Posts tagged ‘vegetables’

Wrap 101

Quick MealParty FoodLunch Box MealFamily MealNo Cooking

Wraps are adaptable for all meal types.  They make for a filling meal, a light snack and work well as take along foods for trips and hikes.  The only trick involved in making a wrap – is the ‘wrap’ part.  So, here is a post dedicated to all MTS who once like us wondered about wrapping a warp :).

wrap ingredients

Kind of food: Main course/ Appetizer/Snack
How long: 1o min
Makes: 1 wrap
Pots and Pans: None, just a surface to assemble

1. For the Wrap layer: Tortilla or Lavasah or any thin flat bread (sangak or  rotis)*
2. For the spread layer:
2 Tbsp of Hummus/Pesto/Chutney/flavored cream cheese/ Any spread
For the protein layer: Sliced deli meats (2) /grilled tofu (1/4 cup) /cooked beans (1/4 cup) – a combination of these will work too
4. For the veggie layer: Bell peppers,  Cucumbers (sliced), avacado sliced, left over grilled veggies, blanched asparagus spears – a combination of any of the above veggies cut in thin strips measuring 1/4 cup.
5.  For the added nutrition – “Green layer” – 1/4 cup of any salad green.
Optional  layer
– cheese slices or shredded cheese.

How to make:
1. The bread layer has to be soft and pliable.  If bread is not fresh, then warm up the bread layer of your choice (like tortilla) in a microwave for a 5-7 seconds to make it pliable.  You could warm up in pan too.
2. Spread the hummus or any spread of your choice evenly on the tortilla.
3. Place the deli meat slices or the cheese slices in the center of the bread in a thin layer. Greens like whole romaine leaves could also be placed in the place of  or along with deli meat.
4. Place the veggies, beans and greens on top of the slice on top of the meat /cheese slice as shown in the picture below.

wrap 1

5. If using shredded cheese then sprinkle it now on top of the veggies.
6. Season with red pepper flakes or  ground pepper(optional). The spread and cheese will have adequate salt. Also, salt can make the wraps a  little soggy, so avoid it especially if the wrap will be consumed later.
7. Fold about 1 inch on two opposite sides of the tortilla 0r other breads and hold it as shown in the picture below.

Wrap 2

8. Now  roll the tortilla from the unfolded side (the side you held in step 7).

wrap 3

9.  Continue to roll the bread until it is completely wrapped  and use a toothpick to secure it.


Make it Fast, Fun, and Facile! – Sri

Tips, tricks and alternatives
Look at what is available in the pantry and refergirator and decide on a theme when making wraps.  This way left overs get consumed.

Serving Ideas
Serve with any dipping sauce.  Look up the MTS post on easy dipping sauces for more ideas. To make a hearty meal out of wraps, serve it with chips, side salad, or fruits.

Look out for the Wrap 201 post coming soon with interesting filling suggestion and exotic spread ideas!


June 7, 2009 at 10:55 pm Leave a comment

Wholesome noodles with a whole lot of choices for flavors

Quick MealToddler FoodParty FoodParallel ProcessingLunch Box MealKid FriendlyFamily MealTravel FriendlyNo Cooking

Noodles can be quiet tricky in being a family pleaser as they tend to have a redundant taste over and over again.  Here is a recipe idea with several choices for each layer of flavor and nutrition while making noodles.  This post is published in an attempt to get MTS readers to go on for a long while before you run out choices  for crowd pleasers.  All  permutations and combination mentioned in this post  make for wholesome meals with adequate protein + vegetables + good carbohydrates.

Cold noodles

Cold noodles

Kind of food: Appetizer/ Main course
How long: 20 min
Makes: Serves 4 adults
Pot & Pans: One large pan and wok or two pans

1 Tbsp cooking oil
Choices in noodle – rice sticks, rice noodles, egg noodles, whole wheat spaghetti, angel hair pasta, ramen noodles
Choices in veggie combination
A  total of  2 cups of a combination any of the following vegetables
1/2 cup finely chopped onions (scallions for cold noodles)
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers (or other colored peppers)
1/2 cup chopped matchstick carrots (available pre-cut in the produce section)
1/2 cup shredded cabbage (green or purple or napa)
1/2 cup thawed green peas/mushrooms/ water chestnuts/babycorn
Choice of protein – 1 /2 lb seafood or chicken (sliced thin) or 1/2 lb tofu or 4 eggs (boiled and cut into wedges or scrambled) or 2 cups bean sprouts
Choice of sauce –
1. Microwave 3 Tbsp peanut butter, 1/4 cup soy sauce , 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (or any other vinegar) , 2 tsp chili garlic sauce and 2 tsp brown sugar.  Add stock to get desired consistency.
Or 2. Microwave 3 Tbsp peanut butter, 1/4 cup coconut milk, 2Tbsp soy sauce , 1 tsp chili garlic sauce and 2 tsp brown sugar.  Add stock to get desired consistency.
Or 3. Microwave 3 Tbsp Soy sauce, 2 Tbsp bean paste, 1 tsp fish sauce, 2 tsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp chili garlic paste. Add stock to get desired consistency.
Or 4.  Microwave 3 Tbsp Tomato ketchup, 1/4 cup soy sauce , 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (or any other vinegar) , 2 tsp chili garlic sauce and 2 tsp brown sugar.  Add stock to get desired consistency.
Or 5. Microwave 3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce, 1/4 cup soy sauce , 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (or any other vinegar) , 2 tsp chili garlic sauce and 2 tsp brown sugar.  Add stock to get desired consistency.
Note:  The need to microwave the sauces is to make sure all the ingredients mix thoroughly. So warm up the ingredients for the sauce for a few seconds and do not boil the sauce.

Choice of herbs- 1/4 cup fine chopped cilantro or mint or basil (optional)
Additional flavors –
2 Tbsp  ginger and garlic chopped fine + optional- 1 tsp green chili (Thai or Anaheim) chopped fine

Warm noodles

Warm noodles

How to make:
Prepare the noodles as per package directions and drain completely.  Note: Some noodles like rice sticks just need to be soaked in hot water, so make sure to follow packet directions.
While the noodles are getting done chop and dice vegetables, meat and herbs. If using chicken, tofu or seafood  stir fry these  with 1 Tbsp of soy sauce and chilli garlic sauce until cooked in a hot pan/wok with 1 tsp oil.

For warm noodles: Remove the chicken, tofu or seafood from the pan and add the veggie mixture, ginger, garlic and green chili (if used) and continue to stir fry on high heat for 2- 4 minutes.  Add the sauce of your choice.  Toss in the noodles. Stir fry for a couple more minutes while tossing in the protein choice. Take it off the heat, and mix in the chopped herb (cilantro or mint or basil)

For cold noodles: To the drained noodles add 1 tsp of vegetable oil to prevent it from clumping.  Warm up one tsp of hot oil and cook the ginger, garlic and green chili.  Add this to the sauce of your choice and garnish it with the herb of your choice (cilantro or mint or basil).  Serve the noodle on a platter and spread the veggie mixture and then the cooked protein mixture on top as two layers.  Serve the sauce on the side.

Make it Fast, Fun, and Facile! – Sri

Tip,tricks and alternatives
Children love the idea of noodles, so varying the flavor and texture of noodles (and the choice of the noodle itself) will help win many a meal time battles :).  Also, cold noodles are perfect for road trips and for picnics.

April 12, 2009 at 8:37 pm 1 comment

MTS pointers for cooking Indo- Chinese recipes

1.  *Using vegetables sliced very thin is the key to a good stir fry. Use thinly sliced vegetables and meat while attempting to cook them with a crunch.
2.  Do not crowd a wok with a lot of ingredients.  This will result in causing the vegetables to get steamed as opposed to stir frying them.
3.  Stir-frying vegetables involves stirring them on a wok or a similar pan on high heat.The key is to stir frequently to avoid the vegetable to get  over cooked or burnt.
4.  If you have a food processor, now is the time to claim it out of hibernation to make the slicing easier on you :).
5. Frozen veggies (except peas) do not work well for Indo-Chinese. Use fresh veggies instead.
6.  Ajinomoto is MSG and there is speculation that it may produce adverse in some people. So you could avoid it while while cooking and still not lose flavor if  other flavor producing ingredients are added in right quantities.

April 6, 2009 at 8:28 am 1 comment

From the chef’s pantry – Episode 3

This week’s contribution from the chefs at Temple Bay resort, Chennai towards the MTS series on chef’s pantry includes a recipe for mixed vegetable korma and the secrets to a wonderful North Indian style curry.

April 1, 2009 at 8:21 pm Leave a comment

From the chef’s pantry – Episode 1 (Chettinad Cuisine)`

MTS was very fortunate to experience the culinary delights whipped up by Sue chef Kumar and assistant chef Senthil at the Temple bay beach resort in Chennai, India. An interesting interview with these chefs provided for various tips, recipes and tricks of the trade secrets to whip up efficient North Indian, South Indian, Chettinnad and Indo-Chinese  recipes. This four week series is sure to be a delight for MTS readers.

(L-R) Sue Chef Mr. Kumar and Chef Mr. Senthil

(L-R) Sue Chef Mr. Kumar and Chef Mr. Senthil

From the chef’s pantry – Episode 1

Chettinad cuisine – from the heart of Karaikudi (Tamilnadu) to readers across the world
The ever glamorous, aromatic spicy food from the south parts of Tamilnadu, India is an element of mystery to many home cooks. MTS aims to bring out the secrets involved in creating wonderful Chettinad curries through this post. Both Sue chef Kumar and chef Senthil at Temple Bay resorts, acknowledged that the secret to a good Chettinad curry lies in the making of the Chettinad masala. The mercantile contacts  with Burma (and the far east) combined with the natural availability of spices in this otherwise dry region of India probably gave birth to this flavorful cuisine. Chef Kumar insisted that this masala be cooked in the lowest heat setting possible which would allow the spices to roast adequately without getting burnt.  Well, the  science behind this art is simple. Most aromatic spices (such as the ones used in this recipe) have fat soluble essential oils that can be extracted in high heat.  So when these spices are roasted slowly with coconut oil (which has high boiling point  and density (heavy)) the aromatic oils from the spices ooze out and dissolve in the coconut oil due to their solubility in fat.  The coconut oil is now flavored with the aroma of a mixture of various spices.  This aroma is imparted to all the veggies and/or meat cooked in it.   The patience required for this recipe sure fetches great results. Once the masala is done it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. MTS has provided its readers tips on bulk preparation of this classical Chettinad masala. After all, mealtime success is all about efficiency.

Chettinadu masala:
List of ingredients and procedure credits: Chefs at Temple bay
Proportions by MTS
1 tsp coconut oil*
1/3 cup grated coconut*
2 Nos red chili peppers*
1 Tbsp coriander seeds*
½” piece ginger (crushed to pieces using mortar or blender)
2  pods garlic (crushed to pieces using mortar or blender)
1” piece cinnamon*
1 green cardamom*
12 nos. cloves*
1″ kalpasi* (also known as Black Stone Flower or Dagad Phool)
½ of star anise *
1 Tbsp fennel seeds*
2 Tbsp black pepper corns
1 bay leaf*
1/2 nutmeg*(also called as mace or javithri)
1 marathi moggu*
1 Tbsp cumin seeds *
1 sprig curry leaves*
* Spices are available in Indian grocery stores

How to make: Roast all the above mentioned ingredients in extreme low heat with coconut oil for 15 minutes and grind to a fine paste with just enough water.

MTS tip to make a big batch of Chettinad masala:
Avoid the coconut, ginger and garlic and roast just the spices and grind it to a fine powder. This powder can be stored airtight in the freezer. At the time of usage saute coconut,  ginger and garlic in 1/2 tsp of coconut oil, grind and add it to the ground  chettinad masala powder.  Use the same ratios  mentioned above for bulk preparation.

MTS recipe for chicken chettinad (chettinad fish curry/ vegeterian chettinad potato masala):
2 Tbsp gingelly oil (seasame oil)
2 cups finely chopped scallions or red onions
2 green chillies slit in the center but not cut into halves
1.5 cups freshly ground tomatoes
2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 sprig curry leaves (leaves removed)
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp chilly powder
3 tsp corriander powder
1 Lb chicken or fish or potato
1 cup water

Chettinad fish curry

How to make:
Warm up the gingelly oil in medium low heat. Once the oil is warm add onions and a pinch of salt (to fasten the cooking process). Once the onions are translucent add garlic, curry leaves and green chillies. Cook this for 1-2 minutes until the garlic is cooked. Then add the tomatoes, chilly powder, salt, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Cook this mixture until the tomatoes are cooked and oil begins to ooze from the sides. Now add the chicken or fish or potatoes. When the chicken or fish or potatoes are half cooked add the ground Chettinad masala. Check and adjust for salt. Add 1 cup of water to get a gravy and simmer for 10 minutes until the chicken or fish or potatoes are cooked.

Note: Add the Chettinad masala little by little and check for spice.  Remember you can always add more, removing spice would be impossible.

Make it Fast, Fun, and Facile! – Sri

March 16, 2009 at 2:00 am 4 comments

Tandoori vegetable Kabobs

Party FoodParallel ProcessingFamily Meal

Tandoori is probably one of the most popular word related to Indian cuisine. Tandoori generally applies to any food cooked in an Indian oven called the Tandoor. Originating from the norther western part of the country, tandoori food has become extremely popular through out the world. The recipe here uses a commonly used technique of marinating and cooking vegetables in the tandoori style. Instead of the tandoori oven, the recipe calls for a regular oven or can even be cooked on a indoor or outdoor grill. Tandoori cooking is surprisingly simple for the highly flavorful foods.

Tandoori vegetables

Kind of food: Main course, Side, appetizer
How long: 30 min
Makes: 8 – 10 kabobs
Pot & pans: Baking tray or grill

1 large Potato – 2 inch cubes
1 large Yam or sweet potato – 2 inch cubes
2 carrots – cubed
1 Bell pepper – cubed
2 red onions – cubed
2 small Zucchini  – cubed
t tbsp butter
For the marinade

3 tbsp Sour cream ( or thick yogurt)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp black salt ( a pink colored salt available in Indian grocery stores)
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tbsp Tandoori masala powder (available in Indian grocery stores)
1 tsp Ginger garlic paste (readily available in Asian food sections)
1/2 tsp Coriander powder
1 pinch of red food color (optional)
1 tbsp of cooking oil

tandoori kabob vegetables

How to make
Cut all the vegetables into cubes and keep them all about the same size. cook the potatoes, carrots and yams in a covered microwavable dish for 2 min on high or just enough to soften them so they can be skewered easily.  In a bowl mix all the ingredients except the vegetables and butter. Give it a good mix and add a tsp of water if necessary to make it a smooth thick paste.  Apply the mixture onto the vegetables and give it a good mix till all the vegetables are well coated. Skewer the vegetables and try to mix the order the the vegetables as much as possible.  Alternatively, you can skewer the vegetables and then brush on the marinade. Set the oven the to 400F or heat the grill . Let the vegetables sit for a few minutes till the oven or the grill heats up.  Place the skewers on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10 min.  Turn the broiler on high and broil the skewers for another 5 min or till the vegetables are slightly browned.  Apply some butter for some added flavor in the end. If you are using a grill, grill the skewers on a greased grill and keep turning till all the sides are grilled.

Keep it Smart, Short and Sazzy! – Anu

Serving ideas
Serve the tandoori grilled vegetable skewers with some quick basmati rice. Optionally, you can squeeze some lemon juice and sprinkle with chat masala powder on the vegetables.
Make smaller sized version using toothpicks and serve as mini appetizers
Remove from skewers and serve with toothpicks

Tip,tricks and alternatives
The kabobs are very flavorful and makes a good meal or appetizer for large groups
Can  cook chicken also using the same method ( you may have to increase cooking and marinating time)
You can also grill thick slices of paneer using the same method (make sure you place the panner in the refrigerator after marinating for 10-15 mins before grilling).

February 16, 2009 at 5:56 am 2 comments

Healthy hummus veggie wrap

Quick MealParty FoodLunch Box MealFamily MealNo Cooking

Wraps are one of the most versatile lunch box menu items out there now a days. Wraps are very easy to make, pack and carry. They make for a very healthy lunch/snack choice. This Mediterranean inspired hummus wrap takes just minutes to assemble and makes a crunchy, refreshing and healthy meal.

Hummus wrap assembled

Kind of food: Main course
How long: 1o min
Makes: 1 wrap
Pots and Pans: None, just a surface to assemble

1  Tortilla (12 inch) (plain or flavor of your choice)
2 tbsp Hummus (readily available in grocery stores)
1/2 cup Cucumbers (sliced)
1 small avocado (sliced)
1/2 cup Tomatoes
1/4 cup Feta cheese ( or goat cheese) crumbled
2 tbsp Parsley (finely chopped)
Ground Pepper or red pepper  flakes (optional)

Hummus veggie wrap lunch

How to make:
Cook the tortilla in a microwave for a 5-7 seconds to make it pliable (if necessary) (or warm on a pan for a minute or two) . Spread the hummus evenly on the tortilla. Place the rest of the ingredients (the veggies) on the tortilla as shown in the picture. Sprinkle cheese and season with red pepper flakes or  ground pepper(optional). Remember, hummus and feta cheese both have good amount of salt in it.  Fold about 1 inch on two opposite sides of the tortilla. Then roll the tortilla from the other unfolded side and use a toothpick to hold in place. You can cut this into half for ease of eating and presentation.

Keep it Smart, Short and Sazzy! – Anu

Tips, tricks and alternatives
Hummus comes in many flavors – try changing the flavor every time.
Try using flavored tortillas – there are several varieties out there
Add deli cut meats to the wrap if you want a little protein more to the wrap. Place the meat just above the lettuce layer.
Remember these are so easy to make that they when cut into smaller pieces can make a great party meal too!

Serving Ideas
The wrap is flavorful enough to be served on its own. You can always serve a side of one of the easy dipping sauces, chips, side salad, or fruits.  Wraps make a great lunch bag item, stays well refrigerated for a day as well.

January 8, 2009 at 1:19 am Leave a comment

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