Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kolhapuri Rassa

This is a very traditional and typical Kolhapuri dish that all of us at home used to relish with puris when my mom made it. Typically rassa's are made with meat in them but this is a vegetarian version and its yum o! (ss Rachel Ray would put it). It is really spice (if you choose to make it I did not take a pic this time but will update as soon as I make it again.


  1. Yellow onion - 1, finely chopped
  2. Tomato - 1, finely chopped
  3. Potato - 2 medium sized, cubed
  4. Cauliflower - 1 whole, cut into small pieces
  5. Ginger - 2 inch piece, chopped
  6. Garlic - 5-6 cloves
  7. Green chillies - 7-8
  8. Fresh corrriander - 1 bunch
  9. Oil - 1 tbsp
  10. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  11. Haldi - 1/2 tsp
  12. Hing - 1/4th tsp
  13. Jeera - 1 tsp
  14. Salt
  15. Red chilli powder

  1. Make a paste with the ginger, garlic, green chillies, salt, red chilli powder, jeera, corriander and set aside.
  2. Heat oil and add mustard, haldi, hing and let the mustard seed splutter
  3. Add onions and sautee until soft. Add the potatoes, cauliflower and tomatoes and sautee for 10 mins.
  4. Add enough water to soak all the vegetables and add the paste to them and mix well.
  5. Close the lid of the pan and let the vegetables steam and get cooked in the water and paste until well done. Add water as needed.
  6. Garnish with fresh corriander and serve hot with puris for the ultimate comfort meal:)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Baked Cabbage Palak Kofta

I tried this recipe based on some recipes I found online. I made my own changes and customizations as usual. The most interesting one was that to make the gravy thicker and healthier, instead of cream I pureed cooked toor dal and added it to the gravy. It turned out to be yummy and I was happy that I used very little oil.



  1. Half a medium sized cabbage chopped finely
  2. 2 cups spinach roughly chopped
  3. Ajwain - 1/2 tsp
  4. Corriander - 1 cup chopped
  5. Jeera dhania powder - 1 tsp
  6. Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
  7. Haldi - 1/4 tsp
  8. Hing - 1/4 tsp
  9. Garam Masala or goda masala - 1/2 tsp
  10. Lemon juice - 1/2 lemon
  11. Salt
  12. Ginger paste - 1 tsp
  13. Garlic paste - 1 tsp
  14. Green chilli paste - 1 tsp
  15. Besan - 2 cups
  16. Rice flour - 4 tbsps
  17. Water
  18. Oil to spray on pan and top
  1. Mix all the ingredients above and add just enough water to bring everything together into a dough like consistency. It should not be of a batter consistency.
  2. Roll into kofta balls.
  3. Spray oil on a pan and on the koftas and bake at 450 for 20 mins and then broil to brown the outside.

Gravy: This is the usual onions and tomatoes gravy with a cup of ground cooked toor dal to thicken it instead of cream.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dal Baati

I tried my hand at this Rajasthani recipe after having heard so much about it. I think I had tried it ata Rajasthani restaurant once very long ago and it was yummy. I wouldn't say it is very healthy if made the way traditional recipes suggest. My version is slightly healthier. I totally gave in to my dark side by making this healthy version and then topping it with ghee before devouring it. :D . It was delicious and nutritious and I can see how it can be a comfort food to Rajasthanis. Yummy dish and I will definitely make to again. I will repost with better pictures soon once I download from my camera.


For Dal:

  1. Toor dal - 1 cup
  2. Chana dal - 1/3 cup
  3. Yellow moong dal - 3/4 cup
  4. Urad dal - 2 tbsps
  5. Whole moong dal - 2 tbsps
  6. Turmeric - 1 tsp
  7. Green chilli paste - 1 tsp
  8. Cloves - 3
  9. Bay leaf - 1
  10. Ghee 1 tsp
  11. Jeera - 2 tsps
  12. Dhania-jeera powder - 1 tsp
  13. Red chillie powder - 1 tsp
  14. Ginger paste - 1 tsp
  15. Garam masala - 1/4th tsp
  16. Hing - 1/2 tsp
  17. Curry leaves - 5/6
  18. Salt
  19. Lemon - 1
  20. Corriander - 1 cup chopped

For Bati:

  1. Wheat flour - 1 cup
  2. Besan - 1/2 cup
  3. Yogurt - 1 cup
  4. Salt - 1/2 tsp
  5. Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  6. Ajwain - 1/2 tsp
  7. Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
  8. Vegetable oil - 1 tsp

  1. For the bati, mix the ingredients except oil and add enough water to make a soft consistency dough. Let the dough rest for an hour.
  2. Roll into balls and flatten.
  3. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 15 mins.
  4. Brush oil on top and broil a little till you see a slight brown color.
  5. For the dal, pressure cook all the dals with a little turmeric and salt.
  6. Heat ghee in the pan and add haldi, hing, jeera, cloves, bay leaf, chilli paste, ginger paste, red chilli powder, jeera-dhania powder, garam masala one by one and sautee until u can see a blended masala and smell all the aromas.
  7. Add the cooked dal and salt to the paste and some water and bring to a boil.
  8. To serve, pour the hot dal into a bowl, add the bakes bati whole or broken into two and garnish with lemon juice and corriander.

Friday, August 14, 2009


This is a favorite sweet of mine. I have very fond memories of hogging many of these for Onam and Vishu at my friend Vimi's place along with an elaborate n course meals. I made these yesterday for Janmashtami. We also laid out footsteps of Krishna entering the homeand going all the way to the pooja room.
The picture is not very great and I will replace it with a better one whenever I make it next. This recipe is really easy and you need that vessel with the appam indentations to make it. Thansk to my SIL Bhargavi for the recipe. I have a nonstick version which is a bliss.

  1. Wheat flour - 3/4th cup
  2. Rice flour - 1/4th cup
  3. Jaggery - 3/4th cup
  4. Elaichi powder - 1/4th tsp
  5. Cut coconut pieces - 1/4th cup
  6. Ripe Banana - 1 mashed
  7. Water
  8. Oil
  1. Mix the wheat flour, rice flour, elaichi, coconut pieces, banana.
  2. Heat jaggery with a little water and add it to the mixture above. Add just enough to form a thick batter.
  3. Heat the pan with a little oil in each compartment and pour the batter. Heat unti one side is done and flip with a pointy stick (I use skewers). Heat on other side until well done and remove to drain on a paper towel.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kothimbir Vadi

Kothimbir vadi is supposedly a very popular and typical Maharashtrian dish although I don't remember my mom making it of eating it too much. It is the maharashtrian equivalent of dhokla and quite tasty. This is a relatively healthier version of the dish. I follow Nupur's recipe closely with a few variations and was very happy with the outcome.

  1. Besan - 1 cup
  2. Rice flour - 2 tbsps
  3. Wheat flour - 2 tbsps
  4. Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
  5. Jeera-dhania powder - 1 tsp
  6. Green chillies - 4 or 5 ground into a paste + 4-5 sliced thinly
  7. Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
  8. Sesame seeds - 1 tbsp
  9. Salt
  10. Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  11. Lemon - 1
  12. Olive oil - 1 tsp + 3-4 tsps
  13. Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
  14. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  15. Jeera - 1 tsp
  16. Hing - 1/tsp+1/2tsp
  17. Corriander - 2 cups finely chopped
  18. Curry leaves - 10
  19. Water

  1. Mix the flours, corriander, 1/2 tsp hing, green chilli paste, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, sesame seeds, salt, jeera dhania powder, 1/2 lemon's juice, 1/2 tsp hing and water to make a smooth thick batter.
  2. Pour the batter into a greased pan and steam for 15 minutes until it is cooked. Let it cool and cut into small pieces.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and sautee the pieces a little on each side, lightly till they turn brown and crisp. Drain on a paper towel.
  4. Heat 1 tsp oil and to it add mustard seeds, jeera, hing, green chillies and curry leaves and let them turn crisp. Sprinkle over the cut and fried pieces and sprinkle some corriander and lemon juice and serve hot.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Venn Pongal, Kathrikai Gotsu and Coconut Milk Payasam

With the beginning of the Adi month, I receive email reminders from my in-laws about the different auspicious dates and food associated with each. This definitely brings some spice to the daily routine and prompts me to break away from my regular menu. I recently made pongal, gotsu and coconut milk payasam and it was really yummy. I heard my hubby thank his dad profusely for sending these emails which lead to my culinary presentations before the god and finally end up in his tummy:D. On the first day of Adi you are support to make coconut milk payasam and feed your husband, which I did. To add to the festive spirit I made the classic combination of venn pongal and kathrikai gotsu and it was all very satisfying and yummy. Here go the recipes -

I had previously posted the recipe for Venn Pongal here.

Gotsu :

  1. Onion - 1 large finely chopped
  2. Tomatoes - 2 chopped
  3. Brinjal - 6/7 small ones chopped
  4. Tamarind pulp - 1 cup
  5. Oil - 1 tsp
  6. Mustard - 1 tsp
  7. Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  8. Hing - 1/4 tsp
  9. Curry leaves - 10
  10. Red chillies - 4
  11. Sambhar powder - 1/2 tsp
  12. Salt
  1. Heat oil and temper the mustard, curry leaves, turmeric, sambhar powder and red chillies and add hing to it.
  2. Add the onions and saute till golden brown. Then add tomatoes and cook till soft.
  3. Add the brinjal and cook for 10 mins.
  4. Add some water and the tamarind, salt and cook till the brinjal is soft. Serve hot with pongal.

Coconut payasam:

  1. Coconut milk - 1 can
  2. Fresh or frozen shredded coconut - 1 cup
  3. Jaggery - 1 cup
  4. Elaichi powder - 1 tsp
  5. Ghee - 1 tsp
  6. Cashews - 2 tsps
  7. Kismis - 2 tsps
  1. Bring the coconut milk to a boil and add the coconut and jaggery to it. Heat till they all blend well and turn off the gas.
  2. Add elachi powder.
  3. Fry the cashews and kismis in the ghee and add to the payasam. Enjoy steaming hot!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Chocolate Cake With Raspberry Filling and Chocolate Ganache Icing

This cake I made for my darling hubby's birthday who is slowly getting converted to a choc-a-holic...Well good for me and it only works in my favor to push him over the edge on this one into chocolate bliss, being a chocolate lover myself. Many thanks to Nupur of OneHotStove for this recipe. I followed it closely except I had to add 1/2 a cup less of water and all her other directions were perfect:) This chocolate cake recipe is definitely a keeper and I hope to make it many many more times.
I kep some of the raspberry filling aside before it thickened , it use it as a side sauce for the cake and its tarness matched the chocolate perfectly. Fresh raspberries only make the deal sweeter:)

Almond Cake With Strawberry Filling and Almond Flavored Whipped Icing

I made this cake for my friend Vindhya's birthday following my yearly ritual. The cake layer could have definitely been software and more moist and I am on the look out for the perfect sponge cake recipe that I can hack at for birthday cake. For this cake, I pretty much used the standard vanialla cake recipe and added almond essence to the cake as well as the whipped cream. The filling was fresh strawberries. Hopefully I will find the recipe I am looking for soon:) For decoration, I topped the cake with slivered almonds and strawberries.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tomato Rice

I make tomato rice in two different ways and here is the recipe for both -

Recipe 1: This is a very very simple recipe with few ingredients. I had tasted this at my sister-in-law's place and loved the simplicity of the fresh flavors.

  1. Oil - 2 tsps
  2. Urad dal - 2tsps
  3. Chana dal - 2 tsps
  4. Curry leaves - 10
  5. Fresh ginger garlic paste - 1.5 tsp
  6. Tomatoes - 7/8 chopped
  7. Cooked rice - 3 cups
  8. Salt
  9. Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  10. hing - 1/2 tsp
  1. Heat the oil and temper mustard seeds. Add the urad dal, chana dal, curry leaves, haldi, hing and sautee until the daals are golden brown.
  2. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 mins
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt, chilli powder and cook with lid closed until they disintegrate and become a uniform gravy-like consistency.
  4. Add the rice and mix in. Steam until the flavors are well blended.

Recipe 2: This is a slightly more elaborate recipe that Renuka and I used to make as roommates. Definitely more fun than the previous because it has aloo:)

  1. Oil - 2 tsps
  2. Urad dal - 2tsps
  3. Chana dal - 2 tsps
  4. Curry leaves - 10
  5. Garlic - 7/8 cloves chopped
  6. Potato - 1 big, chopped into small cubes
  7. Tomatoes paste - 3 tbsps
  8. Cooked rice - 3 cups
  9. Salt
  10. Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  11. Hing - 1/2 tsp
  12. Jeera Dhania powder - 1 tsp
  13. Rasam powder - 1/2 tsp
  14. Corriander - 1/2 cup chopped
  1. heat the oil and temper the mustard seed. Add urad dal, chana dal, garlic, curry leaves, haldi, hing and fry until the dals and garlic is golden browns.
  2. Add the chopped potatoes and fry until the potatoes are wel done and crisp.
  3. Add the tomato paste, salt, red chilli powder, jeera dhania powder, rasam powder and add 2 spoons of water and cook until the raw smell of the tomato paste goes away.
  4. Add the rice and mix. Steam until well blended and garnish with cilantro.

Note: Tomato rice is an easy dish for picnics and potluck and you can enjoy it with chips.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Alu - 65

This is an amazingly simple recipe that my friend Renuka introduced me to during my recent trip to Chicago. It is a shortcut recipe which cooks really quick because you use tater tots instead of taking raw alu and cooking it. This recipe is slightly high on salt but it is yum yum yummy. Thanks Renu!

  1. Tater tots - 1/2 a bag
  2. Olive oil - 2 tsps
  3. Garlic - 7-8 pods chopped
  4. Green chillies - 3-4 chopped
  5. Soy sauce or mushroom - 3 tbsps (you can use low sodium)
  6. Red chillie paste - 2 tsps
  7. Cilantro - 2 tbsps chopped
  8. Lemon - 1/2
  1. Thaw the tater tots and bake them at 350 for 20 mins. Then broil then to make then darker in color.
  2. Heat the olive oil and add the garlic and chillies until the garlic turns brown.
  3. Add the tater tots, soy sauce, chilli paste and sautee on high heat until the potatoes are coated well with the sauce.
  4. Garnish with chopped cilantra and lemon juice and enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Paneer and Vegetable Tikka

I have tried paneer and veggies barbecue a couple of times now and I think I have the marinade perfected:). I use two different marinades - one tandoori and one mint. If I don't have a grill I have also tried to bake and then broil in the oven and it comes out just as fine. I use paneer, capsicum (all colors), yellow onion, zucchini and any combination of these will taste good. Here are the recipes -

Tandoori Marinade:


  1. Yogurt - 3 cups
  2. Fresh ginger paste - 1/2 tsp
  3. Fresh garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
  4. Tandoori masala - 3 tsps
  5. Jeera dhania powder - 1 tsp
  6. Garam masala - 1/4th tsp
  7. Salt
  8. Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
  9. Haldi - 1/4th tsp


Mix all the above ingredients and beat the yogurt until smooth. Add paneer and veggies and store in a ziploc bag. Refrigerate overnight for maximum flavor. Right before setting on the grill, sprinkle salt and tandoori masala for added flavor. After grilling sprinkle lemon juice.

You can also create a dry tandoori marinade with the same ingredients and by skipping the yogurt. You can also add some kasoori methi for added flavour.

Mint Marinade:

  1. Mint leaves - 1 bunch
  2. Corriander leaves - 2 bunches
  3. Green chillies - 3/4
  4. Ginger - 1 inch piece
  5. Salt
  6. Lemon juice - 1 tsp
  7. Water - enough to make the paste fine

Grind all the above ingredients into a fine paste and coat the paneer ad veggies evenly with it. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and then grill. Sprinkle with lime and sale before serving. Yogurt can also be added to this marinade if desired.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sabudana Khichdi

This is a Maharashtrian staple for days when you are fasting. Although I never understood how it is called fasting with such high carb diet on the day, but I am not complaining:). This is my mom's recipe and I sometimes combine a little ghee with oil to make it healthier but nothing can beat the taste and flavour when it is cooked in ghee. We eat it with raw green or red chillies and a little salt. Others eat it with yogurt.

  1. Sabudana - 3 cups (wash in water and soak with a little water overnight)
  2. Potatoes - 2, sliced into small pieces
  3. Roasted peanut powder - 1.5 cup
  4. Green chillies - 7/8 chopped
  5. Ghee - 2 tsps
  6. Jeera - 1.2 tsp
  7. Milk - 1/2 cup
  8. Salt
  9. Sugar - 1/4th tsp
  10. Lemon - 1/2
  1. Heat the ghee in a pan and add the jeera and chillies. Roast until done and add the sliced potatoes.
  2. Add some salt to the potatoes and cook until well roasted.
  3. Add the sabudana, peanut powder, salt and sugar and mix in. Add a little of the milk to soften if required.
  4. Mix well and cook until it steams well. Sprinkle lemon juice and enjoy with chillies or yogurt.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Tawa Pulao

This is supposedly a roadside recipe popular in Mumbai. I have never heard of it before this and never ate it before but it sounded quick and interesting. I think the pav bhaji masala makes all the difference and gives it a unique taste. So I tried it out. I used this recipe as a reference. I just added onions, tomatoes and carrot because that is all I had at hand but you can add any number of veggies to this dish and make it healthier. This is some thing I would make when I have leftover rice and some veggies that I want to get rid of:)

  1. Cooked basmati rice - 2 cups
  2. Onion - 1 chopped
  3. Tomatoes - Chopped 1 cup
  4. Carrot - 3 julienne cut
  5. Beans - Chopped into 1/2 inch long pieces, 1 cup
  6. Potatoes - 1/2 cup small cubes
  7. Peas - 1 cup
  8. Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
  9. Pav bhaji masala - 2 tsps
  10. Oil - 1 tsp
  11. Jeera - 1 tsp
  12. Cardamom - 2 pods
  13. Cloves - 3
  14. Cinnamon - 1/2 inch long
  15. Bay leaf - 1
  16. Whole black pepper - 1 tsp
  17. Corriander - chopped 1/2 cup
  18. Lemon juice - 1 tsp
  19. Salt
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, jeera and sautee until you can smell the spices.
  2. Add the onions and cook until golden brown. Then add the ginger garlic paste and cook for a min. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are well done.
  3. Add the veggies and salt and cook until the veggies are done. You can microwave the potatoes in advance to cook it fast.
  4. Add the pav bhaji masala and rice and mix well.
  5. Garnish with corriander and lemon juice. and enjoy with boondi raita.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I was inspired by Sindhu's lunch last week and ended up making adai over the weekend. I used Sindhu's base recipes and added tweaks that my mom-in-law uses. The result was very nutritious and yummy. Btw I know this is a really bad picture but its better than nothing:) ...Here is the recipe -

  1. Rice - 1 cup
  2. Toor dal - 3/4th cup
  3. Chana dal - 3/4th cup
  4. Urad dal - 1 cup
  5. Red chillies - 8-10
  6. Hing - 1 tsp
  7. Ginger - 1inch piece
  8. Curry Leaves - 10
  9. Coarsely crushed black pepper - 1 tsp
  10. Grated carrot - 1 cup
  11. Chopped cabbage - 1.5 cup
  12. Salt
  1. Soak the 4 dals for 2-3 hours. Grind them to a fine paste along with 8 red chillies, hing, ginger and salt.
  2. Add the cabbage, carrot, chopped curry leaves, black pepper, chopped red chillies (remaining 2).
  3. Spread on a flat pan like dosas and cook on either side. Add a little oil if required. This adai tastes good by itself or with any of the usual dosa chutneys. We at it with ginger pickle and it was awesome.
These days I have acquired a new hobby of making jewelery. I have a friend who shares my passion for jewelery and its great fun to shop for beads and make stuff to match the clothes we have:). Here are some samples of what I have made so far -

Monday, April 06, 2009

Tomato Pappu

I had made this dish last night and my friend really liked it. It is a very simple Andhra dal that can be eaten hot with white rice or rotis. I didn't take a pic but will update this post with a pic next time I make it.

  1. 2 cups toor dal
  2. Methi seeds - 1 tsp
  3. Haldi - 1 tsp
  4. Tomatoes - 3 or 4 chopped
  5. Garlic - 3 pods chopped
  6. Jeera dhania powder - 1/2 tsp
  7. Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  8. Green chillies - 1 chopped finely
  9. Dried red chillies - 2
  10. Corriander leaves - a handful, finely chopped
  11. Lemon juice - 1 tsp
  12. Salt
  13. Oil - 1 tbsp
  14. Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  15. Curry leaves - 8-10
  16. Asafoetida - 2 pinches

  1. Pressure cook the toor dal with 1/2 tsp of methi seeds and 1/2 tsp of haldi until it is soft. Mash it until it is of an even consistency
  2. Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds and let them sputter. Then add the garlic, curry leaves, green chillies, red chillies, remaining methi seeds and hing (in this order) and let the ingrediets fry until you can smell all the aromas.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes and sautee until they are mushy and fully cooked.
  4. Add the jeera dhania powder, red chilly powder, salt and dal and cook until well mixed. Add a little water if you want the dal to be runnier.
  5. Top off with lemon juice and corriander before serving. The smells in the kitchen will draw everyone to it once it is done:)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Masala Vada

I have very fond memories of my dad bringing masala vadas from the streed vendors in Hyderabad along with the hot spicy mirchi bhajjis. I have always meant to try making them at home but only got around to it now. The outcome was authentic especially after sprinkling a little bit of chaat powder on top. I only wish I had a nice coconut or peanut chutney to go with it but I was too lazy to make it after frying these vadas. I searched online for the recipe and also asked my friend Sindhu and arrived at this one. Here goes -

  1. Chana dal - 2 cups (soaked overnight)
  2. Ginger - 2 inch piece
  3. Corriander leaves- handful
  4. Red chillies - 3/4
  5. Whole black pepper - 1 tsp
  6. Curry leaves - 10/12 chopped
  7. Hing - 1/2 tsp
  8. Garlic - 2 pods (optional)
  9. Onion - 1 medium sized, finely chopped
  10. Salt
  11. Vegetable oil for frying
  1. Set aside a few spoons of the chana dal and grind the rest with, ginger, corriander, red chillies, black pepper, hing, garlic (optional) and salt with very little water until coarsely ground.
  2. Mix the chopped onions and curry leaves with the ground mixture.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan
  4. Now take about 2 tsps of batter on a wet palm and use wet hands to flatten it. SLide it into the oil and fry until golden brown. If you are not able to get it off your palms, you can also use cling wrap for the same. Enjoy hot with chutney or as is!

Homemade Pizza Base

I used this recipe from my friend Vinitha's blog to make the pizza base and was delighted with how easy it was:) . One half of the pizza I topped with onions, capsicum, mozzarella cheese and mariana sauce and the other half was pesto, cherry tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheeses and I obviously liked the pesto half better. I am definitely going to make more of the homemade base going forward and do away with the frozen crust I use.

Gudi Padwa

I made the usual gudi padwa spread this year except for the gulab jamuns that I usually make. I posted the recipes before on my Gudi Padwa Recipes post. Happy new year to all of you:)

Baked Broccoli

This picture may not look as appealing but it sure tasted good. I read some recipe online a while back but cannot remember where. So I may fail to link to the right blog/website but the credit certainly goes to whoever blogged about this first. It is very simple and the result is very flavorful. I did make some changes like adding crushed red pepper which made it yummier and I will take the credit for that;)


  1. Small Broccoli florets (about 2 inches each) - 15/20
  2. Salt
  3. Freshly crushed black pepper - 1 tsp
  4. Olive oil - 3 tsps
  5. Crushed red pepper - 1 tsp
  6. Lemon zest - 1 tsp
  7. Dried oregano - 1/4th tsp
  8. Italian bread crumbs - 1/2 cup
  9. Parsesan cheese (I use regiano) - 1/2 cup
  1. Add 2 tsps of olive oil, salt, pepper, oragano and crushed red pepper to the broccoli florets and mix well. Lay it out on a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins at 350 degrees.
  2. Once you see the broccoli crisping on the outside but still having the crunch remove it from the oven.
  3. Mix in lemon zest with the baked broccoli and top with mizture of bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and olive oil.
  4. Broil for 2 minutes until the cheese melts and bred crumbs become brown.

Enjoy this as a side dish or just by itself. It is really tasty :)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Pineapple cake

This cake was inspired by the Indian style pineapple pastries. It came pretty close to that and I was very happy with the outcome. It was light and yummy. I made this for my sister's birthday. I would have liked to use a proper sponge cake recipe for the cake layers but could not find a good reliable one and since I have never tried it before, I decided not to take a chance with a birthday cake. But I will try it some other time. I was also inspired by a video on youtube and even used the combing technique that he recommends. For the basic cake layers I doubled the recipe here and skipped the nuts in it to bake two 8 inch round cakes. If you have pineapple essence, add 1 tsp for each layer of the cake batter. I did not have it and had to skip and it didn't make much difference. This recipe is relatively easy and hassle free.

  1. Canned pineapple - 1 can
  2. Whipped cream- 4 cups
  3. Powdered sugar - 2 tsps
  4. Sugar syrup - 1 cup (not very thick)
  5. Maraschino cherries - 7/8 to decorate

  1. Drain the pineapples and save some for topping and chop the rest into fine pieces. Save the drained liquid and mix it with the sugar syrup.
  2. Place one layer of cake on the cake stand. Slice it into half across if the layer is too thick. Sprinkle the cake with the syrup and pineapple preservative liquid mixture until it is moist. It takes about 3-4 tbsps.
  3. Drop a blob of the whipped cream in the middle and spread evenly with a spatula or butter knife.
  4. Layer with the crushed pineapples and place the next layer of cake on top. Conitnue this till the topmost layer and for that skip the crushed pineapple.
  5. Spread the whipped cream evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Now take a small piece of cardboard and cut one side like the teeth of a comb and used that to finish the sides. Use something smoother to finish the top.
  6. Take the remaining whipped cream in a ziploc bag and cut a piece in the corner to use as an icing bag. Or if you have a proper icicing bag, go with that. Decorate with the pineapple chunks and cherries as desired.
I would recommend making this cake a day in advance so that all the goodness soaks in to make it taste even better:).

Directions for whipped cream: Take 2 cups of heavy whipping cream in a mixer bowl and to it add 2 tsps of powdered sugar (more if you want it sweeter). Gradually increase whipping speed from 2 to 8 and stop when stiff peaks start forming. A little before that add 1 tsp of vanilla essence. Its as simple as that!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Panini

Here comes yet another panini recipe. This was inspired by a goat cheese sandwich recipe I saw on Barefoot Contessa on food network. It does need a few special ingredients but the end result is really yummy.
  1. Ciabatta bread
  2. Kalamata olive spread - 2 tsps
  3. Red pepper - 1 sliced thin
  4. Eggplant - 1 cup of small chopped cubes
  5. Dried oregano - 1 tsp
  6. Dried thyme - 1/2 tsp
  7. Olive oil - 2tsp
  8. Balsamic vinegar - 2 tsps
  9. Mozzarella - 3 slices per panini
  10. Salt
  11. Pepper


  1. Mix the red peppers and eggplant with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and drizzle of olive oil and spread on a tray lined with aluminum foil. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool for 10 mins.
  2. Slice the ciabatta bread through the middle and spead the kalamata olive spread on both the slices.
  3. Layer on slice with the cheese, eggplant and red pepper. Sprinkle salt and black pepper and top with other slice. Heat in panini press until done.
  4. Prepare a vinegarette with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Once the panini is done, open the sandwich slightly and drizzle with the balsamic vinegarette. Eat while it is hot and it lasts :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Italian Pesto-Veggie Panini

My hubby got me a panini press for our anniversary and valentine's day and I have been obsessed with paninis ever since. I can now make a panini that tastes exactly like the ones they serve in those Italian bistros. This was the first one that I tried out of my most favorite Italian ingredients and its was super yummy! This panini press (the brand is Bella Cucina) is simply awesome and I look forward to trying out a lot many recipes. I already have a dessert panini recipe lined up alongside roasted eggplant panini. Yay!!!


  1. Focassia bread (I had a herb focassia but any other baguette or ciabatta should also be just as good)
  2. Pesto sauce - 3 tsps per panini
  3. Grape tomatoes - 10 per panini
  4. Fresh mozzarella cheese
  5. Sun dried tomatoes (julienned) - 1 tbsp per panini
  6. Fresh basil leaves - 3 per panini
  7. Kalamata olives - 1 tbsp chopped per panini
  8. Olive oil
  9. Salt
  10. Pepper

  1. Slice the focassia all the way through the center and spread the pesto on the cut side of both slices.
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper to garnish.
  3. Layer one slice with the mozzarella, tomatoes, olives, sun dried tomatoes and basil leaves and top with the other slice.
  4. Pre-heat the panini grill.
  5. Brush the outer sides with olive oil and press using panini grill so that you have enough grill marks.
6. Cook the panini until done and slice into two pieces. Enjoy hot!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hyderabadi Dum Ki Biryani

No one but a hyderabadi can appreciate this nawabi style biryani. We hyderabadis rant and rave about the flavors and aromas associated with this dish and could go on and about the biryani from Paradise or Hyderabad Biryani House and talk you to death about the layers of fluffy basmati rice and spiced veggies or meat. We are so much in love with this dish not only because it is yummy but bring back memories of good old days in Hyderabad. Everytime there is a new restaurant in the bay area that promises to serve up a good version of this dish, it becomes an instant hit with this audience. This recipe is one that I arrived at over the years and is totally infallible in pleasing crowds. I won't say this is simple or easy because it needs quite a few ingredients and is a little elaborate to assemble. I practiced and perfected this with Renuka during my Master's so a lot of credit goes to her. A funny incident I remember is when I had some friends over and one of them who wasn't familiar with the whole layered biryani concept, ended up mixing it all up before serving himself and boy I made him jump out of his skin when I screamed. The best accompaniments to this biryani are mirchi ka salan and raita. I made a boondi raita to go with this and it works well too. This recipe is for a veggie version but you can always use marinated meat with a similar recipe.


  1. Onions - 2 finely chopped
  2. Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
  3. Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
  4. Cauliflower - 1 small head chopped into big chunks
  5. Carrot - 2 chopped into small cubes or long slices
  6. Beans - 12-15 chopped into small pieces
  7. Green peas - 1 cup
  8. Potatoes - 2 peeled and chopped
  9. Cloves - 5
  10. Green Elaichi - 3
  11. Black Elaichi - 2
  12. Shahi Jeera - 1 tsp
  13. Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
  14. Whole black pepper - 1 tsp
  15. Star anise - 1
  16. Bay leaves - 2
  17. Everest biryani/pulao - 2 tbsp
  18. Jeera Dhania powder - 1 tsp
  19. Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  20. Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  21. Yogurt - 1 cup
  22. Basmati rice - 3 cups
  23. Water
  24. Salt
  25. Saffron - 1/2 tsp
  26. Milk - 1/2 cup
  27. Lemon - 2
  28. Mint - 10 leaves
  29. Vegetable oil - 3 tbsp (You can use ghee for added flavor)
  30. Cashewnuts - 10, fried in ghee

  1. Mix the basmati rice with about 6 cups of water and cook it.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a thick bottomed pan and sautee the potatoes, cauliflower, carrot and beans one after another until they are semi cooked and start browning on the edges. I like them charred a bit and sautee them until crispy. Remove the vegetables onto a paper napkin to soak the oil out.
  3. Heat the rest of the oil and to it add the cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardomom, shahi jeera, black pepper and bay leaves. Once you smell the aroma, add the onions and fry them until they are golden brown.
  4. Add the ginger garlic paste and stir for 5 mins. Add in the vegetables and peas, biryani masala, salt, jeera dhania powder, red chilli powder, turmeric and mix it all up. Once the masalas are blended, add the yogurt and mix it in. Place the lid on the pan and cook the veggies until they soften a little. Do not cook them until they are mushy. We still want a little crunch to them.

5.Turn off the gas and add the chopped mint leaves to the veggies.

6. Microwave the saffron for 15 seconds and add the milk to it. Make sure the strands all dissolve in the milk to give it a nice yellow/orange color.

7. Now start layering the rice and veggies in either a rice cooked or an oven friendly tray - alternate one layer of rice with a layer of the veggie gravy and top each rice layer with a couple of spoons of the saffron milk. This is a painstaking but very rewarding step. Shown in the pic below -

8. If using a rice cooker just set the rice to cook again and since it is already warm it will finish up in 10-15 mins. If using the oven, cover the tray/dish with aluminum foil and steam for 20 mins at 300.

9. Before serving, squeeze the lemon juice over the top and garnish with some chopped mint and the fried cashews. This dish tastes even better the next day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Venn Pongal, Chakkarai Pongal and Ullunda Vadai

Image Credit: Sriram (my hubby)

Sankranthi was one of my favorite festivals as a kid and I spent hours and hours many days prior to and after the festival flying and chasing kites. I have very fond memories of this festival and wish I can go back to Hyderabad for one Sankranthi to relive the excitement. The Sankranthis I celebrate here have been reduced to cooking and eating festive fare. Typical maharashtrian fare for Sankranthi is the Tila Chi Vadi that I have blogged about previously. My husband and sister both enjoy this immensely and it does not survive very long in my pantry when I make it. Typical tamilian food is venn pongal which is a savoury pongal, chakkarai pongal which is a sweet version and ullunda vadai. The credit for these recipes goes to my in laws and the lovely Meenakshi Ammal cookbook that they gifted me. I am sending these recipes to three events -

  1. Venn pongal, chakkarai pongal and ullunda vadai to Festive Food: Makara Sankranthi hosted by Indian Khana
2. Venn Pongal and Chakkarai pongal to Harvest: The Festival of Rice hosted by Bengali Cuisine

3. Venn pongal and vadai to FIC Yellow event hosted by TumYumTreats

Thanks to Asha of foodieshope for pointing me to all these fun events that I could participate in:)

Venn Pongal:


  1. Rice - 1 cup
  2. Moong dal - 1 cup
  3. Ghee - 1 tbsp
  4. Green chillies - 4 finely chopped
  5. Curry leaves - 10
  6. Cumin/jeera - 1 tsp
  7. Whole black pepper - 1 tsp
  8. Ginger - 1 inch piece finely chopped
  9. Water - 5 cups
  10. Salt
  1. Boil the rice and moong dal with 4 cups of water in pressure cooker until it is soft.
  2. Heat the ghee and add the ginger, green chillies, curry leaves, cumin and black pepper and roast until you can smell all the flavours.
  3. Add the cooked rice and dal and salt and more water (depending on the consistency of the cooked rice and dal) and mix thoroughly.
  4. Allow the mixture to steam and top off with a little more ghee if you like. Enjoy hot with sambhar or gotsu or just as is.

Chakkarai Pongal:

  1. Rice - 1 cup
  2. Moong dal - 1 cup
  3. Jaggery - 1 cup grated
  4. Elaichi powder - 1/2 tsp
  5. Milk - 1 cup
  6. Cashews - 10-15
  7. Ghee - 2 tbsps
  8. Raisins - 10
  1. Boil the rice and moon dal in the pressure cooker.
  2. Heat a pan and boil the cooked rice and moong dal with the milk and some water if required until soft.
  3. Add the jaggery and 1 tbsp ghee and allow it to melt.
  4. Fry the cashews and raisins in ghee and add to the mixture above. Chakkari pongal is ready to be devoured with the vada.

Ullunda Vadai:

  1. Split urad dal - 2 cups
  2. Green chillies - 2 finely chopped
  3. Dried red chillies - 3 finely chopped
  4. Ginger - 1 inch piece finely chopped
  5. Curry leaves - 10 finely chopped
  6. Coconut slivers - 1/2 cup
  7. Salt
  8. Black pepper - 1 tbsp roughly crushed
  9. Oil for deep frying
  1. Soak the urad dal with water for 2 hours and then grind it with very little water and salt to taste.
  2. Add the green chillies, red chillies, ginger, curry leaves, coconut slivers, black pepper to the urad dal batter and mix well.
  3. Wet your palms and place a tbsp of batter on the palm. Use wet hands to pat it flat and make a hole in the center.
  4. Heat oil and drop the vada and deep fry until golden brown. Enjoy hot!!!