Monday, August 30, 2010

Manga Kari/ Quick Mango Pickle

Manga (mango in tamil) kari is a quick and easy mango pickle made from raw mango. This is an authentic kerala dish. My mom and grandma always made this. It tastes wonderful with curd/ yogurt rice. I some times eat it with out any thing, just by itself.

You need crunchy, but not too sour mangoes for this. This pickle does not have any vineger or too much oil and hence does not last long.So make in small batches and enjoy.

What you need:

1 cup mango chopped into small pieces
2& 1/2 tbsp red chilli powder (you can increase this to your spice level)
2 tsp salt or according to taste

For tempering/ tadka:
1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 th tsp Hing/ asafetida.
1 red chilli, torn apart

How I did it:

  • Add salt and chilli powder to the chopped mango and let it sit for about 20 -30 mins.
  • This incorporates all the flavors into the mango.
  • Do your salt and spice test and adjust accordingly.
  • In a pan, add oil and let it heat up.
  • Do the tadka with mustard seeds, Hing and redchilli.
  • Enjoy pickle with a bowl of yogurt rice or parathas.
I would like to thank Akheela  for this wonderful participation award.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Paneer Payasam/ Paneer Kheer Aka Basundhi

Lots of things to celebrate this week! Onam, Raksha bandhan and Avani Avittam. For people who haven't heard about Avani avittam, it's a special occasion in the south when men have a ritual of adorning the sacred thread on their shoulder. The initial sacred thread ceremony is called "Upanayam". The day after avani avittam is celebrated by chanting the sacred Gayathri mantra for 1008 times! So the menfolk of the house get to eat a feast after patiently chanting these mantras.

This is the only celebration that I know is for men in India! Correct me if there are any.

So I made Kheer with Paneer for my husband, son and dad. Of course, I was the first person to taste it. I had tried this couple of months ago, but i did not reduce the milk longer, It still tasted great, but I wasn't 100% satisfied with the result. This time I reduced the milk longer and the results were well worth the effort.

Paeer kheer is very rich, but easy to prepare. It tastes so wonderful almost like basundhi.

What you need:

  1. 1 can evopareted milk (12 0z or 1&  1/2 cups)
  2. 3/4 cup grated paneer
  3. 1& 1/2 cups milk ( i used 2%)
  4. 3/4 th cup sugar
  5. 1 tsp ghee or clarified butter
  6. 1 tbsp chopped nuts ( almonds, pistachios, cashews)
  7. 1 tsp cardamom powder
  8. A few golden raisins
  9. A heavy bottomed vessel ( i used a small pressure cooker)

How I did it:
  • Add the evaporated milk and the regular milk to a heavy bottomed vessel.
  • Let it come to a boil.
  • Add the grated paneer, keep the flame on medium and let it cook till the mikl is reduced to about 1half to three fourths of the initial quantity. It took be about 20 -25 mins.
  • keep stirring the milk in between so that it does get burnt.
  • Unfortunately this dish need all your TLC, so don't go away to other chores.
  • Once the milk has reduced, add the sugar and keep stirring.
  • You may notice that the kheer becoming a bit loose or watery, but don't worry.
  • Let it boil for another 5 -7 mins and turn off the fire.
  • Add the cardamom powder.
  • In another pan, heat ghee and fry the nuts and raisins till golden and add this to the kheer.

It can be enjoyed either hot or serve it chilled! If you do not have a sweet tooth, you can cut down the sugar a bit more!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gobi Paratha / Cauliflower Paratha

This weekend is rather slow for me.Oops don't want to jinx that! Enjoyed the afternoon with my son watching Despicable Me.

So here is a  very simple recipe for the weekend menu! I have tried to make gobi paratha by frying onions etc, stuffing the masala inside the dough and trying to roll. Oh boy, you surely don't want to hear the mess I made on my counter. The filling tried to leak out from all directions of the paratha, and I some how cooked it.
 Learning from my mistakes, I tried a different form and it came out perfect. First, I used grated cauliflower and second I used one chapathi were I spread the filling coverd it with another chapathi and rolled it. Let me tell you, my day was perfect with no mess. Grating the cauliflower and making a dry filling takes away all the moisture and makes it easy to roll the dough.

 And the taste.. awesome!

What I used:

For the filling:

1 cup grated cauliflower florets ( wash, dry and then grate the florets)
1 tsp dhania powder
Pinch of turmeric and Hing
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 small chilli finely chopped
1 tbsp Oil & extra to cook the parathas.
Salt to taste
Finely chopped cilantro

For the dough:

 1 cup Atta
1/2 cup + 2-3 tbsp water
salt a pinch
Oil 2 tsp

  • Mix atta. water, salt & Oil and make the dough. Keep aside.
  • In a pan, add 1 tbsp oil, when hot add the grated cauliflower ( no water).
  • Saute for a few mins.
  • Add salt and add dhania powder, turmeric, hing, chilli powder and green chili and saute for 5- 10 mins.
  • Turn of the heat and add the cilantro.

To make the Parathas.

  • Roll 2 samll chapathis of 3 ''
  • Add 1-2 tbsp of filling on top of one chapathi disc.
  • Cover it with another chapathi. seal the edges and roll into parathas, not too thin.
  • Heat a tava or griddle on high.. Once hot,add the rolled parathas.
  • Wait for a few seconds till you see small bubbles.
  • Flip it to the other side  and wait for the bubbles.
  • Flip again and cook with oil or ghee till nice and golden on both sides.
  • Serve with raita, pickle or plain yogurt.

Wanted to share the close up view of my paratha with the filling.


Have a great weekend!

Thanks Akila for the this!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baby food, Popeye pasta & few more thnigs...

My daughter is now 19 months old and it's such a fun to be around with her! Her favorite word now is "NO". She used to eat without much trouble until 16 months.
Now meal times are challenging!
When she was 6 months old i started her on gerber stage 1 food like any other mom. Stage 2 was ok, but when it came to stage 3 there were not many veggie options.

Lots of people may think home made food is better than container food for babies! But as a pediatrician I disagree with that and will say home made and jar  foods are equally nutritious! It's personal preference and what your baby likes that you can go for either one.

My daughter liked mainly peas, green beans, apple sauce, strawberry banana, mango, hawiian something fruit medley etc etc.

By 11 months to 1 year we all give rice, dal, kichdi etc. But my daughter had trouble eating lumpy food for some reason.
I wanted to share some other foods that I tried with my daughter that she loved. Unfortunately i don't have pictures for all these. Many recipies were adaptedf rom annabel karmel's website.


Peel and take the flesh of the avocado. add some cream cheese and mash it well or puree with some milk. season as you like.
Suitable for 9 months & above

Sweet potato:

Cut them into small pieces. Add butter, saute a little onions and few chopped tomatoes. add the sweet potato, some water, cover and cook till soft. season according to taste  and puree it.
suitable from 10 months onwards.

Sweet potatoes can be mashed and mixed with a little cinnamon and can be given from 1 yr too.


This was one of my favorite. Chop some spinach, sautee with onion and tomato. season and puree it with milk or cream  like for palak dishes. You can get mini star shaped pasta in all super markets. cook pasta according to instructions and toss with the spinach sauce. MAke some extra sauce and that was for my son's (10 yrs) spaghetti which we called pop eye pasta!

you can add some cheese in all these too.
suitable for 1 yr and above

I used to make a similar sauce with carrots, roast red bell peppers and mix it with star pasta.

These were easy to prepare and my daughter gobbled them up!
I would love to hear  your experiences in baby food and any other meal ideas for toddlers..

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lemon Rasam

I love rasam!. My grandma makes the best rasam powder that I've known. The rasam powder recipe has been passed down to many generations in our family.
Enough of my bragging and let's get to the meat, I mean Rasam!

What you need:

2 cups water
1 tsp rasam powder
1 green chilli slit
1 inch ginger, peeled and smashed with the back of your knife
1/4 tsp Hing
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 cup cooked toor dal
1/2 lemon juice, more for tang
1 tomato
cilantro and curry leaves


For the tempering:

1 tsp Ghee
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 red chilli

How I did it:

  1. Pressure cook toor dal and keep aside.
  2. In a vessel add 1 cup of water, rasam powder, turmeric powder, hing, slit green chilli, crushed ginger, tomato, salt to taste and cook for 10 -15 mins till the tomatoes are soft and the raw smell has gone.
  3. Add 1 cup of water to the cooked toor dal and mix well with hand, tring to brak all the lumps of dal or with a spoon.
  4. It should be nice and soupy.
  5. Add it to the liquid from step 2
  6. Let it come to a rolling boil.
  7. Add cilantro and curry leaves and add salt if needed.
  8. Turn off the heat.

In a pan, add ghee and temper the mustardseeds and cumin till they cracke. add it to the rasam.
Once the heat is off, add the juice from half a lemon. Don't boil  after adding the lemon as it may become bitter.

Drink as an appetizer on a cold day, if you're feeling under the weather or just enjoy with rice and vegetables on any day.

Try this and let me know how it tastes!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Puran Poli / Puran boli

Just returned home after a short beach vacation. We all had a great time there and didn't feel like coming back!

Let me share this sweet treat that i made last week with you all.

I don't know what is the correct term, Poli or Boli! Most of us know what it is, but those who don't, it's a flat bread or paratha kind of thing with sweet lentil filling. Wow, the description makes it sound exotic ...!

In the south it's made during special occasions like the lakshmi pooja, avani avittam ( sacred thread ceremony) etc. In the south it's usually jaggery is used for the sweet filling and in the north usually sugar.

In kerala Poli is  served during wedding feasts and the best way to eat it is mix with paal payasam or kheer. sweet explosion!

I made the sugar version and made 7-8 poli's out of this measurement.

For the filling/ Puran

1/2 cup channa dal
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder

For the dough

1 &1/2 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup Atta
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
oil 1/3 cup
water to make the dough

How I did It:

  • wash & soak channa dal overnight.
  • drain the water and pressure cook without any water for 3 whistles.
  • Let it cool and pulse ithe cooked dal in a mixie or food processor for a soft powder.
  • mix the  powdered sugar and cardamom powder and keep aside. If you think it'sa little runny, adda few tsp ghee and fry it in a pan till it comes all together.
  • make a dough soft adding water as needed. Make sure to add all the oil as you need the dough to be soft and easy to work with.
  • Set aside the dough for a couple of hours covered.
  • Divide the Puran/ filling in the size of small balls.
  • Divide the dough into balls of the same size.
  • Roll the dough like a small chapathi. place the puran in the centre. gather the sides and make a ball. roll it like a paratha.
  • Heat a tava and cook the rolled poli with oil or ghee till golden on both sides.
  • Enjoy with a drop of ghee smeared on top.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dal Makhani/ Mixed lentils in creamy tomato sauce

Dal Makhani or "Maa ki dal" is a traditional punjabi dish. It's usually made with sabut urad dal, i.e with the black skin of urad dal and rajma dal. It's very creamy, rich  comfort food  packed with fibre. There are many variations in how it's made. Basically longer the lentils are cooked, the better the taste would be. This is a perfect dish to cook in a slow cooker.

What You Need

  • Black urad dal 1cup
  • Red kidney beans 1/2 cup ( idid not habe the dry one, so used the cannned ones)
  • green chilli 3 chopped
  • Onion 1 chopped
  • Ginger 1 inch grated
  • Tomatoes 4 medium
  • Coriander powder 2 tsp
  • Cumin powder 1 tsp
  • Garam masala 2 tsp
  • red chilli powder 2 tsp
  • kasoori methi 1 tsp
  • Butter 1 tbsp
  • Cumin 1 tsp
  • Half & half 1/4 cup
  • salt to taste
  • Cilantro to garnish


  • Wash and soak the black urad dal overnight (for about 8 hrs.)
  • The next day, pressure cook the urad dal with two cups of water, grated ginger, 1 tsp coriander powder,1 tsp red chilli powder and a little salt for 5 whistles.
  • Boil two cups of water. Add the 4 medium tomatoes to the water and cover. Let it stand for 5 mins. or till the skin peels off.
  • Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skin and puree it.
  • In a deep pan, add 1 tbsp oil, ues i said butter not oil :)). When it's hot add the cumin seeds and let them crackle.
  • Add the onions and saute till translucent. Add the green chillies and saute for a few mins.
  • Now add the tomato puree and the remaining 1 tsp of redchilli powder, 1 tsp of coriander powder, 2 tsp of garam masala powder, 1 tsp cumin powder & Kasoori methi.
  • add salt to taste and cook for about 10  mins covered till the raw smell of tomato goes away.
  • Add the red kidney beans to the cooked urad dal and mash it a couple of times.
  • Add the cooked & mashed lentils to the tomato gravy.
  • Adjust salt and spices and let it come to a boil
  • If it's too thick add little water.
  • Now cover and let it simmer for 20 - 25 mins.
  • Turn off the heat and add the 1/4 cup of half and half.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with phulkas or rice.

The half and half or cream makes this very rich. you can omit this if you want a low fat version or just use 2% milk or yogurt.

I took this dal to my colleagues at work, many of whom never have tasted Indain food. They simply loved it and couldn't help for seconds and even third servings!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sunshine Muffins/ Bookmarked T&T

Hope every one had a nice weekend!

Went with family to a nearby cavern to see stalactite and stalagmites. Boy!,  those names are always confusing as which comes form the top and which goes up from the ground! But they are such a great wonder of nature to see any time.

Anyway, let's get to business! I had bookmarked  here Sunny Anderson's muffins and tried them! They were wonderful, moist and packed with goodness. Perfect way to start your day with a grab & go breakfast!
I halved the recipe and it gave me 6 muffins! The lemon zest gives a nice fresh flavor.

Packed them for our snack during our trip to the caverns.

What you Need:

1/2  cup bluberries & strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 ripe banana, mashed
1 large egg

1/4 cup canola oil ( i took halfway through the 1/4 cup)

1/2 lemon, zested

handful of  chopped walnuts
How I did it:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, mix together strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar. Let sit 15 minutes until strawberries give off juices.
  • In a small bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, eggs, oil,sugar, strawberries, and lemon zest.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in blueberries and walnuts.
  • Scoop batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out with a few crumbs but not wet, about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack to room temperature.

I am sending this to bookmarked-recipes 

and also to kids delight

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sooji Dhoklas

Dhoklas are a very popular tea time snack in Gujarat. So far ,I've soley relied on either MTR or gits for my Dhoklas!
I recently came across a instant Dhokla recipe in one of the throw away magazines found in Indian stores. It called for idli batter mixed with besan to make Dhokla! I was very tempted to give it a try as idli batter is a staple in my household.

I also did a lot of research to see if anyone has used this method. And of course no one did!

During this process I found gazillion recipes for sooji dhokla which could be steamed, microwaved or even baked.
Anyways I tried both the idli batter and sooji won andthe star was the sooji dhokla! I am not even gonna talk about the idli batter stuff!

What I used:
1 cup Sooji (un roasted, fine is what i had)
1 tbsp oil
1/2 cup yogurt well beaten
1 jalapeno pepper
1/4" ginger peeled and grated
salt to taste
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp Eno fruit salt

For Tadka/ tempering

1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds

To Garnish:
1 tbsp grated coconut (optional)
lots of cilantro

How i did :

  • Mix oil and Sooji ina bowm and set aside.
  • To the yogurt add the chillies, ginger, salt and turmeric.
  • Add the yogurt mixture to the sooji and mix well.
  • Reserve 2 tbsp of water from the 3/4 th cup of water that you will add to the sooji.
  • add water to the above mixture and make a thick batter.
  • Let it sit for 15 -20 mins.
  • Grease any circular container with non stick spray.
  • Add water , just enough to steam the dhoklas in a pressure cooker and let it boil.
  • Add Eno fruit salt to the 2 tbsp reserved water. It will fizz out and add this to the sooji mix just befor you steam the dhoklas.
  • Adding Eno should be the last step as you don't want to let those bubbles from ENO go waste. They help in rising the dhokla.
  • Add the sooji mix to a greased apn and steam the dhoklas without weight in the cooker for 15 mins.
  • Turn off the heat and let it cool.
  • Once cooled for 10 mins, invert it on a serving platter.
In a pan heat oil and add the mustard seeds. Once the pop add the sesame seeds, chillies and do the tadka.
Add this tadka on top of the dhoklas.
garnish with cilantro and coconut.
Serve with coriander chutney and enjoy with a steaming cup of masala chai!
 I am dedicating this dish to my favorite Mahatmaji for CID 2010.

I am sending this to

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Strawberry Trifle Pudding

A trifle is a dessert made with fruit, sponge cake and custard. It's very English and dates back to the 15th century. Traditionally the cake is moistened with Sherry or Port and layered with custard and fruits.

I've enjoyed trifle during my stay in England and still remember the wonderful taste of it. I've tasted only the non alcoholic trifles from all major super markets there!

Anyway, I found this easy recipe on line here  and had book marked it for a while. It came into action this weekend.

It's easy to put together, but sure a crowd pleaser.

What you need:

Jello  Instant vanilla pudding 1 small container
Pound cake ( i used Sara lee frozen cake, thawed)
1/2 tub strawberries cut in thin slices
2 tsp sugar
2 kiwis , peeled &cut in thin slices
1/2 cup Whipped topping thawed
A pretty serving bowl.

How I did it:

  • Make the pudding as per pack instructions.
  • Mix 1/2 cup of whipped topping to the pudding & keep aside. This is our custard.
  • Cut the pound cake into small cubes.
  • add 2 tsp of sugar to the strwberriers and keep aside. This will remove the tartness if present int he stawberries.
  • Arrange a layer of pound cake cubes ina dish. Spread a layer of the the pudding/ custard on top of the cake.
  • Arrange your strawberries all over the custard. MAke sure you go to the side of the bowl too.
  • Repeat the layer of cake, custard and fruit again till you come to the top.
  • Decorate with any fruit of your choice on the top to awe people.
  • Refrigerate for 2- 3 hrs before serving.

I am sending this for book marked recipes started by Priya (yallapantula). Also to


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mirchi Bajji / Milaga Bajji

Mirchi bajji is very popular street food in Chennai!

The scorching heat in the south does not stop anybody to pop these fritters in their mouth to add up the heat!

It's a perfect snack with evening tea. I would like to share the basic Bajji batter which can be used to fry anything from onion, potao, green peppers, egg plant or bread as bajji's.

All you need is:

5 parts of Besan/ gram flour
1 part rice flour
a pinch of Hing/ asafetida
1/4 tsp Baking soda
Red chilli powder and salt to taste.
Mirchi / long green chillies
Oil to fry.

How I did it:

  • Mix everything with water to form a smooth batter.

  • The batter should be thich, but not too thick.

  • When you dip your finger in the batter and take it out, it should coat your finger and very slowly drip, almost like a thick idli batter.

  • Keep the batter aside.

  • Slit the chillies in length, keeping a bit of their stem.

  • If you don't want it too spicy, remove all the seeds from the inside.

  • Dip in the batter and deep fry till golden and crispy.

Enjoy with a cuppa...

The Jalapenos in the pics are just for garnishing. I didn't dare to make them as bajji's and end up having an upset stomach!

Happy Munching!