Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tomato & eggplant soup

Tomato & eggplant soup

The fall is here and it drizzles every now & then .. I love this weather though and love to enjoy it with soups; it doubles the fun ..

Here is what we need -

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 baby eggplant
  • Cilantro stems
  • 2 pepper corns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 spoon olive oil
  • 1 spoon oregano leaves
  • salt per taste

Preheat oven for 350 F

cut tomatoes and eggplant in big chunks. peel garlic.

Put everything in the baking tray along with peppercorn, bay leaf, garlic and cilantro. Dab some salt, oregano leaves and oil.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Run through the blender and strain it.

Slurp slurp ..

Lemon & Cilantro Rice

Lemon & Cilantro Rice

Some variation to the plain rice is always good ...

Yeah these ingredients made this rice supa delicious ...

Here is what we need -

  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • handful chana daal
  • 1 tbs urad daal
  • cilantro
  • mint
  • 7-8 curry leaves
  • 1 garlic
  • 2-3 red chilies (you could use the long ones)
  • 1 sp cumin seeds
  • 4 green chilies
  • 2 tbs oil
  • pinch of turmeric
  • salt

Whats Next -

Wash basmati rice. Let it sit for 15-20 mins.

In a heavy bottom pan take 3-4 cups water and bring it to boil. Add rice to it. cook for 10 minutes and drain the water using strainer.

In a blender make a paste of cilantro, garlic, mint, 2-3 curry leaves and 1 green chili by adding a little water.

Soak chana and urad daal for 1 hour.

In a pan heat oil. Once hot add cumin seeds, green chilies, soaked daals, turmeric, salt and curry leaves. Give everything a good mix. Add blended masala.

Finally add the lemon juice and rice. ohhoo heaven ...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vegetable Cutlets

Vegetable Cutlets

Guys time for some healthy snack. This is an appetizer where you have complete scope to put any kinda ingredients. Cutlets are nothing but veggie patties eaten just as. If you want to get someone eat some kinda veggie here is the best way to do that as veggies blend so well in here that you could hardly tell .. ohh boy .. whata tricky cook : -) The best part of this recipe is you could make as many pieces you need at one go and save rest of the batter in the container and when you take it out its as fresh as it was.


Here is what I used -

This recipe will make 16 pieces

  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cup of frozen mix veggies (corn+green beans+carrots)
  • 1 sp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1/2 onion
  • salt per taste
  • 1/2 spoon red chili powder
  • 1 sp cumin+coriander powder
  • 1/2 sp dry mango powder
  • 1/2 sp garam masala powder
  • 2 tbs corn starch
  • 2-3 tbs oil

Whats Next -

Boil Potatoes. I usually put the frozen veggie bag in the microwave as directed on it. This bag contains more than 1 cup veggies so cook and take out how much ever veggies you want and again put the rest of the remaining veggie bag back in the refrigerator.

Fine chop or grate carrot. Make chili paste. fine chop onion.

In a bowl take potatoes, veggies(microwaved) and mash everything good. Add chopped veggies(carrot+chili+onion) to it. Add all the dry spices. Give everything a good mix. Taste it and adjust ingredients as per your liking.

In another bowl take corn starch; add a little water to it and make paste.

Heat the griddle on high heat.

Shape your cutlets batter with hand. as creative as it gets guys .. round, heart, cylindrical etc ..

Put 1 tbs oil on the griddle and dip the cutlets in the corn starch batter and place cutlets on the griddle. let its color change to golden brown flip it to the other side. drop some oil along side if needed.

Serve it hot with Ketch-up, chutney or any dip .. I personally enjoy hot and sour Ketchup bought from Indian store.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stuffed Bread Pakoda

How to make stuffed Bread Pakoda

Here is what we need -

  • 1 potato
  • 4 slices of white bread
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • salt
  • cilantro
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • pinch of chili powder
  • 1/2 Sp lemon juice
  • oil for deep frying
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1/4 spoon chaat masala (optional)
  • 4 tbs chick pea flour

Whats Next -

Boil Potato in the pressure cooker. I usually boil 4-5 potatoes and put it in the zip lock and refrigerate it so it is handy.

In a blender make a green chutney with green chilies, garlic and cilantro adding very little water.

Keep oil on high heat for deep frying.

Chop onion very fine. Mash potato. Mix onion, mashed potato, salt and chili powder, lemon juice and chaat masala. 

On the either or both the slices put green chili chutney. On the other slice spread potato mash. 

If you want to make a tricolor pakoda apply ketch up on the third slice. pile these slices on one another.

Take chick pea flour in a bowl. Add water to make pouring consistency batter. Add salt to it.

Cut bread in triangular and dip it in the batter.

If the oil is hot, drop it in the oil. Fry it and serve hot.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Aloo Bhonda

How to make Aloo Bhonda or Potato fritter or batata vada

This is a Maharashtrian beauty appreciated everywhere in India. Very famous and easy to make appetizer. If you go to Mumbai - a financial capitol of India people actually live on batata vada. Readily available, very tasty, filling and unimaginably inexpensive made this stuff running. This is usually enjoyed with bun bread but it just depends how you like to eat it.

Here is what we need -

Usually 1 big size potato will make 3 medium size (as in pic) vadas

  • 2 big potatoes
  • 2 green chilies
  • cilantro
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • salt
  • pinch of baking powder (optional)
  • 1 small onion
  • curry leaves
  • 1/2 spoon lemon juice
  • 4 tbs chick pea flour
  • oil for deep frying
  • 1 tbs oil for stuffing

Whats Next -

Boil potatoes in the pressure cooker. Take it out and set it to cool.

Fine chop onion. Make a paste of green chilies, cilantro and garlic. (You could just chop it but make sure you fine chop it)

In a pan take oil. once hot add curry leaves, onion, blended mixture. Give it a good mix and switch off the stove. The seasoning is ready.

In a bowl take a chick pea flour. Add water to make thick batter. It should be slightly thicker than pouring consistency. Add little salt and pinch of baking soda.

In a kadai/non stick pan take oil for frying. put it on a high heat.

Potatoes must have cooled down by now. Mash the potatoes and add the seasoning to it. Add salt and lemon juice. Mix it by hand and make lemon size balls.

check if oil is hot enough by dropping very little chick pea batter. If it comes up immediately it is hot enough.

Dip potato balls in the batter and drop it in the oil one by one very carefully. At a time you could fry 4 to 5 vadas depending on the size of the pan. Flip it to the other side and take it out once its slightly golden brown in color.

Serve with ketch up or chutney. yummmmmmm ..

Friday, September 16, 2011

Black Chana Chaat

How to make Black Chana Chaat

Are you expecting some company for dinner and you feel there should be a variety in the appetizers.. here is the one that would have a perfect place in the platter - Black chana chaat.

The only thing is you have to plan 6-7 hours ahead as it needs to be well soaked. This is usually not very filling, tasty, easy to make & mostly everyone's fav ..

Here is what we need -

  • 1 cup black chana
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1 green chili
  • cilantro
  • chaat masala (eyeball it)
  • pinch of chili powder
  • salt per taste
  • lemon juice

Whats Next -

Soak black chana overnight or minimum 7 hours in enough water. Pressure cook black chana for 3 whistle - should be mushy but shouldn't be overcooked.

Fine chop green chili, onion, tomato and cilantro.

In a bowl mix everything. lemon juice really does wonders ...

Taste it and adjust ingredients as per your taste. This is a perfect appetizer or a food for park picnic.


Onion Pakoda

How to make crispy onion pakoda

This is one of our loyal companions for those gloomy rainy days. ahaa onion pakodas and ginger chai a perfect combo .. I don't know if you guys have ever visited sinhgad fort in pune during monsoon. There are stalls up there & they sell Pakoda, zunaka, bhakari, chai .. Pune must visit city and pakodas must try recipe!!

Here is what we need -

  • 2 medium size onions
  • 4 tbs chick pea flour
  • 1 tbs rice flour
  • salt per taste
  • cilantro
  • ajwain ( This is very good digestion)
  • 1 spoon chili powder
  • oil for deep frying

Whats Next -

Chop onions length wise. In a bowl take onion and put salt in it and smear it all over the onion. Leave it on the counter for 15-20 minutes.

Add chili powder, ajwain, chopped cilantro, chick pea and rice flour.

Add 2 tbs water if needed to make very thick batter.

Take oil enough for frying in a pan/kadai. Make sure the oil is hot by putting a drop of batter. drop pakodas carefully from the side of the pan.

These pakodas should be dark brown in color. Take it out on tissue paper.

All time favorite Aloo Paratha

How to make Aloo Paratha

Parathas are Indian stuffed or plain flat breads. I guess Aloo parathas are very popular amongst all parathas. These parathas origin from Northen part of India, especially Punjab. It is prepared with whole wheat flour and spicy potato stuffing.

The best part about this recipe is - It can be enjoyed at any time of the day, it makes a perfect breakfast and could be a meal too. It is a quick recipe yet would highly delight guests too ..

This recipe will make 6 medium size parathas.

Here is what we need -

  • 3 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 big onion
  • cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 green chilies
  • pinch of red chili powder
  • 1 spoon of kitchen king masala ( optional ) (Indian store bought)
  • salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 2 tbs oil       
Whats Next -

Boil Potatoes in pressure cooker for around 8-10 minutes. Let boiled potatoes come to room temperature.

Meanwhile make a dough. Take wheat flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl, add required amount of
water little by little to make a smooth dough. Knead dough with little oil.
Let it sit covered for 10 minutes.

Grate boiled potatoes. In it, add chopped onion. Add paste of green chili, garlic and cilantro. adjust salt as per your taste. Add a pinch of chili powder. Again this is optional. Add 1 table spoon of Kitchen King masala. It gives a great taste. Mix it well to prepare a homogeneous batter.

Make 6 big balls of dough as well as of potato batter. We have to stuff this potato batter in it. I usually make 2 small thick rotis and stuff the batter inside. Once you stuff the batter cover it properly alongside the rotis. Dust some flour on it. Let this sit until you prepare all 6 small stuffed ready to roll parathas.

Heat griddle on medium heat. Now one by one roll these stuffings to medium size thick parathas.

Make golden brown parathas by putting some oil around. Serve these hot with yogurt or pickle.

Instant Green peas/Mutter usal

How to make instant mutter usal

In my kitchen anything that can be sprouted is usal. In the kitchen Green peas is the most handy sabji which has the longest shelf life.

Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 5 min .. unbelievable right ..

Here is what we need -

  • 2 cups green peas frozen
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 spoon cumin seeds
  • pinch of turmeric
  • salt per taste
  • 1 spoon chili powder
  • 1 spoon tomato paste
  • 1 tbs oil
  • cilantro
  • 1/2 spoon cumin+coriander powder

Whats Next -

Fine chop garlic and onion.

Microwave peas for 2-3 minutes.

In a pan heat oil, add cumin seeds. Put garlic & onion. Saute it for a few minutes. Add tomato paste. put turmeric, salt, chili powder and cumin+coriander powder. Mix everything well.

Add green peas. Add 1 cup water. Cover it for 2 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Supa easy!!

A famous Maharashtrian recipe Zunaka

How to make Zunaka

Zunaka is very famous Maharashtrian recipe. This is a dry version of pithale. I guess Shiv Sena made Zunaka-bhakari very famous with their campaign a few years ago.. well this is such a flavorful dish itself so lets not add any political spice to it .. well this is originated in the rural Maharashtra and flourished all over. Bhakari is very healthy form of a bread that goes very well with Zunaka.

If I have to elaborate what zunaka is - It is a main course made from chickpea flour and onions and predominantly eaten with roti/chapati.

Here is what we need -

  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • curry leaves
  • 1 spoon mustard seeds
  • 4 tbs chick pea flour
  • turmeric
  • 1 spoon red chili powder
  • 1 tbs oil
  • salt per taste

Whats Next -

Chop garlic. Slice onion length wise.

In a pan take oil. once hot add mustard seeds. As they sputter add garlic. Let it turn brown. Add onion and curry leaves. Put pinch of turmeric & chili powder. Give it a good mix. Add salt and a little water (3-4 tbs). cover the pan.

The onion would be cooked in 5 minutes. If all the water is evaporated add a little water may be a spoonful or two. Add chick pea flour slowly to avoid lumps. Cover it for 3-4 minutes. Chick pea flour will be soft and well cooked.

This is very delicious. This dish is usually dry so in your meal make something that would go well with zunaka.. Enjoy!!

Quick Tawa Veg

How to make Quick Tawa veg

Sometimes you really don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen but still you wish what you cook should taste like million buck dish .. here is the one.

This has 5 minutes prep time and 10 minute cook time and long lasting taste !!

Here is what we need -

  • 1 small size onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 or less than that green bell pepper
  • 1 medium size potato
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 spoon cumin seeds
  • salt
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 1 spoon pav bhaji masala (store bought - Everest)

Whats Next -

Chop garlic, onion and tomato. In a pan heat oil. Once hot add cumin seeds, in a few seconds put garlic.Add onion. Put turmeric, salt. Let the onion cook till it turns golden brown. Add tomato.

Chop cilantro and potato in cube size.

As soon as tomato tries to lose its texture add potato. Give few stirs in between. In 5 minutes the potato will be half cooked. Add bell pepper. Add pav bhaji masala.

After this you have to give quick stirs as masala might burn. Add/sprinkle few drops of water.

In next 5 minutes it should be ready .. isn't it simple? yet delicious ..

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Guest Post : Veg Hakka Noodles

How to make Veg Hakka Noodles

This recipe is shared by my dahlingg sister Asmita.. We both have similar affection towards food. With this recipe she has brought back so many childhood memories specially the ones around the table. Being elder sista mom always asked me to set right table manners for her and the toughest one was to finish everything that's in your plate. . Just to save her I always used to help her finish things she didn't like and gosh long lasting are the repercussions .. but Never mind that made some bonds stronger forever for sure : )

She is crazily fond of Noodles so here is to the crazy sisterhood ..

Here is what we need -

  • 1 packet of Hakka noodles or a packet of thick Sphagetti.
  • 1 big onion
  • Bunch of spring onion
  • 1 bowl chopped ( length wise) cabbage
  • Half bowl chopped carrot
  • Half bowl chopped mushrooms
  • Half bowl green bell pepper ( optional )
  • Ginger and garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 spoon chili powder
  • Oil
  • Sauces: Tomato ketchup
  • Soya sauce
  • Hot sauce ( chili )
  • schezwan sauce ( optional )
  • Chinese salt: Ajinomoto (optional) can be replaced with our normal salt.

Whats Next -

1 st Step: take around 4 cups of water in heavy bottom pan. Bring water to boil. Then add raw Hakka noodles to it. In 8 -10 minutes noodles will become tender and soft. Make sure noodles shouldn’t be
overcooked. Pour these cooked noodles in porous pan and hold it under cold tap water. Once water is removed keep it aside.

2 nd step: Take heavy bottom pan or kadhai. Put it on medium heat add 4 table spoons of oil. This recipe needs excess oil. Then add chopped garlic and ginger. Then 1 by 1 add vegetables a in a sequence.. Add
onion first stir it well till it becomes slightly yellow then add carrot, cabbage, capsicum, mushrooms. Stir it well.. Once vegetables are half cooked; add soya sauce, tomato ketchup, chili sauce and schezwan sauce in it.. Add chili powder as per your taste. Adjust salt. In this way make a spicy mixture of vegetables and sauces is ready

3 rd step: Add cooked Hakka noodles to it. You need to stir it well so the noodles get mixed properly with the spicy mixture. Add sauces if required. Add a little bit of water if needed to prevent it from
becoming dry. Stir it well for around 10-15 minutes.

Your Hakka noodles are ready to serve. You can serve this dish with any kind of Chinese soup. I prefer vegetable man chow soup with it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Scrambler's Joy - Egg Burji

How to make Scrambler's Joy - Egg Burji

This is my first Guest Recipe - shared by my dear PJ ..

It feels so nice to switch chefs' hats once a while .. whenever the menu for the dinner is Scrambled eggs or egg burji I happily become assistant chef. The job that gets assigned to me is chopping and getting pans ready!!

We both drool over it so much that it is just as good as having candle light dinner at some fancy place; trust me it has its magic..

Lets get going with the recipe. PJ's work in my words.

This recipe feeds 2 hungry souls ..

Here is what we need -

  • 4 Jumbo eggs
  • 1 big onion
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1 green chili
  • cilantro
  • salt per taste
  • 1 spoon onion garlic chili powder (Indian store bought)
  • 3 tbs oil
  • 1/2 spoon chili powder

Whats Next -

Fine chop onion, tomato, green chili and cilantro.

In a pan heat oil, once hot add onion. This onion should be nicely done or completely become translucent. Take should take 7-8 minutes. Add tomatoes. Let it cook very well for 5 minutes. Add green chili, red chili powder and onion garlic chili powder. Let everything incorporate.

In a bowl break 4 eggs. Add in all the egg white n yolk to the pan. Keep it on high heat. Add cilantro and salt. keep stirring it till the egg gets kind of chunky but do not over do it as it dries out completely.

Enjoy it with toasted bread with a dollop of butter.

Masala Papad

How to make Masala Papad

Most appetizing starter in Indian cuisine is crunchy masala papad bites. The simplest and most satisfying starter which is deep fried and topped with spicy onion, tomato and cilantro leaves. Ask any guzzler whats his favourite side and he would answer 'masala papad' as fast as he would guzzle .. so here is the one to the happy guzzlers :-)

Here is what we need -

  • 2 papads (Indian store bought)
  • 1/2 small onion - I like to use red onion
  • 1/2 tomato
  • cilantro
  • chat masala
  • chili powder
  • lemon
  • nylon sev (Indian store bought)
  • oil to deep fry

Whats Next -

Take very little oil in the small pan. Once hot fry papad in it by flipping side once.

Very fine chop onion, tomato and cilantro. Sprinkle it on the papad. Put some sev on it.

Dab some chaat masala and red chili powder. Drop some lemon juice. serve it as soon as you make it.



How to make Payasam

Always wanted to make payasam but never really got to it till today. Now after making and trying this spoonful of delight I regret waiting so long .. the super delicious desert that would go wrong only in dreams.

Here is what we need -

  • 1/2 cup moong daal
  • 1/2 cup jaggery
  • 2 cups coconut milk (canned - store bought)
  • 1 spoon cardamom powder

Whats Next -

Wash moong daal or I would say just a quick rinse. If you have a small pressure cooker roast daal in it for 3-4 minutes until it turns slight golden brown.

divide coconut milk into 2 - One portion make watery by adding 1 cup water in it. Add this to the pressure cooker to cook the daal. Give 2 whistles and lower the heat for 5 minutes. Switch off the stove.

Once it cools down, add jaggery to it. Switch on the stove and let the jaggery melt and give it a good mix.

Add remaining coconut milk to it. Add cardamom powder. Give it a good mix.

Take it out in the serving bowl and refrigerate it. wowwww supa!!

Monday, September 12, 2011


How to make Sambar

This is one of those recipes which seem very easy but result vary each time you make it. There are just uncountable ways you can make this dish. This liquidy curry like recipe originated from southern part of India. I have tried it so many ways myself but each time I felt there is something missing until I ate it a few weeks ago. A very close friend of mine was visiting me here and the breakfast menu was Idli, sambar & chuteny. Avanti - My friend said I will make sambar and I was so relieved and happy. Relieved cause I was not very happy with my sambar recipe and happy cause I was gonna get a recipe. So with her supervision the sambar was cooked in the kitchen .. and guess it was what I always looked for in sambar. Just the way I LOVE!! I am sharing the same recipe with you ..

Here is what we need -

  • 1/2 cup toor daal
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small brown eggplant
  • 7-8 drumsticks
  • curry leaves
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 spoon mustard seeds
  • 1 spoon cumin seeds
  • pinch of asafetida and turmeric
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 1 lemon size ball of tamarind
  • 2 spoons sambar masala (My choice is Everest)

Whats Next -

Soak tamarind in hot water for 30 minutes. Pressure cook toor daal for 3 whistles or until its well cooked. I usually cook drumsticks with toor daal.

Cut onion lenght wise, tomato in bite size pieces , potato in cubes , eggplant in cubes and green chilies in small pieces. I like bottle ground (Lauki) too in my sambar but it was not available. You can add 1/4 green pepper too if you like.

In a heavy bottom pan, add oil. Once hot add mustard seeds. In a few seconds they start to splutter immediately add cumin seeds. Add green chilies and curry leaves. Add onion Add turmeric and asafetida. Add salt. Give it a good stir. The onion starts to become translucent. Add potato as its takes longer time to cook. Cover it for 5 minutes. Add tomato and eggplant. Add a little water and cover it for 4-5 minutes. open the lid and put sambar masala. Give it a mix. Pour 2 cups of water.

Squeeze out the juice from the tamarind. Add it to the pan. Let it boil for 10-15 minutes.

Use ladle to mash daal. If its cooked properly mashing is a seconds task. I don't like to see daal texture in the sambar. add in drumsticks and daal. Let it simmer for another 5-7 minutes. At this point add more water. It really depends how thick or thin sambar you like to eat. keep it a little watery as that way it tastes so delicious.


Sol Kadhi - Refreshing drink

How to make Sol Kadhi - Refreshing drink

After a tired day there is nothing like having Sol kadhi. The drink takes it name from konkan that's coastal Maharashtra and Goa. Sol is nothing but sour kokum halves. Kadhi is made out of coconut milk. People who don't know what Kokum fruits is here is a little intro - This is a seeded fruit grown in summer. An average tree would bear hundreds of kokum fruits during its season. As it ripes its color changes to purple from green. It is consumed as a fruit too with some salt.. blissful .. ..well the flesh of this fruit is dried in the sun to make kokum which has shelf life of years. Also kokum helps in digestive process They are preserved using salt. Sol Kadhi a must try recipe ..

Here is what we need -

  • 8 to 9 kokum halves (this will make 2 glasses of this drink)
  • 2 cup coconut milk (store bought)
  • 1 spoon cumin seeds
  • 1 green chili
  • 1/2 spoon sugar
  • cilantro
  • 1/4 spoon ghee
  • pinch of cumin powder
  • salt per taste

Whats Next -

Soak kokum in hot water for about an hour. after an hour crush kokum in the water to take out its extract. crush in green chili in the same water using spoon. strain the kokum skin and chili seeds. 

In a bowl take coconut milk. Add cumin powder, sugar, salt. Add kokum water little by little by checking on the sourness.

Make a seasoning of cumin seeds in the ghee and add to it. Chop cilantro and add. I like to use mint leaf instead of cilantro for its flavor.

Drink it chilled .. Just Divine ..

Vegetable Pickle

How to make Vegetable Pickle

This recipe brings back lovely reminiscence from my aai's kitchen. As a kid I was a veggie lover, I know which is very unlikely. So my mom would make different dishes out of vegetables and this was one of them. This is a super delicious pickle with no preservatives. If you are expecting company for a few days; make this and would be a good side along with your main course. This has a shelf life of 10-12 days in the refrigerator.

Here is what we need -

  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 carrot
  • handful green pees
  • 1 green chili
  • small piece of ginger
  • 1 spoon mustard seeds
  • pinch of asafetida
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 tbs pickle masala (store bought)
  • 1 spoon vinegar
  • 1 lemon

Whats Next -

Cut cauliflower to very small florets. Chop carrot to small cubes. cut green chili. Grate ginger. Microwave green pees for a minute or two. In a bowl mix in all the veggies.

In a pan heat oil; once hot add mustard seeds. as they start to sputter switch off the stove. Add asafetida. Add this seasoning in the bowl.

Add lemon juice, vinegar and pickle masala. taste it and adjust salt, lemon as per your taste. The pickle masala has salt so do not add it before tasting.

Store it in the air tight container.  

Let it sit for 12 hours so all the ingredients incorporate well.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Homemade Paneer or Cottage Cheese

How to make Homemade Paneer or Cottage Cheese

Paneer hits the top menu in the vegetarian cooking. For people who are not aware of this rich source of protein - It is made by curdling the milk. There are various recipes made out of paneer which are very popular in India and across the globe. If you go to any Indian lunch buffet here you will definitely find paneer in the platter. There are various curries as well as some very rich desserts are made out of paneer. I love home made paneer as its fresh and could be made available whenever you want to eat it. Tofu is another similar looking product however it is chewier than paneer.

Here is what we need -

  • 4 cups of whole milk to make 10 cubes of the size shown in the picture
  • 1 tbs vinegar or 1 lemon 
  • muslin cloth

Whats Next -

I prefer using vinegar to curdle the milk as it curdles faster with vinegar than lemon and 1 bottle goes long way.

Boil milk in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Let the milk come to boil. As soon as it comes to boil lower the flame. Add vinegar or lemon juice. The curd will start to separate from the whey.

The milk will start to curdle and its color will start to change to light green. Switch off the stove.

I usually keep a muslin cloth in a strainer and strain the milk water. Fold the muslin cloth and tie it to the tap & let all the water drain. It will take around 3-4 hours.

Take a square shaped container. Fill all the paneer in the container and refrigerate it for minimum 6 hours. Take it out after 6 hours, you should be able to cut it in the shape you like.

If you want to use paneer for Ras-Malai, Malai Kofta or Paneer bhuna use the crumbly paneer. Avoid refrigeration and cube formation.

You can make flavored paneer by adding appropriate flavor to it like sugar, ginger, garlic. mint etc..
It should be added while boiling the milk.

The paneer tastes best if its consumed fresh.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mango Sheera

How to make Mango Sheera

This is a dessert made with semolina/sago/suji/rawa. Traditionally this is prepared with lot of ghee/clarified butter on the occasions of Pooja in Maharashtra. But this one is considering the calorie conscious eaters like you & I ;-) ..  Sheera could have variations like mango sheera, pineapple sheera, fruit sheera. Here is the recipe for Mango Sheera.

Picture courtesy - Shilpi & Mayank. They are as sweet friends as this dessert!!

Here is what we need -

  • 1 cup semolina
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 & 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup mango pulp (I bought this from Indian store)
  • 3 tbs clarified butter/ghee or unsalted butter (I used unsalted butter)
  • cardamom powder

Whats Next -

In Kadai/pan take butter. Add semolina to it. Dry roast it on medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes till semolina changes its color to golden brown. At the same time semolina starts to leave nice aroma.

On the other stove boil water to add to it (you should start this when you know semolina is almost ready for water)

Add Mango pulp to the pan. Mix it well. Add sugar. Water should be boiling by now and its ready to go into the pan. Add water. Mix immediately or else it will form lumps.

Cover the pan for 5-7 minutes. Take out the lid & add cardamom powder. At this point you can add any dry fruits you like (If you are adding raisins make sure not to add them while roasting as they immediately turn black so this is the right time to add raisins) Give it a good mix.

Cover the pan for another 4-5 minutes. Switch off the stove.

Garnish it with some dry fruits.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tamarind Chutney

How to make Tamarind Chutney

The most wanted side for any appetizer is Tamarind Chutney. This is sour and sweet kind of a ketch up like side which could be enjoyed with Indian appetizers like samosa, potato wada, khaman dhokala, eggplant fritters etc however it is a main ingredient in some of the appetizers itself like Kutchi dabeli, bhel, pani-puri etc.

Tamarind chutney I know could be a concoction of either of it -
1. Tamarind+jaggery
2. Tamarind+sugar
3. Tamarind+date+jaggery/sugar

My favorite is tamarind and jaggery so here is the recipe for the same -

Here is what we need -

  • 2 lemon size balls of tamarind(Indian store bought)
  • triple the amount jaggery

Whats Next -

Soak tamarind in water for 3-4 hours. After soaking the pulp starts to separate from tamarind. Squeeze the juice out with your fingers. Take out the skin part which has not dissolved in the water.

Take the juice in a heavy bottom pan. Switch on the stove to medium heat. Add jaggery to it. Let the jaggery dissolve and mixture come to a boil. Let the mixture simmer on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Mixture starts to thicken. switch off the stove.

I usually keep empty bottles as they can be used to store home made pickles, chutneys.

Store it and use it whenever you want. It will last for more than 15 to 20 days.

Eggplant Fritters

How to make Eggplant Fritters

Fritter is any type of food coated in batter and deep fried. Fritters are in high demand in the rainy, gloomy weather. The batter for this snack is made with chickpea flour.

Here is what we need -

Eggplant - You could use 1 big eggplant or 3-4 small brown ones
1 cup chickpea flour
2 tbs rice flour
1/2 spoon Ajwain or bishop's weed
1 spoon chili powder
pinch of turmeric
salt per taste
pinch of sodium bi-carb
oil to deep fry

What Next -

Heat oil in heavy bottom pan.

Wash and cut eggplants in thin round slices. To make batter take chickpea flour in a bowl, add rice flour, turmeric, chili powder, salt, ajwain to it. Add around 1 cup water to make pouring consistency batter. Add sodium bi-carb.

Drop very little batter in the oil to check if its ready, If the batter comes up right away it is hot enough.

Dip eggplant slices in the batter one by one and drop it in the oil carefully. Add 4-5 at a time. In a minutes turn the fritters to other side. Take it out when its golden brown in color.

I love to eat fritters in the evening with my cup of hot ginger tea.

Appam - Roti substitute

How to make Appam - Roti substitute

Sometimes I am so fed up of making rotis and I need a change. Appam a blessing in disguise. A few years ago I had eaten appam in Pune. When you go towards Wadia college there is this place called "Southern Spice" near Ruby Hall in camp. They serve appam with coconut style gravies.

I thought it would be a good break from rotis and bread. It is not very time consuming either. These appam are made sweet tasting too by adding some jaggery or sugar. This recipe is not sweet.

Here is what we need -

  • 2 cups rice flour ( You can use 2 cups rice)
  • 2 tbs semolina/sago/coarse rawa
  • 1 spoon dry yeast
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 spoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Whats Next -

I had rice flour so I used it. It is best made using raw rice. If you are using rice, soak rice in water for 4-5 hours and grind it to paste in the blender. Next time I am gonna try sweet appam using raw rice.

In a pan add 2 cups of water. Add semolina to it. Let it boil on high heat. The mixture starts to thicken up as it boils. Let the mixture cool off.

In a small bowl. Add 2 tbs Luke warm water. Add yeast and mix well. Let it sit for 15 minutes.

In a big size bowl take rice flour. Add sugar, salt. Add semolina mixture and yeast. Add coconut milk. Mix everything well adding water. This should be pouring consistency. Thicker than dosa batter and close to Idli batter.

keep it for fermentation in the oven for 3-4 hours. It wont rise levels but you will see some bubbles on the top.

Mix Veg - Southern Style

How to make Mix Veg - Southern Style

I know we all are big fan of that red looking spicy tasting oil floating curries. So I am. Whenever we go out to eat Indian cuisine my order is never that's made in white or yellow curry. This morning I was in a mood for some mild curry so against my taste buds I decided to give non red curry a chance and guys I nailed it !!!
It was so delicious that if i eat this over n over again I would be over red curry very soon. This curry is mainly eaten in the parts where coconut is staple as this has a coconut base. Mainly coastal Maharashtra and Southern part of India mainly Kerala.

Here is what we need -

  • 1 cup coconut milk (I brought this from Indian store)
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 big size tomato
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • small piece of ginger
  • 2 green chilies
  • 2 spoon tomato paste
  • 1 carrot
  • salt
  • 1/2 spoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 spoon coriander powder
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 1 spoon cumin seeds

Whats Next -

In a kadai/pan take oil. Once hot add cumin seeds. Chop ginger, garlic and onion(lengthwise). Throw it in the pan. Let the onion turn translucent. Add tomato paste. Add diced tomatoes.

Peel carrot, potato. chop cauliflower to small floret sized pieces. Slide carrot, potato, cauliflower in the pan. Add cumin and coriander powder. Put salt as per taste.

You could add green pees and green bell pepper if you like. I was out of it so I didn't add any of these.

Now its time to add coconut milk to the veggies. Mix everything well. Add 1 cup water and cover the pan. After 5 minutes check on your sabji, give it a good mix and cover again for 5 to 10 minutes.

This tastes so delicious that it scores 10 on 10 .. Must try!

Pav Bhaji

How to make Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji is a famous street food in Mumbai, India. Eventually it became a top item in the restaurant menu. For people who don't know what pav bhaji is - Its a blend of all kinda veggies with spicy pav bhaji masala. This masala is store bought so there is hardly a chance for this to go wrong. The hitch here is to choose the vegetables.

Here is what we need -

  • 3 tbs oil
  • 1 big size onion
  • 1 big size tomato
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • a piece of ginger
  • 1 cup cauliflower
  • 4 medium size potatoes (I usually take 1 potato per person)
  • 1 medium size green bell pepper
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • 1 cup green pees
  • 1/2 onion+cilantro+lemon to garnish
  • 2 tbs salted butter
  • Bun bread
  • 2 tbs pav bhaji masala (Indian store bought. I like Everest Brand)

Whats Next -

Boil potatoes in the pressure cooker with 2 cups water. I usually do 3 to 4 whistles but it really depends on the pressure cooker.

Fine chop onion. Take oil in a heavy bottom pan. Once hot add onion. Peel cloves. In a blender make a paste of ginger, garlic and green chilies. you can fine chop everything too.

Check on your potatoes if its time switch off the stove.

Once the onions are translucent put the ginger, garlic and chili paste in it. Chop tomato. Add it. Let it cook for a few minutes.

Its time to open pressure cooker lid and take out the potatoes with the help of fork and set it on the counter to cool off.

Fine chop bell peppers and cauliflower. It cooks fast that's why it is added at the end. As soon as you add these 2 veggies add salt and pav bhaji masala. This helps to ooze water out of the veggies and mix well with pav bhaji masala. Keep stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile peel and mash potatoes. Add it to the above masala. Mix everything well.

If you are using frozen green pees; microwave it for 2 minutes and add it to pav bhaji, Add enough water to make it thin.

I usually run 1/3rd of the the pav bhaji through blender as I feel it helps incorporate well with rest of the masala but this step is completely optional.

Add 2 tbs butter on top and cover it with lid and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.

Pav bhaji is ready but we have to make the pav ready. Heat griddle on the stove. Smear butter on both the sides of the bun. Put the bread on the griddle. In a minutes flip it to the other side. It should be Golden brown.

Take a pav bhaji in a serving bowl. Garnish it with a spoonful of chopped onion, cilantro & few drops of lemon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


How to make Paniyaram

Paniyaram is very famous dish hailing from southern part of India. I will say a sister snack of Idli which is equally delicious. Whenever I make Idlis I make sure to save some batter to prepare paniyaram the following days.

Here is what we need -

  • Idli Batter
  • 1 spoon cumin seeds
  • 1-2 chopped green chilies
  • cilantro
  • salt
  • 1/2 onion

Whats Next -

Refer to the Idli recipe to see how to make the batter for paniyaram because both the recipes are made from the same batter.

To make paniyaram you need a paniyaram pan; I brought mine from India. This could be brought here in any Indian store.

Fine chop onion and green chilies. Add it to the batter. Add cumin seeds.

Heat pan on the stove. put some oil in each compartment. pour little less batter than the size of each compartment as it rises a bit once cooked. It will take a few minutes for one side to get cooked. flip it to the other side and wait for another few minutes to eat it. It should be nice golden brown on the side it cooked first and the other side would be lighter. That is how it should be.

Enjoy paniyaram with Idli pudi (I like MTR chutney powder)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Upma - The Semolina Snack

How to make Upma - The Semolina Snack

Don't be surprised if every kitchen in Maharashtra smells upma every other day. This is a staple breakfast in Maharashtra and south as well. The recipe is easy to follow; the perfect concoction would make not too sticky or not too dry upma.

Here is what we need -

  • 1 cup coarse semolina/rawa/sooji
  • 2 & 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 medium size onion
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • 1 tbs urad daal
  • 1 tbs chana daal
  • 1 spoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 spoon cumin seeds
  • curry leaves
  • pinch of asafetida
  • handful green pees
  • 2 tbs oil
  • grated coconut, cilantro & nylon sev(Indian store bought) to garnish
  • lemon

Whats Next -

Dry roast semolina on medium heat until it starts to change its color to light golden brown & starts to leave nice aroma. It should take about 20 minutes. Take it out in a plate.
Make sure to use coarse semolina or else upma will become sticky.

In the same pan put oil; once hot add mustard seeds. Mustard seeds will start to splutter add cumin seeds and green chilies. In a few seconds add curry leaves, chana and urad. Stir it. Add chopped onion. It will start to change its color to translucent brown. Add asafetida. Add chopped tomatoes.

In another pot take 2 & 1/2 cup water. Let it come to a boil.

If you are using frozen green pees; microwave it for a minute or tow depending on the power of your microwave.

Tomatoes would become mushy in a few minutes add green pees to it.give it a good mix.

Add roasted semolina to it. stir it a few times. Meanwhile water will come to a boil. Add it to the mixture. Immediately give it a good stir to avoid lumps.Cover it for 5 to 7 minutes. Switch off the stove and let it sit there for few minutes.

If you like to serve it in a particular shape put the upma in a round or heart shape bowl and take it out in a serving plate.

Garnish it with cilantro, coconut and sev. Put a few lemon drops. I like to eat it with mango pickle.

What a perfect meal to start your day with..

Sweet Coconut candy

How to make Sweet Coconut candy

Did I tell you all about the Ganesh puja we did here? I should write a post very soon.Well I made these sweet laddus as prasad.

Here is what we need -

  • 3 cups freshly scrapped/frozen coconut
  • 1 cup milk powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cup sugar
  • cardamom powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • few strands of saffron

What is Next -

In heavy bottom non-stick pan add coconut, sugar and milk. This process needs continuous stirring. The mixture thickens gradually. Add in the milk powder. mix well. Add cardamom powder and saffron.

In 15-20 minutes the mixture should be ready. Switch off the stove. let the mixture cool off. make small tennis size balls. You could make bigger laddus.


How to make Steamy breakfast

This is my most favorite breakfast which I could eat at any time of the day. This is one of those few recipes that are so tasty inspite of being so healthy .. Idli is staple in South India but there could be hardly anybody who is not introduced to these steamy rice rounds. Idli comes with its convoy of Coconut chutney and Sambar.

Here is what we need -

  • 1 and 1/2 cup urad daal
  • 4 cups Idli Rawa
  • 1/2 spoon salt
  • handful of flattened rice or thick poha

What Next -

You have to plan idli ahead as it needs soaking and fermenting. This recipe will make more than 40 idlis.
Soak urad daal in the water for 6-7 hours. Soak Idli Rawa for 1 hour. Blend urad daal in the blender with little water to a smooth paste. Blend half oh idli rawa in the blender just to avoid too dry idli.
Mix urad daal paste and idli rawa in a big pot. Mix the batter with your hand and let the air run through the batter. Add handful of dry poha and mix well. I use my oven safe glass pot.

If its summer time it ferments on its own due to high temperature. Just to make suitable environment for fermentation put the pot in the oven. Heat the oven to 150F and switch it off. Let the batter sit inside overnight or minimum 10 hours. It should rise.

Grease the idli stand. pour batter; make sure not to overstuff it as the idlis rise after steaming.

Take some water in the pan/big size cooker and place the idli stand in it. Cover the pan and let the idlis steam for 10-12 minutes. Take it out and place on the counter to cool off.

Take out the idlis using fork or a knife and serve hot with Coconut Chutney and Sambar.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Coconut Chutney

How to make Coconut Chutney

Freshly grated coconut and its recipes.. there are just so many - some sweet and some spicy. This one is spicy and eaten with Idli, dosa, dhokala etc .. ..

Here is what we need -

  • 2 cups freshly scrapped or frozen coconut
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • very small tamarind ball
  • salt per taste
  • handful cashews
  • 1 spoon sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • small piece of ginger

for seasoning -

  • mustard seeds
  • pinch of turmeric
  • curry leaves
  • red chilies(optional)
  • 1 spoon oil

Whats next -

Blend everything in the blender to a very smooth paste adding little water. Take the chutney out in the bowl.
In a small pan take oil. once hot add mustard seeds, turmeric, curry leaves and red chilies.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Shankarpali kids favorite

How to make Shankarpali

I really have no idea where the name came from. These are sweet candies made specially during Diwali time. I love to munch on it while I am blogging or writting.

Here is what we need -

  • 1/2 cup clarified butter or ghee or oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • all purpose flour
  • oil for deep frying

Whats Next -

Take oil, milk and sugar in a heavy bottom pan. I used canola oil. Keep the stove on medium heat. Switch off the stove as soon as the mixture comes to boil.

Let it cool off. Add as much flour it takes to make a soft dough. It takes around 3 cups of flour. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile take out rolling pin, pizza cutter or knife. keep deep kadai/pan ready for frying.

Roll the dough in chapati like shape. Cut it to small cubes with pizza cutter or knife. Deep fry it on medium heat. When you take out from oil shankarpali seems soft but then it becomes crispy.

Happy cooking!

Ukadiche Modak

How to make Ukadiche Modak 

Today is the first day of Ganesh festival. Ganpati the God of wisdom is very fond of Modak. Ganesh festival is celebrated across India but in Maharashtra the prasad(sweets) offered to the God is Modak. Modak is nothing but sweet rice dumplings. There are various ways these modaks are made. I guess Ukadiche modak is the dessert supremacy as it is super delicious and needs a lot of practice and patience. Guess that's the message Ganpati wants to send :-) Usually anything that's offered to Ganapati during pooja is in the count of 21.  Bappa bestow your blessings on all the modak lovers !!!

Here is what we need -

  • 2 cup rice flour
  • 1 & 1/2 half cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 cup jaggery
  • 1 tbs cardamom powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ghee/clarified butter/oil

What's Next -

First lets prepare stuffing-

In a heavy bottom pan take coconut and jaggery. In 10 minutes the jaggery will start to melt and incorporate with coconut. Add cardamom powder. switch off the stove. Let the mixture cool off.
Some people like to add cashews or poppy seeds to it. If you want to add it dry roast poppy seeds and add. similarly you can slightly saute cashews on the ghee and add.

The most important step in this recipe is preparing a perfect dough. the proportions should be followed as given and do not eyeball it.
In a heavy bottom pan take 1/2 cup of water. Add 1 cup of milk to it. Bring this to boil. Add 1 spoon ghee or clarified butter or oil and a pinch of salt. Immediately add rice flour. Mix the mixture well using spatula. Cover the pan for 5 minutes. Give it a good mix. Again cover it for another 5 minutes.
Immediately take out the mixture in the plate and start kneading. Since it needs to be kneaded when hot its challenging. I used small steel vessel to kneed. Kneed well and make a very soft dough; that's the key to making modaks. you can sprinkle some water if required.

once the dough is ready make lemon size balls. We have to make a petal shape. I remember my grandma used to make 21 petals it needs a lot of practice. I couldn't get 21. my highest was 10. well to make this the trick is give cylindrical shape to the dough ball you have taken and insert thumb into it. slowly slowly start shaping it up as a small bowl. try to make as thin as you could. stuff a spoonful of batter in it. Do not over stuff as it makes your job difficult. Then start making petals by pinching at the sides of the dough bowl you just made. See in the picture above. try to make as many petals as you can. start with 5-6 that's a good number to start with.

Keep all the dumplings ready. These dumplings are steamed. In a big pot take water at the bottom level. grease the sieve. I used my idli stand and steamed it in a big cooker without whistle. make sure these dumplings don't stick to each other while steaming. Place it on medium heat. If you using a sieve see to it that it perfectly hangs on the edges of the pot. Cover and cook it for about 10 minutes.

Take the sieve out and let it cool off.

Serve with a spoonful of ghee on top of each modak. Back home its served on banana leaf.

This must be one of the healthiest dessert I have ever eaten.

Ganapati Bappa Morya!!