Sunday, May 24, 2009

Palak Paneer (Indian cottage cheese in a spinach based sauce)

Palak Paneer or cottage cheese in a creamy fresh spinach sauce is delicious green food. This healthy (spinach), wholesome (cheese!) indulgence leaves an indelible mark on flavours and food colors of North Indian cuisine.

Palak paneer is cooked in a tomato, onion spinach curry. A riot of Indian spices make this dish a special treat. The sauteed onions add a crunch to the dish, the tomato flirts on the tangy side, and garam masala spells it's magic! Try using pureed spinach.

1. 1 can Spinach Puree
2. 3/4 onion, chopped
3. 1 tomato, chopped
4. Olive oil
5. 1 teaspoon garlic paste
6. 1 teaspoon ginger paste
7. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
8. 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
9. 1 teaspoon garam masala
10. Salt to taste
11. 1 cup chopped and thawed Frozen Cottage cheese
12. Drops of lemon juice.
13. 1 teaspoon coriander powder

1. Heat oil in a saucepan
2. Ad onion and saute until tender
3. Add tomato and cover for 5-10 mins.
4. Add turmeric powder and cover again. Saute until the tomato onion paste leaves the oil that is now yellow because of the turmeric.
5. Add pureed spinach and let simmer for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally.
6. Add red chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder and cover. Let simmer again for another 10 mins or until the water in the puree disappears.
7. Add lemon juice and mix well.
8. Add salt.
9 Add cottage cheese and cover again. Substitute cottage cheese with tofu for a guilt free indulgence ;-)

Serve hot with Paranthas.

Chef's tip: Add yogurt/milk/half and half/or ground cashew nut for a creamy texture.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Back on track with Gobhi matar (Smoked cauliflower florets)

Where was Food fanatic all this while?
Well, I was down with pneumonia for the past two weeks. The kitchen's power of attorney had to be given to my dear mom. Thanks to my well wishers for the 'Get well soon' messages and thanks mom for taking care of me!

But I am back with a bang and loaded with more yummy recipes to share with you that I saw my mom cooking up. And of course you have to see/hear about my rave over the new Nikon D60 I was gifted on my birthday to click all these delicious temptations! Mouth watering clicks, here I come!

Pic1: Nikon D60
Pic2: Canon Powershot SD790 IS

Today's recipe features a common vegetable that is served on the plate in any household. Yes, we are talking about cauliflower. There are lots of ways to cook cauliflower but this traditional classic way continues to win my heart. This is my mom's recipe and I relish this like no other. It's healthy and I can eat a bowl full for dinner or snack without worrying too much about my calorie intake.

1. Cauliflower
2. Oil
3. Salt
4. Red chili powder
5. Amchoor (dried mango) powder
6. Peas optional
7. Mustard seeds
8. Cumin seeds
9. Turmeric powder

1. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. Let it crackle.
2. Add cumin seeds and then cauliflower florets
3. Add turmeric powder and cook uncovered on high flame, turning occasionally.
4. When half done, cover and let cook on low flame
5. Add red chili powder, peas, and amchoor powder and cover and cook again
6. Add salt.

Serve with Paranthas or rice and dahl.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Food fanatic does not belong to the land of snake charmers...she belongs to the land of SAMOSAS! :D And for once, I don't need a translation! Samosas are for everyone.

The filling of Samosas feature potato in a bold and blissful combination of herbs and spices, including cilantro, red chili powder, coriander, ginger, and turmeric. Taste the dazzling notes of dried mango powder in the gusto of the outer layer of these crunchy delectable.

You will love me for this, I tell you :P

For the filling
1. Mashed potatoes
2. Oil
3. Turmeric powder
4. Boiled peas
5. Chopped fresh cilantro
6. Salt
7. Red chili powder
8. Ginger, finely chopped
9. Coriander powder, dhania
10. Amchoor (dried mango powder)
11. Peas

For the outer crust:
1. Maida (all purpose flour)
2. Oil to make the dough moist
3. Salt

For the filling
1. Heat oil in a saucepan
2. Add mustard seeds and let it crackle
3. Add cumin seeds
4. Add potatoes and all spices including fresh coriander leaves and cook until the potatoes turn slightly brown.
5. Add salt and peas and allow the peas to soften.
6. Set aside and let cool.

For the crust
1. Make a dough of all purpose flour then pinch out small balls of it.
2. Roll these balls with a rolling pin and flatten to form an oval
3. Bisect the oval through the diameter
4. Dampen the sides of the semicircles. This will help them stick together when we fold it.
5. Pick up one semicircle and fold it half ways on both sides to form a cone like shape.
6. Stuff in the cooked potatoes and seal the lower part by pressing it together.
7. Deep fry
Serve hot with Chole and Chutney.
East or west - Samosas are a universal favorite.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Low fat Mango Ice cream

Don't have an ice cream maker? No worries. Neither do I. Don't have experience making ice cream? No worries. Neither do I. Not so into sugar or calories at this time? No worries. Neither am I.

But I scream mango just like you do. And I have the patience and zeal to try my luck making ice cream just like you do. So what are we waiting for?

1. ~ 800gm Sweetened Kesar (saffron) Mango Pulp
2. 1 cup milk
3. 3-4 drops of lemon juice

1. Mix everything together and freeze for about 45 minutes.
2. Remove from freezer and whisk. This will give it a creamy texture.
3. Re freeze for another 20 minutes until firm.

Serve frozen scoops with whipped cream. Replace the whipped cream with fruits if you are watching your waistline like I am.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mango Lassi (Mango Shake)

Mango Lassi, an Indian drink, is like North American mango milkshake. Mango Lassi is a huge favorite of North Indians. I bet you this lush yellow cooler will brighten your day and win your heart like no other.

1. 1.5 cup Sweetened Kesar(Saffron) Mango pulp
2. 1/2 cup water
3. 1.5 cup plain yogurt
4. 1 cup milk
1. 1 tablespoon sugar

1. Mix everything together and blend in a mixer for few minutes.
Serve chilled. (I didn't get to drink this chilled because of my cold. Sob sob).

Lovely and refreshing - Mango heaven galore!

BTW The yellow daffodil comes from the Tulip festival held last week in Seattle, US.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Common cough and cold? Indian Spiced Herbal Tea (Khadha ) is the Saviour

Food Fanatic has been sick and therefore these irregular posts. I have been coughing and sneezing all day and all night which makes me feel so worn out :(. Mom made me this Kadha or Spiced tea with medicinal value for quick relief. This spiced tea is a winner when it comes to home made natural remedies that are effective against cold, cough, and sore throat.

The ingredients for this tea provide a comforting, sweet, fragrant flavour that relaxes with each sip. Ginger brings warmth to the body while honey soothes the throat. Clove is an mild anti-bacterial agent and prevents toxicity from environmental pollutants like carbon tetrachloride. It has Eugenol that functions as an anti-inflammatory substance. Black pepper seed is an aromatic herb that relieves from sinusitis and nasal congestion. Sucking a few pepper corns provides instants relief from dry cough and throat irritation. Cinnamon while adding fragrance and flavor, also preserves body heat and kills bacteria. Turmeric unrelentingly acts an antibiotic. Add a few drops of lemon juice for a citrus like lively taste and for that slight dose of Vitamin C that is needed in colds.

Hot water - a purifier that washes away all toxins in the body - when infused with the goodness of all these ingredients is total bliss.

1. Cloves, 2-3
2. Black pepper corn, about 8 balls
3. Ginger, 1/2 inch peeled and sliced
4. Honey, 1 tablespoon
5. One stick of cinammon
6. Pinch of turmeric powder

1. Bring 1 large sized cup water to a boil.
2. Add all ingredients and boil until it releases a sweet aroma and water is reduced by half.

This is comfort food for illness. Drink Kadha hot like chai - it works like a charm. Don't succumb to the weather outside. Keep warm, friends! Take care, don't let the cold catch you!

Note: The final post on Garnishing Tips on Food has been postponed until I get back in spirits. Apologies to my readers.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Savoury Cheela (Vegetarian Omelet)

Cheela or Vegetarian omelet is an Indian breakfast or snack made of chickpea flour. It's a low fat, healthy alternative, as well as a special treat for those who are allergic to cooked egg (such as myself!) I know to some of you this might sound disgusting but hang on you have to try. What will specially draw you to vegetarian omelet is that this savory chickpea pancake is nutritious and simple to make. Cheela works really well for those counting calories and on diet!
A pinch of fresh aromatic herb (Carom seeds) and some spice (red chili powder) when infused in the creamy batter of chickpea flour truly makes this dish a scrumptious delight. So don't slave the stove: quickly devour this healthy, low fat, vegetarian omelet.

1. Chickpea flour
2. Some olive oil
3. Salt to taste
4. Red chili powder
5. Ajwain (Carom seeds), a pinch

1. Make a batter of the above and blend using a wisk.
2. Cook on a non stick pan like a pancake.

Serve piping hot with Raita, chutney, or pickles.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Blog Food Fanatic with My first ever Spong cake

Inspired by A_and_N and other food buddies, I ventured into a new arena today: Baking! This is my first ever baked cake, made from scratch. Also, today is a major milestone for Food Fanatic's Blog. It's her first anniversary! Thanks to all of you for inspiring me, encouraging me, appreciating me, and supporting me, and always setting higher standards to motivate me. I am sure I will look back on this blog one day when I am 70, and smile. It's going to be an awesome feeling and I am positive about that. My grand kids will hate me for the stuff I will say to them: "When I was your age....." :)

1. 1.5 cup of all purpose flour
2. 1/4 cup white sugar
3. 1/3 cup cooking oil
4. 1 egg
5. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Throw everything together and blend with an electric hand blender.
2. In an aluminum pan, spray non stick cooking oil then pour the batter in layers.
3. Cook at 400 degrees C for about 20-25 mins or until the knife comes out clear.

Serve with fruits and drizzle maple syrup for added sweetness if desired.

Devour to the fullest because as A_and_N puts it, C.A.K.E stands for Cant Avoid, Keep Eating!

Happy Birthday, Blog Food-Fanatic! And here is to many more to come!

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