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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Green Thai Curry

It is not uncommon for me to come home with a few ingredients not on the list when I go grocery shopping. Since this habit gives me the chance to carry out culinary experiments, I do not grudge it at all.  So last month that item not on the list and yet in my shopping bag turned out to be coconut milk.  I had never cooked with it before and was getting more and more embarrassed about that fact day by day.

Armed with a couple of veggies in the refrigerator and the coconut milk, I decided to cook Thai curry with two key ingredients missing – Lemon grass and Thai chilies. The curry still turned out delicious and worth a post on this blog. I have to thank my cousin Kshiti Dave and my friend Krupal Shah whose recipes I combined and created a third one which you can find right here!

Red bell pepper – ½  medium
Yellow bell pepper – ½  medium
Broccoli florets – 1 cup
Potato – 1 medium
Carrots – 2 medium
Zuchini – 1 small
Coconut milk – 1 can
Vegetable broth – 1 can

For the paste
Chopped Cilantro – 1 cup
Ginger – 1 big piece
Lemon rind – ½ tsp
Onion – 1 medium
Garlic- 4 clove
Mint – 6 to 8 leaves
Water cress – 10 to 12 leaves
Basil (dry) – 1 tsp
Rosemary – ½ tsp
Thyme (dry) – 1 tsp
Salt and pepper
Cumin and coriander powder – 1 tsp
Thai red chili sauce – 1 tsp
Green chilies – 4 small
Water – ½ cup
Oil – as needed

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and sauté roughly chopped onion for 2 minutes on high flame. Add garlic cloves and ginger chopped into small pieces and cook some more. Add the remaining ingredients for the paste and mix well. Add half a cup of water and cook covered for 10 minutes. Let it cool and grind it into a thick paste. Keep aside.

In another pan heat 1 tsp oil and sauté chopped bell peppers for a minute. Cut potato into cubes and add it next.  Add slices of carrots and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring all the time. Next add broccoli florets and slices of zucchini. Pour in the vegetable broth, a pinch of salt and pepper and mix well. Cook covered till the vegetables are done. Add water if needed.

In a small pan empty the can of coconut milk and heat on slow flame. Once it starts to simmer, add the coconut milk to the vegetables cooked separately. Add the green paste made earlier and mix everything well together. Turn on the heat and cook the whole curry for a couple of minutes. Serve it hot and immediately (the aroma of the curry makes it impossible to resist eating).

Couple of pointers for this Thai curry are: one it is a very very fragrant dish and another it can get impossibly spicy to eat if you are not careful with those chilies. So keep that in mind and enjoy!

Serving suggestions
·         With brown or white rice

·       Use of lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves, galangal and Thai chilies will make the dish more authentic.
·         The green paste can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.
·         Garnish with fresh Basil leaves to add to the delicious fragrance of the curry.

  Interesting fact
·         Thai food was traditionally eaten with the right hand but is now eaten with a spoon and a fork.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chipotle Bowl at Home

So many times while eating a dish at a restaurant or bringing home a takeout we think “oh this is so easy, I can easily do it at home” but never really get around to doing it. And it is even easier for people like me to avoid the attempt, people who particularly like eating out as much as trying out new dishes at home.

One such dish we often bring home is the Burrito bowl from Chipotle and on a rainy Sunday some ripe green avocados lying on the kitchen counter motivated me enough to try out this awesome Mexican dish at home.

Looking at the list of ingredients you might feel there is a lot you need but most of them are commonly found in our refrigerator or pantry and the rest are easily available. The final dish is a “put together” thing so it is very convenient if you have a bunch of people coming over. Make all the preparations ahead of time and enjoy with your guests!

Cooked rice – 2 cups
Black beans – 1 can
Corn – 1 cup
Sour cream – 1 cup
Cilantro- ½ cup finally chopped
Lemon juice – 4 tsp
Guacamole – 1 cup (recipe below)
Spicy red salsa(store bought) – as tolerated
Red onion – ½ medium
Green bell pepper – ½ medium
Lettuce - 1 cup
Mexican four cheese blend – 2 cups
Fajita seasoning – 1 tsp
Olive oil – as needed
Butter – ½ tsp

2 avocados scooped out and mashed with a fork
½ red onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tomato finely chopped
½ cup cilantro finely chopped
2 jalapeños deseeded and finely chopped
½ tsp cumin powder
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Mix all the ingredients really well adding the lemon juice towards the end. Guacamole is ready to go with anything you want it to!

Now start preparing for your chipotle bowl. Empty the can of beans in a pan with the liquid and heat adding salt, pepper and some cumin powder. Mix well, turn the heat off and set aside.

Heat 1 tsp olive oil and add finely chopped cilantro, cooked rice, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well and turn the heat off. Keep aside.

Cook the corn or defrost if frozen. Heat the butter in a pan and sauté the corn adding salt and pepper. Keep aside.
Give the lettuce a rough chop and keep it covered in the refrigerator till it is time to use it.
Cut the red onion and bell pepper into thin slices. In a skillet heat ½ tsp olive oil and cook the onion first for a few minutes. Add the sliced bell pepper, salt, pepper and 1 tsp of the fajita seasoning. Cook on high flame for 2 minutes and turn the heat off. Keep aside.

To assemble your final dish take a deep bowl and start with cilantro rice as the base. Layer it with black beans, corn and the onion bell pepper stir fry. Add red salsa, guacamole  lettuce and sour cream. Sprinkle a generous amount of the cheese and dig in!

Serving suggestions
·         Tortilla chips

·         You can use cooked brown rice to make this dish healthier.

  Interesting fact
·         “Chipotle” is a kind of smoked dried jalapeno chili pepper. The popular fast food chain restaurant named after it was established in 1993 in Denver, Colorado, United States.

This delicious bowl is going to :


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mango Kesar Peda

While hunting for sweet dish recipes during the festival of diwali on the internet, I found this amazingly simple recipe for Mango peda and tried it at home. The Pedas turned out really sweet and delicious. Kesar (saffron) was my addition to the recipe and can be skipped if not at hand.

1.5 cups - ricotta cheese
2 cups mango pulp
Saffron - a couple of strands
Evaporated milk - 4 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Sugar – 3 tsp
Raisins – as many as number of pedas

Mix everything in a microwave safe bowl or deep dish. Cook for 5 min, and let it stand for a minute. Keep on repeating it a number of times (it took me a total of 30 minutes) stirring in between, till the liquid goes away and what remains is a soft mixture. Add cardamom and mix well. Roll out small pedas and press a raisin in each of them.

Mango pulp gave them an interesting flavor and the appealing color without the use of food color. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions
·         Needs no accompaniments

·       If you overcook in the microwave resulting in a very dry mixture, add 1 tsp of evaporated milk and re-heat for a few seconds. Damage control!

  Interesting fact
·        The Mango is regarded a symbol of summer in Australia and the first mango tray of the season is traditionally auctioned for charity.