Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Prawn Chilli

This dish is all time favourite at my mom's place and always make it a point that my amma prepares this particular dish when we go vacation and enjoy every bit of it. My hubby and kiddo also like it to the core.

prawns - 50 small prawns or 10 tiger prawns
onions - 3
ginger- 1"
garlic - 8 cloves
green chillies -2
red chilli powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tsp
jeera powder - ½ tsp
Tomato - 2
Soya sauce - ¾tsp
tomato sauce - 1 tsp
coriander leaves - for garnish

Peel ginger and garlic and grind to a smooth paste.
Peel and chop onions finely. Slit green chillies
Wash and chop tomatoes into fine pieces.
Heat oil a heavy non stick kadai, add ginger-garlic paste, saute for 2 secs and add onions. Fry on medium flame till dark brown. Now add all the powders (coriander pd, jeera pd, red chilli pd) and saute for 30 secs. Add tomatoes and cook on slow flame with the lid on till nice and soft. Now add prawns cover and cook for 5 minutes. Do not add any water as prawns leave out moisture. Finally add soya sauce and tomato sauce and stir well till the prawns are cooked. Garnish with coriander leaves.

This semi-dry dish goes well with
Vegetable Fried rice or noodles or simple rice and daal.
Use tiger prawns and dry up the gravy to use as a starter.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Burnt corn and sprouts salad

This would be my contribution for two events coming up.
This salad is very healthy and nutritious and a favourites among kids too!!

frozen sweet corn - 1 cup
sprouted black chana - 1/2 cup
onion - 1 small
tomato - 1 medium
green capsicum - 1 small
olive oil - 1+1/2 tsp
lemon juice - 1 tsp
chilli powder - 1 pinch
salt to taste

Defrost sweet corn, heat 1/2 a tsp of olive oil and roast corn on medium flame till slightly burnt.
Blanch sprouted black chana in salted hot water and drain.
chop onions, tomato into small squares
chop capsicum into small squares, red and yellow capsisum could also be added to make the salad colourfull.
Mix all the veggies in a bowl and refrigerate for an hour or so.
whisk out olive oil, lemon juice chilli powder and salt in a small bowl and keep ready.
Just before serving, mix in the dressing into the veggies thoroughly and serve straight away.

This Salad is my entry to the
Cooking for Kids Event hosted by Sharmi at Neivedyam.

and also to the JFI-Sprouts Event hosted at Ammalu's Kitchen.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Walnut Crunchies

This is my first try on cookies and gave a try just to send it for Christmas Events. It was a huge hit. I am totally new to this blogging world but yet trying to make it up fine. The main reason for not trying these cookies were the amount of butter which goes into know...But on occasions its perfectly fine!!! And when the whole world is enjoying the Christmas Eve...why stay behind and whats the best gift to the kids than baking cookies at home, yea Sakshi helped me while preparing these crunchy cookies!!!! By the way i got these cookie recipe from NDTV contributed recipes. I made a few changes though.

All purpose flour/Maida - 1 cup
Baking powder- 1/2 tsp
white Sugar - 1/2 cup (recipe asked for brown sugar)
unsalted butter - 1/2 cup
crushed walnuts - 3/4 cup
vanilla essence -1 tsp
salt - 2 pinches

Blend sugar to fine powder or use castor sugar.
Beat sugar and butter till light and fluffy.
Sieve Baking powder and All purpose flour together.
Add these sieved mix to the beaten butter-sugar mix. Add vanilla essence and mix well to form a dough. Add the crushed walnuts mix well.
Form small flat rounds. Preheat the oven, arrange the cookies on a baking sheet. Place the cookies giving some space between the cookies to fluff up. Bake at 180 degree C for 10-12 minutes or till light brown. Cool well and store in a airtight jar.

These cookies are my entry to the Holiday Cookie Baking Event hosted by Sharmi at Neivedyam and
Christmas Feast Event hosted by Purva at Purva's Daawat.
Santa's Holiday Challenge Event hosted by JZ at Tasty treats.
and Baking for Beginners Event hosted by Vandana Rajesh at Cooking up something nice.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Vegetable Cutlets

Tasty and healthy altenative for the hunger pangs on a lazy weekend. I prepare these yummy cutlets in advance and freeze them. Just defrost them for 30 secs in microwave oven and shallow fry whenever you feel like eating these yummies!!! These cutlets are a boon in disguise when guests drop in.

Ingredients: makes 10-12 cutlets
onions - 1 big
ginger - 1" piece
garlic - 4 cloves
green chillies - 3
beetroot - 1 big
carrot - 1
frozen or fresh peas - 1/2 cup
potatoes - 2 medium
oil - 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp
salt to taste
garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Bread crumbs - 1/2 cup

Peel and chop onions finely. Peel and mince ginger and garlic finely. Wash and chop green chillies finely. Easier step dump these onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies in a food processor and mince.
Wash, peel and grate beetroots and carrots.
Thaw frozen peas, add half a cup of water and cook on Microwave HIGH for 1 minute.
Wash and pressure cook potatoes or cook in microwave till done. Peel the skin and mash them.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wide pan, add the minced onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies. Saute on medium flame till brown. Add salt to taste, grated beets and carrots mix well. Add cooked peas and mix well. Now add garam masala powder, mix well and put off the flame. Let aside to cool.
Now add boiled and mashed potatoes and knead well to smooth. Check for the seasoning, add salt if desired at this stage.

Shape out the mixture into round or oval flat patties. Place the bread crumbs in a wide plate. Roll the patties over the bread crumbs till fully coated. Now heat oil in a tawa and arrange the cutlets. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover and cook on the other side till nice and brown. Serve hot with mint chutney or tomato ketchup.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tom n Jerry Chicken (Tangdi Kabab)

This kabab is usually made with chicken drumsticks(legs) and is a favourite among the kids. This recipe is from Sanjeev Kapoor's cookbook. Last time when I had been to Mangalore on vacation my sis and nephew Adi were also there to stay with us. Adi is 4-1/2 yrs just 5 months younger to Sakshi. He was down with viral fever and had totally lost his appetite. One night, for supper he asked his Mamama(grandma- my mom) to prepare Tom n Jerry Chicken for him. She was in confusion as to what is he talking about, later only we realised that he is a big fan of Tom and jerry cartoon and had seen Tom eating this chicken drumsticks. Hence the name Tom and Jerry Chicken!!!! Since then its Sakshi's favourite too.

Chicken drumsticks - 8
lemon juice - 1 tbsp
ginger - 1"
garlic - 6 cloves
green chillies - 5
skimmed milk yogurt - 1 cup
gram flour - 2tbsp
haldi - 1 tsp
garam masala powder - 1 tsp
red chilli powder - 1 tsp
salt to taste
chaat masala powder - 1 tsp
lemon wedges for garnishing
Butter for basting

Clean and trim the excess fat and skin from drumsticks.
Dry them with a clean and absorbent kitchen towel. Make 3 to 4 long and deep incisions. Apply lemon juice and keep aside.
Hang yogurt in a muslin cloth for 15-20 minutes to drain off the excess water.
Dry Roast gram flour on low heat, stirring continously. Set aside to cool.
Grind ginger and garlic to a smooth paste.
Wash and mince green chillies coarsely
In a wide bowl, mix roasted and cooled gram flour, hung yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, haldi, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, salt and green chillies.

Marinate the chicken in the above marinade and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.( I usually marinate overnight).

Final cooking

Place the marinated chicken on a greased oven safe dish and roast in a preheated oven at 220 degree C for 5 minutes. Reduce oven to 180 degree C, baste the chicken with a tbsp of butter and further cook for 15-20 minutes. Turn drumsticks couple of times to ensure even cooking and colour.

Place the chicken drumsticks on a microwave safe plate with thicker side facing outwards.
Cover with a cling film and cook on HIGH for 5 minutes. turn over once.
Again cover and cook on HIGH for 3 minutes.
Finally uncover and cook on HIGH for 2 minutes. Leave it in the oven for 5 minutes, before taking it out.

Heat around 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and arrange chicken drumsticks neatly so that they are not conjusted while turning over. Cover and shallow fry for 5 minutes. Turn over, uncover and cook for another 5 minutes or till the chicken is well roasted on all sides.

Serve hot sprinkled with chaat masala powder and lemon wedges. (sakshi wanted it with tomato ketchup!!!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

King fish fry ( Visonu tava fry)

King fish called visonu in konkani is one of the favourites among amchis. King fish is shallow fried with very little oil and hence a healthy dish for the fish lovers.

King fish - 5 thinly sliced steaks
ginger-garlic paste - 1 tbsp
salt to taste
red chilli powder - 2 tsp
pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tsp
jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
haldi powder - 1/2 tsp
lemon or vinegar - 2 tsp

Clean the fish and slice into thin steaks.
Prepare the marinade by mixing chilli powder, pepper pd, coriander-jeera pd, haldi pd, salt and ginger-garlic paste. Apply this marinade generously over the fish steaks and marinate for minimum 1 hour. Normally as soon as i buy fishes i clean them all, sort them accordingly as to prepare fry and curries. Marinate them and then refrigerate. This way I have to just defrost when i need to prepare the dish.
Heat a non stick pan, add 1 tbsp oil add the marinated fish and 4 tbsp water along the sides (not over the marinated fish since the marinade will not cover the fish) cover and cook on one side for 3 minutes or till the moisture is absorbed. Turn over and cook on medium flame without the lid till nice and brown. Serve hot with sliced onions and lemon if using as a starter or serve with rice just like that!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ivy gourd and raw cashew stir fry (tendli bibbe upkari)

This is another traditional side dish which goes very well with daali. tendli is ivy gourd and bibbo is raw cashews. This is no onion, no garlic dish hence highly used during festivals and vraths. In temples during samaradhanes. These cashews hold a special place in konkani cuisine. These fresh cashews are bought during season and used or dried along with the skin for seven days in a muslin cloth and then stored for use in future. I get it from my amma ready to use. I store it in a freezer and remains fresh for more than 6 months. I soak these cashews overnite, peel and use it for my dishes.

ivy gourd/tendli - 10-15 tendlis
raw cashews/bibbo - 1/2 cup
potato - 1 small piece (optional)
coconut oil - 1 tbsp
mustard seeds - 2 tsp
whole red chillies - 3
asafoetida/hing - 1 pinch
coconut - 2 tbsp grated.

If using fresh cashews, peel them and place in water till use. If using dried cashews then soak them for an hour and peel them and use.
Cut the tendli vertically into two and then slice them into 2 or 4 pieces according to the size of the tendli. keep aside. Peel and chop the potato into small cubes. Potatoes are optional but it gives a mushy taste to the dish. This dish is best when cashews, tendli and just done not overcooked. So i prefer making this dish in a small pressure cooker (2 or 3 litre) or cooker pan.
Heat the pressure cooker/pan add coconut oil, when hot enough add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter break red chillies into the pan and saute. Now add the tendli, cashews and potatoes give a quick stir and add hing powder/water, salt and mix well. Add 1/4 cup of water, close the lid of the cooker and cook for just 1 whistle and let cool. Open the lid, add grated coconut and cook on medium flame till all the moisture is absorbed and upkari is dried up. The dish is ready to be served.

Sweet Kichidi

This is a traditional dessert of konkani cuisine. Combination of chana daal and broken wheat gives a chewy texture to the dessert. This is a healthy dessert which is less oily, garnished with chopped bananas and dry fruits.

broken wheat - 1 cup
chana daal - 1 cup
sugar - 1 - 11/2 cup
coconut - 1 cup grated
cardamom - 2 pods
ghee - 1 tbsp
cashews - 1 handfull
raisins - 1 handfull
dates - 1 handfull (optional)
Water - 7 cups

Dry roast broken wheat and chana daal separately in a pan for around 5 minutes stirring around in between( do not over roast chana daal since it doesn't get cooked ). Set aside to cool.
Wash chana daal and broken wheat 2 times. Add 5 cups of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles and simmer for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare for sugar syrup by mixing sugar and remaining 2 cups of water and get to a boil. Simmer for around 5 minutes. Now add grated coconut and mix well. Add cooked chana daal and broken wheat mix well and get to a boil. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Put off the flame.
Break cashews into small pieces. Wash raisins and wipe them dry. chop dates as well ( I did not add dates!!! )
In a small pan heat ghee add cashews and fry till light brown now add raisins and fry till they plump up. Pour this seasoning over the Kichidi. Serve it warm or cold garnished with chopped bananas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bitter gourd stir fry (karathe talasani)

This humble vegetable has always been disliked by many inspite of its good medicinal properties like stimulating digestion to treating diabetes. But it is our favourite veggie and this particular dish is prepared every fortnight. Try this recipe and change your attitude towards this green veggie.

bitter gourd - 2 medium sized
onions -2 medium
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
green chillies - 2 slit
jaggery - 1 tbsp, grated
tamarind pulp - 2 tbsp
salt to taste
oil - 2 tsp

Halve the bitter gourd vertically, remove the seeds. Now slice horizontally into thin slices. Add salt leave aside for 10 minutes.
soak tamarind in warm water for 10 minutes and sqeeze out the juice or use ready-made tamarind pulp.( i used home made tamarind pulp)
Slice the onions, slit green chillies and keep ready.
Heat a non stick pan and add oil, pop up the mustard seeds, then add sliced onions and green chillies, saute for 3 minutes. Add sliced bitter gourd to the pan and stir fry for a minute. ( sqeeze out the bitter gourd while adding to the pan - this does not give a bitter taste to the dish but we like it bitter;))). Add tamarind pulp, cover the pan and cook on low flame till the bitter gourd is fried well and cooked say about 7 minutes. Do not add water at all. Now and jaggery, mix well. and cook further for 5 minutes. Put off the flame and serve hot with rice and daali.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Daal ( Daali thoy)

Now comes the soul of konkani food without which we amchis just don't survive. Diva of all dishes!!!! Thoyi YES .... Daali it marriage, festivals, satsangs or whatever u just need this dish. Its the backbone of konkani cuisine.
Fond memories of the Car festival in Mangalore lays upon me - first comes the side dishes and then the rice and devasthana saaru, i would opt for very little rice and saar, then cames daali with a special note "thoy thoy" i would finish off the rice or else make place for daali by making a round well of rice to hold daali at the centre and relish it, the thick porridge like consistency of daali would make me feel heaven at temple!!!!
Now coming back to reality ..lets start with the recipe to this daali.

Ingredients: serves 4
Tuvar daal - 1 cup
green chillies - 3
salt to taste
ghee or coconut oil - 2 tsp
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
red chillies - 1
curry leaves - 1 strand
hing(asafoetida) powder - a big pinch

For starters, let me give the basic details.

Place daali in a vessel that fits into the pressure cooker or cooker itself if cooking directly.
Wash daali once or twice in water and drain. Add 2 cups of water and soak for 20 minutes if time permits, else simply keep in the pressure cooker and
-bring to pressure on medium heat. Reduce heat and cook for 6 minutes - for hawkins - Futura cooker
-bring to pressure for 3 whistles. Reduce heat and cook for 6 minutes - prestige cooker.
I hope this is clear for all the beginners.

you can also cook daali directly but that will need more water and more time to cook.
Once the daali is cooked, mash it with a back of the ladle or masher or egg beater to get a mushy consistency.
Place it over a medium flame add salt and slit green chillies and get to a boil. The daali is ready.
For seasoning:
Heat oil in a small pan (panna kayli) add mustard, once the mustard crackles lower the flame and add whole red chillies and saute add curry leaves and finally the asafoetida powder ( If using gum asafoetida dissolve a big pinch in 1 tbsp water and add it to the daali directly after the seasoning when the daali is still hot). mix well. Pour this seasoning over the daali. Serve hot with rice!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Masala Dosa

This is one of the all time favourites in our family!!! This dish falls into our "weekend special" category so i prepare the bhaji and chutney the previous evening as weekends are for lazing and every woman would readily agree with that.
Now coming to Masala dosa, there are many ways of making it. Typically udupi masala dosa has potato filling with chutney and sambar served as a side dish. My recipe is for Mysore masala dosa with a twist. This recipe is from my amma which she got from my grandma, we have grown eating this masala dosa. I love those masala dosa made in restaurants but nothing to beat this particular masala dosa. So for all those masala dosa lovers try it out to experience the spice flavoured crispy dosas.

For Dosa
Urad daal - 1 cup
Raw dosa rice - 3 cups
tuvar daal - 1 tbsp
chana daal - 1 tbsp
methi seeds - 1 tsp
salt to taste
sugar - 1/2 tsp

For Potato bhaji
onions - 2 medium
Potatoes - 2 big or 3 medium sized
oil - 1 tbsp
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
urad daal - 1 tsp
green chillies - 3 slit
curry leaves - 5 leaves
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
salt to taste

For red chutney
coconut - 1 cup
red chillies roasted - 2
red chillies raw - 1 to 2 ( depending on how spicy u like)
coriander - 1 tsp raw
tamarind - marble size
gnger - 1/2" piece
garlic - 1 clove, peeled
salt to taste

For Dosa: Soak urad daal, tuvar daal, chana daal, rice and methi seeds for mininmum 3 hours. Grind in a blender or grinder to a smooth paste. The batter is slightly thinner than the idli batter. Add salt and let ferment overnight. when just about to make dosas add sugar and give a stir. This gives the rich golden colour to the dosa. 1/2 tsp sugar will not alter the taste of the batter at all.

For Potato bhaji:
Pressure cook potatoes till soft but firm. Chop them into cubes and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan, add mustard and urad dal and saute till mustard crackles. Now add green chillies and curry leaves and saute. add onions and fry till onions turn pink and transparent. Now add turmeric powder and cubed potatoes and mix well. Add 1/4 cup water and salt and mix well. Cover and cook till the semi dry.
For red chutney:
Grind together coconut, red chillies(if confused with raw and roasted chilli, just add 1 and 1/2 tsp of kashmiri red chilli powder gives a fantastic colour)coriander, ginger, garlic, tamarind with very less water to a semi dry paste. Add salt and mix well.
Final Finish:
Heat a tawa and set the batter, bhaji and chutney ready. keep a glass of water near the tawa. when the tawa is hot enough, sprinkle water and as water sizzles and evaporates pour a ladlefull of batter and spread the dosa. Start from the centre and move outwards in a circular concentric motion till the outer edge is reached. Spread 1 tsp oil along the edges of the dosa. when the dosa is partially cooked, spread red chutney all over the dosa.

Keep one spoonfull of potato bhaji in the centre.

Now fold the dosa with opposite ends overlapping. Now flip the dosa over to the plate and eat it hot.

Vegetable Fried Rice

This is one of the easiest and most commonly made rice dish. It is light on your tummy satisfying your taste buds as well. A very healthy complete meal if relished at home, goes well with chilli vinegar. the recommended rice is Basmathi but since this rice was out of stock and was lazy to go the grocer downstairs ;)) opted for sona masoori rice and liked it better than basmathi rice!!!

Sona masoori Rice - 1cup
Garlic - 4 big cloves
spring onions - 4 stalks
capsicum - 1 small
carrot - 1
cabbage - 1 cup shredded
pepper - 1 tsp
salt to taste
soya sauce - 1tsp
vinegar - 1 tsp
red chilli sauce - 1 tbsp
olive oil - 3 tsp

heat a pot of water and get to a boil. wash the rice and add to the boiling water. Add salt and cook till the rice is just done. drain off the water and set the rice to cool on a paper towel. This step can be done well in advance if preparing for a party.You can also make it the previous day if you tend to panic on the D day.
Peel garlic and chop them fine.
wash and chop the spring onion greens and whites separately.
wash and deseed the capsicum and chop into small squares.
wash and peel the carrots and chop them into small squares.
wash and shred cabbage thinly.

Heat 2 tsp olive oil, add garlic and saute till light brown and add spring onion white and saute. Now add chopped carrots, capsicum and cabbage and saute on medium to high flame. Add salt and pepper and mix well. Push aside these veggies to the side of the pan and heat another tsp of olive oil and add cooked rice and saute till rice is warm and nice, mix the veggies with the rice. Now add soya sauce, vinegar and red chilli sauce and mix well. Add spring onion greens at this point and saute for another 3 minutes and u are done. Serve hot for the best results!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Palak Chutney

During Pregnancy or even otherwise one is advised to eat a lot of green leafy vegetables to keep ourselves healthy and fit. Spinach is one such easily available green leafy veggie containing amino acids, iron, vitamin C and folic acid. But always make it a point to add lemon juice to the spinach dish since vitamin C content in the lemon juice helps the body to absorb the entire iron content from spinach.

As the richest source of folic acid, spinach is a very valuable food during pregnancy and lactation. Megaloblastic anaemia of pregnancy occurs because the mother is deficient in folic acid. This deficiency of folic acid occurs as this substance is required for the developing foetus. Regular use of spinach during pregnancy will help prevent the deficiency of folic acid. It will also prevent threatened abortion and accidental haemorrhage, deficient absorption of food by small intestine associated with lassitude i.e. tiredness, shorness of breath, loss of weight and diarrhoea. Spinach is also good source of nutrition for nursing or lactating mothers and improves the quality of their milk.
This recipe is simple and delicious!!! I am not praising it just like that. When you have things handy this dish will hardly take any time. Whenever i buy spinach i always buy 2 bunches if they are fresh and crisp. I clean the leaves rinse and chop them. Heat a knob of butter or any oil and add these chopped leaves and cook till leaves shrink. let them cool. blend them to a smooth puree in a blender and use. This puree stays well in a freezer for a month. Just defrost and use. Normally I prepare Palak pulao palak paneer, palak puris.
Since sakshi is at home on winter vacation my schedule has been disturbed. Hence just cook whatever comes handy!! This puree had been loitering around in my freezer since a week and i did't want to go for an elaborate lunch nor any fast food this was the only healthy alternative i could think off. Hence came up with this dish, hoping to be liked by everybody..

Palak puree - 1/2 cup
Onions - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 big
oil - 2tsp
mustard - 1 tsp
curry leaves - 5 leaves
red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
water - 1 cup
salt to taste

Peel onions and slice them thinly.
Wash tomatoes and cut them to thin slices.
Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and let them crackle now add curry leaves and saute. Add sliced onions, saute till pink in colour now add chilli powder and tomatoes saute for a while say 2 min on medium flame. now add palak puree and saute for another minute. Add salt and a cup of water cover with a lid and cook on low flame till the tomatoes are mashed and the gravy is semi dry. this will take around 8 to 10 minutes. Serve hot with chapathis

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Banana Halwa

This is a treat for sure for a sweet tooth. The moment I buy these big bananas called nendre bale kalen in konkani both my hubby and daughter expect halwa, at times I simply steam them and serve as an evening snack. They like it either way but halwa as anyone can imagine is a oily stuff!!!
I always avoided them but my Mother-in-law made it at home using home-made ghee, it filled the house with a good aroma. The inspiration to make this halwa came from my mil. I was hesitant while using the ghee and ended up adding 4 tsp of ghee for 4 bananas...yea believe me...thats more than enough. I am sure u will relish this sweet here after.

Big bananas(nendrabale) - 4
sugar - 1 cup
ghee - 4 tsp
cardamom - 1 pod

Peel the bananas and chop to bite size pieces. Blend these chopped bananas in a blender to a smooth paste. transfer this paste into a wide bottomed non stick kadai ( the secret behind the 4 tsp ghee). Add sugar and keep the flame on medium and keep stirring the banana mixture till it leaves the sides of the pan. This will take around 20 - 30 minutes. Meanwhile peel the cardamom and crush the seeds to a fine powder and add to the banana mixture. Grease a plate with ghee and keep ready.
To test the doneness of this halwa take a bite size mix onto to the plate and check if the halwa sticks to your hand if it doesn't then the halwa is done. You can always experiment with this halwa either it will be soft if its undercooked or hard like candy if overcooked. You will enjoy it anyways!!!!

Now spread the halwa onto the plate and tap it down with the help of a spatula till its smooth and shiny. let them cool. Cut into the desired shape and store in an air tight container.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

sheera ( sooji ka halwa)

This dessert is simply delicious and can be done in no time. You just need a reason to make this dish call it festival or vrath or sweet yearnings or simply time pass. This dish goes well with pooris and good as an evening snack.

semolina - 1 cup
sugar - 3/4 cup
water - 2 - 2 1/2 cups
yellow colour - 1/2 tsp
ghee - 2 tbsp
cardamom powder - 1tsp
cashews and raisins toasted in ghee for garnishing

Heat ghee in a wide bottom pan add semolina and roast on low flame till nice aroma fills the kitchen. keep stirring to avoid burning.
Meanwhile heat water to a boil. If you are opting for a burfi type sheera then 2 cups of water is enough. If u prefer halwa type then add 2 1/2 cups of water.
Mix yellow colour to the water and add the boiling water to the roasted semolina and mix well till the semolina is cooked well. now add sugar and mix further. sugar melts and makes the halwa watery. keep stirring well at this point. Add cardamom powder, cover and cook for another minute and put off the flame.
Spread over a greased thali and cut into burfis or just serve as it is like halwa garnish with toasted cashews and raisins.
If u see the picture i have not used the garnishing since both my hubby and sakshi hate cashews and raisins in desserts nor biriyanis;(

Monday, December 8, 2008

Palak Pulao ( Spinach Rice)

During Pregnancy or even otherwise one is advised to eat a lot of green leafy vegetables to keep ourselves healthy and fit. Spinach is one such easily available green leafy veggie containing amino acids, iron, vitamin C and folic acid. But always make it a point to add lemon juice to the spinach dish since vitamin C content in the lemon juice helps the body to absorb the entire iron content from spinach.

As the richest source of folic acid, spinach is a very valuable food during pregnancy and lactation. Megaloblastic anaemia of pregnancy occurs because the mother is deficient in folic acid. This deficiency of folic acid occurs as this substance is required for the developing foetus. Regular use of spinach during pregnancy will help prevent the deficiency of folic acid. It will also prevent threatened abortion and accidental haemorrhage, deficient absorption of food by small intestine associated with lassitude i.e. tiredness, shorness of breath, loss of weight and diarrhoea. Spinach is also good source of nutrition for nursing or lactating mothers and improves the quality of their milk.

Sakshi my daughter used to have days like RED DAY, GREEN DAY, YELLOW DAY etc signifying the importance of that particular colour when she was in KG1 and she was supposed to wear that particular colour dress and talk a few words about that colour and to make everything nice I used to cook that colour lunch for her when she was back from school. This dish is one among them i made for green day.

spinach - 1/2 bunch
basmati rice - 1 cup
water - 1-1/2 cups
onions - 1 medium
ginger-garlic paste - 2 tsp
green chillies - 4 slit
salt to taste
a knob of butter
oil or ghee - 2 tsp


wash and clean the spinach. chop them coarsely. Heat a knob of butter in a pan and add chopped spinach and fry till they shrink. let it cool. grind them to a smooth paste in a blender.

In the same pan heat oil/ghee and add chopped onions and fry till brown, then add ginger-garlic paste and slit green chillies. Fry for a minute. Now add ground spinach and mix well. cook for 2 minutes. Now add rice and saute for another 3 minutes. Now add 1-1/2 cups of hot water and salt and get to a boil. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for exactly 8 min on low flame without opening the lid to see if its cooked or not. Put off the flame after 8 minutes and forget it for another 5 minutes. Tranfer to the serving bowl and serve it hot with raitha of your choice.

potato and dill bhaji

Staying in gulf, the only source of entertainment is either get-togethers or shopping malls which my daughter has started hating now. So we try to meet up every week over 1 dish party or simply get together and get food from out. It was then, my north Indian friend had made this dish, First of all it goes well with chapathi as well as rice and best part is that this dish is really easy to make. She was all in praises and i make it quite often when i am damn lazy!!!

Potato - 2 medium size
dill leaves - 1 bunch (sabsige soppu)
methi seeds - 1/2 tsp
chilli powder - 1 tsp
oil - 2 tsp
salt to taste

Wash and peel potatoes. Cut into thin square pieces. keep the pieces in water to avoid discolouring.
Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add methi seeds and fry till light brown now add potato pieces and give a stir. cover with a lid and cook on low flame stirring in between till the potatoes are cooked and then let it brown if u like the crisp taste of the potatoes. This will take around 10 minutes.
Meanwhile wash dill leaves in water 3 times or till the water comes clear, chop finely and keep aside.
To the cooked potatoes add chilli powder, salt. Mix well. now add dill leaves mix well and cover with a lid. and another 5 min the dish is ready to eat.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Raja Panna upkari ( Mackarel in red gravy)

Thinking of this dish itself makes me nostalgic and all the memories of my stay in India comes alive. This recipe is just perfect that i always refer to my cookbook which i had written when my amma was making it. The correct amount of spice and tamarind gives the spicy, tangy red curry.

mackarel - 10(small fish) or 5(big fish)
red masala paste given below
onions - 2 medium
ginger - 1/2"
green chillies - 1 sliced
oil - 2 tsp

Masala paste
whole long red chillies - 8 (gives bright red colour)
whole stout red chillies - 4 (gives sharp spicy flavour)
methi seeds -1/4 tsp
coriander seeds - 2tsp
garlic - 2 cloves
tamarind - lemon size ball
oil - 1 tsp

clean and cut fishes into 2 or more pieces.
Roast whole red chillies in oil till bright and nice. keep aside. In the same pan roast methi, coriander and garlic till light brown, take care not to burn the spices. let cool. Now grind these spices along with tamarind to a smooth paste.
chop onions and ginger finely, slice green chillies.
Now in a kadai heat oil add chopped onions and ginger. fry on a low to medium flame till onions turns beautifully brown, now add slit green chillies and red masala paste.
Add enough water for the gravy consistency and get to a boil.
Finally add salt and fish pieces and cook for another 7 minutes.
This curry tastes the best the next day when all the spices have induced into the fish.
This red curry is served hot with simple plain rice.
If yearning to eat this fish curry in a jiffy, just fry onions, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies till brown and add kashmiri red chilli powder and tamarind paste. Add enuff water get to a boil and the same recipe follows.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pepper Chicken

The recipe to this dish was given by my little sister now working, experimenting on easy recipes to survive. It is one of the easiest dishes ever made. Try it out to believe it. This dish can be used as a starter as well as a side dish

chicken - 1 kg
onions - 2 big, chopped
green chillies - 2 sliced
oil - 1tbsp
pepper corns- 3 tbsp
coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
jeera seeds - 1 tbsp
ginger - 2" piece
garlic - 10 cloves

Grind together the ingredients for the marination to a smooth paste. Keep aside 2 tsp of the marinade for later use, Add salt and apply marinade over the chicken and let marinate for about an hour in a refrigerator.

This can be done in advance and put in the freezer.
Again for the marination if in jiffy ready-made powders(pepper, jeera, coriander)and paste(ginger-garlic)can be used.
Cook the marinated chicken separately in a pan

Now Heat oil in a pan and fry sliced onions along with a pinch of sugar for the caramelized affect.
when almost done add green chillies and saute. Now add the 2tsp marinade which was left behind and mix well. Add the cooked chicken and saute on high flame for a minute till the gravy dries up. Mix well and let simmer for another 2 minutes. The dish is ready to serve.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Soya Mushroom pepper masala

This recipe is adapted from KF, Secret of Taste with a change. I have added soya granules which gives a different taste to this dish. It goes very well with chapathis.


button mushrooms - 10 medium sized
Soya granules - 1/4 cup
onions - 1, sliced
ginger-garlic paste - 1 tbsp
green chilli -1
coriander powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
black pepper powder - 1- 2 tsp
Tomato - 1 chopped
salt to taste
oil - 2tsp

Clean and wipe the mushrooms dry with a paper towel. slice the mushrooms.

Soak soya granules in hot water for 15 minutes. Sqeeze out the granules and keep aside.
Slice onions and chop tomatoes finely.

Heat oil in a pan, add sliced onions and fry till transparent and pinkish in colour. Now add ginger-garlic paste and fry till dark brown. This gives that peppery look to the dish.

Now add all the powders - turmeric. coriander and pepper and saute for a minute.
Add chopped tomatoes, salt and cook on low flame preferably covered with a lid for quick cooking.

When the tomotoes are nice and soft add sliced mushrooms and soya granules. Mix well, adjust the seasoning as per your taste. cover and cook for another 5 minutes or till the mushrooms are done.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Babycorn Chilli

I have made this dish many a times and always liked by everybody, be it family members or party guests. This dish has to be served hot right out of the stove, charm in eating these babycorns is heavenly!!!

Baby corns-250gms (10 pieces)
capsicum - 1, deseeded and cut into square pieces
onion - 2, cut into square pieces
garlic - 3 cloves, finely chopped
ginger-garlic paste - 1 tbsp
red chilli powder - 2 tsp
cornflour - 2 tbsp
tomato sauce - 2 tbsp
soya sauce -1tsp
vinegar - 1tsp
salt to taste
oil -for deep frying + 1tbsp
coriander leaves - one handfull, chopped

Wash and slice babycorns into bite size pieces. Marinate babycorn with cornflour, ginger-garlic paste, 1tsp red chilli powder and salt. keep aside.

Chop the onions and capsicum to square pieces. Finely chop garlic and keep aside.
In a small bowl, mix soya sauce, tomato sauce and vinegar.
Keep the salt and remaining chilli powder ready on the counter.

These steps can be done well in advance.
When just about 10 minutes to serve, heat oil in a kadai for deep frying on one burner and heat a tbsp of oil in a wide pan on the other. when just about hot add chopped garlic and saute for a min or so. Add onions and capsicum and stir fry over a high flame for a minute.
Meanwhile deep fry the marinated babycorn till golden brown and drain on a paper towel.
Come back to the pan, after stir frying for a minute or so add the remaining chilli powder, salt, sauce-vinegar mix and give a quick stir. Now add the deep fried babycorns and cook for 2-3 min. Arrange the babycorn chilli in a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves.