Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vegetable Nachos


Nachos is one of the initial Tex-Mex cuisine items I got introduced to during my childhood, and has been a major contributor to my affinity towards Mexican cuisine since then.

There are many ways we can make Nachos. Most simple version is tortilla chip with cheese sauce. But my personal favorite is a fully loaded version with veggies. Vegetable Nachos are quite simple & easy to make & go great as snacks/starters/appetizers

There are no real measurements required for this recipe. Moreover you can use any vegetables of your choice. 

Ingredients: 

1 Tortilla chips packet (I used Doritos nachos cheese flavor)
1-2 cups of Grated Cheese (I used combination of Mozzarella & mild cheddar)
1/4 red capsicum finely chopped
1/4 green capsicum finely chopped
1/4 red onion finely chopped
1 tomato finely chopped (avoid using the inside pulp of tomatoes only use the sides)
Few jalapenos (optional)
Coriander for garnishing
salt & pepper to taste

Method: 
Start your oven on Broiler mode. In a serving dish (make sure its oven/microwave safe), layer the tortilla chips evenly. 

Sprinkle some grated/shredded mozzarella cheese (as little or more as much as you like). 

Now add all the veggies evenly followed by coriander & sprinkle some salt & pepper on top. 
Tip: You can also roast your veggies on a pan before adding them to Nachos. 

Top it with some jalapenos 

Followed by some more cheese (mild cheddar). 

Now keep the Serving dish in the Oven on broiler mode for about 5 mins or till the cheese starts to melt.
Once the cheese has melted, switch the oven to Bake mode at 350F & let it bake for 2 mins. If you are using a microwave, micro the dish for about 2 mins or till the cheese melts.

That's it our Vegetable Nachos are ready!! Serve them with guacamole & sour cream or simply on their own. 

Happy Snacking!!
Shweta

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chocolate Bread Pudding


I don't have a sweet tooth but when it comes to Chocolate bread pudding I don't know when to stop. This is the reason why it took me so long to post my first dessert recipe and also I picked this one. Another reasons for my inclination towards this dessert could be bread. I am a bread fan & can eat it all the time. 

My mother introduced me to this simple yet tasty dessert "Bread pudding". Hers is a classic version which she makes using Caramel sauce (melted sugar). I opted to substitute caramel with an all time favorite ingredient, CHOCOLATE!!

This dessert is savored by people of all age. Its perfect choice for parties as you can complete all the prep ahead of time & just pop the pudding into the oven while your dinner is just finishing.  Also fits with the perfect mood for dessert after candle light romantic dinner. 

Ingredients


4 buns of sweet bread cut into half inch cubes (Or use regular bread just increase the amount of sugar per taste )
2/3 cup of milk
1 tbsp regular sugar & 1 tbsp brown sugar  (Or use 2tbsp of regular sugar)
1 &1/2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp of instant espresso coffee powder 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2-3 tbsp of semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp of fat free whipped cream for garnishing/serving.

Method: 
Preheat your oven to 350F. Arrange the bread cubes on a baking sheet & bake for 5 mins or until toasted. Keep them aside

In a bowl combine milk, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso coffee powder, vanilla extract & egg. Whisk to combine all the ingredients to form a wet mixture. 

Now add the bread to this wet mixture & mix well making sure each bread is well coated with the mixture. Cover & let it sit for about 1 hour. (you can also keep it for longer)

Preheat your oven to 325F. In a baking dish, pour the bread mixture & top it with chocolate chips. Fill another baking tray with 1 inch deep warm water & place the bread pudding tray in it. 

Bake for about 35-40 mins or until set. Chocolate Bread pudding is ready!! Its crusty from the outside & mushy from inside - just perfect!!

Serve pudding warm topped with whipped cream & some chocolate shavings. 


Hope you try it & enjoy it as much as I do!!

Happy Baking!!
Shweta


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Monday, May 21, 2012

Left Over Dal's Paratha - Pancakes made from Lentils curry

I find it quite exciting to prepare an altogether new dish from the leftovers in the fridge. Its a win-win moment for me. Leftover Dal's Paratha (pancakes made from lentils curry) is one such recipe which my MIL (mother-in-law) introduced me to. 



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade


With summers reaching its peak staying hydrated becomes essential however just water can get monotonous & boring at times. Therefore, after Aam Panna, here comes the next easy-to-make-and-amazing-to-sip from my summer thirst quenchers bank. 

Strawberry Lemonade is a simple drink prepared from Strawberry & the all time favorite kitchen citrus fruit, lemons. Step out in the sun for some time & you feel completely enervated. Easy solution to reenergize - Sip This Drink ! 

It also goes well as a welcome drink for parties. 



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Instant Buttermilk Pancakes


Instant Buttermilk Pancakes are my go to option for a lazy Sunday brunch. It was early 2011 that I got introduced to this amazing super soft & fluffy breakfast/brunch option during my Las Vegas holidays. My hubby loved them, so when I returned back home I had to try this recipe and he loved it so much that these now have a permanent place on my breakfast menu options.  

This recipe also reminds me of pancakes that my granny makes using buttermilk back in India. That however is slightly different version & I'll soon share that version too. So stay tuned!!

For those who are new to Pancakes must know that they are usually prepared from dough/batter made from all purpose/wheat flour & cooked on pan/griddle. The use of baking powder helps in making an instant batter as compared to yeast or other rising agents making them perfect option for any morning, busy or lazy. 

For this recipe I used eggs but all those who are allergic to eggs or don't eat them can also enjoy this recipe by substituting egg with cornflour.  Either way the pancakes turn out to be delicious. There are many ways you could build this recipe but after trying a couple of variations I stuck to this one as its creates the right textured & flavored pancakes. 

You can prepare this batter the same day you plan to make pancakes, as how I did, and let it rest for 10-15 mins before you start making your pancakes. Or if you have busy mornings (like weekdays) then prepare the batter a night before & store it in fridge for later use next morning. 
Dry Ingredients
1 cup wheat flour (or all purpose flour)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Wet Ingredients: 
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg OR 2 tbsp of cornstarch 
2 tbsp melted butter
Some water (as required)
  • Sift all the dry ingredient into one bowl & whisk all the wet ingredient into another. 
  • Now add the wet mixture to the dry one & blend well to make a lump free batter.  (add some water as required but maintain the batter consistency such that its semi thick & not too running) 
  • Heat a pan/griddle & grease it lightly with Oil/butter. 
  • Once hot, pour some portion of the batter (approx 1/4 cup) on the pan.  
  • Flip the pancake once the bottom starts turning brown and when you start seeing bubbles on top
  • Cook the other side for approximately 2 mins or till golden (doesn't take much time). The pancake is ready, take it off the pan & keep it on a separate dish.
  • Continue making as many pancakes as required (this batter should make around 6-8 depending on the size of pancakes you make)
Your pancakes are ready!! Serve them as you like either with a maple or pancake syrup or just by topping with some cream & strawberries

Hope you enjoy this recipe!!

Happy Cooking!!!
Shweta

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Grilled Vegetables & Lettuce Salad


Salad is the only dish which, according to me, has no boundaries in the varieties you can experiment with, and each experiment end up with a new product with a fresh look and different taste. Grilled Vegetables & Lettuce Salad is one of those outputs from my recent salad trials. This colourful, healthy & delicious recipe is great to have as a side dish (salad) with your meal or even as a meal in its own. Its a perfect dish to include in your party menu - it's attractive, healthy & quick-to-make.

I'm not a big fan of boiled or raw veggies in my platter. I find boiled not tasty enough & raw ones not sterilized enough, a Catch-22 situation. My solution - grill them, solves both my problems. 

There are no rigid measurements required for this recipe. The veggies I have used were readily available to me & seasonal. so use what’s fresh & readily available to you too.

For the dressing, I prefer to make it fresh than buying a ready made one from market. Try this out am sure you will like it. 

Ingredients:


7-8 baby carrots 
1/2 red pepper sliced
1/2 green pepper sliced
1 zucchini (or use cucumber)
Few florets of broccoli 
1 bunch of Asparagus
1 tomato cut in roundels
few Lettuce leaves 
1tbsp oil
Salt & pepper to taste

For dressing
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1tbsp lemon juice
½ tbsp honey
1tsp oregano
1 tsp red chilli flakes (or to taste)
1tsp black pepper powder (or to taste)
Salt to taste

Method: 
Preheat your oven at 350F.(I grilled my veggies in an oven but you can also do it on a pan/skillet). 
Sprinkle some oil on all veggies (except tomato & lettuce) & grill them in an oven for 10 mins or till they just start to turn soft. Season them with some salt & pepper (try retaining the crunchiness of your veggies). 
For preparing the dressing, just mix all the dressing ingredients together.

There are two ways to serve - With & Without the dressing, and both taste different & delicious.

For the option of "Without the dressing" arrange your grilled veggies, lettuce & tomato on serving dish & you are ready to serve

For the option of "With the dressing", mix grilled veggies, lettuce and tomato in a bowl & then pour the dressing over these. Mix well so that the dressing coats each vegetable. 
That's it, we are ready to serve our scrumptious salad. 

Healthy Living!!
Shweta


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nankhatai – The Eggless Cookie


Nankhatai (Eggless cookie) brings to my mind a picture (from my childhood memories) of a bakery salesman riding his bicycle with a huge trunk on his backseat. This is in Mumbai, India. His trunk used to be filled with all baked goodies – cookies, puff pastries, freshly baked bread. It felt so exotic !! I enjoyed peeping into that trunk, so well packed with designated slots and that sweet aroma. I relived that moment today with my kitchen filled with that same aroma when I baked these cookies. Totally nostalgic!!



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Black Beans curry - Mexican style Rajma


Beans (black beans or pinto beans or kidney beans) are widely used in Mexican cuisine and form a very important part of their meals either in the form of curry or in soups, salads and relishes. 



Sunday, May 6, 2012

M-cube a.k.a. Methi Mutter Malai - Fenugreek & Green peas in Cream Gravy


Methi Matar Malai is popular North Indian gravy dish made with fresh Fenugreek leaves and green peas in a creamy luscious curry. It is an 'exotic' dish very commonly seen on the menus of Indian restaurants as well as in parties/weddings etc. I call it 'exotic' because of two reasons. First, we assume it is too tedious to make at home, and second, when we hear Malai (cream) we start visualizing the calorie bar and consequently rate it as a luxury meal. But in today's post I'll be sharing my version of this yummy dish. Out of my fondness for this dish I gave it a pet name M-cube (M3).



Friday, May 4, 2012

Guacamole – Avocado dip



What do you think is the most-in-demand dish for appetizers? If you ask me I'd say chips & dips. Not because it rhymes but because of the concept of dip (sorry chip). Contrary to the common belief you would be surprised to know that dips are easy to prepare and have great storage longevity. In other words what you fancy in a bar or restaurant is simple en0ugh to make at home and can be preserved for multiple servings. It is also one of those things that can be prepared in no time without compromising with nutritious or taste.

Out of all the dips available today my fav is GuacamoleIt is made by mashing pulp of fruit called Avocado, which is the main ingredient in this dip giving it rich light green color & smooth-creamy texture.  This dip works equally great as spread for your sandwich or a salad dressing or an ever-green combination of chip & dip (quite literally because it is green in color). I'm going to share with you my way of making this dip.

BTW this recipe is dedicated to all the appetizer enthusiasts, like me !

Ingredients
2 ripe avocados
1/2 jalapeno chilli pepper (or use regular green chilli
1/4 medium sized red onion finely chopped
1 tomato finely chopped
2-3 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
Juice of One lime
Salt and pepper to taste


Method :
Cut the avocado into half and de-seed them. Scoop out the pulp using spoon into a clean bowl.

Mash the pulp till you get a smooth uniform mixture. Squeeze some lime juice over it & mix well. 
Tip: Avocado has a tendency to turn brown with prolonged air exposure. To eliminate this, immediately squeeze fresh lime/lemon juice over the pulp to prevent browning. If you are making this ahead of time store this in Air tight container after squeezing lime.

Add all the other ingredients & mix well. You Avocado dip is ready ! Serve it with chips of your choice. 

Tip: Some like tomatoes in this dip, but I avoid tomatoes as they secrete moisture, tempers with the dip consistency. If you want to use tomatoes add them just before serving. This way the quantity of water secreted will reduce.


I may not always have chips available in my pantry. So I like to toast some bread & then cut them into fingers. This is much healthier option from chips unless the chips you are serving are baked.


Happy Snacking !!
Shweta