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.

Nov 12, 2012

Palank wali dal

Got this recipe from a food group. The original is made with saboot masoor, and not saboot moong, but I like this version too (recipe is for the original).

Saboot masoor dal [soaked for a few hours]- 1 cup
Palak - 1 bunch
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Haldi namak

For the bhaghar( tempering)
Garlic sliced 4pods
Zeera 1tsp
Lal mirche- 2
Hing a pinch

Lime- 1

Take a heavy bottom pan. Put masoor dal to boil with haldi and ginger-garlic paste and salt. When half done add chopped palak. Don't add too much water when done.
Squeeze the juice of one lime and stir it well.

Arrange the tempering:
Heat the ghee, add the zeera, mirchi, garlic and hing. Pour this over the dal and cover immediately. Let it stand for sometime.

Nov 8, 2012

Karela ka raita

Had it at my mother's place. She learnt it from a friend, but had no idea what it is called. Tastes great, though.

Cut karela into very thin slices, cover with salt and keep aside so water releases.
Make a batter with besan, zeera powder, chilli powder.
Coat karela pieces with a thin layer of batter, and deep fry till crisp (it has to be more crunchy than normal pakodas.)
You can either eat it as such (I did, when my mother wasn't looking), or go to the next step.
Beat curds till smooth, add salt to taste if required.
Just before serving, crumble the karela and drop it into the curds.
Tastes really good with dal and rice. Or, you can have it as a stand alone dish.
You can also make the karela "pakodas" and store them in an airtight container for upto a week.

Nov 6, 2012

Bisi bele bhaat

A purist might say that if you use store bought masala, the recipe is not an "authentic" recipe. But when one particular masala works perfectly, you'd be a fool not to use it, specially since it makes cooking so much easier.

Cook one measure of tur dal, with haldi powder, till soft.
Half cook the same measure of rice, add chopped vegetables, and cook till rice is fully done. You can use any vegetables you like- I like beans, cauliflower, peas, carrot, potatoes and one medium onion cut into eight pieces (the boiled onion adds a special flavour).
Lightly fry desired quantity of peanuts and keep aside.
In a large kadhai fry peanuts, grated copra (about 1 tbsp for each small cup of dal/ rice), green chillies. When the copra is nice and brown, add the cooked rice, and dal, and mix well.
Add 3 tbsp of MRT Vangibhat masala, salt and tamarind juice (one marble sized tamarind for each small cup of dal), stir well, and let it cook on low heat for a few minutes. Depending on how mushy you want it add the peanuts (early if you like it soft, right at the end if you want it crunchy).
Add a tadka of mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chillies. Add a dollop of ghee before serving.

Nov 4, 2012

Mum's Mixed-Dal Medley

This is my mum's go to recipe when she wants a dal slightly more exotic than pure "ghar ka dal". Apparently a friend of her's named it because she felt it deserved better than to be called "mixed dal dal".

Wash thoroughly and Soak overnight a mix of kala channa, saboot moong, saboot masoor and 1 tbsp chana dal (you can take the dals in any combination and proportions, but the chana dal is a must).
Pressure cook the dals with haldi and one tomato chopped fine till cooked.
Fry 1 medium onion chopped fine and 1 tsp g-g paste, with 1 tsp each of dhania powder, zeera powder, red chilli powder and garam masala powder, till the raw smell is replaced by a "fried" one.
Add the cooked dals and water, bring to boil, cover and let it cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
Garnish with dhania patta.

Be careful adding the water, because you don't want it to get too watery.

Nov 2, 2012

Peas Sambhar

This is just a regular sambhar, but with peas, instead of the more conventional veggies. It is a family favorite- apparently my grandmother used to make it for my uncle the day he returned home from hostel, and my aunt has now continued with the tradition.

Pressure cook tur dal with haldi. Temper mustard seeds, green chilli, curry leaves, ginger slices. When mustard stops spluttering add peas and cook for a few minutes. Add cooked dal, sambhar powder (I used MTR) and salt to taste. Also add the juice of one marble sized ball of tamarind. Best with plain rice.

Nov 1, 2012

Ajwain patte ke pakode

This plant is a weed, and the dish was invented out of necessity- what else do you do with so many leaves?

About a dozen ajwain leaves
3 tbsp besan
salt, red chilli powder, zeera powder- as per taste
buttermilk - by approximation

Mix besan, salt, zeera powder and red chilli powder. Add buttermilk and mix to make a thickish batter.
Heat oil in a shallow pan on medium heat. Dip the leaves in batter so one side is coated. Place leaves (batter side down) in the oil. When browned, turn the fire off, and turn all the leaves around, and let them cook on the residual heat for about 30 seconds. Drain on paper towels.
The buttermilk adds flavour, so you can eat this without accompanyments.