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Monday, November 30, 2015

Green Papaya Laddoos (SugarFree recipe)

Mom is undoubtedly the dessert specialist at home. God forbid, if she takes to blogging, she could give a lot of folks a run for their money and have me running out of ideas which I generously borrow from her. At times it seems to me that she manages to concoct sweets out of thin air. And since she is hale and hearty (touch wood), she is least bothered with controlling her sugar intake and other such low priority things like counting calories and weight management that are always on top of my list. "For the current generation, everything is just about numbers ", she exclaims while dismissing my worries.

Anyways when she told me about these green papaya laddoos, I could not resist pulling her leg. "Mummy, why can't you go for cheaper options like besan and suji ? Veggies have become so costly these days !! If I start using them in desserts, what will I cook for the main course ?", I told her in jest. And pat comes the reply "But they taste so good. Why cook sabzi ? Have them with parathas or puris". Another oil/calorie guzzler is the last thing on earth that I would want to rendezvous with. So, I decided to keep my mouth shut and think of ways in which I could replicate the same but without copious amount of sugar. Will the laddoos bind correctly if I skip the sugar? I decided to increase the milk content and replace the sugar with Sugarfree Nature pellets which I always keep at hand as my MIL is a diabetic.

The recipe turned out to be just fine and the laddoos tasted delicious. Read on for this yummy recipe that will have you eating your laddoos without actually turning into one ( excuse the bad PJ ) -

Preparation Time - 45 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1/2 kg green papaya
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 15-16 sugarfree pellets
  • 2 pinch saffron
  • 2 pinch powdered cardamom
  • 10 cashews

Preparation - Peel and grate the green papaya.

Soak the saffron in 2-3 tsp warm milk.

Cooking - Heat the ghee in a thick bottomed wok. Add the cashews and fry till they turn golden. remove from the wok and keep aside.

Add the grated papaya and fry for 8-9 mins on medium flame or till the moisture is almost gone.

Add the milk along with the sugarfree pellets. Rub the soaked saffron strands with your fingers and add it to the same wok. Cook on medium to low flame till all the moisture evaporates and the mixture starts to leaves the sides of the wok.

Add the cardamom powder and mix in.

Allow it to cool down till it is bearable to touch.

Divide into 10-12 portions. Rub ghee on palms and shape each one portion into a laddoo. Press one cashew into each one.

Allow to cool down completely before serving.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Godrej Interior Bloggers Meet @ Bengaluru (Cuisine Regale )


            Chef Ranveer Brar showcases food art at the launch of Cuisine Regale

A lifestyle modular kitchen gallery brand by Godrej


Bangalore, Tuesday, November 24th: Leading celebrity Chef, Ranveer Brar, was in Bangalore for
the launch of Cuisine Regale, a lifestyle modular kitchen gallery brand introduced by Godrej.
The celebrated evening, hosted by Mr. Anil Mathur, COO, Godrej Interio, witnessed architects,
interiors, food bloggers in the city come together for a confluence of food, art and interiors.

In line with the brand’s promise to create experiences that go beyond the boundaries of the
traditional kitchen space, Chef Ranveer Brar created spectacular food art that blended with the
interior themes of each kitchen configuration in this brand new gallery. A unique proposition
that stands apart from all other international and local brands in this space, Cuisine Regale is
built on anthropometric, ergonomics and our consumers cooking styles. From creating
interesting consumer touchpoints in the galleries, to expert guidance by designers to building
solutions for kitchens including appliances & accessories, as well as complete turnkey kitchen
solutions, Cuisine Regale is the destination for all who aspire to create spaces that treat family
and friends, have finer tastes, seeks products which serve multiple needs and loves to build

Spread over 2,000 sq.ft, the newly launched store in Indira Nagar will currently showcase three
range of kitchen furnishing namely, Christened Glacier, Neue and Melange — all of which will
cater to the distinct requirements of consumers making cooking more enjoyable

Celebrating this confluence of food, art and interiors, Chef Ranveer Brar said, “Feeling good is
very important in creating good food and kitchen spaces that make us feel good add to the
process of creativity and engages everyone in the home. Cuisine Regale provides the kind of
kitchen spaces that are ergonomically designed and help bring out interactivity and allows us to
de-stress in the kitchen”

NOTE - The press note and images are provided by the brand PR.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Moudardara ( The Lebanese version of Khichdi )

I love rice varieties and when I chanced upon this amazing recipe on the show Vickypedia hosted on Living Foodz channel, I knew that I just had to give it a try ! And while it took time and patience to ready this khichdi, it turned out to be one sparkler of a dish. The richness of the caramelized onions, the aroma of Basmati rice, the luxurious fragrance of saffron coupled with the nutrition from a medley of pulses make it a wholesome choice for one pot meals !

One word about the texture though. As Moudardara essentially means scattered, it is more like a biryani rather than being mushy like a khichidi. So, do not go overboard with the water and the stirring. Remember that we an always add a little bit of moisture whenever needed.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 40-45 mins

Ingredients -
  • 1 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cup mixed lentils ( I used kidney beans, red lentils and horsegram )
  • 2 medium sized onions (sliced finely)
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp all spice powder
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp EVOO
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 pinch saffron

Preparation - Wash and soak the lentils overnight.

Crush the cumin and peppercorn into a coarse mix. Soak the saffron in the warm milk.

Cooking - Cook the lentils in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles. They should be just cooked and firm to touch. Drain the excess water but do not throw it away.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the onions and fry on low heat till they turn brown. Remove half of these onions from wok and keep aside.

Add the washed rice, cooked lentils, crushed spices, all spice and salt to the same wok. Mix together and cook for 2-3 mins till the rice grains are well coated with oil.

Add the drained water from the lentils and some more such that it just stands a few millimeters above the rice.

Bring to a boil and then let it simmer while covered till rice is almost done. Stir gently once or twice during the cooking.

Add the saffron along with the milk. Cook till the excess moisture disappears.

Mix in the remaining caramelized onions.

Serve with plain yogurt or a raita.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Amaranth Anjeer aur Khajoor ke Laddoo

After all that fasting and feasting (aka Navratri and Diwali), I was left with still unused Amaranth flour and lads of dry fruits. I was wondering what to do with all that stuff, when I chanced upon a recipe that used amaranth grains to make laddoos. I though I could replicate the same with amaranth flour. Instead of sugar or jaggery, I opted dates and dried figs as the sweetening agent. The result was a delicious and very nutritional recipe.

Read on -

Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 cups amaranth flour (Rajgire ka atta)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped figs
  • 3-4 tsp ghee
  • a handful of raisins
  • chopped dry fruits (optional)

Preparation - Heat a heavy bottomed wok. Add the ghee to it followed by the amaranth flour. Roast till it turns a few shades darker and the smell changes. 

Remove from wok and keep aside.

Add the dates and figs to the same wok along with a few teaspoons of water. Once it turns into a thick liquid, add the roasted amaranth flour and raisins.

Mix for 2-3 mins.

Remove and keep aside till it is tolerable to touch. 

Grease your palms. Take small portions and roll into laddoos. 

Allow to cool down completely before storing in a airtight container. Stays good for 2-3 weeks.

Note - These laddoos taste better when consumed after a day.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Mommy's guide to Baby Skincare !

"Smooth as a baby's bottom". Most of us have heard this repeated many a times. But not all are aware of what it takes to keep it as such. Baby skin is very sensitive and delicate. It demands frequent hydration and yet too much of moisture can cause it to get irritated. Hence one needs to strike a comfortable balance to keep it at its softest best. Cleanliness is another important factor that needs to be taken care of but remember 'less is more' when using skincare products.

Image : naturalchildworld.com

Here are a few tips from a mommy's diary -

1. Bathing time - Babies are not pets and hence one does not need to spend hours to get them all squeaky clean. Too much water can actually dry out the baby's skin and so can a soap/shampoo meant for adults. Use a very gentle pH balanced cleanser for baby and never ever rub the delicate skin.

Apply baby lotion on still wet skin right after the bath and pat it dry. Dust all over with a gentle baby powder or even corn flour ( use only organic and 100 % pure ) to absorb excess moisture.

2. Clothe them right - Smooth and breathable cotton fabrics are best for the baby. But make sure that you wash and disinfect them before use. Baby clothes need to be washed separately from that of other family members and preferably using a fragrance free liquid detergent.

3. Diapers - It is the wetness from a soiled diaper that is the most frequent cause of distress to a baby. Diapers need to be of a good quality, have great absorbency and elasticity while retaining a feather soft feel that does not irritate baby skin. Gel based diapers with added features like a inner lining of baby lotion with aloe vera are the best choice.

When changing a diaper, it is best to clean the area with water and a gentle soap. Sometimes, the perfume or other additives in wipes can irritate the skin, so going natural is best. Allow for natural drying instead of rubbing the tender skin with a towel. Finally apply a layer of Vaseline or any petroleum jelly and put on a fresh diaper.

Image : makeitbliss.com

4. Say 'No' to strong scents - Babies smell great even by themselves. And scented products can actually irritate skin or aggravate dryness. Some of these products could also cause respiratory distress to the baby hence it is best to stay away from such products until the baby is about two years old.

This is especially important to follow if the parents have a history of skin diseases, allergy or asthma.

5. Sun protection - Babies love going out and exploring the world. The social stimulus actually helps to develop their brains. Once your baby takes to his knees it is good to expose him to the outer world but without exposing his skin to the harmful UV rays.

Baby sunscreens should come recommended by the pediatrician. But even when using a broad spectrum sunscreen, it is best to keep the baby out of the sun from 11 am to 3 pm.

This post is written for Pampers. 
Pampers brings you the softest ever Pampers Premium Care Pants. Its cotton-like softness is #SoftestForBabySkin and allows it to breathe, thus keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy, and your baby happy.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Empowering a Smarter India !!

If I had to explain the way smartphone technology has changed India, I would put it as 'it has done away with the digital divide', a fact endorsed by a majority of the rapidly growing e-commerce companies. While more than 50 percent of their business comes from the tier II and tier III cities, e-commerce giants like Flipkart and Amazon reportedly state that this segment is their the fastest growing customer base. As a blogger, I have noticed a huge change in the geographical distribution of my audience over the last seven years. While most of the blog traffic was from laptops and mobiles formed only a minuscule segment around 2010, now the lion's share of my blog traffic comes from handheld devices like smartphones.  Does want any more proof ?

Image : ecampusnews.com

With more and more people in the smaller cities/towns getting access to cheaper smartphones powered by Android, the league of people who prefer to shop from the comfort of their homes is swelling dramatically. But it is not just the online shopping which has revolutionized the lives of these people. Many an enterprising youngsters are honing their skills by enrolling in the online education programs. And as I found out recently, a particularly talented young lady along with a handful of good tailors has set up her own boutique and does a fantastic job of replicating Bollywood styles even as the first images are uploaded to cyberspace or the trailers are released on YouTube. Apart from ensuring a good income for herself an her motley team, she helps the young girls around her stay fashionable without spending a bomb. Thanks to entrepreneurs like her, many a Kavyas do not have to rush to Delhi to buy that exclusive wedding lehenga. If case you are confused, I am referring to this Bollywood movie with Alia Bhatt as the female lead who goes to Delhi to make some moolah for buying a Kareena Kapoor lehenga.

With octacore processors making for longer battery life, people living in the smaller towns and villages will find it convenient to surf uninterrupted for longer duration. It is also a blessing for people who commute to work or study. This time can be well utilized in catching up on work related stuff or learning some new topics. And with the availability of 4G, downloads are quick and, video chats and conferences can be carried out over real time. The boom in the number of startups, most of which are app-driven is proof enough that the younger generation is hooked on to smartphones and is out to make the most out of it.

Knowledge is empowering. And smartphones are the way to go as the youth of the nation has aptly demonstrated.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Roasted Tomato Salsa ( aka Bilati Baigana poda from Odisha )

Bah. That's too glam a name for something as rustic as the 'Bilati baigana poda' or 'Tamatar Poda'. Yup, that's what we call this dish which originated in the rural kitchens of Odisha, one of the most backward states of India. Then why on earth am I calling it a salsa ? First it shares a helluva lot of resemblance with this Mexican delight . Second, I believe in free speech . I think, Therefore I am. Get the drift.

Coming to the authentic recipe, the tomatoes are usually roasted in the dying embers of a wood fired stove or 'chulah' as we call it in India. But most of us have done away with the cumbersome (and also polluting contraception). Hence it makes sense to roast them on a gas burner using a grill or just pop them into the oven ( low heat for 10 mins and turn up to get them blackened on the outside).

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 large ripe tomato
  • 1 medium sized red onion ( finely chopped )
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed)
  • 1-2 green chilis (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp mustard oil 
  • 1 tsp coarsely chopped cilantro
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Roast the tomato till the outer skin is blackened. Allow it to rest for a few mins.

Peel it carefully and chop it up into chunks.

Throw into a mixing bowl and toss in the other ingredients. Mix and keep aside for a few mins.

Enjoy as a dip or with white rice.

Note - Generally all the ingredients are mashed together with bare hands. But I have used a knife and spoon for the sake of hygiene.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Lesson Well Taught ( Amazon Card Giveaway ) !!

There is a very thin line that differentiates good from great. And one comes across such great people once or maybe twice in a lifetime. However, when we do come across them, they leave an lasting impression on us. Such was the influence of Mr J, my ex-manager on me. A leader who led by example and inspired his team to attain seemingly unattainable goals, he had a way of making each one of us feel (and also perform) like a rock-star. After all, it is tough to remain untouched by such a persona, and especially when one is closely associated with the former.

Image credits : lifecreationsofficial.wordpress.com

A simple guy at heart, who loved metal and travelling when he was not busy with his coding marathons, he believed in achieving excellence in whatever he dabbled in. Yet he remained humble and down to earth inspite all the accolades that were heaped on him. Happy to bask in the reflected glory of the team's success, he taught us the delicate art of delegation and the importance of acknowledging everyone's contribution without hogging too much of the limelight. What made him stand out was the fact that he was the very embodiment of a team player and yet much more.

Keeping the communication lines open at all times to ensure transparency, build trust and keep things on track was one of his strengths as we worked on a global delivery model. Each one of the team members was given a task suitable to our skills and realistic expectations were set that just about pushed the bar a little higher each time. This ensured that everyone remained happy and motivated. He was also ready to provide hands-on support in achieving a particularly tough target.

And somewhere in the midst of all this madness, he would make time for his family. Work life balance remained his priority and he sent a clear message to the team that one needs to draw a firm line at some point. Individuals are more than just resources on a 'HR payroll' and this is a fact that needs to be respected. Driven by dedication and conviction (and of-course backed by sheer talent), he was clearly the role model for his team and for the organization in general.

Each lesson that I learnt while observing him is something that I will be utilize at any point and in any kind of setup. Whether it be a corporate setup or a rural development program, these are lessons that can be implemented anywhere as it involves people and the values that one espouses.

That's why when I read about Tata Motors association with Lionel Messi, I could not help but compare these two individuals who are "#madeofgreat" stuff. Mr J was (and remains) the ideal brand ambassador for his organization in every sense of the word just as Messi's admirable traits make him the ideal fit for Tata Motors.

Now for the most important question that can win a Rs 750 Amazon voucher for you. "What do you think of Tata Motor's association with Lionel Messi ?" Post your comments about the global icon who blends in beautifully with the values that form the DNA of Tata Motors.

The best answer will win a Amazon voucher.

This post is written for #madeofgreat campaign by Tata Motors.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Masale-wali Mathri ( And a very Happy Diwali )

Oriyarasoi wishes all its readers a Very Happy Diwali !! May the festival of lights spread the holy light and eliminate the shadows of darkness from your lives !! [ I take this opportunity to thank you people for my FB page has recently crossed 5000 likes. Not a huge number but it seems special as I am a late entrant on the social media bandwagon. And Oriyarasoi is now on Instagram as 'Swetabiswal'. Please follow me for some interesting shares.]

Festival time is the time to give in to all sorts of cravings. And the spate of bad weather in Blore has only increased my desire to munch on various kinds of 'Namkeen' or savoury snacks while sipping endless cups of 'Adrak-wali' chai (ginger tea).

I was first introduced to Mathri during my stay in Pune. My room-mate had a special weakness for fried stuff like Laccha, Bhakarwadi and ofcourse the Mathri. Though I found it to be somewhat oily, I loved snacking on it occasionally. Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 45 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup maida ( refined flour )
  • 1 cup atta ( whole wheat flour )
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1/4 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • oil for deep frying

Preparation - Take the maida, atta and baking powder in a big bowl. Add the hot ghee to it. Rub it into the flour so that the texture resembles bread crumbs. This will take about 5 mins.

Then add the crushed peppercorn, carom seeds and kasuri methi to it. Sprinkle salt as per taste. Mix in. Add warm water little by little and knead into a tight dough.

Smear the dough with a few drops of oil. Cover and keep aside for 5 mins.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok.

Roll out the dough into a thick circle ( about 2 mm thickness ). Take the cap of a bottle and cut out small circles ( abt 3 cm in diameter ). Pierce holes into the circles with a fork.

Add 4-5 circles to the hot oil and fry till light brown on both sides. Take out and place on paper napkins.

Repeat for the remaining dough.

Once the mathri had cooled down completely, store it in airtight containers.

Note - This recipe will yield about 30-32 pieces.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Badam Phirni ( Diwali Collaboration with A Dollop Of That! )

The next recipe that I am sharing for the Diwali series is a rich creamy dessert from North India. Known as the phirni, it is basically rice paste cooked in saffron-cardamom flavoured milk and loaded with nuts. While I would have loved to do an Odia recipe (as some of you had requested), I am running short on time and energy as the vacations have started for my kid.

I picked this recipe as it reminds me of yet another Odia recipe known as the 'Gaintha' or 'Attakali'. It is a slightly rustic recipe that is made out of rice paste which is first cooked into a solid mass, broken down into small balls and then cooked in cardamom-peppercorn flavoured milk. To me, phirni always seems to a more glamorized version of the Attakali. My phirni recipe is a slightly more nuttier and richer version of the regular one as I have added almond paste to it while cooking.

Read on for the recipe - ( And do not forget to scroll down to the bottom of this post for another surprise by Parinazz of A Dollop of that !)

Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 5 heaped tbsp of any fragrant rice ( Basmati /Jeera/GobindoBhog )
  • 1/2 liter + 2/3 cup milk
  • 15-16 almonds
  • 4 heaped tsp sugar ( as per taste )
  • 2 pinch saffron strands
  • a pinch of cardamom powder
  • pistachios for garnishing
  • rose petals for garnishing

Preparation - Wash and soak the rice for 2-3 hours. Grind into a smooth paste with 3-4 tsp milk. Dissolve in another 1/2 cup of milk.

Soak the almonds in hot water for 1 hour. Remove and peel them. Grind into a smooth paste with 2-3 tsp milk.

Soak saffron strands in 3-4 tbsp hot milk.

Cooking - Heat a wide mouthed nonstick saucepan. Add 4-5 tbsp water to it. This prevents milk from sticking to bottom and getting burnt.

Pour in the milk and bring it to boil on medium flame. Let it reduce by 1/3 rd.

Pour in the rice paste and cook with continuous stirring (preferably using a whisk) to prevent the formation of lumps. Do this for 7-8 mins. The mixture will become thick and take a creamy texture.

Then pour in the saffron milk (just remember to rub the strands with your fingers to get a deeper colour), sugar, almond paste and cardamom powder. Cook for 3-4 mins while stirring continuously.

Remove from the flame. Pour it into the serving bowls and pop it into the fridge.

Garnish with saffron strands, pistachios and rose petals. Serve chilled.

Do not forget to check out these interesting recipes too !!

Parinaaz's - Kesar Pista Biscuits

Friday, November 6, 2015

Chuda Ghasa Parfait ( Diwali Recipes Collaboration )

Its time to begin the festivities as the 'Festival of lights' is literately knocking on our doors. To make this Diwali extra special for all my readers and well wishers, I will be collaborating with a very talented blogger Parinaaz Marolia . Parinaaz is a mum to a toddler, passionate blogger and amateur photography dabbler. She blogs at A Dollop of that! It is mostly about Parsi recipes and baked stuff.
For today's post, she has made assorted chocolates in two variants brandy creme and honeyed pistachio. ( For more info, scroll down to the bottom of this post )

As an added bonus another blogger is joining us at the last minute. Ms Saswati Hota, also from Odisha, is a part of the Indian Air Force family . She is contributing with a sweet known as Labanga Latika in Odisha.

Coming back to my recipe, Chuda Ghasa is a traditional preparation from Odisha. A coarse mix of beaten rice with sugar, ghee and freshly grated coconut, it is prepared during festivals. Some people also add chopped fruits and boondi to it to enhance the taste. With this recipe, I have attempted to deconstruct it and serve it in the form of separate layers just like a parfait. But a much healthier and simpler one.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cup beaten rice
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 2 tsp freshly grated coconut
  • 3 tbsp chopped berries (I had only dried ones)
  • 2 tbsp chopped orange
  • 1/2 cup hung curd (Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup sweetened boondi ( or 1 motichoor laddoo)
  • 1-2 green cardamoms
  • a pinch of cardamon
  • a pinch of saffron

Preparation - Take the beaten rice, 2 tbsp sugar and cardamom in a mixer. Give a buzz to get a coarse mix. Add the ghee and freshly grated coconut to the mixer jar and give another buzz. This is the regular chuda ghasa which looks like breadcrumbs.

Mix the hung curd with 2 tbsp sugar, a pinch of saffron and pistachios.

Mix the boondi/crumbled motichoor laddoo with the 2 tsp chuda ghasa.

Take two small glasses . Spread a thick layer of the chuda ghasa on the bottom. Top it with the oranges and chopped berries.

Top it with the hung curd .

Finally add a layer on boondi mix and garnish it with toasted pistachios.

Chill it in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.

Do not forget to check this out !!

Parinaaz's recipe - Assorted Chocolates (feat.) Liquor & Honeyed-Pistachios


Saswati's recipe - Labanga Latika

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Almond Broccoli Soup

Almond and broccoli Soup. Just the mere mention of this name evokes a deliciously warm sensation in my mind. Sepia tinted memories of winters spent huddling under warm blankets, sitting around a wood fired oven and enjoying long chats over endless cups of steaming tea turn my otherwise practical self into this all mushy emotional idiot.

However the nostalgic feeling that grips me is a mere eyewash as I discovered this soup quite recently during a Bangalore foodie meet @ The Bungalow, Whitefield. But such is the power of food that it is capable of evoking long buried memories in one's subconscious. That is the precise reason why Ayurveda lays so much of stress upon our eating habits. 'Sattvik', 'Rajas' and 'Tamas' are not merely categories of food but also the personality traits the arise when we embrace one of the former categories of food.

Coming back to this soup, I cannot stop gushing over the nutritional value of the ingredients that go into it. Broccoli and garlic have cancer fighting properties while almond and butter contain LDL and monosaturated fats. The great taste and ease of preparation is an added bonus. Read on for recipe -

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • 5 almonds
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 of a small onion
  • 8-10 peppercorns
  • 1 tsp butter
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup milk

Preparation - Blanch the almonds. Remove the peel.

Wash the broccoli florets thoroughly.

Cooking - Heat the butter in a pan. Add crushed garlic and pepper corn. Saute till garlic turns light brown.

Add the chopped onion and fry till translucent.

Add the broccoli florets and stir fry for 1-2 min. Add 1 cup water, almonds and a little bit of salt. Cover the pan. Cook till they turn soft.

Tip the contents of the pan into a blending jar. Blend into a smooth puree.

Transfer it back to the pan. Add the milk, about 1 cup water (as per desired consistency) and adjust salt.

Bring it to a boil on a slow flame while stirring constantly. Let simmer for 1-2 mins.

Serve hot . ( Add a little garlic butter on top for more taste  )

In the mood for another yummy Broccoli soup, try THIS.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Kaddu Ke Koftey ( Pumpkim dumplings in a spicy gravy )

Most folks are not fond of pumpkin or it does not come to their notice. Hence when I mention that it is one of my favorite veggies, they tend to look flummoxed. Whether it is the aromatic Sri lankan style curry, the somewhat sweet pumpkin-dill soup or the slightly charred pumpkin fry from Odisha, I enjoy it in every form. So, when my mom mentioned this North Indian Pumpkin kofta curry, I just had to give it a try.

I modified her version a little by stuffing raisins inside it (a neighbor had suggested it to me). Fried the koftas in a appe pan to cut down on the oil. And made the gravy a little more rich by adding some cashews and milk to it. My efforts paid off when everyone wanted a second helping of this yummy curry. Read on (and do not forget to try this) -

Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients - 

For the koftas -

  • 3 cups grated pumpkin (Odia - boitalu)
  • 1 small boiled and peeled potato
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp besan
  • salt to taste
  • a pinch of garam masala
  • 2 grated garlic flakes

For the gravy -

  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 7-8 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 1 clove
  • 1-2 kashmiri red chili
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi
  • 4-5 cashews
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp butter

Preparation - Add a little salt to the grated pumpkin and keep aside for 15 mins. Squeeze it to remove the excess water. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients required for making the koftas. Mix well and divide into small portions. Shape into balls while inserting 1-2 raisins into the center of each one.

Cooking - Heat an appam pan. Add a few drops of oil into each cavity. Place the balls into the cavity and cook on all sides till brown. Remove and keep aside on a paper towels.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok. Add the red chili, cinnamom, cardamom and cloves. Once fragrant, add the garlic, ginger and onion. Cook till onion becomes translucent. Add cashews and fry for 30 seconds more.

Add the tomato at this stage and cook till mushy. Add the kasuri methi and mix once before removing from flame. 

Allow to stand aside till it cools down to room temperature. Blend into a smooth paste.

Heat the same wok.  Add butter to it and allow it to melt. Add the tomato onion paste and cook for 3-4 mins. 

Finally add the milk along with 1/2 cup water. Add salt. Bring it to a slow boil. Let simmer for 3-4 mins.

Add the koftas and cook for 1 min before switching off the flame. Let it stand covered for 10 mins before serving.

Serve hot with rotis or white rice.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Red Cabbage pakoda ( with Amaranth flour )

I always knew that government officials are a tardy lot who take forever to move files and cannot be budged into action without the lubricating effect of a few crisp currency notes (aka bribes). But copying or plagiarizing from blogs ?? Incredulous !! I find it tough to believe this. Even more than the fact that there are others who have turned blogging into a social media circus.

Honestly this is a creative thing and the biggest appreciation comes when someone reads our stuff and complements us . But can I possibly accept compliments for a borrowed piece of work ? Bullshit !! Other than garnering a few likes and a complement or two, it does nothing good for a blogger. And surely it does not earn you some great 'fans' or friends as I like to call them. Thank you Nidhi dear for pointing it out to me.

Anyways getting back to all things good, I actually tried this out during the Navratri days but could not get it published in time. Since I had given up onion and garlic for a few days, I had tried this yummy snack one afternoon. As part of my 'desi'-fication drive, I adopted yet another foreign vegetable and tried to give it an Indian twist.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2-3 tbsp amaranth flour (rajgire ka atta / Farari flour)
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 pinch roasted cumin-chili powder
  • a pinch of garam masala
  • a pinch of turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp chopped cilantro
  • very little water to loosely bind the ingredients

Preparation - Take all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add a little water and bind it lightly.

Cooking - Heat oil in a wok. Add a small amount of the mixture and fry it for a few mins. Remove and keep aside on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Serve hot !!

Note - This is inspired by a loose kind of onion pakoda that I sometimes prepare. But one can chop the cabbage into still finer bits and add more binding to get the regular kind of pakoda. 

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