Showing posts with label quick dinner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quick dinner. Show all posts

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mixed Vegetable Curry

One of the most redeeming lessons being a graduate student and being in America has been about money. 2 years ago, I didn't have a job and the feminist in me became stingier (I've always been stingy) by the day before I asked A for money. Being a graduate student and paying through my nose without a loan has brought out the stereotypical inner South Indian in me (My rather bindaas about money and generous parents will be horrified) and I think 100 times before doing anything. And the tree hugger in me, of course, wants to buy only food that is 'good' for the body and the world. Unfortunately, these two factors clash in my life right now and I'm forced to be stingy all over again. To this dilemma, let's add a no sugar, most of the times no polished carbohydrates diet and watch the fun unfold.

It has truly been fun - this past year. Customizing food, cooking quick-fix meal, making cakes with honey and applesauce, eating mostly vegetables, eggs, beans (God bless them!), Dals or lentils, fruits at almost every meal has made me way fitter and way more determined to stick to my diet. I tweeted a couple of days ago how my comfort food has moved from Dal-Chawal or Curd rice with pickle to a quick roasted vegetables or quinoa with dal or veggies on top. I do indulge once in a while. Wednesdays are bad days for me. I come home at 9 PM after a rather exhausting day. It's no fun in the cold at least. And I don't take to hunger that well. Earlier, during such times, I'd come home to eat a tortilla while I was cooking or make rice and gobble it up with some curd. Nothing more comforting for a Tamilian :) Nowadays, thanks to my diet, I'm way more creative. I end up using canned beans or frozen veggies on Wednesdays and quickly make myself a meal. Last Wednesday, I made this curry. It was really quick and absolutely lickable, dare I say so myself. This doesn't even require a recipe considering this blog's followers, but this is for all those Twitter friends of mine who tweet every night about food :)


2 small Potatoes - sliced lengthwise
1 carrot - peeled and cut lengthwise
1/2 an onion
1 Jalapeno/Green Chilli, chopped
Any other random vegetable - I didn't have anything else!
1 tsp Kalonji (Substitute with Jeera/Cumin seeds)
2-3 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (Chilli powder)
1 tsp turmeric (I didn't use it because I didn't have any!)
2-3 tbsp water
1-1.5 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

1. Heat oil, add the Kalonji or Jeera. Let it splutter. Add the onions and jalapeno or green chillies

2. Let it cook for 2-3 mins, add the potatoes, sprinkle some water and close and let cook for 7-10mins. Thinner the slices of the potato, the better it is.

3. Add carrots to this mixture and the rest of the spices, some more water IF the mixture is dry and let it close to let it cook.

4. Once they are partially cooked, take the lid off and let it cook for a good 5-7 mins. Stir if you think it's getting burned.

Voila! It's done. The spice level may be high for some people. I love spicy, hot food and so, the cayenne pepper, the Garam Masala and the chilli. You can adjust it accord to your preference. The quantity should be enough for one really hungry person or two people who behave decently when there is food around!

I didn't pay much attention to this curry. I throw one ingredient, wash the vessels lying in the sink or clean up. On this day, I made rotis along with the curry and that kept me occupied. One can think of a 101 vegetables to add to this mixture. Adding cabbage or beans, peas or bell peppers could work brilliantly. Or, even peanuts for the crunch factor. If you are the type to use the Microwave which I admit I have become, you can zap the potato or carrots in the microwave for a quick 3-4 mins before adding to the onions on gas. You can add some coconut milk to make this a gravy or some tomato sauce. I ate a satisfying meal that night - yogurt sprinkled with some Garam Masala (friend's care package again!) and rotis and this curry. The pictures certainly may not scream, 'make me now.' But then, this blog hasn't been about that at all. So, this is all I can manage in the kitchen I have with yellow lights with a camera whose battery is dying as I click and a grumbling stomach at 9.30 PM on a weeknight :)

Sometimes, I'm so exhausted, just the thought of cooking when I have assignments and deadlines to catch up with tires me. Like this time, I didn't think I was going to make rotis. I thought I'd stuff my tortillas (I always have a pack of Whole Wheat tortillas in my fridge and readymade Rotis just in case) and top it with some cheese or an egg and make a meal out of it. But when I started working on the vegetables, new energy took over and I cleaned the kitchen, made rotis and washed vessels - all by the time this sabzi was ready to eat. Cooking meals like this everyday in order to keep to my resolution of not buying food to eat has made me feel more productive and I feel better at the end of every week. Twitter friends help me a lot in this regard. Every night, someone posts about the #dinner they're eating or they want to eat. And I end up thinking how I can't skip a meal or how I can't eat crap. I feel responsible. I feel responsible as a food blogger who is aware of the positive effects of food and cooking, as a person who believes earnestly that good food makes me and this world better. Then, I cook for myself. It isn't as bad. It is emotionally tough sometimes, but it is liberating most of the time.

Try cooking yourself a meal today. It doesn't have to be as fancy as we food bloggers make it out to be sometimes. It doesn't have to involve a lot of money or eating out. It could be something as soul satisfying as a bowl of dal or a curry made in 15 mins in a pressure cooker. If I can do it, you can do it. There's no one lazier than me and I've been spoiled all my life with adoring grandmothers, fantastic room-mates who didn't let me enter the kitchen, a mother who got interested in cooking for our sake, a food and cooking crazy husband and a chef of a mother-in- law.

Cook something. Eat well. You will help yourself and without knowing, this world that we live in.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

No Oven Enchiladas.

Things have been very hectic lately and we've not been able to post anything for a week now. This certainly hasn't meant there hasn't been any cooking in our kitchen. Its amazing how the stuff we are too tired to take a picture of, or forget to write down the measurements/recipe for is tastier than the ones we post! We've also not replied to comments on the Pesto Pizza and the Coconut Soup post. Please bear with us while we get our mojo back.

Anyway, these Enchiladas were something A tried out when I was on one of my numerous diets. Ya, its become like that though it is not really! I just like to detox for a week once a month. And that is the week A cooks the most and the tastiest of experiments happen then :| I made him cook these again for me and trust me, I cursed myself for not having eaten it the first time. I love my Mexican food thanks to the bite in them. Nothing, I believe, beats jalapenos. Maybe Green Chillies :P

The recipe is simple and makes for a great weeknight meal. And super nutritious and very filling too. And hey, you don't have to bake these. On the stove-top, done in about 10 mins, just about the perfect meal when you are tired but want some hot, spicy, comfort, gooey, tangy, indulgent food! Trust me on this. Here is what you all hopefully came for ;) - the recipe.


2 big tortillas - You can use flour, corn or whole wheat
16 oz can of black beans - 1 no.
1/3 cup canned navy beans
1/3 cup canned Great Northern beans
1/4 cup low fat or fat free sour cream. We used the fat free one.
1 tsp Ancho chilli powder
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/3 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp Vegetable oil/Canola oil
Salt to taste

For the sauce:

1.5 cans Tomato sauce
2 tbsp Canola/Vegetable oil
1 tsp smoked Chipotle Chilli powder
1 Jalapeno, finely diced - NOT deseeded
Salt to taste

Before anything, you may toast the tortillas if you want, though it should not be crisp. We didn't do anything but used it straight from the packet. Didn't I tell you this was a weeknight meal?

1. Heat oil and once ready, fry the onions.

2. Once the onions are cooked, add the beans and the rest of the seasoning and cook for 5-10 mins to let the flavours soak in.

3. Add sour cream, mix and keep aside. Turn the gas off after adding sour cream

For the sauce

1. Heat the oil to high heat. Throw in the jalapenos carefully and let it sizzle. Stir to avoid burning for 2 mins

2. Add tomato sauce, reduce the heat to medium and add all the other spices/seasoning including salt. Cook for 3-4 mins.

3. Further reduce the heat to medium low.

Meanwhile, spread the tortilla on the kitchen counter. Stuff the tortilla with the bean mixture cooked previously. Place this mixture in the middle and fold the tortilla lengthwise from both sides and make sure one end is sealed by folding, much like the burrito wraps. When you are done stuffing the tortillas, place them in the simmering sauce- seam side down. Make sure to take some sauce from the sides and slather the top too. You don't have to turn the tortillas. In fact, don't. ( I'm sorry we couldn't take step-by-step pics. I know they'd have helped. We were busy counting the minutes to eat this!)

Top the tortillas with cheddar cheese/mozzarella cheese and close the pan. Cook in low heat until cheese melts. Ta- da! Your dinner is ready!

Let me tell you this. The dish is messy. Just like the pics show. We tried hard not to mess with it, but hey, it wasn't as fun when we tried to make it look good. So, we decided to get our hands, chins and clothes dirty (in my case!) and get down to licking the pan clean. Err.. ya, the sauce was that good! The jalapenos add such a bite to the sauce that it is lovely when your tongue burns and biting into the tortilla stuffed with beans gives you a new high. I'm hooked to this dish and totally making this my Mexican dish for the week ;) This, paired with a cool avocado salad is a treat!

And that sauce, make sure to add it to other stuff. I've tried dipping bread in it and its just what you need after a no-carb diet :) We've tried various beans with this, but black beans or a mixture of beans wins hands down!

If you think of variations with this one, do let us know. I'd love, love to try them.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Low fat Crepes...Bon Appetit!

The mention of crepes makes me drool. I think of all the cream, all the butter, IHOP and other such gooey images creep into my head. Creeping crepes? :D Sorry, I couldn't resist that alliterative joke. However bad it was. So, ya, getting back to crepes. A and I love crepes. Every time I order a crepe at a restaurant, I usually tell myself that I'm more of a savory crepe person and I cannot handle all the cream and the syrupy sweet crepes. But then, once I eat the savory crepes and start people-watching and gossiping about random people in the restaurant, I realize everyone else has a sweet crepe and that I need dessert to round off the meal. So, I end up ordering a sweet crepe. Now, you know why I have to be on a diet? Sigh.

Now, obviously, you didn't come here to read about my fascination with dessert and about how I plot to make sure I get the best of both crepes. We had crepes for dinner today. We made crepes because we wanted to send it along to A.W.E.D - France event. Ya, we are like that :P

While I sulked that we didn't have berries, so there couldn't be crepes, A, the patient, the calm and the experimental one between the both of us tried a savory crepe. He made a simple potato-mushroom curry or stuffing while I continued to figure out a plot in my head to have a sweet crepe. This is how he claims he rustled up the absolutely amazing crepes and the stuffing! We topped it with some barbeque sauce and it was heaven, indeed.


For the Crepes

2 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 tbsp butter (melted)
a pinch of salt

For the filling

2 medium potatoes, diced.
1/2 cup chopped french beans
8 oz mushrooms (we used canned)
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tsp ground sage
red chili flakes and salt to taste

First, let's make the crepe batter since it has to 'sit' for half hour. Mix all the ingredients well in a blender. Pour it in a bowl and let sit in the refrigerator for 30 mins.

1. Heat one tbsp oil in a skillet. Add the potatoes and stir well to coat with oil. Add the onions and the mushrooms.

2. Add the remaining tbsp of oil. Stir until the onions are translucent. Then add the beans.

3. Add the spices. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are tender but they shouldn't fall apart.

4. To make the crepes, heat a non-stick skillet. When hot, pour some batter and spread it by turning the skillet to make a nice circle. Cook for about a minute, flip it and cook for another minute.

5. To assemble, put the filling on one end of the crepe and roll it. You can top it with sauce or sprinkle some other spice on top of it. Or even rub some butter to make it glisten. We didn't. Didn't I say low-fat at the top? Easy-peasy, filling and may I say, a very French meal was had ;)

But of course, I ended the meal with some leftover Rasmalai and some chocolate cookies. What did ya think? I'd not eat dessert? But then, some sweet crepes'd have been perfect no?

*stops writing, wanders into kitchen thinking fruit instead of sweet crepe*

*After 5 minutes, comes out with a plate :D *

Just before hitting 'publish,' this is what I turned up with ;)

Monday, July 14, 2008

The weekend, kids and some yummy food!

No, we are not announcing that we have kids or expecting one! This weekend, we went to visit my cousin B and her family who've recently moved to Greenville. It was a perfect outing for A and me. Just 2 hours away from Atlanta, in desperate need for some weekend company, things worked out well. Meeting family, good food, conversations on warm couches with chai and crisps, kids running around, old photos, shared was just the thing we needed.

Oh did I tell you that my niece and nephew are the smartest and the cutest things in this world? I took a carrot-zucchini cake for them, and they totally enjoyed it. These kids are marvellous. They eat anything thrown at them. In fact, my niece takes after my dad's family and me ;) and eats just pickles. And she is all of 3 odd years! Here is her super smart son, a mighty 6 years old.

So, B kept on cooking wonderful meals for A and me, and finally on Saturday night, before we hit the downtown, we all craved for noodles. The Indo-Chinese ones :P Though A and I try out various cuisines and are foodies in the true sense of the word, we had not tried out noodles at home. B effortlessly threw in linguini and all other noodly looking food in boiling water and stir fried some veggies, and before I knew it, I had a steaming bowl of noodles in front of me! This post goes out to her - a super mom, and a responsible wife and a great cousin ;) Thanks!


1.5 packets whole grain spaghetti (linguini)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
Tomato- chilli sauce (as much as you want, really!)
4 tbsp Soy sauce
4 tbsp oil (more than enough for 4 adults and 2 hungry, 'we love
noodles' kids!)
Magic sauce ;) for which we need-
- Tamarind pulp
- Chilli powder
- Salt to taste
Mix these ingredients to make a watery sauce like mixture and pour when you cook these noodles!

Want to eat some? Here is how you make it!

1. Boil the noodles with 1 tbsp oil and 1 tsp salt. Set them aside.

2. In a wok, heat 3 tbsp oil. Add the vegetables and fry them until well done.

3. Add salt, soy sauce, the tom-chi sauce and the 'magic
sauce' ;) Mix well.

4. Add the noodles and mix well. Let everything cook for 10-15 mins.

5. Serve hot without flipping it all over the table like I did!

The kids ate them with bare hands sitting on the table :) Just shows good they were! Well, we used forks but we were no less than the kids!

Of course, you could add cabbage or peas or spring onions in this recipe. She just did not have them at hand, so we did without it. Also, she did not add ajinomoto for purely health reasons, and we certainly did not miss it! In fact, we craved for more noodles and we came back home on Sunday night and ate Maggi noodles :D