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Chili Garlic Sauteed Vegetables ~ Sandwich

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Sauteed Vegetable Sandwich

Sauteed Vegetable Sandwich

This has to be the month of sandwiches for me. After detesting dry bread with cucumber and tomato slices, I have become a sandwich fiend with a vengeance. There is nothing better than a good sandwich made with fresh bread. Generally I do not like the bread to be slathered on with either butter or mayonnaise. Just a little to get things going and add flavour.  This sandwich filling has three of my current favourites ~ mushrooms, olive oil and a readymade chilli garlic paste which is handy to have in the fridge.

I add this paste to curries, dal, pasta sauce, vegetables and even spinach for a nice kick. It is not too spicy and yet lends a wonderful depth to the vegetables. Am sure this can be made at home, I just picked it up on a whim of my now aimless supermarket trips and am (for a change) making good use of it.

I used onions, sliced mushrooms and a little bit of bell peppers. Am sure zucchini, thin strips of carrot, and even slices of eggplant will taste terrific in this. The key is to add a lot of onions  and saute them on a medium flame till they are sweet from the caramelization, but not brown or crisp.

A box of these sauteed vegetables in the fridge will make it easy to rustle up pasta, a roti wrap or even as a vegetable side on a busy weeknight.

Sauteed Vegetable Sandwich

Sauteed Vegetable Sandwich

Chili Garlic Sauteed Vegetables ~ Sandwich (Makes 2)

4 slices                       Bread of choice, lightly toasted

1 medium                   Onion, sliced (about 2/3 cup)

1 cup                          Vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach etc, sliced

1 tablespoon              Extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon                 Chilli garlic paste (or grind together one clove of garlic with 1 ripe red chilli)

a handful of fresh herbs such as coriander or basil

1 teaspoons               Salted butter

  • In a flat pan, heat the oil and add all the vegetables. Saute on medium heat till the vegetables have wilted and the onions are translucent(about 2 minutes).
  • Add the chilli garlic paste, salt to taste and the fresh herbs and mix well.  Continue to saute till the liquid from the vegetables has almost dried off. At this point, the onions should be a deep brown and still soft. Turn off the heat and cool.
  • On a medium hot tava, toast the bread lightly and apply the butter.
  • Place the sauteed vegetables in a thin layer, top with the other slice of bread and press down lightly. Toast for 1 minute on each side, ensuring the filling does not come out.
  • Slice diagonally and serve warm.

Note: these vegetables can be stored in the fridge in an air tight container for upto 5 days to make a quick meal tossed with cooked pasta or in a wrap.

 

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.

{Vegan MoFo 2013} ~ Semia/ Vermicelli Pulav Recipe

Vermicelli Pulav

Vermicelli Pulav

I am attempting something very brave this month, cooking and posting Vegan recipes all this month for the Vegan Month of Food where bloggers around the world will post vegan recipes all this month. Wish me luck dear readers as I do not fare very well with rules and schedules. the only other time I attempted to do something like this was when I joined Nupur in the blogging marathon. I was very rewarded although it was exhausting to post daily.

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So to begin this marathon, I am posting a simple yet filling Indian breakfast / all day recipe of Semia Pulav. Semia is vermicelli which is extensively used in Indian cooking to make sweet and savoury preparations. On one occasion when Siri who is also doing this marathon visited me at home, I asked if she would have something to eat (it was past lunch time) and she said yes. I offered to make this Semia Pulav about 10 times. She must have thought that is the only dish I know how to make! She finally said “looks like you are determined to make me eat this, so yeah make it!”

Anyway, onto the recipe which is fairly simple. I like to add a dash of ready-made masala for a nice spice kick and lots of vegetables. A lot of people do not like to eat Vermicelli because it tends to have a sticky pasty consistency once cooked. This is due to the starch content in it. One way to combat this is to add a precise amount of water to cook it. Another way is to dry roast the vermicelli till golden to prevent it from turning mushy. I take the easy route out and buy pre roasted vermicelli. What? that’s 10 minutes off your active cooking time when you plan to make this!

Vermicelli Pulav Recipe

(time taken – 20 minutes, Serves – 2)

Vermicelli / Semia                   1 cup, pre roasted preferred, else dry roast in a medium hot pan, stirring gently till golden

Vegetables of Choice              1 cup (I used red capsicum, peas, carrot and carrot)

Onion                                        1 medium, sliced fine

Vegetable Oil                           1 tablespoon

Salt                                             to taste

Green Chilli                              1, slit

Fresh Ginger                           ½ inch piece, grated

Curry Leaves                           a few

Mustard Seeds                       1 teaspoon

Ready Masala Powder    1 teaspoon (I used Everest Pav Bhaji Masala, can substitute with ½ teaspoon garam masala + ½ teaspoon coriander powder)

Hot Water                                11/2 cups

Method

In a medium pan, heat the oil and splutter the mustard. Add the curry leaves and green chilli along with the onions and fry till translucent, add the grated ginger, the chopped vegetables and half the salt.

Fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the pav bhaji masala (or garam masala) and fry for half a minute.

Now add the hot water and taste for salt, adjust with the remaining, when the water comes to a boil, slowly add the vermicelli and stir till the water is above the vermicelli. Cover with a loose lid and cook for 5-6 minutes or till the water has been absorbed, but it is still moist.

Turn off the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork and serving with some raitha and pickle.

Baked and Grilled Vegetables with Taco Seasoning Recipe (Step by Step Pictures)

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Baked and Grilled Vegetables with Taco Seasoning

Baked and Grilled Vegetables with Taco Seasoning

I made this for lunch yesterday. My friend A was to come over and she always enjoys what I make. Unfortunately there was a mishap and her darling pooch Happy was injured and had to be rushed to the hospital and she couldn’t come. Happy has had a fracture and will undergo surgery on the weekend, send him your love and good energies. A, this is for you.

This is a simple recipe to bake and grill vegetables. I use the En Papilote method which means ‘in parchment’ ~ the food is put into a pocket made of parchment, aluminium foil or any other oven proof material and baked. While a lot of recipes for baked vegetables will do it open spread out on a baking dish, I find that the flavor of the seasoning is deeper and the vegetables cook more evenly this way. After cooking the vegetables covered in foil for a while, I remove the foil and grill them for a bit to char the edges. The result is deep flavors of seasoning, sweetness of the vegetables and crispy ends! Totally yummy!

My friends J & B love vegetables made this way. I never posted the recipe here because there is no way one can make grilled and baked vegetables look good! It’s such a good way of eating vegetables that I decided even if there were no good pictures, I had to post the recipe here.

I used whatever vegetables I had on hand. This is a very forgiving way of baking and grilling and almost any kind of vegetable tastes good.

Baked and Grilled Vegetables with Taco Seasoning Recipe (Serves 3-4)

4 Cups of Vegetables cut into medium wedges ( use assorted colored peppers, potato – sweet and regular),  onion, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, green beans, zucchini etc)

salt to taste

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Taco Seasoning (or a seasoning of your choice)

1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder (or Sweet Paprika)

1 teaspoon Dried Oregano

6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled

Method

Wash and pat dry the vegetables. Cut them into medium wedges.

Vegetables with Taco Seasoning

Vegetables with Taco Seasoning

Mix the vegetables with the rest of the ingredients except the salt in a large bowl, check the seasoning and add salt to taste.  Let it stand for 10 minutes while you pre heat your oven to 200 C

Place a large piece of aluminium foil in your baking tray, enough to be fastened into a pouch once the vegetables are arranged.

Seal the edges of the foil to make a pouch

Seal the edges of the foil to make a pouch

Layer the vegetables onto the foil covered baking tray and close the ends to form a pouch.

Bake at 200C for 20 minutes. Wear Oven gloves and take the baking tray out of the oven, carefully with a knife open out the closed pouch.

Baked and out of the oven

Baked and out of the oven

Wear oven gloves and be very careful as the steam is very hot and you can scald yourself. 

Turn on the grill of your oven, turn the foil downwards from the baking tray, place the vegetables back into the oven and grill for 5 minutes till the edges of the vegetables are beginning to char.

Grilled after baking

Grilled after baking

Remove, rest the vegetables for 5 minutes before serving.

Asian Inspired Coleslaw

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Asian Inspired Coleslaw

My Favourite Coleslaw with Asian Falvours

This salad recipe I have been wanting to post for a long long time. I am attempting blog in tandem with my  friend Preethi who writes at The Meal Algorithm. Nevertheless, it makes it to the blog on its good looks and subtle Asian flavours. I am big on Asian flavours in food. I try to replicate a lot of them (never claimed they were authentic) in my kitchen and some of them have made it to the blog like these Asian Rice Paper Rolls. I had not eaten anything so delicate and fresh till I made these. I was delighted that they are being served at a Chinese restaurant we patronise.  Or this Asian Raw Mango Salad I tried to replicate from memory and it turned out so good. Or even this Thai Noodle Salad

What I particularly like about this salad (apart from the fact that it is so so pretty) is that you get to eat your coloured vegetables and get your fibre fix for the day! the Indian apples are just coming out in the market, fresh beans and coloured peppers are also in abundance, all the reasons to make this. Toasted sesame seeds add a nice nuttiness to the dish and honey adds just a touch of sweetness.

Asian Inspired Coleslaw
Asian Inspired Coleslaw (makes 2 helpings)
Inspired from here 
1 cup finely shredded red/ purple cabbage
1/2 an apple, sliced fine
1/4 each of red and yellow capsicum, sliced into matchsticks
1/4 cup of fresh green beans, sliced into matchsticks and blanched for 2-3 minutes in hot boiling water
1 spring onion, sliced (green and white parts)
(can also use baby corn, blanched carrots, green cabbage, bean sprouts etc)
Toss all of the above in a largish bowl and set aside.
for the dressing
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 teaspoon tomato garlic /sweet chilli sauce (such as maggi/kissan)
2 teaspoon honey
1 green chilli, sliced fine (remove seeds if you dont want it too hot)
1 tablespoon warm water
Whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl with a fork, taste and adjust.
Pour the dressing over the chopped vegetables and toss well with light hands or a fork to ensure the dressing spreads evenly over the salad.
Garnish with 2 tablespoons of lightly toasted sesame seeds and fresh coriander leaves
This is a refreshing filling salad. perfect for those days when you want some colour and texture on your plate. the crunch of the vegetables is balanced with the sweet spiciness of the dressing. this is a versatile salad and the choice of vegetables can easily be altered based on whats lurking in your vegetable tray.

Asian Raw Mango Salad ~ Thai Inspired

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Asian Raw Mango Salad

Asian Raw Mango Salad

For those of you who missed out, my fellow blogger Siri and I went to The Thai Pavilion a few months ago and were treated to a beautiful meal. The less said about how much I ate, the better. One of the things that stood out for me in that meal was the Raw Mango Salad. I have always been a green papaya salad fan, but this time, the crunchy tangy raw mango won my heart over. I made this when raw mangoes were in abundance, and although they are almost all but over, I had to post this recipe here. Try it and am sure you will love it.

The simple flavours, fresh crunch of the bell peppers and the nuttiness of the ground nuts and sesame seeds just blend beautifully into this salad. Best had in 1/2 cup portions.

Asian Raw Mango Salad

Asian Raw Mango Salad

Asian Raw Mango Salad (Serves 4)

This is a simple Thai inspired salad that uses crisp raw green mangoes

1 Cup – Raw Green Mango (Peeled and Grated)

1/2 Cup – Red Bell Pepper  (sliced very thin)

½ cup – Yellow Bell Pepper (sliced very thin)

A few sprigs of Fresh Coriander

Salt and pepper – to taste

1 Tablespoon – Jaggery

1 tablespoon – Peanuts

1 tablespoon – Sesame Seeds

In a dry pan, over medium heat, roast the sesame seeds and peanuts separately till golden. Remove and cool. Remove the skin of the peanuts. Pound this in a mortar and pestle along with the Jaggery to form a coarse powder. Set aside

Grate the raw mango and slice the bell peppers very thinly. Chill these till you are ready to serve.

To serve, Mix together the raw mango, bell peppers, salt and pepper. Pile onto a serving plate, top with fresh coriander and sprinkle generously with the Jaggery peanut powder. Serve chilled.

This salad should be assembled just before serving else, it will get soggy.

Tortillas from scratch and a Magazine Feature

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I know I shouldn’t be abandoning the blog as much as I do… but that’s the pattern I seem to follow…

In august, WOW Hyderabad which is the number one local magazine of Hyderabad, did a cover feature on people from different walks of life rediscovering and enjoying the kitchen. They featured 12 people. There was an actor, a fashion designer, a hotelier etc… and your’s truly. I’ve been called a lot of things, but for the first time I was called Hyderabad’s most popular Blogger. Am not sure if I deserve those words of praise, but am humbled that this little blog got me featured in a magazine.

It was nerve wracking to pose for the picture… but I enjoyed the fun interview with a nice guy who has been reading my blog and so knew my dog by his name! Have just been plain lazy about posting this here. So now is as good a time as ever.

Its also been almost a year now that I write a bi monthly feature with recipes for a local English daily called The Hans India. I need to find the features and scan and post them in a different section of this blog I guess, now that there are so many.

On that note, I leave you with a simple recipe to make Tortillas

Tortilla Wraps

Tortilla Wraps

Tortilla Wraps (Makes 6 Tortillas)

All Purpose Flour (Maida)      11/4 Cup

Baking Powder                             ½ teaspoon

Salt                                                   to taste

Butter                                             1 tablespoon

Water (to knead the dough)

For the Filling

Lettuce                                            1 cup

Fresh Vegetable Sticks             1 cup (such as sliced avocado, red/ yellow peppers, tomato slices etc)

Cooked Shredded Chicken or cooked Paneer slices

Baked Beans                                  (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the baking powder and salt into the flour well and mix the butter to make it look like breadcrumbs. Add enough water to make a dough like chapatti. Knead it for a few minutes and leave it to rest for 20 – 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into six equal parts and roll out into rounds of about 6-7 inches. Heat a tava and lightly cook the tortilla on two sides till small brown spots appear and it is cooked. This is similar to making rotis but do not press down with the spatula or put directly onto the flame. Make all the tortillas and keep aside.

When the tortillas have cooled. Place the lettuce leaf in the middle of the tortilla, add a few vegetable sticks, few pieces of shredded chicken or Paneer and a few teaspoons of beaked beans, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll up the tortilla tight and secure with a toothpick.

Repeat till all the tortillas are used up. Serve with a fresh salad, salsa and guacamole.

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