Category Archives: Versatile Accompaniments

Tuna and Potato Cutlets

I first tasted these delicious fish cutlets at a potluck meal to which Jinia brought this dish as one of the starters.

I got the recipe from her when I made them for a “Cuisine de Monde” day at school when Indira was in the maternelle.   She had suggested that I make these, when I discussed the event with her, because in her experience, she said, this was a popular finger food with kids. And she was right about that – most of the children loved them, I remember, as did the mothers who were there.

I hadn’t made them again since then, but today as I mixed a salad for lunch and added some canned tuna to it, I was reminded of these cutlets. So I thought that instead of racking my brains trying to think of another potato-based dish for the boulangerie – since I don’t feel like making aloo tikkis or batata vadas again next week but potatoes do seem to be popular – I would make these cutlets, with the rest of the tuna in the can I opened this afternoon, for the girls’ gouter and take a couple of them to the boulangerie for Patrick to taste.

The girls, especially Noor, liked them a lot; I’ll find out tomorrow whether these will be part of the order for next Tuesday.

Tuna and Potato Cutlets

For 10 small cutlets –

90 grams of tuna (packed in water), drained

3-4 small potatoes

1 small onion, chopped fine

1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder

salt to taste

1/2 red chilli powder (optional) or 1 small green chilli, chopped fine (optional)

1 and a 1/2 tablespoons of cooking oil

2 eggs, whisked in a deep bowl (in which the cutlets can be dipped in to the egg)

6-7 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

Enough oil to deep-fry the cutlets

Boil and then peel the potatoes. Drain the tuna and break up the flesh with a fork. In a small frying pan, heat the oil, fry the onions till they are translucent, then add the tuna and cook for a just a little while till it is dry. Mix in the spices and cook for another minute, then take off the heat.

When the tuna is cool, mash in the potatoes and mix everything together thoroughly. Form 10 cutlets from this mixture. Dip them in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs and deep-fry till they are golden brown.

This really does transform plain, canned tuna in the nicest way.

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Filed under Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments

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

Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade

The paste I wrote about here earlier today would also make a great spread, to serve with bread as an aperitif.

It would be nice as a relish too, with oven-baked potatoes, say, or grilled chicken.

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Filed under Dips,Chutneys,Sauces,Spreads, 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

Baked Parsnip Chips

The first time I came across this vegetable was at a Christmas PTA lunch two years ago at the home of one of Indira’s classmates. The hostess provided these chips as one of the starters and I really loved their sweetness and almost herby flavor.

But then I overheard some of the French teachers at the lunch say to the lady jokingly that in France this vegetable is considered good only for horses 🙂 Since then, I have also heard people say it is “pig food”  though in England and some other countries it is in fact a common “people food ” as they eat it steamed/boiled/fried/baked or added to soups.

The very distinctive taste of those chips has stayed with me so when I spotted parsnips (panais in French) for the first time in Carrefour recently, I bought some.

This is what we are having  for dinner tonight, with a vegetable soup and garlic bread.

To see what parsnips look like(imagine a large, cream/beige carrot) check here

Baked Parsnip Chips

Two large parsnips (about 500 grams), peeled and cut in to slices, hard core removed

3 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Put the parsnip slices in a large mixing bowl, season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the olive oil and toss everything together well.

Spread the slices on a baking tray in a single layer and bake until done (at least 25 minutes) at the top of the oven, at 200 degrees C.

As it turned out, Indira did not take to these tonight, just as she did not like the sweet potato chips too much. But the rest of us polished off the lot 🙂

The herb-like taste and aroma that I felt I noticed may be because this vegetable apparently belongs to the Umbelliferae family, whose other members include carrots, coriander, parsley, fennel, cumin, dill etc.

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

Steamed Salmon

This recipe is the same as for steamed trout, but Indira loves salmon cooked this way so much – and she certainly prefers it to the trout – I thought it deserves its own post.

Though Noor informed me a couple of days ago that she still prefers her trout/salmon to be grilled with pesto, so I must remember to make it like that for her next time, instead of steaming the fish yet again 🙂

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Steamed Salmon

Salmon fillets

1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary

sea salt to taste

a few slices of lime

Sprinkle the salt on the salmon, spread the rosemary, then place the slices of lime on top.   Fill some water in the bowl of the steamer and set it to heat. Now place the fillets in the basket of the steamer and cook the fish till it is done.

Eat this hot, squeeze some more lime  if you like after breaking up the pieces of fish a little.

Just delicious.

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

Desi scrambled eggs – Egg Bhurji

A desi version of scrambled eggs, this is a really versatile dish.

It makes for an indulgent Sunday breakfast, with toast and butter or even baguette and cheese and I make it for dinner  too sometimes, to go with soup, in the winter.  And the leftover portion is always good for a sandwich filling the next day, with a little ketchup tossed in 🙂  Shri and the girls really enjoy this dish and I am glad about that as it is one of those things that is so easy to make .

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With or without the peas or green bell pepper, this is a delicious way to eat eggs.

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Filed under Breakfast Ideas, Easy One Pot Cooking, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Versatile Accompaniments