Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Baby Corn Pakoras with Ginger coffee

I love lunch time. To me it's more than just about food. I usually skip breakfast in working days and tend to take an early lunch... and so, I always wait for lunch hour. Also its a great excuse for me to take an extended break from work and chit-chat with friends, while getting recharged with some great food. In summer it gets extra special for me as I take a leisure walk around my office building enjoying some fresh air right after my lunch. It greatly refreshes me to handle the rest of the day. So, I never skip lunch hours even if I'm extremely busy at work. While getting the work done is important, I feel that certainly there should be some break time to just refuel myself, so that I am more productive for the rest of the day. While writing this, I remember a friend of mine who used to work with me in my previous office. During lunch time he would grab his lunch box and drive to the airport which is about 10 mins drive from our office. He then finds a spot outside the airport from where he can watch the planes take-off and land while having lunch! It used to be his favorite time of the day! He wouldn't miss it no matter how busy he is at work. He said he enjoys that a lot as his own private time. I used to admire his habit and was quite impressed the way he was creating a "mini-vacation" time everyday just for himself.

Things were different in India though. Back in India, my favorite time used to be coffee break instead of lunch time! May be perhaps, I used to have home-made breakfast before leaving to work, so I wouldn't starve until lunch. Mine would be a quick lunch most of the time. I worked in India for a few years before moving to the U.S, and we all friends at office used to enjoy going out for a short coffee break! There were plenty of snack shops/coffee shops around our office, and we used to enjoy hot and fresh onion pakoras, samosas, veg. puffs etc with coffee. To me that was a good fun time with friends. I miss those good old days.

Well, about this recipe now.. I made this over the weekend while we were mostly in a mood to munch. A very quick snack if you happen to have some baby corns in your fridge. It came out great and was a perfect snack for the evening. We enjoyed the pakoras with "Sukku Malli Coffee" - coffee spiced with ginger and corriander. I love this coffee and I used to have in India on road-side coffee shops. A very healthy drink made of dried ginger powder, corriander seeds powder and jaggery. Its known to help digestion.

The recipe goes for the Rushina's Pakora Event and this picture of Sukku Malli Coffee goes for Jai & Bee's Click Event.


  • Baby Corns - 20
  • Ginger/garlic paste - 2 tsp
  • G.chillies - 1 (optional)
  • Maida/All purpose flour - 1 tbsp
  • Corn flour - 1 tbsp
  • Besan - 1 tbsp
  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl by sprinkling water little by little. Mixture should be thick and stiff. Should NOT be watery like bajji batter.
  • Deep fry in oil.
Serve hot with chutney or ketchup.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cornflakes Kheer - Kids favorite

Whenever we're not having friends over the weekend, our weekends usually turn out to be lethargic.. rolling out from bed late, late breakfast or brunch, a few movies enjoyed with some mini treats etc. This weekend was once such kind - a calm and relaxed weekend. With nothing much to do, we were glued to our couches watching a few of our long pending movies, munching some snacks now and then, and stayed away from the kitchen for most of the part. Well, I did prepare a mini meal for my daughter for lunch, but nothing elaborate. In the evening we went out for dinner and did some shopping for our vacation that's coming up next week. It was indeed relaxing. Sometimes I do need this kind of time once in a while, just for me and my family. Sure it does feel good.

But don't know why, I often do get into a mood for making desserts during this kind of a weekend :) May be when we are idle, we are in a mood for munching more often and my dessert bells start to ring suddenly! I'm not a big snack lover, but I do love desserts and I can have them during any time of the day. For some odd reason, I consistently seem to have some space in my tummy reserved for dessert, even after feasting occassionally on a heavy dinner. I had made some baby corn pakoras for snack time today (will soon post the recipe), but I felt like having a dessert right after that and my taste-buds were all ready to taste something sweet! Obviously we were taking it easy this weekend, so didn't want to spend more time in the kitchen. Therefore I decided to make a quick and easy kheer and moreover I haven't made kheer in a looong time too. This is a kheer I learnt from a cookbook long back and it's my daughter's favorite.

This entry goes for Mythreyee's Cool Sweet Series.

  • Plain Cornflakes - 1 cup
  • Whole milk - 3 cups
  • Sugar - 1.5 cups (or your choice, depending on how sweet you need)
  • Cardamom pods - 3
  • Cashews - a hand full
  • Ghee - 2 tsps
  • Roast the cornflakes in a tsp of ghee and set aside. Let it cool for sometime then grind it to a coarse powder (not too fine).
  • Heat milk and sugar in a pan and bring to boil. Add the cornflakes powder, crushed cardamoms and simmer for 15 mins. Adjust sugar to your taste. You can also add a pinch of salt to enhance the sweet flavor.
  • Heat 1 tsp ghee in a separate pan, roast the cashews and add it to the kheer. Mix and remove from heat after 2 mins.
Serve chilled.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chilli Paneer

With my sister's family visiting us the past weekend, last few days were busy, but fun! It was great to take off from work and relax for a couple of days by rambling outside, eating in restaurants and enjoying with her 9 month old adorable baby. But the most difficult question of the day is always "What do you want to have for dinner?". I really love to have home-made food atleast once a day even though we're outside most of the time. Simple food is what we all wanted, but just coming up with what to cook is always hard. Sometimes we start talking about it right after we have coffee in the morning, and the discussion continues throughout the day. Its like that tricky topic that no one wants to decide :) Then I came to know that my sister's mother-in-law (who had also visited us this time), makes this awesome paneer recipe that becomes anyone's favorite right at the first time. I knew right away that I wanted to learn the recipe for sure because I really enjoy all kinds of indo-chinese food and then again I do love anything made with paneer too. So this is a 2-in-1 jackpot for me!

I've slowly started realizing the fact that fusion food does work indeed, even though you have a feeling of losing the authenticity. Its all about the demand and the liking of food by people. This recipe is no exception. In this recipe, paneer sounded like a substitute for tofu and the term indo-chinese made literal sense to me. I've tasted this recipe back in India, but never tried it on my own. Its really fabulous to have a chance to help and watch the step-by-step preparation for any new dish, instead of reading and trying to follow the instructions from a book. The dish came out so flavorful and spicy and we all enjoyed it thoroughly. Aunty, if you are reading this.. thanks!

Paneer is a classic ingredient that many of us are familiar with and enjoy eating! When I heard about Vandana's Paneer event, I was all geared up to make quite a few of my favorite paneer dishes for the event. Well, apparently I hadn't kept up to my plans until yesterday and don't know if I would be making any more paneer dishes in the next week too. Somehow I managed to atleast watch and learn this awesome paneer dish yesterday. So, here goes my entry for the event.

  • Paneer cubes - 25
  • Capsicum - 1 medium
  • Onions - 1 medium
  • G.chilly - 2
  • Ginger - 2 inches
  • Garlic - 6 pods
  • Chopped Spring Onions - 1 cup
  • Corriander leaves - 1/2 cup
  • Chilli Sauce, Tomato Ketchup, Soy Sauce - 1 tbsp each
  • Corn Flour - 1 tbsp
  • Red Chilli flakes - 2 tsp
  • Vinegar - 2 tsp
  • Shallow fry the paneer cubes on all sides in 2 tsp oil and place it on a paper towel. (You can also use the store bought fried cubed paneer).
  • Chop the capsicum into 1 inch long strips and set aside.
  • Chop the onions, ginger, garlic very finely. Set aside.
  • Chop the g.chillies in round shapes and set aside.
  • Save 2 tsps of onions, capsicums and spring onions for later use.
  • In a large wide wok, heat oil and first add the chopped ginger and garlic and fry for a min.
  • Next add the onions and fry for a few mins. Then add capsicums and fry for a few more mins.
  • Add the chopped green onions and fry for a few mins.
  • Now add the corn flour, all the sauces one by one, along with vinegar and chilli flakes and fry well.
  • Finally add the paneer and mix well. Fry for a few more mins.
  • Garnish with the remaining onions, spring onions, capsicums and corriander leaves.
Serve hot with Fried rice or Noodles

Thursday, July 17, 2008

YRR - Eggplant Stir Fry

Its that time of the week again, and I can't be more happier. Every thursday is Farmer's market day in our town! To me, summer just wouldn't be summer without visiting farmers market and gazing at those fresh colorful vegetables and fruits. Moreover, I just love to have that freshly squeezed lemonade prepared right in front of me! Even if I don't end up buying vegetables sometimes, I make sure I enjoy the lemonade everytime :) I get fascinated by the way its made by squeezing fresh lemon juice and shaking it together with ice-cubes, water and sugar in a stainless steel shaker jar! Mmm, it tastes divine in that hot sunny afternoon.

On my way back from work today, I stopped at the farmers market as usual and was pleasantly surprised to see fresh Indian eggplants this time. I've never seen Indian eggplants in the farmers market before. Fresh from the yard and cheaper than the regular grocery stores - who wouldn't want to buy there?! I don't know where I got my fascination for eggplants, but lately eggplants and me are best friends! I love them anyway they are made - any traditional Indian way or just even plain roasted eggplants. I'd just had roasted eggplants for lunch during a training session at my office today, but I was perfectly fine to have it for dinner too.

This time I wanted to try one of the eggplant recipes that I had bookmarked a long back. All of them looked utterly delicious and most importantly they are simple to make! I just couldn't make up my mind over which one I want to cook :) I was going back and forth and finally settled on this delicious recipe from Sailu's Kitchen. I keep seeing loads of people leaving great remarks about Sailu's recipes, but this is the first time I am trying her dish. I knew it would come out just perfect and I was not wrong. It was yummy and very flavorful! I would like to send this for Your Recipe Rocks event hosted by Madhuram. You can find the original recipe here. Thanks Sailu for sharing this great recipe! Your recipe really rocks!

I want to also thank my sweet friends JZ and Uma for passing me the Friendship Award! This is very exciting and I feel so good to receive it from you both. You are such good friends and I always love reading your sweet and encouraging comments. Thanks JZ and Uma!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fish Rice Cakes

Apparently, we all socialize. Especially, after moving away from home, socializing becomes part of life. We meet people, hang out with friends, attend parties, mingle with people from different culture, which gives so much exposure about many things. Food is definitely one of them. I recently read this saying somewhere: Food is not about impressing people, Its about making them feel comfortable. How true! To me, the flavor and taste is what makes me comfortable. Obviously the presentation is what draws our attention towards it, but ultimately taste is what makes it a winner. Ofcourse there are people who are experts in both presentation and cooking as well. In fact, I do know someone like that in my close knit friends circle. I just admire her passion for cooking and also her presentation skills. You give her even a burnt Roti, she will give it an artistic look on the table. I wish I had those skills. Its still a dream for me and I'm hoping one day I'll become better in both! A big hope!

As part of our weekend socializing, I had a couple come in for a tea party today, and I had planned to offer them a few appetizers. Fish rice cake has been in my to-try list for a while. This is yet another recipe that I got from my sister! But this time its from my other sister who lives in India. I've been lately hearing a lot about her awesome fish recipes those she's been mastering for a while. Mom was praising about her fish cutlets and fish fingers that she had made when she recently visited my sister's place. Since then I was tempted to give it a shot and was all set after discussing the recipe with my sis over phone. Recipe sounded too enticing and I couldn't wait to try.

So, when I had invited a couple for a tea party, this fish cakes sounded like a perfect match for an evening tea. Not too heavy, yet not too light either. I had already tried this recipe last week in smaller quantities as I just wanted to get the hang of it and I didn't want to mess up in front of the guests. To be honest, Cutlets are very tricky for me. I have messed them up sometimes, well.. many times :) Somehow, they disintegrate or collapse when I fry them and I was almost about to give up making them. Then after reading a few cookbooks, I learnt that the binding ingredient has to be exactly in the right proportion, and that's the tricky part. Sometimes a complex thing sounds so simple after its explained! This recipe uses rice as the binding agent and I was very cautious in its proportion, and it came out perfectly fine during my trial version as well as during the actual party. Yummy and thanks dear sis for this great recipe, my friends just loved it!

This entry also goes for Eat healthy - Protein Rich hosted by Sangeeth.


  • Tuna/Sardines in Oil - 2 cans (you get it in all grocery stores, the cans are flat and rectangled). Or you can also just steam cook a tuna steak (or any fish) and mince them finely. Make sure it comes to about a cup after mincing.
  • Onions - minced - 1/2 cup
  • Ginger - 1.5 inches
  • Garlic - 2 medium cloves
  • G.Chilly- 1
  • Fresh dill leaves - minced - 1 tbsp
  • Chilli powder, corriander powder, cumin powder - 1 tsp each
  • Turmeric and Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp each
  • Lemon juice - 1 tsp
  • Cooked left over rice - 1 cup
  • If you have a food processor, toss in the onions, garlic, ginger and g.chilly and give it a run. This will perfectly mince the ingredients as required. Otherwise, you can chop all these ingredients very finely.
  • Mash the cooked rice so that they are out of shape. I actually ran this also in food processor separately.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add the minced ingredients and fry until onions turn golden brown.
  • Add dill leaves and fry for a min. You will get a nice aroma. Now add all the spice powders along with salt and fry in medium heat for 4-5 mins.
  • Then add the fish, some oil from the can and fry it in medium heat for 3 mins.
  • Transfer the contents to a wide bowl. Add the rice and lemon juice and mix it well to a dough consistency. Add and adjust salt.
  • Make your desired shapes for cutlets and shallow fry on a pan with oil.

Serve hot with chutney or ketchup.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mango Fruit Punch

It's so much fun when I discover a new recipe to add to my blog. When my sister told me about this recipe over phone, it sounded delicious and I had the sense of the taste pretty much. One of the great things we all sisters possess in common, is the passion for sharing recipes! If we happen to try out a new recipe and if the end result is impressive, we can't wait to share with each other! Its an enjoyable moment. Its even more enjoyable to share the secrets of doing little twists and tweaks to the original recipe and make it even more delicious! After we all sisters came away from our home, the curiosity for learning new recipes has grown in each one of us. Obviously, the more you get involved in cooking, the more the curiosity for learning grows! Also, each one of us are happening to meet so many friends, attend parties, read magazines, which are sources for countless new recipes. Sharing recipes has always been fun! And honestly, that has been one of the key motivating factors for me to start on this blog venture. What a way to share and learn recipes! I originally thought my blog would atleast be useful to share recipes among our sisters and immediate family members, which can avoid explaining over phone and writing them down everytime. I never ever thought this would grow beyond what I imagined! Just the feel of it is so exciting!

Alright, about this recipe... As I said, this is a recipe that I learnt from my sister. She told that she made this once for a potluck party. I tried this yesterday and we just loved it! She is absolutely right, this is a great potluck dish. So simple to make, and you can either serve it for a drink or for a dessert. Mango being my favorite fruit, I was happy to see Mango Mania started by Meeta. I see mangoes everywhere these days! It calls upon my forgotten passion for mangoes. This is one good dessert that makes me indulge into that passion!

  • Mangoes - 2
  • Mango Pulp - 1 can (850 gm)
  • Diced mixed fruits like apple, pineapple, grapes (avoid bananas as it will become too soggy) - 1 cup
  • Milk - 2 cups
  • Sprite - 1/2 litre

  • If you do not wish to use canned mango pulp, you can make pulp from about 4 fresh mangoes, by blending them to a puree. You can add 1 cup of water while blending.
  • Peel and dice the mangoes, set aside.
  • Mix the mango puree, diced mangoes and diced mixed fruits with milk in a large bowl. Soak this overnight in fridge well covered.
  • Add sprite, ice cubes before serving.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mushroom Podi Pirattal (Mushroom Fry with Spice Powder)

My hubby being a vegetarian, eating out can be fiddly sometimes. Indian restaurant/fast food is a life-saver many times, but when we are in a mood for fine dining, it becomes really hard to pick a restaurant that has atleast a few vegetarian dishes in the menu. He is not a salad lover too. Though vegetarian soups are an option, he becomes doubtful about the "meat stock" being the base for many soups. With all these restrictions, there are only a very few safe options available, like Cheese Ravioli, Grilled mushroom burgers, Veggie Pizzas etc. At these times, I keep teasing him that now is the time for him to get converted to a non-vegetarian, but hasn't worked so far ;-) Mushrooms are his much preferred choice and he is comfortable with any entree that has mushrooms in any form, be it grilled or roasted or baked. Back in India, mushrooms weren't a familiar food for us, and I've hardly tasted them before coming here. It was available only in special stores and no one had the anxiety to go buy and cook it.

After trying out some interesting mushroom recipes at restaurants here, I started cooking mushrooms frequently at home by applying some Indian touch to it like Mushroom Soup, Mushroom Briyani, Mushroom Kurma etc. All these are recently adopted dishes from various sources and are wonderful dishes that anyone can enjoy! Nowadays, mushrooms are becoming another staple food in our diet. This is one such fabulous mushroom dish that my Mother-in-law told me after watching it in a cooking show. In fact, she shares new recipes everyday with me after watching the TV shows! I pick to try the recipes that sound yummy and new to me. Last week when she told about this recipe, it sounded interesting to me as its made of idli podi and I sure wanted to try this soon. After a few relaxing days in our long weekend, I decided to try this today and it didn't disappoint me. It was yummy, and moreover uses very simple ingredients and quick to make too! I called her immediately and told her how tasty it came out :)

Before going to the recipe, its time to share my excitement! I've been showered with awards lately and I'm in the seventh heaven now! I received the awards from four of my dear fellow bloggers on the same day! Its such an ecstasy to receive the "Blogging with a Purpose" award
from Rekha, Srilekha, Vani and JZ!

I also received the "Yum Yum Blog" award from my dear friends Ramya and Srilekha. Thanks so much to all of you for sharing your awards with me :) I will soon pass these awards..


  • Sliced Mushrooms (button) - 1 cup
  • Gram Flour(Besan) - 1 tbsp
  • Rice Flour - 1/2 tbsp
  • Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
  • Onions - 1/2 cup (Chopped)
  • Idli Podi - 1 tbsp
  • Curry leaves - a few
  • Corriander leaves - a hand full
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Mix the sliced mushrooms, gram flour, rice flour, chilli powder and salt along with some water. Be little cautious in adding water. Start by sprinkling some water then mixing, and repeat this until the flours are well blended with mushrooms. Should NOT be watery like bajji batter.
  • Deep fry this in oil in batches and set aside on a paper napkin to let the oil drain.
  • Heat a tsp of oil in a pan, season with fennel seeds and fry the onions, curry leaves until the onions turn light brown.
  • Add the mushrooms, Idli podi and fry well in medium heat for 5 mins.
  • Finally add chopped corriander leaves and fry for a min. Remove from heat.
We enjoy this with a mixed rice dish like veg briyani or pulao.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mutton Balls Curry (Gola Urundai Kuzhambu)

Being a foodie blogger, how can I not post my favorite recipe?! If you don't already know, I am a mutton (goat meat) lover. Ironically, I didn't have a big interest in mutton while growing up, although mom used to cook it once a week. Meaning, I love it, but I could live without it for months too. And my interest continued to descend after moving to the US, because we hardly get to see goat meat in the grocery stores around the places we stayed initially. And the other reason is my husband being a vegetarian, its too boring (also laziness!) to cook for myself. The only chance I get to eat sometimes, is in Indian restaurants, but the taste is not even close to the one I had experienced in India. The flavor between lamb and goat meat sure does make a difference and I almost gave up eating mutton totally for a few years. Well, not anymore :) I've a craziness towards mutton nowadays, god knows why! Perhaps mainly because I do get to see excellent goat meat in the grocery stores nowadays which makes me irresistible to buy, plus my willingness to try cooking different varieties is adding to it and ofcourse you all friends tempt me by posting awesome mouth-watering recipes :)

Moreover, I'm one of those freaks who love to do grocery shopping. I take some time to pick my favorite vegetables to make sure they are fresh and clean, and I walk up and down the aisles to see whats new and interesting. I like it but for my hubby its a torture :) Last week, while I was waiting for my daughter's ballet class to finish, I happened to notice in a nearby grocery store a big board saying "fresh goat meat - every wednesday" and coincidentally it happened to be a wednesday! Could I resist? No! And anyways it was due for my grocery shopping that week. So, I walked into this store and was impressed with the meat section. Minced goat meat special was going on that day and I ended up buying a couple of pounds, and I am so glad I bought that day as my Mutton-ball curry came out fabulous and I enjoyed every bite of it!

This is a beloved dish in our family! Whenever this is made, its a feast in our house. Mom makes it awesome with her special touch and we all thoroughly enjoy it. Although this is not a dish to prepare everytime, its certainly satisfies your craving for mutton whenever you have it.

You can make the mutton balls, toss them into a spicy tangy curry (Kuzhambu) , and/or you can deep fry them too. I make both ways everytime since my daughter loves the deep-fried balls, and I love the curry.


For Mutton balls:

  • Pottu kadalai (Chana dalia) - 2 tbsp

  • Red Chillies - 2

  • Cinnamon - 1/2 inch

  • Cloves - 1

  • Fennel seeds - 1 tsp

  • Shredded coconut - 2 tbsp

  • Minced goat meat - 1 lb

  • Shallots - 7 or 8 (you can substitute 1 medium sized red onion chopped finely)

  • Garlic - 3 small pods

  • Curry leaves - chopped finely - 1 tbsp

  • Corriander leaves - chopped finely - a hand full.

For Gravy:

  • Shredded Coconut - 2 tbsp

  • Fennel seeds - 1 tsp

  • Kaskas - 1 tsp

  • Garlic - 3 small pods

  • Onion - 1 medium

  • Tomato - 1 medium

  • Cinnamon - 1 inch

  • Cloves - 2

  • Kuzhambu powder - 3 tbsp (Or chilli powder 1 tbsp, corriander powder - 2 tbsp)

  • Tamarind paste - 1 tbsp


  • Grind the first six ingredients mentioned for meat balls without adding water. It will be little moist because of the coconut, and thats fine.

  • Add this mixture to the minced meat, along with salt, chopped onions, chopped garlic, corriander leaves and curry leaves and mix well until the ingredients are all blended well in the meat. Add 1 tsp of oil to this mixture, and make balls of your desired size. Set aside.

  • Grind the first three ingredients mentioned for gravy to a paste. You can add little water.

  • Heat oil in a pan, season with Cinnamon and cloves. Add chopped onions, chopped garlic, curry leaves. Fry until they turn light brown.

  • Add tomatoes, kuzhambu powder and fry for a few mins in medium heat.

  • Add 2 cups water and salt. Cover and cook in medium heat for 10 mins or until you get some nice aroma.

  • Add the coconut paste, tamarind paste and boil for 2 mins. You can add more water depending on your required consistency.

  • While its boiling, simmer the heat, add the mutton balls gently in the curry. Make sure you don't drop the balls on top of each other as they may break.

  • Cover and cook for a few more mins until the meat is completly cooked.

  • Garnish with corriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice. This curry tastes good with aging. So, let it sit for atleast an hour before serving. You can save some of the balls, and deep fry them too as shown in the picture above. They are yummy!