If I had a plate of creamy white pasta and pasta in red sauce to choose from, I would, in a heartbeat, choose the latter. Although I love creamy pastas, I play favourites with the red, saucy kinds. Tomato-based pastas are fuss-free, require very little effort and are incredibly tasty.
I will be shortly travelling to Europe and I look forward to having amazing food. Yes, pasta is definitely on my list. I will share some of my food adventures with you here on the page.
Now coming to the recipe, I have used simple ingredients that you can play around with to customise the flavours. This linguine in herby tomato mushroom sauce is hearty, comforting and delish.
I love this for days when I can’t be too bothered to make an elaborate meal. It is easy and requires so little effort that before you realise you have a plateful of tasty meal waiting to be devoured.
Today is one of those days for me when I feel happy for no particular reason. This despite it being a cold and rainy day. Not that I am complaining; I generally feel content and pleased with my simple life.
To keep up the great mood I was in I had to eat something light, colourful and quick. So, I settled for the bright and colourful corn and bean salad. I read somewhere that beans are rich in selenium, which is known to be a major mood uplifter. How cool!
This besides being a great looking salad, is also quite nutritious. It contains a good amount of fibre, proteins, vitamins and antioxidants from the different ingredients.
This tasty and colourful salad comes with a spicy dressing, and is a perfect light lunch or side. You could make this salad ahead in glass jars and carry it with you for a lunch on-the-go.
Corn kernels – 1 cup
Kidney beans cooked or canned – 1 cup
Onion (Large) – 1
Tomato (Large) – 1
Green olives (optional) – 4 -5 tblspn slices
Salad greens – As much as you like
Salt and pepper – To taste
For the dressing:
Extra virgin olive oil – 3 tblspns.
Lemon juice – 1 tblspn.
Chilli flakes – 1 tspn.
Cumin powder – ¼ tspn.
Dried herbs – 2 tspns.
Salt and pepper – To season
In a small mixing bowl, add the ingredients under ‘For the dressing’. Give it all a good mix and keep aside.
Steam corn kernels. I steamed it in a microwave oven for 1 minute with a dash of water.
Whether you use canned or soaked and cooked kidney beans, make sure the water is completely drained.
Slice the onions and tomatoes thinly.
In a large bowl, layer the corn kernels, kidney beans, olives, onions, tomatoes and salad greens.
Pour the dressing over the salad.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Note: If you are taking this salad to-go, pour the dressing on the top and mix it just before you intend to eat it. Always remember to keep the leafy greens and soft ingredients on the top.
- I had kidney beans in hand. Replace it with other beans or mixed bean varieties of your choice.
- I did not use cheese, you could opt to add it. Feta and haloumi make a great addition.
- You could add cooked rice, cous cous, quinoa or millets in the salad for a complete meal.
Congee simply means rice porridge. The origins of the word congee could be traced back to ‘kanji’ in Tamil, which also means rice porridge. It is served in several parts of Asia and the monikers include Jook, Lugaw, Burbur and so on. It is typically served for breakfast accompanied by condiments such as fried shallots, garlic, soy sauce, etc.
This humble rice porridge is one of the easiest and tastiest comfort foods there is. With the carbs from the rice and nutrition from the vegetables, this is a great breakfast or lunchtime meal.
I was craving something warm and tasty to beat the cold weather. I had some leftover rice and some veggies that I could make into a congee. The result was simply amazing. It ticks a lot of boxes for me in terms of wholesomeness, nutrition, and taste.
Play around with the ingredients, substitute/add vegetables, meat or seafood to suit your taste; you will have a superb meal ready to serve. This low-fat and healthy porridge will sure warm your heart and keep the tummy happy.
Left over rice – 1 cup
Stock/water – 4 cups
Mushrooms – ¼ cup, cleaned and sliced
Spring onion/scallions/green onions – 2 stalks, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
Ginger – ½ inch piece, peeled and finely chopped
Garlic – 5 cloves, finely chopped
Black pepper – to taste
Salt – To taste
Oil - 1 tblspns.
Heat oil in a saucepan. To it, add the finely chopped garlic and ginger. Sauté them till fragrant.
Toss in the onions. Sweat the onions out a bit. Do not overcook them.
Finally, add the mushrooms and sauté for another 4 to 5 minutes.
At this stage, season with pepper.
Pour the stock and bring it to boil. This will ensure the stock absorbs the flavours of the sautéd vegetables.
Add the cooked rice and stir it with the stock.
At this stage, add more water if you like your congee dilute.
Simmer the congee for about 15 minutes or till it thickens.
Once done, remove from the flame.
Scoop out the congee and pour into serving bowls. Serve warm.
Note: I reserved some chopped garlic, and shallow fried them to serve on top.
- You could add other vegetables of your choice.
- Add or omit ingredients based on your preference.
- I used leftover basmati rice. Use jasmine, sticky or any other rice varieties for this congee.
- If you are using stock, watch the amount of salt you add to the congee.
- I used stock for extra flavouring. You could simply use water, as it would absorb the flavours of the sautéed vegetables.
- You could add fresh herbs for seasoning.
- Additional seasoning options include fried tofu, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce.
- I used leftover rice, you could use raw rice and allow it to boil until it’s cooked and thickens the congee.
The sweet, tangy and spicy condiment is a common feature in Indian chaats. This chutney perfectly complements the delectable chaats and many Indian savoury snacks.
There are many ways in which this chutney is made; for sweetness, some prefer using just jaggery instead of dates; some like it extra hot or tangy. No matter how you like it, you can make it to suit your preference. However, in this recipe, I have shared with you my version. In fact, I have tried to recreate my mum's recipe.
As children, my sister and I were rarely allowed treats from the street vendors. My mum made it a point to make different varieties of snacks and treats for us; this sweet and tangy chutney was often made with samosas, chaats and pakodas. We absolutely enjoyed the condiment with the super tasty snacks she used to make.
She hadn't documented the recipe. But I have based this recipe on memory and a little research over the years. Here it is:
Tamarind (seedless) - 1/4 cup
Dates (seedless) - 1/2 cup
Jaggery (optional) - 1 tblspn.
Roasted cumin powder - 1/4 tspn.
Dry ginger powder - 1/2 tspn.
Chilli powder - 1/4 tspn.
Salt - To taste
Water - 2 1/2 cups + 2 tblspns to grind the chutney
Add water, tamarind and dates to a saucepan.
Place that saucepan on medium-low flame, allow the three ingredients to cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the dry spices except the salt.
Mix well, and continue to cook for a few more minutes till the raw smell of the spices are gone.
Now, add salt and mix well.
Allow the chutney to simmer for about 2 minutes.
Remove the vessel from the flame, and allow it to cool.
Once cooled, transfer the mixture to a blender jar, and grind it into a smooth paste.
Add water, if required.
The tamarind-date chutney is ready.
Store the chutney in an airtight container in the fridge.
Use it in chaats or serve it savoury Indian snacks.