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