Dec 31, 2014

Vegan orange cupcakes

I haven't been baking much these last few months, and though I kept promising myself I would bake a cake for various occasions, they came and went without anything going into the oven. New Year's Eve was my last chance to redeem myself, and even though I could think of a dozen excuses not to, I weighted out the ingredients, and in no time at all had myself a lovely batch of cup cakes. I hope the next lot isn't this late in coming!

1 cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
¾ cup orange juice
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp orange zest
1 tbsp custard powder or corn flour

Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Sieve flour, with corn flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Keep aside.
Mix the oil and sugar, and beat well till well blended and creamy.
Add orange juice to the sugar and oil mixture, and mix well.
Add the sieved flour mixture and orange zest and mix well ensuring there are no lumps in the batter.
Pour into a greased cake tin, or cupcake liners, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (15 minutes for cup cake, 20-25 for a regular cake), till a toothpick inserted into that batter comes out clean.
Serve hot or cold.

Dec 28, 2014

Dahi chicken

With the cook on leave for the day, I had to make dinner. I was in no mood to do anything complicated, and I definitely did not want to have anything spicy. This lightly spiced dahi chicken fitted the bill perfectly, we all loved it.

1 curry cut chicken
5 tbsp curds
4-inch piece of ginger, minced
2 green chilli peppers,slit lengthwise
2 tbsp dhania powder
2 tsp jeera powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
3 large cardamom pods
1 inch cinnamon
3 tbsp ghee
1 brown onion,chopped fine
1/2 tsp kasuri methi
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt to taste

Marinate the chicken in curds and salt, and leave it for an hour.
Heat ghee. Add onions ginger, green chilli, badi elaichi and cinnamon, and saute till the onion starts browning.
Add kasoori methi and the marinated chicken, and mix well. Add the spices, stir, and cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock. Mix well, cover and cook for 30-40 minutes till the chicken is well done.
Serve hot.

Creamy sweet corn soup

When winter is here, can soups be far behind. This was something I made while the chicken was simmering away on the other burner. The proportions are for 4 soup bowls- you need to reduce or increase quantities proportionally for different amounts.

2 packets peeled corn
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped celery
2 tbsp chopped spring onions/ onions
1 tbsp butter
4 cups water or 2 cup warm milk + 2 cup water or 4 cups veg stock
½ tbsp corn flour dissolved in 2 tbsp water
4 tbsp shredded boiled chicken, optional
Salt to taste

Steam the corn for 5 minutes. Keep aside 1/3 cup corn, and blend the rest, with water to a smooth paste.
Heat butter, add onions, and saute till transparent.
Add celery, and toss around till the aroma is released.
Add the ground corn, and the water/ water+ milk/ veg stock. Bring to a boil.
Add black pepper, salt and the reserved corn kernels. Stir and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Add the shredded boiled chicken, if desired.
Add cornflour paste, and simmer for 2 more minutes till the soup thickens.

Serve hot.

Dec 26, 2014

Candied orange peel

There is a glut of oranges now, and when I saw a recipe to use the rind, I had to try it out. Unfortunately, I wasn't very careful in removing the pith, and there is a slight undertone of bitter in the candied orange, but it does taste really good with curds.

Peel of 8 oranges
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water

Cut the orange peel into strips, and soak in water for 4-6 hours. Remove the white part of the peel, making sure nothing is left behind.
Heat 1 1/2 cups water in a pan, add 1 cup sugar, and stir till it dissolves completely.
Add orange peel. Bring to a boil, then reduce the flame and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes till the rind starts turning translucent.
Pour into a sterilized container, and either have it as such, or use in cooking

Dec 23, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Dry Chicken

Dinner today was a mishmash of everyone's request. I wanted something spicy, but Thing Two insisted he needed sugar to kill the spice. The Hubby and Thing One both wanted chicken- preferably dry. There was also the slight problem of having to work with the ingredients that were available in the kitchen/ kitchen garden, since I didn't want to go out in the cold. And it had to be something easy.

I browsed the internet for recipes, and tried to decide between two recipes that I liked. Unfortunately, I got the two mixed up, and the recipe I finally made was something all my own (with some jaggery thrown in to keep Thing Two happy). The result- Fantastic Chicken, they all said, before finishing it all off!

1 curry cut Chicken

For Marinating:
1 tbsp Chilli powder
2 tbp dhania powder
2 tbsp Garam Masala Powder
1 tsp haldi powder
Salt to taste

For Masala:
Oil - 3 tblspn
1 tsp Saunf
3 large onions, chopped Onion
2 green chilli Green
3 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
2 tbsp Jaggery
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 sprig curry leaves


Marinate chicken and leave it for 30 mins.
Heat oil, add saunf and wait till it finishes spluttering.
Add onions and green chilli, and saute till it turns light golden.
Add ginger garlic paste, and curry leaves and fry till the onion is well browned. Make sure the onion is golden, because that what gives good colour to the curry.
Add the marinated chicken and jaggery and mix well.
Cover with a tight lid and cook on a very low flame for 30 mins to 40 mins stirring in between.
Now open the lid and increase the heat. Dry up the chicken, this will make the masala stick to the chicken and get fried.
Add lemon juice, mix well and serve.

Khatta meetha Chilli Achar

One of my  collegues brought this absolutely yummy khatta meetha chilli achar to work, which I couldn't have enough of. Unfortunately, someone had gifted the pickle to her, and she had no way of getting me the recipe. I browsed the internet till I found something that seemed like what I was looking for, and I tried it at once. It isn't quite what I had, but is lovely all the same, and I will definitely make it again.

15 green chillis, cut into inch long pieces
1 tbsp dried ginger powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp dhania powder
100 gms jaggary
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup mustard oil

Heat the oil, and saute the green chillis till soft
Add salt, chilli powder, dhania powder, ginger powder and fry for a few mins
Add jaggary and mix well till it melts (keep the flame low to ensure it doesn't burn)
Add vinegar and stir.
Turn off the heat, and mix the rest of the oil (pre-heated).
Store in a dry jar, and keep it in the sun for 4-5 days before using.

Dec 22, 2014

Curly-wurly lemon pickle

I am not too fond of lemon pickle, but I fell in love with how this pickle by Renu Dheer looked, and couldn't wait to try it out myself. All the proportions are by andaz (and I am not yet sure if I need to add a bit more of something or not), but I do know that I like it a lot. I also know that had I been a fan of lemon pickles, I would like it a lot more than I actually do!

4 lemons
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp hing

Squeeze the juice into a small sterilized jar.
Turn the lemon inside out and with the thumb and forefinger, pull out the pith. With a small pair of scissors, cut out thin spirals till the centre. Put these in the jar with the lemon juice. 
Add salt to taste, and put the sealed jar in the sun for a week.
Add red chillie powder, hing, a pinch of garam masala and some sugar, and put it out in the sun again for a couple of days.
Excellent with parathas.

Dec 21, 2014

Tomato basil soup

With an unseasonal winter knocking on the door, what better way to enjoy the shortest day of the year, than with warm tomato soup?

6 large tomatoes
1/4 cup basil leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
4 pods garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup milk*
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add the tomatoes (so they are submerged), cover, and allow it to cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the flame, immerse the tomatoes in cold water. Peel the skin and discard.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil, and saute the garlic on low heat till brown.
Blend the skinned tomatoes, basil leaves, and garlic, till you get a smooth consistency (I blended a bit less, because I wanted it a bit chunky).
Return the blended tomato puree to the pan (some of the olive oil will still be in it), add milk, and water (if desired), and bring to a boil.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, garnished with basil leaves.

*- the original recipe calls for cream, but milk worked just fine.
Olive Oil, also, works better than butter.

Matar ka halwa

While I love gajar ka halwa, and try to make it at least once a year, grating carrots is not exactly my idea of fun. Which is why I have been wanting to try matar ka halwa ever since I saw a recipe nearly a year back. I finally made it today, and liked it a lot. Given my family, though, I am going to reduce the sugar a bit more next time I make it.

2 cups green peas, shelled
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp ghee
Cardamon powder, optional
Sliced nuts for garnish

Blanche the peas in boiling water for 5 minutes (or till the colour turns a more vivid green). Remove into cold water, drain and keep aside.
Grind the peas coarsely in a blender.
Heat the ghee, add ground peas, and saute till the raw smell goes.
Add sugar and milk, stir well, and cook on a low flame till most of the milk evaporates.
Stir in cardamon powder.
Garnish with nuts and serve chilled.

Dec 20, 2014

Maharashtrian inspired hot and sweet drumsticks

I've had two drumsticks sitting in my fridge for almost a week. I'm not sure why I bought them, but I know that once it got home, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to make with them, and they languished. I finally invented this recipe to put the drumsticks out of their misery, and it actually turned out pretty good!

2 drumsticks
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp mustard oil
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp Maharashtrian godh masala powder
1 tsp jaggery
Salt to taste
1 tbsp black sesame seeds

Cut the drumsticks into 2 inch long pieces, and boil in water (with a bit of salt), for 5 minutes.
Heat the oil, saute the onion pieces till it turns transparent, then add ginger-garlic paste, and fry a bit more. Add drumsticks along with some of the water it was cooked in and mix well.
Add chilli powder, godh masala powder, jaggery and salt and mix well.
Cover, and let the curry bubble for 3 minutes or so. Uncover, and boil off the water, if required.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Dec 17, 2014

Gajar ka halwa

The kids have been asking for gajar ka halwa ever since carrots started appearing on the dinner table, and I finally succumbed to the pressure and made it for them tonight. A picture is in order, isn't it?

Dec 15, 2014

Muli Bhaji Nu Muthia

I'd picked up a big bunch of radish the other day, and after using half in a stir fry, still have quite a few to use up. Took to the internet, and found this recipe that used radish leaves. I adapted it slightly and came up with something that I really liked.

1/2 cups radish leaves and red radish, chopped
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
4 tsp rawa
3 tbsp curds
1 tsp haldi powder
2 tsp chilli powder
Salt to taste
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 pinch of hing
2 whole dry red chillies
1 tbsp lemon juice
Dhania patta for garnish (optional)

Combine the radish leaves, wheat flour, rawa, curds, haldi powder, red chilli powder, salt, mix well and knead into a soft dough using water.
Divide the dough into equal portions and roll them into cylindrical shape.
Steam the muthias in a steamer for 15-20 minutes or till done.
Remove from the steamer, cool and cut into thick slices.
Heat oil in a kadhai and add the mustard seeds.
When the seeds crackle, add the hing and red chillies and saute for 20 seconds.
Add the sliced muthias and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, coriander, mix well and serve hot.

Dec 11, 2014

Radish stir fry

This is my attempt at cooking greens the Maharashtrian way. While I would normally have used a traditional 'green', these radishes looked so lovely, I had to give them a try. 

I cup radish and radish leaves, chopped fine
3 tbsp peanuts
6 pods garlic, peeled and chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
1 tsp mustard oil
Salt to taste

Heat the oil, add the garlic and sauté on a low flame till browned
Add chilli and peanuts and sauté till peanuts start browning
Add the radish and radish leaves, and sauté till done (about 2-3 minutes)
Add salt to taste, mix well, and serve hot 

Dec 8, 2014

Desi Charburnt Salsa

I fell in love with this dish the moment I read it's description. But when I eventually made it, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. But since you can't go too wrong with tomatoes, garlic, raw onions and mustard oil, it is worth documenting the recipe.

4-5 medium tomatoes
1/2 onion finely chopped
8-10 Garlic cloves, finely chopped.
1 Green chili, finely chopped
1 tsp raw mustard Oil
Coriander leaves, for garnish

Method:Roast 4-5 tomatoes on flame, peel, the skin, do not remove all , let a few smoked pieces stay.
Mash roasted tomatoes, in a deep bowl with your hand, do not use a blender, as the tomatoes should remain coarse.
Mix all ingredients, RAW.
Drizzle raw mustard oil and let it sit for 10 minutes,

Dec 7, 2014


The best way to spend a lazy Sunday is with a davara tumbler of filter kapi, and a good book (or magazine). Bliss!!!!

Green Moong Dhokla

One of my colleagues got this really lovely green dhokala the other day, and after finishing off most of it, I asked for the recipe. It seemed surprisingly easy- so easy in fact, that I suspected there would be a trick to it. But since there is not very much that can go wrong with green moong, I decided to give it a try. And it turned out absolutely fantastic.

1 cup green moong dal
1 inch piece ginger
1 green chilli
Salt to taste
A pinch of sugar*
1 packet Eno (I got only lemon flavour, and that added to the taste)
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds

Soak the green moong for 6-8 hours (or overnight).
Grind green moong, ginger, green chilli, with minimal water, till you get a consistent batter.
Add salt and sugar, mix, and let it stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease a container, and heat the water in a pressure cooker.
Add Eno, mix well, pour into the greased container, and level the surface.
Put in the pressure cooker. Close the lid (with the whistle taken off), and cook on high heat for 6 minutes. Reduce the flame and steam for 3 additional minutes.
Remove, and leave it out to cool. Cut into squares.
Heat the oil, temper the mustard seeds, and pour over the dhoklas.
Garnish with grated coconut, if desired.

*- I added this because the batter seemed too hot

Dec 6, 2014

Coin Pizza

The kids have been hankering for home made pizza for awhile, but I've been too lazy to break out a packet of yeast to make the base. So when I saw these whole wheat coin pizza bases at the grocery store, I couldn't resist picking them up. It didn't take long to make the pizza paste, and we had a really lovely meal with practically no work.

3 large tomatoes, chopped
6-8 pods garlic, chopped fine
6 baby corns, diced (or cut vertically)
1 tbsp butter
12-15 black olives
1 tsp chilli flakes, or to taste
1 tsp oregano, or to taste
Salt to taste

Ready made pizza bases
Cheese, grated

Method:Heat the butter, add garlic and baby corn, and saute till brown.
Add tomatoes, and saute till the tomatoes turn mushy. Mash down with the spoon.
Add chilli flakes, oregano, salt. Do a taste test and add sugar if needed. Keep aside.
Cut the olives into small pieces.
Grate the cheese.
Spread the sauce on the pizza bases. Sprinkle chopped olives. Cover with grated cheese.
Grill in the oven for 2 minutes at 175 degrees.

Savoury Galette

I'd never even heard about a Galatte till I saw it posted on a food group. Naturally, I had to dig deeper, and I found out that it was a "rustic" pie, which is perfectly suited to my lack of culinary skills (specially when it comes to rolling dough). The original recipe calls for a lot of butter, but I replaced it with olive oil, and it worked just as well.

For filling:

1 bunch spinach
1 tomato
6-8 black olives
100 gms homemade chilli paneer
6 cloves garlic
Salt and chilli flakes to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

For crust:1 cup flour
Salt to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
Milk or egg for washing

Method:Add the olive oil to the flour, and roll between your fingers till it resembles bread crumbs. Add salt and water, and knead well till it forms a dough (same consistency as roti ka atta). Knead on for an additional 5 minutes [this was not a part of the recipe, but when making whole wheat bread, I find I need to knead it longer, so did so].
Roll into a ball, wrap in cling film and cool for an hour.

Wash the spinach, chop into rough slices.
Heat the oil, add garlic, and toss around for 30 seconds. Add spinach, and cook till it releases water, and then the water dries up. Add salt and chilli flakes.
Crumble in the paneer, and add sliced olives.
Dice the tomatoes and keep aside.

Divide the dough into two parts, and roll each into a circle of 12 inch diameter.
Place the filling in the center. Arrange the tomatoes on top, and drizzle salt and olive oil. Wet the edge, fold in till you get a pie of about 6 inches diameter.
Brush the exposed surface with milk or egg wash, and bake at 215 degrees for 15 minutes.

Chicken with citrus glaze

I was looking for recipes using chicken breasts when I came across this one. Though it was nothing like what I was looking for, the medley of flavours looked interesting, and I decided to try it out. I am glad I did, because it was lick smackingly good. Next time, I am making it with smaller slices of chicken, and serving it with fried rice.

500 gms chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp honey
Juice of 1 orange*
Juice of 1 lemon/ 1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and chilli flakes to taste
2 tsp canola oil

Combine orange juice, lemon juice, honey, galic cloves, salt and chilli flakes in a large shallow dish. Add chicken breasts, cover and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
After the chicken has marinated, remove from the fridge. Heat the oil, and once hot, add the chicken. Cook the chicken for about 10 minutes per side till cooked well.
Meanwhile, simmer the marinade in a pan till it reduces to a thick consistency. At this stage, I added some orange food colouring, but it is not necessary.
Arrage the cooked chicken breasts on a plate, pour the glaze over the chicken, and serve.

*- I used one tetrapack of orange juice

Dec 5, 2014

Chilli Paneer

I'd gone on an overnight trip two weeks back, and (quite unsurprisingly), the milk hadn't been brought it all day, till the cook found it at night, and put it in the freezer. There it remained till today, when I pulled them out to make paneer. Since I was in a mood for something different, chilli paneer it was. Similar to the oregano paneer I made a few months back and just as flavourful.
After using half of it up in a palak paneer, I reserved the rest for using in a savoury galette! Yum!!!

1 litre milk
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp chilli flakes

Take the milk in a thick bottomed vessel, and heat it. When it starts heating up, stir in the chilli flakes, and 1/2 tbsp vinegar.
Once the milk comes to a boil, lower the flame, and add the rest of the vinegar. Keep heating till the paneer separates out.
Line a colander with a muslin cloth and pour the mixture in. Once all the water has drained out, place a weight on the cloth, and leave it for about 30 minutes
Cut into cubes.