Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Eggless Butter Cookies

Baking is a big stress buster for me. The little guy shares the same passion as me when it comes to baking. The minute he notices the butter sticks on the counter he gets excited. We work together as a team. He helps me with the lining of trays, creaming the butter, measuring the ingredients. The time spent together helps him learn about measurement, gives him a chance to experiment / observe and more than all appreciate the effort that goes into making food. We bond as we have a blast in the kitchen. It also takes me back to my mom's kitchen. As a  kid I used to hang around my mom, holding her saree pallu questioning her endlessly about various ingredients or spices used. Even now when I am home I spend most of the time sitting and chatting or helping mom in the kitchen. Now when I think of it I am glad that she took time to answer all my questions patiently as it helped me immensely with my love for Cooking. Memories are made from moments like these!

These butter cookies are pretty easy to make with basic ingredients available in our kitchen pantry. The butter cookies are eggless, cumbly and pairs perfectly with a cup of hot coffee. My friend Sumana shared this recipe with me. These have been a hit with our family and friends. I hope you do give a try and let me know if you liked it.

Here is what's needed:

2 cups APF
1 cup or 2 sticks of unsalted butter softened
3/4 cup fine granulated sugar
2 tsp Vanilla extract


1) Sift flour to ensure that there are no lumps. In a bowl cream the butter and sugar using a hand blender or whisk until light and creamy. Add in the vanilla essence and the flour. Using hands bring it all together to form a dough. Do not overwork the dough.
2) Preheat oven to 350 F.
3) Make small balls by pinching out the dough and roll it into a smooth ball. Place them on baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Do not place the cookies too close to each other. Gently press with a fork to flatten it out and make a pattern on the cookie.
4) Bake it for 12-15 mins in the oven or until the bottom turns brown. If the cookies are under baked they will turn chewy when cooled and if it is over baked they turn crunchy. So keep an eye after 12 mins. Gently lift a cookie to check if its browned else keep it for few  more mins.
5) Cool the cookies on a cooling rack and when done store them in an air tight box.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Vegetarian Pad Kee Mao ~ Drunken noodles

Thai cuisine is very much similar to our Indian cuisine. When we dine out we prefer to try out different cuisines. Thai tops our list!
P loves spicy food and Thai red curry is his favorite. I have not tried making Thai food from scratch. I usually resort to pre-made pastes to satisfy our cravings.
A friend of ours introduced us to Pad Kee mao or The drunken noodles, and it was love at first bite. This became a regular while dining out until one day I decided to try it out at home. The main reason for me to try this at home was the amount of oil used in restaurants. Also being a vegetarian I was never sure of the sauces being used. Hence began my quest for the recipe. Google gave me quite a lot of recipes. I checked them all and finally when I started cooking this recipe evolved.
Feel free to play around with the sauces and veggies of your choice. I skipped tofu and baby corn in this since I did not have it in hand. Adding it would definitely elevate the dish even further.

Here is what's needed:
1/4 cup dark soya sauce
2 tbsp Maggi seasoning sauce
1-2 tbsp red chilli garlic paste
1 tbsp Thai peanut paste
2 tbsp Sugar

Flat Rice noodles 1/2 lb
Thai basil leaves generous fistful washed
Carrot 1 cut into julienne
Peppers colored 1 cup cut into julienne
Onion 1 thinly sliced
Spring onions 2 small bunches whites and greens separated and chopped
Mushrooms 8 chopped
Broccoli 10 florets cleaned
Garlic 8 pods finely chopped
Oil Canola or peanut to stir fry
Salt to taste

1) Soak the rice noodles in warm water until al-dente. The noodles should have a bite in them after being soaked else when tossed in sauce it could break and turn into gloopy mess.
2) Mix all the ingredients under sauce well. Keep aside. Keep all the sauces and veggies ready as this is to be cooked on high flame.
3) Heat a wok on high. Add oil. When the oil is hot, add in the finely chopped garlic and saute for few seconds.  Add in the sliced onions, white part of spring onions, saute. Add in rest of the veggies and tofu (if using) except the greens of spring onion. Saute until the veggies are half done. If the veggies are cooked further they would end up soggy and soft which would affect the over all taste of the final dish.
4) Add in the sauce mix and half of the basil roughly torn. Add in the soft noodles and saute. The sauce mixture already has quite a good amount of salt so watch out when adding salt. At this point do the taste test and check if it needs any seasoning. I added a little bit of chilli garlic paste at this point to notch up the spiciness.
5) Finally add in all of the basil. Give it a quick stir. Transfer the noodles to serving bowl, garnish it with spring onion greens. Enjoy!

P.S: I used regular rice noodles that we normally use for Pad thai. The freshness that Thai basil renders to this dish cannot be replaced with Italian basil.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tawa Pulao

Tawa Pulao is a famous Mumbai street food. I have very fond memories of Mumbai trip.Few of my summer vacations and Ganesh Chaturthi holidays were spent in Mumbai with my cousins. Those were the best days of my life. I have fond memories of learning to skate, playing in the rains,cycling, cricket and lots more.  My aunt would let us experiment to our hearts content in the kitchen. I think the freedom to experiment and appreciation towards the food by others has made me fond of cooking!

This tawa pulao is usually made by the street side vendors using pav bhaji masala,butter,veggies and cooked rice. The pulao is mixed on huge tawa or griddle hence the Tawa Pulao. The veggies are cooked al dente keeping it crunchy and fresh. This has been a hit with my family and friends. Pair it up with some cool raita and enjoy a nice lunch/dinner. 

Here is what's needed:
2 cups basmati or any fragrant long grain rice
1 cup chopped veggies like carrot , beans sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup frozen green peas and corn
15 bite sized cauliflower florets
1 big onion finely sliced
1 tomato finely chopped
1 cup mixed bell peppers sliced (This adds to the flavor do not skip this)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp Pav bhaji masala powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
generous pinch of Kasuri methi
3 tbsp butter or oil
1 tsp cumin seeds/ jeera
1/2 tsp fresh ginger garlic paste
1 tsp Lemon juice
salt and little sugar to taste
chopped coriander leaves to garnish

1) Heat a big pot of water and cook rice with salt to taste until just cooked. Don't over cook. Drain and cool. Refrigerated left over rice works well in this recipe.
2) In a wok add the butter or oil. Add the cumin seeds let it splutter before thorwing in the sliced onions. Cook on high . Add in the tomatoes and cook till mushy. Add the veggies and coloured peppers and saute on high until cooked but crunchy.
3) Add in all the masala powders and kasuri methi (Crushed between palms) and saute for a min. Add in the cooled rice and mix gently taking care not to break the rice. Add salt and little sugar to taste. Check for seasoning.Add spice powders if needed. When the rice is nicely and rice is evenly heated add the lemon juice  and Mix well. Let it be on low flame for a few more mins. Switch off. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.Serve with cool raita.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Avocado Paratha

Avocado the creamy popular fruit, is a favorite among many. Every trip to the weekly grocery store is incomplete without a pack of Avocado in the basket. The first time I tasted this fruit was in Mangalore when a dear cousin got it for us from Coorg. We had no idea as to how to use this or what to do with it. Our cousin suggested to make milkshake out of it. I remember that it needed lots of Sugar as the fruit though creamy was really bland. I don't think we ever got it after that!
When we moved here we tried guacamole at a Mexican joint and it was love at first bite. My spicy loving Indian palate loved the tangy guacamole! When we got home I looked up on the internet for the recipe and was surprised to see that its the same old Avocado which we knew as butter fruit in India. Looking at the benefits of it we decided to make it a regular. The first few times I made just guacamole and then when you have too many ripe avocados you need to look for options. I started incorporating them in our daily salads and milkshakes at times. While looking for options chanced upon using them in Chapathi's or paratha's.
 A is very fond of paratha's but hates avocado! For some reason the kiddo never developed a liking for the fruit. I decided to sneak and try this paratha, it was an instant hit! Until he finished his meal I did not tell him it was made with Avocado as I did not want him to have the idea of avocado in his plate. After meal when i told him, he was surprised and said he could not taste the avocado but loved it. Now every time I buy avocado he insists on making this! If you don't like avocados may be this recipe can change your mind.

Here is what's needed:
2 ripe avocados
1 small onion finely chopped
3 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp  lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped or grated
salt to taste
2 tsp red chill powder
wheat flour or atta as needed
Oil/ ghee to roast

1) Cut the avocado in to half, de-seed and scoop the pulp out. Mash it with a fork and add all the ingredients other than flour and oil. Taste it and adjust the seasoning. It should be a little salty and spicy as the flour will make it bland.
2) Add flour as needed while kneading into a smooth, non sticky dough. Pinch out lemon sized balls and roll it by dusting in flour.
3) Shallow fry on mediuim flame with oil/ ghee until golden on both the sides. Serve with side dish of your choice or with yogurt and pickle.

1) Try to make this dough fresh and use it as onions release water when salt is added.
2) The avocado gets oxidized very fast so try not to skip the lemon juice.
3) The dough is very smooth due to the addition of avocado. Gently roll them. These stay good and soft when packed for lunches.
4) You can skip the red chilli powder and add finely chopped green chillies.
5) Left over dough can be refrigerated but try and use it within a day to preserve the flavors.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Delhi Dosa

                     Wish you all a very happy and Prosperous New year! I hope you all made new resolutions and are sticking on to it!

My search for breakfast ideas is never ending. I am on constant lookout for  different types of dosa as the boys in the house are crazy about it! I have no idea why this dosa is called Delhi dosa. This was shared by a good friend Chitra on a cookery group. The soft pillowy dosa got my attention and I tried it immediately. The dosas were light, soft and super tasty. This is now a frequent item on our breakfast table . These can be served with Vegetable kurma, saagu, batate song,Chutneys , sambar or simple Chutney powder with coconut oil.

Here is what's needed:
2 cups rice
2 fistful of Urad ( I used whole urad)
1 cup of Poha (I used the thin variety)
salt and sugar to taste

Wash rice and urad dal thrice and soak it with poha for 4-6 hours. Grind it to smooth batter with water as needed. Keep the batter in a warm place overnight to ferment. Next morning add salt and sugar to taste. Keep it for five mins.While making dosa make sure that the tawa is hot. Pour a ladle full of batter, let it on high for few seconds then cover and cook on medium to low flame.These dosas need not be flipped but should be covered to ensure that they cook well. Serve hot!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ubbati/ Puran PoLi

Ubbati or Puran poLi is one of the dishes that I never thought I would ever make. My mom makes amazing ubbatis. Every year during the annual car festival my mom would make a big batch of sweets and savories to distribute among her office colleagues and our neighbors. She would make the dough and filling in the morning and afternoon after lunch we would make start the process of stuffing and rolling. Usually my aunts would come over to help and after I grew up I would help her with the roasting part.This recipe is my grandmother's who used to make yummy ubbatis. Unfortunately I never got to taste them!
I never attempted to make them as my mom would always make a big batch of it for me. During my usual India call amma mentioned that she made some ubbati and A asked if she could send some here. He loves it a lot so I decided to give it a try. It looked difficult but amma gave me step by step instructions and since I have seen her do it before I knew the process but only lacked confidence to try. I am glad that I tried it as it came out really well and got over in no time. If I can make it anyone can!

Here is what's needed: (Makes about 26 palm sized ubbatis)
(For the outer dough)
1.5 cups All purpose flour/Maida
pinch of turmeric powder/ few strands of saffron mixed in hot water
1/4 cup water
1/4-1/2 cup sesame oil

(Inner sweet dough)
1 cup chana dal
11/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1) Mix all purpose flour with turmeric powder if using. Add 1/4 cup water and make a sticky dough. I used saffron mixed in water and added at this stage. Knead. Add 1/4 cup oil and keep kneading until all the oil is incorporated in the dough. It looks like a lot of oil intially but as you knead it gets absorbed. The key to soft ubbati is the kneading!! It might take around 15- 20 mins and If the dough is still sticky add some more oil and keep mixing until you get a soft and pliable dough. Once done cover with moist cloth and keep it for a minimum of 3-4 hours.
2) Pressure cook the washed chana dal with water for 4 whistles. Drain the water. Reserve the water to make some yummy saaru. To the drained chana dal add sugar. The heat causes the sugar to melt. Mix and let it cool. Grind it to a smooth paste and pour it in a kadai or wok. Cook this on low flame until it comes together into a mass with no water content in it. Let it cool. Make balls of the size of big lemon.
3) Knead the outer dough again and make small balls out of it. The sweet balls should be twice that of the outer balls size. Dust it lightly with flour and roll it into small puri. You can also use the palm to flatten it into puri. Keep the sweet ball at the center and gently cover it with outer dough without tearing it. Seal it by pressing the ends. Dust it with more flour and roll it gently into a medium sized uniform thickness chapathi.
4) Heat a tawa hot and bring it to medium and fry the rolled ubbati without using ghee or oil. Take care not to flip the ubbati too many times in between. When you see some spots on the surface turn it over. If you flip it too many times there are chances of the delicate ubbati tearing. Keep cleaning the burnt flour on the tawa at regular intervals. Else they stick on to the ubbati and gives slightly bitter taste with black specks of burnt flour.
5) When done place it on a big flat tray lined with kitchen towel to absorb the moisture from the ubbati. Maintain distance between the ubbatis. Only after the first layer has cooled down you can place the next over it. When it is completely cooled line a container with clean kitchen towel and stack it. You can warm the ubbati slightly in microwave and serve with home made ghee!

1) Make sure to make the outer dough well in advance as it needs resting time. Plan accordingly. This helps in making them soft.
2) You can also grind few mustard seeds and mix it with maida and then knead it to make the outer dough. This also makes the ubbati super soft.
3) After cooking the sweet mixture make sure that its completely cools completely before making balls.
4)Do not flip the ubbati often and make sure to keep cleaning the tawa at regular interval with clean cloth.
5) Cool the prepared ubbati completely before stacking them.
These remain fresh for 4-5 days if stored properly. To increase the shelf life you can refrigerate and warm it on tawa or microwave before eating. Fresh home made ghee and milk are perfect accompanients to this yummy delicacy.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Idli Sambar is a healthy and nutritious South Indian breakfast since it has a good dose of carbs from the rice, protein from the dal and generous portion of veggies. Most of the Indian households have this for breakfast atleast once a week.
Sambar can be easily made with ready made sambar powder available in Indian grocery stores. I prefer to make them fresh at home as nothing can beat the aroma of freshly made powder. It is very easy and don't get intimidated by the long list of ingredients.
Sambar can be served as a side with hot fluffy idli's , a bowl of steaming rice or with crispy hot vadas dunked in it! This recipe is from my friend Naina . Her sambar is a favourite with us friends. This is slightly different from our konkani style sambar but very tasty and aromatic. I usually make this sambar with idli's. Feel free to add eggplants, beets in this recipe. I did not have them handy when I made them. Try not to skip the raddish as it elevates the taste of sambar. I was not a big fan of radish until I tasted it in this recipe. Try it and I am sure you will love it.

Here is what's needed:
1/2 cup toor dal
2 cups chopped mixed veggies like beans, potato, carrot etc
1 small radish peeled and cut into round slices
8-10 pieces drumsticks
2 tomatoes chopped
1 small onion chopped

For the masala (paste):
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds/ jeera
2 tbsp chana dal/ 2 tbsp brown chana (Using chana makes the sambar tastier)
1 tbsp urad dal
1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp methi seeds
10-12 pepper corns
Red chillies as per taste ( I used a combination of 2 Kashmiri chillies and 4 byadgi chilli. Remember pepper adds to the spiciness)
1/2  onion chopped
Tamarind of the size of a large gooseberry
Grated coconut 1 fistful
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp grated Jaggery
1 tbsp oil

Oil/ ghee 1 tbsp
1 tsp mustard seeds
generous pinch of asafoetida/hing
2 springs curry leaves
1 red chilli

1) Pressure cook toor dal with beans, potato, raddish and carrot in sufficient water for 3 whistles.
2) In a small pan roast the spices by heating  a tbsp of oil. Add in coriander seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds, methi, pepper corns, red chilli, chopped onion and grated coconut and fry until golden brown. Take care not to burn it as it would ruin the taste of sambar. Cool and make a paste with tamrind, turmeric powder and little water. Keep aside.
3) Heat oil in a pan big enough to hold the sambar. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add in the hing, curry leaves and red chilli. Add in onion pieces. Saute until pink. Add in cubed tomatoes. Let it cook covered until mushy. Add the ground masala paste and fry it well for 4-5 mins. If the paste is too dry add little water so that the masala does not stick to the bottom of the pan.Add more water and thrown in the drumstick pieces. Cover and cook until it softens. Add in the boiled dal with veggies, jaggery and salt. Cook on slow flame until the sambar boils really well. Add generous amount of finely chopped coriander leaves along with its stems . Give it a rolling boil and switch off.
Serve hot.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi is one of my favorite side dish with soft phulkas. As all of us love it so I make this often but the only issue that I used to face was one of the vegetable would turn soft or soggy which is a total disaster in this recipe. Over the years I learnt from my mistakes and now this recipe is perfect for us. The veggies are cooked but yet they hold the shape and flavors! It is slightly time consuming but the end result is so worth it. Try it and I am sure you will fall in love with this.

Here is what's needed:

1 small cauliflower cut into florets
3 small potatoes ( I used white potatoes) Peeled and cubed
2 small red onions finely chopped
2 tomatoes pureed
1 tsp fresh ginger garlic paste
1 tsp red chili powder'
1 tsp paprika powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder (try to use fresh)
1-2 tsp Garam Masala powder
1 tsp Kitchen King Masala powder
1 tsp Kasuri methi
1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
Amchur powder and Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Sugar (Optional. But I prefer using them to balance the heat and tanginess)
4 tbsp Oil

1) Soak cauliflower florets in water with salt and turmeric powder for few mins.Drain. This ensures that the florets are clean and free of worms.
2) Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadai and add the cauliflower florets. Saute on low flame with little salt until they are slightly cooked yet firm. Drain. In the same oil add the Potato cubes and saute on low flame with salt until nicely browned. Keep aside.
3) In the same kadai add some more oil. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add ginger garlic paste and onions. Saute until onions turn pink. Add tomato puree and cook till the rawness goes away.
4) Let the flame be on low and add in the masala powders one by one. Take care not to burn the spices. Toss in the shallow fried potato and cauliflower. Mix gently until the veggies are nicely coated with the gravy. Add salt and sugar (if using). Cover and let it cook slightly in steam. Avoid over cooking as it makes the curry mushy.
5) Crush the kasuri methi in between your palms. Let it cook further for 2-3 mins to infuse the flavors and switch off. Garmish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with soft phulka's or with some steaming Dal and Rice.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Corn Mixture/ Corn flakes Chivda

Corn mixture is one of the snacks that can be easily made at home. It needs very less ingredients and takes just 15-20 mins from start to finish. Kids love this snack as its not very spicy and very crunchy. You can use cashews, raisins , dry coconut flakes to this to make it more flavorful. I Love it with just peanuts but do add raisins  as my son loves them.

Here is what's needed:
2 cups dry cornflakes poha (This is available at Indian stores as corn poha)
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
a fistful of raisins
2 springs of fresh curry leaves
2 green chilli slit(Optional)
1/2 - 1 tsp of red chilli powder
salt to taste
1-2 tbsp of sugar powder
Oil to deep fry

1) Heat oil. deep fry peanuts on low flame until they slit open slightly and look crisp. Drain and let it cool.
2) Deep fry curry leaves and green chilli until curry leaves crisp up. Drain and let it cool.
3) If using raisins or cashew deep fry them and drain. Let it cool.
4) In the same oil start deep frying the corn poha in batches until they fluff up. They don't take much time so keep an eye on them to prevent burning, Drain on a paper towel.
5) when the the fried corn flakes are still warm transfer them to a huge bowl and add the deep fried peanuts, curry leaves, green chilli, raisins and cashew if using , salt, powder sugar and red chilli powder. toss or mix gently so that the seasoning is evenly distributed. Check for seasoning and add as per your taste.

6) When cool transfer it into a clean air tight container and Enjoy!

1) You can make the mixture with deep fried thick poha instead of corn poha. 
2) Increase the chilli powder if you prefer spicy snacks.
3) You can make a powder of roasted jeera and coriander powder as seasoning. My MIL used to make the mixtures with this powder.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Shenvo ~ Spicy sev

Shenvo is our favorite side to go with Poha or Upma. I was not very happy with the Sev that we got here at Indian stores. They do taste good but it lacks the flavor that I grew up on. The Sev that is made at Mangalore has a wonderful aroma of Hing and Ajwain. I missed those here so much that I decided to try making at home. They are so easy to make that, once I made them at home we got hooked. Now we don't fancy the store brought ones. The advantage of making it at home are many price, quality of ingredients and portion control. It does not take much time to make these yummy Sev.

Here is what's needed:
2 cups Besan/Chickpea flour
1/2 cup rice flour (optional)
1 tsp red Chili powder
Salt to taste (I used almost 1 tsp)
Generous splash of hing powder
2 tsp Ajwain
Water as required
Oil to deep fry

1) Dry roast the Ajwain till fragrant. Cool down and crush with a mortar and pestle. Sieve it.
2) In a bowl whisk Besan, Rice flour, red Chili powder, salt, Ajwain powder, Hing powder. Add 2 tbsp of hot oil and mix. Add water little by little until it forms a sticky dough. Check the salt and spice and add more if required.
3) Heat oil. Grease the Sev mold and add the dough into the cylinder. Tighten. Press and make circles of Sev directly into the hot oil. When it stops sizzling turn over if needed. Keep an eye on it and make sure that does not burn.

4) Drain on tissue and let it cool.  Once cooled crush it lightly and store in an air tight container.