Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Chanya Saar Upkari

Saar Upkari is a typical broth like legume soup/curry from South Canara. For Masoor or black chana  sasam-karbevu fanna (mustard seeds & curry leaves tempering) is used and for, black eyed peas, noshni fanna (garlic tempering) is used.

Chanya Saar Upkari
Chickpeas Broth Curry
2 cups brown chickpeas sprouts
4-5 cups water
salt to taste

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

1 tbsp. freshly scraped coconut

1. Pressure cook chickpeas sprouts using adequate water.
2. Heat coconut oil in a pot.
3. Add spices and curry leaves. As they splutter, add cooked chickpeas along with cooking liquid and 4 cups water.
4. Bring to boil. Add salt to taste.
5. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add fresh coconut.
6. Serve as an accompaniment with meal.

Note -
1. This curry has watery consistency.
2. This is typically eaten with plain rice.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Malaysian Laksa Soup

Malaysian Laksa
Since this soup has veggies, shrimp and even noodles (or angel hair pasta), it becomes a perfect one pot meal on a chilly wintery night.
Malaysian Laksa
Shrimp and Vegetables soup
1 cup shrimp
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Freshly ground black pepper
Grind to a fine paste
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 1/2" ginger, peeled & roughly chopped
3 tbsp. raw almonds
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp all spice powder
1 tbsp. sesame oil
You will also need,
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 cup thin rice noodles or angel hair pasta
3 cups frozen Stir Fry vegetables
1/2 cup reduced fat coconut milk
Few drops of toasted sesame oil
Cilantro (optional)
Lime wedges
1. Marinate shrimp with salt, turmeric powder and black pepper
2. Grind spices with almonds to a fine paste.
3. Heat sesame oil. Sauté the paste for about 4-5 minutes.
4. Add 4-5 cups water.
5. Add salt to taste, brown sugar and black pepper powder.
6. Cook angel hair pasta or thin rice noodles according to the package instructions.
7. Add marinated shrimp and veggies to the boiling stock.
8. Add cooked pasta/noodles to the pot. Add coconut milk.
9. As the soup is boiling, drizzle few drops of toasted sesame oil.
10. Garnish with cilantro if using.
11. Serve with lemon wedges on side.
Note -
1. Omit shrimp to make a perfectly vegetarian/vegan soup.
2. I use frozen stir fry vegetables, without thawing them first.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Nutella-Banana Cake

Every once in a while, I have three overripe bananas on the kitchen counter. I have been doing many versions of banana breads and cakes. I have been freezing those overripe bananas for making smoothies for later. Last week I followed the recipe from Cooking Light. Instead of making a loaf, I baked it in a square pan. I didn't use butter, used 3 bananas instead of 2 and used almonds instead of hazelnuts. I did not glaze it.

This recipe is a winner.My family simply loved this cake.

Nutella-Banana Cake
Adapted from Cooking Light

Microwave for 30 seconds
5 tbsp. Nutella Chocolate-Hazelnut spread
1 tsp Canola oil

3 tbsp. Canola oil
3 mashed overripe bananas
½ cup sugar or brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk

1 ½ cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder

Almond Slivers

1.     Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.    Add dry ingredients to wet ingredient mixture.
3.    Grease and flour a square cake pan.
4.    Pour half of the cake batter.
5.    Spread the Nutella mixture.
6.    Pour remaining half mixture
7.    Using a skewer, swirl to make marble pattern.
8.    Place almond slivers on top.
9.    Bake for 55 minutes.
10.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
11.  Invert and let it cool on the wire rack.

Note -
The original recipe with proportion can be found below.

Cooking Light

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Eggplant Tofu Soba Noodles

Just the other day, I watched Eggplant Tofu combo on the food network. But the chef deep fried both the ingredients. I didn't want to invest in that many calories so I lightened up the recipe and stir fried along with Soba noodles.

Eggplant-Tofu Soba Noodles

1 red bell pepper, cored and cubed
1 eggplant, cubed

1 bunch spring onions, white and greens cut diagonally
1 Extra Firm Tofu block, grilled

For Sauce – whisk
1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar

A pinch of black pepper, crushed
1 tsp corn starch

½ cup water

1 tbsp peanut oil

2 tbsp minced garlic cloves

1.     Heat up Wok. Add peanut oil. Swirl it around.
2.    Add minced garlic and white parts of onion. Stir fry for 30 seconds
3.    Add eggplant cubes. Stir fry for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste
4.    Add red bell pepper. Stir fry for 3 minutes.
5.    Add tofu cubes. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
6.    Now add soba noodles.
7.    Mix.
8.    Stir in whisked sauce.
9.    Mix.
10.  Garnish with 2 drops of toasted sesame oil and green parets of onion

Note –
If you prefer hot, use 2-3 dried chilies in the tempering.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Valpapdi upkari

I found some fresh "Valpapdi" at the Indian stores. I decided to use just the simple Konkani tempering. Coconut oil is a must for the authentic flavor.
Valpapdi Upkari
2 cups valpapdi, both ends removed, slit and then torn into 2" pieces
salt to taste
1/2 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafetida
2-3 red chilies, broken
1 tbsp. freshly scraped coconut
1. Heat oil in a wok/kadhai.
2. Add spices and as they sizzle, add the valpapdi.
3. Saute for 2 minutes. Cover with a lid. Pour water on the lid.
4. Let it cook for 15-20 minutes till it's fully cooked.
5. Add salt to taste
6. Garnish with coconut.
Note -
1. Use coconut oil for the authentic taste.
2. Valpapdi is not cut with a knife. It is always hand torn.

Sunday, April 20, 2014



I have already blogged about Parsi scrambled egg - microwave way. Today, I am sharing a little elaborate method.

Scrambled Eggs Parsi style
4 eggs
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp black pepper powder

1 small onion, chopped finely
1 small potato, peeled & chopped finely
1 small tomato, chopped finely
2-3 green chilies, minced (adjust per desired heat)
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
salt to taste

1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1. Heat butter in a saucepan or deep tawa/pan.
2. Add cumin seeds. As they splutter, add onion, potatoes and green chilies.
3. Sauté for few minutes and place a lid. Let it cook on low flame.
4. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, turmeric powder, black pepper powder, salt and milk. Set aside.
5. Once, potatoes are cooked, add tomatoes and cilantro. Add salt. [Remember salt is also added in eggs, so adjust accordingly]
6. When tomatoes are wilted, add egg mixture.
7. Keep stirring till eggs are scrambled and achieve the consistency of your liking. [The consistency could be that of semi-set custard or well done]
8. Serve with buttered toast, tomato ketchup & crispy shoestring potato sticks for a traditional Parsi touch.

1. You can make your own variation by adding ginger-garlic paste, garam masala etc.
2. Sometimes, Parsis even add dried Bombils/Bombay Ducks. While I personally don't like that flavor, for that authenticity, Anchovies can be added in tempering just like Italians do.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Grilled Tofu

When those renowned chefs proclaim - "Tofu is like a blank canvas!" - it really is true. You can marinate a block of tofu in any of your favorite marinade and grill it. Voila! A delicious masterpiece is ready.

I love to grill tofu as below and then dice it to throw it in a simple stir fry.

Grilled Tofu
1 block of Extra Firm tofu
Oil spray

1. Place a colander over a pot. Line up several wads of paper towels along the colander.
2. Place your block of Tofu on the paper towels.
3. Cover with 2-3 more layers of paper towels.
4. Keep a heavy weight like filled can or mortar and pestle on top.
5. Let it stand for 4-5 hours till all the excess moisture is drained out.
6. Heat your grill pan. Spray some cooking oil.
7. Place your block of tofu at an angle - acute angle to be precise.
8. Wait for 4 minutes. Now, place the tofu at an obtuse angle. We are still grilling the same bottom side. We are doing this to get those beautiful grill marks.
9. Now, turn over and do the same.
10. Take off the grill. Let it cool down.
11. Dice, slice or chop and use it in salads, stir fries or any other preparation.

Note -
1. Use extra firm tofu.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Soybean chi Aamti

I used dry soybeans for this recipe but fresh or frozen edamame would work well too.

Soybean chi Aamti
Soybean Curry
1 cup dry soy beans, soaked overnight, drained
1 medium potato, chopped
1 tsp jaggery or to taste
salt to taste

1 tbsp. goda masala
1 tsp paprika or mild chili powder
2 kokums, rinsed

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafetida
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 small onion, chopped

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

1. Pressure cook soybeans along with potato chunks.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan.
3. Add the ingredients for tempering. Sauté till onion is soft.
4. Add tomato, goda masala and paprika.
5. Add cooked soybeans along with cooking liquid.
6. Add kokums, jaggery, salt. Adjust for water.
7. Bring to boil.
8. Let it simmer for 10-12 minutes on low flame.
9. Garnish with cilantro.

Note -
1. If you are using fresh edamame, you don't need to pressure cook.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Palak Dosa

I love to sneak in as many vegetables in the daily meal as possible. I had planned to make palak paneer and made spinach puree. But I discovered dosa batter in the refrigerator, that's when I decided to make this palak dosa instead.
Palak Dosa
Spinach Pancake
1 recipe Dosa Batter
1 cup boiled spinach puree
salt to taste
Oil as needed for making dosa
1. Stir in boiled spinach paste in the dasa batter.
2. Adjust the consistency.
3. Heat a griddle or pan.
4. Pour a ladleful of spinach dosa batter and spread into dosa of desired thickness.
5. Drizzle oil around the circumference.
6. Cover and let it cook.
7. Serve with chutney of your choice.
Note -
1. For making spicier version, you can add green chilies while grinding spinach.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Trout Sadsadit

Sometimes, I get lucky and find the right Indian fish for making the seafood curries. But I must say, that over the years, I have started liking Trout, Tilapia, Smelts, Grouper, Snapper.  King Fish or Surmai is the fish for today's curry but Trout can be substituted.

Trout Sadsadit
Trout Curry
1 trout, cut into steaks

Grind to a fine paste
1/2 cup cilantro
4-5 green chilies or per desired heat
4-5 cloves of garlic
1" ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Malvani Masala
1 tsp tamarind pulp

1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/3 cup freshly scraped coconut
2 tbsp. cilantro (optional)

1. Clean trout steaks.
2. Grind cilantro with the remaining ingredients to a fine paste.
3. Marinate the trout steaks with paste for at least 1 hour. Refrigerate till ready to use.
4. Heat oil in a pot. Add onion and turmeric powder.
5. Sauté till onion is soft.
6. Place trout steaks along with marinade in a single layer.
7. Add 1/2 cup water.
8. Let it cook on a medium low flame.
9. When it's cooked, add coconut and cilantro - if using. Let the water evaporate completely.

Note -
1. If you don't have Malvani Masala, use a combination of chili powder and garam masala.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Brussels Sprouts chi Koshimbeer

If cooked for too long, Brussels sprouts emits some deadly odor. and so I have come to the conclusion that it's best if I use it for salads. So here's Brussels Sprouts in its desi - Maharashtrian to be precise - avatar.

Brussels Sprouts chi Koshimbeer
Brussels Sprouts Salad
12-15 Brussels Sprouts, shredded
1 carrot, peeled & shredded
1 small shallot, minced
2 green chilies, minced
1 lemon, freshly squeezed
2-3 tbsp. unsalted, roasted peanut powder/daaNyache KooT
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
A generous pinch of asafetida

1. Mix all the ingredients together, except tempering
2. Heat oil. Add cumin seeds and asafetida. Let it splutter.
3. Pour over the salad. Mix well.

Note -
1. If you like, add 3-4 curry leaves in the tempering.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mushroom Pav Bhaji

I have stopped counting the variations that can be made to Pav Bhaji. The other day, when I was all set to make pav bhaji, I discovered some baby portabella mushrooms. I thought that it could go well with all the veggies. Though the recipe is more or less the same as previous versions, I will still write it for the sake of continuity.
Mushroom Pav Bhaji
Scrambled vegetables with bread
Pressure cook -
6 potatoes
1/2 cup green peas
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
2 carrots, peeled

Soak for 4 hours
7 - 9 kashmiri chilies
1 cup water (or more as necessary)

Grind to fine paste
10 - 12 cloves of garlic
2" ginger
drained kashmiri chilies from above
2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 fresh mint leaves

2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp Amul butter (more or less depending on your taste)
3/4 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup minced green bell peppers
3/4 cup minced baby portabella or button mushrooms

You will also need,
1/2 cup green peas (frozen ok)
4-5 tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp pav bhaji Masala (I prefer Badshah brand)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

2 lemons, cut into wedges
1 red onion, chopped finely
1 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped
A pinch of chaat masala

To serve
1 - 2 tbsp Amul butter
Pav or dinner rolls as needed, slit

1. Pressure cook vegetables. Peel potatoes. Mash the vegetables and set aside.
2. Heat oil and Amul butter.
3. Add red chili-ginger-garlic paste. Add onion, bell peppers. Saute for 10 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes & mushrooms. Saute for 10 more minutes on a low flame.
4. Add pav bhaji masala. Sauté for another 5 minutes.
5. Add mashed vegetables and 2 cups water. Bring to boil.
6. Add salt to taste, sugar. Mix well
7. Stir in whole green peas. Let it simmer.
8. Switch off the gas. Cover and set aside.

Note -
1. Use laadi pav for the authentic combo. I have used snappy sourdough bread from Whole Foods, in the above picture.


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Monday, April 7, 2014

Palak Paneer Paratha

This is what I do with any leftover Palak Paneer. It gets transformed into delicious paratha., which makes an awesome wrap.
Palak Paneer Paratha
Spinach-Cheese Flatbread
Wheat flour as needed
salt as needed
Rice or wheat flour for dredging
oil for roasting
1. Discard any whole spices from the leftover palak paneer.
2. Grind to a smooth paste using a blender, without adding any water.
3. Take it out in a plate or paraat. Add some salt.
4. Add as much wheat flour as needed to knead a soft dough.
5. Add spoonful of oil and knead again.
6. Make uniform balls.
7. Roll into a thin disc of desired diameter, using flour for dredging.
8. Roast on a hot griddle, using oil as necessary, till brown spots appear on both sides. Sometimes I roast right on the flame, fulka style to avoid any oil.
Note -
1. Though leftover palak paneer already has salt, the paratha needs more salt as wheat flour is added. Adjust according to taste.
2. Serve it as an accompaniment with the meal or use it as a wrap.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

CKP Style Fish Curry

Nobody will ever believe but it's true. Right here in our local China Town, I spotted "Bombil" - Bombay Duck. As I stopped in my tracks, Gudiya couldn't believe her eyes too. "Do we eat ducks?" - she asked me. Bombay Duck is confusing - it's not really a duck, it's just a fish found near Mumbai coast. But I couldn't dare buy this fish in our China town. It was frozen - as frozen as cardboard. After coming to United States, I have compromised and bought many a frozen fish, thawed and even enjoyed to some extent - albeit while comparing the fresh, abundant seafood we get in Mumbai. However, my eyes are used to seeing fresh "bombil". I just couldn't buy those frozen ones.

But they reminded me of a delicious curry my friend's mom used to make. Luckily, I even had a recipe. I substituted smelts and made this "kalwan".

Bomblache Kalwan
CKP Style Bombay Duck Curry
15-20 Smelts or about 8 bombil/Bombay duck

1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1/2 tsp chili powder
*Green Masala Paste

Grind to fine paste
1/4 cup cilantro
4-5 green chilies
1" ginger
4 cloves garlic

Grind to a fine paste
1/2 cup freshly scraped coconut

1/2 tbsp. oil
5-6 cloves garlic, smashed leaving each clove in tact

3-4 green chilies, slit

1. Clean and rinse smelts.
2. Marinate with salt, spices and green masala paste.
3. Heat oil in a deep saucepan. Add garlic cloves. Sauté till they turn a shade darker.
4. Place marinated smelts carefully along with marinade. Add 1 cup water.
5. Add coconut paste.
6. Bring the curry to boil.
7. As it starts boiling, add slit green chilies.
8. Switch off the gas.
9. Serve with plain rice.

Note -
1. Bombil or Bombay Ducks are used in the original recipe.
2. If you like, add 1/2 tsp tamarind pulp.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Banana Smoothie

I put the overripe bananas to good use. You can use milk of your choice. Usual milk, Soy milk or almond milk will work fine. I add flax powder to boost its nutritional value but it's optional. Instead of adding sugar, I add soaked, pitted dates.

Banana Smoothie
2 overripe bananas, peeled, chopped
3 cups milk of your choice
2 dates, pitted and soaked
1 tsp flax powder (optional)

1. Blend.
2. Serve chilled.

Note -
1. I make similar smoothies using different fruits.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tofu-Leeks Soup


Every now and then, I get inspired by "French Women Don't Get Fat" book and I buy Leeks, and every single time, I make my own version of Leeks. ;-)

Tofu-Leeks Soup
2 Leeks, rinsed thoroughly, finely chopped
8 cups water
1/2 slab of tofu, diced
salt to taste
Crushed black pepper

1 tsp Olive oil
2-3 drops of toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste

1. Heat oil in a big saucepan.
2. Saute ginger-garlic paste for 2 minutes.
3. Add chopped leeks. Saute till they are wilted.
4. Add water and bring to boil.
5. Add salt and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
6. Add tofu chunks and let it boil for 5 minutes.
7. Serve hot soup, sprinkled with freshly crushed black pepper.

Note -
1. Rinse leeks thoroughly as it is full of dirt. I like to take apart each leaf and wash it.
2. Do not use any tough green part of the leeks.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Paneer Shashlik

 A fancy name for paneer kababs! ;-)

Paneer Shashliks - (8 small skewers)
Indian Cottage Cheese Kabobs
16 chunks of Indian cottage cheese/Paneer
1 green bell pepper, cut into 24 squares
1 red bell pepper, cut into 24 squares
1 white or purple onion, peeled, cut into 24 squares

1/2 cup hung yogurt or Greek yogurt, whisked
1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/8 tsp ajwain/owa/ajmo/carrom seeds
1/2 tbsp tikka masala powder or garam masala
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp paprika
salt if needed (check for salt content in the tikka masala powder)

A pinch of chaat masala
A pinch of amchoor powder

0. Chop bell peppers and onions into squares. Cut paneer into cubes.
1. Whisk the ingredients for the marinade.
2. Soak paneer pieces in the marinade.
3. Set aside for 1 hour in a refrigerator.
4. Preheat oven to 375 F or heat the grill pan.
5. Thread paneer, bell pepper & onion chunks alternately on a wooden bamboo skewer.
6.Baste the veggies and paneer with the marinade. Before grilling or baking, spray oil over the skewers. I used Pam spray.
6. Grill in the oven over a baking tray. or grill using grill pan, turning as necessary.
7. Let it bake for 10 minutes - if using oven.
8. Turn over and bake again for 10 minutes - if using oven.
9. If using grill pan, as I have used above, keep turning till uniform grill marks appear on the paneer chunks.
9. Sprinkle some chaat masala and/or amchoor powder before serving.

Note -
1. Check for salt content in the tikka masala before adding.
2. Adjust your own baking time depending on your requirements.
3. Any other grilling cheese may be used.

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