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Spiced Carrot Ginger Soup


I'm not so keen on soups and generally stay away from them. I should rather say I was, because lately I'm trying out different soups and quite liking them! With the temperatures dropping, there is something comforting about slurping a bowl of warm soup with some bread. Today I'm sharing a healthy and delicately spiced soup with carrot and ginger.

This hearty low-fat soup is packed full of vitamins and antioxidants, and helps boosts your immune system. The soup has a creamy texture even without the adding any cream or milk. The addition of lime or lemon juice at the end elevates the flavors of the soup. This spiced carrot ginger soup is very light and along with bread will make a filling meal. Let's see how to make this scrumptious soup.

CARROT GINGER SOUP RECIPE

{ Mildly spiced carrot and ginger soup }
Serves 3


Ingredients:

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 ½-inch ginger piece, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp red chilly powder
3 cups vegetable stock / water
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 tsp lime / lemon juice

Method:

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil and butter. Add bay leaf and saute for 30 seconds. Then add onion, garlic, celery and fry till they turn soft.

2. Add ginger, carrot and fry for 3-4 minutes. Then add turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder and fry for another 1-2 minutes.

3. Now add 2 cups of vegetable stock or water and bring to boil. Once it comes to boil, simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes or until carrots are soft.

4. Remove the bay leaf. Using a stick blender, blend the soup until it becomes smooth. Or transfer to blender and blend in batches until smooth.

5. Return the soup to the heat and add remaining stock, salt and pepper. Simmer the soup to the desired consistency. Lastly stir in the lime juice.

Notes and Tips
  • The soup is little spicy from the ginger, red chilly powder and pepper. If you want less spice, reduce the ginger and skip the red chilly powder.
  • If the soup is too thick, add more stock or water and adjust to your desired consistency. 
  • You can skip the butter and use olive oil instead.
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Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta


Pasta is something  I prefer to make for dinner on a lazy weeknight. We prefer simple pastas with no sauce rather than one with loaded with a creamy sauce. One of our most favorite pasta, and one I make often is spaghetti aglio olio. It's a simple pasta recipe flavored with a garlic chilly oil. Today's pasta recipe is a simple one similar to that with juicy oven roasted cherry tomatoes.

This is a very easy pasta recipe with just a few ingredients. While the tomatoes are getting roasted, you can cook the pasta and bring everything together in 5 minutes. Roasting tomatoes concentrates their sweetness and brings out more flavor. The juices from the roasted tomatoes acts as the sauce for the pasta. Enjoy the pasta hot with some generous amount of grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.

ROASTED CHERRY TOMATO PASTA RECIPE

{ Spaghetti with oven roasted cherry tomatoes, garlic and basil }
Serves 2


Ingredients:

250 gm spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp red chilly flakes
Few basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated cheese

To roast:
250 gm cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 190 °C | 375 °F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil.

2. In a bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes, olive oil, mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft.

3. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the instructions given in the packet. Rinse under cold water and drain water completely.

4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add garlic. Fry till they start to change color. Add the red chilly flakes and fry for a minute.

5. Add the pasta, roasted tomatoes along with the oil and juices, basil, salt and pepper. 

6. Mix everything gently and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Serve with grated cheese.

Notes and Tips
  • I have used spaghetti here, but you can use angel hair or fettuccine. Since there is not much sauce, thin pasta works well.
  • Instead of mixed herbs, you can use just any one herb or even fresh herbs.
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Baby Corn Masala


Baby corn masala is a classic North Indian style dish with crunchy baby corns in a creamy gravy made of onion, tomatoes, cashews, spices, milk and cream. This gravy tastes quite similar to a makhani gravy but I have not added any butter in the masala. This is quite a rich curry and goes well with roti / phulka, naan / kulcha, jeera rice and mildly spiced pulao like peas pulao or sweet corn pulao.

I added some red capsicum in the masala which adds a natural sweetness and together with tomato paste gives a nice color to the gravy. I love adding kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) to any gravy as it enhances the flavor. If you are bored of serving paneer butter masala or shahi paneer to guests, try this baby corn masala for a change. As it's very rich and creamy, I love to have with phulkas / roti or jeera rice. Let's see how to make this delicious baby corn curry.

BABY CORN MASALA RECIPE

{ Baby corn in a rich and creamy onion-tomato-spices gravy }
Serves 3-4


Ingredients:

15- 20 baby corn
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
¼ turmeric powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp red chilly powder
½ tsp garam masala
1 tbsp kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves
¼ cup milk
1 tbsp fresh cream (optional)
Salt to taste

To grind:
2 tsp oil
1 big onion, chopped
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 big tomato, chopped
½ tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup chopped red capsicum
4-5 cashews

Method:

1. In a sauce pan add water, little salt and bring to boil. Add the baby corn and cook over medium heat until it becomes soft, about 5-8 minutes.

2. Drain the water and wash in cold water. Trim the ends and cut into 1-inch long pieces. Set aside.

3. In a kadai, heat 2 tsp oil and add onion. Fry till onion turns translucent. Then add ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes.

4. Add capsicum, tomato and fry till the tomatoes have softened. Cool and grind with cashews to a smooth paste.

5. In the same kadai, heat 1 tbsp oil and add cumin seeds. When it sizzles add the ground paste and cook covered in medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder, garam masala, kasuri methi and fry for 2-3 minutes.

7. Add the baby corn, salt and mix. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add milk, cream and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

Serving Suggestion ~ Roti / naan, jeera rice or pulao.

Notes and Tips
  • Instead of cashews, you can use almonds or melon seeds.
  • If you don't have tomato paste, use 3 medium tomatoes instead 2 big tomatoes.
  • If the gravy is too thick, add little warm water or more milk.
  • Do not over cook the baby corn, it should be just tender and retain some of the crunch.
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Capsicum Kadalai Paruppu Kootu


Kootu is a healthy South Indian preparation made with lentils, vegetables and ground coconut paste. It is a light mildly spiced and tastes best when served with rasam or any kuzhambu. Kootu can be made with any gourd, squash and greens, with either moong dal (passi paruppu) or chana dal (kadalai paruppu).

Capsicum is not typically used to make a kootu, but when vegetables commonly used to make kootu are not available, why not try with the ones available. I prepared this kootu following my chow chow kadalai paruppu kootu. Use green capsicum as it has a slight bitter flavor and not sweet like yellow or red capsicum. The kootu pairs well with rasam or vatha kuzhambu. Or you could just serve with plain rice and pickle. It also goes well with chapathi or phulka too.


CAPSICUM KOOTU RECIPE

{ South Indian stew with green bell pepper, bengal gram and ground coconut }
Serves 2


Ingredients:

1 large green capsicum, cut into small cubes
¼ cup kadalai paruppu / chana dal
Pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste

To grind:
⅓ cup grated coconut
1-2 dry red chillies
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera

To temper:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 dry red chilly
Few curry leaves

Method:

1. Wash the dal well and add turmeric powder and water just enough to immerse it. Pressure cook for 2 whistles or until its soft.

2. Grind the coconut, red chillies and jeera to a smooth and thick paste by adding little water.

3. In a kadai, add 1 tsp oil and add the capsicum. Fry the capsicum for 2 minutes, then add ¼ cup water and cook till its soft.

4. Add the ground paste and bring to to boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then add the cooked dal, salt, little water and mix well.

5. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. In a pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it crackles, add red chilly and curry leaves. Pour over the kootu.

Serving Suggestion ~ Rice and rasam / kuzhambu.

Notes and Tips
  • You can also cook the paruppu / dal in open pan. Soak for atleast 1 hour and add enough water. Once it ¾th done, add the capsicum.
  • The paruppu / dal should not be mushy, it should retain shape and cooked just soft. 
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No Churn Pomegranate Rose Ice Cream


After trying the linguine pasta with lemon, garlic and thyme mushrooms from Nigella's site, I have become a great fan of her cooking. So while I was browsing through her site, I saw this pomegranate ice cream recipe in her site and it looked gorgeous with the pale pink color. The recipe was so simple and you don't even need an ice cream maker to churn out this ice cream. 

Luckily pomegranates are in season now and I got good juicy ones to make this ice cream. Apart from juicing the pomegranates, making this ice cream is a breeze. I added rose water to incorporate another flavor into the ice cream. The ice cream turned out creamy and delicious with light and delicate flavors of pomegranate and rose water. 

This is a special post as it's my 300th post on the blog. A big thank you to my family, friends, co-bloggers and readers who have constantly supported and encouraged me with positive feedback. Now let's see how to make this no-churn pomegranate rose ice cream.


POMEGRANATE ROSE ICE CREAM RECIPE

{ No-churn ice cream with pomegranate juice and rose water }
Makes 0.75 litre


Ingredients:

2 pomegranates
1 ½ cup icing sugar / powdered sugar
1 ½ tbsp lime juice
500 ml double cream / heavy cream
1 tsp rose water
Few pomegranates seeds

Method:

1. Cut the pomegranate and de-seed it removing any white pith or rinds. Place the seeds in a blender and pulse a few times to release the juice.

2. Using a mesh strainer to strain the pomegranate juice into a large bowl. Using the back of a spoon, push the pulp and extract as much juice as possible.

3. Add lime juice, sugar and whisk till the sugar dissolves. Add the cream and keep whisking until soft peaks form.

4. Add the rose water and whisk until the cream forms a stiff peak. Transfer to an airtight container and smooth the ice cream.

5. Freeze for at-least 4 to 5 hours or overnight. Serve with pomegranate seeds.

Notes and Tips
  • You can use 200 ml pomegranate juice instead of juicing pomegranates.
  • Make sure all the ingredients are cold.
  • Keep the mixing bowl and container in the freezer for at-least 2 hours.
  • Do not add more rose water as it will overpower the pomegranate taste.
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Tomato Mint Chutney | Thakkali Pudhina Chutney


As a South Indian, dosa and idli are our staple food for breakfast and dinner. So whenever I make idli or dosa, I'm in dilemma as to what chutney to make. We get bored of the eating the same coconut chutney or tomato chutney everyday, so I like to try out different chutney recipes. Check out my other chutney recipes for idli and dosa.

Tomato / thakkali chutney is one of the usual chutneys I make for idli or dosa. This time when I made tomato chutney, I added a handful of mint leaves. The addition of mint leaves lends a fresh and unique flavor to this chutney and the mint taste was not too overpowering. This chutney not only goes well with idli and dosa, but can be served with other tiffins items and paratha as well. So next time try this tomato mint combination and I'm sure you will love it!!!

THAKKALI PUDHINA CHUTNEY RECIPE

{ South Indian style chutney with tomato and mint leaves }
Serves 3


Ingredients:

2 tsp sesame (gingelly) oil / nallennai
4 whole dry red chillies
½ tbsp urad dal / ulutham paruppu / black gram
1 big onion, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
½ cup mint leaves, tightly packed
¼ tsp tamarind paste
Salt to taste

To temper:
2 tsp sesame (gingelly) oil / nallennai
1 tsp mustard seeds

Method:

1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add red chillies, urad dal and fry till dal turns golden. Transfer to a plate.

2. In the same pan, add remaining 1 tsp oil. Add onion and saute till it turns translucent. Then add tomato and fry till it becomes soft.

3. Add the mint leaves, tamarind paste and fry for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.

4. Add everything to a mixie / blender along with salt and grind until smooth, without adding any water.

5. Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds. When it splutters pour over the chutney.

Serving Suggestion ~ Idli/dosa or paratha.

Notes and Tips
  • You can use any oil but I recommend sesame oil as it lends a nice flavor.
  • If you want less spice, add 2 or 3 red chillies only.
Read More >>

Broccoli Fried Rice


Fried rice along with manchurian is perhaps one of the most popular Indo-Chinese recipes ordered in restaurants. Making a restaurant style fried at home is quite easy and healthier too. The key to a good fried rice is perfectly cooked rice with separate grains, the right amount of sauces and spices and the right heat to give a smoky flavor. If you have your veggies chopped and rice cooked, fried rice can be prepared in 10-15 minutes. Check out my Chinese style veg fried rice recipe.

Today's recipe is a variation of the regular veg fried with broccoli as the star. Broccoli, as you all know, has numerous health benefits and fried rice being the favorite of many is one way to incorporate it in our diet. Here I have added other vegetables too to make it look colorful and healthy, but you can make it with just broccoli and it tastes equally good. Serve with any manchurian or a simple tomato sauce or ketchup.

BROCCOLI FRIED RICE RECIPE

{ Indo-Chinese style fried rice with broccoli and mixed veggies }
Serves 3


Ingredients:

1 cup basmati rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
½ tbsp ginger, finely chopped
¼ cup spring onion (white), finely chopped
1 medium broccoli, cut into small florets
1 small carrot, cut into long strips
1 small capsicum, cut into strips
¼ cup cabbage, shredded
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp green chilly sauce
1 tsp pepper powder
½ tsp white vinegar
¼ cup spring onion (green), finely chopped

Method:

1.  Wash the rice and soak for 30 minutes. Pressure cook the rice with 1 ½ cups water. Spread rice on a plate, add 2 tsp olive oil and gently fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.

2. Heat oil in wok/pan over medium-high flame. Add garlic, ginger, white part of spring onion and saute for 1-2 minutes.

3. Then add broccoli and saute for 2-3 minutes. Then add carrot, capsicum cabbage and saute for 1-2 minutes.

4. Add soy sauce, green chilly sauce, pepper powder and saute for a minute. Then add rice, salt and gently mix everything till well combined.

5. Add vinegar and green part of spring onion. Stir for a minute and remove from heat.

Serving Suggestion ~ Manchurian / tomato sauce.

Notes and Tips
  • Do not overcook the vegetables, they should retain some of the crunchiness.
  • You can make this fried rice just with broccoli too. Addition of other vegetables are optional.
Read More >>

Kerala Style Egg Puffs


Ready-made puff pastry really comes handy when you want to make quick sweet or savory snacks. One of the popular items you can find in any Kerala bakeries are freshly baked puffs. And my all-time favorite is their egg puffs. Now if you can get hold of ready-made puff pastry sheets, making these bakery style puffs at home is very easy.

These egg puffs are so quick to make and does not need much ingredients -  just boiled eggs and a simple mixture of onion and spices. If you don't eat eggs, then check out this recipe for vegetable puffs. They make a great evening for kids and adults alike. Enjoy these homemade egg puffs with tomato sauce or ketchup and hot tea!!!


KERALA EGG PUFFS RECIPE

{  Puff pastry stuffed with a spicy onion mixture and boiled eggs }
Makes 4


Ingredients:

2 hard-boiled eggs, halved
2 tsp oil
2 medium onion, sliced
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
½ inch ginger, grated
1 sprig curry leaves, chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp kashmiri red chilly powder
¼ tsp pepper powder
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp tomato sauce
Salt to taste
1 puff pastry sheet
1 egg, beaten for brushing

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C | 400 °F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

2. Keep the pastry sheet outside for 30 minutes or thaw them as per the instructions in the packet.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add onion, green chillies, garlic, ginger and curry leaves. Fry till the onion turns golden brown.

4. Add tomato sauce, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder, pepper powder, garam masala, salt and fry for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

5. Cut the pastry sheet into 4 square pieces. Spoon the onion mixture on the middle of each pastry square and place a halved egg on it.

6. Fold all the corners of the pastry to the center on top of the egg and slightly press to seal the top and sides. Gently brush with egg wash.

7. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until it turns golden brown.

Serving Suggestion ~ Tomato sauce / ketchup.

Notes and Tips
  • If pastry sheet has become too soft to handle, refrigerate till firmer, approximately 10 minutes.
  • Instead of egg wash, you can also brush with milk.
  • Adjust the spices according to your preferences.
Read More >>

Murungakkai Poricha Kuzhambu


Poricha kuzhambu is a South Indian curry with vegetables, lentils and ground paste with coconut and spices. What makes it different from the sambar and pitlai is the ground masala with coconut, pepper and urad dal (black gram). Poricha kuzhambu can be made with a medley of vegetables or a single one, sometimes with the addition of a legume. Typically using vegetables are brinjal, drumstick, different gourds, raw banana etc.

My all time favorite one is the made with kathrikkai (brinjal) and next to that is I love this one with murungakkai / drumsticks. I don't get fresh drumsticks here, so I have used frozen ones and didn't feel any difference in taste. The kuzhambu has lentils and coconut, so a simple stir-fry without coconut goes well with it. Or you can serve with some pickle or papad. I served the kuzhambu with rice and grated carrot stir-fry without coconut. Let's see how to make this healthy kuzhambu.


MURUNGAKKAI PORICHA KUZHAMBU RECIPE

{ Drumsticks cooked in a tangy gravy with lentils, ground coconut and spices}
Serves 3


Ingredients:

3-4 murungakkai / drumstick, cut into 3-inch pieces
¼ cup toor dal / pigeon peas
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp tamarind paste / gooseberry sized tamarind
Salt to taste

To roast and grind:
1 tsp oil
1 tbsp urad dal
¼ tsp peppercorns
¼ tsp asafoetida / hing
2-3 dried red chillies
3 tbsp grated coconut
Few curry leaves

To temper:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
Few curry leaves

Method:

1. Pressure cook the dal with ½ cup water and a pinch of turmeric powder. Mash the dal well and set aside.

2. In a small pan heat oil and add urad dal, peppercorn, asafoetida and red chillies. Fry till the urad dal turns red.

3. Then add coconut, curry leaves and fry for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Grind to a smooth paste adding little water.

4. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup warm water. Extract the juice. Add the murungakkai, turmeric powder, salt to the tamarind juice and bring to boil.

5. Let it boil for about 8-10 minutes or until the murungakkai is cooked and the raw smell of tamarind goes.

6. Add the ground paste and combine well. Add ½ cup water and bring this to boil. Once it starts to boil add the dal and combine well.

7. Bring it to boil again and let it boil for 2 minutes. Then lower the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

8. Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds. Once it splutters add curry leaves and pour over the kuzhambu.

Serving Suggestion ~ Rice, stir-fry, papad and pickle.

Notes and Tips
  • If using frozen drumsticks, not need to thaw them. Just wash them once and add.
  • The kuzhambu becomes thick as it boils, so add water and adjust the consistency. 
  • The kuzhmabu is slightly spicy, so adjust the spices according to your preferences.
Read More >>