Saturday, December 22, 2012

Linguini in pesto with srimp

There is something about Italian cuisine that makes seemingly simple dishes taste better than an elaborate dish that would have taken hours to put together. The simple and fresh ingredients blended with amazing herbs and the best cheeses to give a flavor that's hard to not like. I've seen the purists of spicy food lap up Italian fare like second nature.

While in Milan I saw that Italians are fiercely proud of their cuisine, it was impossible to find any other cuisine in the central dumo da piazza area other than italian. The soft raviolis, creamy risottos, delectable pastas and of course authentic pizzas.

At home every once we find ourselves craving for the simplicity of italian fare and thanks to the availability of  fresh ingredients its no longer laborious to attempt a new flavor once in a while.

Pesto is one of the relatively lesser common pasta sauce with marinara, arrabiata and alfredo being well known. Its deceptively simple to make given the flavor it has. Linguini is a lesser known cousin of spaghetti with only exception being square edges as opposed to round. This dish is best served with parmesan cheese although any other sharp hard cheese should work well too.

Home made pesto-
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 table spoons pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil

200 gm linguini
200 gm shrimp/big prawns

4 table spoons parmesan cheese
Freshly crushed pepper
Red chilli flakes

1. Boil linguini as per the package instructions. As soon as its done drain and wash with clod water and set aside in a colander

2. Blend all ingredients under 'home made pesto' and set aside

3. Heat a small pan to high temperature, drizzle a few drops of olive oil. Saute the prawns, on both sides till they tun pink. If they let out water, drain it and continue cooking the prawns.

3. In a big flat pan, add about 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the pesto followed by the linguini, also add any of the shrimp water.

4. Toss is well with a pair of pasta tongs  or two spoons. Add salt, oregano.redchilli flakes

5. Add the prawns and toss till mixed well in the seasoning

6. Move to serving plate, add crushed black pepper and grate some parmesan

7. Have it with a side of bread

Note : Italian ingredients were sourced from Godrej Nature's Basket in Bangalore

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hotel style coconut chutney

Bangalore's very own version of fast food are it’s multiple darshini hotels that are located with as much frequency as probably ATM machines. Usually suffixed with a sagar these eateries have patrons thronging the place all 7 days be it a quick breakfast before work or a filling lunch. We love hopping down for a weekend brunch and walloping down idlys, dosas or upma, sometimes we are hungry enough to finish the 2 foot long paper masala dosa. The worthy accompanist to these goodies is the humble coconut chutney, which is essentially a cold paste of coconut chillies and spices that perfectly offsets the piping hot entrees. The chutney however is diluted with water in order to make the economics work , an insider’s tip is to always ask for ‘Ghatt’ or solid chutney in order to receive a more condensed version.
South Indian ‘tiffins’ as these dishes are commonly called are a staple in any Bangalore home, they are easy to make, light and not messy, what’s not to love. But I always found my chutney falling short in the taste factor; I craved to have the same concoction at home as I had had in the darshinis. And then came the blogosphere to the rescue. I found this great recipe on Sailu’s food.
1 cup fresh coconut, grated
¼ cup Phutane (toasted gram nuts)
2 green chillies
1 small onion, chopped
½ inch ginger
A few sprigs of coriander
Juice of a lime
2 table spoons tamarind extract

Tempering /baghar
1 table spoon oil
1 tsp rye (mustard seeds)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp urad dal
3-4 dry redchillies

In the small attachment of a grinder add all the ingredients under chutney and grind to a paste, add water only if required. I like my chutney slightly coarse. Remove the chutney into a serving dish.

In a round metal spoon (used for dals) or a tempering vessel add oil and warm it over open flame, and the ingredients in the following order – urad dal, rye, cumin, dry red chillies. Fry for a min and add to the chutney.
Paper Masala Dosa

Friday, September 7, 2012

Khagina- hyderabadi style scrambled eggs

Just like making dal every region in India (and Pakistan) has a unique way of making scrambled eggs. The goan akhuri or the north Indian bhurji are but minor variants of breaking a few eggs into a fried medley of onions and your favorite spices.
And thus, there is also a hyderabadi style of scrambling eggs. The focus here is to fry onions and ginger garlic ad done for a salan or curry and cooking eggs in it. I like this simple version with not too many additions, but you may add green chillies or coriander to enhance the taste.

3 medium sized onions sliced
1 1/2 table spoons ginger garlic paste
4 eggs
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
Salt to taste
5 table spoons oil

Slice the onions lengthwise and separate the slices with your hand.

Heat oil in a wide flat cooking vessel.

Add the sliced onions and fry for 3 mins. Sprinkle salt and fry for another 5 mins. Keep stirring as you fry.

Next add the chilli and turmeric.

Add a dash of water and fry for 2 mins. Then add the ginger garlic paste.

It should take 5-7 mins and about 2 more rounds of water splash and frying for the onions to be done. The raw smell should be gone and the onions must be brownish in color and soft but not mushy in texture.

Spread the onions on the base of the vessel and break the eggs into it. Do not beat, blend or stir the eggs in any way for the first 5-7 mins.

When the yolk seems to be cooked to about 70 %, gently break the egg bits. Unlike scrambled eggs the eggs here need to be more or less intact in big pieces and the yolk and white separate.

Enjoy with roti for a weekend breakfast.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Roasted bell pepper and carrot soup

I've never liked the rainy season. As a kid, July was always the month when school would be in full swing after the initial excitement of a new class and the fresh smell of new textbooks would have faded. The roads would be muddy and the scooters and autorickshaws would splash the muddy waters around. Noses would stuff up and vicks would be your best friend. There were some upsides to the whole thing as well, like playing in the rain with little paper boats, running inside the house, taking a warm shower and sipping on some hot soup as your hair dries. A few days back the nasty Bangalore non monsoon (because it does not really rain)took a toll on the husband and me, unleashing its most dreaded adverse effect, the viral infection on us. This hearty carrot soup was like a blessing as we struggled to stay up.

2 medium carrots
1/2 a red bell pepper
1/2 an onion, chopped
5-6 pods of garlic
500 ml of chicken /lamb /veggie stock
3 big basil leaves
olive oil for frying onions
salt and pepper to taste

To garnish
grated cheese
freshly ground pepper
a dash of balsamic vinegar

Grate and chop carrots into 1/2 inch cubesRoast a bell pepper on open flame till the skin turns black, let it cool. Remove the skin and seeds and chop.

In a cooking vessel, fry the onions till translucent, crush the garlic and add. Add the carrots and stir for a minute.

Add the stock and basil and let it cook till the carrots soften. Add bell pepper right at the end.

Remove the basil leaves from the pot and blend the soup with a hand blender.Add salt and pepper.Serve with a dash of balsamic vinegar, crushed pepper and cheese This is my entry for the Lets Cook Soup Event.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chocolate chip cookies

My mother in law loves cookies, so this mother's day I decided to surprise her with this simple recipe. These cookies are chewy and highly addictive, we finished up the whole batch over tea!

  • 2 ½ cups plus all-purpose flour/maida
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 12 tablesppoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips ( you can break a frozen chocolate bar into bits too)

Melt the butter in the microwave. In a mixing bowl add the butter along with the sugars.
Add eggs, yolks and vanilla and blend by using a hand blender for about 10-20 secs

Add the dry ingredients slowly. Fold in the mixture. Add the chips and continue folding.

Roll the mixture in to a ball, it is not required to knead the dough.

Cover with cling wrap and place the mixture in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 150. Place the mixture as lemon sized balls on a flat baking tray greased with butter. The dough balls are more like blobs which need not have a smooth outer surface. Be sure to place them about 1 inch apart.
Let the cookies bake for 10-13 mins, they should seem slightly underdone as they continue to cook for a few mins more once out of the oven.

Cool for 20 mins and enjoy.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Kathi rolls

Ramadan Kareem. The holy month is here, a time for prayer, reflection and togetherness. As much feasting as fasting. Every Ramadan I struggle not just with waking up early for seheri but also with trying to come up with non fried decent tasting iftar snacks. Over the years the husband and I have become increasingly averse to the idea of deep frying anything, though we enjoy the occasional samosa or vada, it's not some thing that we naturally gravitate towards in our cooking. So kathi rolls which are essentially a meat / veggie filled spicy wrap makes for a great snack post a whole day of fasting. My husband is a total sandwich and wrap guy who loves rolling his roti sabzi also into a wrap before eating, so this dish won his approval hands down.

Kathi rolls probably originated in Calcutta, but are hugely popular here in Bangalore as well. The most common fillings are chicken, paneer and egg. It can be modified as per one's personal taste, I like egg in mine and since my hubby hates raw onion, I stir fry the onions before adding them.

The kathi roll essentially consists of the roti, any maida based roti works well, roomali or the frozen layered malaysian paratha. I made my own roti using equal parts of maida and atta, they turned out to be quite soft and not rubbery.Next, comes the filling as I said it's per your taste. You can do kebabs or stir fried meat. Can use bite size pieces or shreds.Onions laced with a nice spicy green chutney finishes this tasty snack quite well.


I did not measure out the quantity of flour but just used 1:1 wheat flour and maida/ all purpose flour
salt to taste
1 table spoon oil and water for kneading
3 - 4 table spoons of ajwain (caron seeds) and zeera(cumin seeds) coarsely ground in a mortar and pestle

3-4 eggs beaten with a teaspoon of salt added

1/2 kg boneless chicken cut into nbite size pieces
1 table spoon ginger and garlic paste
a pinch of turnericpowder
1 teaspoon dhanya (coriander seeds)powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
juice of a lemon
oil for frying
salt to taste

1 1/2 cup of onion, bell peppers and carrots cut into strips
5-6 green chillies slit and deseeded

Green chutney
I do not have exact proportions but these are the ingredients that I use for making the chutney- mint leaves , coriander/cilantro leaves, garlic,green chillies, salt, lemon juice and zeera powder

The prep can the done a little in advance and ideally the rolls should be put together just before eating, street food style. I, however made these 2-3 hours in advance and rolled them in aluminum foil and they stayed pretty good. The key is to use a roti that does not become soggy or rubbery, the filling should have no water and the chutney should be added at end just before serving.


Add oil in a pan and add the ginger garlic paste stir for a minute or two
Add the chicken and cook for 5-7 mins.
Add the spice powders and cook till the water from the chicken dries up
Add the lemon juice.

In a separate pan stir fry the veggie strips and green chillies with salt red chilli powder.


Knead the dough with oil and water until its soft.
Take small lemon sized ball, flatten, add the zeera ajwain mix on in and roll it chapati style.

Make the green chutney by blending all the ingredients in a hand mixer.

Take a flat non stick pan, add oil and about 3-4 table spoons of egg (equivalent to that of a small omlette) once the sides of the egg curl up and it begins to cook place the roti on it. Turn the roti in the pan around to ensure that the egg coats the roti and is completely cooked.

Place the roti on a flat surface and put in the filling meat and veggies.

Pour in the chutney.

Roll and seal with a toothpick.

I've never taken part in a blog event, but I came across this ramadan food festival over at this blog while scouring for iftar recipes. I don't know how hyderabadi is my recipe but here goes my entry for the The Hyderabadi Ramadan Food Festival 2012.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tomato egg drop soup

I have this cookbook by Sanjeev Kapoor called "Khazana of healthy tasty recipes", that has a whole range of low cal healthy indian and 'fusion' dishes, from salads to desserts, in true Kapoor style.
Each recipe is followed by a small nutritional nugget which is guess is a must for such a book. But on a closer look I see that they mention some thing like 225 calories for a Mexican corn pie or 270 calories for a 400 gm spiced chicken bites, but where are the portion sizes !!! I looked through the whole book but could not find any info on how many portions are included per recipe. Bad copy editing /quality check I guess.

In any case, I decided to try the tomato egg drop soup from the book a while back. I personally would not rate the end result very high, I guess bits of tomatoes with egg was not really my cup of tea or shall I say soup, but the husband loved it. So I guess its a personal preference.

Egg whites -2
Corn flour - 3 tblspoons
Vegetablre Stock or water - 4 cups
Tomatoes -3 medium
Onion - 1 medium
Garlic - 4 cloves
Ginger - 1 inch
Fresh corainder leave -1/4 cup
Oil 1 tblspoon
Hot sauce / tomato ketchup - 4 tblspoons
salt - to taste
White pepper -to taste
White vinegar - 2 teaspoons

1) Beat egg whites lightly. Dissolve corn flour in 1/4 cup water / stock
2)Wash and chop tomatoes finely ( remove and discard the seeds ) Peel and chop the garlic ,ginger and coriander
3)In a saucepan , add oil and heat. Add ginger followed by garlic , after 30 secs add onion and let it saute till translucent
4) Add tomatoes and ketchup and let it cook for 3-4 mins
5) Add the stock / water. Add pepper and salt.
6) Add the the dissolved cornflour and cook till the soup thickens . Add vinegar after that.
7) Pour egg whites in a thin stream , breaking it up with a fork as it falls into the soup.
8) Serve hot immediately.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Beetroot Cutlets

I had no clue about the existence of beet root cutlets till I was in my grad school. Growing up in Hyderabad I don't think I ever came across or ate these red round snacks. Here in Bangalore, beetroots are abundantly available and I routinely include them in my everyday cooking. One afternoon I thought of the cutlets I had eaten years ago and decided to recreate the same. I scouted for a good recipe online but couldn't find one that suited my style of cooking. So I took inspiration from a few a created this one. Must say it turned out great and normally I'm not a big fan of fried snacks but left no time in savoring this batch of these roundies.



Beets -2 medium grated
Potato -2 medium boiled and mashed
Carrot - 1medium grated
Green chilli - 1-2 cut fine
Ginger - 1 " grated
Cilantro/ Coriander leaves- 1 tbsp chopped
Coriander powder- 2 tsps
Cumin powder -1/2 tsp
Garam masala -1 tsp
Chat masala -1 tsp
Amchur powder- 2-3 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil -1 tbsp + for deep frying
Bread crumbs -1/2 cup or as needed

1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan on medium heat and add in the asafoetida. Add the ginger and green chillies and saute them for a minute.

2. Add the carrots and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add in the potato and mix.Add all the masala powders.

3. Add the beets and cook for 5 minutes, add coriander leaves and the 2 tbsp corn starch (that helps in binding add more if needed so you are able to form a ball).

4. Take off the heat and let the mixture cool down. Take water and cornstarch and mix till no lumps. Take out bread crumbs on a plate. Take small amount of the cutlet mix and make into desired shape. Dip it in corn starch mix and roll it in bread crumbs. Repeat with all the cutlet mix. Arrange on a plate and refrigerate for 1/2 an hour.

5. Heat oil (make sure the oil is really hot else they will break apart) and deep fry the chops till golden brown on all sides.

6. Serve hot and eat as a snack or as a side with a meal. You can sprinkle chaat masala or amchur before serving too.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lamb Kofta Curry

Minced meat or kheema is a favorite amongst most meat eaters. There are numerous ways of cooking this chewy shred of meat but kofta, shaami or the hyderabadi shikampur remain popular. I had tasted meatballs (kofta both in the dry and the gravy form) but always considered the gravy version difficult to cook. I would fear that the balls would break resulting in a mushy inedible paste. The book "Hajra's recipes of life, for life", about which I blogged a while back had a simple and clear recipe that seemed fool proof , so I decided to give the kofta curry a shot.

The key to creating firm kofta I learned was the no water rule in the kofta making and the use of roasted gram dal that gives the required binding.

I followed the recipe to the T and have made this dish two time around, to achieve perfect results both times.


500 gms mutton minced ( kheema)
2tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
7-8 green chillies
5 almonds blanched
1/2 tsp garlic paste
2 medium onions finely chopped
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 pinch turmeric
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup husked bengal gram dal / chana dal roasted and powdered
1-2 tbsp yogurt (optional

2 medium onions finely chopped
2 medium potatoes quartered ( I skipped this)
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 medium tomatoes pureed
1 cut yogurt
Juice of a lime
few strands of saffron soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk


1. Wash the mince and squeeze out the water completely, by clenching handfuls in batches. This is really important to ensure that the koftas do not break.

2. Blend coriander leaves, green chillies, almonds, garlic paste, onions, chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala powder, salt in a food processor to make a paste, do not add water. Add a yogurt if too dry.

3. Add the mince mutton in to this mix and grind for a short turn only to ensure that its mixed with the paste.

4. Add the powdered gram and mix well

5. Make 2" balls and spread on a steel plate/platter

Gravy / Curry

1. Take a wide flat bottomed non stick cooking vessel. Add oil and fry the onions to a golden brown.

2. Add ginger and garlic when the onion is at the translucent stage and fry with a few sprinklings of water for 5 mins or so

3. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking till oil emerges from the sides

4. Add whisked yogurt gently and cook fo r 5 mins

5. Add some water and bring the gravy to boil. Place the meatballs gently carefully in the gravy , make sure they are well spaced, the gravy should just about be covering the balls. Cook on moderate heat without disturbing.

6. Add the lime juice and saffron and continue cooking to achieve the desired consistency.

7. Serve hot with naan or rice.