Taco Platter with Mexican Rice

BM #117 : Week 3, Day 3
Theme : Colorful Foods

I entered the world of tacos a little late, but it’s a meal that I prepare couple of times a month now. It’s so easy to put together and that’s such a selling point for me. It can be adjusted to everyone’s preferences – the toppings take care of whether it’s spicy or not, sweetish or not – so everyone is happy at the end of the meal. Add cheese and sour cream to the toppings and the kids are really happy!

I mostly stick to the same set of toppings, because its easy to stock those. Sour cream, cheese, couple of kinds of salsa, guacamole, corn salsa are regulars. I keep rotating a few of my favorite fillings. My choices are always between – cilantro lemon rice, black beans filling with salsa, Refried beans, spiced soya mince and Mexican rice. There are so many more fillings you can try, but these are what I usually make. I serve with soft tortillas and hard shell tacos, so everyone’s choice is covered.

The platter has :

  1. Taco shells
  2. Flour tortillas
  3. Refried beans
  4. Mexican rice
  5. Guacamole
  6. Shredded cheese
  7. Tomato salsa
  8. Street style corn
  9. Chopped tomatoes
  10. Sour cream
  11. Pineapple soda

Ingredients for Mexican Rice:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped optional
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika/ chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup tomato sauce/ purée
  • A handful of chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Select sauté mode in Instant Pot and add the oil. Add the onions, jalapeños, garlic, peppers and sauté for a minute. Add the rice, salt, cumin, chili powder. Sauté for a minute.
  2. Add the water, stir it in. Now the add the tomato sauce/ purée. Don’t stir the sauce because sometimes instant pot throws up “burn” sign. So add the sauce on top and leave it there.
  3. Close the lid and change the program to Manual for 5 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid and mix everything. Add the chopped cilantro and serve on its own or as a filling for tacos.

Linking this post to Kids Delight, event hosted by Vaishali this month.

Instant Pot Tomato Soup

BM #117 : Week 3, Day 2
Theme : Colorful Foods

During the peak corona times, I started stocking up on canned tomatoes. I always keep one or two canned tomatoes, but I had never bought a set of 12 before this. Thankfully i didn’t have to rely on those solely and once we all got adjusted to the new normal, regular grocery shopping resumed.

I had a lot of canned tomatoes with me and that’s when I started looking up soup recipes. Original recipe here uses tomatoes with a choice of substitution for canned tomatoes. I went that route to use up mine. I also looked for an instant pot/pressure cooker recipe so that I can just add everything into the pot and forget about it until it’s done. I served this with a sautéed mushroom sandwich for lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (or 1 kilo fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil or your choice of herbs
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Set Instant Pot in Sauté mode. Add the butter (or oil) into the pot. Sauté onions and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the carrots, tomatoes, basil or herbs of your choice, salt and sauté for another minute.
  2. Add 2 cups of water, pepper and change the mode to Manual. Cook for 8 minutes in Manual mode. Let the pressure release naturally.
  3. Using a hand blender, purée the soup. Change settings to sauté mode again and add honey and cream. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Turn off when it’s all well combined. Serve hot with croutons on top.

Linking this post to Kids Delight, event hosted by Vaishali this month.

Protein rich South Indian lunch

BM #116 : Week 5, Day 3
Theme : Fruit platter

The thali here is not a planned thali. I was making lunch and was planning to cook quinoa for me. It was only when the meal was coming together that I realized it was a protein rich meal. Not every single item is protein rich, but most of it. Our usual lunches will have only one source of lentils or beans. We don’t make dal based sambar and then serve it with dry beans based Sundal. But I made an exception here since I had some leftover chickpeas and boiled eggs I wanted to finish off. Sometimes it’s the leftovers that craft the lunch at my place 😁.

We have started stocking up frozen vadas from Indian store. It’s a quick solution when you crave for a snack or when you don’t want to prepare a side dish for lunch. I thaw it in microwave and then cook for a few minutes in the dosa pan. That seems to work for me. The best part is I can serve a single vada instead of making an entire batch. So I decided to add the vada also to the thali, which my family loved.

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The thali has

  1. Quinoa
  2. Carrot and tomato sambar
  3. Chickpeas Sundal
  4. Sautéed Okra
  5. Masala eggs
  6. Yogurt
  7. Mango pickle (readymade)
  8. Potato chips (readymade)
  9. Urad dal vada (readymade)

Chickpea Sundal

  • Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add one teaspoon of mustard seeds. Once it pops, add salt as needed, a teaspoon of chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1.5 cups of cooked chickpeas. Mix carefully.
  • Let it cook for 3-4 minutes until flavors mingle well and chickpeas are heated through.
  • Now add 2-3 tablespoons of shredded coconut. Start with 2 and then add the third spoon if you want to. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Remove from heat and serve with rice and sambar.

Sautéed okra

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds. Once it pops, add 3 cups of cleaned and sliced okra. Add salt as needed and 1 teaspoon of chili powder. Carefully mix.
  • Heat this on low to medium heat, stirring in between carefully a couple of times, until the okra is done. I don’t stir too many times to avoid breaking of okra. The sliminess reduces as the okra is cooked. Remove from heat and serve as a side dish.

Masala eggs:

  • Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add salt, pepper and a pinch of turmeric powder. Add 1/4 teaspoon sambar powder to the oil. Mix well with a spatula.
  • Now slice a boiled egg into two lengthwise. Carefully keep the flat side down on the masala mix. Cook for 45 seconds and carefully flip and cook the other side too. You can cook it for a longer time too if you want it more crispier. Remove from the heat and serve with rice.

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Mint tomato rice thali

BM #116 : Week 4, Day 6
Theme : Simple everyday thali

It’s been awhile since I made tomato rice at home. So when I saw it in Narmada’s space, it reminded me to prepare it again. We usually serve it with yogurt/raita and/or with potato fry and chips, if we have it at home. At some point, I started adding a handful of mint leaves to tomato rice and I love that combination.

My son likes the curd rice- potato fry combination. He also likes curd rice with pomegranate seeds in it. So I added that too to our lunch menu.

This is a simple meal, easy to put together especially if you have some cooked rice ready. Tomato rice can be made in different ways and mine includes sautéing onions and tomatoes with all the masalas and then adding cooked rice to it. Sometimes I use sambar powder in place of all the spice powders. Adding mint leaves add its own taste, one which I like a lot.

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The thali has

  1. Tomato and mint rice
  2. Onion raita
  3. Potato fry
  4. Curd rice with pomegranate seeds
  5. Omelette
  6. Potato Chips

Tomato rice with mint leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 3 big tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 green chilies, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped finely
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped onions along with chopped green chilies and ginger. Sauté until onions are done.
  2. Now add the chopped tomatoes along with the spice powders and salt. Cover and cook, stirring in between to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan. If it’s dry, add a little water. Cook until the tomatoes are mushy and soft. Now add the chopped mint leaves. Mix and let it cook for a minute or two. Add the cooked rice and carefully mix to evenly distribute the tomato mix. Turn off the heat and serve with raita.

Omelette:

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of herb of your choice, optional
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped green chilies
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • In a bowl, add the eggs along with herbs, onions, green chilies, salt and pepper. Beat well to mix evenly.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add the egg mixture and let it cook. When the bottom is done, Flip and cook the top as well. Take off the heat and serve as a side to rice.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#116

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