Friday, November 25

Mint pulao / Pudina rice

Rice can be cooked in so so many different ways, and pulav is something that's easy to make, and really nice as a one pot meal for lunch/ dinner. I mostly prefer cooking rice separately and then mixing it with masala, so it has nice flavor of basmati rice as well as masala. I have made this mint pilaf ample of times, and this one is always loved by all.
This is a full proof recipe which always amuse my visitors, family and friends and everyone keeps asking for more.


Basmati rice 1 cup
2 tbsp cashew nuts,broken
3-4 cloves
1/2" cinnamon
2-3 green cardamom
1 bay leaf
Onion,1 big,finely sliced
Fresh/ frozen peas 1/3 cup
2 tsp lemon juice
2 potatoes, boiled or 1/2 cup soya nuggets,soaked in hot water
2 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

1 bunch (1 cup) fresh mint leaves
3 tbsp fresh grated coconut
1/2" ginger piece
6-7 green chillies
1 tsp oil


Wash and soak the rice in water for 10-15 mins(soaking enhances the aroma of basmati rice) and cook it until done.
Spread the rice over a plate, adding a tsp of ghee all over it ,it will keep the rice granules separate.Let it cool .
Cut potatoes in small cubes(/ squeeeze excess water out of soya nuggets, and set aside).
Clean and wash the mint leaves and let them drain excess water.

Heat a tsp of oil, add mint leaves and saute it for about a minute until they wilt.Add green chillies,ginger and grated coconut and cook it a bit.
Let it cool and then grind it into a paste. Add half of the lemon juice. Adding lemon juice will help retain bright green color of mint.

Heat ghee in a thick bottom pan. Add cloves,cardamom,cinnamon and bay leaf, then add chopped cashews and fry until light brown in color.
Add sliced onions and fry until they turn a bit dark brown in color and then add peas to it and fry well.
Add potatoes/ soya nuggets now and let them roast a bit(brown patches on potatoes/ soya nuggets)
Add ground paste and fry well until the raw smell goes away.This takes a couple of minutes.
Lastly add cooked and cooled rice,salt to taste and lemon juice and mix carefully until everything is mixed well.
Serve hot with raitha.


Can replace potatoes/ soya nuggets with paneer cubes or baby potatoes instead.
I have also tried it with dry dissected coconut too, and i came out equally well.


Sunday, October 2

Navratri series: Singhara Pakodi's

This is one of the delicious deep fried delicacious for navratri, apart from Sabodana Vada's and others. Its very simple , and a real tasty treat .Singhara or Water Chestnut, are eaten raw, or after boiling in most parts of India, and its flour is used for making food during fasting time. For fasting we do not used normal salt , but use what we call Sendha namak, also known as Rock salt. Looking around for info about rock salt, i came across this informative article. Basically , rock salt crystals are larger, less refined, and more discolored than purified ‘table salt’ and does not contain additives such as iodine or anti-caking agents commonly found in table salt.

Ingredients :

Singhara flour(atta) 1 cup
Potato 3 medium, boiled
Green chilly 2 Finely chopped
Cumin powder (Jeera powder) 1/2 tsp(optional)
Sendha namak ( rock salt) to taste
Oil for deep frying


Boil the potatoes and peel the skin, mash the pottoes well.
In a large bowl mix well mashed potatoes, Sindhara flour, chopped green chillies , roasted jeera and salt (Sendha namak for fasting).
Adding little water, make a thick batter.
Heat oil/ghee in a deep pan for deep frying the pakodas.
When the oil is ready , deep fry the pakodas on medium flame. Fry until they turn golden brown in color.
Remove pakora's in kitchen napkin to remove excess oil.
Serve with plain yogurt or chopped tomatoes mixed with little salt.


If not fasting, you can sprinkle a little black salt on top of the pakodas.
Kattu pakora's are also made in exactly same way.
Can check for other fasting recipes, which i poated earlier.
1) Sabodana Khichiri
2) Sabodana vada
3) Dry fruit Kheer


Wednesday, September 14

Navratri fasting series: Dry fruit kheer

Soon Navratri is coming, which is a festival of worship, dance, music and of course - food. ...and like most years, we ( me n hubby) are planning to do the 9 days Navratri vrat, i.e, fasting. The fasting food is all so yummy, that it  itself is a motivation to do fast . ;)  During Navratri fast , we can eat , what we call Faalhari Food only, i.e, fruit based one. So what all comes in faalhari, all fruits, dry fruits, potato, tomato and flour made out of fruits, like singhara (water chestnut), also known as kuttu ka atta, phaphad etc. Soon i shall be posting other upvas recipes too, so can know what all we can eat. :) . This year navratri is from 28th Sep to 6th Oct 2011.

Firstly ,starting with a dessert, here's is dry fruit mix kheer,


Milk 1 L

Dry fruits:
Makhana cut in halves, 2 cups
Almonds 15 – 20, slivered
Cashew nuts 15 – 20, broken in small pieces
Chironji / Chiraunji 2 tbsp
Raisins 10-12
Pistachios, 10-12, slivered

Cardamom powder 1 tsp
Saffron threads a few
Sugar 3 tbsp (or as per taste)


Soak saffron threads in 2 tbsp of warm milk.
Put 1 tsp ghee in a heavy bottomed pan, and stir fry all the dry fruits.
In the same pan heat milk. When it comes to a boil, add all the dryfruit mix.
Let it cook on low heat, stirring occasionally.
When the milk thickens and reduces to almost half add sugar, saffron threads and cardamom powder.
Keep stirring till the sugar is mixed completely. Let it cook for another 3 – 4 minutes.
Serve hot or chilled.

Makhana ,are referred to as Popped / puffed Lotus Seeds/ fox nut.
Chironji is also referred to as Chiroli.
Can reduce milk by 250ml, and omit sugar and instead can add ¼ cup condensed milk.
Instead of frying, also can just soak raisins beforehand or also can just add all dryfruits in boiling milk.


Friday, July 15

Yummy Egg rolls

After so much sweet, chocolates and baking, and getting into these sinful indulgences, i thought of posting these yummy egg rolls, which are indeed more tantalizing to my taste buds. And whose recipe was in my drafts for so so long, just taking its snap was an issue. Whenever I make egg rolls, I just go on making, and they just go on vanishing. And as they are more delicious when eaten piping hot, I couldn't endure my share too to get cold. :-)

Being vegetarians we never had egg at home as kids. The first time i tried it was after college with my friend at a road side stall in a perfect rainy day. And it was love at first bite.. I did  had it many times after that. Now that I am not in india, I miss those road side stalls so so much.

Going by the book, egg roll is referred to a wrap, which is dipped in egg and then deep fried, a variant of spring roll. But the one I make is typical of Kolkata and originates from there itself. The egg roll in Kolkata is similar to Frankie of Mumbai. A "Mexican egg roll", also referred to as burrito, is an egg roll wrap filled with beans, cheese, and, optionally, meat, as well as various peppers and spices. And so are its versions in other parts of the world.


All purpose flour(Maida) 1 cup

Eggs 3
Green chili 2 or more chopped
Coriander 1 tbsp chopped

Onion 1 medium, chopped finely
Tomato 1 small finely chopped
Capsicum abt 1/2 chopped
Lettuce or cabbage shredded

Oil for shallow frying
Salt to taste
Tomato sauce and green or red chilli sauce


Add salt to taste to the flour and knead the flour well with required water.
Take a small ping pong sized ball and roll it as thin as possible to about 6 inch diameter chapati's. It makes about 6-7.
Cook on a hot driddle , lightly from both sides( no need to puff them up over direct the flame). Set aside.

Beat the eggs; add salt to taste, chopped chillies and coriander.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add about half of 1 beaten egg to it, spread it slightly so as to have almost the same diameter as that of chapati.
Place one thin chapati over the half fried omelet and slightly rotate it,pressing from centre to out, so as both the diameters are same, and egg is evenly spread and sticks over whole chapati.
Allow it to cook for about two more minutes.
Slowly with the help of spatula turn it around and cook the other side for a minute and take it out.

Place the chapati on a flat surface with the egg side up.
Apply sauces as per your taste on the egg side.
Add chopped onions, capsicum, lettuce and tomatoes at the centre of the chapati to make the filling.

Roll the chapati tight and cover it with an aluminum foil or kitchen paper.
Serve piping hot.

Tips & Notes:

I do use a non stick pan, so only the first roll need oil, rest can be cooked oil free.
The filling can be varied , as per availablity, I do add Corn, olives, cucumbers too.
Instead of sauces I do prefer home made green coriander chutney.
To make healthier version, I mixed flour with whole grain wheat aata in 1:1 ratio..


Wednesday, July 13

Choco Chip Cookies

After baking the Indian eggless cookies, i.e, Nankhatai's,  here comes my next attempt at baking cookies, and that too on demand by kids, 'Choco Chip Cookies'. The cookies came out perfect, both taste and look wise, though with a bit of hiccups. As I am new at baking and also am using convection microwave oven for baking , the setting and all while baking needed to be varied accordingly.

The recipe makes about 40; 3 inch cookies. I did made half batch only, as this was my first attempt at baking cookies, so made 20 only. Also I did baked it in 3 small batches, out of which one batch got overcooked, and thus got burned at the bottom :(

The recipe is very easy and it takes very little time to bake these cookies. Its one of the easiest, most delicious and a basic choco chip cookie recipe.  It uses a combination of white and brown sugars, producing a rich and chewy cookies with caramalised edges.


1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter @ room temperature
3/4 cup (160 grams) firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
2 eggs large
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (270 grams) semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 190 degree C (375 degree F). In a bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add both the white and brown sugars and beat. Then beat in eggs, slowly one at a time. Add Vanilla extract and mix. In a separate bowl mix flour, salt and baking soda and then add this to the egg mixture and beat well. You can use a hand mixer or a kitchen aid as the dough tends to be a bit stiff at this stage. Lastly fold in choco chips and make sure they  are evenly dispersed so we have enough chocolate in each cookie. The dough is now ready.

Now before baking the dough needs to be a bit stiff, if you find the dough a bit soft, refrigerate until firm (upto 2 hours) Drop dough on a lined baking sheet by 2 rounded tablespoon about 2 inches apart . The chocolate chip cookies need to be this far apart because the dough spreads during cooking. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or untill golden brown on edges.At this stage the cookie may look a bit uncooked but they will finish cooking through out of the oven.

As for my oven i did baked it in cookie mode for 10 minutes. It has a auto preheat and after preheating cookie balls in a parchement paper along with the tray needs to be placed inside the oven. Finally cool on a wire rack completely before storing as the cookies are very soft when hot.


If you are using kitchen aid, better use the butter still in quite firm state, though not cold, and thereby aviding the need to refrigerate it. Just take it out from fridge and microwave it for 10- 15 sec.
You can use a icecream scoop for dropping in the small balls of dough. Its very convinient and mess free.
You can also add about 1 cup (100 grams) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped after adding chocolate chips.
Also, you can make balls and freeze them for future. Just bake the frozen balls directly, adjusting the time a little more.


Tuesday, June 28

Chocolate banana cake

Now after baking something tried and tested (nankhatai's), as my confidence grew; i thought of baking a cake. While searching for the recipe; i was looking for something healthy, with easy to find ingredients and minimal effort. And then i got this one . The recipe looked very easy and all the ingredients i did had at home. This one is a moist, sweet and healthy banana cake, and really very chocolaty one too.

The recipe uses a simple concept of 2 bowls, one for wet ingredients and the other for dry ones.
The two are then mixed together and you are done. The first time i tried, it did tasted yum, and was soft too, but didn't got the sponge. Then afterwards i realized that my Baking powder had just expired, and had read somewhere that expired BP has this effect on cakes... hehe. So for trying again, I thought of some occasion, and then there was father's day last weekend, so i did tried it again, and this time it came out just perfect.

All the ingredients are just the same as from source,i.e, joyofbaking, its just that it was a big cake, and so i just exactly halved every ingredient for my smaller version. As we did cut the cake in the evening, and everyone was ready to eat..snaps didn't came out so nice.. But cake really tasted very yummy and was really moist. Just perfect. The best banana cake recipe.


Granulated white sugar 2 cups (400 grams)
All purpose flour 1 3/4 cups (245 grams)
Unsweetened cocoa powder 3/4 cup(75 grams)
Baking powder 1/2 teaspoons
Baking Soda 1 1/2 teaspoons
Salt 1/2 teaspoon

Eggs 2 large
Ripe bananas 1 cup mashed(about 2 medium ones)
Warm water 1 cup (240 ml)
Milk 1/2 cup (120 ml)
Oil 1/2 cup (120 ml) (any flavorless oil)
Pure vanilla extract 1 1/2 teaspoons

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Place the rack in the centre of the oven.
In a bowl mix together all the dry ingredients, and sieve it 2 -3 times with a sieve.
In another bowl mix all the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Pour the wet mix over the dry one slowly and mix nicely.
The batter is ready; it should be quite thin in consistency, easy pouring one.
Pour the batter in a pre greased baking pan, and bake it for about 35-40 minutes.
Do check with a skewer , if inserted in center comes out clean , its done.
Remove it from the oven and let it cool before taking it out from the pan.
This one was my first attempt, taste was yum, but as you can see no sponge was there,due to the  baking  soda. You can see my oven too in the backdrop. 


Never open the oven in between, at-least in the starting 25-30 minutes.


Friday, June 24

Nankhatai, Indian eggless cookie

I wanted to try baking for a long long time and finally ventured into it, when my new Sharp Convection oven finally came into my life (read house). The first thing that i tried baking were the traditional nankhatai's, the one's as seen in my chilhood, my mom and my elder sis baking, and eventually its aroma filling the whole house. And voila, my first attempt at baking was succesful. The recipe is indeed very simple and easy. My mom used to make a small cross in between and then press a cubed red cherry nut, which i didn't had,so i just pressed some choco chip instead, giving it a more cookie like look...

For others who do not know about Nankhatai, can say its a eggless indian biscuit.


Unsalted Butter –1/2 cup,at room temperature
Powdered Sugar 1/2 cup
All Purpose Flour (Maida) 1 cup
Nutmeg Powder 1/4 tsp
Cardamom Powder 1/4 tsp
Baking Powder 1/4 tsp
Salt 1/8 tsp

Preheat oven to 350 degress F.
Combine softened butter and sugar slowly until mixture is light and creamy.
Then add Nutmeg Powder and Cardamom Powder and mix well.
In a separate bowl, sift all purpose flour with baking powder and salt and then slowly
combine flour mixture (little at a time) with butter mixture to form a soft dough.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and leave for 15-20 minutes.
Knead dough once again and divide into 12 portions of the size of tennis ball and roll without any cracks.
Press lightly between the palms, can put a small cross in the centre and then press choco chips, or cherry or chopped almonds and pistachios
Put Nan khatai on a lightly greased cookie sheet leaving enough space between dough balls and
bake on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from oven and let it cool completely before storing in an air tight container at room temperature.

Nankhatai is meant to be white, so do not let it get brown and adjust the time of baking.
If you don't have unsalted butter,you can used any salted one like amul butter, and omit addition of salt.
You can also omit the addition of salt altogether.