Friday, May 28, 2010

Easy Bread Pockets

You have unexpected visitors at home and you are hard pressed for time. You still want to impress them with some homemade snack..Hmm..does this describe you? At least I am like that to a certain extent..if not more..

Now this dish is very easy and quick to make and is for the circumstance mentioned above :) It is also a good accompaniment with tea or coffee. This recipe was passed onto me by a dear friend of mine who got it from her mom. Thanks R!


  • 4 slices of bread

  • Boiled Potatoes - 2

  • Salt to taste

  • Garam Masala (1/2 tsp)

  • Kashmiri Chilli Powder (1/2 tsp)

  • Little Water

  • Oil for Frying

  • Method:

  • Heat oil in a wok.

  • Make a mixture of boiled potatoes, salt, Garam Masala and Chilli Powder.

  • Cut the sides off the bread and then sprinkle both the sides with water.

  • After the water is saoked squeeze the bread in between your palm till the water is drained.

  • Keep about a tbsp of the potato mixture on the bread and join the edges of the bread to make it look like a pocket. You can press it down a bit once fully closed.

  • Deep fry the bread pockets in hot oil till they turn golden brown.

  • Serve hot with Tomato Ketchup. Enjoy!!!
  • Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Little Lamb - DIY craft for children

    While my son was going through one of his magazines he happened to come across this do-it-yourself craft. Since he is at that age when he can niether say he is truly indepedent nor dependant he wanted me to "help" him make it.

    I wanted to use this blog to showcase this craft. So here goes this simple marvel that we came up with just the following things:

    Some cotton, two pepper corns, some fevicol and four match sticks. Lots of Imagination and Voila!!

    Khatti Bhaji Ki Chutney

    Its been a long time since I posted. I am not getting any time from my routine work and weekends have just flown by without me posting anything. But that does not mean I have not been baking and cooking.

    I had baked an apple cake recently that we took along for a family friends birthday. Everyone out there gave it a thumbs up. So yes, I will be blogging about that soon. I have some other recipes too lined up!

    Okay to start with I want to blog about this nice and tangy chutney that made today. It is so easy to make and amazingly delicious. Goes well with both Rice and Rotis.

    Actually this bhaji called Khatti bhaji in North. In hindi "khatti" means sour and this leafy veggie is naturally very sour and tangy. This veggie was a favorite of my grand mother-in-law so I was told.

    Also called "gongura" down south and they use it in chutneys, dals and even pickles made out of these leaves are quite famous. This recipe was passed onto me by a generous colleague of mine who had the patience of answering all my questions.

    Here goes:


    • Gongura leaves (a small bunch)

    • 2 tbsp of roasted peanuts

    • 2 Green Chillies

    • 4 cloved of garlic

    • salt to taste


  • Grind the roast peanuts into a fine powder.

  • Boil the leaves along with Green Chillies in little water till the leaves are light green and are cooked.

  • Grind the leaves along with any little water left and the chillies into a fine paste along with garlic and salt.

  • Add the peanut powder and give one final stir.

  • Temper the chutney with chopped onions.

  • Your chutney is ready. Enjoy!!!

  • P.S: If you do not want to temper then you may add some hot ghee (optional) on top of this chutney and then top it with freshly chopped onions (mandatory :)).

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Homemade Garam Masala Powder - Indian Spice Mix

    Garam Masala(GM) is one of the basic spice mix that is found in any Indian Kitchen and it is like a Man Friday when it comes to Indian cooking.

    Any dish that needs to be spiced up, a pinch of this spice mix always does the trick. Though I do love GM I do not quite like the ones that are store bought due to their strong smell since my DH does not quite like it.

    One evening I set out to make my own Garam Masala and in my quest came across various recipes online for home made GM. But I used my own permutation and combination and the recipe given below speaks for itself. This is what I would call the North Indian version of the GM and it is quite subtle and a pinch of it can enhance the flavor of any dish that you make.

    I use my freezer compartment of the fridge to keep all such homemade spices as it increases their shelf life. Try this and you will be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to make and once done you will thank yourself!!


  • 1/2cup Cumin Seed
  • 2 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • 4 sticks Cinnamon
  • 10-12 bruised green Cardamom pods
  • 4-5 bruised black Cardamom pods
  • 10 Cloves
  • 1/2 broken Nutmeg
  • 3-4 blades of Mace
  • 1 tbsp black Pepper corns
  • 4 whole Star anise
  • 5 Bay Leaf
  • 1-2 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1-2 tsp of ground Ginger Powder

    1. Dry Roast all ingredients in a Kadhai over a very low flame, sauteing from time to time.
    2. You will know that they are almost done when they turn slightly brownish and give off the wonderful spicy aroma.
    3. You may also divide the ingredients into two batches since some like Coriander and Cumin take less time when compared to Cardamom and Cinnamon.
    4. Once they are well roasted switch off the flame and allow the spice mix to cool.
    5. Now finely grind the above spices.
    6. Store it in an airtight container and use as and when necessary. A pinch should do the trick. Enjoy!!

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Baked bread pudding with Caramel

    Bread pudding is one of the simplest recipes that can be prepared using leftover in the kitchen. I love baking this on a lazy sunday morning and enjoy it hot or cold.

    My MIL loves this pudding and the best part is it does not take a long time to make. This time around I gave it a little twist with some carmelized sauce and it turned out pretty neat.

    Here goes the list of ingredients:
    • 2 cups of shredded stale bread
    • 2 cups of hot milk
    • 3/4 cup Sugar
    • 1 tbsp Ghee or clarified butter
    • 1/4 tsp of Salt
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tsp Vanilla
    • 1 tsp of Cinnamon powder
    • 1/4 tsp of Nutmeg powder
    • 1/4 tsp of Clove powder
    • 4 tbsp of sugar (for the carmel sauce)
    • A few drops of water (for the caramel sauce)
    • 2 drops of lemon juice (for caramel sauce)


    1. Preheat the oven to a 175 deg c. Lightly grease a cake tin with butter or oil.
    2. Ensure that you stuff 2 cups with shredded bread pieces. Now empty this into the container that has the hot milk. combine gently.
    3. Add the sugar, Ghee, salt, eggs, vanilla and the three different powders. Mix gently.
    4. Set this mixture aside.
    5. Now take a wok and put it on simmer.
    6. Add the Sugar and keep stirring till the sugar starts melting and them add a few drops of water.
    7. Continue to stir till the mixture turns light brown. Add the lemon juice. This is done primarly to avoid the sugar from crystallization.
    8. As you continue to stir you see the mixture turn golden brown. Switch off the gas and immediately pour this mixture into the cake tin.
    9. Now pour the bread mixture on top of this and pop it into the oven.
    10. You will need to keep the cake tin in a water bath to avoid the pudding from getting burnt.
    11. You can do this by filling a tray with water and keeping the cake tin in the tray.
    12. Bake this mixture for about an hour. Allow it to rest in the oven after baking it and then let it cool completely before serving.
    13. You may keep it in the fridge and serve it the next day instead. Enjoy!!

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    Eggless Cake - Pure Vegetarian Cake

    Neccesity is the mother of invention.

    Why am I talking philosophy on this blog you may say. Actually last week my son happened to come down with Chicken pox.

    In India it is believed that a very light diet helps in reducing the effect of Chicken pox and helps in healing of the scars faster. Though the doctor believes that this is a myth and we need to follow a normal diet, I strongly believe there is some truth to this theory that our forefathers have imbibed in us.

    It was this belief that made me abstain my son from any sort of non-vegetarian food including eggs. Now comes the reason as to why I started with that statements. One of those days when he got so bored of the bland food that he wanted me to bake a cake. I am a firm believer that a good cake can only be baked with eggs and this got me in a dilemma. After searching for a while I nailed down a recipe that had no eggs and is totally vegetarian. This was handed over to me by my SIL.

    The base ingredient to this cake is milk and milk products and can be baked in a microwave or an OTG. My sis-in-law who gave me the original recipe(which I changed to my fancy:)) uses a cooker to bake this cake.

    I thought of all the people who keep telling me that they can not bake because of the limitation of not having a microwave or an oven I thought this is a boon. My recipes are all tried and tested as you see and this one too had to be in a cooker if I had to tell my friends that they could bake too in a primitive oven (Read Cooker) of sorts.

    To my surprise this cake did come out pretty good though I must say it is a little milky since the base ingredient is milk and milk products.


  • 3/4 cup condensed Milk
  • 3/4 cup Milk Powder or Dairy Whitener
  • 2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • 1/2 cup Yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence


    1. Keep a steel stand inside a cooker. This is to hold the cake tin so that it does not rest at the bottom of the cooker. Now let it simmer without the whistle.

    2. Mix all the wet ingredients first in a seperate bowl using a whisker.

    3. Mix all the dry ingredients seperately in a bowl.

    4. Add the dry mixture slowly into the wet incorporating it slowly into the wet mixture until all the ingredients are well combined.

    5. Now take a cake tin and grease it with little oil and sprinkle some flour on it.

    6. Pour the cake mixture into this tin and slowly lower the cake tin into the cooker and leave it to simmer for the next one hour.

    7. After about an hour check the doneness of the cake with a fork or a tooth pick.

    8. Your eggless cake is ready to be served. Enjoy!!


    You can use the oven to bake this cake too. Preheat it to 170 deg c and then pop this mixture for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes and the cake will be ready.

    Instead of 2 cups of flour you can use 1 1/2 cup of whole wheat Flour and 1/2 cup of cocoa powder to make a chocolate cake instead of the plain vanilla.

    The original recipe called for 1 cup oil instead of 1/2 cup of cream and 1/2 cup of Yoghurt. You can try that version too. Use vegetable oil such as Sunflower oil in that case.

    Friday, February 26, 2010


    Pavlova the name itself is as mystic as the delicacy this is.

    I happened to come across this recipe by chance. Never had heard of it before though I knew what a Meringue is. Once I discovered the beauty of this recipe I have been mesmerized till date. I made this first on my Mom's Birthday and was quite nervous. Cos if you have never had something in your entire life it is kind of difficult to judge your outcome. Rather you do not have any benchmark. But coaxed primarily by my sweet MIL I presented it to my mom and everyone gathered. To my surprise it turned out to be quite a crowd pleaser. Voila!! One more addition to my ever growing list of "I can make this cake/pastry!!" :)

    The recipe is simple and ingredients minimal. As you beat the ingredients the color of the egg whites which forms the base ingredient comes out in a very ethereal manner so light as if it is floating in air. This was the highlight of me making this dish. The light airiness of the egg whites!! The name Pavlova is after a Russian Ballet dancer called Anna Pavlova. As I was making it I realised why it so represents her!! A picture they say speaks a thousand words, here is a photograph of her in her very famous "Dying Swan" I could relate the ethereal feel of the dessert with her completely.You may find it interesting to read about Anna Pavlova here.

    There are two types of Pavlova that I have tried. One with chocolate (yes how can I deny chocolate in any of my cakes) and one without which is the classic Pavlova or Pav it is called fondly.

    I used the following two links to come up with two different versions of Pav.
    The Pav in the photograph is a Chocolate Pavlova and for this I have used Chikku, Banana and grapes as topping.

    I had made a classic version without Chocolate and for that I used grapes, strawberry preserve and topped it with some buttesctoch sauce. Totaly awesome!! That is the best part any pulpy fruit that you feel will taste well as per your shoice can be used liberally as a topping. I am waiting for the mango season to start :) so I can use that as a topping!!
    You are going to get lot of wows!! if you do make it in any party that I can assure you. Enjoy!!

    Saturday, January 30, 2010

    Date and Almond Laddu - Moroccon Dessert

    This is a sweet that I had made way back during Diwali. It is very easy to make plus lots healthier than the other sweets normally associated with Diwali since this does not include any ghee and needs no sugar to be added. The Dates give the natural sweetness to this dessert. If you find it a little subtle on the sweetness quotient you may add some sugar like how I did. Else you can avoid it totally.
    I give this recipe two thumbsup for anyone who has just started cooking and wants to show thier little culinary expertise to friends and family!!

    The original recipe can be found at Alia's site for Moroccon cuisine. According to Alia, dates are prominently used to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan and this sweet is widely used during this season.

    I have made the sweet with some changes. So here goes.


  • 2 cups of De-seeded Dates (Used the Lion Brand)

  • 2 cups Roasted Almonds

  • Dessicated Coconut (I used the Maggi Brand)

  • 2 tablespoons of honey

  • 2 tbsp of castor sugar

  • 1 tablespoon of Rose water

  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder

  • Method:

  • In a double boiler steam the dates for 20 minutes.

  • Now take the dates and the almonds in a mixie and make a paste out of the same.

  • When done, add honey, cinnamon, castor sugar and rose water and mix into a dough.

  • Make laddus from the paste and then roll them into the dessicated coconut. Enjoy!!

  • Homemade Paneer

    I often am questioned by my friends at work on how to make Paneer or the cottage cheese at home. It is so easy to make and is much better than the store bought variety. Since this is the base ingredients for most of the north indian cuisine I find it important enough to be included in my list of recipes.

    It is very easy to make Paneer. All you need is available in the Indian Pantry.

    First of all take about a litre of fresh cow's milk and bring it to boil. Once it is boiled then reduce the heat to a simmer, add a pinch of salt and juice of 1/2 a lemon right at the middle of the vessel. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes and then check if the milk is curdled. If it hasen't you may add some more juice of lemon.

    Once the milk has curdled switch off the gas and keep stirring the mixture. You can now see that the water and the fat content in the milk have seperated.

    Strain this mixture through a muslin cloth and what remains in the muslin is the Paneer. Leave it for a few minutes till all the water has drained and then use it in any dish of your choice.

    Now the water that is left behind is the "Whey" and is very nutritious in nature. You can reserve it for kneading your Chapati dough for soft Chapatis.


    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Tava Vegetables

    I am posting this on behalf of my better half whose culinary expertise is quite famous among all his friends. This vegetarians dish that he churns out for them is always the talk of every party or get together that we have ever had.

    So here goes his own words.. The famous Tava Vegetables..

    I have made this recipe over a period of time and did lot of experiment on the way and finally its here. Finding it difficult to name, because reaction to food resides as much in our heads as in our mouths, if we believe a food is going to be delicious, we're more likely to enjoy eating it. That's why simply making the name of a food more descriptive or tantalizing can lead us to believe it is tastier and it happens. But believe me whatever name I choose for the “crispy”, “spicy”, “luscious”, “tangy”, “Bitter”, “Piquant”, just ambrosial, it’s the tastiest of all to fulfill all your gustatory organs and ya the “tender”, “slimy”( bit ;-) ) texture is absolutely crucial in any gustatory experience

    So here it goes:

  • Red Bell Pepper (Big size) – 1 – Cut lengthwise

  • Green Bell Pepper (Big size) – 1 – Cut lengthwise

  • Yellow Bell Pepper (Big size) – 1 – Cut lengthwise

  • Brinjal (small) – 5 – cut into roundels

  • Baby Potato - 250 gms – peeled

  • Cherry Tomato – 250gms – whole, poked with fork

  • Beans - 100gms – cut into 3" lengthwise

  • Ladies fingure(Okra) – 200gms - cut into 3" lengthwise

  • Baby corn – 6-7 Pcs - cut into 3" lengthwise

  • Bitter Gourd – 4 Pcs – Boil in salt water and cut into 2 pcs

  • Sambar Onion - 200gms – peeled

  • Green chillies – 3-4 big size

  • Oil - 4 tbsp

  • Salt - to taste

  • Method 1:

    Fry all the above vegetable in oil in a wok one by one and keep it aside


    Method 2:

    Spray oil and add salt in all vegetable and bake in an oven on medium to high till the veggies turn crispy brown. You may need to toss them a couple of times in between.

    For the Masala:

  • Onions – 3 medium size – finely chopped

  • Ginger – 1 inch – ground

  • Garlic – 10 pcs - ground

  • Cumin seed – 2 tsp

  • Pav bhajji masala – 4 tbsp

  • Tava Veg Fry Masala (MDH) - 2 tsp

  • Garam masala – ½ tsp

  • Butter - 2tbsp (Optional)

  • Method:
  • Put oil in a wok and add cumin seeds once they sputter add the chopped onions and ginger garlic paste and fry till light brown.

  • Now ensure the flame is on a simmer and add all (except the green chillies) the fried or baked veggies, mix it carefully ensuring that the veggies are intact and are not mushy.

  • Add salt, pav bhaji masala and incorporate into the veggies carefully

  • Add tava veg fry masala, garam masala, butter, and put it in on slow flame for 20-25 mins stirring once in a while.

  • Garnish with corriander and fried green chillies.

  • Tasty Tips:

    If you fry the veggies in the masala on a slow flame carefully for a long time the masala will get incorporated well into the veggies making it more tastier.