Basic White Sauce

Making a white sauce is quite simple, but I often hear friends say they just cannot get it right. I hope this recipe makes it easy even for first timers. This versatile sauce can be used to make baked vegetables, lasagna, creamy cheese pasta and a whole lot of other recipes. Here is my version of the sauce.

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter

1/4 white flour

2 cups of milk (whole milk makes a richer sauce)

Salt to taste

Pinch of white pepper

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Method

In a saucepan melt the butter and add in the flour. Toast the flour a little bit  & keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t brown. Slowly stir in the milk on a low flame. Add the salt, pepper & cheese stirring till it has all amalgamated. If your sauce forms lumps strain it through a sieve and put it back on the flame stirring constantly till it thickens.

You can make this more interesting by adding chopped chives, parsley, mint, oregano or red chili flakes.

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Cheesy Nachos With Tomato Salsa

I love to serve this when I have friends over that I’d like to spend maximum time with at a get together.  It is quick, easy and every one loves it. Best of all its mostly all out of a bottle

Ingredients

1packet Nacho chips (available at any Mexican food store or grocer)

200 gm Nacho cheese or cheddar cheese grated

5-6 pickled jalapenos chopped fine

3 Tablespoons tomato salsa

For the tomato salsa

2 medium red tomatoes, de-seeded & chopped into large bits

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon oregano (fresh or dried)

3 cloves garlic chopped fine

Salt to taste

Method

For the tomato salsa

Heat olive oil, add the garlic and saute till golden. Add the tomatoes and oregano. Add salt and let the tomatoes sweat till all the water has dried up and you have a lumpy tomato salsa. Let it cool before using.

On a plate arrange nachos. Add the salsa and top with cheese and jalapeno. Microwave till the cheese has melted and serve.

Kids love this too. If jalapenos are too hot for kids you can top it with sauteed green bell peppers.

Citrus Zester

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This nifty tool is a must have in every kitchen. It is usually made of stainless steel and consists of a 4-5 small holes with sharp edges. It is great for making citrus peels for recipes as well as for making candied peel. Another type of citrus zester is the grater variety, this one is useful for grating veggies as well as garlic.

Clams In A Spicy Curry

This is another winter/monsoon favorite of mine. I love the way the rich fiery curry warms you up on a cold day. It is a little more laborious than my other recipes but I guarantee its worth the effort. This recipe uses a special spice powder which can be used for many other recipes, it is called Malwani Garam Masala, and can be kept refrigerated for up to 6 months. It has an earthy flavour and adds the necessary heat required for this sauce.

Ingredients

For the malwani garam masala dry roast and grind to a fine powder the following ingredients.

50gm coriander seeds

30gm cumin seeds

30gm poppy seeds

30gm white sesame seeds

10gm black peppercorns

3-4 large bay leaves

3-4 star anise

30gm fennel seeds

10gm cloves

2 large cinnamon sticks

5gm mace

15 pieces of black stone flower (dagad/badal phool)

10 Triphala dry inner kernel (optional)

6 Black Cardamom pealed and seeds removed

Remaining Ingredients

Half Kg clams

Salt to taste

100 gm dry roasted coconut

1 large onion sliced and lightly browned in a little oil

15 mint leaves

5-6 curry leaves

3 teaspoons of the malwani garam masala

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 teaspoons red chilli powder

2 medium tomatoes chopped

3 Garcinia Indica (Kokum) or 1 tablespoon lime juice

Chopped coriander for garnish

Method

Wash and de-beard the clams. Then bring a large pot of water to boil and drop the clams into it. Let it stay on the heat covered for 2 minutes.  Discard the clams that haven’t opened after this.  Save the water to flavor the gravy. Remove the top shells of the clams and keep the bottom one on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grind together to a fine paste, the fried onion, roasted dry coconut, mint leaves, tomatoes and all the dry spices (i.e Malwani Garam Masala, Turmeric, Red chili)

Heat oil in a wok and add the above spice paste. Keep stirring till it leaves oil from the sides. Add the curry leaves and the clams with a little of the clam water saved earlier. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. Remember clams are naturally salty so check for slat and add more if required. The gravy should have a thick consistency. Now add the garcinia or lime juice and turn off the heat. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve hot with rice. If you wish to mellow down the spice, you could skip the red chili powder

Easy Stir Fried Noodles

This is a great main course as well as a snack. If you have left over vegetables, meat, you can throw it all in and it still tastes like a gourmet meal.

Ingredients

1 small packet of chinese egg-noodles (about 200 gm)

Half cup each of finely chopped up beans and carrots

1/2 Teaspoon white pepper

1 Teaspoon chinese rice wine vinegar

2 Teaspoon light soya sauce

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots or green onions

2 Cloves finely minced ginger and garlic

Salt to taste

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Method

Bring half a large pot of water about 1 and half liters to the boil. Add some salt and drop in the noodles. Boil till they are 90% cooked. Drain, run under cold water to prevent them from cooking further and add a drizzle of oil to avoid them getting stuck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil to smoking, reduce heat and add the aromatics first, i.e. Onion, ginger and garlic. Keep stirring to prevent burning. Next add the beans and carrots. Cook till half done, add pepper, soya sauce, vinegar and salt. Stir fry for a couple of minutes. Lastly add the noodles. Cook for 5 mins and serve hot with chilli sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You could add left over roast chicken or turkey, ham or bacon or bean sprouts, broccoli to make it more wholesome.

Parmesan Chicken Fingers – Toddler Finger Food

Toddlers have the most discerning palate and dealing with a fussy eater can be quite an ordeal. If your little one has just started experimenting with her taste-buds, here is a quick and nutritious snack for that developing gourmand.

  Ingredients

1 lean chicken breast

100 gm bread crumbs

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Salt & pepper to taste

100 ml milk

4 tablespoons all purpose flour

Oil for frying

Method

Beat the chicken breast lightly with a meat tenderizer. Cut into 1 & 1/2 inch thickness long strips. You should get about 6 strips.

Season the  flour with salt and pepper. Roll the strips in the flour. Dust off the excess. Mix the parmesan with the bread crumbs. Dip the strips in milk and roll in the bread crumb mixture.

Preheat some oil in a wok and lower the coated chicken strips into the oil. Fry till golden on both sides. Serve hot with some ketchup or tartar sauce.

You could bake these too. Brush the strips lightly with cooking oil and put into a greased baking sheet. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade, till golden.  Turn over once for even browning.

Macaroni In Tomato Sauce, Cheese & Basil

This is a meal in one dish. It is quick, easy and delicious. The sauce is a bit chunkier than what you get in a bottle but tastes much better and fresher.

Ingredients

1 Cup elbow macaroni boiled in salted water and drained

4 large tomatoes, skinned. 2 chopped up, 2 pulped

2 Bay leaf

1 large onion sliced fine

6 cloves garlic minced

Few sprigs of fresh Italian basil

Few sprigs parsley

1 Teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 Teaspoon cumin powder

2 Teaspoon Coriander powder

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 Tablespoons cheese grated, parmesan or cheddar

1 Cup water

Salt to taste

Method

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add the bay leaves.

Add the minced garlic and let it brown lightly, then add the sliced onions. Saute till soft. Add the pulped tomatoes, and chopped tomatoes. Add salt to taste and let the mixture sweat till it leaves oil from the sides. Add parsley and basil chopped to this mix with the cayenne pepper, cumin and coriander. Saute for 5 more mins.

Add 1 cup water to this sauce followed by grated parmesan and the boiled elbow pasta.

Let is simmer for 5 more mins. Remove from heat. Top with grated cheese preferably cheddar and garnish with fresh basil. Remove the bay leaves before serving.