November 14, 2012

Carrot Kheer & The BIG News !!

This space has been silent for a while now & its not without a reason. I am a Mommie to a beautiful little Baby Boy. Born on the 29th of September, He is 47 days old to be precise. Sleepless nights & Diaper duties have been the order of the day but Hey, I am not complaining .. I can't be more thrilled at the moment & Life's just Beautiful .. I'll be writing about more my little boy & our journey together in future posts

Deepavali is finally here & This Deepavali is special for us. Its the first Indian festival we celebrate with the little one. Just like every year, Amma made loads of goodies. I wasn't allowed to eat any because I am on a post partum diet with loads of dietary restricitions. Hey, I am not complaining because at the end of the day, its all for my good. Anyways, all i got to drink was a glass  of Carrot Kheer.

Carrot kheer

You Will Need:

  • 1 .5 litres Milk
  • 4 medium sized carrots - peeled & roughly chopped into cubes
  • A handful of almonds
  • Sugar - 5 tbsp or more
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • A few strands of saffron soaked in warm milk

How To:
  • In a pressure cooker, heat about a cup of milk. Add chopped carrots, almonds & pressure cook for 2 whistles. Allow it to cool completely. Once cool, drain milk & set aside. Grind cooked carrots & almonds into a smooth paste without adding any water
  • Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed vessel, boil remaining milk. once it boils, allow it to simmer gently. Add pureed carrots & almonds, sugar & the milk that was set aside after boiling carrots & almonds. Mix gently & simmer on low flame for about 15 mins. Add Cardamom powder before turning off the stove.
  • Add Saffron & mix well. Set aside to cool. Once it comes to room temprature, chill in refrigerator

  • There is no need for you to peel the almonds. It won't make any difference to the colour.
  • This kheer isn't overly sweet so, Increase sweetness as per your taste. The amount of sugar required depends on the sweetness of carrots too

September 21, 2012

South Indies: Ammini Kozhukattai | Steamed Rice Flour Dumplings

If you've made Modaks/Kozhukattais for Ganesh Chaturthi, I am sure there is some leftover dough sitting in your fridge right now .. I would always use them for making Coorg Style Akki Rottis until I came across this really cute looking Tamil style Ammini Kozhukattais.

The leftover dough is rolled into small marble sized balls, steamed & tempered with some spices. They taste absolutely yummy & is such a welcome change after devouring a whole lot of Modaks, Payasams & other sweets.

Ammini Kozhukattai
These cute little savoury kozhukattais make a great option for your kid's lunch box & also as an after-school snack.
You Will Need:
  • Leftover Kozhukattai Dough or
  • 1 cup Rice Flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 cups water
To Temper:
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • A generous pinch of hing
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp grated coconut
  • 4 green chillies - chopped
  • curry leaves
  • fresh coriander for garnish
  • Salt as per taste
How To:
To make the dough from scratch, heat water in a heavyu bottomed pan, add salt & oil. once the water comes to a boil, add rice flour little at a time. With the help of a wooden ladle, keep mixing in circular motion, until it comes together as a dough. Turn off the stove & set aside. once the cool a little, add a tsp of oil & knead the dough again.
Make marble sized balls out of the dough & steam them for 10-12 mins. Once done. Heat oil in a kadhai, for tempering.
Crackle mustard seeds. Add urad dal, green chillies, hing, turmeric, curry leaves & grated coconut. Saute on low flame for about half a minute. Add steamed kozhukattais, some salt & gently give it a mix. Garnish with chopped coriander before serving

September 16, 2012

South Indies: Thenkolalu/Thenkuzhal

So, What's cooking for Ganesh Chaturthi?  Like every year, there's going to be a wide array of sweets & savories made as an offering to Lord Ganesha. Afterall he loves eating. We already made a huge batch of Kodubales & they are safely stored away so that no one eats them before they are offered to the Lord.
We also made some Thenkolalu/Thenkuzhal today. Thenkolalu ( in Kannada ) or Thenkuzhal ( in Tamil ) is a traditional deep fried savoury snack made during festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi/ Krishna Janmashtami & even Deepavali. Okay, you can even make it on other days, just to munch on something with your Filter Coffee ( if you have the patience to deep fry ) There are several versions to this recipe,  where the proportion of Rice Flour: Urad Dal flour differs slightly. Here's how we make it at home
You Will Need:
  • 3 cups Rice flour
  • 1 cup Urad dal
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp hot oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • A generous pinch of asafoetida
  • Salt as per taste
  • Oil to deep fry ( I used refined Groundnut Oil)

How To:

In a skillet, dry roast urad dal on low flame for about 5-8 mins until aromatic. Do not allow them to change colour. Allow them to cool. Once cool, grind into a smooth powder using a mixer/food processor

In a dry bowl, add all the dry ingredients together. Add melted butter. Now add water little at a time to form a soft pliable dough. Set aside

In a heavy bottomed Kadhai, Heat oil to deep fry. Once the oil is hot enough, take out a tbsp of oil, add it to the dough & knead again.

Fix the 3 round attachment into the chakli maker/murukku press.  Take a small amount of dough & place it inside the murukku press. Keep about 3-4 steel ladels handy. Grease them with oil. As you press the dough into each ladle, rotate the murukku press into circles.

Quickly slide them into the kadhai & deep fry until the the bubbling & hissing action subsides. Flip them once or twice in between, like say a couple of mins after they go into the oil. Deep fry till it turns slightly golden yellow in color. Once done, remove with a slotted spoon & drain on paper towels. Allow them to cool completely & transfer into an air-tight jar.

  • Fry 4-5 Thenkokalus at a time, depending on the size of your frying pan. You don't want to over crowd the pan.
  • You can replace cumin seeds with Sesame seeds if you wish to.
  • Do not knead the dough well before time & allow it to rest. It tends absorbs more oil as you deep fry.
  • You can press the Thenkolalu directly into the kadhai, if you are used to it. But if you are a novice, do not try it. I prefer pressing the Thenkolalu onto a ladle & sliding them into the oil. It's much safer this way

September 12, 2012

Pumpkin & Coconut Milk Soup | A Guest Post for Cakes & More

If you love baking then you will probably be aware of Cakes & More, a beautiful beautiful blog that has some of very amazing baking recipes. Suma Rowjee - The writer & baker behind Cakes & More is a self confessed baking addict & an amazing one at that. If you any queries regarding baking or sourcing baking ingredients in Bangalore, shoot her an email .. She will be happy to help you


Today, I have the pleasure of writing a Guest Post for Suma. If you are a regulat at Vegetable Platter, you are definitely aware of my love for soups so, I chose to do a milidly Thai flavored Pumpkin & Coconut Milk Soup - perfect for the weather in Bangalore right now.

Jump to Cakes & More right now & take a look at the recipe. Suma, Thanks a ton for the opportunity .. I loved writing for you

August 31, 2012

Aloo Panch Phoron | Stir Fried Potatoes in a 5 Spice Mix

Panch Phoron or the 5 spice mix is not very popular down south but its widely used in Bengali cuisine. This spice mix is a blend of mustard, cumin, fenugreek, nigella & fennel seeds. These spices are mixed in equal quantities & stored in a container & is used to season fish & curries in Bengali cuisine.
I had not made anything with Panch Phoron seasoning before & this Potato Fry is my first experiment with it & I am so much in love with that distinct flavour.
Aloo Panch Phoron
You Will Need:
  • 2 large potatoes - washed & scrubbed clean
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds/methi seeds
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds/kalonji
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 Dry Red chillies
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • Fresh coriander for garnish

How To:

Slice the potatoes into fairly thick wedges. I prefer keeping the skin on. But you can go ahead & peel the skin before slicing the potatoes. Immerse them in cold water until ready to use.
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil. Add the mustard seeds first, once they crackle, add all the others one by one & allow them to splutter for about 20-25 secs. Do not burn them.
Add chillies & potato wedges along with turmeric powder & give it a gentle stir. Add salt & saute on medium heat for about 4-5 mins till the edges are slightly browned. Turn down the heat, sprinkle a little water & cook on low heat with the lid on. Saute at regular intervals to avoid the bottom of the pan from getting burnt. At any point of time, if you find the potatoes dry, sprinkle a little water & allow them to cook. See to it that the potatoes are fully cooked yet firm & not mushy. Once done, adjust salt. Garnish with chopped coriander before serving
Serve Warm with Phulkas or along with steamed Rice & Dal


August 25, 2012

Moong Bean Pulao

There are some recipes that fall into your comfort zone. The recipes that you depend on when you don't want to spend too much time cooking yet you want something tasty & filling because you are hungry.

This Moong Bean Pulao falls into that category atleast for me. All because, it takes less than 30 mins to make this & there is not much prepping required other than chopping onions & tomatoes. And, for the little effort it takes, its absolutely tasty & healthy too. So that makes this a perfect weeknight dinner or even a lunch box option.
Since, I love different kinds of Pulao, Mom has been making this since the longest time I can remember & this is clearly one of my childhood favorites.
Moong Bean Pulao

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1/2 cup Moong Beans
  • 2 big onions - chopped lengthwise
  • 2 ripe tomatoes - chopped
  • 3 green chillies - slit lengthwise
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kitchen king masala
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp desi ghee
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • fresh coriander for garnish

How To:

Soak Basmati rice in several changes of water until the water runs clear & soak in water for about 30 mins. This is optional though
While you are chopping onions & tomatoes, bring a pot of salted water to boil & add mung beans. Allow them to cook while you are busy with prepping.
In a pressure cooker, add a tsp of desi ghee & a tbsp oil. crackle cumin seeds. Add torn bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves & saute for a few seconds. Add chopped onions, ginger garlic paste and a little bit of salt & saute till the onions turn pink. Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder & saute until the tomatoes are nice & soft. This should take about 5 mins.
Drain the Basamti Rice & add them into the pressure cooker. Saute for a minute. Next, drain the moong beans & add them along with kitchen king masala. Give it a good stir. Add 1 1/2 cups of water & salt. bring it to a boil. close the lid & allow it to pressure cook for 1 whistle or 2 whistles depending on the type of pressure cooker you use.
Once the pressure is released, open the lid & allow it to cool a little, maybe for about 10 mins. Add lemon juice & chopped coriander & fluff with a fork. Serve with a raita of your choice. I usually serve this with a simple onion raita.
NOTE: If you have some time on hand, you can soak Moong Beans in water for about   30 - 45 mins. Then, you need not cook the moong beans as you are prepping. You can add the Moong Beans directly into the pressure cooker after adding  rice.

July 10, 2012

Bliss Chocolates - Bangalore

Bliss Chocolates, India's first luxury chocolate brand has been around for some time now, 3 years to be precise. Well, it's not just your regular shop stuffed with all things chooclatey .. It is based around the concept of a lounge .. Yes, you heard it right, Its a Chocolate Lounge & the first of its kind in India. Which means, you can just drop in to their lounge & enjoy the goodness of all things Chocolate

A week ago, I happened to go to their Luxe Lounge in UB City. It's a small cozy place right in the center of UB city which can accomodate about 30 odd people.  We started our Chocolate journey with Belgian Dark Chocolate Pastry along with some rich chooclate sauce poured over the top. Then came an array of assorted chooclates right from Almond chocolates, Rum truffles to Plain Dark Chocolates. The also have various Indian Flavored chocolates like Jeera, Masala Chai  & cardamom But the highlight definitely was the Chilli Chocolate. It comes with just the right hint Spice from red chilli flakes.

And then came a cup of Hot Chocolate made with the finest belgian dark chocolate, so perfect for the Bangalore weather right now. After an overdose of sweetness, we ordered for some nice & crunchy Masala French fries along with a strong cup of Cappuccino. Much needed, I tell you .. They also have other fried goodies on the menu along with some sandwiches

Besides, this they also have gift hampers along with a few selected wines & you can even place an order online. They make great gifts during Diwali & New Years. The chocolates, pastries & other fried goodies are very good, no doubt .. But it is a tad expensive & will cost much more than your regular bar of chococlate .. They have the finest raw chocolates sourced from all around the world. No wonder, it's a luxury brand isn't it ??

Besides UB City, they have their outlets in Forum Mall, Koramangala, Mantri Square, Malleshwaram & Forum Value Mall, Whitefield. For anyone who loves chocolates, this place is worth checking out. You can also find more information or order online from their website

Go Visit this chocolate Heaven & Have Fun !!

July 3, 2012

Veggie Noodle Soup

It's July already & there is no trace of Monsoon here in Bangalore. But it has been very cloudy & windy since a couple of weeks. I know a lot of people hate this kiond of lousy weather but it's totally my kind & I am loving it. Its also been very cold here since the past couple of days, The 'I want to be in bed all day' kinda weather & it was just a perfect excuse to make this hearty Veggie Noodle soup.

This soup can be made with any kind of noodles, Since I had a paclet of whole wheat Maggi, I made use of it. The kind of veggies & seasonings you want to add it totally upto you. I wanted something quick, so I added the tastemaker that comes alongwith noodles.

Next time, I might add a bit of Soy Sauce or even Sriracha Sauce for that kick & yes I will add some tofu too for that extra bit of nutrition

Veggie Noodle Soup 1

You Will Need:

  • 1 packet Maggi Noodles
  • A handful of sweet corn - fresh/frozen
  • 1 carrot - peeled & finely diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper - seeds removed & finely diced
  • A little bit of salt
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 cups of water/vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp corn starch mixed in some water

How To:

In a cooking pot, heat oil. Saute carrots, bell pepper & sweet corn until they are cooked yet crunchy. Meanwhile, in another pot, cook the noodles in water. Drain & set aside.
Add the taste maker & cook for a couple of mins more. Add the corn starch mixture along with 2 cups of water. Add some salt & birng it to a gentle boil.

Add the cooked noodles & simmer for a couple of minutes. Add some water if you find the mixture thick. Turn off the stove & garnish with finely chopped parsley. Serve Hot.

June 28, 2012

Rava Dhokla | Steamed Savoury Semolina Cake

I have always been a huge fan of Dhoklas ever since my Bombay days .. Even though, Dhokla is a traditional Gujarati snack, it is equally popular in Bombay & are a staple in most takeaway places in the city.

I never bothered to look for a recipe back then, because Mum made lovely Dhoklas or even easier, it was always available at the nearest takeaway. What I didn't know is that there are several variations to this like Khaman, Nylon Khaman, Dhokla, Rava Dhokla, Khatta Dhokla, Instant Dhokla & what not .. Another important fact that I was unaware of all these years is that Khaman & Dhokla are NOT the same & there is nothing known as 'Khaman Dhokla' which is what Khaman is referred as, all over the country. Perhaps, a Gujarati would be able to explain this better


I came across a recipe for Rava Dhoklas which uses semolina instead of gram flour. They turned out very fluffy & super soft .. I really don't know, if this is how it is traditionally made, but then, I am in love with this :-)

Makes about 35 Dhoklas

You Will Need:
  • 2 cups fine Semolina
  • 2 tbsp Gram Flour/Besan
  • 1 cup fresh yogurt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tsp green chilli paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp Eno Fruit Salt
  • Salt as per taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Additional 2 tsp sugar

To Temper
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut

How To:

In a large bowl, add semolina, Besan, turmeric, sugar, salt. green chilli & ginger paste & cooking oil. Add yogurt & mix well. Slowly add water & mix well to form a smooth batter. See to it that no lumps are formed. Allow this batter to rest for about 5 mins.

Meanwhile, fill a stramer with about 1.5-2 inches of water & bring it to a boil. Grease a shallow metal dish with cooking oil & set aside

Just before pouring the batter into the metal dish, add Eno & whisk well. The mixture rises & doubles in volume. Pour the batter into the metal dish. Gently place into the steamer. Cover & steam cook for about 15-20 mins. Insert a toothpick in the center. if it comes out clean, then your Dhoklas are done. Remove from heat & Allow them to cool slightly

Meanwhile, heat a tbsp of cooking oil & splutter mustard seeds. In a small bowl, take about less than 1/4 a cup of water. Add juice of  one lemon, & about a tsp of sugar. Mix well & allow the sugar to dissolve. Add spluttered mustard seeds along with oil to this & mix well. Pour this evenly over steamed dhoklas before you add the garnishing. Let the Dhokla soak in it for a while. This helps in keeping the Dhoklas moist. Cut the dhoklas into neat squares & garnish with fresh coconut & tons of chopped coriander. Serve with Coriander & Mint Chutney

This works great as a starter & since they are eaten at room temprature, they work great for potluck lunch/dinner & for picnics too

June 20, 2012

Vegetable Poha

Breakfast has always been an elaborate affair at home. Like most South Indian homes, I grew up eating Idli, Dosa, Upma, Pongal, Akki Rotti etc & I love it that way .. Infact, I don't even remember eating Cereals for breakfast for the 1st 20 years of my life .. Really :)  Later on in life when losing weight & dieting came into picture, we got into eating cereals & fruits for breakfast, only to go back to the good old Indian breakfast, in a matter of few weeks :)

Vegetable Poha

Poha is one of  India's most staple Breakfast dishes & you will find variations as you move from one state to another. On days when I am very hungry, I like a big bowl of Hot steaming Poha for Breakfast, loaded with lots of veggies, a generous amount of Sev added on top .. Yumm

You Will Need:
  •  2 cups Thick Poha
  •  1 big onion - finely chopped
  •  1 carrot - peeled & diced into cubes
  •  1 medium sized potato - peeled & diced into cubes
  •  A handful of green peas - fresh or frozen
  •  2 tbsp fresh grated coconut
  •  1 tsp mustard seeds
  •  1 tsp cumin seeds
  •  1 tsp chana dal
  •  1 tsp urad dal
  •  4 green chillies - finely chopped
  •  juice of half a lemon
  •  1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  •  2-3 tbsp cooking oil
  •  Salt as per taste
  •  Fresh coriander for garnish
  •  Sev for garnish

How To:
  • In a colander, wash Poha in several changes of water. Drain water & Set aside.
  • In a pan, heat cooking oil, splutter mustard & cumin seeds. Add green chillies, Urad & chana dal. Saute for about 20 secs until the urad & chana dal slightly change color. Add onion & little bit of salt & turmeric & saute until the onions turn pink.
  • Add Potatoes & carrots & cook covered with a lid. Saute at regular intervals to avoid the vegetables from getting burnt. When they are half cookes, Add green peas & cook for another 3-4 mins.
  • When the vegetables are done, Add poha, salt, grated coconut, lime juice & gently mix well on low flame.
  • Garnish with fresh corinder & top with Sev if you don't mind a few extra calories

Serve with some good old Filter Coffee .. Aah Bliss !!

June 8, 2012

Chane Ka Shorba | Indian Spiced Chickpea Soup

I am seriously done with restaurants that serve greasy & spice laden food in the name of Punjabi Cuisine. I didn't grow up eating Punjabi food, but I for sure know that  what you get in such restaurants is not what is typically cooked in a Punjabi household. So, when I happen to visit a Punjabi restaurant, I am always on the lookout for something that has subtle flavours & is relatively less greasy. For how long can one enjoy the very rich  Paneer Butter Masala & Butter or Butter Kulcha anyways?


We went out for dinner at this typical Punjabi restaurant many moons ago & I happened to order Chane ka Shorba - A delicately spiced Indian Chickpea Soup. It is not very often that I try to recreate what I order at fancy restaurants but then I fell in love with this shorba so I had to make  this again.

This Shorba was originally made with Kaale Chane or Black Chickpeas. Since, I didn't have any on hand,  I made use of the white one. I reckon, you can even use Sprouted Chickpeas.

Since, I didn't have a recipe on hand, this is loosely based on whatever my tastebuds could predict. But then, it was really really close to the original :)


You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas - soaked overnight or for 8hrs
  • 1 big onion - roughly chopped
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes - roughly chopped
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1 tsp Everest Chole Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/4 cup cream or 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 cups water/vegetable stock
  • Fresh coriander for garnish

How To:
  • Pressure cook chickpeas, with a pinch of salt, until soft. Set aside.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, heat butter. Splutter cumin seeds. Add onions & tomatoes along with green chillies, ginger-garlic paste. Saute for a couple of mins. Add Choley Masala & saute until the onions & tomatoes are soft & mushy. Set aside & allow it to cool
  • Blend together chicikpeas & the onion tomato mixture until smooth.
  • Strain into a soup pot. Add 2 cups of water/vegetable stock & heat it gently. Add Garam Masala, Salt to taste & cream. Simmer for about 10 mins on low heat.
  • If using milk instead of cream, reduce the amount of water/vegetable stock
  • Garnish with fresh coriander & Serve Hot

May 29, 2012

Mango & passion Fruit Fool

The Mango season is here & I am just lovin it .. The usual Mango Lassi, Aamras, Mango Milkshake, Mango Kulfi have all been made quite a few times over the last few days & I was looking out for  a new low-cal dessert this time .. And, I found this - A creamy low cal dessert with Mango, Passion Fruit & the goodness Greek Yogurt

Mango & Passion Fruit Fool

You Will Need:
  • 2 Ripe Mangoes - Peeled
  • 2 Passion Fruits
  • 500g Greek yogurt
  • juice of 1/2 a lime

How To:
  • Neatly chop a mango into small cubes & set aside
  • Roughly Chop the other mango & puree them in a blender along with lime juice
  • Gently fold the yogurt into the puree.
  • Divide this into 4 or 5 glasses & place in the fridge to chill for about an hour
  • Before serving, top with a few diced mangoes on each of the glasses. Scoop out the seeds of the passion fruit & drizzle on top

April 15, 2012

South Indies: Nimbe Saaru/Lemon Rasam

I've never known Bangalore like this before. Its Hot beyond words. And, this means that there are plenty of days when all I need is some lightly spiced Rasam with some steamed rice & buttermilk for lunch
So, this Nimbe Saaru/Lemon Rasam was made yesterday 

Lemon Rasam

Now, there are plenty of ways to make this one. Its usually made with Toor Dal But I chose to make it with Moong Dal instead. Moong Dal is easy on digestion & It is known to cooling effect on the body. So, its perfect for Summer

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup Moog Dal
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp desi Ghee
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • A few curry leaves
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Salt as per taste
  • Fresh coriander for garnish

How To:
  • Clean Moong Dal & pressure cook with 2 cuos of water until quite mushy.
  • Once cooked, mash with the back of a spoon, transfer to a heavy bottomed pot, Add 4 cups of water, green chillies, Salt, ginger & turmeric powder. Simmer for 10-12 mins
  • Turn off the stove & temper with cumin & mustard seeds using Desi Ghee
  • Add lemon juice & garnish with fresh coriander.
  • You may discard the green chillies if you wish to.

Serve with steamed rice. You may also serve it as a clear soup ..

April 2, 2012

Tomato & Bell Pepper Bruschetta

I know, I had been away for way too long, much longer than intended .. And, now that I am back, I hope to be regular ..

Summer is at its peak here & it's getting hotter by the day .. And, its no fun because I HATE Summer ... It also means, that I haven't been spending much time in the kitchen & lunch is usually a light salad or a veggie soup or a quick one pot meal & loads of chilled buttermilk .. I just can't wait for the rains to start, I say ..

Tomato & Bell Pepper Bruschetta

I am so much in love with Bruschetta,  these days .. It is a great appetizer & makes a yummy accompaniment with your summer salads & soups.

You Will Need:
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes - finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 medium sized bell pepper - finely chopped
  • 5 basil leaves - chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Grated Parmesan - As needed (optional)
  • A loaf of french bread - cut into diagonal slices

How To:
  • In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except french bread, allow the mixture to sit for about 15-20 mins, for the flavours to blend.
  • Heat a griddle & toast the bread slices for about a minute on either side till they get nice & crisp. You can also toast them using a convectional grill.
  • While the bread is still warm, spread the tomato-bell pepper mixture & top with a tsp of grated parmesan. I didn't use any
Serve Warm & Enjoi !!!

    February 10, 2012

    Baked Potato Wedges | Cumin & Thyme Flavored

    An Old recipe with a new picture yet again .. I've made these so many times but I could never take pictures because they disappear so fast. Then again, nobody can resist a plate of oven fresh hot potato wedges right??

    What would you ever do with someone, who reaches out to a pack of chips, french fries & other fried goodies at the drop of a hat . . I am talking about Shankar . . He gorges on fried goodies like there is no tomorrow & does not think think twice about lapping up a plate of fried food all by himself .
    In spite of turning down those innumerable requests for fried snacks, He still is optimistic . .


    One snack that I often make to compensate for those unheeded requests is the incredibly simple Potato Wedges. These wedges are surprisingly addictive and a healthy replacement for the ubiquitous French Fries .

    I keep varying the flavours. Sometimes, its spiced with chilli flakes & garlic & at times, I like to go all herb & add thyme, rosemary, oregano or whatever is available.
    This time, it is some earthy cumin & thyme to bring out that lovely flavour.

    • 4 large potatoes
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • Salt as per taste 
    • 2 tsp cumin seeds
    • 2 tsp fresh/dried thyme


    • Scrub the potatoes well & slice them into wedges with the skin on
    • Preheat the oven at 220 C
    • Spray a baking dish with olive oil, place the potatoes on the baking tray
    • Throw in cumin, thyme & salt
    • Toss the potatoes well.
    • Place the tray in the centre of the pre-heated oven & bake for about 20- 25 minutes or until they turn crisp & slightly golden on the outside
    • You might want to turn the potatoes, halfway into the baking time

    Serve HOT . . Enjoi !!!

    Ahh . . these wedges are worth raving about . . Crisp & thick, with softer insides. The skin lent a very earthy flavour. These beauties came out piping HOT was was seasoned to perfection. And the best part about it is, It goes easy on your waist-line too.

    These spicy wedges are a perfect accompaniment with tea/coffee on those chilly winter evenings. Having a party at home?? works as a great appetizer too :)

    Go Ahead .. Indulge !!

    February 8, 2012

    Whole Wheat & Almond Cookies

    Baking has gotten real addictive. I've been looking for excuses to bake something new almost everyday :) Yesterday I baked a batch of ginger cookies. I shared them with my neighbour over tea & they got over in no time. So, I had to bake some cookies to go with my evening Chai.

    I told you that I don't have a thing for sweet bakes but this recipe looked really good. I saw these cookies at various blogs,  it seemed simple enough

    Whole Wheat & Almond Cookies

    Makes about 18-20 cookies

    You Will Need:
    • 1 cup wheat flour
    • 1/4 cup Almond Meal
    • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp - softened  butter
    • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
    • 1/2 tsp cardamon powder
    • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp Salt
    • 4 tbsp Milk

    How To:
    • Preheat the oven to 180 C
    • In a large bowl, mix wheat flour, almond meal, suagr, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder & salt
    • Add Butter & mix well. Add milk as & when needed to knead into a soft dough.
    • Pinch small balls & flatten them with your palms.
    • Arrange them on a nbaking tray about 1/2 an inch apart. Bake for 18-20 mins until lightly golden
    • Remove from the oven & Allow them to cool on a rack. Once cool, store them in air tight jars
    Enjoy with your evening tea/coffee

    These cookies are not overly buttery but they gave a nice crunch & everything that has butter tastes awesome isnt't it ?? It doesn't take more than 30 mins,  to make these (including the baking time ).. Bake them today !!!

    • You can garnish with almond slivers before baking
    • The original recipe says it yields about 24 cookies, I could get only 19 (  maybe its something to do with size )

    February 4, 2012

    Savoury Onion Crackers | Baked Nippattu

    I've been on a baking spree since a couple of days & since we don't have a sweet tooth, its various kinds of savory cookies & crackers that have been made .. Baked Nippattu or Savoury Onion Crackers are very famous in Bangalore & Iyengar Bakeries here are known for their super crunchy Baked Nippatus.

    These are very easy to make & you can hardly ever go wrong with them, unless you overbake & burn them. But my only worry was the texture since I was using whole wheat flour & oats instead off All Purpose Flour. They came out super crunchy & you cannot make out its made out of whole wheat unless mentioned

    Savoury Onion Crackers | Baked Nippattu

    Makes 12-15 Nippatus

    You Will Need:

    • 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
    • 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
    • 1/2 cup instant oats
    • 1 big onion - very finely chopped
    • 6 green chillies - finely chopped
    • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
    • 1/2 cup Oil - I used Sunflower Oil
    • 1/4 cup warm water
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • Salt as per taste
    • A handful of chopped fresh coriander

    How To:
    • In a pan, roast oats slightly & make a fine powder.
    • In a bowl, add all the ingredients one by one except water. Mix well & add water little at a time and knead well to make a soft dough. cover with a damp cloth & set aside for 10 mins.
    • Preheat the oven to 180C. Pinch small balls of dough & flatten them with your hands, as evenly as possible. If you wish to get even edges, cut the with a round cookie cutter or a lid
    • Arrange them on a greased baking tray. Prick all over with a fork. Bake for 25-30 mins or until golden brown. I flipped the crackers, 15 mins into the baking time
    • Allow them to cool & store them in air-tight jars

    Enjoy with some Filter Kaapi / Masala Chai ..

    February 2, 2012

    South Indies: Majjige Huli - Ash Gourd & Buttermilk Stew

    An old post with new pictures yet again ..  And, it is Majjige Huli/ Mor Kuzhambu in Tamil ,this time .. I have grown soo fond of this subtly flavoured stew that I actually wait for summer, just to have an excuse to make this more often

    This afternoon at lunch, I was just contemplating, how the simplest stuff is sometimes the best and so darn, finger-lickin' good without anything exotic. One of the many ways of enjoying a simple meal is eating rice with a simple yellow colored, tangy yogurt based gravy- Majjige Huli.

    Its such a lovely dish to look at. A pale shade of yellow, vegetables cut into large chunks & dunked in a creamy buttermilk-coconut sauce. The tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves & red chillies add a lovely dash of color.

    Majjige Huli 2

    On Hot summer days, we immensely enjoy Majjige Huli with steamed rice. It has an amazing cooling effect on your body & it really brings out the flavor of vegetables.

    Ash Gourd really blends well with the gravy & this is truly one of the best ways to use up Ash Gourd.This is comfort food in one of the most simplest forms.

    You Will Need:
    • 250g Ash Gourd -  cut into large chunks & cut the skin off
    • 2 cups Yogurt - Slightly sour or a day old yogurt will work wonders
    • Salt as per taste

    To Grind:
    • 3 tbsp grated coconut - fresh/frozen
    • 2 tbsp chana dal - soaked in water for 30 mins
    • 10 green chillies - medium spiced
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1/2  tsp turmeric
    • A small piece of ginger

    To Temper:
    • 2 dry red chillies - broken
    • 1 tsp mustard seeds
    • A few curry leaves
    • A big  pinch of Hing
    • 1 tsp desi ghee/clarified butter

    How To:
    • Cook Ash Gourd with a pinch of salt in about 2 cups of water until completely cooked yet firm
    • Grind all the ingredients mentioned in the list into a smooth paste using little water
    • Add the ground paste to the cooked vegetables & bring the mixture to a boil
    • Add yogurt & salt as per taste & let it simmer on low flame for about 10 minutes. Keep stirring in between.
    • Temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves, Hing & red chili

    Serve with HOT steamed rice. Enjoi !!!

    Majjige Huli 1

    • If the yogurt is not sour enough, add about 2 tbsp of tamarind juice
    • You could also use cucumber, okra, spinach, Chayote instead of ash gourd

    January 31, 2012

    Hurali Saaru | Horse Gram Rasam - A Guest Post for Just Home Made

    I've been visiting Just Home Made for quite a while & the recipes & beautiful photographs there have never ceased to amaze me .. I was thrilled to bits, when Radhika - The author & the photographer behind, Just Home Made, invited me to do a Guest Post .. Believe me, it couldn't have got more exciting than this ..

    There are very few blogs, that entice you with beautiful writing & rich photography .. Just Home Made is one such. Its a pleasure to be writing for you, Radhika ..

    Hurali Saaru - Horse Gram Rasam

    Radhika asked me to pick a childhood favorite recipe & I just had to chose Hurali Saaru - Horse Gram Rasam as it is family favorite & since its winter here, I couldn't have got a better excuse to make this one.

    So just Hop to Just Home Made & take a look yourself. Also, follow Radhika's Blog on Facebook & Twitter

    Hope all of you enjoy reading this post ...

    January 24, 2012

    Sundried Orange Peel & Cinnamon Infused Chai

    It's raining Oranges everywhere & we are enjoying every bit of it. Have I told you before that Orange is my
    favorite fruit & I can eat upto almost a dozen oranges in a day ?? Really, I am not kidding .. 

    Loads of Oranges means, loads of Orange Peel as well. I normally Sun dry orange peel & store it in an airtight jar & use it for my cooking. It can be used in soups, stews, infusions & in our Good old Masala Chai as well ..

    Orange Peel

    How To Sun Dry Orange Peel:

    • Tear orange peel into tiny pieces. Arrange them on a tray & dry them in the sun, covered with a mesh for about 2-3 days. Store them in air-tight jars. You can even store them in the powdered form
    • You can also dry them in the oven .. But when you have some good sun, why would you need an oven, right?? Go Make full use of the sun

    Now that I have plenty of sun dried Orange peel, thanks to my Orange eating spree, I have been making Orange peel infused Masala Chai lately. And, it is making my mornings, just lovely.

    Sun Dried Orange Peel & Cinnamon Infused Chai

    Looks lovely, Isn't it?? The idea is let the flavor of Orange peel rule .. So, I just added a hint of cinnamon, because the citrusy flavor of orange peel & cinnamon go very well together.

    Here's How to Make a citrusy Masala Chai

    In case you are wondering whether, boiling orange peel along with water & milk, makes the tea bitter & causes milk to split, Do Not worry, It does not .. Go Ahead, Make yourself a cuppa & let me know, if you enjoyed the goodness of fresh citrusy flavours in your chai .. Enjoi !!!

    January 21, 2012

    Chickpea Soup

    Here's an Old recipe with a better picture .. Remember, I told you about my love for Chickpeas?? I made this awesome Chickpea soup, yet again for lunch today & here it is ..

    Winter is slowly slipping away from us. Though the evenings are a little cold & breezy, days are getting warmer & the woolen clothes have gone back into the closet. In a month's time, it will be Summer already & I dread the typical tropical summer heat.

    We are enjoying this pleasant weather while it lasts. This is prefect for some piping hot Chickpea Soup. This is very filling by itself. Serve with some toasted bread & it makes a great weeknight dinner.

    Chickpea Soup

    You Will Need:
    • 1 cup Chickpeas - washed & saoked overnight or for 6 hrs
    • 1 big Onion - Diced
    • 1 Tomato - Diced
    • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
    • Garlic - 4 pods
    • A small sprig of  fresh Rosemary
    • A Bit of fresh Thyme
    • 1 tsp red chilli powder
    • 2 tsp Olive Oil
    • Salt as per taste
    • Fresh Parsley for garnish
    How To:
    • Add a tsp of salt & pressure cook chickpeas until soft. Set aside
    • In a pan, heat olive oil, saute diced onions, tomato & garlic until soft. Add Rosemary & Thyme as well
    • In a blender/mixer, blend onion, tomato & 1/4th of the cooked chickpeas into a smooth paste.
    • In a pan, Add the paste, red chilli powder, tomato puree, chickpeas,  & water. Add salt as per taste & simmer for about 10 mins.
    • Garnish with fresh parsley
    Serve HOT .. Enjoi with some homemade Garlic Bread !!!

    • You can used canned chickpeas as well. This saves the soaking &  the cooking part.
    • Use Vegetable Stock instead of water. It gives a better flavour. Since, I didn't have any on hand, I added water

    January 18, 2012

    Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate & The Giveaway Winner

    Its suddenly very cold in Bangalore again .. Quite strange because, its supposed to get warmer after Sankranti  .. But, I totally love the weather here right now .. Its so cold that I felt like a really good cup of Hot Chocolate  .. Not the sort of Hot Chocolates that you get in packets, but the old fashioned kind..

    Real Chocolate, melted with some warm milk, A dash of spices & some marshmellows .. A mug of warm Hot Chocolate that instantly lifts your spirits after a day's of hard work .. The kind that makes you forget the world  .. Yes the Real Hot Chocolate with Cinnamom .. BLISS

    Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate

    You Will Need
    • 1 Cup Full Fat Milk
    • 20g Bittersweet Dark chocolate - chopped/grated
    • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamom
    • 1/2 tsp sugar

    How To:
    • In a small pat, heat half the quantity of milk alongwith dark chocolate. Simmer on low flame until the chocolate melts completely.
    • Add the remaining milk, sugar & cinnamon
    • Heat on low flame until the hot chocolate is warm enough for you to enjoy
    • Pour into your favorite mug & Enjoi !!!

    • You can top with some whipped cream as well .. Since, I used full fat milk, I didn't use it
    • Add a few marshmellows if you like .. I am not very fond of them,  so I chose not to
    • You can even add grated ginger or orange zest for a different flavor

    I used a random no. generator  And the winner of  Laxmi Hiremath's 'The Dance of Spices'  is
    Deepa - Hamaree Rasoi

    Congratulations Deepa .. I hope you enjoy reading the book. Mail me your contact details  at 

    January 13, 2012

    South Indies: Sakkare Achchu | Sugar Candy for Sankranti

    Sankranti  is here again .. Which only means, its time for Ellu Bella, Sakkare Achchu & some good Pongal ..

    Ellu Bella 2012

    Just like every year, my Grandmother made some gorgeous Sakkare Achchu to be distributed amongst family & friends .. And, without these, Sankranti,  in Karnataka would be incomplete. Those of you who do not know, Sakkare Achchu are little sugar candies of different shapes made especially for Sankranti

    sakkare achchu

    Sakkare Achchu

    This recipe makes about 50-55 Sugar Candies depending on the size of your molds

    To Make Sakkare Achchu :
    • 3 cups or 1 kg  Granulated Sugar
    • 1 tbsp Yogurt
    • 2 tbsp Milk
    • Rubber Bands
    • Sakkare Achchu Molds
    • Muslin Cloth

    To Purify Sugar:
    • Soak sugar in water for an hour. For every cup of sugar, use half a cup of water
    • Soak the molds in water & set aside
    • In a heavy bottomed pot, add the dissolved sugar alongwith water & bring it to a boil. Sieve with a clean muslin cloth. Repeat the process twice.
    • Now add milk alongwith sugar & bring it to a boil. Sieve again
    • Repeat the process with yogurt as well .. This removes any impurities present in sugar

    To Make Sakkare Achchu:
    • Wipe the molds clean & secure with rubber bands at the ends. The molds must be slightly damp
    • Work 1/4  a cup of sugar mixture at a time. Add the mixture into a heavy bottomed pot & keep stirring continuously on very low flame until the sugar muxture gets frothy & turns white in color.
    • Arrange about 5 molds at a time & pour the mixture into the molds. Tap the molds as you pour the mixture. Leave it undisturbed for about  5 mins.
    •  Gently remove the sugar candy from the mould & if the candy does not de mould easily, gently poke the edges with a safety pin
    • Once done, soak the molds again & pat them dry & use them again
    • Repeat this process for the rest of the sugar mixture
    • Store them in air tight jars

    Sankranthi Collage

    Ellu Bella in little Earthen Pots

    • It is said that, the older the molds are, better are the results .. So if you are making these for the first time, borrow from your granny or an aunt
    • Once the sugar syrup crystallizes after it is poured into the molds, do not leave them for more than 5 mins. They harden very fast, making them very difficult to unmould
    • You can add food color to make colored candies, but I love White ..
    • If you are looking out to buy Sakkare Achchu molds, you must be able to get it almost anywhere in Karnataka, especially around the Sankranti season
    • If you live in Bangalore, you should be able to find these easily in Malleshwaram, Jayanagar Market or Gandhi Bazaar circle. My Grandmother told me that you get excellent molds in Tamil Nadu as well

    Ellu Bella Sakkare Achchu 2012

    Wishing you all a Very Happy Sankranti/Pongal

    January 9, 2012

    South Indies: Akki Tari Uppittu | Broken Rice Upma

    Akki Tari is 'Broken Rice' & those of you who are not familiar with it, It resembles broken wheat in texture. It is very common to make Upma or Uppittu with Broken Rice in most Kannada households .. You add Avarekai or Flat beans & it becomes even more special ..

    A Classic Breakfasts must be eaten in leisure along with some strong Filter Kaapi which is why it is reserved for weekends at home ..

    Avarekalu - Flat Beans

    It's raining Avarakai everywhere .. Do you need a better reason to make this??

    I add a bunch of finely chopped Dill leaves, which lends a very beautiful flavour to the Upma .. This is optional though but Highly recommended, if you love Dill leaves

    Akki Tari Uppittu

    Broken Rice Upma takes longer to cook than the regular Rava Upma & it needs more water too .. Every cup of broken rice needs a little more than 2 cups of water to cook completely

    Let's Make 'Akki Tari Uppittu' with 'Avarekai' .. Shall We??

    How To:

    • Pressure cook or boil Avarekalu or flat beans in salted water. Drain & set aside
    • In a pan, dry roast Broken Rice for a couple of mins .. Don't allow it to change color
    • Heat Desi Ghee in a heavy bottom pan/kadhai .. Splutter cumin seeds & half of the cracked pepper. Add green chilies too & saute for about 20 secs.
    • Add Dill leaves & saute for about 2 mins. Add 2 cups of water into the pan, Add salt & bring it to a boil. As the water begins to boil, slowly add the beans & gently add broken rice as you keep stirring the mixture continuously to avoid any lumps.
    • Stir the mixture well. Add additional water if needed & cover with a lid for about 2-3 mins.
    • Add grated coconut, remaining cracked pepper & mix well to incorporate. Turn off the stove & transfer to a serving bowl .. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander

    Serve HOT with a dollop of Desi Ghee  .. In Karnataka, it is very common to serve some Yogurt/Chutney Pudi/Pickle along with Upma .. Enjoi !!! And, Don't forget the Filter Coffee ...

    January 5, 2012

    A Cookbook Giveaway

    Hope everyone's had a wonderful start to the new year .. Now, Here's something that is going to make 2012 even better .. Yes, A Giveaway on Vegetable Platter !!!

    I am delighted to giveaway a copy of the book 'The Dance of Spices' - Classic Indian Cooking for Today's Home Kitchen  by Laxmi Hiremath, to one lucky reader

    The Dance of Spices by Laxmi Hiremath

    Read more about this book Here

    • It is Open to Residents in INDIA Only !!! For people outside India, you may still enter & have it mailed to a person of your choice anywhere in India

    • Anyone (Bloggers & Non- Bloggers) can enter this giveaway.

    To Enter To Win: -

    • Please leave One comment on this Blog post telling me, what kind of recipes would you like to see on Vegetable Platter next & any suggestion/constructive criticism to help me improve this blog further ( No Nasty Comments Please, they will be promplty deleted )
    • The contest ends on 15 January 2012, 8 PM IST
    • One winner will be picked randomly. Be sure to check back  for an announcement of the winner so I can get your mailing information

    Good Luck !!!

    January 4, 2012

    Sweet Corn Soup

    2012 is here !!! Sparkling, Warm & Heartfelt New Year wishes to everyone ..  May Happiness, Success, Love & loads of Good Food come your way ...

    I love Soups & What better way to start the new year than with a bowl of warm soup, Right?? ..  Thanks to Cyclone Thane, it rained last week in our neck of woods & there's nothing like a good cup of soup to warm the bones on a rainy night And, its Sweet Corn Soup this time ..

    Sweet Corn Soup

    Serves 2

    You Will Need
    • 1 1/2 cups sweet corn - I used frozen or 2 ears of fresh sweet corn
    • 1 small white onion
    • garlic cloves
    • 2 tsp corn flour dissolved in 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 cup vegetable stock/water
    • Salt as per taste
    • 1 tsp cracked pepper
    • 1 tsp butter

    How To:
    • Cook corn kernels on stove top or in a microwave until tender
    • In a pot, melt butter, add garlic & chopped onion & saute for about 3 mins
    • Blend onion & boiled sweet corn into a smooth paste using very little milk/water
    • Return to Soup Pot, Add corn flour paste, milk, water & salt .. Simmer gently for about 10-12 mins. If you find the soup thick, add some more milk/stock/water
    • Top with freshly cracked pepper before serving

    Enjoi with some nice crusty bread on the side :)