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


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 !!!