Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rigatoni in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Pastas are a general favorite of mine when I'm fed up of the usual roti-dal-chawal routine and craving for some kind of different cuisine. This recipe hardly takes 15 mins and is real easy. Great for dinner on a long tired day after school or work. I personally love this recipe with angel hair pasta and no ricotta cheese.

Pasta (Penne or Rigatoni or Spaghetti or Angel Hair) - medium box of approx. 500 gm
Onion - 1 medium
Garlic - 2 cloves
Tomato - 1 medium
Tomato puree (or condensed canned tomato soup, I use Campbell's) - 1/2 can
Ricotta cheese - 1/2 to 1 cup (optional)
Butter or Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Red chilli flakes - 1/2 to 1 tsp (to taste)
Italian seasoning mix - 1/2 to 1 tsp (to taste)
Salt to taste

1. Boil water until bubbling hot with a teaspoon of oil and some salt. Add the pasta and let it cook for 10-12 mins (check box for details). Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.
2. Chop the garlic, onion and tomatoes finely.
3. Add butter or olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic first. (do not brown them, just until the rawness of the garlic fades)
4. Then add the onions and fry until transparent. Again, do not brown the onions.
5. Now add the tomatoes and fry until they are soft and pulpy and you can see the oil separate a little.
6. Add the chilli flakes and Italian seasoning followed by the tomato puree (or soup).
7. Once it is well mixed, blend in the cheese and check the consistency. I like my pasta a little dry than usual, so I don't add water. But if you like it saucy, then adding water is a good idea. (You can skip this step if you aren't using ricotta cheese)
8. Check the spices and add salt to taste. Toss the pasta and sauce together.
9. Serve with toasted garlic bread and Parmesan.
10. Another variation of this would be to bake it in a small dish with lots of cheese on top. About 10-15 minutes in a 350 F oven should be good. I usually skip this step because of all the cheese it needs!

I tried this recipe randomly going by my taste. But I did find a lot of similar recipes online in thousands of blogs and food sites. So if you have a concern with this recipe, please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tomato Rice

Yes, I am finally here...after bouts of fever and more fever :) I finally managed to get myself up and cooking again! This is one of the easiest tasty recipe for tomato rice. Learnt it from my aunt and always comes in handy if you are not in a mood to cook separate main dish and side dishes :)


1) Coconut - 1 cup
2) Cloves - 4
3) Dalchini - 1/2 inch stick
4) Garlic Pods - 4 to 6 based on your taste
5) Green chilli - 2
6) Ginger - 1/2 inch
7) Coriander leaves - handful

8) Tomato - 3 medium
9) Onion - 2 medium
10) Basmati rice - 300 gms
11) Water for the rice to cook - One and a half times the quantity of rice.
12) Oil - 2 to 3 tablespoons

1) Grind ingredients 1 to 7 into a fine paste and keep aside
2) Chop tomatoes and onions into fine pieces
3) Soak Basmati rice in sufficient water for 20 mins.

1) Heat about 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil in a broad shallow pan.
2) Put in the chopped onions and fry until it turns golden but not completely brown
3) Add chopped tomatoes and fry for about 4 minutes
4) Pour in the ground paste and fry till the raw smell fades off. That should take about 5 to 8 minutes.
5) Now add in the soaked basmati rice and water.
6) Simmer and close the pan for ten minutes or until the rice is cooked.
7) Tomato rice is ready!

PS: You can add precooked rice after step 4 as a variation instead of cooking the rice in the gravy itself.


Poha is a traditional Indian breakfast or evening snack served predominantly in the Southern states. It's a favorite of mine and over the years I've had different varieties of the same. The most delicious one for me however remains the "avalakki" version of it that is second nature in all Karnataka homes. All through the 4 years I lived in Bangalore, "avalakki" was hands-down the best breakfast option for me.

The recipe I have here is NOT the "avalakki" version. I know only one kind that my mom makes and that's the one I love to eat on a boring school day when I've run out of food. It's easy, simple and healthy.

Poha - 2 cups
Onion - 1 medium
Green chilies - 4
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Rai - 1/2 tsp
Chana dal - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Coriander/Cilantro - freshly chopped about 1 tbsp
Lemon juice/extract - to taste

1. Wash the poha about two times and drain all water. Spread it out on a plate evenly and let it sit. I've learnt that this is the best way to keep the poha from getting too soggy.
2. Finely chop the onions and green chillies. Add oil in a thick bottomed vessel and splutter jeera and rai in it.
3. Add the green chillies first and then the onions and fry till transparent. Then add the channa dal and urad dal and fry until the onions are browned a little around the edges. Adding the channa dal and urad dal directly to the oil burns it sometimes, that's why I always add them after the onions are almost half done. A tip I learnt from my mom.
4. To this add the washed poha, salt as needed and lemon juice as per your taste. I like a good amount of lemon juice in my poha cause it gives it a really nice sharp taste.
5. Finally add the coriander/cilantro leaves and you're ready to ding in! It tastes amazingly well with garlic chutney or even leftover dal for me.

My mother I guess. That's where I learnt it from and it's a pretty standard recipe. So I'm pretty sure there's no copyright as such over it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vegetarian Lasagna

I had lasagna first when I was in Rome but it was mostly just cheese and tomato to my taste. But my sister found this recipe on and tweaked it a bit to make a Spinach Lasagna that was oh-so-good! I've tried it twice so far and it's come out very well. It's a simple and fool proof recipe that no one can go wrong with. So here it goes!

I made it this past weekend cause we were in a cleaning spree at my apartment and I did not want the hassle of cooking for two days. The ingredients list is minimum but you can change it a little with some more Italian spices. All my ingredients are mostly from the department store. I don't bother going to a specialty deli or something. Like I said, I keep it real simple and it still tastes good. This lasagna lasts for at least 1 week (lunch and dinner) for two people.

Lasagna noodles - 1 pack
Spinach - 1 pack (I get the frozen and cut kind)
Ricotta cheese - 1 small tub
McCormick's Italian seasoning - about 1 tsp
Sale to taste
RAGÚ Pasta Sauce - 2 bottles
Italian cheese - 2 cups, shredded
Mozzarella cheese - 2 cups, shredded
9" X 13" baking dish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Boil the lasagna al dente. I've learnt that its better to cook even the "no boil" kind cause otherwise the lasagna is way too dry.
3. Microwave the spinach on HIGH for 10 mins in a big mixing bowl.
4. Let it cool and then add the ricotta cheese to it followed by the Italian seasoning mix and salt. Mix well and taste it to make sure that the seasoning is right.
5. In the baking dish, first start with a layer of the pasta. Then do a layer of the RAGÚ sauce followed by a layer of the spinach mix. Then sprinkle some Italian cheese and little mozzarella.
6. Repeat this layering. I get at least 3 layers, so depending on how deep your dish is it would vary.
7. Make sure to end the last layer with lots of mozzarella. It gives the lasagna that perfect finish.
8. Bake it for 50 mins or until the cheese on top is nice and browned.

and my sister for her innovative tweaks to this yummylicious recipe...thanks Kupy!

And now you're ready to dig-in with relish :)