Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Veg Chowmein

A good bowl of chowmein is my weakness. I am humbled to have grown up in meri dilli or Delhi where Indo-Chinese food is available everywhere in its most authentic form. Chowmein or noodles is the main flower in the beautiful bouquet of Indo-Chinese cuisine, which is hugely popular in India.

It is very typical of Delhi roadsides to have food carts, food trucks or vans selling Indo-Chinese food such as manchurian, chopsuey, hakka noodles - all Chinese dishes with an Indian tadka.

Chowmein or noodles are quick and easy to make and very nutritious. The more the vegetables the better it tastes and is healthy too. It is any kid's favourite meal and a much healthier and nutritious alternative to the packet noodles advertised on the television that claim to be ready in 2 minutes.

Of course, we love a piping hot plate of Maggi once in a while.

Since I started making this veg noodles at home I got rid of the guilt associated with cooking 2 minute meals which are barely nutritious.

I love loading up my chowmein with different and colourful vegetables such as carrots, red, yellow and green bell peppers, cabbage, onions and spring onions. Sometimes my noodles also include mushrooms, broccoli, baby corn and sweet corn, if these veggies are in my fridge.

Little M is the reason I started cooking chowmein at home and the other reason is that in the UAE it is difficult to find authentic taste of dilliwali chowmein. Since my little boy so loves the noodles I hardly put chili sauce or green chili as I want him to enjoy and relish it. Sometimes after separating his share or packing enough for his school lunch box, I put in red chili sauce or slit green chilies to give it that dilliwala spicy tadka.

Difficulty: Easy
Prepping time: 15 min
Cooking time: 15 min


2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (I used finely chopped)
2-3 tbsp oil
3-4 stalks of spring onion, vertically sliced
1 onion, sliced
1/2 green capsicum, sliced
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup cabbage, shredded
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp black pepper powder
1 tsp red chili powder
spring onion greens, for garnish
1 packet of noodles
2 tbsp red chili sauce/hot sauce (optional)
1/2 orange and yellow bell peppers, sliced (optional)


Before you put on the flame make sure that each ingredient is on the shelf including chopped or shredded veggies, sauces and seasonings. I think preparing the ingredients and getting them ready beforehand decreases stress, burns or accidents, and that way the cooking becomes more organised.

The chowmein is going to take a big wok and a medium to high flame and for you to keep stirring to avoid veggies to burn or become mushy. We want our veggies to be soft yet crunchy!

So first prepare all ingredients as chowmein is a quick dish and you will need to quickly add all ingredients to the stir fry process.

Boiling the noodles

1) In a pot put lots of water. Add 1 tbsp olive oil (or any other cooking oil) and a pinch of salt. Let it boil and then add the noodles. It would roughly take 2-4 minutes for the noodles to cook. But its best to refer the packet and prepare according to the kind of noodles you are using.

We need to cook the noodles half way to avoid them becoming mushy or sticky. Strain the noodle in a colander after it is half way boiled, and I also take the colander of noodles and strain it under running tap water to avoid the noodles from sticking. At this step I like to add 1 tbsp of oil to the noodles and mix well without breaking them. This ensures the noodles aren't sticky.

Set aside the boiled and strained noodles.

Stir frying the veggies:

You may use all of the veggies mentioned above or you may just do with onion, spring onion, carrot and capsicum. Make sure to add half the quantity of each vegetable when you are using many different veggies.

1) Start by heating up oil in a wide non-stick wok. On a medium to high flame, add ginger-garlic paste. Stir fry until the raw smell goes. (I used finely chopped ginger-garlic)

2) Add spring onions. Stir.

3) Onion slices need to be added without over cooking spring onions. Stir fry on medium to high flame.

3) Add in the carrots. I used both Indian red carrot and the orange carrot. :-) Stir fry.

4) Put the sliced bell peppers, cabbage. Stir fry.

On a low flame cover the wok for 2 min for the veggies to soften in steam.

5) Remove the lid and stir on high flame to remove moisture. Add in soy sauce, black pepper powder, red chili powder, salt to taste. Stir well.

6) Finally add the noodles and 1 tbsp vinegar. Using two kadchhi or spoons mix the noodles with the veggies tadka with a light hand. Be careful not to break the noodles!

Garnish with chopped spring onion greens and serve hot.

These can be eaten just like that or even accompanied with this Chili Tofu Gravy recipe or veg or chicken manchurian.

How do you like your noodles or chowmein?

Do you like it spicy like me and like to add in red chili sauce and lots of slit green chilies too?

Tell me all that is running in your mind about this recipe of chowmein!

I would love to read what you think!

Thanks for reading! :-)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Bandhgobi matar sabzi / Cabbage-peas stirfry

When we talk about Punjabi cuisine we end up drooling and thinking about the famed rajma chawal or butter chicken. We often forget the simple sabzi-roti combo which is eaten for lunch in most Punjabi households everyday.

Through this blog I want to share my love for all those sookhi sabzi (dry veg stir fry) recipes. So lets begin with one of my favourite bandhgobi matar sabzi. A simple stir fry of onion and tomatoes, seasoned with coriander powder, cooked in mustard oil to give it a pungent aroma. The stir fry is then steamed to let the cabbage and peas soften. It is super healthy from the way it is cooked as this sabzi is prepared on low flame throughout the process. Once again this recipe comes straight from my mother's kitchen with not even a bit of tempering from my side. It is just how my mom makes it.

Preparation time: 15 min
Cooking time: 20 min
Difficulty level: Easy


2 cups cabbage, shredded or julienne
1 cup peas
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
2 green chilies, finely chopped
3-4 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
salt, to taste
coriander leaves, for garnish


1) Start by heating mustard oil in wok. Let it burn a little and then turn off the gas.

2) Carefully put chopped onions. Turn on the gas and let it sizzle on low flame.

3) We don't want the onions to be brown. Add finely chopped tomatoes and green chilies when the onion turn translucent and pinkish.

4) Sauté till the tomatoes seem to have a paste-like consistency. You will notice the oil has separated from tomatoes. At this stage add in salt, red chili powder and coriander powder. Sauté.

5) Time for the shredded cabbage to go in. Stir and mix well with the tadka.

6) Add the peas. Mix well and cover and let it steam till it softens, stirring every now and then.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with hot phulka or chapatti and some pudina chutney or a bowl of curd.

Enjoy this yummy sabzi fresh off the kadhai or wok as a lunch or pack it for office.

You may even make a paratha roll by using bandhgobi matar sabzi as a stuffing into parathas and pack it for kids school lunch box.

What do you think about this bandhgobi matar sabzi?

How do you make your cabbage?

Write your thoughts in the comment section below!

I would love to read what you think!

Thanks for reading! :-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Veg Chili Tofu Gravy

Indo-Chinese is the second most sought-after cuisine in meri Dilli after the diverse North Indian cuisine.

Chinese food vans parked amidst busy sector markets or dotted aside the ever-buzzing Delhi roads, can make me happy the moment I spot one. The feeling is akin to a child spotting an ice-cream vendor. Not that I love ice-cream any less! But my appetite for Indo-Chinese is so huge that I have to stop myself from digging into it.

These food vans serve treasures of authentic Indo-Chinese food to Dilliwalas, hot, spicy with a huge menu ranging from chowmein or noodles in different sauces, bubbling soups and chili chicken or chili paneer to suit both the vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

This Veg Chili Tofu Gravy recipe is inspired by the Chinese food vans of Delhi. When I tried the Veg Chili Tofu recipe a few weeks back and served it for dinner with Veg Fried Rice, I felt the dish needed more quantity of gravy or sauce in order to be eaten with rice. So this Veg Chili Tofu Gravy recipe makes more sense when you want to serve it for dinner accompanied with rice or noodles. Read more about Tofu and its health benefits in this post. Tofu is made from soybean and is easily available in your local supermarket. Go ahead and replace the tofu with paneer or cottage cheese cubes and the taste would still be the same.

The Veg Chili Tofu recipe I posted earlier in February is better off as a starter or a snack. There is hardly any difference between the two recipes the only thing I subtracted is the chili sauce and added more corn flour to thicken the sauce and added water to make the gravy/sauce.

Difficulty: Easy
Prepping time: 20 min
Cooking time: 30 min


4-5 cloves of ginger, finely chopped
2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
1 onion, quartered
1 big capsicum, julienne
5-6 green chilies, slit
spring onions, chopped
spring onion greens, chopped for garnish
Tofu 250gm, diced
Corn flour 4-5 tbsp
2 cups water/stock
Cooking oil
red chili powder 1 tsp
black pepper powder1 tsp
salt, to taste
soy sauce 2 tbsp

For frying Tofu cubes:

1) Coat tofu with 1 tbsp corn flour, 1/2 tsp black pepper powder, salt to taste. See how to marinate tofu before frying.

2) Heat a non-stick pan and shallow fry tofu pieces until they look  like this:

Keep aside the fried tofu cubes.

For the gravy/sauce:

1) Take the same pan used to fry tofu cubes. Add some oil and toss in the whites of spring onion. Saute until translucent. 

2) Put in the finely chopped ginger-garlic. Saute until the raw smell goes.

3) Add in the quartered onions.

4) Saute until translucent.

5) Add in the julienne capsicum and slit green chilies. Saute until the capsicum is half-cooked. Keep a little crunchy.

6) Add 1/2 tsp black pepper powder and 2 tbsp soy sauce. Stir. Pour in 2 cups of water/stock.

3) Now add 2-3 tbsp corn flour mixed in equal quantity of water. Bring to boil. As the sauce/gravy thickens, add in the fried cubes of tofu.

Veg Chili Tofu Gravy is ready!

Garnish with chopped greens of spring onions.

Serve with Veg Fried Rice or noodles.

Thanks for reading! :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Guacamole is a Mexican dip that is made from finely chopping or mashing avocados.

Avocados are not commonly consumed in India but slowly this wonder fruit is finding its way into our smoothies and milk shakes. Why call it a wonder fruit? Going by the nutritional value and the unique taste of this fruit, neither sweet nor sour, that makes it versatile to be consumed as a filling breakfast or a snack made yummy in a jiffy.

Top its slices on your bread, whip it into a smoothie or toss it in the salads, there are many interesting ways to include avocados into your daily meals.

Avocados have a variety of nutrients such as fiber, vitamin B, C and are packed with a lot of "good fats" essential for our body.

It is exceptionally good for children and often goes into Little M's milk shakes during the summer.

Coming back to guacamole, I had my first taste of this wonderful dip made by my talented blogger friend Tasneem who blogs at Thoughts Over Chai. The green paste that I didn't know anything about was devoured atop crispy nachos. The creamy taste of avocado lingered in my mouth while the nachos added the crunch into every bite. I quickly asked for the recipe.

This dish was alien to me. So I expected the ingredients also to be fancy. To my surprise they weren't!

Give me healthy food and it is surely going to be included in my family's meals one way or another.

When trying a new recipe, what could be better than finding all the ingredients on the list in your pantry? Another thing to love about this amazing dip is that it helps you prep up "no-cook"  meals and is ready in minutes.

The only change I made to the dip was that I didn't mash the avocado, but kept it chunky by chopping into tiny pieces, but you can always go ahead and mash the avocado pieces using a fork.

It is a good starter to please your guests before dinner and makes a yummy snack for children as well.

Little M is at home these days and before kindergarten starts next month I take every opportunity to spend quality time with him whether at the park and at home doing painting, playing with homemade play dough or in the kitchen as together we "cook" some simple meals that don't take long to finish.

I am on a constant look out for creative ways to keep Liitle M busy and thus away from the lure of TV or the ipad. If I am cooking in the kitchen I try to involve Little M by handing him simple tasks such as washing the veggies or buttering the bread. Most of times he obliges happily.

It is a good snack to prepare with your little ones as it doesn't require too much of an effort and the kids can help with chopping the avocado (with a plastic knife) and stirring up the veggies together or even in decorating their own chips!

Handing him the plastic knife after I scooped out the avocado, I asked him to roughly chop it into pieces.

If you do not know how to peel an avocado I would recommend that you check the internet for a video because it is super simple and uncomplicated.

I like to learn simple hacks to simplify and quicken daily tasks in the kitchen. Watching a video on how to simply peeling a pomegranate on Facebook really changed my life and now it is often consumed at my house as compared to before when I found getting pomegranate seeds out a big deal.

An avocado requires no peeling of the outer skin at all and is simple to get the pulpy flesh out in under a minute.

Avocados tend to blacken when peeled, so it helps to be quick with the chopping and sprinkling lemon juice asap to keep avocado from turning dark.

For the same reason, do not prepare this dip in advance. It can be made in under 10 min, so make it when you want to eat and serve it fresh.


2 avocados, finely chopped (or mashed with fork)
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
coriander leaves, chopped
2 green chilies, finely chopped
salt, to taste


1) Chop or mash the avocados in a bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice fast to keep avocados from darkening.

2) Mix in all ingredients in a large bowl.

I separated a few spoons of guacamole for Little M and then added the finely chopped green chilies.

Guacamole dip is ready! :-)

 3) Serve as dip with nachos, chips, monaco biscuits or the Indian papad. :-)

Found a single kuboos or pita bread lying in my bread basket. Warmed it on a tawa or griddle alongwith some butter, making it slightly crunchy and layered the guacamole on top of it!

Not only was this recipe a time-saver but it really saved the dinner last night as I had not cooked anything. Do try this super quick and innovative dip that is ready in minutes and without breaking your back for hours in the kitchen.

Do share your thoughts on this recipe with me. I would love to read them.

Have you tasted guacamole? Or tried making it? How do you make yours? What are ways you include avocados in your family's mealsPlease share your ideas with me.

Thanks for reading! :-)