Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tofu Fried Rice


3 cups cooked white rice
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup tofu, cut into cubes ( I use firm tofu)
2 tsp oil
1 tsp sasam (black mustard seeds)
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin)
3 green chillies, slit (increase or decrease as per taste)
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
salt to taste

How it's made:

To prepare tofu.....Hold tofu cubes between palm & try to squeeze out as much water as possible. Set aside.
In a non stick pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, jeera, curry leaves & green chillies. Cover until mustard stops popping. Add peppers & tofu. Saute for a few mins. Let the peppers remain crunchy. Add rice, salt & pepper powder. Mix well. Cover & let stand on low flame for the rice to heat evenly. Adjust salt & serve hot.

Serves : 4-5

Note: Vegetables like cabbage, carrots, green beans, green peas can be substituted instead of peppers. I go by the vegetables left in my refrigerator.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Merry Christmas! Cheers to good health & great food!

This past weekend, I had volunteered at a kids event to bake 3 dozen cupcakes which needed just frosting & sprinkles. My kitchen has been like a bakery for the last 10 days with cakes, cookies & brownies. To end all the baking for this season, I baked another dozen more to play around with frosting & create something different. With a few Wilton tips that I had, I enjoyed decorating these cupcakes.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Another year older...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

My baby turned a year older today. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY"! Years fly by and I still remember the first cry, first tooth, first step, first word......... and many other first's. Little Mr. Personality was always energetic, enthusiastic, inquisitive and a big social person. At times, I thought it was dangerous for him to be too social- (worrying he would let the cat out of the Bag)! A voracious reader of fiction books, a budding percussionist and a master of silly faces is quite a joy to be around with. I was recently going through family albums and it was a trip down memory lane. Although the memories are always carried with us, the picture brought life to many growing stages. All the passing years, the changes and the challenges, feels like it's hard to catch up and they grow up too soon.

This time of the year is always crazy but we try to put aside our daily schedules, Christmas activities and make this day a very special one.

Since last year, his birthday celebration has been a week prior to the actual birthdate in order to make it convenient for all his friends. Although, the birthday boy is not a big fan of cake, I was determined to bake a football theme cake for my die hard "Steelers" fan. With the amount of time I had, I was debating between home made or store bought cake.

So, I brain-stormed a few thoughts before going to bed the previous night & the next morning I baked a cake before heading for work. On my way back, I picked up decorating supplies and after dinner, spent a few hours & managed to finish it. I had initially planned on a design which I realized was a little complicated & this was the final result.

The cake was made with store bought yellow cake mix and I used store bought vanilla frosting. While icing details on the cake, I realized home made icing with confectioners sugar would have been a better choice. Store bought frosting is perfect for spreading or sandwiching the cake. Using fondant would have made the details look neater but it has never been a favorite, especially with the birthday boy!

I used a very thin layer of icing which controlled the sweetness.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pepper Chicken


6 chicken thighs, with bone cut into bite size pieces
2 medium onions, sliced
2 medium tomato, chopped
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
3 green cardamom
3 cloves
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
3 tsp pepper powder
1/4 cup coriander leaves
salt to taste

How it's made:

In a bowl, take 2 tsp of pepper powder, salt & marinate to the chicken for 30 mins. In a pan heat oil, add green cardamom, cloves & cinnamon. (I grind the spices in a coffee grinder & add to oil). Then add onions & fry until light brown. Add ginger garlic paste. Fry for a minute. Add tomatoes & salt. Cook until the sauce looks mushy. Add chicken, coriander powder & chilli powder. Cover & cook until chicken is almost done. Lastly add remaining pepper powder & coriander leaves.

Serves : 6

Monday, December 17, 2012

Whole Green Mung Rice

I had sprouted green mung hoping to make a raw salad but with the cold weather, I changed my mind. Although I'm not a big fan of rice, pipping hot food feels good with the cold weather. I had a few sprigs of curry leaves that were wilting away in the refrigerator and had to use them before they dried up and hence this recipe was created.


1 cup uncooked white rice ( I use sona masoori)
1 cup sprouted whole green mung
1 3/4 cup water
3 sprig curry leaves
3 green chillies
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
handful chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste
1/2 grated carrot (optional)

How it's made:

Wash and soak rice for 20 minutes. Grind curry leaves, green chillies & ginger to a fine paste with a tsp or two of water. Set aside.
In a heavy bottom pan (I used pressure cooker pan), heat oil. Add onions & fry until translucent. Add ground masala & fry for about 5 minutes. Add rice, water, mung, salt, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, lemon juice, coriander leaves & grated carrot. Boil. Adjust salt & pressure cook for 3 whistles or 10 minutes on medium high flame.

Serves: 2-3

Note: Basmati rice can be substiuted for sona masoori.
          Rice cooker can be used instead of pressure cooker. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Kori Sukka (Chicken Sukka/ Chicken with coconut)

This recipe is well known in Bunt community. Made with fresh grated coconut & fresh ground spices, most restaurants in Mangalore and neighboring towns like Udupi, Manipal, Kundapur serve excellent chicken sukka. Paired with par-boiled rice, brown/white rice & at times with dosa also, it's a perfect weekend meal. Amma (my Mother) used 2 different varieties of red chillies for this dish - Harekala/ Guddi Mirsang which is about an 1" long and very spicy and Byadgi which was milder. I stick to byadgi  in my cooking since I don't tolerate heat very well.


3 lbs chicken, bone in cut into small pieces
8 red chillies (byadgi), roasted
Marble size tamarind
2 tbsp coriander seeds (heaped), roasted
1/2 tsp methi (Fenugreek seeds), roasted
1/4 tsp black pepper corns, roasted
2 + 1 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut, you can go up to 2 cups
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
5-6 cloves garlic
8-10 curry leaves
salt to taste

How it's made:

Grind red chillies, tamarind, coriander seeds, methi & black pepper corns with little water to a paste. In a wide pan, cook chicken with ground spice paste & 2 onions.
Grind 1/4 cup coconut, 1 tsp jeera & garlic cloves until well blend.
In the meantime, in a separate frying pan, heat oil. Add 1 chopped onion & curry leaves & fry until golden brown and crisp.
Once chicken is almost cooked, uncover lid & try to let all the liquid evaporate. Add coconut paste & the remaining grated coconut. Stir well & let it heat through. Add fried onions to the chicken & give one last stir.

Serves : 6

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Punjabi Kadhi (Chick pea flour dumplings in yogurt based sauce)

I have tried many different versions of  "Punjabi Kadhi" & failed every time until I was gifted with Sanjeev Kapoor's cook book by one of my Aunts. This turned out to be the best of all and was adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor's Traditional Indian Cuisine-Punjabi cook book. I made a few modifications to the original recipe to suit our taste.


For the Pakore (Dumplings):
3/4 cup Besan (chick pea flour)
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup kasoori Methi
1 "ginger, grated
1 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste
oil for deep frying

For the Gravy (Yogurt based Sauce):

1 cup unflavored yogurt
1/4 cup besan (chick pea flour)
1/4 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
1/2 tsp pepper corns
2-3 dried red chillies (byadgi)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
1/2 "ginger, grated
salt to taste

How it's made:

To make the pakore- Mix all ingredients together except oil with half cup water. Mix until smooth, Drop by spoonful into hot oil & deep fry about 6-8 at a time without over crowding. Fry until light golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

To make the gravy- Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add methi, jeera, pepper corns & dried red chillies. Fry until red chillies change into a deeper color. Add onions & fry until translucent. In the meantime, whisk yogurt in a bowl. Add besan (chick pea flour) & whisk well to avoid lumps. Add 2 cups water. Add yogurt sauce to onions. Let it boil on low heat. Keep stirring. Add ginger, spice powder and salt to taste. Add fried dumplings & let cook for 5 mins on very low heat. Serve with white rice or roti.

Serves: 4

Monday, December 10, 2012

Broccoli Batate Upkari (Broccoli - Potato Stir Fry)


3-4 cups fresh broccoli florets (I use broccoli crowns)
1 small potatoes, peeled & cut into 1" cubes
1 tsp sasam (black mustard seeds)
2 whole dried red chillies (Byadgi), cut into pieces
salt to taste

How it's made:

In a "Kadai", skillet or non stick pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add red chillies & fry until chillies turn to a deeper red color. Add potatoes & a pinch of salt. Do not add water. Cover & cook until potatoes are almost done. Add broccoli & salt to taste. Cover & let cook for a few mins. (I let them cook for 2-3 mins only since I like them crunchy).
Serve with white rice & Dalitoy.

Serves: 4

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jhalke Alle Piyava Ambat (Konkani Fish Curry)

Fish curry was almost an everyday dish at my Ajja's & Bapama's (my Father's parents) place. Growing up, my school was right next door to Bapama's & I had the privileged to eat fresh home cooked lunch everyday. Since Bapama's house consisted of joint family and extended family members, fried fish was out of question.
Back home, fish curry was cooked in an earthen pot called as "Kulle" in Konkani. It gave a very distinctive taste to the whole dish & the flavor was just incredible. Cleaning the dish was very easy & no odor was left behind. (I now rinse dishes with vinegar after cooking!)
Some of the popular Konkani fish curries are Alle Piyava Ambat (coconut based curry made with ginger & onions), Piyava Ambat (coconut based curry seasoned with fried onions) & Phanna Upkari (chilli based sauce with spices) which I will post down the road.


4 tilapia fillet (approx 1lb)
1 cup fresh grated coconut
6 dried red chillies, roasted (I use byadgi)
marble size tamarind
1" ginger, chopped fine
2 green chillies, cut in half
1 small onion, chopped
salt to taste
1/2 tsp coconut oil (optional)

How it's made:

Wash, rinse & cut fish into cubes.
Grind coconut, red chillies & tamarind to a smooth paste.
In a wide pan, mix in ginger, green chilli, onion, ground masala and salt to taste. Add a little water at a time to make a thick gravy. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Check for salt.
Add fish & give one quick stir.

Boil but stir only if required since fish tends to break apart easily.
Drizzle with coconut oil & serve hot with white rice.

Serves: 4-6

Note: I used tilapia since no one at home likes fish with bone in. This curry is traditionally made with pomfrets, king fish or mackerels.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rajma (Red Kidney Bean) Curry


8 oz uncooked Rajma (Red Kidney Beans) or 2 - 15 oz can light red kidney beans
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
1/2 tsp hing powder (Asafoetida)
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 cup tomato puree
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 green chillies, slit
1"ginger grated
1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust as per spice level)
1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
1/2 tsp jeera powder (cumin powder)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Coriander leaves for garnishing
salt to taste

How it's made:

Rinse & soak uncooked Rajma for an hour. Add enough water to cover the beans & pressure cook for 5-10 minutes. If Rajma wasn't soaked earlier, cook for another 5 minutes.
For canned Rajma: rinse beans in a colander & set aside.
In a "Kadai", "Kayli"or non stick pan, heat oil. Add jeera, hing & green chillies. Fry for 30 seconds. Add onions & 1/2 tsp salt. Fry until onions are light brown. Add ginger & garlic. Saute' for 2 minutes. Add tomato puree. Cook for another minute. Add rajma with cooked water, red chilli powder, haldi, jeera powder, coriander powder & salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes on medium high flame. Add water if the curry is too dry. Finish with garam masala & coriander leaves.

Serve with Roti or plain white rice.

Serves : 5