Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thai Red Curry with Vegetables

Thai Cuisine is known for spicy food and has a great balance of sweet and spice in recipes. Some of the popular dishes are Thai red curry and green curry that is served with rice.  Thai Red Curry is a rich and spicy curry made with coconut milk and red curry paste. Normally, I use a store-bought red curry paste (I prefer Thai Kitchen's) as it has all the ingredients you need, so why go through the trouble of making a paste?? Add your choice of vegetables and enjoy the spicy red curry!!


13.5 oz can light coconut milk (you can use regular for thicker curry)
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1/2 cup baby corn
1 small onion, diced
2 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp red chilli paste (optional)
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup fresh snow peas
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/4 - 1/2 cup water (use less, if you want it thicker)
1/4 cup  fresh thai basil leaves


In a stockpot, add the coconut milk and simmer on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Now, add the red curry paste and red chilli paste (adjust to taste) and boil until the raw smell of the red curry paste goes away.

Add red bell pepper, snow peas, potatoes, carrots, baby corn, broccoli florets, onion and thai basil along with 1/4 cup water and salt to taste. Simmer on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are almost cooked. Garnish with chopped thai basil and serve hot with brown or white rice.

Makes 4-5 servings.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Soup is one of the most comforting food on a cold wintry night. Several months ago, I tried the Trader Joe's Roasted Red Pepper soup among the many others and I have been hooked to it ever since. I liked the flavors although it is a bit sweet for my taste buds. I tried to replicate the soup as much as I could but with a little bit of heat added to it. The verdict... I liked my soup much better than Trader Joe's. Give it a try...


1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper 
3-4 whole fire roasted red pepper, finely chopped 
2 tbsp butter or olive oil (I used butter)
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste


In a stock pot, melt butter and add the onions and sauté for 4-5 mins. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté for 2 mins until raw smell goes away. 

Add the crushed tomatoes, roasted red peppers (I used store-bought), water, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20-25 mins until the vegetables are tender and the flavors blend together. Adjust the seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if required. 

Add half-and-half and puree using a hand held immersion blender until smooth.  Allow the soup to boil for 2-3 mins. You can garnish the soup with chopped basil (optional). Serve hot.

Makes 5-6 servings.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chilli Paratha

Chilli Paratha (also known as Kothu Parotta/Kothu Roti) is a popular dish in Southern India. Kothu parotta is a common street food but gaining popularity in restaurants too. The ingredients are minced and mixed repeatedly until they blend well. Kothu parotta can be prepared with or without meat. Meatless kothu parotta can be made with finely chopped vegetables to give the minced texture to the dish. It is served with onion raitha.


6 Parathas, cut into small pieces
5-6 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
2 medium potatoes, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3-4 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tsp chilli powder (reduce quantity if you want it less spicy)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
Salt, to taste
3-4 tbsp oil
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped


In a deep pan, heat oil, add onions and green chillies. Sauté onions until translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add the peas, carrot, potatoes, chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder (adjust spices to suit your taste). Allow the vegetables to cook until they are almost done. Add the tomato sauce (or crushed tomatoes) and salt and cook  for few minutes until it turns out saucy but not too thick.

Add the paratha pieces to the saucy mixture and toss well to coat them. Add tomato ketchup and mix well. Fry for few minutes until all the flavors blend together and add chopped cilantro and mix with the parathas. If you find the chilli paratha to be a little dry, add more tomato sauce or ketchup. Serve hot with onion raitha.

Makes 3 servings.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pesto Fettuccine

Fettuccine (means 'little ribbons') is a type of flat pasta which looks like a pile of ribbons. Traditionally, Fettuccine pasta is served with tomato and cream-based sauces. Dried fettuccine pasta is made using durum wheat and is cooked al dente (cooked but not too soft or overdone).

One of the classic italian dishes is Fettuccine Alfredo which is filled with creamy goodness. Since, I wanted something lighter and refreshing, I decided to make a pesto fettuccine. Pesto is a sauce made by pounding the ingredients and is normally made with basil, pine nuts and olive oil with salt and pepper.  I have always wanted to try making pesto but had a bag of Arugula staring at me for over a week. So, I ended up making Arugula pesto and it turned out good as well as flavorful.

Try replacing the classic ingredients in a recipe and give it your own twist for a nice family dinner night.


For Arugula Pesto:

5 oz fresh arugula
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup almonds
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

For the Pasta:

6-8 oz dried fettuccine
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 cup frozen or canned artichoke hearts
10-12 asparagus spears (cut into bite-size pieces)
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed
Arugula pesto, as desired (I used approx. 3 tbsp pesto)
Grated parmesan cheese, for garnish


For the pesto:

In a blender, add the arugula, almonds, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Grind to a fine paste and set aside. Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For the fettuccine:

Cook the dried fettuccine according to package directions with salt. Drain the fettuccine and reserve some pasta water for later. 

In a pan, melt butter and add minced garlic. Sauté garlic and add asparagus, artichoke hearts and spinach. Sauté the vegetables until almost cooked.

In a large bowl, add the vegetables, fettuccine, pesto and a ladle of the pasta water (keeps it from drying out). Toss them together until the fettuccine is coated well.

Garnish the fettuccine with grated parmesan cheese and serve with crispy garlic bread.

Makes 3 servings.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vegetable Enchiladas

Enchiladas is one of the most common food in mexican cuisine. An enchilada is a corn or flour tortilla rolled around a filling and covered with a chili sauce. Enchiladas can contain any type of filling like meat, cheese or vegetables and one of the typical ingredient being beans. They are topped with cheese, sour cream and/or fresh cilantro. Here's a simple mexican recipe to add to your collection...


1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces, steamed
1/4 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup yellow corn kernels
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup spring/green onions, finely chopped
15 oz can of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
10 oz hot enchilada sauce
3-4 tbsp hot taco sauce
2 tbsp spicy taco seasoning
5 flour tortillas (or use whole wheat or corn tortillas)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup light sour cream (optional)


In a bowl, add the dark red kidney beans (you can replace it with black beans or refried beans) and slightly mash it. Add the taco seasoning and mix well. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Heat a skillet and slightly warm each tortilla before rolling it with filling. In an 8ʺ x 11ʺ baking dish, add a thin layer of enchilada sauce and assemble each tortilla as follows:

Lay the tortilla on a plate, layer it with dark red kidney beans, 1 tbsp each of broccoli, corn, green bell pepper, red cabbage and tomato. Add hot taco sauce and roll around the filling. Place the tortillas in the baking dish with the rolled ends on the bottom.  Repeat the procedure for each of the tortillas.

Pour the enchilada sauce over the tortillas until they are covered completely. Top the tortillas with the remaining chopped tomatoes, spring onions, cilantro and cheese.

Bake for 25-30 mins until the cheese is melted and the sauce starts to bubble up. Allow it to cool for 2-3 mins. Serve enchiladas with a dollop of sour cream on top (optional).

Makes 5 servings.