October 12, 2014

San Francisco Trip

One of the most visited cities in the united states, this was on our list for some time , since we live in the greater northwest it wasn't that hard to plan , so this summer we decided to embark into this awesome journey.

Here are a few glimpses of our trip , a snap shot of our sunny days in CA. 
If a picture is worth a thousand words then this should say it all.

October 6, 2014

Masala Dosa

Every one has one of those recipes that takes to to your happy place, this is one of mine and so is this for my little one and older one . Both of them love masala dosa & plain dosa , relishing  every bite of it .  

Recently on our visit to San franscico we visited a typical south indian restuarant and decided to have brunch there, this place was did  great job of maintaining the same culture and more important the taste of traditional south indian dishes, just like you would find in south India . Long crispy dosas in variety of options with colorful chutneys and sambar to go along and many more savory delicacies 

Thumbs up for dosa
Usually saturday mornings I make something that I grew up eating , so my kids could stick to the roots at least on the weekends :)
Masala dosa is one of the most  demanded on week ends  this savory dish is a crepe with  a filing of boiled potatoes with added spices in crispy layer of dosa .

What you need  for dosa batter :
Idli rice : 1 cup
Urad dal : 1/2 cup
Salt : to taste
Meethi seeds : 1 pinch 
Yeast: 1 teaspoon 
Soak the rice, meethi seeds and urad dal for 6-8 hours, then grind it in a mixer (I use the Indian one I got from back home). Over the last few years, I went through several trial and errors to make soft dosas and idlis in this cold country. 
Quite a few attempts were disasters with idlis as hard as rock, but at other times it turned out to be great.
I tried a little trick , after the batter is mixed into a paste , take a teaspoon of active yeast in warm water let it activate for a few minutes 
Add to the batter just like u would do for making appams but only the quantity is less as compared Cover this batter and leave it over night, next morning the batter will swell up which is a good sign of fermentation , add salt  if the batter is to make dosas make it thin and for idlis keep the consistency thick.

For the filling (masala) :
Boiled potatoes : 2 smashed 
Onions : 1 chopped
Chillies : 1 long slit
Curry leaves : 5-7 
Salt and turmeric as needed
Olive oil : 1 tsp
Urad dal : 1 tsp
Heat a pan . add oil until hot add urad dal sauté for few mins, add the chopped curry leaves, chillies, onions let it cook till the onions are soft and a little brown.
Add salt and turmeric then add the smashed potatoes leave some chunky pieces in gives the masala dosa an authentic taste, if needed you can also add chopped cilantro which is optional.
Add salt and mix well next to make masala dosas use the batter as mentioned earlier. heat a flat pan oil rub then at the right temp which u can check by sprinkling water on the pan it shud bubble ,  pour the batter in a circle form to make fresh piping hot dosas , add the potatoes add some oil on the sides to make it crispy fold from the sides. cook for few secs more then take it off the pan and keep aside try not to cover this as it may get soggy best is to eat while hot and crispy.
Serve with sambar or coconut chutney. Njoy !

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September 30, 2014

Cranberry pickle

As the weather starts to cool down , the cooler breeze is a reminder of darker evenings and cloudier days. But on the flip side also a time to look forward to the winter days with Halloween right around the corner, and Thanksgiving peeing thru right behind, and of course fall colors has started to surround the neighborhood so it's  time to start cooking some fall vegetables.

Pickles have always been a absolute favorite of mine, the spicy , tangy taste that  gets your taste buds going is a perfect compliment to any simple food.

Usually I make a lemon, mango , and fish pickle the other day I crossed by some  good fresh red cranberry bag in the grocery store , a thought crossed my mind that sweet and tangy cranberry in a pickle form YUM !!
Next on my list was to stop my mouth from watering :) and on my way picked a bag and headed to the counter.
Now to the recipe

What you need :

Cranberry : half fresh and half dried (50% less sugar) is what I used

Ginger chopped : 2 tbsp

Green chillies chopped : 2 tsbp

Salt : to taste

Chilly pwd : 1 tsbp

Vinegar : 3 tsbp

Turmeric pwd : 1/2 tsp

Asafetida pwd : 1 tsp

Meethi pwd : 1 tsp

Olive oil : 2 tsp

Mustard seeds ; 1 tsp

Curry leaves - 5-10 leaves

Wash and clean the cranberries and let them dry. Cut the fresh cranberries into halves add some rock salt or regular salt with some turmeric , marinate for at least 1 hour.

Heat a pan add the olive oil , add the mustard seeds let them pop then add the chopped chilles, ginger, curry leaves and saute for 2 mins.

Add the dry spices , later add the cranberries both dried and fresh , saute for few mins add the vinegar , this makes the pickle a little loose let it cook for few mins then put the heat off.

Let the pickle cool before storing in a glass container , check the salt if needed .
Serve with hot rice and Dal Njoy !

September 7, 2013

Pav Bhaji

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One of the things that I miss most about my homeland "India " is the street food , hands down so  Delish . Out on the busy streets through the hustle bustle of daily grind stalls of fast food lined up, spices being thrown in, oil splashed and the aroma is highly appetizing and inviting .

After living in a western country for long your body tends to change gets used to the food that you put in, so after years when we visit India the dilemma is always out there about should we eat street food. but that is the essence of traveling back home right ?  doing or reliving things you did with family and friends , even if it is just standing on a street side with shopping bags in one hand and a plate of yummy pav bhaji in other hand .

Pav bhaji is one of those street foods best enjoyed on the street standing in a crowded space watching the cook create the mouth watering delight. It is basically dinner rolls preferably not too soft with more texture that is accompanied with a mashed and  spiced version of veges like potatoes, peas, cauliflower,  well for the rest jus check the recipe.

What you need :

Dinner rolls : 1 pack
potatoes : 2 big ones 
tomatoes : 4 chopped
red onion: 2 big chopped
ginger garlic paste : 1 tablespoon
peas : 1/2 cup
cauliflower : 1/2 cup
bell peppers: 1 green chopped
lemon : 2 cub sized
cilantro : chopped fine
salt : to taste
oil : as needed
butter : optional
Pav bhajji masala : lots out there 
(sanjay kapoor and everest personal fav )
turmeric powder : 1 teaspoon

Boil the vegetables potatoes, peas, cauliflower , bell peppers till well cooked usually these are traditionally  cooked in a pressure cooker with one one whistle which works great. After the cooker has cooled down , open it and mash the veges up leaving some chunks in are totally fine.
Meanwhile cut the dinner rolls in halves and spread some butter or olive oil .
In a pan heat oil add the chopped onions sauté , then add ginger garlic paste to this cook for a  few mins till raw taste is gone, later 
add the chopped tomatoes cook on medium heat add salt , add the pav bhajji masala .
Add the mashed veges also if too thick add water if needed mix well .
Add salt as needed .
On a flat pan start toasting the rolls that have been buttered or oiled up till they are slightly brown .
Serve the rolls with the pav bhajji , garnish with cilantro and a cube of lemon , also can add chopped onions for added yuminess !
Last but not the least a small dallop of butter in the bhajji just takes it to the next level.

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!

Cinnamon rolls

  This year I decided to go on a baking mode with some new cookie recipes and some older tried and tested goodies, Filling up the house with...