Category Archives: Kitchen

Pumpkin and french beans spaghetti bake

We had bought a variety of veggies from the local market and I wanted to make a super veggie packed dinner. If we go the nepali way, either we make one item for each veggie or combine all to make a veggie curry. A and I didn’t want to have rice for dinner and making flat bread would be a lot of work. So we settled for a veggie spaghetti bake. The result was quite nice and hence I decided to include the recipe here.

Ingredients for the sauce

Pumpkin – same amount as the tomato puree
Tomato puree- 1 small can
Diced tomatoes- one big tomato dices
French beans- a bunch
Garlic-3-4 cloves smashed and chopped
Red Onions- one big onion sliced
Oregano, rosemary and thyme- according to taste
Chilly flakes and Salt to taste
Mozzarella cheese
Olive Oil-2 tablespoons

I began by cooking spaghetti and throwing in the cleaned and largely diced pumpkin in the same pot. Once the spaghetti was done, I drained it and put french beans in the hot water and let it sit for a while.

For the sauce, I fried some chopped garlic and half the red onions in olive oil first. After that I put the tomato puree in it, added some water and let it shimmer. In the meanwhile I smashed the boiled pumpkin and cut the french beans. I added all the veggies in the sauce, added oregano, rosemary and thyme along with chilly flakes and salt. I let it cook briefly(I wanted the french beans to be crisp).

After that the job was almost done. I just needed to arrange it all in a baking dish. First I put the spaghetti and then went the sauce followed by a layer of sliced red onions and diced tomatoes. I grated some mozzarella cheese on top and let it bake for 20 mins.

It was yummm..

It was yummm..

Voila! the dinner was served. It was yummy, I wish I had taken good pics of it though.

Dinner Served, no salad though :P.

Dinner Served, no salad though :P.

I made this again last night and I added beets to the veggie sauce and a layer of fresh basil leaves, it was yummier :).

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Nepali Malpuwa Recipe

On the day of Laxmi Puja, I made some Malpuwa to offer to Goddess Laxmi. Malpuwa is like a deep fried  pancakes. I was never a big fan of Malpuwa before but this time it turned out really yummy. I didn’t do special shopping for making this, I just used whatever was available at home. So, I want to share my Malpuwa recipe with everyone here.

Ingredients (for 18-20 pieces)

Whole wheat flour-3 cups
Sugar-1 cup or less (according to your taste)
Ghee-1 tablespoon
Cardamom-10-15 pods, peeled and ground
Dried dates-2-3
Dried coconuts(1-2 tbs grated or finely chopped)
Baking soda/Baking powder-1/2 teaspoon
Oil for deep frying

First mix the flour and ghee and rub together. Warm 2 cups of water and add 1 cup of sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the sugar syrup in the flour and ghee mix to make a pancake like batter with moderately thick consistency. If the syrup is not enough, put some more warm water in the mixture. Put the rest of the ingredients except the baking powder in the batter and mix well.

Malpuwa batter: I forgot the take a picture when the bowl was full.

Now heat oil in a deep pan to deep fry the malpuwa. Mix the baking powder in the batter just before frying. Pour the batter mix with the help of a big kitchen spoon into the hot oil (I used the spoon that comes with rice cooker). You can fry 2-3 malpuwa’s at one time but make sure that it is totally emerged in oil and does not stick together.

Frying the Malpuwa batter.

Fry until golden and crisp and your malpuwa is ready to serve :).

Yummy! Yummy!

You can also add fennel seeds, almonds and pistachios in the batter for more flavor. Also to make the malpuwa more crispy, you can add half a cup of Suji(or semolina) flour to the batter and adjust the batter consistency accordingly.

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Chatpate Aloo(Tangy Potato)

“Aloo” in Nepali or Potatoes in English is the favourite vegetable of Nepalese people. In almost every vegetable curry that we prepare at home, aloo is present. We also had an entire essay dedicated to aloo as a part of our school curriculum! It goes well with all the green veggies either stir fried veggies or curried veggies. In the olden times when only seasonal vegetables were available to buy at the market, aloo was one of the most easily available vegetable as it could be stored for a longer time. Since Nepal being mostly hilly and mountainous region, aloo was a great option to mix with the seasonal vegetable. Also I’ve experienced that aloo grown at colder regions are more tasty. I remember, when I travelled to Lukla with my parents (gateway to Namche Bazaar, Everest basecamp), our meal consisted of aloo, rice and ghee on most days and it was delicious.

Today, I will share with you all my personal aloo recipe. Its called “Chatpate Aloo”.

Ingredients
Boiled Potatoes-2-3
Cumin Seeds-1/2 tea spoon
Chat masala/Amchur powder-1 tea spoonful
Cumin powder-1/2 tea spoonful
Turmeric-a pinch
Kasoori Methi-1 tea spoonful
Salt- to taste
Red Chilli powder- to taste
Olive Oil/Mustard Oil- 1 table spoon

Boil the potatoes or microwave it in a plastic bag for 5-6 mins. I always wash the potatoes, put it in a plastic bag and microwave it according to the quantity to boil it. After that peel the potatoes and cut it in cubes. In a pan, heat the oil and pop the cumin seeds and add the turmeric powder. After that, toss the potatoes and add the rest of the ingredients and stir fry until the potatoes turn a little golden. Serve your Chatpate Aloo hot with roti or rice :).

Chatpate Aloo

TIP: Soak kasoori methi in some water to obtain the best results.

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Momo Magic!!

A and I had a wonderful weekend. We made Momos. Momo holds a very significant place in our hearts. It brings back fond memories of our childhood. I remember we all used to sit down on the kitchen floor to make momo. Each of us had our own area of specialization and we were designated for specific jobs. Mom took care of the steaming part and dad advised on mixing the momo mince, Kancha rolled the dough, my brother was responsible for shaping the momo and me and my sister were the ones who’d help him by putting meat in each rolled piece of dough.  All of us would sit down in the kitchen floor, drink coke while making Momo, except Bua who’d drink Whiskey and if my brother got lucky he’d get beer :). Momo making binds the family together, it is the only dish that involves all the family members in its making.

Today I’m sharing my version of the famous Nepali Momo.

Dough

The first recommended step while making momo is preparing the dough.

Mix all purpose flour with water and some butter to make a soft dough. Mix well until it is soft and flexible. Cover it until rest of the ingredients are ready. Approximately 1 kilo of dough is required for 1 kilo of mince meat.

Chicken Filling for Momo

Chicken mince – 1 Kilo
Red Onions- 2-3
Garlic Paste- 2 teaspoon full
Momo masala or Garam masala- 2 teaspoon full
Olive Oil – 3 tablespoon
Chopped coriander
Salt/Pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients together in a big bowl and mix generously until all the spices are well mixed, if the meat is too dry do not hesitate to put half a cup of water to make it soft and juicy. For best results use your hand instead of a spatula :).

Spicy Tomato Momo Sauce Recipe
Tomatoes-Half Kilo
Garlic-2-4 Pods Crushed
Red Chillies- 3-4
Hing/Asafoetida-a pinch
Timur/Szechuan pepper -4-5 seeds
Salt to taste

The spicy sauce is an integral part of Momo. Momo without sauce is like sweet tea without sugar! My idea was to make one hot spicy sauce and another mild and sweet sauce, so the red sauce is hot and spicy while the white one is more mild and sweet.

In a pan, heat some oil and throw in the garlic and red chillies together with a pinch of hing, then put the tomatoes and cook until it is slightly (around 80%) cooked. After that let it cool for sometime and put the mixture in a blender to blend into a sauce. Serve chilled over hot Momos.

White/sweet Peanuts and Sesame Sauce

Peanuts
Sesame
Garlic- 2 pods
Fresh Lemon Juice-1 tablespoon
Honey-1 tablespoon or according to your taste
Salt to taste


Roast the peanuts and sesame seeds together in a pan until golden brown. Set aside until it cools down to room temperature. After that blend the roasted sesame and peanuts with garlic pods and water to form a thick sauce. After that add lemon juice and honey before serving with hot Momos.

Shaping the Momo
Make small spheres of the soft dough and roll it to obtain a circular roti. Use some leftover flour so that the dough wouldn’t stick when you roll it. Then use a fork to put some mince meat in the roti and shape it according to your preference, half moon and circular are the most famous momo shapes.

For shaping the round circular momo,

  • Put the roti with meat on your left hand
  • Use your left hand thumb to press the meat and use your right hand to pinch the flour to fold and make a plate.
  • Continue to fold and pinch in circular way as you rotate the dumpling in your palm.
  • If you can’t get the shape right on the first time, don’t worry much, the basic idea is to cover the meat with dough and seal it so that it will be well cooked and the juices will remain intact.

After this, oil the base of the steamer and place the dumplings. Place the dumplings upside down so that it won’t break after its cooked and the juices remain intact. Steam it for about 10 mins and your delicious hot Momos are ready :).

Serve it hot with the Red and White sauce.

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Chicken Steak with tossed veggies and salad

Making dinner plans at work always brings a smile on my face in anticipation of the wonderful food filled evening that follows. Today, A and I decided to have chicken steak for dinner.

Soon after the work hour was over, I laid out evening plans to A. We were to go together to the market, where I’d buy chicken, vinegar and salad. After that A was designated to go to the local market that opens on Wednesdays to buy some veggies that would accompany the chicken steak I was going to make for dinner.

I started by marinating the chicken breast in olive oil, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper, pods of crushed garlic along with rosemary, thyme and oregano. I love the aroma of Italian herbs. Then I prepared olive oil, apple cider vinegar and garlic dressing for the salad.
I pan fried the chicken over low heat along with all the juices used in the marination, so that it would be soft and juicy. In the meantime A arrived with veggies I requested for. I let the chicken cook in low heat for around half an hour turning it once or twice. After that I tossed some broccoli, onions, asparagus and chopped garlic in the same remaining oil in the pan.

After the veggies were done, it was time to enjoy the dish. We missed the wine though, as we didn’t have any left at our room and forgot to buy it at the market. Nevertheless the cooking was successful, A and I enjoyed the juicy soft chicken a lot :).

Yummilicious Chicken Steak!!

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Thai Food for Lunch- Friday

On Friday, I had one of the yummiest and most popular Thai food, “Pad Thai Kung”. Pad Thai Kung is fried flat broad rice noodles with shrimp, “Kung” stands for shrimp. Everyone who visits Thailand must try Pad Thai. Pad Thai is sweet, a little bit sour and a little bit spicy. Like most of other Thai food, preparation time for Pad Thai is not long but getting the ingredients right is the challenge when it comes to making Pad Thai at home. Although mostly broad rice noodles are used to make Pad Thai, it can also be made with regular thin rice noodles. In our canteen, there are two shops that sell Pad Thai, one shop usually doesn’t have the broad rice noodles, so she makes it with the thin ones, which is equally delicious.

In Thailand, like many other places in Asia, rice is the dominant meal. Thai food consists of three main types of curries green curry, yellow curry and the red curry. All these curries are served with rice. Green curry is made with coconut milk and the green curry paste which consists of lemon grass, shallot, coriander, ginger,basil, cumin and pepper ground together and blended with coconut milk to make a paste. Yellow curry paste consists of fresh turmeric, curry powder, onions, ginger and garlic ground together. The red curry paste is the most spicy of all, it consists of lemon grass stock, small red chillies, dried hot red chillies, ginger and garlic ground together. Among the three kinds of curries, yellow curry is my favorite since it is mildly spiced and has the flavor of curry powder and it the most familiar one for me :).

After rice, the second most widely served dish in Thailand is noodles. There are many kind of noodles available in Thailand. Thai noodle soups are one of the best and resembles Vietnamese “Pho”. They use simple ingredients and yet they are full of flavor and tastes very good. Besides noodle soups, a variety of fried noodles are also served in Thailand and Pad Thai is the most authentic one.

The ingredients for Pad Thai are:

1. Broad Thai noodles

2.One egg and 5-8 shrimps

3. Pad Thai paste

4. Bean sprouts

5. One clove of chopped garlic Fish sauce

6. Roasted and slightly ground peanuts(pebbled peanuts?)

7. Finely chopped shallots

8. Ground dried red chillies

9. One table spoon oil

10. Fish sauce and sugar to taste

11. Fried Tofu

12. Pad Thai paste

13. Tamarind juice concentrate-1 tablespoon

Method:

Soak the noodles in hot boiling water for 2 minutes until soft and cooked. In a frying pan heat the oil and fry the garlic and shrimp until done and then break the egg and stir. Add the noodles, pad thai paste, fried tofu, tamarind juice, fish sauce, sugar and stir for sometime until all the ingredients are mixed well. Then add the bean sprouts and chopped shallots and its done!! To serve, place it in a plate and add the ground peanuts and dried chillies on top. Serve hot and enjoy the most delicious Thai food!!

The method and ingredients are according to what is used in my canteen. Our canteen has open kitchen, so we can go and watch while our food is being prepared, how great is that!!

It looked like this:

Pad Thai Kung 🙂

Thai food has a lot of variety. The five day recipes I have included in this blog is just the beginning of my experience with Thai food. I will try to write more about other Thai food that I enjoy as well. Other dishes that we order in our office canteen are “Tom Yum Kung(spicy soup with Shrimp )”, “Kai curry/Kung Curry(Chicken/Shrimp with yellow curry paste)”, “Kai Kathiyam(Chicken Garlic)”, “Sunlek Yai(noodle soup)”, “Som Tam(spicy papaya salad)”, “Yam Pla(fish salad)” to name a few.

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Thai Food for Lunch- Thursday

Thai Food for Lunch- Thursday

One of the most common lunch time dish in Thailand is “Krapao Kai”. It is a saying here, when you don’t know what to eat, you order Krapao Kai. Krapao Kai is stir fried chicken with basil leaves. It is a little bit spicy and super easy to prepare. It is also known as farmers food in Thailand.

So my lunch for Thursday was “Krapao Kai with Khai Jeaw”, stir fried spicy chicken with fried egg and of course rice. Almost all the food stalls in our canteen takes order for Krapao Kai, but my favorite is stall number 13. She remembers how I like my Krapao Kai, so when I order Krapao Kai, she puts more onions and less chillies by default. I am always amazed by how things are managed so well here. It is not chaotic at all. I try to imagine how it would be like in Nepal to run around 13 to 15 food stalls in one area with over 300 people ordering during lunch hours. Ofcourse our canteen looks crowded and the air is filled with the aroma of all kinds of Thai spices, but it is not chaotic, its like an organized chaos. People are much more disciplined and relaxed here. The process is same, we go to the canteen, look around stalls and place our order. Usually there is a note placed in front of each stall, people write down their order, find a table and patiently wait for their food to be prepared. And since we cannot write down our order in Thai, we place our order and go back to waiting. After around 10 minutes, we go and check for our order, if its ready we pick it up, pay and return back to the table. If not, ask the vender how much longer is it going to take, come back and wait.

When I first started working here, I was awed by all kinds of Thai food stalls, the variety or food available, the simplicity of ordering food and the price. One order never exceeds 40 Thai Baht, unless you order an entire grilled fish(which will cost you 45-60 Thai Baht) or one half of grilled chicken.

Krapao Kai( Stir fried chicken with Basil leaves)

Ingredients:

1. Minced chicken breast
2. Basil Leaves
3. Red chillies, finely chopped
4. Onions(optional)
5. Garlic (one clove, crushed)
6. Oyster Sauce(one tablespoon)
7. Fish Sauce(as per taste-in place of salt)
8. Oil(one table spoon)

Method:
Heat the oil in a pan, fry the red chillies, garlic and minced chicken breast and cook until done. Next put oyster sauce, fish sauce and basil leaves and stir for about a minute. And your spicy chicken with basil leaves is done!! Serve with steamed rice and fried egg.

It looked like this:

Spicy Krapao Kai!!

Happy Lunching, and I promise Friday will not be chicken :).

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