Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Mooli Paratha (Radish Stuffed Flatbread)

mooli paratha

Today I made mooli paratha or mooli ke parathe for breakfast. Some people enjoy them with white butter on top but we had our mooli paratha with curd. They are best enjoyed hot and crisp straight from the tava (griddle).
Recipe of mooli paratha
3 mooli (white radish/ diakon) - peeled and grated
2 cups atta (whole wheat flour)
4-5 green chillies- chopped
1/2 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
Coriander leaves (cilantro) - chopped
Salt to taste
Oil to shallow fry.
1. Squeeze hard the grated mooli to remove excess liquid. Set aside mooli and after you had done all the preparations including kneading the dough, squeeze hard mooli again to remove remaining liquid.
2. In a bowl, take atta and add 1/2 tsp salt to it. Add water and knead it into smooth, pliable dough. Set aside for 20 minutes.
3. Add rest of the ingredients except oil to the mooli and mix.
4. Take a small ball (peda) out of the dough and roll out into a 3 inch round putting more pressure on the outer side so that outer edges are thinner than the inner portion of the round.
5. Grease this round with an oiled spatula. Put 2 tsp stuffing in the centre. Gather the edges and reshape into a ball. Pat between your palms to flatten the ball.
6. Roll out, dusting with dry flour, into a 5-6 inch paratha.
7. Heat a tava (griddle) and place this paratha on it. Shallow fry from both sides applying oil. Fry till golden brown. Similarly make rest of the mooli ke parathe. Serve hot mooli ka paratha with curd and pickle of your choice.

Vada Pav

vada pav

Vada pav is a famous Maharashtrian street food. It’s an Indian version of burger. Call it batata vada or bonda, it is finger licking good. Earlier vada pav was a favorite street food of a Mumbaikar, now it is eaten all over India.
Recipe of vada pav
4 big potatoes- boiled, peeled and mashed
3-4 green chillies- chopped
A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Juice of a lemon
Fresh coriander leaves- chopped

1/2 cup besan (gram flour/ chickpea flour)
1 tbsp rice flour (chawal ka atta)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp soda bicarbonate
1 tbsp oil

Oil to deep fry

5 pav or any soft, unsweetened bun

Sweet tamarind chutney (Imli chutney)

Mint coriander chutney (dhania pudina chutney)
1. In a bowl, mix potatoes with rest of the ingredients of vada. Mix well using your hands.
2. Make ping pong sized balls from this mixture.
3. In another bowl, mix all the ingredients of batter. Add water little by little, mixing with other hand, to make a thick, smooth, lump free batter.
4. In a kadhai/ wok, heat oil for deep frying. Dip potato balls in the batter so that they are well coated with the batter. Shake off excess batter.
5. Turn the heat to medium. Put these balls in the oil. Do not overcrowd the kadhai. Fry vadas from both sides by turning. Fry vada till golden brown.
6. Drain on an absorbent paper.
7. Warm the pav or bun. Slit the pav such that it is connected at the base and not separated into 2 parts.
8. Spread sweet tamarind chutney on one side and green coriander chutney on the other side of inside portion of pav.
9. Place vada inside the pav and flatten the vada a little. Similarly make other vada pav with rest of the vada and pav. Serve hot.

Ghugni (Bengali Version of Chickpeas)


Ghugni is a Bengali version of chole or ragda. Here I have used kabuli chana or chickpeas but green peas or matar is also used for making ghugni.
Recipe of ghugni/ ghoogni
1 cup kabuli chana (chickpeas/ garbanzo beans)
1 onion- chopped
1 tomato- chopped
1 bay leaf (tej patta)
1 black cardamom
1 green cardamom
2-3 cloves (laung)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 1/2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
1 onion- cut into rings for garnish
1. Soak the kabuli chana overnight. Drain.
2. Pressure cook chana with salt and water. Let 1 whistle come, then cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a kadhai/ wok. Add bay leaf, cloves, cumin seeds and cardamoms. Let them splutter.
4. Add onion and sauté till light brown.
5. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 1 minute.
6. Add tomato and rest of the spices and salt. Cook till oil begins to separate.
7. Crush a handful of chana and add along with rest of the boiled chana.
8. Boil on a high heat for 3-4 minutes. Lower heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Cook till you get the desired gravy consistency.
10. Garnish with onion rings and serve hot ghugni with either roti, luchi, poori or rice.

Simple Potato Salad

potato salad

My husband always looks out for some potato dish in the dinner. So on those lazy days when I am not in the mood to cook elaborate meals, I prepare potato salad to satisfy his craving for aloo. In fact I learnt this recipe from hubby dear himself. It's a healthy salad as I have used lemon juice instead of mayonnaise as suggested in other recipes. No doubt mayo makes the salad richer and creamier but it also adds to the waist line so for all of you health buffs, this is a healthier version of potato salad.
Recipe of potato salad
3 medium potatoes- boiled, peeled and cubed
1 large onion- chopped
1 large tomato- chopped
2-3 green chillies- chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Black salt to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1. Mix all the above ingredients and toss. Serve potato salad hot or cold.

You can also use 4-5 freshly ground black pepper corns in place of black pepper powder and can replace black salt with ordinary white salt.

Gatte Ki Sabzi

gatte ki sabzi
Gatte ki sabzi belongs to Rajasthani cuisine where gram flour and curd are extensively used in the cooking. Gatta curry is mainly gram flour dumplings which are first steamed and then dunked in yogurt based gravy.
Recipe of gatte ki sabzi
3/4 cup besan (gram flour/ chickpea flour)
1/4 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
1/2 tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp oil
2 tomatoes- pureed
1/2 cup curd (dahi)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp oil or ghee
1 moti elaichi (big cardamom)
2 laung (cloves)
1/2 inch piece ginger- crushed
cylinders before boiling
gatte after boiling and cutting into pieces

1. In a shallow bowl, take besan. Crush ajwain between your palms and add to besan. Add rest of the ingredients of the gattas.
2. Adding little water, knead besan into firm, stiff dough. Keep aside for 15 minutes, covered.
3. Take small balls out of the dough and roll into cylinders. Cylinders should be able to fit in a pan.
4. Heat water in a pan. When it comes to boil, immerse the cylinders and turn the heat to medium. Boil till cylinders rise to the top and are covered with small bubbles. Boil for 3-4 minutes more.
5. Using a slotted spoon (pauni, chhari), take out the cylinders from the water. Keep aside to cool. Once cooled, cut them into about 1 inch pieces.
6. For the gravy, heat oil or ghee in a pan or karahi. Add cumin seeds, cloves and big cardamom. When cumin seeds change color, add hing. Add turmeric and red chilli powder.
7. Add ginger and tomato puree. Cook for about 3 minutes.
8. Lower heat and add curd. Stirring constantly, simmer on a low heat for 3-4 minutes.
9. Add gatte and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. Serve hot gatte ki sabzi garnished with coriander leaves.

Toasting/ Roasting Nuts in Microwave

roasted cashews

Roasting nuts in microwave is a breeze. You will be surprised as to how quick and easy this job is. All it takes is a few minutes to toast or roast nuts like almonds, cashews or peanuts in a microwave.
Recipe of roasting nuts in microwave
Cashew nuts, almonds, peanuts- as required
Salt to taste
Oil or Ghee (clarified butter) or butter- as required
Chaat masala (optional)
roasted almonds

1. Mix nuts of your choice like cashew nuts, almonds or peanuts with oil or butter or ghee.
2. Sprinkle salt and chaat masala over them and mix.
3. On a microwave safe plate, spread these nuts evenly.
4. Cook on a micro High for 2 minutes. Then check after every 30 seconds till they turn slightly brown. It usually takes 3-4 minutes to roast them but it also depends on the power of your microwave oven.
5. Take out of the micro and let them cool. When fresh from the micro, nuts will be soft but turn crisp when cool down.

Open Potato Toast

open potato toast

Open potato toast soon becomes everybody's favorite including kids. These toasts are so delicious that I can eat them one after the other. I learnt this recipe from my hubby Rahul who used to make them during his hostel days. By the way, he is an excellent cook who loves to experiment with various ingredients.
Recipe of Open potato toast
4 slices of bread
2 medium potatoes- boiled, peeled and mashed
1 onion- chopped
2 green chillies- chopped
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves (cilantro) - chopped
Butter to toast the bread
1. Mix all the above ingredients except bread and butter. Mix well.
2. Spread potato mixture on one side of bread slices, pressing gently so that potato mixture sticks to the bread. You have to do it gently because you don't want the bread to break.
3. Heat a non- stick tawa (griddle) and melt some butter on it. With the help of a spatula,
smear the tawa with the butter. Put bread slices on it, potato side down. Toast till potato becomes reddish brown, pressing it with the spatula.  Flip and toast the other side of bread also. Remember it takes much longer to toast the potato side than plain bread side. Also toast on medium heat. Serve hot open potato toast with tomato sauce.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Aloo Hara Pyaz (Potato and Spring Onion)

aloo hara pyaz

Aloo hara pyaz is not just easy to make but tastes good too. Hara pyaz or spring onion is used a lot in Chinese cooking but here I have turned it into a sabzi along with potatoes.
Recipe of aloo hara pyaz sabzi
200 gms hara pyaz (spring onion/ green onion)
2 aloo (potatoes) - peeled and cubed
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (cayenne pepper)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1 tbsp oil (preferably mustard oil)
spring onion

1. Remove roots from the bulb of spring onions and remove any hard outer covering. Wash and chop the leaves as well as the bulbs of hara pyaz.
2. Take a pan or a kadhai and heat mustard oil to the smoking point i.e. till vapors start emanating from it. You can also take any other oil of your preference. Add cumin seeds and when they change color, add hing.
3. Add hara pyaz and potatoes (aloo). Add salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Mix and cook covered on medium- low heat.
4. While stirring occasionally, cook till potatoes are tender. If there is still some moisture left in the pan, increase heat and let it evaporate, mixing. Turn off the heat and add amchoor and garam masala powder. Mix and serve hot aloo hara pyaz hot.

Healthy Bytes- Spring onions are high in dietary fiber, Calcium and Iron. They are very low in saturated fat and there is no cholesterol.
100 grams of raw spring onion (green onion, hara pyaz) contain-
Calories- 32
Saturated Fat- 0 mg
Total Fat- 0.2 mg
Cholesterol- nil
Total Carbohydrates- 7.3 grams
Dietary Fiber- 2.6 gm

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Rajasthani Panchmel Dal

panchmel dal

Panchmel dal or panchratni dal comes from the colorful land of Rajasthan. As the name suggests Panch + mel, this dal is a combination of 5 different dals. It’s very nutritious and protein rich.
Recipe of rajasthani panchmel dal
¼ cup chilkewali moong dal (split green gram)
¼ cup lal masoor (red lentils)
¼ cup arhar/ toovar dal (split pigeon peas)
¼ cup chana dal (split Bengal gram)
¼ cup dhuli urad dal (split black gram)
Salt to taste
½ tsp turmeric powder

Tadka (tempering)

½ tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of hing (asafetida)
2 green chilies- chopped
1 inch ginger- chopped
2 medium tomatoes- chopped
1 tsp coriander powder
4 laung (cloves)
2 tej patta (bay leaves)
2 moti ilaichi (big cardamoms)
1 tbsp pure ghee (clarified butter)

  1. Mix all the above dals and wash them. Soak them for at least 1 hour. Drain and boil them in a pressure cooker with enough water, turmeric powder, salt and half of chopped ginger till cooked.
  2. When pressure drops, open cooker and mash the dals with the back of a ladle (karchhi).
  3. For tadka, heat ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they change color, add hing, laung, tejpatta and moti ilaichi. Fry for a minute.
  4. Add green chilies and remaining ginger. Sauté for a few seconds. Add cumin powder, coriander powder and tomatoes. Cook till tomatoes are soft and pulpy.
  5. Immediately add the tadka to the boiled dal and cover. Let the simmering spices seep through the dal. Let the dal simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Garnish panchmel dal with fresh coriander leaves.

Sweet Sevai (Vermicelli Dessert)

sweet sevai

This Indian vermicelli dessert is really fast to cook and will keep your sweet tooth satisfied. Sweet sevai is very easy to make and since this recipe is made without milk unlike sevai kheer, it’s ok for people with lactose intolerance. I don’t use much ghee to cook it (keeping calories in mind) but you can do that if you want to make it rich.

Recipe of sweet sevai

½ cup sevai (vermicelli)
2 cup water
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
2 tsp cashew nuts- broken
2 tsp raisins

  1. Heat ghee in a pan and roast cashew pieces in it till golden. Take them out of the pan and keep aside. Now roast vermicelli in the same pan without adding any more ghee. Roast them on medium heat stirring all the time, till golden.

  1. Add water and cook covered. Stir occasionally.

  1. When about ½ cup water remains in the pan, add sugar, cashew nuts and raisins. Cook uncovered, mixing it till all water gets evaporated. Turn off heat and serve sweet sevai hot. 

(Jackfruit) Kathal sabzi

kathal sabzi

Kathal or jackfruit is mainly grown in tropics as tropical conditions are suitable for its growth. Unlike the common practice of deep frying it, in this recipe, kathal is first boiled and then cooked with spices and onion- tomato paste. This is a healthier way to cook kathal as deep frying destroys its nutrients and adds to the calorie intake. As far as taste is concerned, try it. I bet you won’t be disappointed.
Recipe of kathal sabzi
500 grams kathal (jackfruit)
1 onion
2 tomatoes
4-5 garlic cloves
2 green chillies
1 inch piece ginger
3/4 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp oil
1. Smear oil on your hands and remove outer covering of kathal. Cut into pieces.
2. Boil water in a pan with 2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Add kathal and boil uncovered for about 8 minutes. Strain and keep aside.
3. Mince together onion, tomato, garlic, ginger and green chillies in a blender to form a paste.
4. Heat oil in a pan and add onion- tomato paste. Add salt and rest of the spices and cook till oil begins to separate.
5. Add kathal and cook covered on low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot kathal ki sabzi with rotis or parathas.
Healthy Bytes- kathal is rich in Potassium thus it helps in lowering the blood pressure. Jackfruit also has anti- ageing, anti- ulcer properties.
100 grams of jackfruit contains
Total carbohydrates- 24 g
Calories- 94
Dietary fiber- 2 g
Potassium- 303 mg
Protein- 1 g
Vitamin A -297 I U

Rajma Recipe (Red Kidney Beans Curry)


Rajma is a favorite dish of mine. Whenever I make it, I get rave reviews. I also like rajma for its nutritive value. They are a rich source of soluble and insoluble fibre. The fiber in them help lower cholesterol, so they are heart healthy. Rajma is also a source of high quality protein. So, if you are thinking of replacing red meat from your diet, rajma along with other beans provide comparable protein, without providing saturated fat and high calories.

       Recipe of rajma

       1 cup rajma (red kidney beans)
       2 medium onions
       4 medium tomatoes
       4-5 garlic cloves
       1 inch ginger
       1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
       1 tsp coriander powder
       3/4 tsp red chilli powder
       3/4 tsp garam masala powder
       Salt to taste
       2 tbsp oil
       Fresh chopped coriander leaves

1. Soak rajma overnight. Place rajma with enough water in a pressure cooker. Let one whistle come then turn the flame to medium and boil for about 25 minutes. 

2. In a blender, blend onions, ginger and garlic to a smooth paste. Also puree the tomatoes.

3. Heat oil in a kadhai (heavy bottomed vessel), add cumin seeds. Let them crackle, then add onion paste and fry till golden brown.

4. Stir in the tomato puree and add red chilli powder, coriander powder and sauté.

5. When oil begins to separate, add boiled rajma and salt. Give one boil, lower heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes, covered.

6. Add garam masala and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot rajma along with boiled rice as rajma chawal or with roti.

Note- If you have not soaked the rajma overnight and want to eat it the same day, then place the rajma with
enough water in a pressure cooker and let one whistle come. Turn off the heat and do not open the lid of
the cooker. After one hour boil in the usual time. You can even use canned red kidney
beans and readymade onion-garlic paste and tomato puree. That way you can make rajma in a jiffy.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Lasooni Lal Masoor (Garlicky Red Lentils curry)

lasooni lal masoor

Lal masoor or Red Lentil is a salmon pink colored dal which turns yellow when cooked. This dal takes short time to cook especially in a pressure cooker. Tempering of garlic and addition of yogurt gives it a unique flavor. Lasooni lal masoor is very easy to make and tastes good with both rice and roti.

            Recipe of lasooni lal masoor
            1 cup lal masoor dal (red lentils/ malka masoor/ dhuli masoor)
            1 onion- chopped
            4 garlic cloves- chopped finely
            1/2 tsp cumin seeds
            1/2 tsp turmeric powder
            1/2 tsp red chilli powder (cayenne pepper)
            Salt to taste
            2 tbsp curd (yogurt) - beaten
            A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
            2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)

1. Soak lal masoor dal for 15 minutes, drain. Place dal with 2 1/2 cups of water, turmeric powder, salt, red chilli powder and onion in a pressure cooker. Let 2 whistles come. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.

2. Turn off the heat and let the pressure drop before removing the lid of the cooker.

3. Heat ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds and garlic. When they change color, add
asafoetida. Add this tempering (tadka, chhownk) to the boiled dal.

4. Add curd to the dal and mix well. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve lasooni lal masoor dal hot.

Add the suggested quantity of yogurt for great taste as too much yogurt will spoil it.
lal masoor (red lentils)

Phirni (Ground Rice Pudding)


Phirni is a type of kheer (rice pudding). In kheer, you add whole grains of rice to the milk whereas in phirni, ground rice or rice flour is used to make the dessert. Phirni is much quicker to make as compared to kheer but tastes equally good.

Recipe of Phirni

½ cup rice (chawal)
1 liter milk
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp green cardamom powder
10 pistachios (unsalted)
8 almonds
7-8 strands of saffron

  1. Soak rice for ½ an hour. Grind to a coarse paste.

  1. Blanch pistachios and almonds in hot water. Remove skin and slice. Dissolve saffron in a little hot milk.

  1. Boil milk. Dissolve rice paste in a little cold milk and add this to the boiling milk.

  1. Stir continuously till the rice is cooked completely. Stirring constantly is important otherwise thick lumps will form which will stick to the bottom of the pan.

  1. Add sugar, cardamom powder and saffron. Cook till sugar dissolves. Pour this into earthen bowls and decorate with sliced pistachio and almonds.

  1. Refrigerate phirni and serve chilled.

Pyaz ka paratha (Onion Stuffed Indian Flatbread)

pyaz ka paratha

Whenever I run short of vegetables and there are a couple of onions lying in my basket, I cook onion paratha or pyaz ka paratha. I think they are simply delicious.
             Recipe of pyaz ka Paratha/ onion paratha
            1 cup atta (whole wheat flour)
            2 medium pyaz (onion) - finely chopped
            2 green chilies- finely chopped
            1/2 tsp cumin powder
            Oil to shallow fry
            Salt to taste

1. Mix atta with salt, pyaz, green chilies and cumin powder. Add water and knead into pliable dough.

2. Cover with a moist cloth and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Don't knead the dough too well in advance as onions will leave water and dough will be difficult to manage.

3. Take a ball out of the dough and roll out like a roti.

4. Heat a tawa (griddle) and shallow fry the onion paratha applying oil. Cook on both sides till they are light golden.

5. Similarly make other pyaz paratha and serve hot with pickle of your choice.

Healthy bytes- Onions are full of anti-oxidants which inactivate the cancer causing substances. They increase the 'good cholesterol' levels and prevent clotting in the arteries. Onions also relieve bronchial congestion. Deep colored onions are more nutritious than light ones.

Dahi (curd) sandwich

Use fresh curd for dahi sandwich or curd sandwich. Stale or sour curd taste awful. The thick dahi you get after removing excess liquid gives a creamy feeling in the sandwich.

             Recipe of dahi sandwich/ curd sandwich
            Serves 3

            6 bread slices
            1 1/2 cup dahi (curd)
            1 small onion- finely chopped
            1 small tomato- finely chopped
            1/2 tsp black pepper powder
            1/2 tsp bhuna jeera (dry roasted cumin seeds)
            Salt to taste
            Butter to toast the bread

1. Hang curd in a muslin cloth for 10 minutes or you can put it in a strainer with a bowl below. This way you get thick curd.

2. Mix dahi, tomato, onion, pepper powder, salt and roasted cumin seeds.

3. Put dahi mixture on 1 slice of bread and cover with another slice.

4. Heat a non- stick tawa (griddle) and toast the dahi sandwich in butter on both sides till golden. Serve curd sandwich hot.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Aloo Palak (Spinach and Potato Dry Curry)

aloo palak

Today as I was wondering what to cook, I opened the fridge. I saw that I had very few vegetables left and a bunch of palak was staring at my face. The palak was still in a good shape so I decided to cook aloo palak with phulkas. I used a very simple recipe but believe me aloo palak turned out very tasty.
Recipe of aloo palak
1 bunch palak (spinach) -stems removed and chopped
2 medium aloo (potatoes) - peeled and cubed
2 tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 inch piece ginger
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (cayenne pepper)
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp oil or ghee (clarified butter)
1. Grind tomatoes, onion, garlic and ginger together to form a smooth paste.
2. Heat oil or ghee in a kadhai (wok). Add cumin seeds and when they turn dark, add onion-tomato paste.
3. Add all the spices and salt. Cook till oil begins to separate from the masala.
4. Add palak and aloo. Mix well and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook covered, stirring occasionally.
5. Cook till potatoes turn tender. Then uncover and increase the heat so that all moisture evaporates, stirring in between.
6. When curry turns dry, turn off heat. Serve aloo palak hot with rotis.

Microwave Jeera Rice (Cumin Rice)

microwave jeera rice

Microwave is very good for cooking rice. As far as jeera rice is concerned, it's very flavorful and tasty.
Recipe of microwave jeera rice/ cumin rice
1 1/2 cup basmati rice
2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
1. Wash rice and soak in water for 1/2 an hour. Drain.
2. Take a big microwave safe bowl. Put ghee in it and add jeera. Cook uncovered, on High for 30 seconds.
3. Add rice, salt and 3 cups of water. Mix well. Cover with a micro safe lid or a cling film through which some holes have been pierced.
4. Cook for 13 minutes on High.
5. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Serve microwave jeera rice hot with some curry or vegetable.

Simple Eggless Vanilla Cake Recipe

eggless vanilla cake

Simple eggless vanilla cake is also called basic eggless cake. This is a very simple and easy to follow recipe which uses no eggs or butter.
Recipe of simple eggless vanilla cake/ basic eggless cake
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (maida/refined flour)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp oil
1. Mix all purpose flour and baking powder and pass them through a sieve.
2. Add rest of the ingredients and mix well. Beat the cake batter thoroughly.
3. Preheat oven at 200 degree C for 10 minutes.
4. Grease a baking pan with few drops of oil and dust with all purpose flour. Pour the cake batter in the pan.
5. Bake this vanilla cake in preheated oven at 200 degree C for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 180 degree C and bake for 20-25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted at the centre of the cake comes out clean.
6. Cool the cake in the baking pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a plate. Cut this eggless vanilla cake into slices when it cools down completely.
vanilla cake

Monday, 16 January 2012

Papad Ki Sabzi

papad ki sabzi

Papad ki sabzi or Poppadum curry is rather unusual but tasty dish from the land of Rajasthan. I cook it when I run short of vegetables or I feel like having chatpati, spicy bhaji. Papad are always in stock in my kitchen. It’s quick and easy and papad or poppadums are readily available at any Indian grocery store.
Recipe of papad ki sabzi or papad ka shaak
2 big papad
1 cup sour curd (yogurt)
1/2 cup boondi
2-3 whole dry red chillies
1 tbsp besan (gram flour)
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp oil
A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1. Roast the papad and break them into 1 inch pieces.
2. Mix curd, besan and 1 cup water and beat well. I use blender to beat it.
3. Soak papad pieces and boondi in 2 cups of hot water for 2-3 minutes. Drain.
4. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they change color, add hing and broken dry red chillies. Fry for 1 minute.
5. Add red chilli powder and yogurt mixture. Add rest of the spices and stir till it boils.
6. Add papad and boondi. Give it a few boils and turn off the heat. Serve hot papad ki sabzi garnished with chopped coriander leaves.

Poori Recipe (Fried Puffed Flatbread)


I make poori mainly on festive occasions or when I am hosting a traditional dinner. Whenever I make poori, I usually fry some extra to have them with pickle the next day. It is a great travel food since it remains fresh for 2-3 days.
Recipe of poori
2 cups atta (whole wheat flour)
1 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp oil
Oil to deep fry
1. Take atta in a bowl and add salt, carom seeds and 2 tablespoon oil. Add water slowly and knead into stiff dough. Adjust water to get the right consistency. Puri dough should be stiffer than chappati dough. Let it rest for 1/2 an hour.
2. Take a lemon sized ball (peda) out of the dough. Roll out into a 3-4 inch circle on a lightly oiled surface.
3. Heat oil in a kadhai (heavy bottomed vessel). You will know the oil is hot enough by dropping a small portion of dough into the oil. If it sizzles and comes to the surface, your oil is ready. Turn the heat to medium.
4. Gently slide the poori (rolled circle) in the oil. Fry by pressing lightly by slotted spoon (chhari, pauni). Poori will puff up. Turn over the puri and fry from other side also. Fry till golden brown. Drain by the same slotted spoon on an absorbent paper. Similarly fry other pooris. Enjoy poori bread with aloo bhaji (potato curry) and pickle of your choice.

Palak paratha

palak paratha

Palak paratha is a good combination of taste and health. It's one more way of eating palak. You can also add a pinch of turmeric powder to the dough to give it a nice yellow color which is very appealing.
Don't knead the dough of palak paratha too well in advance. Otherwise palak will leave water and dough will be a bit difficult to manage.

            Recipe of palak paratha
            2 cups whole wheat flour (atta)
            200 gms palak (spinach)
            1 tsp salt or to taste
            1/2 tsp red chili powder
            1/4 tsp garam masala powder
            Oil to shallow fry

1. Cut stems of palak leaves and discard. Wash palak leaves thoroughly in running water. Chop finely.

2. Put palak in a big bowl and mix all ingredients except atta and oil. Add atta and mix.

3. Slowly add just enough water so as to make pliable dough. Rest the dough for 15 minutes.

4. Take a ball (peda) out of the dough and roll out like a roti.

5. Heat a tawa (griddle) and cook parathas on both sides brushing with oil. Cook on medium heat till golden brown. Serve hot palak paratha with some pickle.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Sprouts salad

sprouts salad

In India, sprouts salad is also a chaat and street food item. Street vendors sell it as a spicy chaat. Salad or chaat words shouldn't  deter you from eating it as a breakfast item. In fact sprouts provide you enough energy to tackle your day if you take it as a breakfast.

1 cup sprouted moong dal (green gram)
1 cup sprouted moth dal
1 potato- boiled, peeled and cubed
1 tomato- chopped
1 onion- chopped
1 cucumber- chopped
2-3 green chilies- chopped
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp black pepper powder
moong sprouts
moth sprouts

  1. Place sprouted dals with enough water in a pressure cooker. Let 2 whistles come. When pressure drops, open the lid of cooker and take out sprouts. Make sure you put just enough water in the cooker so that all water gets absorbed.

  1. Add all the above ingredients and mix. Serve sprouts salad hot or cold.

You can also add chopped vegetables like radish, carrot to this salad to make it more nutritious.
How to make sprouts
To make sprouts, soak the dal (here, moong dal and moth dal) overnight. Next day, drain. Wet a cotton cloth and squeeze it, place soaked dal on this cloth and tie the ends. Hang this (potli) somewhere and sprinkle water on it when it is dry. Take out sprouts when you see small tails of sprouts coming out of the cloth.

Healthy Bytes- sprouts provide a healthy and cheap alternative to meat proteins. Sprouts are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. During the process of sprouting, proteins and vitamins increase manifold whereas calories and carbohydrates decrease.

Moong dal toast

moong dal toast

Moong dal toast is an easy to make, tasty breakfast. It’s also a bit different from your routine breakfasts. When making moong toast, apply a thin layer of dal paste on bread slices.
Recipe of moong dal toast
            6 slices bread
            1 cup dhuli moong dal (split, skinless green gram)
            3 green chilies
            1 tbsp besan (gram flour)
            1 tsp lemon juice
            Salt to taste
            Coriander leaves- finely chopped
            Oil or butter to toast the bread

1. Soak moong dal for 1 1/2 hours. Drain and grind with green chilies to a fine paste.

2. Mix together dal paste, besan, salt, lemon juice and coriander leaves.

3. With the help of a spoon, spread dal mixture on one side of a bread slice.

4. Heat some oil or butter on a non-stick tawa (griddle) or a pan. Place the bread on the hot tawa with the dal side down.

5. Spread dal mixture on the upper side of the bread too while the bread is getting toasted on the lower side. Toast the bread on other side also.

6. Cut into triangles and serve hot moong dal toast with tomato sauce.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Vegetable Oats Upma

vegetable oats upma

Vegetable oats upma is one of the healthiest dishes so we eat it on a regular basis keeping in mind its health benefits. Also it is very quick and easy to make, packed with goodness. Vegetable oats upma is an almost instant food without compromising on health.
Recipe of vegetable oats upma
1 cup oats
Mixed chopped vegetables like carrot, green beans, potato, peas, cauliflower
1 onion- chopped
1 inch piece ginger- grated or chopped
2 green chillies- slit lengthwise
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (kali sarson)
Salt to taste
2 tsp peanuts
2 tsp cashew nuts- broken
1 tsp chana dal (split Bengal gram)
1 tsp urad dal (skinless split black gram)
4-5 curry leaves
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1. Take a non- stick pan and dry roast the oats till they leave their whitishness and turn brown. Take them out of the pan.
2. Heat oil in the same pan after wiping off with a dry cloth. Add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add chana dal and roast for 1/2 a minute. Add urad dal, peanuts and cashew nuts. Roast till they become light brown.
3. Add onion, green chillies, ginger and curry leaves. Sauté for a minute.
4. Add vegetables, water and salt. Cook covered till vegetables are tender.
5. Add oats and mix well. Lower heat and cook for about 3-4 minutes, covered. Turn off heat and let it stand for 3-4 minutes.
Healthy Bytes- oatmeal is a rich source of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Oats are proven to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol. Whole oats also reduce high blood pressure. Fiber in oats helps in regular bowel movement. Oatmeal also helps with weight loss.

Sweet Lassi (Indian Yogurt Drink)


Lassi is a summer drink which originated from North India but is now popular all over India and abroad. There are many variations like sweet lassi, salty lassi and fruit lassi. Here, I am sharing the recipe of sweet lassi which really refreshes on a scorching day. If you are using full fat curd, you will have curd cream at the top. Reserve it to be added at the top of the lassi glass.
Recipe of sweet lassi
1 1/2 cups yogurt (dahi/ curd)
1 cup chilled water
5 tbsp sugar
1 tsp rosewater (optional)
Ice cubes
1. Blend all the above ingredients in a blender till smooth. Serve lassi in a tall glass.

Vegetable khichdi

vegetable khichdi

Vegetable khichdi is a very light and nutritious meal. It’s wholesome and non- spicy. Since it is easy to digest, you can also serve it to a sick person. I eat vegetable khichdi because I find it very tasty and satisfying.
Recipe of vegetable khichdi
1 cup rice
1/2 cup moong dal (split green gram)
Mixed chopped vegetables like French beans, carrots, cauliflower, peas and potato
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
4 cups water
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1 1/2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1. Wash rice and moong dal separately.
2. In a vessel, heat ghee and add cumin seeds. When they change color, add hing. Add dal and vegetables. Cook stirring for 2-3 minutes. In the mean time put 4 cups of water to boil.
3. Add rice and turmeric powder and stir- fry again for 2 minutes.
4. Add boiling water and salt.
5. Cover and cook on a low heat till khichdi is completely cooked and all water is absorbed. Serve hot vegetable khichdi with curd.

Tomato Rice

tomato rice

Tomato rice is a delicious South Indian variety of rice. It is well loved by rice eaters. Tomato rice is a quick meal which comes as a saviour when you are short of time. Enjoy it with raita and papads.
Recipe of tomato rice
1 cup basmati rice
1 onion- chopped
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3 tomatoes- pureed
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
Few curry leaves
1 tbsp chana dal (split Bengal gram)
2 cups of water
1. Wash and soak rice for 20 minutes. Drain. Place rice in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and cook to 1 whistle. Let the rice cool down by spreading it in a big plate or tray.
2. Heat ghee in a kadhai/ wok. Add mustard seeds and when they pop, add chana dal. Cook on a low heat till dal turns light brown.
3. Add onion and curry leaves. Sauté till onion becomes light brown. Take care not to burn the dal.
4. Add tomato puree. Add salt, turmeric and red chilli powders.
5. Cook on low heat till tomato turns dry and ghee begins to separate.
6. Gently mix tomato to rice stirring carefully because we don't want the rice to break. Mix till well mixed. Serve hot tomato rice with raita.

Tikhat Mithachi Puri (Hot and Savory Fried Flatbread)

tikhat mithachi puri

Tikhat mithachi puri is a marathi name meaning hot and savory puri/ poori. There are some variations in the common North Indian puri. You can have this tikhat mithachi puri with pickle as an evening snack or a Sunday Brunch.
Recipe of tikhat mithachi puri
1 cup atta (whole wheat flour)
3 tbsp sooji (semolina/rava)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp red chilli powder (cayenne pepper)
1 tbsp oil + for deep frying
1 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
1. Mix salt in flour. Add sooji, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, ajwain and 1 tbsp oil. Mix well with your hands.
2. Add water little by little and knead the flour into stiff dough. Set aside for 20 minutes.
3. Take a lemon size ball from the dough and roll out on a lightly oiled surface into a 3-4 inch round puri.
4. Heat oil in a kadhai/wok and when it's sufficiently hot, turn the heat to medium. Deep fry puris in the hot oil till puffed up and golden brown from both sides.
5. Drain on an absorbent paper and serve tikhat mithachi puri hot with some pickle.

(Ivy Gourd) Tindora sabzi

tindora sabzi

Tindora is known by many names in different regions. It is called kundru, tendli, tondli, dondakaya, Ivy gourd etc. By itself the vegetable is not so popular but its taste depends on how you cook it. Whenever I make it with the recipe given below, I find it quite tasty. Roasted peanut powder makes all the difference to the final dish.
Recipe of tindora sabzi
250 grams tindora (kundru/ tendli/ Ivy gourd)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (kali sarson)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
1 tblsp oil
1 tblsp peanuts- dry roasted and coarsely crushed
tindora sliced

1. Wash and drain tindora. Cut their tips and tail. Slice each kundru lengthwise into 4 pieces.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add hing. Add tindora. Add salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric and red chilli powder. Mix well and cook covered on medium- low heat till cooked, stirring occasionally. Remember not to overcook them, they should be lightly crunchy.
3. Uncover and increase the heat. Cook, stirring, to lightly brown them. Turn off the heat.
4. Add roasted peanuts and mix well.
Healthy Bytes- Nutrition per 100 grams of Ivy gourd or tindora –
Calories- 27
Total carbohydrates- 5.2 g
Total Fat- 0.1 g
Vitamin A – 28%
Iron- .09%
Calcium- .02%
Tindora is considered good for diabetics since it may lower blood sugar.  

Sukhe Kale Chane (Dry Black Chickpeas)

sukhe kale chane

Sukhe kale chane ki recipe comes straight from my mom's kitchen. It brings back memories of childhood days when she used to prepare them on ashtami along with puri and sooji ka halwa for kanjak. It was to be distributed to the little girls who used to visit us on this day.
Recipe sukhe kale chane
2 cups kale chane (black chickpeas)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp oil
1. Soak kale chane overnight, drain. Place kala chana along with enough water and salt in a pressure cooker. Let 1 whistle come, then turn the heat to medium. Pressure cook for 20 minutes in total. When the pressure drops down, open and strain. You can have the remaining chana water as soup as it is very nutritious.
2. Heat oil in a kadhai or a pan and add cumin seeds. When they change color, add kale chane and all the spices. Roast for 4-5 minutes on a medium heat, uncovered. Turn off the heat and garnish sukhe kale chane with coriander leaves.

Sabudana Kheer (Sago Pudding)

sabudana kheer

Sabudana kheer or sabudana payasam is mainly eaten in fasts including those of Ekadashi and Navratras. It takes a short time to cook after soaking and tastes absolutely divine.
Recipe of sabudana kheer (payasam)
3/4 cup sabudana (sago)
1 liter milk
1/2 cup sugar
3-4 strands saffron (optional)
A big pinch elaichi (green cardamom) powder
Nuts like almonds, raisins and cashew nuts
1. Soak sabudana for 2 hours in just enough water so that sago is submerged.
2. Soak saffron in a little milk. Soak almonds.
3. Heat milk in a pan and let it bring to boil. Add sabudana and lower heat. Cook stirring continuously as sabudana has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan. When the sabudana turns transparent, that means it is cooked.
4. Add sugar and cook stirring for 2-3 minutes. Cook till you get the desired consistency of the kheer. Turn off the heat.
5. Add saffron, elaichi powder, slivered almonds, raisins and broken cashew nuts. Serve sabudana kheer hot or cold as per your liking.

Rice Idli

rice idli

Idli is rice and lentil steamed cake. They taste best with sambhar and coconut chutney but you can also enjoy rice idli with chutney masala like that made by MTR.
Recipe of rice idli
2 cups parboiled rice (sela chawal)
1 cup dhuli urad dal (skinless split black gram)
2 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp methi dana (fenugreek seeds)
1. Wash and soak rice and urad dal separately along with methi dana added to each. Soak them for 6 hours or overnight if possible.
2. Grind urad dal to a smooth paste and grind rice to a coarse granulated paste with granules to the size of semolina (sooji). Mix them together with hands. Batter should be of medium consistency that is neither too tight nor too watery.
3. Add salt and leave it for fermentation in a warm place for 8-10 hours. The batter should rise and smell sour.
4. Grease each mould of the idli stand. Take a pressure cooker or some wide, deep pan in which idli stand can fit properly.  Fill it with water so that level of water is below the idli stand.
5. Fill each mould of the idli stand with batter to the level. Remember not to overfill them since idlis need space to swell in size.
6. Place the idli stand in the cooker or a pan and cover with a steel plate and put some weight on it. Put it on stove. As soon as the water begins to boil and steam starts coming out, turn the heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes. Insert a clean knife in 1 idli. If it comes out clean, idli is done otherwise steam for 2-3 minutes more.
7. Take out the stand from the cooker or the pan and let it stand for 2-3 minutes before taking out idlis. Take out rice idli with the help of a clean knife. Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the batter.
Note- If you live in cold climate, preheat oven to warm, turn it off. Leave the batter to ferment in this oven for 7-8 hours. If you live in a country like U.S., use kosher salt. Also, the water for soaking should be either spring water, filtered tap water or boiled water. Point is to avoid chlorine in the water.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

(Semolina) Rava Pongal

rava pongal

While casually surfing through net, I came across this wonderful recipe of rava pongal. This is a healthy South Indian breakfast which people from other parts can eat as a nice variation to regular fare. Rava pongal uses 2 main ingredients that is, rava or semolina and moong dal instead of dal and rice used in pongal. It's healthy and tasty and try it yourself before believing me.
Recipe of rava pongal
1 cup rava (sooji/ semolina)
3/4 cup moong/mung dal (split, skinless green gram)
1 tbsp cashew nuts- broken
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
Salt to taste
1 1/2 + 4 cups water
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or oil
1 tsp ginger- garlic paste
2-3 green chillies- slit
1. Heat a kadhai/ wok and dry roast moong dal till aromatic and light pink. Take out from the wok and wash it thoroughly.
2. Place moong dal, 1 1/2 cups of water and salt in a pressure cooker and cook to 1 whistle. Open the cooker after 3-4 minutes.
3. Place the cooker on heat to evaporate the water in moong dal.
4. In the mean time, dry roast rava till aromatic and some golden grains appear. Take rava out of kadhai.
5. In the same kadhai, heat ghee or oil. Add mustard seeds and when they pop, add cashew nuts. Add ginger-garlic paste and green chillies. Brown them lightly. When the water in moong dal dries, take it off the heat.
6. Returning to kadhai, add 4 cups of water and bring it to boil.
7. Add rava slowly, stirring with other hand. Add moong dal and salt. Mix well. Cook stirring till pongal gets thick. Cook it to desired consistency. Turn off the heat. You can add lemon juice at this stage if you want it tangy. Serve rava pongal hot.

Oats Upma

oats upma

Rolled oats or simply oats are a healthy and easy breakfast option. They are very low in calories and are heart protective. I have used Quaker oats which give excellent results. Oats upma is an almost instant food. Peanuts and cashew nuts are totally optional.
Recipe of oats upma
1 1/2 cup oats
1 onion- chopped
2 cloves garlic- chopped
1/2 inch piece ginger- chopped
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp peanuts
2 tsp cashew nuts- broken in 4 pieces
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp oil
1. Dry roast oats in a pan till their whiteness disappears and they look brownish. Take them out of the pan.
2. Heat oil in the same pan and add peanuts and cashews. Roast them for a minute. Add onion and sauté for 1 minute.
3. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for few seconds. Add water, red chilli powder and salt and cover the lid of the pan. Let 1 boil come.
4. Add oats and mix well. Lower heat and simmer covered till all water gets absorbed. Turn off heat and serve oats upma hot.
Healthy Bytes- Oats are a rich source of fiber, Iron, Thiamin and antioxidants.
100 grams of dry rolled oats contain-
380 Calories
67 gms Carbohydrates
16 gms Protein
6 gms Fat
0.7 mg Thiamin