Thursday, April 28, 2011


1. 2 cups rice
2. Salt to taste. I added appx 2 tsp
3. 2 tsp ghee
4. 1/2 to 3/4 tsp red chili powder
5. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
6. 1 heaping tsp coriander powder
7. 1 tsp MDH biryani masala
8. 3/4 diced green bell pepper
9. 1 cup frozen vegetables
10. 1 tsp garam masala

1. Wash rice.
2. Add all ingredients above and cook in a rice cooker.

Voila. A one meal dish is ready!
Serve with a side of cucumber or yogurt. This is perfect comfort food. Exactly what I need when I am running a busy schedule or traveling! Like now, and the reason for my intermittent posts.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Garnishing with edibles

There must be a zillion ways out there to garnish food. And to each one, her own (style). We attempted to outline some garnishing tricks and techniques  in our previous posts. For example, we've considered using ingredients of a dish as it's own garnish.

But how about garnishing using edibles that are not a part of the ingredient list? What could these edibles be?  What are some things we should keep in mind while using these edibles as a garnish? Are there any caveats to using certain edibles as a garnish? Are there some edible that would work better for a certain kind of food and some that would not? We all probably know the answers to these questions in the back of our minds. But how often does it strike us 'in the moment'? :)
Welcome to Episode 2 of the Return of the Garnishing Event! Along with Raksha, today, we endeavour to document some original as well as tossed around ideas on garnishing with edibles.

1. Seeds: Seeds can be a great garnish especially for salads. Sprinkling Sunflower seeds, for example, over a bed of spinach salad could be a great addition in terms of both nutrition as well as visual appeal. Sesame seeds, on the other hand, can be used as a garnish for Indian snacks such as Dhoodhi Muthiya or Japanese Sushis. Image on left: Coutesy google search.
Caveat: Not very effective when the colour of the dish itself matches the colour of the seed. Use the Contrasting Charima style to make most of sesame seeds as a garnish. Also, consider the textue of your dish when using seeds as a garnish. Seeds will add a crunch to your dish.

2. Herbs: The ubiquitous freshly chopped coriander leaves go with almost any curry or rice dish. Basil leaves are a perfect garnish for italian and thai dishes. Oregano flakes are a beautiful garnish for roasted potatoes.
Caveat:  Some herbs can have a distinct and strong flavour to it. Use herbs such that it complements or enhances the taste of the dish. Practice the Balancing Act when working with herbs.
3. Citrus: Using lemon or lime as a garnish is a hit when it comes to drinks. Cut wheel of lemon and experiment with Simplicity sensation for an eye catching garnish. Alternatively, try chopping of a lemon wedge and strategically place it on the rim of a glass of gin. Lemon/Lime can be cut in many different permutations and combinations to give a new look each time. Check out this site for some ideas.
Caveat: Be careful on the composition of your dish. Citrus should never be used to garnish milk products.
4. Vegetables: Carved carrots, tomato roses, Fanned spring onions act as a great centerpiece for any dish. Brightly coloured bell peppers can be a spotlight when used as a garnish. Use the shiny and better quality ones to bring out the right effect. If the vegtable you are working with is a green cucumber or zuchini, consider strips, peels, or ribbons. You will be impressed.
Caveat: Cannot be used as a garnish for most desserts. Needs some skills and tools like a sharp knife for successful implementation.
5. Fruits: Strategically shaped fruits are a great accompaniant as well as garnish for ice creams and some cold desserts. Fruits can also be used to garnish drinks. After all what is wrong with splashing around some deep or contrasting colours that add ust the right panache? For example, consider piercing a lychee with a toohpick and lay it over the top of a glass full of martini. Picture on left Courtesy: Google
Caveat: Consider the serving temperature of your dish or drink when using fruits as a garnish. Fruits usually work better with chilled beverages or dishes.
6. Nuts: A winner when it comes to garnishing milk based desserts. Pistachios and milk mased desserts go great. Almonds work better with puddings such as Carrot pudding.
Caveat: Food allergies must be considered when using nuts as a garnish. Also consider blanching, roasting, or using unsalted nuts depending on your dish in question.
7. Milk/yogurt/cream: Dairy is a perfect garnish for most soups and lentil curries. It adds to the richness and creamy texture of the gravy.
Caveats: Cream can double on calories, adding yogurt to a dish can decrease the shelf life of the dish, and milk can lessen the original colour of the dish or dilute the spicy level of your dish.
8. Onions: Both onion rings and chopped green onions work wonders with most Indian vegetables and snacks.
Caveat:The quality of the onion itself. Some onions tend to be more spicy than others. When it comes to garnishing, red onions are a better bet compared to the yellow counterpart. Be careful to not overpower the taste of your main meal when using strongly flavoured onions as a garnish.

Can you think of any other edibles that can be used as a garnish? What are some caveats to these garnishes?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lauki/Dhoodhi/Ghiya Chana (Bottle Gourd with Lentils)

 Lauki-Chane ki sabzi is a classic dish that my mom would make for lunch as an accompaniment to Rice and Dal. I later discovered that this dish is typical of Gujarati cuisine, as well. 'Score', I said to myself. 'For once I see an overlap between the food I grew up eating and the Gujju cuisine that I have been learning. For once, I know a Gujju recipe without having to try'!

Bottle gourd with lentils is a nutritious and easy to make side dish. A bowl full of goodness.

Dhoodi Chana is a tangy curry with a slight nutty flavour  that comes from the lentils. This crunch nicely complements the mellowness and smooth texture of bottle gourd.

1. 1 medium bottle gourd, peeled and minced
2. 1 cup chana dal, soaked for 1/2 hour
3. Oil, 2-3 tsp
4. Tamarind pulp, 2-3 tsp
5. salt, to taste
6. 1 medium onion, chopped
7. 2 thai chili, minced (optional)
8.  Garam masala, 2 tsp (optional)
9. cumin seeds, 1 tsp

1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and then add cumin seeds.
2. When it starts to sizzle, add onion and green chili.
3. Saute until translucent.
4. Add Chana dal and bottle gourd and salt.
5. Mix well.
6. Add 1/4 cup water and pressure cooker until 1 whistle blows.
7. Allow the pressure cooker's lid to open.
8. Add tamarind pulp and garam masala.
9. Boil on high heat with an open lid to let any excess water evaporate.

Garnish with kasuri methi (optional).

Serve warm with phulkas/roti/indian bread.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mango Smoothie

Care for a smoothie decadent? Would like to indulge in a sugary extravaganza? Mango heaven, anyone? Ditch the diet and let loose. This Mango smoothie is well worth it.

1. Ripe mango, 1, pureed
2. Milk, 1.25 cup
3. Vanilla ice cream, 2 scoops
4. 2 tsp sugar.

Blend it together.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Curried Shrimp Quinoa

We've been introduced to Quinoa before, right?

I recently bought a big bag of shrimp and organic Quinoa and came up with this recipe.

1. 2 cups quinoa
2. 1 cup cooked, peeled, shrimp
3. 1 tsp coriander powder
4. 1 tsp cumin powder
5. 2 tsp lemon juice
6. Olive oil
7. 1 large onion, chopped
8. 2 pods of garlic, minced
9. 2 thai chili, minced
10. .5 tsp red chili powder
11. salt to taste
12. 1 tsp turmeric powder
13. frozen veg, 1 cup

1. In a bowl, add shrimp, red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and marinade for half an hour.
2. In a wok, add olive oil and onions, garlic, and green chili.
3. Saute until the onions caramelize.
3. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, salt, red chili powder to taste, lemon juice, frozen vegetables. Mix.
4. Add quinoa and water and boil.
5. Lower the heat and simmer until the tails of the quinoa appears.
6. Add the shrimp and cook for another few mins.
Note: You an leave this step if you want a vegetarian curry.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Shreekhand (Indian Mango Pudding)

1. 2 cups plain yogurt
2. 1 cup kesar (saffron) mango pulp
3. 4 tsp sugar
4. 3 tsp cardamom powder

1. Strain yogurt with a muslin cloth for a few hours until the water leaves the yogurt.
Tip: This can be done by hanging yogurt in a muslin cloth, tied to the faucet of your tap, in your sink.
2. Add mango pulp to this thickened yogurt.
3. Add sugar and cardamom powder.

Voila! A mouth watering dessert is ready to be devoured!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Indian Style Perogies

Perogy is a stuffed dumpling. The frozen variants are an easy to cook snack. This is an Indian style Perogy recipe: Perogies with caramelized onions in a melange of Indian spices and infused with a flavoured oil.

1. Mustard seeds, 1 tsp
2. Cumin seeds, 1 tsp
3. Heeng, a pinch
4. Turmeric powder, 1 tsp
5. Coriander powder, 1 tsp
6. Cumin powder, 1 tsp
7. Salt to taste
8. Onion, half, minced
9. Garlic, 2 pods, linched
10. 1 thai chili, minced.
11. Oil
12. 10 frozen cheese and potato perogies, blanched.

1. Heat a wok and add oil.
2. Crackle mustard seeds in this oil and then add cumin seeds.
3. When the cumin sizzle, add heeng and turmeric powder.
4. Add onion, chili, garlic and saute until the onions turn golden brown.
5. Add coriander powder and cumin powder and blanched perogies.
5. Cook on medium high heat for 5 mins, adD salt and mix flipping the perogies until they turn golden on each side.

Serve warm with a side of sour cream.
Perfect for Breakfast.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bhindi Fry (Okra)

Bhindi, also known as Lady's Finger or Okra, is an evergreen vegetable of, interestingly, African descent. It is one of those vegetables that seldom go disliked. Simple yet sensational, this side dish is a winner. Go Green!

1. Okra 1 pound, chopped
2. mustard seeds, 1 tsp
3. cumin seeds, 1 tsp
4. heeng, a pinch
5. Salt to taste
6. Red chili powder, 1.5 tsp
7. turmeric powder, 1 tsp
8. dried red chili
9. oil

1. Heat a wok and and oil.
2. Add mustard seeds and dried red chili.
3. When the mustard crackles, add cumin seeds.
4. When the cumin sizzles, add heeng and turmeric powder.
5. Add okra and mix well.
6. Cook until the okra turns slightly brown.
7. Add red chili powder and salt.
8. Mix well.

Serve with Aloo ki Kadi and Roti. Alternatively serve as a side with Dal and Rice.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Decorating Baked Goodies and Presentation Tips

As an amateur cook, I do not quite dread cooking. However,  I shake to bake and more so when I have to decorate the baked good. There is so much I can learn in the baked goods decoration arena. And today is a step towards this.

Some of you may have noticed the Return of the Garnishing Event a few posts ago on my blog. I've received a couple of entries but there is this one blogger for whom I hold special fondness. The fondness not only comes from her talent and personality but it comes from her style, ability to think outside the box and fearlessly experiment. Her presentation techniques for baked goodies never cease to amaze me. With no further ado, please let me re-introduce you to 'in-the-moment' Nazarina of Giddy Gastronome. Via digestive biscuits, Naz offers a couple of suggestions on how something so healthy can also be made to look rich and appealing.
Note: The tips below is a paraphrased edition of Naz's style with slight additions from my end.

Here are some economical yet head turning presentation techniques from the horse's mouth:
1. Be whimsical or edgy with garnishes. For example,
consider garnishing with a chocolate writing.
2. Use edible garnishes that complete the dish. For example, use cheese to garnish crackers.
3. Stock up on dollar store bought cookie cutters.These can be used to get shapes of edibles such as cheese that will be used as as a garnish.
4. Use toppers or plastic toys to decorate cakes or cookies. These can be found at craft stores like Micheal's.
5. Use a complementary tablecloth of wrapping paper as a base for the edibles. This will bring  the colour of your baked goodie to the foreground.

For more tips and techniques on garnishing, see here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Aloo Tikki/ Ragda Patties (Potato Cutlets) AND AWARDS

I am a class one fanatic of Aloo Tikkis. I can gobble up more than 15-20 at one time. Give it to me anytime of the day or night and you will be surprised  how clean a full plate will be returned back to you - cleaned to perfection.

After all, aloo tikki (also known as ragda patties) is one popular chaat (street food) originating from the North of India. Enjoy sheer bliss with each bite.

1. 4-5 boiled potatoes, peeled, mashed.
2. Salt to taste
3. Thai green chili, 1, minced.
4. Red chili powder, to taste (I added 1tsp).
5. Garam masala, 1 tsp.
6. Freshly chopped coriander leaves, 1 cup.

1. Mix everything together. Make round flat balls of this.
Note: If your potato balls are falling apart, add a few tbsp of corn flour to hold them together.
2. Shallow or pan fry the patty on one side.
3. When golden brown, flip and cook on the other side.
4. Serve warm.

Top/Garnish with Chickpeas, Tamarind Condiment, Coriander Condiment, chopped red onion, and Hot Chai!!


Thanks to Sneha of Inspirational Art of Cooking for a bunch of awards!

Namely: Stylish Blogger, Kreative Blogger, Cute little chef, and Yummy recipes awards.

I am overwhelmed by the appreciation and support that you have shown!

I cannot express my gratitude to you in words. It is positivity that keeps me going. Thanks, Sneha! :)

 I would like to pass on this award, as a token of gratefulness, to my readers who are following me both via Google Connect and Networked Blogs and have showed their support to me by becoming a fan of my blog page on Facebook. You people are amazing!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rajma (Red Kidney Beans Curry)

Rajma needs no introduction. It's a classic North Indian dish packed with protein and flavour, served in everyday meals. It tastes best with steamed white rice. As you can see, I like my rajma with more gravy as it I am not a fan of dry white rice.

This dish needs preparation unless you choose to use canned red kidney beans available at the stores. I prefer to soak my beans overnight rather than using canned or preserved food products.

1. 5 fists of red kidney beans, soaked overnight.
2. Salt to taste
3. Onion, 1
4. Garlic, 2 pods
5. Cumin seeds, 1 tsp
6.Thai green chili, 1
7. Rajma powder, MDH, 3-4 tsp
8. Tomato paste, 3-4 tsp
9. Oil
10. heeng, a pinch
11. turmeric powder, 1 tsp

1. Grate onion, garlic, chili.
2. Pressure cooker kidney beans and allow 4-5 whistles to blow.
3. Heat a wok and then add oil.
4. Add cumin seeds and let it sizzle.
5. Add a pinch of heeng and turmeric powder.
6. Add the grated paste and mix well. Cook until it slightly changes colour.
7. Add in rajma masala and tomato paste
8. Cook until it leaves the oil.
9. Add some water as per desired consistency.
10. Let it simmer for 10 mins.
11. Add in boiled kidney beans and mix well.
12. Simmer for another 10-15 mins.

Serve warm with steamed white Basmati Rice.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Home Style Kashmiri Dum Aloo (Creamy Potato Curry) AND AWARD!!

Dum Aloo is a classic and signature North Indian delicacy that was traditionally cooked in a sealed clay pot to avoid the moisture from escaping. In a modern world and in the everyday kitchen setting, this recipe is the closest contemporary counterpart. Dum Aloo is characterized by a rich and creamy gravy with potatoes that are boiled and then pan fried.

My mom would often make Dum Aloo at home during my childhood days.

I had a bunch of potatoes in my pantry that needed attention. I am bored of cooking and eating the usual suspects (read dishes) for lunch/dinner. So, after so many years, I decided to try my luck with a new recipe.

1. 2-3 potatoes, boiled, peeled, haved, forked, then pan fried.
2. 1 onion grated
3. 1 pod garlic
4. cashewnuts, a handful
5. Dry roasted cloves, peppercorn, poppy seeds, and cinnamon
6. yogurt, 1 cup, whisked
7. 1 tsp cumin seeds
8. 1 bay leaf
9. 1 pinch of heeng
10. tomato paste, 3-4 tsp
11. 1 tsp Cumin powder
12. 1 tsp Coriander powder
13. 1 tsp red chili powder
14. 1 tsp turmeric powder
15. 1 tsp ghee or clarified butter
16. mace, a small piece
17. nutmeg, a pinch
18 Salt to taste

1. Grate roasted cloves,onions, garlic, cinnamon, poppy seeds, black peppercorn, mace, nutmeg, cashews.
2. Heat a wok.
3. Add ghee and cumin seeds and let it sizzle.
4. Add a bay leaf to this and heeng.
5. Add grated ingredients.
6. Add ingredients 10-14 and salt. Cook till it leaves the ghee. If you like a kick, add some garam masala. I did.
7. Add water and yogurt and let it simmer for 10 mins or so.
8. Add pan fried boiled potatoes and cook for another 5 mins or so.

Serve Warm with roti or parantha.

Verdict: Did not regret it.
Food Palette Pink!
Disclaimer: Weight watchers, beware!

Priya, from Now Serving, has kindly bestowed me an award. Thanks,Priya! This means a lot to me and I am grateful! It's so much fun blogging with you guys. This blog world is a better place to be in because of positive energy bloggers like you disseminate. I love visiting all your blogs. You all are a great bunch!

Since the award needs to be passed on to a specific person, this time around I would like to pass on this award to Prathibha of Chef and Her Kitchen. Pratibha is one talented blogger and I feel that her blog kicks some ass. Congrats, Prathu!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bharva Baigan Take 3 (Bharelu Ringan nu Shak/ Stuffed eggplant)

Stuffed Eggplant is my favourite. I enjoy experimenting with different fillings. The first time I cooked it my mom's way.  The second time around, I made it my aunt's way. This time I decided to make it the South Indian way.

I had devoured the South Indian way at my husband's friends' house and I had asked them for the recipe. Although, they never gave me the recipe, I was able to find my way and was very happy with the results. I am slowing falling all the more for South Indian cuisine!

1. 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
2. 4-6 laung
3. 2 tsp cumin seeds
4. .5 tsp heeng
5. 4 dried red chili or to taste
6. 5 tsp chana dal
7. 5 tsp urad dal
8. salt to taste
9. turmeric powder, 2 tsp
10. coriander powder, 5-8 tsp
11. amchoor powder, 2 tsp
12. oil
13. indian small round eggplants, 10
14. potatoes (optional), peeled and cubed.

1. dry roast ingredients 1-7. you can leave out the heeng at this time if you wish.
2. Grind dry roasted ingredients with heeng and ingredients 8-11.
3. make 2 slits at the base of the eggplants, perpendicular to each other.
4. Mix the ground ingredients with oil and mix well.
5. stuff the slits with this masala.
6. Heat oil in a wok.
7. add cumin seeds and let it sizzle.
8. add potatoes and the remaining masala (if any) and cook till al dente
9. add in the stuff eggplant with a little bit of water.
10. simmer on low heat flipping the eggplants so that it cooks evenly on each side.

serve warm as a side with roti and dal or with rice and dal.

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