Friday, July 29, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplant Parmigiana is a fattening favorite. I made some changes to this recipe to make it less fattening.  I used home grown eggplant and avoided egg. I baked the eggplant instead of deep frying it.

2C seasoned bread crumbs, Italian style
2T grated Parmesan cheese
1t crushed red pepper flakes
2t Italian seasoning
2 medium raw eggplant(Italian)
21/2C canned tomato sauce
1C part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
For batter:
1/3C corn flour
1/4C all purpose flour
1T milk powder
1/2t salt
1/2t soy sauce
1C water(change according to need)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 8.8.2-inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.
2. Combine bread crumbs,Parmesan cheese, seasoning and chili flakes in a medium bowl, set aside.
3. Peel the eggplant and trim off ends; slice eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange the eggplant on a plate in a single layer,sprinkle a little salt, cover and microwave for a minute. Repeat the process for all the slices.
4. Meanwhile, prepare a  slightly thick batter. Dip eggplant in the batter, and then into bread crumbs mixture.  Bake eggplant on a non-stick cookie sheet coated lightly with cooking spray until lightly browned, about 20 minutes, flipping once.

5. Place a layer of eggplant on the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Add 1/3 of tomato sauce and 1/3 of mozzarella cheese.  Repeat with 2 more layers in same order.  Bake until cheese is melting and sauce is bubbling, about 15 minutes.  Slice and serve with garlic bread.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lodeh(Coconut Vegetable Stew)

My husband and kids are very adventurous in trying out new food. This gives me an opportunity to try out recipes from different ethnic cuisine.  My brother-in-law loves to cook Asian food. On my recent visit to California I got to taste some interesting Indonesian food.  Today, I made this coconut vegetable stew called Sayur Lodeh, a popular dish in Indonesia and Malaysia. It is typically prepared with shrimp and anchovies.  I tried the vegetarian version of the stew and served it with noodles. It was a big hit at dinner.  My daughter prefers it with rice.

1C cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2C green beans, cut diagonally into 1-inch
1/2C each cauliflower and broccoli florets
1/2C carrots, cut into chunky strips
1/4C zucchini, cut into thick pieces
1/3C oil
2C water
1C coconut milk
salt to taste

For Paste:
1T chili paste or as required
1 stalk lemon grass, sliced
1/4C shallots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, chopped
1/2 t turmeric
1t corriander seeds
1t cumin seeds

1. Run the ingredients for paste in a food processor.
2. Heat oil in  large stock pot. Add the paste and stir-fry till oil oozes out from the paste. Take care not to burn the paste.
3. Add water to the pot. When it starts to boil add the vegetable and simmer till they are half cooked. Add  salt and coconut milk. Cook for a few minutes. Do not over cook the vegetables.  They should be crunchy.   Garnish with Thai basil. Serve with rice. 

Notes: You can add tofu cubes to the stew.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tomato Rice

I've not had a chance to go to the market this week for vegetables. I've to manage with vegetables from my back yard.  My tomatoes have started to ripen. It is wonderful to see your efforts bearing fruit.

1C cooked rice
1 large tomato, 1 small tomato,chopped
1t chili powder
1/4t turmeric powder
1pinch gharam masala powder
2 green chili, chopped
1T oil
1t salt
1t fresh mint, chopped
cilantro, to garnish
mustard seeds, urad dal, and channa dal for garnish

1. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high. Splutter mustard,urad dal and channa dal.  Add green chili, tomato, chili powder and turmeric. Cook till pulpy.  Add mint, cilantro and salt.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add cooked and cooled rice to the mixture. Mix well.  Serve warm with chips, vadam or potao fry.

Note: The tomato mixture can be prepared in large quantity and stored in refridgerator for a week.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stuffed Shell Pasta

Pasta is my daughter's favorite food.  Thursdays are pasta days in our house.  I should say I love Italian food too.  Macaroni was the only pasta I knew when I lived in India. In New Jersey, there are so many Italian restaurants.  I have come to learn that pasta comes in different shapes and sizes.  One of my friends taught me how to make pasta from scratch. That is too much work. I use the pasta that comes in box from the store.

1box uncooked jumbo shell pasta
4C ricotta cheese
2C shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2C grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs(optional)
1T chopped parsley
1/2t salt
1/4t ground black pepper
1/4t crushed red chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
4C spaghetti sauce(adjust according to taste)

1. Heat oven to 375F. Boil 5qt water in a pot. Add 1t salt and 1t. oil to the water to reduce stickiness.  Add pasta  and stir; return to rapid boil.
2. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally.
3. Drain well.  separate cooked shells and lay on waxed paper or aluminum foil to keep from sticking.
4. While the shells are cooking, in a medium bowl, stir together cheeses, eggs(optional),parsley,salt, pepper, garlic,and chili flakes.
5. In a 13/9/2-inch baking dish, spread 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce. Fill each cooked shell with about 1/2 tablespoons cheese mixture.  Layer one-half filled shells in prepared dish. Spread one-half remaining sauce over shells.
6. Layer remaining filled shells over sauce. Spread remaining sauce over shells.  Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil; bake 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Serve hot with garlic bread.

Notes: You can add chopped spinach to the cheese mixture.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Portobella Panini

Making lunch for kids can be a difficult. We want kids to like what they bring for lunch and also eat it. I try to make different kinds of sandwiches for my kids. I fell in love with the Panini  maker that I bought last year after eating a panini sandwich at Panera Bread. It is a wonderful gadget. We can make panini without the gadget too. All we need is a griddle and a heavier griddle to press the sandwich.

3 Cibata square bread
3 large Portobella mushrooms,cleaned and de-stemmed
3 large slices of fresh mozerella cheese
1 Red pepper,seeded and sliced in half
2T Balsamic vinegar
1T Extra Virgin Olive Oil(EVOO)
1t crushed red pepper(optional)
3t mayonaise or vegan mayonaise
3t mustard
1. Mix the balsamic vinegar and EVOO in a plate.  Brush the vegetables on both sides. Lay them on a foil-lined broil pan. Broil them till the peppers turn black. Remove from the oven. Cool the peppers in a plastic bag, and peel the skin. Slice the peppers and keep aside.
2. Slice the bread. Mix mayonaise and mustard in a small bowl. You can add spice if you want. spread the inside of the bread with this.
3.  Layer the pepper on the bottom half of the bread. Top it with a slice of cheese, and lay the mushroom on top. Cover with the top half of the bread.

4. Pre-heat the panini maker. Place the sandwich on the bottom part of the panini maker. Press the top on the sandwich. Remove when the cheese melts and the top of the bread is crisp.  Serve warm with chips.

Ilai Vadam(rice Kichiya)

When I was young, our summer mornings were spent in helping mom make delicious fry-ums(vathal and vadam). We loved to eat the dough, and the semi-dried vadam. I wanted to share that experience with my kids. We had a really hot days here last week. I decided to make ilai(leaf)vadam one morning. It is a healthy, non-fat snack suitable for all.

1C each of raw rice and boiled rice, soaked overnight
4 green chili
asafoetida(as required)
salt, as required
 1t omam(ajwain)
Ilaivadam stand
1. Grind rice and chili together with water,  to make a smooth batter.  Add water to make is liquidy. Add salt and asafoetida; mix well and leave it overnight to ferment.
2. Next mornig, add ajwain, and mix well.  Check for salt and add if required.
3.Lightly grease the Ilai vadam plates with sesame oil. Using a small rounded spoon, spread the prepared batter very thin on the plate. Arrange all the plates on the stand.

4. steam in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes. Remove from the cooker.  Gently peel the vadam from the plate and lay them on a sheet of white cloth. Repeat this process. Gently carry the sheet and place under sunlight to dry.  You may want to turn them once to dry on both sides. The vadam will be brittle once dried. Store them in air-tight container. You can fry them in oil or microwave them and serve as snack or as side for rice.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Berry Pie

I came across an easy pie recipe in this week's newspaper. I wanted to try this out since I had a lot of strawberries and blueberries. I have always been hesitant to make pie, because I thought it would be difficult and that something would go wrong. I started making pie a couple of years ago. This pie that I made yesterday was so easy to make and every one in my family loved it.

2C graham cracker crumbs
1 stick(1/2C) unsalted butter, melted
41/2C fresh berries, washed, hulled if necessary
and drained
3/4C sugar
1/4C cornstarch
1/2C water
2T lime juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a 9-inch pie pan, combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into bottom and sides of the pie pan. I used 21/2C of crumbs. Bake for 10minutes.
3. In a food processor, mash 2 cups of berries. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and water in a saucepan; whisk until smooth. Stir in mashed fruit. Cook over medium-low heat until mixture is thick, about 7-10 minutes.  Add lime juice.  Taste and add extra juice or sugar as needed.
4. Stir in remaining berries. Refrigerate for 30 or until partially thickened.  Spoon into crust.  Chill for at least 3 hours to set.  Serve with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.


You can use ready to use pie crust for this.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shahi Vegetables

Paneer(Indian Cottage Cheese) is a very good source of protein. I had a lot of peppers in my refrigerator, and decided to make a paneer dish with them.

1 green pepper
1 carrot
1 small potato
1/2C cauliflower
1/4C green peas
1 onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2C Paneer cubes
3 green chili,slit
1t. ginger-garlic paste
1t. dhaniya-jeera powder
1/2t. garam masala powder
1/2t. turmeric powder
1t. red chili powder
1/4C. cream/ milk
1T. mawa(grated)
1/2t. sugar
oil to cook

1. Cut the vegetables into big pieces.
2. Heat oil in  the kadai or broad pan on medium high. Add chili, onion, and saute. Add ginger-garlic paste. saute till the onion is translucent.
3. Add tomato and saute for 5 minutes.  Add dhaniya-jeera powder, turmeric and chili powder. Saute till the tomato becomes pulpy.  Add the vegetables. Mix well.  Add salt,a little water,cover and cook over low heat till the potatoes are done(15 minutes). Make sure not to overcook cauliflower.
4. Add cream, mawa, and sugar. Mix and cook for 5 minutes. Add garam masala, paneer and mix gently.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Garnish with cilantro.  Remove from heat. Serve warm with roti, parantha or nan.

Mawa or Khoa is concentrated milk solids.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vegetable Stir-Fry

We all know how difficult it can be to make kids eat their vegetables. I try to make food interesting  so the kids ask to eat them when they see it at the table.  In summer, we can find a variety of colorful vegetables in the market. 

1C mixed peppers, cut into big strips
1carrot, sliced
5mushroom(white or baby bella), sliced
1C cauliflower and broccoli, broken
10 string beans, sliced
1bunch green onion, sliced
1t stir-fry sauce
1T soy sauce
1t green chili sauce
1t each of chopped garlic,ginger and green chili
salt to taste
1T corn flour
1/2C water
1T oil

1. Heat oil in a wok or a wide pan.  Add the chili, garlic and ginger. saute for a minute.
2. Add carrot and pepper. Saute for a minute. Next, add the beans, cauliflower and broccoli. saute for a minute. 

3. Add the mushroom and saute for a minute. finally, add the green onion. Add the sauces,salt, and stir for 3 minutes. Mix the corn flour with water and add to the wok. Stir for a minute. Remove from the stove. Serve with rice.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hummus(Garbanzo Spread)

My kids are excited today. We're going to the midnight show of the last movie of the Harry Potter Saga.
I love Hummus. It is a simple spread and is easy to make.

1C. cooked garbanzo beans(chick peas), reserving liquid
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. tahini(sesame butter)
juice of 1/2 lemon(use as wanted)
soy sauce to taste
parsely as garnish
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
crushed red pepper flakes to taste


Puree all the ingredients, thinning with bean cooking liquid or a little plain yogurt as necessary.  Serve with raw vegetables, or toasted pita bread, or spread for sandwich. Store in a glass container,and refrigerate.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Peppers and "Sausage"Sandwich

Our High School serves peppers and steak sandwich for lunch. But, I don't eat meat. My sister introduced me to meatless steak when she visited me from California. We went to Trader's Joe and found a variety of meat-less "meat". They are made from tofu(soy product). I bought the vegan "sausage".  Next day I made the sandwich for lunch. My husband was impressed. My son loved it. I've to say, it tasted very good. Tofu is a good source of protien for active kids who do not eat meat.

1 Vegan Chipotle Sausage
4 Steak rolls
1 C Greeen Peppers, sliced
1 onion, sliced
Vegan mayonaise
Spicy mustard

1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a medium size pan. Add onions and pepper. Cook till the peppers are crunchy.  You may add chopped jalapeno peppes if you want it spicy.
2. Meanwhile, unwrap the sausage and slice them diagonally into (2 inch thick). The Chipotle sausage is spicy. If you want more spice, you can add some hot sauce to the pan.  Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from t\he stove.
3. Open the bread. spread mayonaise and hummus on the bottom. spread the mustard on the top. Spoon the peppers and sausage mixture on the bread. You can add your favorite cheese to it. enjoy the sandwich hot.

I used the Vegan Sausage bought from Whole Foods for this sandwich. I also used different colored peppers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It's been a week since my last blog. I've been busy helping my husband with the floor project in the basement.  That is going real slow.

I love Mediterranean food. It is an ideal diet to lose weight. They use yogurt in most of their food. Falafel is one of my favorite Medeterranean food. I always get Falafel from the street vendors when I go to New York City.  It is a Pita Bread sandwich stuffed with onion, cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, hummus, and falafel patties. The sandwich is drizzled with tahini sauce.

For the patties:

1C. dry falafel mix
3/4 C water
oil to deep fry

For Falafel:
1 packet pita bread(6)
1 small onion, sliced
1 small tomato,diced
1 cucumber, diced
1/4 C. crumbled feta cheese
falafel sauce
Tahini sauce
6T. Hommus
Sour Cream

1. Take 1 cup of falafel mix in a medium bowl. Add water, mix and let it stand for 10 minutes. Falafel is like dal vada. The dry mix can be found in Mediterranean stores or Indian stores. Make lemon size balls out of the mix. slightly flatten the balls and deep fry them in oil. Keep the falafel aside.
2. Heat a griddle. Toast the pita bread with a little butter on both sides.
3. Place the pita bread on a plate. spread a tablespoon of hommus on the bread. Hommus is a dip made out of chick peas(garbonzo)  and spices.  Hommus can be found in any grocery store.

4. Arrange the vegetables, starting with lettuce. Place 3 falafel on the bread. Drizzle falafel sauce and Tahini over them.  Falafel sauce is available in Indian stores.  Tahini is made by blending white sesame seeds. It can be bought in any grocery store or Indian store.

5. Sprinkle some feta cheese. Fold the pita bread and serve with sour cream.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Avocado fruit is becoming very popular throughout the world. Creamy avocado is rich in vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and copper.  It is very good to lower your cholesterol too.
One cup of avocado has about 23% of the Daily Value for folate, a nutrient important for heart health.

Guacamole is a dip made with ripe avocado. My kids love this easy to make dip with tortilla chips. I use it in burritos, and in making Mexican dip.

2 ripe avocados
1 small onion, chopped
1 tomato,chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced(optional)
salt, to taste

juice from 1/2 lemon

1. Cut the avocado in the center, discard the seed, and scoop the pulp into a medium bowl.

2. Add the remaining ingredients, and mash well. Cover the chill.  serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Peseratu(Mung bean Crepe)

Fiber lowers cholesterol levels, and helps you loose weight. Vegetarians can get fiber from unpeeled fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and seed. Whole mung bean is loaded with fiber. Mung bean dosa(crepe) is a delicious dish. My kids like to eat it with chili powder or brown sugar.

2 C whole mung
1 fist full rice
4-5 green chili
1inch fresh ginger
1 t asafoetida
salt to taste
1 onion, chopped
3-4 green chili, chopped
1 T chopped cilantro

1. soak mung bean and rice together for 6 hours. 
2. Drain the water. Grind along with chili and ginger. The batter should be smooth. Add salt and asafoetida, and mix well.
3. Heat a skillet over a medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, add the last 3 ingredients to the batter.
4. Pour a ladel of batter on the hot griddle, and spread it. Drizzle oil around the batter. Turn the dosa over when the color changes, and cook the other side. Prepare the dosas, and serve warm with onion chutney or dosa powder.

1. Instead of adding onion and chili to the batter, you could saute onion and chili and fill the dosa with the mixture before serving.
2. Typically, this dosa is served with sooji upma.