Posts Tagged With: vegetarian

Grilled Avocado Sandwich

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There is a sudden oversupply of avocados in the Singapore Market .  I remember having a tough time in selecting the best from the little basket of raw avocados, pay S$2 for each I picked and wait for over 3-4 days for them to naturally ripen ; Now you see big caskets of  ripened Hass variety of these butter-fruits imported directly from America and thanks to their profusion, they now cost just  S$ 2.75 for 3!!  ( Please don’t judge me!)  Singapore food market relies completely on imports, so prices are decided by the supply. ( I even remember paying S$3.6 /kg for my Indian tomatoes 😐 )

Anyway, I love avocados for its distinct texture & health benefits and now I had an encouraging reason to take them to my kitchen! 🙂 While I was happily choosing my dark spotty Alligator Pear ( that’s what they are called for obvious reasons ) , my brain was churning ideas to effectively use them. As I trotted  further, I entered supermarket’s in-house bakery section and that is when a loaf of herb Focaccia caught my eye. The sound of “Avocado & herb Focaccia Sandwich” sounded both fresh and delicious! So here it goes:

Quick Ingredients:

  • Focaccia Loaf
  • Lettuce
  • 1.5 cups of Guacamole
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Butter/Olive oil ( to lightly grease the bread)

Avocado Sandwich

I started by making fresh tangy guacamole dip, using the same recipe that we shared with you in our express Mexican platter.  To quickly reiterate I used pulp from 2 medium ripe avocados, one medium onion, one medium tomato, few green chilies ( instead of jalapeno peppers ) , loads of cilantro,  salt and lime to taste.

Guacamole

It takes 5 mins to mins to assemble the sandwich once the guacamole spread is ready ( which in itself is a very quick process).

Avocado Sandwich

Whether to have this sandwich grilled or just raw is completely an individual choice. I like to grill it to make this preparation more interesting. When grilled, the focaccia gets a li’l crisp and adds a new dimension to the otherwise gooey filling of guacamole, tomatoes and cheese.  I lightly brushed the bread with butter spread so it doesn’t become too dry. Olive oil can also be a healthy substitute.

Avocado Sandwich

All set to be Grilled in the oven

Just give it 5 mins in the oven. Alternately, you may choose to toss it on grill pan over a gas stove just enough to make the bread crisp.  You may serve this with extra guacamole and lemon wedge.

The freshness of ingredients is the highlight of this sandwich. Cilantro, chili and Lime add zing to this nutritious meal while cheese and avocado add to the creamy texture.  I made this sandwich for quick breakfast. Its simple, healthy and heavenly!

Avocado Grill

Replacing just a couple of  ingredients, this recipe can be made suitable for our vegan friends. Olive Oil, Vegan Bread and Vegan Cheese are the ingredients that could be incorporated.

To all our working/ bachelor/lazy  friends, who have been requesting us to share some fast and easy health recipes, this quick fix is for you! We hope you’d enjoy it.

Have a munchy weekend!

Ciao!

Team 156, Hungerlane

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Categories: Breads, Breakfast, Mains | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Express Mexican Platter

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We are back after celebrating the colorful festival of Holi and gorging on equally colorful food menu that we have been sharing with you! Don’t we just love  these festivals, they push us out of our mundane routine while bringing around so much euphoria and enthusiasm.  This time the celebrations were elongated by the long Easter weekend that followed.. Believe me, I have been thinking of sharing this blog post since the Good Friday but lazy mornings followed by eventful evenings have been keeping me away from doing so!  Anyway, finally we are here and to compensate for our absence , we are excited to introduce a whole new dimension to our widespread blog menu – The Tex- Mex Express! The inclination to try Mexican cuisine came when our close friends and fellow bloggers- Neha and Mridul shared with us the recipe to the Guacamole Dip on their blog. While their blog post was enough to plant the idea of trying Mexican cuisine in my head, the recent visit to two interesting Mexican restaurants in Singapore – Cha Cha Cha and Viva Mexico just pushed me further into  trying the extended Tex-Mex platter at home!

Tex-Mex is often used to describe a localized version of Mexican cuisine ( and even uses ingredients that are not generally used in traditional Mexican preparation). So, today, we will share with you the recipe for “quick” Tex-Mex platter using simple, easy to find ingredients!  The items on platter require minimum cooking and use of very little oil…. Hope this makes this post all the more exciting for you! 🙂

So, this is what our platter looks like:

Mex Platter

We tried three famous dips that generally accompany the Mexican mains :
1. Guacamole ( that uses Avocado as the main ingredient)
2. Chunky Salsa ( Fresh dip made of tomato chunks!)
3. Sour Cream 
 
Apart from this we tried the vegetable Quesadillas and baked Nacho Chips!
 
The Dips:
 

1. Guacamole

Guacamole is made by mashing ripe avocados and adding few condiments that make it more interesting. Avocados become smooth and creamy when mashed and are often used to replace butter in vegan preparations!. They have very mild yet unique taste, and therefore care should be taken that condiments added do not overpower its distinct flavor.

Guacamole

Directions:

– Take ripe Avocados (one with dark firm shell but they should yield to pressure when pressed hard), deseed them, scoop out the avocado pulp into a bowl and mash it using a fork. Note- Keep the seed aside and do not throw it away, 😕 we will shortly* tell you why.

– For one Avocado, add 3 tbsp spring onions/ red onions,  1 tbsp minced jalapenos, loads of chopped coriander, half a  lime and kosher salt to taste.  You may use green pepper sauce/tobasco if you do not find jalapenos, also the kosher salt may be replaced by rock salt.

– Some people add tomatoes to the Guacamole, but we are not too happy about the idea, the water from the tomatoes doesn’t quite mix that well with rich, creamy avocado texture! You may chose to top the Guacamole with fresh tomatoes just before serving instead.. its  completely your choice! 🙂

Mix everything well and fold in all the ingredients.  [ Handy Tip-  The Guacamole tends to oxidize and turn brown within sometime. To prevent this, ensure that you scrape off the greenest portion next to the peel, add lime juice right in the beginning and insert the avocado *seed in the guacamole until you are ready to serve it. It is said that the avocado seed prevents the guacamole from turning brown]Guacamole

2. Chunky Salsa

Salsa is Spanish term for “Sauce” and is also a famous Mexican dip. Tomatoes are the main ingredients for Mexican salsa preparation. Nowdays, the prepacked salsa jars are easily available at almost all general stores with variations in the amount of spice/heat. While the prepacked salsa have a thick paste consistency, what we tried was a lot chunkier.. almost like a Salsa Salad!

Salsa Dip

For our Chunky Salsa we need:

Medium Firm Tomatoes – 2
Small Onion-1
Capsicum – 1/3 rd
Jalapenos/Green Chilies- to taste 
Coriander Leaves – one small bunch
Fresh Mint Leaves- handful
Oregano- 1 tsp
Minced Garlic – 1 clove
Big Lime – 1  
Cumin Powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Sugar- if required
 

Directions:

Chop all the ingredients, you don’t have to cut them too fine or the Chunk of our Chunky Salsa would get lost 😉

It is advised to de-seed the jalapenos and green chilies before you mince them , we do not prefer the seeds for two reasons –  they would make it difficult for us to control the heat of the salsa and since they are  thick-difficult-to-chew, they  do not really do justice to this otherwise fresh tender salsa!

Toss all the ingredients well in a large bowl , you may adjust the flavors especially of salt, lime and heat as per your taste. Sometimes, the tomatoes are too sour which we do not really prefer, we add some sugar to balance the sourness of the tomatoes in such case. It’s completely up to you to how you want your salsa – with sugar or without!

Cover the bowl with a cling wrap, and let it refrigerate for at least 30-40 mins.. why? A. Because you would love this dip chilled! B. The salt and lime together make all the ingredients to release their flavors and come together for this lip smacking concoction! The freshness of mint, coriander and oregano gives kick to the palette in every bite! This fresh, raw salsa can be a great accompaniment to endless dishes.. Try it today!

3. Sour Cream

Sour cream is a cream that has been naturally soured by lactic-acid bacteria. It tastes just like it sounds, creamy yet sour. It’s both delicious and fattening at the same time. Sour Cream makes a great accompaniment to fried potato snacks like wedges, Rosti, baked hash etc.  It even goes wonderfully well with Mexican preparations like tortilla chips, enchiladas, burritos. Sour Cream should ideally be added to any preparation after it has been cooked, so sour cream retains its natural creamy texture!

Directions:

Mix half cup of hung plain yogurt (drain all water by hanging in cheesecloth) with half cup of heavy cream [ ideally it should be 3 tablespoons of yogurt for a cup of cream, but I find half-half a little more healthy ;), you may use any proportion according to your preference].  I am sometimes tempted to use it as it is, right after it has been mixed but ideally, you should let it stand (out in the heat) in a glass container for at least 6-8 hours and then refrigerate.  The bacteria from the curd would sour the cream and the fermentation process would make it heavy. Check the appearance. We are looking for white cream and a creamy, smooth consistency with a characteristic tangy smell.

I learnt this half-half process to make sour cream at home from my sister. This method is not just quick and delicious but also less fattening than the sour cream prepared by other means. Make it in advance and store it in a clean container ( for upto 2-3  days) in fridge for quick use.

Baked Nachos

Baked Nachos

Baked Nachos are as fat-free and  simple as they sound. To make these healthy and express Chips at home, just get any ready-made tortilla wraps. You can use the flavored wraps for a little twist in your chips.

I used the Spinach Tortilla wraps to make  these chips more “healthy”.

Directions:

Cut the Tortilla wraps into desired shapes.

Grease the baking tray with little olive oil and spread the tortilla chips on them properly.

Sprinkle little cumin, cayenne pepper and red chili powder and let them bake till they are golden brown. Caution –  In some cases, it’s better to sprinkle the spices after baking to prevent them from turning brown.  You may take a call accordingly.

Just like that you baked yourself these express and healthy Nacho chips that will go deliciously well with the dips mentioned above!

Express Quesadillas

Quesadillas

Quesadillas, as a dish originated in Mexico. The name is derived from combination of  tortilla and the Spanish word for cheese queso. It is made by folding tortillas after   filling  them with any kind of stuffing and cheese.

Directions:

I used the spinach tortillas again for this recipe ( one pack had 8, and I intelligently used all of ’em).

You can really experiment with what filling you wish to make. I used shredded mozzarella cheese along with vegetable filling (made from tomatoes, spinach,capsicum and onions and seasoned with cumin powder, chili powder and tobasco!) I cooked the filling on a hot skillet with very little olive oil to remove the rawness of the ingredients.

Once the filling is ready, sprinkle little olive oil on a flat non stick griddle, put cheese and filling mixture on one-half of the tortilla wrap, fold it and cook on a slow flame from both sides. The cheese would melt and bind the filling inside the wraps well , making it easier for us to gorge on these crisp, cheesy quesadillas! Cut the quesadillas to make them easier to hold. Serve hot and the cheese shall melt right in your mouth! 😀

Quesadillas

If not the entire, I really hope , we at-least got you are tempted to try few of the express tex-mex preparations we shared with you today. Do let us know how did they come out , share back with us through comments below, our Facebook page or even on our mail 156hungerlane@gmail.com

Recently, we have been really looking forward to something exciting that might just happen for Hungerlane ! We can’t wait to share it with you and shall do it you as soon as we receive a confirmation. 🙂

Till then, keep cooking , sharing and of course, gorging on that good-looking delicious food!

Cheers!

Rashi

 
Categories: Breads, Mains | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Eggless Pancakes

Though Pancakes is quintessential American Breakfast, we think there is no particular time or day to have them!  Why?
a. They are easy to make, if you don’t believe us.. just follow try this recipe and you would also agree with us.
b. They offer room for so many variations, you can choose to use choco-chips, fresh fruits, berries or just butter with your pancakes.
c. They are Pancakes! They are simply Delicious, the fresh hot pancakes are so soft that they just melt in your mouth! mmmm..
 
Variations
Pancakes also have many close variations, make them thin and increase their diameter, they will be called Crepes in Europe. Make them thick and  they would be called as Flapjacks in US and Canada. Replace  flour with  Cornmeal and they would become Mexican Hotcakes!  Even the savory Pooda/Cheela or Uttapams from Southern India are kind of  pancakes!
 
Anyway, without losing our focus let’s come back to the conventional Pancakes, cooked completely without eggs! The ingredients are as follows:
The Yogurt acts as a replacement for eggs and is a great leveling agent. The Baking powder is the raising agent. When mixed  with salt, they all work together to raise the cake when subjected to heat. The quantity of sugar can be increased as per taste. Since we would serve it with maple syrup or strawberry sauce, we have tried to make the pancake a little less sweeter. The oil would ensure that the cake binds together and does not become too hard.
At the mixing step you can add little surprises in your pancakes.. Use cinnamon or nutmeg powder, chocochips,  blueberries or even small mango pieces to flavor your pancakes.  It’s really the right time for you to experiment.
 
Just remember to keep beating the mixture when you add milk, it should not get too thin or it would make the cakes thin and sticky.. We don’t want any FUGLYCAKES, do we??  It should be thicker than the cake batter. It’s a good idea to use hand blender to ensure the batter has no lumps and it gets smooth. When my batter gets few bubbles I know I am on the right track!
  
Heat the non stick griddle or frying pan on medium heat and lightly grease it with butter. Put just a ladle full of batter and spread lightly till you get the desired size and thickness. Conventionally pancakes are round in shape but you can be creative and make them in any shape! 
 

Let the cake cook till you see its sides getting golden brown, ideally on a nonstick pan it leaves the sides itself. Cook on both the sides until they are golden brown.  The heat that reaches the pancake varies according to the pan being used, with your fair judgement and few trial & errors,  you would be able to have an idea about how long would it take to cook your pancake perfectly!

Servings:

Serve stacks of your pancakes,  dust them with icing sugar, put a small dollop of butter and loads of fresh fruits of your choice.

Maple Syrups are the most common accompaniment to the Pancakes. You can also make your own syrups like strawberry or chocolate sauce. We are sharing a quick recipe for strawberry sauce. It just requires: 3/4 cup Fresh diced Strawberries, 1/2 cup water and 3 tbsp sugar. Just put them on medium heat and boil it till strawberries get squished and sauce thickens! You can blend the cooled mixture to get smooth sauce but I use it just as it is with soft strawberry pieces.

Make a delicious serving loaded with sauces, fruits & whatever you can think of. While serving kids use ice cream or whipped cream!

Pancakes can be both sweet and savory !  They can be served with even vegetables and cheese!  Infact, there is a restaurant here in Singapore called Strictly Pancakes with a great spread and as the name suggests, each and every item on their menu has pancakes! 

Hope you try this recipe soon and share with us about what variation did you experiment with! ( Try Chocolate or Nutella with fresh bananas and nuts!)

I would like to end  this post with a quote about Love and…. Pancakes! 🙂

“Love is a bicycle with two pancakes for wheels. You may see love as more of an exercise in hard work, but I see it as more of a breakfast on the go.” – Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale

Ciao!

Rashi

Categories: Breakfast, Desserts, Restaurant Reviews, Sauces | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Thai Curry

With Nupur’s last post, we ticked off the beginning of festivities! At 156 hunger lane ,we hope to be a part of your celebrations in the journey towards welcoming 2013! We are always thinking, discussing and experimenting with recipes that could be an interesting addition to your festive menu.  Be it Diwali or Christmas, card parties or cozy dinners, we want to be involved, be right there for you!

The picture of Pea and Pesto soup reminded me of Thai Green Curry and I wondered why I didn’t share the recipe here till now.  I have tried and tested to work around the original recipe, using authentic ingredients (one positive of being so close to Thailand) as well as their easily available substitutes. I can finally vouch for this vegetarian recipe. It uses no fish sauce and no chicken broth but still comes very close to the vegetarian Thai Curry that I have eaten at my favorite restaurants –  Malaka Spice at  Pune  , Thai High @ Qutub  and  mamagoto at New Delhi.  Authentically, being a non-vegetarian curry, not many vegetarian standards are available to compare. Therefore, there is no right or wrong to this recipe. Use your own judgement and taste, to adjust the amount of spice and sweetness; I am sure you would enjoy it!

 In our kitchen, Thai Curry is cooked at least twice a month, with hubby dearest drooling over its freshness.

The Paste

First Step is to make the paste. Red or Green- the choice is all yours since most of the ingredients are same (and hence, the taste to some extent). Here’s what all we need:

Lemon Grass

Lemon Grass stalks are easily available even in Indian hypermarkets now. You can even look for frozen lemon grass ( its called hari chai ki patti – refer picture). Look for stalks that are fragrant, tightly formed, and have lemony-green color near the bulb. It has lots of layers with a coarse paper-like outer texture, keep peeling it till you reach a softer layer. Cut and remove the thick  bulb near the roots and pound the long green stalk with a heavy object , this helps in releasing the flavor. Chop the stalk into small pieces as by doing this it would be easily able to grind it.

Galangal

Galangal is also called as Siamese Ginger. It is harder than the normal young ginger and therefore, more difficult to cut. It has a unique flavor of its own and is essential in the authentic recipe.  I have tried and used both the options  in my cooking. Considering the ease of availability, I feel ginger will also do the trick. Chop thumb size of whatever you get into thin shreds to help in the grinding process.

Chili

One of the key ingredients and that should be used as per your taste. For red curry paste, the dried kashmiri chilies help in giving the bright red color while for green curry paste, the coriander leaves do the needful. If you want to use more chilies for the color and still wish to reduce the spice , you can de-seed the chilies. Degi Mirch or Kashmiri chili powder is a mild spice that gives more color than spice and is hence recommended. Soak the chilis in warm water so they give a pasty texture on grinding.

 The chilies specially the thai red padi’s I have used here can be very hot! Please wear gloves before you try to split them open for the de-seeding process. I have had experiences when the chili leaves a burning sensation on the skin. But this time,  I almost had my hands on fire! The sensation does not go for hours, at times. Take thorough precautions but if you still end up getting the burning sensation, scrub the affected areawith salt and water. Rub in milk or coconut oil for the balming effect. 

Kaffir Lime and Thai Basil

Lime leaves  and Thai Basil are both dark green aromatic leaves. They both help in providing a distinguishing aroma to the paste. In Singapore, both Kaffir Lime and Thai Basil are easily available at supermarkets and vegetable markets. These might be a little difficult to find in countries other than those in South East Asia.  While Thai Basil can be skipped, Kaffir Lime could be substituted by the lemon peel/rind. Please ensure that you do not peel the rind too deep –  try avoiding peeling the white skin inside or it could be bitter. Peel of half a lime should be enough to substitute the leaves.

Chop and grind all the ingredients  in the smallest jar of your food processor till you get a fine paste ( add water if required).  It is as simple as that.

Storage:    

Make in advance and store it. Once my Paste is ground, you can store it in an air tight container and freeze it up to 6 weeks.  The uncooked paste does not spoil if kept in the freezer. Whenever you wish to make thai curry again, it takes just 15 mins to thaw the paste and your Thai curry could be ready in a jiffy.

The Curry

Once the Thai curry paste is ready, making the curry is as simple as it can get. Here’s what you need to do:

The amount of curry used in proportion to the Coconut Milk is completely up to your taste and liking. We generally follow the mentioned ratio. You may add vegetables of your choice. Just parboil the vegetables, it would taste better if its crunchier. If you are adding bell peppers , add them raw. They would be perfectly tender when you leave them to simmer in the curry for 10 mins , as indicated in the recipe.

 

Once you have added the vegetables, just let it cook for 10 mins &  your piping hot (literally) curry is ready to serve!

Thai Curry

Serve it hot with Sticky rice or any fragrant rice. ( I have specially bought  aromatic Thai Rice for this cuisine :)).

Be it Red or Green, enjoy the curry HOT and savor the spicy sweet taste!

For those who wanted yellow curry or massaman curry, we still need to try its vegetarian recipes! Stay tuned on this page for more surprises that come your way!

Keep cooking, eating and sharing!

Laew Phop Kan Mai Na Ka!! ( See you again in Thai :P)

Rashi

Categories: Mains, Sauces | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Falafel with Hummus

Every new post on 156, Hungerlane has a story behind it that helps us create and conceptualize of what we talk about here. New cuisines or dishes that we tried somewhere. Some we liked a lot, some a little (Foodies really can’t dislike food :)), some enough to inspire us and try it for ourselves. Tried, over and over again until we felt ready for it to be  posted here! So with this recipe, we wish to give our Italian menu a break…  Introducing a middle eastern platter, often quoted as Lebanese platter served in multi-cuisine restaurants- Falafel with Hummus served with warm Pita bread. We are also including the recipe for Green Tahini sauce that we really loved and couldn’t help sharing!

Seriously, I don’t remember where did I first have Hummus with Pita or Falafel! If  I really rack my brains, earliest I can recall having it in the weekend brunch menu at “Not Just Jazz by the Bay, Pune “,  six years back!  They used to serve Hummus Dip with Lavash ( kinda crisp pita bread). Since then, I have been having it at many places – generally as a part of Lebanese or Mezze Platter.  My friend, (now a better friend & husband) Ashim, used to gorge on hummus and often bought a fresh hummus jar from Defence Bakery along with Lavash!

Post wedding, hubby dearest’s love for the dip and the sudden discovery of fresh pita pockets at a local bakery here in Singapore gave me the motivation to try my very own version of Lebanese platter!

I have tried this recipe many times and now feel ready to share on Hungerlane! So here is a step by step recipe!

FALAFEL

The beans need to be soaked for over 6-8 hours and drained. They are added in the food processor just like this to get a coarse mixture for crackling falafel balls.

Falafels should be fried only when they are about to be served. The hot, crispy falafels with cold salad in pita pockets is a combination worth dying for! But what about the dips and sauces?

As promised, here are two dips that would accompany falafels in our lebanese platter- Hummus and Green Tahini!

DIPS and SAUCES

Note, Hummus uses boiled chickpeas instead of just soaked. Make sure you give the soaked chickpeas 8-9 whistles so they are soft to give us a puree consistency for Hummus. Sesame seeds are an important ingredient that makes both the dips creamy and adds a little oil of its own. Cumin seeds are best used little roasted; fresh and juicy lemon works the best! Here’s how we should proceed:

ASSEMBLING into a PLATTER

Get Pita pockets from your local bakery, its a round bread like a pizza base but once its cut in between it opens up into a pocket. If you cannot find Pita pockets,  go for wraps. Falafel in wraps also taste just as delicious. You can even opt to serve just Falafels as an entree with hummus and salad. Its a good variation to the Hara Bhara kababs we have in Indian Starter menu.

You may choose to go with the salad of your choice:  Fresh Cubed Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Thin long sliced- Lettuce, Broccoli pockets (steamed) , Cabbage.. be creative! Some people even love to  add boiled red beans and boiled chickpeas.

Once you have decided on your salad and have it along with you, here’s all that you need to do:

1. Warm Pita pockets in microwave for 30 secs or you can bake it a little in your oven (care, they should not get crisp!) 

2. Cut them into half, open a pocket and spread generous amount of hummus spread.

3. Fill it with salad and 2-3 fresh fried falafel ( or as much it can take or you want it to take :))

4. Top it with green Tahini sauce, and serve it in a platter. You may wrap the pita pockets in soft tissues to make it easy to pick up. 

5. Make sure you serve extra Hummus and Tahini.  You never have enough of them. I create a depression in my hummus blob, fill it with olive oil and sprinkle chilli powder, I even serve a slice of fresh lime for the ones who like it more tangy.

Make sure the pita bread is fresh and so is the salad. If kept for too long, this dish can be a little dry on the palette. You can opt to be a little generous with the olive oil ( drizzle it on Pita too, if need be).  Serve it Hot and Fresh.

We hope you would try and love this recipe. It’s something that does not expect you to be standing in front of the gas stove for long! Boiling chickpeas for Hummus and frying falafel are only two activities that would make you turn on the flame! We hope you try this recipe and put your food processor into good use.It even helps us take a break from the monotonous menu!

Restaurant we like:

There are many restaurants that serve Falafel as a part of their menu. But here in Singapore , we found a place in the plush bay level of The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. The restaurant touts of good health and rightly so, does complete justice to its name.

PITA PAN- Pocket full of Health

It not only enjoys exclusivity of being only place serving  just middle eastern menu in Singapore but also a vegetarian place to top that! ( something  that’s not too common on this part of the world). Needless to say, we are a regular there.  I can’t stop myself from bragging about this place  but I guess this post is becoming too long !  So would save the review for later, till then we might try the whole menu! Still, giving you  a sneak peak of the place , clicked on one of our visits from mobile. You don’t want to miss it on your next visit to Singapore.

We will come with more on this place and may be recipes of other dishes they serve like Shakshuka sometime soon! 🙂

Till then, we hope you  keep cooking and sharing!

Burp!!

Rashi 

Categories: Breads, Entree, Mains, Restaurant Reviews, Sauces | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Soup Series I: Soup with half tsp oil

We hear that it has been raining in most parts of India including Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Here in Singapore we are experiencing rains almost every alternate day! Hot cuppa coffee, tea or chocolate is always a great accompaniment when you are  enjoying the drizzle against your glass window.  But the closest change to these sweet beverages could be a Soup!……….and if the soup is healthy, gets cooked in a jiffy, just by using ingredients readily available in your kitchen..then you can consider having it anytime, any day!

So, here is hungerlane’s first health recipe in the Soup Series that we hope to bring for you sporadically.

Hope you enjoy this lip smacking recipe!
 
Few tips: 
1. Herbs like rosemary, oregano along with boiled macaroni could be an interesting variation!
2.  Store left over bread crumbs, if any, in an air tight container in refrigerator to avoid them getting soggy in this humid weather.
 
Categories: Entree | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Bread

Bread

My fondest food memory from France

 

Bread. A simple, basic French loaf.  I clearly remember my first taste of fresh bread. No, it wasn’t as a kid. I was much older, as old as in my final year of post-graduation in fact, that I first experienced bread. I use the word ‘experience’ because it totally changed the way I look at simpler things in life.

One day on a particularly drizzly afternoon in Aix-en-provence, France, I was trying to sprint back home when I happened to cross this cute little bakery around the corner, sitting quietly engulfed in a heavy aroma of fresh baguette and as if on an auto pilot mode, my nose directed my feet to stop right in front of its door. I stood in awe as I saw fresh bread come out of the oven, spreading its rustic earthy aroma in the air. I secured a baguette with the few pennies in my pocket and decided to stroll back home in the drizzle. Little did I know that a warm bread, a slight drizzle and a walk back home in that beautiful country could become one of my fondest food memories. 

As I look back today, I can’t help but feel sad that most of us are so busy chasing the bigger things, the bigger pay cheque, the bigger office, the bigger house that we have forgotten the joy of smaller and simpler things in life. I had also forgotten about it until it found me again in Hyderabad back in India, in a Deli right next to my house. As I stepped inside for the first time, the dense aroma in the air almost instantly transported me back to France and as though for a moment I was lost in memory. Ever since that day, I have never let it out of sight. Just knowing a place closer home where I can find freshly baked bread anytime I want is so reassuring that I am almost emotional.

After I got my first oven, I obviously had to try it but soon realized, it wasn’t as easy as I thought and certainly very difficult for an impatient person like me. However, after many not so successful attempts at home, I stumbled upon this recipe in a Masterclass episode of Masterchef Australia season 4. Let me just tell you, I tried it and I don’t think I have ever said this in the history of being me, I was proud 🙂

Here is all you need to do!

Take 5 grams of dry yeast and mix it in some warm water to activate and dissolve the yeast. Don’t stir too much. Let it sit for a while, it should dissolve on its own. Take 500 grams of plain flour, add 10 grams salt, the dissolved yeast and knead it with approximately 320 ml of water at room temperature. Add water slowly as you go, just enough to make a soft dough. Put it in a wide bowl, cover it with cling film and let it rest for 1 hour. During that hour as the dough increases in size, knock it back and knead again after every 20 minutes. After your last spell of knocking and kneading, convert it on your baking dish and leave it to rest for another hour. (What can I say, making bread is patiently complicated :P)

Once it has risen, you can spread some flavoring on top to add that extra pinch of happiness. In my case, I sprinkled some dried chilli flakes and mixed herbs. Give 3 – 4 cuts along the bread to prevent it from rising too much. These also make sure that the bread cooks evenly in the middle as well.


Turn on the oven at 250 degrees, 40 minutes before you bake. The oven needs to be really really hot for bread. After the bread has rested and risen for the last hour, put it in the oven to bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes. Also, take some ice cubes in a tray and put them underneath the bread in the oven. This will help develop a nice soft crust.

The bread might take 30 minutes but soon your room with be filled with its heavenly aroma. Caution: This can attract neighbours and don’t be surprised if they come knocking on your door to see what’s cooking  🙂           

Well, since I suggested this recipe, I also think of it as my moral responsibility to tell you what you can do in such a scenario. The simplest, quickest and easiest thing to do in such a case is to make Bruschetta. The bread is so good on its own that you would anyways not like to change it much. In my case, I made 2 kinds of Bruschetta – Mushroom & Onion and Tomato & Basil.

For Tomato & Basil: Chop nice ripe red tomatoes and add chopped basil, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and a small pinch of dried oregano to it. Mix and done!

For Mushroom & Onion: Chop mushrooms and onions and sauté them with a blob of butter in a pan. Add minced garlic and cook till the mushrooms are tender. Add salt, pepper, dried oregano and splash of lemon. Mix well and done!

 Slice your bread and lightly toast in on a pan with some butter. Put your choice of toppings and serve. You can also cut the bread in small pieces and make bite size bruschettas in case you are serving many people.

Whatever you do, however you use it, to me – Bread is humble food for my soul, one that can lift me up from any mood any time and leaves me feeling –  ca va tres tres tres bien 🙂

Et vous?

Bon Appetit!

Nupur

P.S. – Thanks to all my friends for clicking these beautiful pictures of France when we were there. I stole them from your facebook profiles 🙂

Categories: Breads, Mains | Tags: | 3 Comments

Fresh Basil Pesto

 Hello Guys, It’s finally me, Rashi, writing to you all.  Nupur had been keeping the blog alive with her inventive recipes while I was caught up packing and unpacking for the last 2 months. But now I am back and at the cost of repetition, I am also sticking to existing theme, Italian.

We all have tried many versions of red and white pasta sauces at our favourite Italian restaurant, in fact any multi-cuisine restaurant, at home and even weddings (Sorry, I am still not out of the trauma!)..but what I am sharing here is my favourite green Italian sauce that has still not completely found its way in most restaurant menus in India, “Pesto”!

All of us, who like Pesto, have already spent lot of money in buying preserved pesto jars or ordering from limited pesto delicacies at selected Italian places! My first memories of eating pesto pasta goes almost a decade back at a cosy, little and still very popular restaurant – Oven Fresh at Shivaji Park in Mumbai. I still can’t forget the Fettuccine con Pesto I had there! Pesto wasn’t easily available. So, my love for its flavor even made me buy a small (but expensive) packet of dry pesto powder from Rome that just ate up my student budget but failed to give the taste I was yearning for.  Somehow, I never thought of trying pesto at home until last year and the rest , as they say, is history. This super simple recipe has never disappointed me, in fact lately, helped me get loads of appreciation from hubby dearest.. Hope it works for you too! 🙂

So, here we go!

 

What next?

Once you have these not so hard to find ingredients in place.. All that is required is to blend them together. Traditionally, pesto is prepared by pounding all the ingredients in a marble mortar by wooden pestle. Thanks  to the technology and our time crunched lives, small mixer or even hand blender does the trick!  Olive oil should be intermittently added while the rest of the ingredients are being blended and the salt  should be added at the end. Pine Nuts can be replaced by walnuts but care should be taken that they are not bitter. Almonds are not preferred since the strong smell of its oil can dominate over that of other ingredients.
 

How to know that its done?  

The texture of  the sauce is an individual choice and would make very little difference to the taste. Almost all ingredients are used in raw form and contribute individually towards the texture, flavor and aroma of the sauce. While pine nuts give the crunch, olive oil and parmesan cheese give this sauce a velvety texture. The aroma of basil and garlic adds rich color and fragrance.  Make a smooth sauce for pasta, salads and sandwiches but a little coarse Pesto makes a brilliant Pizza sauce as it adds to the crunch on baking! 
 
 

Where can we use it?

Now that we know how simple making Pesto is.. You may choose to use it in many ways.. Toss it with boiled pasta , you can also mix it li’l home made white sauce or cream cheese ( I prefer Philadelphia Cream Cheese)  to make Pesto con Cream . I wanted to be more creative. So,  instead of serving bread as cliche’d entremets , I took herb-ed bread cubes, sprinkled some olive oil and baked it in the oven till it turned golden brown and topped my pasta with it! Small bread crumbles add crunch to every bite.  
   Pesto goes well with ribbon pastas like  Fettuccine and Linguine when served hot. Supermarket near my place was out of stock for both.. so , I had to settle in for Fussili. But if now you are in a similar situation, you can always refer to our last post where Nupur cooked wheat fettuccine at home, from the scratch!  🙂
 
Alternatively, if  you are health freak (unlike me).. you may go for pesto salad with loads of cucumber, cherry tomatoes, broccoli , tofu cubes and cooked wheat pasta tossed generously in fresh pesto!  Serve it chilled, enjoy every bite and save yourself the guilt trip!
 
  
Days passed and in my kitchen, Pesto was being used as usual in Pasta, Salads and Sandwich… until one day, I went for a friends party and tasted the Pesto Pizza ordered  from Sarpino’s Pizzeria. I had a sudden urge to try one at home, and I did.. but with Home Made Pan Crust Pizza Base and in-house substitute to sun- dried tomatoes! The result was remarkable….
I had managed to create something that had made me proud, for the first time! 
 
             Before going into the Oven                                                                      Baked Pesto Pizza
 
We hope you have fun trying your very own fresh basil pesto at home… We shall post the home-made pizza base and sun-dried tomatoes recipe on this page, soon! Till then, Happy Cooking!

 

Categories: Italian, Sauces | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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