Monday, December 19, 2011

Pappu Pulusu - Andhra Food Series

This is the ultimate comfort food as far as I am concerned. Hot steaming rice, a dollop of ghee, pour this dal on top and you have got yourself a perfect meal. Its all very well to want to eat out and try out different foods, but after a while home food is the best.

My mother used to make this the best but I like to think mine is not that far behind in either taste or appearance. Even if I have to say so myself, it is pretty darn delicious!!!!

Try it out and let me know...


1 cup Toor Dal
1 Large Onion, Sliced
1 Tomato, diced
2 tablespoons Tamarind Extract
2 Green Chillis, sliced

4 Cloves of Garlic, chopped into big pieces.
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
2 Red Chillis
6-8 Curry Leaves
1 teaspoon Coriander Leaves , finely chopped
1 teaspoon Oil
Salt to taste


Soak the Dal for about half an hour.

Pressure cook along with the sliced onions, diced tomatoes, sliced green chillis till cooked.

Mash till onions, tomatoes, dal and chillis are well blended.

Heat oil.

Add the mustard seeds, red chillis, curry leaves and garlic and fry until garlic is well browned.

Pour the cooked dal mixture over this and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Brinjal Peanut Curry

My cook at home comes out with very unusual foods. Sometimes, she makes things for herself, and puts a bit on the table for us to taste. And more often than not, they end up being very tasty and a staple on the dining table.
This is one such dish. I think it is fairly typical of the Nellore region.


1/2 kg Brinjals/Aubergines
2 Onions
2 Tomatoes
2 pods Garlic
50 grams of Roasted Peanut, powdered
1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
Few curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 tablespoon Oil
Salt to taste


Chop the onions, tomatoes and garlic finely.

Dice the brinjal into bits and keep in a vessel of water to prevent discoloration.

Heat oil on a medium flame.

Add the mustard seeds.

Once they start crackling, add the garlic and curry leaves.

When garlic has browned nicely, add the onions.

Fry till  it starts getting brown, add the tomatoes and fry till mushy.

Now add the salt and red chilli powder.

Add the brinjal and fry for a few minutes. Add a quarter cup of water and cover.

Check periodically till the the brinjal is cooked well.

Now add the peanut powder, and give one last boil and switch off.

Serve hot with rice or chapatis.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Daily Salad - Kids Favorite

At home, salad is an integral part of each meal. Without fail, we have a raw vegetable salad everyday. 

Fresh vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and all the goodness which leads to a healthy lifestyle. They offer quantity AND quality and at a low calorie cost. Raw food is nature in its purest form.

Today's theories state that adding a lot of colour to the meal is important. That is,different coloured vegetables add various vitamins and minerals that the body needs. So what I am saying here is the experts believe a plate piled with fruit and vegetables with all the colours of the rainbow will ensure that you eat a wide array of nutrients essential to the body.

I love this salad a LOT and so do my kids. They enjoy it and just go though bowlfuls without a murmur. I first had it at the Gymkhana Club when someone ordered it as a starter. Initially I was take aback, salad for an appetiser??  But it tasted good... And now though I may not actually serve it as an appetiser along with drinks, I most certainly adapted it to make it healthier and tastier. 

It is easy enough to make if you discount the the effort that goes into dicing all the vegetable finely..


1 Red Capsicum
1 Green Capsicum
1 Yellow Capsicum
1 Tomato
1 small Cucumber
1 Carrot
1/2 cup Peanuts
1/2 cup Corn Niblets
3 Cheese cubes (or 75 grams Cheddar cheese)

Juice of 1/2 Lime
Salt to tatse


Dice the Capsicums, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot finely into even sized bits.

Dice the cheese into bits of the same size.

Mix everything into a serving bowl. Top with the corn and peanuts.

Just before serving. squeeze the lime juice over and season with salt.

Keep chilled until serving.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Sabudana Vada And Rainy Days

Its has been raining on and off here and though we are well into August and September is already peeping round the corner, there seems to be no respite from the heat. The only times it cools down a bit is when it rains. Now rains in my town bring with them not only a much needed drop in temperature but a host of problems as well like traffic snarls, water logging, .... But then I think we welcome the change of weather so much, we are ready to forgive our city anything at that point.

The monsoon set in a couple of months ago for the rest of the country. But in my part of the country we get the retreating monsoon. So it comes a lot later in the year. But the heat sometimes gets too much for even nature to bear and promptly we have some fabulous evening showers.

Now to describe the monsoons in India.... The fabulous musty, earthy fragrance which comes from the dry parched earth, when the first few drops of rains fall just has to be smelt to be believed. The whole garden looks like an emerald green paradise with all the dry dust from the summer getting washed away. The cool cool breeze rushing in , chasing away the heat of the summer months and bringing a freshness to everything. It is the season that everyone really looks forward to.

To come to the point now, dear readers, you need to answer one question of mine. What is the connection between a rainy afternoon and fried food? Samosas, bajjis, pakodas, vadas... The first thing you think of when you see the dark clouds start gathering, is how quickly you can bring the kadai out, the saucepan for a cup of steaming masala chai and a comfortable chair to sit in and enjoy the rains. True? or false? Fried food, tea and monsoons are inseparable and almost a tradition in India. Here I have to say, a very enjoyable and a much cherished tradition.

Now on to the recipe....

Serves 6 ( Makes about 30 medium vadas)


1 1/2 cups Sago pearls ( Sabudana)
1 1/2 cups Potato, boiled and mashed
1/2 cup Roasted Peanuts, crushed roughly

2 Green Chillies, minced finely
2-3 tablespoons Coriander leaves , minced
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
Salt to taste

Oil to deep fry


Soak the sabudana in water for about 10 minutes. Drain the water and cover with a damp cloth for about 2 hours.

Mix it well with the boiled and mashed potatoes and the roughly crushed peanuts.

Add salt, lemon juice, minced green chillies and the coriander leaves.

Heat oil till smoking hot. Reduce the flame to medium.

For the sabudana mixture in small balls, flatten slightly and deep fry in the oil.

Serve hot.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vegetable Biryani - A Perfect Sunday Meal

In my opinion, biryani makes for the perfect Sunday lunch. A one dish meal and enough time in the afternoon to change one's persona to that of a beached whale. Sleep for a couple of hours to give the tummy a chance to concentrate and work hard to digest all that food. With all that rich and oily rice intake, there's not much else one can do.

Without further ado, let us get on with the recipe...

From now onwards, I am going to include one very important point that I have been missing out on. The number of people this particular recipe serves. I think that was a big mistake. One I am not sure I can rectify for all the previous posts. But I can at least make a fresh start from now. So here goes...

This is a typical adaptation of the Hyderabadi biryani to suit local tastes and I like to refer to it as the South Indian Biryani.

Serves 6


3 cups or 1/2 kg Basmati Rice
1/2 kilogram Onions, finely sliced
1/2 kilogram Tomatoes, finely sliced
Handful Mint Leaves

300 grams Potatoes, diced
300 grams Beans, diced
300 grams Carrots, diced

Salt to Taste

3 Bayleaves
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
4-5 Cups Coconut Milk
1/2 Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Oil
1 small stick Cinnamon

Masala Paste:

100 grams Ginger
100 grams Garlic
5-6 Green Chillies
12 Cloves
4 inches Cinnamon
6 Pods of Cardamom


Soak the rice in water for about 1/2 an hour.

Heat oil. Add the cinnamon and bay leaves.

When well fried, add the onions.

When the onions start getting brown, add the mint leaves. Fry for a few minutes longer.

Now add the paste and fry well till it is fragrant.

Add tomatoes and cook well till mushy.

Add the diced vegetables and the turmeric powder and the salt.

Fry for about 5-10 minutes.

Mix in the soaked rice, add the coconut milk and cook covered till almost done. When about 80 per cent done, mix well and add the juice of the lemon.

Serve hot with a raita of your choice.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Aam Panna - Perfect Thirst Quencher

Summers in India are long and hot. And homes in India are replete with natural thirst quenchers. You have the Nimbu Paani, Lassis, Tender Coconut water, Sugarcane Juice. It is absolutely essential to have these natural drinks that combat the heat outside. These drinks which contain herbs and spices work with the body to help you cope with the heat.
The mix of ingredients help in replenishing lost salts, cooling the system down, refreshing the palate, repairing the digestive system...

Aam Panna is one of these heavenly refreshers made with raw mangoes and spices. Mixed with a glass of cold water and few ice cubes clinking in the glass, the sweet and tangy taste ensures that one forgets the heat outside and cools down quickly.

Healthy. Natural. Refreshing. Why will one reach for an aerated artificial drink when there is such a wide choice natural drinks to be had? That is one question to which I have no answer. Kids these days are not even willing to try out these healthy choices when confronted with those ubiquitous cola and aerated drinks.


1 large Raw Mango or 2 small Mangoes
3 tablespoons Mint Leaves
1 tablespoon Cumin Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Rock Salt
6-8 Black Peppercorns
1/2 cup Sugar


Boil the mango whole in the pressure cooker till well cooked and soft.

Cool and take out the pulp.

Dry roast the cumin seeds and powder coarsely.

Put the mint leaves, sugar, rock salt, peppercorns and cumin seed powder in a blender and blend to a paste.

Now add the mango pulp and blend once again.

Keep the paste aside in the refrigerator till needed. It stays for about a week or so without a problem.

When needed, put about 4 tablespoons of the pulp into a glass.

Top up with about 200 ml of water and ice cubes. This amount of pulp should make about 6 glasses of Aam Panna.

Mix well.

Serve cold immediately.


This is going to SpicyTasty for their Quick and Easy Recipe Mela.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Greek Salad

I love eating out. I think that is the absolute single reason I do not end up losing any of the weight that I have gained over the last many years. And going out of town for me is reason enough to pig out. It is a standing joke amongst my friends that I am food obsessed. If I am visiting a new place, I love to research the restaurants there, food specialities there.. Now for the record, that's not the only thing I research. I also look up sightseeing, transportation but checking out food is of paramount importance. Nothing wrong, is there? No wonder I have a food blog...

On a visit to Bangalore, I was determined to eat at Sunny's. Hadn't eaten there for a couple of years. So like a stuck record, I kept repeating Sunnys, Sunnys. Finally out of sheer frustration, my family said okay. Then realised that the restaurant was on the opposite side of the street where we were staying. How fortuitous was that?
When there, my niece ordered a Greek Salad. Tasted divine. Fresh, crunchy with a sweetish tangy dressing. It was outstanding.

This is an attempt to replicate that. A greek salad is a rough country salad.


1 Red Capsicum
1 Yellow Capsicum
1 Green Capsicum
1 Cucumber
1 Small Onion
10 Cherry Tomatoes
10-15 Olives
200 grams Feta Cheese
1 Head Iceberg Lettuce


1 Lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Powdered Sugar
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste


Place all the dressing ingredients in a small screw top bottle and shake well. Keep aside till ready to serve.

Slice the onions finely.

Cut the capsicums into 1" bits.

Wash the lettuce carefully and tear into bite sized pieces.

Slice the cucumber into half moons.

Use the cherry tomoatoes whole or cut them in half. If you cannot source them, use regular tomatoes with each tomato cut into 8 pieces.

Cut the Feta into 1" cubes. (You can use Paneer instead as Feta is an acquired taste).

Assemble in a bowl.

When ready to serve, pour the dressing over and toss well.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Granola - The Health Revolution

Whichever side you turn these days the conversation only revolves around weight loss, health, fitness, exercise... Agree? It seems to have become an obsession with almost everyone. Each one is trying to outdo the other in losing weight and becoming fit.

Now in all this madness, my personal opinion is that moderation is the key. Moderation in eating, exercising. I really think that one needs to stop obsessing on each morsel that crossed one's lips, each gram lifted and each step run. It is a lot easier to make healthy choices than it is being made out to be.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying that I am the epitome of healthy eating because that is a great untruth. But I for sure do not go crazy about my weight or the food I eat. I try to eat healthy and make the right choices. I try to exercise everyday. But if I feel like eating something sinful, well I go ahead and do it. And I refuse to feel guilty about it. Size zero is not everything...

But at home, in our quest to eat healthy, we introduced granola in the mornings for breakfast. For the first month we bought it from a friend. It turned out to be so expensive. Then I remembered my mother in law making it many years ago. Now with my interest in food, I could not resist the urge to try it out for myself.

Granola is a breakfast or a snack food. It consists essentially of oats, nuts and dried fruit. It is high in calories but very filling and satisfying.

I went through many recipes on the internet and then went off to the market to see what was available for me to put into the granola. The good thing with granola is that you can add anything that catches your fancy. You don't like this ingredient? Just drop it. You like nuts? apples? dried fruit? lot of sugar? more healthy? more tasty? Just add them in. The choice is completely up to you. It is very easy to tweak it to suit you and also to the availability of ingredients.

This is my recipe but feel free to add or subtract as you feel like it....Fair word of warning here. This makes plenty and by that I mean PLENTY. Scale down the recipe to suit your needs.


3 cups Oats
200 grams Barley Flakes
100 grams Sunflower Seeds
100 grams Flax Seeds
200 grams Wheat Flakes
1 cup Almonds chopped
1 cup Walnuts chopped

1 cup Dates chopped
1/2 cup Raisins
1/2 cup Sultanas
1/2 cup Figs chopped

1/2 cup Honey
3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Oil
3 tablespoons Water


Mix oats, wheat flakes, barley flakes, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, almonds and walnuts.

Mix all the liquids (honey, water, vanilla essence and oil) in a bowl along with the brown sugar and salt.

Stir in the liquids into the oats mixture and mix well.

Bake for 15 minutes at 120 deg C. Stir well and bake again for 15 more minutes.

Add in the dried fruit and bake for another 10 minutes till it starts turning a light brown.

Let it cool down and store in an airtight container.

Serve with milk or over yogurt and fruit.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Pina Colada Mousse And The Thrill Of Innovation

I love this recipe simply because it was something I invented by myself. I was so thrilled the first time I made it and it came out well. I used to have Pina Coladas in Bangalore at Pub World. The consistency of the drink lent itself very well to conversion to a dessert.

The secret to a good cook, in my opinion, is the constant experimentation in the kitchen. The more you try out you know what works and what does not. I agree it means a lot of hits and misses and the misses end up being a real pain. But then a super hit recipe along the way makes it all worthwhile. This is one such recipe.

But the story of this mousse does not end there. After I made this, I gave the recipe to my sister in law. Now she is a very good cook. But she loves to say that she is just a so so cook. Which is so not true.
Now she started making the dessert and I had just given her the basic recipe and left it at that. I thought my instructions were pretty clear. But I had omitted to tell her that once the gelatin had melted, it needs to cool before adding to the cream mixture. So she went ahead very happily adding the hot gelatin to cold cream mixture. You can guess what the result was. She had this liquid with strings of gelatin running through it. No hope of it setting as it had already set into strings. Too late to set as dessert for the dinner that night. She just strained it and served a drink/dessert...
My lesson learnt? Never give half baked instructions while giving recipes. Now that I have a blog, I hope that I have learnt my lesson well.


1 tin Condensed Milk
200 ml Thick Coconut Milk
1 litre Pineapple Juice
2 heaped tablespoons Gelatin
200 ml Cream, whipped
30 ml Coconut Flavored Rum (Optional)

For the glaze:

5-6 tinned Pineapple Slices
1 tablespoon Cornflour
3 tablespoons Sugar


For the Glaze:

Puree the pineapple slices in the mixie.

Add the sugar.

Mix the cornflour in a couple to tablespoons of water and mix into the pureed pineapple.

Cook on a medium to low flame till it gets thick and translucent.

Take off the flame and leave to cool.

For the Mousse:

Mix the condensed milk, coconut milk and pineapple juice in a bowl. Also add in the coconut flavored rum if using.

In a small bowl pour about 1/2 cup of water. Sprinkle the gelatin on top and leave it to soak for about 20 minutes. After this heat on a very very low flame till the gelatin dissolves.

Cool the gelatin till it is room temperature.

Whip the cream till it has soft peaks.

Mix the gelatin liquid into the coconut milk/pineapple mixture. Let it set for a few minutes in the refrigerator.

Gently fold in the whipped cream into it and leave to set for about 4-6 hours.

Once set fully, pour the glaze on top and garnish as you wish.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Parsi Falooda - Perfect Summer Drink

There is a very sweet story about the arrival of Parsis who, because of being persecuted in their own land, came to seek refuge in India. When they arrived into Gujarat, the king sent them a glass of milk filled to the brim signifying that the land was full and could not support any more people. The Parsis then added a pinch of sugar to the milk sending an astute message to the king that they would not take up too much space and will in turn add sweetness to the kingdom.

It is a standing joke at home that my husband is partial to Parsi food. Now now, I am not going to tell you why... It is how it is.. So this is a post only for him.

Summers in India are scorchingly hot. It is a far from pleasant experience to be outside during the day. In fact on a typical summer day, India can feel like an oven on overdrive, but humans with their superior skills have learnt to adapt to it and to cope with it .

So how do you keep the heat at bay?Indians know a million ways to keep cool and the list is endless. Cool cotton clothes.. drinks that cool the system down like nimbu pani, coconut water, kokum sherbet, aam panna... foods that are spicy hot paradoxically cool the body by making one sweat.

The Parsi falooda which originates in Iran is found in various forms all over the Middle East, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and India. It is cross between a drink and a dessert.
The recipe presented here is the Parsi version of falooda. Try it. It is perfect for the Indian summer.


4 tablespoons Subja Seeds (Takmaria, basil)
1 cup Water

1/2 cup Cornflour
250 ml Water
Lots of ice cubes

4 tablespoons Rose Syrup
2 cups Milk
4 tablespoons Condensed Milk
4 scoops Vanilla Icecream

Pic below: Dry Subja Seeds (sorry the picture is a little out of focus)


To make the Subja seeds:

Soak the subja seeds in 1 cup water for 2-4 hours till it acquires a gelatinous coating ( see picture below)

To make the falooda:

Mix the cornflour into the 250 ml water and place on medium heat.

Keep stirring. As you stir it will start thickening.

Cook till it becomes translucent and comes together like a ball.

Keep a bowl of cold water filled with lots of ice cubes ready . You will also need a sev press which will help form very fine noodle shaped falooda. Put the cornflour mixture into the sev press before it turns cold. Then press out the falooda into the ice cube/water bowl. Leave the falooda in the water in the refrigerator for upto 4 days. If you take out the falooda from the water , it will stick together and lose its shape.

To make the milk:

Mix the milk with the condensed milk and chill in the freezer for an hour or so.

Alternately, you can thicken the milk over a low flame for a few hours till it thickens and add sugar. This is actually the original method, but I use my shortcut method. The taste does not suffer because of this.

Now for the assembly:

Take 4 tall glasses.

Pour the rose syrup at the bottom.

Top with a couple of tablespoons of falooda.

Gently pour the milk mixture on top without disturbing the layers.

Add a tablespoon of soaked subja seeds.

Top up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream .

You can optionally garnish with a few sliced nuts.

Stick in a straw and a spoon and serve very cold.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Quesadillas and Feeding Hungry Kids

This is a quick snack to make when kids are home from school- hungry and cranky. It is easy enough to make and has very kid friendly ingredients like cheese. I used home made corn and flour tortillas, recipe for which is also given below.

Before I start with the recipe, let me apologise for the picture accompanying this post. It is sad to say the least and does not do justice to quesadillas. But like I always say for all my uninspiring pictures... don't judge a book by its cover. This tastes GOOD!!! And is wholesome and filling...

The best part of this recipe is also that you have a free rein on what you want to use as the filling.The only constant is Cheese. Most things go well as a filling - onions, olives, capsicums, cooked chicken, spinach, refried beans, mushrooms... the list goes on.

Now for the recipe


For the torillas:

2/3 cups Maize flour (not cornflour)
1/3 cup All Purpose Flour
Salt to taste

For the filling:

1 cup Cheese
your choice of fillings ( sliced onions, chopped olives, sliced mushrooms, refried beans, spinach, sliced capsicum etc etc)


For the Tortillas:

Make a stiff dough using a little water a teaspoon at a time.

Roll out into tortilla (like a chapati) Watch this for instructions on how to roll out a tortilla.

Cook for a few minutes on a flat griddle till brown spots appear.

For the quesadillas:

Place the tortilla flat.

On one half put a couple of tablespoons of cheese.

Over that out the filling of your choice.

Fold over into a semi circle.

Place on the griddle again and cook both sides till cheese melts a little bit.

Cut into pieces and serve hot along with some salsa and guacamole.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spicy Corn Tartlets And Three Of My Favourite Things

I love baking. I love taking nice pictures for my blog. And I love corn (particularly the sweet American corn niblets. The kind that come in a tin. Yes I know. They are unhealthy. But I still love them, okay?). But when all three things come together and perfectly for one post ... my day is made.

Eden restaurant in Chennai serves up this awesome spicy corn on toast. It is a great tasting dish but rich. I am sure they are very generous with their cream and butter. This spicy corn recipe is based on that. I made it purely from tasting the one at Eden.

I have to say, at the cost of blowing my own trumpet, it turned out exactly like theirs. Tasted just the same. But instead of serving it up on toast, I made these little tartlets and served it as an appetizer at a recent dinner. They went like hot cakes. I ran out of them even though I made more than five dozen. There were other appetizers too. There were only 8 guests. Enough said.


For the Tarts -

200 grams All Purpose Flour
100 grams ice cold Butter
A pinch Baking Powder

For the Corn filling -

1 tin Corn Niblets
1 tablespoon All Purpose Flour
1 cup Milk
1 tablespoon Butter
1 Onion chopped really finely
2 Green Chillies chopped fine
2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
1/4 cup Cream
Salt to taste


For the tarts:

Sift the baking powder and flour together.

Cut the butter into pieces and mix into the flour using fingertips till it resembles fresh breadcrumbs.

Gather into a dough. If very dry, add ice cold water a teaspoon at a time till a dough is formed. You will not need to much water so be very careful while adding the water.

Press out thinly into the tart moulds. Bake at 180 deg C for about 12-15 minutes till a light golden brown.

For the filling:

Melt butter on a slow flame and add the green chillies and onion.

When well fried, add the flour. Fry well and add milk in a steady stream taking care not to allow lumps to form.

Cook till thickened and a saucy consistency is obtained.

Add the tomato puree and cream and cook well.

Add in the corn niblets.

To serve -

Spoon the filling into the tarts. Serve hot.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beetroot Halwa and Dad's Cooking Experiments

My father was your typical working person. Off to work in the morning, back in the evening, cursory look at marks and homework. He was a tremendously hardworking and focussed person for whom nothing was too much work. I wish I had one tenth of his focus and capacity for work. I am sure I would have been a lot better for it. He was an engineer by profession and a pretty good one at that. He never forgot what he learned in college till the last. He remembered formulae, theorems... everything...

But he had a secret love for cooking. He used to love to experiment in the kitchen. But he never looked at cooking from a chefs point of view. His approach was more from an engineer's angle. He would love to tell my mom that for dosas to be perfect, the temperature of the tava should be this and that. Or some other such similar things. But for all his efforts, my mom's experience won each time. She would effortlessly make these yummy foods and he would struggle to get the taste just right.

One his favourite foods to make was Beetroot Halwa. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. This is not a sweet that I have seen commonly on tables. But he liked it, I think. Once I grew up and developed a love for cooking, I realised that I would like to learn this as well and now it has become a firm favourite for me.


2 cups Beetroot grated
2 cups Milk
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter)
1/4 teaspoon Cardamom powdered
1 tablespoon Cashewnuts for garnish
1 tablespoon Raisins


Cook the beetroot in the pressure cooker along with the milk till fully cooked and soft.

Open the pressure cooker and let out the steam.

Add the ghee and fry the halwa for a few more minutes till it starts coming together like a ball. It also develops a glossy look by now.

Add the sugar and cook till it thickens up again.

Fry the raisins and the cashewnuts in a teaspoon of ghee and add to the halwa along with the cardamom powder.

Serve cold or hot.


UPDATE: Thanks Asha for pointing out the error of forgetting the sugar. As you can see now, it has been rectified.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Tiramisu - A Real Pick Me Upper

My son is being indulged totally these days thanks to his Board Exams. All he needs to say is " Mummy, I need this to eat" and I go out of my way to make it for him. I guess I feel he is studying so hard, he needs these treats to up his spirits too.

He is extremely fond of Tiramisu and so when I saw this easy recipe on the internet and happened to have cream cheese in the refrigerator, I decided to make it pronto. It was very simple to make and when we tasted it later, it was quite delicious. Got good reviews with the family.

So here is the recipe...


12-16 Chocolate chip cookies
120 grams Cream Cheese
100 ml Whipping cream
4 tablespoons Caster sugar
1/3 cup hot water
1 tablespoon Instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons Kahlua or any coffee flavored liqueur
Chocolate shavings for garnish


Soften the cream cheese and then beat well with the sugar and cream.

Mix the instant coffee powder in the hot water and add the Kahlua.

Keep ready 4 cups to serve the dessert in.

Spoon in half a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture in each cup.

Dip four chocolate chip cookies in the coffee mixture and place one in each cup.

Repeat with two or three more layers .

Chill for a minimum of 2 hours or even overnight.

Garnish with chocolate shavings and serve.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Strawberry Dessert - Very Quickly

As promised in the title, this is a real quick one... No time to write anything at all.. The countdown to exams has begun.

This is a very easy to assemble dessert and tastes very fresh.


1 box ( maybe about 300 grams) Strawberries
2+2 tablespoons Sugar
4 slices Vanilla sponge cake ( or pound cake)
4 tablespoons Cream
4 Tablespoons Fruit juice


Dice the strawberries and macerate with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Keep aside for a couple of hours.

Whip the cream with the remaining sugar till it forms soft peaks.

Place the piece of cake on a serving plate. Pour over a tablespoon of juice over it.

Spoon over the strawberries.

Top with a tablespoon of whipped cream.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Melting Moments And Still Studying

This promises to be another short and sweet post. I guess that is going to be the case till March 30th. And then Sweet Sweet Freedom!!!!! Freedom from nagging. Nagging, not getting nagged. At least I have that on my side. I am the Nagger. My poor son is on the other side. He is the Nagged. We have completely stopped having any sort of conversation leave alone having a pleasant conversation. Our exchange of words these days are restricted to - from my side - Study, don't waste time, open your books, don't waste time, we don't have much time left, study, don't waste time, look at so and so studying, it is your last chance, it is your life... the list goes on. From his side it is either a sullen silence or just a quick pretence to devoting his time to studies. Half hour goes by and then the cycle starts again. I can almost see a bunch of Board Exam Moms nodding their heads very sagely knowing exactly what I am talking about. Anyway I console myself with the fact that this too shall pass..

To take my mind off, here is something deliciously yummy. Melting Moments. The name itself says it all, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, that is not the case. These cookies certainly don’t melt in the mouth. They are crisp and have just the right amount of bite to it. Very simple to make but I have to warn you, require loads of butter. I made them for a recent bloggers meet. I loved them and I am sure you will too. Try it out....


85 grams All Purpose Flour

25 grams Cornflour

85 grams Butter

115 grams Icing Sugar


Sift the flour and the cornflour together till well mixed.

Cream the butter and sugar till light and creamy.

Add in the flours into the butter & sugar mixture.

Mix well. Add in a teaspoon of milk if you feel it is too stiff.

Make into small marble sized balls and place on an ungreased tray. Leave plenty of room between the cookies for spreading while baking.

Bake at 180 deg C for about 10 minutes. Watch very carefully as they can go from golden brown to burnt in a couple of minutes.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Eggs With Green Masala

This is going to be a real quick post as I am studying very hard for my sons exams and don't have much time for a long write up. Well I am all stressed out over here, but he for sure is a real cool cucumber about it. The much dreaded Boards are here, but does he seem to worry about it? Oh no... never. Why worry when there are so many exciting other things to plan, friends' birthday parties...jam sessions to practise for... so many friends to talk to on the phone... and then the ultimate distraction, Facebook.... Well I try to do the best I can.. like I say - I can take this horse to the water. Now whether he wants to drink is his problem...

This particular recipe was brought to our house by our cook lady. She learnt it in the previous house she worked in. One day she made it just on a whim on a Sunday afternoon for lunch and since then it has become a staple.
It tastes really good and it is something very different from the usual. The colours are also very attractive and the contrast of the green and the white of the eggs looks good.
Though, ours is a vegetarian household, I am open to eggs being cooked at home as I consider it a good source of proteins for the kids.

Now for the recipe


6 Eggs hardboiled and sliced in half lengthwise.
2-3 tablespoons Oil

Masala Paste:
1/2 cup coriander leaves
2 green chillies
2 tablespoons roasted Bengal gram (roasted chana dal)
5-6 black peppercorns
2 Cloves of Garlic
salt to taste


Grind the masala paste ingredients till finely ground in the blender. The paste will be a little thickish.

Apply the paste onto the cut side of the egg.

Put a frying pan on a medium flame and add a little oil to it.

Fry the egg, cut side down (masala paste side) till it is slightly brown.

Fry the other side till it gets a bit brown.

Serve hot.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Tomato Rasam And School Reunions

Reunions are something that everyone has a different opinion on. Some look forward to it and some are anxious. I wonder why? These are people you have grown up with. But I think it is also because you want to impress them the most, no? It is fun to go back in time,see the kids you knew way back then, and find out what happened to whom...

My school friends and I had a mini reunion in Bombay a few years ago. It was so much fun to go back and meet them even though it was a small group. We had a great time chatting and catching up.

This post was supposed to be out more than a year and a half ago from that mini reunion. I promised this friend that I would put up a post on rasam so that he could learn (or make his wife learn?) and its taken me this long. There is no excuse for delaying this much and I apologise sincerely to V. For something that we make on a daily basis at home, to take this long to put it up..!!! Very Bad, Kamini.

Rasam is the ultimate comfort food. Feeling feverish, or have a cold, or heavy head? Rasam rice is a staple in such situations. It has a piquant taste which gets the appetite going when you are down.

Rasam powder can be made in larger quantities and stored for up to 6 months.
Now for the recipe...


2 Tomatoes diced finely
2 cloves Garlic roughly chopped
10 curry leaves
1 tablespoon Coriander leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon Oil
1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon Asafoetida
2 heaped teaspoons Rasam Powder ( recipe follows)
1 lime sized ball of tamarind
2-3 tablespoons Toor dal


Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of water till soft and extract all the juice. Keep aside.

Boil the toor dal in water till it is cooked soft. Keep aside.

Heat oil. When medium hot, fry the mustard seeds till they crackle.

Now add the garlic and fry till golden.

Add the tomatoes and cook till mushy.

Add the Rasam powder and fry for a bit till the raw smell disappears.

Add the tamarind water and the dal and cook on high heat till it comes to a boil.

In the meantime, in the serving dish, put chopped coriander leaves, chopped curry leaves and the asafoetida

Pour the boiling rasam over it and cover with a lid.

Serve hot with rice and ghee. You can also enjoy it as it is in a cup like a soup without any accompaniments.


Rasam Powder


200 grams Coriander seeds
100 grams Red Chillies
3 tablespoons Jeera (cumin)
3 tablespoons Toor Dal
2 tablespoons Peppercorns
2 teaspoons Mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds


Roast all the ingredients till fragrant.
Powder coarsely.
Store in an airtight jar for up to a year.