Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Guacamole dip with veggie tortilla

Gosh, guacamole is one recipe that has so many variations and you never get tired of trying different combinations of it! This one is slightly different and I gave it a twist with some ground cumin and pepper-

What do we need?

4 Avacados
about 2 tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves (4 for a stronger garlic flavor- I am a huge garlic fan)
1 tomato chopped (the fleshier it is the better it comes out)
cilantro/corriander leaves
1 medium sized onion chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin (dry roast cumin seeds on a pan till light brown and then grind it)
green chillies (4) (serrano chillies are preferable, if not use the normal ones like I used in this recipe)
salt and dash of ground pepper (according to taste)

How did I put together?

Peel and mash your avacados in a bowl. In a mixer/food processor, blend the rest of the ingredients for about five seconds. Add your mashed avacados and again blend them for few seconds. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving- Popularly used as a dip, I used it for the tortilla wrap- You can store it in a tightly closed jar and keep in fridge for two to three days...

Simple veggie filling- for the tortilla

You can use any vegetables for the filling- (I used 4 medium sized potatoes and 2 carrots for the filling). Chop the carrots and potatoes into cubes and boil them for around 10 minutes (till they have softened a bit and not lost their shape). In a separate wok add oil and once it is hot, toss in some fennel seeds. Add the potatoes and carrots and fry for few minutes. Add 1/2 tsp of chilli powder and salt. Cook the vegetables on a low flame till they are golden brown. Add chopped coriander leaves for the extra flavor.

Final presentation- 

Take a wheat tortilla and spread your guacamole on it. Fill in the veggies and roll them to enjoy your evening!

You can be really creative with the filling- Instead of guacamole, you can use salsa or garlic sauce with the vegetables- Makes a great lunch box recipe!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Patatas Bravas

Inspired by Jamie's recipe, here is my take on patatas bravas...very popular spanish spicy appetizer! Patatas bravas are nothing but fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce. Ever since I tasted this dish, I was in hunt for a good recipe. Inspired by Jamie oliver's book, I finally made my own patatas bravas and it was perfect for the Friday night by the telly! Enjoy-

What do we need?

4-5 medium sized potatoes- peeled and halved
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
Fresh rosemary leaves
dash of paprika powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
salt to taste

For the bravas sauce-
1 onion finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
red chillies- 3 (deseeded and roughly chopped)
1 carrot (chopped finely)
fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp paprika powder
3 medium sized tomatoes (chopped)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (recipe requires sherry vinegar, couldn't get a hold of it and had to substitute balsamic vinegar- Use sherry vinegar, if possible)
ground black pepper
salt (according to taste)

How did I put together?

Boil the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes till they start to get tender. Make sure they do not lose their shape. Remove from gas, drain the water and allow the potatoes to cool down. Once the potatoes reach the room temperature, cut them into cubes or chunks. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Add the potatoes to the pan (with garlic and rosemary leaves) and cook them till they are golden all over. Transfer the potatoes, garlic and rosemary to a plate. Add a dash of paprika powder, fennel seeds and salt. Toss them all together until well coated.

For the sauce- Heat some olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook it for five minutes before adding the chillies, carrot and thyme leaves. Cook them on a low flame for five minutes. Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, paprika powder, salt and pepper. Bring it to boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. The gravy should start getting thick and rich. Remove from gas, and allow it to cool. Use a mixer to blend the gravy to a smooth consistency sauce.

Serving suggestions-

Pour the sauce over the potatoes and toss them together (like I did). Alternatively, you can serve the sauce in a jug next to the potatoes in a bowl.

Tastes amazing! You know your recipe was a hit when you see an empty dish :) - Have a great weekend 

Patatas Bravas

Thursday, September 16, 2010


My shopping grocery list always has hummus in it. I love it so much that I decided to make a batch for myself- Pretty easy to make, after all! 

What do we need? 

1 can of chick peas
1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp tahini
2 cloves garlic (I put 4 because I love the strong garlic flavor)
salt according to taste
2 tbstp olive oil

What is tahini?

Tahini is a sesame based gravy which you can get ready made in store. However, I couldn't find it and made it by myself. All you need is 3 tablespoon sesame seeds and 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Toast the sesame seeds in a pan on a low flame (don't allow it to get brown). After few minutes, blend it in a mixer to a fine paste with olive oil.

Now back to Hummus-

Drain the liquid from chick peas and keep it aside. In a mixer, combine all the ingredients and blend it for few minutes with the liquid from chickpeas. Place in a serving bowl and serve! 


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tamarind fever

This is one recipe I was keen on making for such a long time. My mom makes great tamarind rice- though I got the recipe, I never got around to make it. You get instant tamarind powder mix at shops that can be added to your rice and the dish will be ready within 5 minutes. The joy of making a gravy from scratch and mixing with rice is lost in this fast paced world...In reality, I was cleaning my book shelf and found a notebook with some recipes from mom. The first recipe was tamarind gravy and I made it as my mom would make it- The best part is this gravy can be kept up to two weeks and I am enjoying some smashing tamarind rice whenever I feel like it- Enjoy!

Ingredients- Gravy

Tamarind paste (3 tsp)- dilute them in a bit of water
mustard seeds
yellow split peas (chana dal- 1tsp)
dry red chilli pieces- 2
sesame seeds- 2 tbsp
groundnut- 3 tbsp
corriander seeds- 2 tbsp
paprika powder 1/2 tsp

Preparation -

In a wok, add some oil. Once the oil is hot throw in some mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add the yellow split peas, red chilli pieces and 1 tbsp of groundnuts. Fry for 1 minute and then add around 4 glasses of water to this. Add the diluted tamarind paste, 1/2 tsp paprika powder and salt (according to taste). Allow this tamarind water to boil. In a separate pan, fry the sesame seeds till light brown (in a bit of oil ) and set it aside. Fry the groundnuts and corriander seeds separately and keep it aside. In a mixer, grind the sesame seeds, groundnuts and corriander seeds to a fine powder. Once the tamarind water reduces to half, add this powder and stir it for few minutes. Keep it on a low flame and allow the mixture to thicken. Keep simmering the mixture till it becomes a good rich liquid gravy.

Now for the tamarind rice- Add the gravy to cooked rice...Simple! Vary the proportion of the gravy to your rice according to your taste-

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tofu balls...

I am the proud owner of Jamie oliver's book- (the new one- Jamie does Spain, Italy, Sweden, Morocco, France and Greece). More than 70% of this book contains non vegetarian dishes and me being a hard core vegetarian (funny part is I am allergic to eggs...LOL) can only gaze at all the photos and pages. One recipe caught my eyes- Mini meatballs. I decided to make this with crumbled tofu instead of minced meat and did as stated in the book. I was quite skeptical when I started making this dish. I stuck to the recipe and boy, it paid off- The tofu balls turned out amazing and vanished within seconds...


olive oil
a small bunch of fresh parsley
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped 
(original recipe calls only for 2 cloves) 
250g crumbled tofu
50g fine bread crumbs 
(original recipe calls only for 25g)
salt and ground pepper
(original recipe calls for sea salt)
1 small dried chilli 
2 large ripe tomatoes

There are a lot of minor adjustments I made to this recipe. The recipe calls for egg yolk, which I omitted as I am allergic. Instead, I used extra bread crumbs. Jamie uses spanish extra virgin olive oil for this recipe. I just used plain olive oil.

Preparation- Heat some olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Fry some onions (use half portion of onions) and chopped parsley for few minutes. As the onions start to soften, add half portion of the chopped garlic. Fry for few more minutes, until the onion is completely softened. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl and leave it to cool completely.  Once the onions are cooled, add the crumbled tofu, bread crumbs, some chopped parsley leaves, dried chilli, salt and pepper. Use your hands to shape them into lemon-sized balls. Pop them in fridge to firm for half an hour. 

When the tofu balls are ready get them out of fridge. Heat some water in a pan. As the water starts to boil, drop in the tomatoes. After a minute or so, you will see the skin has cracked. Fish them out of water with tongs and allow them to cool. Once cooled, discard the skin, squeeze out the seeds and finely chop the flesh. Put a pan on high heat and add a good amount of olive oil.  Add the tofu balls and fry them for 10 minutes till they are brown. Add the remaining chopped onions and garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped tomato and keep shaking and stirring. Simmer for around 5 minutes until the onions are soft and cooked. Transfer everything to a serving dish, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over some olive oil and scatter over the rest of the parsley leaves. 


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

Lord Ganesha or elephant god is pretty popular in Hindu religion. Before starting any work, you always seek his blessings. Today, we celebrate his birth and it is celebrated in a grand manner all through out India. Here are some delicacies I made to please Lord Ganesha- Enjoy!

Sweet Modak

My favorite is the sweet modak. It's a simple dish made out of rice flour stuffed with jaggery and coconut which is steamed to perfection.


Only four ingredients are required for this dish- Rice flour (2 cups), Jaggery (2/3 rd of a cup), 1 cup grated coconut, crushed cardamom for flavor.

Preparation- To prepare the dough, boil water in a wok. As it starts to boil, add one spoon oil and switch off your gas. To this boiling water, add the rice flour slowly and keep mixing till it becomes a smooth dough. For the filling, crush the jaggery to a powder consistency. On a low flame, melt the jaggery and as it starts to melt add grated coconut and cardamom. Mix thoroughly. Just ensure that the filling is not too mushy or too hard. Take a small ball of rice flour and flatten it with your hand. With your finger press the middle portion of the flattened dough so that it resembles a cup. Fill about half a spoon of the filling in middle. Close the dough with the filling in middle and shape the top to a small pointed dome.  Steam this for about 10 minutes and enjoy!

Medhu Vada- 

This dish sounds simple but requires precision and a bit of effort. All you need is a lentils batter which is shaped like a doughnut and fried till golden brown.

Ingredients- Urad dal (1 cup) - white gram/lentils, 2 tsp rice, chopped curry leaves, black pepper corn, 1 green chilli.

Preparation- Batter preparation is the tough part. Please note that urad dal and rice should be soaked in water for an hour. Drain the water completely and blend the lentils in a mixer to a smooth batter with green chillies, salt, curry leaves and pepper. The batter should be firm and not watery. Avoid using water when you blend it in a mixer. Once the batter is ready, heat oil in a wok. Shape the batter like a doughnut with a hole in middle and fry it to golden brown on both sides.

Sundal (Chick peas)-

This is a simple and a easy dish to make. All you need is chick peas steamed till they are soft and tender (alternatively, you can use a can of cooked chick peas). In a wok, heat some oil. Toss in some mustard seeds. As they start to sputter, add chopped green chillies and chopped curry leaves. Add the cooked chick peas with a bit of salt and mix them thoroughly. Final touch is the grated coconut. Add half a cup grated coconut to this and enjoy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Spicy & flavorful rice...

For our team dinner, we went to a fancy restaurant and the food was great. I loved the starter (cucumber salad with dill). For the main course, I ordered a vegetable stir fry with rice. The way they had described it on the menu sounded really exotic. When I received the dish (don't have pictures to show- unfortunately) it was a simple dish where the chef had cooked the vegetables with soya sauce and blended it with basmati rice. I was expecting something complex but received something simple and flavorful! Full marks to the chef :)- Well, this is not a restaurant review- But an explanation of my source of inspiration for my egg plant rice. For my dish, I cooked the eggplant (with Indian flavors, of course) and mixed it with basmati rice to create a simple and a unique eating experience. Enjoy!


  1. Basmati rice (cooked- 2 cups)
  2. 1 egg plant (medium sized)
  3. onions (sliced- 2 small)
  4. one tomatoe (chopped)
  5. 3 cloves garlic
  6. green chilli (1- chopped fine)
  7. salt
  8. paprika powder
  9. cooking oil
For the Indian flavors- (optional)
  1. 3/4 tsp garam masala 
  2. corriander leaves chopped fine
  3. mustard seeds (1/4 tsp)
  4. grated coconut (2 spoons)
Preparation- Cook your basmati rice and keep it separate. Preparing the egg plant is quite simple. In a wok, pop some mustard seeds in cooking oil before adding onion. Saute the onion. Once onion is golden crispy brown, add crushed and chopped garlic, chilli pieces and tomatoes. Don't allow the tomatoes to get mushy. Add egg plant (chopped in cubes) to this and stir fry with a bit of oil. Add paprika powder, salt, garam masala, grated coconut. Give it to a twirl and finally add the corriander leaves. Mix the vegetables with rice and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tofu n corn stuffed roti

Cooking is therapeutic...After a long day at the office, you just need to unwind- I pity people, who think cooking is a waste of time. My kitchen is my world and I simply love trying out new combinations just for the fun of it. One such combination is the tofu and sweet corn stuffed parantha/roti (Indian flat bread). Got to admit, I loved this combo and if you are looking for something different, then this is worth a shot!

What do we need? 

For stuffing-

  • crumbled tofu (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup canned sweet corn
  • salt
  • garam masala (1/2 tsp)
  • chilli powder (1/4 tsp)
  • oil for mixing
  • chopped corriander leaves
  • chopped green chillies (optional)
For base/making rotis-
  • wheat flour 
  • water
  • salt 
How did I put together?

In a bowl, mix wheat flour, water and salt. Knead it to a smooth dough and keep it aside. Use oil to make the dough silky and smooth. Combine all the ingredients listed above for filling. Just ensure that the filling is not soggy or too greasy otherwise it becomes difficult when you make the rotis. Take a small ball of dough and flatten it with a rolling pin. Place around 2 spoons of filling in the middle. Fold the sides with the filling in middle so that it appears as a small pouch. Flatten this pouch to a round shape- 

Need visual description?

In a pan, fry the paranthas till golden brown on both sides. Serve hot with pickle/sauce.

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! 

Thanks you for the award!

I have this wonderful opportunity to thank my fellow blogger for the award- Do check out her blog for some amazing recipes-

In accepting this award, I must add a link to the person giving the award and pass it to other blogging friends whose blog I love- so here is my list of people for the sunshine award- (Will keep updating this list) Her recipes are simple and represent day to day Indian cooking Chacko's kitchen- for some really mouth watering dishes... Dirty oven- I am in awe of all the baking blogs especially this one! For her quick and easy recipes

Thanks again for the award! Keep cooking...


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