Many people say that cooking is like science where measurements, temperature, quality of ingredients, availability of ingredients and procedure are important to achieve what is called “perfect dish”. Being a scientist and a passionate cook, I could vouch how important some of these parameters are for cooking, but varying the ingredients and playing a little bit with the recipe can sometimes do wonders to your dish. Innovation is not easy and comes with a price, but it surely teaches us what works and what does not, just like your lab experiments do.

I love to cook and I am a vegetarian. As a working woman, however, I find it difficult to hold on to the passion, since grocery shopping is usually done once a week meaning a thorough planning of meals. However, a lot of people must have faced the issue of limited ingredients making them abandoning recipes and this is where I would like to give my two cents.

Managing with limited resources is a task and it requires experience to understand what can substitute what making a Master chef out of every such person.

The following recipe that I am going to write down was passed on to me by my Mexican roommate. The original recipe calls for a special kind of bread that is not available all the time, it calls for white beans that I do not buy usually, but I did not want to give up and so I tweaked it and the results were not just eye appealing, but satiating and healthy.

So, without wasting time, let us begin..

Ingredients (makes for 3 people)

• Mini baguettes – 4 (I got the whole wheat baguettes that need to be baked before eating, but use whatever you have)

• Kidney beans – about 500gm (I used boiled, tinned beans)

• Potato – 1 (boiled)

• Garlic powder

• Salt

• Oil

• Sun dried tomato

• Seasoning

• Chat masala

• Mozzarella cheese – about 200 GMS (grated)

For the Salsa

• Tomato- 2 big size red tomatoes

• Onion- 1 big white onion

• Paprika – 1 red/yellow

• Cucumber

• Garlic powder

• Olive oil

• Parsley

• Lemon juice

• Salt

• Chat masala

• Chillies

• Paprika powder


1. Begin with mashing the kidney beans, boiled potato in a medium sized bowl. Take care to properly rinse out the beans from the tin, removing the remnant liquid. Add the seasoning, sundried tomatoes along with the oil, I used just 2 teaspoons, since the potato was dry.

2. Cut the baguette in half and spread the mixture over the bread, sprinkle the mozzarella, I did not want to grate it, so I spread patches of Mozzarella on my mixture

3. Bake in the oven at 200°C, for about 10-15 min, until the cheese melts or browns a little bit.

4. While this is cooking, begin with the salsa by chopping all the vegetables into small pieces. Assemble in a bowl, add the seasonings and lemon juice at the end.

5. Check for the baguettes and when done, take out of the oven carefully, enjoy it with the salsa

Side notes:

To clarify my point of what is not indispensable in a recipe here are some examples

Potato, sun dried tomatoes, chat masala, paprika, cucumber, chillies.

These ingredients do enhance the taste, but the dish would not be significantly different. So next time, all of you who dread the thought of trying something new because of limitation of ingredients, just think of what exactly is required and what could be substituted and what could be eliminated.

Happy eating guys.



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