Cook's Hideout: August 2007

August 26, 2007

Butternut Squash Curry

I picked up a butternut squash (Thiyya Gummadikaya in Telugu or Sweet pumpkin) from the farmer's market last week without any particular recipe in mind. I have never cooked with butternut squash before and had to ask my mom for a quick curry recipe and to my surprise both my husband and I loved it.
Pic Updated March 2013
Butternut squash - 1 lb. makes about 2 cups chopped
Tamarind paste - 1 tbsp
Green chilies - 3
Red chilies - 3
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 4
Hing (Asafoetida) - pinch
Turmeric - pinch
Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

  • Place the chopped squash pieces with 1/2 cup of water and turmeric in a microwave safe bowl and cook in the microwave for about 8-10 minutes, until the pieces are fork tender. You can also boil the pieces on stove top.
  • In heat 2 tsp oil in a pan, add urad dal, mustard and cumin seeds, hing and curry leaves. When the seeds splutter, add squash and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add tamarind paste and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook on medium low flame for 5-6 minutes.
  • Add sambar powder and salt, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.

The curry was slightly sweet and sour with silky sweetness from the squash and tartness from tamarind paste. Loved it and I packed a little bit in my lunch box for tomorrow.

Next time I want to try Asha's Butternut squash stir-fry and Indira's Butternut squash halwa.

August 20, 2007

Chocolate Bread Halwa

I made this as an afternoon dessert over the weekend. I wanted to have something fast and didn’t have the patience to prep anything. I used ingredients on hand. The end result was creamy and delicious Indian style chocolate pudding. I made it using whole grain white bread and low fat milk, to make it a little healthy.

Bread – 4 slices
Milk – 1¼ cups, heated for 2 mins in the microwave
Sweetened Condensed milk – 3 tbsp
Sugar – 3 tbsp (more or less per taste)
Dark chocolate – 4 oz. chopped fine
Ghee (or butter) – 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
Cashews – 2 tbsp
Raisins – 2 tbsp
Elaichi – 1 tsp
  • Sauté cashews and raisins in 1 tsp ghee.
  • Cut and discard the brown part on the bread and chop each slice into 4-6 bite size pieces. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp ghee on medium low flame, shallow fry the bread pieces till nice and golden. Remove and keep aside.
  • Add both milk to the same pan. Add sugar; bring the mixture to a simmer on medium flame, mixing well till sugar dissolves.
  • Add the chopped chocolate, elaichi and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Slowly add fried bread slices, mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes. Garnish with fried cashews and raisins (and little bit of shaved white chocolate).

August 18, 2007

Spaghetti With Spinach and Mushrooms

This recipe is from Vegetarian Times magazine. Very simple preparation and toasting spaghetti gives it a nutty flavor.

Spaghetti - 8oz. broken into thirds
Low-sodium vegetable broth - 1 15 oz. can
Tomato paste - 2 tbsp
Harissa or red pepper flakes - 1 tbsp
Mushrooms - 1 lb. quartered
Garlic - 1 clove, minced
Spinach - 1 lb. coarsely chopped
Chickpeas - 1 15 oz. can, rinsed and drained

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Place pasta on baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Bake 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden, shaking the pan once or twice to brown evenly.
  • Bring vegetable broth, 2 ½ cups water, tomato paste, harissa and saffron to a simmer in saucepan. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.
  • Heat a large pan over medium high heat, and add 2tsp olive oil. Add mushrooms, and cook until browned, about 7-8 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Reduce heat to medium, and stir in pasta and 2 cups of hot broth.Cook 4-5 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.
  • Add spinach, chickpeas and remaining broth. Simmer 5-7 minutes more, or until noodles are tender and most of broth is absorbed.Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

Nupur (@ One Hot Stove) has taken up a project of compiling easy recipes made from the food that is most commonly found in our pantry. I think this recipe can be easily modified to be made with canned mushrooms and spinach and the proportions can be changed accordingly.

Hope you like the recipe Nupur and can use it in Campus Kitchen.

August 10, 2007

Dalia Khichdi

This is my contribution to Shaheen's (@ Malabar Spices) Summer Express Cooking event. Shaheen wants all of us to don Rachel Ray's cap and make 30 Minute meals.

I shared an apartment with 2 American girls few years ago and thats when I truly realized that Indian cooking does take a lot longer than American cooking. I used to slave in the kitchen to make my dal and rice (I didn't have a pressure cooker and had to microwave my dal which took almost forever) and my roommates used to make (mostly sandwiches and pastas with store-bought sauces), eat and clean in matter of minutes.

Thanks Shaheen for coming up with this event, it definitely made me re-think about my cooking and prepping process. I'm eagerly waiting for the round up for tips and recipes from fellow bloggers.

My contribution is my mother-in-laws recipe. There is no need to plan anything ahead for this recipe and takes about 30 minutes including the preparations. It is great as a quick dinner, lunch or breakfast.

While the khichdi was cooking, I even had time to make Majjiga charu (spicy buttermilk) as a side dish.

Ingredients (For 2 people):
Dalia (Cracked Wheat) - 2/3 cups
Moong dal - 1/3 cup
Onion - 1 medium
Carrot - 1 medium
Potato - 1 medium
Peas - 1/4 cup, frozen, thawed under running hot water or in microwave
Green Chilies - 4
Ginger - 1"piece
Curry leaves - 10
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Salt & Pepper - to taste


0 - 5 minutes: Prepping the veggies and heating the pans.
  • Heat a pressure cooker on medium-low flame and a non-stick pan on medium-high flame.
  • Chop the veggies into chunks (don't have to be finely chopped, but make sure that all the veggies are almost the same size).
5 - 20 minutes:
  • Add dalia to the non-stick pan and roast till light brown. Remove and keep aside. Next roast the moong dal until fragrant and slightly brown. This will take about 5-6 minutes. I rinsed and drained roasted dalia and moong dal at this stage, but it is optional.
  • Mean while add 1tbsp oil in the pressure cooker, add cumin seeds and hing. After the seeds crackle, add ginger, green chilies and curry leaves. Fry for 30 seconds, add the onions, potatoes and carrots. Saute for 3 minutes.
  • Add the roasted dalia and dal along with 2 cups of water, peas, salt and pepper. Pressure cook on high till 2 whistles.
  • Let the cooker cool and enjoy khichdi with any chutney, pickle or left over curry.
I served my khichdi with left over (thanks Lavanya from Cookery Corner for the recipe) and majjia charu (spicy buttermilk).

Note: You can make it even faster by eliminating the roasting dalia and dal part and using frozen mixed vegetables instead of fresh ones.
If you don't add the dal that makes it a terrific vegetable upma.

Dalia Khichdi w/Long beans Thoran & Spicy Buttermilk
For Majjiga Charu:

Red Onion - 1/2 medium or 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
Green chilies - 2
Curry leaves - 4
Yogurt - 1 cup
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt - to taste

For tempering/ popu:
Ural dal - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Hing - pinch

  • Whisk yogurt with 1/2 cup of water to make smooth buttermilk (or simply use buttermilk). Add turmeric and salt, mix well.
  • Heat 1tsp oil in a small sauce pan. Add the popu ingredients and when the seeds splutter, add curry leaves, ginger and green chilies. Fry for 30 seconds, add onions and saute till slightly brown. Add this to the curd, mix well.
You can have this with plain rice also.


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