Thursday, 31 January 2013

Spaghetti in Red Sauce

Dig your fork in, twirl it till the noodles are well wrapped around it... open your mouth wide and in goes this treat for the taste buds!

Dig, twirl and eat!

Spaghetti in Red Sauce


100 grams spaghetti cooked as per packet instructions
2 tsbps olive oil
7-8 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 medium onion finely chopped
6-7 whole peppercorns
2-3 bay leaves
3 medium tomatoes pureed 
4 tbsps tomato ketchup
2 tsps oregano or mixed herbs
4-5 black olives sliced
Salt to taste

The ingredients lined up


In a pan heat the olive oil, add the garlic, the onions and the peppercorns and bay leaves and sautee till the onions turn pink.

The garlic and onions being sauteed

Once the onions are pink, add in the tomato puree and let it cook. To this add the oregano or mixed herbs and the ketchup and salt. 

The sauce in its final stage

Toss in the spaghetti and mix it well with the prepared sauce.

Spaghetti in the sauce

Garnish with the sliced black olives and serve hot!

Spaghetti in Red Sauce

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Bengali Style Pineapple (Annarser) Chutney

My love affair with Bengali food began recently about 10 months back when I was introduced to the authentic version in Calcutta. From street foods to the classic Bengali meal (Bhojohori Manna), and the REAL Bengali sweets: rossogulla, shandesh etc, the love affair has just kept growing.

Today, I tried my hand for the first time at a small but an essential part of the traditional Bengali meal: the chutney ('chaatni'). I made a pineapple chutney borrowing the recipe online, ofcourse with my own twist on it! 

Annarser (Pineapple) Chutney


1/4th large pineapple chopped
2 tsps oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4th inch ginger chopped
2 bay leaves
1 cup water
4 tbsps sugar


In a pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds to crackle. After the mustard seeds crackle add in the ginger and the bay leaves. Add in the chopped pineapple and sautee a bit.

Pineapples being sauteed in the tadka

Now add the water and the sugar and stir and cook till the chutney thickens.

Cool and serve. In a traditional Bengali meal, a course is papad served with chutney. 

The chutney

The chutney up close

The next time I am going to try and chop the pineapples a bit finer and make the chutney a little more syrupy. Though it turned a little bit dryish than what I have seen, the taste was brilliant! 

Healthy Cutlets (but don't tell the kids that!)

I remember those days at Xavier's when my mornings used to begin with a breakfast of cutlet pav if I were in a hurry. A spicy crispy deep fried potato cutlet served with a soft fresh pav (it used to be 8 in the morning when the pav was just delivered!) and some tangy tomato ketchup. Of course, those were also the days when I could afford to inhale fried foods and not worry much about putting on weight though it was a major goal in life for me to try and put on a bit at least! Anyways, its not only because of weight but due to a general awareness of healthy living that I try and make everything I cook as healthy as I can.

I had these really yummy cutlets (after a really long time) at my friends house for his birthday and I tried to make them today at my place from memory and with my own twists. They turned out really delicious and here I am clicking away at my keyboard really fast and sharing the recipe! 

Healthy Cutlets 


4 medium sized potatoes boiled and mashed
2 carrots grated
1/2 small cabbage grated
1 beetroot grated
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp chilly powder
1 tbsp garam masala
Salt to taste
2-3 tbsps cornflour
Rawa for coating 
2-3 tsbps oil


In a pan heat 1 tbsp oil and add the ginger garlic paste. To this add the grated carrots, the grated cabbage and the grated beetroot. 

All the grated vegetables being sauteed

Add the salt, the garam masala and the chilly powder to the vegetables as they are cooking.

The vegetables being sauteed with the masalas

Once the vegetables are cooked, add the boiled potatoes and more of salt, garam masala and chilly powder (if needed). Cook till the mixture begins to leave the side of the kadhai, leaving it clean.

The vegetable and the potato mixture

Remove from heat and let it cool a bit. Then add the cornflour for binding and mix in well. Make medium sized round cutlets of this mixture and coat with the rawa.

The cutlets shaped and coated with the rawa ready to be shallow fried

On a tawa, heat the rest of the oil and shallow fry the cutlets till golden brown on both sides.

Shallow frying the cutlets

Serve the cutlets piping hot off the tawa with your favourite chutney and ketchup and enjoy!

The cutlets (finally!)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Pizzas have seeped into our regular food so much so it has almost become a staple. Move over Pizza Hut and Dominos, every small and big restaurant including roadside stalls and college canteens serve it, even if its just a tomato ketchup with grated processed Amul or other cheese version. I know my aunty's very traditional  Gujju kitchen also has it once every couple of weeks because they enjoy it.

I believe that what makes or breaks a pizza is the sauce that is used to flavour it. The toppings or the cheese do not have much of a flavour of their own and the sauce adds layers of taste to the pizza. Here is a recipe of my homemade pizza sauce.

A fully loaded vegetarian pizza with the homemade pizza sauce

Homemade Pizza Sauce (for 4 8 inch pizzas)


2 tbsps olive oil
2 medium onions finely chopped
2 bay leaves
3-4 whole peppercorns
4 medium sized tomatoes pureed
 1/2 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tsps dried oregano or mixed dried herbs (thyme, basil, oregano, parsley and rosemary)
Salt to taste


In a deep pan heat the oil and add the bay leaves and the peppercorns when the oil is heated. Add the chopped onions and saute till pink. Then add the pureed tomatoes and cook. Stir in the ketchup, the herbs and the salt to taste. 

To make a pizza, toast the base as desired, spread a layer of the sauce, the cheese and the desired toppings (three kinds of peppers, American corn, olive slices etc). Cover and cook till the cheese melts and serve hot!

Cheese and olives pizza with the homemade pizza sauce