Desi Style Pasta


Pasta made with Indian masalas, and of course cheese, that delightful ingredient that we Indians just can’t do without. And tomato sauce too. This desi style pasta is mom’s recipe. You can make it spicy if you wish by adding more chilly powder or just keep it medium spicy, and that tastes great too.

It’s a great one dish meal with ice cream for dessert in these hot summer months. You can also eat it with toast, but please, please, do eat your pasta piping hot, because it’s no fun eating cold pasta.

Infact, now that the rains are here, you may wish to sit by the window or outdoors, with a delicious bowl of pasta and a fantastic book to read, or if you like to stay indoors, then you could eat it while watching your favourite television programme.

Here’s the recipe

Desi Style Pasta

Serves 3-4


250 gms shell pasta

3 tablespoons oil + 1 tablespoon oil

100 gms green beans chopped into small pieces

1 medium carrot chopped into small pieces

1 medium potato chopped into small pieces

2 medium tomatoes chopped into small pieces

1 medium capsicum cut into thin strips

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/4 teaspoon chilly powder

salt to taste + a pinch of salt

1/2 cup tomato sauce


3/4 cup grated cheese


1 Put a large vessel filled with three quarters water to boil. Add a pinch of salt to the water. Put the pasta into the boiling water. Add a tablespoon of oil and let it cook till the pasta is soft. Drain the water and keep the pasta aside.

2 While the pasta is cooking in boiling water, heat the oil in a large pan. Into the hot oil, add the chopped green beans, carrots, potatoes and tomatoes. Fry for 1 minute. Now add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, chilly powder and salt to taste into the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup water, cover and let cook on a slow flame. Keep checking often to see if vegetables are cooked. When the vegetables are almost cooked add the capsicum pieces and cook for 2 more minutes.

3 To the cooked vegetables add the pasta and mix gently. Let cook for 3 minutes, then add tomato sauce and stir gently. Remove from heat, put in a serving bowl and garnish with cheese.

Serve hot.

Kacha Pacca Cabbage


Kacha Pacca Cabbage or Cabbage Vegetable is a quick to make, easy, nutritious and tasty dish made especially by people from Kutch and Gujarat. It can be made spicy by adding a lot of green chillies. You can also garnish the dish with fresh grated coconut.

Mom used to make this when we were kids and we devoured it with relish. We ate it with hot ghee (clarified butter) chapatis.

The asafoetida in this recipe gives it a delicious taste. Asafoetida originated in Persia. The Mughals cultivated it in India to provide their cooks with a ready supply. The Indian vegetarian population took to hing as it was called in India, with great relish. When cooked in oil it produced a garlicky flavour which was loved by devout Hindus who didn’t eat onions and garlic in their food.

Kacha Pacca Cabbage

Serves 3-4


500 gms cabbage

3 tablespoons oil

3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon asafoetida

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt to taste

1 to 2 green chillies (optional)


Some fresh grated coconut (optional)


1 Shred the cabbage. Chop the chillies into small pieces if using. Keep aside.

2 Heat the oil in a Kadhai (deep bottomed pan). Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the asafoetida, then quickly add the shredded cabbage.

3 Now cook the cabbage for 3 minutes on medium heat, stirring to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, then add the sugar, salt to taste and finely cut chillies if adding, and cook for another minute.

Garnish with fresh grated coconut if you like and serve hot with hot puffed phulkas or ghee chapatis.


Green beans with fresh coconut and sesame seeds

B76D1E9C-404E-4606-85A6-50D79335AFAAGreens, I adore them, they’re tasty the way we Indians make them, and so healthy. I ate a dish similar to this one at a restaurant and it tasted good, so when I found the recipe in Madhur Jaffrey’s 100 Essential Curries, I was smitten.

Now, who hasn’t heard of Madhur Jaffrey? The queen of Indian curries. She is an actress par excellence and a chef who put India on the global food map as early as the 70s and 80s when she travelled all over India shooting TV cookery shows for British television. She’s written a whole bunch of cookery books too.

The dish is refreshing and easy to make. Here is the recipe.

Green beans with fresh coconut and sesame seeds

Serves 4


50 gms (2oz) freshly grated coconut (about 8 tbsps)

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh green coriander, or parsley.

Generous pinch of asafoetida (optional)

1/2 to 1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt

450 gms (1 lb) fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2.5 cms (1 in) lengths

6 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper ( optional)


1 Combine the coconut, coriander, asafoetida, green chilli and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Rub the mixture well with  your hands. Set aside.

2 Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to 2 litres (3 1/2 pints) water and bring to a boil in a large pot. Add the cut beans. Boil rapidly for 3 to 4 minutes or until beans are tender, but still bright green and crisp. Drain in a colander and refresh by moving the colander under cold running water. Set aside.

3 Heat the ghee or oil in a 25 to 30 cms (10 to 12 in) wide sauté pan or heavy pot over a medium heat. When hot, put in the sesame and mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop add the cayenne pepper. Stir once and add the beans. Sauté the beans over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until they are heated through and well coated with the seeds. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir. Now add the coconut- coriander mixture, stir once and remove from the heat. Serve immediately.

I didn’t add the cayenne pepper or the green chilli, and added a nice pinch of asafoetida, and the dish turned out delicious.

I have adjusted the amount of salt and mustard seeds in the recipe and adapted it from the original as on 17th March 2018.