Nov 13, 2007

Jihva for Ingredients (JFI) - Toor dal

This was like the simplest event I could take part in. Which humble south Indian would not use toor dal in everyday life to make that humble yet scintillating rasam or sambar. But I remembered an earlier post about a gori kayi (cluster beans) curry that I had in north Karnataka style and felt it was the recipe that I would submit. You can view the recipe post here

Nov 12, 2007

Puri Pal (Puris in milk)

I came across WYF-Dessert/Sweet on SnackORama so decided that this would be my contribution to it.

Diwali Day 3
This is another favourite of mine. Sigh I love all sweets! This particular dish is also a favourite with my grandma. She loves it when my mom makes this at home. I dedicate this post to my grandma who we all fondly call Manni.

What you need to make Puri Pal
For the dough
  • Maida - 1 cup
  • Wheat flour - 1 cup
  • Ghee/Butter - 2 tbsp
  • Water - 1 cup

For the sweet gravy

  • Milk - 6 cups
  • Sugar - 1-2 cups depending on how sweet you want it, can add as you progress with dish
  • Cardamom - 2
  • Saffron - 4-5 strands
  • Cashewnuts - 10
  • Raisins - 10

Preparation to make Puri

  • Mix the maida and the wheat flour together in a bowl.
  • Add the ghee/butter to this (a little at a time) and knead well.
  • Add water if required, and little by little, we dont want a flood in the bowl.
  • At the end of the process you must have well kneaded dough ball (non sticky). Keep aside for ten minutes

Method to make Puri
There are two ways of doing this :

First (Shankarpoli)

  • Flatten the dough till its a thin base. You could do this with hand (like you do pizza base, I did this for lack of a rolling pin) or with a rolling pin.
  • Use a pizza cutter to cut this thin base into 1/2'*1/2' pieces.
  • Get the pieces put and layout on a tray.
  • Heat some oil in a heavy bottomed vessel.
  • Deep fry the pieces till its golden brown. Do not make it too brown or crisp.
  • Remove when fried and put it in the tray layered with the tissue paper.

  • Make regular palm sized puris
  • When cool tear the puris into small pieces and keep aside.
  • Heat some oil in a heavy bottomed vessel.
  • Deep fry the puris till its golden brown. Do not make it too brown or crisp.
  • Remove when fried and put it in the tray layered with the tissue paper.
Method to make Puri Pal

  • Heat the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel.
  • This is one of those "patience" dishes.
  • You need to allow the milk to boil on simmer till it condenses to 3/4 its quantity and starts thickening.
  • Add required amount of sugar to it.
  • Add the puri pieces to this milk and allow it to boil for some time till the puris soften (you should be able to break the piece with least effort).
  • Add the cardamom, saffron, cashewnuts and raisins and get it to a final boil.

My fundas
  • In case the milk does not thicken add a handful of Rava (Semolina / cream of wheat).


Diwali Day 2
ROTFL. I spent the whole of the previous day, ok am lying, 2 hours the previous day googling for the word- Shankarpoli and I must admit I found it even if only in one food blog. I used to laugh everytime I heard that name and I somehow felt that my mom might be getting it wrong. What could a God's name be doing alongside the rhyme for "koli" (chicken in kannada)? :) As it turns out what you get down from generations is never usually wrong, I found out that many people in the party I went to actually knew the sweet ! Inspite of my wisecracks this was something I have loved as a kid. A bowl full of Shankarpoli, tv and a cloudy day...heaven!

What you need to make Shankarpoli

  • Maida (all purpose flour) - 1 cup
  • Wheat flour - 1 cup
  • Ghee/Butter - 2 tbsp
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Sugar - 1/2 cup
  • Oil

Preparation to make Shankarpoli

  • Mix the maida and the wheat flour together in a bowl.
  • Add the ghee/butter to this (a little at a time) and knead well.
  • Add water if required, and little by little, we dont want a flood in the bowl.
  • At the end of the process you must have well kneaded dough ball (non sticky). Keep aside for ten minutes
  • Powder the sugar in a mixer

Method to make Shankarpoli

  • Flatten the dough till its a thin base. You could do this with hand (like u do pizza base, I did this for lack of a rolling pin) or with a rolling pin.
  • Use a pizza cutter to cut this thin base into 1/2'*1/2' pieces.
  • Get the pieces put and layout on a tray.
  • Heat some oil in a heavy bottomed vessel.
  • Deep fry the pieces till its golden brown. Do not make it too brown or crisp.
  • Remove when fried and put it in the tray layered with the tissue paper.
  • Immediately sprinkle some powdered sugar on the fried pieces. This way the sugar sticks to the pieces. (If you wait for it to cool down, the sugar does not stick.)
  • Your Shankarpoli is ready to be eaten. And this one is not too sweet either so spice lovers will also like the crunchy semi sweet taste.
My fundas
  1. Incase the sugar did not stick to the fried pieces, no need to fret, there is another way to make the sweet stick - Mix sugar in water and boil in a heavy bottomed vessel till syrup like consistency is reached. Spread the syrup on a bowl of the Shankarpoli pieces and eat.
  2. This could also be made into a "Puris in milk" sweet which I will outline in my next post.

Carrot Halwa

Diwali Day 1
Diwali dawned this year with a flutter of excitement for me. I had spent the previous two days planning the sweets that I would make for the festival (with help from my mom ofcourse). I had come up with the final three. The first of the distinguished line up was carrot halwa. Carrot is naturally sweet which makes it a good choice, even as a vegetable, to be used in making a sweet dish be it a halwa, payasam or cake. Due to the lack of grater I had to use some innovation - used the peeler and blender combination to get thin, small flakes of carrot. Lack of some dressy ingredients dint put a dent in the taste of my halwa (but I am going to give you a complete list of what should go in). Go ahead and try this dish, you will be left with sweet satisfaction.

What you need to make Carrot Halwa
  • Carrots - 4 big ones
  • Milk - 2 cups, the size u would serve in a thali
  • Sugar - 1 cup, more depending on the sweetness you can take
  • Cardamom - 2
  • Saffron - 4-5 strands
  • Cashewnuts - 10, broken into small pieces
  • Raisins - 10
  • Ghee/Butter - 1 tbsp
Preparation to make Carrot Halwa
  • Peel the skin off the carrots, cut off the edges and then Grate the carrots.
  • Break the cardamom pods and get the innards out
  • Break cashewnuts into small pieces. Fry till golden brown in ghee/butter.
Method to make Carrot Halwa
  • Place a heavy bottomed vessel on a lighted stove. Put the ghee/butter into it and heat a little till it melts.
  • Add the grated carrots to this and sautee for some time, say 5 minutes. Mix such that ghee is spread over all of the carrot.
  • Add the milk to this and allow this to boil on simmer. Keep the mixture boiling till carrots become real soft.
  • Now add the sugar and mix well. Continue to boil this till the sugar is well blended.
  • At this point of time you must not have any milky liquid in te vessel. (If you do, my trick is to pour it out into a glass, its a tasty drink).
  • Put in the cardamom, saffron, cashewnuts and raisins.
  • Keep boiling (all the time keeping the stove on simmer) till all is blended well.

(This is the work-in-progress photograph of Halwa)

My fundas

  • You can add condensed milk or even khoya when most of the milk has evaporated. This gives an excellent rich taste to the halwa.
  • You could add roasted almonds and pistachio also the halwa for that special something.

Nov 9, 2007

Get to know the Ingredients I use

English Name : Bay Leaf
Hindi Name : Tej Patta
Kannada Name : Masala Yele

English Name : Beaten Rice
Hindi Name : Poha
Kannada Name : Avalakki
English Name : Black Pepper
Hindi Name : Kali Mirch
Kannada Name : Menasu
English Name : Red Chilly, Green Chilly, Red Chilly Powder
Hindi Name : Lal Mirch, Hari Mirch, Mirchi Powder :p
Kannada Name : Vona Menasinakayi, Hasi Menasinakayi, Menasinakayi Pudi
English Name : Cinnamon
Hindi Name : Dalchini
Kannada Name : Chakke
English Name : Clove
Hindi Name : Laung
Kannada Name : Lavanga
English Name : Dry Coconut
Hindi Name : Copra
Kannada Name : Vona Cobri
English Name : Fresh Coriander with some Coriander seeds
Hindi Name : Dhania Patta with Dhania
Kannada Name : Kothumbari Soppu with Kothumbari Beeja
English Name : Coriander seeds
Hindi Name : Dhania
Kannada Name : Kothumbari Beeja
English Name : Cumin Seeds
Hindi Name : Jeera
Kannada Name : Jeerige
English Name : Garlic
Hindi Name : Lahsun
Kannada Name : Bellulli
English Name : Green Gram
Hindi Name : Moong
Kannada Name : HesaraKalu
English Name : Groundnut
Hindi Name : Moongphali
Kannada Name : Kadlekayi
English Name : Jaggery
Hindi Name : Gud
Kannada Name : Bella
English Name : Split yellow Chickpeas
Hindi Name : Chana Dal
Kannada Name : Kadle Bele
English Name : Mace
Hindi Name : Javithri
Kannada Name :
English Name : Black Cardammom
Hindi Name : Kala Elaichi
Kannada Name : Dodda Yelakki
English Name : Fenugreek leaves with Fenugreek seeds
Hindi Name : Methi with Methi Dana
Kannada Name : Menthyada soppu with Menthya
English Name : Mustard Seeds
Hindi Name : Rai
Kannada Name : Sasive
English Name : Yellow Moong Beans
Hindi Name : Moong Dal
Kannada Name : Hesarbele
English Name : Puffed Chickpeas
Hindi Name : Dalia
Kannada Name : Hurugadle
English Name : Puffed Rice
Hindi Name : Kurmura/Murmura
Kannada Name : Kadlepuri
English Name : Rice
Hindi Name : Chawal
Kannada Name : Akki
English Name : Semolina/Cream of Wheat
Hindi Name : Rava
Kannada Name : Rave
English Name : Fennel Seeds
Hindi Name : Somph
Kannada Name : Dodda Jeera
English Name : Star Anise
Hindi Name : Badal Phool/Anasphal
Kannada Name : Hoovu
English Name : Tamarind
Hindi Name : Imli
Kannada Name : Hunsehannu
English Name : Yellow Lentils
Hindi Name : Toor Dal
Kannada Name : Thogari Bele
English Name : Turmeric Powder
Hindi Name : Haldi
Kannada Name : Arasina Pudi

Nov 7, 2007

This blog has a new URL

As you may have noticed if you are reading this post the URL to my food blog has changed.
For reasons of global understanding
(I had to explain to many people what Bendekayi = Lady's finger and Karimb = curry meant, that doesnt say a lot about clarity)
I have changed the url of this blog to
I request you to update all your favourite links and blogrolls to this new url (Yeah right, like I have that many visitors)
But Pleeeeze do update your links gang!

Oct 9, 2007

Hurrah it's Maggi Maggi day

No, you got it wrong. I am not going to dispense gyaan about how to make Maggi. As is evident on the back of the cover it's a simple three step process. What I am doing with this post is showing off. Yes. I finally got Maggi noodles looking exactly like the advertisement and not like Shavige Payasa gone wrong. So Yay to me!!

Here's the evidence

Oct 4, 2007

Vegetable Burger with a Vegetable Cutlet

I get the feeling that my blog is getting to be all about simple foods. Take the vegetable burger for example. The main reason for wanting to make one was the feeling of home-made plus the fact that I dont happen to get vegetable burgers in many McD or BK outlets. I experimented and found a rather simple way of making a veggie burger. Make a cutlet and place it between burger buns and voila! Try it if you would want to do the same

What you need to make Vegetable Burger

For the cutlet

  • Maida (All purpose Flour) - 1 cup
  • Peas - 1/2 cup
  • Carrot - 1/4 cup
  • Beans - 1/4 cup
  • Potato - 1/2 cup
  • Sweet Corn - 1/4 cup
  • Onion - 1 cup
  • Coriander - 4 strands
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece
  • Garlic - 5 pods
  • Red chilli powder - 4 tsps
  • Salt
For the burger
  • Burger buns (sliced in half)
  • Butter / Cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
Preparation to make Vegetable Burger

  • Cook the potato with the peel in either pressure cooker or by boiling in water. Once cooked peel the skin and mash the potatoes
  • Cook the carrot, beans, peas and sweet corn either pressure cooker or by boiling in water. Allow it to cool.
  • Cut the onions into small pieces.
  • Chop the coriander finely.
  • Grind the ginger and garlic to a fine paste
  • Slice the tomatoes and cucumbers into round slices.
Method to make Vegetable Burger

  • Heat some oil in a pan and add onions to it and fry till golden. Add the mashed potatoes to it and mix. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook all together for a minute. Remove from flame.
  • Allow it to cool and then add the rest of the cooked vegetables and coriander to this and mix.
  • Now add the flour, red chilli powder and salt to it to get the mixture to a dry texture.
  • Make balls of this mixture and keep.
  • Heat a tsp of oil in a pan, flatten the ball in hand in shape of a cutlet and place it on the pan to shallow fry.
  • Shallow fry it on both sides.
  • Once it turns a little browner and crisp its done.
  • Butter the insides of the burger bun halves or place a cheese slice.
  • Place two slices each of the cucumber and tomatoes and some lettuce.
  • Place the burger on top of it and close with the other half of the bun.
  • Burger is ready!


This is the quintessential time pass snack in India these days. Anytime one goes out and gets the urge for a quick bite one doesnt walk into a swank restaurant but rushes to the nearest road side Chaat vendor with a drooling request for "One plate bhel".

Its the simplest and fastest snack to make for that perfect tea time mazaa. Here's how you can make it at home :

What you need to make Bhelpuri
  • Puri (Puffed rice/Murmura)
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Potato
  • Tomato
  • Coriander
  • Lemon/ Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Red chilli powder
  • Cucumber (optional)
  • Sev
  • Chaat masala (optional) - 1/4 tsp per plate
  • For the spicy chutney
    Green Chillies - 6
    Garlic - 8 pods
    Ginger - 2 inch piece
  • For the sweet chutney
    Tamarind - one small ball
    Jaggery - 2 inch cube
The beauty of this snack is that the quantity of vegetables you put into each plate is really upto one's taste. The amount of puri (puffed rice) that is put in is equivalent to the vegetables.

Preparation for making Bhelpuri
  • Grate the carrots and keep in a bowl
  • Cut onions into very small pieces and keep in a bowl
  • Cut tomatoes into very small pieces and keep in a bowl
  • Cut potatoes into half and cook them (along with skins) by using either the pressure cooker or boiling them in water.
  • Once potatoes are cooked, allow it to cool a little and then remove the skins. Then mash the potatoes and keep them in a bowl
  • Chop the coriander finely and keep
  • Sweet Chutney - Grind tamarind and jaggery together with some water
  • Spicy Chutney - Grind the green chillies, some coriander, ginger and garlic to a fine paste along with some water
Method to make Bhelpuri
  • Making a bhel is very easy. All you have to do is mix the ingredients.
  • In a large bowl take all the cut and grated vegetables and salt. Mix well.
  • Now add the Puri and chaat masala (if needed) and mix well.
  • Add a little lime juice, spicy chutney and sweet chutney and mix.
  • Serve with coriander, a pinch or red chilli powder and sev for garnishing

My fundas
  • Adding cucumber pieces adds a dash of freshness to the ensemble.
  • Some people also garnish it with grated coconut.
  • One could also add some small puris (or nipattus) crushed to the bhel to make it extra tasty
  • Pomogranate seeds also adds a lot of flavour
  • Substitute lemon juice for raw mango pieces during the season and it tastes yummier

Simple Eggless Chocolate Sponge Cake

Yesterday I tried out the queen of all baking - A Cake. I call it a queen because there is something majestic, sweet, luscious and curvy about it ;). And you put on some dressing and it oozes oomph!

P.S:- I need your help :- Anyone who knows how to make simple yet delicious ICING to decorate the cake, PLEASE TEACH ME HOW

What you need to make an Eggless Chocolate Sponge Cake

  • Plain flour (Maida) - 1 cup
  • Condensed milk (Nestle or Milkmaid tin) - 4/5ths of a cup
  • Cocoa - 1/4 cup
  • Icing Sugar - 3 tsp
  • Baking Powder - 1 tsp
  • Baking Soda- 1/2 tsp
  • Butter - 1/4 cup
  • Milk - 2/5ths of a cup
  • Soda - 2/5ths of a cup (You could use Coke/Pepsi if doing a chocolate sponge cake)
  • Vanilla essence (optional) - 1 tsp (I do not use this)
Preparation for making Eggless Chocolate Sponge Cake
  • Mix together all the dry ingredients - flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Mix them well in a dry bowl. You could sieve them before mixing to get rid of lumps if any.
  • Keep the butter outside the fridge for some time till it softens.
  • Preheat the oven to 570 deg Farenheit (300 deg Celcius).
Preheating usually requires 15 minutes. (I don't have a beeper which goes beep when the oven reaches that temperature so I had to google and figure out for how long I need to keep it for the oven to get pre heated. Thought it would help others like me.)
Method to make Eggless Chocolate Sponge Cake

  • Put the condensed milk into a large bowl. To this add the butter. Beat the mixture well till the butter blends with the condensed milk. This will need some patience since there should be no lumps and it should be a smooth paste.
  • To this add the dry ingredients mixture spoon by spoon. Stir it into the condensed milk mixture constantly.
  • As and when the mixture becomes too tight add some milk to ease it.
Point to be noted - Stir in one direction only. This will make the cake light and fluffy with a lot of air in it.
  • Beat the entire mixture for a good five minutes.
  • Now add the soda into this mixture and mix well lightly.
  • Pour into the greased baking tin. Just jiggle the tin around for the mixture to evenly spread around. Do not use spoon or knife to even it out.
  • Place tin inside oven and bake at 350 deg Farenheit (200 deg celcius) for 7 minutes.
  • Then reduce the temperature of oven to 300 deg Farenheit (150 deg Celcius) and allow it to bake for around 40 minutes.
  • Do check in once in a while to see if the cake is fluffing up.
  • You can also be sure its baked when, if you stick a skewer or knife edge into the cake it comes out clean and no cake stuff sticks to it.

My fundas

  • It is important to cool the cake on both the top and bottom sides. For the air to reach all over evenly you could cool the cake on a wire rack or any stand which has holes in it.

Sep 28, 2007

Dress makes personality in food?

I have been watching a reality show called Top Chef and it led to a realisation that in the western world Presentation takes the center stage. Whether it comes to one's own dressing or their food's. Whatever the taste maybe first impression wows (pun intended)! I was trying to figure out the same about our Indian food. Do we Indians look for visual appeal in Indian food? When was the last time you took a good look at the Bisibelebath served in a bowl before spooning some on to your plate and gobbling it up? When was the last time you dint toss aside the measly coriander leaf which looked wasted on a bowl of vegetable pulav? In Bangalore where the hotels which make maximum profit are the fast food kinds, who even cares for presentation? Neither the cook nor the customer has the time for it. Somehow the casually put together subway sandwich also looks appealing here! I wonder how many different ways one can present a masala dosa without losing authenticity. Where am I going with this post? Well, for starters I take a look at the wonderful people out there blogging about Indian food. The first thing that strikes me are the photos of the finished product, presented and photographed beautifully. I have gone to many restaurants where the food looks great but tastes average or below whereas in a "Sagar" (I dont know why but it has become a norm in Bangalore to end the name of any hotel with that word if a fast food joint, almost like xerox) there is no time for presentation but the taste is just perfect. Which would we pick if there is no place with an ideal marriage between presentation and taste? Presentation is important but is it more important than the taste? Taste is important but would you eat something if it looks crazy?

Sep 25, 2007

Kadlekayi Mithai (Groundnut Sweet)

Kadlekayi Mithai always reminds me of Gokulashtami at home. The smells in my mom's kitchen are fantabulous in those days. Many kinds of sweets and savouries are made to keep as Prasad for Lord Krishna. As kids we used to eye the Prasad plate greedily and hungrily, till my dad finished his elaborate Puja in the evening, making underhand deals about who was going to eat what out of the plate (even though there was much more in the huge boxes). Gokulashtami was always fun and tested our creativity in terms of decorating the Mandap where Krishna Idols would be placed. We have a huge age old Mandap at home and it used to be like a comedy trying to tie fruits and decorating it with flowers. Lot of family time and a lot of teasing, laughter and ofcourse huffs. I am getting nostalgic and before I start dreaming let me give you the recipe to the Mithai.

What you need to make Kadlekayi Mithai
  • Kadlekayi (Groundnuts) - 1 cup
  • Jaggery - 1 cup
  • Dry coconut - 1/2 cup
  • Water - 1/2 cup
  • Elaichi (Cardamom) - 1/2 tsp

(Please use the same measure, when I say cup, for all the ingredients)

Preparation for making Kadlekayi Mithai
  • Dry roast the groundnuts in a heavy bottomed vessel till a little browner.
  • Spread it out on a large plate to cool down.
  • Once cool, run a roller pin lightly over the groundnuts to separate the skin from the nut and also to slice the nut in half. Alternatively you could just mash them very lightly in your hands.
  • Grease a plate with ghee and keep aside.
Method to make Kadlekayi Mithai
  • Put water in a heavy bottomed vessel and add the jaggery to it. Keep the flame at medium low.
  • Allow the jaggery to dissolve in the water.
  • As it boils it reaches the consistency of a syrup (chocolate syrup).
  • The way to check if its done is to take a small drop of the syrup and drop it into a cup filled with water. If the syrup doesnt spread and sticks then its done! Further, you should be able to scoop the syrup from the water as a lump.

  • Once the right consistency is reached add the dry coconut and groundnuts to it.
  • Allow it to boil together on a lower flame for some time.
  • You know its done when the syrup becomes frothy.
  • Pour the contents into the greased plate and spread it quickly before it thickens.
  • After around two minutes of thickening run a knife through it to cut into squares.
  • Keep it to cool.
  • Once it cools you can just get the pieces of kadlekayi mithai out of the plate (use a little reverse plate banging against a spread out paper)

Sep 20, 2007

Pudina Pulav (Mint Pulav)

Dinner is ready! This was up for grabs yesterday night and everyone of my folks enjoyed it.

What you need to make Pudina Pulav

Spices to be used

  • Refer to the same named section under Vegetable Pulav under the category Rice Dishes on my blog
Rest of the ingredients

  • Rice - 250 gms
  • Onion - 1 big
  • Pudina leaves - 200 gms
  • Peas (optional) - a few maybe 25 gms - 50 gms
  • Coriander - 5-6 strands
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil - 3 tsp
  • Water - double the measure of rice

Preparation for making Pudina Pulav

  • Wash the rice (I do it 3 times).
  • Cut onion into big slices. You want to be able to get the onion in your mouth and experience its taste when you eat the pulav
  • Wash and chop the coriander into very small confetti.
  • Wash and coarsely chop the pudina leaves (not too small)
  • Grind all the spices together.
Method to make Pudina Pulav

  • Heat a pressure cooker and put the oil into it.
  • Add the onion to the oil and allow it to fry till soft.
  • Now add the coriander in and allow it to fry a little. Gives it a nice taste. You could optionally put it in just before closing the lid of the cooker.
  • Add the pudina leaves and fry it a little.
  • Now drop in the peas.
  • Put the rice in and the ground spices and stir everything together and allow it all to shallow fry.
  • After around 5 minutes add the water.
  • Add salt as much as required (yeah you got to taste if you cant do it just by seeing).
  • As soon as it starts boiling close the lid of the cooker and let it all steam up.
  • Your Pudina Pulav will be ready :)

My fundas
  • Well there are no fundas except I somehow like chips with this Pulav rather than a Raita. Wonder why?

Matar Paneer Aluwale

There is nothing like catering to a hungry stomach. So when I got a message from T saying "I'm very hungry" I sprung into action and made him a meal he would love. This is my own recipe and it isnt exactly rocket science but was very yummy!

What you need to make Matar Paneer Aluwale
  • Paneer (Cottage Cheese) - 50 gms
  • Alu (Potato) - 2 small
  • Matar (Peas) - 50 gms
  • Onions - 2 small
  • Tomatoes - 2 small
  • Coriander - 5-6 strands
  • Jeera (Cumin seeds) - 2 tsp
  • Mustard - 2 tsp
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece
  • Garlic - 5 - 6 pods
  • Red Chillies / Green Chillies - 3 big
  • Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
  • Oil - 2 tsp
Preparation for making Matar Paneer Aluwale
  • Cut all the onions and potatoes into small pieces.
  • Cut the paneer into cubes (I like smaller pieces because they absorb the taste of the gravy faster).
  • Puree the tomatoes.
  • Chop the coriander into very small confetti.
  • Cook the potatoes in boiling water with a little salt added to it.
  • Cook the peas in boiling water with a little salt added to it.
  • Grate the ginger. Mash the garlic pods and make a paste out of these two.
Method to make Matar Paneer Aluwale
  • Heat a heavy bottomed vessel and add the oil to it.
  • Add mustard and cumin seeds to the heated oil.
  • When the mustard starts to splutter add the red chillies to it and also the turmeric.
  • Add the onions to this and allow it to cook till it becomes soft.
  • Now add the ginger garlic paste and so also the tomato puree. Mix well.
  • When it comes to a boil, add the cooked potatoes and peas to it.
  • Mix well.
  • Now add the paneer to this whole mixture.
  • The key to making a dish with paneer is to really allow it to blend with the gravy so its important to keep it cooking for sometime. Ofcourse simmer the flame and allow the whole mixture to cook together.
  • Garnish with coriander and serve hot.

My fundas
  • Eat hot with chapati like we did and you will appreciate it a lot.

I havent mastered the art of making round chapatis as you can see :)

Sep 13, 2007


What you need to make Ambode
  • Kadlebele (Channa Dal)- 1 cup
  • Onion - 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup
  • Coriander - 3 strands (optional)
  • Green chillies / Red Chillies - 3 (more if you like it spicier)
  • Salt
  • Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Preparation for making Ambode
  • Soak Kadlebele for 5-6 hours to make it soft
  • Coarse grind the kadlebele along with coriander and chillies. Do not make it a very fine paste.
  • Cut the onions into really small pieces. You could grind it along with the bele but I like it when I encounter onion pieces in my mouth :)
Method to make Ambode
  • Take the ground mixture and add salt as required and also add asafoetida. Mix well like you would dough.
  • Adding water to the dough is optional because the soaked lentils itself gives out some water when ground.
  • The consistency should be good enough to make loose balls in our hand. (Do not imagine it will be smooth or solid like jamun balls)
  • Heat oil in a frying pan.
  • Roll the dough into a ball and lightly flatten the top of the ball. Do not press too hard. (It should be saucer shaped). Put this into the oil and deep fry.
You know its done when it turns to a darker brown just like in the picture below :

My fundas
Its great to eat Ambode with coconut chutney but its good just by itself.
A variation to Ambode is to put Pudina (Mint) leaves while grinding it. Gives it a fresh tangy flavour.
Eat hot :)

Benne (Butter) Biscuit

I did use the Oven and it did manage to scare me!
I was very excited when I found a Benne Biscuit recipe on Asha's Foodie's Hope and today I took the plunge to try it out.
I went as per the recipe and everything was working to order. The trouble started when I switched on the great american oven for some pre heating. It immediately began to smell like something was burning inside. Dint concern me very much till a lot of smoke started accumalating above the stove and to my horror the fire alarm started blaring. There was also an electronic anti septic voice which kept saying "Fire fire" as if announcing the weather forecast on Doordarshan. Deadpan. I panicked. I started hallucinating that everyone would rush out of their houses and rush to see what happened in our house. That there would be a fire engine squealing its way to our front door. That I would get a good scolding from all at home. But what really happened was that T who was on a call with the boss calmly opened the front door, switched on the exhaust fan and joked with his boss about fire alarms and Indians cooking chapatis. I, in the meanwhile, totally unaware of what I am required to do next waited behind T following him like a poodle as he walked to and fro while continuing to talk on the phone. When he finally got off, I learnt from him that its very common for the smoke alarm to go off with Indian cooking which generated a lot of smoke. I did not understand however what was Indian about the oven. And that too on a pre-heat! I went ahead with his assurance that nothing was going to blow up and baked my biscuits and they came out in a beautiful golden brown hue. The greatest compliment that I got for it was when my m-i-l who is an arch enemy of sweets ate two of my biscuits voluntarily!
If you are lazy to visit Asha's blog whose link I have given above then the recipe is here for you :

1. Sift 1 cup plain/all purpose/Maida flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder,1/4 tsp of salt.2. Cream 1/2 cup softened Butter or margarine (my friend uses a mix of butter and Dalda,a Indian product which probably make a lot of difference in the texture) and 1/3 cup white Sugar until creamy and fluffy. (Adding 1 tsp of Vanilla essence is optional,she never used it, I don't use it either)3. Add in the flour mix little by little to make a soft dough, not sticky. Turn on the oven to 350F.4. Make about 12-14 balls lightly rolling on your palm,flatten a bit on top. Do not press too hard.Place them on a non-stick baking sheet 2" apart,sprinkle little flour on top for a thin coating,not too much (to get that floury coating bakeries have). Keep in the fridge at least for 5 mins until the oven is preheated.5. Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 10-15mins or until very slightly golden but they must remain almost white when done.6. Cool on a rack, and enjoy with a hot cup of Mysore coffee!Savory Biscuits: Instead of Sugar, you add very finely chopped green chillies,curry leaves,Cilantro and crushed Cumin seeds.Adjust the salt, make and bake as above. YUM!

P.S :- Asha, I havent altered any word :)

This is how mine turned out

Update (2/26/2013) - Today was a whiteout following Winter Storm Rocky in the Midwest. I made this today as a small token of "Thank You" to our neighbours who helped with not only the shovels and brushes to clear off the snow during the last two storms but also helped clear around our parking lot. Selfless souls like them deserve a dollop of heaven.

 The photos in the post also got an upgrade!

Sep 11, 2007

The great American Oven

What I notice the most in Western cooking in contrast with Indian is the usage of the oven. Almost everything is grilled or baked. There is very little cooking in the pot that goes on. For that matter there is the most minimal amount of grinding too. There is a world beyond salt jars and pepper mills that the westerners havent figured out. But what I appreciate a lot is the variety of herbs and other non-spice ingredients that go into their dishes. And also I like the way they learn to distinguish the different smells of each ingredient. They know the smell of cinnamon from cumin seeds, and this after the dish is cooked. My nose hasnt caught on to this fine art and I am always at a loss for words when I am expected to identify every ingrdient which has gone inside a gravy that was served in an Indian restaurant in a foreign setting and with non Indians for company!
I have a huge oven in my kitchen right now which I havent been brave enough to start using. I am wondering if I should take a couple of recipes from the Food channel and try them out. Ofcourse it does need more patience than going out and ordering your food. So am still toying with the idea. One of the first rules in any art is to understand the audience. And my audience is the rice-rasam variety. Will I get any leeway? The lasagne, breads and cakes are all tearing me away from the regular fare. Do I dare? Watch this space and I will let you know :)

Jul 19, 2007

Channa Masala

This recipe was passed on to me by my cousin Mangala in a chat we were having yesterday. Its a very simple and easy way to make channa masala. People all over the world will know this as chole or channa masala as it is an extremely popular punjabi dish and mostly in places outside India you only get North Indian food in Indian restaurants! (Phew that was a long sentence)

What you need to make Channa masala
  • Channa - 100 gms
  • Onion - 2 small / 1 medium sized
  • Tomato - 2 / Equivalent Tomato Puree
  • Coriander - 4 strands
  • Jeera - 1 tsp
  • Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
  • Garlic - 6 pods
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Salt
  • Oil - 3 tsp
  • Red Chilly powder - 2-3 tsp depending on how hot you like it
  • Channa Masala Powder / Garam Masala Powder (You get this in stores under brands like MTR, MDH, Everest etc. Alternatively I will post about making Garam masala powder at home soon) - 2 tsp

Preparation for making Channa Masala
  • Soak the channa for 12-16 hours before making this dish
  • Pressure cook channa with the turmeric and some salt added
  • Cut onions into small pieces
  • Cut tomatoes also into soft pieces (not required if you use puree ofcourse)
  • Cut coriander into tiny pieces
Method to make Channa Masala
  • In a heavy bottomed vessel pour some oil and allow it to heat. Keep the flame low, I would advice. Add the cumin seeds to this and wait for it to splutter.
  • Add the onions to this and allow this to fry to golden brown. Add ginger and garlic also along with the onions.
  • Once onion is well fried, add the channa masala powder to this as well as red chilly powder. Mix well.
  • Put in the tomato and allow it to cook till tomato softens to the touch. If using puree then cook for sometime till it all blends well.
  • Allow this whole mixture to cool.
  • Once fully cooled put the contents into a mixer/grinder and make it into a fine paste.
  • Take the cooked channa in a heavy bottomed vessel and all the paste to this.
  • Allow it to simmer for a while till channa blends well with the masala paste.
  • Do not forget to add salt if required at this point!
  • Sprinkle the coriander on this and mix in.
My fundas
  • This is best eaten with Puri (fried indian bread).
  • You could also eat this with chapati.
  • Onion rings served with this enhances the whole experience.

Jul 10, 2007

Mixed Vegetable Raita

Raita is an accompaniment to many main course rice dishes. It brings in the soothing effect when eaten with anything spicy. Curd being the main ingredient is the main reason for the soothing effect.

What you need to make Mixed Vegetable Raita
  • Tomatoes - 2
  • Onion - 1
  • Cucumber - 1 big or 2 small
  • Coriander - 2 strands
  • Curd - 2 cups
  • Salt
For seasoning (Optional)
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Oil - 1 tsp
  • Red Chilly/Green chilly - 1
Preparation for making Mixed Vegetable Raita
  • Wash and cut the vegetables into small pieces.
  • Dont forget to remove the seedy, soft core of the cucumber
Method to make Mixed Vegetable Raita
  • Mix all the vegetables in a vessel.
  • Add Curd and salt to this and mix well
  • Seasoning is optional - Heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and chilly. Allow the mustard seeds to splutter. Once done put this into the raita vessel and mix well.
My fundas
  • If you do not want to season with oil, just put 1/2 tsp of red chilly powder if you want.
  • Chill it in a fridge before serving.

Jul 9, 2007

Vegetable Pulav

Pulav also spelt as Pulao or Pilaf is a fragrant rice dish. This dish is not particular to one region in the world. Seems like it has its origin in the Middle east and may have been popularised in India by people visiting from there. Today it is a common fare dish in Northern India and exceedingly becoming the "something different" special fare dish in Southern India as well. My house has a tradition of Pulav most Sundays because sundays are special requiring a special lunch! My mom is one of the best makers of pulav and she never has to contend with left-overs when she makes it. I have followed her footsteps and recipe and at the risk of sounding immodest, am becoming very good and confident at making Pulav too. Yesterday I made it again for T and family and it was delicious (with only one last minute refer-back to the recipe). One has to remember that dishes which use spices can taste different from one cook to another simply because the spices are all so unique. You add a little more of cinnamon then it tastes different from when you add a little more of the masala flower!

What you need to make Vegetable Pulav

Spices to be used
Please see the spices catalog to get an idea of what each of these look like if you dont already know
  • Cloves - 10
  • Cinnamon - 1 big piece
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece
  • Garlic - 10 pods
  • Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Star Anise (Masala Flower) - 4
  • Maratti Moggu - 4
  • Bay Leaf - 2 or 3
  • Red Chillies - 4 long
  • Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch

Rest of the ingredients

  • Rice - 1 "paav" rice (Paav is a measure we use in South India which is equivalent to approximately 250 gms)
  • Beans - 250 gms
  • Carrot - 250 gms
  • Peas - 250 gms
  • Onion - 2 big
  • Coriander - 5 strands
  • Coconut - 1/2
  • Oil - 12 tsp
  • Salt
  • Water - double the quantity of rice (use same measure)

Preparation for making Vegetable Pulav

  • Wash the beans, carrots and coriander thoroughly
  • Slit the beans lengthwise and then cut them breadhtwise into 1 inch length pieces.
  • Cut the carrots into thin long pieces of 1 inch length
  • Cut the onions into half. Slit each half lengthwise and then make thin slices breadthwise.
  • Grate the coconut. Alternately if you dont want to use coconut then soak 3 tsp of rice for around 15 mins till it becomes soft and breakable.
  • Grind all the spices into a paste along with the coconut/soaked rice.
  • Wash the rice and keep it ready.

Method to make Vegetable Pulav

  • Take a pressure cooker and place it on a lighted stove.
  • Add the oil into this and allow it to heat up.
  • Put the onions in and sautee till it becomes golden brown.
  • Put in the coriander and sautee a bit
  • Now put in the beans, carrots and peas and sautee all this for 5 minutes.
  • It would help to not keep the flame too high.
  • Put in the rice and allow it fry for 5 minutes.
  • Now add the spices paste to this and mix thoroughly.
  • Add in the water at this point.
  • Nows the time to add salt as well.
  • Allow the whole thing to boil for sometime.
  • When it comes to a boil, you can check if the salt is ok and then close the lid of the pressure cooker.
  • Allow it to cook on steam.
  • Aint it easy?

My fundas

  • The bay leaf need not be ground into a paste. You can just put it in as a whole after the spices are added in the cooker. This will give an aromatic smell. But take care not to eat it!
  • This quantity will easily serve 4 people.
  • Reduce the quantity of each spice if you think you cannot handle the spice.
  • Eat pulav hot with cool Raita (which I will give recipe for in the next post)
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