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!!