December 30, 2011

My First Event - "WWC" Broken Wheat for Dinner

I am very happy to announce the first event that I am doing as a guest host for Sanjeetha of litebite.  It is part of her Wholesome Wholegrain Cooking monthly event for which the chosen theme for Jan 2012 is Bulgur wheat or broken wheat for dinner.

Benefits of Cracked Wheat...

Cracked wheat is made by cutting or crushing whole raw wheat berries into small pieces.  Even though bulgur wheat is interchangeably used with cracked wheat, it is processed slightly different from cracked wheat.  Also a whole grain, it is partially cooked prior to crushing.  Both bulgur and cracked wheat are excellent sources of fiber, minerals and vitamins.  Cracked wheat has all the benefits of wheat flour and since it contains the outer bran and germ of the wheat, it is a good source of fiber.  It fits well into a low fat diet as a quarter cup contains just 1 percent of  daily value for total fat and has no trans fat or cholesterol.  It is also a good source of iron and protein.

About the event...

Participants should use the main ingredient for that month in the dish that is being prepared.

Post the recipe on your blog during the event dates.

Old entries are welcome but has to be reposted again during the event dates after linking to this page and Sanjeetha's event announcement page.

Only vegetarian recipes are allowed - eggs are okay.

No deep fried recipes.

You must provide a link to this announcement page and to Sanjeetha's event announcement at Lite Bite.

Use of the logo is appreciated, though not mandatory.

After posting, send an email to with the following information.
                             Name of the Recipe
                             Link to your Post
                             Picture of the Recipe

Non bloggers are also welcome to participate - just email the recipe with a picture.

December 14, 2011

Spinach Cheese Toast

A very simple and a healthy lunch box dish for the kids which can be prepared even in the busy morning rush....

4 slices of bread
2 ounces of frozen chopped spinach
2 ounces of grated cheese(used four cheese mexican)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp paprika powder
1 table spoon of chopped spring onions

Cook the spinach in the microwave and squeeze out the water.  Combine this, the cheese and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.  Spread this mixture between two slices of bread.  Apply butter on the outer side and toast on a medium hot tawa until golden brown on both sides.

Sending this to Breakfast Club event hosted at Krithi's Kitchen and to HLI - Spinach event of Kalyani running at Sin-a-Mon.

Tip:  Add a spoon of flax seeds to the filling mixture for added nutrition

December 12, 2011

Steamed Radish Muthias

A snack cannot get any better if it is just steam cooked with lot of vegetables and these Muthias are all about this.  Muthias is one of the most popular Gujarati recipes which is traditionally made with vegetables like lauki or methi leaves and gramflour. They are  just steam cooked with very little oil added for binding the dough.  Ever since I came upon this recipe on Manjula's Kitchen, I have been a fan of this simple and healthy delicacy.  Having tried these using cabbage and methi leaves, today I experimented with some radishes.  As always, the taste was just awesome!!!


5 oz red radish( I used 6 oz but felt could have used less - hence 5 oz)
1/2 cup besan
1 tblsp wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 green chili chopped
1 tbsp crushed kasoori methi
1/2 tsp jeera
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard
1 tsp sesame seeds
chopped coriander leaves
1 long red chili

Process the radish.  Add the lemon juice to it and mix well.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and the oil.  Add the radish mixture to the flour mixture.  The final mixture should be a soft dough. 

Have your pressure pan or cooker ready with some water and let it come to a nice boil.  Grease your hands well with oil and also the steamer basket.  Take out about 2 tablespoons of the dough and place it on the steamer.  Arrange the rest of the dough making sure they are little away from each other.  Place the steamer basket inside the cooker and steam cook them for 15 to 20 minutes.  Check to see if they are done by inserting a knife or a toothpick which should come out clean.

Let it cool nicely before removing them from the steamer basket.  Slice them into small pieces.  

To season, heat up the oil on medium heat and splutter the mustard and then the sesame followed by the red chilies.  Stir fry for a few seconds.  Add the cut up muthias and stir fry them for 3 to 4 minutes until they are browned a bit.  

Serve it with some coriander chutney or enjoy them plain like I do!!!

Ragda Patties

Ragda Patties, a very popular Indian street food, is typically made with dried white peas.  But I have made these using some dried green peas.  This makes a wholesome and a healthy snack for the kids coming home hungry from school.  This dish goes to CWS - Peas event of Priya and HLI event hosted @ Veg Junction originally started by Kalyani.

For the ragda:
1 cup green peas
1 small tomato
1 small piece ginger
1 green chili
1/2 tsp each cumin and coriander powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black salt(I did not have any)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/8 to 1/4 black pepper powder
few sprigs of coriander leaves chopped
finely chopped onions
green chutney and sweet chutney if preferred

For the patties:
2 medium to large size potatoes
4-5 green chilies grated
1 tsp grated ginger
3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
some lemon  juice
salt to taste
Oil for frying

Preparation of the Ragda:

Soak the green peas overnight or for at least 6 hours.  Pressure cook the peas with a tea spoon of salt for ten minutes or up to two whistles.  It is time to turn off once you get the cooked smell of the peas.  Keep this aside.  Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the cooked peas.

Grind the tomato to a puree along with the reserved peas, ginger and green chilies.  Heat up a table spoon of oil and add the puree to it.  After 2 minutes add all the powders up to paprika and fry for two more minutes.  Add the cooked peas along with the water and 2 more cups of water and bring it to a boil.  Add little salt, and rest of the powders and let it boil for five minutes.

Lower the heat and let this simmer for five minutes or until the gravy thickens.

You can use little coriander while grinding along with the tomatoes.

Preparation of Patties:

Boil the potatoes and when it cools down mash them to a slight coarse texture.  Add salt, grated chilies and ginger, coriander leaves and the lemon juice.  Combine this well and make it into medium lemon sized balls and flatten them down to 1/2 inch thickness.  Spray or smear some oil on all of these patties.  I got about 14 of them.  Notice that I have not added any binding substances like cornflour or bread crumbs as I like it this way.

Heat up the griddle pan or tawa and when it is hot enough, place 4 to 5 patties and cook adding little more oil for both sides until they are golden brown in color.

To Serve:

Place two patties in a plate and add a couple of ladle full of the gravy on top of it.  Sprinkle with some finely chopped onions, coriander leaves, a spoon of the store bought chutnies and little sev(store bought as well).

Enjoy these while they are hot!!!

We were all so hungry that I did not bother to add the coriander or the sev(I had some mot sev) and I did not have the chutnies anyway.   I do not keep the store bought ones as well as I very rarely make the chaat dishes at home.  Nevertheless, there was nothing missing in the taste:)-

December 11, 2011

Butternut Squash Payasam/Kheer

Many a times I have used the pumpkin that is available in the Indian grocery store to make soups, gravy dishes,  sambars and even in mixed vegetable curry .  But recently, I picked up this huge butternut squash from a local grocery to prepare soup for a potluck get together.  The appearance of the inside and the texture of the squash looked very similar to the pumpkin that is available in the Indian store.  To get things clarified, I went on the net to see if they both were the same but found out that they were obviously not the same but the names are frequently used interchangeably and they can be easily substituted in recipes.  

 Butternut Squash also known as butternut pumpkin in Australia is a type of winter squash and has a sweet nutty taste similar to that of pumpkin especially the sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkin.  It is a good source of fibre and Vitamin C apart from being an excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin E.  I made this payasam on the day of Karthigai Deepam as an offering to the God.....

8 ounces cubed butternut squash
4 whole cashews
1.5 cups of milk(low fat)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp powdered elaichi
few strands of saffron
1 table spoon broken cashews
little ghee

Cook the squash along with the cashews and some milk in the pressure cooker for up to one whistle or five minutes on low.  Make a smooth puree of this after it cools down adding little water to adjust the thickness.  
Bring this to stove top and let it come to a boil stirring all the time.  Let this boil for about a minute or two.  Add the sugar and let it combine well with the puree.  In the meanwhile, boil the milk nicely in the microwave.  Lower the heat on the stove and slowly add the boiled milk to the puree.  Mix well and let this cook after it comes to a boil for an additional minute on medium heat.  Take out a  ladle full of the milk in a cup, dissolve the saffron strands while it is hot and then add the elaichi powder. Take it back to the kheer.  Fry some broken cashews in ghee till golden brown and add it to the payasam.

For a more rich flavor use evaporated milk or even condensed milk. Serve it hot or cold!!!


December 8, 2011

Asparagus, Onion and Tomato Chutney

Asparagus is quite a commonly used vegetable in our household when in season.  My typical Indian preparations have been dry sauteed curry to go along with rice or rotis.  My mother, however, has tried making kootu or poricha kootu with it while she visited us many years back.  Today, I came up with this chutney recipe using the leftover asparagus sitting in my fridge.

Asparagus is low in calories, low in sodium apart from being a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.  I have always thought of it to have a nutty flavor similar to that of peanuts.  Even though the chutney had the distinct smell of the asparagus, to me it tasted like a coconut or peanut chutney.  To bring about more flavor I added some onions and used tomatoes to keep off the tamarind.

Chutney is one of the dishes where you can try to play with the ingredients according to your taste buds..... including what you add on with the main ingredient and the kind of spices or seasonings you decide to use.
The next time I will be trying with some peanuts or coconut or use some garlic with it.......

8-10 asparagus trimmed
1/3 cup chopped onions
1 small tomato
1/8 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp urad dal
2 tsp chana dal
1and a half red chilies long variety
salt to taste
tamarind if needed

Heat up two tea spoons of oil and start with the seasonings followed by the dal.  Once they turn golden brown, add the broken red chilies and then the onion.  Saute the onion for a minute and add the tomatoes cooking them for about 2 minutes.  Add a pinch of salt when the onion and tomatoes are cooking to help with their cooking.  Let it cool

Grind this to a paste.  I used a couple of table spoons of olive oil while grinding to preserve it for a longer time avoiding the water completely.  This gives a nice thicker consistency which can be used as a spread also.  If you are using water, add a very little quantity....a little thicker the chutney better the taste!!!

December 7, 2011

Peas and Paneer Parathas

Peas and paneer combination in these parathas make it really enjoyable than the plain peas parathas.  I usually add potatoes but today used these low fat paneer for a change.

1.5 cups wheat flour

1.5 cup green peas thawed
4 oz paneer
few coriander leaves
1-2 green chilies
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ajwain
1 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
small handful of spring onion leaves(great flavor because of these)

Process the peas along with spring onions and all the spices and salt.  Saute this in little oil for a
few minutes.  Add the finely crumbled paneer to this mixture. Let it cool.
Divide the filling into equal sized balls and make the same number with the dough as well.

Roll out the dough into a small circle, place the filling, cover and roll out into a bigger circle making sure not to tear.  Cook the paratha on a hot tawa both sides and then with some oil again till brown spots appear.

Served this parathas with some Mooli Muthia Kadhi for a fulfilling meal,the recipe for which will be posted soon.

Peas being the main ingredient this goes to the CWS - Peas event of  Priya.

Also sending this to HLI event hosted @ Veg Junction originally started by Kalyani.

Eggles Dates and Walnut cookies

I came upon this simple recipe on the net, while I was just looking for some recipes with dates.  They turned out to be really wonderful and I could never tell that there were dates in them.  It is one good way to get the kids to eat dates which are known for its essential nutrient, mineral and vitamin contents.  I just felt I should have gone with my intuition of toasting the chopped walnuts before adding them.  That would have really brought out the nutty flavor in the cookies.

1.5 cups flour(combined all purpose and whole wheat pastry flour equally)
100 gms softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg(substituted with a tbsp of milk and 3 tbsp oil combined)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder(i used 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup tightly packed chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips(optional)
pinch of salt

Cream the butter and the sugar in a bowl.  Add the egg to it and beat it further.  In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder and the pinch of salt.   Add the dry to the wet ingredients.  Stir in the chopped dates and walnuts.  To me the mixture was kind of dry so I ended up adding little more milk(may be 1/4 cup) to bring it to a dough like consistency.  Add the chocolate chips in the end.  Scoop out the dough using a ice cream scoop and place them little apart on a greased cooking tray.

Bake the cookies at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Let them cool on the tray for five minutes in the tray and then on a wire rack for about 15 minutes.

This recipe is off to  Serve It - Baked Sweet event at Krithi's Kitchen and Denny's.

December 4, 2011

Cabbage, Potato and Capsicum curry

This is one of my favorite ways to eat cabbages with rotis.  The addition of bell peppers give a nice flavor to it, the green one being the best.

12 oz cabbage chopped
2 medium size potatoes chopped
1 orange capsicum chopped
1 small onion chopped(optional)
2 garlic cloves
ginger piece
1-2 green chili
1/2 tsp each of cumin and dhaniya powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
salt to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala

Take a table spoon of oil and splutter 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds.  Add the onions and saute for about 2 minutes and add the ginger, green chili and garlic all finely chopped.  Saute further for a minute and add the potatoes.  Saute these for about 2-3 minutes before adding the cabbage and the orange peppers.  Add salt, dhaniya jeera powders and the chili powder and stir together well.  Lower the heat and cook the vegetables covered until soft.  Add the garam masala in the end and stir everything well.

Enjoy these with some nice hot chapathis!!!


December 2, 2011

Mixed Vegetable Subzi or Kurma.....

This is a very easy preparation which I usually come up with whenever I have some squash at home like the chayote or lauki or yellow crooked neck.  I prepare this in combination with potatoes or sometimes with more vegetables like carrots, peas and beans.  I usually add some milk in the end but instead used some leftover cream which I had in the fridge.
This cannot typically come under the category of kurma as I am not grinding any coconuts or cashews.  However, since I am using some cream to enrich this dish I would like to think of this as a kurma.

1 chayote squash
1 potato
1 carrot
small handful of frozen peas
2 tbsp cream
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
1 onion chopped
2 tomatoes blanched and pureed
few sprigs of coriander leaves
2 green chili( instead used some chopped green bell peppers about 2 tblsp)
small piece ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2-3 pinches of kasoori methi

Peel and cube the first three vegetables and steam cook it along with peas adding some salt and turmeric.  Take a table spoon of oil, splutter the cumin seeds and saute the onions for 2-3 minutes.  Make a puree of the tomatoes with coriander leaves, ginger, garlic and green chilies and add it to the onions.  Now add all the powders at once and cook the tomato paste until it begins to leave out oil on the sides.  Add the steamed vegetables to it and more salt and chili powder if needed and bring it to a boil.  Add the cream and cook further for five minutes on medium heat stirring in between.

Add the kasoori methi in the end and turn off the heat!!

On the other hand, this can be done directly in the pressure cooker.  Follow all the steps from the seasoning to the point where the tomatoes are sauteed.  Add the cut vegetables with just enough water and pressure cook for one whistle taking care not to overcook the vegetables.  Release the lid and add cream or  milk in the end and bring it to a boil again.

You can use any vegetable of your choice for this dish like baby corns, cauliflower etc.,.

November 30, 2011

Matki Sprouts and Capsicum Pulao

After making those yummy vadas, I was still left with some more sprouts that I decided to use it up for my dinner preparation.  Just made this simple pulao using these and some bell peppers....

1 cup basmati rice
1 cup sprouted matki or moth beans
1 medium ripe tomato
1 small onion
1 small yellow capsicum
1 tsp paprika powder
3 garlic cloves
small piece of ginger
pinch of turmeric powder
1/2-1 tsp pav bhaji powder(this gives a different flavor to the dish...I have added this to some of my quick subzis using pumpkin or zucchini)

Cook the basmati rice and let it cool.

Heat up a tablespoon of oil and splutter the cumin seeds.  Add the onions along with the garlic and ginger and saute till they are translucent.  Add the capsicum and do a quick saute before adding the tomatoes.  Add   all the powders and little bit of salt and cook the tomatoes for a minute or two before adding the sprouts.  After this cook for further five minutes.  Add the cooled rice to it and combine till the rice is thoroughly mixed with the vegetables on low heat.

Enjoy this pulao with raita or with any subzi of your choice.

November 29, 2011

Sprouted Moth Bean and Green gram vada with Broccoli

I had these sprouted moth beans sitting in my fridge for a few days now.....hence decided to make some vadas in combination with green gram.  And they turned out to be the perfect snack for a cold day!!!

1 cup sprouted moth beans
1/2 split green gram with skin
1/4 cup of chopped spring onions(white part)
handful of small broccoli florets processed
4 green chilies(about3/4 inch in length)
few corinader leaves
small ginger piece
salt to taste

Soak the green gram for 2 hrs.  Drain the water completely and grind into a coarse paste along with moth beans, chilies and ginger.  Towards the end add the coriander leaves and process it further.  To this paste add the onions, broccoli and salt and mix well.

Take a small portion of the mix, flatten it in your palm and deep fry in hot oil till a nice golden color.

Enjoy these crispies with some chutney or ketchup!!

This one is off to CWS-Mung Beans event  at Priya's blog.

November 28, 2011

Collard Greens and Moong dal stir fry curry

I found this lovely bunch of collard greens last week at the farmers market and brought them home(for the first time) thinking I will make a simple south indian type of dal with this.  Whenever I buy some bok choy I like to combine them with moong dal which is to be cooked directly on the stove top after soaking them for half hour to one hour.  I decided I was going to prepare these greens  in the same manner.

However, I changed my mind later on and decided to go ahead with a dry preparation.  Along the way,  I decided to add some onions and garlic.

Some facts on Collard greens.....widely used in Southern US cuisine it is widely eaten in the Kashmir region of India and Pakistan.  A common dish of that region is haak-rus a soup of whole leaves cooked in water, salt and oil and consumed with rice.  They are a good source of Vitamin C and soluble fiber with potent anti cancer properties.

1 bunch collard greens trimmed and chopped as fine as possible
1 small onion
1/2 cup moong dal soaked for an hour
salt to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric
2-3 garlic cloves grated
small piece of ginger grated
1/2 tsp red chili powder or to taste(I use the non spicy one)

First cook the moong dal till it is soft but firm.

Take a table spoon of oil in a pan and when it is hot splutter the cumin seeds followed by the onions.   Saute them for about 2 minutes before adding the ginger and garlic.  Now add the chopped greens, turmeric, salt and chili powder and cook it open till it wilts a bit.  Add about a cup of water, let it come to a boil and lower the heat to cook the collards covered....cook until they are soft.  Now add the cooked moong dal and combine them till they are mixed well.  Stir for a few minutes.

Surprisingly, my girls ate them without complaining as they were having it with some curd rice.  I too liked it best with some steaming hot rice.

I am sending this to CWS-Mung Beans event of Priya's.

November 23, 2011

Palak/Spinach Usili

I was suddenly tempted to try this paruppu usili dish out using spinach as I was bored of cooking the same old spinach preparations in South Indian style.  I cannot recall having eaten the spinach in this manner, but when we have spinach in dals, adais and vadas,  I thought why not in Usili.  And here I was giving a pat on my back for this little innovation after the dish was made as I could not get enough of it.

3/4 cup toor dal and chana dal together combined  equally or in 2:1 ratio
5 ounces of spinach leaves(trimmed)
3-4 chillies long variety
salt to taste
pinch of turmeric powder
pinch of hing powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal

Soak the dals along with the red chilies for at least two hours.  Drain the water completely and grind into a coarse paste with salt, turmeric, red chilies and hing.  I also added about a table spoon of oil while grinding.  Grease a container in which you are going to cook the paste.  Spread the paste evenly and steam cook it for 15 minutes. Let it cook and break the cooked paste so that there are no lumps.  In the meanwhile, cook the spinach with a pinch of salt till it wilts.  Do not add any water.

Take about 2 tablespoon of oil in a pan and splutter the mustard and urad dal.  Add the dal mixture and cook on medium flame till you begin to get the smell and it begins to brown.  Add the spinach and cook further till it mixes well with the dal and all the moisture is removed.

This is best when eaten with mor kuzhambu rice!!!

November 19, 2011

Aloo Mint Parathas

Of late, we are seeing a growing need to switch to more healthier options in our diet especially the breakfast that being the first meal of the day.  However, it is treat to have sumptuous dishes once in a while for breakfast like the traditional aloo parathas .  This becomes a winner with the addition of some mint leaves especially the ones that come from your very own garden.  We harvested two grocery bag full of mint leaves that were  waiting to be used.  I first tried this mint and coriander rice using double the amount of mint to coriander.  Unfotunately, I do not have a click of the rice.   I will have to post this if I get to make it again.  Next thing I made were these parathas which turned out to be tasty and flavorful.  I decided to add the leaves raw without sauteing.  But you can saute them if you wish to after processing it.  As the mint was not sauteed there was a nice freshness and a little crunch inside  the parathas. You can also check out my earlier posts which uses mint -  Baked Minty Namakparas and Mint Pooris.

 Apart from being very flavorful and aromatic, it has its own medicinal benefits that it is widely used for oral care and cosmetics.   Mint brewed in tea or hot water  is a remedy for digestive problems.

400 gms boiled and mashed potatoes
1 full handfull of mint leaves
3 to 4 green chilies
1 garlic clove
salt to taste
lemon to taste
coriander leaves(optional)
oil for roasting

1.5 cups wheat flour for the dough

Use some water to knead the flour into a soft and stiff dough.

Have the potatoes mashed nicely.  Process the green chilies, mint leaves and garlic in a food processor adding  little salt and some oil.  Combine this with the mashed potatoes thoroughly adding some salt and lemon juice.  Add the chopped coriander leaves also if you are using them.  Divide the stuffing into equal portions.  The above quantity will yield about 9-10 depending on the size

Divide the dough also into the same number.  Roll out the dough into a small circle and place the filling in the middle.  Bring over the rest of the dough over the filling, flatten it out and roll into a thin roti.  Cook both the sides on a hot tawa first and then with some oil on both sides till brown spots appears.

Repeat with the rest of the filling.   Enjoy these parathas with some curd!!!

This recipe goes to Breakfast Club event currently hosted at Krithi's Kitchen.

November 13, 2011

Orzo pasta in spinach pesto sauce

This is a very simple easy breezy pasta preparation with a slight twist.  Instead of the regular tomato or basil pesto sauces, I have used a spinach based sauce.  I made this for my husband's lunch box one day and hence this small quantity.  I am surely going to make this again for all of us to enjoy!!  This is such a fulfilling meal with the all the goodness that you can have.

1/2 cup orzo pasta cooked according to packet instructions
2 handfuls of spinach
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 long zucchini quartered and sliced
1 tbsp walnuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Grind the spinach, walnuts and garlic in a food processor with a tbsp of olive oil.  Take the rest of the oil in a pan and saute the onion lightly.  Add the zucchini pieces and saute until they are translucent with little salt and pepper.  Add the spinach pesto sauce and saute it for not more than a minute before adding the orzo pasta. Stir everything together till they are all incorporated.  

Ridge gourd in Cashew gravy

I came across the recipe for this dish when I was in India this summer in a local magazine.  The recipe called for 200 gms of cashews for 3 ridge gourds and curry leaf sprigs but did not have any tomatoes.  I correspondingly adjusted the recipe for 1 ridge gourd but  significantly reduced(used only half of what I should have used for 1 ridge gourd) the amount of cashews.  Nevertheless, the dish turned out to be very tasty and flavorful thanks to the addition of kasoori methi.   Try it out and you will like it too!!

1 long ridge gourd
1/2 of a medium size onion finely chopped
25 gms cashews soaked in water for half hour
1 small tomato
1 green chili
1 garlic clove
1 small piece ginger
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chili powder(non spicy one)
2 pinches of kasoori methi

First peel and cut the ridge gourd into cubes.  Saute the garlic, ginger and chili slightly in very little oil and grind this with the cashews into a fine paste.  Also, grind the tomato into a paste.   Take a table spoon of oil and saute the onions till it slightly changes colour.  Add the cashew paste and saute for a minute before adding the tomato paste.  Add all the powders now and cook until it begins to leave out the oil.  Add the ridge gourd pieces, 1/2 cup water and the necessary salt and cook until the ridge gourd is done.  Before removing the dish from the stove, add the kasoori methi.  Garnish with few coriander leaves.

This can be enjoyed with rotis, parathas or rice!!!

October 25, 2011

Kai Murukku

Diwali is a time for joy and celebration and it is never complete without sweets and snacks.  Snacks being a favorite in my household, I usually end up preparing more snacks than sweets.  Kai Murukku is a very popular South Indian snack and is also well enjoyed by all of us at home.   Not many people prepare this at home as making them as it is a time consuming effort which requires patience and practice.

2 cups Rice Flour
2 tsp Urad Flour
2 to 2.5 tbsp butter brought to room temperature
1 to 1.25 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds
two pinches of hing powder

Begin my making the urad dal flour. Roast some split urad dal on medium heat till it becomes light reddish brown in color.  Cool this down and ground to a fine powder.  Seive out the coarse parts.  Any extra can always be used the next time or added in kootu.  If using store bought flour,  roast the flour till it slight changes color.  Combine both the flours well.  Add the butter and mix the flour well till the butter is all incorporated thoroughly.  Do not compromise on this step as it is very important.  If this is not even, the murukku will not be uniformly crispy.   Add the seeds to the flour.

Take about  a cup of water and dissolve the salt and the hing in it.  Add this water little at a time and more(which will be needed) to form a soft dough.  Now you are ready to make some murukkus.

Take some oil in a small plate.  Grease your palms with little oil.  Pinch off a small lemon sized ball from the dough.  Roll it nicely between your palms.  Dip the tips of your fingers in the oil and roll out the tip between your fingers.  Keep a paper towel on a flat surface.  Hold down the tip with your left forefinger and start rotating and moving around the dough in circles.  For a beginner, this comes only with practice.  It is also important that the dough is soft. Otherwise,  it is going to break up while making them.  

Make about 10 to 12 before starting to heat up the oil.  Once the oil is hot enough, slowly remove the murukkus from the paper towel and slide into the oil.  Fry few pieces at a time.  The murukkus are done once the oil stops sizzling and the bubbles are gone.

Remove the cooked murukkus and place them on a tissue paper to drain out the excess oil.
Sending this to
Serve it-Festival Potluck event of Krithi and Denny

My Diwali My way event by Khushi

Besan Ladoo

With Diwali around the corner,  preparations must be going on for making some sweets and savories.   My first attempt is the Besan Ladoo.   This is a traditional and a very popular dish in Indian households during Diwali time.  Besan burfi or Mysore Pakku as it is known in the South is what I have tried in the past.  As I wanted to go easy on the ghee I decided to try out the ladoo for the first time.  Not only for that but I have also oflate become hooked on these type of ladoos which I never even used to taste in my childhood days.

I followed a couple of recipes one being Manjulas Kitchen and the other being Tarla Dalal.   I like the former as you get to visually see the making process.  I also refer for sweets and desserts.  I started off following Manjula's recipe without the rawa.  As my flour started cooking, mine was no way near the consistency of hers so switched to Tarla Dalals and just used my discretion in the end.  The result was quite good considering this is my first attempt at these ladoos.  Except, that I am not good at shaping them into good balls.

2 cups of ladoo besan(this is coarse in comparison to regular besan)
2/3 cup of ghee
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 tsp elaichi powder
roasted cashews or slivered almonds(optional)

Heat up the ghee to warm and slowly add the gram flour.  Mix everything well and start cooking on medium flame.  Roast till the flour becomes golden brown in color and you also begin to get a nice aroma.  Add the elaichi powder, mix well and transfer to a bowl.  Once the mixture is warm, add the powdered sugar and chopped nuts and mix well.  Shape them into round balls.

For extra garnish,  dip the tip of the balls in ghee and dip in some coarsely chopped almonds or pisachios.

This dish goes out to a few events

Every Tuesday-Bookmarked Recipes event of Priya
Serve it-Festival Potluck event of Krithi and Denny
"Only"-Sweets and Desserts event by Gayathri

October 23, 2011

Onion, Tomato and Capsicum Chutney

 Chutneys complement well with our Indian breakfast dishes.   Eventhough the coconut chutneys have their own flavor and is commonly liked by everybody, I like to prepare chutneys using vegetables.  I had these bell peppers lying in my fridge for more than a week that I decided to use it up for making this chutney.  The results was some reallly nice spicy chutney.  The tomatoes and the red peppers gave a nice stunning color to the chutney.  Enjoyed this chutney with the Masoor dal idlis.

1/2 cup chopped onions
1 medium to big tomato
1 bell pepper(I combined red and green peppers)
3-4 red chillies
2 tsp urad dal
3 tsp chana dal
pinch of hing powder
few coriander leaves
salt to taste
1/4 tsp of tamarind paste

Begin by roasting the chana dal and urad dal in some hot oil,  add the red chillies and the hing powder.  Immediately add the onion and saute it for a minute.  Add the peppers and saute it for a minute or two.  Add the tomatoes some salt and tiny pinch of turmeric.  Saute this again till the tomatoes begin to get soft.  Turn off the heat and add the tamarind and the coriander leaves.  Let this mixture cool nicely.

Grind everything to a smooth paste.  Add another tablespoon of oil(I used olive oil) while grinding just to be able to keep it longer.

Kariveppilai Kuzhambu

This is one of the traditional recipes of the Tamil households.  Usually it is prepared in little large quantities that will last for a week.  I really love having this during cold wintery days to get the heat from the pepper.  This time I prepared this based on the recipe given by my aunt.

12-15 medium size sprigs of curry leaves
big lemon sized tamarind ball
2 tsp black pepper
4 long red chillies
2 tsp urad dal
tiny ginger piece

Take two spoons of oil and roast the urad dal and the red chillies without burning them.  Lower the heat and add the black pepper, curry leaves and the tamarind pieces and saute it lightly.   Add the ginger as well.   Take all this and grind everything to a smooth paste with salt and 1/2 tsp of brown sugar.  Use about 4 cups of water.

Take a pan with 3-4 tbsp of oil, season mustard and add the paste.  Let all this cook nicely till the kuzhambu reduces in quantity by one cup by which time you will also get a nice aroma.

Enjoy with some steaming hot rice with few drops of ghee!!!

October 19, 2011

Healthy Potato and Spinach Salad

This is a very nutritious and refreshing salad which will surely be enjoyed by kids....mine love it so much that they are ready to eat this given anytime of the day.  I usually have this salad ready for them as an after school snack.  It has all the goodness of the proteins and vitamins and keeps them satisfied for some time:)

2 handfuls spinach(salad spinach which come in packages)
3 medium size potatoes boiled, peeled and cut into big cubes
2 small tomatoes
3 inch cucumber piece
1/4 of a small onion
1/2 cup of boiled channa
handful of toasted peanuts(optional)

3 tbsp olive oil
salt, lemon juice and pepper to taste

Chop  the spinach coarsely and cut the tomatoes in half and each half into eighths.  Peel and cube the cucumber as well.  Cut the onions into 1 inch length slices.  Combine all these along with the chana and toasted peanuts.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk them together.  Add this to the salad ingredients and toss everything well till it all combines thoroughly. Enjoy!!

October 18, 2011

Yellow Squash Chutney/Dip

This is one good way to use up the yellow squash which works as a good side.

2 cups chopped yellow squash
2 tsp chana dal
1/2 tsp urad dal
1/4 tsp cumin seeds(optional)
1/4 tsp mustard seed(optional)
1 to 2 red chili long variety
salt to taste
tamarind small piece

Saute the squash on medium flame stirring all the time with salt until it becomes soft.  Roast the chana dal, urad dal, red chili and splutter the mustard and cumin seeds all separately with a spoon of oil.  Grind these first to a coarse powder with salt.  Add the vegetable and the tamarind and grind it to a paste.  Check for salt and tamarind, add more if needed and pulse it again.  This can be had with idlis and dosa or used as a dip.  If used as a dip you can omit the seasoning. 

You can add some chopped coriander leaves while grinding dalong with the vegetable.

October 17, 2011

Beet root Poli

As I was left with some beets after making the pulao, I wanted to try something different.  The result was these lovely Beet root polis.

 1 medium size beet root peeled and processed
1/4 cup of slivered almond powdered or almond meal
1/4 cup of brown sugar(can add little more if needed)
1 cup of milk(used low fat)
1/4 tsp elaichi powder

Outer covering
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 table spoon oil for kneading

Combine all these ingredients to form a soft pliable dough and set it aside for an hour.

In the meanwhile, chop the beet root into rough pieces and process in a food processor.  Transfer this to a vessel along with the ground almonds and a cup of milk and pressure cook for 10 minutes.  Once you are ready to open, take this to a pan and cook on the stove top till all the mixture is absorbed completely and add some brown sugar and about a couple of spoons of ghee.   Turn off the stove once it comes together and begins to leave the pan.  Add the elaichi powder, let it mix well and turn off the heat.

The stuffing is basically like preparing for beet root halwa. You can also pressure cook the beetroot along with the almond powder with the same amount of milk and later on do the remaining part on the stove top. 

Now, divide the stuffing into equal portions and also the dough into same numbers.  Just remember the stuffing should be as big as the dough rounds or even bigger.  Roll out the dough into a small circle and place the filling in the middle.  Bring over the dough together over the filling and pinch off the excess.  Then roll out the stuffed dough into a thin roti.  You can also flatten it with you fingers on a plastic sheet applying ghee or oil.  For a low calorie version, rolling is better.

Cook the stuffed boli both sides till light brown spots appear and then once more after applying ghee on both sides.  Enjoy these colorful and delicious polis when it is hot!!

For the above quantity of stuffing, you can get  about 4-5 polis.

This recipe goes to

Dish it out - Wheat and Jaggery event of Vardhini guest hosted at South Indian Home

"Only"-Sweets and Desserts event of Pari guest hosted at Gayathri's Cook Spot

October 14, 2011

Spinach Parathas

Kids like the plain parathas as much as the stuffed parathas like aloo, cauliflower etc.  Instead of keeping it plain, I like to incorporate some vegetable as much as I can.  It is also the best way of using the leftover veggies in the refrigerator.  Here is what I did

2 cups wheat flour
2 tightly packed cups of baby spinach washed
pinch of turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste
2 tsp oil or more if you prefer while kneading the dough

Take everything in the food processor and run till the spinach is coarsely chopped.  Transfer this to a bowl and knead into a soft dough adding little water at a time.  Grease your hands in the end and knead the dough further for about 5 minutes.  Set aside the dough for an hour.

Roll it out evenly and cook on a hot tawa.  Cook both sides without oil and cook further applying oil on both sides till brown spots appear.  Serve with raita or any side dish of your choice.

October 13, 2011

Minty Baked Namakparas

I prepared thsese namakparas many months ago which I had not posted in my blog. Now with the Healthy Bakes event going on it was apt for me to post it now and send it to the Healthy Cooking Challenge-Healthy Bakes an event of Smitha and guest hosted by Priya of Easy and Tasty recipes.

1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
salt to taste
chilli powder to taste
1/4 tea spoon garlic powder or 1 clove of garlic
2 handfuls of mint leaves
2 table spoon oil or softened butter

Grind the mint leaves coarsely with garlic if using the fresh one or chop it fine.  Mix the flour with salt, chilli powder and garlic powder if using the powder.   Add the oil and rub it in thoroughly till all the flour is well coated with the oil.  Add the mint and very little water to knead it into a tight dough. Roll it out into a thin roti and cut them into 1 inch by 2 inch strips.  Transfer these to a greased baking sheet.

Stick into a oven preheated to 400 degrees and cook them for about 8-10 minutes turning them once in between.
These make yummy tea time snack!!  These can be enjoyed with any dip.  I had this snack with Yellow Squash Chutney/Dip.

October 12, 2011

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani is a one of the traditional dish of the Punjabi cuisine packed with proteins and rich in fibre.  A generous amount of butter and cream are also added to lend a rich flavor.  However, I wanted to replicate this dish with some fat milk instead of the rich cream.  And the outcome was quite good and we all got a fulfilling meal!!

1 and a 1/4 cup of whole urad
1/2 cup rajma
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 medium ripe tomatoes pureed
2 inch piece ginger grated
4-5 big garlic cloves
2 slit green chili
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp garam masala powder
oil as required
2 tsp butter
1/2 to 1 cup fat milk

 Soak the dals together overnight and pressure cook in water about 5 times the quantity of the dal.  Add salt and little amount of the chili powder and some ginger while cooking.  Once the pressure is released, mash the dals with the masher while it is still hot.

Take sufficient oil and when it is hot splutter the cumin seeds.  Add the ginger, garlic and chili and give a quick stir.  When it is slightly brown add the onions and saute until it is brown in color.  Add the chili and coriander powder and stir a couple of times.  Immediately add the tomato puree and let it cook till it begins to leave the sides.  Add the cooked dal along with the water,  garam masala and salt as needed and let it come to boil on a medium heat. Add the milk and let it cook further.  Lower the heat and cook on low for 10 minutes till the dals are blended well.  Garnish with coriander leaves and the butter.

P.S.  I was making this quantity for a potluck meal.  About 1/2 a cup measure of urad dal is enough to serve 3-4 people.  Adjust the other ingredients accordingly.

October 10, 2011

Beetroot Pulao

Pulao is a very favorite dish among young and old as it works as a quite fulfilling one pot meal.  Yesterday I made this Beetroot Pulao for dinner and dal makhani(without the makhan).  The pulao is quite a simple dish using chopped beetroots instead of the regular carrots and the rest being the same.

Ingredients for the pulao are as follows

1 cup basmati rice soaked for about 20 minutes
a handful of chopped beetroot and potatoes
a handful of frozen beans and peas
1/2 a small onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, 1 long green chili and 1 inch piece ginger all finely chopped
4 cloves, small piece of cinnamon and a pinch of elaichi powder
cumin seeds for seasoning

Take 3 tsp of oil and splutter the cumin seeds when it is hot.  Add all the whole masalas and immediately add the onions.  Saute them for a couple of minutes and add the chopped ginger, garlic and green chili.  Follow it with the drained rice and fry till you get the aroma.  Add all the vegetables and stir for about 5 minutes.  Add water in the ratio of 1:2 and let it come to boiling.   Lower the heat, add the required salt, stir and cook on low flame till all the water is gone.  Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. 

September 28, 2011

Eggless Pear Muffins or Vegan Plum Muffins

It has been quite some time since I contributed anything to my food blog that I made up my mind today to take time off from my navarathri preparations to post this from my inbox.  As you all know, my camera charger was missing and that brought to me a halt.  Around that time I made these muffins and while I was doing the Plum muffins I remembered about my daughter's camera with which I took the pictures. Subsequently, I also found my camera charger(kept very safely by me) but could not concentrate on doing anything as I was busy getting ready for Navaratri.

Here are the recipies......

I had these nice ripe pears in my refrigerator for many weeks and decided to prepare some muffins with them.  I usually like to make muffins as they come as a handy snack or a filling breakfast.  My girls enjoy them with a glass of milk in the morning.  It is just so easy to grab them and enjoy it on the go.  So I went about googling for a pear muffin recipe and found this one at   This is a very cute website worth taking a look.  Cute because it carries some craft ideas as well for those craft lovers and moms who want to occupy their little kids!!

Pear Muffins with Honey Oat Topping
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup diced pears, skin removed

Honey Oat Topping:
1 Nature Valley Oats ‘N Honey Granola Bar, crumbled
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place nine muffin liners in a muffin pan. Fill the other cups with a little bit of water. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Whisk in the sugar.
3. In a separate medium bowl, mix canola oil, egg, milk, and vanilla together.
4. Add the wet ingredients into flour mixture. Stir until just combined, don’t over mix.. Gently fold in the diced pears.
5. In a small bowl, using a fork, mix together the crumbled granola bar, brown sugar, and butter. Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle honey oat topping over each muffin.
6. Bake muffins for 15-17 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let muffins cool on a cooking rack.

I followed the recipe as it is but did my usual substitution for the egg.  For one egg,  I take a 1/4 cup measure  and add 1 tbsp milk and fill the rest with vegetable oil.  I also used half wheat flour and half all purpose flour.  I ended up adding the sugar in the end as I forgot to do them in the beginning.  So for it to mix well, I added a little extra milk.  May be  it was because of this that my muffins took a little time more than the 17 minutes to be done.  As I did not fill my muffin liners fully, I got 11 muffins.
I had to skip the topping part as I did not have the ingredients on hand.    No regrets, as my kids love it plain.  However, I will have to definitely try it with the topping.  Who is not going to love it when there is butter!!!

My kids loved these muffins and they all vanished in about 3 days!!

Vegan Plum Muffins

Following the earlier recipe,  I decided to use some soft plums which were lying in my refrigerator for many weeks.  This time made it vegan by substituting with soy milk.  The plums  though were soft and ripe, was not a sweet one.  Nevertheless, the taste was not bad and my kids ate it.  I remembered to add all the ingredients in the beginning itself:)  However, the muffins took a little longer than the time mentioned for it to be done.  So check if they are ready by inserting a toothpick in the center.

Oops!!! Please bear with the poor click!!  I was in a hurry to get it done:(

September 16, 2011

Hi Friends,

Here I am creating some dishes but unable to do anything as I have seem to misplaced my camera charger.  It has been a week since I realized it was missing.   I have been creating some dishes and getting it into my draft inbox but not sure when I will get to post them.  Hopefully it will not last long once I get my whole family to go on a hunt down this weekend.  If not the last resort is to replace the charger with a new one!!  Keeping my fingers crossed:)-

September 9, 2011

Spinach Cheese Puffs

One can never forget the vegetable puffs which we have enjoyed during our childhood days.  Now the wonderful Frozen Puff Pastry sheets have made it easier to prepare these mouth watering snacks at home.  When I started using these sheets after coming to the US, all I would prepare was a potato filling.  However as times passed,  I learnt that the filling need not be restricted to just potatoes to be tasty.  My kids like these so much that they prefer them over the potato filled puffs.

1 Puff Pastry Sheet from the packet
1 1/2 cups tightly packed thawed (frozen) cut spinach leaves
3/4 cup of grated cheese tightly packed(I used 4cheese mexican)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp paprika powder
1/2 of a very small onion finely chopped

Take the spinach in a microwave safe bowl and heat it up for a couple of minutes.  After a while, squeeze out all the water from it.  Process the leaves till it looks like it has been finely chopped.  Add the onion, cheese, salt and paprika and process it further till it is all combined well.  In the meanwhile, thaw the pastry sheet according to the package instructions.  Cut them along the folds so that you have three separate segments.  Cut each of them into 3 squares.  Fill each of the square on one side with a little portion of the filling and fold over the other side.  Press and seal them with wet finger tips.  Have the oven ready and set to 400 degrees.  Arrange the filled squares on the baking tray and bake for 7 minutes to begin with and 5 more minutes after turning them over or until it is golden brown on both sides.

The kids are sure to enjoy these and mine love them!!!

White Pumpkin Subzi/Kootu

We all know that white pumpkin is a very widely used vegetable in the South Indian cooking with possibility of varied dishes like the Sambar, Kootu, Morkootu, Aviyal.   However to my knowledge, I have not known or hear anybody say that they have made a subzi with these pumpkins to go well with the rotis.  Today,  I got this wonderful home grown pumpkin from my friend(never seen one like this so firm yet tender and pure white in color).  Since I always like to come with some new innovations,  decided to make a dish out of these pumpkins that could be eaten with the rotis.  Hence, this kootu preparation combining the north and south flavors.  

This is my typical preparation of the Kootu for rotis when I do not feel like having any gravy dishes with garam masala.

3-4 cups of chopped white pumpkin
1 small onion chopped
1 tomato chopped
1 green chili
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp chana dal
1/4 cup moong dal
1 tsp sambar powder
pinch of turmeric powder
salt to taste
few curry leaves

Cook the moong dal separately and have it ready.  Soak the chana dal for an hour and drain the water.
Take some oil in a pan and splutter the mustard and cumin seeds.  Add the ginger, green chili and curry leaves and saute it quickly.  Add the soaked chana and saute till all the moisture is gone completely.   Throw in the onions and saute them for about 3 minutes.  Now add the tomatoes along with turmeric and sambar powder and cook until it is soft(takes about 4 mintues).  Add the cubed pumpkin pieces and salt and stir for a couple of minutes before covering it with a lid.  You can add water at this stage but not too much.  When it is almost cooked add the moong dal and bring everything to a boil. 

Kootu is ready to be eaten with rice or rotis

August 30, 2011

Carrot Rice

Hi Friends,

I am back after this wonderful break from the monotony and decided to do something quick for my lunch while I was jet lagged.  I found some carrots lying in my refrigerator and cooked up this rice dish. It was such a wonderful coincidence as the Healthy Lunch Box Ideas with the Carrot theme was going on as well.  This also put me back on track of food blogging which I probably would have procrastinated for another month.  

It is no wonder this recipe goes to Healthy Lunchbox Ideas (HLI) event with CARROTS as the theme at Sizzling Tastebuds .

3/4 cup sona masoori rice
2 medium size carrots
1 small potato peeled and cut into small pieces
handful of frozen peas
1 medium size onion chopped fine
1.5 tbsp ground roasted peanuts
1" long cinnamon stick
3 cloves
5 tsp oil
salt to taste

Spice Powder
1 tsp Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 long red chilli
3 tsp grated coconut

Roast the spice powder ingredients in little oil.  Add the coconut in the end and roast until it changes color.  Powder them and keep aside.

Peel the carrots, cut into big pieces and blanch in boiling water for 4 minutes.  Then grate the carrots coarsely.  Alternatively, you can also process in a food processor.  I like to do it this way as the carrots get integrated well with the rice.

Cook the rice separately and keep it aside to cool.

Take oil in a pan and when it is hot enough add the cinnamon and the cloves.  Now add the onions and saute till they are transparent.  Follow it with potatoes and peas and cook until they are little soft adding little bit of salt.  Add the processed carrots and cook until the raw smell of the carrot goes away.  Add the spice powder and cook for few more minutes.  Mix the rice in thoroughly along with salt and stir it on high flame for few minutes.  Add the roasted peanut powder in the end and give a good mix.

Serve this rice with raita or pachadi(south indian verion of raita).