Category Archives: Easy One Pot Cooking

Jenny’s Spinach Pie

I ate this once last summer at Jenny’s and it was really quite nice.

So earlier today evening, when I happened to be in her kitchen as she made it for guests that she will have at lunch tomorrow, I noted down the quantities of the ingredients as she cooked.

It looked quite simple to put together, so I am going to try and make it some time soon.

Spinach Pie

2 rolls of store-bought pie crust

a kilo of frozen,very very finely chopped spinach

3-4 tablespoons of creme fraiche

a 210 gm bag of Gruyere cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 large onion, chopped fine

1 egg, lightly whisked

De-frost the spinach and squeeze out all the water.

In a pan, heat a little oil and fry the onion for a while.

In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach, the onion, the seasoning, the cheese and the creme fraiche.

Place one of the pie crusts at the bottom of a pie dish. Fill with the spinach mixture and spread it evenly. Cover with the second pie crust.

Brush the top with the egg and bake at 175degreesC till done.

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Filed under Baked Main Meal Dishes, Easy One Pot Cooking, Quick Meal Ideas, Versatile Accompaniments

Italian Rice Salad with Tuna, Vegetables and Cheese

At the buffet served after the OIB graduation ceremony held at the CIV tonight – I was there to help with the aperitif and the buffet – there was a delicious rice salad which was contributed by the mum of a student in the Italian section.

Here’s the recipe, as I remember it, which she told me as we served the crowd so I hope I’ve got the details right !

Italian Rice Salad

Cooked and cooled rice (from a region in Italy, if I understood her right, near the one that arborio rice come from) tossed with canned tuna (with the oil), olives, capers, very finely sliced raw carrots(or they may have been very lightly steamed), tomatoes (optional) and small pieces of provolone cheese. Though I forgot to ask if she had used any herbs, I don’t think there was any  seasoning in the salad other than salt.

I am going to try this soon as it would make such a simple, fresh and delicious summer meal though I’ll have to figure out first what the rice variety she’d used might be.  I wonder if it is Carnaroli?  The name she used sounded sort of like that from what I remember and when I google Arborio, I find many references to the Carnaroli rice variety as a great base for risottos and salads – indeed for the former it appears to be a better choice than Arborio.

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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Rice-Pulavs,Biryanis,Baaths, Salads

Tomato Chutney-a Desi -and nicer-Ketchup

The boulanger never wants a chutney/sauce to accompany the vadas, tikkis etc. that I make for his customers.  He doesn’t seem to think it is necessary and this is difficult for me to understand, used as I am to eating any finger food with a dip of some kind.

So yesterday, since he was to going to sell summer-inspired platters of salads and finger foods – he asked for both the khamang kakdi and the carrot salad with chicken tikkas, shami kebabs and batata vadas– I decided to give him some complimentary tomato chutney to serve on the side, for him to test the concept again.

This chutney is another bit of nostalgia from my childhood. In the summer months, dinner was often just this chutney and vegetable pulav with yogurt.

I love the flavor that comes from the use of paanchphoran here and of course that it is so easy to make is another plus.

As I made it yesterday, I thought this chutney would be so much nicer to have, with Indian starters such as pakoras and tikkis, than ketchup.

Tomato Chutney

3 large, ripe tomatoes

1 tablespoon of oil

1/4 teaspoon each of mustard seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds

salt and brown sugar to taste

Wash and chop the tomatoes very fine.

In a frying pan, heat the oil, then add the mustard seeds and the nigella seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the fennel seeds and the cumin seeds. When these start to brown, add the fenugreek seeds, fry for just a couple of seconds and put in the tomatoes.  Add salt and cook the tomatoes till they are completely soft. Add some sugar  (the chutney should be tangy, not too sweet), cook for another minute, then add water and simmer for a few minutes till the water is well-blended and the chutney is a little thick.

This chutney is a great accompaniment with puri and jeera-aloo, too.

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Filed under Dips,Chutneys,Sauces,Spreads, Easy One Pot Cooking, Versatile Accompaniments

Chicken Pulav(2)

This recipe is quite similar to the other one I’ve used a couple of times to make chicken pulav for the boulangerie. The chief difference is that this one requires tomatoes, while that other recipe calls for lemon juice.

I did without an ingredient that the original recipe – which is from Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s “Khazana of Indian Recipes” – requires  and that’s chicken stock.

I suspect that would add a great deal to the taste but never having got the hang of how to make stock, I made this pulav yesterday with water instead.  Fortunately it passed muster with both Patrick the boulanger – I will be making this for him next Tuesday – and Maria, our guest last night at dinner.

Maria’s daughter was away this week on the same school trip as Indira and since her husband is traveling on work, we asked her to eat with us yesterday.

Dinner was this chicken pulav, rasedar aloo tamatar, salad with mesclun, red bell pepper,corn and asparagus and multi-cereal baguette. I planned the meal this way because I wanted to suggest the first two dishes to Patrick for next week, along with some carrot salad. Luckily he liked both and Maria appeared to enjoy her dinner too so that turned out okay !

Here’s my adaptation –

Chicken Pulav

2 cups of Basmati rice

500 gms of boneless chicken, cut in to small chunks

3 teaspoons each of ginger and garlic paste

1/2 a teaspoon of Kashmiri chili powder



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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Picnic Food, Rice-Pulavs,Biryanis,Baaths

Thakkali Sadam or Tomato Fried Rice

This rice preparation – native to the south of India – would make a nice meal on a summer day, with a raita on the side and perhaps a light vegetable dish such as cauliflower with paanchphoran or beans poriyal or jeera aloo.

I have adapted the recipe from “Samayal”, a cookbook by Viji Vardarajan. To make it interesting for the customers of the local boulangerie – where they served this today with mint- and coriander-flavored chicken, pumpkin raita and salad greens- I skipped the green chillies in the original recipe and added cashew nuts on a whim.

Thakkali Sadam

1 and a 1/2 cups of Basmati rice

2 large tomatoes, chopped fine

1 small onion, chopped fine

3 tablespoons of oil plus 1 teaspoon to add to the water in which the rice will be cooked.

1/4 of a teaspoon of mustard seeds

1/4 of a teaspoon of cumin seeds

1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric powder

a few curry leaves

50-60 grams of cashew nuts, halved and then fried lightly for a minute or so in a teaspoon of oil

Wash and soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes , then drain the water and cook the rice with 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of oil in 2 and a quarter cups of water.

When the rice has cooled a little, separate the grains a little with a fork.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the mustard seeds. When these start to pop, add the curry leaves, fry for a couple of seconds and add the cumin seeds. As soon as they start to darken in color, add the onions and fry fora few minutes till they begin to look translucent. Now add the tomatoes, cover the pan and cook till the tomatoes are quite soft and their juice has almost dried up.

Add the turmeric, fry the mixture for another minute, then add the rice and toss everything together. Cover the pan and cook the rice for 6-7 minutes, turning over the rice a couple of times till all of it acquires a uniform yellow color. Just before taking the pan off the heat, mix in the cashew nuts.

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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Quick Meal Ideas, Rice-Pulavs,Biryanis,Baaths

Cabbage Poriyal

We had this for dinner last night, with khichdi.

This dish is so easy to make but it has simple, delicious flavors.

My recipe for this dish is an adaptation of the classical version, since I make it from the faint memory I have from a long-ago time in Nagpur, when I saw a Tamilian friend’s wife cook it.

Cabbage Poriyal

3/4 of a small cabbage, shredded very fine

3- 4 tablespoons of yellow split peas(chana daal), soaked in cold water for 3-4 hours then drained completely

6-7 curry leaves

1 large dry red chilli, split in half

1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds

2-4 tablespoons of sunflower oil

salt to taste

1/3 spoon of turmeric powder (less is more, in this case)

1/2  a teaspoon of coriander powder

2 tablespoons of fresh, grated coconut (optional)

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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Everyday Subzis

Fish Fillets in Coconut-flavored Sauce aka Fish Malai Curry

Inspired by the decent results from the trial run of the Prawn Malai curry – I made a very small portion to take to the boulangerie for Patrick to taste and he liked it a lot – and prompted by Indira who was very curious to know what sort of curry I am going to make for this Tuesday’s order from the boulangerie, I decided to make the same curry with white fish fillets and the result is very nice too.

The fish that I used is called cabillaud in French and that’s haddock/hake/cod in English, I think.

We had this tonight with a peas pulav and a small, very fresh-tasting salad of red bell pepper slices and mesclun (the Provencal term for a mixture of young salad greens) tossed in an olive oil, lime juice and basil flakes dressing.

The girls said they liked their dinner very much so I am glad I gave this a try.

Fish Malai Curry

300 gms of fish fillets, cut in to 2 or 3 inch pieces

2 small onions, chopped really fine

4-5 tablespoons of tomato puree

2 teaspoons each of ginger and garlic paste

a couple of bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon of garam masala powder

3/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder

1/2 a teaspoon of Kashmiri chilli powder

1 green chilli, slit in half (optional)

salt to taste

3 tablespoons of oil

50-75 ml of packaged coconut milk (vary to taste – I like the coconut flavor to not be too strong)

Cut the fillets into 2 or 3 inch pieces.

Mix the salt and turmeric in a large bowl and turn the pieces of fish in this mixture gently, to coat them well.

In a frying pan, heat the oil, add the bay leaves, fry for a minute, then add the green chilli and the onions and fry till they are a golden color. Now add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry everything for a few minutes till th onions start to turn a golden brown- but without letting the onions burn or brown too much as this will affect the final color of the curry.

Add the tomato puree next and once the oil starts to appear on the sides, add the turmeric powder and the red chilli powder and fry everything for a minute. Now add the fish pieces, turn over gently a couple of times to coat them well with the onion-tomato mixture, then pour in the coconut milk and water. Simmer the curry for about 10 minutes or till it has the right consistency (not thin and runny, but it shouldn’t be too thick either).

Stir in the garam masala and garnish with fresh, chopped coriander leaves.

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Filed under Curries, Easy One Pot Cooking, Quick Meal Ideas