Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Aloo curry

This aloo curry is perfect for pooris or chappatis..I know especially for pooris..But since I made this on a weeknight..no time for that..I mostly make pooris for breakfast or dinner only on weekends..Anyway here's how I made my Aloo..

Potato, boiled - 3 Idaho
Onions - 2 medium
Green peas - 1 cup
Green Chillies - 3 big
Ginger, grated - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Channa dal - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves - 5 nos
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Besan/Gram flour - 2 Tbsp (optional)
Corn flour - 1 Tbsp (optional)

  1. Heat about 2 Tbsps of oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and once it pops, add jeera, curry leaves, urad dal, channa dal and green chilles.
  2. Cut onions lengthwise and add it to the pan and saute until the onions are translucent. Add ginger, salt and turmeric powder and sauté for a few more minutes until the ginger doesn't smell raw.
  3. Cut the boiled potato into small pieces or just crush it with you hand and add it to the pan. Add the green peas and let it all cook for 5-10 minutes until it all comes together. 
  4. If you want more gravy, mix the besan and corn flour with 3/4 cup of water and add it to the gravy and cook for a few more minutes until the gravy thickens. 
In order to boil the potatoes, I just pop it in the microwave in a microwaveable bowl with a cup of water for about 10-15 minutes until cooked. I have not used besan in this curry since it's been a while I made this curry without besan, I wanted to leave it out for a change. But try it both ways and it will taste very different..almost like 2 different curries. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2 Minute Chocolate Cake

Craving for a chocolate cake out of the blue? anybody?? This recipe will answer all your prayers for an instant chocolate cake that you can make in less than 2 minutes conveniently in your microwave..

Flour - 1 Tbsp
Brown sugar - 1Tbsp
Sugar - 2 Tbsp
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Vannila Essence - 1/4 tsp
Egg whites - 1 Tbsp
Salt - 1 pinch
Milk - 2Tbsp
Veg Oil - 1 Tbsp
Cocoa powder - 1 Tbsp
Instant coffee - 1/4 tsp
Chocolate chips - 10 nos (optional)

  1. Take a Microwavable bowl or a coffee mug, Mix all the ingredients above except chocolate chips. 
  2. Microwave it in 50% power for 1 minute. 
  3. If you are adding chocolate chips, mix them with a pinch of flour to coat them so they don't sink to the bottom and add it to the bowl.
  4. Now, microwave again for about 30 seconds until it's cooked through. If not done, cook it for 20 more seconds or so..Your delicious chocolate cake is ready!!
If you are a person who takes 2 spoons of sugar for your coffee, like me :) you may add 1/2 Tbsp extra sugar or a splenda pkt to make it much sweeter..You can decorate it with whipped cream or chocolate icing..I couldn't resist the temptation to eat it right away..So no patience for decor :)
Do let me know how this turns out!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Asparagus Pasta

Asparagus is a healthy vegetable that I am slowly trying to incorporate into my cooking these days. I've always loved it as an accompaniment with fish or chicken at restaurants and always look for ways to include veggies in my daughter's pasta..even though she filters them out most of the times :)
Penne Pasta - 8oz
Asparagus - 10 nos
Red Onions/shallots, diced - 1/2 medium
Garlic, finely chopped - 5 cloves
Broccoli, frozen - 1/2 cup
Green Peas, frozen - 1/2 cup
Cherry tomatoes - 1/2 cup
Chicken/Vegetable broth - 3/4 cup
Parmesan, shredded - 1/4 cup
Mozzarella, shredded - 1/4 cup
Lemon juice - 1 Tbsp
Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Crushed red pepper - 1 tsp
Olive Oil - 2 Tbsp
  1. Cook pasta in enough boiling water for about 8-10 minutes until it's cooked al dente.
  2. Cut asparagus into 1 1/2 inch pieces. tomatoes in half, and broccoli into florets if you are using an entire bunch.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan and add onions and garlic and sauté until the onions turn pink. 
  4. Add asparagus, broccoli, salt and pepper and saute until they are cooked through.
  5. Add the peas, tomatoes, chicken broth, lemon juice. Add the drained pasta.
  6. Mix in the parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and crushed pepper and adjust salt to taste and cook for a few minutes until the cheeses melt and forms a guey sauce.
Cooking pasta al dente (means "to the bite") will help the pasta absorb all the sauces and the flavor better while cooking in it for a few minutes. I did not have cherry tomatoes so I used 1 roma tomato instead. If you dont have the specific cheeses try with ones you have..If you want the pasta to have more sauce, you can add a little bit of milk or cream. Also, I roasted the leftover asparagus in the same pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper for a nice side vegetable :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fish Puttu

"Sora puttu" is a very famous dish in tamiladu and its made with shark fish. Shark is not commonly found here everywhere. But you can get it in korean supermarkets if you want to. Traditionally the fish is steam cooked and shredded. This recipe instead uses salmon as it's very commonly found. And I think it's the perfect replacement fish for this dish. I made this once with salmon and was so satisfied that I never tried to find other alternatives.

Salmon - 2 lb.
Onions - 2 medium
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves - 5 nos
Green chillies - 2 large
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Salt, to taste

  1. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the fish and pan roast the fish with 1 Tbsp of olive oil for 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove fish from pan and keep aside to cool. 
  2. In the same pan, heat another Tbsp of oil, add mustard seeds, jeera, curry leaves, red chillies and onions and sauté until the onions are well browned. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt.
  3. Meanwhile shred the roasted fish and add it to the saute pan and keep frying until the everything is well roasted. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Breakfast Poha

I learnt this dish from my Gujarati roommate who would make this as a weekend breakfast. This is a yummy light and yet very flavorful dish. 
Poha - 1 cup soaked and drained in water
Onions - 1 large
Groundnuts - handful
Curry Leaves - 5 nos
Red chillies - 3
Ginger, grated - 1/2 Tbsp
Potato, peeled and cut - 1 large
Salt, to taste
  1. Boil potato and cut into pieces.
  2. Dry roast groundnuts in a pan and keep aside.
  3. Rinse poha in water and drain immediately and keep aside for a few minutes. Do not let it soak in water, it will become soggy.
  4. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chilles and onions and sauté unit the onions are translucent.
  5. Add ginger, groundnuts, turmeric powder,salt, potatoes and sauté until the potatoes turn slightly golden.
  6. Finally add the poha, cilantro and sauté for 5-10 minutes until the poha is well coated and cooked through.
I let the poha stand in the water for a few more minutes than I should have. Thanks to my daughter :) It needs to be soft yet crunchy and whole.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Traditional Sambar

This is a traditional sambar recipe from my mom's kitchen. In our house growing up, our everyday meal included rice, a gravy like sambar, rasam..etc and a side vegetable, egg or meat. So sambar was one of the most common gravies made..and was everyone's favorite :)

Dal - 2 cups
Water - 5 cups
Onions, diced - 1 large
Tomato, diced - 1 large
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Sambar powder - 1 Tbsp
MTR sambar powder - 1Tbsp (optional)
Cilantro, chopped - handful
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
For Tadka:
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 5-6 nos

  1. In a pressure cooker, add dal, onions, tomato, asafoetida, water and all the powders, salt and cook for 3 whistles and switch off.
  2. Meanwhile in a small pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds, jeera and curry leaves.
  3. Remove the lid from the cooker and heat in medium flame and adjust salt and sambar powder according to taste and bring to boil. Add the tadka, cilantro and remove from flame. 
Homemade Sambar powder is nothing but a combination of coriander seeds and chilly powder. But if you don't have that you can just add readymade sambar powder. This recipe is for plain sambar. You can add any kind of vegetable to it and it will add more flavor and taste to it..The most common veggie suggestions are brinjal/eggpant, radish, capsicum, carrot..

Aloo Fry

In south India, this aloo curry is probably a very standard side dish in most of the houses and it goes great with dal, sambhar, rasam with rice or even chappatis. It doesn't need a lot of ingredients and when made, this can stay in the refrigerator for a long time.

Potatoes, cut small - 4 large
Onions, diced - 2 large
Tomatoes, diced - 2 large
Chilly powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add the onions and sauté until slightly dark brown. Add the tomatoes keep frying until the tomatoes and soft and mushy and the curry becomes more like a thick paste like consistency.
  2. Add turmeric powder, chilly powder, salt and potatoes and keep frying in low flame for about 20-30 minutes until the curry browns up and oil separates.
Frying for a long time in low-medium flame is the key to this curry. It might not look very good initially but just leave it for the time and it will roast and come together very nicely just like in the picture :) And you might have to add oil a little generously as well! I know..but some dishes need more TLC.. 

Mutton Kurma

Who doesn't like mutton? My husband loves mutton in any form and growing up my brother was pretty much like that too..hmm..Is this is a guy thing? :) Anyway, this is a mutton curry adapted from my mil's recipes. My mom's is a little different from this which I will post some other time for sure..

Mutton - 2 lbs
Onion, diced - 1 large
Tomato, diced - 1 large
Chilli powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Curry powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1tsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 Tbsp
Meat Masala - 2 tsp (optional)
To Grind: 
Onion - 1/2 large
Poppy seeds - 1 tsp
Coconut, shredded - 2 Tbsp
Fennel seeds - 2 tsp
Red chillies - 2
Cashews - 4 nos

  1. Grind all the ingredients from the "To Grind" list into a paste.
  2. Take a pressure cooker and add all the rest of the ingredients from above. Add the ground paste and add 2 cups of water and cook in medium flame for 3-4 whistles and switch off.
  3. Once the pressure goes off, remove the lid and boil in medium flame until the gravy thickens and oil separates out. Add cilantro and serve hot. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Easy Chocolate pudding

I thought Chocolate pudding was a little complicated with eggs, baking and water bath and stuff..until I saw this recipe..It's easy, light, and yet rich, creamy and silky, perfect for Valentine's day or some other good excuse you can come up with :P :)

Milk - 3 cups (2% or better)
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Cornstarch - 1/4 cup
Chocolate Chips, semisweet - 3/4 cup
Vannila Extract - 1 tsp
Butter - 1Tbsp
Salt - 1 pinch

  1. Add sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk and whisk everything together on top of a double boiler. 
  2. Keep stirring for 15-20 minutes scraping off all the sides until the mixture thickens and starts coating your spatula. 
  3. Add chocolate chips and stir in for a few minutes until it forms a pudding like consistency. 
  4. Remove from flame, add vanilla and butter and mix. 
  5. Pour into individual cups and cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
Double Boiler: Heat 1-2 inches of water in a wide shallow pan in medium flame and bring to simmer.
Place a smaller pan which can hold 3 cups of milk, on top of the simmering water in the other pan.

Since this recipe does not use eggs, I used whole milk to add a little bit of richness..you can try it with 2% milk as well. If you use bittersweet chocolate chips because that's what you have, I would suggest adding 3/4 cup sugar to maintain the sweetness. Once you add the chocolate you will note that they melt almost instantaneously forming this thick yummy pudding..
Hope you enjoy and Have a Happy Valentines day everyone! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Veggie Egg Noodles

Growing up, my brother used to experiment and make these awesome chinese style egg noodles similar to the ones that you get at restaurants as sunday breakfast or an evening snack. In India you would never had to to crave or add meat to your meal coz you get amazing vegetarian food at restaurants. So I decided to keep this veggie but with eggs..Please..I just said no meat..dint say no eggs :)

Egg noodles - 1 pack
Red Onions - 1 large
Carrots - 2 nos
Bell pepper - 1 no
Cabbage, cut into strips -  1 handful
Paneer - 10-15 pieces
Spring Onions, cut small - 1/2 bunch (optional)
Ginger, grated - 1 tsp
Garlic, grated - 1 tsp
Eggs - 2
Soy sauce - 1 Tbsp
Worcestershire sauce -1 Tbsp
Chilli sauce - 2tsp (I used Sriracha)
Vinegar - 1 tsp
Red chilli flakes - 1 tsp
Ajinomoto - 1 pinch
Sugar - 1pinch
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

  1. Cut all the veggies lengthwise into 2 inch thin long strips. 
  2. Cook noodles as per packaging directions
  3. Scramble eggs in a pan and keep aside. 
  4. If you don't have fried paneer, shallow fry the paneer in a pan/wok until slightly browned and chewy.
  5. In the same pan, add onions and sauté until it turns pink. Add ginger and garlic and fry for a few mins. You can also just add ginger garlic paste if you don't have grated ginger and garlic.
  6. Add all the veggies, salt and sugar and in high flame, sauté the veggies until cooked through. The sugar helps to keep the veggies retain their colors while getting cooked. 
  7. Now add everything else and heat in medium flame for a few minutes. Chilli sauce, worcestershire sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, red chilli flakes, pepper, ajinomoto, noodles, scrambled eggs, spring onions and paneer and adjust salt, pepper and chilli sauces to taste, if needed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mushroom Chicken Curry

This is a different chicken curry with mushrooms. The combination of mushroom and chicken is more common in italian foods and I've always liked it but never tried making indian curries with this combo..Here's my first trial

Chicken thighs - 2 lbs
Mushrooms, sliced - 1 box
Onions, chopped - 1 large
Tomatoes, chopped - 1 large
Ginger garlic paste - 1 Tbsp
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Curry powder - 2 tsp
Coconut, shredded - 2 Tbsp (optional)
Chicken masala - 2 tsp (optional)
Chicken broth/Water - 1 cup
Cilantro, chopped - handful
Salt, to taste

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onions and saute until it turns golden brown.Add ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell goes away.
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook until mushy. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, curry powder, masalas and salt and saute for a few minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and water/chicken broth and cover and cook until chicken is all cooked.
  4. Now add the mushrooms and cook in medium flame until the gravy thickens up. If using, grind the shredded coconut to a paste and add to the gravy along with pepper and cook for a few more minutes.
  5. Finish with chopped cilantro.
Note that I did not use coconut paste when I made this curry since I did not have the time, which you can pretty much tell from the picture, but adding it will thicken your gravy as well as make it tastier :)

Perfect porridge

Here's a perfect alternative to your boring breakfast oatmeal. Personally, I hate eating oatmeal for breakfast. But this yummy porridge will make you forget that you're eating oatmeal!

Oatmeal - 1/2 cup
Milk - 1 1/2 cups
Sugar or Splenda - 1 Tbsp
Honey - 1 tsp
Strawberries -  3 nos
Banana - 1/2
Salt - 1 pinch

  1. In a tall microwavable bowl, add oatmeal, milk and salt and cover with a plastic wrap. Poke the plastic wrap with a fork a couple of times for venting.
  2. Microwave for 3 minutes until oatmeal is cooked and mushy and wait until it cools down
  3. In a blender, add the cooked oatmeal, fruits, honey and sugar and blend for a few minutes.

I used frozen strawberries and fat free milk and it tasted very good. It will be even better with 1 or 2% milk. You can use any kind of fruits you like and I would be very interested to know what other fruits will work well. I might try blueberries next time since I have it already!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Black Channa Curry

Black Channa/Konda kadalai/Kala channa however you wanna call it..this is a recipe I learned from my mother-in-law and it's my husband's favorite.

Channa, dry - 1 cup
Onion, chopped  - 1 large
Tomato, medium - 1
Coconut, shredded - 3 Tbsp
Fennel seeds - 2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 Tbsp
Cashews - 4 nos
Cilantro, chopped - handful
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Curry powder - 2 tsp
Salt, to taste
Water - 2 cups

  1. Soak the channa overnight in a vessel with enough water to cover up all the channa.
  2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add mustard seeds and once it pops add curry leaves, 3/4th of the onions and fry until golden brown. 
  3. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté until the raw smell goes and add the chopped tomatoes.
  4. Once tomatoes gets mushy, add turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder, curry powder and salt and sauté for a few minutes.
  5. Filter all the water from the soaked up channa and add channa to the pressure cooker with 2 cups of fresh water. Cover and cook until 4-5 whistles and switch off the stove.
  6. Meanwhile in a small mixer jar, add coconut, cashews, fennel seeds, leftover onions and grind into a paste.
  7. Remove the pressure cooker lid once the pressure goes off, add the ground paste and heat in medium flame until the gravy thickens. 

This curry is best with rice or rotis. I halved up the recipe here since you might be trying for the first time. I usually make lots of it and store up in the refrigerator for a few days.

Mini Breakfast Ramekins

Eggs and mexican on a weekend morning goes great together and here's my simple and tasty mexican breakfast ramekins with the stuff you probably will find in your pantry already!

Eggs - 3
Egg whites - 3
Salsa - 1 cup
Milk - 4 Tbsp
deli turkey slices - 4
Cheese, shredded - 1/2 cup (any variety)
Roasted peppers - 1 cup
Roasted chillies/Jalapenos - 1/4 cup (optional)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste

Servings: 4 (6oz) ramekins

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Take small ramekins, or any size according to your number of servings and spray on some non-stick cooking spray. 
  3. Beat together eggs,egg whites, milk, salt and pepper.
  4. Evenly distribute the following from bottom to top in layers in each of the ramekins.
      • Salsa
      • Roasted red peppers
      • Roasted chillies/Jalapeños
      • Smoked turkey breast deli slice(s)
      • Egg mixture
      • Cheese
  5. Bake in the oven for about 25 mins for 6oz ramekins and more if you're using a larger one until a fork comes out clean and the top browns to golden. Serve hot. 
To my surprise, this was one of my little picky eater's favorite breakfasts :)
And this is a perfect breakfast if you have a some time in your hand since baking takes about 30 mins. But you can get absolutely creative with this dish and add any kind of meat or layering that you like.

Easy chicken dish

Hungry for a mid afternoon snack or have no time for a perfect curry for your chapatis? Here's a curry type dish which is super easy and can be made in a few minutes. All that you need is some frozen chicken and frozen spinach..

Frozen Chicken strips - 1 cup
Frozen spinach - 1/2 cup
curry powder - 2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Salsa - 1/4 cup
Salt, to taste
Mozzarella cheese, Shredded - 1 Tbsp

  1. Heat oil in a small pan and add the chicken and spinach and saute until cooked and the spinach is all wilted.
  2. Add salsa, chilly powder, curry powder and salt and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the cheese and cook until the cheese melts and makes a gooey gravy like consistency.
Can be served with chapatis, rice or even as filler for your panini..Enjoy!
If you don't have salsa, you can try adding diced tomatoes as well..just let it cook for a few extra minutes. I bought the chicken strips from Costco which is my lifesaver for instant sandwiches, dishes and salads. Try and let me know how you made it..

Eggplant Curry for Biriyani

This eggplant curry is one of my favorite side dishes for all types biriyanis..It is spicy and tangy and a perfect combination for your biriyanis.


For Gravy:
Eggplant - 1
tomatoes,chopped - 2
Ginger garlic paste - 1 Tbsp
curry Leaves - 6
Kasthuri Methi - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro,chopped - handful
Bay Leaves - 2
Turmeric powder - 2 tsp
Chilli powder - 4 tsp
Curry Powder - 4 tsp
Garam masala - 2 tsp
water - 1 cup
Tamarind paste - 1 tsp
coconut paste - 1 Tbsp (optional)

To Grind 1:
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Black peppercorns - 1 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Star anise - 1
Red Chili - 2
Corainder seeds - 1Tbsp
Cinnamon stick - 1
Cloves - 3
Cardamom - 1

To Grind 2:
Onions,medium - 2
Green chillies - 2

  1. Grind all the ingredients from the "To Grind 1" list above to make a fine powder.
  2. Add the onions and green chillies from "To Grind 2" to the above powder and use the pulse in the mixer 2-3 times to finely mince them.
  3. Heat oil in a pan, add bay leaves, curry leaves and kasthuri methi.
  4. Add the ground paste and fry in medium flame until well browned and the raw smell goes.
  5. Add tomatoes, eggplant, turmeric powder, curry powder, chilli powder and garam masala.
  6. Cover and cook until the eggplant and tomatoes are mushy and the oil separates out.
  7. Once cooked, mash the tomatoes and eggplant until soft
  8. Add chopped cilatro and salt and adjust to taste.
  9. If using, add the cocounut paste and saute for a few more minutes.
Serve with Biriyani or chappatis. You can add any kind of vegetable or meat to this gravy to make the perfect side dish.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mutton Biriyani

When I hear the word “Mutton biriyani” I only dream about this biriyani that I once had at my schoolmate’s house on Ramzan. Recently, one of our friends made this amazing biriyani which tasted a lot similar and I fell in love with it. I tried to recreate his  recipe and here is my best try.


Mint Leaves, finely chopped - 1/2 bunch
Cilantro, finely chopped - 1/2 bunch
Ginger garlic paste - 2 Tbsp
Lemon juice - 2tsp
Yoghurt - 1 cup
Turmeric powder - 2 tsp
Chilli powder - 4 tsp
Curry Powder - 4 tsp
Garam masala - 2 tsp
Biriyani Masala - 4 tsp
Biriyani paste - 3 tsp, optional
Mutton - 3lbs

For Biriyani:
Onions, thinly sliced - 2 large
Tomatoes - 1
Basmati rice - 3 cups
Spices - Cloves-3, cinnamon-2, anise-2, cardamom-2
Fried onions - 1/4 cup, optional

  1. Marinate the mutton overnight with all the ingredients from above overnight.
  2. Cook rice in the rice cooker with 1 1/2 cups of water per cup of rice, oil and all the spices and cool it in a large mixing bowl or tray.
  3. In a large saucepan, add onions and fry until browned. Add tomatoes and the marinated mutton and cook for 45 minute or so until the mutton cooks and becomes a thick gravy.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. In an oven safe tray, layer rice with the gravy one on top of the other and cover with aluminuim foil and bake it for 30 minutes.
  6. In you have fried onions, mix it with the biriyani towards the end and serve hot.
Enjoy with raitha and boiled eggs :)