Friday, 21 November 2014

Neer Neelikkai Oorugai | Oil-free Gooseberry Pickle

November is the Thanks giving month and the Recipe ReDux team chose -A Food Memory For Which You Are Thankful as the theme this month!

We are thankful to a whole bunch of people we have come across. These people have guided us, been through our highs and low, taught us a couple of things and in general we are thankful for all that they have done. Then there is another category of people we must be thankful to in a different sort of way- The people who hurt us and made us cry. In a way, I would say, they too have taught us a valuable lesson on how to avoid such situations in future and also easier to handle them should they arise!And I really wish that ever happens.

Anyway, let us just talk about the thanks giving stuff and the ones we love.Before going on to the post I would love to send out a big hug and a million thanks to my dear mom and dad for making me who I am today.... 

My early childhood food memories are always associated with mom cooking delicious meals every day. She used to prepare snacks and other munchies almost every day and I don't even remember her buying stuffs that could be made at home. All these goodies were for me to enjoy as an after school snack.

And the place where we lived was a pretty cold one and yet nothing deterred her when it came to cooking. There was no maid to help her with the daily chores, yet she would keep making one thing or the other for me.She made sure I ate well and tried all sort of tricks to make me finish off the lunch box.And when I say this it did not mean she stayed in the kitchen all the time!She is a multi talented woman who took part in a lot of activities and still dished out hot and delicious meals every day.

Even now,if I need a new recipe or have doubts in cooking or need new ideas, I call her up and we chat about cooking.She is the main inspiration behind this blog too.

Mom is extremely good when it comes to sun dried preserves and pickles. I can still recollect those summers when mom and her friend used to prepare home made sun dried stuffs. I used to sit by their side watching them going about their work .And I can also clearly remember mom making several types of pickles at home.I don't remember mom buying a jar of any pickle from the store!

And as I was planning for this post, I thought I must do a pickle. I have very few of these in my space and it sounded like a good idea to add one more to the list.

Pickles are usually prepared with a lot of oil and salt to up their shelf life. Since the theme this month also specified that we do a healthier re do of the recipe, I opted for this easy, instant and oil free pickle that is not only tasty but also very less of salt and as I said earlier nil oil!

We have a gooseberry tree in our backyard and we have a bounty of it in the peak season.Most of the times,I make some flavored rice with it / a raita - a yogurt based side dish or another variety of spicy pickle with the gooseberries.  For this post, I made this instant pickle.

Here is how the gooseberry looks... It called ara nellikai here and is smaller and tarter than the Indian gooseberry.

For this simple pickle I used:

Gooseberries - 20
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder- a large pinch
Ginger- a small piece
Green chiles to taste / 5-6, chopped

  1. In a large pan take the washed and pat dried gooseberries. Add water just enough to cover the berries.
  2. Add turmeric powder,salt,crushed ginger and bring to boil.
  3. Simmer till the gooseberries are soft. 
  4. Immediately add the green chilies and remove from heat.
  5. Let it cool completely.
  6. Transfer into a clean and dry jar.
  7. Cover and store.Stays good for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.

  • You can eat is as such or as a side to yogurt/ curd rice.
  • Always use a clean dry spoon when taking out the gooseberries from the bottle.
  • The same pickle can be made using the Indian gooseberry as well.

Here is another pickle that requires no oil - Vadumaangai Oorugai / Baby mango in brine.

Bon Appetit...

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Pasta in White Sauce

Colors play a very important place at home,especially in food and that is very obvious in Lil Dude's food choices.A cheesy pasta has been on my mind for a a very long time and made it one weekend. Lil Dude took one look at his plate and said he did not want to eat! On the other hand Lil Angel tucked in his portion too!

So I asked him if he wanted something else or he would like to have rice with green gram sambar. The Lil one happily settled for the second option!It is also interesting to note that he loves curd rice which is also white but said no to the same white colored pasta! Guess he has his own reasons....

And this creamy pasta is my third post for Blogging Marathon #46, week 2, Day 3 under the theme - Pasta/ pizza/ noodles for kids.

I used:

Pasta - 200 grams
Onion-1, finely chopped
Bell peppers cut into strips
Carrot -cut into thin strips
Corn flour-2 tablespoons
Milk-1 cup
Grated cheese- 1/2 cup
Oregano-1/2 teaspoon
Pepper powder-1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil-1 teaspoon

Heat a large pan with plenty of water. Add a teaspoon of salt and oil and bring to boil. Put in the pasta and cook till just done [al dente].Remove from pan.

Rinse with cold water, drain and spread on a plate. Leave aside.

Whisk cornflour into the milk without any lumps and keep aside

Heat oil in a pan and add the onion and saute till the onion is soft. Add the bell pepper and carrot and cook for a couple of minutes.Add the milk-corn flour mixture and mix.

The mixture will thicken on cooking.Add salt and cheese and cook on low till cheese melts.Add a little water if the sauce id too thick and put in the pasta.Mix and add oregano and pepper. Stir to mix.

Serve immediately garnished with a few chili flakes and a pinch of oregano

  • The sauce thickens on standing. Dilute it with a little hot water if needed. Also if not serving immediately, prepare the sauce and keep aside.Add the pasta just before serving,toss well and serve.
I am also sending this to Srivalli's Kids Delight event themed - Pizza, pasta and noodles hosted by Mir..

Bon Appetit...

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Schezwan Sesame Noodles

A couple of months ago, we did a group event - Around the world in 30 days, a culinary journey across the globe. I had planned this noodle dish for China but somehow posted another dish. I knew this would come in handy so let it sleep in the drafts!

This really helped for Blogging Marathon #46, week 2, Day 3 under the theme - Pasta/ pizza/ noodles for kids.

The process may seem a little lengthy but a few things like the sauce can be made ahead and the dish can be put together quickly. This is yet another dish that the kids enjoyed.

Schezwan /Sichuan  is one of those few provinces in China that serve spicy food stuffs.And when I mean spice they really are quite fiery and something that the Indian palette would love.I made it a little less spicy for the kids to enjoy and it was loved by all at home.

I used:

For the sauce:

Red chilies- 10
Garlic- 5 large pods
Ginger- 2" piece

For the noodle dish

Noodles- 1 packet
Sesame seeds,white- 1/4 cup
Tofu cubes
Colored bell peppers
Cabbage -sliced
Baby corn-3
Garlic-3 pods, chopped
Onion-1, sliced
Spring onion-2 stalks, chopped, green and white portions separated
Soy sauce- 1 teaspoon
Pepper powder- 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Sesame seeds,black-2 teaspoons for garnish
Oil-1 tablespoon

Soak the chilies in hot water for half an hour.Drain and grind along with ginger and garlic to a fine paste. Add just a teaspoon of water if needed. Keep aside.

Boil noodles in plenty of water till just done along with a little salt and oil. Drain and rinse gently in cold water. Drain and spread on a plate. Keep aside.

Toast the white and black sesame seeds separately and keep aside.

Cut the vegetables as shown...

Heat oil in a large pan and add onion, white part of the spring onion and garlic. Saute till the onion is soft and add cabbage, bell peppers.
Add baby corn and saute for two minutes. Put in the sauce prepared in step 1. This can be added according to how spicy you want the dish to be. The remaining sauce can be refrigerated / frozen.Put in tofu cubes.

Saute for a couple of minutes on medium heat and add soy sauce. Mix and after a minute add the boiled noodles, salt, pepper powder and mix well gently.Let it cook on low flame for a couple of minutes for the flavors to blend. Add white sesame seeds,a portion of spring onion greens and stir once and remove from heat

Serve garnished with more spring onion greens and black sesame seeds.

Spicy Schezwen sesame noodles is ready!

  • Paneer cubes can be used instead of tofu.
  • Any color sesame seed can be used. I used both colors as it would look nice on the dish.
  • The same sauce and method can be used to make fried rice.

I am  sending this to Srivalli's Kids Delight event themed - Pizza, pasta and noodles hosted by Mir..

Bon Appetit...