November 30, 2011

Lemon Rice | Nimbehannu Chitranna

Life has a curious way or presenting twists and turns..While I was paired with Priya of the famous blog - Now Serving for this week's bloghop, I had chosen Thai Green curry first. I even did my grocery shopping and was ready with all the veggies, but I didnt realise I would be inundated with daughter's school project. And while S is travelling and unable to pitch in, most of my waking time last week seemed to be lost on this.. I am writing this post with bleary eyes, hoping that the project would end today :-) Whew ! So in what seemed a ready challenge (I love thai Green Curry a lot, and was looking forward to making it too !), I chanced upon an old post from Priya - Lemon Rice
I am a fan of lemon rice in my family like nobody's business  : give it to me anytime, anywhere, anyday.. Mom says she used to cook extra rice over night so she could make this as a quick item for my school dabba, and after coming back home I used to ask her to make it again for evening:such is my tryst with this flavoured rice, and although some new Pulavs like the Soya Chunks Pulav does interest me, nothing pleases me as punch as does Lemon Rice. This isnt too much of a recipe, but as Priya says in her post, and also what I believe, Lemon rice is NOT lemon+rice.. Its a lot more than that - loads of love and some finely cooked rice. 
I served this with potato wafers and Katrikkai Pachadi (Eggplant raitha) and we all enjoyed it immensely. Actually,I was truly surprised that inspite of making this dish almost every week, I hadn't posted it yet. Like most family favourites, it comes with different variations. This is a quick lunchbox option for kids too - it tastes better if the rice is cooked and cooled..Of course,I have promised myself that I would make that Thai Curry soon :-) If only wishes were horses. Anyways, loved reading your posts Priya - its truly a gourmet-food-brought-home-kind-of-collection that you have, and here's to many more of them :-) Sending this to Bloghop wednesdays and Kavi's HCC - event by Smitha .
Meanwhile, if you have any Chinese dishes made during Nov 2011, do link them up to Flavours of China event @ my blog - event ends today. Don't also forget to visit my blog for a wonderful giveaway
Prep time : 10 mins. Cooking time : 10 mins. Serves : 2
  • Pre cooked rice - 1 cup (cooked and cooled)
  • Lemon juice - 2 TBSP (adjust to taste)
  • Oil -2 TBSP
  • Raw peanuts - a handful (opt.)
  • Onions - sliced - 1 no.
  • Salt - to taste
  • Green chillies, curry leaves, mustard, urad dal, channa dal
  • Turmeric : 1/4 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
Garnish : Coriander, grated coconut, roasted cashew.
Optional addons to this rice : blanched green peas, sauteed capsicum.

1) Spread the cooked rice in a large plate and fluff it up a bit. You may use normal household rice, the basmati is generally not suitable for this.
2) In a pan, heat oil and prepare the tempering. Once mustard stops spluttering and the dals brown a bit, add the salt, turmeric, peanuts and onions. Saute till onions brown slightly. 
3) Now add the rice and give it a quick stir while on low flame.
4) Take it off the flame and add in the lemon juice and switch off the flame. Add coriander, coconut and serve hot with wafers and any raitha. For me though, just plain lemon rice will do :-)

November 29, 2011

Maddur Vade, and a Karnataka Connection

This journey of BM has been personally very satisfying with the theme of Winter Delights, and I hope you have enjoyed the journey with me too:) If you have missed any of the previous 6 days posts, here is a quick recap:
Day 1 : Avarekaalu Saaru / flatbeans Sambhar
Day 2:  Low Cal Paneer Makhanwala
Day 3 : Pepper Idli steamed in Banana leaves
Day 4 : Moong Dal Masala Buns & Oregano Soup sticks
Day 5 : Sugarfree Amla Mocktail
Day 6 : Choco Almond Rocks
Now, having lived soooo long in Bengalooru (Karnataka), there must have been ample times I would have travelled along with Bangalore - Mysore route : train or bus or car. Whatever the mode, one can't miss eating savoruing the deep fried delight  - Maddur Vade. I could compose an ode to this dish describing how the crunchy snack melts in your mouth and the flavours spread all over your mouth : but all that can wait till you savour one bite of this deep fried delight. Winter gives us enough leverage to do just that - Enjoy these yummy deep fried delights with a cup of hot kapi (as the vendors would call out @ Maddur , enroute to Mysore) " Vade-Kaapi", "Vade-Kaapi", "Garamaagaram Vadai".... those sounds seem like music:till I gingerly ventured out to make these. This is generally served in leaf lined parcels (or newspaper bundles) along with Gatti Chutney (extra thick coconut chutney ground with chillies and coriander). But of the 10 odd vadais I made, there were just 3 left for snaps (God bless my kiddo - she saved 'her' vadai for me to take clicks, and not unlike Sherlock she demanded her pound of flesh - extra playtime in the evening and also that these vadais to be photographed on her pattu paavadai (silk skirt) as background.Well,I couldnt back out on either:)) 
Adapted from Lakshmi's recipe, under my mom's able direction, I made my first Maddur Vadai and was very pleased with myself. Look forward to making this often now. 
Sending this to: BM Day 7, Radhika's Winter Carnival, Priya's bookmarked recipes. Check my marathoners here.

November 28, 2011

Choco Almond Rocks

November 27, 2011

Amla Mocktail | Sugarfree Healthy Vit C drink for Winters

November 26, 2011

Moongdal Masala Buns & Oregano Soup Sticks | Step by step recipe

Before we go on to today's post, a friendly reminder to link all your Chinese dishes to the Flavours of China event that ends Nov 30th. Also dont forget to link your global recipes to the Global Food Fest too ! Up for grabs is also a wonderful giveaway on my 200th post, so do rush in..
Some memories stick to you like a Post-it note :-) I remember by dear dear grandpa who used to get these super hot and freshly baked Potato Buns once a week, from the bakery by the time we got from school, and sis n me used to gobble them up like hunger was our prime concern :-) Many years later, i discovered that these things could be baked at home too ! I have adapted my recipe from Aipi's recipe as I gingerly tread into the realm of yeast-based baking : Now each one of us has our tryst with this ingredient called yeast. Yes, baking with it is quite addictive, but you want the result to be exactly to the the way you remember it or seeing it. As I was making it with APF (and was too sceptical about using whoewheat), I have replaced most of the filling of potato with dry cooked moong dal (to know the right dal consistency, check recipe on Moong Dal Seekh Kebab) - it needs to be cooked al dente, but dry. It was very light and filling too. Although here, I was a tad disappointed coz the colour of the buns didnt brown as much as I thought they would, but the verdict from all at home was tres bien (wonderful), and mom who is not too much of a bakery food fan pronounced the Moong dal Masala Buns perfect. 

The next time I make this (which I am sure to), I would increase the sugar a tad more and also may be do the milk wash more diligently, but till then, this is one snack that would never go out of fashion and I am sure you would also like it.. Feel free to play around the ingredients to suit your palate.I used the remaining dough after making the buns to make Oregano soup sticks which went very well with Cauliflower Soup.

November 25, 2011

Pepper Idli steamed in Banana leaf

Pepper,Ginger ,Cardamom, Cinnamon are some of the foods recommended by Ayurveda for the winter months. So, when I was left with a lot of Idli batter this week, I picked my brains to make something new and then remembered having this Idli at my husband's aunt's place soon after our wedding ! Although i generally make Oothappams or Paddu (Kuzhi paniyaarams) with left over Idli batter, hubby voted against both of them this week :(((
But thankfully this dish - Pepper Idli steamed in Banana leaves- was very well recieved, and I was happy to add another super healthy breakfast to the menu. It helps if you have ready batter at hand. But if you want to start from scratch, you can make the Idli batter as outlined in this recipe. You could as I did,tone down the pepper or not add it at all for the children, but the aroma of freshly ground pepper and cumin along with the soaked dal is sure to pep you up for the entire day! The addition of cooked but firm channa dal is optional, and I did so 'coz I dont prefer the idlis looking very dull or dark, but you can also add a handful of chopped fresh coconut to add a slight crunch along with curry leaves / coriander. If you dont have banana leaves, you could use the normal Idli Moulds just like Poha Idli. But steaming them with Banana leaves is something magical - both the aroma and the taste improve manifold with the pepper steaming in those leaves:-) 
Serving options for this dish : choose from over 10 chutney varieties here or Molagapudi (Fiery lentil spice powder). This dish goes to Day 3 of BM along with Simona's MLLA. Check my fellow Marathoners here

November 24, 2011

Avarekaalu Saaru | Flatbeans Sambhar | Anapakaya Pulusu

Winter Season and Avarekaayi - a yummy combination. For those from Karnataka, this beans needs no introduction : its available in plenty throughout the winter months. and is very much sought after through the year.. Upma, Akki Rotti, Saaru, Kootu, UsliNippattu, Hithakidha Avare - all made of Avarekaayi - these dishes are a Kannada cuisine connoisuer's delight. It is called Mochai in Tamil, papdi liva in Hindi, anapakaya in Telugu (esp in the Rayalaseema region). 

Also going by the name of hyacinth bean, I do wish I have more access to this bean this season as Winter is almost upon us, and this Avarekaayi Saaru is one of my heirloom recipes and mom is expert in making this. This can be had either with hot steamed rice or with Ragi Sankati (Mudde in Kannada). 

But whatever you do, don't forget to add ghee - it takes the taste of this simply fabulous sambhar to greater heights.. this sambhar can be made with or without onions-garlic too, which I have done so. 

Updating this post for Foodies_Redoing Old Posts#20 where we revisit / revamp old posts with new pics / recipe updates etc. 

pic source : The Hindu

Prep time : 20 mins. Cooking time : 10 mins. Serves : 3~4
  • Fresh Avarekaayi (deseeded from the pod) - 2 cups 
  • Salt - to taste
  • Turmeric - a dash
Masala to grind:
  • Coriander seeds - 2 TBSP
  • Red chillies - 2 or 3 (use Kashmiri Variety)
  • Jeera / Cumin - 1/2 TBSP
  • Fresh grated coconut - 1/4 cup
  • Methi / fenugreek seeds - a dash
  • Green coriander - few sprigs
  • Raw rice - 1 tsp
  • Channa dal - 1/2 TBSP
  • Ghee - 1 TBSP (sub with oil for a vegan version)
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves - few 
  • Asafoetida - a generous pinch (skip for GF)

1) Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil in a deep vessel. Add the deseeded flatbeans and a dash of salt and cook covered for 20 mins (or till almost done). Alternatively you can pressure cook with 1 cup of water and a dash of turmeric for 2 whistles. Retain the boiled water.
2) Fry the coriander seeds, jeera, channa dal, raw rice. red chillies one after another in 1 tsp of oil. Cool, grind with coconut to a thick paste. Mom's tip : for extra flavour, add 2 tbsp of boiled avarekayi to this paste for extra flavour.
3) In a pan, heat the water in which the beans were boiled. Add the ground masala, cooked avarekaalu, salt and more water for required consistency. Bring to a boil for 5 - 8 mins. 
4) Prepare tempering and add to the sambhar. Serve hot with rice or ragi mudde for a complete Kannada experience.

November 23, 2011

Low cal Paneer Makhanwala | Low cal cottage cheese in spicy onion gravy

Low fat Paneer Makhanwala ?? That's the message I read on hubby's face as I planned my dinner menu last night. I have my husband's nephew who orders either Paneer Makhanwala or Paneer Butter Masala everytime with Butter Kulcha everytime he goes out : so much so that they have stopped asking him what he wants to eat. Today's dish is a take on the same - and adapted from here, I chose to make it as low fat and low cal as possible. We enjoyed it Butter Kulcha, and my daughter now says I need to make Paneer dishes twice a week instead of only Sundays... Mission accomplished : I had satisfied my fussiest eater :-) 

This dish goes to :
Radhika's Winter Carnival 
Day 1 of Blogging Marathon - Winter Foods for Nov'11. 
Only Curries - event by Pari, hosted by Kamalika
Kavi's HCC - event by Smitha 

Do check out my fellow marathoners here
Check out other side dishes for Roti here.

November 22, 2011

Invitation to join an exciting series:"Magic Mingle"

Inviting like-minded bloggers to come together and create a dish using two / three ingredients once every month. This event is tentatively titled Magic Mingle.. Once we have a sizeable number (10 friends minimum ), I am planning to launch this from next Jan. The idea is to create a dish (across cuisines / course) using 2 or 3 ingredients that is picked out of a magic box randomly every month. 

I had already written to several of my blogger friends individually, and we already have a group of 20 friends waiting to start this exciting culinary journey. So, if you want to hop on to this bandwagon, do read on....

November 21, 2011

Poha Chiwda

Somethings never go out of fashion in food - like Poha Chiwda. I remember VB bakery back in Bangalore where there was this Chiwda made of Nylon Poha (the thinner variety) and also a unique almond biscuit (almost like a thin reed wrapped in butter paper and sealed like a chocolate was a family favourite. Dad used to get this, especially during winters and I remember my sis "N" munching these after school or while studying late into the night (she was always the studious one - not me ;))..

 Making this Poha Chiwda this week brought back that nostalgia. The crunch of the chiwda once it breaks in your mouth along with the roasted peanuts and having this with a cup of hot green tea- super bliss ! I would have preferred to use the patla poha (thin poha), but as I didnt have it, I used the normal Poha. And yes, I did deep fry it in batches (should have roasted them, but I was willing to let go of my senses a teeny weeny bit, and I didnt regret it at all !!) and the result was super good ! 

Sending this to : Radhika's Winter Carnival

November 18, 2011

Palak Paratha with Moong Raita - combo Meal | Spinach Indian flat bread with green gram sprouts in yoghurt |Step by step recipe

Winters and parathas - an ubiqutous combination ! While its not yet officially winter here where I live, the warmth that certain foods bring - you wish they had it all year ( I fondly wish I could have Alu Paratha with pickle right now) .. Today's post is a combo meal - Palak Parathas with Moong Raitha-  and highly nutritious too. Combo meals are my fav- and this can be rustled up for any part of the day - breakfast / lunch / dinner and is a great meal for kiddies mealbox too :-) The goodness of Spinach is something that Popeye (the cartoon) brought to the West, but Ayurveda has always been a proponent of fresh greens in all saatvic foods. 

Wikipedia tells me: "Spinach is thought to have originated in ancient Persia (modern Iran and neighboring countries). Arab traders carried spinach into India, and then the plant was introduced into ancient China, where it was known as "Persian vegetable" (bōsī cài; 波斯菜; present:菠菜). The earliest available record of the spinach plant was recorded in Chinese, stating it was introduced into China via Nepal (probably in 647 AD)"

And there is moong sprouts. What more can be said about this wonderfood - rich in riboflavin, moong sprouts is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. Light on the tummy yet packed with nutrition,today's post-like my other combo meal Palak Paneer Parathapacks in Spinach and Moong for a super healthy combo meal. Read on for the recipe.

Sending this to my event HLI Spinach, hosted by Monika, Radhika's Winter Carnival, Priya's CWS Moong , Kavi's HCC - event by Smitha & Krithi's Breakfast Club#17

November 16, 2011

Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usuli with Moong Dal ~ Banana blossom dry curry with split green gram

Firstly, thanks to all my blogger friends for their wonderful wishes on my 200th post and giveaway ! Another 15 days to go for the giveaway to end..

the 9th edition of Blog hop Wednesdays is here. I am paired with Rudra, who blogs @ Mom's Corner. I especially enjoyed browsing through the Recipe index, and finally zeroed down to her version of Vazhaipoo Paruppu usuli. This is a classic Tamilnadu treat, and Rudra has also explained quite well on how to clean and obtain cookworthy banana blossoms in her post itself. But the twist to this I have given is to use moong dal instead of Toor Dal / channa dal that is generally used and also the method I used to make this an almost zero oil  dish, and this goes very well with Vathal Kuzhambu or even Onion Sambhar. I loved this with Poricha Rasam (another of my comfort foods), and it was a very comforting lunch we had for Sunday. I hope you would also enjoy this version of Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usuli (loosely transalated as Banana Blossom stir fry with lentils). 

This dish goes to the following events: 
Check out other moong dal recipes here and dry curries / stir fry hereLet's now get to the recipe..

November 15, 2011

How to make home made ghee from butter | Step by step method

A very vivid childhood memory is of the butter man (vennaikaaran) pushing his loaded TVS 50 with bags of what was then pure coimbatore butter. Paati (my maternal grandmom) had made it a practice to use home made ghee made from butter - its grainy texture, the aroma when melted and poured on to hot pappu saadam (dal rice) is a memory that I cherish every single day. So, we didnt quite use store-bought ghee anytime at all, and the same was with hubby too. Soon after I married and moved cities, one of the first things on my agenda was to source readymade butter. Once, when I, in my gullible state asked for butter the storekeeper pushed me a packet of amul table butter. I asked him if he had anything else. He thought I was looking for low fat(?) butter and showed me Nutralite. I told him this wasnt the one I was looking for, but white butter. Exasperated that he was, he showed me margarine or dalda : which I promptly said I didnt need. 

So for 3 - 5 months, although we lived on store bought ghee (which we both detested), it was only when MIL came visiting us that she showed me where to get Coimbatore butter, filter coffee powder, sundaikaai (sun dried turkey berries) and the rest that goes into a Tamil household kitchen. And trust me, since that time, today when I walk into that store every month, the store keeper keeps out a packet of Coimbatore butter and Filter Coffee Powder first even without asking... may be he now reads me as a quasi tamil shopper :-) Anyways, todays post is not actually a recipe, but a step by step method on how to make Ghee out of butter. You can also hoard cream from boiled milk, churn it after fermenting to make ghee, but I find that as we use very low fat milk, there isnt too much cream on top, and the process is not worth it. This post today will give you that golden coloured liquid - almost like ambrosia to the senses - while its hot and an aroma after its stored. Please remember to store the ghee or any oil for that matter in a glass / stainless steel container rather than plastic to prevent it from getting rancid. The plastic canisters sold these days to store oil is just not the thing you want to have ...

November 14, 2011

Butter Kulcha ~ Indian flat bread - stove top method | Step by Step Recipe

Making Kulcha and other Indian breads that we often enjoyed at restaurants often eluded me at home. While I thought it was next to impossible to make them without an oven, I never ventured towards it quite so confidently. Till one day my little one asked me why I could not make kulchas (one of her fav breads) to go with our weekly schedule of Sunday Paneer Dishes. I knew I had to learn it fast, and Radhika's recipe helped me quite a bit, as did Nithya's. I combined both the methods not fully sure how the output would be... But the Butter Kulcha turned out to be super soft and delicious to go with Paneer Matar. I was quite let down by the bad light in the pictures, for my SLR gave way, and I had to make do with a P&S in low light (evening fading light). But the taste more than made up for it.. Am planning to make this again and update this post with better pictures :-) 
Check notes for more tips on this dish.

Sending this to Radhika's Winter Mela, PJ's Back to Basics - breads, event by Jaya. Now off to the recipe..

November 12, 2011

Peas Noodles with Schezwan Tom Yum Soup (Combo Meal)

I was talking to someone the other day, and the topic veered to comfort foods. While my first choice would be Rasam with Rice, the 2nd and more obvious choice was Maggi Noodles. While there is a bit of summer still lurking around Mumbai, the evenings have a slight nip in the air, which makes you crave for hot comforting foods. While I try best not to deep fry, the entire day's chores leaves me with very less energy for baking on a regular basis- enter Maggi to the rescue. While today, I wanted to make this a whole meal by itself, I also made Peas Noodles with Schezwan Tom Yum Soup (without cornflour / MSG) with carrots and veggies, and boy , did we enjoy the wholesome meal. This is also a healthy lunch option as well. You can play around the ingredients a bit and spice it according to your palate. The warmth from the soup and the homemade noodles is sure to soothe your senses. And kiddo, who doesnt take to new food immediately loved the 'indianised' version of this Tom yum Soup and pronounced it as 'tres bien' (very good).. Now, what more could I want? Lets get to the recipe...
Sending this to:
Check out other healthy combo meals here

Prep time : 15 mins. Cooking time : 10 - 20 mins. Serves :2
Instant Noodles :
  • Maggi Instant Noodles - 1 packet
  • Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Green peas - frozen
Schezwan Tom yum Soup:
  • Tomatoes - 4 large
  • Carrots - 1/2 large - juilenned
  • Vegetable Stock - 1.5 cups
  • Spring Onion - 1/4 cup (chopped)
  • Onions - 1 large (diced fine)
  • Ginger / garlic grated - 1 tsp
  • baby mushrooms - 2 or 4 chopped (opt.)
  • Lemon juice - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Olive oil - 1 TBSP
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • Schezwan paste - 1/2 tsp
  • White pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Instant Noodles: 
Boil peas with a pinch of salt. If using frozen, thaw them in boiling water for 10 mins with a pinch of salt. Prepare the Maggi Noodles according to pack instructions. Add in the boiled peas, garam masala and saute for few mintues till done.
Serve with Schezwan Tom yum Soup (recipe below)
Schezwan Tom yum Soup:
1) Blanch tomatoes in hot water for 5 - 10 mins. Cool, peel and puree into thick paste. Strain and keep ready.
2) In a large wok, add olive oil. Saute ginger and garlic. Add half of the spring onions, schezwan paste, mushrooms and saute well. Add onions, carrot juilennes and saute again. Adjust salt and add the strained tomato puree, vegetable stock and cook covered for 8 - 10 mins till carrots are 95% done.
3) Check for salt. Add 1 tsp of sugar if desired and the white pepper powder, lemon juice and mix well.
4) Garnish with the rest of the spring onions and serve hot with Peas Noodles (recipe on top)

November 10, 2011

Microwave Pineapple Kesari : Guest Post by Premalatha Aravindhan

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the case of a blogger friend whose blog  goes by the name of Prema’s Thaligai, it speaks a million words.. I am floored by the sheer length and breadth of Prema's blog - a very popular one indeed, and her dishes and pictures just speak to you- be it the icing that she uses for her cakes or the traditional recipes that she dishes out with amazing regularity, I am sure you will agree as I do, that its indeed a feast to the eyes. Happy to present Prema as our guest blogger on this monthly featured guest blogger series, and I am sure that her recipe for me - Microwave Pineapple Kesari - will sweep you off your feet with its visual and aesthetic delight. Thank you Prema, for taking off time and presenting this lovely recipe !

 Without much ado, lets proceed to hear Prema, in her own words.....

" Hi everyone. My name is Premalatha Aravindhan from Prema's Thaligai and I’m the baker, recipe developer and photographer for my blog -  a little bit of everything. My home town is Thanjavur,tamilnadu, India.Currently living in Singapore.I have done Master in Computer Applications. At present, I'm a home maker and a proud mom On my blog I mostly share Indian traditional recipes n baked goods.I love baking  and try to surprise my family with different treats. When my  blogger friend Kalyani asked me to be her guest I agreed instantly. I love her blog, her easy and yummy recipes."

Today I’m going to share with you an easy Recipe - Pineapple Kesari – Microwave  Method : How to Prepare Pineapple Kesari in Microwave:

November 9, 2011

Couscous Salad

When Rosanne Cash said "The key to change... is to let go of fear," I am sure she was talking about experimenting with new food too - Letting go of old habits, embracing the new, doing something totally new, like experimenting with Couscous !! When the blogging bug bit me, I had headed to the nearest hypermart and picked this packet of rather expensive Couscous some weeks ago, but somehow couldnt get to eat it - it wasnt that I had tasted it and didnt like it : guess it was the fear of the unknown. Like cooking mushrooms at home, when I dont eat it - but I still include it for hubby and daughter. Like, working with a new set of ingredients for today's Couscous Salad. It was supremely healthy & filling, and a much needed break from the usual stuff we have for lunch and was crunchy from the chilled veggies and the warm oil.. I liked it quite a bit, and was wondering if I could make this a weekly ritual..those questions always seem to haunt you, once you have tried it, right? just like bungee jumping or driving your first car, or even marriage, perhaps !! he he he :-)
Anyways, the verdict : Would I make it again? yes, definitely. And while most people prefer it bland, I would definitely spice it up a bit more with chopped sweet peppers, steamed veggies and may be even a spoon of mashed up lentil for a complete meal. The warm olive oil combined with the cold and crunchy veggies and fruits is sure to warm you up during the winters. 

November 7, 2011

My 200th post- Rasmalai : a sweet tribute, and a giveaway !

Let me be honest - I had almost lost track of the number of the blog posts till a casual conversation over dinner - with a good friend of mine & S -@ Delhi last fortnight asked me how my blog was going - and I said it was good , and that I might have crossed about 150 posts..he gently corrected me and said as he keenly followed my blog, I was on my 181st post--wow ! that was some news, I thought, and then got to work on celebrating what is my blog's 200th post - a milestone that I had dreamt of, when I started this blog about 11 months ago ! Like Anna Pavlova said "To follow, without halt, one aim: There's the secret of success."

I briefly halt though to thank all my readers, well wishers, family and very importantly course my blogger friends , without whose constant encouragement,this would have remained a wish,a hope. Thanks also goes to husband, kiddo and mom for grinning and bearing me as I fussed over the snaps first before serving them food (ok, kidding!) . A special thanks is in order for hubby for, amongst other things, handling my tantrums while shopping out for that particular muffin mould, not to mention cartloads of books brought online and borrowed, and most importantly, gifting me a new laptop so I could work uninterrupted. Just seems like yesterday, when I was all hesitant to step out to the blogosphere : I wasn't even sure I would post once a week, forget running events, contests or even participating in Blogging Marathons and Blog hops events !! And it seems like a breeze now... although , like Robert Frost says , " ...and miles to go before I sleep,..."! Thanks to all out there for your support and encouragement:-)

And for you, dear friends this is a small way of thanking you with a giveaway at the end of this post :-)

November 6, 2011

Roundup of CEDD Strawberry event and winner of giveaway

Happy to announce the roundup and winner of the CEDD - Strawberry Desserts event that I hosted this October. Thanks to Raven for this opportunity. Although I personally love strawberries, it was completely out of season to make any dishes out of the fresh fruit. I loathe the synthetic store bought crushes. I was very tempted to make ice cream out of strawberry essence, Diwali and other personal agendas took centre stage the entire last month. However, I have 14 yummy recipes sent across my dearest friends that I  present to you on the roundup ... Thank you so much and appreciate the effort. 

And the winner of the giveaway is Suma from Veggie Platter !! Congratulations Suma. Please check your email on how the prize is to be redeemed :-)

Hope you and other readers also would participate in my Ongoing events - Flavours of China and Global Food Festival with equal or better fervour :-)


November 5, 2011

Apple Chutney

Yes, you read it right. Today's post is a very yummy Apple Chutney that came about, mostly as a result of toooo many apples lying unused in the pantry. We had bought some apples for naivedyam for diwali pooja, and my aunt n uncle who visited us also brought along some more. So, there we had apples galore. Like they say, when life hands you lemons, make a lemonade. So I checked quite a few recipes to use up apples, but most of them were jams / preserves and required pectin (which I am yet to add to my pantry list), or baking (and I do limit my baking with APF to once or twice a month). 

And, there it was - a dilemma. When hubby suggested that I make chutney out of it, given my rush to preserve every vegetable peel in the house to make Chutneys (like the Carrot one or the mixed peel version) , I looked daggers at him. When I realised he wasnt joking, we got to work (yes, me and hubby). While he made me a superb refresher with apples and green tea (recipe coming soon), I got to work with making this yummy apple chutney with a little ginger to spice it up for our Sunday breakfast of  Poha Idli. I had never used apples for chutneys, and therefore didnt know how the final taste 'should' be, but what resulted out of this  experiment was another yummy chutney added to my menu card :-) I have used normal red apples (Shimla red variety - the ones which are spongy in taste) , but do try out with other varieties and let me know if you liked this dish :-) . Meanwhile, check out 10 other varieties of Chutneys here

Prep time : 10 mins. Cooking time : 10 mins. Serves : 3

Sending this to Priya Mahadevan’s The Big Chutney Chowdown

November 3, 2011

Coconut Pulav

Most people from the South of the Vindhyas (india) use coconut in their everyday cooking. Contrary to what was hyped a decade ago, coconut and its food products greatly help in reducing the cholestrol by boosting metabolism. For every believer in coconut, there would be two to scoff at the 'bad' fat from coconut. It does take a conscious effort to cut down 'unreasonable' quantity of coconut in everyday food, like vegetable peels have replaced most of the chutneys in my family's dinner today. But in totality, coconut should be had in moderation. For that matter, anything taken in excess is harmful. May be this link would throw some light on the benefits of coconut.. Now, why am I going on and on about coconut?? Coz, today's post is a yummy Coconut Pulav that makes use of freshly ground coconut, and is a quick dish to put together for a potluck or lunchboxes. After upma, Pulav is probably something that I learnt cooking way back in high school - may be the humble one pot meals were my pathway to learn more cooking with Paneer-n-raisin Pulav, Soya chunks Pulav & baby Corn pulav added newly to the menu card. Today's dish goes well with any raita and roasted papad.

Sending this to:

Refer notes on more variations. Now, off to the recipe:

November 2, 2011

Beans Carrot Thoran ~ Beans Carrot Palya

This week of Blog hop, I am paired with Kaveri of Palakkad Chamayal. Being a south Indian myself, most recipes were common. I chose a simple to make but yummy Thoran (Stir fry in English, Palya in Kannada or Curry in Tamil). Its a very simple dish - Beans Carrot Thoran - that you can put together with very few ingredients. Although addition on onions is optional in such dry curries, in most South Indian homes, onions are not added. Feel free to saute 1 chopped onion to this dish if you prefer. You can saute the chopped veggies in oil, but I pressure cook for 2 whistles prior to sauteeing it with literally just 1 tsp of oil. This dish goes very well with hot rice and Rasam. My favourite preference is to have this with Rice & Poricha RasamLets get on to the recipe now...  Also sending this to Susan's BWW

November 1, 2011

Kale Masoor ki Dal ~ Whole Red Lentil Curry

One of the finest cookbooks I have acquired in the recent past (esp after I started blogging) is Vidhu Mittal's "Pure and Simple". Although I must confess here that I am not a cookbook person at all, but I love collecting them - it gives me various ideas which I tweak to suit my family's palate. There are many reasons I love this book by Vidhu Mittal - the simplicity of ingredients, clear write up, and not to forget stunning photographs. But more than anything, love it most 'coz its all about Pure Vegetarian cooking - something that I rustle up in my small kitchen everyday. So, its quite handy for me to refer this. Today's dish - Kale Masoor Ki Dal - is an exception for I have reproduced the recipe to the T, and boy was I impressed :-) We had this for Sunday brunch along with Soya Chunks Pulav, and the combo was amazing ! 
Sending this to Priya's Tuesday's bookmarked recipes as well as to Suma's MLLA, event by Susan. Its a simple hearty dal that goes well with rotis / Naans and simple steamed rice and pickles as well. The tenderly cooked dal along with ginger slivers takes the dish to another level.. Before you rush away, let me get to the recipe :-)
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