13 June, 2011

Rava (semolina) Idli

A quick and easy idly that can be fixed instantly. We had a sudden guest drop by during the weekend and I made this urgent 'SOS' call to my mother in law. She was a saviour! Here is a quick and easy way to fix idli's when you have unannounced guests over or when you just feel like going 'South Indian Tiffin' or your toddler needs some good nutrition!

  • Idli Rava/Rava- 1 cup
  • Curd- 2 cups
  • Fresh Curry Leaves- 15 to 20, washed and roughly torn
  • Coconut (optional)- 1/4th cup, grated
  • Vegetables (optional)- 1/2 cup, (carrots, beans, beetroot, green peas) diced into very small pieces, pre-boiled
  • Ginger- 1 inch, grated
  • Hing- a small pinch
  • Salt- as per taste

  • Mix the rava, curd, salt, curry leaves, coconut, ginger and hing into a batter.
  • Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Add the vegetables and mix batter again.
  • In a pressure cooker fill water up to 2 to 3 inches upward of the base. Switch on the heat and leave the water to steam.
  • Handy Tip: When I use my aluminium pressure cooker, I add a couple of pieces of tamarind to the water in order to avoid the blackening. A useful and handy home tip passed on by my mother in law! 
  • Now grease the idli pan with a few drops of oil.
  • Scoop in a ladle full of the dough into the idli pan. Make sure that the batter is slightly lesser than the edge of the rim else it will over flow while cooking. Makes the pan look very messy!
  • Once the set is ready, screw the pan/tray and carefully place into the cooker. I've burnt (chutka types) my hands a few times in the past while trying this trick! 
  • Secure the lid without the whistle. Idly needs only the steam therefore the whistle is not required for this dish. You can use any large sauce pan with a lid instead of a cooker.
  • Allow the idly to cook for about 8 minutes. Now switch off the flame.
  • Once all the steam escapes remove the idly tray. Let it sit for a few minutes before scooping out the idli's.
Serve hot with sambhar/rasam/ginger chutney/coconut chutney/gun powder. 

Macaroni in tomato and basil sauce (pressure cooker recipie- 10 minutes flat!)

I have been crazy busy with my almost 3 year old toddler and thanks to the ever increasing burden of daily chores which has successfully kept me away from my  foodie blog! Being a Monday morning rush hour I am stealing some moments from the mundane to write this post as its helping me de-stress. Adi's breakfast is done and I have exactly 10 minutes before we rush in for our bath post which we dress and leave for school. Phew....no wonder I am getting active on quick and easy food for the family!

I whipped this dish for last nights dinner and it was an instant hit. Had a long day due to our Sunday outing and all of us were dog tiered. Needed some peppy food and voila Italian was the fastest and yummiest of the lot. Sorry, no pictures for the post as I just didn't manage clicking any!

  • Macaroni OR pasta of your choice- 250 gms
  • Tomato puree- 2 cups
  • Onion- 2 large, cut into small pieces
  • Garlic- 8 pods, crushed
  • Fresh Basil- 8 to 10 leaves, roughly torn
  • Oregano- 1 teaspoon
  • Salt- as per taste
  • Sugar- 1 teaspoon
  • Olive Oil- 3 tablespoon
  • Parmesan Cheese- grated, 5 tablespoons.

  • Heat oil in the pressure cooker. Add onion and garlic. Cook till they are brown.
  • Now add the oregano and basil leaves and stir for about a minute.
  • Add the macaroni and give it a quick stir.
  • Pour in the tomato puree and 2 cups of water, salt and sugar. Mix thoroughly.
  • Put the lid on. Cook on medium heat. Switch off from heat after 2 whistles.
  • Once the steam releases completely transfer the macaroni onto a serving dish and garnish with the cheese. You can be very very liberal while grating the cheese. Adds to the taste!

I served this dish with a liberal portion of cubed seasonal mangoes. Was a hit with not just my son but also 'THE HUSBAND"! :D

Happy cooking!

21 April, 2011

Berries & Cream

Just back from a weekend break which, we took to Panchgani and like you’d have already guessed we did get back with loads of (almost end of season) strawberries as well as a decent share of raspberries. It would’ve been a shame if we were to get back without some of these yummy berries!
For the first time ever I actually set foot into a strawberry farm. This farm resembled a sight out of some space-ship yard. The soil looked plastic and I ran down to verify. It actually was plastic! This was a ‘plasticulture’ farm, a kind of farming used for commercial strawberry produce. In this method, raised beds are formed each year, fumigated, and covered with plastic to prevent weed growth and erosion.

The next interesting sight was the flower. Strawberry is kind of a shrub plant with irregular dark green leaves and I was absolutely awestruck looking at the light violet and white flowers with a healthy bunch of strawberries in the backdrop. It reminded me of my bougainvillea plant at home. This is the only other plant which can produce a multi color flower bunch! I had a field day exploring through this farm and got back very pleased with my discoveries.

So now that I have shared my excitement of the strawberry farm here are the first most obvious sinful indulgences with this seductive fruit- Berry & Cream!

Handful of raspberries
1 ½ cups of sliced strawberries
1 ½ cups of fresh cream
4 tablespoons of Powdered/icing sugar

Mix the berries in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar. Set aside.
Whip the cream just till they bubble up. Add the rest of the sugar and whip once more.
Now mix the berries and the cream.
Transfer into the serving bowl. Cover with cling foil. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Serve chilled!

Suggestions: You can serve this on a melted bed of vanilla ice cream

18 February, 2011

Masala chicken in the toddler home!

Well, being a toddler home masala can get only that much more spicier! This recipe may not ooze oil nor heat like a kolhapuri chicken would but works well for the palette of both the young as well as the old! My Lil one revolts to mashed food so here comes a life of 'happy beginings' for us! :D

Again as always I keep my efforts to the bare minimum and this is how I made a quick and easy version of the masala chicken.


For marination: You can marinate for a couple of hours to a day. Mine was closer to a day! :)
  • Chicken: 1 kg of pre-cut chicken, cleaned and kept aside
  • Curd: 1 1/2 cups, beaten
  • Garlic Paste- 1 tablespoon
  • Ginger Paste- 1 tablespoon
  • Salt- 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • Tandoori Chicken Masala- 1 1/2 tablespoon
 For masala chicken:
  • Oil- 1 tablespoon
  • Ginger paste- 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic Paste- 1 teaspoon
  • Onion- 4, halved and thinly sliced lenght-wise
  • Sugar- 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt- As per taste
  • Home-made garam masala- 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander leaves- 2 tablespoons, chopped fine
In case you'd want to make the garam masala and tandoori masala from the scratch (that's how I like doing it) you can click on this link!

  • Clean chicken and place in a large mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients listed under marination into the bowl and mix the chicken along with the marinade thoroughly. Set aside in the fridge for as long as you want (I've not let the mixture last more than a day).
  • Heat oil in the cooker. Add the ginger and garlic paste. Fry till they are near brown. Now add the onions and fry on a medium high flame. Sprinkle the sugar on the onion, this gives a nice caramelised colour to the masala. While frying keep sprinkling water at intervals to avoid the masala from burning. The onions will turn brown and have a soft texture. You can at this point smell the fried onions.
  • Add the marinated chicken to the masala and increase the flame to high. Mix it well so that the masala and the marination blend. Keep frying for another 5 minutes on a medium high flame. You will see the oil dis-integrate.
  • Now add the turmeric powder, garam masala and coriander leaves. Pour 1/4th cup of water. Mix thoroughly. Check for salt at this stage. You may need to add a teaspoon but that needs to be as per your taste.
  • Secure the lid and cook on medium high till 1 pressure releases. Switch off the heat.

Garnish with a sprinkle of coriander leaves.

Serve hot with Veggie pulao OR Roti OR Bajra Roti

Daily use home made masala's

There are some fragrances which I find missing with masala's purchased off the counter. I ensure that there is enough made for at least the month and use them liberally there after. Listing some of my daily home made masala's for you.

Garam Masala:
1 cup green cardamom seeds
½ cup whole cloves (lavang)
1/3 cup whole black peppercorns (kala miri)
15 cinnamon sticks (dalchini)

Grind together in a dry masala mixer. Fill into an air tight bottle. Usually I scoop out a small quantity for my regular use in a bottle and then store the larger portion of the masala in the deep freezer as it lasts longer and stays fresher.
Bhaja jeere guro (fried cumin/jeera seeds powder):
1 cup jeera/cumin seeds
Dry roast on a tava/pan till the seeds turn brown and you can smell the fragrance of roasted jeera. Remove from heat and cool. Grind into a powder in a dry masala mixer. Store in a air tight container.
Tandoori Masala:
1 cup cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 cup coriander seeds (dhania)
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds (methi)
1/2 teaspoon carum seeds (ajwain)
8 green cardamom seeds, removed from pods (choti elaichi)
10 whole cloves (lavang)
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns (kala miri)
1 teaspoon ground mace (javitri)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
4 bay leaves (tej patta)
3/4-inch piece cinnamon stick (dalchini)

Grind together in a dry masala mixer. Fill into an air tight bottle.

Everyday Curry Powder:
Coriander seeds- 4 tablespoons
Cumin seeds- 2 tablespoons
Black Peppercorns- 2 tablespoons
Dried Bay Leaves- 6, roughly cut

Dry blend these ingredients in a mixer till it is a fine powder and store in a dry jar.

Happy cooking friends!

Kosha phool kophi ar gajor torkari (Cauliflower & Carrot in well cooked gravy)

Many of my Bong friends will possibly laugh at the English version of the dish name. Kosha is a famous dish in the Bengali vocabulary. During earlier day's the word kosha indicated that the sauce would have cooked for over an hour with the meat in it and therefore result into a succulent and awesome tasting dish in the process! Well, I have improvised and tried it not just by replacing this with vegetables but also by cooking in my pressure cooker which made it into a less than 10 minutes job!!! Here's how I did it...

  • Cauliflower- 15 large florets or 20 medium ones
  • Carrot- 2 large, quartered into 2inch pieces
  • Ginger paste- 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic paste- 1 teaspoon
  • Onion- 1, blended into paste
  • Tomato-1, blended into paste
  • Curd- 1/4th cup, beaten
  • Turmeric- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oil- 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt- 1 1/2 teaspoon OR as per taste
  • Sangita Khanna's Everyday Curry Powder (A secret ingredient from a blogger friend)- 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • Coriander leaves- 1 tablespoon, finely chopped
  • Water- 1/2 cup

  • Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a non stick pan and shallow fry the cauliflower florets. They will get a light red coating. Remove and set aside.
  • Now add the rest of the oil in a pressure cooker. Add the ginger and garlic paste. Saute till this turns near brown. Add the onion paste and on a medium to high flame keep cooking the masala by frequently adding splashes of water so that the masala doesn't burn.
  • Once the onion start looking reddish add the tomatoes. Cook till the oil releases at the edges.
  • Add the turmeric powder, salt and the everyday curry powder. Simmer and cook for a minute.
  • Now add the vegetables and mix in thoroughly.
  • Add the curd once all the masala has blended with the veggies. Mix the curd in so that it coats evenly.
  • Lid the cooker lightly and allow for this to cook for a minute.
  • Remove lid, sprinkle half the coriander leaves and add chillies slit mid way as per your choice. Add about 1/2 cup of water. Check salt and add if required.
  • Secure the cooker lid and cook on medium till a pressure releases. Remove from heat.
  • Sprinkle remaining coriander leaves and serve with hot Roti OR Bajra OR Rice
I recommend this with my Veggie pulao as well as Niramish Dum Aloo. Works very well when you have a vegeterian do at home. You can serve this with raita and a good salad. You can have Gaajar Halwa with vanilla ice cream as a sweet dish.

Happy feasting folks! :)

17 February, 2011

Veggie pulao

My son's recent favorite is pulao of any sort. So last night I cooked a quick and easy pulao keeping the 'nutrition' bit doubly in mind. Wonder if motherhood does this to all women!

While cooking up the pulao I thought; why should my hard working husband not get a special dish too and there we had muttar paneer as a side dish. You can click on this link to get the recipe. I served dinner with a plate full of roughly chopped salad (had lost out on patience by the end of it), a pot full of fresh curd and some homemade avakaya just in case the food weren't being gulped down the pickle were sure to help as a catalyst!

Luckily we had a sumptuous dinner and a long nights sleep after that! :)


  • Any Fragrance Rice- 1 1/2 cups (I used ambemore which is our daily cooking rice. Has a good fragrance. Works as an alternate to basmati)
  • Carrot- 1 large, chopped into small cubes
  • Cauliflower- 7 large florets, chopped into small pieces
  • Methi (fenugreek) leaves- 1 handful of tender leaves. I used them whole.
  • Whole Green Cardamom (elaichi)- 8 pods
  • Cloves (lavang)- 8 to 10
  • Bay Leaves (dried)- 2
  • Water- 2 cups
  • Ghee (preferably cow ghee as it emits a fragrance)- 2 tablespoons
  • Salt- 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sugar- 1 teaspoon

  • Wash rice thoroughly, drain water and keep aside.
  • In a pressure cooker heat 1 tablespoon of ghee. When warm add the green cardamom, cloves and bay leaves. Fry till you get the fragrance of the spices.
  • Now add the rice. Fry the rice till it begins to look slightly brown at the corners.
  • Add the vegetables and fry for a minute.
  • Now add the water. You need to ensure that the water covers the layer of rice and is 5 cms higher than the rice layer.
  • Add the salt, sugar and the remaining ghee. Mix it all well. Lid the cooker. Cook on high till one pressure releases. Remove from heat.
  • Serve with raita, salad, fish fry OR any side dish of your choice.

Mutter Paneer (cottage cheese & green peas in tomato gravy)

This is again a quick and easy daily (not literally but made at least once a week) dish which forms a part of our meals. It is the season of peas and I love the use of fresh peas in my cooking. Paneer (cottage cheese) is a very good supplement for calcium which we need in abundance at our home for my toddler. He laps up this dish with finesse... Now you know my fetish for making it so often!

  • Paneer (cottage cheese)- 250 gms, cut into 1.5inch cubes
  • Tomato- 1 large, made into paste in a blender
  • Cumin (jeera) seeds- 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Hing- 1/4th teaspoon
  • Roasted cumin (jeera) seed powder- 1 teaspoon
  • Green chilly- 2, slit mid way
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves- 1 tablespoon 
  • Oil- 1 1/2 teaspoon

  • Heat oil in a wok. Add the cumin seeds. When it splutters add the hing.
  • Now pour in the tomato paste and fry till the oil releases at the edge of the wok. Add the turmeric powder, the roasted jeera powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. Fry for a minute.
  • Add the paneer and coat them with the masala. To this mixture add 1/2 cup of water, chillies and the peas. Cook on a medium flame for about 2 minutes or until the peas are cooked.
  • Remove from heat. garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve with roti OR steamed rice.

15 February, 2011

Whole wheat berry sponge cake for my Valentine!

Well, since I've been bragging about gifting 'HEALTH' to my love this Valentine I baked him a whole wheat cake as an after dinner indulgence (dinner was 'Oh! so vegeterian')!!! :D I must admit though; the thought of a wheat cake made me really nervous as I wasn't sure how it would turn out but I guess there were no complains at all! Lucky me... :)

It is the season of berries and I am sure if you don't find any you could resort to dry fruit berries (which is exactly what I did!) as they work well too... So here it is...

Wheat- 125 gms
Baking powder- 1 1/2 teaspoon
Butter- 125 gms
Sugar- 75 gms
Eggs- 2
Milk- 1/4th cup
Vanilla Essence- 1/2 teaspoon
Mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries)- 175 gms
( I used dried blackcurrants, dried apricot and dried figs as I couldn't hop out to buy the berries! But I suggest you use fresh berries of the kind listed as they will surely add an authentic taste to the cake.)

  • Pre-heat oven at 180 C. Grease a deep 20cm cake tin. Shape as per your liking! I used the heart shape since it was Valentine's Day.
  • I used a blender to mix the butter, egg, sugar & vanilla essence. First I whisked the egg. Then to this I added the butter and sugar. Whisked till it turned fluffy. At this point I added the essence and gave the blender a quick twirl.
  • Now, empty the contents into a large bowl. Gently fold in the wheat alternating with berries and milk. Mix thoroughly to form a thick but viscous consistency.
  • Spoon out the batter into the earlier prepared cake tin.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes. I used a fork to test whether the cake was baked. When you poke the cake with the fork it should come out clean. 
  • Leave the tin to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  • Once the cake has cooled completely (approximately a couple of hours) remove from the mold by turning the tin upside down.
  • Now turn the cake over. Cut it from the center to make it into a half.
Some more experiments with the cake:
My toddler & his friends singing 'Happy Birthday dear Valentine'!
Garnish the cake with some more berry flavor. You can be innovative here. In my case I did a quick shortcut. I had some strawberry sauce at home. I took about a couple of tablespoons of the sauce and mixed it up with a couple of tablespoons of mixed fruit jam. I spread it evenly on one half of the cake and once done topped it with the dry half of the cake. Then I placed it on my cake dish and drizzled some more strawberry sauce around the edges of the cake. Since there was no cream I decorated the cake with a lone candy from my fridge along with some coloured edible candy sticks (thanks to my 2 year old)! 
Left over portion from the party... I feel very proud! :)

Voila...we celebrated Valentine's day in style! :)

14 February, 2011

Soybean nuggets in ribbed gourd and carrot curry (Valentine special!)

Well, life couldn't have been anymore more healthier than this on a Valentine's day!

As a couple who "dated, lived-in, got married and now have a child" go onto celebrate another 'Valentine Day' I thought the gift to give my spouse this love season (after all these years of lavish eating) needs to be health! So I've put together a home cooked remedy of love which I hope will return a really long long long life of togetherness!!! :)

May not be exciting for the high strung love birds but as we cross the mid 30's mark 'CHOLESTROL/HEALTH' seems to be dangling it's loom over our lives... So as an ode to a healthy n lover-ly life here is my red recipe for all you wonderful people!

Ribbed Gourd- 2 large
Winter Carrots- 2 large
Soy Nuggets- 15 to 20, washed and pre-soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
Tomato- 1 large, quartered
Fresh coriander leaves- handful, cleaned and roughly chopped.
Cumin Seeds- 1 teaspoon
Turmeric- 1 teaspoon
Sangita Khanna's Everyday Curry Powder (A secret ingredient from a blogger friend)- 1 1/2 teaspoon
Oil- 1 1/2  teaspoon


Everyday Curry Powder
  • Coriander seeds- 4 tablespoons
  • Cummin seeds- 2 tablespoons
  • Black Peppercorns- 2 tablespoons
  • Dried Bay Leaves- 6, roughly cut
Dry blend these ingredients in a mixer till it is a fine powder and store in a dry jar.

  • Peel the skin (if required, I usually don't. Just wash and cut.) of the carrot and ribbed gourd. Now cut the vegetables into 1 inch length-wise and slit this into 4 pieces.
  • On a medium high flame, in a pressure cooker heat oil and add the cumin seeds. Let the seeds splutter.
  • Now add the carrots and ribbed gourd into the oil. Gently ladle the vegetables till they have some oil and cumin seeds on them.
  • Add the tomatoes and let this cook for 1/2 a minute. I usually lid the cooker lightly (not securing the lid but placed on the cooker) during this stage so that the tomatoes blend in with the masala. You will find that the water from the gourd and the tomatoes blend to form a slightly thick curry kind of consistency in the cooker.
  • Now add the salt and the soybean nuggets. Mix thoroughly. Sprinkle half the coriander leaves and mix again.
  • Now add 1/2 cup of water. Check the salt. Add the slit green chilly.
  • Lid the cooker (secure) and cook on medium flame till one pressure is released. Switch off the heat and allow the vegetables to cool.
  • Scoop out into a serving dish.
  • Serve with hot rice OR roti.

11 February, 2011

Chicken in spinach n corriander sauce

This is one of my quick and easy fix. I am very fond of coriander and when mixed with spinach it gives the dish a healthy twist. Simple, tasty and quick; it is quiet an all-time favorite for my family.

Curry cut chicken- 1 kg
Potatoes- 2 medium size, quartered
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tablespoon
Curd- 1 cup
Spinach- 1 bunch
Coriander- 1 bunch
Pepper corns- 10 to 12, coarsely crushed
Green chilly- 2, slit mid way
Oil- 1 tablespoon
Salt- As per taste

Clean chicken and marinate with 1/2 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 cup curd. Set aside for 1/2 hour.
Clean both bunches of leaves thoroughly. Add the spinach with the stalk in a mixer. Grind. To this add the coriander leaves (with stalk) and grind again. The base of the sauce is ready. Keep aside.
In a pressure cooker add oil. When hot add the ginger garlic paste and the crushed pepper corns. Roast till mixture turns near brown.
Add the potatoes and mix them well with the mixture.
Spoon the marinated chicken into the cooker and let the meat coat with the roasted mixture. At this point add the spinach-coriander paste and allow to cook on medium flame till the moisture in the cooker evaporates (will take approximately 4 minutes).
Now add the remaining curd from the marinade dish as well as the cup. Mix thoroughly. Add salt as per taste (approximately 1 1/2 tsps) and the green chillies.
Lid the cooker and allow for 1 whistle on a medium high flame.

Serve with rice OR roti OR brown bread!

28 January, 2011

Mojito- the desi ishtyle! ;)

Finally my first blog of the year and what a way to begin the year! Happy New Year friends. Sharing one of my all time fav as a toast to a rocking 2011!
While all alcohol shops remain closed on day's like 26th Jan most families love to party. We did exactly the same during this mid week break. We celebrated with a bottle of Smirnoff and loads of mint with grapes. Sharing one of the most exciting recipes in my winter party do's!
Oh! Mojito originally is from Cuba which is a rum based drink but by the time it reached my home in Mumbai it changed into quiet a 'HOT' Vodka based Indian improvised drink. Hope you guy's enjoy it as much as all my guests do! :D Cheers...

Smirnoff-1 bottle (should be good for a party of 6)
Bunch of sweet green grapes, washed and sliced into halves lengthwise
Bunch of mint leaves, washed and leaves separated from stalk
2 limes, halved
Green Chillies
Slices of lime for garnish
Ice- loads of it!
Cocktail shaker

In a large cocktail shaker add half the grapes and half of the mint leaves. Muddle (crush) the grapes and leaves with a pastel till you get the fragrance if the mint leaves.
Now add 1/2 bottle of Smirnoff into the shaker.
Pour in about 10 cubes of ice.
Squeeze 1/2 a lime.
Now give a generous shake of the cocktail shaker and set aside till you ready the glasses.
Wet the rim of the glass with a cut slice of lime. Up turn the glass on a plate of salt till the rim is coated with salt. Dust off excess salt.
Now pour a peg (suite yourself dearies!) of your choice into the glass.
Spoon out a liberal portion of grapes and mint leaves into the glass.
Add about 4 cubes of ice. Top up the glass with sprite.
Add a slit chili if you like! (beware of this one)
Add the lime piece as a decoration on the rim of the glass.

Serve with olives n cheese!

Caution: watch-out for those grapes, they can be seriously under estimated!!! ;)

Happy 'hic' time folks! Hope you enjoy my desi style Mojito's...do write in to let me know your story... :) 
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