Saturday, October 15, 2011

Prawns Koliwada

I love prawns. But they seem to have given my little daughter a mild allergic reaction. My brother was allergic to it too. In his case he would simply eat them and take an antihistaminic later.

Saee got the reaction for the first time, and there didn't seem to be any mosquitoes in the room, so logically I thought it must be the prawns. My doctors mind began ticking in the middle of the night thinking what I should do. Calamine on the skin and antihistaminic syrup later, my Saee was sleeping like a baby. She is a baby!

  • 200 g prawns shelled and de-veined
  • 3 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder (gives a lovely color while not being too hot)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • oil for deep frying
  1. My idea of de-veining the prawns is to run a small sharp knife all along its back right to the tail and then just lift the vein up. Most people in India  just pull out the vein, but there's a chance of breaking some part of the vein within. 
  2. Wash the prawns two to three times in fresh water.
  3. Add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste, lemon juice and salt. Mix well.
  4. Marinate for at least half an hour. If you are going to marinate more, keep the fish in the refrigerator.
  5. Heat the oil in a deep wok. Roll each prawn in plain flour and fry for two to three minutes.
  6. Eat hot!
Happy Cooking!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tawa Bhindi

I had been looking for low fat, low cal recipes online. Honest. I don't know how I stumbled upon this recipe and forgot all about my endeavor. In any case, here is a recipe loaded with calories, that you can make for yourself as a change, or as party food.

Here I have used bhindi and potatoes. But you can use a number of assorted vegetables, and called it tawa sabzi. You can use cauliflower florets, mushrooms, baby potatoes, or carrots. You can arrange them separately on the tawa, and saute them with a little gravy and serve them as your guests want. That is... if you have that big a tawa.

  • 250 g bhindi (okra)
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 7 to 8 curry leaves
  • 1/2 cup curd
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp amchur (dry mango) powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala (preferably pav bhaji masala)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • one pinch asafoetida
  • oil for deep frying
  • 3 tsp oil
  • salt

1. Wash and chop the bhindi (okra). Cut off the head and tail and chop the okra into one inch large pieces

2. Grind together the onion, garlic and ginger into a fine paste.

3. Make a puree of the tomatoes and keep aside.

4. Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the bhindi and potatoes till they turn golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on kitchen towels. Sprinkle a little salt on the fried vegetables.

5. Remove all but 3 tsp of oil from the wok. Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida to the oil and wait till they change color.

6. Add the curry leaves. Now add the onion, ginger and garlic paste and saute for three minutes or till the oil separates.

7. Now add the tomato paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin and coriander powders, amchur, and garam masala and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

8. Whip the curd so it becomes smooth and free of lumps. Once the oil has begun separating from the tomato gravy, add the curd and 1/2 cup of water. Add salt and bring the gravy to a boil.

9. Add the vegetables to the gravy or keep them separate and combine the veggies and gravy together at the dinner table.

Serve hot with chapatis, or parathas.

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


This dessert is an example of how you can turn a disaster into something good. I wanted to bake a cake for my mom's birthday. Blast the electricity! There was load shedding throughout the day everyday. When I finally made the cake, I had only a small window, and had to rush things up. So I scrambled the few things I had, together for the sponge cake, without measuring the ingredients (a cardinal sin in the rulebook of cake making) and pushed the batter in the oven. Then I crossed my fingers and hoped that if I really want the cake to turn good, everything in the universe will conspire to help me achieve that end. - (borrowed from the alchemist!)

The world didn't. My cake looked horrible. Lumpy and flat. It tasted good though, and it seemed a shame to throw it away altogether. So to salvage the cake (and my dignity) I decided to turn it into a different dessert. And because it is a hotchpotch of all things I found, I am calling it Hotchpotch!

This is what I did. I didn't have pictures though. :-(

  • Sponge cake
  • Mango ice-cream
  • Strawberry sauce
  • Kellogg's honey loops (or any other breakfast cereal)
  1. Cut the cake into cubes.
  2. Place the cubes in a tall glass.
  3. Pour strawberry sauce over the cake.
  4. Scoop the ice cream into the glass on top of the cake. 
  5. Pour another drizzle of strawberry sauce on the mango ice cream.
  6. If the glass is REALLY tall, repeat the steps from 1 to 5.
  7. Finally add the honey loops or any other crispy cereal and serve!
Happy Cooking!

Bharli Vangi - Stuffed aubergines

Suddenly I have developed some confidence in my cooking abilities. It was a tremendous ego boost when my mom told me that my bakarwadis taste professional. To top it off hubbs said that I have turned a better cook than my mom and his mom. That IS an overstatement, but it feels nice that you are appreciated by the ones you love. :-)

The recipe I am posting today is an amalgamation of two styles of cooking. One is my mother's style and one is my mother-in-law's style. I have developed a slightly different way of cooking this recipe, and hubbs loves it. It is up to others to test the recipe and give me feedback about what they think.

  • 250 g aubergines
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch ginger chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (or as per taste)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp jaggery
  • salt to season
Wash and make vertical cross slits in the aubergines at the base. Place them in water for an hour or two. This opens up the aubergines and it becomes easier to stuff them.

Heat a wok, and pour 1 tbsp oil in it. Add 2/3 of the onions and saute till they turn brown. Add the garam masala, garlic, ginger and saute for two more minutes.

Add the fresh grated coconut, and saute for 2 minutes.

Turn off the heat and allow the sauteed ingredients to cool.

Place them in a blender, with turmeric, red chilli powder, tamarind paste, peanuts, sesame seeds, and salt and blend them to a paste.

Stuff this mixture into the aubergines, like this.

Heat the remaining oil in a wok, and toss in the remaining chopped onions.

Once the onions change their color somewhat add the stuffed aubergines and the remaining mixture. Mix well.

Cover with a plate, and pour water on top of the plate. Lower the heat to a medium and cook till the aubergines become soft. Add the water on top of the plate to the curry, and cook till it boils.

Add the jaggery and boil the curry for five more minutes.

Serve hot with chapatis or bhakris.

Agreed. The picture sucks. The light sucks.  Couldn't keep my hand still :-(

 Happy Cooking!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Diwali Faral - Fried Poha Chivda

There are many who like the dry roasted chivda variety. And then there are some like my dear hubby who like the fried poha variety. And he likes it so much that he invented an altogether different way of eating chivda so he can have chivda in every meal. Chapati chivda!


  • 500 g beaten rice flakes (Jada poha)
  • Dry coconut (sukka khobra)
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 3 green chillies
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4th tsp citric acid crystals
  • A whole lot of oil
  1. Soak the dry coconut in water for an hour. It becomes soft. You can now use your peeler to make very thin slices of the coconut. Then spread them out under a fan on kitchen towels to dry them again.
  2. Soak the groundnuts in a water with a little salt. Once soaked, remove them on kitchen towels and dry them again under fan for an hour or two.
  3. Heat the oil and fry the poha. It spreads around in the oil if you add it directly. By the time you remove the poha it becomes brown. The best way is to use a frying vessel or a spoon, into which you add a handful of poha and dip it into the oil and remove it in five seconds. Drain on kitchen towels spread out on a newspaper. Fry all the poha in this manner.
  4. Remove all extra oil to keep only 1/2 cup oil in the wok. Add the curry leaves to the oil and fry them till they turn crisp. Remove them and spread them on the poha.
  5. Chop the chillies and fry them till the edges turn a little brown. Add to the poha.
  6. Fry the coconut slices till they turn slightly brown. Add to the poha.
  7. Fry the peanuts till they look evenly browned. Add to the poha.
  8. Turn off the heat under the oil and add the asafoetida and turmeric.
  9. Pour this on top of the poha.
  10. Add the salt according to taste.
  11. Grind together the sugar and citric acid and add to the poha.
  12. Do not mix vigorously. Instead just add the whole mixture to a plastic bag and shuffle it a few times. 
  13. Keep it in the plastic bag and keep the plastic bag in an airtight container to store it.

Happy Cooking!

Diwali Faral - Chakli

Now comes the part  where you actually  make the chakalis. I have read in many places that chaklis don't often turn out well. Sometimes they are too hard, or they turn soft the next day, or they fall apart in the oil while frying. Needless to say that I was very very VERY apprehensive.

Think about it, it was about 2 and half kilos of various ingredients I was using. Think about the wastage if they turned out horribly wrong. What if the taste wasn't right? I was praying to God, and crossing my fingers all the time I was making the recipe. I decided  to stick to one recipe and follow everything by the word.

They turned out quite well. They didn't break. I made them day before yesterday and I am posting the recipe today, so I can safely say that they didn't go soft. They are still very crisp. So just follow my recipe in toto and there shouldn't be any reason for the chakalis to go wrong.

  • 2 cups chakli bhajani (the previous post has the recipe for that or you can buy it from the market)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tsp oil (not more than that)
  • salt to taste
  • 5 tsp red chilli powder (or more if you want it spicier)
  • 3 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tsp chaat masala
  1. Boil the water in a vessel. Add the oil and the spices to the water itself.
  2. Once it has begun boiling, add the bhajni flour to the water and remove from heat.
  3. Stir vigorously till all the water has been incorporated by the flour.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool till you can handle it well.
  5. Knead well into a firm dough. Do not add any more water or oil. It has to be a firm dough. Taste a little at this point to be sure of the seasoning. Keep the salt a little less than you would like, for once it gets fried it tastes saltier than it tasted in the dough stage.
  6. Put the dough in a chakli maker. Use the star attachment for making the chaklis.
  7. Grease a plastic sheet with a little oil.
  8. Squeeze a length of the dough through the chakli maker onto the greased plastic sheet, and roll with a light touch in the shape of a jalebi.
  9. Deep fry them in oil over low heat. Keep the heat as low as possible. When you first dip your raw chakli into the oil it will bubble up furiously. When the bubbles have slowed down considerably and the color of the chakli changes to slightly golden brown, remove them from the oil with a perforated spoon.
  10. Drain the chaklis on kitchen towels.
  11. Cool them completely. Only then place them in an airtight container. 

Happy C@@king! (okay, that is not caaking, those are meant to be o's in the shape of chaklis :-(  )

Diwali Faral - Chakli (Bhajani)

Whew! It was difficult to make this chakali. I had decided when I started this blogs that I won't be taking shortcuts. I need to know the very basics of everything. Hats off! To all the women of yore who would do this regularly. They didn't have electric grinders either. They would grind all their grain on the stone grinders and must have had to spend considerable time just sweating over it! Gawd!

Yet, I loved the whole process. It gave me immense satisfaction to say the least, especially when my husband and my daughter ate my chaklis with gusto. I am however going to post this recipe in two parts. Here I am only going to outline the recipe for bhajni. If you are going for the  store bought bhajni then just go for the next post.

You do not have to go to the lengths I did. Just go and get bhajani peeth (Bhajani Flour) from any of your local shop. I am sure they will stock this now that Diwali is coming close. If you are as adventurous as I am, and prepared to face swollen hands the next day, by all means, go right ahead. Follow my recipe.

  • 500 g rice 
  • 250 g  split chickpeas (chana dal)
  • 250 g split black gram (urad dal)
  • 250 g sago (sabudana)
  • 200 g split green gram (moong dal)
  • 100 g split yellow lentils (toor dal)
  • 30 g coriander seeds (dhania seeds)
  • 30 g cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds (til)
The grains drying in the sun in my window

    1.  Wash all the grains separately to remove the fine powder coating on them. Dry them individually under the sun if possible. If not you can dry them under ceiling fans as well. Dry them completely.
    2. Dry roast the grains separately. Keep them separate. Put the coriander seeds and cumin seeds and sesame seeds on any of the hot grain, so they get just warmed. You don't have to roast them.
    3. If you have an electric grinder (gharghanti), then first grind the split chickpeas. Then grind the sago. Then grind everything else in any order.
    4. If you have to go to your flour mill, then you can combine all ingredients except sago and chana dal, and ask for them to be ground first. 
    5. Do not, under any circumstance, attempt to powder them in your blender. You will not get a fine enough flour for the chakalis.
    The various grains required. Also the caption next to the grains Live, Work, Play is my husband's idea.

     Happy Cooking!

      Tuesday, October 4, 2011

      Diwali Faral - Besan Ladoo

      Diwali equals besan ladoo for me. I love these, and only these laddus. The credit for this recipe goes to my mom. I called her up and asked her how to do it right before I made them. She, after all, makes the best besan laddoos in the whole world.

      So THANKS MOM!!!

      :D She always complains that I never give her due credit!

      What many people seem to think since I started this blog is that I am some sort of a master chef. Guys, you couldn't be more wrong! I am no chef! These recipes I have posted because most of them have been made by me for the very very first time. I have been lucky so far that they turned out not bad. Follow the steps I have told you and you can make it just as easily as I did. Promise!

      I just follow what the masterchefs say in their books, or in their recipes. That's all.

      In this case, I just followed what my mom said to the T and got really really good laddoos.

      • 500 g gram flour (besan)
      • 250 g clarified butter (cow ghee)
      • 1 tsp cardamom powder
      • 200 g powdered sugar
      • nuts or raisins to garnish (optional)
      1. Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan
      2. Add all the gram flour to it. Keep the heat to low.
      3. Stir it well. 
      4. Keep stirring.
      5. Yup, more stirring.
      6. I know you are tired, but that's what you gotta do, stir stir stir your boat...!
      7. Have about forty five minutes elapsed? Hmm...
      8. Your house will be fragrant with gram flour flavored air freshener! Haha :-P
      9. The color of the gram flour will have changed color somewhat.
      10. Now is the time to add the cardamom powder.
      11. Add the sugar and stir some more. Okay not forty-five minutes this time, just a few minutes till it all amalgamates.
      12. Cool the mixture for ten minutes.
      13. Now apply a little ghee to your hands and start rolling little balls out of the mixture. If the fall flat, don't worry, just let them cool down completely and roll them again. And again, if they still fall somewhat flat. (Like mine did!) 
      14. Eventually they will learn to hold  their shape.
      And they will look like theeeeeeeeeees

      Happy Cooking!

      Monday, October 3, 2011

      Diwali Faral - Bakarwadi

      I had never in my wildest imaginations ever thought that I'd make bakarwadis. These crispy and savory spring rolls are a specialty of Chitale's. Others make it  well too, but Chitale are the masters of bakarwadi. I have always loved these lovely Indian spring rolls, but I thought that making them would be completely out of my ability.

      And then I made them. On a whim. I thought, what the hell! What's the most that could go wrong? That they will turn out bad, and nobody will want to eat them. Fear of failure should never be a criterion for not trying something new. That's what my husband tells me all the time. Never fear failure.

      So I let go of my inhibitions, and decided to find some good recipes on the net. The best one I found was on the blogspot called chakali. There are some things that I omitted and some things that I added.

      I also bought chitale's bakarwadi and incorporated whatever ingredients were listed (and some more of course!)

      The only problem was having to fry them in the sweltering heat. I had to close the window because one  crow was audacious enough to dip into my fried bakarwadis and sample one of them. Ugh!

      Try it.. Really! Do not be afraid of failure..

      • 2 cups plain flour (maida)
      • 3 tbsp gram flour (besan)
      • 1/2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain / owa)
      • salt to taste
      • 1 and 1/2 tbsp oil
      • water
      for the filling
      • 1/2 cup gram flour (besan)
      • 1 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
      • 1 tsp sesame seeds (til)
      • 1/2 tsp poppy seeds (khus khus)
      • 3 tbsp grated dry coconut (sukka khobra)
      • 2 tsp cumin powder (jeera powder)
      • 3 tsp coriander powder (dhana powder)
      • 1/2 tsp dry ginger powder (sunth powder)
      • 2 tsp red chilli powder
      • 1/2 tsp garam masala
      • 1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
      • 3 tsp powdered sugar
      • salt to taste
      • 2 tsp oil
      • a little water
      1. First make the dough. Mix the plain flour and gram flour with carom seeds and salt. Make a heap of the flours and make a deep well in the center. Add hot oil in the center and mix it all up. Now add water slowly to make a firm dough.
      2. Next, heat a wok and dry roast the fennel seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and dry coconut together for two to three minutes. Grind to a course mixture.
      3. Dry roast  the gram flour till you get a distinct aroma. Now add cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, sunth powder, hing, and the above mixture. Add 2 tsp of oil to the mixture, salt and sugar and bring it off the heat.
      4. Now add the sugar to the mixture and cool it for some time.
      5. Make five balls of the dough and roll each ball into a thin chapati. Spread some of the above mixture on to the chapati.
      6. Roll the chapati starting from one edge. Roll it completely into a tight roll. If the roll is loose, the filling will come out during  frying.
      7. Apply a little water to the other edge of the dough and seal it shut. Seal the two ends shut. Press the roll a little so it becomes a little flat and ovoid in shape rather than round.
      8. Cut the roll into one inch pieces.
      9. Heat the oil for deep frying, and fry the bakarwadis on low heat. You have to fry on low heat for about five to ten minutes, till they are nice and golden brown.
      10. Drain them on kitchen towels.
      11. Keep away from crows and other similarly audacious birds!
      12. Store them in an airtight container.
       Happy Cooking!

      Sunday, October 2, 2011

      Stuffed Mackerels (Bangde)

      Here is one very easy and yet extremely delicious recipe. Never mind how many times you go to a restaurant to have fish, this is an essentially home-cooking recipe from the beautiful land of Goa.

      I guess it would suffice if I only said that Saee ate one and half fish by herself.


      • 5 Mackerels (Bangda fish)
      • 1 and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
      • 2 tsp dry red chilli powder
      • 2 tsp lemon juice
      • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
      • 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander
      • 3 green chillies chopped
      • 3 cloves of garlic
      • 1/2 lemon sized ball of tamarind
      • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
      • 2 tbsp rice flour
      • 4 tbsp semolina
      • oil to shallow fry
      • salt to season

      Beautiful, ain't they?

      1. ) Clean the fish and remove the side fins and scales. (A tip: Scale fish while keeping them immersed in water. This prevents the scales from flying everywhere.)

      2. ) Use a thin and very sharp knife to make a deep slit down the backbone of the fish. Cut as close to the bones as possible. Don't handle the fish roughly, or you will damage the  meat. Be very gentle.

      3.) Make shallow cuts in the skin of the fish. About three to four slits at a distance of 2 cms from each other.

      4. ) Like this. Now marinate the fish with turmeric powder, dry red chilli powder, salt and lemon juice. Make sure the marinade is applied within the slit.

      5.) Make the stuffing. Grind  together the coconut, coriander, green chillies, garlic, tamarind, cumin seeds with a little water. Add a little more salt than you would normally.

      6. ) Stuff the ground mixture into the slit and cavity of the fish.

      7.) Mix the semolina and rice flour.

      8. ) Roll the fish in the semolina and rice flour till the fish is well coated.

      9. ) Heat a skillet and add oil upto 1/2 an inch the depth of the skillet. When the oil is hot, fry the fish for 4 to 5 mins on either side. The skin should have turned crispy.

      This is what you get finally. Amazing isn't it? Tastes amazing too!

      Serve hot, garnished with onion rings and lemon wedges.

      Happy Cooking!

      Kid-friendly Quick Egg Frankies

      It's Sunday morning, and that day of the week when all of us want that much needed break. Sadly, for mommies, there are some things that never end. One of them is cooking food. If you do like cooking, then it's as much fun as pursuing any hobby on your day off.

      Yet, on a Sunday, you want to make something that's quick and still doesn't compromise on the taste. Novel, yet has to go down the tummy of rebellious little taste buds. Here is one which doesn't go wrong with my daughter, ever!

      Plus if you have left over chapatis, this is a perfect way to use them without sounding like a leftover. Instead of chapatis you can even use paranthas, or tortillas. If you are a vegetarian, skip the eggs. Of course, then you can't call it an egg frankie, you can simply called a veg frankie.


      Can you see them in there?

      • 3 eggs
      • 3 leftover chapatis/ tortillas
      • 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
      • 1 cup finely julienned green capsicum
      • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
      • any other vegetables of your choice (carrots, jalapenos if you have them)
      • chat masala
      • green chutney
      • barbeque sauce
      • 1 tsp oil
      • 3 tsp butter
      • salt
      • pepper
       Prepare the veggies first. Heat one tsp olive oil in a wok and flash fry the veggies individually for about ten seconds each. Not more, as you still want to retain their crunch. By flash frying I mean saute them on the highest heat. The cabbage remains slightly raw, but gets a burnt brown edge, the taste of which is simply indescribable. Season each vegetable with a little salt, and season the cabbage with a little pepper as well. Don't overdo this, you want the children to eat it.

       Now heat a skillet. Add a teaspoon of butter and watch it melt. Now beat an egg in a bowl with a little salt and pepper. Pour the beaten egg onto the skillet. Place the chapati on top of the egg. Fry till the egg turns golden brown and flip the egg and chapati, so that the chapati is now on the skillet with the egg on top. Fry for a few seconds and remove on a plate.

      Place each veggie on top of the egg side, as per your child's taste, add the chat masala, barbecue sauce and mint chutney. Roll the chapati  and cover with a tissue paper (trust me, it gets messy while eating!)

      Serve hot with tomato ketchup.

      Happy Sunday Cooking!