Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Rice stuffed capsicum

Till last year I was thinking that these big box stores are stocked with just baby items and paper towels only, as most of the people I know would suggest these stores for bigger families only. Then one day we too started going there out of curiosity and now I understand the benefits of buying the groceries in bulk. (But I am still in love with locally grown fresh produce and am buying them religiously. Costco's' produce may be good for larger families, as they all come in big packs like 10 lbs of apple, 20 lbs of onion like that. So you can buy them , if you can consume them quickly). So my costco shopping list would always consist of milk, egg, non perishable items like paper towels, evoo, coconut oil,v8 etc. Best of all , I admire the quality of goods they give at an affordable rate. Believe it or not, they are selling desi ghee and Indian yogurt also in some zip codes. I tried this kirkland butter to make some ghee and it is tastes just like a native homemade Indian ghee. That's my best finding there along with the evoo.  My hubby came to know of this Quinoa rice through his friend and thus it entered our house too. Though we can have it by simply microwaving, I make some variations some days.
I made this on a weekend,  as my readers know that I wish to make something special on every Friday evening for hubby. This simple recipe may make you look like a genius and your sweetheart may think that you have cooked for hours to create this. So try this and enjoy a happy dinner together :)

Note: We can make this recipe by baking the capsicum too. But I am showing a more quicker and aromatic method, the shallow frying.  

Microwaveable quinoa and capsicum 

Shallow frying the capsicum in 1 tbsp evoo.

Microwave the sachet. One would be enough for 2 people.

Stuff the capsicum with cooked rice

Cook again.

Microwaveable quinoa+rice - 1 cup
Capsicum - 2
salt - little
extra virgin olive oil - 1 tbsp

Rinse the capsicum. Remove the top (along with stem). Remove the seeds using a spoon or blunt knife. Sprinkle little salt inside and coat the outside with olive oil.
(If you wish you can bake the capsicum at this point at 350 for 10 minutes or till tender).
I suggest shallow frying, as it takes much lesser time and smells good too.
Heat a tbsp of oil in wok.
Place the capsicums and cook covered in low heat. Flip or stir few times. It may take less than 5 minutes to cook it to crisp-tender.
Take them out.
Microwave the 'seeds of change' Quinoa rice as per directions. (Microwave at high for 2 minutes, after cutting a small opening at top).
Take the rice and fill the capsicum cups. If needed , sprinkle some cheese on top (I didn't do it).  Keep the remaining rice for serving along.
Carefully place the capsicums with the cut side up (see photos). Cook covered for 2 minutes in medium heat.
Take out. Serve hot.

Serving suggestion:
Serve as dinner.
Makes 2 servings.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sweet Potato Fries in Air fryer

As every new year begins, most of us enthusiastically write up some goals. One among them would be ' getting in shape ' :) . But we all love those fries too. The modern technology has fixed that for those food lovers and now we can have our fries too using this new gadget.
To start the new year,  I thought it would be more appropriate to write about this user friendly gadget, the air fryer.  I bought this Bella air fryer online during last 'thanksgiving sale' for less than $ 50. At first I saw this in my brother's house and I loved the French fries he made for me. I gave  a lot of thinking before buying this new equipment, as I am getting more choosier on which gadgets sits in the kitchen counter after buying that kitchenaid mixer :) Anyway I love all my kitchen gadgets and somehow will find space for everything :).  I was comparing the conventional oven with this air fryer. As I am sure that our conventional oven can do everything an air fryer does. But the air fryer takes lesser time, cooks more evenly and it is easier to handle this less weight fryer basket too. It would be more convenient to use air fryer during hot weathers while we all love our oven's heating effect during winters :) Above all, the most deciding factor for me was the 'thanksgiving offer' and those ads. I didn't go for the much pricier brand as it was not on a 'sale' :) and bought this Bella brand and I adore it.
Bella Air fryer :Product details:12.28"H x 10.35"W x 13.03"D,  2.5 liter capacity, 1500 watts, Model no. 14538

I have tried many recipes using this air fryer and I am sure it will become the next favorite for all the home chefs :) Anyways we can do these sweet potato fries using a baking oven too. Click to see my earlier recipe Baked sweet potato chips / fries .  If you are trying to make this in a big batch for more people, then prepare the sweet potatoes, mariante and keep in fridge till frying. Or do the frying for half way and keep frozen, then do the air frying without defrosting whenever needed.
I made fries using 3 medium size sweet poatoes (almost 2 lb). I did the air frying in 2 batches and it turned out amazing. I have used the yellow sweet potatoes as it is more healthy. But we can use the expensive Japanese yam (Indian sweet potatoes) too. The air fried 'fries' would not be crispier like oil fried. But personally I consider these fries as more delicious as they are not greasy.
Try this and I am sure you all will love this recipe.

Sweet potato fries made in air fryer

Rinse the sweet potatoes, peel them and rinse again.

Cut it in to thick strips (thin ones may brown soon)

Sliced chips

Add salt, turmeric, chili powder, evoo, cumin powder

Put in air fryer basket in 1 lb batches

Fry in air fryer (see timings and temp below)

Enjoy a worthy snack , because we all deserve these :) 

Sweet potato - 2 lb
salt - 3/4 tsp
red chilly powder - 3/4 tsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Extra virgin olive oil - 2 tbsp

Soak and rinse the sweet potatoes to remove any dirt.
Scrub and peel the sweet potatoes. Rinse and wash thoroughly again.
Cut it into  thick strips (thinner ones get brown easily, as sweet potato is sweet :).
Put all the ingredients along with sweet potatoes , in a large mixing bowl, mix well.
Preheat the air fryer basket for 3 minutes at 350 F.
Take the basket out, fill it with prepared sweet potatoes upto half the height. I do 1 lb per batch in my Bella fryer (see specifications above).
Set time to 20 minutes. Fry for 10 minutes.  Take out, toss and cook  again for nearly 10 minutes.  If it starts browning unevenly, then reduce temperature  to 320 and cook for 5 more minutes. IT would be done.
Air fried 'sweet potato fry' is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve hot with tomato ketchup as snack or side dish.

The total process may take 20 - 30 minutes for air frying, depending on the capacity. 
Preparation time for 2 lb may take 15 minutes.
The leftovers (if any) can be frozen and air fried again for a crispy fry. But DO NOT thaw them before putting in air frier.