Monday, January 31, 2011

Jaggery glazed walnuts

I love using candied or glazed walnuts as toppings on salads. Walnuts are great for snacking and the sweet ones give you instant energy. I tried to make some at home with jaggery instead of sugar.

2 cups walnuts
1/2 cup powdered jaggery
a pinch of salt
about 4 cups water
1/4 tsp grated ginger (optional)

Boil some water and blanch the walnuts in it. Drain well and mix with the jaggery and ginger. Heat oven to 350°F and spread the walnuts in a single layer. Bake until the jaggery melts and the walnuts become golden brown. Keep stirring to avoid burning. (About 10-15 minutes
(I like to add cayenne pepper or red chilli powder sometimes for making it spicy and instead of ginger, vanilla essence can be used. It tastes good without any additional flavoring too)

Vegetable omelette

Breakfast with eggs, oranges, and a cup of tea.

2 eggs
1 small onion (finely chopped)
1 green chilli (finely chopped)
small tomato (chopped)
Capsicum (2-3 tbsp, chopped)
Cilantro chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for cooking

Beat the eggs till frothy and mix in all the vegetables, salt and pepper. Heat oil in a pan and pour the eggs. Cook on one side, flip and cook the other side till done. Serve with toast.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rajmah chawal (Kidney beans and rice)


This week we got a lot of snow and the wintry weather outside reminded me of the steaming hot plate of rajmah (kidney beans ) I once had in Jammu on our way to Srinagar (Kashmir). There was nothing fancy about it and it was cooked with the simplest of spices, served with steaming hot rice, raw onions and green chillies,  but there was something serene and special about the whole experience. Eating on a roadside dhaba surrounded by the beautiful hills and finally drinking water from a small waterfall made by the melting snow on the top of the mountains. It is one of those memories that I will always treasure.
So I decided to make rajmah chawal (kidney beans with rice) and served the whole meal with a side of whole grain tortilla chips and melon.

2 cups of boiled or canned kidney beans
1 large onion (grated or very finely chopped
2 large tomatoes (crushed)
2-3 tbsp tomato paste
Whole spices (black cardamom, bay  leaf, cinnamon, cumin seeds)
Ground spices (turmeric, red chilli powder, cumin-coriander powder)
1 tsp of garam masala or rajma masala
1/2 tbsp sugar
!/4 cup cubed paneer (optional)
a pinch of pepper powder
Salt to taste
Salted pistachios

Cilantro for garnishing
Juice of 1 lemon


 Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds and the rest of the whole spices and let them splutter. Now add the onion and cook till the edges start becoming brown, add the ginger, garlic paste and stir till the raw smell goes away. Mix all the powdered spices with a little water and add to the onion. Now add the tomatoes and the tomato paste, salt and sugar and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add water if it gets too dry. Finally add the beans, paneer and about 1-2 cups of water, cover and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add the lemon juice and a dollop of butter for making it extra special, garnish with cilantro. I like to top it with sour cream or tzatziki (thick yogurt dip, flavored with garlic, lemon, dill and pieces of cucumber)chopped salted pistachios and fried green chillies with salt and lemon juice.

I made a simple rice dish  to go with the beans. I took a cup of rice and after washing it, soaked it in water for about 10 minutes. Then I took about a tsp of oil in a pan and added some spices like cumin, whole cloves and small cardamom. I had some peppers cut into small cubes which I added to the oil and then after removing the water from the rice mixed the rice in. Finally, added a cup of cooked carrots and peas in the rice and let it cook till done.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Papaya salad

 Papaya is not one of my favorite fruits. So when I ate a papaya and avocado salad at a friends place, I was surprised by how nice it tasted. Avocado has a nice buttery and creamy texture  and though I cant talk so fondly of the papaya it does have a similar texture. And I thought they do make a good pair. So I have to thank my friend for introducing me to this salad. Knowing the health benefits of the papaya, I have been trying different variations of the salad and this one is my favorite. I like the way different flavors and textures come together. It is sweet and spicy and the roasted corn gives it a nice burnt smokey flavor to it.

Half papaya (about 2 cups cubed)
Avocado cubed 1
Small onion 1 (chopped)
Roasted corn kernels about a cup
Kidney beans  or black beans 3/4th cup
Jalapeno 1 seeded and chopped finely
A few dried cranberries and candied walnuts
Capsicum or sweet pepper (1/4 cup chopped)
Handful of baby spinach leaves
Chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Candied walnuts
Juice of one lemon
Sugar 1 tsp

Peel and cube the papaya, add the avocado, onion, corn, beans, jalapeno, cilantro and peppers. Add salt, pepper and squeeze the lemon juice over it. Mix well. In a serving bowl make a bed of spinach leaves and add the salad on in. Top with the cranberries and walnuts.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pineapple fried rice

This one is for my sister who is as passionate about food as me and loves Thai food just as much as I do. This is my version of pineapple fried rice.

4 cups of cooked rice ( a day old is better)
2 shallots or one medium onion chopped finely
4 large cloves of garlic (minced)
4-5 green onions (whites and greens chopped separately)
7-8 sweet peppers sliced
1 cup frozen or boiled carrots and peas
1 cup tofu cubed
1 cup or more of pineapple chunks
2 tsp curry powder
1tsp turmeric
1tsp white pepper (black is fine too)
Crushed red chilli flakes
cilantro chopped for garnish
Cashews a few (toasted)
Dried cranberries or raisins ( I like the tartness in the cranberries)
1tbsp chilli oil
Juice of a lemon
Peanut oil for cooking

First prepare the tofu. Heat a few drops of oil in a non stick pan and add the cubed tofu. Cook for a while till it starts browning. Season with salt, pepper, turmeric and curry powder. Keep aside.
Take some oil in the same pan and add the chopped shallots. Cook till the edges start becoming brown. Now add the garlic and the whites of green onion, stir till the raw smell of garlic goes and add the peppers, curry powder, turmeric powder, crushed chilli flakes. Now add the cooked rice, carrot, peas, onion greens salt and pepper. Mix well. Add the chilli oil and the prepared tofu. .Taste for seasonings. Finally top with the toasted cashews, cranberries, cilantro and the lemon juice.

Pesto pizza

I have been trying to make pesto at home for a long time and it never came out perfect. Finally after trying a lot of different permutations and combination I finally got it right. Here is a recipe for the pesto.

3/4 cup basil leaves
1tbsp pinenuts
3-4 large garlic cloves
3-4 pieces of walnuts
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Put all the ingredients except the parmesan cheese and olive oil in a food processor and pulse it a few times. Now gradually add the olive oil and and parmesan cheese and blend well. Add some salt and pepper to taste. It can be used to make sandwiches, added to pasta or you can make pizza with it.  I found some soy pita bread which I used as a base. Then I applied pesto generously on it. Topped it with sliced mozzarella and tomato slices. Bake it in the oven till the cheese melts.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


The weather report said that the clash of two storm systems  will collide and create a"weather bomb" that will explode over us!! There were predictions of 10 to 12 inches of snow and then gradually the numbers went on decreasing finally leaving us with an inch or two of snow. Thankfully we were not hit by the weather bomb but the snow did end up looking like a row of snow balls on a tree ready for a snow ball fight.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rasgulla rasmalai

I cannot believe that I made rasmalai! I dont enjoy making sweet dishes as much as I like to make savory ones. But this one is a cheat dish. I did not really make it from scratch. I just put two things together to make one yummy dessert. I had one pack of instant rabdi mix and some mini or angoori (as the can said) of rasgullas. I just put the two together added a few extra touches and had a tasty dessert.
1 pack instant rabdi mix
1 can of angoori rasgulla
Dry fruits (toasted and sliced almonds, cashews, pistachios)
Cardamom powder 3 tsp
Saffron a few strands soaked in milk
1 cup of dry milk powder

Cook the rabdi according to instructions. Add the milk powder and cook till done. Add the saffron and cardamom powder. Drain the sugar syrup from the rasgullas and add it to the rabdi mix. Top with nuts and refrigerate overnight.

Paneer with sweet peppers

I love to use the mini sweet peppers. I add them to pasta, pizza, soups, rice dishes and of course vegetables. I make salads with it or make stuffed peppers with potato filling. I like the bright color it adds to any dish. This one is with paneer and similar to kadhai paneer.
Coarsely crushed coriander seeds 1tbsp
Whole red chillies 2-3
Slit green chillies 2-3
Black cardamom - 4
Curry patta 1 sprig
Fennel seeds 1tsp
Turmeric 1tsp
Garam masala 2tsp
Cumin seeds 1tsp
Onion 1 large (sliced)
Garlic 2-3 minced (optional)
Tomatoes chopped 2
Sweet peppers sliced (about 4 cups)
Paneer chopped (2 cups)
A few cashews and raisins 
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking
Cilantro leaves 
Chaat masala

Heat oil and add the cumin, fennel, cardamom, red chillies, coriander seeds in order. Now add the cashews and raisins, stir and add the onions and green chillies. Cook till the onions wilt and become pink. Now add the garlic and the dry masalas (turmeric, garam masala) and curry patta. Add the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Once the tomatoes start breaking down add the peppers cook uncovered for a little while till the water from the tomatoes dries up a little bit. Add salt and check for seasonings. In a separate  pan lightly saute the paneer cubes in a little oil and add to the vegetables. Cover and cook for a little while. Garnish with cilantro and some chaat masala.

Tilwale Aloo

This is a really simple vegetable that takes no time to cook but looks and tastes great. It goes really well with poori or paratha. Tastes better with a little more oil than usual.


Boiled and cubed potatoes 5-6 medium sized
Slit green chillies 2-3
Curry patta a few leaves
Broken cashews or peanuts and raisins a few
Til 1/4 cup (sesame seeds)
 Mustard seeds 1tsp
Turmeric powder 1tsp
Cilantro to garnish 
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking

Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, once they start spluttering add the curry patta and the slit green chillies. Now add the cashews or peanuts and raisins. Stir well and keep the flame low. Now add the turmeric powder and the potatoes. Add salt to taste and finally add the tilGarnish with cilantro leaves.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Minestrone soup

I have been really busy the last few days and therefore have not been making anything that takes more than 30 minutes to cook from start to finish. There have been a lot of soup and sandwich meals. This is one of the soups I made. I added a lot more vegetables than a usual minestrone soup has and added some tofu too.
Onion 1 large
Ginger 1/4 tsp grated
3tbsp cashew paste (soaked and ground cashews)
Garlic 4-5 cloves (finely chopped)
2 cups mixed vegetables chopped
(carrots, corn, green beans, peas) frozen or steamed
Can of chopped tomatoes
3-4 tablespoon tomato paste
Vegetable broth 4 cups
2 cups cooked pasta ( I used tri color shells)
1/2 cup canned kidney beans (rinsed)
1/4 cup diced tofu
Fresh Italian herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme 
Or dried herbs
Black pepper and salt to taste
Olive oil for cooking

Heat a little oil and saute the tofu till slightly brown. Remove and keep aside.Add the onions, garlic, and ginger in the same oil and cook for a few minutes. Now add all the chopped vegetables, salt and black pepper. Stir for a few more minutes. Add the tomatoes and the paste and stir well. Now pour the broth, beans, dried herbs, cashew paste and tomato paste. Cover and let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. Finally add the tofu. Garnish with basil leaves.