Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chawli Ka Salan (Black eyed beans or Lobia curry)

As a Maharashtrian, I have practically grown up on chawli or the black eyed beans. Mom makes wonderful Goan style coconut gravy based chawli curry. This time though, I wanted to try something different. I tried this recipe and it turned out to be quite good. Try it if you want to make a different recipe from the regular ingredient.

  • 1 bowl chawli (soaked in water for 8 hours)
  • 1 potato
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 7 to 8 curry leaves
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • salt to taste
  1. Add two cups of water to soaked chawli, turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste and salt. Pressure cook along with the potato for 15 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile heat the oil in a kadhai, and add the onions and saute till brown. Remove the onions and make a paste of the onions and tomato in a blender.
  3. In the same oil, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and hing. Add the tomato onion paste and saute for five minutes. Add the coriander powder, garam masala, and chilli powder and saute for two more minutes.
  4. Add the cooked chawli along with its water to the masala. Peel and chop the boiled potato and add to the curry.
  5. Bring the curry to a boil and simmer for five minutes. Garnish with finely chopped coriander.
  6. Great to serve hot with chapati or steamed rice.
Happy Cooking!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Had a trip down the memory lane today. I was waiting downstairs with Saee waiting for her school bus, when a man with a milk can came by yelling "Cheek!" He wasn't yelling out the name of any part of the face, he was selling what he had in his can. Cheek is the Marathi word for the colostrum laden milk that a cow yields after calving. We  add jaggery, sugar and cardamom powder and steam it to yield a lovely pudding, tasting similar to China grass, only much softer and yummier.

We had a cheek-wala who used to come deliver this milk at my mom's place. Mom would make such lovely Kharwas with it, that whenever she made it, me and my brother would compete for who gets the bigger share. Without him, and without my mom's love in it, kharwas just doesn't taste the same. For the first time in my life, I didn't enjoy having kharwas.

Yet, the recipe remains the same. So the next time you find "Cheek", buy it and make this lovely recipe. Oh! And one more thing. Remember to ask the vendor, if the milk is from the first day or the second or third day. If the milk is from the first day after calving, you need to add the same quantity of plain milk, or the kharwas will go really hard, and won't remain fit for consumption. If it is from the second or third day, you will need to add one fourth the quantity of milk. My recipe is for the second day cheek. If it is from the fourth day you may not need to add milk at all, or if you do, you may need very little.

  • 1 litre bovine colostrum (cheek)
  • 250 ml plain cow milk
  • about one and half cup grated jaggery
  • about one cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  1. Add the plain milk to the colostrum.
  2. Add the jaggery and sugar and stir till it all dissolves
  3. Add the cardamom powder and mix.
  4. Place a steamer with water, on heat. Place the mixture in the steamer, and steam on high power for 20 to 25 minutes. 
  5. Open once to check if the colostrum has set. If it has set, turn off the heat, and allow the kharwas to cool down to room temperature.
  6. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
  7. Once chilled, remove and cut into several pieces.
  8. Serve as a chilled dessert.
Happy Cooking!

Chocolate and cherry cream cake

This was an amazing dessert. Finally I got whipped cream from Hypermarket. I think only my friend Sahana can appreciate what I mean by that. It was so yum! Although the heat in my city played spoilsport! The cream kept melting and I had to speed up things. Presentation-wise, it didn't look the way I wanted it to look, but taste wise it was purrr-fect!!

  • 1 chocolate sponge cake divided into two (you can find my sponge cake recipe on this blog here: )
  • 3 cups whipped cream
  • half tin canned cherries
  •  cherry syrup
  • chocolate shavings to garnish
  1.  Slice the sponge cake mid-way into two. Place the lower half on a serving plate.
  2. Pour some of the canned cherries' syrup on the lower half to soak it. 
  3. Use 1/3rd the whipping cream to cover the top of the lower half. Sprinkle half the chopped cherries on the whipped cream.
  4. Place the second half of chocolate cake on the first. Once again repeat the steps from 1 to 3. Garnish with chocolate shavings, decorate with more swirls of whipped cream and top it off with a few whole cherries.
  5. Serve chilled.

Happy Cooking!


An easy to make salad, colorful and with a plethora of flavors! Eaten on its own, it could be a dieter's ambrosia, but I had to, just had to add the heavy mayo. What's a salad without the fattening dressings yar!

  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 3 tomatoes chopped in large chunks (or 250 g cherry tomatoes, halved)
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 cup olives
  • 1 capsicum diced
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes (I made oven dried tomatoes on my own)
  • 2 tsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 day old Italian bread cut into pieces (you can use sliced bread also)
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pasta seasoning
 Just throw all the ingredients together in a bowl, add salt and seasoning.

Chill and serve with dressing of your choice. I used mayo and honey and mustard dressing.

Note: To make oven dried tomatoes, chop the tomatoes into half, season with a little salt and garlic and place on a baking tray. Keep the temperature of the oven to the lowest setting, preferably 100 degrees, and place the baking tray in it. You will need to keep the tomatoes for around 3 hours. Keep changing the places of the tomato slices from time to time so they are all evenly cooked.

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gnocchi with Cream Cheese Sauce

I first saw the preparation of Gnocchi (pronounced Nyo-Key) on Rachel Allen's show on TLC. Been dying to try it ever since as it looked really yummy. It didn't fail me.

While I used an egg in this recipe, I have read that you can make gnocchi without egg, though it tends to get difficult if you don't use an egg. It may just disintegrate in the water. It supposedly takes some amount of practice to get the gnocchi right without using an egg.

Also I haven't included any finite measurement for the flour. You have to trust your instinct. Too much flour, and the gnocchi becomes rubbery and hard. Too less and the gnocchi disintegrates. Also, how much flour is needed depends on the type of potato used, the weather, humidity etc. So follow my instructions and pray to the gnocchi gods to help you. I know I did!

For the gnocchi,
  • 2 large potatoes
  • about 1 cup flour 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch baking powder
For the cream cheese sauce
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5 garlic pods chopped fine
  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp paprika (chilli flakes)
  • a sprinkling of dry italian herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
To make the gnocchi:
  1. Steam the potatoes until soft through and through.Peel them and grate them so that no lumps remain in them.
  2. Break an egg into the mashed potatoes and mix well.
  3. Add baking powder. Add flour (maida) one tablespoon at a time. The mixture should not be tacky and sticky, but not hard either. Stop adding flour when the mixture is just very very slightly sticky, but not so much that you won't be able to roll them into balls.
  4. Knead the dough well so it becomes smooth. Divide the dough into four portions.
  5. Roll each portion into a one inch thick rope. Cut the rope into 8 to 10 small pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it slightly with your hand.
  6. Dip a fork in plain flour and press it on the upper surface of the gnocchi balls to make a slight indentation. (This is just decorative, you may skip this step if you want.)
  7. Keep the rolled gnocchi onto a slightly floured surface.
  8. Boil a pan of water with one teaspoon of salt. Put the gnocchi into the water with the help of a slotted spoon.
  9. When the gnocchi rise to the surface of the boiling water, they are done. Drain them well and remove onto a baking tray.
For the cream cheese sauce:
  1. Heat olive oil in a wok. Add the minced garlic and saute for a few seconds.
  2. Add the cream and milk and bring them to a boil. Lower the heat and add both the cheeses. Stir well to get rid of any lumps.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the seasonings. Taste a little sauce, and then adjust the salt.
To assemble:
  1. Place the gnocchi onto a baking tray and pour the sauce onto them.
  2. You may add a few fried mushrooms on top for added flavor.
  3. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for ten minutes or until the top is just  slightly golden brown.

Serve hot!

Vegetarian Pasta (Farfalle) with Tomato Alfredo Sauce

My sister-in-law's nephew was in town and I called him home. I asked him what did he want to eat, and his two words were.. Surprise me. His only condition was that it shouldn't be Indian and Chinese. Anything else will do.

I had been dying to try out Italian cuisine for a while, and this was a perfect opportunity. I made small portions of four different recipes, and they were an instant hit with everyone.

Instead of making the regular fusilli or macaroni, I decided I'll make the farfalle or the bow-tie pasta. They look really attractive, and as per my plan, my daughter fell for it. All of them were gone from her plate into her tummy in a jiffy! Thanks to that man who first invented pasta! Three cheers!

  • 3 cups  farfalle
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
For the tomato alfredo sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 to 7 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 1 cup carrot chopped
  • 5 large tomatoes chopped
  • 2 tsp pasta seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • grated parmesan cheese to garnish
  1. Boil the water in an open saucepan with 1 tsp salt in it. Once it comes to a boil, add the farfalle and keep stirring occasionally. Boil for around 6 to 8 minutes till the pasta goes completely soft. Drain all the water and toss a teaspoon of  oil in it to make sure that the pasta doesn't stick to each other. Keep aside. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in a wok, add the bay leaf and rosemary. Add onions, garlic and carrots and saute on high heat for five minutes. Toss in the tomatoes and saute for eight to ten minutes on medium heat. Add a cup of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the dry spices, salt and sugar and cook for two to three minutes more. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool down to room temperature.
  4. Blend the sauce to a thick puree in a blender. 
  5. Place the pasta in a serving bowl and pour the sauce generously on top of it. Garnish with parmesan cheese and pasta seasoning.
Happy cooking!


    Friday, December 9, 2011


    • 1 cup toor dal
    • 3 drumsticks (soorjane ki fali / shevgyachya shenga) chopped into 2 inch long pieces
    • 50 g red pumpkin chopped with skin into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 raw banana chopped into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 potato peeled and chopped
    • 3 small onions chopped
    • 2 tomatoes chopped
    • 12 to 15 small pods of garlic, whole
    • 6 whole red chillies
    • 3 tbsp oil
    • 1 tsp mustard seeds
    • 1 small bunch curry leaves (about 20 to 25 leaves)
    • 1 tsp asafoetida (hing)
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • 2 tsp red chilli powder
    • 1 tsp thick tamarind paste
    • 2 tbsp jaggery (gul)
    • 1 tbsp rasam powder
    • salt to taste
    1. Pressure cook the toor dal with 1 cup of water
    2. Pressure cook drumsticks, pumpkin, potato and banana with 1/4th cup water and 1 tsp salt
    3. Mash the cooked toor dal, and add the boiled veggies to it. Add 2 to 3 cups of water and place it on heat to boil.
    4. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, tamarind paste, rasam powder, jaggery, tomatoes and salt to it. Allow the sambhar to boil.
    5. Meanwhile heat the oil, and add the mustard seeds to it. Once they begin spluttering, add the garlic pods, and onion.
    6. As the onion goes soft and translucent, add the whole red chillies, curry leaves, and asafoetida.
    7. Pour the tempering into the boiling sambhar mixture and mix well.
    8. Boil for a further five to ten minutes.
    9. Serve hot with steamed rice, dosas, appams, or idlis.
    Happy Cooking!!

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Burmese Egg Curry (Jet-u Jhet)

    I first tasted Burmese Lamb curry at Madhu Mavshi's place way back in the year 2000 or so. I simply haven't gotten closure from the taste and the explosion of the flavors ever since. It was in pursuit of that taste, that I scoured the local markets for fish sauce, which I finally found in Reliance Mart at Pokharan Road No.2 in Thane.

    Here in Thane I have searched enough ingredients in enough places to tell you where you may find certain things.
    D-Mart - Near Eden Woods, Hiranandani Meadows, this is your big kirana store. You will find everything of everyday use here. No use trying to search for exotic ingredients though, you won't find them here. You won't find non-vegetarian food items here.

    Big Bazaar - (Kapurbawdi) Again a big kirana store. You may find some frozen food items, Hershey's syrups, and Maple syrup here.

    Star  Bazaar -  In Korum Mall, this is where I first found BBQ sauce. It is also the place to go to if you want basic meat cuts, salami, sausages, nalli, lamb chops, and lamb feet for paya soup. You will also find tuna fish, and dried fish. I also saw a prawns balchao ready-to-eat preparation the last time I was here. There are also some basic items in cheeses, like cheddar, mozarella, Britannia cream cheese and gouda. In the veggies section you will find iceberg lettuce, ginseng, fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, and tarragon. Celery, avocado, brocolli also have a place in their exotic veggies section. A good place to go to if you are making Italian or French recipes which do not call for other varieties of cheeses.

    Hypercity-  In Kasarwadavli. Just-too-damn-far! But man... you will find almost everything here! Right from different types of cheeses (I found Ementhal, parmesan, swiss cheese and more varieties here) to sundried tomatoes. The last time I went, I found Dijon mustard, horse-radish relish, cajun pepper etc. There are different varieties of teas too to suit your taste. In the meat section you will find different varieties of hams too, apart from the regular meat cuts. You will find just about anything and everything under the same roof at this market. I also saw a can of ready-to-use whipped cream (In chocolate and butterscotch flavor) the last time I went there. It is all slightly over-priced though.

    Reliance Mart- Pokharan road no.2. A decent store. This is where I found my oyster sauce and fish sauce. They might be stocking it in other stores too, but I haven't come across any store that has them.

    Godrej Fresh- A small store in Hiranandani Meadows at Patlipada. Once again, a little too far, although not as far as Hypercity. Small shop, few good items. I saw Rich's Whipping cream here.

    These are the hypermarkets. In the next section I will write about the small shops stocking cake essentials.

    Till then, my Burmese curry recipe.

    You will need,
    • 6 eggs
    • 2 medium onions finely chopped
    • 1 small onion thinly sliced
    • 15 cloves of garlic chopped
    • 4 large tomatoes finely chopped
    • 1 small bunch coriander
    • 1 tsp tamarind paste
    • 1 tsp sweet paprika
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp red chilli powder
    • 1 tsp fish sauce
    • 1 cup thick coconut cream
    • 1/2  vegetable stock cube
    • vegetable oil
    • salt to taste
    Boil the eggs and shell them. Make a small slit on the side. Keep them aside.

    Separate the leaves of coriander from the stalks and mince them separately. Keep aside.

    Heat oil in a wok and throw in the sliced onions first. Once they have caramelized, remove them on kitchen towels.

    Next add the chopped garlic. Fry them till they are slightly brown and keep them aside.

    Now throw in the chopped onions, minced coriander stalks and saute well for three to four minutes till the onions are cooked.

    Add the tomatoes, dry spices, fish sauce and salt and saute for five to seven minutes till the tomatoes are completely cooked. Add 2 cups of water and bring the curry to a boil. Add the tamarind paste and vegetable stock cube and boil for two more minutes.

    Finally add the coconut cream, and stir well. Turn off the heat. Add the eggs, and the fried onions, garlic and minced coriander to garnish.

    Serve hot with steamed rice.

    Happy Cooking!

    Cafe Mocha

    Inspired by the lovely Shaheen Peerbhoy, I decided to make cafe mocha by myself. There is one big problem though. I don't have an expresso maker. Yet, I found another way to make this lovely coffee and it turned out positively yummy!

    Here's how to do it.

    You will need,

    • 2 tbsp chopped dark chocolate (or chocolate chips)
    • 2 tbsp white chocolate (or less if you like your chocolate a little bitter)
    • 1 tsp instant coffee
    • 2 tsp sugar (or less as per your  taste)
    • 200 ml milk
    • whipped cream (if you have it, I didn't!)
    Chop the chocolate into fine pieces and place them in a large cup. Microwave at high power for 60 seconds. Stir slightly with a spoon. Put the coffee, sugar and milk into the cup and microwave again at high powder for 30 to 50 seconds.

    If you have a hand blender, it's fantastic. Just attach the whipping attachment to it, and dip it into the coffee. Whip the coffee into a frenzy for a good two minutes until the coffee begins to get dizzy.

    Heat it again at high power for 10 seconds and drink hot! Top with whipped cream if you have it!

    Enjoy the yummilicious taste!

    Happy Cooking!

    Starfruit chutney

    Yum yum! We are still getting over the gorgeous smooth and sour taste of this chutney. I bought some starfruit at the local hypermarket, but unfortunately they weren't as sour as I had imagined them to be. I turned them into a hot and sour chutney which makes a great accompaniment to chapatis.

    • 3 starfruit
    • 1 cup chopped coriander
    • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
    • 1 green chilli
    • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
    • 1/4th tsp anardana (pomegranate seeds) powder
    • salt to taste
    Bring together all the ingredients in a blender and mix them into a smooth puree. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

    Serve with chapatis or paranthas.

    Happy Cooking!