Saturday, December 31, 2011

Forks over knives - My attempt - Chholay

Just a few days back, I got a chance to watch "Forks over knives" documentary. I was really impressed with Dr. Campbell  and Dr. Esselstyn's research about plant based, sugar free and oil free nutrition. I won't say that I will be completely vegan with sugar free and oil free diet. But I would like to take some baby steps in that direction in the coming new year. You will see some recipes that I have been trying over last few years which are oil free and surprisingly, fit the bill.

As a first recipe, let me introduce something that my family has been enjoying and yes, it doesn't have a single drop of oil. Now, some traces of fats are already there in the beans and other ingredients as above Dr. team stresses. But I have not added any additional oil. and yes, it does taste good. As I said before, I am not going to change our diet drastically to make it oil-free, but these are some experiments that were approved by my esteemed panel of judges!! ;-) (Read daughter and husband!!)

I have several other recipes of chholays - masala chholay, paneer chholay, palak chholay, Dhingri Chholay (with mushrooms), Khatte chholay, Dry Chholay etc. But all of those recipes are different compared to the following version. You will know why!

Chholay - My Fork over knives experiment
1 1/2 cup soaked garbanzo beans or 1 can garbanzo beans
salt to taste
1 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1 medium yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 12 pieces
1 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste, preferably freshly made
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chholay masala or garam masala
1/4 cup finely minced cilantro

Suggested Accompaniment
Rice Medley
Bell Pepper Koshimbeer

1. In a pressure pan or pressure cooker, combine chopped onion, tomato, potato pieces, ginger-garlic paste, garbanzo beans, turmeric powder, garam or chholay masala, salt and  minced cilantro.
2. Add 1 cup water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. Let the pressure drop of its own.
3. Open the lid. Add 1/2 cup water. Mash few potatoes to give some thickness.
4. Adjust for salt.
5. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Note -
1. I usually prefer soaking the garbanzo beans rather than using canned version. If using can, make sure that you rinse and drain the beans. In that case, you may need just 2 whistles of pressure cooker since they are already cooked.
2. If you like it more spice, use 2 green chilies, minced and spicy chili powder. Add it along with all the ingredients.
3. Chholay masala is available at Indian stores. I personally prefer Badshah brand but several other brands like Everest, MTR etc may also work equally well.


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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tutti Frutti Cake

I used my clipped recipe of Orange - Cranberry bread from "Good Housekeeping" as an inspiration.  I modified the recipe to make the Tutti Frutti cake. Though the cakes shaped like a loaf are known as tea or coffee "breads"; I prefer to call this version as a "cake".

Tutti Frutti Cake
1 large or 2 medium oranges, make 1 tsp orange zest and 1/2 cups orange juice

2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tbsp butter, melted
4 oz cream cheese (optional)
*1 tsp orange zest
* 1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

You will also need
2 cups chopped tutti frutti

1. Preheat oven 350 F
2. Grease 5 mini loaf pans.
3. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
4. Using an electric beater, beat eggs, butter and cream cheese - if using.
5. Add orange zest and juice. Beat again till creamy.
6. Add egg mixture to dry flour mixture. Mix well.
7. Add tutti fruiti and mix.
8. Pour into the greased mini loaf pans. Using a knife make sure that the batter is distributed evenly.
9. Bake for 50 minutes.
10. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
11. Cool completely on a wire rack.
12. Refrigerate and then cut into pieces.

Note -
1. Cream cheese is an optional ingredient.
2. When chillied, it's easier to cut uniformly.


We wish you a Merry Christmas!!
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Friday, December 23, 2011


Today, I am showcasing another delicacy from Goa - Dodol. I have not made it but just bought it from Mumbai.

I think Bebinca and Dodol go hand in hand. If I have to go for taste, I like Bebinca more than Dodol. Dodol has a rustic sweetness probably due to Goan jaggery. That is a little overwhelmingly sweet for me.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Costaz Bebinca  - "Bebinca is popularly known as the Queen of Goan sweets. It has a rich golden brown colour and enticing flavour. A multi-layered sweetness that melts in the mouth." This is what the description on the pack says!

A Goan Christmas is incomplete without Bebinca - Portuguese influenced dessert. I got mine ready made from Mumbai.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Coconut Macaroons

Macaroons was the first cookie I ever baked in my life. I didn't plan on it. We were newly married then. I sent my husband to buy a coconut for making chutney with dosas. I really thought that the nearby supermarket would surely have all the ingredients for my cooking needs. [ I once remember asking the customer service about dates and rose syrup; they had not even heard about these two items. I am happy to report that in just few years, most of the supermarkets started carrying Medjool Dates; rose syrup is still missing!] Anyways, let's get back to my husband's search for coconut. He spotted a good coconut in the veggie section but he was not sure how we would break it. In Mumbai, naraLwala would do it. So he asked around and got home a packet of grated coconut. I was happy to see it. Without reading the label, I made the chutney using a fistful of coconut flakes. That chutney was cloyingly sweet! My husband has a sweet tooth so he loved it and I hated it. I read the label and it was sweetened coconut. I was so mad. I didn't know what to do with the remaining packet? It stayed in the fridge for some time and as luck would have it, I read a recipe in our local newspaper. I wanted to use that sweet coconut and also the recipe appeared very simple.

I made it and it turned out really good. I liked it as it was a cookie recipe without any added butter.
However, I had a slight problem. Whenever anything special was made, we used to always share with our neighbors in Mumbai. and suddenly in my apartment building I felt very lonely. It was just my husband and I then, with 3 dozens of cookies. We hardly knew any neighbors. It was a strange feeling to eat all by ourselves. So those cookies lasted us almost a life time.

Coconut Macaroons
1 package (14oz) coconut flakes
2/3 cup sugar
6 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix coconut, sugar, flour and salt in a big bowl.
2. Stir in egg whites and vanilla extract.
3. Line cookie sheets with a wax paper.
4. Drop cookie dough using a scoop. Keep enough space between the cookies
5. Bake 325 F for about 20 minutes or till the edges of the cookies are golden brown.
6. Remove from the cookie sheet. Place on a wire racks.

Note -
1. This recipe gives 3 dozen cookies.

Local Newspaper Recipe Clipping (Author unknown)

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Oatmeal-Raisin-Choc Chip Cookies

This is the recipe from my clippings of "Good Housekeeping".

Oatmeal Raisins Choc Chips Cookies
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 stick or 1/2 cup butter, at room temp.
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract

You will also need
1 1/2 cup old fashioned or quick cooking oats
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Mix all purpose flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F
3. Beat butter, and both sugars till creamy.
4. Add egg and vanilla and beat again on a low speed.
5. Add flour mixture and beat again.
6. Spoon in oats, raisins and chocolate chips. Make a cookie dough.
7. Line a wax paper on the cookie tray.
8. Using a cookie or small ice cream scoop, drop cookie dough on the tray. Make sure that the cookies have good space between each other.
9.Bake for 15 minutes.
10. Transfer the cookies on a wire rack, using a spatula.
11. Let them cool down completely. Store them in an airtight container.

Note -
1. This recipe gave me 33 counts of cookies.
2. Use butter and egg at room temperature for better results.


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Friday, December 16, 2011


I do not bake as much as I would like. But Christmas cheer is in the air. I found myself signing up for baking cookies for a good cause. I decided to start with the simplest of them all. Frankly speaking, just a week ago, I didn't know how simple "Palmiers" are if you have a frozen puff pastry handy. I saw a recipe in the "Cooking Light" for savory spirals. Then I thought what if I make sweet version, won't that be Palmiers? So I googled and found that that's how they make Palmiers.

Even those who have never baked cookies before, do try it and impress your family and friends.

Fan Shaped Cookies
1 packet frozen Puff Pastry packet like Pepperidge Farm

1/2 cup + 1/2 cup sugar
1/4tsp + tsp salt

Sprinkle (Optional)
Green and Red sugar crystals for turning them into holiday cookies

1. Thaw puff pastry sheets on the counter for about 40 minutes.
2. Spread 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp salt on to your working surface.
3. Unfold one pastry sheet onto sugar and salt mixture as if to cover as much sugar mixture as possible.
4. Use your rolling pin to roll it slightly.
5. Using you blunt or butter knife, make a mark lightly at the center of the sheet - lengthwise.
6. Now fold one side till this line and fold the other side till the line as below.
7. Pull them together to make a roll.
8. Cover tightly using a saran wrap. Keep on a plate. Place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
9. Repeat the above procedure using 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp salt for the remaining pastry sheet. Keep that roll in the fridge too. Clean up the mess of sugar/salt remnants!!
10. Preheat oven to 400F
11. Take off one roll and place on the cutting board. Remove the wrap. Cut thin slices - about 18 - 20
12. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the cookies with at least 2" space between them.
13. Bake for 6-7 minutes. Flip and bake again for 6-7 minutes.
14. Take them out. Place them on a wire rack using a spatula. Let them cool down completely.
15. Repeat the same procedure for the second roll from the fridge.

16. When all the cookies have cooled down, you can do these optional steps to dress them up in green and red colors. Sprinkle green and red sugar crystals (such as Wiltons') on all the cookies. I sprinkled half the cookies red and the other half green.
17. Place them back on to the cookie sheet. and bake for just 1 or 1 1/2 minutes till sugar crystal stick to the cookies but do not melt completely.
18. Place them back on the wire rack to cool down.
19. Once cooled off, store in an airtight container.
20. Share & enjoy!!

Note -
1. Each Pepperidge Farm puff pastry packet has 2 pastry sheets.
2. Addition of green and red colors was my idea. The real recipe stops at step 15.
3. Cut uniformly thin slices about 18 - 20. So 2 puff pastry sheets will give you about 36 - 40 cookies.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Paatra Chaat

I had heard about this Gujarati dish called "Paatra Chaat". I have no idea how it is made. But after finding chaat chutney, paatra roll (aLuwadi in Marathi) in the freezer and some Kashi 7 grain pita crisps in the pantry, I thought of making this paatra chaat for the Sunday supper.

Paatra Chaat
1 roll of paatra or aLuwadi (readymade will work too)

Kashi plain pita crisps or puris used in chaat

Sweetened yogurt - Whisk together
1/2 cup yogurt
sugar to taste
salt to taste

Multipurpose chaat chutney

Nylon sev, as needed

Generous pinch of chaat masala
Minced cilantro/coriander leaves
Hot chili sauce such as Sriracha

1. Thaw and microwave paatra rolls. Let them come to room temperature. Cut into 2 or 4 pieces so they can fit on the cracker, pita chip or puri.
2. Drizzle multi purpose chaat chutney over paatra.
3.Drizzle sweetened yogurt.
4. Sprinkle nylon sev.
5. Add a dash of hot sauce such as Sriracha
6. Sprinkle cilantro and chaat masala
7. Serve immediately.

Note -
1. Never make chaat too much in advance.
2. Do not deep fry paatra. Otherwise it will be too oily.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Green Peas Daal Appe

I had this green peas daal around so decide to make some use of it. I decide to make Appe because I can even freeze them to reuse later. I serve appe with chutney, rasam, saar, sambaar or even sweetened dahi to make dahi-appe.

Green Peas Daal Appe
वाटाण्याच्या डाळीचे आप्पे
1/3 cup green peas daal
1/3 cup chana daal
2/3 cup urad daal

salt to taste
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1/4 tsp baking soda (optional)

Oil for greasing the Appe Paatra/pan

1. Clean and rinse the daals. Soak all three daal for 6-8 hours.
2. Grind to a smooth paste adding asafoetida & water as needed. Do not make the batter watery.
3. Stir in salt. Mix well. Cover and keep aside.
4. You can keep it for fermenting or you can make appe immediately by adding baking soda. If the batter is well fermented, you may not need baking soda.
5. Heat appe pan. Add 1/2 tsp of oil in each appe cavity. Add spoonful of batter. Drizzle some oil around each dumpling. Cover and let it cook.
6. Remove the lid and flip the appe. Add more oil if necessary.  Make sure the appes are cooked and are brown.
7. Serve with chutney, sambar, rasam or saar of your choice.

Note -
1. Appes can easily be frozen for later use.
2. Above proportion gave me about 49 appes.
3. You can add minced onion, green chilies, curry leaves etc in the fermented batter for a different taste.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Orange Marmalade Bundt Cake

I feel that a  Bundt Cake pan just elevates the ordinary cake onto a pedestal level. I was looking for a simple semi-homemade recipe with Orange Marmalade. Betty Crocker's website has a recipe for "Orange Pound Cake". I more or less followed the recipe but used orange marmalade. The result was really good.

Orange Marmalade Bundt Cake
From Bettry
1 pack Betty Crocket Yellow cake mix
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/2 packet mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp orange marmalade
Few drops of orange extract (optional)

For a Glaze
2 tbsp orange juice
Generous 2 tbsp powdered sugar to sprinkle

1. Preheat oven to 325 F
2. Make cake batter using the instructions on the back of the packet. Use milk instead of water and use 1/4 cup oil.
3. Stir in orange marmalade and beat again to make a smooth batter.
4. Grease your bundt cake pan. Pour the batter uniformly.
5. Bake for about 40 mins or till if the skewer inserted comes out clean.
6. Let the cake cool down in the pan for 10 minutes.
7. Invert onto a serving plate.
8. Let it cool down completely - about an hour.
9. Drizzle orange juice all over the cake.
10. Add powdered sugar into a wired mesh sieve (gaaLNe in Marathi). Sprinkle the sugar all over the cake.
11. ENJOY! :-D

Note -
1. I didn't bother to make the real glaze by heating orange juice with sugar. But you can try it.

Recipe Credits

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Butternut Quinoa

My resolution for December is to use all the stuff that's lying around my pantry. So this week, you may find some unusual recipes. :-) There was a recipe of Butternut Squash Risotto on the back of the frozen butternut packet. This recipe was the inspiration for creating my version. I have substituted quinoa instead of sticky Arborio Rice. I have changed the recipe to suit to our taste.

Butternut Quinoa
1 cut butternut squash (10 oz frozen)
1 cup raw quinoa
salt and black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup chopped onion

Suggested Accompaniment
Grilled Chipotle Salmon

1. Cook quinoa according to the manufacturer's instructions. Let it cool down. Set aside.
2. Microwave butternut pieces adding spoonful of water for about 3 minutes - as instructed on the back of the packet. Let it cool down. Set aside.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan or a wok.
4. Add cumin seeds and turmeric powder. Saute for 30 seconds. Add onion. Fry for 5 minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste. Fry for 2 minutes.
5. Now stir in cooked and cooled quinoa. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well.
6. Add butternut pieces. Stir gently taking care not to break the pieces.
7. Cook for 5 minutes. Cover. Switch off the gas.

Note -
You can add chili paste such as Sriracha to spice up this quinoa.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bhindi Do Pyaza

Call it bhendi, bhindi, bhinda, ladies fingers or okra - this vegetable is my most favorite veggie. Gudiya took me out for my last birthday when my husband was out of town. We dined at an Indian restaurant.  Knowing that her father is away on my birthday, Gudiya asked me - "So what are you going to have?". I felt good to be pampered by my little daughter. I ordered "Bhindi do pyaza". I noticed that they had added red, orange and yellow bell pepper pieces making this dish look really vibrant. I tried to use the same technique here.

Bhindi Do Pyaza
Okra with onions and bell peppers
2 cups cut okra, cut each into 2" pieces with a slit
salt to taste
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced or use multi-colored bell peppers
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tbsp. coriander-cumin powder
1 tsp. paprika/mild chili powder
1 tomato, sliced, remove the pulps and seeds
1 tbsp. oil

1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste

1. Heat oil in a nonstick kadai/wok. Add cumin seeds. As they sizzle, add onions and ginger-garlic paste. Sauté on a low flame till onion is browned but not burnt. It should be reduced in the volume.
2. Now, add powders and add okra, tomato and bell peppers. Sauté on a medium flame for 10 minutes.
3. Add remaining oil. Cover and let it cook for 15 minutes or so till the veggies are cooked.
4. Add salt to taste

Note -
1. I wanted to reduce the amount of oil - though 2 tbsp. oil is still a bit more than my usual quota. If you like the okra to be crispy, you may need to increase the oil proportion a lot more, and cook without covering it with a lid.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chipotle Salmon

I found this recipe in the "Family Circle" magazine. I had a can of "Chipotle chillies in Adobe Sauce" in the pantry. This recipe came in handy.

Chipotle Salmon
from Family Circle Magazine
2 salmon fillets -  boneless, skinless
2 Chipotle chillies in Adobe sauce, chopped

1. Preheat oven 450 F
2. Rinse and pat dry Salmon fillets. Spread chopped chilies with chipotle sauce, salt and pepper over the fillets.
3. Place them uniformly in a baking tray.
4. Bake for 15- 20 minutes till the salmon is cooked through.
5. Serve with salad or butternut quinoa

Note -
1.After using a portion of chipotle chilies, save the remaining portion in a separate container and refrigerate.

Family Circle

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jeera Quinoa

I love cooking with "Quinoa". It's truly a miracle grain. I use many of my "rice" recipes and substitute quinoa. Today I am sharing Jeera Quinoa like jeera rice. Serve this simple dish with any spicy curry of your choice.

Jeera Quinoa
Cumin scented Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
salt to taste
1/2 cup frozen green peas

1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp ghee/toop/clarified butter
2-3 cloves
1 bayleaf
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera

1 tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Cook quinoa according to the instructions on the back of the packet. Use double the amount of water.
2. Let it cool down completely.
3. Heat oil and ghee in a saucepan.
4. Add cloves, bay leaf and cumin seeds. As they sizzle, and cumin seeds change the color, stir in cooked & cooled quinoa.
5. Add salt to taste. Mix well.
6. Stir in frozen green peas.
7. Cover and let it cook for 7-8 minutes on a medium low flame.
8. Garnish with cilantro - if using.

Note -
1. This is a very simple and bland quinoa dish. So serve with a spicy curry of your choice. I served it with shrimp curry.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Paneer Paratha

Khasiyat is a paratha place in Vileparle west. We love their paratha platter. I tried to recreate it in my kitchen.
Paneer Paratha - (5 count)
Indian Cottage Cheese Flatbread
2 cups wheat flour
salt to taste
water as needed
1 tsp oil
Rice flour for dredging
oil for roasting
1 cup paneer/Indian cottage cheese, grated
2 tbsp minced red onion
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of chaat masala
A pinch of garam masala
1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tbsp minced cilantro/coriander leaves
1 green chili, minced (optional - for an extra kick)
Suggested accompaniments
Daal Makhni
1. Knead wheat flour with salt, adding water carefully as needed. Keep kneading till the dough does not stick to your hands. Add spoonful of oil and knead some more. Cover and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the stuffing and set aside.
3. Make 5 uniform balls from the dough. Divide the stuffing into 5 parts.
4. Using rice flour for dredging, roll the dough ball into a thick disk. Spoon the stuffing mixture in the middle. Bring all the sides of the disc together to form a ball. Dredge into rice flour. and roll into a thick paratha.
5. Heat iron tawa/griddle/pan. Add rolled paratha and roast on both sides adding oil as needed.
6. Repeat the same procedure for the remaining balls.

Paneer Paratha with vegetable raita and Daal Makhni
Note -
1. I use less oil for kneading the dough.
21, Dashrathlal Joshi Road, Vile Parle (W), Vile Parle West , Mumbai
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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Aallya Gojju

Addition of daliya or Pandharpuri DaaLe adds proteins to this chutney. I use coconut and daliya in 1:1 ratio. You can change the proportion to your own liking. I generally serve this chutney with Idlis or poLay/dose

Aallya Gojju
1/2 cup freshly scraped coconut
1/2 cup daliya/Pandharpuri DaaLe/Puffed chana daal
3-4 green chilies (or per your taste)
salt to taste
A pinch of sugar
2" ginger, peeled & cut

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 tsp coconut or sesame oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida/hing
1 sprig of curry leaves, torn
2 red chilies, halved

1. Grind all the ingredients except yogurt adding water as needed. Do not make it too watery. Add just enough water so grinding is easy.
2. Once daal is ground, add yogurt and grind again.
3. Pour in a serving bowl.
4. Heat oil for tempering. Add the ingredients. As they sizzle, drizzle the oil over the chutney.
5. Mix and serve.

Note -
1. My mom's note - use boiled and cooled water for grinding chutney. Since we do not heat chutney, do not use tap water!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Chicken Mayo Roll

This is the most common roll available in Bandra Bakeries. I must confess that I never liked it as I find it very bland. But I knew that Gudiya would enjoy it. So I made it and it was an instant hit.

Chicken Mayo Roll
2 hot dog buns (I used whole wheat)
1/2 cup grilled/roasted/baked chicken, shredded/cut into pieces
2 tbsp shredded lettuce (optional)

Whisk together
1/2 cup Mayonnaise (I used olive oil based spectrum brand)
1 tsp Dijon mustard (I used whole foods brand)
A pinch of salt
A pinch of black pepper, freshly ground
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp sugar or 1/2 tsp agave nectar

1. Whisk the ingredients together to make salad dressing.
2. Add grilled chicken pieces and lettuce - if using.
3. Stuff into hot dog buns.
4. Wrap into a plastic/saran wrap
5. Serve at room temperature.

Note -
1. Do not make add lettuce if made too much in advance as it may make it too watery.
2. Adjust mustard per your liking. It can be pungent if added in excess.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

TJ's Guilt free Brownies

When I look back at my childhood, I remember that I used to get extremely excited when mom took a day off from her work. and I used to look forward to some homemade treats on my way back home from school.

Just the other day, I was working from home. I knew that Gudiya was looking forward to some homemade goodies. I had even planned to do some baking. I just don't know how the day vanished and it was time for Gudiya to come home. I heard the school bus. I felt so bad...I went to the kitchen. I had kept Trader Joe's Guilt free brownies mix on the kitchen counter. But how on earth would I put it together in 5 minutes? I started reading the instructions helplessly, trying to think about an excuse for Gudiya. Can you believe it - there was 1 minute 1 serving microwave recipe. I really couldn't believe my eyes. "Mommy, I am home!" - Gudiya rang the bell. I opened the door to receive a big hug. "What have you made for me?" - Gudiya asked me eagerly. "Go, get cleaned up first!" - I told her. I stirred the mix with yogurt per instructions and baked in the microwave per their instructions for one serving. The brownie was ready for Gudiya in a minute. "Mommy, you are the best" - Gudiya said happily. It felt like a scene from a commercial happening in my home. :-D


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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sweet Potato Knot Rolls


I made these rolls last year and they were good enough to make again this year.
Sweet Potato Knot Rolls
From Cooking Light - January 2003
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm 2% reduced-fat milk (100° to 110°)
3/4 cup canned mashed sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
5 cups bread flour, divided
Cooking spray

1. Dissolve yeast in milk in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
2. Add sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon butter, salt, and egg yolks, stirring mixture with a whisk.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 4 1/2 cups flour; stir until a soft dough forms.
3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel very soft and tacky).
4. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press 2 fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down. Cover and let rest 5 minutes.
5.Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough into 24 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), shape each portion into a 9-inch rope. Carefully shape rope into a knot; tuck top end of knot under roll. Place roll on a prepared pan.
6. Repeat procedure with remaining dough, placing 12 rolls on each pan. Lightly coat rolls with cooking spray; cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
7. Preheat oven to 400°.
Uncover rolls. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes with 1 pan on bottom rack and 1 pan on second rack from top. Rotate pans; bake an additional 7 minutes or until rolls are golden brown on top and sound hollow when tapped.
Remove rolls from pans; place on wire racks. Brush rolls with 2 tablespoons butter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Source -

My Modifications -
Instead of using a canned sweet potato, I pressure cooked and mashed it.

Gudiya busy mashing the sweet potato


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

I have been making this bread since last thanksgiving. This bread is delicious and is perfect for giving as a gift to friends and neighbors.

After pouring the batter in the greased loaf pans, do not forget to smoothen the top with a knife or a spatula to avoid a big bump on top.

The following recipe gave me 5 mini loaves and 2 big muffins. This recipe is taken from the Cooking Light Magazine Dec 2004 Issue.
Pumpkin Bread
Cooking Light Dec 2004
2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup fat-free vanilla pudding
4 large egg whites
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Spoon batter into 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack, and remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Green Beans Thoran

I had green beans thoran at my aunt's place for the first time. I had not eaten green beans made this way before. I instantly loved this dish for its coconuty flavor. It reminded me of my grandma's upkari but this thoran had onion and garlic too.

I try to reduce coconut, however some coconut is definitely needed to enjoy the flavor of this dish. So do not omit coconut completely.

Green Beans Thoran
Green Beans Casserole - Kerala style
1 lb frozen, cut green beans
salt to taste

2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp urad daal
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced
2-3 red chilies, halved
2-3 sprigs of curry leaves, torn

1/4 cup freshly scraped coconut

1. Heat oil in a saucepan.
2. Add all the seeds, chilies, daal and curry leaves.
3. Keep on sauteing till urad daal changes its color. Do not let it burn. Add garlic slivers. Saute for 1 minute.
4. Add shallots. Saute for about 5 minutes, till soft.
5. Add frozen green beans. Keep on sauteing till they appear to be thawed.
6. Cover and let it cook to the desired crunchiness.
7. Add salt and mix together.
8. Stir in coconut and black pepper powder.
9. Serve hot or warm.

Note -
1. I used frozen, cut green beans for this recipe. I do not bother to thaw it. You can thaw it if you like.
Fresh green beans can also be used. Cook the beans accordingly.
2. If you do not have shallots, use regular onions.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Butternut Soup with an Indian twist

All my family recipes for red pumpkin (bhopLa in Marathi & koLu in Gujarati) fit perfectly for the butternut squash. I must confess that I actually like butternut squash a tad more than the regular pumpkin. But it became a regularly featured vegetable in my kitchen only when Gudiya started on her solids. She just loved the mushy paste of butternut squash and in her own way, she communicated that she wanted more. and thus butternut squash entered and stayed in my kitchen.

I soon discovered that rassa, bharit, thepla, shaak, halva - butternut squash just stole the show. The most simplest way of cooking butternut squash was to throw in the sambar or koLumbo. The most difficult part about butternut squash is peeling. Now, the supermarkets even carry peeled and cut chunks of butternut squash.

For my Thanksgiving feast, I generally make at least 2 dishes with Indian flavor. This year, it was butternut squash and green beans. I was thinking of ways to make butternut soup. An all American recipe would have been to cook or roast the squash and saute with ginger, onion, curry powder and puree it and add a dash of heavy cream. I wanted to use this basic recipe but give it an Indian flavor. Now, none in my family has ever used this mystic blend called "Curry Powder". and I didn't want to use heavy cream. Also, butternut squash tastes really good with koLumbo. Voila! I decided to make butternut sambar soup without using daal.

Butternut "Sambar" Soup
Butternut Soup with an Indian twist
1 lb butternut chunks (I used pre-cut from Costco)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt to taste
3/4 cup coconut milk
A pinch of jaggery
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
2 tbsp KoLumbo Masala

2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup roughly chopped red onion or shallots

1. Coat butternut squash pieces with olive oil. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for about 30 minutes or so till they are cooked.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add all spices and curry leaves. As they sizzle, add ginger, garlic and onion/shallots. Saute till they are soft. Add 2 tbsp koLumbo masala.
3. Add roasted butternut squash  in a food processor. Puree it using water as needed.
4. Return the puree to the saucepan. Add more water to get the desired consistency.
5. Add salt, jaggery and tamarind paste. Bring to boil.
6. Switch gas to low. Stir in coconut milk. Simmer for 5 minutes.
7. Pour in an individual serving bowls adding 2 tbsp of cooked, brown basmati rice.

Note -
1. You can adjust the amount of koLumbo masala per your liking.
2. Instead of roasting, you can pressure cook the squash. Or saute the chunks with onion mixture and then puree it. However, roasting brings out a wonderful flavor.
3. You can puree onion mixture along with butternut squash if you do not want to have bits of onions and garlic.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks and celebrating harvest. I make sure that I use all the American vegetables and fruits on my table on this wonderful holiday. My best friend, Rakhee's this recipe of Black Bean and Corn salad fits the bill.

Black Bean and Corn Salad
1/2 cup yellow corn
1/2 cup white corn
1 cup black beans/turtle beans, cooked or from the can
2 tbsp finely minced red onion
2 tbsp finely minced tomatoes
1 tbsp finely minced cilantro
1/2 tbsp finely minced chili (or as needed)
1 piece of orange bell pepper, finely minced (optional)
Handful of bluberries (optional)

1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lemon zest
1 lemon, freshly squeezed

1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Serve

Note -
1. Blueberries and bell peppers are optional. I was trying to create a rainbow salad.
2. Omit green chili if you do not want any heat.
3. Serve as a salad or serve as a dip with chips.
4. You can use the leftovers to make black bean soup or stir in the cooked and cooled brown basmati rice for an impromptu black bean - rice salad. Serve this rice salad cold or at room temperature.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Cranberry Salsa

Oh boy! It's very early morning here. I am wide awake not to go out for the black Friday sale but to check if it happened. I called my mom. I have this strange habit when He is playing. I can't watch Him play, I can't read the newspapers. Mom talked about everything else but Him. That was the clue. If it had had happened, mom's first sentence would have been about Sachin's century. I knew it. Just while keeping the phone down, mom said in a very low voice - "He got out at 94!"  Bummer!!

It's indeed a black Friday today!! I know it all sounds crazy. But it's all about Cricket. I can't help it. Though I am thousands of miles away from Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, I just can't help it. Oh dear! I can't even begin to imagine the pressure of representing your country with heavy expectations of 1 billion people and perform splendidly for over two decades. Here's wishing you, Sachin, the very best!!

Anyway, my blog has always helped me to cheer up when I am feeling low. So I think I better share today's recipe.

My best friend, Rakhee made this salsa when we celebrated Thanksgiving at her home few years ago. It was delicious. Rakhee has learnt this recipe from her aunt.

Cranberry Salsa
1 can Cranberry jelly (I used Whole Foods Organic Cranberry Jelly)
2 tbsp finely minced red onion
2 tbsp finely minced tomatoes
1 tbsp finely minced cilantro
salt to taste
2 tbsp Lime juice or as needed
1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/2 tbsp minced green chili (optional)

1. Mash the cranberry jelly with a fork.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients.
3. Serve immediately with tortilla or potato chips

Note -
1. Do not make too much in advance as it will turn watery.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Kobij na Bhujiya

I have blogged about my mom's cabbage fritters - kobichi bhuji. So now, I am sharing my MIL's version.

Kobij na Bhujiya
Cabbage fritters
4 cups finely shredded cabbage - angel hair coleslaw style
1 potato, peeled & diced
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 green chlies, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1/4 tsp ajmo/owa/ajowan/ajwain
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
salt to taste
1 1/2 cup besan/chickpea flour (or as needed)
1 tbsp rice flour

1 tbsp hot oil for moaN/mohan

Oil for deep frying

1. Mix together all the ingredients except oil
2. Add water carefully to make thick batter.
3. Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying.
4. Add 1 tbsp hot oil to the batter. Mix.
5. Add spoonful of batter to the hot oil to make fritters. Fry on both sides.
6. Drain on the kitchen towel for absorbing excess oil
7. Serve with chutney or tomato ketchup of your choice.

Note -
1. You can freeze these fritters for later use. I used half of these fritters for using bhujiyawali kadhi later.
2. Rice flour makes these bhujiyas crispy.
3. You can add more minced chilies if you prefer more heat.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chunky Monkey Waffles

I just do not know how it happens every time, but I land up having overripe bananas every so often. I am really tired of baking banana breads. So I decided to use them in the waffles. To make them healthier, I decided to add flax powder, almond butter, walnuts. When the batter was ready, I wasn't sure if the waffles would come out okay. But they did, and hence I have decided to blog these waffles here.

The basic recipe is inspired from the waffle recipe at the back of the Trader Joe's Multi grain baking and pancake mix.

Chunky Monkey Waffles
Inspired from Trader Joe's Pancake Mix
2 cups Trader Joe's Multi grain baking and pancake mix
2 overripe bananas, peeled & mashed with a fork
2 egg whites
2 tbsp flax powder
2 tbsp Almond butter
few drops of vanilla extract
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp chocolate chips
2 tbsp walnut bits
skim milk as needed

Oil spray for greasing the waffle iron

Suggested Accompaniment
Maple Syrup
Agave Nectar
or Honey

1. Preheat the waffle iron.
2. Mix all the ingredients to make a waffle batter.
3. Grease the waffle iron.
4. Cook per the waffle iron instructions.
5. Serve with syrup of your choice or agave nectar or honey

1. I used setting 3 for my waffles
2. This proportion gave me about 8 waffles. After serving the waffles, I froze the remaining waffles. They came pretty handy for an impromptu breakfast later.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kanchi - Preserved Lemons

My grandmother used to make this preserved lemon pickle. I have found that when this pickle is ready to use, you can just add pickle masala to make spicy one or add jaggery powder and pickle masala to make a sweet & spicy instant pickle.

Preserved Lemons
12 key limes, cut into halves
2" ginger, peeled & slivered
1 or 2 fresh lemons, squeezed

1. Rinse, clean and air dry lemons. Cut them into halves.
2. Take a clean & dry glass bottle.
3. Add salt at the bottom.
4. Layer with lemon halves, then ginger , salt and lemon juice.
5. Add more lemon juice in the end so the lemon pieces are covered with lemon juice.
6. Close the lid. Keep in a sunny window. Keep shaking every day.
7. The pickle will be ready in about a week.

1. Refrigerate after it's ready to increase the shelf life.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Masala Papad

Masala Papad is really simple to make, but it has to be served right away before it gets soggy. Here, I have tried to recreate how they serve at Sai Sagar, Bandra. They always sprinkle some sev on top.

Masala Papad
2 ready made papads
oil to deep fry

1 tbsp Finely minced red/purple onion
1 tbsp Finely minced tomatoes
1/2 tbsp Finely minced cilantro/coriander leaves
1 tbsp nylon sev
2 lemon wedges
A generous pinch of chaat masala

1. Deep fry papads.
2. Sprinkle all the garnish.
3. Serve immediately

Note -
1. After garnishing, serve immediately before the papads turn soggy.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bajrichi UsaL

I have blogged earlier about Millet UsaL which I made with millets from Whole foods. Now I have the real Indian Bajri . So I decided to make bajrichi usaL. I called mom and she warned me that it takes time to sprout the bajri before proceeding. So I patiently soaked the bajri grains for 24 hours, drained and it took about 6 more hours to sprout. Bajri is considered good for health during cold, winter season.

Bajrichi UsaL
बाजरीची उसळ
Finger Millet Stir Fry
1 cup dry bajri/bajra - soaked for 24 hours, and then sprouted
salt to taste
pinch of sugar
1/4 cup daaNyache KooT/roasted, unsalted, powdered peanuts (optional)

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
3-4 green chilies

Lemon wedges
A generous pinch of chaat masala

1. Soak bajri for 24 hours. Drain and cover and keep in a colander. Keep in a warm place to sprout. It may take about 6 hours. Do keep a check so it doesn't get slimey.
2. Heat oil in a pressure pan. Add all the ingredients for tempering.
3. As they splutter, add bajri sprouts and 1 cup water. Close the lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
4. Let the pressure release of its own. Add peanut powder, salt, sugar.
5. Let it simmer so all the water is evaporated.
6. Serve in individual plates, garnish with lemon wedges, coconut, sev and a generous pinch of chaat masala.

Note -
1. Bajrichi UsaL served with sev and chaat masala almost tastes like a Gujarati ponk or Marathi Hurda.
2. Peanut powder is optional. I added it because I had it and I thought it tasted good.
3. When I made this usal without pressure pan, it took quite a while for Bajri to get cooked so next time, I used pressure pan.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ukadiche ThalipeeTh - Steamed Dough Pancake

When dough is made by adding  flour to the boiling water -  this type of dough is called "Ukad". Most famous recipe of this process is "Ukadiche Modak" where rice flour is used. Similar technique is used by steaming ThalipeeTh flour and then the dough is patted to make the usual pat-a-cakes. These thalipeeThs are very soft and not as crunchy.

Ukadiche ThalipeeTh - count 4
उकडीचे थालीपीठ
Steamed Pat a Cake
1 1/4 cup water
1 tsp oil
salt to taste

Mix together
1 cup ThalipeeTh bhajNi
1/2 cup minced onion
2-3 green chilies, minced
2 tbsp minced cilantro

Oil for roasting

1. Bring water to boil in a wide saucepan. Add oil and salt.
2. As it boils, switch the gas to low. Add thalipeeTh bhajNi mixture. Whisk with a fork so there are no lumps.
3. Switch off the gas. Cover. Let it cool down.
4. Knead the dough. Make 4 uniform balls.
5. Heat a griddle or tawa. Using wet hands, pat one ball at a time directly on the tawa. Make one or more holes. Drizzle oil into the holes. Cover and let it cook on one side.
6. Remove the lid. Let it cook on the other side.
7. Serve hot thalipeeth with white butter and or ketchup.

Note -
1. These thalipeeths are softer than usual thalipeeths.
2. You can also pat a disc on a saran wrap and then transfer it to the griddle.
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