As someone who loves a good meal, cooking one, came to me as a natural passion. I belong to a family where meal times consisted of not just food, but also noisy conversation centered around the events of the day and discussing the menu for the next. (ah yes, we are a greedy lot! )

For the most part of my life so far, my contribution in the kitchen was assisting mom and my duties were limited, to chopping veggies and laying the table. Then along came the great Indian wedding, and I was suddenly the queen of my very own kingdom. My curiosity about this magical world, coupled with an enthusiastic sous-chef (my husband, Vineet), led me to take on the challenge of preparing meals on a daily basis, and not succumbing to the convenience of hiring a cook.

This blog is a product of my experiments with food (not all are life threatening :D) for my fellow culinary enthusiasts - especially the newly weds and hungry bachelors and is dedicated to the women who've inspired me in the kitchen;
Aji (s),Ma and Nigella Lawson.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wine spiked Spinach & Mushroom Pasta

Earlier this week, I made this for dinner at the end of a busy day. I say this to reinforce that for something that was so delicious & healthy, it was ridiculously easy. I used a packet of mixed mushrooms (white button, brown mushrooms & portobello) but even plain white button mushrooms will be just as delicious.
I made this using whole Wheat pasta, since I wanted to make this as healthy as possible. For those of you who are curious about the specific health benefits of using whole wheat pasta over refined flour pasta, see the following link :

The Cream cheese is an optional ingredient, but it added incredible flavor and gave the sauce a lovely twang & texture. If you want to avoid it or cant find any, you could try using some hung yoghurt instead, and definitely let me know how it turned out!

- 2 cups whole Wheat Penne pasta, or any other Pasta of your choice
- 1 bunch Spinach, rinsed & leaves roughly chopped
- 8-10 Mixed mushrooms, sliced
- 1-2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 Cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp All-purpose flour (maida)
- 2 tbsp Cream cheese
- 1/2 cup White wine
- Salt & Pepper, to taste


1.) Bring a pot of water to boil. Drizzle in some olive oil and add a couple of teaspoons os Salt. Cook the Pasta according to packet instructions.
2.) Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and saute the garlic till fragrant. Sprinkle the flour and stir steadily to cook the flour for a few seconds. Keep on low flame to keep it from browning.
3.) Slosh the wine into the pan and stir till the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Add the mushrooms and allow them to cook in the wine.
4.) Stir in the Cream cheese followed by the roughly chopped Spinach. While the spinach wilts and cooks, season the sauce with Salt & freshly cracked black Pepper.
5.) Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the Sauce. Toss gently to ensure its evenly coated.
Serve up with some grated Parmesan cheese and toasted bread.

Simple Mushroom Soup

Although he isn't a regular in the kitchen, my grand dad always cooks with a lot of love and enthusiasm. He makes a few signature "Baba" dishes that have been our favorites since we were kids. Mushroom soup isn't something that kids normally develop a taste for but the way Baba makes it, made it desirable. His recipes almost always involve a generous quantity of butter and cream (but then again, he also belongs to a generation that was 'really' active and did not spend a better part of their day parked in front of a computer, getting up only to refill their coffee mugs!) which are probably what that make his cooking SO good! It rained cats, dogs and monkeys the other day, and for standard Singapore weather it was surprisingly cool. It called for something warm and comforting, and since I had some mushrooms stashed in the fridge from the previous nights pasta, I turned to Baba's mushroom soup for dinner. But of course, since we're trying to eat as healthy as possible, I altered his original recipe and tailored it to make for a super healthy, delicious and light weeknight dinner.

- 1 pkt white buttom Mushrooms
- 1 tsp Olive Oil / butter
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 large Onion, chopped
- 1-1/2 Vegetable stock cubes (or chicken)
- 2 tbsp All-purpose flour (maida)
- 1/4 cup Milk
- 1 tbsp heavy Cream

1.) Heat the oil in a saucepan. Saute the garlic and onion till they take on some colour. Add the mushrooms when the onions are golden brown. Add the flour to the mushrooms and stir it in to mix well. Stir in the milk and switch off the heat.
2.) Allow the mushrooms to cool down a little. Puree them on 'pulse' mode in a blender till smooth, or chunky if you like. Transfer back into the sauce pan on low heat.
3.) Dissolve the vegetable stock cubes in 1 cup of hot water and milk. Pour into the pureed mushrooms in the saucepan and bring to a slow boil.
4.) Serve up with a swirl of cream and some freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy with some warm garlic toast.

Goan Prawn Curry

After spending a rather enjoyable and relaxing Sunday evening at the beach, we woke up this morning in the mood for some serious home-made comfort food. Yet again, I turned to a recipe that has been in the family for 4 generations now. This version of Goan prawn curry belongs to my great-grandmother, and remains one of my favorites even today. It is unparalleled in level of ease, and has turned out absolutely perfect every time that I've made it.

- 15-20 medium sized Prawns (i used frozen)
- 1 large Onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp Vegetable oil 
- 1 tbsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
- 2 tbsp Coriander seeds (coriander)
- 2 Dry red Chillies
- 1 tsp Black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Tamarind paste
- 200 ml / 1 small tetra pack Coconut milk

1.) Thaw the frozen prawns under running water. Drain and set aside.
2.) Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Add the Cumin seeds, Coriander seeds and Peppercorns. Allow these to sizzle for a few seconds. Add the dried red chillies.
3.) Add the chopped Onion to the spices and sautee till the Onion is nicely browned. Switch off the heat. Transfer the Onions and spices into a Mixer/food processor. Add a few tablespoons of water and pulse till smooth and thick.
4.) Pour the pureed Onions and spices back into the pan. Add the Coconut milk and allow it to simmer for a few minutes by stirring occasionally. Dissolve the tamarind paste in a little water and add to the simmering gravy.
5.) Add the prawns to the gravy and bring to a full boil. The prawns will take just about 2-3 mins to cook. Switch  off the heat. Enjoy with some freshly made, piping hot steamed white rice. Yum! :)