November 30, 2011

Rajma Chawal (Red/Black beans & Rice)

The first snow in Central Ohio. Tony wanted to have Chili (how blah!). So i decided to introduce li'l Nik Coder to a tried and tested Punjabi staple for cold Sundays ... 'Rajma Chawal' .. or simply put 'Red/Black beans & Rice'.

Rajma Chawal
Total Prep Time: About 20-30 min.


1) 2 cans* of red/black beans, drained and rinsed (Rajma).
2) 1 tbsp ginger/garlic paste**
3) 1 6 oz can of tomato paste (or a fresh medium tomato, puree'd).
4) 1 small bay leaf
5) 3 small whole green cardamoms
6) 1 tbsp Garam Masala***
7) 2 cups basmati rice (chawal).
8) 1 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds
9) 1-2 tsps cooking oil (olive, canola, vegetable!)
10) 1 medium/large red onion, diced.
11) salt to taste.


Li'l Nik Coder LOVED it!!! 
In a deep pot, saute onion in cooking oil until it begins to brown at the edges. Add ginger garlic paste, mix well and add in tomatoes. Saute for another couple of minutes and then add beans. Mix well, bring to a boil and add 2 cups of hot water and all remaining spices (except the cumin which i like to add to the rice). Mix well and allow to simmer on the back burner.

In a separate pot, boil rice and 1 tsp cumin seeds in ample water. Drain. Serve Rajma Chawal in a bowl, pour rajma over the rice!!!

For the weak of heart, the mild heat of the garam masala can be toned down with a dollop of sour cream, or plain low-fat yogurt. Enjoy!!!

* I used canned beans. If you want to use dry beans they will need to be soaked overnight and then pressure cooked for at least 30-40 min. in advance of anything else.
**  Available at most Indian stores, or you can use fresh ginger and garlic, diced.
*** Available at most Indian stores; Fortunately :) I use a homemade version my mom sends from India.

November 28, 2011

Dal Chawal (Yellow lentils & Rice)

Lazy summer days and rainy winter nights - both call for comfort food and nothing meets that need more than a bowl full of "Dal Chawal" .. or simply put 'Yellow lentil curry and boiled rice'.

Tadka Dal
Jeera Waale Chawal

Total Prep Time: About 20-30 min.

1) 1 cup dry yellow lentils (Toor Dal)
2) 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3) 1 medium tomato - diced.
4) 2 cup basmati (Indian long grain) rice (chawal).
5) 2 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds
6) a pat of ghee (clarified butter) or unsalted butter (works just as well).
7) salt and pepper, to taste.

I use a pressure cooker for cooking dal but a deep soup pot works just as well (although the cooking time is prolonged to around 45-60 min for the dal alone). Wash dal in running water, a couple of times, and then add to the pressure cooker with 2 cups of tap water, 1/2 tsp turmeric, salt and diced tomatoes. Steam in a pressure cooker for 12-15 min and allow the steam to dissipate before opening the lid. Mix well and the dal should be ready for its "tadka" (cumin and butter garnish).

In a small sauce pan, to prepare the tadka, melt and heat ghee (or unsalted butter). Add 1 tsp cumin seeds, allow the seeds to sizzle for just a couple of seconds (until the aroma is released) and immediately pour the tadka on the dal.

In a separate pot, boil rice and 1 tsp cumin seeds in ample water. Drain and serve. Voila! 

November 27, 2011

Vegetables & Pasta in Fresh Tomato Sauce

A lazy Sunday evening calls for some heartwarming food. I tried Vegetables and pasta in fresh tomatoes today ... It was quite refreshing and warm on this rainy day!


1) 1 large (or 2 medium) tomatoes - diced.
2) 1 carrot - sliced
3) 1/3 cup frozen green beans
4) 1/3 cup frozen peas
4) 1/3 cup frozen sweet corn
5) a pat of butter
6) 2 cups pasta (any kind)- boiled in salt water and drained. 
7) Seasonings (whatever you think you'd like!) - I only used garlic salt and pepper.
8) Shredded cheese (mozzarella) for garnishing


A definite hit with li'l Nik Coder!
In a deep skillet melt butter and add diced tomatoes. Saute for a couple of minutes and add the rest of the veggies and seasonings. Cover and simmer while the pasta is cooking. Once the pasta is drained, check veggies and sauce for to make sure they're done. I like to leave the veggies a little crispy. Mix in pasta. Cover and allow it to sit for a couple of minutes to let the juices seep into the pasta.  Garnish with cheese on individual plates. 

Nik ate his whole plate (well almost his whole plate!) and clementines for dessert. I love it when he eats well!!

November 6, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Rollup

After a few months of silence, I'm back with a really easy adaptation of an adult dinner. We were having chicken tacos and Nikhil finds it difficult to hold those. I honestly feel sorry for him if he's eating plain tortillas because all the stuffing fell out of his taco. 

Prep Time: 2 min over and above the time spent on the adult dinner.

1) 1 or 2 corn/flour tortilla(s)
2) Cooked chicken, 2 little pieces.
3) Shredded mexican cheese mix (store bought)
4) taco seasoning
5) salsa 1 tbsp

In a small bowl, shred the chicken with a fork until well separated (Nik doesn't like to eat big chunks of meat so I shred it, you could also use small bit sited pieces, instead!). Add taco seasoning, if needed and about 1 tsp of salsa, and the shredded cheese; mix well. microwave on high for 15 seconds, just enough to allow the cheese to melt. Mix well again and spread a dollop on the tortilla, and roll it up while the cheese is still gooey and make sure that you push the stuffing around enough to stick the last bit of tortilla to itself. Voila! Cheesy Chicken Rollup!! Serve with a dollop of mild salsa. Always a hit!!