Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mushroom Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of my favorites and I never seem to get my appetite filled with these. I am not sure if its becasue of the lightness of the dish or because it tastes so good..I can keep eating bowls of fried rice before I realize I am full...I often overeat and go "What is things made of?"..Sadly, I do the same thing when I make it!! Can't relate to this?? hmmn...Maybe its just me? 
So, I do try to make a lot of different varieties of fried rice each week..and mushrooms are sooo good for this because of the earthiness, the asian flavor, and the beautiful natural color it gives to the rice.. This version of mushroom fried rice combines mushrooms and celery without overpowering the dish with other veggies..
And thank god this is one of the rare lunch boxes my kids dont bring back home.. :) I am sure there are many moms here who can relate to this!! Come on!! Pls dont tell me your kids finish their lunch boxes! I'll be heart broken :P :)


Rice - 1 1/2 cups
Water - 2 1/4 cups
Red Onion - 1 large, thinly diced
Mushrooms, brown/white - 25-30, thinly sliced
Celery - 2 stalks, thinly sliced
Chilli-Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Olive Oil - 1-2 Tbsps
Pepper - 1 tsp (or to taste)
Salt, to taste

  1. Cook the rice in a rice cooker with the mentioned amount of water and a tsp of oil and salt. Let it cool and separate the cooked rice gently with a fork.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or kadai in a high flame and add onions and saute until golden. 
  3. Add mushrooms, celery and salt and let the veggies cook and soften.
  4. Now add pepper, chilli-garlic paste and toss together until mixed.
  5. Add the cooked rice and gently mix. Adjust salt, pepper to taste. 

Adding salt to the veggies makes it cook faster and remember to do this whole thing in high flame so that the veggies dont lose their color and end up looking pale.
I use Kikkoman chilli garlic paste and that's my go to sauce for several dishes. You can try any brand that is your favorite. This paste is optional if you are primarily making the dish for kids as it could make the fried rice a little spicier. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Soups are so comforting on a cold, wet, rainy day... and you will know what I mean when you live in a place like seattle :)
My daughter loves soups and end up getting one everytime we go to a restaurant..So I have always wanted to make her a soup and here's a starter..
Who doesn't like minestrone? Pretty much every likes it...Its healthy, hearty, filling and comforting..Now what more do you need in a food anyway?
I saw this episode of Ina make a winter minestrone soup and immediately wanted to make one..But as usual, I did not have most of the ingredients and waited next week until I could go shopping..
I have never made anything with butternet squash and I really loved it in the soup..
Here's the recipe for Vegetable Minestrone soup adapted from Ina's.

French Baguette - 1, thinly sliced
Yellow Onion - 1 very large, diced
Carrots - 3 large, diced
Celery - 4 stalks, diced
Garlic - 5-6 cloves, crushed
Butternut squash - 1, diced
Cannelloni beans - 1 can
Tomatoes - 4 ripened/1 can, diced
Small Pasta - 1 cup (cook as per pkg directions)
Vegetable/Chicken stock - 7-8 cups
White wine - 1/2 cup (optional)
Dried thyme - 1/2 tsp
Dried basil - 1/2 tsp
Dried oregano - 1/4 tsp
Bay leaves - 2
Cayenne pepper - 1/4 tsp
Paprika - 1/4 tsp 
Black Pepper - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 Tbsp
Olive oil

For Pesto: 
Cilantro/Parsley/Basil leaves - 1 cup
Pine nuts - 2 Tbsp
Parmesan cheese - 1 Tbsp, grated
Olive oil - 2 Tbsp

To add chicken: (optional)
Chicken breast - 1 piece, diced
Cayenne pepper - 1/4 tsp
Paprika - 1/4 tsp 
All purpose seasoning - 1/2 tsp
Salt, to taste


Process all the ingredients from the list into a food processor and blend until coarse.

Garlic Bread: 
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees .
  • Thinly slice the baguette to 1/2-1 inch thick pieces and line up on a cookie sheet and bake for about 7-8 minutes until slightly crispy. 
  • Once the bread is out of the oven, cut the tip of a garlic clove and rub on each slice of the bread.

Minestrone Soup:
  • Heat 1-2 Tbsps of oil in a large pot or pan and add all the vegetables - onions, celery, butternut squash, carrots, crushed garlic, basil, thyme, bay leaves, oregano and salt. Adding salt makes the veggies cook faster.
  • Once the veggies are soft and cooked, add tomatoes, vegetable/chicken stock, pepper, cayenne and paprika, mix well and let it come to a boil.
  • Once the liquid starts boiling, simmer and let it cook for about 25-30 minutes until it reduces down.
  • Now add the spinach, pesto, cooked pasta, beans and white wine (if using) and let it cook for about 5 minutes until the spinach is cooked and shrinks to a dark green color.
  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve with a garlic bread

  • You can peel and cut all the vegetables ahead of time. I did this one day in advance as this could eat up your time.
  • You could always use any store bought pesto. I did not have pesto, so I made my own version.I used cilantro as I did not have other herbs. I would have used basil preferably, but was surprised that cilantro tasted just as good in the soup. 
  • While toasting the bread, if you prefer it less crispy (like my husband), remove it earlier around 5/6 minutes or simply cut the baguette and dip into soup and enjoy.
  • If the soup is too thick always feel free to add more stock and let the whole pot come to a boil.
  • If you're adding chicken, mix the chicken well with all the spices and saute in a pan with olive oil until well cooked and add to the soup along with the pasta.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Spinach chicken pasta

It's been so long since I wrote my last post and I've been missing blogging so much since a few weeks..and then today I realized that if I wait for a perfectly planned cooking and photography session, it's never going to work.. So, why not use my phone to take a few decent pictures and use the app to blog..
Even though it was not as easy I thought it was, becasue I had to switch between my computer and my phone for editing :( , here I am writing my first post with help of my iphone! Not bad huh! 


Spinach chicken pasta is a simple and hearty dish that your entire family will like and will also make a good lunchbox meal for the kids! 

Olive oil - 2 Tbsp
Butter - 1/2 Tbsp (optional)
Garlic - 4 cloves, minced
Cheese, any kind - 1/4 cup, grated
Spinach - 1 bunch, chopped
Chicken - 1lb, cut into thin strips
Pasta, any kind - 1/2 lb
White wine - 1/4 cup
Lemon juice - 1 Tbsp
Tomatoes - 1 can
Dried basil - 1-2 tsp
All purpose seasoning 1-2 tsp

  1. Heat olive oil and butter (if using) in a slightly deeper pan
  2. Add the minced garlic and onions and saute until golden.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, basil, all purpose seasoning, salt and pepper.
  4. Add the chicken, lemon juice and saute until the chicken is all cooked.
  5. Now add the white wine and mix well and let it cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add pasta, spinach and let the spinach cook down.
  7. Now add the cheese and mix well and remove from heat.
I tried to take as many pictures to give you an idea of all the steps..I hope it helps!!

You can make the same pasta without chicken and add any other vegetable instead, For eg, Mushroom would be a good choice here..Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chocolate Rolls

Phyllo sheets can be used to make lots of delicious dishes.. Here is a quick and tasty dessert.
I made these rolls for my friends and they loved it :) :)

Things Needed:
6 phyllo sheets (or more if you want more rolls)
Melted unsalted butter - half stick
Chocolate chips - half pack

Cut the phyllo sheets into 3 rectangles. Each rectangle will look like the picture below.

Take one piece and brush melted butter on the sheet and fold once to form a square.

 Place chocolate chips along the center of the square and fold once to form a triangle.

Then roll and place in a baking tray. Repeat for each piece of phyllo.

Bake at 275 for 15 mins or till the rolls turn a pleasant brown and smell like delicious pastry.

Cool and serve.. My friends loved it and I'm sure it will be a crowd pleaser. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Salmon Cakes with Aioli dip

We recently went to the REI members event where they had a few finger foods and one of them were these yummy looking tiny crab cakes that were out of the world..So I came back home totally wanting to make something similar..I dint have crab at home but had some left over salmon from making fish puttu the other day. So I decided to make salmon cakes instead..
This is a healthy and utterly delicious recipe that just will make your taste buds very happy!!

Salmon, cooked, shredded - 1 lb
Onion, large, finely chopped - 1/2 no
Bell Pepper, finely chopped - 1/2 no
Eggs, slightly beaten - 2
Garlic powder - 1tsp
Worcestershire sauce - 1Tbsp
Hot sauce - 1/2 Tbsp (or to taste)
Old bay seasoning - 1/2 Tbsp
All purpose seasoning - 2 tsp (opt)
Bread crumbs - 1/2 cup
Pepper - 2-3tsp
Mayo - 2 Tbsp
Butter - 1/2 Tbsp
Olive oil -
Salt, to taste

For Garlic Lemon Aioli Dip:
Garlic pods, crushed - 2
Mayo - 1/2 cup
Lemon juice - 1 Tbsp
Salt - 1 pinch
Pepper - 1 pinch
Capers - 1 Tbsp (optional)

  1. Roast salmon in very little oil in a flat pan until completely cooked and slightly golden on both sides. Remove from pan, cool and shred into small pieces once cooled.
  2. In the same pan, add butter, 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and add the onions and bell peppers, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder and all the seasonings, salt, pepper and let it cook until soft and slightly golden. Once done, remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix together salmon, onion mixture, beaten eggs, bread crumbs and Mayo. Adjust seasonings per taste if need be. 
  4. Heat in low flame about a tbsp of olive oil in a flat pan or griddle.
  5. Take equal amounts of the mixture (I used an ice cream scoop for this) and make them into balls and then flatten them out a little like biscuits about 3-4 inches in diameter and place them in the oil one by one. 
  6. Slowly brown both sides of the cake until completely firm and well done. 
  7. Remove from heat and serve hot with garlic lemon aioli dip or tartar sauce. 
  8. For the dip, mix all the ingredients together and adjust seasoning.
P.S : I used leftover salmon in this case. You can precook and refrigerate the fish for more than a week and use it when you need it. You can prepare the mixture and store it for a few days ahead before making the cakes as well.
Breadcrumbs substitute:  If you dont have breadcrumbs, you can use ritz crackers or any salt crackers or toasted bread to bind the ingredients together.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Curried Egg puffs

Puffs are my favorite snack of all times..You can make them in so many varieties..And thanks to the ready to cook puff pastry shells..the job's even easier!! I dont know what sort of curry they usually add to egg  puffs in India..But I've seen some with green chutneys as base too..but I tried my simple version of onion masala curry with boiled eggs and it turned out really good...

P.S: Dont forget to learn the chinese alphabet on the last pic :)

Puff Pastry Sheets - 2, thawed
Eggs - 4, boiled and cut in half
Onion - 3 Large, cut thin long
Olive Oil to stir fry
Chilli powder, to taste
Coriander powder - 1tsp
Curry powder - 2tsp
Garam Masala - 1tsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 1tsp
Salt, to taste

For Egg Wash:
Egg - 1, slightly beaten with 2 tsp of water

  1. Cut each pastry sheet into four squares and let it thaw at room temperature at least for 30mins to an hour until flexible.
  2. Boil the eggs, cut them in half and keep aside. 
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. In a small pan, add olive oil and add the onions, ginger garlic paste and all the masalas and stir fry until the onions are caramelized and keep aside.
  5. Take each square sheet, apply a spoonful of the onion curry paste on the bottom and place an egg half cut side facing down.
  6. Wrap the four corners of the sheet and seal. Stuff and seal all the sheets similarly.
  7. Apply the egg wash on each puff to get a golden brown color.
  8. Spray some Pam on a baking sheet and place the puffs with atleast an inch of space between them. 
  9. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Serve with ketchup or hot sauce.
P.S : That was my attempt of a smiley face with ketchup :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Prawn/Shrimp masala

This is the most common way of making prawns. I tried to make them in a hurry one weekend, so I called my aunt and she gave me the recipe. 

Things Needed:

Small packet shrimp – tail removed
2 medium sized onions – chopped
5 tomatoes or one 12 oz can diced tomatoes
A pinch turmeric powder (manjal podi/ Pasuppu dhummu)
2 tsp garlic – chopped
2 tsp red chilly powder (milagai podi/ mirrapa dhummu)
1 tsp salt


  • Heat oil in a kadai and add a spoon of oil.
  • Then add onions and garlic and sauté till the onion is a little brown.
  • Then add tomatoes, turmeric and chilly powder. Keep on medium heat and make sure the curry doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • When the raw smell of the chilly powder has gone – might take upto half hour or more, add salt and taste.
  • If it tastes ok, then add shrimp and mix with the curry. Cover for 6-7 minutes.  Thokku is done - Enjoy