Pasta with eggplant

One of our favourite dinners is pasta & most often, we have it with pesto. We also are fond of adding eggplants or zucchini to it. As you can see from here, here & here, we love eggplants!

pasta

This is a very simple, quick & delicious dinner! Just cook the pasta, toss it with some pesto. Chop eggplant into big pieces. While the water for pasta is boiling, in a pan heat oil & cook eggplant with a little salt (we sometimes skip adding salt as the store-bought pesto has enough). In serving bowls, make a bed with the pesto-pasta. Top it off with cooked eggplant & cheese. Serve!

*Other Variations*

1. Replace eggplants with zucchini.

2. Instead of cooking eggplants in the pan, bake it in the oven at 180 C for 25-30 minutes.

Indian Vegetarian Cooking – 1 Day Course

Last week, I gave my first ever ‘open to public – register – limited spaces only’ type cooking course. Previously, the courses I gave were for groups of people from a certain workplace. In that context, last week’s course was a new-to-me experience. The participants were very enthusiastic to try different & ethnic food. Some of them, even attempted to eat with their right hand! I was so happy with how the day progressed 🙂

The course lasts 4 hours & 30 minutes but the group finished all the tasks – cooking, eating & cleaning in 4 hours!

course menuI chose 2 menus for that day. The participants were divided into 4 groups.

Menu 1:  Papad, Vangibath, Cucumber Raitha, Chickpea salad & Semiya Payasam.

Menu 2: Papad, Jeera Rice, Babycorn-Capsicum Masala, Kachumber salad & Semiya Payasam.

(Sorry, I do not have photos of all the menu items & some photos didn’t turn out well.)

jeera rice

papad

raitha

payasamThe food turned out good, spice level was not too high. The funny thing was one group used 2 & another 4 chillies in their cooking but both had similar spice level! Some chillies from the same batch are extremely hot – just 1 would be enough & some are as mentioned. I wonder how I can figure out the hotness of each chilli!

Stir fried spaghetti

Living by myself, some years ago, I would try to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen on week days. Most dinners featured veg rice, pasta, tortilla (instead of roti/chapati) with curry or stir fried spaghetti. I do not remember how I came to this recipe but I made it quite often, altering the ingredients now & then.

This is one of the quickest & simplest recipes! And totally customisable!

Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Spaghetti
  • Water to boil
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Curry powder (any store brought variety works) – use more if you like!
  • 1 tbsp Oil

How I make:

  • Cook spaghetti per package instructions in a pot of boiling water. Drain & set aside for a minute.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan.
  • Add salt & curry powder in the pan.
  • Transfer the spaghetti in to the pan.
  • Mix everything (oil+salt+curry powder+spaghetti) until well coated.
  • Stir fry on high for 4 minutes approx.
  • Switch off stove & serve hot.
  • Drizzle some olive oil if you feel it is too dry.

Variations:

  1. I add pepper powder or chillies just before adding spaghetti.          (or)
  2. During stir fry, I toss a tablespoon of sweet & hot chilli sauce.

spaghetti

The other day TH was on a work trip, I made this for lunch. TH came home for dinner & in spite of a fresh rice-based meal on the dining table, he was overjoyed to see the leftovers of stir fried spaghetti. Then he tells me – ”It has been so long! I made it often before we moved in together”!! 🙂

A mini-drama in the kitchen

Most evenings, cooking for dinner takes place amidst multiple other activities. TH is also fond of cooking & nearly everyday we cook together. The other night we were making plantain fry & tomato rasam to go with boiled white rice.

While multi-tasking, this is the sequence of events that evening at the stove:

1. TH peeled & chopped the plantain.

2. In a hot frying pan, we put some oil & onion to fry.

3. While TH was putting the plantain skin into the microwave, I added salt to the onion in the pan.

4. When onion was translucent, TH added the cut plantain, turmeric and salt…..

See, what happened? Neither of us noticed it immediately but a shot of TH drizzling salt flashed in my mind as I was waiting for the plantain to fry! A double dose of salt for our beloved plantain fry!

TH acted quickly. With a hand blender, he blended the microwaved plantain skin (which was originally meant to be made into a chutney) & added it to the plantain fry in the pan. After a few minutes of cooking them together & adding red chilli powder, the result was this:

plantain curry

Although it wasn’t technically a plantain fry anymore (A proper plantain fry is dry & crispy), we enjoyed the new recipe. After the new adjustment, the salt was also just right. 🙂

What techniques do you use to get rid of excess salt in a dish?

Carrot ginger soup

During our recent visit to Helsinki, we dropped by Kippo in Forum. Kippo is a little smoothie-juice-sandwich-frozen yoghurt place. They make fresh & delicious juices. We enjoy their ginger blended juices each time. This was the inspiration for our carrot-ginger soup.

We used 5 big carrots, an onion, 1,5 inches of ginger, salt and a pinch of curry powder. Adding curry powder was an impulse & I am pretty sure the soup tastes pretty good without it. In a wide pan, melt a little butter. Let the carrots, onion & ginger cook in a cup of water and add the curry powder. (Instead of plain water, you can use vegetable stock cubes).

Blend everything smoothly.

carrot soup

Serve hot in a bowl with a drizzle of ghee (or butter) & garnished with coriander leaves. We had it with olive bread on the side.