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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spicy Taro Root

Taro roots are considered as one of the staples in many tropical areas of the world. But as with many other vegetables it also get ignored and is not used in daily cooking. Although taro root can be toxic in its raw state but these toxins are destroyed by cooking. So always cook them before using . They are commonly boiled or steamed. Taro's can be used as a perfect side dish or as a beautiful and complete main dish.
I love their texture and flavor, here I added roasted spices and fresh herbs to add some more flavor. Its a very simple and flavorful recipe with come together in minute's. Try it you wont be disappointed.

  • Taro roots 8-10
  • Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder 1/4 tsp
  • Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Salt as per taste
  • Oil vegetable 2-3 Tbsp
  • Cilantro finely chopped 1 Tbsp
  • Mint finely chopped 1 Tbsp

Wash taro roots and boil them with skin on till fork tender( I boil them in microwave it take around 12-13 minutes for 8-10 of them). Peel the skin off and cut them in half and keep aside. Heat a pan to roast powdered spices, once the pan is heated first add cumin powder as soon as it start to change color around 30-45 seconds add coriander powder followed by chili powder. These spices will only take about a minute and half to get roasted and smoky. Keep the roasted spices aside too.
Now heat oil in a pan,add mustard seeds(mustard seeds are optional, if you don't want to use them skip this step). Once the seeds start to splatter add the boiled, peeled and halved taro root, keep tossing the pan to toss the taro's as soon as they start browning add turmeric powder and roasted spices with salt and toss them again(avoid using too much movement with help of spoon or spatula as boiled taro's are very soft and they can easily get broken). Let them cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes to get crispy on outside. Add chopped cilantro, mint and lemon juice. Serve hot. Enjoy......

Monday, December 21, 2009

Beef and Black Bean Chili.........A perfect winter indulgence.

I love when it starts to get cold and chilly outside, a perfect excuse to get lazy, stay cozy inside and of course watch movie which i hardly get time for. So today I decided to watch "Sex and the City" again. There is something about the character of Carrie Bradshaw( Sarah Jessica Parker) strong, sexy and witty which i really enjoy, not that i want to relate myself to her in any way. And of course the wardrobe which Mr.Big builds for her is to die for... Does such luxuries really happen and do men really built that kind of closet. Hmm just a thought......

OK we are not here to discuss movie that too some old one but actually this is what I did on a chilly winter day. Hey my story is not over yet, my biggest indulgence of the day has not been screened yet."Beef and Black Bean Chili" Taddaa...... Now thats what is a perfect chilly day indulgence for me. Totally comforting and a complete soul food. I am sure every household has their very own recipe, actually the way my mom made this is a very different and lengthy process(which I will share with you all soon) but I came up with this recipe not so time consuming and lengthy but very satisfying and comforting flavors.


  • Beef minced 1 lbs
  • Tomato chopped 1 cup
  • Canned diced tomato 1 can 15oz
  • Tomato paste 2 Tbsp
  • Onion chopped 1/2 cup and for garnish
  • Garlic chopped 1 Tbsp
  • Ginger chopped 1 Tbsp
  • Serrano pepper 1
  • Black bean 1 can 15oz(drained)
  • Coriander powder 1 Tbsp
  • Paprika 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
  • Salt 1 tsp or as per taste
  • Mustard 1 Tbsp
  • Brown sugar 1 1/2 Tbsp
  • Worcestershire sauce 2 Tbsp
  • Cilantro chopped 2 Tbsp
  • Chicken stock 1 cup
  • water 1 cup
  • Oil 2 Tbsp

Throughly wash the canned black beans and boil it with ginger, serrano chili, chicken stock and water for about 15- 20 minutes covered on medium low flame. Boiling the beans like this add lot of flavor to otherwise bland beans. Heat the oil in a pot and add onions, once they start to get translucent add the beef and garlic and cook till the beef get brown.
Now add the tomatoes both chopped and canned and tomato paste with coriander,cumin and paprika powder and cook for 4-5 mins till everything blends well. Keep stirring it while cooking to avoid anything sticking to the pot and getting burned. Add the boiled beans with mustard and Worcestershire sauce, salt and sugar to the beef mixture. Stir everything together cover the lid and cook it on simmer for another 15 minutes if it get too thick you can add little more water as per your desired thickness. Mash the beans with bean masher before serving. Add cilantro and serve with onion and chopped Serrano(if liked) on top as garnish. Enjoy both the Chilly weather and the yummy Chili.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sloppy Sandwiches

Christmas is right here, the tree is out and sparkling with lights and ornaments, stockings are monogrammed and hanging, gifts are wrapped to perfection, menu has been decided, in short everything is organised. Honestly apart from the tree nothing absolutely nothing is done, yes I am getting my panic attacks but still why on the earth its so hard for me to become picture perfect organised human around holidays. Don't get wrong ideas I am a pretty organised person in everyday life but for holidays I have to blame my holidays hormones, yes believe me we women have different hormones for every moment in our life. I don't care whether the whole medical fraternity totally prove me wrong on this, ask my husband he is living proof of my hormonal moments and will never argue on this with me.

Anyway among all this last moment craziness I still crave all kinds of favorite food of mine, yes the more crazier it gets the more favorites are added to my already enormously long list of food. So I decided to indulge in everyone favorite today " Sloppy Joe's", yummmmmmm. I added green to my beef and had it with whole wheat bread. Trust me these one are good not only to taste but also good for you and come together really fast.

  • Beef Minced 90% lean 1/2 lbs
  • Diced Tomato 3/4 of 14.5 oz can
  • Tomato Paste 1 Tbsp
  • Onion Chopped 1 Cup
  • Celery Chopped 1/2 Cup
  • Spinach Chopped 3 cups
  • Ginger Paste 1 tsp
  • Garlic Paste 1 tsp
  • Paprika 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder 2 tsp
  • Salt 1/2 tsp or as per taste
  • Black Pepper 1 tsp
  • Oil 2-3 Tbsp
  • Whole Wheat bread ( you can use anything here.)
  • Water 3-4 Tbsp
  • Lime juice 1 tsp (optional)

Heat oil in a saute pan and add chopped onion, let the onion get little translucent then add celery and keep sauteing both till celery also start to get little pale. Add beef and let it cook with onion and celery till it start to get brown, add ginger and garlic paste, salt and cook everything on low medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Keep stirring the beef and make sure nothing stick to pan. Now add coriander powder, paprika and black pepper and stir everything for about 1 minute. Put diced tomatoes, tomato paste in the pan and cook everything stirring all the time for 2-3 mins. Finally add spinach and water, mix everything together and cook it on medium low heat covered for about 10 mins keep checking and stirring 2-3 times while its cooking to make sure nothing is sticking to bottom of pan and getting burned. When done the water will almost dry out, turn off the heat I like to sprinkle little lime juice but this is totally up to you. I like to eat it with whole wheat bread, I slightly toast my slices again this is also as per your choice, you can use burger buns, hot dog buns anything. Serve hot and Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Flat Bread with Spicy Vegetable Topping

Fresh baked beauties are loved by all whether its cake or pizza, muffins or flat bread the list is endless and the admirers for these are infinite. Yes you all have guessed it right today the star of the show is my oven, upon whose performance my results are depending. So I decided to make a flat bread today, Simple flat bread with spicy vegetable topping. Traditionally these types of flat breads are baked in Clay Oven (Tandoor) in eastern countries. The temperature in these Tandoors can reach up to 900F making the food cook really fast because of such high temperature the surfaces cook really fast sealing all the moisture and juices inside the food keeping it moist and succulent. The food cook in these oven has unique flavors and aromas, once you taste them you will get hooked. Tandoori food can also be very healthy as they can cook with minimum fat and still remain juicy.

So I decided to challenge my trusted "Oven" to compete with the fiery hot Tandoor and produce if not more but almost same succulent and juicy creations with a taste of perfection in every bite. As always my very simple domestic oven, my faithful companion in the culinary world proved that it is capable to making almost any dish to its perfection. The main catch here was heating oven to highest temperature and maintaining the temperature. I started by preheating the oven to 525 on bake and after about 45-60 minutes, I switched to broil, why because in baking mode oven shuts down after reaching the temperature set but in broil mode the oven does not shut, so the heat source is constant which helps in controlling temperature fluctuation. Secondly when baking bread I use pizza stone as it retains the heat well, placing the stone on the lower most shell also helps it to heat up quickly and evenly.

I made Flat Bread with Spicy vegetable topping. If you want you can call it pizza as there isn't really a precise difference between flat bread and pizza and both seems to jump into each other boundaries. I baked my bread in 2 steps 1- On the pizza stone for about 3-4 minutes till the bottom was crisp and started getting brown spots. 2- I switch the oven to broiling mode from baking and broil the bread with topping for about 1 minute or so to get even browning on the top too. The dough rest in a warm place for about 1 hour after a good kneading of about 15-20 minutes and then I keep it in refrigerator for overnight after shaping dough into portion to rise again this time slowly, this process is called retarding and adds more complex and deep flavors to the final product. The topping is cooked before adding on the of the bread.



  • 4 cups Bread Flour or All Purpose Flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp Active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup Milk warm(100-110 f)
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Nigella seeds
  • Water warm around 1-1/2 cup to knead dough
  • Olive oil to be used at the time of baking
  • 1 Cup Red Onion( white/yellow can also be used) coarsely diced
  • 1-1/2 Cup Eggplant coarsely diced
  • 1 Cup Zucchini coarsely diced
  • 2 Large Tomato chopped
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Mint finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt or as per taste
  • 2-3 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 4-6 olives per each bread


  • Mix yeast in milk and add sugar and set aside for 10-12 minutes to proof.
  • Mix the dry ingredients for flour and add the milk and yeast mixture and start kneading the dough. Add warm water to help in kneading do this slowly and add enough to make a nice clean dough not hard and not too soft.
  • If doing by mixer then too add water slowly as needed to make the dough with a clean bowl and dough leaving the side of the bowl clean after around 5-7 minutes of kneading.
  • We need to knead the dough for 10-15 minutes, more time given to kneading will help in formation of gluten.
  • Set the dough aside cover with damp kitchen towel for about 1 hour in warm place before dividing into portion and refrigerating. Divide the dough in 4 portion.
  • Refrigerate the dough overnight loosely wrapped in plastic wrap for slow rising but in case you need to use dough same day then let the dough sit for another 1 hour after dividing to rise for second time.
  • Heat oil in the pan and add onion and garlic, saute it till the onion start to get translucent and add tomato,tomato paste, coriander powder, turmeric, paprika and salt and cook it on low till everything blends and oil start to separate from the tomato and onion mixture.
  • Add chopped eggplant and zucchini and water and cover the pan, let it cook on low medium till both eggplant and zucchini are done and start to break down and blend with tomato mixture. Remove the lid and cook for little more on high to let any excess dry out and once again the oil separate from the vegetables. Make sure to keep stirring the vegetables while cooking and you can add more water if the water dry out before vegetables are done. If the heat is low medium the water will not dry out quickly and vegetables will be cooked.
  • Add chopped cilantro and mint also add red pepper flakes stir and remove from heat. Topping is ready.
Assembling the flat bread-

  • Take the dough out from the refrigerator and rest it in room temperature for 2 hours before making the bread.
  • Preheat the oven on bake on the highest temperature, my oven goes up to 525F for about 45 minutes to an hour with the pizza stone. Adjust the 1 shelf to lower most for pizza stone and 1 to top most for broiling the bread later before preheating.
  • Take 1 portion of the dough and place it on lightly dusted surface and start stretching it into a disc or oblong shape with 1/4 inch of thickness. Avoid using rolling pin and do it with fingers as over pressing the dough will harden the bread. Keep dipping your fingers in dry flour to help with streching aslo keep dusting the dough with little flour.
  • Take a flat cookie sheet and sprinkle some semolina flour or corn flour and place the stretched dough on it.This will prevent the stretched dough from sticking on the sheet and easy sliding onto the stone.
  • Sprinkle the streched dough with olive oil and slide it onto the pizza stone and bake it for 3-4 minutes till the bottom start to get golden brown spots. Take out.
  • Add the desired amout of topping to the pre- bake falt bread, sprinkle chopped olives and put it back in the oven on the top most shelf switch the oven from bake to broil and broil the flat bread for 1-2 minute till the top is done.
  • Take out sprinkle with little drizzle of olive oil if you like. Serve straight from oven. Enjoy

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