Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013

It's a new year 2013 already! It feels as if 2012 just flew by in a flash.  Gudiya was asking me about the new year celebrations in India. I recalled that in Mumbai, we would see an old man rag doll representing the year gone by. I wonder if they still do that in Mumbai?
We had gone to a watch and dine movie theatre recently to watch "The life of Pi". The movie was amazing. Frankly, I wasn't so sure about the "dine" part in the theatre. I did have a preconceived notion that the food would be greasy and not so healthy. We ordered vegetable crudites as I was intrigued to see "Jicama" on the list. I must admit that it was really wonderful. The crudites plate consisted of very fresh and juicy strips of celery, baby carrots, peeled jicama and pizza with a bowl of hummus. It was delicious.
We had a serious case of foodie hangover over past few days. Actually it's going on since Diwali. There were just way too many parties and functions - Diwali, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Office Holiday Parties -  so on a new year day I have decided to serve something healthy and simple. Vegetable Crudites it is!
Have a wonderful, peaceful and healthy new year!

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Alphonso Mango Sorbetto

One of the many pleasures of spending a Saturday in San Francisco is to visit Farmers' Market at the Ferry Building. It is indeed hustling and bustling with fresh produce that exceeds your expectations. You meet farmers selling Sugarcanes, Green Pea Shoots, Date Blossoms. Some stalls have just root vegetables or some specialize just in leafy greens. You may come across a vendor selling exotic beans (yellow eyed peas, Christmas beans etc!) and then just walk a few steps and you will see  florists selling beautiful flowers. I do go crazy. Just look up and you will see a statue of Gandhiji. Step inside the Ferry Building and you will be in a foodie paradise. The slanted Door -a welknown modern Vietnamese restaurant outlet - serves the best Banh Me and steamed dumplings and they do have vegetarian options available. Acme Bread company serves some delicious breads and sandwiches. Cowgirl Creamery whips up some seriously delicious cheeses. You will come across a vendor selling vegan cupcakes. The sheer variety that you see at this farmers' market is mind blowing. After tasting and sharing some of the best foods, we stop at the legendary "Ciao Bella Gellato Shop". Being Indians, it's not a surpise if we always take at least one scoop of "Alphonso Mango Sorbetto".
However tempting it was for me to try Ciao Bella's Alphonso Mango Sorbetto, I had decided not to bother. I mean why to produce my own versions, and be blasphemous to the legend? But destiny had different plans!!;-) I was browsing through the library and right there in front of my eyes, I spotted a book "Ciao Bella Book of Ice cream and Gelato" - I checked out the book from the library and there it was - "Ciao Bella Alphonso Mango Sorbetto Recipe".Well, looks like I was destined to try this after all!;-)
If you are an ice cream lover, don't forget to visit their shop and try some of their recipes from their book. It's awesome!
Alphonso Mango Sorbetto
From The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto
30 oz or 3 cups sweetened Alphonso Mango Puree, chilled
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1. Boil water with sugar over medium heat. Whisk to dissolve.
2. Simmer for 4 minutes.
3. Remove and let it cool down.
4. Pour into a bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
5. Pour into an icecream machine.
6. Add chilled Alphonso Mango puree
7. Process the ice cream maker.
8. Transfer to an airtight container.
9. Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
Note -
1. For more information, refer to The Ciao Bella Book of  Gelato and Sorbetto
RIP Indian Braveheart/Amanat/Damini/Nirbhaya

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Zeenat's Khatti Daal

Sometimes, my mom and I can have the craziest conversations - especially on the phone. I called her the other day and asked her what's for dinner and she said she was making"Zeenat's Khatti Daal". I told her that the only "Zeenat" I know is "Dum Maro Dum" fame. I was wondering if Zeenat Aman had started any cookery show, for some reason this concept sounded wierd. Mom replied that  she too  knows the same Zeenat  and her favorite recipe had appered in the Times of India.

Since mom gave very good feedback about Zeenat's Khatti Daal a day later, I had to try it. This daal tastes great with plain rice, jeera rice or even plain paratha.

As you may have guessed this recipe is now forever stuck with the perennial prefix "Zeenat's" in my family!

Please note that I have given the link to the original recipe which may yield enormous portion since it has 250 gm yellow lentil and 250 gm red lentils. I have tweaked the recipe to suit the taste and portion needs of my family. I also used masoor sprouts.

Zeenat's Khatti (Masoor) Daal
Tangy Daal by Bollywood Diva - Zeenat Aman
1/2 cup chana daal
1 1/4 cup masoor sprouts
salt to taste
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp tamarind paste

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp ginger paste
2 green chilies, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida

Suggested Accompaniments
Plain Rice
Jeera Rice

1. Pressure cook chana daal. Mash lightly and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
3. Add cumin seeds, turmeric powder and asafoetida.
4. Now add cutty leaves, chilies, ginger and garlic. Saute till garlic changes its color.
5. Add cooked chana daal, water, tomatoes, salt, tamarind paste and masoor sprouts.
6. Bring to boil. Let it simmer till daal is thick.
7. Serve with plain rice or paratha/chapati.

1. Since masoor sprouts cook quickly, I do not pressure cook it with chana daal as the cooking time is different for both these ingredients.
2. Adjust tamarind pulp to your liking.


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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Russian Salad

Thanks to Wiki, I recently came to know that Russian salad is also known as Olivier Salad. I always wondered if Russians really made this salad or is it something made by Indian chefs since this salad is quite popular in India. Many restaurants in Mumbai have this salad on their menu. My aunt makes her own version.
My version is as follows. Just like all the Indian chefs, I do not add any meat. I generally prepare this salad for Christmas. I am not a huge fan of regular mayo so I use the vegan mayo. Since I use milk in my version of this salad, this is not exactly vegan recipe.
Russian Salad
1 cup yellow corn, frozen OK
1 cup green peas, frozen OK
1 cup green beans, cut into 2" , frozen OK
1 small red delicious apple, unpeeled but cored
1 cup peeled/ carrot dice
1 cup potato peeled/ diced
1 celery, finely chopped
1 cup Vegan Mayo such as Earth Balance or Spectrum
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp sugar or to taste
salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, generous pinch
A dash of mustard -  yellow or brown.
1. Bring 6 cups water to boil. Add 2 tsp salt. Add, potato dice. When half cooked, add carrots. Boil for 5-7 minutes. Now add all the frozen veggies. Boil for 1 minute. Switch off the gas.
2. Drain the veggies and place them in a bowl containing cold water.
3. Whisk mayo with salt, sugar, black pepper, mustard and milk.
4. Drain boiled veggies. Add apple and celery. Fold in mayo dressing.
6. Mix carefully without breaking the veggies.
7. Serve chilled.
Note -
1. Refrigerate any unused portion immediately.
2. Use within 1 day.
3. This recipe may serve up to 6 people.
4. Do not overcook potatoes or carrots.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Goan Marzipans for Christmas

A Goan sweet for Christmas - Cashew and sugar moulded into fruit shapes!
Marzipan is made using cashew and sugar in Goa. It's made all over the world but elsewhere it's made with almonds & sugar. You get these cloyingly sweet (for my taste anyway!) Marzipans during Christmas time in Goa and in the bakeries of Bandra. In my opinion, these sweet & festive morsels taste better with the cashew powder than the almond powder.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Coconut Marble Cake

I made this coconut cake using Duncan Hines Cake Mix. The recipe was on the back of the packet. I also added unsweetened cocoa powder to the half of the batter to create a marbled effect.

Coconut Marble Cake
From Duncan Hines
1 pkt Duncan Hines Signature French Vanilla cake Mix
1 (3.4 oz) pkt Coconut cream instant Pudding and pie mix
4 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dessicated, dry coconut (unsweetened)

1. Preheat oven 350 F
2. Prepare batter with all the ingredients above except cocoa powder. Divide the batter in half and add cocoa powder only to the half of the batter.
3. Grease 10" Bundt Cake pan.
4. Pour white batter. Add brown batter on top. Using a knife or a skewer, swirl it lightly.
5. Bake for 45-50 minutes
6. Cool in the pan for 25 minutes.
7. Invert of a serving platter. Enjoy!

Note -
For the original recipe, click here

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Almond Biscotti

I wanted to try the "Hazelnut Biscotti" recipe from the back of Bob's Red Mill White Flour packet. Since I didn't have hazelnuts, I decided to use almond slivers. I thought that the flavor of orange zest would go really well with almonds instead of powdered fennel seeds. I was happy to see the result!

Original Recipe -

Almond Orange Biscotti
1 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached White Flour
1 tsp Orange Zest
1/2 cup coarsely ground almonds
1/4 cup almond slivers/slices
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream together
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey, warm
1 egg
1 tsp Orange essence

1. Preheat oven 325 F
2. Grease the baking sheet.
3.Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture.
4. Mix well. Divide into 2 or 4 parts*.
5. Roll into logs
6. Place on the baking sheet 4" apart
7. Flatten slightly.
8. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
9. When cooled, cut diagonally.
10. Place again on the baking sheet, 1/2" apart.
11. Bake again for 10 - 12 minutes

Note -
1. * I lwanted  to make a batch of small biscottis so I divided the dough into 4 parts instead of 2.


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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tutti Frutti Cookies

In spite of baking two cookies already, Gudiya feels that they are not "Christmas worthy" cookies as there is no colorful [ read red and green] frosting. So I made this batch with red and green sugar. These are ready for cookie swapping.

This recipe is from C&H Sugar wesbsite. But instead of using dried cranberries, I used tutti-frutti/candied peels.

TuttiFrutti Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons orange rind, finely grated
2 teaspoons orange extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
1 teaspoon ginger, ground
1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
1 cup cranberries, dried/ I used 1 cup tutti frutti and 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Sugar Topping/ I used Wiltons Green and Red Sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until smooth; add rind and extracts.
Add egg; beat until fluffy.
Pour in molasses; mix until totally incorporated.
In medium bowl, sift flour and all dry ingredients; slowly beat into sugar mixture.
Stir in cranberries or tuttifrutties and almonds.
Place dough in freezer for 10 minutes.
 Form golf ball-size balls; roll in red/green sugars, lightly flatten in palm of hand and place on cookie sheet.
Bake 10-13 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on sheet 5-7 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool completely.

Note -
1. Instead of cranberries, I used 1 cup tuttifrutti and 1/2 cup sliced almonds
2. Makes 3 dozen cookies.


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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pinwheel Cookies

I had bookmarked this recipe for a long time. As I was rolling, and unrolling the cookie dough, I almost thought these cookies were not going to make it. But I chilled the dough and that made it lot easier to roll the dough. I didn't have brown sugar at home, so instead of buying a big pack and then shoving it on the pantry shelf for another year, I just used regular sugar.
This recipe is from C & H Sugar website.
Pinwheel Cookies 


1 cup firmly packed C&H® Golden Brown Sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease cookie sheets.
  3. Beat brown sugar and butter in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg and vanilla; beat until creamy.
  5. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture.
  6. Divide dough in half. Add cocoa to 1/2 dough.
  7. Wrap in a Saran Wrap and chill before rolling the dough.
  8. Roll dough separately on floured waxed paper into 2 rectangles, about 1/4-inch thickness.
  9. Top one with the other and press together with rolling pin.
  10. Roll up lengthwise, jelly roll fashion.
  11. Trim edges; wrap and chill.
  12. When firm, cut roll into 1/4-inch slices and bake on prepared cookie sheets 12-15 minutes.
Notes -
 To keep their round shape, be sure to chill dough thoroughly before slicing it with a sharp knife. Rotate the roll as you slice it.

- To spice up these pinwheels, add 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg or ground cloves to the flour mixture.
- I used regular sugar instead of brown sugar.


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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mexican Wedding Cookies

December is the month when I have to get rid of my baking inertia. This is the month of cookie swapping, gift wrapping and baking for friends, family and of course Mr. Santa. Being a food blogger, I always like to bake different cookies than the last time.

Mexican Wedding Cookies which also go by the name Snowball Cookies remind me of an Indian sweet - Balushahi or the same sweet which we call "SaanTH" in Konkani. Of course, there is a difference as Balushahi or SaanTh is deep fried and then dunked into the sugar syrup.

These cookies are eggless and I think next time, I am going to see if I can make "Naankatais" using the same recipe.

This recipe is from "KraftFoods"

Mexican Wedding Cookies or Snowball or Angel Pillow Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar, divided

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

1 cup finely chopped Pecans or almonds
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Beat butter, 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and pecans, beating on low speed after each addition until well blended. SHAPE dough into 1-inch balls. Place, 1-1/2 inches apart, on ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE 14 to 15 min. or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned. Cool 5 min. on baking sheets. Roll warm cookies in remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar until evenly coated; place on wire racks. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. 

Note -
1. Instead of using pecans, I used almonds in my recipe.
2. Makes 4 dozen small cookies.


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Monday, December 10, 2012

Batatya Sukke

Sukke is a dryish curry made, using ground paste of coconut, tamarind and red chilies. This makes a terrific accompaniment with polay/dosa or even fulkas.

Batatya Sukke
Potato Curry (dry)
5-6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut
1 cup roughly chopped onion
salt to taste

Grind to a coarse paste
1/2 cup freshly scraped coconut
5-6 byadgi chilies, roast in a few drops of coconut oil before grinding
3/4 tsp coriander seeds
3/4 tsp urad daal
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp tamarind paste

1 1/2 tsp Coconut oil
2 springs of curry leaves, torn
1/4 tsp mustard seeds

1. Grind coconut masala to a coarse paste.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add curry leaves. As they sizzle, add onion and saute till it turns golden.
3. Add potatoes. Saute for 1 minute.
4. Add coconut masala. Add 1/2 cup water, salt to taste.
5. Mix well. Let it come for a boil. Switch gas to low. Let it simmer till it has dryish consistency.

This curry goes very well with dosas/polay or fulkas.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Gajrache Bharit - Carrot Dip

This is a nice accompaniment made with cooked carrots. It gets ready in a jiffy if you use pressure cooker and roasted peanut powder is pre-made.

Gajarache Bharit
Carrot Dip
5-6 carrots, peeled & pressure cooked
1/4 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts powder/daaNyache KooT
salt to taste
A pinch of sugar to taste

2 tsp oil/Ghee
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of asafoetida
1 green chile, cut (optional)

1 tbsp minced cilantro (Optional)

1. Pressure cook the peeled carrots and mash them with a fork.
2. Mix with yogurt, salt, sugar and peanut powder.
3. Heat oil in a small saucepan.
4. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and chili- if using.
5. Drizzle the sizzling oil over the salad/dip and mix well.
6. Garnish with cilantro - if using

Note -
1. You can increase or decrease the amount of yogurt per your taste.
2. You can use Greek yogurt if you like thick consistency.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fulka - Indian flatbread

Ever since I was a child, I was obsessed with cooking. I spent hours together begging my grandmothers or mom to let me do something in the kitchen. Sometimes, Mom would oblige me with a small ball of dough. I would spend my time perfecting my own flatbread using my toy rolling pin and toy rolling board/poLpaat. Then my mom would roast that flatbread and I would feel very proud of my achievement. I gradually progressed from making map shaped flatbreads to something that was pretty close to the circular shapes. I was then promoted to  the task of spreading toop/ghee on the roasted chapatis/fulkas.

My obsession with making/observing chapatis was especially encouraged by my moushi. She actually took me under her wings. She taught me how to knead a dough, how to make uniform balls. I was so eager to roast my own chapati. She had told me that she would teach me only on one condition. I was ready to do anything. She would say laughingly - you have to be tall enough to reach the kitchen platform and reach the gas!! I just couldn't wait. Finally, I reached the stage where I could finally roast my own fulkas. My maushi has a special method of roasting fulkas. I thought of sharing it with everyone. It's quite possible that everyone does exact same way but this is how I learned. My moushi learned it from her moushi or my grand aunt who was married to a Gujarati.

Now, fulkas are made by Maharashtrians, Gujaratis and Marwaris on the daily breads. I am sure the rest of the communities make it too. But I am sharing my observations. Maharashtrian fulkas are bigger than that of Gujarati counterpart. My Marwari friend had told me a (horror!) story that after the fulkas were ready, their cook would dunk the entire fulka into a big pot of ghee and serve.

I am sharing my aunt and grand aunt's Gujarati fulkas that we have been making for at least three generations in my family.

I got many requests since I started blogging, to blog about fulkas. But believe me, if it took me years to master (if I may say so!) this flatbread, it felt that it took me even more time to blog about it (due to proportions, pictures, steps and explanation).

Daily Indian Flatbread
1 cup wheat flour from Indian stores
Approx 1/2 cup water

1 tsp oil

Rice flour for dredging
Ghee/oil for smearing on the fulkas

1. Take flour in the paraat.
2. Add water gingerly to make a dough. add oil and keep kneading till the dough is not sticky anymore.
3. Cover and set aside for at least 15 minutes.
4. Make 12 uniform balls. Make sure that they have smooth edges and there are no crevices. This is very important to achieve the perfect circles.
5. Heat a cast iron/iron griddle or pan.
6. Dredge one ball in the rice flour which you will place in the side of the paraat. Flatten the ball with your fingers. Make sure that the ball is covered with rice flour on both the sides.
7. Roll into a thin flatbread. It's extremely important that the flatbread has uniform thickness from all the sides. Sometimes center gets thin while edges remain thick or vice versa.While you are rolling, the disc below also should roll in a circular motion.
8. By now your griddle/pan must be hot enough to start roasting. Switch the gas to low.
9. Place your flatbread on the pan. Do not disturb for at least 30 seconds.
10. When you see small bubbles, flip the fulka. Switch the gas to high immediately.
11. Now, roast till brown spots appear on the side which is at the bottom.
12. Take the pan off the heat. With the help of a tongue, flip and roast it directly on the flame till fulka puffs up like a football. Remember, you are putting the side which has no brown spots.
13. Take off the heat. Place in your container.
14. If you choose, smear ghee/toop - which is a traditional method.
15. Serve hot and puffed fulka from pan to plate.

Note -
1. My moushi/grandaunt's this method always results in a perfectly puffed fulka. However, even if you follow all the roasting tips perfectly, the rolling has to be perfect too. Most importantly, the entire fulka should have a uniform thickness.
2. I do not apply any ghee. I have seen that some people, these days, apply safola oil instead of ghee. You choose your own grease!:-D
3. Fulkas are meant to be eaten fresh. If kept for a long time, they may turn dry - especially if you don't use ghee/toop.If you do need to eat later, store them in a clean kitchen napkin.
4. Some people use wheat flour for dredging.  but rice flour does not stick too much while rolling the fulka and hence is preferred.
5. You can add salt to taste while kneading the dough, if you like.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bell Peppers Curry

This is a simple bell peppers curry from Malvan/Goa region. I had the last harvest from my bell peppers plant. So I decided to make this delicious curry.

BhopLya Mirchicha Ross
Bell Peppers Curry
3 smallish bell peppers, cored, deseeded, cut into 6 slices each
salt to taste
1 tsp jaggery

Grind to a fine paste
3/4 cup freshly scraped coconut
3-4 byadgi chilies
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3-4 black peppercorns
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp tamarind paste

1 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafortida
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves, torn

1. Grind the coconut with remaining ingredients to a fine paste, adding little water if needed.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add all the ingredients for tempering. As they sizzle, add bell peppers and saute for 2-3 minutes.
3. Now add ground coconut paste, salt, jaggery and water to get the curry like consistency. Remember not to make too thin.
4. Bring to boil. Switch the gas to low and let it simmer till bell peppers are cooked but not too mushy.

Note -
1. I don't like bell peppers to be overcooked. I like to keep a little crunch.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Saag Paneer

We call this "Palak Paneer" at home but I have seen that this dish is mostly referred as "Saag Paneer" at the Indian restaurants here in the United States. I decided to use the name "Saag Paneer" not because it is more ubiquitous here but I generally use any "saag" or leafy greens and do not limit myself just to palak or spinach. I have used the collard greens or even turnip greens instead of spinach. The picture above is actually "Collard greens Paneer"!
Saag Paneer/Palak Paneer
Leafy Greens with Indian Cottage Cheese
1lb/16 oz pack of frozen leafy greens of your choice [ use Spinach or Collard greens or Turnip greens]
salt to taste
1 cup Paneer cubes
Grind to a coarse paste (1)
Thawed greens
Grind to a fine paste (2)
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
1" ginger, peeled & chopped
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 small piece of cinnamon
A pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
2-3 cloves
2 red chilies
1. Grind thawed greens coarsely and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
3. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves and chilies
4. As they sizzle, add onion-tomato paste.
5. Saute for at least 20 minutes till the raw smell of onion disappears.
6. Now add coriander-cumin powder, turmeric powder - if using and paprika.
7. Add ground leafy greens, salt to taste and 1 cup water.
8. Add paneer cubes and let it simmer for about 1/2 hour till the gravy is thick.
9. Serve with Naan or Paratha.
Note -
1. For richer flavor, you can use "creamed spinach" - available in the frozen section. But as the name suggests, it does have heavy cream. So along with rich taste, it also gives more calories and fat!;-D
2. For richer flavor, you can also fry paneer pieces before adding to the curry.
3. For richer flavor, you can also use "ghee" instead of oil.
4. If there is any leftovers, you can discard the whole spices and grind all the ingredients together to make a homogeneous mass with greens and paneer and then add enough whole wheat flour and salt to taste and roll out delicious parathas.
5. Some people do not use turmeric powder in this recipe to retain the lush green color of the leafy greens. Some people add a pinch of baking soda. I do not use baking soda and add turmeric powder for the health benefits.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Makke Di Roti

After trying not so perfect Makke Di Rotis with the Maize or Corn flour available at the Indian and American supermarkets, I decided to use "Masa Harina" [courtesy : Food Network]. I am glad to report that it gave me the perfect Makke Di Roti that I was looking for.
Makke Di Roti - (Makes 3)
Indian Corn Tortilla
1/2 cup Masa Harina
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder or 1/4 tsp ajwain/owa/ajmo
Suggested Accompaniment
1. Knead a dough using hot water.
2. The dough should not be sticky or dry. Knead till it has a spring like consistency.
3. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.
4. Heat a griddle.
5. Make 3 uniform balls.
6. Using two parchment papers, place one ball in between them. Roll or pat to get a uniformly thick disc.
7. Place on the hot griddle. Let it cook for about 2 minutes or so.
8. Flip and let it cook till it has brown spots.
9. Serve fresh off the griddle with Sarson da saag.
Note -
1. You can use a tortila press to make these rotis.
2. This recipe is adapted from the recipe on the back of Bob's Red Mill Masa Harina.
3. You can increase the proportion to make more rotis

Saturday, December 1, 2012

KeLya Gabbya KochchoLi

Getting the banana stem or Kellya Gabbho or KeLicha Gaabha is almost impossible in my part of the world. But when I spotted some "Hearts of Palm - Salad Cut" in the can, I thought of making this classic South Canara Salad.

In my family, this recipe is always called with the prefix "Sanjimayi's". I vaguely remember meeting Sanjimayi but she is always remembered when this salad is made.

Sanjimayi's KeLya Gabbya KochchoLi
Hearts of Palms Salad
1 can Hearts of Palm - Salad cut , I used Whole Foods Brand

Grind to a coarse paste
1/3 cup freshly scraped coconut
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 green chilies

Whisk together
1 cup yogurt
salt to taste
* Coconut paste

1 tsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of asafoetida
2 curry leaf sprigs, torn
2-3 byadgi chilies

1. Drain the palm hearts. Soak in water for half an hour to get rid of the "can" taste. Drain and chop roughly and set aside.
2. Grind coconut paste coarsely and mix with yogurt and salt.
3. Mix the yogurt mixture with chopped palm.
4. Heat coconut oil in a small saucepan. Splutter the tempering ingredients. Drizzle the sizzling oil over the salad.
5. Mix and serve as an accompaniment with a typical Konkani meal of plain rice, DaLi tauy, and upkari or talasani of your choice.

Note -
1. This recipe is originally made with Banana stem. I have substituted the hearts of palm which are easily available in the American supermarket in the cans. There are about a handful of finger sized palm hearts which you may need to drain and chop and proceed.
2. This salad does not keep too well at room temperature. Try to finish within a day.

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Bharela Marcha

My mother-in-law chooses plump yet long chilies for making this delicious accompaniment. I used Anaheim peppers for this recipe.

Bharela Marcha
Stuffed Anaheim Peppers
7-8 Anaheim Peppers
1 tbsp oil

3/4 cup chickpea flour/besan
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
2 tsp coriander-cumin powder/dhana jiru
1 tsp Gujarati Garam Masala
1 tsp garlic paste
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil

1. Rinse and dry peppers. Cut a slit in each pepper, get rid off seeds.
2. Mix all the stuffing with oil.
3. Stuff the flour mixture in the peppers.
4. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet.
5. Place stuffed peppers in a single layer.
6. Cover and cook on a low flame for about 30 minutes till they are cooked and browned evenly.
7. Serve as an accompaniment with an authentic Gujarati meal of Rotla, Kadhi or Daal, Rice, and any shaak of your choice.

Note -
1. My mother in law uses plump chilies for this recipe. I have substituted Anahiem peppers which I believe , work wonderfully.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Double Beans Hinga Udaak

If you are a shrimp/prawns lover, you must try "Hingaudaak". It's the simplest curry with very few basic ingredients but this spicy curry packs the punch with asafoetida. This curry tastes even better when it's a day old. Now, in spite of being GSBs, there are many family members who are strict vegetarians. My aunt makes this recipe for them so they can still enjoy the flavor of "Hingaudaak".
Double Beans Hingaudaak
Spicy Beans curry flavored with coconut and asafoetida
1 cup double beans
salt to taste
Grind to a fine paste
1 cup freshly scraped coconut
15 byadgi chilies, roasted in a drop of coconut oil
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1. Soak the double beans overnight in plenty of water so they get plump and are almost doubled in size, next morning.
2. Drain and pressure cook them adding adequate amount of water. Set aside.
3. Roast chilies in a drop of coconut oil and grind along with coconut and tamarind paste. It should be a fine paste.
4. Place boiled beans and masala paste in a deep saucepan. Adjust water to get not too thick - not too thin consistency.
5. Add salt to taste.
6. Bring to a rapid boil.
7. Drizzle coconut oil and asaofoetida.
8. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
9. Cover and serve with plain rice.
Note -
1. Double beans are large, white beans with a hue of purple or pink. If they are not available, substitute white lima beans.
2. The masala paste for this curry should be finely ground.
3. This curry is originally made with shrimp/prawns or clams.
4. This curry has to be spicy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Banana Peppers Chutney

I made this chutney when I had a bounty of Banana Peppers. This chutney served as an accompaniment as well as a cooking ingredient. I loved this different shade of green.

Banana Peppers chi Chutney
12-15 banana peppers
salt to taste
1 fresh lemon, squeezed

1. Wash and air-dry peppers and lemon.
2. In a small jar of the food processor, process cut peppers with salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
3. Store in an airtight bottle. Refrigerate.

Note -
1. Banana peppers are mild. So this chutney was pretty mild. You can add some spicy Chile to the above mixture or make chutney with only fiery chilies if you desire hot hot chutney.
2. I use mini Cuisinart food processor for this recipe and use "Chop" button instead of "grind" to get a coarse texture.
3. I use this chutney as an accompaniment or even as a green chili paste in my cooking.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Appe or Pakodi chaat

My refrigerator created this recipe! I had some leftover appe batter, frozen chaat chutneys and leftover chhole. I decided to put everything together to make a hodgepodge - "Appe/Pakodi Chaat".

Appe/Pakodi Chaat
1 recipe Appe
1 recipe chhole
1 recipe chaat chutneys [red, green and brown]
1 recipe sweetened yogurt [Mix yogurt with a pinch of salt and a spoonful of sugar]

1 lemon
1/4 cup finely minced red onion
2 tbsp finely minced cilantro
1 cup Sev
A generous pinch of chaat masala

1. Arrange chhole in an individual serving bowl or plate.
2. Squeeze some lemon juice and mix.
3. Place 4-5 appe per serving plate.
4. Drizzle some more chhole on top.
5. Place a dollop of sweetened yogurt.
6. Drizzle chaat chtuneys all over per preference.
7. Sprinkle onion, sev and cilantro. Sprinkle a generous pinch of chaat masala.
8. Enjoy!!

Note -
1. You may dunk the appe after frying in the water and squeeze out the water and then add to the plate. But I didn't follow this step.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes - Sindhi Style

My friend, Maya from Konkan World had blogged about "Sindhi Alu" or Sindhi style potatoes a while back. I have tried her recipe several times as it was a smashing hit around my home. For this Thanksgiving, I tweaked her recipe a little and made my version of Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Sindhi flavor based on Maya's recipe and Cooking Light's version of roasted fingerling potatoes. This recipe made a perfect side dish for my desi style Thanksgiving theme.

Here's Maya's original recipe for the Sindhi Alu
Here's Cooking Light's Version

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes - Sindhi Style
2 lbs Fingerling potatoes (I chose the multi-colored ones with yellow, pink and purple)
2 tbsp olive oil

Mix together
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste

You will also need
2 cloves of garlic, grated

1. Wash and scrub the potatoes and dry them completely.
2. Halve them or you can cut them into thick circles.
3. Preheat oven to 400F
4. Drizzle oil and spice mixture over the potatoes. Make sure they are coated nicely.
5. Using a cooking spray, mist a pyrex (or such) baking tray and arrange the potatoes in a single layer.
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Now add grated garlic. Mix taking care not to break. Try to flip the potatoes.
7. Bake for another 10 minutes or so till the potatoes are crispy and the garlic is not burnt.

Note -
1. Make sure that the potatoes do not have water to avoid boiled potato effect.
2. You may use garlic powder instead of grated garlic. In that case, use it with other spices.


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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Oatleli Bhakri

Oatleli Bhakri made with jwari/jondhala/jowar/sorghum flour

If you would like to include "bhakries" in your diet but are not sure about how to pat the bhakries, then "Oatleli Bhakri" is a wonderful option. You can make such bhakries with rice flour, nachni/ragi flour, jondhala/jwari/jowar flour or bajri/bajra flour. You may have to vary the water proportion so the thick batter is formed.

I first had this bhakri, when I visited my best friend's 'gaanv' in the beautiful Konkan coast. We enjoyed the beauty and bounty of Konkan (beautiful beaches, rivers, greenery, coconut trees, mango trees, Alphonso mangoes, cashews, fresh fish - what else you want in life?). When we were ready to leave, my friend's aunt prepared these bhakris made with rice flour as a little picnic lunch for our train journey back to Mumbai. She had packed these with a delicious chutney. They tasted divine.

Oatleli Bhakri
ओतलेली  भाकरी 
Whisk together
1 cup rice/jowar/bajra/ragi flour
Approx 1 cup water (More or less to make a thick batter)
A pinch of salt to taste

1. Whisk the flour of your choice and water along with salt to taste. Mix till there are no lumps.
2. Heat a nonstick pan.
3. Add a ladleful of batter and spread into a thick disc. Do not make it thin as this is neither dosa nor ghavane.
4. Cover and let it cook on a medium flame for about 2 - 4 minutes or so.
5. Remove the lid. Flip and let it cook on the other side for another 2  - 4 minutes or so.
6. Serve hot off the pan.

Note -
1. This bhakri should not be crispy.
2. Above proportion gave me 4 small bhakris.
3. You can use jwari/sorghum, bajri/millet or nachni/ragi flour instead of rice flour. Adjust water accordingly so a thick batter is formed.
4. While taking off the pan, make sure than the batter is fully cooked by tapping on the bhakri. The raw batter should not ooze out, in that case cook for some more time.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cornflakes Cha Chiwda

Most of us Indians would prefer this spicy Cornflakes mixture to the plain cornflakes and milk breakfast!;-)

Cornflakes cha Chiwda
Cornflakes Trail Mix
4-5 cups plain cornflakes such as Kellogg's
1/2 cup cashew halves (roasted)
1/2 cup peanuts (roasted)
1/4 cups raisins
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar

1/3 cup oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 springs of curry leaves, torn
1 tsp paprika

1. Heat oil in a wide and heavy bottomed saucepan.
2. Add the ingredients for tempering and switch the gas to low.
3. Add peanuts, cashews and raisins. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add cornflakes, sugar and salt.
5. Keep stirring till oil coats all the flakes.
6. Switch off the gas. Do not cover.
7. Pour in a wide plate lined with 2-3 paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
8. Store in an airtight container when the mixtures is at the room temperature.

Note -
1. If using raw cashews/peanuts, you may need to stir fry them longer so they get crispy.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Padwal Chana Daal

This is one of the simplest recipes from my mother's kitchen. This works best when served fresh along with chapati and/or Amti and rice.
Padwalachi (Chana Daal) Ghalun Bhaaji
Snake gourds with Chana Daal
2-3 snake gourds, seeds removed, chopped into semi circles
3 tbsp chana daal, rinsed and soaked for 1 hour
salt to taste
A pinch of sugar
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 green chilies, slit
2 tbsp freshly scraped coconut
1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed wok/kadai.
2. Add the ingredients for tempering.
3. As they sizzle, add drained chana daal. Saute for few minutes.
4. Cover with a lid. Keep water on the lid. Cook for about 5 minutes.
5. Now add chopped snake gourds. Continue cooking with lid/water on top.
6. Once cooked, add salt, sugar and coconut.
Note -
1. You can mix a little pepper powder with freshly scraped coconut and add to the bhaaji.
2. Snake gourds available in the local Indian stores here, are quite small compared to the Indian counterparts available in the markets of Mumbai. Please adjust the seasonings accordingly.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Happy Navratri

Durga Pooja at SatyaNarayan Temple 2010, Jackson Heights, NY

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lobster Burger Sandwich

El Pescador is wonderful fish market and restaurant in La Jolla. If you are a seafood lover like me, you must try their fish sandwiches and their signature seafood stew - cioppiono. My version of Lobster sandwich is a total desi makeover, inspired by El Pescador's signature sandwiches.

Lobster Sandwich
4 Lobster daangars/burgers
2 ciabatta rolls
1 tbsp basil pesto (storebought or homemade)
2 onion rings
2 tomato slices
1 lettuce, torn into 2 pieces
tomato ketchup

1. Grill ciabatta roll slightly.
2. Spread pesto on the inside of the bread.
3. Stuff with 2 burgers per roll and veggies
4. Serve with tomato ketchup.

Note -
1. You can make 1 big burger and stuff one burger per roll if you like. Traditionally, daangars are not too big

El Pescador, la Jolla

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kadge Chakko

When I had blogged about "Kirla Chakko", Purnima had mentioned about "Kadge Chakko". For some reason, I couldn't remember eating it in my grandma's kitchen. So I asked my mom who shared this delicacy. The recipe is exactly similar to Kirla chakko.

Kadge Chakko
Jackfruit Curry
1 can of raw jackfruit, chopped to make about 2 cups
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 sprig curry leaves, torn
1/2 cup water

Salt to taste
1 tbsp jaggery

Grind to a coarse paste
3/4 cup fresh coconut
5 byadgi chilies *
1 tbsp coriander seeds *
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds *
1 tsp urad daal *
1 1/2 tsp tamarind pulp
(The ingredients with * must be roasted before grinding with coconut and tamarind)

1 tsp coconut oil
1 curry leaves, torn
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida

1. Add jackfruit pieces, curry leaves, turmeric powder and water in a saucepan. Bring to boil. Switch the gas to low and let it cook till soft. Add more water if needed.
2. Grind the masala by roasting the spices and chilies. Make a coarse paste adding a little water as needed.
3. Add the ground masala to the cooked jackfruit mixture.
4. Add salt and jaggery.
5. Let the mixture cook on a low flame till it becomes dry.
6. Heat a small saucepan. Add all the ingredients for tempering.
7. Add the sizzling oil to the curry. Switch off the gas and cover with the lid immediately.

Note -
1. Since we are not using fresh jackfruit, soak the canned jackfruit for 3-4 hours before using  to remove the "can" taste of the veggies.
2. Do not use ripe jackfruit for this recipe.
3. This curry should have a dry consistency. So do not add too much water.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Laadva for Ganapati Bappa

As my Maharashtrian family prepares "Ukadiche Modak" for Ganapati Bappa, my Gujarati family prepares "Laadva" for Naivedya on the Ganesh Chaturthi day. I prepared them today for Anant Chaturdashi.
Wheat Flour Laddoo
1 cup coarse wheat flour
2 tbsp coarse rawa
1 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
2/3 cup sugar, powdered in a mixie
4-5 cardamoms, peeled and powdered
Ghee/clarified butter as needed
1 tbsp almond slivers
2 tbsp white poppy seeds
1. Mix wheat flour and rawa in a big plate. Add warm water and spoonful of warm ghee. Knead into a not so soft dough.
2. Cover and set aside for 1/2 hour.
3. Heat ghee in a kadhai. Make elongated balls of the dough and press them. Deep fry on a low flame till they are nicely browned.
4. Place them on a paper towel. Let them cool down completely.
5. Place them a mixer or food processor. Grind them to a fine powder.
6. Place the powdered mixture in a plate. Add almond slivers,  sugar and cardamom powders. Add ghee/clarified butter as needed.
7. Roll them into spherical balls of uniform size.
8. Place poppy seeds in a plate. Roll the laddoos onto poppy seeds so they stick to the laddoos externally.
9. Serve and Enjoy!
Note -
1. The above proportion gave me about 11 laddoos. This count will change based on the size of the ladoos.

गणपती बाप्पा मोरया 
पुढच्या वर्षी लवकर या 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Panchamrut - 1

Whenver there is any Pooja or religious ceremonies, this Panchamrut is prepared in the Maharashtrian homes. This is distributed as a part of prasad along with Satyanarayanacha Shira after the pooja is performed. A spoonful is distributed in the "right" hand of the invitees.

Panchamrut - 1
पंचामृत - १
Clarified butter/Ghee

 Holy Basil Leaf

1. Mix all the ingredients.
2. Garnish with a Holy Basil Leaf
3. Use immediately.

Note -
1. Since it has milk and yogurt, it curdles if kept overnight. So it has to be consumed within few hours.
2. You can take the ingredients according to the proportion needed. Generally, it starts with about a cup of milk. The remaining ingredients are about a spoonful each in quantity.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ganpati Bappa Morya! 2012

Ganesha Statue, Chinatown, San Francisco
Ganapati Bappa Morya!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Buddha's Delight

This is my version of  Buddha's Delight.

Buddha's Delight
6 cups stir fry veggies (I used Costco brand)
1 cup tofu chunks

1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste

Whisk together
1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup water
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp rice vinegar
salt to taste

1. Heat oil in a wok.
2. Add ginger garlic paste. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
3. Add veggies and stir fry till they are partially cooked. They should remain little crunchy.
4. Add tofu chunks.
5. Add corn starch mixture. Let the sauce covers all the veggies.
6. Serve with steamed white rice.

Note -
1. You can also add halved red chilies in tempering if you like.



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