Monday, October 27, 2008

Having a feast?

Moong Dal Ladoos, Kalakand ..

Ribbon Pakodas

This is a short and sweet post.. No rambling or blah-blahs this time.. Just extending my previous post and just wanted to quickly post my snacks and sweets that I made for Diwali... I made Moong Dal Ladoos, Kalakand and Savory flat Pakodas. Hope you all had a wonderful Diwali!


I love this sweet since it tastes very similar to my favorite Paalkova and I was excited to see the recipe for it when Cham posted it in her blog a while before. I decided to try it for Diwali and it just came so good! My hubby loved it and he was complaining that I made too little :) I made Cham's stove top version. Thanks Cham, for posting such a wonderful recipe!

Mix 1 can of condensed milk, equal measure of home made paneer, and 4-5 cardamom pods together. Heat this mixture in a pan and bring it to boil, then reduce the heat and keep stirring for about 10 mins. You will notice that the mixture will start thickening and finally tend to separate from the pan. Pour this in a greased pan and top it with chopped nuts of your choice. Let it cool and cut into your desired shapes.

Moong Dal Laddoos:

Roast 1 cup of moong dal (yellow) in a pan. Let it cool. Meanwhile grind 1/2 cup of sugar and 4-5 cardamom pods to a fine powder. Transfer to a wide bowl. Then grind the roasted moong dal to a fine powder too. Mix it with the sugar powder. Roast some cashews in 1 tsp ghee and add it to the mixture. Then add 1/4 cup of hot ghee and mix well. Make laddoos while the mixture is still warm.

Ribbon Pakkodas:

Mix 2 tbsps of water with 1 tbsp of garlic paste, strain and save the water. Discard the pulp. Then mix 1 cup of besan (gram flour/kadala mavu), 2 tbsp butter, 1 tsp chilli powder, garlic extract and salt with water and make a dough similar to a chapathi flour consistency. Fill the Murukku maker (fix the appropriate lid) with this dough and squeeze small circles into hot oil and deep fry.

Sending these dishes to Priti's Festive Food: Diwali, Srivalli's JFI Festival Food - Diwali.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Paneer Kheer and Diwali Wishes!

I'm a believer in finding excitement even in trivial stuffs. I keep looking for reasons to celebrate even if there doesn't seem to be one. Actually this is a quality that we all sisters share in our family. We have a good time even if we get together for some time and switch ourselves to a celebration mode. One of the many advantages of growing up with 3 sisters is instant entertainment! Our house was never quiet when we grew up and no one was never alone at home. I remember those lively evenings at hour house, after we come back from school/colleges everyday. Dinner time was the time for all of us to catch up on everyone's news. Each one of us had a story to share from our school and college everyday. And the interesting part was, mom used to actively participate in these conversations! She never gets bored with our silly stories and even with our so called "complains" about school. And in fact, she maintained and still maintains the same kind of relationship with all our friends who visit our place. That's one of the reasons that our home was the regular meeting place for a number of friends.

Now after many years, while everyone has spreaded out from home and live in remote places, I can sense the silence in our house. Mom and dad especially can sense it often and every now and then they express about it when we converse over phone. Diwali is one such occasion that we all miss terribly. Naturally, its wonderful to celebrate Diwali! Wearing new clothes, oil bath, fire crackers, special programs in TV and best of all delicious food and yummy sweets... Hmm, I really wish I was in India for Diwali every year and enjoy as much as possible, but unfortunately, that isn't the case. Its been years since we celebrated Diwali together as a family in India.

Well, change is inevitable and we all know about it. And fortunately that same quality still continues in us and often we catch-up over phone nowadays. We do our three-way/conference calls to get everyone on line and have fun talking about many things. Surprisingly even now, we never get tired of our never ending chitchats. Also, when we visit India everytime we make sure we celebrate every little occassion to make it a pleasurable experience.

A couple of days before I successfully finished a mini home project and I felt that I deserved a pat on my back. Perhaps because of the way I was brought up, I still find reasons to rejoice even in day-to-day minor happenings. So, I made this Paneer Kheer! This kheer is a winner in our family. Especially if my daughter loves it, then it has to be a real winner! I happened to read this recipe from a cookbook recently and I made it for the first time a couple of days before when I had to finish off the left over paneer in my freezer. After a while, I was enjoying this delicious kheer and I just loved it so much that I had 3 servings (yes, I am a dessert freak!) continuously and almost finished it before my hubby and daughter had even tasted it. As a result, I had to make more paneer at home the same night and made this kheer again the next day. All of them loved it as much as I did! I have to tell you its evil and rich :) Quite similar in taste to Basundi, but takes much lesser time than Basundi.



  • Condensed Milk - 1/2 can
  • Whole Milk - 3 cups
  • Grated Paneer - 1 cup
  • Sugar - 1/2 cup (or as required)
  • Cardamom - crushed - 1 tsp
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp
  • Cashews and raisins - a few
  • Heat the whole milk in a wide pan and let it boil.
  • Add the condensed milk and stir well. Let it boil and taste for sugar. If the sweetness from the condensed milk is not enough, you can add 1/2 cup sugar and stir it gently.
  • Cover and boil in low heat for about 10 - 15 mins.
  • The mixture should not be too watery and should be like any other kheer texture.
  • Now add the grated paneer, crushed cardamoms and boil for 10 more mins in low heat.
  • Finally add Cashews and raisins after roasting in ghee.
  • Remove from heat and let it rest for an hour.
Serve warm or chilled.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Methi Malai Matar - a green delight

As much as I love to cook and eat comfort food, I love to cook and enjoy party food as well. Great parties begin with great food, as food is the main spotlight of many parties. Preparing a party food is another form of amusement to me since it gives me an opportunity to try some colourful dishes that look fantastic on the table. It sure also gives me a chance to try those special dishes that can't be prepared on a daily basis, but still certainly deserve a spot on the table for special occasions or even for a casual evening party. But it certainly requires some level of planning, well ahead. I definitely enjoy hosting parties and having some great time with friends, yet can't take any last minute surprises. Everything has to be pre-planned. I prepare the menu atleast a couple of days before, so that I can plan for grocery shopping, if any, as well as manage my cooking time efficiently.

But I have to admit that though I enjoy cooking for a party, it is definitely an exhausting day for me many times. I often recall those days when I grew up in India, and wonder how do they cook such an elaborate south indian feast with very little help and still manage to serve with a smile in their face! I probably would have turned cranky by that time! For that reason, I avoid spending a lot of time in the kitchen on the day of my party and usually finish all my chopping, soaking and my pressure cooking tasks the previous day, so that they are ready to be just seasoned or stir-fried on the party day.

Two kinds of people make any party very special - those who love to cook and those who love to eat! Last weekend, we had some good friends come over to my place for dinner with their families. It was a fabulous evening and I was quite happy that everything went as planned. All of them are in my close knit friends circle, and like me, they are food lovers too :) So we always feel free in each others presence and are unfussy about food as well. And the best part is that we all get inquisitive about good food and happily exchange our secret recipes ;-) Even a slight variation to our regular food could give such a fantastic twist to the entire dish and thats something I'm always willing to learn from others.

Alright, about the recipe.. For the party, one of the veg curries I'd made was Methi malai matar. I often make it at home too whenever I am in the mood for something different. But this recipe undoubtedly looks great on a party table, especially if you can decorate with a twist of cream on the top. Fresh methi leaves are ideal, but you can use kasuri methi (dried methi leaves) as well, and comes out as great as the fresh leaves. I love the slight bitterness of the methi leaves combined with the sweet taste from the peas. Very simple and flavorful recipe.

This entry goes for EasyCrafts "WYF - Party food" event.

  • Peas - 1.5 cup
  • Chopped Methi leaves - 1/2 cup
  • Curd - 2 tbsp
  • Cream - 1/2 cup
  • Onions - 1 medium
  • Ginger/Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
  • Green chillies - 2
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Corriander seeds - 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Corriander powder - 2 tsp

  • Grind the ginger, garlic and g.chillies together. Set aside.
  • Boil the peas with some salt and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan, season with cumin seeds. Crush the corriander seeds slightly and add this to the oil.
  • Add the chopped onions and fry for a few mins. Then add the ginger, garlic and g.chillies paste and fry well for a couple mins.
  • Add methi leaves or kasuri methi and fry well for until the methi leaves lose shape.
  • Add the spice powders, salt and mix well.
  • Add curd and fry for 2 mins. Cover and let it cook for 3 - 4 mins.
  • Now add the cooked peas, some water and let it boil for 2 - 3 mins.
  • Finally add the cream and mix well. Remove from heat.

Serve with rotis.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fish Pulav

Well.. October is definitely an Autumn month in my place, but last few days have been quite sunny and pleasant. My sandals and skirts haven't gone into my boxes yet fully, and keep hopping out now and then. I have no complaints about these warm days in Autumn, I'm just saying that weather is so unpredictable these days. Actually I was so thrilled to get back into my summer outfits last week and I had the luxury to enjoy the little summer pleasures like.. taking my daughter for a bike ride, having the windows rolled down in my car while driving, etc. etc. But, its all going to be over in a day or two. Chilly Autumn days are on their way back by the end of this week. But as I said before, I love Autumn too! Every season is special in its own way..

Over the weekend, I had the good luck to get some time to clean up my freezer. I recently realized that my freezer was getting crowded and that it definitely required some sorting, but didn't expect that I will do it right away. Sometimes, just a few minutes is all that is required to put things in order, But we don't realize that until we finish doing it. A pile of paper will soon become a tower of terror for me! Thats even more haunting! Now I've learnt that before even it terrifies me, I better fix it. Thats what forced me to attend to my freezer this weekend :) While cleaning up my freezer, I noticed that there were some Tuna Steaks waiting for my attention. I had bought them a couple of weeks before to make fish curry, but then last week I happened to taste an awesome fish curry from my good friend at her place! That will definitely keep me going for the next few weeks and so I dropped my plan for making fish curry at home. But yet I had to make something with this Tuna before it goes useless and here I am with this fish Pulav!

This is yet another spur of the moment dinner inspired purely by what I had in my freezer. Just a bunch of spices thrown together to make something edible. There are days when you need to improvise and be creative with what you have, but I also have to say that self-tried recipes, many times turn out perfectly to end up in trash. But I knew I cannot mess up with this one because fish can practically go with any spices and ofcourse rice! Yet another simple recipe that uses simple ingredients and can be done in a short time. So, here goes the recipe.. hope you all like it too...

  • Cooked rice - 1 cup
  • Cooked and shredded Tuna - 1/2 cup
  • Onions - 3 tbsp (minced)
  • Minced ginger and garlic mixture - 1 tbsp
  • G.chillies - 2
  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Corriander powder - tsp
  • Black pepper powder - 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1 inch
  • Cloves - 2
  • Curry leaves a few
  • Corriander leaves - a hand full
  • To cook the tuna, I leave it in microwave for 3 mins. Then shred it and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan, season with cinnamon and cloves. Then add onions and g.chillies and fry for a few mins until onion turns to a golden brown color.
  • Add the chopped ginger and garlic and fry for a few mins.
  • Add curry leaves and corriander leaves and fry for a few more mins.
  • Add the shredded tuna, all spice powders and salt and fry in low heat for about 5 mins. I cover for 2 mins and cook so that the raw smell from fish goes away.
  • Then add the cooked rice, mix gently in low heat.
  • Cover for a few more mins and mix well once more.
Yummy fish pulav is ready. Serve with Raita.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Banana Sweet Appam

What happens after a looong tiring two weeks, when you get some spare time, absolutely nothing to do?? Sleep peacefully? Watch a movie? My house was quiet this evening as my hubby and my daughter were off to a birthday party. I didn't feel like joining them as I needed some time for myself after yet another exhausting work week. I relaxed a bit and then I managed to annoy a very good friend of mine over the phone for an hour (hope she forgives me!) as we had a lot to catch up. While I was done with that, what else I can do? Ofcourse, Blogging!

When I was a kid, I was not too thrilled about snacks or sweets. Just the word snacks were good enough to lose my interest. Everyone in my family and friends circle seemed to enjoy all kinds of snacks no matter however they taste. I liked may be one or two sweets, but savory snacks were far from my liking. Sometimes I used to wonder, if snacks were the only food on earth, what would I have chosen? And my answer was always "Laddoo". My only preferred sweet since childhood and my liking still continues. I can enjoy anything and everything that turns out being a laddoo. I am definitely convinced that our taste buds change as we grow. The things I used to dislike before are in my favorites now and some things that I used to love as a child have disappeared from my favorites list long back (ladoos are exceptions, he.. he). I have lately been trying all kinds of snacks and sweet recipes in my kitchen. After moving to this country, the sight of those glamarous desserts ignites that passion for them too. These days desserts are simply irresistible and I just can't seem to get enough of it.

Banana sweet appam is one such dish that I didn't have a great liking for, while growing up. But it seems to be flavoring my kitchen often nowadays - perhaps because it happens to be my hubby's and daughter's favorite snack dish. Also, obviously I can't avoid tasting the dish now and then, while preparing it and may be these factors got me hooked up to this sweet snack. I made this for Vijayadhasami yesterday after coming back from work. A quick and easy one done in 2 steps.

This entry goes for Mythreyee's Deep Fried Sweet Series event as well as Hima's Sunday Snack - Fry it event.


  • Banana - 1 (mashed)
  • All purpose flour(Maida) - 1 cup
  • Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Baking soda - 1 pinch
  • Coconut bits - a few (optional)
  • Cardamom - 1

  • Powder the Cardamom and add it to the flour. Add all other ingredients and make it to a thick batter consistency. Add very little water if absolutely needed, as banana releases moisture eventually and may make the batter too watery.
  • Drop spoons of batter in hot oil and deep fry.
Serve Warm.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Kothamalli Adai

Hope you all are having a wonderful Navarathiri weekend! It was a pleasure this weekend to visit all my friends' house and see their cute and beautiful Golu bommais. Navarathiri is one of my favorite traditions in our culture as I feel that it gives lots of opportunities to be creative and artistic! And, this is one festival that the kids can also actively participate and show their imaginative skills.

My favorite season fall has officially begun. To me, Spring is the season of a new beginning while Autumn is the season of transition. Eventhough it daunts me that summer is gone, Autumn is still my favorite time of the year for several reasons. Makes me feel excited that its time to celebrate Navarathiri and Diwali with friends and family. I love the warmth tinged with the chill. I love pumpkins... Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Soup - everything pumpkin. I love photography in fall when I capture those lovely colors. I love striding on the carpets of those brown and crispy leaves. To me, fall is about wearing cozy & comfy clothes, but yet not freezing in the wintery bitter cold. I welcome Autumn as it is...

Nowadays, first thing in the morning, I enjoy my coffee in our patio while breathing that cool fresh air. This keeps me fresh enough for the rest of the day. This morning, after nursing my coffee for about 30 mins, I was all geared up to make a good breakfast. I've been thinking about making adai for the past several days, but as usual kept postponing it because of time constraints. Adai is one of my favorites as it can be made instantly. No waiting required for fermenting the batter. I soak it overnight and I grind it just before breakfast. Kothamalli Adai is a recipe that I learnt from a cookbook, its pretty much the same as regular adai except a few ingredients.

  • Tuvar Dal - 1/4 cup
  • Raw Rice - 1/4 cup
  • Idli rice (par boiled) - 3/4 cup
  • Red Chillies - 3 or 4
  • Fennel Seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Garlic - 2 pods
  • Cinnamon - 1/2 inch
  • Cloves - 2
  • Corriander leaaves - 1 cup (chopped)
  • Onions - 1/2 cup (chopped)
  • Curry Leaves - a few

  • Soak the dal and rice overnight. Grind with Red chillies, fennel seeds, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, corriander leaves and salt. Need not be too fine.
  • Transfer to a bowl and mix it with water to a dosa batter consistency.
  • Add finely chopped onions and curry leaves.
  • Pour the batter in a circular shape on a hot pan. Pour a little oil around and turn it over when crisp. Transfer to a plate.
Serve hot with Tomato chutney.