Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reposting Eggplant Curry - Baingan Bartha

Eggplant is not my kinda veggie. Somehow from my childhood I have an avertion to eggplants. But one day when we went on a vacation to Jaipur, I had a chance to relish yummy makkan rotis and delicious baingan bhartha in the roadside dhaba. This was my first eggplant attack and it has remained my favorite dish ever. I just found out from my cousin that this is my aunt U's favorite too!! So i want to dedicate this to her. Wish I could cook it for her in person. She lives in India and I hope one day i can make this super duper dish for her.


Eggplant - 1
Onions - 1 finely chopped
Tomato - 2 ( 1 chopped and 1 for grinding)
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Garam masala / baingan bartha masala - 3 tbsp
Green chilli - 1 ( if need be)
Salt - to taste

For seasoning:

Oil - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp

To Garnish:
Corriander leaves

Earlier i used to cook the eggplant by tossing it on top of the stove untill it gets cooked well and you get smoky smell. But this time i tried keeping the eggplant in the oven for 30 -45 mins preheated to 380 degrees. It came out so well. I could peel the skin so easliy and the best part is no mess and no struggle to clean. 

First cook the eggplant in oven pre heated to 380 degrees for about 30 -45 mins. Keeping looking in between to avoid burning. Keep aside when cooked.

Grind tomato, ginger  garlic paste, chilli, garam masala powder, turmeric powder into a nice puree. This will give the gravy a thick and a nice flavor. 

Now in a pan heat oil and add cumin seeds. First add onions and fry till it becomes transparent. Then add chopped tomato and keep frying for 3 mins untill tomato is almost cooked. Now add the tomato puree, salt and let it boil for some time till the oil sperates from mixture and the raw smell fades.

Add water if necessary. Thats it! Its amost over. Now mash the eggplant and add it to the gravy and let it cook for about 5 mins till everything blends well.

Garnish with corriander. Add extra butter on top for more taste. Now this has become my husband's favorite too!!! You can eat this with roti or bread or even have it with rice. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cilantro Mint Pilaf

I was talking to my mom last night about cooking tips. My mom writes small tips for the South Indian Magazines. So I give her some useful tips and she tells me about what she reads from the magazines. My paternal grandmom told my mom about this rice and my mom wrote about this write for her magazine. She told me about this rice and it sounded really flavorful and delicious. I do not like mint so much. But after tasting this rice, I really started to develop a taste for mint. My grandmom doesn't eat garlic or onion. So my mom excluded those but I included them. :-) Colorful and flavorful meal in just no time. 


Cilantro - 1 bunch
Mint - 1 bunch
Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Cinammon stick - 1/4 inch
Cloves - 3
Garlic pods - 2
Ginger - 1/4 inch 
White onion - 1 small
Oil - 3 tbsp
Salt - to taste


First grind cilantro, mint, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, onion to a fine paste. Add very little water just enough for easy grinding. 

Heat oil in a pan. Add ground paste, salt and keep frying till flavorful aroma comes up. When the oil separates from the mixture and the color turns dark green, remove from heat.

Meanwhile cook basmati rice in 2 cups water so that rice is cooked and is separate. Now when the rice is cooked, add this paste and mix well. 

Cilantro mint rice is ready!! Serve with raitha or curry. I served it with fried cauliflower. 

Have a great day!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Creamy Carrot Soup

My husband and I took a pranayam course here in San Diego couple of weeks back. It was for 3 days and of which one day, they provided lunch with us. They had this carrot soup that day which tasted out of the world. We all totally fell in love with the soup. My god! it tasted so good. From then I really wanted to make carrot soup at home and today I made it. It came out very well. I never thought carrot soup would taste so good. Am sure you will all like this too.. 


Carrots - 4 chopped roughly
Onion- 2 Small chopped roughly
Green Chilli (optional) - 1 
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Bay Leaf - 2 
Cloves - 3-4
Fresh Cream - 3 tbsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch


In a pan heat ghee and oil. When hot add cloves and bay leaf. When the cloves start to puff up, take away cloves and bay leaf and throw them away.

In that oil, add onions and green chilli, turmeric and saute in high heat till onions caramelize. Then add carrots and saute in high heat till carrots become tender. Sprinkle water if necessary for the carrots to cook faster. 

When carrots are 90% cooked, turn off heat and let the contents cool. 

Blend everything in a blender along with some salt and make it a fine paste.

In the same pan, add this paste and bring it to a boil. Add water according to required consistency. Then add fresh cream , mix well and turn off heat. 

Serve hot with warm bread. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kumquat Pickle

Hey friends!!! Wondering about kumquat??? Its really tasty... I tasted this in my husband's cousin's house. She made this pickle and it tasted great. We all fell in love with this pickle instantaneously. It tasted more like lime pickle but with a natural sweet tinge to it. Let me give a small intro to this amazing little fruit.

The Round Kumquat (also Marumi Kumquat or Morgani Kumquat) is an evergreen tree, producing edible golden-yellow colored fruit. The fruit is small and usually round but can be oval shaped. The peel has a sweet flavor but the fruit has a sour center. The fruit can be eaten raw but is mainly used to make marmalade and jelly. It is grown as an ornamental plant and can be used in bonsai. This plant symbolizes good luck in China and other Asian countries, where it is sometimes given as a gift during the Lunar New Year. It's more commonly cultivated than most other kumquats as it is cold tolerant. It can be kept as a houseplant. (Source Wikipedia)

With simple preparation process that my aunt told me, I made this pickle and it came out really well. Thanks to my aunt and cousin sister.. 

Health Benefits:

Improves immune system
Reduces aging
Improves lung health
Helps fight againt dry and itchy skin
Strenghtens hair and nails
Improves wound healing

And there are many more benefits . For more benefits check out this link


Kumquats - 20 (cut into 4 pices each) 
salt - to taste
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 1/4 cup
Mustard - 1 tsp for seasoning. 
Asafoetida -1/2 tsp

For dry roast:

Mustard - 1 tsp
Cumin - 1 tsp
Fenugreek (methi) - 1 tsp
Red Chilli - 2


In about 6 - 8 tbsp (just enough to cook kumquats) water boil  the kumquats for about 2 mins. It becomes tender pretty quick. So keep an eye on it. Alternatively, you can add salt to the fruit and keep it aside for about 2 days. The fruit becomes tender in 2-3 days. But if we boil it in water, it becomes tender fast and the pickle will be ready in a day. 

Now when the kumquats become tender, remove from heat and let it cool. At room temperature, add salt, turmeric and red chilli powder and mix well with dry spoon and keep it aside for one day. 

Next day, dry roast fenugreek, cumin seeds, mustard red chilli until you hear the spluttering sound and grind it to fine powder. Do not burn the mustard seeds.  Mix well with the kumquats. 

Heat 1/4 cup oil and add a tsp of mustard, asafoetida and when it splutters add it to the mixture. Set aside for another day so that the kumquats soak well in spices and oil. 

You can serve it immediately or the next day. Pickles always tastes better when it soaks well in spices for atleast 2-3 days. 

Serve it with rotis or rice. Tastes really good. You can always add salt and red chilli according to your requirements. 

See you soon ....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crispy Plantain Chips/ Vazhakai Chips

I found these plantains yesterday in the Indian store and I couldn't stop myself from buying these really fresh plantains. Usually I make roast out of it. But this time i decided to make chips. It came out very well. We liked it. Its so simple to make and its delicious. 


Raw banana/ Plaintain/ Vazhaikai - 3
Salt - to taste
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Oil - for deep frying


Slice the plantain into thin slices. 

Deep fry them in batches 

Fry it until golden brown and transfer it into a bowl with paper towel. Excess oil will be absorbed by the paper towel. 

Immediately transfer it to another air tight container and add salt and asafoetida and mix well when it is warm. When we mix it warm, the salt and asafoetida sticks to the chips well. 

Adding asafoetida is optional. But try it with asafoetida. Your chips will taste great with it. 

See you later!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Restaurant Style Eggplant Parmigiana????

My husband and I were really excited to have this as our dinner last night. I was so bored of regular dinner menu and I suddenly thought why not try this parmigiana for a change. Both of us like it so much that we end up eating this dish whenever we go to Olive Garden. I think its the best vegetarian dish that we get. I always thought it was a detailed procedure to make it. But then I realized it was really simple if we had the right ingredients. I found this recipe on food network. It made some changes to it to suit my requirements. One can never go wrong in this menu. Its very simple and tasty. Kids would love this dish. 


Italian Eggplant - 1 ( I used 1/2 of it since we were only 2 of us . So it depends on how many you need. I got 12 slices out of my half eggplant.)
Bread crumbs (Italian Style) - 1 cup
Oil - to deep fry
Mozzarella Cheese - 2- 3 slices
Parmesan Cheese - 2 tbsp grated
Sphagetti pasta - Handfull 
All purpose flour / Maida - 1 tbsp 
Marinara Sauce - 1/4 cup


First, make a thin paste with the flour ( You can use eggs in replacement of flour. We dont eat egg so i used flour. ). Cut eggplant into medium sized slices. You can remove the skin or just keep the skin on. Dip the eggplant into that flour paste and then dip it in bread crumbs. 

Deep fry the eggplant untill brown. Cook pasta simultaneously.

After frying keep top the fried eggplant with mozzarella cheese and bake it in the oven for few mins till the cheese melts. We could bake pasta topped with marinara sauce along with eggplant. But bake it just to heat it and not for too long. 

Serve the pasta and sauce along baked eggplant. Also if you need more marinara sauce, you can always add it on top of the eggplant before baking. We like to have the eggplant crispy. so i just added the cheese on top. But in restaurants, they top the eggplant with cheese and some marinara sauce. Garnish with some grated Parmesan cheese before serving. 

Enjoy the meal!!!! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Reposting Cilantro Rice

We went to my co sister's house last winter when her parents had also come. Her mom made this rice and I loved it. It was very simple and tasty. I learnt lots of recipes from her. In fact I learnt lots of cooking details from her during the time I stayed at their place. This dish has lots of flavor. Let me get to the recipe straight.


Mixed Vegetables - 1 Cup
Cumin powder - 1 tsps
Corriander powder - 1 tsps
Onion - 1/2 chopped
Oil - 1 tbsps
Basmati Rice - 1 cup

To Grind:

Cilantro 1 bunch
Cloves - 2
Cardomom - 1
Tomato - 1
Ginder - 1 tsps chopped
Garlic - 2-3 pods
Cumin powder - 1 tsps
Corriander powder - 1 tsps
Green Chilli - 1-2


Grind all the above said ingredients to grind. Grind it to a smooth paste. Need not add water. The water in tomato and cilantro is good enough.

Soak basmati rice in water for about 15 mins

In a pan, heat oil and add onions. Fry till it becomes translucent. Now add this groung paste and fry till the fresh green color changes to dark green. The color will change and the raw smell will fade.

Now add vegetables and mix well. Fry it for another minute

Now add rice, salt and mix everything well.

Add 2 cups water and transfer it to rice cooker.

Aromatic cilantro rice will fill your house with rich aroma and flavor.

Happy Blogging!!!

Simple Veggie Wrap

Its been really long time since I posted something. I was too busy with my work and I really dint have time to post anything though I took pictures of few recipes. Hope to post them soon. One day, we were bored of the regular dinner menu.. My husband likes to try making new dishes at home. Thats how I started trying non Indian dishes. This time it was Veggie wrap. I made it very simple with just minimum ingredients. It has only veggies, sour cream and guacamole. It tasted great. But it tasted good. I am sure kids will love it too.. Lets get to the procedure now 


Bell Peppers - red, Orange and Yellow - 3 small peppers chopped lengthwise 
Spinach Leaves - Handful
Onion - 1 medium cut lengthwise
Zucchini - 1 cut in halves 
Sour cream - As required
Wheat or Multi grain tortillas - 2 to 3
Olive Oil - 2 tbsps

For Guacamole 
Ripe Avocados - 2
Lime Juice - Juice from half a lime
Salt - to taste
Cilantro - handful
JalapeƱos - 1


In a pan heat olive oil and add onions. Fry it for about a minute and add bell peppers. Add salt and fry it till bell peppers are cooked well. I like the veggies to be well sauteed.  It would be great if veggies could be grilled. I just did a veggie saute. 

Once the bell peppers are alomst done add spinach and saute well. 


Add avocados, cilantro, lime juice, salt and jalapeƱos into a food processor and blend well. 

Now warm tortillas and place it on a plate. First spread the vegetables on it and top it with some sour cream and guacamole. 

Warp it and serve it with hot sauce if needed. 

Yummy and warm wrap for cool and rainy days!!!
See you with more...


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