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Friday, May 26, 2017

Kala Khatta (Jamun) Mojito

Black Plums or Jamuns may be not be considered in the same league as the venerated Mangoes, but this summer fruit packs in quite a punch. Both in terms of taste and nutrients. In fact, it is one fruit that can take care of most of the disorders that are associated with the consumption of excess mangoes. For example, stomach pain and diarrhea are readily cured by drinking the fruit juice or even chewing on the tender leaves !!

But the single most therapeutic property of this fruit is the ability to keep the blood sugar levels in check. A fact that has been exploited to the hilt by Patanjali which manufactures the 'Jamun Sirka', a product that flies off the shelves at an alarming rate. Even my diabetic MIL vouches for the effectiveness of this product. 

Today's recipe is all about a flavor derived from this fruit which I must have eaten by the kilos during my childhood days in Rourkela. The Java plum trees are naturally abundant in the hilly regions. The very popular 'kala khatta' is a mixture of black plum juice, a strong squeeze of lemon, a good dash of black salt and some sugar to balance it out. For something that is considered synonymous with the very pedestrian ice lollies, the Mojito is a much needed haute makeover for this crowd-favorite.

Read on for the recipe -

















Ingredients - 

  • 12 Ripe Black Plums (Jamuns)
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 tsp black salt
  • 4 tsp sugar syrup
  • chilled soda water
  • a mixture of red chili powder and salt for rimming the glasses ( 1:4 ratio )
  • 4 shot glasses
  • 2-3 sprig mint leaves

Preparation - Using a sharp knife, remove the flesh from the ripe fruits.

Cut the lemon into two halves and rub the half over the rim of the glasses. Dip the glasses in the salt and red chilli mixture. Let it dry for a few minutes. 

In each glass, put some fruit, mint leaves and black salt. Muddle it nicely with a muddler.

Add the lemon juice, sugar syrup and fill the rest with the soda water.

Garnish with mint leaves and lemon slices if desired.
























Serve immediately.



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Parwal ke Meethey Paan

Just a few days back, my Instagram account (@swetabiswal) crossed the 1K mark . Nothing great about the numbers when compared to successful Instagrammers yet it is a personal milestone which i felt like celebrating. And going by the Indian way, we celebrate special occasions with something sweet . "Kuch meetha ho jaye" is what we say.Around the same time, I was running out of ideas to use up a big batch of 'parwal' that had arrived from Odisha. After exhausting all the savory dishes, I decided to make something sweet of out this summer vegetable.

Parwal ka meetha is a kind of sweet made from pointed gourd. Very popular in the Northern parts of India, it is something delightful and different. But not as daringly different as I like. When it comes to experimental cooking, I love to break all the rules. Hence, a further twist to this already different recipe.

Combining the desserts and meetha paan into one, the 'Parwal ke meethey paan' is not just a complete dessert in itself but so refreshingly different. Plus it is easy to prepare and stays good for almost a week. Tastes best when served chilled so make sure to prepare a big batch in advance before inviting guests to your home.

Read on for the recipe -

















Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -
  • 10-12 Parwal/Potolo/Pointed Gourd
For stuffing -
  • 100 gm mawa
  • 1/2 cup mixed dry fruits 
  • 3 tsp gulkand 
  • 2 tsp mukhwas
  • 2-3 tsp tutti-frutti
For the syrup -
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3-4 betel leaves
  • few drops of edible green color
For final garnishing -
  • 2 tsp mukhwas
  • silver foil (optional)

Preparation - Peel the pointed gourd and make a slit along the length. Remove the pith.

Boil water in a saucepan. Once it gets to a full boil, dunk the pointed gourd and let it boil for 3 mins.

Around the same time, prepare the betel flavored sugar syrup. Take 3/4 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 4 betel leaves and the edible food color in a saucepan. Stir on a medium flame it the sugar is dissolved and the syrup thickens.

Strain the pointed gourd and add it to the flavored sugar syrup. Let it boil till soft. 

Remove from flame, strain the syrup and let the vegetables cool down. 

Put a non-stick pan on the burner. Add the crumbled mawa and keep stirring it constantly till it gets a brown hue.

Remove and mix in the rest of the ingredients (mentioned under stuffing).

Stuff a spoonful or so of the mixture into the parwal and garnish with mukhwas and/or silver foil.






















Put in the fridge for an hour or two.

Serve chilled .




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Zero Oil/Butter Shahi Paneer ( Zero Oil Series )

I am back after a hiatus with yet another worthy Zero Oil recipe ! Yes, I would to make it more frequent but it takes time and patience to perfect the formula. And that too with a energetic five year old running around. This time it is a vegetarian recipe as I have cut down on the intake of non-veg in my quest to lose weight and make my periods more regular. During my last chat with the gynec, I came to know that lifestyle is the primary reason why women suffer from PCOD and related problems. So, it is important to eat right and keep working out !

Shahi Paneer is a dish that instantly elevates the level of any meal . Though it is not a difficult dish to prepare, the richness and aromatic nature of the ingredients used makes it seem all the more special. While it definitely does not need the additional garnishing of fresh cream or butter that lots of restaurants love to put in, I went a step ahead and excluded the oil as well. And to keep those flavors intact during the cooking process, I choose to do it using the 'dum' method .

Read on for the recipe -


















Preparation Time - 40 mins

Ingredients -


  • 200 gm paneer (Cottage Cheese )
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 8 almonds
  • 1 tsp char magaz (melon seeds)
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • salt to taste


For marinating the paneer -


  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 pinch garam masala
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tsp milk

Preparation - Blanch and peel the almonds.

Take the red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the milk and make a paste. 

Cut the paneer into cubes or triangles and add to the bowl. Slather the marinade all over the paneer pieces. 

Cooking - Heat a nonstick skillet and add the whole spices. Roast till you get the aroma. Remove and keep aside.

Next add the chopped onion, ginger and garlic. Keep roasting on low till a little browning is to be seen and the raw smell goes off.

Transfer to a blender jar along with the roasted spices, almonds, poppy seeds and lemon seeds. Make a smooth paste out of the ingredients.

Now take the marinated paneer, onion paste, hung yogurt, saffron and kasuri methi in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and toss everything together. Add 2-3 tsp water if you think it looks too thick.

Transfer to a pot or handi ( I used an earthen one ) and seal the mouth with foil and dough.

Heat a tawa and place the sealed pot on it. Let it cook on really low flame for 20 mins.

Remove and let it stand for another 10 mins or till you need to serve it.

Open the foil and serve with steamed rice/jeera rice or naan !!























Friday, May 12, 2017

Butter Chicken Biryani

At first, I thought it to be a fluke. But now I am pretty sure that as Friday arrives, the withdrawal symptoms kick in. And before your imagination runs wild, I need to clarify that it is Biryani that I have on my mind. Maybe it is a psychological thing, but after slaving in the gym throughout the week, one tends to take it easy and indulge in a treat over the weekends.

When it comes to Biryani, I love experimenting with various ingredients and cooking styles. So while lots of folks may swear by a particular variety, I crave for a new variety everytime a visit a restaurant or outlet.

The Butter Chicken Biryani had been on my mind (and in the drafts) for sometime but with travel and a few things taking up my attention over the last few months, I had not been able to try it out. And I had almost forgotten about it but fate has a strange way of tempting one. Over a family lunch during the last weekend, one of my husband's cousin brought it up. The trigger was my special 'Zero Oil Butter Chicken' which has by now garnered quite a following . The conversation had it's effect on me and the  right combination of ingredients for the Butter Chicken Biryani was the last thing on my mind as I went to bed that night !

Now Butter Chicken is a relatively easy dish and does not require much effort if you take care to marinate it for sufficient time. I first prepared a batch of creamy butter chicken and then cooked the biryani using the 'dum' method which infuses the rice with the flavors of the chicken and the spices without coating each individual grain in a layer of masala. We like Biryani to be mildly spiced unless there are guests who prefer it otherwise.

Read on for the recipe -

















Preparation Time - 1 hour

For marination -


  • 300 gm chicken pieces
  • 4 tbsp thick yogurt
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 7-8 almonds ( 7-8 nos )
  • 2 green cardamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 2 pinch turmeric ( a pinch )
  • salt to taste

For cooking Butter Chicken :


  • 4-5 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 inch cube cooking butter
  • 2 tsp oil ( 1 tsp )
  • 1/5 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi 
  • 2 tsp honey 
  • salt


For the Biryani -


  • 2 cups of Basmati rice
  • 1/3 cup browned onion rings
  • 1/2 cup saffron infused milk
  • 2 tsp kasuri methi
  • finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 2-3 tsp slightly melted butter 


Preparation: Rub salt and turmeric on the chicken pieces and keep aside for 10 mins.

Grind the whole spices, almonds and tomatoes into a smooth paste. Add yogurt, chili powder, turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and blend for 5 secs. The marinade is now ready.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a large bowl. Pour the paste into the bowl and mix well. Keep aside for 1 hour.

Wash and soak the Basmati rice for 30 mins

Cooking: Heat the oil and cooking butter in a wok. Add the chopped onions and crushed garlic .Fry for 3-4 mins till the sides start turning brown.

Add the contents of the marination bowl. Stir fry for 10 mins. Rub the kasuri methi between your palms and add to the chicken along with 1 cup water. Simmer for 2 mins.

Remove from the stove and add the cream and the honey. Stir continuously for 2-3 mins. Allow to simmer for 5-6 mins or till the chicken is done.

While the chicken is cooking, bring water to boil in a large pan. Once it starts to bubble add the salt.

Strain the rice and add it to the boiling water. Let it cook till 75 percent done ( read the cooking duration mentioned on the packet which will give an idea ). Drain all the water.

Take a thick bottomed pot and rub butter on it's bottom and the sides. Take one third of the butter chicken and make the bottom layer. Spread one third of the rice and spread over it. Sprinkle some kasuri methi, browned onion, melted butter and a little milk.

Repeat this process with the remaining chicken and rice till you get six alternate layers of chicken and rice. Seal the vessel with a heavy lid and aluminium foil. Let it sit on a very low flame for 20 mins.

Remove and let it stand for 10-15 mins before opening.

Serve hot with raita.









Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Like Minds Eat/Share Together @ Plattershare (Plattershare Feedback Campaign)

When you have been blogging for a close to a decade, nothing surprises you any longer. Bloggers come and go, some reach new heights while other switch to new avenues. Somewhere in the last 2-3 years, I have been closely monitoring the emergence of many recipe sharing platforms or recipe aggregators as one calls them. And having been a part of quite a few of them, I know that they are doing really well and helping people pursue their passion for cooking/food.














But working with Plattershare has proved to be something else ! Well I can say that because I have had the opportunity to interact with Kirti Yadav (one of the two founders) more than a few times. Take passion and cross it with vision. That's a deadly cocktail one would say. But I can safely say that it sounds more like her. From spotting food trends to cherry picking cooking talent for Plattershare, she does it all with a smile. God knows how she manages it with a kid ( I know that from my personal interactions with her which make really me feel like a team member ). She is a great inspiration and I loved the way she kept motivating and driving me as worked on a story for Black rice and it's recipes.

The best thing that attracts me to Plattershare has got to be the 'Food stories' because at times just a picture of a recipe is just not enough ! One likes to read a bit of history or something more that stimulate the grey cells. The second thing is the neatly structured recipes that come with a rating. Like all good cookbooks, they mention the preparation/cooking time and servings. A definite boon when planning for a party or gathering.

And finally, it has to be the overall structure of the website that reminds me of my favorite social media platform. One can just post a pic, add a recipe or when feeling more inspired, go for a full length story. And that kind of variety makes the browsing part rather interesting !

Does something so good needs to be bettered ? Well, when necessity fuels invention, one might build the refrigerator but when ambition fuels inventions one ends up with dreamy stuff like an ice-cream sundae !! So, why not !

The first thing that comes to my mind is related to regional cuisine. A basic search feature that allows one to search recipes by region/state/country may sound elementary but it is really useful for people who are new to cooking to want to explore recipes by region.

The second useful feature that I can think of is to have a separate tag/section for 'signature recipes', recipes that are exclusively developed by a particular chef/blogger. The biggest irritant that I have faced during my blogging days is that of plagiarism. And I sincerely hope that Plattershare does something about it !

Being on Plattershare has been a wonderful experience in every way.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Biryani Arancini with Burrani Dip ( Indo-Intalian fusion )

IMP - This i an original recipe created by the blogger and has been published for the first time on Oriyarasoi. 

The crafty Italians make Arancini from any leftover risotto. Makes complete sense given that the risotto itself is a labor of one's love. Throwing away such deliciousness is sheer criminal offence. So, shouldn't we take a cue from these people and give a makeover to one of India's most loved dishes. The biryani is something that takes much time and effort so there is no reason why any excess should be disposed off in an disrespectful fashion.

Hence was born the 'Biryani arancini'! A dish so delicious that it would win the approval of the Italians itself. After the superb success of the savory Panna cotta in three typical Indian flavors, I have added yet another signature dish to my name. Mama mia !! I should have been born an Italian . Or at least married one. On second thoughts, I am happy that the second option did not materialize. Coz the Italian MIL could purportedly given a run to her Indian counterpart when it comes to the 'saas-bahu' melodrama bit. Gawd !!!

But coming back to the recipe, the Biryani arancini is simple to prepare. Since it is already loaded with beautifully aromatic spices, it does not require any additional spices. It is just needs to be shaped into balls, dipped in egg wash and rolled in bread crumbs before being dunked into hot oil. And instead of serving it with Arrabiata that usually goes with the crunchy Arancini balls, just whip up a pretty elementary but incredibly flavorsome Burrani dip ( inspired by the Burrani raita ofcourse ).  A win-win situation !!

Read on for the recipe -















Preparation Time - 15-20 mins

Ingredients -

For the arancini -

  • 2 cups chicken biryani
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated mozarella 
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 pinch salt 
  • 8-10 peppercorns ( freshly ground )
  • oil for deep frying


For the Burani Dip -

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 pinch roasted cumin
  • 2 pinch red chili powder (optional)
  • black salt 
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Preparation - Remove any bones from the chicken pieces and shred them into smaller bits. 

If any whole spices (like cardamom, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, etc) are present in the rice, they too need to be removed.

Break the egg into a bowl, add the salt and beat it gently.

Take the rice in a mixing bowl. Add the mozzarella and half of the beaten egg. Mix together. 

Scoop out small amounts of the rice mixture, press into a compact mass and shape into balls. 

Roll each ball in the flour, then dunk into the egg wash ( add the powdered peppercorn to it before doing so ) and finally roll over the bread crumbs to form a uniform layer.

Repeat the same process with the remaining rice mixture.

To make the dip, take all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix together. Let it stand for 15-20 mins for the garlic flavor to infuse into the yogurt. 

Pass the yogurt through a sieve to make a smooth creamy dip.

Cooking - Heat the oil and gently place 2-3 arancini balls in it at a time to prevent overcrowding and to allow the balls to cook uniformly.

Cook on medium flame for about 4 minutes each. A crunchy brown layer should form all over.

Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.







































Serve immediately with the Bhoorani dip.



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Adai Burgers with Vegan Soya Pattice ( Healthy Breakfast Recipe )

April was a very hectic month for me as I spent close to three weeks travelling and taking care of guests. Needless to say my workout routine went for a toss. But I have been staying true to my diet chart ( the mental one ofcourse ) with very few exceptions. Now that things have finally settled down, I am putting in a bit of extra effect to make up for the exercise that I skipped during the past weeks. And to make it more effective, I have made a few simple (but minor) changes in my meals. 
Less of carbs and more of protein is one. It is actually simpler than it looks (do check out my Instagram @swetabiswal to find out how I manage it !!). The other one is more important given that one tends to feel drained out during the summers. Lighter and more frequent meals keep one feeling energetic throughout the day and ensure that the metabolism does not slow down.
So, when Plattershare and FarmzToFamiliez came up with this #breakfastmarathon as part of 
Belly Nirvana, it got me all excited. Out of the many 'Ready to Prepare' variants that were delivered at my doorstep, one was a Multi-dal (Adai) batter. For those who are unaware, Adai is a kind of dosa where the proportion of lentils is higher as compared to rice. Hence, these are higher in protein and make for a more filling breakfast.
I have transformed the high protein adai batter into delicious burger buns and a mildly spiced soya (made from soya chunks) pattice completes it . Some tomato slices, onions, lettuce and a dash of pungent mustrad sauce adds to the feeling of Nirvana !

Read on for the recipe - 

















Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients - 
  • 2 cups FarmztoFamiliez Adai (Multi-Dal) batter
  • 1 cup soya chunks
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 tsp chopped mint leaves
  • 1 large onion ( sliced into long pieces )
  • 1 small boiled potato (or boiled raw banana)
  • salt to taste

For assembling the burger - 

  • 2 tomatoes ( cut into thin round slices )
  • few lettuce leaves
  • 2 tsp mustard sauce
  • onion rings 

Preparation - Mix a little salt in the adai batter and keep it aside.

Cooking - Cook the soya chunks and squeeze out all water from them. Blend into a paste in a mixer jar along with the red chili powder, garam masala, ginger garlic paste, boiled potato, mint leaves, coriander leaves and salt.

Divide the soya mixture into 4 equal portions. Shape each one into a disc.

Heat a large tawa or skillet. Pour small amounts of adai batter to make the buns. Drizzle a little oil on the sides . Once it turns a light brown, flip over and cook on the other side as well.

The soya pattice can be cooked simultaneously. Once it is a little firm and brown on one side, press the onion slices on the uncooked side before flipping over. Let it brown on the other side as well.

Remove the adai buns and pattice from the tawa.

Assemble the burger by placing a soya pattice over a adai bun. Top with tomato slices, lettuce leaves, raw onions and a dash of mustard sauce. Close with another bun.
























Serve immediately. Enjoy !!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Israeli (Pearl) Couscous Salad

Considered as the spiritual home of the Jews, Israel is one of the more westernized countries of the middle east with a high life expectancy and enviable standards of living. The latter fact hardly strikes one as surprising given that the 'typical Jewish trader' has been the immortalized in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. While the 'Shylock' stereotype is quite too extreme, no one denies the business acumen of their tribe. And it makes for good reading too.

But we will save all that hard work for another day because it is the former that has got me all pumped up. The fitness freak in me has been reading a lot into the 'high life expectancy' part of it. Though I clearly do not wish to live up to a hundred years, I want to lead a life free from the lifestyle ailments that affect most of the adult Indian population. So, if taking a leaf out of another culture is going to help me deal with it, I will not mind doing it ! Ofcourse, we can take a lot of cues from Ayurveda or even our grannies notebook. And while I am a strong believer in the effectiveness of our inherited wisdom, I am not blind to a fault. I keep making efforts to augment it in every possible way.

Israeli food comprises of the usual Middle east suspects like Hummus, Msabbah, Falafel, Shakshouka and Couscous . The regular spices used are paprika, turmeric, cumin, thyme, salt, zaatar and even sesame seeds. Herbs like Parsley and cilantro are also popular. Sounds too good, doesn't it ? Not much of shopping to be done if one wants to enjoy some nice warm Israeli food this weekend !!

But if you not much of a weekend cook and would rather prefer to recharge your batteries, this is just the kind of recipe that you would savour. Assembling this easy-peasy Israeli Couscous salad is a child's play ( you still need to cook the couscous and chop the vegetables ). It is important to remember that Israeli couscous or pearl couscous takes more time to cook as compared to the other varieties that might just need soaking in hot water.

Read on for the recipe -














Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous (pearl couscous)
  • 1 cup boiled chickpeas ( or canned ones )
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 small red onion ( chopped into small pieces )
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mozarella (chopped into pea sized bits)
  • 3 tsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley ( I substitute it with cilantro for my fussy kid )
  • 7-8 toasted and chopped almonds ( for a nice crunch )
  • salt to be added while cooking the couscous
  • 1/2 tsp oil to be added while cooking the couscous

For the vinaigrette -

  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar ( or just use more of lemon juice )
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika 
  • salt 


Preparation - Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil in a saucepan. Add the salt and olive oil.

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

Uncover and fluff it up using a fork.

Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar, cumin powder, smoked paprika and salt in a cup.

Assembling - Take all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl.

Drizzle the vinaigrette, sprinkle the herbs and toss it all into one delicious salad !!














Hey, isn't this recipe just the thing you need for the hot summers :) :) :) .




















I am grabbing a bowl, what are you waiting for ??

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Steamed Veggie Appams ( Collaboration with Plattershare & FarmztoFamiliez )

A great day begins with a great breakfast ! For someone like me, it is the most important meal of the day as I really get hungry in the morning. And any compromise on the quality/quantity has serious ramifications like dizziness ( due to low sugar levels ), migraine and even acid reflux. That is apart from struggling with low energy levels throughout the day.

But making a hearty breakfast for the family takes time and one tends to neglect doing it during the morning rush. That is when the 'Ready to Prepare' products like FarmztoFamiliez which their wide range of traditional batters come into the picture. They are specially designed to ease out the congestion in our everyday routine without computerizing on health and nutrition.

These easy to prepare 'Steamed Veggie Appams' is prepared from the FarmztoFamiliez 'Ready to Prepare' Appam batter that was delivered to me in collaboration with Plattershare. Freshly ground and free from preservatives, it has all the goodness and taste that one expects from a home made one. While it certainly delivers those crispy and perforated appams, I choose to make a healthier version by mixing it with veggies and steaming it.

Read on for the recipe -

















Preparation Time - 35 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cup appam batter
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables cut into small pieces ( broccoli, carrot, beans ) 
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 small onion 
  • 1/3 inch ginger (grated) 
  • 2 garlic cloves (grated) 
  • 1 chopped green chili (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp thick coconut milk 
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper powder 
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp canola oil


Preparation - Adjust the consistency of the appam batter by adding salt, sugar and the coconut milk. (One can also add a little water instead of the coconut milk if required)

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add the chopped onions, green chili, ginger and garlic.
Saute till raw smell goes off.


Add the chopped vegetables along with the curry leaves. Sprinkle a little salt and cook till half done.
Add the white pepper powder and mix. Remove and keep aside.

Switch on the stove . Put water in the steamer and get it to a boil.

Take a steamer plate and pour half of the appam batter over it. Spread the veggies in a uniform layer. Top with the remaining appam batter.

Let it cook for about 15 mins or till firm.

Remove from the steamer and let it come down to room temperature .

Cut into pieces and serve with tea and chutney / ketchup or even just as it is .


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sankha Saru Tarkari ( Arbi cooked with tomatoes and lentil dumplings )

Taro (Arbi) or Saru is perhaps one of the most widely consumed vegetables in Odisha and finds it's way into a variety of dishes like dalma, santula, besara and ghanta. Though used in a smaller proportion as compared to other vegetables, it lends a thick consistency and sweetness to the curry. Upon being thoroughly cooked, the vegetable turns sticky and this kind of binds the lentils and vegetables together. This is why one should not add too much of this vegetable to any curry as one does not want to end up with a sticky gloopy mess.

But apart from the culinary aspect, this is one vegetable that boasts of multiple health benefits. It is easy on the digestive system, controls sugar levels, boosts the immune system and even speeds up the blood circulation. No wonder this vegetable is widely used during the fasting period of Navratri and even the  'no onion no garlic' days which are an integral part of the Hindu culture.

In Odisha, the taro plant along with the plantain, used to be an integral part of every garden/backyard in earlier days. The tubers used to be harvested only after the plants died off naturally (else they tend to be itchy) and then stored for use throughout the year. My parents still grow taro in our garden though not in very large quantity. It is enough to last us a few months. The 'Sankha saru' is a relatively larger variety of Taro and is so called as the shape resembles a conch. Apart from being used in the regular Odia dishes, it is often dipped in a rice batter and pan fried. But at times, when the vegetable supply dries up, as it usually does during the summer months, it is made into a light curry with some tomatoes, badi (lentil dumplings) and a light mustard gravy.

Read on for the recipe -

















Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 200 gm Taro cubes
  • 2 medium sized country tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a small onion
  • 1 dry red chili
  • 2 pinch mustard seeds
  • 2 pinch turmeric powder
  • a handful of badi ( dried lentil dumplings ) 
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • salt to taste

For the mustard paste -

  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 dry red chilis
  • 2-3 garlic flakes 

Preparation - Grind the mustard seeds, garlic and red chili into a fine paste.

Cooking - Heat 2 tsp oil in a wok. Add the badi and fry on a low flame till they start turning red. Remove and keep aside.

Add the remaining oil to the same wok. Once hot, add the mustard seeds and broken red chili. Once the seeds start spluttering, add the coarsely chopped onion.

Once onion turns translucent, add the chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle a little salt over them and cover with a lid for 2 mins to soften them.

Remove the lids and smash the tomatoes. Cook for another 2-3 mins .

Dissolve the mustard paste in 1 cup water and pour slowly into the wok . This ensures that the sediments of the mustard paste do not go into the curry and turn it bitter.

Now add the taro cubes, slat and turmeric. Cover with a lid till just cooked. Do not overcook as they will turn sticky.

Crush the badi lightly and add to the curry jsut before removing it from the flame.

Taro tends to absorb water and so does the lentil dumplings. So do not worry if there is any excess liquid remaining.

Serve at room temperature with steamed rice or even pakhala.



Sunday, April 9, 2017

Blueberry and Mango Iced Tea

The scorching summers are tough for tea addicts like me ! We want our favorite brew and then end up feeling hot after a cup or two. Drinking the regular variety holds no charm if it is no longer steaming. So, the best solution is to go for iced ones with or without some kind of fruit in it.

While I do love the lemon iced tea that they used to serve at CCD, i prefer making my own brew these days. There is no harm in pampering oneself, isn't it ? I love to have mine in a tall glass while being propped up on a comfy sofa and flipping through a book. Or still better with a couple of friends.

There are just endless options of the things you can add to the iced teas. But my favorite turns out to be the kind of summer fruits. Yes, it is the mango which I love to infuse into my cold tea. Along with a couple of blueberries to amp up the charm. Wont u love to try some ? It is a pretty simple one too !!

Read on for the recipe -





















Ingredients -

  • 1 tsp tea leaves ( enough for 2 ppl )
  • 300 ml mango juice
  • sugar syrup as per taste
  • chopped mangoes
  • blueberries ( use fresh if available )
  • ice cubes 

Preparation - Steep the tea leaves along with 2 cups of water for 4-5 mins in a glass kettle .  Drain carefully into a flask and pop it into the fridge.

Once the tea is cool, remove the flask from the fridge.

Assembly - Pour some mango juice and sugar syrup into the glasses. Top it with the chilled tea.

Garnish with the mango cubes, blueberries and ice cubes.

Serve immediately.





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