Friday, 9 January 2015

Healthy Roasted Cauliflower

I am not even going to tell you that this post is inspired by a need for eating healthy and low calorie food as a month from now I have to attend my cousin's wedding and there's a number on the weighing scale at which I am aiming. Nope, I am not going to tell you all this, at all. Stop asking me.

Cauliflower is dear to me, raw and cooked. My mom doesn't like me loitering around the kitchen when she is handling cauliflower because I finish off much of the quantity she means to cook just like that. Those beautiful white florets are so irresistible. My dad and I totally vouch for that, or any vegetable that we find palatable raw. 

So this post here is actually my latest favorite way of eating cauliflower this season. It is easy and so good. I can usually eat a large head of cauliflower all by myself this way. It is so light and tender. 

On a serious note now, if you are following a vegetable based diet, things can get boring pretty soon. I mean how much salad are you going to eat, or how much flavor can you resist? This is a recipe that will let you go easy with your diet without compromising it. If you don't want to use the 2 tbsp of olive oil I used in this recipe, by all means, skip it, and you will still have lovely roasted cauliflower florets in the end. 

Here's the step wise recipe.

To begin, pour about 2 tbsp of olive oil on florets from a large head of cauliflower in a bowl or simply drizzling a little bit of oil will do the job just as fine. Toss florets to coat with oil. Take care that the florets are not too big.

Prepare a spice mix with 1/4 tsp chilli flakes, 2 tsp cinnamon powder, 1 tsp cumin powder and 1 tsp dried oregano.

Grease a baking tray with some cooking spray or a couple of drops of oil. Spread cauliflower florets on it. Sprinkle the spice mix all over the florets. Don't forget to sprinkle salt to taste too.

Now roast in an oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the tops of florets turn brown.
Here is your perfect, healthy roasted cauliflower. Eat while it's still warm.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Lazy Microwave Cheese Sandwich + How to Utilize Your Sister

Ok. Two things you need to know before reading this post: one that this is really a lazy sandwich, tastes amazing nevertheless, and two that I absolutely couldn't bear looking at my sister snuggled up in the bed. So when she asked for a sandwich, I got her to do this. Plus it's always good to have her do my bidding like a minion. Yes, she is my very own, home bred, cannot leave ever, personal minion.

Now stay put as she tells you how to make this cheesy sandwich in just about 3 minutes, well that's if your elder sibling isn't making you pose to take pictures of just about everything you are doing.

Fist of all, you need cheese. Of course, this is a cheesy sandwich after all. I had slices of cheddar cheese. You can use grated cheese. Lot's of it. I used only one slice, but later thought two slices would have been better. So on the cheese front, suit yourself.

Then you will need some caramalised onions to add that subtle sweetness to your sandwich. I absolutely adore caramalised onions in sandwiches and burgers. They do enhance the flavors, don't they? I would love to know your favorite way of using caramalised onions.

And for the fresh crunch we have strips of red and yellow bell peppers. A lazier version of this sandwich is the one I remember from my days in Delhi. Some fresh icebergs, these peppers and a dollop of mayonnaise between two slices of bread, and you are done. But why did my roommate and I do this? Oh yes! We did not have a microwave.

Then we have got 2 slices of bread. Fresh and tender. I hope I don't come across like a criminal for using regular white bread in this age of health promoting wheat and oats and multi grain bread. I am not against them anyway. The sweetness of white bread sits perfectly in a sandwich and more importantly, this is what I had in hand, or rather my sister had in hand.

After you are done feeding the enormous hunger of your crazy sibling, I in this case, to trouble you, assemble all ingredients on your work platform.

To assemble the sandwich, place the cheese slice on a slice of bread and top it with a dense layer of caramalised onions. Then place strips of bell peppers in a regular fashion. This girl in the picture decided to go for haphazard vertical and horizontal arrangement first but was instructed not to so as it would later create a mess while eating. Then place the other slice of bread on top.

If you are using grated cheese, use it as a topping over the layer of peppers.

Pop your sandwich into the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it and melt the cheese. It helps if you invert the sandwich so the cheese slice is the topmost layer as opposed to being at the bottom while assembling the sandwich. That way the melted cheese makes its way into the nooks and crannies of the other layers.

Bring it back into your board and slice it into two pieces.

Enjoy the sandwich warm and let your sister take an awkward picture of you eating it.

And I hope you learned how to utilize your sister for a blog post!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Red Split Lentil Stew- Dhuli Masoor ki Dal

A rainy weather and sunshine playing hide and seek. Mom's taking clothes on and off the clothesline every time it drizzles and stops. And I am feeling exceptionally lazy this Monday. They might as well replace Garfield's face with mine. However, by the time of writing this post I have finished off almost all of my other work. So I can spend time here on my favorite activity.

This lentil stew took me only about 40 minutes to cook out of which about 30 minutes are attributed to idle cooking. So I essentially spent only 20 minutes in the kitchen including prep time for this recipe. This is not an every day recipe for me. It is light and easy but it just isn't ingrained in me as an every day flavor. So it is a great change and makes a meal kind of special.

What I find best about this recipe is that it is so grainy. I love the texture and the taste. Obviously it can be made smooth but that just isn't my the way I prefer it. I like to bite into the grains, to feel the mellowed roughness of the pulses. This dal is neither too strongly flavored nor too mild. You can easily adjust the quantity of spices to that which suits you. I kept the spices modest and it tasted perfect with plain rice and chapati.

I have been fawning over one-pot recipes lately, like this pasta recipe, and this dal is just one such recipe. Heat the oil, sauté onion and spices and dump the lentils in water and cook. That's it. I mean you come across such a ridiculously simple Indian recipe only once in a while. Talk about dal makhani and maa ki dal, right?

By the time lunch was over, the clouds had cleared from the sky and it was a warm yet breezy weather again. I just wanted to take a nap but resisted.  The weather is too pleasant today to sleep it off. However, I don't have anything else to do either. Right now it is a cup of cinnamon tea, my laptop and I in the courtyard, confused whether to keep chatting away or just stop at this pleasant note until next time.

The tea turning cold says the latter. So you enjoy the recipe and I will see you soon with a new one.


Red split lentil- 1 cup
Onion, chopped- 1 big
Garlic, finely chopped- 1 tsp
Ginger, grated- 1 tsp
Tomatoes, chopped- 1 medium
Oil- 4 tbsp
Asafoetida- 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder- 1 and a half tsp (adjust)
Coriander powder- 2 tsp
Garam masala powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Fresh chopped coriander to garnish
Lemon juice to taste (optional)


Wash lentils and soak in water. Keep aside.

Meanwhile, chop and grate ingredients as required.

Heat oil in a kadhai.

Temper with mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida.

Add chopped garlic. Fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds.

Add grated ginger. Fry another few seconds.

Add chopped onions. Sauté until soft and translucent.

Add all powdered spices except garam masala.

Fry for a minute.

Add soaked lentils with about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water.

Add salt. Stir and bring to a boil on high heat.

Simmer and cook covered until lentils are cooked. Check by pressing a grain between your index finger and thumb.

If you want a thicker stew, cook uncovered on high heat until you achieve desired thickness, taking care not to burn it.

Add garam masala and garnish with coriander leaves.

A sprinkle of lemon juice while serving enhances flavors.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Oregano-Mustard Potato Bites

A very happy New Year to all my dear readers and friends. I think you all had a blast, didn't you? I, for one, didn't think I would spend the first day of this year shopping, celebrating the opening of a friend's new restaurant and going bowling at the end of the day where I still had my mojo on after remaining out of practice for 3 years. A great day in all for Apurva, except for one little thing. Or may not be so little. It's the constant voice in the back of my head that keeps talking to me of all that went wrong in the past year. It doesn't help that it's the loudest when I try to ignore it and drown it down in happiness. Nevertheless, it's the New Year and one can always hope to turn a new leaf. Just realizing, 'turning a new leaf', a good resolution for the year, isn't it?

On that note, let's switch to today's recipe. A really easy and sassy this one is. You'll love it. Hailing all mustard lovers and oregano lovers, and bringing them together. I belong to the latter category, the oregano lovers, but I don't mind being paired with the mustard lovers in this fashion.  The combination of flavors in this recipe is a unbeatable. It makes me wonder if oregano and mustard will be as good together in a pasta. If I try it I will let you know.

This is such a lazy recipe but a party winner in every way. When in hurry for a party snack, whip up this one. When the kids are raving for a snack, whip up this one. When it's breezy outside and you want something hot, whip up this one. The first time I made this was for mom's kitty party and what a hit it was! It is great as an appetiser. I did not want to say much, but what the heck! These are certainly the best fried potato bites ever. With a crunchy crust and lovely flavors, this is a recipe to keep close by.

I almost forgot to tell you, serve these potato bites with some mayonnaise. There will be no going back or away.