Creamy Corn Pasta with Basil (or Cilantro!)

My tweaked version of the New York Times recipe was a big hit with my family and friends this summer when corn was in season.  The sauce was easy to prepare ahead of time and could be added to the pasta just before serving.

Ingredients

12 ounces of farfalle pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch green onions, chopped, keeping the green and white part of the onion separate

2 cups of corn, cut from fresh corn or frozen corn (reserve 1/4 cup)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup fresh basil or cilantro, more for garnish

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 green or red chili, cut fine

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

fresh lemon juice , as needed

Preparation

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet, reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

Heat a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Saute the white part of the scallions and cook until the onions are soft and then add the corn. Add 1/4 cup water, stir for a few minutes until the corn is tender about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the corn mixture to a blender and blend till a pouring consistency, adding a little water if needed.

Heat the same saucepan with butter, add the reserved 1/4 cup corn and cook till tender about 2 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, green chili, and corn puree. Cook till the puree is heated through.

Add the pasta to the corn puree, adding some of the reserved pasta water to thin the puree if necessary. Heat through and add  Parmesan cheese, green scallions and basil (or cilantro), a squeeze of lemon before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini Match Stick Fries

As you all probably know by now, I try to incorporate vegetables into our family’s diet in creative ways – a few months ago we tried the zucchini fries from Trader Joe’s. Since then I’ve been noticing a lot of recipes for them so I decided to experiment baking them in the oven and with an Indian twist. They turned out great so I wanted to share!

One thing I realized about zucchini, is that it has a high water content – if you cut the zucchini in advance, the coating will not stick! So it needs to be cut and prepared at the same time. If you’d like to make it ahead of time, cooking time can be reduced by a few minutes and then just crisp them up in the oven for 3-4 minutes before serving.

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Ingredients

1 medium size zucchini,

2 teaspoons McCormick’s season all or a different

1 tablespoon olive oil

3-4 tablespoons chickpea flour

1 tablespoon fine cornmeal

 

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the zucchini in half, then cut into 4-5 slices lengthwise, and again into thin strips like matchsticks.

Coat with 1 teaspoon of seasonings of your choice.

Mix in the oil.

Add the remaining seasonings to the chickpea flour and cornmeal and mix through.

Toss into the zucchini with the flour mixture and add to a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, turning the fries halfway during the cooking.

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If making the fries ahead of time, cook for 10 minutes and finish baking before serving.

 

 

 

Cauliflower with Red Pepper Sauce

I came across this delicious cauliflower recipe on FoodNetwork.com as I was looking for a new dish to try for a luncheon with a vegetarian friend. I added a slight twist and used ready made roasted peppers to make it even quicker.

You can use any spice seasoning that you have – on my most recent trip to Baltimore, I discovered McCormick’s new Jalapeño,  Sriracha and also Chipotle seasonings which would work well.

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Ingredients

2-4 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets (3-4 cups)

1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of black pepper

4-5 cloves of garlic

1 red pepper, roasted, seeded and chopped or (Jar of roasted red peppers, drained )

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes   OR

1/2 – 1 teaspoon Mc Cormick Siracha seasoning  or cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons greek yogurt ( or plain yogurt strained in a cheese cloth or paper coffee filter)

2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

3  tablespoons chopped cilantro

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400.

Mix the cauliflower with 2 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper, and spread on a baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring half way .

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Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan, add the garlic cloves and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the red pepper or (drained roasted red pepper )and the seasoning of your choice. Cool for a few minutes. Pour into a blender along with the yogurt and blend to smooth puree. Mix in 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.

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Before serving, toss the red pepper sauce with the cauliflower and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds, and heat through.

Garnish with remaining chopped cilantro.

Corn Curry

In the summer when corn is plentiful I always think about this flavorful corn dish. My cousin shared this recipe with me years ago – I have made it many times with both Indian and western meals (adjusting the amount of green chilies according to taste).

Curry leaves do add to the flavor of the dish but they are optional – they are the only ingredient you may need to buy from an Indian grocery store (if you don’t already have a curry leaf plant in your garden!).

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Ingredients

1 large green chili

1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (separated)

2 teaspoons grated ginger

13 curry leaves, approximately (separated)

1/2 cup cilantro leaves + more for garnish

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons oil

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup half and half

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

3 whole dry red chillies

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

4 curry leaves

1 tablespoon flour

4 cups  fresh cut corn or frozen

1 -1/2 teaspoons salt

Method

Blend the green chili, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons ginger, 8 curry leaves, 1/2 cup cilantro, water and oil into a paste.

Heat oil, add remaining 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and mustard seeds, and as the mustard seeds start to crackle add the dry red chillies and 5 remaining curry leaves . Stir and add the green paste, cook for about 1 minute. Add the flour and and stir till well blended. Add the milk & half and half very slowly to make a thick paste. Bring to a boil.

Add the corn and salt and cook for about 4 minutes .

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

 

Green Masala Chicken

This dish is one of my regulars – it is quick and easy since you simply  blend the ingredients for the marinade together, and then grill. It incorporates veggies into the sauce so perfect for our family!

 

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Ingredients

1 teaspoon each, garlic paste and ginger paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut in small cubes
1-2 green chillies
1/2  large green bell pepper
2 cups packed spinach leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 medium onion, chopped, fried brown or  1/2  cup package fried onions (from the indian grocery store)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 lime

Preparation

Marinade chicken with the first 5 ingredients.

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Blend the remaining ingredients except the lime, to a smooth paste, in blender or food processor.IMG_2923 (1)

Add this to the chicken and marinade for several hours or overnight.

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Skewer the chicken and grill for about 3-4 minutes or each side.

Squeeze the lime over the chicken and serve with slices of onion.

Poha

Poha, also called Pohe, is beaten or flattened rice – a popular dish from the state of Maharashtra. Though traditionally eaten for breakfast or a snack, it is a super quick option for any meal.

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Ingredients

1 cup Pohe (raw beaten rice) – the medium to thick variety

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1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2-3 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

1-2 small green chillies, slit

a few curry leaves (optional)

1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 small potato, boiled and cubed (optional)

1/2- 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)

1/2 lime

2-3 tablespoon cilantro leaves chopped

Preparation

Place the raw poha in a sieve and rinse it with water for a minute or two. Set aside.

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Heat oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds. As the seeds start to pop, add the onion and saute for a few minutes till it becomes light brown. Add the green chillies and curry leaves, and stir for 30 seconds.

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Add the turmeric, salt and potatoes and the rinsed poha Stir until combined and add one or two tablespoons of water, if the mixture looks dry.

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Cover and cook over low heat for about 3 minutes.  If adding peas, add the peas and continue to cook for another minute. Squeeze the lime  and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

 

 

 

 

Almond Burfi (fudge)

In India, burfi, similar to fudge, is usually served at special occasions, festivals or at a wedding. There are many variations to making burfi but when I came across the recipe below, it seemed simple to make because it is baked (versus cooked on the stove as you would do with candy or fudge).

For this recipe, I decided to try using almond meal (which I bought from Trader Joe’s) versus blanching and grinding the almonds which is a time consuming process. I also added almond extract to the recipe which brings out the almond flavor. This is a great sweet to make for anyone who is gluten-free!

IMG_3591Ingredients

  • 1  1/2 cup almond meal (or cashew meal)
  • 1/4 cup cream of wheat (or sooji)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup carnation milk powder
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)

Preparation

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9″ x  9″ pan or line with parchment paper so it is easy to remove from pan.

Beat the eggs, add the remaining ingredients and mix together. The mixture will be a little stiff. add to prepared pan.

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Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool for about 10 minutes, remove from pan and cut into squares or diamonds.

Garnish with a few chopped slivered almonds if desired.

 

 

 

 

 

Upuma

In the southern part of India, Upuma, a simple breakfast, snack or lunch dish is made from cream of wheat mixed with a few spices.

The cream of wheat used in this dish is of a finer variety, bought in the Indian grocery stores. The cream of wheat found in the supermarket can be used, it is just a little coarser in texture.

When my daughter was working in Atlanta I came up with this home made “upuma mix” which she could use when needed for a quick dinner.  Adding boiling water & some frozen or left over veggies,  it is also nutritious as cream of wheat has iron and some protein.

 

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Ingredients

Upuma Mix:

  1 cup cream of wheat

  1 tablespoon oil

  1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

  1 small red dry chilly, broken

  1 teaspoon urad dal

  1 small onion, finely chopped

  1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

  1 teaspoon salt

1 small tomato, chopped (optional)

1/2 cup cooked vegetables  (green peas, beans, carrots etc)

Preparation

Homemade Upuma Mix:

NOTE: When I’m making the mix, I typically make 4 times this recipe, and store it in the fridge. 

Heat the cream of wheat in a skillet over medium heat until it turns light brown, stirring constantly. Remove from pan and set aside.

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Heat oil in a skillet; add the mustard seeds and when they start to pop add the red dry chilly. Stir for a few seconds and add the onion. Cook the onion till brown, add the ginger and stir for 1-2 more minutes.

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Add the urad dal and nuts, if using, and stir until the dal turns brown (for a few more minutes). Add the toasted cream of wheat and salt and stir well until the cream of wheat is thoroughly mixed in.

If using as a “mix” cool and store in a container in the refrigerator.

Heat 2 cups of water to boiling, and if using vegetables add them now (I added beans that I had in the refrigerator, and a small tomato). Turn down to simmer and add 1 cup of your homemade upuma mix, stir until slightly thickened.

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Cover and continue to simmer for about 3-5 minutes or until the mixture is thick.  Upuma is usually served hot, with a little bit of Indian hot mango or lime pickle.

Kulfi (Indian Ice-cream)

 

Kulfi is traditionally made from just milk, simmered down for hours and poured into this typical conical mold pictured here, and frozen.

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My favorite quick and easy recipe uses evaporated and condensed milk to make it rich and creamy. Any shape of popsicle mold or even a ice cube tray will work.

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Ingredients

1  14-ounce can condensed milk

2  12-ounce cans evaporated milk

8 ounces whipping cream

1/2 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts or almonds

1 teaspoon crushed saffron  (optional)

1/2 – 1 teaspoon cardamom powder  (optional)

Preparation

Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl, and beat with a hand mixer till the liquid is well blended.

Pour into the molds.  Freeze overnight.

Dip into water water to remove from the molds just before serving.

Slice and serve with additional nuts if desired.

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Note: I personally do not like my Kulfi very sweet but if you prefer it sweeter, reduce the evaporated milk to only 1 can.

Pasta and Veggie Dhokla

Dhokla is a traditional Gujarati dish, a savory steamed bread with a light and spongy texture. It is typically made with channa dal (split peas) but I’ve had various types, made with rava (semolina or cream of wheat) and besan (chickpea flour).

A friend recently introduced me to her version, incorporating vegetables.  You can use any veggies in the recipe – I always seem to have carrots, bell peppers and frozen peas on hand so I used those.

You might be wondering about the pasta… the angel hair pasta and potatoes simply help bind the ingredients together!

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Ingredients

3/4 cup uncooked, broken angel hair pasta

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1/4 cup frozen green peas

1/4 cup finely cut carrots

1 small raw potato, finely diced

1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced

1 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon each, ginger and garlic paste

1/2- 1 teaspoon, finely cut green chillies

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cream of wheat (coarse variety, if buying from an Indian store)

2 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon Eno or baking soda

1/2 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

Chopped cilantro for garnish

  Preparation

To steam the Dhokla, boil 2 cups of water in a large 4 or 6 quart cooking pot and keep it simmering. Place a small cooking rack or an overturned small metal container or bowl at the bottom. Grease an 8″ cake pan.

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Add pasta to a mixing bowl and mix in the vegetables.

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Next add the yogurt and spices, cream of wheat, and oil and mix well.

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 Lastly add the Eno or baking soda.

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Pour into prepared cake pan, cover with a lid and steam for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil, add the sesame seeds and mustard seeds and when the seeds start to pop, remove and pour and spread over the steamed dhokla. Remove pan and cool for 5 minutes and cut into diamond shapes.

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Remove to a serving plate and garnish with chopped cilantro.

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