Friday, September 24, 2010

Aloo Methi ~ with homegrown greens!


Our morning cup of coffee tastes bitter.When it comes to vegetables or greens our palates are wired to reject; but soon finds a real, almost addictive kind of acceptance.Isn't that a surprising fact?

Methi's bitterness is definitely not as brutal as that of a bitter gourd but the dominant taste is all about the crunchiness of the sprouts, enlivening, yet not overwhelming fresh bitterness that is so unique with these flavourful greens!

My very first attempt of growing methi at home proved to be a simple success!

Day-1: The seeds are sprinkled in 4 rows on top of loose, moist soil that receive abundant morning sunlight! Careful sprinkling of water is done from this day onwards.


Day-13: The tender shoots popping up!


Day-13: They receive a cool shower of rain in the morning!


Day-14: The young whiter stems topped with neat little leaves (though a little dirty coz of the showers).... I can't wait anymore! ;)


I could smell the unique flavour of the fresh young plants while holding them on one hand with the camera on the other!

Aloo Methi

I'd been wanting to make this simple, classic dish for a long time and am pleased that I could do it with fresh homegrown greens :)

To serve a small family-

Ingredients:

4 medium sized potatoes,cubed
A large bunch of fresh methi leaves(remove just the roots, wash well and chop the plants roughly into 2 or 3 pcs each)
1 Big onion-chopped-need not be fine
Garlic- 2 cloves-minced
Red chilly powder- 3/4 tsp(feel free to substitute sambhar powder for a Southie touch ;))
Oil- 1-2 tbsps
Cumin seeds-1/2 tsp
Red Chillies-2 nos-each broken into 3 pcs
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a wide heavy bottomed pan.Throw in the cumin seeds and the broken red chillies, give a quick stir, followed by the onions and garlic. Sauté, add the methi leaves and sauté again. Add the turmeric and chilly powders. Stir to mix, sprinkle some water soon after the leaves wilt(this will take only a few seconds) and close it with a lid for a minute.

Open and add the cubed potatoes.Add salt and mix well. Sprinkle water while mixing to enhance the cooking of potatoes along with the greens and spices. Close again with the lid, keeping the flame to low-medium.Give it a gentle stir/toss every now and then until the cubes and the methi stems are cooked soft. Take care not to over cook the whole dish.A mushy aloo and methi is not what we really need to make :).Open the lid and let it be to evaporate any excess water.

Serve hot with steamed rice or any Indian breads!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Golden Onion Mushroom Mini Quiches/Tarts



After the daring sweet punches I'd really been waiting for a savoury one and the fairy girl appeared with a simple fool proof recipe of quiche! The easy availability of ingredients tempted me to lay the hands on them without much delay.


Since I do not own a pie/quiche pan I baked them in my cute little tart pans! :)

Well, these cuties are definitely not a good choice for weight watchers like me and I was contented to see my son devouring them, heartily :)
I made another batch for my daughter and her friends who turned up for the weekend and loved them, absolutely!

Golden Onion Quiche

Serves-4

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

Maida - 200 g
Butter ( frozen)-100 g (preferably unsalted)
Baking powder- 1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste
Beaten egg-1
Ice cold water- as required (which will be a few drops)

  • Sieve maida, salt and baking powder together. Grate in the butter and mix with the flour with your fingertips till it resembles coarse sand.
  • Add in the beaten egg and water and gather it onto a soft dough.
  • Roll it out on a lightly floured surface and lift it up carefully. Line the tin that you will be baking it in. If it breaks up you need to do a patch work, big deal! It wouldn't be seen outside! ;)
  • Which ever tin you are using, make sure the dough comes a little way up the sides, so that it can hold the filling in.




Filling:

Boiled and shredded chicken- 1/2 cup( you can substitute paneer or other veggies of your choice)- I used 250 gms of finely cut button mushrooms.
Onions- 250 g chopped (I used 4 large, chopped fine)
Milk-1 cup( I used 1/2 cup)
Cheese- 100 g (cheddar works fine)
Beaten eggs-3 (I used only one)
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil- as needed

  • Heat oil and slightly fry the mushrooms. After the water has oozed out add in the onions and fry till caramelised.
  • Switch off the flame.
  • Add milk, cheese, beaten eggs, salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Pour into the pastry case and bake for 25 mins or till golden brown.
  • Let it cool in the tin completely. Serve it in wedges (I served them as such as mini quiches).



My Notes
  • I was happy to have baked perfect mini quiches, 25 in all following the recipe for the first time. The baking time was 15 minutes with temperature set to 200 deg c.
  • The base-I avoided chilled water as the pastry dough was moist after kneading with the butter.I am still not sure whether the base requires a pre baking part as the top of the filling was a bit over browned, while the shells remained 'just cooked'. I am thinking of avoiding egg next time for a comparatively guilt free base ;)
  • The filling-Since my husband and son dislike eggs I used only one instead of three in the original recipe for the filling.
  • Again, I made the egg-milk-cheese mixture separately and poured it over the crust which was layered with the onion- mushroom mixture first (and used only 1/2 cup milk instead of 1) like sis did :)