December 30, 2011

Baba Ghanoush | A Dip & A Sandwich

Alrite, This will be my last post for the year 2011 .. I don't know about the rest of you, But for me, this year went by so fast , that I cannot believe I am writing 2011's last post ..

If you are planning a house party to bring in the new year, I have a perfect starter recipe for you .. Baba Ghanoush - The very popular Smoked Eggplant & Tahini Dip from the middle east. What I love about Dips, is that they can be made way ahead of time & infact the longer it sits, more intense the flavour .. And, everybody loves Dips & it is a great fuss free addition to your party menu

Baba Ganoush

You Will Need:
  •  2 Big Fat Eggplants
  •  3 tbsp Tahini
  •  1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • A few olives for garnish
  • Salt as per taste

How To
  • Make tiny slits around the eggplant, coat with mustard oil & roast it in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 mins, till the eggplant gets charred on all the sides. You could even roast the eggplant on the stove top, which is usually what I do & it cooks in about 15 mins
  • Once the eggplant is roasted, allow it to cool. Later, peel off the skin & mash the eggplant with the back of a fork. Add salt & lime juice, mix well & set it aside
  • Add all the other ingredients except Paprika, olives & parsley, Stir well so that the flavors incorporate.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with freshly chopped pars;ey, olives & sprinkle Paprika on top ..
  • Serve with Pita chips, nachos or veggie batons .. Enjoi !!!

NOTE: Mash the eggplant well .. A few large chunks are fine  but mash into a smooth texture with entirely pureeing it .. which is why I have't used a blender & I don't recommend it either

Baba Ghanoush Sandwich

I sometimes make use Baba Ghanoush as a Sandwich spread .. Its delicious & makes for a quick breakfast & you can even serve miniature sandwiches as starters too

Baba Ghanoush Sandwich

You Will Need:
  • As many slices of bread you need & any variety - I've used Muesli Bread here
  • A few onions - cut into thin rounds
  • A few tomatoes - cut into thin rounds
  • A bit of finely chopped parsley
  • A few olives
  • Baba Ghanoush

How To:
  • Cut the bread slices into whatever shape you like - triangles, rounds, squares or get creative & use a cookie cutter to get different shapes
  • Spreas a thin layer of Baba Ghanoush onto the bread. Add a slice of onion & tomato each, garnish with parsley & olives .. If making for a party, Arrange the readied sandwiches in a large tray & wrap with a cling film & refregirate.
  • Allow them to come to room temprature before serving or Microwave them for a minute & serve slightly warm

Have a great time Partying on New Year's Eve .. See you in a bit .. In 2012 !!!

December 24, 2011

Crunchy Nutella Truffles

I can eat Nutella by the spoonfuls & finish an entire jar :-) So, before it would disappear just like that yet again, I made these beautiful truffles out of them.

Guess what I added?? Crushed Chocolate Chip Cookies & Cornflakes ..  And, they turned out super crunchy & was very light. They are super easy to make & hard to mess up :) So they make very nice gifts too

Nutella Truffles

You Will Need:

Makes 10 Truffles
  • 4 tbsp Nutella
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 8 chocolate chip cookies - crushed
  • 2 handfuls of cornflakes - crushed
  • Cocoa powder for rolling

How To:
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter & nutella together for about 2 mins.
  • Mix crushed chocolate chip cookies & cornflakes. Mix well to incorporate.
  • Set aside & allow them to come to room temprature. Make small balls out of them & roll over cocoa powder.
  • Refregerate for about 30-40 mins before serving.

I made these on a whim & I was very happy with the results. So, this recipe is definitely a keeper .. They are so easy that even your 6 year olds can help you make these

NOTES:
  • Try replacing chooclate chip cookies with digestive biscuits or even oatmeal cookies.
  • Use desicated coconut/crushed almonds or walnuts to roll the truffles.

December 10, 2011

South Indies: Nuchinunde | Steamed Lentil Dumplings


I don't know why I haven't blogged about it before, My Ajji ( Maternal Grand mother ) makes the best Nuchinunde ever. For those who don't know what Nuchinunde is, these are steamed lentil dumplings traditionally served as a snack or as a breakfast. It very popular in Karnataka & especially in the Bangalore/Mysore region. These have to be served alongwith a Yogurt based dip, Hasi Majjjige Huli (Highly Recommended)  which just takes about 5 mins to whip up

I mustered up courage & made these for the first time, hoping that it would turn out as good as my Ajji does. Did it?? Well, it was close :-)

Nuchinunde
 

To Make Nuchinunde:

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup Toor Dal
  • 1 cup Chana Dal
  • 1 cup Moong Dal
  • 2 onions - finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill - finely chopped
  • 6-7 green chillies - finely chopped
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  • Salt as per taste

How To:
  • Wash all the 3 lentils in water & soak them together for about 3 hours or overnight.
  • In a mixed, grind the lentils coarsely along with green chillies without adding any water.
  • In a bowl, mix together ground lentils, onions, dill leaves, grated ginger, coconut & salt.
  • Make oval shaped dumplings & steam them for about 10 mins. You could either use a microwave steamer or a traditional steamer for this.

To Make Hasi Majjige Huli

You Will Need:
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tbsp Hurigadale or Chutney ka Dal
  • A small piece of ginger
  • 1 cup fresh yogurt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fresh coconut
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

How To:

  • Dump all the ingredients in a mixer/blender & blend until smooth. Temper with mustard seeds
Serve warm with Hasi Maggije Huli .. Enjoi !!!

NOTE:
  • You can omit onions if you wish to.
  • Replace dill leaves with any other greens such a chopped spinach, fresh methi leaves or even loads of chopped fresh coriander
  • You can even serve these with a simple coconut chutney instead of Hasi Majjige Huli.
  • While grinding the lentils, keep the texture in mind. Do Not make it into a smooth paste & Do Not add water

December 8, 2011

Farfalle in a Creamy Roasted Mushroom Sauce - A Guest Post for Monsoon Spice

Sia's Monsoon Spice has been around for a long long time, much before my blog came into existance. Monsoon Spice was one of the first blogs I was hooked to during my pre blogging days & I love her recipes. They are simple, full of yummy spices and they exude so much warmth.

Farfalle in Mushroom Sauce

And, I am thrilled to be doing a guest post on Sia's blog .. She has such a wide array of recipes that it took me a while to choose & I finally settled for some yummy Farfalle Pasta soaked in the goodness of Roasted Mushroom Sauce.

So Hop on to Monsoon Spice & have fun .. And, Thanks Sia for the opportunity

November 24, 2011

Roasted Bell Peppers Tomato & Penne Pasta Soup

There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of Soup on a cold winter night. Throw in some pasta along with it & it makes a hearty meal. I had some leftover Penne Pasta from the previous day & it was made into this really delicious  soup with roasted bell peppers, tomatoes & basil .. 

Roasted Bell peppers Tomato & Penne Pasta Soup

You Will Need:
  • 2 handfuls of Penne Pasta - cooked according to package instructions.
  • 1 red bell pepper - cut into halves
  • 1 yellow bell pepper - cut into halves
  • 2 onions - diced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes - diced
  • 2 tsp grated Ginger
  • 3 garlic Cloves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water/vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp garted Parmesan Cheese (Optional)
  • Salt as per taste
  • A few Basil leaves
How To:
  • Preheat the oven to 200C. Rub oil on bell peppers. Arrange them on a baking sheet & place them in the highest rack in the oven. Roast for  about 30 mins until the skin starts to wrinkle & turn dark brown. Allow them to cool & peel off the skin
  • Heat oilve oil in a pan, saute onions, Basil leaves, tomatoes, ginger & garlic. Add some salt & red chilli powder.
  • Blend roasted bell peppers, tomatoes & onions into a smooth puree adding very little water if required.
  • Return the puree to the pan/soup pot. Add water/stock, Milk & salt. Add Parmesan cheese if desired.( I didn't add any) Simmer on low flame for about  mins. Add Pasta & simmer for another  mins. If you find the soup thick, add a bit of stock/milk while simmering.

Garnish with Basil leaves & Serve HOT with a crusty bread .. Enjoi !!!

NOTE:
  • I should have ideally used smaller shaped Pastas such as Farfalle or Macaroni. Since, I had leftover Penne, I used it ..
  • If you don't want to roast the bell peppers, you can even saute them in olive oil along with onions & tomatoes

November 16, 2011

South Indies: Mysore Rasam

For a South Indian, nothing beats the comfort of some home made piping hot Rasam .. All South Indian states have different ways of making the basic Tomato Rasam .. Being from Karnataka, the Rasam that we make at home is from the Mysore region & we call it Saaru but its better as Mysore Rasam all over the world ..

Mysore Rasam

A true blue South Indian makes Rasam Powder at home, but if you live in the South, you will have the luxury of buying good quality Rasam powder from stores as well. There are small little shops in most South Indian cities, that sell very good Rasam Powder that tastes as good as home made ones, you can also use MTR (NOT any other brand ) Rasam powder to get good results.

My Ajji (maternal grandmother) & my Amma make the Rasam powder so much ease .. so with their help, I will do a post on Homemade Rasam Powder soon :-)

You Will Need:
  • 1/2 cup Toor Dal
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes- chopped
  • 1/2  tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp Rasam powder/Saarina Pudi (use MTR Rasam Powder)
  • 1 tbso tamarind juice
  • 1 tbsp thin coconut milk
  • A small lump of jaggery
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt as per taste
  • A few stalks of fresh coriander
To Temper:
  • 2 tsp desi ghee
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
How To:
  • Pressure cook toor dal & tomatoes, with turmeric & a tsp of oil ..
  • Once, it cools add 4 cups of water, curry leaves, jaggery, Rasam powder, salt, tamarind juice & a few stalks of coriander & bring it to a boil.
  • Simmer on low heat for about 10-12 mins until the raw smell of the Rasam powder disappears & the flavours incorporate well.
  • Discard curry leaves & coriander. Temper with mustard seeds,cumin seeds, asafoetida . Garnish with fresh coriander
Serve HOT with steamed rice, A curry, some pickles & yogurt on the side .. Makes such a Happy Meal .. Enjoi !!!

NOTE:
  • A good Rasam should have a bit of heat from the rasam powder, sweetness from jaggery, sourness from tamarind juice .. so make sure you balance these flavours .. you will need a bit of practice to learn how to balance these flavours well
  • Asafoetida has a very strong flavour, so make sure you use only a tiny bit
  • The dal settles down after a while, so before serving, give the rasam a good stir.
  • You can even strain the dal & serve as a thin Soup .. We love drinking it that way

November 10, 2011

Mixed Sprouts Chaat

Chaat, in Hindi literally means 'To Lick'. Traditionally these roadside snacks were served on a leaf and it was so tongue-tickling that one could not resist licking the last morsels from the leaf before discarding it, thereby giving a descriptive name to the cuisine. And truly, Chaat tastes best when had on the roadside.

I & Shankar both love chaat. Our weekends are never complete without our regular visit to the local Chaat Wallah. The ChaatWallah across our street makes a lovely Chaat with Mung Sprouts. Its lip smackingly delicious & healthy as well .. I bought a packet of mixed sprouts from the supermarket & made a different version of out favorite Sprouts Chaat

Mixed Sprouts Chaat


You Will Need:
  • 2 handfuls of mixed sprouts ( I used Green Mung. Green peas, Black eyed peas, Kala Channa )
  • 1 small onion - finely chopped
  • 1 meduim sized potato - peeled. boiled & chopped into small cubes
  • 1/2 red pepper - finely diced
  • 1/2 yellow pepper - finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp green chilli paste
  • 1 /2 tsp chaat masala
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh coriander for garnish
  • Fine Sev for garnish
How To:
  • In a large bowl, all the ingredients mentioned except the ones for garnish. Mix well. Serve them in individual bowls & garnish with coriander & Sev before serving .. Enjoi !!!
NOTE:
  •  You can omit the use of olive oil, if you do not like the flavour ..
  • Add a handful of grated carrots & a handful of chopped cucumber for extra crunch

October 28, 2011

Vermicelli Kheer | Diwali & Some Hand Painted Diyas

I hope you guys had a cracker of a Diwali .. I wanted to do a post on Indian sweets much before Diwali but then I got really busy with shopping & preparations ..
And, 2 days before the festival, I grated my finger yet another time, & this time it was a pretty bad one. I meant that I couldn't do any major cooking on Diwali, but I managed to make a simple Vermicelli Kheer

I should have ideally posted this on Diwali but this time, I was so much into hand painted Diyas this time, that I didn't want to do a post .. I painted quite a few of them & I loved it ..
Have a look at my Diyas here  .. Lovely isnt't it??

Diya


Now the Vermicelli Kheer .. The simplest Indian Dessert .. 

Vermicilli Kheer


You Will Need:
  • 1 litre Milk
  • 1/2 cup Vermicelli
  • 1/2 cup Sugar or more if you need
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • Broken cashews & almonds for garnish
How To:
  • If you are not using pre roasted vermicelli, roast them in a tsp of ghee until golden brown. Set aside. I used Pre roasted Vermicelli, so I skipped this step, which is why you will see that the vermicelli is not golden brown here.
  • Bring milk to a boil, add vermicelli & stir. Let it simmer for about 15 mins until the vermicelli has cooked. Add sugar & stir well. Let it simmer for another 10 mins. The kheer should have thickened by now. But it should have a pouring consistency. If you find that the kheer has thickened a lot, add some more milk & sugar & simmer for another 2-3 mins.
  • Fry cashews & almonds in ghee until golden in color. Add them to the kheer along with cardamom powder.
The kheer will thicken further once it cools down, so keep this in mind & adjust the consistency accordingly. Serve Hot or chilled .. Enjoi !!

October 21, 2011

Homemade Kesar Badam Milk

For ages, I've been using the readymade Badam Milk powder & I've been quite happy with it .. Until, I had home made Badam Milk at a friend's house & I fell in love with its fresh taste ..  It is quite time consuming to grind almonds each time you may want to drink this, but do make this when your guests come home this Diwali .. They will love it ..

Kesar Badam Milk


You Will Need:
  • A handful of almonds - soaked in hot water for an hour & skin peeled
  • 2 cups of Milk
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
  • A pinch of saffron dissolved in warm milk
How To:
  • Boil milk & set aside to cool
  • Grind almond into a smooth paste using a tbsp of milk
  • Add this to boiled milk, Mix sugar & stir so that sugar dissolves.
  • Add green cardamom powder, & Allow it to chiil in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
  • Pour into glasses, Garnish with saffron strands

Enjoi your Kesar Badam Milk chilled ..

October 18, 2011

Banana Walnut Loaf Cake

Shankar turned an year older last sunday &amp since it was a holiday; I wanted to bake him a cake with him . But our plans changed the last minute, & we ended up spending the entire day outdoors .. I finally found the time to bake a cake this morning ..  .. A few months ago, I brought a small Banana cake loaf from the local bakery & Shankar loved it as it wasn't overy sweet .. Although terribly late, Banana Walnut Loaf Cake was what I baked for the Birthday Boy ..

Banana Walnut Loaf Cake

I got the recipe from here & it definitely is for keeps.

You Will Need:

  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter - softened
  • 1 1/3 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp Cocoa powder
  • 80g chopped walnuts
  • 3 large ripe bananas - mashed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tso Bicarbonate of Soda
How To:
  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • In a large bowl, put the butter, sugar & eggs. beat well with a hand blender. Add mashed bananas to the mixture & give it a good mix
  • In another bowl, sift the flour, Soda, cinnamon powder, cocoa powder.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Stir in yogurt & walnuts.
  • Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan & spoon the mixture & level the surface. Bake for the hour.
  • Let it cool on a rack. Unmould & cut into slices
Serve warm with some Coffee or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream by the side & serve as a dessert .. Enjoi !!

Notes:
  • The original recipe calls for chocolate chips, I replaced it with walnute instead.
  • I also reduced the amount of cocoa powder from 1 tbsp to 1 tsp. We loved the very slight hint of  chocolate

October 14, 2011

Quinoa Upma

Okay, so I finally made a Quinoa dish , almost 3 months after I bought a packet of Quinoa :)  I had this sudden urge to eat some healthy low calorie food, & Quinoa Upma is what I made for today's lunch

Quinoa Upma

And did I like the taste?? Yes only if cooked with loads of seasonings as Quinoa is quite bland on its own. But its nutritional value makes it up for everything else. Next time, I will make a spicy Quinoa Pulao & will use it in Porridge as well .. Watch out for the recipe

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1 small onion - finely chopped
  • 1 carrot - diced
  • 1 green pepper - diced
  • 1 potato - diced
  • 2 green chillies - chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tsp cooking oil
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • fresh Coriander for garnish
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 wok, heat oil, splutter mustard & cumin seeds. Add turmeric, green chillies, ginger & stir. Throw in chopped onions & saute for a couple of mins. Add the rest of the vegetables & some salt & give it a good stir. Add a couple of tbsps of water so that the vegetables don't stick to the pan.
  • When the vegetables are completely cooked yet crisp, add quinoa & lemon juice. Check for salt & mix well. Let it stand on low flame for about 2 mins.
  • Turn off the stove & garnish with fresh chopped coriander.
Serve HOT with some salad & yogurt by the side .. Enjoi a healthy meal ...

October 5, 2011

South Indies: Rice & Coconut Milk Payasam

Hope, everyone is having a great time celebratind Dussera. We are having a lovely time, visiting temples, relatives & friends & looking all the lovely dolls on display, at theit homes .. I was wanting to go to Mysore to have the look at the world famous Dasara procession but sadly couldn't make it this year ..

We have been indulging in some lovely traditional home made food ever since the onset of Dasara & this yummy Payasam was made for Durgashtami.

This isn't exactly the traditional Kerala style coconut milk payasam. I love the flavor of coconut milk so it got added along with rice, milk & other ingredients ... I haven't used jaggery either, but it can be used instead of sugar if you wish to

Rice & Coconut Milk Payasam

You Will Need:
  • 1 1/2 cups full fat milk
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • A handful of Basmati rice
  • 3/4 th cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • Cashews, almonds & raisins for garnish
  • 2 tsp desi ghee
  • A pinch of Saffron dissloved in warm milk
How To:
  • Clean & wash Basmati rice. In a tsp of ghee, slightly roast the rice until aromatic.
  • In a heavy bottomed vessel, add milk & bring it to a boil. Add Rice, sugar & allow it to simmer until the rice gets cooked.
  • Add coconut milk & cardamom powder & simmer for another  mins.
  • Roast almonds, cashews & raisins in a tsp of Desi Ghee & add them to the Payasam.
  • Garnish with Saffron & serve Warm or Chilled .. Enjoi !!!

September 30, 2011

South Indies: Halbai

If you are not from Karnataka, then Halbai is probably unheard of .. Halbai is a traditional sweet from the Bangalore/Mysore regions of Karnataka. For those who are unaware, it is quite difficult to explain what Halbai is, Probably the best way to put it is, its a cross between Halwa & Burfi ..  It is typically made with whole wheat grains, coconut & Jaggery. There are other versions of Halbai that are made using Rice, Ragi or even Poha .. Of all the versions, I love the one made with Wheat grains, the best

Preparing Halbai is quite a tedious process &  you need to practice hard to get the right consistency & texture. To be very honest, I am not very good in dishing out these beauties. My Dad makes this every year & is quite an expert. He made them a couple of days ago & insisited that I put this up on my blog. I was quite reluctant as Halbai is not a very photogenic dish. I tried to photograph them last year & the photos turned horribly bad. This is such a beautiful tasty dish & I didn't want anyone to be put off & not give it a try because of bad pictures :-)

This time, my Mom sent my a big box of Halbai all cut into uniform square pieces with a special mention that I had to do a post this time .. Special Thanks to Mom & Dad for sending these over ..

Halbai

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup whole wheat grains - cleaned & soaked overnight
  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 2 cup grated jaggery
  • 5 tbsp Desi Ghee
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
  • 3 cups water
How To:
  • Grind the wheat grains into a smooth paste using little water & strain. Repeat the process twice & discard the residue
  • Grind coconut into a very smooth paste & set aside.
  • In a large heavy bottomed vessel, add water, jaggery, & bring it to a boil, once the jaggery melts, add ground coconut & wheat along with cardamom powder & about 3 tbsp of ghee & bring to a gentle boil.
  • Keep on stirring till the whole mixtures thickens. This should take about 45 mins to an hour.
  • The mixture should leave the sides of the pan. When completely cooked, the mixture is non sticky & gets a uniform gloss. Add another 2 tbsp of ghee & mix well.
  • Spread on a greased plate & allow it to cool. Once cool, cut into squares & serve
  • It should stay in the refregirator for about 8 days.
NOTE:
  • This proportion yields about 20-25 pieces depending upon the size
  • For a quick easy version, you can use whole wheat flour too
  • Before taking it off the pan, do a test. Take a tsp of the mixture & spread on a greaded plate. It should be able to come off without sticking to the plate. This ensures that it is done.

September 21, 2011

Punjabi Choley - Chickpeas cooked in a Fiery Onion & Tomato Gravy

I love using chickpeas in my dishes .. I think its my favorite legume, because its always stocked up in my pantry & I end up using this more often than any other legume. And, Choley is another easy Punjabi dish that is very simple, hearty & nutritious.

If you have soaked chickpeas on hand, this takes really very few minutes, which is why I end up making this very often on weekdays.

Punjabi choley

There are numerous ways in which this is made .. Sometimes, chopped tomatoes are used instead of puree & sometimes, cooked onions & a handful of chickpeas is ground into a paste, to add more body to the gravy. While, I don't grind the onions, I mostly like using tomato puree instead of chopped tomatoes. Tomato puree adds more base to the gravy & gives a nice red color, which I love

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup chickpeas - cleaned & soaked overnight or for 6 hrs
  • 2 red onions - chopped
  • 150 ml - Tomato puree ( I Used store bought )
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tso chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 1 tsp Chana Masala powder ( I used Everest Brand )
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • Salt as per taste
  • 3 tsp oil
  • Coriander -  for Garnish
How To:
  • Pressure cook chickpeas with a tsp of salt. once done, drain & reserve stock & set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add ginger & garlic. Saute for about 30 secs. Add chopped onions & a pinch of turmeric. Saute until they turn pink.
  • Now, add red chilli powder, chana masala powder, & mix well. Pour tomato puree & give it a gentle mix. Let it simmer for about 3 mins.
  • Add cooked chickpeas, salt & garam masala & mix well. Add about 3/4 th cup of water & simmer for about 10 mins.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander & transfer to a serving bowl

Serve with onion rings & lemon wedges, alomg with HOT Phulkas .. Enjoi !!!

NOTE: The longer the gravy sits, it tends to thicken a bit .. If you find the gravy thick, just add a little water & reheat before serving.

For Dilli Style Choley - Boil chickpeas with 1 tea bad & discard the tea bag later. And, add about 1/2 a tsp of Anardana Powder along with Everest Chole Masala. This lends a deep brown color to the dish & add a slight tart taste.

September 19, 2011

Palak Paneer - Cottage Cheese simmered in fresh Spinach Puree

I have never been a huge fan of Palak Paneer honestly. Infact, I never ate much of paneer until a couple of years ago. I don't know how many of you agree, but a good Palak Paneer is hard to come by. Either the Paneer is not fresh, or the lush green palak turns into a brown gravy once cooked or it is laden with too much spices, tomatoes or fresh cream masking the true flavour of Palak Paneer ..

So, I set out to find the almost perfect Palak Paneer recipe, And, after reading dozens of recipes, looking at various food pics & asking a lot of people on Facebook as well, I arrived at My Recipe :-)  And, I was quite satisfied with the results. Perhaps, you may want to try this ...

Test

You Will Need:

  • 3 big bunches of fresh Spinach
  • 200g Paneer - Cut into cubes
  • 2 big white onions
  • 1 small tomato or 1/2 of a large tomato
  •  5 green chillies
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp cashew paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh cream or 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • Salt as per taste.

How To:
  • In a large pot, bring salted water  to a boil. Add a tsp of sugar & throw in chopped spinach & let it cook for about 3 mins
  • Drain the water & reserve some water to use in the gravy. Immediately rinse under cold water & set aside. Once cool, grind into a paste, without adding any water. Do not grind into a very smooth paste. I should be a coarse paste but smooth enough for it to blend .. so, keep this texture in mind. You can also mash the spinach with a Kadchi, if you like
  • Make a paste using onions, green chillies, cloves, cinnamom & Fennel seeds, without adding water.
  • Meanwhile, bring another pot of salted water into boil. turn off the stove & add paneer cubes. Let them rest in hot water for about 5 mins. Strain & set aside
  • In a large sauce pan, Heat oil, splutter cumin seeds & add onion paste, chopped tomatoes & saute for about 3 mins until raw smell disappears. Add cashew paste, Paneer cubes, salt & mix well. Add Pureed spinach, fresh cream or milk & mix gently. Check for salt & gently simmer for abor 2-3 mins. If the mixture is too thick, you may add the reserved liquid. However, do not make the gravy too rummy. If you are using milk instead of fresh cream, you may not need water at all.
  • Add a pinch of Garam masala before turning off the stove. Once the heat is turned off, add juice of half a lemon & mix well.
  • Let the gravy sit for a while before serving.

Serve warm with Peas Pulao, Phulkas or Naan .. Enjoi !!!

September 15, 2011

Spinach & Sweet Corn Stir Fry

Call me Popeye, for I love Spinach .. Yes, I absolutely love it. And, I can spinach everyday without even getting bored.

The curry that I have for you today has 2 of my favorite things, Spinach & Corn & the best part is that, this curry doesn't have too many spices in it. So, you can enjoy spinach & corn in their purest form. And a big plus, this is low on calories too .. YAY !!!

Spinach & Sweet Corn Stir Fry

You Will Need:
  • 2 cups spinach - picked & finely chopped
  • 1 cup sweet corn
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 green chillies - chopped
  • 1 tsp finely chopped Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1 tsp oil

How To:

  • Heat oil in a pan, splutter cumin seeds & Saute green chillies & garlic for about 30 secs
  • Add chopped spinach & about a tbsp of water. Close the lid & let it cook for a couple of minutes
  • Add sweet corn & coriander powder. Mix well close the lid & let it get cooked. Keep stirring in between to avoid the bottom from getting burnt. Spinach & corn get cooked pretty fast  & they won't need too much water. So, Do Not add water unless it get very dry.
  • When fully cooked, add salt as per taste & give it a stir.
  • Let the curry stand for a couple of minutes before serving

Transfer to a bowl & serve warm with some Phlkas or Steamed Rice .. Enjoi !!!

September 7, 2011

A little bit of this & a little bit of that & a whole lot of Deliciousness @ Au Bon Pain

Whenever I would pass through the traffic in Jayanagar 3rd block, I would always notice this cosy cafe at the Cloud 9 hospital & would make a mental note to visit it in leisure. For some reason the visit never happened & maybe I would have put it off for a few more days, if I wouldn't have received an invite to visit Au Bon Pain's brand new outlet in Koramangala. SO, On a cloudy saturday afternoon, I set out to lunch @ Au Bon Pain along with my husband, Shankar

Au Bon Pain literally means, the place of good bread in French. But Hey, don't mistake this for a French cafe. It is actually an international chain with a French Heritage where you get loads of yummy stuff. The place looks lovely with its bright yellow & white interiors & was buzzing with activities which kind of gives you a peppy feeling.


Au Bon Pain
(Image Source: Various)

The menu includes everything from Sandwiches to soups to salads, to desserts & delicious bakery products. We started off with a vegetarian soup & a couscous salad. The soup was spicy & was perfect for the Bangalore weather. I picked a Jalapeno & corn panini which was delicious while Shankar chose a panini with mediterreanean Hummus & olives which wasn't that impressive. Alongwith these, we alose had some Veg Puffs, Cinnamon Rolls & Croissants which were just perfect.

We ended our meal with a fruit bowl & some chocolate mousse. Apart from these, Au Bon Pain also serves yummy Bagles, Muffins, Brownies, Cakes & Guess what?? Dal, Biryani & curry too to satiate your Indian taste buds,

And yes, I couldn't stop drinking  their Cappuccino. It was Fab & I ordered a 'To Go' as well  .. I took home a crusty Baguette which was very good. So those of you looking for good French bread Au Bon Pain is the place to go

Verdict

Au Bon Pain is definitely a place to visit especially if you are looking for something quick, light & healthy. None of the dishes I oredered were heavy & greasy & I definiteky was very happy about it. I only wished the place was roomy enough to accomodate more people as it can get quite crowded in the afternoons .. Nevertheless, the food is the main highlight ..  And, it was ... Awesome

September 2, 2011

South Indies - Kodubale

Kodubale or Kodbale was my first ever post in the South Indies series. I thought this post & the pictures needed a bit of  revamping, And, my Ajji made these yummy Kodubales for Ganesh Chaturthi this time, so here it is ..

Kodubale 1


I wanted to kickstart this series from a snack from a very own state, A snack that's a HOT favorite in Karnataka .. Yes, our very own 'Kodubale' . . . I really dont know how this name came about, but the literal translation from Kannada to English would be, Bangles made out of horns. Weird isn't it??

I just love love love this snack. The ones made by my grand mother are the best ones I've ever had. She always made a huge batch for me during exam times, because I always needed something to munch on during studies. And, I cherish those days when we gathered around for coffee & munched on some gorgeous kodbales as we chatted endlessely . . .

You Will Need:
  • Rice Flour - 4 cups
  • All Purpose Flour/ Maida - 1 cup
  • Dhalia/Roasted Gram/Hurigadle powder - 1 cup
  • Fine semolina - 1cup
  • Salt as per taste
  • Red chilli powder - as per taste
  • Curry leaves - finely chopped
  • Hing/Asafoetida
  • Grated coconut - 1 cup (optional)
  • 2 tbsp Warm groundnut oil - for mixing
  • Oil for deep frying

Method:
  • Dry roast maida & fine semolina separately, for a couple of minutes & keep aside
  • In a large bowl, combine, Maida, Semolina, Rice flour, Dhalia powder, salt & red chilli powder Hing, grated coconut, & 2 tbsp warm oil & mix well
  • In another bowl, take the above mixture sufficient to fry one batch & add very little water & knead well to form a dough.
  • The dough should be fairly hardTake a lemon-sized ball & roll it horizontally to a shape that resembles a Bread Stick
  • Turn this into a ring by joining the ends
  • Fry these in piping Hot oil until golden brown
  • Remove with a slotted spoon & place it on a kitchen towel to remove excess oil
  • Repeat the same process for other batches too
  • Store in air-tight jars

Enjoi !!! Goes really really good with some good ol' Filter Coffee

Kodubale 2

NOTE:
  • To prevent the dough from turning soggy, always make the dough as & when necessary
  • Do NOT make a dough out of the entire mixture ahead of time, else Kodbales will not turn crisp
  • I don't normally add coconut as the kodbales turn crisp without them too. A lot of people, including my Grandmother add coconut. It does not make a big difference in taste anyways.
  • The key to crisp kodbales, is adding appropriate amount of water. Less water absorbs lesser oil.

August 30, 2011

Chakli for Lord Ganesha

Just as little Krishna loves fried snacks, Ganesha loves good food too :) which is why a whole lot of sweets & savouries are made for Ganesh Chaturthi. 

My MIL made a huge batch of Chaklis this morning & I took a few pictures before they are stored away so that no one can eat them before it is offered to the Lord. So these yummy Chaklis are for Lord Ganesha.


Chakli


There are tons of recipes for making Chaklis. A few use Maida or All purpose flour, whereas a few use  besan & rice flour, The one that I've made uses Rice flour & Urad dal in a proportion of 4:1. The rice flour along with melted butter lends a crisp texture to the chaklis while the urad dal adds a very yummy taste.

You Will Need:
  • 4 cups Rice flour
  • 1 cup Urad dal
  • 2 1/2 tbsp melted butter
  • salt as per taste
  • A bit of Hing
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Oil for deep frying

How To:
  • Pressure cook urad dal until mushy. allow it to cool & knead into a smooth paste.
  • In a large bowl, sift rice flour, add melted butter, Hing, cumin seeds, salt & Urad dal paste.
  • Add very little water & knead into a smooth stiff dough.
  • Fix the 1 star attachment into the chakli maker. Take a small amount of dough & place it inside the chakli maker. Press the dough on a plastic sheet & as you press the dough, rotate the chakli maker round & round until it forms a circle. It should form a medium sized circle..
  • Transfer the chaklis from the plastic sheet to your hands & carefully drop them in hot oil.
  • Fry 3 - 4 chaklis at a time. Fry until it turns slightly golden in color.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon & dry on paper towels. Allow it to cool & store in air tight jars.
Enjoi them with a hot cup of Coffee ...

Hope you guys have a great time celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi ..

This goes to Anjali's place for the event for Ganesh Chaturthi Celebration

August 24, 2011

Sweet Corn & Pomegranate Salad


How many of you make it a point to eat salads everyday?? Well, atleast I am not one of those. While, I do appreciate  a well made salad, I am plain lazy to whip up a salad on a everyday basis & I am happy eating Rice:-)

The other day, I made this simple Pomegranate & sweet corn salad with a dash of bell pepper in it. The sweet taste of pomegranate & sweet corn blended so well with bell peppers & the vinaigrette. I hope you guys love it as well

Sweet Corn & Pomegranate Salad

You Will Need
  • 1 cup Pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup sweet corn -boiled with a bit of salt
  • 1 cup green bell pepper - finely diced
For the Vinaigrette
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp any dried herb
  • Salt as per taste
How To Make the Vinaigrette:
  • In a small bowl, add apple cider vinegar, dried herb & salt. mix well. Add extra virgin olive oil & give it a good whisk & set aside.
To Assemble the Salad:
  • In a large bowl, thrown in pomegranate seeds, sweetcorn & bell peppers, mix well.
  • Add prepared vinaigrette, toss well for the flavours to incorporate. Check for salt. Chill for an hour before serving
Enjoi !!!

August 18, 2011

Hari Nayak's 'My Indian Kitchen' - A Review

When Cheryl from Cheryl Duncan & co. asked me if I would like to review Hari Nayak's latest cookbook,  I readily agreed. And, Stephanie from TUTTLE PUBLISHING was gracious enough to send me  a complimentary copy of Hari Nayak's latest 'My Indian Kitchen', I was thrilled for I heart cookbooks. As a food blogger, I have more than one reason to fall in love with cookbooks.

Those of you, who do not know, Hari Nayak is an Indian celebrity chef who lives in New Jersey. He is also an author who has several books to his credit. Nayak hails from Udipi, a small town close to Mangalore. So all those who love South Indian food, you can look forward to some lovely South Indian recipes here.


My Indian Kitchen

The book arrived on rainy afternoon here, I immediately sat down with a cuppa Masala Chai, & as I flipped through the pages, I was already in love with this book. The pictures are by Jack Turkel are such a visual treat. Along with a few of his popular dishes, this book includes some of his family recipes as & a few tips & tricks which makes cooking easier.

The book starts with an introduction to Indian Cuisine & what I loved was a note on Pairing Wines with Indian food. Now we all know, which wine to pick with that spicy curry.

The book then gets divided into 9 delicious chapters beginning with recipes for Indian Spice mixes, the quitessential Indian Chutneys, Appetizers, Soups & dal, Vegetable & cheese dishes. There is a separate section for sea food & another one for meat & poultry. There is another chapter dedicated to Indian faltbreads & Rice varieties, in which he also teaches how to cook the perfect Basmati Rice. There is a Desserts & drinks section at the end, which features some delectable desserts. I personally loved the Pistachio & Mango Ice Cream.

A few other unique recipes that caught my fancy were the Avocado & roasted cumin Raita, Potato & Onion Fritters, & Zucchini with lentils & roasted garlic. These recipes are a perfect way of giving western vegbetables an Indian touch.

If you are a vegetarian who hates buying cookbooks because of the Non Vegetarian recipes in them, you need not worry, for this book has ample Vegetraian recipes. I am a vegetarian myself & I was not dissappointed with the veggie collection here.

However, if you are trying your hand at Indian cooking for the first time, this book is perfect to make a beginning & it lives up to its tagline, 'Preparing delicious Indian meals without fear or fuss'. For a novice, the pictures are such boon because you will know what the end result should look like. Most of the recipes are very easy & with simple narration, anybody can get a hang of what Indian cusine is all about.

In case you already own this gorgeous book, some of my favorite recipes in this book that you may want to try are
  • Pomegranate & mint potato salad
  • Carrot Yogurt Slaw
  • Hyderabadi mixed vegetables
  • Pureed spinach with cheese balls
  • Mint Rice with potatoes & toasted cumin
  • Baked garlic naan
  • Chai Creme Brulee
  • Mumbai fruit punch

There are a lot more other fabuluous recipes from this book, which I will be doing in my upcoming posts .. Do watch out

Verdict

Nayak's effort is sincere which reflects in his recipes. The narration is simple, precise & well written. Nayak clearly suceeds in his motive to make Indian cooking less intimidating.

It is a solid cookbook which covers a wide array of the vast Indian cuisine. As the author rightly puts, 'It is for all who love the value of a home cooked family meal' .. Those who love collecting cookbooks,this book definitely deserves a place in your book shelf. It also makes for a great gift to cooking enthusiasts .. Go for it ..

If you wish to know more about Hari Nayak, visit his website at http://www.harinayak.com/.
Also, log on to http://www.myindiankitchen.com/ , to have a look at the recipe gallery.

August 11, 2011

Tempered Green Mangoes

We get this wonderful variety of green mangoes called Gini Mooti Mavinkayi which literally translates to Parrot Faced Mangoes :-) I don't know, what it is called in other languages though. Please to let me know, if you are aware of it.
These mangoes aren't extactly sour. The skin is not to be peeled off, as it lends a sweet taste to the mangoes.

DSC_1125

We love eating these mango slices with some salt & chilli powder rubbed on them. But sometimes I also love to temper them with some mustard seeds, chilli & coriander powder .. YUMM

How To:
  • 2 Gini Mooti mangoes - washed & diced into small cubes
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • A few Curry Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • A big pinch of Haldi
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander powder
  • Salt as per taste
How To:
  • In a small frying pan, heat oil. Splutter mustard seeds & curry leaves
  • Add all the dry powders one by one, & mix in the mango cubes.
  • Add some salt. On low flame,mix everything together for a minute.
  • Turn of the stove & serve ..
Enjoi !!! But do not over indulge as you may end up with some bad cough ..

August 6, 2011

Dilli ki Aloo Matar Chaat

I was looking for something that I can make with potatoes & I fumbled upon this recipe. The moment I read this , I knew I would be making it soon ..

It took about 15 minutes for me to make this & the end result was just yummy

Dilli ki Aloo Matar Chaat


You Will Need:
  • 2 large Potatoes - cubed
  • A handful of fresh green peas
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Amchur powder
  •  A pinch of Hing
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • Salt as per taste
  • fresh Coriander for Garnish
How To:
  • Boil green peas over the stove top or in a microwave until tender. Drain & set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a Kadhai, splutter cumin seeds. Add a dash of Hing & grated ginger. Saute for a few secs.
  • Add potato cubes, some salt & shallow fry in oil until crisp. Add all the dry powders one by one. Throw in boiled peads & fry for a couple of minutes until the flavours get absorbed.
  • Turn off the stove & serve along with tooth picks .. Add a dash of lemon juice if you like & garnish with fresh coriander

While I was making this, I didn't really expect it to be any different from the dry potato curry that we all make, But it was way different that that .. I would call it a cross between our Desi Pottao Fry & Potato Wedges from McDonalds ... But you will love it for sure ..

July 22, 2011

Moong Dal Khichdi

My Dad is the official Khichdi maker at home & he makes the best Khichdi ever (Infact much better than my Mom)  He doesn't use many spices which is why its so simple & lovely & comforting. I actually make several versions of Khichdi  but nothing beats my Dad's Moong Dal ki Khichdi

There is nothing like digging into a hot bowl of kichdi on a monsoon evening. Serve it with some kadhi on the side & you'll be in heaven.

Moong Dal Khichdi

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup Rice - I used Sona Masuri
  • A little more than 1/2 a cup of Moong Dal
  • 2 onions - chopped
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes- chopped
  • A handful of beans - chopped
  • 1 potato - diced
  • 1 carrot - diced
  • 1 green bell pepper  diced
  • A handful of green peas - fresh/frozen
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • A dash of Hing
  • A sprig of Curry Leaves
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Green Chillies- slit
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 2 tsp oil
  • chopped coriander for garnish
  • Salt as per taste
How To:
  • Wash Rice & Dal & soak them for a while. Meanwhile Chop all the vegetables & set aside.
  • Heat Ghee in a pressure cooker, splutter cumin seeds. Add a dash if Hing, ginger, green chillies, curry leaves & saute for a few secs.
  • Add chopped onions & turmeric & saute till onions turn pink. Add all the vegetables one by one. Add Red chilli powder & some salt & mix well.
  • Add Rice, dal & water. Check for salt again. Pour 2 tsp oil & give it a good mix.
  • Close the lid & pressure cook on medium flame for 3-4 whistles.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander before serving

Serve HOT with a dollop of Desi Ghee, some Papad, Yogurt & Mango Pickle .. Enjoi !!!

July 20, 2011

Tomato & Rosemary Soup

The weather here right now is perfect for a hot bowl of Tomato Soup & if it is spiked with some fresh Rosemary, can it get better than that??
It was very cold & gloomy this afternoon & it was a perfect excuse to dig into some piping hot soup .. I ate mine with some toasted Baguette and Aaah Bliss !!

What I loved was the addition of Rosemary. It adds an interesting twist but it isn't very overpowering. Next time, try adding Rosemary to any of your soups .. You will love it


DSC_1346

You will need:
  • 3 large Tomatoes - roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion - diced
  • 1 small carrot - diced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 sprigs of fresh Rosemary
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh cream
  • A dash of cracked pepper
  • Salt as per taste

How To:
  • In a large pot,  heat oilve oil & throw in onions, carrots & garlic. Saute at regular intervals & cook for abour 3 mins.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, Tomato Puree,  red chilli powder & rosemary. Add some vegetable stock or water & salt. Cook on low flame for about 20 mins.
  • Discard Rosemary sprigs & blend into a smooth puree. Strain if you wish to & return to the soup pot, Add fresh cream & check for salt. Gently reheat. Add a dash of cracked pepper before serving.

Serve with some crusty toasted bread .. Enjoi !!!

.

July 15, 2011

Shankar's Pulao

I guess, most of you reading this would know that it was my Birthday a couple of days ago .. Well, Shankar, surprised me with this Pulao for the Birthday lunch .. Hence, the name of this dish :-)

I was actually quite thrilled with the idea that He'd be cooking something. Since he is a novice, I wanted to give him instructions  lend a helping hand  But I was shooed away from the kitchen The only thing I did was, measure Basmati rice & soak it in water. I really don't know where he got this recipe from, but it was just fabulous ..

Shankar's Pulao


You Will Need:
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice - washed & soaked for about an hour
  • 2 carrots - diced
  • 1 large potato - diced
  • A handful of beans - chopped
  • 1/2 cup - cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam Masala
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tsp desi ghee
  • 2 tsp oil
  • fresh coriander for garnish
For the Paste:
  • 2 medium sized onions - roughly chopped
  • 1' cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 green cardamons
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 4 green chillies
  • 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
  • A handful of fresh mint leaves
How To:
  • Heat oil a small pan, add all the ingredients mentioned in the 'Paste' list & fry until the onions are golden brown. Allow it to cool & grind into a smooth paste using very little water
  • Heat Ghee in a pressure cooker, add ginger-garlic paste. Add all the vegetables one by one. Add the ground paste, chilli poiwer & Garam Masala & mix well. Drain the soaked rice & add into the pressure cooker. Add salt & 1 1/2 cups of water. Add 2 tsp cooking oil. Stir well & check for salt again.
  • Close the lid & allow to to pressure cook for 1 whistle. Set aside to cool
  • Once the pressure is released, open the lid, Add lemon juice & chopped coriander & fluff gently with a fork.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl

Serve with any Raita of your choice .. Enjoi !!!

Shankar's Pulao 1

While, Shankar was at it, I was quite unhappy about the fact the he was frying up all the ingredients to make a paste. I told him, it wasn't necessary because the paste will anyways be sauteed before adding rice. Because of this, we actually had a mini fight in between :-)  But the end result was very good .. Frying up the spices before grinding does lend a unique taste .. Do not skip it, if you are going to be trying this ..

Anyways, I did have a Fab Birthday .. All of you, who stopped by to wish me, Thanks so much .. It really made my day :-)

July 13, 2011

Rasmalai with a Hint of Mango

Here's another sweet post from me because, Yours Truly celebrates her Birthday today .. So here is one of my favorite desserts but with a slight twist. Yes, its Rasmalai with a hint of Mango ..

I made these using store bought Rasgullas, but if you have time, you can make Rasgullas from scratch. If you are hosting someone at a very short notice, & you want you add your own touch,  then this is a perfect dessert.

Rasmalai with a hint of Mango

The addition of Mango pulp gives it a lovely flavor, but do not over do with it. You do not want the Rasmalai to be tasting like Mango Kheer.  If you are using about 500ml milk, then pulp from half a mango is sufficient.

You Will Need:
  • Rasgullas - I used store bought
  • 500 ml Milk
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • A few strands of saffron
  • Pulp of 1/2 a mango - coarsely crushed with hand
  • 2 tsp chopped dry fruits ( cashwenuts, almonds,  pistachios )
How To:
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, add milk & sugar. Simmer for about 20 mins until it thickens slightly. Add saffronn strands. Set aside & allow it to cool.
  • Add mango pulp & give it a stir to mix well.
  • Gently squeeze the rasgullas to remove as much sugar syrup as possible. Do not break them.
  • Drop them in milk & garnish with dry fruits. Chill for a few hours before serving.
NOTE: You can use any variety of mango that you like. I love crushing the pulp with my hands because I love that coarse texture & you can bite into some of the pulp.

July 7, 2011

South Indies: Broken Wheat Pongal

As a South Indian, I love Rice & there are no two ways about it. But, there was a time when I was watching my weight, & I stayed away from rice as much as possible, limiting its consumption to about twice a week. Did I miss eating rice?? Yes, BIG time ..

And this Broken Wheat Pongal was my closest substitute to rice .. Not in terms of taste, but cooked moong dal & broken wheat did create that mushy texture, somewhat similar to traditional Pongal .. So this was what my Lunch/Dinner would be, whenever I missed rice ..

Broken Wheat Pongal

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup Moong Dal
  • 1 cup Broken Wheat
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
  • A sprig of Curry Leaves
  • A few cashewnuts
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 green chillies - slit
  • 1 tbsp Desi Ghee
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • Salt as per taste
How To:
  • Clean broken wheat & moong dal under running water. Pressure cook until mushy. when done, gently mash with the back of a ladle & set aside
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, heat ghee, splutter cumin seeds, add grated ginger, green chillies, cashewnuts, curry leaves, crushed black pepper & saute for a few secs.
  • Add cooked broken wheat & moong dal. Add turmeric & water & mix gently.
  • Add milk & check for salt. Add grated coconut & more water to get the desired consistency & heat gently.

Transfer to a serving bowl & top with a tsp of ghee before serving .. Serve HOT .. Enjoi !!!

NOTE: Why I add milk, is because it lends a nice creamy texture to the dish. You may replace it with additional water, if you want to

July 1, 2011

Herbed Cream Cheese & Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Cream Cheese wasn't that commonly available in India until a few years ago. Frankly, I didn't even care that much because I really wasn't into different kinds of cuisine & I wasn't really into cooking. The other day, I finally brought home a pack of Britannia cream cheese & it was converted into a herbed spread ... Just perfect for crackers & sandwiches ..

Herbed Cream Cheese

For the Herbed Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup softened cream cheese at room temprature - I used Britannia
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt as per taste

How to:
  • In a large bowl, add everything & give it a gently whisk until combined
  • Place in an airtight container & refrigerate for an hour for the flavours to blend

Serve on top of crackers or even as a spread ..

Herbed Cream Cheese & cucumber sandwich

These tea sandwiches are incredibly tasty & very light on the stomach .. Can be eaten for breakfast too .. Who has the time todo elaborate tea these days???

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches:
  • Bread - any variety ( I used multi grain )
  • Herbed Cream cheese
  • Tinly sliced Cucumbers
  • Fresh Basil for garnish
How To:
  • Cut bread slices into desired shapes using a cookie cutter or cut them into traingles
  • Evenly spread herbed cream cheese. Place cucumber slices on top & garnish with fresh basil.

Cream Cheese & Cucumber Sandwich

Serve with your evening tea .. Enjoi !!!