January 31, 2007


Matar Aloo is my contribution to Pooja of 'creativepooja's VOTW. This week's special is 'Green Peas'!!Thank you for hosting Pooja!:))

Green Peas:

What's Matar Aloo?! Matar is Green Peas and Aloo is Potato in Hindi and they are smothered in Tomato-Coconut-Almond sauce.YUM!! Well...Alu Matar is a very popular dish in North India and elsewhere.I thought I would give it a South Indian twist and make it Matar Aloo since there are more Green Peas than Potato in this dish!I had a choice of choosing either frozen Green peas or dry Green Peas,I chose the latter because of firmer texture than the soft frozen Peas.Let get cooking,shall we?!:)

Matar Aloo in Coconut-Almond Sauce!

You Need:
1 tbsp butter,1/2 tsp Cumin seeds,1 cup dried Green Peas soaked overnight and cooked just until soft but mushy,1 Potato cubed,1 tsp each Ginger and Garlic paste,1 small onion minced, 1 big Tomato or 1/2 cup Tomato sauce, 1tbsp each Coriander seeds pd,Cumin seeds pd,1/2 tsp red chilli pd,salt,Cilantro and 1 tsp Sugar.
To Grind: 2 tbsp dry or fresh coconut,2 tbsp toasted Almonds and 1/2 tsp Garam Masala.

How To:

Melt butter,add cumin seeds.Add cubed Potatoes,saute until reddish.Put in minced onion until it gets color,then add Giner-Garlic paste and saute for a minute.Add in all the dry spices,stir fry until you see little butter on top.Add in Tomato.

Keep stirring until Tomato sauce thickens and you see the shine of butter in the pan.Add 1 cou of water,salt and cooked Green Peas with it's cooking water if any,(Do not add too much water,sauce should thickish), 1 tsp sugar and simmer gently.

Meanwhile,grind coconut,almonds,garam masala until very smooth and add to simmering Matar Aloo and mix well.Simmer (must be on low heat to prevent coconut fro curdling)gently for 10-15mins until thick and butter shows up on top.Adjust the salt and chilli pd to your taste.

This dish tastes great the next day,please have some patience!!
Serve Matar Aloo with either Poori or layered Parathas, lemon slices and sweet onion slices on the side!!

With Pooris(Indian Fried Puffed Bread):

With Layered Round Parathas(Wheat Bread) :

Enjoy a wonderful lightly spiced Matar Aloo!:))

January 29, 2007


French Onion Soup is my contribution to Kalyn's "Weekend Herb Blogging" I am cooking with Scallions or Spring/Green Onions this week.This week's host is Ulrike at 'Küchenlatein' Thank you for hosting Ulrike!:)

Spring/Green Onions or Scallions:

Scallions are also sometimes known as green onions in the United States.They tend to be milder tasting than other onions and are typically used raw in salads in western cookery. Diced scallions are often used in soup, noodle, seafood, and sauce in eastern dishes.(WIKI)More info here.

French Onion Soup with Scallions: Serves 4(1 cup)servings

Here is how I make an easy French Onion Soup.You can use Gruyere or any cheese on the French bread.Toast it just until you get a little color on top and place on the soup.If you like thicker soup,add 2tsp plain flour on the onion rings and saute before adding the stock.You can add some wine too in addition to the stock.

You Need:
1 tbsp butter,1 Bay leaf,2 medium onions cut into rings,1/2 cup Spring Onions chopped,2 Garlic minced,4 cups low-sodium Beef stock (or chicken stock or veg stock or water),1 tsp dry Thyme or 1 tbsp fresh Thyme,salt and pepper.4 thick slices French Bread,8 tbsp cheese of your liking,2 tbsp Parmesan,fresh Thyme and some Spring Onion for garnish.

How To:

Melt butter,add Bay leaf,onion rings and saute until they get reddish on the edges.Put in chopped Spring Onion and minced Garlic,stir for 2 mins.Pour in stock of your choice(Beef stock is used for this soup usually),salt(stock already has salt,go easy!),pepper and boil for 10 mins.Discard the Bay leaf.

Meanwhile,preheat broiler.Sprinkle 2 tbsp Cheese on 4 thick sliced French bread,1 tbsp Parmesan cheese on each and broil just until they get little color,take them out and cool on the cooling rack.Sprinkle some Spring Onion on top.

To Serve:
Serve the hot soup in a bowl,float one slice of French bread on top and serve immediately.

That's about it. Have a great meal!:))

January 25, 2007


Here is my entry of colorful Tri-color spicy Cream Cheese blocks to Pooja of 'Creativepooja' s "Indian Republic day" theme this week to create a dish with three colors of Indian flag to celebrate the 26th with pride!!:))

The colors of the Indian Flag:

Orange/Saffron represents "courage and sacrifice",
White represents "peace, unity and truth",
Green represents "fertile land",
and the Blue wheel in the middle represents "Dharma Chakra"(the wheel of Law).
(Info from www.enchantedlearning.com)

Here is my dish with similar colors!:)
Orange, White and Green spiced Cream Cheese with Crackers!:))

You Need:
8oz block of plain Cream Cheese,cut into 3 parts and softened to room temp. in 3 seperate bowls.

How to make these:
Orange Cream Cheese:
Take one portion of Cream cheese.Add 1/4 cup finely grated Carrots,pinch of salt,1/2 tsp Red chilli flakes,1/4 tsp lemon juice,1/4 cup finely minced Red bell pepper and mix well.Shape into a rectangle and put it on a plate.
White Cream Cheese:
Mix another portion of cream cheese with pinch of salt,1/2 tsp garlic pd,1/2 tsp black or white peppercorn pd, well and shape into a rectangle,put in on a plate.
Green Cream Cheese:
Into the last portion,add 1 tsp minced Jalapenos,1tbsp minced Cilantro,1/2 tsp Garlic pd,1/4tsp lemon juice,3tbsp minced green bell pepper,1 tbsp Scallion rounds,pinch of salt and mix well,form into rectangle and place on the plate.

To Serve: Cover the plate with plastic and chill for 1 hr or more until cheese is firm.Take it out and garnish with Scallions and grated carrots and some Crushed peppercorns(it's not blue like the wheel but...!) on the white cheese.Serve with a vareity of Crackers to scoop and that's about it.

There you are!! Three colors of Indian flag and with an Dharma Chakra(wheel of Law) in the middle. Enjoy the delicious tasting snack!!!:)

Now,some info and pictures of Indian Republic Day celebration in India!

Republic Day Parade in Delhi:

26th January 1950
is one of the most important days in Indian history as it was on this day the constitution of India came into force and India became a truly sovereign state. The country finally realized the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and the numerous freedom fighters who, fought for and sacrificed their lives for the Independence of their country.Every year on the 26th of January was declared a national holiday and has been recognized and celebrated as the Republic Day of India ever since.More info Here.

Parade with Elephants!

Republic Day is India's great national festival. It is celebrated every year on January 26, in New Delhi with great pomp with parades, in capitals of the States, as well as in other states with patriotic frevor!

There you have it. PEACE TO ALL OF YOU!:))

January 23, 2007


Here is my first ever contribution to Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging!:) This week's WHB is hosted by Ed of "Tomato". Thank you for hosting. The herb I am using this week is a very flavorful and aromatic "Dill", one of my favorite herbs!

The name "dill" is thought to have originated from a Norse or Anglo-Saxon word 'dylle' meaning to soothe or lull, the plant having the carminative property of relieving gas.Its fernlike leaves as well as seeds are aromatic, and are used to flavor many foods, such as pickled salmon, borscht, soups and pickles.(Info:WIKI)

Dill Leaves:
Dill are best when used fresh, as they lose their flavor rapidly if dried, however, freeze-dried dill leaves preserve their flavor relatively well for a few months.It is also very easy to grow a supply of plants in summer months.Dill oil can be extracted from the leaves, stems and seeds of the plant.(Info: WIKI)

Red Lentil-Dill Soup with Dill Cream:
This soup is inspired by Indian Dal. Dal-Roti (Lentil Gravy and Wheat flat bread) in India is as staple as Meat and Potato in the west.I chose to use Red Lentil for this as it is easily available and a bunch of aromatic Dill leaves with few Indian spices to make a delicious soup and topped with Sour Cream-Dill-Scallion cream and crisp fried Onion rings.You could add any veg and meat for texture and flavor if you like. Sounds great? Let's make some soup!:))

Serve this with some warm crusty bread to soak up all the soupy goodness!

How To Make Soup:

Cook 1 cup red lentils with 4 cups of water in the microwave until soft and whisk.Heat 1 tbsp butter or oil in a pan,fry 1 minced onion until soft,add in 2 minced garlic,stir for a min.Add in 1 tbsp Coriander seeds pd,1 tsp cumin seeds pd,1/2 tsp Garam masala or 1/4 tsp Allspice,1/4 tsp turmeric, 1tsp paprika,1/2 cup Tomato sauce.

Stir for 2 mins.Do not burn the spices. Add cooked,mashed lentils,salt,1/8 tsp chill flakes if needed and a bunch of Dill leaves finely chopped (save 2 tbsp Dill for garnish) to the pot and let it boil.You can add water or veg stock to thin it if you like at this stage.Cover and simmer until dill is soft and cooked.Soup is ready when you see a thin film of oil or butter on top,adjust the salt and spices!

Meanwhile,cut 1 small onion to rings and fry in oil until reddish and crisp,drain on the paper towel and cool. Mix 1/4 cup Sour Cream with 2 tbsp Dill leaves,1 tbsp rounds of Scallion,salt and pepper in a bowl.That's it!

To Serve: Ladle the soup into a bowl, add a dollop of Sour Cream-Dill-Scallion cream in the middle and garnish with crisp fried onion rings ,some Scallion rounds on top and serve with a chunk of crusty bread!! YUM!!!!
Note: You can add 2 tsp Rasam Pd (Indian Spice pd) if you have it in your pantry to make a tastier soup and serve with rice!

Delicious Lentil-Dill soup is ready to dig in!!:))

Have a great tasting warm and spicy soup on a cold day! Enjoy!!:)

January 21, 2007


TRS has launched a wonderful monthly blog event called "Little Chefs in the Kitchen"! We are supposed to cook something simple and kid friendly which involves kids to participate in the culinary arts! Doesn't that sound wonderful?!:)

I was not exactly thrilled at first!You see, I am very possessive of my kitchen but now I am glad to found out that he is great cook too!
Thank you sweet TRS, I credit this to you!!

Well,I thought why not LET my almost tween son to make Waffles for us all by himself on Saturday for breakfast instead of me doing most of the work! He happily did it too although it was VERY hard for me just stand around and watch him make a few "not so perfectly shaped" Waffles! But then,it is MY problem,isn't it? :D

He did make some great looking Waffles.They came out very well and tasty with all the gooey Chocolate oozing out of them! Here they are with Maple syrup:

How he made Waffles: Makes about 10

Take 1 cup Waffle mix (or 1 cup plain flour,1 tsp Baking pd,1/4 tsp salt), 2tbsp Hershey's Cocoa powder,1 tsp Vanilla essence, 1 Egg(optional),1 tbsp Brown sugar,2-3 tbsp Chocolate chips in a bowl and mix well with enough milk to make a thickish pourable batter.Must not be thin.

Heat a Belgian Waffle Iron until hot,spray lightly with no-stick oil.Pour a ladleful of batter into each until they are filled unlike my son's first two Waffles with holes but he learned very quickly with the other two!:D Close the waffle iron and cook until you don't see the steam coming out from the sides of the iron.

Open the Waffle iron's lid and lift all four of them onto a cooling rack.Repeat the same until all batter is done.
SERVE: with Butter Pecan Maple Syrup and a cold glass of Orange juice. You can add some fruits on top but with chocolate oozing out of those Waffles,you don't need anything else!:))

Enjoy the Chocolate chip Waffles!!
Thank you TJ for a wonderful breakfast! You have made me a very proud mommy to have a son who is a good cook as well!!:))

January 17, 2007


Sixteen Bean Masala is my second contribution to Pooja of 'creativepooja's "Veg of the week" event.This week's theme is all about cooking with any dried bean.

There is no better way than cooking these Masala using those wonderful pack of Sixteen Bean(introduced to me by Linda!Click on "16 Bean Soup") for "Dried Beans" theme of the week,right? Here I go!:)

Sixteen Bean Masala:

Look how gorgeous these colorful beans look below and what a pleasure to cook with these nutrious and yummy mix of beans!YUM!!

A pack of Sixteen Bean!

You Need:

1 cup dry 16 bean,soaked overnight,drined and cooked with fresh water until soft but still whole,Cilantro,1/4 cup Tomato sauce,2 tbsp Yoghurt,1/2 tsp sugar.
Grind to paste:1 small onion,1 big garlic,1" ginger,1/4 tsp Turmeric.
Dry spices:1 tsp paprika,1 tbsp Coriander seeds pd,2 tsp Cumin seeds powder,1/4 tsp chilli pd,1/2 tsp Garam Masala,2 tsp MDH Kitchen King masala(optional but tastes good!)

How To:

Heat 1 tbsp oil and ghee mixed on medium heat,add ground masala and saute for 5 mins until onion mix gets little color but never reddish.Add paprika,yoghurt 1tbsp at a time,keep stirring to prevent curdling,add tomato sauce,mix well until you see the oil specks surface.Now add all the dry spices,salt,stir for a min.

When boils,turn down the heat and add in cooked beans with it's water.If there is too little liquid,add 1 cup water to make it thin.Cooked Beans tends to thicken the very quickly.Add cilantro and sommer until you get the wonderful aroma.That's it! You could ad a dab of butter to make shiny and delicious.Serve with Parathas!

Another look of Bean Masala!

Triangular Parathas:

Have fun!


This is my first contribution to Pooja of 'creativepooja's "Veg of the week" event.This week's theme is all about cooking with dry beans.Even though they are not considered as veggies, I like it because dry Beans are easily available everywhere unlike some vegetables.So,without wasting much of your time,here is mine!!:))

Spicy Chana(Brown or red) or Kadale kalu palya as we call it in Karanataka is a wonderful dried bean to cook and create many tasty dishes.This dish which is a very traditional way of cooking with Chana in my grandmother's home and is a great side dish for Chapatis or Idlis and Dosas.Enjoy!

Spicy Chana:

You Need:
1 cup dry brown Chana,soaked overnight and cooked,1 small oinon,chopped,2 garlic,Cilantro and 1 tsp or more Tamarind juice or 1 Tomato,chopped,turmeric.
Masala Powder:
Roast and Grind 1 tbsp Coriander seeds,1 tsp cumin seeds,1/2 tsp pepper corns,2-3 red dry chillies,1" dalchini(cinnamon),2 cloves, 1 tbsp dry or fresh coconut,2 tsp Chana dal.(roast each seperately until reddish,cool and powder)
To Temper:1 tbsp oil and ghee mixed,1/2 tsp each mustard seeds,cumin seeds,few curry leaves,pinch of hing.

How To:

1. Heat oil and temper with all the ingredients,add onion and fry until reddish.
2. Add garlic,saute for a min,add cooked Chana,tamarind juice or tomato,powdered masala and cilantro.
3. Cook until the oil shows on top and the gravy is thicker.Tastes better the next day. Serve with hot Chapatis for a great tasting meal.


How To:

Mix 2 cups wheat flour(atta),1 tbsp oil,1 tsp salt and enough hot water to make a firm dough and knead until soft.Divede into 8-10 pieces,cover and let it rest for 15-30mins.Roll out one ball to 6" circle evenly using a little bit of flour if you need it.

Bake on a medium hot pan until you get golden specks on the both sides.Brush the top of Chapatis lightly with ghee or butter.Repeat with others.Serve with Chana curry.
Store in a Tortilla warmer until you need them.

Have a wonderful meal folks!

January 16, 2007


Elvis!! and his Peanut Butter and Banana fried sandwiches!!Have you heard of this sandwich? They say that he used to eat 12 of these in one go!! Curious?! Read more about it and the original recipe here. Do not underestimate the taste though,it's absolutely divine! My kids gobbled them in seconds!:D

My "light" version of Mr.Presley's sandwiches!:))

Some nutrional facts about Bananas!(www.thefruitpages.com)
Eat at least one banana a day, they are said to contain everything a human needs and they contain all the 8 amino-acids our body cannot produce itself.
Bananas are a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.
Red bananas contain more vitamin C as yellow bananas (the redder a fruit, the more nutritious elements it contains!)

Yup! That's Elvis Presley right there with his Chef frying his sandwich!:)

(Photo from www.abc.net)

Ofcourse,I am NOT making his original version of white bread,mashed Banana,inch high Peanut butter and shallow fried yes! fried in melted bacon fat!! OYY!!!! Nope! I will do these my way with lot less fat,if you don't mind!:D

You Need:

4 slices of whole wheat bread,4 tbsp of creamy honey roasted peanut butter,2 ripe banana - sliced,some Maple syrup or Butter Pecan syrup,2 tablespoons butter.

How To: Serves 2

Spread 1 tbsp of peanut butter on a slice of bread and place sliced Banana rounds on them.Drizzle some syrup on it and cover with another slice of bread.Press the slices gently. Melt 1/2 tbsp butter over medium heat in a thick bottomed pan.

Place the sandwich in the pan and fry until golden brown on one side.Put 1/2 tbsp butter on the top and flip and grill until reddish.Repeat with other two slices and enjoy with a glass of cold milk.(Elvis ate them with Buttermilk!! OYY again!!)

One more look! Over and out folks!Enjoy!!:))

That's it! This would be my second contribution to Maheswari of 'Beyond the usual' blog who just launched a AFAM event!This month's fruit is "Banana"!

January 15, 2007


Here is my Southern style Banana Pudding,my first contribution to Maheswari of 'Beyond the usual' blog who just launched a AFAM event!This month's fruit is "Banana"!:))

A great fruit to create myriad of desserts or just to enjoy as it is. Make sure Bananas are ripe before making this dessert to add it's own sweetness and flavor to the pudding to mingle along with Vanilla flavor and the crunchiness of Graham cracker crumbs! You can also use coarsely crushed Vanilla wafers and whole wafers to garnish, which is often used in Southern style pudding, your choice.

Banana Pudding!
You Need: Makes 4 servings

Two ripe bananas, 1/4 tsp Lemon Juice(optional),10-12 Graham Crackers ground coarsely or 1/4 cup Graham cracker crumbs or Nilla Vanilla wafers, coarsely crushed.
For Pudding:1/3 cup sugar or more to your taste, 2 tbsp plain flour or 2 tbsp cornstarch, 1/8 tsp salt, 2 cups milk or Fat-Free Half and Half, 2 whole eggs, beaten (optional) and 1 tsp vanilla essence.

How To:
Vanilla Pudding: Mix sugar, flour or cornstarch and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan.Gradually stir in milk,stir over medium heat until it thickens and comes to a boil.Lower the heat,stir until thickish.Beat eggs in a bowl, add some hot milk, mix and add to the pan.Continue cooking until thick, stir in Vanilla essence and remove from heat. Cool.
Variation to make it even easier:
Mix the sugar, milk, flour or cornstarch and then add 2 eggs and beat well to mix. Heat it on medium heat, stirring all the time to avoid scrambling the eggs until thickish. Add vanilla essence and mix well and use as below.

Slice Bananas into rounds, add and mix lemon Juice to prevent discoloration if you like.
To serve:Take a nice bowl,sprinkle 1-2 tbsp Cracker crumbs or wafer crumbs, layer with banana slices, 4 tbsp cooled pudding, repeat the layer once again ending with crumbs and 2 round slices of Banana to top the pudding. Delicious pudding is ready to eat. But wait! Tastes even better if you chill it:))

Here's your yummy Banana Pudding,Southern style!:)