August 25, 2015

Mini Masala Idli

I didn't know that planning the lunch box menu is such a difficult task until Kedar started school. He does not like to eat on his own unless I give him a bowl of Hakka Noodles or Pasta or homemade Bhel Puri which he will happily eat on his own & ask for a second helping too 

Idli Fry

There are very few things that he likes to carry in his lunch box & thankfully Idli is one of them. This is a super easy recipe & a great lunch box option especially for little kiddos. This isn't much of a recipe really. This can be adapted in many ways & it also makes for a healthy party starter with a chutney on the side

You can also use different spice powder to season the Idlis. Maybe a Peanut Chutney Powder, Andhra Gun Powder or even Sambhar powder. Sometimes I also add fried onions. You can also make this using leftover Idlis & serve it as an evening snack.

August 14, 2015

Garlic Rasam

Garlic Rasam is not a regular in our household. We love our Mysore style Saaru or Rasam way too much & its made atleast thrice a week. I was craving for a really good Garlicky Rasam last week since the weather in Bangalore is just awesome. Its been raining quite a bit & that nip in the air makes us crave good food.


We always make Rasam with a good amount of Tomatoes & Lentils. And, that's how we've always liked it. So, I've added a bit of roasted lentils to the spice mixture to slightly thicken the texture & give it some taste

You Will Need:
  • 1 Big Tomato
  • 8-10 cloves of Garlic
  • A pinch of Turmeric Powder
  • A sprig of Curry Leaves
  • Chopped Fresh Coriander
  • A small piece of Jaggery 
  • A Lemon sized Ball of Tamarind
  • 1 tsp cooking Oil
  • Salt to taste

To Roast & Grind:
  • 2 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 2 tsp Tuvar Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 4-5 Dry Red Chilies

To Temper:
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • A pinch of Asafoetida/Hing
  • 1 tsp Ghee
DSC_1246 How To:

Soak Tamarind in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, In a Pan, dry roast all the ingredients mentioned in the list one at a time till they are aromatic. Each of them should take less than a minute. Set aside to cool. Pulse in the mixer into a fine powder

In the same pan, heat a tsp of oil, add garlic & saute for a minute. Now, add chopped tomatoes & turmeric. Saute till the tomatoes are soft. Turn off the flame. Add this into the mixer along with the ground powder & adding very little water, grind into a smooth paste.

Extract juice from tamarind & add about 1 cup of water to the tamarind extract & bring it to a boil. Now add the ground paste, Jaggery & salt to taste. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes on low flame. Add chopped coriander & curry leaves a few minutes before you turn off the heat.

Heat Ghee in a small pan & temper with mustard seeds, cumin seeds & Asafoetida. Add it to the Rasam & give it a stir. Serve Hot with Steamed Rice


July 27, 2015

Veggie Pasta Salad

I was wanting to post this recipe for the longest time, But somehow, every time I made a bowl of this salad, I could never take pictures or the salad vanished really quick even before I made plans to take pictures.

The first time I ate this Pasta Salad was at my friend's Ashwini's place & I have been recreating this in my own kitchen since then, This salad is quite filling & is a meal in itself. If I have leftover cooked pasta, then this salad is usually what my next meal is. This one definitely features in one of my easy to make favourite recipes.

Pasta Salad

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked Pasta - Macaroni or any Small sized Pasta
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper - finely diced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper - finely diced
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Purple Cabbage
  • 5-6 Baby corn 
  • Salt to taste

For the Dressing:
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Tabasco Sauce
  • 2 tsp minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp Chili Flakes
  • 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dried Basil
  • A handful of Mint - finely chopped

How To:

Cook Pasta according to Package Instructions. Drain & Set aside. Dice the Bell Peppers. Cut Baby Corn into rounds & steam them.

For the Dressing, whisk together Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Tabasco Sauce, Minced Garlic, Chili Flakes, Dried Basil and Apple Cider Vinegar.

In a large bowl, add cooked pasta, Diced Peppers, Shredded Cabbage, Baby corn & chopped mint. Pour the dressing & some salt to taste. Mix well with a fork.

Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, f.or the flavours to infuse. You can also chill it in the refrigerator and serve it as a cold salad.


I would have loved to add a bit of sliced Olives but I didn't have any. I love Olives so I always add them. My friend Ashwini also adds a bit of sliced Cherry Tomatoes & Diced Cucumbers.

This recipe is very easy to make in large quantities so it fits perfectly in a party menu. Plus, it can me made way ahead of time. It also makes for a good lunch box option if you have leftover cooked pasta from previous night's dinner.

July 13, 2015

Italian Fare @ ALBA, JW Marriott - Bangalore

We recently received an Invite to an Exclusive Dinner at Alba, JW Marriott, Bangalore & we were more than glad that we made it to the event because it was an awesome experience.

ALBA, is an Italian Restaurant at JW Marriott located on Grant Road, Next to UB City, Bangalore. It offers an exciting new menu designed by renowned chef Antonello Cancedda

To begin with, ALBA has a beautiful ambiance. It looks like an amphitheater & those beautiful big chandeliers makes it a perfect place for a romantic dinner.

The Chef, Antonello Cancedda himself suggested the dishes keeping in mind that we are Vegetarians. We started off with some lovely Bruschetta ( One of my favourites ) & the Burrata. I am not very big on cheese so I was a bit reluctant to try this. But this one literally blew me away. It had the freshest & the softest Mozarella Cheese I had tasted in a very long time along with some grilled tomatoes.

Next came the classic Spinach & Cheese Ravioli along with Eggplant Parmigana, It had thick slices of eggplant with melted mozarella cheese & a nice robust Tomato Sauce,

We ended our meal with my all time favorite Tiramisu which came in a nice big bowl & I polished off more than half of it in no time.

All along the course we shared stories about Food, Life, Italy &  funny anecdotes with the Chef. An added advantage is that the Chef loves music & plays the Guitar very well. He does entertain the guests with his lovely music quite often, So, If you are lucky, you will also get to hear some good tunes with awesome food for company 

This one will be one of my finest Italian Dining experience in a long time.

ALBA is located at

JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru, Grant Road, KG Halli, Shanthala Nagar, Sampangi RamaNagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001  Phone:080671 88553

July 9, 2015

Kashaya | Spiced Herbal Drink

I was slightly under the weather in the beginning of the week all thanks to Bangalore's unpredictable weather. All I wanted to do was to snuggle under a cozy duvet & drown in cups of Hot Chai or Kashaya,

Kashaya is medicinal concoction made with various herbs & spices & simmered along with milk & water & usually sweetened with Jaggery, It is a very common home remedy for common cold & sore throat in most South Indian homes during the rainy & winter months. If you are prone to catching a cold easily, replace a your morning Coffee with a cup of Kashaya 


Kashaya Powder is very easily available at most Ayurvedic stores & they are very good but it never hurts to make it at home. And, it hardly takes any time. Plus. you have control over what goes into the powder as per your preference.

Here's a very simple Kashaya Powder that has been made at home since ages.


How To Make Kashaya Powder:

In a Skillet, Dry roast Cumin seeds, Fennel Seeds, Black Pepper & Cloves one at a time until they are slightly aromatic. It should take less than a minute each. Spread it on a plate & allow it to cool

In a heavy duty mortar & pestle, Crush Dry Ginger & Jeshtamadhu. Now alongwith the roasted ingredients, Grind into a fine powder in a mixer. Transfer into an air tight jar & use as and when needed

You can also add Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cardamom & a few other. But a lot of spices increases body heat & may not be suitable for daily consumption. 

To Make Kashaya 

  • 1 Teaspoon Kashaya Powder 
  • A small piece of Jaggery
  • 1/2 a cup of Milk
  • 1/2 a cup of water
  • 8-10 mint leaves - optional

How To:

In a Pot, Add water & Milk and bring it to a boil. Add the mint leaves, jaggery & kashaya powder & simmer for about 3-4 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Strain the mint leaves & Serve Warm.

You can replace Mint Leaves with Doddapatre/Ajwain Leaves or you can add both. Its an excellent remedy for cough

June 30, 2015

Methi Gajar ki Sabzi

I love including stir fries as a part of my meal, Simple Stir fries that bring out the flavor of the vegetables used rather than masking the entire dish with heavy use of spices.


This Carrot & Methi Leaves stir fry is as simple as it gets, As the name suggests, It is packed with the goodness of carrots & fenugreek leaves. It has just a bit of heat from a couple of green chilies used & a hit of flavor from Garam Masala. Its that simple yet a very lovely dish.

Eat this with Phulkas or parathas or have it alongside Dal Chawal or Rice & Rasam. You can even stuff this in your sandwiches or make Kathi Rolls. Either ways, you are going to love this one

Methi Gajar Ingredients

How to:

Wash & peel the carrots. Thinly slice the carrots lengthwise & set aside. I used a Vegetable Slicer to do this. Pick & wash methi leaves. Drain all the water & pat them dry using a kitchen towel.

In a heavy bottom pan, Heat cooking oil. once hot enough, splutter cumin seeds. Add chopped green chilies along with diced carrots. Add some salt & mix well. Let it cook gently for about a couple of minutes. 

Add chopped methi leaves & give it a good mix. Saute for a couple of minutes more. Add the Garam Masala next. sprinkle very little water & close the lid. Allow it to cook on low flame for another 3 - 4 mimutes more. Saute in between so that the bottom does not get burnt. The carrots should be well cooked yet should retain its firmness, 

Check for salt & give it one final stir before turning off the heat. 

June 25, 2015

No Coconut Tomato Chutney

There is always a good stock of coconut at home & if cooking South Indian food which is almost every single day :-) we never ever cook without Coconuts and making a Chutney without using a good amount of Coconut is probably unheard of in our household. 

But, Unlike my other family members, I can survive without coconut & sometimes I skip adding coconut because I am lazy to grate them

No Coconut Tomato Chutney

So I once attempted making a coconut less (what's that ?? )  chutney & the results were pretty good. 

You Will Need:

  • 2 Big Ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 big Onion
  • 5 Dry red chilies - I used Byadagi variety
  • 2 tbsp Chana Dal
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 2 cloves of Garlic (optional)
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • Fresh coriander for garnish

How To:

Roughly chop the onion & tomatoes & set aside. In a large bottomed pan, heat a tsp of oil. Add the onions, Garlic & tomatoes & saute for about 5 - 7  minutes until it is well cooked & soft. Set aside for it to cool slightly.

In a smaller pan, heat about 1/2 a tsp of oil. Roast Chana Dal, Urad Dal & Red chilies. Roast on low flame until the dals turn slightly golden & aromatic. Transfer this to a mixie jar & grind into a powder. Add the cooked onion & tomatoes & add some salt. Grind into a smooth paste without adding any water. Transfer into a bowl

Heat the remaining oil & splutter mustard seeds & asafoetida. Pour over the chutney & mix well. Add some chopped coriander & serve with Idlis/dosas or Upma

If you are a coconut lover like my family, I would say that you are definitely going to miss the flavor of coconut in it. Otherwise it tastes pretty good. I also like to use this as a spread on a slice of crisp toast