Showing posts with label sidedish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sidedish. Show all posts

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bring on the cabbage...

Cabbage is one vegetable which never catches my attention- I will go to the market and be interested in all the vegetables except cabbage. Never got around to know that vegetable, may be? Did you know that cabbage is a good source of vitamin c and contains a great deal of roughage! So finally, I swing by the market and get a big cabbage and cook it south Indian style- Enjoy!

What do we need?

1 big sized cabbage ( chopped)
mustard seeds (1 tsp)
cooking oil
curry leaves
turmeric powder (1/2 tsp)
chilli powder (3/4 tsp)
salt (according to taste)
broken dried red chilli pieces (3-4)
1 cup grated coconut

How did I put together?

The tough part is chopping the cabbage. Once done, cooking is just a matter of time...In a wok add oil and allow the mustard seeds to sputter. Add chilli pieces and chopped curry leaves. Toss in the chopped cabbage and allow it to cook on a low flame. I will sprinkle a little bit of water and cover the wok till the cabbage cooks and becomes soft. Do not put too much water otherwise the cabbage becomes soggy. As the cabbage becomes tender, add turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt and grated coconut. Mix thoroughly with a little bit of cooking oil. Enjoy with rice or rotis!

My mom is my inspiration and is the worst critic of my cooking- She looks at my post and says, this looks fine but you could have done it a bit differently. So I go, how different? She said, you need to chop the cabbage super fine (which apparently I haven't done in my recipe) and second instead of sprinkling water and cooking your cabbage, use liberal dose of oil to make it more sleek. I defended my cooking saying it is a healthier version. She wouldn't let me go so easily and said to compensate for the extra oil, you could omit the coconut. Okay, the final verdict is- you can do so many variations with this dish- Some add peanuts, yellow lentils (chana dal), green peas and some may choose to omit coconut powder. As usual, be creative and don't be afraid to bend the rules with cooking!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy Janmashtami!

Today, as per hindu mythology, Lord krishna was born. What do I say about him? He is one god who doesn't need any penance, just simple devotion. Did I drift too much into Hindu religion? Ok, let me come to the point- Hindus celebrate Janmashtami today marking the birth of Lord Krishna. I love this festival very much- Guess why? Because of all the snacks we would make in the name of God ;) and my favorite part is decorating the house with foot prints. Yes, you heard it right- We would draw foot prints (with the help of chalk or rice flour) with the belief that little lord krishna will come crawling in our home and eat the snacks we made for him! 

This is murukku- which requires a smooth dough consisting rice (1 cup), 1 spoon gram flour, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, 1 big teaspoon melted butter, salt and pinch of asafoetida powder. Ofcourse, you need a murukku machine. This machine has small plates with which you can get any shape you want- Put the dough in the machine and squeeze them in desirable shapes :)

 This is called thattai which is made from a smooth dough consisting rice (1 cup), 2 tsp urad dal (also called black gram flour), 1tsp bengal gram (soaked previously), sesame seeds 1/2 tsp, pinch of asafoetida powder, chopped curry leaves, salt and melted butter. Once the dough is ready you need to take a small ball in your fist and flatten it to a thin round. Fry it in oil!

This is the main attraction of our snacks for this festival- Also called cheedai this is pretty simple to make once you have the dough. We need a smooth dough consisting rice (1 cup), 1 spoon gram flour, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, 1 big teaspoon melted butter, salt and pinch of asafoetida powder.  Once the dough is done, roll them in small balls and fry them in oil. Just ensure that when you roll the dough into small balls, the shape should be uniform and don't roll them big!
This is called ribbon pakoda and is made with a smooth dough consisting 2 cups rice flour, 2 cups gram flour, 3/4 tsp paprika powder, melted butter, pinch of asafoetida powder and salt. You need murukku machine to make them. 

Happy Janmashtami to all the believers! 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yummy cottage cheese!

This recipe is my take on a famous north Indian dish called Kadai paneer. "Kadai Paneer" literally translates to cottage cheese or paneer cooked in a kadai or frying pan. Simply put, you stir fry paneer (cottage cheese) with bell peppers and Indian spices. With right spices and flavors, this dish tastes fantastic and has never failed in wooing my audience. Can be served with rotis/naan or simply toasted bread-

What do we need?

Paneer / cottage cheese (cubed - about 1 cup)
Bell peppers- red, yellow and green- 2 cups sliced (generally green one is used) 
Tomatoes (2- chopped)
Onions (3- sliced)
Ginger (1/2 tsp grated)
Garlic (4 cloves crushed and chopped)
Green chilies (2 -chopped)
Salt (according to taste)
Cumin seeds(3/4 tsp)
Coriander powder (1 tsp)
Garam masala (1 tsp)
1 bay leaf
Cinnamon stick
Red chilli powder (1/2 tsp)
Dash of cardamom powder
Chopped corriander leaves for garnishing

How did I put together?

Heat butter in a frying pan. Add cumin seeds, green chillies, bay leaf and cinnamon. Add a dash of cardamom powder for extra flavor. Stir for a second before adding grated ginger, finely chopped onion and garlic. Cook for five minutes till the onion turns golden brown. Add tomatoes and cook on a low flame till the tomatoes get mushy. Add the spices- corriander powder, paprika powder and garam masala. Continue cooking it on a medium flame till the oil begins to separate. Add bell peppers and saute for about five to seven minutes. Add paneer and cook on a low flame till the paneer takes in the spices. Garnish with chopped corriander leaves.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and garlic butter

Absolutely love this simple Italian starter. Easy to make and really sumptuous!

What do we need?

2 ripe tomatoes
slices of cut Italian bread
4-5 cloves of garlic (crushed and chopped)
fresh basil leaves (chopped)
olive oil (1/2 tsp)
salt and pepper
mozzarella cheese for the topping

How did I put together?

Step 1: First we need to prepare the tomatoes. Boil water in a saucepan and drop the tomatoes in as the water starts boiling. Cook for a couple of minutes till the skin starts to split. Take the tomatoes out of boiling water and run them under cold water for a minute. Peel the skin, remove the seeds and roughly chop them.
Step 2: Prepare some garlic butter. Put the chopped garlic in a small cup and mix butter and salt. Blend them well till you achieve a spread consistency.
Step 3: Get the topping ready. Mix chopped tomatoes, basil leaves, salt, pepper and olive oil in a bowl.
Step 4: Rub the bread slices with garlic butter and toast them in a oven/griller till they are light brown on both sides.
Final step: Pile up the tomato filling on the bruschetta and add the mozzarella on top- Pop them in the oven for a couple of minutes till the cheese melts. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fridge clean-up!

So, here I am, left with a stack of bread (white bread) with no one in mood for any kind of sandwich. I hate wastage of any kind- especially food :( - I put on my thinking hat and whip up something really flavorful which just vanished within seconds. Check out!


  • 6-7 bread slices
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers (red and yellow)
  • green peas (1/4 cup)
  • chopped corriander leaves
  • curry leaves (5-6 leaves-chopped)
  • 2 green chillies ( chopped)
  • one medium sized onion (sliced)
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • groundnuts
  • salt (according to taste)
  • paprika powder- 1/2 tsp
  • turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  • garam masala/curry masala powder-1/2 tsp
  • cumin seeds

Cut the bread slices into small squares or shred them into tiny pieces and keep aside. In a wok, add butter or cooking oil and allow it to heat. Add the cumin seeds and wait for it to sputter. Saute onions, chillies, groundnuts, bell peppers and peas. Throw in the spices- paprika powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder/curry masala powder with salt. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes before adding the bread pieces. Add the grated coconut and curry leaves. Allow the bread pieces to take in the flavor and turn golden brown. I will leave the wok partially covered and put the gas on a low flame to ensure that the bread turns golden brown with the flavor. Of course, my signature to any dish is the chopped corriander leaves. Just finished eating and all I can say is BURP :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stuffed Bell peppers

If you are a vegetarian, the first question everyone will ask you is- where do you get your proteins from? – Answer is simple: Tofu, of course! I was not a huge fan of tofu- because it tastes like rubber and practically has no flavor at all. Slowly, I started experimenting and discovered new exciting ways to make tofu fun! This is another one of my experimental recipe and turned out pretty well- As it is an experimental recipe, you can be super creative and have a little fun of your own! Enjoy J

For the stuffing you need crumbled tofu (around 2 cups), 2 small onions chopped, 1 big tomato chopped, 2 green chillies chopped, ¾ tsp paprika powder, 1 tsp garlic and ginger paste (alternatively, you can use crushed garlic and grated ginger) and salt according to your taste.

Ofcourse, for the base you need 4-5 paprika/bell peppers, with the top cut off and de- seeded-

To prepare the stuffing- you need to sauté chopped onions, crushed and chopped garlic, grated ginger and chopped chillies in a frying pan with liberal dose of cooking oil/butter- As they start to become golden brown add the tomatoes. Fry for 2-3 minutes. Add tofu, paprika powder and salt. Fry them till tofu blends well and gets the flavor. If you are fond of garlic like me, then add 5 big pieces (crushed and chopped) otherwise, go easy on garlic. To make it spicy, add up to one tsp of paprika powder. Finishing touch will be the chopped coriander leaves.

Once the stuffing is done, all we need to do is quote our bell peppers with butter and fill them with the stuffing. Grill them in an oven for 20-30 minutes till they are cooked and become golden brown. You can add mozzarella cheese on top for that extra zing! Enjoy with hot chilli sauce J

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tofu stir fry- Indian style!

When you come back from office, all you want to do is kick back your shoes- fling your purse and hit the couch with a big "plop" sound! I always believe in quick fix dinners. Something that can be cooked faster, easier and takes minimal effort. Well, this stir fry can be done easily- provided you are fast at chopping vegetables. Here we go with tofu stir fry- Stuff them in tortilla for a quick wrap.


  • Tofu (1 block)- tofu should be firm and not crumple
  • 1 big cup paprika (bell peppers- red and green)- cut them length wise
  • Spring onion leaves- chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tomato (chopped)
  • 2 small onions (sliced)
  • 1 spoon grated ginger
  • 2 big cloves garlic (crushed and chopped to pieces)
  • cumin seeds (1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp curry masala powder (optional)
  • salt (according to taste)
  • chopped green chillies (2 small chillies)
  • 1 spoon butter

The difficult part is chopping the vegetables and getting them ready- once done, it takes minimal effort to put them all in a wok and fry them till all the spices blend. Let's start with the stir fry- As mentioned above, the tofu has to be firm. Cut them in cubes- Cut, chop and slice all the vegetables. In a wok, pour oil and allow it to heat. Once hot, add cumin seeds and chopped green chillies. As the cumin starts sputtering, toss in the onions and allow them to fry till golden brown. Add ginger, garlic and tomato. Keep stirring till onions blend well with tomatoes. As it starts getting mushy, throw in the paprika and tofu. Stir for one minute before adding the spices- paprika powder, garam masala, curry masala powder and salt. Toss in the chopped spring onion leaves. Add one spoon of butter and allow the tofu and vegetables to absorb the spices! Leave it on a low flame for 10 minutes and ensure that tofu has absorbed the spices- Finishing touch will be chopped corriander leaves.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aloo fry

One thing is for sure- Potato dishes are popular in every corner of this earth. That is one vegetable which is a hit with everyone. Imagine a lazy saturday afternoon with a dish that is smeared with spices and has been fried to a perfection with corriander leaves... here we go with Aloo (potato) fry dish- Requires minimal effort with maximized guarantee of satisfaction :)

  • Potoatoes (1/2 Kilo)
  • Cumin seeds
  • Green chillies (2) chopped finely
  • Paprika powder (3/4 tsp) 
  • Corriander powder (3/4 tsp)
  • Salt (according to taste)
  • Chat masala/garam masala/tandoori masala (1/2 tsp) - I used tandoori masala for my dish, but you can also use chat masala or garam masala or avoid using any masala altogether.
  • Chopped corriander leaves

Boil potatoes and peel the skin. Cut them in cubes. In a wok, add oil (liberal dose) and as it gets hot put in the cumin seeds. As the cumin seeds start sputtering, put the chopped green chillies, boiled potatoes and give it a good toss. Let's shake this up with our spices- add paprika powder, corriander powder, tandoori masala/garam masala and salt. Pour some oil and allow the potatoes to fry with the masala. Just ensure potatoes don't stick to the bottom and keep tossing the potatoes so that it turns golden brown. Leave the potatoes to fry on a low flame for around 15 minutes. Finishing touch is our corriander leaves- sprinkle and enjoy! Makes a great starter :)


Friday, August 13, 2010

Leftover lentils?

What do you do with left over dal (lentils cooked with Indian spices)? Simple- make some paranthas (Indian flat bread) with them! One of the easy to make recipes which tastes fantastic with yoghurt.


  • Left over Yellow dal/lentils 
  • Wheat flour
  • Salt (according to taste)
Alternatively (if you don't have left over yellow dal) you can pressure cook some yellow split bean/moong dal around 1 cup and cook it simply with Indian spices. Here is a quick recipe for dal- 

Ingredients- Chopped ginger (1/2 tsp), crushed and chopped garlic (3 pieces)- if you are fond of garlic, go for four to five pieces, 1 onion chopped, 1 tomato chopped, 2 green chillies (chopped), cumin seeds (1/2 tsp)

As mentioned above, cook the yellow dal/lentils till they are soft or pressure cook them (for around 3 whistles). In a small frying pan heat some butter and once it melts, add cumin seeds. As the cumin seeds start sputtering add chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies. Fry them for a minute before adding some chopped onions and tomatoes. Fry them for ten minutes. Once it is fried well add salt and corriander leaves. Pour this gravy into the cooked lentils and cook the dal for 2 minutes- Remember your dal has to be soupy.

Now back to my original recipe for parantha-  I had good quantity of left over dal and this is what I did with it- In a big mixing bowl, add around 2 cups of wheat flour and with the help of the soupy dal knead it to a fine dough. Add salt according to taste. Try to avoid using water to knead the flour (the soupy dal should suffice). In case you run out of dal, add water. Once you are finished kneading the flour add a big spoon of oil to make the dough silky and pound it well. The end result should be like this-

For making paranthas take a small ball of dough and flatten it with a rolling pin using a bit of flour so that it doesn't stick to the surface-

Cook this parantha in a frying pan with oil/butter till they become golden brown on both sides-

Enjoy them with yoghurt and pickle or hot chilli sauce!

This is one style of preparing the parantha- there is another way to make this (with stuffing inside). Will blog someday about that as well - watch out for this space! Remember you can do this with any kind of left over dal/lentils -not just yellow dal- you can improvise this recipe by adding chopped corriander and chopped onions to the dough when kneading.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Black eye beans

I love black eye beans (lobia) and if cooked in a good spicy gravy it absolutely tastes heavenly! So let's get cooking black eye beans-


  • 2 cups black eye beans (soaked overnight)
  • 1 tablespoon corriander powder
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • one chopped onion
  • 3 big cloves garlic (crushed and chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tomato (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • cardamom powder for flavor (dash of it will do)
  • Dry red chilli (2 pieces) - 
  • Chopped corriander
  • 1 spoon butter
Pressure cook the black eye beans till they are soft and tender (takes about 30-40 minutes). In a wok add some oil and once it gets hot put in the cumin seeds and dry red chillies (break them into small pieces). As the cumin seeds start sputtering, add the onions and fry them till they are translucent. Add the garlic and ginger. Keep stirring for two minutes. Add the chopped tomato and mash them a bit so that it becomes a good thick paste. Now comes the spices- put the turmeric powder, corriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala. Cook for around 5 minutes till the oil separates from the mixture. Add the boiled black eye beans with two cups of water and continue to cook till the beans blend well with the spices (which should take just around 5 minutes). Add salt and cardamom powder. Add the butter and cook for one minute. Before serving add chopped corriander and enjoy it hot with rice or rotis!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

South Indian snack

We south Indians have a special way to celebrate festivals- We cook different delicacies for different occasion and enjoy them with family and friends. Come Diwali (festival of lights) and my mom used to cook amazing snacks and fill up two full boxes for us kids to munch on- Within a week we would manage to complete every available morsel that mom made for the festival...Good old days! One of my favorites is murukku. Here I am, on a boring sunday afternoon trying to recreate some of my mom's magic in cooking- Enjoy!


  • One cup rice powder
  • One small spoon gram flour (kadalai maavu/ besan)
  • One small spoon Jeera or cumin seeds
  • One big spoon melted butter 
  • Salt according to taste

You need a mold or murukku machine or acchu to make this dish- 

In a big bowl mix all the ingredients listed above with water and make it a super smooth dough- When I mean super smooth, it means the dough has to be non sticky and soft  (add oil while mixing if need be). In a deep frying pan, pour good amount oil and put it on a high flame on your gas stove. Once the oil is hot, fill the dough in the mold/ murukku machine and squeeze them in desirable shapes into the oil and fry them till they are golden brown on one side. Turn the murukku to other side and cook them till they are golden brown on both sides. Make sure they are deeply fried and not removed too early or too late from the oil. This snack has a good shelf life and ensure that they are stored in a tightly closed container.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grilled cottage cheese

When it comes to Indian starters, we always think of deep fried brown objects (samosa, pakoda)- I call them UFO's (Unidentified Fried Objects). A simple starter will be grilled paneer or cottage cheese cubes. My simplified version on a very famous north Indian starter- Paneer tikka masala (Grill em and dig in)-

1 cup paneer/cottage cheese (cut them in cubes)
1/4 cup thick yoghurt
1 tsp red chilli powder (paprika powder)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp corriander powder and 1 tsp garam masala (salt to taste)

In a bowl mix yoghurt, chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger n garlic paste, corriander powder, garam masala and salt- it must be mixed to a smooth paste. Put the paneer cubes in this paste along with chopped corriander leaves and mix them thoroughly. Cover and keep it in fridge for marination. After a couple of hours, put the paneer on skewers and grill till golden brown. Enjoy them with hot chilli sauce!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vegetable dumpling...

I loved going to a small market in Alaknanda, Delhi which was famous for its road side food! I used to wait for this vendor on a cycle who would come every evening after 5 or 6 pm with a box of hot vegetable dumplings. Those were the best I have ever eaten. Tired of cooking Indian food, I tried my hands with the vegetable dumplings- turned out pretty good! simple and healthy food for lunch-

2 cups of all purpose flour.
small cabbage shredded
2 onions chopped
1 tablespoon of grated ginger or ginger paste
1 tablespoon of crushed and chopped garlic/garlic paste
 crumpled Tofu or paneer (1 cup)
 red chillies (3-4) or chili flakes


Dough- Prepare a smooth dough with the flour , salt and water. Put the dough in a air tight container and keep it aside till you make the filling.
Filling- In a frying pan- saute onions, garlic, ginger and once they become translucent, mix the cabbage- People generally mix some soya sauce to this vegetable stir fry. I am not such a huge fan of soya sauce and omitted it - You can add more vegetables like boiled potatoes or shredded carrots (you can be really creative with your filling). Add the chopped chillies, salt and keep stirring the vegetables till they are tender and cooked. Roll out the dough in a circle and place about a spoon of filling in middle. Close this dough with the filling in middle so that it resembles a small pouch- You can be really creative with the shapes-


Prepare all the dumplings and steam them for about 10-15 minutes till they are swollen- Serve them with Garlic chilli sauce!


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