Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mexican Nacho Sandwich

For a small gathering or with family, create a nacho sandwich buffet by setting out all the ingredients noted below (add others, if desired) for a customized experience. Let the diner choose the toppings they like and you may make unique sandwiches for each person. In my family, we prepare them that way due to varying levels of spice and vegetable preferences. The sandwich is very easy to prepare once you have all the ingredients in front of you. Enjoy!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4


Bread Preperation:
  • 4 pieces of Italian bread (6" long)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
For Beans:
  • 2 cans of kidney beans
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 small plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 romaine lettuce
  • 4 jalapeños, sliced
  • 1-1/2 green capsicum, sliced
  • 1-1/2 bags of Mexican cheese (16 oz.)
  • 4 cups cheese 
  • tortilla chips
  • 3 cups of salsa (Fresh Homemade Tomato Salsa)
  1. Preheat the oven on 350 degrees.
  2. First, we will cook the beans. Heat oil on a pan and add the onions. Sauté until medium brown. Then, add garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes. When they are softened, add red chilli powder, cumin powder and salt. Mix well and add the kidney beans. (drain and rinse the beans prior to adding.) Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Slit each bread horizontally into halves so you have 8 pieces. Scoop out the middle inner portion of the bread. It will look like a boat after. 
  4. Mix the olive oil and butter and brush the bread with the mixture. After, toast the bread lightly in the oven and remove. 
  5. Put the chips in a Ziplock bag and crush. 
  6. Next, on the bread, spread the beans and add salsa on the top. Then, add the crushed nacho chips, shredded cheese and sliced jalapeños (to taste). Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted. 
  7. Take it out of the oven and put atop the veggies of your choice: lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and green peppers. If you like a spicy sandwich, then sprinkle some hot sauce, preferably of the Mexican kind (i.e. El Yucateco).
  8. Nacho sandwich is now ready to serve

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rasam (South Indian)

This is a simplified recipe for Rasam made without storebought rasam powder. I learned this recipe  from one of my uncle's Madrasi cook in India. Rasam is a thin lentil soup made with tamarind pulp, chopped tomatoes and spices. Whenever my husband has a cold, he always asks me to make rasam. It is spicy and soothing! You may enjoy the rasam as a soup or have it with idli and medu vada.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1/2 cup toovar dal
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind (paste/pulp)
  • 1/4 cup fresh green coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon whole jeera
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper (adjust according to your spice preference)
  • 2 to 3 dried red chilli
  • 2 dry red chilli (for tempering)
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • 5 cups of water
  • Salt to taste
  1. On a pan, roast whole jeera, black pepper and red chilli. Grind them into powder after.
  2. Wash the dal before cooking. Drain and cook the dal with 5 cups of water in a pressure cooker. When it has cooled down, open and strain only the dal water from the top. Do not use the dal. Keep the water on the side. ( you can use the dal for your another meal, don't throw it)
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a pan/pot. Add hing and two chopped tomatoes. When the tomatoes become soft, add the freshly grinded powder from step 1. Saute for two to three minutes. Put this mixture in a blender to make the paste.
  4. In another pan/pot, add 1 tablespoon ghee, two dry red chilli, hing and the paste. Sauté for two to three minutes. Add the strained dal water, tamarind paste, curry leaves and one chopped tomato.
  5. Cook for five to seven minutes. Add salt to taste and cook for one more minute. Turn off the stove. Add chopped coriander leaves.
  6. Serve hot as a soup or with Idli and Medu Vada.