beautiful chutney consistency.
Now add the cooked rice and dhal. Let it blend for 3 to 5 minutes. Add chopped coriander in the end.
Drizzle or pour ghee (!)  whichever is your taste preference . I like lots of ghee to this Kichadi.

Once you add the ghee, it will melt in the heat of the Kichadi beautifully. Savor it before it becomes cold. It tastes best when it is hot !!!

Whatever ingredients you add for sautéing, it is entirely up to you.
Throw in some cloves, cinnamon if you like that flavor.
Add / omit onion, garlic. Still Kichadi will taste good.
Some people prefer kichadi without tempering .It works fine too. But I can guarantee,  if you eat the sautéed version, you will never go back to the untempered version :)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Vendhaya Dosai

One of my friends,Lakshmi gave this vendhaya dosai one day along with onion chutney.I have never before tasted such a spongy dosai without urad dhal in it.Usually there will be urad dhal and some fenugreek seeds to get the spongy texture.But this dosai has only 2 ingredients in it, Idli rice and vendhayam.
Now back to the ingredients.

5cups  Idli rice
1cup    vendhayam/methi seeds/fenugreek seeds

  • Wash the rice and soak both the rice and vendhayam together for minimum 4 hours.
  • Grind them in a mixie/blender/grinder to a nice smooth batter.
  • Allow it to ferment for 12 hours.I live in colder place.It is on the colder side most of the year. :) I usually allow it to ferment for 12 hours.Adjust the time according to the place where you live.Usually 6-12 hours will be ideal for fermentation.
  • The batter will be little bit thick.You could add enough water to make it to a little thinner consistency.
  • start making dosai little thick.You won't be able to spread like a normal dosai batter.

Enjoy the vedhaya dosai with onion chutney ! It is a killer combination :))  I bet you won't be able to stop with one dosai !!!!

Zucchini Chutney

Zucchini Chutney

zucchiniZucchini chutney ! heard it right ! You will never know there is zucchini in it, unless you tell them.One lazy sunday morning I was planning to make Onion chutney with Vendhaya Dosai.
Little did I realise I was out of onions.I wanted to make something spicy and light like onion chutney.
When I was in my morning yoga (yes during my yoga..I am at my creative best during my yoga :)))) )
I realised zucchini would be a good choice for chutney.

And that's how zucchini chutney was created ;) It is very simple to make,feels very light to eat and you could eat it just out of the mixie. It doesn't have the raw smell, which I thought it would at first.
Actually zucchini has no flavor on its own.It just picks up any flavor you add to it.Feel free to throw in garlic/tomato/onion/coconut with it.Get creative..Play around with your ingredients a bit.

I am sure it will be equally delicious.Now the best part is, my kids ate it nicely with the vendhaya dosai.They are very picky eaters.I was totally surprised when they didn't complain about it.

Now to the recipe...

2 zucchini, peeled and chopped to big chunks
6 dry red chillies
1/4 tsp of tamarind or small piece of tamarind
salt to taste

To temper
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dhal
1 tbsp oil

Wash and peel the zucchini.Trim the ends.Cut it into fairly big chunks and throw in the mixie.
Add the red chillies.You could add more or less depending upon your spice level.Mine would be medium spicy.
Throw in the tamarind and salt.
Grind to a smooth consistency.Check for salt.
In a hot pan,add oil and when it is hot, add mustard seeds.Once it splutters, add urad dhal and pour the freshly ground zucchini chutney in.
When it starts bubbling, switch off the stove.

Your zucchini chutney is ready !! Enjoy it with dosai or steaming idli !!

vendhaya dosai with Zucchini chutney

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Brussel Sprouts Poriyal

Brussel sprouts !! Who knew this could be so tasty ???!! For a long time I have stayed away from this vegetable,not sure how to make it in a simple ,fast yet tasty way.
At last, I have a simple saute with only 3 ingredients and you can cook it in less than 10 minutes.

You would be surprised by the unique taste of Brussel sprouts.It goes well with rice/Roti/chapathi.


500g / 1 lb Brussel sprouts 
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 or 2 dry red chilli
Turmeric - optional

Wash the Brussel sprouts and cut it half . Then slice it thinly lengthwise.thin slices make it crunchy and it cooks fast too.

In a warm pan,add oil. When it is hot enough, add the cut Brussel sprouts.add salt, turmeric and saute it for few minutes in low heat in a closed Tawa/pan.

In the meanwhile grind fennel,cumin and red chilies to a coarse powder and add it to the Brussel sprouts.

Saute for few more minutes and voila !! It is all done ! 
 If you want it to be crunchy, saute for 5 more minutes in open pan in medium heat, stirring continuously.Be careful, it sticks to the pan and becomes black fast as we didn't add any water.

Enjoy with with warm Rice / Roti !

Pasta in yellow sauce


Pasta 1 box  cooked and drained

For creamy Yellow sauce

1 red bellpepper
1/2 green pepper
2 carrots
1 zucchini 
5 tsp channa dal
2 tsp urad dhal
1 tsp chilli powder/ sambar powder
1/4 tsp tamarind paste or small marble size whole tamarind
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp olive oil/any preferred oil

Cook pasta according to directions in salted boiling water.Usually it should take anywhere between 10 to15 minutes,depending on the shape.drain the pasta and reserve a cup of the pasta water for sauce.

In a warm pan,add oil,add mustard seeds.
Once it pops, add channa dhal,urad dhal.let it become golden brown.
Then add cut carrots, green and red bell pepper,zucchini.
Add chilli powder/ sambar powder too.
When they are half cooked,remove them from heat. Let it cool down a bit.
Grind it coarsely in a blender/mixie.
If you need add some water could use the leftover pasta water too.

In a warm pan, heat some oil, add the cooked pasta and the creamy yellow sauce . Saute for a minute or two.Garnish with coriander leaves!

This has such a creamy consistency and is a sure way to include veggies for your kids in their diet ! ( for us too :) )

This is a sure lunchbox favorite for us and for the kids !