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Spaghetti Aglio Olio


Spaghetti served with a sauce made of garlic and red chilly flakes sautéed in olive oil



Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is a traditional Italian pasta dish, literally meaning 'spaghetti with garlic and oil'. Spaghetti is served with a sauce made of garlic and dried red chilly flakes lightly sautéed in olive oil. Parsley and Parmesan cheese can be added as garnish, though traditionally cheese is not added.

This classic Italian dish is one of the simplest and quickest pasta recipes and calls for 3 simple ingredients for the sauce - olive oil, garlic, red chilly flakes - which are always available in our kitchen. Use good quality olive oil and fresh garlic to give good flavor to the pasta. Also do not over heat the garlic and chilli, which will make them bitter.


Ingredients:

Spaghetti - 250 gms
Garlic - 6 to 8 cloves, thinly sliced
Red chilly flakes - 1 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Parsley flakes - to garnish

Method:

1. Cook the spaghetti al dente, in a pot of salted boiling water. Drain and keep aside.

2. Heat oil and add garlic. Sauté the garlic in low heat till its turns golden brown. Then add red chilly flakes and sauté for 30 seconds.

3. Add the spaghetti in the garlic-chilli oil and toss well. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serve hot.


Notes:

1. You can season the pasta with pepper powder.

2. Adding parsley at the end is optional.

3. Cooking time for spaghetti may vary, so cook as per the instructions in the packet.
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Khandvi ~ Gujarati Farzan


Savory snack made with gram flour and buttermilk, flavored with tempering of mustard, green chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida, coconut and coriander leaves



Khandvi is a popular tea time snack of Gujarat. It is made using besan / chickpea flour and sour curd. To give flavor to khandvi, it is tempered with mustard, sesame, hing, green chilly, curry leaves and garnished with coconut and coriander leaves.

Making khandvi is not an easy job and requires lots of patience and attention. One of the tricky part of making khandvi is cooking the batter to the right consistency. The batter should be lump free and smooth. Second thing is to spread the batter as quickly as possible into thin layer. The batter becomes thicker as its cools down, so it will become difficult to spread. And lastly, roll out the delicate layers gently else they will crumble.

Had it been not for this month's SNC challenge, I may not have tried this delicious snack. Many of you must be aware of the popular and interesting event - South Vs North Challenge - brainchild of Divya Pramil of You Too Can Cook. Every month, a Southern and Northern team member challenge each other teams with a recipe from their region. For the month of April, Hetal of Gujarati Zaika has challenged the Southern Team with this delicious Gujarati Farzan - Khandvi.


Ingredients:

Besan - 1 cup
Sour curd - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 ½ cup
Sugar - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste

Tempering/Tadka:
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Sesame seeds - 1 tsp
Green chilly - 1 or 2, chopped
Curry leaves -  1 sprig
Asafoetida/Hing - 1 tsp
Whole dry red chilly - 1

For Garnish:
Coconut - 2 tbsp, grated
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp, finely chopped

Preparation:

1. Arrange some steel plates to spread the batter. You can also spread the batter on the counter top. Brush the plates with little oil.

Method:

1. In a bowl add besan, curd, water, sugar, turmeric powder, salt and mix together to make a lump free thin and smooth batter.

2. Transfer the batter to a non-stick pan and cook on medium heat. Keep stirring continuously for 8-10 minutes or till batter becomes thick.

3. Spread a teaspoon of batter on a plate. Try to roll it after few seconds. If you are able to roll it, then batter is cooked. If not, cook for another 2-3 minutes.

4. Once the batter has reached the desired consistency, immediately remove and spread on the greased plates evenly and as thin as possible using the back of spoon or spatula.

5. After 2-3 minutes, cut the besan layer into 1 or 2 inch strips. Then roll each strip tightly and place them on the serving dish.

6. Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds. When it pops, add hing, red chilly, sesame, green chilly and curry leaves. Saute them for few seconds and pour over the rolls.

7. Garnish with grated coconut and coriander leaves.

Serve hot.


Notes:

1. Strain the batter using a sieve to avoid any lumps.

2. Keep greased steel plates ready. You can use steel, ceramic or porcelain plates. You can also spread the batter on aluminum foil.

3. You can make this one day ahead and keep them in the refrigerator. Warm them in microwave before serving.

4. You can add a paste of ginger and green chilly to the batter to give more flavor.




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Rava Upma


South Indian porridge with roasted semolina, onion, green chillies and tempered with mustard, lentils/dals and curry leaves



Rava upma is one of the easiest South Indian breakfast dish, which is even cooked for a quick dinner! But many people are not a fan of upma. That included me too till sometime back. Upma should be properly cooked, spiced and tempered, otherwise it would turn to be bland. Upma can also be made with wheat rava and semiya/vermicelli. Now a days many other grains like cous cous, quinoa are being used to make upma.

One of the main keys to make non-lumpy and non-sticky rava upma is roasting the rava which makes sure that the upma does not become sticky. You can relish upma with sugar or a banana. You can also serve with coconut chutney and sambar. I like to have my upma with some sugar, pickle and a cup of hot coffee.


Ingredients:

Rava/Semolina - 1 cup
Onion - 1 big, chopped
Green chilly - 2 to 3, chopped
Ginger - 1" piece, grated
Curry leaves - few
Water - 2 ½ cup
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tsp (optional)
Coriander leaves - to garnish

Tempering/Tadka:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Whole dry red chillies - 2
Asafoetida/Hing - 1/4 tsp

Method:

1. Dry roast the rava till its turns lightly brown and set aside.

2. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it pops add urad dal, asafoetida and red chillies. Fry till the dal turns golden.

3. Add onions, green chillies, ginger and curry leaves. Fry till onions become soft.

4. Add salt, water and bring to boil. Then reduce the flame to low and slowly add the roasted rava and mix well, making sure there are no lumps.

5. Close and cook in low flame for 5 minutes or till all the water is absorbed. Then add ghee, mix well and stir for another 2-3 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot.


Notes:

1. If you want a bit gooey upma, then add 3 cups of water.

2. I add tomatoes at times, which gives a tangy taste to the upma. Alternatively, you can squeeze some lemon at the end.

3. Adding ghee at the end gives a nice flavor to upma.

4. You can also add in some vegetables like peas, carrots, beans etc after frying the onions.

5. You may add some chana dal also while tempering.


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Carrot Ginger Juice


Fresh carrot juice with a hint of ginger flavor



Drinking a fruit or vegetable juice every day helps in being active and remain fresh throughout the day. Other added benefits of drinking fruit or vegetable juice is that it supplies your body with all required minerals and vitamins, improves appetite, helps in proper circulation of blood and keeps skin glowing.

One of the healthiest choices of juice is carrots. I got a packet of juicing carrots, planning to make some fresh carrot juice with them. Then I thought to add in some ginger to give a spicy tinge. Ginger helps in reducing nausea, aids in digestion and provides heartburn relief.

Carrot juice is known for beta carotene which gives the body vitamin A, B, E and many minerals. The health benefits of drinking carrot juice are good eyesight, bones and teeth, skin and hair as well as helping in cancer prevention.

Pour some ice and enjoy this fresh healthy juice!


Ingredients:

Carrots - 3 medium sized
Ginger - 1 inch
Water - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 2 tsp

Method:

1.  Peel the carrots and ginger and cut into small pieces. Add carrots, ginger and 1/4 cup water in a blender and blend.

2. Then add rest of water, sugar and blend again well. Strain the juice. Pour into a glass and serve immediately.


Notes:

1. The amount of sugar depends on the sweetness of the carrots.

2. You can also add in lemon juice to give a bit of tangy taste.



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Beetroot Thoran | Beetroot Stir Fry


Stir fry with grated beetroot, garlic, small onions and coconut, tempered with lentils/dals and curry leaves



Thoran is an essential part of South Indian meal. Be it sambar, rasam or other kootan, a vegetable stir fry aka thoran is must. You can use a mix of few veggies or just one to make thoran. Give a tadka of mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves, stir fry the vegetable and add in some freshly grated coconut at the end - thoran done, simple!

I have posted few thoran recipes in my blog. Today's thoran recipe is with a colorful veggie - beetroot. Beetroot is rich in vitamins, contains potassium, magnesium and iron and helps in reducing blood pressure. Its has many other health benefits, so its good to include beets in your meal. You can either grate the beetroot or chop them up into small cubes. But I always felt that grated ones taste better. Enjoy this simple thoran with rice and sambar.

Ingredients:

Beetroot - 2 big, grated
Small onion - 3 to 4
Garlic - 4 to 5
Green chillies - 2 to 3
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste

Tempering/Tadka:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida/Hing - 1/2 tsp
Whole dry red chillies - 2, halved
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

Method:

1. Roughly chop the small onions, garlic and green chillies. Crush them in a mortar and pestle. You can also coarsely grind them.

2. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it pops, add urad dal, hing, red chillies and curry leaves. Fry till dal turns golden.

3. Add the crushed onion-garlic-chilli and fry for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add beetroot, turmeric powder, salt and mix well. Cover and cook in medium flame till the beetroot is done.

5. Add coconut and saute for another 1-2 minutes.

Serve hot.



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Instant Mango Pickle


Instant pickle with raw mango seasoned with asafoetida, roasted & powdered fenugreek and tempered in gingelly oil



One can't think of summer without mangoes. Its the season when you get mangoes in abundance  Another thing linked to mangoes is pickle. Different types of pickle are made using the variety of mangoes available during this season.

I'm sure this you can find this instant mango pickle in almost all households during the mango season. Its a simple and instant pickle that can be made in minutes. The roasted and powdered fenugreek enhances the tastes of the pickle. It stays fresh for 3-4 days when refrigerated. Enjoy this yummy tangy pickle with curd rice!


Ingredients:

Raw mango - 1
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds/Venthiyam - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste

Tempering/Tadka:
Gingelly oil - 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Asafoetida/Hing - 1/4 tsp

Method:

1. In a pan, dry roast the fenugreek seeds and powder them using a mortar and pestle.

2. Chop the mangoes into small pieces. Add salt, red chilly powder and fenugreek powder. Mix well.

3. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it pops, add hing and curry leaves and pour over the pickle. Mix well.


Notes:

1. Adjust red chilly powder according to your taste.

2. Use less sour mangoes for the pickle.

3. Refrigerate and use within 3-4 days.
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Chavli Amti | Black Eyed Peas Curry


 Maharashtrian delicacy made from black eyes chickpeas cooked in onion-tomato and coconut-spices masala



Chavli Amti is a famous Maharashtrian dish. It is prepared from black eyes peas known as lobia in Hindi, chavli or chawli in Marathi, karamani/thatta payar in Tamil. Cooked black eyes peas are simmered in a gravy of onion, tomato, coconut and a blend of fresh aromatic spices. I had a packet of this peas and was wondering how to use it up other than making sundal. I googled for recipes and found this amti recipe in many blogs. I finalized on this recipe from Tickling Palates. Serve this curry hot with a bowl of rice or any Indian flat bread.


Ingredients:

Black eyed peas / Karamani – 1 cup
Onion – 1 big, finely chopped
Tomato – 1 big, finely chopped
Curry powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Asafoetida / Hing – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste

For the masala:
Onion – 1 small, roughly chopped
Channa dal – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Whole coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Whole dry red chillies – 4 to 5
Fenugreek – 1/2 tsp
Grated coconut – 1/4 cup
Oil – 1/2 tbsp

Method:

1. Soak black eyed peas for overnight. Discard the water used for soaking and using fresh water and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. The peas should be cooked but firm and not mushy.

2. Heat oil in pan and add all the ingredients for the masala paste. Fry them till they are lightly roasted on medium flame. When cooled down, grind to a smooth paste using little water and keep aside.

3. Heat a pan with oil. Pop mustard seeds and add hing, curry leaves and turmeric powder. Then add onions and cook till the onion turns translucent and soft.

4. Now add the tomatoes, sugar and cook till it becomes mushy. Add curry powder, ground masala paste, salt and fry for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add the cooked peas along with the water and bring to boil. Add little water if needed and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot Chawlichi Amti with rice, roti or bread.


Notes:

1. You can use garam masala or even sambar powder instead of curry powder.
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Parippu Rasam | Paruppu Rasam


South Indian soup with lentils, tomato, tamarind juice and rasam powder



Rasam is traditional South Indian preparation, served as a second course with hot rice. Rasam has a tangy and unique flavor due to the addition of tamarind, tomatoes, lemon and other seasonings like rasam powder. By varying the ingredients, different kinds of rasam can be prepared like Tomato Rasam, Lemon Rasam, Ginger Rasam, Jeera-Milagu Rasam, Garlic Rasam... etc. Tempering the ingredients in ghee boosts the flavor of the rasam.

Parippu Rasam or Dal Rasam is a simple and quick rasam prepared with cooked toor dal, tomatoes, rasam powder, tamarind. I always prefer a potato fry to go with any kind of rasam. Serve the rasam hot with rice and thoran/poriyal of your choice.


Ingredients:

Tomatoes - 2 medium, quartered
Pigeon peas/Toor dal - 1/4 cup
Rasam powder - 2 tsp
Tamarind - 1 small lemon size ball
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Jaggery - a small piece
Salt - to taste
Coriander leaves - to garnish

Tempering/Tadka:
Ghee - 2 tsp
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Jeera/Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies - 1, halved
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few

Method:

1. Pressure cook the pigeon peas/toor dal with 1/2 cup water and a pinch of turmeric powder. Add 1 cup water to dal and mash well.

2. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup water and extract the pulp.

3. In a vessel, add tamarind water, tomato, rasam powder, red chilly powder, jaggery and salt. Mix well and bring to boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes.

4. Add the cooked dal to the rasam and simmer till the rasam becomes frothy. Remove from heat.

5. In a tadka pan, heat ghee. Add mustard seeds and when it splutters add jeera, red chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves and pour into the rasam. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Server hot with rice.




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Tomato Parsley Penne Pasta


Penne pasta cooked in tomato and parsley sauce



When it comes to Italian cuisine, the first thing that pops in my mind is pizza and pasta! Pasta can be put together quickly and is quite a satisfying and filling meal. You won't ever get bored of pasta as you have endless combinations to try with different varieties of pasta. Coming to today's recipe, the star ingredients are tomato and parsley. The tangy and sweet taste from tomatoes balanced well with the heat from the red chilly flakes and pepper powder. You can try this with other variety of pasta instead of penne. And if you don't have parsley, no problem, skip it and make a tomato penne pasta and enjoy!


Ingredients:

Penne pasta - 200 gms
Onion - 1 small, finely chopped
Garlic - 2, finely chopped
Tomato - 2 large, diced
Parsley leaves - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Red chilly flakes - 1 tsp
Crushed pepper powder - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Parmesan cheese - 2 tbsp, grated
Salt - to taste

Method:

1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions given in the packet. Drain and keep aside.

2. Heat oil and add onions. Fry till they become soft. Add garlic and fry again for 2 minutes.

3. Now add the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Cook uncovered till the tomatoes have become mushy and the sauce begins to thicken.

4. Now add parsley, red chilly flakes, pepper powder, salt and mix well. Add the cooked pasta and combine well. Garnish with cheese.

Serve hot.


Notes:

1. Use can use parsley flakes instead of fresh parsley.

2. You can puree the tomatoes instead of dicing them.

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Paneer Tawa Masala


Tawa fried paneer/cottage cheese marinated in kasuri methi & chaat masala, cooked in a gravy of tomato and spices



Any dish with paneer is heaven in the mouth. When I saw this curry in Radhika's space, I had immediately bookmarked it. The pictures and lovely bright red color of the gravy were too tempting. This curry has become one of my favorites and I make this often now. Try this out and I'm sure all of you will fall in love with this paneer tawa masala.

The shallow fried paneer were a treat to have by itself. The chat masala and dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi gave a beautiful flavor to the paneer. The tanginess from the tomatoes took the taste to another level. The spices - shah jeera and ajwain - added in more flavor. If you want a nice red color, use Kashmiri chilly powder. Unfortunately I didn't have with me, so used the normal chilly powder. Serve this delectable curry hot with roti or naan.


Ingredients:

Onion - 2 medium, finely chopped
Tomato - 2 medium, pureed
Green chilly - 2, finely chopped
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Cumin/ Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds/ Shah jeera - 1/4 tsp
Ajwain - 1/8 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Fresh cream - 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 tbsp + 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Coriander leaves - to garnish

For marination:
Paneer - 250 gms
Chat masala - 1 tsp
Kasoori methi - 1 tbsp, crushed
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch

Method:

1. In a bowl, add chat masala, kasoori methi, red chilly powder, salt and mix. To this add paneer, oil and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Heat 1 tbsp oil and add jeera, shah jeera and ajwain. When they crackle, add onions, pinch of salt and saute till the onions turn brown around the edges.

3. Add green chillies, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder and fry till the raw smell goes.

4. Then add the tomato puree and mix well. Cover and cook till oil is separated and gravy becomes little thick.

5. Meanwhile, heat a griddle or tawa and add 2 tsp oil. Shallow fry the paneer till it turns golden on all sides.

6. Now add 1/2 cup water, garam masala, salt to the gravy and bring to boil. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes.

7. Then add the cream, paneer and mix well. Simmer for 4-5 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot.


Notes:

1. If the gravy becomes too thick, you can add 1/4 cup milk to make it to the desired consistency.

2. Use country tomatoes to give tangy flavor to the gravy.

3. You can also grill the paneer instead of shallow frying.
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Dates and Chocolate Chips Bar


Energy bar with dates, chocolate, cocoa and nuts


The Groovy Gourmets, which was a closed group till now, is open to all from this season. Groovy gourmets are a group of wonderful bloggers who will cook each month with a particular theme from a certain blog or cookbook. This month's theme is Vegan and we have to cook from Roxana's Home Baking.

Roxana has a lovely space with lots of baked goodies. I choose this chocolate chip lara bars as its easy and no cooking is involved. The bars are really healthy as it got the goodness of dates and nuts. The bars were really yummy and all were over in no time!


Ingredients:

Dried pitted dates - 2 cups
Unsweetened cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
Chocolate chips - 1/3 cup
Walnuts - 1/4 cup
Almonds - 1/4 cup
Salt - a small pinch

Method:

1. Line a small baking pan or tray with parchment paper.

2. Add the walnuts and almonds in a blender or food processor and grind into a coarse powder. Remove and pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

3. Now add the dates and grind until paste forms. Add the nuts, chocolate chips, cocoa, salt and grind everything till it is well combined.

4. Spread this mixture evenly into the lined pan. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set.

5. When set, carefully remove from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Slice into your desired shape.


Notes:

1. Store them in an airtight container and refrigerate.

2. The mixture should come together as a ball after grinding.

3. While grinding, give your blender rest every 2-3 minutes and blend.




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Apple Banana Smoothie


Fruit smoothie with apple and banana blended with yogurt and milk



I'm not a tea or coffee person. I'd rather prefer to have milkshake or smoothie than a cup of tea or coffee. Smoothies are a great way to get extra fruits into our diets and gives you more fiber and nutrients than juice does. Fruits smoothies can be an easy way to nourish your body with essential nutrients. Blending together different fruits with milk or yogurt is easier to enjoy than having them separately. Smoothies get you off to a good start in the morning as they are super energizing and refreshing.


Bananas are a favorite choice for smoothies recipes as they give creamy texture to the smoothie base and their flavor complements a variety of fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, apples and more. Moreover, apple and banana have numerous health benefits which makes this smoothie a perfect healthy breakfast choice! Or enjoy this smoothie on the warm summer days.


Ingredients:

Apple - 1 medium
Banana - 1 medium
Cold milk - 1 cup
Yogurt - 2/3 cup
Sugar/Honey - 2 tsp

Method:

1. Peel the apple, remove the core and chop into small pieces. Peel and chop the banana.

2. In a blender add apple, banana, 1/2 cup milk, yogurt, sugar/honey and blend well to a smooth consistency.

3. Add the rest of the milk and blend again.

Serve chilled.


Check out Banana Milkshake and Mixed Fruit Smoothie.

Notes:

1. If you want a thicker smoothie, then reduce the quantity of milk.

2. Use plain non-fat yogurt as base for smoothies. Greek yogurt will result in a thicker smoothie.



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