Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sneak Preview

It's been a week since we returned from Mumbai. Apart from all the fun we had at the wedding, it was good to relax and enjoy mom's cooking once again. Here's some of what we enjoyed,- a sneak preview of the recipes to come next month. Which recipe would you like to see first?

Idiappam- Sweet version

Idiappam- Savoury version

Idiappam-Healthy version

Fish curry cooked in a mud pot

Veg pulao with onion riata

Beef roast

Beef cutlets

Friday, January 29, 2010

Makai Ki Roti/Corn Flatbread

Makai ki roti (makai meaning corn) is a classic dish of Awadhi Cuisine. Awadhi cuisine is from the city of Lucknow. The cooking patterns of this city is similar to those of Central Asia and Middle East and has been greatly influenced by Mughal cooking techniques.
I've been wanting to try makai ki roti since some time. It took me 3 trials to get it right. If the mooli(white horseradish) is large and juicy you dont even need to add any water to knead. Its a bit tricky to roll these, since they can easily fall apart.
The texture is different from a regular roti or paratha. It turns out crisp; rather than soft and fluffy. The mooli which is practically invisible, gives it a sharp taste. It is usually served with Sarson ka Saag - a dish made out of mustard leaves.
For health benefits of mooli click here.


1cup maize flour
1/3cup wheat flour
1white horseradish/mooli
1/2tsp ground cummin
1/2tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
Water only if required

  • Knead all the ingredients into a dough.

  • Leave for 30 minutes.
  • Roll into rotis between 2 plastics using oil if required.
  • Fry on a hot girdle on both sides till crisp.
  • Serve hot with Sarson ka Saag.
Sending this for 5-Star Makeover- Cornbread.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bird's Nest

Lindsay from The Chickenless Kitchen threw us a Renaissance Cook Challenge, where we are supposed to cook a dish inspired by our hobby. Though I just returned from a family wedding, I made this dish in a hurry to meet the deadline. I loved the idea and am eager to participate.

Ornithology -the study of birds or Bird watching(no pun intended) in a lay man's terms has been an interest right from my school days. Later I met a few environmentalist friends through whom I was introduced to the finer aspects of bird watching. The Book Of Indian Birds- by Dr Salim Ali has been my guide ever since. My mom's place is located close to a National Park. This gave me the privilege of watching a lot of species from the luxury of our living room, even without a pair of binoculars. Some of the species I have enjoyed watching from home were - Oriental Magpie Robin, Drongo, White-throated Kingfisher, Golden Oriole, Greater Coucal/Crow Pheasant, Egret, Coppersmith Barbet and varieties of Sunbird to name a few. (click on the links for picture).
Sadly urban development has brought about a drastic reduction in the numbers of birds. When I was there last week, I only saw a magpie robin and heard the call of a kingfisher and a coppersmith barbet, other than that I spotted none.

Bird-watching for kids- Bird watching is a great way to teach kids to respect nature and in turn protect nature. Children learn very quickly, my 4 year old can already recognise a few species.
For more fantastic pictures on Indian Birds- Indian Myna [मैना], Forest Warbler, Peacocks and Long-tailed Shrike.

Bird's Nest
Bird's Nest is probably one of the first recipes that I learnt to prepare. I used to go to summer camps in school and this was a favourite for cooking competitions. Kid's love the concept. (Since I was in a mighty hurry to prepare this dish one of my eggs almost threatened to hatch as I fried them!)

For the shell-
4 large potatoes
salt to taste
bread crumbs

For the filling-
3 button mushrooms
1/4 cup green peas
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper

To decorate-
Roasted vermicilli

  • Boil the potatoes and peel when cool enough to handle. Mash add salt and keep aside.
  • Chop the onion, garlic and mushroom.
  • Heat oil and saute the onion and garlic. Add mushroom and peas, cover and cook.
  • When done take of the heat and add salt and pepper.
  • Make egg sized balls of the mashed potatoes and stuff with the filling mixture.
  • Roll in bread crumbs and fry.
  • Roast the vermicilli till brown and cook in water. Use to decorate.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tofu Jalfrezi

I'm off to a "big fat Indian wedding". We have already missed some of the pre-nutial ceremonies and all the fun attached to it, since Joel couldn't miss too much of school. But we are looking foward to having a blast at the wedding and family time. See you after a week, till then...

Jalfrezi is a spicy Indian preparation dating back to the times of the British Raj. Having tried Paneer Jalfrezi I thought of trying it out with tofu. Have to say it tasted even better! So here's an Spicy Indian twist to tofu.

1 big onion
1one inch ginger pieces
1green chilli
1 big capsicum/bell pepper
200 gms tofu
1tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chill powder
1tsp tumeric powder
1tsp garam masala powder
salt to taste
2 tbs oil
To garnish
freshly chopped coriander
  • Peel onion and cut into thin slices, separate the layers.
  • Peel ginger and cut into juliennes.
  • Wash green chilli and chop.
  • Cut tomatoes and capsicum into long slices.
  • Cut tofu into finger sized pieces.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, when they splutter add ginger, green chilli and sliced onions. Saute.
  • Add red chilli and tumeric powder. Stir well and mix capsicum pieces and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add tomato, garam masala, salt and cook.
  • Add tofu pieces and toss.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped coriander.
  • Serve hot with rotis.
You might also like Tofu Crumble

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Spinach Burger and the Swallowtail

In my post Mushroom Stew and New Beginings I had mentioned that we had found a pupa on my curry leaves plant.

When we returned from church yesterday here's what we found.....
an empty shell.....

......and the most gorgeous Common Mormon Swallowtail in the nesting box. (Note the corners of the wings had not yet stretched out.)

We were held spell-bound as we watched this beauty stretch out and get its footing.

Amazing how a butterfly naturally takes to a flower!

The more we watched it Joel couldn't bear the thought of parting with it. I finally convinced him that a butterfly was meant to fly free. I remember an old adage-"If you love someone, set him free....."
All stretched out and ready for take off.....

Spinach Burgers
I have been working out many options for my son who is a picky eater. Recently he was fixated on cheese sandwhiches for his snack box. When I asked him if he would take a cutlet, he said "Put a cutlet and a cheese slice and bread on the top" I was happy to hear that! The next time I plan to add some coleslaw to it. Let's see how it goes.

2tbs spinach puree
3 potatoes
1large onion
5 flakes of garlic
1tsp ginger paste
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs
1/2cup chopped fresh mint
1/2tsp garam masala
1/2tsp chilli powder
freshly ground pepper
salt to taste
  • Boil potatoes, when cool to handle peel and mash.
  • Mince onion and garlic and saute.
  • Combine all the ingredients well.
  • Roll into burger sized patties, flatten, and roll in bread crumbs.
  • Fry till crisp
  • Slice a wholemeal burger bun in the middle, place a spinach cutlet, top with cheese slice.
  • Cover with the top of the bun
  • Serve hot.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sago Kheer- Simple and Enriched

Sago starch is extracted from the pith of sago palm stems. It is produced commercially in the form of pearls which are interchangebly used for tapioca pearls in recipes. However tapioca pearls are starch extracted from tapioca or cassava root. Thus the origins of both are entirely different though similar in starch content.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Butter Bell Crock

The Foodie Blog Roll Contests: Winner!

I finally received my Butter Bell Crock. I had participated in the Foodie Blogroll Contest last month that gave away a Butter Bell Crock. It was one of the few give aways that had no geographical restrictions. I was delighted when I received a mail with the announcement that I had won!! Hurrah!

I finally received the giveaway a couple of days ago. A nice blue shade, I am excited and looking foward to using it. A big thank you to foodie blogroll and hoping there will be more sponsor contests and giveaways with no geographical restrictions.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gooseberry Jam

The Indian Gooseberry or Amla is a fruit that is widely used in Ayurvedic medicines. It is known to be a powerful antioxidant and very effective in boosting immunity. It restores and rejuvenates the vitality of the body. Gooseberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C can contains calcium, phosphorous, iron, carotene, and Vitamin B complex. It also increases red blood cell production and strengthens teeth and nails. It flushes out the toxins and even nourishes the brain and mental functioning.

Health Benefits of Gooseberry
Gooseberries are found to be beneficial in:
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Eye Care
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Infection
  • Diarrhea and dysentery
  • Gastric syndrome
  • Anemia
  • Urinary problems
  • Hair loss
  • Improving apetite
  • Ant-aging
Eating Gooseberries

Raw-Gooseberries are best eaten raw to get the best of its benefits. Hubby and I love to eat it raw or with a bit of salt.
Juice- Many Ayurved and health centres in India offer gooseberry juice as a health drink. It is also available in bottled form.
Pickles- Gooseberry pickles are another favourite in my family.
Murabba- is a sweet fruit preserve. Gooseberry is also prepared as murabba and stored when the fruit is available in plenty.

Gooseberry for kids-
Having known the benefits of this fruit, how it boosts the immunity and apetite; I was very keen to introduce it to my kids. I would be fooling myself to attempt any of the above, so I decided to try making gooseberry jam. I am happy to tell you that my little girl loved it, she loves any jam on toast! I have to still work on my son, hope to get there soon.

1dozen gooseberries
1 inch long ginger
1/2 tsp citric acid
1 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
Powdered cashew and almonds
  • Top and tail gooseberries, deseed and chop.
  • Peel and grate ginger. Juice the lemon.
  • Run the chopped gooseberry in a processer to get a finer texture. Add a little water if necessary.
  • Add sugar, water, grated ginger and citric acid. Cook the mixture, stirring all the time.
  • When the jam is done, take off the heat, and add the powdered dry fruits.
  • Cool and preserve in sterlised bottles.
  • Serve on toast or as a sandwhich. Can also be included as part of the school tiffin.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lemon-Barley Squash

Barley is a cereal grain derived from annual grass. Intake of barley helps to maintain overall health in the long term. All forms of barley are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals amino acids and fibre. It is one of the richest sources of both soluble and insoluble fibre. It is also rich in antioxidants, thus lessen the risk of contracting heart disease and cholestrol problems.

Squash drink (also commonly known as cordial in Australia) is a sweetened or unsweetened fruit-based concentrate which is mixed mostly with water before drinking.
Lemon-Barley Squash is one of the earliest recipes in my files passed on to me by a childhood friend (I have tweaked it with the cardamoms). I have been preparing this squash regularly over the years when lemons are relatively cheap. It is not only refreshing, but a healthy drink for kids and adults alike.

Do you prepare squash?


4tbs heaped pearl barley
6 cups of water
5 lemons
1/4 kg sugar
1/2tsp citric acid
2 cardamoms

  • Soak pearl barley in hot water for an hour.
  • Add water and pressure cook till soft.
  • While the barley cooks, extract the juice from lemons. Peel and crush the cardamom seeds in a pestle.
  • Once the barley is cooked drain the water and reserve.
  • When the barley is cool, pulp it in a mixer.
  • Add the reserve and mix well.
  • Strain through a sieve.
  • Add the lemon juice, sugar, citric acid and cardamom powder to the barley.
  • Bring this mixture to a boil.
  • Cool and store in a sterilized bottle.
  • To serve add chilled water and dilute according to taste. No sugar is required to be added.
  • Enjoy!
You might also like-
Pineapple-Barley Squash
Homemade Jelly


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