Monday, December 30, 2013

Methi Rice

I call this a bachelors recipe. All the ingredients go together in the pressure cooker and its done in no time. With very little chopping,(no onions, no ginger - garlic), this recipe is as simple as veg pulao, maybe even more simpler! This is a  borrowed recipe from a friend who made this for a religious event.
I use Basmati rice for special occasions or during gathering. Casual meals are always with made with sona masoori rice. If using Basmati, for 1 1/2 cup rice add 2 1/2 cup water.
These days there are a variety of pressure cookers - some that just release steam. The pressure cooker that I own that is about 15 years old and still going strong! With the amount of cooking and entertaining that I do, I recently bought one as a stand by. For this recipe ,with the newer pressure cookers, wait until it releases steam, reduce heat and let it cook for 5-8 minutes.


1 1/2 cup uncooked white rice ( sona masoori)
3 cups water
1 cup assorted vegetables (green beans, green pepper, mushrooms, green peas, broccoli)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
3 whole cloves
2 green cardamom
1 small stick cinnamom
2 green chilies, slit in half
1 tbsp kasoori methi
salt to taste

How it's made:

Wash and soak rice for 30 mins.
Use any combination of vegetables. Most of the time, I prefer going with all green veggies.
In pressure cooker, heat oil. Add cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon. When it starts changing color, add hing powder, turmeric, green chilies and kasoori methi. Saute for a minute. Add veggies and half tsp salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add drained rice, 3 cups water and salt to taste. Cover with pressure cooker lid and pressure cook upto 3 whistles. Turn heat off.
Wait until all the steam is released and serve hot with boondi raita.

Serves: 3-4

Boondi Raita

This is my son's recipe. He makes Boondi raita every time I make any kind of flavored rice. I let him take over and post this on his own since he has been always curious to know about what I post on my blog.

Boondi Raita is one of the few things I can cook (apart from frozen food and pasta/spaghetti). This recipe is simple yet delicious as it compliments any type of rice or pulao.


1 cup yogurt
1/4 cup water or milk
chili powder
roasted cumin powder

How It's Made:

Fill a medium size bowl with yogurt and stir well until there are no clumps. Then put water or milk in. How much you put in is up to you. If you like your raita very thin and like liquid, pour more water or milk. If you like your raita thick, do not put a lot of water or milk. Stir again until the water or milk has mixed with the yogurt and there is no accumulation of liquid around the edges of the bowl. Then mix in about 1/2 teaspoons of roasted cumin powder and a 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder. Add a few pinches of salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Mix all the ingredients together. Finally, add boondi to the mixture.

This is just a basic way to make boondi raita. When I make it, I do not measure how much of each ingredient I use, but I make it in a way that feels natural and fits with how I prefer it to be. I like my raita to be sweet at first, but then have an aftertaste that is provided by the chili powder. Experiment when you make boondi raita to find the perfect balance of ingredients for you.

Serves: 2

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry (Chinese)


1 medium chicken breast, thinly sliced*
2 cups broccoli florets
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tsp sriracha chilli sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp corn starch
black pepper powder

How it's made:

In a wok, heat oil ( I use canola). When it's hot, add ginger and garlic. Saute for a few seconds. Add chicken and fry for a 2-3 minutes. Add onions, salt, pepper and fry until chicken is well cooked. Add broccoli florets.
In a jar with tight fitting lid, combine soy sauce, hoisin, chicken stock, sriracha, sesame oil and corn starch. Shake until everything is well combined. Add  this to chicken and broccoli. Stir well together. Adjust seasoning and serve hot with white rice or chinese fried rice.

*Freeze chicken breast for an hour. It helps slicing chicken to thin strips.

Serves: 2-3

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Season's Greetings! - 2013

Merry Christmas and Wishing all friends, family and readers a flavorful Holiday Season!

My kitchen has been popping with cake pops this holiday season. These are a little messy to work with (I prefer using lollipop sticks) but they are super cute. And the best thing of all, they are bite size. Calories, hmmmmm!...not to be considered during the holidays!

These are made similar to cake pops (which you can find here) but I use a spoon to coat the cake balls with melted chocolate. Set them aside on parchment paper to dry and then place them on paper cups. 

Cake Pops

Last weekend while we were at friends for Pre-Christmas gathering,  few of my sons friends wanted to surprise him on his birthday. Since my son was busy on his birthday with music rehearsals etc, they decided to stop by and surprise him on 24th. So I decided to make something special for all the kids.

Cake pops were popular early this year and it was on my list for long to try them. I thought there wasn't a better time than to treat this group of witty and energetic group of teenagers. The left over cake that I had trimmed from  trifle cake worked wonderful to create these treats.

To make these cake pops, I don't have the exact measurements. I just eye balled all ingredients together. Cut cake into small pieces and crumble to almost powder. (Hands work best, but you can use a food processor). Pulse for a few seconds in a food processor. Add a few teaspoon of store bought frosting (just enough to hold crumbs together and it forms a soft dough). With the help of tablespoon, scoop and make smooth even size balls. Once they are ready , refrigerate them for 30 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator and let them rest at room temperature. In the meantime, melt chocolate chips on double broiler until smooth. Dip the tip of lollipop sticks into chocolate and stick them into cake ball (just to help the stick glue to the cake pop. Gently roll cake pop in melted chocolate until well coated. Immediately top with sprinkles, crushed nuts, toasted coconut or mini M & M's. Stick them onto Styrofoam to hold them upright until they are dry.

Although they are little too sweet for me, it was a hit with the kids. Since my son is a huge fan of football, I made a few to look like football. These are definitely on my list again for Super Bowl.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Son! - Trifle Cake

It's hard to believe, how fast kids grow. My little baby, now a teenager, turned a year older yesterday. With each passing year, its unbelievable how fast they change. Until early this year, he waited to get taller and within a span of few months he is taller than me and still growing.
The year 2013 had quite a few memorable moments. He moved to a new school and it was a big transition, he joined a music group at school and they won the state championship.There are many more special times but the craziest and my most favorite of all was touring The Citadel at Montreal.
On the day we were at The Citadel, it was a windy day but we didn't expect heavy rains. We bought rain ponchos just incase and we lucked out. We landed up touring the historical site with our rain ponchos in the middle of a storm. The tour guide must have thought we were out of our minds when it was raining cats and dogs. I don't remember hearing a word what our guide said but I saw my son enjoying every minute of the tour. The tour guide said she had never done a tour in the rain and always had a group of 50 people or more!

On the occasion of his birthday, I didn't share any words of wisdom. At this stage, talking to a teenager can sound like a lecture to them. I came across these words in a book that I read few months ago and shared it with him----
Your heart: follow it; Your dreams: work on them; Your family: Treasure them; Your fears: Embrace them and let them make you stronger; Your friends: Be loyal to them; Your Money (when you start earning): respect it; Your passion: Live it!
I was wanting to bake a special fancy cake for him. But he requested for trifle, his favorite dessert. You can find the recipe for trifle here.
To make this look like a cake, I baked two 9"round cakes. Trim the uneven top off and layer in a spring form pan with pudding, jello and mandarin oranges. Top with pudding and decorate with jello and oranges.

The cake needs to be refrigerated for 4-5 hours. I made this before leaving for work and decorated the cake. Jello started dripping down and as you can see, the cake looks a little sloppy. I would recommend to layer the cake and refrigerate. Decorate the cake just before serving.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Beetroot Salad


2 medium beetroot, washed, peeled and cooked
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 green chili, cut into 4-5 pieces
a few springs of coriander leaves
salt to taste
1/2 tsp lemon juice

How it's made:

Slice beets. Add all the remaining ingredients and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Serve cold.

Serves: 2

Monday, December 16, 2013

Burrito Bowl

"Chipotle's" Burrito Bowl is a family favorite and I make this quite frequently at home. The recipe process seems to be quite long but if you have all the ingredients ready, the whole dish can be put together in 30 minutes or less. I made this over the weekend and everytime I think about this dish,it reminds me one of the best memories of 2013 (and probably one of the best days of my life).
It was a warm Saturday night and I had this dish ready for dinner. I kept asking my husband who was glued to the television to join at the dinner table and he kept ignoring. All that was left, was to get into an argument with him. While I sat on the couch being annoyed, the door bell rings. He insisted that I answer the door. Being a little frustrated, I peeked through the window. In the dark, I see familiar faces and there stood many of my friends with their family. I open the door thinking "What the heck!" and the cameras start flashing and everyone screaming "Happy Birthday". I don't even remember how I reacted but I couldn't believe my friends and husband pulled a surprise together without me having a clue (which was a big challenge for them)- a party in my own house. Everyone knew that they couldn't get me out of the house for a surprise. Of course, it didn't end there. While I went upstairs for a quick change of clothes, several thoughts kept rushing through my brain.
I have hosted, organized many events at home and I must admit, being clueless was not easy. I hoped my husband catered food from a restaurant (he isn't very knowledgeable about anything to do with kitchen). Walking down the stairs, I hear my friends arranging the kitchen. I walk into the living room and I see my brothers family and my Mom. I think I almost passed out and couldn't take all the excitement and surprises anymore. I was breathless, overwhelmed and of course touched with every ones hard work and effort. All my friends and co-sister cooked several dishes each. It surely was one night to remember with lots of good food, drinks, cake, laughter and most important of all, the company of my close family and friends ( a few dear ones that I missed).
Burrito Bowl went back to the refrigerator and it sat there for a few days until we finished the left overs from the party!


2 cups cooked Cilantro Lemon rice (recipe below)
1 cup cooked Chipotle chicken (recipe below)
1/2 cup Salsa (recipe below)
1 cup canned Black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup canned corn, drained
1/2 cup grated Mexican blend cheese
Sour Cream
lettuce, chopped

How it's made:

In a wide bowl, place 1/2 cup cilantro lemon rice, followed with 1/4 cup chicken, 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup corn, few tbsp of salsa, lettuce, cheese and a dollop of sour cream. If you like Guacamole, you can top with a tablespoon of Guacamole. You can find the recipe below. I didn't have avocados at home, hence skipped Guacamole.

Cilantro Lemon Rice:


1 cup white rice
2 cups water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup cilantro (coriander leaves), chopped
salt to taste

How it's made:

Wash rice. In a sauce pan with a tight fitting lid, add rice, water, lemon juice, cilantro and salt to taste. Bring to boil and simmer to low heat. Cover with tight fitting lid and cook for 15-18 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, fluff with fork and set aside.

Chipotle Chicken:


1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste

How it's made:

Cut into into 1"cubes. Marinate chicken with chipotle chili powder, cumin and salt. Set aside for an hour. In a pan, heat oil and saute the chicken until well done. Set aside until ready to use.



1 medium red onion
1 medium tomato
1 jalapeno, whole
1/4 cup cilantro (coriander leaves)
salt to taste
pepper powder

How it's made:

Roughly chop all the above ingredients. Place in food processor and pulse it a few times. Remove and set aside until ready to use. You can de-seed jalapeno to reduce the spice level.



1 avocado
2 tsp chopped red onion
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp lemon juice

How it's made:

Scoop the flesh out of avocado and mash it with a fork. Add onion, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Mix well and set aside.

Serves: 3-4

Friday, December 13, 2013

Jelly Roll

Jelly Roll brings back a lot of old memories.
During my school days, on my way home from school, I used to pass by this family owned bakery. They had one of the most amazing desserts and bakery products. Every time I passed by, the air was always filled with the wonderful smell of cookies and cakes. My Mom would occasionally let us buy a slice of warm jelly roll that was sliced and stored between wax paper. I remember how fascinated I was with jelly rolled up between the cake. I would unroll it to one long strip and relish every bite.


5 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup strawberry jam
sugar for dusting

How it's made:

Grease an 18 by 13 inch pan. (I used cookie sheet). Grease the bottom of pan and line the sheet with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and set aside.
Combine flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk together and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla and sugar with an electric beater. Beat until mixture is thick and fluffy (approx. 5 minutes). Mix in dry ingredients with a rubber spatula. Spread batter evenly onto greased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove cake from oven, run knife through the side of pan. Flip the cake on a large sheet of parchment paper which has been lightly dusted with sugar. (Be very gentle when flipping the cake onto parchment  or else you will have sugar all over on the counter and maybe on the floor too!) Peel off parchment paper from the cake (that was used for baking) and immediately roll the cake starting from the shorter side to form a log. Wait for 20 minutes until the cake cool down.
Warm jam in microwave for a few seconds. Unroll cake. Spread jelly and roll up the cake again leaving behind the parchment paper.

Wait for an hour or more. Slice and serve.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fish Curry (without coconut)

Although Konkani style coconut based fish curries have a very distinctive flavor, this version of fish curry is very simple to cook as well as delicious and healthy. My husband who didn't grow up eating seafood every day like I did, prefers fish curries that do not smell fishy :) I realized that he enjoys onion based curries more than coconut. He thinks that the spices used in the curry, removes most of the fishy smell! 


1 lb boneless tilapia fillet (about 4 fillets)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 cloves
1 large onion
2 medium tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
curry leaves for garnishing

How it's made:
Cut fish into pieces. Rub salt and turmeric powder and set aside.
Roughly chop onion, tomatoes, ginger and garlic.
In a frying skillet ( I use iron skillet), heat 2-3 tsp oil. Add cloves and cinnamon. Fry for a few seconds and add onions. Fry until they are light brown. Add ginger and garlic. Fry for a minute. Add tomatoes and 1/2 tsp salt. Salt helps to break down the tomatoes faster. Cook until the mixture is soft and mushy. Add chili powder, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Fry for a minute or two. Cool and blend this mixture with 1/4-1/2 cup water in a food processor/ blender until smooth.
Transfer ground paste to iron skillet. Add 1/2 cup water to food processor/blender and rinse. Add this water to the ground paste. Mix well and bring to boil. Add fish pieces. Cover and boil until fish is cooked. ( about 5-6 mins). Give it a quick stir and serve with plain white rice.

Serves: 4-6

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Duddhya/Dudhi Upkari (Pumpkin Stir Fry)

When it comes to food, my husband and I used to have our own choices. After we got married, I realized there were just a handful of dishes that we both enjoyed. Then came kids food preference which made things more complicated. So, I came up with  plan to make my work easy.
When my son was little, I had each day of the week dedicated to a family member, so that we all had turns trying what each of us liked. This version of Pumpkin Upkari was Thursday special, as it was my husbands favorite. He likes it a little sweet since he grew up with a teaspoon of sugar/ jaggery in almost every Upkari. My Mother made this dish with slight variation with the seasoning, (without sugar/jaggery) which I will post in  few weeks.


1 lb pumpkin, skin removed (optional) and cut into 1"cubes
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 dried red chillies, cut into pieces
salt to taste
marble size jaggery or 2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp grated coconut

How it's made:

In a "kadai" or deep frying pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add red chillies. Fry for 30 seconds. Add pumpkin pieces and salt to taste. Cover with lid and cook on low flame until vegetable is tender. (Add a teaspoon of water to help cook the vegetable). Add jaggery and grated coconut. Coconut helps in absorbing excess liquid if any. Serve hot with rice, dalitoy and chana gashi.

Serves: 3

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Satyanarayan Pooja - 2013

Satyanarayana Pooja is a ritual performed by the Hindu community. Most people perform it during special occasions like wedding, thread ceremonies, house warming etc but it can be performed anytime during the year.

We have been doing it once every year for over a decade now. The priest starts with Lord Ganesha Pooja followed by Navagraha Pooja consisting of Surya, Chandra, Shukra, Shani, Rahu, Ketu, Budha, Guru, and Angaaraka. Navagraha dhanya (9 kinds of grains) are used -- Rice, Toor dal, Wheat, Chana dal (Bengal gram), Urad dal (Black gram), Val, Til (Black sesame seeds), Green Moong Dal (Green gram) and Kulithu (Horsegram).

The priest then starts the Sri Satyanarayana pooja. "Panchamrit" is made with sugar, ghee (clarified butter), milk, yogurt and honey. He narrates the Satyanarayan Katha (story), which we always request in English so that all kids understand the reason behind the pooja.

"Sapaath", which is the prasad,  is traditionally home made early in the morning after shower, before eating or drinking and first offered to the Lord during the Satyanarayan Pooja. Sapaath is made with butter, cream of wheat, sugar, milk and banana's.

The pooja is concluded with Arti. Panchamrit and Sapaath is distributed to all the attendees.

We had about 175 close friends and family members throughout the whole day for pooja and prasad. Although, most of the cooking is traditionally done on the day of the pooja, I cooked most of the food on the previous day with the exception of White rice, Dalitoy, Doodpak,and Sapaath. By the Grace of God, the weather turned out to be great and the day went very smoothly. With the list of invitees increasing every year, we try to invite in groups at different times through out the day. I was hoping to take pictures of the food on the day of the pooja to post on my blog but the day got extremely busy. This year, I had very little left over which was just enough to plate the next afternoon. More details on menu and cooking for a crowd can be found here.

Clockwise: Tendle Batate Upkari, Pickle, Khaman Dhokla, Val-Val, Jalebi, Chana Gashi, Matar Paneer, White Rice with Dalitoy, Lemon Rice (Center). 
Not pictured: Tomato Rasam, Roti, Papad, Phanna Tak and Doodpak.

Food for a crowd

Cooking for a crowd can be challenging. I admit it's a little nerve racking but I like the challenge. How much is enough is the biggest question. I personally think that it all depends on the time of the event and age group of people attending the event. But the most important factor that I personally consider, is the head count as well as the number of dishes to be served for a particular event. A lot of planning and thinking goes into cooking in bulk. My goal is not to have left overs to feed an army!
The recipes mentioned below worked well for this years Satyanarayana Pooja. We had about 175 attendees. With an array of dishes, I cooked some dishes enough for 80-100 people and some upto 150 people, depending on popularity. A rough estimate is half size aluminum disposable tray feeds approximately 25-30 people (again, if you are serving just fried rice/vegetable biryani with one side dish - a half tray will feed 10-15 people only). Matar paneer and Val-Val, were the two dishes that I cooked enough to feed an army since it has always been a favorite. Tomato Saar and Doodpak was almost done before the last 3-4 families arrived and I didn't fret on it! I had enough of Dalitoy and Jalebi.
The menu has been almost the same with slight variation every year. The menu this year was Chana Gashi, Tendle Batate Bibbe Upkari, Val-Val, Matar Paneer, Dalitoy, Tomato Saar, White Rice, Lemon Rice, Doodpak - all home cooked. Khaman Dhokla, Jalebi and Roti were store bought. Pickle, Pappad and Phanna Tak on the side.

Sapaath (Satyanarayana Puja Prasad)

This is a recipe that serves approximately 50-70 people.


4 cups sooji (cream of wheat)
4 sticks butter
5 cups sugar
5 medium ripe bananas, peeled and diced
6 cups milk

How it's made:
To cook this proportion in one go, you will need a fairly large wok. If you don't own one, cook in 2 batches.
In a large deep wok, melt butter. Add sooji and roast 10-15 minutes on medium heat until sooji is well roasted. Stir frequently in between to avoid scorching. Add sugar and bananas. Keep stirring and cook until the mixture comes together and bananas soften. In the meantime, boil milk in a saucepan.
To the sooji-banana mixture, add 1/2 cup of boiled milk at a time. Keep stirring until well combined. Then cook on medium-low flame for 30 mins until butter begins to separate. (Since the last step takes a very long time, I always start with prasad first thing in the morning. By the time, all the cooking is done, prasad will be ready).

Phanna Tak (Seasoned Buttermilk)

While we were discussing the menu for Satyanarayan pooja, my husband came up with this idea of Phanna tak. This drink being more popular during summer, I didn't think people would enjoy with temperatures in the 30's (F). This was the first time that I had tried this and made just one pitcher. Even before lunch was served, this was all gone and everyone was asking for refills! I assured everyone that they would get a pitcher of "Phanna Tak" for every potluck if we were invited!


1quart buttermilk
1 1/2 quart water
8 green chillies
salt to taste
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
2 tsp oil
2 tsp black mustard seeds
10 curry leaves
1/2 tsp hing (asofetodia)

How it's made:

In a pitcher combine buttermilk and water. Blend green chilies, ginger and salt in a blender with 1/4 cup water. Strain and add liquid to buttermilk. Stir with lemon juice and coriander leaves.
In a "Phanna Davlo"or skillet, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add curry leaves and hing. Add seasoning to buttermilk.

Refrigerate for minimum of 2 hrs. Serve cold.

Makes: 8-10 servings

ValVal/Yogirathna (Vegetables in Coconut milk)

Val val is a favorite dish of Konkani community. It is a dish with combination of different vegetables - suran, ridge gourd, sweet potato, carrots, yard long beans, ivy gourd, beans, pumpkin etc. I like the combination of vegetables that I have used in this recipe. Inorder to keep the vegetables equally cooked, each of them is cooked separately. I pressure cook alsando and tendle since they take a little longer to cook than the others. Keep all the vegetables 3/4 cooked , so they remain a little crunchy. Over cooked vegetables will make the dish very mushy. Since this recipe was cooked in bulk, I cooked this dish in 3 batches and it roughly made close to 4 half size aluminum disposable trays.


2 lbs alsando (yard long beans)
2 lbs tendle/tindora (Ivy gourd)
2 lbs green beans
2 lbs potatoes
4 lbs yellow pumpkin
3 zucchini
3 cups Bibbo (tender cashewnut) or whole cashew
30 green chilies, slit in half
6 cans coconut milk
3 heaped tsp maida (all purpose flour)
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
6-8 tsp oil
9 tsp black mustard seeds
9 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
30 curry leaves

How it's made:

Cut alsando (yard long beans) to 1"pieces, tendle (Ivy Gourd) in 2-3 pieces, green beans to 1"pieces, potatoes and pumpkin to 1"cubes and zucchini into chunks.
Cook tender cashewnuts in 1/2 cup water until soft and set aside.
In a large heavy bottom pot add 1/3 of green bean and cook with 2-3 cups of water. Half way through cooking, add potatoes. Cook for 5-8 minutes. Add 1/3 of cooked alsano and tendle, yellow pumpkin, zucchini, tender cashewnut, 10 green chilies and salt to taste. Add 1-2 cups water if needed. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add 2 cans of coconut milk. If coconut milk is too thick add a little water (only if needed). Cover and let it boil for 5 minutes.
Combine flour with 1/4 cup water. Stir well and make sure there are no lumps. Add 1/3 of this to the vegetables. (Make sure the curry is not too thick as it thickens over time).
In the meantime, heat ghee with oil combined together in a deep frying pan. Add 3 tsp of mustard seeds. When it splutters, add jeera and curry leaves. Add seasoning to val val and serve hot with dalitoy and white rice.
Repeat the same process twice.

Serves: approximately 80-100 people (with 2 more side dishes)

Tendle Batate Bibbe Upkari (Ivy Gourd with Potato and Cashewnut Stir Fry)

This is a recipe for bulk cooking and yields about 2 small aluminum foil trays (half size).


5lb tendle/tindora (Ivy gourd)
2 1/2 lbs potatoes
4 cups Bibbo (tender cashewnut)
8-10 tsp oil
6 tsp black mustard seeds
8 red chillies, cut into 2"pieces (I use Byadgi)
salt to taste
1/4 cup fresh grated coconut

How its made:

Soak Bibbo (tender cashewnuts) in warm water overnight and peel the skin off. Cook in 1/2 cup water for 5 mins or until tender.
Cut ends of tendle and slice each tendle into four. Pressure cook for 5 minutes or until it is 3/4th cooked.
Peel potatoes and slice them into 2-3"long strips. Set aside.
To make cooking easy, cook in two batches.
In a wide deep pan, heat 4-5 tsp oil. Add 3 tsp mustard seeds When it splutters, add 4 red chilies cut in pieces. Once it changes color, add half the potatoes and salt to taste. When its 3/4 cooked, add half of cooked tendle and cashewnut. Add salt again. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. Garnish with grated coconut.
Repeat process once again.

Serves: approximately 40-50 people

Chana Gashi

This dish is traditionally made with brown chana. With a large number of kids at the event, I decided to substitute with chick peas which is more kid friendly.
I initially thought 4 cans of jack-fruit would be a little too much. But by the end of the evening, all the jack-fruit pieces were fished out and I had about 2 cups of curry left with just chick peas!


3 lbs whole chana (chick peas/garbanzo)
4 cans kadgi (raw jack-fruit)
1 1/2 packet frozen grated coconut (I used daily delight 1lb pack)
24-30 roasted red chilies (I use Byadgi)
marble size tamarind
salt to taste
9 tsp black mustard seeds
9 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
30 curry leaves

How its made:

Soak chana overnight. Pressure cook in 3 batches.
In a blender, blend 1/2 packet of grated coconut with 8-10 red chilies (adjust chilies as per spice level) along with a piece of tamarind. Grind with warm water until smooth.
In the meantime, drain and discard liquid from jack-fruit. Cut into smaller pieces. Cook jack-fruit for 8-10 minutes or until soft.
In a large heavy bottom pot, combine first batch of cooked chana with 1/3 of cooked jack-fruit and ground masala. Add salt and cook together for 10-15 minutes.
In a "phanna davlo" or iron skillet, heat oil. Add 3 tsp mustard seeds. When it splutters, add 3 tsp jeera and 10 curry leaves. Season to chana with jack-fruit. Cover and set aside.
Repeat the same process twice. Each batch fills one small aluminum disposable tray and this recipe yields 3 trays.

Serves: 60-80 people

Matar Paneer (Indian Cheese with Green Peas)

This is a recipe for bulk cooking and yields about 3 half size aluminum foil trays.


56 oz paneer
4 lb frozen green peas
5 cups tomato puree
6 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
3/4 cup dry kasoori methi
1 1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida)
3 tsp heaped red chili powder
1 1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
4 1/2 tsp coriander powder
3 tsp garam masala powder
3-4 tsp sugar
salt to taste
3/4 cup half and half

How it's made:

Cut paneer into cubes and saute them in a skillet with a few tsp of oil until light brown. Set aside.
Cook frozen green peas with a few tsp of salt. Set aside.
Divide all the ingredients in 3 parts and cook in 3 batches.
In a heavy bottom pan, add oil. When hot but not smoking, add 2 tsp cumin seeds. When it changes color, add 1/4 cup kasoori methi and 1/2 tsp hing. Fry for 30 seconds, then add chili powder and turmeric. Add approximately 1 1/2 cups of tomato puree. Stir well, cover and cook for 2-3 mins. To it, add 1/3 of green peas and paneer. Stir gently together making sure paneer cubes do not break. Add sugar and salt to taste.
Add garam masala and 1/4 cup half and half. Boil for a minute. Serve hot with roti/jeera rice/white rice.

Serves: approximately 60-70 people

Lemon Rice

This is a recipe for bulk cooking and yields approximately 4-5 half size aluminum foil trays. For smaller portion, you can find the recipe here.


10 cups uncooked basmati rice
10 tsp black mustard seeds
5 tsp hing (asafoetida)
15 green chilies
30-50 curry leaves
10 tsp grated ginger
10 tsp urad dal (split black gram)
15 tbsp chana dal (yellow split peas)
15 tbsp cashewnut bits
10-15 dried red chilies (I use Byadgi)
5 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
5 lemons
salt to taste
2 cups coriander leaves, chopped fine

How it's made:

Cook rice with salt. (I cooked 2 cups at a time to make sure rice is evenly cooked. Rice cooker can be used to cook rice. I like to boil rice and drain out excess water - similar to cooking pasta). Cool and refrigerate overnight.
In a wok, heat oil. Add 2 tsp mustard seeds. When it splutters, add a tsp of hing, 3 green chilies, 6-10 curry leaves and about 2 tsp of grated ginger. Saute for a minute. Add 2 tsp of urad dal, 3 tbsp of chana dal, 3 tbsp of cashewnuts, 2-3 dried red chilies, a tsp of haldi and salt if needed. Fry until chana dal and cashewnut turn light golden. Add 1/5th of rice, juice of 1/2 a lemon and coriander leaves. Stir well. Cover and let it heat through. Adjust seasoning.
Repeat the same process 4 more times.

Serves: approximately 50 people

Sabudana Kheer/Doodpak (Tapioca Pudding)

This is a recipe for bulk cooking.


2 1/2 cups sabudana (pearl tapioca)
1 gallon whole milk
1 gallon 2% milk
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
3 cups water
a generous pinch of saffron
1/2 -1 tsp caradmom powder
1/2 -1 cup raisins, soaked in 1/4 cup warm water

How it's made:

Wash and soak sabudana for 2 hrs.
Wash and rinse basmati rice.
In a heavy bottom pot, combine rice and sabudana. Add 3 cups water and cook until sabudana is transparent and rice is half cooked. (More water can be added if required). Add milk, sugar and saffron. Boil and stir frequently making sure it doesn't get burnt at the bottom. Cook on medium low flame for 20-25 minutes. It will gradually thicken. Add cardamom powder and raisin.

Serves: 60-70 people

Tomato Saar

This is a recipe for bulk cooking.


20 tomatoes
3 lbs of canned tomato puree
10 green chilies, slit in half
6 tbsp heaped MTR Rasam powder
1/4 cup oil
4 tbsp mustard seeds
20 curry leaves
salt to taste
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup coriander leaves, chopped

How its made:

Cut tomatoes in half and cook in 4 cups of water until soft. Cool and blend leaving a few chunks. Transfer to large pot and add tomato puree. Add 4-5 cups water, green chilies, salt and sugar. Boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
In a deep frying pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add rasam powder and curry leaves. Add seasoning to tomatoes and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serves: approximately 50 people


This is a recipe for bulk cooking.


4 cups toor dal
12-15 green chilies, slit in half
salt to taste
3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
3 tsp canola oil
3 tbsp black mustard seeds
8 dried red chilies
1 1/2 tsp hing (asafotedia)
20 curry leaves
coriander leaves (optional)

How it's made:

Wash toor dal under running water. Divide into 3 batches and pressure cook until dal is soft. Transfer dal into one large pot and add 4-6 cups water (approximately). Add green chilies, salt to taste and boil for 10-12 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid scorching.
In a deep frying pan, heat ghee and oil together. Add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add red chilies, hing and curry leaves. Keep a lid handy to avoid oil and mustard seeds splattering everywhere! Add seasoning to dal. Adjust salt and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serves: approximately 60-80 people

White Rice

This is a recipe for bulk cooking and serves approximately 50-60 people.


10 cups uncooked white rice

How it's made:

Wash 2 cups of rice under running water. Boil 2 quarts of water in a large pot. When water boils, add rice. Boil, turn heat off, cover with lid and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Check to see if rice is done. Drain and set aside.
Repeat process once again 4 more times.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Paneer Chili (Dry)


14 oz raw paneer, cut into 1/2"cubes
3 tbsp all purpose flour (maida)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
6-8 green chillies, chopped fine
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 bunch spring onions, chopped roughly
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 medium onion , cut to cubes
1 medium green pepper, cut into cubes

How it's made:

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper powder. Add water to make a paste. Combine paneer and mix well so that paneer is well coated. Deep fry in hot oil until light brown. Set aside.
In a wok or non stick pan, heat oil. Add ginger, garlic and green chillies. Fry for a minute. Add chilli powder.(You can add more than a tsp if you can take the heat). Add spring onions. Saute for a minute. Add soy sauce, onion and green pepper. Give it a quick stir for a minute. Add fried paneer and combine together. Adjust seasoning. (Go easy on salt since soy sauce is high in sodium). Serve immediately.

Serves: 4-6

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Diwali/Deepavali 2013

Happy Diwali/Deepavali! May the festival of lights bring peace, happiness and prosperity to you and your family.


Growing up, Phenori was an Indian sweet that I loved and especially the one that my Bapama (Grandmother in Konkani) made. The crunchy layers coated with sugar was one delicious dessert! I had planned on trying this for last Diwali but when my mother explained the process, I thought it was a little too complicated. With the help of Konkani food bible written by Narayani Nayak, the step-by-step instructions made it pretty easy. To make it easier for readers, I tried to add pictorial for this recipe but the images didn't turn out great since I made these late at night.


For the dough:
1 1 /2 cup all purpose flour (maida)
5 tsp clarified butter (ghee)
a pinch of salt

1 tsp heaped rice flour
2 tsp clarified butter (ghee)

For the sugar syrup:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

How it's made:

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, ghee. Add little water at a time to make a soft dough.  Divide dough into 10 portions and roll them about 4-5" circles. ( I have struggled using rolling pin and still struggle to roll out dough into circles. My family always jokes around when I roll out roti/chapati - they try to figure out the country or continent that it might resemble!)

Mix rice flour and ghee in a small mixing bowl. Rub flour/ghee paste on one side of rolled out dough. Place five dough circles over lapping each other. From one end, roll dough and cut into 10 equal parts. (I first used a serrated knife which ruined the layers. Use a sharp edged knife to cut dough).
Repeat the same process with the other five dough circles.

Roll out the cut pieces into 3" circles. Leave them medium thick without ruining the layers.

 Deep fry 2-3 at a time in medium hot oil until light brown. Cooking on high heat will not make the Phenoris crispy. Let them drain and set aside for 15 mins to cool.

In the meantime, boil sugar and water for the syrup. As the sugar water syrup boils, you will see the syrup thickening. It has to be a little stringy. Remove from heat. With the help of tongs, dip each Phenori in sugar syrup and set aside on wax paper for an hour (or until sugar hardens) without over crowding.

Store in air tight containers.

Ubbati/Puran Poli


For the dough:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour (maida)
1 tsp sugar
5-6 tsp oil
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
a pinch of salt

For the filling (Puran):
3/4 cup bengal gram dal (Channa dal)
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used jaggery)
1 tsp cardamom powder

How it's made:

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, oil, turmeric powder and enough water to make a very soft dough. Cover and set aside for 3-4 hours.
Cook Bengal gram dal with 1 1/2 cup water. I pressure cooked for 10-12 minutes. (Remove excess water--it can be used to make Dal/ Rasam). Use a hand blender and mix until dal is smooth. Add brown sugar and transfer to a heavy bottom pan.

Cook until mixture turn to almost a soft dough. This might take about 15-20 minutes on low heat.

To assemble:
 Divide dough and Puran into 20 equal portions. (A little oil can be used to make work easier).

With fingers, spread each  dough ball into 2"circle. Place the Puran in the center and cover up the Puran, stretching the dough.

Dust the roll with flour and roll into 7-8" circle.

On a iron skillet, roast the Puran Poli over medium heat. They will puff like Phulkas. Turn them occasionally.

Place on a sheet without over stacking or over lapping. Once cool, they can be stored at room temperature in an air tight container for 2-3 days. 

Makes 20 puran polis.

Chivda (with Poha)


6 cups thin poha (flattened rice)
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)
4 green chillies, slit
2-3 sprig curry leaves
4 tbsp daliya
4 tbsp cashewnut/peanuts
2 tsp sesame seeds (til)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1/4 cup dry grated coconut
salt to taste
2 tsp sugar

How it's made:

Roast poha in over at 200deg F for 10-15 mins, turning once half way through baking. (Back in India, my mother used to leave it outside in the mid morning sun). Mix salt and sugar. Set aside.
In a wide non stick pan, heat oil. When it comes to smoking point, add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add hing, green chillies, curry leaves (cut into pieces), daliya, cashewnut/peanuts, sesame seeds and turmeric powder. Roast everything together until color changes. Add grated coconut. Fry for a minute. Add poha and keep stirring until well combined. Check for salt and sugar. Store in air tight container once it is cool.