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Category Archives: quick cooking

Day 2 ~ Spicy Asian Style Vegetable Broth with Buckwheat Noodles

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Wishing all my readers A Very Happy & Warm Diwali. May your homes and hearts be filled with the love of your family and friends, your tummies full and your lives happy.

Spicy Asian Broth

Spicy Asian Broth

There is nothing that punctures the ego of a food blogger better than a set of terrible pictures! If you know me well enough, some of my best experiments, trials and efforts never make it to the blog because it would have been demolished even before I reached out for the camera. Sometimes, I would have made something which I felt was not blog worthy and after spooning in a mouthful, reached out to take a picture because the recipe / dish surpassed my expectation. Such is the life.

This Asian Style vegetable broth with noodles was made after a tired day, when the last thing I wanted to do was to slave in the kitchen. I put together whatever vegetables I had, seasoned it well and threw in some noodles for a carb kick. It hit home all the right spots and made for a very satisfying dinner. Please pardon the crappy pictures, trust me when I say this soup was excellent.

Buck wheat noodles have a nice texture because they are thicker than refined flour noodles. I happened to have a pack which I used, replace with any noodles of your choice.

Spicy Asian Style Vegetable Broth with Buckwheat Noodles – Serves 2

Ingredients

1 medium Onion (sliced into semi circles)

1/2 cup Yellow Pumpkin (Remove the skin and slice into 1/4 inch thickness)

1/2 cup Mushrooms (I used King mushrooms, use any kind you have)

1/2 cup Spinach (remove the tough stems and chop roughly)

1/2 inch piece of fresh Ginger

1 small fresh red chilli (use dried red chilli soaked in a bit of warm water, discard water before using), crushed with a mortar and pestle

2 sprigs of fresh Basil

1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)

freshly crushed pepper to taste

1 teaspoon sesame oil (or vegetable oil)

1 cup cooked Buckwheat Noodles

1 teaspoon of lemon juice (adjust to taste)

Method

Wash and slice/ dice all the vegetables.

Skin and crush the ginger roughly.

Cook the noodles as per the directions on the packet, drain and set aside.

In a deep saucepan, heat the oil and add the crushed ginger & red chilli. Fry for a few seconds, add the sliced onion, pumpkin and mushrooms and saute till the onion has turned translucent. Season with half the salt and pepper.

Add two cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for 10-12 minutes or till the vegetables have cooked through. Skim off any scum that comes to the top with a spoon.

Add the cooked noodles and spinach and take off the heat, cover and let sit for 4-5 minutes.

Spoon into serving bowls, serve hot with a dash of lemon juice and a sprig of fresh basil.

Day 1 ~ Brown Rice Salad ~ Blogging Marathon

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My comfort food is rice. When I have nothing else to cook with, no vegetables, no mood, no time, unexpected guests… basically anything to give me an excuse to eat rice will be taken! The fact that I hate getting flour under my nails is one of the main reasons I love rice.   I am a self respecting Rice eating south Indian and never feel ‘full’ if my meal is made up of only roti :( is my main motivation.

So when I wanted to make a robust salad and make a whole meal of it, my choice of carbohydrate naturally was rice. I used brown rice and I do believe this is what adds a nice texture to this salad. Brown rice, either you love it or you hate it. Our palate these days is so attuned to silky white polished rice, that any different texture just doesn’t feel like rice. I began experimenting with brown rice a few years ago and the Escapades household has a very clear verdict – No brown rice stuff for K.

So while I stock atleast 5 different kinds of rice in the pantry, I use most of them when I am cooking a meal just for myself. At best, K will eat it when disguised as mushy pongal or khichdi.

This salad is a filling nutritious meal and can be had both warm and at room temperature. Brown rice doesn’t refrigerate very well. So any leftovers need to be consumed within a day or two. This is a dish that is very versatile, increase the amount of rice by double and serve as a pulav, swap the brown rice with cooked white rice or even cooked pasta if you are not fond of its taste.

Warm Brown Rice Salad with Vegetables – Serves 2

Brown Rice                                         ½ cup, washed and soaked for 20 minutes

Onion                                                  1 medium

Red bell pepper                                 1 medium

Zucchini                                               ½ a small one

Carrot                                                  1 medium

Red chilli flakes                                  ½ teaspoon

Lemon juice                                        1 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Olive oil                                              1 tablespoon

Oregano                                              ½ teaspoon (dried)

Garlic                                                   1 pod, sliced

Fresh Coriander Leaves                    1 small bunch

In a pressure cooker, add the rice and 11/2 cups of water, cook for 3 whistles and then lower the flame and cook for 10 minutes till done.

When the pressure releases, open the cooker, fluff the rice with a fork. If there is water at the bottom, drain it with a sieve. Set aside.

If you do not like the taste or texture of brown rice, you can use regular white rice for this dish.

Peel the carrot and cut into small cubes. Chop the onions, zucchini and bell peppers into the same size as the carrots.

In a pan, heat the olive oil and fry the garlic slices till they are golden brown, remove them carefully to a small plate and set aside.

In the same oil, add the carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes, covered.

Add the onions, bell peppers and zucchini pieces and stir and cook for 2 minutes, add the oregano, salt, red chilli flakes, and part of the fresh coriander and stir. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.

When you are ready to serve, add the cooked brown rice to the vegetables and stir gently. Taste and check for salt, adjust if needed. Add the lemon juice and remaining coriander and stir gently. Serve immediately.

The Quintessential Sundal ~ Double Beans Sundal Recipe

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Double Beans Sundal

Double Beans Sundal

My friend Siri and I met on monday for a bloggers meet in Hyderabad. While the talk we attended per se was not much to talk about, it was a chance for us to meet many bloggers we had been reading or following but had never met, and for the two of us to meet after ages. We proceeded to have coffee and then went out for lunch. Severely missing the other conspirator Pree. Over some yummy chilli cheese toast and a pub lunch, we gossiped, checked out the other people at the pub, gossiped some more and shared notes on what has been happening in our lives.

In the middle of all the ideas for the blog and whooping my behind for not blogging regularly (really, I never learn!) I told her  I would be posting a recipe for Sundal. The must have during navratri, especially in homes which display the Indian style tableau of dolls called Bommalakoluvu /Gollu. Rolling her eyes, Siri asks me “but why Sundal? Isn’t it just boiled beans with a tempering and coconut?” I laughed and said “yes… but you can easily screw that up too!”

In my defence,  I did think the double beans sundal was better than most sundals. Purely because double beans is one of my favourite beans, I love its texture and it lends itself beautifully to any recipe.

this recipe needs a little of pre work in soaking dried beans for atleast 4-5 hours. Once pressure cooked, there is nothing really to do except temper it.

Double Beans Sundal (Serves 2)

Double Beans        1 cup dried beans, soaked for 5-6 hours and pressure cooked for 2 whistles, water drained

Ghee                       1 teaspoon

Mustard Seeds     1 teaspoon

Hing                        a pinch

Dried Red Chilli    1, broken into two pieces

Salt to taste

Grated Fresh Coconut ¼ cup

Curry Leaves        10

Drain the water off the boiled beans and set aside.

In a kadai, heat the ghee, add the mustard and splutter, add the curry leaves, dried red chillies and hing and turn off the heat. Add the grated coconut and toss.

Add the boiled beans to this, add salt and mix gently. Serve when still warm.

{Vegan MoFo 2013} Sweet Potato Pattice ~ Faraali Pattice

Sweet Potato Pattice

Sweet Potato Pattice

The Escapades household is quite fond of sweet potatoes and prefers them curried, in baked wedges or as part of a medley. The most popular way to eat them in my part of the world, is boiled or charred over coals. Sweet Potatoes are rich in Vitamins B6, D, C and iron and magnesium. Which translated in normal people’s language means it is good for your brains, bones & muscles. No more reasons needed to eat it. The plus side is that it is very tasty and easy to prepare, lending itself to any kind of preparation. Sweet potatoes can be used to replace regular potatoes in almost any recipe.

Sweet Potatoes are used a lot in India during ritualistic fasting when people are meant to be on a restrictive diet. This is one of the ‘allowed’ foods. I think purely because of its nutritive benefits, it was put on the permissive list. These patties are also called “Farali Pattice” loosely translated, means fasting pattice, which means it is allowed on the fasting menu.

Whether you are observing a fast for religious reasons, wanting a robust make ahead snack for a party or need something to carry on a trip, these patties fit right in. The quantities can be easily scaled up.

Sweet Potato Pattice

Sweet Potato Pattice

Sweet Potato Pattice (Makes 8)

Sweet Potatoes                  4, washed & boiled(substitute with regular poatoes)

Green Chilli                        1, finely chopped or crushed coarsely

Arrow Root Flour              2 tablespoons ~substitute with water chestnut flour (singhada ka atta) or buckwheat flour (kuttu ka atta)

(use regular maida / wheat flour if you are not using this as fasting food)

Amchur Powder                ½ teaspoon

Lemon Juice                      1 teaspoon

Cumin Powder                   ½ teaspoon

Cashew Nuts                     10-12, roasted and chopped

Raisins                               10-12, washed

Rock Salt                           According to taste

Oil for frying

Method

  • Skin the potatoes and mash them well. Add all the ingredients and divide into 6-8 equal parts.
  • Roll each portion between your palms and flatten to make a patty.
  • Dust lightly with a little buck wheat flour / arrow root flour or water chestnut flour.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan, when ready, add the patties, with a little space between each one and fry on medium heat till crisp and golden, flip and repeat on the other side.
  • Serve hot

{Vegan MoFo 2013} Quick Schezwan Style Cauliflower Recipe (with ready made bottled sauces)

Schezwan Style Cauliflower

Schezwan Style Cauliflower

I love cauliflower in most forms. The first reason being, the vegetable lends itself beautifully to any recipe and absorbs flavours and spices very well. It can also be chopped into any size large or small and takes very little time to cook. A lot of Indian style preparations, overcook cauliflower and make it mushy. I like cauliflower to be firm yet cooked through and I find that depending on the cooking time, the texture can be preserved.

I made this as a party appetizer, but this is a versatile dish and can be served on the side with fried rice or noodles as well. Most grocery stores stock an array of readymade spice mixes. I stock a few to be able to make a few recipes at short notice. One of the mixes that I like is the Schezwan spice mix. there are several brands available and a teaspoon of this adds a nice kick to oriental style gravies, fried rice or even noodles.

Schezwan Style Cauliflower

Schezwan Style Cauliflower

Schezwan Cauliflower (Serves 4)

Cauliflower Florets                 2 cups

Salt and Pepper to taste

Oil                                                2 tablespoons

For the Sauce

Tomato Sauce                         4 tablespoons (I used tomato chilli sauce)

Soy Sauce                                 2 tablespoons

Garlic                                          2 pods, chopped

Ginger                                       1 inch piece, chopped tiny

Red Chilli Powder                  1 teaspoon

Schezwan Spices                   1 tablespoon (Available at all leading supermarkets)

Green Onion                           3, sliced, green and white parts separately

Onion                                        1 medium, chopped into large pieces

Method

Steam the cauliflower in sufficient water with salt for 4-5 minutes, drain and set aside. Do not overcook it.

Heat oil in a pan and sauté the cauliflower on high heat till it begins to get golden edges. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Remove the cauliflower pieces to a bowl.

In the same pan, add the finely chopped garlic and ginger and fry for a minute. Add the chopped onion and sauté till it turns translucent.

Add all the other ingredients except the green parts of the spring onions. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Add the sautéed cauliflower to this sauce and toss well to coat. Garnish with the green onions and serve.

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