Wednesday, April 29, 2009


When I was a kid, I used to love thalipeeth. Then I went through a phase where I hated thalipeeth so much that I couldnt even stand the smell of it. But now, after many many years of hate, I am in love with this higly nutritious, multi-grain, spicy savory breakfast/ snack pancake. My mother-in law makes really good thalipeeth. The thalipeeth flour is homemade and not store bought and I think this just changes the taste. Sometimes veggies like shredded cabbage or spinach or raddish are added. I have had thalipeeth with leftover rice added to it too. And it is almost always served with either sweet or salted butter. Some people like it with ketchup too.

The main thing about thalipeeth is that it needs a good amount of oil for cooking. Use less amount of oil and thalipeeth turns dry and kind of sticks to the back of your throat. Use a generous amount of oil and the thalipeeth turns perfect.

1 Cup thalipeeth flour. : I dont have a recipe for this since mine is made by my mother-inlaw. But I think the store bought one would taste as good.
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder or 2 green chillies cut into fine pieces.
small white onion, minced
cliantro washed and chopped
salt to taste
oil for cooking
ghee or butter for serving

In a plate knead the flour, turmeric powder, green chillies, minced onion, chopped cilantro, salt and 2 tsp of oil together with enough water. The consistency should be soft and like pizza dough.
Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 mins. Divide it into 5 equal size balls
Heat a pan and apply oil on the surface. The key to make good thalipeeth is the way it is actually made. Take a big plastic sheet and lay it flat on the kitchen counter and oil the surface of the plastic. Apply oil to both the palms. Take a single ball and knead it with oil. Lay it flat on the oiled plastic surface and use the palm of your working hand to press on the edges of the ball. makiing it flatter, thinner and bigger. The edge of the thalipeeth should be as thick as a thin crust pizza. Apply some oil on the surface. When it is as big as a personal size pizza, take the plastic sheet and gently lay the thalipeeth on the hot pan, oiled face down. Cover the pan the way you would for making dosa and let it cook. When a sizzling sound is heard, it indicates that the bottom surface is cooked. Apply little oil on the surface and flip it over. Note: Like i said before thalipeeth needs a good amount of oil. You have to oil both the surfaces, or it doesnt taste as good.
Let it cook for a minute and then remove from the pan. Serve hot with ghee or butter spread over it.
It makes for an excellent breakfast. If really small thalipeeths are made they can serve as appetizers.
The recipe above is for traditional thalipeeth. But at the time of kneading, veggies can be added. It tastes deliciious.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Party Food

I have a party at my house this saturday. There are over 14 adults and 6 kids in total. This time I have decided to cook everything all by myself instead of having a potluck. After days of thinking up the menu and many many considerations later, I have come up with the following menu:

Sev puri: Basically I just have to boil the potatoes and dice up onions and tomato and cilantro. I have chat masa ready. Tamrind chutney is always there in my fridge and green chtney hardly takes any time. The best part is I can assembel the puris and potato well beforehand and then the guest can serve themself with whatever toppings they need. Neat, huh?

Ragda Pattice: Another crowd pleaser. I will boil and make the pattice on friday itself and keep it in the fridge. Then on saturday, in afternoon i will shallow fry the pattice and keep them ready. When the guest start arriving, I will pop them into the oven and they will remian warm till dinner. Ragda hopefully wont take much time and should be done by morning so that it gets more flavorful by evening. Rest of the toppings will be same as sev puri so work will be easy for me.

Veg Pulav: I have a very simple pulav in mind. Nothing fancy. just plain veggies like carrots, peas and french beans. Packaged garam masla and pulav masala, Some yougurt added while cooking veggies, some vegetable stock added while making rice and presto! i have a great pulav:)

Kokum saar -sweet version: I love this saar. The sweet-sour taste is a perfect accompaniment to any spicy dish especially rice. Its mainly eaten with pulav, "masale bhaat" etc.

Kulfi: The perfect dessert to finish up whenever chaat is served. My mom came up with this idea. I was racking my brains as what would be the perfect dessert, because somehow kheer, cake, sheera, gulab jamun were not right. I was thinking more like ice popsicles but my mom had this great idea. She even gave me the recipe. I , obviously have tweaked it a little to suite my taste. Thanks mamma!! So malai kulfi it is:)

now for the kiddies menu: Since there are going to be atleast 6 kids and not all kids eat ragda pattice, i decided to cook something special for them. Even my duckie doesnt eat chaat. So I am going to make moth(matki) lentils, rice, varan( maharashtrian dal) and chappatis (well actually phulkes)

I am going to do this all be myself. I hope I am able to do it. Will post later about how successful or not was the party menu. Wish me luck!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kala Chana / Bengal Gram Salad

Kala chana belongs to the family of chick peas. A very delicious, versatile and nutritious pea. I love peas in general and they are a very very good source of proteins. My mom used to make a very good kala channa gravy. Eating this channa in any form evokes those memories. I used to love the gravy so much that I could hardly get through the day and it was very difficult to wait for dinner.

This kala chana salad is a very simple recipe and can be eaten as a midtime snack too. I usually prepare this whenever i make some "boring" food or sandwiches. My duckie loves kala chana and the veggies in it. He sits in his chair and picks up the chana with his little fingers and pops them into his mouth. There are many ways to make this particular dish. This is the simplest one. I will write about the other recipes later.

1 cup bengal gram Soaked over night
1 tomato
1 small onion
1/2 seedless cucumber
1 small boiled potato
fistful of chopped cilantro
1 tsp chaat masal or plain lime juice and salt
pinch of asafoetida

Soak the channa overnight. Next day pressure cook it in as little water as possible along with some asafoetida. Let the cooker cool down completely and then handle the channa. Make sure that the channa is cooked completely. Drain away whatever little water is left. Dice the tomato, mince the onion and cube the potato. cut the cucumber into dices. mix in the channa. Add chaat masala for flavor. If chaat masala is not there then just add plain salt or both salt and dash of lime. Garnish with cilantro and serve cold. This is perfect to take on a picnic.
I love this dish because it is the perfect combination of fibre, proteins and carbs. It can be served as a salad or just something you want to munch on.
Like I said before there are many ways to prepare this dish. You could grill the above veggies and add to this dish, it would taste wonderful. Or heat up some oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, red chilli powder, corriander powder, cumin powder , salt and the channa and serve it hot - with or without the veggies.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Grilled Veggie Sandwich

My husband S loves Sandwiches. Be it egg, chicken or veggies. Sandwiches can be described as complete food when it contains veggies and some kind of protein like egg, chicken. My mom mainly used to make veggie sandwiches or chutney sandwiches. Simple sandwiches with cucumber, tomato, butter, coconut chutney and maybe grilled or not were my favorite. My neighbor used to make awesome egg-potato sandwiches which me and my sister used to love. Sandwiches in India were really simple, right? Plain white bread usually "wibs", butter, tomato ketchup and green chutney were the only condiments used. But those sandwiches used to be delicious.

This sandwich I made is my mother-inlaws recipe. My mother's recipe is similar but instead of dry chutney, her chutney had more liquid. I used italian bread for this sandwich. This is an Indian sandwich and for that I have used many Indian ingredients except for the bread:)


Italian bread 1 loaf

Amul butter - absolutely delicious..dont mind the calories for this one

Grated coconut either fresh or pre-packaged will do


2-3 green chilllies

salt to taste

veggies of your choice: I use tomato, potato, cucumber

ketchup - I serve this on side to prevent the sandwiches from being soggy.

I use george foreman grill to grill the sandwich, but I am sure grilling in oven will have the same effect.


Make sure that the butter is at room temperature and easily spreadable.

wash and chop the cilantro. chop the chillies into small pieces. wash and cut the tomato and the cucumber into circles. Boil and peel the potato and cut into circular pieces.

Warm up the grill and keep it ready. Take 2 slices of bread. Butter up one side of a single slice of bread -if you are health concious both side if you are not :)I butter up both slices for me, and one slice for my husband:)) layer the veggies on the slice of bread and then put the dry chutney. sprinkle salt per taste. When the grill is hot, put the assembled sandwiches in the grill. Brush the outer sides of the sandwich with olive oil or butter so that the sandwich turns really toasty.

Cut and serve the sandwich with ketchup on side.

In the above picture I served the sandwich with some kala chana or bengal gram salad and chips. This sandwich is perfect for breakfast. Serve with some salad or soup and make it into lunch or dinner.

Monday, April 20, 2009


MMmmmmm sambar...Sambar can be described as a hearty stew of split pigeon peas with loads and loads of veggies. It is usually an accompaniment to idli and dosa and even rice with ghee.
I love sambar. I remember when mom used to make sambar at home. The aroma used to fill the entire house. earlier my mom used to make sambar from readymade masala- nothing against it, but somehow, it lacks the distinct flavor of homemade sambar. Me, my dad and my sister used to eat sambar, but never loved it. Then one day, a friend of my mom converted her to making fresh sambar powder. So mom made fresh sambar powder, added some wonderful veggies to it, and we were hooked. From that day onwards there was no turning back. Mom started making big pot of sambar every saturday. I loved it so much that I used to eat only sambar without any idli/dosa. so basically tea-time used to be only sambar. then at 7 pm i used to have sambar idli and then sambar rice with fried papad and pickle and hot ghee. Mmmmmmmm.
When i came to the US, I got the sambar powder recipe from my mom. Till now I have made sambar like that quite few times, but somehow it doesnt taste like mom's. My mom makes the best sambar in the world:) Mom adds veggies like bottlegourd, pumpkin, drumsticks, small eggplants, french beans, tindora, guvar, okra apart from normal onions and tomatoes. so this makes the sambar really delicious and nutritious.

Split pigeon pea (toor dal) 1 cup
1/4tsp turmeric
pinch of asafoetida

small onion - julienned

small tomato

5-7 curry leaves

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp sambar powder( I use MTR Sambar Powder)

1/4 red chilli powder (optional)

veggies available: I use okra, tindora, bottle gourd, red pumpkin,french beans, eggplant. green bell pepper each not more than fistful
you could add or deduct any veggie per your choice.

Salt to taste

Tamrind 1 inch soaked in warm water

jaggery to taste.

Oil for cooking

Preparation and Cooking:Wash and soak the toor dal in water for 15 mins. Add asafoetida and turmeric to it. Pressure cook the dal till fully cooked. Warm up the pot and add oil to it. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds to it. After the seeds are done sputtering, add the curry leaves. Add the onions immediately after it. roast for 1 min and add tomatoes. Add the rest of the veggies to it and roast for few minutes. Add the chilli powder and sambar powder to it and roast for few minutes. pour some water till the veggies are completely covered and then cover the pot. Let the veggies cook "al-dente". Add the cooked toor dal to this and let it come to a boil. Add water per requirement. the consistency should be like chilli. lower the gas and then add the salt, tamrind and jaggery per taste.

Sambar can be served with idli or dosa or even hot rice with ghee. Sambar can be eaten just itself like a stew - like a one pot meal. But most important, sambar should be served hot and with love.

Potato Dosa Bhaaji

I have no idea about the rest of India, but atleast in Maharashtra, masala dosas are served with "Potato Bhaaji". I cant say that I love the bhaaji because if its not there, I wont miss it. But S loves this bhaaji. For him, this boiled potato mish-mash is a must with sadha dosas. I have no idea about the origin of this bhaaji or how it came to be served with dosas. But some smart person probably served this bhaaji with not so crispy dosa and gave the name Masala Dosas.

Now in restaurants, traditionally, the dosa served with this bhaaji is smaller in size than sadha dosa and little thick but soft. The bhaaji is filled inside the dosa and is meant to be eaten the way you would eat roti-saabzi. Just to make life easier for me, I serve this bhaaji on the side instead of as a filling.

2 large potatoes
2 medium onions
1 large tomato
1 tsp urad dal
10-15 curry leaves
4 whole red chillies
1 inch ginger - grated
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
oil for cooking
hing/asafotedia pinch only
handful cilantro

Boil the potatoes. They should be tender enough to be pierced by a fork. Peel them and dice them into large pieces because they cook and break into small pieces at the last stage of cooking. Peel and dice the onions into medium pieces. Dice the tomato into medium pieces. apart from the potato, its the mish mash of onions, tomato and the seasonings that flavor the Bhaaji and are more fun to eat.

Cooking: warm up the oil in a kadai. When the oil is hot, add the asafotedia first. Then add the mustard seeds. When they are done sputtering, add the red chillies, curry leaves, ginger and urad dal together. Then add the turmeric. Roast it a little. Then add the onoins and roast it a little. Cover the kadai and let the onions cook. Make sure sure that they remain translucent and dont turn brown. Move the entire seasonings and onions to the sides of the kadai in a ring and put the diced tomato in centre. This will ensure that the curry leaves, ginger, urad dal etc donot get over cooked but just the tomato gets cooked - same principle as a wok. After the tomato is cooked, mix everything together and season it with salt. Adding salt at this stage ensures better mixing than when potatoes are added. Add potatoes and mix properly. Cover the kadai and let it steam out once. Turn of the gas/burner and then garnish it with cilantro. This just ensures that cilantro doesnt lose its flavor or color.
This bhaaji can be prepared well in advance for the meal. But sometimes the potatoes get over cooked. So I cook the bhaaji till the salt stage and then during dinner time, I heat up the entire kadai again and then add potatoes and cilantro. Doing this, there is no reheating of food and overcooking.
When you eat the bhaaji, there should be a subtle taste of ginger and curry leaves.
Serve the bhaaji on side with sadha dosa or serve it as a Masala Dosa.
For Masala Dosa:
Recipe, preparation same as sadha dosa. Only when cooking the dosas, instead of making them very thin, make it little thick. When the dosa is cooked on the pan, before removing it, place a generous heaping of bhaaji on the centre and close the dosa as a semi circle. Maneuver it expertly, remove the dosa + filling from the pan and serve it on a plate with sambar and chutney.
Happy Eating!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sadha -Paper (simple/basic) Dosa

Dosas are one of my most favorite thing. Everyone at home loves dosas. S loves it with potato bhaaji as a side dish while duckie loves a crispy dosa. I on the other hand love dosa any way it is served- with chutney, sambar, potato bhaaji, and even the new filled varieties. Both my mom and my mother-inlaw make great dosas. But somehow I think I make better dosas than them because I have taken the best of two and combined them.:)

Dosas are a staple diet in southern part of India but are equally popular all over India. The dosa that I have pictured over here is known as "sadha dosa" i.e. basic dosa. These dosas, I think are very popular because of their crispiness espec. with kids. In India there are places where the sadha dosas served are as big as two dinner plates put together.


split urad dal - 1 cup

sooji ( sadha rava i.e. wheat creamlets) - 3 cups

toor dal 1/4 cup, moong dal 1/4 cup (both optional)-but they make dosas very very crispy

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

salt to taste
Tip: The above measurement is more than enough for 4 people with batter left over.

Preparation: Wash and soak the dals and sooji separatley. add the fenugreek seeds to the urad dal. preferably soak them overnight. Fenugreek seeds help in fermentation.

Next day drain off the water and grind the dals in blender (mixer). grind it very very finely. If possible grind it for atleast 30 mins, this incorporates air in the mixture and makes it light. I have a simple blender which I use for grinding. I grind continously for 5 mins and then stop for 2 mins and repeat the procedure for 30 mins. Add water slowly to the urad dal while grinding, take care that it doesnt turn into a thin paste. Repeat the same thing with sooji. Donot add any water while grinding sooji as it would have already absorbed water while soaking. Mix the two batters in a big container leaving enough space for fermentation. Add little salt to taste while mixing.

Cover and leave the container in a warm place or especially winter warm up the oven to 200deg and keep the container in it for fermentation. The batter should ferment within 24 hrs.

Actual preparation of Dosas: Coat a thin layer of cooking oil on a frying pan and warm it up for some time. The pan has to be very hot for the dosas to cook or they wont come off properly. Take a ladle and drop a ladle full of dosa batter onto the frying pan moving the ladle in a circular motion on the pan. Stretch out the batter as much as you can on the pan. The thinner the batter, the crispier the dosa. Then drizzle some oil along the sides of the dosa. The dosa shouldnt be too oily. I usually cover the dosa and let it cook for 20-30 seconds. If the pan is covered a sizzling sound is usually heard when the dosa is cooked. Then its not necessary to flip it on the other side. Remove the dosa carefully from the pan with a flat spatula.

The first 2-3 dosas always turn out crappy. So don't worry about it. As long as the pan is hot enough and then batter consistency is right, the dosas will turn out fine once the pan is tempered well by heat and oil.

Serve it with sambar, chutney or potato sabji (bhaaji). Dosas are to be enjoyed hot straight from the pan. If you make them beforehand they tend to turn soft.

Next time I will try to get a better picture. This isnt a great picture, but I assur eyou, the food was great.

Friday, April 10, 2009

There's a Duckie in My Kitchen

Hello everyone, my name is Dipti and I am based in Naperville, IL. I am happily married to a fellow foodie and mother to a naughty 16mnths old boy who I believe will grow up to be a foodie like his mom and dad.
I love trying out different recipes and experimenting on my husband who sometimes is quite lavish with his praise.:)
My son loves to play in my kitchen with his toys and leaves them behind for me to pickup. Dog, teddy bear, car, ball and almost everytime his yellow duckie. My littleone (LO) has a very curious nature and loves to follow my each and every move in the kitchen. Sometimes he sits in his high chair with his duckie and I explain each and everything to him.
Hence the name- There's a duckie in my kitchen. This blog is a collection of my recipes, tried and tasted, for him- my duckie:)