06 October 2012

Spicy Brinjal Curry

This is THE awesomest Brinjal recipe EVER! I pretty much copied the recipe step by step from this blog that has amazing Andhra recipes - www.Talimpu.com. Talimpu stands for Tadka or Seasoning!

The only substitution I made was to use tamarind paste instead of fresh tamarind. Seriously AWESOME!

Try it! Cheers!

Super hit Date Cake

Recipe is from Aayi's recipes with some minor modifications

20-24 dates, seeds removed (I used a little more than the original recipe and reduced the sugar)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (don't substitute with baking pwdr)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup walnuts

1. Place dates in a bowl with the milk and heat in microwave for about 1 1/2 mins. This is to soften the dates for easier blending. 
2. Pour the dates and milk into a blender and add the sugar. Blend into a fine paste. 
3. Take a large mixing bowl, add the date paste and add oil and mix well.
4. On a piece of newspaper, sift the all purpose flour with the baking soda. Add this flour to the mixing bowl a few spoons at a time and mix to incorporate. 
5. Add nuts and mix all together.
6. Grease a round cake pan with butter and pour the mixture in. (I've seen it made in a loaf pan or any other baking pan)
7. Preheat oven to 350F and cook cake for 30 mins. I tested at 30 mins by inserting a knife in the center, and found it was done, even though the recipe calls for more baking time. 

Serve hot with vanilla ice cream. 

13 June 2012

Quinoa Salad - world famous in Chicago! ;)

Here’s my quinoa salad recipe - it’s very simple really! The reason I haven't posted this recipe is because I never manage to get pictures - it's usually gone real quick! And that is a compliment considering how healthy and quick this is to make! :)

You can kind of get an idea for what this looks like in this picture here where I served this as a side to my Chutney pomfret!  

Recipe -

Cook 1 cup quinoa per instructions on the package – I use a 1:2 ratio of quinoa& water.

In a bowl add the following ingredients (some finely chopped) in any proportion/quantity you prefer –you can mix and match these based on what you have in your fridge.  

· Cooked quinoa
· Cucumber (Persian)
· Bell peppers - multi colored
· Green Chillies
· Onions
· Garbanzo/Rajma/black beans – I used canned (drained & washed) 
· Fruit– Pomegranate seeds/apples – whatever tickles your fancy
· Fresh mint leaves
· Fresh cilantro
· Lime juice
· Jeera pwd
· Salt to taste 
· Optional - Sometimes I also add feta cheese for an additional flavor profile.

 Mix, adjust seasoning as appropriate and enjoy! I wasn’t kidding when I said this was simple! J

04 June 2012

Tiramisu Deliciousness

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's recipe from here

For the cake layer:
18 lady fingers cake/ cookies (available in most grocery stores) 

For the coffee extract:
2 tbsp instant coffee powder (preferably espresso)
2 tbsp boiling water

For the coffee syrup:
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp Kahlua

For the filling:
1 8-oz mascarpone cheese container
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp Kahlua
1 cup cold heavy cream
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
cocoa pwdr for dusting

1. Coffee extract: Make coffee extract by mixing together coffee powder and boiling water in a cup and set aside. 

2. Coffee Syrup: In a saucepan, add the 1/3 cup sugar into the 1 cup water and heat on high flame till it dissolves completely. Pour the sugar syrup into a bowl, and to this add the coffee extract prepared, and 1 tbsp Kahlua. 

3. Cheese Filling: Set 2 bowls aside. In one bowl, put the mascapone, sugar, vanilla, and liquer and whisk together till blended. In another bowl, add the heavy cream and using a hand mixer, whip the cream till it hold firm peaks (took about 2-3 mins). Don't whisk too much, it will turn to butter! Once done, add the mascarpone mixture into the whipped cream and using a light touch, blend together. 

4. Assembly:
Take a 8x8 in glass dish (this allows the dessert to show through the sides) and start layering the tiramisu. First, starting with the lady fingers, soak them for a bit in the coffee syrup and then start lining the dish in an even layer. Next, add a layer of the cheese filling, spreading evenly over the lady fingers. Next, add a dusting of cocoa powder. Repeat layering with second layer of lady fingers, finishing with the dusting of cocoa. Top with the mini chocolate chips. 

5. Cover dish with cling wrap and refrigerate for upto 3 hours. Serve and enjoy!

08 May 2012

Tagine in a Tagine!

We picked up a clay pot tagine on our recent travels to Morocco, and I couldn't wait to use it. Tagine refers to both the cooking pot (featured below) and the stew cooked in it. It is a North African speciality. Last night, I made a Chicken Tagine with Olives & Preserved Lemon.

Serves 2
· Chicken thighs - 2 - I used boneless meat because that's what I had at home. The version I had in Morocco was made with bone-in dark meat - tasted better for sure!
· Shallots/ Red Onions - 2 cups - thinly sliced
· Garlic - 2 tsp - finely minced
· Bay leaf - dry - 1
· Cinnamon stick - 1
· Olives - 1/2 cup - I used a combination of Kalamata (Greek Black Olives) and Manzanilla (Spanish Green Olives)
· Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans from a can - 1/2 cup washed
· Bell Peppers - Tri colored frozen from Trader Joes - 1/2 cup
· Harissa - 2 tbs - I used a brand called Korba (Tunisian) which is available locally in Fresh Farms. Spice levels differ by brand, so taste first before using!
· Preserved Lemon - 1/4th thinly sliced. I smuggled my preserved lemons in from Morocco, but have a batch of lemons ready to preserve using the technique in the link. Traditionally, you use only the rind discarding the pulp and any seeds. I used the rind & the pulp.
· Chicken Stock - 2 cups
· Salt to taste
· EVOO - 1 tbs 
Line the bottom & the sides of the tagine with EVOO (I had to cure my tagine before first use).
Add all the ingredients together, and mix well. Ensure that the chicken has been coated very well with the ingredients (especially the harissa).
Cook in the oven at 350F for about 2 hours.
Serve hot with Couscous and enjoy the unbelievably moist chicken, and the explosion of flavors in your mouth!
  • You can make this dish in a covered oven safe dish or in a slow cooker too
  • Although I didn't feel the need for additional spices, you can add cumin/coriander powder to this dish.
  • Also, I have seen recipes where the chicken is marinated in garlic, oil and harissa. I didn't have the time/patience to marinate.
  • Substitute for Preserved Lemon - If you don't have preserved lemons readily available, you can quickly make an acceptable substitute by thinly slicing a fresh lemon and sautéing it slowly in olive oil, a little sugar and salt until very tender. Chop into small pieces and use the same as preserved lemons. If you are interested in making Moroccan food often, I would highly recommend making a batch though.They keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.

01 May 2012

Very Green Broccoli Soup - A Michael Chiarello Recipe

This is not just another soup - This is THE best broccoli soup you'll ever have! :)

I adjusted the original Michael Chiarello recipe to suit my taste. I love that it's green, healthy and delicious!
·         Broccoli – 1 pound
·         EVOO – a couple of tablespoons
·         Fresh Garlic – minced – 2 tbsp
·         Onion – diced – 1 cup
·         Freshly ground black pepper – 2 tsp
·         Fresh thyme leaves - finely chopped - 2 tsp
·         Fresh spinach – 2 cups packed
·         Chicken stock/broth (low sodium) – 4 cups
·         Freshly grated lemon zest – 2 tbs
Cut the broccoli florets from the stems. Cut the stems lengthwise into slices.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot until hot. Add the garlic and onion, and stir until light brown - about 5 minutes
Add the thyme and stir. Add the broccoli stems, stock, and salt and pepper, to taste, and bring to a boil. Cook uncovered until tender, about 10 minutes
Now add the broccoli florets and continue to cook until very tender, about 5 minutes more.
Turn off the heat, add the spinach, and let wilt.
Add lemon zest, and puree the soup in a blender in small batches.
The soup can be made to this point, covered, and refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month. I have some frozen to use on days I don't feel like cooking!
Return the soup to the pan and reheat over gentle heat. Stir in the cream if needed (I did not). Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve warm. Enjoy!
Note - The fresh lemon zest is a wonderful flavor surprise...don't leave it out!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts - Ina Garten Recipe

I love Brussels Sprouts, especially when roasted because roasting imparts a certain sweetness and a crunch to them. Here's a simple Ina Garten recipe.
Ingredients -
  • Brussels sprouts -1 pound
  • EVOO - a coupleof tablespoons
  • Kosher/Sea salt - to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper - 1 tsp
  • Granulated Garlic - 1 tsp (optional - this is my addition)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper & garlic.

Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly.

Serve hot.

30 April 2012

Vankayya Kothmeera Karam - Andhra Speciality

This is a very popular recipe in Andhra Pradesh - the state I grew up in. I firmly believe that the best eggplant/brinjal/aubergine recipes in India come from Andhra Pradesh. This dish is called Vankayya Kothmeera Karam - literally translates to Brinjal Cilantro Spice. :) How can you go wrong?

Ingredients -
  • Indian Eggplants/Brinjal/Aubergine (the small purple ones) - about 10 -  cubed. Tip - as you are cubing the eggplants, immerse the cubed pieces in a bowl of salted water. This prevents them from browning & turning bitter. Just drain and add to the wok when ready to cook.
  • Turmeric/Haldi pdr - 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves - a few
  • Dry Red chillies - 2  - broken
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Fresh lime/lemon Juice - 1 tsp
Rough grind/chop finely-
  • Cilantro - 1/2 cup
  • Ginger - 1 inch
  • Green Chillies - 3-5
Heat oil in a wok, add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add jeera, curry leaves and dry red chillies.
When the jeera browns, add the cubed eggplants, haldi and salt. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes.
Once the eggplants are about 3/4th the way cooked, add the rough ground mixture of cilantro, ginger and green chillies. Stir thoroughly.
Cook uncovered for another 5 minutes until the eggplants are fully cooked through. Don't over cook the eggplant at any stage - you don't want this to be too soft/mushy.

Once cooked, take off the stove and add some fresh lime/lemon juice.
Serve hot with roti/rice. Enjoy! :) You can also use the same spice mixture with other veggies.

28 April 2012

Gujarati Kadhi

Thanks Gaya for this awesome and oh-so-simple recipe!
Ingredients: 1 cup yogurt 1 tbsp besan 3 cups water salt (to taste) 1/2 tsp turmeric 1 inch stick of ginger - grated 1 serrano pepper - very finely chopped Mix all of the above ingredients thoroughly to avoid lumps. Set aside in the dish you want to cook it in. For tadka: Oil Hing - a pinch Cumin - 1/2 tsp Akkha Dhaniya seeds - 1/4 tsp Cloves - 3 Cinnamon stick - 1/2 inch Curry leaves - 8 Heat oil in a small pan. Add the tadka ingredients and wait for the whole spices to splutter. Pour the tadka into the yogurt water mixture and bring to a boil while stirring continuously. Make sure to keep stirring while heating so that the yogurt does not curdle. To test readiness, look for an oily sheen to appear. This took about 10 minutes to appear. Now add 1/2 tsp sugar or 1 tsp jaggery. Garnish with 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves. Serve with hot white rice or eat plain!

Best Banana Bread Ever

There have been several banana bread posts on our blog, but after much experimentation, I think I have found the perfect one! Recipe is from this website Makes 1 loaf Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour 3 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon salt ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs 1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas 1 teaspoon lemon juice 3 tablespoons bourbon (I skipped this) 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (I added about 1/2 cup) Steps: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare your loaf pan by greasing and flouring it. I used a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Set aside. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Stop the mixer, scrape down sides of the bowl, and add bananas and lemon juice. Beat until well incorporated. Now, turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture all at once. Using a spatula, I slowly mixed these together since it was getting thick. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and incorporate everything together. Batter will be thick. Spoon the mixture into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. This took longer for me than the prescribed time on the recipe. I had to have some patience with it. Remove from the oven and allow loaf to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

27 April 2012

Rava Dosa & Coconut Chutney - a quick picker-upper!

On days I am feeling bah for no reason at all, I turn to food that makes me feels good. Here's one that never fails to please - Rava Dosa & Coconut chutney!

Rava Dosa Ingredients -
·         Rice flour-1 cup
·         Semolina/Rava/ Sooji- 1 cup
·         All-purpose flour or Maida- ¼ cup
·         Salt to taste
·         Onion- ½ cup chopped finely
·         Green chillies -  3 or 4 finely chopped
·         Mustard seeds- ½ tsp
·         Cumin/Jeera seeds – ½ tsp
·         Curry leaves- a few
·         Oil – a couple of tbsp. Use Idhayam brand sesame oil for authentic South Indian flavor.
In a bowl, mix rice flour, maida and rava and add water and salt to it. The batter should be-
·         Free of lumps
·         Watery & thin – you need to be able to pour it.

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and add Mustard seeds, Cumin seeds, and curry leaves. Add this seasoning, and chopped green chillies & onions to the batter. Mix well.

Heat a non stick or iron griddle/tava – this should be very hot. Take a ladleful of batter, and pour on the griddle starting from the outer edge and finishing off in the middle. It’s okay to have gaps.
Drizzle ½ tsp of oil on the edges. When the dosa browns turn it over, and cook for a few minutes.
Serve hot with sambar/coconut chuntney.
If the batter becomes thick after making few dosas add water to it -  a little at a time. Don’t forget to check for salt.  

Coconut chutney –
Ingredients –
·         Frozen grated coconut – thawed – 1 cup
·         Shallot – 1 chopped 
·         Ginger – 1 inch piece - chopped
·         Cilantro – ¼ cup -  chopped
·         Green chillies – 5 -  chopped
·         Salt to taste
·         Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
·         Black gram (urad dal) – ½ tsp
·         Asafoetida powder/Hing – 1 pinch
·         Curry leaves – a few
·         Dry red chillies – 2 halved
·         Oil – 1 tbsp

Grind the coconut, chopped shallot, green chillies, coriander leaves, ginger, and salt to a fine paste using very little water.

Pour the chutney into the serving bowl and adjust the consistency with water, if needed.
Season with ingredients under the “seasoning” section – Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the urad dal, red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida powder. Stir till the urad dal turns red and pour it over the chutney.

26 April 2012

Kalan - Kerala Yoghurt Gravy

Kalan is one of my most favorite traditional Kerala dishes. I don't have a picture of this dish, but I am sure you can Bing it.  :) I do have a picture of a yam that was harvested recently from our backyard in Kerala. This one weighed over 13 kilos! :)

Here's how Kalan is made -

Ingredients -

·         Green Plantains or Yam (Suran) – cut into cubes  - 1 cup
You can get green plantains in Asian grocery stores that you can peel & chop, and cut frozen yam (sold as Suran) is sold in the frozen section of your Indian grocery store. Some folks are allergic to yam, so use with caution.
·         Black Pepper – ground -  2 tsp (use fresh)
·         Red Chilli powder -1 tsp
·         Haldi/Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
·         Sour Yogurt/Curd – 2 cups
       Homemade yoghurt left outside to become sour works BEST in this recipe. Of course we don’t have access to this yumminess in the US – so I use a combination of store bought fat-free European style yoghurt & fat-free sour cream in 2:1 ratio
·         Salt to taste
·         Grated Coconut – ½ cup (you can use frozen) 
·         Jeera/Cumin seeds -1 tsp
·         Green chillies -4 or 5
·         Coconut oil -1 tbsp
·         Mustard seeds -1 tsp
·         Fenugreek/Methi seeds -1/2 tsp
·         Dry red chilly -1 (break it in 2)
·         Curry leaves – a few
Add green plantains/yam cubes with chilli powder, turmeric, salt, ground black pepper with 2 cups of water to a pot, and cook covered until the cubes are cooked and soaked up all the moisture. Don’t cook it too mushy.
Lower the heat and add whipped yoghurt and 1 cup of water.
Simmer and cook for at least 40 min to an hour, stirring occasionally. You will end up with a thick mixture– this can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for over a month if needed.
Whenever you want to eat Kalan, grind the ingredients under the “Grind” section with as little water as possible (don’t use water to grind if you don’t need to).
Add this ground paste + 1 cup of water to the thick yoghurt-vegetable mixture, cook for a few minutes, add salt if needed and season with the ingredients under “Seasoning” section. 
For seasoning, heat coconut oil. Add mustard seeds, and when they splutter, add fenugreek/methi seeds, dry red chilli, and curry leaves and pour it over the Kalan. Serve with rice.
Note - Coconut oil gives you the authentic Kerala taste, but feel free to substitute if you don’t like the flavor.

21 April 2012

Veggie Manchurian!

Wikipedia says that Indian Chinese or more commonly known as Indo-Chinese cuisine is the adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to Indian tastes. I say that this is the tastiest food EVER!
Veggie Manchurian is an Indo-Chinese staple - 3 step recipe below!

Step 1  - Make veggie balls
·         2 cups shredded cabbage + carrots (I used a finely chopped cole slaw mix J)
·         ½ cup finely chopped onions
·         2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic & green chillies
·         1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
·         Maida + Cornflour – a couple of teaspoons (always in the 1:3 ratio)
·         Salt to taste
·         Oil to deep fry
Mix all the above ingredients– add water (a couple of teaspoons at a time) and mix until you can form balls. Water is only added to aid in the forming of the balls – this shouldn’t be soggy. At the same time the balls shouldn’t be too dry as they might disintegrate while frying.  
Once the balls are done, deep fry them in any healthy oil (ahem…), drain and arrange them in the dish you want to serve it in. This will make about 15-20 balls.
To make cauliflower or mushroom manchurian, replace the shredded cabbage+carrots with slightly blanched cauliflower or mushrooms that have been wiped clean-  the additional ingredients are the same.

Step 2 – Make the sauce
·         2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
·         2 tablespoons or more finely chopped green chillies
·         1 cup of cold water
·         2 teaspoons of cornflour
·         2 teaspoons of low sodium soy sauce
·         Maggi Chilli sauce OR Maggi hot & sweet tomato ketchup
·         Handful of finely chopped cilantro + green onions for garnish
In a hot wok, add a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add garlic and green chillies. In a separate cup, mix the cornflour, cold water and soy sauce. Make sure the water is cold, otherwise the cornflour will not mix. Add this to the wok – keep stirring and let it thicken.
When it seems cooked through, add ketchup and as much water to make the amount of sauce you need. I didn’t add much water as I wanted to serve this as an appetizer without much gravy. If you want to make an entrée, add more gravy.
I did not add any additional salt to the sauce as the soy sauce & Maggi ketchup both have sodium.

Step 3 = Steps 1+2 (this is easy! J)
Once you have the consistency you need, add the sauce to the balls in the serving dish. Garnish with cilantro and green onions, serve and watch them disappear.

The sauce and balls can be made and refrigerated up to a day in advance.

26 February 2012

Bengali Mustard Fish

This is my new favorite fast-to-cook recipe. Cooking time 7 mins in the microwave...can't beat that!

From here with some minor substitutions

2-3 Steaks of Salmon, cleaned
2 tbsp mustard oil
3 tablespoons yogurt
2.5 tablespoons grated coconut
1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
few green chili, slit for garnish

For the mustard Paste:
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
3-4 hot green chillies
Salt to taste

To make Mustard Paste:
Soak the paste ingredients together in about 1/2 cup water for 30 minutes. Grind this mix into a thick paste in a blender/ mixer. The finer the paste, the better.

Now, add this mustard paste to the coconut, turmeric, chilli powder, mustard oil and yoghurt and mix well. the paste will be thickish, don't add water to thin out.

In a microwave safe glass bowl, coat the dish with mustard oil, and then arrange the pieces of salmon in the bowl. Now, pour the mixture above to cover and immerse the salmon completely. Add a few slit green chillies on top. Cover the bowl with cling wrap, and cook for 3 mins on high in the microwave. The cling wrap will create steam which will slowly steam the fish. After 3 mins, remove and gently stir the fish sauce, without disturbing the fish. Re-cover and put for another 3 mins and repeat till done. It took about 10 mins to cook the fish through.

Enjoy with rice!

19 January 2012

Caramelized Broccoli!

This is broccoli roasted at a high temperature for a while. Essentially what happens is that over time broccoli get caramalized and with added salt and pepper taste like a sinful snack, which its totally not :) Try it - you'll see what I mean.

Whole head of broccoli broken into bite sized florets
1 minced garlic
Generous serving of olive oil
Kosher salt and ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. If you soak to wash your broccoli - make sure you dry it well.
  3. Spread the broccoli on a baking sheet, douse it with olive oil, mix in the garlic, salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for 20 - 25 mins or until broccoli is bright green and crunchy.
  5. I usually thrown in green/red pepper strips as well - they cook to the same effect.

17 January 2012

Chicken with wild mushrooms

I often come back to this recipe especially since morels always seem to within reach here in Seattle :) and it makes a impressive dinner party dish.

Serves 4

2 legs, skin on
2 thighs, skin on
Salt and ground pepper
4 tbsps butter
1.5 cups of morel mushrooms (I have used dried porcini and morel mix as well, just soak in warm water for 30mins)
1/2 cup dry sherry
3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Use a non-stick skillet that is large enough to contain all 4 pieces in a single layer. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down and cook until the skin turns light brown (about 5-7 mins on each side). Transfer the chicken out of the skillet and discard the butter-fat mix.

  • Add the chicken back into the pan along with the sherry, mushrooms and salt to taste. Cover and simmer gently for about 20 mins. Don't overcook the chicken and check a couple of times to make sure that the liquid hasn't evaporated. Add water as needed.
  • Transfer the chicken into a platter and cover with a foil tent.
  • Add cream to the mushrooms-sherry mix and simmer for 5 mins.

  • Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with crusty bread.

07 January 2012

Butternut Squash and Basil Lasagna

My friend, Aparna, made this delicious lasagna for a dinner party last month. I was absolutely bowled over by the flavors and unique ingredients!

From Giada de Laurentiis' recipe with some modifications. I made the basil sauce by following the steps from Deb's smitten kitchen recipe.

For the Squash puree:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb butternut squash, I bought the cut and cubed one from Trader Joe's
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water

For the Basil Sauce:
2 tbsp butter
3tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
Pinch nutmeg
3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
Red chilli flakes, to taste

12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

In a heavy skillet, pour a turn of olive oil and add the butternut squash to it. Add salt, pepper to taste, and coat all the squash. Add the 1/4 cup of water, and cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes till tender. Mash coarsely with a masher or put it into a food processor to puree.

For the basil white sauce, in a pan melt 2 tbsp of the butter and add the flour. Stir constantly till the raw smell of the flour disappears, about 2 mins. Make sure to stir so that flour does not brown. Now add the hot milk and stir (best with a whisk) till the mixture begins to boil. Boil till the mixture thickens, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt, nutmeg and red pepper flakes. Transfer half of this sauce to a blender and add 3/4 cup of basil leaves, and blend until smooth. Transfer this basil mix to the remainder of the white sauce to mix evenly.

Preheat oven to 375F. In a baking dish, grease sides generously and start layering your lasagna. Start with a layer of the basil sauce, a layer of the no-boil lasagna noodles, and then a layer of the squash mixture. Sprinkle a little cheese onto the squash layer (I did not put any cheese except on the top to brown). Layer this way until you end with a last layer of squash. Reserve 1/4 cup basil sauce to drizzle over the top along with some Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375F for 40 minutes.

Serve with a salad!