Friday, July 29, 2011

Paneer onion paratha

A simple non stuffed paratha for a quick breakfast


1 cup wheat flour
Salt to taste
1/2 cup crumbled paneer
1 small onion chopped finely
Finely cut coriander leaves
1 tsp garam masala powder
Oil/ghee as required

Make a soft dough of all the ingredients except oil/ghee. Leave for 5 minutes and knead again. Make medium sized balls and roll into thick parathas either square or round ones. Cook on hot tava with little oil/ghee till brown spots appear on both sides. Serve hot with some curds and pickle.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Broken corn upma and a Free E-Book


1 cup broken corn
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp bengalgram dal
1 tsp blackgram dal
Few curry leaves
1 big green chilli broken into pieces
3 cups water
1 onion chopped finely
1/2 cup vegetables (carrot, beans, capsicum, cabbage and some peas) [optional]
Salt to taste
Finely cut coriander leaves

Dry roast the broken corn just until its hot. Heat oil, add the mustard seeds, bengalgram dal and blackgram dal. When it splutters, add green chillies, curry leaves and onions. Fry for 2 minutes. If you are adding vegetables, add at this stage. Then add water, salt and allow it to come to a boil. Stir in the corn and when it gets thick, transfer to a vessel and pressure cook for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with chutney/sambar of your choice.

Giveaway time

Now for the E-book..Chef Jeff has come up with a e-book DinneRevolution. The book is to be shortly released for a price of $27 and he is presently giving it away to the readers of Simple Indian food blog for FREE.. thanks Chef for the wonderful thought. There are more than 200 family dinner ideas in the e-book and also easy to prepare with less than 10 minutes involving just 30 minutes..

Sounds really interesting na Grab your FREE copy of the e-book by following this link

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Sprouts bhel


1 cup sprouted and cooked whole moong sprouts
1 small onion finely chopped
1/2 of small tomato finely chopped
Finely chopped coriander leaves
A fistful of thin sev (I tried with alu sev)
Chaat masala to taste
Salt to taste
1 tbsp sweet tamarind chutney

Keep everything ready before hand. Just before serving, mix all of them and serve immediately. Delicious and healthy snack for any time of the day.
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Soft wheat flour dosas - Version 2


1 cup blackgram dal paste (you can soak a bit excess of the dal while grinding for idli/dosa and grind it along)
2 cups wheat flour
2 tbsp rice flour
Salt to taste
Oil as required

Mix all ingredients except oil. Add little water as required to make a batter not too thin and not too thick. Heat the tava and pour a ladle full of batter and spread it into a dosa. Add a few drops of oil and turn around when one side starts getting brown. Serve hot with chutney/sambar.

* These dosas dont require fermentation
* Since ground urad batter is used the dosas are very soft compared to the instant version

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Horsegram sprouts sundal


2 cups sprouted and cooked horsegram
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp blackgram dal
1/2 tsp bengalgram dal
Few curry leaves
Salt to taste

Heat oil, add mustard seeds, blackgram dal, bengalgram dal and when it splutters add the curry leaves. Add sprouted and cooked horsegram, salt as per taste and mix well. Finally add the curry leaves and mix.

Serve as an evening snack.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Best Indian Party Recipes


Are you planning to throw a party for your friends, and have an Indian Menu on your mind? More often than not, one finds it hard to narrow down to what dishes you would serve - picking out your favorites that will work well with a diverse group is obviously a difficult choice. So here is a sample Indian Party Menu that I have created just for my readers. From Appetizers to Main Course, Sides and Desserts, this is a perfect gathering which will please all your guests, whether Indian or not. Check out what delicacies lie beyond!

Start your meal in a grand style by serving any one or a combination of these appetizers. Paneer Tikka with Mango Dressing is a classic, while for bite-sized appetizers, you can opt for these Paneer & Asparagus Lollipops or these fancy Moong Dal Basket Kachoris. If you want to keep it really simple, opt for something non-traditional, like these Baked Zucchini Fries or Vegetarian Spring Rolls.

Main Course
When it comes to main course, at least one of your dishes has to have Paneer in it - it's a must!! My personal favorites are the Paneer Butter Masala or the quick and easy Saag (Palak) Paneer. Other non-paneer options include Mix Vegetable Korma, or Hyderabadi Baghara Baingan, which will be a big hit with spice-lovers in your group. Choose to serve these with simple Rotis or Parathas, or something fancy like Tandoori Naan, if you like, and have the time to make these at home.

Rice & Dal
For some people, a meal is incomplete without eating Rice. If you have thse people in your group, then opt for something simple like Jeera Rice, served with old-fashioned home-style Toor Dal. However, my recent favorite recipe is Pomegranate Rice Pulao with Pecans - an instant hit, and very easy to make!

Desserts & Sweet Things
Everything must have a sweet end, and does your Menu. For traditional desserts, you can choose to make Rasogulla, Moong-Dal Halwa, or the universal favorite Gulab Jamuns. For summers, Pistachio Ice Cream or Mango Kulfi would be a good choice, or you can go for something really simple and stress-free, like these mini Almond-Mocha Frappes, or a flavored pudding like Coconut Panna Cotta with Berries

Whatever you choose to serve, be sure to cook your food with a happy mood. Because all your emotions will reflect in the final outcome, and result into a happy Meal that everyone will enjoy. Plan ahead of time, so you don't have to do everything on the d-day; most of the curries and desserts can be prepared a day in advance. Hope you like this list of Indian recipes, and may it help you throw an unforgettable party!

If you need more inspiration, check out tonnes of more Indian recipes over at Fun and Food Cafe.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bajra Paniyaram


1 cup broken bajra/pearl millet/kambu
1/3 cup blackgram dal (urad dal)
Salt to taste
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp bengalgram dal
1 tsp blackgram dal
Few curry leaves
Finely chopped coriander leaves
2 small onions chopped
1/2 tsp ginger paste

Soak the broken bajra in warm water for an hour. Soak the blackgram dal and fenugreek seeds seperately for 1/2 hour. Grind the dal first till smooth paste and then add the soaked bajra. Grind for a few minutes. Add salt and mix well. Ferment for 6-8 hours.

Heat oil and add mustard seeds, bengalgram dal and blackgram dal. When it splutters, put in the curry leaves and add it to the batter. Add ginger paste, chopped onions and coriander leaves. Mix well.

Heat the paniyaram pan and put it some drops of oil in each hole. Pour batter in the holes and cook on medium flame. When it starts getting brown, turn it over and cook on other side as well.

Serve hot with chutney/sambar of your choice.
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The Gelato & Candy Shoppe ~ Kim Saulter

Monday, July 18, 2011

Budding blogger : Uma

Meet Uma from Uma's Kitchen Experiments in the Budding blogger series..

She says -

I am Uma from Uma's Kitchen Experiments, an experimenter for 2 months old blog and a software engineer by profession. Recently I tookover the role-incharge for my kitchen after marriage.

Like many of you, I didn't know to cook much and all I knew was to cook something to eat for surviving when my mom wasn't available. Those days eating was my passion rather than cooking. Then, the day has come to cook for myself when I moved away from my home. I started very badly but after with the help of my mom, mom-in-law and granny, I learnt new recipes which are highly inclined towards South Indian Cuisine. I have also experimented few western recipes from my international recipe collections which I got from my visit to various other contries.

When I was reading throuh few cooking articles on the web, the idea of blogging struck me. Instead of just cooking, why not describe the method behind cooking in a blog, so that it is useful for other amateurs like me. Thus my blog was born. As I am new to the blogging world I thought of starting it with my mom and mom-in-law's recipe collection. So you can find more authentic South indian recipes and few western style recipes from my blog. Visit my blog. Record your feedback to improve my culinary skills.

I stumbled here from Indiblog and I was surprised to see my co-bloggers. Thank You EC for budding bloggers concept.

Gelato Shop ~ Mini Era

Ice Cream
For more minis by Annie of Mini Era, visit:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bread chilli

The recipe is a take off from the Madurai famous street food Chilli Parota..The key ingredient - Kerala parota is replaced by bread.


4-5 slices of bread (I used wheat bread)
2 tsp oil
2 onions chopped lengthwise
1 capsicum chopped lengthwise 
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Salt-a bit
Ajinomoto - a bit
Coriander leaves chopped finely

Cut the bread slices into pieces by hand or using a knife.

Heat oil, add the onions and capsicum and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the coriander leaves, tomato sauce, garam masala powder, red chilli powder, salt (the bread already has salt-so very little) and ajinomoto. Mix well and finally add the bread pieces. Mix well and serve hot with onion raita.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cooking Competitions

Imagine eating 16 plates of beef. In a row. A few years ago I judged my first cooking competition and it was the National Beef Cookoff. While I'd like to tell you everything about it, some cooking competitions are serious business and in that particular case, I was sworn to secrecy.

This month alone I am judging three cooking contests–the Bacon Takedown was last weekend and this weekend is the Bay Area BBQ Championship and the Lamb Jam. Last month I judged one of the Bravo Top Chef Tour "quickfire" competitions that was part of their road tour.

(Sorry to say it, but Fabio lost, using Red Bull in a salmon dish was probably not such a good idea)

If you're guessing I rarely pass up a chance to be a judge, you're right. I like trying different dishes, evaluating and conferring with the other judges. While it might seem like work, the truth is, it's actually a lot of fun.

At Matt Timms wild and wonderful Takedown competitions it's a combination of amateurs and professionals so you never know what you're going to find. The judge's choice for first place this time around was Ivy Something who made Bacon Fried Chicken with Sweet Potato Biscuits and Tipsy Maple Gravy. Ivy has Southern roots and a gravy blog. Yup. A gravy blog. I do hope she blogs the recipe.


The Bay Area BBQ Championship is a big deal competition compared to the others. It's being held at the Oakland Coliseum creekside lot and when you buy a ticket, you also get to see a double header A's game. Nice. This competition is particularly important to me because it benefits Alternative Family Services one of the most well-respected foster care agencies in the country and the founder and Executive Director is a very close family friend. There are 32 teams competing, including Food Network champions the Bad Boyz of BBQ, the Q Masters, Bad S BBQ (featuring Iron Chef Contestant Ric Gilbert), and the Oakland Fire Department. Tickets are still available! Buy one for yourself or just donate a ticket so a kid can see a ball game. Tickets must be purchased in advance, no sales the day of the event.

Finally the Lamb Jam will have restaurant chefs competing against one another. This sold out event is being sponsored by the American Lamb Board, who are responsible for getting the message out about lamb. Did you know American Lamb is hormone free and is available as all-natural products that are antibiotic free? You probably do know that sheep are grazing animals and help to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

I'll be curious to see what the chefs will be cooking up, all weekend long. What cooking competition would you most like to judge?

Samba wheat rava adai

This recipe is a guest post from Asha Sathyanarayanan. Thanks Asha for this healthy recipe

The recipe in her words..

I would sincerely like to thank my dearest friend Mrs. Geetha Radha Krishnan for giving me this recipe.


Samba wheat rava (1 1/2 cup)
Green gram, Brown chana, Brown gram 3 shared in a cup
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 or 4 red chilly
Curry leaves 2 sticks.(see photograph)

Soak all the ingredients for about 4 hrs and grind well to Dosa consistency. Add enough salt. This Adai can be prepared immediately without fermentation. Heat a non-stick tava and pour the batter. Spread into medium thickness adai. Turn and roast both the sides. I have always made this Adai without oil at all. Turned out very good. Serve hot with Sambhar, Idly Molagai podi or onion chutney.

You can also make chutney without coconut. Absolutely an excellent dish for Diabetics and weight watchers. Try this out and write to me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bran rice adai


2 cups bran rice (soaked for 4-5 hours)
1/2 cup bengalgram dal
1/4 cup blackgram dal
1/4 cup redgram dal
Salt to taste
Oil as required
Few curry leaves
1/2 tsp asafoetida

Soak the dals togethers for 2 hours. Grind the dals and soaked bran rice together to get a coarse batter. Let it be a thick batter and dont add much water while grinding. Add curry leaves and asafoetida tempered in hot oil and salt. Mix well.

Heat tava and pour a ladle full of batter and make an adai of medium thickness. Add some oil in the sides and cook till golden brown. Flip and cook on other side for a minute.

Serve hot with some spicy sidedish/chutney/sambar/avial
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Milagu (Pepper) vadai


1 cup blackgram dal (soaked for exactly 20 minutes)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp pepper- powdered coarsely
Oil to fry

Grind the blackgram dal (urad dal) coarsely without adding water. Add salt, pepper and 2 tbsp hot oil and mix well. Grease a plastic sheet with a drop of oil. Make small balls of the dough and flatten them with your palms. Make a small hole in the center.

Slowly drop them in hot oil and fry in medium heat till golden brown on both sides. Cool and serve.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bison Tagliata Recipe

Bison Tagliata
It's Summer and thoughts turn to grilling. Me? I'm in an apartment with no grill, but that doesn't stop me from eating stuff people normally grill like steak. Just as I warmed up to grass fed beef, I'm pretty much head over heals for bison steak and I have a nifty way of cooking it sans grill. It tuns out what we think of as American buffalo is really bison. What's on the buffalo head coin? A bison. There are water buffalo (for that crazy good mozzarella) and the African Cape buffalo (not so sure what they are good for) but American buffalo is really bison so let's go with that.

Bison is much lower in fat than beef, high in iron, slightly lower in cholesterol. Recently I heard Ted Turner speak at the Sustainable Foods Institute, part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's annual event, Cooking for Solutions. It turns out, he is crazy about bison. He owns the largest herd in the world and has opened a chain of bison restaurants. He loves the romance of the prarie. But the environmental arguments for bison are even stronger. Bison are grazing animals and part of the ecosystem that helps keep grasslands healthy. Because it is so lean, cooking it fairly gently is important so it stays tender and flavorful.

I like a certain Italian way of eating steak called "tagliata" which just means sliced. Instead of a big hunk of meat you get slices of perfectly cooked medium rare steak over a spicy arugula salad drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, some shavings of Parmesan or Pecorino and a wedge of lemon. Using smoked olive oil is a great way to get the taste of the grill without, you know, a grill. It's expensive but a tiny bit goes a long way, and it doesn't lose pungency if you store it properly (in a cool dark place).

This is a super lazy summertime meal, it requires very little cooking, and it's a one dish meal to boot. My biggest complaint about bison is the difficulty in finding it at the store. Ground bison is getting more common but steaks are much harder to locate. I got samples of bison steaks from High Plains Bison, you can purchase from them online or find more producers at Bison Central.

Bison Tagliata
Serves 4

2 ribeye or strip bison steaks
Chunk of Parmesan or Pecorino
1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet over high heat. Pat the steak dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Sear the steak in the skillet, cooking for 2-3 minutes on each side, until brown. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer steak to a cutting board and cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes.

Arrange arugula on 4 plates, shave cheese using a vegetable peeler and place strips of cheese on the salad. Slice the steak against the grain and lay strips on the salad. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil. Serve with a lemon wedge.




1/2 cup powdered jaggery
Juice of one lemon
Bit of dry ginger powder
2 cups water

Dissolve the jaggery in the water and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well..

Serve chilled.

* This is a special offering to Lord Sri Rama during Rama Navami festival along with Neer Mor

* Panakam is also a special offering for Lord Narasimha
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Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July ~ Hummingbird Miniatures

4th of July ~ Bridget Aul

For more minis by Bridget Aul, visit:
Fourth Independence Day

Eggless Double decker biscuits

Inspired from Gayathri's version of bakery biscuits..


1 cup all purpose flour/maida
1/2 cup vanaspati/shortening
3/4 cup sugar powdered
Bit of vanilla essence
2 tbsp cocoa /drinking chocolate powder

Sieve the sugar and flour together to remove any lumps. Divide into two parts. To one part add the vanilla essence and mix well. Add half the quantity of vanaspati little by little and keep mixing till you get a dough. For the remaining half flour portion, add the cocoa/ drinking chocolate powder and make a dough with the remaining vanaspati. Pack both these dough in a plastic sheet and freeze for 10 minutes. Dust the dough with little flour and roll into thick rotis. Place one above the other and roll slightly so that both of them stick to each other. Cut into desired shapes. 

Preheat oven to 180 deg. Arrange the biscuits leaving some gap between each biscuit. Bake in convention mode for 8 mins. Cool for 10 minutes before storing in an air tight container.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Ideas on Hosting a Cocktail Party

Cocktail parties are a fun way to catch up with old friends, or entertain people from work. And they are so much easier to plan and execute as these parties last for mostly an hour or two, and as the menu has only drinks and appetizers, perhaps some desserts, they do not require a lot of work! The other thing I love about cocktail parties is that they can easily be hosted inside your house, out on a patio or club-house, or you can choose to host a happy-hour at a restaurant or cafe, which can be a great option for someone who is short on time or doesn't need the pain of planning a party. Whatever your incentive, here are a few tips that can help you host a successful cocktail party, and master the art of entertaining! (img source: wikimedia )

Know Your Guests
This is extremely important because you have only a couple of hours to dazzle your guests and play the perfect host! So think ahead about who your guests are and their preferences. Are their vegetarians in the group, or people who'd prefer virgin drinks and sodas over cocktails? Is this a conservative work group or a gathering for friends? Will they prefer loud music or soft instrumentals in the background? Think about these things and consider it while deciding on the venue, decor and the menu. Check out online resources or entertaining magazines, or good old food-network for ideas and tips; this helps to give shape to what you might have in mind!

The Purpose and Occasion
The success of a party depends largely on what you plan to accomplish by hosting it. If you are just trying to catch up with old school friends you haven't met in quite some time, you'd have to go for neutral choices in food. If you are entertaining your boss and his family, or colleagues from work, trying to attract a promotion or get into someone's good books, it pays to take an extra step in knowing their favorites so you can impress them! If its just a bunch of people hanging out on Friday night, or a high-tea with movies and games, you don't need to fret that much as you know your friends and their taste.

Planning Ahead
No matter what kind of a party it is, it always pays off to maintain a list of your invitees, and another task List that you can check-off as you finish things. Keep sections like guest list, catering options, menu items, tableware, grocery list, contact numbers, etc so you know what's missing and you don't get frantic at the last minute! If this is a formal or theme party with a dress-code, make sure you inform everyone about it, as well as check to see that you are ready for the theme party too! I've seen so many instances where parties turn sour because some of the guests did not know you were supposed to be "dressed formally", or because they think "Jeans" is "formal", while others are dressed in tuxedos and blazers! If this is an event aimed at having fun, think about simple drinking games that you can enjoy while talking and lounging, not something you have to rack your brains for!!

Hiring Caterers or Bartenders
Again, based on why you are entertaining, choose a location to host the party. Your house works fine for casual gatherings, but if you need this to go perfect, try hiring professional caterers as they are trained for this! Here's a site that can help you find places that host a Happy-Hour. They also have a wider range of food and drink options to choose from, and you don't have to worry about anything except paying them and impressing your guests! if you have a fancy bar in your house that you are keen to show off, consider hiring a bartender who's familiar with several drink recipes.

Food and Drinks
A cocktail party menu is generally more stress-free than other parties as you mostly serve appetizers or finger-foods, drinks and desserts. Choose 3-4 entrees, at least one of them vegetarian, bring out your wine racks and a bottle opener, and choose individual desserts, mainly petit-fours or tarts and cakes. Decide on what you want to cook at home and what you'd rather order from outside. It's good to balance between time and money. If you are doing this at your house,it might be a good idea to ask for help your family or friends or guest so they can come in early and help you with the cooking, cleaning, decoration and setting up the place. As Cocktails are the highlights, decide on what you'd like to serve. Here's a cocktail drink-dictionary if you are not familiar with the gazillion options available; mixed drinks with seasonal fruit flavors, coffee or shakes work best. Also keep room for sodas and virgin drinks for people who do not take alcohol. Select strong or mild alcohol depending on the time of the party. You can't serve whiskey at 4 pm!! Wine goes best with any kind of food as long as you pair it well. Here's a good read on wine-and-food-pairing.

Enjoy Yourself
Playing a host doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy yourself. Planning ahead is crucial so it leaves you to mingle with your friends and entertain without being stressed. After all, its your gig, and you control the way you want the party to go! So keep these effective tips in mind the next time you plan a cocktail party and you can be sure to win accolades for being a perfect host!

Related Articles:
Celebrating Halloween - Martha Stewart Style
How to Make Candied Edible Flowers
Ideas on Hosting a Sweet Sixteen Party

Budding blogger : Kalyani

Meet Kalyani of What's Cooking in the Budding blogger series...

She says --

As with most food bloggers out there, I too love eating and cooking dfferent varieties of food, primarily vegetarian and egg free , at home. Blessed with a foodie husband wasnt easy to manage, and although I have been cooking at home almost since high school , knowing about different culinary adaptations and flavours has been an interesting learning curve.

My blog - "Itsnotmadrasi" is named so to (to quote from my "About me" page on the blog) " is to record interesting (which can also mean basic) recipes for all of us to read and share based out of South India. And just to educate all those on the culinary sensitivities and differences in not just plate (cutlery style oscillating from 'so-thought' melamine to stainless steel pathram , etc) but also in palate.So depending on what ingredients were locally grown to seasonal veggies, the recipes were developed. With distances shrinking and migratory patterns of humans increasing in area to cross-community / religion marriages, recipes have evolved" Afterall, not all people south of the Vindhyas are Madrasis :-) I am basically from Bangalore but settled down in Mumbai over the past decade.