Shakshuka | Eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce

Shakshuka

shakshuka

Edit:

Last night I made shakshuka and instead of having it with roti, rice or bread, I teamed it with steamed zucchini ribbons. This makes for a light and healthy dinner. The ribbons were made using a vegetable peeler. As simple as that. Then simply plonk them into boiling water for about 3-4 minutes and drain. Top with shakshuka and feta cheese (optional).

This is embarrassing, but I believed I came up with this egg dish. Turns out, it was always around and it’s Shakshuka. Well, a kind of Shakshuka. Either way, it’s one of my favourite breakfast/lunch dishes. Eggs are always a hit. Be it fried, as an omelette, scrambled or even poached. This one is perfect for a weeknight dinner because it comes together in less than 20 minutes and with very few ingredients. Of course, you add more veggies and herbs to it to make it all the more delicious and filling. Scoop it with some pita or bread for best effect. But you can settle for rice too, like in my household. Leftovers can turn into breakfast. See what I mean when I said it was perfect.

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Tomato Saar and Beans Palya

A typical vegetarian meal back in Mangalore – saar and palya. I missed the boat to Brahminhvile soon after my first bite of chicken.

Ingredients for Tomato saar:
Tomato – 3 chopped
Onion – 1 chopped
Curry leaves – fistful
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Green chillies – 1 chopped
Garlic – 3 cloves crushed
Ghee – 2 tsp
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Pepper powder – 2 tsp

Method:
1. Pop mustard seeds in hot ghee followed by adding curry leaves and green chillies.
2. Add garlic and saute.
3. Add tomatoes, chilli powder and pepper powder.
4. Saute for a minute.
5. Pour enough water till tomatoes and other ingredients are immersed.
6. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer on low flame for 20 mins or till tomatoes are cooked.

Ingredients for Beans Palya:
French beans – 200 gms
Dried red chillies – 2
Curry leaves – 10 leaves

Method:
1. Saute red chillies in hot oil and add curry leaves.
2. Add chopped beans and salt to taste.
3. Add a glass of water and cover to cook.

Serve Tomato Saar and Beans Palya with hot steamed rice topped with a tsp of ghee and appalam if you have any.

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Mango Pulp Bottled Up

Summer is here and so are mangoes. I went a little nuts and bought a few too many. Since nobody wants to see mangoes go bad, I thought I’d bottle up the pulp to either drink or pour over ice cream.

All I did was cut up mango pulp and blend it with some water, milk and sugar. Add more water if you want it like juice. You could add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and turn it into mango milkshake.

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Yoghurt Mousse with Muesli and Mango

For breakfast while in office I happen to order this muesli, yoghurt mousse with fruit kind of dish which seemed very doable. And so I did. The next day I brought something similar for my colleagues and along with the dish I too became a hit. I understand it’s healthy and everything, but I promise that wasn’t intentional.

Ingredients:
Muesli – 3 tbsp
Assorted fruits – cut up mango, apple, strawberry and the likes
Hung curd – 1/2 cup
Sugar syrup – 3 tbsp (you could use honey if the sugar scares you)

Method:
1. Whip the hung curd with sugar syrup and keep aside.
2. In a bowl tip the muesli in first and top it with the cut fruits, leaving a few for garnish.
3. Now top this with the hung curd mix and garnish with remaining cut fruits.

Serve for breakfast.

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Pan Roasted Chicken

The story behind this dish: I was locked out of my own home and my flatmate was going to take over 2 hours to get home. I had all the ingredients for a chicken curry. OK, not all but I had the chicken and random vegetables. Like a true damsel in distress I sat on the stairs waiting for someone to rescue me. Just then I see my friend and thankfully, neighbour walking her dog. I popped over to her place (yes, I turn British every now and then) and we decided to have an impromptu get together of friends over some food and beer. I worked with whatever I could find in her pantry.

Ingredients:
Chicken breast – 1
Mixed seasoning (paprika, dried herbs, salt) – 2 tsp
Lemon juice – 2 tsp
Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Vegetables like beans and carrots – 1 cup cut up

Method:
1. Rub the seasoning, garlic paste, lemon juice and salt to taste thoroughly on the chicken breast and leave it to marinate for an hour.
2. Get some beer or juice for yourself and have a good time with your friends.
3. Heat a pan with olive oil.
4. Place the chicken breast and let it roast for 5 mins.
5. Turn it around and let it cook for another 3-4 mins.
6. Take it off the pan and keep aside.
7. In the same pan tip the cut vegetables in and saute for 5 mins and take it off.

Serve the chicken with the vegetables. If you have garlic bread, then nothing like it.

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Spinach and Corn Sandwich

I remember the only thing I ate at Cafe Coffee Day – Corn and Spinach Sandwich. I just replicated it. No biggie.

Ingredients:
Sweet corn – 1/2 cup
Spinach – A bunch
Dried herbs – 1 tsp
Cheese spread – 1 tsp
Bread – 2 slices

Method:
1. Wilt (cook in a pan without water) the spinach with a pinch of salt and keep aside.
2. In the same pan cook the corn with 1/2 cup of water.
3. Mix the spinach and corn with the dried herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary).
4. Spread the cheese spread on the bread and fill it with the spinach and corn mix.
5. Grill it on the pan with some butter or without any.

Serve with coffee, tea or me. Kidding. 

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Hot and Sweet Stir Fry

Chicken and Mushroom

Stir frys are the best. By best I mean easiest to cook. Here’s one of my good ones. And by good one I mean, better tasting and better looking.

Ingredients:
Boneless chicken – 500 gms
Button mushrooms – 1 packet
Capsicum – 1
Onion – 1 large sliced
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Spring onion – Chopped handful
Sesame oil – 2 tbsp
Fish sauce – 2 tbsp
Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
Green chilli sauce – 2 tbsp
Honey – 2 tbsp

Method:
1. Heat oil.
2. Add onions along with the ginger garlic paste and green chilli sauce.
3. Saute till onions are translucent.
4. Tip the chicken in and add the soy sauce.
5. Let it cook for 5 mins on medium heat.
6. Add the sliced mushrooms.
7. Let it cook further for another 5 mins.
8. Add the diced capsicum, fish sauce and let it all simmer for 2-3 mins.
9. Tip in the honey, mix well and garnish with chopped spring onions.

Serve with steamed rice.

You could play around with the dish by adding all kinds of vegetables – baby corn, broccoli, and the likes.

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Bruschetta

Bruschetta

There was this one scene in Julie&Julia, where Julie is in conversation with her husband while cooking dinner. She dices tomatoes, a little later she flips a few baguette slices on the griddle turning them golden brown. Next thing you know, the tomatoes are nesting on the baguette and she’s garnishing them with fresh basil. I must have rewound and gone through the scene like 7 times at one go. It looked absolutely beautiful and it definitely helped that her husband loved it. So many months have gone by and now is when that scene would come to life in my kitchen. Technically in Upasana’s kitchen. Did it exactly how I played it in my head. But of course by now you should know we do bend the rules here and there. So we added a little extra for some zing. Cheese! Straight from Paris.

5 slices

Ingredients:

5 slices of baguette (you can use any other kind of bread slices)

2 chopped tomatoes

½ yellow capsicum finely chopped (green or red would also do just fine)

1 basil leaf for each slice

A pinch of fresh thyme for each slice (substitute with dried Italian seasoning)

Grated cheese to top the bruschetta (we used gouda)

1 clove of garlic

1 tbsp olive oil for toasting baguette

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Method:

Sauté the finely chopped yellow capsicum and keep aside. Toast baguette in olive oil on both sides. Rub garlic on each slice to infuse the flavor into the baguette. Top it with the chopped tomatoes, approximately 1 tbsp for each slice and the capsicum. Sprinkle a pinch of thyme and season with salt and pepper. Now add basil finely chopped or the whole leaf. Top this off with cheese and serve.

It works really well as an appetizer for a dinner party. Yes, you can show off. I would 😉

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Potato Leek Soup


Soup served cold…always interested me. A simple light soup with a zing of a herb and a soft creamy taste to add a rich comfort food taste. Thats all I wanted. Palla suggested a potato leek soup, hence when we were at Gourmet, picked up two sticks of leeks along with some kale, fennel and thyme too (oki unnecessary information). So here is how :
Ingredients:
Two big bada boom sized potatoes, boiled with salt and then mashed with a spoon.
Two sticks of leek, finely chopped
6 pods of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbl spoons of fresh cream
salt and pepper to taste
Process:
I guess the ingredients themselves speak for the dish as to how easy it is going to be to cook it. To a hot pan, add a little Olive oil and let the pan heat up. Now throw in the garlic pieces and saute them for about a minute, add the leeks to it and let them turn light green in color. Make sure that none of these ingredients turn golden brown. Now are the mash potatoes and after a good stir and a little of water and mix all the 3 ingredients well. Lid it for about 5 mins.
Now I chose to whisk it once with an electric blender and form an even…err…soup. Add the dash of cream with salt and Pepper.
Enjoy 🙂

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Basil Chicken


Well, there were left over Basil leaves from the margherita pizza so decided come up with something quick and different. As for me, coming up with new dishes is more like a challenge we put on ourselves 🙂 and my inspiration is to cook such stuff would be to be able to put something on the table with the least bit of ingredients involving the least cooking time! So here it is :
Ingredients:
250 gms of Boneless chicken
4 tbl spoons of olive oil
2 tbl spoons of regular italian seasonings
One Basil leaf for each piece of chicken
4 tbl spoons of honey
Process:
Marinate the meat with the Itaian Seasonings and 2 tbl spoons of oilive oil with a pinch of salt. Keep aside for 20 mins.
Now to a hot pan add 2 tbl spoons of olive oil and grill the chicken on the pan till they turn into that golden brown that we love. Now stick a basil leaf on every chicken piece and delicately glaze it with honey with the help of a cooking brush. Let it cook for 1-2 mins. Season with salt and pepper….and…well enjoy them with some mustard sauce.

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