Monday, 18 September 2017

Potol Posto...seasons don't matter!

Potol Posto (Parwal with Khus Khus / Pointed Gourd with Poppy Seed Paste)it’s officially autumn, so what am I doing cooking a summer vegetable in a typical summer prepseasons don’t matter when you are away from home and cravings strikeseasons also don’t matter when your weekly visits to the Indian Food market reduce to monthly visits and then dwindle down to quarterly, you grab what you see, pack 10 bags full of grocery and come back home skipping because you just found goldseasons especially don’t matter when someone tells you that Indian food needs a million ingredients to taste nice...well, then you just have to prove them wrong, don’t you?😊
(The next few recipes on the blog will be simple Indian food recipes using 5 ingredients or less – typical home cooking and not what you see in restaurants or curry housesso stick around!)



Bengali Parwal recipe mmskitchenbites




Potol Posto (Parwal with Khus Khus / Pointed Gourd with Poppy Seed Paste)

Ingredients:

  • Potol/Parwal/Pointed gourd, 8- 10 pieces
  • Posto/Khus Khus/ White Poppy seeds, ¼ cup
  • Green chillies, 3-4
  • Kalo Jeera/Kalonji/Nigella seeds, ½ tsp
  • Onion, finely sliced, 1 medium size *refer to notes
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 2 tbsp (preferably Mustard Oil, or else any white oil of your choice- Peanut/Sunflower/RiceBran/Vegetable/Canola/Rapeseed Oil) 


Optional Ingredients:*refer to notes
  • Turmeric powder, ¼ tsp + 1/8 tsp
  • Red chili powder, ½ tsp for heat or Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder, ½ tsp for colour
  • Sugar, ½ tsp or to taste



Instructions:

If you have a wet grinder: Soak posto in ½ cup of hot water for half an hour. Grind into a nice white paste with 1 green chilli and some salt.
OR
If you have a dry spice grinder: Dry grind the posto and then mix with water to make a thick wet paste.

Wash and pat dry the potols. Scrape the skin off, cut off the ends and peel off the skin in alternate strips.


Potol or Parwal mmskitchenbites


Now you can either slice the potols lengthways into 2 or 4 slices each or simply make long slits on both ends.

Toss them with a little salt and ¼ tsp turmeric powder, if using and keep aside 

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and on medium high heat, fry the potols until lightly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

In the same pan, add the balance 1 tbsp oil. When the oil is hot, add nigella seeds and let them splutter.

Add in the sliced onions and 2-3 green chillies slit through. Sauté till the onions change colour to light brown.

Add salt and the remaining turmeric powder, chilli powder & kashmiri chilli powder, if using. Stir to mix well.

Reduce the heat and add the posto paste. Sauté and stir well for 3– 4 minutes till raw smell of posto goes.

Add the fried potols and stir gently to mix with onion and posto paste.  

Add half a cup of warm water and sugar, if using.

Cover and cook till the potols are fully cooked and almost all the water has dried up. The gravy should coat the potols nicely and should not be runny.

Serve with plain riceheaven!! 




Notes:

  • Remember, salt is added in three stages – first while making posto paste, then while frying potols and then finally with the onions. Adjust quantity needed accordingly.
  • I like the texture onion gives to the gravy, you can skip if you want. 
  • In my husband’s family, turmeric is usually never used with posto (it interferes with the flavour). If you want to use turmeric to get some colour, I have specified when to add should you choose to use it. 
  • The green chillies used in the posto paste and then with the onions mean there is normally no need to add red chilli powder for heat. I have specified above when to add in, in case you choose to.
  • We don’t add Kashmiri Red Chilli powder to keep the posto gravy colour. I have specified above when to add in, if you want to add it for colour.
  • Normally a little sugar is almost always added to posto dishes. I prefer to skip. 

Monday, 11 September 2017

Lemon Butter Pasta with Artichoke...eyes, hearts and habits!

Lemon Butter Pasta with Artichokeevery time I promise myself that I will cut down on carbs, something pulls me ina picture here, an ingredient thereand off I go reaching for rice, bread or pasta (or all three together!!)I call it the “Greedy Eyes” syndromethis time it was the artichokesthey were not on my shopping list – far from it, they were not even on my mind zonebut once I saw these, I convinced myself that I will buy these for a nice Mediterranean saladoh boy, was I fooling myself...by the time I reached home, the only thing on my mind was a buttery lemony pasta with these hearts for my heart...old habits die hard!! 😊




Lemon Butter Pasta with Artichoke


Ingredients:

  • Pasta of your choice, 450gms
  • Artichoke Hearts, marinated in oil*, 250gms ( *I used fresh grilled artichokes bought from Waitrose, if using jarred/canned- ensure you use the ones marinated in oil and not in brine)
  • Shallot, finely chopped/minced, 1 small to medium
  • Garlic, peeled and minced/crushed, 2
  • Parsley leaves, finely chopped, 2 tbsp
  • Thyme leaves, finely chopped, ½ tbsp
  • Lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • Lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • Stock of your choice, ½ cup (or just use pasta water)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Chilli flakes, to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 tbsp (if using jarred/canned artichokes, use the oil from the jar)
  • Butter, 2-3 tbsp
  • Parmesan, shavings, to serve



Instructions:


Bring a large pan of heavily salted water to the boil.  Cook the pasta according to package instructions or until al dente (reserve about a cup of pasta water for sauce)

(** Please don’t wait for pasta to cook before starting on the sauce. Start the sauce when you put the water to boil**)

Meanwhile, heat a large fry pan/skillet over medium high heat and add extra virgin olive oil.

Add the shallots, garlic and chilli flakes to the pan. Sauté together for a couple of minutes till the shallots soften.

Add the artichokes, lemon zest and thyme. Toss through and sauté for about 5 minutes to let the artichokes colour a little.

Stir in half of the parsley.

Lower the heat; add the butter, lemon juice and ½ cup of the stock/pasta water to the pan.

Season with salt and pepper and let the sauce simmer on low heat till the pasta is ready.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss it in the pan with the sauce and remaining parsley.

If the pasta seems too dry, add the reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time, to loosen it a bit.

Add additional salt, pepper, and lemon to taste, if desired.


Finish with some Parmesan and/or parsley to serve.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Easy Almond Cake...Sweet beginnings!!

Almond Cakeall new beginnings need to start with something sweetnew beginnings or fresh starts after long never ending breaks 😊 I had seen this recipe on Spicespoon’s Instagram account a while back and it has since then become a regular in our homea no fuss, easy and absolutely fabulous recipe right up my alleyand hopefully yours too😊 



Easy Almond Cake mmskitchenbites

Easy Almond Cake


Ingredients:


Dry Ingredients:

  • Blanched Almond Flour (U.S)/ Ground Almonds (U.K.) , 150gms  (both use blanched and skinned almonds, please don’t use Almond meal as  that is much coarser and almonds are not skinned)
  • Regular All purpose Flour, 50gms
  • Baking Powder, 1 tsp
  • Salt, 1/8 tsp
  • Orange Zest, 1 tbsp (optional)


Wet Ingredients:

  • Unsalted Butter, at room temperature, 110gms
  • Sugar, 175gms (I switch between Caster Sugar and Demerara Sugar depending on what I have on hand, have used both with good results)
  • Eggs, 2
  • Buttermilk, 3 tbsp (based on the quantity needed, if you don’t have buttermilk on hand just used thinned out yoghurt or sour cream)
  • Vanilla Extract, 1 tsp


Topping:

  • Flaked Almonds, a handful 


To serve: (optional)

  • Icing Sugar



Instructions:


Grease and line a 20cm/8 inch round cake tin.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Sift the ground almonds, regular flour, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl. Stir in the orange zest, if using. Keep aside.

Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl; once fluffy, add eggs to the mix, one by one.  Mix with a spatula until smooth

Add in the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.

Fold in the dry ingredients gently without over mixing.

Spoon and the mixture into prepared tin and top up with flaked almonds in a ring shape.

Bake at 180C for 35-45 minutes till a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Let rest for 5 minutes before digging in!


Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Almond Orange Cake mmskitchenbites

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Asparagus Pasta...five to ten, give me more!

Asparagus Pastaor Spring Pasta...a quick weeknight meal recipe when Amazon Prime or rather my new love Viking Ragnar Lothbrok awaitsquick, easy, pasta, bacon, greens, cheese – what’s not to love? The pasta, not Ragnar J that one I feel a little guilty of falling in love with but the character combined with Travis Fimmel’s smile gets me every single timeI cook the asparagus tips with pasta if using Fine Slender spears...and in the pan to slightly char/brown/caramelise if using the Regular/Giant/Jubilee spearsthe recipe is adapted from Gimme Some Oven’s 5ingredient Bacon Asparagus Pasta and Serious Eat’s  Lemony pasta withAsparagus and Bacongo with either the 5 ingredients or the 10 ingredient list or 6 or 7 or  8 or 9you will end all singing:
“This will never end 'cause I want more
More, give me more
Give me more”


P.S.: the last bit is Fever Ray’s theme for Vikingsjust in case you thought I’ve totally lost it



Bacon Asparagus Lemon Spring Pasta mmskitchenbites





Asparagus Pasta with Crispy Bacon and Lemon


Ingredients:

  • Pasta, 250gms (Tagliatelle, Linguine, Spaghetti – any noodle shaped pasta would work)
  • Bacon or Pancetta, sliced into strips, 250gms
  • Asparagus, 250gms (refer to notes)
  • Wine, ½ cup (or chicken stock or just use pasta water)
  • Fresh Red Chilli, seeds and membrane removed, finely chopped, 1 (optional)
  • Spring Onions/ Scallions, whites and green separated and finely chopped, 2-3 (optional)
  • Lemon juice, 1 tsp and Lemon zest, ½ tsp (optional)
  • Butter, 1 tbsp (optional)
  • Parmesan Cheese, finely grated, ¼ cup /25gms
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste



Instructions:


Snap and discard the woody bottoms of the asparagus stalks

Cut off about 2 to 3 inches of the asparagus tops and keep aside. Chop the rest of the spears into about ¼ inch pieces.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling generously salted water al dente according to package instructions. Add the asparagus tips for the last two minutes of the cooking time. (2 minutes for thick/regular asparagus, 1 minute for fine asparagus) Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking water.

 Meanwhile, add bacon to a large saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add chopped asparagus bits to the same pan and cook in the bacon fat, tossing and stirring frequently for about 2 minutes until lightly browned. Add spring onion whites and half of the chopped chillies, cook, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Remove everything with a slotted spoon and set aside with the bacon.

Lower the heat and add the white wine (or pasta water) to the pan to deglaze and scrape off the browned bits. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced by half. Take the pan off the heat.

**your pasta would be cooked and ready to be drained about now**

Add the pasta with asparagus tips, previously cooked bacon and asparagus stalks, lemon juice, lemon zest, remaining chopped red chilli, spring onions greens, pepper and butter to the pan.  Toss together until butter melts.
Stir in most of the grated cheese and extra pasta water, stirring until desired consistency is reached.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Sprinkle pasta with remaining cheese and serve immediately.

Notes:


  • I normally cook the asparagus tips with pasta if using Fine Slender spears...and in the pan to slightly char/brown/caramelise if using the Regular/Giant/Jubilee spears – toss the tips in the pan along with the chopped spears.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Potato Salad with Avocado dressing (and Wild Garlic)...go wild!

Potato Salad with Avocado dressing (and Wild Garlic)have you ever gone foraging for food? I have always wanted to but never know where to go and whom to go within our first year here in London I had even convinced myself that the bush in the garden with pretty white flowers was an Elderflower bush and was all set to make cordial out of it, but thanks to a friend stopped short or else this blog would be run by a ghostwriter by now!! J Thanks to the farmers’ markets and veg box deliveries I have now been able to enjoy a couple of the so called foraged foods that I had heard so much aboutWild Garlic or Ramps or Ramsons being one of themthis salad now usually gets made after we have had our fill of the mandatory Wild Garlic Pesto and Prawns with Wild Garlicand then gets made throughout the year even without the wild garlic...


P.S.  If based in West London, check out the Putney Food Assembly for Wild garlic and other produce from Local producersFood Assembly is also coming to Hammersmith Area at the end of this monthI am soooo excited! (for a Food Assembly near you in London or UK or France, Italy, Belgium and other countries – check out this link)   



Potato Salad with Wild Garlic Avocado dressing mmskitchenbites




Potato Salad with Avocado dressing (and Wild Garlic)


Ingredients:

  • Potatoes, cubed,  500gms
  • Olive Oil, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Wild Garlic, a large handful or finely chopped spring onions/scallions or finely chopped chives



Dressing

  • Avocado, 1 medium size
  • Rice Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar or Lime or Lemon juice, 2 tsp (listed in order of preference, go with what you like or is available)
  • Whole grain Mustard or Dijon Mustard or English Mustard, ½ tsp (listed in order of preference, go with what you like or is available)
  • Garlic, 1 clove or Wild garlic leaves, chopped, around 2 tbsp
  • Green chilli, finely chopped, 1 (optional, remove seeds if you want)
  • Olive Oil, 1tbsp – 2 tbsp *refer to notes
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Water, about 2 tbsp *refer to notes




Instructions:


You can boil the potatoes in salted water until tender or roast them. We prefer roasting them.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss potatoes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast in oven for 20 minutes, then toss and roast for another 15 minutes or until crispy and golden. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining the peeled, de-stoned and chopped avocado, vinegar, mustard, garlic (or wild garlic), green chilli, salt and pepper in the bowl of a mini food processor.

Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times.  

Check consistency and adjust by adding water and giving it another wizz in the food processor – I like to keep the consistency of this dressing thick and creamy like mayonnaise and normally with 1 tbsp oil, about 2 tbsp water works well.

Toss cooled potatoes in the avocado dressing. Stir in or top with chopped wild garlic, spring onion greens or chives.

Dig in!


Potato Salad with Wild Garlic Avocado dressing mmskitchenbites


Notes:  

  • You can of course go totally oil free in the dressing and just use water (or even yogurt) but adding at least 1 tbsp oil makes it taste a little more like mayo! J
  • A picture of the pretty wild garlic leaves
Wild garlic Ramps Ramsons mmskitchenbites










Friday, 31 March 2017

Super Moist Carrot Cake....shhhh, secret orange fibre!

Carrot Cakethere, I removed the word “moist” for those allergic to it!! Personally, I have no major issues with the word  I find the use of “lush” and “scrumptious” more annoying J So tell me, are you one of those who likes Carrot Cake because of the icing or because you think it's healthier? Me, I hate icing, frosting or glaze of any sort on homemade cakes (which reminds me, “naked cake” or “nude cake” are again words I find extremely annoying and noooo I am not a prudeat least I think I am not!)as for healthier, well, all that sugar certainly isn’t good for you, but if a cake is what you crave for, all that fibre certainly is good for you and the no icing bit sure does help! I have been using this cake recipe for quite a while nowa Rachel Allen recipe so of course it has to be perfectbut seriously it was the least complicated and fuss free recipe I found and I stick to those like my life depends on itas for the facebook post on the secret ingredient...the secret ingredient got added in last year when I was short on carrots and all prep was done before I realizedthe solution was simple, I could either not make it (my first instinct always leads me away from doing anything!) or use something similar to make up for the bulkand bingo! there it was right in front of my eyes…Sweet Potatoes!!...and ever since, the Super Moist Carrot Cake has been converted into Super Moist Carrot and Sweet Potato Cakethe only thing you have to remember, is to use the fine grater attachment to ensure that the carrots (and sweet potatoes, if using) blend in and it is easier to cut the cake cleanly laterI didn’t this time, to ensure the grated sweet potato shows up in the pictureand before I forget, adding raisins and walnuts is totally up to youI don’t add either as it makes the cake taste like Christmas cake and to me personally, the clutter free cake (just like my life now) tastes much better J

Carrot and Sweet Potato cake mmskitchenbites




Carrot Cake (Carrot and Sweet Potato Cake)


Ingredients:

  • Self Raising flour, 180gms (you can substitute with 170gms Regular All Purpose Flour + 10gms of Baking Powder)
  • Salt, ¼ tsp (Self raising flour in the UK unlike the US doesn’t have salt added to it. Skip the salt here, if you are using US self raising flour)
  • Baking Soda/Soda Bicarbonate, ½ tsp
  • Vanilla Extract, 1 tsp (RA doesn’t, I do)
  • Ground Cinnamon, 1 tsp (or if allergic to cinnamon smell or taste or the idea of using spices in a cake, skip both cinnamon and nutmeg and just increase vanilla extract to 1 tbsb)
  • Grated Nutmeg, ½ tsp (I have stopped using this one)
  • Eggs, 2 large
  • Flavourless Vegetable Oil, 150ml
  • Soft Brown Sugar, 200gms (or dark brown sugar or demerara sugar or regular old white sugar….I almost always use Demerara sugar as that is our normal sugar in the house for tea, coffee etc and I hate buying specific ingredients for a single recipe unless I absolutely have to. Back home in India I used to make this with plain white sugar most of the time and the cake is absolutely fine using it)
  • Carrots, peeled and grated and then weighed, 300gms (when using sweet potatoes – I use 150-200gms of carrots and make up the balance with grated sweet potatoes, ensure both are freshly grated)
  • Orange zest from 1 orange (optional)
  • Walnuts or Pecans, roughly chopped/crushed, 75gms (optional)
  • Raisins, 100gms (optional)



Instructions:


Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Oil and line the 5X9 inch loaf tin or an 8 inch round tin with grease proof paper. (Rachel Allen’s recipe specifies using a loaf tin, but I use a round tin as it makes it look more like a cake and not bread)

In a bowl, sift and whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, brown sugar and vanilla extract.

Stir grated carrots, sweet potatoes and orange zest into the wet ingredients until evenly coated. If you are using nuts and/or raisins, stir them in at this time as well.

Fold in the dry ingredients into wet just until no floury bits remain.

Pour the batter into prepared pan, smooth the surface and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out batter-free.

Let cool in the pan for 20 to 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.

The cake keeps at room temperature for a few days, and longer in the fridge. It’s even “moister” on the second day.


Rachel Allen Carrot Cake mmskitchenbites

Monday, 27 March 2017

Crispy Salt and Pepper Lotus Stems (Chinese style or Indian style)...no running!

Crispy Salt and Pepper Lotus Stems (Chinese style or Indian styledo you ever run out of words? I do, all the timebut, I never ever run out of food, do you? J


Crispy Chinese or  Indian Lotus Stems mmskitchenbites









Crispy Salt and Pepper Lotus Stems (Chinese style or Indian style)


Ingredients:

  • Lotus Stems, washed & peeled, cut into 1/8 inch thin slices, 300 gms
  • Cornflour/ Corn Starch or Rice Flour, to dust, 1-2 tbsp
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Oil, for deep frying


For the sauce:

(specifying measurements to give an idea of proportion, adjust to taste and/or qty needed accordingly)

Option A - Chinese Style

  • Garlic, 2-3 cloves, finely chopped,
  • Fresh Green Chillies, finely chopped,1-2 (remove seeds if you want)
  • Spring Onions/Scallions, white and green portion separated and finely chopped, 2-3
  • Dark Soy Sauce, ½ tsp
  • Vinegar, 1 tsp
  • Chinese 5 Spice powder, ¼  tsp
  • Oil, 1 tbsp


Option B- Indian Style

  • Mustard Seeds, ½ tsp
  • Curry leaves, 7-8
  • Garlic, 2-3 cloves, finely chopped,
  • Shallots, finely chopped, 1-2
  • Fresh Green Chillies, finely chopped,1-2 (remove seeds if you want)
  • Vinegar, 1 tsp
  • Oil, 1 tbsp



Instructions:

Heat sufficient oil in a kadhai/wok/pan to deep fry.

Dust the lotus stem slices with cornflour, salt and pepper.

Deep-fry in hot oil in batches till golden and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper and keep aside.


Option A- Chinese Style

Heat 1 tbsp oil in the wok/pan over a high heat.

Add garlic, green chillies and finely chopped white portion of the spring onions to the wok and fry for a couple of minutes till garlic starts to go crisp golden.

Lower the heat and add soy sauce, vinegar, Chinese 5 spice powder and finely chopped green portion of the spring onions. Stir together for about 15 seconds.

Add the fried lotus stems and toss everything together gently.

Switch off the heat and done!



Option A- Indian Style

Heat 1 tbsp oil in the wok/pan over a high heat.

Add mustard seeds to the wok.

Once the mustard seeds start spluttering, add in the curry leaves, garlic, green chillies, and finely chopped shallots to the wok.

Fry for a couple of minutes till garlic starts to go crisp golden and shallots take on some colour.

Add vinegar and fried lotus stems and toss everything together gently.

Switch off the heat and done!


Notes:

  • ALWAYSand I can’t insist enoughALWAYS fry double the quantity of what you think you would need for the final dish. These things are magical (and super addictive)they magically start disappearing right after deep frying!

  • If knife skills are an issue- slice them a little thicker- closer to ¼ inch thick and blanch in hot water for a 3-4 minutes, strain, pat dry and then dust with cornflour before deep frying.

  • Lotus stems discolour after chopping very quickly. Chop as close to frying time as possible. You can also chop them and soak them in cold water and vinegar solution to avoid the discolouration. Pat dry thoroughly before dusting with cornflour.

Crispy Stir Fried Renkon recipe mmskitchenbites


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Easy Sausage and Bean Casserole...Spring is here!!

Easy Sausage and Bean Casserole...it is officially Spring...the Sun has started showing up at least once a weekBlossom trees and Magnolias are everywhere (seen my Instagram?)the days are warming upbut the nights are still chilly enough around my neck of the woods and perfect for this no fuss hearty mealactually, to be honest except for probably thirty days in a year Casseroles always seem like a good idea here! J
 



Easy Sausage Casserole mmskitchenbites





Easy Sausage and Bean Casserole


Ingredients:

  • Good Quality Pork Sausages, any kind you like, 6-8
  • Rindless Streaky Bacon, 4-6 rashers
  • Onion, finely sliced, 1 large
  • Garlic, finely chopped, 2-3 cloves
  • Potato, peeled and quartered, 1 large
  • Carrots, peeled and each carrot cut into 4-5 even pieces, 2
  • Chopped Tomatoes, 1 X 400 gm can
  • Chicken Stock, 400 ml
  • Butter beans, 1 X 400 gm can (*refer to notes)
  • Kidney beans in Chilli Sauce, 1 x 400 gm can (*refer to notes)
  • Fresh Rosemary or Fresh Thyme, 2-3 sprigs
  • Smoked Paprika, 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder or Chilli Flakes, ½ tsp (optional)
  • Bayleaves, 1-2
  • Worcestershire Sauce, 1 tbsp (optional)
  • Brown Sugar, 1 tsp (you can skip if you want but it helps to cut down on acidity from the tomatoes)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Oil, 1 tbsp



Instructions:


Prick the sausages all over with a fork so that they don’t split open as they cook.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed casserole and fry the sausages for about 10 minutes, turning often, until nicely browned all over. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside.

Add the chopped bacon pieces to the casserole and fry till they begin to brown and crisp. Remove and add to the sausages.

Add the chopped onion to the casserole (there should be enough oil in the casserole from the sausages and bacon) and cook over a low heat for 5-10 minutes, until the onions soften.

Add the garlic and fresh rosemary/thyme sprigs and cook for a couple of more minutes until the onions start turning golden brown at the edges.

Add the smoked paprika, chilli powder, chopped potatoes and carrots and stir everything well so that the vegetables are well coated with the oil.

Stir in the tomatoes, stock, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and the bay leaves and bring to a simmer.

Return the sausages and bacon to the casserole.

Cover the casserole and continue to cook on low heat on the stove till the potatoes are cooked through or move to a preheated 180C oven for around 40 minutes or so till the potatoes are cooked through. ( I find the oven easier – I don’t need to check or stir)

Drain the butter beans and rinse them in a sieve under cold running water.

Stir the drained butter beans and kidney beans in chilli sauce into the casserole, and cook uncovered for another 15 minutes or so until the sauce thickens and beans are warmed through.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with rice or crusty bread or just some greens.


Notes:


  • Use any beans of your choice.

  • If using regular canned beans instead of canned beans in Chilli Sauce you would need to additionally add 1 tbsp tomato puree, ½ tsp cumin powder, ¼ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp chilli powder, ½ tsp mixed dried herbs, 100 ml water or stock per can to the casserole (add all this along with canned tomatoes, stock etc)

  • Depending on what you are in the mood for and availability, feel free to play around with any permutations and combinations:

  1. Skip the bacon.
  2. Skip potatoes and carrots and instead serve with mash and greens.
  3. Add chunks of coloured peppers after frying the onions.
  4. Add thinly sliced wedges of fennel bulb.
  5. Sub potatoes with sweet potatoes.
  6. Use only 1 can of beans or completely skip the beans.
  7. Stir in chopped fresh spinach or frozen spinach along with the beans.
  8. Add about 100 ml wine (red or white) after frying the veggies and reduce the stock amount to 300 ml.
  9. Skip Worcestershire Sauce and add a tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar.
  10. Top with herb spiked fresh breadcrumbs and grill for a couple of minutes till breadcrumbs are golden crisp before serving.

Easy Sausage and Veggies Casserole mmskitchenbites


Thursday, 16 March 2017

Honey Chilli Lotus Stems...housekeeping 2017!

Honey Chilli Lotus Stemshousekeeping since this is an old post that needed a better picture and a separate post of its ownthere is absolutely no other reason for me to put that dreaded H word right up there where it can just sit and stare at me and then guilt me into doing some actual work around the house instead of doing what I do bestrelax and breathe!!

Crispy Honey Chilli Lotus Stems mmskitchenbites







Honey Chilli Lotus Stems



Ingredients:

  • Lotus Stems, washed & peeled, cut into 1/8 inch thin slices, 300 gms
  • Cornflour/ Corn Starch, to dust, 1-2 tbsp
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • Spring Onions and/or Roasted Sesame seeds, to garnish


For the sauce: 

(specifying measurements to give an idea of proportion, adjust to taste and/or qty needed accordingly)
  • Garlic, 3 cloves, finely chopped,
  • Honey,1 tbsp
  • Tomato Ketchup, 3 tbsp
  • Dark Soy Sauce, 1 tsp
  • Vinegar. 1 tsp
  • Dried Red Chillies, roughly chopped into 3-4 pieces each, 2-3 (remove seeds if you want)
  • Oil, 1 tbsp


Instructions:


Heat sufficient oil in a kadhai/wok/pan to deep fry. 

Dust the lotus stem slices with cornflour, salt and pepper. 

Deep-fry in hot oil in batches till golden and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper and keep aside.


Heat 1 tbsp oil in the wok/pan over a high heat. 

Add the red chillies and chopped garlic. 

Once the garlic is fragrant, lower the heat. Add honey, ketchup and soy and let the sauces cook for few seconds. 

Add the fried lotus stem to the sauce and toss to coat. 

Sprinkle vinegar, mix and switch off the heat. 

Garnish with spring onions and/or roasted sesame seeds. Serve piping hot!



Notes:


  • ALWAYS…and I can’t insist enough…ALWAYS fry double the quantity of what you think you would need for the final dish. These things are magical (and super addictive)…they magically start disappearing right after deep frying!

  • If knife skills are an issue- slice them a little thicker- closer to ¼ inch thick and blanch in hot water for a 3-4 minutes, strain, pat dry and then dust with cornflour  before deep frying.

  • They discolour after chopping very quickly. Chop as close to frying time as possible. You can also chop them and soak them in cold water and vinegar solution to avoid the discolouration. Pat dry thoroughly before dusting with cornflour.

Asian style Lotus Stems mmskitchenbites