Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chilkewali Bhujiya

My mom-in-law deep fries some bite sized "bhujiyas"/fritters from the chilkewala dhokla batter during monsoons. These small bhujiyas taste delicious with  hot-sweet chutney or tomato ketchup with a cup of ginger tea on a rainy day.

Though we miss Mumbai monsoons here, I do make these bhujiyas. But due to my aversion to deep frying, I use my trusted appe pan to "fry" these fritters.

Chilkewali Bhujiya
1 recipe Chilkewala Dhokla batter
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns, slightly crushed
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp minced green chilies
2 tbsp minced cilantro
salt if needed
1/4 cup minced red onion

Oil for frying

Suggested accompaniment
Ginger Tea or Lemongrass Tea

1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. If using appe pan, heat it adding oil as necessary and fry bhujies.
3. If deep frying, heat oil in a kadhai. Fry bite sized bhujiyas.
4. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea.

Note -
1. Do not use pepper powder for this recipe. Whole black peppercorns, are needed for the authentic taste.
2. If you want a real authentic taste, these bhujiyas need to be deep fried!!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sultana Pulao

I have been making this pulao from a really long time. I think I had clipped this recipe from a magazine and I distinctly remember that it was a Tarla Dalal recipe. However, when I searched her site for credits, I don't find this particular recipe. I was probably in college when I had made this pulao for the first time. My best friend loved and raved about it so much, that I actually made a recipe book for her as a part of her wedding gift and added this recipe. She still calls it as "my" recipe but it really belongs to Tarlaji.

Later, I impressed my husband when I whipped up this pulao. "What's sultana?" - he had asked me while devouring. I told him how golden raisins are known as sultanas. He was thoroughly impressed by my culinary knowhow then. Well, we were newly married so it was very easy to impress each other that time!;-)

Over the years, I have made my own modifications to the original recipe depending on the ingredients available in and around the kitchen. In this process, sometimes, this pulao is even made without the golden raisins!;-)

"What's for dinner today?" - my husband asked the other day. "Sultana Pulao!" - I replied. He carefully raked the pulao on his plate with his fork, looking for those golden raisins and inquired - "Where's Sultana?". "You are talking to her!" - I replied!!!;-D

Sultana Pulao
Golden Raisins and Vegetable Pulao
1 cup good quality basmati, soaked for 1/2 hour, rinsed
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
2 tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tbsp. coriander-cumin powder
1 tsp paprika or Kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tsp garam masala

3 cups warm water
salt to taste

1 1/2 cup mixed vegetables such as corn, carrot, green peas, green beans etc.
1 potato, peeled & diced
1 cup cauliflower florets

1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tbsp. ghee
2 cloves
1" piece cinnamon
2 green cardamom
4-5 black peppercorn
1 tbsp. golden raisins

1. Rinse and soak basmati for at least 1/2 hour. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil and ghee in a deep saucepan. Add all raisins. As they puff up, remove and drain them in a plate lined with a paper towel. Add whole spices in the same saucepan.
3. When they sizzle, add onions. Sauté till they are golden.
4. Add tomatoes. Sauté for 1 minute. Add ginger-garlic paste. Sauté for 2 minutes.
5. Add coriander-cumin powder, garam masala, paprika and yogurt. Sauté for 10 minutes.
6. Add drained basmati. Sauté for few minutes.
7. Add vegetables. Sauté for few minutes.
8. Add water and salt. Bring to boil.
9. Switch gas to low. Let it cook on medium-low heat. Cover with a lid.
10. When the pulao is cooked, garnish with golden raisins.
11. Serve with raita of your choice.

Note -
1. You can add cashews along with raisins.
2. Use old Basmati rice.


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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pedve Fanna Upkari(2) - with Teppal/Tirphal

Mom made the usual fanna upkari with sardines but, she also added some tirphal/teppals. They definitely gave a wonderful flavor to this spicy, yet fingerlicking curry.
Pedve Fanna Upkari(2) with tirphal
Sardines Curry with Sichuan peppercorns
12 small sardines, cleaned
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
10-12 good quality teppals/tirphals, soaked in 1/4 cup water for an hour
1 tbsp. tamarind paste
4 tbsp. hot chile powder (or per your preference)
3 tbsp. oil
1 big onion, finely chopped about 1 1/2 cups
1 tsp coconut oil
1. Clean sardines and marinate with salt and turmeric powder.
2. Soak tirphals in water.
3. Heat oil in an iron kadhai. Saute onion on a medium flame till it is dark brown but not burnt.
4. Add chile powder, tamarind paste, teppals along with water in which it is soaked and 1 cup water.
5. As it comes to boil, place marinated sardines.
6. Adjust for salt.
7. Let it simmer till sardines are cooked and curry turns thick. Drizzle some coconut oil.
Note -
1. Alternatively, you can grind red chilies (lots & lots) with tamarind to make a paste and then add teppals, grind again.
2. Traditionally, this curry is entirely made in coconut oil.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Eggnog Ice cream

During holiday season last year, I had "Eggnog" in the fridge. It inspired me to make this ice cream. Yes, right in the middle of the winter, we enjoyed eggnog ice cream. :-D

Eggnog Ice Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (Use more or less based on the desired sweetness)
1 cup Eggnog

1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (optional)

1. Blend first few ingredients.
2. Pour in a freezer safe container.
3. Freeze and serve!

Note -
1. The eggnog that I used was alcohol free.
2. Eggnog already has sugar, so adjust accordingly.
3. Eggnog already has nutmeg. So add only if needed.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chawli Foogath

This is a simple Goan style stir fry.

Chawli Foogath
Goan style Longyard Beans Stir Fry
1 bunch yard long beans, ends/strings removed, chopped
salt to taste

1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 or 2 shallots, finely chopped
2-3 red chilies, halved
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 sprigs curry leaves

2 tbsp. coconut - freshly scraped

1. Heat oil in a kadhai.
2. Add spices, chilies and shallots. Sauté till shallots are soft.
3. Add chopped beans. Cover and pour water on the lid.
4. Let it cook on a medium flame.
5. Add salt and coconut.

Note -
1. I make similar foogath using green beans and cabbage.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Instant Kairi Pickle

This is an instant pickle, to be made on a small proportion and to be consumed within few weeks. Refrigerate any unused portion.

Instant Kairi Pickle (using readymade pickle Masala)
Raw Mango Pickle
1 medium raw mango, pitted and diced, (about 2 cups dices)
Bedekar Instant pickle Masala packet (as needed)
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp asafetida
1 tsp turmeric powder
1. Mix mango with pickle instant masala powder.
2. Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add all the spices.
3. When they sizzle, switch off the gas. Let the oil cool down completely.
4. Pour the cooled oil along with spices over the mango pieces.
5. Mix.
Note -
1. You can make this pickle with any other raw vegetables like carrots, cauliflower etc. Since they don't have sour taste like mango, you will have to drizzle freshly squeezed lemon juice.
2. Adjust salt if needed depending on the instant pickle masala.
3. Bedekar Instant Pickle Masala is my personal favorite.
4. Prawns Pickle can also be made using this pickle Masala.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Blackened Tilapia

Floridian is an age-old 24 hour diner in Fort Lauderdale. Our visit to this famous diner was memorable. First, we parked right under a mango, albeit, Mexican Mango tree. The restaurant was decorated with old Hollywood photos and nice jazz music was going on. It was raining outside that time and the atmosphere was just perfect to sample their blackened Mahi Mahi.

After coming home, I decided to make my very own version. So here you go -

Blackened Tilapia
3-4 Tilapia fillets, cleaned & rinsed

Blackened Spice
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp black pepper

Oil as needed for frying

1. Clean and rinse the fillets.
2. Mix the spices for making blackened spice powder.
3. Spread the powder onto a flat plate.
4. Press fish fillets, one at a time, firmly so the fish gets coated with the powder from all the sides.
5. Heat a cast iron griddle or pan.
6. Add oil for shallow frying.
7. Place fish fillets gently onto the griddle, without crowding the griddle. Cook in batches if necessary.
8. Cook on both sides. The fish appears blackened due to the spices - especially paprika.
9. Serve with a lemon wedge and salad on side.

Note -
1. Use Mahi Mahi for an authentic flavor.
2. We were served with sautéed vegetables and rice with this dish at Floridian.

Floridian, Ft. Lauderdale

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Eggless Chocolate French Toast Pudding

I had "French Toast" bread from Super Target. I generally don't use readymade breakfast breads so I decided to make my Aaji's pudding with a chocolaty twist.
Chocolate French Toast Pudding
4 slices, French Toast- breakfast bread from Super Target
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. sugar
2 cups milk
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp. grated dark chocolate bar
1. Warm milk and 1/2 cup sugar.
2. Set aside from gas.
3. Crumble bread slices and add to the milk mixture along with butter.
4. Let it stand for 15 minutes. Add vanilla extract. Let it stand for another 5 minutes.
5. Add 1 tbsp. sugar in the pudding pot or pressure cooker container.
6. Heat on a medium heat till it caramelizes.
7. Pour break-milk mixture.
8. Drizzle grated chocolate all over the top.
9. Steam without using pressure/weight.
10. Serve warm pudding.
Note -
1. Since this bread already has sugar, adjust sugar per your liking.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Split Green Peas Adai

I generally have split green pea daal in my pantry. This is easily available in the American supermarkets. I love the beautiful greenish hue it adds to the usual idlies and dosas.

Split Pea Adai
Split Pea Pancakes
1 cup split green peas
1/2 cup urad daal
1/2 cup brown basmati rice

A pinch of asafetida
salt to taste

1. Soak the daals and rice for 6-8 hours
2. Grind adding little water. Add salt and asafoetida.
3. Cover and keep aside for 2 hours.
4. Make thick pancakes using oil as needed.

Note -
1. You can stir in some chopped onions, green chilies and cilantro to the batter before making the pancakes.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Turnip Greens chi Bhaaji

I have heard and read that turnip greens are used and devoured in Kashmir. But I don't remember eating turnip greens in Mumbai. After coming to US, I missed my mom's paalebhaji/leafy greens. So I started looking for the greens at the American supermarkets. The only familiar greens were probably spinach & mustard greens at that time. But slowly & surely, I started using all of the unfamiliar American Leafy greens like collard greens, turnip greens, kale, swiss chard, dandelions. and now all of them have become staples in my kitchen. Today I am sharing, turnip greens chi bhaji - just the way my mom makes any paalebhaji in Mumbai.

Turnip Greens chi Bhaaji
Turnip Greens Stir Fry
1 packet frozen turnip greens with chopped turnips
salt to taste

2 tsp oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 green chilies, slit

1 tbsp. freshly scraped coconut

1. Heat oil in a saucepan.
2. Add garlic, onion and chilies.
3. Saute till soft.
4. Add turnip greens without thawing.
5. Cover and let it cook.
6. Add salt to taste and coconut.

Note -
1. You can add a pinch of sugar if you like.
2. You can add turmeric powder if you prefer.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Tilapia Veracruz


Today's dish is inspired by "Snapper Veracruz" that we sampled at "Azteca" Mexican restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Apprantly, Veracruz is a port in Mexico which is known for its seafood delicacies

The addition of turmeric powder will instantly tell you that this dish is not an authentic Mexican fare. I just have to use turmeric powder for any seafood dishes probably that's how I am used to eating/cooking.

Tilapia Veracruz

2 Tilapia Fillets
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 firm tomato, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinl sliced
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
1 tsp Italian seasoning
3 tbsp. salsa [I used Jack's Salsa from Costco]

1 tbsp. lemon juice
salt & freshy ground black pepper

1. Rinse and pat dry the fillets
2. Marinate with the ingredients
3. Heat cast iron pan. Add oil.
4. Saute onion & garlic till golden brown.
5. Add red pepper and tomato. Saute for 5 minutes.
6. Add Italian seasoning and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Take the veggies around the cast iron pan. Make some space in the middle. Place the marinated fillets.
8. Pour salsa on top. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes.
9. Switch off the gas. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
10. Serve with brown rice.

Note -
1. Snapper can also be used. In fact, it is the original choice for this dish,

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Chhole Masala Powder

I love to experiment with my own Masala blends these days. I have been making this Chhole Masala powder, for a while now. It not only goes well with chhole but also substitutes for Garam Masala.

Chhole Masala Powder
1/2 cup coriander seeds
1 tbsp. shahjire
2 tbsp. cumin seeds
2 green cardamoms
2" cinnamon piece
7 cloves
15 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

You will also need,
1 tbsp. paprika or Kashmiri chile  powder
1/2 tsp dry ginger powder
1/2 tbsp. amchoor powder
1 tbsp. chaat masala

1. Dry roast the spices from coriander seeds till bay leaf, one after the other on a medium flame. Let it cool to room temperature.
2. Grind to powder.
3. Add the remaining powders.
4. Grind again till it reaches fine powder consistency.
5. Pour in an airtight bottle.
6. Use as needed

Note -
1. Do not let the spices to burn, while roasting

Some recipes you may try with this chhole masala powder -
Paneer Chhole
Kale Chhole
Palak Chhole
Mushroom Chhole
Badiwale Chhole
Crockpot Chhole

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Alu Vadi - Taro Leaves Rolls

Although Patrode, AluVadi and Paatra are referred as synonyms, I disagree completely. Yes, they all are taro rolls, however, each of the recipes is different. Let's devour Maharashtrian style ALu VaDi today.
ALu VaDi
अळू वडी 
Taro Rolls
18 Taro leaves
Mix to a thick paste consistency
2 cups besan/chick pea flour
1/2 tsp asafetida
1 tbsp. grated jaggery
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp asafetida
1 tsp sesame seeds
1-2 green chilies, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp. freshly scraped coconut
Lemon wedges
1. Clean, rinse and dry taro leaves.
2. Keep them upside down so the lighter leaves are facing you.
3. Using paring knife, carefully remove thick veins, without tearing the leaves.
4. Mix besan with the remaining ingredients. Add water gingerly to make a thick paste.
5. Spread the paste on the biggest leaf first, leaving 2" border around the leaf. Place smaller leaf on top and spread more paste. Repeat till 6 leaves are used (biggest-smallest).
6. Fold from all the sides to make a roll.
7. Repeat and make 3 such rolls total.
8. Steam in the pressure cooker, without using pressure.
9. Let it cool down. Slice the rolls using a sharp knife.
10. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add the tempering.
11. As they sizzle, add the rolls and sauté till crisp. Alternately, crisp them on a pan and then pour the tempering on top before serving.
12. Garnish with coconut & lemon wedges
1. Use dark colored Taro leaves for this recipe.
2. Do not forget to add tamarind as it prevents the itchiness that Taro leaves impart.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Grilled Gucamole Sub

I created this sandwich after getting Torta rolls from Costco. I filled it with veggies like cucumbers, sprouts, spinach leaves and shredded carrots. Instead of using chutney as spread, I used guacamole.

Grilled Guacamole Sub
1 Recipe Basil Gucamole/Avocado Pesto
2 torta rolls
Olive oil for grilling (optional)

1 cucumber, peeled & thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled & grated using big holes
1/2 cup alpha alpha sprouts
Few raw spinach leaves

1. Slit the torta rolls and grill them over the grill - brushing some olive oil if needed.
2. Spread Avocado pesto.
3. Place veggies.
4. Halve the sandwich.
5. Serve immediately.

Note -
1. You may use Hummus or any other spread of your choice.
2. I used Torta rolls from Costco. You may use any bread that's good for grilling.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Stuffed Pomfret (1)


There are two ways pomfret is stuffed  - one is by coconut chutney stuffing and the other is small prawns stuffing. Today, we are going to savor pomfret stuffed with coconut chutney.
Stuffed Pomfret (1)
1 medium pomfret, cleaned, left whole
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
Grind to a fine paste
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup cilantro
3-4 green chilies or per desired heat
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. lemon juice
salt to taste
Mix for dredging
2 tbsp. rice flour
1 tbsp. fine rawa
 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chili powder
Oil for pan frying
1. Clean, rinse and pat dry the pomfret. Keep it whole.
2. Apply salt, turmeric powder and lemon juice all over the fish.
3. Grind coconut-cilantro mixture to a fine paste.
4. Stuff the mixture inside of the pomfret.
5. Dredge whole pomfret in the rice flour mixture so it's totally covered with the mixture.
6. Heat pan. Add oil for frying.
7. Place pomfret carefully.
8. Let it cook on  low gas till it is crispy from both the sides.
1. Sometimes, a kitchen thread is wrapped around the pomfret so the stuffing does not come out while frying. Discard the thread before serving.
2. The same recipe can be used for 3-4 small pomfrets.

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