April 8, 2014

Raw Mango Dal

This space has been silent for a very long time, much longer than intended. I haven't got my blogging mojo back as yet but I will still manage a post once in a while. Also,it's been so long since I wrote something, I have a major writer's block & I seem to have nothing much to say :)

Summer is here & so are the Mangoes. And along with it comes loads of mango based dishes. This Raw Mango Dal is easily one of my favorite summer recipes.

Raw Mango Dal 

My Neighbour makes a killer Mango Dal & this recipe is hers. I have of course tweaked it a little to suit outr taste buds. The only change I have made is the addition of garlic which in my opinion takes this dish to a different level


How To:

Peel the skin & dice the mangoes & set aside. Pressure cook Toor Dal with a tsp of cooking oil & turmeric along with diced mangoes. Let the pressure drop. once cool, give it a gentle mash. Add 1 cup of water, red chilli powder & some salt & bring to a boil. Add more water if required to bring it to a pouring consistency. Simmer on low flame for 5 mins.

Heat Ghee in a small pan. Temper with cumin seeds along with chopped garlic & dry red chillies. Pour over dal & garnish with fresh coriander before serving.

Serve with warm steamed Rice.  

February 12, 2014

Matar Paneer | Cottage Cheese & Fresh Green Peas Simmered in a Tomato Based Gravy

I've been making good use fresh green peas this season. A little bit of peas goes into everything we cook these days. Yesterday's dinner was this quick Matar Paneer made with Homemade Paneer & Fresh Green Peas. 

Matar Paneer

I haven't used Cashews or fresh cream to make this gravy rich. But you may feel free to use them

You Will Need
  • 200g Paneer/Cottage Cheese
  • 1 cup Fresh Green Peas
  • 1/2 cup Tomato Puree
  • 1 medium sized carrot
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Kasuri Methi
  • 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • Fresh Coriander for garnish
How To:

Dice Paneer into cubes & immerse them into luke warm water for about 10 mins. Drain & set aisde. Make a paste of onions along with all the dry powders. Boil/stream carrot & make a paste.

In a kadhai/heavy bottomed pan, heat oil. Add cumoin seeds & ginger garlic paste & saute for a few seconds. Add the onion paste & turmeric; fry for a couple of mins. Add tomato Puree, carrot paste some salt & green peas. Simmer for about 5-8 mins until oil separates & the green peas are tender. Add some milk or water to bring the gravy to the right consistency, Add paneer cubes & give them a gentle mix. Chech for salt & simmer for about 5 mins. Transfer to a serving bowl & garnish with fresh coriander.

Serve Warm with Rotis/Phulkas/Jeera Rice or even Peas Pulao. Enjoy !!!

December 27, 2013

Smoky Black Bean Soup

I know I am too late to be wishing Merry Christmas but all the festivity is still in air & I hope everyone's enjoying the holiday season. We haven't been able to take off due to some work commitments & also that Kedar is still small we have to think twice before any plans are made. But we are enjoying some quite time at home.

I haven't baked much this season apart for the Masala Biscuits I made over the last weekend to go with some chai, I have been eating this really yummy Plum Cake that the husband bought from the bakery in his office campus. Yumm de Yumm I tell you.

The weather in Bangalore is Brrrr right now which makes it perfect for a nice Soup like this. Full of flavor & packed with a punch. This was what I made on Christmas Night & we enjoyed it with some nice garlic bread.

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup Black Beans - soaked overnight or for a min of 6 hrs
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic -  finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper - chopped I used half a red & half a yellow
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tbsp salsa - I used store bought
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • Fresh Parsley for garnish
  • 2 1/2 cups or more of Vegetable stock
How To:

Pressure cook black beans until tender. Allow it to cool & mash with a potato masher & set aside. Over a gas flame, fire roast the tomatoes until cooked. Fire roast the onion as well. once cool, blend into a smooth paste.

Heat oil in a soup pot, add chopped bell peppers, garlic, cumin & oregano & saute until the bell peppers are tender. Add black beans, 2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock or water, salsa & some salt. Add the onion & tomato paste as well & Bring it to a gentle boil while stirring at regular intervals. simmer for about 6-8 mins. 

If you find the soup too thick add some more stock or water to adjust the consistency. Pour into individual soup bowls & garnish with Parsley & serve Hot with a crusty bread


  • Use Canned Black Beans to save cooking time
  • Since Salsa already has some salt, go easy on salt 

November 28, 2013

Peanut Butter Garlic & Tofu Noodles

Peanut Butter was not a rage in India at least when I was growing up. My only memory of Peanut Butter was when my cousins from the US would bring a huge bottle on their annual visit since it wasn't available here. I remember not being too fond of it then.

Now that everything is available everywhere these days, Peanut Butter became availabe in India too & a lot of people here  have develop a fondness for it, including yours truly.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on the Health Benefits of Peanut Butter by Dr. Swarupa Kakani sponsored by Sundrop Peanut Butter, AgroTech Foods Limited.  

Here's some interestimg Trivia provided by Dr Kakani.

  • Peanut Butter was invented in 1890 as a super food to build up starving people 850 nuts are required to make 18oz of peanut butter- that's even more than in your family tree

  • 850 nuts are required to make 18oz of peanut butter- that's even more than in your family tree!

  • Americans eat around 800 million pounds of peanut butter every year. It is good enough to cover the floor of the Grand Canyon
  • Almost half of peanut crop produced in the US is used to make peanut butter
  • Peanut butter contains 80% of good unsaturated fat, which also lowers cholesterol
  • According to Harvard researchers, women who regularly consume peanut butter and nuts have a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes compared to those who don’t.

  • Peanut butter has high contents of monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce levels of bad cholesterol. It is also completely devoid of trans-fats and cholesterol.

  •  It also has good contents of fibre (5g/100g); folates; and resveratrol, a component reputed to be anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic
  •   Peanut Butter is vitamin-packed with thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2) niacin (vitamin B3) and vitamin E. It is also naturally mineral-rich in copper, magnesium, potassium and zinc

  • Peanut butter provides same benefits as derived from consuming nuts such as lowering risk for coronary heart diseases and diabetes

  • Peanut Butter has high levels of protein (25g/100g), contributing significantly to higher physical endurance and muscle development.

Garlic &Tofu Noodles 3

We were shown some easy to do recipes by the Chef, One being the Peanut Butter Smoothie which is a great after workout drink & another one was a fun apple open sandwich with a generous coating of peanut butter topped with muesli. 

We got to take home a bottle of Sundrop Peanut Butter & the first thing I did was to eat it by the spoonfuls. And before I finished off the entire jar, I did make the smoothie & it was yumm. 

The next thing I tried was the Peanut Butter, Garlic & Tofu Noodles and I am going to share the recipe with you today.

Garlic & Tofu Noodles 2 

 You Will Need:

  • 1/2 a packet of regular noodles
  • 200g Tofu - drained & diced into cubes
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 3 tbsp Sundrop Peanut Butter
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 green chillies
  • 3 tsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped spring onions

How To:

Cook Noodles as per package instructions. Drain & set aside

In a large skillet, heat some oil. add chopped garlic & green chillies, saute for 30 secs. add tofu, some salt & saute for about 2 mins.

Throw in the noodles, peanut butter & a little bit of oil. Give it a gentle mix until the noodles get coated with peanut butter. Add chilli flakes & check for salt. Give it a gentle stir again.

Transfer to a serving bowl, Garnish with spring onions & serve warm

Garlic & Tofu Noodles 1

Peanut Butter lends a very nutty taste to the noodles & I was in love with the flavor. Next time around, I plan to make a salad dressing using peanut & I am sure it will be yummy ...

Peanut butter is an ideal breakfast option to meet daily protein requirement for people across all age group and is a healthy and tasty way to become strong. Now that Sundrop  has launched Peanut Butter in India, you don't have to hunt for it in huge supermarket. It will be available just about anywhereSundrop peanut butter is available in two flavours – Regular and Honey Roast in Creamy and Crunchy variant, . They also plan to lunch a slightly spicier version shortly to appease the Indian palate. So, do watch out for it !!

October 17, 2013

Quinoa Khichdi | Sabudana Khichdi Style

I bought Quinoa a couple of times when I was in this so called Phase called healthy eating & then forgot all about it. And, now almost 2 years later, I am again in that Healthy Eating phase ( I don't know, how long its going to last though )  .. I again bought a box of quinoa from the supermarket ..


Quinoa is so easily adaptable to Indian recipes just like oats :)  I normally make Upma or a Khichdi or I just cook quinoa & eat with lightly seasoned steamed vegetables.

I made Sabudana Khichdi style quinoa the other day & I just loved it. It's far more easier to make since, it does not require pre soaking like Sabudana & it requires far more less oil 

Quinoa Khichdi 

  You Will Need:
  • 2 cups Quinoa
  • 1 large potato - pressure cooked , peeled & roughly mashed
  • A handful of roasted peanuts - coarsely crushed
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated coconut
  • Fresh coriander for garnish
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

How to:

Dry roast quinoa for a couple of minutes. Set aside. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add quinoa & let it cook for about 10 mins on medium flame. Add additional water if required. When completely cooked, fluff with a fork & set aside.

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat cooking oil, splutter cumin seeds. Add chopped green chillies & sauté for a few seconds

Add mashed potatoes & mix well. Add salt, turmeric & crushed peanuts & give it a mix again.

Add cooked quinoa & grated coconut. Mix again & check for salt. Let it stand for a couple of mins & turn off the stove. Garnish with fresh coriander & serve war

Though, Sabudana Khichdi is typically eaten at breakfast, I usually make this for dinner or a light lunch as well. It also is a great lunch box option

October 2, 2013

Gusto D'Italia @ Spaghetti Kitchen & Bar

Spaghetti Kitchen & Bar is a lovely little Italian restaurant tucked in the by lanes of Koramangala & I ate the most scrumptious Italian fare at Spaghetti Kitchen last week.  I was invited to review their newly introduced Lunch & Dinner Buffet menu starting from the 24th of September.

Gusto D'Italia as the buffet is called boasts of 30 different dishes on their buffet menu which includes everything from starters to soups to yummy pastas & desserts.

Spaghetti Kitchen has a lovely ambiance with Mediterranean influence. The restaurant is divided into two segments. One segment is painted blue & has colored glass lanterns & the other segment is more airy with large windows & loads of sunshine

We started off with some smoked tomato soup along with some breads & dips and some stuffed olives.

Next came in the Parmesan Cream Cheese Potatoes & Sicilian Cottage Cheese. There was also some Corn Fritters with Labneh. We also had some lovely Peach & Strawberry Martini for company.

They also had a lovely spread of Pastas. But the highlight was the Ricotta & Spinach stuffed Ravioli & the Vegetable Lasagna. The Thin crust Veggie Pizza was great too.

Wherever there is Italian food, there Ought to be Tiramisu :) then of course there were some Hot Brownies & of course choice of Gelato. 

The vegetarian  Lunch Buffet is Priced at Rs 399 & the Non Vegetarian Lunch Buffet is priced at Rs 499 

The vegetarian  Dinner Buffet is Priced at Rs 449 & the Non Vegetarian Dinner Buffet is priced at Rs 499 A whole lot of Italian food at this price is definitely a steal.

And, there was more .. Chef Bill Marchetti - Corporate Chef for Spaghetti Kitchen was also present at the venue. He not only saw to it that his guests ate well but also cooked some Pasta for us. He made his signature Penne Arrabiata with Vodka & Fettuccine con Pesto. It definitely was a pleasure to watch the Masterchef cook for us. Not only that, He gave us loads of food tips & great stories about Italian food all along ( which I will be sharing in my future posts )

After being stuffed with good food unlimited Martinis, we had some Italian Espresso from the Cafe located inside the restaurant

I loved the buffet spread. Not a single dish that was bad. The Sicilian Cottage Cheese could have been better though, But everything else was spot on. For Rs 399 + it is a lot of food & you are guaranteed to have a good time. 

No 1, SJR Primus,
1st Floor, Adjacent to Raheja Arcade,
Bangalore – 560095.
Tel No: (080) 4116 0500 / 4099 0500

September 12, 2013

South Indies: Belgaum Kunda

One of the fewer sweets I love is this decadent Milk based Halwa, Kunda from a small city in Karnataka called Belgaum. This was made for Ganesh Chaturti since we decided to give more traditional sweets like Puran Poli & Payasa a miss. 

I guess Kunda is very similar to Palkova from Tamil Nadu especially in the taste department. Except, that we use semolina to give kunda that grainy texture.

Belgaum Kunda

You Will Need:

  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tbsp semolina
  • 1 tbsp fresh curds
  • 3 tbsp desi ghee
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • Almond slivers for garnish

How To:

In a heavy bottomed pan, add a tbsp of ghee. once the ghee is warm, add a tbsp of semolina & saute until it gets slightly changes colour & is aromatic. Add Milk & bring it a boil. once the milk boils, add a tbsp of yogurt & turn off the stove.

In another heavy bottomed pan, add sugar & caramelize over low flame. once the sugar gets caramelized, add the split milk & mix well. Cook on medium flame until the mixture becomes slightly thick & start leaving the sides of the pan.Add the remaining ghee & mix well. Do keep stirring at regular intervals to avoid the bottom from getting burnt. 

Turn off the stove, Add cardamom powder & give it a good mix. Garnish with Almond slivers before serving


Kunda gets a little thick on cooling. So you may want to stop cooking when the mixture is still slightly runny. If you find the mixture too thick, add some more milk & cook for a while.

You can serve kunda at room temprature, however, I love my Kunda warm. Since, Kunda thickens when refrigerated, I warm them in the microwave to get a Halwa like consistency. Just add a little milk & give it a nice mix before you put it inside the microwave

Try serving Kunda along with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream on the side & give that Gajar ka Halwa a break