July 25, 2013

Macaroni Moongdal Chops | Finger food with Macaroni and Moong Dal | Party Ideas

Macaroni is probably one food which has been barred by kiddo - I tried Mac n cheese once and she gave me a look that made me wince twice. Pasta had the same cold shoulder, although she has kind of turned around with a version we both agreed on.. That was a long time ago, but yesterday I disguised the macaroni in a veggie chop along with healthy Moong Dal (whole green gram) and was it a runaway hit ! 

Thanks to Vaishali, one great blogger friend who suggested I make this. I am sure I shall make this often. The icing on the cake was that kiddo had a day off yesterday and did the plating and garnish and .... yes, the photograph too.. She was wearing a little apron and her tiny little hands were so eager to help me. She was so excited about playing big girl that by evening all her friends in the apartment asked me if she really helped me cook - it was lovely to  Off this goes to Blogging Marathon # 30 & Kids Delight hosted by Mirielle. Refer notes below for my take on this indigenous dish :-)

Prep time : 20 mins | Cook time : 15 mins | Makes : 10 Veggie chops

  • Addition of Moong Dal is optional, however I added to make it more healthy and proteinicious
  • You may add 1 tsp of cornflour to the dough before shaping them - they wont fall apart while cooking.
  • Be sure to refrigerate the chops for 10 - 15 mins before pan frying it. You may grill or bake these too if you wish.

  • Boiled macaroni - 1/2 cup
  • Boiled whole green gram dal - 1/4 cup
  • Boiled potatoes - 3 medium or 2 large
  • Green chillies - 1 or 2 (adjust spice)
  • Coriander and mint leaves - 1 tsp each
  • Bread crumbs - 1/4 cup (or as much as your require)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Olive oil - to pan fry
  • Cornflour - 1 tsp (I didnt add, but strongly recommend using this)

Dry masala powders :
  • Turmeric -1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder - 1/2 TBSP
  • Chaat masala - 1/4 TBSP
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp

Boil macaroni as per packet instructions. Drain and wash under running tap water. Drain again and add 1 tsp of oil throught it once done and mix well. Reserve
Boil potatoes and whole green gram and mash slighly.
In a large bowl, add the macaroni and mash it up lightly (tip - dont wait for this to cool to much or else the binding will break down)
Add the boiled whole gram and potato and all ingredients including dry masala powders except oil. 
Divide into equal portions and make into slightly flat chops (or even cutlet shaped) 
Refrigerate for atleast 20-30 mins
Roll each chop on the breadcrumbs and shallow fry on a low-medium flame till they turn crusty and golden brown (alternately spray cooking oil bake at 160/165 deg C for 10-12 or till golden brown - grill for 1-2 mins to get the crusty top)
Drain on kitchen towels. 
Serve hot with Green chutney or sauce. 

Optional - you can insert ice cream sticks or strong tooth picks just before serving to get a kiddie's finger food feel :-))


July 24, 2013

Sugarfree Peach and Cucumber Smoothie with Almond Meal | Vegan Summer Drinks | Kids Recipes

Think Summer, think Smoothies, Coolers, Salads and other quick Summer Meals without hovering over the stove for long time . Also, as kids are at home during the summer vacation, we also need to give them healthy bites that fill their little tummies as well as providing them with energy. As with most smoothies made at home, this too was an sugarfree innovation by hubby dearest. Well, he made the drink recently and we all enjoyed it a lot... Needless to say, he never adds refined sugar to any smoothie, but still manages to make it really yummy :-)) Do try this at home and let me know how you enjoyed it... Off this goes to Day 1 of Week 4 of BM #30 under Summer Specials, Valli's Summer Special Mela, Mir who is hosting Kids Delight - Summer Meals & Saju who is hosting Ramzan Fest

Prep time : 15 mins , No cook | Serves : 2

  • Peaches - 3 medium
  • Honey -2 TBSP
  • Cucumber - 1/2 medium sized (diced fine)
  • Yoghurt - 2 TBSP (optional - I didnt add)
  • Almond Meal - 2 TBSP (Roast, deskin and pulse almonds to a fine powder)
  • Ice cubes - as desired
  • Cherries - for topping
  • Optional addons - basil , Mint Sprig, Sugar, Plums, Cherries or even Papaya ! 

Deseed cucumber and dice fine. Wash and quarter peaches. Pulse all ingredients except ice into a thick smoothie. Strain partially. Add ice cubes, top with cherries and serve chilled immediately :-))

July 22, 2013

Round up of Kids Delight & a surprise Giveaway winner :-))

Thanks to all the super delish 75 odd entries I received for hosting Valli's Kids' Delight - Party Finger Foods event, and a heartfelt thanks to Valli for this wonderful opportunity. Being a mother of two kids, its a boon to have finger food delights such as these come my way !! 

And what better way to thank you all but with a surprise giveaway to one lucky winner :) :) :)

This was a thought that came way after I had announced the event, and then I thought this could be a good surprise to one lucky winner who wins a cookbook by Tarla Dalal.
(No, this is not a sponsored giveaway, but she is one of my favourite authors, and has a plethora or do-able stuff across her recipes). 

The winner will have to be based in India or have a postal address in India (due to shipping issues)..  Based on availability of the book and the winner confirming her address, I shall be shipping to that lucky winner one of the following cookbooks.


So, with bated breath, lets unveil that lucky winner - randomly choosen, the winner of the Surprise Giveaway is PJ , aka Padma Jha and her winning entry is Bread Bajji Mini Bites. Congrats PJ !  please confirm your address to me on momchef77@gmail.com within 3 days and the winning book is on your way :-))

And finally, shall we take a look at the delicious finger food sent in by our friends... thanks bloggies for your continued support and patronage..

July 20, 2013

Eggless Strawberry bread, and a wonderful guestpost by Gayathri

Its not very often you are awestruck by the baking prowess of a co-blogger, a versatile baker and a good friend to know in the blogging world. For those who are not afraid of taking risks of converting heavy egg-based recipes into eggless ones, and retaining the texture and the crumb. I haven't met Gayathrimy Guest blogger of the month  in person. But for a person smitten by her versatile bakes - from Russian Tea cakes to Persian breads, I can't thank her enough for a wonderful guest post of a yummy looking Strawberry Bread. Gayathri blogs here,and now has turned entrepreuner with her new venture - Sai Cakes and Bakes. Over to Gayathri in her own words...


I am Gayathri Kumar who blog at Gayathri’s Cook Spot. I have been blogging since September 2010. Blogging started as a distraction from my personal family issues and with my husband’s encouragement, I started this blog and since then it has become an addiction for me. I have a 6 years old daughter Sruti.

I am at present living in the Temple City of Madurai. We are vegetarians and so I prefer to make authentic Indian vegetarian dishes and egg free bakes. At first I started posting the recipes I knew and thought the blog would be an online recipe book for my daughter when she grows up. But after some time, I started trying out various cuisines and egg free bakes and learnt a lot of tricks regarding cooking. And I am still learning about lots and lots of new recipes daily. When Kalyani asked to do a guest post for her blog, I was excited. But I took a long time to decide what to cook for the guest post. I was toggling between a sweet and an cake but settled on this quick bread as baking is my favourite.

I bought a box full of strawberries and it is very expensive at Madurai. But to my disappointment, the strawberries were very sour and we couldn’t eat even a half strawberry. So I decided to use it in a quick bread. I pureed the strawberries and added it to the bread mixture. I baked the bread in a loaf tin. My house was filled with the wonderful aroma of the strawberries when the cake was in oven. The bread’s crumb is soft and bread itself is quite firm. It is mildly sweet and very delicious. It will be a perfect evening snack to go along with a cup of coffee or tea.

  • Strawberries-250 gm
  • Condensed Milk-1 ½ cups
  • Caster Sugar-3-4 tbs
  • Unsalted Butter-1/2 cup
  • All Purpose Flour-2 cups
  • Baking Soda-1/2 tsp
  • Baking Powder-1 tsp

1. Remove the stalk of strawberries and puree it in a mixer grinder.
2. Preheat oven to 175C.
3. In a bowl combine butter, condensed milk and strawberry puree and beat until 
4. Sift baking powder, baking soda and flour in another bowl.
5. Add this to the strawberry butter mixture and fold until incorporated.
6. Grease and line a loaf tin and transfer the batter to the tin.
7. Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes. If the top browns fast, cover it with a foil and
8. When a tooth pick inserted comes out clean, remove the tin from oven.
9. After 10 minutes, remove the cake from the tin and allow it to cool completely on 
a wire rack.
10. Slice it up and serve.

July 18, 2013

Iyengar Kalyaana Morkozhambu | Ashgourd in Tempered Yoghurt Gravy | More Kozhambu in Iyengar Styles

Earlier in my post on my Ugadi Pachadi, we saw in detail the relavance of the order of items served at a  South Indian Traditional Thali.Today we shall see one of the recipes - Kalyana Mor Kozhambu (translated as Spiced yoghurt Curry served at weddings). Now weddings have a special place in South India, and as with the rest of the country, food plays an important role in ensuring the bridegroom family is well fed - both in quality and quantity.

There are several ways to make MorKozhambu as seen here and here - the Mysore Karnataka method and the quasi-Tamilnadu method. Today, this recipe has the authentic Iyengar (Tamil Brahmin) method, and the vegetables which are generally used are Ashgourd / Chayote Squash (Chow Chow), or even Okra. Off to the recipe now, shall we. Sending this to BM # 30 Day 2 under "Cooking with Curds" theme. 

Prep time : 15 mins | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 4

Ash gourd in tempered Yoghurt Curry - served with Hot White Rice and Ghee

  • White Pumpkin - peeled and cubed into 1 inch thick batons - 1 cup
  • Curds - 1 1/2 cup
  • Salt - to taste
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Hing / Asafoetida - a generous pinch 

To grind:
  • Toor Dal - 1 TBSP
  • Ginger - grated - 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Coriander seeds - 1.5 TBSP
  • Channa Dal / Split Bengal gram - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli - 2 nos (adjust spice)
  • Methi seeds (dry fenugreek) - 1/2 tsp
  • Grated coconut - 3 TBSP

Tempering : Oil (1 tsp), 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds and 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, curry leaves (few)

Soak Toor dal for 10-15 mins. Fry the coriander seeds, channa dal, red chilli and methi seeds in 1/2 tsp of oil till golden brown, keep aside.
Grind all ingredients under "to grind"
Boil the ashgourd in the 2 cups of  slightly salted water and a pinch of turmeric for 8-10 mins. drain.
Beat the curds, and mix the ground paste. Bring to a slight boil, and add the ashgourd pieces. Add salt.
After a single low boil, switch off. Prepare tempering and pour onto the gravy
Serve with hot rice and ghee.

July 17, 2013

Mosaru Avalakki | Dahi Poha | Flattened rice with seasoned yoghurt

The benefits of Curd / yoghurt needs no emphasis, especially in South Indian Cooking, where the mandatory Curd Rice (or Thayir Saadam) is as quintessential as Black Coffee / Earl Grey Tea would be to an American / British lunch or dinner. The probiotics in yoghurt keep the digestion going and provide for a healthy gut. Today's dish is a snack that can be quickly made when hunger pangs strike. I usually make Gojjavalakki (or Tamarind flavoured Poha) or Aval Upma (Poha seasoned with lemon and tomatoes) with Poha or even Jaggery Poha. But today's dish  - Mosaru Avalakki (flattened rice in seasoned yoghurt) is sans Onion and Garlic, and you could use it as an offering to God too. 

Mosaru Avalakki is usually made for Krishna Janmashtami (birth celebrations of Lord Krishna), and although we dont make it at home, this dish takes me back to my childhood friend's house where I tasted this first. When Valli announced Cooking with Curds as one of the themes for this BM, I took it for two reasons - the challenge of photographing something white (basically colourless) means an opportunity to use the props at home, and two - the challenge of not making Dahi Puri or Dahi wada (where curd was used as topping), but to use curd in Cooking was something I looked forward to. So, this week on BM # 30, you would see 3 dishes that uses curd within the dish, and not as topping. Lets get to the recipe ...

Prep time : 10 mins , tempering : 1 min, Serves : 2

  • Poha - 1/2 cup
  • Curd / Yoghurt - 1 cup (I used Plain Yoghurt)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Grated coconut - 2 tsp
  • Oil - 1 TBSP
  • Mustard - 1/2 tsp
  • Channa Dal (bengal gram) - 1/2 tsp
  • Urad Dal (split black gram) - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chillies - 1 (broken)
  • Green chillies - 1 or 2
  • Grated ginger - 1/2 tsp
  • Cashew and raisins - a little
  • curry leaves & Coriander leaves - few

Wash and soak the poha for 10 mins. If using thinner variety, just wash under running water.
In a bowl, beat the curd with the salt.
Prepare tempering with mustard and rest of the ingredients
Mix the poha and the curd . add the tempering.
Finish with grated coconut (I didnt add)
Serve immediately

July 5, 2013

Dark Chocolate Nutty Truffles | Sinful Delights :-))

Sometimes the solution is right in front of our eyes, istn it ? have you ever faced a block in your mind and yet fail to find the solution that is mockingly right there.. It happened to me last eve when I was racking  my  brain as to what to make for the last day of Kids Delight theme for Blogging Marathon 30 : Day 3,  when my kid simply said ‘Chocolate, of course !Why even ask”

Well,  I am not a heavy-whipped-cream-cake-and-frosting kind of mom , so wanted to make something that was not only simple but also used up the ingredients that were available at home, and so something that I read recently popped into my brain – Dark Chocolate Nutty Truffles ... The photo below taken at 11:30 pm when both kids were asleep doesnt do justice, but it more than makes up for in its taste..

For any chocoholic (read, the husband and kiddo), this was weekend coming over 2 days early ;-))  This ingredients make a batch of 12 melt-in-the mouth niblets, so you can simply halve or even double or triple the recipe. What’s more? Simply make ahead of any birthday party, and refrigerate it, and you have a winner on hand.. So, let’s go and make this yummy delight which is surely a party pleaser – with kids and adults alike.  

Prep time : 10 mins | Cook time : 5 mins | Makes : a dozen medium sized Truffles

  • Dark Chocolate – 50 gms (I used Morde – you can use any cooking chocolate- avoid using Dairy Milk or any prepared chocolate as it already contains caramel)
  • Marie Biscuits – about 15 – 20 (approx 2 packets) : you may substitute with any plain mild sweetened biscuits
  • Coarsely chopped nuts – 3 tsp (I used Walnuts)
  • Condensed Milk – approx 4 – 6 TBSP (adjust taste)
  • Butter – 25 gms (approx 2 TBSP)
  • Garnish : White chocolate – grated  & glazed cherries

Powder the biscuits in a mixer grinder or put in a Ziploc and crush it fine with a rolling pin.
Melt butter and dark chocolate together in a double boiler.
In a large bowl, add butter, chocolate, biscuits, condensed  milk , nuts and make a slightly stiff dough.
Rest for 5 mins
Make equal portions and roll into a small roundel. Top with grated white chocolate and cherries. Refrigerate for min 1 hour. Serve

Note : You may use any topping that you wish – powdered chocolate / dessicated coconut / candied fruit. You may also wish to stuff the truffle with nuts / raisins or even blanched almonds to make it richer , and sinful :-))

July 4, 2013

Baked Herby Potato Wedges | Quick Party Snacks

I am yet to hear of any kid (or adult) who can say no to French Fries or Potato Wedges - be it a birthday or a get together, these wedges (or fries) get the conversation going... Made at home, and baked too, with just a dash of spice and herb, these are healthy munches one cannot say no to.. Try it out, and enjoy ! Sending this to  PJ who's hosting Baked Treats - Kids Delight.    Use mature potatoes (preferably Russet potatoes with a deep brown skin with no green spots) for best results. I have used Olive oil for this, but you may substitute with whatever oil you choose from or even use flavoured oil like chilly oil etc 

Prep time : 15 mins | Bake time : 12 - 14 mins | 
Serves : As many people can manage to get their hands on this first ;-))


  • Potatoes - approx 3/4 kg (about 3 - 4 large ones)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Dry herb mix - 1/2 tsp each of paprika, basil, Oregano, rosemary
  • Dry Chilli flakes - 1/2 TBSP (adjust spice)
  • Olive Oil - 3 TBSP + for greasing the baking tray
  • Crushed black pepper-  1/2 tsp

Wash and scrub the potatoes to remove all the dirt. 
Make pin pricks all over the skin and boil in slightly salted water for 3-5 mins. Drain.
Wipe with a clean n dry kitchen towel.
With the skin on, cut out thickish, even sized wedges with a sharp knife.
In a large bowl, add 3 TBSP of Olive oil, salt and dry herbs
Preheat oven to 160 deg C. Line a baking tray and slightly grease it.
Toss the potatoes into the oil-herb-salt mixture and give it a vigorous shake. Leave for 5-6 mins
Arrange the wedges without overlapping each other on a greased tray. Sprinkle dry chilli flakes and crushed black pepper on it
Bake for 12- 14 mins, turning them once over, till the skin turns golden brown and crisp.
Serve hot with ketchup.

July 3, 2013

Paneer Pav Bhaji, with a healthy twist | Kid Friendly recipes

Combo Meals are my go-to dishes, especially for Kiddo's lunchboxes or even birthday parties. Made at home, with very little spice and oil, today's dish Paneer Pav bhaji is a twist and take on the famous Mumbai Pav Bhaji. As with most Paneer based dishes at home, this too was a hit... 

Essentially this dish is a paneer (cottage cheese) based tomato gravy with the goodness of peas, this totally eliminates the need for potato.. I used store bought store bought Pav (Dinner Rolls) Read on to find out what substitutes I have used in place of potato (which forms the base for the original Pav Bhaji recipe). Till then, this goes to Blogging Marathon # 30 , Kids Delight - Party Ideas at my blog, at my blog and also to Cook With Yellow And A Giveway

Prep time : 30 mins | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 4
  • Wholewheat Pav (Dinner rolls)- 8 pieces  (I used store bought ones)
  Bhaji (or gravy)
  • Kaddu / Pumpkin (Yellow Squash) - 2 cups (peeled and cubed)
  • Yellow Capsicum - 1 whole 
  • Onion - 1 no (minced)  - optional
  • Paneer / Cottage Cheese - 1 cup (or approx 100 gms)
  • Peas - 50 gms (I used frozen)
  • Ripe Tomatoes - 4 large
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 2 TBSP
  • Butter - to grease the pav before grilling slightly - 1 TBSP (split use)
  • Coriander, chopped onion (1 tsp) and lemon wedges - for garnish
Dry Masala powders : 
  • Pav Bhaji Masala (2 TBSP), Turmeric (1 tsp), Garam Masala (1/2 tsp), Kashmiri / Deghi Chilli Powder (1 tsp)

1) Blanch and puree tomatoes - Sieve the mixture and keep ready. Slightly grill the yellow capsicum in an oven at 160 deg C. Cool and mash slightly.
2)Boil the peeled and cubed pumpkin (yellow squash) in 4 cups of boiling and slightly salted water for 10 mins till done but not mushy. Cool and puree. Do not strain
3) Crumble the paneer and keep aside
4) In a pan, heat oil. saute the onions till they turn pink. Add the frozen peas and saute well. Now add yellow capsicum , crumbled paneer and saute again for 2 mins.
5) Then add the tomato and pumpkin purees, the dry masala powders, salt and saute well on a low-medium flame for 8- 10 mins till oil slightly starts to leave the sides.
6) Check for salt and other spices. When the desired consistency is reached, switch off the stove.

To serve:
  Heat a tava / skillet / grill and apply butter on the top and bottom of the pav (make a slit  horizontally if you wish to apply butter there too). Grill for 1 mins till tops turn golden brown
  Serve a portion of the pav bhaji topped with chopped onions, lemon wedges and coriander !
Enjoy :-)

July 1, 2013

Magic Mingle # 18 challenge announced...

Great to be back with another edition of Magic Mingle, which enters its 18th edition this month. We took a small break last month, and am sure all Minglers are ready to crack this challenge. As always, the ingredients are announced today and the members get 15 days to complete the challenge and post their dish by the 15th of this month . As this is an event for members only, but if you are keen to know more about the journey click here & drop me a line at momchef77@gmail.com to join us.

The key ingredients for this month are Kiwi & Basil. Kiwi can be used in canned / fresh / puree / concentrate form, and basil can be used in fresh or dried form. Please remember that your dish needs to have both these ingredients as the main ingredients, and the final dish should be eggless and vegetarian.

Only members to link up their dishes with this event announcement link and logo featuring in the linky tool given below. As mentioned earlier, there shall be a friendly voting system to select the best dish of the month, and that winner can select her own ingredients for future editions of MM. But to vote on a particular dish, you need to visit all the entries and leave comments mandatorily on other members' posts....

So, what are you waiting for ? Send in those entries, and happy cooking :-))


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