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... :) 

14 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Orange Marmalade Cake

Come winter's and I would regret not being able to bake. Not anymore!!! :D

This season also takes me down memory lane. Christmas holiday's would mean a trip to Kolkatta to my grannies and along with that eating tons of oranges till one day it dawned upon my aunt that we can bake an orange cake! That's when my romance with orange in the cake started.

Now that I have my own Oven; this Christmas I have attempted my first take at baking a slight variation from that of my aunt's version...I baked an Orange Marmalade Cake! Since it also happens to be my sister's birthday and I have a reasonably good oven I needed not further convincing...

For the cake base:
Orange Juice- 1/4th cup (I used fresh orange juice for my cake)
Grated Orange- 2 teaspoon
Orange Marmalade- 1/2 cup
Maida (refined flour)- 2 1/2 cups
Baking Powder- 2 1/2 teaspoons
Butter- 150 grams
Sugar- 3/4th cup
Egg- 3, separated
Milk- 1/2 cup

For the orange icing:
Grated Orange rind- 2 teaspoons
Orange Juice- 2 tablespoons
Butter- 60 grams
Powdered Sugar- 1/2 cup


Pre-heat the oven at 150 C for 15 minutes. Simultaneously grease and line a 8" square cake tin.

Sift the flour and baking powder together. Cream the butter, orange rind, sugar and egg yolks in a small bowl with an electric mixer or with whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy.Stir in the marmalade. Fold in the sifted flour alternately with the milk and orange juice.

Beat the egg white until they form firm peaks and fold gently into the cake mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for 35 minutes.

Let the cake stand in the baking dish till it cools slightly. Once cooler run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the mould. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and allow it to coll thoroughly. It should take about a couple of hours for the cake to cool completely.

To make the orange icing, cream the butter and orange rind in a bowl. Gradually beat in the sifted powder sugar and orange juice. Spread the icing over the cooled cake. Decorate as you wish! :)

Blooming on Bainbridge: Tarragon Chicken Velvet Soup

I have begun following this very talented ladies blog and I must say that she is FANTABULOUS!

Sharing a post which I thought is amazing because of the correct use of words and visuals. Check it out...

Blooming on Bainbridge: Tarragon Chicken Velvet Soup: "{I love using recipe cards that I wrote years ago!} Remember that soup? You know! The SOUP I was making after I got a 'talking to'! The soup..."

13 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Baked Mushroom Macaroni

Another winter evening in Mumbai and thanks to all that excitement around the 'nip in the air' syndrome; my family gets a chance to feast yet again! Macaroni n cheese has always been a continental fav but this variation seems to be a bit more healthy.

Macaroni- 2 cups (cooked as per packet instruction)

For the vegetable layer:
Onion- 1/2 cup (1 large sized), chopped
Capsicum (red, yellow, green)- 1 cup (1 small sized of each), chopped
Tomatoes- 1 cup (2 medium sized), chopped
Button Mushrooms- 1 cup, sliced
Oregano- 2 tablespoons
Sliced Olives- 2 tablespoons
Butter- 2 tablespoons
Salt- 1 teaspoon OR as per taste
Pepper- 1 teaspoon

For the mushroom sauce:
Mushroom soup powder- 1/4th cup (readily available in the market. I used Knorr)
Water- 1 1/2 cups

Other ingredients:
Mozzarella cheese- 1/4th cup, grated
Butter- 1/2 teaspoon to grease the baking dish
Sliced black olives- 1 teaspoon to garnish the bake


Preparing the vegetable layer.
Heat the butter in a non stick pan, add the onions and sautee till they turn translucent.
Now add the capsicum, mushrooms and tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the oregano, olives, salt and pepper. Cook for 1/2 a minute and set aside.

Preparing for the bake:

Arrange the macaroni as the base layer in a greased baking dish.
Spread the vegetables and layer this on top of the macaroni covering all of it. Now pour the mushroom sauce on top.
Sprinkle the cheese on the bake and set aside.
Pre-heat the oven at 200 C for 5 minutes. Now place the baking dish on the middle grill and bake for 12 minutes.
Garnish with the remaining olives and serve hot with garlic bread or just like that!

12 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Vegetarians Delight Pizza

A chilly Sunday morning, a new oven waiting to be inaugurated and a hungry toddler….yes it is Pizza time at home for us!

While I did take a shortcut by using a ready Pizza base (from the market) I’d advise otherwise; if you really have time and patience to bake it yourself I am confident it will taste even better. Will try it from scratch next time but here’s what I did this morning.


Pizza Base- 8” base
Tomato Puree- 50ml
Green Bell Pepper- 1, de-seeded and sliced into rings
Mushrooms- 6, thinly sliced lengthwise
Beans- 5 stalks, thinly sliced
Carrots- ½, thinly sliced
Spring onion- only the leaves, finely chopped about 3 tablespoons
Black Olives- 2 tablespoons of sliced pieces
Mixed Herbs- 1 tsp
Oregano- 1 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Parmesan Cheese- 50mg, grated
Cheddar Cheese- 250mg, grated


Pre-heat the oven at 250 C on the grill mode for 10 minutes.
Set-up the pizza base; begin by layering the base with tomato puree. Arrange the vegetables on the puree.
Sprinkle the herbs, salt and pepper on top of the arranged veggies.
Mix the 2 types of cheese together and spread it evenly on the veggies.
Garnish with black olives on the toppings.
Place the pizza on a greased and dusted baking/cooking tray in the center rack position.
Change the oven function to broil (only top heating). Broil at 250 C for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot with choice of sauces (Tabasco, Tomato, etc.) and hot chocolate.

09 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Paneer methi butter masala

This is one dish which is ordered out so many times that I have lost count until recently when Satrupa (Food for Thought!) shared the secret to this amazing dish.

There is a slight nip in the air in Mumbai and since we had gaajar halwa for dinner I thought let me try my hand at making it. Am I proud to say that the dinner was a BIG hit? Nooooo!!!! It was a lip smacking dinner!

In my excitement to celebrate this moment I thought I should post it as a part of my Christmas series. It is a very popular dish in India and is a favorite 'order out' menu option. So here you go, make it at home and relish with your dear one's.


Paneer- 250 grams, cubed into 1inch pieces
Onions- 3 large, chopped into small pieces
Tomatoes- 4 large, chopped into small pieces
Ginger- 1 inch, chopped into small pieces (should make about 2 tsp)
Garlic- 6 pods, chopped into small pieces (should make about 2 tsp)
Green chillies- 3, chopped into small pieces
Butter- 1tbsp for masala and another 1 tbsp for finishing touches
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder- 1 tsp
Chilli Powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder- 2/3rd tsp
Kasuri Methi- one handful
Fresh Methi Leaves- 2 cups (approximately leaves from 1/2 bunch of methi gathi)
Sugar- 1 1/2 tsp
Salt- 2 tsp

In a non stick pan drop 1 tbsp of butter. Allow it to heat and slightly brown.
Add the cumin seeds and let it splutter. To this add the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute. Add the chopped onions and fry this till the onion turn brown.
Now add the tomatoes, salt, chili powder, chillies, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder and cook this for a couple of minutes with the lid on the pan.
You will notice that the sides release oil. At this point add 1/4th cup of water and allow the masala to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Switch off the heat and allow for the mixture to cool. Once ready puree this in the blender to form a paste.
In the same pan add the remaining butter and let it heat. Add the masala puree, paneer, sugar and the kasuri methi OR fresh methi leaves.
Allow for this to cook for a couple of minutes.

Serve hot with roti, salad and some tangy vegetarian sabzi.

07 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Apple stuffed chicken breasts

Preparing for a christmas eve party and stuffed chicken is a must on the list. Had eaten this dish at a friends and am planning to make it for our little do. Thought I should share it with you...


4 boneless chicken breasts
3 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 apple, peeled and chopped
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Cut a small pocket into the thickest part of each chicken breast and set aside.
  • Fry bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel.
  • Add garlic and scallions to the bacon drippings; saute slightly. Add apple, pepper, salt and thyme and return the bacon bits to pan. Heat thoroughly. Remove from heat and cool.
  • When mixture is cool, add cheese and stuff into chicken breast.
  • Brown chicken on both sides in a very hot fry pan with olive oil.
  • When brown on both sides, place in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- 8 important ornamets for Christmas and it's significance

Digressing a bit from the topic of food I wanted to share the answer to a long awaited query reeling in my head which seems to be sorted now (maybe)...

8 important ornaments for Christmas and it's significance, a click on this link will open the answers! Let me know if you know another story... Would love to deepen my knowledge on the same!

30 November, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Noodle with peanut sauce

And now that we have an appropriate drink for our lil one's here is an easy noodle preparation which is an instant hit with these lil beings!

Olive Oil- 1 tablespoon
Garlic- 1 clove, peeled and crushed
Spring Onions- 4, finely chopped
Orange bell pepper- 1, de-seeded and thinly chopped
Snow peas- 100 gms, thinly sliced
Coconut cream- 100ml
Vegetable stock- 200ml
Crunchy peanut butter- 4 tablespoons
Juice of 1/2 lime
Freshly ground black pepper
Egg noodles- 1 packet (250gms)
Sesame seeds- 1 tablespoon, toasted

Boil noodles as per the packet instruction. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a heavy based saucepan. Fry the garlic and spring onions for a minute. To this add the orange bell pepper and snow peas. Cook for another minute.
Mix the coconut cream and vegetable stock. Add the peanut butter to it and simmer this for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in the lime juice as well as the freshly ground pepper.
Add the noodles to the peanut butter sauce and mix in well. Garnish this with the toasted sesame.

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Carrot and pineapple smoothie

So since it is the festival of children here is a cool drink one can serve during a party. Works really well with my lil 2 year old and works for me as it is completely healthy!

Fresh Pineapple- 100 gms, peeled
Carrot juice- 100 ml (fresh if possible)
Banana- 1/2, chopped
Ginger- 1 teaspoon, peeled and grated

Cut pineapple into chunks.
Put all the ingredients in the food processor or hand blender and whisk until smooth.
Garnish with the ginger and keep the cold at bay!

PS: if you think your lil one's gonna fret with the pieces of ginger, just add it into the blender instead.

Makes 2 toddler portions OR 1 adult portion.

You can serve this drink while you make yours!

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Chilli Chicken

Another one of those indulgent dishes. Goes very well with the drinks as well as the weather!

  • 500 -600 gms Boneless Chicken
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp Corn Flour/Corn Starch
  • 5-6 Chopped Green Chilies
  • 2 Green Onion Chopped
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 4 capsicums, de-seeded and diced into 1inch cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper Powder
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • A pinch of ajinomoto
  • 2 cups chicken Broth/ Water
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • Oil to fry

Cut the boneless chicken pieces into1 " cubes.

Take 1tbsp. Soy sauce, 1tbsp. corn flour, salt, egg in a bowl and marinate chicken pieces in the the mixture for about 10-15 minutes.

Heat oil and deep fry the marinated chicken pieces till golden brown.

Now in a separate wok / kadhai heat 1 tbsp. oil and add garlic paste and green chilies as well as the capsicum and sauté for few seconds.

Add 2 cups of chicken broth or water. Bring to boil and add sugar, pepper powder, salt , ajinomoto and remaining Soy sauce.

Add fried chicken pieces to it and cook for few minutes.

Dissolve the remaining corn flour in 1/2 cup water and add to the curry stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Serve Chinese chili chicken hot garnished with chopped green onion tops.

This dish is awesome with almost all kinds of drinks. Goes very well with Red Wine too...

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Chicken 65

Christmas is so much fun for one and all. A month filled with loads of entertaining and getting entertained. In honour of the same I will blog on various dishes that can be served throughout this month for all our guests!

Chicken 65...well what can I say about it! An all time favorite entree during a drinking binge. Can be served as a side dish for a main course too...A totally Indian preparation that is famous in the South, especially in Andhra. Check it out! :D

Oh! For some fun insights on the dish, click here...

  • Chicken- 1 kg boneless, skinless thighs
  • Corn Flour- 2 teaspoons
  • Flour - 2 teaspoons
  • Egg- 1
  • Ginger paste- 1½ teaspoons
  • Garlic paste- 1½ teaspoons
  • Red Chili powder- 2 teaspoons
  • Green Chilies - 12 nos.
  • Yogurt- 2 cups
  • All spice powder (cloves, cinnamon, cardamom) - 1 teaspoon
  • Food Color (Red)- 4 drops
  • Onion for garnishing
  • Lime juice- 3 teaspoons.
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry Leaves- 10 to 15 fresh leaves
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

  • Mix corn flour, all purpose flour, egg, ginger garlic paste, chili powder and salt to thick batter. Add water if required.
  • Add chicken pieces to the batter and marinate for an hour.
  • Deep fry the marinated chicken pieces till they turn golden.
  • Heat 4 tsp oil in a sauce pan and add slit chillies, curry leaves, yogurt, garam masala, red color, little salt and the fried chicken pieces.
  • Fry for 4-5 minutes and remove from heat.
  • Add lime juice, mix well and garnish with onions
Goes extremely well with a chilled mug of beer... :D

Spicy crab meat soup

A soup I love having at all times!

  • Crabmeat- 1/2 kg meat, cooked and flaked with cartilage removed
  • Water- 2 cups
  • Chicken broth- 3/4th litre 
  • Tomatoes- 6 medium size, diced 
  • Celery- 3/4 cup, chopped
  • Onion- 3/4 cup, diced
  • Small red chillies- 3, finely chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • Corn- 1 cup
  • Peas- 1 cup
  • Salt- as per taste

In a soup pot or sauce pan, add water, broth, tomatoes, celery, onion, sea-food seasoning and lemon-pepper seasoning.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Add corn and peas and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
Add crabmeat and red chillies, then simmer until hot, approximately a couple of minutes.

Serve hot with a choice of chilly vinegar or soy sauce.





Gaajar ka halwaa

With winter setting in this is a favorite sweet dish relished by my family. Beginning of December marks the comeback of the sweet red carrots from Mahabaleshwar (a hill station about 200 kms from Mumbai). Here is a quick and easy recipe.

Carrots: About 7 medium sized, peeled and grated
Milk- 1/2 cup
Mawa (a type of Indian cheese)- 1 cup (50gms), grated ( Reference of "how to make Mawa at home", click here.)
Ghee (clarified butter)- 2 tablespoons
Sugar- 7 tablespoons
Cardamom Powder- 1 teaspoon
Cashew nuts- 7 to 10 broken into pieces
Almonds- 7 to 10, blanched, peeled and cut into thin strips

  • On a high flame heat the ghee in a pressure cooker. Add the grated carrot into the ghee and cook for about 5 minutes or till the moisture evaporates completely. Keep stirring continuously.
  • Add the milk and sugar. Stir for a minute and put on the lid. Allow this to cook till 4 whistles are released. Switch off the flame and allow to cool.
  • Remove the lid from the cooker. Place it back onto a medium high flame.
  • Now add the mawa and stir the mixture till the mawa mixes in completely. Allow it to cook for another 4 minutes or until the moisture evaporates completely. Keep stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cardamom powder, cashews and almond. Stir and cook for a minute.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Serve piping hot OR with vanilla ice cream OR with Gulab Jamun...
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