Acini Di Pepe Spinach soup

While rearranging my pantry I came across a pack of acini di pepe pasta. It’s a tiny pasta that works well in soups and salads. The name apparently means “seeds of pepper”. This tiny pasta is also used for a cold salad called frog eye salad. I had initially bought it to make the salad but never ended up making it.

I used the recipe in the box itself for our lunch today. It’s been extremely windy and cold here for the past couple of days. A hot bowl of soup is perfect for this weather.

The recipe is very simple and the soup was ready in a matter of minutes. While searching the internet, I learned that this soup is called Italian wedding soup if you add meatballs to it. The name implies a marriage of flavors rather than being served at an actual wedding. But of course I didn’t tell my husband that part ;-) He had his lunch thinking he was having a part from a wedding meal!

Read on for the recipe. This post goes to Kids Delight event, hosted this month by PJ under the theme Winter warmers.

Recipe source: Ronzoni

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 cups of broth/water
  • 1/2 cup acini di Pepe pasta, uncooked
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
  • 10 oz pack of frozen spinach
  • Salt and pepper as needed
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Method:

  1. Heat butter in a pan. Sauté onion and garlic until it turns light pink.
  2. Add water or broth and bring it to a boil. Add pasta, nutmeg , salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add spinach and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring in between. Pasta should be cooked by now. Take off the heat and serve with grated Parmesan cheese if preferred.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#96

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Palak Paneer

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Palak paneer is one of my son’s favorite dishes and that is an achievement indeed. He hates rice, but when I think about it, even I wasn’t a big fan of rice or  koottu or most South Indian foods at his age  . I wouldn’t protest since I didn’t know any better, but I didn’t exactly love the food I was served either. And look at me now…I love all foods and South Indian is my favorite. So maybe it’s just a game of not giving up now and feeding him even though he eats with a look of martyrdom and a loud sigh. And hope that he will learn to love it as time passes by.

But some recipes are his favorites. Palak paneer is one of those. Even if you serve it with rice, there are no complaints. There is obvious delight and no questions are asked. I won’t say that I make it regularly, but I do make it at least once a month. Don’t want to jinx the special status of the dish by making it regularly. 

I used to try my friend’s recipe for a long time, but now found another recipe at this site and that’s what I have been making for the past couple of times. Basically it’s spinach cooked with ginger, green chilies, garlic and onion. A few more items and the dish is complete. Palak paneer is a mild dish and you usually don’t add a lot of spice powders, letting the spinach shine over everything else. 

Read on for the recipe. This serves about 4-5 people. 

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Serves 4-5 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon jeera
  • 1″ piece of ginger, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or per taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder 
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg 
  • 1/4 cup thick yogurt, optional
  • 2 bunches of spinach, about 600gms, chopped roughly 
  • 200 gms paneer 
  • 2-3 tablespoons of cream, optional

Method:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a pan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of jeera seeds. Once it changes color, add 1″ piece of chopped ginger, couple of chopped green chillies and 3-4 crushed or chopped garlic cloves. Once this turns golden in color, add one roughly chopped medium onion. Sauté until it turns pink. 
  2. Chop and add one medium tomato to the sautéed onions. Let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add all the spices – 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, a pinch of ground nutmeg and salt as needed. Cook for a further minute or two. 
  3. Add 1/4 cup of yogurt and mix well. You can switch off the heat and let the curry cool a bit before adding the yogurt if you want. I didn’t do that. 
  4. Add 3 bunches of spinach, about 750 gms, that’s roughly chopped and cook until it shrinks in size and is wilted. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Take off the heat and let it cool down. 
  5. Purée this mixture in a blender. Now add it back to the pan and bring it to a slow simmer. Add the cubed paneer pieces as well and let it cook together for a few minutes. You can add a few tablespoons of cream if you wish. Take off the heat and serve hot with chapati or jeera rice. 

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 80

Soya & Spinach Puris

While contemplating about weight gain over a bowl of ice cream, my friend reflected that – If the food is very very tasty, you can be sure that its  fatty. True… how true!!

The foods that make you drool are almost always fattening! Cakes, chocolate, ice cream – Uh hmm… not good for your backside! Try switching your tracks and think about savory goodies. The first thing that comes to your mind is potato chips. Slowly other deep fried items like vada, bonda, puffs follow…Sigh…

Poori is also one of the guilt treats. Harry and Bebo love these. I don’t know how to deep fry, am simply scared of handling hot oil. On second thoughts, its good that I am scared of oil. I am doing enough damage in the form of baked goodies!

These were made finally when Harry’s mother was visiting us. It has soya flour and spinach. This is as healthy as an unhealthy item can get ;-).

These colorful Palak Pooris, made with less than 5 ingredients, are my entry for the second day of Blogging Marathon.

Ingredients:

  • Wheat Flour/Atta               :   1 cup
  • Soya Powder                         :   1/4 cup
  • Rava/Semolina                    :   1 tbsp
  • Spinach                                   :   1 cup chopped, half of a small bunch
  • Oil                                              :    to deep fry

Method:

  1. Grind soya chunks into a fine powder. Measure 1/4 cup of this and add the wheat flour and rava (if using) to it.
  2. Wash and clean the spinach leaves. Boil in a quarter cup of water for 2 minutes. Cool and blend into a puree.
  3. Add the soya, rava and wheat flours to the spinach puree and kneed to get a dough without adding any water.
  4. Divide the dough into small balls. Roll them into slightly thick circles of about 5″ diameter.
  5. Deep fry in oil and serve hot with potato masala.

Note:

The original recipe is from Nita Mehta’s book ‘Food for Children’.

The addition of rava makes the puri crisp. I didn’t use this though.

You shouldn’t rest the puri dough, since that would make it greasy (it seems).

Beetroot or pumpkin puree can be substituted for spinach to get purple or yellow puris.

Check out here to see what other fellow bloggers are doing.

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Aloo Palak

Ever started doing a dish and then half way through realized that you have run out of some ingredients? Or like in my case – the main ingredient?

The Aloo Palak you see here should have been Palak Paneer. There I was, making the Palak puree with great enthusiasm. I was looking for the paneer and there was none…hmm…happens when you make a kadai paneer the week before and forget all about it. At least I had some potatoes to substitute, else it could have ended up as Baingan Palak – that was the only other vegetable left in the refrigerator that day.

This dish may be slightly less glamorous than Palak Paneer, but it is still yummy. And more over, this is a microwave version – no sweating in front of the stove too. So here it is – Palak teaming up with Aloo instead of Paneer.

 Ingredients:

  • Potatoes : 3 medium, boiled and cubed (or 200 g  Paneer, cut into cubes )
  • Palak/Spinach : 1 bundle (400-500gm), cleaned and roughly chopped
  • Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
  • Ginger : 1/2″ piece
  • Garlic : 4-5 pods
  • Onions : 2, chopped
  • Green Chillies : 2, chopped
  • Coriander Powder : 2 tsp
  • Garam Masala : 1/4 tsp
  • Tomatoes : 2, chopped
  • Kasoori Methi :  1 tsp
  • Chilli Powder : 1.2 tsp
  • Milk  : 1/4 cup
  • Oil & Butter : 1 tbsp each

Method :

  1. Add onions, chillies, coriander powder, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic and oil to a microwave safe vessel and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, kasuri methi and chopped spinach. Mix well and microwave for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Cool and blend with 1/4 -1/2 cup water and transfer back to the microwave proof vessel.
  4. Add butter, chilli powder, salt,  potatoes(or paneer), garam masala, milk and 1/4 cup water. Mix well and microwave for 5 minutes. Serve with rice or chapathi.

Note:

Recipe adapted from Nita Mehta’s IFB Microwave cookbook.

I had to cover and cook the spinach for about 6-8 minutes for it to get cooked completely.

Planning to add half a tsp of Amchur powder next time for a tangy twist.

Sending this post to Dish it Out – Spinach and Garlic.