Cheesy Sausage and Vegetable Stew

Cheesy Sausage and Vegetable Stew

This dish is cooked in a slow cooker for about five hours so that the flavour of the sauce and the meat permeates the vegetables, making a hearty meal by itself. A great dish for family dinners, especially in winter.

Ingredients

(Serves 10)

Sausages 10-15, diced

Potatoes 2 large, peeled and diced

Capsicum 2, diced

Carrots 3 large, peeled and diced

Spring onions 8, diced

Milk 1 1/2 cups

Water 2 cups

Fresh cream 1 cup

Salt to taste

Italian herbs 2 tbsps

Cayenne pepper 1 tsp

Pepper powder 1 tsp

Tomato pasta sauce 4 tbsps

Cheddar cheese 250 g, duced

Coriander leaves, a large bunch, roughly chopped

Method

Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook for 4-5 hours till the potatoes are cooked.

Serve hot with Rustic country loaf, bacon and tomato bread, focaccia bread or Brazilian corn bread.

Pahari Gahat ki dal (Horse gram dal)

Pahari Gahat ki dal (Horse gram dal)

On my visit to the Garhwal Himalayas in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, my friend’s cook introduced me to a local lentil, a variety of horse gram. The local residents make this using a herb that grows in the region, jambu, and a native spice called gandherni.

I could not get it where we were staying, however, as it was remote with only a tiny shop selling essentials at the foot of the mountain. So I decided to try to cook it with the ingredients available in my friend’s kitchen. It turned out delicious with a lovely, earthy taste.

Ingredients

Gahat ki dal 1 cup, soaked for two hours

Turmeric 1 tsp

Garlic 10 cloves, chopped

Ginger 1” piece, chopped

Onion 1 large, sliced

Tomato 1 large, chopped

Coriander powder 1/2 tsp

Red chilli powder 1 tbsp

Garam masala 1 tsp

Green chillies 3, sliced

Coriander leaves 1 bunch, chopped

Tomato 1 small, sliced

Salt to taste

Mustard oil 1 tbsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Method

Wash and steam the dal with the turmeric in a pressure cooker.

Heat the mustard oil in a wok and add the cumin seeds. When they stop sputtering, add the garlic. Sauté for two minutes.

Add the ginger and sauté for 1 minute.

Add the sliced onion and sauté till they turn translucent.

Add the tomatoes and cook till they become soft.

Add the cooked dal.

Add the coriander powder, red chilli powder and salt.

Add 1/2 cup water and cook covered for 10 minutes on a low flame.

Add the garam masala and cook for another five minutes.

Serve hot, garnished with green chillies, coriander leaves and tomatoes.

Tomato Rice

Tomato Rice

This dish was created by my mom as a healthy packed lunch for my sister when she started working. Made from cooked rice, this is easy to assemble and make. It is a delicious lunch option.

Ingredients

(Serves 5 persons)

Rice 2 cups, cooked

Tomatoes 2 large, sliced

Onions 2 medium, sliced

Coconut oil 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Sambar powder 5 tbsps

Salt to taste

Curry leaves for garnish

Method

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed wok and add the mustard seeds.

When the seeds stop sputtering, add the onions. Sauté till they turn a light brown.

Add the tomatoes and curry leaves. Cook on medium heat till they soften.

Add the sambar powder and sauté for two minutes.

Add the rice and salt and mix well till the masala coats the rice grains completely

Serve hot.

Banana Oat Loaf

Banana Oat Loaf

This is a great loaf for breakfast. It is healthy and tasty and can be made the night before or even early in the morning if you prefer a warm slice.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

Bananas 2, mashed

Oat flour 1 1/2 cups

Butter 50 g

Condensed milk 1/2 cup

Yoghurt 1/2 cup

Baking soda 1/2 tsp

Baking powder 1 tsp

Walnuts 1/2 cup, chopped

Method

Cream the butter and condensed milk together using an electric whisk.

Add the yoghurt and whisk at high speed.

Add the mashed bananas and whisk for a minute.

Mix the oats flour, baking soda, baking powder and walnuts in a separate bowl.

Add it to the liquid mixture using a cut-and-fold motion.

Grease a bread loaf pan and pour in the batter. It will be thick, but that is ok.

Bake in a 170 degree oven for 40 minutes. Let it cool in the pan. Slice and serve.

Bread Upma

Bread Upma

This is my mom’s recipe and makes a delicious dish in minutes. She made this for our school lunches and it is comfort food for me.

Ingredients

(Serves 2)

White bread 4 slices

Potatoes 2 medium, boiled and peeled

Tomatoes 2 medium, chopped

Tomato ketchup 5 tbsps

Oil 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Method

Slice the bread into 1/2” squares. Chop the potatoes into small cubes.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the mustard seeds and let it sputter.

Add the potatoes and sauté till they turn golden.

Add the tomatoes and fry for a minute. Add salt.

Add the ketchup and mix well. It will caramelise a bit.

Switch off the heat and serve hot.

Country bread

Country bread

This rustic country loaf is healthy, tasty and easy to make. The mix of bread flour and whole wheat flour makes this a bread for all occasions. It goes well with soups and also makes great sandwiches.

Ingredients

Bread flour 3 cups

Whole wheat flour 1 1/3 cup

Olive oil 1/3 cup plus for greasing

Italian herbs 2 tbsps

Yeast 3 tsp

Salt 1 tsp

Sugar 2 tbsps

Method

Mix all the ingredients and make a dough in the bread machine or stand mixer.

Roll the dough on to a floured surface and knead for about five minutes.

Shape into a ball and let rest covered in a greased bowl for two hours. I leave it overnight in winter.

Punch down the dough and give it a second rising.

Keep a tray of water in the oven and bake in a 210 degree C convection oven for 40 minutes. Spritz with water a few times during the first 15 minutes.

Cool on a rack, slice and serve.

Khaman Dhokla

Khaman Dhokla

This is actually known as just khaman in Gujarat, but as a pan-Indian dish it is known as dhokla. Filled with protein, this is a light snack that is good any time of the day.

Ingredients

(Serves 5)

Chickpea flour or besan 1 cup (136 g)

Semolina or suji 1 tbsp

Turmeric 1/2 tsp

Water 3/4 cup

Sugar 1 tsp

Oil 1 tbsp

Lemon juice 1 tbsp

Salt 1/2 tsp

Baking soda 1 tsp

Ginger 1” piece

Green chillies 3

Grated coconut 1 tbsp

For tempering:

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Oil 1 tbsp

Sugar 1 tsp

Curry leaves few sprigs

Coriander leaves for garnish

Asafoetida 1/2 tsp

Salt 1/2 tsp

Green chillies 5

Method

Mix the chickpea flour, suji, baking soda and turmeric together in a bowl.

In another bowl mix the water, oil, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Stir well till the sugar dissolves.

Add to the dry ingredients and whisk well to form a batter.

Pour into a greased tray and steam for 20 minutes.

Heat oil in a frying pan and add the mustard seeds. When they stop sputtering, add the curry leaves and asafoetida. Add the asafoetida and salt and add three tablespoons of water. Stir till the sugar dissolves. Add the green chillies and cool for two minutes.

Pour over the cooked dhokla. Garnish with scraped coconut and coriander leaves.

Slice and serve.

Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup

This creamy mushroom soup is delicious on cold winter evenings, especially with corn bread. I use fresh button mushrooms that are firm and have a lovely woodsy flavour.

Ingredients

Button mushrooms 250 g

Onion 1 large, chopped

Garlic 3 cloves, minced

Butter 100 g

Olive oil 4 tbsps

All-purpose flour 4 tbsps

Milk 1/3 cup

Fresh cream 1 cup

Salt and pepper to taste

Water as needed

Coriander leaves for garnish

Method

Slice the mushrooms.

Add the butter and olive oil to a heavy-bottomed pan and heat till the butter melts.

Add the onions and mushrooms. Sauté till the mushrooms are brown.

Add the minced garlic and fry till the raw smell disappears.

Add the flour and sauté for two minutes. Add the milk, stirring all the time. Add 2 cups of water and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook till the soup begins to boil.

Add the cream and stir till bubble begin to appear.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with corn bread.

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken is a favourite dish from northern India that has become popular across the globe. Traditionally, it is made with a lot of butter and cream, but I have cut the quantity of oil, butter and cream for a healthier but still tasty version of the dish.

Ingredients

Chicken 1/2 kg, boneless cubes

Red chilli powder 2 tbsps

Turmeric 1/2 tsp

Ginger 2” piece

Garlic 10 cloves

Oil 2 tbsps

Butter 2 tsps

Cream 1 tsp

Tomatoes 4 medium, roughly sliced

Onion 1 large, roughly sliced

Cashew nuts 8-10

Kasoori Methi 1 tbsp

Garam masala 1 tsp

Apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp

Salt to taste

Method

Make a paste of the ginger and 5 garlic cloves.

Marinate the washed chicken cubes with 1 tablespoon of red chilli powder, salt, turmeric and the ginger-garlic paste. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the marinated pieces till the surface changes colour. This will take about 2 minutes each side. Keep it aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the oil and add the the onions. Fry the onions till they become transparent.

Add the tomatoes and cashew nuts.

Crush the rest of the garlic and add to the pan.

Add salt, the rest of the red chilli powder and garam masala. Add 2 cups of water and cook on medium heat till the tomatoes become mushy. This will take about 10-15 minutes.

Cool the mixture for about 10 minutes and blend well in a mixer or with a hand-held blender. I use my Braun hand blender.

Strain the blended mixture back into the pan. Add the rest of the butter, the cream, the fried chicken cubes and the kasoori methi. Heat through for five minutes.

Serve with rice or naan.

Banana and Chocolate Rice Cake

Banana and Chocolate Rice Cake

I was trying to come up with a way to use rice flour and remembered some lovely dishes I had in Japan. Thinking of some the sweets made from rice flour, I decided to make a banana cake. The chocolate chips added a delicious but subtle taste.

Ingredients

Bananas 3

Eggs 2

Sugar 3/4 cup (150 g)

Vegetable oil 4 tbsps

Milk 6 tbsps

Rice flour 1 cup (200 g)

Baking powder 2 tsps

Chocolate chips 1 tbsp

Method

Mash two of the bananas well in a wide bowl.

Add the eggs and mix well. I use an electrical whisk, my trusted hand-held blender Braun.

Add the sugar, oil and milk and whisk for two minutes.

Add the rice flour and baking powder and mix with a wooden or rubber spatula. Then whisk at high speed for a few minutes. In the case of rice flour there is no gluten and so you can whisk well to get in as much air as you can.

Line a round baking tray with greased butter paper and pour in the batter. Slice the remaining banana and arrange on top of the batter. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C and bake the cake at 170 degrees C for 45 minutes. Check after 35 minutes and stop when a toothpick poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean.