Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oh! God it is only Thursday!!!!

Today was one of those typical workdays when nothing seemed to go right. To top it there were a whole host of meetings with people driving multiple agendas at the same time. I was happy when the day ended and I was back home. Kids were at play, husband was away and I had the house to myself(more importantly the remote to myself). I pretended to surf and very quickly meandered to the channel showing a cookery show. Yes, cookery shows(like I have said earlier in this blog) are therapeutic, calm the nerves( at least temporarily till the boys get back).While the show was on one of Indian channels with an Indian host it was clearly meant for the western audience. The host( with her typical Brit accent, yes even when she spoke Hindi) took the audience through a subzi mandi and exclaimed at the sight of everyday vegetables like potatoes and onions("In London these would be sold in packs, but here I get to pick and choose", can somebody please tell her that she could do the same in India), wrapped a snake gourd around her neck and thought it was funny. She finally graduated to the actual cooking( some interesting dishes and I was glad I had suffered through the long winded preamble). She made a quick mushroom dish which looked interesting and would be a perfect accompaniment to grilled fish/chicken roast/even rosemary chicken(refer blog)/or even lightly toasted bread. What I especially liked was that dish requires very basic everyday ingredients and is really quick to assemble. For all you who want to eat interesting but healthy food at the end of the day.

Mushroom Quickie(Not sure what the dish was actually called)


Button mushroom: 200 grams, she used them whole though I halved them
Tomato roundels: I love tomatoes and used two large ones, slice them into thin roundels
Olive Oil: 2 tbsps
Mixed herbs: 1 tbsp( I used Oregano and then some Roopak Oregano seasoning with carway seeds)


In an oven proof flat dish layer the mushrooms, then arrange the tomato roundels, sprinkle the mixed herbs and drizzle with Olive oil( be a little generous with the olive oil else the mushrooms will tend to shrivel). Bake/Grill for about 15/20 minutes.

Variations: Could add green peas and/or baby corn. Could also add some finely chopped garlic though that might overpower the wonderful combination of olive oil and herbs. Maybe par-boiled baby potatoes, shallots....mmmmm! next time. The options are never ending. All they need is a creative mind and an experimentative palate.

Thank God It is Friday Tomorrow. Really looking forward to the weekend and to some more good food! Till then Happy Cooking!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cooking with leftovers

Cooking with leftovers is so much fun. Doesn't the idea of cooking once eating twice sound lovely. Also with most of the preparatory work done it is almost like the chef getting the day off. The chef takes on the role of a magician giving the dish a new texture, form and when it is me even a new (most times an exotic one) name. The second time treats are as tasty if not better than the original. As a child I watched Mama add leftover mutton curry( which in its original form would not have sufficed for a family of five) to Toor daal, chinese noodles stuffed into omelettes, a quick pulao with leftover rice and so on. My grandpa used to make a really flavorsome dish called 'Pish Pash' with leftover rice. I used to think that the old man had been really creative in naming it so till my brother chanced upon the dish in a Dak Bunglow food festival. Then there is a friend who kneads leftover cooked saag into her dough to sneak in the greens. The possibilities are endless. Leftover mushroom baby corn saute can be added on to a green curry to give it a completely new flavor.

Rehashing leftovers gives me an instant high. Leftover keema matar into Keema Khichdi or leftover pasta into a salad. Had cooked traditional mutton curry(refer blog) for dinner last night and made a quick and easy pulao for the kids today.

Mutton Pulao


Leftover mutton curry: You need only a few pieces, reserve a few pieces with bones as that adds to the flavor
Basmati rice: 1 tea cup, suggest you use only Basmati or long grained doon rice for pulaos as they both look and taste better( a more khila khila pulao).
Whole spices: Cinnamon stick( one or two), green cardamom(3/4)
Bay leaves: 1/2( could add it from the mutton curry)
Ghee/oil: 1 tbsp( when I am making it for the kids I usually use ghee)
Onions: 2, finely sliced
Salt: to taste( the mutton has already been cooked with salt so go easy on it)


  • Soak the basmati rice for about a half an hour( you get longer grained rice that way)
  • Heat the ghee in the pressure cooker, add whole spices and the sliced onions. Saute for a few minutes
  • Drain water from the rice and add to the onion base.
  • Next add the mutton pieces and mix well
  • Add about half a tsp of salt
  • Add 1.5 cups of hot water( do add hot water as it prevents the rice from getting sticky, also helps cook faster).
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker
  • Switch off the gas after one whistle and let the cooker cool.
  • Serve hot with a raita. I served mine today with a palak raita. Helps balance the meat out.

Palak Raita

Again had made this with some leftover cooked palak. Actually I tend to cook palak the day it is purchased and then add it to various dishes like stir fried veggies or to a pasta salad or like my good friend to atta dough. I even love a palak no spinach omelette( sounds better when you call it spinach omelette)


Palak: One bundle finely chopped
Garlic: 4/5 pods, again finely chopped
Olive oil: 1tbsp( try the Del Monte range, good and economical).
Curd: 1 cup
Sugar: a pinch
Black salt: to taste


  • Heat a kadai, add a tbsp of olive oil. Once the oil heats up add the garlic and saute for under a minute. Next add the palak, you may need to do this in batches if your kadai is small. Add salt and cook till done. Make this in large quantities and keep it handy in the refrigerator( it is otherwise painful to clean and chop palak each time). You can even store this in your freezer. Allow the palak to cool.
  • Whip curd with sugar, salt( I use the Roopak Dahi bhala masala, gives raitas a nice flavor), add about 2/3 tbsp of the cooked palak. Mix well and chill.
  • Serve with any pulao or as a raita with your regular meal
One could just go on and on about cooking with leftovers. In fact almost every dish you cook cam be rehashed differently, add boiled veggies to leftover daal, upma out of leftover idlis, dips into sandwich spreads, chutneys as flavoring for gravy dishes etc. etc. In fact after a point you purposefully make that little extra so that you can rustle up something quick with the leftover.