Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Spaghetti with Broccoli,Sausage and Burnt Garlic

So we are back from our vacation and I am feeling very depressed. This happens to me every summer. I look forward to it with so much eagerness and then BOOM past June 21st I am all anxious and feeling melancholy that the days will start to shorten and soon there will be chilly winter winds blowing. I try to chide my mind and focus on living in the moment but then when I am not being mindful, the melancholy creeps right back in.

Given that the major vacation is done with and there is no family visiting us from India this year, I am trying to scout for things that we can do for the next two months of holiday. Things other than laze around of course. Focusing on happy summery thoughts.

Like, that my coriander is growing.

And the basil I started from seeds is finally ready with tender basil leaves.

And that after "Inside Out"( love, love, love) and "Jurassic World", there is "Minions" to watch!

So anyway, the fact of the matter is that we have been back only a couple of days and have done the laundry! Score point 1. Before leaving, I had frozen a Dal and Chicken curry so that we could defrost and eat those, while going through holiday trip hangover. Also I have really good friends and one of them had supplied us with enough soul food(read musurir dal and posto) on our return. Therefore I didn't have to cook much in the last couple of days.

The only thing I made for lunch today is a Pasta. My daughters somehow never tired of pasta. Almost living on it for ten days they are still glad to have more. I am happy with it too as it is a easy one pot meal that satisfies everyone.

Today I made a Spaghetti with Broccoli and then flavored with burnt garlic.That simple. The trick to this Broccoli pasta is to stir the broccoli florets vigorously until it totally crumbles into tiny tiny green specks and then just hides somewhere in the pasta infusing it with its flavor. And ahem, I also added some andouille sausage.

Here is how you do it.

I used Spaghetti but you can also do the same with elbow or Farfalle. I feel penne requires more sauce and this is too light for penne.

We will be adding some Andouille sausage for the non-veg version and if you are using that take it out to defrost. 

Cook pasta according to package directions. After cooking the pasta and draining the water, I give the pasta a quick rinse in cold water and then toss it in olive oil.

Chop a medium sized head of Broccoli into florets. Chop some of the stem too. No need to chop the florets very small as you will be steaming it.

Now steam the Broccoli with a pinch of salt. I just put them in a pan of boiling water and cook until they are really tender. Like soft tender.

Mince about 4 cloves of garlic.

Heat some olive oil in a pan which is big enough to toss the pasta. Add the sausage cut up in pieces and saute until sausage pieces are lightly browned. Remove and keep aside

Add the minced garlic to the oil and when you get the garlic flavor then follow with the steamed broccoli florets. Saute the broccoli until it crumbles into tiny pieces. Sprinkle salt as needed, remember the pasta was boiled with salt and you will be adding cheese and sausage later which will have some amount of salt. Now add the spaghetti and toss so that the broccoli is mixed with the pasta.

Sprinkle parmesan generously and then pour the pasta in a serving dish. Add the sausage to the pasta and toss.

Now heat some more olive oil in the same pan

Add 1 fat clove of garlic chopped in thin slices to the hot oil and quickly toss it around until the garlic starts to brown.

Pour this garlic oil and garlic on the spaghetti

Garnish with some fresh basil and serve

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Omeltte er Jhol -- Omelette in a Curry

This Omelette er jhol or Indian style Omelettes in a gravy, is one of my favorite egg dishes. There is something about an omelette basking in a thin curry and growing fat and pillowy, all so that you can bite into its softness and let the curry juice trickle down your throat. It makes an omelette far more sensuous than an omelette.

I don't know if anywhere other than in a Bengali home, an omelette is dunked into a gravy. Why you might ask ? I mean why can't you just eat an omelette like it is destined to be eaten?

For we like to change destiny, I say. For we see rainbow where you might just see a blue sky with white clouds. Nothing wrong with a blue sky and white clouds. But a rainbow adds magic. Just like the omellette in a jhol.

Now, there are many Bengali homes too where this dish is not the norm, like this dish was never made at my in-law's home and when I made it for the first time, they thought it was some crazy idea of mine.

But my Ma, has been making this for ages and I have always loved this slightly runny jhol with its potatoes and soft omelettes. Big Sis loves it much more than the regular egg curry aka dim er jhol and asks for it often. It is pretty simple to make too. Rice and omelette er jhol makes for a very comforting dinner for us.

Bengali Style Omellete er Jhol

First take 4 large eggs. Or more eggs if you so wish. Let us not even go into the conundrum of which comes first "Chicken or the Egg"

Now comes the difficult part. Break the eggs in a bowl, two at a time.

To it add
a tbsp of onion finely chopped
green chillies finely chopped
salt to taste
1 tbsp of milk
chopped coriander leaves(optional)
Beat them to a smooth mix

Now make an Omelette. Heat oil in a frying pan. Pour out the egg batter on the pan and swirl till the batter is evenly distributed and let it cook. Fold the omelette in half and cook both sides. Slide it out on a plate. When cool slice in two portions. You can also slice up in cubes or squares.

Making the thin gravy for Omlette er Jhol.

You can make a richer and thicker gravy if you so wish but we like a thin gravy.

Heat 2 tbsp Oil in a Kadhai/Saucier

Temper the Oil with
1 tsp of PaanchPhoron

When the seeds pop add half of a medium onion chopped fine + 2 green chillies slit along the length. Saute till onion softens.

Toss in 1 potato cut in thin half moon shapes. With a sprinkle of turmeric powder, fry the potatoes and onion until they turn golden. At this point the fried flavor of onion and potatoes will make you very hungry!

Next add a chopped tomato.

Add about 1/2 tsp of ginger paste. Fry for a couple of minutes. Tomato should be totally mushed up by now.

Meanwhile in a bowl add
1 tbsp yogurt
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp Kashmiri Mirch/Red Chilli powder
pinch of turmeric powder
and mix well so that you have a smooth paste

Add this masala paste to the potatoes in the kadhai and cook at low heat for 4-5 minutes.

Add about 2 cups of warm water, salt to taste and mix well. Let the gravy come to a simmer.

Cover and let the potatoes cook.

Once the potatoes are done, taste the curry and adjust for spices. You might like to add a little sugar to the jhol at this point.

Once the jhol/gravy is ready add the the omelette into the gravy and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Best served with rice.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Aam Pudina Grilled Murgi -- Chicken grilled with Mint-Green mango chutney

Yesterday was the dress rehearsal at LS's dance class. Being an Indian classical dance you can well imagine the lengths one had to go to, getting the child dressed. But this post is not about the dance so let us not deviate.

I usually drop Little Sis off at her dance class and come back to pick only later. Yesterday however I had to stay back to check with the teacher if the dress and get up was okay or anything more was to be done. The place was full of little girls all in traditional costume and their Moms. Mostly the parent/guardian was female so I assume it was the Mother except for one whose Dad was there.

Now on other days I see many Dads doing the drop off and pick up but yesterday it was mostly Mothers. I guess it was because they were in charge of the costume and make up for the child. Now this particular Dad who was there yesterday wasn't just doing a drop off. He had come armed with full knowledge of what his daughter's dress and makeup should be and was not afraid to ask questions. His daughter, a little girl of probably eight was beautifully dressed but was missing a couple of fake jewellery.There were a few other kids who were missing the same.

The teacher handed them the pieces and said it has to be secured with safety pins. Most of the Moms were clueless and did not have any safety pin on them. I myself had just bought a box of safety pins the day before and the box was tucked away at home.As we were looking around, this particular gentleman fished out a box of safety pins from his bag and fixed his daughter's jewellery. He then also took out some bobby pins and fixed her hair. When all was done, he shared a few of the safety pins with us too. I was really amazed at how well prepared and organized he was compared to moi. Maybe it his wife who had packed the bag, maybe it was his super organized nature but he seemed like a pretty good Dad to me.

The resident Dad is an all rounder and I often get to hear how my life is extremely easy as the Dad chips in.I am happy to see that there are more of his kind.