Saturday, April 30, 2011

Layered Omlette

Ever since I could cook, I remember making strange recipes. Strange because no one had heard of them. I didn't know at that time that you could concoct recipes on your own. I thought you always followed age-old recipes. It may still be the method de regueur, but I love experimenting every now and then.

Nothing fancy, food you can cook easily within five to ten minutes and is still tasty. This is one of those recipes. I didn't know what to call it. It serves as an excellent breakfast or a mid meal snack. Try it and do tell me if you like the taste.

  • 2 eggs (for 1 person)
  • 3 mushrooms, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 sun-dried tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tsp olive oil
Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and keep them aside.

Now heat the oil in a wok and add the mushrooms. Add salt and seasoning and saute for two minutes. Add the jalapenos and sun-dried tomatoes. Add just half a teaspoon of soy sauce and the tomato ketchup. Remove in a separate bowl.

Heat a tsp of oil in a non-stick pan. Add half the beaten egg and allow it to fry for a minute. Now add the mushroom mixture and spread  it over the egg layer. Now pour the remaining egg on top of the mushroom mixture and flip the whole assembly over. Fry again for a minute.

Remove in a plate and serve hot!

I agree, the picture is bad. Sorry :-)

Happy Cooking!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ghotachem Saasav (Mango Curry)

When the word 'Mango' comes to mind, it brings with it the images of a lovely golden yellow colored fruit, sweet and tangy pulp, milkshakes, ice-creams and other desserts. But a curry?

Fear not, this is an age old Goan Saraswat recipe. The best thing about Goan recipes is that not only are they really simple to make, but they rely solely upon the flavors of the main ingredient to bring out the taste of the recipe. It is unmasked by layers of spices. Spices are just added as an adjuvant to the main flavor. This is one such recipe.

When I think of this recipe, I think of all the summers I spent at my grandmother's home in Andheri. She was a great cook. Better even than my mother. I guess the talent gets downgraded as the number of generations increase. She didn't know how to make any other fancy recipes. She didn't know how to make anything other than Goan Saraswat food. I guess that was her super-specialty and the reason for her food being so tasty despite being simple. Then again, there were the stories we heard over meals. My cousins and I would sit in a semi-circle around her and wait for our turn to be fed by her. We would save the last morsel for the crow who would visit my grandmother's house at mealtimes. (A crow still visits the house. My aunt has managed to maintain this tradition.)

Those were good times. My grandmother was a frail lady with no teeth in her mouth. Her dentures would be saved only for the very special occasions. I remember thinking that she looked weird with teeth on. I liked her infinitely better without the teeth. Her toothless grin was infectious. I still remember her smile. I remember her and miss her a lot. She was one heck of a lady. She was feared by almost everyone in her society. It was not because she had physical strength. On the contrary. She was feared because of the strength of her conscience. The strength of her being. Any kid who ever complained to their parents that 'Kaku Aaji' (as she was called) scolded them, met with a severe reprimand that 'Kaku Aaji' won't scold for nothing, and that they must have done something to deserve it. :-)

I would go and gather flowers every morning to make a garland for the Gods when Aaji did her puja. My cousin Sachin had even made up a song to irk me. And irk me it did, very successfully indeed. I don't know if he remembers the song but I do.

It is funny how some recipes bring with them not just their flavors, but the flavors of your past as well. :-)

Here you go.

  • 3 to 4 small ripe mangoes (small mangoes are called 'Ghota' in Goa)
  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • tamarind  the size of a quarter lemon
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 3 tsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • jaggery to taste
Remove the pulp of the mangoes. Do not scrape the seed though. Save the seed with the pulp for the curry. Keep aside.

In a blender puree the coconut, turmeric, red chilli powder, garam masala and tamarind together. Heat oil in a wok and add the mustard seeds. When the mustard starts crackling add  asafoetida.  Now add the pureed coconut mixture, mango pulp and the mango seeds.

Bring the curry to a boil. Add the salt as per taste and then add jaggery. Taste the curry at this point. If the mangoes are sweet you won't require much of the jaggery to sweeten it. If they are more sour than sweet, then you may need more of the jaggery to adjust the sweetness. The end result should be that all the flavors should easily blend with each other. There should be no harsh elements. Simmer for five minutes and  the curry is done.

Serve hot with chapati, amboli or rice.

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Yummilicious Marshmallows

Morning was earlier than usual for me today. Baby literally kicked me out of the bed so I could get her milk. (Not that I gave her any until she washed her teeth!) But she kept egging me to get out of bed.

I decided to put on some of the television shows that I had recorded but never watched. One of them was Rachel Allen's home cooking. Today's recipe is courtesy this show. It is fascinating that I now have a cooking blog, where I once hated cooking. It's probably because I have incessantly watched  cookery shows over the last two years. I guess I should see more of travel shows if I want to travel and start a travel blog. :-P

In any case, Rachel had indicated exact measurements and exact temperatures when making this recipe. I didn't  have anything to measure accurately. So I trusted my instinct and went ahead. But they turned out great. And as I made them, my mind factory began working over-time. I can do so many things with this recipe. Cup cake decoration, cake decoration, lollypops! You name a few too!

It is though, a little messy to work with. It will be a few times before I get it exactly right, and can make heart and star shaped marshmallows for my daughter. Not that she minded at all. Rock-like or whatever, she ate quite a few before I stole them from front of her lest none remain for the photo-op!

  • 450 g sugar
  • 125 ml water
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • a little vegetable oil for greasing
  • 1 large tbsp gelatine soaked in 100 ml water
Soak the gelatine in water. Meanwhile, grease a tray with oil. Line the tray with parchment or butter paper and apply some oil to the parchment paper as well. 

In a separate bowl, mix corn flour and icing sugar well. Dust some of the mixture on the butter paper.

Take the sugar in a saucepan. Add 125 ml water to it and put it on the heat. Stir it continuously till it starts boiling. Once it starts boiling, remove your spoon and do not stir at all. Let it boil without interference for about ten to twenty minutes till it reaches the thread stage. A thread stage is when you dip your spoon into the syrup and lift it in air, and an even thread is seen dripping from the spoon instead of droplets.

Once it reaches this stage, remove from the heat.

Whip the gelatine for a minute or two. Now add the sugar syrup and whip again. It should take about twenty minutes of whipping for the mixture to attain a meringue like consistency. It does look like that. White and soft peaks form over it. It should not leave the pan when you turn it over. That's when you know that the whipping is complete.

Now pour this mixture into the tray lined with the parchment paper. This is sticky business. I mean it. It sticks to anything and everything. Dip a spoon in hot water and use it to flatten the top of the marshmallow mixture. Dust the cornflour and sugar mixture over the marshmallow mixture.

Allow the mixture to set over a few hours. It may take around 5 to 6 hours or even more for the mallows to set completely. Once it sets cut it into pieces and dust some more of the cornflour mixture over it. The cornstarch mixture prevents it from getting too sticky.

Have them by themselves, or sandwich one between two cracker biscuits and eat them for a heavenly different taste.

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chicken Paratha

It is ridiculously hot and humid here in Mumbai. I heard that it is raining sporadically in Pune and other regions of India. It is phenomenally unfair that Mumbaikars should swelter in heat while the rest of the country enjoy at least spurts of rainfall. :-(

Then again, I live on the top floor of my building. It gets hotter than ever here, and May hasn't even begun. Damn! :-(

Normally I derive immense pleasure from seeing my phulkas puff up on the gas. But in this weather it seems like an inhuman torture of gigantic proportions to stand in front of the stove and make chapatis. I also take pride in the fact that my husband eats a good number of chapatis. Parathas are easier to roll, and faster to make. So today's recipe was going to be parathas.

Now that I am free to experiment with chicken, I decided what could be better than making chicken parathas? They turned out great. The taste was just right. Subtle and zesty in the same breath. Saee loved the parathas enough to eat one and one fourth of it. (Mind you, a paratha is heavier on the stomach than the regular chapatis!)

  • 3 cups wheat flour
  • 4 to 5 eggs
  • 2 cups minced chicken
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • salt to taste
  • Oil for frying the parathas
  • 1 tsp oil for the dough
Make a soft dough of the wheat flour using enough water.  Keep aside.

In a wok heat a tsp of oil. Add the onions and saute them well for a minute or two till the onions turn golden brown. Add ginger garlic paste and the dry spices and fry well for a minute. Add the minced chicken and cook on low heat, covered for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep aside to cool.

Once the chicken filling has cooled down, grind it without any water in a blender till it becomes somewhat homogeneous.

Divide the dough into 7 to 8 parts. Press down the center of the dough with your thumb and create a depression. Spoon out a portion of the filling into this depression. Bring the edges of the dough together and seal them together. Roll out the paratha till it is about 3 mm in thickness. Do not roll out too much you run the risk of getting the stuffing spilling out of the paratha.

Heat a tsp of oil on a frying pan and fry the paratha well on both sides. You can keep the parathas in a container.

Just before serving, heat the frying pan, add a teaspoon of oil and place the paratha on it. Spoon out a portion of the beaten egg on each side of paratha and fry it for half a minute.

Serve hot with chutney or tomato ketchup!

And yes... even in this sweltering weather...

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Murg Jugalbandi

My kid has secured admission for nursery today. The playgroup where we are sending her is an amazing one with several pets like rabbits, ducks, a dog, two turtles, a parrot and several fish! Being an animal lover myself, this came as a really pleasant surprise. Saee, too, loves animals. I guess she got that from me as my husband does not take too kindly to animals.

I also remembered my school days. There was a house adjacent to my school where there was a cage just inside the gate. There were several rabbits in there. I am sure Jayanti, Vidya, and Rhythm remember. Do you?

Anyway, this is another chicken recipe after a long time, and I guess there will be more to come in the coming few months. It was not too difficult to make as much as time consuming. As far as the taste goes, you will have to slightly increase the chilli part as otherwise the recipe tastes a little bland.

The chicken breasts in this recipe weren't marinated. But I reckon that marinating the chicken for at least an hour with salt and lemon juice will make a heaven and hell difference to the taste.

Saee, though loved it as it was. She ate one whole piece sliced from the chicken breast. Try it with the few changes I suggested.

  • 2 Chicken breasts 
For the filling
  • 100 g minced chicken
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 to 4 curry leaves 
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp fresh grated coconut 
  • Salt to taste
For the curry 
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4th cup whisked curds
  • 1/4th cup tomato puree
  • 1/4th cup brown onion paste 
Clean and wash the chicken breasts and keep them aside. (Marinate with salt and lemon juice for about half an hour to one hour).

Meanwhile, heat 2 tsp oil in a wok and add the mustard seeds. Once they start crackling add the curry leaves. Now add the minced chicken and saute for about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the salt, red chilli powder and garam masala and saute for a minute or two more. Keep aside to cool.

Make an incision into the base of the chicken breast to create a pocket. Or you can make a long slit along the side of the breast and then tie it up after you have stuffed it. Now stuff the filling into the receptacle in the chicken breast and if you have made a slit, tie the chicken breast with a string to make sure none of the filling comes out.

Heat 4 tsp oil in a wok and fry the stuffed chicken breast till it turns golden brown on both sides. Keep it aside.

Now throw in the cumin seeds into the oil and saute for a minute. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute again for a minute. Add the dry spices and salt, and saute well for a minute or two. Now pour in the curds and the tomato puree and saute well on medium heat. Add the onion paste and fry till oil leaves the masala. Add water and bring the curry to a boil.

Add the chicken breasts to the curry and cook well for ten to 12 minutes.

To serve: Remove the chicken breasts from the plate and slice them into smaller pieces. Place the slices on a plate and pour gravy on top. Garnish with curry leaves and peppercorns. 

Serve hot!

Happy Cooking!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Upwas Potato Wedges

Yesterday I went to Vasai. Mom made some awesome oysters for me, made in typical Goan style. Yum yum! I also bought a couple of really plump small mangoes (we call them 'ghota') I don't know what to call them in English. These are the basis of two really super recipes of Konkan. One is the 'ghotachem saasam' and the other is 'Ansa Fansa'. Of these, 'ansa fansa' is my favorite which I am going to post soon enough.

As for today, being Monday, the norm is to post Upwas recipe. So here is my version of potato wedges which is perfect for a fast.

  • 2 large potatoes cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp amchur (dry mango)  powder
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin) powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil
  • a few drops of lemon juice
  • fresh finely chopped coriander (optional)
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Dry the potato wedges using kitchen towels.

Sprinkle a teaspoonful of oil on a baking tray. Layer the potato wedges on top. Push the tray in the oven and bake for ten minutes on each side till the wedges are crisp on each side.

Remove the baking tray and sprinkle the dry spices and salt on the wedges. Now sprinkle a little lemon juice and toss the wedges together a few times to ensure that the spices and salt have coated the wedges evenly.

Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and serve.

(Tip: On a chapati place the potato wedges and a few strands of cabbage or carrot. Sprinkle some cheese on top. Pour a teaspoon or two of tomato ketchup on this and roll the chapati. Potato roll is ready! My Saee loved it and the whole chapati was gone before I could blink!)

Happy Cooking!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Stir fried Green Capsicums

I am just back from Vasai. The camera is with Shrikant and he is on a shoot today. No idea when he will come back. So reserving a small portion for the photography which will probably happen only after he returns. Meanwhile, here's the recipe.

  • 300 g green capsicums
  • 3 tbsp gram flour (besan)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 large tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tsp amchur or dry mango powder
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • Salt to taste
This is a simple yet scrumptious recipe which goes well with any kind of food. Whether it is rice or paranthas you are having this recipe serves as an excellent accompaniment. Besides the crispiness of the capsicums combined with the khamang (I don't know what is khamang aroma called in English, I am sorry) flavor of roasted gram flour! Like I said, scrumptious! (And whaddya know... super easy to make too!)

Chop up the capsicums into cubes. Now heat the oil in a wok, add the mustard and when it starts crackling add all the dry spices and hing. Now add the capsicum and saute for a few minutes till the peppers change color ever so slightly. Now sprinkle the gram flour and roast for 3 minutes or until you get that roasted aroma of the gram flour. Add salt as per your taste and toss well.

Serve hot!!!

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Musk Melon Shikran

Musk melon is not a universal favorite. Also known as cantaloupe, there are people who don't like the taste of it. I am one of those few who actually like a musk melon. I may not be entirely crazy about it, but yes I do like the light watery sweetness of the melon. Especially so when the heat is as scorching as it is right now, a musk melon is a welcome addition to my daily diet.

Thankfully Saee likes everything fruity. She loves fruit. Although I am aware that Ayurved recommends that fruit not be eaten half an hour before and two hours after a meal (especially with wheat based meals), sometimes there is no other way for a tired mommy to feed her baby unless there is something the baby likes, in the meal.

Although I know that this must be a common recipe in Maharashtrian households, but I am not so sure about the non-Maharashtrians. In case you've never made it and you don't like the taste of the cantaloupe per se, then this is a recipe for you.

  • 1 small musk melon (chibood as we call it in Marathi and kharbooja in Hindi)
  • 3 tbsp sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • A few strands of saffron (optional)
Grate the musk melon. Add the sugar and the milk. Stir it well to dissolve the sugar. Now add the cardamom powder, mix and chill for at least an hour before serving.

Garnish with a few strands of saffron or kesar. (I didn't have any, so I didn't garnish)

Serve chilled!

Happy Cooking!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Egg Fried Rice

What a splitting headache I had this evening! Why are crossroads always present like a crucifix in our lives? Why must we 'Eat that frog!' I'll tell you more about this phrase on

I was torn throughout the day with my brain being torn between the right brain and the left brain (or what's left of it!) Or should I say I was divided between the diversity of opinions between my head and my heart? Why does God do that? Why does he make the head and heart so that they always disagree? Why has life got to be so complicated? Why can't it be as simple as 1+1 = 2? Why does a simple equation like 1+1 always lead to an answer like square root of 4? Although the end result is same, it doesn't come to you so simply does it?

I know I am rambling. I ramble! I get fogged in my brain and I let loose a volley of meaningless mindless words in what I call my 'verbal diarrhoea'. It is a phrase I picked up from Bridget Jones' Diary. Other than the fact that she wasn't married, I'd say Bridget and I have much in common. There. I am rambling again.

Forget it. Forget what you just read. Just concentrate on the recipe part.

There you go. (Ramble... ramble... ramble!)

  • 3 cups rice
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 5 spring onions finely chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
  • 4 to 5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 3 green chillies chopped 
  • 3 dry red chillies not chopped (Ramble alert!)
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
Boil the rice in plenty of water. After about ten minutes pick up a grain and taste it. It should be cooked but not so much that it gets squishy. Once the rice reaches this stage drain the water and add ice cold water to the rice. This stops the heat within the rice in its tracks and you get a rice which is grainy and not like a unified mass. Spread the rice on a large plate and allow it to dry further.

Beat the egg and add some salt to it. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and pour the beaten eggs into it. Wait for them to cook a bit and then mash them with the help of a spatula. Keep them aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok and throw in the green chillies and the red chillies. After about fifteen seconds throw in the garlic and ginger. Saute for half a minute and add the onions. You do not need to fry this for a long time. Just a couple of seconds. But always, and I mean always while making fried rice, maintain the flame at high.

Now quickly add the fried eggs and the rice and toss them around in the wok. Bully them a bit. Add salt to the rice at this stage and add some pepper. Mix it well and serve hot!

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Besan Patvadi

This Nagpur specialty recipe is courtesy my friend Naina. I made it, and sure as hell we all loved it.

For the vadi
  • 2 cups besan or gram flour
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 to 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp ajwain or carom seeds
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh coconut
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
For the gravy
  • 2 onions
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 4 to 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp khus khus or poppy seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 2 tomatoes
  • a few curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala 
  •  salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
To make the vadi
Mix cold water and salt in the gram flour and mix well so that no lumps remain. Heat oil in a pan and add the carom seeds, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chilli and turmeric powder and  cook for about three to four minutes till the besan starts to thicken. Now take it off the heat and pour in a greased tray or dish and flatten it with the palm of your hand. Press the coriander and grated coconut into this and allow the gram flour to set. Once it sets, make mesh like cuts with a sharp knife to form the diamond shaped vadis. Keep them aside.

For the gravy
First make the masala paste. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a frying pan and add the cloves and cinnamon. Saute for a minute and 1 chopped onion. Saute them till they turn a deep golden brown color. Now add the chillies, ginger, garlic, coconut and poppy paste and fry well for about four to five minutes stirring constantly to avoid burning the masala. Grind into a fine paste using hot water. Add a bit of salt to the paste.

Heat oil again in a wok. Add curry leaves and add the remaining finely chopped onion. Saute till it turns translucent and then add the tomatoes. Fry well till the tomatoes have turned tender. Now add the masala paste, garam masala, red chilli powder and fry well for 3 to 4 minutes till the oil leaves the masala. Taste and adjust the salt at this stage. Add one cup of hot water and bring the curry to a boil. Turn off the heat and put the vadis in this gravy.

Serve hot with chappatis or rice!

Will post the picture tomorrow first thing in the morning.


Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sev Kanda Tameta nu Shaaq

On the Western express highway, after you cross the Hotel Fountain, there is a decrepit little roadside Gujarati Dhaba on the left side of the road (when you are traveling towards Virar) called Kathiawaad ne Aangane. Now the name and the look of the dhaba will make anyone think twice before going and eating there. Even I hadn't wanted to go and eat there when my husband first suggested it.

But the hauntingly wonderful aromas that waft from the kitchen of this dhaba  make you want to go there again, despite the attack by the army of mosquitoes. There is not much to see, except an old shack of a dhaba, sweaty men working away in their kitchen, and a big open area in front (probably illegal) where they put up their plastic tables and chairs. Yet, I would advise you to go there and eat at least once. It will open you up to new vistas as to how good can vegetarian food taste.

It is very easy on the pocket too. A hearty meal for two, including five bhakris (fat rotis made out of corn, jowar or bajra) soaked in ghee, tadka daal, one vegetable, two bowls of fresh butter (makkhan) with sugar, and one whole one liter bottle of buttermilk costs you about 200 rupees only. It is a hearty meal mind you, and despite its looks and shortcomings, you will always find an array of expensive cars parked right outside this dhaba.

I first had this shaaq at this particular dhaba. Inspite of me (biased as I was to eating in roadside eateries as compared to expensive hotels), I found myself thoroughly relishing every bite. The bhakri was so soft, I had never eaten a bajre ki bhakri which is so soft! The daal tadka is to die for! And the makkhan! The butter is so fresh (they said they have a cattle shed just behind their dhaba and they extract fresh butter everyday!) The taste of the food... Oh! I have made this dish before but no matter how many times I make it, I can never replicate the taste of that sev kanda tameta nu shaaq.

Still, I have come very close to that authentic taste. Maybe the next time I will request them to allow me in the kitchen so I can see for myself how they make it.

  • 5 spring onions finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes finely chopped
  • 150 g sev of your choice (I prefer the Ratlam sev)
  • 7 to 8 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 to 7 curry leaves
  • a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 3/4th tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (or more if u like it hot. If your sev is spicy, put less chilli powder)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp amchur (dry mango) powder
  • 1 small piece of jaggery
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cups water
Heat the oil in a wok and when it is sufficiently hot, add the mustard seeds. Wait for the mustard to crackle and then add the cumin seeds. As the cumin seeds are changing color, add a pinch of asafoetida and then the garlic. Allow the garlic to fry a bit till it is nice and golden brown in color. It gives off a distinct aroma when it is fried well.

Now add the onions and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Once the onions have gone soft, add the tomatoes and the dry spices and salt. Saute for 2 minutes over high heat. Now cover the pan and reduce the flame to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 more minutes.

After five minutes, open the cover and add water to the gravy. Taste it and adjust the salt. Add the jaggery and bring the gravy to a boil.

Do not add the sev at this point. Add the sev just before serving or they get all soggy. Unless you are using the Gujarati red sev. You may have to soak them a while before you serve as they are very crispy to begin with.

Best served hot with chapatis or bajre ki roti!

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chocolate tart

To begin with, a note to my friend Sahana Joshi... Sahana, you rock! I was finally able to make the most fantastic whipped cream! Yum, yum!

If you are anywhere on the right side (or should I say the wrong side) of the weighing scale, than the mark where the tip of the weighing scale is supposed to stop, then you MUST follow these ten commandments while making this recipe.

The Dieter's Ten Commandments
  1. Thou shalt not lick the remnants of the butter on your finger
  2. Thou shalt not eat the little piece of chocolate that was left behind
  3. Thou shalt not eat more than one bite of the tart you just made
  4. Thou shalt not get carried away by the aroma of the tart
  5. Thou shalt not get carried away by the look of the tart
  6. Thou shalt not be a tart and eat the tart.
  7. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain, in case you do eat the tart and regret later.
  8. Thou shalt not give in to temptation.
  9. Thou shalt not be in a hurry to make this recipe, some recipes do take a lot of time and preparation.
  10. Thou shalt not be attached to the material taste of the tart you just made.
Keep the ten commandments in mind and you shall not put on weight (anymore than you currently weigh).

  • 1 and 1/4th cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup frozen butter (butter stick) broken into small pieces
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate
  • 1/4th cup  milk
  • 1 egg 
  • vanilla essence
Mix the flour, sugar and salt together. It helps if all your ingredients are kept in the refrigerator for atleast an hour before using them. Throw in the chopped butter and mix it only with your finger tips till the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Now add a tablespoon of water each time and knead it carefully till it just forms a ball that doesn't have any cracks on it's surface. Do not over knead. Wrap in a cling film and refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and roll out into a thin sheet. Line your tart tray or baking tray with the pastry and press the dough so that it adapts well to the tin. Place a foil on top of the pastry and place some beans on top of it as weight. Place the tin in the fridge for another 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 F and place the tin in the center of the oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Now remove the foil and the beans and place it again in the oven for another five minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool down.

Meanwhile make the filling. Chop the dark and white chocolate into fine pieces. Heat the milk in a pan. When it is just about simmering, add the chocolate to this and mix well. Whip the egg in a separate container. Add about 2 tbsp of the chocolate milk mixture to the egg mixture first. This is called tempering the egg, and prevents it from curdling.

Now transfer the egg mixture to the chocolate milk mixture again and whip for a few minutes.Pour this in the tart shells and place it back into the oven.

Bake only until the center of the filling is still a little jiggly. Otherwise the filling may get burnt.

Remove from the oven and chill in the refrigerator.

Garnish with fruits or fresh whipped cream and serve chilled!

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bengali Shondesh

Yesterday I had gone to Vasai, to mom's place. What a truly heavenly feeling it is to have 'Ma ke haath ka bana khaana'. Just read the menu and I am sure that your mouth is going to water too. There was Mackerel (Bangda) fry with stuffed green chutney (ooooh! Yum!) and then there was raw jackfruit curry, and aamras!!!

To be back sated from mom's home and fast the next day on Monday! Depressing! There is nothing in the world as tasty as mom's cooking. We have had it since we were infants, and no matter how tasty a recipe you make, you can never match the taste of your mom's cooking. Maybe I am just being sentimental here, but I am sure most of you are as sentimental about your moms.

Fasting need not be depressing though. The milk curdled this morning. I am sure most of you make paneer or khoya or kalakand from this milk (Tip: If the milk has begun to curdle as you heat it, heat it till the whey just separates from the fat, and while the fat is still soft throw in a handful of ice. This stops the process of curdling in its tracks. Now take the paneer in a muslin cloth and wash it under cold water. Now hang it for a minimum of 30 minutes. You get extremely soft, and sweet paneer! You can curdle milk by pouring half a teaspoon of lemon juice diluted in water or one teaspoon vinegar diluted in equal amount of water. Pour the curdling agent half a spoon at a time in boiling milk and stop pouring as soon as the whey starts separating. Wash the paneer well under cold water to remove traces of lemon juice or vinegar.)

I made Shondesh from the paneer. It is ridiculously easy, and very tasty.

  • 1 to one and half cup absolutely fresh paneer (like the one I made above)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Make sure that the paneer is completely rid of the whey. It has to be completely dry. Knead the paneer with the flat of your hands till it is completely gelled together.

Now heat a wok and throw in the paneer. Add the sugar and cardamom powder and stir. Now in the initial stage, the paneer looks like it is melting. Don't worry and don't panic. Just keep stirring till the paneer stops sticking to the sides of the wok.

Once it starts to gel together again, remove the paneer on a plate. Allow it to cool. Knead again for about ten to fifteen  minutes.

Roll into the desired shapes and garnish with raisins or any other nuts.

Serve chilled.

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Moong Daal ke Chille

I am going to Vasai today. I had to cook breakfast and lunch quickly. So I made this recipe. It is quick, and very very tasty. Besides being that, it is also very nutritious and healthy. Saee ate one whole chilla all by herself. That speaks volumes for the chilla.

Ideally the moong dal should be soaked for two hours. I didn't have that much time, so I soaked the moong dal for only half and hour in warm water. The batter therefore became slightly rough textured, but the result was an awesome crispy chilla.

You can soak it for two hours if you wish.

  • 2 cups moong dal soaked in warm water for half an hour to 45 minutes
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 3 to 4 green chillies 
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • salt to taste
  • oil for frying
Grind the soaked moong dal, coriander,  ginger, green chillies, red chilli powder, cumin powder and salt with a little water. The batter should be slightly thick.

Heat a frying pan, and spoon out a ladle of the batter on the center of the pan. With the back of the spoon, spread it in circles starting from the center and moving outward so it looks like a thin pancake. Pour a few drops of oil all around the pancake.

Fry it on this side till it is brown and crisp. Now with the help of a spatula, raise the edges of the chilla. Pick up the chilla with the spatula and flip it over. Fry again for 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve hot with cold yogurt for a super healthy and tasty breakfast.

Happy Cooking!

Olu Manjivor - Quick Potato Cutlets

It is indeed one of the quickest recipes I have ever made. It took me five minutes to assemble the ingredients, and ten minutes to cook. All because I was hungry and needed a quick light bite.

As far as the taste is concerned, the ginger hits you the most. If you are making this recipe for kids, then go easy on the ginger. Instead of two tablespoons, you can add only 1 tsp of ginger. In case of kids, you can even add a bit of sugar. Fry well on both sides till it is crisp and it gives exciting textures. Crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Tastes best with tomato ketchup.

  • 3 medium potatoes washed, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • salt to taste
  • oil for shallow frying
Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl. Shape with hands to form round cutlets. It may seem watery at first, and as though the whole cutlet is going to fall apart. Don't worry it won't.

Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Place the cutlets in the frying pan and fry on both sides till the sides are brown and crispy.

Serve hot with tomato ketchup.

Happy Cooking!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Daal Baafle

Daal Baafle are a famous cuisine of Madhya Pradesh and Malwa region. They can be called as Dhaaba food, as you can find them in almost any street-side Dhaaba in Madhya Pradesh.

I remember the first time I ate this recipe. It was in Ujjain. We were all there for some sight-seeing. Not that there is much to see except temples and saffron-clad holy men. We were married for only six months at that time. Shrikant was very excited to show me around, and feed me the best of everything. So I was a little taken aback when he took me to a shabby looking road-side eatery right next to the Mahankaleshwar temple. We were hungry as hell, but the look of the place wasn't tempting at all. Then to top it off, Shrikant described to me in detail how these Baaflas are made. The true way of roasting them is inserting them in the middle of a fire made by torching dry cow-dung cakes. Ugh... the thought of it!

And then picture this. The guy who served it to us, actually dunked the entire baafla into a tin filled with ghee! The baafla was soaked to bits in the ghee when it was served to us. Damn if I was going to eat this darned thing! I'd rather go hungry!

He then asked in his heavy Malwa tone, "Dal kesi hona, tej hona kya?" Needless to say, I was clueless as to what he was talking about. Shrikant replied in an equally accent laden tone, "Hao Bhiao, tej tadka hona!"

What they meant was the tadka on top of the dal, and whether we wanted it really hot and spicy. And Shrikant had replied in the affirmative. Only God could have helped me that day.

But one taste of the Daal Baafle and I was hooked forever! I have tried making this dish a million times, but I can never match the taste of the Daal Baafle I had that day at that dhaba. The difference, I guess.... was the cow dung cakes! :-D


For the Baafle
  • 3 cups wheat flour
  • 1 cup semolina (rawa)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • water
For the Daal
  • 1 cup toor dal
  • 1/2 cup masoor dal (red lentil) 
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 10 to 12 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 green chillies finely chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 small pinch hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 3/4th tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 3 tsp oil
  • 3 cups water
  • salt to taste
For the tadka
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 dry red chillies
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder (optional) 
 To make the baafle
Mix the wheat flour, semolina, baking powder and salt together in a large dish. Make a well in the center and add the oil. Mix it together. Now add water slowly and knead to form a firm dough. It should not be too firm so as to form cracks on surface, but not as soft as chapati dough either. Your thumb should form an imprint on it without too much pressure. Leave the dough aside for an hour.

Now make small balls of the dough and press on one side of the dough balls with your thumb. Heat about one liter of water in a wok and place the dough balls in this. When the water is boiling, and the dough balls rise to the surface, the baafles are ready to be baked.

Remove them from the water, and drain them on tissues. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C, and place the baafles on the upper rack. Now lower the heat to about 150 degrees C, and bake the baafle for about 30 minutes, turning sides occasionally. Tap the top of a baafla with the nail of the index finger. If the baafla emits a hollow sound, consider it done!

To make the Daal
Pressure cook both the daals together till they are soft.

Heat the oil in a wok, and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Once the mustard seeds start crackling, add the asafoetida. Now add the garlic and fry till it turns golden brown. Add the onions and a little pinch of salt. Saute for about 3 minutes. Now add the chopped tomatoes and coriander powder. Add the turmeric and red chilli powder. Saute till the oil leaves the masala. Now add the cooked daal to this. Add 3 cups of water and salt to taste.

Bring the daal to a boil. Now lower the flame and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

To make the tadka
Heat the oil in a tadka pan. Add the cumin seeds. Once they start changing color, turn off the heat. Add the red chillies and the chilli powder.

How to serve the Daal Baafle
 First press the baafla in the palm of your hand till a big crack appears right down the middle. Now dunk this baafla in a potful of ghee and place it in a dish. (I refrain from carrying out this step. I usually only spoon out a little ghee on top of the broken baafla. But the taste isn't as good as the ghee soaked baafla, I assure you!)

In a separate bowl, take the daal and depending upon how hot you like it, add the tadka on top of it.

Combine the daal and the baafla as you would daal and rice, and eat it with flourish not caring a thing in the whole wide world about the loads of calories you just dipped your baafla into!

One more traditional way of serving this recipe is with powdered sugar on the side. So now your baafla itself becomes a dessert too! Crush a ghee soaked baafla and sprinkle some powdered sugar on top of it. Your choorma is ready as a delectable dessert!

One thing to remember though. Do not cook this recipe in the afternoon unless you are in the position to stretch yourself like a cat on your bed and treat your eyelids to a looooooong refreshing nap! As a matter of fact, I can't wait to finish writing the blog so I can go and snooze too!

Bon Appetit people!

And remember...
Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stuffed Potato Shells

Like every other woman on this planet, I am faced with the same questions everyday. "What do I cook for breakfast, lunch, dinner?" This morning I decided to make some kande pohe (Indore's favorite breakfast). But my poha supplies were running low. So here I was, clueless.

It is at times like these that the best ideas hit you. I saw that I had some baby potatoes. And I had cheese. Voila, what could be better!

The taste, as you can guess from the recipe is great. But the aroma! It isn't an aroma, it is an experience!

  • 8 baby potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp mixed dry herbs
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • olive oil
  • fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil or parsley... any will do)
  • salt
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Cut the potatoes into halves. Now use a small sharp spoons to scoop out a hole in the center of the potato halves. Save the scooped material for later.

Now mix the grated cheese with the onion, garliic, dry herbs and chilli flakes. Save some garlic for later. Add very little salt to the cheese stuffing.

Sprinkle a little salt  over the potato shells and put some of the stuffing in it.
Keep aside.

Line a baking a tin with aluminum foil. Sprinkle a little olive oil on it. Make a bed of the fresh herbs, potato flakes, and remainder garlic. Place the stuffed potatoes on top of this bed and cover up the foil.

Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, till the potatoes are done. Then open the foil and directly bake it for another minute or two to dry the cheese up a bit.

More than anything else at this point, I am forced to say... Bon Apetit!

Happy Cooking Y'all!

Tomato Rice

Mom in law made some great paranthas this morning. Obviously we were left with very little space in our tummies in the afternoon. Yet, there was at least some space for a little something. Mom-in-law recommended khichdi. But I was bored of making the same type of khichdi time and again (although, my mom-in-law loves the khichdi I make!)

So out came my Anjum Anand's New Indian again. I scoured it for some rice based recipe and found this  recipe. It sounded quite nice, and easy too. I took me all of 20 minutes to make this awesome recipe. It tastes slightly sour, with undertones of clove, and cinnamon. What hits you more is the taste of the black cardamom and the fennel. I did add some sugar to it. You may skip it if you wish.

I used the Basmati Dubar rice. But you can use any white rice in this recipe. My biggest compliment was Saee finishing the entire bowl of rice given to her, and then eating seconds from everybody's plates. She did make it a point to come to me and tell me "Mummy, I liked the tomato rice!

I guess that is my strongest testimonial then.

  • 200 g white rice (washed and soaked for 15 minutes)
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped into fine pieces
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 pods of garlic chopped
  • 4 green chillies slit lengthwise
  • 4 cloves (laung)
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel (saunf) powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3/4th tsp garam masala
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste
 Heat oil in a wok. Throw in the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Add the mustard seeds. Once they start crackling, add the onions. (Tip: Adding a pinch of salt while frying onions helps them the brown faster and more evenly.)

After a minute the onions change color to golden brown, add the chopped garlic and green chillies. Saute for a  minute or two till the garlic turns golden brown. Now add the turmeric, fennel powder and the garam masala and salt and saute for 20 seconds.

Add the tomatoes at this stage and turn up the heat. Cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes till the tomatoes have turned tender. Remove the lid and add the drained rice. Saute again for 2 minutes and then add about 430 ml of water (I added only a rough estimation).

Bring the rice to a boil. Now lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a tight lid. I did not have a pot with a tight lid, and I didn't want to use a pressure cooker. So I covered the pot with a plate and placed a mortar on top of it. You can use the same method too.

Cook on a low heat for about 8 minutes. Open the lid, toss the rice an bit, and let the excess moisture evaporate.

Serve hot.

Happy Cooking!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vaalore Moothiya Sabzi

There is one thing I remember my friend Jay's mother for. She made the most amazing Gujarati food. I do remember being on the school playground on sports day, and bullying Jay into giving me his tiffin and giving him mine. I remember once, eating methi moothiya that he had brought in his tiffin. I haven't forgotten the taste of those, and never found other moothiya which would taste anywhere close to the ones I ate that day.

I have loved methi moothiya ever since I remember. Eating Oondhiya meant picking out the moothiya and eating them before anyone else got them. :D

This vegetable incorporates those methi moothiya. I really can't make them as well as my favorite Gujarati Aunties do, so I did what I thought was best. I went to Prashant Corner in Thane and bought them. Trust me, they make excellent stuff there.

One taste of this sabzi and my husband went... "Wow! They are crisp! This is amazing!"

Try it. I am sure you and your family members will love it as much as we did.

  • 2 cups vaalore (also known as baalore, vaal, field beans) washed and broken into pieces
  • 100 gram methi moothiya (you will find them at any Gujarati store)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp amchur or dry mango powder
  • 2 tbsp grated jaggery
  • salt to taste
Heat the oil in a wok and add the mustard seeds. Once they start crackling add the beans and fry them for two minutes. Now add the dry spices, salt and two cups of water and bring it to a boil. Once the curry has  begun boiling, lower the flame, cover the wok and simmer for about 10 to fifteen minutes or until the beans have cooked completely.

Once the beans are soft, add the jaggery and the motthiya and simmer for two more minutes.

Serve hot with chapatis.

Happy Cooking!

Upwas groundnut curry

Coming to think of it, we wasted the last four years of Monday fasting with the mundane fasting food. We didn't look beyond the batatyacha kees, ratalyacha kees, sabudana khichdi, sabudana wada and the like. Now that I have begun writing this blog, I have also begun to think up new recipes for fasting altogether.

This, though, is not one of them. This is a tried and tested Maharashtrian recipe that I made for the first time. One spoon into the curry, and I repented as to why I didn't start this project long ago!

It does make you droopy though. Half an hour into the meal, and all my grand plans of writing the blog as soon as we were finished eating were nullified. I found my feet walking in the direction of the bed, and my eyes struggling to keep open. You better believe it, this curry is heavy on the eyelids.

  • 1 cup roasted and unsalted groundnuts
  • 1 cup curd
  • tamarind the size of half a lemon
  • 3 to 5 green chillies (depending upon how hot you like your curry)
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 to 6 cloves
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • chopped fresh coriander to garnish
  • salt to taste
Peel the groundnuts and blend them along with the curds, tamarind, cumin powder, chillies, ginger and salt.

Heat the ghee in a wok and add the cloves, and cinnamon. Once the cloves puff up a bit, add the cumin, and wait till it changes color. Now add the red chillies and the blended mixture to this. Add a cup or two of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the flame and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve hot along with vari or samo rice.

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Aloo Kachori

Thus begins my second month of Project Indian Cooking. A friend of mine, Naina, asked me to give her the recipe of Aloo Kachori. So Naina, this one's for you.

While making the recipe, I learned a few things. The dough has to be soft, and you have to soak the dough for at least an hour. There is also a specific way in which the kachoris are filled (shown to me by my mother-in-law) which makes them puff up.

I do have to admit though that not all my kachoris puffed up. It is only the three which did, that I clicked for the picture. But the taste was really awesome!!! While I served it as it is, as my husband likes it nice and simple, you can top it off with green chutney, tamarind chutney, onion, sweet yoghurt and sev.

Okay here goes...


For the dough
  • 1 and 1/2 cup plain flour (Maida)
  • 1/2 cup semolina (rava)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp hot ghee
  • salt to taste
  • water to knead
For the filling
  • 2 medium potatoes boiled, peeled and mashed
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 large tsp coriander (dhania) powder
  • 1 tsp cumin (jeera) powder
  • 1 tsp dry mango (amchur) powder
  • salt to taste
First make the dough. You will need to soak it for at least an hour before making the kachoris. Sieve the semolina and flour together along with the baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour two tablespoons of hot ghee. Mix with finger tips till the flour resembles bread crumbs. Now add water and knead to make a soft dough. Keep it aside.

Mash the boiled potatoes. Heat oil in a wok, and add the chillies and ginger and fry for a few seconds. Now add the mashed potatoes, dry spices, and salt and mix well. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes and turn off the flame.

Divide the dough into small portions. Make round  balls of each portion. Now with your thumbs make a depression in the center of the dough while rotating the dough clockwise between the fingers of both the hands. Just like you do for making modaks.

You should now have a small katori or a well in the dough. Spoon out one or two teaspoons of the filling into  this well. Shut the edges together and press lightly in the center with thumbs of both the hands. There should be a barely noticeable depression in the center of the kachori.

Heat oil in a deep wok and maintain the flame at medium. Fry the kachoris in this oil for about 10 to 15 minutes till the covering has turned completely crisp. Do not raise the flame to high. Kachoris have to be fried at  medium heat for a long time to turn really crisp.

Serve hot!

Happy Cooking!

Upwas Jeera Rice

One really funny thing I learned in Goa was that in Goa, fasting means just staying off rice. You can eat chapatis and vegetables and everything else; only rice isn't allowed!

For those of us who stay off other things as well, this is Jeera rice for the days when you are fasting.

  • 1 cup bhagar or vari che tandool (Samo, in English)
  • 1 large potato cubed
  • 1 tsp jeera (Cumin seeds)
  • 5 to 7 peppercorns
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 3 large dry red chillies
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp groundnut oil
  • 2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
Wash and soak bhagar in 2 cups of oil for 15 minutes. Drain the water and keep aside.

Peel the potatoes and chop them in pieces. Deep fry them in hot oil till they turn uniformly golden brown.

Heat oil, and add the peppercorns and cinnamon. Now add half the cumin seeds and fry till they change color. Add the soaked bhagar and fry for two minutes. Now add 2 cups of water and salt as per your taste. Bring it to a boil. Now lower the flame and simmer covered for ten to fifteen minutes or until the bhagar is completely cooked. Add the fried potatoes and toss.

Now heat the ghee in a separate pan and add the jeera seeds to this. Once they begin changing color, add the dry red chillies. Use this as a tadka for your upwas jeera rice.

Serve hot with upwas groundnut curry (recipe on Monday :-)  )

Happy Cooking!

Bilmacha Loncha

Now here is one thing which I don't know how to describe. This trip to Goa was the first time I ate it. It was so sour... ooh! My mouth waters every time I think about it.

I had gone looking at my usual spot in front of Shantadurga temple for my starfruit. Imagine how disappointed I was to learn that it wasn't yet in season! Damn! I guess he must have seen the gloom on my face, as the shopkeeper quickly pointed out to a tiny little fruit. It looked like tendli or gherkins. It  was a translucent green colored insidious looking fruit. Oh, but when you bite into it! The sour juice trickles down your tongue and tickles your taste buds!

It is normally eaten only with salt and red chilli powder, but I decided to go ahead and make a tempting pickle out of it.

  • 15 to 20 bimla or bilimba (you can substitute it with 4 to 5 starfruit)
  • 3 large tablespoons red chilli powder
  • 1/2 cup grated jaggery
  • 2 to 3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  •  a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 3 tbsp oil
This has to be made fresh and eaten fresh. You may store it in a refrigerator for about a week at the most. It is best if you finish it as soon as possible.

Chop the bilimbas (or the star fruit) into small pieces. Mix the salt, red chilli powder and jaggery in a bowl and add the bilimbas. Mix well.

Heat oil in a pan, and add the mustard seeds to it. Once they begin crackling, add the asafoetida and transfer immediately to the bowl containing the pickle.

Serve as an accompaniment in your regular meal.

Happy Cooking!

Egg curry

A super duper delicious egg curry.

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 medium onions chopped into medium sized pieces
  • 1 cup grated fresh coconut
  • 3 green chillies chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin) powder
  • 1 tsp roasted saunf (fennel seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • tamarind the size of a small lemon
  • 7 to 8 curry leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tsp oil
Boil the eggs and keep them aside to cool down. After they cool down, peel them and make a lengthwise slit on one side of the eggs.

Grind together the coconut, onions, red chilli powder, green chillies, coriander and cumin powder, roasted fennel, turmeric powder, salt and tamarind to a fine paste. Use as little water as possible. (The best masala pastes are made on the stone grinder! :-()

Heat the oil and add the curry leaves. Now add the ground paste to this oil and fry well till the oil separates from the masala. Once the masala is fried, stuff a little into the slits made in the eggs with the help of a spoon. Now add the eggs to the masala and add a cup of water.

Bring to a boil. Then lower the flame and simmer for five minutes.

Serve hot with chapatis or rice.

Happy Cooking!

Friday, April 8, 2011


So I am finally back from Goa. Loved being there in Goa and was unhappy to leave it. Leave it I did, but not without stealing a booty from the market in Mapusa.

Very soon you will find what my booty is, and what I am going to make of it.

Meanwhile, apologies for not posting for the last two days. I should have completed my first month with pomp, but unfortunately I had to travel back to Mumbai and our car broke down. So what should have been a one day journey turned out to be a two day journey back home.

To make up for lost time, I will post three new recipes today. Two for the missed days of blogging and the third one for today.

Watch out people, I'm back!!

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mashed Potatoes

What can be more simple and yet somehow more complicated than making mashed potatoes? A lot has been written about mashed potatoes, but it is hard to identify what is called a good mashed potato simply because we haven't tasted it that much in India. Nor do we have much of a taste for this humble recipe, because in India we are used to more vibrant flavors.

Yet, I found my taste for mashed potatoes long ago when I was a gawky, nerdy teenager studying for my tenth standard examinations. I would make this recipe and eat it when I would feel hungry studying into the wee hours of the night.

You needn't it eat in the middle of the night though. Just make this recipe and eat it warm. Tastes best with spicy gravy.

  • 3 medium to large potatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes and cut them into several large pieces. Put them in a saucepan and cover them with plenty of water and add half a teaspoon of salt. Bring the water to a boil slowly. Once the water has boiled reduce the flame, cover the pan and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cook well till the potatoes are soft and done. Now remove them and drain the excess water on a tissue paper. Melt the butter and cream in a saucepan or in a microwave. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or with a fork and add the butter and cream. Add the milk slowly till you get a creamy consistency. Add the salt and pepper and mix well.

Serve hot with a gravy of your choice.

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cauliflower Parantha

This afternoon the lunch was at our Guruji's place. Today we performed the Maharudra at the Mangueshi temple. It  feels like quite a privilege to be able to perform the Maharudra. But the tenets and rules of Maharudra are rigorous. This morning we fasted and then in the afternoon the lunch was at Ranade Guruji's house.

What can satisfy a Hindu soul more than food served on  a banana leaf. The food comprised of two vegetables, one salad, one pickle, rice with dal and those who are Goan or from this side will know when I say, 'alsandyachi amti'. Since my family is Indore-based they prefer chapatis more than rice, so there had to be some wheat-based item for them. That was taken care of by poori and kheer.

I find it necessary to mention here that one of the vegetables served was a raw jackfruit preparation. Yummy is an understatement. The food in entirety was really soul-satisfying, but the jackfruit preparation deserves a special mention. We couldn't control our guts and asked Ranade Guruji for the recipe of this preparation (wink! wink!) He just made an offhand wave and said you can't make this. We were appalled. It's understandable that your wife may be a great cook and all, but how can you assume that we can't prepare a seemingly insidious looking vegetable! He put our doubts to rest when he said that it is made on a 'Choolha'.

Oh damn! He was right. No matter how good a recipe I prepare on my gas stove, there is nothing to beat the taste of the food cooked on the humble coal stove. It imparts a different texture and a smoky taste to the food which can't be matched on your regular stove. Oh how I long for a small barbeque!

Humbled after my afternoon lunch I went on to make something for the evening party to take with them. The eveningers comprised of everyone other than my immediate family who were going to the beach. We aren't allowed. Not that we mind. We have already pretty much seen every nook and cranny of Goa there is, to see.

Here is the recipe for my cauliflower paranthas.

  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower florets
  • 3 cups wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup gram flour (besan)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp amchur powder (dry mango powder)
  • Oil as needed
Boil the cauliflower florets with a little salt till they are completely soft. Drain the water completely. Mix all the ingredients for the parantha, and without using water mix them together. Start kneading without using water. Add water only as necessary.

Divide the dough into small portions. Heat a tawa (griddle) and add a little oil. Roll out one portion of the dough into a flat chapati using a little dry wheat flour to prevent sticking. Now place this chapati onto the tawa  and roast well on each side till brown spots appear equally on both sides.

The parantha is ready to be served with cool yoghurt or pickle.

Happy Cooking!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rajma Rasmisa

I am in Goa, the land of my roots, the land of my dreams. I feel more inspired to do my best here. There is something indescribable in the air which infects you. It is laidback and unhurried. It shows in the cuisine here too.

The ingredients available here be it fish, fruit or veggies are so fresh and full of juice and vitality. You could eat them by themselves without needing any embellishment at all. The basic component of the cuisine here is the humble and versatile coconut. It forms the basis of breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. It is surprising that people here are not using coconut milk in their tea!

It may be slightly hot and humid here, too. Nothing cools you off in this weather like a good fresh tender coconut! It goes just as well into the bebinca as into the hooman, and yet the flavors of both the recipes are vastly different. One is a Kashmir of Goan cuisine and the other is Kanyakumari.

To find the mouthwateringly sour Karmala (Star fruit) and Bimla (or bilimb, I do not know what it is called in English) is my mission on every Goa trip. I don't have to look far. It is available right outside the Shantadurga temple at Kavlem. Next time anyone wants to have their eye closing involuntarily from the sourness of a bilimb, come to Shantadurga temple. What's even better here is that in Mumbai the starfruit available has a kind of throat irritant quality. You can't eat too much. Here, you can't stop. A whole plate of starfruit will be polished before you can say "Achoo!"

I am staying at my maternal uncle's vacation house here in Goa.The resources are limited. While it is not possible for me to cook elaborate recipes here, I try making the best of whatever I have. This is one of those recipes I borrowed from Sanjeev Kapoor's site that was yummilicious to say the least. Besides, when you are in Goa, everything tastes great! ;-)

  • 1 cup rajma (red kidney beans) soaked in warm water overnight
  • 2 large onions minced, pureed, grated or chopped (whichever you prefer)
  • 3 cups tomato puree
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil
Pressure cook the kidney beans in a lot of water and a little salt till it is softened. Heat the  oil in a pan and add the bay leaf and onion and cook till the onion changes color to golden brown. Now add the ginger and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree at this point and all the dry spices. Cook well till the masala is completely done and oil separates from the masala. Now add the softened kidney beans and two cups of water and boil the curry.  Lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes.

Serve hot with rice.

Happy Cooking in Goa!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lentil Qorma - A Creamy Lentil Curry

I was tired of the same sort of dals and wanted to make something very different. This creamy lentil curry (not dal makhani) was a revelation.

It has a sort of sweet and sour taste, and when you bite into the garlic pieces... Ah! Heaven! It tastes good whether you have it with roti, rice or just eat it as it is with a spoon.

  • 1 cup whole lentils (sabut masoor)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp red (or yellow if you find it) chilli powder
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • salt to taste
Pressure cook the lentils with plenty of water till the lentils become soft. Mix in the salt, turmeric, chilli powder and garlic paste and stir well.

Heat the butter in a pan and throw in the cumin seeds and minced garlic. Fry for some time till the garlic takes on a lovely light brown golden color. Now add the lentil mixture and stir well. Add a 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil.

Once it boils and becomes slightly homogenous in texture, add the yoghurt and the cream and whisk with an egg beater. I did not add the cream (I thought it would be fattening!) If you are in a position where you wouldn't mind a few extra calories, go ahead and indulge yourself.

Happy Cooking!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Watermelon Curry

Don't get queasy when you read this. Yes, you can make curry out of a watermelon and it tastes good. I was initially as taken aback by the name as probably you are reading this right now. I ate this fruit as a vegetable first when I was meeting my mother-in-law for the second or third time. She had made this curry but in a different way. Then onward I got intrigued by this fruit.

The ingredients are simple. We eat the red pulp of the watermelon and discard the greenish white pulp that just adjoins the dark green skin. Do not discard it. Peel the skin instead and chop this pulp into little pieces. This is the basis of our curry.

  • 3 cups greenish white pulp of watermelon, chopped
  • 2 cups watermelon juice
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • salt to taste
  • sugar to taste
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Chop the watermelon pulp and keep it aside. Now heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they start crackling add the cumin seeds and garlic paste and fry for a minute. Now add the watermelon juice. To this add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and sugar and boil for sometime till the juice reduces by half. Now add the chopped watermelon pieces to it. Bring the curry to a boil and then reduce the flame. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about five minutes or till the vegetable pieces are cooked.

Once cooked, squeeze the juice of half a lemon onto it for taste and serve!

Happy Cooking!