Friday, January 29, 2010

Mutter Paneer

We love paneer and this is one of the many ways we enjoy it. The combination of peas, tomatoes and paneer gives this dish a subtle sweetness which enhances the taste of this flavored dish.

Preparation Time : 20 minutes
Serves : 3

Ingredients :

100 gms paneer cut into cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree or tomato paste
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 green chilli finely chopped
2 tsp cashew nut powder or paste
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp tava fry masala (optional)
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
salt to taste
coriander leaves for garnish

Method :

  • Heat some oil in a pan. Then add the onions and fry nicely till golden brown
  • Then add the tomato puree or paste and fry nicely.
  • To this add the spices (turmeric pwd, red chilli pwd, tava fry masala, coriander pwd, cumin pwd, garam masala pwd) and stir nicely.
  • Then add the cashew nut powder and fry well.
  • Then add the peas and some water to it and allow it to cook.
  • When the peas are half cooked, add the paneer cubes and cover and cook for 5 minutes
  • Garnish with coriander leaves
  • Serve hot with chapatis or parathas.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mushroom Pulao (with video)

This morning when I looked into the refrigerator, was wondering what to cook for lunch. First thought of making a simple peas pulao, but then I saw a packet of mushrooms lying in the refrigerator and so decided to make something out of it...hence created my very own "Mushroom Pulao".

Preparation Time : 30 minutes
Serves : 5

Ingredients :

1/2 Potato cut into cubes (you could add more if you like)
1 cup green peas (optional)
1 medium onion finely cut lengthwise
3 cups basmati rice (rice cooker measure)
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp garam masala powder
a few coriander leaves finely chopped
a few mint leaves finely chopped
2 tbsp yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

Spices :

2 dry red chillies
2 bay leaves
3 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 cardamoms
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds (shahi jeera)

Method :

  • Add 2 tbsp of oil to the preheated pressure cooker and add all the spices one by one.
  • When the jeera and caraway seeds start spluttering, add mint leaves, coriander leaves and fry them for 2 minutes.
  • Add chopped onions and fry till they are golden brown. Then add ginger-garlic paste, garam masala powder, salt and turmeric powder and mix well.
  • Then add the mushrooms, potatoes, green peas and mix well
  • When mushrooms get half cooked, add curd and stir it well. Then add 6 cups of water. When water starts boiling, add 3 cups of rice and pressure cook it.
  • Garnish with a red chilli and coriander leaves
  • Serve hot with cucumber raita or pomegranate raita.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chicken Biryani

There are a lot of different ways of making Biryani and here is one simple, easy and yet incredibly delicious recipe that is just "too good". Do not get intimidated by the number of ingredients or the steps...just follow along and WOW your family and friends!

Cooking Time : 40 minutes
Serves : 10

Ingredients :

1 kg basmati rice
11/2 kg chicken cleaned and cut into big pieces
10 big onions cut finely lengthwise
1tsp sugar
2 tbsp ghee
saffron milk

for the marinade:

11/2 tbs ginger garlic paste
12 green chillies slit into half
1 tbsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tbsp cumin powder
11/2 tbsp coriander powder
250 gms yogurt beaten well
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
4-5 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 black cardamoms
4-5 small green cardamoms
2 star anise flower
2 javatri
3 bay leaves
a big bunch of coriander leaves finely chopped
half a bunch of mint leaves finely chopped
8 big tomatoes finely chopped
salt to taste

Method :

  • Take a big bowl and combine the chicken with the marinade. Mix well and refrigerate overnight.
  • Take some ghee in a vessel and fry the onions nicely till they are golden brown. Add half the onions to the marinated chicken and to the rest of the onions add 1 tsp sugar and continue frying till they are crisp.
  • Boil the rice with 2 bay leaves, 1 cinnamon stick and 2-3 cloves. Do not overcook the rice. Strain and keep aside
  • Cook the marinated chicken with the spices and fried onions on slow flame for about 20 minutes or till the chicken is cooked well.
  • Then in a big vessel layer the biryani by having the chicken mixture at the bottom and then one layer of rice. On the rice, add some saffron milk and some crispy fried onions, then have another layer of chicken and finally top it with a layer of rice with some saffron milk and crispy fried onion.
  • Cover the vessel tightly and cook it on very slow flame so that the whole biryani gets heated evenly
  • Serve with some nice cucumber raita.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hara bhara kebabs

This recipe is a healthy version of kebabs with a tasty blend of ingredients.

I have made these kebabs several times and found them to be a great starter / appetizer to serve before dinner. They are light and crispy and can also be served as a tea-time snack.

During college days, I used to treat my friends to these kebabs for special occasions and they used to simply love it. This is an interesting way to make your guests (who do not like eating vegetables) eat them.

These vegetable tikkis can be used to make burgers as well.

Preparation Time : 30 minutes
Serves : 5

Ingredients :

2 medium sized potatoes
1 cup boiled green peas
100 gms spinach
1 tbsp chopped green chillies
2 tbsp chopped green coriander
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp chaat masala
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1 tbsp lime juice
oil for deep frying
1 cup bread crumbs

Method :

  • Peel and grate boiled potatoes. Mash boiled green peas.
  • Blanch spinach leaves in boiling water, refresh in cold water and squeeze out excess water. Finely chop.
  • Mix grated potatoes, peas and spinach in a bowl. Add chopped green chillies, chopped green coriander, ginger-garlic paste, chaat masala, cumin powder, coriander powder, lime juice and salt. Add cornflour for binding.
  • Divide the mixture into twenty five equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball and then press it in between your palms to give it a flat tikki shape.
  • Heat oil in a kadai or deep bottomed pan. Roll the kebabs in the bread crumbs and deep fry them in hot oil for three to four minutes.
  • Tastes good as it is or you could also serve it with some hot and sweet tomato ketchup.
Tip : You may also shallow fry the hara bhara kebabs on a griddle plate or tawa. It is recommended that you do not use color in this recipe. If you feel, you may increase the quantity of spinach leaves to give a dark green color. In that case, add a little more of cornflour for binding

Paneer Makhani

This is a typical North Indian dish made with Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) cooked in rich creamy tomato gravy. Makhani (something cooked and sauteed in butter or thick cream)

Preparation Time : 30 minutes
Serves : 10

Ingredients :

6 big tomatoes - pureed
800 gms paneer - cubed
3 big onions
2 bay leaf
4 cloves
1 1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
11/2 tbsp red chilli powder
4 tbsp cashewnut powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp dry coriander powder
1 tbsp dry cumin powder
1 tbsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
1 tbsp garam masala powder
salt and lemon juice - to taste
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp ghee
4 tbsp fresh cream
fresh coriander - chopped for garnish

Method :

  • Soak the onions and blanch them in hot water for 3 mins, then puree them to form a paste. Do the same with tomatoes, unless you are using tomato puree directly.
  • Take 2 tbsp ghee, heat in a pan for 2 minutes, then saute the paneer cubes in it till golden brown. Now take 3 cups hot water, add a pinch of salt and turmeric powder to it and immerse the paneer cubes in it for 10-12 mins. Then remove the pieces, drain them on a tissue paper and keep aside.
  • Heat 3 tbsp butter in a pan, add the bay leaf and cloves, then add the onion paste and saute till light-brown. Add ginger-garlic paste. Saute for 3 minutes. Add chilli powder, followed by the cashewnut powder and fry for 5 minutes.
  • Add tomato puree, crushed kasuri methi, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt. Stir and let it simmer for some time.
  • Add the paneer cubes and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and let it cook on medium heat till you get the desired curry consistency. Remove from fire, stir in remaining butter and fresh cream
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.

Hot Mulled Apple Cider

Last Christmas, my sister made this drink called "Hot Mulled Apple Cider". She posted the pictures to me and it really looked yummy!!!. She kept telling me to try it out and I was looking for the right occasion to make this drink. Yesterday, at the party I made this drink and everyone loved it. It was so good that I got this recipe from my sister.

My sister directed me to this website which is hosting the recipe...

I made it an hour before the guests arrived at my place, so that I could serve it as a warm welcome drink. Everyone who tried it absolutely loved the warm apple cider. It is a perfect drink to warm up the insides on a cold winter evening :)

Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raita is a simple Indian dish made with cucumber which is added to spiced yogurt generally served as a cool, refreshing accompaniment with heavier curry dishes.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Serves : 10

Ingredients :

2 large cucumbers (don't use the long English cucumbers - they're too wet)
750 gms plain yogurt
3 green chillies finely cut
a few coriander leaves finely cut
a few mint leaves finely cut
a pinch of salt
2 tsp sugar


  • Hang the yogurt in a muslin cloth for about 30 minutes and drain the excess water from it.
  • Cut the cucumbers finely and keep aside.
  • Combine the cucumber, yogurt, chillies, salt, sugar, coriander leaves in a bowl.
  • Garnish with some mint leaves and serve chilled.
Note: You could also add 1 onion finely chopped to this raita. It enhances the flavor of the raita. But, I haven't added it to my recipe, because my guests don't like eating raw onions.

Party Time !!!

Yesterday evening, I had a small party at my place with some old friends and some new friends. We had Indian theme and Indian food. For the first time ever, I cooked for about 10 people. I made Mulled Apple Cider, Hara bhara kebabs, Chicken Biryani, Paneer Makhani, Cucumber Raita and Carrot Halwa.

Throughout cooking, I was hoping to get the measurements right and praying that the food would turn out good as I had never cooked for such a huge crowd before. But, everything went on smoothly and the food turned out to be good too :) Everyone was happy and so was I.

Here are the pictures, of what the food looked like...

I promise to post all the recipes soon :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ghajjar (Carrot) ka halwa

When the talk is about Indian desserts, one name that undoubtedly comes into every person's mind is that of our favorite traditional carrot halwa recipe. Indian recipe of gajjar ka halwa has been sailing smoothly on almost every buffet table. It is just the perfect sweet dish to be relished post dinner, not to mention nutritional too.

Cooking Time : 1 hr
Serves : 6


1 kg Carrots peeled and grated
1 litre skimmed milk
450 gms sugar
1 tin sweet condensed milk
2 tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp ghee
1/2 cup dry fruits (sliced almonds & raisins)

Method :

  • Place the grated carrots in a large saucepan. Add the milk and cook partly covered, over a low to medium heat for about 1/2 hour.
  • Stir in the sugar with a wooden spoon and cook until the milk has evaporated
  • Then add the cardamom powder and the sweet condensed milk and stir in gently.
  • In the meanwhile, roast the dry fruits in ghee for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the dry fruits to the carrot halwa and mix well.
  • Place the carrot halwa in a shallow serving dish and sprinkle some sliced almonds over it.
  • You can serve this hot or cold

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Bharwan Baingan (Stuffed Eggplants)

    Eggplants are delicate in flavor and absorb other flavors very well. I have used a sweet and spicy peanut flavored mixture with onions and coconut to fill them along with a host of complimentary spices that enhance the taste of eggplants. The eggplants have to be cooked over a slow flame with utmost care in order to preserve the natural flavors of this dish.

    Preparation Time : 30 minutes
    Serves : 3

    Ingredients :

    10 small round eggplants or baingan
    2 green chillies chopped
    1 big onion finely chopped
    2 tbsp peanuts
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp coriander seeds
    1 tsp tamarind pulp
    1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
    1 tsp poppy seeds
    1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    6 peppercorns
    4 cloves
    1 cinnamon stick
    a small bunch or 1/2 cup of fresh coriander leaves finely chopped
    1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
    1/4 cup of dry grated coconut
    1 tsp sugar
    salt to taste
    1 tsp garam masala powder
    2 tbsp oil

    for the tadka or tempering :

    1 tsp mustard seeds
    a few curry leaves
    2 cloves of crushed garlic


    • Heat a pan and dry roast the spices (cumin seeds, coriander seeds, poppy seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns) and the peanuts. Keep them aside.
    • In the same pan, add some oil and fry the onions till they are slightly brown in color and then fry both (dry and fresh) coconut separately in the same manner and keep aside.
    • In a blender, combine the dry roast spices, peanuts, roasted onions, fried coconut, tamarind pulp, green chillies, salt, sugar, coriander leaves, ginger garlic paste and some water and puree it. It should turn out to be a thick light green paste.
    • Slit each eggplant lengthwise into four, keeping the stem end intact.
    • Stuff the the slit eggplants with the green paste or green masala reserving some
    • Heat some oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and crushed garlic and fry for a minute or two.
    • Then add the remaining green masala which was reserved and fry nicely till it starts changing color. While frying this, add the garam masala powder to it
    • Then add the stuffed eggplants and 1/2 cup water and cover and cook them over a slow flame till the eggplants are cooked completed
    • Serve hot with parathas or Indian bread.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Lemon Roasted Asparagus

    This healthy vegetable side dish, pepped up with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, is a perfect accompaniment to roasted meat or poultry.

    Preparation Time 20 minutes
    Serves : 3-4

    Ingredients :

    1 pound asparagus cleaned and trimmed
    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    1/2 lime squeezed to get juice
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 spring onion chopped finely
    salt to taste
    pepper to taste

    Method :

    • Preheat the oven to 400 degree F
    • Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the asparagus in a single layer on a tray
    • Drizzle the olive oil on the asparagus and toss it gently.
    • Then combine balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, chopped spring onions, salt and pepper in a bowl and pour it on the asparagus and toss it again.
    • Roast it in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until it turns tender and lightly brown.
    • Plate it and pour the left over marinade from the baking tray on the asparagus and serve immediately.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Dal Makhani

    Makhani is the hindi word for "buttery", and this surely lives up to its name of Buttery lentils! My neighbour in India used to prepare this and it was so very very good. I asked her for the recipe and she kindly gave it out to me. I altered it a bit and this is one of the several versions of Dal Makhani that I make.

    One thing always guaranteed to melt the heart of everyone at your table is Dal Makhani. Believe me, this is good!

    Preparation time: 15 minutes + soaking time
    Cooking Time : 30 minutes

    Serves : 6


    100 gms of whole urad dal (black lentils)
    50 gms rajma (kidney beans)
    10 gms ginger, peeled
    2-3 garlic cloves
    2 green chillies
    salt to taste

    for the tadka or tempering:

    50 gms ghee
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
    pinch of asafoetida powder
    2-3 garlic cloves
    50 gms tomato paste or puree

    to finish:

    50 gms butter
    20 ml cream
    1/2 tsp more chilli powder
    1 tsp garam masala powder


    • Soak all of the lentils (urad and rajma) in water for 6 hours, or preferably overnight. Wash several times, changing the water each time. Pressure cook all the lentils with the ginger, garlic, green chillies and salt and remove about 5 whistles. When cooked, mash the lentils lightly with the back of a ladle.
    • Heat ghee or oil in a heavy pan until hot, and add the cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds, and stir until they crackle.
    • Add the garlic and fry until beginning to colour. Add the asafoetida powder and tomato puree and stir for a minute.
    • Add to the cooked dal, mixing well. Bring the dal to boil again, adding chilli powder, butter and cream. Simmer gently for 15 minutes.
    • Add the garam masala and adjust seasonings.
    • Tastes great with jeera rice or plain parathas.

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    Egg Fried Rice

    Today I was in mood for some Chinese food. So, instead of ordering out, I decided to cook some easy Chinese recipes at home. Nothing tastes better than home cooked food, doesn't it ? I made some egg fried rice and chilly chicken and it turned out really yummy !!! It is perfect for those nights when you're cleaning out the refrigerator and want to get rid of any leftover meat or vegetables.

    I've always thought of fried rice as the quintessential comfort food. Think of it - a bowl of steaming white rice cooked to just the right consistency, filled with bits of meat, egg and vegetable (as per your choice). No wonder fried rice is one of the world's most popular rice dishes!

    Preparation Time : 20 minutes
    Serves : 4


    2 slightly beaten eggs
    salt and ground pepper
    4 spring onion finely chopped
    3 cups of pre-cooked long rice (rice cooker cup measure)
    2 tbsp soy sauce
    2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
    2 tbsp green chilli sauce
    1/2 green capsicum cut finely lengthwise
    1 carrot cut finely lengthwise
    10 french beans cut finely lengthwise
    1/2 cup celery cut lengthwise
    oil for frying


    • Take a wok and heat some oil in it. Then add the beaten eggs and stir fry them for about a minute. Take them about and keep them aside
    • Then in the same oil, add the carrots and french beans and stir fry continously for about 5 minutes. Add some salt and pepper to it while stir frying.
    • Then add the capsicum, celery and spring onions and continue stir-frying for another 5 minutes.
    • To this, add soy sauce, green chilli sauce, 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar and continue frying for about 2 more minutes. Then take it out in a plate and keep aside.
    • In the same wok, add 1 tsp of oil and heat it. Then add 1 tsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper and the pre-cooked long rice and fry it nicely for about 5 minutes.
    • Then add all the vegetables and egg to the fried rice and continue frying for another 2 minutes
    • Finally, check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if required.
    • Egg fried rice is now ready to eat.

    Note: You could also make this fried rice with left-over rice from the previous day. You could also add cooked chicken pieces or cooked shrimp to it if desired.

    Chilly Chicken

    I love this recipe because it is very quick and simple to make and also very delicious. I have prepared this several times and have received a lot of compliments for it. The kids enjoy eating chicken this way. With a simple recipe like this anyone can cook delicious Chinese food at home.

    Preparation Time : 2 hours
    Cooking Time : 20 minutes

    Serves : 2


    2 boneless chicken breasts
    1 tbsp soy sauce
    1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
    1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    1 tsp pepper powder
    1/2 capsicum cut into cubes (I used half red bell pepper)
    1 tbsp honey
    1 tbsp cornflour
    2 green chillies slit into half
    1 tbsp garlic chopped finely
    1 spring onion chopped finely
    1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
    1 tbsp green chilli sauce
    salt to taste
    oil for shallow frying


    • Wash the chicken breasts and cut them into bite size cubes
    • In a bowl, combine the chicken breasts, ginger garlic paste, soy sauce, salt, pepper powder and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
    • After 2 hours, bring the chicken to room temperature and add cornflour to it.
    • Mix it well and shallow fry in a pan till the chicken is slightly golden brown on both sides
    • Take it out in a plate and drain the excess oil from the chicken
    • In the same pan, add the chopped garlic, green chillies, rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp honey, green chilli sauce and stir fry for about a minute.
    • Then add the capsicum and again fry for another minute.
    • Then add the fried chicken cubes to it and a dash of water and cover and cook for about 3 minutes.
    • Finally garnish with spring onions.

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    Roasted Vermicelli

    Today was a surprise for me ...

    My daughter usually takes about an hour to finish her breakfast. But, today she gobbled it down in less than 15 minutes.

    This is a family recipe that I would like to share with you all. My late grandfather used to make roasted vermicelli very well and every time I make it, it reminds me of him. We used to love eating it as kids and I see that the recipe still works its magic with the youngest generation in our family. So, all you mothers who have a tough time feeding breakfast to your little 2 year old's can try this recipe out :)

    Preparation Time: 15 minutes
    Serves : 3


    100 gms roasted wheat vermicelli
    pinch of salt
    1 tsp cardamom powder
    7 tsp sugar (you could add more as per your taste)
    1/4 cup milk
    1/2 cup hot water
    a few cashewnuts chopped roughly
    a few raisins
    2 tbsp ghee


    • Break the vermicelli into smaller easy to manage pieces by using your hands.
    • Take some ghee in a pan and roast this vermicelli on a slow flame.
    • When it starts changing colour, add in the raisins and cashewnuts and fry again.
    • Then add the cardamom powder and the sugar and fry for a while.
    • Finally, add the hot water and milk and stir constantly, cooking this on a medium flame till done. When you see the vermicelli coming together and leaving the sides of the pan, you will know that it is time to take it away from the heat.
    • You could also add additional raisins on top as garnish.

    Saturday, January 16, 2010

    French Toast

    Last summer holidays, I had been to Goa to "Heritage Village" and over there I had eaten the most perfect "French Toast". I loved them so much that I tried making them at home several times and have now mastered the art of making them. Usually, they used to turn out soggy but now, they are simply perfect i.e crispy on the outside with a delicious moist centre

    Today being Sunday, I wanted to make a nice breakfast for my family. So, I decided to make French toast, which is my all time favorite breakfast. French toast with maple syrup simply tastes awesome and a must try for everyone !!!

    This recipe takes just 15 minutes and is a healthy start to a good day. Kids simply love eating bread this way.

    Preparation Time : 15 minutes
    Makes : 6 french toasts


    6 White bread slices
    2 eggs
    3/4 cup milk
    3 tbsp powdered sugar (add more as per your taste)
    1 tsp cardamom powder
    a pinch of cinnamon powder
    oil for frying
    1 tbsp maple syrup


    • Cut the edges of the bread slices and keep aside
    • Beat eggs in a bowl and keep aside.
    • Add sugar to the milk and mix well till all the sugar has dissolved
    • Then add the egg mixture into the milk mixture.
    • Now, add the cardamom powder and the cinnamon powder and mix well.
    • Take one slice of bread and dip it in the above mixture. Soak it well on both sides.
    • Shallow fry this over a pan with some oil, over medium heat
    • Fry on both sides till slightly golden brown
    • Repeat the same process for the remaining bread slices
    • Cut them diagnolly and place them on a plate
    • Just before serving, drizzle some maple syrup over the french toasts.

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    Palak Paneer

    Palak Paneer is a very popular Indian recipe. It is a traditional North-Indian delicacy and a very integral part of the Punjabi cuisine. It is also one of my favorite dishes.

    You will enjoy cooking this wonderful combination of spinach and cottage cheese. It cooks quickly without addition of water or loss of nutrients, the cottage cheese becomes soft and moist and the dish itself looks very appetizing bright green with white. Try it !!!

    Preparation Time : 15 minutes
    Cooking Time : 15 minutes

    Serves : 4

    Ingredients :

    1 bunch spinach
    200 gms paneer (cottage cheese) cut into small squares
    1 medium sized onion finely chopped
    1 medium sized tomato finely chopped
    1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
    1 tsp chilli powder
    1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp coriander powder
    1/2 tsp cumin powder
    1 tsp sugar
    salt to taste
    2 tbsp fresh cream (optional)

    Method :

    • Clean and wash the spinach nicely
    • Boil the spinach with a little salt and cool it. Do not add any water while boiling it as spinach releases a lot of water while cooking.
    • Then mash it in a mixer and keep aside.
    • Heat oil in a pan. Add ginger-garlic paste and stir-fry for a minute
    • Now add onions and stir-fry till golden brown
    • Now add the finely chopped tomatoes and fry again till the tomatoes blend nicely with the onions.
    • Now add all the spices and fry for a minute or two.
    • Then add the spinach and little water if needed and cook for 4-5 minutes
    • Now add the paneer squares to the gravy and cook until done
    • Finally add fresh cream (optional) and give a good stir
    • Serves with hot Indian chapatis or plain parathas.
    Note: You could also shallow fry or deep fry the paneer before adding it to the spinach gravy. But, I don't like using a lot of oil in my cooking and hence kept it simple.

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Beef Meatballs in a thick spicy gravy

    This morning after a busy day at home, I decided to watch my favorite food network channel. I saw Jamie Oliver teaching people to cook spaghetti and meatballs and that gave me the idea for today's dinner :)

    I didn't have spaghetti at home so decided to make this delicious spicy gravy with potatoes and beef meatballs. This recipe does not have a lot of gravy and is ideal to eat with rice, plain parathas or also as a sandwich.
    So here goes the recipe...

    Preparation Time : 30 minutes
    Serves : 4


    for the meatballs:

    1 pkt of ground beef
    1/4 cup bread crumbs
    2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    1 small egg, beaten
    1 tsp of cornstarch
    3 green chillies finely cut
    1 tsp soy sauce
    salt to taste
    vegetable oil

    for the gravy:

    1 medium onion finely chopped
    1 medium tomato finely chopped
    1 tbsp tomato paste
    2 potatoes cut into quarters
    1 green chilli finely chopped
    1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
    1 tbsp patak's madras curry paste or any curry powder
    1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    1 tsp chilli powder
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    salt to taste
    1 tbsp oil
    2 tbsp of fresh coriander finely chopped


    • Place all the ingredients for the meatball in a bowl and combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have about 15 meatballs depending on the size.
    • Take a frying pan with little oil and shallow fry the meatballs and keep aside
    • Take a non-stick pan. Heat some oil. Add cumin seeds to it. When it crackles, add the onions and fry nicely. Then add the green chillies and the ginger garlic paste and fry for another 2 minutes.
    • Then add in the tomatoes and the tomato paste to it.
    • To this mixture, add the patak's curry paste and fry nicely. Also add the chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt to taste.
    • To this, add the potatoes and some water and allow it to cook for about 10 minutes.
    • Then add the fried meatballs and again cook for another 5 minutes.
    • Then garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
    • You can serve this with pulao or plain parathas.

    Note: If you don't have enough time to make the meatballs, you could also make this dish with readily available meatballs. I have tried preparing this dish with the Swedish meatballs available in the Walmart's frozen section and it turns out equally good.

    Crunchy Munchy Salad

    I prefer to call this salad as "Crunchy Munchy" because the ingredients in this salad are very fresh and crunchy. They are complemented very well with by the honey balsamic vinaigrette.

    Preparation Time: 15 minutes
    Serves : 3

    Ingredients :

    2 small cucumber cut into small cubes
    200 gms baby spinach
    1/2 raw mango cut into small cubes
    50 gms fresh bean sprouts
    10 cherry tomatoes cut into half

    for the dressing:

    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    1 tbsp honey
    1 tsp crushed dried basil leaves
    salt to taste
    pepper to taste


    • Mix the salad dressing ingredients together in a bowl and keep aside.
    • Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl and pour the dressing over it.
    • Crunchy Munchy salad is now ready to eat.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Pomegrante Raita

    I came across this recipe on one of Nigella Lawson's shows. I found it very interesting and was wondering how pomegranate would taste with yogurt. So, decided to give it a try and believe me, it is a wonderful combination. This is a slightly sweet raita and goes well with biryani rice.

    Preparation Time: 10 minutes
    Serves : 8

    Ingredients :

    11/2 cup natural yogurt
    3 scallions, finely chopped
    1 pomegranate, to give 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
    salt to taste

    • Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, reserving some pomegranate seeds for garnish.
    • Add a squeeze of pomegranate juice from the husks of the seeded pomegranate at the end.
    • Stir everything together, and serve in a bowl scattering the reserved pomegranate seeds over as a garnish.

    Prawn Biryani

    Today I wanted to make something, that I had not eaten for a long time. So, I decided to try out making Prawn Biryani.

    Prawn biryani is a rich rice dish cooked with fresh prawns and is one of the most popular of all the biryanies.

    Prawn or shrimp biryani ...yummy! That's just about it you can say about this dish!! This dish can be made in a jiffy and can still taste heavenly!!! You can make any occasion even more special by serving this one-dish meal. This biryani goes very well with any green salad or any raita. I made pomegranate raita to go with it.

    So here goes the recipe:

    Preparation Time : 30 minutes
    Serves : 4

    Ingredients :Bold

    3 cups of basmati rice = rice cooker cup measure
    30 fresh prawns de-veined
    3 big onions finely cut lengthwise
    2 big tomatoes chopped finely
    1 tbsp tomato paste
    5 green chillies
    1/2 bunch of coriander leaves
    1 inch ginger
    4 cloves garlic
    1 tsp coriander seeds
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    2 tbsp coconut milk
    1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
    2 tbsp of patak's biryani curry paste or
    2 tbsp of any biryani masala
    5 peppercorns
    4 cinnamon sticks
    8 cloves
    3 black cardamom
    3 pods green cardamom
    4 bay leaves
    salt to taste
    2 tbsp ghee
    1 tsp sugar


    • Marinate the prawns with turmeric and salt and keep aside
    • Make a paste of green chillies, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, salt, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and coconut milk in the blender
    • Bring 2 litres of water to a boil in a vessel. Add the basmati rice, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves and 3 cloves and cook till the rice in done. Strain the water and keep aside.
    • Take a non-stick pan. Add some ghee to it. When the ghee starts melting, add 3 cinnamon sticks, 3 cloves, 3 black cardamom, 5 black pepper corns, 3 pods green cardamom, 2 bay leaves and fry it for a minute. Then add the finely cut onions and fry till golden brown.
    • While frying the onions, add 1 tsp sugar to it.
    • Then add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato paste and stir well.
    • Then add the green chilli and coriander paste and fry for about 5 minutes.
    • Then add the biryani curry paste, salt, red chilli powder and mix well. To this add the marinated prawns and cover and cook for 5 minutes.
    • Then carefully blend the cooked basmati rice with the above prawn masala.
    • Garnish with coriander leaves.
    • Serve hot with any green salad or raita.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Bhendi (Okra) Masala

    Today I was in mood to cook something very simple. So, I decided to make bhendi masala and Indian Chapatis for lunch. I like to cook bhendi this way because it is really loved by everyone and also very easy to cook.
    I am aware that many people have a love / hate position when it comes to okra, but this delicious dish will turn the most adamant "anti okra" person into an absolute okra lover!

    Preparation Time : 15 minutes
    Cooking Time : 15 minutes

    Serves : 4

    Ingredients :

    1/2 kg fresh bhendi (okra)
    1 big onion cut finely lengthwise
    1 tsp cumin seeds

    1 tsp ginger paste
    1 tsp garlic paste
    1 tsp cumin powder
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1 tsp turmeric powder
    1 tsp red chilli powder
    1 tsp chaat masala
    1 tsp kitchen king masala
    2 green chillies slit into half
    3 tbsp oil
    1 tsp sugar
    2 tsp lemon juice
    salt to taste


    • Wash the bhendi and cut it lengthwise into 1" long strips
    • Take a bowl. Combine the bhendi with all the above spices and oil and mix it well.
    • Take a non-stick pan. Heat some oil in it.
    • Then add the cumin seeds. Allow them to crackle.
    • Then fry the onion nicely till slightly brown.
    • Then add the bhendi blended with spices and mix well.
    • Cook on slow heat for about 15 minutes.
    • Do not add water and do not cover the pan
    • Be careful to see that the bhendi does not stick to the pan. Keep stirring in between.
    • Delicious bhendi masala is now ready to eat
    • Serve hot with Indian chapattis.

    Tip : When purchasing okra, look for young okra pods with a bright green color and a length of 2-3 inches. These smaller okra pods tend to be typically more tender than the larger ones.

    In order to reduce the "sliminess" that is often associated with okra, try adding some lime juice to it while cooking and keep stirring it while cooking

    Puran Poli (Sweet Indian Stuffed Bread)

    This is one of my favorite snack. My mom is an expert at making this. I think a lot of patience and effort is required to get the proper texture of this. I tried it for the first time and it tasted really good. Though, I know I can improve a lot.

    So here goes the recipe...

    Preparation Time : 45 minutes
    Serves : 4

    Ingredients :

    2 cups chana dal (split bengal gram), soaked in water for 4 hours
    2 cups jaggery
    2 cups refined flour
    3 tbsp oil
    1 tsp cardamom powder
    1/4th tsp nutmeg powder
    a generous pinch of saffron

    Method :

    • Drain and cook chana dal in a pressure cooker till soft. Drain out excess water till the dal is absolutely dry.
    • Add jaggery and cook further till blended and mash into a soft paste.
    • Add cardamom powder, saffron and freshly grated nutmeg powder and mix well. Form 20 balls of equal size and reserve.
    • Mix refined flour, oil, water and turmeric powder. Make a very soft, sticky dough.
    • This has to be knead well. Use oil to knead.
    • Divide into 20 equal portions.
    • With greased palms, take one portion of dough and flatten it into a disc of the size of the palm.
    • Place a ball of "chana jaggery" paste in the centre and fold the disc from all sides to cover the paste completely.
    • On a well-floured board, gently roll out each poli to a 6 inches disc. This can get very tricky as the paste does try to slide out. Use a little flour if that happens and then roll.
    • Roast each poli on a hot griddle with no oil. Roast on both sides till well done and aromatic. Smear with ghee on both sides when done.
    • Serve warm with clarified butter or a bowl of milk.

    Pomegranate & Spinach Salad

    This is a very quick and easy salad to make. I make it quite often and it is very much loved by everyone.
    Pomegranate arils make the dark green spinach pop and contrast with the white onions and cherry red tomatoes. It's as pleasing to eat as it is to look at.

    Preparation Time : 5 minutes
    Ready in : 5 minutes

    Serves : 4

    Ingredients :

    2 cups of baby spinach
    1 pomegranate peeled and seeds separated
    20 cherry tomatoes
    1 small onion cut finely lengthwise

    for the dressing :

    1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
    1 tsp of honey
    1 tsp of lemon juice
    salt to taste
    pepper to taste


    • First cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and keep aside
    • Wash the spinach in cold water and drain the water.
    • In a salad bowl, combine the tomatoes, onions, spinach and the pomegranate seeds .
    • Then mix all the ingredients for the dressing in another bowl and just before serving the salad gently pour the dressing over the salad.
    • Pomegranate & Spinach Salad is now ready to eat.
    Tip: An easy way to separate the seeds from the pomegranate skin, is to cut the pomegranate into half and then take a rolling pin and gently hammer the back of the pomegranate and you will see the seeds fall out easily.

    Note : In order to make this salad a little more exotic, you could also add a couple of walnuts and crumbled feta cheese to it. It will simply taste amazing. But for daily cooking, I like to keep mine simple.

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Mango & Mixed bell pepper Salad

    My friend prepared this salad at a party and I simply loved it so much. I couldn't believe how bell peppers could taste so delicious. Although, there were a lot of yummy dishes to eat at the party, I simply made this salad as my meal for that day :)

    She never gave me the recipe for this salad, but I guessed the ingredients while eating it and came out with a dressing of my own for it and it turned out to be almost similar to what I had eaten. I simply love the colors of this salad.

    Preparation Time : 20 minutes
    Ready in : 10 minutes

    Serves : 4

    Ingredients :
    1 big green capsicum
    1 big red bell pepper
    1 big yellow pepper
    1 big orange pepper
    1 raw mango
    1 white onion cut finely lengthwise

    for the dressing:

    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    1 tbsp of lemon juice
    salt to taste
    pepper to taste
    1/2 tsp of crushed dried basil leaves

    Method :

    • First cut all the peppers into thin long strips. All the strips should be cut evenly.
    • Cut the raw mango also in thin long strips.
    • Mix all the salad dressing ingredients together in a bowl and keep aside
    • Take a nice salad bowl. First add the peppers, then the finely cut onion and then the raw mango and mix well and refrigerate it for about 20 minutes
    • Just before serving the salad, pour in the dressing over it and mix well
    • This salad goes well with continental dishes.


    This is a traditional Middle Eastern condiment commonly associated with Greek food, and which is often enjoyed with plain or toasted pita bread. Also it serves as a dip for my Grilled Lamb chops.

    Preparation Time : 1 hour
    Ready in : 10 minutes

    Serves : 4

    Ingredients :

    2 cups of greek or whole milk yogurt, drained (500 ml)
    1/2 medium english cucumber, peeled and grated
    pinch of salt
    1 small clove of garlic finely chopped
    handful of chopped fresh mint
    salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

    Method :

    • Hang yogurt in sieve or fine mesh strainer over medium bowl. Let stand at least one hour, letting excess liquid drain away.
    • Very lightly salt grated cucumber and let hang in same manner
    • Combine the thickened yogurt, cucumber, garlic and mint in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper
    • Just before serving, mix in freshly chopped mint leaves.

    Grilled Lamb Chops

    The past few days we have been eating a lot of chicken. So, for a change today, I decided to cook lamb chops. I saw this recipe on television one day and found it so simple to make that I thought I definitely should give it a try. Believe me it is so delicious that it simply melts in the mouth. My husband is not a great fan of lamb, but he simply loved eating these chops and it gave me great pleasure to watch him enjoy his food.

    I also made some nice mango and mixed bell pepper salad to go with the lamb and some tzaziki which is a greek yogurt and cucumber dip. So here goes the recipe...

    Grilled Lamb Chops

    Lamb chops marinated with dijon mustard and some herbs and grilled to perfection

    Preparation Time : 2 hours
    Cooking Time : 15 minutes

    Serves : 3

    1 tbsp of minced garlic
    3 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped finely
    1/3 cup chopped coriander leaves (about 1/2 bunch)
    2 tbsp dijon mustarn
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1/2 tsp pepper
    6 lamb chops
    1 lemon, squeezed for juice
    salt to taste

    Method :

    • To prepare lamb combine garlic, rosemary, coriander, Dijon mustard, olive oil and pepper together in a medium mixing bowl and smear on chops. Cover and let marinate for at least 1-2 hours.
    • Just before grilling, season the lamb chops generously with salt. Grill on high heat, 5 minutes on each side, including the fat side. Squeeze lemon juice over chops while cooking.
    • Remove from heat and let it rest
    • Serve with some pulao, salad and tzaziki.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Knorr Chicken Noodle Soup re-invented

    Today evening, my daughter was in mood to have some soup. Since, I knew she wouldn't eat anything besides the soup, I wanted to make it a full meal.

    My daughter who hates spinach, just loved it this way. So here goes the recipe...

    Preparation Time: 5 minutes
    Cooking Time : 10 minutes

    Serves : 4


    1 pkt of Knorr Chicken Noodle Soup
    4 cups of water
    3 spring onions finely chopped
    1 beaten egg
    1 cup of baby spinach
    1/2 cup peas

    Method :

    • Take a pan and prepare the soup as per the instructions on the packet.
    • When it starts boiling, quickly add in the beaten egg, spring onion and allow it boil for 2 minutes again.
    • Then take it off the stove and put in the baby spinach. Give it a good stir.
    • Knorr Chicken Noodle soup is now ready to serve.
    Note: You could add any vegetable of your choice to make it nutritious.

    Classic fettuccine with mixed vegetables and Chicken

    We had planned to have some of Emily's friends sleepover on Sat, so when I was at the grocery store, I picked up two packets of fettuccine (flat pasta) and planned to serve the kids a pasta feast for dinner.

    These kids seem to love pasta because they get to play with noodles. and by throwing in some vegetables, its an easy way to get them to have their fill of healthy nutrients.

    Fettuccine pasta served with sautéed mixed exotic vegetables and stir-fried chicken breasts.

    Preparation Time : 30 minutes
    Cooking Time : 15 minutes

    Serves : 4


    For the pasta:
    1 pkt of fresh fettuccine pasta
    3 litres of water
    1 tbsp of olive oil
    1 tbsp of salt

    For the sauce:

    1/2 cup of good tomato based pasta sauce ( I used the classico brand)
    1 cup of baby spinach
    1 cup of broccolli flowers
    1 cup of thinly sliced mushrooms
    1 cup of sugar snow peas cut into half
    1 cup of fresh bean sprouts
    2 chicken breasts
    1 tbsp of soy sauce
    1 tbsp of butter
    salt to taste
    pepper to taste


    • Heat 3 litres of water in a pan. When it starts boiling, add the salt and the oil and then add the pasta to it. Stir continuously and cook for 5 minutes. Then quickly strain the water and add some olive oil to it in order to prevent it from sticking
    • In the meantime, marinate the chicken breast with salt and pepper and keep aside for 10 minutes
    • Fill another small pan with 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil. When it starts boiling, add the broccolli, snow peas and salt and allow it to cook for 5 minutes. Then strain the water and keep aside.
    • Take a frying pan and shallow fry the marinated chicken breasts till they are no longer pink in the middle. Then cool them for a while and cut them into thin strips.
    • Finally, take a wok, add some butter to it.
    • Then add the mushrooms and fry them nicely for about 3 minutes. Then add in the boiled brocolli and snow peas and mix well. Then throw in some baby spinach and bean sprouts and keep cooking for 2 minutes
    • Then add in the chicken strips, soy sauce, salt to taste and remove from the stove.
    • Take a plate. Put some fettuccine pasta in the centre. On top of it, add some of the mixed vegetables and chicken. Then put 2 tbsp of pasta sauce on it. Garnish with some chicken strips.
    • Delicious pasta is now ready to eat
    Note: Once the pasta is cooked, strain the water from the pasta and then quickly pour some cold water over the pasta. This will prevent it from cooking further. Then strain the water again and quickly add oil to the pasta to prevent it from sticking to each other.

    Saturday, January 9, 2010

    Busy Saturdays

    The first weekend after the holidays always seems to be the busiest. This morning I had a long list of things to do and groceries to buy. When I finally made it to Price Chopper's it was already 1 o'clock and I was wondering what to do for lunch.

    I saw tortilla bread and that gave me the idea of making crunchy tortilla wraps.

    Crunchy Tortilla Wraps

    A Mexican pita bread filled with lettuce, bean sprouts, and chicken mixed with mayonnaise.

    Preparation Time : 20 minutes
    Ready in : 5 minutes

    Serves : 4

    Ingredients :

    4 Wheat Tortilla Wraps
    1 Chicken breast
    2 cups of shredded ice-berg lettuce
    1/2 cup of fresh bean sprouts
    20 raisins
    2 tbsp of mayonnaise
    1/2 cup of shredded monterey jack cheese (you can alternatively use any cheese of your choice)
    1 green capsicum cut lengthwise
    4 tbsp of hot salsa sauce (I used the taco hot salsa sauce)
    salt to taste
    pepper to taste
    1 tsp oil


    • Lightly oil a frying pan and warm each tortilla on either side for approximately 1 minute till slightly brown. The tortilla should not get too warm else it will be become crisp and you won't be able to wrap it.
    • In the meantime marinate the chicken breast with salt and pepper and keep aside for 5 minutes
    • Then take some oil in a pan and shallow fry the chicken. When done, allow it to rest for a while. Then cut it roughly in strips lenthwiise.
    • Take a bowl, add the lettuce, raisins, chicken, capsicum and mayonnaise and mix well. Add salt to taste.
    • Take a plate and place a tortilla on it. Take one spoon of the hot salsa sauce and spread it evenly on the tortilla. Fill about 2 tbsp of the chicken lettuce mixture on one edge of the tortilla. On top it add some fresh sprouted beans and grate some cheese over it.
    • Roll it while folding in the ends.
    • Cut in half along a diagnol

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Something different

    Today is different. I don't have a recipe to share. Because ...

    I didn't have to cook. You see, we're celebrating today, and my husband took me out to a nice Thai restaurant on Lakeshore Road, Mississauga.

    The restaurant is called "Thai Signature" and its tucked away at the end of the shopping plaza.

    We tried the Drunken Noodles which is a mix of flat noodles, vegetables and chicken in a sweet chilli sauce and the "Grilled Dish" which is a combination of steamed rice, fresh salad and chicken grilled with a mild sweet and spicy sauce. Both the dishes were lip-smacking tasty and its definitely some of the best Thai food I've eaten.

    The highlight of dinner was the desert - Deep Fried Ice Cream.

    Yes, that's right, fried ice-cream. Now, I've come across fried ice cream in a few restaurants in India, but this one was different. The ice cream was covered with a light crisp batter with just the right hint of Thai spices and doused with chocolate and raspberry sauce. Definitely gave me ideas for some of the deserts I'm going to try.

    Well, I'm back home after a wonderful meal and happy to share this experience with you.

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Paneer Tikkas

    My daughter simply loves eating paneer (cottage cheese). So, I decided to make this quick and easy recipe for her. Although "Paneer Tikkas" sound very elaborate, it can be prepared very quickly with some good readily available tikka marinade.

    Preparation Time : 5 minutes
    Cooking Time : 15 minutes

    Serves : 3


    2 tbsp of Patak's tikka masala paste
    4 tbsp of yogurt
    200 gms of paneer cut into big 1/2"cubes
    1 capsicum cut into big squares
    1 tbsp of oil
    1 lemon


    • In a bowl, mix the tikka masal and the yogurt together
    • Brush this mixture to the paneer and the capsicum and let it rest for 5 minutes
    • Then take a grill pan. Spray some oil on it
    • Assemble the tikkas by skewering the marinated paneer and capsicum and grill them for about 5 minutes on each side turning them around every now and then.
    • If you don't have a skewer, you can also shallow fry them i a non-stick pan
    • Serve them with lemon wedges and some salad.
    Note: Because, of shortage of time, I just used paneer and capsicum. But you could also use other vegetables like tomatoes, onion, mushroom and grill them in a similar way.

    Fried Tilapias

    I am a great fan of sea-food. I love all kinds of fish but my favorite one is king fish. Being in Canada, it is very difficult to get king fish or any kind of Indian fish. So, then I came across tilapia. This is a very tender fish which requires a lot of care while cooking it. It easily breaks while frying so one has to be very careful while handling it.
    I had never worked with tilapia before and was wondering whether it would go well with our Indian spices. So I gave it a try and it turned out to be very delicious. Now, it is my all time favorite fish in Canada. So here goes the recipe for all the tilapia lovers...

    Fried Tilapias

    Fillets of tilapia marinated with Indian spices.

    Preparation Time : 10 minutes
    Cooking Time : 5 minutes

    Serves : 3


    3 big fillets of fresh or frozen tilapia
    1 cup of Italian bread crumbs
    2 tbsp of oil

    For the marinade:

    1 tbsp of red kashmiri chilli powder
    1 tsp of turmeric powder
    1 tsp of cumin powder
    1/2 tsp of garlic paste
    1/2 tsp of ginger paste
    1 tsp of vinegar
    1 tsp of lime juice
    salt to taste
    a few drops of water


    • Take a small bowl and mix all the marinade ingredients together.
    • Rub the marinade over the tilapias and let it rest for 10 minutes
    • Pour the Italian bread crumbs on a plate and spread it out
    • Roll each marinated tilapia in these bread crumbs and shallow fry on both sides on medium heat for not more than 5 minues.
    • Serve with some lemon wedges.

    All time favorite

    Today I had a very tiring day. Firstly, I got up late in the morning and then I had to finish all the household work quickly which took half of my day. After which, my daughter was in a bad mood and wanted all my attention. So most of my day went in pampering her and playing with her. After that, I had to go for my weekly groceries. By the time, I reached home, I was so exhausted that I was absolutely in no mood for cooking. But then, my daughter doesn't like eating pizzas and other kind of fast foods. So, after a little thought, I decided to make my all time favorite meal which is rice, dal and fish fry. Inorder to make it a little elaborate I also made paneer tikkas.

    Although it sounds like a lot of food to make on a tiring day like this, believe me I finished all this cooking in less than an hour. Sometimes, the simplest of dishes can make a great meal like this one. So, I thought of sharing these recipes with those of you who also experience such bad days like mine.

    Dal Tadka:

    A lentil soup tempered with curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and crushed garlic from Northern India.

    Preparation Time : 15 minutes
    Cooking Time : 20 minutes

    Serves : 4


    1/2 cup of yellow lentils (toor dal)
    1 green chilli finely chopped
    1 tsp turmeric powder
    1 tsp red chilli powder
    1 small onion finely chopped
    1 small tomato finely chopped
    salt to tast
    a few corriander leaves finely chopped
    2 cups of water

    For the tadka:
    2 tbsp of oil
    1/2 tsp of asafoetida (hing)
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp mustard seeds
    a few curry leaves
    2-3 cloves of garlic crushed with the skin


    • Wash the dal nicely and pressure cook with water, onions, tomato, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Remove 3 whistles and let it cool for a while
    • Take a tempura vessel or a pan add some oil to it.
    • When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing, the curry leaves and the crushed garlic and fry for 1 minute.
    • Add this to the dal
    • Finally garnish it with finely cut coriander leaves.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    Chatpata Aloo Gobhi

    This dish is a combination of potatoes and cauliflower cooked in a variety of Indian spices. Aloo Gobhi is a wonderful accompaniment with rice as well as any Indian bread.

    Preparation Time: 15 minutes
    Cooking Time 20 minutes

    Serves : 4


    1/4 kg of cauliflower washed and cut into small pieces
    1 potato peeled and cut into big squares
    1 medium sized onion finely chopped
    1 medium sized tomato finely chopped
    1 tbsp of tomato paste
    1 green chilly finely chopped
    1/2 tsp of ginger paste
    1/2 tsp of garlic paste
    1/4 tsp of asafoetida powder (hing)
    1/2 garam masala powder (I used badshah garam masala)
    1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp of kashmiri red chilli powder
    1/2 tsp of coriander powder
    1/2 tsp of cumin powder
    1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
    1/2 tsp of chaat masala powder
    1 tsp of lime juice
    1 tbsp oil
    salt to taste
    1/2 tsp of sugar
    corriander leaves for garnish


    • Take a non-stick pan and add some oil to it.
    • When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and hing to it
    • When they start to crackle, add onions and fry nicely till pink
    • Then add the ginger-garlic paste and the green chillies.
    • Fry for a while and then add the tomatoes and the tomato paste.
    • Continue frying for about 2 minutes
    • Then add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, salt and stir well.
    • Then add the potatoes and some water. Cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes
    • After 5 minutes, add the cut cauliflower to it and mix well. Again cover the pan and cook for another 3 minutes
    • Finally, add the garam masala, chaat masala, lime juice and sugar and give it a good stir.
    • Garnish with some finely cut corriander leaves.
    • Serve hot with rice or any Indian bread.

    Pineapple Jamuns

    Preparation Time: 5 hours
    Cooking Time : 10 minutes

    Makes : 25 Pineapple Jamuns


    250 gms of fresh paneer
    1/4th cup of sugar or add more as per taste
    1 tin of canned pineapples
    1/2 tsp of pineapple essence
    a few drops of yellow food colour
    a few pistachios for garnish


    • Grate the paneer and add sugar to it.
    • Put the above in a vessel and place it on the gas for cooking.
    • Continue stirring it on low flame till all the sugar has melted. Be careful not to burn the paneer.
    • Then transfer this mixture to a plate and let it cool slightly.
    • In the meantime, discard all the juice or water from the canned pineapples and cut them into fine pieces.
    • Add this to the paneer mixture.
    • Then add the essence and the food colour and lightly knead it and blend it together.
    • Then make 25 small ball out of it and give them whatever shape you like.
    • In the centre of each ball add a half slice of pistachio.
    • Refrigerate this for 4-5 hours before serving.

    Strawberry Delight

    This dessert is a combination of strawberries and cream and is indescribably delicious

    Preparation Time : 4 hours
    Ready in : 5 minutes

    Serves : 4


    1 tin of condensed milk
    1 tin of fresh whipping cream
    50 fresh strawberries
    1 tsp of strawberry essence (optional)
    a few mint leaves for garnish


    • Take a bowl and add heavy whipping cream to it. Whisk this nicely with an electric whisk till it nice and stiff.
    • Then add the condensed milk and fold it gently and keep aside
    • In the meantime, take 25 strawberries and cut them into small cubes.
    • You can either cut the remaining 25 strawberries in a food processor roughly or cut them very finely so that they are almost crushed.
    • Add these to the cream mixtures.
    • Then add the strawberry essence and give it a good stir.
    • Refrigerate this for atleast 4 hours before serving.
    • Take a nice dessert glass. Scoop in some of this into the glass and top it up with some fresh strawberries and garnish with a mint leaf.
    Tip: Instead of strawberries, you could also add pineapples and convert it into a pineapple delight. Simply replace everything above with pineapples.

    Sweet Cravings

    For me, no dinner is complete without a good dessert. Everyday after a meal, I just have to have something sweet be it a dollop of ice-cream, chocolate or some exotic dessert. Basically, I have a sweet tooth :)

    Now for those of you who are thinking about the calories, remember it's all in the portions - I keep the portions small and the calories take care of themselves. :)

    Cooking was always a stress-reliever for me, but whenever I thought of making a desert, it seemed like one "big task". Luckily I found some great recipes which can be put together in a jiffy. After I started to turn out these deserts, I couldn't believe how easy they are to make.

    So, if the word "dessert" throws you into a cold sweat, the inside scoop on desserts is : they're actually simple to make. And with the right help...well, just a piece of cake.

    So join me in this journey of sweet cravings...

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Garden Salad

    I normally don't like adding a lot of the readily available dressing to my salads. I feel salad dressings mask the goodness of fresh vegetables and most of them are not very healthy. So as far as possible I try avoiding them.

    So here is a recipe of a great tossed salad that brings out the crispiness of these fresh garden vegetables.

    Garden Salad

    The reason I call this salad as Garden Salad is because it contains all the fresh green vegetables and is so colorful that reminds of being in a garden.

    Preparation Time : 15 minutes
    Cooking Time : 5 minutes

    Serves : 4


    10 broccoli florets steamed lightly
    1/2 cup of peas boiled
    1 cup of baby spinach
    1 cucumber cut into cubes
    1/2 cup of ice-berg lettuce
    1/4 th cup of boiled corn
    1 small onion cut into cubes
    1 small tomato seeds removed and cut into cubes

    For the dressing:
    salt to taste
    pepper to taste
    1 tsp of honey
    1 tsp of lime juice


    Take a glass bowl and first place the lettuce in it. Then add the rest of the ingredients except the dressing and mix well. In a small cup, add all the ingredients for the dressing and give it a good mix.
    Pour this dressing over the salad. Garden salad is now ready to serve.

    Tip: Always pour the dressing on the salad just before serving it, else the salad becomes soggy.

    Pa's Tuna Salad

    I am not a great salad fan. Growing up I hardly remember eating salads. For any function or festival, the only standard salad my mom used to make was cutting cucumber, tomatoes and onion and placing them on a plate.

    When I got married, my father in law (Pa) made a nice and yummy tuna salad one day for me. It was so delicious that I couldn't believe how tuna could taste so good. Well, from then on, I have loved this salad and have also tried converting it into a starter. Although I have made this salad innumerable times, I just can't beat my father-in-law in making it. He is really good at it. So this recipe is of my loving father-in-law who loves making amazing salads once a while.

    Pa's Tuna Salad

    Preparation Time : 20 minutes
    Cooking Time: 10 minutes

    Serves : 5


    1 tin of tuna chunks in olive oil
    1 medium sized onion finely chopped
    1 medium sized tomato chopped
    1 medium sized green capsicum finely chopped
    1 green chilli finely chopped
    1 small piece of ginger chopped finely
    1 tsp of vinegar
    2 tbsp of mayonnaise
    1 tbsp of tomato ketchup
    salt to taste
    a few corriander leaves chopped finely


    • Take a nice glass bowl. Add vinegar, green chillies and ginger and mix well smashing it with the spoon.
    • Then add the onions and capsicum and give it a good mix
    • Now add the tuna with the oil, salt and mix again
    • Then add the mayonnaise, the ketchup and the tomatoes and mix thoroughly.
    • Finally garnish with coriander leaves.

    Tip: In order to convert this salad into a starter, simply make the salad as above and then add a spoonful of it on a small toast or a monaco biscuit and you get tuna on toast.

    Alternatively, you can also convert it into a sandwich spread by placing the salad between two slices of toasted bread. Goes as a good breakfast or brunch.