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Monday, June 27, 2011

Pineapple Shrimp Peppers


Using Shrimps in any dish brings out the unique flavor of the sea. I love prawns (popular name for shrimp in India) any way cooked. This recipe I made for community contest, I am part of and there were some rules to cook only specific ingredients. It was a little challenging but I remembered this recipe which was shown sometime back on TV. And trust me you will keep licking your fingers... and will definitely go for a second serving!!! Great as appetizers for parties or serve it with jasmine rice to make a seafood entree. Either way you chose this Pineapple Shrimp Peppers won't let you down.

Adapted from one of the great Indian cooking show 'Khana Khazana' by Sanjeev Kapoor Ji, made some minute changes to adjust to my taste palette.


Pineapple Shrimp Peppers

Source: Adapted from Khana Khazna (SK)
Cuisine: Indian Cuisine
Prep time:15 mins Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 4 people

2 cups Pineapple, medium chopped
1 1/2 c red and yellow pepper, roughly chopped
2 big cloves of garlic, finely chopped
20-22 large shrimps(optional for vegetarians)
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
freshly ground black pepper
salt as per taste
1/2 cup water
2 tsp olive oil
Non stick pan for cooking
chopped parsley for garnish

  • First heat oil in a nonstick pan, add garlic when oil is little warm. Saute garlic till it changes color.
  • To this add pineapple pieces and mix well, add salt and saute on medium high flame for a minute. Then add sugar and 1/2 cup water, cover with a lid and let it cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Now add the crushed red pepper flakes, paprika powder and garam masala powder and cook until all the water evaporates
  • Time to add the shrimps and red pepper and yellow pepper, you can use any colored pepper(capsicum) like green or orange too! Mix all the ingredients well and add freshly powdered black pepper and check for salt.
  • This dish is ready in no time, Serve it with your favorite rice item or like an appetizer.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spicy Salmon in Tangy Tamarind and Tomato sauce


Those were my initial days when I used to search for Indian fish in American waters....errr!!@#.. american fish market or better to put it in words asian fish market on american soil... popularly called as chinese market by "desis" in USA. I was confused by their english names and appearance, Fish in India are little smaller in size here everything is Jumbo size.. I was so tired of searching our Indian fish there too!! .... Then one of my neighbour in India who lives in Connecticut now, listed me some of the English names for Indian fishes... I quickly noted it down in my notepad and every now and then go back to that list, sigh!!!

My friend 'J' is a malyali and you know they are crazy for fish.... he invited us for lunch during our initial days, when I was still learning and exploring other side of this world, country, people and food. That day apart from all the chicken, mutton dishes he made some "Bangada fry" on his grill. I was so happy to see Indian fish on the menu... he laughed and said " arre main tereko list deta hoon, apana desi machi ko idhar doosre naam se bulate hain, don't worry have your food first karke" Amongst that list he told me that Salmon is very good for our heart and has Omega-3, his wife is a doctor!! From then onwards I started having our desi as well as videshi fishes here and enjoying all the flavor and tastes.

Salmon is one of my favorite fish and cooking with this fish is darn easy. This is a very simple and easy way to kick in some spices into the salmon and get the tangy-ness from the tamarind and tomato sauce. You can use any fish except shark!


Spicy Salmon in Tangy Tamarind and Tomato sauce

Source: My Own
Cuisine: Andhra Cuisine
Prep time:15 mins Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 4 people

1 pound/½ kg of salmon fillets (you can use any fish)
3 medium tomatoes, yields 2 cups when chopped

small marble size tamarind (roughly 1 tablespoon)
1 red onion, chopped
3-4 green chillies, chopped
2 tsp freshly crushed garlic and ginger

7-8 curry leaves
½ t turmeric powder
2 T of olive oil/any cooking oil
for marinating the fish
¼ t freshly crushed black pepper
¼ t cumin powder
1 t chilli powder/paprika(adjust according to your spice level)

1 t salt
for garnish
¼ C chopped cilantro
¼ C chopped green onions

  • Soak the tamarind in ¼ cup hot water for 15 minutes and pulp it out, yields approximately two tablespoon full of the pulp
  • Cut the fish fillet into 2 inches rectangle pieces, add some sea salt and let it sit for 5 mins. Then rinse the salmon fillets and add the rest of the ingredients under 'Marinating' and keep it aside.
  • Chop the onions, tomatoes, green chillies. Heat oil in a kadai or medium sauce pan. Turn the heat to medium and add chopped onion, green chillies and fry till onions are translucent. Add little salt to sweat the onions. Then add curry leaves, crushed garlic and ginger, you can use ginger garlic paste as well. fry for a minute and add chopped tomatoes, mix well and let the tomatoes cook approx 10 mins or so.
  • Once the tomatoes turn out mushy add the turmeric powder and little salt and half cup water and tamarind pulp. Cover with a lid and let it cook further.
  • Once the sauce starts to bubble its time to add the fish. Add the marinated salmon and turn the flame to medium low or simmer, cover and let the fish cook in the sauce for about another 10 minutes.
  • Check for spice and salt, add if needed! Garnish it with chopped cilantro and chopped green onions and serve it with hot steamed rice, Yummm--oo!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Simply Rasam ~ Ootti Charu


Ootti Charu means Rasam without dal. This one is from my mother's kitchen, another easy, very simple and flavorful recipe to make in a jiff. My Mom used to make it especially as an accompaniment when ever she cooked non-veg dishes like mutton curry, chicken kura or fish curry. She says it helps in clearing your gut after all the spicy, masala food you had and helps with digestion too! Like the way Chinese have tea after their meal!

So, if you are judging that this Ootti charu is only for those who eat non-vegetarian food!! then you are wrong, it goes very well with vegan curries too! I love making it with most of the aloo(potato) curries, vegetable fry's like okra, tindora (dondkaya aka ivy gourd), cauliflower, cabbage, berakaya (ridge gourd), green bananas and kakarakaya (bitter gourd).

This simply rasam has the fewest ingredients yet it is so tasty and full of flavor. The most important ingredient is tamarind and water; we add green chillies, tomatoes and onions, little turmeric and chilli powder with a dash of pepper and cumin powder and little tempering does it all. Here is the step by step recipe in detail.


Simply Rasam

Source: My Mother
Cuisine: Andhra Cuisine
Prep time:10 mins Cooking time: 30 mins
Serves: 6-8 people

Tamarind (ping pong size ball or roughly ¼ Cup)
6 cups of water
1 medium tomato
few strands of sliced onions (two pinches)
3-4 green chillies, cut lengthwise
½ t turmeric powder
½ t chilli powder/paprika
¼ t freshly crushed black pepper
¼ t cumin powder
salt as required
for tempering/tadka/popu:
2 T cooking oil
½ t mustard seeds/rai
½ t cumin seeds/jeera
½ t split blackgram dal/urad/minapa pappu
7-8 curry leaves
1 T finely chopped onions
2-3 freshly crushed garlic
¼ C chopped cilantro

  • Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of hot water. After 10 mins pulp the tamarind in the hot water, strain if needed (I use as it is!).
  • Take a medium pot, add this tamarind pulp mixture, 5 cups of water, squeeze tomatoes with clean hands into it(first roughly chop tomato to four pieces and then squeeze). Add green chillies, sliced onions, turmeric powder, chilli powder, crushed pepper, cumin powder and salt.
  • Cook on a medium flame and let it come to a boil, then reduce it to medium low flame and let the flavors simmer a little bit for 10-15 mins or till the green chillies/onions look cooked and not raw. Turn off the flame and temper it!
  • Lastly temper it with seasoning by heating oil in a kadai/round bottom pan add the mustard, cumin seeds, urad dal/black gram dal; wait till the urad dal turns golden brown in color. Then add finely chopped onions and crushed garlic, once the onions turn golden in color add curry leaves and chopped cilantro for 30 seconds or a minute. Immediately pour this tadka/seasoning into Rasam and close with lid. Otti Charu aka Rasam is ready!
  • Serve it with your favorite curry, vegetable fry's and hot steamy rice.
  • This is also best when you have sore throat or cold. Clears your throat and makes you feel good.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

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Mushroom Spinach Quiche


This quiche recipe is another great way to eat veggies as kids love the unique taste when u add cream/whole milk to it along with eggs. I used Egglands best eggs for this recipe. This is a high protein diet for your morning breakfast to boost your metabolism. Perfect for breakfast, brunch as well as for lunch too! If you want to read more about quiche and how the recipe evolved over the years, This post "Formula One" by Momadeon [Coleen] has given very detailed info. I loved the way she writes and kept on reading her blog for a long time until I realize I have to publish this post!!


Mushroom Spinach Quiche

Source: My own tried and tested
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins
Servings: 8

6 large eggs, beaten
1½ C whole milk/heavy cream
Salt and pepper as per your taste
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
1 T olive oil
½ t garlic powder or 1 pod freshly crushed garlic (minced)
1 t paprika powder
½ t cumin powder
1 pound baby bella mushroom, sliced
1½ C shredded cheddar cheese
1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust, or my homemade pie crust

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F[190°C].
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan. Add crushed garlic or garlic powder and the sliced baby bella mushrooms, you can use white button mushrooms too. Saute till the mushrooms gives out all the moisture. Then add paprika powder and cumin powder to it. Saute for another minute and remove from heat.
  • Combine the eggs, milk/cream, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender.
  • Layer the spinach, sauted mushroom, and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the egg mixture on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set. Cut into 8 wedges.
  • Leftovers can be stored in freezer for up to 3 months. Refrigerate the leftover and heat in a microwave for 30 secs when you wanna eat it.
Some variations can be done like
  • Use Half & Half instead of cream, or add sour cream instead
  • Use lighter white cheeses or goat cheeses in conjunction with your cheddar
  • Instead of 6 eggs, try 3 whole eggs and 5 egg whites.
  • For additional flavor sprinkle some freshly grated nutmeg to get that unique taste.
  • Add extra or different vegetables: Asparagus, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sun Dried Tomatoes

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Easy Homemade Pie Crust


This is a very quick and easy recipe for making pie crust more suitable for savory pies and quiche and not meant for dessert or sweet pies... Very simple and easy. I adapted from and made few changes as per the reviews written below in the link. If you are making a sweet dish reduce the salt to half teaspoon. And above all it is homemade.

Recipe source:
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Servings: 8

1½ C All purpose flour (Maida)
2 t sugar
1 t salt
½ C olive oil/vegetable oil
2 T milk

  • Preheat oven to 400°F (200 °C).
  • Place all ingredients in 9 inch pie pan or a large bowl. Stir together with clean hands.
  • For even layer without bumps, try adding little more milk and olive oil, just eyeball (andaza) it while mixing the flour mixture.
  • Pat mixture into bottom and up the sides of the pie pan. I did not have a pie pan so used round cake pan instead. You can use steel plate or thali which has at least 1.5- 2 inches depth. Poke holes in bottom and side of crust.
  • Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light brown. Use as directed in favorite pie recipe.

I made this pie crust for mushroom spinach quiche as seen in the above picture. Recipe for the quiche will follow soon.....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mashed Avocado and Cottage cheese


Like I promised in my previous post, presenting here avocado recipe for infants/babies and toddler. We knew that Avocados are so good for everyone but they are helpful for babies too! The fatty acids and unsaturated fats helps in their brain development. Cottage cheese is another source of protein for your little bean! So when combined together; this recipe is an excellent source of calcium, protein and omega3's for the growing needs of your baby.

I introduced avocado to my little one around 10th month, I know it was late; but I was in India (for 4months), so after coming back I tried giving her, I was a bit apprehensive at first, little skeptical if she will like the taste. But she surprised me!! she wanted the whole bowl of freshly mashed avocado!! I was so happy that she enjoyed eating it and eagerly waiting/looking for spoon after spoon. Eventually I tried to give her all sorts of baby food and one day I brought home this book from library called "Everything about Baby food" and it has all the fabulous recipes using cottage cheese. I tried all the different tastes for my little one to see if her taste buds were working perfectly, she ate scrumptiously what ever new recipe I made for her! She was/is a happy child when ever I fed her avocado with mashed cottage cheese. Even today when I was trying to take the pictures for this post my LO was spooning some from the dish. The recipe is very simple and no cooking involved!!

Always use fresh ingredients while feeding your baby. When feeding cheese's or milk products try to buy pasteurized and organic products which are very safe for your baby. As your baby gets older, introduce more variety into her diet by experimenting with these other types of cottage cheese.

You can see in the picture, Anshika is trying to grab a spoonful of her favorite mashed avocado

Mashed Avocado with Cottage Cheese

Servings :2 (depends on the age of your baby)
1/2 ripe avocado
¼ cup organic cottage cheese (I used small curd cottage cheese for this recipe)
pinch of salt and crushed black pepper (optional, if you have not introduced these to your baby/infant)

  • Cut the avocado into half, peel and fork mash it on a plate with cottage cheese and continue fork mashing until the mixture is at desired consistency. Add salt and pepper sparingly.
  • If you feel the mixture is still too chunky, try fork-mashing in some yogurt, breast-milk, or formula.
  • Serve it fresh. If there are any leftovers you can eat that with whole grain bread, used this mixture like a spread or just eat plain.
Check my previous post "Everything about Avocados for Infants, babies and toddlers" for more info on avocados and how to store the other half of avocado.

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