Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Cake mix Banana Bread

Have you heard about the Cake Mix doctor? Yes, it is amazing ! I used to bake a lot several years ago and have tried a few recipes from this book. Basically, you are using a boxed cake mix and doctor it up by adding the right ingredients and Voila you get a tasty cake/ muffin.

My colleague, an amazing baker, recently brought this humming bird cake which tasted so good. I was taken aback when she told me she made it from a  boxed cake mix. I went back to my recipe collection and found this easy one to make banana bread.

This is the most moist and quick banana bread one can make.  Try this and trust me you will love this! Ideally you need very ripe banana to make banana bread. I had only 2 of them and used a medium ripe banana for the 3rd one.

Get Ready

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts ( optional)
  • 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips ( optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350 farenheit and prep your loaf pan by spraying some cooking spray
  • Peel and mash the banana and set aside
  • Make the cake batter as per the box instructions
  • add the mashed bananas, nuts and chocolate chips and fold them in the cake batter

  • Pour in the loaf pan and bake as per the box instructions, 45 mins or till a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted in the bread.

  • Let it cool completely, I mean completely before you slice and serve.
Your friends and family may think that you worked so hard to bake this out of the world tasting banana bread!
Let us keep them thinking that way !

Friday, March 17, 2017

Potato Biriyani / Baby Potato Biriyani

Nobody can say no to biriyani! That is an important motto in life.

There are different types of biriyani, different regional flavors, different house hold recipes and each one of them will be unique in it's own way.

Here is a very simple biriyani, a shot cut version using only potatoes. I used baby potatoes, but one can use regular potatoes cubed into pieces of desired sizes. Caramelized potatoes and onions with mint and other whole spices takes this simple dish to an exotic level. I am using a pan with a lid and cooking on very low heat gives a dum and seals all the flavors in the rice. Your house will be smelling amazing when you make this biriyani. Adding the yogurt gives the richness to the potatoes and rice. I had greek yogurt and used it, but any plain yogurt should give the same results.

You can check out my Vegetable dum biriyani here!

Get Ready: Serves 2-3

  • 9 baby potatoes, washed, peeled & slit lengthwise in half
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 mint leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste ( I crushed fresh ginger and garlic )
  • 3 tbsp yogurt whisked
  • 1.2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick, 2 pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 small green cardamon
  • 1 clove
  • 3/4 cup basmati rice, washed and soaked in water for 30 mins
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste


  • In a pan, add the ghee and oil. Add the dry spices, cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamom and cloves.

  • Add the onions and saute for few seconds. You don't have to cook them well as it will get caramelized later.
  • Add the ginger garlic and saute for few seconds.
  • Add the turmeric, garam masala and red chilli powder and saute for few seconds.

  • Add the potatoes, salt enough for the potatoes and toss them all.

  • Cover the pan and cook on medium heat, tossing the potatoes in between till  half cooked.

  • Then cook without lid till the potatoes and onions caramelize. this takes about 10- 12 mins.

  • In the meantime, in another pan add 3 cups of water with a pinch of salt and let it come to a boil
  • Drain the soaked rice and add to the boiling water. cook the rice till it is 3/4 th done. Drain the water and set the half cooked rice aside.

  • Once the potatoes are cooked, add half of cilantro, mint and the yogurt to the potatoes.
  • adjust salt, cover and cook for 2 mins.

  • reduce the heat to lowest setting. Spread the 3/4 th cooked rice on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle cilantro.

  • Cover and cook for 10 mins. This is the "dum" and it locks up all the flavors.
  • Turn the heat off.

  • Fluff the rice up tossing the onions, potatoes. See the rice is cooked so well and looks yummy!

  • Serve hot with a simple raitha or any curry of your choice.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Bombay Vegetable Grilled sandwich

This is a very popular street food in Bombay! It is amazing how fast the guys make these sandwiches and that too effortlessly.
 Trust me , this is a very easy and filling sandwich to make. Needs a little preparation earlier, but that is all. The fillings and chutney can be played around as per your taste. I do not have a grill or panini press and made these sandwiches on a regular tawa. If you like fancy grill marks,  use the grill pan. Grill marks or not you will love the taste of it.
The green chutney freezes very well if you make big batch. Just thaw the frozen chutney and use it any time.

Get Ready

 For the green chutney

  • Cilantro 2-3 hand fulls including stems, washed
  • 2-3green chillies
  • handful of mint leaves
  • squirt of lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Sandwich Filling
  • Red onion sliced
  • 1 small potato boiled, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 beet root, peeled ,cooked & sliced
  • Sliced tomatoes ( i did not use it)
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Chaat masala powder
  • Bread slices
  • Butter


  • In a blender add all the ingredients for green chutney and grind to a thick paste. Add little water and set aside
  • Take a slice of bread and spread butter.
  • On top of the butter, spread the green chutney
  • Arrange sliced beets, cucumber or tomatoes.
  • sprinkle chaat masala generously on top of the veggies
  • Take another slice of bread and keep it on top. On the top layer of bread spread butter & green chutney
  • Arrange potato slices, onion and sprinkle chaat masala

  • Sprinkle cheese as per your taste

  • Butter another slice of bread and cover the sandwich with that slice

  • In a pan add a little butter or olive oil and toast the sandwich golden by pressing the top of the bread with a heavy spatula.
  • Flip and cook both sides of bread till they are golden.

  • Cut diagonally and serve the sandwich.

Enjoy this sandwich and tell me if you liked it!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Ricotta Cheese Balls

I had half a tub of ricotta cheese left over in my refrigerator. I wanted to make something quick for the kids as a snack. I made these simple ricotta cheese balls  and both my kids and DH loved it. I made it very simple and you can add more vegetables or spices as per your taste.

Get Ready

  • 1/2 tub of full skin Ricotta cheese

  • 3-4 bread slices
  • 1 green chilli chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp of all purpose flour/ maida
  • Handfull of cilantro chopped fine
  • bread crumbs to coat
  •  salt to taste
  •  oil for deep frying

  • Rip the bread slices and run it in a blender/ mixi to make bread crumbs
  • In a bowl, take the ricotta cheese, add bread crumbs, green chilli, chopped cilantro and combine them all well. if you feel the mix is too moist, add some all purpose flour or besan.
  • make small balls with this mix and set aside

  • Roll these balls in bread crumbs and set aside
  • In a deep frying pan, add oil. Once oil is hot add the cheese balls and fry them till golden brown.
  • Serve hot with some tomato ketchup

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sothi / Sodhi

Sodhi / sothi is a very popular dish from the region of Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. It is also pretty well known among the srilankan Tamils. It is very simple to make, extremely flavorful and goes well in idiyappam, dosa, rice, chapthai and puttu. There are many variations depending on the region and every household may have their own recipe of which vegetables to add etc. The first time I tasted Sothi was at a Srilankan Tamil friend's house in London in the late 90's. She served it with idiyappam and it was so yummy.

I found this receive from Chitra Murali's kitchen and tried it today. Here is the recipe!Fresh coconut milk would taste the better, but I did not want to do all the work and used the canned one. There is no oil used in this recipe. The list of ingredients may be long, but they are very simple,easily found in a pantry and it is one pot cooking.

Get Ready

  • 1 medium potato, peeled, washed and cut into cubes
  • 1 small red onion sliced
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 3-4 green chili slit lengthwise ( adjust as per taste)
  • Few curry leaves torn
  • Lots of cilantro
  •  1 can of coconut milk ( I used Arroy D brand here in the US)
  • Cinnamon stick broken into 2 inch pieces x2
  • 1 tsp saunf / somber  crushed with a mortar & pestle
  • 1 tsp coriander powder / dhania powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp of salt as per taste
  • juice from 1/4 th of lemon

  • In a large vessel, add the cinnamon stick, onion ,chopped potato, tomatoes, green chilli, curry leaves, cilantro.

  • Add 1/4 cup of coconut milk and 1 cup of water. ( equivalent of 2nd and third milk if taken from a real coconut)
  • Add the crushed saunf, coriander powder, turmeric powder.
  • Keep the pan of medium flame and let the coconut milk water mixture boil till the potato is half done.
  • Add salt at this point as per taste and cook till the potatoes are done.

  • Now add another 1/4  to 1/2 cup of thick coconut milk, depending on what consistency you want the sothi to be.

  • Let the whole mix come just to a boil.
  • Turn the heat off and add the lemon juice.
  • Garnish with more cilantro and serve.

adding the saunf and cinnamon gives an amazing fragrance to this curry.
You can make this thinner with more water and drink as a soup.

Tastes best with idiyappam. I served it with puttu for dinner today.