Monday, December 27, 2010

Dalia halwa (Bulgar wheat)

 This is one of my mother in law's recipe and is really healthy and wholesome. I prefer it warm and it is perfect for a cold and chilly winter day. 

1 cup fine dalia
21/2 cups water
3/4 cup jaggery (powdered)
1 cup of mixed fry fruits (i used chopped dates, raisins, cashews, toasted and slivered almonds)
1tsp cardamom powder
1tbsp ghee

Take a pan and heat ghee in it. Add the dalia and roast the dalia in the ghee on low flame for about 5 minutes till you get toasted fragrance.Add the dates and raisins.  Now add the water and jaggery and cover the pan with a lid. Let it cook for about 10 minutes till all the water is absorbed and the dalia is soft.  Add the rest of the nuts and cardamom powder. Serve warm. Some people like to add milk in the end to make it creamier.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pasta with fresh vegetables

This is a colorful pasta dish with lots of vegetables. Simple to make and any kind of pasta can be used. I like bow-tie pasta with this as it goes well with the vegetable pieces.

Onion 1 medium sliced
Bell peppers 3 sliced
Mushrooms  sliced
Zucchini 1sliced 
Cherry tomatoes 2 cups
Salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper
Italian seasoning
Basil leaves and parmesan cheese and lemon zest for garnish
Vegetable broth 1 cup
Olive oil


Boil pasta according to instructions. Drain and keep aside. Heat olive oil and add the crushed garlic, crushed red pepper and then add the pasta. Mix well and keep aside. In the same pan add a little more oil and add the onion and bell peppers and cook on high heat till it is slightly brown on one side but still firm and crunchy. Now add the rest of the vegetables and vegetable broth. Cook for 1 minute add the seasonings and pasta. Garnish with basil leaves and parmesan cheese and lemon zest.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mutter Paneer

This mutter paneer has no onion or garlic in it and it is quick and easy to make but tastes great. When I made this I thought of a loving friend who can be difficult to please when it comes to food and eats no onion or garlic and is a great cook herself. I have learnt a lot of important cooking tips and recipes from her.


Frozen peas 2 cups
Cubed paneer 3/4 cup
Cherry tomatoes halved 1/2 cup
Cumin, Mustard seeds, fennel seeds
Chopped green chillies
Turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin-coriander powder
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking

Heat oil, add cumin, mustard and fennel seeds. Add the green chillies and the turmeric powder and then the peas and paneer, cumin-coriander powder and chilli powder in order. Finally toss in the tomatoes.  Cook on high heat for a little while. Add salt to taste. You can sprinkle some lemon juice and chaat masala for taste in the end. I paired this dry vegetable with a potato/tomato vegetable (Raswale aloo) and paratha.


Cucumber cream cups

This is a quick and easy snack or a salad. Easy to make and you can fill it with whatever you like or have in hand. After slicing thick slices of cucumbers, I scooped out the center to make small cups then filled it with cream cheese mixed with sour cream, grated garlic and lemon pepper seasoning. I think we can get creative with this and  fill it with anything like hummus, salad dressing, guacamole or whatever you have in hand. I topped it with some grated carrots.

Roasted corn salad

This is again a simple salad and can also be eaten as a chaat by adding some spicy chutneys and  sev on top of it. It is just a combination of roasted corn, grape tomatoes, chopped cucumber, chopped red onion, green chillies, cilantro and the usual seasonings of salt, pepper and chaat masala.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Roasted eggplant with chickpeas (Bharta)

 Roasting or grilling any vegetable brings out its best flavors. Grilled onion and capsicum with fresh paneer (cottage cheese) sprinkled with chaat masala, lemon juice and chilli powder is a mouthwatering treat. Roasting or grilling an eggplant gives it a nice an smokey flavor and a creamy texture. Bharta is a dish similar to babaganoush but with Indian spices and flavors. The eggplant is first fire roasted   till the skin is charred and then mashed after removing the skin. I usually add peas in my bharta but this time I tried it with chickpeas.


Eggplant 1 large
Onion 1 cup chopped
Green chillies 1-3
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Tomatoes chopped 1
Capsicum/ sweet peppers (half large one or 2-3 small)
Panch phoran 1tsp
Turmeric, red chilli powder, garam masala, cumin- coriander powder and salt as per taste
chickpeas 1 cup boiled 
Green peas  (can be added instead or chickpeas. I added a handful or green peas along with chickpeas)
Cilantro leaves for garnishing 
Oil for cooking

 Grill the eggplant till the skin is charred, then peel and mash it well. Heat some oil and add panch phoran, the ginger garlic paste, slit green chillies and the chopped onion and cook till it is slightly brown. Add all the dry masalas, chickpeas and capsicum. Mix well and add the eggplant. Add the frozen peas (if adding), chopped tomatoes, and lemon juice. I sometimes use roasted tomatoes just for the added smokey flavor but fresh tomatoes taste good as well. Garnish with cilantro leaves and chaat masala.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lauki with cashews

This is one vegetable that doesnt show up in many people's  list of favorites, unless it is disguised and fried  as koftas. But I fall in the list of people who actually like it even if it is not too dressed up. But you dont have to be a devout health fanatic or a follower of yoga guru ramdev to love lauki ( bottle gourd). I took it up as a challenge to make this vegetable without grating, frying  or hiding it under a thick onion gravy. The secret was a little nutty help ..cashews to the rescue and the result was quite good!

Lauki (bottle gourd) 1 medium size peeled and cubed
Garlic 3-4 large ones minced
Cumin (Jeera) 1tsp
whole red chillies 2-3
Kadi patta (curry leaves) optional
Bay leaf, black cardamom (a few)
Tomatoes 2 chopped 
Cashews soaked in water and ground to a paste 1/4 cup
Dry masalas (turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander-cumin powder, garam masala)
Black pepper and black salt
A pinch of sugar
Cilantro leaves and chaat masala to garnish
Heat oil and add cumin seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add minced garlic, red chilli, bay leaf, cardamom and curry leaves. Now add all the dry masalas mixed with a few tablespoons of water so that it doesn't burn. Cook for a few seconds till the raw smell goes and drop the chopped bottle gourd in it. Let it cook for a few minutes then add cashew paste and chopped tomatoes. Let it cook till lauki is done. Add a little water as needed for cooking. Sprinkle a little black pepper, black salt and chaat masala along with chopped cilantro.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Brown rice noodles with chilli oil

This is a colorful, spicy and healthy dish. I used brown rice spaghetti with rice bran and lots of vegetables to make this. It would taste very good with angel hair pasta or the chinese rice noodles ( thin ones). The brown rice spaghetti is slightly thicker and has a dense texture compared to the wheat pasta. However, it satisfied my craving for  Indo-chinese meal and it was quick and easy prepare.

Brown rice spaghetti 250 grams (about 2 fistful)
Ginger-garlic paste 2 tbsp
Frozen or steamed mixed vegetables (peas, beans, carrots, soybeans, onion, peppers)
Cilantro to garnish
curry powder
crushed red pepper
Soy sauce, salt to taste
Oil as required
Chilli oil


Boil the noodles as per directions (about 10 minutes). Heat oil in a pan and add ginger garlic paste, curry powder and crushed pepper and noodles. Stir well and add all the mixed vegetables, salt, and soy sauce. Garnish with cilantro and chilli oil.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Honey lemon tofu


Plain tofu being bland takes on the flavors of anything that is added to it very well.  I have been experimenting with tofu these days and trying out different recipes. I have added tofu to noodles or tomato soup, made stir fries and even made tofu with spinach like palak paneer. This time I decided to add some new flavors that I had'nt tried before. I used extra firm tofu cubes and cooked it along with some honey, soy sauce and a few other things. Here is the recipe.

One pack of cubed extra firm tofu, one small onion chopped, red and yellow sweet peppers diced, 3tbsp honey, 2 tbsp soy sauce, a pinch of brown sugar or more if you like it sweeter, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes,garlic powder 1tsp, lemon-pepper seasoning salt, juice of 1 lemon, 1tsp zest of lemon, a few cashews lightly toasted, cilantro leaves to garnish. Salt to taste. Oil for cooking.

Drain the tofu cubes well. Transfer them in a bowl and add all the ingredients except the cashews, and diced sweet peppers. Take oil as needed and transfer the entire contents to the pan. (I used non stick pan). Cover and let it cook for a few minutes. It should start to brown on one side. Stir and let the tofu absorb all the flavors and brown lightly. It should soak all the juices. Now add the diced sweet peppers and taste for seasoning. I like to add a little honey towards the end to give a nice glaze and a little more lemon zest and some more lemon juice for the fresh flavor. Top with some lightly toasted cashews and garnish with cilantro.

I made a simple dessert to go with this. Raspberry jello with fresh raspberries and cream.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bread pakora (healthier version)

It is a healthier version of the popular tea time snack. I used whole grain bread which I dipped in spiced gram flour batter and then shallow fried it. Pair it with a side of salad, your favorite chutney or ketchup and tea.
Whole grain bread (sides removed), gram flour, about a cup(besan), rice flour 2-3 tsp, cilantro and green chillies.
Dry masalas: Haldi, red chilli powder, ajwain powder (carom seed powder), asofoetida, garam masala, black salt and salt to taste, oil for shallow frying.


Cut the end of breads and slice each bread into 2-3 pieces. Mix all the dry masalas with besan and rice flour add water and mix well. It should be of a pouring consistency. Now add chopped cilantro and green chillies. Dip each slice of bread in the batter to cover both sides. Cook adding little oil on low heat in a non stick pan on both sides till crisp and done.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kadhai bhindi


Kadhai Bhindi
So finally here I am with my first post. Surprisingly with a not so fancy sabzi bhindi! I am not a big fan of the vegetable but  the way I like it is with lots of onion. I also dont use exact measurements for my recipes. I like to add things as I go and my recipes for the same dish too changes often. Just like the story of the stone soup, I often start with nothing and end up with something  surprisingly delicious.
Okra/bhindi (cut into rounds), 2 -3 small or 1 large onion, grape tomatoes, yellow, orange and red peppers, 1-2 cloves or garlic, cilantro.
Dry masalas like turmeric, salt, red chilli powder, cumin powder, garam masala, mustard seeds and cumin seeds.

Heat oil, add mustard and cumin seed. Let them splutter then add the cut okra. Cook on medium high heat stirring occasionally till the okra is not gooey anymore. Now add sliced onion and and all the peppers and the dry masalas. I like to add salt at the end so that the vegetables dont shed water and become soft. Now finally add the halved grape tomatoes and grated garlic. Top with some black pepper, cilantro and a splash of lemon juice. I like to eat this with some fresh salad, roti and dal tadka.