Saturday, January 31, 2009

Peanut Chutney

Peanut chutney is one of the recipes my mom gave me. It is easy to make and goes well with bread sandwich or roti. It lasts for about a month. I am re-posting it and sending it for Let's GO NUTS! event. Here is the recipe.

1 cup peanuts
6-7 byadgi chilies or kashmiri chilies or any other red chili
1/2 teaspoon heeng or asafoetida
3 garlic cloves (optional)
salt for taste

Roast the peanuts and garlic cloves for 10 -15 minutes on medium flame. The garlic cloves should be light brown in color. Cool it down and coarsely grind it with salt, chilies and asafoetida. Store it in a cool and dry container.

Egg Bhurji / Indian Scrambled Eggs

3 eggs
1 medium onion
1 tomato
1/2 capsicum (optional)
3 tablespoon coriander leaves
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 green chilies
salt for taste

Chop the onions, capsicum and tomato finely. Heat oil in a pan. Add turmeric powder and fry for a second. Add finely chopped green chillies. Add the chopped onions and chopped capsicum and fry it till light brown. Add the tomatoes and fry till the tomatoes are soft. Beat the eggs for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs to the pan and stir it well. Add coriander leaves and salt for taste. Stir well till the egg is cooked well and scrambled. Serve hot with roti.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2

Makai Ki Roti

I and my husband love the makai ki roti and saag served at Chaat Paradise in Mountain View. I am always fascinated by the way the cooks make batches of makai ki roti in no time. I make saag, which we usually have with roti. So for a change I decided to buy whole corn flour and try to make makai ki roti. The procedure is very similar to jowar or bajra roti. The makai ki roti turned out to be delicious and I think it will be one of our favorite winter dishes in the years to come. I am sending this recipe to FIC - January event contest.

3 cups yellow corn flour (makai ka atta)
1/2 teaspoon salt
hot water
oil for frying

Mix the salt and the corn flour. Heat the water till it is lukewarm and add the corn flour to form a dough. It won't be stiff like roti dough.

Keep aside for 10 minutes. Now keep a round portion of the dough between two "oiled" plastic sheets and press it or roll it with a pastry pin to make roti.

Remove the upper plastic sheet and gently slide the roti from the lower platic sheet on to a oiled tava or skillet. Cook till brown on both sides. Apply butter on both sides of the roti and serve hot with sarson ka saag.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cherry Tomatoes - Click Red

When I saw the click red event on Jugalbandi, I decided to send in entry with cherry tomatoes as the theme. Cherry Tomatoes makes good salad food and I also use them on regular basis in various soups. This above photo goes to the Click-Red event hosted by Jai and Bee of Jugalbandi.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sukhi Gobi Sabzi

We had a very warm winter in the Bay Area this year. It did rain a lot, but it wasn't very cold like the previous years. In the farmer's markets and the grocery stores lay huge heaps of cauliflower -both the baby version and the big headed cauliflower. I take full advantage of the availability of the white crowned vegetable and usually buy 1 or two heads. The baby cauliflowers are great for baking as a whole in dishes like gobi mussalum. Pakodas or bhajiya's made with cauliflower are a lovely treat with a cup of hot tea or coffee.

Sukhi gobi sabzi is a great recipe to make on a winter day when the feeling to be a little lazy and relax is heightened than that the other normal sunny days. We also crave for something spicy and tangy; my husband's daily suggestion "Let go out and eat chat" almost tempts me to agree with him. Finally I decide to make something tangy to satisfy the chaat craving and healthy at the same time. Sukhi gobi subzi is a dish perfect solution in such a situation and goes well with chappati or dal chawal.

1 medium cauliflower head
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin or jeera seeds
3/4 teaspoon amchur powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
1 tablespoon oil
salt for taste


Wash the cauliflower and cut the florets into large chunks. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Saute for a minute. Add turmeric powder and chili powder. Add the cauliflower florets and saute well. Sprinkle hand full of water if the masala burns at the bottom of the pan. Cook covered for 8-10 minutes. Add garam masala and amchur. Cook for another 5 minutes. Salt the vegetable as per taste. Cook uncovered till the cauliflower is soft but should be crunchy at the same time. The cauliflower should not be cooked till it is mushy. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2-3

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jeera Aloo

Jeera Aloo is a great quick to make recipe for tiffins or for mealtimes. This is one of the recipes my mom picked up when we were living in Bhopal. I love this recipe because when ever I make it the whole home fills with the lovely aroma of jeera. This is a great dish to take on picnics or for travels. Here is the recipe.

10-12 baby potatoes
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoon cumin or jeera seeds
1 teaspoon cumin or jeera powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon amchur or dry mango powder
1/2 teaspoon kasuri methi
2 tablespoon oil
salt for taste


Wash the potatoes and pressure cook them with 2 inches of water till soft. I usually don't peel the skin, but you can peel the skin if you wish to. Grind coriander seeds and 1 teaspoon jeera into a coarse powder. Heat oil in a pan. Add 1 teaspoon jeera seeds and roast for a minute. Add the coarsely ground coriander, jeera powder and turmeric powder. Roast for a minute. Quarter each potato and add it into the pan. Fry for a minute and add amchur and red chili powder. Add salt for taste. Stir and fry till the potatoes get coated well with the masala.

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Malabar Spinach Curry / Valli Randayi / Valli Ambat

My husband and I are great fans of Malabar spinach or "Valli" as we call it in Konkani. We find malabar spinach in the chinese markets or at the Indian stores. Sometimes it is also available at the farmers market. I have seen recipes where this vegetable is just chopped and added to sambar or dal. Due to its deep green color it has similar nutritive value as spinach. Both the stems and leaves are added to the curry. When the curry is prepared, the stem absorbs the flavors of the curry. The stem cannot be completely eaten unless it is very tender. So the stem is just chewed and the fibrous part is discarded, similar to eating drumsticks. Read more about malabar spinach here. 

Masolu is a gravy paste made by finely grinding coconuts, tamarind and dried red chili. In South Canara which consists of Mangalore and Udipi region, turmeric is not added while making coconut curries. In North Canara region which consists of Karwar, Murdeshwar, Ankola, Kumta and other towns, using turmeric while making Masolu is very common. Turmeric being a very good antiseptic and anti inflammatory spice, finds a place in lot of curries and subzi's I prepare at home. 

1 bunch malabar spinach or valli (approximately 4-5 cups chopped malabar spinach. The leaves are chopped into 12 inch pieces. The stems are also used in the curry. Chop the stems into one inch pieces.) 
1 cup magge (Konkani cucumber) or raw papaya (optional)
1/2 cup toor dal or pigeon peas
1 cup coconut
3 red byadgi chilies
small piece of tamarind
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon oil
salt for taste

for seasoning:
6 garlic pods

1 medium onion

mustard seeds


Wash the malabar spinach and chop it into 1 inch pieces. Chop both the leaves and stems. Pressure cook the papaya or magge and malabar spinach till soft. Pressure cook the toor dal till soft. Saute the coriander seeds for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Grind the coconut, coriander seeds, red chilies and tamarind into a fine paste. Mix the toor dal, spinach and coconut masala in a vessel. Get the curry to boil. 

Season the curry with mustard, turmeric and asafoetida. Optionally, crush the garlic pods and fry them till pink. Or a third variety of seasoning, the finely chopped onion can be fried in a tablespoon of coconut oil till crisp. The onion should be fried on medium or low flame for around 10-15 minutes. The onion should not be allowed to burn or the curry may taste bitter. 

Add any one of the above kind of seasoning to the curry and serve hot with rice.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jackfruit Idli/ Phansa Idli

I always feel that the jackfruit we find in US lacks the flavor of the jackfruit we get in India. My parents visited me last Fall and my mom got me a concentrated paste made from phanas or jackfruit. She pureed the fruits of a whole jackfruit and then heated the paste with jaggery to make concentrate. I made idli's out of this paste and they made me reminisce the memories of yet special dish back home.

1 cup ripe jackfruit puree
1 cup jaggery or as per taste
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 cup sooji or rava


Mix 1/2 cup water with the puree. Grind the puree with the jaggery and coconut. Fry the rava on low flame till you get a good aroma. Cool down and mix 3/4 cup rava with the puree. Leave it aside for 25 minutes. The rava will expand and will absorb the water from the mixture. The idea is to make a batter which is like the consistency of idli should not be very thick like chappati atta. Add if more rava is needed.
Steam the idli's in the idli stand. I steamed it in a pedavan which is a traditional steamer used in Konkani households. The advantage is that the idli's are of bigger size and it saves steaming time for me...which means I have to make only one batch as opposed to 3 batches on my small idli stand. Serve the idli's hot with butter or honey.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wasabi Peas

Recently I have been addicted to Wasabi peas. Wasabi peas are green peas coated with wasabi paste. Wasabi has a more pungent flavor than that of radish. When I tried them the first time, I didn't like it as the spicy flavor irritated my nose and throat. The flavor is like that of a pungent radishy flavor which rises into the nose and the throat. But soon I craved for more of the spicy flavor and now I love them now. It makes such a healthy snack combined with the lot of proteins offered by the peas. Trader's Joe's sells wasabi peas without any artificial color or preservatives. Try it out...You will love it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Nankhatai / Nankatai / Narayankatar

Nankatai or Narayankatar(in Konkani) is another of the recipes passed on by my grandmom. My grandmom did not have a conventional oven. So she would spread sand(collected from beach and washed thoroughly) evenly in a pressure cooker and keep the narayankatar tray on an elevated vessel inside the oven. The
narayankatar would be perfect in shape and taste. Here is the recipe.

1 1/2 cups flour (makes around 25-30 namkatai)
3/4 cup ghee or clarified butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sugar (1/2 cup if you want it less sweet)
2 teaspoon cardamom powder

Powder the sugar and mix it well with the ghee. Add cardamom powder and baking powder and mix well. Now stir in flour and knead the flour well into the ghee with your fingers. It is not possible to make a stiff dough like chappati atta, but ensure that the ghee is well assimilated into the flour.

Keep aside for 30 minutes. Now make small circles flattening the dough in your palm. Press it well to shape it into a ball and then a disc.
Bake it in oven at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes. If you want more brown color, bake for 5-10 minutes longer, but keep checking to see that the bottom of the nankatai does not burn. Let it then rest for one hour on the oven rack till it cools down completely, otherwise the nankatai will crumble. Store in air tight container.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

How to make ghee

1 kg unsalted butter

Put the unsalted butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Kepp on medium or low flame. Stir occasionally while heating. Heat till you get the pure smell of ghee and a brownish crust is formed at the bottom.

Remove from heat immediately. Don't allow the brown crust to become black or else it will leave a burnt flavor in the ghee. Let it cool down thoroughly. Store only the yellow liquid which floats (or solidifies if the weather is very cold) on top in a airtight container. According to Ayurveda the ghee contains fat which is hot in nature and when taken in small quantities everyday, helps to nourish all the tissues in body. 1/4 teaspoon of ghee eaten in the morning every day can help in weight loss as it kindles the agni or heat in the digestive system. The brown crust which is formed at bottom when making the ghee contains helps to gain weight and strength. The crust part can be separated from the yellow oily ghee and can be mixed with the dough of roti or chappatis. Or it can be mixed with a little milk, cream and sugar to make halwa. It is excellent food for toddles and young children who are very active. 

I usually make ghee from 1 kg butter and keep only a small quantity required for a month's use. Storing in the freezer helps keep the ghee to retain its flavor over the course of time. 

Tips & Caution: My mom always advises to be "inside" the kitchen when you are making ghee. There have been cases where people have wandered to complete other chores and the ghee catches fire due to over heating. If the ghee catches fire, just switch off the gas and cover the vessel with a lid to cut off the air supply for the fire. Never make the mistake to pour water over the burning ghee as it will splutter and cause serious burns. Ghee should be removed from heat once it is done; especially if you are heating it on a coil heater like in many homes in US.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Alu Tikki Chole Chaat

Alu tikki chole is a popular street food in Delhi. I remember eating this spicy chat when we last visited in 1991. Samosa chat is another popular dish there. After returning from Tahoe vacation after all the snowboarding and snow shoeing adventures, we were craving for hot spicy chaat. We didn't have much energy to go to Fremont to Dana Bazar..our favorite chat place, so I decided to make this alu tikki chaat.

chole as per recipe here
mint chutney as per recipe here
tamarind date chutney as per recipe here

For garnishing:
1 medium onion finely chopped
5 tablespoon coriander chopped

For tikki:
7 medium sized potatoes
1/2 cup paneer
1 medium onion
2 chopped green chilies
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
oil for frying
salt for taste

Chop the onion finely. Mash the paneer. Mix all the tikki ingredients except oil together. Make small cutlets and shallow fry in oil till brown on all sides.

To serve:
Place 3-4 tikkis on a plate. Put desired amount of chole on top of the tikki. Add the tamarind and mint chutney as per taste. Garnish with onion and coriander leaves. Add a teaspoon on curd or yogurt on top. Serve hot. The tikki chole can be garnished with sev or pomegranate seeds.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Indian Festival Dates for 2009

Staying in US, it is hard to remember the dates of the festivals celebrated in India. As children or the parents don't get holidays for Indian festivals, it is challenging to keep a track of all the dates. My parents usually inform me whenever any festival is nearing. I found this helpful article posted by Pratibha of "The Indian Food Court" listing the dates of various Indian Festivals for 2009. Click here for a list of Indian holidays for 2009.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mathri / Salted Crackers

My husband bought haldiram mathri last week from the Indian store. The mathri was very tasty and all the mathri's got over in an hour. Since last week we have been reminiscing about the mathri's, so I thought of making a container full of them to last longer than an hour. I also took some of them when I was having a potluck lunch with my friends. Everyone loved the mathri's.

2 cups flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cup flour----makes around 50 matharis)
1 tablespoon methi or fenugreek powder
1 teaspoon chili powder or as desired
1 1/2 teaspoon ajwain or caraway seeds

2 teaspoon oil
salt for taste
oil for frying

Mix fenugreek powder, the flours, chili powder, salt, chili powder, 2 teaspoon oil and ajwain. Mix in water to make a tight dough like the chappati dough. Break small balls of the dough with your fingers and stretch it to make thin 2-inch diameter discs. Punch some holes with a fork so that the mathri won't puff like a puri while frying. Fry it in hot oil on medium heat till golden brown and crisp. Store in an air tight container. Serve with tea as snacks.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bread Upma / Bread Upkari

Bread upma is a different and jiffy way to serve bread for breakfast. It also makes a great tiffin recipe.

10 bread slices
1/2 onion
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds or jeera
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
4-5 curry leaves or kadipatta (optional)
4 tablespoon coriander leaves
1 teaspoon urad dal or split black gram
2 green chilies
1/4 cup curd (optional)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon oil
salt for taste


Cut the bread into 1/2 inch cubes. Heat oil in a skillet. Add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the cumin seeds, turmeric power and urad dal. Fry till the urad dal till pink. Add the kadipatta and slit green chilies. Add chopped onion and fry till the onion is pink. Add the sugar and curd and mix well. Add salt as per taste and mix well till the masala mixes with the bread. Add the bread cubes and cook covered for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle some water to soften the bread. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2-3

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Some Event Roundups and Other Interesting Posts

WYF: Light Meal event
Wholegrain Baking – Oats Event
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Pregnancy
Cooking for Kids-Evening Snacks
Festive food
Sunday Snacks With Bread
Cooking for Guests
German Roundup
Breakfast Roundup
Sandwich Roundup
Healthy Lunch Box Roundup
British Food Roundup
English Summer Roundup
Express Your Mood Roundup
Bread Roundup
Cilantro Roundup
Lucknawi Roundup
Vegan Italian Roundup
Haryana Roundup
Awadhi Roundup
Festive Bread Final Course Roundup
Festive Bread Second Helping Roundup
Festive Bread Roundup
Maharashtra Roundup
Healthy Cooking Roundup
Middle Eastern Cooking Roundup
Konkani Food Roundup
Middle Eastern Cooking Roundup
Middle Eastern Cooking Roundup
Different Kinds Of Rasams
Yes we baked!
WYF Speciality Food Event Roundup
Healing Foods Carrots Event Roundup
No Bake Cake Event Roundup

Flavors of Gujarat Part 1 
Flavors of Gujarat Part 2
Flavours of Punjab Event
Complete My Thali -Sabzi

Tamarind Date Chutney / Meethi Chutney

1 cup deseeded dates
1/4 cup deseeded tamarind
1/4 cup gur or jaggery or molasses
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
salt for taste

Boil the dates, tamarind and jaggery in one cup of water for 20 minutes. Grind it with salt and chili powder into a smooth paste.

Mint Chutney

Mint Coriander chutney can be used for all chaats and appetizers like pakodas or bhaji's.

1 cup coriander leaves
1/4 cup mint leaves (fresh or dried)
1/2 teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds
2 green chilies
1/2 teaspoon chopped ginger
1/2 teaspoon amchur powder or dry mango powder
salt for taste


Wash the coriander leaves and mint leaves. Grind all the ingredients with 1 cup of water. Serve chilled if serving with chaats or at room temperature id serving with pakodas or bhajis.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cabbage Sabzi/ Patta Gobi Sabzi

We spent the first day of our long winter vacation shopping for ear covers, water proof pants and other skiing accessories. We were preparing for our Tahoe vacation and the monstrous job of packing clothes was still left to be taken care of. Such was the situation when the question of "what to make for dinner" arose. I scanned the fridge for vegetables which would cook fast and saw a cabbage head lying there. I decided to make this subzi which had very often adored our tiffin boxes in the school and college days.

Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are part of the
cruciferous family of vegetables. They contain high quantities of vitamin C and I have also read about them possessing cancer fighting properties. Here is the quick recipe for cabbage sabzi.

4 cups shredded green cabbage
2 potatoes
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
pinch of asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon amchur or dry mango powder
4 tablespoon cilantro or coriander leaves
1 tablespoon oil
salt for taste


Wash and peel the potatoes. Chop the potatoes into small cubes. Heat oil in a skillet and add cumin seeds. Add asafoetida and turmeric powder. Add potato cubes and cook covered till the potato is soft. Add the shredded cabbage and cook covered for 3-4 minutes. Cooking the cabbage for a long time will turn it soggy and cause the cabbage to loose its crunchyness. Add chili powder, cumin powder, amchur and garam masala. Mix well. Add salt as per taste. Garnish with coriander leaves and enjoy the sabzi hot with roti.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2-3

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Paneer Jalfarezi

During our Tahoe trip we were eating continental and chinese food for almost a week. Atul wanted me to make some sabzi with lot of vegetables and paneer. I then thought of making spicy and tangy paneer jalfrezi which was perfect for the cold weather. It was quite some time since I made this sabzi and both I and my husband enjoyed it thoroughly.

300 gms paneer
1 cups chopped onions (chopped into 1 inch big pieces)
1 tablespoon ginger cut into thin long stripes
1 tomato quartered
1 cup onions ground into a paste
3 tablespoon tomato paste or 3 tomatoes ground into a fine paste
2 bell peppers or capsicum(I used one yellow pepper which has a sweetish taste and a green pepper)
3/4 cup peas and/or corn
1/2 cup diced carrots
2-3 slit green chilies or as desired
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or as per desired taste
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon amchur powder or dry mango powder (or substitute with 2 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice)
5 tablespoon chopped coriander or cilantro
4 tablespoon oil
salt for taste


Heat one tablespoon oil in a skillet. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and fry for around 30 seconds. Add chopped onion, slit green chilies and capsicum. When the vegetables are cooked half way add the quartered tomato. Fry on medium flame till the capsicum is soft and cooked. Boil the carrots, peas and corn separately till soft. Keep aside. Fry the coriander seeds and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds for around 3-4 minutes on low flame. Powder them when cooled down.
While doing the above mentioned steps, parallelly add 3 tablespoon oil in a skillet and add the onion paste. Cook it till the raw smell of the onion disappears. Add ginger. Add tomato paste and stir and cook till the gravy leaves the sides. Now add the coriander and cumin powder, turmeric powder, chili powder(as per taste), amchur powder and
garam masala. Add the remaining vegetables and mix well till the gravy coats the vegetables. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with onion rings and roti.

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Farmer's Market

Where to find organic and locally grown produce in US? The answer is farmer's market. It is like the regular Sabzi mandi's in India. It took me a year after living in California to discover that we have two farmer's markets near our home.
There is a Farmer's market in Mountain View and Sunnyvale (Bay Area). The Mountain View farmer's market has greater number of stalls and variety of produce than the Sunnyvale Farmer's Market. We visit Farmer's market almost every weekend to buy fruits and vegetable. We get some very good quality organic vegetables and fruits here. Many varieties of mushrooms are also available. In summer, one finds very very sweet peaches, plums, strawberries, blackberries, blue berries, watermelons, cantaloupes, pluots, oranges and nectarines. In winter we shop for apples, pumpkins, pumpkin flowers, pumpkin greens, Bartlett pears and Persimmon. There is a large variety of green vegetables like beans, spinach, dill, bitter melon and other leafy vegetables. Click here to know more about which organic products are vital.

Here are some produce of the Mountain View farmer's market captured on camera.

Various color bell peppers


Spicy breads

Align CenterIndian chutney's and masalas (Sukhi's Stall)

Lovely flowers

Cherry tomatoes

Green Vegi's

Raspberries, Blackberries and strawberries packed with antioxidants

Organic carrots and beets


10 pound bags of orange

Different variety of grapes

Chinese eggplants

Summer squash

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tahoe Trip

We had been to Lake Tahoe during the holidays. One of the most amazing things about Tahoe is the breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The combination of crystal clear water lake and the Sierra-Nevada mountain range makes it a pleasurable destination to spend the vacation. We also traveled to the top of the mountain range to the Heavenly resort. It is a delight to play in the soft snow on the slopes. During the summers one can explore the lake from the cruise. Heavenly village houses many artifacts and alpaca wool products selling shops apart from shops stocking snow clothing. Read more about Lake Tahoe here.

My snow man and his castle

Views from Heavenly resort

Fannette Island

Lake Tahoe in Summer

Fannette island in Summer

Cruise on the lake

View from heavenly village