Pasta with shrimps and veggies

IMG_5956My friend Manisha in New Jersey is a great cook. Knowing that I did not want to eat anything heavy, she quickly rustled up this  easy and healthy pasta.  This wholesome pasta dish was colorful and full of nutrition.  I enjoyed it a lot and took some pictures while she was cooking.

What you need:

1/2 lbs shrimp, cleaned and shelled
4 cloves of garlic, minced (divided)
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
8 oz whole grain penne pasta, cooked per instructions
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
7-8 mushrooms, quartered
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
2 small baby bell peppers, sliced thinly 
10 snap peas
1 zucchini, diced
2 carrots sliced 
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Parmesan cheese, shredded
Organic Pasta Sauce with olive oil, basil and garlic (I used Bertolli)

How to make:

  1.  Clean the shrimp and season them with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a wok and add 2 cloves of minced garlic to the oil.  Toss in the shrimps in the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes each on either side. Now add some pasta sauce to the shrimps and stir well. Remove from pan and set aside.

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2.  Cook the pasta in salted water as per the instructions.

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3.  While the pasta is cooking heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium high heat; add the last 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook.  Then add the mushrooms and let them sit, without stirring, for 2-3 minutes; Toss the mushrooms around  and then add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet, stirring occasionally, cook for 3-4 minutes; add the zucchini, carrots and snap peas and cook for 2 minutes;  Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Remove the veggies from the skillet and set aside in a bowl.

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4.   Add the last tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet then toss in the pasta. Season well with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.  Stir well and remove on to a serving dish.  Add the shrimps to the veggies and mix well.  Spread the veggies, and shrimp evenly on top of the pasta.   Sprinkle Parmesan and basil on top; Serve immediately. Enjoy.

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New York Diaries – Junoon

 

Eating choices in New York are limitless…….  Want a 15-course tasting menu at the latest trendsetting restaurant? A plateful of Chinese dumplings? The City has thousands of places featuring cuisines from around the world.

I was in New York last month, visiting my daughter Ria.  She had a lot of fun stuff planned – including a visit to Junoon, which is the flagship restaurant of star chef Vikas Khanna.  I am a big fan of Vikas and couldn’t wait to dine at his restaurant.

Junoon serves a 3 course ala carte meal.  The Menu was innovative and diverse with exotic sounding dishes like Tandoori Octopus, Saloni Macchi, Eggplant chaat etc.  Classic dishes with a contemporary take…..it would be difficult to decide.

Since we were sweating from the New York heat, we quickly ordered the refreshing Mumbai Margarita.   Then came the appetizers.  Eggplant chaat was amazing —-crispy round eggplants with yogurt tamarind chutney; And the Murgh tikka was tender and delicious, simply melting in the mouth.

For the entrees we chose Malabari Shrimp curry and the Murg Lababdar.  The Shrimp curry was easily the best we have had…literally to die for!  The Murg Lababdar was good but not excellent.

 

The grand finale was Ma’s Rice Pudding with almonds, puffed rice and caramelized bananas.IMG_6206

All in all Junoon was a nice dining experience and we enjoyed the couple of hours that we spent in its elegant dining room.  Thank you Ria for taking me there!

Baked sweet potato chips

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Who does not enjoy chips?  So here is a much healthier version – sweet potato baked chips which you can enjoy guilt free. My daughter, Ria, tried these out and loved them. She encouraged me to make them and they were easy, flavorful and nutritious.   These awesome chips require only olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  

What you need:

2 sweet potatoes (Shakarkandi in Hindi)

2 tsp olive oil

sea salt and pepper – to taste

Any other seasoning you like

How to make:

  1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Rinse and dry the sweet potatoes.  Cut them as thin and evenly as possible.  Know that chips that are too thick in parts won’t crisp up all the way. Still delicious, just not “chip” crispiness.
  3. Toss the slices in olive oil and add salt and pepper.  Spread evenly on a baking tray in a single layer.  Place the baking tray in the middle rack in the oven.

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4.  Remove once crisp and golden brown(about 35 mins).  But each oven varies so you will have to keep an eye on them.   Some may feel a little tender in the middle but take them out and let them rest for 10 minutes or so to crisp up before sampling. Serve immediately.

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Mango Ice Cream

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Summers are here early and in full swing!  Mangoes are also available in the market now!  Its the time of the year to make cool and refreshing ice cream.  Take a look at my easy and lip smacking 4 ingredient mango ice cream made without an ice cream maker.  You will surely want to try it out!

What you need:

1 mango diced

1 cup milk

1 cup condensed milk

1 cup cream

A few pistas finely cut for decoration (optional)

How to make:

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1.  Take the diced mango, milk, condensed milk and cream in a blender and churn it well into a smooth mixture.

2.  Pour into the tray/jar in which you want to set the ice cream.  I used jars.

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3.  Keep with the lids on  in the freezer for at least 8 hours.

4.  Garnish with chopped pistas.  Enjoy delicious and cool ice cream!

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Paella

 

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My daughter and her fiance Pete,  are majorly into cooking these days. I love hearing about all the exciting recipes they try out.   One of their really hit recipes is  the classic Spanish dish of Paella, which Pete recently made.  This Paella has a bit of everything in it and is flavorful, nourishing and looks colorful besides being really delicious.  

What you need:

* Herb Blend:

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, minced

* Paella:

1 cup water

1 teaspoon saffron threads

3 (16-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium seafood broth

8 jumbo shrimp (about 1/2 pound)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 skinned, boned chicken thighs, cut in half

2 links Spanish chorizo sausage (about 6 1/2 ounces) or turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

2 cups finely chopped onion

1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

3 large garlic cloves, minced

3 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice

1 cup frozen green peas

8 mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

How to make:

1. To prepare the herb blend, combine the first 4 ingredients, and set aside.

2. Combine water, saffron, and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil).

Keep warm over low heat.

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3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Add sausage; sauté 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Add shrimp, and sauté 2 minutes. Remove from pan.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add tomatoes, paprika, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes.

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6. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

7. Stir in herb blend, broth mixture, chicken, sausage, and peas.

8. Bring to a low boil; cook 10 minutes, don’t stir once the broth has been added.

9. Add mussels to pan, nestling them into rice mixture. Cook 5 minutes.

10. Arrange shrimp, heads down, in rice mixture, and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup lemon juice.

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11. Remove from heat; cover with a towel, and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.  Enjoy!

 

Cilantro chicken/Chicken hara dhaniya

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Having bought too much cilantro/ hara dhaniya (which I really love), I decided to use it to make chicken. Cilantro leaves are also known as Coriander leaves in India and are widely used in Indian cooking for garnishing and in chutney.   Cilantro chicken is prepared with chicken pieces delicately cooked combined with the freshly ground mixture of cilantro leaves, curry leaves and green chilies.  This tastes great with hot roti or naan.

What you need:

500 grams chicken

10 Cashew nuts

1 bunch cilantro(hara dhaniya) leaves

8-10 curry leaves

3/4 cup yogurt

1 tbsp garlic ginger paste

2-3 finely chopped green chilli

2 tbsp oil

salt to taste

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander seeds 

1 tsp cumin seeds

How to make:

  1.  Take cilantro (hara dhaniya), curry leaves and green chillies and blend to a fine paste in a blender.
  2. Take coriander seeds and roughly grind them.
  3. In a pan take some oil and heat it.  Add the cumin seeds.  Once they start spluttering, add the ground coriander seeds.  Give it a stir and then add the ginger garlic paste.
  4. Make a paste of the cashew nuts with a little water.  Add 1 1/2 tsp of this paste to the pan. Also add the haldi powder and mix really well.
  5. Now add the cilantro (hara dhaniya) mixture to the oil and stir very well.Cook on medium heat till the oil starts separating(about 5 mins).  Add salt.

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6.  Now throw in the chicken and stir well.  Add 1/2 cup of yogurt.  Cover and cook on low heat for 10-15 mins.till the chicken is tender.IMG_3785 Uncover and cook for another 5 mins so that the gravy is of thicker consistency. Enjoy with roti/nan!

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Chocolate log

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This easy 4 ingredient chocolate log is loved by both kids and adults alike!  Over the years, this is the one thing my children have always asked me to make whenever they come home….whether they are 15 or 30! This quick recipe requires no prep and is very simple to make.

What you need:

1 packet Marie biscuits (the big size)

1 tin condensed milk

4-5 tbsp cocoa powder

1 cup walnuts chopped into smaller pieces 

1/2 cup grated coconut (optional)

How to make:

  1.  Take the Marie biscuits and throw into a blender.

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2.  Add the condensed milk and the cocoa powder and blend till a lump has formed.

3,  Remove the lump from the blender.  Add the walnuts and mix well.   

4,  Roll out  some foil and sprinkle it with grated coconut or powdered sugar.  Form the lump in the shape of a log and roll it along with the foil.

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5.  Freeze the log for a few hours and then cut into chocolate rounds!  Enjoy!