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Sunday's with Marlena Spieler - Libyan Spicy Pumpkin Dip


Sunday's with Marlena Spieler is a fun project that three of us will continue till we finish cooking the complete cookbook called Jewish Cooking by Marlena Spieler. The cook book is educative to start with, giving the reader a peep into the history and tradition of the Jews.

This is a Sephardi dip from a Libyan Jewish restaurant. I have made a few changes to the recipe- can I restrain myself from doing that, Nah!.

Jews who settled in lberian peninsula (Modern Spain & Portugal) are called Sephardi Jews. Living in distant lands and mingling with different cultures, a cuisine emerged with influences from these regions. Sephardi cooking uses olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs.

The original recipe called for ground ginger,cumin and curry powder. I decided to use fresh ginger. When I saw curry powder, I started researching on what spices make a curry powder and some of the common ingredients were cardamom, turmeric powder, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and cayenne. I made my own :), ( 1 T- cardamom seeds, 1 T- Cumin, 1/2 tsp- Coriander seeds. Dry roast the three spices and powder along with cayenne and turmeric)

This recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving and to use your left over pumpkin from Halloween.

Olive Oil- 2 T
Red Onion - 1/2, finely chopped
Garlic- 5 pods, minced
Pumpkin- 1 1/2 lbs, peeled and chopped
Fresh ginger- 1/4 tsp, minced
Curry Powder- 1 tsp
Canned Tomatoes- 1/4 cup
Jalapeno- 1, finely chopped ( I did not remove seeds)
Lemon Juice- 2 tsp
Cilantro - 1 tsp, finely chopped
  • Heat oil in a saute pan, add onion and garlic.
  • Cook until the onion turn soft, immediately add the pumpkin and cover with a lid. Let it cook on medium low for about 15 minutes.
  • Add rest of the spices and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in the canned tomatoes and cook until the water has completely evaporated.
  • When the pumpkin is tender, mash the pumpkin coarsely with a masher.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over the pumpkin and stir well.
  • Check for seasonings and adjust per taste.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro.
I served the dip with pita bread. We simply loved this dip. I would eat this even with a steaming cup of rice.

You can buy Marlena's cookbook here. For more fun recipes from Marlena's cook book , check Mel & Eileen's blog.

An Update


Hello Everyone, There are no good reasons for our laziness to blog. We enjoyed the warm summer with a few trips- Cascade Falls in Lake Tahoe, Camping@ Burney Falls, a weekend getaway to Mammoth Lake. Each of these trips were memorable and loads of fun.I am not making lame promises of "trying to be more regular", because now I have made a commitment to blog every Sunday with two of my good buddies. This is how it started ..Mel posts on her FB (Melody- Beginning my effort to cook my way thru this cookbook...and blog about it. Bet that is a new concept!) , Eileen & I start talking with Mel and we decided to do it together,that simple! So the cookbook we are going to cook our way through is Marlena Spieler’s Jewish Cooking . Thanks Mel, for letting us join you:) in this culinary journey and lessons about Jewish culture and cuisine.This is going to be fun learning experience for all of us and a fantastic way for our friendship to grow. We have all gone through the cook book, devoured every page with our eyes and have divied up the recipes amongst us. The cook book is truly enjoyable and while some are familiar, there are a few I have never heard about. So watch for our posts every Sunday. More about it here & Eileen will post soon after she takes care of the newest addition in her daughter's family. We will try to make you proud, Marlena!An update from RajeshMy attempt at gardening this year started quite late in the year , and was using some seeds that I had saved off a heirloom tomato that Shankari's student gave her last year. This was my first attempt at saving the seed, and as I was quite unsure of the germination rate to expect I used all the seeds that I had saved off. I think I had a 100% success rate and replanted seedlings. We also picked up a few thai pepper plants from the farmers market for a buck and I experimented with DIY grow bag made out of recycled juice containers.I am harvesting both tomatoes and thai green chillies now. Not too bad for the minimal attention I have given the plants. Watering regularly was the only work done.What surprises me that the plants are still flowering and producing new fruit. I did get some unwelcome visitors. No pesticides were used to keep pests out. I might use BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) next year. The size of the crawler was quite amazing, some how the pic I uploaded through picasa did not make it and I will need to manually upload the pics.I neglected the real plants & blogging playing farmville, but that is now past. Look at the size of the green bugger, I have a quarter as reference. He It (If I said he BEE from jugalbandi would be sure to ask how I could be so sure its a he) was quite fiesty when I plucked it off my plant.In any case, I am still having some chillies and tomatoes inspite of the weather fluctuating between 40 and 75 and this is real harvest compared to virtual crops on farmville.. src="" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="width:160px; height:865px; border:0px; margin:0px; padding:0px;">[...]

Spicy Corn Soup with Jalapenos & Roasted Bell Pepper


(image) When the weather is stormy, winds blowing and leaves are strewn all over the place., the only type of food that beckons me is soup and mind you, it should be spicy and hot. Soup has the tendency to warm your heart and soul. I am trying to empty my refrigerator before I buy the next round of veggies. I had four cobs of corn, one bell pepper, one green tomato and a couple sticks of celery. So here is the recipe. You don't have to worry about the size and shape when you chop them, coz they are going to blended anyway :) Olive oil- 1 T Garlic- 1 tsp, chopped Corn- 4, scraped from the cob Red Bell Pepper - 1 Green Tomato- 1 Celery- 1 cup, chopped Thai Red Chilly- 2, chopped Pickled jalapenos- 1 tsp Stock or water- 4 cups Basil- 1 tsp, finely chopped Salt & Pepper- to taste
  • Roast bell pepper or use the bottled kind, if you are in a particularly lazy mood ( I roasted mine directly over the gas stove flame and then let in rest in a brown bag, before I removed the skin off)
  • Heat a saute pan and add oil. When the oil is hot, saute garlic for 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the corn, green tomato, celery and red chilly and stir well.
  • Allow it cook for about 5 minutes.
  • In the meanwhile, peel the skin off the bell pepper and roughly chop it.
  • Add the pickled jalapenos, roasted bell pepper , salt and pepper.
  • Add the stock and bring it a boil.
  • you can either use a hand blender or transfer the contents to a blend and blend until it is smooth in texture.
  • Transfer back to the saute pan and let the soup simmer for another 5 minutes, check for seasoning and garnish with basil.
  • Serve with warm garlic bread.

Curried Chicken Salad


The first time I had this kind of a salad was when my friend, Cyndi made this for July 4th block party. R & I both loved it and as always, I asked for her the recipe. She gave it to me, I made it a couple of times and then lost the recipe. This is what I came up with . And yes, I know this recipe calls for curry powder, but who claimed this recipe was Indian??:) wink winkCurried Chicken Salad Oil – 1 T Onion – 1 cup, Sliced 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat chopped or shredded & chilled Celery- 1 cup, chopped Grapes – 1 cup (mix green and purple) Mango- 1 cut in small cubes Ginger- 1 tsp, grated Dressing 1 1/2 cups plain Greek Yogurt Mango Chutney- 1 tsp Curry paste/powder- 2 tsp (add more or less per your taste) Salt & pepper – to taste Garnish Slivered Almonds- ½ cup Roasted Sunflower seeds- ¼ cup Heat a sauté pan with oil and cook the onions until they turn golden brown.Set it aside in a bowl and let it cool.In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk well.Add the onions and the rest of the ingredients and stir gently.Garnish with almonds and sunflower seeds and serve chilled or at room temperature. src="" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="width:160px; height:865px; border:0px; margin:0px; padding:0px;">[...]

Jicama,Cucumber, Watermelon and Orange Salad


The temperatures have been soaring here ( we are talking triple digits here) and I have no inclination to stand in front of the stove. We try to cook early in the morning and if we miss that, then we make do with salads, sandwiches, fruit juices etc.

We love the crispness of Jicama, but have never used it myself. This is a refreshing salad and I love that Jicama does not turn soft or soggy even after you refrigerate the salad and have it after a day or two.

English Cucumber - 1
Jicama- 1 cup
Watermelon- 2 cups, Chopped in large chunks
Orange - 1/2 an orange, cut in segments
Orange Juice- Juice the other half
Orange Zest- 1/4 tsp
Basil- 2 tsp ( I used Daregal)
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Sea salt - to taste

We used the pampered chef Julienne peeler to peel Jicama and English cucumber. It has perfect texture, size and consistency when you use it and most importantly looks pretty!

  • In a bowl, whisk orange juice, orange zest, sugar, basil and salt well.
  • Toss all the other ingredients and stir gently.
  • Check for seasonings and adjust to your taste.
Serve chilled!

Can a recipe be even simpler?Stay cool!

I missed my early morning mark to cook since I was blogging, so leftovers today:)
Updated with link to what Jicama is for those unfamiliar to this tuberous root.

Dolled Up Dill on TV


When we hear of near and dear ones fighting cancer- the emotions we got through typically is that of fear, sadness and mostly a helpless feeling- wondering what we can do to ease their pain and fears.We have been experiencing this a lot in the last two years. Close family members, friends and blogger friends trying to fight this disease. We take food over,call them, email jokes to them to put a smile on their face, but still go through this turmoil of what we can do more. I know for a fact that I do NOT have the brains to find a cure for cancer..darn, wish I had paid more attention in class, but what can I do about it now.So how can I help? Do what I love doing - (drum roll please)- Cooking!! And if that can help me win a contest, God Bless you Daregal Gourmet. I came up with a simple recipe, posted it and all of you kindly voted and ta dah! I won the contest and the money goes to Susan G Komen, Race for the Cure. Thanks to all of you who voted for me. I won $500 and Daregal Gourmet was kind enough to match my donation. So I presented a check of $1000 to the Executive Director of Susan G Komen, Donna Sanderson today.Giving is not just about money, as John D Rockefeller Jr said "Think of giving not as a duty, but as a privilege"It could be a hug, or a meal, or an offer to baby sit, a ride to the hospital. If you are not sure ask them. What might seem tiny or insignificant might make a big difference.At the end of the segment, Mark was giving away preview tickets to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Thank you Mark Allen!On another note, again related to cooking, here are a few of my upcoming classes.Sacramento Natural Foods Co-opJuly 25th 2009, 10am-12:30pmSeasonal Indian Recipeschanna dal with green mango salad—split chick pea, bell peppers and green mango with a hint of spice;Grilled paneer—paneer marinated in spices and grilledGrilled corn with spicy butterPea soup with ginger,Fresh squash with ginger.Tuesday, July 28th@ WholeFoods, Sacramento.Indian Summer Faire,6:00 p.m. $45Learn to make memorable side dishes that will delight your palate and dazzle your guests. Includes a discussion of Indian spices. Menu: Spiced Chick Pea and Spinach Salad, Eggplant grilled and sautéed with Indian spices - a perfect dip with naan or pita chips, Green Beans sautéed with garlic and a dash of heat, Grilled Corn with spicy butter, and Cracked Wheat Kheer- a chilled healthy dessert with cardamom and ground almonds. July 30th - 6:00pm - 8:30pm ,Sacramento Natural Foods Co-opExplore the exotic flavors of African cuisine with Shankari! You’ll learn simple and delicious recipes from various and diverse countries in this vast continent. Ethiopian Flavors classSavory spiced chickenEthiopian couscousSpicy lentil stew.Ethiopian spiced butterBerbere, traditional Ethiopian spice mixture. x All Recurrences Single Recurrence src="" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="width:160px; height:865px; border:0px; margin:0px; padding:0px;">[...]

YEE HAW from Folsom



Garcinia mangostana



Wild rice salad


Thanks to everyone for you who voted for me. More info here Wild rice – 1 cup Vegetable Stock – 2 ¼ cups Olive Oil – 2 T Garlic – 1 clove, minced Shallots – ½ cup, chopped Red Bell Pepper – 1 cup, diced Cumin Powder – ½ tsp Candied Pecan – ½ cup Carrot – 1 cup, grated Dried cranberries – ½ cup Firm Ripe Mango – 1 cup, Cut in large chunks Salt and Pepper Method Add vegetable stock in heavy bottomed pan with a lid. When it comes to a boil, add the wild rice and let it cook covered on medium low for 40- 45 or until the rice is cooked completely. Stir the rice frequently so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.Set the rice aside.Heat a sauté pan with olive oil. When the oil is hot, stir in the garlic and shallots and cook until the shallot turn translucent.Add the red bell pepper and cumin powder. Cook for another minute. Turn off the stove.Add the cooked rice to the sauté pan and mix it all well Stir in the candied pecans, grated carrots and cranberries and mix well so that they are well incorporated. Transfer to a large serving bowl.Check for seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste.Garnish with mango and serve. Serve at room temperature or chilled. src="" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="width:160px; height:865px; border:0px; margin:0px; padding:0px;">[...]

Dolled up Roasted Dill Potatoes


(image) Update:

I have entered this recipe for a contest- please vote for me here.

The prize money is $500 and if I win this, the entire proceeds will go to Susan G Komen, Race for the Cure in honor of my friend Tina Macuha. Tina has supported the blogging community a lot. When we did the virtual fundraiser for Bri, she immediately agreed to help us promote it. Tina, We wish you well and hope you get better real soon!

When Matt sent me some herbs, I was not sure how they would taste, because I am all for fresh herbs and I was in for a surprise. The herbs smell and taste fresh and is really a crowning glory for the dish. Daregal herbs are packed within three hours from the time they are harvested and thus all the flavors are still fresh. It is like having a virtual herb garden in your freezer. My personal favorites are Dill, Original Blend, Oregano,Grilling blend and the Italian Blend. The Italian blend was my lifesaver when I was called to give a TV demo last moment.
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I made this last week, when I just did not want to cook, but yet eat something flavorful. So here is an easy, no mess, no fuss recipe. We enjoyed the flavor of Dill. I used Daregal Dill for my Tsatziki salad and we could not tell the difference from the fresh VS the frozen. And the biggest advantage in my books is that I don't have to buy a big bunch and then being forced to have a Dill Week..:)

Red Potatoes - 6 ( Chop them or crinkle cut them)
Sea Salt - 1.2 tsp
Daregal Dill - 2 T
Olive Oil - 1 T

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the potatoes in a large bowl and add all the ingredients.
  • Take a whiff of the aroma of herbs and potatoes ( yes this is a must in the process)
  • Place them on the baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes until you see it yurn golden brown on the sides.
  • You can add another sprinkling of herbs after they come out of the oven too.

Fresh produce


After my last post on broccoli, I was quite sure it would take atleast a few weeks before I ventured to get more broccoli. Well I couldnt have been more wrong.

This morning Shankari & I went shopping for our veggies and fruits, the farmers market was busier than in the past weeks, with more stands and choices. The first broccoli I saw looked quite fresh, and I could not resist picking it up and searching for u know what, if you have seen my previous post. well since it looked great I picked up a couple.

The nice thing about this place is the chit chat with the friendly vendors, whose faces are now familiar after few months of our bi-weekly shopping trips.

Here is all we got this morning for a grand total of $18.85
20 lemons -$3.00
Cherries $3.00
Broccoli $0.85
Fava Beans $1.00
Cauliflower $1.00
Chives $1.00
Shallots $1.00
2 Large red onions with the sprouts $1.00 ( this was not on the list, but I thought this would make a great picture
apples $1.00
radish $1.00
Kiwi $1.00
oranges $2.00
thai bird chille plants x 7 $2.00
total $18.85

Well hope this makes up a bit for the gross pics of the bugs I put out yesterday. The trick to farmers market shopping is to going there with plenty of time to be able to check and examine the produce patiently.

Enriched broccol


April submission for the jugalbandi click event, this is a broccoli floret taken with my home made macro. Carrot slices were intended to complete the salad, is the orange in the background.While I was really happy with the rich color and contrast I got on my XTi and home made macro, I was not too pleased to find the extra protein source that came free. BTW I am recently a lacto-ovo-veggie some times I am a "social veggie" dont mind sampling the sauce of a meat dish, or pick the meat off a dish. We this broccoli from our local farmers market.While I am a fear factor fan, I do not fancy these for my protein, I am content with soy, cheese & lentils. The broccoli was rinsed thoroughly after separating the florets, and soaked in warm salt water, and the bugs below are from just one tiny floret which I pushed off the floret using a toothpick, as they were quite stubbornly stuck to the floret. Needless to say that the entire batch of broccoli went to my compost bin. Now whether I want to choose between pesticide laden bug free produce, or "protein enriched broccoli" for future is quite simple. No more broccoli for me, and definitely not from a restaurant. Sorry broccoli growers, this simply grossed me out to the core. So broccoli fans, examine your broccoli when you shop. You might get more than you were expecting !Update => Today was the usual farmers market day, and the first broccoli I saw looked fine, and had no bugs and needless to say I picked up some. Yes I am very forgiving and like Shankari say's never say never.For those of you interested in the details of how I took these pictures, it was using my home made macro. Focus is by moving distance between the subject and the lens, and the camera is set to Tv mode where I can control the shutter speed. The lens has manual aperture setting ring and was set to 11 (quite narrow aperture, almost at minimum setting). I did not mind the really small aperture, as I had the camera on a tripod and was using a cable release. My camera was at ISO 400 and shutter was at 1/5s. I had 2 florescent 5k lamps for lighting up the broccoli. None of these pictures are cropped. src="" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="width:160px; height:865px; border:0px; margin:0px; padding:0px;">[...]

Gobi Manchurian


Indian Chinese cuisine is the adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to Indian tastes. It is said to have been developed by the tiny Chinese community that has lived in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) for over a century.Indeed, in a curious twist, Indian Chinese has followed the mainstream Indian expatriate community as they have spread across the world, providing expatriate Indians with a taste of authentic Indian Chinese.- WikipediaGobi (Cauliflower) Manchurian is one such dish which has a slight Chinese influence with the use of soy sauce and garnished with scallions.I first had Gobi Manchurian in Salem, India in an Indo-Chinese restaurant and was hooked to it. Mom never made it at home and in Chennai, Chinese road side vendors sold Gobi Manchurian along with Chowmein. I have tried various recipes and we personally like this one the best.When we started breaking the cauliflower into florets we realized we did not have tomato ketchup, scallions or bell pepper which are some key ingredients, but we made do without it, and did not miss a thing.All purpose flour – 4 TCorn Starch – 4 TFarina/Rava - 2 TChill Garlic sauce – 1 T (use sparingly, if you want it less spicy)Ginger – 2 tsp (finely minced)Garlic – 2 tsp (finely minced)Salt to tasteWater to make a batter – ½ cup, approxLarge Cauliflower – Broken into florets.Vegetable oil for deep dryingFor the SauceOil – 3 TOnion – 1 cup, thinly slicedSerrano chillies – 2, thinly sliced (remove seeds if you can’t take the heat)Ginger – 1 T, chopped finelyGarlic – 3 pods, chopped finelyTomato paste – 2 TApple Cider Vinegar – 1 tspJaggery – 3 T ( use brown sugar if you don’t have jaggery)Chilli Garlic Sauce – 1 T or more to suit your taste.Soy Sauce – 2 tspWe prefer making the sauce first and then went on to deep fry the cauliflower. Heat oil in a wok or a pan and when the oil is hot, start sauteing the onions and after a minute, add the chillies, ginger and garlic and saute until the onions turn translucent. This takes about 2-3 minutes.Add the tomato paste and stir well, so that you have no lumps of the tomato and it is well incorporated with the onion.Stir in the cides vinegar, jaggery, chilli garlic sauce and soy sauce and cook on medium low until the jaggery has melted and your house smells divine.Check for seasoning, if you want more heat, add some more chilli garlic paste.Set this aside.Heat oil in a pan and while the oil is getting hot, start working on the cauliflower. In a medium sized bowl, add all the dry ingredients first, followed by ginger, garlic and red chilli paste. Mix well and slowly start mixing in little water at a time to make a smooth batter.Dip the cauliflower in the batter and immediately start deep frying. Add as many florets as your pan can hold.Deep fry until they tirn golden brown and set it on a paper towel to drain all the oil.After you complete frying all the florest add it to the sauce and saute on medium high for about 3 minutes.If you have scallions, you can garnish with them.This is a great appetizer to serve, but I don't think I have the patience to deep fry a whole batch :). Gobi Manchurian taste best when it served piping hot!Eileen and Sue, this is for you. Thank you for all your support and your friendship. src="" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="width:160px; height:865px; border:0px; margin:0px; padding:0px;">[...]

Mirch Paneer- Paneer in Bell Pepper gravy


When we begin to enjoy cooking, the tendency is to start experimenting and throwing ingredients together to create a dish which warms your palate and your heart. I truly believe that this recipe from Raghavan Iyer is one such recipe. This is from his cookbook 660 Curries. The recipe is simple, easy to follow and it makes you wonder how a dish can taste so good with just a few ingredients. I taught this in my class last night and everyone loved it. One of my students who ardently hates bell pepper, tried it and she is making this again at her home. There is not a thing you want to change. Water – 2 cups Raw Cashew Nuts – ½ cup Red Bell pepper – 1 lb, cut into 1 inch pieces Green Cardamom pods- 6 Green Chilies (Thai or Serrano – 2 (do not remove seeds) Salt – 1 ½ tsp Chilli powder – 1 tsp Paneer – 8 oz, cut in 1 inch cubes and fried. Cilantro – 2 T, finely chopped Pour 2 cups water in a medium size saucepan, and add the cashews, bell peppers, cardamom pods and chilies.Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pan with a lid and cook until fork tender – for about 20 minutes.Blend the peppers along with the water to a fine puree until smooth in texture or you can use an immersion blender as well.Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and stir in the salt, cayenne and paneer and cooked covered over medium low heat for 5 minutes until the paneer is heated through.Garnish with cilantro and serve with plain or flavored basmati rice. Optional: Make this a completely OIL FREE dish by not frying the paneer. src="" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="width:160px; height:865px; border:0px; margin:0px; padding:0px;">[...]



If you have a bucket list, be sure to add- eat masala dosa at a South India home. To us, dosa is anytime food, meaning we can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Back home, amma makes dosa for breakfast and they have them occasionally for dinner too. The best combination that we like is masala dosa, tomato chutney and sambar. If you want to add a whole different level to it, sprinkle some home made idli powder over the dosa. A morsel of dosa and a sip of coffee- food fit for the gods. Please no french vanilla or caramel machiattos please :)Watch the TV segment that broadcast live March 28th 2009, on CBS13 SacramentoIf you want to serve dosas on a Saturday morning, the process begins on Friday. Soak the lentils and rice on Friday morning and grind the batter on Friday evening. Let it ferment in the oven all night and you will have the batter ready for Saturday morning. Traditionally batter is made for the whole week. So take as much as needed and leave the rest to be used the next day.IngredientsRice (any kind) – 4 cupsFenugreek Seeds – ¼ tspBlack gram lentil (skin peeled and whole) – 1 cupMethod· Soak the rice and lentil separately in water for about 6 hours.· Add the fenugreek seeds with the rice to soak.· After 4-6 hours, rinse the rice and lentils well before you start grinding in a blender.· Grind the lentils in a blender with as little water as possible. They almost get the consistency of a soft peak, like when we beat the egg whites.· Pour the batter in a large bowl, and without washing the blender start blending the rice.· You can add a little bit more water to grind the rice to a very smooth consistency.· The consistency of the batter is that of a pancake batter.· Pour the batter into the same bowl.· Add 1 tbsp of salt and mix the batter with your hands. The warmth of your hands helps to ferment the batter faster.· Close the bowl and place it a warm corner in the kitchen or even in the oven with the lights on.· Let it sit undisturbed overnight and the dosas are ready to be made the next day.Tips: In the winter months, warm the oven for a little while and place the batter in the oven. You don’t need to do this in summer it is already warm.How to make the dosas????· Heat a griddle (you can use a non-stick pan).· Pour one ladle full of batter over the griddle.· Spread the batter using the bottom of the ladle evenly into a circle.· Drizzle oil/butter/ghee around the edges and a little bit in the center of the dosa and let it cook on medium heat.· The dosa should turn light brown. The dosa generally takes 2 minutes to cook on medium heat. Take care not to burn it.· Flip the dosa over to cook on the other side.· Once cooked, flip it over, spoon a tablespoon of the potato filling on one side and fold it in half.My mom would brush some ghee on top before she served us. src="" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="width:160px; height:865px; border:0px; margin:0px; padding:0px;">[...]

Thopukarnam ; yoga for the brain


Praying to lord Ganesha the God of intellect and wisdom, can actually cure Alzheimer's and make you brainier.
When praying to Ganesha, we were taught to pinch our earlobes with opposite hands and do sit ups. Recent research has shown that our age old Indian traditional ritual, actually stimulates the brain by activating pressure points.

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This video has made me appreciate our Indian traditional ways which many scoff and consider superstitious, but made the few of us who did follow a bit better. My Dad who is 84 still does this every morning when he prays. Shankari just remembered her teacher make her do this for not paying attention in class, as a punishment.

Thai Inspired Coconut & Pandan Custard



This is a recipe by Carolyn Kumpe of EBRS. Carolyn taught this recipe when we did a Thai cooking class together. There were 21 students in class and absolute fun! After the class was over and we sat down to eat, I had the dessert first. It was a spoonful of heaven..really very delicate and extremely light too. The garnish is pandan cake we found at the Asian Market in Sacramento. Here is a little info on Pandan

The culinary center offers fun cooking classes and the store is akin to Disneyland for me. Their selection of kitchen tools and pots and pans is simply mind blowing. Please check out classes in March

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch sea salt
¼ teaspoon natural pandan extract (Don’t by the artificial flavored pandan! Available in Asian Markets)

•Preheat oven to 325 degrees
•In a medium mixing bowl, beat the two eggs with a whisk.
•Add the sugar, sea salt, coconut milk and pandan extract.
•Strain through a sieve.
•Pour into 4 large or 6 small custard cups. Set custard cups into a large baking dish.
•Pour hot water ½ ways up the custard cups, not spilling the water into the custard.
•Cover entire dish with foil.
•Bake in a preheated oven 325 until set about 45 minutes.
•Remove baked custard from the water.
•Allow to come to room temperature. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Serve within 3 days

live learn and pass it on


Saw this poster on someone's wall, when we were house hunting for our friend K, and as we were in a hurry, I took a quick snap using my blackberry. Click on the image to enlarge.Thanks to Mythree who took the pains to type this outPeople ages 5 to 95 share what they've learned about life, love and other good stuff.I've learned that most of the things I worry about never happen, I've learned that every great achievement was once considered impossible. I've learned that you can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk. I've learned that I should make the little decisions with my head and big decisions with my heart. I've learned that to love and be loved is the greatest joy in the world. I've learned that if there were no problems there would be no opportunities. I've learned that it doesn't cost anything to be nice. I've learned that the important thing is not what others think of me but what I think of me. I've learned that in every face-to-face encounter regardless of how brief we leave something behind.I've learned that regardless of color or age, we all need about the same amount of love. I've learned that you should keep you promises no matter what. I've learned that education, experience and memories are three things that no one can take away from you. I've learned that the simple things are often the most satisfying. I've learned that if you laugh and drink soda pop at the same time, it will come out your nose. I've learned that children are the best teachers of creativity, persistence and unconditional love.I've learned that successful living is like playing a violin. It must be practiced daily. I've learned that a sunroof is worth the extra cost. I've learned that happiness is like perfume, you can't give it away without getting a little on yourself.. I've learned that if you smile at people, they will almost always smile back. I've learned that homemade Toll house cookies should be eaten while still warm.I've learned that goldfish don't like jell-o. I've learned that you shouldn't expect life's very best if you are not giving it your very best. I've learned never to underestimate the potential and power of human spirit. I've learned I still have a lot to learn. src="" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="width:160px; height:865px; border:0px; margin:0px; padding:0px;">[...]

Tom Khaa Kai- Here is the recipe


(image) We invariably order this soup every time we are in a Thai restaurant. I have done various versions of this recipe and they were made guessing what the ingredients might be. While I was pretty close to what was in the soup, the one ingredient that was missing all this while was the fish sauce. I am not a big fan of sea food and hence vary of adding fish sauce to my dish and this time decided to be brave enough to use it. It truly did not smell or taste fishy.

My friend "M" was visiting Thailand and I requested him to buy me an authentic Thai cookbook, my friend "S" carried it from India for me. While I was eagerly waiting for this cookbook, I chanced upon a couple of Thai cookbooks in the library and since I was in a hurry checked both of them hurriedly, only to realize that they were the exact same cookbooks, one was hardcover and the other, paperback. A week later my friend gives me the cookbook "M" picked up and what are the chances that it is 3rd copy I have in the house????

Coconut Milk- 3 cups from the can diluted with 3 cups water
lemon Grass- 2 (white part only, bruised)
Galangal- 1 inch, minced
Shallots - 4 (smashed with a pestle)
Skinless chicken breast - 14 oz (cut in thin slices)
Fish Sauce - 1 T
Jaggery or dark brown sugar - 1 T
Tomatoes - 2 ( roughly chopped)
Mushrooms - 2/3 cup
Lime Juice - 3 T
Kaffir lime leaves - 6 (torn in half)
Green chillies - 5 (thinly sliced)
Cilantro - for garnish

  • Put the coconut milk, galangal and shallots in a saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a boil.
  • Add the chicken,fish sauce and jaggery and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, this takes about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the lime juice,kaffir lime leaves and tomatoes in the last few seconds. But take care that the tomatoes do not lose their shape.
  • Check for seasonings and adjust per taste
  1. Make this soup vegetarian by adding more mushrooms, julienned carrots and very thinly sliced red bell peppers.
  2. The soup will and is supposed to split- so dont freak out :)
  3. The soup is supposed to have a a good balance of sour,sweet and salt and not overwhelmingly hot.
  4. You can add shrimp as well.
I reduced or added a little bit more of few ingredients to our liking. But the recipe is from the book, " The Food Of Thailand - A Journey For Food Lovers"

Happy New Year ! Start the year with a laugh


Happy New Year friends, I found this on a jokes forum. Enjoy. My favorites 8, 12, and 14

Here is The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational, which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon : It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido : All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

Happy Holidays!



Briana Marie Brownlow - A Celebration of her life.


We celebrated the life of Bri in Santa Rosa yesterday. I don't think I can do justice in describing how beautiful the it was, I can only try.The hall was filled with people who loved Bri dearly. We cried a little, laughed a bit, and it was unanimous that we can never forget Bri. I write this post to let all of you know that her friends and family thanked the blogging community profusely. A farmer from the local farmer's market was there, her insurance agent- she was their customer, but you can tell how she touched their lives. Her insurance agent said that Bri changed her life. The farmer said Bri would have been happy to see him bringing a larger variety of vegetables.Her uncle remembered visiting Bri & her mom when she was a child. Bri would tread into the the living room on her toes, so she does'nt disturb her uncle's sleep to watch her favorite cartoons.It was touching to hear Cynthe tell us about Bri's concern for all around her and especially for Marc, Bri asked, "Will Marc be ok?"Bri's friend, Corie was overcome with emotions when she talked. She said, she kpt praying for Bri, praying for a miracle to happen and then realized that Bri is the Miracle. Marc had created a beautiful audio visual of her life- It said it all. I read the tributes from a few bloggers and some readers.NicismeJen YuAnitaBeePictures taken by Anita (Married with dinner)Here is a slideshow from yesterday and my tribute to her...I was introduced to Bri in April of last year when another blogger friend Bee sent me an email to ask if I would be willing to work with her to conduct a fundraiser for Bri. Reading Bri's blog I felt connected to this wonderful person, whose enthusiasm and passion for life was simply contagious.I got to know Bri & Cynthe more through emails and a few phone calls. What impressed me was the determination and courage that we saw in Bri in the circumstances and the strength, encouragement and love that Marc, Cynthe & bill showered on her. Along with Bee & jai, we visited Bri in September.When we met in person, I was even more humbled by her personality At that time, Her neck was in a cast because of the hairline compression fractures caused to her spine after the cancer metastasized to her bones. While I was worried that I might cry when I see her, she changed the mood to that of a happy reunion . She remained calm,serene, and remembered to ask Bee of her trip to Grand Teton, to ask us of our adoption journey, of my cooking classes and said she was hoping to come to Sacramento to take a few of my Indian cooking classes. I asked her how she she was doing she said,"I am doing great this hour". I learnt a few life lessons in that very short time. She taught me to enjoy life one minute at a time and be thankful with everything we have and not worry about what we don't. I will end my part of the tribute with a quote which sums up who Bri was to me“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”- William Allen WhiteWe miss you Bri. src="" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="width:160px; height:865px; border:0px; margin:0px; padding:0px;">[...]

Tis the Season - Cranberry Chutney with an Indian Kick


(image) I had never tasted cranberries until two days ago. While I wonder how I could have missed it, I am happy that I atleast tried now. OK, I was not all adventurous to go buy some personally. This came as a part of our weekly produce from Farm Fresh to You. I tasted one, it was tart and I love tart. Here is the recipe of the chutney I made. We had it with Cumin Rice and even over bread.

Fresh Cranberries - 2.5 cups
Apple - 1 ( chopped into bite sized pieces)
Ginger - 1 T (finely MInced)
Green Chillies - 4 (finely chopped)
Water - 1/2 cup
Lemon Zest - 1/8th tsp
Lemon Juice- 1 T
Brown Sugar - 2/3 cup+ 2 tsp sugar ( I did this coz I needed it more sweeter)
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Cpower - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

This is the easy party, add all the ingredients to a pan and let it cook on medium high for about 10 minutes. It is fun to watch the cranberries pop. The chutney begins to thicken. You will know when it done, I promise! The house will be filled with the aroma of this chutney.

Happy Thanksgiving !!!!




I have vague memories of having thalipeeth at home. My sis would come home after visiting her friends and try new recipes that she learnt from them..ah the joy of being the youngest. Thalipeeth was one of them. While I remembered the name distinctly, I had forgetten how it tasted.

The wonderful world of blogging refreshed my memory and I decided to make this at home and when it was a huge success, I decided to teach this in my class well. I looked at a few recipes and made my own. My inspiration came from Nupur's thalipeeth

Chickpea/Garbanzo flour- 1/2 cup
Rice flour- 1/2 cup
Whole-wheat flour - 1/2 cup
Semolina- 2 T
English Cucumber - 1 (grated)
Spinach- 1/4 cup (finely chopped)
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Red onion - 2 T (finely chopped)
Serrano green chilliy - 1 (finely minced)
Cilantro - 2 T (finely chopped)
salt to taste
vegetable oil for cooking

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl to make a soft pliable dough, adding water only if necessary ( The water content in the cucmber should be more than sufficient).
  • The dough will be sticky. I tried patting them on a plastic sheet and transferring to the griddle. But found the traditional far more convenient.
  • Take a golf ball sized ball of dough and start patting it to a round disc on the griddle.
  • Have a toothpick next to the griddle and immediately make three to four holes on the thalipeeth.
  • Drizzle with oil into the holes and around and cook for a minute and then turn and cook.
  • Cook until they are golden brown on both sides.
Everyone in my class, made their own thalipeeth and had it with thick yogurt. I might add grated carrots to it next time.