March 29, 2007


Jalapeno Chutney is my contribution to Nupur from 'One Hot Stove" blog's "A to Z Indian Vegetables"'s event.This week's letter "J", thanks for hosting Nupur:)

Beautiful Jalapenos:

Jalapenos has Spanish origin,and is named after the city of Xalapa, Veracruz, where it was traditionally produced.Jalapeños contain a substance called capsaicin that has shown to have anti-cancer effects.These are medium hot chillies with thick pulp and easy to seed.They can be used to make Jalapeno Jelly,Salsa,smoked as Chipotle in Adobo sauce and in many other dishes with a great flavor. More info at Wikipedia.

Jalapeno Chutney seasoned with Garlic:

Green chilli chutney is a classic Mysorean dish often made by grandmother which is called "Khara chutney" in Kannada.Of course in India,they use very hot green chillies but in US, I find these jalapenos are perfect for this chutney which has thick pulp and not as hot as the other chillies.
This chutney is almost always served with delicious Ragi rotti(red millet flour)made with onion,cilantro etc. and topped with some Ghee to mellow the heat.These are my absolutely favorite rustic comfort food combo although I don't make it often because Ragi flour is not easily available to me but I do make chutney and keep it in the fridge.This chutney tastes fabulous with just some plain yogurt and rice! YUM!!
(This recipe makes about a cup of chutney which can be stored for 3-4 weeks in the fridge)

You Need:

Take about 15 Jalapeños,clean and slice in to rounds,small lump of Tamarind(not juice),small lump of Jaggery or sugar if you don't have it,salt,Few curry leaves, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1 garlic.For seasoning: 4 tbsp Canola oil,1 tsp mustard seeds,about 6-8 Garlic,peeled and chopped,few curry leaves.

How to make the Chutney:

In a non-stick pan,heat 1 tsp oil and fry chillies,1 garlic,curry leaves and cumin seeds until reddish on the edges.Take it out on a plate and cool.Add to a blender along with tamarind,salt,Jaggery and blend until smooth paste sraping the sides often. Absolutely no water added to this chutney.

To season it:
Heat the rest of the oil left,add all the seasoning ingredients above and fry just the Garlic gets a pinkish color and add to the chutney and mix well.Let it cool completely before you store it in a bottle to keep in the fridge,not more than 3 weeks.

Ragi Rotti with onions and Cilantro:
(Ragi is Red millet)

Make the Ragi flour ball with 1 cup water,little oil,salt and 1 cup or more Ragi flour just like you make for "Rice Rotti" using as much as flour you need to get a firm ball.Cool it.Meanwhile, chop 1 small onion very finely,cilantro,mild red chillies(Optional) and add to cooled Ragi ball and mix well without water well.If it's too thin,add more ragi flour but not too much as it makes rottis hard.

Make four balls out of that,spray some no-stick oil on a foil,and press the ball with your palm to make about 6" roti.Keep it on a clean towel and repeat with others.Heat a Tava or a griddle to medium high and cook the rottis on both sides drizzling with some oil until reddish and crisp.

Cool on rack and serve with Khara chutney and little dab of ghee.Enjoy the delicious taste of Jalapeno chutney.I wanted to some Jowar rotis too,but I ran out of Jowar flour.This chutney tastes great with Jowar roti,Makkai roti or even with plain rice and Yogurt.Hope you try!:)

Ragi Rotti-Khara chutney-Tuppa:
(Translation: Red millet roti with Jalapeno chutney,topped with Ghee(flavored clarified butter!)

Jalapeno Jelly:
One of my husband's patients made this Jalapeno Jelly and gave it to him.It tastes sweet like any jelly at first and then the heat hits you in the throat!:D It's absolutely delicious on toast!! I will have to get the recipe and make my own someday.

Few tips for Jyotsna's "Safety Moments" for March:

Stoves can be the cause of many accidents in the kitchen.Always make sure the pilot light and fan are on when cooking.Never leave pan handles towards you over burners. Keep hot dishes out of reach of others to avoid burns.Use oven mitts when handling hot dishes.Use caution when working with steam or frying to prevent burns.

Enjoy, have a great weekend you guys!:)

March 27, 2007


Smothered Chicken flavored with Allspice is my contribution this week's "Weekend Herb Blogging" hosted by Kalyn herself this time around.My choice of spice this week for WHB is Allspice berries and powder.Thanks for hosting Kalyn:)

Allspice berries and Powder:

Allspice -(Pimento) is a the "dried unripe berry" of the Pimenta dioica which belongs to the family Myrtaceae. It is also know as Jamaica pepper.Spanish explorers chanced on to the Allspice plant in Jamaica in the beginning of the 16th century. The Spaniards thought the fruits look like pepper so they gave it the name of Jamaican Pepper and pimento from the word "pimienta", Spanish for peppercorn. The English name "Allspice" was given because the spice is said to have the aroma of several spices including cloves, pepper and even cinnamon and nutmeg and used often in Jamaican cuisine, specillay Jerk chicken.I love the mild flavor and taste of Allspice.(Info; Gourmetsleuth)

Some of us Indians tend to think of Allspice as "Garam Masala", which is a Indian spice powder made of several aromatic spices,also completely different from Allspice berries.The beauty of Allspice berries is they do look like Garam masala when powdered and smells great somewhat like Garam masala with mild flavor but they are NOT interchangeable in the dishes.You can't beat the flavor and the aroma our own Indian Garam masala!!;D

Southern Smothered Chicken:

You usually don't get this dish in any regular restaurant on the main street but might get it in one of those "Soul food" Mama's kitchen restaurants as I have seen in some southern towns. I love the simplicity and the great taste of this dish with a confetti of vegetables and a thickish gravy with simple spices.I added Allspice powder which gives it a wonderful flavor which may not be the traditional spice for Smothered Chicken but hey, anything to enhance the flavor if you ask me!

That said let's smother some Chicken, shall we?!:)

You Need:

2 chicken breasts,slice across to make it thinner and made into 4 slices.In a plate,mix 1/2 cup plain flour,salt,pepper,1/8 tsp cayenne pd,1 tsp Allspice powder,1/2 tsp Garlic and Onion pd, and 1 tbsp dried Parsley.1 cup Celery, 1/2 cup Onion,1/2 cup carrots,all chopped to similar size,1 garlic minced, 1-2 cups Chicken stock, 1/2 tsp Allspice pd for the gravy.Cook 2 cups of rice to go with it!

How to make it:

Heat a non-stick pan with 1 tbsp butter.Mix the flour well,save about 1-2 tbsp flour for Roux and keep it aside.coat chicken fillets well and shake off excess flour and place them in the pan until reddish on both sides.Take them off on a plate.To the pan,add all the chopped veggies and Garlic,saute until cooked and little brown on the edges.

Add salt,pepper, 1/2 tsp Allspice pd,saved 1 tbsp flour,stir for a while and add 1 cup or more chicken stock.Mix well,add in sauteed chicken pieces in to the sauce and let it simmer until chicken is cooked and sauce is thicker but not very thick.Add more stock if it's too thick.Garnish with Parsley and serve with a bowl of rice.That's all, a wonderful meal is ready!

Vegetarians: Skip the chicken and add thick sliced and sauteed Potatoes!! Tastes great too.

Here is a bowl of ultimate southern comfort food; Smothered Chicken with rice:


March 26, 2007


Mint and Chives flavored Masoor dal with Turnips is my contribution to "Green Blog Project Spring 2007" which is hosted by Mandira of 'Ahaar' blog this Spring.Thanks for hosting Mandira!:)

Some facts about Mint:
Peppermint and spearmint came to the New World with the colonists, who also used them medicinally. They drank mint tea for headaches, heartburn, indigestion, gas, and to help them sleep.They also drank mint tea for pure pleasure, especially since it wasn't taxed.More about Mint here.

About Chives:
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum), a member of the onion family and native to Asia and Europe, have been around over 5,000 years. Yet, they were not actively cultivated until the Middle Ages. The botanical name is derived from the Greek meaning reed-like leek. The English name chive comes from the Latin cepa, meaning onion.More about Chives are here.

My little Mint and Chives Winter/Spring garden! :)

This event is all about growing what you can by April 10th and cooking with it. Sounds like fun,doesn't it? But we had such a cold winter this year,I can hardly grow anything but Mint and Chives in my little pot outdoors and it grew luxuriously with no maintenance at all! I tried growing some Radish but couldn't get them before the deadline.Anyway,I am happy with what I got and made some Mint and Chives dal instead!I love the flavor of mint and Chives in the dal,of course in moderation since Mint does overwhelm the dish if used in excess.(Masoor dal is Red lentils by the way for non-Indians.)

Garden fresh Mint and Chives ready to go in the Masoor dal:

Minty Masoor dal with Chives and Turnips:

How to make the dal:
1. Cook 1/2 cup Masoor dal,2-3 Turnips peeled and chopped,1/4 tsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp oil with enough water in the pressure cooker or Microwave until soft.
2. Heat 2 tsp butter or oil, add 1/2" Cinnamon(Dalchini),2 cloves, 1 red dry chilli,1 tsp Cumin seeds,1 crushed whole cardamom, 2 tbsp Peanuts and 1 small onion minced,1 garlic minced,fry until reddish.
3. Add in cooked dal,salt,1 tbsp Coriander powder,1 tsp cumin powder,1 tsp Chill pd,1/2 Tomato sauce or 2 chopped Tomatoes,1/2 tsp Garam masala, 1/2" grated ginger,2 tbsp each tender mint leaves snipped from the top and Chives chopped finely,small piece of Jaggery or a tsp of sugar and heat through.
4. Do not boil too much.Garnish with some more Mint and Chives.You can remove the whole spices now so you don't bite in to them later.
5. Serve with plain white rice and wafers on the side.

That's it! A beautiful pot of Minty Masoor dal is ready!


March 24, 2007


My choice of vegetable this week is Asparagus which is a unfamiliar vegetable to me at least and to most Indians as well.I made a simple side dish with Indian spices to go with a meal for Kalyn's "Weekend Herb Blogging" and this week it's Kate from "Thyme for cooking"'s turn to host.Thank you Kate.

About Asparagus:

A member of the lily family, asparagus, (Asparagus officinalis), comes from the Greek word asparagos, which first appears in English print around 1000 A.D. Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence.It is very low in calories,contains no fat or cholesterol, is very low in sodium and is the best provider of folic acid. More info at "Michigan Asparagus Advisory board".

"As quick as cooking asparagus" was an old Roman saying meaning something accomplished rapidly!

Well now...although I have always loved Asparagus served in the restaurants and have seen Asparagus dishes in many blogs,I have never really tried to cook at home.Finally last week,I decided to buy some of these and stir fry with some Indian spices.It turned out to be a fabulous tasting side dish with crispy Chicken patties and a slice of home made Cheese bread as you can see! Well Asparagus stir-fry was a hit and will be on my table more often from now on!:))

A dinner plate with Chicken Patty,Asparagus Stir-fry with Cheese Bread:

How to make these:

Asparagus Stir-fry first:
1. Pick a tender (with thinner spears) bunch of Asparagus and wipe the outside with a clean wet towel.Hold the Asparagus at the end,snap the thicker part and it will break where is it tender and not stringy.Keep them whole.
2. Heat a 2 tsp butter in a wide pan,add asparagus spears ,sprinkle some salt and stir-fry for not more 5 mins,it should still be crisp when done not limp at all.
3. Before you take it off the heat,sprinkle 1/2 tsp each of Garlic powder,Cumin pd,1/8 tsp of Chili flaked or coarsely ground pepper.
4. Serve warm on the side with a some Mayonnaise(optional) on top.

Crispy Chicken Patties next:
1. In a bowl, mix 1 lb ground chicken,1 egg, 1 tbsp Mrs.Dash no-salt Spicy seasoning or Chipotle seasoning or any you like,2 tsp Parsley,salt and pepper well.
2. Divide in to four portions,make rounds and flatten to make four patties.
3. Add 1 cup Panko, Japanese bread crumbs on a plate and coat each patties well both sides and chill in the fridge covered until you are ready.
4. Heat 1 tsp butter or Olive oil in a non-stick pan on a medium heat,add one patty and cook until reddish on the bottom for about 3 mins,flip and cook the other side until the inside is cooked well with little more butter or oil.
5. Repeat with others and serve as soon as possible,warm and crisp.

Cheese-Garlic Bread last:)

I made some home made Naan bread stuffed with Cheddar Cheese and folded over to bake and brushed with Garlic-Parsley butter when done.Click here for that recipe.

Well..that was it for this week for WHB!!:))

March 22, 2007


Idlies with Semolina,chana dal and vegetables are my contribution to Nupur's " A to Z Indian Vegetables" this week. Letter of the week is "I".Thanks Nupur,I truly enjoyed making these.

Idlies with Chana dal and vegetables:

These Idlies are made of Semolina(Cream of Wheat),Chana dal,vegetables etc, but not like the Rava Idlies.Don't expect them to be perfectly round, and fluffy like regular Urad idlies either! Because we use ground Chana dal to make these,they will be little dense and rustic looking on top and uneven but these are far more nutritious and tastier than the other two.I like rough looking top than the smooth one.You can smoothen the top a little if you like.You also cannot eat more than 3 of these idlies, 12 of these feed a family of four easily!!:))

You Need: Makes about 12 Idlies

1 cup Semolina/Rava roasted in 1 tsp oil until lightly reddish, 1/4 cup Chana Dal/red split peas soaked and ground,(save 1 tbsp Chana dal whole to add to the batter,) 1 carrot grated,3 tbsp frozen Green peas,2 tbsp plain yogurt,1/4" fresh ginger grated,1 green chilli minced,1/4 onion minced,few cilantro,salt,about 1/2 tsp baking soda and enough water to mix.

How to:

Roast Rava until reddish,place in a bowl.Take 1 tbsp soaked Chana dal out of soaked dal and grind the rest until smooth.Add both to the bowl with Rava.Add all the other ingredients including vegs and yogurt,mix well.Then add enough water to make fairly thick batter,thicker than normal Urad Idli batter.Adjust the salt and keep it covered for one hour for semolina to plump up.

After an hour,if you need to water to thin a bit,add it but do not make it thin.Just enough to drop in lumps.Spray the Idli moulds lightly with No-stick spray,add batter halfway to the mould,tap a little to smoothen the top.When done,steam in the pressure cooker for 10-12 mins.Take them out and cool on rack or serve immediately with Chutney.


I made this chutney by mixing 1/4 cup Dal Chutney powder with 3tbsp yogurt and water to make it thinner and seasoned it with mustard seeds,few curry leaves.
Or you can grind 1/4 cup yellow roasted Chana dal(Hurikadale/Pottu Kadalai),roasted red chillies,salt ,yogurt,1/4" ginger and some Hing(Asafoetida) with enough water to ake it thin and season it.

And the finale!

We are done, enjoy the nutritious breakfast or brunch:)

March 20, 2007


Migas or Sundance Eggs is my contribution to "Weekend Breakfast Blogging #9" which was started by Nandita of "Saffron Trail".This month's host is Sig of "live to eat" and the theme is cooking with Eggs. Thanks for hosting Sigma!:)

Eggs: The eggciting and the incredible edible eggs as they say are a great source of protein.For more info about them,click on WIKI.

What's Migas/Migajas?
Migas/Migajas (or Sundance Eggs as it is called sometimes) is a tasty Tex Mex breakfast made popular by Spanish households in Texas,with crisp Tortilla topped with scrambled Eggs and assortment of vegs and served with re-fried beans.They also make this quick breakfast with either torn Tortillas or Tortilla chips and fry up with other ingredients or as dinner during Lent.(Robert Amaya) This recipe is adapted from a cookbook "The Tex Mex cookbook" by Robb Walsh.


You Need:Makes two Migas

Two 6" flour Tortillas,1/2 cup Tomato chopped, few bottled Jalapeno rings,1/4 cup chopped white or Green onions,2 Eggs,cilantro, 1/2 tsp Mexican seasoning or cumin seeds pd,1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese.

Crisp the Tortillas on the pan by spraying oil or baking.Make scrambled Eggs with 2 tsp water and salt until done and keep aside.To make Migas, place a Tortilla on a place,spread 1/4th of cheese,and layer half of everything you have set aside ending with cheese on top.

Repeat with the other Tortilla and put them under the grill for few mins until the cheese melts.Serve immediately with chilled glass of juice.You don't need to add Re-fried beans to it in the weekday mornings,do ya?;P

Migas getting grilled!!

Vegetarians: Skip the Eggs and add sauteed bell peppers etc and do the rest as above.Hope you do try!:)

That was one great looking and tasty Migas we have ever had for breakfast.Hope you try them for your family!:))

March 18, 2007


Happy Ugadi to all of you.May this (Hindu) New Year bring you health and happiness!:)

Beet and Avocado Rotis/parathas are my entries to Coffee's Coffee's MBP(March)2007 event! It's all about choosing and cooking dishes from fellow bloggers.This month's theme is "Let's Roll!" Boy, did I roll these beauties?!Thanks for making me Coffee. Deadline is almost upon me,glad I could make it in the nick of time!:)

Cooking anything from other bloggers which involves rolling is the theme this month. I was happy and thought that's easy with all these bloggers rolling out dishes week after week. But NO!! It wasn't easy to choose at all! Aloo, Mooli, Gobi parathas, snacks which are rolled,fried,baked,so many to choose. Then I landed in Maheswari's blog and VOILA!!I found beautiful and unusual Beet Rotis and she also had tried Spice is right's Avocado Parathas.I had hit the jackpot!!!:D

Here they are,my entries for Coffee's MBP!! Enjoy the beautiful colors of Avocado and Beet Rotis:

Please click on the highlighted words to go to the original recipes at "Spice is Right" and "Beyond the Usual" blogs,thank you:)

SR from "Spice is Right" blog inspired me to make these green buttery Avocado Parathas; Thank you SR.


The avocado originated in southern Mexico but was cultivated from the Rio Grande to central Peru before the arrival of Europeans.High in monosaturates, the oil content of avocados is second only to olives among fruits, and sometimes greater.Clinical studies have shown that avocado oil can reduce blood cholesterol.More info about these are at Wikipedia.

Avocado Parathas:

Since Avocado reminds me of Guacamole,I added ground green chillies,Cumin seeds pd,Garlic pd,Onion pd ,cilantro and salt.I served this Coconut Chutney for contrast.Since it has already has spices in it,you can also serve these with plain yogurt too.

Maheswari from "Beyond the usual" blog inspired me to make these beautiful Beet rotis/Parathas;Thank you Mahesh.


The beet (Beta vulgaris) is a flowering plant in the family Chenopodiaceae,native to the coasts of western and southern Europe.Beets contain significant amounts of vitamin C in the roots,and the tops are an excellent source of vitamin A. They are also high in folate,as well as soluble and insoluble dietary fiber and several antioxidants.More info at Wikipedia.

Beet Parathas:

I made these with ground 1/4 of a Beet and squeezed the juice of it into the wheat flour and added garlic pd,onion flakes,salt,ginger pd and coriander seeds powder.You can add some chilli flakes too.I served these parathas with my own delicious "Death by Jalapenos" chutney!!;D I will post the recipe at FH sometimes later.

That's all folks.Enjoy the colorful and nutritious Rotis and see you in two with Eggs for WBB!:)

March 16, 2007


Hara Pyazwali Gojju for "H"
, is my contribution to Nupur's "A to Z of Indian Vegetables" weekly event. This week's letter is "H". Thanks Nupur!:) is an authentic Kannadiga dish (Erulli Gojju)for you although the "Hara Pyaz"(green onion) is just for the "H" letter!:) This recipe was given to me by my best friend's mom way back when I was a young bride and inexperienced cook in Bangalore.There is a little story behind this dish which you can say is my first ever "real" dish I cooked and loved.

When I was newly married and a novice cook with very little experience,slowly gaining confidence and this dish is one of the first recipes my best friend's mother gracefully provided me with.It still brings me lot of great memories whenever I cook this Gojju.;D

Green Onion Gojju:

Hara Pyaz is nothing but Green Onion in Hindi and Gojju is a typical Kannada word for a dish which is almost dry vegetable dish with not much gravy but not a stir-fry either.

Here is a plate for you. Gojju with rice rotis:

How to make it:

You need about 4 bunches of Green onions as you get in the grocery stores in bundles.Wash and chop all those as shown here.Keep it aside. Toast and powder all the spices you see below and keep it aside.Take a small lump of Tamarind and soak in little water,squeeze out the water and discard the solids.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a non-stick pan,add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds,1 tbsp Chana dal (split red gram).When dal gets reddish,add chopped green onion and fry for few minutes until they wilt a little.You don't have let it cook completely,little crunch in them tastes great.

Toast 2 tsp cumin seeds,1 tbsp Sesame seeds (til),1 tbsp dry or fresh coconut,1 tbsp Yellow split gram,1 red or green Jalapeno or green chillies one by one until you get an aroma.Cool a bit and then grind to paste without water or may be 1-2 tbsps of water.

Add this powder to the pan along with tamarind juice and little salt.Mix well and let it cook for few more minutes until you get semi solid Gojju. It's ready to serve with rice rotis.

One more look:

Rice Rotis:

How to make them:

Boil 1 cup of water with 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp oil in a non-stick pan.Turn down the heat to low,add 3/4 cup or more rice flour to the water,mix well until you get a solid but not too hard dough.Cover and cook for 3 minutes.

Take the dough out.When reasonably cool to touch,divide into 4 portions, roll in to balls,press on a foil sprayed with little no-stick oil to a circle.

Heat a Tava or griddle to medium high heat,place a roti and cook both sides until you little specks on top but not too much.Serve with Gojju.Tastes great.

Rice Roti: