Monday, December 7, 2009

Veg Au Gratin.

ooo, the camera lens got misty with the steaming hot pasta

Somtimes we simply dont feel like eating chapati at night and both my husband and I are not great fans of rice either. So it actually gets really difficult to think what to make for dinner. A couple of nights back I just did not feel like cooking. I checked the freezer and nothing seemed intresting and then I noticed I had a bag of mixed vegetables in Butter sauce. I had got this from Trader Joes. Humm,I thought that would save me a lot of trouble of cutting veggies. yes, that was it I decided to make Veg Au Gratin.
Its very weird, I have never seen anything like that in the restaurants here in San Diego. But its so common back in India. That was one of the first things I learnt in my Cookery Class when I was in class X. Its a complete comfort food,perfect for a cold evening.

Here is the recipe.

For the white sauce

  • 2-3 tbsp Maida
  • 3-4 tbsp of butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp oregano

For the Gratin

  • 1/2 packet Pasta- macaroni pasta or penne. (I used half a packet of the 1 lbs bag)
  • 1-2 cups Vegetables (carrot, peas, beans, corn, cauliflower- all diced and boiled). I used the frozen vegetables from Trader Joes.
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese.


  1. In a pan, melt the butter. Saute the maida till about 5 minutes. Do not let it brown.
  2. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly, so that no lumps are formed. In case you do get lumps, strain the mixture and then return it to heat.
  3. Add the salt,pepper and oregano.
  4. Boil the pasta as per the instructions.
  5. Drain the pasta. Keep aside.
  6. Add the boiled or frozen veggies to the simmering white sauce. cook for about five minutes.
  7. Add the pasta and mix everything up.
  8. Turn the heat off. Its ok if you find the pasta sauce a little liquidy, the pasta tends to soak the sauce.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Dish out the pasta into an oven proof dish. Cover the top with grated mozzarella.
  11. Bake in the oven for 10- 15 mins or till the cheese turns brown.
  12. Take it out from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
  13. Serve hot with garlic bread.

Yummy. Enjoy.

Note: If the white sauce tends to thicken up, you can add some pasta liquid (the water in which you boiled the pasta). This will help you thin the sauce a bit.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Quick sprout chaat

Sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C. Yes that's right, Vitamin C. The sprouting process increase the vitamin content of the lentils,or legumes. Not bad right, specially when its actually really easy to make sprouts at home.
I used Green moong dal and black chana,to make sprouts. Soak the lentils overnight. The next morning, tie them in a wet muslin cloth or paper towel. Just make sure the muslin cloth/paper towel,is moist. Keep moistening the cloth, daily. Soon you will see small baby shoots poking out of the muslin cloth. Your sprouts are all set.

I am personally not a fan of raw sprouts, so I always either boil them slightly,or saute them.

The other day I wanted to have something chaat-patta for lunch, so I thought of making chaat The healthy twist came from the addition of sprouts,which, for a change I added raw. Something really quick and easy and a great snack for the mid afternoon or the lunch box. Here is the recipe.

You will need:

  • 1 cup mixed sprouts
  • 1 boiled potato (diced)
  • 1/4 th cup peanuts
  • A few papdis (optional)
  • Red chilly powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Chaat masala powder
  • 1-2 tbsp of green chutney
  • 1-2 tbsp of sweet tamarind chutney
  • Lemon juice

  1. Once your sprouts are ready, and the potatoes boiled, there is not much to do. Just mix everything up.
  2. In a bowl,add the boiled and diced potato, add all the spices along with the green and sweet chutney.
  3. Crush the papdi a little and add that along with the peanuts. Add the lemon juice and mix it all up.
  4. As simple as that.
  5. You can add more stuff to this, like chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, some fruit like grapes.
  6. They would all not only add more colour and flavour,but also enhance the nutrient content of the whole dish.

This recipe is off to Srivalli's MLLA and Susan's host line up.