Friday, August 20, 2010

Peanut butter and chocolate chip cupcake

Isn't that a pretty sight? Wow, I am so proud of myself for baking cup cakes. You might wonder, what is the big deal? The big deal is, I have never baked a cup cake before! Gotta be honest with you guys- I am intimidated by baking. For some reason, I was convinced that I could not bake and I always stayed away from it. Finally I decided, what can go wrong? (except the fact that a bunch of cup cakes will have to be thrown in the bin). I won't call this a master piece. This is just a stepping stone and I can't wait to try some more baking. Like a child who is given a toy to play, here I am listing my joy in baking these cup cakes- Hope you enjoy! I got this recipe from one of my friend who is super smart in baking and dedicate this blog post to my friend-



2 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup choco chips (semi sweet)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups full cream milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter


I started by preheating my oven to 350 degrees. Arranged the cup cake tray with paper liners. In a big mixing bowl, combined all the above listed ingredients. Kept mixing till it became a super smooth batter (for around 4 minutes). With the help of a spoon filled the cups (1/2  to 2/3 full). Baked them for around 25 to 30 minutes. You could decorate it with any frosting of your choice. Will start improvising from my next baking- Till then, I am enjoying these cupcakes!

Nutty, lemony fidelini!

Vermicelli or fidelini is a kind of pasta that is thinner than spaghetti and looks like little worms :)
You can be super creative with fidelini and whip up something fast and tasty. This is my creative version of fidelini - of course with an Indian touch.


  • 2 cups fidelini/vermicelli
  • 1 cup chopped red and green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup canned sweet corn
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • peanuts
  • crushed black pepper (1/2 tsp)
  • cashew nuts
  • lime juice (1&1/2 tsp)
  • chopped corriander leaves
  • turmeric powder
  • mustard seeds
  • chopped chilli pieces (1 big red chilli)
  • garam masala (3/4 tsp)
  • salt (according to taste)
  • cooking oil

Preparation- Boil fidelini till they are soft. Rinse it in cold water to remove any starch. Make sure that the noodles don't stick to each other. In a wok, pour around three tablespoons of cooking oil. As it gets hot, toss in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add cashew nuts, ground nuts and fry them till golden brown. Put in the onions and fry them till they are translucent. Add green chillies, bell peppers, peas, corn and fry them till they are crispier. Toss in the turmeric powder, crushed pepper, garam masala and salt. As the vegetables take in the spice add the fidelini and cook them all together. Before serving add lemon juice and chopped corriander leaves- Enjoy!

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.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stuffed cauliflower roti (Gobi parantha)

I love cauliflower and enjoy eating it in any form and shape. The usual of course, would be a stir fry with other vegetables or mixing with rice. You could try something different and stuff them in a roti... This one is inspired from the road side food stall I used to enjoy eating in Delhi.  Tastes swell with hot chilli sauce!

Ingredients- (for stuffing)

  1. 1 small cauliflower
  2. 1 tsp grated ginger
  3. 1 tsp garam masala
  4. 1/2 tsp paprika powder
  5. salt (according to taste)
  6. oil to mix the stuffing
Ingredients (for base/roti)
  1. wheat flour (3 cups)
  2. salt (3/4 tsp)
Preparation- In a bowl, mix wheat flour, water & salt.  Knead it to a smooth dough and set it aside. For the filling, grate the cauliflower and mix it with the above mentioned spices. Add oil to mix the suffing well with spices. 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)- Take around two spoons of the filling and place it in middle of the flattened dough. Fold the sides with the filling in middle so that it appears as a small pouch.  Flatten this pouch with a bit of flour to a round shape-

In a pan, fry the paranthas till golden brown on both sides- Serve it hot with chilli sauce!  

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!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mixed Vegetable Rice

Rice is truly a flamboyant ingredient as you can be super creative with it. You can mix and match spices and come up with something really flavorful. My recipe is a simple vegetable rice where I cook the vegetables with Indian spices and mix them with Jasmine rice or Thai rice. 

  • Jasmine rice 1 cup 
  • Half a cup of peas, bell peppers, cauliflower, carrot and boiled potatoes
  • One onion (sliced)
  • One tomato (sliced)
  • One spoon garlic-ginger paste
  • Cumin seeds
  • Salt (according to taste)
  • Corriander powder (1 tablespoon)
  • Hot curry masala powder or Garam masala powder (1 tablespoon)
  • Crushed cardamom seeds
Preparation- (Rice)
Wash the rice thoroughly and leave it soaked in water for about half an hour. After half an hour drain the excess water and keep it separately. In a wok heat some oil and add cumin seeds once the oil is hot. As the cumin seeds start sputtering add the rice and pour two cups of water. Allow the rice to cook on a high flame for few minutes and once the rice starts boiling close the wok with a lid and allow it to cook on a low flame. In about 15 minutes, the rice should be ready.

Preparation - (Vegetables)
In a separate wok heat some oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and fry them till golden brown. Add the chopped tomato and vegetables and fry them till tender (don't allow it to get mushy). Add the garlic- ginger paste, corriander powder, garam masala and crushed cardamom seeds. Mix the vegetables with spices and add salt according to taste. Once the vegetables are fried and have completely taken the spices mix them with the prepared rice. Enjoy it piping hot :)

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, August 1, 2010

Stuffed spinach roti!

The dark clouds threatened rain and my stomach was rumbling with hunger pangs- Me gazing the pitter patter of rain drops thought- why not cook something different and spicy? I did not have much time as my television enticed me to the usual drama...I tried out this stuffed spinach roti and took me flat 30 minutes to make them. Rushed to my favorite couch and enjoyed my usual dose of drama junk with piping hot roti's and pickle-


Wheat flour, spinach, salt for the base
Crumpled tofu/cottage cheese(paneer), finely chopped onions, crushed and chopped garlic, dash of pepper, chopped green chillies, garam masala/curry powder, salt according to taste for the filling.


The spinach has to be washed and boiled in water till they soften. Grind it to a fine paste. In a big bowl mix wheat flour (2 cups), spinach paste (about 1 cup) and salt till they become a smooth dough- the trick is avoid mixing water to make the dough. With the help of spinach paste knead the wheat flour to a smooth dough (if need be use oil to knead the dough).

For the stuffing- In a bowl mix the crumpled tofu/paneer, chopped onions, garlic, chillies, pepper and spices. I used the garam masala to bring in some flavor (you can choose to omit the spices). 
You can add in your own creativity for the filling like ginger, chopped corriander leaves, mashed potatoes...

Cooking- Take a small ball of dough in your fist and flatten it with a rolling pin. Take about two spoons of filling and place it in middle of the flattened dough. Fold the sides with the filling in middle so that it appears as a small pouch.  


Flatten this pouch again with the rolling pin using a bit of flour so that it does not stick to the surface. Cook this roti in a shallow frying pan with oil till they become golden brown on both sides. Enjoy it with yoghurt and pickle!


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