Monday, December 29, 2008

Potato Pancake with Eggs and Tomatoes

Weekend mornings are perfect to experiment with new breakfast ideas. With the numerous snowed in days we've had I was bored of cereal or plain ol eggs. Using left over cooked potatoes I conjured up a potato pancake. Somehow it didn't seem enough so I dropped on a couple of fried eggs on top. That also didn't seem enough so I topped it all with some sauted tomatoes and onions. Mmmmmm it was sooooo good. Eaten with toast and a nice big glass of OJ...perfect.


2-3 potatoes cooked and mashed
2 large eggs
one small onion, chopped
One tomato, chopped
1 tblsp ketchup
a dash of salt, pepper and paprika
1 tblsp chopped parsley

Season the mashed potatoes with salt and pepper. Form a large patty and pan fry to brown both sides. Place on a serving plate. Add oil to a pan and saute chopped onions till transparent. Add chopped tomatoes and ketchup. Season with salt and paprika. Add chopped parsley and turn off heat. Fry two eggs sunny side up till nice and well cooked with crispy edges. Place eggs on the potato pancake. Heap on spoon fulls of the tomato onion mixture on top. Serve right away. Optional: sprinkle on some grated parmesan cheese on top.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2009!

Its the most wonderful time of the year!!! Just wishing all my visitors a very happy Holiday season and a fantabulous New Year. I have so many things that i'm looking forward to in this year. There's one particular event i'm super excited about. Guess what it could be?? Well to give you a hint in a culinary sort of way: there's a bun in the oven! Oooh i've been dying for months to give that away : ) . Hope all of you make resolutions you can keep this year. Lots of Love and happiness. Take care , stay warm and EAT those buttery cookies damn it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Jambalaya is a perfect one pot meal to make for a large group of people. This cajun/creole dish is a Lousianna favorite and is similar to the spanish counterpart Paella. I made it as a main entree for our lab party. It could feed quite a few people with enough for left overs.


1 pound cut boneless chicken
1 andouille or chorizo sausage, I used chorizo, sliced
1 pound shrimp, raw, peeled and deveined
One large onion chopped
One large green pepper diced
4 stems of celery diced
One large can diced tomatoes
1 cup chopped parsley
2 bay leaves
3 tsp creole seasoning (I use Tony Chachere's)
1 tsp thyme
3 cups rice, washed and soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
7 cups of chicken stock
Olive oil 1 tblsp
salt to taste

Season chicken and shrimp with a sprinkle of salt and creole seasoning. Brown sausage in a large bottomed pot. Remove sausage after browning and use fat from the sausage to brown chicken and then the shrimp. Shrimp should just slightly turn color but not completely cook.

Add olive oil to the pot. Add bay leaves, onions, green peppers and celery and saute till vegetables are softened. Onions, pepper and celery are known as the holy trinity of New Orleans style cooking.

Add tomatoes with juice and cook through. Add chicken and sausage back into the pot. Add salt and all seasonings. Mix well and heat through. Drain rice and add to the mixture. Mix. Then add all the chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil on medium heat.

Once the rice starts boiling, simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes. Do not lift the lid during this cooking time. Once the rice is cooked and all the liquid is absorbed stir in the shrimp and half the parsley. Cook for another couple of minutes till shrimps cook completely. Garnish with left over parsley and serve hot.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowball Cake

What a perfect day to post this recipe. Its been one snow storm after another here...the worst they've seen in the last 20 years. Yeah, it had to happen the first winter we were here trying to forget winters in upstate NY!! The good news was we had time off from work from Thursday. We spent all the time lounging on the couch and watching movies. We finally ventured out for coffee and cupcakes today after all the snow. It was nice to see all the people out enjoying all the snow around us. Here's what it looked like from our patio.

Anyway coming back to my recipe..there are so many holiday parties going on this time of the year. For one of my work parties I made this super duper easy dessert that is so right for this time of the year. Its called a snowball cake because it looks like a snowball. This dessert is definitely not meant for the calorie conscious people. With this recipe you can make two medium sized snowball cakes or one very large one. This recipe uses store bought ingredients and requires just putting the dessert together.


1 tub of store bought angel food cake
1 large tub of redi whip ( or two small ones)
2 packets of gelatine
1 cup sugar
One can crushed pineapple with juice
Half a packet of sweetened coconut flakes
Red cherries

Soften gelatin in 4 tblsp of cold water. Meanwhile boil 2 cups of water. Add softened gelatine to boiling water and mix well till nolumps remain. Stir in pineapple juice with crushed pineapple and sugar. Refrigerate till gelatine just starts to set. Meanwhile break the angel food cake into bite sized pieces and keep aside.Take out the mixture and fold in half the whipped cream. Line a deep large round bowl with saran wrap. Add a layer of the cool whip mixture. Then layer with angel food cake. Repeat until the bowl is full ending with the cake mixture. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Next morning overturn the bowl on the serving plate. The cake will come out looking like a ball.

Peel off the sran wrap and coat the cake with redi whip. Sprinkle coconut flakes on the "snowball" and garnish with red cherries. I was out of cherries and ended up using red skittles!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fish Tacos

This is a perfect meal for a busy work night. I took the Tilapia fillets out of the freezer and put them into the fridge before I left for work this morning. When I got back I put the filling together in 10 minutes. Using store bought corn tortillas I piled up my soft tacos in no time. It was yummy and perfect.

Ingredients (makes 8 tacos)

2 tilapia fillets or any mild fish
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red chilly powder
salt to taste

Corn tortillas (preferably the thin small variety)
Fillings for taco

Lots of fresh chopped cilantro, about a cup or so
1 lime
1 large onion chopped onion
1 large tomato chopped
Store bought or my salsa recipe
Sour cream

Heat oil in a saute pan. Add onions and green peppers. Cut the fish into small pieces and add to the onions. Add all the spices and salt. Mix well together and cook till the fish is well cooked. As you cook the fish cut the fish into even smaller pieces so its easier to fill. Heat the soft corn tortilla in a pan. Spread salsa on it. Add the fish to the centre.Squeeze some lime juice on it. According to your preference add cilantro, tomato, onion and sour cream in whatever proportion you prefer. Roll and take a giant bite.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Crab Curry

What a hectic weekend this was!! I finally got all my Christmas shopping done. It was a lot easier than last year. I can't wait to go home to Boston and see my mom, my sister, my aunts and uncles. My cousin is getting married on Jan 3rd so i'm super excited about the whole wedding fun and I had to finish my shopping today. Plus I had to do the week's grocery so that i don't have to worry about dinner during the week. The grocery store this weekend was packed. I guess people are busy shopping for the holiday season...didn't seem like a recession is on there. Well the good news was that Dungeness crab was on sale for just 2.99 a pound! I love crab but i've never made it before. My mom or aunt always made it for me. My husband and i soooo badly wanted to eat crab that I decided to dive right in and do this right. The store guy even cleaned and cut the crab for me. At the end of the meal we looked at each other and gave this really satisfied was really worth it! I personally believe that crab curry should be eaten a day later, it tastes so much better. let me warn you,eating crab can be a bit messy (and that too a crab curry can be double messy) but I think that's the fun part. Just get a big napkin and dig right in.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

Dungeness crab -1 to 2 pounds
One large onion
1 cup cilantro leaves
1 cup grated coconut (buy store bought frozen)
1 pod garlic
1 large piece of ginger
3 green chillies
1 large tomato
curry leaves 5-6
1 tsp mustard seeds
salt to taste
lime juice

Grind together the ginger, garlic, green chillies, cilantro and coconut with a little bit of warm water. Heat oil in a pot. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When mustard seeds sputter add onions and fry till golden brown. Add ground coconut mixture and chopped tomatoes. Cook till the oil releases from the mixture.

Add salt. Add in the cleaned and cut up crab.

Cover and cook on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve over steamed rice with lime juice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cinnamon dusted Sugar Cookies

Happy Holidays people! This is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. There are lights everywhere, people shopping, holiday parties and just an all out festive mood. Today I came home and had a tiff with my mom on the phone. I was so upset and I just wanted to feel better. What better way to give yourself a lift than having your home smell of baking cookies and cinnamon..mmmmm. Plus I can take these cookies to work tomorrow to share. So here is this super easy recipe of my favorite kind of buttery not so sweet cookies. They also make really nice gifts. Add them to a cellophane bag, tie the recipe to the bag with bright satin ribbon and a card. This recipe is also for my friend Leah. She was always into Christmas time a lot. She taught me how to cut out paper snowflakes and we would decorate our workspace with them. We also went to the outlets together to shop and it was so much fun. So here are some holiday cookies for you Leah!

Ingredients (Makes 4 dozen cookies)

1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

For the dusting:
2 tblsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla essence and beat till well blended. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix till it forms a dough. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. The dough will become less sticky after refrigeration. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Dust a clean working surface with generous amounts of flour. If needed dust the dough with little bit of flour as well. Take a small portion of dough and roll it out. Cut out cookies with any shaped cookie cutter. I used a sharp edged circular bowl and a duck shaped cookie cutter to cut out my cookies.

Transfer cookies to a cookie sheet. Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle over cut out cookies. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

You can have two cookie sheets going in one after the other and the whole process will take no more than 30 minutes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani

I finally ventured into slightly dangerous territory here. I had never attempted a "Kacchi" style biryani in which you cook the rice and meat together on slow heat. I was always concerned that the rice or the meat won't cook to perfection. I attempted it finally to good success. Last night we were getting together to have dinner with our friends. NE was making a slow cooked leg of lamb and we decided to bring a rice dish. Whenever I need a main rice dish i always think Biryani. Pulaos are o.k but biryanis are special. I learnt that Biryani originates from the persion word Beryan meaning yummy and roasted. I have posted quite a few biryani recipes on this blog but this is the first time that I'm trying a Kacchi biryani cooked on slow low heat (aka dum). The rice in this dish is partially cooked at first and then cooked to perfection with the meat on a low heat. The trick is therefore to get perfectly cooked rice with perfectly cooked meat and the flavors to all blend in. This was exactly what I was looking to make.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

For the rice
Long grain Basmati rice
1 stick cinnamon, 1 green cardamom and 2 cloves

For the chicken mixture

Chicken 2-3 pounds, bone in, cut into small pieces
Fried onions 2 cups (buy from an Indian grocery)

Whole spices
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 pods black cardamom
3-4 cloves
2 green cardamom pods

3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp red chilly powder
2 tsp cumin corrainder powder

Other ingredients
1 cup beaten yogurt
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tblsp grated garlic
1 cup mint leaves chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves chopped
1/2 tsp saffron strands soaked in 1/8 cup warm water
melted butter-2 tblsp

Wash and soak rice in water for 30 minutes (very important step). Boil water in a pot with salt, whole spices and oil. Water should taste as salty as you want the rice to taste. Drain soaked rice and add to the water. Let the water come to a boil. Cook till rice is half done. Test this by squeezing a grain of rice between two fingers. The rice grain should get crushed but should still be uncooked and have a crunch to it. Drain and keep aside.
Wash chicken. Add to a large bowl. Add ground spices, whole spices, fried onions, yogurt, ginger, garlic, 3/4 cup mint leaves and 3/4 cup cilantro. Add salt and 1/4 cup oil. Mix together well. Keep aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

You can do this when rice is soaking . Heat 2 tblsp oil in a pot. Add chicken. Fry the chicken mixture on high heat till chicken is slightly roasted but not cooked. Heat a heavy bottomed flat pan. Place a large pot with a heavy lid on the pan. Add half the chicken mixture to the base of the pot. Layer with half the uncooked rice and flatten. Dot rice with butter. Add 1/2 the saffron mixture, mint leaves, cilantro leaves and sprinkle some garam masala powder. Repeat the layer one more time. On the top most rice layer, also sprinkle some fried onions.

Close the lid on top. Seal the edges with foil or with pieces of dough (as my mom did).

Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes and then low heat for 30-40 minutes. Just before serving garnish with chopped cilantro, mint and fried onions. Serve hot with raita.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Not Your Usual Green Bean Casserole

I was aghast this Thanksgiving weekend with all the violence in Mumbai. Its hard for me to comprehend the idea that these people get up everyday with the sole idea of killing people. So many people lost their lives for the misguided and screwed up views of these people. So this Thanksgiving I counted my blessings and gave thanks for having family and friends who love us. I love the general idea of thanksgiving, even though its not a holiday that is a part of the Indian culture. At least one day a year get together with the people you love and be grateful for it and of course any festival centered around food is a plus. This is the most classic Thanksgiving/Holiday side dish.It makes a good Vegetarian side dish. Most grocery stores have a corner with all the standard ingredients for this dish all placed together. Also, almost every can of fried onions has a basic recipe on the back. Here is my "gourmet" recipe.

Ingredients (serves 6-10)

1 pounds fresh cut green beans or a 1 packet of frozen green beans (a good brand)
1 package sliced baby bella mushrooms, you can also use white button mushrooms
1 large onion chopped
1/2 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can condensed cream of celery soup
1 can fried onions
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
salt as needed
1 stick of butter
2 tblsp sour cream
2 cups chicken stock/ for a vegetarian version use vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350. If you're using fresh green beans cook them el dente in chicken stock. If you're using frozen beans, give them a quick heat through in the stock. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the stock. Heat butter in a pot. Saute onions till transparent. Add mushrooms and beans and saute till mushrooms turn tender.

Add soup, pepper, garlic powder, soup mixes, sour cream and stock. Mix well and let the whole mixture heat through and let most of the chicken stock evaporate or get absorbed. Stir in 3/4 can of fried onions. Pour the entire mixture into a casserole dish. Top the beans with cheese and remaining fried onions. Bake covered for 25 minutes.

Chicken Samosas with Mint-Mango Chutney

Happy Thanksgiving People. I'm going to head out for our Thanksgiving get-together soon. I was alloted to make samosas and a bean dish. I decided to make chicken samosas and my green bean casserole. I love samosas and all my American friends love it too. Its always an appetizer that I've been asked to make. If you've never heard of samosas before they are just savory triangular deep fried pastry stuffed with different fillings. You can pretty much fill it with any kind of filling you want, potatoes being most popular. To make the dough I got the recipe from Manjula of Manjula's Kitchen and she also has a nice video showing how to fold the samosas. So here is my recipe for chicken samosas.

Ingredients (makes about 30)


2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp sooji/semolina
1 tsp salt
5 tblsp oil
3/4 cup luke warm water


1 pound ground chicken, grind further in a food processor to have finely ground chicken
2 medium onions, very finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 pod crushed garlic, use a microplane
2-3 tsp garam masala
2-3 tsp cumin powder
1/4 cup chicken stock
salt to taste
Oil 1tblsp


Add the semolina, salt and oil to the flour and mix well. Slowly add water and knead into a soft dough. Keep aside covered for atleast half an hour.

Meanhwile saute onions in oil. Add ground chicken. Add spices, salt and cilantro. Mix well till brown. Add chicken stock and cook uncovered till all the stock evaporates and chicken is well cooked. Take off heat and let the mixture cool.

Roll out a lime size piece of dough into a circle. DO NOT USE FLOUR TO ROLL DOUGH. The dough has enough oil to not stick. Cut the circle in half. Wet the edges of the half moon shaped circle on all sides. Form a cone as shown and seal the edges with a wide opening. Add about 1 heaped tsp of filling into the cone. Seal one edge of the opening on the seal side to the other edge. Fold the other edge over onto the seal side. Repeat to make others. Deep fry samosas in oil till golden brown. Drain on a paper towel. Serve with chutney or ketchup.

For a video check out part 2 of Majula's video.

Mango Mint Chutney

1/2 cup mint chutney in a jar from the store or 1 cup mint leaves
1/2 a semi raw mango, sweet n tangy
2 tsp sugar
1 cup cilantro leaves
3 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup cold water
salt to taste

Grind all ingredients in a blender till nice and smooth. Pour into a bowl and serve with samosas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pumpkin Pie

Reposting this recipe in time for the big foodorama for Thanksgiving. The picture doesn't look like much but this pie is super duper delicious. I love turkey day...not because I love turkey or anything (its alright--yummy when deep fried)....but I love the whole idea of a day centered around eating. Plus i love the sight of the bird being brought out all dressed up and all the dishes laid out. This year since I'm on the other coast... sooo far from home (sniff sniff)... I'm spending Thanksgiving with my colleagues with a dinner at my boss's place. I am going to take my "special green bean casserole"--oh its not that regular kind BTW and chicken samosas (by popular demand). Both these recipes will be posted soon after gobble gobble day. For now here is E's oh so awesome pumpkin pie from scratch. Happy Thanksgiving folks!

This recipe was given to me by my ex-boss. Every November she makes this delicious pumpkin pie from scratch and its absolutely delicious. Although time consuming, this is a very easy recipe. I have not included the pie crust recipe here because i used a store bought pie crust.

1 small pie pumpkin (You need finally 1 3/4 cup cooked pumpkin pulp)
14 oz can condensed milk
1 large egg
1 cup hot water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

OR supplement all spices with 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix

To cook pumpkin, slice it in half and remove strings and seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour until skin pulls away easily from the meat (the color of the skin will darken). You can also save the seeds, clean them and roast them for a tasty healthy snack.

Scrape away the skin and puree the pumpkin with the hot water in the food processor. This puree can be frozen and used at a later time as well.

To make the pie, pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat all ingredients together with pumpkin pulp and pour into a 9 inch pastry.
Bake for about 55 minutes. Cool and serve with whipped cream (don't chicken out on the whipped cream part--its absolutely essential with this pie).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Latin Style Steak with Beans-Potatoes and a Easy Tomato Salad

Full credit for these recipes goes to Daisy Martinez. I saw her show Daisy cooks on Create TV and it looked so yummy that I had to make it. Plus I had all these tomatoes and beans from the farmer's market which I wanted to use. Since I didn't have many of the spices she mentioned (its a new kitchen ya c'mmon... i'm working on stocking the pantry) I improvised the original recipe which asked for a homemade blend of adobo seasoning. Looking back at my ingredients my steak recipe is significantly modified from Daisy's. still tasted good damn it! Frankly, I had never made steaks at home before. Actually I rarely eat beef except for that occasional juicy steak at a nice restaurant. In spite of my limited experience with eating steak I know one thing about cooking it--NEVER eat it well'd rather eat a piece of leather (any real steak liking person will second me on that). Rare is too red for me frankly. My personal favorite is Medium, nicely browned on the outside with a nice pink line in the center. The meat is soft and juices flow out of it. So if you're grossed out by thinking its uncooked meat..believe me its perfectly safe and the meat is cooked..just to a different degree. Try it. O.k coming back to my recipe...


1 pound thin flank steak or any other kind of cut is fine
1/4 cup vinegar (yes that much!!)
1 tsp chilly powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 pods garlic crushed
1 tbslp dark soy sauce

Mix all ingredients together. Pour it over the steak in a glass dish. Cover with sran wrap and marinate for an hour or overnight in the refrigerator. Heat a pan till its sizzling pan. Cook the steak 3 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other. Take off the heat and let the meat rest for about a couple of minutes before serving. Keep in mind that during resting the meat continues to cook. Adjust cooking times for thicker steaks or for different levels of doneness. If you're new to this try using a meat thermometer. For rare have an internal temperature of 140 degrees F, medium:160 and well done 170.

Beans and Potatoes
Cook two diced potatoes till 3/4th done. Drain and keep aside. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add three pods of crushed garlic to the oil as it heats. Once the the oil sizzles add potatoes. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and fry till potatoes are golden brown. Add fresh green beans and stir fry for a few minutes. I left the beans with a little crunch in them. Serve with the steak.

Tomato salad
Dice 2 Roma tomatoes and half a red or Vidalia onion. Add to a bowl. Add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley if you want). Add salt, pepper and generous amount of good quality olive oil (about 3-4 tblsp). Stir and serve immediately. If you don't want to serve immediately hold off on the salt and olive oil until ready to eat.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Tapioca Fritters/Sabudana Vada

Hey I'm back!! I missed blogging a LOT. I'm sorry i didn't post any food pics along the way...i didn't have the fastest internet access in the hotels. Anyway, i'm finally all moved and settled in into our new home. It was quite a bit of work moving across the country. Setting up the kitchen took a long time especially since we had to get rid of most of our stuff before we moved, I had to start from scratch. So my first couple of days here were gorgeous fall days but this weekend the rain finally came in (I was beginning to think it was all a myth). Even though I promised Andy at work that I would make something very unique to Seattle for my very first post....I had to start with this perfect rainy day snack. I promise my next post will include an ingredient I have not seen on the east coast (of which I found a lot at the farmers market) but for my first post in Seattle what better than a rainy day treat. When its cool and rainy outside these deep fried fritters or vadas (in hindi) are excellent. Oh and if you like me, are watching Bridget Jones Diary for the 100 th time with a plate full of these--- its even better. I love Colin Firth when he says " I like you just the way you are".....awwwww. O.k moving's the recipe.


1 cup tapioca pearls
ground roasted peanuts 1 cup
3-4 potatoes, boiled and mashed (left over mashed potatoes work great as well)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp red chilly powder (optional)
salt to taste


Wash tapioca pearls in water. Soak the pearls in water for 1/2 an hour, then remove the water and keep aside covered for 4-8 hours. Add all remaining ingredients to the tapioca and mix well to form a nicely incorporated mixture that is not wet. Form slightly dome shaped patties. Deep fry. The best way to fry is to add the patties to hot oil slowly and then don't touch or move the patties until all the bubbles die down. Drain on a paper towel. Serve hot with ketchup or any type of chutney.