Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vagharelu Bhaat (Gujju style fried rice)

Hola, everyone! I know it's been a long time since I posted. However, a new motivation to post regularly has struck me.

I was recently married into a Gujju family. My husband's family speak a different language - entirely Greek to me. His food and cuisine is also alien. As a new bride in the family, I am anxious to learn and adjust in the new family. Since my parents-in-law are planning to visit us in the near future, I've decided to take a stunt on Gujju cooking.

I have decided to play it safe and start my way bottom up. I googled Gujarati recipes and stumbled upon Cardamom's gujju dishes and also this site. I realized that Gujju food is more or less a variant of North Indian minus a few exceptions. Gujju dishes are distinct with a bittersweet flavour.

Vagharela bhaat seemed to be the best bet in terms of level of difficulty. Vagherla rice is nothing but Desi Style Fried Rice cooked with both salt and sugar. As much of a struggle it is to pronounce the word 'Vagherla', the cooking part was a piece of cake! It turned out tasty and that's all that matters, right? ;)

1. Oil
2. Mustard Seeds
3. Heeng
4. Onion, finely chopped
5. Tomato, finely chopped
6. Curry leaves
7. Sugar
8. Salt
9. Turmeric powder
10. Lemon juice
11. Coriander leaves, freshly cut
12. Red chili powder
13. Garlic, chopped
14. Green chili, finely chopped.
15. Cooked, cold white rice.

1. In a non stick pan, heat oil.
2. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Let it splutter
3. Add a pinch of heeng and throw in the onions, garlic, and green chili.
4. Fry until translucent
5. Add turmeric powder, salt, sugar, tomatoes, coriander leaves and rice.
6. mix well.
7. Cook for another few minutes then add lemon juice.

Serve warm with Raita.

I'm so excited about trying my hand over this new cuisine that I ordered my first cook book ever - Tarla Dalal's Complete Gujarati Cookbook! So, Keep reading :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Oven Roasted Potatoes

It's hard to go wrong with potatoes. Baked, roasted, mashed, or fried, skin on or without, potatoes are an all time winner. Having had a few recent fiascoes in the kitchen, I decided to play it safe. Potatoes it will be, I said to myself. And off I went with the baby red potatoes that I had sitting on the counter, waiting to be devoured.
The ubiquitous Oven Roasted Potatoes Drizzled with Olive oil and Sprinkled with Herbs recipe, I knew, was one formula that equaled Sure Shot Success.

Not only are Oven Roasted Potatoes easy to make; they are versatile enough to be served in many forms - a delicious side to any meat or pasta, a snack with Chai, finger food, or just by it's own to nibble away when there is nothing better to do :)

Loaded with zesty herbs and roasted to perfection, the delightful crispy golden outside and soft, spicy inside wreaked a havoc of flavor in the taste department and was fulfilling and satisfying to the appetite. Try it for yourself!

No preparation needed. Serves 2.


1. Baby red potatoes, washed
2. Salt
3. Red chili flakes
4. Freshly ground black pepper
5. Basil
7. Oregano
8. Olive oil

1. Cut potatoes into wedges and place on an aluminum sheet. Leave the skin on.
2. Drizzle olive oil on the potatoes.
3. Sprinkle basil, oregano, red chili flakes, salt, black pepper.
4. Toss to perfection.
5. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees in an oven.

Potatoes are ready to eat. Serve as a side or as finger food or another item at a BBQ party!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Beet soup

Isn't it easy to get bored in the mundane routine of life and also tired of the usual home cooked stuff? How often can you go out to try a new cuisine or do you ever have enough dishes on your cooking list to keep a variety indefinitely going?

I am constantly running out of ideas. Stretching out and experimenting with new things keeps me involved. Cooking something I have never before is fun and exciting. It keeps the kitchen as well as the appetite alive.

Last year, I discovered tarot root. This year, I found beet. Beet is one of those vegetables that has never been a part of our groceries. With it's deep blood red color, this vegetable intrigued me. I've been looking around for how I could play with this vegetable. I have found answers through people/blogs - juice, salad, and soup. Beets are loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C. The greens have a higher content of iron compared to spinach. They are also an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, sodium, and iron.

Having had no past experience with beet, I decided to play it safe. I was warned of the hard texture of this veggie and wasn't so sure how it would taste so I decided to boil the beets and puree them into a soup. I am a soup lover.

Adapted from here.

1. Chicken or Vegetable broth
2. 1 onion, chopped
3. 3 spoons olive oil
4. Salt
5. Pepper
6. Rice vinegar (substitute with rice wine)
7. 1 mashed potato to counter the bitterness of beet.
8. 2 beets, boiled and chopped
9. Few cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
10. 1 spoon brown sugar (I used jaggery)
11. Green onion for garnishing
12. Sour cream for garnishing
13. Freshly ground black pepper
14. 2 tablespoons tomato paste. This is not necessary but I threw it in just because I love tomatoes!

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet.
2. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until golden
3. Add the mashed potato, tomato paste, and beet.
4. Cook until tender.
5. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Keep stirring occasionally.
6. Add vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar.
7. Cover and cook on low heat for about 25 minutes. Allow the vegetables to soften.
8. Cool and set aside.
9. In a food processor, blend to a liquid.
10. Heat again
11. Garnish with sour cream and green onion.

Serve hot with garlic bread.

Verdict: Healthy, looks great, but we discovered that beet is not our favorite!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dhania ki Chutney (Coriander Condiment)

Got a dish but not savory enough? Too bored of the usual main course you have for dinner? Need a kick to a side dish that's inadvertently gone bland? Want to top up your most delectable specialty with a wow factor? Want to add flavor without adding on calories?

Look no more. Coriander Condiment will solve all your problems. Dhania ki chutney peps up any main course, can be used as an accompaniment to any side dish or starter, covers up any culinary disasters and more than makes up for the blandness of a rather boring or healthy meal, accentuates your mastery (dish) without adding on calories, and adds color to bring out the presentation of a meal to make it look more appealing. But beware - this condiment can easily overpower all other food items with it's strong and unique taste. Be prepared for the condiment to take over as the main, and the main course to be devoured as a side! Coriander chutney will definitely be the limelight, when around!

1. 2-3 bunches of fresh Coriander leaves, washed and thicker stems removed.
2. Lemon juice.
3. 1 fresh green chili.
4. 1/2 Onion.
5. Few pods of garlic.
6. Cumin powder.
7. Salt

1. Blend everything together.

Refrigerate and then serve cold with papadum, pakoda, samosa, chaat (street food), stuffed parantha (Indian bread), or use as a spread on bread. You will either love or hate this condiment. There are no in betweens :)

Happy Holi, everyone!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Post V-day Tantra: Punching up your love life

Although V-day has passed, love is in the air. A splash of color and a stroke of romance is all that is needed to recreate the aura of Valentine's day. As Spring unfolds it's beauty, punch up your love life with a refreshing and colorful drink. Re-live Valentines day with a bit of color and a ton of joy. Fruit punch, to me, with it's pinkish-red tinge is a reminiscence of the blossomed red roses of Valentines'. The dazzling notes of fresh fruit in the drink is a reminder of the freshness of new-found love and the fizz of the soda is the buzz of being in a beautiful relationship. Fruit punch with its delicious flavor, like no other, will drift you away to cupid land. Try this drink on a romantic night sans alcohol and enjoy the contentment of being loved and having someone in your life to love, just as I did. :)

Alternatively, try this drink on a bright sunny day with a bunch of friends at a BBQ party and be showered with compliments for your drink making capabilities.

Credits: This recipe was introduced to me by a common friend.

No preparation required. Serves 15.

1. 1 L lemonade
2. 1 can fruitopia
3. 300ml ginger-ale
4. Fresh strawberries, chopped.

Mix everything together and voila! You have an amazing drink ready to gulp down!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Avocado Shake

Avocado is something that was unknown to me for a long time. When I got to know about it, there was something that held me back from experimenting with this. Lately, this fruit has fascinated me - the texture, the color, the nutritious value, and of course the taste! One ripe avocado provides with approximately 50 calories. Avocado is rich in the antioxidants beta carotene, vitamins C and E, magnesium, potassium, and monounsaturated fat which can boost your immune system. An avocado when raw, can be rock solid and it is difficult to take the peel off. But when ripe, the peel comes off easier than that of an orange!
I absolutely love avocado in sushi. My favorite way of using avocado in my kitchen is in salads. I have also considered making guacamole which is in the Food fanatic pipeline of coming up recipes. Mr. Husband, on the other hand likes avocado shake!
To please Mr. Husband, I got ripe avocados that were as soft and creamy as butter!
Avocado shake is a refreshing, delicious drink that can steal hearts of many...Try it on your next guest!

Serves 2. No preparation required.

1. 1 ripe avocado, peeled and seed removed.
2. 2 cups of milk or as desired for consistency of the shake.
3. 2 tablespoons sugar or steiva for the calorie concious.

Blend all ingredients together and serve chilled.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dahl Serendipity

I had been craving protein rich food for the past little while. The best way I could do this seemed to be through Dahl or lentil soup. The other day when I looked in the fridge, there were not many vegetables but a ton of shredded carrot. Adventure today it will be, I said to my self! And off I went to make use of whatever I had and experiment or invent a new recipe.

What came out was Dahl serendipity. Mr. Husband and I both were happy with the results. Boring dahl was spiced up with minced green chili and sambhar masala (powdered spices). Fenugreek seeds added warmth to the flavor of the soup, while the pungency of mustard seeds gave the soup just the right kick. While the smoothness of lentils were crunched up with caramelized onion, the sweetness of the onion was countered with a dazzle of tangy lemon juice and tomato paste. The unmistakable aroma of fresh curry leaves unveiled its magic making its way up the senses; the goodness of turmeric powder, garlic, and fresh vegetable defined the comfort and satisfaction of devouring a wholesome, healthy meal.

Serves 4. No preparation required.

1. Toor (Arhar) Dahl, washed and soaked in water for 5 mins.
2. Curry leaves, fresh and green
3. Salt to taste
4. Musard seeds
5. Fenugreek seeds
6. Green chilli, shopped
7. Sliced onion
8. Tomato paste
9. Garlic, chopped
10. Oil, 2-3 tablespoons
11. Sambhar masala
12. Lemon juice.
13. Water.
14. Shredded carrot
15. Turmeric powder

1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker.
2. Add mustard and fenugreek seeds and allow it to splutter.
3. Add garlic, green chili, curry leaves, onion, and saute until golden brown.
4. Add turmeric powder and mix.
5. Add tomato paste and cook for another few minutes.
6. Add sambhar masala, salt, toor dahl, carrot, and water.
7. Cook and cover the lid of the pressure cooker. Let 5 whistles blow.
8. Remove from heat and allow the lid to open by itself.

Serve hot over a bed of white rice or as soup.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Desi style Fried Rice

Indian fried rice is a popular Indian dish. Often served with Tandoori chicken, it's a hit meal of all times.
Cooked with Basmati rice, Indian herbs and spices, and lots of vegetables, Desi style fried rice is indeed a mélange of rich colors, and features bold and blissful combinations.

Although I despise Fried rice for health reasons, the taste is compelling and hard to stay away from, even for me. Mr. Husband suggested I take time off from my healthy eating obsession this weekend.

So, here comes the tasty Desi style Fried rice that will tickle your taste buds and satiate your appetite.


1. 1 cup cooked Basmati rice.
2. 2 cups frozen vegetables.
3. Mustard seeds
4. Cumin seeds
5. Oil, 2 tablespoons
6. Coriander powder, 3 teaspoons
7. Salt to taste
8. Red chili powder
9. Bay leaf, 1
10. Red chili, dried 1.
11. Turmeric powder

1. Heat oil in a non stick pan
2. Add bay leaf, one dried red chili, and mustard seeds and allow it to crackle.
3. Add cumin seeds and allow it to brown.
4. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, and red chili powder.
5. Add cooked rice, salt and mix.
6. Add vegetables and cover. Cook for 15-20mins on low heat

Serve warm with raita, chutney, or by itself.

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