Deliciously quick & easy vegetarian/
Aglio Olio Pasta is one of my favorite types of pasta because it is lighter on the stomach and yet so flavorful. While I don't mind my pasta in tomato or creamy sauce, I especially like Aglio Olio because it leaves some space in your tummy for seconds, sides or best of all desserts. Tiramisu is my all time fav of desserts. Haven't had a slice of Tiramisu for quite some time. ( My friends in SG - you know now what to get for me when I am there for vacation in June!! )
Aglio Olio means Garlic and Oil in Italian and this is one dish that you can cook with minimum ingredients. I am always on the lookout for dishes with minimal ingredients and yet flavorful and healthy. Just makes our lives a lot easier, doesn't it?
Some tips when cooking Aglio Olio
1) Pasta should be cooked in above normal salted water to add overall flavor.
2) Do not add oil when cooking the pasta as this will prevent the pasta from absorbing the salt.
3) Pasta has to be al dente and not under or over cooked.
4) Reserve some pasta water to bind the ingredients and the starch in the water will give a smoother finish to the dish.
5) Because you are working with minimum ingredients, the quality of the ingredients are utmostly important. Use fresh ingredients and good quality EVOO.
6) Authentic Aglio Olio is plain but it is now quite popular to add in vegetables to make it a complete meal.
Ingredients( for 4)
3 tbsps EVOO
4 servings of pasta , boiled aldente in salted water according to box instructions.
Keep 1/2 cup pasta water.
1 whole bulb garlic, peeled and pounded ( If you love the taste and the heavenly aroma of garlic -you can increase to 2 bulbs)
1 medium zucchini washed, cut into half and sliced thin
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced thin
1 and half red bird's eye chili ( reduce if you prefer less spicy), sliced thin
Peel and pound the whole bulb of garlic. It is essential that you use this amount of garlic to enhance the flavor of Aglio Olio.
Take a big pot and start frying the garlic in olive oil. Watch the pot to ensure the garlic does not get burnt.
Then add in the sliced bird's eye chilli and fry for another 2 minutes.
Add in the sliced mushrooms and zucchini. Toss in some salt at this juncture.
Once the vegetables are cooked, add in the boiled pasta and let it absorb the flavor of the garlic. If you find it too dry, add in some pasta water - 2 tbsp should be enough. Check for seasonings.
Serve immediately with delicious Broccoli in Baked Potatoes ( My next post), Roasted Vegetables or Roasted Rosemary Potatoes.
Vegetable Chow Mien
A lovely colorful Chinese dish of noodles and vegetables stir fried in seasonings. I first had a taste of this on the return leg of our week long holiday in Florida last December at the airport. We were all hungry and were looking for something vegetarian to wolf down. Chanced upon this chow mein in one of the Asian Food stalls in the Food Court. That version had mainly oily noodles with minimal vegetables.
I have come up with a healthier spicier version. You can pretty much add in any type of vegetables - cauliflower florets, broccoli florets, julienned bell peppers, baby corns etc
Ingredients (For 4)
300 gm uncooked stir fry chow mien noodles (See Picture Below)
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 medium chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp mushroom seasoning (See Basics Category on the right)
2 tbsp sambal oelek (See Basics)
2tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 medium carot, cut into matchsticks
20 snap peas, sliced thin
2 cups bean sprouts, washed
1 block of tofu, cubed and grilled
Chopped bird's eyes chili for garnish and serving as an accompaniment
Chopped scallions for serving as an accompaniment
Cook the Chow Mein noodles according to the package and keep aside.
Take a medium sized wok or a deep non stick cookware and then heat the oil.
Fry the chopped onions and then followed by the pounded garlic.
One golden brown, add in all the seasonings except the dark soy sauce.
After 2 mins, toss in the vegetables and the grilled tofu cubes.
Once all the vegetables are cooked, add in the cooked noodles and dark soy sauce.
Toss with two ladles like you would toss a salad.
Serve piping hot with chopped bird's eye chillies and scallions.
While sourcing for an alternative cauliflower side dish, I came across this recipe. Now, I can't remember which site I got it from! I like this recipe as it doesn't involve tedious onion and tomato chopping. A very simple recipe and the aroma and taste of ginger are quite out of the world!
Ingredients ( For 4)
2 tbsps. canola oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pounded for extra flavor release
1 tbsp. ginger, pounded
1/2 green chilli, chopped ( more if you prefer spicier)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder ( more if you prefer spicier)
3/4 cup tomato sauce
Salt per preference
1 medium cauliflower cut into florets
1/2 cup green peas
2 sprigs coriander leaves, chopped and extra for garnishing
Heat a pot with the oil and fry the cumin seeds and then the pounded ginger.
Next, add in the green chilli and fry further.
After a few minutes, add in the spice powders, salt and then the tomato sauce.
Once all the spices has married well with the tomato sauce, add in the cauliflower florets, green peas and coriander leaves. Stir to combine.
Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle some water now and then to ensure vegetables don't stick to the bottom or get burnt!
Check for seasonings and serve warm with any curry and Basmati Peas Rice.
Potato, Radish and Drumstick Curry
I can't say a lot about this curry. You just have to cook it and taste it to believe it. It may sound like an odd combination of vegetables but like I said you hv to try it to believe it!
It is one of my fav curries because the drumsticks, potato cubes and radish marry so well and it tastes so very delicious. Usually, nothing goes to the trash because every last drop is relished and sometimes even licked!! It goes best with plain rice or flatbreads called parathas with a side of a vegetable dish, yoghurt and papadams.
Ingredients (For 4)
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 big onion, chopped big
1 and 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 green chilli (more if you prefer spicier)
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin powder
3 medium tomatoes, chopped big
3 stalks coriander leaves
4 - 5 pieces of 2 inch of drumsticks
1 medium potato, scrubbed and cubed big
1/2 radish, peeled, cut in half and then sliced thin
2 and half cups water (+/-)
Salt per preference
Prepare all the vegetables and then get a medium sized pot for cooking curries.
Heat the oil and then fry the onions and green chilli followed by the ginger garlic paste.
When fried, reduce fire and then add in the chilli powder and let it sauté for 2 minutes.
This will then be followed by the rest of the spices and salt. Cook again for a further 2 mins.
Add in the tomatoes and coriander leaves, 1/2 cup water and let the tomatoes soften.
Switch off the fire and let the gravy cool for a few mins.
Blend this curry till smooth and then pour it back into the pot.
Add 1 to 2 cups water to the blender and wash the remains of the curry into the pot. Stir to combine.
Add in the rest of the vegetables and cook till done on medium heat. Roughly 10-15 mins.
Serve warm garnished with more coriander leaves.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Who can ever resist a Chocolate fudge cake? With the ganache oozing down on the sides and as you take that first bite and slowly relishing the heavenly taste of chocolate...?? This is always a hit with my girls.
Yields one 18cm by 18cm Sq Cake
Ingredients for Butter Cake
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup castor sugar
1 cup dark choc/baking choc (at least 55% cocoa)
1/2 cup brown sugar
300ml skim milk (separated into 2 quantities, 150ml each)
1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
Method for Butter Cake
Preheat oven to 180 deg C or 350 deg F
Grease a square 18cm by 18cm baking tin and lay grease proof paper.
Beat unsalted butter and castor sugar till light and fluffy. Add egg yolk one at a time and beat till combined.
Take a small pot and melt dark choc, brown sugar and 150 ml milk. Stir consistently till combined, then add another 150 ml milk. Stir well and then allow to cool for 5 mins.
Sieve flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Pour the melted choc mixture and the sieved ingredients to the beaten sugar and butter bowl. Fold all the ingredients in.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites till soft peaks form. Fold this into the combined ingredients.
Pour this cake batter into the baking tin and bake for 40-45 mins. Allow to cool then cut into half sideways.
Ingredients for Ganache
200ml whipping cream
200gm dark choc (55.5% cocoa)
2/3 cup unsalted butter
Method for Ganache
Bring whipping cream to boil, then add the dark choc and butter. Stir till well combined.
Final Assembly for Chocolate Fudge Cake
Take the lower half the cut butter cake and spread a thick layer of ganache on the top.
Place the top portion over this. Coat the whole cake with a thick layer of ganache. Let it drip over the sides for that extra effect.
You can either serve this decadent Chocolate Fudge Cake warm immediately or set it in the fridge for an hour before serving. Garnish with sliced strawberries and dust with confectioner's sugar.
Enjoy but do watch out for calories. In moderation please!
Hi guys! I'm Nilofar Iyer and I have shared my dishes here for you to cook for your own family and friends with love and most importantly with their long term good health in mind.