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KITCHEN ART



The art of combining the flavours of Kitchen with the spices of Life



Updated: 2017-07-24T19:40:34.680+03:00

 



FOOD FOR FUSSY EATERS - NOVEMBER 2014 (WHAT'S HAPPENING IN DAR)

2014-11-09T08:08:32.618+03:00

Children  who would eat everything that is set in front of them at the table are virtually extinct…or I think I will be so right in saying that such a species never existed!!  No, No…..never existed. I remember my mum giving us an ultimatum that we will not be able to move our butts off the dinner table till those greens and veggies we had so conveniently set aside on our plates are not gobbled up.  And gobble up we did, gulping them down with a glassful of water.  I try and do the same to my kid today, and see a stomping of feet and and a river of crocodile tears and I shamefully have to let go. I have to learn some lessons in motherhood I guess.   However, on  the hindsight to fight with the inefficiency of not being assertive enough (sigh!!) I have to pat myself on my back for having learnt a few tips and tricks that help me give her what I like without her even knowing it, and it is my pleasure to share the same with you.  It certainly takes a little preparation and you will see yourself serving your kids a flurry of dishes that they just love and still manage to retain your own happiness.   So here I am sharing my secret to being a happy mom.1.  Puree, puree and more puree.  It is time to give the blender a dust.  Be as innovative as you have never been in your life.  Boil up the veggies (anything and everything) and puree them and freeze them in small batches.  Maybe once in 15 days.  Remember, the trick is to keep the colour consistent.  Carrots and pumpkins together, can very conveniently go into pizza sauces, pasta base, soups of their choice, add a tspn to pancake batter, chappati dough or their favourite curry.  Likewise, zuchinni, pumpkin and be done together.  The trick is to retain the original colour of the dish they like but still be able to add these purees here and there.  Meat and mushrooms go very well, add in mushrooms with the ground meat or casseroles, and they sure wont know.   Don’t be over enthusiastic and add  so much that the kids will find out something is wrong!! 2.  Smoothies – These are the best places you can sneak in some fruits and even veggies.  Like add a piece of avocado to that chocolate smoothie.  Half a pear to the banana shake,  or bananas to chocolate milk,  try a grapes smoothie or a beetroot.  A bluberry or a strawberry shake will also camouflage something in a lighter shade like a zuchinni or a white pumpkin or a mix of fruits.  You will have to remember to be patient, have a lot of love and patience at that.  Experiment first, if they like it make it again – but then remember they can change their liking as quickly as they dump a toy right after the toy shop!!! 3.  Bake them in – a carrot muffin can also easily hide a zuchinni or a little pumpkin puree.  A chocolate cake will definitely accommodate a little beetroot which is pureed.  Infact, a chocolate cake will accommodate  a lot of other stuff – applesauce, a little grape puree, avocado, pumpkin.  Anything in moderation will surely blend well . Just remember not to overdo it.4.  Freeze them out – add fruits and veggies pureed into yoghurt and freeze them into popsicle moulds to serve as a eye catching desserts.  Drizzle them with their favourite chocolate or strawberry sauce. 5.  Mix  and match - Mix a handful of healthy cereals to their sugary cereals.  They really wont mind if their cereals still retain the sweet and sugary stuff.   Make the use of the blender if they are still fussy.  Just grind the good stuff and add into their milk just before the sugary stuff goes in.  Give a slice of white and a slice of wholemeal bread.  Lots of mixing ideas here. 6.  Talk and get them involved.  Kids love to be a part of what you do.  Use them in the kitchen to do tiny bits like brushing the tray, making a few cookies, cleaning the veggies.  When they are involved in [...]



CHICKEN PULAO

2014-10-29T18:29:53.443+03:00

Since I never get enough time to seperately post recipes on my blog, I decided that henceforth I will at least post whatever I am sending in for print!! Wonder why I didnt think of it earlier?So here's the article for October 2014 in What's Happening in Dar Marriage is a thousand little things put together – it is giving up your right, to be right in the middle of a heated argument.  It is forgiving, when the other lets you down. Its loving the other so much, that you step down, so that they can shine.  Its being a friend, a cheer leader, a confidant.  It’s a place of forgiveness that welcomes one home, and arms to run to in the midst of storm.  Marriage is Grace!!! And this is the reason why Weddings are a time to celebrate.  It brings together not just two people, but two families, and therefore a lot of selflessness and sacrifice and patience goes into making that relation work and last a lifetime….because they are meant to last a lifetime.  That’s how God chose it to be.And what celebration is complete without Food…none at all!!  Infact, Food remains and will always remain the “cherry on the cake”.  People may forget everything after a while, but the food remains in their minds and even for years to come they will not overlook to mention the taste and quality of food they relished at a wedding.  Weddings world wide have a totally different trend of serving their guests.  Some serve as buffet, some as sit down menus, some a course-wise meal.  Personally I prefer the buffet anyday to a sitdown meal.  It gives me the pleasure of feasting my eyes on the extensive array of mouthwatering food while I can still catch up with guests.  Traditional and modern, regional and multi-cuisine Menus are set and the guests are spoilt for choices.  While one’s own traditional cuisine is a must, however, Indian, Chinese, Italian, and Continental cuisines are the most popular cuisines that seems to find a place in the list.I am today sharing a recipe which would blend itself in the Indian as well as African cuisine and this is exactly what I had in mind when this month’s issue was focusing on “Weddings”. I wanted to put up something which could find a place for both an Indian as well as an African wedding.  Other cultures are welcome to try this out for themselves, and wow their guests too.It’s the humble Chicken Pulao….you might just say, why a Pulao at a wedding.  But I feel that the concept of the chicken and rice being cooked together along with whole spices can beat the Biriyani anyday.  Though Biriyani has its own charm, but the marriage of spices and the heartiness of the rice and chicken makes your tongue sing and soul dance, making it perfect for any wedding feast. Prep Time – 20 minutesCooking Time – 30 minutesServes – 4 Ingredients 6-8 good pieces of chicken 250 grms good quality basmati rice (washed thoroughly and soaked for 20 minutes minimum)4 big onions sliced thin8-10 flakes of garlic1 inch pc ginger4 big tomatoes 4 bay leaves2 cinnamon sticks5-6 cloves4-5 pods of cardamom2 star anise6-8 whole pepper corns1 tspn shahi jeera or caraway seeds2 mace 1 tspn garam masala powder1 tspn chicken masala powder2 tbspn coriander powder1 tspn fennel powder 1 tspn turmeric  powder2 tspns chilli powder (optional – increase or decrease as per your liking)½ cup plain yoghurt (Tanga Fresh Mtindi or any other)1 tspn lemon juicea big bunch coriander leaves1 big bunch mint leaves Method In a wide mouthed pan take 2 tbspn oil and let it heatAdd the whole spices in this order shahi jeera, crushed cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon sticks, whole peppercorns, star anise and mace. Add the onions and fry till they start sweatingAdd grated garlic and ginger and fry till onions are brownish golden colourAdd the turmeric powder, coriander powder, fennel powder, chicken masala powder and stir well.Add the tomatoes and cook till they are pulpy and oil starts separating.  Add about a tbspn of salt A[...]



CHANNA DAHL PULAO

2014-10-13T16:22:47.066+03:00

Phew I managed a gap in blogging once again.  I didnt mean to though.  Lots of reasons. I have been plainly too lazy and a little ill too.  A bout of cough and chest congestion brought me down and it look me long to just come out of the spell of lethargy.  I must confess I am still under it.

In all this, I am happy to share with you all that I have started writing the Food and Wine section of another magazine in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania "Incredible Dar".  So now its two magazines.  Makes me really happy and worthwhile.  If you wish you can check it out at www.issuu.com/incredibledar


So far so good.  Its constructive use of my time sitting in a country from away from my own and having quite a lot of time to spare.

Life gives us so many opportunities here and there.  It is upto us to lookout for them and make the best use.  An opportunity once lost might not knock again, so dont let it waste.

Today I am sharing with you a recipe which is traditional in my mother-in-law's kitchen.  I really love the wholesome earthiness of the dish.  Its a simple channadahl pulao.  I have had another version of this in my mom's kitchen, and both are very different.  Mine is even more different.  What I am giving is my MILs recipe.  Anytime comfort food.




Ingredients -

1 cup basmati rice - washed and soaked
1/2 cup channa dahl - washed and soaked for about 1 hour
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods(crushed slightly)
1 tspn sugar
1 big onion - thinly sliced
1 tbspn jeera
1 tspn garam masala
1 tspn amchoor powder 
1 tbspn salt (more or less according to taste)

Recipe -

In a pan add a tbspn of ghee or oil, and let it heat.  Add the whole spices and after half a minute add the onions and sugar and saute till they are sweated and pinkish golden and caramalized
 Add the amchor, salt and the lentils.  Fry for about a minute.
 Add 1/2 cup water and and let the lentils cook till the water is consumed.
 Now add in 2 cups of water, i.e., double the quantity of rice and after one boil let it simmer and cook till done.
Add in the garam masala and a tspn of ghee (clarified butter) or butter and mix gently.
Leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Serve with pickles and any kind of raita



BANANNA WALNUT CAKE

2014-08-31T22:33:46.523+03:00

Energy is something we all look forward to begin our day with.  In this fast paced life, where we are all short of time, and are always on the run, and unhealthy cravings and food are readily available , it is very important that we pay a little attention which will help us in the longer run.“Health is Wealth” goes a very old saying – and it is true.  If we are healthy, we can push ourselves,  strain a little more, work towards that goal and yet be there for our families spending time with them and making them smile.   But for all this we need to be healthy mentally and physically.  Good food and exercise is what counts.  We should not ignore these two aspects at any cost.  It is not always possible that you eat the most healthy food, but what I am stressing here is try and maintain a balance.  If you are gorging on heavy hotel  food at one meal, try and keep the others light  and healthy.  Or even if you are travelling and are eating all your meals in a hotel, try and include more salads, fruits and grilled. Avoid the salad dressings though.  However much those fried potatoes and the dessert bar calls you  to look their way – avoid the temptation.   You might be sad momentarily, but you will be happy in the times to come.  If you are someone like I was, just a month or so before, without a trace of guilt on eating calorie laden, sinful food, and could go on and on without winking an eyelid, then stop it immediately.  Awaken yourself and start to think what it could do to your arteries and other important body functions just a few years from now. Eat sensibly and small quantities of food you love, to be able to eat them till you are alive.  And exercise is imperative to keep your body fit. I am sharing with you a easy to do yet very healthy bake, which you can make ahead and keep in the fridge or outside (if the weathers cool) and have whenever the craving strikes. WHOLEWHEAT BANANA WALNUT CAKEPrep Time – 5 minutesCooking Time –  30-40 minutes (if you are baking a cake) and 15-20 minutes (if its muffins)Makes – 1 big loaf of cake or about 10- 12 muffinsIngredients 2 cups wholewheat flour (I used Azam Whole Wheat Atta)1 tspn baking powder¼ tspn – baking soda1 egg (room temperature) or substitute with ½ cup plain yoghurt¾ cup – light brown sugar2 ripe bananas ½ cup – refined vegetable oil ¼ tspn  - cinnamon powder¼ cup – chopped walnuts1 tspn  - vanilla essenceMethod Preheat oven to 160 deg In a pan add the wheatflour, cinnamon powder,  baking soda and powder and mix well.  If you wish, you can sieve these togetherIn a separate pan beat the oil and the egg. If you are using yoghurt – beat the oil and sugar and add into the dry flour and add the whisked yoghurt and mix everything together. Now add the sugar and and mix well.  You don’t have to beat it to meltAdd the vanilla essence and mixNow pour this into the flour and combine properly.  Mash the bananas and mix them and the walnuts into the batter and fold in well.  If the batter is too thick add in some milk and combine well.  The batter should not be very runnyPour into greased and dusted cake tin or muffin cups and bake as suggested in the beginning of the recipe.Check with a toothpick to see if baked entirely.[...]



DATE AND FIG BISCOTTI

2014-08-19T11:01:49.257+03:00

All bakeries in Delhi have stocks of Cake Rusk.  It is something that my family, especially R has been in love with. I remember picking up half a kg of fresh cake rusk every week and it vanishing even before the week ended.  Some would have tutti-fruiti in it, but we always liked the plain ones, coz the fruit in the cake rusk was always very hard, spoiling the texture.I too am very fond of this particular preparation, but I never realized it would be so easy to do it at home.  Till I actually did it myself.  This recipe is my second attempt at the cake rusk or biscotti in the international language.  The first one I did was Almond and Orange which required some improvement.  And the second one came out perfectly.  After this I think I will be making more biscotti than cookies or muffins or cakes.  They are soooo good, and healthy too.This is my own recipe.  After I got the hang of the whole concept of getting the texture right, I made my own stuff.   Prep Time - 10 minutesCooking Time - 20-30 minutes (Logs)Cooling time - 30 minutesCooking Time - 8-10 minutes (Biscotti)Cooling Time - 20 minutesMakes about - 2 dozen biscotti of medium sizeIngredients 2 cups atta1 tspn baking powder2 eggs1/4 cup sugar1 cup dates n figs chopped1/4 cup cinnamon honey (I don't think it's available in India so use honey mixed with 1/2 spoon of cinnamon or put the powder in the flour)5 tbspn salted butter2 tbspn rum (optional)MethodPreheat oven to 150 deg In a dish mix the flours n baking powderAdd the dates n figs n give it a good mixSeparately beat the butter n eggsAdd the sugar n mixPour in the rumNow mix the wet into the dryAdd the honeyCombine into a doughDon't knead too muchPat into 2 logs by dividing them into two ballsTry and keep the logs rectangularLay them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Now bake for 30 minutesRemove from oven n cool for 30 minutesMeanwhile before 30 minutes are over start preheating once againOnce the logs are fairly cool use a serrated knife to slice them into 1/2 inch slices and lay them cut side down on the baking sheet with the baking paper and bake again for about 8-10 minutes. Just until they start browning.Take the sheet out and leave to cool.Believe me you will love the crumbs as much as the biscotti itself.[...]



MANGO PICKLE

2014-07-25T23:32:57.724+03:00

Stealing mango pickle bottles from granny's kitchen, two little girls run to the terrace to spend an afternoon of finger licking goodness.

Can never ever forget those days when vacations at my ammuma's (grand mothers) home meant loads of divine food.  Food though did not look so divine then, evoke memories and longingness today. 

I remember manga achaar used to be my favourite-est food in kerala, after chemeen olatiadu (prawn  dry fry).  I could just finish a whole bottle on my own, and then take money from my granny and run to the nearby tattukadda (roadside shop) to buy the small sachets of achaar (pickle) which were a killer deal for 50 paise !!!

The little girls above were me and and cousin. .  .  Amongst our other loot were puli (tamarind rolled in salt, which my granny used to keep in a earthern vessel), boiled prawns, raw mangoes immersed in salt and red chilli powder, gooseberries in brine, ellu unda (sesame seed balls).  Anything and everything we could lay our hands on. Nothing can return those days back but those memories are ever sooo sweet, or should I say sour??

Years later, I have improvised on the mango pickle to recreate a recipe that I now love.  I have variations to it.  But this is one of the most loved and which I am sharing with you now.




Prep Time - 10 minutes
Cooking Time - 10 minutes
Cooling Time - 2 hours

Makes about 250 grms

Ingredients
250 grms - raw mango (peeled and cut into small cubes)
1 tspn - mustard seeds
2 twigs - curry leaves
salt as per taste
1/4 tspn - hing / asofetida
2 tbspn - grated ginger
1/4 tspn - citric acid
1 tbpn - vineger
1 tbspn - sugar or jaggery
4 tbspn  - red chilli powder
1 tbspn - turmeric powder

Roasted and ground to a powder
1 tspn - methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
2 tbspn - saunf (fennel seeds)
8-10 red chillies
1 tbspn - rai (small mustard seeds) (dont roast the mustard seeds)

Method

In a wok add about 2 tbsn oil (preferably gingelly or coconut oil). When its hot add the mustard seeds and wait to sputter
Add the mangoes, curry leaves, turmeric and salt
On a high heat stir and let the waters release and dry up.  This will take about 5 minutes
Now add the masala powder and everything else except the citric acid and vineger
Cook on low till you see the oil seperating
Add the citric acid and vineger and mix well
Taste and see if the salt is adequate
At this stage adjust the salt, sweet, chilli as per your liking.

I sometimes want to make it a little more sweeter so I add a tbspn more of jaggery or sugar, though I prefer jaggery.

This jar is empty within less than a week, and I am still ready for more.



LEMON SHORTBREAD COOKIES

2014-07-24T00:18:06.710+03:00

Today was my birthday.  Another year went past.  Another year with good and bad moments.  Last year I was celebrating in another country surrounded with friends.  This year, it was just my family.  New country, little known people, but a heart ready to explore the newness of the place.

Birthday's are always special.  But as the years pass by, they loose their charm and other matters in life and yet more, other people in your life take priorities.  But still there's something about the day that makes it very unique.  A certain zing in the air, continuous phone calls and messages from friends world over.  It is enough to celebrate the fact that your are alive and there are people who care and lovey.  The very fact that you are alive and kicking is enough to thank the almighty, and thank I do for all that I am.

I am celebrating this day which is very special, and more so, coz its my husband's birthday too with these eye winking cookies.  "Eye winking" coz you'll certainly wink when you take a bit.




LEMON SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Prep Time - 25 minutes
Cooking time - 20 minutes
Cooling Time - 15 minutes
Makes about 30-36 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup atta / wheatflour
1 cup maida / refined flour
1/2 cup butter at room temperature (salted)
6 tbspn sugar
2 lemon - zest
1 lemon juice

Method

Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy
Add the lime zest and lemon juice and mix well
Slowly add in the flour and mix well
Knead into a smooth dough using milk at room temperature
Leave aside for 15 minutes
Take small balls and press into small cookies
Sprinkle with some more sugar on top
Lay them on a baking sheet lined with butter paper
Preheat the oven to 180deg and bake these for about 20 minutes

Allow to cool

Serve these with a wink and you'll love them.  Every time you open the box of cookies you are surrounded with a totally butterly and tangy smell that keeps lingering.  This a keeper of a recipe.



COCONUT RICE

2014-07-16T16:50:28.008+03:00

For me Food means memories, and I am sure a lot of my blogger friends will certainly agree with this fact.  A certain aroma may transfer you to a different era altogether, maybe of your childhood or somewhere else.

The recipe I am sharing today takes me to a friend at whose house I have had this delicious rice dish.  Coconut Rice - the first time I had it I was awed at the freshnes of the dish and I still love it a lot.  Though the friend is long lost, her memories will always remain with me.




Prep Time - 15 minutes
Cooking Time - 5 minutes
Serves - 2 as a main dish

Ingredients 

1 cup boiled basmati or any other rice variety
1 cup fresh shredded coconut
1 tsp urad daal (optional)
1 tsp channa daal (optional)
1 tspn mustard seeds
1/2 inch pc of ginger
2 twigs curry leaves
a handful of peanuts and cashewnuts mixed (optional)

Method

In a wok add a tspn of oil and let it heat
Fry the nuts till crunchy and remove from oil and keep aside
Add the mustard seeds, urad daal, channa daal let them sputter and brown but dont burn please
Add the ginger grated and curry leaves and let it fry
Now add the coconut and the rice and mix well
Add enough salt to your taste.
Mix the nuts

Serve with any kind of pickle or this is good to go on its own

Tips
Makes a great tiffin dish
If you have the fresh coconut  in your freezer most of times you can just boil the rice ahead of time and cook this up in 5 minutes
For a change add some turmeric powder


 



EGG CURRY WITH COCONUT POWDER

2014-07-08T00:27:43.060+03:00

Hyeee.  Its been a loong time since I blogged, and I honestly missed it lot.  Reasons for my absence were guests at home, and most importantly my laptop was giving me trouble and I just couldnt blog as much as I wished I could.  However, alls well that ends well, and I am back and going to post big time, coz I have a lot on my drafts folder.Life has been good.  God has been kind.  I am finally beginning to settle down after moving into Tanzania 6 months ago, and thankfully the weather is better.  I think the weather is one of the main reasons for me to feel good about the place.  It was terribly hot when I had moved in.  When I compared it to the lovely ever between 18-22 deg of Nairobi the 26-30 deg of Dar felt terrible.  I had in just about 2 years forgotten the almost 48 deg of Delhi!!! Life is strange, or are we strange??!!! We get adapted to our surroundings, especially what comfort us so soon, that we become complacent.  We want to forget whats not in sight and just enjoy whats good.  Homes in Delhi were smaller, homes in places where we've lived lately are much much more bigger.  I always wonder if I will be able to get back into the smaller house once we move back to Delhi??  I have forgotten how unclean the roads in Delhi and how much garbage is accumulated on roadsides.  When I go for my yearly visits, I find that soooo strange that people keep the surroundings where they live so unclean.  I am not pinpointing the good and bad of countries, but I am just wondering how human nature adjusts to the good and bad of life.  How we ourselves set our own standards.....Lets now get onto our recipe.I looooove eggs. Especially love eggs in the form of curry and I do make it in a few different ways.Today I am sharing with you a simple one, which is a keeper and will surely satisfy your tastebudsPrep Time - 10 minutesCooking Time  - 15 minutesServes - 2 adults Ingredients4 hard boiled eggs1 big onion - chopped1 big tomato - pureed3 flakes - garlic (grated)1/2 inch pc - ginger (grated)2 tbspn - coconut powder  or 1/4 cup coconut milk 1 tspn - turmeric powder1 tspn - paprika1 tspn - red chilli powder (optional)2 tbspn - dhania or corriader powder 1 tspn - garam masala2 twigs - curry leaves a handful of dhania / corriander leaves Method In a wok add about a tbspn of oil and once hot put in the chopped onions.  Once they turn pinkish brown add the ginger and garlic and fryAdd in the turmeric powder and fry wellAdd in the corriander powder and fry wellNow put in the tomato puree and cook till the oil seperatesAdd the paprika and chilli powder and fry wellAdd the coconut powder or milk and fry for about 1/2 a minute along with the curry leaves Now put in about 1/2 cup water or more if you want a thinner gravyMake gentle slits on the boiled eggs and drop them into the gravyCook till you achieve the desired consistencyGarnish with green chillies and corriander leavesThe coconut powder adds instant richness to the curry.[...]



BAND GOBHI KE PAKODE - CABBAGE FRITTERS

2014-03-25T22:57:30.107+03:00

In my whole life I have never seen cabbages as big as I have seen in Africa.  I mean really huge ones. Some of them are big enough to make 4 different curries for a family of 4!!!   And my experience of the eating habits of people here has revealed that they really love cabbage. My househelps favourite food is Ugali and Cabbage.  They can eat cabbage three times a day, seven days a week!! Thats how much they love cabbage. I think another reason is that it is available so abundantly and cheaply.  In India we had avoided cabbage because of rumors of cabbage spreading some infections to the brain.  I had to sadly quit the lovely vegetable.  But after coming here, it became a permanent in my grocery shopping and am happy to include it. I feel its quite versatile with a number of dishes that we can cook, and also low cal and full of health benefits.

I am sharing with you here a very simple snack made with cabbage.  It has a very unique taste and texture, and I really love these.





Prep time - 5 minutes
Cooking time - 20 minutes
Serves - 4-6 people

Ingredients

250 grms - finely shredded cabbage
100 grms - gramflour / besan
a pinch - hing / asofetida
1/4 tsp - turmeric / haldi powder
2 - green chillies (finely chopped)
a bunch - corriander leaves (washed and finely chopped)
1/4 tspn - ajwain / carrom seeds
1 tspn - amchur powder
1/4 tspn - saunf / fennel seeds 
salt as per taste

Method

In a big bowl Mix in all the ingredients and add just enough water to make a thick batter of dropping consistency.
Heat oil and drop these one by one not crowding the wok too much.
Let them turn a deep gold brown on a medium flame
Serve with chutney or ketchup or are good on their own.

I love them with chappatis and some daal




COCONUT CHERRY COOKIES

2014-03-17T23:12:44.874+03:00

We had just  begun to settle down when its suddenly time to move on.  A sudden transfer for my husband called for us to pack our bags and move to a beach city.  Dar es salaam is  so different from Nairobi.  Nairobi is a beautiful town full of natures bounty, things that I love - huge big trees all around and lovely beautiful flowers in all, I really mean ALL colours and variations you can imagine.  I miss Nairobi real bad, but am trying to settle down.  Looking for whatever is best in this new city.

But I guess thats what life is all about.  When you think you've reached your destination, God wants you to see some more.  I was not ready to move but had to.  Leave friends back and look for new ones.  New purchases, a new house. I look forward to new beginnings.  Even though Dar es salaam is not as developed as Nairobi, with malls and shopping centers are cropping up everywhere.  I still want to experience the same thrill which I felt when in Delhi and new malls meant more choices in shopping about 15 years ago.

As we move on, am sharing this simple but delicious cookie recipe






Ingredients :-

2 cups - maida
1/2 tspn - baking powder
a big pinch - baking soda
a small pinch - salt
3/4 cup - vegetable oil
1 - egg
1 cup - sugar
1 tbspn - vanilla essence or cherry essence 
1/2 cup - dessicated coconut
some glazed cherries - halved (as per requirement)

Recipe :-

Preheat the oven to 180 deg cel
Mix the dry ingredients except the coconut well
Now in a separate bowl take the oil and beat in the egg till light and fluffy
Now add the sugar and beat well
Add the essence and beat well
Mix this liquid into the dry ingredients
With your hands mix everything together. 
If the dough is too dry or not coming together add in some milk (at room temp)
Grease a cookie sheet and make some balls of the dough and flatten them on the dessicated coconut
Top each cookie with a halved cherry
Bake for 10-12 minutes
Dont let it brown

You will get about 30-32 cookies



BEETROOT AND CARROT PACHADI

2013-10-25T00:20:53.586+03:00

Today the topic of conversation between some dear friends was housemaids.  They have become such important parts of our lives that so many decisions revolve around them.  Is that true???I made the decision not to return to a 9 to 5 job only because I didnt dare to leave my 1 n 1/2 year old in the hands of the Nanny.  It made me shudder to think what she could do with her behind my back.  I did not expect her to treat her well.But there my friend was who trusted her so much, or was it her trust in God.  She said, I pray and trust.  I do that too, but I guess everybody has a different perspective.I  had a bad experience with a maid who I trusted and gave whole heartedly, and was shocked when I realized that she has been stealing unashamedly!!!I think everybody has such encounters with people they trust.  Dont we all??Today's recipe hails from the Southern part of our country.  A blend of beets and carrots, vegetables which normally people dont like so much.  After I taught this recipe to someone, she said that her mom grows beets and they didnt know much but to make juice out of it.  Now she's got something great to make, and so simple too.Ingredients:- 1 cup - grated beetroots 1 cup -  grated carrots 1/2 cup -  grated coconut 1 tsp -  cumin seeds / jeera 1 onion – chopped finely 1 tsp- f red chilli powder  or 2 green chillies (optional)1/4 tsp - turmeric powder1 tbsp-  coconut oil  or any other oil 1/2 tsp - black mustard seeds 1 strand of curry leaves 1 tsp of salt (adjust to taste) 1 clove of garlic Method :- Heat oil and add the mustard seeds. When the mustards pop, add the grated beetroot, carrots, and some salt. Mix well to coat the beets with the oil and cook on low flame, stirring occasionally.Meanwhile put the  grated coconut, onions, chilli powder, turmeric, garlic, and cumin into a course mixture without adding any water. When the beets are almost soft, add the ground coconut mixture to it along with the curry leaves. Mix well and continue to cook on low flame, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are completely cooked and soft.Serve with chappatis.  Make into filling for toasts / sandwiches [...]



MEETHE CHAWAL

2013-10-13T21:36:22.295+03:00

There are some things that our elders pass on to us, and we will some day pass on to our children.  It is not necessary that it is riches and materialistic things, these can be things that hold no value monetarily but have a lot value for us. 

My today's recipe is something like that.  I had never had Meethe Chawal or Zarda ever before getting married, but it is a recipe my Mother in Law makes a lot and serves as quick snack or a great way to use left over rice, or maybe just made into a great dessert.  Kids love these yellow rice and so do adults. 

I am sharing this recipe with you now.

Ingrdients :-

1 cup of cooked rice (preferably a little undercooked)
1/4 tspn - yellow food colour (liquid)
1/2 tspn - cardamom powder
1 tbspn - chironji
1 tbspn - desicated coconut
a big pinch saffron diluted in warm milk for about 2 minutes
1 tbspn - ghee (essential)
1/4 cup - sugar
1 tbspn - raisins / kishmish
2 tbspn - finely chopped almonds 


Method :-

In a kadhai / wok put the ghee
Put in the sugar and add 1/4 cup of water and let it melt (if you are using completely cooked rice reduce the water to minimum just enough to melt the sugar)
To this add the yellow colour, cardamom powder
Quickly put in the rice and the saffron milk and mix well
Now let the rice cook completely by putting lid on the kadai
Put in the rest of the ingredients, raisins, coconut, chironji and the almonds

You can increase or decrease the quantity of sugar as per your taste





Chicken Kathi Roll

2013-10-07T01:22:54.205+03:00

I was surprised to see that my last post was 20th June!!! My laptop has some issues and the page does not load completely which does not allow me to post a post... :)   The ipad is complicated when it comes to such things.  But honestly my hands have been itching to write and I sit down to do soSo much is pending to share...some good and some sad.I will start with the sad.  A bustling high end Mall was blatantly attacked by heavily loaded terrorists, who brutally killed all who came their way. 62 people lost their lives, 175 people injured... These are just civilians.  Apart from this 3 security personnel killed and many injured.  Not to mention, that 7 out of those terrorists were killed too, but I feel that the were prepared to die.  4 days people like us who suffered thinking that  we could have been one of those who were directly affected, spent the time in front of television sets waiting for the ordeal to end.  It was sad, just to know how mercilessly the hostages were being treated inside and how even small children were killed heartlessly.  Made me think, what will the world end at???? We can just pray for peace around the world.  Now for the good news... I have seen blog awards being passed on from one blogger to another and I have longed to have one.  And the lovely Sona of Sona's Quick Pick just made my dream come true.  She gave me not one but two blog awards.  Thank you sooooo much my friendwww.ieatonline.blogspot.com/2013/07/awards-new-3-in-1-fb-page-hugs.html   (I have copied the blog link but I dont know why its not working.  So please check out her wonderful blog.  She has a great sense of humor and lovely recipes. About my nominations.  Since I have just returned, I dont have 15 bloggers who I would like to nominate, but I am going to nominate whoever I can.http://kurryleaves.blogspot.com - Lovely pics, and awesome recipes http://suchi-kitchenkarma.blogspot.com - Amazing lady giving great recipeshttp://manjuseatingdelights.blogspot.com - Talented lady giving great disheshttp://www.ahomemakersdiary.com - Awesome bengali recipes, and some yummy clickshttp://cookeatandclick.blogspot.com - Some great recipes by a great womanhttp://kichencorner.blogspot.com - Delicious food by a sweet ladyhttp://easyfoodsmith.blogspot.com - Some really good recipes by a very talented ladyhttp://kitchenserenity.blogspot.com - praiseworthy recipes and clicks Secondly,  my move to a new country brought into my life my greatest achievement.  It started with the desire todo something I have always loved to do - cook.  Getting into the food business has been my dream and get into this I did and the following is what I achieved...http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Back-to-the-kitchen-basics/-/1248928/1918720/-/uvnm7tz/-/index.htmlMy joys knew no bounds and I just wanted to share it with my friends.To celebrate these and the continuity of life I am sharing this recipe with you of Chicken Kathi RollIngredients:-For the Roll1 cup maida / refined flour1 cup atta / wheatfloura pinch of baking powder1 tspn - oil1/4 tspn  - saltMethod Mix everything and knead into a smooth soft dough using enough water, and let it rest for about 1/2 hour.Then roll into big thin chappatis and semi cook and keep aside For the filling 250 grms chicken (boneless chopped into small dices)1 capsicum - thinly sliced1 onion - thinly sliced1 tomato - pureed2 tspn - dhania / corriander powder1 tspn - garam masala1/2 tspn - haldi / turmeric powder1 tspn - chicken masala1 tspn - kasoori methi / dry fenugreek leaves (optional)1 small bunch - mint leaves1 small bunch corriander leave[...]



CHICKEN DO PIAZA

2013-06-20T20:59:35.806+03:00

It's been so long since I blogged.  I have been plain lazy and then caught up in a lot of work...We took a break and went to Mombasa.  It's not my first visit to the lovely coast, but I am always amazed at how inviting the waster are.  It's so awesome to see the waters come in during high tide and then recede during low tide, as if it was just not there at all!!!  Almost a mile of the seabed exposed once the waters go back....  You can walk on the reefs and the seabed searching for lovely seashells and other sea creatures. We even took a boat ride to the Marine Park and the Satrfish garden.  It was an experience of a lifetime.   God is so creative.  He is such an artist.  The wide variety of colours on the starfishes was breathtaking.  It made me  wonder - did he even need to make them?? But he did, so that we could be reminded of his love and his wonders.....Another unfathomable reminder of God's might and truth was THE SEA.  When you are sailing on a boat and all you can see is water, wherever you look around, it is just the SKY above you and the SEA below you.  The end of both which you cannot even imagine.  I took a thrilling ride on the Katarman - a boat on which I and the sailor were the only people - my husband stayed back to take care of our LO and since I was the more interested one.  I was so much more in love, when I asked him to go back to the room with Viha who was sleeping, and he said, no I dont want to leave the shore, I just want to be here waiting for you to come back!!I was sitting on a thick plastic sheet and he was in control of the boat steering in around.  As the waves came around us and splashed the boat around, I hung onto dear life and a thought occured to me, what if I just slipped and fell into the sea - I didnt know how to swim.  I couldnt imagine to imagine what the depths of the sea would be like....it was really scary.  But the experience was one which brought me much more closer to God and my family, and I thanked God for all the merices he had bestowed on us.........Small things which sometimes overlook in our lives.Coming back to food, I made this very delicious Chicken Do Piaza made from simple onions.  I never ever thought that such a delicious curry could be made using only onions as a base for the gravy, but it was delicious.Ingredients :-500 grms - Chicken4 onions (big ) - Onions sliced1 tbspn - Cumin powde2 tbspn - Chilli powder2 tbspn - Garam masala powder2 tbspn - Ginger garlic paste1/2 tspn - Haldi / Turmeric1/2 cup - curd / yoghurt / maziwa lala 1 stick - Cinnamon2 Cloves2 pods - CardamomSalt to tasteOil-4tbspCorriander to garnishMethod:Wash chicken & marinate with curd, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, 1tsp ginger garlic paste, little salt, 1tsp chilli powder & turmeric & keep aside.In a kadai heat 2tsp oil fry 3 onions till brown, cool & grind it to a fine paste.In the same kadai heat oil, now add the remaining onions & fry then add ginger garlic paste, sauté for 1mt then add cumin powder, chilli powder, salt sauté well.Now add the marinated chicken mix well, add water if required. Cover & cook till the chicken is tender. Now add the ground onion paste & garam masala powder, mix well & fry with the lid open.Fry well till the masala clings to the meat.Garnish with corrinader leaves[...]



KEEMA MUTTAR

2013-05-07T19:13:08.053+03:00

I often wonder what it would be without trees.  Our natural surroundings are so endowed with trees and that too tall, thick trees.   Even on the hottest of summer days I remember sitting below thick neem or peepal trees with friends and still feeling so soothed under the shade.  It is as if, the sun could never reach through the leaves.

Just lying below the trees with friends and looking up at gently moving leaves would be hypnotic and most often lead you to a slumber without the need of air conditioners.  But would our children experience all this, I wonder.  In this age, when even school buses are air conditioned and both parents and children prefer them, would you want your children to sit by the shade of a tree and enjoy their childhood, playing with mud vessels, and leaves and flowers and imaginery food???

I personally believe, it is the duty of every parent to allow their child to enjoy the natural way of life.  Let your child experience certain hardships that will turn them into stronger human beings, and be prepared for the hottest summers, or the coldest winters.  Let them not always be dependent on the air conditioner or the heaters - or for that matter all other luxuries that money can buy today, but leave them from experiencing the real thing. 

Keema Muttar has nothing to do with the above, but I was just sharing my thoughts with you.




Cooking Time - 45 minutes to 1 hour
Preparation Time - 10 minutes

Ingredients -
1/2 kg - mutton keema
3 onions - chopped finely
1/2 cup - curd / yoghurt / maziwa lala
4-5 pods - cardamom
2 bay leaves
7-8 cloves garlic - grated
1 pc ginger - grated
1 tspn - garam masala powder
1 tspn - turmeric / haldi powder
2 tspn -  corriander powder
2 tbspn - black pepper powder

Recipe :-

In a wok / kadai take about 2 tbspn of oil, and when its hot add the bay leaves and cardamom pods crushed.
Now add the onions and fry them till they are brown but not burnt.
To this add the grated garlic and ginger
Add the garam masala, corriander powder and turmeric powder
Fry well
Now wash the keema and add. Fry on high till well cooked and brown. 
The taste of the keema is in the bhunoing or roasting. 
Add the curd and fry till it is all absorbed.
Add the black pepper powder
Garnish with corriander leaves.
Remove the bay leaves and serve hot with either chappati or naan




OATS UTTHAPAM

2013-05-02T12:26:36.097+03:00

I was never an oats person, but as when I came to realize the benefits, I started loving it, and wanted to add in Oats in everything.....well, almost!!!

When you are looking for a delicious yet healthy start to your day, you know you are on the right track towards keeping yourself fit for your life. Nothing beats beginning your morning with a meal that will keep you energized and active throughout.


A healthy breakfast is the call of the hour for every household and each individual be it a child, a teenager, an adult or old person. Everybody should vie to fulfil the nutritional needs of their body with a breakfast that will add to your lifespan. A little effort and some planning is worth all of it.

Addiing Oats to your meals can provide you with the kickstart you are looking for. High on fibre especially beta-glucans , which aid in reducing blood cholesterol levels. They are a high source of Vitamin E , and consumption of Oats regularly aid in control of Blood Sugar, Blood Pressure, Anti Cancer, along with regulating your bowel function.

This multifunctional cereal can be added in your daily lives in many ways – add them to your cookies, breads, chappati flour, cakes – try adding a handful into all your cooking.

Today I am giving a recipe to make delicious savoury pancake made of oats. Addition of carrots give them a boost in antioxidants and Vitamin A. They are easy and quick to make, and will never fail your taste buds



Preparation Time : 5minutes


Cooking Time : 5 minutes


Ingredients :-

½ cup – oats
¼ cup – coarse semolina
½ cup – low fat yoghurt (maziwa lala)
1 – onion chopped finely (small)
1 – green chilli (optional)
A small bunch of coriander leaves – chopped finely
½ carrot – grated
Ginger – a small piece grated


Method :-
Mix all the ingredients except the carrot and keep aside for 2-3 minutes.
Add enough water to make it into a pouring consistency
Heat a non stick pan and when its hot pour a ladle full of the batter and spread it
Spread the grated carrots on the top
Let it cook on one side and flip it over cooking the carrot side too

Serve it with any accompaniment of your liking or eat it plain.  If cooked on a good quality non stick pan it is zero oil yet delicious!!

 I served it with a simple takkali kootan (tomato onion curry).



12 YEARS OF MARRIAGE AND A CAKE

2013-04-26T19:01:59.229+03:00

Today we celebrate 12 years of our wedding!!  Yes 12 years have passed and a two lives from the North and South of the country came together and mingled to become a family. Our marriage was a movie story kinds.  The boy - a North Indian Punjabi Hindu and the girl - a Delhi born and brought up Keralite Christian girl.  My family was so totally against the marriage and they tried all tactics and tricks and emotional blackmail to pull me away from this so called alliance that I had sought for myself.  And his family had happily accepted me as a part of their family because they knew that their son had made up his mind and they would not be able to change his mind.  My parents finally gave in to their stubborn daughter after a lot of melodrama and mein shaadi karoongi to isse nahi to kunwari reh jaoongi!!!Today we have withstood a lot of phases in our lives and stuck by each other through thick and thin.  Ups and downs of lives and careers, making tough decisions and enjoying the sweetness that life offered us.  Most importantly a beautiful daughter who is the light of our lives, and the most precious gift God could give us.Life witthout each other would be incomplete and infathomable and so I pray that God blesses our togetherness now and till death do us apart.This cake was made some while before but I am posting it today, since the anniversary cake was brought from the market.  I had made this cake on the occassion of the farewell of a good friend of mine leaving Kenya and resettling in Canada.For the first time I made a 3 layered cake and I must say it was HUUUGEEE.  The cake must have weighed at least 3 kgs..............but it was delicious.  I had strawberries and a fruit cocktail can that Rajeev had brought from the Del Monte factory, which I also wanted to use fruitfully :)Ingredients :-For the sponge 1 cup - maida / refined flour1 cup  - atta / wheatflour (I add to increase the health quotient of the cake)1 tspn - baking powder1 tspn - baking soda1/2 cup - warm milk3 eggs 1 cup - butter or refined oil (I mostly use oil to increase the health quotient of the cake)1 cup - sugara pinch of salt1 tspn - vanilla essenceRecipe Seive the flours, salt, baking powder and soda togetherSeparately beat the oil and sugar together till creamyAdd the egg one by one till fluffyTo this add the vanilla essenceAdd this mixture to the flours and mix wellAdd the milk mix well Pour this into a greased and dusted pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180 deg cel till 45 minutesFor the strawberry frostingIngredients 1-1/2 cup - fresh cream1 cup - icing sugar1 tspn - strawberry colour1 tspn - strawberry essenceRecipe Beat the cream till soft peaks formTo this add the icing sugar and beat till stiff peaks formAdd the stawberry colour and essence and mix till you get the desired colourPut this in the fridge till you are ready to use itFor the assemblingIngredients 1 cup - juice (use any flavour you like but orange or pineapple goes best, I used the residue from the fruit cocktail and some pineapple juice)Fruits from the fruit cocktailStrawberry fan to garnishRecipe Cut away the top of the cake to make a smooth surfaceNow cut the cake carefully with a big serrated knife into three slicesKeep these safely and separatelyNow on the tray you are going to serve put the first layer and sprinkle juice on this till it is well moistSpread a layer of the cream on this and spread small peices of the fruit cocktail on the creamNext take the other layer and sprinke juice till well moistVery carefully place this on top of the fruit and creamed l[...]



CHERRY UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

2013-04-21T21:11:09.602+03:00

My little daughter loves animals just like me.  Since she was about 3 months old, I have been showing her picture books of animals and her first love was HOOORRRSSEEE.  She loved the horse, and still loves it,
now that she gets to ride on one every Thursday in school!!!

We took her to the Safari Walk today and she just loooved it soo much.  We too enjoyed the lovely green surroundings with amazingly cool breeze and even though we had to walk through the whole park it was not tiring.  The walkway was made of wooden planks which were surprisingly very strong and reliable and took us through the jungle.

We came to celebrate with this lovely muffin which was not too difficult to make

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Recipe Source - My own Time taken - Preparation (15 minutes), Baking (25-30 minutes) Ingredients :-

1/4 cup - maida / refined flour
1 cup - full cream / malai
1 cup - caster / powdered sugar
cherries - halved and 4 each per cake
1/4 cake  - raspberry jam
Milk - enough to make into a thick flowing batter (room temperature)
1 tsp - baking powder
1/2 tsp - baking soda
1tspn - vanilla essence

Recipe :-

Preheat oven 180 deg Cel
Seive the flour, baking soda  and baking powder together
Beat the cream and the sugar just till mixed welll
Now add this to the flour
Add the vanilla essence
Mix milk till you achieve a pouring thick consistency
I took the halved cherries and laid 4 of them side by side covering the bottom of the cupcake liner with the rounded side down and the cut side up
Now pour batter covering 1/2 the cup
Microwave the jam along with a tbspn of water and beat well till its loose
Add a tspn of this jam and cover another tbspn full of batter on top
Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

The cake was moist and soft and we enjoyed it very much, especially my girl







LOVE MY DHOKLA!!

2013-04-12T23:54:39.742+03:00

As I mentioned before that when it comes to food, I really dont think too much of the calories, since it spoils my taste. My habbit is to eat the food, and then worry about the calories, feel guilty for a split second and then say "aaaaahhhhh what can I do", and move on..... But it is not that I like only calorie laden food. There are sooo many things that are low on cals, but still taste awesome, and today's recipe is one of them. Dhokla. It is a humble steamed cake that hails from the Gujarati cuisine, though I have seen various other parts also making versions of this. It has surely become a favourite amongst most people owing to the healty yet delicious factor. I just looooove dhokhla, but I like one where the sweetnees of the sugar and tartness of lime is balanced. I dont like a bland dhokla with a overly sweet syrup like tadka, or one where there is little sweetness. There are very few places in Delhi which have that balanced tasted, and there are unfortunately NONE in Nairobi. And there are times, when I just crave to eat this spongy sweet and sour snack, which I can gorge on guiltfree. The result of many many trials and errors finally resulted one day in the following. There have been soooo many experiments, some turning out hard like rock, some uncooked, some falling apart - but this one was perfecct, and I was sooo happy. Happy for the fact that my craving is over, I will not have to crave anymore..... Here goes the recipe Ingredients For the base / dhokla 1 cup - besan / gramflour 2 tspn - rawa / sooji / semolina 1/2 tspn - citric acid 1/4 tspn - baking soda 1/2 tspn - turmeric powder 2 tbspn - sugar 1/4 tspn - salt 1/4 tspn - grated ginger 1/4 tspn - green chilli paste (optional) 2 tspn - oil 1/4 tspn - hing (levelled)For the tadka 1 tbspn - oil1/2 tspn - mustard seeds / sarson daane1/4 tspn - cumin seedscurry leaves - a few sprigs1/2 tsp - salt2 tbspn - sugar1 cup - water For garnishGrated carrotsGrated coconutChopped corrianderGreen chilliesRecipeFor the base / dhoklaMix all the ingredients except the bakind soda and add water to make a thick pourable pasteEnsure there are no lumpsOnce this batter is formed, add the baking soda and beat till the batter risesKeep aside for about 5-10 minutesGrease a glass bowl and pour the batterNow steam the same for about 15 minutes, checking if the batter has cooked throughI am assuming at this stage that this can also be microwaved.  It may take about 8 minutes.For the tadkaIn a pan heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds Once they sputter add the curry leaves.Now pour in the water and once boiled add the sugar and saltPour this onto the dhokla and leave it for about 1/2 hourGarnish with the grated carrots, coconut and corriander leavesYou can also make the chillies.  I just leave a little water from the tadka, slit the chillies add some sugar, salt, garam masala, amchoor and fry them for 3 minutes.I am assuming that the type of gramflour and other factors make a difference how the dhokla turns out.  [...]



GAPPE SHAPPE AUR GOL GAPPE

2013-04-10T10:22:19.840+03:00

There are so many memories that friends bring along.  Right from our first friends when we were toddlers, running  around with them, then as we go to school, the first people we connect with, and then as we grow older we blend along with those around us in school and some near our homes.  There are some who last a lifetime, and some who come and go like a whirlwind.........What would we do without friends?? Over the years, I have learnt that no friends are perfect, coz we ourselves our not.  To except all that we need of just one person is unfair to say the least.  There are friends who we can cry with, there are those who we can laugh openly with, there are those with whom we can share our deepest thoughts, our lives secrets, there are some with whom we can shop incessantly, there are some with whom we can just be quiet.........  I have learnt that I cant expect one person to be the best.  It is just not possible.When it comes to being friends, I can always go back to my friends with whom I used to go to our local chaat vaala and enjoy endless servings of gol guppes.  Crispy balls filled with tangy sweet water and some boiled potates and chole to give it a texture............Wow, whoever invented this was a great person.  Indian food would be incomplete without the street food it offers, and gol guppe are an inseparable part of that.After coming to Nairobi, I have soooooooo miiisssssseeeed the chaats.  There are days, especially evenings when we just looong to have these foods, which satiated our souls and tummies.  But there is nowhere to go.  There definitely is chaat available in Nairobi, but I have never relished them.  They lack the taste and texture.  This has resulted in a lot of learning, yes learning to do these on my own.When I was in Delhi, earlier this year, I picked up 2 packets of ready to fry gol guppe from our local namkeen store.  So I had these, now I had to arrange for the paani and the chutneys, which I sure did.And this was the result.  Now I dont crave for them anymore.  Almost every weekend we have a chaat party at our home with Gol Gappe, Chaat Paapdi and Tikki.  No dinner....Havent tried my hand at making the gol gappe since I have the packets.  Will do so when I run out of them.Here goes the recipe for the paaniPaani for Gol GappeIngredients 1 cup - mint / pudina leaves1 big ball - tamarind (add half cup water and microwave for a minute and let rest for 5 minutes)1 tbspn - kaala namak / rock salt1 tbspn - jeera powder / roasted cumin seeds powder1 tspn - hing / asofetida2 tbspn - chopped dhaniy leaves / corriander leaves 1 - 1/2 litre - water2 tbspn - raita boondi 2 green chillies (optional)  I avoid it since my LO will say mamma minchi hai1/2 inch pc - gingerRecipe Just whizz everything in the blender except the boondi, remembering to remove the seeds from tamarind. Strain n adjust the masalas to your liking.Serve them with some boiled potatoes which are mashed and add a little chaat masala and some meethi saunth (sweet tamarind and jaggery chutney)Beleive me the first time I did this, we were soooooooooooo happy as if we were having a peice of heaven.[...]



VEGETABLE UPMA

2013-04-09T23:48:03.268+03:00

Everybody is becoming very health concious. Gone are those days when people, especially Indian people load their phulkas with a dollop of ghee (clarified butter). Also gone are the days when Sunday breakfast meant - stuffed aloo, gobhi, mooli, paneer etc etc parathas, first fried in ghee and then topped with maa ka pyar (mother's love) i.e, a dollop of big butter!! and the lunches meant Chole Bhature, and the dinner meant daal chawal...... Times have changed and people are seriously moving onto healthy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, thought all the above things that I mentioned still remain a favourite amongst homes. Honestly I am not one of those people who counts each bite that I put into my mouth. When it comes to food, I really dont like to think about the calories. I just love to enjoy the taste irrespective of the amount of cals its adding onto my already sooooo overloaded existence !!! But my DH sure is a person who likes to count his calories. So I have to think about various options for his breakfast. Vegetable Upma happens to be a good choice that I make which keeps both him and me happy. Quick to make and delicious too, and not to mention healthy too.) Ingredients 1 cup - semolina / rawa / sooji 1/2 cup - chopped vegetables (carrots, beans, corn, peas) 2 tbspn - peanuts 1 tspn - mustard seeds / sarson a few sprigs - curry leaves 1 tspn - sugar 1 tspn - salt (pls adjust this to taste) 1/2 inch ginger - grated 1 green chilli - chopped fine 1 onion - chopped fine Recipe First and foremost roast the semolina without oil in a wok Roast till it starts giving a nice warm smell Remove it into a dish In the same wok add about a tbspn of oil and fry the peanutsRemove the peanuts and keep them separately Now the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and wait till they stop spattering Pls remember that the oil should be hot Now add the chopped ginger and fry well Add the onions and fry till pinkish brown Now add the curry leaves and green chillies (I avoid green chillies for my LO) When this is done add 2 1/2 cup of water and let the water come to a boil Meanwhile put all the veggies in a microwave safe bowl and boil them for about 5-7 minutes, or till they are cooked and tender Strain them To the boiling water add the salt and sugar (yes I learnt to add sugar from my mom, and blv me it enhances the taste of the upma) Now add the veggies Slowly add the roasted semolina and keep stirring with one hand Cook till the semolina is cooked and all the water has dried up We used be served this with sugar sprinkled on top most of the time, and I love it, and so does my LO. My husband loves it with some sweet jam. [...]



FRUITY SWEET BUNS

2013-04-09T23:48:59.994+03:00

I have been longing to bake bread for ages!!! Yes thats true. Always wanted to, but have been ever so lazy. The thought of kenading the sticky dough, leaving it to rise, then punch it again, then leaving it to rise - all sounded soooooooo boooooriinnng.. But then I had to do it one day, and I sure did - and I sure enjoyed it.

What I enjoyed THE MOST is the yeasty sour smell that was around me. Yes I sooooooooo loooooovveed it. Reminding me of bakeries baking fresh bread, but more than that, it was the smell that took me back to my mom. Yes, yeast was sooo significant to my mom making velleappams in our kitchen. In all of Mayur Vihar where we lived, all our Malayali family friends came upto her and asked her to make these for their house. I proudly have to say, that hers were the best appams in town!!!

It is sad to say the least that I myself have never tried my hands on that recipe. It happens so that all these years, even after getting married, velleappams were just a "wish" away. I just had to tell her and they would be ready as soon as the fermenting aloud it to be. It was a great feeling. But now that I am miles away I miss that advantage very much. But it has been a lot to my advantage. I have learnt to cook so many things that I so easily relied on her to do for me!!!

Well getting back to the bread making. I one day decidied to bake bread, and rolled up my sleeves. Took some flour, added some salt and sugar, mixed the yeast and warm water and sugar, gave it a stir - did a little bit of this, did a little bit of that and in the end added some candied fruits I had in my refrigerator!! This was what I got in return.



Dont ask me for the recipe, coz I really dont remember the measurements and the details.  I never made a note of it, and these pics have been lying in the draft for long. So sorry about that. Not to mention that I did bake bread twice After this once, but never got a chance to click and post!!!!.

But the result was sweet soft buns. 

We all enjoyed



PANEER SHIMLA MIRCH

2013-04-09T23:50:16.148+03:00

I cant think of a flavour that would be universally loved by ALL. No there isint!!?? Please correct me if I am wrong - chocolates "some like it, some dont", sweet "some like it, some dont", sour "some like it, some dont". Even something as lovable as a potato, I have heard some people say they dont like it, and that is to my utter amazement!!!

I realize this when I live here in Nairobi, where someone like my household help runs miles away from chillies or pili pili as she calls it. When I am dousing a teaspoon of chillies or chopping green chillies into my curries after I take out her share, her eyes are splitting wide open sometimes i feel they will just pop out. And she asks me "how much pili pili do you eat?", "I cant do without it Aunty" I say!! There are some for whom too sweet is never too sweet, while I cringe and put back the spoon. I never liked "too sweet". What is perfectly salted for me, is sometimes too salty for DH. So no two tastes can ever match, can they??

 My next recipe is somewhat like that, or maybe it is not. Its bell peppers and cottage cheese. Some just hate the taste of bell peppers but others love it. It is only after coming here that I first tried yellow and red peppers and I found that they have a lot less strong flavour than the green ones. Since then, I have favoured them. Not just do they do add a lovely colour to the dish, but also add the flavour. Its a simple to do, yet flavourful dish. No harm trying :)



















Ingredients :-

250 gms - cottage chesse or paneer (diced into cubes)
1 red bell pepper - (diced into cubes)
1 yellow bell pepper (diced into cubes)
1/2 green bell pepper (diced into cubes)
1 big onion - diced into cubes
2 medium tomatoes - pureed
4-5 pods garlic - grated
1/2 inch ginger - grated
1 tbspn - cream
1/4 tspn - turmeric / haldi powder
1/4 tspn - red chilli powder
1 tspn - corriander / dhania powder
1/2 tspn - garam masala powder

Recipe :-

In a wok add a tbspn of oil and add the onions. Fry on low heat till they get soft and pink.
Try doing it on slow heat so as not to burn it.
Add the ginger and garlic and fry well
Add the turmeric and fry well
Add the corriander and chilli and garam masala and fry well
Add the tomatoes and fry till the oil separates. Add salt to your liking.
Now add the bell peppers and mix and cover and cook for about 5 minutes
Add the cottage cheese and cream and toss everything together and cook for about 2 minutes on high. Close the flame and garnish with corriander leaves.

Serve with fluffly rotis or naans.



WHAT'S LIFE WITHOUT "CHICKEN"

2013-04-09T23:51:10.076+03:00

Yeaahh whats life without this cock-a-doodle-doo bird.  You wouldnt have eggs, you wouldnt have butter chicken, you wouldnt have chicken pakoda, you wouldnt have ............the list is endless.  Isint it?When I got married to a guy who is a preferred vegetarian, I out of sheer love decided I too would follow suit and discard the "meat" variety from my palate.  Rajeev never asked me to do so, but I volunteered.  The pain started when I walked into mum's house and saw her making delicious chicken fry!! Hmmmm, "beta kha lo".  "Nahi mummy mein nahi khaoongi".  Translated into English for my friends who dont understand Hindi "daughter, please eat this" "No mom, I wont".  All this while my stomach was rumbling and grumbling.  My hands were jumping up and down to just pick up on peice and pop into my mouth.I came home that night, sad, but still determined not to give up.  I stood upto my decision for............all for 6 months!!!! Yes, that was all that my will power could stand.  My mom's wonderful chicken dishes, I could not hold myself back!!  If that was funny.Now I am a mom myself, and I have a 2 year old who digs into chicken like Popeye digs Spinach!!! Mamma chincken want!!! Yes that's what she says, somedays as soon as she opens her little brown eyes in the morning.Well, so I really cant imagine what life would be without CHINCKENI had Methi Chicken lately at Open House and was determined to try it at home, and so I did for a gathering of friends, and it sure was delicious.Here's my versionIngredients :-500 gms - boneless chicken 2 big onions - grated 6-7 pods of garlic2 big tomatoes - pureed1 cup - methi / fenugreek leaves1/2 tspn - garam masala2 tbspn - thick yoghurt (you could add cream if you dont like the sournes which is actually negligble)2 tbspn - dhania / coriander seed powder1 tspn - turmeric powder2 tspn - chilli powder2 pods - cardamombay leavesMethod :-Clean, clean, clean the chicken (very important)In a wok add about 3 tbspn oilAdd the cardamom pods and the bay leavesAfter about 1/2 a minute add the grated garlic.Then add the onions and a big pinch of saltFry well, till about reaching golden brownAdd the turmeric powder, mix well till the raw smell is goneAdd the dhania powder and fry wellNow add the tomato pureeFry till the oil starts showing indicating that the masala is cookedNow add the yoghurt and the chickenFry on high for about 5 minutesNow cover and cook till the chicken is doneIf want a little gravy you could either add some more beaten yoghurt or plain waterLastly add the cleaned fenugreek leaves and cook on high for about 2-3 minutes.Finish off with garam masala and green chilliesEnjoy!![...]