Monday, December 24, 2012


Every year I make cheesecake around the holidays. I make only once  because I can not stay away from it. Last weekend I promised my friend that I'll bring cheesecake to her Christmas Party, and made it on Saturday morning. Of course it was a great hit at the party.  I used the recipe from Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook.
My husband does not like cheesecake. He teases me and says that he likes to eat cheese and cake separately;-)

1 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 Cup sugar
1 egg yolk

5 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softend
1 3/4 Cups sugar
3 Tablespoons all- purpose flour
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel, if desired
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 pint whipping (heavy) cream

3/4 pint whipping cream
1/3 slivered almonds, toasted

1. Heat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease 9-inch spring-form pan with butter; remove bottom. In medium bowl, mix all crust ingredients with fork until dough forms; gather into a ball. Press one-third of the dough evenly on bottom of a pan. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown; cool. Assemble bottom an side of pan; secure side.  Press remaining dough 2 inches up side of pan.

2. Heat oven to 475 F.  In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, 1 3/4 cups sugar, 3 Tablespoons flour, the orange peel, lemon peel and salt with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in egg yolks and 1/4 whipping cream on low speed until well blended.  Pour into crust.

3. Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 200 F.  Bake 1 hour longer.  Cheesecake may not appear to be done; it will become firm as cheese cake cools. (Do not insert a knife to test for doneness because the hole could cause cheesecake to crack.)  Turn off oven; leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes longer.  Remove from oven and cool in pan on wire rack away from drafts 30 minutes.

4. Without releasing or removing side of pan, run metal spatula carefully along side of cheesecake to loosen.  Refrigerate uncovered about 3 hours or until chilled; cover and continue refrigerating at least 9 hours.

5. Run metal spatula along side of cheesecake to loosen again.  Remove side of pan; leave cheesecake on pan bottom to serve. In chilled small bowl, beat 3/4 cup whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until stiff.  Spread whipped cream over top of cheesecake. Decorate with almonds.  Store covered in refrigerator.

Chocolate Fudge

It has been over 3 months since I wrote anything. Not that I've not been cooking, I did not have the time to sit and write.  I'm planning to post at least a couple recipes every week in the upcoming new year.

 This past week I have been baking quite a lot. I got this easy recipe for fudge from a colleague. It is known as Mrs. Eisenhower's Fudge. It is easy to make and tastes awesome.


4 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1 pinch salt
1 2/3 Cups evaporated milk(one 12 ounce can)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Cups semisweet chocolate pieces
3(4 ounce) semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
1 pint marshmallow creme(two 7 ounce jars)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Cups chopped pecans

1. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, salt, milk and butter.  Bring to a vigorous boil, stirring often; then reduce heat and simmer 6 minutes, stirring continuously.
 2. Meanwhile, place the chocolate, Marshmallow Creme and vanilla into a large bowl. Gradually pour boiling syrup over the chocolate-marshmallow mixture and beat until chocolate is melted. Stir in nuts.
3. Pour into a buttered 11x16-inch Jellyroll pan and store in a cool place for several hours to harden before cutting into 1-inch squares.
4. Store in a covered tin.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Onion Pakoda

Pakoda is one of my favorite snacks from childhood. We used to make a beeline to the kitchen every time she made it. Yesterday my daughter wanted to have them for snack. We had a mother-daughter time together making it.

1 large onion, chopped
2-3 green chili, chopped
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 T chopped fresh mint
1 T chopped fresh curry leaves
2 T peanuts
1 T cashew nuts(optional)
1/8 t turmeric powder
1/2 t chili powder
little asafoetida
salt to taste
1/2 C besan(chick-peas flour)
1 C rice flour
1t ghee
oil to deep fry

1. Heat oil for frying.
2. Mix the first 11 ingredients in a large bowl. Leave it for 5 minutes.Add the rice flour and besan. Mix well. Sprinkle little water if needed. Add ghee and 1 tablespoon hot oil; and mix.
3. When the oil is hot enough add pakoda mixture with hand(sprinkle over oil). Cook till golden brown. Repeat the process with the entire mixture. Serve with ketchup(kids love it) or green chutney and sweet chutney.

Gongura Pappu

Couple days ago my neighbor gave me a bag of Gongura leaves from her garden. I was skeptical about using it because the leaves are very sour. I did not know how much it will be liked by my family. It is very popular in Andhra, where they make a pickle out of it. There are 2 types of gongura, one with green stem, which is slightly bitter and one with red stem. I had the green stem leaves. My husband looked for a recipe online and read it out to me and I made it for lunch. It was not well received by my kids, but my husband enjoyed it.

1 onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
2 green chili, slit
1 t sambar powder
1/2 t chili powder(optional)
1/2 t turmeric powder
salt to taste
3 C chopped Gongura leaves
1/2 C cooked toor dal
For seasoning:
2 t oil
1/2 t mustard seeds
1/4 t urad dal
1/4 t cumin seeds
1/8 t asafoetida
2 red chili

1. Heat oil in a pan to medium. Add the ingredients for seasoning. Add onion and green chili and cook till translucent. Add tomato, sambar powder, chili powder and turmeric powder; cook for a 5 minutes.  Add chopped gongura and salt; pour enough water; cover with a lid and cook. Stir in cooked toor dal; cook for 2 more minutes and remove from stove. Serve as a side dish with rice and sambar.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thai Seitan Stir-Fry

Seitan("say-tan), also known as wheat-meat or mock meat, is made from wheat by washing away the starch until only the wheat protein or gluten is left. You may find this on the menu of some Chinese or Thai restaurants.

You'll find seitan in the refrigerated or freezer section of natural food stores or some grocery stores. Seitan can be cooked in many ways. It can be stir-fried, baked, broiled or grilled.
I had this pack of seitan in my refrigerator for some time. Couple days ago, I came across a recipe in one of my books, The Vegetarian Bible, and tried it for dinner. It came out very good. My daughter who is not a big fan of mock-meat, relished it.

1 package(8 ounces) seitan, drained and thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded
3 cloves garlic
1 piece peeled fresh ginger(1 inch)
1/3 C soy sauce
1/4 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C lime juice
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/4 t salt
3 T oil
1 medium oinon, chopped
2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 C fresh broccoli florets
1/4 C shredded fresh Thai basil(or regular)
3 green onions, sliced diagonally
4 C baby spinach
4 C cooked rice
1/4 C roasted peanuts, chopped

1. Place seitan slices in medium bowl. Combine jalapeno, garlic and ginger in food processor; process until finely chopped. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, red pepper flakes and salt; process until blended. Pour mixture over seitan; toss to coat. Marinate at least 20 minutes.
2. Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add onion, bell peppers and broccoli; stir-fry 4 minutes. Add seitan with marinade and green onions. Bring to a boil. Stir-fry until vegetables are crisp-tender(3 minutes) and seitan is hot. Add spinach in batches, stirring until wilted.
3. Stir in basil just before serving. Serve over hot rice. Sprinkle with peanuts.

I used sesame oil. It gave a nice flavor to the dish. Thai basil brings a beautiful aroma to the dish. I also used some cauliflowers. Bok Choy could also be used instead of spinach.

Eggplant And Coriander Tostadas

This year I'm having a good harvest of eggplant. I've been finding a lot of recipes with eggplant these days.Last night I roasted eggplant with yellow pepper and onion and topped crispy French bread with it. It was an awesome dinner. We had it with Creamy Corn Soup. It is easy to make

1small eggplant, cut into cubes
1/2 red pepper(capsicum), cut into cubes
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 T olive oil
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 small loaf wood-fired bread, cut into 12 slices
1 small ripe tomato, halved
2 T chopped fresh mint
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
2 oz slivered almonds, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 475 F. Put the eggplant, capsicum,onion and oil in a large bowl and mix to coat. Spread 
out in a a single layer in a large roasting pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn and bake for another 10 minutes, or until tender. Transfer to a bowl, add garlic and season with salt and pepper.
2. Placce the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 4 minutes,or until crisp. Rub the cut side of tomato onto one side of each bread slice, squeezing the tomato to get as much liquid as possible, then finely chop the tomato flesh and add to the vegetables with mint and cilantro.
3. Spoon the vegetables on the tomato side of bread and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

I used yellow pepper instead of red, and used toasted peanuts in place of almonds. I spread a little hot sauce on the bread for spice. I used crusty French Bread.

Cauliflower Pulav

I was talking to my friend last week, and as usual, our conversation moved to food. We got to discuss different kinds of pulav. I got inspired, and decided to make Cauliflower Pulav last weekend. This is the first time I tried it this way. It turned out very delicious indeed. I served it with Peas Kurma. It was so good that there was no left over for my brother to take home.

2 T Oil
1 Bay leaf
1 small piece cinnamon
2 cloves
1 cardamom
few cashew nuts
1 Onion, sliced
2 C Cauliflower florets
1 Potato, cubed
2 C Basmati rice
2 C Coconut Milk
2 C Water

To make paste/ pound:
2 Pods garlic
1-inch piece Ginger
4 green chili
1 t Saunf

1. Wash and soak rice for 10 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add bay leaf, cinnamon, clove, cardamom,and cashew nuts, and fry for couple minutes.
3. Add sliced onion and cook till it is translucent. Stir in the ground masala, and fry for 3 minutes.
4. Add the vegetables and mix to coat.
5. Stir in coconut milk and water. Bring to boil.
6. Drain water from rice and stir it into the saucepan. Add salt. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook till rice is done, about 15- 20 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with Kurma.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Idiappam or Sevai(Rice Noodles)

Popularly known in Canada as String Hoppers, Sevai or Idiappam is a delicious South Indian dish made with rice flour. It is home made rice noodles. It is a tedious job to make it the traditional way. When I was in college, my neighbor taught me an easy way to make this. I love to eat it plain with sweet coconut milk. My mom makes lemon sevai and coconut sevai. It is similar to lemon rice and coconut rice. In Tamil Nadu, people have it for breakfast.  I had brown rice flour at home and made Sevai with it for lunch one day last week.

2 C rice flour or Sevai flour
4 C water
1 t salt
1/2 t oil
2 C sweet coconut milk

1. Boil 4 cups water in a heavy bottom pan with salt and oil. Stir in the rice flour. Keep stirring to make a dough. Make sure that there are no lumps. Reduce heat and stir till the dough is cooked. A tooth-pick inserted should come out clean. Remove from heat and keep covered.
2. Take enough dough in Sev maker and press to make noodles over greased idly plates.Steam cook for 10 minutes. Remove from cooker. repeat process with remaining dough. Serve with sweet coconut milk or make lemon or coconut sevai. Look for recipe below.

Lemon Sevai
Juice from one lemon
Mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, red chili and green chili,and curry leaves, for seasoning
salt to taste
1 t turmeric powder
1/4 t asafoetida

Loosen cooked and cooled plain sevai(2 cups) in a  large bowl.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan and temper mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, chili and curry leaves. Stir in turmeric powder and asafoetida. Remove from heat and stir this to plain sevai, along with lemon juice and salt. Serve with coconut chutney.

Coconut Sevai:
1/2 C fresh shredded coconut
Mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, green chili and curry leaves, for seasoning
salt to taste
1/4 t asafoetida

Loosen cooked and cooled plain sevai(2 cups) in a large bowl.
Fry coconut in 1 teaspoon ghee to golden brown. Remove from heat and mix it with plain sevai.
Heat 1 teaspoon ghee in the same pan and temper mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, green chili and curry leaves. Mix this with sevai. Add salt and asafoetida and mix gently. Serve with coconut chutney.


Paneer-Makkana Curry

Recently I bought a lot of Paneer, as it was on sale. As I was browsing through my recipe books, I came across this recipe that had lotus seeds and paneer. It looked interesting. I have used Makkana(lotus seeds) to make kheer. They taste like popcorn when toasted. I thought that it would be a different way to cook them and made it for dinner.  It was delicious.

3/4 C grated onion
1/2 C grated Khoa
1/2 C milk
1 C thick curd(yogurt)
1 t red chili powder
1 T cumin-coriander power
salt as required
1/2 t Garam Masala
1/2C chopped tomatoes
1/2 C green peas
1/4 C Makkana(puffed lotus seeds)
1/2 C Paneer cubes, fried
Cilantro for garnish

1. Roast Makkana in little oil; keep aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a broad pan to medium heat, and fry onion till golden.
3. Add cumin-coriander powder, chili powder, garam masala, and salt. Stir for a couple minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 4 minutes.
4. Stir in whipped curd and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add cooked peas, and makkana  with just enough water. Cook till it becomes thick.
5. Add milk, khoa, and fried paneer cubes. Bring it to a boil and remove from stove. Garnish with cilantro before serving. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dahi Vada

My mom always orders Dahi Vada when ever we go to Indian restaurant.  My daughter likes it too. But,it is a risk to order Dahi Vada. It will be a bust if the vada is hard or yougurt is sour.

20 Medhu Vada
2 C fresh plain yogurt,whisked with a little salt
4 green chili
1/2 - inch ginger(optional)
1/2C chopped fresh cilantro

1. Make Medhu Vada without onion. As soon as you remove vada from oil, dip into a bowl of water for 2 seconds and press lightly to remove water. Place vada in single layer on a shallow tray.
2. Grind chili, ginger, cilantro and salt to a paste.
3. Stir this into whisked yogurt. Spread the yogurt over vada.  Garnish with boondhi.

If you do not like the green look of dahi vada, omit the green chutney and sprinkle chili powder and chopped cilantro on top.
Do not use yougurt that is sour.

Medhu Vada(Urad Dal Vada)

My sister makes the best Medhu Vada in my family. It is always perfect in shape and texture. For many years I could not make vada like hers. Then I learned  the secret. Now, my vada comes out well. But hers is still the best.  Last year, my neighbor's dad, who was visiting , gave me some tips for soft and crisp vadas.  Last week my mom said that she made Medhu Vada using split black gram(urad dal). I tried the same last weekend. They turned out  very well indeed. I was reminded of "vada malai" in temple.  I had a lot of left over vada, and made Dahi Vada next day. My daughter loved it.

1 C Whole Urad
1 t rice
green chili, as per requirement
salt, as required
1 t asafoetida

curry leaves

1. Soak dal and rice for 2 hours.
2. Drain and grind with chili, adding very little water to a slightly coarse batter. Make sure the batter is fluffy  while grinding. Add salt and asafoetida. Remove the batter and stir in curry leaves.
3. Heat oil in a pan.  Dip your fingers in water; wet a plastic sheet; take a tablespoon size batter and pat it on the sheet; make a hole in the center and slide it into the hot oil. Depending on the size of the pan, you can fry 2-4 Vada at a time. Fry on both sides till golden brown. Drain on a paper towel. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter.
3. Serve with coconut chutney and sambar.

Chopped onion can be mixed into the batter.
Vada can be soaked in sambar and served as Sambar Vada.
 Do not soak the dal for too long.
Make sure not to grind the batter too smooth.
Make the vada immediately.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bluberry Cake

I had a lot of blueberries in my refrigerator that I had to use before we left for Canada last week.  In January 2012, I read a recipe for blueberry cake in Woman's Day by Valerie Bertinelli, and made it. It was an easy recipe to follow and is low in calories too. Since it was July 4 last week, I thought it would be a great idea to make the cake again.  Also, it was a nice gift to bring to my sister. We all enjoyed it for breakfast while visiting her. I served a warm slice with Maple Walnut ice cream. Oh it was heavenly!

2 1/4 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
3 3/4 C plus 1 T all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 3/4 C buttermilk
1 1/2 C granulated whiet sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 t freshly grated lemon zest
2 C fresh blueberries
2 T coarse sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the baking powder, baking soda, salt and 3 3/4 cups flour; make a well in the center.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, buttermilk, sugar, oil and lemon zest.  Pour into the well of the flour and stir to combine.
4. In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon flour to evenly coat.  Fold all but 1/2 cup of the blueberries into the batter.  Spread the batter into the prepared pan and top with the remaining 1/2 cup blueberries.
5. Sprinkle with the coarse sugar and bake until the cake is brown and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 70 to 75 minutes.
6. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then unfold(remove the outer ring) and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

It is alright to have a few lumps in the batter. Be cautious not to over mix.

Sambar Powder

My mom always makes Sambar Powder in bulk for all her children. I freeze some and store some in the pantry. Even after 2 years the flavor does not change.  She usually gets the ingredients powdere in the flour mill. I'd like to share her recipe on my blog.

4 Cups Dry Red Chily
7 Cups Coriander Seeds
1 CupToor Dal
1 Cup Black Peppercorn
1 Cup Cumin Seeds
1 Cup Methi Seeds
1 Cup  Mustard Seeds
3 teaspoon Turmeric power

 Powder everything  in a blender. Store in air tight container

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Creamy Doodi(Bottle Squash)

The first time I had bottle squash was at a party. The dish tasted very good, but I was not able to guess the vegetable in it.  When my friend told me what was in it, I was floored. I got the recipe from her, have served it at many of my parties.  It is a creamy dish that can be served with flat bread or rice.

1 inch cinnamon, 2 clove, 1 cardamom
1 C chopped onion
2 t ginger, garlic, crushed
2 green chili, slit
2 goda masala
1/4 t turmeric powder
1 t Kashmiri mirch(red chili powder)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 C chopped bottle squash(doodi)
1/2 C fresh curds(yogurt)
salt to taste
To make paste:
1 T cashew nuts
1 t almonds, blanched
1 t poppy seeds

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan to medium heat; add cinnamon, clove, and cardamom and stir for a minute. Add chili, ginger, and garlic; saute for 2 minutes. Stir in onion and cook well for 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, and cook till soft. Stir in turmeric powder,chili powder, and goda masala.  Add doodi, salt, and enough water.  Cover and cook on low medium, till doodi is soft, for 20 minutes.
2. Mean while, blend cashew nuts, almonds and poppy seeds with little water to make a paste.
3. Stir in the paste to doodi; add yogurt; mix well and cook for 10 minutes.  Add water as required.  Serve with hot roti, naan, or rice.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Dosa Powder(Chutney Powder)

I love my mom's Dosa Powder. She uses various pulses like chick peas, dry green peas, and sesame seeds along with the usual ingredients. I make it the traditional way.

1 C Channa dal
1 C Urad dal(black/white)
1-1 1/2 C Red chili(adjust according to taste)
pebble size tamarind
asafoetida to taste
salt to taste
oil for roasting

1. Roast everything separately in 2 teaspoon oil.
2. Cool slightly before powdering separately. Do not roast tamarind.
3. Roast chili last.
4. Add salt, and asafoetida; run everything together in the blender once.
5. Store in air tight container.

Powder dals to your requirement, smooth or little coarse.
Mix in powdered red chili according to taste.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tomato Chutney

Over the years of cooking I've come across many ways to make Tomato Chutney. But, I love my mom's recipe the best.

2 large tomatoes
4 green chili(adjust to taste)
1 t mustard seeds
1 1/2 t urad dal(black or white)
1-2 red chili(optional)
1 t fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

1. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a pan to medium heat; temper mustard, urad dal,and chili. Remove from pan.
2. In the same pan, add 1 teaspoon oil; roast tomatoes till the skin breaks. Remove from heat; allow to cool.
3. Grind everything in a blender. Mix salt to taste. Serve with idly or dosa.

Cherry tomatoes work well for this recipe.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Methi Dosa

Who doesn't like dosa. Oh those crispy crepes, whether they are plain or stuffed, dosa is my all time favorite.  My mom makes all kinds of dosas, not just the traditional ones.  She used to make methi dosa at least once a week.  I made it for dinner tonight, and served it with tomato chutney. My kids like to eat dosa with nothing but dosa powder(மிளகாய் போடி)

2 C par-boiled or idly rice
1/2 C raw rice
1/ 2 C urad dal
1 handful fenugreek seeds
salt to taste
oil for making dosa

1. Soak rice and dal separately for 4 hours.
2. Grind  rice and dal to a smooth batter. Add salt and allow it to ferment over night.
3. Heat a griddle; pour 1/2 cup of batter and spread it thin. Drizzle with oil; cook on both sides to golden brown. Serve with dosa powder or chutney.

Portobello "Cheese Steaks"

With my daughter being away at camp this week, I am cooking with mushroom almost every day. Portobello Mushroom is great for grilling. I use it in panini sandwiches and salad. Browsing through one of my vegetarian cook books, I came across a quick lunch recipe using Portobello. Since, I had a lot of pita bread that I bought to make falafel, I  made "Cheese Steaks" wrap  and served it gyro style for lunch yesterday along with corn and black bean salad.  It was awesome.

2 medium portobello mushrooms,stems removed
olive oil spray
2 medium peppers(yellow or green), thinly sliced
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 t salt
1/4 t coarsely ground black pepper
2 T water
1 T balsamic  vinegar
4 pocket less pita
2 C part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Spray both sides of mushrooms with olive oil and broil for 5-7 minutes till the top is cooked. Transfer to cutting board and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices; set aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion, pepper, salt, pepper, and water; cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.  Stir in vinegar; remove from heat. Gently stir in sliced portobellos.
3. Meanwhile, place pitas on a large cookie sheet; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Heat pitas in oven, preheated to 400 F, until cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.
4. Roll each pita into a cone; tightly wrap the bottom half of each with parchment paper or foil to help hold its shape and prevent leakage.  Fill pita cones with warm mushroom mixture.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vegetable Barely Soup

Few weeks ago Beef Barely Soup was served for lunch in our school. Since I do not eat meat,  I started looking for vegetarian version of the same, and came upon a recipe on I made a few variations to the soup and cooked it in slow cooker. It turned out very well. It was a hearty meal.

2 T Olive oil
1 Onion, diced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Carrots, diced
1 Zucchini,sliced
2 Celery stalks, sliced
1 small green pepper, diced
2 C diced or crushed tomatoes
3/4 C barely, uncooked
8-9 C water or vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped
1 t fresh thyme
1 t fresh oregano
3-4 sage leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large stock pot, saute onion, and garlic in olive oil, until onion is cooked.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring it to a slow simmer.
3. Cook till barley is soft, 30 minutes, or longer.
4. Remove bay leaf before serving.

I cooked the soup in slow cooker for 4 hours.
I added 1 cup vegetarian beef to the soup. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Raw Papaya Kootu(Stew)

I never knew that raw papaya could be eaten until my mom saw it  in the Indian store and asked me to buy it. I came home and looked up online and found that it can be eaten cooked in salad, curries, and stew. It can also be used to make Thai salad.  I made a stew with this vegetable as per my mom's recipe. It tasted like bottle squash. We had it with roti. It can also be served with white rice.

1 raw papaya, peeled, seeded and diced
1 T Channa Dal
1/2 C cooked Toor Dal
1 t Sambar Powder
1T Curry Powder
1 t oil 
mustard seeds, urad dal, red chili, and curry leaves for seasoning

For Curry Powder:
1 1/2 t Channa Dal
1 t Coriander Seeds
5 red chili(adjust to taste)
1/2 t oil

1. Roast the ingredients for Curry Powder in 1/2 teaspoon oil, and blend to make powder
2. Take papaya and Channa Dal in a saucepan. Add enough water to it. Add Sambar Powder and salt; cook till papaya is cooked.
3. Stir in mashed cooked Toor Dal to cooked vegetable. Stir in Curry Powder; bring it to a boil.
4. Temper mustard seeds, Urad Dal, red chili, and curry leaves in 1 teaspoon oil and pour into the stew.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida. Serve hot with rice.

Coconut Dosa(Crepe)

My mom used to make different types of dosa for us when we were growing up.  Coconut dosa used to be a favorite of mine.  I made it last night for dinner. My daughter protested because she only likes regular dosa. But, I persuaded her to try it,and of course mom is always right, she liked it. This dosa can be prepared immediately after grinding.

1 1/2 C grated fresh coconut
1 1/2 C par-boiled rice
1/2 C raw rice
3 T toor dal
1 1/2 T urad dal
1/2 T methi seeds
10 green chili(adjust to taste)
salt to taste

1. Soak rice and dal for 3 hours.
2. Grind with chili and water to a smooth batter. Add grated coconut and grind until smooth. Stir in salt and asafoetida. Add enough water to make a thin batter.
3. Heat griddle, pour  a ladle full of batter, and drizzle with oil. Cook on both sides till golden. Serve with chutney or chili powder(dosa powder).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Drumstick Sambar

I believe that every expat has something that they miss from their Mother land. I have a few things too.. Drumstick is one of them. Oh the fragrance of Drumstick Sambar! When ever I see this vegetable in the Indian store, I buy them and freeze them. This morning, my son thundered downstairs to the smell of the sambar that I was making for dinner. Both my kids love drumstick. They call it "Long  Kaai" Sambar, because the vegetable is long and slender. There was no complains at the dinner table tonight about the dish!

2 t olive oil
3 drumticks, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 1/2 C tamarind extract(small lemon size tamarind),or paste mixed in water
2-3 spoon Sambar powder
1/8 t turmeric powder
1/2 C cooked toor dal
salt to taste
mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves for tempering

1. Heat oil in a sauce pan to medium heat. Add mustard, fenugreek seeds curry leaves and asafoetida to temper.  Add the drumstick and Samabar powder, and turmeric powder;  fry for 2 minutes. Stir in tamarind water, and salt; cook for 10 minutes, or until the smell of tamarind and sambar powder leaves.
2. Stir in cooked dal. Add water if the Sambar is too thick. Make sure that the Sambar is not too watery. Bring it to slow boil. Remove from heat. Season with curry leaves. Serve over hot rice.

Adjust the amount of Sambar powder according to spice level.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Torte

Last week was my husband's birthday. I was going to make Mango cake. But the mangoes at home were not ripe enough, so  I asked him what he wanted and got a request from my daughter. Guess what she wanted. Chocolate Cake! No surprise there. So, I went through my trusty Betty Crocker  cook book, and decided to make Chocolate Truffle Torte. I could not find hazelnuts anywhere in my town. I  had to drive 10 miles to buy them. But it was worth the trip. You should have seen my husband's reaction when he took the first bite. Made me happy to see it.

1 C semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C stick margarine or butter
1/2 C all-purpose flour
4 eggs, separated
2/3 C hazelnuts, finely chopped and toasted
Chocolate Truffle Filling
Whole or chopped hazelnuts, if desired

1. Heat oven to 325 F. Grease bottoms and sides of 2 round 9x1 1/2 inches, with shortening. Line bottoms of pans with waxed paper.
2. Melt chocolate chips and margarine in heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly; cool 5 minutes. Stir in flour until smooth. Stir in egg yolks until well blended.
3. Beat egg whites in a large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until soft peaks form.  Fold chocolate mixture into egg whites.  Fold in toasted hazelnuts.  Spread in pans.
4. Bake about 25 minutes or until tops of cake appear dry and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes. Run knife along side of each cake to loosen; remove from pan to wire rack.  Remove waxed paper. Cool completely.

5. Prepare Chocolate Truffle Filling. Spread 2/3 cup of the filling on bottom layer. Top with other layer. Frost top and sides with remaining filling.  Drizzle with any remaining filling and garnish with hazelnuts.

Chocolate Truffle Filling:

2 C semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 C stick margarine or butter
1/2C hazelnut-flavored nondairy liquid creamer

1. Heat chocolate chips and margarine in a heavy 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted; remove from heat.
2. Stir in creamer. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes, stirring frequently, just until thick enough to mound and hold its shape when dropped from a spoon.  If filling becomes too thick, microwave on High 10 to 15 seconds to soften.

Vada Paav(Potato Slider)

Recently, I found these little pretzel dough slider buns at Costco. Immediately  I thought that they would be perfect to make Vada Paav. This is a popular Bombay street food. It is nothing but fried potato dumpling on a bun, spread with garlic chutney and green chutney.  My kids have never had this dish before. I made it for lunch last week, and they loved it.  My daughter said that she passed it around in her Biology class and that her friends liked it too. Now here is another chaat item that they can order the next time we go to an Indian restaurant.

For the Potato Vada
3 medium potato, boiled and mashed
2 green chilli
1 pod garlic
1-inch ginger
4 curry leaves
1/4 t turmeric powder
1/4 t asafoetida
salt to taste
1 t oil
1/2 t mustard seeds
1/4 t urad dal
 oil to fry
For dumpling batter
1 C chick pea flour(besan)
1 pinch baking soda
1/2 t turmeric powder
salt to taste

For Paav
10 Slider bun
butter to toast
garlic chutney
green chutney

1.Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a saute pan. Add mustard seeds, urad dal and asafoetida and fry for 1 minute. Pound ginger, garlic, chilli and curry leaves in a mortar. Add this to the saute pan, and stir for 2 minutes.  Stir in the mashed potato, turmeric powder, and salt.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. Mix the ingredients for the batter in a mixing bowl. Add enough water to make a batter without lumps. When lifted the batter should fall like a ribbon.
3. Shape the potato mixture into small balls.  Dip them in the batter and deep fry them. They should be golden brown. Keep them aside.
4. Slice the buns. Butter the insides, and toast them on a griddle.

To build the Vada Paav:
1. Spread  the inside of the buns with garlic chutney and green chutney. Sandwich the potato dumplings between the buns and serve them warm.

Monday, June 4, 2012


My mom has gone to California to help my sister with the new baby(yet to arrive).  She is making all these delightful South Indian food for my sister. Whenever she tells me about a certain dish that she used to make when we were kids, I start craving for it. Last week, my mom said that she made morekali(மோர்களி ), I was salivating immediately. It is one my favorite childhood dishes. I don't make it often because it takes up a lot of oil. But, I had to make it. Morekali is a savory cake made with rice flour and buttermilk. More in Tamil is buttermilk. When the curds(yogurt) becomes sour, my mom used to make this dish. I made a low-fat version of this dish on Friday for dinner. My brother, who came for the weekend said that he loved it. We use green chili and dried green chili(moremilagai-மோர்மிளகாய் ) in this dish.

1 C rice flour
2 C sour curds, beaten and mixed with water
1/2 C water
salt to taste
1 t fresh cilantro, chopped
For seasoning:
2 T olive oil
1 t mustard seeds
1/4 t urad dal
1/2 t channa dal
3 green chili, chopped
8 moremilagai
1/8 t asafotida
curry leaves

1. Heat oil in a broad non-stick pan over medium high; add the seasonings and fry till the moremilagai is crisp. Add buttermilk and bring to boil.  Add salt and stir in the rice flour. Add cilantro,and cook for 10 minutes, while stirring constantly. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, and the kali should form a ball without sticking to the sides of the pan.
2. Spread the morekali on a greased tray. Before serving, make pieces using a greased knife.
Note: Be cautioned, this dish could be addictive.

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

It has been 2 months since I wrote anything on my blog. So many things were happening.  First my sister visited from California for 2 weeks. I was involved in organizing her baby shower.  Then May went by with spring cleaning and getting my garden ready for vegetables. It is almost a year now since I started this blog, and decided to start writing again. So, here I am.

Yesterday, I made broccoli soup. I have not attempted to make it before. I have had it in school. I liked it, but it was too rich. Now that I want to shed a few pounds in summer, I looked through my cooking books and found this low-fat recipe.  It was easy to make and quick too. We had it for dinner, and my daughter loved it.

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 t dried thyme
1/8 t ground nutmeg
coarsely ground black pepper
2 C reduced- fat milk
1 1/3 C vegetable broth
1 1/2 C water
1 large bunch ( 1 1/2 pounds) broccoli, trimmed and cut into 1- inch pieces
1 1/2 C shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
coarsely ground black pepper

1. In a 4-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and cook until golden.  Stir in flour, salt, thyme, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.
2. Gradually, stir in milk, broth, and water. Add broccoli and heat to boiling over high heat.  Reduce to low; cover and simmer until broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Using an emulsion blender puree until very smooth. Or, spoon the mixture into blender and puree.
4. Return the soup to saucepan; heat to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally.  Remove saucepan from heat; stir in cheese until melted and smooth. sprinkle each serving with coarsely ground black pepper.

Water can be substituted for broth. In that case you may have to use more salt. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Banana Nut Bread

Who likes to eat ripe bananas? I like them a little firm. When the bananas start to change color, I place them in a plastic bag and save them to bake. Recently, I saw this easy recipe for banana bread posted by a friend on Face book. Then I remembered how I made banana bread in previous times and how successful it was. My kids love it, especially my son!  I had some ripe bananas and thought it would be nice to make the bread for breakfast. We came home late after dinner, but that didn't stop me. I made this awesome bread at 10:00 PM. By 11, the whole house was filled with the the smell of warm bread. My husband awoke from the couch to the smell. We had it for  breakfast this morning.It was a great way to enjoy fruit even if there is a little sugar added to it. :)

3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/4 C melted butter
11/2 C all purpose flour
1 C sugar
1 t baking soda
1/4 t cinnamon powder
1 t vanilla
1/2 C chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Beat the egg and butter in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients,except the nuts, and mix with a wooden spoon. Fold in the nuts.
3. Pour the batter into a bread loaf pan, and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool it  in the pan for a few minutes before removing.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

I was in not in a mood to cook Indian food yesterday.  We were talking about pot pie and shepherd's pie at work. So, I decided to make Shepherd's Pie. I made a one-dish dinner with chopped vegetables and mashed potato. It turned out well. I used the leftover to make a wrap for lunch today. My daughter loved it. I used the recipe from one of the cook books that I have.  I made some changes to it.

3 C peas, and chopped carrots
1 C chopped onion
1 C chopped green pepper
2 t dried thyme
1 t chili powder
Olive oil spray
4 large potatoes
2/3 C light ricotta cheese
1/4 t salt
pepper to taste
2 C drained black-eyed peas
1 C diced tomato
1 (8-ounce)  can no-salt-added tomato sauce
2 t soy sauce
salt to taste
Panko Bread crumbs

1. Combine the first 5 ingredients, and stir well.  Spoon into a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Coat the vegetables with cooking spray.
2. Bake uncovered, at 400 F for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Set aside.
3. Boil potatoes in water till tender. Drain, peel and mash. Stir in ricotta cheese, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
4. Combine vegetable mixture, black-eyed peas, and the next 4 ingredients, stirring well. Spoon into a 21/2 -quart shallow baking dish coated with cooking spray.
5. Spoon the mashed potato in a border around the edge of the dish. Spoon the remaining potato mixture over the center of the dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs over top. Bake uncovered, at 350 F for 20 minutes.

I did not have ricotta cheese. So, I used 1 tablespoon of cream cheese and  2 tablespoons of plain yogurt.
I used boiled garbanzo(chick peas) instead of the black-eyed peas.
The recipe called for Worcestershire sauce. But I used soy sauce.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hyderabadi Dum Biriyani

When I was in India last month, we went to eat out. My brother-in-law wanted to order Jeera rice. My niece's observation was why order something that mom makes at home. I'm always skeptical about ordering Biriyani.  Last week I was in mood for just the same, and decided to make Hyderabadi Biriyani. I had some idea of how to make it. But wanted an authenticated version. I looked online and found one that I liked. It came out very well. I made a healthy version of the recipe. It came out very well. I had to restrain myself from going for a second helping. My brother took the left over Briiyani with him. Dum Pukht cooking means, choking off the steam. The food is cooked in a sealed container. In India, there are special vessels made of clay called the Handi. The steam is not allowed to leave the container. Basically, the food is cooked in its own steam on slow heat. Hyderabadi Biriyani is layers of fluffy rice and vegetable masala slow cooked.

For rice:
2 C Basmati rice
3 C water
1 t ghee
2 cardamom
3 cloves

For Vegetable :
1 inch cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
2 green cardamom
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 green chili, slit
1 T ginger-garlic paste
1 large tomato, chopped into large cubes
2 C mixed vegetables, chopped(carrot, cauliflower, beans, peas, and potato)
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 C fresh mint leaves, chopped

5 T thick curd(yogurt), beaten
1 t turmeric powder
10 cashew nuts
2 T oil
1 T ghee
salt, to taste

Biriyani Masala Powder:
2 inch-cinnamon
4 cloves
4 green cardamom
1 black cardamom
2 T cumin seeds
4 dried red chili
1 T peppercorn
Dry roast the above and powder. Store in air-tight container.

4 saffron strands
1 T milk

1. Wash and soak rice for 30 minutes.
2. Heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan. Drain the rice and add to the ghee and fry till the rice swells a little. Meanwhile, boil 3 cups of water separately.
3.Add the boiling water to the rice. Add the cardamom, cloves and salt.
4. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, till the rice is almost done. Remove from heat, fluff and set aside.

1. Cook the mixed vegetable in microwave or blanch them, and keep aside.
2. Heat the oil and ghee in a large pan. Add the first 5 ingredients under Vegetable and fry for a minute.
3. Add the cashew nuts and roast till golden brown.
4. Add the sliced onion, green chili and ginger-garlic paste. Fry till the onion becomes golden brown.
5. Stir in the tomatoes, half of the chopped cilantro and mint leaves. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the turmeric powder, salt and 2 spoons of the Biriyani Masala Powder. Add the blanched vegetables. Stir well to coat with the masala.
6. Add the beaten yogurt and mix well. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining half of the chopped cilantro and mint leaves.

Dum Biriyani:
1.Heat the saffron in a hot vessel(not on heat). Dissolve in warm milk. Sprinkle half of it on the rice and mix.
2. Take a heavy bottomed pot or pressure pan. Spread a third of the rice evenly. Spread half of the vegetable mixture on the rice layer. Continue with another layer of rice and vegetable. Complete with a layer of rice. Sprinkle with the remaining saffron milk. Cover the pot with a fitting lid. Seal the edges with dough. Place a small dish with water on top of the lid. Heat a tava or griddle on the stove on low- medium heat. Place the pot with rice on top of the griddle. Cook for 30 minutes.
To serve, scoop the rice from the bottom of the pot. Serve with onion raita. Mirchi ka Salan goes very well with this dish.

Oven can be used to cook the Biriyani. Pre- heat oven to 375 degree F.Layer the rice and vegetable in an oven proof dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Karadayan Nonbu(Savitri Vratha)

According to Tamil Calendar this year, March 14 marks the beginning of the new month, Panguni.  Women in most of the Tamil Brahmin families keep a fast today in honor of the famed Savitri, who is said to have followed Lord Yama to bring back her husband, Satyavan from death. This vratha is to pray for the long life of husbands. Women fast until the time Panguni begins. This could be any time of the day or night. They break their fast by eating a dish called the Karaadai, a sweet steamed flat dumpling made with rice flour and brown sugar(gud), topped with butter. They also make a salted version called Uppu Adai. They pray to Kamatchi Amman and tie a sacred thread around their necks.
2 C rice flour, dry roasted
1/2 C black eyed beans, dry roasted and boiled
2 T coconut, sliced into small bits
1 C Indian brown sugar(gud)
1/2 t cardamom powder
2 green chili, chopped
1/2 t ginger,chopped(optional)
2t oil
mustard seeds, curry leaves, and asafoetida, for seasoning
cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Salt,to taste

Sweet Adai:
1. Melt brown sugar in 2 cups of water on medium heat. Remove from heat and filter it. Pour it back into the pan. Add 1 table spoon of coconut bits and 1/4 cup of the cooked beans to the pan. Bring the water to a boil. Add the cardamom powder. Add 1 cup of the roasted flour to the water, while constantly stirring, until all the water is absorbed and forms a doughy ball. It should take about 5 minutes. A toothpick inserted to the dough should come out clean. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Uppu Adai:
1. Heat oil in a pan, and season the mustard seeds, chili, ginger, curry leaves, and asafoetida. Pour 2 cups of water. Add salt, 1 tablespoon of coconut bits, cilantro,and 1/4 cup of the cooked beans. Bring the water to a boil. Add 1 cup of the roasted rice flour, stirring constantly. Cook till all the water is absorbed and a dough is formed. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

To make the dumplings:
1. Grease the idly plates. Take small balls of the dough, and flatten between your palms.  Repeat the procedure for both doughs.
2. place the adai on the idly plates and steam cook in a pressure cooker for 8 minutes. 
3. Cook the 2 types of adai separately. Remove them from the cooker. Serve hot with a dab of butter on top. Uppu adai tastes well with coconut chutney.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kola Vada or Kotbole(mini Indian Pretzel)

My mother-in-law is famous for her Kola Vada, a crispy savory made with sooji(cream of wheat). Before returning home, she wanted to make some for my husband. So, me and my sister-in-law decided to make it ourselves this time. We wanted to learn the tradition. It is easy if 2 people make it together. I am glad to say that it turned out very well and got certified by everyone in the family.

2 C un-roasted cream of wheat(sooji)
2 T rice flour
1 t turmeric powder
1 T chili powder
2 T sesame seeds
2 T grated coconut
salt to taste
1/2 t asafoetida
3 T butter
water to make the dough
oil to fry

1. Mix all the dry ingredients. Slightly melt the butter and mix to the dry ingredients. Add enough water to make a stiff dough.
2. Take a berry size dough in your hand. Roll it between your palms to make a rope. Twist the rope to shape like a pretzel. Continue to make mini pretzel with the remaining dough.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Deep fry the pretzel shaped kola vada and drain on a paper towel. Enjoy with tea or coffee.
Kids will definitely love this snack after school.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Badam-Cashew Cake

Every one in my in-laws house loves sweet dishes. My mother-in-law makes sweet quite often for every occassion. Yesterday, I assisted her in making this delicious almond cake for my niece's birthday. It was a little bit too sweet for my taste. But my father- in-law insisted that much sugar is required for the cake to form. I had 3 pieces as soon as he cut them. My mother-in-law said that she got this recipe from her sister-in-law.

3/4 C almond, blanched
3/4 C cashew nusts, soaked and drained
1 C milk
4 1/4 C sugar
1 C water
2 t ghee
1 drop almomd essence(optional)

1. Use the milk and make a paste  of the nuts. Keep aside.
2. Grease a 2 inch bottom tray and set aside.
2. Melt the sugar with 1 1/2 cups of water in a heavy bottomed pan.
3. Stir in the nut paste when the sugar is completely melted. Keep stirring continuously, till all the water evaporates. It may take about 30 minutes.  Add 2 teaspoons of ghee. Add the essence at the very end.  Remove from the stove when the paste does not stick to the pan. Pour it on the greased tray and pat it smooth. Using a greased knife, make pieces while it is still warm.

Sugar can be reduced to taste(not too much though). You can not make pieces if the sugar is too less.
Saffron can be added for color.

Ragda Patty

I have not been able to blog for 2 weeks. I'm enjoying my vacation in India. I wanted to make something different for my nieces tonight. They have never eaten Ragda Patty. So I decided to make it. We enjoyed our dinner tonight. It was simple and tasty, though I had to run to the corner store to buy some of the sauces I used in this dish.

2 T oil
2 C yellow peas, soaked and boiled
1t each of garlic, ginger,and green chili, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 each of cinammon, clove, cardamom
1/4 t turmeric powder
1 t chili powder
1/2 t garam masala
salt to taste
5 large potatoes, boiled and mashed
2 green chili, chopped
1 t cumin seeds
1 t cumin/corriander powder
salt to taste
1 T corn starch

For Garnish:
chopped onion
chopped tomato
chopped cilantro
greeen chutney
sweet chutney

1. Add chopped chili, cumin seeds, daniya-jeera powder and salt to the mashed potato. Add corn starch and mix well. Make patties,place them on a griddle. Add little oil and cook till golden brown. Turn and cook on the other side. Keep the patties aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add the masala and fry for a couple of minutes. Add garlic, ginger and chili and saute quikly. Add  onion and saute till it is cooked. Add tomato and cook for a few minutes.
3. Add all the masala. Add the cooked peas. Pour enough water and cook on medium low for 30 minutes, stirring occassionaly. Keep aside.

To serve Ragda Patti:
1. Place 2 patties on a plate.
2. Pour enough ragda(peas) over the patties
3.  Sprinkle chopped onion, tomato, and cilantro over it.
4. Garnish with green chutney  and sweet chutney. Sprinkle some sev and serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chili Idly

Idly used to be my all time favorite food growing up. We used to have Idly with chili powder every day for breakfast. My son does not it though. When my kids were little, I used to make stuffed Idly with peas and carrot, to get them to eat their veggies. I like to make familiar food interesting. So, one day I made idly, the Chinese way. I made it like Manchurian. What do you know, my kids loved it.  I made it for lunch today.

16 idly, cut into cubes
2 bunches spring onion, chopped
2 t oil
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 T ginger, garlic, and green chili, chopped(more if desired)
1 T tomato sauce, or ketchup
1 t green chili sauce
1 T soy sauce
1 T corn flour
1/2 C water

1. Heat oil in a broad pan. Saute chili, garlic and ginger for a minute. Add green pepper and saute for 4 minutes. Add spring onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sauces. Mix corn flour and water, and stir it in the pan. Add the cubed idly to the sauce. Enjoy it hot.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Sorry friends, I could not get to blog for a week. Been busy. Last week I finally got the courage and decided to make Tiramisu for the Super Bowl Night. It was pretty easy to make and was a hit. I followed the recipe given by my sister's co-worker. I'm going to make it again tonight for Valentine's Day.

2 small tubs of mascarpone cheese(Italian soft cheese),about 500 gms
4 eggs
1/2 C whipping cream
1 1/2 C strong coffee or espresso
4 T rum extract or 1 small bottle Baileys or brandy
2 small packs 24 per pack lady finger(cookie)
1/2 + 2 T white sugar
cocoa for dusting
chocolate shavings(optional)

1. Separate the 4 eggs into two bowls.
2. Beat the egg yolks until they are light in color, then slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar. mix well and add the mascarpone cheese. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold this into the cheese and egg mixture.
4. Beat the 1/2 cup of whipping cream in a chilled bowl, until stiff. Fold this into the cheese mixture.
5. In another container, mix the espresso or strong coffee with 4 tablespoons of rum extract and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix well and allow to cool.

How to assemble:
1. Either dip or brush each side of the lady fingers with the coffee mixture and arrange on the bottom of 2 9x9x3 glass dish. Cut the cookies to fit if required.
2. Add a generous layer of the cheese/cream mixture. Top with  another layer of the lady fingers, and spread another layer of cream on top. Dust the top with sifted cocoa and chocolate shavings.
3. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.

Makes 2 small cakes in a square 9x9x3 glass dish.

If you dip the cookies or brush them too much with coffee, the cookies will become soggy.

I mixed 2 tablespoons of imitation rum extract in the coffee for one cake.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Grilled Tomatilla Sandwich

I love the green tomatoes(tomatilla) that I get from the Farmer's Market. I make dal with it. I found a nice recipe for panini sandwich using tomatilla  in some magazine. It is a low-calorie food. Some people may not like the tangy taste of the tomatilla.

4 tomatilla, sliced
4 slices of cheese
8 slices of rye bread
2 T corn flour
1 t crushed chili flakes
1 t barbeque spice(optional)
1/2 t ground pepper
oil spray

1. Mix the corn flour and spices on a plate. Coat the sliced tomatilla on both sides with the corn flour. 
2. spray a broiling pan with oil. Arrange the tomatilla on the pan. Spray the vegetables with oil. Broil in oven for 10 minutes, turning the vegetables once. Remove from the oven and set aside.
3. Take 2 slices of bread for each sandwich.  Spread the bottom slice with your choice of sauce(pesto or mayo). Place 2 slices of tomatilla on the bottom slice. Top with 1 slice of cheese.  Place the top slice over the cheese. Place the sandwich on the panini grill or sandwich maker. Repeat the process for the remaining slices of bread. Enjoy the sandwich with a bowl of soup.

I like to use different kinds of cheese for my sandwiches, like Swiss, Provolone, Mozzarella or Gouda.
Smoked Gouda goes very well in the sandwich.

Vegetable Upma(Sooji Kitchidi)

 When I was young, my mom used to cook cream of wheat(sooji) for breakfast. She used to make it plain, with onion, or with vegetables. I love the plain version. We call it upma. It is a very easy dish to make for teens. I taught my daughter to make the plain upma yesterday. I don't know how much she retained. But, she can always look back to the blog to check the recipe.

1 C cream of wheat(sooji), roasted
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
1 small carrot, diced
1 small potato, diced
1 T green peas
1 green chili,slit
2 t oil
1/2 inch cinnamon
1 cardamom
1 clove
1 t each of mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal
1/2 t turmeric powder
1/2 t chili powder
3 C water
salt to taste
curry leaves and chopped cilantro

1. Heat oil in a pan to medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, chili, and the spices. Add the chopped onion and fry till translucent. Add the remaining vegetables, turmeric powder and chili powder. Cook for 2 minutes. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
2. Add salt, curry leaves and cilantro. Gradually add the roasted sooji, while constantly stirring.  Check for salt. Upma should be done in 5 minutes.
3. Serve hot with sambar and coconut chutney.
My kids and husband love to eat it with sugar.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hot and Sour Soup

My goal for this year is to make more low calorie food. I try to find such recipes from where ever I can.  Being a Life member of Weight Watchers, I get e-mail updates of recipes from them. I love mushrooms. When I saw this Shitake Mushroom soup for 1 point value per serving, I had to write it down. I make this soup when ever I buy Shitake. It is very easy to make. My son loves this soup, but my daughter will not touch it. She does not eat mushroom.

2 C sliced shitake mushrooms
9 Oz. firm tofu, diced
1/2 C bamboo shoot, sliced(optional)
4 C broth or water
2 T rice vinegar
2 t Asian hot sauce or chili paste
1 T soy sauce
1 T corn starch, mixed with 2 T water
2 scallions, sliced

1. In a soup pot, stir together the broth, vinegar, hot sauce, soy sauce, mushroom, bamboo, and tofu.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the corn starch mixed in water and simmer 2 more minutes.
3. Serve, sprinkling each bowl with sliced scallions.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Decadent Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce

Who does not love chocolate? You could call me a reformed chocoholic.(I have not given up on it though). Everyone in my family loves chocolate. You can guess what cake my kids wanted me to bake today for my son's 12th birthday! My sister had given me Christmas Cook book by Betty Crocker  for Christmas last year.  I took the recipe from that book. The cake was delicious. I served it with warm raspberry sauce. My kids loved it. I used the left over sauce with  my oatmeal.

For the cake:
1 C semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C butter
1/2 C all purpose flour
4 eggs, separated
1/2 C sugar

For the raspberry sauce:
10 0z frozen raspberries, thawed, drained, and
juice reserved
1/4 c sugar
2 T cornstarch

For glaze:
1/2 C semisweet chocolate chips
2 T butter
2 T light corn syrup

For garnish:
1/2 C whipped cream
fresh raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 325 degree F. Grease the bottom and sides of 8/2-1/2 inch spring form pan with shortening. In a 2-quart saucepan, melt 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour until smooth. Stir in the egg yolks until well blended. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl,  beat egg whites with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until soft peaks form. Gently stir chocolate mixture into egg whiles. Spread in pan.
3. Bake for 35- 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove the side of springform pan. Turn the cake upside down onto a wire rack. Remove the bottom of  springform pan and cool completely, about 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, add enough water to reserved raspberry juice to measure 1 cup. In a 1-quart saucepan, mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cornstarch. Stir in juice and thawed raspberries. Heat to boiling over medium heat. Boil and stir 1 minute. strain through strainer to remove seeds. Set aside.

5. Place cake on a serving plate. In 1-quart saucepan, heat 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons butter and the corn syrup over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chips are melted. Spread over top of cake, allowing some to drizzle down side. Place whipped cream in a decorating bag fitted with star tip. Pipe a rosette on each serving. serve cake with sauce. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Gobi Manchurian(Cauliflower fritters in sauce)

Gobi Manchurian is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. You will not see it in any Chinese restaurants. It is a specialty of Indo-Chinese cuisine. I bought a big cauliflower last week, and decided to make Machurian before my mom left for India. Gobi Manchurian can be made dry or with sauce. It tastes good plain or with rice. My kids love to order this dish every time we go to Ino-Chinese restaurant.

Cauliflower fritters:
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
3 T cornflour
2 C cauliflower florets, washed
1/2 t soy sauce
1 t ginger, garlic, and green chili, grated or paste
1/2 t salt
oil to fry

For the sauce:
1 T garlic, chopped
1 T ginger, chopped
1 T green chili, chopped
2 bunches green onion, chopped
1 t ginger, garlic and green chili, grated or paste
1/2 C green pepper, sliced
1 T soy sauce
1 T corn flour
1 1/2 C water
4 T tomato sauce

1. Heat a wok to medium heat. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Fry the chopped ginger, garlic, chili and green onion. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a couple minutes. Add the green pepper. Cook till it is crunchy.  Add tomato sauce and and salt. Cook for 5 minutes. Mix soy sauce and water to 1 tablespoon of corn flour. Add this to the wok. stir and allow to thicken. Add more water if required. Turn the stove off.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Mix chili, garlic and ginger paste, soy sauce, and salt to corn flour and all purpose flour. Add enough water to make a batter. It should not be too thick or too thin. 
3. Dip the florets in the batter and deep fry them till crisp and golden.
4. Add the fritters to the prepared sauce. Mix well and heat the sauce. Serve with rice.

For dry Manchurian, avoid the water and corn flour. Just mix the fritters to the sauteed green onion and pepper. This can be served as an appetizer.