Thursday, January 31, 2013

Creamy Grape and pomegranate salad

My husband loves grapes and insists on buying them every time we go to the shop,but, does not eat them 
until I make him eat ! May be like me, he feels the need to see fruit in the fridge i guess.

Since I am pushing myself to eat more fruit,I am constantly coming up with recipes in my mind to get some fruit into me.This is one of the easiest salads you would come across.This is what i call "semi-homemade" cooking,where in all you have to do is buy and assemble it. Probably most of the time you have all the ingredients in your fridge.

Instead of crunching on some biscuits and chips, trying substituting with this salad and it will fulfill your mid-afternoon cravings.The grapes are sweet and tender and the pomegranate burst with flavor and the nuts add the nice creaminess along with the sour cream. In most salads cream cheese is used for the creaminess but i am using sour cream in order to cut a few calories. If you are daring enough, sprinkle with cayenne pepper and dive in!

Creamy grape and pomegranate salad Serves 3

Green grapes - 1 cup
Pomegranate - 1 
Sour cream - 2 tspn
Walnuts - 3 tspn

Take the sour cream in a cup and mix it using a spoon.
Add all the other ingredients and mix, coating all the fruits in the cream.
Eat it as it is or serve it chill.

Thick yogurt can be substituted for sour cream.

Feeling healthy i hope :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Quinoa and Mushroom cutlets

Everybody is so obsessed with eating healthy food now a days, even me. I am a food junkie, I will eat everything, I lay my hands on.But now a days, I eat in moderation and on the road to weight loss.So here is one very very healthy recipe for you and your family.I was asking my sister the other day is they get quinoa in India,cos I have never had quinoa in India. But once I discovered quinoa there was no going back. It is loaded with protein, it fills you up and you will not be hungry for a long time.It does not have any specific taste so it yields well to any flavor you put into it.We all see all the chefs talking all the time about quinoa on TV, its nothing just an edible grain. When its cooked it has a little bite to it and kinda pops in the mouth.I do a variety of dishes with quinoa.Today I decided to do Quinoa and mushroom cutlets / cakes for evening snack time.





I always blend the vegetables I put in, as they act as a binding agent and plus you can taste the onion and the mushroom in every bite. You can also add cooked and pureed carrot.

You do not have to stick to the recipe, you can be creative.

Quinoa and Mushroom cutlets  Makes 6-7 small cutlets

Quinoa - 1/2 cup
Onion chopped - 1/2
Mushroom chopped - 1 cup
Garlic chopped - 4
Green chili - 2 or according to taste
Pepper powder - 1/2 tspn
Egg yolk - 1 (separate white and yolk)
Bread - 1 slice
Coriander chopped - 3 tspn
Bread crumbs / panko - 1 cup for coating (optional)
Water - 1 cup
Oil for frying
Salt to taste

Cooking quinoa:
Bring the 1 cup of water to boil and put the quinoa and close the lid and let it cook.It will take around 20 - 25 minutes to absorb all the water.Once cooked keep aside.

Separate the egg white and yolk.We will be using only the yolk.

Preparing fresh bread crumbs
Place the bread and the coriander in the mixer and blend just for one round.Just one buzz is enough to crumble the bread. These are the fresh bread crumbs we will be using in the mixture.The purpose of using these bread crumbs are that it will absorb the excess moisture from mushroom and onions.

Cooking Method:
Heat a pan with little oil and fry the onions and garlic, along with green chili, until caramelized.
Add mushroom and pepper,cook for another 5 minutes.
Blend the mixture in the mixer.
Add the mushroom mixture,the fresh bread crumbs and the egg yolk to the cooked quinoa.(Do not add water)
Add salt according to taste.
Form patties / cakes / cutlets as you call it.
Dip in the bread crumbs and pan fry it with some oil.DO NOT deep fry.

Enjoy with ketch up and some fresh onions for some crunchiness.

If you do not eat egg, you can substitute the egg yolk by increasing the bread slices to 3 when making the fresh bread crumbs.

Quinoa usually uses 1:2 ratio, the same as rice and water for cooking. So when you increase your serving size  by 1 cup of quinoa use 2 cups of water for cooking it.
You can use the fresh bread crumbs we make, for the final crumb coating. Just make the fresh bread crumbs with 5 slices of bread and you will have extra for coating.
The final dipping in the bread crumbs are just to give extra crunch, so you can skip this and cook without the bread crumb coating. 
Do not deep fry bcos there is a lot of moisture in the patty it will tend to fall apart when you put in oil.So pan fry with some oil.
The uncooked mixture will stay up to 2 days in the fridge.

Enjoy the healthy snack.

Grape fruit and Honey dew melon salad

I am so not a fruit person, but lately I have been trying to switch to a healthy diet.Whenever my mother made fruit salads at home, I used to load it with condensed milk, which, by the way does not serve its purpose.

When I am on a weight loss plan I always consume more muskmelon / cantaloupe. But me, being myself, add a little sugar to the fruit. I have never eaten a grape fruit when i was in India, so when i tried it i was not the biggest fan of it,cos of the bitter note.But i read grape fruits are very good for weight loss, i decided to add them to my diet. Since they have bitter note, I decide to add honey dew melon, fennel and some nuts with balsamic vinaigrette.It might sound weird but the combination is great.I have never had a fruit salad willingly in my life. But i have always loved savory salads. I will gobble up anything with balsamic vinaigrette in it. So I made this salad with that.


This again is one of my Semi-Home made recipe. It is so easy that all we have to do is buy the ingredients and make the salad.Probably already have all the ingredients at home ! Typical me! Being a non fruit eater I, always feel I should add more fruit, so I buy a whole lot of fruit and they end up most of the time in the trash.The truth is, seeing the fruit in the kitchen makes me feel healthy, as if I was eating healthy food :). I decided I will never waste any fruit and so this time I purchased the pre-cut honey dew melon,which by the way costs you less than the whole melon itself, when they are on sale.You can substitute the honey dew melon with muskmelon / cantaloupe.

Grape fruit and Honey dew melon salad Serves 4

Grape fruit peeled and deseeded - 2 
Honey dew melon pre chopped store bought- 4 cups
Pecans - 1/4 cup
Fennel sliced thinly - 1/2 cup
Balsamic vinaigrette dressing - 1 tspn (optional)

Add all the ingredients and toss lightly,so the grape fruit is not mushed.
Pour the vinaigrette on top and serve

Muskmelon / cantaloupe can be substituted for honey dew melon

Enjoy.. eat healthy !

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Palada pradhaman - The king of Kerala desserts

It is my mother's birthday today, so I called her up to talk to her and she told me she was making palada pradhaman, I remembered my mother sending me a ready made ada packet,so guess what i am cooking today? Yes palada pradhaman. I thought I will celebrate my mother's birthday by preparing the same.

Palada pradhaman is famous desert in Kerala  It is like the king of deserts in Kerala.It is basically made from cooked rice flakes,milk,sugar and a little of cardamom powder.Like n traditional payasam no cashew or raisins are added, but I am using both cashews and raisins. Usually in Kerala, they prepare the ada from scratch but now we can but the ready made one's from the shops, that saves a lot of time.



My Mom told me "palada pradhaman is not watery like our usual payasam, it should be thick in texture, so let it cook until it starts to thicken".I don't like thick payasams, so I am taking it out when it is still a little bit  watery today, sorry Mom.

Palada Pradhaman  Serves 5- 6 

Ready-made ada - 1 cup / 220 gms
Milk - 6 cup / 2 lts
Sugar - 1 cup / 225 gms or to your taste
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tspn
Water - 2 cups
Ghee - 3 tspn
Cashews - 1tspn (optional)
Raisins - 1 tspn (optional)

In a pan bring the water to boil.
Add the ready-made ada to the boiling water, switch off heat and cover it with a lid and let it absorb the water for 20 minutes.Drain the water and keep it aside.
In another pan bring the milk to a boil and simmer and let it boil for 10 minutes, add the drained ada and let it cook.
When the mixture starts to thicken a little bit ,add  3/4 cup sugar and stir until the sugar melts. Taste 
and if you find the sugar is less, add the remaining sugar according to taste.
Add the cardamom powder and mix well.
Once the mixture is thick it may take about 30 - 40 minutes and to check that ( if you take the spoon out of the mixture and draw a line with your fingers in the center of the spoon, the mixture should it should hold and not mix or drip).
Switch off heat.
Heat ghee in a pan with cashews and fry until golden brown, add raisins switch off heat and pour in to the payasam mixture. This step is optional.

If you want your payasam to be little watery, switch off the heat once you feel the ada is fully cooked and soft to taste.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fish Pollichathu - a kerala delicasy

My husband was going through my old food photographs, looking at one photo he said,:you have never made me this one". So I decided to cook it for him today.The recipe is Fish pollichathu. I was introduced to this dish by my dad - the fish lover,and this is one of my his favorite recipe.My dad used to go to a restaurant in R.S.Puram, Coimbatore, to eat this dish and this dish alone costs more than it would cost  for whole family meal in Annapoorna (it's a famous south Indian chain of restaurant). I was so angry at my dad cos, he had a budding cook (:D) at home and went out to eat this dish, so i decided to cook it for him and  
he said it tasted very similar to the restaurant and i was elated.
This dish is a kerala style dish called as "meen pollichathu" meaning fish in banana leaf.Today i am using aluminium foil instead of banana leaf, with fish marinated in spices and a smothered in a spicy gravy,covered and baked in the oven. The aroma fills the room once you open the foil and its is so so gud when eaten hot. This can be served with rice,roti. Today I served it with couscous, simply cooked in water with salt,cumin and chilly powder. You can use any white fleshed fish as a whole one or individual fillets. I used Tilapia fillets.
Most of the kerela dishes are prepared with coconut oil, but you can substitute with any olive oil or any oil of your preference.Traditional pollichathu dish doesn't have cashews in it, but tats my twist.

I couldn't get a proper photo of the cooked fish because my husband was in a hurry to go to office and I waited till the last minute to put the fish in the oven cos I wanted him to eat it hot. I just was able to steal an OK foto of it.You can actually see the hot steam coming out, it clouded my lens :(

If you are using whole fish, clean it,scale it and score it.This is a spicy dish reduce the red chilly if you want it less spicy. I have also given the option of using coconut milk to tone down the spice a bit.

Fish Pollichathu Serves 4

Fish fillets - 4

Marinade ingredients:
Pearl onions / small onion, chopped - 5 (can substitute with regular onions)
Ginger and garlic paste - 2 tspn
Red chilly - 4 / 5
Curry leaves - half stem
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tspn
Cashew - 4
Salt - 1/2 tspn

Gravy Ingredients
Red onion chopped - 1 big
Tomato chopped - 2
Coriander powder - 1 tspn
Pepper powder - 1/2 tspb
Curry leaf - 1/2 stem
Chilly powder - 1/4 tspn
Coconut milk / cream- 3 tspn (optional)
Coconut oil or any oil of choice - 2 tspn
Aluminum foil
Salt to taste -  1/2 tspn

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Blend all the marinade ingredients together, score the fish with a knife so that the marinade seeps in. Add the fish to the marinade and let it rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
In a pan add oil, once hot add,curry leaves and chopped onion and fry until the onions are translucent and caramelized.
At this stage remove the fish from the marinade and keep aside.Scrape all the marinade from the fish.
Add the marinade to the pan with the onion.
Add the chopped tomatoes,coriander powder,chilly powder,cover the pan let the mixture cook for 5 minutes
Add the coconut cream / milk ,salt and simmer for 2 minutes.Do not let the coconut mil to cook for long bcos it might curdle.This step is optional.

Baking method:
Take a large piece of foil and place it on the baking tray. Place a dollop of gravy on the middle and place the fish on top of the gravy and cover the whole fish with the gravy.You can use more or less gravy according to your liking.

Fold one end of the foil over the fish and the other end on the top and fold in the sides as well. The fish has to bake inside the foil so wrap it in any fashion you find easier taking care that the steam doesn't not escape the foil. There should be no holes on it as well.
Cook for 10 - 15 minutes or until the fish is fully cooked.Cooking time may vary according to the size of the fish.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cranberry and Apple jam

I bought a pack of cranberry during thanksgiving, put it in the fridge and totally forgot about it until today. I ran out of jam at the same time so i thought why not. When i was a kid i always thought jam was such a complicated thing to make, bcos it always tasted soo good. But when i learned how to make jam i was amazed at how easy it was.

I like homemade jams because we avoid the preservatives used to increase shelf-life and we can control the sugar used. You can also substitute the sugar with sweet and low or natural sweetener for an healthier option.


I always feel cranberries are too tart , so in this recipe i decided to use apple for some sweetness and texture and i am using both orange juice and lemon juice for the acid part. Once cooked, the color was so deliciously sexy and yummy....

Sugar has to be adjusted according to the tartness of the fruit.

Cranberry and Apple jam Makes 1.5 cups

Fresh or frozen cranberry - 1.5 cups
Red Apple - 1 large, skin removed
Orange juice - 1 orange
Lemon juice - 1 tspn
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Sealed jar for preserving

Add all the ingredients to a heavy bottomed pan.
Put the heat on medium bring it to boil and stir occasionally using a wooden spoon.
Let the apple cook and the cranberries pop, for about 10 mins.
Mash the fruits using the spoon.
Taste the jam to check for sugar at this stage, if it is too tart add some sugar according to your taste and stir so that the sugar melts.
I like the texture to be a little coarse, if you want it to be smooth you can use a hand blender and blend for a couple of mins.
Once all the water is absorbed the mixture appears to be gelatinous,switch off the heat.
In a dry container add the hot mixture and let it cool at room temperature without the lid.
Once cooled seal with the lid.
Preserve in the fridge once used.

For the entire cooking time, keep the heat in medium or the sugar will burn.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Huevos rancheros - A Mexican breakfast dish

Huevos rancheros, the name has a nice ring to it. The name might be difficult to say but the dish sure is easy to make. I consider this as one of my "semi-home made" dishes cos I buy all the ingredients in cans! All we have to do is open the cans and assemble it. This dish is a popular Mexican breakfast dish served with an fried egg, salsa and guacamole over a  crisp tortilla. Its like an open sandwich.

Its an easy and fun dish when you are not in the mood to cook, its kinda like a taco night. I substituted guacamole with salsa verde, I know, I know Mexican dish with an Italian sauce. Its my twist !(Nay, i ran out of avacados, so I grabbed the other canned sauce i had in my pantry :D ) You can use Mexican salsa verde it gives you that extra bite. I love salsa and chips,i used to make it fresh salsa every time. Even after coming to to US I never tried store bought salsa. One day I was so not in the mood to make it,so I grabbed  a can of store bought salsa and I fell in love with it. Now I always have it stocked in my fridge. I also used chipotle flavored re fried beans for some extra spice.

This is just assembly so I am writing the recipe for 1 serving.

Huevos rancheros 

Store bought soft Tortilla
Store bought tomato salsa
Store bought salsa verde
Store bought refried beans
Avacados fresh sliced or you can use store bought guacamole also
Water - 2 tspn

Heat pan and place the tortilla on the pan and crisp it, once the heat draws out all the moisture, the tortilla becomes crisp. You can do the same in the oven also. Heat your oven to 300 f place the tortilla on a sheet pan and put it in the oven for 5-6 minutes until it is crispy.Remove and place aside.
Add 2 tspn of water to the pan and mix the refried beans and heat it through, add salt if needed.
In another pan add oil and once the oil is hot add an egg, salt and pepper. Fry it for 2 minutes on each side, or until the whites are cooked and yolk is runny.

Place the crispy tortilla on the serving platter,spread the refried beans on it,then a layer of tomato salsa, place the egg on top add the salsa verde, and guacamole and you are ready to crunch away.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mild Cauliflower curry with paneer

This is one of my go to recipes when ever I am in the mood for a not so spicy curry. I love this dish cos it has the right amount of spices and sweetness which we get from the cream.My husband insisted on having Chapatis for dinner and I was so not in the mood to make a curry. So I opted for this easy yet delicious curry.

Chapatis are nothing but bread made out of wheat flour salt and water. South Indians call them chapati and North Indians call them as rotis. Whether South or North Indian this is a staple in our cuisine.

For Non Indians who have not come across paneer, it is just a kind of cheese. You can call it Indian cheese.You can buy this ingredient in any Indian store.Plus, I am using kasuri methi, which is common in noth Indian cuisines.It is nothing but dried methi leaves or others might know it as water cress.I am also using half and half here, you can substitute with cream or yogurt. They yield similar tastes.

I am using roasted gram dal powder as a thickening agent for the curry, my mom usually used this instead of cornflower because she felt cornflower does not yield well to spicy curries. You can make your own gram dal / potukadalai / putnala pappula powder ( I know that its called putnala pappulu in telegu cos of my telegu friends here) at home. Just buy the roasted gram dal from the shop and you can add it to ur blender and blend it to a fine powder, its as simple as that. You can grind 1/2 cup of the dal and it will last for months in an air tight container.

Mild Cauliflower curry with paneer Serves 4

Cauliflower flowers chopped - 2 cups
Paneer cut into cubes - 1 cup
Carrot chopped - 1
Peas - 1/3 cup
Onion chopped - 1 big
Tomato chopped - 2
Tomato paste - 1 tspn
Green chili slit lengthwise - 1 long
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tspn
Garam masala - 1.5 tspn
Red chilly powder - 1 tspn or little less
Coriander powder - 1 tspn
Cumin powder - 1/2 tspn
Half and half  or yogurt or fresh cream- 3 tspn
Kasuri methi - a pinch
Water - 2.5 cups or according to how much gravy you want
Roasted gram dal / pottukadalai / putnala papulu powder - 2 tspn for thickening (optional)
Oil - 3 tspn
Sugar a pinch (optional)

Heat oil in a pan, once the oil is hot add the cubed paneer and cook until it is golden brown on the sides, it will take about a minute on each side. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
In the same pan oil, onion and green chili and cook until the onions are translucent.
Add ginger garlic paste, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste,cumin powder,chili powder,garam masala,coriander powder. Pop a lid on top of the pan and let the tomatoes disintegrate and the spices cook down.
Add the carrots,cauliflower and kasuri methi and toss it a couple of times until the vegetables are coated with the spices.
Add the peas and kasuri methi, water and sugar(optional). Pop the lid back on the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender.Add salt.
At this stage if the curry still appears watery , sprinkle the gram dal / pottukadalai powder and combine well.
Add the fried paneer and mix and let it simmer for 2 more minutes.
Add the half n half / fresh cream /yogurt combine and just let it stand for 30 seconds and switch off immediately.
Serve with Naan or rotis.

Making roasted gram dal powder:
Just buy the roasted gram dal from the shop and you can add it to ur blender and blend it to a fine powder, its as simple as that. You can grind 1/2 cup of the dal and it will last for months in an air tight container.
The gram dal powder if not mixed well will form lumps, so use a tea strainer or icing sugar sprinkler to sprinkle and stir at the same time. It gives body to the curry ( a thickening agent). Do not use to much just around 1 - 2 tspn will be enough.

Kasuri methi has a biter note to it so do not add more than recommended.

Pepper crusted Tilapia Indian style with green beans and mustard sauce

Indian approach to fish is totally different from other styles of cooking. I have never seen the fish monger in India fillet them, they just chop them along with their bones.I am from South India and our approach to cooking a fish is also different from the other styles of cooking like baking,or the simple crusting with salt and pepper and cooking them on a pan. We usually coat them with spices and shallow fry them or add it to the curry.
When my mom cooks fish curry the whole house comes awake with that wonderful aromatic spice and fish smell. We used to play a game where in we find out which house on the street is cooking fish by  just walking on the street. We don even have to be inside the house to smell the fish! I think everybody from Southern part will know what i am talking abt !

My father loves fish ,my husband also loves fish, any style.Hmm.. I am beginning to wonder my husband and my dad are so much alike, in so many things.... I usually make fish curry on the weekends and i bake or pan fry the fish on weekdays for lunch.This is a recipe i made yesterday for my husband for lunch. Usually when he orders fish in restaurants he feels they are bland, cos he is used to eating spicy tangy fish,so I put my own twist in it by adding ginger and garlic paste (G&G paste) which is a staple in Indian cooking. All Indians are familiar with this paste. For those who doesn't not know abt this paste, as the name suggest it is a blend of ginger and garlic with some oil. You can make your own paste at home by grinding the ginger and garlic with oil in your blender and you can store it in an air tight container in the refrigerator for a months. You can find this paste in any Indian store. Little goes a long way so be careful when you coat it over the fish.

I also put a twist on the usual mustard sauce with a touch of cumin and cayenne. Plus, I added capers for the salty burst to balance the sweetness of the honey and mustard.

This is such an easy recipe it literally took me 5 mins for prep and cooking. I brushed the fish with the G&G paste and added salt and lots of pepper as my husband likes it spicy:) I also cook the fish to a well done and not medium, as in India we are used to eating well cooked fish and never medium or opaque in the middle. I remember my father sending away the fish cos it was opaque in the middle.But feel free to cook the fish any way you want.But recommend pan frying it than baking cos the G&G paste has to completely cook down.

 I am using Tilapia fillets here, any white fish would be good. I know i know what some of you are thinking, but, I don know what tilapia fish is called in tamil guys, sorry.

Pepper crusted Tilapia Indian style with green beans and mustard sauce Serves 4


Tilapia fish fillets - 4 or any white flesh fish
Ginger & garlic paste (G&G paste) - 1 tspn
Coarsely ground pepper - 5 tspn
Oil for frying

Sauteed Green Beans Ingredients

Green beans frozen any style - 1 bunch, if french cut - 11.5 cups precooked
Garlic chopped - 2
Onion chopped - 1/4 cup
Slithered almonds - 4 tspn
Panko bread crumbs - 4 Tspn
Oil - 1tspn

Mustard sauce

Low fat Yogurt - 1 tspn
Low fat Mayonnaise - 1tspn
Dijon Mustard - 1 tspn
Capers - 1 tspn
Cayenne pepper - a pinch
Cumin powder - apinch
Honey - a very small dollop
Salt and pepper


Pepper crusted Tilapia

Brush the tilapia with the G&G paste, add salt and pepper. the paste makes the salt and pepper stick to the fish.Repeat the same on the other side.
Repeat the same on the other fillet
Heat the pan with oil, once the pan starts to smoke add the fish and cook for 2 mins on each side, or according to the thickness of the fish it might take few more or even less minutes.

I recommend cooking the fish on pan instead of baking because the G&G paste has to completely cook down.

Sauteed Green beans

In a pan dry roast the slithered almonds and panko until golden brown. Keep aside in a cup.
Add oil in pan, add the chopped onion and chopped garlic and fry for a minute.
Wash and drain the beans and add it to the onion and let the oil coat the beans
Add salt and pepper and toss the beans around for a couple of mins.
switch off the heat and add the panko and almond mixture and toss around

Mustard sauce

Add the yougurt,mayo,mustard,honey, salt and pepper mix well. Taste for seasoning.
Add the other ingredients like cumin and cayenne and capers and mix well.
Sauce is ready to serve.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stir fried Soya chunks with Indian spices

This dish is my version of my mom's fried soya. My father insisted on having this every other day cos he wanted more protein in his diet. To be honest, I was not a huge fan when I was young, but when I came up with my own recipe I liked it and I realized that, I wanted it to be more spicy than what my mom did. And after marriage when I did this for my husband, being a fitness junkie he was hooked.So this recipe is a regular one in our diet.

Soya are filled with protein and a little goes a long way.They fill u up and you will not be hungry for a long time.You can find this dried soya chunks in all the Indian stores,but I don't know about other groceries cos I have never purchased them any where else. The ones I use in the recipe is a dried soya chunk. It has to be soaked in water for 30 - 45 minutes orin hot water until they are soft. Squeeze the excess water and it is ready for use.You can find these soya chunks commonly in biriyani's and they are also referred to as meal maker in India.

This recipe is quick and easy with a few Indian spices. The soft soya absorbs all the wonderful spices and they are delicious and full of protein, plus they are a great diet food and a great healthy snack with your tea or when he have our afternoon cravings these are a great snack to nibble on.

You can make this recipe your own by adding what ever you like in this, like bell pepper, may be brocolli, and even scrambled eggs be creative and have fun....

Stir fried Soya chunks with Indian spices  Serves 4

Soya chunks - 2 cups (soaked and squeezed)
Onion  medium chopped - 1 and also for garnish
Tomato medium chopped - 1
Tomato paste - 11/2 tspn (recommended) or tomato ketchup - 3 - 4 tspn
Cumin powder - 1/2 tspn
Chilly powder - 1/4 tspn
Coriander powder - 1/2tspn
Garam Masala - 1/2 tspn
Pepper powder - 1/4 tspn
Salt to taste
Water 2 tspn optional
Bell pepper chopped for garnish


  • Once the soya absorbs water it might double in size, so you can cut the soya in to halves so that it coated with the spices and you are not left with a mushy flavor less center.
  • If you are a spice person you can increase or decrease the amount of spices according to ur liking.
  • You can use tomato ketchup if you do not have tomato paste, if using ketchup use 3 or 4 tspn of ketchup.Use ketchup accordingly cos they are not concentrated as tomato paste, so might have to use more of ketchup.

In a hot pan add oil and onion and cook until translucent.
Add tomato, tomato paste, pepper and all the spices fry for 2 mins and cover the pan with a lid for 5 mins or until the tomatoes are tender.
Smash the tomatoes and let it combine with all the spices.
Add the soya chunks add salt and combine well, until all the soya is covered well with the spice mixture.
Fry the mixture for 2 minutes. If the soya appears to be dry add the 2 tspn of water and cover with a lid for 1 minute and toss it around for a few minutes so that spices are all toasty forma a coating.
Garnish with chopped onions and bell pepper and you have a healthy snack.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mushroom pizzalets

I was going through my photo bank for some of my old recipes for sharing and i came across this one.This is one of my favorite snack,it is such a fun dish, a kid friendly dish and it is such a great party food. I remember having some left over porcini mushrooms, so i decided to do this dish for my husband.

I love mushrooms in any shape,size and in any dish.Most of you might have come across this recipe and everyone has their own version and this my version. This dish has very less ingredient and you don t have to do any hard work!! all you do is assemble and voila! you have an amazing fancy snack.

I used store bought pasta sauce as my tomato sauce, some olives, bell peppers, onions and cheese. I used 2 kinds of cheese cheddar cheese for sharpness and some mozzarella for that molten gooeyness which we all expect out of pizza.You can use any cheese you like or any cheese you have in your fridge. I also used some pizza seasoning, but you can skip it if you don't have at home or just add some red chili flakes and dried oregano you have. As we use only the top part of the mushroom as our base I cut out the stem, and wait I don discard the,but chop it up and add it to our filling.

Make it your game day dish this year :) and have fun with kids on this one.

Mushroom Pizzalets Serves 10


Porcini / Portabella / Baby bella mushrooms  top part for the base - 10
Onion, chopped into small pieces - 1/2 cup
Bell pepper chopped into small pieces - 1/2 cup
Olives sliced into circles- 1/3 cup
Store bought pasta sauce - 1/2 cup
Cheddar cheese shredded - 1/2 cup
Mozzarella cheese shredded - 1/2 cup
Pizza seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste
Baking tray
Parchment paper / foil


Preheat the oven to 300 F
Clean the mushroom and pat it dry.
Place the mushrooms upside down on the parchment paper or foil over the baking tray.
Add one spoonful of pasta sauce on it, add chopped onion, bell pepper, the mushroom stems, olives and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place cheese on top and sprinkle with pizza seasoning on top.
Repeat the same for the remaining mushrooms.
Put it in the oven for 4-5 mins or until the cheese melts.

Enjoy hot mushroom pizzalets.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spicy Lentil soup with pasta

I have been meaning to switch to a healthy diet for a long time now..since today is a very snowy day so what is better than a hot, spicy and hearty lentil soup.This recipe reminds me of my mother trying to give me her lentil curry and i always used to get out of eating it.My sister and my relatives loved my mothers lentil curry but i never really ate it .. not even once... now i miss her and i wish i had her warm curry on this cold cold day. Look how lovely it is outside..

This dish is so versatile, bcos it takes in any ingredient you put in. I love kale, cabbage and pasta so i decided to add them to the soup (that was all i had in my fridge!) I am a big soup person but my husband not a big fan of soup, so my biggest challenge for me was to make him like this and have this recipe as a regular in our diet.  i am adding some ingredients to spice up this soup a bit and make it my own and cos my husband loves spicy food.

This dish is so hearty and filling, i couldn't stop eating it when i tasted it for the seasoning. You dip ur bread in to the broth and the bread is toasty n crunchy, the broth hot and tasty with the carrots, kale and pasta, this is a one wholesome meal.. i am a sucker for good tasty broth and this one turns to be one.

I used a combination of red and brown lentils, but any lentil goes good with this recipe, plus i used pasta, pasta can be added or left out. I did not have chicken stock at home so i added chicken bouillon cubes instead. Vegetarians can add water instead of chicken stock or bouillon cubes. But the bouillon cubes makes it extra tasty...

This dish doesn't have to be a soup necessarily, just leave the soup to simmer until almost all the water is absorbed and you can eat it with naan or rotis... its that versatile...! I feel healthy already:) and my husband loved it!

This dish is for my mom. Mom i eat lentils now !!!

Lentil soup with pasta  Serves 3 

Red lentils and brown lentil combined - 1/3 cup
Garlic cut in to cubes - 4 cloves
Onion chopped- 1
Cabbage shredded - 1 cup 
Kale shredded - 1cup
Carrot chopped - 1 
Pasta pre cooked - 1/2 cup
Tomato paste - 2 - 3 tbs 
Chicken bouillon - 4 - 5 small cubes
Pepper - to taste
Cumin seeds - 1 tspn
Cumin powder - 1 tspn
Garam masala - 1/2 tspn 
Red chilly flakes - 1 tspn
White wine - 1/2 cup
Water - 8 cups
Salt to taste if needed.
Bread slices tosted
Cheese to garnish 


Heat oil in pan and add cumin seeds,chilly flakes and onion, let it cook for a couple of mins then add garlic and let the onion soften
Add carrots, cabbage, tomato paste, cumin pwdr, pepper and garam masala Let it cook for 5 mins or intil the tomato paste is well combined with the other ingredients and let it cook out.
Add white wine and let the alcohol cook and be absorbed by the onion and carrots.
Add the kale and the lentils and let the lentils coat.

Note :Do not add salt at this stage bcos salt makes the lentils tough

Add water and the bouillon cubes and bring it to boil and simmer and close with a lid and let it cook for 30 mins. Taste and check for seasoning. Add salt if necessary.

Check if the lentils are cooked, if not cover for another 15 mins.If the lentils has absorbed all the waters, add more boiling water to it and bring to boil and cook until the lentils are soft.

Note:The bouillon cubes contain salt in them so taste before season with salt.

Garnish with cheese and you are good to go.

For curry consistency - simmer the mixture for 10 more minutes until almost all of the water is absorbed, serve with roti or naan.