Saturday, February 2, 2013

Super Bowl Chow Down!

It’s pretty obvious in terms of making sense but if supported by average numbers the impact is much greater.

The above is an article that writes of how much exercise one would need to do in order to lose all the calories they gain on average eating during the Super Bowl game tomorrow. 

I have never thought of measuring it but here it is according to the article – a person consumes an average of 1200 calories during game time, according to the Calorie Control Council. Get me some more of the wings will yaa!!!?

Wait till you read numbers on potato chips, tortilla chips, chicken wings (ridiculous – convert that into how many chickens are used up for that), and beer. It is astonishing.

Fine print: I am not against any of this eating. I used to eat the same way and more on this day. I just thought the numbers were really worth sharing J. Enjoy the quick read.  And the food tomorrow.

- Sri

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Celery and Dill with Yogurt (Serves 2)

Hi all! It’s been a while, isn’t it? Sorry to be away for so long, but I have been trying to manage time better with my daughter’s school and everything else.  Hope you have been doing well, and have been missing the recipes a little bit. Lets get straight to the point then.

We had bought some celery, dill, mushrooms etc., to make some mushroom barley soup.  The mushroom got used up to make something else, so I thought about making a simple but very flavorful dish.

I wanted to bring together the individually unique but very complimentary flavors of celery and fresh dill leaves. What better base than yogurt? I kept the preparation very basic, letting the celery and dill make magic together!

Enjoy this raita as is, or as a compliment with a spicy dish with rice or bread.

3 stalks celery (1 cup packed when sliced finely)
1 tsp packed fresh dill leaves, finely chopped
3/8 tsp salt, or according to taste
1 ¼ cup low fat plain yogurt
1/8 cup 2% low fat milk
1. Cut each celery stalk lengthwise equally. Then chop them into fine thin slices, and set aside in a bowl.

2. Mince the fresh dill leaves (1 tsp packed) and add to the celery.

3. Add yogurt and milk (I like to add a little bit of milk so as to reduce the tangy flavor of the yogurt), and salt, and mix well till everything gets combined.

4. Store for 30 minutes in the refrigerator to let all the flavors combine.

5. Serve fresh.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Paneer Chatpata (Hot and Sour Paneer)

This was one of those moments where my mind and my hands went over the spice rack with total abandon and out came this dish, which I personally prefer to have as an appetizer along with some good single malt. Of course we ate it along with chapatis and dal! But you know what I am talking about :-)

We had a block of paneer (cottage cheese sitting in the refrigerator) and I just picked it up for a Sunday quick lunch fix. I also made another favorite of mine, eggplant masala that I shall post shortly.

Wife loved it, what else do I need? How can I describe the taste? It is spicy, tangy and crispy, more like an Indian and Asian fusion. Hope you enjoy it.

400 gms Nanak Paneer
3 tbsp + 1 tsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp chick pea flour
1/2 tsp Shan Tandoor Chicken powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chili powder 30 gms Chinese Hot Chilis diced into really small pieces
130 gms green bell pepper diced into really small pieces
5 tbsp oil
4 tsp Asian chili sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar

1) Cut the paneer into 1/2 inch size pieces. Clean the hot chilis and the green pepper and dice them into really small pieces. Set all aside. Please have all the ingredients ready since there are a lot of them, and you don't want to miss any of them.

2) In a small mixing bowl, mix the flours, red chili powder and tandoori masala.

3) In a non stick pan, pour 3 tbsp oil. As it gets hot add the hot chilis and green pepper and cook on medium heat for a few minutes till the water from the pepper evaporates. Add the paneer pieces now and mix well.

4) Roast the paneer for a while till the sides starting getting slightly golden. At this point add the flour/chili/tandoori masala mix and salt (please add salt by taste. Although I have measured the salt, remember Shan tandoori masala has some salt in it as well). Mix everything well, making sure you coat the paneer pieces with the flour and tandoori masala mix.

5) Add 2 tbsp oil. Lower the flame to medium low, moving everything around so as to not burn anything. After the flour has cooked well, and the chilis/pepper and paneer are nice roasted with golden sides, drizzle around the Asian chili sauce, soy sauce and vinegar. 

6) Mix everything well for a few minutes till all the water from the sauces just disappears. Turn off the flame and transfer the contents to a serving dish. You are done.

7) Important: Ensure that you stop the cooking process just in time. If you cook it till its very dry, then the moisture from the paneer is lost and it doesn't end up tasting good.

8) Serve with single malt whiskey, or with rice and dal and just top it on a fresh green salad. Yum!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Deviled Eggs (Serves 10-15)

Phew! its been a while, isn't it? Didn't want to become extinct, no that is not in the plan after doing this for two years. There may be gaps like this, but don't ever plan to shut this down.

We had been to a friend’s place for a pool/BBQ party, an annual event which was combined with another friend’s farewell party as he and his family were moving to New Zealand.

Since it was a BBQ party I decided to load it up and made deviled eggs, something I had never tried preparing before. I think if one puts almost anything along with egg yolks and mayonnaise, in the right proportion that is, it’s going to turn out good.

Common ingredients in deviled eggs are mustard, tartar sauce, pickle, olives, etc. But I wanted to refrain from adding anything common, and came up with something of my own. Otherwise there is no fun, right?

This turned out great and got eaten up in a few minutes by the gang. Devils!! Absolutely tasty, wholesome and filled with lots of different flavors.

Here is the recipe. You may notice that I have used yolks from 2 extra eggs and and then some extra mayo. This was done to get the consistency of the filling right.

21 boiled eggs + yolks from 2 extra eggs
5 tbsp red onions minced very fine
6 tsp fresh jalapeno pepper minced very fine, with seeds
3 sprigs fresh oregano leaves
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh coriander leaves
2 tsp marinated small capers from bottle, minced fine
½ tsp cumin seeds
⅜ cup olive oil
⅜ cup + 2 tbsp mayonnaise
Salt to taste
cayenne pepper powder for garnish
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Preparation: Ridiculously simple :-)

1) Hard boil 23 eggs. Completely cool down the eggs. Peel the shell off and cut the eggs lengthwise into 2 halves each.

2) Scoop the yolks out from all the halves and set aside in a large bowl.

3) Set 42 egg halves on a large tray. We need only 42 egg halves for this recipe.

4) Mince all the fresh herbs as fine as you can with a knife. This will add to 3 tsp of fresh herbs, packed.

5) Dry roast the cumin seeds in a pan till you smell the aroma, and then grind it coarse.

6) In the large bowl with the egg yolks, first mash the yolks fully. To this add the olive oil, mayonnaise, minced red onions, minced jalapeno, minced fresh herbs, minced capers, ground cumin seeds, and salt to taste. Mix everything really well until it forms a nice smooth texture.

7) With a scoop or a spoon, add this mix into the hollow portion of the egg halves. Garnish on top with cayenne pepper and coriander leaves.

8) Refrigerate it for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spanakopita-Greek Spinach and Feta Pie (Serves 4)

We had been to a general Mediterranean store to pick up some traditional spices and supplies. There I got the idea of making Spanakopita or Greek Spinach Pie.

I have been wanting to make this pie for the longest time. Usually made with spinach, feta, onions and parsley, I played around with the ingredients a bit. In addition to spinach, feta, onions and parsley, I added fresh oregano, fennel seeds and cured olives.

Final result was just a burst of flavors with every bite reminding one of the presence of each ingredient.

We have been enjoying this pie for the last few days now :-).

2 bunches spinach (about 310 gms cooked)
6 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp fennel seeds
200 gms finely chopped red onions
200 gms feta cheese crumbled (fresh or store bought)
1 tsp packed freshly chopped oregano leaves
4.5 tsp packed freshly chopped parsley leaves
10 cured mixed Greek olives chopped fine (including Kalamata Olives)
salt and pepper to taste
2 17oz boxes of extra thick Greek FILO (8 sheets)*
* Note, we will be using only 6 sheets out of the 8 sheets

1) Take out the filo sheet boxes and thaw them in natural temperature for a few hours before preparation.

2) Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F.

3) Cut the stem off the spinach leaves, clean them thoroughly in water, drain and set aside. Chop the red onions and the olives fine and keep all aside separately.

4) In a large wok or similar dish on medium heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil. As the oil heats up, add the fennel seeds. When you get the aroma of the fennel seeds from the oil, add the spinach leaves. Cook the spinach leaves for 5-7 minutes or until they become tender. Turn the heat off and let it cool. Take care to squeeze/take out excess water by hand (very important!) and transfer the cooked spinach to a large preparation bowl.

5) Add a little oil to a dry wok, and cook the onions for a few minutes until just done.

6) To the spinach in the preparation bowl, add the onions, finely chopped olives, crumbled feta cheese, freshly chopped parsley and oregano leaves, and salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

7) On a large baking sheet, after carefully removing the wrapper from the filo dough, lay the first filo sheet on the baking sheet. Brush the dough with some olive oil. Repeat until you have layered 4 sheets brushing with olive oil after each layer. Note - depending on your preference, you can layer the top with 4 filo sheets as well if you want a thicker pie.

8) Now pour the spinach mix on the center, level it off into a rectangle shape. Cover on top with 2 more filo dough sheets, brushing with olive oil in between and on the top layer. Fold the edges over since the filo sheets are very big.


9) Bake for 50 minutes or until the filo sheets are baked to a nice golden brown color. During the baking process, after 20 minutes or so, every now and then brush the top with olive oil if it looks too dry. Half way during the baking process, turn around the baking sheet so it cooks evenly all over.

10) Cut into whatever shape or size you would like. Serve hot.

Most important thing in this dish is to make sure that the cooked spinach is as dry as possible. So make sure you squeeze out all the water. Secondly dont over bake the dish