Monday, December 31, 2007

Almond galette with strawberries

For our New year's eve party I was looking for a beautiful looking dessert that was different from the usual. I found the original version of this recipe in my Martha Stewart Living magazine, April 07 issue. A galette is the French name for a crusty flat cake. I have modified the original recipe to suit the ingredients and cookware I had on hand. This may not be the best way to make this dessert (coz you know Martha knows best), but it sure was easy and tasted good. This dessert looks and tastes great. Happy new year to all of you!

1 1/2 cups peeled and sliced almonds (store bought packet works well). No need to blanch. Just toast in a frying pan for about 5 minutes till almonds turn slightly golden.
1 16 oz package of store bought strawberries.Clean well.
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
3 egg whites
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tblsp lemon juice
4 tblsp strawberry jam
2 tablespoons Maraschino cherry juice
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Grind toasted almonds.Beat egg whites in a bowl till peaks form.Add lemon zest and beat well till egg whites look shiny. Fold in the almonds.

Coat a 6 inch round cake pan with cooking spray and then line with parchment paper. Put almond mixture into the cake pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 325 degrees with the oven door slightly ajar.Lower heat to 300 degrees and the bake for 30 minutes. Cool and remove the cake from the pan onto a serving dish. Keep covered. Using a cake pan the way I did was not the best idea because the edges are uneven. For the perfect edge use Martha's recipe.However, to me it didn't matter. I like the minor imperfections. Meanwhile heat jam in a saucepan till it thins out. Brush the jam onto the cake.

Cut about 8 strawberries in half without removing tops and leaves. Slice remaining strawberries length wise. Place the sliced strawberries in a bowl. Add cherry juice, granulated sugar, lemon juice. Mix and keep aside for a few minutes till strawberries release their juices.Place the halved strawberries around the outer ring with the tops facing out. Place the sliced strawberries inside in a pattern of your choice. Pour remaining strawberry juice onto the cake. Keep covered for an hour or two before serving.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mixed Berry Smoothie: A healthy start to the day

I'm not a breakfast person. Its something in me: I just can't eat anything in the morning. I feel sick if I have to. The worst part is I that I know that breakfast is a very important meal and should not be skipped. So I have started adding a smoothie to my diet in the morning. I picked up a couple of bags of frozen berries from the frozen section of the grocery store and a package of vanilla yoghurt (I use milk in place as well).In the morning I quickly blend all the ingredients and gulp it down. I get my daily dose of antioxidants, calcium and yumminess. I try and manage this twice or thrice a week and don't feel guilty about skipping breakfast.


1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (Add half a banana if you have on hand)
1 cup vanilla yoghurt (or 1 glass milk)
2 tsp sugar

Blend together in a blender for a minute until the berries and fruit are mixed together into a smooth thick mixture. Pour into a glass and drink away.

For fun variations, add ice-cream or orange juice in place of yogurt/milk.If you add orange juice, try adding a few mint leaves/dry mint in as well.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Shami Kabab

Another easy appetizer that can be made ahead of time.


1 pound ground chicken (kheema)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 green chillies
2 pods garlic
Two inch piece of ginger
3 heaped tsp garam masala
1 tsp Shan meat tenderizer (raw papaya powder)
1 tsp amchur
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ajwain
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg beaten, use half
1 tsp black pepper
Besan (gram flour) 2 to 3 tblsp

Add all ingredients except besan into a food processor. Grind well together.While grinding add besan till mixture is dry enough to be formed into patties.Apply oil to your hands and form patties. Refrigerate covered for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.One can also leave it at room temperature for half an hour to marinate well.

Heat 2 to 3 tblsp of oil in a pan. Pan fry patties on both sides till golden brown. Serve hot with slices of lime and garnished with cilantro


I made this appetizer for Sonia's Christmas party. Its super easy. It should be served right out of the oven for a warm cripsy texture.


One french baguette, cut into pieces
One large onion chopped
Half a green pepper chopped
One tomato chopped
Italian parsley chopped, a fistful
balsamic vinegar 1 tsp
black pepper
Olive oil

Chop tomatoes, onions, green pepper and parsley.

Add to a bowl. Add balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and 1 tsp olive oil.Mix. Baste each piece of bread with Olive oil.

Top each piece of bread with the mixture. Broil on high for about 5 mintues. The bread toasts very fast so keep watching it or it might burn. Serve hot right out of the oven.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Last night we spent Christmas eve with our closest friends Amit and Sonia. It was a pre- Christmas celebration to exchange gifts and hang out. Sonia has invited us over for a traditional manglorian style Christmas dinner tonight and knowing what a good cook she is I'm sure the spread is going to be delicious. I will post Sonia's recipes in a separate section of my blog soon. Well since she was making all the food for tonight's big dinner and also had mass to go to and not to forget a 3 year old as well, I decided to make the main dish for the Christmas eve dinner. I chose Paella, a traditional spanish rice dish. You can learn more about it on Its like a seafood pulav with saffron. This is how I make it. This recipe serves 6-8 people and I make it without the standard chorizo sausage. There are a number of ingredients and seafood can be expensive so its nice to make for a special occasion. Amit made some yummy Sangria to go with this. It indeed was a very "Merry Christmas".


Olive oil

Rice 3 1/2 cups, washed with water and soaked in water till ready to use

2 medium onions diced
2 fresh tomatoes diced
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
red and green peppers cut into strips
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 cup parsley

Bone in-chicken without skin, cut into pieces-1 pound

Pork 1 pound, cut into pieces (optional), can add chorizo sausage if desired

Mussels or clams- about 10 to 15, I buy one store bag from the seafood section

Uncooked unpeeled deveined shrimp 1/2 pound (can add any other seafood too like crab legs, lobsters)

Chicken broth

2 bay leaves
dried Thyme, eye ball it.

8 to 10 threads of saffron, add to a tblsp of hot water.

red chilly powder, according to taste add as much as you like
black pepper
lime juice 2 tblsp
salt to taste


Peel shrimp, leaving the tail shell on. Save shells. Add shells to 3 cups of chicken broth with bay leaves, 1 tsp thyme and a couple of sprigs of parsley. Let the broth come to a boil and then let it simmer. One can use a seafood broth also but I like to season the chicken broth with the seafood flavor this way. Season mussels and shrimp with lime juice and salt.

Season pork and chicken pieces with salt, pepper, thyme and red chilly powder. Heat olive oil in the paella pot. Brown chicken and pork pieces. Set aside.

After browning meat, add simmering broth to the hot pan to deglaze the pan and to get all the pan drippings into the broth. Whisk when you add the broth to get all the drippings. Remove broth and keep aside.

Heat oilve oil. Add garlic and onions. Fry till onions turn transparent. Add tomatoes. Let it cook till all the water from the tomatoes dries up. Add green pepper and peas. Fry.

Add Rice, seafood, chicken, pork,rest of the parsley,saffron and salt to taste. Mix well.After this do not mix the cooking rice. Add broth and additional chicken broth to double the volume of the rice (7 cups in this case).

Cook uncovered till the rice is cooked but not mushy.Paella is cooked uncovered,so do not cover the dish. If needed add more broth to aid the cooking. I didn't need to do that. Serve hot.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mushroom pepper fry

This recipe is a variation of the recipe listed on one of my favorite blogs:
I really liked this recipe but I changed it a bit according to my taste. So here it is, Thank you Sig!


One package baby bella mushrooms sliced
One large red pepper sliced
One large yellow onion sliced
1 tsp red chilly flakes
3 pods garlic
1 tsp panch puran (can substitute with fennel and fenugreek seeds only)
1 tsp cumin seeds
5 to 6 curry leaves
salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan. Add all the spices, garlic and curry leaves. Fry for a couple of seconds. Add peppers and onions. Fry till onions turn slightly transparent. Add mushrooms and salt. Mushrooms will release water, continue heating in an open pan. Most of the water will dry up. Let the mushrooms retain some crunch, so don't over cook. This dish is ready in a matter of minutes and is great for a quick weeknight meal.

Tomato ginger dal

This is my favorite dal recipe and I can eat this everyday. As a child I used to beg my mom to make the "tomato dal". It goes really well with hot paranthas.


2 cups cooked toor dal
one tomato, diced
ginger, one inch, chopped into pieces
cilantro chopped 1/3 cup
curry leaves 4 to 5
turmeric 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds
mustard seeds
lemon juice
salt to taste
ghee 1 tblsp

Heat ghee in pot. Add curry leaves, asofetida, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and turmeric. When seeds crackle, add ginger pieces. Fry for a minute. Add tomatoes. Fry for a little while and then add salt. This will allow tomatoes to lose water and become mushy. Add dal. Mix well. Add water and mix till dal is nice and thick. Add lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Add chopped cilantro and serve.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thank you other food bloggers!

Last couple of days I have visited some other recipe blogs and a novice like me found all these blogs very inspiring. There are so many people out there who share my love for cooking and enjoy sharing their ideas and recipes. I thank them all for all there suggestions, comments and ideas. Keep stopping by!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Idli, Sambhar and Chutney

This dish represents the classic cuisine of southern India but loved all over the country. When I first started living on my own, I never attempted idlis thinking they are really hard to make. However, after one bite of the packaged mix I decided to attempt it myself (inspired by a conversation with my mom ). I found the whole process relatively easy and the idlis turned out quite nice. All the ingredients listed here are available at any south asian grocery.The sambhar recipe is my mom's and it really is different from all others i've seen and the powder she uses makes all the difference as well.So here it is, idlis served with sambhar and chutney.

Ingredients and requirements for Idlis

1 cup udad dal
2 cups idli rava (if you get parboiled rava use that)
Maintain this 1:2 proportion according to how many idlis you need.
Idli stand
pressure cooker
salt to taste

Wash and soak udad dal in water for atleast 4 to 5 hours. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and then switch the oven off. Grind the soaked dal to a very smooth paste. Touch the paste by hand,it should feel smooth like butter. Add just enough water while grinding as needed to make the paste. Don't add too much water. Remove ground udad dal into a large bowl. Meanwhile wash idli rava and remove excess water.Add rava to the ground dal.Add salt. Mix well. Keep the idli mix in the warmed oven, covered overnight.The mixture should rise. If it doesn't rise the idlis will be hard. Mix well and add water to get a very thick pourable consistency. Don't add too much water.
Next day, heat water in a pressure cooker. Apply oil to each well of the idli stand. Add idli mix into each well. Put stand into the cooker with 1 inch of water. Close the lid. Don't add the whistle. Once the cooker starts to give out steady steam, lower heat and place a small bowl over the outlet.Time the steaming.For the first batch of idlis steam for 11 minutes. Thereafter you can steam for 7 to 8 minutes for each batch. Remove idli stand after steaming. Let it cool. Remove idlis by gently cutting around each idli with a flat edged spoon. The idlis come out quite easily. Keep covered in a casserole.

Mamma's sambhar

1 cup toor dal, soaked for 10 minutes and cooked
2 onions diced into chunks
2 tomatoes
1 tblsp tamicon (tamarind concentrate)
1 tsp mustard seeds
5 to 6 curry leaves
2 tblsp Sakti Sambhar powder (Get it specially from India), use any other in place but it will not be the same
1/2 tsp asofetida
salt to taste
1 tblsp ghee

Heat ghee. Add curry leaves, mustard seeds and asofetida. When the seeds sputter add diced onions. Fry till onions turn transparent. Add tomatoes. Fry for about 2 minutes. Add sambhar powder, salt and tamarind. Mix well. Add dal with enough water to make a pourable consistency. Boil sambhar. Garnish with chopped corriander leaves. Serve with idlis.

Bengal gram and coconut chutney

1 cup grated coconut (I use store bought frozen packets)
1/4 cup bengal gram or chana dal
dry red chillies (bedgi variety) 4 to5
tamarind paste 1 tsp
salt to taste
curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds

Roast 1/4 cup bengal gram or chana dal. Roast dried red chilles (bedgi mirchi). Add coconut, tamarind, salt, roasted red chillies and roasted gram into a blender with 1/4 cup warm water. Grind into a coarse paste. Meanwhile, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, and curry leaves. Fry till seeds crackle. Add to the chutney and cover immediately. Serve with idlis.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Chocolate Truffles

This holiday season I wanted to make something delicious, easy and something that can make a nice gift. What can be better than chocolate truffles I thought: they're delicious, easy and fun to make and look so good. So i gave it a try and they were everything I wanted them to be.


One 11.5 oz bag of bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 tblsp room temperature butter
2 tblsp water
1 tblsp rum
chopped walnuts
ground coconut flakes
cocoa powder
41mm baking cups

Add chocolate chips to a double boiler (you can also place a glass bowl over hot water). Boil water, then lower heat. The water should be simmering when you add the chocolate. Whisk until chocolate melts. Heat cream in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add cream and butter to melting chocolate. Whisk until its all dissolved. Chocolate mixture should be glossy. If it loses its shine the chocolate's scorched.

Divide the chocolate mixture into two parts. To one part add rum. Mix well. Put both parts in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours till chocolate is hard enough to roll into balls. Place cocoa, coconut and nuts in three shallow plates each. Roll the chocolate into balls and then coast into either the walnut mixture, the coconut or the cocoa. Place each truffle in the mini baking cup. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Fried chicken dinner

Today was a horribly cold, snowy, blustery day. My husband and I huddled together under our parkas trudging through snow as we walked towards the parking lot from work. On the way home I thought of making something comforting and classic. What better than a fried chicken dinner. I love fried chicken, especially on a day when the weather is miserable. So next time you have a bad weather day-- try fried chicken.I like dark meat so I used chicken thighs. You can also use chicken breast if you like. Enjoy!


For fried chicken

6 to 8 chicken thighs with bone (skin removed)
1 cup flour
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red chilly powder or cayenne pepper
1 tsp poultry seasoning
salt to taste
Also keep a little bit of all the above seasonings to season chicken
1 cup buttermilk (or yogurt beaten with water)

To the flour add salt, pepper, chilly powder and poultry seasoning. Mix well and place in a shallow platter. Season chicken as with salt, pepper, poutlry seasoning and chilly powder as well. Heat oil in a pan. Dip seasoned chicken in buttermilk. Roll in flour mixture till all sides are coated well. Add to hot oil on medium heat. Fry till golden brown and the chicken is well cooked (about 8-10 minutes per side).

Mashed potatoes, gravy and boiled peas

For gravy: Take 3 tblsp of fat from the fried chicken. Add 3 tblsp of flour. Cook well on medium heat till the flour browns. Add chicken stock, stirring continuously. Season with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Once the mixture comes to a boil, take off the heat and pour into a gravy dish. Sauce will thicken more as it cools.

Mashed potatoes: Boil diced potatoes. For a healthier option use red potatoes and keep skin on. Once potatoes are well cooked, drain and add to a bowl. Add salt, pepper, sour cream and butter. Mash well when hot. Serve with gravy.

For peas, just boil frozen store bought peas. Season with salt (and butter if desired).

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tomato saar with coconut milk

This recipe is absolutely delicious. Its tomato saar with a twist. You add coconut milk to it and its slightly sweet, typical of cuisines from where my husband is from. I love it and since its so easy to make its a simple way to my husband's heart.


1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
2 tblsp gud (jaggery shredded)
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp asofetida
4 to 5 curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste

Blend diced tomatoes to a pulp. Add water. Keep aside. Heat oil in a pot. Add curry leaves, mustard and cumin seeds and asofetida. Wait till spices crackle. Add blended tomato. Add jaggery. Let it come to a boil. Add coconut milk. Stir. Heat for a minute more. Serve hot.

Another Okra dish (Cheench gulachi bhindi)

My continuing search for a good bhindi (or okra) indian dish has probably ended. This is a classic Maharashtrian dish and tastes really good with chapatis (see previous post). So here it is


1/2 pound okra. Wash, dry well and cut into rounds.
2 pods garlic, peeled and diced into two pieces
2 green chillies, diced
one onion, chopped
1 tsp tamarind
1 tblsp gud (jaggery), can add sugar in place
jeera or cumin powder 1 tsp
Turmeric 1 tsp
Asofetida or heeng 1/2 tsp
mustard seeds 1 tsp
cumin seeds 1 tsp
Oil 2 tblsp
salt to taste

Heat oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asofetida, green chillies, garlic. Heat for 3o seconds. Add onions. Cook till transluscent. Add okra, tamarind, gud. Stir. Okra will release a gooey sticky thread like substance. Don't worry the tamarind will take care of it. Add salt, mix. Cover and cook till done stirring occasionally.

The perfect phulka (indian whole wheat tortilla)

When I first got married I had no idea how to make good phulkas (also known as chapatis in some parts of India). Since I lived in an apartment with an electric stove, its hard to make phulkas which require an open flame. My aunt gave me a metal rack that can be placed over an electric coil and used to make phulkas. It worked amazingly well. The flour should be whole wheat. Stay away from Durrum flour (available in most indian stores). If your flour is whitish in color you are using the wrong whole wheat flour which is actually quite unhealthy. Your flour should be creamish light brown in color and the package should say whole wheat chapati flour (I use brand name Sujata from our Indian food grocer). My mother in law showed me this and it made a world of difference to my chapatis. Also key is the way you make the dough. So after several failed attempts I learned the perfect chapati technique and am sharing it with you. Its not rocket science but requires some practice. I have a video to add to help you but the server's giving me trouble uploading it...will put that up when I can.


3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup hot water (not boiling but very hot)
2 tbsp oil
1 metal rack (available in any indian grocery store)
non stick flat pan
Metal tongs

Add salt to flour. Add hot water. Cover and leave for 15 to 30 minutes. Knead dough. Add water as needed until dough is soft and well mixed into a non sticky ball. Add oil and knead more. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Cover and keep aside for at least 15 minutes. Take a small portion of the dough, roll into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly and place in dry flour to coat both sides. Using a rolling pin, roll out a thin circular chapati using flour to prevent sticking, roll out a tortilla about 6 to 8 inches in diameter.

Heat pan well. Keep metal rack on the other coil on full heat. Roast chapati on both sides on the pan. Then transfer to metal rack. The chapati should rise.

Turn to other side using tongs.Be careful to not place the chapati on the metal rack for too long as the chapati can burn. Move to a covered dish, add ghee and cover. Serve hot.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

My not so bare necessities list

Its that time of the year when you are making up your list of gifts to give and to get. I wanted to share with my blog readers my list of good household investments which may be expensive in some cases but well worth the cost--don't scrimp on these. This list of mine probably applies more to young married couples who are saving up and also starting a new family and home and therefore would be wonderful to add to your wedding registry instead of that bamboo steamer and melon scoop (who by the way is going to gift you just one melon scoop!!!). O.k clearly I have seen some really bad wedding registires. Moving on...I will continue to add to this list over time.

My not so bare necessities

1. Sheets: 450 thread count or more. After sleeping on those cheap 250 thread count sheets for so many years, I went on to and bought 45O thread count sheets---heavenly...well worth the investment. Sateen cotton is the one to go for. A comfortable sleep is well worth the cost.

2. Stainless steel cookware: Say no to non-stick for high heat cooking.

3. Knives: I have used the miracle blade for the last 4 years. Love it.

4. Circulon cook ware. I have two as of now...will continue to add to my collection slowly. Each pot is sooooo worth the price.

5. Cast iron pot and skillet. Great to brown steaks in and then put in the oven. The pot is great for stews and soups.

4. Fondue pot: A nice way to get your guests around the table and to get the party off the ground. Its fun and not to forget who doesn't like fondue?? This one my aunt bought for me from crate and barrel for 20 bucks--great gift! The bowl can be microwaved so you can melt the fondue in there and then keep it warm with a candle.

Alright thats it for Christmas draws closer will put up more gift ideas, easy and cheap decorating tips and recipes for holiday parties.

This is the season to be jolly tra la la lala

Mixed Vegetable curry

My mom called me a couple of day back and gave me this recipe. It really delicious. Its simple and is a different way of making a vegetable dish. I like it a lot. Hope you do too.


7-8 methi seeds
curry leaves 5-6
green chillies slit-3
Oil 1 tblsp
Vegetables cut up:cauliflower, capsicum, peas, potatoes etc (anything but corn)
1 cup Coconut milk (the think milk, remove thick coconut cream)
1 cup tomato puree (i just puree one large tomato and 1/2 cup canned diced tomato in a blender)
1 tsp cornflour
salt to taste
Garlic pods-4-5
Heat oil. Add methi seeds, green chillies and curry leaves. Let it sputter.

Add vegetables. Stir fry on high heat. Add tomato puree. Cover and cook till vegetables are done. Meanwhile mix corn flour in coconut milk. The corn flour prevents the coconut milk from separating out in the presence of the acidic tomato puree. Add coconut milk into the mix. stir. Heat 1 tsp oil separately. Saute garlic in it till golden. Add to vegetables and cover immediately. Serve hot with rice.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Mutton Curry (goat meat curry)

This recipe came about by throwing some randomly selected ingredients together. It turned out quite tasty and so i'm putting it up. The key to good mutton dishes is that the meat should easily fall off the bone (literally melt in your mouth). If you're chewing for a long time on the meat there are two things that could be wrong: your meat is not fresh or you did not cook the meat well. Goat meat takes a long time to cook, so if you're cooking it in a pot keep in mind that it might take up to 2 hours or more to cook well. Instead I pressure cook goat meat, either before mixing with the curry or after depending on the recipe. This recipe can also be made in the slow cooker or crockpot. Just transfer to a crockpot instead of cooking in the pressure cooker and slow cook for 6 to 8 hours.

Fresh goat meat (1.5 pounds)
Beaten yogurt 1/2 cup
1 tblsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste (less garlic)
Potatoes 2-diced into large cubes (you can also pre fry potatoes in oil for a better taste, for a health conscious option don't do this)
2 onions, sliced
whole spices: 5-6 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon, 1 star anise, 1 black cardamom, 2-3 green cardamoms, 1 bay leaf,7-8 pepper corns
2 tsp garam masala
3 tsp deggi (kashmiri) chilly powder
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 packet shaan "white karahi"spice mix
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
lemon juice
salt to taste

Marinate meat with yogurt, salt, ginger-garlic pastes for at least 30n minutes. Heat oil in the pressure cooker pot. Add whole spices. Add onions and fry till golden brown. Add tomatoes and all other spices. Cook curry base well. Add chopped cilantro. Mix. Add mutton and potatoes. Fry on high heat for 5 to 10 minutes until mutton turns slightly brown. Then add water ( you can first add the water to the marinade pot so that all the left over yogurt paste also mixes with the water and adds more flavor). Let the meat come to a slow boil. Put pressure cooker lid on with the whistle and cook on medium high heat for 5 to 6 whistles. After that shut off heat and let the cooker sit until it cools. Do not force open the lid of the pressure cooker by rapid cooling. Serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro. Works well with bread, paranthas or rice.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Easy Pan Fried Chicken

Cut chicken 8 to 10 pieces
2 tsp chilly powder
2 tsp dhania jeera powder (coriander-cumin powder)
1 tsp haldi/turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
2 tblsp lime juice
2 tsp ground pepper
salt to taste

Add all the spices to the chicken pieces. Add lemon juice and salt. Coast mixture well on chicken and marinate from 30 minutes to over night. Heat oil in a pan, a little less than shallow frying. Add chicken pieces. Fry on high hear till chicken browns on all sides. Reduce heat and cook till done. Serve with chopped cilantro and a slice of lime.

Konkani style okra (aka "bhenda hulli")

I am not a big fan of okra. My husband on the other hand loves it. I try to make it often, trying new recipes every time. I am in search of a recipe that I hope might change my opinion about this vegetable. This one is a classic Sarasawat recipe. My mom made this at home often for my dad and he loved the fried garlic in this dish.

Okra/ladyfinger/bhindi, wash, dry well and cut into medium sized pieces--about 3 cups
5-6 dry red chillies (bedgi style: gives color and flavor more than heat)
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp fenugreek/methi seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 cup shredded coconut
11/2 tsp tamarind paste ( I useTamicon)
5 to 6 cloves garlic, pound to break slightly (with skin on)
salt to taste

In 1 tblsp oil fry chillies and dry spices. Add to shredded coconut. Add ½ cup hot water and grind to a smooth paste.

Meanwhile, in a pan heat 1 tblsp oil. Add okra, salt and tamarind paste. Cook till okra is almost ready. Add ground paste, cook for 5 more minutes. Add water to make a thick gravy and bring to a boil. In ½ tblsp oil fry garlic and add to boiling okra mixture. Cover immediately.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Eggs on Tomatoes

This recipe is my grandmother's (Amami as we used to call her). She would make this for my sister and me. We loved the name (it sounded exotically fun to us kids for some unknown reason) and it looked really good. This recipe makes what I call an "egg tomato pan pie". It is super easy to make and is a welcome change from "anda bhurjee" on those week nights when you don't want to make something exhausting.

Onion 2 large
Tomato 1 large
Tomato paste 2tblsp
Dhania jeera powder 2 heaped tsp
Red chilly powder 1 tsp
½ cup chicken stock (or add water)
Salt to taste

Saute sliced onions in oil till golden.

Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and spices. Cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add stock/water and simmer for a bit till sauce is a thick gravy. Make small depressions in the sauce and break an egg into each depression. I like to make a flower pattern with 5 eggs on the side and one in the center.

Cover and cook till eggs are done and the sauce has thickened such that you can cut each egg out with the sauce around it. Serve hot with paranthas or bread. If desired garnish the top of each egg with a small pinch of paprika.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Easy and Quick Weeknight Pasta

Pasta: Elbows/Penne. I use the fiber enriched pasta
Olive oil
One large tomato, chopped
One large onion, chopped
Red pepper flakes 2 tsp (reduce or omit as preferred)
Black pepper
Garlic 3 pods chopped finely
Prego tomato onion basil sauce
Basil (fresh 5 to 6m leaves or dried ½ tsp)
Chopped parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese

Boil water in a large pot with salt in it. Add pasta to boiling water. Always season water. That is the only time we can season the pasta. Drain and reserve pasta. Keep some pasta water about ½ cup.
Heat olive oil in a pan. Add chopped garlic, stir only for a few seconds and add chopped onion. NEVER let the garlic brown. Add pepper, chilly flakes and tomoato. Add salt and pepper and stir for about 5 minutes. Stir in Prego sauce. Heat through. Add basil.

Lastly, stir in pasta till sauce coats pasta well. Serve hot garnished with chopped parsley and grated parmesan.

Carrot Cake

This recipe was attempted because of my husband's love for carrot cake from "Cheesy Eddies". I made this cake for my friend's birthday and she and her husband loved it. It was eaten so fast that I didn't have the time to take a proper picture. This recipe is my modified version of the recipe from the Victory garden cookbook by Marian Morash. It’s a very moist cake and quite delicious. I hope you like this recipe as much as I do.

2 Cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cup oil
4 eggs
3 cups shredded carrot (I buy one small bag of baby carrots, grate them all up finely in a food processor and use it all)
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins

Beat sugar and oil in a large bowl. Slowly beat in the eggs one by one. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, adding mix slowly in batches and beating with each addition. Stir in carrots, nuts and raisins (Don't beat STIR). The mixture will be heavy and thick. Grease a 12 inch pan and dust with flour. Pour in the cake mixture and tap down the cake pan to release air bubbles. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Cool and ice with the cream cheese frosting (recipe included in the coconut cake recipe, just omit coconut cream and coconut flakes from the recipe. Use good quality vanilla please.)

Tilapia with lemon caper sauce

Tilapia fillets 4 (Substitute any other mild fish)
All purpose flour 1 cup
Salt ½ tsp
Pepper to taste (use fresh ground pepper please)
Red chilly powder (to taste or omit)
One egg, beaten

For the sauce
¼ stick butter
1 cup chicken stock
Rind of one lemon
Lemon juice
Capers -3 to 4 tablespoons
Parsley chopped about ½ cup
Optional: lemon slices to garnish

Mix together flour, salt, pepper and chilly powder in a flat dish. Beat one egg in another wide dish. Drench fillets in egg and then coat with flour mixture. Shallow fry till golden brown. BE VERY GENTLE WITH FISH OR IT WILL BREAK. Use two spatulas if necessary to turn fish. When ready, keep warm in the oven. Meanwhile melt butter in a frying pan. Add capers, lemon juice and lemon rind. Stir for half a minute. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and half the parsley. Bring to a boil and let it reduce for about 10 minutes. Pour sauce over fish. Garnish with parsley and slices of lemon. Serve hot.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chicken Kathi rolls

One packet Kwaan Malaysian paranthas (Frozen)
One egg per parantha, beat and keep in a bowl.

Chicken filling

One onion
Cilantro one bunch
Ginger small piece
Green chilly one
One large tomato

Grind above ingredients to a paste. Can be made without grinding for a chunkier filling.

Chicken tenderloins cut into small one inch pieces

Shaan chicken curry masala (1 tsp)
MDH meat masala (1/2 tsp)
salt to taste
Lemon juice


Sliced onions
Cilantro chopped
Lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add ground paste and psices. Cook till oil runs out from mixture. Add chicken, salt and lemon juice. Fry well for about 5 minutes. Add ½ cup water. Cook uncovered till mixture is dry. Keep aside.

Fry frozen paranthas on a hot pan on both sides till lightly cooked. Beat one egg and pour in the middle of the parntha and flip parantha to cook egg on it. One can also cook thin egg omelettes separately (one per roll) and add it later to the roll. I like the second method as it is less messy. Slice one onion into thin slices. Chop cilantro. Add cilantro and lemon juice to onions mix.

Lay parantha flat. Add chicken mixture in a line in the center. Add onion garnish (and egg if adding separately). Roll and serve hot. Yummy!!