Monday, December 17, 2007

Skinny Banana Pancakes with Walnut & Mascarpone Cheese Topping

Skinny, because I can't flip the other!
My friends think I'm lucky that frosted cakes or cream and sugar decorations don't tempt my fancy. Though I like to spend time admiring those kinds of edible works of art, I can't seem to cajole myself to eat more than a bite of them, I like 'em plain.

But Mascarpone is another story :) I like to keep a container of Mascarpone cheese with me at all times, if possible ;) It is something that I enjoy, and yes I know it is 75% fat or something like that :) Purists may scoff at my use of Mascarpone, but I'll let you in on a food secret of mine, after all, my blog, my rules ;) I like to have blob of mascarpone with some sugar as my quick shrikhand! I find it too irresistible :)

In this recipe I've mixed up mascarpone with some sugar and ground me on this one, try it and lemme' know ;)
Skinny Banana Pancakes with Walnut & Mascarpone Cheese Topping

Banana Pancake
1/3 cup all purpose flour / maida
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp semolina/sooji
2 bananas, mashed
2 tsp walnut powder
buttermilk to make the mix
1/2 tsp elaichi/cardamom powder
1/2 tsp baking soda/Eno fruit salt
pinch salt
Oil for shallow frying
1. Mix all to get a pouring consistency like a regular pancake.
2. Heat a griddle and spray some oil.
3. Pour 1/3rd cup of the mix and swirl the pan to spread the batter.
4. After 3/4 minutes flip the pancake and drizzle oil around the edges and cook till done.
5. Make all pancakes.
Walnut Mascarpone Topping
4 tbsp mascarpone (OR as per your liking)
2 tbsp walnut powder (coarse)
1 tbsp sugar (as per taste)
Mix all.
To serve:
Serve Banana Pancakes with a dollop of Walnut Mascarpone topping!

So, how do you like your Mascarpone cheese? :)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Red Lentil Soup with Fried Onion, Lime, Mint and Cilantro Dressing....

Red Lentil Soup has a lot many variations worldwide! One of the wonderful ways to dress up a bowl of hearty lentil soup is by adding crunchy fried onions mixed with lime juice and lots of chopped cilantro and mint, it makes for a burst of flavors!!! This one is an adaptation from the middle eastern way of cooking.
I use my trusted pressure cooker to finish off the job in a few minutes........ I mean, I like to think I've a! You sure can simmer it in a sauce pan!

Red Lentil Soup with Fried Onion, Lime, Mint and Cilantro Dressing....
1 cup Red Lentils/Masoor Dal
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 tbsp celery, chopped (optional)
1 tomato chopped OR 1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp oil/butter
1 tsp cumin powder
1tbsp coriander/dhania powder
salt & pepper to taste
4 tbsp fried onions
4 tbsp finely chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
2 tsp mint leaves, chiffonade
4 tbsp lime juice, use as per taste
1. Wash the lentils well and soak in water till you chop the vegetables and get the other ingredients ready.
2. Chop onion, carrot and celery. The mix of these three together is a base for almost all kinds of soups and is also known as 'the trinity' or 'Mirepoix' in French cooking! Don't ya love those fancy terms ;)
3. Heat oil, add the mirepoix and saute on medium till they soften. Take care not to brown the onions, that changes the taste of the soup.
4. Add ginger and garlic, saute 30 seconds. Add chopped tomato/paste.
5. Add drained lentils, spices and about 5/6 cups of water. Cook till done. It takes just one whistle in my pressure cooker, about 40 minutes in a saucepan. Add salt an pepper to taste.
6. Some people like to blend the soup, at this point, I don't. I like this soup a little on the runny side which helps take on the dressing flavors better, in my opinion. Do as you please :)
7. Now comes the incredible dressing part, which in itself is yummmmm :) Mix 1tbsp fried onions, 1 tbsp chopped cilantro, 1/2 tsp mint chiffonade and 1 tbsp lime juice, garnish over the soup and serve immediately.
8. The crispy onions and the tartness from the lime juice make for one amazing tasty soup! I won't recommend this soup without these two!
Definitely one of my favorite soups, serve with any bread you like for a delicious meal this winter or any season for that matter!!
You can add greens like spinach, kale etc when the soup is cooked and simmer till the greens wilt for an extra healthy serving :)
You can always omit the mint if you don't have access to it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sweet Potato Paratha - The Non-Stuffed Kind !!

How about discussing the similarities, differences and then some about Sweet Potatoes and Yams some other time :) For now, I'll just tell you about my affinity for this lovely tuber :)
I enjoy a Sweet Potato(as I know it), by boiling it and then just a sprinkling of salt, pepper and lemon juice :) And my mom's sweet potato chaat brings me immense joy!! It includes fresh boiled & chopped sweet potatoes, banana & guava in tamarind sauce.........YUM :) I can down bowls full of this "nutritious" chaat any given day!!
In my quest to try different recipes with this adorable tuber, I made Paratha's and to make things simpler, made the non-stuffed kind ;) This recipe is inspired from the much talented BurekaBoy's puris.

Sweet Potato Paratha
2 sweet potatoes, boiled
1.5 cups wheat flour (regular chapati atta)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chili powder, adjust to taste
a generous pinch of asafoetida/hing
salt to taste
5-6 mint leaves finely chopped (optional)
(coriander leaves work very well here, but i had just used up my entire stock making chutney, so I tried mint leaves from my beautiful plant, a thoughful gift from a dear blogger friend! )

2 tbsp yogurt/dahi
1 tbsp oil
a few tbsp water to knead the dough
a few tbsp oil to cook the paratha
1. Peel the boiled sweet potatoes.
2. Mix wheat flour, spices, yogurt, oil and mashed sweet potatoes. Mix well to incorporate the spices in to the flour.
3. Add water as required to knead a soft and smooth dough. Keep aside for an hour for the flavors to develop. If pressed for time can make them immediately as well.
4. Heat a griddle/tava. Roll into medium sized parathas and cook like a regular paratha, spreading a few drops of oil on both the sides while cooking them.
5. Keep covered in a box lined with paper napkins. Enjoy these soft and delicious parathas. They are very easy to roll and stay very soft for a long time. Can be served with chutney & pickle of your choice and some yogurt on the side :) They make a wonderful accompaniment to Tea!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pumpkin, Date & Walnut Halwa aka Kaddu, Khajur aur Akhrote ka Halwa

I can write about the pumpkin being in season and how it is all over the market, and is just the right time for a pumpkin recipe!

Or, I can regale my childhood stories about how I had a pumpkin patch and about the harvest that we had every year!

May be I can charm you with the nutritional properties of orange colored vegetables. But no.
I will just get right to the recipe and the pictures... :)

Pumpkin Date Walnut Halwa
1 cup grated pumpkin (I used a butternut squash)
1/2 cup dates
1/4 cup walnut, coarsely powdered
1/2 tsp elaichi/cardamom powder
2 tbsp + 1tsp ghee
2 tbsp brown sugar (adjust to taste)
1.5 tbsp milk powder (optional)
1. Soak finely chopped dates in 1/4 cup water till you are grating the squash. This step can be omitted if you are using the any soft dates like medjool etc.
2. Heat 2tbsp ghee.
3. Add grated squash and saute for 2-3 minutes.
4. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it, it gets cooked very fast.
5. Add the softened dates and sugar, stir well. Cook for a few minutes till everything comes together.
6. Add milk powder(if using) and walnut powder, stir well till incorporated.
7. Add 1tsp ghee along the edges of the pan and stir till it comes together.
8. Garnish with walnut halves and serve hot :)
Try this halwa once, it is rich in taste with that amazing dark color, you will enjoy the natural flavors.
This halwa tastes much better the next day, if possible do allow a day for the flavors to play their magic.
I'm not sure if my mind was playing games with me, but it tastes like Gajar ka Halwa after the flavors have developed for a couple of days :)

Notice the napkin under the plate? It is my favorite napkin with the lace made by my mom using shutle :)

Sending it over to Chandrika for AFAM-dates.

Click here for one more dish using Butternut Squash.

And The Winner Is.............

I sure had so much fun with the 'Guess The Ingredients' fun game!
Had such an overwhelming response with more than 65 fine guesses !!!! Now I've some real fun ideas for cooking ...... am thinking of testing them in my kitchen ;)
First to the dish, it is.........drum roll please......:
Avocado Masala Buttermilk!
I blended 1 cup buttermilk, 1 cup water, 1/2 avocado, 1 green chili, 1tbsp coriander leaves, 1/4 tsp ginger paste, salt to taste and 1/2 tsp cumin powder to make this smooth and creamy concoction!
It was delicious, with a spicy kick to it and the avocado blended very well with the buttermilk!
Do try this nutrition of a glass for a different flavor!
And now for the WINNER!!!
No one got the exact name of the drink, but the first blogger who got the main ingredient(avocado) right is.....
Manjula from Dalitoy!!!!
Congratulations Manjula!!
Please drop me an email and your prize will be in the mail :)
I would also like to extend my Congratulations to Gita, a non blogger and KayKat for getting the ingredient right, a lil' late, albeit ;)
A big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the spirit of the game and made it such a fun affair, made me smile with every single guess of yours !!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

HINT No# 1 for Guess the Ingredients/Name and Win a Prize ........

Thank You All so much for participating in this fun game.
I'm really enjoying this game looking at all the guesses and hope you are too :)
Since nobody has got it correct yet( a hint in itself) and as requested by you, I would like to give you a hint to make it a lil' easier to guess.......;)
Hint #1 - This is a very popular 'dish' had throughout most of India, just that I've added a foreign ingredient. This foreign ingredient is known for it's nutrition!!
Please leave your guesses in the original post HERE.
Good Luck and hope to see some more guesses .........

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Guess the Ingredients and Name of this Dish AND WIN A PRIZE!!!!

Calling all the foodie's out there...................
Guess the ingredients in this dish!!!!
The main ingredients HAVE to be right ;)
All are welcome to participate in this game!!!
To qualify for the Prize, you Need To Have A Blog and should reside in the Continental US!!!!
(Sorry, have mailing constraints at this time....:) )
The first entry with all correct ingredients will receive the Prize!!!
Results will be out next week!
Good Luck!!!!
Lemme' see you stretch your brains.....errr eyes ......

Thursday, November 8, 2007

H A P P Y D I W A L I - B a d a m No S e e r o aka A l m o n d H a l w a

I would like to wish all my friends and blog readers a very Happy and safe Diwali!
How about celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights with a lip smacking rich sweet :)
Badam No Seero, undoubtedly has to be one of my most favorite sweets. It is a popular sweet made during Diwali in Gujarati homes. It is quick to make, has plenty of almonds for the rich taste, can be made either with sugar or jaggery, what more can one ask for? ;)
Try it once and I assure you, your family and friends will be asking for seconds, meaning you gotta' make good quantities of this seera! Badam no seero is the Gujarati term for Badam Halwa!

Here is my version of Badam No Seero!
1/2 cup badam/almond powder
1/2 cup rava/sooji/semolina
2-3 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp elaichi/cardamom powder
3 cups liquid - You can have any combination of milk and water, including all water or all milk
1 cup sugar - You can add sugar/jaggery as per your taste
(I do not like cloyingly sweet dishes, so i use just 1/2 cup sugar and jaggery mix which works out perfectly for me)
1. Heat ghee.
2. Add sooji and saute for about 15 minutes till it darkens a shade and you get the roasted aroma.
3. In the mean while heat the liquid, when it comes to a boil, add sugar/jaggery and let it melt.
4. Once the sooji is roasted, add almond powder and elaichi powder and saute for 2 minutes.
5. Add the syrup and let it get absorbed completely.
6. Cover and cook on low for a few minutes.
7. Your Badam Jo Seero is ready to be offered to the Gods and then devoured soon after :)

Please do not use fine rava, that will just turn into a paste. I use sooji, the packet says sooji/upma rava/cream of wheat.
In the above pic, I've used 2 cups water + 1 cup milk.

No need to garnish the halwa with anything, well it has enough almonds, don't u think? ;)

There is a version of this halwa with 100% almonds, will post that as well, hopefully soon ;)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

FAHC Donate Smiles - Raffle Winners Announced - And The Lucky Winner is.....:)

FAHC, Donate Smiles Charity drive was a big success, we long surpassed the original goal of $3360 and the final amout stands at $4735 YAY!!!!!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS to Lee and Friends for winning the Icewine Dark Chocolate from As Dear As Salt :)

Lee, I'll mail you the prize once I receive your postal address!

For the full list of raffle prize winners please visit Indira's Mahanandi!

A BIG Thank You to all participants, we did it!!!! :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pili Moong Dal aur Matar Ka Puda aka Lentils(Yellow Moong Dal) and Green Peas Pancakes

This is one of my favorite one pot meals!
It satisfies all the food groups and more importantly satisfies and satiates me at the same time :)
There are quite a few kinds of Pudas' (pancakes), some are instant and some like this one require a bit of planning. The process in itself is very simple, as long as you remember to soak the Moong Dal.

Growing up I used to love the Besan(chickpea flour) puda with lots of ketchup. It is the simplest of it's kind with some chopped onions and tomato added for flavor, it is also known as the Vegetarian omelett :) Makes a nice stuffing for bread!

On the same lines, there is the popular Pesarattu made with whole green moong dal. Pesarattu with upma is one of my favorite combo's, I like to have a plate of that at my friends place who is from Hyderabad.

Pili Moong Dal aur Matar ka Puda aka Lentils (Yellow Moong Dal) and Green Peas Pancakes
1 cup Moong Dal
3 green chili (adjust as per taste)
1/2 tsp ginger (as per taste)
2 tbsp chopped onions
1/2 cup green peas, crushed coarsely
salt as per taste
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
1/2 tsp cooking soda/Eno fruit salt
Oil for drizzling

1. Soak washed Moong dal for 5 hours.
2. Grind it with 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp water
I've always had great results using these water measurements. Also, grind green chili and ginger along with it to a smooth paste.
3. Add chopped onion, crushed peas, coriander leaves and salt. Add soda when you are ready to make the puda.
4. Heat a griddle, spread the batter just like you do for making dosa, i.e. put about 1/4 cup batter on the griddle and spread in a circular motion from the inside to the out.
5. Drizzle oil around the edges and cook till the underside gets golden brown and then flip it.
6. Cook till done.
7. Puda is ready to be served with a bowl of curds and chutney/pickle of your choice.
I can think of so many variations to this Puda. Add a pinch of hing/asafoetida for a lovely taste.
Can stuff it with some seasoned grated paneer for paneer lovers :)
Can spread red chili chutney on the puda itself for a real hot taste.
Kids love it with some ketchup spread on it and then rolled up :)

I make about 7/8 " puda. Yup I measured it specially for you....LOL!!
This is a Madhur Jafferey recipe!

This is my contribution to Hima's WYF Diet Food event!

Musical has tagged me for the Fantastic Four MEME! So here goes.....
4 places I've lived

4 Jobs I've had
I managed three other kids when I was a teen. The kids I was supposed to manage for a few hours were 6, 6 and 4 respectively, I was so happy at this "responsibility". I think I must have been the "strictest" manager ever, bossing around those poor lil' kids ;)

Theatre/Stage Artist:
I love theatre and performing on stage was a sure thrill.

Restaurant Guide:
My friends call me for phone nos. and directions to restaurants.....LOL!

Match Maker:
Yup, someone I introduced later got married :)

4 Favorite places I've holidayed
Goa...luvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvre it there :)
Kodai Kanal, beautiful :)
Jamaica, fun ;)
Vegas, the sin city ;)

4 Favorite foods
Only 4 from a foodie, not fair!!! but here goes....
Mom's parathas - dal, aloo, gobi, mooli all of them :)
Mom's Bharwa karela and bharwa capsicum :)
My sis's Paneer in gravy :)
My grandmom's Nan-khatai, but I don't get to taste it anymore :(

4 Places I would rather be
There is no other place I would rather be than my home sweet home, 'coz it won't be me if I was wishing for something else and not enjoying the present :)


Monday, October 15, 2007

ChipIn, Donate Smiles and Win some Fun Prizes on the way...

FAHC - Feed A Hungry Child is a non-profit organization started by one of the fellow bloggers, V.K.N of My Dhaba. The immediate mission is to help feed hungry children one by one and join the fight against global poverty.

You can read all the details pertaining to the working of FAHC at

You donate by clicking on the widget on the left of the screen. Indira of Mahanandi is arranging a raffle to benefit this cause.

Each $25 donation will give you one raffle ticket towards a prize (Details of prizes are given below).
After you donate, please forward your payment confirmation message to, clearly specifying which prize or prizes you are interested in.

Do mention how many tickets per prize, for example, a donation of $50 will buy you 2 raffle tickets. For all correspondence by email, please use the same email address that you have used for your Chip-in contribution. This helps to validate your entry to the raffle and to contact you should you win a prize.

For each prize, a raffle winner will be picked. The event will close on 23rd October and raffle prize winners will be announced on 25th. If you need more information about the prizes, please contact Indira at

List of Raffle prizes

1. Grains, Greens and Grated Coconuts, Recipes and Remembrances of a Vegetarian Legacy by Ammini Ramachandran - courtesy Indira

2. A Gift Box of Spice Extracts - courtesy Anjali Damerla of Supreme Spice

3. Two copies of Complete Digital photography by Ben Long - courtesy Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi.

4. Two autographed copies of Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran - courtesy Suvir Saran

5. Two autographed copies of the just released cookbook American Masala by Suvir Saran - courtesy Suvir Saran

6. Two prizes: Dinner for two each, wine included, at Suvir Saran’s restaurant Dévi in New York City - courtesy Dévi, Suvir Saran

7. Two ready-to-wear children’s sarees in red and green colors - courtesy Manisha of Indian Food Rocks

8. A beautiful painting done by Shilpa of Aayi's Recipes.

9. Two Fair-Trade Goodies Bags from UK from Padmaja of Spicy Andhra

10. A Personalized Ceramic “Vindu” Plate from Mythili of Vindu

11. 30-Minute Meals ~ by Rachel Ray from Siri of Siri’s Corner

12. I would like to add one more raffle prize, a box of Icewine Dark Chocolate, which I got from my recent trip to Canada. They are a rare kind of chocolate in which Grapes are naturally frozen on the vine in Canada's frigid winters and then harvested and pressed. The wine from the juice has a luxurious flavor and is a speciality from Canada. Shipping is included.

Thank You!

Hope you have fun participating in this Happy cause :)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Dates and Pistachio Poli Adorns This Appetizing Thali for RCI

anti clock wise: Date Pistachio Poli, onion tomato salad, sweet potato subzi, rice, fryums/papad, kala chana gravy, home made curds!
I'm not able to participate in all the ongoing events as much as I would like to, but then Life happens............ ;)
Anyway, I decided to make this Dates and Pistachio Poli based on Viji's Poli recipe. When she mentioned that we can try sweet recipes from her archives for the RCI-Tamil Festival I was happy to try this out with my own variations and you can see the results were sweet :)
Poli's make a wonderful festival food and there are innumerable stuffings that can be catered to one's taste!
What is your favorite stuffing, please do let me know!!!

Dates and Pistachio Poli
I usually make all my stuffed Indian Breads (Parathas and Poli) using whole wheat flour/atta) and I did the same here. But if you are used making it with Maida like Viji, definitely go ahead and do it for the covering.
2 cups whole wheat flour/Chapati atta
1 tsp oil
water to knead the dough.
Knead a smooth and pliable dough with the ingredients, cover and keep at least an hour.

1 cup finely chopped dates
1/2 cup powdered pistachio
1/2 tsp cardamom/elaichi powder
Mash the dates well to form a soft mass.
If your dates are not too soft, they can be cooked in the microwave for a minute to soften.
Add pista powder and cardamom powder.
Believe me, it is better to make extra mix of this, you will love to eat this as is, I know I did :)
When ready to make the Poli, make equal size balls out of the dough and the stuffing.
Roll the dough to a puri(fried Indian bread) size and stuff with the date mix.
Seal well with the dough around it and roll to regular chapati size.
Heat a griddle and roast the poli like regular chapati, remove from the gas and smear with ghee.
Remember this is an important step to keep the poli soft and it imparts an unmistakable lovely aroma :)
Enjoy the Poli as a part of a meal as I did or just on it's own.

The rolling part is not that difficult, specially if you are used to making stuffed parathas.
Make sure the stuffing is not too moist.
Try to make medium sized Poli's, less chance of the stuffing oozing out that way :)
Enjoy nutritious and tasty Date and Pistachio Poli!
This is my contribution to Viji's RCI-Tamil Festival. Thanks Viji.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Gobi Aloo aur Soya beans ki Sukhi Subzi (Cauliflower Potato and Soya beans Stir Fry)

If it were up to the convincing powers of the media moguls, I would be eating some form of soya for my breakfast, lunch & dinner!
I mean seriously, how many times have we seen the advertisements where the actors get such an instant boost of energy after taking certain products that it would fail to fool even a child ;)
I'm a sceptic when it comes to tall claims declaring the unhitherto proven advantages of certain products. I feel, the climatic conditions of the region where you live, your gene build up/body type etc have a lot to do with why certain food items suit one, more than others! Definitely does not make sense to me to jump on to the bandwagon for no rhyme or reason ;) Time to brace yourself, here comes the dreaded 'M' word, yup Moderation is the key IMO ;)
That being said, I do use soya once in a while in my kitchen :) Just that I'm not besotted with it, I like a wider variety in food ;)
My friend 'L' is one of the most enthusiastic foodies I know! The way she explains her recipes, the way her eyes light up even while describing the most basic of recipes in her sweet accent is so very charming. I end up making almost all the recipes she describes, this being one of them! Thanks 'L'.
I tried it and it has been a favorite ever since, so unique but very simple to make, just needs a little planning, that's all!
Gobi Aloo Aur Soyabeans ki Subzi (Cauliflower, Potato & Soyabeans Stir fry)
1 Gobi cut into florets (I soak florets in salted hot water to get rid of minute insects, @ 10 mins)
1 Potato cubed
1/2 cup Soyabeans soaked overnight, minimum 5 hrs (see pic)
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp green chili paste (adjust as per taste)
1.5 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp chili powder (adjust as per taste)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1.5 tbsp oil
2 bay leaves
chopped coriander leaves for garnish
Drain the water from the soaked beans, add fresh water, salt and cook till done but holds shape.

The Before and After pictures of Soya Beans (left before soaking, right after soaking overnight)
These beans taste quite buttery and the seasonings compliment them well.
I pressure cook them for just one whistle, adjust as per your cooker timings.

Mix all the masala powders along with ginger & chili paste with some water to a paste.
Heat oil.
Add bay leaves and fry a few seconds. Add the masala paste and saute till oil separates, takes about a minute.
Add gobi florets and potato, stir well to mix.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium flame. If it starts sticking to the pan, add 1-2 tbsp water.
Add cooked drained beans, cover and cook further till done, about 5-8 minutes. Leave some crunch in, do not let it get soggy.
Gobi Aloo aur Soyabean subzi is ready.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with roti/chapati and some dal or bowl of curds. You can squeeze some lime juice if you like it a bit sour.
Enjoy this lovely subzi for a change in the routine :)

I assure you, once you taste this subzi you would love to make it often, just like me ;)
My entry to WBB-Soy, hosted by Rajitha.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Matthi Puri (Matthi translates to 'Sweet' in Kutchi language) Non Deep Fried version

We had totally different agendas!!!!
Me and Aunt 'R', that is!!
She was visiting from India. For her without a doubt it was making the rounds of Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Times Square & Atlantic City!
For me, without a doubt it was getting all the recipes from Aunt 'R', she being a fantastic cook :)
So, while she made lists of places to visit & shop, I made lists of recipes that I needed to get from her ;)
It did not end just at the recipes, I wanted her to demonstrate the cooking procedure so I could get it absolutely right :)
Keeping all my inhibitions aside, I kept pestering her ;)
Being a kind soul that she is, she not only obliged WILLINGLY, but was pleasantly surprised at my enthusiasm to learn new recipes.
Little did she know I had a food blog to cater to ;)

One of the recipes that she demonstrated for me was this amazing Matthi Puri.
If there ever was a food item I was told to choose to eat everyday, it would be this. It is so very rustic, so very tasty :)

It definitely does not fall in the easy to make categories and I was glad to learn it and then replicate it a few time there after :)
Matthi Puri is a sweet made out of Whole Wheat flour and Jaggery, just two ingredients!
This is usually made as a 'thando' for 'satam', a traditional festival where the gas/stove is not switched on for a day, it is given rest after the pooja and all the items made the previous day are savored. All the items for 'satam' are extremely delicious and everyone ends up eating more than their normal quota :) But you can most definitely make these anytime ;)
There is a similar punjabi delicacy called the sweet bhatura which uses similar ingredients, just that it is deep fried. Will give that recipe when I make it next time.

Here is the recipe for Matthi Puri
Soak a cup of grated/finely chopped jaggery in water.

Now comes the deciding factor. If you like things very sweet, just soak it in a little more than a cup of water. If you are like me and enjoy medium sweet, soak it in about 1.5/2 cups water.
This needs to soak couple of hours till all the jaggery melts to create a sweet solution. Break up jaggery lumps if any with your hands.

Now knead a dough with the jaggery solution and whole wheat flour (regular chapati aata).
The quantity of flour to be used is to get a very smooth and sticky dough.
Add 1tbsp oil and knead again.
IMP: Do not knead the dough to make it stiff, it has to be very loose.
Rest the dough for a minimum of 3 hrs.

When ready to make the Matthi Puri, dust your rolling surface, rolling pin with flour.
Make round-balls out of the dough, you might need a lot of flour for this as the dough is loose.
Roll into a thick puri sized circle. Keep dusting the board with flour and dredging the dough-balls in flour to make it pliable, soon you will get a hang of it. It is important to keep it thick so it does not dry out and get hard.

In my 12" skillet I make three matthi puri at a time.
Keep the flame on medium low. Once the underside gets cooked, flip the puri and continue cooking. Spread some oil on top and flip again. Press the puri well once in a while so that it gets cooked thoroughly. When it is fully cooked you will see a beautiful appetizing reddish brown color as in the pic :) It has to be slow cooked.

These Matthi Puri stay good for a long time(theoretically) and also make for an ideal travelling goodies!! In practice, they will be devoured the day they are made :)
Do try these once, you are sure to like them.
The dough making is a bit involved process, so try with a small quantity to start with.
This is my contribution to Hima's What's Your Favorite Snack Event!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Peach Apricot Galette with Walnut Paste and Creme Fraiche AND some relaxing times....

Not once!

Not Twice!!

But Thrice!!!

Yes three is the number of times I broke the golden rule of baking, no peeking while baking :)
I had to, the aroma from the oven was too irresistible not to take in all the aroma possible ;)
In my defense have to say, did not make any difference to the baking at all ;)

Regular readers to my blog know about my liking for peaches and here is one delicacy made with peaches.

Peach Apricot Galette with Walnut Paste AND Creme Fraiche!

1 puff pastry sheet thawed
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
2 peaches sliced
2 apricots sliced (If you can't find fresh apricot, soak dried apricot and use OR use only peaches)
2 tsp sugar

Creme Fraiche (optional)
1 cup creme fraiche
4 tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Grind walnuts with sugar to a paste.

Unfold the pastry on a floured surface. Core about 1/4 inch from the border and fold the border over to form an edge.

Spread the walnut paste on the sheet.

Arrange peach and apricot slices over the paste in alternating layers or as you desire. Sprinkle the sugar over it.

Bake for 20 min till edges are golden brown.

To make the creme fraiche garnish just blend creme fraiche with sugar and serve with the Galette!
Can be served without the creme fraiche as well, tastes equally good!

Enjoy a delicious slice of this Galette as a dessert or just as a gorgeous snack with your afternoon tea or coffee, like I did :)
Recipe adapted from here, I did not find the need to add the egg.

This is my entry to sweet Mansi's AFAM-Peach.

It's good to be back after a mini break :)
Here are some pictures from my trip to Canada this past long weekend! The weather was sweeeeet, could not have been better!!!

SwamiNarayan Temple, Toronto with beautiful carvings inside and out!

Downtown Toronto Skyline as seen from Lake Ontario! You can see the Rogers Centre/ Skydome & CN Tower in the centre!

The Majestic Niagara Falls! Could not help but stop by both the times :) What a beauty, get goose bumps every single time!!

On another note, Congratulations to Federer on cruising into the semis'. Always A Class Act, the Perfect Gentleman, inspite of the crowds not being with him. What a thrill to watch him play!!
Here's wishing Federer All the Very Best for the championship and record breaking Grand Slams ever!!!!!!!
Update: 9/9/07 Congratulations to Federer on winning the US Open for the fourth straight time!!!! I'm thrilled to be able to watch him play such beautiful tennis! May you win many more........

Friday, August 24, 2007

Rice Pudding with Peach Sauce AND Jeera(cumin) Baby Alu(potato) Fry

I tread the produce section a bit cautiously!

I know you are wondering Why? Let me tell you :)
I have to do so, lest I come home with a Pluot or a Plucot in lieu of something else that I had in mind!

Pluot, it seems is a cross between a plum and an apricot, half plum half apricot said the label. It is called a plucot if the percentage of apricot is higher!!!!!!!!

The first time I saw this, I spent a good 5 minutes staring at the pluot, weirder combinations crossing my mind :) even got a few glances from the people around! Maybe I'm not 'THAT' open minded ;)

So if you ever come across a situation wherein you cannot decide between a plum or an apricot, Pluot can come to your rescue....LOL!!!!!

Still unsure why do I need to eat 'Y' if I feel like a 'X' ??
A lil' extravagant, aren't we ;)
Anyway, these hybrid sorts do not tempt my fancy, in fact, I'm a little wary of them!!
I like my plum to be a plum and my peach to be a peach :) I'm a simpleton you know .... ;)

Speaking of which, that I'm obsessed about Peaches is an understatement! I am as crazy about them as some folks are about Mango.
Nope it is not a comparison, just an observation :)

Almost get the withdrawal symptoms when the season is ending, such is my fondness for these beauties of a fruit !!!

Most of the times it is enjoyed as is, but I do make a few dishes out of it and
Rice Pudding with Peach Sauce is one of them! I do try to avoid putting too much sugar or butter into the preparation, that would take away from the taste of the lovely peaches.
Please do let me know of any concoctions that you make, using peach, will appreciate it. You can leave a comment with the same :)
2 heaped tbsp rice, washed & soaked for 15 minutes
2.5 cups milk
sugar as per taste
2 peaches
1 tsp lime/lemon juice.
1. Bring the milk to boil in a thick bottom saucepan.
2. Drain water from the rice and crush lightly with your hands. If you are making a huge quantity, you can pulse it in the mixer for a few turns till the rice breaks, not to be made into a paste.
3. Add crushed rice to the boiling milk and cook till the rice is done.
4. Add sugar as per taste, stir a few minutes and take off from fire, your basic rice pudding is ready. Cool in the refrigerator, will thicken a lot on cooling.
5. For the Peach sauce: De-skin the peaches and chop into pieces.
Sprinkle sugar(depending upon the tartness of the peaches) and 4/5 drops of lime juice. Let rest for 10/15 minutes. Blend to form a puree OR if you like some chunks in the sauce, just mash coarsely with a fork. Chill. I've displayed both the variations.
6. To serve:
Add a few tablespoons of the pudding into decorative bowls. Top with chilled peach sauce.
Indulge your senses with a Peachy Rice Pudding!This goes to Sharmi for JFI-Rice


And now over to one of my most loved vegetables ever - Presenting Mr. Potato/Alooooooo
An Ode to the spud!!!!!

How sweet and tasty art thou!
You blend so well with one and all!
You are the saviour of all vegeterians, when they travel outside their comfort zones!
You are wrongly accused, yet you take it all in your stride!
Well knowing it is not you, but your accomplices Mr. Cream & Mr. Butter who are to blame!
You nourish us with all the vitamins and minerals we need, so selflessly!
Oh! Mr. Potato, what would we do without you!!!!!!
WOOPS! got a bit teary eyed there, for my dear potato ;)

Jeera Baby Alu Fry
8 baby alu
1 tsp jeera(cumin) seeds
1 tbsp jeera, freshly roasted and crushed
1/2 tsp chili powder
1.5 tbsp oil
1. Par boil baby alu. I microwave it for 6 minutes.
2. Peel.
3. Heat oil and pan fry the potato till it gets a crispy exterior, remove and keep aside.
4. In the same oil add cumin seeds, splutter. Add hing(asafoetida), crushed jeera, chili powder and immediately add the potatoes. Add salt and let cook for a few minutes till the flavors blend.
5. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
6. Simple and tasty Jeera Baby Alu Fry is ready to be savored as an appetizer or a side dish.

My contribution to the Think Spice Think Cumin event hosted by Sunita.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Kesaria (A Saffron flavored sweet delicacy) AND Many Thanks Are In Order...AND Independence Day Parade Pics

That's me, enjoying a hot cup of my favorite lemon grass tea along with buttery crisp Shrewsbury Biscuits and Bakarwadi straight from my beloved bakery, back home :)

OOPS! forgot to upload my picture, so that makes it just the tea tray with the goodies ;) .......

No nonsense, Real biscuits mind you! Not low fat, not fat free, not sodium free, no substituting butter with water (sheesh! is that even possible? ) :) Suffice to say, these are not your flax seed cookies....LOL, they are the real McCoy :)
All thanks, courtesy The Cooker! And here's to The Cooker for taking me along for a walk down memory lane :)

Many Many Thanks to Sweet Sia, Archana, Laavanya, Prema & Athika for these beautiful awards!
Thank You Ladies for these cute buttons!

All the bloggers who take time out of their busy schedule to click pictures, post recipes and encourage others with their comments definitely ROCK, in my dictionary, and you know that!
A big Thank You to each & every blogger who takes the time to comment on my posts, makes me smile :)
Keeping in the tradition of passing these on, I would like to pass the Rockin' Girl Blogger Award to:

Aarti - Aarti's Corner
Priyanka - Lajawaab
Sukanya - Hot & Sweet Bowl
Ramya - Mane Adige
Kribha - En Samayal Pakkam
Pravs - Simply Spicy
Mytheree - Try This Recipe
Lakshmi K - Veggie Cuisine
Madhavi - Veggie World
Saju - Chachi's Kitchen
Raaga - The Singing Chef
Anusha - Talimpu
Lata - La Gourmet Chef
Shilpa - Aayi's Recipes
Madhu - Ruchii
Swapna Susarla - Tastes From My Kitchen

I would like to pass on the Schmooze Award to:
Archana - Tried & Tested Recipes
Asha - Foodies Hope
Sig - Live To Eat
Sia - Spice Corner
Trupti - The Spice Who Loved Me
Kajal - Kajal Dreams
Tee - Bhaatukli
Musicals Kitchen
Coffee - The Spice Cafe
Bee - Jugalbandi
Laavanya - Cookery Corner
Prema - My Cookbook
The Cooker
Latha - Masala Magic
I would also like to Thank Bureka Boy for not only guiding me to buy a grinder but also finding a great deal on the web for the same, is that cool or what! Thank You Bureka Boy! You Rock!

Just realized that I do not have very many sweet dishes on my blog, so thought of posting one of my favorite, quick to make desserts.

4 cups milk
1 lime/lemon
pinch kesar(saffron)
1-2 tbsp sugar
2 pinches elaichi(cardamom) powder

1. Heat 3 cups of milk, bring to a boil.
Note: Whole milk gives a thicker texture to the sweet, but 2% works well too, here I've used 2%.

2. Add juice of half a lime and stir. Let curdle. Add more lime juice if the milk does not curdle. Let rest for 5 minutes.

3. Add half portion of kesar into the hot mix.

4. Drain the whey and collect the chenna into a bowl. The mix must be moist, do not strain all the whey like in paneer.

5. Add the remaining cup of milk, sugar, kesar & elaichi powder and blend in a mixer.

6. Add into individual bowls and refrigerate for 4/5 hours till set. Whole Milk sets very well.

7. Enjoy a delicious chenna based light dessert!

Recipe adapted from here.

Here are some pictures from the 60th Independence day parade held on Sunday the 19th August, in one of my favorite cities, NYC!