Thursday, August 30, 2007

7 bean and barley soup

We have this store called Sunflower near us. It's awesome in my books. They have the best vegetables and fruits and lot of unique organic and healthy stuff too. The one thing that I found unique ( which I haven't noticed in stores in NJ ) is that they have open groceries for lentils and flours, pasta, and what not. It's like a traditional Indian market, where they have jute bags full of goodies for you to pick the quantity you want.

They had these different kids of things for soups and stuff. Beans, Chili Mix, Vegetable stock powder and all. So I picked up the 7 bean and barley mix.

- I usually add elbow macaroni to my soups but this time I didn't add pasta to the soup. Instead I picked up some rice vermicelli from Asian store. What I did was this? Add some raw vermicelli in the soup bowl and pour hot soup on it. Wait for 30 seconds and the noodles will be perfectly cooked and it gives you time to cool the soup own. You don't want to burn your tongue:).

- You can also play with the kind of veggies you want. I usually add spinach and mushrooms too if it's just for me.


7 beans and barley mix - 1/2 cup soaked for 4 hours minimum in water
Onions - 1/4 cup diced small
Carrot - 2 chopped roughly into medium size pieces
Celery - 3 chopped roughly into small pieces
Green beans - 12 cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Vegetable Stock - 14 oz can
Water - 2 cups
Red pepper flakes - 1 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Garlic Powder - 1 tsp.
Olive Oil - 1 Tbsp.


Pressure cook the beans for up tp 2 whistles. If you do not have pressure cooker, soak the beans over night and cook them in a stock pot with enough salt.

Heat oil in a pot. Add chilli flakes and Garlic powder. Stir for 20 seconds. Add onions, carrot, celery and saute till soft with enough salt. Add the stock and water. Add the cooked beans and barley . Add green beans ( that way they are not too mushy). Cover and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with noodles.

If you are going to add spinach, do it close to turning the stove off. That way it stays bright green.

Zucchini Curry

I never used Zucchini in making Indian curries. I used it only for soups. So tonight I had to make a curry to go with the naans we bought from Trader Joe's. When I opened the fridge I found Zucchini and napa cabbage so I hit the Z.

- You don't have to peel the skin of the Z
- Before you dice them cut each piece into 4 halves and take the center part that looks like it has tiny seeds out. It's easy with a paring knife or even a steak knife.


Zucchini - 3 diced
Shallots - 1 cut length wise
Tomato - 1 small cut length wise
Garlic - 2 cloves chopped roughly
Coriander - leaves from 3 - 4 sprigs
Roasted Peanuts - 1/4
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric - pinch
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 + 2 tea spoons
Water - 1/2 cup


Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a pan. Add shallots and garlic and saute till slightly brown. DO not burn the garlic. Add coriander, turmeric, salt and the peanuts. Stir for 3 minutes. Turn the stove off. Add the tomatoes to this and cover with a lid and let it cool down. Once it's at a temperature where you can touch it with your hand without burning ;) grind it to a smooth paste.

Heat the 2 more teaspoons of oil in a pan. Add the zucchini and saute till the Z's start to form a light brown coat. Add salt enough for the veggies and stir for few minutes. Add red chilli powder and suate till the raw flavor of the chilli powder is lost. Add the ground peanut and shallot mixture to this. Add 1/2 cup of water, set the flame to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve with naans :).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Beans with Almonds

Mom and I are on a diet. Doctor told her she has to get her wight down a little. So I told her, I will be her personal chef and also be her partner, so she doesn't feel alone :).

She is a vegetarian. All these years she kept eating rice and stuff for lunch. So we cut down the rice. She now has organic whole wheat roti with curry and pappu(lentils). I also cut down the amount of oil I use in my cooking. Today I made steamed green beans with almonds ( I read that almonds are good to lower your cholesterol and have protein in them).


Green beans - 3 cups cut in 1/2 inch pieces
Almonds - 12 slivered
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp.
Senagapappu (Chana Dal) - 1 tsp.
Turmeric - Pinch
Red Chilli Flakes - 1 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp.


STeam the green beans till they are tender and set aside. Heat oil in a saute pan. Add mustard seeds, senagapappu, turmeric, red chilli flakes. Once mustard seeds start to splutter, add the almonds and saute for 30 seconds. Add green beans. Season with salt and cook for few minutes.

This actually tasted nice by itself:).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Random Inspiration

I went to Kitchen Classics this weekend. It's a store that carries all things related to cooking, baking and what not. I was like a kid in a candy store. I finally got my stainless steel cookie pan.

Prabu bought a sandwich maker a week before.

So what did we do together? He made sandwiches with qholw grain bread and plain omelette and I made a spread (chutney) to go with it with Pasilla peppers and tomatillos.

Cauliflower Curry or Cauliflower Pulusu

We had Saritha and Som for dinner last friday. Mom and I decided on Poori, Curry and salad. I made the Semi-Mexican salad and came up with a new gravy dish.Here is the recipe for it.

- I roasted Cauliflower because I am not a big fan of mushy cauliflower.
- Surprisingly this recipe doesn't have any onions, ginger or garlic.
- It might seem like a lot of ingredients but these are all staples of Indian cuisine and trust me this curry is worth all the ingredients.


Cauliflower - 3 cups of florets
Tomatoes - 1/2 cup chopped fine
Coconut - 1/2 cup grated ( you can use fresh or frozen)
Tamarind juice - 2 Tbsp.
Dried red Chillies - 3
Coriander Seeds - 1 tbsp.
Curry Leaves - 8
Fennel Seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 1tsp.
Inguva ( hing or asafoetida) - pinch
Salt - To taste
Turmeric - Pinch
Oil - As needed
Water - 1/2 cup


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix cauliflower, bit of oil, tad bit of salt in a bowl. Spread this on a cookie sheet or roasting pan and bake it in the oven for 15 minutes or until the florets are just tender. Keep aside.

Roast fennel, fenugreek, coriander seeds, red chillies. Grind this with coconut, tomatoes, salt, inguva, turmeric, curry leaves and tamarind juice.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the ground mixture and stir for few minutes. Add the cauliflower florets, water and cook covered for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for few minute still the gravy thickens.

tastes awesome with rice or poori.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Semi-Mexican Salad

I made this salad last night. Was a hit with my dad. I am specifically mentioning my dad because he hardly eats salads and when he does it's because he thinks he has no choice:). It's semi - Mexican because it has beans and taco seasoning :).

- you can add any kind of cooked beans you like.
- I used frozen corn that I microwaved for 2 minutes

Corn - 1 cup
Black beans - 1.5 cups or one 14 oz can washed and drained
Mango - 2cups finely diced
Cucumber - 1 seedless finely diced
Olives - chopped roughly ( optional)

For Dressing:
Lemon juice - 2 Tbsp.
Salt and pepper - as needed
Balsamic Vinegar - 1/2 tsp.
Taco Seasoning - 1.5 tsp. ( store bought)


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour on top of the salad right before serving.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Desert. Me. Nooo.

I never baked anything sweet in my life till I saw Ina Garten on food tv. I have been religiously making her cookies every time we finish them.

Today I made a Blueberry cobbler. Why would I do such a thing? because I found this super nice blog lady who showed me how super easy it is. Here is the recipe from the pioneer woman cooks. I didn't have blackberries so I used fresh blueberries instead and instead of one baking dish, I used the new ramekins I bought from Tuesday Morning. You know a girl's gotta justify her purchases once in a while.

Speaking of other food blogs, do check Ms.Jaden at Steamy Kitchen. Please enter at your own risk ;). No, not because she uses the word fart and boobs on her food blog but because she's got negative calorie cakes and other yummy goodies on her site. And I do love me some food porn ( get your brain out of gutter now).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Party Menu

This was our Anna Prasana luncheon menu.

- Punukulu ( deep fried fritters made with dosa batter, onions and green chillies)
- Whole wheat rotis
- Vangi Bath
- Panchkuti Dal with tomatillo
- Beans and edamame curry
- Potato Fry
- Gooseberry Chutney
- Plain Rice
- Curd Rice
- Mango Kesari

I will follow up with recipes soon :).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chicken Chalna or Salna

I don't know what the exact pronunciation or the correct spelling is but who cares. i made it and it was goood. I think I am getting rid of store bought garam masala from my spice rack and going with making my own spice blends :).

I was looking up some websites for Tamil Cuisine and came across this recipe. As usual, read the recipe and did my own thing :P. It came out gravyish and was good with bread and/ rice


Chicken - 1.5 lbs cubed
Onion - 1 large
Tomato - 1 small
Coconut Milk - 1 cup
lemon juice - 1 tsp
Ginger and garlic paste - 1 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1 Tbsp
Cloves - 5
Coriander Seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon Stick - 1 inch
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - pinch
Oil - as needed

Marinate the chicken with lemon juice, ginger and garlic paste and turmeric for an hour.

Mean while mince onion and tomato in a food processor.
Roast fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cloves and cinnamon in a skillet and grind to fine powder.

Heat oil in a deep skillet. Saute the onion and tomato mixture till oil starts to seperate. Add the ground masala, red chilli powder and salt. Saute for few more minutes and add coconut milk. Stir for few minutes and add chicken. Cover and cook till chicken is all the way cooked. Check for seasoning.

If you have a pressure cooker, make this whole curry in it and after you add the chicken, cover and pressure cook for one whistle. The chicken come sout much more soft when cooked in a pressure cooker.