Friday, March 30, 2007


Jalfrazie, I guess is an amalgamation of different cuisines. It has the spicy and the sour taste fused together. The origin of this dish is still a mystery I reckon, maybe some enlightened soul can shed light on this popular dish.

I have tasted this at numerous restaurants in India, some better than others. The restaurants are notorious for using their "secret ingredient" aka tons of oil, but one thing is very prominent and that is the spice level. This dish is supposed to be hot as in "tikha".

Anyway, the basic concept is stir frying the vegetables (or chicken, seafood etc) with spices and then throwing in a thick sauce made out of tomatoes and spices. Here is how I make the veg version of Jalfrazie.

1 potato sliced like fries
1 big carrot sliced
10 beans sliced at a slant (French cut)
2 small florets cauliflower
2 small florets broccoli (if using)
Few pieces sliced paneer
1 onion sliced
1/2 green bell pepper sliced
2 tomatoes OR 1/2 cup canned tomato
1tbsp ginger/garlic paste
Turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala
2 tbsp oil
1tbsp ghee
Heat oil. Add sliced potato, beans & carrot and stir fry on high heat till done. Add some grated garlic towards the end of the saute process. Keep aside. To quicken the cooking process, you may par boil the vegatables and then stir fry. What ever you do, DO NOT add boiled veg in gravy, that is a different recipe altogether, this one is supposed to be crunchy.

Heat ghee, saute onion & green bell pepper (see pic). Add a puree of tomato, ginger, garlic, salt, red chilli powder(can use dry red chilli to get the red specks), turmeric powder & garam masala. Cook till oil separates and you get a thickish gravy. Add fried vegetables, paneer and mix well. This dish is supposed to be spicy, so you can adjust spices as per your tolerance level. Garnish with finely chopped paneer, if in a generous mood ;-)

I generally do not like tomato seeds and skin, so I puree tomato and pass it thru a sieve.
To get the sourness, I prefer to use canned tomatoes. If using fresh tomatoes, you can add some lemon juice at the end.
Serve with roti/naan and sliced onion in sirka(vinegar).

This is my contribution to Nupur for A-Z series.
I would also like to contribute this to RP for JFI-Tomato.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Apple Cake anyone??

Thank You, gals for your wonderful guesses! You all were pretty close, well, almost!
What you see is what you get, at least in this case, it is an Apple Cake.

OK first things first.
One more joins the bandwagon. Of ? Of whole wheat flour cake makers, a little late albeit! What?? You heard it. Has she lost her mind? I don't think so, others may differ. It's true, I'm just trying to be a part of the ever growing clan of whole wheat flour bakers called, "Bakers with a cause: Nutrition".

A little background might help here. I was never much of a baker, but once I happened to peek at the mile long list of ingredients on the cake wrapper and almost fell off my chair. Glycerin?? sodium aluminium phosphate??? what is that doing in my cake?? But it is true, and hence began my experiments in baking. (Non-believers, I've saved the wrapper and will mail it to you if you don't believe what all goes in there).

The amount of butter used in most recipes is quite daunting and many a times I just gazed at the recipes, leaving the actual baking to my friends and family. The first time I ever saw the use of oil in baking cakes was when I happened to chance upon the date cake made by Shilpa. It turned out great and I tried to incorporate the basic guidelines into a couple of cakes I baked, with good results, If I may say so myself.

This apple cake was conceived out of the necessity of using up apples for something more than adorning my dining table, yes it's the same story in my house.
I used a banana to get the moistness which is hard to come by in an egg less cake. I don't claim that it is the best egg less cake, but nonetheless it is quite good, given the nutrition it packs.

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup chopped apple
1 medium banana mashed
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup brown sugar OR regular sugar OR a equal mix of both (can alter as per taste)
1/4 cup + 2tbsp milk
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 cup butter/oil/margarine OR a mix (I added oil & butter)

Mix the flour, cardamom powder & pinch of salt. Add sugar, apple and mashed banana. Finally add the whisked yogurt, milk and oil/butter. Mix for about 5minutes to incorporate air. Pre-heat oven to 350 C. (The term pre-heat always cracks me up, will tell you why, after the recipe) Add baking powder & soda and bake till a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Cool and then serve by itself or you may frost it as per your liking. I like mine plain, don't fancy all the sugary mix on top.

(If any baker belonging to this clan tries more than 1/4 C whole wheat flour, please do let me know your experience, if you live to tell the tale that is!)

The cake is not all that dense, is pretty moist and tastes good, not bad for avoiding all that butter & bleached flour, what say? I added the cardamom powder taking the tip from apple rabdi that I make, and has worked wonders in combining apples & elaichi powder.

About the term 'Pre-heat'. I always remember the words of one of my favorite stand up comedians, George Carlin. In one of his stand up routines, he says about this, you either heat something or you don't, how can you 'pre-heat' anything? Think about it. Exactly what do you do in that process of 'pre-heating' ? He also talks about the 'pre-boarding' for passengers with children or passengers travelling first class, on the plane (remember the announcement?). He says you either board the plane or not, what is this obsession with 'pre'. Aah! he is too funny, always cracks me up.
Here is my contribution for Jyothna's Safety Moment.
I saw this on TV and it has really helped a lot.
When using any bakeproof pots and pans with handles in the oven, just sprinkle some flour on the handle. This way when you are about to take it out, the flour will remind you to be careful and not touch it with bare hands.
You can also implement this for any pots used on a regular stove where the handles get heated up fast. It is a very natural instinct to just pickup something without realising how dangerous it can be (experince talking here).

Monday, March 26, 2007

To Fry Or not To Fry

I had to, I really had to, use that is, the most famous words to clear up a few doubts!
Well, the context here is in terms of the ever popular, most preferred dal of all times, at least in my dictionary, the 'Dal Fry'.

Let me clear this once and for all. 'Dal Fry', I don't know where this term was coined. We never called any dal as 'Dal Fry' at my home or any home that I ever went to. But restaurant is a different story altogether. I envision this scenario, I go to a restaurant and the menu says - Dal & Roti, I just about manage not gagging on myself. Now next time, the menu says 'Dal Fry & Roti' and I gleefully order it. 'Lo and Behold', it is the name plastered on all restaurant menus.
Call it 'Tadkewali dal' (but all dals have some kind of tadka) or 'Pili dal', (but what if it is some other color dal?), what in the world does 'Dal Fry' mean?? anyone???

After a lot of thoughtful pondering(!!!), I concluded that if you add the boiled dal in a 'tadka' of onion and tomato it gets the ubiquitous name 'DAL FRY'. If it is just a 'tadka' on top of the boiled dal, it is 'Tadka Dal'. But whether you fry it or not (notice how I cleared the confusion using the oft repeated famous words :-) ), this dal is lip-smacking good. This can made with just a single dal or as a combination of two or more dals, but the basic recipe remains the same.

The basic dal has a simple seasoning of ghee & jeera, the more flashy ones have a seasoning of onion, tomato and the like.
Anyway, forget the mambo-jumbo and enjoy the bowl full of protein, the dal. Dal is one of the best source of protein for vegetarians.

1/2 cup Toor dal (or combination of split moong dal, masoor dal, toor dal)
1 small onion
1 small tomato
1 green chilli slit
3 cloves garlic grated
1" ginger grated

2tbsp ghee (calorie conscious please feel free to use oil)
1 tsp jeera
a pinch hing
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli pwd (use as per your spice level)
1/2 tsp garam masala (optional)
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional, depending upon sourness of tomato)
2tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Pressure cook the dal. I do not like to mash it completely.
Heat ghee, add jeera, curry leaves, hing and green chilli. Add sliced onion and fry till translucent. Add ginger & garlic and fry a few seconds. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, chopped tomato and saute a few minutes. Add garam masala if using. Add dal and let it come to a boil, adjust consistency as required. Switch off gas and add lemon juice & coriander leaves. This dal does not require too many spices, the 'dal ki mithaas' should come through.

Serve with jeera rice or peas pulav with some salad for a complete meal.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Instant Pineapple Jam

Blogging does make you try out out so many new varieties of food, experiment with new fruits/vegetables and then makes you wonder, what can 'I' stand for....
Well I is for Instant Pineapple Jam!

I went through my cookbooks, and hidden behind all the other mega books was a small booklet (paak pustika) which came free with my pressure cooker. Somehow it was lying by itself all this time, but now it was time to shine!

I found a recipe I liked and tried it out immediately. The recipe book was in marathi and here is my translation for you all to enjoy. It was great reading marathi after such a long time. See, this event even helped me re-polish my marathi.

1 cup grated fresh pineapple ( I used canned crushed pineapple)
1/4 cup grated apple (I used 1 apple)
1tbsp lemon juice
1cup sugar (I used a little less than that)

Pressure cook pineapple, apple & lemon juice.
{cooker madhye ananas, safarchand ani limbu ras ghala}

After one whistle, reduce flame to low and cook 5minutes. Let it cool.
{Prakhar achewar purna pressure yeoo dya. Aach kami kara ani 5minitey shijva. Cooker tasach thand karat theva.}

Take contents in a sauce pan and add the sugar slowly. Let it melt completely and keep stirring. Just boil till it comes together and sets.
{Cooker madhle sahitya saucepan madhye ghya, haluhalu sakhar ghalat dhavla ani sampurna viraghalwa. Prakhar achewar set hoipareyant zhatpat ukalwa.}

Isn't that simple and quick!

(Please note that I have given the marathi version because I had so much fun writing it. Please excuse mistakes if any.)

This is my entry to Nupur's A-Z of series.
I was just informed( thanks, Sig) that today is the last day for AFAM-, would like to submit it there as well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Gheea Koftey

Scent is the strongest link to memory. It has been scientifically proven that scent triggers seratonin & endorphins in the brain and when people smell things they are linked immediately and unconsciously to the memory of the past. Aha! so that's what happens inside this brain of mine when I inhale the aroma of Gheea (bottle gourd) Koftey.

Endorphins or not, I know that there are certain foods which make me happy, very happy and this one is particularly close to my heart. It was a ritual of sorts in our family to have this atleast once a week. After getting fresh gheea(bottle gourd) from the market, it was grated. A few spices were added to make a batter with chickpea flour and then deep fried. The aroma wafting through the house was unmistakable and we knew we were in for a treat. These kofta's are then served over a gravy of onion & tomatoes. Before my mom could put them in the gravy, me and my sister would gobble up more than half of them. It is so delicious as is. Many a times my mom had to "hide" them from us, so that some would be left for the gravy. It is one of the first dishes that my mom makes when I visit back home and I still savour a lot of the kofta's pre-gravy.

I try to make this recipe whenever possible, would make it more often if I had a sous-chef ;-) .

The "other" sister of this kofta, Malai Kofta is much more popular in restaurants, where they serve it with some kind of creamy gravy??? I n fact I've never seen this one on any of the restaurant menu's. This is the kind of food that is cooked at home and served ever so lovingly.

Kofta ingredients:
1 gheea grated
4 tbsp chickpea flour (use as per the size of gheea to bind the batter)
salt as per atste
1/2 tsp chilli powder (add as per your taste)
1 tsp
corriander powder

Sqeeze the liquid from gheea and collect in a bowl. It should still be moist. Add chickpea flour, salt, chilli powder (if using) and coriander powder. Make a thick batter. Heat oil and deep fry spoonfuls of batter till light brown and cooked through. See picture.

Gravy ingredients:
2 onions finely chopped
2 tomatoes
1" ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 big green chilli (add as per taste)
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp
turmeric powder
1/2 tsp
garam masala powder (home made only, the mass produced ones do not work for me)
2 tbsp
ghee (can substitute with oil if calorie conscious)
1 tsp
cumin seeds
2 pinches
Hing (Asafoetida)

Heat ghee, add jeera, let splutter. Add hing and saute a few seconds. Add onion and saute till brown, keep stirring in between to avoid sticking. Puree tomatoes with green chilli. Grate or make a paste of ginger & garlic. Add this paste & tomato puree to the onions. Cook till oil separates. Add turmeric, coriander powder, salt and the liquid squeezed from gheea. Add 1/2 cup water to the gravy & simmer till required consistency is reached. Add garam masala. Please adjust consistency as per your liking.

Just before serving add kofta to the gravy and garnish with coriander leaves.

Enjoy Gheea kofta with rice or
I would like to contribute this for the 'Nostalgia is Bittersweet' event organized by Ellie of Kitchen Wench -

Of Amrapali and Baked Vegetables

Tucked away in between a small flower shop and some houses, but right off the ever popular F.C. Road in Pune, is a punjabi restaurant - Amrapali. I've such fond memories of eating at this place. Just thinking about it makes me smile.
Vaishali (for the uninitiated - again a restaurant on F.C. Road ) being the favorite joint of students and the locals alike, is just a few steps away. A post on Vaishali some other day.
All the years that I went to Amrapali with my family, I never once deterred from my two favorites out there - Baked Vegetable & Palak Paneer. Yes, as is customary with almost everyone, I tried to duplicate that taste at home time and again. Never did it reach the zenith that I had tasted in the Baked Veg out there and my attempts continue......
The white sauce gravy was just the right consistency, not too thick nor too runny, it had a slight sweetish tinge and was BLISS! One bite into it was enough to melt away your blues (well at that time not being given a rose by someone you secretly admired on the college rose-day was one of the biggest "tension's" of life!!!). Food was always served with small onions in sirka(vinegar), ooh gives me the goose bumps. The naan, fresh out of the tandoor was light and flaky.
If anyone out there knows the exact recipe of this dish please send it to me and I'll forever be indebted to you :-)
Now to my recipe-
1 carrot, 1 potato, 10 beans, 2 cauliflower florets - chopped
1/4 cup peas
1 onion sliced
1 tbsp chopped green bell pepper
salt & pepper as per taste
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup milk
2tbsp butter
3 tbsp grated cheese
Steam potato, carrot, beans and cauliflower till done, but not mushy.
Heat butter, add onion & saute a minute. Add bell pepper and saute till cooked but still has a crunch. Add all purpose flour & cook till raw smell disappears. Reduce flame and add milk, stir and cook till thick on medium flame. Add cooked vegetables, salt & pepper. I add some sugar for a little sweetish taste. I know of some friends who add finely chopped green chilly to the butter, that's entirely up to you. Bake it in a 350C oven till cheese is bubbly.
Enjoy Baked Vegetables with garlic bread!
The picture does not do justice to this dish, but nonetheless, it was quite good.
I've not been to Amrapali in quite a few years now, but hope to visit it on my next trip home and hope that they still have that magic in their Baked Veg!!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Palak Puri

What is it with rains and the craving to savour something fried?

Well, it rained tonight and I was drawn to the, you guessed it - 'Tel ki Kadai' .

Now, lemme' make it very clear that I do believe in moderation! Once in a while one can indulge in fried food, ghee based sweets and the like, it is still far better than all the highly processed stuff available out there.

Excuses! Excuses! Excuses!

So what was it going to be?

I made this lovely green Palak Puri .

I saw this spinach roti recipe from and decided to try it, thanks Lakshmi for this recipe!

I followed the recipe for the dough except for a minor change:
Being the garlicoholic(if there is such a word) that I am, I added 3 cloves grated garlic.

2 cups wheat flour (atta)
1 cup frozen palak
2 tbsp besan
1tsp ajwain
3 cloves garlic grated
2 tbsp cumin pwd

1 tsp chilli pwd
1/2 tsp
turmeric pwd
1/2 cup curds
salt to taste
Oil to deep fry

Thaw the palak. Mix all except the oil and knead to a stiff dough, can add water as required. Roll into small puri and deep fry.

Enjoy these delicious puris either with pickle or as a part of a meal. Makes a great snack to go with a hot cuppa' tea as well.

This is my entry for MBP March 2007

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Anjeer/Fig Shake

I've always had an affinity for Anjeer, be it in a fresh form or in dry form. The fresh Anjeer is such a delicate & luscious fruit, easily bruised and one cannot store it for too long. In such cases the dry Anjeer comes to the rescue, ever so delicious and with all the nutrients in it's grip.

Here's a quick Anjeer milk shake that i make often, be it summer or winter. (Pssst. if it is winter time I just microwave it for a few seconds so that I can enjoy it without the chills :-) )

10 dried Figs
2 cups milk
2 pinches cardamom pwd (optional)
Sugar as per taste ( I do not feel the need to add sugar)

Soak the figs in a cup of milk for couple of hours. Add 1 more cup milk and blend at high speed to get a nice froth. Add sugar if required. Serve in tall glass and garnish with cardamom pwd.


Friday, March 16, 2007


Nutritious Junk food?

Isn't that an oxymoron?

Nope! This one sure has a good blend of proteins, carbs, calcium and it still fits the junk food category. Not convinced? Try it for yourself!!

Misal basically translates to mixture, this dish is very forgiving and you can add or subtract the ingredients as per your liking. Can't go wrong with that!!

1cup mixed whole dals (moong, chole, rajma, double beans, matki etc) soaked overnite
can even use sprouts
1 onion chopped
Tadka - 2tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp jeera, hing, curry leaves

Green chutney :Blend coriander leaves, green chilli, ginger, salt & lemon juice
Garlic chutney : Blend garlic, red chilli pwd, lemon juice, salt with some water
Tamarind chutney: Boil dates, jaggery & tamarind pulp. Add salt, chilli pwd, jeera pwd & blend.
Chopped onion
Chopped coriander leaves
Whisked yogurt with sugar & salt
Sev or gathia

Heat oil, add jeera, hing & curry leaves. Add onion & saute till translucent. Add pressure cooked dal mix and cook a few minutes. Add salt, turmeric, garam masala and water, bring to boil & simmer a few minutes.

Serve in a plate, top with the three chutneys, whisked yogurt, chopped onions, corriander leaves and finally with gathia or any fried mixture. See picture to get an idea!

Do give it a try, I've not given exact measurements for chutneys etc 'coz that can be done as per taste! It can also be served with pav to get misal-pav.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Naturally Green Mums

I was blown away by this beautiful creation of nature!! Have you seen anything like it??

Such things make me very philosophical, it makes me think how small we are in this magnanimous universe and it puts all the little upheavals in perspective. Am I alone to think as such??

Enjoy every moment and express your gratitude for every small spark of hapiness....

Each and every one of us has a miracle hidden inside and it is upto us and us only to unveil it.

Lets strive to be the creation that we were destined to be........

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hare Chane Ki Chaat

Hare Chane ki Chaat

I've such fond memories of eating this hara chana (aka harbara), sitting on the jhula (swing), shelling it with my sis, fresh as could be. Now I've to make do with what ever is available, translation - frozen chana! Aren't all the lovely memories created around food? I make this to recreate those moments.

I've to share a very special story with you all. I used to have excellent chana chaat from a vendor at Matunga. People came from far away places to indulge in this chaat. It used to be a very funny sight, he used to add his special masala pwd to the chaat in a quick motion of 13 pinches, imagine that! Now if you wanted extra spicy, it would be 20 quick pinches and so on. We used to have such a blast watching him count & add those pinches of masala and then we used to joke -did you get all 13pinches or was it less? He had created a name for himself due to this style of his, good marketing, wat say?

Here's how you can do it.
1/2 cup hara chana, steamed
2 tbsp chopped onion
2 tbsp chopped tomato
Chaat masala, red chille pwd, black salt, salt & pepper as per taste
lemon juice

Mix all and enjoy this powerhouse of nutrition, that's all!!

I cannot stress enough that they taste awesome when fresh, frozen is always second choice.

This is my entry for Nupur's A-Z of vegetables.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Pineapple Coconut Cup Cakes

There are some recipes that you just look at and you know that they will turn out good. Now this is one of those recipes. I saw this Pineapple Coconut cake from Asha at and could not wait to try it.

Here's how I did it.
I halved the recipe and substituted the eggs with yogurt. Also, I used canned crushed pineapple & omitted the nutmeg pwd and cinnamon pwd. The pineapple & coconut aroma wafting through the house was unbelievable. Thank You Asha.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Veg Frankie

Frankie, the popular street food of Bombay (still not able to get myself to call it Mumbai) is best when eaten hot off the tava. It is spicy and tangy at the same time. When cravings for street food hit you, why not try to create the same kinds of food at home? That is exactly what I did, cooked hot & spicy veg Frankie! Now there are various stuffings that you can cook up including paneer, the ever popular potato & the non-veg variety. It is important to season the stuffing well to get that street food taste !

2 potatoes boiled & chopped
1 onion chopped
1/4 cup peas (optional)
2 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp jeera
Red chilli pwd, garam masala, lemon juice - all as per taste

Onion mix - Mix 1 onion chopped, salt, black pepper, chat masala, lemon juice & coriander leaves.
Green chutney - Blend coriander leaves, green chilli, ginger, salt & lemon juice
Heat oil, add jeera. Add onion & peas, fry till onion gets a few brown specks. Add chilli pwd, garam masala & turmeric. Add boiled potato & mix well. Switch off gas & add lemon juice.

Heat a griddle, add little oil & fry the tortilla & flip over. Now slather green chutney over it, add 2tbsp potato mix in a straight line so as to be able to fold the tortilla well. Add 1/2 tbsp onion mix. Add chilli pwd on top as per taste. Please add all spices as per your spice capacity & preference. Fold over and enjoy the famous street food of Bombay!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mixed Vegetables

What do you do if you have half a carton of Trader Joe's Roasted Pepper Tomato soup left in your refrigerator? Well, I like to make a wonderful gravy as a base for my Mix Veg. It is lip-smackingly good and very simple to make. Try it once and you will always wish for a carton of the soup in your fridge.

Here's how I make it.
2cups steamed mix veg (potato, peas, carrot, beans, corn etc)
2 cups Trader Joe's Roasted Pepper Tomato soup
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp ginger paste
2 tbsp oil, jeera, small stick cinnamon, 1 red chilli, curry leaves, hing, turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp red chilli pwd (adjust as per taste)
Heat oil, add jeera, cinnamon, red chilli, hing, curry leaves. Add ginger & garlic, saute two minutes. Add turmeric, red chilli pwd & garam masala, immediately add soup & bring to a simmer. Add steamed veg and cook till done. This tastes just as good with potatoes & peas as well. Enjoy with Naan or rice. Make a quick weekend treat for your loved ones.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Paneer Bhurji

I love Paneer and so does my lil' sis, whenever we meet we discuss new ways to incorporate paneer into our ever growing repertoire of paneer recipes. Paneer Bhurji is the easiest of them all, hardly takes any time to put together. Here is my recipe for a simple yet nutritious bhurji.

1 cup Chopped Paneer
1 onion chopped
1 tomato chopped
1/2 green bell pepper chopped
1 green chilli chopped
haldi, chilli pwd & garam masala as per taste
2tbsp oil, jeera, hing

Heat oil, add jeera & hing. Add onion & bell pepper, saute till onion is translucent. Add tomato, haldi, chilli pwd, salt & cook 2mins. Add paneer & mix well. Cover & cook a few mins, sprinkle garam masala & mix. Don't overcook this subji. Garnish with corriander & serve. You just can't go wrong, I promise!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Quick Mexican Dishes

By default, Mexican food and by that I mean Taco Bell comes to the rescue of all desi's when they want to try anything non-Indian, specially when they are new to this country. After a while one does dare and try from the abundance of cuisines available here. My story is no different. Initially, I always carried my faithful lunch box to work and whenever it was time to go out for lunch as a group I used to find it difficult to eat out. I started experimenting and appreciating other cuisines and always asked my colleagues for advise. Now I do enjoy other stuff but it is nowhere near compared to what all my hubby has experimented with. He is always very eager to try all new stuff and sometimes I feel guilty of not being able to give him company on such occasions. Mexican food is a different story, I like it a lot and have learnt to cook a few of their veg dishes. I feel it is pretty simple and the combinations that one can whip up are quite a few. Today I made Veg Quesadilla and Pizza.

Veg Quesadilla
2 onion chopped
1 cup chopped veg - bell pepper, corn, zucchini
1/2 cup Bean paste (blend re fried beans with taco sauce)
1tsp taco seasoning
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves (yup i love garlic)
8 small flour tortilla
1 cup monterey jack cheese OR 4 cheese blend

Heat oil, add crushed pepper & garlic, saute a min. Add onion & veg, saute a few minutes. Add taco seasoning.
Heat a griddle, spray oil. Heat a tortilla, spread 1tbsp bean paste, 1tbsp veg, sprinkle cheese and cover with another tortilla. When one side is crisp turn over and cook other side. It's done, Tadaaa..
Quesadilla can be made just with cheese or beans paste & cheese and it tastes equally good.

Small flour tortilla
chopped onion & bell pepper
chopped garlic
tomato ketchup

Butter one side of tortilla & put that side down on a baking tray, sprinkle cheese, add veg on top along with garlic and bake in toaster oven for 10-15mins at 350C till crisp. Dot with ketchup and serve. This sounds too simple, but do give it a try and you will be surprised how good it tastes!
(BTW this is not an authentic Mex Pizza but just a simpler version which can be put together without a fuss in a few mins. For the real Mex Pizza you can visit one of my fav blogs - )

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Holi Celebration

Happy Holi to All!

Hope you all enjoyed Holi with your near and dear ones. Holi conjures up images of beautiful colors and the song that comes to mind is the ever popular 'Rang Barase...'. People let go of their inhibitions this day, indulge in colours and meet & greet each other with love. We had a good time celebrating Holi in NJ and here are some pictures. There was a lot of traffic, the cops were doing a great job trying to keep it moving . There were more than 10, 000 people who had gathered for the Holi celebration, the fire was really big and there was color in the air. People were enjoying throwing colors on each other (luckily it was all dry color) and having a good time, some more enthusiastic than others! My jeans, winter jacket, shoes & socks had lots of color on them. Also the people were trying to get their hands on the oh-so-tasty burnt coconut from the fire. Prashad consisting of Paratha, chole & jeera rice was served after that. We were in midst of such lively atmosphere.

As a kid I was scared of all the colorful water that everyone used to slam on the faces, I used to run away from all that. My lil' sis on the other hand would go out and play colors with each and every group that came to our house. The main attraction for me used to be the delicious food that my mom cooked. I'm trying to continue this tradition at my home now.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Upma with Sambar & Chutney - Matunga Style

(clockwise - Sambhar, Khajur/Date peda, Coconut chutney, Upma)

Oooh how I love the Upma at RamAshray, Madras Cafe or Mani's in Matunga. It is simply the best there! Also the fact that they indulge you with lots of unlimited sambar & chutney adds to the charm. Out here I've seen the restaurants charging extra for additional chutney or sambar, that is pathetic, methinks! Also the taste is nowhere close to my Matunga upma, people who have tasted there will definitely second me. Just thinking about it makes me so nostalgic. If anyone has visited these places recently pleeeeease, pleeeease let me know about your experience. Everytime we visit India, by the time we reach home and freshen up it is about 3am, then we wait till 5am b'coz that's the time these restaurants open and we make a mad dash to eat Upma, Sheera, Medu vada, Dosa etc. Yes we eat like we have never eaten before!!

Here is my recipe for Upma. Try it once and I promise you will be hooked. This is a basic recipe, you can add veg as per liking.

1cup sooji/upma rava/cream of wheat
4cups water
1tsp green chilli paste
1/2tsp ginger paste
1 onion sliced
1tbsp lemon juice
Dhaniya Patta
Tadka: 2tbsp oil/ghee (ghee gives best flavor), rai, jeera, hing, curry patta

Heat oil/ghee, add rai, jeera & hing. Add curry patta & onion, fry for couple of mins. Add rava and saute well till you get a good aroma. In the meanwhile boil water. Add chilli & ginger paste to the water. Once rava is done, add water and stir well. Cover & cook a min. Add salt per
taste. Add lemon juice and dhaniya patta. Serve with chutney & sambar. Enjoy. If you ever get to visit Matunga, try the upma at Madras Cafe, RamAshray or Mani's.