Recent Posts

Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili – Cluster Beans Dhal Paste Curry

Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili – Cluster Beans Dhal Paste Curry

Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili from a traditional Tamil Iyer Style Recipe. Cluster beans sautéed with tuar dal-chilli paste, tempered with mustard seeds & hing.

Easy Vegetable Koottu -Veggies & Lentil Stew for the New Mom

Easy Vegetable Koottu -Veggies & Lentil Stew for the New Mom

Easy, Quick to make Vegetable Koottu for the new Mom, Vegetables cooked with moong dal lentils and turmeric, tempered with curry leaves, mustard, fenugreek and cumin

<a href="http://spicesafari.com/webstore/index.php?acc=98f13708210194c475687be6106a3b84&bannerid=27" target="_blank"><img src="http://spicesafari.com/webstore/index.php/india/affiliates/banner/image/id/27/account_id/24/store_id/1/" title="Freshness overloaded" width="478" height="206" /></a /rel="nofollow">
Thin crust Tomato Mozzarella Pizza

Thin crust Tomato Mozzarella Pizza

Simple to make and an amazingly tasty, classic homemade thin crust Tomato Mozzarella Pizza. The basil leaves and freshly ground pepper take the pizza to another dimension. Try a variant with different toppings, taking you to Pizza Heaven! With homemade tomato basil sauce, the pizza is so easy to put together.

Tomato Mozzarella Pizza_PepperOnPizza.com

Here are the links to the recipes for the home made Pizza Dough and for the home made Tomato Basil sauce in this blog:

Link to the Recipe for Easy Pizza Dough: http://www.pepperonpizza.com/easy-homemade-pizza-dough-recipe

Link to the Recipe for Tomato Basil Sauce: http://www.pepperonpizza.com/tomato-basil-sauce-pasta-pizza-recipe

Link to the recipe for Kale and Onion Pizza: Easy Kale and Onion Pizza &#8211; Healthy and Delicious

I make pizza dough once every 2-3 weeks and freeze whatever I don’t use immediately. Similarly with the tomato basil sauce – I always have some of it in the freezer. Weekends, I like to make pizza, and it takes just a few minutes to roll out the base (after the dough has come to room temperature), spread some sauce, top with tomatoes, peppers, mushroom, olives, depending on the combination of toppings I decide on, sprinkle cheese on top. In my oven when I bake the pizza at 250 deg C, it takes 10 -12 minutes for the thin crust pizza to be ready.

The Tomato Mozzarella Pizza is a near variant of the Pizza Margherita. The only reason I have not used the latter name is because after baking, the cheese looks more orange/ yellow than white, perhaps because it took a longer time to bake, than usual. A typical Pizza Margherita would have 3 colours – Red from the Tomato, White from the Mozzarella and Green from the Basil, together forming the colours of the Italian Flag. The story goes, according to Wikipedia, that pizza Margherita, was invented in 1889, when the Royal Palace of Capodimonte commissioned the Neapolitan pizza maker Raffaele Esposito to create a pizza in honour of the visiting Queen Margherita. Of the three different pizzas he created, the Queen strongly preferred a pizza swathed in the colours of the Italian flag. 

The Tomato Mozzarella Pizza does have all the 3 components of a Pizza Margherita, viz, Basil, Mozzarella and Tomato. In the original Neapolitan Pizza (the name is now protected in the European Union as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed dish), the tomatoes used were the San Marzano Tomatoes. I do get San Marzano tomatoes for my Tomato Mozzarella Pizza as well as the Tomato Basil Sauce, when at Bangalore, from First Agro Farms, who supply households in Bangalore with their fresh zero pesticide, non GMO produce.

(more…)

Easy Basic Pizza Dough – Anyone can make Pizza

Easy Basic Pizza Dough – Anyone can make Pizza

Move over, Dominos, Pizza Hut, et al! Home made Pizza has arrived! Having finally got the hang of making pizza dough at home, weekends have become Pizza dinner days. With my easy tomato basil sauce stocked up in the fridge, along with pizza dough made […]

Easy Tomato Basil Sauce For Pasta or Pizza

Easy Tomato Basil Sauce For Pasta or Pizza

This easy, 6 ingredient (counting salt, pepper and oil, each as ingredients) Tomato Basil Sauce for Pasta or Pizza is a very basic and simple sauce. I make it about once a month and then freeze it in separate small portions so that there is […]

Fresh Ripe Strawberries – Delicious Bites of Nutrition

Fresh Ripe Strawberries – Delicious Bites of Nutrition

Strawberries are plentifully available this month, and I am making the most of the short season. Every time I step into the little supermarket near the apartment at Hyderabad, I see these small plastic boxes tightly filled with ripe red strawberries. Natasha looooves strawberries and is ready to make a meal of them, if she is allowed to do so.

There are any number of recipes you can turn out from this tart and sweet bite of deliciousness, but did you know that they are healthy and nutritious too?

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamins C and K as well as being rich in fibre, folic acid, manganese and potassium as well as having lesser quantities of other vitamins. Strawberries are known to have been used throughout history as a medicine for digestive ailments, teeth whitening and skin irritations. Their fibre and fructose content may help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion and the fibre is thought to have a satiating effect. Leaves can be eaten raw, cooked or used to make tea. Certain studies have suggested that strawberry consumption may have beneficial effects in humans such as lowering blood LDL cholesterol levels, total cholesterol, reducing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and decreasing the spike in blood sugar after high sugar meals and the spike in blood cholesterol seen after high-fat meals.

Strawberries ready to be picked_PepperOnPizza.com

Strawberries contain significant amounts of phytonutrients and flavanoids which gives them their bright red colour. The vibrant red is due to large amounts of anthocyanidin, which also means they contain powerful antioxidants and are thought to protect against inflammation, cancer and heart disease.

It was in June 2014 that I first experienced Strawberry Picking, at a farm  in Connecticut.

Strawberry Picking
Strawberry Picking

On a hot bright morning, it was great fun to pick the berries from the neatly laid out rows of plants, and then to go back home and plan a host of recipes with the fresh fruit.

Strawberry fields in CT_PepperOnPizza.com
Strawberry fields in CT

I am yet to make strawberry jam, though I do plan to try this out this year, 2017 when I will be visiting Connecticut again.

Strawberry fields in CT_PepperOnPizza.com

Some Easy Recipes on this blog, using Strawberries:

Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing for Salads: http://www.pepperonpizza.com/strawberry-poppyseed-dressing-chia-seeds

Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing
Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing

Strawberry Pancakes: http://www.pepperonpizza.com/easy-strawberry-buttermilk-pancakes-recipe

Strawberry Pancakes_PepperOnPizza.com
Strawberry Pancakes

Dandelion Greens Couscous Salad with Strawberry Dressing http://www.pepperonpizza.com/salad-dandelion-greens-mango-couscous-recipe

Dandelion Greens with Strawberry Dressing_PepperOnPizza.com
Dandelion Greens with Strawberry Dressing

Watermelon Arugula Strawberry Salad: http://www.pepperonpizza.com/watermelon-arugula-feta-salad-with-strawberries-cranberries-recipe

Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing with Chia Seeds

Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing with Chia Seeds

Quick Easy Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing with Chia Seeds for a delicious and healthy Dip or Salad dressing. A cupful of nutrition in less than 10 minutes!

Rajma – How to make the best Rajma Masala Curry

Rajma – How to make the best Rajma Masala Curry

Flavourful, nutritious Rajma masala curry of pre-soaked, well cooked red kidney beans in a thick onion gravy, spices & turmeric. Best with hot Rice or with flatbread.

Curried Chilli Zucchini Soup – Spice Up Your Evening

Curried Chilli Zucchini Soup – Spice Up Your Evening

Gorgeous red birds eye chillies and some fresh zucchini from First Agro Farms, set me to searching for the perfect ‘winter’ soup. Broadly adapted from Simply Recipes ‘Spicy Zucchini Soup’, the  chilli zucchini soup is one treat you will come back to again and again. The varied textures and balance of flavours are everything one would want a soup to be.

Hot chilli zucchini soup_PepperOnPizza.com
Hot curried chilli zucchini soup.

The curried chilli zucchini soup is easy to put together, and the walnuts add to the texture and flavour, contrasting with the silkiness of the pureed zucchini.

The red chillies give it just that zing you want from a hot bowl of soup on a chill Bangalore evening.You can manage the level of ‘heat’ by adjusting the quantity of red chilli used in the recipe for chilli zucchini soup below.

I have grated the zucchini and pureed the soup coarsely. However you could dice the zucchini into even sized 1 cm square or so pieces for uniform cooking. Or grate the zucchini and not puree the soup.

The origins of zucchini have been traced by archaeologists to as early as 7000 BC, in Mexico.  Wikipedia says that ‘Zucchini, like all squash, has its ancestry in the Americas. However the varieties of squash typically called “zucchini” were developed in northern Italy in the second half of the 19th century, many generations after the introduction of cucurbits from the Americas (North and South, called the New World) in the early 16th century.’ The first description of the variety under the name zucchini occurs in a work published in Milan in 1901.

What’s in a name?

The origins of the name of the fruit is interesting, as it is said that the people who colonised New England, gave it the name of squash, which is  derived from its North American description of ‘something eaten raw’.  The first records of zucchini in the United States are said to date to the early 1920s, and thought to have been brought over by Italian immigrants and probably first cultivated in California. Wikipedia says that in the United States, Australia and Germany, the plant is commonly called a zucchini, derived from the Italian zucca, meaning a “gourd, marrow, pumpkin, squash. The name courgette is from the French courge, “gourd, marrow”, and is commonly used in France, Belgium and other Francophone areas, and in the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands and South Africa. In the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand, a fully-grown, matured courgette is referred to as a marrow.In South Africa, the fruit is typically harvested as a baby vegetable, approximately finger size, and is referred to as “baby marrows”.

Nutrition and Health:

According to nutrition-and-you.com, zucchini has a number of health benefits: Because of their high water content, they are low in calories and without saturated fats or cholesterol, high in Folates, it is a good source for potassium, as well as having other minerals such as iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. It is often advised by dieticians in weight reduction and cholesterol control programs.  Zucchini has some levels of  anti-oxidants (though not as much as some berries and vegetables) and the yellow skinned ones are rich in flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein and zea-xanthin, which can play a role in ageing and help fight cancer and other disease. The peel is a good source of digestive fibre that helps in reduction of constipation and can be of some protection against colon cancer. Fresh zucchini is rich in Vitamin A and C as well as some moderate levels of B-complex group of vitamins all of which are important for good health.

Zucchini comes in different shapes and sizes_PepperOnPizza.com
Zucchini comes in different shapes and sizes

Culinary uses of the zucchini:

Zucchini or courgette is such a versatile vegetable.  Actually, it is a fruit, like the tomato, but of course not as sweet and soft which is why it is made into savoury dishes, like the zucchini soup. Add it to pasta sauce, make zucchini soup, bake it as an au gratin or as bread, grill it, shred it, sauté or roast it and add to a salad, spiralize into noodles, or stuff and bake it, make a soufflé, theres a lot you can do with it. It cooks fast, and its rather bland taste complements most flavours, and gives texture to the dish. And is both nutritious and healthy too!

The culinary use of the zucchini is as varied as the many regions of the world. The flower and the fruit are both edible, as is the peel of the young zucchini.

A main ingredient in the French ratatouille, or stuffed with meat, tomatoes or peppers; in salads, raw or lightly cooked in Thai or Vietnamese recipes; in Egypt, cooked with tomato sauce, garlic and onions; fried and served with a yogurt dip in Bulgaria or sliced and baked with eggs, yogurt, flour and dill. Cooked in different ways, in Italy, baked, boiled, fried, sautéed; stuffed with meat or rice, herbs and spices an steamed as in the Middle East and Greece where it is served with avgolemono sauce or fried or stewed with green peppers and eggplant. Zucchini flowers and fruit are used as a filling for quesadilla in Mexico, or made into zucchini soup or stews. A favourite way to cook zucchini in Russia and the Ukrainian region is to coat the zucchini with flour or semolina and fry or bake and serve with sour cream. Zucchini caviar is another interesting dish, where, according to Wikipedia, the squash spread is made from processed zucchini, carrots, onions and tomato paste. The popular mücver or zucchini pancakes of Turkey, are made from shredded zucchini, flour and eggs and fried in olive oil, served with yogurt. Mouth watering, are they not?

So:  Have you had zucchini today? Try out this chilli zucchini soup and you will come back for more!

As usual, I had purchased the zucchini, herbs and the chillies for the chilli zucchini soup, from the zero pesticide growers of fresh produce, First Agro Farms, through their marketing arm, Sakura Fresh. We Bangaloreans are lucky indeed to have this quality of vegetables and greens delivered to our doorstep -there is so much happiness in knowing that one has made something flavourful and nutritious and is able to access Safe Food for the family!

The link below is to a vendor to whom PepperOnPizza.com is affiliated. If you click and purchase through the link, I will earn a small commission. I only promote brands and products that I trust.

Pathiya Milagu Kuzhambu for the New Mom

Pathiya Milagu Kuzhambu for the New Mom

Cooking for my daughter after the birth of my little granddaughter, has taxed my culinary ingenuity to the core. The cooking is not the problem, each dish I make is easy and takes very little time, as I use vegetables and lentils which cook fast. […]


Just Strawberries

Fresh Ripe Strawberries – Delicious Bites of Nutrition

Fresh Ripe Strawberries – Delicious Bites of Nutrition

Strawberries are plentifully available this month, and I am making the most of the short season. Every time I step into the little supermarket near the apartment at Hyderabad, I see these small plastic boxes tightly filled with ripe red strawberries. Natasha looooves strawberries and is ready to make a meal of them, if she is allowed to do so.

There are any number of recipes you can turn out from this tart and sweet bite of deliciousness, but did you know that they are healthy and nutritious too?

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamins C and K as well as being rich in fibre, folic acid, manganese and potassium as well as having lesser quantities of other vitamins. Strawberries are known to have been used throughout history as a medicine for digestive ailments, teeth whitening and skin irritations. Their fibre and fructose content may help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion and the fibre is thought to have a satiating effect. Leaves can be eaten raw, cooked or used to make tea. Certain studies have suggested that strawberry consumption may have beneficial effects in humans such as lowering blood LDL cholesterol levels, total cholesterol, reducing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and decreasing the spike in blood sugar after high sugar meals and the spike in blood cholesterol seen after high-fat meals.

Strawberries ready to be picked_PepperOnPizza.com

Strawberries contain significant amounts of phytonutrients and flavanoids which gives them their bright red colour. The vibrant red is due to large amounts of anthocyanidin, which also means they contain powerful antioxidants and are thought to protect against inflammation, cancer and heart disease.

It was in June 2014 that I first experienced Strawberry Picking, at a farm  in Connecticut.

Strawberry Picking
Strawberry Picking

On a hot bright morning, it was great fun to pick the berries from the neatly laid out rows of plants, and then to go back home and plan a host of recipes with the fresh fruit.

Strawberry fields in CT_PepperOnPizza.com
Strawberry fields in CT

I am yet to make strawberry jam, though I do plan to try this out this year, 2017 when I will be visiting Connecticut again.

Strawberry fields in CT_PepperOnPizza.com

Some Easy Recipes on this blog, using Strawberries:

Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing for Salads: http://www.pepperonpizza.com/strawberry-poppyseed-dressing-chia-seeds

Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing
Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing

Strawberry Pancakes: http://www.pepperonpizza.com/easy-strawberry-buttermilk-pancakes-recipe

Strawberry Pancakes_PepperOnPizza.com
Strawberry Pancakes

Dandelion Greens Couscous Salad with Strawberry Dressing http://www.pepperonpizza.com/salad-dandelion-greens-mango-couscous-recipe

Dandelion Greens with Strawberry Dressing_PepperOnPizza.com
Dandelion Greens with Strawberry Dressing

Watermelon Arugula Strawberry Salad: http://www.pepperonpizza.com/watermelon-arugula-feta-salad-with-strawberries-cranberries-recipe


Pizza and Pasta

Thin crust Tomato Mozzarella Pizza

Thin crust Tomato Mozzarella Pizza

Simple to make and an amazingly tasty classic pizza, topped with Tomato, Bell Peppers and Mozarella cheese. The basil leaves and freshly ground pepper take it to a another dimension. Try a variant with different toppings, taking you to Pizza Heaven! The recipe for the pizza dough is from The Greens

Easy Basic Pizza Dough – Anyone can make Pizza

Easy Basic Pizza Dough – Anyone can make Pizza

Move over, Dominos, Pizza Hut, et al! Home made Pizza has arrived! Having finally got the hang of making pizza dough at home, weekends have become Pizza dinner days. With my easy tomato basil sauce stocked up in the fridge, along with pizza dough made […]

Easy Tomato Basil Sauce For Pasta or Pizza

Easy Tomato Basil Sauce For Pasta or Pizza

This easy, 6 ingredient (counting salt, pepper and oil, each as ingredients) Tomato Basil Sauce for Pasta or Pizza is a very basic and simple sauce. I make it about once a month and then freeze it in separate small portions so that there is […]

Easy Kale and Onion Pizza – Healthy and Delicious

Easy Kale and Onion Pizza – Healthy and Delicious

Healthy and easy to make pizza with homemade dough topped with sautéed onion and fresh kale. With the nutrition and disease fighting properties of kale, pizza becomes ‘healthy food’ instead of junk!

15 Minutes Fettucine in Fennel Frond Pesto

15 Minutes Fettucine in Fennel Frond Pesto

Delicious Fettucine Pasta tossed with Fennel Frond Pesto, sautéed zucchini, olives and toasted walnuts, with grated Cheddar Cheese.Took less than 15 minutes to put together as the pesto was all ready available. The pesto was of Fennel fronds with pine nuts and my home made Basil oil. A medley of complementing flavours! Tasty and Healthy too!