Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nutty Makhana Curry

I am having a very busy month and I hope that by the end of this month, things will be a little calmer and quieter. Apologies for not having been following all the delicious recipes floating around the blog world. 

I had made this curry long time back and this recipe was lying in my drafts since then. Its an easy to make curry and tastes great too. Hope you will like it too.


2 pods of garlic, thinly sliced
2 inch piece - ginger, thinly sliced
2/3 cup - yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup - onion, thinly sliced
1 - red chilli, cut into rounds
1 tbsp - ghee (clarified butter)
2 tbsp - sunflower oil
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup - low fat milk (may need more)
1 tsp - garam masala
a generous pinch of dried fenugreek leave (kasuri methi)
a generous pinch of sugar
salt to taste

To be coarsely ground together without using water

2 tsp - pistachio, blanched
2 tsp - melon seeds
4 - 8 pcs - cashew nuts
4 - 8 pcs - almonds, blanched

  1. Heat the ghee in a non stick pan, add the makhanas and fry for a couple of minutes or until light brown. Keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a non stick pan, add the thinly sliced garlic, ginger, chilli, onions and pepper and saute for a minute on medium heat. 
  3. Add the coarsely ground nuts and cook for about a minute. Add the 1/2 cup of milk and cook until the milk evaporates.
  4. Add the garam masala, salt, sugar and 1/2 cup of milk and bring it to a boil.
  5. Lastly, add the fried makhanas and the kasuri methi and mix well. Remove from the heat and serve immediately. 

Euryale ferox seeds are often roasted or fried, which causes them to pop like popcorn. These are then eaten, often with a sprinkling of oil andspices. In Mithila culture of Mithilanchal,Bihar makhana is an auspicious ingredient in offerings to the Lord festivals and is used in cooking, specially to make a porridge/pudding called kheer of makhana or 'makhaanak kheer' or 'makhaanak payasam'. source: wikipedia


Friday, October 22, 2010

Banana Crumble Cake

Both my hubby and I are dessert people - we love sweets and can have them anytime, anywhere. That's one of the reasons that I try and make my baked goodies a little healthier, I suppose... 

Banana Cake is amongst our favourites. This time, we had friends over for a coffee and I wanted to add a little special element to my usual banana cake - so I added this crumble topping, and it turned out to be an excellent idea. Not only did both of us love it, but also the friends. My hubby even asked me to make it again, and, that's definitely music to my ears :-)

The Cake is really light, soft and an absolute melt in the mouth and the crumble topping is indeed, the highlight of the Cake. A slight nutty taste and some dark cocoa powder definitely added on quite a bit to the flavour.


1 - banana, mashed (yields 1/3 cup)
3 tbsp heaped - whole wheat flour
1 tbsp - dark muscovado sugar
1 tbsp - cream
2 tbsp - condensed milk, sweetened
2 1/2 tbsp - sunflower oil
1/2 tsp - cinnamon powder
1/4 + a generous pinch - bicarbonate of soda
a pinch of salt

For the topping

1 tbsp - whole wheat flour
2 tbsp - instant oat flakes
1/2 tsp - dark cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp - pistachio, blanched and thinly sliced
1 tbsp - dark muscovado sugar
2 tsp - ghee (clarified butter) or melted butter

  1. Add the ingredients for the topping in a bowl and mix well until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Keep aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease a 6 inch/15 cm rectangular cake tin.
  3. In a bowl, add all the liquid ingredients and mix well.
  4. In another bowl, add the flour, cinnamon powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar and mix.
  5. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and mix very lightly. Do not overdo the mixing.
  6. Spoon the thick batter into the greased cake tin. Add the topping onto it and press gently.
  7. Place the tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake for approx 30 minutes.
  8. Let the cake cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then very gently insert two spatulae, one on each side of the cake and lift up the cake and put on a wire rack to cool completely. 
  9. Cut into slices and serve. 


Monday, October 18, 2010

Spaghetti Squash with home-made Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti Squash is an amazing vegetable, whose flesh breaks up into spaghetti-like strands after boiling or baking. Its a very healthy alternative to "normal" pasta, with a slightly nutty taste. Looks good, tastes good and most importantly its really really healthy. What more can one ask from a humble squash. It made its first appearance on our dining table this week and we totally loved it. My hubby read about it somewhere and we brought the big 2 Kilo fruit home very enthusiastically. 

He helped me in the kitchen. From lugging the super-heavy thing around from the organic supermarket to pricking with a fork to ensure an evenly cooked squash, to baking and cutting it up, and to scraping it into noodles finely. Everything was done by him. Can't thank him enough :-) 

Spaghetti Squash before and after baking...

Hubby scraping the squash :-)

I made a quick tomato sauce and threw in a few vegetables to make it even more healthier. But, at the end, P. topped it up with some cheese and baked it over... It tasted heavenly but then it wasn't totally healthy. But, what the heck... I am so glad that I tried this veggi and also served it to 2 of our good friends, who were home for dinner this weekend. They loved it too. 

To make it look even more interesting, I baked it in the squash shell itself. It looked simply gorgeous. And pretty shamelessly, I clicked quite a few photos in front of our waiting, drooling, hungry friends so that I could show them to all you lovely people :-) Hope you'll like it. 


2 kg - spaghetti squash

For the tomato sauce

450 grams - tomato, blanched and finely chopped
2-3 pods of garlic, finely chopped
1 - onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup - red and yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 - carrot medium size, chopped, boiled
1 1/2 tsp - dried italian herbs
3 tbsp - olive oil
1 tbsp - balsamico vinegar
1/2 tsp - red chilli flakes (more or less)
salt and pepper to taste
25 grams - parmesan cheese, grated

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Pierce/Prick the squash all around with a fork and place it in the baking tray.
  3. Place the tray in the center of the preheated oven and bake for approx 1 hour or until the shell is soft and gives on pressing. (alternately, you can boil the squash or cook in the microwave.)
  4. Let the squash cool and then cut it vertically into half. 
  5. Scoop the seeds out. Scrape the squash, lengthwise, with a fork, to get spaghetti like strands. (do not throw away the shell)
  6. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the garlic, onion, peppers and saute until the onions are soft.
  7. Add the blanched and chopped tomatoes, carrots, salt, pepper and red chilli flakes and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the herbs and balsamico vinegar and mix well.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  9. Mix well the spaghetti squash and the tomato sauce. Spoon the mixture into the squash shell, top it up with grated parmesan cheese and place the squash in a baking tray.
  10. Place the tray in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the cheese is slightly brown. Serve hot. 

We used half the squash with this tomato sauce and the other half with a basil-pesto (but unfortunately not home made!). Both the versions tasted heavenly, though I personally preferred the tomato sauce to the pesto. 


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Spicy Spelt Spaghetti with Lime Leaves and Sesame.

This month started on a bad note. After a fearful and emotional 2 weeks, now things are slowly falling back into place.

Today, I am gonna share a simple one pot meal with you. The star ingredient of this recipe are kafir lime leaves. It's the highlight of the recipe - the dominant flavour and strong taste makes this spaghetti extra special. And, yes, sesame seeds enhanced the taste of this dish in their own special way.

All in all, I was very happy with the outcome and hope you like it too!

The ginger-garlic-chilli paste is often a life saver - or at least a great time saver ;-) Its easy to make, and you can keep it refrigerated for up to 6 months - and it adds a dash (or more!) of flavour and zing to any dish in a moment - I use it in Indian curries, pasta, savoury muffins and any other dish which needs to made spicy. If you like it really hot, you can easily increase (approx double) the amount of red chillies you use for the paste. 

Ingredients for the paste

35 grams - dried whole red chillies, soaked in some water for 2-3 hrs and then washed twice
115 grams - ginger, peeled and chopped
115 grams - garlic, peeled and chopped
12- 14 tbsp - sunflower oil
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp - vinegar

Add everything in a mixer and grind into a fine paste. Transfer into a glass jar and refrigerate for up to 6 months


100 gram - spelt spaghetti
3-4 - kafir lime leaves
3/4 tbsp - homemade chilli, garlic and ginger paste (more or less)
1/4 cup - red and yellow peppers, cut into squares
1/4 cup - carrots, cut into medium size pieces
1 - onion, cut into medium size squares
1/4 tsp + 1 tbsp - olive oil
1 tbsp - lemon juice (more or less)
1 tbsp - coriander leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp - sesame seeds to garnish
lemon slice to garnish


  1. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water with 2 lime leaves, carrots, 1/4 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  2. Drain the water when the spaghetti is done and discard the lime leaves.
  3. In an another non stick pan, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and the homemade chilli-garlic-ginger paste and saute on a medium heat for a couple of minutes. (be careful as it will splutter) 
  4. Add the onions, peppers and lime leaves and cook until the onions are soft.
  5. Add the spaghetti, salt, pepper powder and coriander leaves and mix well. Remove from the heat.
  6. Sprinkle the lemon juice and mix well. 
  7. Garnish with a lemon slice and sesame seeds and serve.



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