Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thanks, Shankari!

Thanks, Shankari! I am actually one of the 5 winners of instant tea package. :-D

My parcel arrived yesterday. I had selected "Cardamom unsweetened" tea. So here's what you need to do -

1. Open the sachet, and pour in a cup.

2. Pour hot water & stir.

3. You can add sweetener of your choice, if you want.

4. Voila!! Hot tea is ready!!

Isn't that cool? My husband loved the tea that he made for himself from scratch with the above procedure!;-)

For purchasing the product, visit Haldiram USA.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Banana Raita

Kelyache Raite

Banana Salad


1 ripe banana, peeled, cut

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 tsp mustard seeds, powdered freshly

salt to taste


A dash of chili powder

1 sprig of cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped


1. Mix all the ingredients and serve immediately.

Note -

1. Do not make this salad too much in advance. Try to make it and serve quickly as banana may turn black.

Broccoli Paratha

Broccoli is one of the vegetables which I did not taste while growing up in India. But it is also the vegetable which I use frequently in my cooking and love to cook/experiment with it Indian way. I follow the same recipe that I use to make Gobhi ke parathe and used broccoli instead of gobhi (cauliflower).

Here's what I did -

Broccoli Paratha
Oil for shallow frying
For stuffing
1 small head of broccoli, grated
/2 tsp salt
1 green chili, minced (optional)
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp kitchen king masala
1 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 tsp owa/ajwain/thymol seeds/ajowan/ajmo
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp dry pomegranate seeds/anardaana, coarsely crushed
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
1 boiled potato (optional)

For paratha
2 cups wheat flour
salt to taste
1 tsp oil

Method -
1. Grate broccoli. Sprinkle salt and set aside for 15 minutes. Squeeze water and drain the broccoli completely.2. Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing. Check for salt. Set aside.

3. Knead a dough for paratha using wheat flour, salt, water and oil. Cover and keep aside for 20-30 minutes.4. Make a ball of a dough. Roll into a small round. Put the stuffing on top. 5. Fold and dredge in some flour. Roll into a thick paratha.
6. Shallow fry on a hot tawa/pan/griddle adding oil per your taste till brown spots appear on both the sides.
7. Serve hot with yogurt and pickles.

Note -
1. I used food processor to grate the broccoli.
2. Generally, I do not add boiled potato. But I discovered one lonely boiled potato in the fridge, so decided to use it.
3. You can increase or decrease the spices per your own preference.

This post is my contribution to Srivalli's Roti Mela: celebration of Indian flatbreads.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Jihva for Love - (2)

Contd. from here.

Alright, now it's mom's turn. As I have mentioned, mom used to work. In spite of time crunch, she used to make sure that we ate healthy and nutritious food. Her recipes are simple and heart-warming just like her. Each and everything she makes - whether it's her simple Khichdi or elaborate Sunday meal, I love it. But of course, growing up, I was a picky eater. I used to grumble about the way she would cook the vegetables.

Why do you make dudhichi bhaji? Dudhi should be used in making only Dudhi Halwa or kofta curry. Mala dudhi chi bhaaji nako.

Oh Khichdi again, mom? I don't like it. Mala khichdi avadat nahi ga, mumma. (I do not like Khichdi)

I don't want Bhoplyachi bhaji! Kahi tari dusra kar na! (Make something different!)

Only make batatyachi partun bhaji! Nothing else.

Why do people cook all these vegetables like dodka (turiya/ridgegourd) and padwal (snake gourd)?

Tumhi sagale he bhaji kha, mazya sathi batatyachi bhaji havi! (You guys eat that, make potato bhaji for me!)

Mala dahi nako. Mala kela nako. Mala dry fruits nakot. Mala fruits nakot. Mala doodh nako. Me hey khanar nahi. Mala eggs nako. Mala kantala aala. (I am tired of eating yogurt, banana, fruits, dry fruits, milk, eggs)

Why can't you make something delicious like they serve in the restaurants, mumma?

Unfazed by my constant praise (!), mom still (stubbornly!) cooked all those bhajis and amtis! Whatever I argued, she always had one simple answer - "It's good for you!" & "Annala naav thevu naye!" :-) (Respect food)

Mom always tried to pair some daal or sprouts with the vegetable to add proteins in our daily "poli-bhaaji" dabba. I didn't appreciate it then. I also probably didn't appreciate how keen mom used to be, to provide us garam garam phulke or polya for dinner. I was just too fussy and fastidious!:-(

Many years later, as I was driving home in America, I got a craving to eat that Dudhichi Bhaji which I hated so much. I just couldn't believe myself. The same bhaji which tortured me all my school years, that same bhaji - I wanted to eat, made by mom, sitting in the kitchen. All the restaurant foods, meant nothing. I was homesick. Even today, when I feel homesick, I make this simple bhaji or mom's khichdi. It transports me back to my mom's kitchen.

I love you very much, Mom. I miss you terribly. I hope to see you soon. :-)

Mom's Dudhichi Bhaji
1 small dudhi/bottle gourd/lauki, peeled, chopped
1 small potato, peeled, chopped

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 red chili, halved
1 green chili, halved

1 tsp freshly grated coconut

1. Heat oil. Add all the ingredients for tempering.
2. As the mustard seeds splutter, add chopped vegetables.
3. Add 1 tbsp water. Cover the pot with a lid. Keep water in the lid.
4. As the water on the lid evaporates, add some more water, till the vegetable is cooked.
5. Add salt to taste.
6. Garnish with coconut.

1. Serve hot with hot off the griddle polis/phulka/chapatis.

Jihva for Love (1) & Jihva for Love (2) - just a walk down a memory lane from someone who is not a writer - is my tribute to my wonderful parents. and also my contribution to Jihva:Love at

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jihva for Love - (1)

I love cooking and I have been collecting recipes from my childhood. When Jihva:Love was announced, I was wondering where should I start. After all, this entire blog is a tribute to all the people who inspired and keep inspiring me to cook. Starting from my grandmothers, mom, aunts, friends' moms, neighbors, and later, after marriage, grandmom-in-law, mom-in-law, sis-in-law, aunts-in-law, cousins-in-law.......Numerous people have influenced me and shared their recipes. I am thankful to all of them. & I keep featuring all those recipes on the blog.

But for Jihva:Love, I have chosen two loving people in my life, without their love, support, & nurture, I would have been nothing. Well, I am still nothing to the whole world, but for them, I am their world (I am saying so, because they keep telling me so since my childhood!) I am sure they said the same to my brothers and of course with all their grandkids, I do think, our share has reduced a little!!:-) I am talking about my mom & dad.

My dad is not a chef. I don't think he is even fond of cooking. He would rather read a book or a newspaper. but there was time when he actually used to cook for us. My mom was a working mom. Being a working mom from Mumbai, life used to be hectic and unpredictable. Sometimes, there used to be "Trains bandh", "Heavy rains", "Bus strike" , "Mumbai Bandh", "Raasta Roko"....and many more natural and manmade calamities. and such times, mom used to reach home late. Dad's office was in the opposite direction of the heavy traffic area, so he generally managed to reach home on time. If mom hadn't reach home by a certain time, it used to be dad's turn to be the chef du jour. Pressure cooker used to be his best friend. He (always!) used to make two of his signature dishes. Rice/daal/potatoes in the three containers of cooker or his "vegetable pullao". My brothers and I used to be happy if dad cooked the first option. because by the time, everything used to get cooked, mom would come, and would temper the daal and potatoes and we used to have a yummy dinner ready as dad would chop some salad. but the second one "vegetable pullao" used to be disastrous. Dad would put all the rice, daal, and any available vegetable he could find in the fridge in the pressure cooker. He used to add the turmeric powder, salt and some masala, and exactly double amount of water. That was still OK. The disastrous part was the whistles. For some reason, he always felt that you need at least 15 -20 whistles to get the pullao cooked. We kids used to nudge dad that it 's ready.

"How do you know? Let it cook some more. I think it won't be perfect, otherwise! Remember last time, what a disaster it was?"

"No dad, only 2-3 whistles are enough!"

...Oh well, I have eaten that mushy porridge many times. We didn't grumble. but only problem I had was to call that mush "vegetable pullao"!!:-)We used to keep giggling at the dinner table when Dad used to say,

"Hmmm....wonder what went wrong this time?"

...and I think probably in his mind he would decide to add one more whistle for next time. But we used to devour that meal, as by then we used to be ravenous. It was simple life. Mom and dad made sure that we ate good, healthy and nutritious - homecooked food.

Oh, one more disastrous thing which was dad's signature dish was plain yogurt. Like most of the Indian homes, mom used to make yogurt at home. If mom had gone to visit grandma or her sisters on the weekend morning, dad would have this urge to make yogurt for all of us. So by the time mom returned in the evening, there would be enough yogurt for everyone. Noble plan!! :-) I am pretty darn sure, there must be enough yogurt for all of us. because if mom went anywhere, she made sure that everything was ready for us. but in spite of that dad had to make that yogurt for the evening. So he would take milk, add some yogurt, mix it and put the whole thing in the freezer to "set" the yogurt.

"Daddy, mom doesn't do it that way. She sets it outside and then she puts in the fridge and not in the freezer."

"Really? but then how does it get set?"

Well, we didn't know about those friendly bacteria probably that time. Another frozen disaster for dinner time!

Well, if he reads it today, he will ask me to write about what he indeed makes good. & yes. there is one thing he does make the best and that's his limboo sarbat (or lemonade!)

Though I always laughed eating that mushy khichdi or pullao or whatever(!), I knew even then, that my dad did his best to provide homecooked, healthy, nutritious meal to his family. It was very easy to order some outside food. We did go out to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and other happy occasions of life. but mom & dad fervently believed the importance of the homecooked daily meals. Dad is not exactly fond of cooking, but it was also his way of helping out mom. He helped mom to the best of his talents & knowledge. Daddy, You are my hero!

I love you very much & I miss you. Hope to see you soon. :-)

So here it goes -

Dad's Limboo Sarbat

2 lemon, halved, juice extracted

1 tbsp sugar (More or less depending on taste)

water as needed

A pinch of salt
A generous pinch of cardamom powder


1. Mix all the ingredients.

2. Refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Note -

1. Adding cardamom powder in limbu sarbat makes limbu sarbat a signature recipe of my dad ( or aaji - my paternal grandmother). But you can also add surti jeeralu or chaat masala to get a different but delicious taste.

To be contd...

Friday, April 25, 2008

(Faux) Kelphoolachi Bhaaji

When Inji Pennu wrote that artichoke can be chopped and cooked and tastes like banana flower - which is kelphool in Marathi, I was overjoyed. I love banana flower and have no idea how to clean it. I wrote about Inji Pennu's Artichoke Thoran here, but forgot to write my Malvani version.

(Faux) Kelphoolachi Bhaji


2-3 artichokes, cleaned & chopped, pressure cooked
1/2 cup kala vatana sprouts, pressure cooked
salt to taste
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp oil
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2-3 red chilies
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat oil. Add garlic & red chilie. Saute till garlic is golden brown.
2. Add chopped artichoke & kala vatana. Saute for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water.
3. Add chili powder, salt. Saute till all the water is evaporated.
4. Now mix coconut & black pepper powder. Add the mixture to veggies.
5. Switch off the gas. Serve with chapati or rice bhakri.


Follow Inji Pennu's instructions to chop and clean artichoke.

Charmurya Upkari - Konkani Bhel

This used to be my favorite "home" bhel. I mean, Chowpaty bhel was the one made by bhelwala bhayya and "charmurya upkari" was homemade bhel by my maternal grandmother. The secret ingredient of this bhel is Kumta/Poha masala. Since Maya sent this aromatic spice mixture as a part of Arusuvai friendship chain, I wasted no time to make all of my favorite delicacies.
Since it's a Konkani bhel, it is flavored by - you guessed it - fresh coconut and coconut oil. I will first write grandmother's recipe and then I will write about other options/changes that you can make. The recipe is totally based on "Andaaz" because it doesn't matter if you take 1/2 cup coconut or 1 cup coconut. However for the authentic taste, more the merrier!! :-)
Grandma used to take fistful or two of puffed rice per person.

Charmurya Upkari
Konkani Bhel
Puffed rice/Charmure/kurmure/mamra/moori

Grind to a fine paste
Freshly grated coconut
Salt to taste

Coconut oil or ghee
freshly grated coconut

1. Grind all the ingredients to a fine paste without adding any water.
2. Mix with puffed rice.
3. Drizzle some coconut oil (or ghee if you don't like the flavor of coconut oil).
4. Garnish with some more coconut and sev.
5. Serve immediately.

Notes -
1. You can add some bhel-friendly vegetables like boiled potatoes, onions, raw mangoes, lemon juice etc, though it was not the part of my grandmother's recipe.
2. I used brown puffed rice in the above picture.
3. I didn't have khara sev so used yellow nylon sev. But khara sev gives the real flavor.
4. Based on your own desire to use less or more fresh coconut, adjust the recipe.
5. Do not add any water while grinding the paste. It will make bhel soggy immediately. That's the reason we are using fresh coconut which has just enough moisture.
6. I also added some roasted peanuts for a crunch, but this too is not the part of the original recipe.
7. If bhel seems to be too dry, you can sprinkle some fresh coconut water. or you can squeeze some fresh lemon juice for a tangy flavor.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Asha's Bihari Khichdi for MBP

I look forward to each month's RCI feast at Asha's foodie's hope/Aroma hope. It's just spectacular. She pays such a great tribute to every state of India and to the rich culture, tradition and food of every state. Simply amazing! This time, for MBP - one pot wonders, I have chosen Asha's Bihari Khichdi. I simply followed her recipe, just added green beans and lima beans instead of cauliflower and green peas, as Asha did. (because I didn't have them!). Needless to say, Khichdi was delicious. Thanks so much, dear Asha!!

This post is my contribution to MBP: One pot wonders at Pavani's.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chickoo Ice-cream

Whenever we visit India, we diligently visit Naturals. I just love their fruity ice-creams. Tender coconut, Sitaphal, Chickoo & Watermelon - I never seem to decide which one to choose from. Milk, Sugar and Fruit Pulp - bare minimum ingredients and divine taste!!

I have heard some seriously different yet delicious new flavors like Jamun (Jambhool) & Awla. Can't wait to try those during our next trip. But till then, I need to take out my Cuisinart and try out my own version.

My sis-in-law was visiting us sometime back. Naturals' Chickoo ice-cream used to be her most favorite. So to pamper her, I made my version. It's been a while since she has tasted the Mumbai special Naturals version. Maybe that's why, this was a super duper hit. :-)

I adapted the recipe from my Cuisinart recipe booklet. The original recipe was for "Fresh Strawberry Ice-cream" which I changed to include Chickoo instead.

Chickoo Ice-Cream

Adapted from Cuisinart Recipe Booklet


1 1/2 cup chickoo pulp

1/2 cup sugar (or more if you like)

1 cup Whole milk (Preferably organic)

2 cup heavy cream (Preferably organic)


1.Using whisk or hand mixer, combine milk and sugar.

2. Stir in heavy cream and chickoo pulp.

3. Turn Ice-cream maker ON, pour mixture into the freezer bowl.

4. Mix till thickened for about 30 minutes.

Note -

1. If you want creamier version, increase the heavy cream quantity.

2. You can also increase or decrease the quantity of chickoo pulp per your own preference.

3. I know, I know as I was taking pictures, the ice-cream melted a little bit. But that's ok. My family is quite understanding or they have given up on me! ;-)

And with my own version of Naturals Chickoo ice-cream, I am off to EasyCraft's Fun n' Sun event.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mangalore Shrimp

Recipe Source -
Chef - Suvir Saran
Verdict - We simply loved it!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Trout Bhujne

Trout Bhujne
Malvani Rainbow Trout Stir Fry
3-4 steaks of rainbow trout, rinsed, cleaned, marinated with salt & turmeric powder
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed still keeping the garlic whole
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp Malvani Masala
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3-4 kokums, rinsed & soaked in 1/4 cup warm water for 30 minutes
1 tbsp coconut (optional)

1 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves


1. Heat oil. Saute garlic for 1 minute. Add onions. Saute till it becomes golden brown.

2. Add salt and turmeric powder.

3. Stir in Malavani masala, coconut and kokum water. Bring it to boil.

4. Add fish steaks. Let it simmer.

5. Switch off from gas as the fish is cooked.

6. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with plain rice or rice bhakri

Notes -
1. If you want a thicker version, let the sauce thickens a bit. For thinner version, add more water.
2. You can keep the garlic in its peel and then smash & add to the hot oil. This way, the inside garlic clove is not burnt. While eating, slurp the garlic and leave the peel aside.

Cooking from other blogs -2

I have been drooling, and bookmarking so many recipes around the blogosphere that it was high time to post some of these delicious dishes, posted by my blogger buddies. This post was in my draft for a long time, as I was finalizing it, I realized that, unknowingly, I grouped all the Karnataka cuisine together. It indeed was a feast and I will be more regular in sharing many more of the recipes that I enjoyed by the talented bloggers.

1. Ramya & Purnima's uppu huli dose- I have no doubt in my mind that I am world's worst neerdosa/paan pollo maker. I sighed when I looked at Purnima's spicy version, where I discovered Ramya's uppu huli dose . and I sighed even more. I knew I will mess up this wonderful recipe. But my talented blogger friends take care of writing the recipes in such a detail, that I too promoted myself from worst to "no-so-bad" neerdosa maker. I do need some more practice but I really enjoyed making these. My only change was that I used short-grain brown rice.
Thank you Purnima & Ramya!

2. Maya's Chuda - When Maya posted her chudo recipe, I had everything with me including even the Kumta Phov masala that dear Maya had sent as a part of Arusuvai friendship chain. I wasted no time making this chudo. I followed her recipe but used brown puffed rice as that's what I had in the pantry. We all just loved it. I will be making this more often.
Thanks, Maya!
3. Namratha's Gowdru Pulao - I was impressed by Namratha's recipe because adding egg along with masala and rice was a completely new step to me. So I asked her if I have understood that step correctly. She immediately clarified my doubts. I added more veggies along with everything that she had mentioned. Soon, my kitchen was filled with an awesome aroma. It definitely made our Sunday lunch special.
Thanks, Namratha!
4. Shilpa's eggless date cake - I read so much about it that I knew I have to make it soon. I baked it without oil as Shilpa baked the second time. It tasted awesome. It even fooled my husband and daughter as they devoured it thinking it's a chocolate-date cake because of the wonderful color. This recipe is a keeper. Simply superb!!
Thanks, Shilpa.

5. Archy's Harabara Matar - When Archy posted this recipe, I already had all the ingredients at hand. So I cooked it immediately. It was wonderful. I even had taken the picture, but am not finding it anywhere. It's somewhere and when I find it, I will update this post. but I didn't want to delay thanking Archy for this wonderful recipe.

Thanks, Archy!

Friday, April 18, 2008

MW Dalia cha Saanja

There are two types of "Saanja" made in Maharashtrian homes. "Saanja" or "Goad Saanja" (also known as shira) refers to sooji ka halwa/rava kesari. "Tikhat Saanja" or "Tikhatameethacha Saanja" refers to the savory version of rava/sooji/semolina porridge which is also known as upma/uppit/rrullav etc. in other parts of India. This time, I made saanja using broken wheat/bulgur wheat/dalia. and I made it in the microwave just for EasyCraft's WBB- Microwave event.

MW Dalia cha Saanja
1 cup broken wheat/bulgur wheat/dalia
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup carrot
1/2 cup green peas
salt to taste

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 small onion, chopped
1 green chili, chopped
1 red chili, halved
1 tsp ginger, grated
7-8 curry leaves
1 tsp coconut
1 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves , chopped
lemon wedges
Accompaniement (optional)
1. Roast Dalia or broken wheat in a microwaveable pie plate for 1 minute. Keep aside.
2. Add oil in a microwaveable casserole dish. Microwave for 1 minute.Add mustard seeds, asafoetida & turmeric powder. Microwave for 1 minute.
3. Add onion, green chili, red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Microwave for 1 minute. Check if onion is soft else microwave for another minute.
4. Add roasted dalia. Stir well. Microwave for another 1 minute.

4. Add 2 cups water & salt to taste. Microwave for 5 minutes. Wait for a minute. Microwave again for 2 more minutes. Let it stand for 1 minute.

5. Stir in the vegetables. Microwave for 1 minute.
8. Let it stand for 1 minute.

9. Take it out carefully as it will be very hot.
10. Stir in lemon juice. Garnish with chopped cilantro, grated coconut.
11. When serving, add some sev, if using and a wedge of lemon on side.

Note -
1. Use only microwaveable casseroles/utensils while cooking in the microwave. Never use any plastic containers.
2. I used frozen vegetables. If using raw vegetables, you may need to add them along with water and dalia.
3. Microwave cooking times vary. You may need to get used to your own microwave to find the suitable time.

This post is my contribution to Easy Craft's WBB: Microwave Food.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Kala Vatana from Mumbai

Kala Vatana

Kala Vatana is neither black urad nor black beans. It can be translated as black peas and is used in Maharashtrian/Malvani cuisine. It looks like small, round, black pearl. If you want to use them, you better pressure cook them. and even after that, kala vatana does not get too mushy.

Kala Vatana Sprouts

Amboli che Peeth

Amboli che peeth
2 cups short-grain rice
1/2 cup jowar/jwari/millet
1/2 cup urad daal
1/2 cup chana daal
1/2 cup wheat
1 tsp fenugreek seeds/methi
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1. Sun-dry all the ingredients separately.
2. Mix & grind to a fine flour.
3. Store in an air-tight container.
Note -
1. The ingredients and proportions vary from family to family.
2. Reduce the amount of fenugreek seeds if you do not care for the bitterish taste.

Recipe for Amboli  -

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bhinda nu shaak

Bhinda nu Shaak
Gujarati Okra Stir Fry
1 lb Okra/Bhendi/Bhinda/Bhindi, cut into matchsticks
1 medium potato, peeled, cut into matchsticks
Salt to taste
1 tsp coriander-cumin powder, preferably freshly ground
1/2 tsp mild chili powder like Kashmiri chili powder or paprika
A generous pinch of chaat masala

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

0. Cut okra & potatoes in matchsticks.
1. Heat oil in a kadai/wok .

2. Add all the ingredients for tempering.

3. As the mustard seeds start spluttering, add okra and potatoes. Add coriander-cumin seeds powder & paprika/chili powder. Give a quick stir.

4. Stir fry from time to time. Cover with a lid. Let it cook on low flame for 15-20 minutes or till okra is tender.

5. Add salt and chaat masala.

6. Serve with chapati or Gujarati Dal & rice.

Note -
1. Remember that chaat masala has rock salt in it. So adjust salt accordingly.

Karela Peels Thepla/bittergourd peels flatbread

Dadiji - my grandmother-in-law shared this recipe with me. She also warned me that make sure that nobody is around when you are binding the dough for this thepla. Never announce that it's bittergourd peels thepla. Let people eat it, enjoy it. Never divulge it's the peels of bittergourd otherwise it will be a sensational scandal! ;-) I follow these instructions. My husband enjoys it! :-)

The imperative step in enjoying this thepla, is sprinkling salt generously on the peels, and squeezing the juice.

Kaarela Chhal na Thepla
Bittergourd peels flatbread
Peels of 3 bittergourds
1/2 tsp salt

2 cups wheat flour
1/2 cup besan
1 tsp coriander-cumin seeds powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves/cilantro
salt to taste
1/2 tsp kitchen king masala or Rajwadi garam masala
1 tsp oil


1. Sprinkle salt on the peels and mix them together. Keep aside for 30 minutes.

2. Squeeze all the water from the peels. Wash quickly under water.

3. Mix all the ingredients for the dough.

4. Stir in the peels. Knead to a dough.

5. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes.

6. Roll into thin rotis.

7. Roast on the griddle adding oil per your preference. Fry till brown spots appear on both the sides.

8. After cooked, store the theplas in an aluminum cooking foil or clean napkin so they remain soft till ready to eat.

9. Serve with yogurt and achar on side.

Note -

1. Dadiji uses Rajwadi Garam masala but I used kitchen king masala as I don't have the Rajwadi garam masala.

2. Look for fresh bittergourds for this recipe.

3. Soak bittergourds and wash nicely before scraping the peels.

4. You can chop the scraped peels if you like.

Chopped Bittergourd for shaak, peels for thepla and seeds for planting.

This post is my entry to Pooja's Vegetable of the week: Bittergourd.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Kaarela Dhokli nu shaak

This is our Maharaj's (mom-in-law's domestic help for cooking in India) recipe.

Kaarela Dhokli nu Shaak
Bittergourd with Chana daal paste
3 bittergourds, scraped, chopped
1/3 cup chana daal/bengal gram, soaked in water for 2-3 hours
1 green chili
1 red chili
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
salt to taste
1/2 tsp red chili powder
A pinch of sugar to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro/coriander leaves

2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1. Drain the soaked chana daal. Grind it to a coarse paste adding salt to taste, red chili, green chili, asafoetida, turmeric powder, cumin seeds.
2. Spread the chana daal paste in a pressure cooker container. Steam for 2-3 whistles. When it is cooled down, crumble it and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a kadai. Add all the ingredients for tempering. Add chopped bittergourds. Add 1 tbsp water. Cover and let it cook for about 10 minutes or so till bittergourd is tender.
4. Add red chili powder, salt to taste (remember you have already added to the chana daal paste too!), sugar.
5. Add crumbled, cooked chana daal paste. Stir so everything is nicely mixed.
6. Stir in chopped coriander leaves.
7. Serve hot with chapatis.

Note -
If you really love your bittergourds, do not throw away the peels. Recipe coming next!!:-)

This post is my entry to Pooja's Vegetable of the week: Bittergourd.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Harvesting Red Chilies

The chilies (fresh & dried both) are very important part of the Indian cuisine. I can't imagine the Indian cuisine without chilies (& spices of course!). My grandmothers knew many more chilies and they used to choose them based on tastes, spice/heat levels , colors and their own experiences. Some of the dry chilies that I have heard from my grandmothers are Sankeswari, byadgi, kashmiri, Madras, reshampatti. From Gujarati side of my family, I learned about Boriya chilies. Few months back, I read about Bhoot Jhalokia - the newly crowned hottest chili in the world. After coming to America, I got familiar with jalepenos, serranos, thai bird chilies, poblano, Anaheim, chipotle & there are many more Mexican dry chilies varieties that I see regularly in the supermarket but have never used them yet.

The four regulars in my kitchen pantry are Byadgi, Kashmiri, Boriya and the one available in Indian stores without any name - I call it regular. I discovered byadgi & boriya at my local Indian stores, just recently. Before that I used to use this generic "regular" one which used to be quite unpredictable as far as the color, taste or heat level is concerned. I love Kashmiri chilies very much for the vibrant red color & mildly delicate flavor, it gives to the dishes. But I have never seen it at the local Indian stores.

Whenever I use these chilies, I carefully take out the seeds. I have made the containers with each name written. I dry the seeds of the respective chilies in the sun. and store them making sure they do not come in contact with any moisture. As spring has arrived, I have planted my precious seeds. This is the first time, I have planted Boriya & Byadgi. Byadgi seeds have sprouted too.

The picture below is from the "regular" chili that I had planted last year. I was too reluctant to harvest them as they looked so beautiful on the plant itself. I had kept them in the sunny window, and very soon, the beautiful green chili turned into dry red ones. I got my very own dry chilies at home. (Please note that mostly I do the container gardening, so I can take the containers inside during the harsh winter. So my harvest is really modest, but it gives me tremendous joy, nonetheless!:-)

This post is my contribution to WHB which is being hosted at Jugalbandi. WHB is started by Kalyn of Kalyn's kitchen.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Kaarela-kanda nu Shaak

This is my grand-aunt's (grandma's sister) recipe. She probably must have learned from her mother-in-law.

Kaarela is bittergourd in Gujarati, Kanda is onions. It is a simple bittergourd-onions stir fry with a generous amount of jaggery in it. My grand-aunt used to make exactly similar "shaak" of padwal or snake gourds too. Just replace bitter gourds with snake gourds and the rest is the same.

Kaarela-Kanda nu shaak
4-5 medium bittergourds, scraped & diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
salt to taste
1 tsp chili powder
1 - 2 tbsp jaggery (depending on your taste)

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 lemon/lime

1. Wash, scrape bittergourds. Remove the seeds, and make small dices. Sprinkle salt all over the bittergourd pieces. and set aside for about 15 minutes.
2. 15 minutes later, squeeze out all the water from the gourds. Now they are ready for cooking.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida and turmeric powder. Add onions and stir fry till onion is soft.
4. Now add bittergourds and chili powder. Stir fry till all the spices coat the vegetables. Add 2 tbsp water.
5. Cover the saucepan with a lid. Switch the flame to low and cook till the bittergourds are soft.
6. Add jaggery and salt to taste. Cook till jaggery melts. Squeeze a lemon on top just before serving.
7. Serve with chapati, ghau ni bhakri or rotla.

Note -
1. Sprinkling of salt on the bittergourd pieces takes out extra bitterness.

Update -

I had posted this entry sometime back. I am not finding any bittergourds here. Hopefully, I will find bittergourds before April 15th for Pooja's VoW: Bittergourd event. Then I will send a new entry as well. The recipe I have in my mind, needs freshest possible bittergourds so I can't use the frozen ones. and so I have done, what needs to be done too. Now all I need is little bit of patience and fingers crossed!!:-)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Clicking it - Au Naturel

Name - The Corn Cobs
Make & Model - Gateway/DC-T50
5.25 megapixels

The above picture is my contribution to Click: Au Naturel at Jugalbandi.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Vegtable Burger - Cooking Light

It was one of those days when I didn't know what to cook. and then I glanced through the latest issue of Cooking Light. The India inspired Cooking Light menu by Mr. Suvir Saran definitely excited me. I have immensely enjoyed his book "Indian Home Cooking". So decided that's what is for the dinner tonight - Veggie Burgers by Suvir Saran, Cooking Light style.

Recipe Source

Mr. Suvir Saran

8 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed pita half)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 292(18% from fat); FAT 5.7g (sat 0.8g,mono 2.9g,poly 1.3g); PROTEIN 9.7g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 58mg; SODIUM 675mg; FIBER 7.1g; IRON 3.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 51.8g

My Modifications
1. I added grated cabbage instead of carrots, since I didn't have carrots in the fridge.
2. I used Panko bread crumbs.
3. I used just one small potato since I didn't have more than that. (Yeah, it was one of those days, when I had to do the weekly grocery shopping!)
4. I didn't refrigerate the burgers before frying. I just used them immediately.
5. I also added some mint in the food-processor. It gave a nice flavor. Reason - just because!!:-)


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Thanks, Pooja

What a pleasant surprise it was!! As we did our mundane chore of checking the mailbox , there it was - a parcel - waiting for us!! Gudiya & I were excited as ever. It was from Pooja. The sweetheart that she is, she sent some goodies for Gudiya. It was a Barbie doll and a box of chocolates - as Pooja says, it's a token of friendship & love. (Is it reverse Arusuvai? :-)
Gudiya always names her dolls. & she has decided to name the Barbie doll - "Pooja". At this moment, she is busy singing lullaby for her Pooja doll. :-)

Really, this whole blogging has given me so many good friends.

My dear friend, Pooja - thanks so much for considering me as your friend. I feel honored.

Carrot Walnut Salad

Carrot Walnut Salad
Inspired by Kashmiri Cuisine
3 carrots, peeled, diced
1 cup yogurt
Handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
salt to taste
1/4 tsp fennel seeds/variyali/badishep/saunf - powdered
A generous pinch of chaat masala

Garnish (optional)
1 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped

1. Mix all the ingredients.
2. Garnish with the coriander leaves.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Rajma Paratha

It was time to do some pantry cooking. I found a can each of kidney beans, fire-roasted green peppers and tomato paste. So decided to use all of them. First I thought of making Rajma curry but then I wanted a one dish meal. So I finalized on making Rajma Paratha. It was my own little experiment and we - especially Gudiya, just loved it.

Here's what I did -

Rajma Paratha
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 tbsp fire-roasted green peppers
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 cups wheat flour (or as needed)
2 tbsp besan
salt to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp coriander-cumin seed powder
2 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp oil

Wheat flour for rolling paratha
oil for shallow frying

1. Mash rajma using a fork.
2. Mix all the ingredients to knead a dough.
3. Cover and keep it aside for 15 minutes
4. Make equal sized balls. Roll into parathas or rotis.
5. Shallow fry on a pan or griddle till brown spots appear on both sides. Use oil as needed.
6. I served the rajma parathas with carrot-walnut salad inspired by Kashmiri cuisine.

Notes -
1. I generally first mix the ingredients without adding any water. Then I add water on need basis. Also after the dough is formed, I add 1 tsp oil. So the dough looks shiny.
2. When shallow frying, I generally use a few drops of oil only on one side of the paratha. Use oil according to your own preference.
3. Initially, I was skeptical if I could roll the rajma stuffed paratha easily. But it was not at all a problem.
4. If you feel 1 tbsp of garlic is too much for your liking, you can reduce it. But I like the flavor of garlic with kidney beans.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Vagharela Mag daal na Dhokla

Whether it's leftover rice, chapati, bread, idli or even dhokla, adding a generous tempering gives a new flavor to the old leftovers. & every tempering is different for every dish. For this leftover mag daal na dhokla, a ginger flavored tempering is preferred in my family. This can be served as a snack or also with chapati. If you want to serve it with chapati, serve with some plain yogurt on sides else it may be too dry.

Vagharela Mag daal na Dhokla
Tempered Moong daal Dhokla
Leftover Mag ni daal na dhokla, crushed
salt to taste

2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 green chili, chopped
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ginger, minced or pulp


1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp cilantro /coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp grated coconut (optional)


1. Heat oil in a saucepan or a wok.

2. Add all the ingredients for tempering.

3. Add crushed mag ni daal na dhokla.

4. Add just a little salt to taste. Add 1 tbsp water. Mix well.

5. Cover with a lid. Cook for 2-3 minutes till the dhokla mixture is incorporated and heated through.

6. Squeeze in lemon juice.

7. Garnish with chopped cilantro and coconut.

Note -

1. Leftover dhokla already has salt in it. So add salt very carefully.

Some more Dhoklas from this blog - (Don't get bored yet, many more to come!!;-)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Irani Egg Curry

My husband loves the egg curry served at the Irani restaurants of Mumbai. It's amazing that when you are away, you read something and wonder how you never ever went to a particular place in the city, where you (& four generations before you) grew up. So a few years ago when we went back home, my husband and I were determined to eat at the famous Irani restaurants, which we had heard fondly only in the talks of the nostalgic elders of the family. So we went there to eat their famous "baida curry". Of course, rather than enjoying the curry with soft paav, I did my own thing of decoding the ingredients in the curry. I noted down all the ingredients (which I thought anyways!) in my notebook after coming home.
I found that scribbled recipe while flipping the pages of my notebook. So thought of making my version of the Irani Egg curry.

Irani Baida Curry
Egg Curry with Irani/Parsi influence
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, halved
1/2 Tbsp jaggery or sugar
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp Oil
salt to taste

Grind to a fine paste
1/3 cup coconut
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
5 dry red chilies
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
7-8 almonds

1 Tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves

1. Heat oil. saute onion till golden brown.
2. Add the ground paste. Saute for 5 minutes.
3. Add 1/2 cup water, salt to taste, jaggery.
4. Bring to boil.
5. Add hard-boiled, halved eggs.
6. Simmer for 5 minutes.
7. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Notes -
1. You can discard egg yolks if you are watching your cholesterol.
2. Increase or decrease the amount of chilies per your own preference.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Gujarati Cha Masalo

At my mom's place, tea is a simple tea. Nothing is added to the tea except during the rainy or flu seasons, mom adds ginger to make "Aalyacha Chaha/Ginger Tea". But at my mom-in-laws, it's a different story. Pretty much everybody has own preference about what goes into the tea. My in-laws prefer "Masala ni chai". The chai is quite spicy since it has a lot of black pepper in it. This homemade masala is so strong that just a small pinch is enough to flavor the 2 cups of tea.
My mom-in-law makes this masala at home. Now she too uses Sumeet to make job easier. But her mom always used iron "Khand-dasta" or mortar & pestle to powder the masalas. The flavor imparted by iron khand dasta/mortar & pestle is unique - that's what I have been told. I use Sumeet too!:-)
I will cover the "Tea Taste Buds" of the rest of the family in my next posts.

Mummy Ji 's Chai Masalo
2 cups Black Pepper
1 cup Dry ginger powder/Sunth
12 Cloves
1- 2 Cinnamon
12 Green Cardamoms

1. Grind all the ingredients together.
2. Pass through a fine sieve.
3. Store in an airtight container.

Note -
1. I do not sieve this masala since I do not have that fine sieve.
2. Mom-in-law always uses dried ginger pieces instead of dried ginger powder. I did not find it at my local Indian stores.

Mag ni Daal na Dhokla

I learned this Dhokla from Dadiji - my grandmother-in-law.

Mag ni Daal na dhokla

Moong Daal Dhokla
1 cup Yellow Moong Daal
1 green chili (use more if you like it hot!)
1" ginger

1/4 tsp turmeric powder
A generous pinch of asafoetida
Salt to taste

Fermenting agent
2 tbsp warm water
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp plain yogurt , preferably sour

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)

1 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tsp freshly grated coconut
1/2 lemon

1. Soak moong daal in 3 cups water for 4-6 hours

2. Grind along with green chili and ginger.

3. Leave it for fermenting for 6 hours.

4. Keep a steamer ready with boiling water.

5. Grease the pressure cooker containers.

6. mix baking soda, yogurt and warm water.

7. Just before steaming, add the fermenting agent along with salt, turmeric powder and asafoetida to the batter. Mix well.

8. Divide the batter in 2 containers.

9. Steam for about 10 minutes on high flame and then another 10 minutes on low flame.

10. Take out the containers. Leave it for cooling down for 15 minutes.

11. Cut into squares or diamonds.

12. Heat the oil for tempering in a small container. Add mustard seeds & sesame seeds. Drizzle over the dhokla.

13. Garnish with cilantro and coconut.

14. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top.

Note -

After adding the baking soda mixture, steam the dhokla immediately.

This post is my contribution to Barbara's LiveStrong Day - A Taste of Yellow.


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