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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Teen Patti Crackers With A Bhut Jolokia Dip

Diwali time is about gatherings with friends and family. And gatherings are never complete without endless snacks. But that is no excuse to indulge in oily and fried stuff. That is something that has been on my mind ever since the festive season started and the guests started pouring in.

I had a few recipes saved in the drafts when the Gluten Free flour from Jiwa arrived in the courier. Made from brown rice flour and multiple grains, it has a nice flavor and texture that works well for most of my recipes. Hence, all my healthy (read 'baked') snacks now have a nice gluten-free twist to them .

This is the first among the snacks I have created for Diwali. Now Diwali happens to be synonymous with a game of Teen Patti ! These healthy gluten free crackers with a beautiful card suit symbol pricked out in each of them are just apt for the occasion. Pair it with a tantalizingly hot Bhut jolokia dipping sauce with figs and caramelized onions and you have just ensured an evening to remember !

Read on for the recipe -
























Preparation Time - 45 mins

Ingredients -

For the crackers -


  • 1 cup Jiwa Gluten Free flour
  • 3 tsp melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt ( i prefer using even less )
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic chives
  • Warm water for kneading
  • Extra butter for brushing the crackers 


For the Bhut Jolokia Bhut -


  • 1/2 of a dried Bhut jolokia chili
  • 5-6 ripe figs
  • 1 large red onion
  • 3-4 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt to taste


Preparation - For making the cracker dough, take all the flour, butter, chopped garlic chives and salt in a mixing bowl.

First mix the dry ingredients thoroughly and then add enough water to make a soft dough. Let it rest for 20 mins.

Flour the working surface and roll out the dough into a thin sheet. 

Cut it out into squares with the help of a cutter. Prick out the sides to prevent them from puffing up during baking.

Prick out the card suite designs on the crackers. Apply a fine layer of melted butter to the surface using a brush.

Cooking - Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Place the crackers on a baking tray and pop in. 

The crackers should be done in 10-14 mins depending on how thin you have rolled them.

Remove from oven and keep aside till cool.  

























For making the chunky dipping sauce - place the dried bhut jolokia chili in a cup and cover with hot water. Let it stand for 20 mins.

Wear gloves and chop the chilli into very fine bits for using in our recipe. Wash gloves, knives, chopping board and even the hands.

Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a saucepan.

Cut the onion into thin long pieces. Add to the olive oil and saute on a low temperature till it starts turning golden.

Now add the bhut jolokia chili to the onions and keep sauteing till onion gets completely caramelized. Switch on the exhaust or keep the windows open to avoid the strong fumes.

Chop up the figs and add to the caramelized onions. Add a little salt over them.

Once the figs soften, add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and 1/ cup hot water to the saucepan. Adjust the salt.

Let the ingredients simmer on a low flame till it thickens to the consistency of a jam.

Remove from flame and let it cool down .

Serve the crackers with the dipping sauce.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Custard Apple Parfait

Working with like minded people comes with certain intangible benefits that may not be apparent immediately. There is no disruptive quantum shift but certain habits/ideological changes tend to creep in over a period of time. And then, someday a close acquaintance points out how much you have changed. This is when the realization finally strikes.

Today was one such day in my humdrum life. Working closely with people who value health and nutrition has brought about a change in my eating habits. I now prefer foods that are lightly cooked, freshly prepared and infused with delicate flavors, especially herbs. And nowhere is this change more apparent than in my choice of desserts. 

Dainty parfaits have become a favorite with me. Just like a mystery that unfolds slowly, the layers peeling away one after the other, I prefer them to be full of surprises and discoveries. Plus one can craftily imbibe them with fruit pulp and natural sweeteners like honey, thus avoiding the consumption of sugar.

With the custard apple being very much in season, I made this cream cheese and custard apple mousse to satisfy my post lunch cravings. But them remembered the Navratri staple aka sabudana kheer. Made a super light version with skim milk, some bura and a tablespoon of condensed milk.  I added chopped rose petals and 2-3 drops of rose water to the latter to give a touch of freshness to it.

So I ended up layering the two with the custard apple mousse making up almost 2/3rd of the serving glass. Finally topped it with some freshly grated coconut. The first batch got devoured within minutes and only the second batch could make it to the fridge. Needless to say the chilled version was even more delicious.

Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time - 20 mins ( Plus 20 mins for chilling )

Ingredients - 

For custard apple mousse -

  • 200 gm cream cheese
  • 50 ml fresh cream
  • 1 tsp gelatin powder
  • pulp from 1 big custard apple 
  • 4 tsp bura/caster sugar 
  • 3 tbsp hot water

For the sabudana kheer

  • 1/2 cup sago / tapioca pearls
  • 2 1/2 cups of skim milk
  • 4 tsp bura
  • 1 tbsp condensed milk
  • 2-3 drops rose water
  • 1 tsp chopped rose petals

Others -

  • freshly grated coconut

Preparation - Dissolve the gelatin in the hot water.

Take the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beta for 3-4 mins. Now add the dissolved gelatin, sugar and fresh cream along with the custard apple pulp. Beat lightly and refrigerate.

Soak the tapioca pearls for 2-3 hours.

Cook in a saucepan along with the skim milk and sugar for 15 mins. Add the condensed milk and rose water. Remove from the flame and let it come down to room temperature. Add the chopped rose petals. Refrigerate.


Making the parfait - 

Layer 1/3rd of the serving glass with the sabudana kheer. Top with some more rose petals. Fill the remaining 2/3rd with the custard apple mousse. Top with the grated coconut.

Serve. 






Friday, September 8, 2017

Cauliflower Tawa Pulao

Sometime back when the term 'paleo diet' was still new and restricted to the jargon of a 'chosen few', I stumbled upon something called the 'cauliflower rice' . It was the proposed substitute of the regular rice. But I was a bit skeptical about it as cauliflower lacks the sweetness and the aroma of the latter. A single disastrous trial proved my worst fears and ensured that it stayed off the menu .

I had completely forgotten about the recipe till now. But a small mistake in the grocery list ended up with a glut of cauliflowers in my fridge and I was forced to resort to some really creative culinary techniques. From making a pasta sauce to a wholesome soup, I went overboard with my experiments and managed to finish off mot of the stock. Yet there was this small head of cauliflower that begged for attention before I logged out of the kitchen for a long weekend. That is when I pulled out the cauliflower rice recipe from the archives of my memory and gave it a Mumbaiya style twist !!

The spice of the pav bhaji masala and the tang from the tomatoes and lime juice surely turns this recipe into a winner. A dash of cheese is sure to add another level of yumminess to this dish. Most kids will love this version of the 'tawa pulao' so make sure you add it to the menu of your kiddo's potluck party.

Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time - 25-30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 1/2 cups grated cauliflower (tightly packed)
  • 1 small carrot ( finely chopped)
  • 1 small capsicum ( finely chopped)
  • a handful of green peas
  • 1 large ripe tomato (finely chopped)
  • 1 small onion ( finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp GG paste
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp pav bhaji masala
  • 2 pinch turmeric
  • 2 pinch garam masala
  • 2-3 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • salt to taste
  • grated cheese for garnishing 


Preparation - 

To make the grated cauliflower, cut the cauliflower into large florets. Use either a grated with large holes or pulse it for a few seconds in a mixer. Dry it on a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture.

Cooking - Steam the grated cauliflower for about 5 mins in a steamer.

Heat 2 tsp oil in a large wok. ( use one that is usually used in Chinese style cooking as it has a large surface area )

Add onions and fry till translucent.

Add the GG paste next and fry for 2-3 mins.

Add all the powdered masalas along with 2-3 tsp water to prevent burning. Fry for 2 mins with sprinkling of water at regular intervals.

Add the tomato and cook it till mushy.

Add chopped carrots, capsicum and green peas. Add a little salt. Saute on medium high for 3-4 mins.

Finally add the cauliflower rice, sprinkle some more salt and turn up the heat.

Stir fry for 2-3 mins till everything is nicely mixed .

Add the lime juice and toss it once again.

Transfer to the serving bowls.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and grated cheese.

Serve immediately.




Monday, August 28, 2017

Couscous Honey Laddoo

The lamps are alight in most parts of the country as people welcome Vinayaka, the Hindu God of wisdom. At the same time, another part of the country has gone up in flames over yet overweight self-styled God. No, wait ! He calls himself just a 'Messenger of God' or MSG but happens to be no less toxic than the Chinese seasoning which goes by the same name. And we have good reason to stay away from both of them. Did you just ask "Why"?? Horrors. Aren't we taught to keep quite and put our brains in the cold storage lest our entire 'khandaan' loses it's olfactory powers ?

I often keep wondering about that much abused joke wherein a bunch of scientists discuss the price of the brains pickled in formaldehyde. Had the joke been about nationalities instead of personalities, the Indian specimens would surely have made it to the top !! Shouldn't we blast off of few of these morons to space and monitor if their brains show sign of heightened activity in zero gravity ? or maybe we shouldn't . Who know some aliens might just discover our much guarded secrets !! Woh kehte hain na, 'ghar ki baat agar ghar mein hi rahe......'.

Sadly, everyone knows that this madness is going to continue. No matter of ranting and raving on the part of people like 'us' will change the reality at the grass root level. Where ever people are hungry, needy or just plain desperate, some uncanny asshole is going to come along with fake promises of showing them the right path and delivering them from their misery. And every time people will fall for it,  and end up surrendering their brains and even more. And vested interests will ensure that this cycle of shame continues to run smoothly. Well greased as it is. With their greed.

This was not the preamble that I had initially planned for my first post of the festive season. Somehow I tried to push back those images to the back of my mind and every time they kept coming back. Had to get this out of the system. Hope it makes you sit back and ruminate for a few minutes on your feelings about religion. Maybe it is time that we stop looking at others and start looking into our souls for the answers. After all, that is where it all started.

Today's recipe is just a extension of my 'Eat Healthy' journey. Laddoos are an integral part of any Indian wedding or festival . But since they come loaded with sugar and ghee, I decided to make my own 'guiltfree version'. Couscous is loaded with fiber and an excellent medium for making a healthy version.

Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup pearl couscous
  • 3-4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp besan
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped rose petals 
  • silver foil for garnish (optional)



Preparation - Bring 1 2/3 cups of water to boil in a saucepan.

Toss in the couscous and cook on a medium flame till it is still chewy ( a few degrees less than al-dente). Keep the couscous covered for 10 mins.

Heat the ghee in a wok. Add the besan and rose petals and fry till the besan turns fragrant.

Toss in the couscous and cook for 3-4 mins. Add the honey and cook for another 3-4 mins till it kind of starts getting sticky.

Remove from the flame .

Grease your palms with a little ghee. Pinch out small portions and roll into tight balls.

Garnish with the silver foil. Serve warm.

















Enjoy these guiltfree laddoos anyday and anytime !!

And don't forget to ruminate over these lines :)



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Pasta Salad with Avocado-Honey-Mustard-Lime Sauce

Self-acceptance is the greatest reward of learning to embrace the flaws in other people. As we become less critical and more forgiving of others, it initiates a karmic cycle that makes others reciprocate in a similar fashion. Ultimately it benefits us as our self image is a reflection of the way we assume others to perceive us.

And by flaws, they could be either physical or in one's character or even both. Due to the proliferation of certain body types in the media, we have grown very critical of people who do not adhere to those ridiculous standards. From bawdy jokes to more subtle hints, we do not cut them any slack. And often with disastrous results. From depression to suicidal tendencies, over-weight people suffer from a whole lot of problems.

Hence, one of the focus areas of my blog has always been eating right or healthy foods. While most Odia recipes are low in calories or have a high water content per serving size, I have added a decent number of salad recipes to help people enjoy a balanced diet without sacrificing taste.

This one is another one that is loaded with complex carbs, fiber and a healthy proportion of fats . Whole wheat paste is tossed with a bunch of veggies and fruits, and an avocado based dressing completes the whole dish.

Recipe -























Preparation Time - 15 mins ( or time taken to cook the pasta )

Ingredients -


  • 1 cup pasta ( i used farfalle )
  • 1/2 of an apple (peeled and diced )
  • 1/2 of a pear (peeled and diced )
  • 1/2 of a red pepper ( diced )
  • 1/2 of a cucumber ( peeled and diced )
  • 1/4th of an avocado
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey 
  • 1 tsp English mustard paste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper


Preparation - Boil 6-7 cups water in a saucepan. When bubbles begin to appear, add sufficient amount of salt to the water. Once it gets to a rolling boil, add the pasta.

Cook for 12 mins or till al-dente. Remove 2-3 tbsp of the water and add keep it aside for adding to the avocado sauce

Drain the water in a colander, give it a good shake and toss back the pasta into the same vessel in which it was cooked.

For making avocado sauce - Take the avocado flesh. pasta water, honey, mustard paste and lime juice in a blender jar and give it a buzz.

Final assembling of the salad - Put the cooked pasta, diced fruits and veggies and the avocado sauce in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the freshly ground pepper. Toss gently to mix everything.

Serve at room temperature.




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Honey Avocado Mousse

For me feminism is not about taking to the streets but rising up to the challenges that life throws up on an everyday basis. And most women would agree that those come by the dozens, popping up at the most unexpected of places and times. Men might just find their mojo from watching cricket but women like us have to keep ours intact at all times to face the curve-balls that come our way. And still deal with being labelled as the 'weaker sex' .

But coming back to the recipe, this was a last minute innovation when one of our friends decided to pay us a sudden visit over the weekend. Now this couple has gone off refined sugar purely for health reasons. Both of them are in good health and do not have diabetes. Honey and sometimes 'burra' is the sweetener of choice for them. And both of them happen love my dessert preparations. So, I certainly did not want to disappoint either of them this time.

With hardly an hour to spare, I quickly rifled through the contents of the fridge and came up with this 'no cook' recipe.  The lime was an afterthought as it helps maintain the lovely pale green of the avocado that quickly blackens on exposure to air. Vanilla is the flavor of choice as most people like it but one can experiment with others too.

Read on for the recipe -























Preparation Time - 10 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 half of an ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp fresh cream
  • 2 tsp honey 
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla extract
  • more honey for drizzling 

Preparation - Halve the avocado and scoop out the flesh from one half.

Blend the avocado flesh with the honey, lime juice and vanilla. Use 1-2 tsp water if it is too thick.

Beat the fresh cream for 5-6 mins.

Fold in the cream and mix well.

Pour into shot glasses and chill for 20 mins.

Drizzle with more honey/cream and serve !!























Note - Consume on the same day as the taste tends to change.

And don't forget to show some love to my blog as well !!

The Indian Blogger Awards 2017


Friday, August 18, 2017

Madaranga Sagaw Raee

The woman stood still near the broken down gate. The sun was shining directly over head and everybody seemed to have vanished indoors to escape the yellow orb's fury.While she visited the compound everyday to draw fresh water from the well along with her friends, the desolate house scared her into inaction for a few moments. The ghost stories that floated around the neighborhood were of least concern to her. Her fear was real. God knows what kind of anti-social might have taken refuge in the rundown place.

She lingered on for a few more minutes looking out for any visible signs of recent occupation. And then pushed open the gate with a calculated force. The rusted hinges let out a loud creak. Walking determinedly up to the well, she put down the 'gara' or metal pot on the ground with a thud and then proceeded to lower the bucket into the well with another loud splash. It was a deliberate move to let everyone know that she meant business.

Once her pot was filled with the sweet tasting water, she stood straight and looked around once before getting down on her haunches. The small bushes of 'Madaranga sagaw' or Alternanthera sessilis that had sprung around the moist soil had been tempting her for many days. Maybe the previous owners of the house had planted a few stalks a long time back. Now it was all overgrown and quite a treat for the summer months given that the vegetable supplies has dried up. But picking those stalks in the morning hours would mean sharing it with the other women. While she had no qualms about doing so, it was a practical decision given that the number of mouths to be fed were more.

Gathering a modest sized bunch, she tied it up into a bundle using a piece of twine that was lying around. Her friends would surely notice the dwindled vegetation and start a discussion the next day. Maybe they might even overcome their superstitions and start plucking the nutritious greens on a regular basis. It might as well be the first and also the very last time she got some of it on her hands. Whatever maybe the case, she decided to keep it a secret and cook a delicious meal of 'Madaranga Sagaw Raee' with Pakhala for her family.

Read on for the recipe -

















Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -
  • 200 gms of Madaranga Sagaw / Alternanthera sessilis 
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium sized potato
  • 1 medium sized tomato ( country ones preferred )
  • 1 small onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 dry red chilis
  • 2 tsp mustard oil
  • salt to taste
  • a handful of badi / vadi 


Preparation - Keeping aside a pinch of the mustard seeds, grind the rest along with the cumin seeds, 1 dry red chili and 3 garlic cloves into a smooth paste.

Pluck the leaves from the stems and wash them 2-3 times in sufficient water. Drain the excess water.
Finely chop into small bits.

The potato, tomato and onion also need to be chopped into small pieces.

Crush the remaining garlic cloves.

Cooking - Heat a wok and throw in the badis. Fry them without oil for a few minutes before drizzling with a few drops of the mustard oil. Fry for another minute or two. Remove and keep aside.

Add the remaining mustard oil to the same wok.

Add the broken red chili and a pinch mustard seeds .

Once it starts to splutter, add the 2 crushed garlic cloves. After a minute, toss in the chopped onions as well.

As the onions turn pink, add the chopped potato and tomato.

Cook till the tomato is mushy.

Add the chopped greens and cook for 4-5 mins on a medium flame.

Dilute the mustard paste and add to the wok. ( Straining this liquid before adding to the wok is a good idea as it removes the black residue which can lend a bitter note to the curry )

Add salt and cover with a lid till cooked.

Add the crushed badis just before removing the wok from the flame.

Serve with Pakhala or even hot rice !


















Tip - To get the most out of your 'raee' dish, season with some raw mustard oil and crushed garlic just before taking it off the flame. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Zero Oil Spinach and Lentil Pulao

"Have you taken the iPill ?"

For a few seconds, I thought I had heard it all wrong. Here I was bleeding profusely and withering in pain, and not in the least expecting a question about emergency contraception. I repeated my words once again. "It has been 16 straight days and my period shows no signs of abating....".

The gynecologist smiled coolly and reiterated the offending query. This time I got her point and replied in the negative. While it seemed very weird to me, it was a rather normal question for her given the rampant abuse of iPill. Apart from hastening or delaying the period by up to a week, the pill does causes heavy bleeding in some women by messing up their normal hormonal cycles.  And if one happens to be among the 20 percent of Indian women who suffer from PCOS, one has more reason to stay away from the pill.

Anyways, my tests ruled out anything abnormal except for a few nutritional deficiencies and the doctor prescribed me some medicines to stop the bleeding. But the whole process rattled me. Blame it on the hours spent in the reception, I got enough time to ruminate over the underlying issue. From an instrument of women's empowerment, the iPill has now been reduced to being a mere contraption for entertainment by some folks. More precisely, the types that keep on iterating that sex is more pleasurable without a condom. Sadly, a majority of the educated folks still think that all the action is happening 'down there' when much of it is taking place 'up there' in the temporal lobe. Anyways since I don't judge people or sermonize on their behavior, the whole point of putting this on a food blog is just to create awareness about the side effects of the iPill. To all the sisters reading this, please do remember that awareness is the first step towards empowerment.

Just like sex, diet too is an individual's personal choice and responsibility. So while it is important to enjoy it, it should not jeopardize one's health in the long run. This nutritious one pot meal is packed with protein and prepared without using a single drop of oil. No need to starve oneself when you have such healthy options available.

Read on for the recipe -

















Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -
  • 1 cup rice ( i used small grain jeera rice )
  • 1 cup chopped spinach (lightly packed)
  • 1 cup boiled mixed lentils ( Bengal gram, garbanzo beans, whole red lentils, kidney beans )
  • 1 large ripe tomato
  • 6-7 almonds
  • 8-9 raisins
  • 2 inch cinnamon
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 6-7 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tep coriander powder
  • 2 pinch turmeric
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi
  • salt to taste
Preparation - Blanch the tomato and the almonds.  Peel the almonds and put it in a blender along with the tomato and the raisins . Grind into a smooth paste.

Cooking - Put a cooker on a flame. 

Add the dry spices and roast till fragrant.

Add the tomato, raisins and almond paste to the same cooker. Cook for 4-5 mins on a low flame.

Add the chili powder, turmeric and coriander powder and cook for 2 more mins.

Add the washed rice, boiled lentils and chopped spinach. Add 2 cups of water and salt as per taste.

Close the lid and cook for 9-10 mins or for 2 whistles.

Keep aside till steam escapes. 

Open lid and serve with yogurt.























Note - cooking time will differ according to the rice variety used. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Horse Gram and Spring onion Soup ( Comforting Monsoon Broths Collaboration )

Monsoon and romance. Well, these two have always seemed synonymous to me. Thankfully I am not the only one prone to their magical madness. The bewitching monsoons have fueled the imagination of many a creative souls resulting in those rain drenched Bollywood sequences that are symbolic of the heavens melting into the embrace of a scorched earth.

From watching those dark clouds traverse the canopy of the blue skies to catching those first rain drops with my hands, I find myself soaking in the beauty of this spellbinding season. And even if it scares the shit out of me at times, I am still fascinated by it. My childhood memories are littered with instances where I hid behind a thick curtain to take a peek at those almost mysterious lightning displays while closing the ears tightly every time the thunder rolled. In fact there are a dozen of those monsoon memories clearly imprinted in my memory.

Once the storm blew over, I would rush out to find the whole garden/terrace littered with Gulmohar blossoms from a huge tree that dominated the entrance of our locality. The lawns resembled something like a piece of modern art with splotches of red and yellow on a verdant canvas. And I would compete with my brother in gathering the most number of intact blossoms. Even if it meant venturing out in the muck and all. Replete with slithering earthworms and creepy crawlies. But somehow in those days, even though we were young, we had the values of 'peaceful co-existence' inculcated in us. So one was never bothered about these creatures.

While growing up has taken the fun out of the rains, it has certainly fired up the romantic in me. A dozen hopeless poems and passages in my short stories bear testimony to this. But speaking practically and sticking to realistic goals, every time it rains, I just want to cozy up with a book, a cup of warm liquid and a blanket. Good enough for most people, don't you agree ?

Now that I have already mentioned it, a warm broth aka soup seems to have become the mainstay of my monsoon diet. From the typical indigenous fare like Kanji, rasam and shorba, to chinese brews and healthy vegetable based nourishment, everything gets a chance to be on the menu. On a rotation basis of course. And the last entrant on this bandwagon is the 'Horsegram soup', a hearty decoction inspired by the 'Kolotho dali' which is an important past of Odia cuisine.

Check out the recipe -

[ and more !! Collab Post Alert *** ]























Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients -
  • 1 cup roasted and split Horsegram
  • 2-3 spring onion bulbs
  • 4-5 tsp chopped spring onions (including the greens)
  • 2 medium sized tomato
  • 10-12 peppercorns
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 dry red chilis
  • 1 tsp oil
  • pinch of turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • additional spring onion bulb for garnishing

Preparation - Wash and soak the horsegram for 2-3 hours. 

Cooking - Cook it for 5-6 whistles in a pressure cooker along with 2-3 spring onion bulbs, tomatoes, salt, turmeric, peppercorn and 3 cups water. 

Once the steam escapes, open the lid and use a hand blender to puree the cooked lentils and tomatoes.

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the crushed garlic and whole dry red chilis. Once it is fragrant, remove the chilis.

Add the chopped spring onions and saute for 2-3 mins. Pour everything over the pureed ingredients.

Put the pressure cooker back on the flame and let it simmer for 5-6 mins (without lid) . Adjust the consistency by adding hot water and check for the salt.

Pour into serving bowls. Serve.




Dont forget to dunk in some sliced spring onions for extra flavour.
























Check this striking soup recipe by my amazing friend Parinaaz  who is a part of the ongoing Comforting Monsoon Broths Collaboration !! Don't forget to visit her blog - A Dollop Of That for some mouthwatering Parsi fare :).






















Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup



Monday, July 3, 2017

Methi Sagaw Tarkari ( Fenugreek leaves cooked with poppy seeds )

Fenugreek leaves are a boon for folks suffering from diabetes and high cholesterol. It is proven to improve the fasting blood sugar levels and reduce bad cholesterol deposits. But otherwise too, these aromatic leaves make for a delicious addition to various curries, stir fries and even breads. From the Jeera Aloo Methi to methi parathas, North Indians have their share of iconic recipes that make use of these leaves.

While fenugreek leaves were never a dominant ingredient in Odia cuisine, we have successfully adapted them to our style of cooking. The usual preparation is a simple stir fry with some vegetable like ridge gourd, aubergine or even finely chopped potato/tomato and a garnishing of crushed lentil badi (vadi). The other popular recipe is to make a semi-dry curry with a lentil like split moong dal.

However, very recently I came across this wonderful preparation that was shared by a blog subscriber who is also a childhood friend of mine. Coming from a family that does not permit onion/garlic in the kitchen, she often shares the most delicious 'niramish' or 'sattvik' recipes that I have come across. With her mom being a fabulous cook, some of these are preparations that are very exclusive to their home. And I actually feel very privileged when she shares something like this with me.

So, here is this fabulous 'Methi-Posto' recipe that I am sharing with her due permission -

















Preparation Time - 15-20 mins

Ingredients -
  • 2 cups Methi/fenugreek leaves (lightly packed
  • 1 medium sized tomato
  • 1 medium sized potato
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp mustard oil
  • 1-2 dry red chilis
  • 2 pinch pancha-phutana
  • salt to taste
  • a pinch of turmeric

Preparation - Wash and drain thefenugreek leaves.

Bring 4-5 cups of water to boil in a saucepan. Add a little salt to it.

Add the fenugreek leaves to the boiling water. Wait for 3-4 mins. Switch off the flame and strain the leaves.

Make a fine paste of the poppy seeds, cumin seeds and mustard seeds.

Chop the potatoes into thin long pieces. Cut the tomato into 4 halves.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok.

Add the pancha phutana and broken red chili.

Once they start spluttering, add the finely chopped potatoes. Fry on a low flame.

When the potatoes are half done, add the tomato. Sprinkle a little salt  and turmeric. Cover for 2 mins.

As the tomato softens, add the spice paste and cook for 3-4 mins.

Finally add the fenugreek leaves along with a little water. Adjust the salt.

Cook till the excess water is gone.

Switch off the flame.

Serve hot with white rice.



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Kahwa ( Kashmiri Green Tea )

There is something innately special about teatime rituals. Some find it therapeutic or rejuvenating, others use it as an opportunity to bond and a few like me consider it as sacred. For me, those 15 minutes in the morning when I take my first cuppa set the tone for the rest of the day. The morning breeze accompanied by a silence that is broken only by the fluttering of the pigeons helps me reach a state when I strike a conversation with my inner self. And on most days, it is the only cherished 'me' time that I can manage to find.

There is no denying that tea is akin to a holistic experience. But being the tea addict that I am, I end up trying various flavours of tea on a regular basis instead of sticking to one. Every time I visit a hill station or a shop that sells gourmet tea, I never forget to pick up a new blend. And it happens quite often that the half finished packets end up in a corner of the cupboard as I move on to a new blend.

Recently it was post on Pintrest that got me all excited about trying out Kahwa. While I did look up quite a few recipes on the net, this one comes straight from Sanjay Raina who runs Mealability that specializes in Kashmiri cuisine. I did not have the Kahwa green leaves in stock so made it with some green tea leaves that I had picked up from Coonoor . 

Read on -





Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients - 

  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp green tea leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 1 green cardamom
  • a few strands of saffron
  • a few slivers of almond

Preparation - Bring to water to a boil along with sugar and the spices. Let it simmer for 5-7 mins.

Rub the tea leaves gently between your palms before adding to the water. Remove from flame and let it steep for 2-3 mins.

Strain into cups. Add the almond slivers. 

Serve hot.






















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