July 31, 2007

Zucchini Capsicum Makhanwala

It's already time for Z. I asked Nupur what happens when we complete the 26 letters of the alphabet and she said she's not thought about it. Sad as I am to see this event come to an end, I had to make something special to bid the A-Z of Indian vegetables adieu.

Z is for Zucchini Capsicum Makhanwala and this is my entry to Nupur's A-Z of Indian Vegetables. This dish could easily have qualified for X as well because I'd eaten Zucchini so many times, but had never bothered to eat it. On our trip to Manali last week, we saw Zucchinis at the local market that were bigger than the bottle gourds in that area. My dish, however, used a reasonably small yellow Zucchini.


1 tbsp Oil (Or ½ tbsp butter and ½ tbsp Oil)

1 Onion, ground to a fine paste

1 Zucchini, sliced

1/2 each of Green, Yellow and Red Capsicum

¼ cup Tomato Puree

¾ cup Slim Milk

½ tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Chilli Powder

1 tsp Kasuri Methi

1 tsp Sugar

Salt to taste

Heat the oil. Add the onion paste and fry for a few minutes. Add the turmeric and chilli powder and fry for another minute. Add the chopped capsicum and zucchini slices and fry for 4-5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and salt. Mix well and cook until the mixture bubbles. Add the milk and bring to a boil while stirring. Add the kasuri methi and sugar. Cook for 5 minutes. Garnish this with coriander leaves if you wish and enjoy with rotis.

I absolutely love the taste of kasuri methi in this dish and consider the absence of it in any makhanwala to be a sign of disrespect. We eat capsicum at least once a week if not more often. S and I both like the flavour it imparts to any dish. Here, the pairing of some sweet capsicum with a normal green one seemed to go very well with the Zucchini and the flavours were rather well blended.

July 24, 2007

Summer Fruit Shake

Summer! I think I have a love-hate relationship with this part of the year. The heat I don't like. No, not even when it is zero degrees and we exist in our houses without heating, central or otherwise. I don't look forward to the nice hot summer months. Nice and hot together would constitute an oxymoron, wouldn't they?

But there are some things I simply love about summer. The fruits. The mangoes, watermelons, peaches, litchis, apricots, jamuns, plums, pears, cherries and apples. We stock them up at home and I can just go on eating fruit. I don't need much else.

Some pictures of fruit taken during our last holiday in Mussoorie.

Yet another breakfast in a glass. I have had to clean my fridge and use up as much of the stuff that's in there. And I also needed to feed myself. So here goes:

1/2 Apple, peeled and chopped

1 Peach, chopped

4 Apricots, chopped

2 Dried Apricots, chopped for garnish

1 cup Milk

Blend all the fruits along with the milk. Pour into a glass and top with dried apricots.

I had a glass of this and drank the remaining milk shake after about 15 minutes. The colour had turned a beautiful orange. I was so carried away that I forgot to take a picture. But it was a filling breakfast and that's all that really matters.

We're traveling for the rest of the week. My cousin and his family are here from London and we're off to the hills to have loads of fun. The doctor said that S could go along too, as long as he isn't driving. So, see you all when I get back.

July 23, 2007

Filter Coffee

Filter coffee! Whatever I may do, however much I may try, I am not able to recreate the magic of coffee that is served at my mother's place. As a child, I wasn't allowed it. I once threw a tantrum at someone's place because H got to drink coffee while I didn't. (The 5 year age gap meant nothing, you see.) And so, the story goes that the next time we were visiting the same people, even though I was asleep, Amma woke me up and gave me coffee so I wouldn't ever crib again.

At our place, coffee is always brewed fresh. I've found that in many homes, it is kept overnight to brew and that's a complete no-no at ours. Amma has this huge filter from Revere Ware and I remember the aroma that spread throughout the house each morning when boiling hot water was poured over pressed coffee powder.

Over the years, we've switched to the electric coffee makers and regardless of what anyone says, the coffee is just as good. Our blend is 80:20, Peaberry to Plantation "A". Whatever that may be. Someday I'll do my research.

Here's how I brew my daily cuppa in a typical filter:

1/8 cup Coffee Powder (Peaberry 80: Plantation "A" 20)

125 ml Water, boiling hot

150 ml Milk

3/4 tsp Sugar

Place the coffee powder in the top portion of the filter. Use a flat bottomed vessel (like a tumbler) to press the powder down firmly. Place the inverted umbrella like apparatus over the coffee.

Put the sugar in the bottom portion of the filter. Place the top portion over this. Pour the boiling hot water over this and cover with the lid.

When all the water has seeped into the bottom portion, boil the milk in a small vessel. Pour the decoction into the milk and heat the mixture if needed. Sip your coffee leisurely for a wonderful start to the day.

I use only 100% pure coffee even though people say that the chicory version tastes best. When I make coffee in the electric coffee maker, I press the coffee into the filter and add sugar in the bottom vessel. I then add plain water into the coffee maker and my coffee is ready in 5 minutes. The aroma that fills the house is simply superb.

I cannot drink tea. I make it for husband each morning and tend to look at tea as something I will drink when my stomach is really upset... and then, too, only black! But coffee: anyday and at any time. I stick to one cup a day. And that really gets me going.

July 21, 2007

Gatte Ki Kadhi

The very first time I ate Gatte ki kadhi was at Mansukh's in Madras. I was enjoying a Gujarati Thali while a colleague was enjoying a Rajasthani Thali. She asked me to try the kadhi and I fell in love with it instantly.

Years later, I sampled more of this spicy dish at Dhola-ri-Dhani, a Rajasthani village theme resort in Hyderabad. Soon, I bought myself a copy of Tarla Dalal's Rajasthani Cookbook. I've tried quite a few recipes from the book. I use a lot less chilli powder than the recipes call for. So you may adjust the spice level according to your taste.


For the gattas:

3/4 cup

Bengal gram flour 1/2 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/8 tsp ajwain
1 tbsp curds
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

For the Kadhi:

2 cups C
urds, beaten
1 tablespoon
Bengal gram flour
4 to 6 C
urry leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 bay leaf
1 clove
1 stick
1 cardamom
1/4 tsp
turmeric powder
1 tsp
chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tbsp
Salt to taste

For garnish:
2 tablespoons chopped

For the Gattas:

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and knead into a firm dough using as little water as necessary. Divide the mixture into eight 3 inch long cylinders.

Heat plenty of water in a vessel and cook the gattas for 8-10 minutes in boiling water. Drain and cut the gattas into half inch pieces.

For the Kadhi:

Mix the curds, gram flour, curry leaves and 1/2 cup of water and mix well.

Heat oil in a kadhai and add the mustard, fennel and cumin seeds, asafoetida, bay leaf, clove, cinnamon and cardamom. When the mustad and cumin seeds crackle, add the turmeric, chilli and coriander powders and fry for a minute. Add the curd mixture, 1 cup of water and salt and bring to a boil while stirring continuously.

Add the prepared gattas and garnish with coriander. Enjoy this with steaming hot rice. I can guarantee you'll fall in love with it.

This is my entry to Weekend Herb Blogging, started by Kalyn and hosted by The Chocolate Lady of In Mol Araan.

This fits in perfectly with my
Eating out while eating in series. The earlier ones in this series being Kothu Roti, French Bread Pizza, Macaroni, Egg Bhurji and Potato Wedges.

Mushroom Soup

The weather in Delhi is rather unpredictable these days. Hot at times, muggy at others, the rain just plays hide and seek with us.

Last Sunday, it was extremely hot when we left for the picnic. But soon after S hurt his foot, it started pouring. We got back home after a trip to the hospital and I wanted some soup. I had a packet of fresh mushrooms in the fridge and decided to make some hearty, filling soup.


200g Button Mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 large Onion, chopped
1 cup Milk
1/4 tsp Parsley
1/4 tsp Basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Fry till the pieces turn translucent. Add the mushroom pieces and fry for 1-2 minutes.

Blend the onion mushroom mixture in a liquidizer with a little milk. Transfer this to a vessel and add the remaining milk and bring to a boil. Add the parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Enjoy this soup hot with some Garlic Bread.

Egg Bhurji

Perhaps, the Indian cousin of scrambled eggs. This one, though, has no resemblance to the popular breakfast dish. Eggs, paneer and soya always come in handy when I am hard pressed for time.

Egg bhurji is one of the few egg dishes available in most restaurants and I've eaten this at restaurants and dhabas in Hyderabad. When one vegetarian and one non vegetarian go out for dinner, egg is usually what ends up on the table. Satisfies both! My friend and I used to eat out a lot in Hyderabad and that's where I rediscovered this dish that I'd probably eaten once before when a classmate brought it in her dabba at school.

Continuing with my Eating out while eating in series, I made egg bhurji. The earlier ones in this series being Kothu Roti, French Bread Pizza, Macaroni and Potato Wedges.

1 Eggs
1 Onion, chopped
1 Tomato, chopped (optional)
1 tsp Green Chilli Paste
1/2 tsp Ginger Paste
1/4 tsp Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/4 tsp Cumin Powder
1/4 tsp Coriander Powder
1/4 tsp Kitchen King Masala
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
Salt to taste
1 tsp Oil
Chopped Coriander for garnish

Heat the oil in a kadhai or a saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. When the cumin seeds crackle, add the onion and fry till the pieces turn translucent. If using the tomato, add now and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli powders and fry for another minute. Add the ginger and chilli pastes and salt and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the Kitchen King Masala and fry for a minute. This is one of my entries to the
RCI: Punjabi Cuisine which is being guest hosted by Richa of As Dear As Salt.

Break the eggs into the onion spice mixture and whisk thoroughly. Allow the mixture to cook for a few minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and enjoy it with rotis.

Tayir Saadam (Curd Rice)

Tayir Saadam. Comfort food to many, health food for some. To me, it’s just an integral part of every meal at home.

I had a Parsi boss in Bombay who loved Curd Rice. One day, my stomach was badly upset and my aunt made curd rice and packed it in my box. My boss wanted to exchange dabbas with me. I was surprised that someone actually wanted to eat Curd Rice. She then told me that she asked her cook to make curd rice and he kept rice and curd in front of her and asked her to mix the two. I told her that’s the way we eat it at home. And she said, “Not with Basmati Rice and Sweet Curd, right?”


This version of curd rice is also called Bagala Bhaat and is served at weddings. The caterer at my wedding, Pattappa, dishes out the creamiest tayir saadam on the planet.

I, as always, picked this recipe up from Amma. In summers, this is the best thing to eat at lunch time. Very cooling, very easy on the system.


1 cup Ponni/Sona Masoori Rice

1/2 tsp Green Chilli paste

1/2 tsp Ginger Paste

1 cup Curd

3/4 cup Milk

Salt to taste

For the tempering:
1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
7-8 Curry Leaves

Coriander leaves for garnish

Cook the rice with 4 cups of water and a little salt in a pressure cooker. (I usually cook this for 5-6 whistles). Mash it with a spoon or a masher. Add the ginger and chilli pastes and mix well. Add the curd and mix well. Fold in the milk and mix again.

In a small kadhai, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves. Pour this over the curd-rice mixture. Chill for an hour before serving. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Scrambled Eggs

Versatile, nutritious, filling. Eggs seem to have everything a proper breakfast needs. I don't know where, when and how I learnt to make scrambled eggs, but I did. And I continue to make them. And they continue to keep me happy.


2 Eggs

1 tbsp Butter

2/3 cup Milk

Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Break the eggs into the butter and quickly whisk them in the butter. Add the milk and continue to whisk the mixture until small lumps are formed. Cook for a minute or two.

Transfer on to a plate and add salt and pepper. Savour these eggs with buttered toast.

Semia Upma

I don't work on Saturdays. But S goes to work on odd Saturdays of the month. After a nice party with the neighbours last night, we went to bed only at 1 a.m. or so. I, as usual, woke up early and asked S if he wanted me to make lunch or if he'd get a dabba at work. Initially he said he'd grab a bite at work and that I needn't bother. A little later, he said, "I want to eat Semia Upma for lunch." I had only 15 minutes and so didn't add any vegetables. It was ready in a jiffy.

Semia Upma always brings back memories. Of the first time I tried to make it. And my weekend trips from hostel. Amma had a mental timetable of sorts and would make different things for breakfast everyday, trying not to repeat a dish in a week. And somehow Semia Upma invariably landed on her timetable for Saturday mornings. I was studying in Pondicherry and would come home on most weekends. I'd land up on Saturday morning and find Semia Upma on the table. After a while I asked Amma, "Why don't you make something else?" And she said, "I could. But don't you like this?" I said, "Yeah, but I get this every time I come home." She hadn't realized that I only had breakfast at home on Saturdays and Sundays and thought that she has been dishing out varieties. She then started treating me to different stuff.

But I still love this upma and with roasted vermicelli, it is ready within minutes.


1 Cup Roasted Vermicelli
1 Onion, chopped
1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Urad Dal
1/4 tsp Chana Dal
1 Red Chilli
1 Green Chilli
1/2 tsp Ginger Paste
7-8 Curry Leaves
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a kadhai and add the urad and chana dals. When the urad dal starts to brown, add the mustard and asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the red and green chillies, curry leaves and ginger paste. Add the onions and fry until they turn translucent. Add the vermicelli and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup of boiling water to this. Add the salt and mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Garnish with coriander and scraped coconut if you like. Team it up with your favourite pickle and get set for the day.

Oatmeal Coffee Cake

Ever since I discovered Ann Pillsbury's Baking Book some 20 years ago, coffee cakes have fascinated me. For a long time, I thought coffee cakes were cakes flavoured with coffee. Over the years, we have more and more information at our disposal. According to Wikipedia:

The term coffee cake can refer to either of the following:

A cake, often sponge cake, which is made with coffee or has a coffee flavour.
A cake served with coffee
or eaten at breakfast. Under this definition, a coffee cake does not necessarily contain coffee. Coffee cakes are typically flavored with cinnamon, nuts, and fruits.

Now, I know better.

All this while I was thinking of making something spicy like a cutlet or tikka with oats. While browsing for breakfast recipes that used oats in some form (other than porridge) I came across this site. It is called Recipe Goldmine and rightly so. I found an interesting coffee cake recipe and modified it to come up with my entry for the Weekend Breakfast Blogging # 13 hosted by Madhuli of My Foodcourt.

The recipe called for brown sugar and I didn't have any in the house and didn't replace it with anything. So, the cake is not too sweet. Works for me as I can then pour maple syrup over it and enjoy my little treat.


1/2 cup Oatmeal
5/8 cup Hot water
5/8 cup Flour
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 cup Butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp Vanilla
Toasted Walnuts for garnish

Cover the oatmeal with hot water and allow it to set for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together dry ingredients. Add butter, egg, vanilla extract and mix well. Add oatmeal and mix. Pour into a greased and floured pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. The batter is a little more gooey than normal cake batter. The oats must be working its magic.

After about 15 minutes of baking, arrange the toasted walnuts on the cake and continue baking.

Enjoy a slice of this cake along with breakfast on a leisurely weekend morning and discover sheer bliss.

Grilled Garlic Potato Wedges

I've always enjoyed potato wedges. But I'd not been able to get rid of the guilty feeling that I get whenever I bit into one. About 2 years ago, my boss was visiting India from the US and she came home for dinner. I'd cooked a variety of dishes: Tomato Saar, Bisi Bele Huli Anna, Cucumber Pachadi, and Seppankizhangu Fry. I'd promised her a home cooked meal during her last trip and we talked about how the stuff that we get in restaurants, even in India, are so different from the stuff we make at home. She remembered that conversation and more importantly remembered my interest in vegetarian cooking and brought me a nice gift. A book called "Favorite Vegetarian Dishes". It is one of the nicest cook books I have ever owned and cooking from it is just so much fun. Here's one recipe from the book.

Wanting to make something special, I made potato wedges to eat while we played Scrabble. This is my fourth feature on Eating out while eating in. The earlier ones being Kothu Roti, French Bread Pizza, and Macaroni.

What I like best about these wedges is the fact that they aren't deep fried. I modified the recipe that I found in the book.


3 medium Potatoes, scrubbed and parboiled
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Butter
1 tsp Rosemary
1 tsp Parsley
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Chilli Flakes
2 tsp Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes into wedges. (Leave the skins on.)

Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan. Add the parsley, rosemary and thyme and fry for a minute. Add the chilli flakes and the garlic powder and fry another minute. Add the wedges, salt and pepper. Toss the wedges in the spice mixture and transfer them to a foil wrapped grill rack.

Grill for 10-12 minutes and serve with a cheese dip or garlic mayonnaise.

Rava Upma

I can write pages and pages about my love for this dish. I have blogged about several kinds of Upmas. The
perfect cure for any time hunger pangs. This, however, is the basic dish. Amma would add fried cashewnuts and srpinkle coconut over this, but I just eat it with some chivda or pickle.


1 cup Rava (Sooji/Cream of Wheat)
1 tbsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Urad Dal
1/2 tsp Chana Dal
1 Red Chilli
1 Green Chilli
1/2 tsp Ginger Paste
7-8 Curry Leaves
1 tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Coriander leaves for garnish
1/2 tsp Sugar
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a kadhai and add the urad and chana dals. When the urad dal starts to brown, add the mustard and asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the red and green chillies, curry leaves and ginger paste. Add the rava and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cups of boiling water to this. Add the salt and sugar and mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. The upma is done when the rava sets and is not sticky.

Add the ghee and mix well. Add chopped coriander and serve with sambar and chutney or any pickle. Or just sprinkle some chivda or sev on the upma and say good bye to hunger pangs.

Kaddu ki Subzi (Pumpkin Curry)

Yellow pumpkin. I have eaten it a lot. But have used it only for 2 things until now. As a vegetable in sambar. In pumpkin pie. In markets here, I couldn't find ash gourd and whatever I asked the guy for, he'd show me yellow pumpkin.

"Bhaiya, yeh to Kaddu hai. Mujhe Petha chahiye." (This is pumpkin, I want AshGourd)

"Arrey Madam, yehi to hai Petha." (This is Ash Gourd)

"Agar yeh Petha hai, to mujhe Kaddu chahiye" (If this is Ash Gourd, I want a Pumpkin)

"Kya Madam, Kaddu Petha, sab ek hi cheez hai." (Both are the same)

"Bhaiya, Agra mein Petha kaun si subzi se banta hai?" (What is the famous Agra sweet Agra Petha made of?)

"Pethe se" (From Petha!)

I am not exactly the epitome of patience. I can get exasperated quite easily. And this kind of conversation that leads nowhere can be more than trying. S asked me to buy it and make sambar and so I did. But the next day, I was adding Richa's blog to my Google Reader and I came across her Kaddu ki Subzi. I had to try it. And I did.

250g Yellow Pumpkin, chopped
1 Onion, chopped
1 Tomato, chopped
1 tsp Green Chilli Paste
1/2 tsp Ginger Paste
1 1/2 tsp Tamarind Paste
1/2 tsp Sugar
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder
2 tbsp Coriander Powder

For the Tempering:
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds,
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
7-8 Curry leaves

Heat the oil in the pressure pan. Add the mustard, cumin and fennel seeds. When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves, green chilli paste, ginger and onion. Saute till onion turns translucent. Add the chopped and fry for a minute. Add the chopped pumpkin and saute for a minute. Add salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder. Add tamarind paste, sugar and 1/2 cup water and pressure cook 2 whistles.

Enjoy this side dish with rotis. It is simply amazing to note that a simple vegetable can taste so good. Thanks Richa.

Chhollia Ghasshi

I mentioned in an earlier post that food blogging does things to you. One of the things that it has done to me is broaden my horizons. While I have always been a non fussy eater, I haven't been a non fussy cook. There is a limited range of vegetables that I can cook. I've made varieties of dishes using those, but now I am willing to try and try some more.

Nupur's A-Z of Indian Vegetables celebrates X this week. She asks us to pick something exotic, something we've never eaten or never cooked with, she asks us to experiment.

So, could I disobey Madam Nupur's orders? No way! I thought a lot about what I could try out. I did try out 2 things this week that I never had an opportunity to earlier. But one's a copy from another blog. So I'm sending this one to Nupur, with loads of love.

Chana Ghasshi is a very popular konkani dish. Ghasshi made with anything is kind of popular. The Chana Ghasshi uses the small black chana which is soaked overnight and cooked. I found Chhollia (fresh green chana) in the market last week and decided that I could use that. I had never cooked with it and had eaten it once or twice in my life (roadside munching).

I thought, why not? If I can put any dry lentil, why not a fresh one? That is how I ended up with a Chhollia Ghasshi on my plate.


250g Fresh Green Chana (Chhollia), cooked
1/4 cup Scraped Coconut
2-3 Red Chillies
1/2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Black Gram Dal (Urad Dal)
1 1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds
1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
1 tbsp Tamarind Paste (Add more or less to taste)
Salt to taste
1 tsp Oil

For the tempering:
1 tsp Oil or Ghee
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
7-8 Curry Leaves

Heat the oil in a small kadhai and fry the chillies, black gram dal, coriander seeds and fenugreek seeds. Grind this together with the chilli powder, turmeric powder, tamarind paste and coconut. Add a handful of cooked chhollia to this and grind to a paste.

In a vessel, combine the cooked chhollia, the paste and salt. Add some water to this and bring to a boil.

In a small kadhai, heat the oil or ghee, add the mustard seeds and asafoetida, and when the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves. Add this to the ghasshi and serve hot with rice and dali saar.

July 20, 2007

Apple Apricot Shake and a Meme

There are those who for whom breakfast is the most important meal of the day and then there are those who couldn't care less. I fall in the first category and, sadly, S falls in the second. Slowly and steadily, I am changing the way he looks at breakfast. Very often, I pack stuff for him so he can eat it when hunger strikes. On weekends, I am a little lenient. I have a little something and then we have brunch. On Sundays, we have a customary visit to Naivedyam to have Idli Vada, Mysore Masala Dosa and coffee. And a little something like this shake keeps me going until we drive to the restaurant.

Again, I drew inspiration for this from Amma. I helped her modify (read simplify) the recipe and I added some apricots for extra flavour.


200ml Milk

1 Apple, cored, peeled and chopped

5-6 Apricots

Chop the apricots and microwave them with a tablespoon of water for 1-2 minutes.

Blend these with the apples in a mixer. Add the milk and blend for a minute or so until smooth. Pour it into a glass. Your breakfast in a glass is ready in minutes.

I've been tagged by Priyanka of
Lajawaab Aahar. I was tagged once before and played along at my other blog Random Thoughts. But I thought, "why not?".

  • I started talking when I was 9 months old.
  • I believed that every child had a mother tongue that was different from his/her father tongue.
  • I thought that all fathers were bald, and someone with ample hair on his head couldn't be anyone's father.
  • I have not had the good fortune of knowing my maternal grandparents.
  • I am the youngest of 14 grandchildren and am married to S, who is the youngest of 16 grandchildren.
  • I have had a very interesting career. I started out wanting to be an Immunologist, then decided on Ecology, from there on shifted to Ecotourism and then to Tourism Administration. However, because I was studying Tourism, and was in Pondicherry at the time, I was encouraged to learn foreign languages. That led to a career shift to Translation and Interpretation from where I finally landed in HR. Who knows what lies ahead?
  • My friends call me "Heathrow" because I am the "hub". I am touch with a lot of people regardless of how I came to know them. And because of me, several old friends have reconnected, and people have met and decided to get married.

And I, in turn, tag the following people:







Play along if you have the time and inclination..... If you have already been tagged please ignore.

Fried Egg with Curried Mushrooms

Blogging, especially the food variety, does funny things to you. It makes you enthusiastic and sometimes leaves you a little frustrated because you so want to eat some if the stuff you read about, but you can't. Because you don't have the time or the ingredients or even the inclination to get into the kitchen.

I read Meeta's post on An Indian Breakfast. Her lovely egg rolls with a spicy mushroom stuffing made my mouth water. But the next morning, I was in a tearing hurry. I did have some mushrooms at hand and also had some chopped onions, and thought of making my favourite mushroom omelette. But I didn't have the time to beat the eggs and make an omelette. So, I did the next best thing.

I modified the recipe. So much so that it has no resemblance to the original. But it satisfied my craving and my hunger for that morning.


2-3 small Mushrooms, chopped

1 small Onion, chopped

1 tsp Oil

1/4 tsp Chilli Powder

1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder

1/4 tsp Coriander Powder

1/4 tsp Cumin Powder

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and fry till the pieces turn translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute for a minute. Add the chilli, turmeric, cumin and coriander powders and salt and fry for a minute. Spread the mixture across the pan as much as possible. Break an egg over this. Allow to cook until the egg is set. If you like your sunny side up, take it off the pan. If you like the yolk cooked, then turn the egg over and cook on the other side for a minute or two.

Enjoy the masala fried egg with toast. This is truly yummy in the tummy (as my friend's son puts it).

July 18, 2007

Macaroni and Vegetables in White Sauce

Given the number of times in a month we eat pasta at home, it is difficult to believe that at one time I actually hated the stuff. Rewind to about 23-24 years ago. A time when macaroni wasn't even easily available in India. I always looked at the bottle on the top shelf that had some small twisted straws. I couldn't reach it. But I'd ask her each time I looked up at it, "Amma, taen kallen?" (Amma, what is that?) And she'd tell me, "Macaroni". "Macaroni mhalar kallen?" (What does Macaroni mean?) And she'd try to explain in the best way she could to a 6 year old. Then one day she made it because I was so enthusiastic about it. And I hated it. I ate it, but almost swore never to touch it again.

Almost, but not quite! Many years later, Amma decided to make the dish again. Macaroni and vegetables in white sauce. Suddenly, the same dish, made quite the same way, was yummy to say the least. I make it very often. I have modified the dish greatly from the time I learnt it. At times, my sauce is so creamy that I don't even bother adding cheese to it.

But the recipe is a keeper. Filling, nutritious and tasty. What more can one ask for in a meal?


1 cup Macaroni (Cooked/Boiled with a little oil and salt)

1 cup Mixed Boiled Vegetables (Carrot, Beans, Peas, Cauliflower, Potato), chopped

1/4 cup Mushrooms, chopped

1/4 cup, Mixed Capsicum, chopped

1 tbsp Butter/Olive Oil

1 tbsp Flour

1 cup Milk

1/2 tsp Parsley

1/2 tsp Basil

1 tsp Chilli flakes

1/2 tsp Garlic Paste

Salt and Pepper to Taste

1 slice Low Fat Cheese (optional)

Heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the capsicum and fry for a minute. Add the garlic paste, parsley, basil and chilli flakes and fry for another minute. Add the flour and fry without browning the flour. Add the mushrooms and fry for about 30 seconds. (Do not fry the mushrooms for too long as the water in them gets released.) Add the milk and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring continuously. If adding cheese, add it at this point and stir the sauce well. As the sauce thickens, add the salt and pepper. Add the boiled vegetables and the macaroni to the sauce.

If you like, you could transfer this to a baking dish, sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes at 450 F. I go through the trouble only if I am making it at dinner time and can enjoy it with Garlic Bread. This is something S and I have enjoyed at Ten Downing Street. This is my third feature on Eating out while eating in. The earlier ones being Kothu Roti and French Bread Pizza.

This is my entry to Waiter There's Something in My...Sauce, and hosted by Andrew of Spittoon Extra.

July 17, 2007

Kothu Roti

I blame this all on Nupur. She made this post a few days ago about "Eating out while eating in". And that is why I am craving restaurant food.

S broke his leg on Sunday and that rules out eating out for a while. (He actually tore a ligament and I am told that it is worse than having a bone fractured.) We're going to be eating out a lot for the next few days, at home that is! We started with French Bread Pizza and this is my next venture.

I have, very often, come home from a restaurant itching to recreate the dish I've just devoured. One of those has been the Kothu Parotta that I've had at Komala's in Madras. My last trip there was when we'd gone to book accommodation for the groom's party before my wedding. I ordered Kothu Parotta again and was so disappointed. The chef just dumped chilli powder over the parottas and I had to eat the dish with about 10 glasses of water. (Finally, Appa said to order a plate of idlis to undo the damage!)

Someday I'll be able to make parotta all by myself. These are best savoured at roadside shacks and Puru's opposite the Pondicherry University campus will go down in my books as one of the best Parotta Kurma joints. My dear readers may note that a parotta is very different from a paratha and the two are not the same bread. The parotta has saved me on many an occasion from the "the-mess-food-is-lousy-hence-I-will-go-to-bed-hungry" syndrome.

I had some rotis in the fridge. They were made on Saturday morning and we were fully expecting to eat them for lunch. But S went to work and when he came back it was already 4 p.m. I was busy blogging all day and didn't get up to make anything to go with the rotis. When S got home, he quickly made 2 egg rolls and we ate them before heading out. Our rotis usually have no fat in them and that makes eating them any day after they're made, rather difficult.

But then again, I am not given to wasting food or randomly giving it away. So, when I was working from home on Monday, to help S at home, I decided to use rotis instead of parottas and make Kothu Roti instead of Kothu Parotta! I was making this purely from my memory of the taste.

6 Rotis, torn into bits

1 large Onion, sliced

2-3 medium Tomatoes, chopped

1 tbsp Oil

1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds

1/4 tsp Asafoetida

7-8 Curry Leaves

1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Chilli Powder

1 tsp Cumin Powder

1/2 tsp Coriander Powder

1 tsp Green Chilli paste

1/2 tsp Ginger paste

1 tsp Pav Bhaji Masala (I used MDH)

Salt to Taste

Heat the oil in a kadhai and add the mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves, ginger and chilli pastes, and onions. Fry the onions for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the chilli, turmeric, cumin and coriander powders and fry for a minute. Add the pav bhaji masala and fry for another minute or two. Add the salt and the roti bits. Mix well. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes and then cook without the lid for a couple of minutes more.

Enjoy this piping hot. Wash my roti version of Kothu Parotta down with a glass of buttermilk. It'll be a treat, I promise.

July 15, 2007

French Bread Pizza

Until a few years ago, there was a quaint little restaurant in Bangalore, near the junction of Residency Road and Brigade Road, that kindled my curiosity enough to walk in and the experience there made me go back. Again and again. This restaurant was French Bread Pizza.

All items on their menu were pizzas. Only they were made using the famous baguette as a base. Think of this as a large, really large piece of garlic bread with all the toppings. They served these little wonders on wooden holders specially designed to hold the baguette. When I finally moved back to Bangalore 2 years ago, the place, much to my utter disappointment, had shut down and given way to a Chettinad restaurant. Maybe it wasn't viable enough a business. I hope they come back into business because they've given me several moments of satiated happiness. The kind that only comes from having eaten a good meal.

Last evening, we went to Galleria, a shopping complex close by and walked in to the Grand Plaza bakery. There we found some fresh baguettes. I remembered that I had everything at home to recreate the French Bread Pizza magic at home. Ever since my trip home last month, I've been preparing to make Amma's signature pizza at home. But the incidents of the past 2 weeks didn't allow me to make anything so elaborate. This seemed perfect.


1 Baguette

For the sauce:

1 Onion, chopped finely
2-3 medium Tomatoes, chopped finely
1 Capsicum, chopped finely (I used small portions of all 3 colours)
4 Button Mushrooms, chopped finely
2 tbsp Tomato Puree
1 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt to Taste

2-3 Olives
100g Grated Cheese
Some oil/butter for glazing the bread

Slice the baguette in two and chop in half. You will be left with 4 quarters. Apply some butter or olive oil to the flat surface of each piece and grill for 3 minutes.

In a pan, heat the oil and add the onions. Fry for a minute or two. Add the capsicum and mushrooms and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the oregano, chilli flakes, salt, sugar and pepper and fry for another minute. Add the tomatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the puree and ketchup and cook the mixture for a couple of minutes.

Spread the sauce over the grilled bread pieces and add the olives on top.

Sprinkle grated cheese over the slices and bake in an oven at 220 C for 7-8 minutes and then on grill for 3-4 minutes.

Enjoy this when hot with a glass of milk, coke, beer or breezer. I am sure that a glass of iced tea will go very well with this too.

This sauce is Amma's signature sauce and I will soon be putting up the recipe for her pizza as well. Initially, her sauce used to be only onions and tomatoes and any other toppings, we'd put over the sauce and then sprinkle cheese on it. I suggested to her that if she adds them in the sauce, they would imbibe the flavours of the sauce. The addition of ketchup was also my idea. Last night, I went ahead and added some puree and some chilli flakes to the sauce. No one was complaining!

This is my entry to Waiter There's Something in My...Sauce, and hosted by Andrew of Spittoon Extra.