Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hakka Noodles With Oodles Of Vegetables And Yes Its Spicy

Hakka Noodles With Oodles Of Vegetables And Yes Its Spicy

Christmas holidays have officially began for kids and we are ready for some downtime. Last Friday's  incident shook me to the roots, it hit home close and hard. Just makes you realize every living moment is precious and to hold on to folks dear tad closer. Had experienced an incident at Starbucks today that restored my faith and in many ways lifted my spirits, had stopped by my local Starbucks store to pick up gift cards for my kids teachers along with Cappuccino for myself. Had my hands full with cards, receipts, cell phone, coffee and my purse. While trying to put things in order I took my wallet out and left it on the table and walked away without realizing. Drove all the way to kids school only to have receive a call from my bank that they found my wallet and that my card was on hold until I pick it up and call them and confirm that all was OK. So the story goes a gentleman found my wallet, returned it to the store manager, she in turn looked up credit card called the 1-800 of my bank gave my information and that's how my bank contacted me. I was blown away what truly could have been a royal nightmare and a disaster turned out to be grateful experience. Just makes you realize that all is well and instills faith in goodness of humans.

This weekend was as usual running around with kids and caught up on a movie. Sunday's lunch was Hakka noodles after hoarding fresh vegetables from farmers market. Realized that when kids are involved in making of the food it's chowed down without any complaints. So cut all vegetables and kids customized their noodles and ate without complaints.
Makes for about  6-8 cups
2 carrots peeled and diced finely
2 cups of beans washed and diced fine
2 cups red onion sliced finely
2 cups cabbage shredded finely
2 cups of green onion chopped
c cups of green bell pepper chopped finely
2 tbsp garlic diced finely
2 tbsp ginger sliced finely
2 packs of Hakka noodles optionally you can substitute egg noodles
2 tbsp of olive oil
2-3 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt according to taste
1/2 cup Soyaki sauce from Trader's Joe
Optionally you can make sauce by combining 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 tbsp of rice vinegar, tbsp of brown sugar, 1/4 tbsp sesame seeds toasted, salt, 1/4 tbsp mustard sauce (optional)

1. Boil noodles as per instructions, place noodles in a bowl and toss oil till noodles are well coated and leave aside.
2. Heat wok when hot add tbsp of oil, add garlic, ginger and crushed red peppers and saute till garlic turns brown.
3. Now add onions and saute till onions turn translucent
4. Add remaining vegetables and saute for  2-3 minutes intent is to not over cook the vegetables but to have a crunch.
5. Now add sauce and add toss in cooked noodles
6. Adjust for salt and and toss noodles with green onions and remove from heat.
7. Optionally you can break and egg and toss the noodles till its well cooked.

As we come to the end of the year thankful for the year gone by and looking forward to new year, hope the coming year brings peace and happiness.
This probably will be my last post of the year, so thanks to folks who encourage/read/comment and compliment. Wishing all of you a FABULOUS Year ahead , much love - Sreelu

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Garam Garam Masala Vada Anyone ?

Garam Garam Masala Vada 
One of those day I woke up grumpy expecting the day to be the same but thanks to some kind souls, day turned out so much better and fun and I am ready to call it a day with a wide grin..
Had this post in draft for weeks glad to be posting it today ..

Life in bayarea as a first generation Indian American is a beautiful experience, I moved to US a decade and half ago, when I first came there were a handful of stores and even fewer restaurants.  Ingredients like fresh curry leaves, ground spices or fruits like Mango, Guava were so unheard or rare,  food in restaurants was so outdated and stale, homesickness was inevitable for a new bride like me. That said with the advent of dot com Bayarea experienced a major influx of Indian population and after a decade or so the evidence of Indian population is quite evident. Drive through El Camino and every complex is filled with Indian grocery stores, restaurants specializing in regional cuisine, Indian music stores etc.. etc. With influx of Indians domestic help and home-based restaurants have also mushroomed.
Few months ago had invited friends parents along with few others for dinner and asked a Indian lady cook to help with cooking, she is amazing and cooks at rocket speed and she made masala vada for appetizers. So here goes here receipe
1 cup channa dal
1 cup moong dal
1/3 rd cup rice flour
5-6 green chillies
4-5 stems Pudina
2-3 garlic pods (optional)
20-30 curry leaves
2 red onions cubed
1 tbsp of dania (corriander seeds)
2-3 tbsp of red chili powder
salt according to taste
2 cups of oil for deep frying
1. Soak channa dal and moong dal seperately in water for about 45 min to 1 hr
2.In a food processor grind 3/4 of channa dal and moong dal with very minimal water, it should have thick consistency where it can hold the shape, keep aside 1/4 of channa dal
3. Add rice flour,pudina ,garlic ,salt,chilies and chili powder and grind to a fine paste
4. Now add dhania seeds ,remaining channa dal and finely chopped curry leaves and mix well.

5.Now make them into ball the size of tt balls and keep aside
6.Heat oil in pan
7. Flatten the ball in your hand and gently drop into the hot oil, taking all care not to splatter

8. Deep fry on both sides for about 2-3 minutes until they turn golden brown
Serve hot with pudina chutney, ketchup or peanut chutney and cup of garam garam chai.
Looking forward to Christmas break ..

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks !!

Thanksgiving is already here, this year has gone by much quicker than I wish it would. As we enter into the most anticipated long weekend I can’t but write a gratitude post of the people and things that touched my heart and for a year that has been blessed. This year in many ways has been very exceptional both at personal and professional level. There were things that I did for the first time and then then there were things I learnt to let go. Personally I am most thankful to MYSELF, I know that sounds very self-centered and boisterous, but this year I have been more of myself, learnt to speak my mind without fear of consequences, said NO more often, learnt to rationalize better, allowed myself to standout and not follow the crowd. I always felt awkward and in many ways ashamed to acknowledge my success but this year I learnt growing up also means to soak in the successes and learn from mistakes and be grateful for experiences. As easy as it sounds to be-self it’s one of the hardest things and is a constant process and it took a lot of courage to be where I am and most importantly help from multitude of people who trusted, coached ,advocated and supported. As I type I am amazed at the blessing I have been bestowed first up I am grateful for my family who always have the utmost trust in me doing the right thing and then putting up with all my craziness and followed by friends who for some reason believe more in me than I do myself, always rooting and being a part of my life and lending a hand even before asking GRATEFUL and THANKFUL, my colleagues with whom I spend my most waking hours, for making coming to work so much more enjoyable and for all those heated arguments which always end with stellar outcome and for all the lunches and fun things that make life seriously fun and finally my mentors who take time of their busy schedules to provide guidance and always being the check point and for having utmost confidence in me, I am glad this year I did not disappoint anyone and for that I am thankful to the HIGHER POWER .
Grateful for my blog readers who spend their valuable time reading and commenting and to others who touched my life.
Just like life, giving thanks is not a function of a single day, its a continuoes process next year will be a challenging one for me and I am looking forward to all those angels that will shine on me.

I will be breaking bread with my friends this thanksgiving , I am sure all my readers & freinds will enjoy with their loved ones. Let there be lots of laughter, peace and happiness ALWAYS !!




Monday, November 5, 2012

Diwali Countdown - Crafts For Kids

Felt Peacock click here for details

Color Rice for Rangoli or decorations, details here
Decorated luminaries, details here

Cute Saree Dolls, can it get any cuter than this details here
DIY Floating candles, details here
Perfect Diwali colors wreath, details here

Tissue paper votives, details here
Paper lanterns, details here
Diwali decoration kits here
Pop up Diwali cards, details here

Check out my previous post on Diwali here

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Diwali Countdown - Edible Treats

This weekend went by in a blur and was just the way I wanted. Friends, fun and food. Pulled an all nighter chatting and now reeling with the aftermath :).

Keeping with the spirit of Diwali countdown here are some ideas for some inspiring edible treats thats are hard to resist

You have got to check out Smitha's amazing edible Diwali creations here

Hope this post has helped sparked some inspiration, have a fab week ahead blog dosts.

Check out my previous post of Diwali here

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Diwali Countdown - DIY Crafts

Yes yes yes its almost here, my favorite festivals of all Diwali, the festival that bring the child in me. Decided that I will do a post everyday counting down to Diwali. Today posting some DIY craft ideas to make your Diwali a little more colorful.

Lovely Kundan Rangoli Thali for step by step pictorial instruction click here

Beautiful Diya and Thali from Art Platter

Check out my previous post on Diwali Decor Here

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mexican Rice Except It's Made With Quinoa And Healthy Wrap

Mexican Rice Except It's Made With Quinoa And Healthy Wrap

Festive season is in the air and I can feel it, are you guys feeling the same? This time of the year brings the finery, gorgeous outfits and non- stop parties and all the food that can put your will power to test, no kidding. It’s a season to be thankful for the blessed life and also a time to give back, well actually there is never a good time to give back, anytime is a good time.

Last week has been a strange one for me, experienced a wide range of emotions from extreme exhilaration to extreme sadness, life is so unpredictable with all its uncertainties. The highs one experiences when accomplishing something can be shadowed the next moment by something so unexpected. I had a presentation to be delivered and felt accomplished after completing successfully felt exhilarated but that moment was quite short lived. Came home and heard from my husband that his colleague’s wife was breathing her last and he went to visit him in the hospital only to find out that she passed away with cancer, at an age less than thirty with a two year old kid. I have never seen this lady nor my husband’s colleague but something made me sad very sad. I guess we all share a common thread of humanity and compassion and these strings when pulled it hurts. Strange as it sounds the same day morning while driving to work saw an accident with the motor cyclist on the ground. Can you imagine you wake up to a regular day and the next thing you know you are breathing last or worst bedridden. Well, when I cannot comprehend what happens and feel helpless only thing I do is go sit quiet in a temple asking for peace to the family and pray in hope to see the stranger motorist again on the road.

But then life moves on with its strange ups and down & high and lows. Coming to today's recipe made this during one of our camping trips and folks loved it, follows similar steps as Mexican rice but substituted Quinoa instead and made 

For Quinoa
Preparation time 10 min
Cooking time  30 min

1 cup Quinoa
2-3 tbsp Taco seasoning
1/2 tbsp garlic salt
2 tbsp 21 seasoning from Traders Joe (Substitute your choice of flavoring like dried onion powder, basil, rosemary seasoning etc)
1 cup of fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2-3 tbsp fresh mint chopped finely
Salt according to taste

1. Bring two cups of water to full boil add a pinch of salt.
2. Now add quinoa and allow to cook for about 6~8 min till almost done and switch off the stove and cover the pot and leave it for about 10 min.
3. Now mix Quinoa with a folk gently this will fluff up and add volume to Quinoa.
4. Add taco seasoning,garlic salt, 21 seasoning salt and all the fresh ingredients and mix well, adjust for salt accordingly. You can also add lemon if you choose too.

Makes for a complete meal, fill up a pita bread or add veggies and make it a wrap makes for one happy contented meal.

For Wrap
1 pack of firm tofu
2 cups of peppers (Red,Green and Yellow) slit thin
1 large onion sliced thin
soyaki sauce from traders joe

1. Cut Tofu into 3 inch cubes and prick with fork, now place tofu in a ziploc bag and add generous amount of Soyaki sauce. Allow to marinate for an hours and if possible overnight.

2. Remove tofu from the bag and grill on both sides and slit into thin strips.
3. Heat a pan add about a tbsp of oil , now add onions,peppers and saute will these vegetables are cooked and then add salt and remaining Soyaki sauce from the tofu marinade.

I have used Lavash bread for the wrap today, spread the bread and add generous portion of Quinoa and now top with grilled peppers and onions and then tofu. Squeeze lemon juice or add Humus and roll the wrap.

Healthy delicious and very satisfying meal that keeps hunger pangs away.

Happy Dussera my dear readers, may there always be happiness and peace in your hearts and homes.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Spagetti With Brussel Sprouts & Beans & To The World Of Explorers And Adventurers

Spagetti With Brussel Sprouts & Beans - Simple, Easy & Delicious

Fall my favorite season of the year is here, air is crisp and chill, leaves are turning color, days are getting shorter yet life seems to be getting busier. Hard to believe we are at the tail end of the year.
Last few weeks/weekends have been very hectic, there were classes I attended, courses I had to complete all this definitely took a toll but also squeezed in a weekend with friends to San Luis
Obispo a beautiful coastal town, which was a total blast. Chatted not stopped, hiked over the dunes to catch the waves, cooked and ate to hearts content and played cards till the wee hours. Friends sure are a blessing and I am thankful for my bounty.

Last week my eight year old and I were reading book together, I love when I cuddle up with the little one, he is a curious kid and loves to listen putting his head on my lap. These moments I cherish I wonder if he would be the same five years from now and still think it’s cool to listen to amma read with his head on my lap, wishful thinking I guess. But the end result of the book reading got me thinking ,it’s a book about extra ordinary adventurers and explorers for kids, has two page stories about greatest explorers starting from Hercules to as latest as Mae Jemison.
We read about 5th century Chinese explorer Hoei-shin who some argue was the first to discover America, as we were into the story I was thinking what is it in a person that pushes them to thread waters never threaded, discover places never explored, lead rather that follow given the perils and uncertainty of the surroundings. In an age of GPS and information overload where every turn is monitored and every move is directed and every action is predicted how do we keep with spirit of adventure, more importantly how do we nurture this spirit in kids. I grew up in a society with boundaries drawn, and I often see myself behaving the same with kids, like my parents I have their best intentions at heart. I want my kids to draw their own boundaries want them define their dream on their own yet fear giving them that freedom. Parenting I guess is a lesson you read and practice every day of your life till your last breath.

Taking about kids, Spaghetti is their absolute favorite, feed them any time of the day and they will eat without complaints. My recipe is very simple and I usually add whatever vegetables are available fresh in season and this time on it is Brussels sprouts and yellow beans.

Makes for about 3~4 servings
Takes 20 min

3~4 cups of Spaghetti cooked according to instructions
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
4~5 juiciest and ripest you can find, diced into cubes
½ tspn red pepper flakes
2 tbsp of Olive oil
1 cup of roasted Brussels sprouts and beans (optional)
Few sprigs of fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper according to taste
1. Warm olive oil in a pan and add garlic, sauté for 30 seconds or so and then add crushed pepper flakes
2. Now add diced tomatoes and sauté for about a minute and now add salt and sauté for about a minute of two
3. Add basil leaves,Brussels sprouts and beans and toss well.
4. Add cooked spaghetti and toss till it well coated
5. Adjust for salt and pepper

Remove from heat and serve with grated cheese and a good loaf of bread. Here’s to my kids and for them to always have the spirit of adventure just like the super hero they worship Elon Musk.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spicy Street Taco's - A Yard House Inspiration

Spicy Street Taco's

One of those days when I am experiencing writer’s block, there is so much to say but words fall short of expression. Last few weeks have been good, kids adjusted well to their new grades, project that I was managing got rolled out, celebrated some special milestones of extended family, slept to heart content over the long weekend, picked up a new book to read. So all in all life is good. But then there are days which I am sure all of us go through that can drive you against the wall screaming, had few of those thrown in last few weeks as well. The end result of the restlessness always boils down to expectations both from me and for me and managing those is always a challenging task and so goes on life managing them :)

Last Friday couple of girl friends and I had a date at Yard House this was my first time and had no expectations as such. Being a sports bar type restaurant I was so sure menu would hardly contain vegetarian options but to my surprise food was DELICIOUS had so many vegetarian and healthy options that came out belly full at the end of the night. I had HONGOS Y RAJAS a street taco made of shiitake mushrooms, roasted pasilla peppers and grilled onions with lemon sriracha aïoli, jack, feta, avocado and red chili threads , boy it tasted good and perfect portion size.

Was so inspired by the dish that when I saw Pasilla peppers in the farmers market I knew I had to make it at home for my family and good friend who was coming over for dinner Sunday night.
So here goes my version of HONGOS Y RAJAS or street taco

Makes for about 8~10 taco
8~10 soft shell taco's
5~6 Pasilla pepper pan roasted and chopped into threads
2 bell peppers sliced thin
1 yellow onion sliced
2 carrots sliced thin
1/2 cup corn
avocado sliced into thin strips
store brought Taco seasoning
salt according to taste
tbsp of olive oil

For Sauce/Aioli
1/2 sriracha sauce
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup store brought canned beans (optional)

For Salsa
1 red onion
1 Jalapeno
2 tomatoes diced into cubes
fresh coriander finely chopped
juice of one lemon
salt according to taste

1. heat a tsp of olive oil in a flat pan, when oil gets warm add onions and saute for 3~4 minutes till they turn golden brown.
2. Add generous portion of taco seasoning and salt and mix well and remove from heat and keep aside
3. Repeat the same process for bell peppers, carrots and peppers and keep aside
4. Prepare the sauce /aioli by blending in all the ingredients together into a fine paste.
5. Mix all the ingredients for the salsa in a bowl and keep aside.

6. Assemble the taco, first spread a generous portion of the sauce and spread across the taco with a spoon, now ladle peppers,carrots,pasiclla pepper,onions,corn and avocado's
7. Top it with a generous portion of salsa and add choice of cheese and cilantro

Roll up and enjoy a delicious ,healthy and spicy taco with chilled lemonade /beer/wine or any other chilled beverage of your choice.
I would highly recommend Yard House if you are around the area and make sure to have reservations as it can get pretty crowded.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Gyan !!!

Couldn't resist sharing with my dear readers, 12 Most Indispensable Pieces of Life Advice

Source for the gyan, Have a great weekend everyone !!!

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