Friday, September 28, 2012

Okra in spicy gravy

Coming from north of India , could never imagine okra in any form but crispy , that's how my Mum always made it. Later as I traveled , I did sometimes see okra in gravy but never had the courage to taste it.

In Delhi friends often used to meet for potluck dinners. For one such dinner  one of my friends made veg. biryani and Okra in gravy. I didn't hesitate to taste it coz I trusted my friend's culinary expertise. You will not believe me that Okra in gravy was delicious.
Now my mission was to make it at home . Armed with the recipe, very confidently I tried it and what a disaster it was. That put a full stop to my tryst with Okra in gravy.

Many years later while making Sprouted Biryani I was wondering what to pair it with. I remembered  my earlier disaster, but having matured as a cook ,I decided to tackle it all over again and am proud to say I could create a dish as tasty as my friend's .

I dedicate it to my friend. Rashmi , this one is for you.

Ingredients :     Serves 4
Okra. 250 gms 
a pinch
Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Whole red chilly.  6
Curry leaves.  20
Onion ( finely chopped). 
Garlic crushed
1/2 cup
1 1/2 tsp
Homemade tomato purée  
Ginger paste
1 1/2cup check notes below

1 tsp
Red chilly pd. 1 tsp
Turmeric pd. 1/4 tsp
Coriander pd. 1 tsp
Salt. To taste
Gram flour. 2   tsp
Sugar. 1/2 tsp
Water3/4 to 1 cup
 Oilfor frying
Chopped coriander1tbsp


  1. Wash okra and lay it on a kitchen towel to dry.
  2. When completely dry , cut it into 3 " pieces and then vertically into half.
  3. Heat oil for frying. Fry okra pieces till crispy. Keep on absorbent paper to remove excess oil.
  4. Mix gram flour with 2 tbsp of water. 
  5. Add the gram flour paste to  tomato purée.
  6. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add asafoetida .
  7. Crackle mustard seeds.
  8. Add whole red chillies, curry leaves. Stir and add garlic and onions .
  9. Fry onions till golden pink.
  10. Add tomato purée and ginger paste. Cook till oil separates.
  11. Half way through add red chilly pd, turmeric pd and coriander pd. mix well.
  12. Once oil separates add salt , sugar and 3/4th  cup water and give it a boil.
  13. Now add fried okra and cover and cook for a couple of minutes, till all the flavours are absorbed by Okra. 
  14. Check the consistency of gravy, it should be slightly thick . If its very thick you can add some boiled water, and cook for a minute.
Adjust salt. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Note : 
Serve it with Biryani or Mint and coriander Pulao. For recipe of Pulao click here

Liqueur flavored Choco wonders

Yum and Delicious Choco wonders .
With festive season round the corner, I am on the lookout for new recipes which  served  to guests at home and can also be used for gifting friends and family.

I have been making  chocolate walnut fudge ( not the regular soft one) . This time I  have tweaked it a little to create  these little wonders.  Basic ingredients : chocolate, Marie biscuit, condensed milk , are used in both the recipes.

For mixed dried fruits :  you can use ginger peel, citrus peel, dried cranberries, raisins,sultanas,and dates.
Mixed nuts : walnuts, cashew, almonds, pistachio , hazelnuts

This picture doesn't show my little wonders rolled in pistachio pd coz at that time I didn't have pistachio pd. but you go ahead and do it.

Ingredients : gives 25 - 30 wonders.

Butter ( unsalted ) 40 gms.
Pure vanilla extract.  1tsp
Semisweet chocolate.  100 gms
Icing sugar  50 gms
Marie biscuits  100 gms
Mixed dried fruits.  100 gms
Mixed Nuts.   100 gms
Irish Cream Baileys  50 ml
Condensed milk  50 ml.
Chilly flakes  1/4 cup
Pistachio pd  1/4 cup
Cashew pd.  14 cup


  1. Crush Marie biscuits into small pieces.
  2. Chop all nuts and dried fruits into small pieces. Add 2 tbsp of baileys to these and mix well.
  3. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler.* once the chocolate has melted, add icing sugar, salt, baileys, condensed milk. Mix well.
  4. Now add Marie biscuits, nuts and dried fruit mix and vanilla extract. Continue to cook till this chocolate mix starts leaving side of the pan.
  5. Remove from gas and let it cool.
  6. Divide the mixture into 25 - 30 equal sized pieces and roll into smooth balls.
  7. Roll one third of these ball in chilly flakes, one third in pistachio pd, and one third in cashew nut pd.
  8. Keep them refrigerated.
  9. While serving arrange  alternately.

* double boiler : take water in a pan. Put it to boil. Take chocolate and butter in a pan that fits on this pan. Chocolate and butter mixture will melt from indirect heat. Entire cooking in this recipe has to be done on double boiler.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Peanut Chikki

Come September, starts the season of festivals in  most houses and we all welcome  lord Ganesh to our homes. Folks across various states observe the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi for different number of days , ranging from 1 day to 10 days. We  celebrate Lord Ganesh's visit to our home for five days. During these five days I try to make a new sweet every day, and did you know lord Ganesh has  sweet tooth like most of us. Today I made Peanut Chikki. It is very quick and easy to make . Barely takes ten minutes if peanuts are already roasted and skinned. 

Ingredients :
Peanuts.                        1/2 cup ( 80 gms) roasted and skinned.
Jaggery.                        1/2 cup ( 100 gms ) broken into small pieces.
Ghee / clarified butter.    1tbsp

As laid out - before being cut into square pieces.

Method :
  1. Always start in this order to make things easy for you.
  2. Grease a 12" by 12" square on your worktop, away from gas.
  3. Also grease your rolling pin.
  4. Fill a small bowl with 3/4 water and keep it close to your gas.
  5. Heat ghee/ clarified butter in a wok.
  6. Add jaggery to it . Keep stirring till it starts leaving the sides of the wok.  Will hardly take a minute.
  7. To check if it's ready, drop a little in that bowl of water. Gather it and make a ball and throw it on the counter top, if a sharp sound comes it is ready else stir it for a couple of seconds more and repeat the test again. 
  8. * Once jaggery is ready, add peanuts and mix quickly and pour it on the greased counter top.
  9. Very quickly roll it out as thin as you can with the rolling pin.
  10. Use a sharp knife to cut it into squares.
  11. Store in an air- tight container once completely cool.

*. Once jaggery is ready you have to act very quickly else you'll end up with a lump.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Savory zucchini and onion cheese muffins

Savory Muffins I had tasted savory muffins in 2005 when I was visiting New Zealand.  I found them to be not only tasty but also intriguing. By  then I had not started baking muffins and also my baking skills were basic.  I thought once or twice how they could be made but then left it at that.

Finally i have made them at home and here is the recipe for  you. 


1/2 cup grated ( I used cheddar )
Egg 1
90 ml 
olive oil 40 ml 
flour 1 cup 
baking powder 1 1/2 tsp  
zucchini and carrot  1 cup grated  ( I used half a carrot and rest zucchini )
corn  kernels 4 tbsp , drained
1  sliced
1  1/2 tsp  crushed
olive oil
1 tbsp 
1/2 tsp 
1/2 tsp  ground
6 slices finely chopped

Method :
  1. Grease and line a 12 hole muffin tray.
  2. Squeeze zucchini and carrot to remove all water.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and sauté onion and garlic till onion  turns soft and pink. Switch off gas.
  4. Add squeezed zucchini and carrot mix to the hot pan and stir to mix well.
  5. Drain corn kernels and add to the above mix.
  6. When the pan cools completely add pepper, cheese and jalapeños .
  7. Sift flour, salt and baking pd. in a large bowl.whisk to mix well.
  8. Now lightly mix the cooled mixture of vegetables and cheese to the above flour mix. 
  9. Preheat oven to 180 deg.
  10. In a separate bowl lightly beat the egg. Now add oil and milk  one after the other and beat just to mix everything well
  11. Pour this egg, oil and milk mix into flour mixture . 
  12. Mix everything very lightly with a spatula. Take care not to over mix it.
  13. Spoon the mixture equally into the muffin tray and bake for 20 to 25 min.
  14. Mine didn't look golden enough so I grilled them for 5 min.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chilli Corn Carne (Veg)

The Veg version is very tasty..
The other day I was watching this cookery show on TV. The hostess prepared Chilli Corn Carne. That gave me the idea to make Veg version of it or rather make it without the meat coz. it contained lot of veg stuff besides meat. So I was like let me try it withou meat. Believe me it was delicious.

Another reason was that she served it with Foccaccia . I have not mentioned in my previous post that one of the reasons for not trying out Foccaccia for so long was that I didn't know what to pair it with. I am so glad I tried both of them together and that day we had an unbelievable dinner at home. Both my hubby and my son gorged on it.

To my surprise Veg. Chilli Corn Carne tasted equally good with Parathas.

Ingredients :
Olive Oil.   1 1/2 tbsp.
Tomatoes.  400gms.
Rajma ( kidney beans)   300 gms. ( 1 1/2 cup ) cooked 
Bell pepper.  1 cut onto stripes.
Carrot.  2 small chopped into small cubes.
Onion   1 chopped
Garlic.  4 -5 cloves crushed.
Green chilli  1 chopped finely
Cumin pd.  2 tsp
Cinnamon pd.  1 tsp
Red chilli pd.  1 tsp
Salt. to taste

  1. Wash and soak Rajma over night.
  2. Pressure cook with some salt till done. Take care they don't become mushy.
  3. Strain them . Don't throw away the water.
  4. Blanch the tomatoes . Peel and chop them.
  5. Heat oil in a deep pan. Add green chilli,  garlic and onion. Sauté till soft and pink.
  6. Add carrots and capsicum and stir for a couple of minutes.
  7. Now add all the spices and salt, stir and add kidney beans and tomatoes. Add a cup of water from the water that we had kept aside.
  8. Cook on slow fire for 20 min. Stir in between to check for water. Add more water if needed. 
  9. There should be some gravy. Adjust salt.Serve with Foccaccia  or any other bread of your choice.

Coffee Sandwich Cake

I love tea cakes - Cakes especially tea cakes are everyone's favourite at home. Generally I bake dark chocolate cake as my son just loves them . Today I tried to break free of chocolate but landed up with coffee. I chanced upon this recipe at "all". I ve tweaked it a little to suit my taste. 

Ingredients :

  • Flour. 1 3/4 cup
    baking powder 1 1/2tsp
    salt  1/2 tsp
    Butter  1/4 cup ( 55 gms ) unsalted*
    Oil.       1/3 cup ( 60 gms)
    sugar.  3/4. fine granulated
    eggs 3
    milk 1/2 cup
    vanilla  essence  2 tsp
    instant coffee granules 4 tsp
    water  2 tbsp ( boiling )
    Walnuts.  1/2 cup chopped into bits (optional)
    Flour.    1 tbsp.

Note : if using salted butter omit salt, like I did. I love walnuts in my cakes so couldn't resist using them in this cake too , although the original did not  have it.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9" pan.
  2. Dissolve coffe granules in 2 tbsp of boiling water.
  3. Roll walnuts in a tbsp of flour.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt (if using) into a large bowl.
  5. Use an electric beater to beat the butter , oil and sugar in a separate large bowl until light and fluffy. 
  6. Now add eggs one at a time, into the butter mixture and beat well.
  7. Beat in 1/2 of the flour mixture, then add milk  and vannila essence and beat.
  8. Now add the remaining flour and beat well.
  9. Transfer a little less than 1/3 of the batter to a small bowl.  Add coffee solution to small bowl.
  10. Mix walnuts in the remaining batter.
  11. Spoon 1/2 of the vanilla batter into the prepared baking pan, top with the coffee batter. Spoon the remaining vanilla batter over the coffee layer. 
  12. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani has acquired a cult status. It is the heart of most dinner parties. Everyone has their take on it. Over the years I have also learnt  through trials and tribulations to make my perfect Dal Makhani. All my  friends and  their  kids ( all hardcore non vegetarians ) simply adore this preparation of mine.  My son is just crazy about it.
I personally like Dal Makhani a day old, so I always make it extra so that all of us can gorge on it the next day.

Oops forgot to swirl the cream on it before taking this picture

Ingredients :

Whole black urad dal. 1/2 cup
Rajma ( kidney beans). 1tbsp less than 1/4 cup
Water 3 cups
2+1 tbsp
Onion. 1/4 cup chopped finely
Green Chilly
1/3 cup grated
1 finely chopped
Ginger paste. 1 tsp
Garlic. 3 cloves crushed
1/4 cup
1/2 cup
Fresh Malai. 2 tbsp ( optional) *
Cream  2 tbsp.
Water 1/2cup
Salt to taste
Red chilly pd 1 tsp.
Milk or cream 1 tsp.
Spices :
Cinnamon 1" piece
Cloves 2
Peppercorn. 4
Green cardamom 5

  1. Wash and soak  overnight urad dal and Rajma in sufficient water.
  2. Pressure cook them with little salt and 3cups of water for 4 whistles and then let it be on slow heat for 15 min.
  3. Meanwhile heat oil and 2tbsp butter in a pan and add all the spices, stir .
  4. Add onion, green chilly  and garlic as soon as the spices start changing color.
  5. Stir and cook onions  on slow flame till they become soft and pink.
  6. Now add tomato and ginger paste.
  7. After a minute add red chilly pd. and cook this mixture till tomatoes look done i.e. oil separates.
  8. Remove from fire and let it cool.
  9. Grind it to a fine paste.
  10. If the pressure has dropped, open the pressure cooker and check the dal. Crush a little bit of dal with the back of a ladle.
  11. Add this masala paste and half cup of water to dal and bring it to a boil.
  12. Whip curd, milk and fresh cream, add it to the dal, mix well, stir until a boil, simmer for 30 minutes
  13. Taste and add salt accordingly. If you feel dal has thickened, you can add some more water.
  14. All along take care to stir the dal to avoid it from sticking to the bottom of cooker.
  15. In case your cooker is not heavy bottomed, place it on a tawa.
  16. Just before serving add 1tbsp of butter. Mix.
  17. Just before serving take a tsp. of milk or cream and make a swirl on dal.

* Fresh Malai is cream that settles on milk once it's boiled and cooled.
** The dal is served thick, but you can adjust the consistency by adding hot water as per your taste


A Must try !
Bread making has always intrigued me. Always thought it would be a tough job, especially if you didn't  have a bread maker. 
Foccaccia , appeared to be an interesting preparation. My  tendency to try new and difficult things    forced me to try Foccaccia . I read several recipes on the net and also in cookbooks and this is a mish-mash of all the knowledge that I collected about baking a Foccaccia .

It turned out to be an amazing experience. Before it cooled completely , half was gobbled up by my family. You can play with the toppings based on your liking.

Gives one loaf measuring 8 by 12, serves 4 to 5.

Ingredients :
Flour  3 cups
Salt.    2tsp
Sugar  2tsp.
Dry active yeast  2 tsp
Water  1 cup
Olive oil  1 1/2 tbsp
Oregano  1 tsp
Thyme.  1 tsp
extra olive oil for brushing the dough.
Topping :
Onion.  1 chopped
Garlic.  1 tsp crushed
Olive.  10 halved
Garlic  5 -6 cloves thinly sliced.
olive oil  1 tbsp.


  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and let it sit for 10 min. It will froth up.
  2. Mix flour, thyme oregano  and salt in a big bowl.
  3. Make a hole in the centre of flour and pour yeast mixture and oil into it.
  4. Knead well till everything comes together. You may have to add a couple of tablespoons of water more depending on your flour' s soaking capacity.
  5. Next knead the dough on a floured counter for 7-10 min. , depending on your strength. 
  6. The dough by this time would become smooth and pliable.
  7. Keep it in an oiled bowl, roll it over to smear oil all over. Cover it with cling film and let it rest till doubled. Will take  1 to 2 hours depending on weather.
  8. Take the dough out on the floured counter and punch it to release all the trapped air.
  9. Knead it again for a couple of minutes.
  10. Stretch it  a rectangle of 1/4 inch thickness and carefully place it on a well greased baking tray.
  11. Don't forget to  place a greaseproof  paper on the baking tray first.
  12. Cover it with a cling film and let it rest for 30-40 min.
  13. Meanwhile take a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic chips till golden and crisp. Keep them aside. In the same oil caramelise onions and crushed garlic.
  14. Now make dimple all over the dough say one inch apart. Brush Olive oil generously over the dough. 
  15. Press olives  and crispy garlic in the dimples that you just made on the dough.
  16. Spread caramelised onion and garlic over the dough and press it lightly.
  17. Sprinkle salt and pepper on it. You can sprinkle coarse salt also if you like.
  18. Bake it in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20 min or till the crust turns golden on the sides.

It can be served with soup or pasta . First time I served it with Veg Chili Corn Carne.
First time  ? Yeah I have already made it twice in 4 days. Second time I served it with pasta. You can also slice it and make a sandwich.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Sandwiches are easy and quick  to make, convenient to carry and loved by most.
A faint hint of cheese and finely cut vegetables gives an altogether different taste to this sandwich.

Bread slices:  10 no.
Bell peppers (yellow , red , green) and Zucchini finely chopped 3/4 cup finely chopped
Cucumber 1/2 cup finely chopped.
Onion. 2 tbsp. finely chopped.
Olives. 4 , chopped.
Jalapeño. 4 slices, chopped.
Sweet corn kernel. 2tbsp.
Cheese cube. 1 grated.
Salt  to taste
Pepper to taste
Butter To spread on bread slices


  1. Take all the above ingredients except butter and bread in a bowl. Mix very lightly
  2. Butter two slices.
  3. Place a portion of the above mix on one slice of bread. Cover with another slice- buttered surface up.
  4. Grill till golden brown.
  5. Cut into two.
  6. Serve with my Mint Chutney or ketchup.
  7. Repeat the process to make remaining sandwiches.
Note: ideal for breakfast, packing in kids lunch boxes or evening snacks.
These sandwiches are very light on your stomach