Friday, December 28, 2012

Corn Salad

Eating salad for meal was never an idea until recently. We used to regularly have chopped veggies on the side along with regular meals. But salad itself as a meal was unimaginable. I don't remember eating corn regularly as a child or even capsicum for that matter. I tasted this combination at one of the functions 2 years back and got hooked. Since then this has always been my fav. I can have this at any time of the day. There is no recipe as such just play around with the flavours and enjoy.

Here is what's needed:
1 cup boiled corn kernels
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
a small cucumber chopped
1/4 green pepper/capsicum chopped
salt and pepper powder to taste
1 tsp lemon juice
chopped coriander leaves

Mix all the ingredients except salt in a bowl. Add salt just before serving.
Heat olive oil in hot oil for a minute and add this to salt. Tastes divine

Saturday, December 15, 2012


In the initial days of full fledged cooking I used to panic when we would have  guests over for lunch or dinner. I knew I could manage with the starters or main course but Desserts was never my forte! I would take the easy option out by either serving Ice cream or fruit salad and sometimes tinned Gulab jamun too! Slowly I started taking recipes from my mom-in-law and mom and tried them one by one. I was confident of making jaggery based payasams but not simple sheera or  burfi's. My hubby could churn out better Sheera than I could. Back then, I was not much of a sweet person. But now I am transformed. Anything sweet catches my attention first (Blame it on the harmonal changes after pregnancy). I try very hard not to look at the desserts section while dining out as it easily tempts me. If not for the pounds that are lazily lying around my waist I would have tried n number of recipes that I have bookmarked and drooled over from other blogs! I  prefer to make desserts when we have guests over or for potlucks where I can exercise portion control and also satisfy my sweet tooth!
This humble sheera has finally made it to my blog. My MIL is pro at making this. She gets the perfect upma or sheera whenever she makes them. I on the other hand am always terrified dealing with Sooji. I usually skimp out on the ghee to be used and thus they don't come out perfect like her's. But with this recipe I have gained confidence. I normally prefer to have warm sheera in a bowl than having it poured into greased plates and then cut. Saves the trouble of washing more vessels! But having them cut beautifully like this helps in easier serving.

Here is what's needed:
1 cup Rava
1 cup Sugar
2 cups water
3-4 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp each of broken cashew nuts and raisins
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
a generous pinch of saffron

1) Heat the water in a separate pot until it comes to good boil. Keep covered until the time of use. 
Heat a tbsp of ghee in a wide bottom pan and fry the cashew nuts until golden. Drain and keep aside and add the raisins. Fry them until they fluff up, drain and keep aside.
2) In the same pan add the remaining ghee and fry the rava. The rava has to be fried well by stirring often so that it does not stick to the bottom until the colour changes and you get a nice aroma.
3) Add the saffron to boiled water. Turn the flame of kadai to low and pour the saffron water into it. Keep stirring as the mixture tends to bubble. If the rava has been fried well then it will not turn lumpy. Keep stirring until the rava is cooked and the water has been absorbed.
4) Add sugar. At this stage the mixture will become watery again as the sugar melts. Keep stirring until the mixture comes together to form a single mass. Add in the cardamom powder and the roasted cashews and raisins. Stir for a minute and switch off.
5) You can scoop out and serve in individual bowls or if you desire to shape them then grease a wide thali or baking tray. Spread the mixture evenly and let it cool for few mins. Cut into desired shapes and serve.

1) Even though I used 1:1 ratio of sugar and rava, My halwa turned out just right and not very sweet.
2) My MIL adds a clove in hot ghee before frying the rava. It gives a completely different aroma.
3) I love the sheera made out of bansi rava that is coarse than sooji rava

Friday, December 14, 2012


As a kid I was not too fond of attending weddings unless it was of our close relatives where I could meet my cousins. I used to hate sitting in between the grown ups in terribly hot weather not understanding a thing that everyone spoke around me. During one such wedding that we had attended of our neighbor's son, I tasted this wonderful mensakai. I have a weakness for fruit based curries like this sasam and if it has pineapple then I am in heaven. I was served very small portion of this delightful curry. I was not sure if I would like it so I just tasted a tiny portion of it and was hooked. I cleared even the minutest trace of this curry and was waiting for the second round of the same as it happens at most of the wedding feast. But there were no seconds. I observed that the curries were served just once and the rice did 3 rounds. First was to be had with Rasam, second with Sambar and the final round was with curds or butter milk. I was surprised that there were so many variety of sweets served and after the payasam the rice to be had with curds was served. There were a lot of sides to go with the rice (around 10-12) but all of them were served in tiny portion. The food was served on a plantain leaf and everyone sat on the floor with a mat for food. By the end of the meal one would get exhausted with the time taken to finish the meal and also with the variety. After that I did not taste that curry for quite long as we did not know the name of the dish nor its recipe.
Few years back, my aunt who is a very good cook made this. I took a mental note of this recipe and forgot it altogether until I came here. A quick call and I had the recipe with me. Updating this in my blog will allow me to come back anytime and check the recipe. The picture does not look great as I dd not have time to get a good pic and it was a terribly cloudy day. Will update it with better one next time.

Here is what's needed:
1 cup pineapple pieces (peeled and chopped into bite size)
1 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tsp Urad dal
1 tsp Sesame seeds ( I used black)
1/4 tsp Methi seeds
1/2 cup grated coconut
8-10 dried red chilli (I used the byadgi variety)
1 tbsp oil
marble sized tamarind ball
Jaggery and salt to taste

For seasoning:
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp oil

1) Heat oil in a kadai and add coriander seeds, urad dal, sesame seeds , methi seeds,red chilli and grated coconut and fry till lightly browned. Keep aside to cool.
2) Prepare seasoning by heating oil, add in the mustard seeds. When they splutter add the curry leaves. Add little water to boil pineapple pieces. The pineapple that I used was quite bland not tangy nor sweet. So I added a good amount of jaggery. Add salt. The taste should be sweet so add according to your taste.
3) Grind the fried spices, coconut and tamarind with little water to a coarse paste.
4) When the pineapple is almost cooked add in the paste. Adjust the consistency of gravy by adding water. Give it a good boil.

Serve hot with rice and some south Indian curry

1) I some times make this with only mango or with a combination of both. It tastes very delicious. Boil mango and pineapple together if doing the same.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Methi Paratha

Growing up in South Indian household our breakfast would usually be Dosa, Idli, Upma, Poha etc. Once in a while Vegetable pulao, Chapathi or Puri would make it to our breakfast. Pulao or chapathi which are common lunch items at other household were common at our breakfast and we looked forward to this. Occasionally my amma would make Masala Chapathi which is our take on the North Indian Aloo Paratha.
As I grew up, watching television, friends lunch boxes at school I was introduced to other dishes like stuffed paratha's, noodles, variety of rices etc. On weekends, dad would take us out to lunch and we would end up ordering Nan or kulcha with Paneer side dishes. We would look forward to our weekend visits to the restaurants. When I entered college I had made it clear that I did not want the usual stuff in my lunch box and my mom being a working woman found it difficult to fulfill my wishes. She made chapathi's for my box everyday and I was happy with the change. When I learnt cooking I made sure that I learnt all the dishes that were not made at home. I could make Manchurian, noodles, fried rice, Paneer dishes but not a simple upma or sheera! In my favour I can only say that I used to hate upma, idli and had vouched that I would never make it in my life! Fast forward few years and I am in my kitchen making dosa, upma, Idli almost every other day :-)
Our menu now boasts a variety of dishes. I keep on collecting recipes from websites, food blogs, magazines,cookery shows and friends.  This is one such recipe that I got from a dear friend of mine.
I love this recipe as it does not call for any stuffing like the traditional paratha's. It is just chop and mix in bowl.

Here is what's needed:
1 cup Whole wheat flour
1 bunch fresh methi/fenugreek leaves washed and chopped
1/2 cup besan/chickpea flour
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp Ajwain/carom seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
water enough to make a smooth dough

1) Mix all ingredients except water in a bowl. Gradually add water to make it into a smooth dough.
Let it rest covered for half an hour.
2) Pinch a lime sized dough and roll it using whole wheat flour into chapathi. Heat a griddle and roast on both the sides using oil or ghee.
I served them with some bhindi masala and salad. you could serve with side dish of your choice or with curds and pickle.