Friday, August 29, 2008

Rava Laddus and a Click

Its friday.. My mind always gets a little lazy at this time of the week no matter how busy I am. Just the thought of friday makes me feel lethargic and sluggish. So, just in an effort to increase my productivity I decided to manage a few hours in the kitchen today. I knew I had plans to participate in quite a few events and its only a couple of days left but I've no idea what to make. I was glancing through various cookbooks from my shelf and found quite a few interesting recipes. But most of them required ingredients that I don't usually stock in my pantry. It required a mini visit to the grocery store. That was a good reason for me to postpone those dishes for some other time.

Finally after a lot of reasearch and thinking, I decided to close my cookbook and make my own favorite Rava Laddus. It was a good decision:) Laddus came out phenomenal! Sweet and soft with those yummy flavors. I have a liking for laddus since childhood and that liking still continues. Our Deepavali wasn't complete without rava laddus. Grandma used to make it delicious and I've managed to follow her traditional recipe many times. About a few months before, I tasted these laddus from a friend and it had a slightly different flavor, I just loved it! The secret ingredient was coconut! Adding just a little bit of coconut gave it a different twist and I fell for it right away. Since then I've been modifying my grandma's recipe just by adding a little coconut to it. I like all kinds of laddus, but rava laddus are the only ones that I have tried making at home. May be beacuse of the simple ingredients and the straight-forward method.

  • Rava - 1 cup
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Cardamom pods - 5
  • Cashews - 10
  • Shredded Coconut - 2 tbsp
  • Ghee - 2 tbsp
  • Milk - 3 tbsp

  • Heat the pan and dry roast the rava until nice aroma comes. Set aside.
  • Remove the skins from cardamom and take just the seeds out. Grind them together with sugar to a fine powder. Mix them with the rava.
  • Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pan and roast the cashews. Add this to the rava mixture.
  • In the same pan, add another tsp of ghee and fry the coconut until they become golden brown. Add to rava mixture.
  • Mix together well and start making the laddus by adding a little ghee and warm milk to each laddu while making it so that the ball holds on tight.

I also managed to make Honey Lemonade, a refreshing and healthy drink for summer. I often make this at home as my daughter just loves honey! The recipe is quite simple. Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup honey in a pan. Heat until the honey dissolves fully. Cool and then add 4 cups of cold water, a few ice cubes and a pinch of salt. Mix well and serve chilled.

This entry goes for EC's AFAM:Lemon as well as Jai and Bee's CLICK event.

Honey Lemonade

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pista Kulfi

We were at home this past weekend catching up with our friends over phone and emails after our vacation. Also finished my groceries and loaded up my fridge for the upcoming week and actually I had some time to cook a traditional lunch after a few weeks! Surprisingly, I also got into this mood of planning the dinner menu for all five working days next week. I normally won't do it, and even if I do, I don't end up maintaining it :) But perhaps, may be my 2 week break is giving me all this enthusiasm! Don't know how long my enthu will last.. But, so far so good! I've been going as per plan for the past 2 days and it helps indeed. Atleast, it lets me drive back home peacefully listening to my favorite music, instead of debating myself about the dinner menu.

This year, for some reason August is cooler than it should be. Don't know why. I know that theoritically there are a few more summer weeks left before all my short sleeve blouses and skirts get replaced with my sweaters and pants in my closet. But oddly I had to sleep with my big blanket last night. I liked it, but mentally not fully ready for fall and winter yet. So still maintaining to cook some thing summery in my kitchen often, just to maintain my summer gusto. Coincidentally, Srilekha's Ice-Creams and Milkshakes event came up at the right time giving me another opportunity to make a summer favorite!

Pista Kulfi has been my family favorite for a long time. Back in my childhood, I remember enjoying kulfi only in "Aavin", a popular dairy store in my place. But about a few years ago I learnt this awesome recipe from one of my friends - actually this recipe is a combination from my sister and my friend. Both had slightly different versions and I combined them to make it my own way. Its been coming out delicious every time and we all thoroughly enjoy it. If you have the right ingredients, its super easy! If you do have those freezer pops, you can make it with ice-cream sticks.. but we just enjoy it in a bowl as well..


  • Evaporated Milk - 1 cup
  • Sweetened Condensed mik - 1 cup
  • Half and Half - 1/2 cup
  • Cool whip - 1/2 cup (you will find this in the freezer section)
  • Green food color - 2 drops (optional)
  • Crushed Cardamom pods - 5
  • Pista, Walnuts - 1/4 cup
  • Combine and whip all of the above ingredients except nuts in a big bowl for a few mins. Bring the cool whip to room temperature before mixing.
  • Freeze it for an hour. Remove and now garnish with the nuts. Freeze again overnight.
  • Leave it outside for 5 mins before serving.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Apple Dal!

I'm back.. Missed you all for 2 weeks and I'm sure I would have missed reading some fabulous recipes too! We came back last weekend from our 10 day cruise trip to the Carribean Islands. We were a group of 17 people and we had a blast! Friends, I have to tell you.. If you have not done a cruise vacation, do it! Its worth. A very different experience and we all had a great time! It was a mega-ship and we got a room with a balcony. The ocean views and sunset views were just fabulous! What's more appealing is that unlimited top-notch cuisine that was served all day (included in your fare). The food was exceptional and we also were lucky enough to have some fabulous Indian dinner every night due to our speical request.

It was a REAL vacation as we didn't' have to worry about anything and the cruise ship had it all - comfy rooms, plenty of food, pools, casino, movie theater, spa, gym, disco, shopping, library - you name it. Its just like a floating 5 star hotel. Life on the ship is all about being pampered, entertained, fed by culinary yummers at all hours with spectacular desserts. Those were the best desserts I've ever tasted! We docked at a few islands like Bermudas, Peurtorico and enjoyed swimming and snorkeling in those beautiful beaches too! The weather was hot and sunny in every port- but getting into the water made it better, water was perfect! I can't think of anything that I disliked about the cruise except my lousy Rammi playing.. ha ha.. But overall, we had a great time!

Well, its hard to get back to the same old routine after a good break.. But you know what? I'm re-charged completely after reading all your wonderful comments, a few tags and awards waiting in my blog while I was gone and I can't wait to get back to my blogging as well as read thru all your posts. Thank you all for your wishes and great words. Alright, here I am with another of my favorite recipe. After we came back, we sure did have the craving for some home-made comfort food. Nothing can beat that! After doing some basic grocery shopping, I decided to make some quick comfort food yesterday. Apple dal is one of our favorite dal recipes and a very simple recipe too. I make this whenever I need a simple but different dal recipe or whenever I have some extra apples. I like the taste of the sweet and tangy apple mixed with spices. Goes well with rice as well as rotis. Hope you all like it too.


  • Green Apple - 1
  • Cooked Toor Dal - 1.5 cup
  • Onion - 1 medium
  • G.Chillies - 2
  • Tomato - 1 medium
  • Sambar Powder - 1 tbsp
  • Mustard and Cumin seeds - 1 tsp each
  • Asaefotida/Hing - 2 pinches
  • Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp
  • Corriander and Curry leaves - a few.


  • Peel and dice the apples into 1 inch cubes and soak in water and the lemon juice atleast for 15 mins.
  • Puree the tomatoes. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a kadai, season with mustard, cumin seeds and asafoetida. Add the chopped onions, curry leaves and g.chillies and fry for a few mins.
  • Add sambar powder and tomato puree and let it boil for 5 mins in medium heat.
  • Then add the apples, cooked tuvar dal and salt with some water and simmer for 10 more mins or until the apples are soft. Mash the mixture slightly.
  • Add corriander leaves, mix and remove from heat.

We enjoy it with plain rice. I make it a little spicier since we always have it with rice.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Thai Basil Curry with Tofu... and a short break

Wow, I can't believe its August already! Just a few more summer weeks left! Ever had that experience of waiting and waiting for the July 4th weekend, and after that everything just works so fast and time just flies by?! It happens to me every year. To me, summer starts only from July 4th holiday weekend. Until then, the weather is so unpredictable in my region that we can't have any major plans outdoors. Then, after the July holiday weekend, everything just clicks together and time flies off! And here we are in August already.

Well, one good thing thats coming up in August is my long waited vacation! This will be my last post before my 2 week vacation starting tomorrow. We will be sailing on a cruise ship for the next two weeks to Carribean islands. Before I go on vacation, I wanted to post a recipe from many of my blogging friends' favorite cuisine - Thai! I thank you all so much who took time to participate in my poll that was going on for a couple of months in my blog. The poll was to figure out your favorite cuisine other than Indian. Once again, fabulous response from you all and I was overwhelmed to see more than 75 votes recorded in just a few weeks! Its exhilarating to see the interest and enthusiasm expressed in many such ways by you all. Thanks again!

Here are the results from the poll, starting from top to bottom - Thai, Chinese, Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican. I was extra thrilled to watch my favorite cuisine continuously stay on top for all 8 weeks :) Yes, Thai is my favorite food next to Indian and I am so glad to know its a favorite to many of you as well. There's such an exuberance in Thai food that offers those unique vibrant flavors. I love the special aroma from those basil leaves and peanut sauce! Yummmm.. Being a south Indian, I do have a special liking for coconuts and no wonder the zest of coconut milk in Thai food brings that dribble in me :)

I made this Thai Red curry with Tofu and basil leaves today. It came out scrumptious and we enjoyed with fried rice as well as plain rice. The best part is, its startlingly simple to make! Here is the recipe:


  • Yellow Pepper - 1 (small sized)
  • Red Pepper - 1 (small sized)
  • Tofu - 12 - 15 cubes (your choice)
  • Thai Red curry paste - 2 tbsp (You will find it in all grocery stores)
  • Basil leaves - 10 - 12
  • Olive oil - 1 tbsp
  • Coconut milk - 1 can ( or 2 cups)

  • Chop the peppers in 2 inch long stripes and set aside.
  • Chop the basil leaves and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a pan, and add the peppers. Stir fry for 3 - 5 mins.
  • Add the curry paste and fry on medium heat for 5 - 8 mins so that the peppers are almost cooked.
  • Add chopped basil leaves and fry for a min.
  • Add salt, coconut milk and 1 cup of water and bring it to boil (you can adjust water according to your required consistency).
  • When it begins to boil, add tofu cubes and let it boil for 3 - 5 mins.
Yummy Thai red curry is ready! Serve hot with Fried rice or Plain rice.

I am sending this recipe for:

Sunshinemom's "Food in color" which is RED this month and
EC's "WYF - Color in Food" which is also RED this month.

I also want to write a few lines about my awards that are long waiting to be posted and shared. I thank my good new friend Rashmi for passing me the "Blogging Friends Forever" award. Thanks so much for remembering me, Rashmi!

The following rules apply to this award:
1. Only 5 people are allowed to receive this award
2. 4 of them followers of your blog.
3. One has to be new to your blog and live in another part of the world.
4. You must link back to who ever gave you the award.

I would like to pass this on to my dear friends:

I also want to thank Sukanya for passing me the rocking gal award! Thank you so much Sukanya! Its very exciting to recieve this :) Sorry but I am so late in posting this award.. I'll soon pass this award.

Next I want to thank my sweet friend JZ for passing me little luck through the Magic lamp! Thanks JZ ! I would like to pass the luck to Laavanya, Ramya, Cham and Suma.

Enjoy the awards friends!