Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pumpkin Pie From Scratch

I love pies. Who doesn't? They are yummy. The flaky crust. The delicious filling.The toppings. Pies come in many types and  really did not know how many till my first trip to the US. One trip to Marie Callenders just got me drooling over the sheer variety out there. They had fruit pies, cream pies, cheesecake pies.... the list goes on. The pie we picked up that was a Pumpkin pie. There is only one word to describe it. Delicious. Yummy (well two words). Silky smooth (well, many more than two words). I loved it.

Fast forward many years down. For some reason this pie popped into my head and I just had to make it. Took a recipe with many positive ratings ( recipe courtesy Allrecipes) and followed it to a T (except for the canned pumpkin part). Came out perfectly. Deliciously silky pie.

For the pumpkin pie, the recipe called for one can of pumpkin. Instead, I popped pumpkin cut in half, seeds taken out and cut side down into the oven on low heat of 150 deg C and baked it till the flesh turned soft (about an hour). Scoop out the flesh and blend it in a mixie till smooth. Use two cups of this.


2 cups Pumpkin (see above on how to make pumpkin puree)
1 can condensed milk (400g)
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 9" unbaked Pie Crust (Recipe here)


Preheat the oven to 200 deg C

Whisk the first seven ingredients in a bowl till smooth.

Pour into the crust. Tap till air bubbles are removed.

Bake at 200 deg C for 15 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to 170 deg C and bake for a further 35- 40  minutes until a knife inserted into the pie comes out clean.

Garnish with fresh cream if desired.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gobi Shalgam Gajar Achaar and School Days

I remember my school days with a lot of fondness. I am sure it is exactly like that for most if you out there. The fun times, the innocence, the principals office. Everyone has their most favourite memory of school. The times you got into trouble. The times when you were commended. Appreciated for work well done or punished for a lack of application. And the friends. Chatting away during class times. We always had something to chat about. Always. The assembly. The excitement of getting to read the news or thought for the day. Even writing something on the notice board was something we looked forward to. Hating the times when teachers punished us by making us sit with the boys. 
I studied in a small town so there was not much life beyond school. All friends outside of school hours were only school friends. Everyone knew everyone else. We were neighbours, friends and schoolmates. 

But I think there was a very close bond we girls from the same class shared. Much closer than with the others in the school. And I think this has continued over the years. I find that we can pick up exactly where we left off even though there may have been thirty years in between.

But one of my most favourite memories of school days was sharing of food. different tastes from different homes all brought and shared during the lunch hour. We were exposed to many foods from all parts of the country. But of all those memories the one that stands out is the packing of a little pickle in a piece of torn out notebook sheet. Furtively opening it in class and each one putting their finger in to get a taste. It used to be so exciting. Someone would bring a Punjabi mango pickle, while someone else would bring a sweet pickle. Gleefully tasting each one. I really don't know what draws girls to pickle but at least in our school it was something we all looked forward to.

Anyway to come to the recipe of gobi shalgam achar, it is from the north of India. It is essentially a winter pickle and has very lovely sweet, tangy spicy taste. Goes very well with rotis and parathas but tastes simply wonderful all on its own too. I got this recipe from here. And I am reproducing it exactly like in her blog.


1 kg each of Turnips, Carrots, and Cauliflower
400 ml White Vinegar
1 kg Jaggery
200 grams Garlic
200 grams Ginger
500 ml Mustard Oil
200 grams Salt
50 grams Red Chilli Powder
10 grams Cardamom
5 grams Cinnamon
5  grams Cloves

Trim cauliflower into florets. 
Cut carrots into thick 2″ long batons. 
Trim and slice turnips into thick quarters. 
Bring 3 litres of water to boil. Blanch the prepared vegetables in boiling water for 2 minutes. 
Drain, spread on absorbent cloth and dry in shade for a day.
Boil vinegar and jaggery together into a syrup.  
Pound ginger and garlic coarsely and fry in oil over medium heat. Take off heat. 
Pound the whole spices coarsely. 
Into the oil mix in all the spices and the vinegar syrup. 
Add salt and the prepared vegetables. 
Mix well and transfer to clean dry stoneware or glass jars.
Leave in the sun for a couple of days for all the flavours to get absorbed.

The vegetables cut and drying:

The vinegar and jaggery boiling:

Adding in the vegetables:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Glazed Lime Syrup Cake

When we were kids growing up in a small township, we lived in a house with a HUGE garden. We grew our own vegetables, fruit, onions, potatoes. I think short of growing rice and wheat, practically everything else came from our garden. My dad would walk around the garden after lunch each day and ask for what he wanted made for lunch the next day. Walk around the fruit trees and pluck what was ripe. I learnt what different plants looked like only from those walks I took with him around the garden. Really fond memories those. 

Thanks to those childhood days, I simply love seeing fruit trees in the garden or using the vegetables grown in your garden. There is something very comforting about that. I always wanted to have this large garden and grow my own vegetables. But unfortunately I have zero gardening skills. ZERO. No green thumb at all. So I have accepted it and moved on. 

Now my sister in law in the US has a lemon tree that bears a lot of fruit. I am dying to go there only to use the lemons from her garden to make this bread. But till then I have to settle for using locally available limes. 
The limes here I find are much tarter than the lemons from there.. So when I made this recipe with the exact conversion of lemon juice quantity to lime juice, I felt it was too sour for my taste.So, though I am giving you the recipe as is, I leave it to your better judgement on the exact quantity of juice to be used. (This is my disclaimer just in case you find it too tart)


1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon Lime Rind (grated)
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Milk

For the syrup:

100 grams Icing Sugar
2 tablespoons Lime Juice

For the glaze:

1/2 cup Icing Sugar
2 tablespoons Lime Juice


Grease and line a 8 inch X 4 inch loaf pan. 

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

Cream butter and sugar in a bowl till creamy. Add in the eggs and rind.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt.

Stir into the butter egg mixture alternately with milk.

Bake for about 40 mins or till a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.

In the meantime, mix the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and heat till you have a clear liquid.

When the cake is done. poke holes and pour the syrup till it soaks completely.

In another bowl mix the glaze ingredients till well mixed and pour over the still warm cake and leave to set.

Slice and serve


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Podi Vankai or Podi Katrikai - Andhra Food Series

I love brinjal in most forms.  Though my most favorite has to be Baingan Ka Bharta, I also love this method of making it. I don't think my kids have even tasted it once. For some reason they hate it and are not even willing to try it out. We have a rule in the house.  You cannot say you don't want something or you hate something without trying it out once. It is compulsory to try out a nice big sizable amount of it. Even then if you don't like it , then you are allowed not to eat it. But this is one vegetable that they have flatly refused to even try. So this veggie is only reserved for the rest of us in the house. And all of us love brinjal and particularly in this form.

Very delicious, it goes well with rice or rotis. It has a nice nutty taste from all the coarsely ground dals and the first bite is a little crispy and crunchy in the mouth ending with a soft vegetable inside.


About 10 small eggplants, quartered

For the Powder:

3 tablespoons Chana Dal
4 Red Chillies
1 1/2 teaspoon Coriander Seeds
1 tablespoon White Sesame Seeds
2 tablespoons Grated Coconut

2 tablespoons Oil
Marble sized ball of Tamarind (soaked in few tablespoons of water and juice extracted)
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
2 cups Water
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon Chilli Powder
1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
12-15 Curry leaves


Roast the powder ingredients in one tablespoon of oil till golden brown. Cool and grind to a caorse powder.

Heat water and add the tamarind juice and turmeric.

Drop in the brinjal pieces and cook for about 5 minutes or till the brinjal starts getting tender then drain.

Heat the remaining oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves and fry till it starts spluttering.

Add the ground powder and fry for a few minutes.

Now add the brinjal bits and fry on a low flame. Add the salt and chilli powder.

Fry till done and the podi is well fried and a golden brown.

Serve hot with rice or rotis


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Punjabi Saag - On A Strict Diet

No excuses this time for why I have not posted, why its been almost 3 months since I blogged. Its not because I have not been making anything or taking pictures, I think it is just that when I make a half hearted attempt to blog, it just never seems to come out right. That's why I said at the outset - NO EXCUSES.

So now I am on this diet. A very strict one. And since I am very determined this time around, hopefully it should work. But this is a strange kind of a situation I find myself in. I eat so much of the healthy stuff that I am unable to finish my meal. The only compulsory thing I have to eat each day is 2 cups of greens in any form. Now its difficult to get too many recipes that I like featuring greens as its hero. But this saag has to be one of my absolute favorites. Tastes good with both rotis and rice. It is supposed to be eaten with Makki ki Roti (rotis made with maize flour) but tastes good anyway even by itself. The original recipe calls for mustard greens (sarson) but as that is not available in Chennai, we can make it with spinach.

To get the most authentic saag recipe, I had to call my Punjabi niece in law. Thanks Pri. Got the exact recipe and now this is a staple on our lunch table.

Now for the recipe... Don't get put off by the number of ingredients. It is very simple to make. The only pain is cleaning the greens.


2 bunches Delhi Palak
2 bunches Methi leaves
2 bunches Radish leaves with the radish
2 Onions chopped
2 Tomatoes chopped
1 Turnip (Shalgam)
1 tablespoon Ginger chopped
1 tablespoon Garlic chopped\
4 Green chillies chopped

1 tablespoon wheat flour (Atta)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon White Butter
1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
1 onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped Garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped Ginger
1 tablespoon Ghee


Clean and chop all the greens, the radish, the turnip, tomatoes, onion, green chillies, ginger and garlic and pressure cook along with a cup of water for one whistle.

Grind it with a handheld blender or in the mixer till it is a coarse paste.

Mix in the wheat flour, white butter and salt. Heat for a while

Heat the ghee in a separate vessel. Fry the onion, ginger and garlic till lightly browned. At the end, add in the red chilli powder and pour the tadka over the greens.

Serve hot along with Makki ki roti.