Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Channa Dal curry/ Kadalai paruppu curry

Channa dal  has a low glycemic index and we all know foods with low glycemic index is good for us. It is basically split and polished garbanzo beans.
It is used widely in the south indian cuisine for vadai, adai, cootus, spice powders and thogayals. I make dal with this, which is some time a nice change from the usual moong or toor dal.

This is a basic recipe and you can always add or take out any ingredient you want too. I served it with chapathis and rice and we all enjoyed it.

Get Ready ; (serves 2)

  • 1/3 cup channa dal
  • 2/3 cup water + plus more
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 green chilli slit
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 clove garlic chopped ( optional)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tbsp grated coconut
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp sugar ( optional)


  • Wash and soak the channa dal for 20 mins.
  • Heat oil ina pressure cooker.
  • Once hot add the mustard seed, cumin and let them pop.
  • Add the garlic and fry till golden.
  • add the onions, green chillies, ginger and saute till the onions are golden.
  • Add the dal, 2/3 cup water, tamarind paste, coconut, salt to taste and mix well.
  • Pressure cook for 3 whistle, simmer for 5 mins and turn the heat off
  • Release the pressure. If the dal is a little runny, let it boil till thickened to desired consistency.
  • Add 1/2 tsp sugar, cilantro.

Serve hot with rice, rotis, chapthis or parathas.
Simple satisfying meal on a busy weekday is ready!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Puff Pastry Swirls: Paneer and Nutella!

Puff Pastry sheets are one of the best ready made baking items that you could get here! Saw the recipe for spinach swirls on the back of the box, but did not care much to do it.

I used paneer, grated carrots, onion for a savory one and nutella, chopped pistachios for a sweet one!
It is unbelievebly easy to make, although the final product gives an impression that you slogged!
Very easy afterschool/ tea time snack that could be prepared in no time and satisfy hungry kids and adults.

You use any cheese you want and add any fillings of your choice.

Thaw the puff pastry sheets on the counter for 40 mins before you start. It comes as 2 sheets in a box, I used one sheet , paneer filling on one side and nutella on the other half.

Get ready: ( makes 10 swirls)

  • Puff pastry sheet
  • ketchup
  • melted butter to brush

 For the paneer filling:

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp grated carrot
  • 2 tbsp crumbled paneer
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  •  salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil
To make the paneer filling:

Add 1 tsp oil in a pan.
add the onions and fry till golden
add the carrots and saute for few mins.
add the crumbled paneer, all the powders, salt to taste.
cook for few mins and turn the heat off.
set aside

To assemble the paneer swirls:

  • Pre heat oven to 400F
  • Linea baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  • Dust a working surface with flour.
  • Open the puff pastry sheet and even it out with a dusted rolling pin.
  • Spread ketchup as a thin layer on the pastry sheet leaving about 1/2 inch on all four sides.

  • add the paneer filling and spread it evenly on the ketchup.

  • from the side closer to you roll it tight like a jelly roll.
  • seal the edges with a little water. this is the seam side
  • Turn the seam side down and cut them into 1/2 inch think slices.
  • arrange them on the baking sheet

  • Brush the swirls with either milk or egg wash ( 1 beaten egg with 1 tbsp of water) to get a golden color after baking.

For the Nutella swirls:

  • Nutella
  • chopped pistachios

  • Brush the pastry sheet with melted butter
  • spread nutella on top and leave 1/2 inch on all 4 sides.
  • add any chopped nuts like macadamia, walnuts on top of the nutella
  • Roll in the same away as desribed above and seal.
  • Cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • arrange on baking sheet
  • do the milk/ egg wash
  • Bake all of them for 12- 15 mins till they are golden

Allow to cool for few mins
Serve with any chutney or ketchup

Enjoy with a cup of chai!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kerala Paal Payasam/

Kerala paal payasam is one of a kind. It has basic ingredients milk, rice and sugar, but tastes like heaven. If you haven't tasted one, you should try this soon! Paal payasm is equivalent to the rice pudding here and is served during special feasts or poojas like baghavath sevai ( pooja for goddess durga/ bhagavathy).

The payasam has a slight pinkish color from the reduction of the milk and red rice( chomanantha ari) ,exclusive of kerala. i had some red rice brought from India which I used. One could totally replace it with basmati rice too!
Another method is to do the payasam in the pressure cooker, which gives a pink color, but some how I doesn't give the same flavor. I cooked mine in the bottom of a pressure cooker (without lid).Stir constantly taking care not to burn the milk. the aim is to reduce the milk to half while the rice gets cooked in the milk. Once the milk is reduced your desired consistency, add the sugar. Adding sugar earlier will not let the rice cook well.

So you need a little patience and that is totally worth all the effort. You don't need any garnishing for this payasam.

Here is our family recipe!

The rule of thumb is 1 fistful of rice for a litre ( 4 cups) of milk. I measured my fistful of rice which was 1 & 1/2 tbsp.

Get Ready: (serves 2-3)

3 cups 2% milk
1, 5oz can evoparated milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 tbsp rice

  • Add 3 cups of milk to a heavy bottomed pan
  • wash the rice and add it to the milk.
  • let it come to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium.
  •  keep stirring intermittently as the milk will boil and foam up. stirring will prevent from spilling over.
  • When the rice is half done, add the evoparated milk.
  • Once the rice cooked well and milk reduces  add the sugar.
  • Let it boil for a few mins and take it off fro mthe heat.
  • Serve hot or cold!

The traditional way of eating pal payasm in kerala is with Puran poli!

Milk before reduction.

Milk after reduction

Payasam ready !

Monday, April 11, 2011

Desi Lasagna

We had a great vacation in Miami, florida and came back home today. I will post some infor on travel to miami beach soon. I made this lasagna over the weekend before travelling and wanted to share it with you all.

I have been making this version of lasagna for the past few years. My first taste of lasagna was from my cousin Rama in UK. since then, I have tried many versions and finally nailed it to this one. I have spiked it with a lot of indian ingredients, trust me I did not add sambar powder here...!

A true italian may laugh at this version, but hey, this works out best for me and my family.

Get Ready: ( serves 3-4)

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1/2 red pepper diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • one handful of peas
  • 1/4 egg plant diced
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 or 1/2 jalapeno pepper slit
  • 1/2 jar marinara sauce ( i used a large bottle)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • pepper powder to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 6 no cook lasagna noodles
  • 2 tbsp oilve oil
  • Parmesan and shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp of butter


  • In a large sauce pan, add oilve oil.
  • Once hot add the onions and fry till tranaslucent.
  • Add the garlic, ginger garlic paste, jalapeno and fry till aromatic.
  • Add all the diced vegetables, salt to taste and saute for a few minutes till they are soft, still crunchy.
  • Add the marinara sauce, salt to taste and cook till everything comes to a boil.
  • Turn the heat off and set aside.
  • add cilantro to the ricotta cheese and mix well till it's well incorporated. add pepper powder according to taste and keep the cheese mixture aside.
  • Eventhough the lasagna noodles are no cook, I cook them them for a few mins. you can skip this step if you want to.
  • Cook lasagna noodles for a few mins till they are aldente.  lift them up care fully, brush with oilve oil and keep them on a plate.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Grease a 2 qt baking dish with non stick spray
  • add a layer of tomato veggie sauce at the bottom.
  • Arrange the lasagna noodle on top of the sauce.
  • Spread the cheese mixture on top of the noodles.
  • repeat layers of noodles, sauce and cheese and fill up to the top.
  • Sprinkle both cheeses on the top layer.
  • add pieces of butter on top of the cheese to give a nice golden crust.

  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 40 -45 mins.
  • Check around 30 -35 mins to see if the cheese is bubbling. then remove foil and bake for another 10 mins to get the golden crusty top.
  • let it sit in the oven for 20 mins before you serve.
The steps may seem a lot of work, but actually very easy to put together.
Any left overs ( if present) taste awesome for the next day!.

I am sending this for Fusion recipes  guest hosted by priyasnowserving and  Pari's foodelicious
I would also like to thank priya for passing a cute  namesake award! Love ya!

Jay of tasty appetite was so sweet to share two awards with me. I am so humbled by all your gesture and would like to give you a big hug!

I would like to pass these awards to all my friends, so please fell free to pick up!

Enjoy your lasagna!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Jeera Aloo/ potatoes with cumin

 The talk of the town is about our victory in world cup! What an amazing match that was! I am so proud to be an Indian and wanted to thank every single member of our cricket team to make this success happen after 28 years!

I stumbled upon this easy potato recipe from master chef Sanjeev Kappor's website.I made this today and it was simple, comforting and really good.

Baby potatoes sauted with lots of cumin/ jeera and crushed coriander seeds bursts with flaovors. The Amchur power gives a little tanginess and makes this curry irresistable for any body! i happen to find only red baby potatoes in the market, but you can use any size or type.

Here we go with the good stuff!

Get Ready: ( serves 2 )

Red baby potatoes 14
2 tsp Jeera/ cumin
2 tsp coriander  seed/ dhaniya cushed ( without roasting)
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp amchur powder
A pinch Hing/ asafetida
salt to taste
Oil 2 tbsp
1 tbsp chopped cilantro


  • Wash and cook the potatoes till soft. I did not care to peel the skin. if you pressure cook, cook for just 1-2 whistles. set aside
  • Once potatoes are cooled, cut them in half.
  • In a pan add oil.
  • Once oil is  hot add the cumin and let it sizzle.
  • Then add the crushed dhaniya, turmeric, cumin, red chilli powder, amchur powder, hing,
  • Saute till a nice aroma comes and raw smell disappears from the spices.
  • Add the potatoes, salt to taste and toss them around till all the spices coat the potatoes.
  • Reduce the heat and cook uncovered for 5- 10 mins.
  • Turn heat off, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

Goes well as a side with rice or a snack by itself!