Wednesday, December 16, 2009

been dead/there for a long time

Oh dear blog of mine..
you have been there, lying dead, for a long long time. 2-3 months? probably. its been 3 weeks that i promised myself to pay a little attention to you. But again, birthday parties, sickness, grocerylist, potlulcks have been a priority of mine. Did I mention my 2-yearold duckie and my sleep too? So here's what I plan to do. for myself. from jan, I plan to write ateast once a week. I know there are people who do it everyday, but rightnow its not possible. So once a week it is. A promise.
This is for myself

Monday, November 23, 2009

bAck in Business

I am back after a long long time. The vacation in India was great. I had awesome time eating to my heart's content. Will write abaout it very soon.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Time-Out ...vacationing in India

Hardly have any time to post any blog...The reason???? well, I am vacationing in India..Been here since 11th oct now. I have eaten so many good things right now. PLan to write about them..Very soon. Till then see ya..

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Grilled Chicken Sandwich...ciabatta bread and grilled veggies too.

Sandwiches are a great fav at our place. My little duckie calls them as "sammich". He doesnt eat the entire sandwich but just the most interesting part in it- chicken or tomatoes as the case may be. My hubby S loves them. He loves to watch tv/surf the internet while eating his sandwich or two. And praising me on my culinary skills at the same time. Making sandwiches is really easy for me but the key part is, to eat it as soon as assembled. I mean, who likes a soggy, falling apart kind of sandwich??? The best side dish with a sandwich? A soup or a salad or just a bag of chips. My perfect way to eat a sandwich is a hot soup on a cold day or a light salad on a summery day and always a bag of chips. Ever tried laying crispy chips in middle of sandwich and then eating it??? It tastes great.
The above sandwich is a grilled chicken sandwich. I grilled chicken breasts in oven with marinade of olive oil, salt, pepper and a mix of dried basil and italian herbs. At the same time, I roasted few veggies- onions, red bell pepper and tomatoes. I used green salad as a healthy base for my ciabatta bread. Now something about this bread. This bread can be grilled little in oven with olive oil drizzled on it and then eaten as a sandwich or just make a sandwich as it is. Be careful while grilling ciabatta bread though, a little too much time turns it into a teethfalling-extra crispy-extra hard kind of bread. I hated it the first time I made it. Got it right on the second try though.
1 pack ciabatta bread - I got mine from Jewel bakery.
1 chicken breast- cut into strips
Marinade ingredients:
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp italian herb mix I used mccormick mix
1 tomato, washed and sliced
1 red onion sliced
1 red bell pepper cut into strips
greens-mix of spinach arugula, romaine or whatever suits you
part skim mozzarella cheese
my sandwich dressing:
I used Italian dressing, mustard, heinz ketchup and little hot sauce. eyeballed all the ingredients for 1 Tbs each. added little olive oil and salt/pepper/dried basil. then added 1/4 cup each of ketchup and italian dressing to give it a sweet-creamy taste with a little sourness.
It doesnt matter if any of the ingredients are missing. The easiest thing is to play around with them and pick a taste that suits you.

Preheat oven to 350F. Slice horizontally through the ciabatta bread if not already sliced. Brush the inside of both sides with olive oil and sprinkle little dried basil on it. Grill just the lower halves of sandwich bread in the oven per instructions on the packet. Keep an eye on them all the time because the tend to crisp quickly. Marinate chicken with marinade ingredients. Keep aside for 15 ,mins. Mix the veggies with the chicken and grill till meat is cooked. Let it cool for 5 mins. In mean time, take the upper halves of sandwich bread and on the inside layer the cheese, grill till the cheese melts Get your bread base ready. Layer the lower half of the bread with salad greens, Then add the meat and the roasted veggies to it. Then Drizzle or apply liberally the dressing. Put together the ttwo halves of bread and enjoy with a bag of chips or as it is.

Friday, October 2, 2009

My sponge cake disaster

So, yesterday I decided to bake a cake. And that too not just any cake, a Pineapple cream Sponge Cake mind you. I planned this cake a week ago, got all the ingredients and got mentally prepared for the big day. Duckie was sleeping, so instead of me taking an afternoon nap, I rolled back my sleeves and got to work.
Now the main reason I was baking this cake was simple: my dear husband S challenged me. We had a great Pineapple Cream Sponge Cake at someone's birthday. I can still remember the taste. The cake was light and had great grain texture and was very moist. Absolutely great pineapple flavor and gorgeous whipped cream layering. I admit I had two pieces. Greedy of me :). Secretly, I liked it so much that I really want to bake my own cake for duckie's birthday in december.
Forward few weeks to the baking day. Measured out all the ingredients, got the oven ready, cut out the parchment paper to layer the pan, crossed my fingers and said a little prayer and then started my baking. The recipe I had uses 5 eggs together instead of seperating them. The same quantity of flour and sugar, a little vanilla essence and a little pineapple juice. So there I was, whipping the eggs together with sugar and then when I added the essence, the mixture gave out. It just flattened on me. i didnot realize at that time, but after some research I did. Anyways I was merrily whipping, mixing and folding my mixture. Put the gorgeous colored mixture in the pan and baked it for 30 mins. :) Then it went all downhill from there. My poor cake remained liquidy inside, got burnt outside, had horrible, terrible sugar-grainy coarse texture outside and smelled disgustingly eggy.
So. All in all. My first experiment with sponge cake fell flat. but I am not one to give up. I am going on a hiatus to India, but I will be back. With a vengence.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Red Pasta Sauce- Basic Style

This is a very basic red pasta sauce. It can be used for making pastas as well as on pizzas. Using fresh sauce in your pasta makes a HUGE difference instead of the bottled kind. btw, I Do use bottled pasta sauce sometimes. the best sauce I could find is Barilla. You can make and store this sauce in your freezer. Remove it and use it whenever you feel like having pasta or pizza.
4 ripe tomatoes, washed and diced
2 tomatoes pureed
1 small onions, minced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
3 tsp olive oil
sugar to taste
handful chopped basil
Heat a sauce pan and add oil to it. When hot, add onions and saute for few minutes till soft. Then add garlic and saute for 1 min. Then add the tomatoes, both diced as well as pureed. Cover and let it cook through till the oil starts seperating. Then add the basil, salt and black pepper. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer till it thicknes. Add sugar to taste and cover it and let it rest for 5 mins.
You can add veggies like mushroom, carrot, celery or any other liquid like wine, broth, milk or any other cheese and serve the sauce over pasta. For a little spicy kick add red chilli flakes and reduce the amount of sugar. I like spicy pasta sauce with penne or even meatballs.

Cupcakes- but I cheated

Yummy cupcakes made easy by cheating!!!!
I call this as my quick fix for dessert. So whenever I am in a time crunch, have some unexpected guests coming over or am making dessert under protest...this is what I do. Let me tell you something, I am scared of making desserts of any kind. But i have decided to experiment more and more ..on S ofcourse. The poor guy bears the brunt of my cooking.
These packaged cupcakes are great though. They stay longer...because of the preservatives and they taste moist too, again because of the preservatives.
1 box of your fav. cupcake mix
I usually halve the recipe just so that S, duckie and our many other guests do not get too greedy with them.
Decorate with sprinkles, frosting, sugar, whipped cream, ice cream or gobble it just plain. They tastes great anyways.
Enjoy your quick cupcakes

Thursday, August 20, 2009

MInced Chicken Meatballs- Served with Basil Pesto Sauce and Sundried Tomato Sauce

Pan - Fried Chicken Meat Balls

These minced chicken meat balls are the easiest to make. They tasted great too. The sad part? i dont have enough pictures to describe what i did to these meatballs. I made these meat balls the way i make them for my spaghetti but instead of serving with pasta and sauce, i served them with basil pesto sauce and sundried tomatoes pesto sauce. They taste great as a snack/appetizer. Add a salad to it and it becomes a light meal, minus the pasta carbs.

1lb minced chicken
8oz whole ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tsps dried basil or italian herbs mix
1 small minced onion
1 tsp red chilli flakes- I take 4 red chillies and make my own in mortar and pestle
oil for shallow frying

Mix all the dry ingredients except the chicken first. Then add the chicken, donot over mix the chicken, the meatballs tend to get tough. Heat a pan and add oil to it. Drop lime size meat balls in the pan and fry them till well done. Remember, when you bite through the meatball, the meat should be juicy and succulent, not tough and hard.
Serve hot with Basil Pesto Sauce and Sundried Tomato Sauce.


Sweet Corn Chicken Soup

Go to any Indo-Chinese restaurant and Sweet corn chicken soup is one of the most ordered thing on the menu. Go to any Chinese restaurant and you wont find any such soup on the menu. Egg drop soup yes. Chicken noodle soup yes. Sweet Corn Chicken soup definetly NO. So, after coming to the US, this was one of the first things I surfed on the internet for and called up my mom for. After a lot of trial and error, a little luck and lots of force feeding (forcing my hubby S), I finally got lucky with my recipe. I prepare this soup whenever its cold outside or I / my hubby have cold or whenever I cook indo-chinese food. The best part- my little duckie loves it too. He, ofcourse, eats the chicken first and then I have to make him finish the rest of the soup.


1 skinless chicken breast, cooked (either pressure cooked or boiled)
1 can 16oz cream of sweet corn. (I use del monte)
1 can chicken broth -use same quantity as the sweet corn( I use swanson-I use the salt free and fat free product)
1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 eggs well beaten
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Heat a soup pan and when warm enough add cream of sweet corn to it, and then add the broth. Mix well and add ginger-garlic paste and chicken to it. Let the mixture come to a rolling boil. Then add the eggs slowly and keep on mixing with an egg whisk. The eggs get cooked and form a stringy mixture. Let it cook a little, add water per the consistency you need, add salt and turn of the flame. Serve hot with a dash of pepper, garnish with soy sauce, vinegar/green chillies and see those sniffles vanish.

Prawns Biryani

There are different kinds of biryanis that I make. And thankfully S loves all of them. This Prawns Biryani is my mom's recipe. I dont remember eating it much as a kid. But my mom is a great magician, one day she just came up with this delicious dish and has been my favorite since. She had made it the first time my husband and in-laws had visited us after the engagement. Not as heavy as mutton or chicken biryani, very easy to make and served with just a tomato-onion raita or fried fish, this is one of my best recipes:) To tell you the truth I think my husband likes it better than my prawns curry. If done at a stretch, then this biryani can be done in under 1 hour. My duckie isnt a big fan of biryanis yet, but I am hoping that he grows up to like this biryani. I usually have prawns in my freezer, so whenever I am in a crunch as to what to cook and all I have is rice, onions, masalas and the occasional potato, guess whats right on the top of my list??

For the Rice:
4 cups of uncooked basmati rice
5 peppercorns
5 cloves
4 cardmoms
1" cinnamon stick
4-5 bay leaves
4 tsps clarified butter (oil will do but the flavor differs)
8 cups of hot water
salt to taste

For the Prawns:
1 lb cleaned, deveined prawns
2 large onions, diced
handful of cilantro for garnishing
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 TBS green masala( handful cilantro 2-3 green chillies. 2" ginger and 1 cup peeled garlic cloves pureed together. If you dont have this masala, use ginger garlic paste.)
salt to taste
oil for cooking
2-3 bay leaves

For Garnishing:
2 onions
1 large potato
2 hard boiled eggs


Garnishing: Slice the onions thinly. Microwave them for 5-6 mins till they turn soft, this way they fry quickly. Save your time, energy and gas. (thanks, MIL for the tip) Heat a large pot and add enough oil to it for frying. Once hot add the onions to it and fry till golden brown and crunchy. Take care they donot burn. Transfer to a plate and season with salt. Slice the potato french-fries style and fry till golden brown and crisp. Peel and slice the eggs. Keep this aside for garnishing.
Wash the rice in water and set aside. Marinate the prawns with salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, green masala. Set aside for 15 mins. Heat oil in a pan. When hot add bay leaves and then onion. Cook till light brown and soft. Add the prawns and cook well. Add garam masala and turn off the flame.
Heat a large pot and add clrified butter to it. Add bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorn, cardmoms in quick succession taking care that it doesnot burn. Then add rice. Saute the rice till light pink. Do this on medium flame. Then turn on high flame and add 8 cups of water to it. Let it come to a rolling boil. Add salt to the water. Let the water boil for few seconds, then turn the flame on medium low and cover the pot. Once the water disappers, turn the flame on low and cook for few mins. Turn off the flame and remove from the stove when the rice is completely cooked. The rice shouldn't remain aldente. It takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, its really easy. Keep the rice pot covered.
Layering: This is the most important part of biryani. Take the same pot in which you have cooked rice. Empty the pot, put the rice in other bowl. Apply a think layer of clarified butter or oil at the bottoom. collect all the bayleaves used for cooking prawns and rice and arrange them in a circle at teh bottom. Divide the rice into 3 portions. Divide the prawns into 2 portions. Divide the onions into 2 portions. Layer one portion of rice at the bottom, then a layer of prawns. Then layer again with rice and then one portion of fried onions. Layer the onions with layer of prawns and then the last layer of rice. Layer the top most layer of rice with onions and french fries. Arrange the egg slices in a circle on the very top. Drizzle little warm clrified butter on the top. Cover the pot and let it cook on medium-low flame till it steams. Turn off the flame once it steams, let the stem settle for 10 mins and then serve hot with raita.
I know this might be a lengthy process for some, but it is definetly worth it. The delicious aroma of cooked basmati rice, masalas and prawns always get me salivating. My stomach starts growling as I cook and layer it. I love this biryani, and I am sure so will you:)

Butter Chicken

This is one delicious recipe. I hit the jackpot. Thanks to Deeba of PassionateAboutbaking for the - original recipe. I tweaked mine a little to suit my taste. Do u remember ordering butter chicken in India??? Not all the places serve great butter chicken. Infact the taste varies from one place to other. And people get confused between the butter chicken and chicken tikka masala recipe. And to top it all, there are hundreds of butter chicken recipes floating around the internet, none of which suited my palate. But this, is definetly a keeper. Infact I , to date, have made it thrice in a short span of 3 months of finding this recipe. Each time it gets better and better. And yes, it does taste better with on bone chicken. But if you are out of it and are in a crunch, go ahead and use boneless breast, I wont tell. :)
Btw I am planning on using this recipe for paneer-veggie variation too. I like my butter chicken a little on the sweeter side and thats how I made it. I am waiting for my mom to get here so I can make this dish for her.

For the tandoori chicken
1 lb chicken on bone or boneless chicken breast
1 packet shaan masala
1/2 cup thick yogurt or ricotta cheese (it turns out creamier with cheese)
1 tsp ginger garlic paste - fresh is better
2 tsp oil for marinating

Marinate the chicken with the above ingredients and let it sit aside for atleast 1 hr. heat the oven to 350F and cook the chicken till tender for around 20mins. Donot overcook the chicken or else it will turn tough.

For the Gravy:
4 nice red tomatoes
1 medium onion
2 tsp oil for cookingr
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
handful of cashew powder
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp kasoori methi
Handful cilantro for garnishing
1/4 cup heavy cream add more if you like it creamy
2 tsp honey
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pan and when hot add onions to it. saute it for few minutes and let it cook. Then add the bayleaf and the tomatoes. Cook well till the oil seperates from the sides and the onion-tomatoes turn out to be one big mess. Let it cool. After sometime, discard the bayleaf and puree the tomato gravy mix. Return it to the pan. Add all the spices. Then add the tandoori chicken and let it simmer for 3-4 mins. Be sure that you have added cashew powder, kasuri methi and garam masla. These are very important ingredients (I nearly forgot to add them to my sauce - twice). Then add the butter. Stir in the heavy cream and mix well. cover and remove from heat. Garnish well with chopped cilantro and cream.
I served my Butter Chicken with whole wheat naan. It was totally out of this world.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Banana Bread cut and ready to serve

Warm Banana Bread...made mine in a cake pan

The batter ready to be put in the oven

The ingredients
My ex-colleague often used to get great banana bread to office. That's when I fell in love with it. She told me the best way to eat banana bread is warm, with little butter on the top. Ofcourse the banana bread she used to get was from a ready-mix packet, but still it was great. Many months and a pregnancy with banana bread craving later, I had my first home-made banana bread at a friend's baby shower. And guess what???? It was whole wheat bread AND instead of butter used olive oil. Now some people (my husband S) might argue that banana bread tastes great with all-purpose flour and butter, but with a kid now, I am looking for heathier options.
This bread had more of cake like consistency and it was moist and tasted great.
The best part about banana bread??? the way the entire house smells when baking it. For me, some smells remind me of my childhood and the fun I had. Banana bread smell makes me feel warm and comfortable and safe. :)
3 very ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 cup sugar, take little more if you like it sweet
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon powder - optional
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl.I donot like big chunks of banana in my bread, so i mashed mine extra fine. Mix in all the ingredients one by one, add the flour in the last. You just need a spoon to mix the ingredients. I did not have vanilla so added just the cinnamon. Pur the mixture in a baking pan. Cake pan, in my case:) bake for 1 hour and your house will smell wonderfully delicious. Cool and cut and serve. Moist and wonderful banana bread is ready.
Like my friend said, the best way to eat banana bread- Warm with butter spread on the top.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Need to take better pictures

There are so many gorgeous food blogs on the net. And not just because of the food, but because of the pretty pictures that each blog has. Sometimes I feel embarassed of the quality of pictures I have.
So I made a promise. To myself. And to my adoring fans i.e. ME for right now. I promise to take make and put up better pictures of the food I cook. Because sometimes its not the recipe but the pictures that put you off. Somehow boring yucky food also looks good with great pictures. Its all in the presentation. Serve me a great designed platter and I will snarf it down. Same with pictures. Sad pictures and none wants to even read anything.
Oh well.
So here's to a better picture blog and great recipes.:)

Veggie Spring Rolls

All ready to be eaten

Half and Half

The mixture

While Cooking The Mixture

These Spring Rolls are my very very favorite. Like I mentioned before, to me, no indo-chinese meal is complete without spring rolls. I am salivating just thinking and writing about them. In India, many restaurants serve spring rolls with the noodles mixed in them. They taste good too. The earlier version had just 2 veggies in them. I used a coleslaw mix for these rolls, added julienned ginger and minced garlic, little chopped green onions and salt and pepper. S just loved it. Dukie loved the crispy cover and had little veggies to eat. But he liked it too. The Nasoya brand of wrappers had 15 wrappers I think. And they were big. So I made spring rolls for 2 consecutive weekends.


1 packet coleslaw mix

bunch of spring onions chopped

mung sprouts (optional)

salt to taste

pepper to taste

1 tsp minced ginger

1 tsp minced garlic

2 tsp oyster sauce

6-8 wrappers

oil for frying

Heat a wok and add oil to it. On high flame add the ginger garlic first and then coleslaw mix, sprouts and spring onions in rapid succession. Stir fry on high heat for 3-4 mins. Tunr of the flame and the add oyster sauce along with salt and pepper. Let the mixture cool for few mins. Scoop a single spoonful of the mix on a wrapper and roll, fold and seal per the packet directions. Prepare all the rolls like this.

Heat a frying pan and then shallow fry the spring rolls. Serve hot with ketchup on your own fav sauce.


Carrot-shrimp Spring rolls

Spring Rolls all ready to be eaten

Folded and ready to be fried

The start
Spring Rolls to me are an essential part of Indo-chinese cuisene. Whenever we go out to a chinese restaurant in India, we ALWAYS used to order this crispy fried roll of either vegetables or meat-veggie combo. The most difficult part is to do the wrappers right. In Indian restaurants, these spring roll wrappers are always made fresh from scratch using all-purpose flour and egg mixture. I have done that twice or amybe thrice in my cooking lifetime. But somehow, it always misses its mark. The wrapper doesnot turn out that great.
One fine day on my visit to our local supermarket. I literally stumbled upon these organic ready to be fried and eaten wrappers. Welcome to the Nasoya brand of goodies. These were really good as compared to the other brands I have tried. And since these were made of soy, I felt less guilty of eating fried rolls. Though I am sure these can be oven-fried, I was impatient enough to try them fried.
Made them on my whim and they were great. I used the basic recipe given on the back of the wrappers. ofcourse, I made my own changes.
6 wrappers
1 cup grated carrot
2 tsp grated ginger
1 bunch spring onions finely chopped
salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
2 tsp oil for cooking
6 shrimps finely chopped
2 tsp oyster sauce
Oil for shallow frying
Heat a wok and add oil to it. Once hot, add shrimps and ginger and let it cook. Then add carrots and spring onions and stir fry on high heat for 2-3 mins. Turn of the flame and then add salt, pepper and oyster sauce to taste.
Let the mixture cool.
Take a single wrapper and scoop 1 tsp of mixture onto it. Fold and roll the wrapper and seal it with water. Finish folding all the wrappers per the packet directions. Heat a frying pan and add oil to it. When hot enough fry rolls in it. Fry on medium heat so that the wrappers are cooked from inside too and are golden-brown crispy on the outside.
Serve hot with ketchup or any other of your fav sauce.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Chicken jalfrezi

The final product

Cooked chicken pieces

Veggies being cooked
The credit for this awesome recipe goes to my mother-in-law, who on her first visit to the US taught me this very simple and delicious recipe. This is a favorite of S. Because it contains tomato ketchup, tomatoes, little soy sauce and spices, it is a balance of sweet and sour and spicy chicken. I used boneless chicken breast for this but you could use bone-in meat and then shred with hand after it is cooked. The best part of recipe..??? it requires less amount of chicken because of the veggies in it, so make this when you have less chicken on hand.
1 lb boneless chicken breast.
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1tsp red chilli powder -increase/decrease the spice level as you want
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp corriander powder
salt to taste
1/2 cup yogurt
oil for cooking
for veggies:
1 large onion sliced thin
2 small tomatoes sliced thin
1/2 green or red bell pepper sliced thin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/2 tsp corriander powder
salt to taste
2 TBS tomato ketchup
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar to taste ...adjust quantity accordingly:
oil for cooking...2 tsp
Dice the chicken into bite size pieces and marinate with all the spices, yogurt, salt and ginger garlic paste. Heat some oil in a wok and once hot, add the chicken pieces to it. Cook it done and the liquid evaporates. Remove and keep aside. Heat the remaining oil in the same wok and once hot add all the veggies at once. Cover and let cook till done. Add the spices and salt to taste. Cover and let it steam once. Then add the cooked chicken and mix well. Add the ketchup and soy sauce along with sugar. Cover and let it steam once. The final taste of the dish should be sweet-savory with hint of sourness.
Enjoy hot with naans, rotis or parathas.


"Rajasthani" Potato Gravy
I had this Potato gravy while visiting Jaipur and other cities of Rajasthan. My father-in-law loves this potato gravy. So, my ingenous MIL created this gravy on a whim and it turned out very good. Thanks to my MIL for this great and simple recipe.

This gravy doesnot have any complex masalas but the basic stuff you ALWAYS have in your pantry. How come something so delicious could be created from something so simple??? Well, the answer is in the process of cooking, having fun with it and hoping for a great taste:). We had Satyavinayak puja at our place in June. I was finalizing the menu. Had almost decided to go ahead and make chole-puri for 40 guests. Then MIL made this awesome gravy one day. And thats it. I immediately fell in love with it, begged my MIL to make THIS gravy for the puja. Graciously she agreed. Cooking for 40 guests is no easy feat. But we all helped and she managed it. This potato gravy was the main star of my menu. Everyone loved it. My friends begged for the recipe. MIL got dozens of compliments. My party was a BIG success thanks to MIL and this gravy. Everyone loved it so much that hardly any was left for my husband and his brother (the last dinner eaters). This humble and nonpretentious potato gravy is best served hot with hot puris.

2 large potatoes
1 medium onion
1 tomato
1 1/2 tsp corriander powder
3/4 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste
3 tsps oil
handful cilantro -washed and chopped

Boil the potatoes till more than fork tender. This is best done in a pressure cooker and then keeping it on low flame for 10-15 mins before turning off the gas. Peel and chop them into chunks. Dice the tomato and the onion.
Take a kadai and heat oil in it. Once hot, add asafoetida and then mustard seeds. Let the seeds sputter and then add cumin seeds. Add onion and start cooking them. Once they are half -way done then add corriander powder and cumin seeds. Fry the onions on medium-high flame till you get the masala smell and the oil starts seperating. Once the onions are cooked add tomatoes, turmeric and red chili powder and salt. Cover and cook till oil starts seperating from the mixture. Then add the potatoes. Cover and let it cook completely. Add little water to get gravy like consistency. Add the garam masala powder and mix well. Garnish with cilantro.
Serve hot with puris

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Yeast Problem

I made whole wheat naans yesterday.
And they were great.
BUT the yeast gave me a lot of trouble. I had to use 3 packets of active dry yeast till I finally got it right. And I decided to go ahead with the last try simply because I was out of yeast packets and too lazy to go out and buy some. The first 2 tries were total disasters. The yeast just sat there mixed with milk looking like sand granules mixed in, only that sand would sink. The yeast refused to froth and become bubbly as promised. I had kept it in warm place as required. Maybe it was the temperature of the milk. All over the internet it says "warm" liquid. Could you please define WARM? The yeast manufacturer's website said 110-115F liquid. Now at that temperature you cannot drink liquid so how can that be warm??? For me, (and I hope many other people too) warm means drinkable temperature.
Then I realized I didnot have any cooking/candy/liquid thermometer. So I went ahead and borrowed my duckie's thermometer. It showed fine till 107F then started beeping. Which meant a good, high temperature for me. Then I added the yeast and mixed it well. Kept it near the oven to let it "froth" which it did not. After 15 mins I gave up mainly out of boredom and mixed it with my flour. Covered my dough, checked the clock, kept my fingers crossed and decided to check again after 1 1/2 hrs, just because then it would be too late for dinner. After around 1.5 hrs, the dough had risen. I punched the life out of it and made some naans.
AND they were good. I loved them. Ofcourse whole wheat naans taste different than the all purpose flour ones, but they are healthier.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Green chutney - for idlis

The ingredients for the green chutney

Green chutney- all ready to be eaten
There are different kinds of chutneys in Indian cuisine. This is one of my favorite that I like with my idlis/dosas/meduvadas. I think I like it because this chutney is so versatile. It tastes good with anything and everything. I think my sambar and idlis/dosas turn out like my mom's, so whenever I make this chutney, its the missing piece which completes my entire ensemble and reminds me of my mom's cooking.
My mom tempers this chutney bbut many times I dont. So I guess thats the main difference.
1 cup chivada dal
1/4 cup grated coconut
handful chopped and washed cilantro 3-4 green chillies, chopped
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds and little more
salt to taste
1 tsp jaggery or sugar
water for blending
Mix all the ingredients in a blender and blend well adding water little at a time. adjust according to the consistency. The chutney should taste little spicy with hint of sweetness because of jaggery. For additional drama and flavor temper with 2 tsp oil, pinch of asafoetida and 1 tsp mustard seeds.
Enjoy with idlis/dosas/medu vadas. This chutney doesnot keep well in the fridge for more than 2-3 days because of coconut and tastes best when fresh.

Pumpkin Raita

I have no idea how to cook red pumpkin. Except for this Raita and maybe pumpkin bread. I am sure there are other recipes though. My mom used to make this pumpkin raita as an addition to "vaalache birde". Vaal or bitterfield beans as they are know are kind of heavy and gaseous to digest. Pumpkin raita is a perfect complement to those lentils. Infact pumpkin raita is perfect with any main course that is heavy or spicy. This raita is slightly sweet to taste and light to digest. Btw S doesnot like this raita. I have no idea why. I think just because its pumkin thats why. But this dish is very easy to make and highly nutritious.
1 quarter of red pumpkin, but any other seasonal squash will do
1 cup yogurt
salt to taste
sugar to taste
2 green chillies
2 tsp clarified butter
1 tsp cumin
handful cilantro
De-seed and de-skin the pumpkin. chop into bite size pieces and cook them in pressure cooker or a big boiling pot of water till fork tender. If cooking in pressure cooker do not add any water. Remove and set aside at room temperature. Mix the yogurt, salt and sugar to taste. De-seed and mince the green chillies and add to the pumpkin mix. Mash everything coarsely. Tmper the mashed raita mix with hot clarified ghee and cumin seeds. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Serve either at room temperature or better, cold.
Enjoy with spicy food. The raita should be kind of sweet to taste with little heat from chillies.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kheema Samosas / Minced Meat Samosas

Samosas before frying Samosas after frying ...and after a bite.

Hmm Kheema Samosas. Anything nonveg is welcome at my place. But this was so awesome that S just finished up everything. I had to steal his plate to take a picture. This samosas are really very smalls and can be classified as cocktail samosas. Perfect for a gathering. But it does take a long time to make these. Ofcourse there is appreciation at the end. And the best part is duckie loved them too!!! They were a little spicy for him, but you know how it is with kids and nonveg food. Even if it is spicy he will eat it. But give him spicy veg food- he hates it.:) I read somewhere that you can also freeze these samosas. Just fry them till light brown and when cold, ziplock them and pop it in the freezer. Wouldn't that be great? I have to give it a try sometime. For this I used minced lamb meat marinated few days earlier.
I remember my mom trying to make kheema samosas once...a long time ago..She couldnt get the pastry puff right, but they were awesome just because she made them:) So mamma, this one's for you.:)

1lb minced meat either chicken or goat or even beef will do.
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
salt to taste
1 medium onion.
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
handful chopped cilantro
4 tsp oil for cooking

for the pastry cover:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sooji (wheat creamlets)
salt to taste
1 tsp ajwain
1 tsp hot oil while kneading.

Oil for frying samosas.

Wash the minced meat properly. Dice the onion. Heat oil in kadai. When hot, add onions to it and fry till cooked/golden brown. Then add minced meat and rest of the ingredients and cook till the meat is tender. If any water is there, then cook on low flame till the water evaporates and the meat is dry. Let the mix cool. Garnish with cilantro.
Mix whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and sooji together with ajwain, salt, and oil. Add water as required and knead properly. Cover it and let it rest for 15-20 mins.
Take a small portion of the dough and divide it into 2 balls. Roll out one ball into a small pancake / puri size circle. At the same tme warm up a frying pan. Roast one side of the puri on the frying pan. This is done so that the samosas cook from inside too, because sometimes while frying, they remain raw from inside. But this takes some work, the next time I am going to fry it directly on high heat and lets see how it works out. For now, I will stick to pre-raosting and post-frying.
Divide this into 2 portions (2 semi circles). Take one half of the semi circle. Fold it into a cone, seal the edges of the cone, make sure that the roasted side is inside. Fill up little minced meat inside the cone and seal it completely. Complete all the samosas this way. It takes a little time, but it is definetly worth it.
Heat up wok with oil in it and fry all the samosas on medium heat. The inside has to get cooked too. Serve hot with ketchup or mint chutney.

Potato bhaji for Fasting

Duckie loves this potato bhaji!!!

This is a very easy potato bhaaji to make. Ingredients like peanuts, cumin seeds, cilantro, green chillies, coconut, clarified butter (ghee), apart from the usual potato make this very wholesome ( by this I mean contains carbs, proteins, vitamins) and perfect for fasting. But at my place we eat it with plain chappatis too. This is a perfect blend of spice-sweetness-saltiness and a potato lover's ( S, my husband's) delight.
Thanks to my MIL for this recipe,

2 Large potatoes
1/2 cup roasted coarse peanut powder
4-5 green chillies minced finely-remove the seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
handful cilantro-washed and chopped
3-4 tsp clarified butter
salt to taste
sugar to taste

Pressure cook the potatoes till tender. De-skin them and chop them into medium pieces. Apply salt and sugar per taste to this. Add peanut powder and minced chillies to the potatoes. Heat a large heavy bottom pan and add clarified butter to it. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and when they start sputtering add the entire potato mix to the pot. Mix well. Then add coconut to this and mix well again. Cover and let it cook till it steams. Turn of the gas and garnish with cilantro. Serve hot with chappatis or even as it is. Top with cold yogurt to balance the heat of the chillies.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

The veggies in the skillet

The veggies and white sauce bubbling together merrily

The final product...Awesome Chicken Pot Pie

Apple pie, hot dogs, and then Chicken Pot Pie. Thats the American food that i know of. I had heard so much about chicken pot pie that i wanted to try it out for myself. Instead of getting any packaged stuff or ordering in a restaurant, I just thought it would be much easier if I made it. I had seen a show on foodnetwork which focussed on chicken pot pie. I went to the website, found the original recipe and tweaked it a little to suit my taste. The end result was as good, if not better and the best part - both S and duckie loved it. This dish is very hearty and filling and perfect on a cold winter night. This is a very "American" dish and I absoultely loved it.

I made this dish in a hurry...we were on our way to Michigan. I wasnt even going to make this dish but S saw the google window I had opened and decided to postpone the road trip for few hours just to eat this dish:)

The original recipe is here .


Dipti's Chicken Pot Pie

1 sheet frozen Puff pastry
4 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 roasted chicken ( I used rotisserie chicken from Meijer)
1 small yellow onion thinly sliced
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Salt to taste
1 tsp All purpose mcormick seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup whole milk
1can chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cups peas - blanched
3/4 cups carrots- blnched
3/4 cups celery - blanched
handful pearl onions blanched
8-10 mushrooms.
1 egg well beaten for eagg wash
Thaw the pastry sheet to directions. Preheat the oven to 425F.
Heat up a large skillet and add the olive oil. Add the sliced onion to this and stirfry for few mins. Add the mushrooms and cook till the liquid from mushrooms disappears. Then add all the veggies and stir fry for few mins. Then add the shredded chicken to this. Add salt and pepper.
Take a large pot. add the chicken stock to this, and let it boil. when it reduces a little add the cream and milk. Let it simmer for few mins. Then add the all purpose flour to this and let it become thick and bubbly. Add the all purpose seasoning to this. If you have any fresh herbs then add those instead of the seasoning. Pour this sauce mixture over the chicken-veggies mix and blend well. Let it rest for few mins. Take a baking dish and pur the entire pie filling in this.
Lay the pastry puff sheet on top and close the ends well. brush the egg wash on the top of the sheet and pierce the top with a fork for steam to escape.
Bake in the oven till the pastry sheet is golden - brown. Let the pie cool for 15-20 mins.
Cut into portions and serve "hot"

Tiny Idlis

I had gone to my friend's place for lunch sometime ago. She had promised to make something special just for me. She made the usual idli sambar and chutney, but with a little surprise. She made small idlis instead of the big ones. My duckie loved them so much. He just gobbled up a few of them as it is.
I immediately asked my in-laws to get the idli stand when visiting us. So now I have a small idli stand and I just love it. The tiny idlis are a sure hit with the kids. The elders love them too because one idli is same as one bite.
1 cup split urad dal
2 cups Idli rava
salt to taste
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds for fermentation

Soak urad dal and idli rava overnight seperatetly. Add the fenugreek seeds to urad dal while soaking. Next day, drain all the water from the urad dal and blend it in a blender to turn it into a batter. The batter should not be too thin. The consistency should be like pancake batter. Make sure that the batter is very fine to touch and dosenot have any remanants of urad dal. Drain the water from idli rava and keep aside. Add the urad dal batter to this and mix well. Add salt to taste. Let this idli batter ferment overnight. The batter usually rises to twice the size when well fermented.
If the weather is cold, turn on the oven to 200F for few mins and then keep the batter in the oven overnight.
When making idlis, make sure that the idli stand is clean. Apply a little oil on the inside of the stand. Pour the batter in this. Heat up a big pot or pressure cooker with little water in it. Put the idli stand in the pot and let the idlis steam. Small idlis take very few mins to cook. Test if the idlis are done with a fork, it should be clean when removed.
Serve the idlis hot with chutney or sambar.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Good Crustacean

I love sea food in general, but back home crustaceans were an important part of my diet. Shrimp, Prawns, Crabs, Clams (though I am not sure if clams are classified as crustaceans, i love them) and Dried shrimp. There is one more variety of shrimp called as "karandi" in marathi. This variety is actually smaller than shrimp can makes tasty curry, fritters and pattice. There is even one more smaller variety of shrimp called as "zavala". This variety is so tiny that there is no way you can remove the shell or anything else. The only option is to eat it whole (eyes and all) But the shell is so soft and the fish so tasty that you wont even feel anything whle biting. There is no aftertaste as such. These make very very tasty curry, fritters and dry gravy kind of entree.
The reason I am inclined to write this blog is, being a sea food lover and being restricted here in the US by the variety of fish (salmon and tilapia are good but the fish from Arabian Sea are more tasty), the minute I find good quality Indian fish I am excited and salivating by the mere thought of curry and fried fish. Today in our local market I found some good quality head-on, tail-on, the whole shell on- tiger prawns. I had seen them before but wasnt sure if they would taste as good as my beloved Indian prawns. But this time, I decided to be a little daring and buy some and make curry.
I got home, put the kid to bed and rolled up my sleeves and got to work. Cleaning, de-veining, washing, marinating, ...I was in crustacean heaven. All the time I was thinking of the possiblities of the prawns. Curry?? Biryani??? Fried Prawns?? Sukka Prawns??? Prawns Koliwada????? mmmmm...But at the back of my mind there is still a teen-weeny doubt about the taste. And mind you I am a very good cook when it comes to fish, but somehow the farm raised prawns here do not make good curry as back home.
So the prawns are marinated and in the freezer rightnow. I have deciede to make curry and some fried prawns. S loves them. I have kept the head on the prawns( removed the eyes and the eeeky parts). This gives a different flavor to the curry. Lets see what happens. Will definitely write about it. I can just smell the curry and hot chappatis and rice right now. Hope it turns out the way my mom makes them
Hope they are The Good Crustacean.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Peanut curry

This recipe was lying around in my drafts folder for a long time. Along with many other recipes, of course. Then I came across the JFI - Peanuts at Cook's Hideout. This is the first time I am submitting my recipe. JFI is started by Indira of
This type of peanut curry is prepared mainly during fasting. I consider fasting as a feast because though you abstain from regular food, there are certain kinds of food which you can make and enjoy. Peanut and buttermilk are the base for this curry with tempering of clarified butter( you can use oil but tastes better with ghee) and cumin.


1 cup roasted peanuts, skin removed, coarsely ground
1 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp red chilli powder- more if you dare
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
1 cup water
salt to taste
sugar to taste
cilantro for garnishing
3 tsp clarified butter (ghee)
1 tsp cumin seeds
Blend all the ingredients from roasted peanuts to sugar in a blender and blend well.
The consistency of curry shouldnt be too thick but kind of like rasam. Add more water if needed.
Heat a pot and add the peanut curry base to it. Heat separately another pot for tempering. Add clarified butter to it and when hot enough add the cumin seeds. When the seeds start sputtering, add the tempered butter to the peanut curry base. Mix well. Let it simmer a little and then turn off the gas. Do not let it boil too much because this causes the yogurt to separate out. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with Upaas potato bhaaji or "vari cha rice ".
This curry is rich in proteins and calcium. The final taste should be a yougurty-spicy curry with hint of salt and aftertaste of sugar.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Harayali Chicken Tikka

This is not a great picture. I was in a hurry to grill this skewer:)
But the chicken tasted great:) This is an easy recipe. I had this kababs first at a place in Pune. A puree of spinach, mint and cilantro with few green chillies for heat gives it an excellent taste. There are no complex masalas used so you can be sure of the taste each time you make it.
1 lb boneless breast chicken
few sprigs mint
some cilantro
bunch of spinach
3-4 green chillies
salt to taste
ginger-garlic paste
2 tsp yogurt
2 tsp oil for marinating
Wash, clean and cut the chicken into small pieces. Blend mint, cilantro, spinach, green chillies, ginger-garlic paste and yogurt together to get a smoot marinade. MIx this with the chicken. Add salt and oil to this chicken. Refrigerate for atleast 1 hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 350f. You can skewer this chicken and grill them in the oven or just bake them on a steel plate( the one you have at home works) Cook the chicken for 20-25 mins till the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink inside. Broil it for 5-7 mins for the charcoal flavor. Keep a close eye on it.
Serve this warm with mint chutney garnished with onions.

Lamb liver cooked to perfection:)

I know...When people think of liver EWWWWW is what comes to mind. But not in our household. Liver is a rich source of iron and most of the people in my household love this simple dish. Mind you I said "most".
This dish is a "dry" appetizer, but my son loves to eat it with chappati. S loves to eat it as it is. At my mom's place a delicious curry is made instead of the appetizer.
This recipe is very simple to make once you get over the queasiness of it.
1 lb lamb liver or goat will do. Salt to taste.
Black pepper to taste
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
clarified butter for frying/cooking

Wash, clean and cut the liver into small bite size pieces. marinate with salt and pepper and ginger-garlic paste. Heat a kadai on medium flame. Once hot, add ghee to it. Then add the liver pieces to it and stir it well. Keep on stirring till the ghee separates from it and the juices run clear. The meat is well cooked when it is no longer pink inside. Fry for few more mimnute if you want the meat to be extra well done.
Serve hot immediately. This can be eaten as it is or served dry with chappati.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

been a long time

I know its been a long time since I posted any recipes. But I hope to post few right away (by that i mean in upcoming days). Look forward to my new kababs, Samosas. I have new pasta recipes that i want to post. I have tried out few desser recipes that i will post soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Methi (Fenugreek) Parathas

Parathas are wholesome lunch/dinner. In my household i serve them atleast 1 once a week and they are a great way to sneak in green leafy veggies to S. S hates eating spinach or methi as a vegetable but parathas are fine with him.


1 bunch of methi leaves cleaned and washed, chopped into fine pieces.
2 cups whole wheat flour
to this I usually add some rice flour too.
Salt to taste
2 tsps oil
water for kneading...add slowly to the mix
2 tsps cumin powder
2 tsps corriander powder
1 tsps red chillil powder

Mix and knead all the ingredients togehter to form a chappati-consistency dough. Cover and let it rest for 30 mins.
Lightly flour the rolling base and roll a lime size dough ball. I usually roll out parathas a little thicker than chappatis just because they taste better that way. Warm up a frying pan, when it is warm enough, transfer the paratha and roast it on both sides. Apply a little oil on the paratha and roast again. This step adds flavor to the dry roasting and the paratha tastes better. Sometimes for duckie, instead of oil I use ghee or butter.
Serve warm with ketchup, yougurt, chutney or just eat me:)

Easy corn nibblets

As you can see my baby loved these corn nibblets. And they were so easy to make. I used the frozen sweet corn kernels for these. But ofcourse if you have tiome, you can actually remove the kernels yourself. I made these as a snack for my duckie.
1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn kernels
1 tsp olive oil
salt to taste
dash of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin powder....optional
1/2 tsp corriander powder....optional
lemon juice for garnishing
Warm up olive oil in a pot and when hot add sweetcorn kernels to it. Add black pepper, cumin powder and corriander powder to it. Add salt to taste. Stirfry the corn till cooked and serve warm. Squeeze little lemon juice for tangy taste.
You can add many different ingredients to this dish and turn it to salad or snacks.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chicken Malai Tikka

Now tikka is a general term. When anyone says tikka, the only thing people think of is the red colored chicken tikka. But there are so many different kinds of tikka. My fav beinig malai tikka, harayali tikka and ofcourse the "red" chicken tikka.

I had made this tikka for a barbecue party we had at my place. I marinated this chicken 2-3 days in advance and used ricotta chese for this recipe. The end product was creamy juicy melt-in-your-mouth Malai Tikka. The best thing is, this tikka is very mild and because of that kids enjoy it. My duckie loved this tikka and so did S.

1 pound boneless chicken cut and washed
1/2 container of low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup hung yogurt
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
salt to taste
1 tsp white pepper (black will do) more if you want spicy tikkas
2-3 tsps oil for marinating
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp corriander powder
1/4 cup cashew powder

Marinate the chicken with all of the above ingredients and refrigerate for atleast 1 day. I grilled the chicken instead of baking it. My hubby S helped me with grilling. Skewer the chicken with an oiled skewer. Retain the leftover marinade. Turn the chicken twice on the grill making sure that it doesnt overcook. Baste the chicken with some oil and the leftover marinade. Serve hot with naan and onions or as it is.
If baking in oven, preheat the oven to 350F. Bake on a greased baking sheet till cooked. It takes approx. 25 mins. Broil for 5 mins to get the charred flavor.

Chicken Tikka

Everyone loves chicken tikka. Haven't met a chicken eating person who doesn't like chicken tikka. The best chicken tikka should have an explosion of flavors including the charred flavor from the charcoal. In INdia chicken tikka is mainly prepared in a tandoor oven. which is basically an open oven with burning coal. Chicken tikka tastes great as an appetizer, with a naan or even as a sandwich.
Chicken tikka is found in indian restaurants all over the world and my guess is it would be the most commonly ordered nonveg dish in any restaurant. My son loves chicken tikka and so does S. He loves to eat chicken tikka with naan and raw onions. That is a complete meal for him. While my little duckie loves to eat chicken tikka as it is. If it is too spicy then he doesnt eat the masala exterior but just the white meat inside.

In India there are many small places which sell just tandoori chicken and assorted tikkas. There was one near my place which me and my sister would often visit. Even now, whenever I go back, it is definetly on my to-do list.

For the above chicken tikka recipe, I have used couple of shortcuts. LIke use packaged masala instead of making my own masala. I really like shaan masalas. These masalas come with a direction on how to use it and if you follow the directions then the dish turns out excellent. These masalas are found only in U.S. and not in India. Till now I have sent my mom many masala packages. I have used hung yogurt for this recipe because the normal yogurt gets runny for marinating and its too much of wastage. If you dont have any time for hung yogurt then greek yogurt will do and if not then plain yogurt will do. Once I made the same dish with ricotta cheese instead of yogurt and the tikkas turned out melt-in your mouth creamy and delicious.
1 pound boneless chicken breast washed and cut into medium pieces.
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
half packet of shaan tandoori chicken masala..more for spicy
2 tsp oil for marinating
1/2 cup of low fat hung yogurt
Preparation and Cooking
Take a mixing bowl and mix all the above ingredients together. Salt is not necessary as the masala packet already contains salt. Marinate the chicken for 1 day. If cooking the chicken on a grill, skewer the chicken and ask hubby for help with a cute smile. If cooking in a oven pre-heat the oven at 350F for 10 mins. Either use a skewer or oil a baking dish for the chicken. Cook the chicken till the chicken is just done around 20-25 mins. Then put the chicken in the broiler for the charred effect. Do this for just 5 mins as the chicken browns very quickly. If the chicken is kept for longer then it gets tough to chew and loses its moistness.
Enjoy the chicken with naan, onions, mint chutney.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Grilled veggies

Easy, easy, very easy. Thats what I was thinking all the time while marinating this dish. Grilled veggies taste great with chicken tikka and naan. And I marinated them 2 days in advance. I love veggies and this is a great way to get some in your meal. Though we had these as a side course, i bet they would taste great in a sandwich or a salad. I used zuccini, mushrooms, red bell pepper, white onions, idaho potatoes. For marinating, I used salt papper, basil ( I love it) and olive oil.

Zuccini 1 whole
Bell Pepper -1 whole
Mushrooms loads of them
1 large onion
1 large potato
fresh ground black pepper
Olive oil
dried basil 1 tsp
Wash and cut zuccini into 1/2" slices. Wash and cut the bell pepper into 1" slices. Quater the potatoes and the onions. I just cleaned the mushrooms and used them whole. Now get the mixing bowl, add veggies to it add oil, salt , pepper and basil and mix well. Cover with foil and refrigerate for atleast 30 mins. Then skewer them and grill over the open flame. Eat hot or in a sandwich/salad.
The potato tasted great since i had left the skin on which had turned crunchy. Next time I am going to cook red potatoes in foil. Mushrooms tasted really good and I am glad I used the entire packet. Red bell peppers tasted wonderfully soft and little sweet. The next time I grill, I will try different colored ones.

Chicken Biryani

India should be called as the land of biryani instead of the land of curry. There are so many different kinds of biryanis, I havent been able to try all of them out...yet. THe biryani shown above is very easy to make, doesnt take a lot of time and everyone likes it. This particular kind of chicken biryani is not my own recipe but given to me by S's friend and borrowed from SHAAN masala packet. There's a little story as to how I got this recipe. I have a great mutton biryani recipe, awesome prawns biryani and amazing vegetable biryani. I was in search for a good chicken biryani. S always used to reminisce about the great chicken biryani his friend used to get for lunch. So when we went to visit her, we asked her to make the biryani. And it was great. I hadn't eaten such good biryani in a long time. So many helpings and spoonfuls later I asked her to email me the recipe and she is such a sweet person, she sent me the recipe. This recipes has been tweaked a little to suit my taste. S loves this recipe. My parents loves this biryani, his parents love this biryani, everything is good.:)

1 whole chicken cut into medium pieces and washed.
2 large tomatoes
2 large onions
1 laarge potato
1 packet shaan bombay biryani masala
oil for cooking
1 cup yogurt
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 peppercorns
2-3 cloves
1-2 cardamom pods

5 cups basmati rice
6 cloves
1" cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
4-5 bay leaves
3-4 tsp ghee
few strands saffron-soaked in water/milk for 30mins.

Wash, clean and cut the chicken into medium pieces. dice tomatoes into small pieces. Slice the onion thinly and fry them in kadai till golden brown. Take care that they do not burn or will taste bitter. ONce the onions are removed from the kadai, season them immediately with salt. Divide the fried onions into 2 portions.
Cut the potato french - fries style and fry till golden brown and keep aside. Wash and chop the cilantro.
Marinate the chicken with the following: ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, entire packet of shaan masala, half the portion of fried onions, tomatoes, entire chopped cilantro 5-6 tsps oil from the fried onions kadai and yogurt. Set this aside for atleast 45 mins.
Meanwhile cook rice in a thick-bottom pot. First wash the rice and keep aside for 10 mins. Heat the pot and add ghee to it. Then add bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick and peppercorns. Saute for 10 secs. Already the ghee will start smelling of the wonderful spices. Then add rice and saute for 2 mins till slightly pink-brown. Then add twice the amount of water. So since I used 5 cups rice, I used 10 cups of warm water. When the water comes to a rolling boil season with salt. Remember that the chicken already has salt in it and the onions/fries are also salted. So add salt accordingly. The rice for this biryani is cooked less than aldente, so when it feels raw. turn off the flame and drain of the water from the rice. Divide into 2 portions and keep aside.
Take a large thick-bottom pot for layering of biryani. OIl the bottom of the pot with 2 tsp of oil. Then put the entire chicken mixture on it. Then add one portion of rice and level with chicken. Sprinkle water-saffron mixture on the rice evenly. Saffron gives a lovely yellow-orange color to the rice while the water helps in cooking the rice over steam. then layer with half portion of onions. Then again layer with rice and saffron-water mixture and top with onions and fries. The seal the pot with aluminum paper and cook it over medium flame. when the chicken and rice are done -usually around 30-40 mins then you will be able to smell and see the steam rising from the pot. This biryani cooks mainly over steam and needs very little oil.
Serve hot with extra crunchy fried onions garnished on the top and side of tomato-onion raita(salad) .

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Barbecue- 1

Doesn't it look great???
This weather is perfect For grilling. In India we never did any grilling. Whatever had to be cooked, my mom did it in the oven and it turned out quite good. Here I switched over to the grilling side very very quickly. The food tastes amazing, it is very easy and convenient and a great way to invite friends over and have a party.
Few days ago my bro-in-law was over with his own grill. So we had a barbecue party at that time. I had marinated some chicken earlier- recipes will be posted soon. and we grilled some veggies too. All in all it was a great time. We ate the chicken with some hot ready made naans and had the veggies as a side dish. Its making me think that all food tastes better when cooked on an open grill. But there is only one way to find out, right?? Buy a grill yourself!! I have been hankering S for quite sometime now to buy a portable grill:) Lets see what happens.
There are so many wonderful things that i could actually grill and enjoy. And its not just meat but think about the veggies and fruits and desserts and pizzas and yummm.
Only if I had a grill.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Aloo (potato) Parathas

I love parathas of all kinds. These are very simple to make and great as an anytime meal. But here I have put it down as breakfast and snacks. Few years ago I had the good fortune of going to delhi. Now Delhi is a great place for eating as well as shopping. We went to paratha galli where they served us hot straight from the stove whatever-you-want parathas.

Aloo parathas are real easy to make and taste little like a potato pancake. S likes aloo parathas. When my mom visited me, I made aloo parathas specially for her and she loved them too. Infact, she said I make better parathas than her. And my little duckie also likes parathas. I make hot parathas for him and serve it with butter/ghee.

2 large potatoes
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder ...can use minced green chillies
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp corriander powder
1/4 cup kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
salt to taste
water, oil for kneading
2 cups whole wheat flour for kneading
salt to taste
oil for shallow frying

Boil, cool, peel and mash the potatoes. Add all the spices, salt and kasuri methi and mix well and keep aside. Mix the flour, salt, water, oil and knead well. Consistency should be like chappati dough. Take a lime size ball of dough and roll it out to the size of a puri. Take a golf ball size amount of potato mix and put it on the puri. Envelope the entire potato mix by the puri and close it at the top properly. Lightly flour the surface for rolling the paratha. ROll the potato-dough ball from all sides on the surface sprinkling with flour whenever necessary. Roll it properly taking care that no potato mix comes out and if it does come out then just close the surface by pinching the dough. Roll out the paratha the size of chappati and gently slide it on the hot pan. Cook one side for 1 min, flip it cook the other side for 1 min and apply oil to both sides and cook till well done.
Serve hot with butter, ketchup, chutney, yogurt. This is very good for breakfast or even lunch box.
dough around it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tomato Saar

First of all, can you see the steam rising from the bowl?? I took this picture when the saar was very hot and ofcourse the day was very cold, so it helped. Tomato saar is a typical maharashtrian dish. Like its counterpart rasam, it is mainly eaten with steaming hot rice and ghee (clarified butter). My mom adds coarsely ground pepper to this and we had it whenever we had a bad case of cold.

There are many variations to this saar. The basic being coarsely chopped tomato and ground coconut bits.

For my variation, I used canned tomato soup (Campbells ...the very best) and instead of coconut bits, I used coconut milk (the canned variety). That gave my saar a little thickness and creamy taste.

Personally, I loved this variation of tomato saar. S made faces while eating/drinking it. My little duckie was kind of skeptical of it at first but after first 2-3 spoons, he realized that I wasnt tricking him into something nutritious and he had more. So it was a good midday snack for him.

Anyways I called up my mom, told her the tip about using campbell's soup as the base instead of the traditional chopping dicing boiling of tomatoes, she loved the tip.

1 can campbell's tomato soup
1/4 can coconut milk
chopped cilantro
2 pinches coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp fresh ginger
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1tsp ghee (clarified butter)
salt to taste
1/4 tsp jaggery
pinch of asafoetida

Take the regular soup pan and warm it up. Add the entire can of soup + 1 can plain water. Add one pinch of coarsely ground black pepper. Let it come to a boil. Add salt to taste and jaggery. Now add COCOnut milk to the mixture stirring it continously. After it mixes properly, turn off the flame and let it rest. Take another small kadai and heat it up. Use this for tempering the saar. Add the ghee to this kadai. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds, ginger and black pepper in quick succession. Add this mixture to the saar mix and mix properly. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
This tomato saar is excellent with hot rice or even as it is like soup. The consistency of this should be little thinner than tomato soup and the final taste should be salty-sweet with hint of balck pepper and ginger