Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vazhuthananga / Baby Brinjals Pulingari

This is a spicy, tangy dish which serves as a good gravy for rice.

  • Baby brinjals/eggplant - 4 to 5
  • Coconut - 4 tbsp
  • Tomato - 1
  • Coriander powder - 11/2 tbsp
  • Chilly powder - 1 tsp or to taste
  • Tamarind - a small lemon sized ball
  • Garlic - 1 large clove
  • Fenugreek seeds - some (8 - 10 seeds)
  • Curry leaves
  • Oil
  • Salt and turmeric

  • Cut the stems and slice the brinjals leaving the top part in tact. The ones I had were a little bigger than usual, so I sliced them completely into 4 separate pieces.
  • Fry them in a tsp of oil with some salt and turmeric until they are soft
  • Soak the tamarind in warm water.
  • Crush/chop the garlic into small pieces. Also, chop the tomato into small pieces.
  • Grind the coconut along with coriander and chilly powder into a smooth paste.
  • In a separate pan, heat some oil and add the garlic followed by the fenugreek seeds. When the garlic starts to brown, add the fried brinjal and the coconut paste and some salt. When the mixture starts to boil, add the tomatoes and cook for 5 mins or so. Then add the tamarind juice and stir well. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and cover and cook for some more time.
  • When the gravy gets a good consistency, add the curry leaves and remove from heat.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shahi Tukda

A very rich, delicious dessert!


  • Bread - 4 slices
  • Milk - 4 cups
  • Condensed milk - 2 tbsp or to taste
  • Sugar - to taste
  • Ghee - 2 tsp
  • Cardamom powder - a pinch

  • Cut the edges off the bread and cut them into triangles or any desired shape
  • Toast them in a tawa with some ghee till both sides are golden brown
  • In a pan, boil the milk till it reduces to almost half its original quantity. Add the condensed milk and cardamom powder. If required, add sugar too.
  • Lay out the bread slices in a dish and pour the milk mixture on them. Garnish with almonds and set it in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

French Toast

This is an easy and very quick breakfast.

  • Bread - 4 slices
  • Eggs - 2
  • Milk - 1 Tbsp
  • Sugar - 1 tbsp or to taste
  • Cinnamon powder - a pinch
  • Oil

  • Mix the eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon to form an even batter
  • Cut the bread slices into triangular shapes
  • Heat a skillet/tawa with a little bit of oil
  • Dip each of the bread pieces in the egg batter and toast.

Monday, April 20, 2009

For the sweet tooth - Besan Laddoos

Easy to prepare, besan laddoos are ideal whenever one wants to satiate the sweet tooth. I know my photography really sucks but the laddoos do taste good. I guess that's the beauty of desserts...its difficult to go wrong and end up with something un-palatable.

  • Besan (Gram Flour) - 1 cup
  • Sugar - 1/3 cup or to taste
  • Ghee - 3 Tbsp
  • Cardamom Powder - a pinch

  • Fry the besan in ghee on medium heat till it turns a brown shade and the ghee starts separating off from the sides.
  • Add cardamom and sugar towards the end (Powder the sugar or use fine sugar) and stir for 2 mins to let the sugar blend in
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool. Make laddoos when its cool enough to handle and set in refrigerator.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Curry leaves Coriander leaves Bajji

This was an on-the-fly preparation. Lately I seem to be doing a lot of on-the-fly spontaneous cooking. Really should cut down on the fried stuff. Both myself and hubby dear are showing all the symptoms of a laterally expanding waist line.
I started doing this when little Ani was asleep. He woke up in the middle in a bad mood. If you are wondering why I am writing about that here, its because I am trying to make an excuse for some of the bajjis being over-fried and some getting stuck together. But, the taste came out very good.

  • 2 cups Gram Flour (Besan)
  • 11/2 tsp Chilly Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Curry Leaves
  • Coriander Leaves
  • Oil for frying

  • Add water to the besan to form a thick batter. Add chilly powder, cumin powder and salt
  • Chop the curry leaves and coriander leaves
  • Add them to the batter
  • Heat oil in a kadhai. When hot, drop the batter into the oil in the form of small strings. I stuffed the batter into a ziploc bag and cut the end to squeeze out the batter in thin strings.

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's green BUT is it red too?

This month's FIC event by Neha and Harini has green and red as it's colors. As a new blogger and as someone who is relatively new to the world of independent cooking, I am enthusiastic to participate but, at the same time, I am at a loss as to what dish can I make that would display both these colors vividly.
Green brings into mind capsicum. I decided to make something with it hoping the stuffing inside would be red enough. Here's what I did:

Stuffed Capsicum Rolls

  • 1 large capsicum
  • 1 tbsp urad dal
  • 1 tbsp coconut
  • 2 long red chillies
  • 1 medium sized potato
  • 1/2 tsp Chilly powder (optional)
  • Salt
  • Oil

  • In a microwave, cook the capsicum until soft. Then, cut into 2 halves and de-seed it.
  • In a pan, heat very little oil and fry the urad dal. When it starts to change color, add the coconut and fry until the coconut is golden. Grind this along with the whole red chillies into a coarse powder.
  • Cook the potato in the microwave and mash it. Mix this with the ground powder along with salt and chilly powder if required.
  • Stuff this into the capsicum halves. Bring together the edges and press to seal. Then cut them into small rolls and fry it on a tawa with some oil

Aloo Paratha

Potato Rules! I personally do not know any person who does not succumb to the taste of potato fries or aloo paratha or aloo palak or aloo methi or aloo whatever! Aloo paratha is one of my favorite dishes and makes a wonderful item for dinner.
I don't make thick parathas and I sincerely try to keep the oil to a minimum. Lets leave that for the local restaurant chef! This is how I make it.


  • 4 cups wheat flour (atta)
  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 tsp Grated Ginger
  • Some turmeric, chilly powder, corriander powder, chole masala, chaat masala
  • Salt
  • Corriander leaves
  • oil
  • Water

  • Knead the atta with some salt, water to make a dough. Keep aside covered.
  • Cook the potato till they are soft. Allow to cool. Then peel and mash it evenly.
  • Mix in the spices to make the potato masala
  • In a pan, heat some oil. Add ginger. When the ginger starts turning brown, add the potato masala and fry to remove all the raw flavor.
  • Allow to cool. Once cool, cut the corriander leaves and mix them in.
  • Make equal sized balls of the atta dough and the potato masala.
  • Roll the atta ball into a small circular shape. Put the potato ball in the center and pull the edges together and seal them.
  • Roll it slowly in all directions to spread the filling.

  • Heat the tawa. Cook the paratha applying oil to each side as it cooks.
Serve with cold raitha.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Home-made food for babies

As a mom of a seven months old baby who, luckily for me, shows a healthy interest in food, I am forever trying to come up with ways to provide him nutritious food as well as introduce his fresh palate to the myriad tastes and flavors of adult food. One thing that's very true of babies is their sense of taste, like their little bodies, is continously developing. So, a food that they reject today might be their favorite next month (or next week). My little one disliked apples a month ago but last week, he was happy to gobble up half an apple. I guess till they are about a year or so old, their palate cannot handle hot/spicy food. Little Ani has had only bland/sweet food till now. He has inherited daddy's sweet tooth and likes to sample everything from Indian desserts like suji/gajar halwa to ice-creams, kulfi, crullers etc. It's really very amusing when he makes a sound like 'hmmm', 'hmmm', when he sees hubby dearest and myself eat something interesting.

It is easy to incorporate fruits into the baby's diet since most fruits can be made into a juice and given in a bottle. But vegetables should also be made a part of the diet not only for their nutritional value but also so that the baby develops a taste for them. It might be difficult to get toddlers to start liking vegetables.

Some of the stuff that I make for him at home is:
  • Apples peeled and cut into small pieces and cooked till they become soft. Sometimes I add a little cinnamon to it. Red delicious apples work well for this. Once its cool, I mash it well and feed him
  • Sweet potato cooked in water till soft. It can be then peeled, mashed and used for feeding
  • Red millets (ragi) soaked in water and ground to extract the milk. This can then be cooked along with very little palm jaggery to form a syrup like consistency (that can be fed using a spoon).
  • Carrots grated and fried in a pan for 5 mins. This is then beaten to a paste in the blender. Same can be done for beans/beetroot too.
  • Yellow Moong dal (split gram) cooked well and mashed to a paste. This can be given flavored with a little salt and a drop of ghee (clarified butter)
I am sure there are a lot more baby food recipes out there. If you happen to know any, I would appreciate your letting me know.

It's important to give water intermittently when feeding solids to the baby to prevent choking. I keep boiled and cooled water in a sippy cup and make him drink water for every 3-4 mouthfuls of solids.

You tube is probably the biggest invention of the modern era. Find both baby food and popular nursery rhymes in you tube.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring onion (scallions) fry

Usually I use spring onions either in a fried rice or as a spring onion - potato fry. This time I tried something different. I fried them with gram flour. The thing to keep in mind while doing this is to first fry the gram flour and then add the spring onions. The spring onions tend to ooze out a lot of water. So, if the gram flour is not cooked prior to adding the onions, it forms a really sticky mess.


  • Spring onion - 2 bunches
  • Gram flour (besan) - 1 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Chilly powder to taste
  • Turmeric powder - a pinch
  • Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Oil

  • Chop spring onions into small pieces (include leaf and bulb)
  • Heat oil in a pan. Put in the cumin seeds.
  • When the cumin seeds splutter, add the gram flour and fry till they are brown
  • Add the chopped spring onions along with salt, chilly powder and turmeric powder
  • Stir fry till the spring onion is cooked.