Tag Archives: quick and easy

Not so bitter Bitter Gourd

Strange how it is that the foods that are really good for you, never rate very high on taste. They are either too boring, too slimy, too rubbery or in the case of the bitter gourd…too bitter! By the way, did you know that bitter gourd is actually a fruit? Or that this bitter beauty is a close cousin of zucchini and cucumber? The bitter gourd is packed with health benefits; it reduces blood sugar, its good for your cholesterol, it is rich in fibre and it may aid in weight loss.

But how does one get past its bitterness? One way, is frying it but then you tend to lose out on the nutrients and say goodbye to any weight loss dreams. Or you may stuff it with something yummy, tie it with a thread and again…fry it. Too time consuming? Then try the following simple, quick and delicious karela subzi recipe and I promise, if you do not overnight turn into a bitter gourd fan, you will be able to easily incorporate this healthy fruit in your menu.

Ingredients:

3 medium sized bitter gourd, cut into small rectangular pieces ( discard the pith and seeds)

1 big onion, chopped roughly

1 big tomato, thinly chopped

1 slit green chilli

1 and a half tablespoon jaggery

½ tablespoon tamarind

1 teaspoon coriander powder

½ teaspoon cumin powder

Pinch of turmeric

Salt to taste

Oil as required

Method:

Rinse the bitter gourd a few times with water then cut vertically, removing the pith and seeds. Cut it into thin small rectangles. If you wish, you can add some salt to the bitter gourd at this stage and set aside for a couple of minutes. Be sure to throw away the resultant juice and wash the bitter gourd well before cooking it. Also, if using salt here, taste the dish when it is just about done and only add salt, if required. In a glass bowl, soak the jaggery and tamarind in water. You can adjust the proportion of jaggery and tamarind, depending on how tangy you want your bitter gourd.

In a pan, heat some oil. Add onions and saute for a few minutes till they turn pink. Next, add the bitter gourd, giving it a good stir and then cover and cook on low flame for 7-10 minutes. Once the bitter gourd lose their distinctive green colour, add in the tomatoes and all the spices. Check for salt and add accordingly, cover and cook on low flame. Open and stir after 5 minutes; add a 2 tablespoons of water then cover and cook again till the oil oozes out from the sides and the bitter gourd and tomatoes are soft and cooked. Then add the tamarind pulp and jaggery (discarding the used tamarind pulp and sees) to the sabzi. Give it a quick stir, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Switch off the flame, sneak a taste and wonder why you always gave such a wide berth to the lovely bitter gourd!

The Lockdown Soup

Yeah, you read it right. Hot, nourishing soups are supposed to be good for safeguarding oneself from the dreaded Covid. But the thing is, with the lockdown in effect, what is one supposed to make a soup with? If you are facing this problem then this soup is your answer. It goes easy on the ingredients, is hot and tangy and is absolutely yum. I have used veggies in small quantities and a couple of sauce sachets sitting in our fridge from the pre-Covid takeout days! So, here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

1 small carrot, chopped

4-5 florets of cauliflower

A small handful of corn

1 tablespoon, chopped spring onion

1 tiny onion, chopped

1 sachet soya sauce

1 sachet chilli sauce

1 sachet tomato ketchup

1 tablespoon schezwan sauce or ginger garlic paste

1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce or you can use 1 teaspoon chili powder and sugar

Pinch of black pepper powder

Salt, as per taste

Whole wheat flour mixed with water for thickening

Method:

In a deep pan, bring the carrot, cauliflower and corn to boil. Drizzle some oil in another pan. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Then add all your sauces and salt. Let it all simmer for 5-7 minutes and turn off the heat. Pour this mixture to your boiled vegetables pan and add the whole wheat flour mixed with water for thickening. Let the soup simmer for about ten minutes and then add the spring onions. You can use coriander or mint or even some chopped capsicum if you do not have any spring onions. Cover and simmer for some five minutes and you are through! Pour out a big bowlful for yourself and enjoy!

Tangy Quinoa Fried Rice

Sometimes, it seems you can’t make anything nice without using rice! And rice is so white, so fluffy, so yummy, soo fattening 😦 I can do without rice all right but I do love all the lovely rice delicacies.. fried rice, pulao, biriyani!!! Recently, I have discovered that I quite like quinoa and that it lends itself wonderfully for making any kind of dish which needs rice. So, here is my recipe for my favorite quinoa fried rice.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, grated

1 green capsicum, cut into long thin strips

1/2 cup green peas and corn

1/2 cup spring onion, chopped

 1 green chilli, slit diagonally

2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste

1 tablespoon schezwan sauce

1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

Oil

Salt as per taste

Method:

Wash the quinoa in water till the water runs clear, about three times. Soak the quinoa in water for 5-10 minutes. Now in a pan pour 1 cup water and the half cup quinoa. Cook on high flame till the water begins to boil. Then lower the flame, cover and cook till all the water soaks into the quinoa and the quinoa becomes transparent. Let it remain covered for a couple of minutes and then fluff it with a fork. Keep aside.

In a seperate pan, drizzle some oil. Once oil turns hot, add the green chilli and onion. When the onion turns pink, add all the vegetables, season with salt, cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add all spices and sauces and let it simmer for another couple of minutes. Then add the quinoa, mix everything together and cook for about 5 mins. Yummy yet healthy fried rice is ready!

Creamy Veggies Pasta (sans flour)

Ingredients:

250 gms boiled pasta of your choice

1 large onion, chopped

1 carrot, grated

1 capsicum, cut into long, thin slices

½ cup boiled corn

2 tablespoon black olives

1 green chilli or 1 teaspoon black pepper powder

5-6 pods of chopped garlic or 2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon tomato puree

2 tablespoon tomato ketchup

1 cup milk

3-4 cheese cubes, grated

2 teaspoon oregano seasoning

2 teaspoon crushed parsley

NO REFINED FLOUR for the sauce

Method:

Boil the pasta, give it a quick wash in cold water, drizzle some oil and keep aside. In a pan, heat oil. Once hot, add the chopped garlic and green chilli. Once the garlic turns aromatic, add the onions. Add the other vegetables once the onion turns pink. Add some salt, stir and cook covered for about 5-7 minutes. Once your veggies are almost cooked, add the milk, tomato puree and cheese. Add your remaining seasoning after another couple of minutes. And then the tomato ketchup. Let everything mingle for 5 minutes and your pasta is ready. Enjoy!

B for Badass Broccoli Soup

This is one of my favourite soups because…it has lots of broccoli. There is something about broccoli which just hits the right note with me. And for once something that I love is good for me as well 😊 So, I incorporate broccoli in a lot of my dishes. Broccoli is like one of those likeable people whom you can introduce to a whole lot of strangers and within ten minutes they would all be friends. Well, at least that’s how broccoli seems to me. In this soup, I have paired it with carrots. So, both me and Bugs Bunny for this soup!

Ingredients:

1 medium broccoli, roughly chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 onion, chopped

½ cup milk, skimmed or full fat

2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste

1 tablespoon tomato puree or tomato ketchup (depending on whether you want it sour or sweet)

2 tablespoon whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon chaat masala

1 cup chopped coriander or mint

Salt as required

Method:

In a deep pan, bring the broccoli and carrots to a boil till they are nice and tender. In a separate pan, heat some olive oil. Once hot, add the chopped onions. Cook till the onions are pink, then add the tomato puree and ginger garlic paste. Once the oil leaves from the sides, add the whole wheat flour diluted in milk. Give everything a quick stir and add our boiled veggies and stock. You can also add half of a maggi chicken stock cube here. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes then add the Italian seasoning, chaat masala and chopped coriander. Let everything simmer for another five minutes and you are done!