Saturday, September 28, 2013

Kundru/Tendli Masala Fry

Kundru or tendli is a type of ivy gourd. I have heard many different names for it in India regionally. I love to eat it stir fried with onions or just slow cooked till it becomes caramelized and crispy. Apart from the taste it is good to know that this gourd is considered beneficial in lowering blood sugar.



 kundru/tendli sliced  lengthwise

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

red chilli powder (I used 2 teaspoons, adjust according to liking)

dry mango powder/amchur or juice or lemon

1 teaspoon garam masala or chaat masala (optional)

salt to taste

Oil for cooking (about a tablespoon)


Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add the mustard seeds and once they pop, slide the sliced vegetable in the oil. Mix well so that oil coats the vegetable. Now add salt and turmeric powder. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until kundru starts wilting. It will reduce in quantity as the water from it dries out so be careful while adding salt. Once the vegetable is soft and slightly caramelized, sprinkle the chilli powder, garam masla and dry mango powder. If not using mango powder then squeeze the juice of lemon after transferring it to a glass bowl.

Serve with parathas, roti or plain rice.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nani ke Pindi Chole (Chickpeas soaked in spices, my grandmother's style)

This recipe belongs to my Nani. It is full of flavor and tastes even better the next day after the chickpeas have soaked in all the flavor of the spices. Apart from the fact that these are delicious, I love making chole this way as it is also a quick recipe if you have the spices ready. I usually roast and grind the spices and keep in in an airtight container to use it whenever I need to. All you have to do is boil the chickpeas and mix in the masala. These chole taste the best with bhature or deep fried bread but I wanted to keep the meal healthy and so I served it with pita bread, greek yogurt and raw onions.

Here is the recipe........

250 grams chickpeas
1 teaspoon thinly sliced ginger
2-3 black cardamom
1 bay leaf
half teaspoon asafetida/hing

Spices to be dry roasted
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
half inch cinnamon stick
2-3 cloves
1 tablespoon dry pomegranate/anardana

Other spices to be mixed in
1 teaspoon garam masala/chana masala
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
2 teaspoons dry mango powder/amchur
1 teaspoon black salt
1 teaspoon black pepper powder

2 tablespoons oil for cooking and salt according to taste


1.      Soak the chickpeas overnight. I soaked them longer so they got little sprouts too.

2.      Boil the chickpeas with salt, black cardamom and bay leaf.

3.      Prepare the masala/spices by dry roasting cumin seeds/jeera, coriander seeds/dhania, dry pomegranate seeds/anardana and cinnamon/dalchini.

4.      Grind the roasted spices in a coffee grinder and mix the other dry spices in it (red chilli powder, dry mango/amchoor powder, garam masala and/or chana masala, black pepper powder and black salt.

5.      Sprinkle all the masala on top of the cooked chickpeas.

6.      Heat two-tablespoon oil drop in thinly sliced ginger and asafetida/hing powder and pour it over the chickpeas. Mix everything well. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. If the gravy is too thick, add a little water, although it should be on the thicker side.

7.      Before serving, add chopped cilantro and juice of lemon.

Traditionally this is served with bhature and a side of raw onion, green chillies and maybe some pickle. However, since I decided to avoid the fried bhature I served it with pita chips and yogurt and it was equally delicious.



Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mango and Avocado Sandwich

Mangoes and creamy avocados are both delicious and I often pair them together in salads, salsa or even curd rice. Avocado is great in a grilled cheese sandwich or or a veggie wrap too. But I would have never thought of making a sandwich with sweet mangoes had it not been introduced to me by a friend. When she made one for me....a really simple sandwich with plain white bread (no healthy nutty bread here) and sweet Indian mangoes and butter. It was delicious. Since then I have made mango sandwiches often and this time I thought of adding avocado along with the mango.
This is one quick and simple sandwich for anytime.

Sweet ripe mango (peeled and sliced)
Avocado (sliced)
Any white bread or bun
(I had the Hawaiian sweet rolls, so I used those)
A pinch of black or plain salt and red chilli powder (optional)
A drizzle of honey


Slice the buns/rolls into half and apply butter on both sides. Place slices of mangoes and avocado. Sprinkle with a little salt and red chilli powder. Drizzle with a little honey and place the other half of the bun on top.
Eat immediately.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Kathal ki Sabzi (Raw Jackfruit curry)

My blog has been idle for quite some time and for no apparent reason. I am going to try and get it going again by posting some recipes from my drafts. I realized that I have more recipe drafts that I thought I had.
I made this vegetable earlier this year and loved it. Raw jackfruit (kathal) has a unique texture and flavor. It is delicious and can be used in many ways. I have also made biryani with it and will try to post the recipe soon. As much as I love raw kathal, I never liked the ripened fruit . I made a this in a spicy gravy of onion, garlic and aachari spices (spices that are usually used in Indian pickles).

It is a little tricky to cut a jackfruit. It is helpful to rub the knife and your hands with vegetable oil while cutting/handling the fruit. I found this website that has steps explaining how to cut a jackfruit. Click here.

1 small or medium sized jackfruit, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
2 medium sized onion (finely chopped)
1 heaped tablespoon ginger garlic and green chilli paste
 mix of mustard seeds, cumin, kalonji(nigella seeds), fennel seeds, and fenugreek seeds.
1 bay leaf and a few black cardamom
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons coriander-cumin powder
1  heaped tablespoon garam masala
2-3 tomatoes (pureed)
1/2 cup beaten yogurt
Salt (according to taste)
Oil for cooking
Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

Season the kathal/jackfruit pieces with salt and then boil in a pressure cooker till tender. It can even be pan fried, if desired. Keep aside. Heat enough oil in a pot and drop the bay leaf, cardamom and all mix of seeds mentioned above. Cover the pot and let the seeds splutter. Carefully add the chopped onion and fry till it gets golden brown. Now mix the ginger, garlic and chilli paste. Cook till the raw smell of garlic goes away. Mix all the dry spices (turmeric, red chilli, coriander-cumin and garam masala, salt) with a few tablespoons of water and pour the mixture in the pot. Cook for about a minute then add the tomato puree. Stir well and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Gradually mix the yogurt and keep stirring continuously. If it looks too dry then add half a cup of water. Add the boiled kathal pieces. Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes and let the kathal absorb the flavors of all the spices.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with hot phulka/chapatti.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spicy Thai Soup with Mushrooms, Tofu, and Red Chillies

This is a wonderfully aromatic soup with fresh flavors. It can be totally customized to your liking by adding whatever vegetable or protein you like. I love mushrooms and so they are the star of the dish but once you have the base of the soup ready any vegetable can be added to it. The heat from the red chillies, and the flavor of kaffir lime, lemon grass and galangal root will awaken your senses and even clear a sore throat. I really enjoyed this bowl of soup watching the snow on the trees instead of spring blossoms in the month of March. But I am not complaining!

I prepared the base first and kept the vegetables and tofu ready to add later. If you cook the vegetables along with the broth then the vegetables loose their color and crisp texture and I like my vegetables to have a little crunch in them. Except carrots which take time to cook I did not add any other vegetable early on.


5-6 cups vegetable broth
1 can lite coconut milk
vegetables of your choice ( I used mushrooms, broccoli, grated red cabbage and carrots)
cubed tofu or any other cooked protein
2-4 dry kaffir lime leaves (use fresh if available)
2 stalks of lemon grass (washed and smashed)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 teaspoon galangal root (minced) 
thai red chillies 3-4 whole
1-2 teaspoons hot chilli paste
chilli oil to drizzle (optional)
1-2 tablespoon brown sugar 
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil or cilantro leaves for garnish

Do not crush the lemon grass completely as it has to be removed before serving
If  you do not find kaffir lime and galangal use more basil leaves, it will still add to the flavor of the soup. 


  1. Pour the broth in a stock pot along with lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, garlic and salt.
  2. Cover and let it boil for 5-10 minutes. 
  3. Add sliced carrots and boil for a few more minutes. 
  4. Turn off the heat and add soy sauce, coconut milk, chilli paste and sugar. Check seasoning and adjust accordingly. Tear a few basil leaves and add to the stock base.
  5. Prep the rest of the vegetables and keep them aside
  6. Just before serving remove the lemon grass stalk, and kafir lime leaves.
  7. Add the sliced mushrooms, broccoli florets, grated cabbage, whole red chillies and tofu. Bring it to a boil and turn off the heat. Sprinkle pepper powder and drizzle with chilli oil.
  8. Finally top with chopped basil or cilantro leaves.
  9. Serve immediately.

Recipe source:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Stuffed Parval

 I usually cook parwal as a simple stir fry sliced thinly along with potatoes. For a change this time I tried to make stuffed parwal and it was quite successful. The list of ingredients below may seem intimidating but not hard to find in an Indian pantry.  A typical Indian spice box (masala dabba) has anywhere from 6-9 spices - like cumin/coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric, mustard, fennel and cumin seeds, hing etc. Regionally the spices may differ and  one spice may be more dominant from the other. My spice box usually has the above mentioned spices in addition to whole spices like bay leaf, cinnamon, black pepper, star anise and cardamom. I love spicy food and therefore I enjoyed making and eating this dish that has lot of spices from the masala dabba and some more!


 250 gms fresh parval (pointed gourd)

 For the stuffing
1 boiled potato
2 teaspoons red chili powder
2 tablespoons coriander powder
2 tablespoons dry mango powder (amchur)
1/2 teaspoon (good quality) hing
1 teaspoon fennel seed powder (saunf)
2 tablespoons sev bhujia (optional) I used Haldiram's spicy bhujia
2 tablespoons coarsely ground roasted peanut powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon kala namak
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin and fennel seeds
salt to taste

For the dry gravy
a pinch of hing
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 medium sized red onion sliced
1 tomato chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, made into paste
2-3 whole green chilies
5-6 curry patta (leaves)
1 teaspoon coriander powder, pinch of turmeric and red chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
chopped cilantro leaves for garnishing


Wash the parval. Trim the end and cut into halves. Scoop out the flesh from from both the halves and keep it in a bowl to use for filling. Steam the halved parval for about 5 minutes or till the outer skin is soft.

Mash the boiled potato and mix it with the scooped parval. Add all the spices listed for stuffing. Mix well and fill in the steamed parval halves.

Heat oil in a non-stick pan.  Add the cumin and mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter add hing, sliced onion, whole green chillies and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes then add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and sugar. Gently place the stuffed parval in the pan. Cover and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes. The onion should caramelize and the parval will get slightly browned. A little water can be sprinkled if needed. Carefully turn them over to cook from the other side. Cover for another 5-7 minutes. Check to see if it has desired softness or let it cook for a little more time. I like to cook with the lid open towards the end just to evaporate some moisture and  get a slight crunch. Before serving garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and sev bhujia. Serve with chapati or rice.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Palak Dal Fry (Lentils with Spinach)

Dal fry is something I like to make often. But the regular-everyday version is made with oil instead of ghee and does not have a tadka (tempering) twice. Dal fry is not really fried or unhealthy. We can make it richer by increasing the amount of oil or ghee used in it.  I like to add vegetables to the dal which makes it  a complete meal. Here I have added chopped spinach along with the usual onion and tomatoes that go in it. Serve it with steaming hot rice and some more ghee on top.


1 cup toor dal
1/4 cup chana dal
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
5-6 curry leaves
1 medium sized onion (sliced)
4-5 garlic cloves (make a paste)
1 tomato (chopped)
3-4 dry red chillies or sliced green chillies
1 cup tightly packed fresh spinach leaves
pinch of garam masala (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon/lime juice
1 tablespoon oil 
salt according to taste

For second tadka
2 teaspoons ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
a few methi seeds (fenugreek)
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida (hing powder)


Wash and soak both the dals together for half an hour. Boil or pressure cook the dal with enough water, salt and turmeric powder till done. It should not become completely mushy. Keep it aside. Heat a pan with oil and fry the onion till golden. (keep some onions aside if desired for garnish later. Add the curry leaves and and garlic paste. Fry till the raw smell of garlic goes away. Add a pinch of garam masala powder and tomatoes. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. Now add the chopped spinach leaves. Mix well and pour the cooked dal over it. Stir well.
To prepare the second tempering (tadka) heat ghee and add methi, mustard and cumin seeds. As soon as the seeds splutter add hing and dry red or green chillies and the red chilli powder. Immediately pour this over the dal and cover. Keep it covered for a while. Just before serving squeeze the juice of a lemon and mix.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Guava and Lady Apple Salad

This salad is pure simple joy for me. There is nothing spectacular or fancy in it but I love it! I love eating guavas sprinkled with some salt and red chili powder. These are often sold on the streets in India when guavas are in season......tucked in an old newspaper sprinkled with salt and some other spices. I paired the guavas with lady apples -  not to be confused with crab apples or lady pink apples. These are very small in size and have a unique flavor which is slightly sweet and tart. Any other tart apple would taste good too. And even if there are no apples it does not matter as the star here is guava.


1 guava (should not be over ripe)
2-3 lady apples
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder


Wash and dry the fruits. Cut the guava in half and scoop out the hard seeds with a spoon. Chop the the guava and apples. Sprinkle with salt and red chili powder. Mix and enjoy!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tandoori Tawa Masala Aloo (Potatoes with Tandoori Spices)

This is a quick and easy potato dish.These potatoes laced with tangy tomato paste, thick yogurt, garlic and spices are delicious and make for a great  side dish. I even make sandwiches  using the leftover vegetable filled inside a crusty bread or fill them up in a pita pocket with hummus for a quick dinner. The marinade can be used for other other tandoori flavored dishes like paneer, cauliflower, and mushrooms. It is simple and (almost) healthy.


5-6 medium sized potatoes boiled and chopped into big chunks or 10-12 red baby potatoes boiled and halved

For the marinade
5-large cloves of garlic grated
1/4 cup thick Greek yogurt
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons coriander cumin powder
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons fennel powder
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
2 teaspoons tandoori masala or garam masala
salt to taste

For tempering
1/2 teaspoon each of mustard, cumin and fennel seeds, kalonji pinch of hing, 2 slit green chillies and 5-6 curry leaves

One tablespoon olive oil and one teaspoon ghee for cooking


Mix all the ingredients of the marinade in a large bowl. Add the boiled potatoes in it. Mix well and let it sit for about half and hour. Heat a non stick pan and add oil and a teaspoon of ghee to it. Once it heats up add the mustard, cumin, fennel seeds and kalonji. Cover the pan as the seeds will splutter. Add the green chillies, curry leaves and hing. Now  slide the potatoes in the pan. Let the potatoes get slightly brown on the edges and the raw smell of spices disappear. Just before serving garnish with cilantro.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mishti Doi (Caramalized Baked Yogurt)

This is a no fail recipe which is absolutely delicious! It almost tasted like a cheesecake. The traditional Bengali sweet dish...mishti doi is made of caramelized sugar and thick yogurt. I wanted to try a baked version and found a collection of mishti doi recipes here and tried out one of them with a little twist. I used caramelized condensed milk following the directions found of Nestle's recipe page here. Instead of boiling the can in a double boiler as suggested I used a pressure cooker and boiled the can for about 40 minutes on low heat. The caramelized condensed milk can be eaten as a dessert just by the spoonful! Here it made the mishi doi special by giving it the rich flavor, sweetness and color.


1 can condensed milk
1 can [12 oz.] evaporated milk (plain full fat milk can also be used)
Use condensed milk can to measure yogurt and use 1 and 1/2 can non fat Greek yogurt
(any other yogurt would work as well)
Cardamom seeds, crushed 
1/4 cup chopped pistachios and sliced almonds


First caramelized the condensed milk by boiling the unopened can in a pressure cooker for 40 minutes. Let it come to room temperature before opening the can or it might burst.
Pour all the ingredients (except the nuts) in a large mixing bowl. Mix  well with  hand blender until froth forms on top. Pour the mixture into baking dish. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and place the baking dish uncovered for about 50 minutes. Check to see it is set.Remove from the oven. Sprinkle the chopped nuts and let it cool. Keep it in the refrigerator for at least 4-5 hours to chill before serving.

Recipe source: