Amaranth and basil pesto with cashew nuts

For twenty rupees I got myself a relatively big bunch of amaranth leaves. No, inspiration didn’t hit me like a wave or anything to make pesto out of it. It was only because I didn’t know what else to do with leftover leaves after making upkari out of most of them. This amaranth and basil pesto though turned out to be pretty damn good – texture and taste wise. I didn’t add any cheese though, because I didn’t have any.

Ingredients:

Amaranth leaves – 2 cups chopped

Basil leaves – 1 cup

Cashew nuts – handful

Olive oil – 1/4 cup

Salt to taste

Method:

Blitz all ingredients in a blender till smooth or rough paste.

amaranth basil pesto

Toss pasta in it or even as a sandwich spread.

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Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Chilli Basil Sauce

basil chilli sauce

I keep whining about how it’s not easy to find good fresh basil around here in Gurgaon, and that it costs so much more than what it does in Bangalore. Thankfully the vendor near my house here had some beautiful fresh basil in stock as well as some plump fresh red chillies. It was obvious I had to use them both. A nice Thai curry came to mind, and even a noodle soup but then I remembered I had some whole wheat pasta that I’d been meaning to cook for a while. I did something really simple – grind basil, chillies and garlic into a paste. Which then I used as my pasta sauce base and added tomatoes and cream to make it the best sauce I’ve made. Ever!

basil chilli sauce

Ingredients:

Bunch of basil leaves – I’d say a cup, chopped

4 – 5 big fresh red chillies

5 cloves garlic

(Grind these into a paste with a dash of water. Store in fridge or use immediately)

For sauce:

1 tbsp olive oil

2 large tomatoes, chopped

2 cloves garlic, grated (alternatively you could use a tbsp of garlic paste)

1/4 cup fresh cream (you could try milk for a lighter version)

1 cup pasta cooking water

Salt to taste

Pepper for seasoning

Basil leaves for garnish

Optional – vegetables. I used a box of mushrooms, sliced.

Method:

Cook any pasta as per instructions on the package and keep aside along with a cup of the water.

Heat olive oil and add the chilli basil paste, and saute for 2 – 3 mins.

Add garlic and tomatoes. Cook for 5 mins till tomatoes break down.

Add the pasta water and vegetables at this point. I added mushrooms and let it cook.

Once mushrooms are cooked, add cream, salt and pepper.

Tip in the pasta into the chilli basil sauce and mix well.

Garnish with basil and serve hot!

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Fried rice with chicken, raw mango and basil

fried rice

I’ve decided to call myself “The Queen of Leftovers”. The pan grilled chicken from last Sunday, went into a Chicken fried rice with raw mango and basil on Monday. It tasted better than the grilled chicken dish itself. The best part about leftovers is that you can turn into a great rice dish or an omlette, or maybe something more.

Ingredients:
Leftover chicken – Shredded
Cooked rice – 2 cups
Raw mango – 1/2 mango grated
Onions – 1 medium, chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Sesame oil – 1 tbsp
Fish sauce – 2 tbsp
Oyster sauce – 1 tbsp

Method:
1. Heat oil, tip in the onions and ginger garlic paste, and let them change colour.
2. Add the chicken, raw mango and basil leaves and saute for a minute or two.
3. Add cooked rice and mix well.
4. Add fish sauce, oyster sauce and mix well.
5. Take off heat and serve.

The fish sauce and oyster sauce are optional. You could go with soy or any other sauce as well. If you have other vegetables like beans, carrots, peppers, mushrooms – toss them in too.

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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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