Vegetarian Concoctions

May 1, 2007

Celery thokku

Filed under: Celery, Chutneys and Thughayals, JFI, Tamilnadu — Hema @ 9:43 am

My Mother-in-law is one of the most enthusiastic cooks I have seen…not to mention one of the best! She manages to cook up a ‘Kalyana virundu’ (Marriage feast) everyday. The minimum she prepares is a sambhar, a rasam, a kootu, two curries, a pachaddi (raita), a salad and a pickle…all within a matter of two hours. The list would have featured a sweet as well if not for the diabetes that runs in my husband’s family. Sweet preparations are limited to special days now. Not only is the food prepared, the kitchen is left spic and span within that time-frame. Her policy is to wash every dish as soon as it finds its way into the sink. ‘This way you will not feel the extra work of cleaning the dishes at the end’, she says. She was never inclined to use the dishwasher during her stay with us. She very rightly never trusted it to work as well as the hands.

She used to eagerly wait for our flea market trips during the weekend. That was her ultimate idea of entertainment…..picking up vegetables for the week. The India-like climatic conditions in Florida yields all the vegetables that we find back in India. MIL was surprised to find veggies that were not available even in Delhi where they live. Not only was I introduced to her old-time traditional favourite recipes, but was also taught new ways of making everyday veggies. Celery thokku is one of her innovations too. She first made them with some left-over celery I had used for making my usual soup. Now-a-days, I make soup from the left-over celery that I buy for making thokku. This tastes so good mixed with rice and a dash of til oil or just with curd rice too. Here’s my contribution to JFI-Greens at Indira’s.

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What you need:

Celery – about 5 stalks

Green chillies – 4-5 nos

Hing – 1/4 tsp

Methi – 1 tsp

Cilantro – 1/2 cup chopped

Ginger – 1/2 inch cube

Mustard: 1 tsp

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Gingerly oil (til oil) – 1/4 cup

Chop up the celery and saute it with cilantro in about 1-2 tbsp of til oil for 4-5 minutes. Set aside. Next heat up another tbsp of oil and add methi, chopped chillies, hing and ginger. Let this cook for 5 minutes. Put this and the celery in the blender and grind to a fine paste. Heat up about 6-7 tbsp of the oil. Add mustard seeds and once they splutter, add the paste. Add salt and turmeric and keep cooking till the oil leaves the sides of the pan. This step takes a while. The thokku should have a thick paste like consistancy. Add more oil if required. Serve with hot rice and appalam or vadam.

April 24, 2007

Yelai Vadam

Filed under: Microwave, RCI, Rice, Snacks and Appetizers, South Indian, Tamilnadu — Hema @ 9:52 am

Yelai is leaf in tamil and vadams are rice crisps. The name is yelai vadam, because they are traditionally made using banana leaves. Basically vadams are like rice dosas that are dried and can be stored for a long time. Every time you feel the need to accessorise your menu or simply munch something, fry them or even microwave them to instantly satisfy your taste-buds. This is my entry for the first RCI – Tamilnadu hosted by LakshmiK at Veggie cuisine.

My amma used to make a huge stock of vadams for the year and she dedicated a couple days in a year to fill up the big box in her pantry. My brother and I always made sure we were around when she made vadams. The best part of the process was eating the freshly steamed vadam right out of the leaf. My mom used to let us eat the vadams that tore out while talking them off the leaf and both of us used to greedily sit there waiting for vadams to tear up.

I always bring these vadams from India, but by the time we reach our destination, they crumble up into tiny pieces during the transit. Though they are almost weightless, they occupy a lot of space in the luggage. Making these vadams is a time consuming process and only half of what you make ends up on the drying plate – the other half consumed as soon as they are made.

Last year we used up the last of our vadam stock and I had put it up on the list of things to be brought from India during our next trip. Then, one day my mother-in-law, who was visiting us, dressed the dining table with these beautiful, white, fried vadams and we were surprised as to how she got them! She had made vadams while we were at work and secretly dried them. What a pleasent surprise it was! So, the next thing on my agenda was to learn how she made them and then make them myself. Here is what I learnt:

Soak 1 cup rice overnight and grind it into a very fine paste. The best way to do it is to soak an extra cup when you grind rice for dosa. Add a little bit of salt (about 1/2 tsp) and keep it covered for 3-4 days. Open the lid and if someone in the living room says ‘where is that sour smell coming from?’ it is enough indication that the batter is ready to be steamed. Without disturbing the liquid inside, carefully pour out the top yellow layer into the drain. Add a pinch of hing, Salt to taste (remember, you have already added some 4 days back!) and 1 1/2 tsp jeera. Also, add a tbsp of sago soaked for about 2 hours. 

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Get 3 stainless steel plates out of your cabinet and rub some ghee on each of them. (the plates we use as lids are perfect). Oh! did I mention, we will be making thattu(plate in tamil) vadams instead? yeah. I can never find banana leaves here and this works just as well. Infact, MIL says she will continue making them in plates when she gets back to India. Ok, to start with, you will need a steaming set-up. Here’s mine.  A pan filled with water to about an inch depth. A circular rim placed in the pan to hold the plates at height and a glass lid that covers the whole pan. Make sure the water is boiling before you start steaming vadams.

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Pour a spoonfull of batter onto plate 1 and with a circular/spiral motion spread out the batter as thin as possible – just as you would make a dosa.

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Place plate-1 in the pan and close the lid. Steam for about 2-3 minutes till the batter is cooked and gets transparent. In the meanwhile spread out some batter onto plate-2. Remove plate-1, place plate-2 in the pan and spread batter on plate-3.

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Let plate-1 stay out for a while to cool down. Use a knife to peel off one edge and using both hands peel the vadam from the plate. Repeat this process with the 3 plates. After 2 -3 cycles you get into the rhythm.

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This is the stage where you make an important decision. You could either pop it into your mouth or place it on a flat surface for drying. I recommend tasting the first one for salt. For drying, I usually spread a thick plastic sheet in my patio and place the vadams as close as possible to accomodate as many as I can. Do not overlap. I do not have an open deck and never get direct sunlight. So, if you are like me, worry not! The vadams do not require direct sunlight or too much heat. Even your dining table or a spare room is fine. make sure it gets some breeze to dry itself up. It may take about 4-5 days to completely dry in such cases. For those of you who have decks/terrace and lots of sunlight, you’ll will be ready to fry them in a day or two! Store the dry vadams in an airtight container.

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They go well with all the rice preparations – pulihorai, tomato rice, mint rice…you get the idea. They taste best when deep fried, but for the health conscious – rub a few drops of oil on the dry vadam and microwave on high for about 30-40 seconds.

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Here’s my fried yalai vadam with celery thokku rice. Celery thokku?….did you ask??? Yeah and that’s coming up next for JFI-Greens!!

April 11, 2007

Black Forest Cake

A peek at the cake I baked for H’s birthday last weekend!

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I got the recipe for the icing and filling from here:
Few changes I made:

1. I used the Betty Crocker german chocolate cake mix and baked according to package instructions. The mix called for 1 1/3 cups of water. I used 1 cup of cherry syrup and 1/3rd cup of water instead.

2. I could not find bing cherries. So, i just substituted them with he cherries I got at my local grocery store.

3. Used cherry syrup that comes with the cherries instead of Kirshwasser for sprinkling on the cake, the filling and the icing.

4. Added chopped cherries in the filling.

5. Added 2 tsp of Milk Powder while whipping the cream (A tip from the reviews on the cake).

6. Used Hershey’s milk chocolate for the garnish.

VACATION TIME!!! Will be back right in time for a tamilnadu entry.

April 5, 2007

Doodhi Kofta

Filed under: Doodhi / Lauki, Main meals, Mughalai, Paneer, Punjabi — Hema @ 1:52 pm

As a kid, I don’t remember ordering anything other than malai kofta when we went out to eat at restaurants. I love koftas – any kind. When I first saw meatballs in spaghetti at a subway in the US, they reminded me of the Indian kofta. That is something I want to try some day – vegetarian ‘meatballs’ – Italian style. Then I chanced to see another version of kofta at a mediterranian restaurant here. Again, just ‘see’ because I couldn’t eat them being vegetarian. It was interesting to see new variations of my old favourite. New variations? Apparently not! Indian koftas’ Middle Eastern counterparts are the originals.

Originally Persian, Kofta, köfte, kafta, kufta or kafteh are quite a tradition throughout the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. I presume it travelled to India with the Mughals.

Interesting facts listed at wikipedia:

In Arab countries, kufta’ (كفته) is usually shaped into cigar-shaped cylinders.
In Turkey, köfte is a very popular food item. According to recent research done by a private food company, there were 291 different kinds of köfte in the country. phew!
In Bulgaria, they are called kyufteta (кюфтета)
In Greece, they are called keftedes.
In Romania, they are called chiftele
In Armenia, they are called kyufta
In Albania, they are called qoftë

I think I will stick to calling my version a kofta. I made this one with doodhi (Lauki).

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What you need:

For the kofta:

Doodhi grated – 3 cups

Ginger (grated) – 1 tbsp

Green chillies – 2-3 nos

Ajwain (omam) – 1/4 tsp

Besan (Chick-pea flour) – 3/4 cup

Baking soda – a small pinch

Salt to taste

Oil for frying

For the gravy:

Onions – 3 medium sized

Garlic – 2 cloves

Ginger – 1/2 inch piece

Tomatoes – 1 large

Cashew nuts – 1/4 cup

Khus Khus – 2 tbsp

Crumbled Paneer / Ricotta cheese – 1/4 cup

Bayleaves – 2 nos

Cinnamon stick – 1 medium

Cloves – 2-3 nos

Jeera – 1 tsp

Jeera pwd – 2 tsp

Nutmeg pwd – 1/8 tsp

Atta – 1 tbsp

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp or according to taste

Oil – 2 tbsp

Salt to taste

Cilantro to garnish

I guess that is it. The list is quite long, but most ingredients are always available in your pantry.

Grate the doodhi, sprinkle some salt on it and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Now, squeeze out all the water, add rest of the ingredients for the kofta and make a dough soft enough to shape the koftas. Remember, the doodhi will still have some water content, so add water if required only after mixing the ingredients. Shape the koftas as desired and fry them in oil till golden brown. Set aside on paper towels to drain excess oil.

For the gravy, Heat up the pan and dry roast the atta till the raw smell goes. Set aside. Heat up 1 tbsp of oil and add jeera, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Add coarsely chopped onions and saute till transparent. add the garlic and ginger and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Swith off the stove and let cool. Grind this with the tomato, cashewnut and khus khus with minimum water. Now, heat up the remaining 1 tbsp oil and add the bay leaves. Add the gravy, turmeric, jeera pwd, nutmeg pwd, salt and chilli pwd. Let this cook for about 15 – 20 minutes till the masala is cooked and you see tiny spots of oil on the surface. Not too much oil will float since the input was minimal. For a more restaurant style look, increase the amount of oil. Once cooked, add the paneer or ricotta cheese. Curd could also be substituted. Add the koftas and garnish with cilanto and cream (optional). Serve hot with naan, parathas or rotis.

Now I pack this off to Meeta for this month’s Monthly Mingle.
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I was not sure if this recipe was appropriate for the Middle Eastern theme. Though koftas are originally Middle Eastern, my recipe is quite Indian. Meeta has generously accepted my entry. Thanks Meeta for letting me in and thanks Asha for suggesting that I send it to the event.

March 29, 2007

Bread sticks

Filed under: Basil, Breads, Cheese, Garlic, Snacks and Appetizers — Hema @ 11:04 am

Horrible horrible week. The past week was sick….literally. First the kiddo, then me and then H. The only silver lining was that all of us did not fall sick at the same time. Getting better was no fun either. Disinfecting three whole baskets of laundry and cleaning up the mess we called our home took up another 3 days. I was dragging myself to work in the morning. Getting back home in the evening was worse…just thinking of all the work that lay waiting. If this was not enough, TEAM-INDIA added to our misery*. We played against Sri Lanka and the rest is history that I hope will never be repeated again. It took me quite some time to digest the fact that we did’nt even make it to the top eight teams. Half way through our innings I switched off the TV. What a shame!

What better way to vent out my anger and frustration than cooking?…and thats what I did. Baking, actually. Since my sourdough bread success story, I have been tempted to experiment with various breads and bread sticks seemed to be the simplest to start off with. I had made some a week earlier and they turned out soft and delicious. Here is my second attempt captured for records:

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What you need:

All-purpose flour – 2 1/2 – 3 cups

White unsalted butter – 1/2 stick (4 tablespoon)

Commercial yeast – 2 tsp

sugar – 1 tsp

Salt – about 1 1/2 tsp

Water – as required

Cheese sticks:
Cheddar cheese – 1/2 cup

Garlic sticks:
Garlic – 1 clove
Garlic salt and dried basil to garnish

Combine sugar and yeast in warm water and let rest for about 10 mts till bubbly. Add the flour, salt and butter. The butter should be at room temperature and softned when added. Incorporate the butter into the flour with your hands and then add enough water to get a soft and workable dough but not sticking to your hands while kneading(see tip 1 below). Add extra flour if needed. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes while pushing the dough away from you with your palms. Brush some olive oil on it and let this rise for about 1 1/2 – 2 hrs in a warm place till it doubles in size (tip 2). Punch back the dough and now add your flavourings (tip 3). I made two kinds: cheese and garlic. To half the dough I added shedded cheddar cheese and to the other half minced garlic. Then I shaped them into sticks and garnished the garlic one with garlic salt and dried basil. You can really get creative with the flavors and shapes here. I placed the sticks on baking trays 3-4 inches apart and let the dough rise one last time – about 1 – 1 1/2 hrs (tip 4). This went into a 375 degrees preheated oven for about 25 minutes till the crust is golden brown. Brush some butter on the crust as soon as they come out of the oven (tip 5) and serve with your favourite soup or marinara sauce.

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With the few tips I learnt about bread making from an expert bread-maker, I guess I should send it to Sushma’s Monthly cooking tipology:

1. After the rise, the bread gets softer and hence stickier. So, the dough should not be too soft when you knead it in the first place.

2. If you don’t have a pilot lamp or a light in your oven or a warm corner in your kitchen to help rise your dough, you could place the dough in a small enclosure close to a saucepan with boiling water. This also helps in keeping the crust soft.

3. Some herbs and spices seem to inhibit growth of yeast. Hence, it is best to incorporate the flavors in the bread during the last rise.

4. The more number of times you punch back your bread and let it rise again, the finer will be the pores in your bread. If you want your bread to have big pores, just let the dough rise once and bake.

5. If you want a soft crust, like our bread sticks here, always brush the crust with molten butter as soon as they come out of the oven. If you want the crust to be hard/crisp, like in sourdough bread, skip the butter on the crust.

*CRICKET – the sport. The ICC world cup games are on in West Indies.

March 15, 2007

Pudina pacchadi(Raita)

Filed under: Curd/Yogurt, Mint leaves, Salads and Raita, South Indian — Hema @ 2:02 pm

Simplicity is a virtue. Be it a human’s character or a food’s preparation. Exotic is good and fun for a change, but definitely not for keeps. A man could be a great fan of Aishwarya Rai, but isn’t the simple girl next door his true love?(unless, of course, the man happens to be Abhishek B 😀 ) Likewise, eating out is fun. But, is not simple dal-chawal or thair samdam (curd rice) the ultimate comfort food?

A simple yet elegent companion for your favourite rice treat. That is the way I would like to introduce this pachaddi. No hard work, minimal cooking time, but unequalled satisfaction to the tongue. Looking to make a quick side dish to go with your meal? This is it! So friends, keep it simple, keep it sweet and before I start sounding too much like Sandra Lee and you think I am making something semi-homemade, here goes:

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Mint leaves – a bunch

Curd – 3 cups

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Udad dal – 1 tsp

Hing – a pinch

Oil – 1 tsp

Salt – to taste

Chop up the mint leaves coarsely. Heat up some oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter add the udad dal and hing. After the dal browns up, add the mint leaves and cook for a minute. Add the curd and salt after it cools down. Now, simply serve it with rice or paratha.

March 8, 2007

Pesarattu (Moong dal adai)

Filed under: Ginger, Whole moong dal — Hema @ 12:45 pm

The mere mention of Pesarettu, adai or dosai takes me on a joy ride down memory lane back home in India. Our kitchen springs up in front of my eyes. I see a girl, wearing a white and navy blue school uniform with her long hair oiled and plated up with a red ribbon, sitting on the kitchen counter watching her mother prepare dosais. A little boy comes in looking unkempt and points at his growling stomach. Both kids are instructed to wash their hands, legs and face, change their clothes and then come back with their tiffin plates. They frown and drag themselves into their respective rooms and come out after a while looking pretty much the same.

A plate is hurriedly rinsed and they sit on the kitchen floor with the plate in front of them in great anticipation. A bottle of til oil and a box full of molagai podi (gun powder) are given to them for self-service. Dosais are tossed endlessly into the plate one by one freshly prepared, right out of the tava.They gobble up the thin, white discs in no time and fight for the crisp outer circle. The mother shakes her head disapprovingly and asks them to get another plate, so they will stop fighting over every dosai and they refuse. They just like to eat from one plate…‘is se pyar badhta hai’…they announce, brilliantly quoting Aamir khan’s famous dialogue in Andaaz apna apna. After about 20 minutes of tossing and gobbling, the kids seem satisfied.

‘So, what’s for tomorrow’s tiffin’ asks the little boy.
‘I’m thinking adai’ says the mother
He lets out a happy squeal and sticks his tongue out at his sister.
The girl looks dissapointed.
‘And pesarettu for you’ says the mother looking lovingly at her daughter.
Its the sister’s turn to stick out the tongue at her little brother.

Ah! happy memories:) This is how my amma made pesarattus:

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Whole green moong dal – 4 cups

Raw rice – 1 cup

Ginger – a 1 X 1 inch piece

Green Chillies – 4-5 nos

Salt to taste

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Soak the dal and rice for 3-4 hours in warm water. Grind with ginger and chillies and little water to make a thick batter. Add salt to taste. I like to grind it course, so there is a crunch when you bite into it. I like to add some mint or cilantro leaves into it. Ladle some batter on the tava and spread it out by patting it with the back of the ladle. Pour a few drops of oil and turn it over after one side is browned and crisp. Serve it with molagai podi, white butter or any pickle of your choice.

February 27, 2007

Potato and Leek soup

Filed under: Barley, Celery, JFI, Leeks, Mixed Veggies, Orzo, Parsley, Potato, Soup's on, Soups — Hema @ 4:43 pm

It is crunch time!  I did’nt realize February has but 28 days. It has been a busy month and I have missed out on posting a strawberry treat for AFAM. Reading my previous post on hot and sour soup, Asha suggested that I send my soup for Alanna’s “Soup’s on” event. I sent in the link to Alanna without even mentioning the event in my post:) hehe…stupid me. That, obviously is not acceptable. So, here is another soup that I brewed up keeping in mind the deadlines for two events: the “Soup’s on” and ……..yeah, you got that right “JFI-Potato“. This time, it is my chance to say ‘Ek pathar se do shikaar‘(two prays with one stone). I mixed and matched ingredients from 4 different recipes in 3 different books (Potato, leek and pea soup, Spinach and orzo soup, spring soup with barley and leak and carrot soup). Hence, the recipe is very versatile and additions and deletion can be made according to taste…just make sure you use the potatoes and leeks though, if you want to retain the name on it. Potato gives the soup its texture and leek its fabulous flavor. Here is what you need:

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Potatoes – 2 nos medium sized

Leek – 1 no

Bay leaves – 2 nos

Red onions – 1/2 medium sized

Garlic – 2 cloves

Parsley – 1/2 bunch

Celery – 1 stem

Barley – 2 tbsp uncooked

Orzo – 2 tbsp uncooked

salt to taste

pepper to taste

Olive oil – 1 tbsp

Water – 5-6 cups

Chop up the potatoes, leeks and celery to 1/2 inch pieces. Heat up olive oil and saute the onions till they are translucent. Add the garlic and bay leaves and saute for a minute. Add all the veggies and cover it up with water. Add salt and let this simmer away till the veggies are cooked well. Take half the soup out, let it cool down and then puree it. To the other half that is on the stove, add uncooked orzo, barley and chopped parsley. Continue cooking till the pasta is done. Dilute it further if required. Now add the pureed half and add salt and pepper according to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

February 23, 2007

Hot and sour soup

A Chinese soup. Well, Indo-chinese to be precise. Chinese was the first international cuisine to crop up in India with the ever famous hakka-noodles, manchurians and chow-meins. They had the same chinese names, but the flavour was suited to the typical Indian tongue – hot and spicy. I have, till date not visited a chinese restaurant in the USA. The reason – within the first few days of my arrival, I was enlightened by some of my fellow Indian-students who got here before me, on various food issues for a vegetarian in the USA.

First of, Chili is not chilli but beef. Always notice the number of ‘L’s in the word. (The restaurant ‘chilis’ caught my attention soon after I arrived and was dissapointed to find out what the word actually meant. The red chilli logo was decieving too. I have never visited chilis either.) Pepperoni toppings on pizza can very well be misunderstood for tomatoes. Hot dog is not actually dog meat. Chinese is not the Chinese we get in India – very very bland here. Thai food is closer to IndoChinese food than Chinese.

Based on the vital advices of my seniors, I drew lines on where to eat and where not to. I have now realized that the Chinese we get in the US is lot more authentic than what we get back home. In fact Indo-chinese is an entirely different cuisine. I have seen menu cards at Chinese restaurants and a lot of dishes look and sound delicious and the best part of all is that, they carry a number of vegetarian items too. Who cares if it is bland? I can always add an extra splash of hot sauce to my order. So, once I convince my husband, we will be heading out to a good chinese restaurant soon.

Until then, I shall seek solace in the taste I believed to be Chinese. This recipe for hot and sour soup is adapted from the my new recipe book – Tarla Dalal’s Chinese recipes. (BTW did you know she has her own blog now?) As always, I checked the list of ingredients and put in my own measurements with a few additons and subtractions:

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Shredded carrots and cabbage – 2 cups

Spring onions – 10-12 stems

Soya sauce – 1 tbsp

Balsamic vineger – 2 tsp

Cornflour – 1 1/2 tbsp

Grated ginger – 1 tsp

red chilli flakes – 1 tsp (adjust according to taste)

oil – 1 1/2 tsp

sugar – 1/2 tsp

salt to taste

pepper to taste

Ajinomoto (optional) – a pinch

Thai peanut sauce – 1 tsp

Mix the cornflour with a little water. Switch your stove to the maximum heat level and let your pan heat up till it is scotching hot. Add the oil and immediately the veggies. Saute for a minute and add the red chilli flakes, ginger, sugar, salt and the ajinomoto. Add 2 cups of water and reduce your flame to medium heat. Add the soya sauce and the cornflour. My secret ingredient – Thai peanut sauce. Just a tsp to soften the flavor of the soya sauce. Taste for salt and heat and add pepper accordingly. Let this simmer for a couple minutes and you are ready to serve it.

 

February 20, 2007

Vegetable pot? pie???

Filed under: American, Cheese, Mixed Veggies, Pie, Puff pastry and phyllo sheets — Hema @ 12:05 pm

What would you eat when hubby is not in town for a weekend and you are at home looking after your toddler? Left overs? Maggi noodles? Yeah, thats what I usually do especially since he does not travel that often. My attitude – ‘Why cook for one person?’. And then the little one keeps me busy. So, it is not like I have nothing to do.

This was one of those occasions, H was out attending a conference. (BTW, I have no idea why they need to start registration on a Saturday and have the key note speech on a Sunday. What are weekdays for?) Anyway, I was at home craving Italian and actually decided to make some pasta for myself.  But guilt pricked at the wrong time…how could I eat something he likes and then enjoy the meal? And worse still – I couldn’t believe I was thinking like my mother.  I had always made fun of her about being too sentimental over such things.

Now with the pasta plan ruled out, I was still craving something interesting. I did what was most logical under such a circumstance. Cook something that I love and hubby detests. And, that was easy – eggplants, paneer(yes, paneer! can you believe it?), molten cheese, white sauce…..I had quite a few options. I was not in the mood for Indian food. The thought of having white sauce as a base made my mouth water…that day. Right now, as I write this sentence, I am thinking paneer…yummmm:)

I always wanted to make my own vegetarian version of chicken pot pie and this was the day! I scrambled through each shelf in the refrigerator and brought out some veggies, including eggplant. Milk, butter, cheese and a pack of puff pastry sheet came out too. I did not have an oven safe circular bowl of the right size to make it look like a pot pie, but this is what I ended up doing:

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Mixed veggies – eggplant, shredded carrots, onions, bell pepper, celery – about a cup

Milk – 1 cup

Shredded pepper jack cheese – 1/4 cup

Butter – 1 tbsp

Olive oil – 2 tsp

All-purpose flour – 1 tbsp

Puff pastry – 1 sheet

Salt and pepper to taste 

Start with the veggies. Add the olive oil to a pan and then the veggies. Saute for 3-4 minutes and transfer it to a bowl. In the same pan, Add the butter and once it melts the flour goes in. Roast it till the raw smell goes and then add the milk. Let this thicken up and then add the cheese, salt and pepper to the simmering white sauce. Add the veggies, give it a stir and switch off the stove.

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Let this cool down and fill it into a puff pastry sheet. Poke some holes on it and bake according to manufacturer’s instructions on the puff pastry carton.

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What I made was actually nothing close to the classic pot pie. The pot pie usually has a biscuit crust and I substituted it with a puff pastry sheet. There was no cream, mushroom or potatoes in it. It was something I seeked refuge in for the day but I did have a meal that was not just delicious, but utterly filling too! I loved it and now, I am waiting for my husband to attend another conference:) The next time, I would cut the quantities in half and also use the oven-safe bowl that I bought soon after.

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