Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Low Fat Okra Fries

Happy New Year!!

Made any resolutions yet? Is losing weight one of them by any chance ;).. 
It was always on my list until one fine day I decided not to believe in making resolutions anymore :) If it’s going to happen.. it’s going to happen.. right? I don’t need to reserve one day for making resolutions and then the whole year for regretting for not keeping up with it ;) 

Anyways, if you are still making resolutions, and if eating healthy is one of them, then please do try these low fat okra fries.. they are yummy!

Okra has always been hit and miss for me.. okra dry sabzis are okay, but the moment you introduce any water into it, like in sambar, they become very slimy.. sometimes very very slimy, and this after taking all precautions that I know of.. 
So when I came across this promising recipe of okra, I tried it immediately.. and boy oh boy! does it taste good!! There is almost no oil in it, and still it tastes so crispy and crunchy!
My daughter just kept asking for more and more.. 
This is definitely a keeper of a recipe!

All you need to do is toss cut okra in bajji/pakoda flour and microwave them.. it’s that simple.. 

Do give it a try! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Eggless Fruit Cake

It’s impressive how our elders insist on fresh food all the time, even on bakery items, which have pretty good shelf life. I remember, whenever we craved for some bakery food in the evenings, my mom would send my brother to get some freshly made stuff from the bakery. Fruit cake was always on my list. My mom would specifically instruct my brother to ask for fresh loaf of bread or any stuff; if it were an old batch he may not buy it. Packaged food was never appreciated. After coming to US, of course, all my “fresh food” privileges got hit. The packaged fruit cake available here in Indian stores doesn’t even come close to the fresh ones I used to gobble up back home. They were/are so bad that one would just give up the idea of eating it, than getting used to the taste of it. Few years back, when I came across this fruit cake recipe, I was more than eager to try it out. Who knows, if it clicks then I don’t have to wait to go to India to eat it again. And it did click! Actually it came out better than my expectations. Since it is eggless, many of those who don’t prefer a strong egg smell(particularly in fruit cakes) can also enjoy it. 

Only after coming to US did I realize that this cake is associated with Christmas. 

Make one right now and enjoy your holidays! 

Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Black Eyed Beans Vada

I don't know about you, but for me, deciding on what to cook is a nightmare!

My bookmark folder has grown so big that it needs another bookmark folder to sort it out. It's growing like Hanumanthana baala... it's becoming so taxing just going over the list. 

Whenever I find anything interesting I bookmark and then basically forget about it. Not only that, I also buy cook books whenever I come across anything interesting. Between these two humongous lists, I often get lost and sometimes get a head ache looking for something interesting to cook. Oh, the tragedy! 

When I saw this vada on my friend’s FB page, my memory was refreshed about this recipe that I had bookmarked long time ago. And so it got bumped up to the top on my todo list. So the next time when I got an opportunity to make an appetizer for a potluck, instead of going over and over again on my lengthy list, I instantly decided on this..

The vada is very much similar to Ambode(masala vada), except that, instead of using chana dal, it uses black eyed beans. Black eyed beans gives this a slightly soft texture compared to chana dal. 

Do try!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dal Bukhara - Urad dal curry

Coming from South India, I'm alien to black urad dal... we hardly use any black urad dal in our regular cooking... the few places that we use them(that too de-skinned urad dal), is in making tadka, then the regular idli, dosa and stuff. 

In fact, I was really surprised when I first found out about its usage in curries!! I would've never guessed in a million years that out of all the dals, urad dal is the one used in my favorite dal makhni!! This after devouring dal makhni every time I went to North Indian restaurants back in India... such was my dispassion towards cooking :) *Sigh* how I've changed!!

The taste of black urad dal is such that, if you don’t get the masala right, then the taste of the urad dal becomes very overpowering. This is one of the few recipes of black urad dal that I’ve tried and liked.. the curry comes out very creamy despite the lack of any added cream.

Do try!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Pink Fruit Custard

Now that the Indian festivals are all over, it’s time to welcome the Holiday Season in the US. It’s time for parties, gatherings, costume parties and of course all the potlucks. 

This particular recipe is “inspired” from so many sources that I hardly remember where I got it from(kinda like movie Barfi :D)

The pink hue and a hint of rose essence gives the plain old custard an oomph factor. 

It's a great item to take for a potluck. Impress your friends and family with this pink fruit custard. 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vanilla - Chocolate Barfi

Check out these Vanilla-Chocolate Barfis! pretty fancy, eh?

I tried them for the first time and they came out pretty good. 

I saw this recipe online in one of my favorite blogs. I followed the recipe verbatim. This blogger always puts step by step recipes with pictures. It’s really hard to mess it up.

These barfis are not only awesome looking, they are awesome tasting too.. and they are pretty easy to make with just a few ingredients.

Enjoy Diwali with these homemade barfis. Happy Deepavali!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sorekayi/Lauki/BottleGourd Peel Chutney/Sambanda

Modern day Tortoise and Hare Story

One fine morning, Ms.Tortoise was driving back home after dropping her baby tortoise to school. The traffic was crazy. But Ms. Tortoise was very relaxed. She was looking forward to the peaceful morning, and the freshly brewed coffee she was planning on having after going home. 
Then there comes this rabbit “dude”, who evidently was late to his office. You see, usually in the mornings the speed of the car is directly proportional to how late you are to your office. He started tailgating Ms.Tortoise wanting her to move out of his way.  

But the very experienced Ms.Tortoise, who clearly was driving at what she thought was an optimal speed for the road - not too slow that she disturbs the traffic, not too fast that she becomes what she calls “the cop food” (aka getting a ticket), didn’t want to give way. She believed in not changing lanes so frequently. She knew hurriedness will get you nowhere. Changing lanes like how you’d play in a video game is not for the real world. Sticking to the same lane yields the same result minus the stress you’d encounter otherwise.... she knew! 

But ‘The Dude’ was definitely not ready to follow her. So off he goes to the next lane, cuts back in Ms.Tortoise’s lane almost missing her car and zips through the lanes vanishing into the horizon before her eyes, much to the lovely lady’s dismay. She started doubting herself, wondering whether her old thinking would indeed give her any results these days. Before she could finish her thought, long ahead of her she saw the Dude’s car waiting at the signal. 
As she approached the signal, her 'left turn' signal turned green before his.

Ms Tortoise smiled... it was a sweet smile of victory... :)

Coming to the recipe..

This chutney is called “sambanda”(literal meaning - relation) in Kota region. What “sambanda” this name has with this chutney nobody knows :D
This chutney is made out of pulp and the skin of Sorekayi which you'd generally throw away otherwise. And boy! does it taste good.

This chutney goes very well with the rice. It can be made with ridge gourd skin too. This is my amma’s recipe. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Easy Coconut Laddoos

Okay.. again a long, unintended break! 
I wanted to try some “bookmarked” sweets for the upcoming festival season. But never got to them. Hence the delay. But then, couple of weeks back, while helping a friend make some sweets, I remembered I hadn’t put this super-easy, super-awesome sweet that I used to make and devour regularly long time ago. 

This would make a really quick sweet if you have all the ingredients on hand. Also it is great for potlucks!

Just 2 ingredients - coconut and condensed milk - mixed together, whats not to like?! 
They can make your heart melt, as they are melting in your mouth. Try it and float in dessert heaven!

My cousin Chethana gave me this recipe when I was still a newbie to cooking world :) It made me look like a pro!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Easy Chakkuli

Ganesha Habba season again! Happy anniversary, blog!! wow, 2 years of blogging!! never thought I would stick this long :)
I thought of making and posting some sweet recipe, but then I saw this easy chakkuli recipe somebody posted for Krishnashtami and wanted to give it a try... desperately!!

My mom makes proper chakkulis, roasting the ingredients and getting them ground properly from a mill and all.. but I neither have the means nor the inclination of doing that anytime.. I am happy sticking to easy shortcuts :).. this is one such easy(compared to traditional) and tasty recipe.. 

I was keeping my fingers crossed, worrying what if it fails, but thankfully they turned out great - crunchy and very tasty.. Thank you Ganesha!!! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Poha Laddoo/Avalakki Laddoo

Laddoo in 10 mins! 

Enjoy your Krinshashtami with this yummy-licious, super duper easy ladoos.. 

what more can I say, the recipe speaks for itself... 

Happy Krishnashtami!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mango Ice Cream - Version 2

It’s summer!.. it’s mango season!.. and here is one more version of my favorite Mango Ice cream, only much much much easier... 

Mix everything and freeze - as simple as that! 

Taste wise, I still prefer my mom’s recipe.. but  texture wise this one’s definitely creamier... and it’s tasty too, just that you can only do so much about the preservative smell of the canned mango pulp.. if you don't want it, use fresh mango pulp

Here is the recipe - 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Avalakki Pakoda/Poha Pakoda

I refrain from making bajjis/pakodas at home, because so far I’ve only had 20% success rate! Either they end up too oily, or too thick, or too hard, or very elastic.. 
But the times they’ve come out good, they’ve come out really good. How? - raam jaane!

When I came across this pakoda recipe, it looked fairly easy and kind of gave me a sense that - what could possibly ever go wrong with such an easy recipe? So I tried.
But I was wrong.. it did go wrong :) 
It so happened that the pakoda split open inside the oil.. and when one opened, all others opened up one after another in series!!! but luckily it was not happening with every batch.. so I ended up putting only 4-6 for frying, when I could’ve put like 10-12, being very careful not to accidentally break it open while turning it in the oil. 

The taste was good! especially with green chutney! yum! yum! The poha in it gave it a nice crunch. Actually it tasted more like crunchy aloo tikki... 

Later that day my cousin, Shilpa, gave me a very useful tip, which has given me lots of hope to try it for next time. I’ll definitely try it and update here.. I’ve mentioned the tip below.

Do give it a try.. if not pakodas, they’ll make very tasty patties for burgers.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Eggless Chocolate Cake

Summer Vacations are here!!! *a meek yay*
I love my daughter and all, but let me be honest - entertaining a kid at home is no child's play!!! I am at the end of my tether. She treats me like her play date.. and I get bored after a long play of 1 min! what to dooo?!! 

Thankfully, her summer school is starting soon! Both mother, daughter are eagerly waiting for it :)

To keep her busy, I’ve been cooking with her in the kitchen.. 
Result = Madam wants to cook something special every day! 

I am a big fan of Archana’s kitchen.. She has some very detailed videos of her recipes. I’ve never tried her recipes before, but plan to do so in the future. 
Anyways, I was watching one of her videos on Eggless Chocolate Cake, when my daughter saw it and wanted to make it(now that she thinks cooking is easy!). The recipe uses flax meal as egg replacement. I have been wanting to try flax meal as an egg replacement for a long time now, but was too skeptical to experiment. But in this video there was a pretty good explanation, which made me confident. 

Since I had flax meal on hand, we started getting ready to bake.
Only after we started, I realized that all the measurements were in grams!! I am only used to measurements in cups. I looked for a converter online, but the results seemed bizarre. 
Now those who have experienced it know, what it is to back out of a promise from a little kid! So not wanting to face that, I kind of assumed the measurements and went ahead with the cake, keeping my fingers crossed. Thankfully, the cake turned out moist and good. It was little low on sweet, which suited my taste. My daughter didn’t seem to like it so much initially, but liked them more the next day. 

Here’s the recipe - 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sweet Corn Veg Soup

It’s taken longer than I wanted to put up a recipe here. The thing is, our whole family had a very bad viral flu few weeks back which kind of drained all our energy, mine more!  
It feels good to be normal again. It’s funny how you start valuing little things only when they are taken away from you. Right now, I’m extremely thankful to be able get out of bed and cook a decent meal, without feeling tired or dizzy. I’m thankful to be able to taste good food and to have come out of rice porridge diet.. 

Soups are godsend during these times(though I didn’t cook one when I was sick).
They are instant energy boosters. I love them all! I never knew sweet corn soup was so easy to prepare. This recipe can be prepared within 5 minutes, for real!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cabbage Paratha/Rotti

As promised, here is my next entry - Cabbage Paratha(or in my case Cabbage rotti). 

My daughter doesn’t like cabbage. But she liked this paratha without even realizing that there is cabbage in it! That’s a testimony in itself :)

Just like Avocado Parathas, the procedure for this paratha is also to mix everything and make, rather than stuff and make(which can get quite tedious, IMO). 

Because there is cabbage involved, the dough gets extremely soggy. So there is no need for any additional water. As an extra precaution, do not leave the batter to set after mixing for a long time. 

For me, despite taking all the precautions, the dough still turned out to be soggy! Then finally I ended up making them like rottis(procedure given below), instead of rolling them like parathas.

The taste was great! Procedure, fairly easy. 

Here’s how to make it - 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Avocado Parathas

I’m realizing that that the distribution of items in my recipe list is very uneven. Like I have more number of curries, but I have hardly any roti/parathas or appetizers.. So in the coming entries I’m going to keep that in mind and try to even them out as much as possible. 

Also, I tried back to back parathas recently and I was very happy with the results. The first one was Avocado Paratha from Lalitha’s blog and the second one was Cabbage Paratha, which will be my next entry. 
My daughter likes chapathis and parathas a lot. Parathas are every mother’s best weapon to sneak in vegetables!

Taste wise, avocado parathas don’t taste of avocados, it’s pretty much the taste of the masala in them. But texture wise, the parathas come out unbelievably soft. The color was also some exotic green.. 

It’s a great dish to prepare for guests. 

Lalitha adds sautéed onions, which she says enhances the flavor and makes it easy for rolling. So I did the same. 

One more tip from Lalitha - 
You can add sesame seeds or ajwain for additional taste. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Andhra Style Brinjal Peanut Curry

I am not fond of brinjals! The ones that are available here in US, kinda have a thick, chewy skin which makes it even the more difficult for me to like them. Sometimes I like the smoked ones.. but that’s about it..  
But I like almost all the curries that is made for brinjals. That’s why I always bring brinjal every time I go for a grocery trip; and I always lookout for new ways of using it (as though I like it!).. 
I think to compensate for the blandness of brinjal, various cuisines have incorporated a very masala-dhaar curry to go with it. This one is no exception.. the curry is awesome! 

I’m a big fan of Andhra Cuisine.. My body literally cannot tolerate the heat of Andhra food, but I still love to have them all the time! But of course, when cooking at home, I reduce the spiciness to suit my capacity.. 

Since there is peanut in the curry, this curry has a strong North Karnataka flavor. It tastes more like ennegayi, but has no extra work that goes for the stuffing of ennegayi. 

Do try!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spinach Kichadi

Who says you need an awful lot of time to cook delicious food? Not me :)

I for one, like easy dishes... And I want tasty, filling food too. I cannot eat salads or bland food just because they are supposed to be healthy. 

For a long time, I was under the impression that you need to put lot of effort to cook tasty food. But fortunately, I am proven wrong again and again and again :) I am coming across one after another easy, yet tasty, yet healthy dishes to make. 

This is one such recipe. The moment I laid my eyes on it, I knew it was made for me! 

Spinach Kichadi - the name itself has a healthy ring to it. 

It came out unbelievably tasty. 

This is a perfect one-pot healthy and filling rice-bath which is very simple as well as fancy to serve to your guests. 


Monday, March 31, 2014

Simple Paneer Curry

North Indian curries(except dals), generally have an elaborate procedure compared to South Indian curries. I don’t know if it is just my perspective as an amateur or others feel the same way too. There is sauteing, blanching, grinding, adding last minute ingredients... basically, you need to be in front of the stove all the time!! And more often than not these curries tend to shrink after they are done. I am never able to gauge how much to make when someone is coming over. And you can never do last minute changes in the quantity. 

South Indian rasams and sambars, on the other hand, are easy and predictable that way. You can always add water and curry powder in the end to increase the volume instantly without compromising too much on the taste or vegetable to gravy ratio. 

So generally, whenever I have guests over, I limit my North Indian cooking to only channa dal, or regular dals. But there was always this penchant to cook some elegant north Indian curry. 

Then I came across this curry. It is everything I dreamed of :)
It is elegant, healthy, tasty and more importantly very quick to make.

Instead of using heavy cream for thickening, it uses carrots! CARROTS! what an ingenious idea! it gives both color and thickness. This curry doesn’t leave you with a heavy feeling like other creamy(albeit tasty) curries do. 

As the blogger points out, this gravy could be used as a base for other vegetable curries too. 

Do try!