Friday, November 30, 2012

Khichdi (Rice with Split Green Gram)

After feeding ourselves with left overs from Thanksgiving weekend, a simple Khichdi dinner was a very comforting meal. To add to it, the bone chilling cold weather in our state made the dish very inviting.
This dish is popular in every Indian state in their own traditional way. Some add vegetables, seafood & different variety of spices. I like this version since it's quick, easy & flavorful.


1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1/2 cup split moong dal (split green gram)
1/2 tsp sasam (black mustard seeds)
1/4 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
2 green chillies, slit in half
4-5 curry leaves
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
1/2 tsp black pepper corns
1 tsp oil
1 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
salt to taste

How it's made:

Wash, soak rice & dal together for about 15 mins. In a heavy bottom pan (I used pressure cooker pan), heat oil & ghee togteher. Add mustard & jeera. Once it splutters, add green chilli, curry leaves, pepper corns & hing. Fry for a minute. Add 2 1/2 cups water. Boil. Add washed rice, dal & salt to taste.  Stir well. Pressure cook to 3 whistles or 10 mins on medium high flame.

Serve hot with papad or pickle.

Serves: 4

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

With two gatherings this past weekend & two roast chicken, I had quite a bit of left overs in my refrigerator. The bland pieces of meat had to be flavored to finish up the remaining and this was the simplest way.


2 carrots, peeled
4 white mushrooms
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium green squash
5 spring onions (white only)
1 medium jalapeno
3 cups cooked shredded chicken
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
salt to taste
2 tsp Olive oil
cheddar/ mozarella cheese (block or shredded)
6 club or steak rolls

How it's made:

Slice all vegetables lengthwise about 2" long thin strips. In a pan, heat olive oil. Fry sliced jalapeno until light brown. (Remove membrane & seeds to reduce spice level). Add veggies, salt & saute' them for a few minutes until soft.

Add shredded chicken & buffalo sauce. Adjust salt.
Slice bread horizontally. Spoon a few teaspoon of chicken with veggies on the base of bread. Place slices of cheese or grated cheese. Cover with top half of bread. Place sandwich in panini maker & toast until cheese melts.(Or use a grill pan/iron skillet and place a heavy pan on the sandwich. Toast 3-4 mins on medium high flame on both side or until cheese melts).

Serves: 6

Note: Rotisserie chicken can be used for this recipe.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sanna Polo/ Piyava Polo (Rice & Coconut Pancake with Onions)


1 cup fresh grated coconut
6 fried red chillies (byadgi)
marble size tamarind
1 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1 large onion, chopped

How it's made:

Wash & soak rice for 2-3 hrs. Grind coconut, red chillies & tamarind until smooth with 1/4 cup warm water. Remove 3/4 of the ground masala & grind with uncooked rice. At this point do not add water. Transfer ground masala to a mixing bowl. Add salt & onions. Mix well.

Heat "polyai kayli" (dosa pan) or skillet. Drizzle 1/2 tsp oil. Pour a ladle full of batter to look like a pancake. Cover with lid & let cook until the base of pancake is light brown. Flip over & cook on the other side. Serve with plain white rice & dalitoy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Roast Chicken

Happy Thanksgiving!

I started a Thanksgiving tradition couple of years ago with roast chicken, mashed potato, gravy, stuffing, roast vegetables & corn bread or polenta. When my son was in kindergarten, I spent quite a few days volunteering in his classroom. While helping the teacher soon after Thanksgiving break, I tried listening to kids talking to the teacher during circle time about what they did on Thanksgiving day. Kids were excited about eating turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. Finally I heard my son say "I ate rice & yogurt" excitingly as it was his favorite food then!!! Since we celebrated almost all Indian festivals at home, the following year, I decided to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas at my house as well.

Although, this roast chicken is not the traditional Thanksgiving recipe, its been a family favorite since I first made it few years ago.


1 oven roaster chicken with pop up timer(approx 10 lbs)
1 bunch coriander leaves
1 small pod garlic
8-10 green chillies (adjust as per your liking)
50 grams of curry powder/ poultry seasoning or any spice rub of your choice
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste
lemon, celery, carrot, onion (to stuff in the cavity)

How it's made:

Grind coriander leaves, green chillies, garlic & ginger to a fine paste. Mix curry powder/ poultry seasoning & salt. Let the spice rub be a little salty & spicier than your preference. (Chicken absorbs salt & spice while let to marinate).
Remove chicken giblets. Remove any excess fat. Rinse and pat dry. Rub spice mix to chicken, including the cavity. Refrigerate for 24 hrs.

In a roaster pan(with rack), pour about 3 cups of water. Stuff the chicken cavity with lemon, celery, carrot & onion. Tie the legs together with kitchen string & tuck in the wings. Place chicken on roaster rack. Cover with foil & bake at 375 deg F for 2 hrs. Remove foil & bake for another 1/2 hour. Chicken is done when instant thermometer reads 165 deg F when inserted to the thickest part of thigh. (I let it cook until 180 deg F). Let it stand on serving platter for 10 mins before carving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookie

Every year between mid November & end December, we organize a gathering for our friends that we've known for a very long time. Although we meet several times throughout the year during special occasions, I personally look forward to this informal evening to share a few good laughs & recollect memories with this amazing group of friends. As a token of appreciation for their valued friendship, I always try to make handmade gifts each year. This year was "Cookie in a Jar". I adapted the recipe from Betty Crocker with a few variations.


1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup old fashioned/quick cooking oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

How it's made:

Preheat oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit.
Sift flour, salt & baking powder. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, egg & vanilla until smooth. Add flour and remaining dry ingredients. Mix well.
On a cookie sheet, drop dough with a tbsp about 2 inches apart. (they spread while baking).

Bake 10-12 minutes until light brown. (I was multi tasking & my cookies were in the oven for an extra 3 minutes which gave them a deeper brown color).

Cool & store in air tight container.

Makes approx. 20 cookies

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Diwali - A festival of Lights

Wishing all my friends, family and fellow readers a very HAPPY DIWALI!

I took a little help from my son who wrote this passage on Diwali.

   Diwali, or Deepavali, is known as the festival of lights in the Hindu religion. This event is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs. The significance of Diwali remains the same for all the listed religions.  Diwali is known as the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated between mid-October and mid-November. For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year; it signifies: (1) the return of Lord Rama after 14 years of undeserved exile with his recovered wife, stolen from him by the demon lord Ravan; (2) the death of another demon, Narakasura, slayed by Lord Krishna’s wife Satyabhama; and the return of the Pandava princes after their exile. These reasons are commonly associated with Diwali.

    ‘Diwali,’ is a contraction of ‘Deepavali’ a Sanskrit word that translates into ‘row of lamps’. Diwali is mainly consisted of lighting clay lamps filled with oil. This action is believed to signify the triumph of good over evil. The lamps are lit at night and are left burning overnight; this action welcomes Goddess Laxmi, goddess of wealth, into one’s house. One must keep his/her house clean to make the goddess feel welcome. Firecrackers are burst to drive away ill spirits and demons and to purify one’s soul. During Diwali, one wears new clothes, shares sweets and distributes gifts to family and friends. Diwali is a time to spend with family and friends, have fun and eat good food!

Here's what I made this year - Chakuli, Shankarpali, Tukdi, Cereal Chivda, Nippat and 7 cups Khadi.


This is a favorite in my household. When we talk about Diwali at home, the first question that comes up is "When can I help with making Shankarpali?" They disappear as & when I fry them!!! I tried to make in large quantity this year since we like it at home and it is popular with kids as well.


6oz milk
6oz sugar
4 oz ghee, thick (clarified butter)
Maida (flour)- approx 3 cups, maybe more
a pinch of salt
oil for frying

How it's made:

Boil milk, ghee & sugar together. Add maida little at a time & stir with spoon to avoid lumps. Make a soft dough & set aside covered with a damp towel. Take a lemon size dough & roll to 1/2"thick circle. (Dusting the rolling pin & surface with flour is not required).

Using a pizza cutter or serrated edge cutter (like the one in the image below), cut into diamond or small squares.

Deep fry in medium hot oil. If the oil is too hot, it browns quickly on the outside but remains uncooked on inside. Remove from oil when light brown.

Note: It can be deep fried in ghee which makes it more tastier.


This is the easiest & simplest chakuli recipe that I've tried. Thanks to my good old friend from India, without whom, I would not have been able to try it out.

3 cups rice flour
1/4 cup besan (chick pea flour)
2 tsp til (sesame seeds)
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
5 tsp oil
3 tsp ghee (clarified butter), warmed
a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
a pinch of soda bi carb
salt to taste
oil for frying

How it's made:

Sift rice flour, besan, salt, soda bi carb together. To it, add til, jeera, oil, ghee and enough water to make a soft dough.

Fill a small amount of dough into the chakuli mould & press onto flat surface. (I use wax paper).

Lift one end of wax paper & flip the chakli onto your fingers & deep fry in hot oil until golden. Drain on paper towel. Set aside until completely cool & store in airtight container.



3 cups rice flour
3 tbsp chana dalia
2 tbsp split moong dal
4 green chillies
1 bunch spring onions (green only)
1/2 stick butter, melted
salt to taste
oil for deep frying

How it's made:

Soak chana dalia & split moong dal for 10 mins.
Grind green chillies with a few tsp of water. Strain & use chilli water to mix in the dough.
Chop finley the top half of spring onions (green only).

In a large mixing bowl, mix in rice flour, dals, green chilli water, spring onion, warm melted butter, salt & water to make a soft dough. Cover the dough with a damp towel.

Make small marble size balls. Place between plastic sheets (I used Ziploc sandwich bags) & flatten them. Spread a drop of oil on the plastic sheet if the dough sticks to the sheet.

Deep fry in oil. Fry on medium high heat until brown & drain on paper towel. Set aside until completely cool & store in airtight container.

Cereal Chivda

Cereal Chivda makes an enjoyable, healthy anytime snack.


3 cups corn flakes
2 cups rice crispies
3 cups honey nut cheerios
2 tsp sasam (black mustard seeds)
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida)
1 tsp red chilli powder
2-3 tsp coriander/jeera/saunf powder (see note below)
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup peanuts, roasted (optional)

How it's made:

In a non stick pan, fry cereal for a few mins until warm & toasty. (It can be warmed in an oven at 200 deg Fahrenheit for 10-15 mins).
In a wide pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add curry leaves, hing, chilli powder, coriander/ jeera powder, salt to taste & sugar. Add toasted cereal & peanuts. Mix well. Cool & store in airtight container. ( I skipped peanuts due to kids with food allergy).


Coriander/Jeera/Saunf powder: In a coffee grinder, powder a palm full of corainder seeds, a palm full of jeera(cumin seeds) & 2 palm full of saunf (fennel seeds). This spice mix can be used for garam masala based veg or non veg dishes.

7 cups Khadi/Burfi

This was one of my Mamama's (my grandmother-Mother's Mother) favorite dessert to make when there were extra coconuts in the house. I had tried it once several years ago & thought of making this year for Diwali. I personally don't like sweets & other family members prefer a few selected ones.  As per Mamama 3 cups of sugar, a cup each of other ingredients make up 7 cups. Hence the name "7 cups khadi". I cut down a cup of sugar & 1/4 cup of ghee from this recipe.


2 cups sugar (my grandmother used 3 cups)
1 cup coconut
3/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1 cup besan (chick pea flour)
1 cup milk
crushed almonds for garnishing (optional)

How it's made:

Lightly grease a steel plate or 9"pie dish with ghee. In a non stick pan, combine all ingredients & cook on medium high heat until it thickens & leaves sides of the pan, approx 20 minutes. Transfer mixture to greased dish and garnish with crushed almonds. Cool for 10-12 minutes & cut into desired shape. Remove & store in container when it comes to room temperature.

What I learnt:  I turned off the heat a few minutes prior to the mixture separating from the side & it didn't harden up like the way I wanted.  It had a hard surface with chewy base like caramel candy but tasted good!