October 14, 2012

Spinach and Black eyed peas Thoran

Spinach and black eyed peas thoran

Growing up we all are told of how important it is to add greens to your diet, now being a mom  to two boys the responsibility of adding the greens to the daily cuisine has been passed on to my shoulders. As hard as It can be I have learnt that with kids you have to be creative , surprisingly my older son is  interested in the kitchen usually will come by to check on what's for dinner try to help if he can, ask about how I made the dish which is a good sign . 
So it is sometimes easy to slip in the greens to their plate without a meltdown  :)

Recently I joined the health nutrition programme where a nutritionist calls me every 4 weeks to help me get on the right track , not that I was on the wrong track but now a days insurance companies have decided to take some responsibility to share the burden of the unhealthy nation so it does not come back to bite them. A step in the right direction .

So I decided to choose the nutrition path , Stories aside I decided to incorporate a vegetable in  every day instead of 3 times a week  , at least one veggie a day Hurray :) so this is the result .
Lets see how far I can take this.

With this thoran U can make Spinach by itself but it can sometimes be too leafy , I prefer a little added bit of peas  I just added some black eyed peas for more texture and flavor .

NOW for the recipe
What U need :
Spinach - 2 cups finely chopped
Black eyes peas - 1/2 cup cooked usually found in the frozen aisle
Shallots - 2 finely chopped
Ginger- 1/2 inch chopped
Garlic 3 cloves chopped
Green chillies- 3-4 chopped
Coconut grated  - 1/2 cup
Curry leaves a few optional
Salt to taste
Olive oil- 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon
Red chillies optional

Heat  a pan add the oil after the oil heats up add the mustard seeds , they begin to pop in few mins add the chopped shallots and dried whole chillies , curry leaves, saute for some time.

Add chopped ginger and garlic with the green chillies toast this for few mins than add the black eyes peas is they are not cooked thoroughly add some water in a cup and microwave for 3-4 mins before adding to the pan . Add salt and coconut and then last add the spinach. the spinach cooks pretty quickly so hence is added last. 
Cover the dish for a few mins till the peas are well cooked and the spinach is all welted down .
Serve with rice or Rotis.
Njoy !

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February 18, 2012

Appam and Chicken curry

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Every home has its own special tradition some of it we grow up into so naturally adopted and some we create ourselves as a matter of convenience and also depending on our very own likes and dislikes.
One of those traditions that I love and grew up into is comfort breakfast as my regular visitors can easily point out there is a lil' too much emphasis on breakfast on my blog :)
who doesn't love a nice and hearty scrumptous breakfast just makes your day or sometimes the week too.
One of my absolute fav breakfast is appam and chicken, reminds me of Christmas and Easter mornings this was an absolute must, after the midnight mass my mom n dad would wake up and start the early preapartions of the breakfast ritual and by the time we kids would wake up thewhole house is turned is filled with warmth and appetising aromas, even now a days when I call  to wish my loved ones back home in India on Christmas eve the morning talk always comes around to ' SO WHAT DID U HAVE FOR BREAKFAST APPAM N CHICKEN?' and the obvious answer is always 'Yes'
There is something about this combination so comforting and appetising the soft appam  dipped in the coconut flavoured chicken curry bursting out with aromatic spices just melts in your mouth , kind of like a perfect match made in gastronomical heaven ;0

Now for the recipe:

What u need :
long grain basmati rice -2 cups
coconut grated frozen or fresh - 1cup
cooked basmati rice- 1/2 cup
active yeast - 1 teaspoon
sugar - 1 teaspoon for activation
water - as needed
salt- 1 teaspoon

Soak the rice for 6-8 hours or overnight, now wash the rice thoroughly and blend part of the rice , coconut, cooked rice with added enough water to a semi thick blend, the consistency should be not too grainy but on the smoother side .
The cooked rice plays a big role in this it makes the appams consideriably soft ,once the batter is ready take some warm water about a tablespoon add the yeast and sugar let it activate the yeast starts to mix in. Then add this to the batter let this sit for at least 6-8 hours to ferment , then the following day or after 8 hours add salt mix well if the batter is too thick u can add milk too. The next day the batter will look like it increased in size that is a sign that the fermentation has taken place.
Appam is usually made in a specific round pan easily available in Indian stores . 

Heat the pan on medium temperature control is a critical part towards soft appams add a laddle of the fermented batter and rotate in a clockwise fashion and let it cook for few mins cover the pan , appams is uasully cooked in the time as a pancake would.
You can also make appam on a normal non stick pan just make the batter a lil thick so it does not run all over the pan kind of the same way one would make pancakes only u donot need to turn just cook one side take it off the pan when it looks cooked from the top.
Enjoy this dish with any kind of gravy dish best goes with non vegetarian dishes!

December 11, 2011

Delhi Belly

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A Little treat from my dear Bro!
and also a gastronomical gift from the  main land of India .
Since I have been blogging for the last 5 years which is  very seldom , but the pursuit has always been the same as my fellow bloggers to bring out the best in the world of cooking from what I see around or from what I cook around ,this time it happened that my brother who was travelling on a business trip to Delhi decided to let his camera lens go wild on the streets on 'Dilli' and the results were phenomenal . Thanks to him I could share all the fabulous pictures here ;)
North Indian food has been hailed to a pedestal and deserves to be there too as it has a colorful blend of spices that get ur taste buds taking a ride of their life.

Most photos posted down here are of street vendors and street food commonly sold  in India in this case specifically Delhi vegetarian and ample kinds of non vegetarian options too

The list is endless  believe me when I saw these pictures all I wanted to do is get on the first flight back home they are too tempting.


Like this one a perfect example of fast food breakfast street style , fast easy breakfast on the go and yum malicious.

Usually this is a very common sight on the streets of any busy Indian street be it Mumbai or Delhi you will come across quite a few vendors standing out in the open and frying food in hot pipping oil or puris frying in hot oil served as a snack usually accompanied with some kind of a veggie side commonly called as 'sabji' made of potatoes or garbanzo beans with spices to jazz it up.

Like they say a picture is worth thousand words hence the above one says it all !
And to sum it all saving the best for the last another very common snack the Indian answer to the burger own very own Vada pav .

Njoy and happy holidays!

November 15, 2011

Paneer Mattar Masala

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Today was a wet day for us felt like cuddling under a warm blanket with a hot cuppa of chai with a good book :) but it was dinner time so I decided to make some thing a little more heavy and fulfilling as the weather was so calling  for it .
I usually have a block of paneer or in American terms 'cottage cheese'
 sitting in my freezer and staring at me along with that was the Malaysian parathas just side by side that made my dinner decision easy .Now Malaysian parathas are very similar to the maida rotis in India but not as hardy as the naan a little more on the soft and flakier side these are pre rolled frozen all that needs to be done is to cook on a non stick pan, but just make sure these are made right before you eat as these rotis do not taste that good if they sit for long time again easily found in Indian and also Asian stores. These rotis go great with any kind of gravy my kiddos love to have them rolled with honey too YUM ;0

What u need  for Paneer mattar masala
Paneer- 1 block cut in to cub sizes
small green peas-1/4 cup
onion - 1 cup paste form
tomato -1 finely chopped
ginger garlic paste - 2 teaspoon
green chillies- 3 chopped fine optional
cilantro-1/4 cup chopped
half n half -1 tablespoon optional
oil-2 tablespoon
salt- as needed
turmeric- 1 teaspoon
jeera - 1 teaspoon full
tikka masala or garam masala- 1/2 tablespoon

Heat non stick pan add the oil let it heat add the jeera when they start to spurt, add the onion paste cook well till the raw taste goes away and the oil separates. Add the ginger garlic paste to this paste cook for 5- 10 mins till the raw smell diminishes, add the chopped  tomatoes let this mixture cook for a few mins on low flame.
Meanwhile fry the paneer cubes in pan till all the sides are brown keep them separate in a  bowl after done with the frying. Add the garam masala or the tikka masala, turmeric  and salt to the tomato- onion paste by now this turns into a thick consistency ,add the Green chillies again this part is optional or u can substitute with paprika too. More color less spice :)
Add the fried paneer pieces and the small peas to this mix also add a little water if the mixture is too thick, last add the half n half as needed u can add more if needed. Make sure when u add the half n half the pan is on low flame so the the cream does not curdle.The consistency u should be looking for  of the gravy that is not too watery or not too thick .
Garnish with the chopped cilantro and have with Rice or rotis!

November 12, 2011

Pad thai

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Coming to the US and in the first month we went to Thai restaurant according to all my newly acquired pals this was very close to Chinese food and good too. So as usual playing on the safe side we ordered some fried rice and ginger chicken or something like that not very clear on the details since it has been close to 10 year now ;0
Then later I came across the ever popular Thai dish called Pad Thai which I instantly fell in love with for years it stuck to be the favourite dish to be ordered  any Thai restaurant then later I started to venture into making this one from scratch. well after a few attempts i nailed it now it is a regular at our place .
 The only catch is that u cannot make it ahead of it just make it before u plan to eat.
the recipe I followed is all thanks to an other blogger whose link is posted below .
Try u wont be disappointed


October 29, 2011

Rava Upma

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Breakfast is usually the first meal of the day and hence the name break the fast :) usually on weekends I luv to make something heavy so we all can indulge into good food and fill up our hungry bellies for the rest of the easy and lazyy weekend ahead. I remember as a child travelling in trains the best part was eating the train canteen and station  food yummy!!!
Usually it would take us 2 days to get to our destination and the starting station would have an entirely different food selection then the ending station because both were 2 different states .The canteen food was more or less the same one dish which I truly looked forward to on the train was their upma packed in a little silver container, hot and steamy delivered by the canteen men who would come ahead of time to take your order , along with this upma we always ordered hot coffee or garma-garam tea what a great way to start your day! Eating the upma , while sipping on some hot coffee and looking outside the through the window of the train was so relaxing . I miss those long train rides , now when we go to India we reach the same destination in 2 hrs even before U can finish your breakfast and coffee it is landing time , and the view out of the window of the plane well now thats a whole different story!

And  that is why I still have that dish as my top 5 breakfast dishes to indulge in on a weekend morning!

upma- 2 cups
shallots-1 tablespoon chopped
ginger chopped-1 inch
green chillies-2-3 chopped
curry leaves a few optional
cilantro a small bunch chopped
mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon
urad dal-1 teaspoon
butter 1 tablespoon
EVOO-1 tablespoon
water-2 cups

Heat a thick bottom pan , add the oil when right temp is reached add the mustard seeds let it spurte add the urad dal toast for 1-2 mins then add chopped shallots, ginger, chillies. curry leaves, saute for 5 mins.
Add the rava and salt to this and again toast for 5 -7 mins till the rava is very slightly brown.
Then add water and let this simmer for 10 mins till all the water is absorbed into the rava.
Mix the upma well such that the rava is all separated out evenly , toss the butter in for added softness and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
Njoy !

October 2, 2011

Beef cutlets

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Beef cutlet is not a very universal Indian dish but when u go down south like specifically Kerala this dish is a perfect appetizer and a great compliment to hard drinks and otherwise too . U cannot go wrong with this absolute crowd pleaser make it and u will be hailed as a rock star even if it is just for the day ! ; P
I usually make it around Christmas or Easter time truly delectable dish believe me there won't be any left overs with this one!
what u need to make the recipe:
Beef -2 pounds
boiled potatoes-2
shallots chopped-1/2 cup
(sorry the pic shows big red onion in the backdrop cos I had used up the shallots for the cutlets!)
ginger finely chopped-1/2 inch
green chillies chopped as per taste
cilantro chopped -1 tablespoon
salt to taste
bread crumbs plain- 2 cups
oil to fry as needed
eggs -2 beaten

There are different options to make the mix but the one I follow is to boil the beef pieces with a little salt in the cooker till well done. Then use a blender to get it to a thread like consistency with out adding any water at all just the meat this texture gets it close to the authentic beef cutlets in kerala because I have tried this other ways comes out little chunky.
add the chopped shallots, chillies, ginger, cilantro, salt
and the boiled potatoes blend these all well together.
Then line up the beaten eggs first add a little salt to the eggs too, then the bread crumbs
 start making the patties of the beef mix.
Heat a pan with oil when the right temp take the patty dip the patty in the eggs , then coat with the bread crumbs next stop is the hot pan.
Turn the patties both sides till golden brown serve with tomato ketchup or shallots marinated with chillies and vinegar Njoy!

September 24, 2011

Simple Rice Pilaf

It has been long since I have posted something close to a recipe on my blog , well busy life takes a toll on you never the less my 3 and 1/2 year old blog has started to hyperventilate getting near on to its last breath and so in desperate need to revive it I decided to post, the other very valid reason is that this was my weekend off no plans ahead so just lazing on the couch like a potato I decided to put this time to good use visit my blog world and seeing all the excellent recipes & updates that my fellow blogger's were up to inspired me to get in action .

So here's is a very simple dish

Rice pulao or like the western world calls it rice pilaf , name it either ways this dish is a great combo with any gravy dish.

What u need to make this dish:

Rice -2 cups
frozen or fresh peas -1/3 cup
cub size cut up carrot -1/3cup
ghee-1 tablespoon
bay leaves-4
cinnamon stick -2 inch length
whole black pepper-1 teaspoon
salt to taste
lemon juice-1 teaspoon
water -4 cups
Heat a thick pot /pan ,add the ghee which can be also substituted with oil too as per taste and preferences of the individual . Add the whole spices to the ghee toss around till a smoky aroma comes, add the carrots and peas cook for 10 mins on medium flame .

Then add the cleaned rice to this stir till the rice is pearly white at least another 5 mins .
Add hot water to this mix gently stirring usually the water should be twice the quantity of the rice .
When the rice starts boiling add the lemon juice and salt cover for 15 -20 mins till the rice is fully cooked
Serve with hot curry and Njoy this easy peasy recipe

March 28, 2011

Fried potatoes

Potatoes are the most commonly available vegetables in any country or region .They are starchy, hardy and filling which compliments any dish be it vegetarian or a non vegetarian dish potatoes can just dwell well and give the dish a whole new taste and texture.
While I was digging out some information about our very own potato , was surprised to know that this vegetable has a quiet a bit of history to its credit that too an interesting one.!!!

Now I got this recipe from a very close friend of mine who we were visiting after 5 long years they had recently moved back to Seattle from India.This recipe reminds me so much of her and the good times we have had for the past few years together. The day she made this was a perfect puri bhajji kind of a Seattle day , the weather was kind of still cold although it was May , it kept raining intermittently and we all had so much to catching up with to do when they had left US 5 years back both our kiddos were just a few months old although we kept in touch all this while it felt great to be back together .

Here to great friends and good times with them !!

What u need for the recipe :

Potatoes- 3 peeled and cut cub size

Onion- 1 chopped fine

green chillies- 3-4 chopped

ginger garlic - 1 tbsp finely chopped


salt to taste

tumeric pwd- 1 teaspoon

cilantro- 1/2 bunch chopped

dried meethi leaves- 1 teaspoon

jeera - 1 teaspoon

dried coconut flakes- 1 tbsp

Heat a non stick pan add oil after a few minutes add jeera and dried meethi leaves these have very distinct and strong flavor it gives the dish a very authentic flavor too fry it till it gets lightly toasted, then saute the onions then goes in the ginger garlic paste which needs to be cooked till the raw taste is gone .

Add the potatoes ,salt and turmeric set the flame on medium low and let this cook for about 15 mins check in between so that the potatoes do not get stuck at the bottom of the pan.

Last is the finisihing touches add the chopped chillies and then after about 5-10mins when the potatoes are fully cooked add the cilantro leaves and the coconut flakes let them toast a little . The coconut flakes toasted gives this dish a very nutty flavor which perfectly compliments dal rice or hot fluffy puris too !

February 15, 2011


Today's post I decided to touch up on a classic breakfast in most Indian homes, PURI -BHAJJI . I remember my college days there was a street stall just outside the campus that every morning like clockwork had a guy frying hot puris to be served with potato bhajji yummy !The smell itself was so intoxicating , no wonder in a matter of time he would sell all of his stock of aloo puri ;P Puri or pooris are a very popular snack or breakfast in northern part of India . One of the easiest to make and has a very filling result. The recipe is pretty similar to that of making rotis or chapatis but instead of cooking it on a flat pan the bread or puri is deep fried in oil which makes it soft and literally irresistible with any gravy . what u need
  1. 2 cups of wheat flour or atta
  2. oil 1 cup
  3. Knead all the above ingredients in a dough and set aside for 45mins to an hour. The trick to make soft rotis or even puris is to knead using warm water and let the dough sit for at least 45 mins. For puris try making the dough not too hard a little more on the loose side also when the puris are rolled out in small round puris use oil instead of wheat flour ,which adds on to the softer texture of the puris too. Another thing is to have moderate heat for frying the puris once the right temperature is set do not keep changing it. Also you just need to turn the puri in the hot oil once each side because the more you keep turning the harder the puri becomes also drinks a whole lot of oil. Make small balls of the dough , flatten it out with a rolling pin and deep fry in oil , I usually use EVOO ( extra virgin olive oil ) as puris are not the healthiest but on a rainy day these are the best . These sell like hot cakes are can be kept for few days in the fridge, mine never makes it to that point :) Serve these puris with aloo bhajji or even a gravy like recipe would be a great combo with these puris ! !

January 2, 2011

Puttu and Kadala curry

I am beginning this new year 2011 with one of the favourite breakfast of most keralities worldwide Puttu and Kadala curry one that has been blogged so many times in different variations, has been favourites in movies too. The other day I was watching an old Malayalam movie featuring Mammoty as a mentally handicapped man , and the food he loved the most was puttu he also is nick named puttu in the movie. That gave me an inspirational to make puttu and kadala curry for breakfast so here it is the recipe that I made from

What u need :

Rice powder- 2 cups
Coconut shredded fresh- 1/2 cup
Water ( warm )- as needed
salt - as needed

Mix all the above ingredients without the coconut with your hand and add warm water at a slow rate , constantly mixing the rice mixture , the final product has to be in a semi wet consistency the way what I have been taught by my mom and probably her mom is you should be able to make a ball when you grab the mixture and also should be able to break it in to powder like
consistency then you have reached the goal.
The utensil to make puttu is usually a funnel like hollow on top with the base with a much smaller hole. Now a days there is an option of cherata puttu also which means the utensil is in the shape of a coconut Shell to be exact half coconut shell.
Now layer the coconut about 1 tablespoon then the rice mixture and in the end again coconut.
This funnel is then set on to a steamer you can use a cooker as the base alos or the traditional vessel that it comes with . This then connects to the puttu kutti (utensil) at the bottom and the hot steam from the cooker cooks the puttu which is usually done in 8-10 mins max.

Serve with ripe bananas or any gravy combination for this time I went with Kadala curry. This is like a marriage made in heaven so good together just the way the start the day off right !

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