Soups & Salads

Minestrone Soup

As the temperature drops down, our bodies instantly crave for warm, filling things to savor.  Soups come in very handy during this season as they are not only easy to make but also quite nourishing for our bodies.

One of the most famous Italian soups, the Minestrone is a thick soup made with lots of vegetables that can easily replace a meal in your diet.  I hope this soup recipe makes you feel all the warmth I am sending your way for the New Year.

Servings 4 persons
Course Soups & Salads
Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients for the Minestrone Soup

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

1 – 2 Nos. Bay leaves
3 tbsp Olive oil
½ cup Onion chopped
2 – 3 tbsp Garlic minced
½ cup Celery chopped
¼th  cup Carrots, chopped
½ cup Zucchini chopped
¼th  cup Potatoes chopped
3 cups Tomatoes, chopped
1 cup Macaroni
1 cup Boiled rajma (kidney beans)
A few Basil leaves
1 tsp Dried oregano
1 – 1½ liters Veg stock
2 tbsp Maggi hot n sweet sauce (optional)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Tabasco to taste
½ cup Fresh parmesan cheese grated for garnish

Instructions for the Minestrone Soup

1. Heat Olive Oil in a crockpot or thick bottom pan.  Add bay leaf. Sauté the onions, garlic, and celery.   Add in the zucchini. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add in the zucchini, carrots, and potatoes.  Sauté for a few minutes.
3. Add in the tomatoes.  Sauté for 2 minutes.
4. Add in the stock and oregano, and bring to a boil.  Simmer on a low flame for 5 – 7 minutes.
5. Add in the boiled beans and uncooked macaroni. Boil until the soup gets a little body and the pasta is cooked.
6. Add in the basil leaves in the end.  Season soup with salt, pepper, tabasco and the Maggi hot & sweet sauce.
7. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese and serve.

Notes:

  • The vegetables should be cut to the same size so they cook at the same time.
  • Do not overcook any vegetables. It should retain their crunch.

 

Drinks

Hot Chocolate

It’s the season for hot chocolate! And there is no better excuse, than the holiday season to indulge in a cuppa!

When it comes to hot chocolate, everyone likes it a certain way.  I like mine slightly darker, and with a balanced sweetness.

How do you like yours?  With a hint of cinnamon or with a dash of pepper?  Share your versions with me in the comments.

Servings 2 persons
Course Drink
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes

Ingredients for Hot Chocolate

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

2 cups Milk
2 – 3 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp Vanilla extract
½ cup Dark chocolate callets (preferably callebaut)
Whipped cream for garnish

Instructions for the Hot Chocolate

1. Heat milk in a saucepan.  Ad in sugar, cocoa powder, whisk well. Let sugar dissolve completely.
2. Once it comes to a boil, add in the chocolate callets and mix well. Let the mixture thicken.
3. Once it’s dissolved completely, add in vanilla essence and serve the mixture in mugs. Garnish with whipped cream.

 

Snacks

Matra Chaat

My take on an all-time classic Indian street food dish, which is equally good for breakfast or as a tea-time snack, this oil-free and minimally spiced Matra chaat recipe is nourishing and wholesome.  Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Servings 4 – 6 persons
Course Snacks
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 – 20 minutes

Ingredients for the Matra Chaat

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

1 cup Dried watana (white small safed matar)
½ tsp Soda
2 nos. Boiled potatoes, diced
3 – 4 Nos. Green chilies, chopped finely
2 – 3 Tomatoes, chopped
1 cup Spring onions, finely chopped
¼th  cup Ginger, julienned
1 cup Tamarind chutney
1 – 2 Nos. Lemon juice
½ cup Fresh coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Black salt to taste
1 – 2 tbsp Roasted jeera powder
Chaat masala to taste
Gram masala to taste

Instructions for the Matra Chaat

1. Soak the watana overnight with water.
2. Next day, pressure cook the watana along with soda and salt.  Cook until it is easily mashed by hand.
3. Now in the warm watana, add in all the ingredients mentioned above. Mix well.
4. To serve, put in a bowl – garnish with fresh coriander, jeera powder, and ginger juliennes.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Appetizers

Mexican Sweet Potato

In case you didn’t know this about me – I love making canapes. They are quick to rustle up, and are the perfect start to any party.

With sweet potatoes flooding the markets in the winter, let’s learn how to put a fun twist to them with this Mexican Sweet Potatoes Canapes recipe.

You can even prepare the guacamole and tomato salsa in advance, to save yourself some time on the party day, and use it as condiments with other meals. Win-win!

Servings Two (makes 4 tacos)
Course Appetizer
Preparation Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes

Ingredients for the Mexican Sweet Potato Canapes

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

2 Nos. Sweet Potatoes
¼th  cup Olive Oil for roasting and grilling
Salt to taste

Ingredients for Guacamole Mash

1 large Avocado
1 tsp Garlic
2 tbsp Cream cheese softened (D’electa or Philadelphia)
½ Onion finely chopped
1 tbsp Olive oil

Ingredients for Fresh Tomato Salsa

2 large Red tomatoes, chopped
1 small Onion, chopped
¼th cup Green capsicum, chopped
2 – 3 tbsp Spring onion greens chopped
2 – 3 Green chilies, finely chopped
3 tbsp (canned) green jalapenos, finely chopped
1 tsp Cumin powder
2 tbsp Maggi hot & sweet sauce
¼th cup Finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Black olive for garnish

Instructions for the Sweet Potato

1 Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes.  Apply a little olive oil over the potatoes, cover with foil and roast in an oven @ 160°C for 30-40 minutes, until it softens.
2 Cut into small roundels (about 1” thick)
3 Apply olive oil to a pan and roast the slices until crisp. Season with salt and keep aside.

Instructions for the Guacamole Mash

1 Mash the ripe avocado.  Add in softened cream cheese.  Keep aside.
2 Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until the raw smell disappears.  Season with salt and add it to the guacamole mixture.
3 Fill the mix in a piping bag and keep aside.

Instructions for the Tomato Salsa

1 Mix all ingredients for the salsa.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Instructions for Assembly

1 Take a warm crisp sweet potato base.  Pipe the guacamole mixture (this is @ room temperature).
2 Spoon 1 tsp of the chilled salsa on it.
3 Garnish with a black olive slice and serve immediately.
Soups & Salads

Indian Gooseberry & Raw Mango Salad

Seasonal change can be trying for all of us and we need to look out more for our health and immunity.

Amlas are filled with nutrients; they improve heart health, have anti-ageing benefits and improve your immunity.

Use the beloved Indian gooseberry or amla to make this scrumptious Amla and Raw Mango salad.

The sweetness of amla is beautifully interspersed by the acidity of the winter mangoes and the texture provided by the caramelised walnuts.

Servings 4 persons
Course Salads
Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes

Ingredients for the Winter Seasonal Salad

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

2 cups Arugula and rocket leaves mixed
4 – 5 Nos. Indian gooseberry (Amla)
½ cup Water
¼ cup Sugar
8 – 10 Walnuts
1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Sugar
½ cup Goat cheese, crumbled
½ cup  Raw mango cubed ( totapuri mango )

Ingredients for the Dressing

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

¼th cup Olive Oil
1 – 2 tbsp Sugar syrup (made from amla stew)
1 tbsp Ginger grated or juice of fresh ginger
1 – 2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt
Pepper

Instructions for Salad

1 Take ½ cup water along with ¼ cup sugar in a pan.  Deseed the amla and cut into 2 halves.  Boil the above mixture until amla softens a bit.  Remove and keep in refrigerator to cool for 1 day. Let the amla stew well.
2 Take 1 tbsp butter in a pan.  Toss the walnuts and roast it on low heat.  Add sugar, melt it and coat the walnuts.  Cool the toasted walnuts on a silpat and crush coarsely.  Keep aside.
3 Wash and dry the salad leaves.  Add in the amla (without the sugar syrup) pieces, raw mango, goat cheese and toasted walnuts.  Refrigerate for 1 hour at least.
4 In a bowl, mix the ingredients for the salad dressing.
5 Add the dressing over salad and mix well.  Serve at once.
Notes:
  • You can keep the amla in fridge up to a week.
  • You can also prepare the caramelized walnuts and keep outside in an airtight jar for upto a week.
  • This salad has a good balance of sweetness from the stewed amla (gooseberries); the acidity from raw mango and the crunch from the caramelized walnuts.

 

Mains

Kasundi Paneer Roti Tacos

Desi Tacos for the win

Level up your boring meals with my Kasundi Paneer Phulka Tacos- they’re yummy and super versatile. Desi meals hit home, especially some paneer ki sabzi and roti.

However, the way you eat your food can significantly elevate the experience. My Mexican spin on a dish does just that- the flavours are desi, innovative and exciting all at once.

These spicy and indulgent tacos are perfect for upcoming winter bonfire nights with your friends and family. While I have used paneer, you can use a filling of your liking. The phulkas make this dish light and just right- you’re never overstuffed.

I highly urge you to try this recipe soon as it’s truly something else and mere words fail to express the pleasure a single bite delivers.

 

Servings Two (makes 4 tacos)
Course Main
Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15-20 minutes

Ingredients for Kasundi Paste

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

1 tbsp Yellow Mustard
½ tbsp. Black mustard
½ tsp Grated ginger
1 Green chili
½ tsp Turmeric powder
½ tsp Coriander powder
½ tsp Red chili powder
1/4th cup Water
Salt to taste

Ingredients for Paneer

2-3 tbsp Anantya Mustard oil.
100 gms Paneer cubed
1 tsp Jeera (cumin seeds)
2-3 tbsp Hung curd
Salt to taste

Ingredients for Roti Tacos

4 Nos. Small wheat rotis
½ cup Cabbage thinly sliced
1/4th cup Green capsicum thinly sliced
½ cup Pickled red onions (onions marinated overnight in vinegar & beetroot)
1 No. Lemon juice
¼ th cup Coriander-mint-yogurt chutney
Coriander leaves for garnish

Instructions for Kasundi Paste

1 Blend all ingredients for the Kasundi paste.  The paste should be smooth.

Instructions for Paneer

1 Heat the mustard oil in a pan.  Sauté the cumin seeds.  Add in the Kasundi paste and sauté 1-2 minutes.  Add in the hung curd and mix.
2 Add in cottage cheese (paneer) and salt to taste.
3 Cook until the edges of the paneer turn brown (can do this part on a pan too).  Keep aside for further use.

Instructions for Assembly

1 Make coleslaw with cabbage capsicum and lemon juice.  Chill for 10-12 minutes.
2 Take a roti.  Add the coleslaw.
3 Add paneer.  Top with pickled red onions.
4 Add 1-2 tsp of mint-coriander yogurt chutney on top. Garnish with coriander and serve  immediately.
Mains

Sesame Peanut Butter Noodles

Delight your tastebuds with these nutty and savoury noodles that are truly comforting.

Winters are calling, and with that, the cravings for all things hot hit the roof. Nothing does it better than my soul-warming Sesame Peanut Butter Noodles.

Delicious with a kick of umami flavours, these noodles are apt for any occasion- weeknight dinners, lazy Sunday lunches, or evening snacks for your kids. The ingredients are straightforward and easily available in your pantry.

Peanut butter and sesame oil add richness to the sauce while ensuring the glaze sits well on the noodles. I’ve only added red capsicum to my recipe but you can add more veggies to the mix suited to your taste. These delicious noodles have my kids’ hearts and mine too.

Servings 2 persons
Course Main Course
Preparation Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes

Ingredients for the Sesame Peanut Butter Noodles

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

¼ cup Peanut Butter
4 – 5 tbsp Light soy sauce (Kikkoman)
2 – 3 tbsp (Anantya) Cold pressed sesame oil
1 tbsp Brown sugar
1 – 2 tbsp Chili paste (sambal oelek or sriracha)
1 – 2 tbsp Garlic minced
1 tbsp Ginger grated
½ cup Green onions finely chopped
¼th Red capsicum thinly sliced
Salt to taste
Vinegar to taste
2 – 3 tbsp Toasted sesame seeds
1½ cups Boiled noodles (flat Thai rice noodles)
½ cup water

Instructions for the Sesame Peanut Butter Noodles

1. Heat sesame oil in a pan. Sauté ginger and garlic on high heat.
2. Sauté the red capsicum for 2 minutes. Let the crunch remain.
3. Add in peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, chili paste and water.   Cook for 1 – 2 minutes.
4. Add in the boiled noodles.  Season and add salt (usually the soya and peanut butter contains salt).  Add in the vinegar and scallions.  Mix well. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.
Notes:
  1. You can increase or decrease the spice (sriracha or sambal oelek) as per your taste.
  2. You can substitute sugar with honey.
Appetizers

Cream Cheese Boards

Boards are here to add an unmatched finesse to your hosting game.  While butter boards were doomed to fail, Tik Tokers saw the true potential of cream cheese boards.  I couldn’t help but jump on the bandwagon to create my version for you.

This recipe is extremely simple- all you need to do is spread some cream cheese over your board and top it off with seasonings, onion seeds (kallonji), sun dried pesto and roasted garlic.  I took a more classic route for mine and dressed my board up with garlic oil, edible flowers, and basil.  Here’s why- basil and garlic oil work wonderfully well with the rich flavor of cream cheese.  The edible flowers take the board’s aesthetic to another level.

The recipe is apt for effortless prep before your gatherings- it’s quick, gorgeous, and innovative.  Additionally, cream cheese is high in protein, making it a healthier alternative than other dips.  You can serve it with crackers, lavash, breadsticks, or even kebabs- the possibilities are endless.

Hope you enjoy my take on this viral recipe!

Ingredients for the Cream cheese board

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

2 cups Cream cheese ( I used Philadelphia )
1-2 tsp Sundried pesto
1-3 tbsp Chili garlic infused olive oi
 1 no Zest of lemon
A handful of basil leaves
1 tbsp Kalonji seeds
8-10 cloves Roasted garlic
Edible flowers for garnish
Sea salt as per taste
Crackers toasted baguette to serve

Instructions for Cream cheese board:

1. Get the cheese to room temperature.
2. Spread on a board . Dot with roasted garlic, sundried tomato pesto , basil leaves , chili oil.
3. Garnish with lemon zest , kalonji seeds , sea salt flakes and edible flowers.
4. Chill for an hour and serve with crackers and baguette slices.

 

Desserts

Healthy Coconut Oil Chocolate Barks

Do you find it difficult to resist chocolate?  Not anymore, as my Healthy Coconut Oil Chocolate Barks are here to satiate all your cravings guilt-free.

Chocolate gets a bad rep due to its high sugar content.  However, cocoa, the base ingredient is packed with antioxidants that boost heart and brain health.  Hence, I created this healthier version for you!  I used maple syrup for this recipe instead of sugar as maple syrup has a lower glycaemic index than sugar and offers several health benefits.

These barks are super easy to make and perfect for those short on time.

My barks are similar to any energy bar that your kids can eat before their sports classes.  I’ve topped mine with walnuts, cranberries, and almonds but you can customise yours to your liking.

Servings 4 persons
Course Dessert
Preparation Time 30 minutes
Cook Time

Ingredients for the Healthy Coconut Oil Chocolate Barks

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

¼th cup Toasted almonds
¼th cup Toasted walnuts
¼th cup Toasted dried coconut flakes
A handful Of cranberries
½ cup Anantya cold pressed coconut oil
½ cup Cocoa powder, sieved
¼th cup Maple syrup
1 tbsp Almond butter
A pinch Sea salt

Instructions for Healthy Coconut Oil Chocolate Barks:

1. Heat the oil. Whisk in the cocoa powder.  Add in maple syrup, almond butter and sea salt.  Mix really well.
2. Coarsely chop the almonds and walnuts.
3. Add in half of almonds and walnuts to the oil-cocoa mixture.
4. Spread the mixture on a parchment paper with a spatula until its about ¼ – ½ inch thick.  Sprinkle the remaining nuts on top.  Garnish it with cranberries and toasted dried coconut flakes.
5. Freeze it for about 15 – 20 minutes until frozen solid.  Once frozen, break into barks. Keep it in freezer only.  I don’t recommend leaving it out on the counter long as it melts fast.

 

Desserts

Salted Caramel Apple Galette

Host your friends and family in style this Diwali with a dessert that looks this good!

My Salted Caramel Apple Galetter recipe is quite simple, even though it looks quite sophisticated.  I’ve used apples in the spirit of autumn but you can also substitute them for pears and blueberries.

This decadent dessert is irresistible- the crust, salted caramel and tender apples all come together to create an explosion of flavours.  The fact that it looks so good only makes it better especially when you’re hosting a Diwali feast for your friends and family.

Servings Makes 1 galette
Course Dessert
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes

Ingredients for the Salted Caramel Apple Galette

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

1½ cups All purpose flour, sieved.
¼ cup Castor sugar
¼ tsp Salt
100 gms Cold unsalted butter (cubed)
3 – 4 tbsp Ice cold water

Ingredients for the Apple Filling

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

2 large Apples, peeled and sliced into ½” slices
¼ cup Brown sugar
1½ tbsp All-purpose flour
½ no. Lemon juice (Indian sized)
1 tsp Cinnamon powder
A pinch of Nut meg powder
4 – 5 nos. Walnuts chopped
3 – 4 tbsp Milk
½ tsp Castor sugar

Ingredients to Serve

(1 cup=200 ml, 1 tbsp=15 ml)

¼th cup Salted caramel sauce
Vanilla ice cream

Instructions for the Crust

1. Whisk the flour, sugar, salt in a bowl.  Add in the chilled butter and mix with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse, pea-sized crumbs.  Add in water and mix. Gently knead the dough a few times on a floured surface until it comes together.  Shape the dough into a ball and flatten it into a disk. Clin wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Instructions for the Filling

1. As the dough chills, mix the apples, lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover and keep aside.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12” circle.  Transfer the dough to the parchment sheet.
3. Arrange the apple filling (not the juice it leaves) into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-3 inch border all around.  Gently fold the dough over the apple filling, overlapping the dough as shown.  Press gently to seal the edges.  Sprinkle walnuts over the filling.
4. Prepare a milk wash with milk and sugar.  Brush the crust edges with the milk wash (only crust not filling).
5. Bake in a preheated oven until the crust is golden brown (approx.. 30 min). allow it to cool outside for 10 minutes before slicing.
6. Drizzle salted caramel sauce over the galette.  Leave some aside to drizzle over ice cream.
6. Serve galette warm with ice-cream and sauce.

Notes:

  1. The crust dough can be made and kept in fridge for upto 3 days.
  2. You can give egg wash instead of milk wash.