August 29, 2007


Seedai, a savory snack is my contribution to Latha N, my favorite girl from the really yummy "The YUM blog"! She is requesting Janmashtami festival food items from us for the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami that is Lord Krishna's birthday! Thanks for hosting Latha!:))

As the story goes:
Krishna Janmashtami is the celebration of the birth of Lord Shri Krishna, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, believed to have been born about five thousand years ago in Mathura in 'Dwapar Yuga'. This celebration is said to be revealed originally by the Sri Krishna himself to Yudhishthira, the eldest of Pandavas, as mentioned in the Bhavishyottara Purana. He was born to Vasudeva and Devaki, who were imprisoned by Devaki's evil brother Kansa and was brought up by Nanda and Yashoda. The birth of Lod Krishna is believed to be symbolic of our imprisonment in worldly illusions, where He took birth with us and led us to salvation and peace, vanquishing all evils depicted by his uncle Kansa in the story.(This info is from here)
To know more about the story of birth of Krishna, click here.

I made a small amount of Seedai just for this event and for Latha, as I celebrate only Deepavali and Shivaratri by choice! Hahaha!

Seedai is made Rice flour and Urad dal flour with spices and deep fried which is made specially for little Krishna's birthday (as I read in Latha's post) for us to enjoy. Since I have made sweets last week, I thought of sending her a savory snack to munch on! :)
You can double the recipe if you want more. This is the trickiest recipe (tend to explode for some reason most of the time, no idea why!) of all the snacks I made at home so far, results may not be the same for you when you try these. Although it came out okay for me this time, I advice you to experiment with the very small amount of dough and see how it goes for you!

Here is how I made Seedai:
1. Warm 1 cup Rice flour in a pan,add to a bowl. Roast 2 tbsp Urad dal until slightly reddish,cool on paper towel and grind to a fine powder.
2. Take both flours in a wide bowl,add salt to taste,1/2 tbsp softened butter, chilli pd if you like(I didn't add it to keep them creamish in color), 1 tsp crushed Cumin seeds,1 tsp Sesame sesame seeds, mix.
3. Add water 1tbsp at a time to flour,mix to a firm dough.Cover and let it rest for 15-20 mins.
4. Take a small golf ball size lump,roll into a 1" thick long rope, cut it to 1" pieces again and roll them into large marble sized balls gently between your palm.Smear some oil on your palms if it sticks. Repeat with the rest of the dough.(Mine is not exactly round but hey,not bad for a first time try!)
5. Let the balls dry for 10 mins while you heat the oil to 350F for deep frying.

Frying the balls immediately after rolling them will result in mini explosions! DO NOT DO IT PEOPLE!

6. When the oil is ready,drop them carefully by the handful and fry to a slightly golden color.Drain on the paper towel. When cooled,store in a glass jar ie if there are any left!:D
Enjoy munching the crunchy Seedai!

Happy Birthday to you butter stealing (Benne Kalla!) little Krishna!:D
This image is a result of the Internet search.I forgot the site where I got it from.Thank you whoever you are who created this beautiful animation!:)

Happy Krishna Janmashtami to all of you. Enjoy!:))

August 27, 2007


Tomato, Fennel with Walnut Pesto Rigatoni is my contribution to Marta from "An Italian in US" blog's event called "Fresh produce of the month". She selects a produce every month to get creative with it and this month it is "Tomato!". What a great produce to select for this year's HOT Summer,atleast here in the South! Thanks for hosting Marta!:)

Well.. as I said, it is HOT here in NC and you know what that means.Gallons of Tomatoes and other produce thriving in the Sun if you are lucky enough to have a garden patch in your backyard. Boy, do I have it?! I am getting so many Tomatoes,I am running out of ideas what to cook with them! :D

Homegrown Cherry and Pear Tomatoes:

Just after I gave a big bag of Cherry tomatoes to my neighbor, I remembered this Tomato event and thought I would use my rest of Tomatoes to make this pasta dish.I am using Cherry and Pear Tomatoes along with fragrant Fennel bulbs with Basil Walnut pesto to add to cooked Rigatoni pasta. Sounds good or what? Enjoy:))

Basil Walnut Pesto Pasta flavored with Fennel bulbs and Tomatoes:

You can use just Basil Pine nuts Pesto which has a gorgeous green color,adding Walnuts makes it a healthier with a nutty taste and gives a brownish green color.Your choice!:)

You need:

1 cup peeled and thinly sliced Fennel Bulb,mostly white part and some green leaves too, 8-10 Cherry and Pear Tomatoes (you can use any tomatoes you have at hand),1 tsp any spice seasoning mix like Steak spices etc which has dried onion,garlic,herbs etc, 2-3 tbsp Basil pine nuts and Walnut Pesto, homemade (recipe below) or store bought, salt, pepper or chilli flakes, and finally 1 cup dry Rigatoni or any pasta cooked until Al Dente(to the bite) and keep it aside mixed with little butter to keep them separate ready to add to the Fennel stir-fry.

How to make it:

Heat a pan, add 1 tsp of butter. Put in a chilli flakes,all the the slices if Fennel bulb and greens,stir fry for 2-3 mins or until they get a slightly golden color on the edges.Add in Tomatoes,salt and stir fry again for a minute. You don't have cook the Tomatoes to a mush but roast until skin is shiny and slightly wilted but they should remain whole.

Sprinkle spice seasoning,mix.Take out to a big glass bowl.Add cooked warm Pasta and add a tbsp or two of Pesto and mix well.Taste and adjust the seasonings. If you find Pasta is little dry,add 1 tbsp hot water(I save some water in which Pasta is cooked before draining the pasta). And there is your yummy Dinner! Serve with Bread sticks and Garlic Bread have a wonderful meal!:)

My Cherry and Pear Tomatoes harvest this year:

To make Pesto at home: Pulse 2 cups fresh basil leaves,1/4 cup each grated Parmesan,3 peeled garlic cloves,1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts or both mixed equally, slightly roasted,Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste in a blender until coarse mix.Then start pouring 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil thru' the top spout with the blender on low until you get a paste.Take it out to a glass jar and store in the fridge.
Have fun!!:)

(Latha N, I made something for your event too, coming up on Wednesday here.Didn't have the time to type in although I have the photo!)

August 23, 2007


I am making a delicious and refreshing cold non-alcoholic cocktail called Carib Cream for Meeta from "What's for lunch honey" blog's Monthly Mingle with the theme of "Liquid Dreams" this month. Thanks for choosing a much needed Summer theme Meeta! We are burning up in the heat wave here in NC!:)

I have an old Cocktail book ,the only one I own,which I bought in England. It has many many cocktails with Alcohol and at the end of the book, thankfully they have spared few pages for Non-alcoholic cocktails too. Of all the recipes they have ,I chose the easiest and tastiest. Kids loved it, so here it is!!

Carib Cream:

How to make Carib Cream:

You need: 2 small bananas, chopped,1 small measure lemon juice, 2 large measures 2% milk or half and Half or cream,1 small measure Orange juice, 1 tsp Vanilla essense.
For garnish:1 tsp finely chopped walnuts.
Walnuts are optional. This cocktail is best served immediately to avoid the bananas from turning darker even with the addition of lemon juice.

1. Add the chopped bananas, lemon juice , Orange juice , Vanilla and milk in a blender with some crushed ice and blend until you get smooth liquid.
Pour into a cocktail or any tall glass and sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top just before serving. Photo of Oranges from WIKI

1. Bananas usually turn dark after a while no matter how much lemon juice you add to prevent the browning. Blend this cocktail just before serving.
2. If Carib Cream is too thick for your liking,(depends on the size of the Banana fruit),add a little more fat-free milk to thin it out.
3. If you don't like to chew on Walnut pieces, powder it or throw them in the blender when blending the cocktail.Sprinkling Walnuts on top is just for garnish.
4. That cocktail measure you see up there is 2 tbsp each for smaller side and larger measure is 3 tbsp of any liquid.Adjust the Lemon and Orange Juice to your taste, no hard and fast rules there!



Lauki Halwa cooked in the Microwave is my entry for a new event "Easy cooking with Microwave" which is just launched by Srivalli for "Cooking 4 all seasons" with a theme of "Desserts" this month. Thanks for a great idea and for hosting too Sri!:))

Microwaving the Halwa!:))
Cooking has become so much simpler with the invention of the microwave,specially in summer when you don't have to slog before the hot stove most of the time! When I saw my gourds which are growing in lightening speed in this heat,I thought of making this dessert and in a Microwave too! It was so easy, even I wondered why did I cooked this on the stove top all the years!;D
We in Karnataka, also call this dessert as "Dumrote", and usually Lauki/Doodhi Halwa in rest of India, a very tasty and quick dessert to make in the Microwave. I used a whole Bottle Gourd peeled and after cleaning the insides, I got about 4 cups of grated pulp and after it is cooked ,you get about 1 1/2 cups of delicious Halwa!! Enjoy!:)

Lauki Halwa or Dumrote:
Dumrote,a typical Karnataka dessert, is usually made from Ash Gourd (Boodukumbala kai in Kannada),which gives this dessert a glass like appearance.I used to Bottle Gourd with the Dumrote recipe with pinch of Saffron for color! Enjoy!:)

Here are the ingredients you need to make Halwa:

Add all these to a big bowl 3 times bigger than the contents; 3-4 cups of grated Lauki,1/3 cup or more brown Sugar,(I don't like any dessert too sweet, so add more sugar if you like),2 tbsp Almonds peeled and sliced,1/4 cup heavy cream, 2 tsp butter,pinch of Saffron,1/2 tsp powdered Cardamom, 1/4 tsp Ginger powder, 1/8 tsp Clove pd, pinch of salt to bring out flavor.
To Make it:
1. Mix all the above, microwave it for 10 mins on full power ie on HIGH, stir once and microwave it for another 5-7 mins on HIGH, stir again.
2. Once the liquid evaporates, be careful not to burn the Halwa and Microwave for shorter periods like every 2-3 mins and keep stirring in between.
3. Taste and adjust the sugar and any flavors before microwaving. When the Halwa looks shiny with butter on top and semi solid, it's ready to eat warm or chilled.
4. Total time it took for me is about 23 mins to make this.I have 50% power in my Microwave, I used that for the last few mins to prevent burning.Please use your judgment and enjoy the beautiful looking and tasting dessert!:)

My out of control Bottle/Bird House gourd plant growing on my deck!!

Here are few Microwave tips:
1. Always use a dish twice as big as the food you are cooking to avoid spillage.
2. Do not use gold or silver edged dishes or dishes which are not meant for using in MWs.Always use the lowest cooking time specified in your recipe. It is easy to dry out food in your microwave.
3. Arrange even sized food in a circle on the turning plate for more even cooking.
4. Thicker foods should be place toward outer edges for faster cooking. Food cooks better if cut in uniform sizes.
5. Always stir at least once or twice during the cooking cycle.
6. Cooking time varies than recipe given because of the different power in Watts your MW has, so your judgment when cooking!
7. Clean the MW immediately after each dish is done. Let a bowl of water heat inside for 3 mins without the lid, take it out and clean with a dish towel to loosen the dry, hard splatters inside the walls of the MW if any.
Here is a site about lessons 101 on how to use Microwaves.

Have fun this week!

August 20, 2007


WBB #14 which is started by Nandita's "Saffron Trail" and being hosted in August by Glenna from "A Fridge full of food" blog.This month's theme is "Ethnic Breakfast with a twist".Thanks for hosting Glenna!:)

There is a new twist in this month's WBB!! We are supposed to make something other than what we eat normally, to cook some other country's breakfast other than where we are from! That sounds great because I am from India, grew up on a very South Indian style breakfast like Dosas, Idlis, Chapatis, Upmas etc.I could have whipped up those in minutes without much thinking involved!!:D
But wait!! I need to make something other than what I know!! No problems I thought, how about all American breakfast with a side of Southern US hash!!Yippee! To make the deal even sweeter, I topped the pancakes with sauteed Apple cinnamon and walnuts for crunch.Tasted so good, we loved our special Sunday breakfast even more than usual! Here is our Sunday breakfast!:))

Cinnamon Apple Pancakes,Sausages and savory Hashbrown:

Usually for us, weekday mornings are always Cereal, or Muffins or toasts along with OJ and coffee. We are too busy and not very hungry for a hearty breakfast. But weekends are always relaxed and we as a family are all ready for late breakfast. We make Waffles and Bacon on Saturdays and Sundays are always Pancakes and Hashbrowns for us which keeps the kids very happy the whole weekend! :)

What you need:

For Pancakes:
1 large egg, 1/2 cup milk, 2 cups store-bought pancake mix,Enough water to mix, 1/2 tbsp cinnamon powder,1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated.(skip the egg of you don't like it) Mix, whisk all to a thick batter, keep aside for a minute or two.
Sausages: I buy Johnsonville Maple and brown sugar links. They are sweet and not much fat as others sausages, which I like.You can choose whichever you like.
Hash: Hash is basically a southern breakfast dis made of cubed Potatoes, onions,Peppers, salt ,cilantro and pepper sauteed in little oil until they are crisp and golden, delicious!:)
I buy the ready to eat frozen Onion flavored Hashbrowns and add other vegs to add to the heated,chopped Hashbrowns to speed up the process.
Apple Cinnamon topping: You can either buy apple Cinnamon can or make yourself,see below for the recipe.
Maple syrup to drizzle on top.Few crushed walnuts to sprinkle.

Sauteed Cinnamon sugar Apples:

To make Cinnamon sauteed Apple: 2 tsp unsalted butter, 2 tbsp packed brown sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon pd, 1 cup peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples, 2 tbsp apple butter or maple syrup.

How to make it:

Heat a non-stick skillet, Pour 2-3 tbsp of pancake batter in circles or in any shape you like sing molds, let it get golden on the bottom.Flip and cook the other side.Place on a plate.Put some sausages and Hashbrowns on the side to cook while you make Pancakes.When Hashbrown cooks to golden color,cut them to pieces.

To make savory Hashbrown: Cook 4 store-bought onion flavored Hashbrowns until golden on a electric or plain non-stick skillet. Add 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion,chilli flakes, salt and pepper and roast it alongside the Hash.Mix them all up,put it on the plates and garnish with cilantro.If you using cubed Potatoes, use a separate pan to make the hashbrown.Heat the ready to eat Apple or make Apple cinnamon in a pan.

To Plate your hearty weekend breakfast:
Stack 3 pancakes on the plate, top them with 2-3 tbsp of Apple Cinnamon,sprinkle with crushed Walnuts and drizzle with maple syrup.Place 2 sausages on the side along with savory hashbrowns.Get a fork and a knife and dig in! Don't forget your OJ and/or coffee!:))

Orange Juice or Coffee or both!!:)



Food Safety is the theme this month for Safety tips event which is hosted by Jyotsna from "m" blog. I found some great tips for food safety in USDA site, thought I would share them with you. Thanks for choosing a great theme J, will surely help us all!:))

Here are few important points to remember when it comes to food safety!
1. Clean;
Cleanliness is a major factor in preventing foodborne illness. Always wash hands with warm, soapy water, before handling food; after handling food; after using the bathroom; after changing a diaper; after tending to a sick person; after blowing nose, coughing, or sneezing; and after handling pets.Wash dish clothes often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
2. Separate; Keep cutting boards clean,use two separate boards for meat and vegetables. Wash all surfaces that come in contact with raw meat, poultry, fish, and eggs with warm soapy water.Keep pets, household cleaners, and other chemicals away from food and surfaces used for food.
3. Cook; Wash vegetables and rinse meat before cooking. Don't use the same plates and utensils that held the raw meat or veg to serve the cooked dishes. Any bacteria present in the raw meat or vegs can contaminate the safely cooked dishes.When using a food thermometer, it is important to wash the probe after each use.
4. Chill;
Always refrigerate the leftover food immediately.Do not keep raw meat in the fridge more than 24hrs, freeze them if you don't use them ASAP.Because of the bacteria everywhere, cleanliness is a major factor in preventing foodborne illnesses.
Be safe and take care!:))

August 16, 2007


Anita from "A Mad Tea Party" blog posted her own Poori-bhaji combo last week and wrote this about it. She asked us to make our own style Poori-Bhaji for a Poori bhaji party, write about our own memories etc and make a post for a quick round up. I thought okay then,why not!! I am not scared of frying in HOT Summer!!;D
(Oh before I forget, I have to tell you I almost had a heat stroke frying on the deck although it was relatively cooler (about 90F) in the evening in NC!:P)

Well..I don't have any particular story to tell about Poori Bhaji but this combo has always been a favorite of mine.Nothing like crispy ,fluffy Pooris with tangy, spicy yellowish red Aloo matar bhaji! YUM!! My mother usually cooked these once or twice a week for breakfast in India when we were kids, we loved it! Now that we moved here from India many many yrs ago, we no longer eat Indian style breakfast. Hubby and kids are out of the house before 7.30am and they are too happy to grab some OJ, Muffins, coffee etc on the way out!
But I do love to make these once or twice a month for dinner on the weekends and enjoy them. My kids don't like "greasy" Pooris much but they like eating the Bhaji stuffed between thick toasted sour bread slices like sandwiches! For me, Poori-Bhaji is the most satisfying meal associated with childhood memories, a trip to India without the air tickets!!:D

Here is my plate of Poori-Aloo matar Bhaji:
Fluffy fried bread with potato,green peas spicy gravy with tomatoes.If you want yellow potato gravy, skip tomatoes and red chilli pd!I have too many Tomatoes right now,you see them everywhere in my dishes!:D

For people who don't know, "Poori" is a deep fried flat bread somewhat like Native American fried bread. Wheat or plain flour kneaded with salt and water, rolled out into circles and deep fried in hot oil until they puff up like balloons! Bhaji is usually made of spices and Potatoes with other vegetables added with a thickish gravy. In Indian homes, Poori-Bhajis are always considered as a special and quick meal to serve to expected or unexpected guests to make them feel welcomed!

Let's make delicious Aloo Matar Tamater Bhaji!

Ingredients you need to make the Bhaji:
2 large Red Potatoes,peeled and cubed, 3 plum Tomatoes cubed,1 cup frozen or fresh Petit Greenpeas.
Chop these: 1/2 large onion, 2 garlic, 1/2" ginger, 2 green chillies,a small bunch Cilantro.
To powder: 2 tsp Coriander seeds, 4 cloves, 1 Cardamom, seeded.(No need to toast them)Add 1/4 tsp chilli pd, salt , 1/8 tsp turmeric and 2 tbsp plain yogurt.
For seasoning: 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds, 1 tsp Cumin seeds,few curry leaves (optional).

Click on all the images to enlarge if you like to see the step by step more clearly:

To make Bhaji:
1. Heat oil/butter in a non-stick pan,add mustard seeds, cumin seeds.When they splutter,add onion,green chillies, soften them for 2 minutes.Put in ginger and garlic,stir for a minute.
2. Add potatoes,saute until half cooked.Add in Greenpeas, Tomatoes,all the powdered spices,cilantro,yogurt,salt,chilli pd, mix well.
3. Pour in 1 cup of water,mix, cover and simmer until fully cooked.Uncover,let it get a semi-thick with gravy.If too thick,add a little water.
4. Your bhaji is ready when little oil shows up on top. Get ready to fry some Pooris now!!:)

Whole Wheat Pooris:
To make them little healthier,I use the Whole wheat flour we get in the US grocery stores which has more fiber than Indian atta or plain flour and gives them a great reddish brown color,absorbs less oil!

They are supposed to look fluffy like these,a little tricky to achieve but doable.They do deflate after a while. They are best served as soon as they are made! I will reveal my secrets for fluffy fragrant Pooris now! ;D

You need:

1 cup whole Wheat flour (US style), 1/4 cup white or wheat bread flour , 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp Anise seed powder, and enough water to mix and knead to a stiff dough(must not be soft,they will not puff!), divide into golf ball size portions.Cover and let it rest for at least 1/2 an hour for the gluten to develop in the flour.Heat the deep fryer to 350F. I use electric fryer.
Note: you can use 1 1/2 cup Indian atta or just plain flour and add 2 tbsp plain yogurt to make Pooris)
To make them:
1. Take a ball, roll out to a 1/8" thick 4-6" circles.I use a 4" cookie cutter to cut the circles.Cover them with kitchen towels so they do not dry up.
2. Drop a circle in the oil carefully,with a colander,swirl the oil and hold down the Poori under the oil gently.As it puffs, let it go.You can carefully splash some oil on it to help it to puff.Flip the Poori and cook the other side to a golden color.
3. Drain on the paper towel and repeat with others.Using bread flour makes them stay puffed for longer time than Plain flour, but they do eventually deflate. That's why you eat them when they are fresh!:)
For step by step photos of how to make Pooris with plain flour, click here.



You must be wondering what's going on and why these Dill vadas are hanging out here?!:D
Well...I was planning to make Pooris and then I saw this new event being launched by Hima. So, I decided to fry a snack as well for us while the oil is hot. I do deserve a heat stroke now, don't I?! Hahaha!!

Dill Vadas with coconut mint chutney are my second favorite snack(Most fave is coming at FH later!) and I am sending these to Hima from "SnackORama" blog!! She asks "What's your favorite snack?"this month and here is mine! She has started a new event and she gives us a theme for each month, so we can tell her what's our favorite dish! Sounds great,thanks Hima!:))

Dill Vadas:

Here is how I made them:
1. Mix all these: 1/4 cup each of Semolina (cream of wheat), Rice flour, 1/4 cup or more Besan (Gram/chickpea flour,add little more besan if you find the dough not sticky enough to to make the patties),2 tbsp hot canola oil,salt to taste, 1 tsp red dry chilli flakes or 2-3 green chillies, 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds, 1/2 small onion very finely minced, 1/4 cup chopped Dill leaves, 1/8 tsp baking soda,1 tbsp minced cilantro.
2. Add just enough water, 1 tbsp at a time, to make a stiff dough.Cover and let it rest for half an hour.Semolina swells when wet after sometimes of resting, making the dough stiffer,so use your judgment when making the dough how much water to add. Heat oil to 350F.
3. Take a large walnut sized lump or bigger if you want to speed up the process quickly,put it on your left palm (wet your palm with little water) press it flat gently with your right hand fingers to make a 1/2" thick patties.Slide them into the oil as soon as you make them.
4. Fry until golden both sides and serve with spicy coconut-mint chutney.

Have a fun weekend! I will see you all in your blogs on Tuesday. We will be at the beach from Friday to Monday, a little getaway before the school starts!:)

August 13, 2007


Bread pudding with Lychees, is my contribution "A fruit a month aka AFAM" which is started by Maheswari of "Beyond the usual" blog.This month's guest is our own pretty girl Sig from "Live to eat" blog with her choice of fruit "Lychee".Thanks for hosting Sig!:))

About Lychees:

The Lychee,also called Litchi, is a tropical fruit tree native to southern China. It is also found south to Indonesia and east to the Philippines.The outside is covered by a pink-red, roughly-textured rind that is inedible but easily peelable. The inside consists of a layer of sweet, translucent white flesh, rich in vitamin C.The center contains a single glossy brown nut-like seed is slightly poisonous and should not be eaten.(Photo from WIKI)

Lychees-mixed fruit bread pudding:

You need one can of Lychees,drained of all the liquid:

You also need these, get organized and turn on the oven to 400F! That's an order!! ;D

Ingredients: 1 can of Lychees sliced into fours, 2/3 cup mixed dried fruit or mixed fresh fruit(no need to heat fresh fruit), 2/3 cup apple juice or Lychee juice, 2 cups stale brown or white bread or Bagel bits(diced), 1 tsp Cinnamon pd, 1 tsp Vanilla essence, 1 tsp Allspice pd (NOT Garam masala,click on the link), 2/3 cup half and half, 1/4 cup Demerara(Coarse) brown sugar or white sugar.
To top: 1/4 cup sweetened coconut ,lightly toasted until golden, Cream and few Lychees.

This is what you need to do to bake the bread pudding:

1. Place dried fruits in a small pan with the apple juice or Lychee juice and bring to a boil for a minute in the microwave. Pour it in a oven proof baking dish.
2. Stir in the bread pieces, allspice,cinnamon pd,vanilla essence and mix gently.Pour in the half and half over it evenly.
3. Press in the bread if they floating too much.I used 1 large raisin Bagel cut inti pieces.You can use thick cut bread.
3. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar(coarse brown sugar) or white sugar on top and bake for 25-30 minutes until firm and golden brown.
4. Take it out,sprinkle golden coconut.Serve hot or cold with some cream and Lychees on the side.Enjoy!:)

Beautiful and delicious Lychee bread pudding baked and ready to serve!!:)

A Lychee Shanty Cooler!! YAY!:))
Serves about two. Original recipe for this Shanty cooler is from here. I have changed the proportions to lot less Lychee juice.I don't like the Shanty cooler too sweet!!:)

2 cups of Lychee juice,
1 12oz can of beer,any you like chilled (I used Heineken)
Combine beer & lychee juice,stir gently until well blended,pour into two glasses and voila!!:D (My husband loved it!)
Drink up but DO NOT drink and drive!!

Have fun baking. See you on Thursday!:))

August 9, 2007


Achari Aloo Wadi made with Cumin seeds and cumin powder is my contribution to Sunita from "Sunita's World" blog's brand new "Think Spice" event.This month's spice is "Cumin", thanks for hosting Sunita, great theme!:)

About Cumin seeds:
English cumin comes from Latin cuminum, which was borrowed from Greek kyminon.In Sanskrit, many late names of cumin appear related to a verbal root jri [जॄ] signifying “cause decay, consume”, e.g., jarana [जारण], jirana [जिरण], jirna [जीर्ण]. The root jir may also mean “digest”, which might be linked to the digestive properties of cumin.Cumin seeds are used as a spice for their distinctive aroma, popular in North African, Middle Eastern, western Chinese, Indian, Cuban and Mexican cuisine.Historically, Iran has been the principal supplier of cumin, but currently the major sources are India, Sri Lanka, Syria, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Folklore and superstition; during the Middle Ages cited that cumin kept chickens and lovers from wandering!(Yeah,right!!;D)
It was also believed that a happy life awaited the bride and groom who carried cumin seed throughout the wedding ceremony. Cumin is also said to help in treatment of the common cold, when added to hot milk and consumed! Info from WIKI.

Punjabi Wadis, before and after frying:

I made a dish called Ambat with Moong wadis few weeks back,you might remember.I had bought some Punjabi Wadis too at that time but didn't use it until now for a perfect dish with cumin. These are bigger and spicier than the Moong Wadis and when soaked in gravy,they become soft.Tastes and look somewhat like Paruppu Urundai(Dal dumplings) I have seen in some south Indian blogs! To my surprise,when I ate a piece after they are fried thinking they might taste like Pakodas,they were bland because they don't contain salt! But mixed with gravy,they tasted great!:))

Ingredients listed on the pack; are Urad Dal,Chana dal, Red Chilli, Seasame seeds,Fenugreek, chilli pepper seeds,Black Pepper, Cumin seeds, Coriander, Ginger pd, Nutmeg and Cloves,proportions are not listed but you can use judgment if you make it at home. They are to be deep fried and crushed gently in to big pieces and added to the gravy.

About Achari:
Achari is basically pickle masala ingredients which are seasoned with oil and added to the finished dish to give a crunchy texture and taste.This dish is based on Nita Mehta's 'Vegetarian Punjabi' recipe with my own addition of Potatoes and Wadis.Enjoy.

Achari Aloo Wadi:
Well..this dish is simple and basically,you make the gravy with spices,onion and tomatoes.Add cooked potatoes,fried and crushed Wadis to make thickish gravy.Lastly,season with Achari masala and serve with layered Parathas.Delicious!!

You Need:

6-8 Punjabi Wadis, 2 Potatoes peeled and cubed,Cilantro, salt, 2 Tomatoes,1 onion chopped, 1 -2 green chillies, 1/4 tsp chilli pd,1 tbsp Coriander seeds powder,1 tsp Cumin seeds pd, 1/2 tsp Garam masala, 1 tsp Kasoori Methi/Dry fenugreek leaves,1/2 tsp sugar,salt.
To grind: 1" ginger, 2 Garlic.

For Achari seasoning: 2 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp each of Fennel seeds and Mustard seeds,1 tsp Cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds. 1 red chilly, 1/8 tsp chilli pd.

How to make it:

Deep fry Wadi in oil,cool and crush to big pieces. Cook cubed Potatoes in the microwave ,drain and keep aside.Grind ginger-Garlic to a paste. Heat oil, fry onion and green chillies ginger-garlic paste , stir for a minute.Add all the dry spices and 1/2 cup water with chopped tomatoes.Simmer. Put in Potatoes and wadis,simmer until thick.Season with all the ingredients until crisp and pour it on the Potatoes and mix. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with Parathas,sliced red onion and a salad/raita.

A delicious plate of Achari Aloo Wadi with layered Parathas:

Enjoy the meal. See you all later!:)

August 6, 2007


Shaheen of "Malluspice" blog has just launched a brand new monthly event called "Express Cooking Event". She asks us bloggers to come up with a nutritious and quick meal under 30 mins which would help us all at the end of a tiring day.Sounds good to me! Here is mine, a Jhatpat Frittata with a salad!Thanks for the idea Shaheen!:)

Jhatpat Frittata?!
Yes, it is!! For non-Indians,Jhatpat in Hindi means quick!! When you've had a hectic day at home or come home tired from work and the kids are driving you crazy,let my Jhatpat Frittata come to your rescue! These dishes can be made literally in mins and nutritious as well.Vegetarians,you could use a cup of Besan/Chickpea flour+ few tbsp of Plain flour or Cornstarch to bind instead of Eggs or can use Egg replacer too!!
As much as I love cooking,I would hate to hang around the kitchen unless I have to and not a minute more than necessary!! I chopped these veggies in 5mins flat and it took about 10 mins for the Frittata to cook and 1-2 minutes to grill!For salad, it took less than 5 mins to prepare and Voila!! Grab a fork and dig in!!:)

Have a quick 22 mins or less Brunch,lunch or dinner; Delicious Frittata with refreshing Tomato salad on a bed of Lettuce! :)
If you follow my steps as I tell you here, you will have that Frittata dinner on your table in less than 22mins!This serves 3-4 people!:)

You need these for quick 5 mins of slicing,dicing and whisking!

Look at those Bell peppers,you will see more of those at FH next week!:)
Spray oil or little butter in a 10-12" non-stick pan,put it on medium heat.Now slice 1/2 of each 4 bell peppers thinly,1/2 a red Onion, 2 small plum tomatoes,1 green chilli pepper,4 Green onions cut into rounds,3 tbsp of dill,some cilantro.(other veggies you can add are Green peas,Spinach ,grated Carrots etc, anything that cooks quickly or doesn't need much cooking!)

Hot pan and cool veggies to stir-fry!!

Add all these except half the dill and cilantro to the pan and spread around in one layer,let it cook.Meanwhile, in a big bowl beat 7 Eggs with 2 tbsp half and half or milk,salt,rest of the dill and cilantro.Give the veggies a stir gently so they cook evenly.No need to cook until soft,bell peppers should be little crisp to bite.

Now pour in the Eggelicious herby mix!

Now add the beaten eggs on the veggies starting from outside to inside in circles.DO NOT stir! Sprinkle any Mrs.Dash spice seasoning if you like or just some pepper,let it get firm around the edges ie about 10-12mins. Turn on the grill/broiler!
Now start preparing the salad as given below and put in the fridge to chill while the Frittata cooks.

Oops!! Forgot to take the grilling picture.Oh well, have a look at the golden top there!:D

As soon as the edges starts to curl and the center is still somewhat soft but not runny,sprinkle about 3 tbsp of Parmesan cheese or any cheese on top evenly.Take the pan carefully and hold it under the broiler for 2 mins making sure all the sides are getting slightly golden spots.Take it out,shake the pan gently to loosen the bottom and slide it on a plate.

Refreshing salad with my homegrown Pear Tomatoes splashed with Italian dressing!

Cut into 8 slices for 4 people and serve with a cool salad on a bed of crisp Lettuce.Sounds great or what?! Now sit down,eat and chat with your family while having a nutritious and quick meal.(Washing the dishes is not included in 22 mins! Sorry!!:D)

Here is how to prepare the salad(Same salad is coming at FH too on Wednesday!):

Gather and wash Pear or Cherry Tomatoes,wipe them dry,slice into halves.Sprinkle some salt,spice seasoning or Italian dressing,pepper if you like and toss.I like Cilantro in everything,I added some too. That's it.Keep it in the fridge until you are ready for dinner!

Have a great week gals!:)