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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spinach Tortilla in Yogurt Sauce

This recipe is a westernized version of a Gujarati dish called “Rotli nu Shaak” made from leftover chapattis. So if you take out the spinach tortilla and use leftover chapatti or roti and add thick buttermilk which I have presented in the name of “yogurt sauce”, you will be eating a Gujju dish start from my mom’s kitchen.

Also, this is a real quick fix, just the perfect amount of time one wants to spend on using up leftovers!

Spinach Tortilla – 2 medium
Chopped onion – ¼ cup (optional)
Yogurt – 3 tsp
Water – 1.5 cups
Curry leaves – just a couple
Green chilies – 2 medium
Sugar – ¼ tsp
Red chili powder – as tolerated
Turmeric – ½ tsp
Cumin  Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Asafetida – a pinch
Salt – add carefully

Blend yogurt and water to form a smooth sauce (buttermilk) and set aside. Cut the tortilla into medium sized pieces.

Heat oil in a skillet and add mustard seeds. When they crackle, throw in asafetida, green chilies cut into small pieces, chopped onion and curry leaves. After a couple of seconds, pour in the yogurt sauce and add in all the remaining ingredients except for tortilla pieces.

Cover the skillet and let the liquid cook with the spices for 5 minutes. Ease in the tortilla pieces thereafter and mix well. Cook uncovered for 3 minutes or so on high flame and turn the heat off. Cover and let it rest for a couple of minutes before serving so that the tortilla becomes all soft and mushy in the sauce.

Serving suggestions
·         With Rice

·         You can use leftover roti/chapatti in place of tortilla
·        The dish tastes very good without onions too if you want to skip them like I do most of the times
·     This dish is best savored within a couple of minutes of cooking it. Unfortunately, the leftovers of this leftover inspired dish don’t retain texture or taste for a long time.

  Interesting fact
·       Tortilla has surpassed bagels and muffins and is now sold only second to sliced bread in that packaged food category in USA.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Punch Bowl Rice

Warning – The contents of the “Interesting Fact” section at the end of the recipe may come as a shock!

Once after a party I had leftovers in the punchbowl. Now, punch bowl leftovers are the easiest to use, drink them up over the next couple of days. This punch that got leftover had a lovely red color to it and while storing it away in a smaller jug a couple of ideas to use it ran through my mind.

1) I could have glassfulls of the delicious punch for the next two days with my meals. 
2) I could pour it down the drain since most of the soda from it was already gone. 
3) I could use it as a base for some recipe.

It isn’t everyday that I have leftover punch so I decided to go for option 3. A quick search on the internet revealed a lot of pork roast recipes cooked from the liquids that I had used to make the punch (cranberry cocktail, apple juice, ginger ale, ice and spices). But I needed a vegetarian recipe and that too before I lost all interest in the jug lying in the refrigerator.

Necessity is the mother of invention and I can’t stress enough on how true it is in the kitchen. I came up with this punch bowl rice recipe purely on the logic that rice being my “favoritest” food in this whole world, the chances of the experiment going wrong went down considerably.

And did I mention that all you have to invest is 10 minutes of your time in the kitchen if you have a rice cooker handy.

Brown rice – 1 cup
Black Beans – ½ can
Diced Carrots – ½ cup
Diced onion – ¼ cup
Diced celery – ¼ cup
Minced garlic – 1 tsp
Diced tomato – 1/3 cup
Diced green bell pepper – ¼ cup
Punch liquid – 3 cups
Fajita seasoning – 1 tsp
Oregano – ½ tsp
Butter – 1 tsp
Soak the brown rice for 1 hour before cooking. In a large skillet heat the butter and cook diced onion for a couple of minutes, add garlic and cook some more. Add all the vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes or so. Add the brown rice and the seasonings. Mix well and transfer everything to an electric rice cooker. Pour in the liquid and mix again. Select the “cook brown rice” setting, relax and enjoy the aroma!

Alternatively, cook the brown rice in the punch liquid before hand and add it to the sautéed vegetables. Mix well and serve.

Serving suggestions
·         With soup and/or chips.

·         You can use white rice in place of brown rice, just don’t soak it beforehand.
·         You can use any kind of beans from the pantry; red, black or even white.
·         Sprinkle some cheese before serving for added flavor.
·         This rice would make for an excellent filling in any kind of Burrito or Enchilada.

  Interesting fact

·         A punch is an assortment of drinks generally containing fruit or fruit juice.
·      This drink was put together first in India and brought to England by the sailors of the East India Company.
·       The word punch is from the Hindi word “panch”(five) and was originally made with five ingredients; alcohol, sugar, lemon, water and tea or spices.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Spinach & Cheese Panini

Ok, so technically this is a regular sandwich, but by virtue of its instrument of cooking, it earned the name of a Panini (an Italian sandwich made with bread roll).

Sandwiches are a part of our weekly menu and a Panini maker has made things simpler and tastier. Now, before everybody starts thinking this post is an ad for my Panini maker, I better get down to business.

Everything from the use of whole wheat bread to spinach to low fat cheese makes this recipe healthy with an added potential of making it even healthier The sandwich with a future – that’s what I would like to call it.

Whole Wheat bread slices – as needed
Diced onion – ¼ cup
Chopped spinach – 2 cups
Low fat Mexican cheese – 1 cup
Red chili flakes – as tolerated
Butter – as preferred

Heat a little amount of butter in a skillet and cook the diced onion for a couple of minutes. Add in spinach, cheese and spices. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes till the cheese melts. Let the spinach cheese mixture cool for some time. Butter the bread slices. Spread the spinach cheese mixture generously on one slice and close it with the other. Grill it in the Panini press for the desired crunchiness.

Serving suggestions
·         With Ketchup, chutney, chips.

·    You can add any cheese of your choice, cheddar and mozzarella cheese also go well with spinach.
·         You can add tomatoes too if preferred.
·         You can use the full fat cheese if cooking for kids.
·         You can use multi grain bread to make the sandwich healthier.
·         You can limit the amount of butter or skip it altogether.

  Interesting fact

·   Cheese gives out a better flavor and texture when allowed to warm up to room temperature before eating.
·         Traditionally, a “Ciabata” or “Rosetta” bread loaf is used to make Panini(s) in Italy. 

This Panini is going to