Sunday, December 25, 2011

Potatoes in yogurt gravy

It is unusual to have temperatures in the mid 40 to 50s this time of the year. Two years back I was shoveling 10 inches of snow from our drive way. And although I  do like snow and the idea of white Christmas  it is  nice to have  days like this in December. But it is still very cold outside and a good excuse to cook fried food, like poori and sabzi. I made this potato vegetable that my nani (grandmother) used to make on special occasions. To go along with it she always made dal poori which was delicious. I truly enjoyed eating poori and sabzi after a very long time!
Here is the recipe

2 large potatoes boiled and cubed
1 ½ cup yogurt
1 tbsp. chickpea flour (besan)
1tsp mustard seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
2-3 black cardamom
2-3 cloves
1tsp fennel seeds
2 green slit green chilies
2-3 whole red chilies
1 tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. asafoetida
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tbsp. kasoori methi
1/4 cup chopped sweet peppers or bell pepper
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. oil


Heat some oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin, fennel, cardamom, cloves, green and red chilies and asafoetida. Once the seeds splutter, add turmeric and potatoes. Stir for 2-3 minutes until potatoes are well coated with the spices. Add a cup of water and cook for another 3-44 minutes then whisk the yogurt very well with the chickpea flour and gradually add it to the potatoes. Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes until it comes to a boil.. Add salt, kasoori methi, sweet peppers and curry leaves. Cook for another 5-10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro. I like to add a final tempering of ghee cumin seeds, asafoetida and red chilli powder, just before serving.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spicy black bean wrap with mango, avocado and burnt corn salsa


I love spicy food and so when I found these haberno-lime tortillas at a local grocery store I had to buy them. I decided to make a black bean wrap with  mango, avocado and corn salsa. The salsa is more like a side salad and can be enjoyed by itself.  I  made a salad with the left overs the next day (beans, onion, pepper, salsa, sour cream) and that too was quite nice.

Here is the recipe.

2 red onions (sliced)
1 cup sliced sweet peppers
1 can black beans (drained)
seasoning spices (ground cumin, paprika, pepper, sugar, salt, oregano, onion and garlic powder)
1 mango (diced)
1 avocado (diced)
1 jalapeno (finely chopped)
1/2 cup roasted corn kernels
1 small red onion
1 garlic pod grated
1 tomato (chopped)
bunch of cilantro chopped
salt, pepper and sugar for seasoning

1 cup sour cream
chipotle seasoning
splash of lemon juice

Chopped lettuce

Tortilla (I used haberno and lime flour tortilla)

Step 1
Prepare the black bean. Drain and rinse the beans and add all the spices for the seasoning. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add a little water if needed.

Step 2
Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan and add the onion and peppers. Cook on high heat for a few minutes till the onions and peppers get slightly charred but remain crunchy.

Step 3
For the salsa, mix the mango, avocado, tomatoes, corn, onion, garlic, cilantro , jalapenos, salt, sugar and pepper. Add the juice of lime and mix well.

Step 4
Prepare the sour cream by adding the chipotle seasoning and a little salt and lime juice if desired

Step 5
To Assemble. Heat the tortilla in a pan for a few minutes on both sides and then add the black beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese and lettuce.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Poor man's food or not this is my favorite breakfast. I also make it as an afternoon snack with tea or a when I am in a mood for light dinner. I love this simple but versatile flattened rice dish. Although I make it in a couple of different ways this is the one I enjoy the most - with peanuts, a little spicy, tangy and slightly sweet. The Gujarati way.
Top it with sev (fried savory noodles) pomegranate seeds or even some pickle on the side.


2 cups flattened rice or poha  washed with luke warm water
1 red onion (chopped)
1 potato (cubed)
3-4 green chillies
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp turmeric
a few peanuts (optional)
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tbsp sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
chopped cilantro for garnishing
1 tbsp oil for cooking
salt according to taste

Heat oil in a wok or kadhai and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and peanuts. Once the seeds splutter add the onion and potatoes. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. The potatoes should become soft and onions slightly brown. Add the turmeric and green chillies. Now add the poha which should have fluffed up and become soft. Mix everything well and add the salt and sugar. Finally squeeze the juice of lemon and garnish with cilantro.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Paneer and babycorn

I completed my internship and am feeling very relieved and at the same time exhausted and tired.  The year has been busy but fulfilling and am excited about the new prospects it will bring. All I wanted to do now was sleep. I did not feel like cooking or blogging or doing anything else. So I have not cooked anything new but I wanted to post something as I realized that I have not posted anything in December. I pulled out this recipe from my drafts. This was a rich gravy based vegetable with paneer and baby corn. I love the delicate flavor of baby corn but have not really used it as much as I would like to. I like it in stir fry or noodles/pasta, but not so much with Indian food. However it tasted really good with the paneer. I did not over cook it so that it retains the crunch.

Cashew, walnuts, almonds soaked (1/2 cup)
2-3 red chilli soaked
1/2 tsp shahi jeera
2 black cardamom
1 large onion ground
1 tsp ginger  grated
1/2 tsp turmeric,
1tbsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
1tsp sugar
Baby corn and paneer sautéed and kept aside (about 1/2 cup each)
1/2 an apple chopped
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
Oil for cooking
Grind the soaked cashews, almonds and walnuts along with the soaked red chillies. Heat 1 tbsp oil and add the shahi jeera and black cardamom. Once the jeera (cumin) splutters add the grated ginger and ground onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the ground nut paste and turmeric powder. Mix well and cook for 5-7 minutes till it changes color to a light golden brown and the onions do not smell raw. Now crush the kasuri methi and add to the onion along with black pepper, sugar and salt.
In a separate saute pan take a little oil and saute the paneer till it is light golden. Keep it aside and saute the baby corn and apples . Saute on high heat for a few minutes to get a nice golden color and smokey flavor. Season with salt and pepper. Now add the paneer, baby corn and apples to the gravy and mix. Garnish with cilantro.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Colorful ribbon salad

This salad came as a surprise to me. I was not planning for a blog post nor was I thinking about making any salad. It just happened and I am so delighted with the results.  It is a busy time of the year for me. Due dates are lurching over my head but I still could not stop myself from making this. During one of my routine visits to the grocery I found these beautiful rainbow carrots. I had to buy those. I had no idea what I was going to do with them.


Then later that evening we were at a friend's place who had pooja in their house and she sent me home with this coconut as prasad. That sparked the idea and I decided to use them together. I kept adding ingredients I had and it become one delicious salad.

4-5 different colored carrots or regular ones
1 zucchini
fresh coconut thinly sliced
1 clementine or orange
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
handful of toasted and glazed pecan or walnuts
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of salt
1 lemon

Wash the carrots and zucchini. Pat dry. Use a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons with the carrots and zucchini. Peel a few slices from the coconut and keep aside. Mix all the vegetables and pomegranate in a bowl. Peel the clementine and add the slices, maple syrup, lemon juice and salt. Toss to mix well. Season with black pepper and paprika. Finally top with glazed pecans.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Red lentils and pumpkin soup

I know I have been making a lot of soups lately. There are two reasons for it. One is that it is getting cold and I love having a hot bowl of soup after a hard days work and the other reason is that  I find it easy to put it together as compared to making a full fledged Indian meal. I was very happy with the way this soup turned out but I was more excited about the creamy coconut milk and sour cream dip that I made to go along with it.

Here is the recipe.
1 cup masoor dal (red lentils) washed and soaked in water for half and hour
1 can of pumpkin puree
1 heaped tbsp. grated ginger
1 can coconut milk
3-4 ground cloves (laung)
2 shallots
3-4 large cloves or garlic (finely chopped)
1 stick cinnamon
2 tsp curry powder
1tsp. turmeric
2 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste
olive oil for cooking

Heat olive oil in a pot and add the chopped shallot, garlic and ginger. Stir for a few minutes then add the cinnamon and ground cloves. Cook for about 5 minutes then add the turmeric and ground cloves. Drain all the water and add the lentil in the pot. Mix well till the lentils are well coated with onions and spice. Add the curry powder, chilli powder, roasted cumin powder, salt and mix everything well. Pour about 2 cups of water, cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Cook the lentils till they are completely cooked. Now add the pumpkin puree and after removing the cinnamon stick blend the soup using a hand blender. Finally add the coconut milk in it and adjust the seasoning.

I topped this soup with curry flavored sour cream. To make it I mixed 1/2 a cup of sour cream with 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1tsp chipotle seasoning, a dash of salt, curry powder and 1 tbsp haberno and pineapple dip (optional). I added the haberno dip as I had it at home but I would have added sweet mango pickle or any sweet chutney instead.

For serving pour the soup in a bowl and top with the sour cream.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Green tomato chutney


One of my all time favorite movies is fried green tomatoes. No and I don't think it is because the title sounds so delicious or because food/restaurant as a theme runs throughout the film. I love the story, the characters and the the setting and the message of endurance the film portrays (to me at least) I think it also had to to with the time in my life when I watched this film and I am sure we all are influenced or inspired by films or music or a novel sometimes if it relates to touches your life at that time.

It is true though that I tried to make fried green tomatoes for the first time only after seeing this film. I bought the store bought batter mix first and I think it was the whistle stop brand? Not sure now but whistle stop was the name of a station in the film. I loved eating fried green tomatoes! I started making my own mix as it was really simple and it came out very well.

Maybe I should make it and post a recipe. But this is another recipe using green tomatoes and it is delicious. I love having this with paratha or puri. It goes very well with crackers or chips.

2 large green tomatoes chopped
1tsp fennel seeds
1tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp. fenugreek seeds
2-4 cloves
1tsp onion seeds (kalonji)
½ tsp. cumin seeds
2-3 dry whole red chilies
1tsp turmeric powder
1tsp black salt
1tsp red chilli powder
4 tbsp. brown sugar or powdered jaggery
Pinch of asafoetida
2 tbsp. oil for cooking
Salt to taste


Heat oil in a pan. Add all the seeds and once they crackle, add the whole red chillies and asafoetida, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Quickly add the chopped green tomatoes and stir well. Now add the salt and sugar, little water and cover the pan. Let it look for about 5-7 minutes until tomatoes become soft yet not mushy. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt or sugar.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vada Pav

Vada pav is a quintessential Bombay snack. A spicy mix of potatoes dipped in batter and deep fried then served tucked in bread with spicy chutney. I was thinking of making something special as I realized that I have successfully managed to blog for one whole year. Celebrations usually call for sweets/ desserts but I do not have much of a sweet tooth, although I cannot say I do not like sweet things. When I have a craving, it is usually for something, hot and spicy…even deepfried!  Vada pav may not sound like a grand celebratory food item but it satisfied my craving. I am sure people who love chaats and samosas and pakoras would agree with me that something like this could be special too

Here is the recipe

For the vada
3 large potatoes boiled and mashed
2 tbsp. ginger garlic green chili and curry leaves paste (grind all the ingredient together)
1 tsp. mustard seeds
½ tsp. asafoetida
1 tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro about ¼ cup


For the batter

2 cups of gram flour/besan
About ¾ cup of water, (Add more if needed to make a thick batter)
Salt, red chili powder, carom seed powder (ajwain powder), pinch of asafoetida/hing and turmeric (add all the spices according to your liking or taste).
Crush a little kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and add to the batter.
Mix everything very well to make a smooth paste.


For the garlic and peanut chutney
 ½ cup roasted peanuts
½ cup roasted sesame seeds
¼ cup roasted coconut
½-cup garlic cloves
5-6 dry red chili
1-2 tbsp. red chili powder
Salt according to taste
Dry roast the garlic and red chilies. Grind everything listed above to make a coarse paste

Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and asafoetida.  Once the seeds splutter, add the ground paste and stir well. Add the turmeric and the potatoes. Season with salt and mix well. Add the chopped cilantro mix it in. Now make small balls with the potato mixture and keep it aside.

For making the vadas
Dip the potato balls in the prepared batter and deep dry until they turn golden and crispy.  

To assemble take the hamburger bun and slit it. Apply some green chutney if desired (made with cilantro and green chilies) and the garlic chutney. Now place one or two potato vadas in the bun. Serve with a cup of masala chai.