Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Pesto has got to be one of the most versatile spreads in the world. And so easy to personalize. Pesto is just a combination of greens/ herbs, nuts and cheese with a wonderful addition of olive oil.

Here is a wonderfully easy recipe for pesto. Feel free to use any combination of greens/ herbs and nuts. Some good ideas are spinach, basil or even sun-dried tomatoes. And any nuts at all. I like to go with a sharper cheese, and hard cheeses seem to give it a nice texture, but feel free to use a creamy cheese (like goat's).


2 cups Herbs/ Greens (I used cilantro)
1/2 cup Cheese (I used Parmesan)
1/2 cup Olive Oil (I used extra virgin)
1/3 cup Nuts (I used walnuts)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
Salt + Pepper, to taste

Pulse the cilantro and nuts in a mixer. Add garlic and pulse. Pour the oil into the mixer in a constant stream while continuing to pulse. Mix in the cheese and pulse until thoroughly combined. Add salt and pepper at the end.

Use the pesto as is. Mix it with some hot, cooked pasta. Spread it on toast. Use it as a base for pizza. Or eat it by the spoon! Some recipes that use pesto from this blog:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spinach Rice

I recently went to a modern Andhra restaurant, Maya, in Chennai. Andhra Pradesh is a small state in southern India, whose cuisine is typically very spicy and loaded with masala, tamarind and ground spices.

This restaurant surprised me though. The food was mild, full of subtle flavors and delicious. The one dish that really stood out to me was the lovely spinach rice. I asked my waiter if he could give me the recipe and he, very graciously, told me the ingredients. So I made an attempt at it, and thankfully, it turned out exactly how I'd hoped. (I've added peas to this rice, in order to get in more veggies, but the original recipe didn't have it, so feel free to leave it out).

Spinach Rice (with Peas)

2 cups White or Brown Rice, cooked and cooled
4 cups Spinach, cleaned and washed
1 tbsp Mustard Seeds
1 tbsp Urad Dal/ Bengal Gram
1 large Onion, peeled and chopped fine
2-3 Green Chillies, slit (optional)
1/2 cup Green Peas, cooked (optional)
2 tsp Sesame Oil
Salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds and urad dal and stir until mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the onions and green chillies and cook until the onions are transparent. Now add the spinach. Continue stirring/ cooking until wilted.

Mix in the cooked rice, peas and salt and fold until fully combined with the spinach mixture.

Delicious! Even my I-won't-eat-anything-green daughter ate it without a complaint!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Banana Apple Muffins

I'm always looking for fun and healthy food to bake with my daughter. When I came across Divya's post in her blog, Easy Cooking, on Eggless Apple Banana Muffins, they sounded perfect. I was fine with using eggs, but decided to just follow her recipe. I made a couple of changes though, I added some chopped walnuts, and a small fistful of chocolate chips.

Banana Apple Muffins (without eggs)

3 ripe Bananas, chopped (OR 1 egg + 2 Bananas)
1 cup Apple, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup Butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 1/8 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 cup Walnuts, chopped
1/8 cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

Mix together the mashed bananas, sugar and vanilla until the sugar is well blended. Whisk in the melted and cooled butter.

Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, apple and salt). Fold in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Spoon the batter into a greased and lined muffin pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

The muffins are absolutely delicious. And both my daughters ate them as they came out of the oven!
Thanks for a great recipe, Divya. And I'm excited this is my first eggless muffin recipe, and it's already a keeper.

Friday, August 26, 2011


An ebleskiver is a traditional Danish pancake, in the shape of a sphere. They taste like American pancakes, but are light and fluffy. They are made in special pans, which have several hemispherical indentations. In India, we use an ebleskiver pan to make kuzhi paniharam, and I've made an egg curry with it too. It's an extremely versatile pan.

A friend recently gave me an ebelskiver cookbook, Copenhagen for Dessert. I was delighted to find that they are simple to make and very easy to personalize.

I made two kinds - one with chocolate chips and another like a jelly doughnut (with jam in the center).

The basic batter is the same for both. I used a plain batter for the chocolate chips and a vanilla batter (that is, basic with vanilla) for the jam version.


For the Batter:

1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
2 large Eggs, separated
1 cup Whole Milk
2 tbsp Butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract (optional; for the vanilla batter)
6 oz Chocolate Chips (if using)
1/2 cup of your favorite Jam or Preserves (if using)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the milk, melted butter and vanilla extract (if using). Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stir until well blended. The batter will be lumpy.

In a clean bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry and peaks form. Using a spatula, fold about a third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the rest of the egg whites (and chocolate chips, if using) just until no white streaks remain. Use the batter right away.

To make the Ebleskivers:

1 tbsp Butter, melted and slightly cooled

Brush the wells of the pan with some of the melted butter and place over medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble, add about 1 tbsp batter to each well. If adding the jam: Working quickly, carefully spoon about 1 tsp of the jam into the center of each pancake. Top each with another 1 tbsp batter.

Cook until the bottoms of the pancakes are lightly browned and crisp, 3-4 minutes. Use 2 short wooden skewers or dessert spoons to turn all the pancakes and cook until lightly browned on the second side, about 3 minutes longer.

Transfer the finished pancakes to a platter or keep warm in the oven. Serve right away.

(that's my daughter, who can't wait to get her hands on them!)

Can't wait to make a savory version!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Apple Salad

I was asked to bring a salad to a dinner last night. My family and I brainstormed on a fun new salad. Someone first suggested zucchini and cucumber together because of the similar textures and flavors. Then green apple and green bell pepper for crunch and color. I have a good yogurt dressing recipe, so decided to go with that. And for extra crunch, we decided to add peanuts. In the last minute I added some crushed red pepper for extra zing. It was a true culmination of ideas.

It reminded me of a video of chef Grant Achatz coming up with ideas for new dishes - something called Flavor Bouncing. Watch the video - it's very cool. How exciting to be doing this for a living!!

(As the salad was fast disappearing, I had to take a photograph quickly with my phone camera, so excuse the photo!)

Apple (and Bell Pepper and Zucchini and Cucumber) Salad

1 cup Apple, preferably green apple, peeled (optional) and chopped
1 cup Green Bell Pepper, seeded, cored and chopped
1 cup Cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 cup Zucchini, chopped

1 cup plain Yogurt
2 tsp Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vinegar
A pinch of Salt

2 tbsp Mint Leaves, chopped
1/4 cup Peanuts, crushed
2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper, or to taste (optional)

Heat a pot of water to boiling. Drop in the bell pepper and zucchini, and quickly blanch for a minute and drain. Cool completely.

Store the chopped cucumber and apple in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Combine all ingredients for the dressing (except for the mint), keep aside. Just before serving, toss the salad with the dressing, garnish with the mint leaves and serve.

Sit back and enjoy the compliments! :)

This is a forgiving recipe. Feel free to use substitutions, or leave out any of the vegetables you don't enjoy. Also a nice touch would be to cut the veggies into long strips. The dressing is a keeper recipe though.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dates & Chips Biscotti

So you might have seen my first attempt at biscotti, Nutella and Chocolate Chip Biscotti. The recipe is so great and so flexible. Someone gave me some fresh dates, and I couldn't pass up using them in the biscotti. While looking through some ideas on the reliable Food Blog Search, I came across an interesting combination - banana chips and dates - on one of my favorite blogs, Apple and Spice.

The chips gave it that much-appreciated crunch and saltiness. The dates made it sweet and flavorful.

Dates & Banana Chips Biscotti
(loosely adapted from Apple & Spice, and Baking Bites)

1 1/8 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
3 Eggs
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Banana Chips, crushed
1/4 cup Dates, fresh or dried, chopped

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

Sieve all the dry ingredients together and keep aside.

In another bowl, whip the eggs with an electric blender until frothy. Add the sugar and beat again. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Fold in the chips and dates. Pour the batter into a rectangular baking pan.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the oven down to 150 deg C. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake into long strips. Turn the strips over onto their side, arrange on the baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Turn the biscotti onto the other side and bake for a further 12 minutes.

Remove from oven, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

We were recently invited to a cook-out by some good friends. A cook-out is exactly what it sounds like - gas stoves and pans set up outside in the garden. The kids played frisbee while the men cooked. It was a perfect summer evening.

One of my friends made the most amazing mushroom risotto. Who knew that risotto was so simple to make. I came back feeling completely inspired to make it at home the next evening. Thanks, Vedant, for showing me its easy to make risotto!

Vedant's Mushroom Risotto

For the Broth:
3 cups Mushrooms, try to use different types of mushrooms to get that depth of flavor
3-4 liters of water

To make the broth, cook the mushrooms in the water on low heat for about 20-30 minutes. Do not strain. Take off the heat. If using the next day, let the broth cool completely and store closed in the refrigerator.

For the Risotto:
1 cup Onions, chopped
3 cups Mushrooms, again, a variety of mushrooms would be a good idea. I had only button, so I went with that.
2 Green Chillies, chopped fine
Salt, to taste
1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Add the mushrooms, and let cook until tender.

Add the onions and chillies. Keep stirring until onions are soft and well cooked. Now add the rice and let cook until slightly toasted and the water has been absorbed.

Now begin adding ladlefuls of the broth, one at a time, each time making sure the broth has been fully absorbed before adding the next. Keep adding until the rice is cooked but still has some bite, and is al dente.

Vedant pooh pooh-ed recipes. He cooks by instinct, so I have given approximate quantities here too.

Enjoy the risotto!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hara Bhara Kabab

I recently got a wonderful cookbook called Complete Book of Indian Cooking by Suneeta Vaswani. Its filled with 350 delicious recipes and beautiful photographs. This one was particularly good. And quite healthy too.

Hara Bhara Kabab
(Spinach and Potato Patties)

2 Russet or gold potatoes
2 cups Spinach, cooked and squeezed dry
1/4 cup Peas, cooked and coarsely mashed
1.5 tbsp Green Chillies, chopped
1 tbsp Ginger, finely chopped
3 tbsp Cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp Cornstarch
1 tbsp Chaat Masala
Salt, to taste
3 tbsp Oil

In a saucepan of boiling water, cook whole potatoes until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain, peel and mash.

In a bowl, mix together potatoes, spinach, peas, chillies, ginger, cilantro, chaat masala, cornstarch and salt, until well blended. Divide into 12 portions. Form into 2-inch round patties.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add 6 patties at a time and pan fry on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with chutney or ketchup.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nutella and Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Here's the next installment of the newly-formed Baking Club. Last month, we made mango pound cake and this time we decided to try something none of us had baked before, Biscotti. I was a bit apprehensive. I've tasted bad biscotti - too dense or too eggy. I was hoping mine would turn out well the first time and then I could be confident to try other recipes. Well, this turned out just perfect.

I followed the recipe from Baking Bites, making a few adjustments along the way. All the recipes on that blog are just amazing and fail-safe.

Biscotti are easy to make. And if I'm saying that, let me tell you, its really very easy. You mix all the dough ingredients together, shape into a 1/2" thick rectangle and bake. Remove the baked log, cut into strips, turn the strips over onto their side and bake again. Now remove and turn the strips over onto their other side and bake again. There is not much more to it. Absolutely perfect biscotti.

(recipe adapted from Baking Bites)

I got about 14 biscotti, but maybe I should've cut them thinner?

1 1/8 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
3 Eggs
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Nutella
1/4 cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

Sieve all the dry ingredients together (that is, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder).

In a separate bowl, whip the eggs in an electric blender until frothy. Add the sugar and beat again. And the nutella and beat. Now fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Since I'd used the same number of eggs, but halved the other ingredients, my batter was runny, and I couldn't shape it. So I poured the batter into a small rectangular baking pan and hoped for the best.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the oven down to 150 deg C. I took out what resembled a crumbly cake. Using a serrated knife, I cut the cake into long strips. Turn the strips over onto their side, arrange on the baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Turn the biscotti onto the other side and bake for a further 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. You could also dip the biscotti into melted chocolate to get a triple chocolate effect. Or you could add nuts, orange peel... the possibilities are endless with biscotti. I cant wait to try other variations. But I know that I'll never need another recipe. This one was perfect!

Check out the biscotti from my fellow Baking Clubbers: Arundati, Arundhati, Nandita and Aparna.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cheddar Cheese Pies

My daughter has a lovely Angelina Ballerina book, and it had this one recipe. She insisted we try it, and though I didn't think it would turn out great, we gave it a shot. These were some of the best pies I'd tasted!

Goes to show, the best recipes come from the most unusual sources!

Cheddar Cheese Pies

1/2 liter Milk
90g Fresh Breadcrumbs
225g Cheddar Cheese, grated
4 Eggs
1 tsp French Mustard
Salt and Pepper, to taste
12 Muffin Tins

Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and carefully add the hot milk. Then mix in the cheese.
In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add them to the milk and breadcrumbs and stir in the mustard. Season with salt and pepper.

Butter the muffin tins and pour in the batter. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until lightly set and golden.

These are delicious hot or cold.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fish Cutlets

My daughter just loves these! Sorry for the terrible photographs though...

Fish Cutlets

4 Fish Fillets
2 large Onions, minced
3 Garlic pods
3 Garlic pods, minced
5-6 Curry Leaves
1 tsp Pepper powder
2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, minced
2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Oil2 Eggs, well beaten
2 cup Breadcrumbs
Salt, to taste

In a pan, cook the fish fully submerged in hot water, with 2-3 garlic pods, salt and the curry leaves. Boil the fish for 10-12 mts.

When boiled, strain the fish and discard the garlic, water and curry leaves. Mash the fish into crumbs.
Heat the butter in a pan, add the minced onion and garlic and saute for 3-4 mts.

Add the crumbled fish. Saute for another 3-4 mts. Remove from heat and transfer to another bowl. Add more salt, pepper and 1 cup breadcrumbs and mix together.

Shape into balls and flatten slightly. Heat a pan with the oil.

Dip the cutlets into the beaten eggs, and then into the remaining 1 cup bread crumbs. Coat well.

Put the cutlets onto the heated pan and allow to brown slightly and then flip over, until both sides are a golden brown.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Idlis are a huge south Indian favorite! Steamed flour and lentil dumplings are a lovely comfort food for breakfast, lunch, a snack or even dinner. Usually the idlis are eaten with a spicy chutney, milagai podi (a spicy blend of roasted spices) or sambar.

Its difficult to find perfectly soft idlis, even in the heart of southern India. Here is a sure-fire recipe to get that perfect texture.


(makes approximately 20 idlis)

2 cups Idli Rice. This is a special kind of rice, available in most Indian supermarkets.
3/4 cup Urad Dal
2 tbsp Rock Salt, or ordinary table salt.
Soak the rice and dal separately for 2 hours each.Strain and wash the dal well. Grind with minimal water for about 45 minutes, sprinkling water every 10 minutes and scraping down the sides. The dal will double in volume. Keep aside.

Now strain and wash the rice well. Grind with minimal water for about 30 minutes, sprinkling water every 10 minutes and scraping down the sides. The ground rice will have a coarser texture than the ground dal.
Mix the ground rice and dal together and add about 2 tablespoons of rock salt. Mix well while simultaneously dissolving the rock salt in the mixture.Keep aside covered in a warm place for about 8-10 hours, depending on the warmth. Warmer the better. The batter will double in volume.

Heat a deep steamer with about 2 inches of water at the bottom. Oil the idli plate (see picture), and add one ladle of batter for each idli. Place the idli plate into the steamer, making sure the water doesn't reach the pan. Close and steam for 10 minutes or until idlis are firm (when a skewer is inserted into the middle of the idli, it comes out clean).

Scoop out the idli with a spoon after it has slightly cooled down.
Enjoy with your favorite accompaniment.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Apple Pachadi

In the hot summer in India, there's nothing nicer than these cool pachadis. Pachadi is an Indian term for plain yogurt, mixed with fruit or vegetable and seasoned with spices. The most common ones are cucumber, onion and tomato. Apple pachadi is quite unusual but its absolutely wonderful!

Apple Pachadi

1 Apple, cut fine
2 cups plain Yogurt
2-3 Green Chillies, cut fine
1 tbsp Ground Coconut
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Urad Dal
2-3 Cilantro Leaves, chopped fine
Salt, to taste

Grind the coconut and green chillies together.

Mix together with the yogurt and the apples.

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and urad dal. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add to the yogurt-apple mixture.

Sprinkle with cilantro leaves and add salt to taste. Mix together.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Honey Bread

Here's another really easy bread and tastes of sweet honey goodness!

Honey Bread

1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Sugar1/2 cup Honey
2 2/3 cup All-Purpose Flour, sifted with 3 tsp Baking Powder
1 Egg
2/3 cup Milk

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add honey and cream again.
Add the egg, beat well. Now alternately add the flour and milk, starting and ending with flour. Beat well.

Pour into a buttered loaf pan. Bake for an hour until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the loaf. Enjoy.

Friday, May 6, 2011

"Almost" BBQ Chicken

Okay, a recipe couldn't get any easier. I got this from a weight watcher's recipe a long time ago. Its a really easy recipe, and quite a favorite at home. The sauce tastes like an imitation barbecue sauce and gives it a great flavor.

Diet Coke Chicken

1/2 cup Ketchup
12 oz Diet Cola (one can)
2 Chicken Breast halves, skinless

Brown the chicken with some cooking spray. Mix the cola and ketchup and pour over the chicken.

Cook, covered, on low for about 25-30 minutes. Remove the chicken breast, increase the heat to medium high and cook till sauce thickens.

Serve the chicken with the sauce spooned on top.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cheese Balls

Hmm. Actually these should be called Potato Balls - they're made from potato and have NO CHEESE. But we've always called them cheese balls. I have no idea why!

They are ridiculously good - and filled with everything scrumptious - ghee, potatoes, salt - and then deep fried. No, they are not healthy, I won't even pretend they are. But when you are having people over for and want to serve something which people will be reaching for the entire time, this is it! Or, hey, if you've been really really good with working out and eating right all week, maybe its just time to have one or two or three...

The oil that I used got too hot, and thats why these are darker than usual, but still taste so good!

Cheese Balls

1/2 cup Ghee (Clarified Butter)
1/2 cup Water
2 tbsp Wheat Flour
4 medium Potatoes, boiled, skinned and mashed very well
Salt, to taste
Oil, for deep frying

Heat the oil on low for deep frying in a shallow, flat-bottomed pan.

In another pan, heat the ghee and water together. When it starts to boil, remove the pan from heat.

Slowly - VERY slowly - add the flour a little bit at a time, whisking furiously the whole time, so lumps don't form. After all the flour has been added, add the mashed potatoes and salt and stir/ mash to combine completely.

Make little marble-sized balls from the potato mixture.

Slowly lower 4-5 balls at a time into the oil and fry until golden brown or darker. Drain on a tissue-lined colander. Serve warm with ketchup or chutney.

So so good!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rasam Powder

Rasam, a lovely blend of spices, tamarind and lentils is a favorite in southern India. Usually mixed with rice, rasam also makes a great soup. I've posted the recipe for my favorite rasam earlier, and a simple rasam as well. This is the basic spice mix used to make rasam.

Rasam Powder

1 cup Coriander Seeds
1 cup Toor Dal
1/4 cup Black Peppercorn
1/4 cup Cumin Seeds
15-20 Dried Red Chillies
1 cup Curry Leaves

Roast the coriander seeds, toor dal, peppercorn, cumin seeds and red chillies.

Separately roast the curry leaves.

Grind together to reach the consistency of semolina (a coarse grain).

This powder can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Pongal is a popular south Indian breakfast. It consists of lentils and rice cooked together and then seasoned with spices. Its usually eaten with a spicy curry of some sort, but tastes great with a sprinkling of sugar as well.

This is quite a meal on its own, and though its popular for breakfast, we tend to mix up all our foodstuffs here. Just like dosai, or upma, pongal makes for a great lunch or dinner as well.


3 cups Rice
1 cup Moong Dal (Split Green Gram)
6 cups Water (or as needed)
1 tsp Black Peppercorns
2 tsp Cumin Seeds

Cook the rice, dal and water together with some salt.

Heat a pan with some oil. Add peppercorn and cumin and let them brown a little. Coarsely crush this into a powder.

Add the crushed spice mixture to the cooked rice and dal and mix well until fully combined.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vangibath (Rice with Eggplant)

I'm not a huge fan of eggplant, and so have been putting off making this for a long time. I got this recipe from an aunt who swore that it comes out perfect every time. I kept thinking, yeah, but eggplant flavored rice? Hmm, I'll wait!

Well, I happened to get some great eggplant in the market, and so decided to just go ahead and try it. It really is wonderful! Another no-fail recipe!

Vangibath (Rice with Eggplant)

Cook 2 cups of Rice and set aside.

Grind together:
1 tbsp Fresh Cilantro
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Ground Coriander
1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1/2 dried Red Chilli
1 clove Garlic, chopped
2-3 Black Peppercorn
2 Cloves, and
1 pinch minced Ginger

Set aside.

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a saucepan, and add:
a pinch of Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds, and
1/4 tsp Sesame Seeds

When the mustard seeds pop, add and saute:
1 small Eggplant, unpeeled and diced
1/2 Onion, diced
1/2 Tomato, diced, and
1/4 cup Peas, frozen or fresh

Saute until the onions are transparent. Add the ground ingredients, and:
1 tbsp Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Turmeric, and
2 Bay Leaves.

Continue to saute until the eggplant is soft. Separate the grains of cooked rice with a fork, and add to the saute pan. Mix thoroughly and cook 3-5 minutes on low heat. Garnish with coconut and chopped cilantro.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chilli Cheese Toast

You know that craving you get when you come home from work, and just want to eat something before you start making dinner? This is just a wonderful tea-time snack. Very popular in India, chilli cheese toast has become somewhat of a tradition.

In this picture, I've used brown bread. I made a few with chillies and a few without.

Chilli Cheese Toast

10 slices of Bread (works equally on white bread as it does on baguettes or multigrain, so go with your favorite kind)
150 g Mozzarella Cheese, grated
4-5 Green Chillies, finely chopped
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder OR Crushed Red Pepper
2 pinches Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 375 deg F.

Lightly toast the bread. Make a paste mixture with the rest of the ingredients.

Apply the paste onto each slice of bread. Bake the bread for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Serve warm.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spicy Sago

Have you cooked with sago? It's a little difficult to use, since it becomes thick and soggy really fast. So you've got to soak it for just the right amount of time. It took me a long while before I figured out what that was. But once you do get it right, sago is absolutely delicious!

Khichdi is traditionally a combination of rice and lentils. In this case, we're substituting the sago for the carbohydrate (rice), and peanuts for the protein (lentils).

Sabudana (Sago) Khichdi

1 cup Sago, soaked for 2 hours in water
1 handful Peanuts, powdered
1/2 tsp Sugar
3 Green Chillies, chopped
2 Potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Cumin Powder
2 tsp Garam Masala
2 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
2-3 Curry Leaves
a pinch of Asafoetida
2 tbsp Coconut, grated, for garnish
2-3 tbsp Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Soak the sago for a couple of hours, until each grain loosens and feels light. Add crushed peanuts, sugar and salt and mix gently. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida and green chillies. When the mustard seeds pop, add the cooked potatoes, cumin powder, chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala and saute for a few minutes. Add the sago and stir gently. Finally add the grated coconut and cilantro leaves.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Green Rice

This is my first favorite recipe. My mum visited me while I was working in the US and made this for my friends when I had them over for dinner. I loved it because the aroma of the rice completely envelopes the house and its just so wonderful.

Green Rice

4 cups Basmati Rice
4 bunches Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
3 Green Chillies, finely chopped
1/8 cup Coconut
2 Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped
6 Spring Onions, finely chopped (green and white parts)
6 cups Water

Grind the coriander leaves, green chillies and coconut with a teaspoon of water to a chutney consistency. Saute the bell peppers and spring onions until just cooked. Add rice and continue sauteing for a couple of minutes.

Add the chutney and mix thoroughly with the rice and veggies. Add the water. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan and let the rice cook completely, stirring once in between to mix the chutney with the cooking rice.

Serve hot garnished with a little chopped coriander.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pumpkin Curry

I seem to make a lot of pumpkin curries at home. Just thinking out loud. There's pumpkin pachadi, sour pumpkin curry, olan and parsi dhansak. And that's just on my blog. I do a lot of other pumpkin dishes at home, too. Hmm... Guess I like pumpkin. Do you?

(Pumpkin Curry, from Kerala)

1/4 Pumpkin, cut into pieces
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1/2 cup Toor Dal, cooked
2 tbsp Coconut
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Sugar

4-5 Curry Leaves
1-2 dried Red Chillies
2 tbsp Coconut

Cut the pumpkin in cubes and cook with chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Add the cooked dal. Continue cooking on a low flame.
Grind the coconut and cumin together and add it to to the cooking pumpkin.
Heat a small pan with oil and add the seasoning ingredients. When the coconut is slightly reddish, add the seasoning to the pumpkin. Stir to combine. Add the sugar and stir together for a few minutes before removing from heat. Serve warm.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bean Sprouts

I absolutely love cooked bean sprouts. I love cooked sprouts - of any kind! They're so delicious. And this recipe, inspired from one of my favorite cookbooks, is an absolute favorite of mine.

Spicy Bean Sprouts

1 cup Bean Sprouts
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, cut into strips
1/2 Tomato, blanched, peeled and cut into strips
1/4 cup Yogurt
1 tsp Gram Flour
a pinch of Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Green Chilli, ground into a paste
a pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Garam Masala
1 sprig Cilantro, for garnish
Salt, to taste

Blanche bean sprouts in some boiling water. Mix together the yogurt and gram flour to make a smooth paste.

Heat some oil in a pan and add the asafoetida, cumin seeds, green chilli paste, turmeric, red chilli powder and yogurt mixture. Cook for a few minutes. Add sprouts and salt. Cook until the consistency is a little thick and add the bell pepper, tomato and garam masala. Cook for a few more minutes and then remove from heat and serve hot.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Roasted Eggplants

This very popular Indian dish is very simple to make at home. The important part of this recipe is roasting the eggplants in a pan over low-medium heat until the skin is charred and the pulp gets the smoky delicious flavor. I'm not an eggplant person, but this is a pretty good way to enjoy them.

Bhaingan Bhurta
(Roasted eggplants with spices)

2 large Eggplants
1 Tomato, chopped
1 Onion, chopped fine
1 Green Chilli, chopped fine
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Oil
2 tbsp Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Roast the eggplants over a fire until they are soft. I use a dry pan and keep turning the eggplants until all the skin is charred. You could also do it over an open flame. Peel and mash the eggplants.

Fry the onions in the oil until golden brown. Add the green chillies, chilli powder and coriander powder. Add the tomato and fry for a few minutes. Now add the mashed eggplants and mix well. Garnish with cilantro.

This is great with roti or as a spread on toast!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spiced Mashed Potatoes

A huge favorite in my house, these potatoes are light, flavorful and delicious.

Potato Podimas (Spiced Mashed Potatoes)

1 pound Potatoes
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
a pinch of Asafoetida
6 Green Chillies
1 tsp Ginger, minced
1/2 tsp Urad Dal (split Black Gram)
1 tsp Channa Dal (Red Gram Dal)
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
4 Curry Leaves
2-3 dried Red Chillies
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 bunch Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Boil potatoes with turmeric and salt. Peel, mash and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the urad dal, channa dal, asafeotida, turmeric, curry leaves, red chillies, ginger, lemon juice, salt and mashed potatoes. Stir to combine and cook together for a few minutes. Garnish with cilantro.