Monday, August 6, 2007

Snake Gourd Milk Kootu

This in my 50th post and these day I am lazying around to post recipes. I have successfully completed six months in the blog sphere. During these six months I have earned so much of love and attention from all my talented and friendly fellow bloggers that I never realized how fast six months just passed by.

I couldn't make anything special but can assure you that the snake gourd kootu sure is a winner recipe. Snake gourd is called as podalankai in Tamil, Potlakaya in Telugu, Padavalanga in Malayalam, Padavalakai in Kannada and Chachinda in Hindi. I am making a podalankai pal kootu, a recipe of Tamilnadu.


2 cups snake gourd
1 cup gram dal (chana dal)
1 cup fresh coconut
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp pepper corns
4-5 green chillis
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp turmeric

For Tempering

1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp split urad dal
1-2 dry red chillies (torn in to tiny portions)
a dash of asafoetida
fresh curry leaves
2-3tsp oil

For garnish

fresh chopped cilantro


Pressure cook the dal for just two whistles with water just enough to cook the dal. As snake gourd gets cooked very fast I prefer cooking it for few minutes on stove top with just 1-1/2 cup of water. The snake gourd should not be over cooked, cook until it is just soft.
Grind coconut, peppercorns, cumin seeds and green chillies together. You can reduce the amount of green chillies if you don't want it very spicy because the peppercorns and the red chillies give lot of heat too.
In a deep bottomed pan, add oil and temper with the given ingredients and let them splutter. To the tempering add the ground coconut mixture with the heat on medium low. We don't want the coconut to let out the oil. The kootu should be thick, so strain the water from the pressure cooked dal and add it to the coconut mix. Let the coconut mixture get cooked for about 5-6 minutes. Now add the dal, cooked snake gourd, turmeric and salt to the mixture. Let all the flavors marry in.
Once the kootu starts getting thick turn off the heat and add milk. Garnish with fresh cilantro and delicious Snake gourd milk kootu is ready.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Nut Cutlet and Farm Picking

Nut Cutlet is a crunchy cutlet made of nuts. I tried this recipe from a magazine and it is a great snack for tea time.


2 cups boiled and mashed potatoes
2 tbsp cashews
2 tbsp peanuts (groundnuts) with out skin
2 tbsp almonds (blanched /slivered)
1 slice of bread
2-3 green chillies
1/2 tsp Garam masala (found in the Indian store)
1tsp finely chopped ginger
1/2 cup cilantro
2-3 tbsp all purpose flour (maida)
1-2 cups of bread crumbs
Lemon juice (optional)


Chop the cashew nuts, peanuts and almonds with nut chopper or knife. They should be of medium size, not to small and not too big.
In a bowl add the mashed potatoes, salt, chillis, ginger, garam masala, the nuts, cilantro, and bread slice. Mix them all well.
In another bowl add very few drops of water to the all purpose flour to make a thin paste.
Make desired shape out of the cutlet mixture, dip them into the flour batter and then coat them with bread crumbs.
Either deep fry or just pan fry the cutlets. I pan fried the cutlets on medium heat by tossing them gently. This way less oil is used.

The whole process including the boiling of potatoes did not take more than 30 minutes. Frying takes about 3-4 minutes each side.
I am contributing this one to Express Cooking Event hosted by Shaheen of Malabar Spices.

Farm Picking Peaches
The farm had many peacocks. You can see one more sitting below.

luckily found some raspberries.
My Son playing Jack N Jill!!

Dad and son taking a long walk in the raspberry fields.

We had filled this basket.
It was so much fun going to this farm. In the middle of picking peaches it started raining and we were taking shelter under the trees. The rain showers were mild and didn't last for long. The fresh smell of soil and the greenery was a very beautiful weekend experience.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jihva For Ingredients - Rice

Indira of Mahanandi started Jihva for ingredients in May 2006. Since then it has been one of the most popular events in the blog sphere. Every month one of the Indian Ingredient is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the food blogger's community . I am very honored to host this event and thank Indira for giving me this opportunity. I also thank Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi for having helped me out in designing the beautiful logo with red, brown and white rice.

Jihva for ingredients, for the month of September is the staple food of India -RICE. In Sanskrit rice is called as "Vrihi".

Rice is grown in many regions across India. It is the principal crop grown in India, and the country ranks second only to China in world rice production. Much of the crop is used to feed the domestic population, as rice is the dietary staple for many Indians.

The below picture shows the 'paddy fields'

Rice has potential in a wide range of food categories. Besides having nutritional and medicinal benefits, the by-products of rice are equally important and beneficial.
Rice By-Products

  • Rice Husks
  • Rice Bran
  • Broken Rice
  • Rice Flour
  • Rice Milk
  • Rice Pudding
  • Rice Starch
  • Rice Straw
  • Rice used in Beverage Making
  • Rice Paper
  • Rice Glue
  • Rice Cakes
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Rice Soy Milk
  • Red Yeast Rice
  • Rice based food products
For more good information on rice please click Here.

For this event all you have to do is prepare recipes out of Rice , may it be like Biryani, Pulao, Variety rice, Fried rice or you can also use the derivatives of rice like the rice batter, rice noodles, rice papers, cream of rice, puffed rice, flattened rice(rice flakes) . Use any kind of rice like long grain, short grain, Basmati rice, Brown rice, Rosemetta, Sona Masuri, Wild rice, Black rice. You can also make creamy desserts items like rice pudding, rice dumplings(modak in Hindi) and so on. Put your imaginations to work and get creative.

  1. Prepare a dish with "Rice" as the main ingredient, and post it on your blog in the month of August. The choice of recipe is not restricted to Indian cuisine. You can send in multiple entries too.
  2. Please send me an e-mail with your Name, a Picture of the dish, perma-link of The Recipe, and Name of your blog to Please use “JFI” to denote the subject matter.
  3. If you are a non-blogger, please send your recipe and picture with your e-mail.
  4. The deadline for this event is September 1, 2007. The round-up will be posted by September 3rd.
  5. Please feel free to use the Logo

I look forward to your creative contributions.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Punjabi Thali

Punjab, the land of five rivers is known as the breadbasket of India. Punjabi culture is one of the oldest and richest cultures in world history. This is the majestic Golden Temple, which I am still waiting to visit. The Golden Temple, located in Amritsar in the state of Punjab, India is the most sacred shrine of Sikhism. Sikh devotees, for whom the Temple is a symbol of freedom and spiritual independence, come to the Temple from all over the world to enjoy its environs and offer their prayers. The official name of the Temple is Harmandir Sahib which means literally "the Temple of God" -- from Hari: God and Mandir: temple. Baisakhi is a major festival of Sikhs and is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm and gaiety the festival falls on April 13th or April 14th and marks the beginning of the solar year. People of North India, particularly Punjab thank God for good harvest. Visit to Gurudwaras, Baisakhi processions and traditional performances are the highlights of the day. Punjabi cuisine can be non-vegetarian or completely vegetarian. One of the main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diverse range of dishes. A typical Punjabi meal with consists of roti, daal, yogurt and curried vegetable. Many Punjabi eat rice very infrequently and only on special occasions. Punjabi meals usually have lot of onion, tomatoes, cumin, turmeric, mustard, garlic, ginger cooked in pure cow ghee(clarified butter). Milk is a very important part of Punjabi food in its many form such as yogurt (dahi), lassi, paneer, makhan (white butter) and ghee. In rural India, Punjabi food is mostly served at "Dhaba". Dhaba is a usually self-service roadside food joint that is frequented by truck drivers and travelers. But now that dhaba food has become so popular around the world, that even big restaurants serve dhaba food. So here is the Menu

  • Gobi Paranthas (Indian bread stuffed with spiced cauliflower)
  • Pindi Chana (Chick Peas cooked with onion-tomato sauce and a special touch of Indian spices)
  • Jeera Mutter Pulao (Basmati rice cooked along with peas, cumin and spices)
  • Paneer Mutter Malai ( Home made Indian cheese cubes cooked in cashew-milk cream sauce)
  • Halwa(Sweet delicacy made of semolina, wheat flour, clarified butter, milk and sugar)
  • Kakdi-piyaz da raita (Cucumber-onion mixed with yogurt and seasoned with spice)
  • Lassi Patiala (Chilled butter milk pampered with Indian spices)
  • Achar (Punjabi pickle)
  • Punjabi Papad (Dried Lentil chips)
I enjoyed making this Punjabi Thali a lot because we go to restaurants craving for such food. When we got to eat all this at home, it was a great party!! Gobi Paranthas 3 cups plain white flour 1/2 tsp salt warm water to make dough 2tsp oil Filling 1 cup finely grated cauliflower 2tsp grated ginger 1 tsp chopped green chillies fresh chopped cilantro or paste ajwain (carom seeds) cumin seeds 1/2 tsp turmeric salt 1-2tbsp oil Preparation

Prepare a soft dough combining salt, warm water, oil and flour. Set aside. In a pan add oil and cumin seeds. When the cumin and carom seeds starts spluttering, add ginger and chillies. After the ginger and chillies get fried, add grated cauliflower, turmeric, salt and saute well. The water from the cauliflower should get evaporated. I added cilantro paste instead of chopped one. That is why the filling looks green. The filling is done. Once it cools down, it is filled in to the dough, rolled into paranthas and fried till done on the griddle, just as you make your usual parathas.

Please visit my dear friend Kajal's blog to see the step wise pictures on how to make paranthas . Pindi Chana Ingredients 2 cup kabuli chana (white chick peas) soaked overnight 1 tea bag 1 large tomato chopped 1 large finely chopped onion 1 tsp. garlic paste 1 tsp. ginger grated 3 green chillies chopped 1/2 tsp.each cumin seeds 1tsp Punjabi chole masala 1 tsp. red chilli powder 1/2 tsp Pomegranate powder 1/2 tsp. garam masala 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder 1 star Anise (chakra phool in Hindi) 1 cinnamon stick 2-3 cloves 1 bay leaf 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 1/2 tsp fennel seeds 1/3 tsp asafoetida 4-5 tbsp.thick tamarind extract 3-4 tbsp. oil Salt to taste for Garnish 1 small onion sliced into rings Cilantro chopped whole green chillies Preparation

Pressure cook the chick pea along with one tea bag and 2tsp salt, for not more than 3 whistles. Keep the chickpea aside after discarding the tea bag and water. I did not discard the water instead, I added it to the wheat flour to make dough for Paranthas. This way it becomes a healthy Parantha. In a deep bottomed pan add oil, once it heats up add cumin, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves. Once you see them splutter, add ginger, garlic paste, green chillies, chopped onions and fry well till onion turns translucent. To the same add finely chopped tomatoes, turmeric, all the other masala powders and cook well to see the oil separate from the tomato puree. Now add the cooked chick peas. It is a semi dry spicy chana. Once the chana gets well coated with all the masalas add the tamarind extract and mix gently. Keep on low heat for about 5 minutes and remove. Garnish with onion rings, chillies and cilantro. This Pindi Chana can be eaten as it is or can be combined with rotis or Naans.

Jeera Mutter Pulao (cumin-peas pulao) Ingredients 2 cups Basmati rice (long grain rice) 1/2 cup frozen peas 2 tsp cumin seeds 3-4 cloves 2 bay leaves 1 cinnamon stick 1 star Anise (chakra phool in hindi) Salt 41/2 cups water 4-5 tbsp oil or ghee(clarified butter) Preparation

Wash the rice and drain the water and keep aside. You have to do this when you are ready with all the ingredients for the next step. The rice should not remain that way for more than 5-8 minutes. In a heavy bottom and non-stick cookware, add oil on medium heat. When the oil heats up add cumin and allow it to splutter. Add bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and star anise to the oil. Once the aroma is out in the air, add the peas and rice. Stir gently so that each grain of rice gets coated with oil. It should be just on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Now add water and salt. Give it a gentle stir and cover the vessel with lid. once the water boils on medium high flame, reduce the heat to low and leave it to cook until the rice is done. This is stovetop method. you can do it with a rice cooker too by transferring all the ingredients once they are coated with oil and water is added. "Jeera Mutter Pulao is ready"!!!! Paneer Mutter Malai Ingredients 1 cup paneer cubes (cottage cheese) 1/2 cup frozen peas 10 Cashew nuts 1/3 cup heavy milk cream 1 cup chopped onions 1/3 cup tomato puree 1 tsp ginger paste 1 tsp garlic paste 2-3 chopped green chillies 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds 2-3 cloves 1 Bay leaf 1 cinnamon stick 1 star Anise (chakra phool in hindi) 1/2 tsp garam masala 2-3 tbsp oil 1/4 cup water Salt Cilantro for Garnish Preparation In a blender combine cashews and tomato to make a thick silky puree. Keep aside. In a deep bottomed pan heat oil on medium heat, add cumin seeds. While they splutter add cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf. When they start spreading the aroma into your kitchen, add ginger-garlic paste, green chillies and fry. Then add onions and fry till translucent. Add Paneer cubes and peas to fry for 2 minutes. Now, add the cashew-tomato paste, turmeric, salt and garam masala and fold in together all the ingredients. You can see the oil separating out of the gravy. Add 1/4 cup water as the cashew paste intends to thicken. simmer the heat and add heavy cream. If you are calorie conscious you can also add 1/3 cup of plain whole milk. Leave leave the gravy on medium low heat for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Paneer mutter malai goes great with naan or Jeera pulao. Halwa For Sikhs, there is no greater occasion of joy than the full moon day around October-November when Guru Nanak (the founder of Sikhism, and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus.) was born, and Guru Parab, the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh (was the tenth and last of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism). It is a day when they rededicate themselves to unity, brotherhood and equality among all human beings. To symbolize these principles, the festival highlights a community kitchen called the Guru ka Langhar. From this free kitchen, food is served to devotees of all castes and creeds provided they sit together and eat the same food. The meal is simple and compact. After the singing of hymns Karah Parshad is served. Ingredients 1-cup semolina (Sooji) ¼ cup wheat flour 1cup sugar 1cup ghee (clarified butter) 1/2 cup milk 1tbsp cashews 1tbsp raisins 1/2 tsp cardamom powder ghee for frying cashew nuts and raisins Preparation Karah Prashad can be prepared with either semolina or wheat flour or by mixing both. Karah parshad are made only at Gurdwaras. Read more about Karah Parshad Here.

I followed the Karah Parshad recipe to make a halwa at home. I mixed semolina and wheat flour. In a deep, heavy bottomed pan warm up the clarified butter, add semolina and wheat flour. Fry continuously till the color changes to light brown. Remember the heat should be on medium. Once the mixture is well fried, simmer the heat. Add sugar and milk and stir continuously so that no lumps are formed. Stir gently until the milk is fully absorbed and the mixture comes to an halwa consistency. The process is just like sooji halwa. Separately fry cashews, raisins and add it to the halwa. Kakdi-piyaz da raita (cucumber-onion raita) Ingredients 2 cups thick yogurt 1/2 cup chopped cucumber 1/2 cup chopped onions finely chopped green chillies(optional) finely chopped mint leaves (optional) roasted and powdered cumin powder salt Preparation To the yogurt fold in all the ingredients except cumin powder. Garnish with cumin powder and serve. Lassi Patiala Patiala is a city in the Punjab state of India. Lassi is the famous drink of Punjab. Lassi is a traditional Punjabi drink made by blending yogurt with water, salt, and spices until frothy. Traditional lassi is flavored with ground roasted cumin. The Lassi of the Punjab uses a little milk and is topped with a thin layer of malai, a clotted cream, also known as Devonshire cream. Lassis are enjoyed chilled as a hot-weather refreshment. Ingredients 2 cups fresh chilled yogurt 1 tbsp. sugar 1/2 tsp. crushed cardamom 8-10 saffron strands 2 drops of vanilla essence 1/2 cup crushed ice 1 tsp. hot milk Preparation Soak saffron in 1 tsp.milk for few minutes. Add milk and ice to the yogurt bring it to a thick buttermilk consistency. Add rest of the ingredients to the buttermilk and whip well so that it gets light and frothy. You can also pulse it in the blender just 1-2 times. The lassi is ready when it is light and frothy. Serve it chilled. Punjabi Papad (dried lentil chips) Papad is a dried lentil chip studded with Indian spices that comes alive when grilled or deep fried. It is served as an accompaniment to an Indian meal, as a snack and as croutons in soups. Papads are thin wafers made of urad dal(black lentil). Roasting North Indian Papad's The papad is held between tongs and roasted evenly over an open gas flame. The whole process should not take more than 30 seconds. Quick and frequent turning is required to prevent burning. As soon as papad has changed color, curled up and become crisp, it is done. This will require some practice with timing the turns and the intensity of the heat as papads burn up so quickly. Papad out of Microwave Place a papad in the microwave oven and cook on high for 15 seconds. Stop, flip and cook for 15 more seconds. If your microwave has less power increase the time from 15 seconds to 20 seconds and up to 30 seconds on each side. I also would like to add one of my previous post to this one. Click on Punjabi Kadi to get this recipe. This one is contributed to Richa of Asdearassalt who is hosting this month's 'Regional cuisine of India'.

(Source Wiki)

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Bruschetta, pronounced as [brus'ket.ta], is an Italian snack or appetizer.It consists of grilled Italian bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables and/or cheese.
I created my own version of Bruschetta.


Italian bread
extra virgin olive oil
1tsp Italian seasoning (consists of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano and basil)
Salt and pepper

For the topping

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped lettuce
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped mint
3-4 tbsp Mayonnaise


Cut the bread as shown in the picture.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat.Drizzle the bread slices with olive oil. Grill the bread until golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.Sprinkle the bread slices with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

For the topping:
In a medium bowl combine all the given ingredients and gently stir.
To serve, spoon the topping on the bread and serve or place the topping in a bowl and serve with the grilled bread alongside.