Penne in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Minced Meat

After having enjoyed aplenty of locally grown sweet red peppers in various forms, I had made a batch of roasted red pepper sauce and froze it to use later early this year. Yesterday, I had the urge to make pasta for dinner for everyone. So I combined the sauce with minced meat, few herbs and spices and some penne pasta, and the meal was so yummy.

Vibrant red color from the silky roasted red pepper sauce along with the delicious meaty flavor, this pasta meal was satisfying and loved by everyone. I will definitely be making this again and again.

Penne in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Minced Meat and Cilantro

Ingredients:

Penne pasta – 750 gms
Roasted Red Pepper sauce (see below for instructions on how to prepare) – 350 ml
Minced Lamb/Veal meat – 650 gms
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Beef stock – 3 cups
Chopped cilantro – 4 tbsp
Grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Method:

1. Prepare Roasted red pepper sauce, see below for instructions.
2. In a saucepan, heat oil and as soon as it warms up, add ginger garlic paste and fry until it is lightly brown. Add the minced meat, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder and stir well to mix. Cook stirring frequently and breaking lumps until there is little or no moisture left and the meat is well cooked. Add the roasted red pepper sauce, beef broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook according to instructions. Drian and add the cooked penne to the cooking sauce of red pepper and minced meat. Add chopped cilantro, mix well and cook until there is just little sauce left. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes for the pasta to absorb flavors. Serve immediately garnished with grated cheddar cheese.

For Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
On a rimmed baking tray, arrange 6 halved and cleaned red bell peppers (or) long sweet peppers(red shepherd peppers). Brush them lightly with oil. Sprinkle salt, black pepper powder and dried herbs of your choice.

Roasted Red Peppers

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Grill/broil them for a few minutes until the skins brown and blister, approx 15-20 minutes. Turn the peppers once in between. Keep a close eye. Remove, let cool and puree them all until smooth. Store in the refrigerator and use in a week, or freeze to use later.
Note:
1. You can use an assortment of colored peppers, or just use red peppers. I didnt peel the peppers after I grilled/broiled them, you can if you want to.
2. You can also use roma tomatoes that are red but not over-ripe instead or peppers. Halve each tomato, season the halves and grill/broil them similarly for a few minutes, then puree into sauce and use instead of pepper sauce in the pasta for a different but equally delicious taste.

Luv,
Mona

Daliya Soup

Daliya Soup is a very usual item for Iftaar in Ramadhan in my house. I had first tasted it in my Khala/Aunt’s house and since then loved it always. It is highly nutritious and useful for a body which has been fasting throughout the day providing it with vital nutrients and comforting it.

Daliya/Broken Wheat and Whole Green Gram/Sabut Moong Dal

Daliya is Broken wheat. It is also used to prepare Haleem, an another Ramadhan special dish for Muslims.

Do not serve serve it piping hot when you break the fast at Iftaar. Serve it lukewarm. Your kids will also enjoy this healthy and nutritious soup.

Daliya -Broken Wheat and Lentils Soup

Ingredients:

Home made Ghee/Clarified Butter – 2 tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste –  1 tbsp
Tomato – 2, medium sized, finely chopped
Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Dry roasted Coriander/Dhaniya powder – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric/Haldi – 1/8 tsp
Broken Wheat Kernels/Daliya – 1 cup, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
Whole Green gram/Sabut Moong Dal – 1/2 cup, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
Water – 1.5 litre
Lemon juice- 1/8 cup
Chopped Cilantro/Kothmir – 5 tbsp

Method:

1. In a pressure cooker at medium heat pour ghee and as soon as it warms up, add ginger garlic paste and stir fry it till it golden bworn in colour. Add 4 tbsp chopped cilantro and mix well. Immediately add chopped tomatoes and red chilli powder, salt, turmeric and coriander powder. Stir to mix and half cover the lid for 3 minutes.
2. Drain the soaked dal and wheat kernels.
3. Add the drained dal and wheat to the pressure cooker and give it a stir. Pour in water and pressure cook it for 10 minutes or until the dal and the wheat kernels are done.
4. You can add more water if needed at this point. Let the soup boil uncovered for 3-4 minutes. Garnish with remaining chopped cilantro, add lemon juice and serve lukewarm.

This goes to ‘Joy from feasting to Fasting’. Luv, Mona

Amchur-Harimirch wale Kacche Gosht ke Kofte

Happy Indepedence Day all my dear Indians!

Kofta (in Urdu language, Singular-Kofta; Plural-Kofte) means meatballs. Among all the meatball curries that I prepare, two of them, the Methi-Gosht ke Kofte and this one that I am writing about today are the most favorite in my house and we devour them along with warm Naan, or Afghani Roti which I get from the market usually.

It is called as ‘Kacche Gosht ke Kofte’ as the meatballs/Kofte in this method are added raw into the hot gravy and are allowed to cook in it. The meatballs cook perfectly in the hot bubbling gravy within a few minutes. I love this technique because, as the raw meatballs cook in the hot gravy, they impert their juices and flavor and give a deep taste.

Amchur-Harimirch wale Kacche Gosht ke Kofte – Meatballs in a hot and sour gravy

The two main ingredients here are Amchur in the Kofta and Green chilli paste in the gravy. You can feel the light tartness in the meatballs when you have them and the slight hotness due to the green chilli paste in the gravy make you leave wanting for more. It is a very simple recipe.

As Ramadhan is fast appraching, you can prepare this curry in large amounts, portion it and store it in freezable plastic food storage boxes that are microwave safe. When you sit to have your meal after iftaar, just microwave the box for a few minutes, and you are done. It will save you a lot of time.

You can use ground meat to prepare this curry, or if ground meat is not available, then you can even use meat chunks to prepare it. Wash and cut the meat chunks into bite size pieces, and put the chunks along with the spices for meaballs in a food processor, and pulse till the meat is well ground and mixed with the spices. Food processor is one of the most important kitchen gadgets in my kitchen. It makes my work very easier.

Amchur-Harimirch wale Kacche Gosht ke Kofte – Meatballs in a hot and sour gravy

For the Meatballs/Kofte

Ingredients:

Ground Veal/Lamb/Goat meat (or) Veal/Lamb/Goat meat chunks cut into bite size pieces or mince – 300 grams (read the notes above)
Dry Raw Mango/Amchur – 2 tsp
Red chilli flakes – 2 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Salt/Namak – 1 tsp
Turmeric/Haldi – 1/2 tsp
Ginger-Garlic/Adrak-Lahsun paste – 2 tsp

Kacche Gosht ke Kofte – Raw meatballs

Method:

1. In a food processor or a blender, add all the ingredients and pulse till the mixture is all well mixed. Remove it into a bowl. Take a small amount into your hand and shape into little balls (approx 1 inch in diameter) rubbing the mixture between your palms. Continue making balls untill all the mixture is completed. Keep aside.
2. Wash your hands well with soap.

TIP: To freeze meatballs ahead of time: You can prepare the meatballs and freeze them for future use.
Form meatballs, and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in the freezer. Once the meatballs are hard and well frozen, transfer them to a resealable plastic bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw and cook them in the curry.

For the Curry/Gravy:

Ingredients:

Canola oil – 4 tbsp
Yellow onion – 3 , large, thinly sliced
Salt – 1 tsp
Seseme seeds/Til – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds/Zeera – 1 tsp
Carom seeds/Ajwain – 1 tsp
Clove/Laung – 2
Green cardamom/Elaichi – 4
Cinnamon sticks/Dalchini – 1 inch stick
Ginger-Garlic paste – 2 tsp
Green chilli – finely chopped, 2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Yogurt – 2 cup, lightly whipped
Beef Stock – 1 litre
Curry leaves – 6
Dried red chilli – 4, broken into two, seeds shaken out

Method:

1. Pour 3 tbsp oil into a large non-stick frying pan at medium heat and as soon as it warms up, add the onion and salt. Saute it for 3 minutes, then cover the lid. After 3 minutes, stir the onions, add a tablespoon of water and cover the lid again. Continue doing this until the onions are well browned and soft.
2. Add seseme seeds, cumin seeds, carom seeds, clove, green cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger-garlic paste and green chillies. Saute them for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle red chilli powder.
3. Add the yogurt and keep strirring it continously for 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat off. Once cool, pour this gravy into a blender container and blend till finely pureed.
4. In the same pan pour 1 tbsp of oil and as soon as it warms up add the dried red chilli powder and curry leaves. As they begin to crackle in a minute or two, pour the pureed sauce back into the pan. Add the meat stock and increase the heat to medium high. Let it come to a boil.
5. Lower the heat to medium low, and gently add the meatballs one by one to the gravy in a single layer, and close the lid. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes. Keep gently giving it a stir every 3 minutes or so taking care not to break the meatballs. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: This curry goes very well along with Naan or Afghani Roti, or even along with steamed Basmati.

This curry goes all the way to Srivalli of ‘Cooking 4 All Seasons’ who is hosting the event- Curry Mela.

Also, congratulations to Jyothi of Shadruchulu for winning the title of ‘The Best Hyderabadi Blog 2008′.

Have a pleasant weekend eveyone!

Luv,
Mona

Upma

Upma is an another Indian dish which can be had as a snack or can even be had as a filling breakfast.  

Tip: Indian cuisine is versatile. Simple techniques and and a marriage of various kinds of spices and flavors makes the Indian cuisine flexible and sapid. Indian women know very well to use the left overs and whip up delicious meals using them. One such dish where I usually use the leftover curries is Upma. If the left over curry is a dry dish, I often mix it in the preperation of the Upma which makes it even more delicious and healthier. And if the left over curry is thin (soupy) in consistency, then I use it to serve along with Upma.  

Upma – Semolina cake, served along with leftover Colocasia/Arvi in a tangy sauce

Upma is comfort food for me. It is a filling healthy breakfast to start a new day, quite easy to prepare and gets prepared swiftly. Upma Rawa or Semolina or Sooji is available at many Indian stores very easily.

Serves – 4

Upma – Semolina cake

Ingredients:

  • Semolina/Sooji/Upma Rawa – 1 1/2 cups
  • Canola oil – 3 tbsp
  • Black Mustard seeds – 2 tsp
  • Whole dried red chilli – 1 
  • Small Green chillies – 4, finely chopped
  • Fresh grated ginger – 1 tbsp
  • Fresh or dried Curry leaves – 10
  • Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  • Moong Dal – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  • Yellow Onion – 2, large, finely chopped
  • Salt – 2 tsp or to taste
  • Water/Chicken or Lamb Stock – 3 1/2 cups
  • Lemon juice – 3 tbsp
  • Cilantro – 1/2 cup, finely chopped
  • Fried Cashewnuts – 1/2 cup, chopped

Method:

  • In a non-stick saucepan at medium heat, pour oil and as soon as it gets warm, throw in the mustard seeds. Cover the saucepan with a splatter screen and as soon as the seeds begin to pop, add in the green and red chillies, dals, ginger, turmeric and curry leaves. Saute them for 3 minutes and later add the chopped onion and salt to it. Let the onions sweat out a little. Fry them all for about 5 minutes stirring it continually. Add the Upma Rawa and fry the whole mixture for 5-8 minutes more again stirring frequently (if you have any dry curry left-overs, you can add it too at this stage, read the notes above)
  • Now pour the water/stock and mix throughly to that no lumps form. Reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan. Let it cook for 3 minutes more. 
  • Remove from heat and add lemon juice, cashewnuts and cilantro. Fluff and mix it all using a fork and spoon the mixture into whatever molds you like, press the mixture well. Invert them onto warm serving plates and serve them for a yummy breakfast. 

Suggested Accompaniments: I and my family enjoy it along with Lemon/Lime or Mango pickle prepared Indian style, or with any thin (soupy) leftover Curry/Saalan. I also love to savor it along with Khatti Dal. My Mother used to serve it us when I was a kid along with a handful of shallow fried groundnuts. 

This goes as an entry to the event, Click Yellow for Bri, being held this time as a Cancer Fundraiser by Jai and Bee for Briana Brownlow.

This also goes all the way to Raaga of The Singing Chef for the WBB#23 Express Breakfast Event she is holding this month.

Luv,
Mona