Sunday, 27 June 2010

Potato and Spring Onion: A quick sabzi

Where have I been? Its a question I ask myself more than you would have asked me. Mid way into 2010, I find myself with one thing that I have never been comfortable with - Change (with a capital C), or to be more precise Unplanned Change. Yeah yeah..."Change is the only constant" wise men have cited and so have the management books, but I am someone who just runs away from it. Maybe because I am too lazy or maybe (as my husband says) because I am a control freak.

And yet, this year has been full of unplanned changes. Change of job (which I wanted), followed by unplanned changes at personal front and professional front too. I do not know what tomorrow holds. If I were someone else, I might have enjoyed the roller coaster ride. But not me! The only bright spot has been an official visit to London (Yipee!). I hope I can blog about it sometime soon.  

Coming to food, sharing a recipe which I have loved as a kid, and still do. Its quick, simple, has minimum spices and has one of my favourite veggies - Spring Onions (also called Scallions or Green Onions).


Potatoes: 3 medium, diced in small cubes
Spring Onion: a bunch, finely chopped (approx 2 cups)
Onion: 1 medium, finely chopped
Mustard oil: 2 tbsp
Turmeric: 1/3 tsp
Red chilli powder: 1/3 tsp
Jeera / Cumin Seeds: 1/2 tsp
Salt: To taste


- Heat oil in a kadhai / heavy bottomed pan, till it starts smoking. Turn off the heat and let the oil cool
- Turn on the heat again, and when the oil is hot enough, add the cumin seeds. Let the seeds splutter.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, including the spices. Mix well.
- Lower the heat. Cover and cook. Do lift the lid and stir every few minutes to ensure that the potatoes do not stick to the bottom.
- The potatos should be done in around 10 minutes.
- Serve hot with dal - rice or parathas / chapatis.

Sending this over to Weekend Herb Blogging # 239 hosted this week by Mele Cotte. The event is managed week on week by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything Atleast Once

Monday, 26 April 2010

Bread Rolls: Fried bread snacks with potato filling

A very simple recipe - served as a tea time snack in many Indian households.  This is another of those recipes which I have still not been able to perfect, but is made by Hubby, every single time. Even he has taken time to perfect it. 

Sharing it for those weekend evening snacks when you have guests over, or when you simply want to indulge.

 For the filling:
Boiled potatoes: 2 big, grated
Green peas: 2 - 3 tsp (optional)
Chat Masala: 1/2 tsp
Amchoor Powder: 1/4 tsp, or lemon juice: 1/2 tsp
Jeera Powder: 3/4 tsp
Red Chilli Powder: 1/4 - 1/2 tsp
Green Chilli, finely chopped: 1 - 2 (optional)
Chopped coriander leaves: 2 - 3 tsp
Salt: To taste
Black pepper: To taste

Bread slices: 6
Oil to deep fry

- If using green peas, boil in microwave for around 5 minutes. Drain and keep aside
- Peel and grate the potatoes. Add the green peas and the rest of the spices. Mix well

Making the rolls:
Step 1: Take a large bowl and fill it with water. Dip a bread slice in it
Step 2: Gently take out the slice, and press it firmly between both the palms so that the water is drained out. Take care that the slice doesnot break, though it may lose its original shape
Step 3: Put a spoonful of filling in between the slice
Step 4: Fold around the sides to cover the filling
Step 5: Gently press and roll it in your palms to smoothen and close the edges and give it an oval shape

- Take sufficient oil in a pan / kadhai to deep fry
- Heat the oil till it almost starts smoking
- Gently dip the prepared rolls in the hot oil, one or two at a time
- Roll over using a slotted spatula so as to evenly cook from all sides.
- Fry till golden brown. This should not take more than a minute.
- Serve hot with your favourite ketchup or chutney

- If the oil is not hot enough, the bread will absorb the oil leaving the end product very oily

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Chutney for Summers: Coriander, Mint and Raw Mango

Weekends these days are becoming so difficult. And I never thought I would say that (I start waiting for weekends from Monday morning)! 
Difficult not because I have suddenly fallen in love with my work, but because of the sweltering heat. The respite of office air conditioners is missed on these days. And while I would love to be confined to my room and switch on the a/c for the entire day on these two days, its not possible - my electricity bill ensures that. 

So we resort to the natural coolers - iced tea whether lemon or apple, mango shake, and Rooh Afza!
Another favorite recipe for summers is Pudina (mint) chutney with raw mango. The recipe is simple, though it may take time to perfect that taste which makes you go mmmm! 

Pudina (mint) leaves: 1 small bunch
Coriander leaves: 1 small bunch
Raw mango: 1 medium
Green Chillies: 2 or more (or less)
Cumin powder: 1/2 - 1 tsp
Kala namak (black salt): 1/4 - 1/2 tsp
Salt: To taste

- Clean the pudina and coriander leaves. Wash well with lot of water
- Peel the mango and chop in small pieces. Discard the "stone"
- Grind the herbs, green chillies and raw mango with a little water, till a smooth consistency is achieved
- Mix in the spices. Adjust salt. 
- The chutney is ready to be served as an accompaniment with snacks or main meals

- If you prefer a more tangy taste, you can add half a mango more
- The chutney can be refrigerated and kept for 7 - 10 days
- The mango "stone" can be added to dals (especially arhar / toor) while cooking, for added flavor

Which are your favorite foods / recipes for summers to beat the heat?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Palak ki Kadhi

I am back after and a half month to be more precise. It is surely the longest break I have taken, though completely unintentionally. 
Has it happened to you that life becomes unpredictably busy - busy not just with activities, but busy in thoughts as well. When your mind is constantly running and it takes over whatever personal space you treasure. 
Today, I decided to strengthen my will power, and told my mind to just shut up, and let me do things which bring me joy. Like trying an old recipe from my Mom's diary, clicking photographs and posting it (without retiring it as a draft), even if its past midnight!

Palak (spinach) ki Kadhi - a recipe which was exchanged by one of the neighborhood aunties with my Mom (when I was still in school!), during one of their afternoon chat sessions. And though my mother has not made it very frequently, I have always loved it. This is the first time I have tried it, and the result was fabulous!

Ingredients (Serves 2 - 3 adults):

Spinach leaves, cleaned and washed: a small bunch
Besan / Chickpea flour: 2 tbsp
Curd: 1 - 1 1/2 cup, preferably a bit sour
Fenugreek seeds: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Cloves: 2
Turmeric powder: 1/3 tsp
Red chilli powder: 1/4 tsp, or as per taste
Salt: To taste
Oil: 2 - 3 tbsp


- Finely chop the spinach. It should yield approximately 2 - 3 cups of chopped leaves
- In a bowl, whisk together the besan and the curd. Add 2 glasses of water. Mix well
- Heat oil in a kadhai / pan. When the oil is sufficiently hot, add the cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter, add the mustard, cloves and fenugreek seeds. Let the mustard crackle. 
- Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and the spinach. Sauté on medium heat for half a minute or so
- Add the besan and curd mixture, and mix well. Add more water if the mixture is too thick, since the kadhi will thicken as it cooks
- Add salt, and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 8 - 10 minutes. 
- The kadhi should be of pouring consistency. You may want to add more water, and boil the mixture for sometime if required. 
- Serve hot with  steamed rice or rotis. 

And now that I have sharpened my will power, I hope to be back soon (keeping my fingers crossed!) 

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Favourite Menu for Guests

When there are guests over, and you do not have time to think (or do not want to spend time thinking) what to cook, what do you do? Do you order from outside, or is there a menu which you bank upon?

Guests for dinner. What is the menu?

For me, it is usually the latter. There is a menu which I have made at least once for each guest who has been invited over for a meal. In fact, its become a kind of family joke, esp with my Mom.

Mom: So, what's the plan for the weekend?
Me: We have invited a few friends over for dinner.
Mom: Great. What are you planning to cook? Or are you ordering food?
Me: Hmmm. We'll order the snacks. But I'll be making the main course. Not sure what to cook.
Mom: I know what you are going to cook. *Giggles*
Me: Hmph!

So, the menu turns out to be Matar Paneer, Gobhi Alu, Boondi ka Raita, Puri and Flavoured Rice. Yup, I find it the easiest to cook and does not require any advance preparation like lentils / beans to be soaked overnight.

No recipes today (maybe later), but just a glimpse of what I cooked when we had guests a few days back!

Table is all set...

Matar Paneer and Boondi ka Raita

Gobhi Alu

"Salad" - Tomato, Onion and Carrots

Hot Pooris

Flavored Rice

Dessert anyone? I rely on ice cream. 

What about you? Which is your favorite menu?

Note: This meal was prepared by two people - my dear hubby and me. Hubby prepared the raita, "salad", made the pooris (except frying) and set the table beautifully. 

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Gajar ka Halwa

It's so good to be back. And relaxing. I spent the last few days going through the updates on my Google Reader (and there were so many!) and I now feel much more at peace after moving the "unread" items to "read".

So, without much ado, we go straight to the Gajar ka Halwa, which is one of the most popular winter desserts, especially in North India. The dessert is best made from the "red" carrots which are available only in winters.

Like most Indian recipes, this too has several variations. The quickest way to prepare is using condensed milk. What I am sharing today is the more traditional method, which takes atleast an hour to prepare, if using a kilogram of carrots! The time can be reduced if you are making lesser quantity.

The dessert can be stored in refrigerator and will easily last for a week. Heat it everytime before serving.


Red Carrots: 1 kg
Milk (preferably full cream): 1 lit
Sugar: 3/4 cup, or to taste
Ghee (Clarified butter): 1/2 cup
Nuts, raisins


- Scrape off the peel, and wash the carrots well. Grate them (or refer to the short cut below).
- Add the grated carrot and milk in a heavy bottomed pan (preferably non stick). Bring to a boil
- Let it simmer on low - medium heat till the milk evaporates, and the mixture becomes dry. This will take approximately 45 minutes. While the milk is in the process of drying, keep stirring in between to ensure that the mixture does not stick to the bottom
- Add the ghee and let the mixture cook in it on medium heat for 5 - 7 minutes. Keep stirring from time to time.
- Mix in the sugar. The halwa will become slightly fluid as the sugar melts. Stir it on low heat for another 10 minutes.
- Add nuts, raisins of your choice. Serve hot

Alternate to grating carrots:

Grating carrots manually (as it is still done in many kitchens in India), can be an extremely tedious task. My food processor ensures that I donot spend more than a few minutes on the grating bit. However, since my Mom's kitchen is bereft of the processor, my Dad has found an alternate.

Cut the carrots roughly in small - medium sized pieces. Pressure cook them with milk (2 whistles and a few more minutes should do the job). Mash the carrots using a fork / masher. Transfer contents to the pan and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

My Mom was initially sceptical about this short cut, but now is more than happy with it. There is no loss of flavour, and the halwa is as yummy as it can get!

This Carrot Dessert goes to Haalo's Weekend Herb Blogging # 221, the event originally started by Kalyn. This week, the event is being hosted by Cinzia from Cindystar.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Taking a Break

Hi Friends,

I shall be on a break for a few weeks. February seems to be an extra busy month, and with too many things on my plate (pun intended), blogging seems a bit unlikely.

I hope to return by the 3rd week of February. Till then, sharing with you the picture of the wonderful Gajar ka Halwa that I have been hogging on since the red juicy carrots have been in season.

A better pic, and the recipe to follow as soon as I return. Take care.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Celebrating Indian Republic Day with Besan ka Halwa

Today is a special day for all Indians, as our country celebrates the 60th Republic Day. We celebrated the day by watching the "Republic Day parade" on Doordarshan, and with this rich and delicious Besan ka Halwa!

This halwa is my Grandmother's recipe and I learnt it from her. Its rich, full of calories and delicious. And doesn't really take much time to prepare.
Indulge yourself!


Besan (Gram flour): 3/4 cup
Suji (Semolina): 2 tbsp
Ghee (Clarified Butter): 1/2 cup (or more :) )
Sugar: 3 tbsp (or as per taste)
Water: 3/4 cup
Almonds, to garnish


- Heat ghee in a kadhai / heavy bottomed pan
- Add the besan and suji. Reduce the heat to the minimum, and mix. The consistency of the mixture should not be dry, but slightly wet. If its too dry, add a bit more ghee.
- Keep stirring so that the besan cooks evenly
- When the color starts changing, and a beautiful aroma fills your house, the mixture is about to be done
- When the besan assumes a brownish tinge (as in the pic), add the water while stirring the mixture continuously, to avoid any lumps being formed.
- Mix well and let the water get absorbed by the besan
- Add sugar, and cook on low heat till the sugar dissolves, and mixes in with the halwa.
- Serve hot.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Quick and Healthy Breakfast: Egg in a Basket

Egg in a Basket, or Egg in a Nest is called by many other names. It refers to a breakfast dish, prepared by cutting a hole in the bread slice and cooking an egg in the "hole". It is pretty simple to prepare, and is a good way to make your breakfast interesting.

I love making them on weekends for an early breakfast. All you need is an egg, and a slice of bread. I used slices of multigrain bread to make my breakfast healthier.


- Take a bread slice and cut a hole in the middle using a cookie cutter / a small bowl / katori / lid of a small bottle
- Butter both the sides of the bread slice.
- Heat a pan, preferable a non stick one. Place the bread slice and lightly (or more) brown it from both the sides
- Lower the heat. Drop around 1/2 tsp of oil in the middle of the "hole", and crack an egg inside it - Let the egg cook for a minute or 2
- Flip the bread slice and cook the egg on the other side. You may cook for less time if you prefer the yolk to be runny
- Once done, season the slice with salt and pepper, and serve hot
- The cut portion of the bread can also be fried and served together with the egg

The front...

...and the back

For a step by step illustration, you can also refer Wikihow - How to make Eggs in a Basket

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Chatpata Hara Chana (Green Chickpeas)

Which is your least favourite job in the kitchen?

- Washing the dishes?
- Cleaning the mess after cooking?
- Chopping the veggies?
- Any other?

Well, for me the clear winner will be cleaning and chopping the vegetables - esp. ladies finger / okra, cleaning "saag" (green leafy vegetables) like methi, shelling peas and the likes. Yup, I do not like shelling peas at all. Hence, I find it easier to resort to the frozen alternate available in the market.

But, there comes a time when one is forced to slave and spend 3 hours (yes, 3 long hours) for the love of fresh green chickpeas aka hara chana / choliya. The chana, which grows in bushes (remember, chane ki jhaad?) is in the form of pods. The pods need to be individually opened to make way for the chickpeas, so that they can be cooked.

Image Source:

I love hare chane and aloo ki subzi (green chickpeas cooked with potatoes). My mom would make it when the chickpeas were in season, and it tasted yum. But I always refrained from buying it because of the work it would lead to. However, I could not stop myself this time when I visited the local super market. The pods were being sold in packets of 1 kilo each, and I went ahead and purchased it.
What ensued was a 3 hour work spent shelling the pods. I called my Mom the next day to ask her expert advice on how she does it.


Excerpts of my conversation with Mom on Hara Chana:

Me: Mom, I bought hara chana yesterday at the supermarket yesterday.And guess what, I spent 3 hours shelling them!
Mom: Wow! That's a really long time
Me: I know. How do you do it? What's the trick?
Mom: I don't know.
Me: (confused)
Mom: Our vegetable vendor sells them all cleaned and shelled!
Me (In my mind): (Cursing the vegetable vendors in my city)


So, I made hara chana - in two batches - once with potatoes, and the second time on their own, flavored with lemon and ginger. Sharing the second recipe with you.


Shelled green chickpeas / hara chana: 2 cups
Oil (Mustard / Vegetable): 2 - 3 tablespoon
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Ginger, finely chopped: 1/2 tsp
Green chilles, finely chopped: 2 - 3 (or as per taste)
Coriander powder: 1 - 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp (Optional)
Juice of half a lemon (or more)
Chopped coriander
Salt: To taste


- Boil the chickpeas in around 4 cups of water. If you are using the pressure cooker, it will take 5 minutes on low flame after the first whistle. Drain the water.
- Heat oil in a pan / kadai
- Add the cumin seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the ginger and green chillies. Lower the flame
- When the chillies begin to change color, add the coriander powder and turmeric powder. You may also mix the spices in a few teaspoons of water to prevent burning. Stir on low heat for a few seconds.
- Add the chana and salt. Mix well.
- Turn off heat. Add the lemon juice and coriander.
- Adjust salt and lemon juice. Serve hot

Serve it as a snack, as a filling breakfast or with parathas / rotis. You can also garnish it with chopped onions and tomatoes for added flavour.

I am sending this recipe to My Legume Love Affair - 19th Helping. The event started by Susan, is being hosted this month by EC of Simple Indian Food.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Grape Raita

Winter is my favourite season. Even when I was in North India - when it seemed a herculean task to get out of the confines of quilts and blankets in the morning - I still loved the winter months. But as I moved to the western parts of the country, the season became quite mild. In my current city, we have already started using the fans during the day, while my parents and in - laws in the north have not witnessed sunlight for the past 3 days.

But temperatures aside, winter still has its charms in terms of the fruits and vegetables it offers. Fresh green peas, cauliflowers, red juicy carrots, oranges, grapes, strawberries - the vendor's cart seems quite tempting. It is fun to shop for vegetables. My mind instantly associates each purchase with a recipe I would like to try.

This week we bought green grapes for the first time in the season. And after reaching home, I realised that the quantity was a bit too much for just the two of us. What I experimented with, and which was an instant success, was this Grape Raita. It is adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe of Grape & Walnut Raita. I skipped the walnuts since I did not have any, and substituted the mint with coriander.

The raita works well with pulaos and biryanis, and can also be had on its own. We had it with Coriander Mint Rice and the combination was just awesome.

Curd / Yoghurt: 2 cups
Seedless grapes: 20 - 25, halved lengthwise
Fresh Coriander, finely chopped: 2 - 3 tsp
Sugar (preferably powdered): 1/2 - 3/4 tsp
Cumin powder: 1 tsp
Rock Salt (Kala namak): 1/4 tsp
Salt: To taste

- Whisk the curd to a smooth consistency
- Add the sugar, rock salt, cumin powder and salt. Adjust to taste
- Add the grapes and coriander
- Cool it in a refrigerator before serving

This recipe goes to Monthly Mingle, the event organized by Meeta of What's for Lunch, Honey? This month's mingle features Winter fruits and vegetables, and is hosted by Sudeshna of Cook like a Bong.