Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Kesari Firni

"Firni" is not our traditional family recipe. My family makes different renditions of rice and milk pudding like Rice Kheer or DoodhPak, but Firni was introduced to our family when chef Sanjeev Kapoor started his "Khana Khazana" on Zee TV. I used to drop whatever I was doing and grab a pen and  pad to write down his recipes. Since then I have made "Firni" several times and now it has become a part of Gudiya's family recipes.

Kesari Firni
Rice Pudding with saffron
4 - 5 tbsp basmati rice, soaked for 4 - 6 hours
1 litre milk

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp almonds
10-15 raw, unsalted pistachios

Few threads of saffron/kesar/keshar
2-3 green cardamoms, peeled & powdered

1. Soak rice for 4 - 6 hours. Drain.
2. Grind rice with 1/4 cup milk, almonds and pistachios.
3. Bring milk to boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
4. Add rice paste. Add sugar. Keep cooking stirring from time to time. Make sure that there are no lumps of rice paste.
5. Place saffron threads in a steel spoon. Place over a gas flame for few seconds. Crush lightly. Add 1 tbsp hot milk in a small bowl. Add saffron threads. And pour it back to the firni mixture. Add cardamom powder.
6. Firni is ready when the milk mixture has thickened.
7. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Note -
1. Increase or decrease the amount of sugar based on your own preference.
2. Use full fat milk for richer flavor.


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Monday, February 25, 2013

Vayngana Talasani (2) - Eggplant Cooked South Canara Style

Traditionally, Vyngana Talasani is made as I had blogged earlier. But once mom cooked it like Tendlya Talasani and we all loved it enough that it is made again and again till this day.

Vyngana Talasani (2)
Eggplant Stir Fry - South Canara Style
7 small purple Indian eggplants, sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled & sliced
1 tsp hot chili powder like Reshampatti
salt to taste
1/2 tsp tamarind paste

1 tbsp oil - preferably coconut oil
7 - 9 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed

1. Cut and slice the vegetables and immerse in water till ready to use.
2. Heat oil in an iron kadhai. Add garlic cloves. Saute till they get darker.
3. Now add drained vegetables, chili powder.
4. Cover with a lid. Place water on the lid.
5. Let it cook on medium flame till veggies are cooked.
6. Add salt and tamarind paste.

1. Though garlic cloves are smashed, we are not using garlic paste. Each clove should remain in tact.
2. Traditionally, eggplants and potatoes are sliced vertically for making talasani. In the picture above, I - accidentally - cut them into squares. Though it didn't alter the taste, I thought of mentioning the "traditional" cutting style for this recipe!

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pedve Fanna Upkari - Sardine Curry

Fanna Upkari is very spicy & tangy curry - generally made with fish like pomfret, mackerel, prawns and sardines. Vegetarians can substitute potatoes or mushrooms to make a very spicy curry which goes extremely well with plain rice. This curry needs just a few basic ingredients like coconut oil, onion, tamarind pulp and spicy chili powder. It doesn't have any coconut. However, the method of frying the finely chopped onion in the coconut oil and then adding tamarind pulp and spicy chili powder, makes this simple curry lipsmackingly delicious. Though the ingredients are very basic, care has to be taken to make sure that the onion is finely chopped and is roasted to perfection without burning it.

Pedvya Fanna Upkari
Sardine Curry
4 sardines, cleaned, washed, make gashes [If they are too big, halve them]
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp coconut oil (or mixture of peanut oil and coconut oil)
1 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp spicy chili powder (this curry is spicy!)
2 tsp tamarind pulp


1. Clean, wash sardines. Make gashes on the fish.
2. Sprinkle salt and turmeric. Coat it nicely and set aside.
3. Heat an iron kadhai. Add oil  - preferably coconut oil.
4. Add onion and keep frying for about 15  - 20 minutes or more till onion is deep brown but still not burnt. Make sure that the gas is not high.
5. Now add chili powder, tamarind pulp and 1 cup water.
6. Bring to boil. Place sardines in a single layer.
7. Let the sardines cook and let water evaporate till thick consistency is reached.
8. Switch off and transfer it to the serving bowl. Do not keep in the iron kadhai.

Note -
1. This curry tastes best after few hours since masala is nicely marinated with the fish.
2. Serve with plain rice.
3. Onion has to be very finely chopped
4. Make sure that onion doesn't get charred in the roasting process.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gingersnap Cookies

Gudiya has been helping me with cooking since she was a toddler. So it was only natural that she was ready to attend the cooking class meant just for kids. Our local Whole Foods arranges these kids cooking classes from time to time. Gudiya enjoys "cooking" and "baking" with lovely Ms. J.

Last Christmas, Ms. J and the team prepared Gingersnap cookie mix. So after coming home, Gudiya and I added the necessary ingredients like egg and butter and baked our own batch of Gingersnaps.
Gudiya was one proud baker that day!

Ms. J's Gingersnaps
1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 1/4 cup App Purpose Flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 3/4 tsp ground ginger
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

3/4 cup or 1  1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 egg

1. Preheat oven 350 F
2. Make a batter adding egg and butter.
3. Roll in hand to size of large marbles.
4. Bake for 7 minutes.
5. Rotate the tray
6. Bake for 7 more minutes
7. Let it cool down on the cooling rack
8. Enjoy

1. The cookie mix can be given as a gift with a recipe card.

Recipe Credits

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Idlichi Chutney

There are just endless variety of chutneys made in India. Mom makes this chutney to be served with Idli. 
Idlichi Chutney
1 1/2 cup freshly scraped coconut
3-4 green chilies (more or less per desired heat)
1/2" ginger, peeled & chopped
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp tamarind paste

Roast till brown
1 tbsp white urad daal
1 tbsp dalia/Pandharpuri DaaLe/puffed chana daal

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
2 sprigs curry leaves, torn
2 red chilies, halved

Suggested Accompaniment
Medu Vada
Biscuit Ambode

1. Roast urad daal and puffed chana daal separately without adding oil in a pan - preferably, cast iron pan. Roast on a medium flame. Do not let it burn. Let the daals change their color to brown but not burnt. Let it cool down
2. Grind roasted daals with coconut, chilies, ginger, salt, sugar and tamarind paste. Do not add too much water.
3. Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add tempering ingredients. Drizzle the sizzling oil over the chutney.
4. Serve this freshly made chutney with hot idlies.

Note -
1. The chutney should have little rough consistency so grind coarsely. However, care must be taken that the daals are ground completely.
2. Do not use coriander leaves or cilantro in this recipe as the beige color of the chutney is derived from the roasted daals.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pizza Paratha

I had some leftover Marinara sauce. I decided to give it an American Desi twist. This was somewhat similar to my Thali Peethzza.

Pizza Paratha
Flatbread using Marinara sauce
2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
salt to taste
Few dashes of Italian seasoning
3-4 fresh basil leaves, shredded
1 tsp oil

Oil as needed for roasting

Grind to paste
1 cup Marinara sauce
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (Optional)

1. Grind marinara sauce with garlic and turmeric powder - if using.
2. Mix wheat flour, cheese, salt, seasoning and basil leaves.
3. Knead into a dough using marinara sauce paste. You may need more water for kneading. But adjust it as you go.
4. Stir in 1 tsp oil and keep kneading. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.
5. Make small or large uniform balls.
6. Roll into small or big flatbreads. Fry on a hot griddle, using oil as needed.

Note -
1. I sneak in turmeric powder wherever possible.  But if you don't want to use it, just skip it.
2. Homemade or store bought Marinara sauce can be used. I like Muir Glen or Whole Foods brand. But any marinara sauce of your choice will work.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Vegetable Jaipuri

Vegetable Jaipuri

I wonder  if all these vegetable curry recipes suffixed with some random names of Indian cities are really from those respective cities? There are many such dishes like Veg Jaipuri, Veg Kolhapuri, Veg Bhopali etc. While flipping through the pages of my beloved "recipe diary" [This one is from the school days], I came across a recipe named "Swaroop Sampat's Veg Jaipuri". I really don't recall why and how this recipe got copied into my diary. Was there any cookery show where Swaroop Sampat presented this recipe? or was it copied from any magazine? I don't remember. Anyways, let's savor Swaroop Sampat's Veg Jaipuri today!

Swaroop Sampat's Veg Jaipuri
1 cup Paneer cubes
2 cups mixed vegetables [I used the frozen packet of carrots, green peas, green bean and yellow corn]
1 cup potato cubes

1 cup evaporated milk
salt to taste
Sugar to taste
1/2 tsp Garam Masala

Grind to paste
2 tbsp cashews, unsalted & raw -  soak in water
1 tbsp poppy seeds - soak in water
2 onions, peeled & sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled

1 tbsp oil
2 cloves

1. Bring about 6 -8 cups water to boil. Add 1 tsp salt. Add potatoes. When they are semi-cooked, add mixed vegetables. Simmer for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Shallow or deep fry paneer pieces if desired. I keep paneer pieces as is to avoid extra frying.
3. Grind drained cashews, poppy seeds and onion, garlic to a fine paste.
4. Heat oil in a kadhai/wok. Add cloves. As they splutter, add above paste. Fry on medium flame till the raw smell of onion disappears.
5. Add salt and sugar to taste
6. Add vegetables and 1/2 cup water, garam masala.
7.  When the gravy simmers, add evaporated milk and paneer pieces.
8. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
9.  Serve with Rumali Roti.

Note -
1. The original recipe called for cream. But I prefer fat free evaporated milk instead - to save calories.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Mogrichi Bhaaji - Radish String Beans

It's been ages since I ate mogri. I have seen it in the frozen section of the Indian stores. But I was craving for the fresh ones. The only way to achieve this, especially when you are away from your native land is grow it yourself. Our local nursery sold white and red radish seeds. So I planted those hoping to get green and purple string beans. My container garden produced enough harvest to make this bhaaji.  I decided to make this bhaaji - Konkani Talasani style.
This bhaaji is relished in my Maharashtrian, Konkani as well as Gujarati families. So I will blog more recipes using this bhaaji soon.
Mogri chi Bhaaji
Radish String Beans Stir Fry
2 cups Radish string beans/Mogrichya shenga, remove both ends, tear into 1-2" pieces
salt to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
2-3 dry, red chilies, halved
1 tbsp freshly scraped coconut
1. Heat oil in a wok or kadhai or bogaLe (Konkani word!)
2. Add mustard seeds. As they splutter, add asafoetida and chilies.
3. Add rinsed and drained mogri. Stir fry.
4. Cover with a lid. Add water on the lid.
5. Let it cook.
6. Add salt and coconut.
Note -
1. If mogries are too short, just remove both ends and use the whole string bean.
Mogrichya Shenga

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Panko Crused Mahi Mahi

I got an inspiration to make this recipe from the Prevention magazine.  Though I didn't follow the exact recipe, but was happy with my outcome.

Panko crusted Mahi Mahi
2 Mahi Mahi fillets
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp garlic paste

1/2 cup Panko - Japanese breadcrumbs
1 tbsp shredded spinach
1 tbsp shredded cilantro

Oil for frying - as needed

1. Clean, rinse and pat dry Mahi Mahi fillets.
2. Sprinkle salt, black pepper, turmeric powder, paprika and garlic paste.
3. Mix breadcrumbs with spinach and cilantro.
4. Heat a pan with oil
5. Dredge the fillets in the panko mixture so they are completely covered with the mixture.
6. Shallow fry on a medium flame till they are crispy.

Note -
1. Serve with salad of your choice.
2. Ginger-garlic-green chili paste can be used instead of just garlic paste.

Prevention Magazine

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Kumta Masala Phow

My grandmother had some relatives in Kumta. So every year, when they visited Mumbai, they always brought Kumta Masala. My grandmother used to make phovvu/Pohe and onion-potato curry with this masala. Over the years, we forgot about this masala completely.
As a part of Arusuvai chain, my friend, Maya had sent me this masala. Her blog also features the recipe for this masala. As I opened her packet, it took me back to my grandmother's kitchen.
When I had gone to India, my Mami casually mentioned about this Kumta Masala. My mami was almost taken aback with my enthusiasm about this masala. She said that she wasn't aware of my passion for this masala else she would have sent it over to me long back. Anyways, I am glad to report that I am a proud owner of my own stash of this Kumta Masala in my pantry. But do visit Maya's blog and check out the recipe for making your own Kumta Masala at home.
Kumtya Masala Phow
Flattened Rice - Kumta style
3-4 fistfuls thin pohe
1 fist freshly scraped coconut
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp Kumta Masala
1 - 2 tbsp powdered/grated jaggery
salt to taste
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice or as needed
Teekh Sev/1 seva malle
1. Roast thin poha on a low flame till they are crisp but do not  let change color of the poha.
2. Mix all the remaining ingredients except sev and knead it till it's mixed nicely.
3. Garnish with spicy, red sev in the individual bowls.
Note -
1. Do not use thick poha for this recipe.
2. Spicy, red sev is an integral part of this recipe.
3. You can use additional coconut for garnish if you wish.
4. This proportion will serve 2 - 4 people based on the appetite.
5. Though not traditional, I sometimes add roasted peanuts to this recipe. If you like, mix with all the ingredients.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Prasadacha Shira

This is the shira that is prepared for Satyanarayan Prasad. But it always confuses me that all the ingredients are required in 1 1/4 measurement. Now in order for semolina to cook, it needs double amount of liquid. So how would same amount of liquid be sufficient? So I use 1 1/4 measure water and 1 1/4 measure milk.

Clarification : A reader - Archana clarified that for Prasadacha shira, you always add double measure of liquid. So use double the amount of milk or milk+water mixture compared to the rawa/semolina.

Prasadacha Shira
1 1/4 cup semolina
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup ghee
1 1/4 cup milk ( + 1 1/4 cup water)
1 1/4 ripe banana, chopped

5 green cardamoms, peeled & crushed
few threads of saffron (optional)

1. Heat spoonful of ghee/clarified butter. Fry banana pieces and set aside.
2. Heat remaining ghee.
3. Roast semolina on a low flame.
4. Heat milk, water and sugar - in a separate container -  till it comes to a boil.
5. Add milk mixture to roasted semolina. Keep stirring till homogeneous mass is formed.
6. Add cardamom powder, saffron - if using, and fried banana pieces. Mix well.

Note -
1. Add 2 1/2 cups of milk or 1 1/4 cup of milk + 1 1/4 cup of water for the above recipe.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Aloo Gobhi

It's surprising that it took me so long to blog about my version of this classic Punjabi favorite. But better late than never!

Aloo Gobhi
Punjabi Cauliflower and Potatoes stir fry
1 medium cauliflower, cut into medium florets
4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt to taste
1 tbsp coriander-cumin powder
1/2 tsp paprika or mild chili powder

2 tbsp oil (or as needed)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

A pinch of Amchoor Powder
A pinch of chaat masala
A pinch of black pepper powder

1. Soak cauliflower florets and potato slices in the salted water till ready to use.
2. Heat oil in a deep kadai or wok.
3. Add cumin seeds, turmeric powder and asafoetida. As they splutter, add ginger-garlic paste.
4. Drain cauliflower and potato slices completely and add to the kadai.
5. Add chopped cilantro. Keep on stirring on medium-low gas.
6. Add coriander-cumin powder and paprika or chili powder.
7. Stir fry till cooked. Do not let it overcook.
8. Sprinkle the remaining powders for garnish.
9. Serve with roti or paratha.

Note -
1. Salted water is used to avoid the discoloration of potatoes and it gets rid of any worms in cauliflower.
2. Add more oil if necessary to stir fry the subzi. However, I prefer to use less oil and cover it with a lid.
3. You can sprinkle crushed kasoori methi in the end for an additional flavor.

Monday, February 11, 2013


 This used to be one of my grandmother's signature recipes. Let me be honest with you. I never ever thought I will ever make this in my lifetime. But never say never! I found some raw baby mangoes in brine on the shelves of our local Indian stores. As luck would have it the brand was "Grandma's"!! I decided to try this nonche/pickle. This pickle goes by the name "Mangloori Nonche" in my family. The baby mangoes worked okay but my only complaint was they were tad bigger than my grandmother used for making this pickle. But I was glad that at least I found these baby mangoes. This pickle is also known as "Midi Lonche".
Raw Mango Pickle South Canara way
 1 jar Grandma's mangoes in brine (around 8 - 10 raw mangoes)
To make salt solution/brine
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup salt

Grind to a fine paste
2 tbsp mustard seeds, roasted
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, roasted
3 - 5 byadgi chilies (or per taste)
1 tbsp paprika for color
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1. Take off the raw mangoes from the jar.
2. Bring water and salt to boil. Switch off the gas. Let it cool completely.
3. Grind seeds and powders very finely adding salt water as needed. You probably will not need all the salt water.
4. Mix the ground paste with mangoes.
5. Keep aside covered for at least 1/2 a day.
6. Serve as a pickle with a typical Mangloori meal of daalitauy, sheeth (rice) and upkari or talasani.
Note -
1. Refrigerate the leftover pickle. Use within 2 weeks.
2. I used "Grandma's" brand mangoes in brine from the local Indian stores. These mangoes are bigger than the ones that are used traditionally.
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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Egg Lavash Roll

This is my "to-go" recipe when I am running short on time. The entire recipe is as easy as this - Make Omelet, Stuff readymade Lavash bread with omelet, lettuce, onion, avocado or any salad veggies available in the fridge and drizzle with tomato ketchup, sweet-sour sauce and hot sauce per preference, Fold the roll burrito style and serve.

Egg Lavash Roll - (Makes 3 rolls)
For omelet -
3 eggs
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
1/2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 green chili, chopped (optional)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

For stuffing
Shredded lettuce
Chopped avocado
Minced onion/cilantro

Tomato ketchup
Maggie chili sweet sour sauce
A pinch of chaat masala

Roll -
3 Lavash flat bread

1. Prepare omelets and set aside.
2. Stuff each omelet per lavash.
3. Stuff with veggies of your choice
4. Roll burrito style.
5. Serve.

Note -
1. Any salad friendly veggies like shredded carrots/cabbage etc can be used.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Date & Walnut Pudding

Dates are used as a natural sweetener for this pudding. Try it and you won't miss sugar.
Date & Walnut Pudding
1/3 cup Medjool Dates approx 7 - 9, deseeded
2 cups milk
2 tbsp walnuts
1 tbsp cocoa powder
few drops of vanilla extract/essence
1 tbsp or 1 envelope Knox gelatin
1. Soak dates in 1 cup milk for about 4-5 hours.
2. Grind dates & milk mixture with walnuts, cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
3. Boil remaining 1 cup milk.
4. Pour the boiling milk over unflavored gelatin powder. Add date-milk mixture and whisk till there are no lumps of gelatin.
5. Pour in 4 serving bowls. Refrigerate and let it set for about 2 hours.
6. Serve chilled.
Note -
1. Use full fat milk for richer taste.
2. For sweeter taste, use 2 tbsp - 1/4 cup sugar or per your preference. In that case, grind it with date-milk mixture.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Kandya Batatyachi Bhaaji - Onion & Potato stir fry

Mom used to make this simple bhaaji for lunchbox (dabba) sometimes. I used to look forward to this bhaaji. But once my lunchbox days in Mumbai were over, I hardly ate this bhaaji again. Just the other day, I suddenly remembered this bhaaji. So decided to make it myself. This bhaaji also makes a wonderful filling for the toasted sandwiches.

Kandya-Batatyachi Bhaaji
Onion-Potato Stir Fry
6-7 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 medium onions, peeled & chopped
1 tsp chili powder
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar

2 1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add onion and saute till it is transparent. Add turmeric powder.
2. Add potatoes. and saute for 2-3 minutes.
3. Cover with a lid and let it cook on the lowest heat for about 25 minutes.
4. Add chili powder, salt, sugar and cover again and cook on the lowest heat for about 20 or so more minutes or till the potatoes are cooked.

Note -
1. You can add some pav bhaaji masala, Kumta Masala or Garam Masala to enhance the flavor of this basic bhaaji.
2. This proportion serves 4-6 people.

Kandya Batatyachi bhaji with PoLi

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