Macaroni in Roux with Vegetables

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I was out shopping with my kids, when my son spotted Broccoli and decided that dinner was going to be Pasta.

You Need:

  • 250 gms of Pasta. Follow instruction and cook them in salted water. Save 100 ml of this starchy water for later.
  • 5-6 finely sliced garlic cloves.
  • 200 grams of button mushrooms, chopped up.
  • 2 capsicums, chopped up.
  • 200 grams of Broccoli. Separate the florets. Peel the stem. Discard the rough exterior. Chop into small pieces the soft stem inside it.
  • 30 grams of butter.
  • 30 grams of flour. You can use either Maida or Whole Wheat.
  • 200 ml of milk.
  • Any seasoning or dry herbs.

Heat oil in a large pan. Add the garlic and cook till the raw edge is gone. Saute the mushrooms, capsicum and chopped broccoli stem. Do this on high heat. Do not let them boil in the water they are releasing. The mushrooms will rapidly shrink down to approximately half the original volume. Add the broccoli florets. Cook on medium heat. Watch the broccoli as they start changing their color. They will suddenly start becoming bright green. When you feel they are really bright, eat one of them. If its cooked. You are done. Do NOT overcook them. The color of the broccoli is their cue and respect it. Overcooked broccoli tastes horrible and is one of the main reasons why most people hate it.

Remove all the vegetables. In the same pan add the butter. Use medium to low heat. When the butter has fully melted, add the flour. Whisk it. Keep on whisking it. When the raw smell is gone start dribbling the milk into this. Keep whisking and don’t add more than 10-20 ml at a time. This will prevent the formation of lumps. Be patient as the rewards are worth it. When all the milk has been added and there are no lumps, you start adding the half cup of pasta starch water. Use the same technique of dribbling in the liquid while constantly whisking.

Season with salt and any herbs you like. Add the vegetables and the macaroni. Cook on high heat for about 2-3 mins When the consistency is just right, switch off the stove and leave it covered for about 10 mins. This will allow the pasta to absorb the sauce.

Enjoy.

Paneer Jalfrezi

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You Need:

  • Paneer about 200 gms. Store bought paneer must be soaked in warm water for at least 15 mins.
  • 1 medium onion sliced thin.
  • 1 Capsicum. Red or Yellow are usually sweeter than green and hence preferred.
  • 1 Medium tomato chopped small.
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste.
  • Kasuri Methi or Coriander for garnishing.
  • Cumin about a teaspoon.
  • A chopped up green chilly.
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger garlic paste.
  • A quarter teaspoon of turmeric.

First you heat the oil. I like mustard oil for its added flavor but any oil will do. Saute the cumin. When they have crackled, add the onion and green chilly. When the raw smell is gone add the turmeric, tomato paste, tomato, salt and ginger garlic paste. Mix well and cook on high to medium heat till the raw smell of the ginger garlic paste has gone. The tomatoes would have also cooked by now.

Add the capsicum and cook on medium heat for about 5-6 mins. Meanwhile cut the paneer into small cubes and add them. Coat the paneer till its fully colored in the masala. Garnish with kasuri methi or coriander.

Serve with rotis.

No Frills Paneer Capsicum

Paneer Capsicum

You Need:

  • 5-6 small to medium sized capsicums, cut into large pieces.
  • One large onion, chopped.
  • 200 gms of paneer, cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • 100 gms of thick curd.
  • Paprika, Chat Masala, Garam Masala, Salt in whatever proportion you like.

Whisk the curd and mix all the spices into it. Taste and balance it according to your preferences. Keep aside.

In a large pan, heat mustard oil. Add the vegetables and paneer. Toss them around on high heat while stirring. When they are sufficiently done, switch off the heat.

Mix in the spiced curd. Enjoy your no frills capsicum paneer.

 

The Quick and Easy Meal

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The biggest concern every cook has is that they will forget the dish on the stove and end up with a burnt dish. This is an almost burn proof dish. Minimal work and very less attention needs to be paid.

You need:

  • A small head of cabbage, finely sliced.
  • 2 small carrots, thin slices.
  • 2 medium capsicums, chopped into 5 mm squares.
  • Any dressing. Ueed here is Harrisa.
  • Two whole wheat phulkas.

Lay the capsicum and carrots on the base of a thick pan. Spread the cabbage on top. Cook on low heat for about 10-12 mins. Do not stir. Do not worry. Even if it burns a little, it will only make the dish taste better. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Mix well. Let it cool.

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Once its warm but not hot mix in 2-3 tablespoons of any dressing. You can use mayonnaise, southwest, thousand island or anything. I used Harissa, because I had it at home.

Toast the phulkas on low heat. This will make it crispy. You can also use khakras, tacos, papads or anything crispy. which you can use as a spoon.

Broccoli, Basil, Capsicum

You need:

  • Broccoli, cut and blanched.
  • Capsicum, yellow or red.
  • A bunch of Basil leaves, chopped up.
  • Garlic cloves, roughly chopped up.
  • A lemon.
  • Dry red chilies and chilly flakes.
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning.

Heat olive oil and toss in the garlic and chillies. Stir Fry for two to three minutes and then add the capsicum. When slightly tender, add the broccoli, Basil leaves, salt and pepper.

Lemon zest and lemon juice. Switch off the stove.

Note: add only as much lemon juice as you want. We want it to be a mild flavor that enhances the Basil and not over power it.

Enjoy a quick and sprightly salad.

Bajra Flakes with Beets and Capsicum

Beets

You need:

  • Bajra Flakes.
  • 3 medium beets.
  • 2 capsicums
  • Cumin seeds
  • Mustard oil.

Grate the beets and finely dice the capsicum. Wash and strain out the excess water from the Bajra Flakes.

Heat oil and add the cumin seeds. For this recipe you will need to rely on your power of smell. Add the beets and capsicum and cook on high. When the raw smell of the capsicum goes away, season with salt. Now add the flakes. Cook on medium heat till the raw and distinctive earthy smell of the bajra reduces.

Garnish with coriander and serve hot or cold.

 

 

Butter Burnt Vegetables

You need a zucchini, some mushrooms and some capsicum. Chop into small bite sized pieces.

Heat butter and fry some garlic in it. Keeping the heat at high, add all the vegetables and spread them out. For five minutes do not even look at the dish.

Sprinkle some dried herbs and spices. Oregano and chat masala worked for me. Season with salt and pepper. Mix it well.

Spread the vegetables and continue to ignore them as they sizzle on high heat. Ignore every scream from your subconscious to lower the heat. Let them burn for about 4 minutes.

Drizzle some olive oil. Use that to deglaze the pan and remove the vegetables into a serving plate.

Enjoy the amazing flavors that have developed in them.