June 28, 2021

Cheesy Pasta | Cheesy Penne Pasta


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 Cheesy Pasta is a very easy and quick recipe and can be put together without much effort . It can be a very good after school snack for the kids or also a part of starter in any children's parties. 

Why only kids,even with elders the cheesy pasta is always a big hit and no one can ever say No to a second serving .  Load it with as much cheese as you want and relish the gooey and creamy pasta ! This cheesy pasta is certainly not for the weight watchers or the health freaks . 


I have used Penne pasta for this recipe but you can use macaroni,  spiral , fuesli or any pasta of your choice.  The most important part in getting the pasta right is to cook the pasta properly until it is al dente which means just soft enough to bite into at the same time hold shape and not turn mushy or disintegrate.  

If you have any doubt in cooking the pasta ,follow the instructions on the back of the pasta packet to get it right.  

I always run the cooked pasta under cold tap water in a colander, this helps remove extra starch and also stops the cooking process making it perfect to add on to the sauce.  This cooked pasta can be cooled and then refrigerated for later use as well.

If you like some spicy variant of Pasta , then do try the Pav Bhaji Pasta and Classic Pasta in Red Sauce on my blog.



Linking this recipe to our weekly food theme event Foodie Monday Bloghop.  Priya Iyer is the hostess for the 303rd week and our theme is Pasta Delicacies.  Stay tuned for some yummy Pasta recipes from my blogger friends.  If you love pesto ,check out Priya's easy peasy recipe of Basil peanut pesto. 




Preparation Time - 20 mins
Cooking Time -  15 mins
Serves - 2 to 3
Complexity- medium

Ingredients 
2 tbsp butter 
2 tbsp all purpose flour /maida
1/4 cup processed cheese grated
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese grated 
2 cups milk 
1 tsp red chilli flakes 
1 tsp mixed herbs 
2 cups of boiled pasta 

Method
  • In a pan heat the butter and roast the flour until you get a nice aroma. 
  • Slowly pour the milk and whisk it well to keep it lump free and cook it for 3 to 4 mins.
  • Now add in the processed cheese and mozzarella cheese with the chilli flakes and mixed herbs  and mix it well until the cheese melts.
  • Now add the cooked penne and toss it well till the sauce combines well with the pasta .
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and serve it hot.

Serving suggestions 
  • You can add some boiled corn or vegetables to the pasta along with the white sauce .
  • You may also add some grated cheese on top of the pasta and microwave it for 2 mins to get a more gooey and creamy pasta .
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June 27, 2021

Pavakkai Pitlai | Paakarkai Pitla | Bittergourd Pitla


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 Paavakkai Pitlai / Pitla is one of the unique and traditional recipes from the kitchens of Tamil Nadu. As close as it may resemble a Sambar , it is totally different in terms of taste and flavor . This recipe is very common and also a rustic recipe from the Tamil Brahmin cuisine.

Pitlai is invariably made with either Bittergourd (Pavakkai) or Brinjal (katthirikkai) . Boiled chickpeas or groundnuts are mostly added to the pitlai to give the extra crunch . In today's recipe i have added boiled brown chickpeas.

Till now I haven't heard or seen any other vegetables going into the making of Pitlai . Since its an age old traditional recipe,I think most people want to  stick to the ancestral recipe and follow to the "T" to relish and savor the actual flavors .

A freshly roasted and ground spice mix is prepared to add to the Pitlai and the amount of tamarind and boiled paruppu /dhall that is used is also less as compared to what goes into a sambar making it taste different from the regular sambar .

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Bittergourd and me have always been in a love hate relationship and hence it doesn't feature much in my kitchen except for Bittergourd Chips and Bittergourd (Haagalkai) Gojju. V loves Paavakkai Pitla a lot and was constantly asking me to prepare it and I had been turning a deaf ear for a long time but one fine day he got me some fresh tender bitter gourd and said "Pls make " and no more could I resist and immediately went ahead and we all enjoyed it for our lunch with some hot rice ,ghee and deep fried Pappads/Appalam.

Linking this recipe to our Food group Shhhh Cooking Secretly challenge where in we fellow bloggers are paired up and exchange 2 ingredients secretly and the others play the guessing game !! 

This month's hostess is Seema an avid blogger at The Mildly Indian who suggested that the star of the recipe be a Bitter ingredient. Seema has a wonderful recipe for Pavakkai Bhajji (Bittergourd Fritters) which will make Bittergourd haters also start loving this vegetable. 

 I was paired with my cousin Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds for this month .  Coconut and udad dhall were my secret ingredients while atta/whole wheat flour and ginger were hers with which she has dished out healthy Methi Muthias .

Paavakkai Pitlai / pagarkkai Pitla is one of the unique and traditional recipes from the kitchens of Tamil Nadu. Pitla , Pitlai, bittergourd pitlai , paavakkai pitlai , pagarkai pitlai , pahakkai putlai , pitlai

Preparation Time - 20 mins
Soaking Time - 8 hrs
Cooking Time - 20 mins
Serves - 3 to 4 
Complexity - Medium
 

Ingredients 

1/4 brown chickpeas  or  white chickpeas 
2 medium sized Bittergourd/pavakkai/karela
1/4 cup thick tamarind extract
1/2 boiled and mashed thoor dhall /pigeon peas 
1/4 cup fresh grated  coconut  / frozen coconut at room temperature 
2 tsp oil 
1/4 tsp mustard seeds

To roast and grind 
3 tsp udad dhall
3 tsp thoor dhall
2 tsp dhaniya/corriander seeds
5-6 dry red chillies 
1/4 tsp methi /fenugreek seeds
Few curry leaves 
Pinch of asafoetida 

Method 

Preparation of Fresh Spice Mix 



  • In a pan heat 1/2 tsp oil and roast the dhalls till they turn crisp ,followed by the curry leaves,methi seeds,red chillies and corriander seeds . Let it cool
  • Add asafoetida and coarsely powder the ground spices . Keep aside 2 tsp of this dry spice  powder to be added to the pitlai for extra flavor in the end.
  • Add the fresh coconut, little water and grind to a smooth paste. 
Preparation of Paavakkai Pitlai


  • Pressure cook the soaked chick peas with enough salt and water and keep it ready .
  • Chop the head and tail of the Bittergourd,  slit it vertically and de seed. Cut them into medium sized pieces and boil it in salt and turmeric water until 1/2 done . Alternatively you can pressure cook the Bittergourd for just 1 whistle.
  • Add 1 cup water to the tamarind extract plus the cooked Bittergourd and chick peas and bring to a rolling boil until the raw flavor of tamarind is lost . 
  • Add the ground masala paste and cooked dhall/lentils to this tamarind mixture and boil it till all the flavors blend in well and there is no raw flavor of coconut or the dhall. Adjust water if you find the pitlai too thick else there is every chance the masala might stick to the base of the vessel and burn .
  • A spoon of jaggery may also be added which will enhance the taste of the pitlai further 
  • Turn off the stove , add in the reserved dry masala powder to this pitlai and pour a fresh hot seasoning of mustard seeds and asafoetida. (Skip asafoetida for a gluten free version)


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Paavakkai Pitlai / pagarkkai Pitla is one of the unique and traditional recipes from the kitchens of Tamil Nadu. Pitla , Pitlai, bittergourd pitlai , paavakkai pitlai , pagarkai pitlai , pahakkai putlai , pitlai


 





June 21, 2021

Idli Upma - Vegan breakfast


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 Idli Upma is a very tasty breakfast generally made out of left over idlis . I usually  make an extra batch of idlis for dinner so that the same can be used to prepare this delicious idli upma for breakfast the next day. 

One might wonder , what is so special about this Idli Upma when we can enjoy some fluffy hot idlis with chutney and sambar . The answer to this is trying out this recipe and relishing . Proof of the pudding lies in tasting ..isn't it ?? 

Idli Upma is the simplest and best way to make use of previous day's idli . You can also make them from fresh idlis ,but you will have to refrigerate it for sometime before making idli upma.  By chance if your idlis turn out to be hard (which I hope and wish never happens for anyone )  then this recipe can surely be a savior . 

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To get the best fluffy and grainy idli upma ,the idlis need to be little dry and moisture free so that we can crumble them easily,which is why left over idlis are the best choice to prepare idli upma. Idli upma is a perfect lunch box item for schools or even office . 

Idli upma can be made in various ways like adding vegetables or a simple tempering of chillies and ginger or the most liked recipe using Idli Podi - special spice mix served as an accompaniment to idlis / dosas .

Today I shall be sharing the recipe of making idli upma using Idli Molagapudi which tastes best when served fresh coconut chutney and some chilled curd . 

You must also try crispy and crunchy idli fry which is also a very tasty  recipe using left over idlis .

Linking this  recipe to our FMBH 302nd weekly theme "makeover from leftover" suggested by Poonam . Head over to Poonam's blog Annapurna for some authentic culinary delights from Maharashtrian cuisine  and also recipes from world over.  Poonam's Tandoori Paneer Tikka using stove top is on my to do list . Her marination spice mix is totally delectable. 



Preparation Time - 10 mins
Cooking Time - 15 mins
Serves - 2 
Complexity - easy 

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Ingredients 
8 to 10 idlis 
2 green chillies
Few curry leaves 
Pinch of asafoetida 
1/2 tsp mustard seeds 
1/2 tsp channa dhall / gram dhall
1/2 tsp udad dhall / black lentil 
2 tbsp oil 
Chopped corriander for garnish 

Method 
  • Crumble the idli nicely with your fingers and keep ready. 
  • In a pan heat the oil and splutter the mustard seeds followed by the lentils until it turns golden brown.
  • Fry the chillies and curry leaves in the same oil and lastly add the asafoetida.
  • Now add in the crumbled idlis to the pan along with the molagapudi and mix it well. 
  • The molagapudi/ spice powder must coat the idli crumbs evenly.  You can add some idli molagapudi if you want the upma to be spicy . 
  • Sprinkle some water all over the idli upma mix and cook covered for 2 to 3 mins. At this stage you can adjust some salt if needed . Add the salt mix it and then continue covered cooking. 
  • Slowly open it,mix once and add some fresh coriander and serve hot with fresh coconut chutney or thick curd / yogurt .

Notes

Idli Batter in a Mixie 



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Idli Upma is a very tasty breakfast generally made out of left over idlis, idli upma , how to make idli upma , idli upma using molagapudi , how to make soft idli upma




Idli Upma is a very tasty breakfast generally made out of left over idlis, idli upma , how to make idli upma , idli upma using molagapudi , how to make soft idli upma






June 15, 2021

Sev Batata Puri | Paapri Chat | Papdi Chat


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Sev Batata puri is one of the famous and sought after street food items from Bombay alongside BhelpuriPaani Puri and Pavbhaji .

 Sev (सेव) is deep fried string hoppers made using gram flour, Batata (बटाटा) in Marathi is potatoes and Puri or paapdi (पूरी / पापडी) are small deep fried discs made using All purpose flour / maida . . 

Well,not only is this famous in Bombay,it is also famous all over the Northern India popularly know as Paapri Chaat or Paapdi Chaat .  Though there is a slight difference in the chutneys used,  the end result is always too good to be put in words . With each bite you can feel an explosion of flavors and various tastes in your mouth which needs to be experienced and enjoyed :-) 

Sev Batata puri is one of the famous and sought after street food items from Bombay alongside Bhelpuri,  Paani Puri and Pavbhaji ,sev puri, sev batata puri, papdi chat , papri chat , vegan street food , tasty sev batata puri , सेव बटाटा पूरी, सेव पूरी, पापरी चाट,पापड़ी चाट

 We can also make these discs using whole wheat flour .  For this recipe today,  I have used store bought puris which were made out of maida .

You can look up my video link  below to prepare whole wheat puris at home . I generally prefer to use a slightly spicy version of the puris as it adds up to the taste of the chaat .

If we have all the ingredients ready ,it hardly takes 15 mins to put this snack together else you will need about 1-  2 hrs to prepare the potato filling , chutneys, chopping of onions , tomatoes ,corriander etc. 

Sev Batata puri is one of the famous and sought after street food items from Bombay alongside Bhelpuri,  Paani Puri and Pavbhaji ,sev puri, sev batata puri, papdi chat , papri chat , vegan street food , tasty sev batata puri , सेव बटाटा पूरी, सेव पूरी, पापरी चाट,पापड़ी चाट

Preparation Time - 1hr
Assembling Time - 5 mins
Serves - 2 
Complexity - Simple 

Ingredients 

14 puris / paapdi
2 medium sized potatoes boiled and mashed 
1/2 cup onion finely chopped  (skip for the No Onion No garlic version)
1/2 cup tomato finely chopped 
1/2 cup nylon sev 
Chat masala to sprinkle 
Finely chopped corriander for garnish 

Method 
  • Arrange 7 papdis each on 2 set of plates.
  • Season the boiled and mashed potatoes with some salt and red chilli powder and mix them well.
  • Place about 1/2 tsp of potato filling on each puri.
  • Place some onions and tomatoes over the potato filling.
  • Top the puris with 1/2 tsp each of dates tamarind chutney and green chutney. 
  • Sprinkle some chat masala and garnish with a lot of sev and finely chopped corriander. 
  • Delicious sev Batata puri is ready to be served.
Serving Suggestions/ Tips 
  • Keep all the ingredients ready before you start assembling the sev puri .
  • Serve it soon after assembling, else the puris will lose the crunch due to the chutney and the charm of biting into the crunch will be lost. 
  • You may also add some boiled whole moong beans or black channa (black chickpeas) to the potato mixture. 
  • You may add or reduce the amount of chutney you top up on the potato mixture depending on how spicy or mild you like the chaat to be .


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Sev Batata puri is one of the famous and sought after street food items from Bombay alongside Bhelpuri,  Paani Puri and Pavbhaji .