December 31, 2007


This is my last post in 2007 at Aroma!! YAY!! Happy new year to all of you. See you in 2008!:)

Latha N of "The YUM blog" is hosting this month's "A Fruit A Month" with a theme of cooking with "Dry fruits". AFAM is started by Maheswari of "Beyond the usual" blog and Mango-Coconut Kheer is my entry for this event.. Thanks for hosting Latha!:))

Dried Mango slices from Philippines:
Mangoes retain a special significance in the culture of South Asia where they have been cultivated for many centuries. It has been the national fruit of India, Bangladesh and Philippines. Reference to mangoes as the "food of the gods" can be found in the Hindu Vedas and the leaves are ritually used for floral decorations at Hindu weddings and religious ceremonies.

The name 'mango' is from the Malayalam word manga, which was introduced in Europe by the Portuguese from Calicut (Malabar Coast) in the late fifteenth century and called "Aam" in Hindi.
The mango is an excellent nutritional source, containing many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as enzymes such as magneferin and lactase. In the Philippines, unripe mango is eaten with bagoong. Dried strips of sweet, ripe mangoes have also gained popularity both inside and outside the country, with those produced in Cebu making it to export markets around the world. Dried unripe mango used as a spice and is known as amchur or amchoor in India and ambi in Urdu. All these info. is from WIKIPEDIA.

Mango-Coconut Kheer:
Kheer is an Indian word for pudding, which is easy and quick to make and tastes delicious flavored with Mango bits and coconut. Hope you try!

You need: 1 cup chopped dry Mango slices(soak these in hot water for 1/2 an hour until soft, drain), 2 tbsp very fine grained Semolina(cream of wheat), 2 tbsp grated fresh or Sweetened Coconut, 1/4 cup or more Sugar, 3 cups 2% milk, 1/2 tbsp butter, pinch of salt.

To make it:
1. Heat butter in a pan, add semolina, stir for a minute.Add milk, bring it to boil, turn down the heat.
2. Add the soft Mango slices, coconut, sugar, salt and simmer for 1omins. Take off the heat. It gets thicker as it cools.
3. Serve warm or chilled, tastes great. I added very little sugar and skipped Cardamom pd since Mangoes have their own sweetness and beautiful aroma. Enjoy!


Moong dal and white Pumpkin(Ash gourd) gravy cooked in the Microwave is my entry to "Easy cooking with Microwave" which is hosted by Srivalli of "Cooking 4 all seasons" with a theme of "Gravies" this month. Thanks for hosting Srivalli!:))

Microwaved Moong-Pumpkin dal:
Here is a tasty gravy you can make in the microwave. Moong dal or yellow split lentils is the easiest dal to cook in the microwave since it cooks very easily unlike other dals. You can use Masoor dal (red lentils) too. Adding Ash gourd pieces gives the gravy texture and makes it tastes delicious.

You need: 1 Cup Moong dal, washed,soaked in 3 cups of hot water for 1/2 an hour, 1 cup Ash Gourd or Bottle gourd chopped into cubes, 1/8 tsp Turmeric, 2 green chillies chopped or 1/4 tsp chilli pd or any curry pd you have, 1 tsp grated ginger, 1 tbsp Coriander seeds powder,salt, few cherry tomatoes (Optional).
For seasoning: 1/2 Tbsp Butter + 1/2 tbsp oil,1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 2 garlic chopped, 3 tbsp onion minced.

Garnish with cilantro and squeeze of lemon juice.

To make it:
1. Add the soaked dal with water to a microwave proof deep dish along with gourd pieces and cook for 5 mins on high. Stir and cook for 5 more mins.Repeat this way until dal is cooked and gourd is soft. Add salt, turmeric, green chillies or chilli pd and ginger.
2. Cook again for 3 mins. Add coriander pd, pierced cherry tomatoes,cook for 2 more mins, mix well until you get a thickish gravy.Take it out of the MW and garnish.
3. For seasoning, you can either do it on the stove top for convenience or heat a glass bowl with butter and oil for 1 min on high, add all the seasoning ingredients, cover with paper towel and heat until it splutters. Add minced onion and garlic and cook again until golden on the edges.Add to dal and mix.


December 22, 2007


Cinnamon-Nutmeg flavored Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi is my contribution to Sunita from "Sunita's World" blog's "Think Spice..Think.." event.This month's spice is "Cinnamon". Thanks for hosting Sunita!:)

Cinnamon bark:

These are two kinds of Cinnamon, curly one on the left has sweet aroma used in desserts and another flat kind is Cassia bark has spicy flavor used in most Asian cuisine.To read about the differences between these two, click here.

Spinach-Ricotta Gnocchis flavored with Cinnamon and Nutmeg, served with Marinara sauce:
This recipe is from an old "The Good Housekeeping" magazine, loved the taste and makes a substantial meal for the family. You can use any Spaghetti sauce you have at hand to serve with these with or you can make your own. Hope you try.

How to make them:

You need:
1 10oz pack of frozen chopped Spinach,
2 tbsp + 2 tbsp butter,
3/4 cup Ricotta cheese,
1 small onion, minced,
2 Eggs,
3/4 cup all purpose flour + 1/4 cup flour,
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese + 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese,
1/2 tsp Salt,
1/2 tsp freshly ground Pepper,
1/2 tsp Cinnamon,
1/4 tsp Nutmeg pd.

To make them:
1. Heat 2 tbsp butter in a pan, add minced onion, saute for a minute. Add in thawed, squeezed dry Spinach, ricotta, stir fry for 5 mins. Turn off the heat.
2. When cooled slightly, add eggs, 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup Parmesan, salt, pepper, cinnamon, Nutmeg pd,mix well. Cover and chill in the fridge for 1/2 an hour.
3. Fill a wide mouthed pan with water, bring it to a rolling boil. Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour on the counter. Take out the spinach bowl, with floured hands,make a make sized oval shape,coat them lightly with flour and keep them on a plate.Repeat.
4. Carefully add 6-7 Gnocchis into the boring water, cook them until they are puffed and they float on top of the water or about 6-7 mins. Take them out, drain on paper towel.Repeat with all others until done.
5. Heat 2 tbsp Butter in a non-stick pan, add all the cooled Gnocchis, stir them until they are slightly golden allover. Take them out on a plate, sprinkle 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese on top.
6. Serve with Marinara sauce sprinkled with some more Parmesan cheese!



5 Qs MeMe:

Raks from Rak's kitchen and Latha N from "The YUM blog" tagged me for the "5 questions" Meme, thanks to both of you. Here I go with my answers!!:)

1. How long have you been blogging?
Since June 2006 at FH and Jan 2007 at Aroma! That would be almost 1 1/2 years of non-stop blogging until recently!! Phew!!:D

2. What inspired you to start a blog and who are your mentors?
I chanced upon foodie blogs while surfing for some recipes one fine day. I was amazed to see there are blogs for cooking with step by step photos which made me deliriously happy!! That got me thinking that I should start my own as well.I pestered Arvind to get me started since I was not familiar at all with blogging at that time. so it started!!
No mentors as such but certainly love Sailu's blog. It's so wonderful to see so many traditional dishes over there with absolutely no frills attached! She inspires me.

3. Are you trying to make money online or are you doing it for fun?
Blogging is pure fun for me!!! Both my blogs are 100% "making money" free!!:D

4. What three things do you love about being online?
first, I love blogging and commenting although it does take considerable time out of my day, specially mornings!!
Secondly, I love the blog friends I have made over the years and love to be part of their blog lives and enjoy their culinary skills too.
Last but not least, love looking at the photos and reading about so many different cuisines around the World and absolutely fascinated by it all!

5. What three things do you struggle with online?

Time it takes to comment during weekdays in 60+blogs EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!

Although I say "no commenting on weekends" to myself, I can't stop myself checking in anyway if I have time during weekends!:P

Blogging is terribly addictive!! I would like to make some changes to my routine in 2008 and visit only my regular readers' blogs instead of blindly going to every blog which I have blog rolled since 2006 even though some almost never visit me!!:D

That's it!! I will refrain from tagging this time.If anybody would like take this up, you are most welcome!:))

December 19, 2007


Hurray!! This is my 100th post here at Aroma which I started on January 2006 just to cook and post for events! It reached 100th post a tad bit faster that Foodies Hope which took exactly a whole year to reach that century! It has been a wonderful journey so far and will plan to keep it up in 2008 as well.

My thanks to all my readers/friends who come here to comment and to LOT of readers who don't comment as well!! Enjoy, cook, blog and EAT!! :))

Now, back to business...

Alrighty Ms.Bee and Mr.Jai, here are your Nuts!! Oops, my Nuts!!;D
There are loads and loads of all kinds of nuts on display for Christmas now, thought instead of cooking with these, why not click them in all their glory!
Here is my entry to JaiBee of "Jugalbandi" blog's "Click" event with a theme of "Nuts" this month. Enjoy and thanks for hosting Bee and Jai or Jai and Bee!

Cornucopia of nuts!!


Camera used: Canon PowerShot SD600


Bindiya of "in love with food" blog started a new event called "These are a few of my favorite things" this month with a theme of "Chocolate". Although I am not very fond of Chocolates, I do like to have a few dark Belgian Chocolates with 60% Cocoa occasionally. I definitely enjoyed baking these cookies. Thanks for hosting Bindiya!:))

I am also sending these to "JFI-Chocolate" this month since I am running out of time to enter my dishes for events. This month's host is Deepa from "LETZ COOK" blog. Thanks for hosting Deepa!:)

Story behind these Brownies!
My daughter's friend Jessica had her birthday at her high school and she sent a message to me thru' Trisha asking me to bake some cookies for her. She didn't want any store bought cookies or anything else as gift!
Trisha wanted me to bake chocolate cookies for all her 22 friends/members in her Anime(Japanese art) club (which Trisha leads as president) for Christmas party and some for her friend Jessica too while I was at it.
I looked around the internet and found the recipe for Brownie cookies which sounded great. Since some kids are allergic to nuts, I skipped nuts and mint flavor from the recipe to keep it simple.I also doubled the recipe and made about 84 mini cookies by using smaller scoops, so the kids can have 2 to 3 cookies each and rest goes to Jessica to take home. I baked the cookies just until soft, not crisp and they tasted like Brownies but looked like cookies! I was not going to blog these, but then I saw Bindiya's and Deepa's theme which fitted these cookies perfectly, I said Hurray and here they are!! Enjoy!

Recipe for these delicious brownie cookies came from here with my own little changes. I skipped the mint extract, nuts and used dark brown sugar and a tsp of molasses to keep them purely dark and chocolatey!!:)

Brownie drop cookies!!

To make about 88 mini brownie cookies you need:
(Make sure you cut the recipe into half or 1/4th of this amount if you need less cookies!)
3 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate bits, divide these into half to melt, keep half aside as whole bits to mix.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup good quality Cocoa powder,
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or Margarine(for chewy cookies), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp dark molasses (optional)
4 large eggs

To bake:

Preheat the oven at 350F.
1. Melt half of the morsels in small, heavy saucepan over low heat. When they begin to melt, remove from heat, stir until smooth. (You can melt in the microwave too, but be very careful not to burn the chocolate bits.) Cool to room temperature.
2. Now mix flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl, keep aside. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large blender bowl until creamy.
3. Add eggs one by one, beating well after each egg. Add in melted and cooled chocolate, mix well.
4. Slowly add in flour mix. When well mixed, stir in remaining chocolate bits. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto 2 ungreased baking sheets, 2" apart.
5. You may have to use more sheets if you are making the above quantity.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 12 minutes. I bake for 8 mins and then keep checking the sides, since I like softer cookies. About 9 mins works for me perfectly. Take the sheet out, let it stand for 2 mins and then take the cookies out onto the cooling rack. Cool completely before storing.