Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tomato egg curry

Going straight to the recipe today.

Ingredients:( serves 2)

Eggs - 2 (hard boiled and peeled)
Oil - 2 tbspns
Ginger - 1/4 inch piece( sliced)
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tspn
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tspn
Black gram dal (Urud) - 1 tspn
Green chilli - 1 small
Garlic - 1 large clove
Onions - 1 large
Curry powder - 1 tspn( available at indian grocery stores or see masalas recipe)
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tspn
  • Chilli powder - 1/4 tspn
  • Tomatoes - 4
  • Coriander leaves - 1/8 cup(chopped)
  • Heat oil in a pan, add ginger to it and saute for a minute. Remove the ginger from the oil and discard.
  • Splutter some mustard in the ginger infused oil.Add the cumin seeds, black gram dal and green chilli.Saute.
  • Add garlic and saute and before it browns add onions.Saute.
  • Once the onions turn translucent, add salt, turmeric, chilli powder and curry powder.
  • Saute well for about 4-5 mins on a medium flame.
  • Add tomatoes and stir.Cook for a minute, add 1/2 cup water and cover and let cook for 7-8 mins.
  • Add coriander, stir and turn off the flame.
  • Finally, make slits in the hard boiled egg and add to the curry.
  • Serve hot. Partners well with any roti or even rice for a change.
Luv 'n' luc'

Monday, April 27, 2009

Repost -Pav Bhaji

I'm making a repost today. This is being sent for the 15 minute cooking event conducted by Mahima
Mumbai is known for its street food as it is for Bollywood. I have visited Mumbai once, on a school excursion, and have a vivid memory of all the yummy street food availabe there. Gol gappas( pani puri), vada pav, pav bhaji etc.

Once, I heard Anthony Bourdain, famous chef and Tv personality, remark on a Tv show, that he expected all the politicians, street vendors and other citizens to break into song and dance, out of the blue, on the streets (like in Indian movies) when he visited Mumbai. But, it didn't happen. He was disappointed at that, but, the street food did not disappoint, he said. That's fair enough.

Pav bhaji is the number one street food in Mumbai and soon catching up in other states as well. Pav means bread and bhaji means vegetable gravy. It is Indian fast food and mind you- a very healthy version compared to it's american counterparts. Now, how many fast foods can boast of that? I have heard that it is also called the - Indian sloppy joe.

Always makes as a meal in itself. It is a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies. The homemade version of this dish may never taste as authentic as the style in which the street vendors make it. But, it, defintely, is a more hygienic preparation and the flavors come close.
This food is worth every minute you spend making it.

Prep time - 20-25 mins
Ingredients:(serves 2-3)

  • Potatoes- 2 large( peeled and cut)
  • Carrots - 2 ( chopped)
  • Beans - 10 ( cut)
  • Cauliflower florets - 1/2 cup
  • Peas - 1 cup
  • Capsicum( green pepper) - 1 small( diced)
  • Onions - 1 medium (diced)
  • Tomato - 1 (diced)
  • Pav bhaji masala - 2 tspns (click here to see recipe)
  • Cumin powder - 1 tspn
  • Garam masala - 3/4 tspn
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tspn
  • Paprika powder - 1 tspn ( substitute with kashmiri chilli powder)
  • Chilli powder- to taste
  • Ginger - garlic paste- 1 tspn
  • Oil - 2 tbspns
  • Salt - to taste
  • Chopped coriander leaves - 3 tbsps
  • Butter - 1 tspn (optional)
  • Wedges of lemon and chopped onion -to garnish
  • Boil the carrots, beans, peas, cauliflower and potatoes with little salt. Drain the vegetable and save the stock(stock is the water in which the vegetables were boiled)
  • Heat oil in a sauce pan.
  • Add onions and saute till translucent.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add ginger-garlic paste. Saute for about 3 mins.
  • Add the pav bhaji masala, turmeric powder, paprika powder, chilli powder and garam masala. Saute for 5-6 mins. Add tomato, capsicum and 3-4 tbspns of the vegetable stock( which was saved earlier) and cover and cook for 3-4 mins.
  • Add the necessary salt.( remember that the vegetables were cooked with salt earlier so add salt accordingly)
  • Add cumin powder and stir.
  • Add the boiled vegetables and mash with a potato masher.Mix well. Add 4-5 tbspns or more vegetable stock to this mixture till you get bhaji which is semi-solid.( it should not be too thick nor too dilute). Stir well till the masala is mixed well with the bhaji.
  • Cook on low flame for 2 mins.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with some chopped onions, coriander leaves and a blob of butter and a wedge of lemon.
  • Serve hot with pav( bread).
I forgot to add onions to my bhaji garnish while taking snap shots. I realised it only after I wiped my plate clean :)
Luv 'n' luc'

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Awe striking Arizona

As we flew into Phoenix, the view was breathtaking. The city was surrounded by hills and mountains and I felt that there was a big similarity between Phoenix and Dubai- both are awesome, well developed deserts. That evening we drove 5 hours to Glen Canyon in page and checked into our hotel.
Day 1- Sightseeing in Page near the north rim.
We visited the Antelope canyons- upper and lower. We also visited the Horse-shoe bend. All these places looked like paintings (as you can see for yourselves in the snaps). I could not believe my eyes. I didn't even want to blink, I just wanted to keep my eyes wide open and take in all the beauty of Page. The day was perfect and went as planned and in the evening we drove from Page to Grand Canyon.
Day 2- It snowed so hard, drizzled and it was so foggy in Grand Canyon that there was no point going to the national park. The weather thought it could could screw our holiday. But we were the "smart" ones. We showed "a finger" to the weather because we had a back-up plan and drove 2 hours down the hills to the plains where it was so bright and sunny and saw the most intriguing sights.
We visited the Painted desert, the petrified forest and the meteor crater. At the end of the day, we were glad it snowed in Grand Canyon because, if not we would never have gotten a chance to see these amazing natural wonders. This pic shows the painted desert. It really looks painted doesn't it?

Day 3- We drove down to Sedona. It was the most scenic drive. And it is the most beautiful little town and believe me, it's a must-see if anyone plans to travel to Arizona. Pictures do not do justice to this place. You have to go and see it with your naked eyes to understand what I'm talking about. I was awe struck. ( I would not mind spending the rest of my life there). To me Sedona was a mini-Switzerland. The town center was ditto Switzerland with rock formations all around instead of snow capped mountains. My jaw dropped. If Switzerland was in a desert, it would definitely look like Sedona. Sedona was absolutely "love at first sight".
In Sedona, we saw all the rock formations, views and the Cathedral on the rock.

I must mention the wonderful handicrafts and curios that are handmade by the American-Indians. The painted earthern pottery and jewellery were the most stunning amongst all. I could not help myself when I bought a piece of pottery which I hope to carry to India in one piece. My fingers are crossed:)
And that evening we had our flight back home. On the whole, we had a great great trip.
Am I sad that we couldn't visit the Grand Canyon national park? The answer is a big NO, not the least bit. Why? Because, we have planned another visit to Arizona and Utah in August :)
I HOPE I HAVE NOT OFFENDED ANYONE BY MAKING A TRAVEL POST IN A FOOD BLOG. Just hoping no one will have issues with that.

Luv 'n' luc'

Monday, April 20, 2009


Confession time: I confess that I'm a COCONUT ADDICT.

Kerala, truly, lives up to it's title -" God's own country" . Dominated by its greenery, paddy fields, palm trees and back waters, its beauty mesmerizes visitors and natives, alike. Being a romantic at heart, I yearn to visit Kumarkom - a captivating locale, sandwiched by the palm-lined backwaters and the western ghats. Though I have my roots in God's own country, time has never permitted me to enjoy the pleasure of journeying those waters in the tranquility of a house boat. That remains an unfulfilled dream.

Most people relate coconut to Kerala and why would they not. In Kerala, almost every household has backyards with tall,swaying palm trees and mounds of coconuts piled up in every nook and corner . As coconut is so vastly present and available in abundance throughout the year and relatively inexpensive, it plays a very bossy role in Keralan cuisine. Just about anything cooking in a Malayali's kitchen will have this authoritative chief in it.

With that kind of a background, I was steered into becoming a coconut addict and maybe, someday, I'll be put in rehab ;) I love its creamy flavor and anything 'coconut' reminds me of home. Sinking my teeth into this cake, always puts me in a trance. And, I think I have named this cake aptly.....................truly takes you to paradise.

And this snap is a really old one from my archive and is, by far, one of the worst I've ever taken. Sorry about that guys. ( But, what can I do? I was in too much of a hurry to dive into the cake:)

INGREDIENTS (Makes 7-8 servings)

For cake

  • 170 gms (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 tspn pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn baking soda
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup(abt 60 gms) sweetened shredded coconut

For Frosting

  • 1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tspn pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 pound powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbspns cream of coconut(optional) - [available in the liquor section of most supermarkets]
  • 1-1/2 cups(abt 90 gms) sweetened shredded coconut


  • Layer a loaf pan with parchment paper(for those of you who have run out if it, you can just butter the pan and dust it with a little flour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F(177 degree C).
  • In a bowl cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed of an electric mixer for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add these dry ingredients and the milk and buttermilk to the butter-egg mixture. Mix until just combined.
  • Fold in the coconut with a rubber spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the tops are browned .
  • Now insert a tooth pick into the cake.If it comes out clean the cake is done.If not, reduce the temperature of your oven to 275 degrees and bake it for 10 additional mins.
  • Repeat the tooth pick check and baking process till cake is done.
    When done,Let the cake rest for 10 mins in the cake tin and then remove the cake from the loaf pan by inverting it gently.
  • Cool the cake on a baking rack for 30 minutes or longer to cool completely.
  • Combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract with a hand mixer on low speed. Add the powdered sugar and cream of coconut mix until well blended (do not bring this to a stiff consistency like if it were whipped).
  • Spread coconut flakes evenly onto a baking sheet. Place in a 350 degree F oven for 2 to 3 minutes allowing the flakes to toast and turn a golden brown color.( Make sure you do not burn.The toasting happens very fast).When done,remove from oven and let it cool for about 7-8 mins.
  • Cut the loaf cake lengthwise into 2 halves. Place the bottom half on a serving platter and spread some frosting on the top( see pic).Then, sprinkle some toasted cooled coconut flakes on the frosting.
  • Now, place the second half on top of the first and frost the whole cake.To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.( You don't have be to obsessed about frosting the cake perfectly because the toasted coconut on the frosting will hide all the flaws )

Luv 'n' luc'

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thepla/ Methi Roti

Hi folks,
I'm glad to be back. Hope all of you are well. Seems like a long time. I had a great trip Since many of you asked for my tour snaps, will post a few sometime next week. I will not harp too much on my travel because my blog is just a food blog and not a travel one:)

So back to food blogging.

This recipe comes to you right from the place of it's birth- Gujarat. My sister-in-law, Vidya, lives in Gujarat. She, being born, brought-up and settled there, is great at preparing Gujrati cuisine. This one is unmistakably scrumptious and I think that it's the authentic preparation too.

I love the vesatality of rotis. You can make them plain, or stuffed , mix them with spice, fry them etc etc. When I check out many blogs, I see different varieties of rotis and it always amazes me at the innumerbale varieties in which one can make them. WOW!

I know that Gujratis always add sugar to most of their dishes. Might sound funny to south Indians, but it's all a matter of taste. For theplas, the dough is made by adding yogurt instead of water. I have mentioned a quick tip in the end of the recipe to freeze the theplas and to facilitate making them later.
This recipe is being sent to the 15 minute cooking event conducted by Mahima.

Ingredients:( makes 10 theplas)

  • Atta (whole wheat flour) - 1-3/4 cups
  • Bajra flour( pearl millet flour) - 1/2 cup
  • Besan ( chick pea flour) - 1/2 cup
  • Yogurt - 1/2 cup( or as required)
  • Oil - as required
  • Fresh methi leaves (fenugreek leaves) - 1 bunch ( separate the leaves from the stalk and discard the stalks)
  • Garam masala - 1 tspn
  • Turmeric - 1/4 tspn
  • Chilli powder - 1 tbspn
  • Salt - to taste
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tspn
  • Cumin powder - 1 tspn
  • Ginger- garlic paste - 2 tspns
  • Sugar - 1 tspn( optional)

  • Mix all the ingredients and make a dough. Knead well. Add more yogurt if necessary.( The dough will be sticky ) So after kneading the dough, add a tspn of oil and spread it around the dough and cover and set aside for 20-30 mins.
  • Divide the dough into 10 equal portions .( The dough will be very soft and kind of sticky
  • Using more oil, roll out the dough into rotis. Theplas are thick rotis , so don't roll them out too thin.( since the dough is very soft you don't have to apply pressure while rolling out the thepla.)
  • Cook them on tava( crepe pan) similar to making chapatis.Serve with raita and pickle.
Quick Tip:
This recipe is a great one to make ahead of time and freeze. The instructions to freeze theplas is provided below. I, usually, make double the dough and freeze the uncooked theplas. So, next time you want a quick thepla, just take it from the freezer and cook it.

Instructions: Roll out the theplas with the help of oil and place each one of them between sheets of parchment paper. Use of parchment paper prevents the rotis from sticking to each other. Put them in ziploc bag and freeze them. They stay for upto a week.

Luv 'n' luc'

Monday, April 6, 2009


Hope all of you had a great weekend. I did:)
We went to the Shaw Nature reserve to see thousands of daffodils in bloom. ( That was how it was advertised- Come see 1000's in bloom). But, I think it was the over expectation which led us to be disappointed. There were thousands. True. But all in small patches here and there spread across a large, large area. So, it's beauty did not come through. But, still, the flowers were beautiful and we enjoyed the stroll.
About this week - We are leaving for the grand canyon on Thursday and will be back only on Monday. So, see you guys sometime next week. I'm disappearing from the blogging scene for a week.
My post for today is another speciality from kerala. Moru kootaan( buttermilk curry)
My friend, Viji, who now lives in Texas, says that she has not made any other style of moru kootan ever since I handed her this recipe. She has nothing less than "awesome" and "great" to say about this curry.

Ingredients :Bold( serves 3-4)
  • White pumpkin - 25o gms
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tspn
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Chilli powder - 1/2 tspn
  • Salt - to taste
  • Buttermilk - 1 cup
  • Curry leaves - 5-6 leaves
  • Oil - 2 tspns
  • Red chilli - 1
  • Mustard - 1/2 tspn
  • Fenugreek seeds(methi seeds)- 1/2 tspn(optional)
Ingredients (To grind to a fine paste):
  • Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
  • Green chillies - 2 (small)
  • Cumin seeds - 1-1/2 tspn
  • Wash and peel the pumpkin.Discard the seeds and the mushy centre.Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Heat a pan and add 1 cup water to it.Add the white pumpkin pieces, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt and boil till the pumpkin is cooked.(takes about 6-7 mins).
  • Pour buttermilk into the ground-coconut mixture and stir well.
  • Pour this into the curry and cook for another 2 mins on a medium flame.
  • Take the curry off the heat.
  • Finally, heat oil in a small saute pan. Splutter mustard. Season red chilli and fenugreek seeds along with it.Add fresh curry leaves.
  • Add this seasoning to the hot moru kootan .
  • Stir and serve with rice.
Luv 'n' luc'

Friday, April 3, 2009


Vishu is round the corner. Vishu is new year's day in the Malayalam calender and falls on the 14th of April in the Gregorian calendar . It is celebrated with much pomp and splendor in Kerala.

There are 3 awesome things about Vishu which I love.

One, I love the custom followed at dawn, on the day of Vishu.

The lady of the house sets up a large platter in the Pooja room( room of worship) on the night before Vishu. The platter is arranged with fruits, money, jewels, flowers, a new piece of cloth, paddy and a very special mirror called the "valkannadi". The unique feature of this mirror is that it is not made of glass, like most mirrors, but bronze metal. The significance of the mirror on this arranged tray is to reflect prosperity, wealth and welbeing. This arranged platter is called Vishu Kani.The ritual followed at dawn is that every individual is brought blindfolded straight from bed to the Pooja room, so that the first sight seen on the new year's day is this tray signifying prosperity. This is called Kani kaanal. It is believed that seeing the Kani will carry forward prosperity throughout the year.
Secondly, I love the tradition of all the elders in the family offering money to the younger members( Great way to get a fat pocket)

Finally, I love the sadhya( famous vegetarian meal of kerala) with lots and lots of sides.

Usually, sadhya is served on banana leafs and it's difficult to number the various side dishes. The sides for rice are avial, sambar, moru kootan, kaalan, thoran, erisseri, papadam, pickle, kaaya varthathu( plaintain chips), chena varthathu( yam chips), sarkkara upperi, ghee, inji puli, parippu(dal), olan, moru, stew.........and believe me when I say that I have named just a few :) Then, there's dessert too. Mostly palpradhman( kheer made of milk) and sarkkara pradhaman( and one made of jaggery). Mmmm! (I guess just by reading that, everyone's stomach is filled:)

I wonder why I write all only makes me yearn to go home...
Anyway, I'm shelling out some recipes for some kerala specialities. I'll start with avial. Avial is a mixture if various vegetables in a yogurt-coconut gravy. I personally think that an avial requires a minimum of 5 veggies to be included in it. In this recipe, I have added 6 varieties of veggies. This dish is a powerhouse packed with nutrition. And it's pretty simple too.
Note: The vegetables are required to be cut into long peices. This cutting style is called julienne . For avial, the veggies need to be cut into 1-1/2 inch long and thin pieces.

Preparation time - 20 mins
Ingredients:( serves 5-6)
  • Julienned yam- 3/4 cup
  • Julienned carrots - 1 cup
  • Beans (cut into 1 inch pieces) - 1 cup
  • Drumsticks ( cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces) - about 12-15 pieces
  • Julienned white pumpkin - 1 cup
  • Julienned raw plantains - 1 cup
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tspn
  • Salt - to taste
  • Grated coconut - 1 cup
  • Green chillies - 4
  • Cumin seeds - 2 tspns
  • Sour yogurt - 1/2 cup
  • Oil - 1 tspn
  • Curry leaves - 7-8
  • Make a coarse paste of the coconut, green chillis and cumin seeds with about 3-4 tbspns of water.
  • Transfer the paste to a small bowl and add yoghurt. Mix well. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, pour 2 cups water and add turmeric and salt. Boil beans and drumsticks in it for 3 mins. ( If you need avial with lots of gravy, add more water)
  • When they are half-cooked add the rest of the vegetables in the same pot and cook
    When the vegetables are nearly done, add the coconut- yoghurt mix to the vegetables. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  • Add the curry leaves and the oil and turn off the heat.
  • Serve hot with rice.
Luv 'n' luc'


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