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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Moong Dal Halwa

Posting on behalf of a non-blogger to link up with my ongoing event 'Sweet Celebration' :)

PARTICIPANT NAME: Debashree Dewan from FoodGasm

RECIPE NAME: Moong Dal Halwa


1 cup moong dal (Green Gram)
1 cup mawa or khoya
250 grams sugar made into a syrup
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Chopped almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts and raisins
7-8 full tbsp ghee


- Soak moong dal overnight or for 4-5 hours. Grind it with very little water after draining the water to make a thick paste.

- In a deep pan, boil water and add sugar. Make a syrup and keep it aside.

- Heat ghee in a non-stick pan and add the moong dal paste. Stir the paste in medium flame till the colour turns golden brown. Generally, moong dal takes 30-45 minutes to cook. See that the ghee layer is visible to avoid it from sticking in the pan. Add mawa or khoya and mix it with the paste well. Stir non-stop for 20-30 minutes. Let the colour turn golden brown. 
- After the mixture becomes golden brown, add sugar syrup and mix well. Sprinkle chopped nuts, raisins and cardamom powder to garnish. Serve it hot with a dollop of cream.


You can also add saffron to get a rich yellow colour. For that soak a few saffron strands in a cup of little milk and keep it aside. Add it to the halwa and mix well.

Linking this recipe to Shruti’s ‘Sweet Celebration’ Event :)

Creme Caramel

Posting on behalf of a non-blogger to link up with my ongoing event 'Sweet Celebration' :)

PARTICIPANT NAME: Debashree Dewan from Foodgasm

RECIPE NAME: Creme Caramel


4 large eggs
2 cups milk (I used full-fat)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup milk powder
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla essence
2 and a half teaspoon sugar for the caramel


- Take 3 tablespoons of water in a round baking pan with 2 and a half teaspoon sugar and caramelize it. Spread it around before it hardens. Keep aside.

- In a bowl, whisk the eggs well. Now add the milk,milk powder, sugar, and vanilla essence into this mix and whisk well. Pour this mix in the baking pan over the caramel. Steam this mixture in a steamer for 15 minutes. 

- Let the mix now cool down. Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. When serving, place a plate onto the pan and turn both upside down to unmould the crème caramel onto the dish. Serve immediately! 

Tip: Ensure that the dish you flip the creme caramel onto is big enough and has a rim to prevent a mess!

Linking this recipe to Shruti’s ‘Sweet Celebration’ Event :)

Caramelized Apples

Posting on behalf of a non-blogger to link up with my ongoing event 'Sweet Celebration' :)

PARTICIPANT NAME: Debashree Dewan from Foodgasm

RECIPE NAME: Caramelized Apples


1. 2 medium sized apples cut into cubes. (You can also keep them as slices)
2. 10 gram butter
3. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
4. 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
5. 1 cup apple juice


- Heat a pan with the butter and add the sugar. DO NOT BURN the sugar. It is the key to a good plate of caramelized apples. 
- Now when the sugar starts to brown, add the apples and cinnamon powder. 
- Mix well and add the apple juice. 
- Let it reduce and when you get a sticky gooey consistency, your caramelized apples are ready!
- Serve with a big scoop of ice-cream.

Linking this recipe to Shruti’s ‘Sweet Celebration’ Event :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

My 1st Food-Event - "Sweet Celebration"

Hello Foodies,
As you know, I am celebrating a 3rd blog-anniversary this month on my new cooking space :) Feeling so happy!!! Expecting to continue this lovely rapport I share with all of you :) Celebration time starts now…
Explore all new elements during this month of celebration i.e. Guest-Posts, Quick Series, Food-Photography, Useful articles n much more! And yes, here is my 1st food-event – Sweet Celebration :) Any sort of sweet dishes are welcomed i.e. Cakes ‘n’ Bakes, Authentic Indian Sweets, International Sweet Delicacies etc.!!! Note that eggs are allowed in baking.

Wait wait wait… I didn't finish that sentence! It’s my 1st food-event with a super-sweet cook-book as a giveaway :)
- Event runs from 1st September to 30 September.
- Bloggers & Non bloggers can participate in ‘Sweet Celebration’.
- Participants have to subscribe via email and like my page on facebook to continue your participation.
- N no. of entries – new or archived, linked back with this event announcement page will be considered valid.

Copy this text with image:
Linking this recipe to Shruti’s ‘Sweet Celebration’ Event :)
Sweet Celebration
And paste it below your recipe!
- Use of logo is compulsory as it helps spread the word.
- Non-bloggers can send their entries on in following format:

Participant Name:
Recipe Name:

And yes, don’t forget to attach a food-image in email.
Entries that do not follow all the rules specified above will be DELETED.
A winner will be selected by me using in 1st week of October. Winner of this event must have an address of India to receive a giveaway!
What are you waiting for??? Check out the link below and start linking your sweet dishes right from tomorrow morning :) 

'Sweet Celebration' with a Giveaway on Cooking with SJ

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Happy to announce...

Hello Foodies / Friends / Followers,

Here is a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT from SJ's Food Court! :)

Just a month left to complete 3 years in this food-blogging world... I recall a day when I created this blog on 24th September, 2010 with no intense of being so passionate about it!!! I started posting my cooking experiments just to share with a bunch of my friends... 

Since a break in professional career with IT industry', I concentrated pretty much on SJ's Food Court and I can clearly see what I have got!!! 

Got connected to lots of food-bloggers around... Followed many great food blogs... Felt motivated seeing support from Facebook fans... Joined few groups to improve my skills... Showcased my recipes on 2 culinary platforms... And most importantly, received heartfelt appreciation from friends n family... :)

Feeling so happy!!! Expecting to continue this lovely rapport I share with all of you :) Celebration time starts now... 

Very very very happy to announce a step ahead from myside... 

Welcoming you all to join me at Cooking with SJ, my new cooking space from today on wards!!! 

Join me there by following me by email and facebook. Will appreciate your email subscription on  :) 

Visit me soon and provide your feedback on all the recipes/pages you like! 

And yes.... How can I forget to mention this on grand celebration??!!! 

A 1st food-event with a giveaway will be announced on 'Cooking with SJ' soon... very soon :) :) :) 

Thanks once again for your support!!! See you there... 

Lots of love,


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Raw Banana Chips || Plantain Chips

My mum is too good at making 'vrat (fasting)' specials!!! I remember... one of my aunties (at in-laws) asked me to learn how to make raw banana chips (that too a vrat version) from my mum!!! When I visited my mum the following week... First thing I did was to bring a bunch of raw bananas from market and ask her to make chips for me :P

I didn't clarify that I was supposed to learn that too... but she's my mum after all!!! ;) She peeled the first banana n then kept directing me to do that. Also, she sliced one of them and demonstrated how to fry those chips n then handed over everything to me! Yes... I followed each of her instructions with full concentration and keeping all queries aside, I started munching a fistful of chips ;)

I was to return to my in-laws 2 days later and she packed those banana chips in air-tight container for me! I gave that container intact to aunty saying I made those ;) And she served those chips in small plates for everyone in-house. Fortunately, they all loved it... but fact was, I didn't do that all by myself! But yes, I didn't clarify at all... Took all the credits and passed it on to mum when I talked to her next ;)

After a long time, I felt like making them at home but wanted to make kerala style that I used to have a lot at school time! Off you go with a recipe of 'Raw Banana Chips':


5 Raw Bananas (or Plantains)
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
Salt, to taste
Oil, to fry


- Peel the raw bananas and wash them properly to get them clean.
- Pat dry with a kitchen towel and apply turmeric powder lightly over them. Keep aside for 5 mins.
- Cut them into thin (your preference on thickness) slices. 
- Heat oil in a frying pan and slide the slices of 1 banana at time. Keep stirring it in between.
- Deep fry till they are crisp in texture... You'll hear the crispiness while stirring. 
- Take them out to crumpled absorbent paper. Sprinkle salt when hot!
- Once cooled down to room temp, store them in airtight container!!! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lasaniya Bataka || Garlicky Baby Potatoes

'Happy Rakhi Day' to my lovely brothers for being there for me all the time!!! :) A beautiful day to cherish a beautiful relation of brother-sister... Ideally, I should post something sweet for the day, but all my brothers are pretty much fond of hot 'n' spicy food... And I considered choice of each one of them while drafting this one... Definitely, they are 'Kathiyawadi' (Saurastra, Gujarat) food-lovers :P

~A special dish from my native - SJ version though~


10 Baby Potatoes
1 tbsp Minced Garlic
1/2 cup Chopped Onion
1 tsp Chopped Green Chillies
1/2 cup Tomato Puree
1/2 cup Full Cream
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilly Powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp Cooking Oil


- Boil the baby potatoes and peel them. Prick here and there... everywhere with fork :) 
- Take them in a bowl and add all the dry spices. 
- Add full cream too and toss it well. Cover with a cling wrap and keep in freeze for an hour.
- Heat oil in a vessel and add cumin seeds.
- Once it crackles, add chopped green chillies, onions and garlic into it. Saute it till onions are translucent.
- Add tomato puree and cook it for a min. 
- Mix marinated baby potatoes into it and coat each potato nicely with a thick gravy. 
- Cook it covered for 4-5 mins and turn off the heat. 
- Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with chopped coriander leaves! 
- Serve hot with Phulka Roti :)


- Add more garlic for more flavors!!! :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

1-min Microwave Mug Cake

I always think twice before planning to bake a cake, as...
  • It takes too much in following exact proportions n procedure to follow :(
  • That comes to be too-big cake for just 2 of us!!!
And so I usually prefer muffins or cupcakes in my baking sessions! While referring pages of food-blogs, I found a microwave version of chocolate cake somewhere... and thought of trying it out. I found it quite an easy thing to do, but when I entered in my kitchen... found an empty pack of cocoa powder :( A thought of making it there n then got vanished in a minute :( :( :( 

Got a new pack of unsweetened cocoa n then planned to try it out!!! Unfortunately, this time I didn't have a scoop of vanilla to pair up with this mug :P Anyways, I enjoyed it like anything.... 

Off you go with the recipe... 


2 tbsp Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Baking Soda
2-3 drops Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp Caster Sugar
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
1 tbsp Chopped Walnuts
2 tbsp Oil
2 tbsp Water
A pinch of Salt


- Mix everything in a bowl.
- Pour it in a microwave safe glass/mug.
- Microwave on high for a 1½ mins. 
- Eat when it's hot!!! :)


- Addition of chocolate chips will give an extra crunch :) 
- A scoop of vanilla ice cream is always great to serve with this quick cake!!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

QuickFix Potato Subzi

I hardly run out of recipes to make in my kitchen!!! And it happened last week when we planned to go for a movie in evening 6:15 show... It was 3:30 when I asked my hubby what he wanted to eat in dinner, but he left it upon my choice n convenience. I had enough time to create a wonderful dish...  

More, I had everything available in my veggie tray i.e. cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, corn, tomatoes, brocolli, capsicum, carrot, mushrooms etc. etc. But couldn't think of making any dish using any of these. Opened my freeze several times n closed it in a min!!! I'm still wondering why...

Saw a big bag of potatoes lying in a corner of my kitchen... And I immediately thought of making a quick fix before time :) This recipe I read a few days back in foodie-group only, posted by Namita of Namita's Kitchen!!! Don't underestimate power of this simple dish (courtesy - Chennai Express) ;)

Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: 2


3 Potatoes
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4 tsp Red Chilly Powder
1/8 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Amchur Powder
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
A pinch of Hing
1 tbsp Cooking Oil
Salt, to taste


- Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut them into slices of around 3-4 mm thickness in a bowl of water.
- Heat oil in deep vessel and add mustard seeds into it. Once it splutters, add cumin seeds and hing. 
- When crackling sound stops, add sliced potatoes straight from the bowl.
- Add salt, turmeric powder and toss it well. Cover it and cook for 5-7 mins. 
- Mix garam masala and red chilly powder and toss it gently. Cover it and cook for 3-4 mins more.
- Turn off the heat and mix amchur powder and mix everything well.
- Transfer it to serving bowl and serve hot with phulka roti!!!


- You can add 2 tsp of lemon juice to replace amchur powder.
- Potatoes can be used with skins intact, which I hate :P 
- Garnishing can be done using chopped coriander leaves!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Asian Stir-fried Veggies

I got a colorful pack of fresh veggies at farmer's market n wanted to use it the same day itself. My hubby wanted to make something out of it by himself, but that's weekend!!! He got a little lazy in evening n I sneaked it from his hand... 

 Previously when I posted crispy pancakes using rice vermicelli, Archana suggested me to serve it with asian-style soupy veggies! I don't much like my veggie cubes in a soupy way, so prepared the same thing but in a dry form :) Thoroughly enjoyed a dish with my Mi-Goreng noodles... 

Makes: 2-3 servings


250 gm Mixed Veggies (cut into cubes)
2 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
2 tsp Soy Sauce
2 tsp Red Chilly Sauce
1 tsp White Vinegar 
2 tsp Corn Starch
1/4 tsp Black Pepper Powder
A pinch of MSG (Aji no moto)
1/4 tsp Chinese 5-spice
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp Cooking Oil


- Cook (parboil) all the veggies in boiling water for around 7-8 mins. Or take them in a bowl, add a tbsp of oil and 1/4 tsp of salt and oven-roast them for 15 mins. (I preferred oven-roasting)
- Make a slurry of corn starch mixing it with 2 tbsp of water. 
- Heat oil in a kadai and add ginger-garlic paste into it. Saute for a while.
- Add your veggies into it along with soy sauce, vinegar, red chilly sauce and spices!
- Toss it on high heat from the beginning and add cornstarch slurry into it. 
- Make sure veggies are well coated with a thick sauce. Cook it for 1-2 mins.
- Transfer it to a serving bowl and serve hot!!! 


- I had a medley of vegetables that included cabbage, zucchini, purple cabbage, carrot, mushroom, green beans, bell pepper (red n green), cauliflower and brocolli!!! Huh... That's too much I see :P

- Can be served with a plate of fried rice or Asian Noodles Pancakes :)

- You can make it soupy too by adding more water in cornstarch slurry...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Broccoli Fritters

Ummmm... Broccoli is definitely my favorite one to pick from market! I love its fresh green color, beautiful looking florets n quite a distinct taste... Initially I used to have a confused look at it, but later on I started gobbling up a full bowl of roasted broccoli with a dash of salt n paprika. 

This time I wanted to create something more exciting than oven-roasting a head of broccoli! Thought of trying out healthy fritters out of it (I love calling them pakoda only :P). In this dietary fibre source, I added egg too as a protein element n my favorite parmesan for cheesy touch :)

Yes, I could have baked them but making a fritters without oil doesn't sound like a good idea ;) Here is an easy to follow recipe of cheesy, crunchy n flavorful 'Broccoli Fritters'!!! 


1 cup Chopped Broccoli
1 Egg
1 tbsp Plain Flour
1 tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Dried Herbs (I used oregano + thyme)
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp Oil, to shallow-fry


- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Add more plain flour (1 tsp at a time) if required to hold mixture in shape.
- Divide the mixture in 4-5 equal portions.
- Heat oil in a shallow pan and arrange 2-3 flatten tikkis at once.
- Shallow fry them on low heat till golden brown on both the sides.
- Serve hot!!!


- I used a round cookie cutter to get a proper shape on pan. You can use your choice of shape for the same.

Linking this recipe to Guru's Cooking:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chocolate Biscotti

Who doesn't love chocolates? I wanted to open my pack of cocoa powder for making something, but at first, I thought of using it in mocha only ;) Planned to bake chocolate cake several times, but didn't do that as well... Meanwhile, I came across a page where I read a monthly challenge posted for home bakers!!!

Immediately sent a request to join 'Baking Partners' group... And I received a confirmation email too within 24 hours by Swathi :) I would like to thank her for including me in this challenge...

Now being a part of this group, I was supposed to bake any/all of the given International goodies! I planned to make 2 of them but somehow couldn't manage the other one :(

Here is a recipe of eggless 'Italian Chocolate Biscotti' that I tried for the 1st time in my home-bakery!!!

Makes: 7-8 (1 log)


1 cup All-purpose Flour (Maida)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Oil
A pinch of Salt
Water, as required


- Sieve maida, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder in a big bowl.
- Add rest of all ingredients in it and mix well.
- Knead a soft dough by adding water gradually into it. 
- Prepare a log out of it and arrange it on a lined baking tray.
- Bake it in pre-heated oven on 180° for around 20 mins. Then after, transfer it to a cooling rack and let it cool down to room temp.
- Cut the log into slices of your preferred thickness. 
- Bake them again in pre-heated oven for 10 more mins.
- Serve with a cuppa tea or coffee!!! 


- Once it's cooled down to room temp, can be kept in air-tight container for a week long.
- Add a fistful of almonds (or your choice of nuts) to add more crunchiness n flavors!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bharwan Baigan

Personally, brinjals are never-ever included in my list of vegetables!!! But got 4-5 from market to try making 'Bharwan Baigan' on demand of my foodie hubby... I never had it before or I never wanted to have it ever :P But yes, I was not sure at all how is it going to be like.... Even I'm not sure if that was the right way of making it... Will talk to mum n ask her today ;)

I stuffed some baby potatoes along with brinjals so that I can feed atleast a part of this gravy to my hungry tummy :P When this bowl was empty, I realized I should have added a few more potatoes into it ;) Here is my recipe of this dish... And post me if you make it differently :) 


4-5 Baby Brinjals 
4-5 Baby Potatoes
2 tbsp Chopped Onion
2 tbsp Tomato Puree
2 tsp Minced Garlic
2 tbsp Besan
2 tbsp Peanuts (roasted n skinless)
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
1/2 tsp Red Chilly Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Amchur
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Mustard + Cumin Seeds
1/8 tsp Hing
2 tbsp Oil
Salt, to taste


- Peel the potatoes and parboil them. (In pressure-cooker for 2 whistles or microwave for 4 mins)
- Wash brinjals well and pat dry them.
- Make vertical slits into four halves as shown in image below. (make sure you don't cut them)

- Take besan in a pan. Dry roast it for a 3-4 mins or till it starts changing color.
- Transfer it to another bowl and cool it down to room temp. 
- Take peanuts, fennel seeds and sesame seeds in a mixer jar and grind it coarsely. Add it into bowl along with spices and mix well.
- Stuff this mixture into brinjals and potato slits. 

- Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds into it. Once it stops spluttering, add cumin seeds and hing.
- When it starts cracking, add chopped onions and minced garlic into it. Saute it for a while and add tomato puree. Cook it for one more minute.
- Add stuffed brinjals and potatoes into it. Add remaining mixture to form gravy and 1/2 cup water. Mix everything gently.
- Cover it with a dish filled with water and cook it for around 15-20 mins. Cook a few mins more if required.
- Serve it hot with Masala Puri or Roti :) 


- Lemon juice can be used to replace Amchur powder.
- Desiccated coconut is a great addition for lifting up the flavors!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Garlic Roti

If I start counting varieties of 'Indian Breads', it will definitely go beyond my imagination!!! Being an integral part of Indian cuisine, these breads are prepared with different ingredients n different techniques in different regions of the country... Roti, Thepla, Paratha, Kulcha, Naan and many more categories... and each one of these with a number of sub-categories too!!! 

Among all of them, we love flat-breads flavored using minced garlic... Ignoring my blabbering here, here you go with the easy-to-follow recipe of 'Garlic Roti' cooked on gas itself :)


Makes: 6-8


1 cup Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Maida
3 tsp Garlic paste
1 tbsp Yogurt
1 tbsp Butter
2 tsp Oil
Salt, to taste
Lukewarm water, as required


- Mix wheat flour, maida, salt, oil, 2 tsp garlic paste and yogurt in a big bowl. Knead a soft dough using lukewarm water.
- Cover it with a damp cloth and keep aside for half hour.
- In a tadka pan, take butter and 1 tsp garlic paste. Heat (or microwave) till butter melts. Keep it aside.
- Knead the dough for a while one more time and divide into 6-8 equal balls. 
- Roll into thick chapatis and roast them on nonstick pan till you find brown spots on both the sides (quite like you do with normal roti).
- Apply garlic butter generously over it.
- Serve hot with any gravy of your choice!!! :)


- You can alter the proportion of wheat flour and maida as per your choice.
- Dried herbs can be added before kneading the dough to make them more aromatic!
- I cooked it on gas! Alternatively, tandoor can be used too :) 

Click on the image to check out previously posted 'Indian Breads':

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chatpati Chana Chaat

Although chaat has numerous varieties to list out!!! I have brought a simple, quick and healthy one for you prepared using Black Chana :)While making it this time, I got myself transported to old days with some beautiful memories...

Before I got married, I hardly woke up before 10 am on weekends!!!

"Get up, Beta! Hot water in tub is ready for you to take bath now... I'm warning you, this is not going to work after marriage" mum said.

"5 mins, Mumma", My sleepy voice :P

"Let her sleep for a while! She doesn't get to sleep till late everyday!" Dad supported knowing it's going to be 15-20 mins or even more than that...

"Fine... Then chai is ready n make nasta by urself" Mum was annoyed.

After getting ready to have breakfast (a brunch time), I always start looking for ingredients available for a quick bowl!!! Mum usually kept moong or chana boiled for a day or two... which I found blissful that time :P A fistful of it with a cup of chopped onion-tomatoes n a little of chat masala!!! Enough to start my lazy day...

A quick brunch or a quick snack with explosion of all flavors at once makes you eat more than you expect!!!

Makes: 2 servings


1 cup Black Chana
2 tbsp Chopped Onion
2 tbsp Chopped Tomato
1 tbsp Chopped Raw Mango
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
1/8 tsp Red Chilly Powder
2 tsp Chopped Coriander
Salt, to taste


- Soak black chana overnight in a bowl of water and pressure-cook for 4 whistles in morning.
- Drain excess water and transfer it to a mixing bowl.
- Add rest of all spices into it and mix well. Mix lemon juice and toss again.
- Garnish with chopped coriander before serving!!!


- You can use 1/2 tsp Amchur powder to replace lemon juice.
- Optionally, chat masala can be sprinkled while serving!!! 

Linking this recipe to Guru's Cooking:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Achari Bhindi

As a kid, I hardly liked any veggies in my meals... But bhindi was always in my list of favorites :) Mum never tried feed anything forcefully, but she always cooked so tasty that turned many of my dislikes into super-likes!!!  

I love the most When it comes to pick fresh bhindis from baskets at veggie market! Even back in India, whenever my mum asked me to bring veggies from market, I never missed getting bhindis :P Luckily, my hubby loves it too so I cook it often... everytime with a variation!!! 

'Achari bhindi' has been a superhit dish in my kitchen, quite on the same level of 'Qorma Bamia'! Mixture of all tastes n flavors... Spicy, tangy, Crispy bhindi with amazing aroma of pickle masala n kasoori methi!!! Wanted to try this since long... Finally my hubby cancelled out my plan to make black chickpeas curry, I prepared this super-delicious 'Achari Bhindi' :)


250 gm Baby Okra (bhindi)
1 Chopped Onion
1 Chopped Tomato
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste
1/2 tsp Red chilly powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Amchur powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Crushed Kasoori Methi
1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Ajwain seeds
A pinch of Hing
2 tbsp Cooking Oil
Salt, to taste


- Wash, pat-dry and trim bhindi. Thaw it first if frozen. 
- Heat 4 tbsp oil in a deep vessel and shallow fry these bhindis. 
- Keep around 2 tbsp of oil in the same pan. 
- Add all 4 seeds into it and saute it till mustard seeds stops spluttering.
- Mix chopped onions and ginger-garlic paste into it and cook it till onions are translucent. Add chopped tomatoes then after and cook it for 1-2 mins till they are soft and tender.
- Add shallow-fried bhindi and all the remaining spices. Mix everything well and cook it for 4-5 mins.
- Turn the heat off and add lemon juice, chopped coriander leaves into it. 
- Serve hot with Phulka Roti!!!


- Optionally, you can add a little masala of mango pickle too for more flavors! 
- Here are some more dishes of 'Bhindi', I posted previously:

Linking this dish to Arthi's Curries n Gravies Event:

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mushroom Matar Malai

It's been a long time (nearly 3 years) I met my elder brother and sister-in-law, who are big-time foodies!!! Bhaiya went overseas to pursue his post-graduation studies n I was doing my engineering that time... I loved cooking, but I wasn't that much keen into experimenting dishes n feeding everyone in family... Since then, I never got a long vacation to stay with him!!! Later on, he got engaged with a beautiful lady n then on his next visit, they got married... After their wedding, I had a good time with sister-in-law (TJ) as she was to follow a visa process n all (I personally hate this waiting mode) but then she too left me alone :(

When we had been together last time, we didn't get to spend much time cooking a variety of food at home... we had a gala time visiting restaurants n street food though ;) And now the only way of communication is a voice/video call!!! I'm so much waiting to meet n include them in a list of my lab rats ;)

They're blessed with a baby boy n he's now a big boy (9 months old) ;) And yes, I'm super excited to say that he has truly inherited foodie genes from his parents :P At this age even, he enjoys different tastes n flavors of baby-food! More, he whoops seeing a plate of food which he's not supposed to eat!!! Hahaha...

Back to this dish... they made this dish a few weeks ago and shared this pic with me!

Since then I wanted to replicate the same one in my kitchen... Yey!!! Looks quite similar, isn't it??!!! :)


Here you go with a rich and creamy North-Indian style gravy with a combo of Mushrooms, Green Peas, Fenugreek Leaves n Full Cream... Naah, better I say - Mushroom, Matar, Methi n Malai :) :) :)

Makes: 2-3 servings


8-10 Button Mushrooms
1/2 cup Green Peas
1/4 cup Chopped Fenugreek Leaves
1/4 cup Full Cream
1 Finely chopped Onion
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 cup Tomato Puree
4-5 Cashewnuts
1 tsp Melon Seeds (magajtari)
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Ghee
Salt, to taste


- Wash and trim all the mushrooms. Cut them into thin slices (or small cubes) and keep aside.
- Take cashewnuts and melon seeds in a mixture jar and add 2 tbsp of water. Grind them together to make a smooth white paste.
- Heat ghee in deep vessel and add cumin seeds into it. 
- Once it starts crackling, add chopped onions and ginger-garlic paste into it. Saute it until onions are soft and light brown in color.
- Mix tomato puree, fenugreek leaves, white paste and green peas along with all the spices into it. 
- Add sliced (or cubed) mushrooms and cream into it. Keep stirring well to coat everything with cream.
- Cook it covered on medium flame for around 5 mins. 
- Check if it looks dry, add 2 tbsp of cream (or 4 tbsp milk). Add all the seasonings and adjust according to your taste. Cook it for nearly 4-5 mins without lid. 
- Transfer it to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh cream.
- Serve hot!!! 


- A very rich and creamy gravy for those who love 'Khoya Kaju'.
- I used full cream, instead you can use full fat milk too :) 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Learning to Bake...

Another lovely post by Rashmi Didi, with basics of baking!!! After 2 trials of her Apple Cake in my kitchen, I'm now ready to take this one in my next baking session.... Without blabbering much, over to her now...

Some time back I had promised Shruti, I would do a basic cake recipe for her and as I leafed through the pages of my mind trying to settle on an appropriate recipe and cake, I was transported back in time to my first faltering steps into the world of baking…

At the grand old age of 20, I was a married woman living in a new country, with my brand new husband, parents-in-law, sister-in-law and her husband.   Up to this point my only effort had been a Chocolate Cinnamon Cake, which my cousin and I had “baked”.  Actually, the Cook had baked it and we kind of pretended to be very busy and important by helping in bits and claiming it was us who did it!  We did try and make some icing but ended up with some Chocolate Scrambled Eggs as we forgot to remove the hot chocolate from the stove before adding the eggs .  To get back to my story, as a newly wed in a new country I was very far away from my pampered past and bohemian lifestyle of a Delhi University student who spent most of her time playing the sitar, working on some amateur theatre production, or organising the next cultural event at college.  Please note the intricacies of cooking, baking or any other form of domesticity were very far removed from my life at that stage.

My new World, however, was one of domesticity, which required know-how of clothes, cooking, jewelry, small talk, and all such things, which I had eschewed in my previous life.  My life now was studded with Domestic Stars every which way I turned.  Every party I went to, every new acquaintance I made, seemed to be armed with a zillion recipes and other attributes suitable to this lifestyle. Of course, every woman in/from India is supposed to be a whizz in the kitchen who conjures up feasts to please and enchant her in-laws and husband.  Oh dear! How was I ever going to measure up?  I remember thinking glumly, as I sat in a corner drinking my coke and wanting to melt into it just like the ice cube, that had been floating in it a minute ago. I just could not carry on like this; I had to do something to redeem myself.

My 21st Birthday was coming up and I wanted to bake a cake.   Nothing fancy, just a simple, plain cake. So, I mustered my courage and called up a very dear friend Renu.  She, apart from being at the epicenter of this new social universe, was a great cook.  Renu was also very nice to me and happy to take me under her wing and initiate me into this bewildering cauldron of parties, clothes, jewelry, small talk, and food, in an older sister kind of way. So it was, that paper and pen in hand, I picked up the phone and called her to ask how to bake a vanilla cake.  “Oh, that’s easy”, she said, “just take butter and sugar and beat, add eggs, add the dry ingredients, stick them in a moderate oven, and you should be done in about thirty-five to forty minutes for a 6 egg cake.” “What do you mean by beating the butter and sugar? How will I know when it’s beaten? How about the essence? What about a pan? What sort of pan? How hot is a moderate oven?” the nervous questions just came tumbling out as I tried to choke back the panic that threatened to overwhelm me.  “Oh, Okay!! Right, hmmmm… let’s start at the beginning”, Maria like, she said.  Then she took a deep breath and began her lesson:


This is what you’ll need (Ingredients): 

250 grams unsalted butter (this will be about one small bar of butter)
2 cups Castor sugar – this is ground sugar but not as finely ground as icing sugar (go get a cup measure if you don’t have one)
2 cups Plain Flour

REMEMBER:  Sugar and Flour are in equal quantities

6 Eggs (at room temperature)
2 teaspoons Vanilla Essence
2 level Teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt (one large pinch)

A medium round cake tin is fine or just come over and I will give you a suitable baking tin.
A moderate oven is 180 degrees centigrade. 
You need to pre-heat an oven for at least 10 minutes so that the oven has reached the desired temperature before you put the cake in to bake.

Now here is what you need to do (Method): 
First take the butter out of the fridge so that it is softened.  Avoid trying to heat it to soften or it will turn into runny ghee and you’ll be in trouble because it will never fluff up properly and it will have a smell!!

Then take the eggs and keep them out of the fridge so that they are at room temperature.   If they are cold your cake batter will curdle when you add them to it.  However, if that does happen just put the bowl with the batter into a larger pan with warm water and continue to beat till its OK.

Now get the flour, salt, baking powder and sift it together into a bowl.  You can do this twice if you want to be fussy but it doesn’t matter.  The whole idea is for all the ingredients to be mixed well and for any hard bits to get sifted out.

Prepare the cake tin by taking a bit of butter and rubbing it all around the tin, this makes the pan non-stick.  Do this even if it is a non-stick pan – it just helps.  Now take a tablespoon of the dry mixture and put it in the pan and roll it around so that there is thin layer of the mixture on the pan.  Shake out any excess.  This is called greasing and flouring.  You can use plain flour but that may leave a whitish film outside your cake at the end.  This way you will have used the cake batter and there wont be any residue.

Take a large enough bowl which can fit all your ingredients in it and get your beaters out.  You do have good electric beaters, don’t you?  If you don’t, you are welcome to come over and borrow mine.

Into the bowl add the butter, sugar and vanilla and beat till you have a fluffy, pale mixture which looks light and airy.  At a guess I would say about 5 minutes or so on high speed. Now add the eggs one at a time and continue beating on high.  Beat for one minute after each addition.  More is fine.  Remember this is where you are trapping air into the batter so that your cake is light and fluffy.

Now reduce the speed of the beaters to low and add your dry ingredients – do this in at least three batches. Make sure it is all nicely mixed together.  Do not over beat at this time or the fluffiness will go and you’ll get a stodgy cake.  You can even use a wooden spoon to incorporate the dry stuff using the “cut and fold”  method to incorporate them but make sure you cut and fold gently and in the same direction so as to trap air rather than vigorously mixing it so it looses all the airiness!!

If at this stage the cake batter seems very thick and sticky gently mix n half a cup of milk to get a nice smooth batter of a thick custard consistency.

Pour the batter into your pan.  An ideal pan is one where the batter fills up two-thirds of the pan and no more.  This allows the cake to rise properly and retain its shape and texture.

Now place your pan in the centre of the pre-heated oven.  Leave it to bake for thirty minutes and then check by inserting a wooden pick in the centre and wiping the pick on a clean tissue – there should be no sticky residue.  You can also test by pressing the cake gently – if it springs back its done!!.  At this stage you will note that the cake has come away from the sides of the pan.

Wait there’s more….. when the cake is done you need to take it out and turn it on to a wire rack – just use oven gloves and first run a sharp knife right around the cake then turn the pan upside down on the rack and tap gently at the base. Leave to cool for five minutes and you’re done…….

“Have fun and don’t panic – I’m sure it will be fine.”, She said, before she rang off.

………… and that was the beginning of a lifelong affair with this recipe.  I have used it in various permutations and combinations since then but the original is my gold standard.  Often, I have doubled it and used it as the base for various birthday cakes and Gâteaux.

So here is how to turn this into a Pineapple Gâteaux

Filling and decoration:

1 small can pineapple slices in pineapple juice (no sugar added)
1 small can pineapple pieces in pineapple juice (no sugar added)
300 millilitres whipping cream
10 glace cherries
250 grams flaked almonds (or almond slivers) – toasted

- Drain the pineapple pieces and slices and reserve the juice.
- Whip the cream till soft peaks are formed.
- Once the Cake has completely cooled, carefully cut it into three layers.
- Sprinkle a few tablespoons of reserved juice on the bottom layer of the cake and spread with a few tablespoons of cream.
- Spread some pineapple pieces and another few tablespoons of cream. Cover with the middle layer and repeat the process.
- Now sprinkle juice on the top layer and spread generously with the cream. Go over the cream with a spatula/knife which has been dipped in very hot water – this will give the cake a very smooth and professional finish.
- Cover the sides with cream and press the almonds on to the sides.
- Decorate the top with pineapple slices and glace cherries… Chill and serve :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Methi Thepla

Again a comfort food from Gujju family!!! :) "Methi Thepla" is an authentic flat-bread prepared often for picnics, long distance travelling, monsoon, tea-time, tiffin box... You can call it 'Bread-Butter' for a Gujju! A dollop of 'Chhunda' (a kind of Sweet Mango Pickle)  and a thepla... and tummy full :) Spread it, roll it and enjoy....

I have had many different tastes and flavors of this traditional food too.. Crispy, soft, sweet, savory, fried, shallow-fried, pan-roasted, hot etc. etc... Here I have given a recipe of the one my mum used to cook... A little sweet and cooked on flat griddle with oil drizzles!!! :)

Makes: 6-7


1 cup Wheat Flour
3/4 cup Fenugreek Leaves
5-6 Mint Leaves
1/2 tsp Chopped Green Chillies
1 tbsp Yogurt
1/2 tsp Roasted Cumin Seeds
2 tsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
Salt, to taste
Cooking Oil, as required


- Mix wheat flour, cumin seeds, sugar, turmeric powder and salt all together in a bowl.
- Roughly chop fenugreek and mint leaves. Add them into the bowl along with chopped green chillies.
- Add around 2 tsp of oil into it and mix everything well. 
- Knead a soft dough using lukewarm water and cover it with a damp cloth. Keep it aside for sometime.
- Make lemon-sized balls out of the dough and roll them out to make around 7-8" in diameter. 
- Heat a flat griddle and put one onto it. Cook it for nearly 30-40 sec and flip it.
- Apply a little oil on partially-cooked surface and flip it again. Repeat the same process again.
- Cook it on both the sides evenly until golden-brown spots appear on it. Make remaining thepla the same way. 
- Methi thepla are ready to serve!!!


- Serving it with a cuppa tea and a pickle of green chillies is the best combo ever!!!
- My mum used to jaggery (not sugar) for a desi touch, but I don't much like it so replaced with sugar :) 

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