February 27, 2007

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato & Onion Soup

So many times my conversation starts about food, whether it is about new research about a particular ingredient, or new recipes that I've been wanting to try or have tried, places to eat or local organic fruits and vegetables among other things. And having this space to talk about all these things has been wonderful.

While there winter may be on its last leg, there's still plenty of time to try new soup recipes. I have been wanting to try soup which encapsulates all the tastes - sweet, tangy, hot, spicy and filling and hearty. Yeah! you get it, I am being ambitious. So I poked around, thought about ingredients and decided to try something new from my imagination.

To celebrate my 100th post, I made this spicy sweet potato and onion soup where the sweetness of the roasted onions and sweet potatoes contrast with spicy green chillies. Added to that is the aroma of ginger and cloves and finally is blended with the tanginess of fresh lemons to make this hearty delicious soup. It spiced up a cold, gray afternoon!

Ingredients: (serves 4)
2 Sweet Potatoes
2 medium Yellow Onions
2 green chillies
1" cube Ginger
1 tspoon of Fennel, Cumin Seeds, Cloves mix (I roasted equal amounts and ground it to a powder)
5 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 tspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 tbspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
Salt to taste
Whole Cilantro - to garnish


Chop the sweet potatoes and onions. Roast them for 20-25 min or till the sweet potatoes are cooked and the onions begin to turn brown at the edges.

I also roasted the ginger and the chillies with potatoes and onions. It worked wonderfully.

Puree the potato, onion, ginger and chillies in the blender till it mixes well together. Add the mixture to a wide-bottomed pot.

Add vegetable broth, lemon zest, fennel-cumin seeds-cloves powder, salt and let it cook on low medium heat for about 20 min or till the broth reduces and everything mixes well to a thick consistency.

Add the lemon juice, let it cook for 2-3 minutes and take the soup off the heat.

Garnish with cilantro and serve warm.

This is my entry to Soup Fest going on at A Veggie Venture hosted by wonderful Alanna.

If you haven't yet, check out the entries. I'm already getting ready to try a couple this week! Thanks for hosting Alanna.

February 20, 2007

MBP - Ma'moul (from Mahanandi)

I make several recipes from fellow bloggers (thanks everybody), but they usually disappear before I can take a picture. This time I resisted long enough to take pictures of the cookies - perfect starter to a wonderful evening.

I was fascinated by Ma'moul from the first time I read about it at Indira's Mahanandi. And Monthly Blog Patrolling gave me just the opportunity to try it out. It was delicious!

I made a few minor changes to the recipe to suit my pantry and taste. Instead of yeast and ghee in dough, I used baking soda and butter. For filling, I used honey and ginger for flavoring instead of sugar and rose water.

The rest of the process and the baking time remains the same. Since I didn't have the beautiful mold, I gave them a cookie shape. And it was a perfect starter and also a dessert for the Chinese New Year!

Read Indira's recipe here. Thanks Indira!

This is my entry for Monthly Blog Patrolling - Finger Food and Starters at My Khazana of Recipes.

February 15, 2007

Fun with Rajbhog! (Guest Post by Aswin)

I spent several months in India last year, and spent quite a lot of time watching TV! In addition to cricket and filmi-shows, I also ended up watching some cooking shows thanks to my mom. She would jot down recipes, suggest twists, and tell me to try them when I got back to the U.S. (and of course, post the results on Ahaar!). And soon enough, I found myself getting interested in these shows and caught two of them on a fairly regular basis - Sanjeev Kapoor's Khana Khazana on ZEE TV, and Saviruchi on ETV-Kannada.

The recipe here was featured on Khana Khazana and struck me as simple and quick, yet delicious. And it turned out to be a really nice Valentine's Day treat!

Sanjeev Kapoor used rasgullas and just one fruit (pomegranate). Rajbhog works just as well, if not better, and a combination of fruits is a good idea too!

Rajbhog (or Rasgullas): 1 can
Yogurt: 1 cup
Apple: 1
Grapes: a bunch (the red grapes lend a nice color contrast)
Any other fruits of your choice
Honey: 2 tbsp

Chop the apple into small pieces, and do the same with the grapes.
Squeeze out the sugar syrup from the rajbhog, and cut in half.
Spread a tsp of yogurt on each half, and let it soak for 5 minutes or so.
Arrange the fruits on the rajbhog pieces in any way you think looks best!
Drizzle a little honey on this (be warned that the rajbhog tastes sweet even if you've squeezed out the sugar syrup)
Cover, and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

February 12, 2007

Thai Rice Noodle & Vegetable Soup

I've had wonderful Thai Soups in restaurants and have also tried the instant Thai Kitchen Soups several times but have never tried making it from scratch at home. I was craving it this weekend and decided to give it a try. Since I didn't have a recipe, I recreated this soup from memory. It didn't taste exactly the same, but was great nonetheless, a wonderful mix of vegetables, tofu and rice noodles. I will add some more broth the next time I make it.

2 cups Rice Noodles - I used Thai Kitchen Rice Noodles
2 1/2 cups Vegetable Stock
1 tspoon ginger - grated
1 tspoon garlic - grated
4-5 green onions - chopped
1 tspoon lemon zest
2/3 tspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 tbspoon light soy sauce
1/2 tspoon red chilli powder
1/4 tspoon black bean sauce
1 broccoli crown - chopped thinly
8-10 portabella mushroom - chopped thinly
1/2 cup baby carrots - chopped thinly
1/2 package extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
1 tbspoon oil
Salt to taste
1 tspoon lemon juice
lemon wedge & chopped cilantro to garnish

Take a thick wide bottomed pan. Heat oil and add ginger and garlic. Once they start sputtering add the vegetables - spring onions, carrots, mushrooms and broccoli. Saute for a couple of minutes, add soy sauce, sugar, chilli powder, lemon zest and stir it well.

Add the vegetable stock and let it cook for 7-8 minutes on medium low heat or till the vegetables are semi-cooked.

Then add rice noodles to the broth and cook for 2-3 minutes till the noodles are cooked.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice, garnish with lemon wedge and cilantro and serve.

This is my entry for Vegetable Love at Fatfree Vegan Kitchen - a healthy way to celebrate Valentine's Day. :)

February 11, 2007

Meme Time!

The winter storms are not yet over. Just when the temperatures were rising out of the teens, there is news of yet another storm heading this way. So I decided to stay home, warm and work on my Meme. I've been tagged by lovely Sri of Daavat about Five Things you Don't Know about Me. Here goes my list:
  • I was constantly teased about my name when I was young. So much so that I wanted to change my name. But now, I'm glad I didn't!
  • I have a sweet tooth. As my family and friends will vouch, I love sweet things whether it's a Cadbury's chocolate or homemade payesh.
  • I like the smell of freshly cooked/baked goodies whether it's a cake or oven poached seabass. It's delicious!
  • My rotis never turn out round! It doesn't matter the consistency of the dough, once I start rolling, they develop a mind of their own. But I haven't given up... yet.
  • I want to bake fresh bread for breakfast once. I haven't attempted it as yet, but will soon!
I think everyone has been tagged by the Meme. But, if you haven't tried this as yet, do it. It's fun. Thanks Sri!

February 08, 2007

Easy Three Layer Sundae

The three layer sundae is like our relationship - sweet as chocolate pudding, tangy like orange, fresh and smooth like whipped cream and topped off with kisses! And this is my entry to Sweet Love (Monthly Mingle) at What's for Lunch, Honey?

Here is how I made it.

For Chocolate Pudding
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate
1/2 pack of instant chocolate pudding
6-8 tbspoon light cream

For Candied Orange
8-10 thin orange slices
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Whipped cream
Hershey's Kisses

For Chocolate Pudding
Mix chocolate pieces, instant pudding and cream together on low flame. Set it off the flame and let it cool.

For Candied Orange
Heat sugar and water in a pan over medium flame. Once the sugar dissloves, put the orange slices in and let it cook till the water and sugar disappears leaving translucent oranges.

Assembling the Sundae:
Put chocolate pudding as the first layer. Whipped cream is the second layer. Put the candied oranges for the third layer. Whip some cream and garnish with Hershey's Kisses.

It was gone in no time!

February 07, 2007

Healthy sabzi of the week - Cauliflower (Gobi)

It has been really cold here the past two weeks and I have been trying to minimize my outings. For the middle of the week dinner, I wanted to make aloo gobi matar to go with whole grain flat breads, but my pantry had one potato left. Not to be deterred, I decided to make a few variations and change it to gobi matar - cauliflower peas sabzi. And cauliflower is my Healthy Sabzi of the week entry.

Growing up, I was told cauliflower was good for health. Though I never had concrete research answers, but I ate my gobi in various sabzis and curries. As I found out later, it IS good for health. Research has shown that it reduces the occurrence of cancer (read here) and with high content of Vitamin C, it fights rheumatoid arthritis (more here). Besides, it's just delicious!

This is a simple sabzi which I like in a semi-dry form. I keep the masalas on the lesser side, so one can taste the the sweetness of peas and the distinct taste of cauliflower. You can change the consistency based on your preference.

1 caulflower florets - I used one pack of organic frozen cauliflower florets
1 cup peas - I used frozen
1/2 onion - chopped finely
1/2 tomato - chopped finely
1 tspoon ginger -grated
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1 tspoon cumin-coriander powder
1/2 tspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tspoon mustard seeds
1 dry red chilli
2/3 cup water
salt to taste
fresh cilantro to garnish

Microwave the cauliflower florets and peas till they are semi-boiled.
Heat the oil in a big pot and temper it with cumin seeds, mustard seeds and the red chilli.
Once they've browned, add ginger and saute for a minute then adding onions.
Stir and saute till the onions begin to brown before adding the chopped tomatoes.
Add the cauliflower florets and the peas. Season with turmeric and cumin-coriander powder.
Let it all cook together for a couple of minutes on closed lid till the masalas mix well with the vegetables.
Add the water and salt and cook for 5-6 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with roti, parathas, rice or flat breads.


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