Welcome aboard!

Indian cuisine is a riot of colours, flavours, and spices. Every state has its own unique culture- ingrained taste bud. And, to many of us staying within familiar tastes is a sacrosanct act. Of course an occasional trip to a speciality restaurant that serves another fare is ok. But, as a matter of routine ...at home...NO!

One of the benefits of being born to parents who dared an interstate marriage (am talking about India of the 70's) was being able to widen a regional taste bud to accept, experiment and, relish eclectic cuisines :-)

I love food! Be it traditional or fusion, cooking is all about turning out fare that is tasty and healthy.I welcome all lovers of good food to come on aboard and share your kitchen adventures.

If you like what you see, do leave a comment. If you don't, please leave a suggestion to help me make this better.

You can also request for any recipe you want. Just leave a note in a comment box.

Happy cooking!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nutty Surprise

I love nuts! And peanuts top my personal list of comfort foods. Sitting by the beach with a huge bowl of freshly roasted peanuts and a book is my concept of a perfect holiday. By the same note, anything and everything cooked with an overdose of nuts is my concept of ideal foodie heaven!
Roasted and skinned peanuts - 150 gms
Walnuts - 50 gms
Almonds - 50 gms
Small whole Figs - 15 nos
Jaggery - 100 gms
Cardamom - 5 Nos
Dry ginger powder - 2 pinches

Dry roast all nuts together. Cool and pulverize to granules in a mixer/food processor.Boil a cup of water (200 ml) and dissolve jaggery in it. Filter to remove scum. Place a thick bottomed skillet on the flame and pour in the jaggery. Keep simmer stirring till jaggery thickens to one string consistency (a slight syrupy texture). Add in the granulated nuts, whole figs, ginger powder and powdered cardamom. Keep stirring till the mixture reaches a jam like consistency. Take off flame.
When slightly cool place the mixture in a wax paper/aluminium foil/cling film and roll up into a tight cylinder. Place in the freezer for a couple of hours to set. Later, remove from wrapping and cut into slices.
The surprise element in this nutty treat are the bits of luscious, grainy figs that you stumble upon while munching
This yummy delight is softer, unlike the traditional chikki.

This is my entry to Mythreyee's Sweet Series - Chikki and Laddu event. The event is on at http://www.paajaka.com/2008/08/announcing-sweet-series-chikki-and.html

This also goes to EC's WYF: Color in Food event. My colour is deep , earthy brown from the Jaggery! The event is on at http://simpleindianfood.blogspot.com/2008/07/wyfcolour-in-food-event_30.html#comment-form

Also sending this to Lore's Original Recipe - Monthly Roundup event. The event is on at http://culinarty.sapiensworks.com/articles/original-recipes-monthy-round-up-event/

Friday, August 29, 2008

Omelette with greens

It's not that I don't enjoy traditional recipes but I do plead guilty to having a very strong streak of adventure when it comes to food. I love adding a lil something extra to give what my family eats a fillip !

Whole Egg - 1
Egg whites - 2
Coriander leaves (cilantro) - a medium sized bunch
Spinach (palak) - 4-5 fresh leaves
Small onions (shallots/scallions) - 3 Nos
Ginger - 1 " piece
Green chillies - 3 Nos
Fresh ground pepper - as spicy as you want
Salt to taste
Chop the onions, ginger, green chillies, and the greens well. Whisk in the eggs. I choose the yolk of only one of the 3 eggs to lessen the cholestrol content (you may want whole eggs). Add the salt.
Heat a girdle and drizzle a little olive oil. pour out the omlette. Sprinkle the pepper on top. Turn over and cook other side.
Serve with whole grain bread for a hearty breakfast.
Sending this over to Sangeeth's 101 Recipe Series featuring Omelettes. The event is on at http://letusallcook.blogspot.com/2008/08/calling-all-food-bloggers-for-101.html

Vidhya of My Recipes (iyercooks.blogspot.com) has given me the beautiful Perfect blend of friendship award. Thank you, dear!

Awarded:Mai Yen Eds Chez Francine La Place de Cherie Le bric à brac de Cherie Wonderful Things In lifeConcealed Mind Can of Thoughts Muthahood Crib MammaDawg Life and Me A Mother's Stuff http://housewifeatwork.blogspot.com/My Receipes, thefootloosechef

I pass this on to my sweet friend Lubna of kitchenflavours; my first blogger friend, EC of simpleindianfood; my 'newest' visitors Yasmeen of yasmeen-healthnut and Divya of mixtomatch.blogspot.com; Srivalli of cooking4allseasons just for her kind heart; and with a big bouquet of heartfelt apologies to my friend Sunshinemom of Tongue Ticklers(tumyumtreats) for inadvertently missing out the last date of her first event :-(

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mixed veggie paratha with dates chutney

To me, a wholesome mixed veggie stuffed paratha is a meal in itself. And when in combo with a yummy sweet, tangy, and spicy dates chutney, it's 'heaven on earth' for breakfast/dinner !!!

For the paratha dough
Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Vegetable oil - 1 teaspoon
Warm water - to knead
Salt to taste
Knead everything together to form dough. Cover with soft muslin cloth and let stay atleast for half an hour.

For the mixed veggie filling
Potato - 1 large
Carrot - 1 large
French beans - 150 gms
Onions - 1
Ginger - 1" piece
Green chillies - 5 nos
Garlic - 3 cloves
Cook the potato in jacket. Cool, peel, and use a fork to crumble. Finely mince the carrots and beans. Chop the onions. Grind the ginger, garlic, and green chillies. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a skillet and saute the ground paste. Add the onions and saute till traslucent. Add the carrots and beans, and stir fry till 3/4th done. Add the crumbled potato and salt to taste. Take off flame and cool.
For making stuffed parathas
Shape large lemon sized balls out of the dough. Roll (leaven) them out as ordinary chappthis/tortillas. Keep one chappathi on a plate and place a liberal quantity of filling over it, leaving the sides clean. Place another chappathi over this and press down well to seal sides and remove air. Heat a girdle (dosa pan/tava) and rub on a little oil. Place the stuffed paratha on and cover with a conical shaped lid. Allow to simer cook for a minute. Turn over and repeat with other side. Ocassionally,press down using a flat ladle to allow even cooking. Remove from girdle and using a sharp knife cut the paratha into halves.

For dates chutney
Deseeded and chopped dates - 1 cup
Tamarind - about 5 gms
Ginger - a short piece
Vinegar - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder (cayenne pepper) - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Water - 1/4 cup

Put everything together in a mixer/processor and grind to paste. Presto! your yummy chutney is ready.

Serve with hot mixed veggie paratha!

This is my entry to Latha's WBB - Combi Breakfast event series. The event is on at http://masalamagic.wordpress.com/2008/07/29/announcing-wbb-combi-breakfasts/. Hurry all you fellow bloggers, the deadline is August 31st.

My dear blogger friend, Lubna of kitchenflavours has passed me the 'Wylde Woman Award'. The purpose of this award is to send love and acknowledgement to women who brighten your day, teach you new things and live their lives fully with generosity and joy.

The rules of this award are:
1.You can give it to one or one hundred or any number in between - it's up to you. Make sure you link to their site in your post
2. Link back to this blog site http://tammyvitale.typepad.com/ so that Tammy, the originator of this award, can go visit all these wonderful women.

I in turn would be delighted to pass this onto:
Purva of purvasdaawat
Usha of veginspirations
Vidya of iyercooks
Meera of enjoyindianfood
Suma of vegetableplatter
Rashmi of delhibelle
Seeema of myrandap

Vidya (iyercooks) has tagged me with a lovely poem on friendship.

We need friends for many reasons,all throughout the season.

We need friends to comfort uswhen we are sad,and to have fun with us when we are glad.

We need friends to give us good advice,

We need someone we can count on,and treat us nice.

We need friends to remember us once we have passed ;sharing memories that will always last.

Spread the poem of friendship.1. Everyday Life 2. Words of Love 3. Sheng's Simple Thoughts . . . 4 My Wonderful Life ....5. Can of Thoughts 6. Designs By Vhiel 7. Vhiel's Corner 8. Anything and Everything in Between 9. A Mother's Stuff 10. http://housewifeatwork.blogspot.com/ 11. My Receipes 12. Vblogger 13. thefootloosechef 14. You next

I would like to pass this to:

Sunshinemom of Tongue Ticklers (tumyumtreats); Nidhi of sizzlingbites; and Srilekha of srishkitchen; and Lubna of kitchenflavours.

Donate for a Heart Campaign

Srivalli of cooking4allseasons has launched a fund raiser to save Lakshmi, a coronory disease patient. Lakshmi is a 28 year old with two young children to support and only her aged parents to help her. She requires a major operation costing Rs. 5-6 lakhs ($15,000).

You can chip in to save Lakshmi by making a contribution securely through PayPal (click the widget below) or by directly making your contribution through Srivalli's blog http://cooking4allseasons.blogspot.com/2008/08/donate-for-heart-campaign-to-heal.html

If you have any questions on this fundraiser, email lakshmi.fundraising@gmail.com

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fish Molly (Mildly spiced fish in coconut milk)

This fragrant, mildly spiced fish curry is a complete antithesis to the usual fiery-red kerala fish curry. Fish molly is popular among the christian community in Kerala. It's usually served as accompaniment to bread or appam in family get togethers and feasts.

Fish (King fish/pomfret/tilapia/sharry) - 1/2 kg
Onions - 2
Ginger - 1" piece
Green chillies - 5 Nos
Tomatoes - 2 Nos
Garam masala - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Coconut milk - 2 1/2 cups (500 ml).The instant powder works well or if its fresh coconut extract, use the cream of 1/2 a big coconut.
Curry leaves - 5-6 sprigs
Coconut oil - 1 teaspoon
Remove as much skin as possible from the fish and slice into medium sized pieces. Clean with salt and fresh lemon juice to remove the fishy odour:-)
Slice onions and slit gren chillies. Grind the ginger. Heat a little oil in a skillet and saute onions, ginger and green chillies. Mix a cup of the coconut milk with a cup of water to dilute it and add to the skillet. Add the fish pieces and turmeric powder in. Cover and simmer cook till fish is almost done. Add the cubed tomatoes,garam masala and half the curry leaves. Let cook. Add the rest of the coconut milk. Add salt to taste, a drizzle of coconut oil and curry leaves. Take off flame and let stay for about 15 minutes for the flavour to mingle.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hot and Sour Veg Soup

A new chinese restaurant opened next to our home here in Muscat. The first time we went there, my hubby suggested 'hot and sour veg soup'. I was a little skeptical since the hot and sour soup i'd tried at a restaurant in india wasn't really to my taste. To my pleasant surprise, this one here was really yummy! The second time we went to the restaurant, I asked to meet the chef, met him and got the recipe. Therefore this soup is courtesy Chef Santa of Nepal from the Wok of Life restaurant.

Veg stock - 1/2 litre
Carrots - 1/2 finely chopped
Cabbage - 2 leaves finely chopped
Black mushrooms - 3-4 (sliced thin) I din't find black mushrooms so just made do with button mushrooms!
Bamboo shoots - 2-3 tinned pieces (sliced)
Bean sprouts - about 5 gms
For seasoning
A dash of freshly ground pepper
Some Chilli sauce/paste
Dark soy sauce
A dash of tomato sauce
Boil the stock. Cook The mushrooms. Shred all the veggies , except sprouts, very finely and add. Dont overcook, the flavours should just mix in. Add the seasoning and top with bean sprouts. Simmer another minute. Serve piping hot!!!

The delightful 'Blogging friends forever' award has come back to me. My dear blogger friends Purva of purvasdaawat and EC of simpleindianfood have passed me thsi treat. Thank you, gals!
I pass this on to:

Vidya of iyercooks, Sagari of indianhomefood, Pooja of creativepooja, Nidhi of sizzlingbites, and Shreya of ammascooking .

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tricolour Raita

History has it that the Indian National flag, in its present tri-colour form, was adopted by a constituent assembly meeting twenty two days before 15th August 1947, our Independence day! Each of the tri- colours have a symbolic meaning. The saffron (almost orangish) color symbolizes courage, sacrifice, and the ability to put the nation's interest above self; white stands for peace and truth, and green is for faith and chivalry. Info courtesy, the wikipedia!
Pooja of My Creative Ideas has come up with an Independence day theme for food. Here is my entry to her interesting event. A foodie tribute to our wonderful motherland!

Carrots - 3 medium sized
Onions -1 big
Green chillies - 4 Nos
Coriander leaves (cilantro/kothammalli) - a small bunch
Yoghurt (curds/thayir) - 2 cups
For seasoning
Ginger - a small piece (grated finely)
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Cumin (jeera) - 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Asafoetida - a pinch

Grate the carrots. Finely slice the onions. Chop the corinader leaves and green chillies.Add everything into a bowl.
Heat a little oil in a skillet and crackle the mustard seeds. Add in the cumin and stir fry. Add the curry leaves. Pour this over the vegetable mixture. Add in the ginger, yoghurt,a pinch of asafoetida, and salt to taste.
Refreshing taste!!
The Theme Independence Day 2008 event is on at http://creativepooja.blogspot.com/2008/07/theme-of-week-is.html

Vidya of My Recipes (iyercooks) has tagged me with '7 Facts about me' :-)
The rules of the tag are:
(a) List these rules on your blog.
(b) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog.
(c) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
So here goes...
7 Facts about me.
Work: I started work as a journalist right after my MA exams. Moved onto other genres of writing over the years.
Education: A masters in English and a professional degree in Medical & Psychiatric social work. Love to learn and hope to do more in future.
Friendship: I was born with a strong social streak. I love friends!
Relationship: My hubby and his and my family
Internet (WWW) - My friend dragged me in kicking and protesting to open my first email ID in '98 :-)
Fitness: I love long walks
Dreams: Lots. I thrive on them :-)
I tag my new visitor, Priti of indiankhanna, Purva of purvasdaawat, Usha of veginspirations, Lore of culinarty, Lubna of Yummy Food (kitchenflavours), Sri Priya of srikarskitchen, and A&N of reluctantchefs.
Friends, do pass this on to 7 other people.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Soya Uthappam

Soyabean and its by products top the food charts of a health conscious population. Versatality and nutritional value of soy make it a great protein alternative to meat and poultry.
Uthappam is a traditional south indian tiffin delicacy. But traditional uthappam is made out ordinary dosa batter (rice and black gram), with onion and tomato topping. Less frequently other veggies and cheese too are used. I've given this traditional recipe a completely original twist. It's a soybean batter with soy chunk topping. In the begining, I was a little apprehensive about the outcome, but the final outcome was a pleasant surprise!

For the batter
Soyabean - 1 cup
Raw rice - 1 cup
Black gram (urad/uzhunnu) - 3/4 cup
Sesame oil (ellenna) - 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste

Soak the soybean overnight. Clean and soak the rice and black gram for about 2 hours. Grind each to a smooth paste adding enough water.Mix to make batter of dosa consistency. Add the sesame oil and salt to taste. Let ferment for 3 hours. refridgerate till half an hour before use.

For the topping
Soya chunks (textured soy protien) - 1 cup
Onions - 1 large (finely chopped)
Carrots - 1 (grated)
Coriander leaves (cilantro/kothamalli) - 1 cup (chopped)
Green chillies - 4 Nos
Ginger - 1" piece (finely chopped)
Red chilli powder (cayenne pepper) - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Tomato ketchup - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Boil the soychunks in hot water for a few minutes. Drain and soak in cold water. Squeeze dry. Use a food processor or mixie to mince the soy chunks (like keema).
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a skillet. Saute the onions, ginger and chilies. Add the carrots and soy chunks. Add the chillie powder and turmeric powder. Saute till the soy chunks start getting a light brown. Add the tomato ketchup, chopped coriander leaves, and salt. Cool. Heat a dosa pan (flat girdle). Use a kitchen tissue or soft cotton cloth to rub some sesame oil onto the girdle. This will prevent sticking of the uthappam.
Pour two ladlefuls of the batter onto the hot girdle. Sprinkle the topping mixture liberraly on top. Use a conical lid to cover the pan and simmer cook the dosa till the sides turn a golden brown. Lightly dribble some sesame oil over the topping. Turn over and cook covered for another minute or two. Serve hot with a chutney of your choice!

This is my entry to MonsoonSpices' JIF - Soya event. The event is on at http://www.monsoonspice.com/2008/07/announcing-jfi-aug-08.html


I am sending this entry to Lore's 'Original Recipe' event too. The event is on at http://culinarty.sapiensworks.com/articles/original-recipes-monthy-round-up-event/

Mint tea

This is my version of the Moroccan 'Mint tea'. The original, I've heard, calls for huge chunks out of conical shaped sugar lumps, greentea that's been washed and dried to remove some of the bitterness, and poured from a height so that the tea forms a foam on the glass.
My version is simpler and I find it very energizing and yummy!
For one cup
Fresh mint - 3-4 sprigs
Tea leaves - 1/2 teaspoon
Demerara (brown sugar) - 1 teaspoon
Boiling water - 1 cup
Place the sugar, tea leaves, and mint sprigs in a teapot or saucepan. Pour boiling water over this. Stir to dissolve the sugar and infuse the mint flavour in. Filter into a cup or in a glass like the moroccans and me :-)

Dhi of cookingetcetera has been kind enough to bring my attention to the foodie photograph competition on at her end. Thank you, Dhi. The competition is on at http://cookingetcetera.wordpress.com/2008/07/07/red-white-foodie-photo-contest/

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My first blog award

Yippee...my first blog award! Usha of veginspirations passed me the the Blogging Friends Forever Award...am all grins!!!!

In turn, I would like to pass this award onto

EC of simpleindianfood. Thank you EC for those lil tips for better blog visibility!

Ujwal of kitchlab . My young friend who moderates the cookery community I run on Orkut.

Sunshinemom of Tongueticklers (tumyumtreats)

Rashmi of delhibelle

And finally, in a gesture of reciprocated friendship I'd like to give back Usha the same award too.
Thank you, buddy!

Masala peas and potatoes

Potatoes and peas are a favourite combo in Indian cusine. This one's made of freshly ground spices. Hope you love it as much as I did!
Potato - 1 large (cubed with skin on)
Fresh or frozen green peas - 1 cup
Onion - 1 large (sliced lengthwise)
Garlic - 3 cloves
Chilli powder(cayenne pepper) - 1 teaspoon (5gms)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 3-4 sprigs
Olive oil - 2 teaspoons
Tomato puree - 1 cup
Salt to taste
For fresh masala
Cardamom - 2 whole
Cinnamon - 1" stick
Nutmeg - a tiny piece
Fennel - a teaspoon (5 gms)
Cumin - 1/2 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Clove - 1

Dry roast all the fresh masala ingredients lightly. Cool and grind to powder.
Grind the garlic seperately to paste.Heat oil in a skillet. Add the sliced onions, saute till translucent. Add the garlic in. Stir till a fine aroma emanates. Add the potato cubes followed by the freshly ground masala. Saute for a few minutes. Add a cup of water and simer cook till almost done. Add in the green peas and cook well. Add the chilli powder, turmeric and coriander powders. Add the tomato puree and saute till gravy reaches a smooth, thick texture. Add the curry leaves and salt.
Take off flame and let stay with the lid on for a few minutes. This allows the flavours to really settle in. Serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon.
Yummy with Bajra rotis and chappathis!
This is mt first entry to Cooking4allSeasons' Curry mela event. The event is on at http://cooking4allseasons.blogspot.com/2008/07/announcing-curry-mela-event-to.html

Monday, August 4, 2008

Stir fried mushrooms in basil

It is said that the ancient Greek civilization introduced Basil into cooking! Closer home, our very own ayurvedic texts abound with medicinal benefits of the delicate herb.Basil is a great source vitamin A & C apart from other trace minerals. It's acclaimed to greatly benefit cardiovascular and respiratory tract health, and promote eyesight.

Mushrooms contain copper, potassium, and folates. Key minerals that help the production of healthy red blood cells, ensure proper muscle and nerve functions, and promote overall health. A scientific study funded by the Mushroom council, Dublin found that Mushrooms, especially button mushrooms, retained 100 % of their nutrients even after cooking or grilling!
Button mushrooms - 250 gms
Sweet basil - a generous handful
Garlic - 3 cloves (finely chopped)
Freshly pounded pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
Apple cider vinegar - 1/2 teaspoon
Olive oil - a tablespoon (10 ml)
Salt to taste

Rinse mushrooms well in brine with a little turmeric powder added. Slice into thin pieces.
Warm a thick bottomed skillet. Add the olive oil. Saute the finely chopped garlic. Follow this with the mushrooms. stir fry till the mushrooms are almost done. Add the apple cider and pepper. Finally add a generous amount of roughly chopped fresh basil. Stir only till the leaves wilt in. Add salt to taste.
Serve with warm soup and bread toast!
This is my entry to Ammalu's Kitchen's Herb Mania - Basil event. The event is on at http://ammaluskitchen.info/2008/07/18/anouncing-herb-mania-basil/

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Molaga bajji

Molaga bajjis (batter fried chilli crispies) are the first to greet you on your evening out on the beaches of Marina at Chennai. Numerous make shift stalls adorned with garlands of molaga (chillies) burst with the yummy smells of frying bajjis. The chillies used for making molaga bajjis are big and light green in colour with not so much of the heat of their smaller counterparts. If you don't get these bajji chillies, jalapenos work as well.
For the batter
Roasted gram flour (kadala maavu/besan/chickpea flour) - 100 gms
Rice flour - 50 gms
Corn flour - 10 gms
Red chilli powder (cayenne pepper) - 5 gms Turmeric powder - a pinch
Cumin (jeera) - 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida (perumkayam) - a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Mix all the ingredients with sufficient water to create a thick batter. The batter should be thick enough to form a stable coating on the chillies.

For the bajjis
Bajji molaga (jalapenos) - 5-6 Nos

Slit the jalapenos ensuring taking care that they remain intact at the stems. If the chilli is very large then you can opt to completely slit it up into two. Heat oil in a thick skillet. Drop a small dollop of the batter in, if it rises up with a sizzle then you know the temperature is right. Dip the slit chillies in the batter. Ensure that it is coated all over and in between the slits.
Drop into the oil gently and fry ensuring all sides are an even crusty brown.

Serve hot with tomato ketchup! Nothing to beat a rainy or wintery day like a piping hot molaga bajji with tea!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Masala chappathi with a 'twist' :-)

I made stir fried green brinjal, green gram sprouts, and dhal (lentils) for lunch yesterday. After we ate, just a teeny weeny bit of each dish remained. Did not feel like transfering them into tiny katoris and stoving into the fridge, felt even more bad chucking them out.
Voila! idea struck! mixed them along with wheat flour to make a different kinda 'masala chappathi'!
Left over veggies
Wheat flour
Yoghurt - 2 teaspoons
Chilli powder (cayenne pepper)
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt to taste

Knead everything together. Add water only if required (i found the moisture from the veggies sufficient).

Keep aside covered by a soft muslin cloth for about an hour. make chappathis (tortillas) as usual!
Serve with achar (pickle) and thick yoghurt.
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