Carrot and Kale soup

Simple, tasty and elegant are the three words that come to my mind when I think about this soup. It was again a creative elaboration from what was available in my refrigerator that day. And it turned out good.

Ingredients:

1. 10-11 carrots (peeled and chopped into pieces of approximately 1 cm)

2. 2 Kale leaves – roughly chopped

3. 1 yellow onion – finely sliced

4. 2 garlic cloves – finely chopped

5. 3 twigs of thyme

6. Olive oil and salt

7. Water

8. Pumpkin seeds roasted (optional)

9. Black pepper (optional)

10. Vegetable bulliong (1 tablet).

Method:

Wash and prepare all the vegetables as per the Ingredients list. Take a big wok. Add around 2 tbsp of olive oil. Now add onions and garlic and fry until they are translucent. Now add carrots and Kale. Add thyme twigs. Add water to cover the vegetables and let this boil on medium heat until carrots are soft. Add the buillong along with the cooking vegetables. Add more water if needed. Add salt either after boiling or already while boiling.

When the carrots are softened, remove the thyme twigs and let this cool for a while.

In the meantime toast some bread to serve on the side. Put some salt on the toasted bread and keep aside for serving.

Take a grinder and grind the vegetables and water to a smooth soup.

Pour the soup into deep bowls and top up with roasted pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle black pepper on the top if you like it.

That’s it. Ready to serve.

Enjoy. Hugs. ❤️

Priyanka

Eggless banana cake

Sometimes when one tries to make something out of whatever is lying around at home, amazing things happen. One such thing happened today with this banana cake. And my husband, who is very honest about food (annoying sometimes), ate a big piece without even me offering it. So bingo! This worked and tasted super nice.

Preparation time: around 15 min

Cook time: 30-35 min

Measure: use the same cup (whatever you like to use) for the whole recipe. You would not go wrong. I used a simple tea-cup for measurements

Ingredients:

1. Three ripe banana (puried into a smooth paste). This was around 2.5 cups of puree

2. Sugar – 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (tbsp) more

3. Vanilla- sugar – 1 tbsp (If you don’t have this simply replace with normal sugar)

4. Vanilla essence – 1 tbsp

5. Molten butter – 1/2 cup

6. All purpose flour (maida) – 1.5 cups

7. Baking powder – 3/4 teaspoon (tsp)

8. Baking soda – 1/2 tsp

9. A pinch of salt

10. Milk – 1.5 tbsp

11. A little butter for greasing

12. Chopped almonds – 4 tbsp

Method:

Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree centigrade for around 10-15 min.

Sieve the all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and keep aside. Let us call this the flour-mix.

Take the banana puree in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla sugar and mix well until all is blended together. Now add in the vanilla essence and mix well. Finally add the molten butter and mix well.

Now add half of the sieved flour-mix and mix well gently. Don’t be too bothered if it starts to lump a bit. Keep mixing. Now add the remaining flour-mix and again mix well. Now add the milk and start folding the batter over itself. Do this until all the lumps are gone.

Take a little batter and try to pour it into the bowl from above. It should fold like chocolate or more like silk cloth folding on top of itself. If this is not happening add a little more milk (around 1 tbsp more). The batter must not be too flowy either.

Now add half the almonds and mix well.

Grease a baking- form with some butter. Pour the mixture in it and tap gently so that it is evenly spread all the way. Finally top up with the remaining almonds.

Bake the cake by placing the baking- form in the middle of the oven on a baking mesh or baking oven-tray. Check after 25 min – insert a toothpick in the centre of the cake. The toothpick should come out clean.

If not, bake more. My cake took around 35 min to bake.

When done, take the cake out of the oven and let it cool down for another 10-15 min. Carefully take the cake out of the baking form and cut into pieces.

You are ready. Enjoy.

Hugs❤️

Priyanka

Khasta kachori

Khasta kachori reminds me of those childhood shopping trips. Almost every month we went shopping for home. And every month we got a treat – khasta kachori and aaloo sabzee (potato curry). And it is absolute yum.

Ingredients:

1. 4 cups of maida (all purpose flour)

2. 1/2 cup of molten desi ghee

3. Around 3/4 cup of water

4. Salt around 1 tsp

5. Around 3/4 cup of dhuli moong daal soaked in water for 2 hours

6. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

7. Coriander seeds – crushed slightly – 1 tsp

8. Fennel seeds – 1 tsp

9. Grated ginger – 1 tbsp

10. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

11. Dried coriander powder – 2 tsp

12. Garam masala – 1 tsp

13. Dried mango powder – 1 tsp

14. Salt – to taste

15. Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

16. Oil

17. Besan (gram flour) – 4-5 tbsp

Method:

Mix the ghee, and 1 tsp salt in the all purpose flour. Mix well. Now slowly start adding the water and fold the flour into a soft smooth flour. Keep aside covered with a dry kitchen towel.

For the filling, remove all water from the soaked lentils. Put this into a blender and crush very lightly just so the lentil grains break a bit. Don’t overgrind lest it would become a paste. Now heat around 2 tbsp of oil in a pan. Add the Cumin seeds, lightly crushed coriander seeds and fennel seeds (also lightly crushed if you like). Let the seeds crackle and reduce the flame. Now add the red chilli powder, dried coriander powder and turmeric. Stir for a few seconds. Add in the ginger and again stir fry for a few seconds. Now add in the besan and roast on low flame until the besan (gram flour) starts to give a nice aroma.

Now add the crushed lentils and mix well. Finally add the dried mango and mix well. Take the mixture out in an open plate and let it cool down.

We are now ready with the ingredients and can start to roll the kachoris. It takes quite a while to fry these so I normally also start to heat the oil for frying. Keep this at a low-medium flame. All frying must be done at low medium flame otherwise the kachoris will not be crispy.

While the oil is heating, take the dough – approx. the size of a tennis ball – and make a small ball. Roll this boll into a circle of around 2-3 inch diameter. Now take this in your hand and fill in a little ball (approx. 1 inch diameter) of the lentil mixture. Pinch and close the dough onto the lentil ball. Now roll this again gently to upto 2 inch diameter. And that’s it the kachori is ready to be fried.

My frying pan is big enough to accomodate around 4-5 of such kachoris. So I fried these in small batches of 4-5. The oil must be on low-medium heat. Better to be on lower heat side. Now gently slide the kachoris into the oil. No need to turn them immediately and you can let them fry. The kachoris will slowly start to float in the oil. Now gently turn them upside down in the oil. They will puff up. Fry on low heat until lightly brown.

When ready take them out on a napkin to remove excess oil.

Ready to be eaten 🙂 🤗

You can eat this with potato curry or simply chutney.

Masala rawa idli

Idli literally meaning rice cakes are a staple food in the Southern parts of my country of birth India. Traditionally these are made using a fermented mixture of rice and lentils. I however make them using coarse semolina (mota rawa/sooji). My husband is fond of spicy food because he comes from the northern state of Punjab. I come from Uttar Pradesh and do not have a very spicy palate.

So we normally find a middle ground. And this is our version of masala rawa idli or spiced semolina puff cakes.

Ingredients:

1 cup coarse semolina

1.5 table spoon cooking oil

1 tsp Mustard seeds (raee)

1 tsp Chana daal

2 tsp grated ginger

1 chopped green chilli

2 table spoons of chopped coriander

6-7 curry leaves

1 tsp salt

1 cup yoghurt

1 cup of water

A pinch of aoesofotida (heeng)

Method:

Take oil in a pan and heat it on medium low flame. Add the Mustard seeds and aoesofotida. When the seeds start to crackle add the Chana daal and toast until the daal starts to look just slight brown. (See how the lentils have become brown). Slightly less done lentils are fine but if they get burnt it is better to start over again.

Now add the ginger, chili and curry leaves. Stir for a minute.

(apology for a poor picture there)

Now add in the rawa or semolina and roast it nicely until it becomes slight brown and gives a nice aroma.

Again the rawa must not be burnt. So when it starts to look brown then take it off the flame. Now add the coriander, salt and yoghurt, and water.

Let this mix stand for at least 15 min. The mixture will rise and you will most likely need to add another two or three table spoons of water depending on if you will make the idli in a microwave oven or on flame. Normally the microwave Method, which is what I use, need a slightly more water.

The final mixture has a smooth consistency and would be almost as fluid as a smoothie.

Now time to pour the mix into the idli cooker and microwave for 10 min on 800 watts. You might need to adjust this as per your equipment.

The final result should be well cooked puffed up cakes.

Happy cooking!

Mangold recipe

Another super food is Mangold leaves. Widely used in mediterranian cooking, this leaf is not so common in the northern parts of India where I come from. Nonetheless I gave it a try and totally loved the final result. Simple, easy and quick – this is the best recipe to prepare right after work and ensure a healthy diet.

Ingredients:

4-5 mangold leaves with stems washed and chopped into small pieces

4 Potatoes chopped into small vibes

2-3 table spoon cooking oil

1/2 tsp Cumin seeds

1/2 tsp Mustard seeds

2-3 whole black pepper

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp dried coriander powder

1/2 tsp black salt

Preparation:

Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin and mustard. Also add the black pepper. Give it a few seconds till they start to crack and add potatoes. Fry on medium-high flame and when the potatoes start to become a bit brown add in the chopped leaves. Stir and let it cook for a minute. Now stir again, add all the spices and mix well. Cover with a lid and cook until the potatoes and the stems of the Mangold are completely cooked.

Serve hot with rice or chapati.

Amaranth recipe

Amaranth is called the superfood of India. It is a very nutritious plant with a lot of protein, iron and calcium. And I have loving friends who have grown amaranth and then gifted some to me. I made a simple recipe today and I loved it. And so did my better half which usually is an indication that the dish is indeed tasty.

Ingredients:

Amaranth – around 400 gm finely chopped

Onions – 2 medium finely chopped

Potatoes – 4 chopped into thin (approx 0.5 cm thickness) pieces

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp

Dried coriander powder – 1/2 tsp

Salt – to taste

Garam masala – 1/4 tsp

Fresh lime juice – 2 tbsp

Preparation (cooking time: 30 min):

Take 2-3 tbsp cooking oil in a skillet and add the Cumin and Mustard seeds. When they have cracked, add Onions and a punch of Salt. Fry until onions start to turn brown. At this stage add Potatoes and let it fry together with the onions. When the potato wedges start to become brown, add the amaranth leaves and stir well. Now add in all the spices. The leaves will start to lose water and start to wrap around the Potatoes. Fry for around 5 min. Finally add the lemon juice. Mix well and fry for another minute.

And we are ready.

Karela (bitter gourd)


Bitter gourd or Karela (in Hindi) is a very special vegetable. It is very bitter and almost impalatable if eaten without proper cooking technique. But everything that is difficult to eat is usually bursting with health benefits. And so is karela. It is supposed to be very good for cleaning the blood, which leads to beautiful skin, better blood circulation and digestion and even used by diabetic patients. 

As a kid I always used to run away from karela. Somehow even the slight bitter taste would be enough repelling for me. Now when I am all grown up, I love this. Though I have to admit my sister loves this and have loved it ever since she was a kid. So I guess it is kid-to-kid that something would be appealing or not.

Ingredients:

6-7 bottle gourd each around 4-5 inches long

4-5 medium sized onion chopped into broad long slices

Fennel seeds – 1 tsp

Cumin seeds – 1/3rd tsp

Oil – 7-8 tbsp

Turmeric (Haldi) – 1/3rd tsp

Red chili powder – 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Dried coriander powder – 1 tsp

Lemon juice – 1 tbsp

Method:

To get the bitterness out of the gourd it is important to treat it with salt. Here is how I do it. I first scratch off the pointy skin of the gourds and cut them into thin round slices. Don’t wash them yet. If the seeds are yellow or brown I normally remove them. Now I add 3-4 tsp salt and mix it well with the sliced bitter gourd. Then I transfer them to a bowl and cover with a lid. I left them standing for 6 hours though I don’t think 6 hours are really needed. 3 hours would do as well.

After 6 hours:

Wash the salt-treated bitter gourd with fresh water and throw away all the juices that the bitter gourd has oozed out by this time. Strain away all the water and keep the washed gourd aside.

Take oil in a skillet and let it heat up. When hot add cumin and fennel seeds. Let them crackle for 1 min and then add the onions. Fry the onions until they are slightly translucent. Now add the washed gourd pieces into the onions and let them fry together with the onions until the onions are all brown and the gourd is nicely cooked.

At this stage add all the remaining spices and mix well. 

Finally add the fresh lemon juice and mix again.

The vegetable is ready and usually goes well with roti or paranthas. 

This is really a healthy treat for the body!