Sunday, December 29, 2013

Spinach and Cannelloni Bean Quesadilla

I have made these quesadilla for more than a decade now. They were a great weekday dinner when my daughter was little and my husband was traveling. It is one of my favorites. It is filled with nutritious ingredients and is also very filling. But most of all it tastes amazing.

When I first posted this recipe my husband had tasted this quesadilla for the first time. He was not sure he wanted to try it. Cannelloni beans are not his favorite. After tasting it he was surprised how much he liked them. If your family likes the taste of vegetables then try this recipe.

Today my daughter wanted Quesadilla for dinner so I made one of my favorite's. This quesadilla is healthy, filling and rich in protein. And it tastes great!

I updated this recipe with new pictures on January 26th 2019.

You will need
6 prepared poli or phulka for the base (recipe here, you can use store bought if you like)

For the filling
1/2 onion, chopped
2 heaping cups of shredded spinach ( I mix in some Arugula for taste)
1 15oz. can cannellini beans (I use Whole foods)
3 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
olive oil
salt to taste

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on a pan and add the chopped onions. Saute on a medium heat stirring occasionally until they begin to change color. Wash and clean the spinach (or other greens if using). Break of the stems and discard. Chop the leaves in small strips. When the onions are cooked add the spinach to it. Let the spinach cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.

Wash and drain the cannellini beans. Add then to the pan.

Mash them with a potato masher. Add salt to taste and turn off the heat.

Mix in the feta cheese, divide into 3 portions and keep the mixture aside until needed.

Heat a flat griddle and place one poli/tortilla on it. When one side is heated through flip it over and let the other side heat. Take it off heat and place it on a plate. Place another poli/tortilla on the griddle and repeat. While the second tortilla heats place one portion of the mixture on the first tortilla. Spread it evenly all the way to the edges.

Place the second heated tortilla over the first to form a quesadilla. Place both with the mixture in the middle back on the griddle. The tortilla should crisp up, about 5 seconds. Flip it over and let it heat another 5 seconds. Take it off the stove and cut it into quarters to serve hot. Repeat with the remaining tortilla and mixture.



This is my entry for week four, day three of BM #96 for the theme Redo. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#96

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Upama (Semolina snack)

Upama is a standby snack recipe in my house. It does not take much time, is healthy and the ingredients are readily available in the pantry.

You will need
1.5 cups semolina
1/2 onion, chopped
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 tsp. cumin seeds
4-5 curry leaves
1 serrano pepper, deseeded and minced
salt to taste
olive oil

Roast semolina in a pan until you can run it through your fingers without sticking.

Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in the same pan and add cumin seeds to the hot oil. When the seeds sizzle add the curry leaves, serrano pepper and onion. Let it cook for a few minutes and then add the peas. Occasionally stir as the peas cook for about 10 minutes on low medium heat. Once done add salt to season not just the onion and peas but also the semolina that will be added to it.

In a microwavable bowl bring just over 3 cups of water to a boil. If using store top to boil water make sure you put it on the stove top when you start roasting the semolina.

To the pan add the semolina and mix well.

Add the just boiled water to the pan and mix well. Lower the heat, cover and let it steam for a 3 minutes. The upama may seem watery but the water will all be absorbed after steaming.

Uncover and mix well. Cover and steam another 3 minutes. Turn off heat and serve hot with pickle.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Basic White Sauce

White sauce is used as a base for a lot of recipes. It adds a creamy texture and provides a flavored base to build on.

You will need
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
3/4 cup warm milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan melt butter on medium heat. Add in the flour a half tbsp. at a time and whisk in. Cook the mixture for a couple minutes. Pour in warm milk whisking all the time to prevent lumps. Never add cold milk to the sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat. Used as called for in the recipe.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Baked Cabbage Rolls

This is the second recipe from the Daring Cook's archives that I had tried. It looked easy enough to make but took a long time to prep. There are a lot of steps though each one of them is fairly simple. I had made a timeline for myself so I would have lunch on the table on time. One by one I saw my timed deadlines slipping away. Finally at noon I sent my husband and daughter to practice her parallel parking skills. She will need it if she is going to get her license next month. And I figured I would get everything done faster if I did not have them watching me and the time.

I bought the ingredients for this recipe about 4 days back. Every day after that we seemed to go out in the morning. Since this recipe requires a lot of prep time I had to make something else for lunch instead. Today when I woke up I decided I would make the cabbage rolls.

I had never used parsnips in my cooking before. I am not very fond of its taste. But this recipe called for it so I decided to use it. I made variations to suit my family's taste. I replaced rice with cracked wheat as my husband is trying to avoid rice.

You will need
1 large cabbage
1/2 cup cracked wheat, soaked for an hour
1 cup black lentils
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
1 parsnip, grated
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
a bunch cilantro, chopped
1 serrano pepper, deseeded and minced
6 tomatoes, Roma, pureed
2 tomato, diced
1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp. coriander-cumin powder
1 tsp. Madhava agave nectar
1 tsp. siracha hot sauce
olive oil

Drain the cracked wheat and transfer to a pan with 2 cups water. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the wheat is soft but not fully cooked. Take it off the heat, drain and keep aside. In a pan heat 3 cups of water. Wash, clean the black lentils and add them to the heated water. Boil on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Take it off the heat, drain and keep aside.

Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to a pan and cook the onions and carrots for about 5 minutes or until soft. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and in the same pan heat another tbsp. of olive oil. Add the bell peppers and parsnip. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Turn off the heat and transfer to the same large bowl. Add the partially cooked cracked wheat and black lentils to the bowl along with the chopped coriander, serrano pepper and salt to taste.

Mix well. This is the filling. Keep aside until needed.

To a large deep pan add enough to soak the large cabbage. Bring the water to a boil and lower the heat. Immerse the cabbage whole into the water and let it cook for about 5 minutes. The cabbage will float in the water stalk side up. Using a sharp knife cut all around the stalk to release the leaves. Using a fork loosen up the leaves on the outer layers and carefully peel them off. Stack the leaves on a dry plate. Keep working your way to the center of the cabbage. When all the leaves are taken off turn off the heat.

Chop the Roma tomatoes into rough big pieces and puree in a blender. Dice the other tomatoes. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a pan and add the ginger-garlic paste. Season with salt, agave nectar and hot sauce. Let it cook for a minute and then add all the tomatoes. Let it heat through then add a cup of water. Let it come to a boil and cook until the tomatoes are cooked through. turn off heat.

Preheat oven to 375F. On a flat working surface place a leaf of cabbage. Trim any tough stalk. Depending upon the size of the leaf, add one or more heaped tbsp. of filling near the stalk. Fold the sides over and roll from stalk side to the other end to form a roll. Place it in a casserole dish. Work your way through all the cabbage leaves.

Pour the tomato sauce over the prepared cabbage rolls and cook in a 375F oven for 1.5 hours covered with foil. After about an hour the kitchen should smell wonderful.

After 1.5 hours, remove the casserole from the oven and let it sit on the countertop for about 10 minutes. Remove the foil and serve hot with a dollop of sour cream.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wheat Flour Dhirdi (Pancakes)

Dhirdi is a Maharastrian favorite. It can be made with a combination of any flour you have in the house. Today I used wheat flour with besan, semolina and rice flour. The dough can be flavored any way you like.

You will need
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rice flour
2 tbsp. besan
2 tbsp. semolina
1/2 onion, chopped
a bunch cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. coriander and cumin powder
1 serrano pepper, deseeded and minced
5 curry leaves
2 cups yogurt
salt to taste

In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients except yogurt.

Add the yogurt and 2 cups water. Whisk together. The resultant batter should be thick but pouring consistency. Add more water if needed.

Heat a griddle pan. Coat with oil an in a couple minutes wipe clean with moist paper towel. On the hot griddle put a ladle of the mixture. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes. Uncover, turn over and cook for another 4 minutes.

Take off heat and serve hot with yogurt or tomato chutney.

Tomato Chutney with peanuts

Chutneys and pickles have a special place in the Indian meal. They add a little tangy, spicy flavor to the food. Chutney is served with a meal or a snack. This chutney goes well with savory pancakes or dhirdi. Roasted peanut powder is added to a lot of Maharastrian dishes. The peanuts in this recipe give it a nutty texture and complete the medley of flavors. When I first posted this recipe I paired it with  wheat flour dhirdi for a quick lunch.

I was very new to blogging then and I always felt the pictures did not do this recipe justice. Four years later I have updated this post with new pictures. I got a chance to make a very flavorful and easy chutney again. This time I paired it with poli/bhaji (Indian flatbread and vegetable side).

You will need
3 medium sized salad tomato, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 serrano pepper, deseeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. asafetida
1 tsp. turmeric powder
3 curry leaves
1 tbsp. roasted peanut powder
salt to taste
olive oil

Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds crackle add the asafetida and turmeric powder. To this add the serrano pepper and garlic. Sauté for a minute and add the onions. Let the onions cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the curry leaves and saute for a couple minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, turn up the heat and let it cook.

Stir frequently to avoid burning. Once the tomato juice evaporates the chutney will begin to come together.

Add the roasted peanut powder. Turn off heat and mix well.

The chutney is ready.


This is my entry for week four, day one of BM #89 for the theme Redo. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#89.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Methi Pithla

Pithla is a Maharastrian preparation using besan as the main ingredient. This dish can be flavored with a variety of vegetables. Leafy greens like spinach or methi are popular as they blend in nicely. As a child I liked the pithla dry and chunky. I refused to eat it if it were even a little runny. Now I like it either way. Today I made chunky pithla.

You will need
1.5 cups besan
1 bunch methi
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp. yogurt
5 cups water
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. Madhava agave nectar (or 1 tsp. sugar)
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 asafetida
olive oil

Heat olive oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they crackle add the asafetida and turmeric powder. Then add onions and sauté. While the onions are cooking, wash the methi and separate the leaves from the stems. Wash the leaves again, drain and chop finely. Add to the onions and let it cook for another few minutes.

When the methi is cooked it will shrink in size.

In a bowl, add the besan, yogurt and water and whisk together. Add salt, chili powder, nectar (or sugar) and whisk again.

Add the mixture to the onions and methi. Keep whisking the mixture on medium heat until the besan is heated through. This prevents the mixture from sticking to the bottom or forming lumps.

Cover and allow it to cook for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and using a spoon mix well. Repeat until the besan is cooked. Serve hot.

You could add whole cloves of garlic to the oil with the mustard seeds. It adds a unique flavor.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Eggplant Chips

Whenever I find a shiny, fresh and firm eggplant I buy it to make eggplant chips. This is one of those recipes that can be included in a regular meal or can be eaten as a snack. I do not cook eggplant often. My daughter and husband love eggplant but I do not like it at all. Except for bharli wangi (stuffed mini eggplant) and this recipe I do not eat eggplant in any form. I like the taste but like most people, I have trouble with the soft cooked texture. If you or someone from your family does not eat eggplant because of texture issues then this is the recipe for them.

Today is January 24th, 2019, I have added new pictures to the old post. The next time you find an eggplant that looks like this try making these chips

You will need
1 eggplant
1 cup besan
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
salt to taste

Sift the besan into a mixing bowl. Add chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well and leave aide.

Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices.

Place a slice of eggplant in the besan. The besan will stick to the side without addition of any liquid. Now turn it over and coat the other side. Repeat for all the slices. Keep aside for 15 minutes. The juices of the eggplant will moisten the besan. Adding liquid to the besan leaves a watery mess.

Heat a pan with a few drops of olive oil. Place about 4 chips on the pan and let them brown. Turn over and let them brown on the other side.

Take the chips out of the pan and place on a paper towel to drain. Repeat for all the chips. These are best eaten hot.


This is my entry for week four, day one of BM #96 for the theme Redo. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#96.