May 29, 2007


I am bringing a tangy low-fat dessert from Finland Strawberry-Yogurt pie to Meeta from "What's for lunch honey" blog's Monthly Mingle with the theme of " big birthday bang ". Happy birthday to you Meeta and I bet we are all going to have a great party!!;D

Strawberry yogurt Pie, also called "Mustikkaiiras" in Finnish, is a very delicious, not so sweet and not so fatty pie you will love.After all the desserts I have been cooking lately,I almost didn't want to bake another cake and thought I would skip MM event this time.Then I just bought a cookbook called "The Moosewood collective:Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant", which has this delectable recipe.It uses 1/3 cup butter which is 6tbsps, would easily serve 6-8 portions!! Not bad, eh?! I was happy to find this recipe and baked,loved the taste.You can use any Berries you like,fresh or frozen and crust is so light,it was a delight to have a slice without feeling guilty.Hope you try.

Here is a slice for you!

You need:

A pie plate like this with perforated bottom or a any pie plate you have.
For the crust: 1/3 cup butter (6 tbsp),1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 cup unbleached Plain flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder.
For the filling: 2 eggs, 3 tsp sugar, 1 cup plain yogurt,1 tsp pure vanilla extract,1 tbsp lemon juice(optional),1 tbsp cornstarch, 2 cups Strawberries, fresh or frozen.

How to make this Pie:

Butter and flour a 9-10 inch pie pan.Preheat the oven to 350F.By electric mixer or by hand,cream the butter and sugar.Add the eggs and blend as well.Combine the flour and baking powder and mix them into the wet ingredients to form a soft dough.With flour-dusted fingers, pat the sticky dough into the bottom of th buttered and floured pie pan. Push the dough up to cover the sides of the pan.Refrigerate until you make the filling.

Mix all the filling ingredients except the Strawberries until smooth.Put the berries into the pie shell and gently pour the fillings so the berries are coated and evenly distributed.Bake for 50 or 60 minutes,until the crust is lightly golden and the custard has set.

Cool on a rack, loosen the sides with a knife the pie plate on a inverted bowl to release the outer ring if you are using the Pie plate like in the picture.Slice with plastic knife so you don't damage the non-stick coat.Serve as it is or sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Note: A pie plate with perforated bottom helps the crust to bake evenly letting the heat penetrate,thus preventing the soft crust.

This is how a beautiful whole Pie looks like!


May 25, 2007


Radish Masala Parathas made of Wheat flour,spices and grated Radish,is my contribution to Nupur from 'One Hot Stove" blog's "A to Z Indian Vegetables"s event.This week's letter is "R", thanks for hosting Nupur!:)

Well..the letters R, S ,T are easy to come up with some dishes for this event but I don't want to think about next few letters right now.Let me enjoy these three first!!Wouldn't you agree?! ;D

I made Radish Masla parathas for this week.I always have trouble making stuffed Mooli parathas and I even gave up making them.Last week I had half Daikon left ,so I thought I will twist the original and make it this way,which came out fabulously.
Unfortunately,as much as I love Radishes,they stink up the whole house when cooking and Arvind hates it.He walks in the house from the clinic,screws up his face and asks me whether our dog did the doody inside!!:D
But I love the taste of Radish though.Wish it didn't smell so much! Anyway,here they are.I added grated Radishes,and spices to the Wheat flour and made Parathas which is lot easier than stuffing for me and I loved them,this recipe is a keeper for me.Hope you try it too.

Radish Masala Parathas:

How to make them:Makes 8 Parathas

Mix 2 cups Wheat flour/atta, half finely grated Daikon or 2 white radishes,1" grated ginger,minced 2tbsp cilantro,1 tsp each coriander seeds pd,cumin pd,salt and 1/2 tsp chilli pd all these without water to a firm dough.Radish has water in it,don't need to add anymore unless you need it.

When you have a firm dough,divide the dough in to 7-8 pieces and make balls.Heat a griddle /Tawa and start rolling the Parathas to 5-6' circles,cover until Tawa is heated.Cook one Paratha at a time until brown specks show on top.When you take it out .brush lightly with melted butter or ghee.Serve hot with spiced yogurt.

To make spiced yogurt: Whisk 1/2 cup plain yogurt with little salt,1/2 tsp garlic pd,1/2 tsp cumin seeds,1/2 tsp Garam masala and serve with Parathas.Since Parathas have spices already,you don't need to make spicy as well.Keep it cool!

Mooli masala Parathas with spiced Yogurt:

Would you like more radish in your life? ;D Make this stir-fry with any leftover grated radish which goes well with plain Parathas or even as a side dish with rice.

Radish Stir-fry/Chutney:

How to:
1. Heat pan with 1 tbsp oil,add 1/2 tsp each mustard seeds,crushed cumin seeds,Urad dal,few curry leaves,1 green chilly chopped,1 red dry chilly and a pinch of turmeric.
2. When reddish, add 1 cup finely grated Radish with salt and stir fry until cooked and almost dry.Turn of the heat.
3.No water needed.Adjust salt,chillies,squeeze 1 tsp lemon juice and mix..Serve with Parathas. Tastes great!

That's it for "R", see you next week:))

May 22, 2007


Blancmange and Mango-Coconut Burfi are my entries to Coffee from 'The Spice Cafe's "Monthly Blog Patrolling" with the theme "Something Sweet".Thanks for hosting Coffee!:)

First dessert I selected for Coffee's blog patrol is Blancmange, from Chandrika of Akshayapatra's "Jaggery Blancmange" recipe, but skipped the Jaggery for sugar and added Saffron for color and flavor,topped with thinned Grape Jam.Rest of the method to make this dessert is the same as the original.It was a light and refreshing dessert.We enjoyed it a lot,thank you Chandrika:))

Saffron Blancmange topped with Grape Jam:

A side view(without the flash)!;p

What is a Blancmange?
Blancmange,also means "shape", is a sweet dessert most commonly made with gelatin and milk or cornflour as binding agent along with other coloring and flavoring ingredients.It is similar to Mexican Flan,Italian Pannacotta and Jell-O made with plain Gelatin.


My second dessert is Mango-Coconut Burfi,which I chose from Viji of Vcuisine blog.Thanks for the great idea Viji!:))
At first I wanted bake Paati's Raspberry Jelly Roll but as soon as I saw Mango-coconut Burfi which seems to be everywhere(the recipe I mean)in many web sites as well,my plans changed!
I had bought a big can of Alfonso Mango pulp, thought I would put that to use.
I used sweetened coconut and cut down the amount of sugar way down from the original recipe,skipped the Cardamom since Mangoes have their own natural flavor and aroma.Rest of the method of making these is almost the same as the original recipe. Check that out and my lighter and less sweeter version below.

Mango-Coconut Burfi:

My variation of Burfi!:D
Since I changed the ingredients slightly(?!),I am giving you how I made these Burfis you see above.

Here's how I made Burfi:
1. In a non-stick pan,add 1 cup canned sweetened Alphonso Mango pulp and 2 tsp Ghee or sweet butter,stir until you see the ghee on top and the sauce thickens.
2. Add 1 cup sweetened grated coconut,1/2 cup fat-free Milk powder,1/4 cup sugar and mix well.Keep stirring until they form a lump and add 1 more tsp ghee/butter, mix.
3. Add to a greased plate,pat lightly to flatten and sprinkle 2 tsp Pistachio pd on top evenly and press slightly.
4. Cool it on the counter,cut into shapes,cover and chill in the fridge if you are not using it immediately.
5. It tasted slightly Tangy and sweet just like Mangoes should be,VERY aromatic and VERY colorful!!Serve at room temperature if you like.

Aren't they beautiful to look at?! And even more delicious to eat!!Hope you try:))

May 18, 2007


Qorma is my contribution to Nupur from "One Hot Stove" blog's "A to Z Indian Vegetables"'s event.This week's letter "Q" which is pretty tough to come up with a Indian veg,but I made it with a Qorma instead! Thanks for hosting Nupur:)

Introducing Jicama:
I know it's nothing to do with Indian vegetable but just wanted to try the new veg in Indian Qorma!:))

Jicama is a popular vegetable in Latin America and are mainly grown in Mexico and Central America. They are also called the Mexican potato, Mexican yam bean, Chinese turnip,the Chinese potato etc.Jicama looks similar to a turnip or a large radish,does not discolor when exposed to the open air.,can be used raw in salads.Jicama is a very versatile vegetable that contains a high amount of vitamin C,is low in sodium, and has no fat. More info here.

Jicama is pronounced as "HI-KA-MAA" in Spanish! When Jicama is used in cooking it absorbs the flavors of the ingredients.Because of this quality,you can use this vegetable in any Stir-fry and spiced gravy with other vegetables too.It is crunchy,juicy and very tasty in any gravy based dishes,can be stored in the fridge for a while covered with plastic.So here it is, Qorma for "Q"!!;D

Jicama Qorma:

This is a Kurma,Kuruma,Korma or Qorma dish as some Muslim countries call it,goes very well with rice or Rotis.Most Indian Kurmas are made with yogurt or coconut sauce.Since Qorma in this recipe is Afghanistani,they mostly use yogurt as the base and add Nuts for more flavor.Either way,it tastes great.Enjoy!:))

How to make Qorma:

Peel and cube 1 large Jicama(or any veg you like),cook in the microwave for 10mins with enough water until somewhat soft.It will still be little crunchy when cooked.Heat a pan with 1 tbsp oil/ghee,add 1 tsp cumin seeds,1 red dry chilly,1 onion finely minced,fry until little reddish.Put in 2 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste,stir-fry.

Pour in 1/4 cup Yogurt or sour cream and stir until the sauce is thick on medium heat.After that,put in 2 tsp Coriander seeds pd,1 tsp Fennel seeds pd,1/4 tsp Cardamom pd,1/4 tsp Turmeric,1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli pd or paprika for color,1/2 tsp sugar and salt.Add the cooked Jicama with 1/2 to 1 cup of it's water,1/2 tsp garam masala,Cilantro.Cover and cook until oil shows up on top.

Note: Make the sauce thicker for Naans and Parathas/Rotis and thiner sauce for rice.Little Saffron mixed with milk and some Almond or Cashew paste can be added for an authentic rich Afghani Qorma for special Sunday lunch!I made it the easy and simple way skipping all that.If you don't want to use Jicama,you can use any vegetable or even meat you like with the same recipe.Hope you give it a try:)

Qorma with rice and a slice of Lemon:

That's all there is to it.Enjoy the fragrant Indian style Qorma:))

May 14, 2007


Fruity breakfast bread filled with Summer fruits is my entry to WBB #11 which was launched by Nandita from "Saffron Trail".
This month's host is Padmaja from "Spicy Andhra" and the theme is "Summer Fruits".Thanks for hosting Padmaja.

Well...I know it's not Summer for us yet and Spring is still cool!So what do you do with the Theme "Summer fruits"? I went to the store and bought a big can of Tropical fruits and used those fruits to bake a gorgeous and fragrant breakfast bread!:))
It's not very sweet,filled with fruit ,so a slice of bread with a cup of coffee is heavenly in the morning!Hope you try.Makes a great dessert as well:)

A bowl of fruits; Mangoes,Bananas,Grapes,Melon,Pineapple ,Pears and Apple!

Here is a plate for you with a bowl of fruit,a slice fruity bread and steaming cuppa!!:)

How to bake the cake:

Spray with non-stick oil and line the bottom with parchment paper of a 2lb loaf pan.Preheat oven to 350F.In a bowl,mix 1 1/2cups self-rising flour,1/2 tsp baking pd,1/4 tsp salt,3/4 cup sugar well.Add 1 1/2 cups finely chopped mixed fruits and mix well in the dry flour.In another bowl,whisk 2 eggs,5 tbsp Orange juice,2/3 cup Canola oil,well and add to the flour.Mix well gently.

Pour the batter in to the prepared loaf pan,tap on the counter to release the bubbles.Put in the middle rack in the oven and bake for 45-55 mins or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.Take it out,invert on the cooling rack and peel the parchment paper gently.

Note: Cool completely before slicing with serrated bread knife.If you like icing on top,mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar and few tbsp milk mixed grated rind of an Orange and drizzle on top of the bread when cooled.It's a very tasty, fragrant fruity bread to have for breakfast and icing is not really necessary.

Serve with coffee and a bowl of fruit:

Enjoy the beautiful bread,tastes better next day!

May 10, 2007


Pudina Masala Poori made of plain flour,spices and mint,is my contribution to Nupur from 'One Hot Stove" blog's "A to Z Indian Vegetables"s event.This week's letter is "P", thanks for hosting Nupur!:)

Mint Leaves or Pudina:

I have a surplus supply of Mint and Chives in my backyard this year.I thought I would make something with Pudina which is Mint leaves in Hindi and put those delicious herbs to use.Poories are fried bread from India for somebody who don't know about it.Just adding some Mint leaves to any dish makes it wonderfully fragrant.

With the addition of spices,they are a delight to eat all by themselves but I served with some Tomato chutney I always have in the fridge.You could skip all the spices in the Poories if you like,just add salt and minced mint leaves,still tastes great.Hope you give these a try:)

Pudina(Mint) Poories:

How to make these Poories:Serves two

Mix 1/2 cup wheat flour(atta),1/4 cup Plain flour,salt,2 tbsp minced Mint leaves,1/4 tsp pepper pd pd,1 tsp Cumin pd,1/4 tsp ginger pd or fresh grated ginger,1 tbsp yogurt,a pinch of turmeric and add enough water to make a stiff dough.Cover and let it rest for 15mins.Heat oil to medium heat or 350F to deep fry.Divide the dough to about 6-8 small sized pieces.Make round balls,flatten and roll out to 1/8" thick about 4-5" circles.

You can use 4" cookie cutter to cut them.Place them on clean towel and slide in one Poori in the oil carefully,press down gently with the spatula until they puff and then flip and fry the other side until golden,drain on the paper towel.Repeat with others.Do not leave the Poories too long after rolling them.If they get dry,they don't puff as much.

Because of the minced Mint leaves and spices which are in the dough,these Poories do not puff like balloons as the regular ones do but they do taste delicious!!

Serve: Serve them with some plain yogurt or any chutney you like.They are quick to make if you are organized!:))

A plate of delicious spicy Minty Pooris with Tomato chutney:

Tomato Chutney:

Click here for Tomato chutney recipe.

Happy Mother's day to all of you and have a great weekend!:)

May 7, 2007


This month's theme for Safety Moments which is started by Jyothsna from Curry Bazaar blog is "Kids In The Kitchen". Meeta from "Daily Tiffin" is hosting this event for the month of May.Thanks to both of you!:))

Kids and cooking!
Have you ever noticed that when kids cook themselves,they are eager to eat what they have cooked without making fuss and are first to get to the dining table?!:))
It's not only fun for them,cooking their own lunch or dinner helps them to develop self-confidence and the fussy eaters will not fuss anymore because they cooked it all and proud of themselves of their achievement too!!:D

Cooking with kids; can be very rewarding as a family to develop a bond and share a common goal ie have dinner together and enjoy it too!!But when kids are prowling in the kitchen,so are the dangers like burns,cuts and accidental spills.Let's learn some of the dangers,so you can enjoy the cooking experience with kids in the kitchen.Better to be safe than sorry!

Few safety precaution for the kids who like to cook:
1. Adult supervision is a must,NEVER let them cook alone.Parents hovering over the kids at these times is A ok!;D
2. Let them wash their hands before they begin,use clean pans and pots.Make sure they switch off the stove and clean the counters when they are done cooking.
3. Teach them to use pot holders,mitts or gloves when they are transferring hot pans from the oven or Microwave or to the sink.
4. Help the kids with chopping,slicing etc.,if the kids are very young.Teach them keep the unused meat,yogurt and vegs back to the fridge as soon as possible.
5. Teach the kids not sneeze,cough,directly on the food and not to touch the body parts or lick the fingers (I know it's very tempting when you are baking cookies)while cooking!
6. Teach them not to reach over to the back burner with pot on the front burner.If they do get burnt,teach them to hold the burned parts under the cold running water,call the adults for help.
7. Keep the handles of the pans towards the back of the stove so they don't knock it off and never to heat the empty pan and pour water or oil in it.It splatters hot water or oil!!
8. Teach them to use separate cutting board for meat and vegetables to be safe from contamination.
9. Let them use paper towels to wipe the counter tops and their hands rather than dish clothes.
10. Teach them not to place the sharp items like knives in the sink,so they don't accidentally injure themselves.

Finally,kids under 8yrs old cannot really able to cook but can help you in the kitchen doing the peeling,washing fruits and vegs etc while you cook.Pre-teens can cook simple recipes with your supervision and teenagers I think can be little more responsible and cook by themselves without getting hurt.I am sure there are many safety for kids and I can't wait to see all those!(Some of these tips are the result of Internet search)

So good luck training your kids in the kitchen.When you as parents give them proper guidance and basic safety rules,I think your kids can cook efficiently!Enjoy:))


Here is my contribution to Tipology for the month of May. Thanks for hosting this wonderful event, Sushma!:)

Here are some quick and easy tips to use Lemon juice in your everyday life. I found these wonderful tips in a Reader's Digest book!

1. Eliminate musty fireplace odor by throwing a few lemon peels into the flames.
2. You can use half a lemon with little salt to get rid of some tough stains on kitchen counter by rubbing wit it and wipe with clean wet cloth.
3. You can use lemon juice to clean brass or Chrome utensils or figurines to make them sparkle!
4. You can rub lemon juice on the sweat stains on the shirt or blouse to lessen the unsightly stain or soak light colored clothes in lemon juice and 1/2 tsp soda water as a mild bleach.
5. To whiten clothes,diluted or straight, lemon juice is a safe and effective fabric whitener when added to your wash water. Your clothes will also come out smelling lemon-fresh.
6. Lemon juice is a safe and effective skin-lightening agent to mask age spots,rub on dark spots,leave for 15mins and rinse!
7. Want some blonde high lights?;P Lemon juice is a natural bleach.Rub some on the hair ,sit in the sun and rinse.Wear sun block for other body parts!!:D
8. French Manicure anybody?! Soak your fingers in warm lemony water for a while and Voila!!
9. Add some lemon juice to the fruits,veggies and mix to prevent them from turning brown.Keep a cut lemon in the fridge and throw one in the garbage too to make it smell good!!
Last but not least,squirt and squeeze the lemon juice holes,cracks,window sills etc and scatter small slices of lemon peel around the outdoor entrance to keep insects,Ants and other critters out of your beloved kitchen!! They hate the smell of Lemon! Hurray!!!:D

Since we are talking about Lemons or Limes,here is one more delicious use of Lemons I posted few weeks ago!

Nimbu Masala!

Have a great week!:)

May 3, 2007


Onion-Lentil Chutney is my contribution to Nupur's (from "One hot stove") A to Z Indian vegetables event.This week's letter is "O".Thanks Nupur:)

Okay now,you might be wondering what's this fancy dish called "Onion-Lentil chutney"? HeHe!! It's nothing but a popular Maharashtrian Junka(Zunka,Jzunka,however you may want to spell or say it) with a twist and Bhakri!!;D

Usually,Junka is made with besan(Chickpea flour) and spices with smooth texture.I used Chana dal(red split peas/gram) to get a coarse texture and made a dry chutney with light spices which tastes delicious with Bhakri(roti made of Jowar flour).Make them and enjoy a simple rustic Indian meal.

Chana dal Junka with red onion:

You Need:

1/2 cup soaked,drained and ground Chana dal without water to a coarse paste(not smooth),1/2 large red onion,chopped fine,1" ginger,2 garlic,both minced,1-2 Jalapenos,minced,salt.
To season: 2 tbsp oil,1/2 tsp Mustard seeds,1 tsp Cumin seeds,few curry leaves,1 dry red chilly.
To garnish:Cilantro and Lemon slices.

How to make it:

Heat a non-stick pan with oil and add the seasoning ingredients.When they splutter,add onion and fry until soft.Add minced ginger-garlic-green chillies,stir fry for 5 mins.Now add a little salt and coarse paste of chana dal and stir fry until it is dry and cooked.

You could sprinkle some water now and then if you need it to cook the chana dal and cover with lid on low heat.When you think dal is cooked,adjust the spices and salt.Take off the heat,add cilantro and squeeze some lemon juice.Serve with Bhakri.

A simple but delicious meal of Junka-Bhakri!

To make Bhakris, follow these instructions and replace the rice flour with Jowar flour.Rest of the method is the same.Enjoy.

Have fun this weekend and I will see you all on Monday!!:))

May 1, 2007


Pepper Chicken flavored with Peppercorns 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 black Peppercorns and powder.Thanks for hosting Kalyn:)

Black Peppercorn:

The word "pepper" is derived from Sanskrit(the oldest Indian language) pippali, in Latin piper and Old English pipor. The Latin word is also the source of German pfeffer, French poivre, Dutch peper, etc,.Black pepper is native to South India, said to be found more than 4,000 years ago as far back as 1000 B.C. and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in the tropical regions.Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit,which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The same fruit is also used to produce white pepper and green pepper.More info at WIKIPEDIA.

Pepper Chicken:

Here is a easy and delicious spiced with peppercorns stir fry chicken for Quick lunch.This recipe serves two easily with a salad and slice of bread.

You Need:

1 lb chicken breasts,cut in to bite sized pieces,1 small onion chopped, 1" fresh ginger,2 garlic finely minced,1-2 small plum tomatoes,chopped or 1/4 cup Tomato sauce,1/4 tsp turmeric(optional),1 tsp cumin seed pd,1 tsp coarsely ground or crushed black peppercorns,salt and cilantro ,lemon slices for garnish.

How to make it:

Heat 2 tsp oil in a non-stick pan,add onion and fry until soft.Put in ginger-garlic,saute for 2 mins.Add Chicken pieces,stir fry until they turn white.Put in all the other ingredients along with tomatoes,cover and cook on low heat.When the chicken is cooked,turn up the heat and stir-fry until it's almost dry with gravy sticking to the chicken.Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste.

That's all there is to it! Garnish with cilantro and serve with a slice of lemon,bread slices or rice.

Interesting use of Peppercorns other than in cooking!

Black pepper is also an effective deterrent to insects. A solution of 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper to one quart of warm water sprayed on plants can be toxic to ants, potato bugs, silverfish, and even roaches and moths. A sprinkling of ground pepper will also deter insect paths in non-garden areas.(source:Internet)

Enjoy the dish and the tips!:))