Soup

Minestrone soup

Minestrone soup

This Italian meal is just not hearty and healthy but it’s really flexible too…There’s something incredibly satisfying about using up whole bunch of vegetables, beans and vegetable broth, this soup is a meal in itself .

Ingredients:

4 cups tightly packed spinach leaves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 medium leeks, trimmed and sliced

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 celery rib chopped

7 cups vegetable broth

1 medium potato peeled and cut into cubes

1 medium zucchini trimmed and cut into cubes

1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 cup cannellini beans

Method:

Remove and discard the stems from the spinach. Wash, chop and keep them aside. Heat oil in a large stockpot. Add the leeks, carrots, onions and celery and sauté over medium heat until softened. Add the stock, potato, zucchini, spinach and tomatoes. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour. stir the beans and salt to taste. Simmer just until the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes.

Ladle the soup into warm bowls and serve immediately with grated cheese!

Minestrone soup

 

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Chaat

Corn chaat

Corn chaat is a delicious and  mouth-watering. The juiciness from the kernels and tomato blend excellently well with rest of the ingredients making you want more. I also love it for the fact that it’s so simple and can be made in minutes.

Ingredients:

Corn kernels- 2 cups (cooked, canned or frozen, if  frozen make sure to cook according to the instructions on the package and cool it completely before using them in the chat)

Tomato- 1, chopped

Onion- 1, chopped

Coriander/cilantro- 8 to 9 strands chopped

Sev- 0 size, ½ cup

Spicy roasted peanuts- ¼ cup (optional)

Juice of half lemon

Red chilli powder– ¼ tsp

Chaat masala- ¼ tsp

Salt – To taste

Preparation:

Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl except sev.  Sprinkle sev just before serving, so that it remains crisp and crunchy.

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Main Course

Eggplant stir-fry

Eggplant (or brinjal in India, and “badanekai” in Kannada), is a favorite vegetable in my house. The only two varieties which I was most familiar with was the Eeranagere badanekai (Eeranagere is a town near Mysore) and Matti guLLa (Matti is a town near Udupi). If we go to an Asian market we see so many varieties of eggplant. I didn’t even know their existence until I came to the US. I have now been introduced to quite a few different cuisines where eggplant is the main vegetable. Today I tried my dish with Japanese eggplant and it turned out to be tasty!

Ingredients:

Vegetable oil-2 Tbsp

Japanese eggplant- 2 cups, diced

Red onion- 1 medium, thinly sliced

Tomatoes-2 medium, chopped

Brown sugar- 3 Tsp

Soy sauce-2 Tsp

Lime juice-2 Tsp

Chilli-garlic sauce- 1½ Tsp

Bean sprouts- 1½ cup

Bamboo shoots- 1 small can, sliced

Fresh mint- 3 Tsp chopped

Preparation:

Heat oil in a Wok or large pan. Sauté onions for 2 minutes, add in eggplant, stir-fry for 10 minutes over high heat or until eggplant is brown.

Stir in tomatoes, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice and chilli garlic sauce. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add bean sprouts and bamboo shoots, stir fry for a few more minutes.

Garnish with mint and serve with hot rice (preferably sticky rice).

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Appetizers/Snacks

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Italian bruschettas are one of my favorite appetizers. I make this often at home. They are a perfect appetizer for an Italian dinner. I learnt making this from a recipe on the internet. I customized the recipe to my own taste. My whole family enjoyed this a lot.

Ingredients:

Roma tomato- 1 finely chopped

Onions- 1 finely chopped

Fresh basil-2 Tbsp finely chopped

Garlic- 3 to 4 cloves minced

Mozzarella cheese- 8oz  finely grated

Extra virgin olive oil- 2 to 3 Tbsp

Salt and pepper- to taste

1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the bread diagonally into ½ inch thick slices.

Place the bread slices on the cookie sheet and rub garlic cloves on each slice and drizzle top side of the bread with olive oil using pastry brush.

Add chopped tomatoes, onions and mozzarella cheese evenly on each slice, sprinkle salt and pepper and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Place the tray on the top rack of the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until all the cheese melts and bread becomes crispy.

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Breakfast

Akki rotti

Akki rotti is made from rice flour (akki means rice in Kannada) and is a popular breakfast dish in karnataka. It is not as glamorous as idlis, dosa and vadas, but is a good, hearty breakfast.

Ingredients:

Rice flour- 3 cups

Onion- 1 finely chopped

Green chillies (jalapenos) – 6 to 7 chopped

Coriander (cilantro) – 3 to 4 strands chopped

Cumin-¾ Tbsp

Salt- to taste

Oil

Preparation:

Mix rice flour, onions, green chillies, coriander, cumin and salt, with water. Add sufficient amount of water until all the ingredients come together and form a lump. You can always sprinkle extra water while spreading on the skillet if the mixture is too dry.

Spread 1 tsp of oil on skillet, take a handful of dough and spread it on the skillet tapping with your fingers clockwise. Spread it to 1/4th inch thickness or even less if you want it to be crispy. Add a little oil on the sides and cook on medium heat. Make sure you cover it with a lid so it gets cooked well. Flip it on the other side and cook until golden brown or crispy.

Serve it with chutney. I personally like to have it with yogurt and mango pickle.

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Soup

Spring vegetable soup with Tarragon

I found this recipe in Food and Wine magazine. I had never used tarragon and leek together before so I thought it would be interesting to make and it turned out to be delicious while being just perfect for summer. It is very simple to prepare. I made some changes to the recipe to make it easier to prepare.

Ingredients:

Small red potatoes- 10

Carrots- 2 medium sized

Celery ribs- 2

Onion- 1

Leek -1

Green beans- 2 handful

Tarragon- 1Tbsp chopped

Ground pepper and Kosher salt to taste

Preparation:

Cut all vegetables into medium sized pieces. In a large pot, combine water with potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and leek and bring to boil. Add salt and cook for about 30 minutes over low-medium heat. Add green beans and cook until tender. Stir in parsley and tarragon, puree the mixture in a blender and bring it to boil again for few minutes. Season with pepper and salt. Serve hot or warm.

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Side dish

Sweet and Tangy baLekai palya (Raw plantain side dish)

We can prepare numerous recipes with baLekai (raw plantain). Every single part of this plant can be used in our day to day cooking. The leaves of the banana plant are used to serve food in south India. The core of the stem is used to make various dishes. The raw fruit is used as a vegetable to make curries and side dishes. This is one among them.

Ingredients:

BaLekai (raw plantain) – 1, cut into cubes

Onion- 1 medium, chopped

Curry leaves- 3 to 4

Termeric- ¼ Tsp

Coriander or cilantro- 3 to 4 strands, chopped

Red chilli powder- ½ to ¾ Tsp

Tamarind paste- 2 Tsp

Jaggery- 1 to 1½ Tsp

Mustard- ½ Tsp

Asafetida- A pinch

Oil- 3 Tbsp

Coconut- 2 Tbsp (optional)

Salt- To taste

Preparation:

Heat oil in a pan.  Add onions and turmeric and sauté till it turns translucent, add the cut plantains, curry leaves and cook till it becomes tender but is still crispy. Add red chili powder, tamarind paste, jaggery, salt, coconut (optional). Cook for few more minutes until they are nicely mixed and crispy.

Heat 1 tsp oil in seasoning pan. Add mustard seeds, allow it to splutter and add asafetida. Add this seasoning to cooked palya and garnish with cilantro.

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