Dec 22, 2012

Tamatar shorba

I have no idea if this is the authentic recipe or not because I got it from someone who got it from someone, who in turn got it from someone else, but it tasted like the other shorbas I have tasted, so not complaining.

Fry 1 tsp ginger and 1 tsp garlic both chopped fine, with 1 bay leaf. Add 500 gms tomatos cut into small pieces, 1 tsp garam masala, 2 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp jeera powder and salt to taste. Cook till tomatoes become tender.
Blend till smooth. Garnish with dhania patta before serving (I was in too much of a hurry to get at the soup, so took the picture before adding it).

Dec 20, 2012

Carrot-bean soup

When the days start getting cooler (by Bombay standards), hot soups start replacing salads and smoothies as those in-between mini-meals. This one was thrown together using stuff I already had in the fridge, but it is a keeper, most so because it is almost entirely fat free, and yet has a delightfully creamy texture.

Chop carrots and beans into small pieces, and steam till soft. I threw it into the pressure cooker when I was cooking the dal, and it worked out fine.
Put one cup steamed veggies, half cup curd and blend till smooth.
Pour it back into a pan, add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and bring to boil with half cup water (you can use broth instead, but water works fine).
Garnish with a few chopped and steamed veggies.
Makes 2 servings.

Paniyaram with vegetables

The kids wanted paniyaram, mom wanted them to have their veggies. This was the compromise.

Soak 2 measures boiled rice and 1 measure urad dal overnight, along with 1 tsp fenugreek seeds. Grind it smoothly, with minimal water, and let it ferment for 6 hours. The consistency should be thicker than for dosa batter (more like idli batter).
To the batter, add an appropriate quantity of steamed veggies chopped fine (I used carrots and beans because I had both, but you can experiment), or grated veggies (carrots would work fine), chopped dhania patta, and zeera powder and salt to taste.
Rub ghee on the paniyaram pan, pour the batter into the mould and allow it to cook on low heat. When they start to pull away from the edges, turn them around and allow it to cook further.
Serve hot.

Sweet potato and peanut curry

I should be never left in a vegetable market after 8:30. Because if I am, all I end up doing is buying a lot of vegetables that I don't know how to cook, just because they were offered at a bargain price. This recipe is adapted for a couple on the Internet, and we all loved it.

Steam about 250 gms of sweet potato till tender (you should be able to insert a fork without difficulty). Peel the skin, cut into discs and keep aside.

Heat some oil in a kadhai, temper with 1 tsp zeera and 1 red chilli, and fry an inch piece of grated ginger. Add the sweet potatoes and stir on low flame till it starts browning.

Add 1/2 tsp chilli sauce, 3/4 cup beaten curd, 1 tsp sugar and salt to taste. Get it to one boil and add about 50 gms of lightly crushed peanuts. Cook for 2 mins on low flame.

Tastes best with rotis, but can also be had as such.

Dec 19, 2012

Sweet corn Chicken Soup, without chicken stock

When the weather turns cold, you turn to warm soups. And few soups sound more tempting than sweet-corn  chicken soup. There was only one small problem- no chicken stock at home, so one had to experiment!

Bring half a chicken chicken (about 350-400 gms) with 4 cups of water to boil, and let it cook on low heat for 45 mins till the chicken is tender. Strain out the chicken, shred it and keep aside.
Fry 6-8 pods garlic and 1 medium onion chopped fine in 1 tbsp butter till the onion starts browning. Add about 50 gms of American corn, and fry till it starts changing colour.
Pour the chicken stock into the pan, and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
Make a smooth paste with 1 tbsp cornflour and sufficient water, add to the mixture (stirring constantly), add about 1 cup water, bring to boil, and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
Throw in the shredded chicken (I chopped it fine too, but realized it was quite unnecessary), and add salt and soya sauce to taste.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese was one of my favourite dishes when I was a kid, and it is a favourite with my kids too. It is an easy one to make too, which means I end up making it pretty often when the maid is not around.


Cook 250 gms macaroni following the instructions on the packet. Drain and keep aside.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a kadhai. Add 1 garlic pots, and 1/2 small onion (both chopped fine), and saute till the onion turns transparent. Add 1 medium tomatoe chopped into small bits, and cook on low with a cover on, till the tomatoes turn mushy. Add red chilli powder, salt and sugar to taste, and take off the fire. Bash it a bit to get a smooth consistency. Keep aside.
Make a smooth paste of 3 tbsp cornflour and water, keep aside.
Grate cheese,LOTS, and keep aside.
Heat 2 1/2 cups of milk, add the cornflour paste with constant stirring ensuring that no lumps are formed. Bring to boil, reduce the flame to low, add the tomato paste, and salt pepper to taste, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the grated cheese, and turn off the flame.

Steam 100 gms American corn and keep aside.

Grease a baking dish. Arrange the macaroni and corn in layers, and pour the sauce over it. Grate cheese on top, cover with a cling foil, and bake in oven at 200 for 5 mins (or in the microwave for 90 seconds).

Add chilli flakes and oregano before serving.

Date sponge cake

It started out intending to be an upside down date cake, but while assembling the ingredients changed its' mind and became a plain date cake instead. Another made using my mother's never fail recipe.
Happy Birthday, Mumsie

Sift together -
100 gms maida
1 tsp baking powder
three or four times till well aerated and keep aside.

Cut about 10-12 dates into quarters, roll in the flour mixture and keep aside.

Whisk 2 eggs and keep aside.

In a mixing bowl, mix-
100 gms butter
100 gms sugar
few drops vanilla essence
taking care t.hat you always stir the spoon in the same direction. Do it till the two are well mixed and creamy.

Add a bit of the flour and some beaten egg to the mixture, and mix till creamy. Keep doing it till all the flour and eggs are mixed. Mix the batter a bit more- the more you mix, the fluffier your cake will be.

Throw in the dates, and stir for some more time.

Grease or line a baking dish. Bake in recommended settings of microwave oven (or as you would a regular cake in an OTG). You will know the cake is done when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Remove it from the oven, and let it cool before cutting and storing in a cake tin. Can be stored without refrigeration for 2 days, but I don't take a chance on that.

Dec 18, 2012

Carrot-dill soup

I love dil-weeds. Have always done so. Which is why, when I saw a mountain of dil-weeds being sold for virtually nothing, I just couldn't resist picking up three bunches of it. This recipe was pulled out from the internet, and is really lovey. Packed with natural goodness, the works as a hot soup and as a cold one (I had most of it hot, but put a little aside to have cold). The predominant taste is, obviously, one of dill, so avoid if you do not like it.
Melt 1/2 tbsp butter in a pan. Add 1/2 medium onion cut into small pieces and saute till onion turns transparent. Add 2 medium (or 1 large) carrots diced, and about 3 tbsp of fresh dill weeds, and cook till soft. Add 1 1/2 cups chicken/ veg broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 10 mins. Remove from heat and puree the soup in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mint-coconut chutney

This is modified from a recipe posted by Namita Tickare of Namita's Kitchen.

Grind together 1/2 bunch mint leaves, 1/2 bunch coriander leaves, 2 green chillies, 1/2 a grated coconut, till smooth. Add salt to taste and 1 tsp vinegar. Temper with curry leaves and mustard.

Kara Paniyaram/ Savory Paniyaram

Day Two of my quest to feed the kids only home-made food. It was so successful, the kids want this one more time, throwing my careful menu planning into disarray

Add caption

Soak 2 measures boiled rice and 1 measure urad dal overnight, along with 1 tsp fenugreek seeds. Grind it smoothly, with minimal water, and let it ferment for 6 hours. The consistency should be thicker than for dosa batter (more like idli batter).
To the batter, add 2 crushed green chillis, 1/2 medium onion chopped fine, and a tadka of mustard seeds adn curry leaves.
Rub ghee on the paniyaram pan, pour the batter into the mould and allow it to cook on low heat. When they start to pull away from the edges, turn them around and allow it to cook further.
Serve hot.

Bharela mirchi- Maharastrian style

My maid makes it often- this was actually made by her- and it tastes amazing.

Slit the mirchi, deseed, and discard the seeds.
For the masala, roast grated coconut (about 1 tsp per mirchi), add red chilli powder, zeera powder, dhania powder, haldi powder (about 1 tsp each, but use your estimate) and salt to taste.
Stuff the masala into the mirchis, and shallow fry till done.

In a variation (which I do not like much), you can first fry some onion slices, and then fry the stuffed mirchas.

Best with bajra ka roti, but good with roti, or with dal-chawal.

Sweet Paniyaram

A nice easy dish that can be rustled up in a jiffy using paniyaram batter or even dosa batter. Giving the full recipe here.

2 measures boiled rice
1 measure urad dal
1 tsp fenugreek seeds

4 tbsp grated jaggery
1 tsp sesame seeds

Soak 2 measures boiled rice and 1 measure urad dal overnight, along with 1 tsp fenugreek seeds. 

Grind it smoothly, with minimal water, and let it ferment for 6 hours. 
The batter should be thicker than dosa batter. (upto this part, it is the same as the recipe for making normal paniyaram batter).

To the batter, add 4 tbsp grated jaggery and cardamom powder to taste.
Rub ghee on the paniyaram pan, pour the batter into the mould and allow it to cook on low heat.
Sprinkle roasted white til seeds on the top surface. When they start to pull away from the edges, turn them around and allow it to cook further.
Serve hot, ideally with butter, but can be had otherwise.

Dec 17, 2012

Kiddy pizza (with ready made base)

With kids at home for the entire week, the sensible thing would have been to just order their favourite takeaways. But I took it on as a challenge to see if I could satisfy them with home cooked food, and this was what they had for lunch on the first day.

For pizza sauce
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a kadhai. Add 4 garlic pots, and 1 medium onion (both chopped fine), and saute till the onion turns transparent. Add 4 medium tomatoes chopped into small bits, and cook on low with a cover on, till the tomatoes turn mushy. Add red chilli powder, salt and sugar to taste, and take off the fire. When cool, blend in the mixer till it gets a smooth consistency.

Spread pizza sauce on a store bought pizza base, top with lots of grated cheese (my kids dislike veggies, so I don't add it), and pop it into the oven till the cheese melts. Sprinkle oregano and chilli flakes before serving.

Palak Paneer

Blanche two bunches of palak and keep aside.
Fry onions (2 medium), garlic (4 pods) and ginger (1/2 inch piece), till the onion turns transparent. Add tomatoes (2 small) and fry till onions turn golden brown. Take off flame.
Blend together the spinach, and the fried masala till most of it is smooth (some lumps are desired, or the texture is too monotonous).
Temper zeera, tej patta and 1 red chilli. Add the blended mix, and salt and red chilli powder to taste. Cook for a few minutes, and keep aside.
Cut 250 gms paneer into small pieces, place in warm water for about 10 minutes.
Before serving, heat the palak, add the paneer pieces. Add about 2 tablespoons of milk, and bring to a boil.

Best with rotis or parathas.

Dec 16, 2012

Fish with dill, and tomato-cucumber salsa

When you buy three huge bunches of dillweeds, only because you got them all for Rs. 10, you need to spend half an hour on the internet trying to find recipes to use them all. Attempting this was bravery, because hubby is not very adventurous when it comes to trying out new flavours, but he loved it.
The recipe said that the dish was to be served cold, but I was not sure if the hubby could handle cold fish AND the flavour of dillweeds, so served it hot.

Fish fillets
2 fish fillets

Olive oil for frying

For marination:
1 bunch dillweeds
6 pods garlic
2 tbsp white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Pound the ingredients listed under "for marination". 

Marinate the fish, and keep it in the fridge overnight.
Shallow fry in olive oil, till done.
Serve with tomato-cucumber relish.

Tomato-cucumber relish
1 small cucumber

1 large tomato
1 tbsp vinegar
dash of tabasco
salt to taste

Chop the cucumber and tomatoes into small chunks.
Marinate for about three hours in vinegar, a dash of tabasco and salt to taste.

Spaghetti in spinach sauce

Green Sauce always meant pesto sauce, till I saw a recipe for spinach sauce in Runner Girl in the Kitchen's blog. While the rest of the dish seemed beyond my limited capacity, the sauce seemed like one I could pull off, so I attempted it for a Sunday lunch. And we all loved it!

Cook 250 gms spaghetti following the instructions on the packet. Drain and keep aside.
Blanch a bunch of spinach (keeping aside 3 or 4 leaves), and puree it in the mixer.
Chop 6-8 pods of garlic (you can add less- we all like the garlicy taste, so I go wild with it), and fry in 1 tbsp butter till well browned.
Meanwhile, make a smooth paste of 3 tbsp cornflour and water, keep aside
Grate cheese,LOTS, and keep aside
When garlic is browned, pour 2 1/2 cups of milk, and cornflour paste, and stir so no lumps are formed. Bring to boil, reduce the flame to low, add salt and pepper to taste, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Pour pureed spinach, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the grated cheese, and turn off the flame.

Grease a baking dish. Arrange the spinach leaves which had been kept aside at the bottom, and put the spaghetti on top. Pour the spinach sauce over it. Cover with a cling foil, and bake in oven at 200 for 5 mins (or in the microwave for 90 seconds).

You an also throw in fillings of your choice, though I prefer to keep it simple.
For the kids, I didn't line the baking dish with spinach leaves, and I grated some more cheese on top and grilled it.

Dec 15, 2012

Til roti

My mother used to make this for me pretty often. I think it is a traditional Maharashtrian dish, but am not sure about. All I know is that I love it.

Mix roasted sesame and grated jaggery in a 1:1 proportion and use that as the stuffing for a normal stuffed paratha.
Comfort food par excellence for someone with a sweet tooth.

Disclaimer- I tore the paratha in half, so the stuffing would be visible. It is NOT bitten into (at least was not at the point of clicking the photograph).

Dec 14, 2012

Spinach Soup

This soup can be had hot or cold, and I normally make it before a workout and shove it in the fridge, so it is ready to slurp when I return. The original recipe requires potatoes, but since my friend MP was looking for soups without potatoes, I made it without them this time. It was so good, I am making it this way from now on.

Soak 5 almonds in warm water for a few hours
Wash and clean one big bunch of spinach. Remove stalks, chop finely and keep 1/3 of it away.
Wash and dice one medium zucchini.
Heat 1 tsp butter (or substitute with oilve oil), and fry 4 cloves of garlic.
Add diced zucchini and fry till slightly tender. Add chopped spinach leaves and cook on low heat till the water releases, and the spinach starts to turn soft.
Put the mixture of garlic, zucchini and spinach in a blender. Add 3 tablespoons curds, the soaked almonds, and the raw spinach that had been kept aside.
Blend till it attains a smooth consistency. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Can be had hot or cold.

Green with Envy

This drink, apparently, is prefect during a de-tox diet, where you can zap your system with alkalies. I really wouldn't know. All I know is that on some days you really want to sip something as beautifully green as this, and feel virtuous and evil at the same time.

Chop one small cucumber, 1/2 a small bunch of spinach leaves and 1 small green chilli. Blend till smooth, adding upto 1/2 cup water.
Strain (and keep aside the strained portion to spread on crackers and eat).

Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime, salt to taste and 1 tbsp honey.
Pour into a glass and slurp.

Stuffed Zucchinis

The other day, I bought 250 gms of zucchini on a whim, then looked for something to do with it. Inspired by a recipe for zucchini stuffed with minced beef, I threw a bunch of ingredients together. And loved it. 


Cook soya nuggets (rough guide- 2 or 3 tablespoons for every zucchini). Drain, and coat with tomato-chilli sauce.
Add cheese spread (2 tsp for every zucchini), to the nuggets and mix well. Add parsley, basil and salt to taste.
Wash zucchinis, scrap the skin very lightly, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
Rub a small amount of oil to the skin, place the mixture inside the hollow, and cook in the microwave for 2 mins till zucchini is soft.
Tastes best as it is (without any accompaniments).

Dec 12, 2012


Nearly a quarter century back, on a family holiday in Goa, I tasted the most amazing dal-dhokli in a restaurant in Panjim. Though I have returned often to the city, I have never been able to locate the restaurant again, and in a quest spanning several years, I haven't found the same dal-dhokli at any other restaurant in Bombay, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat or Bhavnagar (you get the drift). In my more fanciful moments, I've even wondered if I actually tasted that, or if it was just the product of a few neurons getting signals mixed up.

So when I saw this recipe for dal-dhokli on a food forum, I had to make it. This is not a Dan Brown novel, and this is NOT the dal-dhokli I tasted. But, I liked it enough to know I will make it again.

Pressure cook 1 measure toor dal, with 1 tomato, a handful of peanuts, a half inch piece of ginger and 1/2 tsp haldi powder till soft.
While it is cooking, knead a dough with atta, kasuri methi (or spinach), 1/2 tsp chilli pwd, 1/2 tsp dhania pwd and salt to taste. Roll into thickish roties, cut into diamonds and keep aside.
In a tsp of ghee, temper 1 tsp mustard seeds, a few curry leaves, 1/2 tsp hing, 1 red chillie (broken), 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp each of zeera and dhania powder.
When a nice aroma comes, add the cooked dal, 1 tbsp jaggery, the juice of 1 lime and salt to taste.
Add dhoklis into the dal, and let it boil for about 2 mins, till properly cooked.

Pudinawala dum aloo

One of the things I really loved as a kid. Not sure if my mother invented it, or if she learnt it from someone, but this is one dish that never fails to bring back happy memories. It was even one of the dishes I had asked her to cook for me during my Board Exams.

Scrub the dirt off baby potatoes, boil, peel and keep aside.
Thoroughly wash one bunch each of mint and coriander leaves, and pluck the leaves.
Grind/ blend the leaves together with two green chillies (washed), 1 tsp zeera and 1/2 tsp ajwain seeds till smooth. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime, add salt to taste and keep aside.
In a pan, temper zeera in oil, add the peeled baby potatoes and the ground green paste.
Cook on low heat till it releases water, and the water evaporates.
Serve with rotis.

Dec 11, 2012

Sweet potato croquettes

Though I have no idea what to do with them, I keep buying sweet potatoes for the health benefits they are supposed to have. Most of the time, the kids and I end up having it boiled "just like that", but this time I was determined to cook it. Found two recipes from the net, and after some deliberation decided which one to make. It was only after dropping the garlic in the oil that I realized I had inadvertently picked the wrong recipe. But it was lovely- never has anything come out so well on the first attempt.

Boil 250 gms sweet potatoes till soft. Peel and mash.
Heat a bit of oil, and fry 4 pods garlic and 2 green chilies for awhile. Pour over the mashed sweet potatoes.
Add 1 tsp soy sauce, juice of ½ lime, and salt to taste, and mix well.
Mould into small croquettes.
Dip the croquettes in sesame seeds and press down so they stick to the surface.
Shallow fry in butter till golden brown.

[The original recipe called for potatoes in addition to sweet potatoes, and you need to add grated and roasted coconut and coriander leaves before shaping them. Skipped both because I don't like too many clashing flavours.]

Dec 10, 2012

Vatha Kuzhambu

Some of my earliest food memories are of having this dish at my grandmother's place. She used to make it with dried veggies (mostly unseasonal veggies which were dried when they were in season), but my mother's always made it with fresh veggies. Strangely, my mother parted with the recipe more easily than I thought she would- I guess she is happy to have finally found someone who might prove herself worthy of the family recipes.

Dry roast 1 tbsp of urad (or chana) dal, and crush it coarsely.
Temper 1 tsp mustard seeds, crushed dal, 1 tsp methi seeds, curry leaves and one red chilli broken in two till the mustard stops spluttering.
Add 1 tbsp sambhar powder and fry on low heat till the aroma fills the room.
Add 1/2 cup tamarind pulp (a tabletennis ball sized tamarind ball in 1/2 cup warm water), 1 tsp turmeric, salt to taste, water and any veggies you may want to add (since I wanted to finish the shallots I had, I fried them slightly before adding, but most other veggies can be added as such). Bring to a boil, then cook till the veggies are well done.
Add a bit of rice flour (about 1 tbsp) and bring to a single boil, if you want to thicken further.
I like it as it is, but you might want to tone it down a bit with jaggery.
Normally, this is had with rice, parpu podi (dal powder) and ghee, but I like it with khichadi/ pongal.

Note- I like to call this a "nothing" dish, because it doesn't have any proteins in it. If you are fussy about having proteins at every meal (I'm not except on days when I work out a lot), you need to make sure the proteins come from something else.


I end up making baigan at least once a week, and when I saw Roma Patel's peanut-baigan combination, I knew I had to try it out sometime. Modified her recipe a bit, but it sure tasted yummy as it is.

Roast and lightly crush a handful of peanuts.
Make a dry paste of crushed peanuts, grated coconut (about half the quantity of the peanuts), dhania powder, jeera powder, salt.
Slit the baigan into quarters and stuff half the dry paste into them.
Fry a few pods of crushed garlic and chopped green chilli. When the garlic is done, put in the rest of the dry paste and fry for about a minute. Put the stuffed baigan, add enough water to half cover the baigans, and let it cook on low heat till baigans are well done, and you get a slightly runny gravy.
To be had with rotis.

Beetroot juice

I never attempted juicing beetroots, but since there was a solitary one languishing in the fridge, decided to use it up. And it came out better than expected, so after a quick gulp, decided to take a picture and post it here, so I don't forget what I did.

Peel, chop and blend one beetroot with a glass of water, a tsp of salt (not rock salt), the juice of one
lime and a green chilli. Drink immediately after making.

Dec 9, 2012

Chicken Lal Mirch

"It is too teekha", said Thing 2, but when I assured him it was not, he polished off the chicken.
"Why have you made boiled chicken", asked his father. Before taking a bite and decclaring, "Accha hai!"

For a dish that can be whipped up so easily, this recipe of MP's is surprisingly effective.

You need chicken drumsticks
I marinated about 10 drumsticks with
1 and 1/2 table spoon lemon juice
1 table spoon Kashmiri chilli powder for colour

Heat ghee
Add chicken and fry on high for 5-7 minutes till the juices are sealed.
Then cook on low
Add 20 cloves of garlic
10-15 Kashmiri chillies (unbroken) while the chicken is being cooked
The chicken cooks in it's own juices and just has the flavour of ghee and these

Works really nicely as a starter and can even be made with boneless chicken. At times, I even sprinkle a bit of coarsely ground fresh pepper and a little more lemon juice for a slightly tangier taste before serving

Dec 8, 2012

Gunpowder keg

 This was invented on a day when I needed some subji to have with my rotis, and these were the only ingredients in hand.

Mash together boiled potatoes and steamed veggies (carrot, beet, peas is what I had)- warm them to desired temperature, if you are using leftover steamed veggies. Add gunpowder (lots), salt, juice of one lime and mix well. Garnish with roasted peanuts (should have crushed them- will next time). Tastes pretty good with rotis.

Zebra cake

My Mum's one of those people, who once she gets a recipe right will write it down in her black diary, and never again deviate from it. This is her classic "never go wrong" recipe for sponge cake, in a new format.

Sift together -
100 gms maida
1 tsp baking powder
three or four times till well aerated and keep aside.

Whisk 2 eggs and keep aside.

In a mixing bowl, mix-
100 gms butter (she used Amul and so do I)
100 gms sugar
few drops vanilla essence
taking care that you always stir the spoon in the same direction. Do it till the two are well mixed and creamy.

Add a bit of the flour and some beaten egg to the mixture, and mix till creamy. Keep doing it till all the flour and eggs are mixed. Mix the batter a bit more- the more you mix, the fluffier your cake will be.

At this point, I deviate. Keep aside half the cake mix. To the other half, add 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 1 tbsp instant coffee (about 1/4 tsp coffee mix in 1 tbsp hot water), and stir till well mixed.

Grease or line a baking dish. Put one blob of vanilla batter at the center. Put a larger blob of the chocolate batter over it, taking care to ensure that the top and sides are covered. Alternately put blobs of vanilla and chocolate batter in layers.

Bake in recommended settings of microwave oven (or as you would a regular cake in an OTG). You will know the cake is done when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Remove from oven, cool, and turn it over. I poured Hershey's chocolate sauce on it, because I didn't have home made sauce. but home made chocolate sauce or frosting is recommended.

Nepali Aloo Salad

My friend MP learnt this recipe from a Nepali friend of her's. She's adapted it to suit her taste, and says it is a staple whenever she has people over. 

Boil and peel baby potatoes. When they cool, cut them into half or into 4 pieces depending on the size of the potatoes.

Roast and roughly pound sesame seeds
Roast and roughly pound peanuts

Heat oil, put methi seeds and a wee bit of heeng. When they splutter, add garlic and fry. My friend who taught me this used to add raw garlic but I like the taste of fried garlic.

In the bowl, pour this oil with the tadka over the potatoes. Add lemon juice, roughly crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. Add chopped green chillies, salt and coriander leaves. Toss well.

This is a cold salad but I feel adding roasted peanuts and sesame seeds in advance reduces the crunchiness of both so I put the potatoes in the fridge covered in a cling wrap for some time. And then half an hr before I serve, I take the potatoes out and do the tadka and the mixing.

Note - the original dish I was taught used mustard oil but when I am making it for non Bengali friends who I think cannot handle the taste and pungency of mustard oil, I make this with loads of olive oil and it tastes quite nice too! I also skip the heeng (along with the mustard oil) if I am making it for non Indian friends who I think might find heeng (asafoetida ) overwhelming.

Dec 7, 2012

Veg roll

I have leftover rotis to deal with almost every day, and not only does this use some of them up well, it also tasted good enough to make it worthwhile to make rotis especially for the purpose.

Boil potatoes, peel and mash them
Steam veggies (I used carrots, beetroot, peas), and cut them into small pieces
Crumble a couple of small pieces of paneer.
Mix potatos, veggie and paneer together.
Add pav bhaji masala (garam masala will do too), red chilli powder and salt to taste.
Make into cutlet shape, coat with sooji, and shallow fry.
When done, crumble them into small pieces and arrange on a roti. Add onions and a dash of mustard and make into a roll.

Dec 6, 2012

Spicy tomato chutney

Much as I love the sweet chutney, I prefer something spicy to have with dosas. My mother used to make a tomato chutney when I was a kid- this is NOT that, but my favourite parts of that have been recreated here. Incidentally, this also tastes fabulous with khichudi.

Dry roast 1/2 tsp saunf/ fennel seeds, one piece of cinnamon, 1 cardamom and 3 cloves on low flame till they are well roasted. Let it cool before pounding it to a coarse powder.
Heat about 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 (or 2) broken red chillies, and curry leaves (optional). After mustard starts to splutter, add 1 finely chopped green chillie, and fry for about a minute.
Add a handful of shallots (or 1 medium sized onion chopped), and fry till transparent.
Add the ground spice powder and stir it well. Add 4 tomatoes finely chopped, and cook till it releases water.
Add red chilli powder and salt to taste and cook for 5 minutes (if it is too dry, you might want to add a little bit of water while adding chilli powder and salt).

Can be stored in the fridge for upto a week.

Savory Bread Pudding

This recipe is adapted from MM's savoury bread pudding. It is missing the exotic stuff like the coloured bell peppers, but is true to the intent of the original.

Bread, Cubed, 6 slices
Milk, about 1/2 cup
Onion, chopped, 1
Tomato, chopped, 1
Mushrooms, chopped, 3-4
Peppers, green, yellow & red, chopped, abt a cup total
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Red chili flakes, to taste (optional)
Butter, melted, about 2 tbsp
Cheese, grated, about a tbsp (more, if you want)
Oil, to grease the baking dish

Preheat oven to 200°C.
Grease a baking dish with oil. Spread half of the bread at the base and sprinkle with salt+ pepper. Followed by a layer of all the veggies sprinkled again with salt+ pepper (leave about 2 tbsp to spread on top). Final layer of bread and the veggies you had kept aside + salt & pepper.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs with milk, salt, pepper & red chili flakes. Pour beaten eggs over the top and then melted butter. Leave aside for 10-15 minutes so that bread soaks up the egg mix.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 200°C. After 30 minutes or so, remove the foil, spread the grated cheese on top and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes more.

If you want to increase the quantity of the mushrooms, pls. sauté them first in a pan so that they don’t release excessive water in the dish while baking.
If you want to add garlic, pls. sauté onion and garlic first before adding to the dish.

Dec 3, 2012

Maharashtrian Capsicum Subji

I learnt this from a live-in maid I had, who replicated it by taste based on a dish her mother used to make. Not at all sure of the authenticity, but we all like it.

Coarsely grind a handful of peanuts, two green chillies, and a tsp of zeera.
Chop 1 medium onion into small pieces and fry till transparent. Add the ground masala and give it a few stirs.
Chop three capsicums into large pieces, add to the onions and ground masala. Add salt to taste and 1 tsp haldi powder. Stir, cover and let it cook in its own steam till the capsicums are soft.
Tastes equally good with rotis and rice.

- the amount of peanuts you add depends on your taste- I like having a fair bit.
- my mixie was playing up so I ground using a mortar and pestle- it should actually be ground finer
- no khatta in this recipe, because it is apparently made on Fridays, when married women abstain from khatta to please Lakshmi

Carrot-potato soup

When you work from home, one of the first things you learn is how to fend for yourself at lunchtime. You can either have leftovers, or get something from outside, or cook for yourself. This thick soup full of goodness, takes no time to whip up and is very filling and satisfying.

Pressure cook two medium potatoes and three or four carrots till soft (I normally put them in with the dal).
Fry (or roast) 6 pods of garlic and a green chilli.
Blend the carrots, potatoes, garlic, chilli and four tablespoons of curd till smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I prefer to refrigerate overnight and heat it again- brings out the flavours more.
The curd gives it a rich, almost decadent, texture which satisfies the soul.

If you do not like green chilli, you could substitute it with ground pepper.

Nov 28, 2012


This is one of the few traditional Indian sweets that I always manage to get right. Once upon a time, I used to make it at festival times, but now that I do enter the kitchen a couple of times a week, I make it more often.

2 cups Wheat flour
1/2 cup Milk
1 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Ghee
Salt to taste

Mix the flour and salt, keep aside.
Heat the milk, and dissolve the sugar in it. Allow to cook, then add it to the dough and mix well.
Add ghee, and knead the dough till soft.
Make balls from the dough, roll and cut diamond pieces from the circle.
Keep aside the diamond pieces for 15 mins.
Deep fry on medium heat till brown.
Drain oil in paper towel and allow to cool completely before storing.

You can also add white til seeds to the dough if you like the taste.

Nov 27, 2012

Apple Mint Chutney

Something I invented to use up the apples the kids have decided to stop eating. Tastes better than I hoped it would, because of the balance of sweet, tart, and teekha.

Grind in a mixer two green chillis, one medium apple, and the leaves of 10-12 sprigs of mint, with two teaspoons of vinegar till it forms an even (but not smooth) mixture. Add salt to taste.

I didn't peel the apples because I was too lazy too, but I'm glad I didn't because it offers those pops of colour.

Chocolate fudge, the way my mother makes it

Some of my earliest food memories include the gooey chocolate fudge that my mother used to make. Deep brown, with slivers of creamy cashewnuts adding texture. They would be prefect diamonds, and each was guaranteed to transport your into food heaven.
When I started cooking, one of the first recipes I asked my mother for was fudge. She told me it was one of the easiest things to make, but she counted without me. I have made it about half a dozen times, and most of them have been disasters of various kinds. Sometimes, I don't let the sugar syrup cook enough, sometimes I let it cook too much. The kids are picky about what they eat, so it has essentially meant me putting on additional calories.
BUT, I love it so much (and it tastes so amazing when it actually turns out the way it should), that I soldier on.

1 full cup milk powder
1 level cup sugar
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup water

Stir water and sugar on low heat till it achieves one string consistency.
While stirring, mix together milk powder and cocoa till well mixed (I normally sieve them together a couple of times).
Once one-string consistency is achieved, turn off heat, and add the dry mixture with constant stirring. Add butter, mix well and pour it onto a greased tray to cool.
I tried cutting it while it was still warm- big mistake- cut after it has cooled down.

Stuffed omelette

This and variations of this are my favourite post-workout meal. I really don't know what I would do without these really quick and utterly filling meals.

Leftover rice
Seasonings as per taste
Two eggs
Butter/ olive oil
Saute capsicum, tomatoes, onions in olive oil or butter (depending on how virtuous you want to feel- I don't even try].
Add left over rice, salt, chillie flakes and oregano (or assorted seasonings as per taste), and stir a few times. Keep aside.
Beat two eggs with salt (careful with this, because there is salt in the stuffing too), and make an omelette.
After flipping it over twice, place the fried rice on it, fold over, and let it cook for a minute or two.

You can add chopped spinach, olives, boiled chicken, or anything else. Let your imagination be your guide

Nov 26, 2012

Meal in a dish

When you have too much of soya bhurji to finish off, you learn to get creative. I used the bread-pudding proportions for savoury dish, and it worked perfectly.


3 slices bread
Soya bhurji leftover from the previous day
Half a capsicum, or other veggies
1 egg
3.4 cup milk
salt and pepper

Grease the ovenproof dish
Place a layer of bread, cut into triangles (or squares)
Put a layer of soya bhurji (onions, ginger-garlic paste, salt, red chilli powder fried)
Sprinkle half a capsicum, and any other veggies you might want to throw in
In a bowl, beat 1 egg and 3/4 cup milk, with salt and pepper. Pour over the dish, ensuring all the bread gets covered (next time I am doubling quantities to see how it works).
Grate cheese, and pop into a microwave oven for 3 1/2 minutes.

Nov 22, 2012

Sujii sandwiches

When MM posted a recipe for suji sandwich, I was intrigued enough to make it for lunch the same day. I used more rawa than I should have, and ran out of dahi, so the filling ended up thicker than it should have been, but it was YUMMY

Mix finely chopped onion , green chilli, salt and dahi with suji – idli batter consistency. Spread on a slice of bread, cover with another slice and grill on a non stick pan with a little oil till golden brown on both sides.

Spring-onion and besan

This is one of MM's favorurite recipes, which she makes for dinner. I, however, had it as a post workout snack, so didn't have either rotis or rice with it.

Hara pyaz/Spring onions chopped fine, 3 cups but white and green portions separate
Besan/gram flour, 4 heaped tbsp
Jeera/cumin seeds, ½ tsp
Slt Green Chillies, 3
Ginger garlic paste, 1 tsp
Lal mirchi/Red chilli powder, to taste
Haldi/turmeric powder, ½ tsp
Salt, to taste
Oil, 1+ 1 tbsp

Amchur, optional

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadhai and add jeera + green chillies. Add the white portion of onions and fry , until the onions become transparent. Now add gg paste + red chilli powder + haldi and fry for a while. Add the green portion of the onions +salt and cook covered on slow flame for abt 10 mins. Stir occasionally. Now add the besan, stir continuosuly and cook till besan get cooked (it will look like big glop at this stage). Add the balance oil and keep on stirring till besan gets that nice fried look and everything gets crispy. Is yummy as parantha rolls and with rice & dal.

If you want to use less besan then add besan after jeera and let it roast a bit and then add the onions + spices .

Nov 21, 2012

Baked fish fillets

Growing up as I did in a house where non-vegetarian food was never cooked, I have a morbid dread of handling meat of any kind- what if I do something wrong and end up poisoning everyone, is the thought that is constantly on my mind. Gradually, I started cooking chicken curry, where everything was heated for so long, no bacteria could survive. But this is the first time I ever attempted to bake anything. And it was so tasty, I might just do it again.

Switch oven on at 375 degrees.

Mix together-
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 cloves crushed garlic
4 tbsp grated cheese
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp tabasco
salt to taste

Coat 2 fillets of fish with the mixture, place on a greased baking tray and bake for 10 minutes (till the fish flakes easily).

I mis-estimated the quantity (should have halved the proportions for a single fillet of fish), and ended up with a lot of extra batter, which I used on diced sweet potatoes.

Nov 20, 2012

Basic fish curry (they way my mother in law makes it)

Confession time. Till I got married, I was too scared to cook non-veg food- not because the tendons and ligaments scared me (and they do many others), but because I was convinced I would end up poisoning everyone.
This was the second dish my m-i-l taught me to cook, and it never fails. Though, to be honest, I still prefer to tell my cook exactly how to make it, and leave it to her.

1 kg fish fillets

For marination:
Turmeric powder

For curry

3 medium onions
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 1/2 grated tomatoes
1 tsp dhania powder
1 tsp red chilli powder,
1 tsp jeera powder
2 tej patta/ bay leaves
1 small stick cinnamon
4-6 cloves

Marinate fish fillets with turmeric and salt, and keep aside.

Grate the onions. Fry onions, 2 tsp ginger garlic paste, 1 tsp each of dhania powder, red chilli powder and zeera powder, 2 tej patta, small stick of cinnamon and 4-6 cloves. Add 1 1/2 grated tomatoes when the raw smell goes, and fry till the oil releases. Add water, and bring to boil

Meanwhile, on a tawa, fry the fish fillets*, and once the gravy is done, introduce into the gravy. 

Let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. 

Garnish with dhania patta and serve with steamed rice.

* you could also keep one or two fillets aside for eating as fried fish

Nov 19, 2012

Gobi adraki

Normally, the only way to get my family to eat gobi is by making gobi-aloo with onions and tomatos. But when you are stuck without onions or potatoes, you better eat what you get, or starve.

Gobi fried with grated ginger, jeera, haldi powder and salt, and allowed to cook in own steam after adding chopped dhania patta.

[This was made by borrowing two stems of dhania patta from the neighbour- luckily, nobody thought to ask why I couldn't borrow onions and potatoes too ]

Nov 18, 2012

Baigan w/o onions

When the city came to a close over the weekend, all I had were a couple of chintu baigans, two tomatoes, no onions, no ginger, no green chillis, and limited spices. This is what the maid conjured up.

Dice baigans, fry and keep aside.
Cut 1 tomato into small pieces, fry with zeera, haldi powder, salt and sugar. When well done, add fried baigan, and enough besan to cover the whole thing. Sprinkle water on top, stir, cover and let it cook in own steam for 2-3 minutes.

Great with rotis.

Moong dal vadai

Within an hour of the news of Bal Thackerey's death, the city started shutting down. Shops downed their shutters, vendors abandoned their posts, and even vehicles went off the streets. Fearing the worst, I managed to stock up on very basic essentials like bread and curds, but for the next few days, we managed with whatever there was in the house. Which was not very much.
These vadais were made with batter leftover after making adai (I stretch the truth- kept some aside before making adais), and they tasted really good.

Soak whole moong dal overnight, and drain the water.
Grind soaked moong dal with whole red chillies to taste, and minimal water- the batter should be smooth, but not liquidy. At this stage, I added a bit of rice powder to thicken it, and that added extra crunch to the dish.
Add salt to taste, and a pinch of baking powder, and beat well.
Oil one side of a polythene packet (I used a milk packet), put a ball of batter on it, flatten, and make a hole in the center.
Deep fry till brown and crispy. (I shallow fried on low heat, because I hate having to deal with the left over oil, but it is meant to be deep fried.)

Would have tasted best with coconut chutney, but I had to make do with tomato ketchup.

Nov 16, 2012

Pepper aloo

Didn't have pudina, so no minty/ herby stuff. Didn't want to make a traditional gravy. Which left not too many options. Adapted m-i-l's chicken recipe for this.

Boil baby potatos till almost done (I left it partially done thinking it would cook a bit more in the steam, but it didn't).
In a kadhai take 1 tbsp oil, 4 tbsp vinegar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 1/2 tbsp pepper coarsely ground (leave a few unground), salt to taste. Mix well
Peel potatoes, prick with a fork and let it marinate in the kadhai for 15 minutes, turning over once 8-10 minutes (I did not do this, and the taste did not permeate the potatoes).
Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, till the gravy thickens.
Serve without onions, coriander or green chillies.

Without the marination, this works really well with mushrooms. Made it once at my father-in-law's place, and the Aunties polished it off faster than the Uncles took for the shammi kababs.

[I normally make this with chicken, which releases a lot of water, so the cooking time is about 45 minutes (instead of 5 minutes for this). Hence, the need to marinate, so the taste doesn't just stick to the outside.
It has a tart taste, and you might want to add a bit of sugar to kill it- I don't. Changing the ratio of vinegar and soy sauce (2:1) kills the recipe- that is the only thing that is sacrosanct.]

Nov 13, 2012

Rawa ladoo

Rawa ladoos are my favourite Diwali sweet. My grandmother used to make them, but my mother prefers to buy them because they are so labour intensive. I tried making the "real" ones a couple of times, and failed miserably. This is not quite the real thing, but never fails.

1 cup sooji
1 cup sugar (I use less, because I find it too sweet otherwise)
1 cup milk
cashewnuts, rasins (I don't add rasins because hubby doesn't have them)

Fry the dry fruits and keep aside
In 2 to 3 tbsp ghee, roast the sooji till it starts turning brown (keep the flame low, because once it gets heated up, the sooji gets charred very soon)
Add milk and sugar, and cook on low flame (with constant stirring) till it attains a "halwa-like" consistency
Take off fire, allow it to cool a bit, then make into ladoos.
This amount should make around 15 medium sized ladoos.

Since milk has been used, you cannot store it outside.


Not sure of the authenticity at all, but this is my Mother's tried and tested recipe, without tomatoes

Soak chana overnight, pressure cook with one potato cut into smallish pieces.
Cut onions into really small pieces and fry on low heat till transparent. Add ginger-garlic paste, 1 tsp zeera powder, 2 tsp dhania powder, 1 tsp amchur powder and 1 tsp red chilli powder, and fry till the raw taste goes. Add chana, salt to taste, water if needed, stir and allow it to cook in its own steam for a few minutes.