August 29, 2007

Mexican Rice Caserole

Mexican Rice Casserole
(Photo courtesy of: Nicole Moore)

Update 2-24-2013: We made this rice casserole for Playdate#5. The flavors are just as I remembered - fresh and delicious. I followed the recipe as is, except for the chicken. Instead of  pan roasting it, I broiled it in the oven for 13 minutes on each side. It saved us some time, and with each of us tending to two little ones, shortcuts like these are welcome.
Nicole made a lettuce and avacado salad which complemented it perfectly.
Here is a updated picture as well, courtesy of Nicole.
-----------------------------------

We were in the mood for something different. After a recent dinner of Mexican casserole which we enjoyed, I have been wanting to make my own version of it. So I set to work. And when the dinner at the end of the experiment is a great one pot meal with rice, beans, veggies, and chicken all combined in this flavorful sauce, all I can say is that it was indeed a great find! With a fresh avocado salad to absorb the heat from the casserole, it was our satisfying dinner of the week.


Ingredients:
2 cups cooked rice
1 can (10 oz) black beans - drained and rinsed
1 medium red onion - chopped
2 medium tomatoes - chopped
1 bell pepper - chopped
2 medium carrots chopped
2-3 cloves garlic - chopped
1 big chicken breast- cut in bite size
1/4 tspoon oregano
1 tspoon cumin powder
1/2 tspoon chilli powder
2 tbspoon - mexican cheese mix
2 tbspoon olive oil
salt to taste
fresh ground pepper
Fresh cilantro to garnish


Method:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13x9-inch baking dish and keep it aside.
Marinate the chicken with salt and pepper and saute it on a pan till they start to turn brown. Keep it aside.
Heat the rest of the oil and add oregano, and garlic. Saute it for a couple of minutes. Then add onions and fry for a couple of minutes. Then add the rest of the veggies - carrots, pepper, tomatoes along with cumin and chilli powder. Let it cook together closed lid for 3-4 minutes. Take it off heat.
Now layer the baking dish - rice, beans, veggies chicken and top it off with cheese and let it bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro and let it stand for 5 minutes before serving. I like to mix it before serving so the juices and flavors mix well.


This is my entry for JFI-Rice hosted by Sharmi of Neivedyam. Great way to celebrate rice, thanks Sharmi!

August 26, 2007

Amish Friendship Bread


I was so excited to receive a batter bag for Amish Friendship Bread recently. The bag came with a page of instructions. The batter ferments for 10 days and at the end of the 10th day, I could bake the bread.

Leading to the 10th day, all I had to do was mash the bag everyday, add flour, milk and sugar on the 5th day, and add more of the same ingredients on the 10th day and then use past of the batter to bake the bread. The bread was more like a cake - moist and delicious.

Here is where it gets interesting! I got to divide the batter in 4 bags and pass the batter forward to my friends. It reminded me of chain letters (not e-mails, but actual letters) that were the rage in school!

I decided to pass it on to Nupur of One Hot Stove in the hope that it will become a unique Event. The batter is passed from one food blogger to the next and we all will share a bit of the batter, make our own changes to the bread and make it our own. Isn't that neat? I hope it will become a "pass the batter to friends" event.

When you receive the batter, all you have to do is write a post about it with a link to this post, the person who sent it, and the person you forward the batter to for baking. I will update the list as we go along.


Since the instructions come with the batter, I won't go into the detail of the recipe, but here are the changes I made to the recipe.

I used whole wheat flour which made the bread denser.
I added banana and raisins.
I also reduced about 3/4 cup of sugar from the mix. The bread was mildly sweet.

The bread was devoured in a day!

August 22, 2007

Awards, & new place


This post is long overdue. I promised to post some pictures of the new place but in between the unpacking, work, organizing time got away from me. I remembered today and off I went even when it was gray, cloudy and misty.


The pictures are from a park just across the street. We've never lived so close to a nature reserve in a while, so we are taking in every moment. In fact, you can actually hear the insects (crickets?) at night. When we had just arrived a month ago, we both turned to each other with the same question, "Are those insects?". From cars to insects, it's quite a change!


I've also found a spot -a bench overlooking the beautiful greenery and water - my favorite place to get some reading done.

Now on to awards, I am touched, humbled and quite pleased to receive the awards :)

Sandeepa of Bong Mom's Cookbook passed this rockin' girl blogger award. She is a wonderful blogger who brings information, humor, and creativity into her posts which I enjoy reading immensely and also cook from. So thank you Sandeepa!

I think everyone in the blogosphere already have the award. So in no particular order, I want to pass it on to fellow bloggers who rock the food blog world with their passion, creativity and energy!

Nupur of One Hot Stove
Shaheen of Malabar Spices
Sher of What did you Eat?


The Next Award was given by Manisha of Indian Food Rocks fame or should I say from Lime/lemon pickle fame. Manisha your pickle is superhit with everyone who has tasted it. I'm putting a bigger batch next year!

I am passing it forward to:
Sandeepa of Bong Mom's Cookbook
Inji of Ginger and Mango
Sra of When My Soup Came Alive

Enjoy the awards and savor the moment as I am :)

August 20, 2007

Mixed Veg Tofu Curry


Weeknight meals have to be fast, quick and delicious for us. Some days we are in the mood to prepare an extensive fare, but most days it is healthy, quick meal and it has to be delicious. And tofu curry has become one of our staples weeknight food over time. We've cooked it several different ways - green curry, red curry, saag tofu, tofu bhurji, mixed veg curry and are always looking for more.

I don't usually plan mixed veg curry in advance, rather I use the vegetables already in the fridge. I've made it with peppers, potato, mushrooms and in this particular case, with green peppers, snap peas, baby corn and carrots. Light and filling, this was our weeknight meal.

And while we cut and cook the tofu curry, the microwave cooker takes care of the rice and we have a meal ready in 25-26 minutes. Rest of the meal-time is spent picking the dessert for the evening and arguing over television program options for the evening!

Ingredients:(serves 2-3 people)
1/2 block tofu - cut in wedges
1/2 pack baby corn -fresh or frozen
1/2 pack snap peas - fresh or frozen
2-3 carrots - cut in long thin strips
1 green pepper - cut in long wedges
1 tspoon soy sauce
1/2 tspoon chilli garlic paste
5-6 basil leaves
1- red chilli
1/4 tspoon coriander powder
1" cube of fresh ginger - chopped fine
1 tbspoon oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Lightly saute the tofu till they start turning golden yellow. Set it aside.

Heat the rest of the oil and temper it with red chilli and fresh ginger. Saute it for a minute. Then add the vegetables, coriander powder, half of the basil leaves, soy sauce, chilli-garlic sauce and 1/2 cup water (if you want little curry) let it cook on closed lid medium heat for 6-7 minutes.

Add salt and pepper along with Tofu and cook for another 4-5 minutes.


Garnish it with the rest of the basil leaves and serve warm with rice.

This express meal entry is going to the Summer Express Cooking Event hosted at Malabar Spices. I know I am going to bookmark the round up! Thanks for hosting.

August 19, 2007

Healthy Sabzi Series #4- Oriya Bhendi Masala


My first and only visit to Orissa was many many years ago. The vacation included trips to Puri, Konark temple, Nandankanan National Park among other places.

The memories have faded, I remember bits and pieces like holding on to old photographs. I remember the crowd in the Jagannath temple; someone had to pick me up so that I could breathe and the pujari who came with mishti bhath everyday to the rest house. I remember the Sun temple and the awe I felt as a child and the roar of the white tigers at the National Park.

We had traveled in a large group during one of our summer vacations - aunts and uncles, grandmother and her sisters, cousins - lots of us. The first day we arrived in Puri, we all went to the beach. It was evening and I was sitting with my grandmother waiting for the next wave to wash our feet. But the wave was bigger than I had anticipated and I was drenched by the time it receded. But I did venture into the sea again the next day and it was a lot of fun.

It is the fun that I remember from the Orissa trip.

When I saw the RCI Oriya cuisine, I wanted to participate. But nothing came to mind, so I got some help from the internet. While browsing I came across this recipe for Bhendi Masala. The combination of Green Peppers and Okra intrigued me and I had fresh Okras from the Farmer's Market trip. I decided to try it. It was so delicious - along with mushurir dal and chapatis it was a wholesome meal.

Ingredients:
(adapted from bhaja in Oriya Kitchen)
1 lb - frozen or fresh okra
1 - medium onion
1 - tomato
1- green pepper (I used yellow bell pepper)
1tspoon - cumin powder
1tspoon - coriander powder
1/2 tspoon- turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon - fresh ginger chopped
1/2 tspoon - fresh garlic chopped
1 tspoon oil
1/2 tspoon amchur powder
1 red chilli
1 tspoon- cumin seeds
Salt-to taste
chopped cilantro for garnishing

Method:
Cut okras into small pieces. Then chop the onions, tomatoes and the bell pepper and keep it aside.

Heat oil in a pan and temper it with cumin seeds and red chilli. Then add the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute. Then add the chopped onions and fry it till they start turning brown.

Add the tomato along with cumin and coriander powder. Add turmeric powder and let it cook on closed lid till the tomatoes turn soft. Then add the bell pepper and okra.

Stir for a few minutes till everything mixes and cook it on medium heat till the okra starts turning soft. Then add the amchur powder and cook it for a couple more minutes.

The okra should turn soft but not mushy. Take it off the heat, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm.


With okra and bell peppers it was also a part of the healthy sabzi series and my entry for RCI- Oriya hosted by Swapna of Swad. The event was created by Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine.

August 13, 2007

Catfish fry with yogurt dip

Crispy fish fry with hot dal and rice is my all-time favorite comfort food. While I still miss Morula mach bhaja, tiny fish fried crisp, I have tried frying different fish- tilapia, salmon, haddock, and catfish among others.

Recently, I got catfish which looked more like chicken breast and I decided to change things a bit- you know, get out and shake things up. While marinating the fish, I added a little bit of saffron, and fried it crispy with some poppy seeds. Served over a bed of minty yogurt dip tempered with mustard it was delicious and aromatic. The crispy fish with minty dip, along with dal and rice spiced up our regular weekday meal.

How do you like your fried fish?

Ingredients:
2-3 catfish fillets - take thicker pieces
2/3 tspoon turmeric
1/2 tspoon chilli powder
1/2 tspoon coriander powder
1/4 tspoon clove powder
few strands saffron
2-3 garlic cloves - paste
1 tbspoon poppy seeds
2 tbspoon oil
salt to taste

Yogurt Dip
3-4 tbspoon yogurt
fresh mint paste
salt to taste
1/2 tspoon mustard

Method:
Marinate the fish with all the spices and garlic paste and let it soak the marinade for 4-5 hours.
Heat the oil in a pan. In the meantime, coat the fish with the poppy seeds and shallow fry the fish on medium heat 5-6 min or till it is crispy and done.

While the fish is frying, whip the yogurt and add the mint paste. Temper the mustard seeds and add it to the yogurt mix. Add salt to taste and mix it all together.

For serving, spoon a few spoons of yogurt dip and then add the fish on top and serve.


This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging #96, created by Kalyn and being hosted this week by Zorra of Kochtof.

August 09, 2007

Simple Pleasures of Lau Tarkari (bottlegourd)

We had lau or Bottlegourd several times during the summer months growing up. I've had it many ways, the simple sabzi that my mom made, sometimes ghonto, sometime in dal and sometimes with prawn (chingri). Somehow, I've never tried making it here before.

But I picked up a lau at a Indian store last week when the temperature here was in the upper nineties. And it was probably because I was thinking of my mom's theory that lau is good in the hot weather. The vegetable blends well with different spices and I decided to try it.

I made it simple, just the way my mom makes it and served with simple salad, homemade yogurt and rotis, it made a great dinner.

Ingredients:
1 medium lau or bottlegourd
2/3 tspoon cumin seeds
2 green chillis
1" fresh ginger - chopped thinly
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon coriander powder
1 tbspoon olive oil
cilantro bunch - chopped finely
salt to taste

Method:
Cut the bottlegourd thinly. My mom cuts it much thinner than I do, but I can qualify my status as beginner lau chopper!

Heat oil in a pan and temper it with cumin seeds and green chillis. Add ginger and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add the lau and let it cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat and closed lid.

Then add coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt a little bit of water and cook for another 5-7 minutes till the bottlegourd is cooked.

Add chopped cilantro and serve warm.


It also goes well with spicy sambar or even dal and rice.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...