February 27, 2008


Coffee from "The spice cafe" blog's "Monthly Blog Patrolling" event has been rejuvenated which is a great news for us bloggers. It is fun to patrol the blogs and make something delicious from the other blogs. Sig from "Live to eat" has opted to continue this event and has chosen "Mixed Drinks". Pooja's Pineapple Lemonade is my choice, enjoy and thanks for hosting Sig!:))

I wanted to make one of Sig's various cocktails,specially the Lychee one that she has in her blog but she said it's better not to pick from the host! Bummer!!;D
Ever since I saw Pooja's Pineapple Lemonade in her blog (click on the link below to see the beautiful looking original drink), I wanted to try it since Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits and I like the Lemonade too. Her Lemonade has a great color than mine, mainly because I used canned Pineapple with it's juice. I also added a bit of salt and pepper to it to enhance the flavor. It's a delicious and refreshing beverage to have even in Winter. Thanks Pooja, loved it!:))

Pooja's delicious Pineapple Lemonade:

To make it:
I followed almost the same recipe with few additions of my own. Follow the original recipe in her blog if you use fresh Pineapple.

1. I used one 15oz can of Pineapple cubes with it's own juice.
2. In a blender, add Pineapple cubes with it's juice, 1 tsp Lemon juice (add more if Pineapple is sweet), 2 tbsp powdered sugar or to taste , pinch of salt which brings out the flavor and few grinds of pepper which makes the Pineapple juice delicious. (You could add a few fresh Mint leaves too if you like as garnish while serving it.)
3. Blend until very smooth, pour in a jug and chill. Serve adding a few ice cubes and Mint leaves to the juice.
(I didn't strain the juice since my powerful Sumeet mixer makes a very smooth juice or in other words, grinds the heck out of the Pineapple!:D)



Mirch Baingan is my contribution to Pooja of "creative Pooja" blog's "Vegetable of the week" event although it has become monthly event now. She has re-started the event after a long time and chosen the beautiful "Brinjal or Eggplants" as her vegetable this month. Thank you for taking time to host Pooja!:))

Brinjals/Eggplants are my favorite vegetable. I don't like the one we get here usually, one of those huge US style purple ones at the regular grocery store. I will have to go to the upscale grocery store to the buy the expensive Japanese or Italian Eggplants or go to a Indian store to get the Indian ones. When I do get them, I thoroughly enjoy cooking different dishes with these. Mirch Baingan or Chilli Eggplants is very simple but delicious tasting dish cooked with coarse red chilli pd mixed in a besan/chickpea flour and yogurt gravy with minimal spices and I served these with Rajgaro-Wheat flour Bhakris.

Mirch Baingan:

To make Mirch Baingan, you need:
3-4 long green or purple Asian Eggplants, cut into 3" long pieces,keep them immersed in the water until you are ready to cook,
1/4 tsp turmeric,
2 tsp Coriander seeds powder,
1 tsp coarsely ground dry red chillies or chilli pd,
1 tbsp Besan/Chickpea flour,
3 tbsp plain Yogurt,
Cilantro to garnish.
salt and sugar to taste.
To season:
1 tbsp oil, 2 tsp butter or ghee,
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds.

How to:
1. Heat oil and butter in a non-stick pan. Add mustard seeds. When they pop, add drained Brinjal pieces to the pan and fry until they are half way cooked. Sprinkle Besan and stir fry for a minute.
2. Pour in the yogurt by 1 tbsp at a time and keep stirring until well mixed. Now, add all the other dry spices, salt and a bit sugar. Simmer on medium heat, add (not more than) 1/4 cup of water if needed, but not necessary if it has some liquid already, gravy should be think and clinging to the Brinjals.
3. When Brinjals are cooked well but not mushy, dish is ready. Adjust the spices and add cilantro.

Rajgaro-Wheat flour Bhakris (Rotlo) with Mirch Baingan:

To make Bhakris:
1. Mix 1 cup Rajgaro (Amaranth flour) and 1/2 cup of wheat flour, 1 tsp of salt and enough water to make a stiff dough. Cover and let it rest for 15 mins or so.
2. Make Tennis ball sized rounds out of the dough. Place a ball on a piece of foil sprayed with no-stick oil, press or roll out the dough to 6" circles.
3. Bake on a griddle or tawa until both sides are cooked and you see the speckled red spots.
4. Tastes great served hot with mirch Banigan dish with a tsp ghee on top.

Hope you try, have a great rest of the week!:)

February 23, 2008


Veg Nuggets and Cheese steak fries
are my entry to Vanamala from "My Kitchen World" blog's event called "Kid's food" this month. Hope you like these Mala, enjoy!:)

If you have kids at home, you know how fussy they can be about food and how we parents struggle everyday to feed them the right kind!! As parents, it's our responsibility to make sure they get all the nutrients to help them grow and be healthy. There lies the problem when kids like only the "junk" food or high fat frozen prepackaged food, which I am sure most kids love. We have got to be smarter than them in that department by sneaking in Greens, vegetables, healthy Soy products etc in their favorite foods. My kids LOVE Chicken Nuggets from 'you know where', so these Nuggets are one of those sneaky things I do at home and they have no clue that they are eating "healthy junk"! Of course, I NEVER EVER tell them these nuggets have Soy flour and green beans!!:D

Vegetables-Soy Nuggets, cheese steak fries and fruit cup:
You can use any combination of vegetables, beans you have at home but make sure you add few tbsps of Soy flour which is a super healthy flour. Serve these with BBQ sauce or ketchup. Yeah, I have saved those Mickey and Minnie fork and knife my kids used to eat with eons ago. As teenagers now, they don't like Mickey and Minnie anymore!:D

To make Nuggets, you need:
2 large Potatoes,cooked and peeled, 1 cup cooked or canned Kidney beans, 1 can of Broad/flat/Italian green beans, cooked and drained Dill or Spinach leaves, 4 tbsp Soy flour, 2 tsp cumin seeds powder, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, salt, Mango powder or Chaat powder, 1 tsp Pav Bhaji masala.
1 tbsp Corn starch+ 1 tbsp water (Tandoori masala is optional) and 1/2 cup seasoned wheat bread crumbs in two separate plates
to coat the Nuggets. Some grated Cheese to sprinkle on Cutlets.
To make:
1. Mix all the above (except ingredients to coat) and mash well to a thick dough. Divide them into balls, make rectangle nuggets for kids, round patties for adults. Dip in the corn starch mixture (I added Tandoori mix powder,that's why the red color!) and then in breadcrumbs until all the sides are coated.
2. Heat a wide non-stick pan, add about 3 tbsp of oil and fry the nuggets and patties both sides until golden, sprinkle cheese on the patties, cool on the rack and reheat in the oven to serve or serve immediately with steak fries, ketchup or BBQ sauce and fruit cups.

To make cheese steak fries:
Potatoes cut into wedges instead of finger chips are called Steak fries. Russet potatoes are floury potatoes, easy to cook and they are crispier when sauteed than other potatoes like red waxy potatoes
1. Take 2 large Russet potatoes, wash and slice into thinner wedges. No need to peel the skin. In the same pan you cooked the Nuggets, add 2 tbsp oil, spread the potatoes wedges and let it cook until golden both sides on medium heat.
2. Sprinkle salt, garlic pd, chilli flakes, pepper, and some grated cheese on the wedges and take them out on a plate.

Note: You can also bake both patties and fries in the oven at 375F for about 30-40 mins. Spray a little oil on the patties and the potato slices if you bake. You might not get that golden colored crust you see on the nuggets above. Sprinkle spices and cheese 5mins before you take them out of the oven.

Have fun lil' kids and big kids!:)


Chinese Chilli oil sprinkled on scrambled Eggs is my entry to Bindiya from"In love with food" blog. Her event "These are a few of my favorite things" this month has a theme of "Chinese food". I thought of making one of the usual Chinese dish but then I remembered a yummy recipe for Chilli oil I make at home which we splash on to give a zing to any dish, made a dish too to use it on, enjoy. Thanks Bindiya!:))

Chinese Chilli oil:
Chinese Chilli oil is a spicy condiment you can sprinkle on practically everything including snacks, savory pancakes, steamed Dim Sums, Pot stickers, Omelettes etc to spice them up. I am giving you how I make chilli oil at home which we use on soft Scrambled Eggs and such. A hint of Sesame oil makes it smell, taste delicious and authentic Chinese.

To make Chilli oil:
1. Take a thick bottomed pan, pour in 1/2 cup Canola oil, 2 tbsp Sesame seeds oil, 1 tsp or more red dry chilli flakes as per your taste, few crushed Schezuan peppers, 2 tbsp finely minced onion, 2 minced Garlic, 1/" minced ginger, 1/4 tsp of Paprika for color.
2. Heat it gently until oil becomes hot. Do not let the spices burn but just sizzle.
3. Put a fine sieve or cheese cloth over a clean bottle and pour this oil immediately to strain all the solids and discard it. Let the oil cool and then store in the fridge.
4. Shake and use when needed. It's hot and spicy!!:)

Fluffy Scrambled Eggs sprinkled with spicy Chilli oil:

To scramble Eggs:
1. Spray little no-stick oil in a non-stick pan. Add 1 tbsp milk, 2 beaten Eggs. Keep stirring with a small whisk or wooden spoon.
2. Add a 1 tsp Soy sauce (optional), pinch of salt and few grinds of pepper or 1/2 tsp steak seasoning. When Eggs starts to settle but still semi-solid, take off the heat. It will cook further as it cools. Do not keep it on the heat until they become lumpy and hard.
3. Stir once more gently, garnish with 1 tsp few minced fresh Parsley or green onion and few splashes of chilli oil on top and serve with toast.

February 18, 2008


Potato, Apple, Arugula soup is my contribution to Lisa from "Food and Spice" for her "No croutons required" event. For this month's theme, she asks us to cook a "vegetarian soup" which makes even carnivorous diners drool! Hope they all drool over this yummy soup!! Thanks for hosting Lisa!:))

About "Soup":
According to the dictionary, "Soup is a liquid food prepared from meat, fish, or vegetable stock combined with various other ingredients and often containing solid pieces."
The word soup originates from "Sop", a dish originally consisting of a soup or thick stew which was soaked up with pieces of bread.
One of the first soups made is dated back to about 6000 B.C. and was made of hippopotamus or the hearts of 5 sparrows!! Ahhhh!!!:D (Info from WIKI)

I found the recipe for this soup in a one pot dish cookbook. Combination of hearty chunks of Potato, sweet-tart Apple and spicy, peppery Arugula which is rich in Vitamin C and iron, with added beans, red peepers and light spices, it sounded great to me. So here it is, enjoy and absolutely no Croutons needed for this soup at all!:)

Potato, Apple and Arugula soup:

You need:

2 tbsp Butter,
2 large red waxy potatoes, peeled and cubed,
1/2 red Onion, chopped into big pieces,
2 Tart Apples, cut into chunks,
2 cups Arugula, chopped to half if they are large,keep them whole if they are young and tender.(You can use baby Spinach too to replace Arugula)
1 large bottled roasted red bell pepper,chopped,
1/2 cup canned Kidney Beans,
4 cups Vegetable Stock,
1 tsp Allspice powder,
salt and pepper and 2 tsp Lemon juice.

Any crusty bread you like to serve with soup. I had Pretzel bread roll.

To make the soup:
1. Heat the butter in a heavy bottomed deep pan. Add onion and potato cubes and saute for 5-7mins stirring constantly.
2. Add in Apples, red pepper, Kidney beans and stir. Pour in the veg stock, Allspice pd, salt and pepper to your taste.
3. Bring to boil, turn down the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15mins.
4. Add Arugula (or Spinach), lemon juice, simmer until potatoes are fork tender.
5. It's ready eat now but if you want the soup creamy, take out 1/4 of the soup and blend and pour back into the soup. I prefer chunky veggies in thin stock.
6. Garnish with Apple slices or few Arugula and serve it warm in bowls with crusty bread. This serves four people easily. Great comforting soup for cold Winter days!

One more look:



I made a popular Indian savory and sweet "Fruit Chaat" for Marta from "An Italian in the US" blog for her "Fresh Produce of the Month" event. She has chosen "Orange" this month. Thanks for Marta!:)

Fruit Chaat is a popular Indian savory "fruit salad" and with added tangy, spicy Chaat powder to chilled sweet assortment of fruits makes it a very refreshing, lip smacking dish to have in Summer or any day! It also makes a great side dish with Barbecued meat too!:)

Fruit Chaat:

You need these to make Fruit Chaat:
1/4 cup each of Mandarin Oranges or any kind of Oranges including blood oranges, Tangerines etc, sliced Bananas, ripe Mangoes cubed, Apples cubed, Melon cubes, Pineapple cubes, Pears, Grapes, 1 tsp Lemon juice.
Spices: 1-2 tsp Chaat powder, pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp Sugar, 1/8 tsp pepper powder, 1 tsp finely minced fresh Mint leaves.

To make it:
1. Mix all the assorted fruits in a bowl with lemon juice, chill it in the fridge for an hour.
2. Add the spices, mix gently and chill again to serve on it's own or with BBQ meat.

Chaat Masala: Chaat masala powder packet is available in any Indian store. If you want to make it at home, here is how to make a simple Chaat pd, some have cloves etc but I like this. Amchoor is the main ingredient which is a tangy powder made by dry Mango slices.

2 tbsp Mango powder (Amchoor), 1 tsp Cumin seeds powder, 1/2 Ginger powder, pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/8 tsp each of red chilli pepper and black pepper. Mix all this and store in air tight container and use as much as you need to mix with fruits or to sprinkle on snacks.
Have a great week!:)

February 12, 2008


Nutritious Thalipeeth is my contribution to Suganya from "Tasty Palettes", who is hosting WBB this month with "Healthy Eats" theme. "Weekend Breakfast blogging" event is the baby of Nandita from "Saffron Trail". Thank you for hosting Suganya!:)

Thalipeeth means "hand patted" as far as I know since it is hand patted directly on the Tawa/griddle, is a kadak roti ( crisp flatbread) and a deliciously spicy one at that. They are a popular delicacy in Maharashtra.
Having born and raised in and around Mysore, Bangalore and Hassan, I was not familiar with Thalipeeth at all until we went to live in Hubli where I went to High school, which is in north of Karnataka. One day after my friend and I went back home from school, I stopped by her house.While I waited for her, she gave me a piece of brown stiff roti to eat, which puzzled me at first and then I loved the spicy taste like Sesame crackers. That' was my first Thalipeeth experience!! After I told my mom about it, she paid our maid to make them for us once a week until we left Hubli!!

When Suganya asked us to make some "healthy Eats" for breakfast, I thought of this nutritious all in one Thalipeeth. Although you can eat these as they are, you can serve with plain yogurt (for my kids) or some pickle or chutney on the side. With multiple flours and spices, they make a tasty treat, which you can heat up in the morning.
As you know we don't eat Indian breakfast anymore, so these were our dinner served with onion-tomato chutney. I added many vegetables to it and cooked them a little softer than the regular Thalipeeth should be, since kids don't like very crisp rotis! I did save a few to make them crisp just for myself though! :D

Thalipeeth, served with Bitter Gourd pickle:
Aren't they beautiful to look at? It may not be traditional ingredients but I added Soy flour, grated Beets, Carrots and Green Peas...well, everything but the kitchen sink..to make them even more nutritious. Bitter Gourd pickle went fabulously with sweet and spicy Thalipeeth.

To make them, you need these:

1/4 cup each of these flours;
Soy flour,
Chickpea flour (Besan),
Rice flour,
Maize flour aka Cornmeal,
Wheat flour,
Rajgaro flour,(do not know what kind of flour is this but I have it! Replace it with Bajra flour if you want)
Rava/Semolina/Cream of wheat,
Grated Carrots,
grated Beetroot,
crushed Green Peas.(frozen is okay too)

3 tbsp plain yogurt,
1 tbsp Sesame seeds,
1" grated Ginger,
1/2 tsp Garlic powder,
1 tsp each of Garam masala and Coriander seeds powder,
1 tsp Cumin seeds,
1/2 tsp Carom/ Ajwain seeds,
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes or chilli pd,
salt and pepper (crushed),
Dry Coriander leaves or fresh,
1 tsp Kasoori methi (dry Fenugreek leaves)
and dry mint leaves.

To make them:
1. Mix all the above to a stiff dough, not soft dough like Chapati dough, brush some oil on the dough, cover and let it rest for 15-20mins.
2. Meanwhile, take a foil, and spray no-stick oil lightly. Heat a Tawa/griddle. Divide the dough into Golf ball size rounds if you want small ones like I made or Tennis ball size if you want them bigger.
3. Roll out with non-stick rolling pin or pat with your hand like I did which you might have to do it too, since dough don't have much gluten like Chapati dough. (if you want to roll them easy, you will have to add more wheat flour to the dough).
4. I cut the patted Thalipeeth into 4" circles with a cookie cutter. Baked them on the Tawa until reddish on both sides with little oil drizzled on top and bottom.
5. Cool and serve with yogurt, any pickle or chutney.

Note: For crisp traditional Thalipeeth, skip the veggies, cook them on medium heat for a long time until they really get dry and crisp. Cool and store in an air tight container. You might bake in the oven too.

Soy flour: A great tip for vegetarians who do not want to use Eggs in any recipe, specially when baking cakes and it provides sackful of healthy plant protein as well!

Replace one egg with 1 tablespoon soy flour and 1 tablespoon water.
(1 Egg= 1 tbsp Soy flour+1 tbsp water)

One more look:

Enjoy a healthy breakfast!:))

February 5, 2008


Kari Ikan, a Malaysian Fish curry subtlely flavored with Star Anise, is my contribution to Sunita from "Sunita's World" blog's "Think Spice..Think.." event. This month's spice is "Star Anise". Thanks for hosting Sunita!:)

I usually do not buy Fish at all. I know how healthful Fish oil is for us. So finally two week's ago, I decided to buy Cod fish and cook a few dishes with it. This is one of them. I chose to make a Malaysian curry which is similar to Indian Fish curry. I know Sunita won't mind non-veg dishes, here is my first ever Fish entry!! Vegetarians can use the gravy with veggies. We certainly loved the taste!:)

About Star Anise:
Star anise is native to China and Vietnam, now Star anise is used in the East as well as in the West as aniseed, although with liquorice-like aroma, Satr Anise is more pungent and stronger than anise seeds. The star Anise are available as whole or ground to a powder. A very small amount is used in cooking as the spice has very powerful aroma, usually not more than 1/2 tsp at a time in any dish. Star Anise is a part of "Chinese Five spice" powder and also used in Indian "Garam masala". Stored whole in airtight containers, it keeps well for over a year. Star anise is known to have diuretic properties. In the East, it is used to combat colic and rheumatism. It is a common addition for medicinal teas, cough mixtures. In Malaysia and Indonesia, it's called Bunga lawang. For more info, refer to WIKIPEDIA.

Kari Ikan, a Malaysian Fish curry:
This recipe is mostly adapted from "Woman's day" magazine with my changes and additions.

You need:
1 tbsp oil,
1-2 dry red chillies,
1 onion chopped,
1 stalk lemon grass, finely chopped,(or you can use Lemon juice instead at the end of the cooking)
2 garlic cloves, grated,
1" fresh Galangal or ginger, grated,
1/2 tsp dry red chilli powder,(or Paprika)
1/2 tsp turmeric,
1 can of coconut milk,(or 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup Fish stock or water if you don't have it,
3-4 fillets of Cod, cut into cubes
1/2 tsp Star Anise powder or 1/4 tsp if you don't like the strong flavor,
Few chopped basil leaves.

To make the Fish curry:
1. Heat oil, add red chillies, onion chopped, saute until softened. Add ginger, garlic, lemon grass, turmeric, chilli powder. Turn down the heat.
2. Add coconut milk, 1 cup of water, bring it simmer and let it simmer for 15 mins until the coconut mixture smells good and the sauce slightly thickens.
3. Add salt and fish pieces. Cover and cook until Fish cooks , for 5 mins or so. Add all the herbs and Star Anise powder, mix well.
4. That's it! It tastes better the next day. Serve it with Jasmine rice to be authentic or long grain rice if you don't have Jasmine.


Microwaved Chana Palak dal is my entry to "Microwave Easy cooking", which is hosted by Srivalli of "Cooking 4 all seasons" with a theme of "Greens" this month. Thanks Sri!:)

I made an easy and delcious dal with Chana dal, Spinach and Dill greens in the microwave for Sri's "Greens" event and served this with thick Parathas. Except Tuar dal, which is the toughest dal to cook in the MW as I found out, you can use Moong dal, Masoor dal very easily in the MW in this tasty recipe.
This dal makes a great dipping or scooping sauce if you keep the gravy thicker for the Parathas. I also did not season this dish as I do usually since it's little hard to season using a MW but you could make the seasoning on the stove top and add it to this dal if you like. I replaced the seasoning with 1 tbsp of ghee added to the dal while cooking the dal and greens!:)

Chana dal,Palak and dill dal, microwaved!!

You need:
1 cup Chana dal/spilt peas/Bengal gram dal, Soaked in hot water for 2 hrs,
1 big bunch of fresh Spinach or a box of frozen, chopped,
1 cup Dill leaves, chopped,
1 tbsp ghee or butter,
1 small onion, finely chopped,
2 tsp Ginger paste,
2 green chillies minced or 1/2 tsp chilli pd,
1 1/2 tsp Dhana-jeera pd,(or 1 tsp coriander seeds powder and 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds pd)
1/2 tsp garam masala,
Salt and cilantro.
1 tsp lemon juice to top.

To make dal:
1. Rinse and drain the soaked Chana dal, add to a big enough microwavable glass bowl. Add all the greens, butter or ghee, onion, ginger, green chillies if you using and add enough water about 3-4 cups to cover the dal mix, cover with a lid slightly open on the edge and cook on high for 10 mins.
2. Open the lid, mix well with spoon. Cover and cook again for another 10 mins or more until chana dal is soft and greens are cooked. Add a little bit more water only if needed. Dal doesn't have to be mushy but must be cooked soft.
3. When dal is soft, add all the dry spices, salt and herbs. Cook for 5 or more mins with the lid on until you get a thickish sauce. Adjust the spices.
4. Serve sprinkled with lemon juice and with thick Parathas or rotis to scoop up the dal. Tastes better after few hours sitting on the counter.

Have a great week!:)