Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bread Halwa

This is a simple and tasty dessert also known by the name "Double Ka Meetha". I tasted this for the first time when my friend Nandini brought this for us. And I couldn't imagine that it was made from bread. This recipe belongs to her and needs a small quantity of ghee in contrast to the deep frying method which is usually followed for making this. My picture doesn't do justice to this yummy dessert. I will update it the next time I make it.

Bread slices - 3, cut into small pieces
Ghee - 1 1/2 tbsp
Sugar - 8 heaped tsp
Water - 3/4 cup
Milk - 2 tbsp
Nuts - cashews, almonds, raisins
Cardamom Powder - pinch (optional)

Make a sugar syrup with the above quantities. The syrup should be of one string consistency but I heated it only till it was sticky.
In a pan(preferably a flat one) heat ghee and roast the nuts. Remove and keep aside. In the same ghee roast the bread slices on a low flame till golden. Then add the sugar syrup. Do not stir. In the mean while boil the milk. When the sugar syrup gets absorbed add the milk, cardamom powder and nuts. Mix it slowly. Preferably serve hot.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rajma Chawal

I always get confused with this name. During college days my Punjabi friend Gurvinder(...ok lets refer to her as Priti...thats what she preferred to be called)...used to bring this yummy dish in her lunch box and we all used to relish it. Punjabis have a unique style of cooking. All their dishes taste simply great. Even if we make the same dish at home it lacks the Punjabi touch. Ok coming back to the topic her rajma chaval was a single dish in contrast to the usual rajma gravy which is eaten with rice. But in those days i was not so much into cooking so I never bothered to ask her the recipe.
Few days back I made rajma curry for which I boiled some rajma. But even after making enough gravy I was left with some more boiled rajma. So I made this One pot meal the next day.
This is not the authentic recipe. I have just added a few masalas and the dish turned wonderful. So I thought of posting it.

Boiled Rajma/Kidney beans - 1 cup
Boiled Rice - 2 cups
Onion - 1 medium, cut lengthwise
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Tomato - 1 medium, pureed
Kasuri Methi - 1 tbsp
Kitchen King Masala - 1/2 tsp
Biryani Masala/Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin-Coriander Powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro - few
Oil - 3 tsp

Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin and when it crackles add onions. Fry till it turns golden. Then add the ginger and garlic paste. fry till the raw smell goes and then add the tomato puree. Fry for 3-4 mins. In the mean while add all the spice powders. Finally add the boiled rajma, rice and kasuri methi and adjust salt. Add some chopped cilantro. Mix all together cook for a minute or two and serve hot.

Rava Dosa

Rava Dosa is a thin dosa with a lace like texture. Each person uses different proportions of ingredients for making this yummy dosa. I always follow my mil's proportions from whom I learnt to make this. This is one of my favourites as it is comes out very crisp and doesn't need fermentation.

Maida/All Purpose Flour - 1/2 cup
Rice Flour - 1/2 cup
Rava/Semolina - 1/4 cup
Green Chilly - 1, cut into thin slices
Jeera/Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp

Mix both flours and rava and add enough water to make a thin batter. This batter must be thinner than ordinary dosa. Add salt to the batter.
Heat 2 tsp of oil and add jeera. When it begins to crackle add the chopped green chillies. Fry for a minute and add it to the batter.
For making dosas, heat a non-stick tava. Smear with 1/2 a tsp of oil. Take a ladle full of batter and pour from a height of 5-6 inches in a throwing fashion(just like neer dosa). Do not shape it as ordinary dosa. Cook on medium flame till it gets golden.
Serve with your favorite chutney/sambhar.
The above quantities make 7-8 dosas.

Note: Green chillies can be be added directly to the batter.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Egg in the Hole

When people ask me if I am a veg./non-veg. i dont know what to answer. Eggs are still a controversial topic. Some believe them to be veg and some don't. I prefer saying that I am an Eggetarian but still have blank faces starring at me. Not sure if such a word exists. I guess it should be Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian but then that would be even more complicated for a layman to understand.

My egg consumption has increased after marriage and particularly after coming to US. Previously it used to be 1-2 eggs a year and now its 1-2 eggs a week. I always keep some eggs handy.
Egg in the hole/Egg in the basket refers to an egg which is fried in the hole of a bread. I came across this dish many months back while browsing the web. Since then I have made it many a times as it doesn't require any advance planning. I mostly make this as an evening snack. This is just my way of making them.


Bread slices (White or Brown)
Eggs - 1 per slice
Pepper Powder
Chilli Powder
Tomato Ketchup and Sriracha Chili Sauce - for serving

With the help of a cookie cutter or glass, make a hole in the bread slice. The hole should be big enough to accommodate an entire egg but the bread should still be intact.
Heat a non-stick pan. Add little oil or butter. Now place the bread on it. Break an entire egg directly into the hole. Cook this on a very low flame. Also fry the hole of the bread.

Sprinkle salt,pepper powder and chili powder.
Once it is fried from below drizzle some oil on top and slowly flip it. Add the spice powders. Fry this side also. Keep flipping till it is well cooked. Enjoy with ketchup.

Note: To check if it is cooked from within insert a knife in the center. If it is gooey cook for some more time. You can also leave it a little raw as per your choice.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This recipe was given to me by my friend S during one of our chat sessions. S and i met in a party here in US and since then we have chatted a few times. During one such session about 6 months after we first met we were surprised to know that we worked in the same company on the same floor while in India. The world is a small place afterall. Anyways coming back to the recipe S praised this recipe so much that I had to try this. After postponing it for many days I finally made it on our anniversary. It turned out very delicious. I also added some home-made anguri the next day and changed it to Anguri Basundi.
This happens to be my 50th post and I wanted to announce it with a sweet dish. I hope I can post many more recipes and learn many new ones on this endless journey of blogging.

I used half of the quantities mentioned in the original recipe and have changed the proportions slightly.

What I used :
2% Milk - 1 1/2 cups (3 cups As per Original recipe)
Half and Half - 1 Pint (3 cups As per Original recipe)
Heavy Cream - 1/2 pint (400 ml As per Original recipe)
Sugar - 1/2 cup (1 cup As per Original recipe)
Cashews and Almonds - coarsely powdered/ sliced
Cardamom Pdr

In a pan with a heavy bottom or a cooker boil the milk and half and half. Once it boils add the Cream. Again bring this to a boil, reduce the flame and continue heating till the mixture reduces to half its original volume. This may take some time. Keep stirring in between to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. When the milk has reduced to half the quantity the colour changes to pinkish. Now add the sugar and continue boiling till the sugar gets dissolved. Finally add the nuts and cardamom powder and relish it just like that or with anguri.
To make Anguri I followed my rasmalai recipe but made the malai balls very small(1 cm in diameter) and did not flatten them. Then added them to the basundi.

Tastes best after refrigerating for a day or two.
Thanks S for the recipe.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kitchen Tips

The following are the tips that I have learnt from my amma, mummy, some sites and personal experience and since then have adopted them in my kitchen. Here I have added only the ones which I follow. I will update this post as and when I come across new ones. Hope you find this section useful.

Freezing tips
Following is the list of items which i have been successful in freezing.

Carrots, French Beans, Beets. - Wash them well, dry them on a kitchen paper, cut them into the desired sizes which you require for a particular recipe, Put them into ziplock bags and freeze. For peas I buy the readymade frozen ones. The same procedure can be followed for the fresh ones also. I think cauliflower and broccoli can also be stored by this method but i have never tried that. Spinach can also be stored similarly but it becomes very soft on thawing. Same is the case with Green Chillies. They too become very soft on thawing but can be used for curries which doesn't require chillies to be chopped.

Pulses can be sprouted in advance and stored in ziplocks in freezer.

Home-made paneer can be cut into cubes and stored in freezer.

Curry leaves can be stored for a longer time by drying them in shade. When they become fully crisp store them in boxes. The dry ones need not be stored in the refrigerator. By this method curry leaves lose their colour slightly but are very good for making chivda as they have no moisture. I use the dried ones in all my dishes.

Cooking tips
When boiling dal directly in a pressure cooker add some oil to it to prevent the dal from oozing out of the whistle.

When frying onions if a little salt is added to it, the process becomes quicker.

Cleaning tips
If the cooker becomes dirty from inside try pressure cooking a lemon rind with some water for 1-2 whistles. The cooker becomes clean.

For stubborn stains and residues on the gas burner and platform sprinkle some baking soda, leave it for a min or two and then scrub with a cloth or a plastic scrubber.

If your metal scrubber catches rust, after use put it in a plastic bag and place the bag in the freezer. Use when required and place it back in the freezer. This prevents the scrubber from catching rust.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I am posting a recipe after nearly a week. There is no particular reason behind it. Its just that I am nearing the 50th post and i wanted the next two posts to be special. But today I had to post this as today is a special day for me. Its my 2nd wedding anniversary and Rasmalai is my hubby's favorite dessert. Before marriage I had never tasted Rasmalai. The sweet shops near my home never kept this sweet even though it is so popular. But after I got married I got to taste it many a times from the famous Brijwasi Sweets in Mulund and I absolutely loved it.
When we came to US i made many attempts to create this sweet dish at home. I tried different methods like using the instant mix, readymade rasgullas and also from scratch. But all of them failed. The ready-to-eat frozen ones were quite good but the rabdi was too thick and it had a different taste from the ones we used to eat in Mumbai.
One day I thought of giving it a final try and this time I chose Vah Chef's recipe. I am thankful to myself for choosing his recipe. My rasmalai turned just perfect.
One thing that we have noted is that these rasmalais taste best after 2-3 days when the ras gets nicely absorbed into the malai balls.

For the Ras
Whole Milk - 4 cups
Sugar - as per desired sweetness
Dry Fruits - Cashews, Pistachios, Almonds - 1tbsp each - coarsely powdered
Cardamom Powder

Take a pan with a heavy bottom. Add the milk. Bring it to a boil and simmer till it reduces to half its original volume. Then add sugar to obtain desired sweetness. Finally add the powdered dry fruits.

For the Malai balls Milk - 3 cups
Lemon juice or Vinegar - 1 tbsp (I mostly use vinegar)
Ice cubes
Sugar - 1 small katori

In a pan with a thick bottom boil the milk. Dilute the vinegar with very little water and add to the milk. The milk will start to curdle. (Add little more vinegar if required but do not add too much as it has a strong smell)

When it curdles completely(whey water is clear) switch off the flame and immediately add ice cubes. Then strain this through a muslin cloth or a new handkerchief. Wash the paneer well. Squeeze as much water from it as possible. Tie a knot to the cloth and hang it for about 20 mins.
After 20 mins take the paneer and rub it well. Then knead it like a chapati dough.
Make small smooth balls of about 1 inch diameter and slightly flatten to make discs. Makes around 12 discs.

Boil water with sugar in the ratio of 6:1. I use a very small katori (less than 1/2 cup) of sugar and 6 katoris of water.
When sugar has dissolved and the mixture starts to boil add the discs and cover with a well fitting lid.

Keep the flame on high throughout. You can make it in 2-3 batches and the discs double in volume.
After 5 mins open the lid and carefully transfer the discs into lukewarm water. Then squeeze the discs slightly and transfer into rabdi. Refrigerate for atleast 1 day for best results.

What I usually do is make the malai balls at home and use the Gits Rabdi mix for making the rabdi. In this manner Rasmalai gets ready in a jiffy. I have tried this with 1% and 2% milk also and haven't noticed much difference in the taste.
My hubby says that my rasmalai tastes even better than the Brijwasi ones. Now that is the best compliment that I have received till date.

I am dedicating this post to my dearest hubby and sending this to Just For You event at Alka's blog.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pani Poori

Pani Poori/Poochka/Gol Gappa doesn't need an introduction. It is the favorite chaat item of many including me. I can never say NO to a pani puri. Initially I used to eat chaat and other fast foods only at restaurants but after studying Microbiology in college and gaining knowledge about food contamination, to my surprise I found myself eating more of street foods. I have eaten Pani Poori innumerable times while coming back from office even when my tummy was full, all thanks to one of my train friends P who would drag us to the Pani poori wala and treat us with Pani puris without any occasion. One place in Ghatkopar serves Pooris with chilled Pani which have small pieces of ice also. I love that version also.
During my initial months in US I used to have cravings for chaat and especially Pani Puri. On the contrary my hubby is not a great fan of chaat items. While in India I used to make Pani Puri, Sev Puri, etc many a times at home using the readymade puris. But after coming here I never made it as we get huge packs of puris here which is too much for the two of us.
Once I was chatting with my friend S and I informed her about my food blog. She was very excited and told me to include chaat recipes in my blog. She also gave me the recipe to make puris at home. Few days later we went to visit the Indian Street in New Jersey. There I ordered Pani Poori but was quite dissapointed with its taste. I challenged hubby that I can make better ones than them. All these years I always followed a particular recipe from a paper clipping to make the pani. But I lost the recipe or maybe its lying somewhere in India. This is how I made it with whatever I could remember.

For the Puri
Maida/All Purpose Flour - 1/2 cup
Rava - 1/4 cup

Mix Maida and Rava. Add a little salt and water and make a stiff dough. Apply a little amount of oil and rest it for half an hour. Roll it into a chapati (I did this on a wax paper) as thin as possible using OIL. Cut out small roundels using a cookie cutter (or a small lid).

Deep fry in hot oil till crisp and golden.

For Pani
Mint - 1 small bunch fresh (I used 2 tbsp of dried leaves)
Ginger - 1 inch
Cardamom - 2
Cloves - 2-3
Pepper - 2
Green Chilli - 1-2 depending upon its spicyness
Jeera - 1 tsp
Rock Salt- 1/2 tsp (I used Chaat Masala)

Blend all together with water. Add more water and strain it to obtain Pani.

For Meetha Chutney
Seedless Dates - 7-8
Tamarind - small ball (1 inch diameter)
Jaggery - 2-inch piece
Pinch of Salt

Soak the dates and Tamarind seperately in little warm water. Strain the tamarind water. Blend together dates, tamarind water and jaggery to a fine puree. Add a pinch of salt.

For Filling use any or all of the items below.
Yellow Peas - soaked and boiled with salt and turmeric till soft
Moong Sprouts
Boiled and Mashed Potatoes - add a pinch of salt and red chilli powder
Soaked Boondi
Thin Sev

For making a Pani Poori.- Make a hole in the poori, add filling of your choice and top it with Meetha Chutney. Dip in/top it with the pani and enjoy your poori in one go.

Clockwise from top: Boiled Potatoes, Boiled Peas, Tikha Paani, Meetha Chutney, Soaked Boondi and the final poori in the centre.

Hubby loved it much more than me and also commented that my Pani Pooris were indeed much better than the restaurant ones.