Friday, October 31, 2014

Kaju Chikki


 Lonavala and Chikki are synonyms in the world of Mumbaikars. I still remember the thrill of anticipating Maganlal chikki when we visited Pune or Lonavala. While cashew and shengdana were my most favorite chikkies, daliya(Pandharpuri Dale) chikki was my least favorite. The special thing about Cashew chikki was that it used to look sugary white unlike other caramel colored chikkies. I was told that it was due to the liquid glucose. I am neither familiar with liquid glucose as a cooking ingredient nor I have ever seen it in any Indian kitchen pantry within my family. So I decided to try my version of cashew chikki using plain sugar and cashews.

The result was delicious. But white sugar did turned into caramel color and the chikki eventually turned like all other chikkies. It was good nonetheless.

Kaju Chikki
काजूची चिक्की
Cashew Brittle
1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup sugar

oil or ghee for greasing

0. Grease a marble surface or flat plate. Grease a rolling pin or back of a small ramekin/wati/katori. Keep it ready before starting the chikki process.
1. Halve or quarter the cashew pieces and roast them lightly. Make sure that they do not change the color.
2. Pour sugar in a heavy bottomed container.
3. Let it be on a medium heat.
4. In about 6-7 minutes, sugar will go through various stages from white to caramel sauce color.
5. When all the sugar as completely melted, add cashews quickly.
6. Mix well.
7. Pour the mixture quickly on the marble surface or plate.
8. Roll flat using rolling pin or the back of wati/ramekin.
9. Let it cool down completely.
10. Now, cashew brittle is ready. It can be broken easily with hand.

Note -
1. You can use a greased knife to mark squares or diamonds while spread mixture is still hot.
2. This chikki does not taste like white Lonavala style cashew chikki that is made with liquid glucose but it has a rich caramel flavor.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jwari-Bajrichi Bhakri

Jwari-Bajrichi Bhaakri

Indian home-cook always cooks according to the season. The vegetables/fruit/grains used in daily cooking are always seasonal and hence, considered beneficial for health. Jwari or jowar or JondhaLa is used during summer time for its cooling properties and Bajri or Bajra is used during winter for its heat inducing properties. So what would an Indian home cook do, when weather is not too cold and not too hot? Bingo - Jwari-Bajrichi Bhakri of course!!;-)

Jwari-Bajrichi Bhakri (Count 3 bhakris)
3/4 cups jwari/jowar/jondhala/sorghum flour
3/4 cup bajri/bajra/millet flour
warm water as needed

1. Mix both flours in a deep plate/paraat.
2. Add water as needed to make dough.
3. Make 3 uniform balls.
4. Pat one ball at a time, using your palm, dredging in dry flour as needed.
5. Place one bhakri at a time on a hot tawa.
6. Wet your hand and moisten the top of the bhakri.
7. Flip and let the other side cook.
8. Roast on the direct flame.

1. Knead the dough when you are ready to pat the bhakris.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Orange & Chocolate Muffins


One orange, one egg, one Chobani yogurt and some leftover oat flour (it measured to be 1/2 cup later!) were screaming for my attention. So I came up with this recipe. I was going to sprinkle some sugar on top before putting these muffins in the oven for baking, but I forgot about it. I decided to zest the orange before squeezing it. Then beautiful orange flavored chocolate from Sorrento, Italy caught my eye and I thought it would go beautifully with the recipe that was about to be made. All of this, resulted into a blog-worthy creation - Orange Chocolate Muffins.

Orange-Chocolate Muffins
1 cup All purpose Flour
1/2 cup oat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 egg
1/4 + 2 tbsp. orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp. orange zest
1/4 cup butter, melted
1, 5.3 oz Pineapple Chobani Yogurt (2 %)

Mix in
2 tbsp. Orange flavored chocolate, roughly chopped

0. Preheat oven 350F
1. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
2. Whisk egg with all the ingredients till yogurt.
3. Mix dry and wet ingredients till they are incorporated.
4. Stir in roughly chopped chocolate.

5. Pour into 12 muffins tray.

6. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or till it is baked well.
7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note -
1. I grate an orange using thick holes of the grater. Make sure that white part/pith of the orange is not grated as it would make the batter bitter!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tamarind Leaves Daal

Sometimes in life - especially during your impressionable age, you meet someone and their ideology stays with you for the rest of your life. It happened to me when I had gone with my maternal cousins to their paternal aunt's home. I know it sounds little tricky. But if you ponder, your maternal cousins' paternal family is not really your own family. They can be considered a part of extended family if you are in good touch.

I met "Kaku" for the first time. She was an old lady compared to my mom. I was under 10 for sure. I followed her everywhere, especially in and around her kitchen. Her huge house on Maharashtra border was a novelty for me. One day, Kaku said that she would make Matkichi Usal. But I observed something totally different. She washed Matki in the backyard above some soil. Then I observed, she would rinse any grain/beans in the backyard. I was totally intrigued. She had a kitchen sink. Why would she go all the way to the backyard to rinse the daily grains/beans. I asked her so. She replied,"They're seeds of life. However much care I take to rinse, some of them fall down. If they are washed in kitchen sinks, they are wasted in the drain. When I wash it in the backyard, even if they fall, they go to the soil. They would grow. I am not wasting them."

I didn't meet Kaku very often later. She is no more. But that thought stayed with me. Even today, whenever possible, if I come across any seeds, I throw it in the soil. I feel it's better than throwing in the trash can. I live where it snows. So not necessarily every seed turns into huge plants/trees. But they grow. So when I get tamarind, I always throw the seeds in the soil. They give me fresh, tender tamarind leaves for making daal and chutneys.

Today's tamarind leaves daal is inspired by Andhra Pradesh's Gongura Daal. Since I had Andhra's Guntur Chilies, I used them. Please substitute any dry, red chilies you have in your pantry.

I looked up this name and found that it's called Chinta Chiguru Pappu. (Thanks to Sailu's Food)

Chinta Chiguru Pappu
Tamarind Leaves Daal
3/4 cup toor daal, pressure cooked, mashed
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafetida

1 cup tender tamarind leaves, torn from sprigs (I didn't chop them)
salt to taste

1 tsp oil
1/ 2 tsp mustard seeds
2 Guntur chilies, whole
4-5 garlic cloves, sliced

Suggested Accompaniment
Plain Rice
Gongura Pickle

1. Pressure cook toor daal adding turmeric powder, asafetida and adequate water.
2. Mash lightly and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan.
4. Add mustard seeds, chilies and garlic cloves.
5. Sauté till garlic aroma wafts through the kitchen
6. Add tender tamarind leaves.
7. Sauté quickly till they are wilted.
8. Add mashed daal and 1/2 cup water.
9. Add salt and bring to boil.
10. Simmer till the daal thickens a bit.
11. Serve with plain rice and Gongura pickle.

Note -
1. If you like, you can add more water and serve as a soup with broth.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Shahi Mukhwas - Indian Mouth Freshner

Shahi Mukhwas

Shahi Mukhwas is an Indian mouth freshener. Since it has saffron - the most expensive spice in the whole wide world - it's probably called "Shahi" or royal.

Shahi Mukhwas
Mouth Freshener
1 cup Lucknow Fennel Seeds/Badishep/Variyali/Saunf
1 cup Roasted Dhana Daal
2 tbsp. white sesame seeds
2 tbsp. Magaj Tare/Magaj bee/Magaj Seeds/Watermelon seeds
2 tbsp. silver coated cardamom seeds
Few strands of saffron

1. Pick all the ingredients for impurities.
2. Roast Lucknow Fennel Seeds on a low flame. Pour in a flat plate.
Lucknow Fennel Seeds
3. Roast dhana daal on a low flame. Pour in the same plate. Spread uniformly.
Dhana Daal
4. Roast white sesame seeds on a low flame. Pour in the same plate. Spread uniformly.
5. Roast magaj bee/peeled watermelon seeds on a low flame. Pour in the same plate. Spread uniformly.
Magaj Tare/Magaj Bee/Watermelon Seeds

6. Mix all the roasted ingredients with silver coated cardamoms and saffron.
7. Let it cool down completely.
8. Store in an airtight container for after meal accompaniment.

Note -
1. Regular fennel seeds are thick. Use Lucknow Fennel seeds variety.
2. Roasted Dhana daal is readily available at most of the Indian stores.
3. If you can't find Magaj Tare/Magaj Bee, substitute with peeled pumpkin seeds.
4. Some people also add desiccated coconut in this recipe. If using, roast it separately before adding. Also note that the coconut may turn rancid soon.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy New Year - Vikram Samvat 2071

Image Courtesy -

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Happy Diwali

Image Courtesy -

Happy Diwali!!
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Makhne Ki Kheer - Exotic Puffed Lotus Seeds Pudding

Phool Makhne ki Kheer - Puffed Lotus Seeds Pudding!

Makhna or Phool Makhna is puffed lotus seeds. They are considered quite nutritious. I bought this packet simply out of curiosity. Traditionally, I am not familiar with this food. I have added these puffed lotus seeds to the Kormas and Curries. But I always wanted to make "Kheer" where they are used as the main ingredient. I looked up my two food Gurus for the inspiration - Tarla Dalal and Sanjeev Kapoor. I , then decided to make my changes and created my own recipe as below.

Makhne Ki Kheer
Puffed Lotus Seeds Pudding
1 cup Puffed Lotus Seeds/Makhna/Phool Makhna
1 tsp. clarified butter/ghee

3 cups milk - preferably whole or 2% milk
1 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup ricotta cheese or mava/khoya/khava
2 tbsp. MTR Badam Milk Masala

Crush to powder
3-4 green cardamoms, peeled
1 very small piece of nutmeg

Few threads of saffron

1. Heat a spoonful of ghee. Roast puffed lotus seeds/Makhna. Set aside.
2. Heat milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk. Keep stirring from time to time. When it comes to boil, lower the gas and let it simmer for few minutes. Add ricotta cheese. Mix well.
3. Add roasted makhna, MTR Badam Milk Masala and crushed cardamoms and nutmeg.
4. Serve warm or chilled. Garnish with saffron before serving.

Exotic Puffed Lotus Seeds Pudding

Note -
1. Sugar can be used instead of sweetened condensed milk.
2. I served this kheer in Kulhads - Indian earthen pots.

Tarla Dalal
Sanjeev Kapoor

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Lasaniya Mamra - Garlic Flavored Puffed Rice

If you are fond of garlicky flavor, you may like this zesty Gujarati Puffed Rice.

Lasaniya Mamra
Garlic flavored Puffed Rice
12 cups Puffed Rice/Mamra/Kurmure
salt to taste
2 cups roasted peanuts

Grind to a fine paste
1 bulb garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tbsp. water

1/2 cup oil
2 sprigs curry leaves, torn
1/2 tsp asafetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Suggested Accompaniment
Mora Sev/Plain Sev

1. Pound entire garlic bulb with chili powder and water. You can also use a blender.
2. Roast puffed rice/kurmura till it's crispy. Do not let it burn.
3. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed wok.
4. Add curry leaves, asafetida and turmeric powder.
5. Add garlic - chili paste. Sauté till moisture is evaporated.
6. Add peanuts and roast for 2 minutes till crispy.
7. Add puffed rice and salt.
8. Mix well till each grain of the puffed rice is coated with masala.
9. Let it cool down. Store in an airtight container.

Note -
1. This recipe uses an entire bulb of garlic. Use more or less garlic cloves based on your personal preference.
2. This chevda is generally topped with mora sev/plain sev, while serving.
3. Use mild or hot chili powder based on desired heat level.
Lasaniya Mamra with Mora Sev
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Diwali Special Recipes

Faraalache Taat From my home to yours -
From the top left corner: Pohyancha Kachcha Chiwda, Shev, Kadboli, Anarasa, Shankarpale, Chakli, Karanji (in the center)



  1. Chakri
  2. Karwari Chakli


  1. Raghavdas Ladoo
  2. Besan Ladoo
  3. Moong Flour Ladoo
  4. Laadva
  5. Rava Besan Ladoo

  1. Baked Shankarpale
  2. Godache Shankarpale
  3. Tikhat Shankarpale
  4. Khare Shankarpale/Namakpara
  5. Methi Paara


  1. Badam Katli
  2. Magaj
  3. Mohanthal
  4. Khajoor Paak
  5. Amrut Paank
  6. Kaju Katli
  7. Badami Halwa
 Other Spicy Delicacies

  1. Shev
  2. Mathiya
  3. Khari Puri
  4. Muth na Khakra
  5. Suvali
  6. Kadboli

Other Sweet Delicacies

  1. Kaju Puri
  2. Karanji/Ghugra
  3. Chirote
  4. Anarsay

Diwali Special Desserts

  1. Kansaar
  2. Diwali Ice Cream

शुभ दीपावली!
(Happy Diwali!)

सर्वेत्र सुखिनः सन्तु!
(Let everyone be blessed!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Potato Pizza


Today's recipe is inspired by "Pizza Blanco" that we had at an Italian Pizza restaurant. This unique restaurant had a variety of pizzas. Potato and pizza sounded very different. We did make a special request to hold off the bacon.

Potato Pizza
1 pizza crust  - homemade or ready made
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 potato, very thinly sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled & thinly sliced
1 mozzarella cheese stick, cut into rounds

Oil spray

chopped chives or spring onions
salt and crushed black pepper

1. Preheat oven 500F
2. Bake pizza stone for at least 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, let's assemble the pizza. Spread ricotta cheese uniformly over the crust.
4. Arrange potato slices around the pizza crust.
5. Place thinly sliced garlic between two potato slices.
6. Spray cooking spray on the potato and garlic slices.
7. Arrange mozzarella rounds on top.
8. Bake for about 9 - 10 minutes till the tops of potatoes, garlic and mozzarella cheese are lightly browned.
9. Garnish with chives or spring onions, salt and pepper.

Note -
1. Depending on the size of the pizza crust, the proportion of ricotta cheese, potato slice etc. may vary.
2. Increase or decrease the quantity of garlic cloves based on personal preference.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Idada - It's actually a Dhokla!

We had an impromptu plan for a tea party with new family that has moved from Chennai to our city. Their little girl is in Gudiya's class. Gudiya was very eager to invite her new friend. We thought it would be a nice play date for the girls while we would get a chance to meet the parents.

I had soaked urad daal and rice that morning for making idli. I thought about making Idada - Dhokla without fermentation for the tea party. I, of course made tea and also served other readymade items like milk cake, some cookies and spicy mix. Our new friend got a Tamilian delicacy - banana blossom vadas. They were delicious.

Steamed Dumpling From Gujarat
1 cup Urad Daal
2 cups rice

2"Ginger, peeled/roughly chopped
3-4 green chilies

salt to taste

1/4 cup yogurt
1 tbsp. oil
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds
A generous pinch of Asafoetida

1/4 cup minced cilantro

1. Soak urad daal and rice for about 5-6 hours.
2. Drain and grind using minimal water. Add ginger and green chilies and make a smooth batter. Mix salt.
3. Whisk yogurt, oil and baking soda. Add to the batter.
4. Add water as needed to resemble Idli or dhokla batter.
5. Grease the containers of dhokla maker.
6. Distribute the batter equally among about 4 plates.
7. Sprinkle freshly crushed black pepper.
8. Steam for 15-20 minutes.
9. Take off from the pressure cooker. Let it cool down for 5-10 minutes.
10. Cut into squares or diamonds.
11. Sprinkle minced cilantro.
12. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add mustard seeds, asafetida and sesame seeds. Take care as sesame seeds splutter.
13. Take off the gas. Wait for few seconds. Add 1/4 cup water.
14. Pour over the dhokla pieces.
15. Serve warm dhokla with chutney of your choice.

Note -
1. If you like spicy snack, add minced chilies in the tempered oil before drizzling over the dhokla.
2. Instead of black pepper powder, you could also sprinkle, red chili powder or Gujarati Pickle Powder - Sambhar powder.
3. Although the ingredients are almost similar, Idada is different compared to Khata Dhokla. One of the major differences is that Khata dhokla needs fermentation.
4. Never put pressure while steaming dhoklas.
Our Tea Party
Milk Cake, Cookies and Hot Spicy Mix for the Tea Party

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Chia Seeds Thalipeeth

Chia seeds are embellishing  my daily cooking these days.  I have already used them in simple Roti, Thepla  and even ice cream. Today, I've decided to add them to my thalipeeth.

Chia Seeds Thalipeeth
Chia Seeds Multi Grain Flatbread
1 cup Thalipeeth BhajNi
salt to taste
1 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/3 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced cilantro
2-3 green chilies, minced (more or less, depending on the desired heat)

Oil for cooking

1. Mix all dry ingredients.
2. Add onion, cilantro and chilies.
3. Knead to a smooth dough, adding water as needed.
4. Make 4 uniform balls. Flatten one ball at a time directly on hot tawa.
5. Make few holes using the back of the spoon.
6. Drizzle some oil in those holes. Cover and let it cook.
7. Remove the cover and cook on the other side till crispy. Add oil as needed.
8. Serve hot thalipeeth off the pan.

Note -
1. If you find patting thalipeeth directly on hot tawa too daunting, use this simpler method. Place a ball of dough, between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll using a rolling pin or pat using hands. Take off the plastic and place directly on the hot tawa.
2. Traditionally, hot thalipeeth is served with a dollop of homemade white butter - loNi.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pesto Shrimp Farfalle

Shrimp and pesto is a wonderful combination. I used it with farfalle pasta for the weeknight dinner the other day.

Pesto Shrimp Farfalle

1/4 cup Basil Pesto (Homemade or readymade)
2 cups cooked farfalle pasta
salt to taste

15 shrimp with 1 tbsp. basil pesto

1 tsp. oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper

Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly squeezed lemon juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Marinate cleaned, deveined shrimp with spoonful of basil pesto
2. Cook farfalle pasta per package instructions.
3. Prepare basil pesto or use a readymade one.
4. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
5. Add garlic and bell pepper. Sauté for a minute without letting garlic burn or turn brown.
6. Add shrimp and sauté till cooked.
7. Add basil pesto and cooked farfalle. Mix well.
8. Add salt to taste.
9. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice.

Note -
1. I use less oil since pesto already has oil in it.
2. Do not overcook pasta. Make sure that it's al dente!

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Kale Gajar Ki Kanji


Not in my wildest dream,  - Yes! I dream about food!;-) -  I had ever thought that I would see purple carrots in this life time, that too, of all the places in the United States. I had seen this unique Punjabi recipe called "Kanji" using black/purple carrots @Sanjeev Kapoor's website. I was intrigued as I had never seen these colorful carrots ever in Mumbai markets. Also, Kanji means something totally different where I come from. It's just another name for "Pej" - starchy rice water broth. But Sanjeev Kapoor's Kanji was more like a fermented drink involving purple/black carrots.

Well, as soon as I spied purple carrots at our local Sprouts, I knew I was going to make this Punjabi Kanji. I used Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe for reference and also added Himalayan Pink Salt (because I had it and hence, I am going through this Himalayan Pink salt phase!). I also added 2 Guntur chilies whole, thinking it may perk up the drink.

This drink gets beautiful color due to anti-oxidant rich purple carrots. By the end of 2-3 days of sunny window treatment, the drink turns shocking pink. You may mistake it for Kokum Drink. Carrots get completely drained out of their vibrant color and turn into mere orange. Now, I must caution you, that it could be an acquired taste for people who have not tried it ever. But you will certainly be won over by its color.

While I was raving and writing about these purple carrots, Gudiya stopped by and she shared the trivia of the day. It seems, all carrots were originally purple and orange carrots were cultivated much later. She'd read it in her school library. I googled it and found it to be true!

Kale Gajar Ki Kanji
2 Purple Carrots, peeled, cut into sticks
700 ml filtered water
1 tsp Pink Himalayan salt (or any salt)
2 Guntur Chilies, whole
A pinch of black pepper powder

1. Rinse and peel carrots. Cut into sticks.
2. Add to  a glass container.
3. Pour remaining spices and water.
4. Stir. Put a muslin cloth and tie it.
5. Keep on a sunny window for 2-3 days till it's vibrant shocking pink.
6. Consume immediately.

Note -
1. Refrigerate any unused drink and consume within 3-4 fays.
2. This drink may need an acquired taste.
3. I didn't add beetroot as Mr. Kapoor suggests in his recipe.

Purple Carrots - Peeled & Unpeeled


After making the water shocking pink, carrots are now orange!!
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