Introducing a new product & recipe for nutty noodle

Spicy Peanut Butter  is a versatile product and works great for salad dressings or noodle based dishes. You can also mix this versatile product with your plain rice and curds. At i2cook, we have also introduced a new product called the “i2cook Peanut Crunch” which are powdered peanuts, can be added to your noodles, salads, soup, sabudana kichidi or Indian style vegetable as garnish. Sharing with you a very easy recipe for a lazy weeknight or weekend dinner. Feel free to use your favorite veggies or meat. This meal is not only satisfying but can also be prepared under 15 minutes.

SPB

i2cook spicy peanut butter

Peanut crunch

i2cook peanut crunch

Ingredients

1 packet hakka noodles – 200gms (wheat), cooked and water drained

1 medium sized onion, peeled & sliced

4-5 peeled garlic, finely chopped

1 small capsicum, de-seeded and sliced

1 medium carrot, cut in thin strips

4-5 mushrooms, sliced

4-5 baby corn sliced & cooked (optional)

100gms i2cook spicy peanut butter

1/2 tbs soy sauce

1/2 tsp coconut or palm sugar

salt to taste

coriander or spring onion for garnish

i2cook peanut crunch (powdered peanuts for garnish)

toasted sesame for garnish (optional)

Procedure

  • Heat oil in a wok and add garlic. Allow it to brown a little and add onions.
  • Once the onions are soft, add carrots, mushroom, capsicum and babay corn. Cook until done.
  • Take peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar in a bowl and add some water to form a smooth paste. Add this to the cooked vegetables and cook for a minute.
  • Add salt to taste and noodles, mix well. Turn off the gas.
  • Add some peanut crunch and coriander as garnish. Serves 2.

Noodle 1

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Mushroom & Kale Minestrone

Minestrone

Minestrone, a thick Italian soup is one of my favorite. Minestrone is so easy to make and the best part is that you can add any seasonal veggies. A perfect weekday one pot meal which can be had with a nice crusty bread. It can be prepared  well in advance and refrigerated up to a week. I had mine for two consecutive days after long working hours.

There is no real recipe for this thick soup. The basic thumb rule is to use lots of veggies, beans and pasta or rice. I’ve used kale & mushroom to give a different twist to my soup. I’ve also  used black rice pasta which not only adds color to my pasta but also makes my soup gluten free. This recipe can also be vegan if garnished with some  nutritional yeast flakes as a substitute for vegan cheese. I’ve used some local artisan Parmesan coming all the way from Auroville.

Jamie Oliver gives  some handy tips on prepping up for minestrone.

Ingredients:

1 packet mushroom (250gms), chopped finely

50 gms kale, stems removed & chopped finely

1 small red onion, chopped finely

2 tomatoes, skin removed, de seeded and finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup  cooked black eyed beans

1 cup uncooked black rice  pasta

1/2 tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

500 ltr water

salt & pepper to taste

pesto & cheese for serving

Procedure :

  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add garlic and chopped onions. Sauté  until translucent.
  • Add chopped mushroom, kale, water & salt. Allow it to cook on medium flame for about 15 minutes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and uncooked pasta. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Add cooked black eyed peas, oregano, freshly ground pepper and some salt if needed. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot in individual bowls with a dollop of homemade pesto swirled through and some grated Parmesan.

Minestrone 1

More about black rice pasta & nutritional yeast flakes.


Cooking with locally produced spirulina pasta

spirulina pasta

When I first came across organic spirulina pasta, I was a bit hesitant. Yes, I know that  spirulina is good for your health, but my concern was the taste.

Spirulina pasta is a mix of both wheat & spirulina. Perfectly mixed to give you the correct taste of the spirulina without overpowering the spaghetti. The boiling instructions are clear on the packaging material. This pasta is not gluten free. Spirulina helps to fight against cancer, liver infection or allergic reactions.

Spirulina spaghetti can be cooked with any sauce of your choice. I’ve cooked this pasta with pesto sauce, tomato pasta sauce, roasted bell pepper dip or just olive oil, garlic & sun dried tomatoes – making it a perfect summer treat!

spirulina pasta 2

Simple pasta garnished with some Auroville parmesan cheese

I’ve personally met Anandi, who started KOFPU (Kottakarai Organic Food Processing Unit)  and creates some amazing products. She is a warm person and welcomes you with her contagious smile. She also runs a raw vegan restaurant in Auroville, dishing out  some of the best vegan smoothies and raw chocolate bars.

At i2cook.com we also stock  KOFPU’sorganic products like cashew butter, black sesame butter, neem leaf powder etc. We also stock locally produced cheese from Auroville like parmesan, feta, etc. Now, here is the best part :)… i2cook.com  delivers all these products at your doorstep all across India.

spirulina pasta 4

Spirulina spagetti mixed with roasted bell pepper dip


Weekend lunch – Prawn & Mung Pilaf

I like to cook during weekends. It helps me rejuvenate and slow down my pace by self indulging in what I love doing.  The aromatic flavours blending in my kitchen is like a therapy to my soul.

Indian cooking, if managed well without over dosing of spices can be quite an indulgence. Pulav/ Pilaf is more like a special comfort food in Indian homes. It is usually made when one wants to eat something special or is bored of the same old mundane menu. Every household will have a special massala or spice mix that they use in this special rice preparation. I on the other hand, use  only whole spice mix instead of  commonly used powdered mix. I always like to flavour my pulav with heaps of fresh mint leaves which is cooked along with rice, meat/fish or veggies.

Prawn pilaf is one of my favourite.  I sometimes add peas for visual and taste. This time I twisted the recipe a little by adding in some sprouted mung. It didn’t change the taste but it did add some crunch to my dish along with fried onions. Did I tell you that I love fried onions  in my pulav. It is not a traditional practice to add fried onions but hey who said you have to follow rules….

Ingredients for prawn & mung pilaf

250gms  long grained rice or basmati rice

250gms medium sized prawns – cleaned, shelled and de-veined

1/2 cup sprouted mung (raw)

1 cup fresh mint leaves – cleaned without any stalks

1 cup finely chopped onions

1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes

For tempering – 1/2tsp cumin seeds, 1 bay leaf, 4 -6 cloves, 2 cardamon, 1/2inch cinnamon, 2 star anise

2tbs sunflower oil

1tbs ghee

1tbs ginger garlic paste

1/2tsp turmeric powder

1/2tbs  coriander powder

1/2tsp chilli powder

salt to taste

fried onions for garnish

Heat oil/ghee  in a rice (electric) cooker or a pressure cooker. Season with all the dry spices. Add ginger garlic paste, onions and cook until soft. Add tomatoes, prawns, mint and all the powdered spices and mix well. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring it to a light boil. Add rice, water and salt. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and allow it to cook. Turn off the heat after two whistles and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Transfer into a serving bowl or plate and garnish with some fried onions. Serve hot with raitha and mirchi ka salan. Serves 4.



Spinach & corn casserole covered with mashed potato

I’ve been missing a lot on blogging and really feeling  guilty…. I feel bad because I’m not being an active participant in contributing and sharing my food thoughts and feel disconnected in the food blog world. Do you feel the same sometimes? I know  there is no excuse for not blogging but needless to say I’ve been experimenting a lot with food 😉

In past few weeks I’ve tried and tested/tasted some of the recipes that have been a success at the Farmer’s Market, I will share them all soon with you :). For now I would like to introduce to your table –  casserole with a mashed potato topping….

Bangalore Club has  always been serving  spinach and corn bake in most of  their buffets and I would really help myself with large helpings :)….They usually make it more creamier by using white sauce and I thought of making one at home which omits white sauce and is gluten-free (apart from the cheese topping).

2cups chopped spinach
1cup sweet corn kernels
2cups mashed potato
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2tsp crushed garlic
1tsp pepper
1tbs olive oil
1tbs butter
1/2 cup milk
mozzarella cheese or any other (optional)
salt to taste

 Heat oil in a skillet and add chopped onions and crushed garlic. Let the onions soften and add chopped spinach, corn, pepper, salt and cook until done. Take it off the stove.

Take the mashed potatoes and add milk, butter, salt and mix them really well, like the way you would make mashed potatoes.

Take a baking dish or a bowl and pour the prepared spinach and corn mixture topped with mashed potato and grated cheese.

I microwaved in grill option for 15 minutes or you can bake. You will see a nice brown crust on top and you know it’s ready to be served hot. Serves 2-4.

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by  Briciole  and Cook Almost Anything.


Chickpea stuffed pepper, served with tomato sauce or curry

Last week I was annoyed or rather irritable with myself. Why you may ask? I went to a friend’s party and offered to serve some Asian Noodle Salad at the party and to  my disappointment, the noodles turned out to be soggy. I did hit a panic attack and was cursing myself for how I could go so wrong with the basics. I guess it was a question of performance under pressure….maybe not, I serve every Sunday at the Farmer’s Market  (the response has been very good) then what was it that really went wrong…..
I realised that the packet of noodles that I used were of a different brand from what I usually use and I also soaked the noodles in hot water for a longer period of time. Arghhhh……
It’s a lesson that I learnt last week that it is very important to take note of everything that I do in my home kitchen and not to take things for granted. Have you also experienced or felt disappointed with your cooking?

Stuffed pepper  was initially intended to be stuffed with potato, but I made used of the left over chickpeas lying in my fridge since past two days. The flavouring used is simple and the combination of pepper and tomato sauce has always been satisfying. I prefer to slightly cook the onions and tomatoes before putting them in a blender as the raw tastes of the paste gets subdued. Addition of cardamom in any sauce or curry will give any dish a sweet aroma and flavour.


2nos fresh pepper (green, red or yellow)

for stuffing
2cups boiled & mashed chickpeas
1tsp finely chopped green chillies
1tsp grated ginger
2tsp raisins
2tsp of oil
salt to taste

for sauce
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1tsp cumin seeds or jeera
2nos clove
1 whole cardamom
1tsp coriander powder
1/2tsp turmeric powder
1/2tsp chilli powder
1/2tsp garam massala
1tbs of oil
salt to taste

cilantro for garnish

Cut the stems and top half-inch off the peppers and scoop out the seeds and membranes.
Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing. Stuff the peppers with the prepared mixture.
Heat oil in a pan and place the stuffed peppers to cook. Remember to keep turning them, so that they cook evenly from all sides.Cover the lid for about 5 minutes on medium flame, which will allow the peppers to cook properly. Turn off the heat once cooked.
Heat oil in a pan and add jeera, cloves, cardamom and onions. Once the onions are soft, add tomatoes and cook until soft. Allow it to cool. Once cold, mix in a blender to a fine paste. Transfer the paste to a pan and add coriander, turmeric and chilli powder. Let the mixture cook on a low flame for about 10 minutes. Add garam massala and salt to taste.

Place the cooked pepper in a dish or individual plates and serve the prepared hot sauce garnished with cilantro. Serve hot with roti or rice. Serves 2.
This is my submission to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Sandhya’s Kitchen and The Well Seasoned Cook.


Asparagus,Mint & Lemon Risotto

This post has been a long overdue and for some reason I almost forgot about it…..The Risotto is inspired by Jamie Oliver and it’s my first time to try out any of his recipes and I’m glad I did.
To get fresh asparagus in India is a rare thing and I happen to pick them at the Farmer’s Market; fresh, green and also organic.The method for cooking  risotto is almost the same as my previous post Yellow & Red Pepper Risotto apart from the flavouring ofcourse…

1 cup arborio rice
1 cup fresh or canned asparagus, cut into desired length
1cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic clove, minced
1 tbs butter
1tbs olive oil
5 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (can add more if you like)
2tbs  fresh mint leaves
1tbs lemon zest

In the cleaned skillet cook onions in 1tbs remaining butter over moderate heat, stirring until turned light brown, add garlic and onions, cook until soft. If using fresh asparagus, pre boil or if using canned; add them into the skillet and season with salt and pepper.Keep aside
In a saucepan heat broth and keep at a bare simmer or microwave.

Take a non-stick pan (chances of burning the rice is lesser),add olive oil and keep stirring dry rice for several minutes in the oil over medium-high heat until it is golden, but not burnt. This also helps the rice to release the starch later on, and creates a nice nutty flavour.
Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is absorbed.If you are not using wine; you can start adding broth.Add about 1/2 cup simmering broth and cook, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed.
Continue adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, and cooking, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is ‘al dente’, about 20 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and stir in the prepared mixture of onion and asparagus , parmesan cheese, mint, lemon zest,salt and pepper to taste.Serves 2.

My tastebuds: the mint and lemon gives risotto a different and a tangy flavour. I didn’t like the lemon too much and felt that the flavouring was not complete.

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Cindystar.