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Shrimp and Spinach Stir Fry with Black Bean Sauce

December 1, 2009   

Shrimp and Spinach Stir Fry I am always looking for new recipes to make with shrimp. It is such a favorite in our house that I know what ever I make, it will be a hit- well almost everything.

I remembered a dish we have at a local Chinese restaurant- Hunan Spring. It is a black bean and shrimp dish. 

I decided to replicate it and went looking for black bean sauce. I actually wanted the dried black beans to make it from scratch but since I didn’t give myself ample time, I had to make do with the prepared black bean sauce. I also bought fresh Florida pink shrimp from Freeman’s fish market.

I decided to buy a bag of baby spinach to add to the dish- it is so much easier to have a dish with protein and a vegetable together. All I had to do was make some delicious brown rice. My secret to brown rice is sauteing it with a mixture of butter and olive oil and then cooking it with chicken broth. It gives the rice tons of flavor and makes it scrumptious.

As I predicted, the dish was a hit. Everyone loved it. Sia had it with a glass of milk and Anil and I had it with a red- I know a white would have gone a lot better- but I really felt like drinking a red. My rule about pairing wine and food is that you should drink what you feel like with you have cooked. It will definitely taste good!

  • 1 pound large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 medium white onions, sliced thin
  • ¼ black bean sauce
  • 2 tablespoons garlic chili sauce
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra light olive oil

Place the shrimp in a large ziplock bag. Add the garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt. Mix well and marinate for 2-3 hours.

In a wok like pan, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the sliced onions and sauté on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the marinated shrimp and sauté for a minute. Add the black bean sauce and garlic chili sauce. Mix well and add the spinach. Saute till the spinach wilts down. Taste for seasonings and add salt if necessary. Serve hot with brown rice.

Vegetable Pulao with Paneer

November 30, 2009   

Vegetable Pulao with Paneer This is a one-pot meal. I love when I am able to come up with something that has everything. This rice dish can be served as an entree as well as a side dish. Ideally it should be served with a delicious bowl of lentils and some raita– perfect!

It also can be served with a  roast chicken or fish – really anything. It is extremely versatile.

Preparing it is a cinch. The mixed vegetables can be fresh, if you have time to chop and prep, or they can be frozen. I always have packaged paneer in my freezer and am able to thaw and cook with it in no time. If you don’t have access to paneer (it is available in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods), shredded chicken or any other meat can be substituted.

We had it for lunch on Sunday with a big bowl of yogurt. It was delicious and very satisfying. The spice level can be adjusted according to taste. We tend to keep things mild so Sia can eat as well. I like things spicy and end up pairing a green chili pickle with the rice dish- yum!
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Indian Omelet Sandwiches with Potato Home Fries

November 29, 2009   

Indian Omelet Sandwich with Home Fries After a busy, hectic but delicious Thanksgiving weekend I am usually in the mood for ethnic food. I crave really spicy food. In fact I wanted it so much that I went to Edison and ate Indian street food to my hearts content.

The craving for spicy food prompted this particular meal. It makes a great breakfast but I made it for dinner. This Indian style omelet is served on the streets in Delhi, where I grew up. I remember going to an open market near our home and eating this with white bread. Yum- white bread is delicious and so I decided to buy a crispy baguette and make omelet sandwiches. Onions and chilies are chopped and sauteed. Eggs are beaten with fresh cilantro, salt, cayenne pepper and garam masala. I added extra cayenne in mine- yum!

While I was trying to decide what to serve with the sandwiches, home fries came to mind. While I was in school, my parents owned a deli. My Mom would make the most delicious potato home fries to serve with breakfast sandwiches. I replicated those for this meal. The home fries are quite easy to make – boiled potatoes, green or any colored peppers and the key ingredient was dried oregano. The were cooked on the griddle until crispy. At home, I made them in a cast iron skillet to ensure a nice golden brown color and even cooking.

The whole meal turned out really delicious. I made a cheese omelet for my daughter as she is not into the spicy egg concoctions. I gave her some veggies on the side and called it a night. I somehow didn’t feel like drinking wine with this particular meal- I guess my childhood memories didn’t include the alcoholic beverage. Although a beer or a riesling would be delicious!

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Beat the eggs with salt, garam masala, cayenne pepper and cilantro and beat well. Keep aside.

  • 2 teaspoons extra light olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 serrano chilies, chopped

2 sour dough rolls, cut in half and toasted

Indian Omelet

In a large non-stick frying pan, add olive oil. Add the onions and chilies and sauté on medium heat till the onions are golden brown- about 5 minutes. Add the egg mixture and cook on medium heat till the egg mixture begins to cook. Roll into an omelet shape and cut into half. Serve each half in the toasted roll with home fries on the side.

Home Fries

  • 4 medium yellow potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces

In a small saucepan, add the potatoes and top with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes or till the potatoes are soft.

  • 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • ½ yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Potato Homefries

In a non stick frying pan, add the olive oil.  Add the peppers and potatoes. Mix well and cook on medium high heat, turning once in a while so the potatoes begin to brown. Add the oregano, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Mix well and cook for another 15- 20 minutes or, till the potatoes are crispy and golden brown. Check for seasonings and sprinkle with cilantro and serve with egg sandwiches.

Tangy Potatoes and Spinach

November 25, 2009   

Potatoes and Spinach This is a very quick and yummy side dish. I had leftover potatoes- perfect for thanksgiving time- everyone has leftover potatoes. I love when I am able to come up with something completely different with a leftover ingredient. I happen to have baby spinach in my fridge as well- although frozen spinach can be used as well. This is one of those pantry dishes I love making- there are not that many ingredients in this dish. One ingredient that may not be as readily available is aamchoor. It is essentially powdered dried mango- it had a great tang to it. If you can’t find it, lemon juice can be substituted instead. Although the aamchoor flavor is quite distinctive.

As I mentioned above, this would be a great dish to make after thanksgiving. It would also be a great side dish for the turkey dinner. In fact this will be perfect with any meat entree through the week- since it is so quick and easy to make.

I will be cooking and keeping an eye out for recipes from now till Thanksgiving- to give you ideas for the big turkey dinner. Did I mention it’s my favorite time of year? It really is- I start by collecting all my favorite cooking magazines for November and coming up with a menu for the big dinner. As I do that, I will share it with you all and would love if you would do the same. I would love to know what you all cook and love about Thanksgiving.

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Garlicky Broccolini

November 23, 2009   

Garlicky Broccolini I really like this vegetable. This is the first time I cooked with it and I have to say the results were wonderful. I used to think it is young broccoli but it more of a cross between chinese broccoli and mustard greens- that is how it tastes. There are some notes of asparagus as well.

I saw broccolini at Trader Joes and picked it up- not knowing what I will do with it.

The stalks reminded me of asparagus, so I peeled the outer skin. I then made a paste out of garlic, salt, olive oil and pepper- really simple. I slathered it all over the broccolini and roasted it on a lined cookie sheet- till golden brown and soft. 

My daughter was quite skeptical when I served it to her. I asked her to try a little bit- she did and thought it was not bad. I thought it was delicious. I think this will be wonderful in a stir fry but I also think this would be perfect for a holiday dinner. It is easy to make and will complement any menu. Definitely give this one a try…

  • 1 pound broccolini, ends trimmed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pound the garlic, salt, olive oil and pepper in a mortar and pestle till smooth. Place the broccollini on a lined cookie sheet. Slather the garlic mixture all over the vegetable and roast till golden brown and tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Savory Applesauce served with Roast Potatoes and Garlicky Broccolini

November 22, 2009   

Roast PorkTenderloin with Applesauce I made this dinner a few days ago. When I made the applesauce– pork came to mind. So, I went to Trader Joes and purchased myself a pork tenderloin to serve with the sauce. 

I cooked the sauce with some shallots and garlic to make it a bit savory. I marinated the pork with a mixture of garlic, rosemary, thyme and salt. It gave it a delicious flavor that complemented the applesauce really well. 

I wasn’t sure what to serve with the pork- but then while I was at the store, I saw broccolini. I have used this vegetable before, so I decided to give it a try. It was delicious with the pork and the potatoes.

I had potatoes at home and decided to try a side dish I saw a few years ago- it’s a Jacques Pepin’s recipe. I made it for Christmas couple of years ago and they were delicious. The potatoes are cooked in chicken broth and butter with some herbs. As the potatoes get soft, smash them a bit with the back of a ladle or a small bowl. As the smashed potatoes cook and brown up, they get crispy on the outside. They are out of this world. 

These potatoes will be fabulous for Thanksgiving. Easy and really delicious. I will be posting the broccolini recipe soon as well- it will be ideal for a holiday dinner!

Please go through the blog and choose ‘Holiday Ideas’ to get lots of other ideas for your holiday family dinners. Enjoy the festive time with your loved ones, eating some fabulous dishes! It’s a great time of year!

  • 1½ to 2 pounds pork tenderloin, excess fat removed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Have a digital thermometer ready.

 Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper to a mortar and pestle. Pound and mix well and add it to the pork tenderloin covering all sides. Keep aside for about an hour.

Place the tenderloin on a lined cookie sheet and put it in the oven. Roast till the internal temperature is about 145 to 150 degrees. Take out and cover to rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Applesauce with Shallots and Garlic

Savory Applesauce

  • 1 cup homemade applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, sliced thin
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper

In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the shallots and garlic. Saute on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the applesauce, salt and pepper. Saute till everything is heated through. Serve on top of the pork.

Roasted Potatoes

Roast Potatoes

  • 4 medium yellow skinned potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 cup chicken or beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

In a large non-stick frying pan add the chicken or beef broth. Add the potatoes cut side down. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer and cover. Cook the potatoes till almost done- about 15-20 minutes. Take the lid off and increase the heat to evaporate the broth. Once most of the broth is gone, take a small bowl and squish the potatoes down with the back part of the bowl. Brown the squished potatoes till both sides are golden brown. Add salt and pepper and serve.

Mutton Pulao

November 9, 2009   

Mutton Pulao1 I am not sure how to describe this dish- it’s the epitome of everything I find delicious and nostalgic. Just thinking about it makes me happy. So when my Mom came to visit us, this was one of the things she cooked. It brings me back to childhood- the creamy savory rice with a burst of sweet raisins- and the meat- oh, the meat is out of this world!

I have made this rice dish in the past but with chicken. It really tastes different with goat though- which is really my favorite. I love the flavor and the texture- it’s very much like lamb. 

The goat meat is cooked with lots of whole spices, onion, garlic and chicken broth. The pieces are then taken out, cooled and sauteed in oil and cumin seeds. The rich and flavorful broth is used to cook the goat and the rice. The flavor is unbelievable- some people really like biryani– which is a dish of rice layered with a meat curry and then the whole thing is baked. This is better because the rice is cooked in the rich broth full of spices- a lot better!

Definitely try this dish- it is a bit labor intensive but so worth the extra work. I would recommend it for the weekend or even a Sunday dinner. You will end up creating the same memories I have of this delicious dish!
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