Monday, July 9, 2012

Roasted Almond and Basil Pesto with Char Grilled Eggplant

I came to know about 'pesto' only after watching Giada de Laurentiis recipes. When I heard it for the first time,I thought it is associated with  'pestle and mortar'. But its true, the ingredients in a pesto are ground with a circular motion in a pestle and mortar. Anyway, we shall do it in a food processor or blender. This recipe is done by my husband and he surprised me with this delicious and simple recipe.

What you need ?
1 Medium size eggplant

For Pesto

1 handful of Basil leaves
10-12 Almonds
2 Garlic cloves
5 tbsp of Olive oil
Grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon (4-5 tbsp)
Salt and pepper to taste

- Slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/4 inch thickness and brush olive oil on both sides of all eggplant slices.

- Heat a grill or griddle until hot and cook the eggplant slices for about 3-4 minutes until you get the grill marks or cooked through on both sides.

- Place basil,almonds, garlic,lemon zest, lemon in a food processor and blend together.

- Slowly add the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil and blend until the mixture forms a smooth paste.

- Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

-For serving, stack the eggplant on a platter. Drizzle some pesto on top of hot and grilled eggplant and serve immediately.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cake Pops - Birthday Party Favours

Having a get together or a party in the near future ? Then, cake pops are the right choice as party favours and definitely a delicious alternative to cupcakes. I made these cake pops for my daughter's 1st birthday party and became a bit hit.
I adapted this recipe from wildly popular blogger Bakerella. Cake pops are cute little cakes balls on a stick coated with candy melts of your choice and any sprinkles or decor. To make 5 nos, you need :

Plain cake any flavor 1 cup (crumbled)
Frosting any flavor 1 tsp
Candy melts or Chocolate (for coating)
Styrofoam block
Lollipop sticks
Sprinkles for decoration (optional) 

These adorable cake pops fit any occasion.

Step 1: Plain cake to be crumbled

Step 2:  Add frosting to the crumbled cake.

Step 3:  Mix well and divide into 5 equal portions. Roll into smooth balls by hand. Place it in the refrigerator for 15 mins.

Step 4:  Melt candy coating or chocolate according to the package directions. I melted these dark chocolate bars in the microwave for about 40 secs.

Step 5:  Dip about 1/2 inch of the tip of each lollipop stick into the melted chocolate.

Step 6: Insert straight into the cake ball, pushing it no more than halfway through.

Step 7:  Hold the cake pop by the stick and dip into the melted chocolate or use a spoon to cover the cake balls with enough melted chocolate and make sure its been coated evenly. Tap gently to remove any excess.

Step 8: Stick the cake pops into the prepared Styrofoam block. 

Step 9: Decorate with colored sugar or sprinkles.

Store the cake pops in airtight containers or cover them in small treat bags and tie with curling ribbons.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Grilled Brussels Sprout With Sun Dried Tomatoes

I love eating salads. No matter warm or cold salad. Whenever you want to finish your cooking soon, then this is it. All you need are few ingredients and just wrap or roll it in rotis or tortillas.

Brussels Sprout fresh or frozen about 2 cups
Sun Dried tomatoes 3/4 cup
Juice of 1 lemon
Garlic 2 cloves
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Paprika powder 1/2  tsp
Salt to taste

Finely chop garlic and mince it well.

In a medium sized bowl, add about a tbsp of olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, paprika powder and salt.

Meanwhile, defrost Brussels sprout in microwave. I used frozen ones. Cut into halves.

Throw the cut sprouts and sun dried tomatoes  into the oil mixture and make sure that all the pieces are coated well with oil.

Grill the Brussels sprout and sun dried tomatoes mixture on an electric or stove top grill for about 3-4 minutes, until you see those beautiful grill marks and the Brussels sprout is cooked through.

Before serving, heat the remaining olive oil in a small skillet and add mustard seeds.Saute for 30 seconds on a medium high heat or till the seeds begin to sizzle.

Drizzle over the grilled mixture and serve.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Egg less orange cake with orange glaze

Baking cake without eggs is a challenge. I love to bake cakes. Either made from instant cake powder or made from scratch. I always like to try with different ingredients and wait to see the final results after baking and cooling. I thought of making an orange cake with a dash of spice topped with orange glaze.

1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
2-3 tsp of orange zest
2 1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour
1 cup of condensed milk
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 tbsp of distilled vinegar
3 tbsp of sugar
2 tsp of nutmeg powder
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
A pinch of salt
A drop or 2 of orange flavoring/essence

For Glaze:
2 tbsp of Orange juice
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
Orange food color (optional)

Preparation time: 15 mins    Cook time: 30-35 mins
  • Grease cake pan with non stick spray or butter. I used a 10 1/2" X 6 1/2" rectangular cake pan.
  • Preheat the oven at 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, mix all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt. 
  • Grate or zest about 2-3 tsp of orange skin. Peel off only the colored portion of the rind; the white pith can be bitter rather than flavorful. This imparts abundance of citrusy aromatic oil to the mixture.
  • To bring out the aroma and spice from nutmeg, I used freshly grated nutmeg about 2 tsp. You can use powdered too. 
  • After mixing all the dry ingredients, add wet ingredients one by one. 
  • Add cubed butter first (bring it to room temperature), followed by freshly squeezed orange juice, condensed milk, vinegar, sugar, any citrus or fruit essence just about a drop. 
  • Use a hand mixer to fold the mixture together.Pour the cake batter evenly to the prepared pan and gently tap to avoid air bubbles.
  • Bake for about 30 mins or until toothpick inserted near center of cake comes out almost clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 15 minutes. Carefully invert cakes from pan to wire rack; cool completely. 

Mix the glaze ingredients and spoon it over the cake.
This egg less cake is without doubt the ultimate comfort food with tantalizing aroma of orange and nutmeg.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Baby Corn masala in Coconut milk

I make veg masala almost once in a week for rotis/ chappathis or jeera rice. I had a can of baby corn and coconut milk.Hence, I decided to make a masala / korma out of this. All you need is,

Baby corn 1 can
1 cup of coconut milk
Finely diced onion 1/2 cup
Green chilies chopped 1 teaspoon
Cloves 2-3 nos
Fennel seeds 1 teaspoon
Cardamom crushed about 1 teaspoon
Whole black pepper 5-6 nos
Cinnamon stick about 1/2 inch
Garam masala powder 1 teaspoon
Ginger garlic paste 1 teaspoon
Turmeric 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
Oil 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Drain water from the can and rinse the baby corn thoroughly in cold water.

Heat about a tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan and saute baby corns for about 3-5 minutes until the color slightly changes to golden brown. Switch off the heat and keep the corns aside.

I do not want to cut the baby corns. This is up to your choice. You can chop into bits if you like.

In the same pan, heat the remaining oil, add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel seeds and whole black pepper.

When you smell the aroma from the spices, add the onions and about a pinch of salt. The color of onion changes gradually to golden yellow, add the ginger garlic paste and green chilies. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until the raw smell goes.

Let this mixture cool and blend together to form a smooth paste.

The paste goes to a skillet over a medium flame with about 1/4 cup of water.Do not pour too much of water, as we are going to add coconut milk.

When the bubbles slowly appear, its time you add the baby corns, salt, turmeric and let it cook for about 5-6 minutes. Add the garam masala powder and reduce the heat to low.

Pour the coconut milk to the mixture and switch off the flame. 

Garnish with chopped cilantro (optional)

This smooth creamy masala is perfect combination for Rotis/parathas.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fruit Bouquet to Dear Father

Happy Father's day. Cut, carve and arrange all your favourite summer fruits and make any day special. This is inexpensive compared to online or store orders. This is perfect to gift on special occasions or a healthy centerpiece for a table setting.

The fruit bouquet requires few skewers, a base (I used a small basket), a paring knife, flower shaped cookie cutter, Styrofoam or a lettuce head and fruits like honeydew, strawberries, grapes. Use your imagination and creativity for different shapes and fruit combination/arrangements. Involve your kids and have fun.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


               Dear Foodies, its has been a long time since I added new recipes. The reason being I am a new mom now and held up with my little princess. But this time, I would like to share with you my trip to Puerto Rico and mouth watering recipe of 'Mofongo' I had in Old San Juan, PR. The basic ingredient is green plantain, which is mashed and fried. This reminds me of  Vazhaikai podimas ( mashed green plantain) popularly known and served in the south indian cuisine. Old San Juan is beautiful with El Morro fortress, colorful colonial architecture, coconut shell jewellery and crafts and you are bound to find tasty and happening restaurants.
               I had Mofongo in a restaurant called Barrachina in Old San Juan. The surrounding beauty of a colonial building is over two centuries old with an interior courtyard and birthplace and home of the world famous Piña Colada, where don Ramón Portas Mingot first made the famous drink in 1963.

Some of the pics captured during our trip.

View of the beach from El Morro Fort

Bell Tower - El Morro Fort

Colorful buildings with beautiful balconies, Old San Juan

Usually this dish is served with pork or chicken .Since, I am a vegetarian I like to have with lots of grilled or sauteed vegetables or a sauce prepared of vegetable stock and pureed tomatoes. This is my version of making it with slight variation.

Serves 2

2 raw green plantain
2-3 cloves of Garlic
1/4 cup of Olive oil plus 1 Tbsp
1 tsp of Cumin
2 tsp of paprika powder
1 tsp of Turmeric powder
salt to taste

For the sauce

4 tbsp Tomato puree
1/4 cup of vegetable stock/ water.
salt and pepper
Chopped cilantro to garnish

Wash and cut the ends of the plantain and peel the skin lengthwise and cut into about 1 inch chunks. Heat water in a vessel and add 1 tbsp of oil, salt and drop the cut plantains and cook until soft and drain excess of water.Mash the cooked plantains with mortar and pestle or a potato masher. In the meantime, peel,crush and mince garlic pods.In a medium flame, heat oil in a skillet, add cumin seeds, minced garlic, turmeric, paprika powder and mashed plantains. Allow to shallow fry the contents and mix altogether till the mixture becomes golden brown and crispy.

For the sauce, heat a  medium skillet, add the pureed tomatoes and when bubbles start to appear, add the vegetable stock or water. This process is to just thin the sauce.Add little salt and pepper.

To serve mofongo, shape into molds using a simple cereal bowl. Fill and pack the mixture into the bowl. Place a plate inverted on top of the bowl. Transfer the contents of the bowl into the plate to form a beautiful dome shape.Drizzle some sauce on top of mofongo and garnish with finely chopped cilantro. 

This crispy plantain and tangy sauce is perfect a combination to please your taste buds. 

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Desi Chickpea Salad

Beat the summer heat with cold chickpea salad. Very easy to prepare recipe and needs few ingredients.
But why the name 'desi chickpeas' ? This is majorly cultivated in the Indian subcontinent and is otherwise called as 'kala chana' or' black chickpea'. There are 2 varieties of chickpea: Desi chickpea and Kabuli chickpea. The first variety is bit smaller,darker in color,rough and high in fibre content and low in glycemic index compared to the 'kabuli '.On the other hand, Kabuli chickpea are the regular type which are larger,light golden in color and much smoother than desi variety.

You need:

1 cup of desi chickpea / kala chana
1/4 cup of grated carrot
1/4 cup of shredded raw mango
1/4 cup of sprouts
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
1 green chilly cut and split
Asafoetida or hing a little
salt to taste
1 tsp of oil

* Soak the chickpeas overnight and cook them well till soft. Drain excess water and transfer to a bowl.
* Heat oil in a small pan to splutter mustard seeds, add split green chilly and asafoetida.Switch off the heat and add the spluttered contents to the bowl of chickpea.
* Add carrot, mango and sprouts and squeeze the juice from the lemon and add salt.
* Give a big toss and voila the salad is ready.
* Salad can be chilled in refrigerator for 1-2 hours before serving. This can also be served hot.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Eggless - Fruit and Nut Biscotti

I always love to try baked recipes and me being a vegetarian, eggless recipes makes it real special. I generally replace eggs with flax seeds or apple sauce.These fruit and nut biscotti has full of heart healthy ingredients like cranberry, almonds and other mixed candied fruit and nuts that gives a delectable taste and festive gift idea. Unlike cookies, biscotti are baked twice to retain the crispiness. The ingredients I used are:

1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of mixed candied fruits like pineapple,mango,peach,papaya
1/4 cup of cranberry
1/4 cup of roughly chopped almonds
1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of apple sauce
2 tbsp of water
1 tbsp of powdered flax seeds
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp of cardamon powder
1 tsp of nutmeg powder
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of baking powder


1. Warm 2 tbsp of water and soak the powdered flax seeds for about 5-10 minutes.

2. Keep aside 2 tbsp of flour to mix the dry fruits.

3. In a large bowl, mix butter,oil,sugar together until well blended.Mix in the vanilla extract, apple sauce, the flax mixture and beat well together.Combine, flour, baking powder and gradually stir all dry ingredients into the mixture.Stir in all the dry fruits and nuts by hand.

4. Make a dough out of the mixture and form a log. Flatten the top of log. Cover the log with cling foil and refrigerate for 25 -30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 300 degree F. Drizzle some olive oil to the cookie sheet.

6. Bake the log for about 35 minutes in oven or until light brown.Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.Reduce oven heat to 275 degree F.

7. Cut the log on diagnol into 3/4 inch thick slices.Lay on buttered or oiled cookie sheet.Bake for about 8-10 minutes. Cool after removing from oven for 10 minutes.

Note: If desired, dip one end or one side of the biscotti in melted chocolate and place on waxed paper to harden the chocolate. Pack some of the bicottis in colorful gift bags for a homemade gift.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Baked Bell Pepper and rice


2 Green bell peppers
1 cup of cooked basmati rice
1 Medium sized onion finely chopped
1 small can or about 1/2 cup of tomato puree
1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp of cumin powder
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of garam masala
3 tbsp of Olive oil
1 tsp of bread crumbs (optional)
1 tbsp of plain yogurt (optional)

* Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

* Cut off the top quarter of each bell pepper and reserve. Scoop the seeds and veins out from the inside of   each pepper and discard. Rub about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil on each bell pepper and set the shells aside.

*  In a large skillet over a medium to high heat , add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and ginger garlic paste and the chopped onions. Saute until golden brown or till the raw smell goes.

* Add the tomato puree. Let it cook for about 3-5 minutes.

*  Season with cumin powder, salt, garam masala and turmeric powder. Switch off the stove and allow it to cool for 2-3 minutes.

*  Blend the mixture and mix it with the cooked basmati rice.

* Fill the rice mixture into the scooped bell peppers and sprinkle bread crumbs and  cover with bell pepper lid.

* Bake until the skin of the bell peppers turns color for about 25 minutes.

* Before serving, remove the bell pepper lid carefully add a tbsp of plain yogurt. This is completely optional.

Note: To cook rice....add 1 and 1/2 cups of water to 1 cup of basmati rice and microwave for 20 minutes in a microwavable bowl.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Badam Kalash

"Badam Kalash" or "Almond Pots" ....just wanted to give a special name for this sweet. Prepared from the remains of the almond squares made earlier. Warm 'almond squares' ( from the previous recipe) before cut to squares are made into pot shaped sweets and decorated with whole almond to resemble the coconut and the green tiny bits are almonds too. They are chopped and dipped in green food color to resemble mango leaves. Made the badam kalash to offer Goddess Lakshmi for Lakshmi pooja.

Have a wonderful Diwali 
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Thattai is a popular savory in the southern part of India. Mostly prepared using rice flour. The ingredients for this recipe are:

2 cups rice flour
3/4 cup of daliya powder or pottukadalai podi
A pinch of turmeric
Salt according to taste.
1 tsp of chilli powder
1 tsp asafoetida
1 tbsp of coarsely crushed cumin and caraway seeds
Few curry leaves torn to tiny bits
3 tbsp of soaked channa dhal
2 tbsp of unsalted butter
Approximately 1 cup of water to mix
Oil for frying

Mix all the dry ingredients rice flour, daliya powder, turmeric, chilli powder, salt, asafoetida, grounded cumin and caraway seeds.Caraway seeds are ajwain / omam/ carom seeds. They give a wonderful aroma and flavour.

Add the soaked channa dhal and butter to the mixture and form a dough with water. To test, whether the dough prepared is of right consistency, make a small ball out of the dough ....about a size of a gooseberry / amla and press it gently to flat ( Thattai is also prepared the same way). Slight cracks appear towards the edges and dough does not stick to your hands. Voila !! you have passed the test and you are on right track...

Before frying, poke the prepared thattais with a fork or a toothpick and this makes the thattai flat and does not fluff up like poori. Deep fry thattais to golden brown.

Note: You can also flatten the dough to thattais between two wax sheets/ paper to avoid stickyness.

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