Tamarind Chutney

This is a tangy chutney used in almost all Indian Chaats. I love it the way my mom makes it. She makes a lot in one time and stores it in the refrigerator for months, so it is always readily available.

I have this method 1 which is what my mom used to make in India followed by method 2 that she makes here in US using Tamarind Concentrate.

Tamarind Chutney



250 gms Tamarind/Imli
75 gms Gud
1 tblsp Sugar
1 tsp Dhaniya powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
1 tsp roasted Jeera powder
1/2 tsp Black Salt
1/4 tsp Salt


1. Boil tamarind and gud with a little water (2 cups) till tamarind becomes soft. Cool and strain to remove the tamarind pulp.

2. Add sugar, dhaniya powder, red chilli powder, jeera powder, black salt and salt. Mix well and boil. Add a little water to adjust consistency.

3. Cool and store in refrigerator.



1 cup Tamarind/Imli Concentrate
1/2 cup Gud
1 tblsp Sugar
1 tsp Dhaniya powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
1 tsp roasted Jeera powder
1/2 tsp Black Salt
1/4 tsp Salt


1. Heat gud in 1-2 tblsp water on low heat till the gud melts. Strain to remove any dirt from the gud water. 

2. Boil all the above ingredients along with gud water well. Add more water based on consistency needed. 

3. If its too sour, add sugar.

4. Cool and store in refrigerator.

Dahi Vada



For Vada
1 cup Urad Dal
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry

For Dahi/Yoghurt
2 cups Dahi/Yoghurt
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp Black Salt
1 tsp ground roasted Jeera/Cumin powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
2 tblsp Dhaniya leaves, chopped fine
Salt to taste
Tamarind Chutney for garnish

Makes 8-10 pieces


Make Vadas

1. Soak Urad dal overnight and grind to a fine paste along with salt. Use as little water as you can.

2. Heat oil for deep frying.

3. Grease your hands with water. Take 2 tsp batter and place on the fingers of your left hand. Pat flat with the other hand. Carefully slip this into the heated pan.

4. Deep fry on low-medium heat till light brown. Drain.

Make Dahi/Yoghurt

1. Blend the dahi/yoghurt with a little water until it is smooth.

2. Add jeera powder, salt, red chili powder and dhaniya leaves.


1. Soak vadas in water for 2-3 hours.

2. Gently remove the vada from water, press it lightly to remove excess water.

3. Dip it in Dahi, remove and arrange on a plate.

4. Pour a little Tamarind Chutney over this arrangement of Dahi Vadas.

5. Garnish with a little jeera, red chilli powder and Sev.

Hot Coffee


1 cup milk
1 tsp sugar or to taste
1/2 tsp Coffee powder - Nescafe testes good

Makes 1 cup


1. Boil milk along with half the sugar.

2. Take the remaining sugar and coffee in a cup with 1 tsp milk and mix rigorously with a spoon till the color changes - becomes lighter.

3. Pour boiled hot milk overthis. If making more than 1 cup, transfer equal amounts in all cups and pour hot milk over this.


• If you are running short of milk, you can add half water half milk.

Cold Coffee

Ever summer we used to have this almost every other day. We liked it a lot, my friends included. I always make it during summer.



1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup ice
2 tsp sugar or to taste, powdered
1/2 tsp Coffee powder - Nescafe works best

Makes 1 cup


Pour all the above ingredients in a juicer and mix well till frothy. When serving guests add a pinch of cofee powder at the top of the glass/cup.

Alu Halwa

My mom used to make this whenever she fasted and we used to eagerly wait to eat it. This has been one of my favorite sweets. Although you can never eat a lot since its all fatty stuff but once in a while, its nice.


4 potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
6 tsp ghee
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar


1. Heat ghee in a pan and fry mashed poatatoes on low-medium heat till golden brown. A nice aroma exudes when its done.

2. Add boiling water and sugar.

3. Fry again till ghee separates.

4. Serve with something salty. We normally had salted peanuts with it.

Besan Laddu

Besan laddu is an all time favorite with everyone. Making it is easy, a little time consuming but the end result is very yummy - so its worth the effort.

I have started to make these in the microwave once we bought a microwave - it saves a lot of time. You can find this microwave recipe here. Its been a long time since I used the conventional method for making these. So the photo here is those of the ones made in microwave. Do they look different? Nooooo.....and they taste the same.

I have the conventional method here. My mom uses a little suji along with besan. But you can use only besan too. Plus my mom adds a little milk instead of more ghee. Once again its your choice to add milk/ghee for binding.


Total Time: 45-60 min
Makes about 30-35 laddus


3 cups Besan/Gram Flour
1/2 cup Rava/Suji
1/2 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup ghee
1 tsp Elaichii/Cardamom powder


  1. Heat ghee in a pan and fry besan and rava on low flame till golden brown. Keep stirring continously as this burns easily.
  2. When besan is done a nice aroma exudes. Remove from heat and add milk. Mix well.
  3. Cool. Add sugar, elaichii and mix well.
  4. Make ping-pong size balls/laddus from this mixture.


  • You can add nuts along with sugar and elaichii if you want it nuttier.

Mysore Pak

This is a very popular dish in the state of Karnataka in India. I like it too but somehow never got down to making it frequently. When I started creating this blog, I went through my recipe book and saw this recipe which once again brought the flavor of this sweet in my mouth and I made it again.


Makes about 15-20 pcs


2 cups Besan/Gram Flour
4 cups sugar
4 cups melted ghee
4 tblsp water


  1. Add melted ghee to besan and mix well such that there are no lumps.
  2. Boil sugar and water in a big pan till the sugar completely dissolves and the syrup just starts to boil.
  3. Add besan mixture to this syrup and stir. Stir in one direction only on medium heat. The mixture will become all bubly and frithy. Keep stirring till the ghee starts to separate and it becomes a little dry.
  4. Pour this mixture onto a greased plate and let it set. Cut while it is still warm.


I normally make Papdi whenever I make Gujiya as I use the maida leftover from Gujiya to make papdis


For Maida/All-puropse flour Dough
3 cups Maida/All Purpose Flour
3 tblsp ghee/oil
Salt to taste

For Besan/Gram flour Dough
3 cups besan Flour
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
3 tblsp ghee/oil
Salt to taste


1. Make both doughs separately with water using the ingredients mentioned. Make a hard dough.

2. Divide both the doughs into 3 equal sized balls each.

3. Roll out the 6 balls (3 of maida and 3 of Besan) into same sized roti/tortilla. Make them 1/4 inch thick.

4. Place one Maida Roti on the surface and place a besan roti on top of this. Roll this up like a jelly roll. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. This gives a nice spiral to the papdi.

5. Roll out each slice into an 3-4 inch puri. It will be very sticky as besan is sticky. I normally place the slice between 2 cling wrap sheets and then roll. It doesn't stick at all.

6. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry 4-5 papdis at a time on medium heat till golden brown. Drain and store in an airtight container.


• You can bake them at 400 F as a healthier alternative.

• You can make plain besan papdi's too if you prefer - don't use maida dough and roll out the besan dougn into small 3-4 inch puris, prick with fork all over and deep fry.

Storing Wine

"The older the wine the better it is" is what most of us would have heard. Wines are sold by year and the older it is, the more expensive it is. This holds true in most cases except that sometimes factors like climate and type of grape might fluctuate the prices. For example if the year 1996 had a bad season for grape fruit, then a 1997 wine might be more expensive than a 1996 one. Apart from this you need to remember that all wines have a prime age beyond which they start to spoil.


Most of us buy wines, store it on the shelf in our dining or refrigerate it for a few days and use it. Once opened, a bottle of wine should be ideally completed or can stored in a refrigerator for 2-3 days. Thats the end of life for that bottle of wine.

But if you want to store wines as a hobby in your wine cellar then you need to keep a few things in mind.

Which wine to store - Some wines are meant to be enjoyed young, while others do best with time spent resting and aging gracefully. While not all wines get better with age, those that age well do so because of tannins. Tannins come from the pips, skins and stalks of the grapes in red wines and from wood storage in white wines. Thats the reason why red wines with high levels of tannin do well with aging. And aged wine does taste better. So when choosing wines to age remember to choose wines hign in tannins like Bordeaux Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, Pinot Noir to start with.

Temperature - Ideal temperature is 50-55 F (10-12 C). Dramatic temperature fluctuations wreak havoc on the wine. A slow change of temperature when seasons change is fine but changes happening daily or weekly can affect the quality in a drastic manner.

Humidity - Ideally between 65-75%. A higher humidity level helps to keep the corks from shrinking and allowing oxygen in, resulting in oxidation of the wine.

Light - This is the reason most wines come in dark bottles which have an UV filters built-in. White wines are more sensitive to light than red ones. Why else do you think wines are stored in cellars and caves with no/minimal light.

Vibration - Wine Aging involves a complex series of reactions between the chemical compounds, which are responsible for the colour, aroma, flavour and astringency of wine. Any kind of shaking of the wine within affects these reactions and can affect the quality of wine.

Store sideways - The reason for this is to keep the cork in constant contact with the wine. This will keep the cork moist, which should keep the cork from shrinking and allowing the enemy of wine, oxygen, to seep into the bottle.

Notes from the Cellar

How long a wine should remain in the wine cellar is usually best determined by a bit of trial and error. From a caseload of wine, you should try a bottle of wine every once in a while to check on how it's coming along. The enjoyment of storing and aging wine is only complete upon consumption.

Drinks and Beverages



Hot Coffee

Hot Chocolate

Cold Coffee


Thandai is a spicy milk drink that is traditionally enjoyed during the colour festival of Holi. Addition of bhang will convert this drink into an intoxicating Bhang which is the original religious custom. Most places in India make Bhang during Holi but for anyone not into bhang can make Thandai.



6 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 tblsp almonds
1 tblsp kharbooj/tarbooj seeds skinned
1/2 tblsp khuskhus/poppy seeds
1/2 tblsp saunf/aniseed
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp rose water
1 tsp peppercorns
a few saffron strands (optional)
1/4 cup dried or fresh rose petals
Finely chopped nuts of choice to garnish

Makes about 7-8 glasses


1. Dissolve sugar in 2 cups water by boiling. Keep aside to cool completely.

2. Soak almonds, kharbooj seeds, khuskhus, saunf, peppercorns, rose petals in 2 cups water for atleast 2 hours. Keep aside.

3. Peel almonds. Grind all soaked ingredients from step 2 to a very fine paste.

4. Place a cheesecloth (which will act as a strainer) over a large deep bowl and pour ground contents through this.

5. Press through cheesecloth, extracting the liquid into the bowl. Add remaining water, a little at a time to extract more. Pour back some of the extract and press, repress. Repeat this process till the residue becomes dry and husk like.

9. Add milk, sugar water, saffron, cardamom powder and rosewater to the extracted liquid.

10. Serve chilled topped with chopped nuts.


• If you don't get kharbooj seeds, you can do without them.

• Add bhang to the above to make Bhang Thandai. But remember this has an intoxicating effect.

• You get Thandai concentrate in stores - just add cold milk and ice.

• You can make Thandai concentrate and store it in a bottle refrigerated for about 6 months. Use the ingredients mentioned below in the same manner as specified above. Milk will not be added now but will be added at the time of serving.

To make concentrate

5 cups sugar
2 cups water
3/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup saunf
1/4 cup cardamom pods
1/4 cup peppercorns whole
1 tblsp khuskhus
1/2 tsp rose water
1 tblsp kharbooj/tarbooj seeds skinned

Food and Wine

"Which wine should we serve today?" is a question many of us would have thought of when inviting guests. I am not a wine fan or for that matter - I don't drink any wine at all. But I know that most of my friends do. And they always find it hard to come up with an answer especially if you are the kind of person who wants to change menus every once in a while. These are tips I got by discussing this with my husband, family and friends. I also read articles I found on the web to further increase my knowledge on this topic.


Most Indian food goes well with beer and whiskey, which is popular in India. Indian food has so many spices, and so many different food types that if you try to match every food with a wine, its impossible to solve this puzzle. You need to go by the general menu type - plain and simple to spicy to heavy, creamy moghlai.

Gewürztraminer - The name literally mean spicy garpe in German. This is golden and smells like lichee and tropical fruit and pairs very well with most indian sauces and spices, especially ginger and cardomom. • Australian Sauvignon Blanc - This is a light wine with a heavy aroma. You may be able to smell it from far away, but the taste will be light on your tongue. Tyr it when you have a lightly spiced dish incorporating coconut milk an ginger for instance.

Chardonnay - This taste ranges from a buttered, oak overtone to the fresh, fruit flavor of apple, pear, citrus and melon, leaving a lasting palate impression. It goes very well with dishes that have a heavy cream base.

Riesling - This has a powerful and distinctive floral and apple-like aroma. Its sweetness and high acidity counters the heat and spice of Indian food very well.

Rose - These are wines which are not truly red, but have enough of a reddish tinge to make them assuredly not white. This is a dry wine and dry wines go well with all kinds of Indian dishes owing to their ability to retain their crispiness and freshness.

Pinot Noir - There’s an earthy element to this delicious off dry rose with ripe red currants, a creamy mouth feel and spot on acidity. It works with everything from mild citrus or tomato based dishes and those with heat.

Sparkling Wine - This is universally accepted to go with spicy Indian food. Its palate-enhancing ability through the exhilarating bubbles of the wines makes it a smashing hit with gravies, curries and sauces. It's a much craved wine and goes best with sumptuous biryanis, kababs, tikkas, and all kinds of tandoori dishes.

This is just a small list of wines that go with Indian food. For beginners, this can give a start and take you ahead, but the fact still remains that it is a matter of personal likes and dislikes.

Wheat Cookies

My daughters love cookies and so I make them every other week. My cookie jar is never empty. Since we eat so many cookies, I prefer making them using Wheat flour instead of All purpose flour. They taste the same. So Why not?



3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
2 cups Whole Wheat flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups nuts - chocolate chips, Almonds, pistas

Makes abut 36 cookies


1. Mix sugars, butter, vanilla essence and egg in large bowl. I use a stand mixer.

2. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Batter will be stiff.

3. Stir in nuts.

4. Make 1 inch balls of the dough, flatten them a little and place them 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet.

5. Bake at 375 F for about 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Don't overcook as the bottoms will burn.

6. Cool slightly and remove from cookie sheet. Store in an air tight container.

Cookie Dough

Cookie Balls before baking

Badi Ki Sabzi

Moong Dal Badi is one of my favorites. I love the way my mom makes it. Its so easy to cook but I for some reason couldn't make it the way my mom does until recently. Badi is made of moong dal and so is enriched. I normally buy it from the Indian store but also have the recipe of making it from scratch if you want to. To make Moong Dal Badi click here.



1 cup Moong Dal Badi
3 1/2 cups water 1 tsp Ajwain
1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
1 cup yoghurt, churned well
1 tsp Oil
Salt to taste

Serves 2-3


1. Heat oil in a pan, add ajwain and let it crackle. Add badis and fry on medium heat till golden brown.

2. Pressure cook this with water and salt. Cook till the badis become soft for about 20-25 min on slow after 1st whistle.

3. Add yoghurt and mix well.

4. Serve with rotis.


• The badis need to boil in a lot of water as they soak a lot when softening. This was what I was missing when I made them and so my badis turned out not so soft.

Picky Eaters

As a mom, I have always faced the challenge of feeding my kids - first anything at all and then think about it being healthy. I can relate with parents who have picky eaters. My daughter would sit hours on the dining table with her food in front of her, with us asking her to eat nicely, then PickyEater
firmly and finally yell. I always felt guilty that she doesn't eat and that maybe I am not teaching her in the right manner. This was with my first child - everyone learns with experience and so did I. :)

I always look for ideas on what to cook and how to cook - so that my kids also love to enjoy food the way I do. I always thought that food, if its tasty, will be enjoyed by everyone but this doesn't work with kids. Kids are more into shapes and colors. Here are some of the tips that worked with my kids. You need to try different techniques to feed picky eaters and figure out what works for them.

1. Young children tend to eat only when they're hungry. If your child isn't hungry, don't force a meal or snack.

2. Don't give any juices / snack atleast an hour before meal time.

3. Eat breakfast for dinner - who says cereal or pancakes are only for breakfast?

4. Make it fun - Serve veggies and fruits with a favorite dip or sauce. My daughter loves the apple dips at McDonalds - thats what gave me this idea. Make pancakes in animal shapes - you needn't be precise but more or less is fine.

5. Sneak Vegetables - Add mashed veggies like spinach, carrots, cauliflower etc to the flour and make interesting things like puris / patties out of them.

6. Sneak Fruits - Add fruits to healthy desserts like fruit pudding (make custard and add fruits to it), banana split (banana toppped with flavored yoghurt and colored sprinkles).

6. Minimize distractions - Turn off the television during meals, and don't allow books or toys at the table.

7. Let them decide - Before I start cooking, I give them my options and let them decide what they would like for their meal that day. That way they are committed to eating that food.

8. As kids mature, they tend to become less and less picky about food. Still, everyone has food preferences. Don't expect your child to like everything.

9. Offer smaller portions through-out the day so that they never feel as though they have a lot to eat.

10. Don't let your concerns about her not eating become a power struggle.

Younger children are picky eaters, but as long as they are growing normally and are active, there is little to worry about. Most children do not eat a balanced diet each and every day, but over the course of a week or so their diet will get balanced.

For school going kids, breakfast and dinner is in your control but lunch is not. If your child has had a good breakfast and dinner, then it is okay if he hasn't had much at lunch.

Even if your child is not eating what you made for the rest of the family, its fine - just give something else healthy like cold cereal with milk or make it an all-fruit meal.

The ideas that I have put together here are not all but things that worked with my kids. I am sure all you moms out there have your own experiences. You can share them here if it worked with your kids.

Weight Conversions


tsp = teaspoon
tblsp = tablespoon
ml = millilitre
gm = gram
kg = kilogram
F = Fahrenheit

Do the Math

1 ounce = 28.34 grams
1 pound = .453 kilograms
1 g = .035 oz
1 kg = 2.2 lb
1 fluid oz = 29.57 milliliters

1 cup = 200 ml = 8 fluid ounces
1 Tablespoon = 15 ml = 1/2 fluid ounce
1 tsp = 5 ml
3 tsp = 1 Tablespoon
4 Tablespoons = 1/4 cup
16 Tablespoons = 1 cup

1 pint = 2 cups
1 Quart = 2 pints = 4 cups
1 Gallon = 4 Quarts

Moong Dal Halwa


1 cup Dhuli Moong Dal, soaked overnight
1 cup Ghee
1 cup Khoya
1 cup Sugar
2 cups water
1 tsp Elaichii powder
1/2 cup dry fruits - Almonds, Cashews


1. Grind moong dal to a fine paste.

2. Take ghee in a non-stick pan and fry moong dal on slow to medium heat till its color changes.

3. In the meanwhile, boil sugar and water till sugar dissolves. Do this towards the end as you need hot sugar water.

4. Once the color of dal changes, add khoya and hot sugar water. Remove from heat. Cover and leave aside for the water to get absorbed.

5. Add elaichii powder and dry fruits.

6. When serving decorate with a tsp of dry fruits.


• If you are not using a non-stick pan, add 1 tsp of besan to the ghee before adding moong dal. It doesn't stick to the pan. I have not tried it out but my mom told me this trick.

Cocktail Bread Pizza

I made this for my daughters 2nd birthday party and they were a big hit.


6-7 slices Sandwich bread
1/2 Green Pepper / Capsicum, chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 small Tomato
1/2 cup Mozarella Cheese
2-3 tblsp Tomato Ketchup

Makes 24-28


1. Cut each bread slice into 4 - either squares or rectangle - your choice.

2. On each piece, spread a little ketchup, then add a little green pepper, tomato and onion. Top with cheese.

3. Carefully place this on a greased baking tray.

4. Make all pizzas this way, and bake it at 350 F in center rack for about 12-15 min till the cheese melts and the bread hardens a little.


Samosa is a very popular snack in Northern India. I have tried making it the way my mom makes them - crispy, many times and finally learnt the trick.


For Filling
4-5 potatoes, boiled and mashed coarsly
1 tsp Jeera / cumin seeds
a pinch of Hing / asafoetida
2 tsp ginger-green chilli paste
2 tsp amchur / dry mango powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

For Cover
3 cups Maida / All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Ajwain
2-3 tblsp Oil
Salt to taste

Makes 16-18


Make Filling

1. Heat oil in a pan, add hing and jeera and let it sizzle. Simmer and add the rest of the masala (all ingredients except poatatoes). Fry for 30-40 sec.

2. Add potatoes and mix well to coat potatoes completely. Adjust seasoning if required. Fry for 2-3 min. The Samosa filling is ready.

Make Cover

1. Take maida in a kneading bowl, add ajwain, salt and oil. Mis well. Take a handful of maida in your hand and try to make a ball out of it. If it is not sticky at all add a little more oil and try again. You should be able to make a ball, not very sticky but crumbly.

2. Now add water to make a hard dough - not a soft one. This is important to make the samosas crispy. Some people, including me in the initial days, ended up softening the dough a little for easy kneading and rolling. I learnt.

3. Keep it covered for about 1/2 an hour and knead again until smooth.

Make Samosa

1. Take 1 tsp of maida and mix it with 1 tblsp water to make a thick liquid. This will be our samosa glue.

2. Make 8-9 balls of the dough. Roll out a ball into 7-8 inch circle. It shouldn't be too thick or too thin. Cut it into half to make 2 semi-circles.

3. Take one semi-circle on your palm and bring the 2 edges together to make a cone. Use a little glue to stick them together.

4. Make a circle out of your hand and hold this cone in it. Fill the cone 3/4 full with the potato mixture made earlier.

5. Now use the glue to seal the top. Remember the samosa has to be sealed well so that it doesn't open while frying.

6. Heat oil for deep frying and fry the samosas on slow-medium heat till golden. If you use high heat the samosas will get bubbles. Also don't overcrown your pan with too many samosas in one time.

7. Serve with Tamarind Chutney.


• You can use whatever filling you like - alone or in combination - potatoes, peas or any other vegetables.

• For quick and healthier version, some use Filo Pastry to make the cover. This virtually has no oil and can be baked instead of deep frying.

Mal Pua


For Rabri
1 lt milk - I use half and half
1 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Elaichii powder

For Puas
1/2 lt milk
4 tblsp Maida / All Purpose Flour
Oil for deep frying
Pistachios and Almonds, slivered, for decorating


Make Rabri
Mix the milk with sugar and elaichii powder in a pan and boil on slow flame to reduce it to a fourth of its original volume. Stir frequently or the milk will stick and burn to the bottom of the pan. When the milk has thickned, allow it cool. This is rabri.

Make Puas

1. Boil 1/2 lt milk and reduce it to almost half(300 gm). Cool it.

2. Add maida and mix well with a hand beater for 1-2 min. to make a smooth batter.

3. Heat oil in a flat bottomed pan for deep frying. Pour 1 tblsp of batter gently in the pan and fry till light golden.

4. Drain the excess oil on a paper towel and add this Pua to rabri.

5. When serving, remove the pua carefully, as they tend to stick to one another, and decorate with pista and almonds.


• Deep fry one Pua at a time until and unless your pan is a big flat one.

Tasty Variation - Make a mixture of fried khoya, sugar and raisins. When you remove the deep fried pua, place it in a plate. Put a spoonful of mixture in the center and fold it into a D-shape. Place all puas like this side by side (not on top). Pour rabri over this and decorate with pistas and almonds.

Besan Ke Sev

Besan ke Sev is a tasty snack that goes well with the evening tea / coffee. And it is very easy and quick to make.



3 cups Besan / Gram Flour
1 tsp Ajwain, ground fine and sieved
1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying


1. Knead all the above except oil to a very soft dough.

2. Heat oil for deep frying.

3. Put some dough into a Sev Maker and press the sev directly into the heated oil.

4. Deep fry till golden brown. Remove onto a paper towel to let it soak the extra oil.


• Sieving ensures that Ajwain doesn't have any pieces. These pieces will get stuck in the Sev Maker.

• You can add pureed spinach or garlic paste when kneading dough to make Palak Sev or Garlic Sev. Your can try any flavor you like. Just remember - no pieces that can get stuck in the sev maker.

• Sev Maker can be found in Indian Grocery stores.


Arbi Ki Sabzi - wet

Arbi / Colocasia is a potato like tuber which can be peeled, boiled, fried and used like any potato vegetable. The difference is its very slimy in handling which is why its not my favorite in terms of cooking but it tastes good and creates a variety from potato + its very easy and quick to cook.


10-15 Arbi, boiled, peeled and sliced
1 tsp Ajwain
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp dhaniya powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
1/2 tsp Amchur / Dry mango powder
1 cup Yoghurt / Curd, churned
salt to taste
2 tsp Oil

Serves 3-4


1. Heat oil in a pan and add ajwain. Let it sizzle, then add turmeric, dhaniya powder, red chilli powder, amchur powder. Fry for 30-40 sec.

2. Add sliced arbi, churned yoghurt and salt. Mix well and let it boil well. Keep stirring while boiling so that it doesn't stick to the pan.

Onion Parantha


2 cups Whole wheat flour
7 medium onions, grated
3 tsp Ghee
2 tsp Sof / Fennel powder
1 tsp dhaniya powder


1. Knead all the above into a soft dough.

2. Make 2-inch balls. Roll each ball into an 8-inch puri. Apply 1/4 tsp ghee to the surface. Fold it once to make a semi-circle, apply a little ghee on the surface and fold again into a quarter-circle.

3. Roll this out. The shape that will be rolled will be traingular.

4. Pan fry this parantha using a little ghee.

Peas Pulav

Although this doesn't have many vegetables but sometimes you are in the mood of eating very simple. This is for those days. Its easy and quick and yummy.


2 tblsp Ghee
1 cup Rice
1/2 cup green peas
1 tsp Jeera
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala

Serves 1-2


1. Heat ghee in a pan and add jeera. Let it splutter.

2. Add green peas and fry for a min.

3. Add rice and salt. Fry for a few minutes.

4. Add garam masala and fry for a minute.

5. Add 2 cups water, cover, simmer and cook till rice is tender. All the water should have evaporated.


• Basmati rice gives a very nice flavor and look to the rice.

• You can pressure cook or use an electric rice cooker.

Jeera Chawal

I normally make this when I don't have enough vegetables and there are sudden guests. Its easy and quick.


2 tblsp Ghee
1 cup Rice
1 tsp Jeera
Salt to taste

Serves 1-2


1. Heat ghee in a pan and add jeera. Let it splutter.

2. Add rice and salt. Fry for a few minutes.

3. Add 2 cups water, cover, simmer and cook till rice is tender. All the water should have evaporated.


• Basmati rice gives a very nice flavor and look to the rice.

• You can pressure cook or use an electric rice cooker.

Vegetable Manchurian - Dry


2 cups Grated Cabbage
2 cups Grated Carrots
1 Chopped Spring Onion
2 Chopped Green Chilies
3-4 Crushed Garlic Flakes
2 tbsp Corn Starch or Flour
Oil for deep frying
1 tbsp Soya Sauce
Salt to taste
1 tsp Black Pepper Powder
1 tsp Sugar
2 tbsp oil

Vegetable Manchurian - Dry
For Saute
1 onion, diced
1/2 green bellpepper,diced
2-3 green chillies, slit
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
3 tbsp green spring onions, chopped finely
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chili-garlic sauce
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil


1. Mix grated cabbage and carrots and squeeze the water out of them.

2. Add 1 tbsp corn starch, a few chopped chilies and salt.

3. Make small balls (like koftas) of the mixture .

4. Heat oil in a kadai / wok and deep fry the balls till golden brown, drain and keep aside.

5. Heat 2 tbsp oil. Saute onions, green peppers, ginger garlic, green chilli for a few mins.

6. Toss everything and mix well for few minutes until the masala becomes dry.

8. Finally add the green onions and lower the heat to low flame. Keep stirring for another a few more min.

9. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve.


Entertaining Birthday Party Ideas
How much to cook?
Party Menu Ideas
Party Games
Which Wine?
Whether planning a casual dinner, a kids party or a formal dinner, Entertaining can be intimidating and a lot stressful. You need to remember that this party is for you and others to enjoy and have fun and not to get boggled down by the amount of work it involves. I am not saying that its less work. But you can plan it in such a way that it becomes a fun thing for you. The more you keep stress out of the picture, the more relaxed and easygoing your event will be. These are some of the tips I keep in mind when organizing any get-together.

Plan : Its all about planning whether its food, decorating or invitations. I am sure you have the event in your head atleast 1-2 months in advance. Just use this time effectively. Start thinking of a menu, whom to invite, party games etc., before you actually send out the invitations.

Invitations : If you are having a casual get-together, you can telephone your friends. I use Evite most of the times. This is a website from where you can send invitations, guests can respond, you can send thank you notes and photos after the party. It has a lot of options that are very useful. • Length of the Party : The total time for the party should be such that your guests do not get bored at any time and have something to do.

Menu : Think of menu items within your skill level. Come up with a list of recipes you are good with. If you want to try out a new recipe, try it out before hand. Work out a schedule so you know in what order to prepare the food. Pick some recipes which you can prepare 2-3 days in advance and store in refrigerator. There will always be things you will have to do on the day of the event. • Kitchen Space : Make sure your oven, refrigerator, and freezer will hold everything as needed including left-overs. A couple of days before the party is not the time to stock-up on your groceries.

Party Games : If its a kids party then you need to definitly plan this otherwise the kids will go out of hand. For an adults party, you needn't plan much. If its close family and friends then it can be a decision you all can make together after they arrive. We mostly play cards.

Something flops? It happens to the best of hosts -- the soup scorches, the desserts too sweet, the kids sprayed paint on the dining wall. Don't get hassled. Its OK. If you don't let it ruin your evening, neither will your guests. Remember, entertaining isn't about perfection. Most people are happy to simply be part of the fun.

Lauki Halwa

Lauki / Bottle Gourd Halwa is made in exactly the same way as Gajar Halwa


1/2 kg Lauki, grated
100 gm Khoya, grated
2 cup milk
2 tblsp Cream
1 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp elaichii
1/2 cup Ghee - I don't use this


1. Heat a pan and add cream, milk and lauki.

2. Simmer and let it cook till dry. Keep stirring in between.

3. Add sugar and stir till dry.

4. Add khoya and mix well.

5. Add ghee and elaichii and mix well.

Carrot/Gajar Halwa


1/2 kg Carrots, grated
100 gm Khoya, grated
2 cup milk
2 tblsp Cream
1 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp elaichii
1/2 cup Ghee - I don't use this


1. Heat a pan and add cream, milk and carrots.

2. Simmer and let it cook till dry. Keep stirring in between.

3. Add sugar and stir till dry.

4. Add khoya and mix well.

5. Add ghee and elaichii and mix well.

Tomato Soup


5-6 Tomatoes
2 Carrots
2 Onions
1/2 tsp Black / Rock Salt
1/2 tsp Salt
Black Pepper to taste
1/2 cup dhaniya leaves
a pinch of hing / Asafoetida

Serves 2-4


1. Boil vegetables in 1/2 glass water for about 5-10 min.

2. Grind to a paste.

3. Strain to remove any solid pieces - if you like absolutely smooth consistency or you can leave it as is.

4. Add water to make it to desired consistency.

5. Add all masala / spices.

6. Before serving you can top it with a little butter / shredded cheese / croutons.

Bread Roll


4-5 Potatoes, boiled and mashed coarsly
1 tsp jeera
2 tsp dhaniya powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
1 tsp Amchur / Dry Mango powder
1-inch ginger - I use ginger paste
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Oil
Salt to taste
Bread Slices
Oil for Deep frying


1. Heat oil in a pan. Add jeera and let it sizzle. Add the rest of the masala (all ingredients except potatoes) and let it sizzle for 1 min.

2. Add potatoes and mix well to coat potatoes completely. Keep aside for filling.

3. Take some water in a bowl and dip a bread slice for few seconds.

4. Squeeze the water from the bread by pressing between palms gently.

5. Place a tbsp potato mixture over the damp bread and roll and seal the edges of the bread in such a way that the filling does not come out from any part of the bread.

6. Repeat the same process for making more rolls.

7. Deep fry on medium flame till golden brown.

8. Serve bread rolls hot with green chutney and tomato sauce.


• You can bake the rolls instead of deep frying. Not as crispy but less fatty.

Tamarind Rice

I was never able to get this recipe the way it should be until my very good friend Kala gave me her secret. And now I get it the way I like it. Thanks Kala!


1 cup Cooked Rice
1/2 cup Tamarind juice - I use 1/2 tsp Tamarind Concentrate mixed with 1/2 cup water
2 tblsp Oil
1 tsp Urad Dal
1/2 cup Peanuts
8-10 Curry leaves
2-3 green chillies
a pinch of hing / Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Rai / Mustard seeds
Salt to taste

Serves 2-3


1. Heat oil in a pan and add rai, Urad dal and fry for 1 min.

2. Add curry leaves, green chillies, peanuts, hing and Tamarind Juice. Simmer and let it boil till the oil leaves.

3. Remove from stove and add salt, cooked rice and mix well.


• Tamarind Rice tastes better with time. So make it ahead of time. This lets the tamarind juice seep into the rice giving it the right flavor.

Coconut Chutney


4 tblsp grated coconut
2 tsp roasted chana dal
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
4 tblsp coriander leaves, chopped
3-4 green chillies chopped
1 tsp Rai / mustard seeds
1 tsp Urad dal
4-5 Curry leaves
2 tblsp oil
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Serves 4


1. Grind coconut, roasted chana dal, green chillies, coriander leaves and ginger to a fine paste using a little water. Adjust the consistency using water.

2. Heat oil in a pan and add rai / mustard seeds. Let it splutter, then add urad dal and curry leaves. Fry on low-medium till the gram turns red and pour it on the chutney.

3. Add salt and lemon juice to the chutney.

Instant Idli

This is for those times when you are in a mood to eat idli without planning for it. I ihave made these for guests too. They come out pretty good and creates a variety in Idlis.


1 cup Rava / Suji
1 cup Yoghurt
8-10 Curry Leaves
1 tbl Roasted Chana Dal
1 tsp Rai / Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 medium onion, chopped fine(optional)
1/4 cup Cashews (optional)

Makes 16 Idlis


1. Heat oil in a pan, add rai, kadi patta, roasted chana dal, onions and fry.

2. Add Rava / Suji. Fry till rava turns light brown.

3. Cool, add salt, cashews, baking soda and yoghurt. Mix well.

4. Grease the idli holder well and fill each of them 3/4th full of batter. You can get an idli holder from an Indian grocery store. Make sure you get one that fits your presure cooker or the pot that you would be using to steam.

5. Steam the idlis in a presure cooker without the whistle or in a large pot on medium flame for about 20 minutes or until done.

6. Use a butter knife to remove the idlis.

7. Serve with Sambhar and Coconut / Peanut Chutney.

Paneer Tikka

I love these baked dishes, so easy to cook and you need not be around - just set the timer and relax till its done.


500 gm Paneer, cubed into 1-inch
2 green peppers / Capsicum, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 big Onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tsp Oil
2 Lemons Juice
2 tsp Red Chilli Sauce
1 tsp Soy Sauce
2 tsp Tomato Ketchup
1 tsp Pav Bhaji Masala
1 tsp Chaat Masala
1 tsp Amchur / Dry mango powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Orange / Red color (optional)


1. In a baking dish, mix all of the above ensuring that paneer and vegatables are covered completely.

2. Let it marinate for 1-5 hours.

3. Pre-heat over to 350 F and bake for 30 min.

4. Add more lemon juice if needed.



2 cups Tuvar dal
1 cup baingan / eggplant, chopped into 2" cubes
1 cup potato, chopped into 1" cubes
2 medium onions, sliced
1 large tomato, chopped
Add any more vegetables you like
1/4 cup lump of tamarind - I use tamarind concentrate
2-3 green chillies
3 tbsps ghee
1 tsp rai / mustard seeds
8-10 curry leaves
4 tbsps Sambar Masala
Salt to taste


1. Boil the dal / lentils and all vegetables with turmeric, salt and enough water till they are soft - about 20-25 min in a pressure cooker. Mash the vegetables a little. The consistency should be that of a thick soup.

2. Soak tamarind in a small bowl of hot water for 10 minutes. Squeeze well to remove all juice. If using tamarind concentrate, add 1/4 cup water to it and mix well.

3. Add this purée to the dal / lentils cooked earlier. Mix well.

4. Heat ghee in a small pan and add rai, green chillies and curry leaves. Fry till the spluttering stops and add to the boiled lentils. Mix well.

5. Adjust consistency by adding water. Add Sambhar masala. Boil well till you get a nice flavor.

6. Serve hot with Idlis, Dosas or plain boiled rice.



Rice and Urad dal in the ratio of 5:3 so if you take 5 cups rice then 3 cups Urad Dal
2 tsp methi dana
Cooked rice - based on the quantity of above
1 tblsp Oil


1. Soak Rice and Dal each with a spoon of methi dana for atleast 3-4 hrs.

2. Cook rice enough so that 1/2 cup can be added with every jar ful of rice/dal when grinding.

3. Grind rice and dal to a smooth yet slightly grainy paste. For each jar full, add 1/2 cup cooked rice before filling the jar and then grind.

4. Mix rice and dal together along with salt.

5. Ferment overnight.

6. Grease the idli holder well and fill each of them 3/4th full of batter. You can get an idli holder from an Indian grocery store. Make sure you get one that fits your presure cooker or the pot that you would be using to steam.

7. Steam the idlis in a presure cooker without the whistle or in a large pot on medium flame for about 20 minutes or until done.

8. Use a butter knife to remove the idlis.

9. Serve with Sambhar and Coconut / Peanut Chutney.

South Indian



Instant Idli


Tamarind Rice

Peanut Chutney

Coconut Chutney


Dosa is all about the right proportions. I got these proportions from my friend, Kala and I like the way dosas turn out this way.


Rice and Urad dal in the ratio of 5:3 so if you take 5 cups rice then 3 cups Urad Dal
2 tsp methi dana
Cooked rice - based on the quantity of above
1 tblsp Oil

If using wet grinder - Rice and urad dal in the ratio of 4:1(summers) / 4 : 1 1/4 (winters). Within rice the ratio is 3 1/4 Idli rice and 3/4 Regular rice. Normally for my 1.25 lt Ultra grinder I take 8 cups rice and 2 cups dal in summers. This quantity of rice is just right for the grinder without spilling over.

For Masala - if you want to make Masala Dosa

2-3 boiled potatoes, peeled and mashed coarsly
1 large onion sliced
8-10 curry leaves
2-3 green chillies, slit
1 tsp Rai
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tblsp oil
Salt to taste


1. Soak Rice and Dal each with a spoon of methi dana for atleast 3-4 hrs.

2. Cook enough rice so that 1/2 cup can be added with every jar ful of rice/dal when grinding.

3. Grind rice and dal to a smooth yet slightly grainy paste. For each jar full, add 1/2 cup cooked rice before filling the jar and then grind.

4. Mix rice and dal together along with salt.

5. Ferment overnight.

6. Before making dosas, mix the batter well.

7. Heat a flat griddle / non-stick pan and spread the batter in sweeping circular motions to form a pancake of roughly 8" diameter. Do not be alarmed if the Dosa develops tiny holes as you spread the batter. This is normal.

8. Spread 1/2 tsp oil on the dosa. Let it cook. When you can feel the bottom browning, thats when the dosa is done. You can cook it a little more if you want it crispier (more paper-like). Some people like it soft. To do this, flip the dosa and let it cook for a min. This makes the dosa soft.

9. Before you make the next dosa, take a lightly wet paper towel and clean the pan surface.

10. Serve with Sambar and Coconut / Peanut Chutney.

Masala for making Masala Dosa

1. Heat oil in a pan, add rai, green chillies and saute onions till transluscent.

2. Add turmeric, curry leaves and let it sizzle for 1 min. Add potatoes and salt and mix well. Masala for dosa is ready.

3. For making masala dosa, before removing dosa from the griddle, add a tablespoon of potato mixture in the center, spread it so that it is in a thin line in the center from one end to other. Wrap the other sides around it.


• In colder places, the dosa batter doesn't ferment as this process needs some heat. I leave the batter bowl near the heat vent. Some people heat up the oven lightly, switch it off and put the batter in it.

• After fermentation of the batter, I mix lightly and take out a little batter from the top to make Idlis.

• You can add tomato, onions, curry leaves and cashews and make Uttapams too with the batter.

Time Saving Tips

Three meals a day, seven days a week equals... a whole lot of time in the kitchen. And when "cook" is only one of your innumerable job titles, that time is at a premium especially here in the US where you have to do everything - from chopping to cleaning to washing.

Putting together a great meal has a lot more to do with Getting Things Done than Mastering the Art of Cooking. Planning in advance, breaking big tasks down into small ones and achieving a relaxed state of readiness is crucial to productivity in the kitchen. To help you plan, prepare, and cook better food, I've put together some of my favorite food and kitchen hacks, from the nuts and bolts. I have been using most of these ideas since the time I got married and started full-fledged cooking of my own. Some of the ideas I got from friends who use it but I never got down to implementing them.

Have a Plan

Plan your week's menu when you do your weekly grocery shopping, so then you don't have to stand in front of the fridge each day thinking "What to cook today?"


We have a big freezer but still we always run short of space. I use a lot of frozen vegetables - bought in bulk, chopped from BJs/Costco like beans, green peas, spinach, mixed vegetables etc. For others I buy fresh, chop them and freeze them like Green and Red Pepper / Capsicum, Onions,

Fresh herbs like Dhaniya (Coriander) and mint don't stay fresh for long. Mine used to always get spoilt by the time I got to them. I got this tip somewhere on the Internet and have been using it ever since. Buy in bulk, chop them fine, put them into ice trays and pour a tiny amount of water in each compartment. When it freezes, pop out your 'herb cubes', store them in labelled ziploc bags and you've got herbs on demand, exactly when you need them.

I like to make fresh rotis everyday, but you can make them ahead of time and freeze them. When you want to use them, just re-heat in pan or microwave. This way you will have extras all the time for those sudden guests. ;)

Whenever I make samosas, I make extra and freeze the rest. Don't fry them, just fill it and freeze or you can fry them light and then freeze. When ou have guests or you want to eat them, just fry them and you are done. A big time-consuming snack ready in minutes.


You can saute onions and tomatoes separately, refrigerate them and use them as and when you need. They can easily be stored for upto a month.

Ginger are Garlic are used in almost all Indian Curries. Irrespective of what the recipe says, I keep bottles of Ginger and Garlic paste and Tamarind Concentrate in my fridge. You don't have to use the store bought ones that have preservative. You can make them at home.


This is the key to getting the work done quickly. For example, if you are making tea, don't just stand near stove. In that time you can cut veggies or clean or anything else.

Don't let the dishes pile

I never am able to work in the kitchen if my sink has dirty dishes in it. I keep transferring them to the dishwasher as and when they get dirty. Its less pressure to do little things than have a whole lot to do in one time. To enable me to do this, I always clear my clean dishes out of the dishwasher asap.

If you don't have a dishwasher, you can fill your sink with soap water before you start cooking and keep washing them as you go. I never had to do this but came across it somewhere.

Clean as you cook

I keep cleaning the counter as I cook. Once I am done chopping and moved to the stove, I clean the chopping board, knives and platform used while I am cooking. It keeps my kitchen clean always.

Once I am done making the last roti, I start cleaning up while my last roti is still cooking.

Cooking Basics

I try to use the same pot a couple of times before sending it off to the dishwasher. Like I make tea, boil eggs, make macaroni and cheese in the same bowl rinsing in between.

I try to avoid cooking directly in the pressure cooker. I almost always use the inside pots, then I don't have to wash the cooker everytime.

Microwave / Bake

I use the microwave / Oven whenever I can. This way I don't have to keep a watch on them - just set the timer and you can relax till its done. I use microwave for making rice, boiling potatoes, re-heating. I use Oven for making french-fries (makes them a little less fatty, and they taste equally good), re-heating when cooked for a party. Here in the US we always have a huge cooking range which has a big oven.

Easier Options

You don't have to cook an elaborate meal everyday. Take break once a week and cook one healthy dish, like pasta with lots of veggies which saves time for elaborate cooking, provides a change and nutrition as well.

More to Come

Leftovers - Secret Revealed

Everyone has leftovers, whether its a bowl of vegetables, half the Chole, Raita or whtever it is that you had the day before or even 2 days before.

My mom used to do this as a general rule to leftovers.

• Any leftover vegetables - alu-gobhi, alu-matar, mixed-vegetables - can be mashed coarsely with hand and patties / cutlets made out of them. Shallow fry them in a pan. If you want to deep fry, add a few slices of bread for binding.

• Leftover vegetables can also be grinded fine and mixed with flour when making dough. Rotis / Paranthas / Puris can be made from these. I do this regularly to feed veggies to my kids, even when I don't have leftovers.

• Leftover dals can be kneaded with Atta (whole wheat flour) and rotis, paranthas or puris can be made out of it.

• Leftover raita can be used to make kadhi. Mix a little besan and turmeric to it. Boil well. Temper it with rai and red chilli powder.

• Any vegetables made using white sauce can be made into pasta by adding any pasta of your choice. You can also make a baked roll by placing it on a split roll bread and bake it in the oven.

• Leftover rice can be made into Lemon Rice, Spinach and Carrot Rice, Veg fried rice.

• Leftover Roti can be ground in mixer(the small chutney jar) and mixed with sugar and ghee to make laddus.

Will add more soon

Alu Gobhi


1 Potato, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/2 Cauliflower, flowers cut - don't cut the the flowers very small, cut them by the stem and make it smaller if the flower is too big
1 small onion, chopped fine
1-2 green chillies, chopped fine
1/2 tsp Jeera
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Dhaniya Powder
1/2 tsp Amchur powder
1/2 cup dhaniya leaves, chopped fine
2 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Garam Masala (optional - if you like it spicy)

Serves 4


1. Heat oil in a pan. Add Jeera and green chillies and let it crackle. Saute onions till transluscent.

2. Add turmeric and dhaniya powder and fry for 1 min.

3. Add all the chopped vegetables and salt. Mix well.

4. Cover, simmer and let cook till vegetables are done. Stir in between so that it doesn't stick to the pan. Here in US the vegetables have a high water content. So I cover for a little while and then cook without a cover, so that all the excess water gets evaporated. Plus I add all the masalas right in the beginning including the ones mentioned in step 5 to avoid mixing later on as that will make the cauliflower mushy.

5. Add garam masala, amchur and dhaniya leaves. Mix. Serve hot.



The weather here finally seems to be changing from < 10 degrees to mid 30s. I hope it stays this way. I am bored by all the snow and slush. It was nice to see the ground today when I got out of my home. My 8-yr old daughter though is not so happy. She likes snow related sports - icing, skate boarding etc.

I actually felt sweaty while coming to work today as I am used to wearing 3-4 layers and that was not needed today. WOW !!!

Slumdog Millionaire

Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions. Intrigued by Jamal’s story, the jaded Police Inspector begins to wonder what a young man with no apparent desire for riches is really doing on this game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out.

Gulab Jamun


1 cup Paneer
5 cups Khoya

For Syrup
2 cups sugar
2 cups water


Syrup - Boil sugar and water till the sugar dissolves.

Gulab Jamun Balls

1. Soften paneer and khoya separately and then mix them together to make a dough.

2. Make balls out of this dough and deep fry them on medium till golden.

3. Remove them on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Then transfer them to the syrup.


• Paneer and Khoya are in the ratio of 1:5

• Sugar and water for syrup are in the ratio of 1:1

Rice Kheer


1/2 cup rice
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 lt Whole milk / 2 pint Half and Half
5-6 Elaiichi powder
1/2 tsp ghee
Dry fruits for decorating - Almonds, Pista, kissmis - all sliced thin

Serves 7-8


1. Heat ghee in a pan and fry rice for 2-3 min.

2. Add milk and let it come to boiling stage. Leave it on slow gas for 1 hr. Keep stirring in between to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. If you are using half and half, then you have to leave it for 12-15 min.

3. Add sugar and elaiichi. Mix well.

4. Before serving decorate with dry fruits.

Vegetable Pulav


2 cups Rice, washed
4 cups water
Vegetables, chopped (2 potatoes, 4 carrots, 1/2 cup peas)
2 medium Onions, chopped fine
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp garlic paste
2-3 green chillies, ground or chopped
1/2 cup Cashews
1 tsp Jeera
1 tsp Garam Masala
Salt to taste

Serves 4-6


1. Heat oil in a pan, add jeera and let it crackle. Add onions and saute till transluscent. Add ginger-garlic-green chilli paste and fry for a min.

2. Add Cashews, salt and vegetables. Fry for 2 min.

3. Add rice and pressure cook for 15 min on slow.

4. Serve with Raita.


• Instead of pressure cooking, I use a microwave rice cooker or the elctric rice cooked.

Sabudana Pakora

This is one of those recipes that gets forgotton in a maze of all the new recipes that we keep learning and trying. But whenever I look through my recipe book and come across this, then we have it the following weekend for breakfast / evening tea.



4 Potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 cup Sabudana
1 cup peanuts, ground to a powder
1/2 cup Dhaniya Leaves, chopped fine
1/2 tsp jeera
1/4 tsp Garam masala
a pinch Hing
1 tsp Dhaniya powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
Salt to taste


1. Soak Sabudana for an hour, drain and leave it in a strainer for about 3-4 hours to drain all excess water.

2. In a bowl mix potatoes, 3-4 spoons sabudana and peanut powder.

3. Make small balls out of the potato mixture.

4. Lightly roll the ball in sabudana to cover it completely. Press it lightly to flatten it into a patty.

5. Deep fry on high. Serve hot.


• You need to be careful when frying as sometimes if the sabudana still has water, then it splatters.

• You can also add a little crumbled bread for binding the potatoes.


Somehow as kids I always thought of Rajma and Chole as "same kind - different look". I don't know why I had this strange notion. But I did. And I liked Chole more - maybe because you get fried bature with it and plain roti/Rice with Rajma. How much ever my parents tried to convince me that Rajma is better than Chole - health-wise - but Chole were for me.

And now as adults, I like Rajma with a plain roti/rice. And my daughters would prefer Chole over Rajma any day.....Its funny how you grow up and change your views - especially about food - its taste after all - what tastes nice now should have tasted nice back then too - Right??



2 cups Rajma / Red Kidney Beans, soaked overnight
2 medium Onions, grated
3 medium Tomatoes, chopped fine
1-inch Ginger
4 Garlic flakes
1 tblsp Oil
1 tsp Garam Masala
Salt to taste

Serves 4-6


1. Grind ginger and garlic to a paste.

2. Pressure cook soaked Rajma for about 15-20 min. Add a little ginger-garlic paste for extra flavor.

3. Heat oil in a pan, add ginger-garlic paste and onions. Saute till the onions become transluscent.

4. Add tomatoes and fry till the tomatoes are mashed.

5. Add boiled rajma/beans and salt. Boil for 2-3 min.

6. Garnish with garam masala and Serve.

7. Decorate with sliced tomatoes and finely chopped dhaniya leaves.

Roti / Chapati


2 cups Atta / Whole Wheat flour
1 cup water
1 cup Atta in a plate for dusting the dough when rolling
Ghee for brushing the roti

Makes 12-14 Rotis


Knead 2 cups Atta and water to a soft dough. Add more water. It has to be very soft but not sticky. Keep it covered for 2 hours.


1. Knead well. Divide the dough into peach-size balls.

2. On a lightly floured surface, flatten one ball of dough with your hand. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough into a 5-6" thin, round.

3. Roll from the center, turning dough several times to prevent sticking. Try to make the edges slightly thinner than the center.

4. You can cook one roti as you roll another.


1. Preheat a cast-iron tawa / skillet over medium heat.

2. Place the rolled dough on the palm of one hand and flip it over on to the tawa. Let it cook for 20-30 sec and turn it over.

3. Let it cook for another 40-45 sec. Hold the cooked roti over the flame and it will puff immediately. Turn quickly to flame-bake the other side. Do this several times, taking care that the edges are well cooked.

To keep the chapatis warm as they are cooked, place them in a towel-lined bowl and fold over the sides of the towel. Serve hot, either completely dry or topped with a small amount of ghee or butter. Tips

• If you have an electric stove, then to flame cook them you get a wire mesh in the Indian Store which can be used on top of the electric stove.

Vanilla Milk Cake


2 eggs
3 cups Maida / All purpose flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 cup dry milk
1 1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2-3 cups milk - as required


1. Beat Sugar and butter in a deep bowl till soft.

2. Add eggs one at a time beaing continuously.

3. Add baking powder, salt and dry milk. Add flour slowly beating continuously. Add milk to keep the consistency of the batter. The batter has to be of pouring consistency.

4. Add Vanilla Extract.

5. Pour the contents to a greased 9" by 11" baking dish.

6. Bake at 350 on center rack for about 30-35 min. A toothpick inserted in the cake should come out clean.

Chocolate Cake


4 eggs
2 cups sugar
4 heaped tblsp Cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup Maida / All purpose flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts - Almonds, Cashews, chocolate chips


1. Beat Sugar, butter and cocoa in a deep bowl till soft.

2. Add eggs one at a time beating continuously.

3. Sift baking powder and flour together 2-3 times. Add this to the mixture prepared earlier, 2-3 tablespoons at a time, beating continuously.

4. Stir in 1 cup nuts.

5. In a greased 9" by 13" baking dish, spread a layer of the remaining 1/2 cup nuts.

6. Pour the cake batter over this nuts layer.

7. Bake at 350 F on center rack for about 30-35 min. A toothpick inserted in the cake should come out clean.


• You can increase the quantity of nuts depending on how nuttier you want your cake. I normally make the bottom layer fill with nuts with no spaces.

Masala Vada


Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Serves: About 15 vadas


1 cup Chana Dal, soaked overnight(min 3-4 hrs)
1 Onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup Dhaniya leaves, chopped fine
2 sticks curry leaves, chopped
3-4 green chillies, chopped finely
1 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Jeera
2 tblsp besan

  1. Grind the soaked chana dal coarsly. I normally use a food processor to grind as that keeps it coarse.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Besan is added to help in binding since the dal was grounded coarsely.
  3. Heat oil to medium heat for deep frying.
  4. Make balls using this batter, flatten it slightly and carefully drop in oil(without breaking). Deep fry. Do not try to fry too many vadas at the same time in lesser oil, since the vadas will stick to each other.
  5. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

Missi Roti

We eat roti every single day. Eating the plain old roti made of atta (wheat flour)every single day gets kinda boring. So to spice it up, I try to make a different kind of roti atleast 2-3 days a week. I like the idea of adding something else to atta to make it different. Most of the times I add any left-over vegetables or dal to the atta while kneading and make rotis/saada parantha out of it. This way veggies make their way into my daughters stomachs.

Well, yesterday was missi roti day!!!


Preparation Time: 20-25 min
Cooking Time: 20-25 min
Makes: about 15-18 rotis


2 cups Besan
1 cup Maida / All purpose flour
1 cup Atta / Whole wheat flour
1 Onion, chopped finely
2-3 green chillies, chopped fine
1 tsp Ajwain
2 tblsp Dhaniya Leaves
4 tblsp Ghee
Salt to taste


1. Knead all the above ingredients to make a semi-stiff dough.

2. Cover and leave for 1/2 hour.

3. Knead again for a min.

4. Roll out 5-6" thin rounds and pan fry with a little ghee.

5. Serve with Palak Paneer


Moong Dal Kachori


1 cup Moong ki dhuli dal / Moong Dal without cover
4 cups Maida / All purpose flour
7 tblsp Oil
4 tsp Fennel powder
8-10 cloves, ground
a pinch Hing / Asafoetida
1 tsp Jeera
1 tsp Garam Masala
6-7 green chillies
1" Ginger / 1 tsp Ginger paste
1/2 tsp Turmeric
salt to taste


1. Soak dal overnight. Drain and grind with a little water to a rough consistency (like rava).

2. Grind chillies and ginger to a paste.

3. Heat 1 tblsp oil in a pan. Add hing, jeera, turmeric, salt, chilli-ginger paste and ground dal.

4. Keep frying till the mixture become dry. Take care so that it doesn't skick to the pan.

5. When the mixture is just about to dry add fennel powder, clove powder and garam masala. Keep aside.

6. Knead maida with a 6 tblsp oil, 1 tsp salt and water. The dough has to be hard, just soft enough to get rolled.

7. Make small balls of the dough. Fill with mixture prepared earlier. Seal properly using a little water.

8. Deep fry on medium.

9. Serve with Imli Chutney.



5 cups Maida / All pupose flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
2 tblsp Yoghurt
1 1/2 tblsp Ghee / butter
1 tsp Salt
Oil for deep frying


1. Mix sugar and yeast in 1 cup warm water. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Cover and wait for 5-7 minutes. The mixture will become frothy.

2. Add this along with curd, ghee and salt to the flour. Knead to make a soft dough.

3. Keep dough under wet towel for 30 min or longer.

4. Make small balls from this dough, roll them into 5" rounds and deep fry till golden.

Sabudana Khichidi

This is so tasty and so quick to cook. I usually make it for breakfast. Its light and filling. I learnt it after I came here. For some people the sabudana is either too hard to eat or gets very wet and so is all mushy. I too got it like that the first time I made it. And then I figured my own way to avoid that hardness and soggyness. I soak the sabudana well - for about an hour and leave it overnight in a strainer for any excess water to drain off. Next morning sabudana is perfect for cooking.



1 cup Sabudana
2 medium potatoes, boiled and cut into pieces
1 medium Tomato
1 tsp oil
1/2 cup peanuts
Salt to taste

Serves 3-4


1. Soak Sabudana in water for an hour. Drain in a big strainer for atleast 4-5 hours so that any excess water drains out completely. I normally keep it overnight.

2. Boil potatoes. I boil them in a microwave.

3. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and add tomato to it. Cook thoroughly while mashing the tomatoes.

4. Add potatoes, salt, sabudana and peanuts. Mix well. Serve hot.


• The actual Maharashtrian Sabudana khichidi doesn't use tomatoes but I use it as I like its slightly sour taste. You can avoid it if you want.

• To make it a little spicy, you can add a few green chillies.

Veg Soft Noodles


1 pack Hakka Noodles
2 cup vegetable (cabbage, green pepper, carrots), shredded
1 cup shredded onions
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Chilli Sauce
Black Pepper to taste
Salt to taste

Serves 3-4


1. Boil noodles for about 10 minutes or until they are soft. I microwave them for 10 min.

2. Drain the water out of noodles and transfer them to a tray. Add 1 tsp oil and spread them well.

3. Heat oil in a pan and saute onions till transluscent.

4. Add shredded vegetables, salt and pepper. Stir-fry for 4-5 min.

5. Add noodles, soy sauce and chilli sauce. Stir-fry for another 3-4 min.


• The amount of vegetables can be changed according to taste. I add more as kids like noodles and vegetables esp cabbage is difficult to identify in noodles.

Peanut Chutney


1/2 cup peanuts
1/4 cup Roasted Chana Dal
1-2 green chillies
1 tsp Garlic paste
1/2 cup water
salt to taste

For Tempering 1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Rai
5-6 Curry Leaves


1. Grind all the above ingredients (except those under tempering) to a fine paste. Add more water if thick.

2. Temper the above chutney by heating oil in a ladel and adding rai and curry leaves. Pour this on the chutney.

ButterCream Icing


1 lb confectioners 10x Sugar - 4 cups approx
1 cup vegetable shortening / butter
2 tblsp milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp light Karo Syrup
Icing Colors


1. Beat shortening / butter in a large bowl.

2. Dissolve salt in warm milk and add this and vanilla extract to shortening. Beat.

3. Gradually add sugar (1 cup at a time) while beating.

4. With a hand-mixer beat for 5 min on medium speed. With a Stand mixer, beat for 2 min on low speed.

Icing Consistencies

STIFF - The above recipe will give you a stiff consistency. After mixing, remove 1 cup to make flowers.

MEDIUM - To the remaining, add 2 tsp milk and beat for a min. Remove 1 cup for borders and flowers with petals.

THIN - To th eremaining, add 1 tsp of light Karo Syrup. This will give more elasticity for icing the cake.

Icing colors are normally very concentrated and can be combined to create more colors. Take a toothpick and streak th eicing with this toothpick to get a little color and mix to test the shade.


• Icing can be refrigerated for 2 weeks or frozen for 2 months.

• To decorate a 2-layer 8" cake, double this recipe

Instant Dhokla


1 1/2 cups Besan
1 cup water
1 tblsp Oil
1/2 tsp Turmeic
1 tsp green chilli paste
1 tsp Ginger paste
1 ts salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp Soda
1 1/2 tsp Eno Fruit Salt
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Dhaniya Leaves, chopped finely

For Tempering
t tblsp Oil
1 tsp Rai
2-3 green chiliies, slit into long pieces
1/4 cup Vinegar
3/4 cup water 1 tblsp Sugar

Serves 6


1. Grease a 7" round flat microwavable dish and keep aside.

2. Sieve besan to ensure that there are no lumps.

3. Mix besan, oil, water, turmeric, salt, sugar, chilli paste and ginger paste to a smooth consistency.

4. Add eno fruit salt and soda to the batter and pour lemon juice over it. Beat well for a few seconds. Note that eno and soda should be placed in one spot and not spread over as we need to pour lemon juice over it.

5. Pour this mixture into the greased bowl and microwave uncovered for 6 min.

6. To temper, microwave oil with the rest of the ingredients under Tempering for 4 1/2 min.

7. Pour over dhokla and wait 1/2 hour for it to get absorbed and to turn soft.

8. Cool and cut into pieces. Sprinkle chopped Dhaniya leaves. Serve.

Kadai Paneer



250 gms Paneer, cubed
5 medium Tomatoes, 2 pureed and 3 chopped
1 Green Pepper, sliced
3 Onions, sliced
4 Garlic cloves, ground (I use Garlic Paste)
1/2 inch Ginger, ground along with Garlic (I use Ginger paste)
1 tsp Jeera
1 tsp Dhaniya Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Kasuri Methi leaves
a pinch sugar
3 tblsp Oil / Ghee
100 gms fresh Cream
Salt to taste

Serves 6


1. Heat oil in a pan and add Jeera, When it crackles, saute Onions till transluscent.

2. Add dhaniya powder, turmeric, red chilli powder, garam masala and kasuri methi. Fry for a min.

3. Add tomato puree, cut tomatoes and green pepper. Cook for 2-3 min.

4. Add paneer and salt. Cook for 2-3 min.

5. Add cream and sugar and serve hot.


• I don't add cream to make it lighger.

Paneer Makhmali


400 gms Paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large Onion, sliced
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Oil / Ghee / Butter

Ground to a fine paste
2 cups Dhaniya Leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Mint Leaves, chopped
2-3 Green Chillies
1-inch Ginger
1/4 cup Cashews
1/4 cup Yoghurt
3 tsp Lemon Juice
Salt to taste

Serves 4


1. Pierce the paneer cubes with a fork and marinate them in the ground paste for atleast 15 min.

2. Heat oil/ghee/butter in a pan and saute onions till they are transluscent.

3. Add the marinated paneer and saute for another 5-7 minutes.

4. Add milk. Simmer till the milk evaporates.

5. Sprinkle with Garam Masala and serve immediately.


• Can be eaten with a tooth-pick.

• Can also be served as a side dish.


The secret to cooking flavorful rice is to use Ghee instead of oil.

Spinach and Carrot Rice

Vegetable Pulav

Peas Pulav

Jeera Chawal / Rice

Tamarind Rice

Quick Fried Rice

Paneer in White Gravy


200 gms Paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium onions, cut into 4 pieces each
1 tblsp Cashewnuts
3 Green Chillies, chopped
6 cloves Garlic (I use Garlic paste)
1/2 inch Ginger (I use Ginger paste)
1 cup Yoghurt, churned well
3/4 cup Dhaniya Leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tblsp Oil / Ghee
1 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
Salt to taste

Paneer in white Gravy
Serves 4-6


1. Microwave or Boil onions for about 2-3 minutes.

2. Grind onions along with Cashews, green chillies, garlic and ginger to a fine paste.

3. Heat oil / ghee in a pan and add the onion-cashew paste and fry for a few minutes.

4. Add yoghurt, salt, sugar and garam masala and cook on slow flame until the oil separates.

5. Add dhaniya leaves and cook for another 30 sec.

6. Add Paneer cubes, cook for a few minutes.


• Instead of using Garam Masala, you can use 3 cardomoms, 2 cloves, 1 stick cinnamon, 1 bay leaf.

• Before serving check the thickness of the gravy as it thickens as time goes by. To thin it add water.


Chole or Garbanzo Beans, is a popular North Indian dish having its roots in Punjab. Chole always reminds you of Bature and they are more often served as a combination "Chole Bature". But Chole can be eaten with other breads as well and also with rice - plain and spiced.

Chole is a good source of folate, protein and dietary fiber. Plus the fact that it is loved by kids cannot be ignored by mothers.



1 Cup Chole / Chick Peas, soaked overnight
1 large Onion, ground to a paste
2 medium Tomatoes, 1 chopped fine and 1 pureed
1-inch ginger, ground along with Onion Paste (I use 1 tsp Ginger Paste)
3-4 Garlic Cloves, ground along with Onion Paste (I use 1 1/2 tsp Garlic Paste)
2-3 Green Chillies, ground along with Onion Paste
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Garam Masala
2 tblsp Oil
Salt to taste

Serves 4-6


1. Pressure Cook Chole for about 20 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a pan and add the Onion-Ginger-Garlic-GreenChillies Paste. Fry till the onion becomes transluscent.

3. Add tomato paste and fry till oil leaves the tomatoes - 5-8 min approx.

4. Add bay leaves, salt and Garam Masala.

5. Add cooked Chole and adjust water.

6. Simmer and leave it for 5-10 minutes stirring in between to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

7. Sprinkle finely chopped onions and keep lemon pieces on top for decorating.


• You can mash 1-2 tablespoons chole in the last step to thicken the gravy.

• You can add boiled potato to leftover Chole to increase quantity. Adjust seasoning.

Aloo Matar


1 big Aloo, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup green peas
1 big Tomato, chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup Dhaniya leaves, chopped fine
1 tsp Jeera
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Dhaniya Powder
1 tblsp Oil / Ghee
Salt to taste

Serves 4


1. Heat oil in a pan and add Jeera. When they crackle, saute onions for 2-3 minutes till they turn pink.

2. Add Turmeric and Dhaniya powder. Fry for 20-30 seconds.

3. Add tomatoes and fry till oil leaves the pan - 5 min approximately.

4. Add potatoes, green peas and salt.

5. Add enough water to submerge the vegetables completely.

6. Pressure Cook them for about 20 minutes.

7. Garnish with Dhaniya leaves.


• You can mash the potatoes a little to thicken the gravy.