Monday, June 30, 2008

Stuffed Tomatoes - Open Sesame II

Stuffed Tomatoes with herbed bread and olives

Finally managed to make the post on the last day of the event. By now I guess everyone would be familiar with what 'Open Sesame' is. Otherwise click here.

The answer to my riddle was 'Tomatoes' - the king of vegetables. With its cute crown it actually is a king right? My Riddle goes like this -

I think I am a pleased woman since I blush so much
I am so soft and shiny to your delicate touch
But look what I have for relatives, so different with no common string
one used for smoking, one for hotness, one used to refer idler and one referred as veggie's King
I am not what you refer to me most often
I am 'fruit' of labour but never called one
so I am neither a wolf nor a peach in the scale of one to ten
but then why do you think I am called one as so?
I can go green with envy, or completely red with anger
A little crown on my head makes my walk look like a swagger
You cant do without me in your day to day cooking
Tell me what veggie I am without too much thinking.

In Indian cuisine there are very few recipes that does'nt use this vegetable. As soon as I cracked the riddle (only the second time :)) I decided that I should try something special with tomatoes. After many research through all the food recipes, I fixed my mind on the following recipe.But it took till the last day to actually make the dish and post this recipe.
The recipe is very simple and it takes only a few minutes to prepare excluding the baking time

For Stuffing:

2 slices of whole wheat bread
a handful of chopped olives, green or black
2 tsp choped garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tblsp parmesan cheese or any cheese of your choice.
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F or 200C
Toast 2 bread slices and cut into 1 inch cubes.

Mix all the stuffing ingredients and leave aside for 10 mins till the
bread pieces soak up the liquid.
Take 3 ripe and firm tomatoes.Slice the crown part and keep aside.

Carefully remove the pulp using a paring knife, taking care not to poke the tomatoes.
Discard the seeds and just add the chopped pulp to the stuffing mixture.
Rub the inner sides with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Stuff the tomatoes, rub the outer part with olive oil.
Replace the crown
Place in a baking dish and bake for 30-35 mins

Since we love mozzarella chesse I topped it with some shredded mozzarella after 30 mins and baked for another 7-8 mins.
You can avoid this part if you want.

I served it for dinner with a bowl of bell pepper - mint-couscous.

OK one more final picture..:)

If you like the post, picture and of course the dish please vote for me in 'Open sesame'

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Chicken , Tofu Fajita Wraps

Chicken Fajita Wraps

Nowadays it seems that each and every post of mine is linked to one or the other eventin the food blog world.This shows either the number of events is more or I have become so lazy that these events keeps me going. The later is very true.
This is one such event where the theme is my favorite too - Chicken.
Though Iam a big fan of Non-veg especially chicken, I have blogged only one or two dishes based on it.I made chicken several times this month for lunch and dinner for guests, but never found the time and patience to click some pictures.Finally last week I made a simple and quick dinner with the few tortilla wraps and managed to take a few shots of those.

Here is the recipe.

Slice some onions and peppers (any colors, I used red ,yellow and green) into thin strips

Slice 2 chicken breasts into thin strips.Marinate them with chili powder, 1 tblsp lemon juice, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp of dried oregano, some chopped garlic and salt.marinate it for
minimum of 20 mins.

Add 2 tblsp of olive oil in a pan, Add the marinated chicken strips , toss and turn the chicken pieces, allowing them cook well for atleast 10 mins. Remove the chicken pieces and keep aside. Add the sliced onion and peppers in the same pan and stir fry till the onion is browned and caramelized.


Warm the tortilla in a pan.
spread the chicken pieces , spread the stir fried onion-peppers, add 2tbsp of fajita sauce or salsa.(I used store bought ones) Finally top it up with some lettuce and a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.I used the later.Fold it into wraps.

Wrap the bottom of the fajitas with a thin strip of aluminum foil to hold it together.

These Fajita wraps are going to Chicken - My Favorite

Tofu wraps

The tortilla package I bought had 8 of them and the instructions told not to refrigerate them for more than 4 days.Since I used only 4 of them I decided to do an other Fajita wrap this time with Tofu.

Squeeze the water from the tofu ,cut into cubes and marinate with 2 tsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp of chilli powder, 2 tsp of chopped garlic and salt for aleast 20 mins.
Add it in a hot pan with 2 tblsp of oilve oil. Toss and turn for 10 mins, until the tofu is cooked through.

Rest of the ingredients , and assembling is the same as in chicken fajita recipe above.

Since both Tofu and chicken are rich in Protein, these Fajitas also goes to Sangeeths
'Eat Healthy - Protein rich'

Check out an other yummy protein rich recipe here ,

Friday, June 27, 2008

Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambhu/Lentil dumplings in spiced tamarind sauce

Most authentic Tamil recipes uses tamarind. Be it sambhar, kuzhambhu, kootu or rasam tamarind plays a major role in Tamilian cuisine .
Any tamarind based sauce with a main ingredient and without dhal is called 'Kuzhambhu' ('z' is pronounced as 'lha'). The name varies as per the main vegetable or ingredient added to it like poondu kuzhambhu or kathirikai kuzhambhu etc., I think we can just start a whole event on just kuzhambhu varieties alone :) .But I hate when people call anything and everything 'curry' when certain dishes has its own name .
Anyways while growing up the typical lunch menu for a week in my household would go something like this. Tuesday and Friday - sambhar , Saturdays - kuzhambhu with any dried beans like mochai, black channa, karamani/black eyed beans, Mondays would be any vegetable kootu/mor kuzhambhu , wednesday - seafood/any veggie kuzhambhu and sundays will definitely be a feast with Non-Veg.
Coming from a family that has kulambhu for atleast 3 days in a week JFI - Tamarind was a delight to participate.
Here is an authentic recipe for parrupu urundai kuzhambhu.
The lentils are soaked , grinded, made into balls and steamed.Then these are added to the spicy boiling sauce.Though the ingredients and the recipe looks lengthy its worth the effort.

This kuzhambhu served with rice and keerai /greens poriyal makes a perfect meal.

For the Urundai/dumplings:
1 cup Toor dhal
1 medium onion finly chopped
1 tblsp chopped coriander leaves
2 red chilies
1/4 tsp sombhu/fennel seeds
1/2 tsp jeera seeds


Soak the dhal in water for 2-3 hours
Roast the red chillies, sombhu and jeera in a medium flame for few minutes.
Add them to the soaked dhal and grind coarsly. Make sure its not watery.

To the grinded dhal add choped onion, garlic , salt and coriander leaves.
Make it into lime sized balls and the steam it using the idli plates for 10 mins.
Cool the dumplings.

For kuzhambhu:

1 medium onion
5-6 garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes
lemon sized tamarind ball soaked in water or 2 tsp of thick tamarind paste soaked in 1/4 cup water.

To Grind:
2 tsp coriander seeds
10 red chillies
1/2 tsp jeera
1/4 tsp sombhu/fennel

Dry fry all the above in a pan and grind it to a powder.
Alternatively you can also add water and grind it to a paste.

For Tempering
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
fenugreek /vendhaiyam - 1/2 tsp
few curry leaves

Chop the onion garlic and ginger, and tomatoes keep aside.
Add a few tblsp of oil and add the tempering ingredients.When the mustard pop add the chopped onion garlic and ginger and fry well.
Add the tomatoes when the onion is golden brown.
When the tomatoes turn into a pulp add the tamarind water, salt , the grinded masala and turmeric powder.Add 3 cups of water and allow it boil for 10 mins.
Now add the steamed lentil balls /urundai's and allow it to boil for another 7-8 mins.
Allow it to rest for atleast one hour before serving.The sauce thickens as it cools.
If the sauce is watery break one or two dumplings and dissolve in the sauce.

This delicious kuzhambhu goes to the JFI event hosted by Sig with the theme as Tamarind for this month.

Click here for another kuzhambu recipe that uses black eyed peas

This dish also goes to this months "Eat Healthy - Protein rich" event by Sangeeth

Stuffed Chilli Bhajji's and a late dinner

I love Bhajji and I make it quite often with different veggies and egg. I have never heard of Bhajjis with stuffings until I saw few posts on the food blogs.Whenever I see a post on this dish I bookmark it to try the next time when I tend to make some. But as usual it has been months and months and it never happened.This months Sia's MBP - street food event which originated in the spicecafe gave me a nice push to try this dish. Back in chennai , Bhajji being one of the all time favourite street food our trips to the marina beech (or any beech ) has never been completed without stuffing our tummy with these hot and spicy goodies. So I started digging around my bookmarks and patrolling the blogs and finally settled down on Sia's recipe.

I made the stuffing using the variations suggested by Sia.The only change I made is
added 1/ 4 cup rice flour instead of 1 tblsp.I also cut the chillies before frying as my chillies were big and my kadai didnt fit the whole one.
I chose banana peppers and removed the seeds from it, the result turned out great.
I also made some onion bhajji as u see in the picture
with the left over batter

I made it as a snack, but unfortunately that day hubby came very late from work and also my kid didnt allow me to cook dinner. We had it as a side dish for hot steaming rasam and white rice .Though it was a late dinner we enjoyed our food thoroughly.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Express Breakfast

Egg Scramble with Mixed veggies and mint.

The title says it all. This was our breakfast this sunday.
We had planned to go around brussels this sunday but got up very late to make an elaborate breakfast.Feeding my kid and getting him ready to go out is a huge task nowadays.So just entered the kitchen and chopped up all the left over vegetables (wiped my fridge clean except some tomatoes).I stir fried all the vegetables, added the beaten egges, and scarambled them with salt, pepper and some chopped mint.The mint gave the scramble a fresh taste.A bowl of egg scramble with glass of freshly squeezed orange juice made us kickstart our sunday morning.

I added onions, green chillies, greeen peppers , yellow peppers, mushrooms and some spring onions, and stired them in the same order.You can add any coloured peppers, zucchini, carrots or any vegetables you want.Iam sending this as an entry to the WBB-Expressbreakfast event hosted by Raaga - The singing chef.

BTW I had received an award from 'Vegetable Platter'.She thinks my blog is Yummy.Iam very delighted to post this in my blog

Since I browse all the blogs randomly, I think all blogs are yummy in their own way.So I pass it on to all the fellow food bloggers :)

Iam not sweets person, but I too have my favorites...
  • toblerone chocolate

  • carrot halwa with vanilla icecream

  • chocolate cake with chocolate icing

  • gulab jamun

Since eggs are packed with protein this dish goes to Sangeeth "Eat Healthy- Protein rich" event

Friday, June 20, 2008

Spicy Tomato Chutney

The moment I saw the post about the theme for this months MEC - Bottled, by Srivalli this chutney was the one that came to my mind. This is one of my favorite chutneys while growing up. My mom makes it so spicy that we would atleast add 3 - 4 tsps of gingelly oil to compensate the heat, but it would be heavenly with hot steaming Idli's. I have adapted the recipe to be done in microwave. If you have a can of tomato paste or crushed tomatoes your chutney is ready in about 10 mins.

If you bottle it up(or in a airtight container) and store it in the refrigerator, it will be good for almost a week.It comes really handy for one of those bad days during the week when you just dont want to enter the kitchen.I have had plenty of those days when this chutney had been my real savior.I would just heat up some frozen roti/chapati or make some dosas and would be done for the day in minutes.

Here's how I make it.


1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large can of tomato paste/crushed tomatoes.
1 tbsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

salt to taste
mustard seeds, urad dhal curry leaves for tempering.


Heat 3tbsp of oil in Microwave proof dish. Traditionally gingelly oil suits well for this chutney but you can use Extra virgin olive oil if you like to get rid of some of the guilt.
Add the tempering ingredients and heat for 1 min, or till the urad dhal is browned.

Add the chopped garlic and onions and heat for 2 mins

Add the tomato paste, chili powder, salt and turmeric , heat for 5 - 6 mins or until the raw smell disappears.Check for salt.

You can adjust the spice level as per your taste.

Note: For regular cooking just do the tempering, saute the onion -garlic , add the tomato paste and other masala, cover and boil for about 10 - 12 mins in medium heat.

Add few tsps of gingelly oil and serve with warm Dosa's or Roti's

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cabbage Fried Rice

Here in Belgium, or atleast in the small town where Iam residing now its very difficult to find Cabbage in stores. Last week to my surprise I could find that our grocery store has stocked up on some cabbages, but the problem was it was really really huge.After convincing my husband that I would use them up without wasting I brought home a cabbage weighing 3 kg.
So for the next few days our menu went on like this cabbage kootu, cabbage poriyal, cabbage sambhar, and some cabbage paratha's too. Finally I had a last chunk which was also the last item in my fridge waiting to be turned into something interesting.
I shredded up all of the remaining cabbage and made some fried rice which turned out very flavourful and yummy.

Iam sending this over to mixed rice varieties event hosted by EC of SimpleIndianFood

Here is the recipe

2 cups cooked and cooled rice
3 cups of shredded cabbage(its better to shred the cabbage using a mandolin or a potato slicer, that way you will get thin strips)
1/2 green capsicum sliced into thin strips
1 medium onion sliced thin
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 green chilli finely chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp soy sauce
some chopped up spring onions.
1 egg (optional)


Add 2 tbsp oil in a non stick pan.
Add the chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies, onions , white part of the spring onions, capsicum and fry well.
Now add the shredded cabbage and fry till it shrinks.
Add the soy sauce , chili powder salt and mix well.
Stir for few minutes until the raw smell disappears.
Add the rice and mix well.Check for salt.
Garnish with green parts of the spring onions.

Note: If you want to add an egg, make a well in the center, add a few tsp of oil , add the egg allow it to set , then scramble and mix well with the fried rice.

Click - Yellow for hope

' The Yolk'

This is my entry to this months 'Click' event.This months Click Yellow event is dedicated to Bri who has been putting up a brave fight towards cancer. For more details click here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Moroccan Fried Eggplants - AWED

My love for mediteranean cuisine started when we went to a small authentic middle eastern restaurant in Denver few years back.It was for a friends birthday party and we were a huge gang.Since nobody had any idea about the food, the chef decided to bring out his favorites right from appetizers to desserts.We started off with a fried eggplant appetizer,which was so delicious that it disappeared from the plate as soon as it was brought to the table.The food was so memorable that whenever I think about mediteranean food this dish comes to my mind.
At last after all these years Sri's AWED event made me search for this recipe and try it out.

When I started my search I stumbled upon lots of 'Fried Eggplant' recipes like 'Salatat Bathinjan', 'Badhinjan Miqli' named according to the region with very little variations.But none of them suited the dish I had in mind. Finally I saw this 'Moroccon Fried eggplants' which was exactly what I was looking for.However I made slight variations in these too, instead of egg for dipping I used 'flour mixed in 1/4 cup of water' and instead of flour for dredging I used bread crumbs .

Here's how we do it.

1 large Eggplant
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbls chopped garlic
1 table spoon flour
2 cups bread crumbs.

Remove the stem and slice the Eggplant into thick slices.
Sprinkle some salt over the slices and leave it for about 15 - 30 mins.
Pat the slices dry using a kitchen towelAdd the chilli powder, garlic and lemon juice to the slices and mix well to coat.Allow to rest for 30 mins.
Mix the flour in a bowl with 1/4 cup water to form a light batter.(You can also use one beaten egg instead of flour batter). Spread the Breadcrumbs in a plate.

I cooked them in two batches, one batch using the skillet and another batch using the oven. Both turned out great with a unique taste.

For the skillet:

Add enough Olive oil to a skillet to fully cover the bottom, and heat the oil over medium heat. Dip the eggplant slice in the flour mixture and the toss it on the bread crumbs to coat evenly and place it in the hot oil.Fry the eggplant in batches, turning several times, until deep golden brown. Remove the eggplant to paper towels or a rack to drain.

For the Oven:

Preheat the Oven to 200 Deg C. Dip the eggplant slice in the flour mixture and then toss it on the bread crumbs to coat evenly.Place the eggplant slices on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle some olive oil over them and bake till crispy for about 20 mins.

Serve warm with any sauce of your choice.

Whether served as a vegetable side dish, or as part of the main course, these slices of breaded eggplant are a tasty addition to any meal.

Note:To make it even more richer you can add 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese to the bread crumbs.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Crunchy Cauliflower Roast.

Back home Cauliflower used to be one of my favorite veggies during my schooldays.When they are in season around March -May, we used to have this vegetable every other day, either as a simple fry for sambhar or as kurma. Sometime we used to have cauliflower bhaji's during those sudden mango showers in the moth of May.But in US whenever I try any recipe with cauliflower in it the dish would taste absolutely bland.

Few days back, when I was making cauliflower fry, I realised that I ran out of tomatoes.First thought of making it without tomatoes, but then decided to add some tomato paste. Finally it ended up in a roasted cauliflower with a delicate taste.I was surprised to see that couple of tablespoons of tomato paste could make such a big difference.But remember to sprinkle just enough water for the florets to cook, more water will make the vegetable soggy

Since Cauliflower is one of the fiber vegetables Iam sending this to Eat healthy - Fibre rich foods event hosted by Sangeeth

Here is the recipe

1 medium sizedd cauliflower cut into florets
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 tsp ginger garlic paste.
1 tsp chilli pwd
2 tablespoons tomato paste
a tsp of lemon/lime juice
salt to taste

Wash the florets thoroughly with water.
Heat the oil in a non stick pan ,add chopped onions when hot.Fry the onion till translucent.
Add ginger garlic paste and fry well.
Now add the florets stir to combine with the onions.
Add the chilli powder , salt and tomato paste.
Stir well to coat , sprinle some water and cover with a lid for 3 mins.
Remove the lid, reduce the flame and and allow it to cook till roasted for approximatly 10 mins.Switch off the stove add the lemon juice and mix well.Garnish with chopped coraider leaves or spring onions.

Check out other recipe with veggies rich in fiber

Broccoli Kootu

Cluster beans/kothavarangai paruppu usili

Cabbage poriyal

Turnip fry

Stuffed Mushrooms

This is a very interesting receipe as it does not require much effort as it looks.It was almost 5 years back, when I first had this appetizer dish in Olive gardens it was so creamy and bubbling with cheese that I absolutely fell in love with the mushrooms.As soon as I came home I started looking for the receipe in the internet and got so many versions of this receipe.I got very confused and decided to stick to the simplest version.Then as usual I mixed and matched the recipe and came up with my own version with a little bit of Indian touch.From that day onwards this is my special appetizer for any party or a potluck and it has always been well received and appreciated.

1 Packet large white Button Mushrooms(about 12)
8 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 medium sized onions fineled minced
2tbl sp Butter
1 cup chopped coriander leaves
1 cup of shredded mozarella cheese

1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese(optional)
2 cups bread crumbs

Preheat the Oven to 350C.Wipe the Mushrooms with a damp towel and scoop out the center of the mushrooms, and make it like a hollow cup(like in the picture).Chop the scooped out mushroom stems.Add the butter in a heated pan, add the garlic and the onion saute well.Add the chopped musroom stems and saute well.Add some salt and pepper.Now add the bread crumbs and mix well for 2 mins and allow it to cool.

Stuff the hollow mushrooms with this mixture and arrange it on baking tray.

Sprinkle the cheeses over the stuffed mushrooms .I have used sliced mozerralla, but shredded mozeralla is the ideal one for this dish.It gives more better results.

Place it in the oven and bake it for 20 mins, or until the cheese is bubbling and turns golden.Serve it hot.

Note: I have gone easy on the cheese as you see in the pictures, but beleive me ,more the cheese more is the taste . So go ahead sprinkle more cheese, and have fun for a day.
Enjoy with hot cup of tea!!!

Click here for my latest post on Stuffed mushrooms

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