Friday, July 30, 2010

Simple and Tasty- BottleGourd Curry!

I am sure I have talked enough of Bottlegourd and its curative properties in my earlier two Bottlegourd recipes- One of which is a sweet dish - Doodhi Halwa (Sweet Bottlegourd Pudding) and the second one is Bottle Gourd Kofta Curry.  So I am not going to go into those details once again and directly jump to my post for today which is a simple, easy to make and delicious curry to enjoy with Roti, Parantha and even rice.

I make this curry quite often and its one of my favorite. My mother always used to make all the green vegetables and she made sure that we grow up eating fresh and healthy veggies and fruits.

Here is the most simple recipe for Bottlegourd Curry (Click here for printable version)

1 Medium sized Bottlegourd ( Peeled, Washed and Chopped into small pieces)
1 Onion
3 Tomatoes
2 Green Chillies
A small piece of Fresh Ginger Root
1 pinch Asafoetida
1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4 Tsp Garam Masala
1/2 Tsp Coriander Powder
Salt- To Taste
Red Chilli Powder- To Taste
3 Tbsp- Oil
Water- (3/4 to 1 Cup)

1. First of all, add the onions, tomatoes, ginger and green chillies to your food processor or chopper and chop them together coarsely.
2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker or pan (if you dont have pressure cooker)
3. Once oil is hot, add Asafoetida and Cumin Seeds. Once cumin seeds change slightly brown, add the chopped onion tomato mixture.
4. Stir-fry the mixture until it starts to leave the oil from the sides.
5. Now add all the dry spices- Salt, Red Chilli Powder, Turmeric Powder, Coriander Powder and Garam Masala.
6. Mix well and add 2 tbsp of water incase Mixture is getting too dry and stir-fry for 5-7 more minutes. Again it should start to leave oil from the sides.
7. Now add the chopped Bottlegourd and give it a nice mix.
8. Add water (3/4 cup to 1 Cup- depending on how much bottlegourd you have). Keep in mind bottlegourd leaves its own water/juice while cooking so you don't have to add too much of water. Just enough that all the bottlegourd gets soaked in it.
9. Now if you using pressure cooker; Close the lid and whistle and let it cook for 10 minutes. If you cooking using a pan, cover the pan with a lid and cook until its tender, nicely done and has a little thick gravy.

 Garnish with Coriander leaves and Serve Hot with your favorite Bread or Rice!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

No-Egg Eggplant Parmigiana!

Parmigiana describes a classic Southern Italian dish made with shallow fried eggplant slices layered with cheese and tomato sauce and baked in an oven. Although I am not a great fan of eggplant, but eggplant parmigiana is one of my favorites! Whenever we go out to eat Italian, my husband knows that I'll either order the Cheese filled ravioli (yummmy) or Eggplant Parmigiana. These 2 are my all time favorite!! 

This time I decided to give Eggplant Parmigiana a try at home. Today when I got into the kitchen I saw I had one hour to prepare the dish before my husband comes home for lunch. It took me little more than an hour though but the end result was delicious and worth all the effort, so many messy utensils, cleaning up the kitchen later on! :) 

Wherever I saw the Parmigiana recipe, it had asked to dip the eggplants in the egg mixture. Although we do eat eggs, I just didn't want to make the parmigiana that heavy! So I decided to give eggs a skip and instead I dipped the eggplant in Corn Starch mixed with Milk. It totally solved the purpose and we didn't feel any difference in the taste. Parmigiana was as tasty as you eat in restaurants! Today I couldn't help but praise myself for this awesome dish I prepared... LOL. Also I was out of spaghetti, so I served this along with Plain and Spinach Fettuccine tossed in Tomato Basil Sauce. It was a delicious complete meal. 

So here is my Super Delicious Recipe ( Click here for the printable version)

1 Medium Eggplant ( Washed and sliced into 1/4 inch thick round slices)
Milk- 1/3 Cup
Bread Crumbs- 2 Cups (divided) (You can either use seasoned bread crumbs or use plain ones and season per ur taste)
Tomato Basil or Marinara Sauce- 24 ounces ( I used the store bought Tomato Basil and adjusted the spices per taste while heating. I added some oregano, dried basil, red crushed pepper, salt)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese- 4 ounces
Shredded Parmesan Cheese- 4 ounces
Few Fresh Basil Leaves
Salt- To Taste
Oil- To Shallow Fry Eggplant slices

1. Take the eggplant slices and sprinkle some salt on both sides of each slice and keep them aside for 15-20 minutes. Eggplant will start to leave some moisture.
2. Meanwhile take All purpose flour, Corn Starch dissolved in Milk and Bread Crumbs in three separate bowls/dishes.
3. You can add some seasoning like Salt, Red Crushed Pepper to the Corn Starch Mixture and also adjust seasoning of bread crumbs per your taste.
4. Also heat some oil in a shallow pan. 
5. Take eggplant slice one by one and first remove some extra salt and moisture from it using paper towel. Now coat the slice with All purpose flour, then dip it into the cornstarch mixture and coat with bread crumbs. Fry the slices into hot oil until golden brown from both sides. Keep them on paper towel to remove excess oil. Repeat until all the slices are fried.
6. Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F.
7. Now get a rectangular baking sheet and start the layering by adding tomato basil/marinara sauce to the bottom of the pan, then the eggplant slices, some bread crumbs, fresh basil leaves, more sauce, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and continue to layer in the same order until all the eggplant slices have been used. Top off with Sauce, Mozzarella and Parmesan.
8. Place the dish covered with aluminum foil in the pre-heated oven and cook for 25 minutes and then cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes.
9. While eggplant is baking, boil your favorite paste per instruction on the box. Drain and toss 1 Tsp of Olive oil into the pasta. 

Serve with your favorite paste sauce along with this delicious Eggplant Parmigiana garnished with fresh Basil leaves.......


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Husband's Treat- Paneer Tikka Kathi Roll

First of all I am so happy to announce that Zestyflavors made it to FoodBuzz Top 9 three times this week and 2 days in a row! My last 2 recipes of Stuffed Green Pepper and Stuffed Aloo Paneer Buns got selected on Foodbuzz yesterday and today respectively. Check out Foodbuzz Top 9 Tab above and see the screenshots!  YAY!!!!!

Now coming to today's recipe! My DH offered to make dinner tonight! He wasn't even telling me what he is going to make. He just requested me to make a few Chapattis (Indian Bread) as he wasn't sure if he would be able to get all of those round if he makes by himself. As soon as I made Chapattis; I was shown my way out of kitchen.....And after a few minutes, I was amazed to see Paneer Tikka Kathi Rolls!!! ( Marinaded Paneer rolled into Indian Flat Bread) 
He had done all the preparations while I was busy working on my blog this evening. I must say he did an amazing job! Kathi Rolls were delicious!!!! They were so good that I over-ate and I am still feeling stuffed. I am so proud of my dear husband. 

Later he told me that he felt like treating me with something special so he went to Sanjeev Kapoor's website and found this recipe from there. He remembered that I used to love Kathi Rolls from New York (where I used to live before wedding). So he decided to make these specially to bring back those memories for me....You must be thinking How Sweet !! [ I know....I thought the same :) ]
 Wowwww...These were so delicious!!

He made some little tweaks in the original recipe and made these Delicious Kathi Rolls (Click here for printable recipe)


Paneer Tikka Filling
Paneer (cottage cheese) 1/2 inch cubes- 1 cup
Tomatoes, seeded and chopped- 1 medium
Oil-1 Tbsp
Green Pepper, seeded and chopped- 1 medium
Onion- Chopped Thin and Long- 1 small

Yogurt, whisked-1/2 cup
Water- 2 Tbsp
Red Chilli powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Ginger paste- 1/2 tsp
Gram flour (besan)- 1 tbsp
Chaat masala- 1 teaspoon
Dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) - 1/2 teaspoon
Garam masala powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Salt- To taste

Whole wheat flour (atta)-1 cup
Water-1/4 cup
Salt-To taste

1.      Mix together all the ingredients of the marinade in a deep bowl.
2.      Add Paneer and tomatoes and toss lightly. Set aside to marinate for 30-40 minutes.
3.      Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add Onions and Green Pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes on medium high flame.
4.      Add the paneer mixture and sauté over high heat for four to five minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook till dry and set aside.
5.      For chapattis -Combine all the ingredients and knead into soft dough. Divide the dough into six equal portions. Roll out each portion into a thin chapatti.
6.      Heat a Tawa (Flat bottom grill) and cook each chapatti on both sides with some oil on both sides. Set aside.
7.      Divide the Paneer tikka filling into six equal portions. Place one portion of the filling in the center of each chapatti and roll up tightly.


PS: If you like more spicy and tangy; apply a thin layer of any chutney (hot sauce) or pickle masala in center of chapatti before putting Paneer mixture. Yummmmm!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stuffed Aloo Paneer Buns !!

I have always liked Champa's baking recipes and was meaning to try some bread from her blog and when I saw her recent giveaway event, I thought this is the right time to try one of her awesome breads and submit my entry for the event. So I went through the recipe index on her blog and got hooked to these delicious Potato Buns which she had made. This Karnataka specialty looked and sounded amazing and today with some minor changes I made these buns stuffed with Spicy Aloo (Potatoes) and Paneer (Cottage Cheese) and some Green Peas. Fresh Paneer made at home tasted so good in combination with Potatoes and Peas.

I also halved the recipe and made only 6 buns and but these are good big size buns. Have one bun for lunch and you are good to go for next 3-4 hours. We had these with Tea these evening and they were awesome! Try these out. I am sure you will get hooked to these. There are so many different kind of stuffings that can be done! So get creative and start baking!

Submitting these Stuffed Aloo Paneer Buns to Champa's Bake Off and Giveaway Event.

Here is the recipe (Click here for printable version)


For the Stuffing:
Potatoes - 3 Medium
Crumbled Paneer 1/2 Cup
Green Peas- 1/4 Cup
Oil - 3 TBSP
Green chillies - 3 large (chopped)
Salt - to taste
Red Chilli Powder- 1/2 Tsp
Turmeric Powder- 1/2 Tsp
Roasted Cumin Seeds-1/2 Tsp
Cilantro Leaves- chopped 2 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few

For the Bun Dough:
All purpose flour or Bread flour - 1 3/4 cups
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Dry yeast - 1 3/4 tsp
Warm Water- 2 Tbsp
Luke Warm Milk - 1/2 Cup
Oil - 2 Tbsp
Sugar - 1 Tbsp

For Brushing the bun before baking:
1/2 Tbsp of milk + 1/2 tbsp oil

To prepare stuffing:
1.Boil potatoes. Peel and mash them using a masher.
2.In a pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds.
3.When seeds start to splutter,add green chillies and curry leaves.Saute for about 10 seconds.
4.Now, add green peas. Saute them for about 2 min.
5.Then add the mashed potatoes and crumbled paneer.Saute for a couple of minutes again.
6. Add all the dry spices now and mix really well.
7.Garnish with cilantro and in a 2-3 minutes turn off the heat. Let it come to room temperature.

To prepare Buns:
1. In a large bowl, take 2 Tbsp of warm water and dissolve sugar and yeast in it. Let it froth for about 10 minutes.
2. Then add the salt and oil.
3. Add flour little by little to make a smooth dough. Knead it well for 10 minutes. (If using stand mixer, add everything to the bowl of stand mixture,
   attach dough hook and let the mixer knead the dough till it is smooth and elastic)
4. Coat with a little bit oil all over the dough and cover and let it rise for about 45 minutes to an hour or till double in volume.
5. After the rise, punch down the dough really well.
6. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 6 portions and shape them into ball. (You can make more of smaller buns).
7. Let it rest covered for 10 minutes.
8. Now take the dough ball in your left hand (if you are a right handed person) and pat it to a circle of about 4 - 5 " diameter. Take enough stuffing in your other hand and place in the center of the dough circle. Pull all the sides up together to join in the center. Pinch the edges and roll it slightly in your palm to make it smooth. Place seam-side down on a greased baking sheet Repeat with all the dough.
9.Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 30 - 45 minutes.
10.Preheat the oven to 350F. Brush the top of the buns with oil and milk mixture.Bake the buns in the oven for 20-25 minutes or more if the buns are of bigger size.

When out of oven, brush the tops with little butter (if desired). Enjoy these buns warm. You can keep the extra buns in the fridge and heat in the oven the next day and enjoy!

Stuffed Green Pepper.....Healthy and Delicious!

Today I picked fresh Green Bell Peppers from my garden which were ready to be harvested! Fresh picked veggies taste so wonderful. As soon as I picked these from the garden, my husband requested to prepare stuffed peppers for the dinner. We enjoyed having these for Dinner with Daal and Chappati. A fulfilling delicious dinner!

Bell pepper is also called Capsicum and comes in different colors including Red, Yellow and Orange. Bell peppers are low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol ,Sodium and is high in Dietary Fiber and many other vitamins.
Bell Pepper stuffed with Spicy Potatoes are delicious to enjoy with dinner or even as snack! 

Let me go ahead and brief you about this healthy recipe (Click here for printable version)

3-4 Green Bell Peppers (Medium Sized)
2 Potatoes (Boiled and mashed)
2 Green Chillies (finely chopped)
1/2 Tsp Chopped Ginger
1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
Salt- Per Taste
3/4 Tsp -Red Chilli Powder or Per Taste
1/2 Tsp-Turmeric Powder
1/4 Tsp -Garam Masala 
1/2 Tsp -Coriander Powder
2 Tsp Chopped Coriander Leaves
5 Tbsp Oil ( 2 Tbsp for Making mashed potatoes and 3 Tbsp for Stir Frying Bell Peppers)


Preparing Mashed Potatoes:
1. Heat 2 Tbsp of Oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds once the oil is hot. As soon as it changes color, add green chillies and chopped ginger. Stir Fry for 15-20 seconds.
2. Add all the dry spices and saute for 15 seconds.
3. Add in the mashed potatoes and mix nicely so that the potatoes gets nicely coated with all the spice.
4. Let the potatoes cook for 5-7 minutes while stirring.
5. Turn off the gas and let them cool off a little. Then add the chopped coriander leaves and mix well.

Stuffing and Stir Frying Peppers:
1. Wash the Green Peppers. Cut the tops of the peppers and remove the seeds.
2. Stuff the potatoes into the peppers nicely.
3. Heat 3 Tbsp of oil in the pan and add the Stuffed Bell Peppers. Stir Fry the peppers. Using tongs keep rotating the pepper so that it gets nicely done from all the sides. (We like it dark and nicely done...Its gives a wonderful taste)
4. Take off the gas when its done and put it on the paper towel to remove the extra oil.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chocolate Almond Biscotti........Dunk it in !!

My Husband totally loves Biscotti from Starbucks and that was the set benchmark for me when I started making Biscotti. He wanted Biscotti's just like the Starbucks ones! Ok...So here goes Vaishali looking up online, scratching her head and finally settled to one recipe from one of the websites (I am not mentioning the name here). Followed the recipe, biscotti's looked great and shapes were perfect.....But did they taste good? NO!!! They were too chewy, very dry and way too less sugar!! Not even close to the Starbucks one! Arrrrrr.............Angry Vaishali throws the whole batch in dustbin!! (I know...Wastage!!! But sometimes I do become that angry and obsessive).

And I start again!! This time scratching my head to make up my own recipe and final result was??? EXCELLENT!! My Husband couldn't stop eating and praising!! They are so good to dunk in coffee or even enjoy as is!! He said they are as good as the Starbucks ones! YAY!! Angry Vaishali is now Happy Vaishali  :) Submitting these to Champa's Bake Off Event.

So here goes my super easy and fantastic recipe of Chocolate Almond Biscotti (Click here for printable recipe)

1 1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp of All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
4 Tbsp Melted Butter
1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Toasted Chopped Almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toast Almonds in the oven for about 10 minutes. They will become dark from outside. Let them cool for a while, Chop coarsely and set aside.
2. In a bowl, sieve together the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In another bowl, beat eggs till they are fluffy. Stir in the vanilla essence.
4. Add in the sugar and butter and beat at medium speed with your hand mixer or stand mixer until its well mixed.
5. Now slowly add the flour mixture and beat it on medium speed. (Don't beat for too long as over-beating can lead to Chewy Biscotti's)
6. Add in the chopped almonds and chocolate chips and mix well.
7. Now dip your hands in some flour (as dough will be sticky to handle) and transfer the dough/batter to the greased cookie sheet/baking sheet. Using your hands ( you may have to dampen you hands) shape the dough into a log of 12 inches long and approx 3.5 inches wide.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until it is firm to touch. (Log will spread during baking)
9. Take it out and let it cool for 5 minutes.  
10.On a cutting board cut the logs crosswise on the diagonal into 3/4 inch (2 cm) slices. 
11.Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet, cut side down and bake for 10 minutes on each side, or until they are pale golden. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. These stores well in an airtight container.

Now Dunk them in your favorite coffee and enjoy!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gorgeous White Bread!

Now I know why everyone used to call Kitchen-Aid a Beauty! This Beautiful Stand Mixer has made my work super-easy. All I have to do is add the ingredients to the bowl, put it on the knead cycle and here it goes....It mixes and kneads such perfect Dough! I love it!

Yesterday I used the mixer to knead dough for this Gorgeous White Bread. Bread came out so perfect and delicious! Fresh Bread Toast with a cup of coffee is a perfect way to start the day!

Here is the super easy recipe for this Gorgeous White Bread (Click here for printable recipe)

3 Cups All purpose Flour
1 Cup Warm Water
1/3 Cup Sugar
2.5 Tsp Active Dry Yeast
1/4 Tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Oil
2 Tbsp Warm Milk

1. In a bowl, mix yeast and sugar in 1 Cup of Warm Water. Allow it to proof atleast 10 minutes. It will become frothy.
2. Now add in 2 Tbsp of Oil, 2 Tbsp of Warm Milk and Salt. Mix.
3. Now keep adding All Purpose Flour 1 cup at at a time and start kneading. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. ( I just dumped all this in my electric mixer with the dough hook and let it knead on 2 power)
4. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. 
5. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes and shape into loaf and place into well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pan. 
6.Allow to rise for 45 more minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans. 
7.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes. 
8. Once the bread is done, take it out from the pan. Brush some butter on the top (It gives a nice glaze) and let it cool on wire rack completely. 

                                                        What a great Fresh Loaf of Bread!!

Cut into slices with serrated knife and enjoy the Delicious Gorgeous White Beauty with Butter or Jam!

Like it Toasted? Me too :)

Sending this Bread to Champa's Bake Off Event.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

TOP 9 in Foodbuzz----Jam Filled Cardamom Cookies

Thanks to all who follow and visit my blog and like my recipes. Due to your support today, my recipe made it to TOP 9 in Foodbuzz.(

Please click here for the original recipe of Jam-filled Thumbprint Cardamom Cookies

To follow me, please click on the FOLLOW button on the left and sign in!

Here are the screenshots from the FOODBUZZ Webpage.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cardamom Cookies

 I have not done any major cooking or baking in last 2-3 days due to my shoulder problem. Hubby dear is taking full care of me so that I don't end up worsening my shoulder pain. But 2-3 days without baking or cooking is so boring to me. So today, I made my mind to take his scolding ( well....i avoided that with a cute sorry face :P ), I decided to do some baking. Nothing that requires too much of kneading! Just some easy breezy Egg-less Thumbprint Cookies! To give these cookies a little twist,I filled these with my homemade Spiced Peach Mango Jam and Mixed Fruit Jam.

BTW, I won't have to do any more kneading for my dough and other baking needs. My DH just bought me a beautiful Kitchen Aid 600 Professional Series Stand Mixer.  :) . He is opening the packaging as I write. YAY!! Now that the Stand Mixer is ready to do all the hard work, I can get back into my baking action.[ME SUPER HAPPY :) ]

Anyways, let's get back to today's post and enjoy these delicious Jam Filled Thumbprint Cookies which are so easy and quick to make; little crunchy from outside and melts in the mouth with the bite! I am sending these to Champa's Bake Off Event.

                                                  Have I mentioned - These are Egg-less too!!

Here is the recipe (Click here for the printable version)

1 Cup All purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Tsp Cardamom Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Salt
Ghee or Melted Butter (Around 10 tbsp or enough to knead a soft dough)
Jam- Of your choice

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a cookie sheet.
2. In a bowl, add all the dry ingredients and mix.
3. Now start adding Ghee or Melted Butter a Tbsp or Two at a time and start kneading the dough. The dough should come together and it will be quite soft.
4. Now make smooth balls of approx 1.5 inch in diameter and press each balls light in between palms.
5. Make a thumbprint in the center of each ball and fill it with your favorite Jam ( Should be seedless jam)
6. Arrange the cookies on the baking sheet and bake for 11-12 minutes. Cookies will develop slight scars on the top.
7. Let them cool on a wire rack for atleast 10 minutes ( This is very important otherwise you will end up burning your tongue with that HOT Jam filling :)...So have patience :D )

These cookies store well in an air-tight container (Only if your kids and family will leave any)

 CAUTION: These cookies are super-delicious! Making them once can get you addicted to these and you may stop buying cookies from outside that can lead to loss of business for the grocery stores and bakeries!!
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