Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Navratan korma

Navratan korma is a classic North Indian side dish made of 9 diferent ingredients like vegetables, nuts and paneer.


2 cups of cooked vegetables (beans, carrot, peas, potato, cauliflower, bell pepper)
1/2 cup cubed paneer (fried)
1/4 cup cashews and raisins
2 medium tomatoes
1 big onion
Salt to taste
A pinch of sugar
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp dhania-jeera powder
2 tbsp cream
1/2 cup milk
Coriander leaves to garnish

Heat a tsp of oil and fry the onions. Add tomatoes and cook till mushy. Cool and grind to fine paste.

Heat 1 tsp oil, add ginger paste and then tomato onion paste. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, cumin seeds-coriander seeds powder, milk, salt and pinch of sugar. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cream, cooked vegetables, paneer pieces and nuts. Cook for 5-7 minutes and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rotis/naan/pooris/pulao.

Check out the cookbook review from Shri from Tasty touch blog : Vegetarian best ever recipe collection book.
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Taco Crawl in Fruitvale

For several years now I'd been hearing about the taco trucks of Fruitvale, a section of Oakland known for having a large Latino population. After reading endless reports on Yelp, Chowhound and an article in the East Bay Express by John Birdsall, I was ready to hit the road, or rather, International Boulevard, where there's a high concentration of taco trucks. I didn't spend a month investigating like Birdsall did (thanks John!) but I did put together a hit list, based on recommendations and testimonials. A word about pricing, you'll spend more on bridge toll than you will at most spots along the corridor. Tacos ranged in price from $1 to $1.25 and the agua fresca I ordered was $1.

First stop was the Sinaloa complex, located in a parking lot at 2138 International Blvd. You can't miss this stop and frankly, it's one of the best. Here there are two trucks to visit--one has the standard kinds of tacos, while the other is devoted to seafood. The fish taco was good, but the shrimp tostada was outstanding. A crisp tortilla was topped not just with sweet, plump and juicy shrimp, but also chunks of cucumber, tomato, onion, slivers of avocado and fresh cilantro. Not to be missed!

Across the parking lot, my partner in crime and I tried both the lengua or tongue taco and the chorizo taco. Both were very good. The chorizo has subtle sweet and sweet spicing and was not greasy. I skipped the champurrado, a type of Mexican hot chocolate but did have a very refreshing and not too sweet agua fresca made with fresh strawberries.

Next stop was not really a taco truck at all but a little storefront called Taqueria El Rebozo Blanco at 3215 International Blvd. While I never saw a menu, I knew to order the tacos dorados, the true Mexican version of the crispy taco. While a mashed potato filling is traditional, we had chicken tacos and they were very flavorful, made with delicate dark meat and topped with the traditional cheeses, crema, shredded iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. If you love crispy tacos, you will be very satisfied here.

The final stop is a little tricky to find, because it's located in the parking lot behind La Parilla Grill, at 2900 International Blvd. At Tacos El Paisa the speciality is tacos al pastor, which was very juicy, and mildly spicy, and a bit on the salty side. The tongue taco was very fresh tasting as well. Though on the downside there really is no seating in the parking lot. El Paisa definitely had the most "colorful" customers, but the service was friendly and as an added bonus, the Mexican version of an ice cream truck, a bicycle vendor with paletas or popsicles made his rounds, stopping off to get a taco as well as sell ice cream treats.

View Taco Trucks of Fruitvale in a larger map

See photos from this adventure or check out the map.

If you have any favorite taco trucks in in Fruitvale, please let me know so I can check them out on my next taco crawl.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sugar High Fridays- Fruit & Nut Roundup

Its Friday, and that means the weekend is round the corner, and its time to give in to indulgences - so we celebrate it with the Sugar High Friday - Fruit & Nut Roundup! No one needs a reason to enjoy good food, and each one of these delicious desserts that you are about to see below is a culinary treat in itself. Thanks for sharing all your delicious recipes with us, and hope these inviting entries will help you enjoy your weekend, making it a bit "more sweet"!!

Cakes & Muffins
Fruit & Berry Spoon Cake - eCurry
Chunky Banana-Nut Muffins - Life's Too Short for Chocolate
Gluten-Free Cranberry-Apricot Cake - Green Gourmet Giraffe
blueberry Banana-Nut Bars - My Experience with Cooking
Strawberry-Almond Scones - The Short (Dis)Order Cook
Oat Flour Cranberry Muffins - Madhuram's Eggless Cooking
Tamra Davis' Apple Cake - Split Pearsonality
Chocolate-Pecan-Banana Muffins - Maple Corn Bread
Banana-Walnut & Apricot Muffins - A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine
Banana-Date-Walnut Muffins - Sumi's Kitchen
Lemon Shortbread with Pecan Toppinge - Earth Vegan
Eggless Cherry Chocolate Cake - Madhuram's Eggless cooking
Vegan Applesauce Cake - Earth Vegan
Strawberry & Almond Muffins - Plantain Leaf
Plum & Pecan Bread - Chef in you

Frozen Treats
Mango Kulfi - Appyayan
Mango-Coconut Sorbet - Jaya's Space
Strawberry-Yogurt Delightt - Priya's Tasty Recipes
Frozen yogurt-Banana Dessert - A Culinary Odyssey
Mango PannaCota - Parita's World
Avocado Cream Pots - Sugar Nut
Mango-Almond Sorbet - Priya's Tasty Recipes
Mango Pistachio IceCream - Indian Khana
Mango Yogurt Mousse - Plantain Leaf

Cookies & Concoctions
Almond Fruit Tart - Tasty Touch
Mango Shrikhand - Renu's Kitchen
Fruity Phyllo Stacks - A Culinary Odyssey
Apricot & Nut Cookies - NewF in My Soup
Apricot Yogurt Parfait - An Edible Symphony
Peach-Strawberry-Almond Salad - Fearless Kitchen
Unnakkayi - Malabar Moplah Speciality - My Experience with Cooking
Peach-Blueberry-Almond Galettes - Passionate About Baking
Orange-Walnut Shortbread Cookies - Akshayapaatram
Richmond Maids of Honor - The Well-Seasoned Cook
Drunken Grapes - Sophie's Foodie Files
Mango & Chocolate Ganache Truffle - Dido Lives to Cook
Kitchen Sink Cookies - Samaithu Paarkalaam
Apple Marzipan Galettes - The Cook's Collection
Strawberry Kheer - Shail's Kitchen
Dry Fruit & Nut Laddoos - Kalyani's Kitchen
Date & Pistachio Cookies - Renu''s Kitchen
Apricot-Strawberry-Almond Shortcakes - My Diverse Kitchen
Fruit & Nut Cookies - Cook's Hideout
Pineapple Halwa - Prasu’s Kitchen

All these wonderful entries surely make me drool, and I have already bookmarked a few recipes for the coming weekends! Thanks once again for making this such a huge success; wishing you all a Sugar High Friday indeed!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chilled Corn Soup: Recipe

Chilled Corn Soup
It's not Summer until you've eaten a peach over the sink, nibbled on cherries, and enjoyed a stack of fresh blueberry pancakes. One of the most highly anticipated Summer treats aside from all the luscious fruit, is fresh corn. When I see Brentwood corn, I buy it. It's sweet, tender and pairs wonderfully with all types of shellfish, blueberries, lime and avocado.

Corn is high in starch and carbohydrates but it's also a good source of Vitamins B1, B5, and C, folate, dietary fiber, phosphorus, manganese and protein. I use white and yellow corn interchangeably. White seems a bit sweeter and yellow a has a rounder flavor, if that makes sense. Corn should be cooked as soon as possible, after it has been picked. It's particularly good in fritters, pancakes, succotash and salads. If you eat it on the cob, try squeezing lemon or lime juice over it and dipping it in something spicy like smoked paprika or chile powder. Another way to enjoy it is with crumbled Mexican Cotija cheese. Slather the hot cobs with mayonnaise and dip it in the cheese. Messy, but good.

At a recent visit to the delightful SolBar restaurant at Solage in Calistoga, I got a kick out of the menu which was divided down the middle into healthy dishes and indulgent ones. The soup of the day was a chilled corn soup and it had no cream in it. I was intrigued. After a little experimenting I found you can get the maximum flavor by limiting the ingredients to a minimum. This recipe is vegan and the exact amounts of salt and lime will vary depending upon how sweet the corn is; the sweeter the corn, the better the soup!

Note: I use a conventional blender, but I have a feeling that if you use a Vita-Mix you will get even better results! If you have one, try it and let me know.

Chilled Corn Soup with Avocado
Serves 4

6 ears of fresh shucked corn, yellow or white
2 limes
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced

Remove the corn kernels from the cob, using a chef's knife. Place the corn in a saucepan with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until the corn is tender, just a couple of minutes, no longer. Strain the corn out of the water, reserving the water, and place in a blender. Puree the corn with enough water to give it a smooth texture. Strain the corn puree through a strainer and and add some of the reserved water to achieve the desired consistency. Squeeze the limes into the soup and salt to taste. Chill the soup then serve with a garnish of avocado.


Bread aloo chaat

Recipe adapted from Shreya's version at Mom's cooking


2 tsp oil
1 onion chopped
1/2 tsp green chilli paste
1/2 tsp ginger paste
2 boiled and chopped potatoes
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
2-3 bread slices cut into pieces
1/2 cup sev
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Finely chopped coriander leaves
2-3 tbsp sweet chutney

Heat oil, add onions and fry for a minute. Add green chilli paste, ginger paste, chopped potatoes, masala powders, salt, sweet chutney and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes and add the bread slices. Mix well to coat the masala over the bread.

Before serving, sprinkle sev and lemon juice over it. Garnish with coriander leaves.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Besan kheer


1/2 cup gram flour/besan
1/2 cup grated jaggery (adjust as per taste)
1 tsp cardamom powder
Roasted nuts and raisins
2 cups milk
1 cup water
2 tsp ghee

Roast the flour in ghee till nice aroma comes. Cool a bit and add the water. Mix well without lumps. Now heat this and add the jaggery to it. Keep stirring it till jaggery melts and then add the milk and cardamom powder. Allow it to come to a boil and garnish with nuts and raisins.

If it becomes very thick, add some more milk to the kheer before serving.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Grilled cheese corn sandwich

A simple and filling sandwich


1 cup cooked sweet corn
1/2 cup grated cheese
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Bread slices

Mix the corn, cheese, salt and pepper. Spread some on a bread slice and cover it with another. Press well so that the corn doesnt spill out. Spread a little butter on both sides of the bread and grill it or cook on tava.

Cut diagonally and serve immediately with tomato ketchup.
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Mango Coconut Snack Cakes

Summer is the time I miss India the most - No, NO, not for the Heat, but for the delicious Mangoes that we relished during the season, never mind the pounds it added to my frame! Indian Mangoes have no parallel, but after so many years in the US, I guess we've started appreciating the fact that we can at least get mangoes in California, and they are of "decent-quality". So to satisfy my Mango mania, I baked these Mini Mango-Coconut Snack Cakes, a healthy, delicious alternative to regular decadent cakes or muffins. Made with whole-wheat, and a low-sugar content, these baby cakes can be eaten for breakfast, or turned into delicious desserts by sprinkling some icing sugar, and maybe some syrup or whipped cream on the top!

Makes about 12 mini cakes

2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup whole wheat flour (optional, you can use AP flour instead)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 cup mango pulp - sweetened
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2-3 tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet your mango pulp is)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour your large muffin pans or 12 individual ramekins and set aside.

Beat the eggs, oil and vanilla together. When it becomes fluffy, add in the mango pulp and mix well.

In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients except coconut flakes and walnuts.

Now slowly pour the dry ingredient mix into the egg mixture and keep beating on medium speed. Do this till the entire cake batter becomes smooth and uniform, about 5-8 mins. Finally, fold in the shredded coconut and the chopped walnuts.

Distribute evenly in the prepared cake pans and bake for at least 20-25 mins, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn off the oven and let the mini cakes cool on the wire rack for 5 mins.

Then gently turn out the cakes from the pan. Garnish with a topping of more walnuts if you like, and sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on the top.

These taste great with tea or coffee, and as they are low in sugar and trans-fat, they are also a healthier option to indulge in!

These Mango-Coconut Cakes are my entry to the SHF-Fruit & Nut event being hosted on this blog this month. If you haven't sent them in already, I'm looking forward to your entries.

Related Recipes
Raspberry Almond Crumble
Chocolate Hazelnut Coffee Cake
Mango Cake with Streusel Topping

Mango milkshake


Pulp of 1 Mango
2 glasses of chilled milk
A bit of cardamom powder (optional)
Sugar (if required)

Just add all of them to the blender and beat for 2 mins.. The ingredients are for 3 medium glasses of milkshake.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pavakaai (Bittergourd) thokku


2 medium sized bittergourd chopped
1 small onion chopped
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp vangi bhath powder
Few curry leaves

Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add curry leaves and onions. Fry for a minute and add the chopped bittergourd and enough water to cook. When it becomes soft, add turmeric powder, tamarind paste, vangi bhath powder and salt. If there is no water left, add a little more water to it and allow it to boil for 2-3 minutes.

Cool and serve with rice or rotis.

Sending over Kozhakattai, Sundal and Semiya payasam to Divya for her for her Global Ganesha DLC Food festival

This time for ganesh chaturthi, tried out kozhakattais for the first time...they came out really nice. I followed the recipe given by Viji.

For Kozhakattai (Modak)

1 cup raw rice
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk

For coconut filling

1 cup grated coconut
3/4 cup jaggery
1/2 tsp cardamom powder

For sesame seeds filling

1/2 cup roasted black sesame seeds
1/4 cup jaggery
1/4 tsp cardamom powder

Soak the rice for an hour in sufficient water. Drain out the water and grind to a fine paste with 1 cup of water. Heat one more cup of water in a vessel and add a pinch of salt and milk to it. When it starts boiling, add the rice paste and keep stirring on low flame for 15-20 minutes. To check if the dough is ready, spread a drop of oil on the palms and take a small ball of the dough. Knead well and roll out into a long thread. If it doesnt break, then the dough is cooked well and of the required consistency. Switch off the gas and cover it with a wet cloth and let it stay covered for an hour.

For the coconut filling, heat the jaggery with some water and when it starts boiling add the cardamom powder and grated coconut. Cook till it becomes one big lump. Cool and make small balls of it.

For the sesame seeds filling, grind the sesame seeds, cardamom powder and jaggery together. Make small balls of it.

Now make small cups of the rice dough and keep the desired filling inside. Now shape it into modak/kozhakattai. Repeat for the rest of the dough. Also you could make small rounds of the rice dough, spread the filling in half of it and cover it with the rest of the dough to get semi-circle shape.

Steam the kozhakattai for 5-8 minutes in the idli cooker. Cool a bit and serve Lord Ganesha's favourite prasadam.

For Sundal-


1 cup Chick Peas/Kabuli Chana (to be soaked in water overnight)(red or white chickpeas)
2 tsp of oil
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
2 tsp Bengalgram dal
2 tsp Blackgram dal
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1 Red Chilli
4 tbsp of grated coconut
Salt to taste
Few curry leaves

Pressure cook the soaked chick peas.

In a kadai, first roast 1 tsp of bengalgram dal, 1 tsp of black gram dal, red chilli and 1 tsp of coriander seeds. Grind it with coconut.

Now heat oil, add mustard seeds and the remaining 1 tsp of bengalgram dal and blackgram dal. Add the curry leaves and then the cooked chick peas. Dont throw away the water used to cook the chick peas. Add them also here and cook till the water is absorbed. Now add salt and the grinded masala paste.
Mix well and serve.

Semiya Payasam


1 cup vermicelli (semiya)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
Few Cashews
2 tbsp of ghee

First roast the cashews and vermicelli in ghee and when it starts turning brown, add 1 1/2 cups of water to it. Let it cook for five minutes.

Now add sugar to it and cook for 2 more minutes.

Let it cool a bit and then add the milk to it.
Serve hot or after refrigeration.

Check out the review of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Devagi Sanmugam sent in by Sudha of Malaysian Delicacies at her blog and also at Cookbook Reviews

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Friday, June 19, 2009

The Golden Glass 2009

Golden Glass
If you haven't yet discovered outstanding organic and biodynamic wines, this is your chance. Golden Glass wine event benefiting Slow Food San Francisco is a terrific event I've had the pleasure of attending the last two year. The focus is on sustainably-produced wines from around the world, and food from local restaurants.

Golden Glass
The line up of restaurants changes from year to year, but in my experience, each year is better than the previous one. This time around there are many award-winning restaurants and purveyors, including A16, Absinthe, Acquerello, Blue Bottle Coffee, Digs Bistro, Delfina, Heaven's Dog, La Mar Cebicheria, RN74, Poggio Trattoria, SF Baking Institute, Slow Club, Stella Cadente, and Trattoria Corso. These are really excellent establishments, in fact, the chef at A16, Nate Appleman just won the James Beard rising star award and that the chef at Poggio, Peter McNee won the Cochon 555 whole-heritage- hog cook-off last week.

This year for the first time, non-drinkers can purchase a ticket to eat only. tickets are available in advance for $60 (Slow Food members: $55); at the door $70; Food only and under 21: $20 (all entry tickets include 5 food tasting tickets. Additional food tickets can be purchased in groups of 5 for $20) Really, $20 to get 5 tastes from topnotch restaurants? That's a bargain!

Sunday June 21st, 2009
2 pm to 6 pm
The Festival Pavilion
Fort Mason Center
San Francisco

Cheese corn balls

This recipe was sent in by Parita of Parita's World to the WYF:Side dish event..


1 cup mixed vegetables grated (beans, carrot, cabbage)
1/2 cup sweet corn coarsely ground
Salt to taste
Pepper powder
1/2 tsp green chilli sauce
2 tsp cornflour
1/4 cup grated cheese
Oil to fry

Mix all the ingredients except oil and make small balls. Heat oil and fry the balls till golden brown. Serve hot with ketchup. Adjust the quantity of cornflour to bind the ingredients.

Apart from deep frying the balls, you can even cook them on a paniyaram pan with a drop of oil for each ball like in the below snap to make it low calorie.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Free Weekend Getaway with Chef Bonnie

Most of the schools in US have closed down for summer and people are frantic planning their family vacations as the heat turns up in Sunny California! For those of you who have not yet experienced the sunny shores and the cool waters of the Pacific, here's something that could get you closer to a romantic Southern California getaway, which also includes a surprise package for food-lovers like me!

As the economy vacillates between good and not-so-good forecasts, everyone is looking for a way to cut costs, or better yet, find free stuff! So I was really happy to receive this email in my inbox about a free weekend getaway in a Southern California vacation rental home, sponsored by VacationRentals. For those of you who haven't heard about them, it is a popular website for vacation homes that connects property owners with vacationers seeking a private, home-like atmosphere for their accommodations. Something like finding a hotel, except this is more like a private home or retreat, which I'm sure you'd enjoy on a vacation. I did find a great deal on something I was looking for, but what caught my eye, and got me into writing this post is the current sweepstakes that they are offering! Just a little something to test your luck!:)

They are sponsoring a giveaway which features a vacation getaway in a Southern California vacation rental home where Chef Bonnie, (yes, the chef from Food Network and Hells Kitchen) will cook a gourmet meal for you in the rental home that the winners book!! The Prize includes money towards airfare, rental, and the personal gourmet meal cooked just for you! Bonnie Muirhead is a 26-year-old nanny and personal chef from Los Angeles, CA, was a finalist in the hell's Kitchen-Season 3, and missed winning the title by a few inches. However, those who have seen her know she's a great cook, and if given a chance, who wouldn't wish to be served by a Gourmet Chef?

So for those who are interested, and who have a history of being lucky, can try a hand at winning the Chef Bonnie Weekend Getaway, or any other of their Golf & Spa vacations by entering the sweepstakes over at Vacation Rentals. It is free, it is valued at $5,000, and it only takes a few minutes of your time; but if you win it, those would be a few minutes very well-invested!

For those who think this is a waste of time, here are some other interesting weekend destinations in California, just in case your travel plans happen to bring you over to the west coast!

Lake Tahoe - All-Season Travel Guide
Napa & Sonoma Valley - Wine, Food & Scenic Countryside
A Visitor's Guide to San Francisco

Kesari poli

You can make this dish with leftover kesari/sheera also


1 cup roasted rava
1 3/4 cups sugar or jaggery
2 cups water
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 cups all purpose flour/maida
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp oil

Heat water and add the rava to it. Cook on low flame till soft and add sugar/jaggery and cardamom powder. Mix well and when it gets thick, cool it. Make balls of it.

Make a soft dough of all purpose flour, pinch of salt and water. Add oil to it and mix well to make it elastic. Keep covered for 1 hour. Make balls of it.

Roll out the dough into small puri, place a ball of filling in the center and cover it well from all sides. Dust with flour and roll out again into thick polis ensuring that the filling does not come out. Cook it on a tava on low flame till brown spots appear on both sides using little ghee.

Thanks Shanti of Shanti Krishnakumar's cookbook for this lovely award

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dahi bread

Divya of Dil se had shared this simple recipe on her blog..I didnt make any changes except for reducing the quantity of spices..


Bread slices -4
1 onion chopped
Thick Curd -1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Cumin seeds powder
Red chilli powder
Finely chopped coriander leaves

Toast the bread with the butter. Mix onions with salt, curd and coriander leaves. Spread it over the bread slices. Sprinkle some red chilli powder and cumin seeds powder over it.

Quick Dahi bread ready to serve
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Noodles, noodles, noodles!

I'm so crazy about noodles I could eat them every day and never get bored. Even the family I lived with in Italy was amazed at my capacity for eating pasta. And I love all kinds of pasta--Asian varieties along with Italian, being top of the list. Happily there are two books out at the moment that make a variety of Asian noodle recipes easily accessible to the home cook. Both have great photos and recipes that will send you scurrying into the kitchen.

Takashi's NoodlesFirst up is Takashi's Noodles. They say if you get just one great recipe from a cookbook, it is worth the price. In that case, let me tell you about Spicy Eggplant Ja-Ja-Men Udon. Chef Yakashi Takashi, owner of Takashi's in Chicago describes this dish as a Japanese version of spaghetti and bolognese sauce. It's basically a spicy eggplant and ground pork sauce over noodles with peppers, spicy notes and a creamy sauce that is enriched with sesame paste. The recipe has 18 ingredients but I skipped a few altogether and used substitutions for a couple more and can't imagine it made any discernible difference. I didn't bother with the 1/2 cup dashi, 1/3 cup canned bamboo shoots, teaspoon of cornstarch or 3 Tablespoons of sake. I used Chinese chili garlic paste instead of a Japanese variety and Chinese sesame paste instead of tahini. I had to buy exactly 2 ingredients to make the dish, green peppers and ground pork. I could eat this dish every week! It is so comforting and at the same time exciting. The recipes vary in the number of ingredients but are generally not that difficult. They are all Asian or Asian-influenced but not all Japanese. You'll find crispy noodles, chilled ramen and cold soba, curry shrimp rice noodles even potato gnocchi with lemon butter sauce, scallops and sea urchin. These are restaurant dishes adapted for cooking at home.

Noodles Every DayNoodles Every Day features quick and easy recipes. For these recipes you will need the basics of an Asian pantry which are explained in detail in an early chapter. All are available at an Asian grocery store or online. However a few recipes have some more exotic ingredients like garland chrysanthemum leaves or silver pin noodles. All the recipes are titled descriptively so Pad Thai becomes Stir-Fried Rice Sticks with Tamarind Sauce, Dried Shrimp, Tofu, Sprouts, and Eggs. Over the years I've had very good luck with author Corinne Trang's recipes and this book is no exception. Her Somen Noodles with Shrimp Curry and Peas uses less than 10 ingredients and is the perfect kind of one pot meal you'll likely be able to make with peas and shrimp in your freezer and without a trip to the store. The book is divided into sections based on the type of noodle you are using--egg, rice, buckwheat, etc. and it also has a section on buns, dumplings and spring rolls.

When I was in Hawaii I was on a mission to try as many top-rated ramen joints as I could. While I'm still nowhere near satisfied with the ramen choices in San Francisco, I am pleased that on June 24th from 6:30 - 8:30 pm there will be a special program at the San Francisco Ferry Building called For the Love of Ramen sponsored by the Asian Culinary Forum. Andy Raskin, author of The Ramen King and I, Eric Nakamura, publisher and co-editor of the Asian-American pop culture magazine, Giant Robot and George Solt, assistant professor of history, New York University will be talking about ramen, a Japanese version of a Chinese noodle dish, with a history spanning the post World War II period all the way till today and including the instant version that has become so ubiquitous. There will be refreshments of course, and great conversation. As a side note, I've been to every Asian Culinary Forum event and they have all been very well-organized, good fun and offered plenty of food for thought. I've already bought my ticket, hope to see you there!

No yeast Naan

Thanks to Raks of Rak's Kitchen for this recipe Naan (without yeast)


2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
Salt to taste
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 cup curds
1/2 tsp sugar
Butter as required

Sieve the flour, soda and baking powder together thrice to ensure even mixing. Transfer to the mixing bowl and make a hole in the center. Pour the milk, sugar, salt and curd in it and mix after a minute softly to make a dough. Keep aside for 3-4 hours. Make medium sized balls of it and dust it with the flour. Roll gently in the shape of a naan and apply water on one side of it. Stick this side to the tava and cook covered for 1-2 minutes. Bubbles will start coming up on the naan. Slowly invert the tava and expose the naan directly to the gas flame and cook on the other side as well. When brown spots start appearing and the naan is cooked, remove from the tava and apply butter as required to it.

Serve hot with a spicy gravy of your choice.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Onion thokku


2 big onions chopped
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp blackgram dal
Few curry leaves
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp grated jaggery

Heat oil, add mustard seeds and blackgram dal. When it splutters, add curry leaves and onions. Fry them it starts turning brown. Add the tamarind paste and 1 1/2 cup water. Cook covered on low flame till onions become soft. Add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and jaggery and mix well. Cook till it gets thick.

Cool and store in air-tight container.
how to make onion thokku, quick and easy onion pickle recipe, simple and tangy side dish

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kollu paruppu podi


1 cup horsegram dal
1 cup redgram dal (thur dal)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp asafoetida
3-4 red chillies
2 tsp black pepper

Dry roast the horsegram and red gram dal seperately till slightly red. Dry roast the red chillies and black pepper as well for a minute. Cool and grind with salt and asafoetida.

Store in an air-tight container. Serve with hot rice and ghee.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sooji appam


1 cup roasted rava
1 3/4 cups grated jaggery/sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 cups all purpose flour/maida
Pinch of salt
Oil to fry

Make a dough of the flour, salt and water and keep covered for 1/2 hour.

Heat 2 1/2 cups of water and add rava to it. Cook till soft and add the sugar/jaggery and cardamom powder. Mix well and cook well till thick. Cool and make small balls.

Pat a small ball of the dough in a greased sheet, place a ball of the filling in the center and cover it with the dough. Pat slowly with greased hands to make a round and deep fry it in hot oil till crisp and light brown spots appear on both sides. Drain out the excess oil on a tissue paper. Repeat for the rest of the dough. Cool and store in an air-tight container.
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Oats rava idli

A healthy idli variety that tastes almost similar to rava idlis..


2 cups of roasted and powdered oats
1 cup of roasted rava
Salt to taste
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp bengalgram dal
1 tsp blackgram dal
1/2 tsp ginger paste
2 finely chopped green chillies
Few broken cashews
Finely chopped coriander leaves
Few curry leaves
1 cup curd
Water as required

Heat oil, add mustard seeds, bengalgram dal, blackgram dal, cashews and roast till it splutters. Add it to the oats powder. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. The consistency should be similar to rava idli batter consistency.

Pour them into greased idli plates and steam them for 8-10 minutes. Insert a knife and check if it comes out clean. Cool for a minute and transfer to a serving plate. Serve with chutney/sambar.

Sending it over to Sri Lekha for her EFM:Breakfast event.

Oats rava idli is a healthy and filling dish to pack for kids in their lunch boxes..These go to Neha for her CFK:Healthy lunch boxes event started by Sharmi.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Murmura chikki


2 cups crispy murmura
1 cup sugar
1 tsp ghee

Grease a plate with 1/2 tsp ghee and keep ready. Heat the remaining 1/2 tsp ghee with sugar. No need to add water. Heat on a low flame and keep stirring it continuously. It will soon start caramelising and the colour will change. If the sugar turns darker, it will become bitter. Immediately add the murmura and mix well. Transfer to the greased plate and spread it well as soon as possible as it will become crisp. Cut into desired pieces before it cools.

Store in an air-tight container.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Onion stuffed paratha


2 onions chopped very finely
Salt to taste
1 tsp red chilli powder
Finely chopped coriander leaves
1 cup wheat flour

Make a soft dough of wheat flour, salt and water and keep covered for 1/2 hour. Make medium balls of it.

Mix the onions, salt, red chilli powder and coriander leaves and leave it for five minutes. Squeeze out all the water from it.

Make thick pooris from the dough and place the onion stuffing in between and cover with dough from all sides. Dust with flour and roll out into thick parathas. Cook on hot tava with oil/butter/ghee.

Serve hot with pickle/curds.
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Aloo Bhindi


10 pieces of okra/bhindi/ladiesfinger
2 big boiled potatoes
Salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder

Cut the potato pieces lengthwise and add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and garam masala powder to it. Mix well and fry in hot oil or roast on a tava with little oil.

Heat 1 tsp oil and add the okra pieces to it. Cook on low flame till it gets soft. Add only salt to the okra. Now mix the potato pieces with it. The non spicy taste of okra and spicy potatoes go well with pooris/rotis/pulav.
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Monday, June 8, 2009

How To Carmelize Onions

If you love cooking as much as I do, I am pretty sure at some point of time, you must have been enthused by the flavor of Carmelized Onions, be it as a topping on your Pizza, or a garnish on your Pasta or Salad, and I've received several requests to post about how to make them at home. The first thing you notice about these Onions is that they are "Golden-Brown". But the more important fact is how they smell and taste; unlike regularly sauteed onions, Carmelized Onions have a unique flavor, fragrance and texture, which is brought upon by the chemical reactions between sugar, water content in the onions, and of course, the heat in your skillet. Here's a scientific explanation for carmelized onions, if you are interested, but for home cooks like me just looking for a simple tutorial on How to Carmelize Onions at home, just hop ahead and read on! [Image courtesy: Fine Cooking]

Making Caramelized Onions at home is not as difficult a job; the key is to cook them on medium-low heat, a process which is called Sweating, and which allows all the water to release into the pan and then evaporate slowly. ensuring that your onions will be soft and caramelized all the way through. Here's what you need, in addition to patience, and some spare time on your hand (not when the kids are cranky for dinner!!)

1/2 cup clarified butter or olive oil
2 cups of onions of your choice(white, yellow, or red) - chopped thin
2 tsp granulated sugar
Hot water as needed
Salt & Pepper - to taste

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar as soon as the onions have been coated with butter.

Continue cooking until the onions are deep brown and candied, and look browned & crisper from the edges; this can take up to 35-45 minutes. Add an occasional tablespoon of hot water if the pan becomes too dry, or if you see that the onions are sticking to the pan. Season well with salt and pepper to overcome the sugar, and also to help preserve their sheen or gloss.

Now you can use them in any recipe that calls for Caramelized Onions. Remember, the trick is in the right amount of sugar, and using medium-low flame, and slowly letting the onions get cooked; patience is the key, so hurrying will not help you get those burnt edges that are so typical for caramelized onions.

Note: The more the quantity, the longer it will take to caramelize your onions! Also, the sugar helps to accelerate the browning process, but you can skip it or lower the quantity if using red onions, as they have more water content than their white counterparts.

Related Recipes
How to Make basic Onion Sauce
How to Cut a Pineapple
How to make Pie Crust at Home

Whole moong paniyaram


Moong idli batter
Finely chopped green chillies
1 Finely chopped onion
Finely chopped coriander leaves
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp bengalgram dal
1 tsp blackgram dal
Few curry leaves
Bit of asafoetida

Heat oil and add mustard seeds, bengalgram dal and blackgram dal. When it splutters, add curry leaves and asafoetida and pour into the vessel with batter. Add chopped onions, green chillies and coriander leaves. Mix well. Add a drop of oil in each hole of the paniyaram stone and pour the batter in it. Cook till crisp and then turn and cook on other side as well.

Serve hot with chutney/sambar of your choice.
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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sweet ragi diamond cuts


1 cup ragi flour
1/2 cup maida/all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
Oil to fry

Make a soft dough of ragi, all purpose flour,salt and water. Roll into medium thickness chapatis and cut them into small squares or diamond shapes. Deep fry them in hot oil till crisp and done..Dont let it turn black, else it will be bitter.

Heat sugar with little water till it becomes frothy and thick. Add a little bit of ghee and then fried pieces. Mix well and transfer into a greased plate and seperate the pieces using a fork or spoon.

Cool and store in an airtight container.
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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Stuffed idli roast

Inspired from Madhuram's version at Eggless cooking


Idli batter
Potato sabzi

Potato sabzi is boiled and cubed potatoes roasted with turmeric, red chilli powder, salt and tempered with mustard seeds and bengalgram dal. Can add some chopped coriander leaves too for taste. Pour idli batter to half the idli plates. Put a little bit of sabzi and pour little more batter to cover it. Steam it like regular idlis. Cool and cut into four pieces. Roast them with little oil.

Serve hot with chutney/sambar.
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Friday, June 5, 2009

Whole moong idli


2 1/2 cups boiled rice
1/2 cup raw rice
1 cup blackgram dal
Fistful of poha
1 cup whole moong (payaru)
Salt to taste
Bit of ginger paste
Green chillies as per taste

Soak the rice,poha and blackgram dal seperately for 4-5 hours. Grind to smooth batter, add salt and ferment overnight. Also soak the moong overnight.

Grind the moong with ginger and green chillies next day. Add it to the idli batter and mix well. Pour into idli plates and steam for 8-10 minutes. Check by piercing a knife. If it comes out clean, it is cooked or else cook for few more minutes.

Serve with chutney/sambar.

Sending over this healthy breakfast idea to Divya for her "Show me your breakfast " event

My entry for WYF: Cook book event. Udipi cuisine by U.B. Rajalakshmi .Click on the pic or book name for the review

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Aloo cheese rice


2 boiled and chopped potatoes
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small onion chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp vangi bhath powder
2 cups cooked rice
Salt to taste
Finely chopped coriander leaves

Heat oil, add cumin seeds. When it splutters, add the onions and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes, turmeric powder, vangi bhath powder and salt. Mix well and add cooked rice. Slowly coat the rice with the masala without breaking it.

Cook for 2-3 minutes and add coriander leaves and cheese. Mix well. Garnish with more cheese.

Serve with raita of your choice.

Sending it over to Nags for her MM:Ravishing rice recipes event started by Meeta
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Great American Food & Music Fest Giveaway + Discount Tickets

Food Events

Saturday June 13th marks the first (and I hope not the last!) Great American Food and Music Fest at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View from noon until 10 pm. Get a group of four friends together and tickets are only $21.50 each, otherwise festival tickets start at $35 and go up depending upon what extras you might want such as wine tasting or backstage "meet and greet party" with celebrity chefs. All tickets include the first plate of food you try from one vendor. But undoubtedly you will want to try a whole lot more than that.

This extravaganza is a bit like a foodie pilgrimage around the country without leaving home. Try a pastrami sandwich from Katz's Deli or Graeter's ice cream from Philly, Southside Market BBQ brisket and sausage from Texas or even the original Anchor Bar Chicken Wings from Buffalo otherwise known as, "Buffalo wings."

If you want to indulge in local specialties and even see them being made, there will be plenty of those too. Incanto's Chris Cosentino will be making hot dogs, June Taylor will be creating strawberry jam, Chuck Siegel of Charles Chocolate will be forming chocolate truffles and Nate Appleman of A16 will be making some new creation that has yet to be revealed. Competition will be in the air as chefs from Burgermeister, Pearl’s, MO’s, and the Burger Joint compete for the title of San Francisco's Best Burger.

This is going to be a great event! And I have 2 tickets to give away to lucky readers. Leave a comment with your favorite regional American specialty and I will pick two readers at random. Tickets are available online now. Use the ticket code "foodfest" for $5 off ticket prices.


South Indian Marriage thali

Variety of foods are served during South Indian marriages that are spread over 3-5 days. Food is served traditionally on a banana leaf. The typical menu of the muhurtham lunch for Tamil Brahmin community include (click on the link for the recipe)

Rice, ghee, cooked tur dal (paruppu),

Paruppu kuzhambu or Arachi vitta sambar (with assorted vegetables like pumpkin, brinjal, carrot etc),

Beans paruppu usli,

One more vegetable(cabbage stir fry with coconut or potato roast without onions),

Kosumalli (moong dal or cucumber),

Vadai (plain paruppu vadai or thayir vadai),

Kootu or aviyal,


Appalam (papad),





One payasam variety(carrot or pal payasam),

Savoury (kara sev),

Ladoo or janghri.

Possible that some item may have been missed out..The picture below has some of the items that are served..

Sending it over to notyet100 for her Shadi ki thali event
and to Shanthi's State Specials event.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Little Pots & Pans Tarts: Product Review

Little Pots & Pans tart
To cook or not to cook? THAT is the question. Of course, I love to cook. For me, cooking is a creative outlet, a way to share, to experiment and at least partly how I make a living. I also think it's a great skill everyone should know how to do. But I recognize that some people don't enjoy cooking and don't want to cook. I mention this because this past weekend an op ed piece in the New York Times took Michelle Obama to task for saying that she prefers not to cook, if given a choice.

I understand the need for a strong advocate for home cooking, really, I do. But we all get weary of cooking sometimes and if I was Michelle Obama I can imagine having other priorities. Which brings me to the savory tarts from Little Pots and Pans. Thanks to my friends over at Foodzie, I got to try a selection of their terrific pastries.

I have a hard enough time struggling with pastry dough so I was amazed at how crisp, light and flaky the crust was on each of the tarts I tried. The fillings range from a traditional spinach and feta combo to vegan indian curry and my favorite, the roasted tomato, caramelized onion and goat cheese. They heat up quickly in the oven, have a good balance of crust to filling, and delectable seasonings. In short, they are one of the tastiest prepared foods I've tried in a long time. Believe me, a lot of products I try never get a mention.

If I was better at making pie crusts I might consider making something like these pies, but actually I'm happy to let someone else do the cooking now and again.

WYF: Quick Meal event roundup

Thanks a lot to all for participating in the event with your quick recipes..It surely would be a keeper for all those short of time to cook elaborate meals

Sailaja of Sailaja's Kitchen: Radish Leaf pulao

Vanamala of Malas Kitchen: Onion Rava Dosa

Anu from My Scrawls: Maddur Vada

Padma from Padma's Recipes: Lemon Sago Upma and Nei Urundai

Navita Hakim from Zaayeka: Malaai ki subz

Sadhana from A2zvegetariancuisine: Mixed Vegetable Appam, Granola Cereal with magic seeds and Besan Kheer

Shruthi from When I play Chef: Almond-Walnut cake with Mango Custy, Aviyal and Soosla

Asha from Foodies Hope: Bell Pepper and carrot Rice

DK of Chef in You: Bissara (Fava Bean dip)

Smt.Shanthi Krishnakumar from Shanthi's Cook book: Peas pulao , Mixed vegetable rice and Vegetable Pulao

Priyasuresh of Easy n Tasty recipes: Gingery Berry Soup, Microwave Cashew Rice and Pepper Mushroom Curry

Food fanatic: Cheela

Madhu from Madhu's Cooking Gallery: Puli aval and Ven Pongal

Nags from Edible garden: Bisi Bele Bath

Sudha from Malaysian Delicacies: Vegetarian Mee Mamak /Noodles

Kayal from Kayal's Kitchen: Rava Kichidi and Paruppu Usli

Kavitha of Kavitha'vin Kaivannam: Bittergourd Curry, Kajayam and Chilli Garlic Cauliflower

Deepika from Less Sugar, Please: Stewed Ashgourd

Lissie from Salt and Spice: Peas Pulao

Muskaan Shah from A2Z vegetarian cuisine: Ever Healthy Spicy Mixed Cereals with Nuts

Happy Cook from My Kitchen Treasures: Chitrannam Rice

Usha Nandini of Usha Nandini: Rajma Rice

Ramya Vijaykumar from Passion for Cooking: Baked Rava Idly

Ramya from Simple Vegetarian recipes: Aval/Poha Upma

HB from Dew drop in the kitchen: Ridge gourd chutney

Hemamalini from Salt to taste: Vendhaya Keerai masiyal

Hema Natarajan from The Healthful cook: Quinoa Pulao

Prathibha from The Chef and Her Kitchen: Paneer Bhurji and Shrikarani...a simple Mango delight!!!

Srilakshmi from Annapurna: Tortilla Pizza, Mint & Lima Bean Khichdi and Carrot Rice

Kalva from Curry in kadai: Semiya Kesari

Neha from Tasty recipes: Tangy Pav Bhaji

Prasu from Prasu Kitchen: Zucchini rice , Vanilla Pudding Pops and Jeera rice

SS, a non-blogger sent in these recipes

1. Sundal

Sundal is a South Indian dish often made during the Dasara festival season, but no rules saying you can't have it any time!
The quickest and easiest version uses canned chickpeas or beans like black eyed peas.
If you are in the habit of pre-cooking and freezing beans this dish is also quick.
Or you can make it with sprouted dals (e.g. sabut moong, or moth, or similar) - very nutritious and tasty.

2 cans chick peas, drained and rinsed or similar amount precooked.
1/2 small onion finely diced (optional)
2 small unripe sour mangoes, small diced (substitute with tomatoes, or some other sour tasting element)
2 tbsp freshly grated coconut
salt if needed
lemon juice for sprinkling, and coriander/cilantro for garnish
tempering: oil, 1/4 tsp hing, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 2-3 dry red chillies, 1 sprig curry leaves

Heat the oil, temper with the spices, add the onion if using and fry a couple of minutes till it's not raw, but still a little crunchy.
Add the chana and mangoes. Stir to mix well. Fry for just a minute or two.
Turn off the heat, fold in the coconut. Sprinkle lemon juice and mix.
Taste and add salt if needed. Garnish with coriander.
Done! Couldn't be easier!
Serve warm or room temperature with chapatis and a small salad, for a light, cool meal.

2. Besan ke cheele
Soaking, grinding, and fermenting for dosais or idlis needs you to plan ahead. Even for adais, you need to soak and grind. It can be a hassle.
But besan ke cheele are easy and so quick!

2 cups besan,
1/4 cup rice flour
2 cups water
salt, a little red chili powder, a little haldi.

Mix all the above into a thin-ish batter (just a little thinner than dosai batter, but not totally watery).

Heat the tawa, spray or sprinkle oil, and pour out the batter with a large round ladle. Tilt the tawa to let the batter shift around until it's thinly spread out into a round shape. The batter will look a little bubbly, but it's not fermented.
Let it brown on one side, flip and brown on the other side.

Serve immediately with yogurt and tomato chutney

Tomato chutney recipe:

6 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp panch pora
1/2 tsp haldi
1 tsp red chili powder

Heat the oil, temper with panch pora and when the spices pop add the red chili, haldi, and tomatoes.
Mix well, turn the heat down, and let it cook totally down until the tomatoes are pasty (all water gone).
Add salt to taste.

You can start the chutney while making cheelas: they will be done together.

My kids routinely request this for breakfast. It's a nice light, yet very nutritious breakfast.

Samahita Kabra from Sam's Recipes: Pohe

Hope you enjoyed all these quick recipes and that this roundup would be helpful to all.

Hoping to see all your lovely collections of recipe books for this month's event WYF: Cook book..Please do participate