Monday, June 29, 2015

Chipotle's famous Veggie Buritto Bowl

So often we eat at restaurants and want to replicate at home. Chipotle is one such place that we visit often. We all love the Veggie bowl there. Then Chipotle introduced Sofritas, a braised tofu dish that replaces meat in their bowls. Ever since we had the Sofritas bowl, we were completely addicted to it. The braised tofu crumbles flavored with oregano and other spices makes the veggie bowl tasty and amazing. So I made the Sofritas at home. Check out the post here.

After making Sofritas, the plan was to make the complete buritto bowl just as we have it in Chipotle. The bowl has various elements, each requiring multiple ingredients and different methods of cooking. However, to make it simpler, start with dicing the vegetables that are required in all the recipes; roast the peppers and set aside for sofritas and salsa. Soak and boil the beans, cook the rice and prepare the tofu. Doing all this in advance will reduce the time required to complete the bowl for dinner. 

The easiest way to prepare the individual ingredients for the bowl, I followed this method. Start with the Fajita in a pan, once done remove it and in the same pan make the rice. This can be followed by the corn salsa and then the beans. The simple idea behind this is to cook the dry dishes first and then use the pan to finish the wet ones. In a saucepan make the sofritas and then the salsa sauce. This way you can make the entire spread using just 2 or 3 pans!!

Prepare the individual ingredients for the bowl and set aside. When ready to eat, take a big bowl and add Cilantro Lime rice first. Next add a spoonful of beans and a big spoon of the braised tofu sofritas followed by fajita. Add the Salsa sauce, Gaucamole, Corn Salsa, Sour cream and finally top off with shredded lettuce and cheese. Serve with a side of tortilla. To eat, mix everything well and enjoy the sofritas bowl!!

Black Beans
Corn Salsa
Lime-Cilantro Rice
Shredded Lettuce
Shredded Cheese
Corn Tortilla 


Homemade Refried Beans
Soak 1 cup of black beans in water, overnight or atleast 6-7 hours. Heat butter in a saucepan, add minced garlic. Sauté the garlic, followed by finely diced onion and minced jalapeno. Once it is cooked, add the drained boiled beans and mix well. Cook the beans, and add salt, pepper, taco seasoning and lime juice. Turn down the heat and set aside.

Mexican Fajita
A cup of fajita,prepared as directed here: Mexican Fajita.

Cilantro lime rice
Cook 1 cup of white rice. Heat butter in a pan, add in minced garlic and sauté. After that, add the rice, lime juice, salt and cilantro. Mix well. Set aside.

1 cup of Gaucamole, following the recipe here: Chunky Gaucamole.

Mild Salsa
Make the mild salsa as shown here: Mild Salsa. Quantity depends on individual taste.

Corn Salsa
In a microwave safe bowl, add a cup of corn and a pinch of salt. Cook it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a pan heat butter. Once hot, add half a cup of onions. Also, add half a roasted pablanos chili, half an jalapeno and half a bell pepper. Once it is partly cooked, add the boiled corn. Season with salt, lime juice, Oregano and pepper powder. Set aside.

The recipe for chipotle style Sofritas is here: Sofritas.

To make the buritto bowl
In a big bowl, add Cilantro Lime rice first. Next add the beans and tofu sofritas followed by fajita. Add the Salsa sauce, Gaucamole, Corn Salsa, Sour cream and finally top off with shredded lettuce and cheese. Serve with a side of tortilla. To eat, mix everything well and enjoy the sofritas bowl!! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Chipotle style Braised Tofu Sofritas

Ever since I moved to US, Chipotle has been on my favorites list for a quick dinner or weekend lunch. I started off with the Veggie bowl and slowly moved on the Sofritas bowl. And since the time I started having the Sofritas, I never went back to the Veggie bowl! Sofritas makes the bowl filling, saucy and flavorful. The tag-line that Chipotle has used for Sofritas is Vegans and Carnivores unite, and it is truly so!

After having the Sofritas at Chipotle, I decided to try them at home. On reading the information on Chipotle's website it was clear that the main ingredients to make this at home are: Chipotle Peppers, Roasted Poblanas Chili and tofu. I bought the extra firm tofu from the Asian store and got all my chilies and peppers from the Mexican market here. The ingredients were ready, and the dish was made in about an hour. It is a slightly long process, but the result is so great. The texture was almost as good as Chipotle's and the flavors were great too. I made Sofritas along with the Veggie bowl. 

On making them at home I realized they do make a great part of the famous Buritto bowl and they can be used as a vegan stuffing for most Mexican items like Taco or Chalupa. Not only that, add some spice to it and the Sofritas can be enjoyed with a side of roti or Naan or even as a substitute for Paneer Bhurji! After including it in the buritto bowl I may mot make the bowl without sofritas again!! Try it today and enjoy a hearty meal.


Extra Firm Tofu 1 box
Chipotle Chili 2
Poblanas Chili 1-2
Onion 1/2 diced
Green Pepper 1/2 diced
Garlic 1 pod
Tomato 1/2 diced
Oregano 1 tsp
Taco seasoning 1 tsp
Salt, Lime Juice


Remove the tofu from the water and press it between two kitchen towels. Keep a heavy object on it so that the water drains out. While the water drains, roast the Poblanas Chili. To roast, wash and dry the chili. Then apply oil on its surface and wrap it in aluminium foil. Roast it on open flame evenly. Remove from flame and let the chili cool. Open up the foil and remove the skin. Dice the chili and set aside. 

In a pan, heat oil/butter. Dice the tofu and place them in the pan. Once the side browns, turn it over and brown the other side. Once both sides are brown, crumble the tofu with your hands once it is cool enough to handle. Place the crumbled tofu in a plate. In the same pan, heat a tsp of oil. Add some garlic, shredded jalapeno pepper, green pepper, onion and the roasted chili. Once the raw flavor vanishes, add the tomato and cook till it softens. Next, add the crumbled tofu and cook. The tofu crumbles will turn brown and flavorful. Top with dried oregano and taco seasoning. 

Adjust the salt and spice. If you need more spice, add some roasted paprika. Sprinkle cilantro and add some lime juice. Sofritas is ready. It can be used as a part of Chipotle's Buritto bowl or used to make tacos or burittos.

Craving for a Buritto bowl? Make this with the rest of the ingredients and enjoy the Sofritas bowl at home. Try the recipe here.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mutter Tofu | Tofu and Peas Curry

Paneer Mutter is one of the famous Indian dishes served with flat breads in India. It forms an essential part of the North Indian lunch and dinner. The traditional recipe calls for fried pieces of cheese cooked in tomato onion curry. However, to make it low on calories and vegan, I have made a very simple substitution, paneer with tofu. Also, instead on frying the pieces, I stir-fried them in oil.

The gravy for this dish is similar to the Makhani gravy, but low on calories. To do so, I have eliminated the cashewnuts from it. Besides, to give the vegetable some crunch, I have used diced onions instead of including onions in the puree. This gives the dish a slight crunch. Simple recipe, few ingredients and a dish that is low on calories than most Indian vegetable dishes. All this, but no compromise on the taste!! Make this dish for a weeknight dinner and enjoy it with Roti, Naan, Paratha or Jeera Rice.

Extra Firm Tofu 1 block
Green Peas 1 cup
Garlic 2 cloves, minced
Ginger, 1/2 inch piece
Onion 1 medium, diced
Tomatoes 3 medium, diced
Spices (Bay leaves,  Cloves, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Dried Red Chili)
Condiments (Mustard seeds, Cumin seeds, Asafoetida, Red chili powder, Turmeric powder, Dhania powder, salt, sugar) 
Kasuri Methi 1 tsp
Cilantro, Lime juice


Remove the tofu from water and press it to remove the water. Press it between a couple of kitchen towels to remove all the water and cut it into equal size dice. Meanwhile, heat two cups of water in the microwave or on the gas stove and add a pinch of salt. Drop the green peas in the water and boil them for a minute. Turn down the flame and drain the peas. Add the peas in cold water to stop the cooking process and retain the green color.

In a flat saucepan, add oil and heat. Once hot, place the tofu pieces in it and let them brown on medium to high heat. Once the bottom is brown, turn the pieces over and brown the other side. Take a medium pan and fill it with warm water and add a pinch of salt. Remove each piece of tofu from the pan and dip it in the warm salty water that has been reserved from the peas. This helps to flavor the tofu and keep it soft till cooking.

In the same pan, heat some butter and oil. Add the cinnamon, cloves and pepper. Next put in the dried red chili and  and sauté them for a minute. Throw in the garlic and ginger and cook till it is soft. Next, add tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are mushy. Turn down the flame and purée  the mixture. Pass through a sieve to remove the tomato seeds and peels. 

In a pan, heat some butter and add mustard seeds. Once they pop, add cumin seeds. Add diced onions, and salt and cook till they are transparent. Once cooked, add the red chili powder. Now, add in the  purée and mix well. Let the mixture come to a boil and you will see the oil separating from the gravy, and the gravy also turns red. This indicates that the gravy is cooked well. At this stage add the haldi, dhania jeera and sugar. Drain the tofu pieces and green peas from water and add to the gravy. Let the mixture simmer on medium flame for 4-5 minutes. 

After the tofu and peas have simmered, it will become thick. Adjust the water to get the required consistency and add salt if required. At this stage, crush the kasuri methi between the palms and add it. Depending on how sour the tomatoes are, add little lime juice and turn down the flame.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with Indian breads, rice, onion rings, pickle and raita. This tastes good with Naan, Garlic Kulcha as well as paratha. To make it a complete meal, you can serve Tofu Mutter with Dal Makhani, breads and steamed or Jeera Rice.

Looking for more Indian Entrees?? Try these.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Homemade Subway Sandwiches

Subway sandwich, Subs, Submarine Sandwiches and Which Wich Sandwiches. All these names mean the same; the 12-inch long sandwiches we eat that come in various breads, with different kinds of cheese and stuffings, filled with a medley of vegetables and sauces. These sandwiches are really great as they can be customized as per your preferences and taste. There are endless vegetarian and non-vegetarian possibilities of the combinations you can make out of the few ingredients.

Subway is probably the most known eatery for these sandwiches, and they never fail to stop the innovation on their sandwiches. Last heard, is the addition of gaucamole to their subs. Based on what they serve and what I generally order from their choice of vegetables, I have made this recipe. It is made from home-made herb bread, pepper jack cheese, mixed vegetables and Mayonnaise along with hot Sriracha sauce. 

You can make the bread at home from the recipe listed below and store it for a few days. Make the bread in bulk and use it as you want. I have made the herbed bread, if you want you can add cheese, jalapenos, olives etc in the bread. Also, modify the vegetables as per your preference and add sauces like southwest, italian seasoning, Extra Virgin olive oil or any other sauce of your choice! This sandwich is prefect for any summer party or even as a quick dinner.

For the Bread
Allpurpose Flour/Maida 3 cups
Rapidrise Dry Yeast 1 sachet (2 1/4 tsp)
Mixed Herbs 2 tsp
Olive Oil 3 tbsp
Garlic Salt 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Warm Water 1 cup (100-110 F)
Butter 1 tsp

For the Sandwich
Vegetables: Cucumber, Lettuce, Tomato, Pink Onions, Pickles, Olives, Bell Pepper, Spinach
Sauces: Mayonnaise, Sriracha, Ranch, Chipotle
Cheese: Pepper Jack slices
Salt, Pepper

In a cup of warm water, add the Rapidrise yeast, sugar and 1 tsp salt. Let the mixture stand for ten minutes till it foams. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, 3 tbsp Olive Oil, Mixed Herbs and Garlic salt. Pour the frothy yeast into this mixture and make a soft dough. Add little water if required and knead well. The mixture may be sticky at first, knead it well till it converts to a soft dough.  Apply oil over the dough and place it in a large bowl, cover it with a moist cloth and let stand for 45 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 400 F/200 C. After 45 minutes, the dough will be almost double it's size. Punch down the dough and knead it for 5 more minutes. Divide the dough into four parts. Shape the bread dough into logs of desired thickness and length. If the length of the bread is 12 inches, the thickness will be around 3-4 inches. Place the breads in a greased baking tray and let it rest for 20-25 minutes. Transfer the baking tray to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, till the crust turns golden brown. Remove the breads from the oven and cool them on a cooling rack. Once cool, store them in an air-tight box till it is time to use them. 

For making the subway sandwich, slice the bread from the centre. If you want to use cheese, place slices on it and toast the bread for a minute in the oven. Then remove from oven, place finely sliced vegetables of your choice on it. Spread Mayonnaise, hot sauce or other sauces of your choice. Close the bread and secure with a toothpick if required. Serve with a side of chips and Soda to replicate the Subway experience!

To try more breads, click here.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach, Artichoke Hearts, Shallots, Garlic and a Mixture of Cheeses. Served Bubbly Hot with Tortilla Chips and Salsa. Enough for Two. This is the description that Cheesecake Factory has for one of it's famous appetizer. And the line completely describes the dip. This very popular dish is also on the menu of other Restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen and BJ's Brewhouse. The dip is served with crisp tortilla chips, however it can be served with a variety of things like toasts, stir-fried vegetables, crackers or just bread.

The main ingredients in this dish are spinach and artichoke, both of which have their own health benefits. Artichokes are packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that increase health and wellbeing. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins A, B2, B6, C, E and K; manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, calcium and potassium. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus,  zinc, protein, and choline.

Castro Valley in Monteray, California is the chief Artichoke producer in USA. It is such a pleasure to drive on the way watching the big green artichokes swaying in the summer sun! It was only after moving here that I started using artichokes at home. Whether it is this dip or adding marinated artichokes to pizza or pasta, the distinct flavor of it's hearts is great. This is the first recipe here using artichokes, and I am sure I shall add many more. Till then, enjoy this warm dip with chips and bring the summer home!

Baby Spinach 2 cups
Artichoke hearts 1 cup
Garlic 1-2 cloves
Onion 1/2 diced
Mayonnaise 1/2 cup
Heavy Cream 1/4 cup
Mozzarella Cheese 1/2 cup
Seasoning Mix
Salt, Pepper 
Olive Oil 1 tsp

To start preparation, mince the garlic, dice the onion and chop the spinach finely. I have used baby spinach, however, the normal spinach leaves work equally well. For the artichokes, you can use fresh hearts, canned artichokes or marinated canned artichokes. Take the heart quarters and roughly chop them. If you like artichoke pieces in the dip, keep the bits big; else mince finely. Preheat oven too 350 F/ 180 C.

In a pan heat the olive oil and add the minced garlic. Once the raw flavor vanishes, add the onions and stir-fry till it is translucent. Next add spinach and mix well. Sprinkle salt, pepper and seasoning. Mix well and let the water evaporate while the spinach cooks. Once the spinach is dry, add the artichoke hearts and mix to a homogenous mixture. Once the mixture is done, remove from flame and cool.

Line an oven proof bowl with cooking spray or olive oil, add the mayonnaise, and whipping cream and blend them together. Add the spinach artichoke mixture and half the cheese. Mix it all together and top with the remaining cheese. Add a little pepper powder on top and bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes. The mixture will boil a little so make sure the bowl is big enough not to spill the mixture over. 

After about 20-25 minutes, check if the cheese on top has melted completely and formed a semi-soft layer. Remove from the oven and serve with chips, snackers, boiled vegetables or pieces of baguette or toast.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Paneer Chili Noodles

Ask any Indo-Chinese restaurant what are their three top-seller dishes. The answer will generally include either or both of Hakka Noodles and Paneer Chili. These two dishes along with Vegetable Manchurian and Fried rice are the most famous dishes in vegetarian Indo Chinese cuisine. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could combine a couple of these dishes and stir up a tasty one for weeknight dinners? All this, with minimum effort and utensils? 

This was the exact thought that led to the creation of this dish. Simple recipe for vegetarian noodles that can be made with just a few ingredients. Boil the dry noodles and prepare the paneer in garlic chili and bell pepper mixture. Then stir it all together and serve with any of the main course dishes like Tofu in Chili Garlic SauceBabycorn ChiliOrange Tofu or Vegetable coins in Hot garlic sauce.

This recipe works best for a hasty week night dinner as it can be stirred up in a jiffy. Also, at times when your refrigerator is low on vegetables, this dish can be made and enjoyed by children and adults alike!!


Dried noodles 1 packet
Paneer 1 block, 14 oz
Bell Pepper 1 medium
Onion 1 medium
Garlic 3-4 cloves finely chopped
Ginger 1/2 inch minced
Green Chili 2-3 minced
Spring onion greens and onion 1 bunch
Soy sauce, vinegar
Sriracha hot garlic sauce
Vegetable Oil, Chili Oil


Heat water in a large saucepan. Add a pinch of salt to the water. Once the water is boiling, add the noodles. Cook the noodles till they are al dante or just done. Over cooked noodles will become mushy when prepared. Drain the noodles and put them in a saucepan. Sprinkle little oil on them and mix well, to ensure they do not stick. The noodles used in this dish can be as per your choice and availability. I used the dry round noodles from the Asian store. You may also use rice noodles or flat noodles.

Thaw the paneer and cut it into cubes. Chop the bell pepper and onion into dice and set aside. Take a wok or thick bottom saucepan that is wide enough. Add the oils to it and heat them. Chinese cooking is always done on high flame for a short time, so ensure that the oil is hot enough. To the regular oil, I added a little bit of chili sesame oil. This mixture has the perfect flavor of chili without the overpowering taste of sesame oil. Once the oil fumes, place the paneer pieces in the wok and stir-fry them till they are brown. Once brown on one side, turn them over and brown them. Remove all the paneer pieces and put them in warm water with a pinch of salt. This helps in keeping the paneer soft.

In the same oil add garlic, ginger and green chili. Once the raw flavor of garlic vanishes, add the bell peppers and onion pieces and sauté them well. Add the Chili Garlic sauce and spring onion whites and mix. Next add the paneer pieces and let them coat with the spicy garlic ginger mixture. Now add the boiled noodles, vinegar, soy sauce and salt if necessary. Mix well and turn down the flame. It is now time to add in the spring onion greens. Mix and serve hot with any main course of your choice. You may choose to make one of these: Tofu in Chili Garlic Sauce, Babycorn Chili, Orange Tofu or Vegetable coins in Hot garlic sauce.

To try other Indo-Chinese dishes, click here.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Banana Chocolate Bread

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight.” 

This quote by M.F.K. Fischer is perfect for any one who bakes at home. The smell of bread in the kitchen is surely great, but adding flavorful ingredients like banana, chocolate, cranberries or vanilla to it is like the cherry on top. This bread is great to bake in a big batch and freeze them for future use. The bread not only makes a great breakfast dish, but is also a good gift when wrapped and gifted. 

Banana bread is one of the most versatile breads I have ever had. It teams so well with a ton of ingredients: Chocolate chips, Cinnamon, Walnuts or other nuts. It is one bread recipe, but can be made into four to five different varieties just by changing the accompanying ingredient. Here is a recipe for the best combination that I have made with Banana, The Banana Choco Chip bread. It is a very easy to follow recipe and sure-shot result. Dig into your pantry and emerge with this award winning bread to surprise your family and loved ones! 

All Purpose Flour 2 cups
Banana 4 very ripe ones
Brown Sugar 1/2 cup 
Baking Soda 1 tsp
Eggs 1 large
Vegetable oil 1/2 cup
Buttermilk 1/4 cup
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Chocolate Chips 1/4 cup
Salt a pinch

In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour, baking soda and salt to form a homogeneous mixture. Set aside. In another mixing bowl whisk sugar with eggs and oil. Add vanilla extract and homogenize into a smooth mixture. Mash the bananas using a potato masher and set aside. The amount of sugar can be adjusted depending on how sweet the bananas are. Also, white sugar can be used instead of brown sugar.

Pour half the wet mixture and half the buttermilk into the dry ingredients and whisk. Once combined, repeat with the remaining mixture and buttermilk and whisk on medium speed to form a smooth paste. Add the mashed bananas and mix well. Once the batter is made, add the chocolate chips, reserving some for the topping. The batter may be pretty dry to work with, but patience pays in this bread! So work your way through the lumpy bread dough.

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a 9 inch bread pan liberally with oil. Spread the batter evenly and add the reserved chocolate chips on top. Bake for 50-55 minutes till the top is cooked and test with a toothpick, if it comes out clean, the bread is done.

This bread can be enjoyed just like this with a glass of milk. Banana bread can be made into loaves and frozen for days. Also, you may choose to top it with chocolate icing or a glaze made from cinnamon. To make a cute gift for a friend or family member, bake the loaf, wrap in transparent plastic and add a cute bow! 

Substitutions: Brown sugar can be substituted with white sugar, for the same proportion. 
Buttermilk can be made with half cup milk and 2 tsp. Vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes before using it.

Looking for other breads?? Try these: Cranberry Orange Bread.