Pork Barbacoa the Sous Vide Way

Pork Barbacoa the Sous Vide Way

This past Christmas one of my friends, an undeniable foodie, put an interesting gift under my tree. A Nomiku sous vide machine. Looking at the appliance I was intimidated, thinking it was something too complex, and worried that this was a gift that would be consigned to the closet of gifts that are never used. I had never even heard of sous vide cooking so I didn’t have any idea where to start. Luckily my friend expected this reaction and explained how it all worked, and included some easy recipes to begin with.
From cooking together he knew I already had a vacuum sealer, which is the other piece of equipment you need with sous vide cooking. Knowing I would be submersing the heat and seal bags I used in water, I was glad I was using Shield N Seal , which are BPA free and which I never have problems with leaking, or not sealing completely. With my friend’s reassurance and help I decided to try cooking the steaks I had gotten for Christmas dinner this was and they were perfect, moist, and the best stakes I had ever made. Since then I have been converting my favorite recipes, especially my slow cooker recipes to the sous vide method.
I even switched from using ShieldNSeal’s precut bags Now I just buy their clear plastic rolls I am using them so much, that the rolls became much more economical. I can cut them to the perfect size, and they are reusable.
This is one of my favorite recipes that I have cooked often over a two day period (including marinade time) in my slow cooker and now takes about 18 hours using this method, with even better, juicer results.
Sweet Pork Barbacoa
½ cup Chili Powder
1 Cup Cherry Juice
1 Cup Brown Sugar
3lbs Pork (you can use tenderloin or shoulder roast as long as it is boneless)
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Peeper
1 Orange Bell Pepper
1 Large Sweet Onion
2 Chili Peppers (Ananheim, Pisalla, Cayenne, or any pepper you like)
1 28oz can of Enchilada Sauce

Take ¼ cup Chili Powder, ½ Cup Cherry Juice, and ½ cup Brown Sugar and mix. Coat the Pork with the marinade and put into a Shield N Seal bag, bag, add any extra marinade to the bag, Cut up peppers, chili’s, and onion, add to the bag and wipe any extra moisture from the opening,vacuum, and seal. Place in your sous vide oven or water bath. Cook for 14 hours (if you have a thicker roast you may need more time).
When finished cooking, cut open the vacuum seal bag, drain any excess fluid, and separate the peppers and onions. Use two forks to shred the pork (you can also use beaters for easier shredding). Place the pork in a slow cooker or a pan on low heat. Add the peppers and onions, the can of Enchilada sauce, and the remaining cherry juice, brown sugar, and chili pepper. Let cook for an additional hour and serve in your favorite, tacos, burritos, salad or other dish. If you have left overs, place them in a Shield N Seal bag, vacuum and seal, and refrigerate or freeze it.

Three Ways to Cook Perfectly Al Dente Pasta

Three Ways to Cook Perfectly Al Dente Pasta


Al dente pasta! It is something that one learns after more than just a few blunders. And please don’t blame your cooking skills for this, because even professional chefs around the world, have had their fair share of trouble, trying to master this seemingly effortless skill. However, you can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Just take a quick look at these amazing ideas to get that perfect al dente pasta, every single time.

1. The Classic Hit and Miss
As soon as the water starts getting a rolling boil, add salt as per your taste. Then add Penne Rigate or Pennoni Rigati, to the water. Taste the pasta after six to seven minutes. Thereafter, taste it every minute. If the pasta tastes chalky, it is not properly cooked yet. If it tastes just fine, then you’re there. You can also break a piece of pasta into two to check. In case the pasta isn’t ready yet, you’ll be able to see a white lining in the centre. If not, the pasta is done. All you need to do now is strain the excess water!


2. The ‘Did Granny Lie?’
Yes, despite how much granny or for that matter any chef has been telling you, pasta can be cooked in astonishingly small amounts of water. In fact, even a quart and a half is good enough for one large cup of pasta. As soon as the water comes to boil, add the pasta and let it simmer. Yes, again, no high flame required, and neither a hard boil. Just let your pasta be. Just make sure you keep stirring it for the first minute or two, at the very start. Ten to 12 minutes, and bam, your pasta is done. Pasta al dente! What’s more, the little amount of water will make the excess water a little starchy. And this will prove to be a great sticking agent for the sauce you are about to mix in! All in all, a total win-win situation!

3. The Working Women Bonanza
Now, what could be better than this? Cooking pasta in 60 seconds. As unbelievable as it sounds, this is in fact, a possibility. All you need is a little prep ahead of time. Take some dried Spirali Grandi pasta in a dish and pour cold water over it. Let it stay like this for about an hour and a half. When you are ready to cook, put some water to boil. Add generous quantity of salt, and then pour this water over the soaked pasta, and wait for 60 seconds. Drain out the excess water. And there you are, with your perfect al dente pasta in just a minute!

From Reluctant Cook to Kitchen Diva in 10 Easy Steps

From Reluctant Cook to Kitchen Diva in 10 Easy Steps


Craving ‘ghar ka khana’ or enticed by the profusion of food porn on TV? Celebrity chefs coaxing you into believing that cooking isn’t quite the rocket science you’re convinced it is? To be fair, the actual prospect of chopping, sautéing, braising, basting, whipping and folding is enough to daunt even the bravest hearts, let alone those among us who approach the kitchen as if it were the jaws of death, itself. Well, here are 10 smart steps to start you off on the right note as you embark on your culinary adventures.

1. Plan ahead: Yes, planning is key. If using a recipe, read it thoroughly. It allows you to make sure you have enough time, all the implements and ingredients at hand, including all the little cheats and shortcuts you’re going to find on this list.

2. Cheat Sheets: Download, printout and pin-up cheat sheets that list conversions for measurements, glossary of cooking terms, precise temperatures for preheating, heating, freezing. They are free and perfect for the metrically challenged!



3. Invest in a handy food processor: There’s one to suit every budget and kitchen space. They can handle a variety of tasks and will cut down on time you spend on the mundane tasks of chopping, grating, mincing… Some have a dough maker attachment, making kneading your chapati or puri or even bread dough a breeze.

4. Stock up the pantry: Don’t be ashamed of using store-bought gravy and sauce mixes; they are great in a pinch or those days when you’re just not in the mood to sweat it out in a hot kitchen. Use some chopped fresh herbs and spritz of lemon juice in the end to spruce up the final dish.

5. Buy veggies and fruits, cut or shelled: Whenever possible, buy shelled pomegranates, cored pineapples, sliced olives…you get the idea. Come home and toss them together to make a fuss- free salad.



6. Buy whole heads as well as peeled garlic: Snip the tips off and toss in the whole heads with a little oil and salt, wrapped in foil, onto a tray when roasting veggies or meats. In 20-30 minutes you have perfectly roasted garlic for more elaborate cooking. Use the peeled cloves for everyday!

7. Cook in batches: Cook up some mince-meat and/or lentils to make easy peasy ‘meatballs’ or patties, hard-boil eggs, steam broccoli, peas and whatever other veggies you like — you’re set for the entire week.

8. Learn and perfect 2- 3 options for each meal/course: Find 2- 3 recipes each for breakfast, lunch, dinner and let’s not forget, dessert, that aren’t complicated and master them. It gives you confidence and a nice foundation to build your culinary repertoire.

stock freezer


9. The freezer is your ally: Stock up your freezer. Freeze liquids such as vegetable or meat stocks, and condiments like pureed chillies, minced mint and coriander in ice-trays, remove and use as required.

10. Beautify your kitchen: A pretty kitchen won’t make your omelette fluffier, or help your cake rise, but it will make your time in the kitchen more appealing and comfortable. An inviting kitchen makes a happy cook and cooking less of a chore.

You get a bonus for trying!! 11. Frozen desserts: Pour juices and smoothies into popsicle moulds and freeze for quick and healthy desserts. Freeze a selection of fruits in freezer-safe boxes to use in smoothies instead of ice.




So, go ahead, give it a whirl, or in this case, a whisk! Bon appétit!

11 Pro Tips to Prevent Food from Spoiling in Summer

11 Pro Tips to Prevent Food from Spoiling in Summer


Summers are a great time to enjoy fresh, seasonal produce but it is also a period where food becomes most susceptible to poisoning since the bacteria tends to multiply faster. The hot weather may actually spoil all your good food and make it go to waste. So here are some pro tips to prevent that and keep food from spoiling in the summer.

1. Set your refrigerator thermostat to the maximum for the summer (below 5 degree celsius). Keep all your meat and raw veggies refrigerated. Store raw and cooked foods in different sections of the fridge because bacteria on the raw foods can spoil the cooked dishes.

2. If you are travelling, cool your food and store it in insulated containers and try to reach your destination soon.

3. For foods that are hot, keep them at that temperature or heat them again till they boil and then leave them to cool. Reheat in a few hours to keep them from spoiling.

4. If you have to store hot foods, do not wait for them to cool completely. Refrigerate them as soon as they come to room temperature. To cool them try putting them in a container in cold water or divide the food into smaller containers.

5. If you are cooking with frozen foods, make sure you thaw them properly or it may get spoiled due to bacteria.

6. If you’ve got to store food in the fridge, make sure you leave some space there for air circulation, which is necessary for cooling.


7. If you store leftovers in the fridge make sure you consume them in three days. If you don’t plan to eat them soon, freeze them.

8. Food gets spoiled pretty soon in summer, so make sure you don’t eat anything that smells foul or tastes weird. In fact, ideally you should not eat anything that has been kept out of the fridge for more than five hours, especially pasta, chicken and fish.

9. When you are ill, you carry a lot of germs and bacteria which can transfer easily to the food and cause diarrhoea, sore throat, fever, jaundice, vomiting and skin infection. So avoid handling food when you are sick.

10. Buy only limited produce and use it fresh. If you stock more than you need, it may get spoiled due to the bad weather.

11. Goods such as rice, grains and pulses should be stored in airtight containers so that moisture does not get in.

10 Easy Dishes to Make with Your Pasta Sauce (Other Than Pasta, Of Course!)

10 Easy Dishes to Make with Your Pasta Sauce (Other Than Pasta, Of Course!)


pasta sauce dishes lead
Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Are you already bored with eating pasta even as that extra large jar of sauce continues to guiltily haunt your dreams? That marinara or white sauce sitting in your fridge is good for a whole heap of other dishes than just pasta. All it takes is a little bit of spice and a little bit of creativity. Here’s a list of ten quick, yet fancy dishes that can be made with that plain old jar of pasta sauce.


tomato soup
Image Courtesy: ©Thinkstock photos/ Getty images

1. Tomato Soup: Dilute one cup of red pasta sauce with water and bring it to a boil. Add cream, pepper and serve with cruoutons.

pasta par eedu
Image via Amateur Gourmet

2. Pasta par Eedu: The parsi breakfast egg dish, Tamota par Eedu, gets a continental quick fix here. Heat 1 cup of pasta sauce, diluted with 1/4 cup of water, some ginger garlic paste and chilli powder. Pour the heated sauce onto a serving dish and crack two eggs on it. Garnish with crumbled potato chips (instead of salli) or grated cheese.

baked egg muffins
Image Courtesy: ©Thinkstock photos/ Getty images

3. Quick Egg Muffins: This makes for a yummy weekend breakfast dish. And quick too. Break eggs and toss them with white pasta sauce (bechamel, alfredo or ragu) and some chopped spinach. Add in grated cheese and pour into pudding ramekins or muffin moulds. Top them with breadcrumbs and more grated cheese if need be and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes at 180 degrees until cooked through.

paneer kathi rolls
Image via Cook With Manali

4. Easy Paneer Kathi Rolls: Heat 1 cup of red pasta sauce with ginger garlic paste, add crumbled or chopped paneer, garam masala and chopped coriander until the paneer is well coated. Fill them in leftover chapattis along with chopped onions and roll them with foil paper for yummy paneer kathi rolls. And the entire process only takes 5 minutes.

stuffed mushrooms
Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
5. Stuffed Mushrooms: Remove mushroom stems and chop them. Add fine breadcrumbs, white pasta sauce, finely chopped garlic and chopped black olives. Stuff the mushroom caps each with half a teaspoon of this filling and top with grated mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees.

deviled eggs
Image via My Healthy Happy Home

6. Deviled Eggs with Pesto Sauce: This makes for a lovely party snack. Hard boil ten to 12 eggs, peel them, cut them into halves and scoop out the yolk. Mix the yolk with canned pesto sauce and a hint of cream if required. Spoon the mixture back into the egg halves or put it into a piping bag and squeeze them into the hollowed egg halves for better presentation. Serve them on a tray.

eggplant parmesan
Image via The Cocina Monologues
7. Easy Baked Eggplant Parmesan: Slice a large eggplant (brinjal), coat it with egg and cover it with breadcrumbs. Cook the slices until crisp on a hot baking sheet or on a non-stick pan on stove top. Next take a baking dish, pour a thin layer of red pasta sauce, throw in the crisp eggplant slices and top with oodles of parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese melts and is golden brown in spots.

chicken tikka
Image Courtesy: ©Thinkstock photos/ Getty images
8. Quick Chicken Tikka: Cut 4 chicken breasts into cubes and toss them in yoghurt with turmeric powder, chilli powder, a little bit of salt and cumin powder and set aside for an hour to tenderise the meat. Next heat 1 cup of marinara sauce, add ginger garlic paste, chilli powder, cumin powder, garam masala and 4 tablespoons of cream. Throw in the chicken pieces and let it cook until the gravy is absorbed. If you want crust on the chicken like cooking in a tandoor, then throw in chicken pieces first in hot oil and allow the edges to get a little crisp before throwing in the marinara sauce and other spices. Garnish with coriander and serve.

omlette pizza
Image via Shoe Makes The Man

9. Pizza Omlette Margherita: Break four eggs and whisk it well with a little bit of salt, pepper and 2 teaspoons of milk. Pour it onto a non-stick omelette pan (with side walls), close the lid and allow it to cook for 2 minutes on a low flame until the omelette fluffs up. Meanwhile, mix one table spoon of red pasta sauce with fresh chopped basil and spoon the mixture onto the omelette while it’s still cooking on the pan and spread it thoroughly like you would spread pizza sauce. Top it with grated mozzarella cheese and close the lid and allow it to cook for 2 more minutes until the cheese melts. Slide it off the pan onto a serving plate and cut diagonally like pizza slices and serve.

pesto rice
Image via Oh My Veggies
10. Easy Pesto Rice Bake: Toss boiled basmati rice with pesto sauce, boiled sweet corn, some sun dried tomatoes and red bell peppers. Empty it onto a greased baking tray or a non-stick pan. Top with grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese and bake for 15 minutes in an oven until melted and golden brown or cook it covered on stove top until the cheese is just melted. Serve in the same pan.

10 Lesser-Known Facts About Canola Oil

10 Lesser-Known Facts About Canola Oil



Choosing the right kind of cooking oil has never been easy, no matter what part of the world you live in. Whether you are cooking grilled chicken or baking a chocolate chip cake, using oil is inevitable, in most cases. After all, choosing the right cooking oil is important for your heart and health. Oil Technologist, Dr. Amit Pratap, who is Assistant Professor, Department of Oils, Oleochemicals and Surfactants Technology at the Institute of Chemical Technology shares 10 lesser-known facts about canola oil.

The source: It is produced from the seeds of the canola plant. Once harvested, canola seeds are taken to a crushing facility, where the oil contained within the seed is extracted, refined and bottled as canola oil. The leftover material, known as canola meal, is then used as a protein source in animal feed. The average canola seed consists of 45 per cent oil.

It is a type of vegetable oil: Some food products labelled ‘vegetable oil’ may contain canola oil. ‘Vegetable oil’ on a label allows a food manufacturer to substitute or combine oils without having to change the product label. A popular U.S. consumer magazine, Cooking Light, now specifically recommends canola oil instead of vegetable oil in its recipes. Many other cookbook authors, food writers and publications are following suit.

Healthy for the heart: It has the least-saturated fat of any common cooking oil. In fact, it has less than half the saturated fat of olive or soybean oil. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a qualified health claim for canola oil’s ability to reduce the risk of heart disease, when used in place of saturated fat.

Ideal for any type of cooking: From salad dressings to sautéing, canola oil’s neutral taste and light texture makes it a great match for just about everything. Its high-heat tolerance means you can use canola oil for anything-from baking to stir-frying to deep-frying or grilling.

Used around the world: It is the number one vegetable oil in Canada and Japan, while number two in Mexico and the United States. Overall, it is the third most-consumed vegetable oil in the world.


Global need for healthier foods: With worldwide health issues like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, a simple change like using healthier cooking oil can make a significant difference.

Healthy cooking oil: Dietary fat, in moderation, is needed to provide energy and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Certain fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fats are essential for good nutrition and must be consumed as part of a healthy diet.
Canola oil provides more of the healthy fats than any other popular common cooking and salad oils. With its low, saturated fat level, excellent balance of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, its versatility and light taste, canola oil has found an important place in the world’s kitchens, food products and restaurants.

Fats in Canola oil: Fats are made of smaller units called fatty acids. Canola oil is low in saturated fat-7 per cent of total fatty acids. This is lower than any other common cooking oil or salad oil. It is rich in monosaturated fat-61 per cent of total fatty acids-and is cholesterol and trans-fat free.

Reduce the risk of Coronary Heart Disease: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized, in October 2006, a qualified health claim for canola oil based on its high percentage of unsaturated fats. The claim states:

“Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about one and a half tablespoons (19 grams) of canola oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the unsaturated fat content in canola oil. To achieve this possible benefit, canola oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.”

Packaged foods: Companies that sell packaged foods do not disclose information about the oil used in their products. Since canola oil is low in saturated fat level, using it in daily cooking may not necessarily result in heart-prone diseases. Most of the packaged foods carry a warning, Adequate Exercise Required.