Butter Bean Risotto (w/o wine)

Rich, creamy and yummy risotto – without wine, cream or cheese!

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I have been delaying making a risotto for so long since all the recipes have wine it. I cannot let my kids have it neither can I make two versions for a dinner!  But yesterday in some momentary inspiration, I decided to make my own self-invented non-alcoholic version.  It is loaded with the goodness of butter beans without any visual traces of it for the kids. It turned out great. It was so gooey and soft that I dint even have to puree it for my 10 months old toothless baby!

You’ll need:

  • Butter beans : 1 can or 1.5 cups  (after being cooked)
  • Arborio rice : 2 cups
  • Shallots : 2 pieces , Onion : ½ finely sliced, Garlic : 2 cloves
  • Water : ~ 7-8 cups
  • Salt & pepper

METHOD:

  1. Blend the cooked beans in a blender and set aside. Add 3-4 tsp of water while blending.
  2. In a pan wih 2 tsp olive oil : Sautee Garlic (30 secs). Add shallots (40 secs). Add onions (30 secs). Add the rice and lightly fry it (~1min)
  3. Pour butter bean puree on the rice and stir well. Add 3 cups of water and let it cook slowly. Add pinch of salt to suit your taste. Keep adding ½ to 1 glass of water at a time and wait for it to get absorbed well. Then add next glass and so on until u reach the al dente consistency (which will take About 7-8 glasses of water and ~20 mins+)
  4. Serve hot, garnished with pepper / seasoning / cheese (for the kids!)

TIPS & NOTES :

  1. No need to de-skin the beans. That’s good food too!
  2. Add small amounts of water and keep stirring regularly to avoid the risotto lumping / getting burnt at the bottom of the pan when the water it getting absorbed.

 Bon appetite. Happy parenting!

 

 

Appetizer #6 : Paneer pakora

Going Indian today 🙂 Paneer is Indian cottage cheese. It looks like tofu but has much firmer texture. If you are in US / UK you’ll get this is any international supermarket or Indian grocery store. If you are in HK you’ll also get it at Welcome supermarket. This is my favorite Indian appetizer – Spicy and cheesy!

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You’ll need :

  • Paneer : 1 packet cubed (~250 gm)
  • Besan (ground channa dal powder) or Corn Flour – ½ cup
  • G.Chilli – 1
  • Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Coriander – 3-4 sprigs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying

Method :

  1. Cube the paneer and set aside. Heat oil for frying in a wok.
  2. Mix rest of the dry ingredients together. Add water tbsp by tbsp until you get a thick paste.
  3. Dip the paneer (6-8 pieces) in the paste and carefully drop them one by one iin the oil wok and fry until golden brown. Its ready! Serve with chutney/chilli sauce.

Bon Appetite . Happy Parenting!

Appetizer #5 : Veg Momos

Going oriental today 🙂 Momos, much to my surprise are decently simple to make and super healthy to eat.  It’s got veggies and it’s steamed. Mom can indulge too! Below is the kiddies version..

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You’ll need for wrapper :

  • Flour : 1 cup
  • Oil : 5-6 tsp
  • Warm water : Approx ¼ cup

You’ll need for Filling :

  • Ginger ( ½ inch), garlic (2) , and G.Chilli (1) – Very finely chopped
  • Assorted veggies : Cabbage, carrots,beans : 2 cups – Very finely chopped

Method for wrapper:

  1. Mix flour + 3-4 tsp oil + water tsp by tsp to make smooth dough. Knead well for 5 mins.
  2. Add 2 tsp oil and knead again. Cover with wet muslin cloth  and keep aside for 30 mins

Method for filling:

  1. Saute : Ginger + Garlic + G.Chilli in 2 tsp oil
  2. Add the veggies and sauté until tender. Let it coo

Below pic : Dough

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Below pic : Veggie Filling

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Method for rolling and steaming:

  1. Make small balls and roll out thin round sheets (pic below)
    NOTE : Make small balls, coat it with oil and then roll out. Don’t add flour while rolling
  2. Stuff each sheet with a 1.5 tsp of filling and seal it (see step by step below)
  3. Place it in steamer and steam for 15 mins. Serve with chilli sauce or ketchup !

 Below pictures : Step by step momo wrapping

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Step 1 :

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Step 2 :Image

Step 3 : 

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Step 4 : Image

Step 5 :

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Bon Appetite. Happy Parenting!

 

Appetizer #4 : Potato souffle !

I’m going Irish tonight. Presenting potato souffle!!! . Remember to make it for next St.Patricks day!

 Souffle means light, airy or puffy…. I have never gotten a sweet soufflé right in my life simply because I can never get the light airy texture right. Today after a lot of soufflé reading I tried a savoury soufflé and it came out quite well. I’m impressed. I think I am ready for a dessert soufflé 😉

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Here is the recipe:

You’ll need :

  • Large potatoes : 2 (peeled, boiled n mashed well)
  • Butter : 2 tbsp
  • Onion : ½ (finely chopped)
  • Egg 1 (Separated)
  • Cream : 2-3 tbsp
  • Sour cream : 1-1.5 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herbs : 1 tbsp (Dried Italian seasoning will do)
  • Cheddar : ½ cup (shredded)

Method :

  1. Sautee onions over butter until tender.  Add this to the mashed potatoes.  Add th egg yolks + sour cream + regular cream. Mix well.
  2. Add herbs + Cheese and mix until smooth
  3. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. (This is the reason why I never got a soufflé right). Dont be afraid to beat. Keep beating…this is a bit of a work. If using hand-held elecrtic blender you might have to blend for about 8-10 mins!
  4. Mix the egg white peaks 1 tbsp at a time to the potato mixture
  5. Pour batter into ramekin or any cup. I used simple tea  cups 🙂
  6. Bake at 350 F for about 30 – 35 mins until it has puffed and cracked up a bit like in the pic.  It’s ready!

Tip : Beating egg whites until peaks form is the key to a good soufflé!

Below is the picture of a second cup. This recipe make about 4 cups. 

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Bon appetite 🙂 Happy Parenting!

Appetizer #3 : Mr. Golden Veg Nuggets (No potatoes!)

I have to admit that I am horrible at taking creative photos. That settled, let’s move to the recipe. Below is the pic of my demented looking Mr. Golden Veg Nugget.

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Below pic : Saner version of the veg nuggets 🙂

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You’ll need :

  • Cabbage : 1 cup (Grated or v.finely chopped)
  • Carrots : ½ cup (Grated)
  • Corn : ½ cup
  • Flour : 3-4 tbsp, Salt
  • Oil for frying

Method :

  1. In a large bowl, combine cabbage + carrots + corn and add salt to taste. Let it aside for 2 mins. Now drain out the liquid from the mixture if any. (Simply hold the veggies mixture against the wall of the bowl and tilt it until the water drains out. When add salt the veggie mixture might wilt a bit)
  2. Add flour and combine well.
  3. Roll small bite sized nugget balls and fry them in oil until nice golden brown – Its done!

Many dishes that I try in this marathon are experimental – in my kitchen as well as on my daughters plate. I have to admit, she dint quite like this. Every bite had to be wrapped in ketchup. But then I dint have a problem. She had lots of ketchup and 4-5 pieces. I am a happy mamma 🙂

Bon Appetite. Happy Parenting!

Appetizer 2 : Cheese Fondue for the kids

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I love this dish. I also hate this dish as much. I end up finishing half a pot whenever I make this and I hate myself for it. Anyway, if you have trouble with getting your kids to get veggies, you should absolutely try this.  If the kids love cheese, they’ll love this!  Its homemade – has milk, butter and cheese. Great source of calcium, protein and good fat for the kids !!

You’ll need :

  • Butter : 2 tbsp
  • Flour : 2 tbsp
  • Milk : 1 cup
  • Cheese : ½ cup (Cheddar, mozzarella, Gruyere. In fact most type of cheese will work!)
  • Croutons and par-boiled veggie platter for the kids

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METHOD :

  1. Mix the flour and ½ cup of milk in a cup and keep it ready.
  2. In a sauce pan, melt the butter for a few seconds and slowly pour in the flour + milk mixture while stirring continuously.
  3. As it begins to thicken add cheese  and keep stirring. When the strands of cheese begin to melt and combine pour the rest of the milk and keep stirring for 5-6 mins on simmer. (Until  the mixture is well combined and the fondue starts to bubble and  resembles a thick paste). Add a pinch of salt and pepper to season.
  4. Pour in a wide-mouthed cup and serve with the veggie platter!

Below pic is to show the creamy texture of the fondue. 

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TIPS :

  1. For more creamy texture you can substitute ¼ cup of cream instead of ¼ cup of milk.
  2. If the mixture begin to thicken a lot, add milk and keep stirring. Or if the mixture still runs thin : Mix 1 tpsn of flour to 2 tspns of milk and slowly pour in the saucepam. Keep stirring!
  3. If you are serving adults, you can sauté chopped garlic in butter before you add the flour paste at step #1
  4. Keep stirring continuously to avoid small lumps and get a smooth fondue.

Appetizer #3 coming up tomorrow. Bon Appetite!

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Food Marathon : 7 appetizer recipes this week.

I love to cook. It’s a pity that my husband doesn’t enjoy food as much as I would like him to or the way I would like him too. He is very happy to eat my food that turned out so great ……and unfortunately he is just as happy to eat my food that flopped so badly. He genuinely will be happy both times. I don’t know how he does that! Sometimes it’s an awesome motivation, sometimes it’s just a killer. I really had no uncertainty to look forward to……….until my daughter A came along! Yay. She is just like me! She is 3 years but will ask for salt, pepper, honey, sugar, say it’s yucky, it’s yummy and ask for one more serving of good food!

Below pic is what I think I would like to look like! But you should never trust a skinny chef, would you 😉 

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So we’d moved into Hong Kong few months ago and have started making some nice friends. My daughter as well.  She clearly has made more friends than I have. She wants her friends over for play dates, and I want mine for house-parties.  I get to experiment on more food on more people.  One such experimental attempt is this recipe marathon that I am doing  :- ). Appetizers and dessert were my favourite categories and I couldn’t decide which one to start with….Thanks a looooot to all the Facebook followers who voted and made my decision simple!  I will be making and posting one appetizer recipe a day for 7 days!  Soon after the appetizer marathon is done I hope to go on to dessert-marathon, soup-marathon, smoothie marathon and a pie marathon! If you have a preference…….leave a comment and let me know and I can start with that  :- )

< Somewhere in Central, I can hear my husband say, go find a job!! Well, I am going to pretend like I never heard it today as well ! 😛 >

Hope you enjoy my recipes and the food-marathon! Let me know your favorite category….

Appetizer #1 : Baked Mushroom Caps

Easy, bite-sized, quite filling and a fun appetizer!

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You’ll need:

  • Whole Mushrooms : 20-25 pieces (Cremini/White/Swiss brown)
  • Shallots : 2 Finely chopped
  • Garlic : 2 cloves finely sliced
  • Cream Cheese : 2/3 cup
  • Salt & Pepper

METHOD :

  1. Carefully cut the stems off the mushrooms and scrape out some mushroom filling using a small knife or spoon from each cap. Prick the caps using a fork 2 or 3 times. (See pic)
  2. Sautee garlic for 30 secs until it stars turning golden. Add chopped shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the mushroom scrap and sauté for 2-3 mins until its well cooked and blended. Add salt and pepper to season. Turn off stove and let it cool.
  3. Fold in this mixture into softened cream cheese and mix well – Filling is ready!
  4. Fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of the cream cheese filling. Top with some mozzarella.
  5. Preheat oven to 180’C. Bake for 20 mins. – Serve immediately!

Below pic : Mushroom caps after step#1 (Filling scraped out and pricked with a fork)

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Below pic : Cream cheese + shallots + garlic mixture

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Below pic : Before popping it in the oven
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Below pic : Seasoned with salt and pepper and ready to eat.Image

TIPS :

  1. I lightly sauté the whole mushrooms on a pan after I scrape out at step #1. This is to ensure the mushrooms are really well-cooked.
  2. Place the baked mushroom caps on a tissue before you serve them. This is to absorb any excess oil oozing from it after baking.
  3. You can bake 25-30 caps in one batch on a cookie tray

Appetizer # 2 coming up tomorrow. Bon Appetite!

Soup’er pasta for kids!

This is one of the healthiest foods to come out of my kitchen, yet. Its truly a super pasta!

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My kids love it but I honestly don’t know why I finished the title with ‘For kids’. I love this soupy pasta just as much as my daughter does.  This dish also has so much for me to disguise the veggies quite cleverly.  Finally, sprinkle some cheese over the dish and you’ll only  see an empty bowl to clean later. It has loads of veggies. It has pasta and it has cheese – A WIN-WIN dinner for the family.

Here’s the recipe to make this soupy-pasta from scratch.  All in – takes about 30 mins to prepare and serve.

You’ll need :                            

  • Tomatoes: 4 , Onion: 1, Garlic : 3 pieces
  • Mixed veggies: Approx 2 cups  (Carrots, baby corn, mushroom broccoli, Brussel sprouts etc)
  • Water: 4 cups
  • Cooked pasta: 3- 4 cups
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD :

  1. Sauté Garlic for 30 secs , then add onions and sauté until translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and 2 cups water and let it boil for 10 -12 mins (until tomatoes loosen up and peel off).
  2. Remove the tomatoes and onions using a slotted spoon (or a colander) and let the pulp cool for 10 mins. Using a blender/Mixie make a puree out of it. DO NOT DISCARD the rest of the water water.
  3. Lightly sautee all your veggies separately and keep aside.
  4. In a large pan : Pour the tomato puree + its water in a large pan and let it simmer for 5-7 mins. Add the veggies + 2 more cups of water + salt + pepper and let it simmer for 5-6 more mins.  – ITS DONE !

TO SERVE : In a soup plate, toss in a cup of pasta and pour some soup along with  a scoop of veggies. Top it with cheese for the kids 🙂

TIPS :

  1. If your kids are picky eaters and wont touch the veggies: Boil and puree the veggies they don’t like separately and add it back into the soup at step #4 instead of whole veggies. You can use up all your left over veggies in the fridge 🙂
  2. No need to deseed or blanch the tomatoes. Just roughly chop it and throw it into the pan. You’re trying to get your kids to get wholesome food. Don’t discard anything.  This is great dish with enough carbs + veggies + nutrition!
  3. Instead for onions you can use shallots for a greater flavour.
  4.  You can mix some pesto or basil leaves in the end for some aroma.

Banana-Walnut cake

I have my new found love for this cake because it takes only 1/3 cup butter for a whole batch! Finally I can indulge without being guilty 🙂

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YOU’LL NEED :

  • Salted butter : 1/3 cup
  • Sugar : ½ cup white , ½ cup brown sugar
  • Flour : 1 ½ cups
  • Banana – 4 ripe bananas
  • Baking soda : 1tsp
  • Salt : ½ tsp
  • Walnuts : 1 cup chopped.( I used ½ cup walnuts and ½ cup almonds cos’ I was running out of walnuts. But it turned out just great)
  • Egg : 1

METHOD  :

  • In a large bowl cream butter (softened) + sugar + baking soda + salt . Mix well
  • Add egg. Mix well.
  • Add bananas. Mix well. (You can use a masher or hand squish them well)
  • Add flour. Mix well.
  • Stir in the nuts. Mix well.
  • Pre-heat oven to 160’ C (325’ F)
  • Pour batter into a greased baking pan and bake for 60-70 mins

TIPS and NOTES !

  1. You know your cake is baked well if it comes out clean and dry. It should not be greasy.
  2. I am still an amateur baker but from my experience with 3 ovens and loads of recipe experiments I have come to know that baking time highly depends on the oven and the season. I may sound highly scientific (!! :p) but it definitely is true for me.
  3. This Rule #3 is very imp! So , if you have to bake for, say 60 mins . Stop at 30 mins to check on it. Then bake for 5 or 7 mins each time to check on how its doing. At some check point you’ll know if you have to stop already or maybe bake for some extra time over 60 mins. Depends on your oven! That’s what I do. I never trust the online baking time…everything else I follow exactly! This rule has never failed me especially at my first attempts! Once you’ve baked it through, you’ll know your own bake time and the rules that suit you!
  4. You can also make this recipe without the egg.  I added the egg to make it a bit moist. If you are not using egg you should reduce the bake time by ~half. But remember, Rule #3 still applies.

Bon appetite!