Monday, April 26, 2010

Spinach Pasta - Pasta in Green Sauce!

Can you believe I got the idea of this recipe when in dream? Yeah! I was sleeping, may be semi conscious and I suddenly got this idea of a green pasta.... made of palak.... And trust me I made the dish step by step with a full fledged imaginary recipe in the dream itself! And I kind of had the taste too.... I was surprised for sure when I woke up, and I definitely wanted to give it a try. Given my increasing passion for pasta of late, I was desperate to try out my own recipe! And I got a chance to make it one evening, even after a tiring day at work. Started out on the same recipe that I had used in my dream, and well, it did come out well, as expected (from the dream!). And folks at home also liked it, given their liking to anything with palak in general....
Do try it out and let me know how you like it....
Pasta in Spinach Sauce

Preparation time : 10 min
Cooking time : 15 min
Serves : 4

Macaroni Pasta - 200 gms, I used elbows
Spinach/Palak - 2 medium sized bunches
Onions - 1 medium sized, chopped (optional - I omitted)
Green chilies - 1, slit (optional)
Garlic - 6-8 flakes (optional)
Olive oil - 3 tsp (or any other oil)
Butter - 3 tsp
Milk - 250 ml
All purpose flour - 2 tsp
Dried Italian Herbs / Thyme / Oregano - 1 tsp
Pepper powder - 1 ½ tsp, adjust acc to taste
Salt - ½ tsp or as per taste
Garlic paste - ½ tsp
Coriander leaves - 1 Tbsp, chopped  (optional)

• Cook pasta for 5 minutes or till cooked, in 4-5 glasses of boiling water, adding ¼ tsp of salt and a few drops of olive oil
• Drain the water completely and wash the pasta with plenty of running cold water, keep aside for draining
• Pick and wash palsk, cook it in a teaspoon of oil till it is done. The color starts turning dark when done. Cool it slightly and then make a fine puree.
• Heat 1 Tsp of oil in a pan and sauté the onion with green chilly and garlic, till they are cooked but slightly crunchy. Add garlic paste (optional).
• Add the palak puree and bring to a gentle boil
• In another pan, add butter and flour and sauté well till the flour starts to turn brown and butter starts separating out of flour
• Let it cool for 5-10 minutes
• Add half of the milk and mix the flour thoroughly, not letting lumps to form. If there are any lumps, lend it in a blender or with hand
• Bring this to gentle boil. The white sauce starts thickening.
• When boiling, add the palak mixture, dried herbs, pepper powder and salt and continue stirring. Add remaining milk and water to adjust consistency to be thinner than what you require
• After a couple of minutes of boiling, add pasta and mix gently, not to break the pastas
• Add shredded cheese and mix well
• If the pasta appears to be too thick, add a little more boiled water
• Garnish with more dried herbs, and serve hot.

Tips n Tricks:
• Do not overcook the vegetable, let it be slightly crispy
• I used Bambino macaroni (elbows) first time. Next time I replaced it will MTR, but found the latter too delicate. Most of the elbows were broken when cooked. My choice is bambino

• Onion, garlic and ginger garlic paste can be omitted - in fact, I had not used it in my version

Monday, April 19, 2010


Was I cribbing that I didn’t know how to make any sweet except ‘Semiya Payasa’ till some months back? Well, now I’m pleasantly surprised that I can make a number of sweets.... some of them being my all-time favorites like rasmalai!

I had assumed that these sweets are way too complicated for me to even try out... But I’m glad that I learnt and tried it out.... It’s not that complicated, just that it’s time-consuming. Anyway, most of the sweets are, so no big deal..... I was glad when milk got split one day, and googled the recipe and tried it out... it did turn out good....
Little niece Hima loved it so much that she just kept opening the refrigerator with a bowl and spoon in hand, demanding for more! And even after it got over, she kept on searching in the refrigerator if there is some more :)

Preparation time : 15 min + waiting time of about half an hour
Cooking time : 45 min
Makes : 12-15

Milk - 1½ lt
Lemon juice - 2 tsp
Cardamom powder - ½ tsp
Maida - 2 tsp
Sugar - 1½ cups
Food color - a pinch of yellow color
Saffron / Kumkum kesari - ½ tsp

For Garnishing:
Almond, pista flakes - ½ Tbsp

• Bring 1lt of milk to boil
• Add lemon juice and allow the milk to curdle
• Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly
• In a thin muslin cloth, strain the split milk and squeeze tightly so the liquid is removed. The semi solid part is called chenna
• Hang the chenna in the same cloth, with a heavy weight on it so that the remaining water content if any is removed
• After about 30 minutes, take the chenna in a bowl and add maida and mix
• Knead well for at least 10-15 minutes so that the mixture becomes a soft dough
• Meanwhile in a pan, boil 3 cups of water and add ½ cup sugar
• Make small ping pong sized balls out of the dough and press it slightly to flatten. See to it that there are no cracks
• Put these into the boiling water and let cook for at least 15 minutes. Ensure that these are well immersed in the water/syrup
• Meanwhile in a heavy bottomed pan, boil the remaining milk, continuously stirring
• The quantity of the milk should reduce to 2/3rds
• Add a pinch of food color and saffron
• Add remaining sugar and stir well till the sugar is dissolved
• Add the cooked rasmalais into the condensed milk and allow to cool
• Refrigerate and serve garnished with pista/almond flakes

Tips n Tricks:
• Knead the chenna with flour very well; else there would be cracks in the rasmalai
• Cook the chenna well in the sugar water, till they are puffed up

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kusubalakki Paddu / Gundpongalu

Usually, all idli and dosa batters that need fermenting are prepared by MIL. And the ones that can be used instantly after grinding come under my department. This time I came across this very simple recipe for Paddu/Gundpongalu/Indian-aebliskever in a co-blogger’s blog and was tempted to try it out. I thought its high time I pitch into this area of cooking too :)
The list of ingredients being very simple, I went ahead and soaked for it. But again, it was my MIL who ended up getting it ground, since I had to go out for something. My wish of grinding a batter didn’t get fulfilled yet!
Anyway, the paddu came out pretty well, and we were quite impressed with the taste. (My MIL usually uses a different set of ingredients for her version, which I’ll post some other time.)
Kusubalakki Paddu

Preparation time : 30 min, excluding time for soaking
Cooking time : 20 min
Serves : 5-6

Boiled rice/Kusubalakki - 4 cups
Urad dal - 1 cup
Salt - ¾ th tsp or according to taste
Cooking oil - to brush the Aebliskever pan

• Soak the rice & dal in enough amount of water for 6-8hours.
• Grind the rice-dal mixture in a mixie or grinder and prepare a smooth batter.
• Batter should be like a thick milkshake. Let the batter ferment overnight or for about 8-10hours. Batter would be doubled by then.


• Add salt to the batter & mix well.
• Heat the paddu pan/aebliskever pan. When the pan is hot, add few drops of oil to each mould.
• Pour ½ Tbsp of batter to each mould or ¾ th the mould and cook on medium heat for a minute.
• Turn the balls and cook on the other side too, till it becomes golden brown
• Serve hot with a coconut chutney.

Tips n Tricks:
• Do not cook the paddu on high flame. They’ll not be done in the middle but get brown on the outer layer

• Chopped onion, coriander and ginger can be added to the batter

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tomato Rice

Waking up late on a weekday morning and finding that there has not been any preparation done the previous day for today’s cooking... And there’s not much time left for cutting vegetables and cooking something elaborate..... Even making rice and then mixing garnishing - like chitranna takes more time because it’s a two step process.....
It is in such critical times that this tomato rice comes as a blessing. With hardly any preparation and very quick recipe, your job will be done in less than 15 minutes. And the rest is for the pressure cooker to cook the rice and then cool down, to let you pack your lunch boxes. A bit of alterations here and there can give a bit of variety too. And it does taste good even when it’s cold at lunch time.

And if you have demanding kids, who want a different colored food everyday, then you can easily lure them to eat this ‘red’ colored pulav :)
Tomato Rice

Preparation time : 5 min
Cooking time : 15 min
Serves : 4

Red, ripe tomatoes - 3 medium sized, cut into halves/quarters
Onion - 1 medium sized, chopped (optional)
Potato - 1 small, cut into pcs (optional)
Cooking oil - 1 Tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 4-5 small pcs
Cloves - 4-5
Pepper - 8-10
Rice - 2 cups (preferably Basmati), uncooked
Water - 2 – 2 ½ cups
Salt - ½ Tsp or as per taste
Red chili powder - ½ Tsp (optional)
Green chilies - 3-4, slit, depending on taste
Ginger - 1" cube
Coriander - 1 Tbsp, chopped

• Make a puree of tomatoes, sieve it and keep the smooth puree ready
• Heat oil in a pressure pan and add cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves and pepper
• After half a minute, add the slit green chilies, cut onion and potato sauté for 2-3 minutes
• Add tomato puree and sauté for 3-4 more minutes. Ensure the puree comes to a gentle boil and the raw smell of tomato goes off
• Add washed basmati rice to the pan and sauté for a minute
• Add red chili powder if you want a spicier version
• Add water and salt and cook in the pressure pan till 2 whistles
• Serve it hot, optionally with any raita. Tastes good even after it is cooled.

Tips n Tricks:
• Ensure the raw small of tomato is gone, by letting it boil for a couple of minutes. Or alternatively, the tomatoes can be boiled once and then pureed
• Adjust the spices to your taste since we’re using green chilies, red chili powder, ginger and pepper

• Potatoes can be excluded to give a different taste