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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Spiced Yogurt with Rice Balls ( Kadhi Chawal with a Twist )

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


Technology has changed the way we perceive food. Exposure to various TV channels, YouTube videos and mobile Apps has elevated the entire dining experience from a mundane level that merely seduced the taste-buds to an exotic gastronomic level that tickles one's imagination with terms like molecular gastronomy and food degustation being thrown at us with alarming regularity. Easy availability of exotic ingredients and equipment has further fueled this experimentation process.

If you been a part of the blogging journey since the early days, it will be easy for you to make out the general shift in the way I play with my food. From doing pretty traditional and often obscure Odia recipes, I have graduated to giving them a makeover. The Chuda Ghasa parfait for example, is one such traditional dish that I deconstructed and transformed into a layered dessert that can be loosely termed as a parfait. One of my leading inspirations has been chef Vikas Khanna and one of his television series in which we gives an innovative twist to traditional recipes.

Kadhi Chawal is a yummy light yogurt based gravy that is simmered with pakodas ( deep fried gram flour fritters ) and paired with exquisitely aromatic Basmati rice. With the 'meal in a bowl' theme running though my mind and given my desire to assuage my craving for this dish at any time during the day, I started experimenting quite a bit. After a few not so savory outputs, I hit upon the right combination. In this particular recipe rice is transformed into crisp vegetable and rice balls that I serve on a bed of slightly chilled yogurt gravy. And best part is that it can be garnished and passed off as some exotic kind of snack. One can barely guess what goes into it until one has taken a good bite of it. It takes a group encounter with the tantalizing sour-sweet yogurt, the fragrant rice grains and the crisp veggies for one to realize that one is but meeting an old ally in a fascinatingly new avatar.

Read on for the recipe -




















Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients -

For the Kadhi -
  • 1 cup dahi
  • 2 tsp besan
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1-2 finely chopped green chili
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste
For tempering the Kadhi -

  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • a pinch of fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • a sprig of curry leaves 
  • 2 Kashmiri chilis
  • 1 tsp oil

For the Rice Balls -

  • 1 cup cooked rice ( use a sticky and aromatic variety like Gobindobhog )
  • 1 cup finely chopped veggies ( carrots, green peas, french beans, spring onions )
  • 1/4 cup mashed potato ( I prefer the newly dug out ones that are sticky )
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 pinch garam masala
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tsp oil for cooking rice balls in a appam pan

Preparation - Take the yogurt in a mixing bowl and whisk it gently to break down any lumps. Add salt, besan, grated ginger, chopped green chili and salt.

In another mixing bowl, add all the ingredients (except for oil) mentioned for the rice balls. Mix and mash lightly till it come to a stage where the mixture can bind together. Divide into small portions. Roll each portion into a ball.

Cooking - Transfer the yogurt mixture to a wok and bring to boil on a medium flame. Once it starts bubbling, let it simmer for a few mins before removing from the flame.

Meanwhile, take 1 tsp oil in a tadka pan. Add the Kashmiri chili, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Once the seeds start spluttering, immediately remove from the flame, cover and keep aside for 5 mins. Strain the oil which would have imbibed all the flavors and pour it over the kadhi.  Pop it into the fridge to chill for a while.

Heat a non-stick appan pan. Pour a little oil in each hole. Place the rice balls gently into the holes taking care not to splash the hot oil onto your hands. Turn after a few minutes and cook to an even brown color on all sides. Remove from the pan and place on plate.

Serve the crisp and hot rice balls on a bed of chilled kadhi. Do not forget to garnish with some chopped cilantro and a dash of amchur (if you need that extra kick).


















It was quite a co-incidence that even as I was putting the final touches to my recipe and looking to share it on my social media channels, I stumbled upon a post that immediately grabbed my attention. A exciting venture by my food inspiration Vikas Khanna, and my favorite food and travel writer cum host Vir Sanghvi was staring at my face. Check out this video to learn what's cooking between the two -







As I went through the video, I realized that my adventures with food might just be the tip of an iceberg. There are limitless avenues to be explored and new dimensions of taste to be developed. If you share the duo's passion for food, you can also share some interesting tale of your experiments with food on the website HERE. It might have been some necessity that drove you to concoct something extraordinary out of the mundane or maybe it was just a stroke of pure genius, you never know what might please the judges. Who know's it might just be your lucky day and you could get a chance to feature in a video with the food visionaries.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Broccoli and Tofu Salad

Yet another vegan recipe !! In my quest to give up meat and dairy, I am slowly and steadily introducing new recipes in our everyday menu. Though it is going to be kinda tough given the fact that both my husband and kid love their fish and poultry, I am not giving up yet. Rather I make it a point to try out alternate dishes for myself which can be prepared in a jiffy.

This recipe for example is simple and yet loaded with nutrients. Broccoli and tofu married with a mild seasoning of Asian flavours, this salad can serve as a major proportion of one's lunch. I prefer to have it with some soup or toasted brown bread.

Read on for this recipe -

















Preparation Time - 10 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 100 gm tofu
  • 2-3 garlic flakes ( finely chopped )
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 3-4 dry red chilis
  • 1 tsp honey
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp canola oil / rice bran oil
  • 1/2 of 1 lemon
  • a dash of pepper


Preparation - Steam the broccoli florets.

Cut the tofu into thin long strips.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the dry red chilis and garlic. Fry till fragrant.

Throw in the tofu and soy sauce. Toss for 1-2 mins.

Add the broccoli florets. Season with salt. Toss for 2-3 mins.

Finally add the honey, pepper and lemon juice. Mix gently to coat the broccoli and tofu with the seasoning.

Remove from the flame and sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the salad.

Serve warm.



















Note - Additionally nuts and carrots can also be added to this salad to make it more interesting.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Beetroot and Tofu Burger ( Vegan Recipe )

Happy Valentine's day everyone !!

Cheesecake. Brownies. Strawberries. Pomegranate. The visuals on social media have been unrelenting in the run up to the V-day celebrations. And that got my man pissed off. Big time. It's not that he hates desserts but he really wanted to see some real food. Given that I am on a healthy eating streak these days, I had to think hard to come up with something that is not too fussy and yet delicious.

I am yet to find a bloke how can say no to a burger. And that kinda set the stage rolling for a vegan burger which is also low on calories. Giving in to the fascination with hues like pink or red, I added some beetroot for color (and health too) !.

Read on for the recipe -



















Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -

  • 100 gm tofu
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 small beetroot
  • 2 tsp finely chopped onion
  • 1/5 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 pinch cumin
  • 2 pinch coriander
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp roasted and crushed peanuts
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil 
  • oil spray for pan frying the burger patties


For the crust -

  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp besan
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 slice of whole wheat bread


For final assembly -

  • onion rings
  • lettuce
  • tomato ketchup
  • Burger buns
  • 2 tbsp vegan mayo
  • a dash of pepper

Preparation - Boil the beetroot and potato in a cooker for 2-3 whistles. Keep aside till steam escapes.
Remove from cooker, peel and grate them into a mixing bowl.

Grate the tofu into the bowl. Mix everything together.

Mix the besan, cornflour and salt with a few teaspoons of water to get a thin batter.

Tear up and throw the bread slices (removing the sides) into a mixer jar. Buzz for a few seconds to get fresh bread crumbs.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add the onion and let it sweat a bit. Add ginger paste, garlic paste, cumin powder, coriander powder and chili powder . Cook for a minute before adding the mashed mixture of tofu, beetroot and potato. Season with salt. Cook for 2-3 mins.

Keep aside to cool. (best to keep it aside for an hour or two so that the flavors get to gel together)

Just before shaping the mix into patties, add the crushed peanuts. Mix and divide into 3-4 equal portions. Shape each one into a round patty ( go for a heart shaped patty if you are feeling extra mushy).

Dip the patties in the batter and roll them over the bread crumbs.

Spray some oil onto a pan. Heat it and place the patties on the pan. Fry on both sides till brown.

Assembling the burger - Toast the burger buns. Layer one with mayo and place the burger patty on it.

Throw on some onion rings and lettuce . Finally season it with some pepper powder and tomato ketchup. Top it with another bun.

Grab it and dig in !!!


Thursday, February 11, 2016

No-Bake Strawberry Delight ( V Day Collab with Adollopofthat and Potpourri )

Continuing the tradition of 'idiot proof' recipes for V-day, I have a very easy to do strawberry dessert that tastes much better than the measly effort that goes into it. And also, it sits rather well in a jar just in case you want to show the world what you are eating with that special one. Single ? No problem. That's even better as you can have the whole of it just for yourself.

Discovered this one while browsing through 'Taste of Home', yet another great website for home cooks. Made a few minor changes to the recipe suit myself and voila, I had a dessert in under 30 mins. Best part is that this taste great even when we substitute the sugar with any low calorie sweetener.

That's just not all. Partnering with my blogger friends Parinaaz and Saswati, I have got you more recipes to check out for V-day ! Hop on to Saswati's Blog for sampling some yummy Gajar Halwa Cheesecake Pie  and on to Parinaaz's blog for the ravishing Red Velvet Trifles .

Read on for a great 'do it yourself' dessert recipe for V-day -




















Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients -


  • 200 gm vanilla sponge cake
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  • 4 tbsp gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp rose syrup
  • 1 liter milk
  • 40 gm custard powder
  • 3-4 tsp sugar

Preparation - Sprinkle the powdered gelatin into the cold water. Whisk it with a fork. Let it stand for 10 mins till the grains swell up and it starts thickening.

Place the bowl on a double boiler or in a bigger bowl half filled with hot water. Let the gelatin dissolve completely.

Remove the bowl and allow it to cool down slightly. Stir in the rose syrup and strawberries.

Cut the sponge cake into tiny cubes. Layer the cubes in a mason jar or a small glass. Pour the gelatin mixture over it and press lightly with a spoon.

Let it stand for 10 mins.

Cooking - Take 1 cup milk and dissolve the custard powder in it.

Bring the rest of the milk to a boil. Stir in sugar.  Add the custard powder dissolved in milk. Stir continuously to prevent lumps. Remove from flame after 2-3 mins.

Allow it to cool slightly before pouring over the contents of the jar or glass. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins before serving.


















Serve chilled with freshly sliced strawberries.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pasta Arrabiata ( For a Lazy Valentine Brunch )

Love is in the air. And so are glorious hues like pinks, tangerine and reds. I have been so bombarded by visuals of desserts and starters in the aforementioned hues that I have almost started hating the stuff I cook these days. As we have turned more health conscious, I hardly ever cook any desserts or fried stuff. So, the only color I get to see is that from fresh fruits and veggies in the salads.

As I went through my severely limited options ( given that I woke up feel somewhat sick ) for lunch today, red was the theme that dominated my thoughts. With my fridge rather overflowing with tomatoes (got them cheap from a 'thela'), I quickly decided to make a Arrabiata which is an all time favorite. Dunking a few tomatoes in hot water, I quickly got the rest of the ingredients on my kitchen table. Apart from the great taste, the greatest thing about this dish is that even an idiot can cook it to perfection.

[Psssst...gals this is a hint for you if you want to pass on the apron to your better half on V-day which falls on a Sunday this year! What a bounty ! Who knows, providence willing, you might even end up with a rather intimate Tomatina festival in your very own kitchen. But just make sure that the maid not taken a day off on Monday ;).]

Read on for the recipe -



















Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients -


  • 1 1/2 cup pasta ( I used Chifferi Rigate though Penne is more popular )
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 3 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar ( I substitute it with honey )
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes ( I used homemade one with lightly roasted Kashmiri chilis for more flavour)
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp dried oregana
  • 1 tsp dried basil (fresh is preferable)
  • 2 pinch red chili powder or paprika ( just for that red hue else optional )
  • salt 


Preparation - Dunk the tomatoes in hot water for a few minutes. Peel them and chop them up.

Cooking - Put the skillet on a flame. Drizzle olive oil. Add the chili flakes and garlic to the cold oil . Let them warm together for a intense flavour.

Next add the chopped tomatoes to the skillet and sprinkle salt on it. Cover with lid and let it turn a little mushy.

Add the puree, ketchup, oregano, sugar and lime juice along with 1/2 cup water. Cook for 15 mins till you get it to the right consistency.

Simultaneously, bring 6-7 cups water to boil in a large saucepan. Once it gets to bubbling, add salt and then when it gets to a rolling boil, throw in the pasta. It will take about 15 mins to cook to an al-dente stage.

Once the paste is done, save a cup of the pasta water and drain the rest using a colander. Give a good shake to the colander to prevent the paste from sticking to each other.

Add the paste to the Arrabiata sauce and sprinkle a few teaspoons of the pasta water over it. Add the basil and toss everything together. Cook for 1 minute.

Remove from flame and serve with a drizzling of cheese (optional).


















Note - If using honey, add it along with the basil leaves at the final stages of cooking.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Vegan Ginger and Jaggery Cake ( Whole Wheat Version )

Hola!! I am back after a vacation and still trying to shake off the lethargy that has engulfed my limbs. That's precisely why there have been no food posts on my blog for the longest time. I am just trying to scrape by with no fuss simple meals and doing something off beat had not even crossed my mind for the entire week. That is till last night.

The sudden craving for digging into some cake drove me crazy around midnight. But I had only sparse groceries on hand as I had finished off most of the stuff before going on vacation and had not yet replenished the pantry. And that's when I had the thought of trying something super healthy. Whole wheat cake with no butter and jaggery instead of sugar sounded tempting. Taking inspiration form the Odia Poda pitha, I added some ginger and cardamom to flavor it. Had initially planned on adding a bit of grated coconut but forgot it at the last minute as I was half asleep by the time I was done with it.

Just as I finished mixing everything and was about to pop it into the oven, tragedy struck. My trusted oven gave up and I ended up with a blown fuse and a husband who was threatening to go off any moment. Had to call the security guy and cajole him into fixing the fuse at the earliest. With the power restored, I had to focus on what to do with the cake mix I had on my hands as I could not risk switching on the oven. My first thought was to put it into the fridge and make some pancakes the next morning. But I wanted the cake real bad. Hence took a chance with baking it in my electric rice cooker. And thank God for it !!

A slightly fudge like texture and bursting with traditional flavors, this one turned out to be the best vegan version I had ever come across. Highly recommended for everyone. Read on for the recipe -























Preparation Time - 30 mins

Ingredients -


  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup jaggery ( or as per sweetness )
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/3 tsp green cardamom (powdered)
  • a few drops of vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1/4 cup canola oil + 1 tsp for greasing
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt


Preparation - Take the whole wheat flour and baking powder in a bowl. Sift a few times using a sieve to remove lumps and ensure even mixing. This also improves the amount of air trapped into the flour which gives a spongier cake.

Mix the jaggery , water, ginger, coconut, cardamom, salt and vanilla essence in a bowl.

Sift in the flour into this liquid (use a sieve) and mix in using a heavy spoon. Mix in one direction only and avoid beating/whisking the mixture.

Finally add the oil and mix in as gently as possible.

Cooking - Preheat the oven at 180 degrees for 10 mins.  Or if using electric rice cooker, pour 3 cups water into the pan and get it to a steaming stage.

Grease a tin with oil. Drizzle flour over it. Pour in the mixture.

Place the baking tin into the oven. Cook for 15 -20 mins till a toothpick  comes out clean.

If rice cooker is used, it will switch off once the water is gone. The residual heat is enough to bake the cake thoroughly.

Wait till it cools down and then overturn the cake tin onto a plate.

The cake can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days in a airtight container. If one needs to preserve it longer, it is best to refrigerate.


Note - The steamed version of this cake ( made in rice cooker ) is softer and spongier but does not have a proper crust.

I have used a lovely semi solid variety of jaggery that I got from Odisha. It has a wonderfully rich caramel flavour and gives a really intense color to the cake. While it is tough to get that variety in superstores, one can try using a mix of the light colored jaggery and some palm jaggery for a similar rich color. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My Good Morning Mantra !!






















Mornings are indeed the best time of the day. It could be just about the freshness of the moment or the feeling of starting on a new page, the first hour of the day definitely has that magical feel to it. I love to wake up early in the mornings (well before everybody else in the house) to savor some 'my time'. Listening to the silent voices of the house and the noisy chirping of the birds while watching people taking their dogs on a morning walk and sipping on some detox drink ( usually it is warm water infused with lemon and honey) may sound non-productive to some but it helps me plan for the day and put things in proper perspective. Indeed it is the most productive time of the day for me as it is hour when I set the goals for the day. And as Aristotle once quoted "Well begun is half done".

The introspection part done, next comes the time for some action. Given the desk bound jobs that most of us lead, regular workout is very much essential to keep one's body in top gear. Stretching out my limbs with yoga ensures flexibility and assurance that I won't be turning senile in old age (though some of my acquaintances might retort that I am already cranky enough). I usually follow it up with half an hour of cardio which helps burn fat. While I try my best to ensure that I am regular with the morning exercise routine, there are days when I just let go. This usually happens when I have a particularly good book on the hands ( or on my Kindle ). That nicely gels with my philosophy of exercise for the grey cells being equally important !

All that good work is that rounded up with a wonderfully healthy and filling breakfast. I have made it into a habit of having my breakfast within two hours of waking up. A mix of fruits, protein, carbs and dairy ensures steady blood glucose levels and lasting energy till the next meal. Breakfast is one of the most important meals as it replenishes the body's energy levels about a gap of almost 9-10 hours. So, skipping it is never an option.

A combination of these little things had been my morning mantra for the last decade. And I had been quite happy with it before I discovered the Colgate 360 Charcoal Gold. I had been pretty happy with my old and trusted Colgate 360 degrees brush but that was before I stumbled upon the gold standards of oral hygiene. Though it is a mere toothbrush, it is pure luxury to behold and cleans the mouth in the most thorough way that can possibly be.

Kudos to Colgate for raising the bar yet again !! I have rediscovered my mornings with #Colgate360GoldMornings . Now it's your turn !




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