Category Archives: Easy One Pot Cooking

Simple Scrambled Eggs

This is such a simple recipe that maybe it doesn’t need to be written down, but Noor asked me when I cooked eggs this way for dinner one day last week, to go with a vegetable soup, whether I’ll teach her when she is older how to make this dish.

So I figure she likes this a lot, so it may be worth writing about here too.

Scrambled Eggs

6 eggs

3 tablespoons of milk

a teaspoon of butter (or a little more)

a tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Crack the eggs in to a bowl, season with salt and mix the yolks and whites till they are quite well blended with a spoon or fork.

Heat a pan, add the butter and when it  melts spread it all over the base of the pan with a cooking spoon, then pour the eggs in.  Cook the eggs on a low-to-medium heat, stirring very frequently (scrape at the bottom of the pan as well, to lift up the mixture since it will tend to stick) so that the folds that form are small. Take the pan off the heat while the egg mixture still looks a little wet i.e while the eggs are still not completely cooked. The pan will be hot for a little longer and this will finish the cooking process and allow the scrambled eggs to stay soft and creamy when they are served;otherwise they can become a little dry.

Just before taking the pan off the heat, add the cheese and fold it in. This is an optional ingredient but adds a very nice touch.

Add freshly ground pepper to each portion when it’s served.

This dish is ideally made just before it is brought to the table.

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

Prawn Malai Curry

When the boulanger asked if I could do a fish curry for next Tuesday, my first reaction was to tell him honestly that I have very little experience cooking fish. But then I remembered that I made this Bengali curry, which combines prawns and coconut milk, once a long time ago and the girls did like it.

He was quite happy with that suggestion when I mentioned it so this is what I am going to make for next Tuesday along with some peas pulav, batata vada, mint-coriander chutney and carrot salad.

The classical chingri (that’s Bengali for prawn) malai curry does not include tomatoes I think, but I prefer to make it with them.

Prawn Malai Curry

10-12 medium-sized prawns (shelled and de-veined; so I like to use the frozen, ready-to-use variety)

1 small onion, chopped really fine

3 tablespoons of tomato puree

1 teaspoon 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 to half (optional)

salt to taste

3 tablespoons of oil

50 ml of packaged coconut milk (or a little less would be okay too)

3/4 cup of water

Soak the frozen prawns in some water for a few minutes, then drain the water and pat the prawns dry.

Mix the salt and turmeric in a large bowl and turn the prawns in this mixture gently to coat them well.

In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the prawns till they are a golden color (don’t fry for too long else the prawns can become a little hard). Take them out and keep them aside.

In the same 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 couple of minutes, without letting the onions brown 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 prawns, stir together everything well, 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.

This curry is best eaten with plain, hot Basmati rice or a peas pulav, IMO and makes a great change from the more time-consuming chicken or lamb curries. It reminds me of that ad from long ago – I think it was the TV commercial for Maggie noodles when they were first introduced in India – “quick to cook, good to eat!”

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

Chicken Pulav(1)

I wanted to persuade the boulanger to try something other than chicken curry – though that does seem to work well with his clients – for next week’s order.

So since I had some boneless chicken left over in the fridge, I used it to make chicken pulav. The girls liked it a lot and fortunately there is enough that they can have it for dinner tonight.

As for the boulanger, his reaction was so pleasing.  He said, without tasting either the pulav or the upma (which is what I have had made for lunch today so I took some of that too, for him to taste) that he would like me to make both these things for next week; when I asked him to taste both dishes so as  to be sure, he said that wasn’t necessary since “whatever you bring is all delicious “.

Now, I have my fingers crossed that his clients feel the same way next week 🙂

This recipe is adapted from one in Rocky Mohan’s “Art of Indian Cuisine”.

Chicken Pulav

2 cups of basmati rice, washed and soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained thereafter

400-500 gms of boneless chicken, cut in to small pieces

3 teaspoons each of ginger and garlic pastes

2 medium sized onions, chopped fine

4-5 cloves

4 pods of green cardamom

3-4 small sticks of cinnamon

2 green chillies, finely chopped

4 tablespoons of sunflower oil (or 3 of oil and 1 of ghee)

To be mixed together:

150 ml of yoghurt

1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

1/2 a teaspoon of red chilli powder

1 tablespoon of coriander powder

1/2 a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

the juice of 1 large lime

salt to taste

To make the Pulav:

In a large frying pan, warm the oil and add the green cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Fry for a few seconds till their aroma begins to be released.

Add the onions and fry till they begin to look translucent.

Now add the pastes and the green chillies (optional; I skipped this) and fry again till everything turns a golden-brown color.

Add the chicken pieces next, turn up the heat a little and fry till they are golden all over.

Add the yogurt mixture, season with salt and mix everything together well. Cover the pan, lower the heat and cook till the chicken is tender and the water in the yogurt dries up, turning the mixture over every once in a while.

Add the rice, mix it in thoroughly, then add 3 and a half cups of hot water. Cover the pan, turn up the heat and bring the water to a boil. Now reduce the heat again to quite a low setting and simmer till the rice is cooked and all the water is absorbed.

Leave the pulav covered for a while before serving it as I feel this allows the flavors to develop further.

This is so quick and easy to make; a great alternative to biryani.






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

Vangi Baath: An unorthodox variation

Traditionally, vangi baath is a pulav/fried rice that has only one vegetable in it and that is the aubergine which gives the dish its’ name.

But when I decided to make it for dinner tonight,along with some khatti-meethi daal, I felt there ought to be a dash of green in our meal.

So I made this rice dish today with aubergines and green beans.

The girls don’t know what the original is like, in any case, and Shri usually gamely goes along with all these variations to the classics!

This recipe is adapted from the one in Viji Varadarajan’s “Samayal”, a book about South Indian vegetarian cuisine.

2 cups of rice, cooked-with a little salt-  beforehand in 3 cups of water (which makes this recipe a great way to use leftover rice)

1 thin and long aubergine, diced

1 medium-sized tomato

1 cup of chopped green beans (optional)

1 large onion, chopped fine

1 green chilly , slit in to half (optional)

1/2 or 3/4 of a teaspoon of turmeric powder

1/2 a tsp of mustard seeds

6-8 curry leaves

1 and a 1/2 tablespoons of pitlai powder

3-4 tablespoons of thick tamarind juice

4 tablespoons of sunflower oil

In a large frying pan, heat the oil, then add the mustard seeds and the curry leaves. After a few seconds, when the seeds crackle, add the green chilly, the onions and sauté till the onions start to look translucent. Add the beans, cover the pan and cook till they start to soften just a little. Now add the aubergine, cover and cook again till the aubergines begin to soften too, turning everything over once in a while.

Now add the tomato and fry for a few minutes till the tomatoes begins to become quite soft.  Add the spices next, fry for a minute or two, then add the tamarind juice and mix it in well.  Season the vegetables with salt, add the rice – separate the grains gently with a fork first – and fry for a few more minutes till everything is thoroughly mixed.

I might try this dish without the tomato – and with peanuts – another time, since I think I remember eating it like that a long time ago.

Tonight, the girls each asked for a second helping of the vangibath with a little ghee, and I tried that too. Yum !

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

Sevai Upma

A long time ago, Priti and I shared an apartment in Bhopal for three months, while we worked on a project at the BHEL factory.

One of the many things that made it such a memorable time was the cooking we did together.

It was also where I got my tea habit, but that is another story.

This post is about the delicious sevai (vermicelli) upma that Priti used to make, the taste of which has stayed with me all these years.

So recently I asked her to mail the recipe to me  since I had forgotten both the process and the proportions of the various ingredients.

She sent me a picture too –

Here’s what she told me to do, in her words, with  some variations of my own in parentheses.

1 generous tbsp of oil to roast the vermicelli in
1tsp mustard seeds
2-3 carrots julienned
1 green capsicum  julienned (I used red bell pepper today)
julienned hari mirchi (I had no green chillies so I used half a whole red chilli)
1 sliced onion (optional and so I cooked the upma without)
1 cup measure of  vermicelli (I used a thicker variety since the usual kind was not available the day I went looking for it)
6-7 curry leaves
2 tbsp shelled peanuts (optional and so I cooked the upma without)
lime juice
salt

Steps :
1. Roast the vermicelli in the oil on a thick bottom/non stick pan.  You have to keep stirring the vermicelli otherwise it tends to burn quickly. I like to roast it fairly dark brown but not burnt-it’s a fine line (I agree – I found myself stirring constantly !)
2. Set aside the roasted vermicelli. In the now empty pan, add another 1.5 tsp (I used a little more) of oil , then add mustard seeds and curry leaves. If you are using onion cook them until brown. Then add the vegetables, stir 4-5 times (I covered the pan for a few minutes to cook the vegetables, stirring every once in a while)
3. Add  2 cups of water, salt,the vermicelli and the peanuts .
4. Cook, covered, on low heat. Watch for the water- if it dries out and the vermicelli does not become almost double it’s original size then add some more. Sometimes I just turn off the stove and let it cook in the steam.
5. Add lime juice; the vermicelli tend to unstick once the lime juice is added so you can add the juice, leave the upma covered for a couple of minutes and then transfer to the final serving dish.

Here’s how my version looks, which I have made for lunch today.

Some of the girls’ reactions –

After the first forkful, Indira said “ummm, very nice !”

A few minutes later – “It’s delicious, and I am going to call it pasta upma” (I guess that because the thicker vermicelli I used does it make it look

a bit like spaghetti !)

And Noor says “It’s excellent, this noodles upma“.

Thank you, Priti Aunty, for a very successful lunch.

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Filed under Breakfast Ideas, Easy One Pot Cooking, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Starters and Snacks

Rava Upma

Like poha, the girls have loved to eat upma since they were babies.

For me, it is a convenient option as it is one of those easy to cook and all-in-one meals – carbs plus vegetables plus some protein from the lentils.

This is what we had for lunch today, with yogurt on the side, clementine juice and then fresh pineapple – which Indira prefers to the canned variety – for dessert.

Though coconut chutney and/or sambhar are the ideal accompaniments for upma, I sometimes eat mine with ketchup – a habit acquired in childhood.  Ma has always made the most delicious upma and it was probably sacrilege to smother its’ flavors in ketchup but back then it was the way Bittu b. and I enjoyed eating it most !

Rava Upma

1 cup of suji/rava/semolina

1 medium-sized onion

2 small carrots

1/4-1/2 cup of frozen green peas (less or more, as you like it)

1 small tomato

1 dry red chilli, broken in two

1/2-3/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds

2 tablespoons (or a little less) of yellow split pea lentils (chana daal)

6-8 curry leaves

2-3 tablespoons of sunflower oil, 1/2 of ghee

Roast the semolina in a warm pan for a few minutes till the grains start to turn a very light brown – at this stage there is a very distinct aroma.

In the meanwhile, in another large frying pan, heat the oil a little and add the mustard seeds. When these begin to crackle, add the curry leaves, the chana daal and the red chilli halves. Roast the daal till it begins to turn a light brown, then add the onions. Cook these for a little longer than when they turn translucent,

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Filed under Breakfast Ideas, Easy One Pot Cooking, Quick Meal Ideas, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments

Chickpeas Salad aka Chickpeas Sundal

This is one more Indian recipe that is easily passed off as a salad.

I love how the chickpeas work here equally well with a variety of fruits – I sometimes add mango, or peach when it is in season, and tonight I added finely chopped orange segments.

We had this sundal for dinner tonight with tomato-pumpkin-broccoli soup and some nice multi cereal bread from the boulangerie.

Chickpeas Salad or Chickpeas Sundal

1 can of chickpeas, drained well

3-4 tablespoons of freshly grated coconut

1 mandarin orange, peeled and divided in to its’ segments(or 1 peach, peeled and diced fine, or an equivalent amount of diced mango)

1 large sprig of curry leaves

1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger

1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds

salt to taste

Indira thought tonight, at first glance, that the fruit in the salad was pineapple. Which has given me the idea to try it with that fruit the next time.



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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Salads, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments