Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kaju meets matar....for dinner !

Weekdays call for quick meals. By quick, i mean "time taken to cook" . This needs to be essentially short yet my palate  yearns for some nice, mildly spiced stuff.
My weekend trip to the bustling 'vegetable market" in Nasik ( will write more about this later) has left my fridge overloaded with fresh greens and among them sit fresh pea pods- sweet and tender.
Today i decided to use these up, since I did not want to exhaust my stock I decided to mix them up with some cashews (my little one loves these) and rustle up a lovely Maharastrian style kaju-matar usal.

What is needed
1 cup fresh green peas
1 cup kaju or cashews soaked in hot water ( for about 15-20 minutes)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder or haldi
1 tsp Maharastrian Goda  masala, Do check the recipe for Goda masala here or  here for another  version

For the paste
1/2 cup of freshly scraped coconut
4-5 garlic pods
4 green chillies
1 small onion

  1.  Make a coarse paste of all the ingredients listed in the "paste" section
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add the  ground paste,haldi, goda masala.
  3. Fry the paste briefly, for less than a minute and add the peas followed by the cashews.
  4. Add salt, a pinch of sugar, some coriander.
  5. Add about half a cup of water to prevent it from sticking at the bottom
  6. Cover and cook till peas are tender enough.( In my case the peas were very tender and took very little time to cook. You may also pre cook or boil the green peas beforehand).
A generous sprinkling of fresh chopped coriander just before serving should complete this dish.
I also like squirt of lemon juice on it!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The 'Mangsho" in my kitchen

The little one happily spending vacation at granny's, mummy dear is going mad with all the time on hand.A plan for a  rustic dinner is made, friends invited, menu decided... on demand... mutton curry and rice...some laccha parathas too says my heart. Time on hand... less than an hour!
I remembered  reading a lovely bengali style mutton curry or" kosha mangsho "on  this blog...inspiration number 1
A quick youtube search landed me on Kalyan's video, you may check that here...inspiration number 2
Pronto, the curry was made accordingly ( well, almost), with  some modifications, given the time constraints.

Here goes how I made it...
  • Mutton(goat meat) 1 kg, cleaned  and marinated with 2 tsp each of  salt, chilli powder, cumin(jeera) powder, dhania powder and 1 cup thick curd ( marinated for about half an hour)
  •  2 small potatoes cut in halves
To be made into a paste

  • 2 large onions
  • 8-10 plump garlic cloves
  • Thick ginger slivers, about 8 or 10
  • 1 large tomato 

  • 2 Tbsp Ghee 
  • 5-6 elaichi
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 2-3 bay leaves

  1. Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker
  2. Add the whole spices mentioned in the tempering section, in no particular order.
  3. Add the ground paste
  4. Fry till the raw smell ceases to exist
  5. Add the marinated mutton pieces, fry these briefly, about 3-4 minutes
  6. Add  potato halves
  7. Check for seasoning and adjust according to taste
  8. Add a little water( about half a cup) ,enough to submerge the mutton pieces, the mutton should peep out and not drown itself entirely 
  9. Shut the pressure cooker, and make up to 6-7 whistles
  10. Take the pressure cooker off the fire and wait till pressure releases to savor what lies beneath!!! 
Notes to self: When i make it next time, i will use more number of onions so my curry will be thicker and yes i will not miss out on cinnamon like i did this time.

The "mangsho" and the paratha in making....and "ready-to-eat avtar"

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

This post is for all those who are mothering little powerhouses of energy- toddlers and also struggling hard to feed them right and enough. 
Have put together some thoughts and well... some "gyan" followed by some snack ideas....hope this helps... 

All kids love munching on snacks. Unfortunately the importance of healthy snacks is undermined by many parents. Snacks play a dual role. They not only serve as opportunities to make up for the nutrients missing  in the main meal but also help your child in bridging gaps  between meals and keeping them from getting hungry and cranky. However, what is crucial is the timing and nutritive quality of the snacks served. Healthy, well-timed snacks for toddlers can help balance out an uneven diet.  What you have to ensure is that you offer an array of health-boosting nutrients as snacks and not mere between-the-meal fillers.
Well, does that sound like an almost unattainable task?
Relax; this is not as difficult as it may sound. Here are some healthy yet tasty options for snacks that your little one will enjoy and come back asking for more.

Fruity treat: Layer tiny parathas with your little one’s favourite jam. Sprinkle finely chopped fruits and nuts over it. Tightly roll and drizzle some chocolate sauce on top. Cut these into wheels and secure with a toothpick. While the carbohydrates from the paratha will provide the energy that will keep your little one going the fruits and nuts added to this will take care of his micronutrient needs.

Surprise sticks: Cut baby corn, carrot and asparagus length wise. Sprinkle some salt, pepper and lemon juice over it. Roll these in beaten egg or a thin flour batter and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top and shallow fry in a pan until crisp. Serve with a cheese dip. This crunchy treat is sure to catch your kid’s fancy.

Fruit and cream: Serve diced fruits with flavoured cream. Blend half a cup of cream with any fruit pulp that is a favourite; strawberry, mango etc. to obtain a smooth puree. Add a spoonful of finely chopped nuts. Serve it with small cubes of fruits with colourful fruit forks. Show your toddler how to dip into the smoothie. Your toddler will enjoy this activity and is sure to ask for more. This treat will provide him with much needed protein and energy and the fun that comes along... is well, priceless!

Cracker sandwich: Mix finely chopped veggies with grated cheese. Add some boiled corn too. Evenly spread cheese-spread on whole wheat crackers and spoon the cheese veggie mix on top. Press a slice of cherry tomatoes on each and watch how these vanish in a matter of minutes. The crackers will add the fun element and the topping will take care of nutrition.

Pop- in crunchies: Cut cauliflower in tiny florets. Sprinkle with a few drops of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake for 15 minutes. Cover with grated cheese when hot. You have to make this one to believe what a winning combination it makes. And it qualifies as a healthy snack too!

Its my cup of tea...

The morning cup of tea holds a special place . With eyes half closed as i struggle to distance myself from the earlier nights dreams, it is the soft murmur of the boiling water that nudges me to make peace with reality.
The heady aroma of ginger, occasionally lemongrass ( yes, i love it), just the right amount of sugar and the tea powder, followed by a small dose of milk....a quick mix and into my eyes wide open by now... as i take in the first sip... i am ready to take on  a brand new day !