Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pepper Rasam

Pepper rasam is a great comfort food to have on cold wintery days. It is a great home remedy for colds, fevers and sore throat. Here is the recipe.

1 tablespoon rasam powder
4-5 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
2 tablespoon cooked toor dal (for better consistency)
1 medium tomato chopped
1/4 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1/4 teaspoon pepper powder or as desired
salt for taste

Combine the chopped tomato, toor dal, rasam powder, pepper powder and tamarind. Add 3 cups of water and get the rasam to a boil. Add coriander leaves and salt for taste. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve hot.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sheera / Sooji Ka Halwa

Sheera is one of a delicious sweet which can be prepared in matter of minutes. When people celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in Pune, they make this sheera as it is considered a favorite of Lord Ganesha. This sheera can be made with or without banana. It is usually served with spicy chana sabzi.

1 cup coarse semolina or rava
2 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
1 banana (optional)
8 cardamom pods
pinch of kesar
2 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
dry fruits (raisins, almonds, cashewnuts)


Fry semolina on a low flame in a pan till light brown and smells good. Boil or heat milk in microwave milk and keep aside. Separate the cardamom from pods and powder it with a tablespoon of sugar and mix with the semolina. Heat 2 tablespoon milk and add kesar and keep aside. Heat ghee in a pan and add the chopped nuts and fry till golden brown. Keep the heat at medium-low or medium. Add the semolina and fry for a minute. Add milk and stir continuously till no lumps are formed. Add sugar to the sheera. Addwell mashed banana to the sheera. Keep flame on low and cook covered for 5 minutes till the semolina is soft. Add keshar and stir well. Cook till the milk has evaporated. Stir well with a wooden ladle till the sheer turns into a big lump. Serve hot.
If you want a round shape as in the photo, grease a small bowl with ghee and press the sheera into the bowl. Then tilt the bowl upside down to gently slide the sheera into a plate.

Tips: The secret of making sheera without lumps is to keep the heat low when adding milk to the semolina. and stirring it continuously. Stirring it well with a ladle once it is cooked gives it a smooth consistency.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Margarita Pizza

One of my friend taught me this recipe and it has become very popular in my home since then. The versatility, the quickness and various modifications which can be make to this basic pizza recipe make it more interesting to make. I have in my mind to post the different kinds of pizza I have tried including a dessert pizza which I made watching the recipe on TLC's "Take home Chef". Taking "little things" into consideration like using fat-free cheese can go a long way to make this recipe healthier. I am sending this recipe to events hosted by Poornima and Bindiya.


1 portion of pizza dough
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese (use fat-free if you want to make it healthier)
4 tablespoon tomato sauce or as desired
2 tomatoes de-seeded or sliced or chopped
10-12 basil leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon powdered Parmesan cheese


Knead the pizza dough well for 5 minutes. Starting from the center of the dough stretch the pizza dough with your fingers to make a round shape. Alternatively you can also roll it using a rolling pin or "belan" into a round shape to fit your pizza pan or pizza stone. Spread the tomato sauce on the pizza dough. Then top with tomato slices or pieces and basil leaves. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on the pizza. Bake it at 500 degrees for 10-13 minutes or till the cheese has melted and golden in color. Don't over bake it, otherwise it will turn crispy and hard.

Swirl some olive oil on the pizza. Sprinkle pepper flakes and parmesan cheese and serve it hot.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pizza Tomato Sauce

This is the recipe for the tomato sauce used for making pizza.


1 medium onion
2 cups canned tomato pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoon butter
3 cloves of garlic
pepper powder as per taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt for taste

Chop the onion and garlic finely. Take butter in a pan and add the onion and garlic. Saute for 8-10 minutes on medium flame till the onion and garlic are well cooked the raw smell is not present. The onion should not burn or stick to the pan. Add canned tomatoes, oregano and the tomato paste. Cook for 20 minutes. Add salt, sugar and pepper as per taste. Cool the sauce before use.

Pizza Dough

Recently one of my friend taught me how to make basic pizza dough at home. It is very relaxing to come back home from work knowing that the pizza dough waiting in the fridge to be topped with vegetables and sauce and baked in a matter of 10 minutes. This pizza dough can be made in advance and stored in the freezer. I cut the dough into sections sufficient to make single pizza and then store the pieces in separate ziplock bags. When ever I plan to make a pizza, I take the ziplock bag from the freezer a day in advance and store it in the refrigerator, so that it de-freezes and can be then used to make a pizza.


1 1/2 cup maida or all purpose flour (if you are not using whole wheat flour, use 2 cups all purpose flour)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour or chappati atta
1 packet instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon oil (best if olive oil is used)

Take a cup of warm water and mix in sugar, oil and salt in it. Add the yeast powder and mix well. Add the flours and make a loose dough. Knead it well for around 10-15 minutes. The dough should not be sticky nor too hard. If the dough is too dry, more water can be added while kneading it. If th dough is too wet, add some more flour to it.
Place it in a bowl and cover it with a wet cloth and keep it in a warm place for around 40 minutes. The dough will rise to double its original size. Knead the dough again for 10 minutes. This dough can be used instantly or kept in a freezer. Keep it in the refrigerator or at room temperature to de-freeze it. The dough should be at normal temparature before using it. Use this to make any kind of pizza.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bread Fruit Sabzi / Jeev Kadgi Upkari

Bread fruit or Jeev kadgi as we call it in Konkani is one of my favorite vegetable. It is mostly grown in south Indian states like Karnataka or Kerala. I was also surprised to know that people in Polynesian islands and West Indies also use bread fruit in the local cuisine.

This is how it looks when it cut.

We make fritters (phodi ), bhajiya or sabzi (upkari in Konkani) using this vegetable. I usually bought canned breadfruit until I found that Coconut Hill in Sunnyvale sold fresh bread fruit. I made phodi and upkari from it.


Click here for recipe of phodi.

2 cups thinly chopped bread fruit
1 teaspoon urad dal
2 green chili
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoon grated coconut
1 teaspoon coconut oil or any other oil
salt for taste


Chopped Breadfruit Pieces
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they start to splutter add urad dal and slit green chilies. Fry for a moment and add the chopped bread fruit pieces. Add one cup water and cook covered till the bread fruit is soft. Garnish with grated coconut.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Palak Dal / Indian Lentils with Spinach

There are a zillion ways to make dal. This recipe is just more than the normal dal and any green leafy vegetable like palak or spinach, methi, malabar spinach can be added to it. I got this recipe from my friend Pri. She is a great cook and is a very patient and meticulate in her cooking methods. The last time we had lunch together she had got this dal and I took the recipe from her. This dal is very easy to prepare and goes well with roti too.


1 cup toor dal
1 bunch palak or spinach
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
pinch of heeng
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oil or ghee
salt for taste

Wash and chop the palak and the tomato. Wash the dal and keep aside. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add mustard and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add asafoetida, turmeric powder and chili powder. Add chopped palak and stir for 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped tomato and stir for 2 minutes. Add the dal and 2 1/2 cups of hot water. Pressure cook till the dal is soft. Serve with roti or rice.