Jun 30, 2014

Stuffed bhindi, Punjabi style

This is my go-to recipe for bhindi, because it takes less time than most other versions, and tastes as good.
250 gms bhindi/ lady finger
1 medium onion
1 tsp dhania powder
1 tsp red chill powder
1 tsp haldi powder
1 tsp amchur powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsp cooking oil.

Wash the bhindi well, and pat dry. Chop off the tips and slit lenthwise
Mix the dry masala (and salt), and stuff into the slit bhindis- finish all the masala
Cut the onions into long slices
Heat the oil, add onions and saute till they turn transparent
Add stuffed bindis, mix well, and cook on a low flame till done.
Serve with dal and rotis.

Jun 28, 2014

Veg biryani

When you want to rustle up a quick meal with looks more exotic than it actually is, this soya nugget biryani will qualify.
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, soaked for 1 hour
2 bay leaves
1 badi elaichi
1/2 cup soya nuggets
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 medium tomato chopped fine
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp dhania powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
salt to taste
cooking oil
1 medium onion cut into long slices

Cook the rice with the whole spices till 75% done. Discard the spices
Soak the soya nuggets in boiling water for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute the onions till they turn transparent. Add tomatoes, ginger garlic paste and ground spices, and saute till they turn mushy. Add the soya nuggets and mix well.
Grease the bottom of a non-stick pan, then put a layer of rice, and a layer of soya curry. Keep alternating the layers, ending with a layer of rice. Close the pan, and cook on low heat till the rice is well done.
Meanwhile, heat some cooking oil, and deep fry the sliced onions till well browned.
Garnish the biryani with onion slices and serve with curds.

Jun 27, 2014

Mango Rasmalai

I've been wanting to make mango rasmalai for a couple of weeks, and I finally did it today. Though the dish was lovely, nobody really liked it too much, so this might just be the last time I make it.

For the rasgollas:
1 litre milk
Lime juice- 3 tbsp
Water - 3 1/2 cups
Icecubes - 4 to 5
Sugar - 1 1/2 cup (I used slightly less)

For the malai:
1 mango
1/2 litre milk

Heat milk, and once it comes to a boil add the lime juice to the boiling milk and stir properly. Stir continuosly till the whey water clears and the milk curdles completely. Now switch off the stove, add ice cubes and allow it to melt completely.
Pour the curdled milk into a muslin cloth. Wash it well with running water to remove the lime juice. Squeeze the excess water and hang it aside for 30 mins without disturbing it.  
After 30 mins, the paneer would be crumbly in texture. Knead it well for 10mins. Once everything comes together to a smooth pilable dough, form them into flat discs- I made 12 with the amount of paneer I had.

Heat water in a wide bottomed vessel, then add sugar, cardamom and keep stirring till sugar dissolves completely. Ensure that the vessel is large enough to give the balls enough place to dance around. When the sugar syrup boils and starts bubbling, add the balls slowly one by one, cover, and let it cook on a high flame for 10 minutes. Lower the flame and cook for a further 3 minutes. 
Take it off the fire, and let it cool*

Meanwhile, puree the mango, and keep aside.
Remove the rasgollas, add the milk to the syrup, bring to a boil, and reduce by 25%. Switch off the flame, add the mango puree and mix well. Return the rasgollas to the malai, and chill before serving.

*- if the sugar syrup looks very thick, add some milk to dilute it. 

Lauki-masoor dal

When it comes to cooking, I am never consistent. Sometimes I follow recipes to the letter, and other times I vary one or two ingredients to see how it works. And every once in awhile, I try something totally different, but by throwing together whatever strikes my fancy. And surprise, surprise, sometimes they work.
This started out as a conventional lauki subji, but somewhere along the line, I added some masoor dal- not enough to make it a kootu, but enough to make it something quite different from what it started out as. The mint, adds just that additional flavour.

1 medium lauki, deseeded and chopped fine
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp masoor dal
1 inch piece of ginger, chopped fine
1/2 tsp jeera
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1 green chilli 
Cooking oil
Salt to taste
2 tbsp mint.

Heat the oil in a pressure pan, add jeera, and when it starts spluttering, add onions and ginger, and saute till the onions start turning transparent. Add tomatoes and half the mint, and saute till it turns mushy.
Add chopped lauki, masalas and the masoor dal. Saute for a minute, then add 1 cup water, and pressure cook for 15 minutes. 
Garnish with mint before serving.

Coffee Sago Pudding

This is my second take on the Sago Saga- a coffee flavoured version that I absolutely love.

4 cups milk
1/4 cups coffee decoction*
3½ tablespoons sago/sabudana
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste

Soak the sago in water. The water should cover the sago and there should be a bit extra. Keep the soaked sago overnight, in the fridge. In the morning, drain the sago from the water and keep aside.
Bring 4 cups milk to boil, reduce the flame, and heat with constant stirring till the volume reduces to 2 1/2 cups.
Add the coffee decoction and the drained sago to the milk, and keep stirring for 3-4 minutes until the sago pearls lose their opaque white color and become colorless. Remove from fire.
Chill in the fridge for 3 hours, before serving.

*- I used filter coffee decoction but you can replace it with an equivalent quantity of coffee powder dissolved in warm water.

'Plain Rose' Sago Kheer

Reading the "Sago Saga" on Kenzy's Kitchen Korner, inspired me to try my own variations of the humble Sago Kheer. This is my take on the plain vanilla version, or should I call it my Plain Rose version?

4 1/4 cups milk
3½ tablespoons sago/sabudana
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1/2 tsp rose essence
2-3 drops red food colouring

Soak the sago in water. The water should cover the sago and there should be a bit extra. Keep the soaked sago overnight, in the fridge. In the morning, drain the sago from the water and keep aside.
Bring 4 cups milk to boil, reduce the flame, and heat with constant stirring till the volume reduces to 2 1/2 cups.
Add the drained sago to the milk, and keep stirring for 3-4 minutes until the sago pearls lose their opaque white color and become colorless. Remove from fire.
Add the rose essence and food colouring and mix well. Chill in the fridge for 3 hours. Before serving, add the remaining milk and mix well.

Calcutta style rassa aloo

I am constantly on the lookout for easy recipes with potatoes, because that is one of the few vegetables that everyone in my family relishes. When I read about this recipe, I was transplanted back to my Calcutta days, and I tweaked the ingredients so it matched with what I remember of the rassa aloo that I used to have there.

4 large potatoes
2 green chillis
1/2 tsp jeera
1/2 inch piece ginger, chopped fine
A pinch of hing
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp amchur powder
1 tbsp mustard oil

Boil potatoes and mash slightly to make small pieces.
Heat the mustard oil, and temper with green chilli, jeera, ginger and hing.
When the jeera stops spluttering and starts browning, add the potatoes and turmeric powder. Mix well and add water and salt.
Bring it to boil, lower heat and keep stirring. The gravy will start thickening, as the potatoes mash and start getting mixed. Add amchur powder and mix well. When the gravy looks nice, take off the fire, and serve with rotis, puris or luchis.

Jun 25, 2014

Moong dal with amaranthus stalks

My mother is visiting, and since she loves Bengali food as much as I do, I picked up a huge bunch of red amaranthus/ lal shaag. It was only when I got back home, that I realised the stems were too thick to cut up and cook with the leaves. Reluctant to throw them away, I went to Google Uncle, who gave me an idea but no recipe- chopped amaranthus with moong dal. I made up the recipe, and quite like it.

1 cup whole moong dal
2 tbsp channa dal
A pinch of turmeric powder
1/2 cup amaranthus stems, chopped
6 pods garlic
1/2 tsp jeera
2 green chillis
2 tbsp curds
Cooking oil
Salt to taste
Mint or coriander leaves for garnish

Heat the oil, add jeera and let it splutter. Add garlic and the green chillis, and saute till browned.
Add chopped amaranthus stems, and saute for about a minute.
Wash the dals, and pressure cook with the fried masala, and turmeric till soft (20 minutes on low flame after the first whistle).
Remove from the fire, allow it to cool down, add curds, and heat till it reaches boiling temperature.
Garnish with mint and serve with rotis.
Wash and pressure cook the dals with the turmeric powder, till cooked.
Either serve with rotis, or eat it as a chilli.

Jun 23, 2014

Whole-wheat peanut fingers

The hubby brought some whole wheat fingers from his favourite bakery, and it got polished off in no time at all. Naturally, I wanted to replicate it at home, and was able to do so by chopping and mixing from a whole bunch of recipes. Definitely a keeper.
Whole wheat flour - 1 cup

Sugar - 1/2 cup

Peanuts (raw) - 1/4 cup

Butter - 1/2 cup

Milk - 2 tblsp (to knead the dough)


Roast the peanuts, and allow to cool.

Grind the sugar, and when it is almost done, add peanuts and give it a few quick whirls*

Preheat the oven for 5 minutes at 170 degrees.

Mix the flour with butter, add the powdered sugar and peanuts, and knead well. Add milk, if required.

Roll the dough into a thin disc, and cut into long strips.

Place on a greased baking tray, and bake it for 12-15 minutes in the same temperature- keep checking after 10 minutes to ensure the fingers don't get

When done cool it on the wire rack and once it is completely cool, transfer to a air tight container.

* - do not grind too much, because you want the texture of peanuts

Dosas in a Jiffy

I am not particularly good at meal planning, and when I found myself stuck for a "meal" to rustle up for the kids, my mother suggested I try this out. It worked better than I expected, and I am definitely making it at least once a week from now on.

1 measure rice flour
1 measure whole-wheat flour
A pinch of baking soda
Salt to taste
Water to make a batter
Cooking oil

Mix the dry ingredients well. Add water, and keep mixing it slowly till you get a batter of consistency similar to that of dosa batter.
Keep aside for 15 minutes, and make dosas in the regular way. Serve with any regular chutney.

Jun 20, 2014

Panazella salad with home grown basil

I've been itching to make panazella salad for a really long time, but even though I always have leftover bread, I never really got down to making it. It was when I was looking at my brand new Italian basil plant, that I decided to inaugurate it by making this Italian staple dish.

3 slices day old bread (I took the bread out and kept it in the fridge to dehydrate overnight.
Garlic cloves,1-2

1 tsp butter
2 tomatoes, cut into big chunks
1 cucumber, cut into small chunks
Fresh Basil leaves, torn in half
1 onion, cut into chunks

For the dressing- 1/4 cups olive oil
2 tbsp vinegar (I used sunkissed vinegar to get an additional kick)
Salt and Pepper to taste


Rub the bread lightly with mixture of grated garlic and butter, and tear into bite sized pieces. Spread on a baking tray, and bake for a few minutes till golden.
Meanwhile, place the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper in a bowl, and mix well.
Add the basil leaves and bread. Toss well, and refrigerate for about 15 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the flavours.

Mango halwa

As a family, we seem to have gone off mangoes, so when I saw a recipe for mango halwa, I thought it was a good way to use up the stray fruits that were lurking around in the fridge. Using the original as a base, I tweaked the recipe to my taste, and was quite satisfied with the results.

1 cup sooji
2 1/2 tbsp ghee
1/2 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 mango
1/2 tsp cardamon powder

Dry roast the sooji till the raw smell goes. Add ghee, and fry on a low flame till golden brown.
Meanwhile peel and slice the mango, and make puree.
When the sooji is golden, add milk and water, and cook till most of the liquid is absorbed.
Add sugar, stir well, and cook till it all comes together.
Add mango puree, stir well, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add cardamon powder before serving (if you are using it). You can also garnish with dry fruits.


The name itself is so evocative. You hear the word, and you start thinking of Paris, and all things French. Strolling along the banks of the Seine, sipping thick chocolate at a sidewalk cafe, tilting your beret just so, tearing into crusty baguettes.
I just had to try them out sooner rather than later, and I did!

This recipe is loosely adapted from a couple of recipes taken off the Internet, and I think it all came together really well.

3 cups maida
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
Sooji for dusting

Dissolve sugar in a bowl of warm water, add yeast, and let it stand for 10 minutes till frothy.
Sieve together the maida, cormflour and salt till well mixed. Add to the yeast mixture, and mix well till it forms an even dough.
Pushing and pulling the dough, start folding it over itself, then change directions and fold again. Keep repeating the process for about 10 minutes, till the dough becomes elastic and stretchy. Once you are happy with the dough, fold it for the last time, then pat it into a ball. Cover your palms with a bit of olive oil, pat well so the surface of the dough is greased, place in bowl, cover with cling film, and let it rise for  40 minutes to an hour till it doubles in size.
Punch dough down, divide it into two parts, and leave it for 5 minutes.
Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), pat into a rectangle. Fold the top third over the middle third, then turn and fold the remaining third over it. Fold in half (vertically), seal edges, and place it on a greased tray. Once both parts are done, cover and let it rise for 20- 40 minutes. In the last 10 minutes, preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
Brush baguettes with olive oil, dust with sooji, and taking a sharp knife, make diagonal cuts on the top. Fill a small container with water, keep it in the lowest shelf, and bake the baguettes on the middle shelf for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees and bake for 10 minutes more. Let it cool on a wire rack.
Your soft, crusty baguettes are ready to savour with a dash of butter.

Masoor spinach dal

1 cup whole masoor dal
2 tbsp channa dal
1/2 bunch spinach, chopped
1 red chilli
1/2 tsp jeera
6 pods garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tbsp curds
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped fine
Salt to taste
Olive oil

Wash the pulses well, and pressure cook till done (I reduce the flame after the first whistle and let it cook for 20 minutes).
Heat the olive oil, and temper with jeera and red chillis.
Add garlic and saute, then add onions and saute till they start turning transparent. Add mint and saute till you get a lovely aroma.
Add cooked pulses, chopped spinach, red chilli powder and salt to taste, and mix well.
Turn down the heat, and let it simmer for a few minutes. Add curds, and let it simmer for a few minutes more.
Serve hot with rotis or bread.

Jun 19, 2014

Green moong dal

Less is often more when it comes to spices, and this dal is a great example of it. There is a medley of tastes, but not so many it is overpowering. 

2 measures whole moong dal
1 onion
3 pods garlic
1 green chilli
Salt to taste
1 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp jeera

Pressure cook the moong dal in sufficient water till cooked (I cook on high flame till first whistle, then turn it down and let it cook for 20 mins)
Meanwhile, roughly mince onion, garlic and green chilli.
Heat cooking oil, temper with jeera seeds, add ground paste and cook on low flame till the raw smell goes.
Add the cooked dal, salt to taste and about 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce flame and let it slow cook for 10 minutes.
Serve with rotis.

Jun 18, 2014

Kala channa

The first time I made "sukha channa" was on Ashtami day last year, and I made it with regular kabuli channa, because that was the only thing I had at home. I have made it a few times with kala channa, but never thought to take a photograph.
This then, is the kala channa I made today. The hubby had it with rice, and the rest of us had rotis made out of dough that used the excess water from cooking the channa.

1 Cup Kala Chana (Black Chick Peas)
1 Tbsp Mustard Oil
1 Tsp Jeera (Cumin)
1/2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 Tsp Jeera (Cumin) -Roasted and Powdered
1 and 1/2 Tsp – Kala Namak (Balck Salt)
Curry leaves
1 Tsp amchur powder

Wash the soaked chick peas thoroughly in the morning and pressure cook it until done. 
Heat oil in a kadhai and add cumin seeds and curry leaves to it. Once the seeds start crackling add the drained chick peas (You can use the water from chick peas for kneading the roti dough). 
Now add the black salt, the red chilli powder and Jeera powder and mix thoroughly. 
Keep it on simmer for 2-3 minutes and after that take it off fire and add amchur powder to it.

Jun 17, 2014

Bajra dosa

My mother has been on a "health trip" for a couple of years, and concocted this recipe to have with her mixed peel chutney. I was slightly skeptical about attempting it, but it sure tasted great.

For the batter:
1 cup bajra
1/2 cup urad dal

Salt to taste

Soak bajra overnight (or at least 4 hours)
Soak urad dal for 2 hours
Grind the bajra and the urad dal, mix well, and leave it to ferment for about 6 hours. Add salt to taste, dilute to get the right consistency, and make the dosas*
Can be had with a regular chutney, or any spicy Maharashtrian dish.

*- you can also make idlis or paniyarams out of it

Peanut-tomato-garlic chutney

Many mother back, I read about this peanut sauce that women in rural Maharashtra whip up to add spice to their dishes, and filed it away in memory. By the time I finally got down to making it, I had forgotten the exact recipe and decided to improvise. This, however, is the recipe I am sticking to from now on.
1 cup peanuts
1 small tomato, chopped
2 red chilies (more, if you want it hot)
4-6 pods garlic
salt to taste


Dry roast the peanuts, remove the skin and let it cool

Boil tomato and red chillies for about 5 minutes and discard the water.

Grind the peanuts, boiled tomatoes and chillies and garlic to make a smooth paste. Add salt.
Serve with dosas.

Jun 14, 2014

Pizza loaded with veggies

I saw the loveliest thin crust pizza bases at the grocer and just had to pick them up. Since I was feeling a little guilty about feeding the kids too much 'outside-food', I topped it with loads of vegetables, and some home grown basil. Was nice watching it all disappear!

3 tomatoes, chopped fine
4-6 pods garlic
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder to taste
2 tbsp butter
4-6 leaves of basil, torn

1 medium broccoli 
10 baby corns

4 pizza bases
Grated cheese

Sauté the broccoli and baby corns in 1 tbsp butter till the rawness goes
Meanwhile, sauté the garlic, and tomatoes in butter till the tomatoes are mushy. Add salt and chilli powder, and the basil. Mix well and turn off flame.
Spread the tomato sauce on the pizza base, top with veggies and cheese nd grill in the oven at 200 degrees for 5 minutes.
Cut into slices and serve hot

Jun 13, 2014


Nothing spells Summer more than a glass of lassi, so we had to have it before the summer got over. It was also a great way to use up excess rasagollas syrup,

Leftover syrup from rasagollas - 1/3 cup 
Make the syrup by dissolving 4 tbsp sugar in 1/3 cup water

2 cup curds
Water 1 cup

Mix the sugar syrup, curds an water in a mixer, and mix for 1 minute. 
Pour into glasses and serve with the foam intact.

Lemon rasam

Though I have never had lemon rasam at home (at least, not that I remember), I have been wanting to make it for a fairly long time. When I asked my mother for the recipe, she gave me a very non-commital answer, so I took to google, and found this recipe that I used. Liked it sufficiently for me to put it on my 'tried and tested' list.

2 tbsp Moong Dal
1 Tomato
2 Green Chillies
1 inch piece ginger
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
4 cups Water
1 large Lemon
Salt    To Taste

For Seasoning:

1 tsp Ghee
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 sprig Curry Leaves


Heat ghee in a pan and add slit green chillies and crushed ginger and saute it for 2 minutes. Then add chopped tomatoes and stir-fry for a minutes. Remove this from flame.
Take a vessel and add moong dal, sauted tomatoes, green chillies and ginger and add 2 cups of water and allow the moong dal to cook completely. After the tomatoes and dal are cooked completely add another 2 cups of water and bring it to boil. When the froth starts froming on top of the rasam remove from flame
Heat ghee in a pan and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds starts to sputter, add curry leaves and fry for 10 seconds. Add these seasoned ingredients to the rasam. Allow the rasam to cool off and then add the lemon juice extract. Adjust the lemon juice for your taste.
Serve with plain rice.

Jun 12, 2014

Langarwali dal

I made this many months back, and loved it. But for some strange reason, never made it again. This was my second attempt, and it was every bit as good as I remember it to be.

Specially since it was accompanied by the roti my younger one made.

Jun 11, 2014

Mango juice with subja seeds

My new found love is subja seeds, and I have been dreaming of drinks that use it. This was something that I concocted to use up the mangoes that had gone beyond their "eat by" date. Could have made a milkshake, but this was more fun.

2 mangoes, peeled and chopped into pieces
4 cups chilled water
2 tsp subja seeds
1 tbsp organic jaggary
1 tbsp lime juice

Soak the subja seeds in about 1 cup water for 30 minutes.
Puree the mangoes, add water, jaggary and lime juice and blend well.
Add subja seeds, and mix well.
Serve chilled, with additional ice, if required.

Jun 9, 2014

Summer drink with subja seeds

"What's that?", my older one asked me when he saw me having water fortified with subja seeds. I promised to make him a proper drink with the seeds, and prepared this. Unfortunately, neither of the kids quite liked the kick of pepper, but I wasn't complaining because that enabled me to have two glasses instead of one!

Sabja seeds -2 tablespoons
Water -500 ml
Jaggery- 2 tablespoons
Cardamom powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Black pepper powder - 1/2 teaspoon


Soak the seeds in 100ml water for 30 minutes.
Warm the rest of the water, dissolve the jaggery. Add cardamom powder and black pepper powder and mix well. Remove from heat and leave to cool back to room temperature.
Once the  jaggery water is at room temperature, and the basil seeds have swelled mix them all together well. Pour into serving glasses and refrigerate for some time before serving.

Petit Pains au Lait

I haven't baked bread for a very, very long time, and though I had an unopened packet of yeast, the mojo was completely gone. Till I saw this recipe for Petit Pains au Lait by Rhea Mitra-Dalal. The bread looked so wonderful, I couldn't wait to measure out the flour, and before you knew it, the yeast was bubbling away.
The rest, as they say, is history. The bread got baked, and it turned out to the the softest, most yummy bread I have had for a long, long time. So lovely, in fact, even the younger one returned for seconds. Definitely a Winner!

2 1/2 cups flour with 2 tablespoons flour reduced.
2/3 cup warmed milk
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup regular sugar
1/4 tsp salt
60 grams butter

2 tbsp milk for washing
Pearl sugar or large grained sugar (I didn't have, so skipped)

In a large mixing bowl pour in the warmed milk and add the yeast and the sugar. Let it froth for 10 minutes, and after it starts sizzling, stir it well, and add the flour and then the salt.
Mix it all well with your fingers till it resembles large crumbs. This should take two to three minutes. Now add the butter and knead it into the flour mix to till it all comes together. Remove the dough to your cleaned work surface and start working the dough. Keep a little milk handy and add it by the mere teaspoonful if the dough is too stiff. Knead for a good 10 to 15 minutes till the dough is soft and smooth. Place it a bowl and cover with a damp napkin and leave it to rise. This will take around an hour and a half to double in size.

 Turn out onto the work surface and deflate it gently. Divide into 10 portions and leave to rise for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Take each individual ball of dough and roll out into a circle roughly 6 inches across. Roll up the disc to form a cylinder and then place it on your baking tray. Make ten such rolls and leave them to prove for another hour till they are nice and plump again.

A distinct feature of Pains au Lait are the cuts made along one side of the roll that result in a pretty pattern on the golden rolls when they are finally baked. You can see how these cuts are made in this video here. Remember to brush the rolls with a little milk before you make the cuts so the final product has a beautiful glaze. Dot the rolls with pearl sugar if you have it or sprinkle regular sugar. You can also use demerara sugar if you like or avoid the sugar entirely.

Bake the rolls in a 200C preheated oven for approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they can burn easily.

These rolls are best had hot out of the oven - with a dash of butter.

Paneer in mango gravy

The moment I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it, even though it involved making a long and hot trip to the diary to pick up the paneer. And it tasted every bit as good as I hoped it would. Definitely making it again.

300 gms paneer cut into cubes
2 onions, finely chopped
3 tomatoes
1 green chillie
1 inch ginger
1 big mango, chopped into pieces and pureed
3 tbsp cream (I replaced it with milk)
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt as per taste
1 tsp red chilly powder
Pinch of nutmeg powder
1 tsp garam masala

Saute the onions till golden.
Puree the tomatoes with the green chilli and ginger, and add the mixture to the onions. Add turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt and saute till the oil starts leaving the masala.
Add the mango puree, cream/ milk and nutmeg powder, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes till the colour turns to orange
Add the paneer, garam masala and some water, and let it simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Serve hot, with rotis or parathas.

Jun 8, 2014

Pesto Sauce

Fresh basil is always irresistible, more so when you have done without it for nearly a month as I had to. So when I saw it at the grocer today, I picked it up first, and then thought about what I would do with it. This pesto worked wonderfully well with pasta, and even the fussy hubby came back for seconds.

1/2 cup basil
2 tbsp melon seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cheese
4 pods garlic
Salt and paprika to taste 

Blend all the ingredients till you get the desired consistency.
Toss with pasta and serve.

Jun 6, 2014

Mango cupcake

"Can we have mango cupcakes for tea?", asked the older one, and I readily agreed. A quick search on google gave me a nice looking recipe for a vegan mango cupcake. The cup cakes looked really good, but when I dug in, they tasted absolutely flat. The cardamon was overpowering, but even if you mentally discounted that, something was terribly off and I haven't been able to put my finger on it. Needless to say, this is one recipe I am not attempting again!

1½ cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Cardamom Powder

1½ cups Mango Puree
⅓ cup Oil
⅔ cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Sift all the dry ingredients in a bowl, so they are well mixed.
Mix the mango puree, oil and sugar in a bow till they are well incoporated.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk just until you have a smooth batter. Do not overmix or overbeat.
Divide the batter equally among 12 cups of a standard-sized muffin pan lined with cupcake liners. Smooth down the tops with the back of a spoon or spatula and baked in a preheated oven at 175 degrees for 25 minutes, or till done.

Spaghetti in (modified) Pesto Sauce

The kids wanted spaghetti in pesto sauce. I'd run of out ready made pesto sauce and didn't have pine nuts to make fresh pesto. So this is what I rustled up by shuffling a couple of recipes from the internet!

200 gms spaghetti
3/4 cups basil leaves
1/4 cups peanuts
4 tbsp cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic paste
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cups milk
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet, and reserve about 1/2 cup of the water that it was cooked in.
Roast the peanuts till the raw smell goes. Cool.
Grind the roasted peanuts in a blender till they form clunky pieces. Add basil leaves and blend till the leaves get chopped fine. Add garlic paste, olive oil and cheese, and blend till it forms a smooth paste.
Heat the milk, and when it starts boiling, add the ground pesto sauce and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the pasta, and mix well, adding some of the reserved water if required.
Garnish with basil leaves and serve.

Aloo dum, without onions or garlic

This is my mother's tried and tested aloo dum, using tomato purée. I think she learnt it in Calcutta, but I really cannot be sure. All I know is it is super easy to prepare, and packs a lot of taste.

500 gm baby potatoes
1 pack tomato purée 
1 bay leaf
1 tsp jeera
1 tsp dhania
1 inch piece ginger
1 red chilli
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste

Boil and peel the potatoes, and sauté lightly in oil till golden
Grind bay leaf, jeera, ginger, dhania and red chilli to paste with a little water
Fry the ground masala, once the oil releases, add tomato purée, salt and haldi powder. Sauté for a minute, then add potatoes and garam masala, mix, cover and cook for 5 mins. Add sugar if required.
Serve hot with parathas or puri.

Jun 5, 2014

Stuffed brinjals in green tuvar gravy

This recipe was so different from anything I have tasted that it had me at hello. I just had to try it out to see what it was like, so when I bought half a kilogram of brinjals this week, I made sure to keep a few aside for trying out this dish.
What can I say about it? Except that it was different beyond expectations, and I loved it so much, I am definitely making it again soon.

1 cup tuvar dal soaked for 15-20 minutes
5-6 baby brinjals
3-4 baby potatoes

For ground masala
1 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
3-4 tbsp grated fresh coconut
1 tsp turmeric pwd
1 tbsp coriander pwd
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 green chilli
1 tsp red chilli pwd
a pinch hing

Cooking oil
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar (optional - I didn't add)

Grind all the ingredients listed under ground masala to a smooth paste.
Slit the brinjals crosswise, and stuff with the ground masala.
In a pressure pan heat 2 tbsp oil add the stuffed brinjals and saute for 5 minutes , add the potatoes, soaked dal and the remaining masala and saute on  medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 1  1/2 cups water and pressure cook for 15 minutes.

Spinach-tomato spaghetti

Pastas are a lunchtime staple for my family, and I am constantly looking for new recipes to try out. This spinach-tomato spaghetti is adapted from a recipe that was shared on Indian Food Freak. Despite their initial misgivings, the kids polished it off, and I'm glad they got their vitamins with so little effort.

200 gms spaghetti, cooked according to the instructions on the packet
1 bunch spinach leaves, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp butter
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Red chilli powder to taste
Grated cheese for garnish

Heat the butter, and saute the tomatoes till they start to turn mushy.
Add garlic paste and spinach and saute till the water releases.
Add chilli powder, salt and sugar, and saute till half the water evaporates
Add the cooked pasta, and stir till it mixes well.
Garnish with cheese, and serve

Jun 4, 2014

Stuffed baigan

I've never gotten over my fascination for stuffed baigan, so when I saw this Gujarathi recipe, it was only a matter of time before I tried it out. To be honest, I wasn't sure how the combination of grated onions and peanuts would work, but my fears were without ground- even the hubby came back for seconds!

500 gms baby brinjals
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2 large onions
2 large tomatoes
8 cloves of garlic
1 tsp kasoori methi
3 tbsps fresh corriander
2 tsps chilli powder
1 tsp dhania powder
1tsp jeera powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp amchur powder
½ tsp hing
Salt to taste
2 tbsps oil

Slit the brinjals (but leave the stems) enough for filling them and keep them aside.
Grind the rest of the ingredients into a fine paste.
Stuff the brinjals with the ground paste.
Heat the oil, and fry the remaining paste for about 5 minutes on a high flame stirring continuously.
Add the stuffed brinjals and stir for another 5 minutes.
Add a little water and cover and cook until the brinjals are done.
Taste for flavour and add any seasoning if needed.
Searve hot with rotis.

Jun 2, 2014

Milagu Jeera Rasam/ Pepper Rasam

When you have a cold, few things can beat the comfort of hot milagu rasam. Unfortunately, I had moved out of home before I really started appreciating a milagu rasam, well made. Which is why I got this recipe from my mother- the next time I fall sick, I will be able to nurse myself with a taste of home.

For first ground masala:3/4 tsp peppercorns
4 red chillis (I reduce to 2)
2 tsp dhania
1 tsp dhania
1 tsp oil

For second ground masala:3/4 tsp jeera
1 sprig curry leaves

1 lime sized ball of tamarind
Salt to taste

For tempering:
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 red chilli
1 tbsp ghee

Method:Fry the ingredients listed under 'first ground masala' in a little oil, and grind to paste.
Gring curry leaves and jeera with a little water.
Soak the tamarind in water, remove and discard the pulp, then dilute with water to get 1 glass of tamarind extract.
Boil tamarind extract with salt and first ground masala till the raw smell goes.
Add second ground masala and 2 glasses of water, bring to boiling point, but do not boil.
Season ghee with mustard and red chilli. After the mustard stops spluttering, pour over the rasam and close.
This is particularly good for treating colds.