Friday, August 17, 2007

An Express Purpose

When Mallugirl thought aloud about an express cooking event, I cheered her on, and then sat pretty in contemplation (and blissful ignorance of the deadline) as it approached. Then Mallugirl extended it and I had to challenge myself to come up with a quick meal. Some of these I’ve made from scratch, some I’ve used leftovers, the meal in itself was quickly made with not too much energy spent, but if thinking about something could burn calories, this took the cake!

The first is an almost unbearably tangy Capsicum and Tomato Soup. It started life as a capsicum and tomato salad with lime and honey dressing, but sudden summons to a treat for a friend’s promotion saw me leave the house and forget about if for the next two days. This morning when I saw it stagnant in its juices, my conscience and I battled, and my conscience won.

0-5 mins

What you need:

Yellow Capsicum (Pepper), Red Capsicum, Tomato – 1 each
Lime juice – from 2 limes
Honey – 2 tsp
Pepper, cracked – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Water – ½ cup

1-2 mins: Chop vegetables roughly, add lime juice, honey and pepper. Add water.

Microwave veggies for three minutes.
(As they are microwaving, you can wash some rice, place it in the pressure cooker with twice the amount of water and cook it. Or, you can stack four leftover chapattis one on top of another, cut them into small pieces and keep aside.)

Add some salt to the microwaved veggies, puree in the mixer.

Garnish with coriander if you like.

5-8 minutes (next 3 minutes): Scrambled eggs

Oil – 1 tsp
Eggs – 2
Green chillies – 2, slit in half
Salt – to taste

Heat oil in a pan, swirl to let it coat the base.

Crack the eggs, let the whites set a little at the bottom. This takes upto a minute on low flame. Season with salt.

Now add the chillies, mix everything and switch off the flame.

8-20 minutes: Palak Dal and Fried Chapattis

Spinach/palak/palakoora – 1 bunch (about 200 gm)
Toor dal/Yellow lentils/Kandipappu – ¾ cup
Tomato – 1
Turmeric – ½-1 tsp
Chilli powder – ½ tsp
Mustard seeds – ½-1 tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Dry, broken red chillies – 2
Garlic – 5 cloves, skinned, crushed
Salt – to taste
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

8-9 minutes: Wash the dal in two or three changes of water, soak (with just enough water to cover and then a little more) in the pressure cooker.

9-12 minutes: Wash the spinach in two to three changes of water, chop roughly, add to the dal.

12-12.5 minutes: Chop or squish the tomato with your hands into the pressure cooker.

12.5 – 17 minutes: Set the dal to cook on the stove. As you busy yourself with the tasks below, don't forget to switch it off when it's done.

Note: Now skin some garlic and crush it under your knife, wash the curry leaves and bring out the mustard, cumin and the red chillies.

Chop up an onion if you want to make the fried chapattis.

In a pan, heat a tsp or two of oil, pop mustard, cumin, red chillies and curry leaves. Add the garlic. Fry for a minute and add to the dal.

Fried Chapattis

This is an optional dish and may take slightly longer than the last three minutes of the 20 minutes I aimed for.

What you need:
Onion – 1, chopped
Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Turmeric – ½ tsp
Chilli powder – ½ tsp
Green chillies – 2, chopped
Salt – to taste
Curry leaves – a sprig

Heat the oil in a pan, pop the mustard.

Add the onion, curry leaves and the green chillies, fry a bit.

Now add the chapatti bits, the turmeric, chillies/chilli powder and salt, and mix well.

Put them into your prettiest dishes, sweat over stray curry or soup spilling over internal or external borders, agonise over the symmetry of the arrangement, photograph it till your arms ache and your head hurts, eat up the portions that are likely to get squished by a lid, stash away in the fridge, ruminate on whether this blog addiction is getting out of hand, and then tell yourself not to think too much, it’s all good fun!


  1. hmm. can i come over? i like th fried chappathi bit.. it reminds me of our kothu porotha!

  2. Everything looks so good! I love your dishes. Very pretty in colour.

  3. Hi Sra...
    This is realy a express feast.....
    Excellent array of dishes....Enjoy... I dont't know that concept of Food Blog Desam or email feed....sounds new to me...I will look into it....Thank u for ur useful suggestion...

  4. Super exoress...even I like the fried chapati bits, we used to do with leftover rotis like that...nice entry, hey what is the deadline date, did I miss it?

  5. fried chapathi is a great idea. it would work with bread too, i'm guessing, 'cos we rarely have chapatis, but we always have bread.

  6. Sra,

    love your fried chapathi, actually will try it are on a roll girl nice recipes

  7. Freid chapati is mixed paratha... I love all of them Sra!

  8. Oh la la, you are a really good cook to produce all those delicious dishes so quickly!!!

  9. You made a quiet a spread in 30 mins...simply great. I liked that fried chapati thing. Did you use your own chapatis or store bought ones ?

  10. Sra I liked your idea of making a soup with the salad. Only you can get such brilliant ideas.Liked the chappathi fry :) Good entry :)

  11. Mallugirl, come over, you'll just find the dal and the soup - i ate up the rest, the kothu paratha is nicer, probably because the paratha is fatter and softer.
    Mainyacha, thanks a lot!
    Sukanya, thank you v much.
    Padma, the deadline is 20th. You still have a couple of days :)
    Bee, the fried chapati is not really my idea - Marathis make phodnichi poli from leftover chapatis. As kids we often ate bread upma - it's really tasty, maybe I'll post it one day!
    Sreelu, :). Did you make it, how'd it taste?
    Suganya, yes, thank you.
    Anh, thanks, I try.
    Sandeepa, er ... 20 minutes (making sure you realise I'm even faster than you think). As for the chapatis - they were store-bought - I can't knead to save my life and don't want to learn - don't eat much wheat anyway.
    Archana, ha ha, thanks. don't you make fried chapatis at home - I got it from a phodnichi poli recipe.

  12. This is something like super fast meal sra. Looks nice. Viji

  13. The phodnichi poli is such a lifesaver, isn't it? There are times when I've bought poli just to make phodnichi poli.

  14. Sra, the fired chapatis look good. Perfect for a evening snack? the soup and the dal make it a perfect weekday meal.

  15. Can i have some ?. I should try the soup sometime. Never heard of Capsicum soup.

    You are super fast...I cant' do this fast myself.

  16. If you can make so much in 30 mts, I wonder how much you will cook on 1-2 hours !! You 'rock' girl !! :) fried chappathi sounds something like kothu paratta and now I am craving for that, good job, my friend :)


  17. Sra, can you post your hands please?? Do you have 4?? ;) You are super quick my dear! :)

  18. Ahem, all the dishes look great but would you mind terribly if I took the bowl of dal for myself? :)

  19. Your capsicum-tomato soup sounds interesting.All that in 30 min? You are very efficient:-)

  20. Viji, it didn't feel like super fast, but thanks.
    Cooker, I've never made this before - just that some chapatis were lying in the fridge and I pounced on them just for the blog :)
    Indo, yes, they would make a good snack.
    Seec, neither have I come across capsicum soup - blogging is the mother of invention ...
    Shn, after that fried chapati, i was craving kothu paratha!
    Coffee, yes, I will - think you also asked me to post the rubber pic - I just might, watch out!
    Cynthia, please, take it. I found some unusual greens in the store today, am making more too!
    TBC, didn't know that myself till I entered this event :)

  21. Sra, you are too funny, as usual - spending more time fussing over photos than making the dishes! Love the sound of that too, too tangy soup.

  22. wow, you must be a dervish in the kitchen :)

  23. Sra,
    ninna chesanu, loved it ,blogging it on my blog.check it out

  24. the fried chapatis are new and nice. something like kotthu parota in the fast food joints in Tamilnadu. very different infact. lovely and delicious meals.

  25. You deserve one more award dear!!

    Pick it up from my JFI-post,when you have time!!!:)

  26. Soup, chappathis, dal.... a lovely feast in 30 minutes. At first i thought the fried chappathis to be aloo curry. Yeah , as mallu girl said they remind me of kothu parota...
    And the soup too.. capsicum and tomato soup in 5 minutes.. sure to be tried out.

  27. Thats a nice express thali...Looks very good. I will have to try your capsicum-tomato soup sometime. It looks very good.

  28. Susan, it thickened after I put in the fridge. Then I heated it and ate it with a crunchy, Gujarati snack called fafda, it was really tasty!
    Shyam, dervish, LOL!
    Sreelu, saw the post there!
    Sharmi, fried chapattis not really my idea - it's a Maharashtrian dish. Thanks.
    Bharathy, thank you, have collected it :)
    Prema, thanks. The soup's really simple, do try it!
    Shilpa, thank you v much!

  29. Sra, express cooking indeed...all those yummy dishes...I love the dal.

  30. Wow!!! you dished out some really tasty recipes real fast.... great going...

  31. Thats express indeed! Super fast exprss at that! i heart the fried chapatis, its a great way to use left over chapatis, isn't it :). Lovely spread, Sra: now, may i join for lunch?

  32. Fried chapati sounds soooo good! I rarely get to eat fresh chapatis, let alone have stale ones to spare :)
    That is a wonderful spread you have there.

  33. u go gal.....wht a spread for an "express" meal

  34. Wow, all that in 30 minutes? That is some talent Sra... But that last paragraph just cracked me up sooo much :D U r a funny funny gal... :D

  35. Sunita, thanks.
    Priyanka, thanks.
    Musical, sure, there's even more, and better, for lunch today - kadai paneer, cauli-broccoli stir-fy, pumpkin-jaggery stir-fy and white pumpkin pappucharu. Do come over!
    Nupur, those were store-bought chapatis, I don't make chapatis at home. (Can't knead - dirty secret.)
    Rahin, welcome to my blog.
    Sig, you're back! That was just over 20 minutes - not 30 (just setting the record straight, you see ;) ) Photography time took another 30-40 minutes but Mallugirl very considerately didn't say anything about that!

  36. I am sooo hungry right now. What I wouldn't give to have some of those fried chappathi right now. Everything looks absolutely delicious!


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