January 31, 2008


Herb swirl bread is my "Show us your Flour" entry to Jai and Bee of "Jugalbandi" blog's "Click" event with the theme of "Flour" this February. My thanks all the judges and JaiBee!:)

Herb Swirl Bread:

Herb bread

Camera: Cannon PowerShot SD600 Digital ELPH


Kodubale, a popular Karnataka snack, is my contribution to Easy Crafts from "Simple India Food" blog. Her new event "Travel Food Festival" is asks us to make something vegetarian to carry when you are traveling. Enjoy EC!:)

Kodu+Bale literally means "Bangles with Horns" in Kannada, which is referred to their bangle shape with two upturned ends which looks like a Bull's horn!!!
These Kodubales are made of flour and spices and rolled into rings and deer fried, a very popular snacks in Karnataka, India. They keep well in a airtight container for atleast 10 days ie if you can resist them that long!:D
You can bake that Swirl bread too to take it on the road, makes a great lunch as well! Enjoy both of them, why don't you? :)


Kodubales are great to take to your friends for a party or a potluck as appetizers or take a bag of these when you travel or excellent snacks to munch on with a cup of hot coffee.There are many recipes to make these Kodubales. You can see the others here and here for Plain flour Kodubales. Hope you make them!:)

To make them, you need:

You can cut down the recipe to half if you just want to try a few first. Adjust the salt and chillies according to your taste and adjust the size of the circles to your liking.
2 cups Rice flour,
1 cup fine grained Semolina/Cream of Wheat/Rava,
1 cup Wheat flour/Atta,
3 tbsp smoking hot oil,
Grind these to a slightly coarse paste or powder:
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut or dry coconut,
4 Red dry chillies,
1 tbsp Cumin seeds,
1 tbsp Sesame seeds.

To make them:
1. Grind the ingredients for paste or powder and set aside.
2. Mix all the flours, salt. Heat 3 tbsp oil until very hot and add to the flours.
3. Add in the ground paste and mix well with enough just until they look like thick dough. Do not add too much water. Knead well, cover and let it rest for 15mins.
4. Heat oil to 370F to deep fry. Take a small ball out of the dough, roll it with your palm on your kitchen counter top to a 1/2" thick rope.
5. Cut the rope into 6" long and join the ends, press to seal to make a circle. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Cover them with clean towel so they don't dry out.
6. Deep fry them until reddish and crunchy. Cool and store in a air tight jar.


January 28, 2008


Hot Cocoa with cream and Cinnamon, my own liquid comfort is my entry to Jai and Bee of "Jugalbandi" blog's "Click" event with a theme of "Liquid Comfort" this month. Enjoy and thanks for hosting JaiBee!:)

Hot Cocoa topped with Cream and Cinnamon:

Hot Cocoa

Camera: Sony Cybershot with 8.1 mega pixels in Macro mode.


Papaya scones are my contribution to "A Fruit A Month", which is the brainchild of Maheswari of "Beyond the Usual" blog. Nags of "For the cook in me" is guest hosting this month for AFAM and her fruit of choice is "Papaya". Thanks for hosting Nags!:)

Finally!!! After all the running around the town here for Papaya, we visited a Vietnamese store in the next town last weekend and got 2 cans of Papaya! Canned Papayas taste nowhere near like the real ripe Papaya we used to gobble up in India regularly but I feel lucky to have these cans than nothing at all, beggars can't be choosers!!:D

Canned Papayas!
Fresh Papayas are low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber and Potassium and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Folate. But watch out for the high content of sugar!!! More info at WIKI.

Here they are, my Papaya scones. They are flavorful, not very sweet and makes a perfect breakfast warm or cold with any jam or just sprinkled with powdered sugar. Nuts are optional,gives it a little crunch. I can only imagine how wonderful and aromatic it would be to use the real fresh ripe Papayas in these scones! Use fresh if you can. I don't like any of my desserts too sweet, so these are perfect for me to have on their own with a cup of coffee!:)

Papaya-Pecan Scones:
Recipe for Scones is mostly adapted by Betty Crocker's baking book with my own addition and elimination, makes about 10 scones. You can any kind of chopped fruits and nuts of your choice for variation.

You need:
1 3/4 cup Plain flour,
1/3 cup packed brown sugar,
2 tsp Baking powder,
1/4 tsp salt,

1/3 cup firm unsalted butter or Margarine,(I used the butter),

1 Egg,
1/2 cup Half and half or cream,
1 cup chopped ripe Papaya,
1/4 cup finely chopped Pecans or Walnuts or any nuts.

To bake Scones:
Preheat oven to 400F.
1. Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking pd. Add cut up butter and mix with your fingers until they look like bread crumbs.
2. Add egg and cream beaten together and mix with a wooden spoon just until combined.
3. Stir in Papaya and nuts and mix gently until combined.
4. On a ungreased baking sheets, scoop 1/3 cup of mix and drop them 3" apart from each other. Put it in the oven and bake for 18 mins or until golden brown on top.Do not over bake.
5. Slide them on to a cooling rack gently and immediately and store in a air tight container when cooled for breakfast or light snack. Serve warm or at room temperature with jam or powdered sugar.


January 23, 2008


Mansi from "Fun and Food"
blog has asked us to make some snacks, drinks for the all the games that are going on here these days. This event is called "Game Night Party" and I am bringing my favorite crunchy and delicious "Southern Hush Puppies". Thanks Mansi, enjoy!:)

About Hush Puppies:
These traditional southern Hush puppies, also called "corn dodgers", are made of mixing plain flour and corn meal with added spices with a hint of sweet and they do make the most delicious, crispy, handy snack for any game night. There are several stories about how these little snacks came to be called "Hush Puppies".
According to WIKI, here are some interesting stories;
1. The name “Hush puppies” is often attributed to hunters or fisherman who would quickly fry corn meal and feed it to their dogs to “hush the puppies” during cook outs or fish frys.
2. The other legend surrounding the Hush Puppy dates back to Civil War days. Southern soldiers would sit beside a campfire, preparing their meals. When Union soldiers came near, they would toss their barking dogs some of the fried cakes with the command "Hush, puppies".
3. During the time of the underground railroads, escaping slaves would feed these to the dogs tracking them while coaxing them with hopeful commands such as "hush, puppies"!

Southern Hush Puppies:

You need:
1 cup white or yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup plain flour,
1 tbsp Soy Flour(my addition,not traditional. Optional)
2 tsp baking powder,
1/2 cup buttermilk,
1 tablespoon sugar,
1/8 tsp Baking soda,
1 egg, beaten (optional for vegetarians),
1/4 cup finely chopped onion,
1 tsp garlic pd,
1/2 tsp chilli flakes or chilli pd or minced Jalapeños,
2 tbsp hot oil and enough water and salt.

To make them:
1. Heat oil to 370F or on medium high heat. Meanwhile, add and mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Add all the liquid to the dry flour, mix first to see the consistency and then add enough water to make a thickish batter like we make for Indian Pakoda batter. Adjust the spices, let it rest for 15 mins. Do not make the batter thin, Hush puppies will become hard.
3. When oil is hot enough, with the help of a spoon, drop little balls of that thick batter in to the oil and fry both sides until they are golden. Drain on paper towel.
4. Stick a few attractive toothpicks in them and serve with Ketchup or spicy Mayonnaise.

Traditionally in the south, these are served with fried Cat fish.

Other snacks you could choose to make for game night:

Cheddar Cheese Spritz,
Chana dal Vadas,
Fenugreek leaves and cornmeal fritters
Spinach Pakodas.


Dhanggit from "Dhanggit's kitchen" and Uma tagged me for this "Five favorites" MeMe. Reading her MeMe makes mine very bland in fact but I will try it anyway!:)
This would be my last MeMe. I have revealed myself enough already with all those MeMes I have done so far.There is nothing else to tell, don't you think? :D
Thanks for the tag Dhanggit!:))

What were you cooking/baking 10 years ago?
10yrs ago, I had a 6yr old and a 2 yr old kids!! What else but I was baking cakes shaped like cars, trucks and butterflies, topped with colorful frosting and sprinkles!

What were you cooking/baking one year ago?
A year ago, I was experimenting with Creme Brulee after tasting it in the restaurants. Breaking the hard caramelized sugar crust and digging into the most luscious creamy custard inside made me want to try at home! It was a great success but so much heavy cream makes me hesitate to make it often but will try again and post it for you next time.It's a beautiful dessert!

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Chakli (Indian)
2. Kodubale (Karnataka)
3. Cheddar Cheese Spritz cookies
4. Spinach and Feta Spanakopita
5. Spinach Pakodas (Indian)

Five recipes you know by heart:
All of the above!!

Five culinary luxuries you would indulge in if you were a millionaire:
1. A World tour and to taste every cuisine in the World!! Egypt, China, Russia etc. I would love that.
2. A HUGE kitchen with marble counter top, walk in pantry and all that!:)
3. Every modern kitchen gadgets I can get my hands on!!
4. I have more than 200 cookbooks in 2 1/2 bookshelves and spilling over! I do need a walk in library right next to the pantry!:D
5. I will never allow anybody else to cook in my kitchen, so I do need several appliance to make it easy for me!:D

Five foods you love to cook/bake:
1. Any traditional Indian dish which calls for elaborate preparation.
2. My grandmothers' dishes, makes me feel good and eel at home.
3. Baking bread. I love the smell of freshly baked bread.
4. Making Cardamom flavored Indian sweets, reminds me of India and the festivals.
5. Pizza! And the way it makes my kids eyes twinkle and make them smile from ear to ear!:D

Five foods you cannot/will not eat:
1. Octopus, fried or not.
2. Any whole Fish with head intact and eyes wide open staring at you.
3. Caviar.
4. Sushi.
5. Worms! Like those contestants who chew them on TV shows to win a million dollar! They can keep the million dollar, thank you very much!:D

Five favorite culinary toys:
1. My KitchenAid Mixer/blender (don't know what would I do without it!:D) and all my Calphalon Total pots and pans!:)
2. My flat surfaced electric cooking range, so easy to clean, looks great and so efficient too.
3. My bread box Machine, specially to make any kind of dough.
4. Ice cream machine, which makes the creamiest Ice Cream!
5. All those little kitchen gadgets like Ravioli maker, Gnocchi board, Wafle maker, Panini press, sandwich maker etc. Not essential to a kitchen but makes my cooking easier and fun too.

Five dishes on your "last meal" menu:
Oh, this is morbid!!:D
I want to live for now and not think about my "last meal"!!:D
Besides, who cares about last meal when you are about say "Sayonara" to the World!! I want to see my kids before I go! HeHe!

Five happy food memories:
1. Cappuccino in Venice, Italy! It gave me a stomach ache after the fact but was happy to be sipping that THERE!:D
2. First time I ate Creme Brulee and the sensation of crack and swoosh into that delicious custard!
3. Eating Bhelpuri from the street cart as a teenager in Belgaum, India with another teenage boy standing beside me munching on Pav Bhaji! Can you guess who? That would be me and Arvind, same guy I am married to for 21 yrs!!!:D
4. Looking at my kids happily gobbling up the food I make and say "thank you mommy"! What more happiness could a mother need?!:)
5. Lastly, one happy (and almost silly!) memory is associated with Switzerland for us, not necessarily connected to their traditional cuisine though. I am not saying they don't have great food, they do!
But let me tell ya, after eating all those almost unfamiliar food in small Swiss towns where they don't have fast food restaurants like UK or US, we drove to Zürich for sight seeing and we saw a McDonald there for the first time in a week!!! Oh boy!! We were soooo happy!!! We were literally hopping and skipping to that Mickey D's! Hahaha!!!

That's it for the MeMes!! Enjoy the rest of the week!:)

January 18, 2008


Pooja from "Creative Pooja" blog has re-started her "Vegetable of the week" event, coming back to blogging after a long break. Since India's Republic Day is on the January 26th, she has chosen the theme of "Orange, White and Green", which are the colors of Indian flag, to cook and display. Green Broccoli and Orange Cheddar cheese in white cream sauce is my contribution to this event. Thanks Pooja!:)

Tri-color Cream cheese blocks are my last year's contribution to Republic day cook up.

Enjoy Indian Republic day on the 26th!
Republic day, a very proud day for all Indians, is grandly celebrated all over India every year on the 26th of January. Here is the history;
"26th January 1950, is one of the most important days in Indian history as it was on this day the constitution of India came into force and India became a truly sovereign state. The Indian people finally realized their dream and the dream of their leader Mahatma Gandhi and the numerous freedom fighters who fought for and sacrificed their lives for the Independence of their country. So the 26th of January was declared a national holiday and has been recognized and celebrated as the Republic Day of India, ever since", according to Taj online.
More info about Republic day of India is here at WIKI.

Broccoli and Cheddar cheese in cream sauce:
When I read the theme of three colors of this event, I immediately thought of this dish which has all three colors, my kids' favorite Broccoli dish I cook for them often, easy to make and a delicious side dish to serve with crispy vegetable patties or any meat dishes.I served this with Hamburger meal!

You need: 1 (10oz) bag of frozen Broccoli or about 3-4 cups,
1/2 Cup grated orange Cheddar cheese,
For Sauce:
2 tbsp butter,
2 tbsp Plain flour,
1 cup light or fat free heavy cream,
1/2 cup milk, 2% or fat free,
(or 1 1/2 cups of 2% milk will do too)
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese,
a pinch or more Nutmeg powder,
salt and pepper to taste.
To make it:
1. Thaw the Broccoli, cover the bowl and microwave fro 3-4 mins or just until they are tender but mushy.If using fresh Broccoli, wash, cut and add a cup of water in a bowl, cover and MW until soft to bite. Drain all the water and cool.
2. Heat a non-stick pan, add butter and melt. Sprinkle flour over it and stir for 1 minute until it is well mixed and cooks until raw taste of flour disappears. Don't let it brown.
3. Add the cream and milk, let it heat and bubble for 2 mins. Add salt, pepper and Nutmeg pd to taste. When it starts to thicken slightly, add Parmesan cheese and 1/2 of the Cheddar cheese ie 1/4 cup and all the Broccoli, mix well.
4. Take off the pan from heat. Sprinkle the rest of the Cheddar on top and cover with a lid. Sauce gets thicker as it cools.
5. Serve as soon as possible with a main dish while it's still warm. If the sauce thickens too much like a paste (It shouldn't be unless you cooked the sauce too long!), add more milk, reheat and mix.

Hamburger Helper Meal I served with Broccoli cheese:
This dish which includes Pasta and gravy mix comes in a pre-packaged box and cooked with any ground meat, it makes a delicious meal with Broccoli cheese as the side dish. When I am short of time to cook from scratch on some Sundays, I grab a pack of this Hamburger meal!:)


January 12, 2008


While I was taking a break this week, Aroma completed one full year of blogging on the 12th January, 2008!! Hurray!! I am enjoying cooking for events at Aroma, it has been a pleasure so far. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who comment and support me here! Hope you will continue to do that! :))

Weekend Breakfast blogging aka WBB is the brain child of Nandita of "Saffron trail" and this month it's Rajitha from "hunger pangs"'s turn to host this event with the theme of "Soy products". Soy and mixed veggies savory Pancakes, are my contribution to this event. Thanks for hosting Rajitha!:)

I was going to cook something with Soy beans I had in my pantry until I saw the Soy flour box in baking section at the grocery store. I never paid attention to it before until this "Soy" event! I bought it planning to bake a bread and then I read that you can't use more than 1/4th of this flour in any recipe! Then it hit me that I could make savory pancakes with it mixed with Wheat bread flour to make it spongy and with loads of veggies, Indian style!:D

About Soy flour:
Soy flour is made from roasted soybeans that have been ground into a fine powder. Soy flour is very rich in high-quality protein, it also adds a pleasant texture and flavor to the dishes.Soy flour can be used just as it is or it can be lightly "toasted" first. Since it does not have Gluten to hold itself together, you only use 1/4th cup of Soy flour to 1 measure of wheat or plain flour in your cooking or baking. You can use soy flour to thicken the gravies and cream sauces, to make homemade soy milk. It also keeps baked goods from becoming stale quickly and adds lot of protein to the dish or bread.
Because it adds moisture to baked products, soy flour can also be used as an inexpensive and cholesterol-free egg substitute in these foods.That is a great news for pure vegetarians! Replace one egg with 1 tablespoon soy flour and 1 tablespoon water. Now you can bake without Eggs and without missing any protein. All these infos are obtained by various sites and from the back of that Soy flour box too!!

Soy flour and mixed veggies savory Pancakes with roasted coconut chutney:

To make Soy pancakes:

You need:
A little note: This amount makes enough 5" in diameter and thickish pancakes for 4 people. Cut down to half the recipe if you don't need that many. You can add any veggies like green Peas to it and can skip all the dry spice powders too if you don't like it, they just add to the flavor.
1 1/2 cups Wheat Bread flour, (can use Atta or plain flour)
1/2 cup Soy flour,
1/4 cup Rice flour(Optional, just to make them crisp)
1 cup finely chopped red and green bell peppers,
1/2 cup grated Carrots,
1 onion minced,
1 tsp Cumin powder,(Or Dhana-Jeera pd if you have it)
1/2 tsp garam masala,
1/8 tsp Baking soda, few minced Cilantro leaves,
2 tsp grated ginger,
2 tbsp Yogurt, enough water to mix,
salt, Dry red chilli flakes or chillies, minced.
To make it:
1. Whisk dry ingredients first to mix the flours well and then add all the other ingredients shown above.
2. Add enough water to make thick but pourable batter, cover and set aside for 10-15 mins.
3. Heat a non-stick on medium high, drizzle a bit of oil, pour a ladleful of batter to make 5" circles and about 1/4" thick.
4. Drizzle a tsp oil on top, cover with lid and cook until the bottom is reddish. Flip and cook the other side to golden.
5. Serve hot with chutney or with plain yogurt.

Roasted Coconut chutney:

Recipe for this roasted coconut and red chillies chutney is here.



A happy little tag by a friend!

Reeta Skeeter from "Reeta's Ruminations" asked few of us to show our best photo of 2007 or a photo very close to our heart. Thanks for happy tag Reeta!:)

This Photo may not be my best in 2007 but these Bhakarwadis are the best tasting snack I ever made at home for my "Foodie's Hope" blog last year. This is for you Reeta, I did enjoy going back in memory lane. Thanks!:))

January 7, 2008


Microwaved Plate Idlis
are my entry to "Easy cooking with Microwave" which is hosted by Srivalli of "Cooking 4 all seasons" with a theme of "Tiffins" this month. Thanks Sri!:)

I am sending Butternut Squash Stir-fry to Marta from "an Italian in the US" blog for her "Fresh produce of the Month" event. She has chosen "Squash" this month. Thanks Marta, enjoy!:)

Idlis are the quintessential breakfast or tiffin dish for most South Indians. We usually steam these in Idli stand or Thatte Idli stand inside the pressure. For a faster way, I cook them in the microwave one at a time. They come out quite well for folks in a hurry but of course not as soft as the regular steamed ones. Try it out and see if you like it. Cooking time varies depending on the power of your microwave, experiment. I like the convenience and ease of microwaving these. Enjoy!:)

Thatte(Plate) Idlis with Butternut squash stir-fry and Cilantro chutney:

To make the usual Idli batter:
Soak 1 1/2 cups Long grain rice,1/2 cup Converted rice(par-boiled rice) in a bowl with lots of water.In another bowl,soak 3/4 cup Urad dal,1 tbsp Fenugreek seeds with water over night or atleast for 3hrs. Wash rice,drain and grind coarsely like semolina with just enough water and put in a bowl.
Now,wash,drain and grind Urad dal,fenugreek seeds with enough water to a very smooth paste until fluffy light batter. Add to the bowl with ground rice and mix both thoroughly. Make sure batter is thicker than pancake/dosa batter and sprinkle the top with 1 tsp salt.
Cover and let it ferment overnight in the oven with the pilot light on in winter.In summer,you can keep it outside to ferment. Do not mix it until morning. When fermented well, you will see the batter risen to double the volume with little bubbles on top. Mix the batter well adding more salt if needed and 1/2 tsp Baking soda.

To microwave the idlis:
Spray a plate with no-stick oil, pour in a ladleful of batter and shake gently to spread, cover with Microwave proof plate or bowl, microwave it for one minute depending on the thickness of the batter.Thinner Idlis cook better and faster. Open the cover and check the middle for doneness, take out and cool on a cooling rack. Serve as soon as possible or you can reheat covered with plates for later.

Butternut Squash Palya/stir-fry:
I love Butternut Squash. It's sweet and spicy tasting palya/tir-fry tastes so good with dosa or idlis or in toasted bread sandwiches too. I have already posted the recipe which I make often here, but I am re-typing the recipe again. Enjoy making it, tasts delicious with these plate idlis as well!:)

You need:

2 cups chopped butternut pieces, few chopped Cilantro, Salt to taste.
To Season:
2 tbsp Oil/butter
1 tsp mustard seeds,
1 tsp chana dal (Split peas)
1/2" ginger minced,
few Curry leaves
1 onion chopped
2-4 Fresh green chillies,chopped
To make the stir-fry:
Heat oil/butter, add all the seasoning ingredients one by one and fry until onion is reddish.Put in diced pumpkin pieces,2 tbsp water and stir-fry for 5mins. Turn down the heat,cover and cook they are until soft, almost dry but not mushy. Add in enough salt to taste and cilantro.

Cilantro Chutney:
Grind 2 cups fresh grated coconut, one whole bunch of Cilantro (mostly it's leaves), 1 small garlic, few green chillies, 1/2" fresh ginger, few curry leaves, salt, 2 tbsp Yogurt, just enough water to make a smooth paste.
Seasoning is optional. If you want, season with hot oil, mustard seeds, Urad dal and curry leaves.

Here is another simple inexpensive gadget you could use to make regular Idlis in the MW. These are called MW Egg poachers available in grocery stores:

I saw these poachers in one of the blogs (don't remember which blog unfortunately) being used to make Idlis and was very impressed. Since the Idli batter used in this gadget is thicker than in the plates, you will have allow more time to cook, got to learn how many minutes to cook by trial and error!


"Seven weirdest things about me" MeMe

Here is my overdue MeMe tag. I have one more MeMe to do for which I have been tagged already. After that I will not be doing anymore MeMes!! So girls and boys, DO NOT tag me please!!:D

Three bloggers have tagged me for "Seven weird things" MeMe. They are Siri from "Siri's Corner", BEV from "Bird's eye view", Happy cook from "my kitchen treasures" and Swathi from "Sugarcraft India". Thanks to all of you for thinking of me!:)

I don't think I have 7 weirdest things to say about me but will try my best and keep it short!:)

1. I can't stand loud music, kids crying or acting up in public, loud and insensitive parents. I move as far away as I can in public places from them and keep away from likes of them my personal life as well.

2. I HATE phones or phone calls! It's true! When I want to call my parents in India, I think all the the things I want to say but when I do call them, I forget everything what I had planned to say and mumble pleasantries and hang up within 5mins! I would rather write long letters than call anyone! I am a writer I guess! Did I say I HATE phones!!:D

3. I wear "Man Pyjamas" as I call them to sleep in! I don't like any lacy, frilly, flowery, pink and purple "nighties". I go to men section in the stores and buy few 100% cotton, very comfortable pyjamas with computer, football, baseball and bear designs on them!! They are soooo comfy and cool!!:D

4. I was never scared of creepy crawlies or anyone as a child and am still not. I often tell my kids that if any burglar invades my home, he is going to have a VERY VERY BAD day. Arvind says he believes me when I say that!:P

5. I walk the other way if anybody tries to get close to me physically or emotionally!I have this invisible "Lakshman Rekha" or boundary around me and I don't like when people invade it or tries to step in. I give "shoulder hug" and a pat on the back and step away!:D That applies to my best friends too and they know it!

6. I don't "Hero Worship" anyone! I think we are all great, some do more than others. That doesn't mean they should be put on pedestal and worshiped. Of course,I admire them for what they have done or do but that's where it stops!

7. I will fill the 7th, when I think of one more weird thing about me later!

OH, I just thought of one more. I am a clean freak. I have this little dog who is all over my husband and kids but I hate when his wet nose touches me! If I want to pet him I will use my toes when he is sitting on the carpet, never touch him with my hands. If I do touch him with my hands, I will get up and wash my hands immediately! Poor dog and poor me!!!

Do I hear the Mental Asylum vehicle siren coming to get me?!!!Hahaha!!

I am not tagging anybody this time but you are welcome to take it up if you like. Have a great week!:)