Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saago / Saabakki Payasa - Tapioca Pearls Pudding

This recipe comes in time for dear Lubna's FIC White, which is an event started by Sunshinemom of Tongueticklers.

One of the payasam/pudding which requires very less preparation time and yet so healthy and nutritious. This, I thought would be a great way to say good bye to 2008 and welcome the new year with new hopes and aspirations. And what's better than saying it with a sweet dish:)

This also goes to Trupti's Winter Treat Event.

Saago payasa


1 cup Tapioca/sago pearls /Saabakki
3 cups milk
4 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp powdered cardamom
A handful of Cashews and raisins
1 tbsp ghee for frying
A few strands of saffron(optional)

Saago payasa


  • Washed Tapioca pearls and keep aside
  • Bring water to a boil, add washed tapioca to it and boil for about 10 mins on low flame, stirring contsantly till they turn soft and transparent.
  • To this, mix in the sugar and bring to a boil.
  • Now, add in the milk, mix well and bring to a boil.
  • Add cardamom powder and saffron and boil for about 2 mins.
  • Garnish with cashews and raisins fried in ghee.
  • Serve hot and enjoy. This also tastes great served chilled.

Serves: 4-5
Time required: 20 mins

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies - Happy Holidays!

After a lot of thought and weighing odds, I managed to bake my first batch of cookies. The obvious choice was our all time fav choco-chip cookies. I never thought they would turn out so great. This is a very simple recipe and I'm so glad to share it here.

This goes to Sharmi's Cookie Baking Event and to Trupti's Winter Treat Event.

Chocolate chip cookies


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
1 egg
1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used half-bitter ones)


  • Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (or 375 F).
  • Sieve together flour, baking powder and salt and keep aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix well using a hand blender, the 2 types of sugars and butter until you get a smooth mixture.
  • Add in the egg and beat well.
  • Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix well.
  • In the end, mix in the chocolate chips (You can use more chocolate chips if you like)
  • Drop about a 3/4 spoons of mixture on cookie sheet, leaving space in between and flatten with a spoon.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 mins, until cracks start appearing and cookies turn brown.
  • Allow to cool on the sheet for 10 mins and then remove from sheet and cool completely.

Chocolate-chip cookies

Yields: about 18 cookies
Preparation time: 10 mins
Baking Time : 15 mins

I wish all my dear blogger friends a very happy holiday season and Merry Christmas!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pudina Pulav - Mint flavoured Rice

Pudina Pulav is a weekend must-have for us. It makes a great combination served with chilled Raita. I always make it a point to buy a bunch of fresh mint leaves when I go out for my grocery shopping.

Apart from its rich flavor, Pudina leaves also have a lot of health benefits. It gives great relief from stomach problems like indigestion, acidity and bloated feeling after heavy meals. This is a good enough reason for me to incorporate Pudina in regular cooking. Here is my mom's recipe for Pudina Pulav which has been appreciated by many of my guests:)

This is my third entry to Sangeeth's lovely event Eat healthy during pregnancy.

Pudina / Mint Pulav


For paste:
1 small bunch of Pudina/mint leaves washed well
A handful coriander leaves
3 green chillies slit lengthwise
1 inch cube of ginger
3 pods garlic
1 inch long piece of Cinnamom
5-6 cloves
3/4 cup fresh/frozen grated coconut

For Pulav:
2 cups Basmati rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Jeera/cumin seeds
2 cups chopped vegetables(carrots, french beans, beetroot, potato, green peas etc)
few curry leaves
a big pinch of aesafoitida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 onion chopped
Cashews for garnishing
3 tsp ghee for frying
Salt to taste

Pudina Pulav


  • Wash and soak rice in water for about 30 mins.
  • In the meantime, chop vegetables and keep aside.
  • Also, grind to a smooth paste all the ingredients mentioned under 'for paste'
  • Now heat Oil in a pressure pan, add Jeera seeds and when they begin to sizzle, add aesafoitida and curry leaves.
  • After a minute, add the ground paste and fry till it turns slightly dark(about 2 mins)
  • Now add in the soaked and drained rice and fry on medium flame for 2-3 mins. The rice will turn slightly transparent.
  • Now add in 4 cups of water, turmeric powder,salt and the chopped veggies.
  • Mix well, close the lid and boil for 2 wistles.
  • Serve hot with Raita, after garnishing with Chopped onion and cashews fried in ghee.

Serves: 4
Time required: 50 mins

Tip: If you want, you can save a few mint leaves for garnishing in the end!

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Spinach Chapathi - Eating green

Any chapathi/paratha made with greens is an all-time favourite in my home. Palak / Spinach chapathi is surely one such thing. Although i did not have fresh spinach at home, I made it with the frozen ones and it turned out a yummilicious and appetizing meal.
So here goes my version.

Spinach chapathis


2 cups Whole wheat flour (I used pillsbury atta)
1 1/2 cup packed frozen spinach thawed
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp salt


  • Thaw the spinach.(I usually heat it in the microwave in defrost mode for 5-7 mins)
  • Squeeze out the excess water.(You can use this water for kneading the dough)
  • In a mixing bowl mix all the dry ingredients.
  • Add the oil and spinach , knead to a soft dough using enough water.
  • Make lemon sized balls and roll out into thin chapathis.
  • Heat a Tawa/Laddle and transfer chapathis. Bake both sides applying little oil, till they turn slightly brown.
  • Serve hot with yoghurt and chutney/curry

Spinach/Palak Chapathis

Yields: 10 chapathis
Time required: 30 mins

Note: If using fresh spinach, use 1 1/2 cups packed leaves and boil in microwave for about 10 mins, squeeze out water and mix with the flour.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Violet Carrot-Ginger Juice - A winter soother!

I came across these lovely looking 'Violet Carrots' and bought them without thinking twice. I was so excited because this was the first time I was seeing carrots of this color, that too in the healthy 'Organic' section. After some research, I found these are ancestors of our very popular Orange carrots and have their origin in Turkey and the middle east.

Further probing into the nutritional and health benefits, revealed that these carrots are rich sources of Beta-carotene. They also contain some useful anti-oxidants one of which is anthocyanins,which give them their lovely purple color and help prevent various forms of cancer and heart disease and these are found in red/purplish fruits and vegetables, including purple cabbage, beets, blueberries, cherries, raspberries and purple grapes!For more info and some lovely pictures see here.

And I noticed these carrots are sweeter and crispier than their orange cousins!They have a violet exterior and orange interior and look beautiful when chopped.

Carrot-ginger juice

Coming to the point, I needed something soothing for this terrible winter and to revitalise and build up the immune system against the winter flu. So a juice made of Carrots and ginger with a dash of lemon was a great answer. It really felt good and am looking forward to make it more often, maybe next time with orange carrots!
This is my second entry to Sangeeth's 'Eat healthy during pregnancy'


4 carrots
1 inch cube of ginger(You can increase this if you want it more spicy)
1/2 lemon

Ingredients used - ginger, lemon, carrots


Cut the washed and scraped carrots into small pieces and grind them along with Ginger and enough water in a Juicer or a powerful blender.
Towards the end squeeze in some lemon juice and blend.(This also retains the purple color)

Carrot-ginger juice using Violet carrots

Yield: 2 glasses
Time required: 10 mins

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sprouted Green gram Usli - A Healthy Snack

'Sprouts' which I refer to as power houses of nutrition, are rich sources of protein and an array of vitamins and minerals. Sprouts are also an excellent nutritional source for vegetarians and vegans and also to those on a gluten free diet.

Green gram sprouts are very common in my home. Eventhough it takes a long time to sprout in winter, i manage to hold on to my patience till they are fully sprouted and look deliciously inviting! We either eat them raw, or added into salads or in the form of this delicious 'Usli' which I am posting here.

This Usli was made often by my mom as a tea time snack, for us hungry kids back from school. I made it yesterday for breakfast and we ate it along with some left over chapatis. It was a wholesome breakfast, also ready in less than 10 mins. Just what is required on a lazy weekend:)

I am sending this to 'Recipes for the rest of us' hosted by 'Ramki of One page cook books' and to 'JFI-Sprouts' hosted by 'Dee of Ammalus Kitchen'.

This also goes to the event 'Eat healthy during pregnancy mommy' hosted by Sangeeth of 'Art of cooking Indian food'. This recipe is good for an expectant mom as it provides abundant Protein, calcium and vitamins required for strengthening muscles and promoting tissue growth. And also since it is easy to make, I thought husbands can make it for their wives too:)

Sprouted Green gram 'Usli'


2 cups sprouted green gram
1 tsp Oil (preferably coconut oil)
1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
a few curry leaves
2 green chillies slit
a big pinch Turmeric powder
a pinch of aesafoitida
Salt to taste

Sprouted green gram


Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter.
Now add in the curry leaves, aesafoitida and green chillies and fry for a minute.
Add the sprouted green gram, turmeric, salt and mix well.
Add a little water (may be less than 1/4 cup), mix well, close the lid and allow it to boil for about 5 mins.
Delicious Usli is ready!

Sprouted green gram 'Usli'

Serves: 2-3
Time required: 10 mins

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ragi-Onion Roti - Indian flat bread made of finger millet flour

Ragi roti made of Ragi / finger millet / African millet flour, is a famous roti prepared in the southern part of India, specially Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Ragi is said to be highly nutritious and an easily digestible food especially for infants and the elderly. They are rich sources of minerals like calcium, phosphorus and iron and an essential amino acid, methionine.

When I talk about Ragi flour, ragi dosa or ragi roti the one thing that comes to mind is the aversion I had as a kid for all things dark! I remember as a kid, i never used to like dosas which are a little browned also. All this and more. And now, i laugh at those days! This Roti was one of my recent experiments which turned out to be a delicious meal. I had tried Ragi dosa and various types of Rotis before, but never this one. Well, everything has a first time, isn't it and I'm glad i tried it.

Ragi Roti


2 cups Ragi flour
1 big onion chopped finely
2 green chillies chopped fine
a handful of chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
a big pinch of aesafoitida
Salt to taste


Mix Ragi flour, Oil, aesafoitida and salt in a bowl. Add in chopped onions, green chilllies and coriander leaves. Knead to a dough using hot water.

Take a small portion of the dough and pat spread it on a plantain leaf or a thin plastic foil with wet hand.
Heat a tava/girdle. Transfer the patted roti on to the tawa and carefully remove the plastic foil.
Add oil around the roti and cook covered for 2-3 mins. Now, turn the side and cook again.
Serve hot with Onion chutney.

Ragi roti with onion

Yields: 8 rotis
Time required: 30 mins

Note: If you are using a plastic foil, carefully transfer to tava avoiding the plastic foil getting in contact with hot tava!

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Carrot-Beans Coconut Curry - Mangalorian Kodhel/Kodhlu

This one is a recipe straight from my mom's kitchen, or better put it this way,a recipe from most Mangalorian households. As a child, i dont remember a day without this coconut based curry, each day prepared with different vegetables. At times, there used to be a variation with 'Bolu Kodhel' which is a curry without coconut.

Although I dont prepare it so often here, the flavour always reminds me of the days spent at home, at my ajji mane, at my aunts places, at my in-laws everywhere eating different versions of this Curry. The slightest variation in quantity of different spices used, gives a whole new flavour and I have noticed that difference when this curry is prepared by different people.

When I make it here, I get a great look of appreciation from my better half and ofcourse the plates are licked clean. I guess this is all I can say and this intro is good enough for anyone to go ahead and try it out:)

Carrot-Beans Coconut curry/Kodhel


For ground paste:
5 dry red chillies
1 tsp Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin(Jeera) seeds
1/4 tsp Methi seeds
1 cup Grated Coconut fresh/frozen
1 tsp tamarind paste

For Curry:
1/2 cup Tur dal
1 big carrot
250 gms beans chopped
1 pinch turmeric powder
1 tsp grated jaggery or an equivalent piece of it
Coriander leaves for garnishing
Salt to taste

For seasoning:
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 pinch aesafoitida
a few curry leaves
Some oil

Ingredients-from left to right-Coriander seeds, Red chillies, Methi seeds, Jeera


Step 1 - Wash and Boil tur dal with a pinch of turmeric, till soft and keep aside.
Also, boil the veggies in a pan adding a little salt.

Step 2 - In the mean time, fry all the ingredients for ground paste (except coconut and tamarind) in a tsp of oil, till slightly brown and you get a nice roasted smell.
Grind these fried ingredients, along with coconut and tamarind paste into a smooth mixture.

Step 3 - Add this ground mixture and boiled tur dal to the boiled veggies along with Jaggery, salt to taste and water(as required).
Boil on medium flame for 5 mins.

Step 4 - Take off heat and add a seasoning of mustard seeds, aesafoitida and curry leaves and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with Rice.

Carrot-Beans Kodhel

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins

Note: In step 2, If you find the process of roasting spices cumbersome, you can substitute by grinding coconut and tamarind along with 4-5 tsps of sambar powder. It tastes good, but nothing can match the original taste.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gajar ka Halwa/Carrot Halwa - Carrot pudding

'Gajar ka halwa' is an authentic Indian dessert which is a treat to the senses. I haven't known a single soul who says that he/she doesn't like this dish!!!The sweet aroma of the halwa with the crunchy nuts and smell of ghee, can make me eat this at anytime of the day. I make it once in a while and keep a stock in my fridge, to serve unexpected guests and my unexpected cravings!

It can be eaten as it is or with a scoop of icecream, which is a great accompaniment. There are 2 ways of making this dish. One is to make a halwa consistency, like this recipe, the other is to heat it a little more and get it to a burfi consisitency. I will post this version soon.

So here is my version of Gajar ka Halwa. I am sending this to Srilekha's EFM theme - Sweet

'Gajar ka Halwa'


4 cups grated carrot
2 cups thick high fat Milk
1 1/2 cups sugar (Can be reduced according to taste)
2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
A handful of Cashews halved
A handful of raisins
1 tsp cardamom powdered fine

'Gajar ka Halwa' - Carrot Halwa


Heat ghee in a thick-bottomed pan. Fry the raisins till they puff up and keep aside. Add the cashews and fry till they turn a light brown and keep aside till required.

In the same ghee, fry grated carrot for about 3 mins.
Now add the milk, mix well and let the carrots boil. Allow it to boil, stirring in between, until all water is gone and milk thickens.
Now add in the sugar, mix well. This releases more liquid and also,when you boil the carrots with sugar, it turns into a beautiful red color.
Now continue heating till all the water evapourates and halwa starts leaving the bottom of the vessel and aroma starts filling your home:) Add the powdered cardamom, mix well.

Take off the heat and garnish with fried Cashews and Raisins.

Serves: 6-7
Time Required: 45 mins

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Creamy Pasta - Italian vibes

'Pasta' is my all time favourite Italian food. I call it a comfort food, as it relaxes me and is very light on spices. I used to make a variety of Pasta involving tomato paste, sauce, Arabbiatta etc, until my friend Rashmi told me about this recipe.

This recipe involves the use of whipping cream, is very mild and something children are sure to love. It is a little high on fat content, because of the whipping cream, but sometimes it is okay to indulge and forget about diet, isn't it?

'Creamy Pasta'


250 gms Fusilli pasta
1 cup chopped vegetables (Broccoli, carrot, beans etc)
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 small onion sliced
1/4 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
200 gm pack of whipping cream (Whipping cream is in liquid form and free flowing)
Salt to taste


Boil water in a vessel, add in the Pasta, salt and 1 tsp Olive oil and boil according to packet instructions(around 10 mins).
Now drain excess water and keep aside.
In a pan, heat remaining oil, add in the Onion and saute for 3 mins.
Combine the chilli flakes and veggies and cook covered for a 2-3 mins.
Now add the boiled pasta and the whipping cream, salt to taste and mix well.
Cover the lid and allow it to boil for around 4-5 min, stirring in between, till all the liquid is absorbed.
Garnish with Basil leaves.

Serves: 3
Time Required: 15 mins (excluding time for boiling Pasta)

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