Tuesday, December 30, 2008

After a much needed break…am back again, but I wonder where the long weekend disappeared???

When it comes to Christmas….the main “must eatable” stuff would be the “Christmas Fruitcake”.The amazing combination of loads of nuts and cherries in the spongy cake makes it all the more tempting. To ensure I don’t miss much of Christmas here…I baked a Fruitcake too.


All Purpose Flour/Maida – 1 ¾ cup
Granulated Sugar – 1 Cup
Dark Brown Sugar – 3/4th Cup
Baking Soda – 1 tsp
Eggs – 5 ( medium )
All spices grounded – 1 tsp ( 2 Cloves, Cinnamon and 3 cardamon)
Pecans – ½ cup (small pieces)
Candied fruit – 1 ½ cup (This is nothing but preserved fruit that has been dipped in sugar syrup for long – this is similar to the Tutty Fruity that we get in India)
Cashewnuts – 1/4th cup
Raisins – 1/2 cup (I used California seedless raisins)
Vanilla Essence/Almond Essence - 3 tsp
Milk – ½ cup
Unsalted Butter – ½ cup/1 Stick
Rum – 1/4th cup (optional)

Method –

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter ,sugar (both)and eggs till fluffy. Sift Flour,Baking Soda & Spice powder(I jes grounded all the spices together to a fine powder) and add it to the mixture. Stir until well combined.
2.Being heavy, the candied fruits might settle down in the bottom of the cake……to avoid that sprinkle 1 tbsp of Flour onto it & toss well.
3.Add all other ingredients except for the candied fruits and nuts. Beat at low speed until blended;beat at high speed for 3mins ,scrapping the bowl occasionally.
4.Gently fold in the fruits & nuts.Stir well.
5.Scrape the mixture onto a well greased pan. Bake in a preheated 250F until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.It took close to 40mins for me.
6.Cool for few minutes before removing from the pan.

The authentic Fruitcake as far as I know does have some form of Alcohol. If using Rum(this is optional),mix the candied fruits along with it and leave it for about 3 hrs before using it. I also dusted powdered sugar on the top, this is again optional.You can also add more milk to get the batter like consistency.


Onion Pakoda

Thursday, December 18, 2008

If Potlucks are based on a theme, it makes it all the more fun…something to do with a particular region,the same color,same cuisine,ethnic food,Americanized Indian food etc.My personal favourite would be one revolving around a particular vegetable/ingredient…eg – Potato,Eggplant ,Pepper. I also prefer the Indianized American food or vis-à-vis .......there is so much to do.While browsing I came across an interesting theme which is calling it “The Best Story dish” meaning whatever dish is brought it should have an interesting story behind it,as to how it was created,when was it made,where was it tried etc. I will keep this in mind,when I host the next Potluck!

Today at my Husband’s work place, there was a Potluck lunch organized with the clients. There were people from this country, Latin America and India. So I had to think of something which would suit everyones taste buds .I decided on Appetizers and what could be more better than our very own Onion Pakodas.


Onion - 2 large thin sliced
Besan - 2tbsp
Rice Flour - 1tsp
Corn Flour – 1 tsp
Green chillies- 2 finely chopped
Red chilli powder - 1tsp
Curry leaves – few
Mint/ Pudina Leaves – Optional (few leaves)
Asafoetida powder/hing- A pinch
Oil - for deep frying
Salt to taste

Method :-

1.In a large vessel, mix Onions,asafoetida(hing) and salt. Keep it aside for 10mins…this is something like marinating it.
2. Add green chillies,chilli powder,curry leaves and Pudina leaves.Mix well.
3.Heat oil in a kadai. In the meanwhile add besan ,cornflour and rice flour to the above .By default the Onions would have left some water as they were marinated with salt, so excess water wouldn’t be required to make the mixture.The flours should just stick to the Onions.
4. Take the mixture in hand and sprinkle them onto the hot oil.
5.Deep fry the pakodas .Crispy Pakodas are ready to eat.

If the besan is added well in advance, the Pakoda's turn out to be a li'l soggy.Mint/Pudina leaves is optional. If we are left with excess mixture, we tend to refrigerate and use it later, but this recipe doesn’t hold good for that. The entire mixture should be used at once, else it gets soggy instead of crispy.

These crispy Pakodas are off to Trupti's Winter Treat Event


Gajar Ka Halwa

This is in continuation to my Husband’s birthday celebration. I surprised him again by inviting his friends home for dinner.I made everything and hid it inside the oven,he had no clue abt it. He wanted to take me out for Dinner and kept asking me my choice of restaurant. I kept smiling as I had my own plans made. The Menu was - Urad Dal bonda,Masala Vada,Pulao,Raita,Til Aloo curry and Carrot Halwa. End of the day,he was very happy and I am glad that I made his day

Carrot Halwa or so called the “Gajar Ka Halwa” is our favourite sweet. Carrots are rich in Vitamin. There are different ways of making it.Some boil and mash the carrots,some grate and pressure cook it etc. This is the method that I follow.


Carrots – 8cups grated
Sugar – 1 cup
Milk – 2 cups
Cardamom /Elaichi powder– less than 1/4tsp
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Cashewnut and Raisin – ¼ cup

Method :-

1.Heat a tsp of Ghee in a Kadai,fry the cashewnuts and raisins and set aside.
2.In the same kadai, add a tbsp of ghee and sauté the Carrot for about 5-7min.
3.Add milk and allow it to cook.
4.When the moisture is absorbed, add sugar, remaining ghee and Cardamom powder , mix well.
5.Allow it to thicken, in the end add the fried cashews and raisin and turn off the heat.
6.This can be served warm or cold.Usually a scoop of Vanilla Icecream goes well with warm halwa.

Keep on mixing while on flame. Saffron strands( jes a pinch) can also be added to the Halwa.My Mom adds Khova or milk powder for the same recipe and its mindblowing:-P

Am sending this to Sindhirasoi's event "Just for you" hosted by Alka


Butter Biscuits

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I am reminded of a quote – “ Men are like wine. Some turn into vinegar, but the best improve with age”:-P

Today is my husband’s birthday.I have planned a lot of things. All started with a wonderful game - “Treasure Hunt”.I had hidden around 12 clues in the house ,each one linking to the next clue and the treasure was nothing but the “Birthday Gift”.Unfortunately he got stuck with the last clue, but after whacking his brains for long…he finally found the treasure…it was fun to see him run around the house.

Yesterday was the coldest day in December in the last 12yrs, so we weren’t expecting any friends to drop in at midnight to wish him . To our surprise, jes a l’il before 12, four friends dropped in all of a sudden with a cake in their hand. We were very delighted to see them.That was really appreciable!

I had also picked up a “Banana Truffle Cake”.When the clock struck twelve, he cut the cake and I sang the B’day song…ha ha it was a great moment.The cake was yummy too!!!!! My husband mentioned to me that "this year was the best b'day he has ever had"......hope i keep this enthu alive for all the years to come!

The two special things that I made for him, was the "Carrot Halwa" so called the "Gajjar ka Halwa" and "Butter Biscuits".My Mom used to make Butter biscuits and I have thoroughly enjoyed it .Those days in India,we had an Oven which looked like a cooker,but unfortunately it stopped working and that was the end of my Mom’s baking days.Somehow we forgot about it and never thought about buying a new one.Now,I have started trying my hands in baking too. This is how I made the Butter Biscuits


All Purpose Flour (Maida) – 2 cups
Sugar – 3/4th cup
Cardamom(Elaichi) – 4
Butter/Ghee - 1 ¼ cup melted
Baking Soda – 1 tsp
Method :-
1.Grind the Sugar and Cardamom together.
2. In a large bowl, mix the Flour,Sugar and Baking Soda
3.Heat the butter/ghee in a kadai till it melts and add it to the flour.
4. Mix all the ingredients together ,press hard with hand as the mixture tends to loosen. Do not add water .If required, melt some more ghee(this wudnt be ideally required for the ratio mentioned) and add it to the mixture. Make a tight dough.
5.Keep it aside for 4-5 hrs.
6.Now, you will find the mixture to be a li’l hard, don’t panic(I remember panicking for the first time), just press it hard with hands and it should be fine.
8.Make small rounds and flatten it li’l(not too flat,just press a l’il on the top).The mixture might loosen out in between. If so, use li’l ghee in hands and apply pressure .
9.Preheat the oven at 300F.Place the balls(space it well) in a greased oven proof dish and bake it for 25-30min.Once done store it in a air tight container.

I have done a lot of experiments with this recipe. I tried to bake it as soon as the dough was made (ie., without keeping it for 4-5hrs) the taste was fine but the balls flattened completely,stuck with each other and turned brown in color in no time.I suggest, keep checking in between as the base tends to become too brown.These taste all the more good when they are hot or warm.

This is going to participate in FIC-White hosted by Kitchen Flavours started by TongueTicklers

This also goes to Susan's Eat Christmas Cookies event.

This is off to Trupti's Winter Treat Event

I am sending this to Sindhirasoi's Just for you event hosted by Alka.


Tawa Pulao

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The best day of the week is “Friday”. Throughout the week, I keep waiting for this day coz I get to go out and have loadsa fun…be it movies, catching up with friends, eating out, shopping etc. Unfortunately, yesterday (a Friday) my husband was too busy with work and we cudn’t do much. I was a li’l disappointed . Offlate I have been moody,irritable, li’l stressed out too…boredom totally kills me. Cooking is one of the few things that interest me and completely helps me to relieve my stress.

Cooking is an art. There is something really relaxing about chopping Onions,Baking a cake,enjoying the aromas while cooking etc. At the end of a good meal, I see him smile, licking his fingers and appreciating me ……these l’il things give me immense joy which again helps me reduce my stress. He has really been very understanding and kind.He is a wonderful gift to me and am really grateful.

Now that I couldn’t go out I wanted to make something special, something simple yet different. I asked my husband about his preference and he wanted to have Pulao. When I thought of Pulao, too many things came to my mind…I mean the variety.There are different kinds of Pulao like….Vegetable Pulao,Peas Pulao,Paneer Pudina Pulao,Spinach Pulao,Tofu Pulao,Tomato Pulao etc. As mentioned I wanted to make a different kind of Pulao which is spicy,easy to make and colorful too.

I believe “Pulao” is a word of Persian Origin.In India it is also called as “Pulav”.
After alot of thinking,I made “Tawa Pulao” and served it hot with Raita.We relished it and at the end of the dinner, we felt as though we had a great feast!


Basmati Rice – 1 cup ( cooked)
Butter – 1 tsp
For the Masala:
Mixed Vegetable – 2 cups chopped (1” piece) (You may use Carrots,French Beans ,Cauliflower and Peas)
Onion – 1 Large (finely chopped)
Tomato – 2 Large (finely chopped)
Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Green Chillies – 6 (either very finely chopped or grinded)
Cumin Seeds/Jeera – 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
Butter – 1 tbsp
Pav Bhaji Masala – 2 tbsp
Lemon Juice – ½ tsp
Cilantro/Coriander leaves for garnishing

Method :-

1.Boil the vegetables in a Kadai till 3/4th done. Don’t over cook because we are going to let it to cook again.
2.Heat butter in a Nonstick Tawa/Kadai,add Cumin seeds,Ginger Garlic Paste and Green Chillies .Saute it for about 10 seconds.
3.Add the chopped Onions and sauté till it turns pink. Now add the tomato and mash it with a spoon (you can also use the Pav Bhaji masher).It should be like a thick gravy.
4.Add Red Chilli powder,Pav Bhaji Masala and sauté it for 2 -3 mins.
5.Add the boiled vegetables and salt. Close the lid and allow it to cook. Do not mash the vegetables.
6.The above is the Masala/Bhaji used for the Pulao, keep it aside.
7.In a large Pan/Tawa, add a tsp of Butter and the Masala . Saute it for few seconds and then add the cooked/boiled rice. Mix well. Ensure that the rice is mixed well. Heat the Tawa Bhaji over high heat and sprinkle lemon juice before serving .Garnish with Coriander leaves.

The Basmati Rice shouldn’t be sticky.The spice level can be increased as per individuals taste. I grinded the green chillies so that I din’t have to pay much attention while eating.Tawa Pulao is also one of the popular street foods in Mumbai.


Aloo Mattar

A very simple and a classic North Indian dish. It is pretty easy to make and it adds zing to any meal.Today at school there was a function so called the “ Mela”. We were asked to get some home-made food which was later sold at the Mela to raise funds (i guess).I had made Til Aloo curry.There were too many Chole’s and Aloo Matar.I guess these are very commonly made for any Potlucks/Dinners.I had made this a week back and here is the recipe.

Ingredients :
Potato – 2 medium sized
Frozen Peas – ½ cup
Oil – 1 tbsp
Onion – 1
Tomatoes – 2
Green chillies – 2
Garam Masala – 1tsp
Cumin seeds – 1tsp
Kitchen King Masala – ½ tsp (Optional)
Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
Ginger Garlic paste – 1tsp
Cilantro – for garnishing
Salt – to taste

Method –
1.Cook the Potatoes till 3/4th done(Meaning not fully boiled, as we have to cook this again with the gravy). Peel and cut it into cubes (1“ inch).
2.Puree the Onions, Tomatoes and Green chillies together.
3.Heat oil in a kadai, add Cumin seeds.Add the pureed Onion Tomato paste and sauté till you see the oil separating from the sides.
4.Add Turmeric powder,Red chilli powder, chopped Potatoes and l’il water(1/2 cup) to cook the Potatoes. Do not overcook the Potatoes.
5.Once done, add the Frozen Peas,Salt and Garam Masala.Allow it to cook until the gravy thickens.
6.Garnish with Cilantro and serve hot along with Rotis,Naans,Pita Bread or Rice.

Instead of the Puree, you can finely chop the Onions and Tomatoes. Bay leaf can also be added in the beginning and removed before serving, this gives an added flavor.I remember one of my neighbor (In Inida) using coconut for this recipe, guess that’s the South Indianised version. I've added Kitchen king masala too.I use this in most of my cooking, I simply love the extra taste it adds to the food.


Sabudana Khichdi

This one is a Maharashtrian Cuisine, made for breakfast and also a Vrat ka Khana(for fasting).It is prepared using Tapioca ie., Sabudana along with peanuts,Potatoes and spices. This recipe made me nostalgic and took me back on a wonderful trip down memory lane,when i relished my friend Aditi's Sabudana Khichdi in Mumbai.It was delicious.She din't let anyone inside the kitchen till she was done.

Sometimes we do give up on recipes which don’t turn out well in spite of repeated attempts. One such recipe which I had given up was “Sabudana Khichdi”. I have tried this recipe many times but was always disappointed.

They say -"Try and fail,but don't fail to try"

I like this stuff alot...and wanted to give it one last try and it was worth it....this time, it was the best I’ve ever made. I had all smiles


Sabudana – 1 cup
Groundnuts (roasted and crushed) – ¼ cup
Jeera/Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Green Chillies – 4
Potato – ¼ cup finely chopped
Curry leaves – few
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Sugar – 1/4tsp
Asafoetida/hing – a pinch
Lemon Juice - 1/2 tsp
Salt – as per taste


1.Wash and soak Sabudana overnight. Water should be just enough to soak it, too much will ruin the Sabudana.
2.Heat oil in a kadai, add Mustard seeds,Jeera, Green chillies,hing & Curry leaves
3.Add the potatoes and sauté till it gets cooked and then add the peanuts.
4. Saute the peanuts for about 3 mins , add the Sabudana,salt , sugar and mix well.
5.Gently sauté the Sabudana , the seeds may turn to look transparent. Once done sprinkle lemon juice & serve it hot along with sweet curd(Curd and sugar mixed together).

Sabudana has the tendency to stick to the Kadai, ensure it is sauted well.Adding coconut is also an option.It is easy to find this dish in any restaurants in Mumbai…but not anywhere else...atleast I haven't found. Sabudana Vada is another yummy thingie:-P


Green Onion Curry

Monday, December 8, 2008

Green Onions or Scallions…also has the name spring onions are used in Salads,Soups and Chinese Cuisine. They can be eaten raw , but you can also grill or sauté them. My mom used to make this stuff and served it with Rotis. In India it looked a l’il the end of the bunch small flowers were found,probably that’s the reason they were also called as “Vengaya Poo” meaning Onion flowers in Tamil. I picked up three bunches couple days back and used it yesterday….......ofcourse the one we get here are without the flowers.

I was thinking about my brother while making he used to like this curry too…..Gosh.... I miss him loads.

It’s a very simple curry and it hardly takes time. Adding peanuts was the only variation/addition to the original recipe.

Green Onions – 3 bunches
Red Chilli powder – 1tsp
Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Urad Dal – ½ tsp
Peanuts – 2 tbsp roasted & crushed(coarse)
Salt – as per taste

Method –
1.Heat Oil in a Pan, add mustard seeds and Urad dal.
2.Add the chopped Green Onions , Turmeric Powder, Red Chilli powder and salt. Saute well.
3.When it becomes soft , add the Crushed peanuts , Sauté for a min and switch of the flame
Serve the above with hot Rotis.

For the peanuts - In a kadai, roast the peanuts till they turn brown, remove skin and crush it. I used the mixer and coarsely grinded the peanuts.

Also,once the onions get cooked the quantity reduces.Three bunches is good enuf for only one person.


Pav Bhaji

Friday, December 5, 2008

I was thinking of "Chaats" and my mouth started watering.Ummmmm...gosh!

Mumbai - the city never sleeps....I have fond memories associated with this place.In Bandra (Hill Road to be precise)there is this place called "Elco"...I guess they make the best Paani Puris and Pav Bhajis.I remember being charged Rs 56 ($1.12)for 6 Pani Puris...which is actually expensive as per Indian standards, coz you get Pani Puris for Rs 10 ($0.20)too.Though its expensive, its worth tasting it.The, the liquid was cold...thats how an authentic Pani Puri should be.

The other best thing to try is the "Pav Bhaji".It is the quintessential street food.
Imagine butter toasted bun along with mashed vegetables with good amount of spices....with alot of flavouring agents....sounds yummy right?????

There are different kind of Pav Bhaji...the one without Onion & garlic is the Jain Pav Bhaji,Sada Pav Bhaji is without butter,Kada Pav Bhaji is without mashing vegetables.This one is the Mumbaiya Pav Bhaji by Sanjeev Kapoor...he comes up lovely recipes.Long back,I had seen this in Television in India it is for all...

Ingredients :

Butter - 1 tbsp for the Bhaji and good amount for toasting the Pav
Pav - as required (I dont get Pav here, so I used Hamburger buns)
Onions - finely chopped - 2-3 medium sized
Tomatoes - finely chopped - 3 medium sized
Tomato Puree - 1/2 cup
Ginger Green Chilli Paste - 2 tsp
Peas - 1/4 cup ( I use frozen peas as it is easy to cook)
Capsicum - finely chopped - 1/2 cup
Potato - 1 cup (boiled and mashed)
Cauliflower - 1/4 cup grated
Coriander leaves - for garnishing
Pav Bhaji Masala - 1 3/4 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4tsp
Lemon - 1 (cut into cubes)
Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1tbsp
Salt - As per taste

Masher - An equipment used to mash the veggies (Available in plastic,steel,wood).

Method -

1.Heat a mixture of Oil and butter in a Kadai.Add the chopped Onions and Ginger green chilli paste and saute till the Onions turn pink.
2.Add Tomatoes and cook till you get a gravy consistency.
3.Add Cauliflower and Peas.Let it cook for few minutes and then add the Pav Bhaji Masala,Tomato Puree,Red Chilli Powder & Turmeric Powder.
4.Mix the above well and leave it for a minute or two.Add Potatoes,Capsicum and li'l water (around 1/2 cup) and allow it to cook.Use the masher( this is used to mash veggies)and mash the vegetables.Don't overdo it.
5.Add salt, add more water if needed.It should end up to a thick gravy.
6.Once done garnish with coriander leaves

For the Pav

Slice the Pav/Hamburger buns horizontaly, apply butter on both the sides and toast it on a Tawa (pan).

Squeeze lemon on the Bhaji and serve it with the Pav and chopped Onions.

I used the Pav Bhaji masala which was readily available at the Indian Stores.Instead of using all the Veggies, few selected ones make alot of difference.Also, instead of Mashing the boiled Potatoes, grating them is definetly better.Ensure you don't overdo with the masher. The Capsicum is added in the last so that it remains a l'il crunchy.

In Mumbai, to make it spicy l'il bit of Red Chilli Powder is sprinkled inside the Pav and then toasted.Its yummmmmmy!!!!!



Thursday, December 4, 2008

Long back, I was in Mumbai on an official visit.At about 1 in the morning,a friend of mine picked up Dabeli's from the looked like Vada Pav to me....I din't even know what "Dabeli"was.I saw the cafeteria guy make it in front of me and got a hang of the recipe.Jes to check on it, i spoke to my friend's mom who shared her method. I also found an interesting version of the same in Tarla Dalal's site....I tried her recipe with a l'il bit of addition and deletion which is mentioned below.

After coming here, I started cooking alot.I guess thats one good time pass too.
All of a sudden, I decided to make this to please my husband:-P.They say "The best way to get into a man's heart is through his stomach"...and I think I already made my way:-)


Dabeli Masala

Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Dhania(coriander seeds)- 1/2 tsp
Red Chillies - 3
Cinnamon - 1 an inch length
Cloves - 1

Roast the above in a dry Kadai and grind it to a fine powder.


Potato - 1 large (Boiled and mashed )
Dabeli Masala - 1 tbsp
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro/Coriander leaves - li'l
Tamarin & Dates chutney (Imly & Khajur chutney)- 1tbsp
Asafoetida -a pinch
Oil - 3 tbsp
Salt - as per the taste

1.Heat oil in a kadai.Add cumin seeds,Asafoetida,Potato & Dabeli Masala.
2.Saute well.Add salt & 1/4th cup water
3.Add the Tamarin & Dates Chutney,mix well and switch of the flame.
4.Add Cilantro/ Coriander leaves too.

Also required -

Hamburger buns/Pavs - 4
Oil/Butter - 2tbsp

Onions - 1 cup finely chopped
Sev - 1 cup
Roasted peanuts - 1/2 cup
Cilantro/Coriander leaves - for garnishing
Pomegranate seeds - 1/4cup
Garlic Chutney - 1 tbsp
Tamarin & Dates chutney (Imly & Khajur chutney) - 2 tbsp

Keep all the above ingredients ready

1. Slice the Pav/hamburger buns into half(Similar to Pav Bhaji's Pav),apply butter on both sides and toast it on a pan.
2. On the lower half of the Bun/Pav, place one spoon full of the filling,peanuts,Onions,Pomogranate,Tamarin Chutney,garlic chutney,Cilantro/coriander leaves.Close it with the other half Pav/Bun.This would look like a sandwich.
6.Sprinkle Sev on the top and sides.

Hot Dabeli is ready to eat.Its definetly a sweetish dish.I have never found this anywhere else other than Mumbai:-) I am not quite happy with the pic,will change once I take a better one.


Onion Tomato Chutney

There are thousands of Chutneys that one can think of.A fresh Chutney is customarily ground fresh on grinding stone.It is usually eaten in small amounts to add a flavor and to accent a meal.They are incredibly versatile...they go well with Idlies,Dosas,Rotis,Bread ....Tortilla Chips/Nachos too.

The easiest one is the Coconut chutney which is a speciality by itself in South India.Chutney made of Mint leaves with tint of spices and chili is the Pudina/Mint Chutney.The one with Cilantro/Coriander leaves is the Dhaniya Chutney.Using garlic pods...garlic chutney can be made.Each one is a li'l different from the other.

To go with Dosas the best one is the Onion Tomato Chutney.

Ingredients :-

Onion - 1 large chopped(Here the Onions, I get are really too huge, its equivalent to two medium sized Onions)
Tomato - 2-3 nos chopped
Red Chillies - 5
Green Chillies - 1
Urad Dal - 1 tbsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Asafoetida/hing - a pinch
Salt - as per taste

Method :-

1.Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a Kadai, saute the Urad Dal,Red Chillies and hing until the Dal turns brown.
2.Remove it and set it aside.In the same Kadai with the remaining oil toss the onions, when they turn pink add the tomatoes.Cook it well.Add salt.
3.Grind the above along with the roasted Dal to a fine paste.

Note - This chutney tastes better with Dosas more than Idlies.Some also do the seasoning using mustard seeds and curry leaves.


Pesarattu Dosa

I called home this morning and my Mom told me that she had made Pesarattu Dosa and my mouth started watering.God....its been really long...I miss Idly and Dosa.

When I went to New York, I enjoyed eating in Saravana Bhavan...I relished the south Indian breakfast there.We ended up eating only South Indian food, each n every day we were there.I remember few restaurants....Madras Cafe,Banana Leaf,Tamilnadu Bhavan etc.

Well coming to this...i quickly got the recipe from my mom and made this today.Here it is.


Moong Dal(Green Gram Split) - 1 1/2 cups
Raw Rice - 1/4 cup
Red Chillies - 5
Green Chillies - 2
Curry Leaves - few
Salt - as per taste

Method -

1.Soak Moong Dal and Rice for an hour.Grind it along with both the chillies to a fine batter.Add li'l water while grinding.
2.Add Salt and curry leaves.
3.Make Dosas using this batter.

Note - Some people add small onions while grinding it.I din't have them hence made it plain. This one is really easy, unlike the regular Dosas the ingredients dont have to be soaked for long hours.


Chole Masala/Chana Masala

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

You call it the Chole, chana masala, chickpeas curry,masaledar chole or watever...this one is definetly a lip smacking dish enjoyed by everyone.This one is my husband's fav too and he likes it with hot Puris instead of Rotis.I made this yesterday and here is the recipe.

Ingredients :

Kabuli Channa/Chickpeas/Garbenzos - 1 cup - Soak it overnight
Red Chilli powder - 1tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chole Masala - 1 - 1/2 tbsp (You can use the powders which are readily available in the market either MDH/Everest/Badshaah)
Kitchen king masala - 1/2 tbsp(this is actually not added in the original recipe, but I add this as it gives a nice flavour)
Bay leaf - 1
Cinnamon - one small
Jeera - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - for garnishing
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - as per taste

For the paste -

Onions - 2 large chopped
Garlic - 1 or 2 pods (here the garlic pods are way to large so 2 does good, in India we get small ones so 5-6 pods can be used)
Ginger - 1/2 tsp chopped
Green chilles - 6

Grind the above into a fine paste.

Tomatoes - 3 nos - Grind it separately into a fine paste

Method -

1.Boil (Pressure cook) the soaked Chick peas along with one half of an Onion
2.In a kadai, heat oil.When its hot add Jeera,Bay leaf & Cinnamon.
3.Add the 1st paste (the one with the Onions) and saute it until the oil leaves the sides.
4.Add the tomato paste and all the powders and saute till it gets cooked.
5.Now add the boiled Chickpeas and mix well.Also, add salt and li'l water and allow it to boil.
7. Once it becomes thick, garnish with coriander leaves and serve it hot with Rotis/Puris

Note - Remove the Bayleaf and Cinnamon once it gets thick.Few also add tea bags while cooking the Chickpeas, this makes the gravy look darker.



Thogayal's are nothing but a spicy "chutney" kinda stuff which are often mixed with rice and eaten.My fav is the "Peerkangai" (Ridge guard) thogayal.


Ridgeguard - 1 (peel the thick skin and chop it into cubes)
Tomatoes - 1 chopped
Red Chillies - 7-8(increase the number as per spice level)
Asafoetida - a pinch
Urad Dal - 2 tbsp
Tamarin water - 2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp

Method -

1.In a kadai, heat 1/2 tsp oil and saute the Urad dal,red chillies and hing/asafoetida till the dal turns brown.
2.Once done keep it aside and in the same kadai add 1/2 tsp oil and saute the Ridge Guard.Once it gets tender, add the tomatoes and saute till it gets cooked.
3.Coarsely grind the Ridgeguard and the dal together along with salt and tamarin water

In the above recipe, tomatoes can be avoided.I like it to be tangy so I use tomatoes.

Similarly "Thengai Thogayal" ie. coconut thogayal can be made by using Coconut.(No tomatoes for this).The inside seeds of Snakeguard can be used to make thogayal too.The recipe is same as Ridgeguard thogayal's recipe

For Parpu thogayal (Dal thogayal) use a handful of Toor Dal instead of the vegetables.No tomatoes or Urad dal for this.Jes saute the toor dal in oil along with red chillies and hing and coarsely grind it.

All the above thogayals shud be eaten with hot rice and ghee



Today I din't feel like cooking anything complex.Wanted to make something easy and simple and what can be more simple than "Vathalkozhumbu". I had few Okra's/Lady's finger and made this yummy dish.

The taste of this recipe completely depends on the Sambhar powder used.


Tamarin - one big lemon size soaked in water and then extracted
Vegatable - (Okra/Onion is commonly used)- 1/2cup(chopped 1 inch)
Sesame Oil - 2tbsp
Mustard - 1/2 tsp for seasoning
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4tsp
Curry leaves - few
Sambhar Powder - 1tbsp
Asafoetida/hing - a pinch
Salt - as per taste

Method -

1.In a kadai,heat oil and do the seasoning using mustard seeds,fenugreek seeds,curry leaves and asafoetida.
2.Add the chopped vegetable and saute it for a while.
3.Add the tamarin extract, sambhar powder,turmeric powder & salt
4.Allow it to boil till it gets thick.

Note - The key to this recipe is how well and how long the tamarin water is allowed to boil. Instead of vegetables, we can add "Appalams" (the ones which are fried).The raw appalams are broken into pieces and sauted jes like the way vegetables are done.A good amount of hing/asafoetida adds a great flavour to the dish.This is supposed to be spicy and to be eaten with hot rice.Instead of ghee try using sesame oil in the rice.Generally at home, this recipe is made oily which means add a lot of sesame oil, I try avoiding it.


Sambhar Powder

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sambhar is a very common dish in the South made using Toovar Dal, Tamarin and Sambhar powder along with few vegetables.

The very name brings in a lot of memories. My husband always compares the Sāmbhar that I make to what is made at his place in India. I believe there is a difference. My Mom makes very good “Vendakai (Lady’s Finger/Okra) Sambhar” .

I think in any place the taste of Sambhar is completely dependent on the key ingredient used which is the Sambhar powder. Let me share my aunt's recipe here,who indeed is a great cook.Don’t get amused with the quantity mentioned below, Sambhar powders are always made in abundance and used as and when required.The round red chilies that we get is called the “Gundu Milagai” in tamil. The measurement varies if the long ones are used.

Ingredients :

Red Chillies(round) – 1kg
Dhaniya (Coriander Seeds)– 1/2 kg
Toovar Dal (Pigeon Peas)– 200gm
Methi (Fenugreek seeds)– 50gm
Channa Dal(Split chick peas) – 50gm
Black Pepper – 50gm
Turmeric – 50gm (This is the thick turmeric that we get in the Indian Stores, turmeric powder is obtained from this)

1.Saute each ingredient separately in a dry kadai. (Saute till the raw smell disappears)
2.Cool it and make a fine powder.

For best results, Grind the Red Chillies and the rest of the ingredients separately and add them as per the ratio below.

Mix 4 cups of red chili powder and 2 cups of the other mixture and store the rest. Keep mixing the remaining ingredients as and when required.

My Aunt uses this method and she says that this tastes better. However, it is easy to grind all the ingredients together.Ensure that it's kept in a air tight container always.

If long Red Chillies are used :-

Red Chillies(long) – 1/2 kg
Dhaniya (Coriander Seeds)– 1/4 kg
Toovar Dal (Pigeon Peas)– 100gm
Methi (Fenugreek seeds)– 25gm
Channa Dal(Split chick peas) – 25gm
Black Pepper – 25gm
Turmeric – 25gm (This is the thick turmeric that we get in the Indian Stores, turmeric powder is obtained from this)

Note - The taste of this powder completely depends on how well the ingredients are sauted.



My Grandmom has shared a lot of recipes with me which i have written and kept it carefully.I don't think anyone can beat her cooking skills in my family.

Pulikachal or so called the Puliyogare Gojju in the south is what I have shared below.These days its not difficult to have "Puliyogare" thanks to the MTR and the other readymade powders which are easily available.However, the authentic Puliyogare is made by mixing rice with the home made "Pulikachal"

Here is my granny's recipe!

Ingredients :

Dry Tamarin - 1 ball size(li'l smaller than cricket ball size)
Red Chillies - 8-10 (increase the number based on the spice level required)
Methi seeds - 1/2tsp
Dhania(coriander) seeds - 1tsp
Sesame Oil - 4-5 tbsp
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Groundnuts(peanuts) - 1/4 cup
White Sesame seeds (Til) - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Turmeric - 1/4tsp
Salt - as per taste
Asafoetida powder(hing) - a pinch

1.Soak the tamarin in water for 2-3 hrs.Extract the water and keep it aside.
2.In a Kadai, add 1/2 tsp of oil and saute the Red chillies,Methi,til & Dhania till the time the seeds turns a li'l brown in color. Cool it and make a fine powder.
2.In the same kadai add the remaining oil.When hot, season it with mustard,hing,two red chillies,curry leaves.Add groundnuts, saute till it changes its color and then add the extracted tamarin water.To this add turmeric powder and salt.
3.When it starts boiling, add the powdered mixture and stir well.
4.Cook till the time the tamarin water gets drained and you end up with a thick gravy.

Mix as much as the gravy you want with Hot rice and "Puliyogare" is ready to eat.

You can keep the Pulikachal for long by refrigerating it and use it as and when needed.

In the South, Karnataka especially people do add jaggery to give it a sweetish tinge.Some add dry coconut powder so called the "copri".

Note - The tamarin water which is extracted should be a li'l thick.Don't add alot of water


Morvendha saar/ Kadi

My Granny is a great cook.She is 90yrs old now and still helps me with her ideas.When i was in school, she taught me this recipe which is a typical Tirunelveli( a small city in Tamilnadu) dish and I make this often.This one I could call a "boon to bachelors" too as its very simple to make (jes takes 5mins).Its actually very similar to the Kadi thats made in the North

Whenever I am in a hurry I end up making this and relish it!


Curd - 1 cup
Besan - 1 tbsp
Red Chillies - 4
Curry leaves - a few
Mustard - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida/hing - a pinch
Oil - 1 tsp
Methi seeds - very li'l (6-7 seeds approx)
Salt - as required

1.Beat the curd well and add Besan & Salt.
2.In a Kadai, heat oil.When its hot drop the mustard,methi,hing,Red chillies & curry leaves.
3.Add the Curd and stir well.
4.Switch of the gas as soon as you see it boil.

Hot Morvendhasaar is ready, you can have this with rice.

Note - The catch in this recipe to switch of the flame as soon as u see it boil a li'l.This would actually take only 3mins or so.The more you boil, it becomes watery.


Garden Veg Salad

Monday, November 10, 2008

I used to always think that "Salads" are like "ghaas poos" type of food.Somehow it never interested me.All of a sudden i had this wild thought about loosing weight and decided to come up with my own recipe to suite my taste buds:-P

I had been to my husband's office team outing and one of his clents Pam had made a lovely salad with poppy seed dressing.I couldn't get the recipe from her, but i came up with my own stuff keeping the taste in mind.

Actually you can add any fruit to this salad.I use Apples, Pineapple,Grapes,Strawberries,Rasberries etc.Banana,Watermelon,Papaya should be avoided.


Lettuce - Few of them (rinsed and torn)
Olive Oil - 2tsp
Fruits - as mentioned above
Pecans(walnuts) - a few crushed into pieces
Black Pepper - a li'l
Salt - a pinch
Croutons - a few
Raisins - 10-12 of them
Honey - 1 tsp
Poppy seed dresser (readily available, I use the Marzetti brand)- 1 tbsp

1.In a large bowl, add olive oil,combine it with Pepper,Honey,salt & Poppyseed dresser.
2.Add the rest of the ingredients and toss it well.

Fresh healthy Salad is ready to eat.


Dal Tadka

In India, i used to have the Dal only with rotis, some how the concept of Dal Chawal never amused me.My husband loves the Dal I make and he likes it more with rice. I have my own variation and it gets better and better everytime I make.

Dal Tadka

Ingredients :

Moong Dal - 1 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Tomato - 1 or 2
Salt - to taste
Lemon - 1/2 of a lime
Coriander - for garnishing
Ghee - 2 tsp

Mustard - 1/2tsp
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Green chilli - 4 finely chopped
Red chilli - 2
Curry leaves - a few
Asafoetida(hing) - a pinch

1.Boil Moong dal along with the tomato and turmeric powder in a pressure cooker.
2.Remove the boiled tomato,peel skin, mash it and keep it aside.
3.In a Kadai, add ghee.Once hot, add the seasoning ingredients.Add the cooked dal and salt,mix well.Bring it to boil for few mintues till the dal becomes thick.Add the mashed tomato too.
4.Once the dal turns thick, sprinke lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves.

Dal Tadka is ready to serve.This one is a very simple Dal and doesnt take a long time.By just adding Palak to the same recipe you end up with Dal Palak.

P.S - Ensure that the lemon juice is added just before serving, sometimes it gets a li'l bitter.


Bell Pepper Gravy

Ahhh...atlast i found sometime for my blogs.I've been procastinating for a while now.My husband forced me to get onto my hobbies and here i am.Not sure how much i will blog...but here it goes.

This ones is my all time fav recipe and this has made me quite popular amongst my friends circle.Any potluck/dinner... people request me to make this side dish.


Bell Peppers (mix of all colors- chopped into big pieces(an inch length)) - 3
Onion - 1 (chopped into big pieces)
Cashewnut powder - 2tbsp
Oil - For seasoning
Jeera- 1/4tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/3tsp
Salt - as per taste
Coriander leaves - for garnishing

1. Take oil in a kadai, add jeera and then the Onions.Saute the onions till it turns pink.
2.Add the Bell Peppers,turmeric powder,chilli powder,salt and mix well.
3.Cook the vegetable in low flame till it becomes soft.
4.Finally add the cashewnut powder and switch off the flame.
5.Garnish with coriander leaves and serve it with hot rotis/phulkas.

The gravy looks very colorful and is delicious.

P.S - If needed you can add garam masala and kasoori methi too.It gives the recipe a north indian touch.


Bhindi Masala

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bhindi/Okra/Lady's finger - 1/2 kg - Cut into pieces (an inch length)
Onions - 1 large (thinly sliced)
Tomato - 2 - (thin sliced)
Pudina/Mint leaves - 1/4cup
Coriander leaves - 1 cup
Ginger - small one, about an inch
Garlic - 2-3 cloves
Green Chillies - 5
Red Chilli pwder - 1tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1tsp
Asafoetida powder /hing- li'l
Oil- 2 tbl sp
salt - to taste

1.Coarsely grind Pudina, Coriander, Chillies,Ginger & Garlic together.
2.In a kadai, add oil (1tbsp)and saute the bhindi until soft and keep it separately
3.Again in the kadai, add oil(1tbsp),asafoetida powder,sliced Onions.Saute them well.Once the Onions turn brown, add tomatoes and saute them again.
4.Add turmeric and chilli powder and salt.
5.To the above mixture add the bhindi and mix well. Allow it to cook for few mins until done.
6. Serve hot with Roti.


Til Aloo Curry

This one is one of my fav one.Its easy to make and the ingredients used are simple ones.

Aloo - 2 large boiled and cut into cubes
Jeera - 1/4 tsp
White Til - 1-2 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 1 tb sp
Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp
Dhaniya & Jeera powder - 1tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves - for garnishing
salt to taste

1. Mix Aloo, along with all the powders.
2.In a kadai, heat oil.Add jeera, til and curry leaves.Ensure that the til turns brown.
3. Add aloo and close the lid for few mins.sprinkle lemon juice.
4.Once done, garnish coriander leaves

Actually, i tried adding kasuri methi after cooking and it was delicious. Its jes optional.


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