Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I have been swamped at work and home. Loads of new projects at work and have been busy entertaining friends and family for the last 2 month, every weekend. So there is rarely anytime to take a picture or post something. Even visiting blogs of other friends has been irregular. Here is wishing everyone a great Christmas and a lovely holidays season. I will be back soon and until then, stay warm and enjoy!

Here is a view of the snow covered tree outside our house. We have been covered in snow since yesterday and all traffic in and around has stopped. The 1st snow of the season and we are enjoying it with hot cup of chocolate and garam garam bhajis. How are you enjoying your holidays season ?

Here is also a picture of the ginger-bread house my kids put together. Oh the fun they had and the mess they created!

Also I have been passed on several awards in the last few months. Indrani  and Satarupa had passed on the sunshine award. Thanks Indrani and Satarupa! You both are amazing people with such yummy blogs and thanks for thinking of me!

Also tagged by Sayantani. She has an amazing blog and check out the flurry of baking going on her site in the last few weeks. She is in the right Christmas spirit!

Another person who has just had her blog's anniversary and tagged me was Pre. I can spend hours on her blog and facebook page looking through the pictures. Have you seen how she celebrated the blog's 1st birthday ? Now even I wouldn't mind such a celebration! 

So every enjoy and see you back soon!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Habisa Dalma

Today is Kartika Purnima - one of the holiest days of the year, and culminates a whole month of puja in the month of Kartika masa. Lots of Oriya women (not sure if men do it - I have seen grandma, mom and aunts celebrate this month) do not eat non vegetarian for the whole month. Usually they eat once during the day and one of the key item for the meal is Habisa Dalma. Here is my Aunt's version of the habisa dalama that I  love. Tomorrow is Chada Khai, the day everyone feasts on non vegetarian food. I have heard the price of mutton goes up 2-3 times for the day - talk about Supply and Demand!

1 cup Mung Dal
1 tin of Jackfruit (non-ripe version)
2 raw bananas - chopped into small pieces
2 Saru or Arbi - peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 table spoon ghee
1 tea spoon cumin seeds
2 red chillies
2 green chillies
2 inch ginger - grated
1 tea spoon of dry cumin seeds roasted and powdered
handful of fresh grated coconut (frozen ones, thawed work fine too)
2-3 bay leaves
Salt to taste

How to
Take a pan and heat it. Add the mung dal and dry roast it until it starts changing color (at very low heat). It takes about 10-12 min.
Remove from heat and soak the dal for 1 hr.
Take a pan, add the dal and salt and 3 times the water and let it boil for 15 min.
If the dal looks a little bit cooked, add the saru and let it cook for a few minutes.
Then add the chopped raw bananas and the cut raw jack-fruit pieces.
Once everything is cooked, adjust salt to taste. (No Tumeric is added to this dal)

Take another pan, add the ghee and let it get hot.
Add the chillies and the cumin seeds, bay leaves and the grated ginger and pour the mixture on the dal.
Add some dry roasted and powdered cumin seeds and fresh grated coconut and mix well in the dal.

Eat fresh or the next day. Add some lemon to enhance the taste of the dalma! As Satarupa says, enjoy this dalma with Arua Bhata (white rice), Aloo Bharta (Mashed potatoes), Saga and khata.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Diwali with Besan Coconut Burfi

Hello All! A very Happy Diwali! Here is again something sweet and easy to prepare. If you have 1/2hr and want to make a home made sweet for Diwali puja or any puja - this is the sweet for you... It is so easy that I made it for my home science class in 9th grade. I hope you all are having a lovely Diwali with friends and family...


1 cup fresh coconut (or the frozen coconut thawed in microwave for 1 minute)
1 cup Besan
1 cup ghee (you can use oil)
3/4 cup sugar
freshly ground cardamom (3-4 of them)

How to

Mix all the ingredients well, other than the cardamom powder. Once mixed well it will be like a soft dough.
Heat a pan and put the mixture in the pan at low heat and keep mixing well. Once the mixture warms up, loads of ghee will ooze out.
Keep stirring for 8-10 min at low heat, until there is a nice aroma of the besan and it starts changing color.
Add the cardamom powder, mix well and remove from heat onto a well greezed tray. Do not throw out the extra ghee. Cut the mixture into diamond shapes and let it cool. The mixture hardens in 5-8 minutes and all the additional ghee is absorbed and your burfi is ready!

Enjoy it whenever you please!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Easy Breezy Egg-less White Cup Cakes

Every-time I am off from work, everyone last a list of tasks for me. Hubby wants me to run some chores, my daughter wants me to plan a play-date with one of her friends and my son wants me to cook something special for him (Didn't I tell you - he is a big foodie ?), while I want to laze around all day. Usually my daughter wins and I end up doing something fun for her. This time my son put his foot down, he needed "White cup cakes"!  Usually we bake chocolate cup cakes, but some how he is bored of them and I had to make something "special" for him.

So I took the easy way out, took my usual chocolate cup cake recipe and skipped the chocolate and add a little bit extra milk and I was done. Also I used the self rising flour and so the cake fluffed up with barely any work on anyone's side! Isn't that a nice project to be done with a young one ? And you should have seen his smile when he saw the puffed up cup cakes in the oven - surely worth the effort (and more) !
Also we tried chocolate chip cookies with this self rising flour and it was a disaster! I guess the lesson is, stick to cakes and cup cakes while using self rising flour!

3 cups of Self rising flour
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups milk
 2 tea spoon of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
some chopped nuts or chocolate chip cookies to decorate (optional - my kids didn't allow me to add it)

How To
Pre-heat the oven to 350*F
Mix the dry ingredients (flour and salt) well.
In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar until the mixture changes color. Add the milk and flour alternately to the sugar-butter mixture. Beat well after each addition. Once everything is added, add the vanilla extract and mix well.
Pour into paper lined cup-cake tins and bake for 20-25 min until the tooth-pick inserted comes out clean.
Let it cool a little but, before you dig in!

Enjoy it warm off the oven! If you have any left over for the next day, warm it for 10 seconds in the microwave and Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dahi Bara and Aloo dum and Ghuguni

You talk to any Cuttacki (Cuttack is the place where I grew up in Orissa) and they will swear by their dahi bara, aloo dum and ghughuni chat! Ofcourse each local region will have its own favorite. Some will swear by Eshwara's dahi bara, aloo dum and ghughuni chat, while other's will only touch Raghu's dahi bara and Aloo dum and others are purists who love their chandi chowk's dahi bara!

Durga Puja times brings nostalgia and somehow food figures high on my list of happy times during puja. While I cannot claim this dahi bara, aloo dum or ghughuni is authetic, it does get me to a happy mood! My cousin E and her hubby were coming over for lunch and we enjoyed this cuttacki feast! The yummy Aloo dum was made my little sister - and it was real yum.

Pree - this post was inspired by your event  Beyond Five Days of Durga Puja.

For the ghughuni recipe, you can look at my mom's here, or just make your own! While I am not sure of the details on how my sister made the Aloo Dum, you can try a simpler version here.

For the Bara
Urad Dal - 1 cup soaked overnight
fist ful of chana dal soaked overnight with the urad dal
2 -3 green chillies
bunch of coriander leaves
1 inch of ginger - cut into thin slices
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

For the Dahi (Yogurt mixture)
Yogurt - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup (adjust consistency based on taste).
2 table spoon Grated Ginger
1-2 Green chillies cut into thin slices
Black Salt to taste
Sat to taste
Fried and ground cumin seeds
Oil for seasoning
Curry leaves
1 teaspoon of Mustard seeds
pinch of hing

How To make the Dahi Bara
Soak the urad Dal and chana dal over night.
Grind to a rough paste along with the ginger slices, chillies and coriander leaves.
Mix Salt and leave aside in a warm place for 6-8 hrs. (Tip : If in India don't mix salt and leave aside , it is too warm and the Bara becomes too sour. Add salt only before deep frying)

Just before deep frying, get the dahi mixture ready. It is simple, beat the yogurt with salt and black salt.
Once it is a smooth paste, add water and cumin powder and grated ginger and chillies. Taste at this point and adjust any of the above as per your liking.

Season the dahi mixture. Take a small pot, and heat oil in it. Add mustard seeds and hing and curry leaves and pour into the dahi mixture...

Now before you fry the baras, you need to follow one more step. Get a big bowl, fill with warm water and add a pinch of salt and sugar and lemon juice to it.

Once your fry your baras, dung them in this warm water for a few minutes before transferring them to the dahi mixture. This steps keeps the bara's soft and drains out some of the excess oil.

Now the fun starts with dahi baras, eat them as is or make a chat with adding some cuttacki bara maja (mixture  - haldiram's will do, if you can't lay your hands on the original ones), and onions and imli chutney. Look at mine above!

Or eat it as chat with Aloo Dum and Ghughuni. I love my Dahi Bara with Aloo Duma and Ghuguni with chopped onions! How do you like yours ?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Paneer Mattar Masala

This month has been a busy month. We have had friends and cousins from India every weekend. This weekend I had my husband's Uncle and Aunt from India. His Aunt is an expert cook and I had to make something special. So I tried this paneer mattar masala from another expert's blog - Rak's blog. The paneer turned out creamy and yummy and we all enjoyed it immensely.

The recipe I followed was quite close to what was on Rak's blog. I just skipped the yogurt and lemon bit! Also the step by step pictures, helped me not burn the onions - key to a yummy gravy!

Sending this recipe off to Priya's every tuesday book-marked event.

1 packet of Paneer - defrosted

1/2 cup of Frozen Peas
2 Tomatoes - diced
3 Green chillies

1 tea spoon of Ginger garlic paste
1/2 tea spoon of Red chili powder
1 tea spoon of Dhaniya powder

1/2 tea spoon of Turmeric powder
pinch of Garam masala powder

Coriander leaves
for garnishing
Salt to taste
2 tablespoon of oil

To Fry and grind to a paste
2 Onion - sliced
1 small Cinnamon
2 Elachi/cardamom
2 cloves
4-5 Pepper
1 tea spoon of oil or ghee

How To

Heat a pan with oil and add the cinnamon, elachi, cloves and pepper.
The add onion and fry till golden brown. Ensure it doesn't burn. (Look at the pictures on her site to know when to stop frying the onions). Cool and grind into a smooth paste.
Shallow fry the frozen paneer with a little bit of oil until it turns golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
Heat a pan, add oil. Once the oil is hot, add green chilies and then ginger garlic paste. Fry for 2 minutes and then add the onion paste from above and let it simmer at low heat for 10-12 min. Keep stirring the paste every few minutes. Keep doing this until oil comes out from the mixture.
Add the salt and red chili powder and dhaniya powder and mix well.

After this add the diced tomatoes and cook well. Add garam masala. Cook until the tomatoes are mushy.
Add the frozen peas and the paneer cook for a few minutes.
Adjust spice level and garnish with coriander leaves. Add some water if you like gravy in your paneer curry.
I love my paneer curry, the next day. You can enjoy it same day or warmed the next day!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Panasa (Jackfruit) cutlets

Here is panasa cutlet that was made by Sasu (who I would say is the queen of cutlets- she makes them all and makes them awesome). See my earlier post on Soya cutlet and Fish cutlet,  to see what I mean.

Most of the cutlets are similar, but each tastes unique.. This made from fresh jack fruit, tastes just as good as mutton cutlets. No fresh jackfruit, no worries, use the canned ones - they state yummy too!

My in-laws had a huge jackfruit tree in their backyard. So summer months, they had load of panasa delicacies. So while both the sons (my husband and his younger brother) sat reminiscing their childhood days with mom, they remembered this cutlet. My Sasu made this as a farewell dinner for her sons, as she left for India yesterday.

1 can of raw Jackfruit (or panasa in Oriya)
4 small potatoes (peeled)

2-3 green chillies chopped
1 large Onion finely chopped
2 tea spoon of ginger-garlic paste
handful of peanuts (optional)
1 tea spoon of garam masala
1 spring of coriander leaves cut finely (optional)
Salt to taste

Bread Crumbs - as needed
1 cup of Besan
Oil for deep frying

How To
Boil the jackfruit with potatoes and salt until they turn mushy. Once the mixtures cools down, mash the 2 together.

In a nonstick pan fry Onion and ginger-garlic for 2 minutes. Add the peanut and fry well.
Then add the mashed jackfruit and potatoes mashed mixture and fry  for 1-2 minutes. 
Add the garam masala and salt if needed. Mix well and let it cool.
Add the coriander leaves and green chillies and mix well.

In a separate bowl, take the besan, a pinch of salt and pinch of garam masala and mix well.
Add water to make a thick batter and mix well to ensure there are no lumps.
After the jacfruit and potatoes mixture cools, take small portions and shape into oval cutlets.
Dip them in besan batter then roll them in bread crumbs and keep aside.

Fry them and eat them hot off the plate. Enjoy with mint chutney!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Summer fun with orange (color)

Its end of summer and wow what a fun filled time it was. Evenings were fun and sunny and warm and spent in the parks or beach. The kids got a restful summer doing nothing and it is all coming to an end. Summer here reminds me of grilled corn and lemonade (kids love making it)... Of course cannot imagine summer without mangoes. So here is my ode to summer color - orange!

The orange juice is freshly squeezed by my kids. Add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor of the juice. And if the orange is too sour - add a spoonful of sugar and mix well and serve!

The mango ice-cream was made for family friends who have a sweet tooth and are borderline diabetics. So certainly not a very healthy choice but they really enjoyed it. The ice-cream I initially served to them was not really sweet, so I had to add some honey to it while I ate it. I have added some sugar to the recipe here (adjust to taste - since I am putting approximate amounts here). I also made mango milk shake with dollops of the mango ice-cream and it was heavenly...

Ingredients for the mango ice-cream

1 can of unsweetened condensed milk
1 can of mango slices (you can use the sugar syrup if you want, I didn't)
1/2 can of evaporated milk
1/4 cup sugar (optional - use any sweetener of your choice)
1/4 cup of fresh mango sliced into small pieces

How To

Mix the condensed milk, mango slices, evaporated milk, sugar using a blender. Do it in batches if needed.
Put in a container and freeze for 2 hours. Take it out, break the ice crystals and re-freeze. Take it out after an hour, break the mixture again, add the mango slices and put it back to freeze. Let it freeze for 2-4 hrs (depending on the size of the container). Serve chilled!

Enjoy as ice-cream or mix well with milk and enjoy as a mango milkshake!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

International Ghanta

Don't ask me why the name of the dish! This is what we kids used to call this at home -  'International Ghanta'. Maybe it was all the vegetables that was put in it.

Growing up, I used to hate this being made or served at home. Now I think it is a delicacy and prepare for special occasions. As I was talking earlier, my Sasu had gone to visit relatives. The day she came back, I had made this ghanta and tomato khata and dalma, another typical oriya meal. We all had a nice meal together. And yes one of the few meals that I have cooked in the last few months. I have been enjoying the summer and spending time with the kids after work, no major cooking for me! And yes summer is going to end soon and my sasu will be leaving soon too! Sigh!

This is very similar to another ghanta post, I have. Infact the ingredient list is very similar. The only difference is that this was made with Onion garlic and the taste of the dishes (with or without onion garlic) is way different from the earlier ghanta!

Also sending this ghanta  to Priya's event 'Lets sprout' . And a very Happy Independence day! Don't the colors of the veggies remind you of the Indian flag ?


1/2 cup of thinly chopped onions
1/2 cup of diced Potatoes
1 cup of diced Yellow Pumpkin
1/2 cup of Eggplant cut into large chunks
1/4 cup Yam (or saru)
1/3 cup Green beans (use string beans if you have them)
1/2 cup of diced Carrots
1/2 cup of diced Radish
1/2 cup of cut green papaya
few dried mango pieces (ambula)

1 handful of yellow peas soaked in water (2-3 hours)
2 hand full of chick peas (soak and keep for sprouting the day before)
1 handful of Desi Channa (soak and keep for sprouting the day before)
1 handful of green mung Dal (soak and keep for sprouting the day before)

1 tsp of punch puran seeds
1 table spoon of ginger garlic paste

2-3 tablespoon of fried Cumin powder (if freshly roasted and ground then better)
Fresh Coriander leaves
4-5 Red Chillies

4-5 bay leaves
Turmeric powder to taste
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking (you can use ghee if you want too)
Coconut pieces or shredded coconut (optional) - about handful
Ghee - 2 tea spoon (optional)

How to

Put 2-3 table spoon of oil in a frying pan and put the panch phuran seeds and let them splutter.

Add the bay leaves and the red chillies and fry for 1/2 min. Add the onion and fry until it starts changing color.

Add the vegetables that take time to cook (like papaya and radish first). Also add the sprouts and green and yellow peas. And salt and turmeric powder. Cover and cook for 5 min.

Add the ginger-garlic paste and all all other vegetables (other than eggplant and ambula).

Cover and cook in slow fire for about 45-50 min (depending on the quantity of vegetables). Keep mixing and checking every 3-4 minutes.

When all the vegetables are nearly cooked, add eggplant and cook for a few minutes. Add the ambula and ghee and fried cumin powder and cover after turning off the stove.

Garnish with cut corainder leaves and fresh grated coconut (both are optional) and serve.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Summer feast with Pakhala Bhata

Sorry guys for disappearing for ages... As everyone would have figured out, I am not the most organized person here. So though I love challenges, and new stories/opportunities, they do throw my schedule completely haywire. Suddenly got an opportunity to go Japan for work. Didn't think before saying yes... Of course craziness started after that. All the preparation at work for the trip was keeping me tied up and then home front was busier. Leaving the 2 kids home with MIL was a challenge. I was leaving home without the kids for the 1st time in 9 yrs and it was very different routine for everyone. I think it was toughest on my older one, my little one was happy with extra TV time and pizza for any meals he chose!

After coming back, there have been other challenges. My MIL had to go meet some relatives and in the mean while, nanny decided to quit. It was craziness at it peak. Finally last Sunday, after we found a nanny and MIL came back, she prepared this pakhala feast for me. This meal was the perfect meal to ground me and bring me back home. A meal to be enjoyed over good conversation at leisure. Pakhala bhata is a day old rice soaked in water with some water, yogurt, salt and green chilies. If you don't have yogurt, substitute with  lemon or use both lemon and yogurt.  It is favored by everyone in Orissa, especially in Summer.

So here is my pakhala bhata with a whole plate full of side dishes. This is how pakhala is enjoyed with several side dishes like Badi chura, Bhaja Santula, Pickles, Aloo Bharta. Make sure crush the green chilies in the rice and water and enjoy! Only thing missing was the fish fry, which usually accompanies a bowl of pakhala. And after eating such a meal, you need a sound round of siesta! So enjoy this feast and see you back soon!

And enjoy some pictures from Tokyo.....

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Raja with Stuffed Idlis

Today is the start of Raja festival for Oriyas. It is a special occasion for girls. Girls get to wear new clothes and spend time with friends - dancing, singing and swinging. Lots of adhoc swings (ropes hung out from tall trees)  come up during this time. There is a lot of pithas (Oriya sweets) made during these 3 days of Raja celebration. This is my simple recipe to celebrate this great festival.

Urad Dal - 1 cup
Idli Rice - 1 cup
Salt to taste

For the filling
2 tablespoon of paneer (fresh, home made paneer)
2 tablespoon of gur/brown sugar (sugar will work too)
1 tablespoon of shredded coconut
1 pod of elaichi

How To
Soak the Ural dal and Idli rice overnight.  Grind it and leave it for few hours for it to ferment.

Mix the paneer, brown sugar, shredded coconut and elaichi well. You can cook on the stove top for a few minutes. I just microwaved it for 2 minutes.

Pour the batter into the mold. Add the filling on the top and steam the idlis as required for regular idlis.

Serve fresh. It tastes great with warm milk too.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Saaga of saga or spinach

When I was a youngster, we used to live in government quarters with a huge garden. Dad was in the Orissa government service and while I guess we never had a lot of money, we did have load of fresh vegetables from the garden. And I hated all veggies other than a chosen few. When we visited friends or relatives, my mom would pack 1 or 2 huge bags (depending on the size of the visiting family) of fresh vegetables for them. While others would get sweets or fruits as gifts, ours was always these fresh vegetables and don't ask me how embarrassed I was! I couldn't imagine then why my mom would carry such gifts (Of course it was economical for my mom and tasty for the visiting family - but it was well beyond my comprehension!). When we moved out of the big house with the garden to a small house with no garden, thats when I saw the the anguish of my mom when she bought dried, not fresh vegetables at atrocious prices.

Here is a quick saga (any green leafy vegetable - my mother in law has used spinach here) with additional vegetables that is made commonly in Oriya household. The choice of vegetables is up to what is available, but these are the ones usually used. Sending this to Preeti's green gourmet event, though there is nothing gourmet about it!

Green leafy vegetable like spinach - a whole big bunch washed and cleaned and cut
1 small eggplant cut into small pieces
1/2 cup of pumpkin cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon of panch phutan
2 red chillies
2 tablespoon of oil/ghee
handful of badis (optional)
Salt to taste

How To
Take a pan and fry the badis in hot oil. Move the hot badis into a paper towel to drain the oil.
Take a bigger pan and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the panch phutan and red chillies.
Add the pumpkin and salt and fry for few minutes. Then add the eggplant and cool on high heat for 2 minutes.
Then add the spinach leaves and let the spinach wilt and let the vegetables get cooked.
Once everything is cooked, adjust the salt and add the fried badis an serve.

The Badis need to be added just before serving. It is optional and can be left out if you don't have it.
You can make this with ghee too, it tastes even better.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mandira Randha Ghee Anna or Ghee Rice

Here I present Ghee rice (Mandira means temple and randha is cooked) as cooked in Orissa temples. Rice served in temples is usually called Ghee Anna. When I was in Orissa this time, we had several trips to temples and ate lunches at those temples. The simplicity of this satvik food - rice, daal and mixed vegetable is awesome. We had some friends over last weekend at very short notice. Since my mother in law doesn't eat onions, garlic on Sundays, she prepared this simple prasad food. Unfortunately everything else got over, so I couldn't take pictures, so here I present the Ghee rice.

2 cups of cooked Rice
2-3 Bay leaves
handful of cashew nuts and raisins
1 tablespoon of ghee
1 tea spoon of Jeera or Cumin Seeds
1 tea spoon of lemon juice
Salt to taste (optional)

How To
Cook Rice with a little bit of salt (Salt is optional). Make sure the rice is not over done.
Heat a pan. Add ghee and bay leaves and the nuts and the cumin seeds.
Once the seeds splutter, add the raisins and take off the heat.
Add the lemon juice to the rice and add the seasoning from above and mix well and serve fresh.

The food from the temples comes in clay pots and hence the inspiration to serve in this coconut shaped serving dish...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Badi Chura

I know the Oriya food veterans will laugh at this post. Anyone and everyone can make this badi chura. It is a constant fixture in Oriya meals, especially with pakhala (rice with water combination - about which I have to post one day).
Badi is dried lentils and is usually made in fall and stored away for the year. It comes in handy as a quick side dish when you have to put a meal together in a jiffy. Here is a link to Sharmila's site on what Badi's look like and how they can be made in an oven.

Few Badis
1 small onion chopped
few green chillies chopped
a couple of crushed garlic
1 tea spoon Oil for frying the badis

How To
Heat the oil in a pan and shallow fry the badis and keep aside.
Just before serving, mix the rest of the ingredients and serve.
The crunch of the badi with the smell of garlic and  onions is therapeutic.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yummy Soy Cutlets

Sorry for disappearing since such a long time. I had some major work that was supposed to finish mid March but it continued for ever...In the meanwhile my mother in law is here and as I have said earlier she is the queen of cutlets. So to introduce her arrival, here is one of the cutlets that she makes. It is healthy if you bake it or shallow fry it - the ones here has been deep fried! Enjoy!

2 cups of soy chunks
1/4 cup milk for soaking the soy chunks

1 tea spoon of Chili powder
4 large Potato boiled and skin peeled off and mashed
1 large Onion finely chopped
2 tea spoon of ginger-garlic paste
1 tea spoon of garam masala
1 spring of coriander leaves cut finely (optional)
Salt to taste

Bread Crumbs - as needed
1 cup of Besan
Oil for deep frying

How To
Soak the soy chunks in water and milk for few hours. After that squueze the water out and grind in a food processor to get minced soy. Now if you have minced soy, you don't have to do any grinding and the cutlets turn out much crisper!

In a nonstick pan fry Onion and ginger-garlic for 2 minutes.
Then add the minced soy and fry on slow fire for 8-10 minutes. At this point, you will see the minced soy turning slighly brown. (Dont burn it though!)
Add the garam masala and chili powder and mashed potatoes and salt to taste.
At the end add the coriander leaves and mix well and take off the stove and let it cool.

In a separate bowl, take the besan, a pinch of salt and pinch of garam masala and mix well.
Add water to make a thick batter and mix well to ensure there are no lumps.
After the soy and potatoes mixture cools, take small portions and shape into oval cutlets.
Dip them in besan batter then roll them in bread crumbs and keep aside.

I usually keep the cutlets in the refrigerator and deep fry as many as you need just before serving them. The cutlets stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days before deep frying or baking.

If you make them, get your friends to guess the ingredients. It will be a fun game. If you love mutton cutlets, these soy cutlets remind you of them! If you are vegetarian, you will still enjoy them and get some healthy soy in too....

Monday, March 1, 2010

Coconut Chutney

I know everyone knows how to make coconut chutney, but then every-time I eat it at someone's house it tastes different. I love the subtle difference that everyone's cooking has that makes this experience so unique and yummy. This is my Mom's time tested method of making chutney. Sometimes when I am health conscious, I skip the coconut from the chutney. Though it still tastes good, its heavenly with the coconut only.

Though I love this chutney, it is made sparingly in my place. Do you see the picture in the side, well look at the proportion of the chutney to the upma.The whole bowl was cleaned out by my hubby and me in one sitting. So I prefer to make the coconut chutney only when we have guests over.

And Happy Holi everyone!


1 cup frozen coconut flakes
2 small green chillies - chopped
1 teaspoon ginger - grated
1/4 cup channa dal
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon channa dal
1-2 green chillies
2 to 3 curry leaves
1 teaspoon oil

How To

Roast the channa dal in a dry pan on slow fire until it turns slightly brown.
Soak the dal in water for 2 hrs.
Put the coconut, green chillies, ginger, roasted channa dal and salt in a blender with a little water and grind to make a coarse paste. Keep aside.
Take a pan and heat the oil.
Add the mustard seeds, channa dal, green chili and curry leaves and stir until the mustard seeds splutter. Pour this tempering over the chutney and enjoy.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sprouted Fenugreek seeds curry

Haven't you heard it all the time time - 'All Good things must come to an end'. Well thats my feeling now. My awesome Nanny who makes these Sprouted Methi seeds and other stuff is leaving. She has some personal reasons and will quit next month. Well - what do I say? I am still in shock. After getting pampered to good food and awesome care of my little one, she is moving on. Soon my search for another nanny will start and I don't know what/who I will meet. I hope it is someone who is as patient as this Nanny with my kids.So here is a curry that she makes
with Sprouted Methi seeds.  She adds a lot of tomatoes and chili powder to balance the bitterness of the fenugreek. My husband really enjoys this curry!

Sending this sprouted methi seeds curry also to SE's cooking with seeds event

1 cup Sprouted Methi seeds - see how to here
1 big onion - chopped
1 tea spoon of ginger garlic paste
1 large boiled potato- cubed
1 large onion - diced
1 table spoon oil
Salt to taste
1 tea spoon Turmeric powder
1-2 tea spoon Chili powder

How To
Wash the sprouted methi seeds well and let the water drain.
Put some oil in a pan. Once it is hot, add diced onions and fry.
Once the onion changes color, add the ginger garlic paste and the turmeric and chili powder.
Mix well and fry until the oil leaves the sides.
Add the tomatoes and the boiled potatoes and salt and cook for a few minutes.
Add the sprouted methi seeds and cook for a few minutes, until it softens and serve hot.
You can add some garam masala, but she doesn't like adding it to this curry.

Enjoy and wish me luck with the Nanny search!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's day

Hope you all had a lovely time celebrating this Valentine's day. My husband doesn't believe in such celebrations and over time I have also given up. But now the kids make projects from school and want to do something special. So we end up baking cookies or doing something together, mom and kids. So we made these chocolate cup cakes and chewy chocolatey cookies, but the cookies didn't look so good. They tasted good, but I had to think of something else to post for the V Day.

So here is a quick project that my 3 year old son and I put together. We had great fun putting it together and the kids had fun eating off the toothpicks, but no one touched the yummy gooey chocolate. So I took a spoon and finished it off later!

Have a fun time with friends, family and your love!

Fruits of your choice
some chocolate melted (optional)
loads of love

How to
Wash the fruits, cut and string on a toothpick. Dip in melted chocolate (optional) or eat directly off the toothpick! Enjoy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sprouted Fenugreek seeds

I know I haven't been regular here. Its the usual excuses, too much work and stress and work and and so on and on. When I saw the event on fenugreek seeds, I knew I had to come out of hibernation and post. My Nanny makes these sprouted methi seeds every other week. She sprouts the fenugreek seeds and then makes Salad or curry or rice. She loves it and enjoys trying different dishes with it. I rarely eat it since it is too bitter for my taste. But my husband also enjoys the taste. Of course it very good for health too.

Sending this sprouted methi seeds to SE's cooking with seeds event

Fenugreek seeds - 1 handful
Loads of patience

How to
Wash the methi seeds in warm water a couple of times and drain the water.
Put the wet seeds in a glass bowl and cover with a wet paper towel and keep in a warm place.
After 12 hrs, wash the seeds and repeat steps 1 and 2 again.
Wait for 2 to 3 days and your patience will pay off and you will see the nice long sprouts.

These sprouts should be consumed within 1 or 2 days, else they might rot. If you cook them and put in a pulao or curry, they last a week.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mooli daal

When I was growing up, I hated veggies. Well who didn't ? Sometimes when my mom would get exasperated, she would try tricks to get me eat my veggies. This one was a favorite of hers - mask the vegetables in dal or rice or mix it with something that I like in small quanties.
This Dal trick is something that I use on my kids too. Basically cut the radish really small (basically grated) and add to nearly cooked arhar dal towards the end. One thing that gives this trick away is the strong smell of the boiled radish. So if you really plan to trick your kid to try it, make sure you boil the Dal and radish long before the kids come back from school. Also my usual dal tadkas do not have any ghee it, but this needs a generous amount of ghee.
Here is a copy of the recipe as written out by her in my recipe the background of the picture....

1 small cup of Arhar/Toor Dal washed and soaked for a couple of hours
1 to 1-1/2 cup of grated Radish or mooli (I cut it larger for the picture here, it shouldn't be so large)
2 tea spoon ghee
2 tea spoon whole cumin seeds
pinch of hing
3-4 green chilies
handful of coriander leaves
Salt to taste

How To
Boil the arhar dal with salt and water. When it is nearly cooked, add grated radish and cook until both are cooked and mixed well.
Take a small separate pan,  heat it and add ghee to it.
Once it is hot, add green chilies, cumin seeds and Hing. Pour on the dal.
Garnish with coriander leaves.

Enjoy with rice or roti and feel gleeful if your kid slurps it up and asks for me. If your kid doesn't like it, there is always a next time!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dahi Bhindi (Okra in yogurt sauce)

My brother in law was over here for the Christmas holidays. Since he is a bachelor and has to cook and feed himself, he really looks forward to good home cooked food. While I am no match to my mother in law's skills, I do try to make him few things that he enjoys and are easy to make. While the kids get spoilt by Uncle, he relishes some of the typical Oriya dishes. Dahi Bhindi is an all time favorite of mine.

But I don't usually prepare Dahi Bhindi at home, since hubby is not that fond of it. But everyone enjoyed this this fried Okra in spicy yogurt sauce.


Okra with both ends chopped off - about 2 cups
1 cup of yogurt
1 tea spoon of mustard seeds
2-3 green chilies
handful of curry leaves
2-3 big garlic cloves grated/chopped
1-2 tea spoon of fried cumin seeds powder
pinch of black salt
salt to taste
1 tea spoon of oil

How To

Take a pan and heat oil in it. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, green chilies, grated/chopped garlic and the curry leaves.
Mix well and add the Okra and salt and cover and cook for 7-8 minutes until the Okra is soft.
Add the chopped/grated garlic and curry leaves and cook for 1 minute.
You can add some red chili powder now.
Take the yogurt, beat it well and add to the okra (after the okra has become colder).
Sprinkle dry roasted cumin powder (freshly ground) and black salt and serve.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Celebration with fruit cake

New Years time always puts me in a nostalgic frame of mind. I somehow always remember the good old days when I was young - really young. My dad was a fun loving person. He loved movies, Hindi movies. I have been watching Hindi movies since I was a year old I guess. Every Wednesday (or at least most Wednesdays) we would go to see a Hindi movie in the evening. Those were the days when there was no TV at home and so it used to be an evening to look forward to. During the intermission of the movie, papa would get a cold drink for me. After the movie, sometimes we went to eat chat! Life was so simple and blissful.

So here is to a simple and blissful fruit cake. Enjoy it when you want. It is easy to make though takes long to bake. And this fruit cake celebrates my 1st anniversary in the blog sphere. Again I feel blogging is a simple pleasure of my life and I am glad to be doing it, very therapeutic after a stressful day job. Thanks to everyone who listens to my ramblings here and also provides their thoughts comments. Your words and advise keeps me going.

Here is to sweet and lovely New Year - 2010.

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs separated
2 cups of candied fruit (tuti frutti)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup cashews
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tea spoon of baking powder
1 tea spoon vanilla essence (optional)
1/2 cup orange juice

How To
Soak the candied fruit in orange juice overnight.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Place a small pan of water in the oven.
Line one loaf pan and 1 small cake pan with aluminium foil. Grease it well.

Mix the flour with baking powder. (this is my 3 yr son's favorite job. I start with more than 2 cups of flour and end up with about 2 cups after he is done mixing/playing/throwing...).

Break the cashews into smaller pieces (this is also a job my son loves, wonder how much of it eats while breaking them)

In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar. (it doesn't have to beaten in a food processor as shown on food TV. Mix well with hand for 5 min).

But the egg whites have to be beaten well as shown on food TV. [This is where you get your family members to help - if you don't have an electric beater. You make it a family project. I do - since I don't have the electric beater and I think we all have loads of fun doing it]

Stir in beaten egg yolks and the soaked fruits and cashew and vanilla essence.

Fold in the flour into the batter. Add the additional juice left over from the soaked fruits, if needed.

Pout the batter into the pans and fill them 2/3 full.

Bake for 1 hr and then cover the cake with aluminum foil and bake for 1  more hours until golden brown.

Check if the cake is done by using the toothpick inserted in the center to check if it comes out clean.

Once baked, let the cake cool for 5 minutes, before diving in...