May 30, 2007


Hi Y'all!! Hope you all had a great long weekend and paid respect for the fallen soldiers. We went to see the local Veterans parade, then drove to to Raleigh and nearby towns to visit a wonderful South Indian restaurant for lunch and a Indian grocery store too. I bought lot of Indian veggies there (no big deal for some of you but I bought Snake gourd ,green Mango and Ridge gourd after a looong time!:D)and ordered a brand new Sumeet Mixer too.I also made some delicious soups (soups in Spring and yes, I wear white after labor day too!;D), Irish Soda bread,went to a movie (Pirates of the Caribbean), did a BBQ on Monday evening and enjoyed the Sunshine and breeze on the deck! PHEW!! :)

Anali , my good, hardworking, beautiful fellow blogger friend nominated my blog "Foodie's Hope" as the "Best food blog" this weekend , a pleasant surprise for me! Thank you Anali, I really appreciate it. My best ever reward for my hardworking blog (and for me as a foodie of course! :D) is all of you my friends, who show up to say hello to me with so much affection every week! Thank you and hugs to all of you! I can't ask for more!

Menu this week:
Delicious Irish Soda Bread,
Leeks,Celery and Carrot soup with Turkey meatballs,
Thai Lentil,Coconut and Peanutty soup,
and my best Roasted Garlic and Portobello Mushroom Soup!!

Irish Soda Bread:
Here is a recipe for an easy and wonderful dipper bread for all your delicious soups.This is not sweet or soft like other breads but a crusty outside and a tender inside country bread,great tasting just out of the oven and as sliced next day.Enjoy the 8" round loaf which will be ready in about 50-60mins.Legend says that an X cut on top of the bread to evade the evil eye!!OOOH!!;D

You Need: 4 cups Plain four or 2 cups each of Wheat flour(Not chapati flour/atta but regular wheat flour) and 2 cups Plain flour,1 1/2 tsp salt,1 tbsp sugar,1 tsp baking soda,about 2 cups Butter milk(no need to add all of 2 cups).
How to bake the loaf:
1. Preheat the oven to 375F.Spray a baking cookie sheet lightly,keep aside.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients by hand or wooden spoon well.
3. Now add the buttermilk 1/2 cup at time (do not have to use all the buttermilk unless you need it all) and mix it to to make soft dough like a Chapati dough.
4. On a lightly floured counter,knead the dough gently for not more than 12 times to make big round loaf(take out 2 tennis ball size lumps to make garlic sticks and spiced buns/rolls if you want to),place on the sheet,flatten gently up to 2" thickness.
5. Cut an X 1/4" deep on top of the loaf and bake for 40-50mins.When it sounds hollow when tapped,it's ready.
6. Don't let it brown,should be slightly golden.Cool completely on a rack before you store in a Zip lock bag.
7. Serve torn into chunks or sliced.Tastes great buttered too.
Note:You can add 1/2 cup of Raisins,1 egg to make it sweet and tender bread.For variations: Make shapes with lumps you saved as above to bread sticks and add spices to the balls and bake them along with the bread.You might have to take them out little earlier from oven though.You can halve the recipe to make a loaf just enough for 4 servings.Dough should be soft but not sticky or very stiff.Enjoy.

Leek,Celery and Carrot soup with Turkey meat balls:Serves 4
Vegetarians,skip the Turkey balls and make this hearty and healthy soup.Use a blender carefully or hand held blender which can be used directly in the pan for easy and safer to cream the soup.Enjoy.

You Need: 3-4 celery sticks trimmed and sliced,3 leeks, sliced, 1 small potato peeled and cubed(optional), 1 small onion chopped, 1 bay leaf, fresh parsley and Tarragon, about 2 carrots sliced, 1 tbsp butter,2/3 cup stock OR 2/3 cup dry white wine,2 tsp of poultry seasoning(store bought or a mix of Thyme,Sage,Marjoram,Rosemary,pepper and Nutmeg),salt and pepper to taste. About 8 Turkey (or Chicken)meatballs made from 1 lb ground turkey.
To Garnish: 2 tbsp bacon bits, few slices of celery and leeks.

Turkey Meat balls:

To make turkey balls:
Mix 1 lb ground turkey with 3 tbsp bread crumbs, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp dry minced onion OR 1/2 fresh minced onion,1 tbsp fresh or dry parsley,chilli flakes, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 tsp of any dry spices of your liking.Mix everything to a semi-soft mixture and make balls about 2x2 inches thickness. Bake them at 350 F for 35 minutes or until golden on top. Your lean Turkey balls are ready.Cool and keep them aside.

To make the soup:
1. Heat butter in the pan, saute onions until soft, add the leeks, celery, carrots and potatoes, stir them for 5 minutes.
2. Add all the other ingredients, and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.
3. Season well, and blend them coarsely or smoothly to a thick soup,adjust the seasoning.
4. Garnish them with bacon bits, celery, leek pieces, and serve with cheese sticks.
To make cheese sticks:
Cut the Irish bread sticks into half lengthwise, sprinkle Parmesan cheese and grill it at high heat until it melts and colored golden to serve with the soup.

Thai-style Lentil-Coconut-Peanutty Soup:
Thai vegetarian soup is wonderful tasting,lightly spiced soup with Masoor dal.Since red lentils becomes naturally mashed when cooked soft,no need to cream it in the blender unless you want a smooth textured soup.A wonderful soup to eat with chunks of bread or with a cup of rice!

You Need:
2 tbsp oil, 2 small red onions, (finely chopped),1 Thai chili (sliced), 2 garlic cloves (chopped),2" fresh lemon grass (sliced),1 cup red lentils (masoor dal) (cooked),2 tsp coriander powder,1/2 paprika,about 1 1/2 cups coconut milk, 2 tbsp chunky or smooth peanut butter, salt and pepper to taste.1/2 tsp Thai red curry paste(optional)
To Garnish:Lemon slices, 3 green onions (chopped), cilantro.
How to make it:
1. Heat the oil in a pan, saute onions,chilly,garlic and lemon grass until soft but not browned.
2. Add the lentils and the spices.Simmer and add coconut milk and 2 cups of water if needed to thin the soup.
3. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
4. Squeeze in the lemon juice, scallions, and cilantro.
5. Serve with a chunk of Irish soda bread OR a cup of rice OR with egg noodles.You can add chicken or fish to this soup as well.

Roasted Garlic and Portobello Mushroom Soup:
Now this is my best soup made with both of my favorite flavors.I love roasted garlic and Portobello(canned is okay)taste wise and the aroma.I grill the whole pods of garlic with Olive oil and salt drizzled on it.You will have to try it yourself to taste it!:))

You Need:
3 big pods (or more if you like)of garlic,1 cup Portobello mushrooms chopped(canned),1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp butter, 1 small onion (finely chopped),2 tbsp plain flour, 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar,3 cups or less veg or chicken stock.
How to make the soup:
1. cut the top of the whole garlic pod, drizzle olive oil and little salt, grill until browned and garlic cloves are soft.Cool them.
2. Squeeze out the soft garlic out of the pods and keep it aside.
3. Heat the butter in a pan,add onions, saute until soft, but not browned.
4. Sprinkle the plain flour, stir with a wooden spoon to make roux, until reddish.
5. Stir in the Garlic, mushrooms, white wine vinegar, 3cups of stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Adjust the seasoning.Blend coarsely or smoothly as you like the soup in a blender.
6. Serve garnished with some Chives or scallions along with spiced Irish soda buns/rolls OR chunks of Irish soda bread.

That's it! We had three days of different soups for Dinner and enjoyed them all.Hope you try the easy Irish Soda bread with one of these soups.All these soups are inspired by the book "The ultimate Soup Bible" by Barnes and Noble.I changed the recipes quite a bit to suit my taste,so I am not going to give the book full credit!!;D

Would you like some dessert?!

Have a low fat ,tangy Strawberry-Yogurt Pie I made last week.It tastes like baked Strawberry Shrikhand!Try it:)

Have a great weekend.I am still thinking about the dishes and cooking for RCI. I am still not ready yet for that, so don't know what's coming next! All I can say is "NO SOUP FOR YOU" next week as that soup guy says in 'Jerry Seinfeld'!:D

May 23, 2007


Here is my post for JFI founded by Indira of 'Mahanandi' and being hosted this month by Bee of 'Jugalbandi' with the theme of "Jackfruit". A very special thank you to Bee from me for hosting and for making sure to leave a "thank you" comment for EVERY entry she receives, a great blogger/host etiquette if you ask me! We are all so busy in our own way but still manage to cook for these events.Least we could do as hosts is to take few seconds to appreciate the effort of each blogger who contributes!So, thanks Bee:))

Jackfruit tree with Jack fruits and raw sliced Jackfruit:

The Jackfruit is believed to be indigenous to the Western Ghats of India.It spread early on to other parts of India, southeast Asia, the East Indies and ultimately the Philippines.Jackfruit grow well in humid tropical and near-tropical climates.Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, reaching 80 pounds in weight and up to 36 inches long and 20 inches in diameter!Jack fruits mature 3 to 8 months from flowering.When mature, color changes from light green to yellow-brown.When cut,you get a white sticky glue like strings,it is easy to get around those if you dip your fingers in oil before you try to cut the fruit.Usually,you get the raw and ripe Jackfruit cans in Asian stores to save all that trouble!Raw slices are used to cook delicious curries,fries,in Biryanis etc.Ripe ones you can eat as they are or use them to make dessert.Enjoy!!:))
Picture of Jackfruit tree is from WIKI.For more info about Jackfruit, click on WIKI.

Alright! On with the business.Thanks to the selection of Jackfruit for JFI,I had to drive around 3 cities like crazy woman looking for Jackfruit in any shape or form!!:D I hadn't eaten Jackfruit since I left India,so it was a delight to get at least canned ones here in Asian stores.Of course,it doesn't tastes anything like the real thing but beggars cannot be choosers!!:))

On the Menu this week:

Kathal Kababs and Kathal fries,
Mysore Grandma's Halasinakayi Palya,
North Indian Dahi Kathal,
and for dessert, delicious Halasinhannu Dosas with coconut and honey!

Kathal Kababs and Kathal fries:

Jackfruits are called Kathal in Hindi and Halasinakai in Kannada.I am sure every state in India has it's own name for this fruit too.I used canned drained Raw Jackfruit pieces for making these Kababs and crispy fries as appetizers.

To Make Kababs:
Ingredients: 1 can of raw Jackfruit, 1 small minced onion, 1" ginger, 2 tsp each of coriander seed powder and cumin seeds powder, salt to taste, 1/2 tsp dry red chilly flakes, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 cardamom, 2 cloves, 1/2" cinnamon, some mint leaves, just enough Besan/Chick pea flour to mix.
Enough oil to fry.
How to:
1. Cut raw Jackfruit into small pieces, and put all of the above except Besan into a blender and process into a coarse mixture without adding water.
2. Take it out in a bowl, add 1-2 or more tbsps of Besan and mix everything gently into a firm dough.Don't add too much Besan!
3. Divide into 6-8 portions and roll them to make 1" thick and 3-4" in length tube-like kababs.
4. Heat some oil in a pan on medium heat and shallow fry or deep fry until it is golden crisp on all sides.
5. Serve with ketchup or hot sauce, lettuce, tomatoes ,cilantro and lemon slices.
Crispy Kathal Fries:
Same batter for coating works for Chicken Drusticks too! Makes a very crispy coating when eaten fresh off the fryer.
Ingredients:1/2 cup rice flour, 1 can drained, dried jackfruit pieces, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, salt to taste, 2 tsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp each ginger and garlic powder, 1/4 tsp gram masala, 1/8 tsp baking soda, and 1/8 tsp of turmeric powder, enough oil to fry.
How to:
1. Take a bowl, mix all the above except the jackfruit, adjust the salt and the chilly to your taste, with just enough water to make a thickish batter.
2. Heat oil to 375 F.
3. Dip jackfruit pieces, 4-6 at a time to coat somewhat thickly with batter and drop them carefully into the oil making sure they are separate.
4. Fry until golden,crispy and drain on a paper towel.
5. Serve with ketchup or hot sauce.If you want reheat them,bake them in the oven at 400F for 10mins to crisp them up again.

Raw Jackfruit Gravy:
HalasinaKai Palya as we call it.This tasty recipe is from my Mysore grandmother(always think vegetarian and coconut!:D).You can also add some cooked brown chana(Kadalekalu) to make it more nutritious(I didn't have them on hand) and tastes excellent with Rice rottis.

Ingredients: 1 can raw jack fruit pieces,1 small chopped onion,1/4 cup Chana dal, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 2 tsp urad dal,few curry leaves.
To dry roast and grind Masala: Roast 1 tbsp coriander seeds,2 dry red chillies,1/2 tsp peppercorns,1 onion chopped and fried until reddish,1/2 tsp roasted methi seeds, and grind these with 1/4 coconut,2 tsp Jeera, 1/4tsp turmeric,1 garlic, a small piece of tamarind until smooth,keep it aside.
How to:
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil,add mustard seeds,Urad dal,curry leaves,chana dal and onion,fry until reddish.
2. Add Jack Fruit pieces into the pan,1 cup water, cover and cook until chana dal is cooked and soft.
3. Turn down the heat,add ground masala,salt and cook until it's thick.Add cilantro and a 2tsps of ghee to it.
4. Tastes great the next day. Serve with any rice dish or Parathas,best with Rice rottis.

Dahi Kathal:
Dahi is Yogurt in Hindi and mixed with spices,dahi kathal is delicious with Parathas.Although this recipe is vegetarian,you could add chicken to this dish to make an excellent side dish with rotis or rice.

Ingredients: 1 can Jackfruit pieces drained, 1 cup yogurt,1/4 tsp turmeric,1/4 tsp pepper pd,1 tsp garam masala.
1 large onion finely minced, 2 green chillies, 1-2 garlic cloves ground with 1" ginger,cilantro.
How to:
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil/ghee,add minced onion and fry until the onions are soft and whitish.
2. Add the ground ginger-garlic paste,fry for 2 minutes.Add all the masala powders.
3. Stir fry,lower the heat to add yogurt 1 tbsp at a time until you use 1 cup,add salt and drained Jackfruit pieces.
4. Fry until done,cover and cook until oil shows on top on low heat.Add some water if necessary.
5. Pour the mixture into a deep bowl, and garnish with the cilantro.Serve with rotis.

Ripe Jackfruit-Coconut Pancakes:
Halasina Hannu Dose.These ripe Jackfruit and coconut dosas are very traditional in my other coffee estate(maternal) grandmother's home,ground in a stone grinder as they do in India.Delicious to eat as it is or with freshly plucked and squeezed honey from the honey comb as we do in the estates sometimes.(Yeah! You read that right!!)Sometimes,you even get a little bee(NOT the host of JFI)floating or sunk in the thick fresh honey!!Ahh..!!!;D

Ingredients: 1/2 cup rice (raw, uncooked),1/2 cup ripe jackfruit chopped, 1/2 cup sweetened coconut or fresh grated coconut, 1/4 tsp salt and sugar if you are using fresh coconut.Sweetened coconut already has sugar in it.
How to:
1. Soak the raw, uncooked rice for 2 hours, drain and grind coarsely in the blender.
2. Add ripe yellow jackfruit pieces, coconut and salt,sugar if you are using to rice in the blender, grind until you get a smooth batter.Add little water to make it run smoothly,but not too much,make like thick dosa batter.
3. Heat a non-stick griddle/tawa, brush some ghee and pour a ladle of the batter slightly thick,do not spread thin and cook until the bottom is golden.
4. Drizzle 1/2 tsp ghee or butter on top and flip to cook other side until golden.
5. Serve sprinkled with some sweetened coconut and honey (great bottled clover one for us!)on top of the dosas.Enjoy while it's warm.YUM!!!

My veggie Patch:
Well..this is what we have been doing, shopping and working on veggie patch for the last 3 weekends. Lot of planting and seeding is going on in the veggie patch and in numerous pots too.Phew!! But looking forward to all fruits of our labor this year too.Take a look at my last year's yield and the dish I made with the homegrown veggies!:))

That's it for JFI. Glad I made it and got to savor the Jackfruit after many years. But I am sooo tired of cooking Indian food now, I have to drop all Indian dishes for at least next week's post.My kids are complaining already!;D Have a fun weekend buddies,virtual hugs to you all!:)

May 16, 2007


"Regional Cuisines of India" event is founded by LakshmiK from 'Veggie Cuisine'.This month we are showcasing the state of Andhra Pradesh which is hosted by Latha from 'Masala Magic' blog. Thanks to both of you!:))

Andhra Pradesh:

Andhra Pradesh is the fifth largest state in India and largest state in Southern India by area and population.Andhra Pradesh leads in the production of rice(paddy)and is called "India's Rice Bowl". The official state language is Telugu. Andhra Pradesh can be broadly divided into three regions, namely Kosta (Coastal Andhra),Telangana and Rayalaseema. Andhra Pradesh is famous for its spicy cuisine along with its rich cultural,Musical and literary heritage. The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh includes both the original Andhra cuisine and the Hyderabadi cuisine with a Mughal(Muslim rulers)influence.The kebabs and the Biryanis are the most popular.Home made pickles,papads and dry chutney powders are the famous culinary traditions of this region.(Info: WIKI)

Most of the recipes here are chosen by this book by 'Bilkees I Latif' who is a resident of Hyderabad,Andhra Pradesh. Her book contains both popular Hyderabadi Hindu and Muslim dishes.

I was thrilled to find this recipe in another Andhra book by the author Karuna.My grandmother used to make these but I never had the recipe and I didn't know it's from Andhra!!.These are not crispy like Chaklis or not very soft like M'lorean Goli Bajes but somewhere in between.Tastes great just to eat on it's own.

You Need:
1 cup plain flour,1/3 cup plain yogurt,1/4 tsp Baking soda,Salt,1" grated Ginger, 4-5 Green chillies minced,1 tsp Cumin seeds,1/4 chilli flakes.

How to make it:

1. Mix everything to a stiff dough using little water only if you need it and adjust the salt,cover and rest for 2 mins.
2. Heat oil to deep fry to 350F.Meanwhile divide the dough in to 4 parts,roll one piece to a long rope of 1/2" thickness,cut the rope into 1" pieces.
3. Roll those 1" pieces to a round balls,deep fry them until golden swirling the oil to make then fry equally on all sides.
4. Drain them paper towels and serve these with thin coconut chutney as a dip.YUM!!

AratiKaya Koora:
A delicious blend of soft cooked Plantain cubes and ground coconut masala makes this a wonderful side dish for Chapatis or Parathas or even rice.

You Need:

2-3 Plantains(green cooking Bananas),1 tbsp oil/ghee,1/2 tsp mustard,curry leaves,Salt,1 tbsp Tamarind juice,Cilantro.

To dry roast and grind: 1 1/2 tbsp Coriander seeds,1 tsp cumin seeds,1 tbsp Chana dal (red split peas or Bengal gram dal), 2-3 dry red chillies,8 Peppercorns and grind these with 1/4 cup fresh or dry coconut,1/4 tsp turmeric to a smooth paste.

How to make it:

1. Peel,cube and wash Plantains and cook with water until soft.Keep aside.
2. Heat a pan with oil,add mustard and curry leaves.Add cooked plantains,tamarind and salt and bring to boil and turn down the heat.
3. Add the ground masala,adjust the salt and simmer until oil shows up a little and add cilantro .Serve with Dosa,rice or Chapatis.

Hyderabadi Murgh Biryani with Boorani:
How can I not cook a classic Muslim dish of Hyderabad when we are talking about Andhra?!Here is that wonderful dish layered with highly fragrant Chicken gravy and spiced Basamati rice,garnished with nuts and golden Raisins.It is traditionally served with Mirchi Ka Salan(I didn't make it,but saved some gravy instead) and Boorani,a slightly different salad/raita.I made this with my easy way instead of elaborate traditional way,cooked both separately and then layered in a cast iron dish to bake in the oven for a while. Enjoy:)

Layered Biryani ready to go in the oven:

To Marinate Chicken: Add 2lb Chicken pieces,2 tsp Cinnamon pd,1 tsp Cardamom pd,1.2 tsp clove pd, 1 tsp Fennel pd,2 tsp cumin seeds pd,2 tbsp Coriander pd,1/4 tsp Nutmeg pd,1/2 tbsp each Ginger pd and Garlic pd,1/4 cup sour cream or Yogurt,1/ tsp salt,1/2 tsp chilli pd,mix well and chill for 2hrs covered in a glass bowl.

Prepare Basmati rice:Cook 2 cups Basmati,cool.Slice and fry 3 onions with little salt in enough oil until red and crisp.Save half of the onions for layering.Heat 1 tbsp oil/ghee in a pan,add 3 cloves,2 whole Cardamoms,1" cinnamon,2 tbsp Almonds,2 tbsp Golden Raisins,add this to rice with half the crisp onions and mix all very well,adjust the salt.The rice looks reddish brown.Keep it aside.

Make the Gravy:Heat 1 tbsp oil,add 1 minced onion,fry until soft.Add 2 tsp each of Ginger and Garlic paste,fry.Add 1/4 tsp turmeric,chilli pd,2 sliced green chillies,1 tsp garam masala. Now add the chicken with marinated liquid,stir fry, add 1/4 cup sour cream,little by little,keep stirring until sauce is thick and oil shows a little.Add salt,1cup of stock or water,2 tbsp each Mint and cilantro,cover and cook on low heat until chicken is done and sauce is thick again.

Layer the Rice and Gravy:Heat the oven at 200F.Take a big enough dish,later 1/3rd of rice,half of saved fried onion,half the chicken with some gravy drizzled on the rice,add another 1/3rd of rice,onions and chicken with some gravy and end with 1/3rd of rice again.Mix 1/4 cup warm milk with 1/2 tsp crushed Saffron and pour on the rice,cover and put in the oven for an hour.

To serve: Heat and serve the gravy in the gravy boat on the side along with Biryani ,crisps and Boorani.

Mix 1/2 cup plain yogurt,1/2 big red onion chopped,1-2 large Cucumber peeled,chopped,1 large Tomato chopped,1/2 tsp each of Ginger and Garlic paste,cilantro,few mint leaves,salt and pepper or chopped Green chillies and chill.

A plate for you with Biryani and Boorani:

Dessert anyone?!:))

Pala Khova:Makes about 6 pieces.
A milk fudge made of milk and sugar,makes a wonderful dessert to end the meal.It needs quite a bit of time to make it but it's worth it in the end.This dessert is common to many states and in Karnataka ,it's called Halu Khova!

You Need:1 tbsp Butter, 3 cups 2% or full cream milk,3/4 to 1 cup sugar,4 strands of Saffron(optional),1/2 tbsp Arrowroot pd or cornstarch(optional)and 1 tbsp fine Semolina(Cream of Wheat,also optional).

How to make it:

1. Add butter and milk in a deep non-stick pan and boil on medium heat until it reduces to half of the amount while stirring often.
2. If you get too many brown scorched milk from the bottom,strain through a sieve and reduce the heat ,put it back and simmer again with cream of wheat,and sugar.
3. Add Saffron if you are using, and cook until it leaves the sides of the pan.You could add cornstarch to speed up the process,it's up to you.
4. Brush some butter on a plate, and slide the Khova on to the plate and pat lightly.
5. Cool and cut or shape into squares.Store in air tight box for a day or two in room temp.

More interesting facts about Andhra Pradesh:

Tirupati is the abode for the world famous Hindu temple of Lord Venkateswara. It is the richest Hindu religious institution and second richest in the world after the Vatican. It records an annual income of about 100 Billion Rupees (2.5 Billion US Dollars), mostly from offerings by the devotees.

Srisailam: Abode for Lord Siva worshipped with the name of Mallikarjuna and Goddess Parvathi, worshipped with the name of Bhramaramba and also a birth place of Veera Shaivism.

Nannayya,Tikkana,Yerrapragada form the trinity who translated the great epic Mahabharatha into Telugu.

Lot of you asked me how was my Mother's day? kids made me heart shaped Pancakes,Hash Brown for breakfast and gave me a card.So instead of going out for Brunch,we went out for lunch! All restaurants were overcrowded with grown up kids with their moms with gifts etc.Then we went shopping for a quite a while and came home exhausted.Tushar gave me a mini Guitar concert,Trisha made me a Origami card and Arvind was extraordinarily nice to me!;D Greatest thing was I didn't cook at all that day!!!YAY!:))

Look what I got for Mother's day!:) My kids usually buy me Jewelry with "mom" in it every year with their allowance but this time I asked them to buy me a Ice cream maker,saved them some money and we all can enjoy this in Summer too.I love the red color.What's my first ice Cream? Pista Kulfi here I come,fingers crossed!!;D

Hope you enjoyed Andhra cuisine!Have a great weekend and enjoy the Sun shine,will be back with JFI!:))

May 09, 2007


Hope you are all doing well now that Spring is here.Lot of bloggers seems to be either on a break or in India these days!Enjoy Mother's day wherever you are!:))

Here are some of my favorite quotes on Mothers:

A man's work is from sun to sun, but a mother's work is never done. ~Author Unknown (Thank you Unknown!)

Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. ~Oprah Winfrey (I absolutely agree Ms.Winfrey!)

A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb ( Irish people rock!)

Every beetle is a gazelle in the eyes of its mother. ~Moorish Proverb (HeHe!!So true!!)

The phrase "working mother" is redundant. ~Jane Sellman(Well said!)

All mothers are working mothers. ~Author Unknown(Thanks again Unknown)!)

She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along. ~Margaret Culkin Banning (How true!)

(Pictures:fotosearch) Have fun Mommies,it's your Sunday!!:))

Now some healthy dishes for moms and family!!

Olive Rye Bread with Feta cheese-Spinach spread:
I thought of baking a cake but thinking of all the sugar and frosting put me off,so here is a healthy tasty Olive(or Raisins) Rye bread for you instead!I made it with Bread Machine with medium dark crust but this recipe I am giving you is for making by hand in either a loaf pan or a round pan for a country style bread.Hope you make this and enjoy it for breakfast.(Recipe:Beatrice Ojakangas)

You need: For 1 1/2 lb loaf:

1 cup warm water (heat between 105F to 115F), 1 cup black olives (chopped), 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsp olive oil or canola oil or melted butter, 1 cup dark or light rye flour, 2 cups bread flour, 1 1/2 tsp rapid rising or active dry yeast.

To Mix the dough by hand:

Heat the water until warm, pour into a large bowl and add the yeast.Stand for 5 minutes until the yeast begins to bubble,stirring olives,salt,oil,rye flour and half of the bread flour.Beat until dough forms. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.Knead, adding little by little the remaining bread flour as necessary until you get a smooth dough.Place the dough back into the bowl,brush with oil, cover and let it rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

To Bake It:

Lightly oil a baking sheet or line it with a parchment paper or spray the 2lb loaf pan,keep it ready.Turn the dough out onto the lightly floured surface.Punch the dough down and shape it to a round or a rectangular shaped loaf.Place the loaf with the smooth side up onto the baking sheet or in the loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1hr).

Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake 25-40 minutes OR until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped and a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean and dry.Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Wait until it is cooled to slice the bread. Serve with your favorite savory spread.

NOTE: For a sweetish rye bread,replace 1 cup of olives with 1 cup dark raisins and serve with sweet spreads like honey walnut cream cheese,tastes wonderful with Orange Marmalade too.

Feta cheese-Spinach Spread:

Mix 1 cup soft Feta Cheese,1/2 cup spinach(chopped,cooked and squeezed dry of any liquid),coarse pepper pd and 1 tsp any fresh or dry herb you like, well in a bowl until smooth by a whisk or spatula and keep it in the fridge for not more than 5-7days.

Honey-Walnut Cream Cheese Spread: Mix softened 1/2 block or 1 cup Cream cheese,2 tbsp or more Honey,1/4 cup finely chopped Walnuts or any nuts you like,a pinch of salt well and keep in the fridge to use with Raisin-Rye bread.

Nutritious,crispy Brown rice-multi dal Adai(Pancakes/Dosas) with Green beans Kootu and no-coconut Chutney:

Here is a no-ferment dosas I have been cooking for a long time except this time I used Brown rice instead of white rice.They taste so good,I decided to post these healthy combo for you.Green beans Kootu is mildly spiced and wonderful with dosa and with Chana dalia chutney,it makes a light and fabulous meal. Enjoy:)

You need: 1 cup brown rice,1/2 cup Tuar dal,1/4 cup Chana dal,2 tbsp Urad dal,2 tsp Cumin seeds,2 dry red chillies,salt and 1/4 tsp Turmeric.

To make the dosa:Soak rice and all 3 dals with cumin and red chillies for 3 hrs.Drain the water and grind this to a coarse(Semolina/Cream of wheat like) batter using enough water just to make it to a pouring consistency.Add salt and turmeric and mix well.Heat a Griddle/Tawa to 300F and pour a ladleful of batter and spread to a thin circle.Drizzle some oil around and on top of the dosa ,cook until golden.Flip and cook the other side and serve immediately.Your crispy dosas are ready to serve!

Green Beans Kootu:

Cook 3 cups thinly cut Green beans with 2 cups water and little salt.Heat a pan with 2 tbsp oil/ghee,add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds,1 tbsp each Chana dal,Urad dal,1 dry red chilly,few curry leaves.When reddish,add 1 small onion chopped,1 garlic minced.Fry until soft,add 1 tomato chopped,beans with water,ground masala,cilantro,salt simmer on low heat until little oil shows up on top.It should be thick with a little gravy.Masala:Grind 1/4 cup coconut,2-3 red chillies,1 tbsp Cumin seeds,1 tsp raw uncooked rice,a little piece Tamarind coarsely,not very smooth.No pre-roasting required.

Hurikadale(Chana dalia) Chutney:

Heat a pan,add 1 cup Chana dalia(chutney dal),stir fry for a min just to make them crisp not red,take it out and add few green chillies and fry.Add these to a blender with salt,cilantro,curry leaves,1" fresh ginger minced,mint leaves if you like it,and blend dry first.Then add 1/4 cup plain yogurt to it,grind to smooth paste,adjust the salt and chillies.Take out in a bowl.Heat 2 tsp oil,add 1 tsp mustard seeds and curry leaves and when they splutter,add to chutney,mix.Your healthy chutney without any coconut is ready!!

Quick and delicious Mango dal:

I love this dal made with semi-ripe Mangoes which adds a sweet and slightly tangy flavor to the regular dal.I don't get raw green ones here,so I used a semi-ripe Mango and loved it.Hope you try too.
To make Mango dal:

Cut 1 semi-ripe Mango in cubes.Cook 1 cup Tuar dal with 3 cups water.Heat a pan with 1 tbsp oil/ghee mix,add 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds,1 tsp Urad dal,1 red dry chilly,few curry leaves,add cooked Tuar dal with it's water,mango pieces, salt and simmer until mangoes are almost cooked.Add 1/2 tsp Chilli pd,2 tsp each Coriander pd and Cumin seeds pd,1/ tsp Turmeric,1 tbsp fresh or dry coconut,1/4 tsp Cinnamon pd(optional)simmer for 5 mins.Delicious Mango dal is ready.Serve with plain cooked rice and crispy Papads.

Two Gujarati dishes I chose to try and taste from other blog last week:

I tried Trupti's easy and delicious Spicy Poori with Potato-Tomato gravy.YUM!(I added one small onion,chopped) Thanks T,loved it!:)

Have fun this weekend mommies. I can't wait for Sunday! We will go to our favorite restaurant for brunch and kids usually pool their allowance to buy me something! I will see you next week with Andhra Cuisine.

May 02, 2007


Look what I have here for you this week!!! A unique and a delicious plate of authentic Punjabi food Aloo Bhature with Lahori Choley! Lahori Choley(new to me!) is originated in Lahore, Pakistan and is a Punjabi Choley with a twist!!:D

I found this "Lahori Choley" recipe in one my Indian Punjabi cookbooks.I have never heard of this before and I thought what's Lahori Choley?! Is she writing about Pindi Channa or Choley which is from Rawalpindi,Pakistan?! But no,it was Lahori Choley,with a recipe slightly different from the usual Pindi channa.I googled "Lahori Choley" to learn more about it.I couldn't find any info for quite sometime and then to my delight ,I found "Chikkar Choley" from Lahore,Pakistan. Aha!!Very interesting!!!

I learned that Chikkar or Chikkad means "muddy" in Punjabi and Chikkar choley is named so because some Chickpeas are mashed in the sauce to make the dish look like little pebbles sunken in the mud ie reddish sauce.Reminds me of "Mud pie" I know!;D

To make the authentic Lahori choley sauce look more brownish,add a teabag while cooking the chickpeas and discard the tea bag and the water and add Anardana pd(dry Pomegranate pd)and don't add tomatoes to the sauce.

I have already posted a Aloo chole with Bhatura and Lassi and I wanted to make something different ie mess around with the good old Bhature to make Aloo Bhatura by adding Potato and a potato with Lahori Choley too and for non-vegetarians,I made a delicious and easy Narial Murgh (using coconut milk with chicken) to dip the Aloo bhaturas in, if that's what you like.Hope you didn't doze off reading all this.Now WAKE UP and start cooking err..enjoy looking!:)

Lahori(Chikkar) Choley:
(Chickpeas swimming in the creamy sauce; dish from Lahore,Pakistan)

You Need:
1 lb Can of Chick Peas or Garbanzo beans,1 Small Potato(optional),3 Plum Tomatoes ground or 1/2 cup Tomato sauce,2 large Onions,minced,1" Ginger,2 small Garlic minced,1 tsp Chilli Powder,1/4 tsp turmeric,1/2 tsp paprika,1 tsp fennel seeds pd,1/4 tsp cardamom pd,1 tbsp Coriander pd,2 tsp cumin pd,1 tsp Garam Masala,2 tsp Amchoor( Mango Powder) or Anardana pd if you have it,Cilantro,lemon slices for Garnish.

How to make Lahori Choley:
1. Heat 2 tsp oil and 1 tbsp butter ,fry 2 minced onions until soft. Add ginger-garlic paste,stir for a minute.Add in chilli pd,1/4 tsp turmeric,paprika, salt ,ground tomatoes or sauce,saute until oil shows on top on medium heat.
2. Add 1 cubed and cooked potato(optional),chick peas and 1 cup water. Pressure cook on very heat or just cover and cook until chick peas are tender.Mash some of the chickpeas into the sauce to make it thick and creamy.
3. Add Amchur or Anardana ,fennel pd,cardamom pd and garam masala,mix well.Simmer for 5 mins.Add cilantro to garnish and serve with a slice of lemon with Aloo Bhatura.

(Potato-Plain flour fried bread; from India)

You Need:
2 Cups Plain Flour,1 cup Potato flakes or 1 large Potato cooked and mashed,1 tbsp Cream Of Wheat(Semolina),2 tbsp Plain Yogurt,1/4 cup (more or less) hot water to mix,
1 tsp salt,1/2 tsp Baking Powder.

How to make it:
1. Mix potato flakes(if you are using it)with enough hot water to make a stiff lump and mix that with flour etc or mix all the above ingredients with cooked and mashed potato first and add 1/4 cup hot water little by little to make a fairly stiff dough and knead. Apply some oil on the dough and cover. Let it rest for 1-2 hrs.
2. Divide the dough into 6-8 pieces and roll them out to about 6" circles 1/8" thickness.
3. Heat enough oil in a wide pan to 350F, fry each Bhatura until it is very slightly golden and drain on the paper towels.
4. They should be little soft and still creamish in color after frying,do not over fry.
5. Serve hot with Lahori Choley ,onion slices,lemon slices and with a glass of lassi(salty or sweet Yogurt drink) to have an authentic Punjabi meal! Enjoy:))

Note:Potato makes these thicker and softer to scoop up the beans.Aloo bhaturas are best eaten right after frying,it becomes little chewy after it's cooled.Fry just until they are golden and don't worry if they don't puff up like regular Bhaturas or pooris.They feel like yeast bread in texture.

A meal for you with Aloo-Bhature and Lahori chikkar Choley:

Narial Murgh:
(Chicken cooked with Coconut milk; my own style!)

You Need:
2 lb Chicken breast and thigh meat mixed,cut into bite sized pieces,1 tbsp each oil and butter.
Grind all these to paste:2 medium Onion chopped and fried,1" ginger,2 garlic,3-4 plum tomatoes or any kind you have,1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds,1 tsp Cumin seeds,2 tsp fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp pepper,1" cinnamon(dalchini),3 cloves,1/4 tsp cardamom seeds,a little piece of Mace and Nutmeg,1/4 tsp turmeric,2-3 red chillies or 1 tsp Chill pd,little paprika or Annatto pd for color,salt.
1/2 can of coconut milk,1/4 tsp garam masala,cilantro.

How to make it:
1. Fry onion in 1/2 tbsp oil until reddish.Add to the blender along with all the other ingredients except coconut milk,GM and cilantro and grind to a smooth paste.
2. In a pressure pan,add the rest of the oil and butter.When hot,add the ground sauce,keep stirring and cook until thick and it leaves the side of the pan.
3. Put in the chicken pieces,stir fry until they turn white.Add 1 cup of water,cover and cook on low heat for 10 mins in a pressure pan or until tender in the pan.Make sure heat is on low to prevent burning the bottom of the pan.
4. Take the lid off,mix well.Still on low heat,add coconut milk and mix gently.Simmer for 10 mins,stirring often.
5. Adjust the salt and chilli pd,add garam Masala,cilantro and serve with Aloo Bhaturas,Parathas or even rice.
6. If you want the sauce thicker,add 1 tbsp of potato flakes and mix with hot sauce.

That's about it this week!!

A DMC reminder to all moms!
May 13th is Mother's day as you know.If you have any interesting stories about your experience as a mother yourself or want to say hi to your own mom,please share at Desi Momz Club this every Thursday to Saturday or any day if you have something to share.Info on the sidebar,click to go there.Thanks:))

Well..hope you try some of these and enjoy the new tastes,that is if these are new to you as well.Have a great weekend!:))