All posts by Nutssy

Malai Kabab

Kabab or Kebab are moist pieces of meat seasoned and usually grilled over a charcoal grill. Back home in India on hot summer weekend my papa would take us out for dinner to a kabab corner restaurant where we would order a variety of fun kababs, enjoying it with a red onion salad and paper thin flat breads called roomali rotis, with sides of spicy chutneys.

One of my favorites was creamed kabab that we kids would love because it was mild in flavor and spice. Here I have tried to recreate some of those flavors but with twist.

With a juicy and nice mild flavor these melt in your mouth creamed Kababs with a side of grilled Shishito peppers are perfect for a light evening meal or even at any party.

For the unique side, a friend introduced me to grilled Shishito peppers when she served them as an appetizer at a party. Easy to make and absolutely yummy!

Creamed Kababs 

2 pound of boneless skinless chicken cut into bite sized pieces 

2 tsp garlic grated

2 tsp ginger grated                            

1/2 cup yogurt

2 tablespoons cream 

1/2 tsp white pepper powder or black pepper .

Juice of a lemon 

1/4th tsp of cardamom powder

1/2 teaspoon of Garam masala (found in most grocery stores) 

few pinches pinch of saffron (optional) 

Salt to taste 

Oil for basting 

2 wooden skewers soaked in cold water

In a mixing bowl mix add grated ginger, garlic, yogurt, cream, lemon, garam masala, ground cardamom , saffron (if using ) and salt to taste. 

Marinate the chicken pieces for at least an hour or more if you have the time. Once the chicken is marinated skewer the chicken meat on to the skewers and cook on a grill pan or an outdoor grill over a medium flame.

While grilling baste the skewers with oil or butter every 4 to 5 mins and cook until done. Everyones grill is different and size of pieces matter too, but for reference it took me 10 -12 mins to grill each skewer.

Shishito peppers – wash and slit them, sprinkle with some black salt or Himalayan pink salt and grill until you start seeing black specks. 

Serve hot with flat bread or just as and enjoy !

An Elegant Summer Salad

Summer parties are what I am missing this year! It has been a tradition every year where I would invite my foodie friends and enjoy summer evenings with dinner and wine enjoying their company. Laughter, music and some of my fun creations for them to taste. Grilling in the back yard is what we would do most times, as that way I would get to spend time with everyone. Some good cuts of meat sprinkled with simple seasonings fire up the grill, open the wine and chill. While meat is always the star of the dinner table, it does not mean our salads or sides have to take a back seat. Salads can be simple and yet have complex flavors that will tease and please the palate. They can be made with inexpensive ingredients and yet look elegant and taste amazing. Here is one such salad that will make a lovely addition to a summer party.

Beets and fried goat cheese salad 

Ingredients 

1 beet boiled, peeled and cut into wedges

4 thick (1″) slices of goat cheese 

Toasted walnuts to sprinkle ( optional ) 

1/2 cup flour 

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs 

1 large egg beaten 

Oil to fry 

2 cups of Fresh spring mix salad greens 

4 tablespoons red wine 

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 

salt to taste

pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil 

Salt and pepper to season the greens 

1 – Boil  the beets until soft. You do not want them falling apart, just fork tender. Rinse and immediately cool down by running cold water, peel and cut in to wedges 

2 – Unwrap and freeze your goat cheese for about 15 to 20 minutes until it’s solid but not totally frozen.  Do not cut it yet.

3 – While your cheese is hardening,  set up a breading line in the following order: flour, egg, bread crumbs, parchment/wax paper covering wooden cutting board. 

4 – In a sauce pan add the wine, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt to season and simmer on low flame until you reach that rich salad dressing consistency.

5- Use a knife to cut 1 inch thick slices of goat cheese, make sure to wipe it off after each cut to stop it from crumbling. 

6- Take goat cheese rounds and dip in flour, then egg and then bread crumbs. Lay these onto the lined cutting board. Continue until all slices have been coated. 

Note: If your cheese is really soft pop it into the freezer for another 5 minutes to chill. 

7- Take a large high-sided skillet over medium. heat, add oil and once oil is hot, fry the goat cheese rounds until crispy on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towel.

8- To serve:  Lay out your greens on the serving dish, season with salt and pepper, add the beets Season them salt and pepper as well arrange those amongst the greens. add the toasted walnuts for crunch, Drizzle with the dressing, and tuck the salad with goat cheese rounds. 

Enjoy !

Fish curry in a Hurry .

It has been very different past three months due to covid! The house is full with my boys and husband at all times working, schooling and now into summer break. Schedules have been all over the place and days can go by in a blur. Some days are just crazy with all the chores that have doubled and I find myself just exhausted at the end of the day, but I still want to make sure everyone is fed healthy, nurturing food.

There are days when 30 minutes is all I want to give to cooking, and in such cases combining protein and vegetables in one dish is just perfect. My boys enjoy seafood, and we try to have it at least once a week. One that they really love is salmon, and I have tried many fun recipes to make it, be it changing up cooking methods, or seasonings and flavors. Somedays we just do panfried salmon with salt, pepper and butter. Other times steamed teriyaki style is another favorite.

Today I made fish and vegetable curry with as little time spent as possible, while ensuring there is a good mix of fish protein and vegetables. This simple recipe has a combination of salmon, carrots and long beans. Carrots add a subtle sweetness and long beans give a nice earthy bite in this curry.

Ingredients

4 pieces of salmon fillets cut in 1 1/2 inches wide.

2 to 3 table spoons of any neutral tasting oil

3 cloves of garlic grated

1 inch of ginger grated

1 onion finely chopped

1 cup of long beans chopped into one inch pieces (green beans may be used instead)

1 large carrot peeled and sliced at an angle .

1 can of thick coconut milk

1 tbs of curry powder (use your fav brand )

1 green chili slit in half (optional )

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp of soya sauce

salt to taste

Heat a dutch oven or pot on a medium flame and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the chopped onion and saute until the onions are soft and start to turn color. This can take a couple mins. Once the onions start to turn color add the ginger and garlic, sauteing this for about 30 seconds until the raw flavor of the ginger and garlic goes . Now add the curry powder, salt to taste, carrots, longs beans. Stir fry for a few seconds, then add the coconut milk and bring it to a simmer on a low flame for a minute. While the curry is simmering gently slide the salmon fillets in one layer, green chilli and soya sauce. Cover and cook this for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the fish is done. do not over cook as this will make the fish tough . Add the lemon juice and serve hot with steamed rice. Enjoy !

Methi Chicken

The joy of harvesting your own greens and incorporating them into your meals is so satisfying, and with that comes such a great sense of achievement. It is just our 2nd year into kitchen gardening and we are still learning with trial and error but we have had sweet small successes, and one of them is growing fenugreek. Also known as methi leaves in India, fenugreek are extremely nutritious and packed with vitamins, and not too mention they are easy to grow. I harvested some this week and decided to make this very simple and tasty chicken curry with fenugreek leaves. If you do not have fenugreek you could substitute with baby spinach and/or tender mustard greens.

Ingredients

2 pounds of chicken (I used skinless bone in chicken you may choose boneless with varying cooking times )

2 cups packed with fenugreek leaves washed and chopped (you may substitute with spinach or mustard or both )

1 bay leaf

3 peppercorns

1 green cardamom

2 cloves

1 2 inch cinnamon stick

1 tsp of cumin seeds

3 to 4 tbs oil

1 large onion finely chopped

1 inch piece ginger grated

3 to 4 cloves of garlic grated

1 green chili slit lengthwise (optional)

11/2 tbs coriander powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 chopped tomato

2tbs of plain yogurt (optional)

1 tsp cayenne powder ( add more if u like it spicy )

1/4 cup water

salt to taste

Heat a dutch oven or a wok over a medium flame and add oil. Once the oil is hot add the cardamom, cumin, bayleaf, peppercorn and cinnamon stick and after a few seconds add the chopped onion. Saute until they turn golden in color on the edges, then add the grated ginger and garlic. Again saute for a few seconds at this stage add the chicken pieces, the powdered spices, yogurt (if using) along with the salt. Turn up the flame to high and sear the meat, stirring it for a couple minutes. Now add the greens and tomato and sear this for another 30 seconds stirring it. After this add 1/4th cup of water, cover and cook on low flame for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot with steam rice or any bread of choice.

Masala Bhaat

Masala Bhaat is an authentic Maharashtan one pot meal. Filled with the goodness of vegetables and seasoned with aromatic and warm spices, always found served at weddings and special occasions, this is a flavorful dish. I remember devouring this rice preparation at a friends place, her mother would make this for every birthday lunch party I still remember how she would make the simplest meals taste so good. Here is my take on masala bhaat with a less spicy version for my taste, but feel free to spice it up.

1 Tbs oil

1 Tsp mustard seeds

1 Tsp cumin seeds 

1 Bay leaf 

1 1 inch  piece of cinnamon stick 

1 onion chopped 

1 inch ginger grated 

3 cloves of garlic chopped 

1/2 tsp red chilli powder 

1/2 tsp turmeric powder 

1 green chilli (  or more if u want Spicy) 

1 tsp goda masala( a Marathi Garam masala ) you can get it in a Indian store or you may use any regular Garam masala, it will still taste great but will not be authentic.

Vegetables – 1 cup cauliflower florets , 

1/2  cup of carrots and peas each .

1/4th cup of raw peanuts or cashews.

1 cup raw rice 

2 cups water 

Salt to taste 

1 tbs ghee to drizzle 

Handful of grated coconut and cilantro to garnish ( optional ) 

Heat oil in a pan on a medium flame, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon, bay leaf. Once all this starts popping add onions and sauté for a few mins until the edges are turning brown. Add the ginger, garlic and sauté for a minute. Once the raw smell of the ginger and garlic is gone while being careful not to burn, add all the dry spices and mix well, sauté for a few seconds and now add the vegetables, peanuts or cashews and sauté for a min. Cover this and cook for a couple minutes. Now add the washed rice, mix it well add water and salt. Stir everything gently once more and bring it to a boil, once it comes to a boil then cover and cook  on a low flame until the rice is cooked and all the water is absorbed. Serve hot with a drizzle of ghee and garnish with fresh grated coconut and cilantro. enjoy !

Vegetable Manchurian

Vegetable Manchurian- One of the most satisfying Asian inspired dishes in India is this very flavorful vegetable balls served with a spicy, salty garlic sauce. Traditionally these are deep fried, but I decided to try a healthy alternative and put these straight into the air fryer for the same crispy deliciousness. Once added to the sauce, it turned out delicious, light and full of flavor! To round the meal out I served this with simple vegetable fried rice. Truly a fun and tasty way to add a lot of vegetables to ones diet.

For the manchurian balls 

1/2 cup cabbage 

1/2 cup cauliflower florets 

1 carrot 

2 Scallions/green onions 

One clove garlic 

1 table spoon soya sauce 

White pepper powder for taste 

2 table spoons corn starch 

3 tablespoons plain flour 

1 table spoon oil to brush-the air fryer and the balls 

In my food processor I pulse the vegetables until fairly fine, add all the seasonings, flour, cornstarch and mix well. Form them into the balls, arrange them in the air fryer, brush them with oil and cook them on 370 for 15 to 18 mins or until golden brown periodically checking on them. 

Tip – As you add the salt and seasonings to the vegetables they tend to release moisture so only add the seasonings when you are ready to form the balls and cook them right away.

For the sauce 

3 tablespoons of finely chopped garlic

1 inch chopped ginger 

1 green chilli chopped ( or more if you like )

4 tablespoons of soya sauce 

1 table spoon chili garlic sauce 

1 cup of vegetable or chicken stock ( your preference)

Few pinches of white pepper powder 

2 green onions finely chopped 

2 table spoon oil 

1 1/2 table spoon cornstarch 

1 tablespoon water 

In  a wok or pan heat the oil, and once hot add ginger green chilies.  After couple seconds add garlic (the idea is to cook the garlic but not let it brown). In a few seconds of adding the garlic add the all the sauces and the stock season with pepper powder, letting this simmer for a minute or so allowing all the ingredients to flavor the sauce. Now add the manchurian balls and while that is simmering take a small bowl and make a slurry of 1 1/2 table spoon of cornstarch and water and add this to the simmering gravy and let the sauce thicken to your desired look of the dish. Garnish with green onions and enjoy! 

Blueberry coffee cake with streusel topping

Weekends are usually filled with hiking, reading, watching movies and cooking together as a family.  On such days I make sweet treats and let my boys indulge as opposed to weekdays where we make more healthy and simple choices. This weekend was extra special since my husband was returning from his work travels, so I decided to make something he would relish with a cup of  coffee. Before I started to make this special treat, I noticed looks from baby Freyja, our 4 year old labrador looking at me as if she’s saying “Mom I think you need to walk me first!” So of course I took her for her morning stroll on this beautiful foggy morning  and got myself some invigorating energy as well. Now that I am back would love to get started on this very delicious blueberry coffee cake.

 

 

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Ingredients

For the Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoon orange zest

1/2 cup milk

2 cups fresh blueberries

For the Streusel Topping

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons packed  brown sugar

11/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon salt

To Make the streusel mix – In a small mixing bowl Combine the flour, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt. Mix well until no lumps of flour and sugar. Rub in the cold butter with your fingertips until it reaches a crumbly state. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and set the oven rack in the middle position.  Line a 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper and grease it with butter.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer or using a electric hand beater ,beat the butter and granulated sugar until creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and orange zest.

Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beating on low speed until well combined. Add the blueberries to the batter and gently fold with a flat spatula

Pour the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the streusel mix evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool  in the pan on a rack for about 25 minutes and enjoy this fresh out of the oven with a cup of tea, coffee or just as a dessert .

This cake will keep for a few days just wrap with foil or cut slices and keep in an air tight container in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Bhaja Moong Dal Shobji diye

Bengali moong dal with vegetables

One of the things that makes a cold day comforting is a bowl of piping  hot dal, steamed rice and a small dollop of ghee. This combination does not need anything else to complete the meal, though often people add sides like fried potatoes, spicy pickle or fried papadum. There are many dal recipes accounted for many years in every part of India and you can never pick just one favorite.

Bhaja Moong Dal is a Bengali recipe, a dal rich in flavors and nutrients but at the same time not overwhelming. It has a nice toasty and kind of a smoky taste that comes from dry roasting the lentils before rinsing and cooking it.

I have just finished a good walk and it is quite a cold day , i am certain my family will love  my take on this warm dish!  Today I am cooking it with some fresh vegetables and simple seasonings.

 

 

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Ingredients

1 Cup -Moong dal (split gram)

2 tbs – vegetable or canola oil ( mustard oil used traditionally )

1 -whole dried red  chili

1 – green whole cardamom

1- cinnamon stick

1- bay leaf

1 –  whole clove

1/2 tsp – cumin seeds

1 to 2 – green chilly slit

1 – medium carrot washed peeled and chopped ( not to big not to small pieces )

1/2 Head -cauliflower washed and cut in to small florets .

1/2 cup – Frozen peas

1/2 tsp – sugar

1/4 tsp – turmeric

1/4 tsp – garam masala (optional)

1 tsp – ghee

Salt to taste

Take a wok or a pan and dry-roast the dal, on a medium flame stirring continuously, until it changes color from yellow to a pinkish brown. it is important to keep stirring the dal so that it gets toasted evenly. Pay careful attention to the dal once it has taken on a light, brown color, as at this stage dal could to burn easily.

Once roasted transfer the dal to a pot immediately. Wash and rinse the dal well.

Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the washed dal. Boil it on medium heat for about 18 to 20 minutes. While we want the dal to be tender and cooked, we still want the  grains to hold shape and not be very mushy. So, check it often to make sure dal does not  lose its texture.

Chop the cauliflower into small florets, the carrot into small cubes, slit the chillies, keep 1/2 cup peas ready no need to rinse and roughly chop the tomatoes.

Heat up a wok on medium flame and add oil. Once oil is hot temper it with the dried red chilli, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and cumin seeds.

Add the cauliflower and carrots,  stir-frying them for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes,  fry them for 30 seconds and add the peas. Again fry for 30 seconds, pour in the roasted, boiled dal with its water.

Stir in the salt, sugar and turmeric.

Allow the dal to simmer for about 8  minutes on low heat. If you feel the dal is drying out add 1/2 cup of water. Add the slit green chili, garam masala powder (optional).  Add ghee and cover the pan for 2 minutes before serving so that all the flavors blend in.  Serve with hot rice and enjoy!

 

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Sarson ka Saag

Sarson ka Saag, a winter staple in the Northern parts of India, is a spicy buttery mustard greens preparation just popping with flavors.  While these pungent greens are simmering,  it is  mashed using an old school wooden spoon, giving a nice rustic yet creamy texture to this dish.  It is classically served with makki ki roti (a flat bread made with maize flour) and topped of with a dollop of unsalted butter.

Leafy greens such as mustard, spinach, fenugreek and many more  are in abundance at this time of the year and can be incorporated in many healthy and delicious  recipes, one such recipe is this saag.

If eaten on their own mustard greens can be quite bitter and pungent, so in this recipe while mustard greens are the major component, a few other kinds of greens are added to balance the flavors out. As with any other recipe, everyone will have their own variations for sarson ka saag and here is how I do it. Vegans can enjoy this dish by omitting butter and ghee.

 

 

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Ingredients

2 bunches of Mustard greens – ( washed and chopped ).

1 small bunch of spinach – ( washed and chopped ).

1/2 bunch of fenugreek – ( washed and chopped ) you may omit if you don’t find fenugreek.

1/2 bunch of chenopodium –  (washed and chopped ) can be replaced by white chard.

1 shallot – finely chopped.

1 turnip -peeled and diced.

1 inch ginger – finely chopped.

2 cloves of garlic – chopped.

2 to 3 green chillies – chopped (Serrano maybe used )

1/4 tsp of Asafoetida – (optional)

Salt to taste.

2 table spoons of cornmeal flour.

For tempering:

4 cloves of garlic – chopped

3 table spoon of ghee or oil

I am using an instant pot to make this dish , you may use a pot to make this, just adjust the cooking time .

Wash all your greens 2 to 3 times in cold water and chop them. In your instant pot add all your greens, ginger, tomato, turnip, shallot, green chili, 2 cloves garlic and a cup of water. Cook all this for 10 mins on manual setting or until everything is soft and tender. Add salt to taste and a pinch of Asafoetida (if using). At this point  I start to mash the saag with my wooden masher and dry out some of the liquid. Once that starts to happen, add the corn meal flour one tablespoon at time while you still keep mashing. If you are using an electric hand blender you may mash the greens first dry out some of the liquid  and then add the flour. If you desire a nice rustic texture to your greens, while using the hand electric blender make sure you don’t puree the greens completely. Transfer saag to large bowl that can hold all of it.

For Tempering heat 3 tablespoons of ghee/or oil and add the 4 cloves chopped garlic. Once the garlic starts to turn pink add the saag to the tempering and quickly cover and cook for 2 mins to incorporate all the flavors. Serve hot with a dollop of butter and makki ki roti (maize flour flat bread) or any other flat bread. enjoy !

Included the picture of my wooden masher 🙂

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Sindhi Sai Bhaji

My parents come from a melting pot of cultures and hence we were introduced to simple yet wide range of everyday cooking. My dads side consists of  Punjabi’s and Sindhi’s, while moms side consists of Gujarati’s and Maharashtrian’. Owing to this awesome blend of cuisines there are tons of childhood recipes, memories and daily menus archived within the family. One such recipe is the Sindhi Sai Bhaji,  a simple wholesome dish of vegetables and lentils seasoned with everyday simple ingredients.

I have made this in my instant pot but you can make this in a Dutch oven as well.  Cooking times might vary by 10 mins. The lentils add a natural medium thick consistency to this dish which is how it should be.

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Ingredients

1 big bunch of Spinach –  (washed and chopped )

1/2 cup dill leaves -( washed and chopped)

1/2 cup fresh Fenugreek leaves-  ( washed and chopped ) ( optional)

2 tomatoes- roughly chopped

1 small eggplant – chopped in small cubes

1 potato- peeled and cut in to 4 pieces

1 onion – roughly chopped

1 cup of Bengal gram Lentils ( washed and soaked for about 40 minutes )

1 green chilly – chopped ( Serrano works great )

1/2 inch ginger – finely chopped

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp of coriander powder

1 cup of water

3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1/2 tsp cumin seeds ( brings great smoky flavor ) (optional )

3 tablespoon of ghee or oil to temper

Salt to taste

In your instant pot add the first 13 ingredients and cook for 30 minutes manual setting and natural release. Once you open the lid everything should be cooked down.  Take an electric hand blender and slightly blend, you don’t want a complete puree but rather want some chunky bits.  Add salt to taste, mix well and set a side. Heat ghee or oil in a small pan over  medium heat. Add cumin seeds and chopped garlic; as the garlic gets some brown edges add the tempering to the pot of veggies and lentils, cover for a couple minutes , open the lid stir well and serve hot.

Here I have served it with some rice flavored with peas, and as a side I have some pan fried potatoes and eggplants. This dish can be served as is if you are avoiding carbs as it is such an wholesome dish.  Goes well with any flat bread as well. This is great way to add vegetables and greens to your diet . Enjoy !