Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Got Tagged?

Since I got tagged by Meeso, thought I would play along. Don't worry, I won't tag anyone. I know you all hate this game ;).

The tag was to list 7 songs you are into right now.

- Katy Perry - I kissed a girl (don't bother with the lyrics, it's just the beat I like ;))

- Muvvala Navvakala from the movie "Pournami"

- Pappu Can't dance sala from the movie "Jaane tu Ya Jaane Na"

- Kabhi Kabhi from the movie "Jaane tu Ya Jaane Na"

- American Boy : Estelle Fetauring Kanye West

And these last two I have no chance but to play them once everyday for my 20 month old. These are the only 2 desi songs he is into right now.

- Mauja hi Mauja from "Jab We Met"
- Mast Kalander from "Hey Baby"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chunky Guacamole

I didn't de-seed the Jalapeno because we wanted it spicy. If you like it less spicy , de-seed and remove all the white veins and then mince it.
You can substitute lemon juice for lime juice. Make sure the end product is little lemony. This way if you are not serving the dish right away, avocados won't turn black and will taste good even after 2 hours.

I added white onions as I didn't have red on hand. You can use white but red onions will give a very distinct flavor the guac that white just cannot :).

Guacamole - 4 semi ripe ones cubed
Red onion - 1/2 cup diced fine (almost close to a mince)
Tomatoes - 1 cubed
Garlic - 1 clove minced
Jalapeno - 1 minced
Lime juice - 4 - 5 6 Tbsp.
Salt - to taste
Fresh ground pepper - Pinch

- Mix all the ingredients except avocados.
- let it sit for 5 mins and then add the avocados. Mix well and serve.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Kadapa Erra Kaaram" - Onion and red Chilli chutney

This is a chutney used as a spread for dosas in Kadapa. You can also use it as a sandwich spread. It's usually spicy but you can increase/decrease the spice level as suited to your palette.

Red Onion - 1 Roughly chopped
Dried Red Chillies - 4
Fresh red Chillies - 4
Tomato - 1 small roughly chopped
Garlic - 1 clove
Salt - to taste
Sugar - 1/4 tsp.
lemon Juice - 1 tsp. (freshly squeezed)
Oil - 1 Tbsp.
Butter - 1 tsp.

- Grind all the ingredients except oil and butter into a smooth paste. Do not add any water as you will get enough from the onion, tomato and lemon juice.
- Heat oil and butter in a pan.
- Keep the flame on low and slowly add the ground chutney to the pan.
- Stir and cook on low till the water starts evaporating form the chutney and it starts to turn into a pale red to rich red color
- Turn off and serve.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I need a favor...

I have a cookbook fetish so to speak :). I have all sorts of books from mark Bitmann to Mallika Badrinath. However, I am looking for some South-Indian cook books. I have very few in this category and would like to expand. Do you guys have any suggestions? If you can send me some links as to the titles that would be really great.

I seem to have more vegeterian than non-veg.

"Malati Chandur's cook book (it's written in telugu)
Bunch of Mallika Badrinath's books.

Thank you :).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Canneloni Bean Soup with Veggies

Simple recipe. I used canned cannelloni beans. You can substitute for any type of beans and add any kind of vegetable you want. I usually use onions, carrots and celery(also known as Mire-poix) as base for my soups but this time I didn't have celery.

Onions - finely diced 1/4 cup
Carrots - finely diced 1/2 cup
Zucchini - finely diced 1/2 cup
Green beans - cut into 1/2 inch pieces 1/2 cup
Canneloni beans - 15oz can
Vegetable broth - 1 cup(I prefer Swanson brand or if you make your own, more power to you)
Water - 6 cups
Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Freshly ground pepper - to taste
All Purpose Flour - 2Tbsp
Butter - 1 Tbsp
Olive oil - 2 Tbsp.

- Drain and clean the cannelloni beans. Mash 1/4 of the beans with a potato masher.
- Mix the flour and butter and keep aside.
- Heat oil in a stock pot.
- Add onions and saute till they are translucent.
- Add carrots and zucchini and season wit salt.
- Saute the vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes on medium high heat.
- Add pepper and garlic powder and saute for few seconds.
- Add broth and water.
- Cover and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the flour and butter mixture and the mashed cannelloni beans.
- Mix and add the rest of the canneloni and green beans.
- Check for seasoning and add salt/pepper if need be.
- Simmer till the green beans are cooked.
- Serve hot with some garlic bread.

Salad Fritters

Very weird title I know. See that bean and potato salad post below. I had a little bit of it left over. Prabu was home last week and I wanted to make a new snack. What did I do? I made deep-fried fritters with it. Yummy I tell you :)


Left over Bean and Potato Salad - 2 cups
Self-Rising Flour - 1/2 to 1 cup
Minced onions - 1/8 cup
Oil for deep frying


- Heat oil in a deep frying pan.
- In a food processor, blend the salad and the flour to make a dough like mixture.
- Mix onions to this and make them into small patties. Deep dry them in the oil till golden brown.

Prabu says this is his favorite way of eating a "salad".

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Green Bean and Potato Salad

I have started to go to farmer's market regularly and am finding myself with some good stuff. The bean and potatoes used in this recipe are from the market.


Green Beans - 1/2 lb, cleaned ends trimmed and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
Potatoes - 3 medium, peeled and cubed

For dressing:
Olive oil - 1/4 cup
Lemon Juice - 1/8 cup
Ground Mustard - 2 Tbsp.
Slat and fresh pepper to taste

- Bring 1 quart of water to boil. Salt the water.
- Add green beans and cook for 2 to 3 minutes till the beans are cooked just enough.
- Remove from water and pat try on kitchen towels.
- Add potatoes to the hot water and cook them . DO not over cook so potatoes get all mushy.
- Mix all the ingredients for dressing and whisk them or just run it through a food processor. Adjust seasoning.
- Mix beans and potatoes in a salad bowl and add the dressing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rigatoni with shallots, tomatoes and red bell pepper

I wanted to make a simple pasta dish and decided to whip this up with fresh tomatoes. I am not a big fan of the canned tomatoes or the too much red sauce on my pasta. And no I don't use fresh Parsley ever. It gives a weird flavor and I do not like it. Sue me now ;).

Rigatoni - 1/2lb
Roma Tomatoes - 3 chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves minced
Shallots - 1 minced
Red Bell Pepper - 1 finely diced
Milk - 1/4 cup
Fresh Parmesan Cheese - 1/4 cup.
Salt and Fresh pepper - to taste
Olive oil - 2 Tbsp.
Butter - 1 tsp.
Dried Parsley - 1/4 tsp.

- Cook the pasta according to package directions with enough salt..
- In a medium pan, heat oil and butter.
- Add shallots and garlic and cook for few seconds making sure garlic is not burning.
- Add the red bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once pepper starts to get soft, add tomatoes, cover and cook for 2 minutes till tomatoes start to wilt.
- Add cooked pasta to this and mix.
- Add milk and stir for 30 seconds. Check for seasonings.
- Take the pan off the stove, mix cheese and parsley and serve hot.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tandoori Chicken, Rice-A-Roni, Mini YouChoy

I know it was a weird combo to have for dinner but it was gooood and it was so easy to make.

Tandoori Chicken

Chicken breast - 2 lbs (bonesless and skinless cut into thick strips)
Tandoori Masala - 3 Tbsp. (I bought priya brand but you can use any brand you like)
Red food color - 2 drops
Curd/yogurt - 1/2 cup
Lemon Juice - 2 Tbsp.
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 Tbsp.

- Mix food color, masala , lemon juice and salt to the curd.
- In a ziplock bag, add the chicken and the marinade and mix well till all the chicken pieces are coated.
- Leave the ziplock in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours.
- Now, you can cook this in different ways, you can either bake them or pan fry them or do what I did.
- Pressure cook the chicken for 2 whistles (no need to add any water).
- Heat oil in a saute pan. Add the cooked chicken pieces and pan fry them till they form a thin golden crust on all sides.
- Do it in batches so you don't over crowd the pan.


Rice-A-Roni is nothing but rice and vermicelli cooked together. Instead of Vermicelli I used angel hair pasta.

Rice - 2 cups uncooked
Angel hair pasta - 1/4 cup cut into small pieces
Salt - to taste
Water - 5 cups

I have a microwave rice cooker, so I just added all the ingredients and cooked them for 200 minute sin the microwave. However you can use the electric cooker or even do stove-top method too.

Mini YouChoy with garlic and soy sauce
YouChoy I think is also called Chinese broccoli. You can get this in any asian store. I became a fan of it few years ago when my then manager introduced me to this vegetable.

You Choy - 2 lbs washed and ends trimmed
Garlic - 4 cloves sliced thin
Low-Sodium Soy Sauce - 2 Tbsp.
Salt - to taste
vegetable stock - 1/4 cup
White pepper - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp.

- Heat oil in a wok.
- Add garlic and stir for 15 seconds making sure it doesn't burn.
- Add youchoy, soy sauce, stock, slat and pepper
- cover and cook till the veggie is cooked through.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tips n Tricks

I was reading my man Tony's(Yes, I think he is hot) book, "Kitchen Confidential" and decided not to buy the "Garlic Press". Why? because he said it's no good and I blindly follow whatever he says ;). Ok, Jokes apart, I did buy one from Ikea few years ago, that thing is a piece of crap and I don't use minced garlic as much as garlic chips or slivered.

I told you all to go take a knife skills class in my last post. And the question I get asked most form my family is if they should by Wushtoff or Henckles or the latest from Rachel Ray. Rachel Ray is making knives? WTF? I don't care what brand you buy or how much you spend, just get a 8 or 10 inch thats made with High-Carbon stainless steel. I have one 10" that I bought for $12 in 2001 when I took a basic cooking class at community college in NJ and it still works as good as brand new.

I am also thinking of starting to store mint and coriander and other fresh herbs in a tall glass with water than in the fridge. America's Test Kitchen magazine recommended this Progressive Herb-Saver which doesn't seem like a bad idea too.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

VT Noodle Salad with Mango and Cucumber

As soon as I saw the cover of my vegetarian Times magazine, I wanted to eat it. Since I don't eat paper, I decided to re-create the recipe for the noodle salad. It wasn't bad. Mom and dad loved. For Prabu and me, since we are not big fans of raw mint and coriander, it was ok. Mom wants me to include this in my monthly menu rotation :)


Rice Noodles - 8 oz
Carrot - 1 large thinly sliced
Cucumber - 1 thinly sliced
Mango - 1 large ripe, thinly sliced
Lettuce - 1/5 cups shredded
Basil Leaves - 1/2 cup
Mint leaves - 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup
Green onions - 1/2 cup chopped fine
Bean Sprouts - 1 cup
Roasted peanuts - 1/2 cup crushed (optional)

For Dressing:

Light Brown Sugar - 1/2 cup
Lime juice - 1/2 cup
Soy Sauce - low-sodium 1/2 cup
Garlic - 2 cloves minced
Red Jalapeno chile - 1 finely chopped


- For the dressing: Warm all ingredients in pan over low heat until sugar is melted, stirring occasionally and cool.
- To make salad: Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain and chill. Cook carrots for 30 seconds in pot of boiling water. Transfer to colander and rinse under cool water. Add to the noodles.
- Toss the noodle mixture with rest of the ingredients. Drizzle with the dressing and top it with coriander and serve.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Steamy Luscious Meal

I decided to cook a nice meal for the family yesterday (not that I don't everyday). I made Lentil Soup, Salad from Luscious Food and Noodles from Steamy Kitchen. Since our family consists of vegetarians, seafood dis-likers and Shrimp lovers, I made the dishes vegetarian and had sauted spicy shrimp on the side so the rest of us shrimp loving folks could eat it.

Recipe For the Salad

Recipe For noodles.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chicken Meat Balls - Inspired by Top Chef

I became a fan of Top Chef after watching last season. Unfortunately only last season was good. This season sucked. I haven't seen any good Chefs so far. Oh Well. What does that have to do with this recipe? Actually nothing much. Every time I watch this show I feel like I should do something new and different. So as soon as the re-runs ended on tuesday evening, I went shopping for some meat and this is what I came up with. It's super easy and you can serve it as an appetizer, side dish or make some yummy tomato sauce and make chicken meat balls with spaghetti.

I used sun dried tomatoes in olive oil. You can substitute this with regular sun-dried tomato bits. You can make this dish without them too but just don't add regular tomatoes. No good.


Ground Chicken - 1 lb
Onion - 1/4 cup finely chopped
Sun Dried Tomatoes - 1/4 cup finely chopped
Mint Leaves - 8 minced
Garam Masala - 1/2 Tsp.
Garlic Paste - 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric - pinch
Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp.
Lemon Juice - 1 Tbsp.
Salt - To taste
Oil - For deep frying

- Mix all the ingredients and store in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour covered.
- Form the mixture in mini-lime sized balls. This way the meat gets cooked inside well.
- Deep fry them few at a time.
- Remove from oil, pat them on a kitchen towel and serve on a bed of sauted onions and peppers .

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Chicken Butter Roast

When I was in India last year, I had this Chicken Butter roast in Mangalore which was yummmm. I have been trying to re-create it since then and yesterday was my second attempt. Family loved it so much that there was nothing left over. They wouldn't even wait for me to take the picture. This is a first when I had no left-overs of a dish I made :).

I actually got Chicken Tenders pack and then cut each piece at the center(so you get thin pieces) and then cut them again into bite size pieces. This actually helped for the spices to get into the meat and also the outcome was soft and juicy.

The Kashmiri Chilli Powder can be bought in any Indian store. This is little less spicy and has a vibrant red color. You can substitute paprika but the taste might be a teeny bit different.

I usually use homemade curd. However, you can use any store bought yogurt. If you don't have any on hand, use tablespoon of lemon juice.


Chicken - 1.5 lbs
Ginger and garlic Paste - 1 tsp.
Curd/Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 1.5 Tbsp.
Chili Powder - 1 tsp.
Garam Masala - 1.5 tsps.
Turmeric - Pinch
Salt - to taste
Oil - 5 Tbsp.
Butter - 2 Tbsp.


- Wash and pat dry the chicken.
- Mix all the ingredients except oil and butter.
- Cover and store the chicken in regular fridge for minimum of 2 hours. If you can let it marinate over night that would be awesome too :).
- Heat oil and butter in wide skillet.
- Add the chicken pieces. Cover and cook for 2 minute son medium flame.
- Increase the heat to high till it starts to brown. Flip the pieces and cook the other side.
- Do it in 2 batches if the skillet is small. Do not over crowd them.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet. make sure you scrape all the tiny bits stuck to the skillet. That's the best part.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stalking pays off

Click here for proof.

Modified Soup Au Pistou

Me: We are having Soup Au Pistou and Pasta for dinner.
Hubby: But I am allergic to pesto.
M: It's not pesto, it's Pistou.
H: Say Wha...
M: Just eat it. It has no pine nuts.
H: Yummmm..
M: Thanks

I bought Ina Garten's Barefoot In Paris book and been wanting to try some recipes. I made a fresh batch of veggies broth yesterday and decided to make a soup. I found this Soup Au Pistou recipe in her book and since I am not a big fan of Saffron ( i do use it but not much) I decided to modify the soup a bit.
She adds saffron to this soup and I did not. I used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. For making the pistou, I used sun dried tomatoes instead of tomato paste. She adds the pistou on top of the soup as garnish but I mixed it in the soup and it was yummmmm....

Leeks - 1 roughly chopped
Celery - 1 stick roughly chopped
Potatoes - 1 cubed
Carrot - 1 large cubed
baby french beans - around 20 9 I used frozen)
Olive oil - as needed
salt and pepper - to taste
vegetable broth - 2 cups
water - 4 cups

To make the Pistou:

Fresh Basil leaves - 1 bunch
Sun dried tomatoes in oil - 1/2 cup
Freshly grated parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup
Olive oil - 1/4 cup

Grind the above ingredients to a paste or do it in a food processor for a coarse texture.

- Heat olive oil in a soup pot.
- Add the leeks and saute till soft.
- Add remaining veggies except beans, season with salt and cook till tender.
- Add broth, water and bring to a boil.
- Add the pistou and beans and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Top it with a little freshly ground pepper and parmesan cheese and serve.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I was never a big fan of salads dripping with dressings where you taste less veggies and more dressing. I started making them at home with the kind of ingredients I like and the amount of dressing. Here is the tricky part with them though. Since everyone's palates are so different, the way I do it might not suit you. However I will just tell you how I "build" my salad and what ingredients I use. You can adjust it according to your taste buds (My mom adds ground green chillies in hers.. go figure).

Also, I stopped buying store bought dressings. I usually just add olive oil and balsamic vinegar in mine. Some times it would be just plain fresh lemon juice.

If you are used to Indian lunches and dinners and don't see how you can fit a salad in to that kind of meal, here is a very weird idea. Add those dry curries into your salads sans the rice or roti.

I also make roti wraps. Rotis or chapathis filled with some dal/curry with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and some mint chutney sounds delish doesn't it.

I made a dal wrap the other day and today in the vegetarian times magazine they had a recipe for "Indian dal taco" :). You see, you can just adapt any 2 cuisines into one without having to compromise the integrity of the dish.


I know it's been amonth since I posted anything. Things have been a little crazy and I hardly take pictures of my finished recipes. I feel guilty posting without pictures :). Oh well. I promised Swetha I will post some recipes and also told my friend Smitha that I will start adding more salad recipes too. Before I get to salads, let me give you a quick and easy recipe for pongal. The traditional recipe calls for whole peppercorns but Prabu and I hate when we bite into it. Instead I usually set my pepper-mill to coarse and use that powder instead. This is traditionally served with sambar and coconut chutney.

Few more tips and pointer:

- You can always do this with brown rice.
- Add your favorite vegetables to make it more healthy and interesting.
- You can add more lentils and veggies and less rice if you are on a strict low-carb diet.


Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Yellow Moong lentils (pesarapappu) - 1 cup
Ginger - 2 Tbsp. Minced
Green chillies - 4 chopped fine
Coarsley Cracked black pepper - 2 Tbsp.
Cumin Seeds - 1Tbsp.
Mustard Seeds - 1 Tsp.
Inguva (Asafoetida) - 1/2 tsp.
Curry Leaves - 6 - 8
Salt - to taste
Butter - 2Tbsp.
Oil - 2 Tbsp.
Water - 9 cups


- Heat oil and butter in a pressure pan.
- Wash rice and lentils together and set aside.
- Add mustard, cumin, asafoetida, curry leaves, green chillies and ginger. Fry for 2 minutes on medium-low flame
- Add pepper and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add rice and lentils to this .
- Add 9 cups of water.
- Season with enough salt. Stir well and check for seasonings. The water should be teeny bit salty.
- Cover and cook for 3 whistles.
- If you are not using a pressure cooker, you can cook this directly in a pot. Just keep checking in between to make sure bottom of the pot is not burning.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Why re-invent the wheel? A.K.A Jugalbandi's Poli

Someone does all the hard work for you and tells you exactly how to do a dish with step by step pictures. What do you do then? Well, you just print the recipe and do it that night.

I made Jugalbandi's Puran Polis last night and I am thinking with this and that Prabu will not be saying anything about my shopping spree this weekend ;) or better yet, he might even drive me to the mall ;).

I did not change anything to the recipe. Just did as they told me to . Prabu even took some left overs to work today to share with his friends :).

My pictures suck but here is the proof :P

Greek Dinner - Falafels and Hummus

I made a full fledges Greek dinner the other night. Menu Included falafels, mini pitas, hummus, yogurt sauce, and mixed vegetable couscous and for toppings I had sliced red onions and lettuce.

Home made falafels from Mark Bitman's "How to cook Everything - vegetarian". He had a different version to use black eyed peas which is what I did. It's very simple. Soak black eyed peas for an hour and grind it with some onions, chili, ginger, cumin and coriander powder. Deep fry in oil as patties and your falafels are ready.

Yogurt sauce is made with home made yogurt with mint, cucumber and salt. Puree them all together and sauce is ready.

Saute your favorite veggies in olive oil. Cook couscous according to package directions. Mix them together and you have your veg. couscous.

For hummus, I simply pureed 1 can of chick peas with garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. I topped it with some paprika.

Edited to Add this: I was debating about whether to call it greek, middle eastern or lebanese. Wiki said falafels and hummus are Greek. Oh well, what's in a name. I had good food ;).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Steamy Fries gets your bedroom steamy

I spoke to a celebrity chef on phone today. She is featured regularly on Florida channels and you know her from my previous posts(I am very close to stalking her). After I hung up with her, I was planning my dinner menu around Tex-Mex Veg burgers I bought from Trader Joe's and it hit me that I have been putting off trying Jaden's Matchstick Fries.

I made the fries exactly the way she said and let me tell you, I am definitely getting lucky tonight because in Prabu's words, "Dinner is very very very good". It's usually , "It's good" but when he adds "very" that many times you know he means it :).

I was too lazy to get my mandoline from the box, so I used the julienne peeler that I bought(Jaden made me buy the peeler).

I will upload the pictures tomorrow. There is no set recipe for the sandwich. I used fresh french bread and spread some mustard and my quick mint chutney. Cook the burgers per instructions and set it on the bread. Top it with some onions, tomatoes, romaine lettuce and your favorite cheese. I added some hot peppers I picked up from the olive bar at the store.

I served the sandwich with the fries and macaroni salad made with red pepper, celery and cucumber drizzled with balsamic and olive oil(no mayo and stuff).

Thursday, March 6, 2008

International? I think so

I was just thinking about what I made for dinner few days ago and what I have planned for next fews weeks and boy do we eat food from different cuisines. So far we do/did:

Middle Eastern

I know I have been slacking and I will update the blog with new recipes for a Greek dinner I made the other night. Just hold on tight..

Friday, February 15, 2008

Daal Sowjanya

To go with the Aloo Parathas, I made my quick mint chutney and daal (lentils). At the end we called it "Daal Sowjanya". Why? Here's how it went down.

Prabu: Wow, it's so yummy, what is this daal.
Me: I think I wanted to do Butter Daal but this has only tsp of butter.
Prabu: You didn't look at any recipe:
Me: Nope.
Prabu: I think this might be that daal maharani I had few years ago.
Me:No maharani business. I will just call it "Daal Sowjanya".
Prabu: Well, you are the maharani.
Me: Thanks, I know though ;).


I used green whole beans ( Mung beans or pesalu in telugu). Since i came up with this recipe 30 minutes before dinner time, I didn't soak the beans long enough. So i pressure cooked it for 6 whistles. If you plan ahead, soak the beans over night. Then they cook much faster :).

Mung beans: 1 cup soaked in water
Frozen Peas - 1 cup
Onions - 1/2 cup diced
Tomatoes - 1/2 cup diced
Amchoor Powder - 1 tsp.
Black Salt - 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric - Pinch
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp.
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp.
Oil - 2 Tbsp.
Butter - 1 tsp.
Yogurt - 1/2 cup ( I use TJ's creamy European Style Yogurt)


- Heat oil in a pressure pan
- Saute onions till soft.
- Add salt, turmeric, black salt, amchoor powder, chilli powder and garam masala.
- Saute for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes.
- Cook till tomatoes are soft.
- Add the beans and peas and 2 cups of water.
- Pressure cook till beans are soft.
- Check for salt and seasoning.
- Bring the beans back tot he flame and add tsp. of butter and yogurt. Mix well. It should be of a thick soup consistency and not liquidy.

Aloo Parathas - For the first time

I have been cooking for almost 14 years now. Yes I started young in the kitchen because I was curious :). However, there are few dishes that probably are considered common knowledge for any Indian woman to know that I haven't made. For example, upma. Yes I am a south Indian but I made upma for the first time only 3 years ago. And now it's aloo parathas. I never made anything in the roti/chapathi/poori/paratha category from scratch.

After debating for the last 2 months about a menu for valentines day, I stumbled upon Vegan Yum Yum's amazing pictures and recipe instructions to make Aloo Parathas. Here is her version. Something about her pictures made me go, "hmmm let me try this" and I am glad I did. They were very easy to make and I think i will start doing them more often. I also made her plain parathas for dad because he is diabetic and cannot have potatoes.

Here is a picture of my parathas. I did not change anything from her recipe.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Potato and Paneer stuffed Anaheim Chilli Peppers

Mom is a big fan of mirchi bajjis. She picked the peppers from the market today not knowing they were Anaheim peppers and that their skin is as thick as a bell pepper. But we still ended up with a new and awesome snack. I asked Prabu how he liked it. His response, "Please do make it again and again and can I have the leftover for lunch tomorrow." Alrighty then :).

Also I never cook paneer at home because I don't like the big chunks of it with no taste. But I found a new way to use it. I grate it:). Mind it though, paneer when you buy from store is soft and hard to grate. Freeze it for couple of hours till it's solid and then it is very easy to grate it.

Ingredients and Procedure:

For The Stuffing:

Onions - 1/4 cup chopped fine
Russet potato - 1 cubed and boiled
Paneer - 1/2 cup grated to a fine powder
Ajwain - pinch
Quick Mint Chutney - 1 Tbsp.
Besan/chickpea Flour - As needed
Turmeric - pinch
Oil - As needed
Salt - to taste

- Heat Oil in a pan and saute onions till soft.
- Add ajwain and quick mint chutney to this.
- Add boiled potato cubes and cook for a minute.
- Add grated paneer and 1/4 cup of water and cook till everything is well mixed and comes to a creamy consistency.
- Let this mixture come to room temperature.
- Add besan to this few teaspoons at a time to get it thick enough so you can fill the chillies.

Prepping the Chillies:
Long Chilli Peppers - 9 deseeded
Besan/chickpea flour - 2.5 cups + 1/4 cup
Baking Soda - Pinch
Asafoetida - Pinch
Garlic Powder - 1 tsp.
Salt - To taste
Turmeric - Pinch
Oil - for Deep Frying

- Mix Besan, Baking Soda, Asafoetida, Garlic Powder, Salt, Turmeric.
- Add water little by little to get it into a thick consistency.
- In a wide plate spread the 1/4 cup of besan.
- Stuff the chillies with the potato and panner mixture.
- Coat them with the dry besan.
- Dip them in the batter and deep fry them till golden brown.

This is what the final outcome looks like. pardon the pictures. I got my new camera and I am still playing with the settings :).

Quick Mint Chutney

I got this recipe from my friend Saritha. She makes it with mint, tomatoes and green chillies. I added coriander to this. This tastes good with parathas or snacks. I am planning to use this in making curries and such. I used thai red chillies . 4 of them added a nice spicy kick to it.

Mint - 2 bunches washed and leaves taken apart.
Coriander - 2 bunches washed and leaves taken apart
Chillies - 4 to 6 chopped fine
Tomatoes - 1 small roughly chopped
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tsps.


- Heat oil in a pan
- Add chillies, mint and coriander.
- Saute till the leaves wilt.
- Add tomatoes and turn of the stove ( do not cook the tomatoes).
- Let it cool
- grind it to a smooth consistency adding little water if needed
- Store in the fridge or divide it in ice-trays and freeze them.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Secret Late Night Pleasures - A.K.A Corn and egg with rice

After I fed the family dinner tonight and put V to bed it was 9PM. I usually have my dinner by 7 but today it just got too busy. Since no one noticed I didn't have dinner, I decided to quickly whip me up something special. If you want to know, I love to treat myself like this. I am special to me ;). Enough talk, let's get to business.


Frozen Corn Kernels - 1/4 cup
Left Over Rice - 1/4 cup
Egg - 1
Chili oil - 1/2 tsp.
Oil - 2 Tsp.
Soy Sauce - 1 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp ( totally optional)


- Heat Chili oil and regular oil in a wok. if you don't have a wok a wide skillet is just fine.
- Add corn kernels, salt, soy sauce and chili powder.
- Let it cook for a minute or 2.
- Crack an egg into this and quickly stir till egg is completely cooked. I don't like runny eggs so I cook it well.
- Add left over rice to this and mix well.

Take it to your room, get your favorite book and enjoy it all by yourself;).

Note: No pictures of this dish because it's secret. I am just bluffing, my camera broke. Till then I have to post picture-less recipes.

Foodie Blog Roll and other changes

I am very HTML challenged at the moment but after several attempts I somehow managed to add Foodie blog roll to my list. It's awesome to see all of them in one place.

Also, stay with me while I try to make the blog look tad bit decent and also start adding more pictures :).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yummy Yummy Chicken Drumsticks

What else can I call it. I have been trying to come up with new recipes that Swetha asked for and this one turned out very very good. You can buy skinless drumsticks for this but if you cannot, let me tell you the trick that our good friend Partha told me. Just take two kitchen paper towels. Grab the drumstick with one towel and use the other one to pull the skin away. You might have to use tad bit force but comes off easy.
Regarding the yogurt I used int his recipe. I usually use home-made curd for marinating my meat some times but this time I used "European Style extra Creamy" yogurt I bought from Trader Joe's. You can also use low fat yogurt and will work just fine.

I did add 1 tablespoon of butter. That might seem like a lot but adds a very yummy flavor and gives the whole dish great aroma. If you are trying to work around the calories, feel free to avoid it or just add a tea spoon.

Note: CCC powder stands for clove, cinnamon and cardamom powder


Chicken Drumsticks (skinless) - 8
Yogurt - 1/2 cup.
Paprika - 2 tsps.
Chili Powder - 2 tsps(less if you like it less spicy)
Garam Masala or CCC powder - 1.5 tsps
Garlic Paste - 1 tsp.
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Butter - 1 Tbsp.
Oil - 2 Tbsp.


- Clean the drumsticks and make small slits cross wise. 3 to 4 small cuts per piece should be good.
- Add all the ingredients except oil and butter to the drumsticks and mix well till all the spices are coated to the drumstick pieces well enough.
- Cover and refrigerate(not freezer) for minimum of 2 hours. If you can let it sit overnight then much better.
- If you want to do this without getting your hands dirty. Just take a 1 gallon zip-lock bag and throw all the ingredients in there. Shake well and store in the fridge.
- Heat oil and butter in a wide skillet. Add the marinated chicken pieces along with the marinade.
- Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes on medium low flame.
- Once meat is cooked turn the flame to high and cook for 5 minutes stirring in between and making sure it's not sticking to the pan.

Another alternative method to this cooking is to wrap aluminum foil to a cookie sheet and spray with any cooking oil. Just bake the drumsticks in a 400 degree pre-heated oven till meat is cooked.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Zucchini Pancakes or Cutlets

I am a big fan of Ina Garten. I am in the process of starting to collect her cook books and bought her "Barefoot Contessa At Home" couple of months ago. I made Zucchini pancakes from that book earlier and it came out good. It's a very simple recipe with grated zucchini, eggs, flour and stuff.

However, I made these yesterday without eggs as my mom doesn't eat eggs on Thursday's ( don't even ask;)). I added a 8OZ can of washed cannellini beans that I had on hand. I have to say it was very very good and was able to make V try one. he came back asking for more :).


Zuchhini - 2 grated
Onion - 1 small chopped fine
Cannelini beans - One 8 Oz can drained and smashed (not puree)
Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp.
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp.
All purpose Flour - 1/2 to 1 cup
Baking powder - pinch (optional)
Salt and pepper - to taste
Oil - for pan frying


- Heat oil in a wide skillet
- Mix all the ingredients except flour.
- Add flour little bit at a time to get the Zucchini batter to a thick consistency. It should be thicker than usual pancake better.
- Make patties and pan fry them turning after 20 to 30 seconds on each side.

Serve hot with any hot and sour sauce.

The picture of these cutlets standing up has been taken with an inspiration from Jai and Bee's Sweet potato Crisps :).

Chicken Cutlets

Few things before we get into the recipe. You can buy minced chicken in the poultry section of the super market or ask your butcher for it. If you don't get minced chicken, get skinless, boneless chicken breasts and grind them yourself using a food processor or a grinder. The reason I specify chicken breast is it has less fat than thigh meat which is considered dark meat(so I have been told :)). You can use store bought garam masala or just grind up cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and coriander.


Minced Chicken - 1 lb
Salt - to taste
Oil - as needed for pan frying
Chilli powder - 1 tsp.
Garam Masala - 1 tsp.

Grind to paste:
Green Chillies - 2
Onion - 1/4 small
Mint leaves - 8 to 10
curry leaves - 4
Coriander leaves - few sprigs


- Heat oil in a pan.
- While oil is getting hot, mix chicken with all the dry ingredients and the ground paste.
- Make them into the shapes of cutlets and pan fry them 2 minutes per side on medium to low flame.
- Make sure both sides turned brown.

You can make a small one, do it first, taste it for slat and seasonings and do the rest of the batch.

You can eat them by sprinkling some lemon juice and chopped up onions on top or if you are like me, eat them like biscuits :).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Minced Lamb with Peas

I made this over the weekend and it was a hit. If you do not have the pressure cooker, use extra water, cover the vessel tight with a lid and cook on medium low for 30 to 45 minutes till meat is very tender.


Ground Lamb - 1.5 Lbs
Peas - 1 cup
Onion - 1 large chopped fine
Tomato - 2 small chopped fine
Ginger-Garlic Paste - 1 Tbsp.
Salt - to taste
Oil - as needed
Chilli powder - 1 - 2 Tsp.
Turmeric - 1 Tsp.

Grind To Paste
Green chillies - 2
Mint leaves - Handful
Coriander Leaves - Handful

Grind to dry powder:
Cloves - 6
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Cardamom - 3


- Heat oil in a pressure pan. Saute onions till light brown.
- Add salt, turmeric, ginger garlic paste and saute for 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes and ground lamb to this and mix well.
- Add chilli powder and 1/2 of the CCC (cloves, cinnamon and cardamom) powder, and the ground mint, coriander and green chilli paste and add 1/2 cup of water.
- Mix well and cover with the pressure pan lid. Once steam starts to come put the whistle on.
- Let it cook till 4 whistles. Wait till the whistle comes off without any force.
- While the meat s getting cooked, saute the peas in a separate pan till cooked.
- Add the peas and rest of the CCC powder to the meat and cook for 5 minutes.

Serve it with hot rice or roti's.

Screw Pictures - Let's talk recipes

Swetha wanted bunch of recipes. I told her I will post it as soon as I can. but with me trying to take super cute shots of dishes I made and not liking the pictures, it's just getting delayed. So I am going to post bunch of recipes in the next few days without any pictures.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What makes Asian food Asian?

Does it become traditional Indian curry if I add Mccormicks' curry powder into a concoction of vegetables?

Does it become Pad Thai if I add scallions and peanuts into noodles?

Does it become Chinese if we add MSG to every dish?

I saw this lady on food netweork, grill un-seasoned chicken breasts on a griddle and call it "Chicken Satay" . She served it with peanut sauce made with peanut butter, chilli oil and lime juice. And she had the nerve to say "this would be the best take-out Thai food you ever had."
What the Furikake?

If you are modifying a regional cuisine, then say so upfront. Don't you be mixing curry powder in water and tell me it's an Indian dish. We don't use that generic curry powder to make curries.

We have a term called "Indian-Chinese" . Basically it's the Indianized version of Chinese food. I mean hakka noodles, Aginomoto(MSG), American Chop-suey.. these are all the things you will find in a Chinese restaurant in India and not in China probably (someone correct me here). And some of my family will openly accept that they prefer the Indianized Chinese version to the traditional Chinese food.

Wait a minute, do we even get anything "traditional" in this country or is everything changed to suit the local palette?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Vegetable Fried Rice

Super simple fried rice :).


Cooked Rice - 3 cups
carrots - 2 Finely diced
Celery - 2 finely diced
Snow peas - 12 - 14 chopped fine
Fresh water chest nuts - 6 finely diced
Onions - 1/4 cup finely diced
Garlic - 2 cloves minced
Ginger - 1 tsp. minced
Chili oil - 1 tsp.
Sesame Oil - 1 tsp.
Vegetable Oil - 3 Tsp.
Soy Sauce - 3 Tbsp. + 3 Tbsp.
Salt and pepper - to taste


- Mix 3 Tbsp. soy sauce to the white rice and keep it in the refrigerator.
- Heat chili, soy and vegetable oils in a wok.
- Add ginger, garlic and onions and saute till fragrant.
- Add the vegetables and stir for 3 minutes.
- Season with slat and pepper and add 3 Tbsp. soy sauce.
- Add the cooked rice to this mixture and stir till you can see the grain separate.

Turn off and serve.

Creamy Corn Soup ( From One Steamy Kitchen to the other)

I decided to do a fried rice, soup and some sort of stir fried vegetable for lunch today. Ask me why? Because I bought new set of cute soup spoons, a nice new wok (ignoring Prabu's "Don't we have one wok already?") and I had to use them ;). I also put my microplane grater to use for the first time.

I got the soup recipe from Jaden's Steamy Kitchen. Here is the recipe.

I made very few changes to the soup in my kitchen.
- Used 2 cups of vegetable broth + 2 cups of water instead of the chicken stock.
- Used frozen corn kernels instead of fresh ears of corn
- Used dried parsley instead of fresh because..well I just forgot to pick it up at the grocery store :).

I have to say it turned out very good.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Easy Peasy Spicy Toast Suji's Style

Say that title fast 10 times ;). I used whole grain white bread for this, you can even use wheat bread if you like.


White bread - 6 slices edges cut off and sliced into 4 squares
Tomato - 1/4 cup deseeded and chopped fine
Onions - 1/4 cup chopped fine
Green Chillies - chopped
Cheese - American cheese slices ( optional)
Salt and pepper - to taste
Mustard Oil - 2 Tsp.


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix onions, tomatoes, green chillies, salt, pepper and oil in a bowl and keep aside.
- Spray cooking oil in a baking pan and arrange the bread pieces.
- Scoop little bit of the onion and tomato mixture onto the bread slices.
- Bake them in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes or till bread is lightly toasted.
- If you are adding cheese, add them few minutes before you take the toast out of even so you get melted cheese and not burnt cheese.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Curried Corn stuffed Yellow Chillies

I found these chillies in my super market the other day and decided to try them. They are super spicy with the seeds inside but once you deseed and take the veins out, they are very good for stuffing. I was debating between a cream cheese filling and others. Decided to go with corn. I used Mccormick's curry powder. As far as I know, none of the Indian curry powders taste that way. use very little of the curry powder as it tends to overwhelm the dish.


Yellow chillies - 6 washed, deseeded and split in half
Corn Kernels - 1 to 2 cups
White onion - 1/4 cup diced fine
Curry powder - 1/2 tsp.
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil - as needed
Pam or any oil for spraying the baking sheet


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Boil the corn and just mash them lightly ( don't make it into a mushy paste)
- Heat oil in a skillet. Saute onions till soft and add corn to this.
- Add curry powder and season with slat and pepper to taste.
- Remove the mixture from heat and let it come to room temperature.
- Spray a baking pan with oil and arrange the chillies. Season them salt and pepper and brush them lightly with little bit oil.
- Add the corn and onion mixture to these chillies. It's usually 1 to 2 tablespoons of mixture per chilli.

- Bake them for 10 o 15 minutes.

Williams-Sonoma's Soft centered Chocolate Cake

I made this individual cakes for Prabu's birthday. I didn't make the espresso ice cream. Instead I bought HaaganDaz's Coffee icecream and it was goooood. The reason I picked this cake instead of others is for it's simplicity in ingredients and making. You don't need no fancy mixer, the prep time is short and it uses only few ingredients :).

Here is the link to the recipe from WS's website.