Friday, December 30, 2011

Paneer Handi

Paneer Handi is yet another delicious preparation of Paneer. Basically handi is deep narrow-mouthed cooking pot . This curry is prepared in handi, hence the name "Paneer Handi". Again this is a North Indian delicacy, any curry related to Paneer is from North Indian cuisine. Paneer is also quite popular with kids as most of the recipes are on sweeter side. Each and every Paneer curry has it's own unique taste. For Paneer Handi, Paneer cubes are marinated in yogurt and spices and then added to gravy. So no cream in this recipe hence it is little bit lighter than other Paneer curries like Paneer Makhani, Paneer Butter Masala or Shahi Paneer.

1 1/2 Cup cubed Paneer(Recipe for homemade Paneer)
3 Tbs Yogurt, beaten
1/4 tsp chili powder
Pinch of turmeric
Salt as per taste
2 tbs Chopped Cilantro
2-3 green chilies sliced lengthwise
1 tsp+ 1/2 tsp garam masala
2 medium onions cut into quarters
3 medium tomatoes cut into quarters
1 inch ginger sliced
1/2 tsp Kasoori methi
1 tbs + 1 tsp Canola Oil

Make a marinade of yogurt, chili powder, turmeric, 1/2 tsp of garam masala. Add Paneer pieces and green chilies. Keep aside for 1/2 an hour.

Meanwhile heat a tsp of oil in a pan and saute onions on medium high flame until slightly brown. Remove onions from pan and saute tomatoes for 3-4 minutes. Now grind sauteed onions along with ginger in a mixer. Also puree tomatoes. Heat remaining oil in the same pan again and saute onion puree until nice golden brown color, add tomato puree and garam masala. Cook this mixture half covered until oil starts to separate. Add 1/4 cup water, salt, sugar and mix. Add marinated Paneer along with all the marinade. Cook uncovered until Paneer is nice and soft and all the flavors are nicely blended together. Crush kasoori methi and sprinkle all over the curry and mix. Paneer Handi is ready to be served!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vegetarian Keema Roll

Keema means any kind of minced meat. We had these rolls at my friends house and  loved it and so made these again at home the other day. They are somewhat similar to Sloppy Joe's but unlike sloppy Joe's these vegetarian rolls are not 'messy' to eat. I have used soya granules instead of meat for making perfect Keema. I got Ruchi brand soya granules. They come in 3 variety i.e chunks, mini chunks and granules so make sure you buy granules. Onions, tomatoes and chili's are finely chopped and sauteed with soya granules to make this delicious keema. It is also good to eat with Roti. I have used Italian sub rolls as they are perfect to hold that heavy filling.

1 1/2 Cup Soya Granules(cooked according to package instructions)
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 inch ginger grated
1 tbsp Canola oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium tomato chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
3-4 green chili's chopped
1 tbsp Meat masala(Got it from Indian store, any brand is fine)
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup ketchup
Salt as per taste
Chopped cilantro for garnishing

Heat oil in a large pan, saute onions along with garlic and ginger until onions are light golden brown. Add green peppers and chili's and saute again. Next add chopped tomatoes. Once tomatoes are nice and soft and oil starts separating add meat masala, garam masala and ketchup. Mix everything nicely and saute for few more minutes. Add cooked soya granules and saute once again. Lastly add chopped cilantro. Keema is ready.
Slit open the sub rolls and fill it with keema and enjoy your vegetarian version of keema.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mix Dal

Dal is an Indian word for lentil. Lentils are a staple ingredient in Indian Cuisine. There are variety of preparations for these lentils and Dal is one of them. Dal is somewhere between soup and stew. Mainly the consistency depends on individual's taste. I like it little bit thick. Dal is a eaten regularly with rice or roti in India. Vegetarians get their proteins from lentils hence there are various preparations of Dal. Each lentil has it's own taste and by mix and match of lentils you get a scrumptious bowl of Dal. I have used four types of lentils in this recipe.

1/2 Cup Mix Dal/lentils(Toor, Chana, Urad and Moong)
1 small onion chopped
2 medium tomatoes chopped
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Lime juice
Salt as per taste
Chopped fresh cilantro
For tempering
1 tsp canola oil
1/8 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves
Pinch of asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Soak all lentils in water for about 3-4 hours. Drain lentils reserving water. Make a tempering in pressure cooker by heating oil and adding all the ingredients for tempering. Add chopped onions and fry until translucent. Next throw in chopped tomatoes and fry again until tomatoes are nice and soft. Add soaked dals/lentils along with salt, chili powder, lime juice and the reserved water. You might want to add more water depending on how much water you have used while soaking dals. So adjust the water accordingly. Let the water boil and then cover the pressure cooker with lid and give 3 whistle and turn the gas on low for 5 minutes and then shut off the gas. Once the pressure is dropped remove prepared dal in a bowl and garnish it with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve.
Enjoy your scrumptious bowl of Dal.

Chili Cheese Toast

Chili Cheese Toast is this amazing mixture of cheese, pepper, chili and onions spread on a toasted bread and grilled in the oven until cheese is all melted and gooey. Even while writing this my mouth is watering :-). I had these cheesy toasts  at a PYC restaurant in Pune. My sis-in-law insisted me to eat these and it was so mouthwatering that I couldn't stop eating it :). And then I ate it again for breakfast in another restaurant which had buffet for breakfast. I tried making them at home and for first couple of times they came out little bit dry, then my mother-in-law suggested to add white sauce in the chili cheese mixture and  they turned out great.

15 Bread slices(wheat or white)
1 1/2 Green Bell Pepper finely chopped
1 Medium Onion finely chopped
10 Green chili's finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Salt and Pepper as per taste
1 8oz package of shredded Mozzarella cheese

For White Sauce
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper as per taste

Method for White Sauce

Melt butter in a sauce pan on medium heat and add flour. Stir with whisk until butter and flour are well combined and mixture is bubbled. Pour milk and stir until it thickens. Add salt and pepper, stir. This is your white sauce.

Method for Chili Cheese Toast
Preheat the oven on 380 F.
First toast all the bread slices only from one side. Keep aside the slices. Combine together all the ingredients except bread slices in a bowl and add prepared white sauce. Adjust for salt and pepper. This is your mixture.
Now spread this mixture on non-toasted side of  all the bread slices evenly. Arrange all the slices on a oven proof  tray and slid the tray into the preheated oven and grill until edges are light brown and cheese is melted and bubbly.

Cut in half and enjoy.

Quick Tip-: You can use 2% milk fat or fat free cheese to avoid the calories.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

पालकाची ताकातली भाजी(Spinach in yogurt gravy)

Spinach is very nutritious leafy green vegetable and is also a good source of vitamins and iron. There are so many preparations of this leafy green vegetable but it can also be eaten raw in salads or sandwiches. My mom makes this palak sabzi in yogurt gravy. In Marathi we call it palkachi takatli bhaji(पालकाची ताकातली भाजी). It goes great with rice or roti. This is a typical marathi bhaji/sabzi.

1 bunch spinach (Washed and chopped)
2 tbs raw peanuts (soaked in water overnight or for 3-4 hrs)
1 tbs chana dal (soaked in water along with peanuts)
3/4 cup yogurt + 2 cup water(mix together to make buttermilk)
2 tbs chickpea flour(बेसन)
2 tsp sugar
Salt as per taste
For tempering
1 tbs canola oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/8 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
pinch of asafoetida
2 green chili's
5-6 curry leaves

Pressure cook spinach along with soaked peanuts and chana dal. Once spinach is cooked add chickpea flour and mix. Heat a kadhai, add canola oil and all the ingredients for tempering. Add cooked spinach, peanuts and chana dal.  Fry for 2 minutes and then add prepared buttermilk. Let it boil, add sugar and salt. Boil again for  5-10 minutes on medium heat until you get a thick gravy. Palak sabzi is ready.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Vegetarian Philly Cheese Sandwich

Traditionally this sandwich is made with meat(thinly sliced pieces of steak) and cheese stuffed in a long roll. But I ate vegetarian version of this sandwich at a mall and loved it . In vegetarian version, mushrooms along with peppers and onions are added as a substitute for meat. Mushroom has that meaty taste so they go pretty well in this sandwich.

4 hot dog rolls or hogie rolls
2 tsp canola oil
1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper 
1/2 cup sliced green bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced onions
1 Jalapeno sliced into rings
4 slices Provolone cheese
Mayo or ketchup as required

First saute sliced mushrooms in a tsp of canola oil. Saute until nice and brown. To get perfect brown color spread them evenly without crowding in a pan. After mushrooms are nicely browned remove them on a paper towel. Add remaining 1 tsp oil and saute all the veggies until nicely charred but crisp to eat. Remember to add Jalapenos last while sauteing veggies. Mix together all the veggies and add salt and pepper.
Slit open the hot dogs or hogie rolls without tearing them apart. Lightly toast them in oven for few minutes. Now divide all the sauteed veggies into 4 parts on frying pan and keep cheese slices on each of them and let the cheese melt. 
Meanwhile spread some mayo or ketchup(whatever you like) on both the sides of toasted rolls. Pick up one part of veggies and cheese and arrange it on your roll and repeat for the remaining rolls and serve. Vegetarian Philly Cheese Sandwich is ready.

Quick Tips-: Never wash or soak mushrooms in water. Just use wet towel to clean the mushrooms thoroughly.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Spiced Aloo Paratha

Aloo paratha is a specialty from North India. Over there aloo paratha's are eaten for breakfast with just a blob of butter. But it also makes a good lunch, brunch or dinner. I have tried to spice up the regular recipe for aloo paratha by using nice aromatic seeds and grinding them to make a spice mixture for our spiced up aloo paratha's.

6-7 medium potatoes boiled, peeled and mashed
1 small onion finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped Coriander leaves
1/4 tsp dry mango powder(amchur)
1/8 tsp red chili powder
2 green chili's finely chopped
Salt as per taste
Canola oil as required for pan frying
Spice Mixture
1/8 tsp Cumin seeds
1/8 tsp Fennel seeds
1/8 tsp Mustard seeds
1/8 tsp Coriander seeds
1/8 tsp Fenugreek seeds
For dough
1 1/2 Whole Wheat Flour(Approximately) + few for dusting
Water as required to knead the dough
Couple of pinches salt
1 tsp of canola oil + few for kneading

Combine wheat flour, salt, oil and water as required little by little to make a soft dough. Rub some oil onto the kneaded dough and keep aside covered for 1/2 an hour.
Toast all the ingredients for spice mixture. Toasting brings out the wonderful flavor from all the seeds. Let them cool and then grind to make a fine powder, this is your spice mixture. Now combine all the ingredients including spice mixture.
Make a medium sized ball of the dough and roll it into a 1/2 inch circle using more wheat flour as required. Stuff it with potato mixture and close the circle by bringing together all the sides and making it into a ball again. Roll this ball evenly in a circular motion dusting more flour as required so that your paratha doesn't stick. Put your rolled paratha onto a heated griddle/tawa. Cook it on both sides by spreading oil on both the sides until it's all puffed up and gets a nice brown color. Repeat the procedure for making more paratha's. This will make approximately 10-12 parathas depending on what size you make. Serve it North Indian style with just a blob of butter. It will look like any normal aloo paratha but you will get a nice kick from that spice mixture we added to the mashed potatoes.
Just a different take on a regular aloo paratha. You can also serve some mix vegetable pickle(for recipe click here) or cranberry pickle(for recipe click here).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cranberry Pickle

Pickle is a spicy Indian condiment. And this is the perfect season to make Cranberry Pickle as we are so close to Thanksgiving, fresh Cranberries are easily available in grocery stores. Cranberries are cooked down to make a cranberry sauce and served with roast turkey for Thanksgiving. But we are going to use them today in pickle. These berries are little bit tart and sour in nature which makes them perfect for pickle.

1 12 oz bag of cranberries
7 tbsp pickle masala (available in Indian store)
For tempering
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1/8 tsp turmeric powder

Wash and completely dry all the cranberries (Just lay them on paper towel after washing them until dry). In a small pan heat some oil and add mustard seeds, once they crackle add Asafoetida and turmeric and shut off the gas. Let this tempering cool.  When Cranberries are  well dried pulse them in a food processor for 2-3 times. Now, we don't want a mush of cranberries just pulse it enough so that some of them are roughly chopped. Once done add pickle masala and cooled tempering. Normally you won't need any lime juice as cranberries are naturally sour but if you think you need more of that sour flavor you may add some lime juice as well. And also if your pickle masala is not spicy you may also need to add red chili powder. My pickle masala was quite spicy so I didn't add any chili powder or salt as it had everything in it. So just give it a taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bhindi Fry

Bhindi is also known as "Okra" in US and "Lady's Fingers" in other English speaking countries. It is a very popular vegetable in India and each region has it's own unique way of using this vegetable in their delectable dishes. Bhindi/Okra can be stuffed and stir fried, deep fried and used in curries, can  be used in Kadhi(which is a buttermilk based gravy) and can also be added in dals like sambar(dal from southern part of India). These were just the example of using Bhindi/Okra in variety of dishes. I once saw Paula Deen from Food Network using pickled Okra in a sandwich on her show, interesting combination right? Let's start with my recipe for Bhindi Fry. See if you can find smaller size bhindi for this particular preparation as we are going to stir fry whole bhindi with some spices stuffed in it. But if you don't find just cut bhindi into half.

1/2 pound Bhindi/Okra (washed and dried)
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion sliced
Spice Mixture
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tbsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp dry mango powder(amchur powder)
1 tsp sugar
Salt as per taste

Mix all the ingredients for spice mixture together and keep aside. Now comes the cutting part of Bhindi. Remove the top of bhindi and don't bother to cut the other slim end if bhindi is tender, if it's not you might want to cut both the ends. Now make a slit from middle but don't cut all the way through(we just need some space inside to stuff our spice mixture). After you are done cutting stuff all the bhindi/okra with our spice mixture and keep aside. If you have little spice mixture left just sprinkle it over sliced onions.
Now heat some canola oil in a frying pan and add onions. Saute for few seconds and then add stuffed okra. Stir fry until bhindi is nice and soft. Should take about 20 minutes or so. Keep sauteing it until all the sliminess is gone. Remember to cook it uncovered so that your bhindi doesn't get slimy. Bhindi Fry is ready to be served with Roti or Naan.
Quick Tips-: Wash bhindi/okra few hours before you cook or night before and spread it on kitchen or paper towel in a single layer. If you don't dry your bhindi properly it will be more slimy in texture.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lemon and Coriander Soup

It is the season of Soups :-). I love the begining of winter, it is a perfect weather for heart warming soups. And lemon coriander is one of my favorite soup. I have seen it in one of Sanjeev Kapoor's book. I have made few changes though.This soup is fragrant, light and healthy and is so easy to make. Recently I uploaded few soup photos on my facebook page and got many requests for recipes so here it goes on popular demand ;-)

3 14 ounce cans of Vegetable Broth(I use Swanson's Vegetarian Vegetable broth)
1 carrot finely diced
1/3 cup cabbage finely diced
1 small onion finely diced
Stems from 1 bunch of Coriander/Cilantro
1/3 cup of  chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
1 inch ginger grated
3 garlic cloves crushed
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp chickpea flour(besan)
1 tsp canola oil
Couple of slices from whole lemon for garnishing(optional)
Salt and pepper as required

Heat oil in a pot add onions and saute till translucent. Add ginger and garlic followed by carrots and cabbage and saute for few minutes. Add chickpea flour and saute until you get nice aroma. Pour in the broth and let it boil, once boiled add coriander stems and half of chopped coriander leaves and continue boiling for 10 minutes. Strain soup reserving all the veggies, discard coriander stems(we got all the flavor from it infused in our broth). Boil the strained soup including veggies and add lemon juice and lastly remaining of the chopped coriander leaves and turn off the gas. Serve hot in a bowl and garnish it with lemon slices and chopped coriander leaves. Give it a taste, if you think you need more lemony flavor add more lemon juice.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oven Roasted Potatoes

I love oven roasted potatoes. They are so much healthier than fries. I usually make them along with sandwiches. There are many different ways of roasting potatoes using different spices and herbs. Roasting any vegetable brings out the natural sweetness and flavor of that vegetable.  Potatoes come in different shapes, sizes and colors. Potatoes that I have used today are Russet Potatoes, which are more suitable for roasting mainly because of it's size and consistency. They don't fall apart when roasted in the oven. And also I have not peeled the potatoes as the skin adds nice texture after roasting them.

5 large russet potatoes(washed, unpeeled and cut into 1 inch thick wedges)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper as per taste

Make a marinade by using all the ingredients except potatoes in a mixing bowl and then add potato wedges. Make sure all the wedges are coated with marinade. Keep aside potatoes for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 420 F. Arrange potatoes on a oven safe baking tray.

 Roast them in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until nice and brown, turning potatoes half way through roasting.
Roasted potatoes are ready to eat!!!

Quick Tips-: Make sure you clean potatoes thoroughly as we are not peeling the skin. Also cut potatoes into same size so that they cook evenly. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Colorful Pasta

Pasta is perfect for weeknight meal as it is easy and quick to make.We went to Cheesecake Factory(a chain restaurant) once and was going through their menu. There was this pasta dish that caught my eye. It sounded interesting and so I ordered that. It not only looked appetizing but also tasted delicious even though it was Sauceless. I have made it for quite a few times now by guessing the ingredients, making modifications every time to get the perfect taste. Pasta that I use for this recipe is Mezze Penne(it's smaller version of Penne Pasta). But you can use regular penne as well.

1 1/2 Cup Mezze Penne Pasta
1/2 Cup Broccoli cut into medium florets
1/3 Cup Red Bell Pepper chopped
1/3 Cup Yellow Bell Pepper chopped
1 Medium Onion Chopped
1/4 Cup Canned or Marinated Artichoke Hearts chopped
1 Garlic clove crushed
10-12 Kalamata Olives Chopped
Couple of Sun-dried tomatoes(optional)
2 Tbsp Pine Nuts
1/2 tsp Tomato paste
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Italian Seasoning(A blend of Italian Herbs)
Salt as per taste
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp dried basil
2 tbps grated parmesan cheese
Roughly chopped basil leaves plus few for garnishing

Cook pasta according to package instruction. Meanwhile heat large skillet over medium heat, pour olive oil followed by pine nuts. Fry until light brown, add crushed garlic, onions and saute for 2 minutes. Next add broccoli, peppers and saute again for few minutes until slightly tender. Then add tomato paste, artichoke hearts, olives, sun-dried tomatoes. Saute all veggies for few more minutes and then add salt, pepper, Italian Seasoning and dried basil. Add cooked pasta, parmesan cheese and chiffonade basil, mix and serve.

Serve it with oven-roasted tomato Bruschetta(Recipe for Bruschetta).

QuickTips-: If you don't have Pine nuts on hand try adding toasted and chopped walnuts.

लाल भोपळ्याचे भरीत (Pumpkin Raita)

It's the pumpkin season!!!! Well, we get pumpkin year around but October is the peak season for Pumpkins as they are harvested in fall and early winter and are also featured at Halloween. There is much more to this vegetable than just pumpkin pie :-). Not that I don't like Pumpkin pie but there are variety of  Indian preparations for this bright orange colored vegetable. And Pumpkin Raita is one of them. In Marathi we call Pumpkin as लाल/तांबडा भोपळा because of it's color. My son brought this Pumpkin from his field trip at a Farm. So will make a few dishes out of it. And Pumpkin Raita is one of them.

Laal Bhopla/Pumpkin washed, peeled, diced into large chunks-: 1 Cup 
1/2 Cup yogurt
2 Tbsp Roasted Peanut Powder
Cilantro for garnishing
Salt as per taste
1 tsp Sugar or as per taste

For tempering
1 tsp Ghee/तूप (clarified butter)
1 tsp of cumin seeds
2 Green Chili chopped

Cook diced bhopla into microwave or pressure cooker until soft. It cooks pretty quickly. Once cooked mash it roughly. Add all the ingredients except for tempering. For tempering heat ghee in a small pan, add cumin seeds, once they crackle add chopped green chili's. Pour this tempering over भरीत/Raita and mix. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Quick Tips-: Make sure to cook pumpkin chunks in little water whether you microwave it or pressure cook it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

डाळीच्या पीठाची चटणी (Chickpea flour chutney)

My mother-in-law makes this chutney. In marathi we call chickpea flour as डाळीचे पीठ or बेसन.
As I had said before, chutney can be dry or wet, this chickpea flour chutney has a yogurt base . My husband loves this chutney and finally after making it for few times, got the recipe perfect. It goes great with your everyday lunch of  Roti, Sabzi, Dal and Rice.

1 Cup Yogurt
1/4 Cup Chickpea Flour
Sugar and salt as per taste
1 1/2 tsp Chili powder

For tempering
1 1/2 tbsp Canola oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
Pinch of Asafoetida

Beat yogurt in a bowl add sugar and salt, mix well. Sprinkle chickpea flour evenly over yogurt. Now sprinkle chili powder evenly over chickpea flour(most importantly, do not mix this mixture).
For tempering heat oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add turmeric and asafoetida. Pour this tempering over the above chutney mixture evenly.
Now cover the bowl with a plate and keep aside for around 45 min or up to 1 hr. Later mix it and serve.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quick and Easy Pasta for Kids(Serves 2 kids)

Pasta is an all time favorite food for kids of all ages. Adding finely diced vegetables makes this Pasta healthier. Children enjoy fun shapes of Pasta, so in this recipe I have used zoo animals Pasta.


1 cup Pasta
1/2 cup Pasta Sauce(I use Ragu but any of your favorite brand is fine)
1/4 cup vegetables finely diced(like carrots,broccoli,zucchini)
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

For White Sauce

1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup Milk
salt and pepper as per taste


Boil water for Pasta with lid on. Once boiled add salt and little bit of olive oil and then Pasta, stir. When Pasta is almost done add veggies and let it boil, until pasta is cooked and veggies are tender. Drain and keep aside.

Method for White Sauce 
Meanwhile melt butter in a sauce pan on medium heat and add flour. Stir with whisk until butter and flour are well combined and mixture is bubbled. Pour milk and stir until it thickens. Add more milk depending on the desired consistency. This is your white sauce.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Combine white sauce with pasta sauce and add drained pasta. Mix everything together, sprinkle cheese on top and bake it in the oven for 10 min or until cheese melts. Let it cool and serve.

Quick Tip -:

If you have fresh basil on hand, cut thin slices through it and toss it in the sauce.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Instant Dadpe Pohe (Flattened Rice)

My mom makes this instant and delicious dadpe pohe. The word "Dadpe"  means keeping it covered. There are so many different preparations of pohe from Maharashtra and Dadpe Pohe is one of them. I call it instant Dadpe Pohe because unlike traditional recipe, these pohe can be prepared withing minutes. This recipe is quick and delicious. Perfect for snack or dinner. These Dadpe Pohe are great for weeknight meals when you want something quick and filling.

2 1/2 Cup Thin Poha toasted in preheated oven of 370 F for about  10-12 minutes or until lightly toasted and crisp
2 Tbsp Raw Peanuts
1 Small onion chopped finely
1 tomato finely chopped
2-3 green chili's finely chopped
Salt as per taste
1 tsp Sugar or as per taste
1 tbsp Lime juice
Chopped cilantro for garnishing

For tempering
1-2  Tbsp Canola oil
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
Pinch of Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except for tempering. Juices from tomatoes and onions will make pohe moist and super tasty. Heat oil in a small pan, fry peanuts until crisp, remove on paper towel and keep aside. You can also roast peanuts in oven. In same oil add mustard seeds, once they splutter add Asafoedita and Turmeric powder. Pour this tempering all over the above mixture of pohe and add peanuts. Mix well and serve.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Grilled Veggie Sandwich

Sandwich is one of my favorite meal and especially this grilled veggie one. Colorful veggies are grilled perfectly and arranged on bread with pesto and cheese. These sandwiches tastes out of this world. They are so mouthwatering, you will want to pick one when you see them.
I love Basil. We have a beautiful basil plant in our garden and I always find a way to use basil in different dishes cause it's so refreshing and colorful. And Pesto is a good way to use up that basil.
Basil Pesto used for this sandwich can be store bought or you can make at home, I will be sharing the recipe for pesto as well. You can make pesto, freeze it and use it when required. Bread that I use for this particular sandwich is Pain de Campagne Round Bread from Wegmans(which is a grocery store chain). If you want, check out this link. The best part is they will slice the bread for you :-)
But you can use nice crusty bread like Ciabatta, Tuscan or any other Italian bread.
You will need a gas grill to grill vegetables or you can grill them in preheated oven at 375 F for about 20-25 minutes.

2 Zucchini sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
1 Red Bell Pepper seeded and halved
4-5 Button Mushrooms
1 Large Red Onion Sliced into thick rings
1 8 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese cut into slices
Salt and Pepper
1 loaf Pain de champane bread or any nice crusty Italian bread
1/2 cup Basil Pesto (approximately)
 E.V.O.O(Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

For Pesto(Makes 1 cup)
2 Cups tightly packed fresh basil
3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup walnuts or 2 tbsp of Pine Nuts
1/2 garlic clove
Salt and Pepper as per taste

Method For Pesto, blend together all the ingredients for Pesto in a blender/food processor and keep aside.

Now let's start by grilling veggies. Put the grill on medium high heat. Brush all the Veggies with E.V.O.O and season with salt and pepper. Start grilling veggies on grill in batches. Grill until tender and charred all over. Red bell pepper will take more time than other veggies so make sure you put them first on grill. Keep an eye on Zucchini as they cook fast.
Place grilled bell pepper in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap for few minutes, this helps to remove the skin. Cut Zucchini's in half and bell pepper lengthwise. Slice Mushrooms. 
Drizzle bread with olive oil and grill it.

To assemble, slather pesto on one slice and top it with grilled veggies and then fresh mozzarella slices.
Broil the above sandwiches in oven on high for couple of minutes until cheese starts to melt. Top it with other slice and cut in half and enjoy.
Serve it with some chips and pickle.

Quick Tips-: 
Try adding crushed red pepper flakes on your sandwich for a little heat.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mix Vegetable Pickle

Pickle is a great condiment on any Indian dinner table. It is usually super spicy,sour and salty. Pickle also know as लोणचं in Marathi and Achar in Hindi is nothing but a mixture of vegetables and/or fruits combined with a spices. Pickling is just a process of preserving food by marinating in some sort of brine. Indian Pickles are marinated in lime juice, oil and salt along with spices. 
Green Mango pickle is quite popular in India. Green Mango is a summer fruit, so my mom makes green mango pickle in summer. One of my friend shared this mix vegetable pickle recipe with me. I have used pickle masala, which is nothing but a blend of aromatic spices. It is easily available in any Indian store.

2 Cup Cauliflower washed and  finely chopped
1 Carrot peeled,washed and finely chopped
10-12 Green Beans washed and finely chopped
1 Cup frozen peas
15-20 Green chili's washed and finely chopped
1 tbsp Salt or as per taste
1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp Pickle Masala
2 1/2 Tbsp Mustard Seeds Powder( To make Mustard powder, grind some mustard seeds in a grinder to a fine powder)
Juice of 3-4 limes

1/3 Cup Canola Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

Keep all your vegetables and spices ready.

To make the tempering, heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds, once they splutter add Asafoetida, Turmeric Powder. Shut off the gas and then add chili powder. Let it cool completely.
Combine all the vegetables, salt, pickle masala and lime juice. Add the above cooled tempering all over the vegetables and mix together. Give it a taste, it should have a nice balance of sour, spiciness and should be properly salted. Adjust the taste accordingly.

Pickle is ready. Keep this pickle in a airtight jar and refrigerate. Enjoy it with Paratha, Roti or any Indian rice preparations. It will take couple of days for all the flavors to blend together. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Shahi Paneer

North Indian Cuisine is famous for it's rich and tasty gravies. And Shahi Paneer is one of them. The word "Shahi" means rich and royal. Shahi Paneer is made with cream, tomatoes, spices and of course "Paneer". North Indian style "Meat" gravies are also quite popular. But  Paneer is a good alternative for Vegetarian people. You can either make paneer at home or you can get it from Indian store. This recipe will serve 4-5 people.

1 1/3 Cup cubed paneer (Home made paneer recipe)
2 Medium onion quartered
2 Big red tomatoes pureed
1 tsp tomato paste
2 inch ginger diced
4 Garlic cloves smashed
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp canola oil
Salt as per taste
1 tsp Garam Masala(A blend of Indian spices)
1/2 Cup Light cream or half and half
1 tsp Kasoori Methi (Dry Fenugreek)
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 1/4 Cup water

Heat 1 tsp oil into a large skillet and saute quartered onion, ginger and garlic until soft. Once cooled puree it in a blender and keep aside. Now add remaining 3 Tbsp oil in the same skillet and saute onion puree until golden brown color. Add tomato puree and tomato paste and saute again until oil separates. Now add garam masala, sugar, salt and water and let it boil. Once boiled simmer for 10 min, add paneer and cream and simmer again for 5-7 minutes until paneer is nice and soft. If curry seems too thick add little water or if it's too thin add a little bit of more cream. Last but not the least, crush kasoori methi between your palm and sprinkle it over the curry and mix, this will give a nice aroma and restaurant like taste to your Shahi Paneer.

Serve with hot Tandoor Naan or Paratha of your choice.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oven-Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

Bruschetta is an antipasto from Italy. Antipasto means first course of the meal. Made with roasted garlic bread and topped with variety of toppings, Bruschetta is sure a crowd pleaser. It is usually served as a snack or appetizer. Though the name sounds complicated Bruschetta is super easy to make.

12 Grape tomatoes halved
1 Garlic Clove Smashed
Salt and Pepper as per taste
2 tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sliced Fresh Basil
2 Tbsp grated Mozzarella cheese
2 slices of Frozen Texas Garlic Toast

Preheat oven to 370 F. Combine tomatoes, garlic clove, salt, pepper and olive oil in an oven proof baking dish.

Roast tomatoes for 10-12 minutes or until they are soften. Remove from the oven, discard garlic clove. Now reheat your garlic toasts according to package instructions until nicely brown. Remove and let it cool a bit. To assemble take your Garlic Toasts and top it with roasted tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil. Now take these assembled toast back into the oven and broil for few minutes until cheese melts.

Your Bruschetta is ready in minutes!!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Zucchini Dosa (Pancakes)

Dosa is a fermented pancake made from rice and black lentils . Dosa is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Kids enjoy them as much as adults.
In this recipe variety of lentils are used along with rice. I made these dosas and were instantly popular at my house. We are giving more flavor and color by adding grated Zucchini in pancake mix. And also like traditional Dosa Batter/Mix, batter for this recipe is not fermented so it's quick and easy to make. Oh and one more suggestion before I forget, use fine grater to grate zucchini so that it will be easier to spread dosa on griddle. This recipe will serve 5-6 people.

2 Cup uncooked Rice
1 Cup Toor Dal/Arhar Dal
1 Cup Chana Dal
1/2 Cup Urad Dal
1 Garlic Clove
Salt as per taste
1 Zucchini grated and squeezed to remove all the excess water
Canola Oil as required

Soak all dals and rice together in water for about 3-4 hrs, keep aside. Drain and reserve the water. Now grind all  dals and rice along with garlic in a blender until smooth adding little water in between. Now add the  drained water of soaked dals to the batter to make same consistency as for the regular dosa.  Add grated Zucchini and salt to this batter. To make pancakes take a ladle full of batter and pour it on hot griddle/tawa and start to spread the batter in circular motion with back of the ladle. Spread it thick or thin as you like. My family likes paper thin crisp dosas so I usually make them thin.
Spread a little oil on sides and over dosa and cook until it starts browning. Remove dosa from griddle and serve it hot with you favorite chutney. Make remaining dosa's in the same fashion, but remember to clean your griddle with wet paper towel every time you remove dosa.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beet Koshimbir/Raita (बीटाची कोशिंबीर )

Beet is a highly nutritious root vegetable. It has vibrant red color. Good way to eat this root vegetable is by making Raita/Koshimbir(marathi word for raita), although I have eaten it shredded raw in a salad. My older kid love this koshimbir, it's his absolute favorite. As beets are naturally sweet you don't have to add too much sugar to this recipe. Cook beets by first washing them and cutting in half and pressure cook it. Beet Raita is quite simple to make. I have always used fresh beets to make this raita but you can try using canned beets.

1 Beet cooked, peeled and grated
1/4 cup red onion chopped
1 green chili chopped
2 tsp peanut powder
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt as per taste
Chopped Cilantro for garnishing.

Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl and serve.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Veggie Wraps

Wraps are made with flat breads such as tortilla, lavash or even Indian bread like roti or paratha. Wraps are great for grab and go lunches. It's quick and easy to make. You can mix and match variety of vegetables, combine it with some dressing or spread, you got yourself a nice Vegetarian wrap.

4 Medium size tortillas
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper
1/2 Green Bell Pepper
1 Jalapeno
1 Small onion
1 Cup Iceberg Lettuce shredded

For Salsa
1/2 Cup finely chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp finely chopped jalapeno
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp chopped coriander

For Spread
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
1 tbsp Cream Cheese(room temperature)
Salt and Pepper
1/8 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 370 F.
Cut all the peppers and onion into 1/4 inch chunks and roast them in oven for 10-15 minutes or until nicely charred.

Mix together all the ingredients for salsa and keep aside. Mix all the ingredients for spread. Now take a tortilla and heat it just to be warm enough. Spread the above mixture of sour cream and cream cheese all over the tortilla followed by lettuce, roasted veggies and top it with salsa.

Now fold over from both sides and start rolling from the open ends just like burrito.

Cut in half and enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gola Kadhi(गोळा कढी)

Kadhi is made with buttermilk and is thickened by adding chickpea flour to the buttermilk. Different regions in India have their own version of Kadhi. This is my grandma's recipe and it tastes wonderful. Kadhi recipe is same as any Maharashtrian Kadhi, the only twist is chana dal mixture's non-fried pakoras that are added to Kadhi. Again, buttermilk used for this recipe is made at home with yogurt and water, so if you use store bought buttermilk make sure you add water to it because it's too thick. This recipe will serve 3-4 people.


For Gola/Pakora
1/3 Cup Chana Dal
1 inch Ginger grated
1 Green Chili chopped
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
1 Garlic Clove(1/2 if clove is big)
Salt as per taste
1 tbsp chopped Cilantro/Coriander

For Kadhi
3 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
2 Tbsp Chickpea Flour
Salt as per taste
1/2 tbsp Sugar

For Tempering
1 tsp oil
Pinch of Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
3-4 Methi(Fenugreek) Seeds
4-5 Curry leaves
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder

Chopped Cilantro for garnishing

Soak Chana Dal in water for 3-4 hours. Grind chana dal along with all the other ingredients for Gola/Pakora in a blender. Use very little water while grinding, this mixture should be little coarse and thick in texture. Keep aside.

For kadhi mix together all the ingredients for buttermilk and keep aside. Heat some oil in a pot add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and methi seeds, once they crackle add asafoetida, turmeric and curry leaves. Add prepared buttermilk and let it boil. Once it starts boiling make small, table tennis sized balls of the above chana dal mixture and add to boiling kadhi. Let the kadhi boil for 10-12 minutes until pakoras are nicely cooked. They will start floating when done.

 Garnish it with chopped cilantro.

 Enjoy it with rice or Roti.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cauliflower Koshimbir

Koshimbir is just another word in Marathi for raita or salad. Though "Raita" is always made with yogurt, "Koshimbir" can be made with or without yogurt. It is a good way of eating raw veggies, you get more nutrients. Koshimbir is quite common in marathi menu, it can be made with cucumber, tomatoes, onions, cauliflower etc or mixture of different veggies.

1 Cup finely chopped cauliflower
1 Small tomato finely chopped
1/2 tbsp Peanut Powder
Salt as per taste
1/4 tsp Chili powder
1/4 tsp Sugar
Fresh coriander chopped

For Tempering
1/8 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Canola Oil
A pinch of turmeric powder

Mix all the ingredients,except for tempering in a bowl. Heat oil, add mustard seeds. When they splutter add turmeric powder. Add this tempering to the above mixture and mix again. Your koshimbir is ready.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fettuccine Alfredo

I love Italian Cuisine. It is nice and simple yet elegant. Most of the recipes have 5-10 ingredients, that's why it is gaining popularity worldwide. The most popular Italian Food is pasta. Pasta comes in various length, width and shapes. Each pasta has a different name depending on it's shape and size.
So today's recipe is Fettuccine Alfredo. Fettuccine is a flat thick noodle shaped pasta. It is cooked in rich and creamy Alfredo Sauce. Usually made with heavy cream, I use half and half instead to cut the calories.

8 oz Fettuccine 
1 garlic clove crushed
3 tbsp butter
1 pint half and half
3 tbsp Cream Cheese
1/3 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup chopped spinach
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp Sun-dried tomato pesto(recipe follows)
Couple of pinches of nutmeg powder

For Sun-dried tomato and basil pesto
1/4 Cup Sun-dried tomatoes(I like to buy tomatoes packed in olive oil)
1/4 Cup Kalamata Olives(Green olives are fine too)
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 Clove Garlic crushed
2-3 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a blender/food processor add all the ingredients for pesto except olive oil. Add olive oil in steady stream and start blending until nicely blended. Keep aside.
Start by melting butter in a pan, add crushed garlic. Add cream cheese and let it melt, once melted add half and half. Let it simmer for 10 min to thicken. Meanwhile boil fettuccine in lots of water. Once cooked drain and keep aside. In another pan heat 1 tsp olive oil and saute spinach for few seconds, we don't want it completely wilted. Once the sauce thickens add Parmesan Cheese, followed by 2 tbsp of pesto and mix. Add sauteed spinach and nutmeg powder. Add fettuccine and mix again. Enjoy your nice pasta dinner.

Quick Tips-:
 If you think your Alfredo sauce is not thickening add little bit of more cream cheese. Try using fat free or less fat cream cheese to avoid high calorie intake.
If possible buy Parmesan Cheese block instead of already grated cheese that comes in a jar.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pudina Paratha(Mint Paratha)

Paratha's itself are wholesome meal. Paratha's are usually stuffed although they can also be made by adding finely chopped/grated veggies into the dough and then rolling it to make a paratha. Paratha's are most popular for breakfast but they make a nice meal for brunch, lunch and dinner. They taste good with yogurt,some pickle or just with a blob of butter.

We have a beautiful garden in our backyard. It is easy to grow mint(pudina) plants. They grow in such a short time.

They can simply grow in a large pot too. We have lots of mint plants and therefore made these delicious paratha's. I served these paratha's with paneer curry, recipe for which I will share in coming posts. But it can also be served with Yougurt or nice cool Cucumber raita.

Ingredients (Makes approximately 10-12 Parathas)
2 Cups Pudina washed and chopped finely
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
Salt as per taste
1 Cup water
1/2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp Chili powder
Canola oil as required to shallow fry

Mix all the ingredients(except oil to shallow fry). Add water in batches to make a medium soft dough.

 Keep aside covered for 1/2 an hour. Divide the dough into equal portions and form them into balls. Roll out each balls into 3 inch circles, apply little oil and fold it to make a semi circle and fold it again to make a triangle shape. Now roll the paratha into circle shape again or you can roll into triangle shape. Heat tawa/griddle, put a paratha on it. Paratha will start puffing up a bit and then flip it over.Apply some oil all over the paratha, flip over and start pressing with spatula to give a nice color. Repat the same procedure on the other side. Enjoy your Paratha's.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Low Fat Paneer

Paneer, also known as Indian cheese is quite a delicacy. Though it is called as cheese it doesn't melt like one. I remember eating fresh Paneer with some salt and pepper outside US consulate office in Mumbai, it tasted heavenly. I have never known anyone who doesn't like Paneer. It is soft and silky in texture. I know you might think, why make paneer at home when it is easily available in market? But trust me, once you make it at home you won't go back for the store bought one. You don't have to go into lot of trouble to make Paneer,  just boil some milk, add some acidity to it and that's it. Paneer is a great substitute for vegetarians.

You will see lot of paneer recipes in coming posts. I use 2% milk which we get here in US, that way you can enjoy eating it without any guilt :-).


1 gallon of  2% milk
1/4 to 1/3 Cup Distilled White Vineger

That's it you need only 2 ingredients to make Paneer :-)


Boil milk in a thick bottom pot. Once boiled turn off the heat and add 1/4 cup vinegar, curds will start separating from whey. If not, you might need more Vinegar. But overall it should look like this.

Drain the curds in a muslin cloth or if you have a cheese cloth use the same.

 Wash it with cold tap water. Make a round ball shape by twisting and turning the cloth and remove little excess water by pressing the ball. This is quite important because if you remove all the excess water your Paneer will be dry. Place a heavy weight on the curds that is wrapped in cloth for example I used the same pot filled with water and placed it on top of the cloth.

 Leave it for an hour and your paneer is ready.

 Cut into desired size.

Paneer is ready to use in curries and many more dishes.