Monday, November 24, 2008

Kashmiri Pulao - A colorful gourmet

I don't know how many of you are like me, but I'm happy to be a late-night person rather than an early morning person. Yes, I really am. Early mornings are just too arduous for me. I feel that I can rule the world during late nights, but never in the morning. I get so much work done during late nights - it could be either office work, or some planning for house-hold stuffs or even my favorite blogging! I can go on working while the whole world is sleeping. I feel so calm and peaceful when the house is quiet with zero distractions. Even if I am up early (sometimes I do out of necessity), I end up being so busy that I hardly get any quiet time without upheaval. This may sound ridiculous, but I've to tell that I even postpone somethings to late night though I may have some time during the day, because I know I can certainly do that same task better in the night.

Conversely, my husband is an early morning person. He gets up before the sun rises (god knows what he does that early) and takes off to work showing up 15 mins early everyday. I wonder how people do that. I've seen people waking up in the dark, jog around in the neighborhood, scaring the birds. They continue to amaze me. He says I'm lazy when he tries to wake me up early and I'm reluctant to do so, and I tell him he's lazy when he literally yawns every minute at 7 pm :) We know that we both are not lazy or crazy, but just don't fit in the same time zone.

Well, with that been said, today ironically I'm posting this recipe early in the morning :) Not that I've changed suddenly, but it all happened by itself. Its 6.30 am on a working day. My daughter is still sleeping. Before she gets ready for school, I felt like giving her some more time to sleep as she had a rough night because of her stuffy nose. I woke up seeing a snowy morning today! Its absolutely refreshing to watch those flurries through our windows, and the white snow covering our patio tables, chairs and the little plants in our patio! Its also intimidating to see a snowfall in November which is unusual in my area. But that didn't stop me from enjoying its beauty. In the next few mins, I settled down with a hot cup of coffee and my laptop to draft this post.

Ok, with just a few mins left for my morning routine to start, let me jump to the recipe now. I made this tasty, colorful dish over the weekend. I found it in my treasure book - the collection of recipes that mom had written for me when I got married. I made this for the first time and I still don't know how I missed this incredibly simple yet flavorful rice dish for so many years. The fresh fruits are a great addition and gives a fresh and rich taste to the rice. We all loved it and had a wonderful dinner enjoying this with Paneer Makhani.

This goes for SriValli's Rice Mela.
  • Basmati Rice - 2 cups
  • Saffron - 1 pinch
  • Onion - 1 medium (chopped)
  • G. chillies - 4 small
  • Cashews - 20 pieces
  • Raisins - as needed
  • Green Peas - 1/2 cup
  • Black or Brown seedless grapes - 1/2 cup (chopped)
  • Pomegranate seeds - 3 tbsps
  • Cinnamon - half inch pieces - 2
  • Cloves - 3
  • Cardamom - 1
  • Ghee/oil - 3 tbsps
  • Cook the Basmati rice and spread it in a large plate or any flat surface to avoid sticking.
  • Cook the mixed vegetables of your choice (avoid potatoes) separately and set aside. I used only green peas and microwaved it.
  • In a large wok, heat ghee/oil fry the cashews and raisins and remove them to a plate retaining the oil.
  • In the same oil, season with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
  • When they pop, add onions, g.chillies and saute for a few mins until onions become soft.
  • Now add the cooked vegetables, saute for a few more mins.
  • Add cooked rice, saffron, salt and mix well gently for 5 mins. Finally add the fresh fruits, half of the roasted cashews and raisins and mix well. The original recipes says to add 2 - 3 tbsps of cream at this point to make it rich. I didn't, but it still came out perfect.
  • Turn off heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining cashews and raisins.
Its definitely a party food, as it has more color as well as flavor and practically goes with any curry!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Colocasia (Seppankilangu) fry

I somehow believe that strange and interesting coincidences definitely add spice to life. Recently, I've been experiencing this quite frequently :) A few months before, I happened to meet my school friend after 20 years! When I saw her in our local temple, ofcourse I took a few mins to recognize her, but as soon as I recognized her, I couldn't stop myself intruding in her discussion with her friend and ask her if she identified me. Thank goodness she did! It's indeed a great feeling bumping into an old friend several miles away from home after decades! Especially, its a delight to see them married, with kids, and with those extra few pounds :) We had so much to catch-up about our life, spouses, kids etc and it made me go back to the era that I used to treasure. Its definitely exciting to recall those moments with someone who shared those good old days with me..

Then, a day last week.. Since morning, I was thinking to call another friend of mine and say hello to her since it's been a while talking to her. She recently had a baby and hence I wanted to check on the baby especially. I guessed she was probably quite busy with her little one and hence didn't have time for our usual chit-chats. So after a quick dinner, I settled down on the couch to call her. Strangely, when I took the phone to call her, I received a call from her in the same minute! I was surprised and I thought it was really strange and funny. The fact that the same person you are about to call is giving you a call in the same second is something quite mysterious and interesting to me. Don't you all think so too?

Well, Another one today.. (Can you beleive it?!) During my usual debate of what to cook for dinner tonight, I found this colocasia lying in my fridge for about a week and hence settled down to make it today. I remembered this superb dish that my mother-in-law makes. Everybody loves this dish in our family and I somehow think I still can't match her exact taste and typically avoid making it. But today, for some reason I was in a mood to make this adorable dish for dinner (and to my contentment it came out great today) and after dinner I happened to have a casual chat with my mother-in-law over phone. I was surprised to know that she had made the same dish today for lunch! In fact, she also did mention that she actually made it today after quite a few years, because it used to be my hubby's favorite and nowadays she had no interest in making this dish just for herself and my father-in-law. Different minds thinking alike and some interesting coincidences like these astonish me often and make me wonder if that so called "telepathy" really is true.. :)

Alright... coming back from the high realms of ESP and philosophy, this dish is a deep-fry dish that may take a few extra minutes, but I firmly believe that the taste it offers is simple irresistible. After deep-frying, it gets tossed in a simple spice mixture that adds an immense flavor to the dish. May be ideal for a sunday lunch when you have those few extra minutes to spare.


  • Colacasia (Seppankilangu) - 6 medium
  • Onions - 1/2 medium sized, chopped
  • Tomato - 1 medium
  • Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds and Urad dal - 1/2 tsp each
  • Curry leaves - a few
  • Oil - for deep frying.


  • Pressure cook the colacasia until its well cooked. Please be cautious not to overcook as it may completely mess up this dish. I've done this mistake a few times.
  • Slice them into round pieces and deep fry in oil in 2 or 3 batches until they become crispy. They may not turn completely crispy but you'll see atleast the outer layer turning golden brown and crispy. Wrap them up in a paper napkin and drain the excess oil.
  • Remove the oil from the pan retaining just a tsp of hot oil . Season with mustard seeds and urad dal.
  • Add finely chopped onions and curry leaves and fry for a min.
  • Then add the tomatoes, chilli powder and salt and fry until the tomatoes lose shape.
  • Then add the fried colocasia and mix well. Cover for 2 mins and mix one more time.
  • Remove from heat.

Goes well with any rice dish.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Paneer Malabari

Though I have a busy schedule throughout the week, I feel there should always be time for delicious food and family meals. Inspite of having diverse activities in the day, I somehow think that eating together at the end of the day is important. Cooking is one of my favorite relaxation therapies and though it may make me tired physically after a long busy day, it definitely rejuvenates me mentally - even if I prepare a quick meal for just 3 of us. I believe that a busy life-style doesn't have anything to compromise on healthy and tasty food. Yes, my busy life too demands quick and easy meals but I can never give up on flavours. I'm personally not fond of bland foods, and have a tendency to spice up any dish by adding my own touches. Well, its just not about adding that extra "chilli" kick to spice it up, but more than that, the flavour is the most wonderful thing that I can anticipate in a dish.

Needless to say, the way we cook food nowadays have also changed dramatically. While growing up, I'm used to watching the home-made masalas ground and prepared fresh for everyday meals. Now its a world of ready-made spice powders and ready-made masala pastes. Yet, I strongly believe that adding a little bit of right spice and making some simple tweaks, can make any dish come out delicious.

I also have to admit that our tastes and likings also change quite a bit in these recent years. Atleast mine have changed a lot. There are several reasons for that - having the opportunity to indulge in different cuisines at restaurants or during travel, developing the interest to try new recipes etc. One of the startling reasons that I feel is, coming across different recipes for the same dish! This is something incredible that always throws me off! I'm sure we all of us have experienced this in our life... It could be through friends during a party, or through internet, blogs etc. Its amazing to learn how a neat little twist to our favorite recipe that we've loved and grew up with, brings a whole new flavor. This actually inspires me to try new flavors at home too and indirectly helps my taste-buds adapt to new flavors.

Well, this is one such dish that adds a whole new twist with paneer. During my childhood, Paneer was a delicacy. Mom used to make it rarely and whenever she made it, there were no leftovers. Though nowadays its no longer a delicacy in our household, I've only made and tasted Paneer with traditional north-indian spices and have never thought it will get along with coconut too. The first time I came across this recipe (I believe from a TV show), I was a little intimidated making it. But it didn't disappoint me and the dish came out incredibly tasty and very unique! The ingredients list may seem to be longer, but all of them are fairly common and are tossed in as a paste.


  • Paneer - 25 cubes
  • Onion - 1 medium
  • Tomato Puree - 1/2 cup
  • Cinnamon - 1 inch
  • Cloves - 2
  • Curd - 1/4 cup
  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Raisins - a few
  • Corriander leaves - a hand full
For the paste

  • Cashews - 6 full (or 15 broken pieces)
  • Shredded coconut - 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cardamom - 1
  • Kasakasa - 1 tbsp (soaked in water for 10 mins)
  • G.Chillies - 2 small
  • Ginger - 1 inch
  • Garlic - 3 medium pods

  • Dry fry Cumin seeds, cardamom. Then add the shredded coconut and dry fry for a few more mins. Grind these together with g.chillies, ginger, garlic, cashews and soaked kasakasa to a smooth paste.
  • Heat oil in a pan and season with cinnamon, cloves.
  • Add chopped onions and fry for a few mins.
  • Add tomato puree and all spice powders. Mix well and cover for 5 mins in medium heat.
  • Add the ground paste and salt. Fry for 3 - 4 mins or cover for 5 more mins.
  • Now add paneer cubes, raisins and curd. Stir well and boil for some more time.
  • Finally add corriander leaves and remove from heat.
Serve hot with Rotis/Parathas.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Spicy SweetPotato Fry, Awards and MEME

Alright, yet another post without my garrulous and chatty talks. This time I have a long list of awards and MEME's to share. Sorry friends, you all have been so nice in sharing these awards with me, but I know I'm just too late in posting them. I got hooked up in posting the recipes than posting my awards and before I postpone it any further I have to do it today. So, I just want to quickly post a simple yet a flavorful recipe that I made today and move on to my awards and MEMEs.

The first time I read this sweet potato recipe in a magazine, I was a little hesitant to make this as I'd never made any dish with sweet-potatoes by that time. Just out of curiosity I made it and it turned out wonderful! I absolutely loved the blend of sweet flavor mixed with vibrant spice flavours. After a few more trials it has now taken a permanant place in my cookbook. Its light, its flavorful and its simple.


Sweet Potatoes - 2 cups (cooked, peeled and chopped into cubes)
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal/Ulundham paruppu - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

For the powder: (feel free to adjust the spice level according to your taste)

Corriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Chana dal/kadalai paruppu- 1/2 tbsp
Urad dal/Ulundham paruppu - 1/2 tbsp
Red Chillies - 4 to 5

  • In a pan, fry the ingredients mentioned for the powder with 1/2 tsp of oil and powder them finely.
  • Heat more oil in the same pan and season with mustard seeds, urad dal.
  • Once the mustard seeds pop, add turmeric and asafoetida. Fry for 10 secs.
  • Add the cooked & cubed sweet potaotes, salt and fry for 2 - 3 mins in medium heat.
  • Now add the spice powder and mix well. Cover for 2 mins in medium heat and fry for 3 more mins.
  • Remove from heat.
We enjoy this with dal/rice.

MEME: Its Meme time! Deesha had tagged me with this 7 facts about myself and here they are Deesha!

Since I've been already talking a lot about my food likings and opinions in my posts regularly, I will stay away from my food facts in this MEME :)

1. I am a late night person and my brain works the best only late evenings. All my blogging and any serious planning activities happen only when I'm done with my regular duties and the house is super quiet like a haunted house.

2. I am not a big fan of reading books and mostly stay away from big novels, although I like to quickly glance on some of my favorite magazines.

3. I love to be alone once in a while and engross in the world of my own. I think solitude is my best companion many times.

4. I am fond of music, mostly melodies, and have a huge collection of MP3 songs. I enjoy the song lyrics as much as I enjoy the music in the song and surprisingly, I happen to know the lyrics for the majority of these songs! I learned classical music during my childhood, and after several years, my forgotten passion is back and I'm now learning classical music again from a professional teacher...

5. I'm a shopping freak, especially with apparels. My closet is always full with latest tops, pants, salwars etc. While writing this I am realizing that last two months I haven't been shopping much.. Hmmm, need to catch up!

6. I am not that good in waiting for things to happen on its own. I quickly run out of patience and need things to happen right away. I am working on it, but I also have to say that my tendency of impatience helps me in winding down things faster without postponing..

7. I'm addicted to Sudoku and have finished almost 3 books (over 300 puzzles) in just 1 month. Don't know how long this addiction will last..

Alright, now awards time!
Bhawana, Kitchen Flavours and JZ have passed me the Brilliante Weblog Award:
Vani and Srilekha passed me the "Beautiful Site Award":

Kitchen Flavours has passed me this "Friendship Blend Award":

Suma and Madhavi have passed me this "Good Job Award".

And last but not least - Vani, Purva, Raaji and Gita have passed me this "Butterfly Award".

Thank you soooo much to each one of you for thinking about me and sharing your award with me. With so many good friends around me in my blogging world, its hard for me to pick only a few people to pass these awards. I'm sure all of you have already recieved it. If you have not received it, feel free to grab them from here.. :)