Pumpkin Soup

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

If there is one vegetable that I am impressed beyond words, or that offers so many health benefits, it is a pumpkin. It t does not have a taste of it's own, you could cook it in so many different ways. You could make  unlimited number of desserts, soups, curries, shakes etc. All of those you are now going to see them in posts soon in shaa Allah.

This post will show you how to whip up a batch of pumpkin soup with very few ingredients. You would never tell it is made with pumpkin if you were not told. Many people think pumpkins are tasteless. Yes they are but because of their nutritional benefits, you have to eat them, people! Read on and see for yourself how easy it is.

Ingredients:

 Pumpkin-2 cups grated
 Salt- to taste
Turmeric Powder-1/2 tsp
 Ground Pepper -to taste
 Coconut milk-12 ozs ( a cup and a half)
 Onions-1/2 sliced
 Garlic-2-3 cubed
 Oil-a tbs
Cumin Seeds-1 tsp
Curry leaves-a few

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the sliced onions and saute until they turn translucent.

2. Add the chopped garlic and stir until it turns slightly brown and turn fragrant.

3. Put in the cumin seeds along with the curry leaves and stir briefly.

4. To the pan add the grated pumpkin along with salt, turmeric powder and cook on medium heat with the lid on, until they soften a little bit.

5. Pour in the coconut milk and increase the heat to a high until the mixture comes to a boil.

6. At this point, turn off the stove and allow it to cool a little bit.

7. Use an immersion blender and blend the pumpkin mixture until smooth.

8. Pour into serving bowls and drizzle some coconut milk on the top and sprinkle some ground pepper and serve hot.

9. Enjoy!







Beet Lemonade.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Everything good in the world is in this glass of lemonade. It is a great drink to cool off in hot weather and a smart way to keep the colds away during winter. The goodness of beets and it's gorgeous color, combined with the goodness of  honey and that of lemons, makes it the best drinks ever.  This very simple and easy to make lemonade can be made with all natural and fresh  ingredients and it does not even contain the not-good at-all refined sugar.

Ingredients:

Beets- 2 small ( scrubbed, washed and cut into cubes)
Water-as needed
Honey-to taste
Lemon juice-2-3 tbs
Salt-a pinch
Fresh mint leaves-to garnish
Lemon slice-to garnish

Directions:

1. Pour 2 cups of water into a sauce pan along with the cubed beets and bring them to a boil on high heat and then let them simmer for 5-8 minutes.

2. Turn off the stove and allow the beets and the  colored water to cool.

3. Take a serving glass pour water, lemon juice, salt, 3 tbs of beet water and stir well.

4. Garnish with mint leaves and a slice of lemon and enjoy!

Notes:

- You could add some ginger juice too along with the lemon juice.

-Add ice cubes if desired.






Eid ul Adha Mubarak and Smashed Potatoes


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I know it has been a long time since Eid is over. However, a belated Eid ul Adha Mubarak to all my readers and Hajj Mubarak to all those had an opportunity to perform Hajj this year.

It is always a pleasing  to eat vegetables and lighter meals, after eating festive and  meaty ones. Also, when vegetables are cooked and served in cool and attractive ways, they add a shine to the table and make your picky-eaters reach for them  first:) Smashed potatoes are one way to excite everyone at home to eat healthy foods. Read along and see how easy it is to smash your potatoes:)

Ingredients:

Potatoes- 8 small ones, scrubbed and washed well
Water- good enough to boil
Salt-to taste
Black pepper- to taste
Olive Oil- enough to brush
Fresh dill leaves- few

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 deg F.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray some oil onto it.

3. To a big pot, add water and potatoes and boil them until fork tender.

4. Drain the water and allow the potatoes to cool off just a bit.

5. Place one potato at a time on a chopping board and with the help of a flat plate ( I used a dough scraper) , press it down flat.

6. Repeat the same process until all the potatoes are  smashed flat and carefully lift them up and place them onto the baking sheet.

7. Sprinkle salt, pepper and spray or drizzle some olive oil onto each potato.

8. Bake the potatoes in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until they turn crispy and golden brown.

9. When done remove them from the oven and place them onto a serving platter and sprinkle some fresh dill leaves and serve hot.

10. Enjoy!










Spaghetti In Beet Sauce



Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

This gorgeous spaghetti has all good things in it. The creamy coconut milk , the goodness of beets and the pretty pink color. Also, I have given it an Indian twist by adding a few Indian seasonings. Read on and see how easy it is to make it...


Ingredients:

Spaghetti-One 14 oz package
Salt-as needed
Coconut milk-1-2 cups
Beets-3 medium, peeled and boiled until soft
Oil-2-3tbs
Curry leaves-a few
Asafoetida-1/4tsp

Directions:

1. Boil the spaghetti according to the instructions on the bag.  Drain  the water and drizzle some olive oil and set aside. 

2. Blend together the cooked beets along with the coconut milk until smooth and set aside. 

3. Heat oil in a pot and add mustard seeds,  cumin seeds and curry leaves allowing them to sizzle and crackle one after the other. 

4. Add the asafoetida to the hot oil and immediately pour the beet and coconut milk mixture into the seasoned oil. 

5. Bring the mixture to a boil anf turn off the heat. 

6. While the mixture is still hot,  add the spaghetti and toss to coat all strands with the beet sauce. 

7 . Enjoy!





Chicken Gola Kabaab.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

If you are anything like me, who loves to easy and quick to cook recipes, this recipe will be a perfect one for you. When you want to either jazz up a dinner table with something very delicious and eye-catching, or make some tiny little balls of goodness to serve as an appetizer, snack, or even stuff your pita pockets, you will love this recipe.

Ingredients:

Ground Boneless Chicken-1 lb
Salt-to taste
Turmeric Powder-1/2 tsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste-2 tsps
Garam masala-1 tsp
Coriander Powder-1 tsp
Green Pepper-2-3 in nos(chopped)
Fresh Cilantro leaves-a handful (chopped)
Fresh Mint Leaves-a handful(chopped)
Oil-4-5 tbs

Directions:

1. Marinate the ground chicken with salt, turmeric powder, garam masala, coriander powder, ginger-garlic paste, mix well and set aside.

2. In a blender, add the marinated ground chicken, chopped mint, cilantro and green pepper and blend until well combined.

3. Oil you palms and make small balls, smaller than golf balls and place them onto a clean plate.

4. Heat oil and slowly drop all the balls in and allow them to cook on medium-high heat, while turning them to let them cook evenly and turn golden brown all over.

5. When done, remove them with a slotted spoon onto a serving plate and serve hot.

6. Enjoy!


Pan Fried Crispy Okra (Kurkuri Bhindi)

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

You can actually enjoy crispy fried okra, without deep frying it with only one simple secret ingredient, the corn starch! Corn starch serves many purposes, it could be used as a thickening agent to thicken soups, can be used in baking, used as a coating for pan-frying fish or other vegetables. Since it is a gluten free ingredient, it is an amazing option for those gluten-free recipes.

Kurkuri Bhindi can be served as a snack, an appetizer or even  a side dish along with plain white rice and some lentil soup for lunch or dinner.

Ingredients:

Okra- 1/2 lb (Washed, patted dry and cut into long slices)
Salt-to taste
Ginger-Garlic Powder-1 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli powder-1 tsp
Turmeric Powder-1/2 tsp
Garam Masala-1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder-1/2 tsp
Corn Starch-2-3 tbs
Oil-2 tbs

Directions:

1.  In a bowl put the cut okra and sprinkle the salt, pepper powder, turmeric powder, Coriander powder, garam masala and finally the corn starch and toss to coat the slices of okra well and set aside for 10 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and lay the pieces of okra in one uniform layer.

3. Stir gently and flip the slices over and cook until the mixture turns a golden brown color and the okra turns to a darker green.

4. Once the coating around the okra turns crispy and begins to make a scratchy sound, you know it is done.

5. Turn off the stove  and transfer the okra to a serving plate.

6. Enjoy!


Sago Pudding


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Sago pearls are very tiny white balls that actually look like pearls. They are a starchy, tasteless flavorless product derived from a plant. When soaked they swell up  and  when cooked, turn transluscent. It is used in various kind of preparations both savory and sweet. They are very soothing to the stomach and easy to digest.

I have always had a hate-love relationship with tapioca pearls as a child. I always ran away from any kind of pudding made with  sago pearls, while I could munch on "sabudana papad"or "papadoms" that are sundried  and deep fried sago wafers, all day long. Now, I am discovering so many ways to interestingly use sago pearls in my own kitchen.

This is a pudding that takes a short time  to whip up and serves as a perfect, eye catching dessert.


Ingredients: 

Sago Pearls-1 cup (soaked in water for two hours)
Water-4-cups

Coconut milk-1 cup
Salt-1/4 tsp

Jaggery-2oo gms
Water-1/2 a cup

Directions:

1. Bring water to a boil and add the soaked sago pearls and allow them to cook until translucent.

2. Turn off the stove and drain all the water using a strainer.

3. Put the drained sago pearls in small bowls, cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

4. Heat the coconut milk along with the salt on medium heat until it becomes thinner in consitency.

5. Turn off the stove and set it aside.

6. Heat water along with the jaggery until it boils and turns into a thick syrup .

7. Turn off the stove and set the syrup aside.

8. To assemble and serve,  invert the bowl with the cooked sago onto a serving plate and tap gently to un-mold the sago pearls which take the shape of the bowl when cooled.

9. Pour the coconut milk over the set sago  and drizzle the jaggery syrup and serve.

10. Enjoy!








Zucchini Kofta Curry


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Zucchini, also called Courgette in some parts of the world is a very versatile vegetable.  With all it's health benefits, it can be cooked or  baked in a number of ways. With them, you could make  a curry, bake a cake, a bread, make fritters, make zucchini noodles or even eat them raw. Today I would like to share a creamy Kofta curry. This is a two part recipe, where the zucchini balls are fried and then served with a gravy, together  in one place.



Ingredients:

For the Zucchini  Koftas

Zucchini-2 large, (washed, grated and the water squeezed using a cotton cloth)
Chickpea flour-1 cup or more
Salt- to taste
Turmeric powder-1 tsp
Red Pepper Powder- 1 tsp
Ajwain (Carrom Seeds)-1 tsp
Oil-for deep frying
Cilantro leaves-a handful, chopped


For the gravy

Cashews-1/2 cup, roasted
Tomatoes- 4 medium sized, cubed
Green Peppers-3 small
Ginger -Garlic paste-1 tbs
Onions-1 medium sliced
Oil-1tbs.
Salt-to taste
Kashmiri Mirch Powder-1 tsp
Turmeric Powder-1/2 tsp
Garam Masala-1 tsp

Directions:

For the Zucchini koftas

1. Heat oil in a pan.

2. Mix the grated zucchini, salt, red pepper powder, turmeric powder, chickpea flour, cilantro leaves, carrom seeds well.

3. Form round balls with your hands and carefully slide them into the hot oil and fry them until they turn golden brown all around.

4. When done, remove them with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel.


To make the gravy.,


1. Grind together the roasted cashews, tomatoes, green peppers to a fine paste and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a pot and fry onions until they turn golden brown.

3. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir until it turns brown and becomes fragrant.

4. Pour the ground cashew paste along with salt, kashmiri mirch powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and cook on medium while stirring frequently to avoid burning until you see the oil separate.

5. Turn off the heat and transfer the gravy to a serving bowl.

6. Carefully place the zucchini balls into the gravy while it is still hot and garnish with cilantro leaves.

7. Enjoy!









Trifle Pudding


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Trifle Pudding is a stunning dessert made with layers of different textures, flavors and colors. It is very fancy looking and easy to put together. With whipped cream and custard as the basic ingredient, you could use limitless combinations of fruit and different kinds of cakes to layer. You could either make everything like the whipped cream, jelly, custard etc., from scratch and use fresh fruit or, use store bought whipped cream, pound cake  and canned fruits. The choice is yours.

Since we had a lot of guests over to break fast with us during Ramadan, I had to use short cuts for making the dessert as I also had to cook dinner. However, I have made sure to buy the canned fruit with fruit in light syrup or in water or in it's own juice.




Ingredients:

Pound Cake- 1 cut into bite sized cubes (Sara Lee, family size)
Whipped Cream- 24 ozs ( one big and one small container)
Canned Papaya-1 can, drained
Canned Mandarin Oranges-1 can, drained
Canned Pineapples- 1 can, drained
Yellow Custard-2 cups (made from the box)
Sweetened Condensed Milk-1 can
Halal Fruit Flavored Jello -Pre-made from one box, cut into cubes.


Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, pour in the whipped cream and to it add the condensed milk and give it a gentle mix.

2. Add all the drained fruit except the mandarin oranges to the whipped cream mixture and mix well.

3. In a large trifle bowl add a layer of the cake cubes.

4. Follow with a even layer of custard.

5. Then pour out a layer of the whipped cream mixture.

6. Spread out the jello cubes over the whipped cream mixture.

7. Repeat layering until you fill up the bowl while keeping the whipped cream as the top layer.

8. Decorate the top layer with the saved mandarin oranges.

9. Enjoy!


Cantaloupe Lassi

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I can't believe it has been months since I have not been blogging. However, I am back now and wish to bring you the recipes of the stuff I have been cooking while I was away.

Lassi is a popular Indian yogurt based drink and could be made sweet or savory, with fruits or without. Regardless of the ways in which it can be made, it is very refreshing and helps cool down the heat from any spicy meal. While Texas has been seeing three digit temperatures, I came up with this cool way of adding cantaloupe to my lassi and the result was extremely good. It had a hint of sweetness from the honey, a bit of tang from the lemon juice a mild fragrance of the cantaloupe itself.

Ingredients:

Yogurt-1 cup
Cantaloupe-1 cup, peeled and cubed
Honey-1 tbs
Lemon juice-1 tsp
Water-1/4 cup
Mint leaves- enough to garnish

Directions:

1. Blend together all the ingredients until smooth and frothy.

2. Pour into serving glasses and garnish with some mint leaves and a piece of cantaloupe.

3. Enjoy