Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Conchiglie Pasta with Tomato Sauce-Bell Pepper-Red Sauce Pasta Recipe

Conchiglie Pasta is commonly known as "shell pasta". This is one of my favorite pasta and I love it both with white sauce and red sauce. For this pasta recipe, I have added colored bell peppers to make it more nutritious and colorful. This conchiglie red sauce pasta with bell pepper makes a filling meal and is very easy to prepare. This is sure to be a hit with the entire family. Today we will learn how to make this Easy Conchiglie Pasta recipe following our step by step pictures.

Conchiglie Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Bell Pepper-Pasta with tomato sauce


Easy Conchiglie Pasta Recipe

 Prep Time : 15 mins
 Cook Time : 15 mins 
 Serves: 2
 Recipe CategoryPasta-Dinner Recipes
 Recipe CuisineInternational-Pasta
 Author:

   Ingredients needed

   Shell pasta or any pasta - 1 1/4 cup
   Salt needed

   Large Tomatoes - 6
   Garlic - 2 tbsp minced
   Onion - 1
   Bell Pepper (all colors) - 1 cup
   Tomato ketchup - 1 tbsp
   Dry Oregano powder - 3/4 tsp
   Dry Basil Powder - 1/2 - 3/4 tsp
   Salt to taste
   Pepper powder to taste
   Grated cheese - 1/4 cup


Preparations

Using a sharp knife, cut a shallow X at the bottom of the tomato. Bring water to boil. Add all the tomatoes and let it cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the water, peel the skin and discard the core. Chop 2 tomatoes and keep it aside. Puree the other 4 tomatoes and keep it ready.

Finely chop onion and garlic. Chop all the bell peppers.

how to make red sauce/tomato sauce pasta

How to cook Conchiglie pasta

Bring plenty of slightly salted water to boil. Add the pasta, reduce the heat to medium and let it cook. Keep stirring in between to prevent the pasta from sticking to each other. Cook until soft but not mushy. Test by tasting the pasta (you can use any pasta for this recipe).

Conchiglie Pasta-cooking shell pasta

Once cooked, drain the water and pour cold water on top of it to stop further cooking.

how to cook conchiglie pasta

Method

Heat olive oil in a pan, add garlic and saute for a few seconds. Then add onions and saute until onions turn transparent.

Add chopped tomatoes and saute for 2 minutes.

how to make pasta in red sauce

Add the chopped bell peppers. Cook for a few seconds.

Pasta with fresh tomato sauce and bell pepper

Add tomato puree, tomato ketchup, salt needed, pepper powder, dry oregano powder and dry basil powder.

pasta in red sauce with vegetables

Cook on low heat stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens and changes color.

red pasta sauce-red sauce pasta

Now the sauce and the pasta is ready. Mix the pasta with the sauce. Top it with grated cheese (morzella or parmesan) You can even use amul cheese, if you cannot get parmesan cheese.

Conchiglie Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy it warm. It makes a meal in itself. It is easy, comforting, effortless and of course super delicious. These shell pastas holds the sauce well and that makes it very delicious. 

Some of my favorite pastas are Pesto pasta, Roasted bell pepper pasta, creamy spinach pasta. We have more pasta recipes. Check Pasta Recipes.

I would love to hear from you, please feel free to share your feedback with photos to padhusblog@gmail.com

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Thengai Paal Sadam-Coconut Milk Rice Recipe

Thengai Paal Sadam is a very simple dish and is easy to prepare. It is prepared with coconut milk and few spices. It is flavorful and mild. As it is less spicy, it pairs well with any spicy veg or non veg gravy. Today we will learn how to make thengai paal sadam or coconut milk rice following this easy recipe with step wise pictures.

Thengai Paal Sadam-Coconut Milk Rice

Thengai Paal Sadam-Coconut Milk Rice

Thengai Paal Sadam-Coconut Milk Rice

 Prep Time : 10 mins
 Cook Time : 20 mins 
 Serves: 2
 Recipe CategoryRice-Lunch
 Recipe CuisineSouth Indian
 Author:

   Ingredients needed

   Basmati Rice - 1 cup
   Green Chilli - 2 slit
   Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tsp
   Mint leaves - fistful
   Coriander leaves - fistful
   Turmeric powder - a pinch
   Coconut Milk -2 cups
   Salt as needed

   For the seasoning

   Oil - 1 tbsp
   Ghee - 1 tbsp
   Bay leaf - 1
   Cardamom - 1
   Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
   Cloves - 2
   Cumin seeds - 1 tsp


Preparation

Wash and soak basmati rice for 20-30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain the water and keep it aside.

Extract coconut milk. We need coconut milk which is neither too thick nor thin. So if the coconut milk is too thick, you can dilute it with a little water. If you are interested in making your own coconut milk, check how to extract coconut milk from fresh coconut.

coconut milk for making coconut milk rice

Method

Heat oil + ghee in a pressure pan (or any heavy bottomed pan with a tight lid), add bay leaf, cardamon, cinnamon, cumin seeds and cloves.

When cumin seed sizzles, add ginger-garlic paste and slit green chillies.

how to prepare thengai paal sadam

Saute for a few minutes and then add chopped mint and coriander leaves. Saute for another 2 seconds.

Add the drained basmati rice, turmeric powder and salt needed.

how to make coconut milk rice

Mix well so that the rice is well coated with the spices. Then add coconut milk.

how to make thengai paal sadam

Check for salt by tasting. If required, add at this stage.

Coconut Milk Rice recipe

Once the coconut milk starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and close the cooker. Do not put the weight/whistle, instead, place a small cup to close the steam vent.

Once it is almost cooked (you can check by opening the cooker), if preferred, place the cooker on a tawa on very low heat for another 5 minutes or you can cook on low heat until done.

Coconut Milk Rice

Once fully cooked, turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then open the cooker, mix the coconut milk rice gently and serve hot with any spicy gravy.

We enjoyed flavorful coconut milk rice with matar paneer.

Our Lunch 

Thengai paal sadam with mattar paneer and curd rice with instant cut mango pickle.

South Indian Lunch Menu

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Orzo Tomato Pasta with Bell Pepper-Healthy Orzo Pasta Recipe

Orzo Tomato Pasta is a quick dish prepared with orzo pasta. Orzo pasta is a rice shaped Italian pasta. It resembles a large grain of rice. Orzo pasta is great for making different pilaf, salads and soups. Today we will learn how to make a simple and quick tomato bell pepper pasta using orzo pasta and Indian spices.

Orzo Tomato Pasta with Peppers-Indian style

Orzo Tomato Pasta with Peppers

Orzo Tomato Pasta with Peppers

 Prep Time : 15 mins
 Cook Time : 15 mins 
 Serves: 1
 Recipe CategoryPasta Recipes
 Recipe CuisineIndian
 Author:

   Ingredients needed

   Orzo Pasta - 3/4 cup
   Olive Oil - 1 1/2 tbsp
   Onion - 1
   Garlic - 3-4 cloves minced
   Green Chilli - 1 slit
   Carrot - 1
   Tomato - 2 big
   Red Bell pepper - 1/4 cup chopped
   Yellow Bell pepper - 1/4 cup chopped
   Green Bell pepper - 1/4 cup chopped

   Spice Powder

   Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
   Coriander powder - 1 tsp
   Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
   Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
   Salt needed

   For Garnishing

   Coriander Leaves


How to cook Orzo Pasta 

Bring plenty of slightly salted water to boil in a pot. Reduce the heat to medium, add orzo pasta to the boiling water and stir. Boil again and cook (for about 8-10 minutes) stirring from time to time until the pasta is soft but not mushy.

Once cooked, drain the water and keep it aside.

how to cook orzo

Method 

Heat oil in a pan, add finely chopped onion, green chilli and garlic. Saute until onions turn transparent.

Add chopped carrot and cook for a few minutes.

orzo pasta recipe

Add chopped tomatoes, all the spice powders mentioned under 'Spice Powder' and salt needed.

One Pot Orzo tomatoes

Cook covered. Once the tomato becomes soft, add all the colored chopped bell peppers.

Healthy Orzo Pasta Recipe

Cook for few minutes (do not overcook the bell peppers) and then add the drained and cooked pasta.

orzo with vegetables

Mix well, check for salt and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Healthy Orzo Pasta Recipe

It is very easy to prepare and makes a filling meal. You can have this for lunch or for dinner.

Check out More Easy Pasta Recipes 

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Coconut Milk Vegetable Green Pulao-Green Pulao Recipe- Hara Pulao

Coconut Milk Green Pulao is a simple, flavorful and delicious dish in which basmati rice is cooked with coconut milk, vegetables, herbs and spices. It is a very nutritious and wholesome dish with loads of vegetables. This can be packed for lunch box also. Today we will learn how to make Green Pulao with coconut milk or veg pulao with green masala following this easy recipe with step wise pictures.

Green Pulao with coconut milk

Green Pulao with Coconut Milk

Green Pulao with Coconut Milk

 Prep Time : 15 mins
 Cook Time : 25 mins 
 Serves: 2
 Recipe CategoryRice- Lunch
 Recipe CuisineSouth Indian
 Author:

   Ingredients needed

   Basmati Rice - 1 cup
   Onion - 2 thinly sliced
   Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tsp
   Salt needed
   Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp

   Beans - 5-6
   Carrot - 1 medium size
   Cauliflower - 6-7 florets
   Peas - 1/3 cup
   Coconut Milk - 1 cup
   Water - 1 cup

   For Grinding

   Coriander leaves - fistful
   Mint Leaves - fistful
   Cashew nuts - 5
   Green Chillies - 2
   Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp

   For the Seasoning

   Oil - 1 tbsp
   Ghee - 1 tbsp
   Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
   Cloves - 2
   Fennel seeds/sombu - 1/2 tsp
   Bay Leaf - 1-2

   For Garnishing

   Ghee - 1/2 tsp
   Cashew nuts - 5-6


Preparations

Wash and soak basmati rice in hot water for 30 minutes.

Grind mint leaves, coriander leaves, cashew nuts and green chillies to a fine paste with little water. Add few drops of lemon juice to retain the green color.

If using fresh peas, parboil it and keep it ready. Blanch cauliflower florets and keep it aside.

Extract thick coconut milk and mix it with 1 cup of water. Alternatively you can use readymade coconut milk and mix it with a cup of water and keep it ready. You can check how to extract coconut milk.

Method 

Heat oil + ghee in a pan, add the ingredients mentioned under seasoning. (fennel seeds/sombu is optional but adding it gives a nice flavor).

coconut milk vegetable green pulao

Add thinly sliced onions and saute until onions turn transparent. Add a little salt to speed up the process.

Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for a few more minutes.

coconut milk vegetable green pulao recipe

Add the ground paste/green masala and saute until the raw flavor goes.

veg pulao with green masala

Add all the vegetables and mix well.

Add soaked and drained basmati rice. Mix well, so that the rice is evenly coated with the green masala.

Green veg pulao with coconut milk

Add coconut milk (coconut milk + water mixture), needed salt and mix well.

how to make green pulao

When it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low and close the cooker. Place a small stainless steel cup (as shown in the picture below) instead of the whistle/weight to prevent the steam from escaping.

You can open the cooker  to check inbetween and stir gently.

hara pulao

Once the rice is 90% cooked, turn off the heat. Heat a tawa, place the cooker on the tawa and cook on very low heat for 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let it sit for another 5 minutes. (If you do not prefer cooking on top of  tawa, cook the rice fully in the cooker itself and skip this step).

Then open the cooker and mix the rice gently. Fry cashew nuts in a little ghee and add it to the pulao along with the ghee.

green pulao recipe

Serve pulao with raita/pachadi or chips or papadams.

Note - Adding lemon juice and turmeric powder gives a nice colour to the pulao.

Our Simple and Healthy Lunch Menu - Green Pulao with coconut milk, seasoned curd rice, onion pachadi and salad.

Easy Indian lunch menu

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

How to Use Soap Nuts For Cleaning-Soap Nuts for Laundry-For Hair

Soapnuts also known as soapberries contain saponins which are natural surfactants. It is called "reetha" in Hindi and "boondi kottai" in Tamil. They are actually berries and are 100% natural and biodegradable. Soapnuts can be used as a non toxic alternative to chemical laundry detergents and soaps. I am always for natural eco-friendly products and I wanted to replace all chemical products used for washing and laundry in my house. Soap nuts are natural and non polluting. Soap nut liquid has many uses. It can also be used to clean dishes, for washing clothes, baby diapers, baby clothes, as a shampoo, as a hand wash liquid and many more. It is gently and can be used even on very sensitive skin. 

How to make soap nut liquid-Soap nuts

How to use Soapnuts

 Prep Time : 10 mins
 Cook Time : 30 mins 
 Author:

   Ingredients needed

   Soapnuts - 20
   Water - 6 cups


Soap Nut Liquid Detergent Recipe

Soap nut liquid is a multipurpose cleaner.  Let us see how to make soapnut liquid.

Remove the seeds from the soap nuts.

soapnuts

In a large vessel/pan, combine together 15-20 soap nuts (seeds removed) and 6 cups of water. Let it boil.

Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat. (Note - Use a big vessel or pan so that the soap suds does not boil over.)

making soapnut liquid

Simmer for 30 minutes or until it reduces to 4 cups and the water turns dark. Remove from heat and keep it covered.

Once the liquid cools completely, squeeze the soap nuts with your fingers nicely to extract more soap. Leave it overnight.

how to make soapnut liquid

Next Day - Strain the liquid, pour it into a glass bottle. Use it within 3-4 days or refrigerate. This soapnut liquid is your multi purpose cleaner.

You can re-use the soap nuts again. You can re-boil it and extract more liquid or you can grind it to a paste and use it to wash utensils. Then compost the used nuts.

Shelf life - As it is a natural product, you have to refrigerate it. It stays good for 10 days in the refrigerator and for a longer period in the freezer.

How to use soap nuts for washing clothes

Have you ever tried washing your clothes with soapnuts. I remember my grandma wash her silk saree (pattu saree) with soap nuts. Using commercial soaps and detergents that contain harmful chemicals  is neither good for us nor for the environment. It is time we change to natural products which are harmless and safe to use.

Place 5-6 soap nuts (deseeded) in a small cloth bag/pouch and tie it tightly at the top.  You can also use a drawstring muslin bag or an old unused socks (knot the socks at the top so that the berries do not come out when washing),

Boil a cup of water. Once it starts boiling, remove from heat and soak the soapnut bag in it. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Leave it to cool. Add the soap nut bag along with the water, into the washing machine and wash as usual. You can add 2 drops of your favorite essential oil if preferred but not necessary. Alternatively you can soak the soap nuts overnight and skip boiling.

Once the washing is over, remove the bag with soap nuts and dry it. You can reuse it for 3-4 washes or until the soap nuts disintegrates and is no longer soapy when crushed between your fingers.

You can add the used soapnut to your compost bin as it is biodegradable.

For washing clothes by hand - Soak 3-4 soap nuts in warm water for an hour. Then squeeze the soap nuts to release the saponin. Remove the soap nuts and soak the clothes to be wash in that soap nut water for 15-20 minutes. Then wash and rinse your clothes. It can be used for all fabrics as they are very gently but effective.

How to use soapnuts for washing vessels

Dry the soapnuts in the sun. Remove the seeds and powder 16-18 soapnuts and add to 1 litre of Citrus Fruit enzymes. There are no hard and fast rules. You can add more or less of soap nuts. Alternatively, you can add a little soapnut liquid to your fruit enzymes and use it. It will not foam as commercial dish wash soap but cleans effectively. When mixed with citrus fruits enzymes, the liquid need not be refrigerated as the the citrus enzymes acts as a preservative.

Soapnut Liquid as hand wash and body wash -

Soap nut liquid can be used as a hand wash and also as a body wash. It is very gently on the skin and is great especially for persons with very sensitive skin and those suffering from skin problems like eczema or psoriasis. It also has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti fungal and antibacterial properties.

Soapnut Shikkakai shampoo

Soak 3-4 soapnuts and 3-4 dried shikkakai pods for an hour in enough water. Boil till the shikkakai pods gets cooked well. Cover and leave it overnight. Whisk the mixture with a hand blender or mixie or squeeze it nicely with your hands. Strain the liquid and use it as a shampoo.

How to use - Wet your hair, apply the liquid on your scalp and gently massage for 3-4 minutes. Then rinse your hair with water.

soapnut shampoo

As this is a natural homemade shampoo, it will not lather or foam like commercial shampoos, but  will leave your hair clean. If used regularly, it prevents dandruff and your hair will be healthy and soft. If interested, check more herbal shampoo recipes.

Soapnut liquid is a multipurpose cleaner

It can be used to clean anything from tiles, cutlery, glass, as a car wash, pet shampoo, for mopping floor, cleaning jewelry etc.

As a insect repellent - It is also a natural insect repellent. Add a little soapnut liquid to half a bucket of water and use it for mopping the floor. Mixed with few drops of neem oil, it can be used as a natural pesticides for plants.

Where to buy Soapnuts

It is easily available in all grocery stores or in country drugstores (nattu marundu kadai) in India. It is also available online.

Check more useful and interesting tips

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Vendakkai Puli Kulambu Recipe-Ladies Finger Kara Kuzhambu

Vendakkai puli kulambu is a popular South Indian kulambu which is very easy to make. It goes well as an accompaniment with rice. It can be made with or without coconut. This simple kulambu is often prepared in my home. In hotels, kulambu is mostly prepared in this manner. You can also check my arachuvitta kulambu hotel style. Today we will learn how to make ladies finger puli kulambu/kara kuzhambu following this easy recipe with step wise pictures.

Vendakkai Puli Kulambu-Ladies finger Kara Kuzhambu

Vendakkai Puli Kulambu

Vendakkai Puli Kulambu

 Prep Time : 10 mins
 Cook Time : 20 mins 
 Serves: 4
 Recipe CategoryKulambu
 Recipe CuisineSouth Indian
 Author:

   Ingredients needed

   Ladies finger/Vendakkai -8-10
   Pearl onion -10
   Garlic - 10 cloves
   Tomato -1
   Sambar Podi - 2 tbsp
   Salt needed
   Tamarind - small lemon sized ball
   Coconut - 3 tbsp

   For the seasoning

   Sesame seed oil - 3 tbsp
   Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
   Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
   Hing - a pinch
   Red Chillies - 1-2
   Curry leaves - a sprig


Preparations 

Wash and wipe ladies finger dry with a kitchen towel. Cut the tip and tail and discard it. Then cut it into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

Peel pearl onions and garlic. If it is big, cut it into half.

Soak tamarind in hot water for 20 minutes. Extract 2 cups of tamarind water by adding more water and discard the pulp.

Grind coconut to a fine paste and keep it aside.

Method

Heat oil in a kadai (sesame seed oil/nallennai preferable), add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add fenugreek seeds, red chillies, hing and curry leaves.

how to make vendakkai kuzhambu

Add pearl onion and garlic. Saute on medium heat until it turns transparent.

Heat another 2 tsp of oil and saute ladies finger separately for 4-5 minutes in another pan. You do not have to cook ladies finger fully as it will get cooked in the tamarind water.

vendakkai kuzhambu

Once the onion becomes transparent, add the ladies finger.

Add the chopped tomato and mix well.

how to make vendakkai kulambu

Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add sambar podi (I used my homemade sambar podi which is not spicy) and salt needed.

Ladies Finger Kara Kuzhambu

Mix well and cook for a minute. Add tamarind extract.

ladies finger kulambu

Boil on medium heat.

Vendakkai Puli Kulambu Recipe

Once the kulambu starts to thicken, add the coconut paste, mix well and boil for another 2-3 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat. 

Serve with rice or even with idli dosa.

Vendakkai Puli Kulambu with coconut

Check out more than 25 Delicious Kulambu Varieties

South Indian Lunch - Kovakkai curry, Mor keerai, salad, vendakkai puli kulambu and homemade curd.

South Indian Vegetarian meals

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