Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tortellini Pesto Pasta

March 6th 2011

Sometimes you are in no mood to cook anything big but still you don't want leftovers. It is at times like these having ready made pasta makes it a cinch to get fresh hot food on the table. And dishes such as these are suitable for the whole family - adults, kids and maybe even pets alike :)

Time: Prep Time (20 min), Making time (5 min)

Difficulty level: Easy


  • Basil Pesto sauce like here ( as needed)
  • 12 oz (1 bag) of any Tortellini pasta with any filling ( I used TJ's pasta with mixed cheese filling)
  • olive oil ( couple of tbsps)

Method de Preparation:
  1. Cook pasta as per instructions. Be careful not to allow to overcook as the filling will spill out and it might get mashed. Add a bit of salt to the water while cooking.
  2. While the pasta is getting ready, make your basil pesto sauce.
  3. Don't allow pasta to drain for too long. Heat olive oil, and once medium heat is attained, toss the pasta in and add a few spoons of the basil pesto sauce.
  4. Once everything is mixed well, turn off heat and serve immediately.

  1. Don't allow pasta to stay for too long after draining, it will become dry.
  2. If you consciously want to reduce how much oil you are using, then it is fine to limit the amount of olive oil in the basil pesto sauce and in the pasta mix, however a little bit of generosity here will benefit the taste if not the waistline :D

Zucchini Fritters

March 5th 2011

You know how sometimes you see something and you want to try it out.  You might not get to it immediately but it will keep at you till you do. Well, this was one of those, don't ask me why, but it was. And I made this close to 7-8 months ago finally getting to posting it :)

These taste very good. Very light and crisp despite being fried in oil. A good way to use zucchini.  And you could reduce the oil and fry them out as Aloo Tikkis too. 

Time: Preparation time (15 min), Cooking time (15 min)

Difficulty level : Easy - Medium

  • 1 or 2 Zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic or grated garlic
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup cheese ( any kind)
  • 1 to 2 whole eggs
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper ( to taste)
  • Olive or any other oil

Method de Preparation
  1. Wash and cut ends of the zucchini. Shred without peeling using a cheese grater. Squeeze the water out with your hand or using a muslin cloth until you have gotten out most or all of the liquid.
  2. Place shredded zucchini in a bowl. Add the garlic, breadcrumbs, shredded cheese, eggs, kosher salt and pepper to taste. Stir with a fork until well mixed. Add or reduce ingredients to get into a paste like consistency. You can always add a bit of rice flour if needed to hold everything together.
  3. Take a shallow pan and heat olive oil or any other oil to a medium temp. When the oil is hot enough (test by throwing a bit in), drop a scoop of zucchini batter into the skillet and flatten it out a bit. When it browns some (~ 2-3 min), turn the cakes over (they should be a nice golden brown) and cook until done.
  4. These go well with our Indian Maggi Hot and Sweet and also with any cold cucumber dip. Some Chai on the side would be nice too :)

Source: I originally saw this at PW cooks here

Tip: The Kosher salt is powerful stuff. Use is sparingly or you might end up with a batch of cakes a tad bit salty like I did :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Onion Tomato Cucumber Salad

March 2nd 2011

I cannot even say that this is a recipe as such because it is just so easy but nevertheless posting it here for those who might be unfamiliar with this combination.

In Chennai, where I grew up there were some summer nights that used to be just so warm. A warmth that I actually miss and would trade for rain anyday. You are hot enough that you don't feel like eating anything; but that never stopped me though :P So the thought of rotis with any heavy sabji or dal is just out of the question. As a result yogurt is a staple in our diet and we always conclude a meal with yogurt rice or at least with just yogurt. It might seem like a strange combination but once you try will be hooked! The beautiful thing about yogurt rice; is its plain taste makes it a wonderful wonderful accompaniment for everything and really brings out the flavors of the side dish. Not many people realize that; still it is true as strange as it might sound. 

This is a salad that is refreshing, that goes well with papad,with yogurt rice and with rotis also when paired with a raita.  I have and will post more recipes for raitas shortly, just check the side bar.

Difficulty level: Can't even rank - that easy :)

Time: 10 min

  • 1 medium sized red onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • cilantro (for garnish)
  • 1/2 tbsp lime juice or lime squeeze
  • 1 tbsp or more fresh ground pepper
  • salt

Method de Preparation
  1. Chop the first four ingredients evenly. C'mon you can do it!
  2. Add the lime juice and salt. Taste and adjust.
  3. Add the freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust.
  4. Ready to eat :)

Capsicum Kadalamavu (Bell Pepper Besan Sabzi)

March 1st 2011

Though I have grown up in a South Indian family, chapatti and sabzis have always been a staple at my home. And when Amma makes them..whether they are 5 or 500; from top to bottom they all will match up in size and shape like the pancakes shown on TV for Ihop commercials :P

Anyway point to convey is that we are always looking for sabzis that are easy to make and go well with rotis. This particular one fits the bill to a T. Easy to make and tasty to the palette.

Difficulty level : Easy 

Time:  under 30 min


  • 4 nos green bell pepper
  • 2-3 tbsps besan (Gram Flour)
  • dhaniya powder ( 3 tsps)
  • jeera powder ( 2 tsp)
  • garam masala ( 2 tsp)
  • chilly powder ( 2 tsp)
  • turmeric powder ( a pinch)
  • salt
  • oil

Method de Preparation
  1. Wash and cut  bell pepper in squares or thin slices.
  2. Take oil in a pan, add the besan and allow it to cook some. Allow the raw smell to go away and for it to brown just a bit. You can start smelling the flavor of the besan.
  3. At this point add the bell peppers and a pinch of turmeric and some salt.
  4. Cover for just a few min (~ 2-3 min) and cook. After that don't cover as bell pepper cooks very quickly anyway.
  5. In some time add a bit of oil and then add the dhaniya, jeera and garam masala powders. Add the chilly powder too.
  6. Allow everything to come together. Add salt if required. Turn off heat.
  7. Serve with rotis or chappatis.

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