Toor Dal /Arhar Dal Fry

toor_dal_arhar_dal

MEALS | August 7, 2017 | By

Toor dal is one of the most common dal dishes I cook for my family. It is a favourite with my husband and son. Toor dal fry, along with simple rice and any kind of spicy condiment is enough to make everyone happy. It is a very economical, simple and satisfying vegetarian meal. Most Indians fry dal in ghee (Indian clarified butter). But I always cook it with vegetable oil or olive oil because my husband is a vegan. But my son and I enjoy the dish more when we garnish the dal fry with a little butter or ghee while the dal is still hot. (Vegans can garnish it with Nuttelex margarine instead of ghee or butter)

toor_dal_arhar_dal 

If you are living outside the Indian subcontinent, some ingredients for toor dal are available in supermarkets. But the main ingredients will be available only in Indian grocery stores.

toor_dal_arhar_dal

Toor Dal / Arhar Dal
Serves 4
A delicious spiced flavoured yellow lentil curry!!!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. Toor dal – 1 cup
  2. 4 cups of water
  3. 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  4. 3 whole red chillies (optional)
  5. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  6. 1 bay leaf
  7. 1 teaspoon of cumin seed
  8. 3 pinches of asafoetida
  9. 1 teaspoon of ginger and garlic paste
  10. 2 medium size tomatoes, finely chopped
  11. 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  12. 1 teaspoon of ground cumin seed
  13. 1 teaspoon of ground coriander seed
  14. 1 teaspoon of ground red chilli
  15. 1 teaspoon of salt
  16. 1 serving spoon of roughly chopped coriander leaves
Instructions
  1. Place the dal and water in a pressure cooker and cook until the pressure cooker gives two whistles. Turn the flame off and leave the pressure cooker until it cools down enough for the lid to be opened.
  2. Heat the oil in a pot. Add the bay leaves, cumin seeds and whole red chillies. Fry until the cumin seeds become light brown.
  3. Add the onions and fry until they become light brown at the edges. Add asafoteda, ginger garlic paste, chopped tomatoes and all of the ground spices. Sprinkle some water on the mixture. Mix well and fry until the tomatoes are cooked. Remember to keep stirring in order to avoid burning the mixture.
  4. Add dal from the pressure cooker and mix well. Cook until the mixture comes to a boil. Add water if you find the mixture is too thick. After the mixture comes to a boil, add coriander leaves and cook for another two minutes. Enjoy.
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FOCACCIA BREAD

foccasia_bread

MEALS | August 6, 2017 | By

This is the recipe for freshly baked garlic and rosemary flavoured Focaccia bread. This bread, along with a hot bowl of soup, is an excellent treat on a cold rainy winter day. This is an Italian style vegan bread which is not only simple to make, but also has an excellent taste. It is also goes well with any kind of soup or curry. I have a strong preference for herbs. I therefore use generous amounts of rosemary, thyme and garlic on most occasions. You can use any type of fresh or dry herbs which you prefer. It is important to note that the flavour of Focaccia bread is heavily dependent on herbs and olive oil. The correct texture of this bread is for it to be crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

focaccia_bread

Focaccia Bread
Serves 4
Fresh and delicious home made focaccia bread!!!
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Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  2. 120 ml of extra virgin olive oil (almost ½ cup)
  3. 235 ml of warm water (almost a cup)
  4. 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
  5. 1 teaspoon of raw sugar
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  7. 1 tablespoon of roughly chopped fresh or dry rosemary
  8. 1 teaspoon of fresh or dry thyme.
  9. 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix the water along with sugar, yeast and half of the olive oil. Stir well. Keep the mixture in a warm place for about 5-6 minutes, or until the mixture becomes frothy.
  2. Add flour and half of the salt into the mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until the mixture starts binding together. Place the mixture on a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a bowl that has been greased with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Keep aside at a warm place for about 40 to 45 minutes until the dough rises and doubles in size.
  3. In the meantime, place the olive oil, thyme, rosemary and garlic on a skillet. Heat the mixture for about 6 to 8 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn. Then place the mixture aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
  5. Place a baking sheet on a baking tray. Tip the dough out of the bowl. Flatten the dough onto the baking sheet. Squeeze the dough towards the corners of the tray. Use your fingers to dimple the dough. Drizzle the thyme, garlic and olive oil mixture onto the dough. Then sprinkle the remainder of the salt onto the dough. Let the dough rise for about 20 minutes until it puffs a little. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until the dough becomes golden brown. Cool the bread on a wire rack.
  6. Ding...ding...dingggggggggggg, now focassia bread is ready to serve!!!!
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ONION FRITTERS

onion_ fritters

MEALS | April 8, 2017 | By

Onion fritters (also known as pyaz bhaji) is a popular Indian snack which can be eaten on it’s own, or with any main dish. It also goes well with tea. Many Indians enjoy crispy pyaz bhaji with any type of spicy chutney (also known as spicy condiments) and a cup of tea; particularly during rainy days. I have fond memories of onion fritters from the period before my marriage. My sister often prepared this snack for afternoon tea when we lived in Lucknow. Girls love to talk about girls’ subjects while having this kind of snacks.wink

onion_fritters

Onion fritters are eaten more commonly among Indians than any other kind of fritters. I often serve them as a starter with chilli garlic sauce or cilantro chutney. Left over fritters can also be a tasty addition to any kind of vegetarian dish.

onion_fritters

 

Onion Fritters
Serves 4
Crispy onion fritters!!!
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Total Time
35 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  2. 200 gm chickpea flour
  3. 2 tablespoons of rice flour (optional)
  4. ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  5. 3 green chillies, chopped (remove the seeds if don’t like it too hot)
  6. 1 teaspoon of ground chilli
  7. 1 teaspoon of whole cumin
  8. 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  9. 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  10. 1 teaspoon of salt
  11. 1 teaspoon of mustard seed (optional)
  12. 3-4 curry leaves (optional)
  13. 1 serving spoon of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  14. 120 ml water
  15. 500 ml vegetable oil for deep frying
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a pan on a medium flame.
  2. Make a thick batter by mixing all the ingredients together. The mixture should be thick enough to hold together.
  3. Carefully drop five or six pieces of batter into the hot oil. Each piece of batter should be about a table spoon. Fry until the fritters become golden brown and slightly crispy. Do not attempt to fry too many pieces at a time, because it will become overcrowded and the pieces will end up sticking together.
  4. Repeat the same process until all of the batter is finished.
  5. Serve hot with any dip of your choice.
Notes
  1. If you are cooking onion fritters for guests, partially fry the fritters (about 75% complete) before the guest arrive. Once you are ready to serve after the guests arrive, you can then re-heat the same oil and fry the fritters again until they are light brown and crispy. This is because fritters taste best when they are hot.
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INDIAN FRIED RICE

fried_rice

MEALS | November 28, 2016 | By

Fried rice is a popular dish that people like to eat for lunch, dinner and sometimes even breakfast. It can be prepared with a variety of ingredients, depending on which vegetables a person might like. Rice is a staple food for my family, so I often end up with left over rice. One of the best things you can do with left over rice is to prepare fried rice.

I always keep some frozen green beans and peas in my freezer for emergencies. These come in handy when I want to make a quick fried rice dish, because these two vegetables go well with fried rice.

fried_rice

Indian Fried Rice
Serves 3
A simple and quick left over fried rice!!!
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups of cooked rice
  2. 3 tablespoons of olive oil, vegetable oil
  3. 1 onion thinly sliced
  4. 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala (optional)
  9. Optional: 2 green chillies, chopped (deseeded)
  10. 1 large tomato, chopped
  11. 1 serving spoon of carrot, finely chopped
  12. ½ cup of frozen green peas
  13. 1 cup of frozen green beans
  14. 2 medium sized button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  15. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil on a large pan, then add cumin and fry for 5 seconds. Add sliced onion and fry untill the onion become slightly brown.
  2. Add all the spice powders and chopped tomato and mix well.
  3. Add all the vegetables into the mixture and fry for 5 minutes.
  4. Add rice and salt. Fry all the ingredients together for about 4 more minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves if you have some.
  5. Serve hot.
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KIDNEYBEAN AND POTATO CURRY/RAJMA ALOO CURRY

kidneybean_potato_curry

MEALS | November 12, 2016 | By

This dish is made up of kidney beans and potatoes, cooked in spicy tomato sauce. It can be cooked any time of the year and can be eaten with cumin rice or plain rice, or any kind of bread. This is an aromatic dish that is cooked with beautiful Indian spices. It is a very common vegetarian dish in India, a favourite among many and a real crowd pleaser at functions.

kidneybean_potato_curry

Adding potatoes to this dish is entirely optional. My family like potato chunks with kidney beans, so I usually include potatoes. I use olive oil in this recipe, but you can also use vegetable oil, butter or ghee (Indian clarified butter) instead of olive oil.

kidneybean_potato_curry

If you are using fresh kidney beans, it is best to soak them overnight and then cook them in the pressure cooker, in preparation for this dish. Alternatively, you can use canned red kidney beans.

kidneybean_potato_curry

Kidneybean And Potato Curry
Serves 3
A soft and smooth curry, kidneybean and potato cooked with spiced tomato gravy!!!
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 ½ cups of boiled red kidney beans
  2. 2 large boiled potatoes cut into big cubes
  3. 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  4. 1 bay leaf
  5. 1 teaspoon of cumin seed
  6. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  7. 1 teaspoon of garlic paste
  8. 1 teaspoon of ginger paste
  9. 1 cup of tomato puree
  10. 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder (vary the amount according to your taste)
  11. 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  12. 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  13. ½ teaspoon of cumin powder
  14. 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  15. 1 teaspoon of rajma masala (optional)
  16. 1 serving spoon of kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)- (optional)
  17. 1 ½ cups of water
  18. 1 teaspoon of salt
  19. 2 serving spoons of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the bay leaf, cumin seeds, and chopped onion. Fry the mixture until the onions become slightly red.
  2. Add ginger and garlic paste, tomato puree and all the ground spices. Cook until the tomato puree is no longer raw. Stir often.
  3. Add boiled kidney beans, chopped potatoes, salt and water. Mix well and bring the mixture to a boil. Mash some of the kidney beans to bring about a nice texture. Cook for another 5 minutes, then turn the flame off. About one minute before turning off the flame, add half of the chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Keep the remainder of the coriander leaves for garnishing the curry at the very end.
  4. Serve with rice or any kind of bread.
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Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato Sauce

spaghetti_fresh_tomato_sauce

MEALS | October 16, 2016 | By

Adding two or three pasta dishes to your weekly menu is a good way to bring delicious, satisfying meals onto the table that don’t take a lot of time and work. I always have a few varieties of dried pasta in my pantry, because pasta is convenient, versatile and economical. Whenever I make pasta, I mostly use spaghetti, because it is my family’s preference.

There are many ways of cooking pasta. You can use many different ingredients to create a wide range of dishes to suite all tastes. I have found that fresh tomato sauces that have a smooth texture are the best choice for preparing spaghetti. This a favourite dish for most kids!

spaghetti_fresh_tomato_sauce

 

Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato Sauce
Serves 3
A sipmle and delicious spaghetti dish!!!
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 250gm spaghetti
  2. 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  3. 1 large onion, chopped
  4. 4 medium size firm tomatoes, chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  6. 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  7. 2-3 pinches of freshly ground black pepper
  8. ½ red chilli flakes (optional)
  9. ½ teaspoon of salt
  10. 1 serving spoon of shredded cheese for garnish (optional)
  11. 5-6 fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Fry the chopped onions in the oil until they become soft and tender.
  2. Add chopped garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, black pepper, chilli flakes and salt. Cook and stir regularly on a low flame until the tomatoes becomes soft, smooth and mushy.
  3. Meanwhile, boil some water in a pot and add salt. Then add the spaghetti and cook until it becomes soft and al dente. Drain the spaghetti in a strainer to get rid of the water.
  4. Add the spaghetti, along with fresh basil leaves, into the mixture in the saucepan and mix well. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes. Then pour the mixture into a bowl or a serving dish, garnish with shredded cheese and serve hot.
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Soya Chunk And Potato Curry

soyachunk_and_potato_curry

MEALS | September 25, 2016 | By

A few days ago I bought a large packet of soya chunks from an Indian store. I was very happy about this, because it is hard to find this item in standard grocery stores here in Australia. I often add soya chunks to my dishes, not only because it is one of my favourite ingredients, but also because my family are vegetarians. Soya chunks are a good source of protein and fibre and an excellent meat substitute.

This particular curry is a dish which can transform a simple into a special meal. It goes well when served with rice along with any kind of bread.

Adding chilly to this dish depends entirely on personal preference. For those who are not used to eating spicy foods, this curry can still be made without chilly or other spices that might make it too hot and spicy.

In this particular recipe, I have added some supplementary vegetables like green peas and tomatoes. The choice of supplementary vegetables is entirely personal. Other supplementary vegetables can include green beans, cauliflower, florets, carrots or capsicum.soyachunk_and_potato_curry 

Soya Chunk And Potato Curry
A simply delicious soya chunk, potato cubes cooked in tomato and spices puree!!!
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Cook Time
35 min
Cook Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 serving spoon of olive oil or any vegetable oil
  2. 1 bay leave
  3. 1 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds
  4. 2 medium size onions, chopped
  5. 1 inch of ginger, crushed or chopped / 1 teaspoon of ginger paste
  6. 1 teaspoon of garlic paste
  7. 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder (optional)
  8. ½ teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
  9. 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  10. ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
  11. ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
  12. ½ teaspoon of garam masala (optional)
  13. 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  14. 2 medium size tomatoes, chopped
  15. 2 large potatoes, pealed and chopped into cubes
  16. 1 ½ cup of soya chunk, soaked in water for 30 minutes. Note: If the soya chunks are too large, cut them in half. After the soya chunks have been soaked in water for 30 minutes, squeeze the water out of them before adding them to the curry.
  17. ½ cup of frozen green peas (you can use fresh green peas if they are available)
  18. 2 cups of water
  19. 1 teaspoon of salt
  20. Some freshly chopped coriander leaves
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add bay leaves and cumin seeds. Fry until the cumin seeds become dark brown.
  2. Add chopped onions and gently cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions become light brown at the edges. (sprinkle a little salt is you want to cook the onions faster)
  3. Add ginger, garlic paste, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and all ground spices except garam masala. Mix and stir well. Cover the pan and cook the tomatoes on a medium flame until they become soft.
  4. Add the soya chunks into the mixture along with green peas and potatoes. Fry the mixture for two minutes, then add salt.
  5. Add water and heat the mixture to boiling point. Continue cooking until the potatoes become soft. Once the potatoes soften, turn the flame right down. Mash some of the potatoes with the back of a spatula in order to bring about a good texture. If you find that the curry is to dry, add a little more water and mix well.
  6. Just before turning off the flame, sprinkle garam masala and coriander leaves, mix well and let the whole mixture cook for another couple of minutes. Serve with rice and/or bread.
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Soybean, Ginger And Spinach Soup

soyabean_and_spinach_soup

MEALS | September 12, 2016 | By

I made this soup a few days ago when I was suffering from a terrible cold and cough due to a sudden weather change. I must say that this soup tasted extra good on those cold and rainy days. I was surprised to see that my son, who doesn’t normally touch soybean, ate a full bowl of this soup.

soyabean_and_spinach_soup

Soybean, Ginger And Spinach Soup
Serves 3
A healthy and heartworming soup cooked with precooked soya bean, ginger and spinach!!
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Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of cooked soybeans
  2. 2 cups of baby spinach
  3. 3 cups of vegetable stock
  4. 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  5. One bay leave
  6. 1 sliced red onion
  7. 1 ½ teaspoons of chopped ginger
  8. 2 large red tomatoes, chopped
  9. ½ teaspoon of whole cumin seeds
  10. 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  11. Salt, according to personal taste
  12. 1 serving spoon of roughly chopped coriander leaves
  13. Few leaves of mint leaves (optional)
  14. ½ teaspoon of chilli flakes
  15. ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a deep pan. Add bay leaves and cumin seeds. Fry for a few seconds or until the cumin seeds are slightly brown.
  2. Add onion and fry until the onions become soft. Add chopped ginger, tomatoes, ground spices, chilli flakes. Fry until the tomatoes become soft. Mix well.
  3. Add cooked soybeans and vegetable stock into the mixture and bring it to boiling point. Cook for another five minutes.
  4. Add spinach and mint. Cook for one more minute before turning off the flame.
  5. Sprinkle the chopped coriander generously on the mixture and serve hot with bread.
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Easy Spiral Pasta

easy_spiral_pasta

MEALS | August 30, 2016 | By

I cooked this dish a week ago. But I could not upload the recipe because I was too busy setting up and arranging my new place. This is a simple dish, but a real crowd pleaser. My seven year old son enjoys eating this dish as an after school meal. In this recipe, you can use pasta sauce that is available in stores. But I prefer to use pasta sauce which I have prepared myself. This is one of the dishes I prepare for my family when I don’t have much time for cooking.

easy_spial_pasta

Easy Spiral Pasta
Serves 4
A simple winner dish, spiral pasta with tomato sauce!!!
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Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 350 gm of spiral pasta
  2. 3 medium size tomatoes, chopped
  3. 2 medium size onions, chopped
  4. 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  5. 3 pinches of freshly ground black pepper
  6. 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  7. ½ teaspoon of salt
  8. 1 serving spoon of olive oil
  9. 4-5 sweet basil leaves
  10. ½ teaspoon of dry red chilli flakes (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preparation of pasta sauce: Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add chopped onions and garlic and fry till the onions become soft.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, ground black pepper, salt and chilli flakes. Stir the mixture regularly and cook until the tomatoes are soft and mushy. Then add the roughly chopped basil leaves and mix well.
  3. While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta according to the instructions given on the packet. Alternatively, cook it in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Then drain the pasta to get rid of all the water.
  4. Add the pasta into the pasta sauce mixture and toss well to coat. Once the pasta is mixed well with the sauce, remove it from the stove and serve hot.
Notes
  1. I cook this dish as a vegan so I do not add cheese. If you are not vegan, you can add parmesan cheese while tossing the pasta with the pasta sauce in order to enhance the taste. You can also serve the pasta with extra parmesan cheese on top.
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Red Kidney Beans and Potatoes Curry/ Rajma Aloo Curry

kidney_beans_and_potato_curry

MEALS | August 5, 2016 | By

 

This dish is undoubtedly one of the best dishes for week day evenings. It is an easy dish to prepare and a favourite with my family. On cold winter days like we’re having in Australia right now, it feels good to have this hot flavoursome curry along with rice and maybe even avocado salad. This curry can be eaten with rice or any kind of bread. I usually eat it with rice.

 

kidney_beans_and_potato_curry

Red Kidney Beans and Potatoes Curry
Serves 3
A super simple flavoursome curry which can be a family pleaser on one of the weekdays meals, cooked with red beans, potato cubes and spices.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 medium size potatoes – cut into cubes
  2. 1 can of red kidney beans
  3. 2 medium size tomatoes – cut in small pieces
  4. 1 medium size red or white onion – chopped
  5. 1 bay leave
  6. ½ teaspoon of whole cumin seeds
  7. 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  8. 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger
  9. 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  10. ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
  11. 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  12. ½ teaspoon of red chilli powder
  13. ½ teaspoon of garam masala (optional)
  14. 1 serving spoon of vegetable oil
  15. Salt – add according to your taste
  16. 1 serving spoon of roughly chopped fresh coriander leaves
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan or pot. Add bay leaves, cumin seeds and fry the mixture until the cumin seeds become slightly brown. Then add the chopped onion and keep frying the mixture until the edges of the onions become brown and tender.
  2. Add chopped ginger, garlic, chopped tomatoes and all the dry spices. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes become soft and tender.
  3. Add the potato cubes along with two cups of water into the mixture.
  4. Add the kidney beans before the potatoes are fully cooked and mix well. Then add salt and cook the mixture until the potatoes become soft. If the curry looks too dry, add a little water and mix well. Then cook for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle garam masala about thirty seconds before turning off the heat and mix well. (Garam masala is an Indian ground spice mix).
  5. Turn off the heat and add coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or bread. In order to enhance the flavour, it is also a good idea to squeeze a few drops of fresh lemon juice on the curry just before eating.
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