Quinoa Pulao

Pronounced “keen-wah,” this protein-packed grain contains every amino acid, and is particularly rich in lysine, which promotes healthy tissue growth throughout the body. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber. It looks a bit like couscous and is as versatile as rice, but quinoa has a richer, nuttier flavor than either of them.Quinoa is closely related to the edible plants beetroot, spinach, and amaranth(Amaranthus spp.), another pseudocereal which it closely resembles. Amaranth or Rajgira as it is locally known is a cheaper alternative to quinoa. We can use rajgira instead of quinoa. 

Both are pseudo-grains — foods that are prepared like grains (for making flours, and cereals), but are actually seeds and are gluten free. Rajgira, also called amaranth, is comparable to quinoa in terms of calories (370 cal per 100gm), fibre (7gm), fat (6-7gm) and protein (6-7gm), and has similar calcium, potassium and iron content too, plus higher vitamin E and magnesium as compared to quinoa.Both can be eaten on its own as a side dish, with a bit of butter or oil, salt and pepper, or other seasonings. It also makes a great breakfast dish mixed with dried fruit, cinnamon, milk, and maple syrup or honey. Paired with chili, stir-fries, beans or curries, quinoa is a healthy substitute for rice, and it also makes a tasty pilaf. In fact, I made one in a rice – cooker and everyone loved it. 

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Orzo and Chicken

This pasta gets its name from the Italian word ORZO which means barley. This barley shaped pasta is a very quick to cook and  it gives an illusion to rice eaters like us. To cook any pasta, it is always advisable to go by the packet instructions. In this recipe, I cooked the pasta in boiling water which when simmered took 7 minutes to cook. 

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Easy Peasy Macaroni

Holidays are almost over and if you’ve fallen short of new recipes, this is the one.

It is not necessary that you put in all the ingredients that I used in this recipe. For non vegetarians the choices are unlimitedvegetarians can make this by just avoiding sausages. I put veggies and soya chunks to make it a complete meal. This can be made ahead and children at home can have it when they feel hungry.

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Chicken and Leek Pie

This recipe is liked by all age groups and it is a golden opportunity to sneak healthy veggies in. This is a perfect lazy day’s recipe. You can use onions and garlic to substitute leeks, and fish or soya chunks to substitute chicken. Currently, my family is on a low carb diet and hence my experiment with various ingredients is on the rise. 

In this recipe, I used cauliflower mash to make the pie crust. The result was amazing and here goes the recipe. 

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Dal Murgh

This is one of the amazing Indian chicken recipes or maybe one of the many Indo- Muslim fusion recipes. History concurs that Indians loved their dal with a soupy consistency and the Muslims who ruled over India for many years, loved their meat and rice dishes with lots of nuts and dry fruits. When both the ideas came together the Dal- gosht or dal with meat was born. It is a one pot meal, comprising of dal and chicken, easy to cook and satisfying for your taste buds. Originally this recipe was cooked over open fire in a big vessel called handi.

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 Fish cooked in mustard gravy( Macher Jhaal) 

Traditionally, Bengal has been renowned for its extraordinarily fertile agricultural land and production of paddy. At the same time, the rivers of Bengal are an apparently inexhaustible resource of different varieties of fish. That is why, since the ancient times, rice and fish emerged as the staple food for the Bengalis. Each variety  of fresh water fish involve a different way of being cooked and different set of masalas. In one of my previous posts, I have mentioned how to make a mustard paste. The mustard powder I have used in this particular recipe is a dry mix which can be kept in the fridge for years.This fish known as Rui in Bengali  and comes in all sizes begining from 500 gms to 10 kgs or even more.

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Finger Licking Goulash

This recipe caught my attention because of its simple ingredients and no fuss cooking. I have taken liberties to suit my taste but I haven’t changed the essence of this recipe. It is a rustic dish, though this is served as fine dining in many of the restaurants nowadays. This recipe demands a heavy pot to cook in and very slow cooking but I used a pressure cooker to cook. This is a soupy dish but I preferred to serve it sticky as the sweetness of paprika and bell peppers gives a caramely texture to the dish.

Serves 4

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Bengali Masoor Daal ( Red lentils)

Lentils have been eaten by humans since Neolithic times and were one of the first domesticated crops. In the Middle East, lentil seeds have been found, dating back to more than 8000 years. In Judaism, lentils are considered to be a food for mourners because of their round shape symbolizing the circle of life. The Greek playwright Aristophanes called lentil soup the “sweetest of delicacies”. Lentils have also been found in Egyptian tombs from as far back as 2400 BC. In India, the lentil is known as dal or daal. For many centuries, lentils were considered to be “the poor man’s meat.” In Catholic countries, those who couldn’t afford fish would eat lentils during Lent instead. In the 18th century, King Louis XV’s wife, Marie Leszczynska, made lentils fashionable among royalty and they were nicknamed “the queen’s lentils”.

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