Friday, September 28, 2007

Ma's Prawn and Sausage Fried Rice

Ma sprung this Prawn and Sausage fried rice on us during a do, long back when we were in the middle-east. Just like she does everything. No fuss, no elaborate planning, no discussion. Just go ahead and do it. I think she only made it just that once. And never afterwards. Like I remember the wafer thin, amazingly tasty sooji biscuits she ahd learnt at a cookery class. I still remember them although she made it only once when I think I must have been 6 or 7 . No matter how much I cajoled her - she never made them again.

I spoke to ma last night and asked her for this fried rice recipe. She absented mindedly said yes. Later, I shot off an email to R as well, just in case. This morning, I find the recipe in my mail box with an accusing note from R: "How cum you don't remember that I had cooked this dish for you when I had come visiting you in Paris? And yet you remember the time long back when ma made it"?
Not deliberately, dear R, first time makes the strongest impression, right?

You will need:
Pre-cooked / left over rice: 2 cups
Onion: 1 medium diced finely
Green chili: 2 sliced finely (optional)
Tinned sausage: 1 cup, cut into roundels
prawns: 1/2 cup small prawns
Mixed vegetables like carrots, beans: 1 cup
Ajinomoto: a pinch
Salt: 1 tsp
Sugar: 1/4 tsp
Vinegar: a dash

How to:

  1. Saute the sausage in oil. Keep aside.
  2. Parboil the carrots, beans. Drain and keep aside.
  3. Lightly fry the prawns. Trick is to heat oil in a pan on high flame. Drop in the prawns, stir and remove immediately. Should not take more than 30 secs.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions and fry till they turn pink.
  5. Add the chili, sliced capsicum, the veggies.
  6. Add salt, sugar, a pinch of ajinomoto (optional) and a dash of vinegar.
  7. Add the prawns.
  8. Stir to mix well.
  9. Lower flame, cover and keep for couple of minutes so that the aromas mingle well.
  10. Viola! Its ready to eat.

Note: This is really easy. Left over rice, sausages out of a can and any veggies that you might have in your fridge!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cabbage Khichdi

I have managed, in this heat, to catch a cold. My head feels heavy and my movements lethargic. On top of that, my cook did no a show, but she was kind enough to inform me about that. I was not really feeling up to doing much cooking, so I made a one dish meal. This is a recipe that A taught me and it has been a life saver (mine) on many an ocassion.

You will need:
These are the proportions I used; these can be easily varied

Cabbage: 1/2 of a medium sized cabbage
Rice: 1&1/2 cups
Peas: a handful
Tomato: 1
Onions: 2 - quartered
Potato: 2, halved
Garlic: 4 cloves smashed
Ginger: 1/2 tsp grated
Bay leaf: 1
Cinnamon: 1" stick
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Cloves: 2/3
Green elaichi: 2 pods
Salt: 2 tsp
Sugar: a pinch
Oil: 2 tbsp

How to:

  1. Shred the cabbage, wash well and drain.
  2. Wash the rice and drain.
  3. In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Add the cinnamon, cardamon, bay leaf and elaichi.
  4. After 30 sec (by this time, the spices will have released their aroma), add the cumin seeds.
  5. When the cumin start spluttering, which is almost immediately, add the cabbage, peas, garlic and ginger and turmeric and salt. Stir well.
  6. After a minute, add the tomatoes. Stir well.
  7. After a minute, add the rice. Stir well otherwise, the rice will stick to the pan.
  8. Add the quartered onions and the potatoes.
  9. Add 2&3/4 cups water - the same cup that was used to measure out the rice.
  10. Cover the cooker and cook for one whistle. Remove from flame. Let the cover drop by itself. Don't lift the weight on top of the lid to release the pressure.
  11. Viola! Done. Enjoy. Bon Appetit.


  • The onions can be sauteed right in the begining right after adding the cumin. Any other vegetable can be used too.
  • Since it's a khichdi or Khichudi in bengali, it can be accompanied by fritters - begun /brinjal, parwal /potol, papads.

And it does not take more than 20 minutes start to finish.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Faux Uttapam

A feels very hungry post his evening walk and the temptation to pick up the phone and order some calorie laden take away is enormous. So I am forever on the look out for easy at the same time tasty (enough to keep him away from fatty food) recipes. Also, if I am at work, my maid has to cook it and can't have any thing very complicated nor do I want to spend much time in the evening cooking something which requires a great deal of effort (should I be around). This is one easy and tasty recipe. And fool proof. Always turns out great and does not require exotic ingredients.

You will Need:
Semolina / Sooji: 1 cup
Curd: 2 cups (meaning double the amount of the sooji)
Onion: 1 small finely sliced
Garlic: 3 or 4 minced
Capsicum: 1 small finely sliced
Carrot: 1/2 cup finely sliced
Cabbage: 1/2 cup shredded
Coriander leaves: a few finely shredded
Oil for frying

How to:

  1. In a bowl, add the sooji and double the amount of curd. I used one cup because that's all I had. Sometimes, you might have to add a bit more or less of the curd. It should be thicker, than the dosa batter. (The batter won't spread by itself on the pan. You will have to spread it out using a ladle or spoon).
  2. Add the chopped veggies. These are strictly, optional. It tastes just as good with just onions.
  3. Season with salt (about 3/4 tsp)
  4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a flat pan over high flame. Spread the batter out - should not be spread thinly; it might break while frying.
  5. Keep on high flame for about a minute or so. Then turn it over carefully and lower the flame. Cover and keep for a few more minutes.
  6. Press lightly with a wooden spatula so that all the batter inside is cooked as well.
  7. The whole thing should take 6 to 7 minutes.
  8. Serve with sauce of your choice!

Note: Its quick, uses less oil, simple to make, tasty. However, you CAN while frying, add a bit of butter to the oil or use only butter, if you are not counting your calories. It tastes terrific when fried in butter. You can fry them out in any shape. Normally they should be round and the size of a quarter plate. But you can make mini pizza size or like today when strangely while spreading the batter, it took a oblong shape. Tasted just as good!!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

R's Noodles for Comfort

I have a biggish collection of cook books. Not for trying out recipes mind you. But to drool over the exotic recipes while I eat my every day fare!! (Ok, weird I know...). A new addition to this collection is one on Noodles. Udon, Soba and what not. I have gone through it cover to cover several times...but somehow, have never tried out any, although I keep meaning to. Instead, I bugged R several times to send me her own personal recipe - this I am going to try out. Perhaps tomorrow. It is really tasty. Try it. And simple. No fancy ingredients.

Poor R has been suffering from a very bad back and despite that (or perhaps I harrassed her a bit too much), she typed out the recipe and sent it to me. So here it is:

You will need:

Noodles: 200 or 250 gms (she hasn't specified what type of noodle - so can I dare to say "ordinary" noodles?)

Green chillies: 3-4

Assorted vegetables (carrots, beans, mushrooms, cauliflower) : 2 cups

Green Capsiscum: 1 medium sized

Garlic chopped: 6-7 cloves

Soy sauce: A dash

White vinegar - 1/2 cup

Maggie Chicken cubes: 2-3

Oil for sauting the vegetables

Salt, Pepper, Sugar

This is How:

  • Boil the noodles and plunge in cold water. Drain, smear some white oil and keep aside.
  • Chop the green chillies and put them in a pan with the vinegar. Add a little bit of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from fire and keep aside.
  • Julienne the beans, slice the carrots and mushrooms.
  • Parboil the beans and carrots (and cauliflower if using)
  • Slice the capsicum finely.
  • Saute the mushrooms in white oil with pepper and salt.
  • Heat some oil in a pan and throw in the chopped garlic.
  • Add somefresh chopped chillies, then add parboiled veggies,
  • Add the sauteed mushrooms and the capsicum
  • Then add two tsp sugar and finally a little soy sauce, vinegar and chicken cubes.
  • Finally, add the noodles. Mix well, taste and adjust seasoning.

Viola! There you have it. The chillies in vinegar is optional. Really. But it does add such a lovely tang to the noodles. The recipe reads so simple and easy...but believe me, its Comfort food.


  • You can add your own combination of veggies. Shredded, sauteed meat / prawns too can be added. A would insist on adding eggs too....
  • Chicken stock cubes are usually salty. So is vinegar and soy sauce. Be careful about the quantities.