Anjali's Food Kaleidoscope

Vegetable Biryani

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It has always been my endeavour to make food with the readily available things . I want that when you read my recipe and it appeals to you , you can make it right away , or at least it shouldn’t  be a herculean task to procure the ingredients. But at the same time there shouldn’t be a compromise on the taste.
   There are many ways of making “Vegetable Biryani” , but I find this method of making “Vegetable Biryani “ by far the easiest and tastiest. This vegetable Biryani uses the most basic spices and herbs , besides the regular vegetables and yet  the outcome is a delicious and aromatic “Vegetable Biryani”
      I guess by now most of you would be familiar with my fetish for one pot dishes. The present way of living demands that we use as little utensils and time and yet get a fab dish to serve the family. This vegetable biryani  uses just one utensil and if you have a “cook and serve pot” nothing like it. So read on and make some “Vegetable Biryani “for yourself and family and friends.

Ingredients for Vegetable Biryani:

1.  One heaped cup  long grain rice
2.  One heaped cup  of mixed vegetables cut into small cubes (french beans , carrots and  green peas , can use frozen peas also)
3.  One level cup soya nuggets soaked in two cups water ( optional)
4.  One tej patta
5.  One medium onion sliced thin
6.  One tomato chopped into big cubes
7.  Half a cup coriander leaves plucked but not chopped
8.  One or two green chillies
9.  One inch stick cinnamon
10.  Half a teaspoon shah jeera ( please do not use the regular cumin seeds , if you don’t  have shah jeera omit it but do not use anything in lieu of it )
11.  2-3 cloves
12.  2 black cardamoms
13.  One teaspoon ginger garlic paste
14.  One green cardamon
15.  salt to taste or about one and a quarter teaspoon

Method for Vegetable Biryani:

1. Blend the ingredients from number 7 to 14 with a little water to a smooth paste.
2. Take 3- 6 tablespoons of oil in a heavy based pan , keeping the flame on  a little more than medium add the sliced onions and stir fry till they turn a  brown in colour and are slightly crispy.
3. Add the chopped vegetables and give a toss for about 2-3 minutes.
4. Follow by the tomatoes and the soya nuggets and then the coriander paste.
5. Cook uncovered for about five minutes . Meanwhile wash and rinse the rice.
6. Add three cups water and when the water  boils  for about 2- 3 minutes add the rice  and the Tej Patta  and give a gentle stir,  partly cover the pot and let boil on full flame for about 5-7 minutes. you can add salt at this stage. The water can be kept at 2 ½  cups and if need be a little can be added later on.
7. Reduce the flame to low and cook till the rice is done.
8. Garnish with a few coriander leaves .

9. Enjoy with Tomato and Onion Raita


Tropical Fruit Slush

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Fruit slush is a blend of various fruits with a bit of a kick in it. I will add pineapple to achieve that. I  like the tangy sweetness of fresh pineapples and Goa has plenty of the fruit.
     It is advised to have atleast five varieties of fruits in a day and since it might not be possible all the days of the week due to our hectic schedules to take the time off to peel and cut and chop them which is though the perfect way of eating the fruits, but we can sometimes cut corners and always make a “Fruit slush”.


  You can make a “Fruit Slush “ with a combination of the fruit which will give you a delicious blend of a little tang , creaminess and colour. I have used Banana to get a creamy texture , Pineapple for the kick and Mango and Papaya for the sweetness and colour and of course a dash of lemon juice to complete the numero 5 and also to help the bananas retain their colour. Though it is recommended to add a bit of water or crushed ice in the Slush but I prefer to keep it thick so that the goodness of the fresh fruits isn't diluted. You could add some fruit juice instead of water so that it is easy to have the Fruit Slush with a straw , I would rather have it with a spoon.


So here goes the recipe of the  “Tropical Fruit Slush “. Do make your own thing and share the recipe with all of us. Here is how I made “Fruit Slush “ today.

Ingredients for the “Tropical Fruit Slush “

1.   Two large bananas chopped and tossed in one tablespoon of lime juice
2.   One heapful cup cubed papaya
3.   One heapful cup of cubed Mango
4.   One level cup of cubed Pineapple

Method of making “Tropical Fruit Slush”

Chill the cubed fruits for a little while in the refrigerator.

Pile them up into the jar of the food processor.



Then blend till smooth. Serve immediately and enjoy.


Gazpacho

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 We are living in the age of fusion.There is such a harmonious and beautiful fusion of cultures all around the world , be it in the way of life , clothes , how we keep our homes and of course food. It is a delight to see Indian cuisine liked and cooked in many parts of the world . I have come across so many people via Instagram who cook typical Indian food on a weekly basis. I am impressed.
        Similarly in India we have adopted many international cuisines and they have become a delicious part of our routine meals. Take for example this exotic Spanish dish called Gazpacho.


        I have always wanted to serve something chilled , crunchy and fresh to my guests when I call them over for dinner or lunch during the hot summer months. I was looking forward to something which in not deep fried , light to digest and yet a delight to eat. Something which can be prepared a little in advance so that I have enough time to prepare the other dishes and yet have a bit of a time off before the guests arrive. “Gazpacho” fitted the bill so beautifully that its now a must item on my menu list.
        Gazpacho recipes are wonderfully flexible and I am sure all recipes taste great. I like to make “Gazpacho” this way. This recipe, to my mind is enough for four people if you intend to serve small helpings . 


Ingredients for Gazpacho”

1.             300 ml tomato juice ( I prefer using Real or Tropicana)
2.             450- 500 grams fresh tomatoes , plung in hot water for ten minutes , remove the skins and chop coarsely.
3.             One small sized green bell pepper cubed into big chunks
4.             3 spring onions
5.              4 inch long cucumber , remove skin and seeds and chop coarsely
6.             3-4 small cloves of garlic
7.             1 tablespoon red wine vinegar ( an essential ingredient , but sometimes I skip it if its not available)
8.             1 -2 tablespoons lime juice
9.             1 tablespoon olive oil
10.           Salt and pepper to taste.
11.          ½ teaspoon dried thyme or basil if using fresh then use one heaped teaspoon.
12.          For garnishing the Gazpacho – a 4 inch long cucumber , skin and seeds removed and chopped very fine , a tablespoon each of finely chopped spring onions and green bell pepper  and of course croutons , all of the above or even just croutons works fine.

Method for Gazpacho:

1.   Place all the ingredients of the Gazpacho in a food processor and puree to a coarse texture. Take care not to puree the vegatables too fine , they should still be coarse and visible as tiny chunks.
2.   Place the Gazpacho in a glass bowl in the refrigerator for 2 -6 hours. The longer the Gazpacho chills the more the flavours develop.
3.   Garnish with croutons and finely diced cucumber , green pepper and spring onions.

4.   You could serve the Gazpacho in individual glass or china bowls or even in coffee mugs if it suits your style.


Tropical fruit smoothie

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Every recipe needn’t have the exact measurements. Sometimes one just needs to know the ingredients and then according to ones taste or fancy one can decide how much to put of what and each time come up with a unique new taste till finally one gets the right taste which one likes. I feel this rule applies to smoothies in general. Take for example this one.
All you need for this deliciously fresh and yummy smoothie are a can of Coconut cream, some cubed papaya and pineapple and some crushed ice.              
Just give them a whizz in the blender till they are all  smooth and well mixed  and just pour them in your glasses and treat yourself to the goodness of fresh fruits. Yes ,you can even add some chopped  banana (preferably frozen for four hours in the freezer) for a creamier texture and even cubed mango for added sweetness.

             Just go ahead and do your own thing and enjoy this smoothie how you would like it to be.            




I took a can of  chilled coconut cream of 400ml , two cups  each of cubed fresh pineapple and papaya and a cup of crushed ice and blended them and poured them into tumblers and had the chilled smoothie right after an hour’s swim in the pool. 
You could dilute the coconut cream a bit if you want  the smoothie to be of thinner consistency or even add extra pineapple since that is the only sweet thing.




Chilled Tomato Soup

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Steaming hot temperatures need chilled cold soups to keep body and mind cool and calm. The vegetable markets are teeming with fresh tomatoes and thank Goodness the prices haven’t  soared like the soaring temperatures. Its time to make some Chilled Tomato soup with a hint of mint .


This Chilled Tomato soup should be made in bulk as I can promise you that it will finish in no time . I use fresh tomatoes as a rule so this recipe is with fresh tomatoes but you could use canned ones though I can not promise you the same zing thing which you would get with  the fresh tomatoes.











So here is how we will prepare some ‘Chilled Tomato Soup’

Ingredients for "Chilled Tomato Soup":

1.   500 grams fresh tomatoes
2.   600 ml water
3.   ¼ cup mint leaves ( optional)
4.   Salt to taste

Method for Preparing Chilled Tomato Soup:


   1.   Chop the tomatoes into big chunks and place in a pressure cooker along with the water.
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2.   Place on medium flame and give two whistles. When the steam goes off take thelid off  and let the ingredients come to room temperature.








    3.   Pour the contents in a blender or liquidizer jar of your food processor or mixie and blend till smooth.











 4.   Strain and discard the pulp.
















 5. Add salt to taste and chopped or whole mint leaves and store in glass jugs or how ever you find it convenient. But do remember to give a stir before pouring into the glasses for drinking as the thick contents of the chilled tomato soup settle at the base.
           Enjoy the Chilled Tomato soup.



Minced Cauliflower Pulao

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A wise man once said “Change is the only constant in our lives “ but another wise man said that there always wont be change so you will have to bring your own , apparently this wise man is the local grocer .Hope you understood the joke.
           The year before last I had a home in Goa , then we moved to Vizag, turned an empty house into a home , decorated it , celebrated birthdays and Diwali , had lots of friends over for Dinner and tea , all in all it was filled with beautiful moments of happiness and joy.
     Now we move back to Goa , will turn a house there into a home , meet more people and make new friends .One of the many advantages of my husband having a transferable job is that I have such a treasure of good friends which I wonder if I would have been able to make if I were staying in one place all my life.
   I have learnt so much in all these years be it in cooking , housekeeping , bringing up children and about life in general.
Like they say everyone teaches you either what to do or what not to do.
  So its Goodbye Vizag now and hello to Goa. The last few days I have been busy sorting out the things in the house so I didn’t get the time to post anything. I made this  Minced Cauliflower Pulao as a quick fix , everyone loved the Minced Cauliflower Pulao , my kids wanted the Minced Cauliflower Pulao in their school tiffin  , so I was sure that The recipe of the Minced Cauliflower Pulao is fit to come up on my blog. Here is the recipe of the Minced Cauliflower Pulao  for you all.

Ingredients for Minced Cauliflower Pulao:
1. 1 cup long grain rice / Basmati rice
2. 4 cups minced cauliflower ( a medium sized cauliflower will give that much mince).Make sure there is no water in the cauliflower before grating it
3. 2 cups frozen peas
4. 1 heaped cup small cubed carrots
5. 5-6 cloves of garlic
6. 1 star anise (optional)
7. 2 green chillies slit
8. 2- 4 tablespoons  any refined oil ( I have used Pomace olive oil)
9. Salt and black pepper to taste

Method For Minced Cauliflower Pulao:
1. Soak the long grain rice or basmati rice for atleast half an hour.
2. Mince the cauliflower in a food processor to a fine mince , or if you are using the grater make sure that you make a fine mince.
3. Place the rice for cooking in double the quantity of water along with a star anise and two slit green chillies.

4. Simultaneously , in another pan , take the oil and add the finely chopped garlic cloves.












5. As soon as they begin to turn golden tumble in the carrots and stir fry for about 5-7 minutes till they remain crunchy but slightly cooked.








6. Tumble in the minced cauliflower , give a stir for 5 minutes and  follow by the frozen and thawed green peas and stir on medium flame for about 8- 10 minutes , keeping in mind that the cauliflower should be pleasantly crunchy but not have the raw taste.












7. As soon as the rice is cooked in the other pot , fluff it up and add to the vegetables.
8. Give a gentle stir to mix the two well taking care not to break the rice or else the Minced Cauliglower  pulao will look mishy mashy.
9. Season the Minced Cauliflower Pualo with salt to taste and a little black pepper.

10. You can serve the Minced Cauliflower Pulao with any raita of your choice or as a side dish with your main course.





Macaroni Pie

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All good things come in simple packages. Here is my simple and delicious recipe of the all time favourite “Elbow Macaroni “ baked as  delectable and nutritious small  pies.
     Serve them as snacks in your the tea parties , or in children's birthday parties or as a healthy and filling school tiffin meal.

Ingredients :

1.            400 grams cooked macaroni ( if you are using Bambino brand , keep them as it is , any other brand just roughly chop them to break them into halves)
2.            5 large eggs ( whisked)
3.            100 grams grated cheddar cheese
4.            One large onion chopped fine
5.            One large green bell pepper chopped fine or you could use one small red and one small green bell pepper
6.            One  heaped tablespoon cheese spread / heavy cream / thick cream
7.            Salt to taste  
8.            One level teaspoon chilli flakes or to taste
9.            One level teaspoon oregano

Method:

1.            Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well with a large mixing spoon.
2.            Pile up the mixture onto a muffin trays  with  preferably with deep pits .


3.            Bake at 180 ° C  for 25 minutes.

Makes about 18-20 pies.




Vanilla Cup Cakes

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            Vanilla Cupcakes
Cupcakes are such a delightful sight , they are like little surprises which bring immense happiness and if one can make them and serve them to family and friends......its a complete package of joy.


I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like Vanilla cakes . But if you must have noticed that an average sized Vanilla cake usually takes from 35- 50 minutes to bake , on the other hand if you make Vanilla Cupcakes with almost the same quantity of Vanilla cake batter you will be able to make a dozen plus Vanilla cup cakes in just about 20 minutes.Yes of course to make Vanilla cup cakes one would need a muffin tray and muffin cases , but I can assure you its worth investing the money and the space in the kitchen for these delicious "Vanilla Cupcakes ".
Here is a simple recipe which will yield a dozen delicious "Vanilla Cup Cakes".
I have been asked by many kind people following my blog to put the next cake recipe in Indian measuring cups , I would be writing the metric measures too , so that many of you who are not in India can also bake them.Enjoy the Vanilla Cupcakes and treat your friends and family with dozens of Vanilla Cupcakes.

The Indian measuring cup is of 200 ml measurement.

Ingredients for Vanilla Cupcakes:

1. 1 and one fourth cup All purpose flour  /  150 grams all purpose flour
2. 1 and a half teaspoon baking powder
3. Half a cup vegetable oil ( I have used sunflower oil) / 100 ml refined vegetable oil
4. 1 cup castor / powder sugar  / 150 grams castor sugar
5. 3 eggs ( preferably large)
6. One fourth cup hot milk / 50 ml hot milk
7. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method for Vanilla Cupcakes:

1. Sift the flour with the baking powder.
2. Place the oil and sugar in a mixing bowl , and beat well with an egg beater till well mixed.
3. Add all the three eggs in one go and beat again till blended.
4. Add the flour and vanilla and using the egg beater mix again and follow with the hot milk and mix again.
5. Pour into prepared muffin tray lined with the paper cases till about three- fourth full.
6. Place in the preheated oven at 190 celcius for 20 minutes or maybe a minute or two more depending on the oven.
There you are....the cupcakes are ready.



 
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