Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tomato & paneer aromatic rice

I love basmati rice. The aroma of basmati rice is simply irresistible. Use bay leaves and cardamom to bring out the best from basmati. It is not necessary that you have to go the extra mile of making it exotic- a simple combination of the right spices is all it takes to win you accolades on your cooking. Even if you don't have many ingredients just cook your basmati rice with bay leaves and cardamom to enhance it's aroma!


2 onions sliced
2 tomatoes chopped
2 green cardamom pods crushed
Kasoori methi leaves (I used dry crushed leaves- also known as fenugreek leaves)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
3/4 tsp garam masala powder
Cumin seeds
Garlic & ginger paste
1 Bay leaf
1 small cup chopped cottage cheese
Coriander leaves for garnishing
2 cups uncooked basmati rice
Salt according to taste
Dry red chilli (broken)


First step is to cook rice with two cups of water over medium flame on a non-stick pan. Allow the rice to cook on its own and do not stir in between otherwise the long grain of basmati tends to break. Once the rice is cooked just give it a slight toss and keep it aside. In a separate wok heat a liberal dose of oil- add cumin seeds and bay leaf. As the cumin seeds begin to sputter add broken dry red chilli and onions. Fry them till they are translucent. Add garlic-ginger paste and cook them over a medium flame for 5 minutes. Toss in the chopped tomatoes and cook till it is incorporated. Add the cottage cheese and cook for a couple of minutes. Now comes our spices- red chilli powder, garam masala powder, crushed cardamom, kasoori methi leaves. Add a bit of oil and mix the spices. The aroma should get your audience up on their feet literally begging you to serve the food immediately! Adjust the salt and blend this mixture to you cooked rice.

Add coriander leaves and a bit of melted butter to make it more silky. Serve hot and watch the rice vanish with the aroma lingering to make it a memorable meal!

You can really do much more with this rice- add different vegetables to make it look colorful or add cloves/cinnamon to give extra aroma. If you are not fond of cottage cheese/paneer just skip it or fry it befor you use if you don't like the raw taste of paneer.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Spicy spinach strudel

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we have no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! I made some spicy spinach strudel and with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand I sat by my window to enjoy the snowy Christmas. It is a tasty tea time snack and you can get super creative with the dish!

Ingredients for filling

1 onion (chopped finely)
3 garlic cloves (crushed &chopped)
1 tomato (chopped finely)
1/2 tsp garam masala
Cumin seeds
Coriander leaves
Salt(according to taste)
1 big cup frozen spinach thawed
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp butter

For the base-

4 frozen phyllo sheets thawed
Melted butter for brushing


In a wok add cooking oil and add the cumin seeds. As the cumin seeds begin to sputter sauté garlic and onions till translucent. Mix the tomatoes and fry them for a couple of minutes. Add thawed spinach and cook it till it blends well with the onion tomato mixture. Add garam masala, chilli powder and salt. Cook them for 5 minutes. Before removing from fire add butter and mix it well for a minute. Garnish with coriander leaves. Our stuffing is ready!

On a clean working surface lay one phyllo sheet and brush it completely with butter. Place another sheet on top of it and brush it again with butter. Repeat till you have a stack of four sheets. With the help of a spoon spread the spinach mixture. Fold and tuck the bottom edges over the mixture. Nicely roll it up with the filling inside so that it forms a log. With a knife make slits on top and brush it lightly with butter.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in a oven (200 degree celsius)or till they become golden brown. Serve hot with garlic chilli sauce!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Chocolate covered Shortbread cookies

There is something special in air during Christmas- You can feel it...People buying gifts, houses decorated, cakes, cookies, beautifully decorated christmas trees and the list goes on. You cannot help but get into the holiday spirit and spread some cheer around! Here I am with my Chocolate covered shortbread cookies to please Santa- Hope he enjoys...


2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar (icing)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
180 grams semi sweet chocolate finely chopped


In a bowl mix the salt with the flour thoroughly and set aside. With a hand blender beat the butter till it is smooth and creamy. Blend in the sugar and mix it till it is smooth. Add the vanilla extract. Now blend in the flour and roll it to a smooth dough. Keep the dough in fridge for an hour. After an hour take out the dough and roll it into a thick circle on a lightly floured surface. Using cookie cutter cut the dough into different shapes. Bake for 8-10 minutes in a preheated oven (180 degrees Celsius). Once the cookies are lightly browned take them out and cool them.

For chocolate covering- Melt the chocolate till it is smooth and glossy (put the chocolate in a bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water). Once the cookies are cooled, dip one end of each cookie in the melted chocolate and place it on a tray covered with baking sheet. Place the tray in the fridge for 10 minutes till the chocolate has hardened.

Merry Christmas to all! Enjoy your holiday season with family and friend :)


Thursday, December 23, 2010


Ok, I was tagged by Priya from Bon Appetit with the following questions-

  1. Who or what inspired your Food Blogging Journey ?
  2. What was the very first dish you cooked for your spouse/loved one ? What was the reaction?
  3. What is your idea of a romantic meal ?
  4. Name any major disaster in kitchen ?
  5. What are your favourite dishes?
  6. One favourite restaurant and why ?
  7. Do you have a New Year's resolution- and will you be sticking to it ?
Here are my answers for you Priya-

Who or what inspired your Food Blogging Journey ?

I love cooking- experimenting with different spices and flavors...My husband simply adores my cooking and I wanted to keep a journal of my culinary experiments- What a better way than to write a blog? 

What was the very first dish you cooked for your spouse/loved one ? What was the reaction?

Gosh, the first dish I cooked for my husband was a simple potato curry. Those were my initial days of cooking and I merrily added a good dose of red chilli powder to get a good spicy taste. My husband being a perfect gentleman did not complain and managed to eat the dish! Poor thing had to drink about a liter of water to cool down...

What is your idea of a romantic meal ?

My idea of a romantic meal is simple home cooked food- Sit and relish the food with your loved one and talk away till wee hours of night ;)

Name any major disaster in kitchen ?

I am still new to baking. But when the first time I baked a cake it was a complete disaster. It was my husband's birthday and I was super ambitious and wanted to bake a chocolate frosting cake. Well, I would have been successful - I put so much effort in getting things and did everything the recipe asked me to. The only wrong thing I did was to misread the degrees for baking- The recipe required me to bake the cake in 250 degree Fahrenheit. I mistook that as degree Celsius and baked my cake at a high temperature. I had a burnt cake and my husband was back early from office and I had not got him a gift-  The rest is history! You learn from your mistakes...

What are your favourite dishes?

I can eat pizza anytime and even on a full stomach- I love all junk food ;)

One favourite restaurant and why ?

There are some dishes in life that you remember for its exquisite taste- I have eaten at various restaurants in Luzern, Switzerland (the place I work). However, I will remember one of the restaurants called pfistern. Nothing special or exotic about this restaurant. It is a typical small swiss restaurant and I love this one because of the ravioli - the best pumpkin stuffed ravioli I have ever eaten so far! 

My New Year resolution-

Take things lightly, do good, be good, remember almighty and go with the flow

Have a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous New Year.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spaghetti with Avocado sauce

Somehow the combination of avocado with onions, tomatoes and garlic is magical... I remember eating avocado rolls at one restaurant and boy I was simply floored! Instead of the usual spring roll filling they had made a filling out of avocado with onions, tomatoes and garlic. I will try and make it someday...After eating those rolls, I am suddenly hooked to avocado and here is a good recipe for all you avocado lovers like me. It's pretty simple and takes minimal time/effort to put it on the table. Check out-

Ingredients for the sauce-

2 Avocados (peeled and chopped)
3  tomatoes chopped finely
one onion chopped finely
2 big garlic cloves- crushed and chopped
crushed black pepper (optional)
red chilli flakes
olive oil for cooking
Spaghetti- 450 g


Cook the Spaghetti in salted water. Drain well and set it aside. In a wok add olive oil and toss in the chopped garlic & onions. Cook for couple of minutes then add the chopped tomatoes. As the tomatoes start blending with the onions add chopped avocados and cook on a high flame till avocado becomes a paste and blends well with onions and tomatoes!  Add salt, pepper and red chilli flakes for seasoning. Add the mixture to the cooked spaghetti and toss together in a pan until the pasta is well coated. Serve with grated parmesan cheese (optional).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm back!

Hoooray! I am back to the blogging world after a long break. And I have a treat for the senses! I whipped up a one layer chocolate cake with cocoa and it turned out perfectly divine. I tried out this recipe from a website that I frequently visit- 

If you are a beginner like me in the baking world then this recipe is perfect-


1¼ cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
1½cup (330 g) sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup (170 g) butter
boiling water
3 eggs
150 g chopped walnuts 

Ingredients for frosting

170 g butter

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
340 g icing sugar
1½ tablespoon unsweetened 
cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Take a cake tin and line it with non stick paper and grease the tin. Melt the butter in a saucepan. In a bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and vanilla extract.
Add eggs, melted butter and hot water and mix until smooth. Add chopped nuts.

Bake at 180 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool the cake. Glace with the frosting.


For the frosting, melt the butter in a sauce pan and remove from the heat. Add coffee, mix with icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla. Stir until smooth and spread over the cake. Enjoy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Potato n leek soup

I am partial to non creamy soups- I like soups when the flavors come through without a heavy dosage of cream. Once we had a lunch at a fancy restaurant and I was given an option of soup or salad. I take the soup option after having heard about the amazing soups the restaurant had to offer. Out came the soup in a fancy bowl with a vibrant color. Unfortunately, the soup had a heavy cream and I could not feel the real taste of the leek or potatoes in them (it was a potato leek soup). I was so disappointed. A little cream is fine but when you overdo that in a soup, it just spoils the fun. If it is a vegetable soup, I will love to feel the flavor of that vegetable in that soup and cream should only play a second fiddle (in my opinion, do away with the cream please!).  So, here I am, with my quest for a perfect soup. I had an amazing opportunity to taste one of the best soups at a small restaurant near my office. The leek soup was perfect. My heart was filled with warmth after having that soup- And, I decided to recreate. I could not recreate it to perfection but I loved my simple soup and it was lovely for the nippy night in Basel! Enjoy-


3 potatoes (peeled and chopped)
1 leek (washed and sliced)
salt (according to taste)
cooking oil
2 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)
1 onion (chopped finely)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp freshly ground black or white pepper
1 cup vegetable broth (1 to 11/2 cups, enough to cover the potatoes for boiling)


Heat oil in a wok and saute onions, garlic and leek over moderate heat. Add potatoes, bay leaf and pour the vegetable broth to cover all the potatoes. Add salt and pepper. Allow the potatoes to cook till they are tender. Remove from flame and allow it to cool a bit. Pick out the bay leaf and puree the soup with a hand blender or a standard blender. Serve hot!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

cottage cheese and onion stuffed roti!

Gloomy sunday afternoon always demands spicy food! Cottage cheese, onions, spices stuffed in a flat bread and fried to golden brown- top this with spicy pickle and yoghurt on the side. Now that's what I call a belly filling dish :)

Ingredients (for stuffing)

1 cup grated cottage cheese
1 onion chopped finely
coriander leaves chopped finely
2 green chillies (chopped)
salt (according to taste)
garam masala (1/2 tsp)
coriander powder (1/4 tsp)
Kasoori methi leaves (1 tsp)- fenugreek leaves
2 garlic cloves (chopped finely)

Ingredients (for the base)

Wheat flour (11/2 cup)


Knead the flour to a smooth dough with the help of water and set it aside. In a bowl mix all the stuffing ingredients with a liberal dose of oil. Take a ball of dough and flatten it to a small circle. Add the filling in the middle and fold the sides to make it into a small pouch. Flatten this small pouch to a medium sized circle. Fry this in a pan to golden brown on both sides. Serve with yoghurt and pickle. Enjoy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chickpeas in a spicy gravy (chole)

I am really comfortable making chickpeas. Easy to cook and tastes great with everything- Rice/Roti. I always get the regular white chickpeas (also known as Kabuli chana in northern India) and hardly use the black small ones. If you get your hands on the small black chickpeas also known as kala chana, try them out. If you cook them with Indian spices in a gravy, it tastes swell and doesn't take much of your time either!

What do we need?

2 cups Kala chana/small black chickpeas
one onion medium sized (chopped)
1 big tomato (mashed to a paste/pureed)
2 big cloves garlic (crushed and chopped finely)
1/2 tsp ginger grated
1 green chilli chopped
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
coriander powder 1 tsp
cumin seed powder 1 tsp
red chilli powder 1/2 tsp
black pepper powder 1/4 tsp
garam masala 1/4 tsp
kasoori methi leaves (fenugreek leaves)
coriander leaves (for garnishing)
1 bay leaf
cinnamon powder (dash of it)
salt (according to taste)

Soak the chickpeas overnight and then pressure cook it till they are soft and melt in your mouth. Heat oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds and bay leaf. Add onions, green chillies, garlic and ginger. Fry them till they are golden brown. Add the tomato puree/paste with red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, black pepper, garam masala and a dash of cinnamon. Keep stirring till the oil separates from the gravy. Take 2 big tbsp of chickpeas separately in a cup and crush them to a paste. Add this paste to the gravy and fry the gravy for five minutes. As the gravy starts becoming rich and thick, add the rest of the chickpeas with some water (for the chickpeas to cook and blend with the gravy). Add salt and kasoori methi leaves. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or roti!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spaghetti with Mushroom and olive sauce!

This recipe has been adapted from the cook book called "The Italian Vegetarian" by Gabriella Rossi. It is a simple recipe and tastes sumptuous.

What do we need?

1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 cup stoned black olives
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 fresh red chilli, seeded and chopped
Boiled spaghetti
cherry tomatoes for topping
parmesan cheese slivers (optional for serving)

How did I put together?

Heat oil in a large pan. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, cover, and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Tip the mushroom mixture into a blender and add the olives, parsley and red chilli. Blend till it is a smooth paste. In a separate pan add the boiled spaghetti and toss the olive mixture till the pasta is well coated. Cover and keep warm. Heat an ungreased frying pan and shake the cherry tomatoes around for 2-3 minutes or until they are roasted. Serve the pasta topped with the tomatoes. Garnish with parmesan and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finally some aloo parantha (Rotis stuffed with potato filling)

There is always one dish which is done by everyone belonging to a particular region/country. I consider Aloo parantha (rotis stuffed with potato filling) as one of the popular dishes in Northern India. I was intending on making this dish and blogging about it some months ago- never had the opportunity with so much going on in my head :)- I had a friend coming home for lunch and the request from the friend was simple- Aloo parantha. Finally, I had a go at my favorite dish, which turned out pretty sumptuous. It is really simple to make and can be prepared at a short notice with minimal ingredients!

Ingredients for the stuffing-

One big onion- chopped finely
2 boiled and mashed potatoes (medium sized)
Coriander leaves- chopped finely (about a handful)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp corriander powder
chilli flakes or paprika powder (1/4 tsp)
Salt (according to taste)
Oil to mix all the ingredients mentioned above.

Ingredients for the Base-

Wheat flour (2 cups)
water to mix


The base is pretty simple- You have to knead the flour with salt to a fine and smooth dough. There are two ways to actually go about your filling- you can sauté the potatoes and onions with the spices mentioned above in a wok and then use it to stuff the roti's. The other way (which I follow) is to just mix all the ingredients in a bowl without cooking and use it for stuffing. Once you have the base and the filling ready all you need to do is take a ball of wheat and flatten it to a small round. Fill around 1 to 2 spoons of the filling in the middle. Fold the roti with the filling in middle so that it appears as a small pouch. Flatten this pouch with a rolling pin to a medium sized round shape.

Fry the parantha in a hot pan till both sides are golden brown. Serve with chutney/pickle and enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Five minutes easy Mozarella-pesto sandwich!

Ok, this dish might take more than five minutes to make but I guarantee it is really a tasty quick fix! When you are in no mood for cooking and can eat anything off your fridge then read on...

I always make it a point to eat some thing before stepping out for shopping- No point in going empty stomach! You land up buying all the stuff that your stomach doesn't need (your body can't take those calories). So here I am, hungry and rattling off things in my fridge for a perfect quickie and what do I land up doing? Tomato-Mozzarella sandwich with pesto for an extra zing!

What do we need?

Bread slices
Tomato pieces
Mozzarella pieces (go easy on it if you don't want extra calories)
Basil pesto for spreading over your bread slices
dash of crushed pepper
salt (optional)

How do you put it together?

Coat your bread slices with pesto and stack up tomato pieces and mozzarella pieces (coated/dabbed in crushed pepper/salt) in between two bread slices.Simple! grill it a bit till Mozzarella is oozy and enjoy-
ain't that a perfect quickie?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Veggie fried rice, anyone?

You take your brain that calculates the calories and just throw it out of the window on friday nights. Then you go make sumptuous food in the kitchen and eat it to your heart's content. After all, you slog the entire week in your office and you deserve a break? That is exactly what I did. The recipe is simple with no tedious work involved (except chopping the veggies, which I don't mind). Sit back and enjoy!


3 cups water
1 1/2 cups rice
olive oil for cooking
1 onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1 carrot chopped
1/2 cup green peas
2-3 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)
red chilli flakes (1/4 tsp)
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground black pepper


First step will be to cook your rice. Cooking your rice without getting it sticky is an art. You have to rinse your rice thoroughly and allow it to soak in water for 20 to 30 minutes. Boil 3 cups of water in a deep bottomed pan. As the water starts boiling, add the rice and cover the pan. Cook it in a low flame for about 20 minutes. In a separate pan, heat some oil and saute all the vegetables with garlic. Add chilli flakes, ground pepper and soy sauce. Cook on a medium flame till all the vegetables are crisp and not mushy. Add the cooked rice to this mixture. Adjust the salt according to your taste and cook the rice for a couple of minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fusilli pasta on the go...

Of late, I have been busy cooking and eating all unhealthy stuff that I realized it's time to wake up. So I am browsing for healthy options these days. This recipe has been adapted from a book called "Eat, shrink and be merry". I tweaked the recipe a bit and modified it to my taste. According to the book, this dish has only 331 calories per serving (the original recipe contains bacon  and chopped chicken breast which I omitted). I guess, the calories per serving should be lesser than 331 (if you omit cheese, it should be significantly less). Using wheat pasta would he a healthier option!

For the sauce-

2 tbsp basil pesto
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper.

Other ingredients-

2 cups fusilli pasta
1/2 cup blanched and chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup bell peppers (red)

Preparation- Just combine all the ingredients for sauce in a bowl and keep it aside. Cook the fusilli pasta till they are soft (but not mushy). In a wok, add olive oil and stir fry bell peppers and onions.  After 5 minutes add the chopped tomatoes. Add cooked fusilli, sauce and mix all the ingredients well.  Remove the wok from heat and serve immediately with ground pepper and parmesan cheese (optional).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Potatoes cooked with peas in a gravy (aloo matar)

Come sunday and my house smells of good authentic Indian food. I love taking my time to whip up something special. The demand of the house was aloo matar and boy, we had a sumptuous lunch with basmati rice, aloo matar, lemon pickle and raita. Here is my take on the famous north Indian dish- Potatoes cooked with peas in a gravy (aloo matar). Enjoy!


4 big potatoes (boiled, peeled and chopped in cubes)
1 big cup thawed and ready to use frozen green peas
onion (1 big sliced)
2 tomatoes (chopped)
cumin seeds (1 tsp)
garlic (2 cloves)
red paprika powder (1 tsp)
coriander powder (1 tsp)
garam masala powder (1 tsp)
salt (according to taste)
dash of cardamom powder
coriander leaves to garnish


In a pan, fry the cubed potatoes and set it aside. Grind the onions, garlic to a fine smooth paste. In a wok heat some oil. Add the cumin seeds. As the seeds start to sputter add the onion-garlic paste. Fry the paste till the onion loses its raw taste and the gravy starts to become golden brown. Mash the chopped tomatoes to a pulp and add them to the onion-garlic gravy. Cook it for 5 minutes and then add the spices- paprika powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, cardamom powder and salt. Keep cooking on a medium flame for 10 minutes till oil separates from the paste. Add the thawed peas and some water for the peas to cook. When the peas are cooked add the fried potatoes and stir it for a while. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve it with roti or rice!


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