Potato, cauliflower and peas subji

Potatoes work really well with aubergines and they are an equal delight with cauliflower and peas.   This is a fairly simple recipe which we pulled together and experimented a bit with a dry Gujurati dahl masala powder to season the dish.   If the powder is not readily available then substitute with 1 tsp coriander power, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp red chili powder and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 6 medium potatoes – peeled and quartered
  • Half a head of a small cauliflower – cut into florets
  • 1 cup of fresh peas
  • 1 tsp pan puran (Bengali mix of mustard, cumin, nigella, fenugreek and fennel seeds).  This should be available in most Asian grocery stores – we have also seen it in the Waitrose spice section)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger minced
  • 2 tsp Gujurati dahl masala powder (bought from an Asian grocer)
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Par boil the vegetables and keep aside.   Heat a large pan with ghee and once hot add the pan puran.    Saute for 30 seconds before adding the ginger and garlic.   Continue sauteing over a medium heat till the ginger and garlic start to brown before adding the chopped onions.  Cook for 5-8 minutes and once onions start to turn colour, sprinkle the dahl masala, stir and add the par boiled vegetables.   Adjust the seasoning and cook for another 10 minutes till done.   Serve with Indian bread of choice or rice pilau.

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Mushroom pasta

If you love mushrooms and pasta this recipe is for you.   We picked up some large closed cup mushrooms last week and decided to make a dry warm pasta dish for dinner a couple of nights back.   The dish is incredibly quick to prepare and tastes great.

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What do I need to make it?

  • Pasta of choice for 2 persons
  • 10-12 large closed cup mushrooms quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 small shallot chopped
  • `1 Thai red chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • Large knob of butter
  • Handful of fresh parsley to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Cook the pasta with some salt and olive oil and keep aside (save some of the cooking liquor for later).   Heat a large pan with butter – saute the garlic and red chilli for a minute before adding in the shallots.   Cook over medium heat till the shallots turn translucent.   Sprinkle a teaspoon of the oregano, give it a good mix and then add the mushrooms.  Cook for ten minutes or till mushrooms begin to take on a bit of colour.  Adjust the seasoning and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.    Add the boiled pasta to the dish – if it sticks to the pan use some of the cooking liquor to loosen up the dish.   Serve with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.

Corn cous cous upma

On one of our past trips to ASDA we came across some cous cous made from maize semolina which we have been meaning to experiment with.  Tonight we made an upma (generally made with wheat semolina) with it which tasted remarkably like normal upma but without any of the gluten.   It is safe to say based on tonight’s experiment that this ingredient is definitely going to be a part of our cupboard essentials for quick meals in the future.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup corn cous cous – roast over medium heat for 5 minutes
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 4 green chillies slit
  • 1 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
  • Handful fresh curry leaves
  • 1 cup of frozen corn and peas microwaved for 3 minutes
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp split urad dahl
  • 1 tsp channa dahl
  • 3 tbsp ghee or oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Heat a wok on medium heat with some ghee in it and saute the mustard seeds, urad and channa dahl till the mustard seeds start to splutter.   Then add the ginger, curry leaves and green chillies.   Saute for 30 seconds before adding the chopped onions.    Sprinkle a bit of salt to taste and cook the onions till they go translucent.    Add the microwaved corn and peas to the wok with 300 ml of boiling water.   Allow the dish to come to a boil before pouring in the cous cous.    Give the dish a good mixe,  place a lid over the wok and switch off the heat.  Wait for 5 minutes for the cous cous to absorb the water.    Once done fork through the dish to fluff up the cous cous and enjoy hot.

Curry leaf kuzhambu

This recipe is dedicated to all our fellow South Indians who have had a pepper or curry leaf kuzhambu in the past and had not tried making it possibly thinking it was quite challenging.   On the contrary this has to be one of the simplest dishes to pull together and one that keeps for quite a few days in the fridge.   For our non South Indian friends – kuzhambu is a variation of sambar without the addition of boiled tuar dahl.

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What do I need to make it?

  • Whole garlic bulb peeled
  • Small ball of tamarind – soaked in warm water

To be ground into a powder

  • 1 tsp tuar dahl
  • 1 tsp channa dahl
  • 2 tsp pepper corns
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 dried whole red chillies
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 cup of curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil (not toasted variety
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Approximately 250 -300 ml

How do I make it?

Roast all the powder ingredients with a tablespoon of sesame oil – once roasted, grind to a fine powder.   Heat a pan with the remaining sesame oil and saute the garlic pods and powder for a couple of minutes before pouring in the tamarind water (without the pulp).  Add another cup of water, sprinkle salt and leave to simmer over a low heat.   The dish should thicken to the consistency of treacle – add a little extra water if it is too thick.   Once done serve with boiled rice.   The kuzhambu tastes even better as the days go by.

PS To make a melagu/pepper kuzhambu increase the quantity of coriander seeds to 2 tsp and reduce curry leaves to 1 strip.

Salad therapy – pepper prawns with avocado and rocket leaves

We have been rather quiet this week but have been collecting a few recipes which we couldn’t find time in the day to post.   One of us had a pretty big milestone birthday mid-week – officially in a new age bracket statistically speaking!  The first recipe we would like to share is a warm pepper prawn salad served with avocado and baby plum tomatoes on a bed of rocket leaves.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 packet of rocket leaves
  • 12 baby plum tomatoes halved
  • 2 small avocado’s pitted and cubed
  • 20 jumbo prawns
  • 1 small shallot finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 Thai red chilli chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Handful of coriander leaf stems chopped finely
  • Handful of fresh basil chopped
  • A generous knob of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the prawns and keep them aside for half an hour.   Heat butter in a pan and add the chopped garlic to it – saute for 30 seconds before adding the chopped shallots and red chilli.   Continue to saute till the shallots go translucent before adding the prawns.   Cook on both sides till done – shouldn’t take more than 8-10 minutes.   Garnish with chopped coriander stems and basil.   Squeeze the juice of half lemon and serve hot on a bed of rocket leaves, avocados and baby plum tomatoes.

Walnut pesto

Both of us are not keen on pesto that comes in a jar as it tends to be too oily (although both our kids love it!) and we have finally hit upon a homemade version which hopefully is worthy of getting an Italian’s seal of approval.  We didn’t have any pine nuts or grated Parmesan cheese but we think walnuts and Pecorino Romano works just as well.   The addition of walnut oil accentuates the taste of the walnuts in the pesto.  We had it for lunch today with some penne and tricolore salad.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 small bunches of fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Handful walnuts toasted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp walnut oil
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

A small bowl full – 6-8 heaped tablespoons

How do I make it?

Place the basil, garlic and walnut in a mixer or pestle and mortar and blend to a coarse paste.   Add the oils, cheese and adjust the seasoning.  Use it with your favourite pasta or as a spread on some grilled ciabata.

Noodles with oriental mushrooms

If you love mushrooms like we do, then here’s simple recipe to add to your repertoire.  It can be pulled together relatively quickly if you are pressed for time.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 250 gms assorted oriental mushrooms sliced (we used pink, yellow and grey oyster mushrooms with some shitake mushrooms)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 Thai red chilli chopped
  • 2 tsp soya sauce
  • 2 tsp spiced black rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp Shaosin wine
  • 2 tsp oil

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Heat a large pan and add the oil to it.   Toss in the garlic and chopped red chilli and saute for a few minutes before adding the mushrooms.   Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes and then add the soya sauce, vinegar and wine.   Give it a good mix and switch off the heat.   Adjust seasoning and serve on a bed of noodles (we added some toasted sesame seed oil and chopped spring onion to the noodles).