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!

 

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Mint flavored brown rice

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It gets boring to eat plain brown rice most times!  I wanted to add a kick to this rice and so decided to make mint flavored rice.  This fragrant herb(mint) and other spices transformed plain brown rice into a delicious pulao.  Mint leaves are anti bacterial and anti inflammatory.  They are good for digestion too.  This healthy one pot dish can be paired with yogurt or raita and salad for an exciting meal!

What you need:

For mint paste:

1 cup chopped mint

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1-2 green chili

3-4 cloves garlic

2-3 tbsp water to grind

For rice:

1 cup brown rice

1 medium onion sliced thinly

1 stick cinnamon

5-6 peppercorns

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp chilli pd

Salt to taste

How to make:

  1. Wash the rice and soak for 3-4 hours.  Drain the water from the rice and reserve the drained water. 
  2. In the meantime, assemble all the ingredients needed for the mint chutney.  Put in a blender and make into a paste.

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3.  Heat oil in a pan.  Add the cumin seeds.  Once the seeds start spluttering, add the peppercorns and cinnamon stick.  Now toss in the sliced onions and stir well

4. Once the onions start changing color to brown, add the chilli powder and stir well.  

5. Now add the mint paste to the onions and saute well till you see the oil leaving the sides.

6. Throw in the rice and mix well.  Add the reserved water (I used 3 cups of water but check the instructions on your rice package) and the salt to the rice and let it cook.

7. Once the rice is cooked, garnish with cilantro and serve with a side of raita and salad.

Chicken Burrito Bowl

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Chicken Burrito Bowl is one of my favorite Mexican dishes!   This healthy dish contains nutritious ingredients like brown rice, chicken, guacamole, beans, etc.  The recipe appears long but is simple to assemble.  The best part is that you can customize this dish as you like without compromising on the taste.

What you need:

For cilantro lime brown rice:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped

For Chicken:

1/2 package fajita seasoning mix

2 cups of lean chicken, chopped

Other:

1 cup frozen Corn

1 can black beans, low sodium

1 cup of low-fat shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

Salsa if desired

lettuce, chopped

tomatoes, chopped

1 small container of low-fat sour cream

For Guacamole:

1 avocado

1 lime

1/4 cup cilantro

1/4 cup of chopped onion

1 small jalapeno copped

1 small chopped tomato

pepper to taste

 How to make:

For the rice:

1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, season with Kosher salt and cook  for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and add rice. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth, the zest and juice of 1 lime.  Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until the rice is done as per the directions on your bag of rice (different brands and types of rice have different cooking times).

2. Once the rice is cooked, fluff rice with a fork and stir in cilantro. 

3.  Steam the corn in a separate pot and keep aside. Also empty the can of black beans in a separate pan and heat, stirring well.

For chicken:

1.  Add oil to a frying pan and toss chicken in. Heat chicken on medium heat, stirring often to get chicken cooking evenly.

2.  Add 1/4 cup of water and half package of fajita seasoning (you can also just follow the directions on that packet). Add more water if necessary.

3.  Stir chicken until evenly coated, turn heat to low-med and simmer for another 5 to 8 minutes till done.

For Guacamole:

1.  Remove peel and core from avocado and chop up into pieces. Add to a medium bowl.

2.  Chop and blend avocado until it’s the desired texture.

3.  Add chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup of onions, lime juice, tomatoes , jalapeno and mix well.

4.  Add pepper to taste.

Now that everything is ready you can get bowls for everyone eating. Follow the order of things if you want it to resemble Chipotle the most:

First add rice to bowl.  Then add black beans and then add chicken.  Now add some corn, cheese, salsa and sour cream.  Finally top off with some chopped lettuce.

Enjoy!

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Beetroot and paneer pulao

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Rich and colorful!

Beetroot and paneer pulao looks colorful, is delicious and is nutritious as well.  This dish (courtesy Sanjeev Kapoor) is perfect for a party and your guests will love it.  This dark red vegetable is one of the  richest dietary sources of antioxidants and naturally occurring nitrates. Nitrates are compounds which improve blood flow throughout the body.  Beetroots help to lower blood pressure and also contain folic acid which is essential for normal tissue growth.  Beetroot’s iron content means it’s good for those with anaemia and fatigue.

What you need:

1 1/2 cup of basmati rice washed and soaked

1 medium beetroot grated

100 gms paneer (cottage cheese)

3 tbsp ghee

7-8 peppercorn

1 large onion finely chopped

10 cashew nuts chopped

1 tbsp raisins

1 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

8-10 mint leaves

Salt to taste

How to make:

1.  Heat ghee in a non stick pan. Add black peppercorns, onion, mix well and saute for 2 minutes till the onions turn a little brown.

2.  Add cashew nuts, raisins and saute till raisins get puffed.

3.  Add beetroot, cottage cheese cubes, chilli flakes, garam masala powder, mint leaves, salt and mix well. 

4.  Add drained basmati rice and stir well. Add 3 cups of water to the rice.  

5.  Cover and cook on medium heat till the rice is done. Serve hot.