Monday, April 30, 2012

Penne Pasta with Red & Green Pepper

Italian is my favorite non Indian global cuisine. I have savored quite a few Italian recipes & not found a single one that I disliked. Thinking about my favorite would be like choosing a favorite child, but if I have to then my pick would be Pasta

Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italians cuisine, like rice/chapati for Indians. There is a huge variety of pasta in various shapes & sizes available in market today ranging from fresh to packaged. But I've observed people opting for Penne pasta more than any other category, I too prefer this one more over the others, esp the Penne with ridges (they are called Penne Rigate) as they help to hold the sauce better, giving every pasta bite an amazing flavor.

The most popular combination of Penne is with Marinara sauce although restaurants do serve other variety (i.e. Penne with Alfredo/Pesto) as well. Likewise Green & Red pepper are the best veggies that compliment the Penne pasta. 

So lets begin with the most standard & delicious pasta recipe - Penne Pasta with Red & Green Pepper 

2 cups of penne pasta 
2 bay leaves
1 tsp minced garlic
1 medium sized Onion cut in julienne 
1/2 red pepper cut in julienne 
1/2 green pepper cut in julienne 
1 cup tomato puree
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp red chilli flakes (or to taste)
1 tsp Italian seasoning (or substitute Oregano) 
1 tsp parsley (or Coriander) 
Salt & pepper to taste
Cheese (as much as you like)

Boil water in a large pot & season it well with Salt. Cook pasta as per it's package instructions. Usually penne pasta is cooked Al dente (firm but not hard) but I like to cook it extra 5 mins to make it a little soft. 

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan & add the onion and red & green pepper to it once hot. Sauté the onion and pepper (till onions are brown & pepper are still crunchy). Season with salt & pepper. Pour them from the cooking vessel into a separate dish. 

Now in the same cooking vessel add 1 tbsp of oil, once hot add bay leaves followed by garlic. Once the garlic is sauteed add tomato puree, cook it for 5 mins. Then add tomato ketchup, red chilli flakes, Italian seasoning, parsley, salt & pepper. Cook it for 5-10 mins on medium flame till everything is mixed well & the mixture has reduced in size, the sauce should have nice & thick consistency. You sauce is ready. 

Add in your pasta & roasted veggies into the sauce, mix well. Your Pasta is ready :) 

Sprinkle cheese (I'm a cheese fanatic and love experimenting, you can also pick different variety of cheese here to pacify your taste buds).

Serve it hot!!

Stay tuned for more Italian recipes. 

Happy Cooking!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Aam Panna - Raw Mango Drink

When summers are around the corner you look for new drink/beverage options that can hydrate & refresh you. This summer, stop looking, try Aam Panna - Raw Mango Drink! This sweet & sour drink, made from raw green mangoes, is an excellent thirst quencher. Its known for its great heat resistance properties & is good source of Vitamin C. This cool healthy vegan drink is one of the best ways to beat the scorching summer heat. It's one of my favorites and can't get enough of it ever since my childhood. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nutella & Peanut Butter Croissant

Croissant is a famous French crescent shaped pastry, an in-demand breakfast item in my house. This is my 'go-to' option when I want a change yet lazy to indulge in an extensive cooking. Pick up the ready made dough available in supermarkets & you are basically done with your fancy breakfast in less than half-an-hour, out of which 1/3 of the time goes in manual preparation and 2/3 into baking. 

Butter Croissants are the most popular ones out of the available options in the market but I like to add my personal touch by filling in Nutella & Peanut Butter and prefer serving them warm. The combination of warm butter croissant with melted peanut butter/nutella is mouth watering.

For those who don't have a sweet tooth can replace it your choice of filling. 
Let's get started with this appearing-to-be-difficult-but-actually-easy recipe


Crescent dough – you can find this in refrigerator section of your grocery stores. 
Nutella (Hazel nut spread)
Peanut butter

Other requirements – parchment paper & baking tray

Preheat your Oven to 350°F. The dough I am using is already divided in 8 triangles. If you have a seamless one then divide it into 8 equal triangles as below

Now take one triangle at a time & work on it. You will notice that the triangle point is not currently in the center hence we will start stretching & pulling it to get the point of the triangle in center.  

Place the broader side closer to you & place the filling at the center. Don't fill too much as it will ooze out when you bake it. I added 1 tbsp which is quite sufficient. I made few with just Nutella or peanut butter & others using a mixture of both.

Now start rolling this from broader side to the narrow side, press the sides to ensure your filling is well locked up inside. You can leave the wings as is or tuck them in as I have done for a few. Basically roll them to your choice of shape.  

Now place them on baking tray lined with parchment paper by leaving sufficient space between each one of them as they will grow in size. 
Follow the baking instructions on your dough pack. I baked mine for about 20 mins on 350°F.

You are done! Your croissants are ready serve them warm by dusting some confectionery sugar. 

Happy Baking!!

Sending this recipe to event: 
Bake Along Challenge 
Original Announcement page

I love Baking

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


It is unusual in India when you think of a hot cup of tea without something to munch along. Everyone has their top ten list of eating delights and my top of the charts is Bhelpuri. It is an easy and quick snack item to prepare.

Bhelpuri, a popular street food of west India, has  managed to bag a spot in the menus of even high profile restaurants due to its immense popularity. 

This is a perfect snack when you want something light at the same time satiate your taste buds & yet keep some room for the next meal. 

Because of my impatience towards reaching to the final product quickly I look for ways to reduce the preparation time. Hence I prefer keeping a ready made Bhel mix pack & a date-tamarind chutney in my pantry stock as its fastens the whole Bhelpuri making process. You can also make it from scratch by using puffed rice Sev etc. 

2 cups of Bhel mix (ready made bhel mix available at any Indian grocery stores
1/2 Tomato chopped finely
1/4 Onion chopped finely
Coriander leaves chopped finely
1 tbsp Green chutney (If I run out of green chutney I usually add 1 green chilli to make it hot - but thats optional)
2-3 tbsp Date-tamarind chutney (Store bought or homemade)
1/8 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp chaat masala 
dash of lemon 
salt to taste
Sev (a fried snack shaped like thin noodles made from gram flour) for garnishing

Mix all the above ingredients together & garnish with Sev & some coriander. Your instant Bhelpuri is ready, best supplemented with a hot cup of tea or coffee. As soon as you mix the Chutneys,onion and tomatoes in the bhel will start to become soft so mix these only when you are ready to serve. 

Happy Snacking !!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bhey Mutter - Lotus stem curry with green peas - Lotus root recipe

'Bhey', as referred to in north India, is a popular lotus stem recipe but I didn't stumble upon it until after my marriage. My husband once asked me "Have you eaten Bhey Mutter". My immediate response was "What is Bhey?" He then told me that it is one of the popular delicacies in Punjabi cuisine & one of his favorites. I then had to Google this recipe or even better option - ask my mother-in-law :) She is an excellent cook & my go-to-person for any authentic Punjabi recipe. By the way it is also referred to as 'Kamal Kakdi' in few parts of the country.

This is one of those rare Punjabi recipes that I cooked before I could taste it in a restaurant or elsewhere. But I realized that its easy & simply delicious. 

Lets get started.

For those who are unfamiliar with lotus stem - it looks like this. You can use fresh or frozen ones as available in your market/grocery stores.

2 -2 1/2 cups of Bhey/lotus stem/lotus root cut into thin roundels.
1 cup of green peas
1 medium onion finely chopped
1/2 cup of tomato paste/puree (or use 2 finely chopped medium tomatoes)
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp cumin seeds (zeera)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala 
1-2tbsp of oil
salt to taste
coriander leaves for garnishing

  • Heat oil in a pan. Once hot add cumin seeds. When they splutter add onions & mix.
  • When the onions become transparent, add ginger garlic paste & mix. 
  • Cook till onions turn light brown. Now add tomato puree & stir. 
  • Then add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, salt & stir to mix well. Cook for another 5mins till masala (mixture) is well cooked.
  • Add the lotus stem & around 1/2 cup of water  (or as required) to avoid the masala getting burnt. This will also aid in the cooking of lotus stem. Cover to cook for another 10-15 mins or till Lotus stems are partially cooked. Then add the green peas & cook it till peas become soft. 
  • Lastly add the garam masala, coriander leaves & mix well. 

Bhey Mutter is ready - serve it hot with Chapati Or Rice Or Paratha 

Lotus stem is naturally crunchy so even after they are completely cooked you will not find them soft. That's the uniqueness of this recipe.

Hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I did :) Drop your comments to let me know if you liked it. 

Happy Cooking!!!

Sending this entry to event: 
Curries/Gravies - Original Announcement Page