May 19, 2015

Chocolate chip cookies

I have been wanting to make chocolate chip cookies for a really long time, but couldn't get my hands in chocolate chips. So when I found myself in the vicinity of the store that does stock them, I grabbed a packet, and within 30 minutes of getting home has whipped up this batch for us!

200 gms maida
100 gms butter
100 gms granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup chocolate chips 

Sieve the flour and baking powder till well incorporated
Add sugar and mix well
Rub in the butter till properly mixed 
Add milk gradually 1 tbsp at a time to bring it together into a firm dough
Add the chocolate chips and mix well. 
Roll into 16 balls, flatten slightly and place on a greased baking sheet. 
Bake in pre heated oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes

May 18, 2015

Nutella - cashewnuts

Nutella is one of my addictions, but after reading about the quality of ingredients going into it, I've stopped getting it. Why not just restrict consumption, one might ask. But I know myself well- if it comes into the house it will be consumed immediately, so better go cold turkey with it. 
But the taste buds remember what it was like to indulge in pure bliss, so I've started experimenting with making it at home. With cashew-nuts, it is not exactly low calorie, but at least I control the ingredients that go into it and I know it is not toxic. 

100 gms cashew nuts
6 tsp cooking oil (neutral tasting- safflower works)
A pinch of salt
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2-3 tbsp granulated sugar (or grind regular sugar)

Roast the cashew nuts till the raw smell goes. Allow it to cool
Blend the cashew nuts for 2 minutes.
Add the oil and blend for another 2 minutes. 
Add cocoa powder, salt and sugar and blend for a minute more. 
You should get a creamy consistency. Cool and store. 
Transfer to a glass bottle and put it in the fridge. It will keep for about a month if it lasts that long. 

Chikoo milkshake

Sapota, is what my grandmother used to call chikoo. And maybe because I associate the fruit with her, it has always been one of my underrated favourites. So when I saw these globs of juicy brownness sitting next to the mangos I was buying, I had to pick up have a dozen.
Not sure if my kids liked it or not, I thought the best way to introduce it to them was through a milkshake. A little bit of peeling, chopping and whirling later, I was done. They loved it, and they liked the fruit just as much!

4 chikoos/ sapota
1 1/2 cups milk
Sugar to taste, though you can do without

Cut the chikoo into quarters, peel, and chop into small pieces
Blend the chikoo in a mixie till you get a smooth consistency 
Add the milk, and sugar if required. Blend till well mixed
Serve immediately.*

* chikoo spoils if cut and kept exposed, so serve right after making

May 16, 2015

Nightcap to aid digestion

There are those days when you know you have over indulged on rich and spicy food too close to bedtime. You know your stomach is not going to thank you for it the next day, but you really don't have much choice after the deed has been done. Or do you? This drink speeds up digestion, and makes you feel slightly better. Most effective after a meal, you can even have it first thing in the morning to start your da with a dose of healthy.

1/2 tsp ajwain seeds
1 tsp saunf seeds
1 1/2 cups water

Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the flame, add the ajwain and saunf seeds, and let it simmer for 10 minutes, till the water is reduced to 1 cup. 
Turn off the flame, and let it seep for an additional 10 minutes. Have warm. 

May 14, 2015

Aam panna, with subja seeds

A nice conventional aam panna, served with subja seeds.

Raw mango - 1 large size
Sugar - 3 tbsp or as required (depends on the sourness of the mangoes and how sweet you want it to be)
Roasted jeera powder - 1/2 tsp (dry roast the jeera, then roughly pound it)
Mint leaves - few
Rock Salt to taste

1 tsp subja seeds

Cook the mango in the pressure cooker till soft (2 whistles should do it- I cooked it along with the dal), and let it cool
Gently peel off the skin, and remove the pulp
In a blender, blend the mango pulp, rock salt, powdered jeera and sugar till smooth.
This forms the stock of the aam panna, and can be stored in the fridge for upto a week. 

Before serving, soak sabja seeds in water for 30 minutes. Pour 1/4 glass of aam panna concentrate, add soaked sabja seeds, and top up with water. Serve chilled. 

May 13, 2015

Ragi Milk

I know it is ridiculous, but ever since I bought ragi flour, ever meal seems to have become a ragi meal. This ragi milk is very popular in Karnataka, and though my mother has it often, I made it for the first time today. And we all loved it.
For 3 cups ragi milk:

1/4 cup ragi flour
1/2cup water
2 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar-cinnamon mix

Heat the water, add some water to the flour to make a paste. Add the paste to the water, and cook with constant stirring till the paste turns shiny. 
Blend milk, ragi paste and sugar in a mixer till smooth. Serve chilled. 

You can replace the cinnamon with cardamom powder. 

Savoury ragi drink

Ragi Ragas is my seemingly endless list of dishes requiring ragi!!!

1/4 cup ragi flour
1/2cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk 
Salt to taste

To temper:
1/2 tsp til oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves

Heat the water, add some water to the flour to make a paste. Add the paste to the water, and cook with constant stirring till the paste turns shiny. 
Blend buttermilk, ragi paste and salt in a mixer till smooth. 
Heat the oil, and temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Pour over the ragi-buttermilk. 
Serve chilled. 

You can replace the cinnamon with cardamom powder. 

Pasta in faux meat sauce

"Please, please, please. May we have pasta for lunch?", asked the kids. The heat being what it is, I really don't want to enter the kitchen, but how does one say no to a request so earnestly made. T make matters worse, I'd run out of cornflour powder, so had to improvise with whatever I could find!

250 gms pasta
1 small head broccoli
3 pods garlic, peeled
1 small tomato chopped
1/2 cup soya granules
12 pitted olives
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp paprika powder
Salt to taste 
2 tbsp cheese, grated 

Cook the pasta as per the instructions. Wash with cold water, drain and keep aside. 
Separate the florets of broccoli, and chop the stems fine. 
Melt 1 tbsp butter and sauté the broccoli with salt to taste. Keep aside
Melt 1 tbsp butter, add slightly crushed garlic pods, and sauté. After 1 minute, add the tomatoes, and sauté till mushy. 
Add soya granules and sauté slightly. Add 1/4 cup water, mix well, and cook on low flame till the water is absorbed. 
Add paprika powder and salt, mix well. Add broccoli, mix well. Turn off the flame. Add the pasta, mix well, cover and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. 
Add cheese and olives before serving. 

May 12, 2015

Ragi puttu

XI recently bought a packet of ragi flour, and have been sold on the cereal so much, I've been using it everywhere. This is a recipe I found online, and since it has two other ingredients that I love, I decided to try it out for lunch. Definitely something I will make again.

 1/2 cup ragi flour
A pinch of salt
2-3 tbsp jaggery, rated
2-3 tbsp grated coconut for garnish
1/2 tsp ghee

Take ragi flour and salt in a soft cotton cloth, fold it with the flour inside and steam for 10-12 minutes or until you get a nice aroma of steamed ragi flour.
Spread the steamed ragi, add 4 tbsp water, 1 tbsp at a time, and mix well. There should be no lumps. 
Put the dough in a cloth, and steam for 10 minutes in an idli maker. 
Break it into a powder, add jaggery and coconut, mix well and serve. 

May 11, 2015

Kokum juice

Kokam juice is a drink I really love, but the problem with the store bought juice is the fact that it has too much sugar. I decided to make it without sugar, and it was every bit as good. 

3-4 dried Kokum fruits
6 mint leaves
2 1/2 cups water
Salt to taste

Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to boil. Add the kokum, mint leaves, and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Drain. Add salt to taste. Chill and serve. 

Capsicum subji

This is a dish I tasted in someone's lunchbox at work, and decided to replicate at home.

250 gms capsicum
1 small onion, chopped fine
3 tbsp roasted peanuts
3 tbsp grated coconut
1 tsp jeera
1 green chilli
1 tsp haldi powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp cooling oil

Deseed the capsicums and chop into inch size pieces. Bring 1 cup water to boil, add capsicum and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Drain and keep aside. 
Coarsely grind the peanuts and green chilli
Heat the oil, add jeera seeds. Once they stop spluttering, add onions and sauté till transparent. 
Add ground peanuts and coconut, with spices. Sauté till the raw smell goes. 
Add capsicum. Mix well and cook covered with constant stirring for 10 minutes. 

Cucumber juice

Agni Nakshatram, it is called. The fortnight after Guru Poornima when summer is at its most scotching hot. I promised my children coolers everyday as long as the heat holds up. Today's is a cucumber juice that I threw together. 

2 cucumbers
4-6 mint leaves
6 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 cup water

Deseed the cucumber and cut into chunks. 
Blend all the ingredients, excepting leaves, together till completely juiced.
Muddle the mint leaves, and pour the juice over it. Chill for a few hours. 
Strain, and adjust salt and sugar. Garnish with mint leaves before serving. 

May 9, 2015

Missal pav

Living in Maharashtra, it was only a matter of time before our love affair with misal started. Normally, we buy it, but when I saw a packet of mixed beans at the grocer, I decided to try making it myself. It turned out really good, and the kids enjoyed it because I could control the spices. 

3 1/2 cups mixed sprouts*
1 large potato cut into small pieces
1 large onion chopped fine
1 green chilli chopped fine
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp dhania powder
1 tsp jeera powder
1 1/2 tbsp godh masala
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp jeera
1 sprig curry leaves
1 marble sized ball of tamarind
1 tbsp jaggery
1 tbsp cooking oil

Wash the sprouts well, and pressure cook with potatoes, 1/4 tsp haldi powder and sufficient water to cover the sprouts. I reduced the flame after the first whistle and cooked for 15 minutes. 
Meanwhile, soak the tamarind in hot water for 20 minutes, squeeze out the pulp and keep aside. 
Heat the oil. Add mustard seeds, and when they stop spluttering, add jeera and saute till it releases its fragrance. 
Add chopped onions and curry leaves. Sauté till transparent. 
Add ginger garlic paste and green chillies and sauté till onions are well browned. 
Add the spices, and mix well. Add tamarind paste, and sauté till the raw smell of tamarind goes away. 
Add the drained sprouts and potatoes to the masala, stir and add 1 cup water. 
Add salt and jaggery, mix well, and cook with regular stirring for 10 minutes

Serve with pav, mixed farsan, finely chopped onions and a wedge of lime. 

* half a cup of mixed beans soaked overnight and sprouted for 1 1/2 days 

Cucumber lemonade

Plain old lemonade never goes out of fashion, but if you add a dash of cucumber, it takes it to a whole different level. 

1 large cucumber (or 2 small)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
6 glasses water

Wash and deseed the cucumber (leave the seeds if there aren't too many). Chop into cubes. 
Blend cucumber, sugar and 2 cups water till smooth. Strain (I used the strained part as a salad dressing). 
Mix in salt and lime juice. Chill
Before serving, dilute 1/3 glass concentrate with water or soda. 

May 8, 2015

Mixed sprouts with cucumber and raw mango

I had a lot of mixed sprouts left over after making misal pav, and decided to make a simple salad with the rest. This tangy salad with alternating notes of sour and sweet, is a really good snack for a hot summer day. 

1 cup mixed sprouts
1 cucumber
1 raw mango
1 tsp jaggery grated
Salt to taste

Bring 2 cups of water to boil. Turn off the flame and put the mixed sprouts in the water and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and keep aside. 
Meanwhile, cut the cucumber and raw mango into small pieces. 
Mix sprouts, cucumber and raw mango and mix well. Sprinkle the jaggery and let it mix. 
Keep in the fridge for 30 minutes and serve chilled. Adjust for salt, if required. 

May 6, 2015

Ragi cookies

In Bangalore you have these Iyengar Bakeries, where you get a variety of baked goods. Of all the varieties on offer, one that I remember most fondly is the Ragi cookies, because that is the only place I have ever tasted them. So when I ended up with a packet of ragi flour, I had to attempt some cookies. The recipe is entirely mine, and had I been more careful with the oven, I would have got a much nicer batch.

1/2 cup ragi/ nachani flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar, powdered (I used a bit less)
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Powder the sugar and keep aside.
Sieve the flour and baking powder a few times till well mixed.
Add the sugar, and sesame seeds and mix well.
Add the oil, and vanilla essence, and knead to a firm dough.
Grease a baking tray, and place balls of dough on it (I got 16 balls)
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees, and bake for 12- 15 minutes.

Chocolate Sago Pudding

Continuing on the Sago Saga started last year, here is a delightfully rich chocolate pudding, which almost makes you forget about chocolate bars.

1 litre milk 
100 gms sago/sabudana
1/3 cup sugar, or to taste
3 tbsp cocoa powder

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. You need about 1/2 cu sago for this.
Reserve 1/2 cup milk. Bring the rest of the milk to boil, reduce the flame, and heat with constant stirring till the volume reduces to half. Add sugar, and stir till it dissolves.
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 cocoa powder, and mix well. Chill in the fridge for 3 hours. 
Mix in the reserved milk before serving.

May 4, 2015

Carrot potato raita

The kids were having their regular dal- roti-subji, but I thought it was too hot for subji. So I threw in a few veggies into curds, and had a nice cooling raita instead.
1/2 carrot grated
1/2 potato, boiled and cut into small pieces
1 cup curds, beaten
1/4 tsp roasted and pounded jeera
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste

Beat the curds with the salt, chilli powder and jeera powder till smooth.
Add the grated carrots and finely chopped potatoes and mix well. Serve as an accompaniment- you can increase the amount of potatoes if you want to eliminate the rotis.

May 3, 2015


Summertime, and our thoughts turn towards coolers. Buttermilk chaas is one of my favourites, and I can gulp it down in any quantity.

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp roasted and coarsely pounded jeera
Rock salt to taste
1/2 cup water

Roast the jeera, and coarsely pound it. Keep aside, because you are going to use it a lot in summer.
Mix the curds, water, rock salt and jeera in a mixer till well mixed and frothy. Drink immediately.