December 31, 2009

..goodbye 2009..with spicy Mirchi Ka Salan

2009 is done..and so is the fun-filled recipe marathon we all participated from Dec 25th to Dec 31st 2009.. a unique & delicious way to bid adieu to our beloved 2009..(Thanks Nupur for organizing such an awesome pot-luck party)....:)

..I still have the malware problem in my laptop... so I will be quick & concise today....will leave you here..with a spicy curry.. a famous hyderbadi dish - 'Mirchi Ka Salan'...:) Enjoy!!

Mirchi Ka Salan (Peppers in Peanut gravy)


6 (anaheim) mexican peppers (or any long peppers will do)
1 tsp oil
2 tsp amchur powder

For Salan:

1/4 cup peanuts
3 tbsp cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 cup onions, chopped
5-6 dried red chillies
3-4 tbsp shredded coconut
5-6 tbsp tamarind juice
salt- to taste
water - as per consistency

1/8 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chilli powder (optional)
2 tbsp oil


1. Slit the peppers and remove the seeds. the anaheim peppers, I used were very I cut them into half. Soak them in warm water for couple of minutes and wipe them dry. Pat a little oil on the outer sides on the peppers & rub some amchur powder in the insides..:)

2. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and sear the peppers into a light charred skin color. Keep aside.

3. In a separate pan, roast peanuts. remove their skin. then roast sesame seeds, cumin seeds and dried red chillies.
Heat little oil and saute the onions for 3-4 minutes until lightly caramelized.

4. Grind together - roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, caramelized onions, shredded coconut with tamarind juice and water for a paste light consistency.

5. Heat a tbsp of oil and add the salan paste to it. Season with salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir in the seared peppers, cover & cook for about 15-20 mins on medium-low heat, stirring couple of times in-between until the sauce thickens. Serve with rice (or) rotis..:)

...more Mirchi Ka Salan: @ Mahanandi ; @ Ruchikacooks ; @ Vindu

Wishing you all a very Happy and Joyous 2010. May all your dreams come true and God Bless us all!!


December 30, 2009

2-minute Pineapple Dessert

First of all, this post was supposed to be for yesterday (I am cheating my publishing this on yesterday's date ;))... I couldn't publish on time as my system got malware and am still in the process of cleaning it. I have borrowed my friend's laptop.. so that I can quickly hit 'Publish'....:)

..I am so glad, finally I am able to share this easy-peasy dessert with all of you, which I learnt from one of my office colleagues, V. It has no cooking involved and trust me, the taste is mouth-watery. This is her signature dish for almost every pot-luck at our office and we eagerly wait for it, every single time. Yesterday, it was time to take the plunge & create my own. I stayed true to most of the recipe, but to add the touch of saffron was my idea. I love this queen of spices - as DK says 'the stylish and regal spice of all'..

.. do give this recipe a try and you will be pleasantly surprised with it results.. just like I did, when tasted for the first time..

2-minute Pineapple dessert (Adapted from my office colleague, V)


1.5 cups (canned) crushed pineapple [in 100% pineapple juice]
1 cup fat-free condensed milk [Update: I used sweetened condensed milk]
1 cup light whipped cream
few saffron threads, dissolved in a tbsp of hot water


In a large bowl, mix crushed pineapple, condensed milk and whipped cream. Whisk the ingredients rigoursly so that there are no lumps. Add dissolved saffron and stir well. Chill for atleast 3 hours. Serve.

I am sending this as an entry to DK's JFI:Saffron. :)

Today is Day Six in our recipe countdown to New Year...only one more to go.. Yeh!! 2010..we are almost there....

Day Five - Chole Paneer
Day Four - Basic Home-made Granola Mix
Day Three - Methi Pulao
Day Two - Stuffed Bell Peppers
Day One - Cheesy Brown Rice Cakes


December 29, 2009

Chole Paneer

Oil+Onions+Garlic+Tomatoes+masalas] = Tomato-Onion gravy. (TOG)

..this tomato-onion gravy is such widely used gravy base for most of the north-indian curries. Any vegetable, legumes and meat based curries can be whipped up in minutes, if we just know how to make this TOG. My mom, used to even make this gravy upfront, pour them into ice trays and used to freeze them. Just heat these up, as-and-when-used...:)

Today's recipe uses this TOG base and I added chickpeas & paneer to it. Yum..:)

Chole-Paneer (Chickpeas with Indian Cottage Cheese)


1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 cup paneer, cubed
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
fresh coriander
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp lemon juice
salt - to taste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/8 tsp turmeric
2 tsp oil


1. In a large pan, heat 1 tsp oil .add garlic, green chillies & onions. saute until golden brown. then add chopped tomatoes, cook until a little mush. Season with salt, turmeric, chilli powder and garam masala powder. Cook for 5-6 mins until all flavours blend well - together.

2. Add chickpeas and cook for 2 more mins. then add yogurt. Stir well. reduce heat.

3. In a separate pan, heat a tsp oil and saute paneer cubes until golden brown. drain on paper towels.

4. Add these paneer cubes to tomato-onion-chickpea mixture. Cook for 3-4 mins on low heat.

5. Finally add chopped corainder with lemon juice. It tastes awesome with rotis or chapathis :)

I just came home watching the movie of a lifetime - AVATAR 3D. I have just one word for it - 'magnificent'. It is just amazing how James Cameroon built this whimsical world of Pandora and trust me, you wouldn't want to come out of it.. It was B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.. Don't miss it.. watch it in 3D..:)

Today is Day Five of our recipe countdown to New Year.. 2010.. here we come!!!

Day Four - Basic Home-made Granola Mix
Day Three - Methi Pulao
Day Two - Stuffed Bell Peppers
Day One - Cheesy Brown Rice Cakes

Chao for now,

December 28, 2009

Basic Home-made Granola Mix

It is a well-known fact that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup'(HFCS), commonly used in processed foods has negative effects on our body. Though eaten in moderation, it wouldn't pose any immediate threat...its pre-dominancy in almost every packaged product these days is a matter of concern to me. I always check the label of any product to make sure that it doesn't have any high amounts of HFCS. I was surprised to see that even my favorite brand of granola bar had large amounts HFCS..

...that is when my rummage for a fool-proof granola mix began.. I wanted to try a basic version first and then try to tweak the hunt ended at one of my favorite blogger - Nupur's post and was pleasantly thrilled at the sheer simplicity of the recipe. I made this today, in an hour at most - from start to finish, with the minimal natural ingredients I had in my pantry today and guess what, I am ready for a second batch.. It was that good. I packed them in air-tight containers, ready to be gifted to my friends..:) Happy Holidays everyone..!!!

Basic Home-made Granola mix


3 cups instant rolled oats
1 cup raw mixed nuts, chopped [I used cashews, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts & walnuts]
1 cup dried raisins and dried cranberries (together)
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/4 cup cane sugar
3 tbsp water


1. Preheat oven for 325 F

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl - mix oats and nuts.

3. In a microwave safe bowl, mix cane sugar with 3 tbsp of water and MW for 50-60 seconds. (make sure sugar is completely dissolved and it has syrupy-consistency)

4. Add the sugar syrup to oats& nuts and stir well so that they are evenly coated.

5. Pour the oats & nuts mixture on a (lightly greased) baking sheet and bake for 25 mins, stirring 2-3 times in regular intervals. Then add raisins, chopped dates and cranberries & bake for 5 more mins.

6. Cool the mixture and then store in an air-tight container.

Serve with yogurt and fruit :)) Yummy! 

Thanks Nupur for such a lovely recipe and am ready now to make a variety of versions of it - with different fruit based syrup, honey-sugar syrup, dark mollases-honey-sugar syrup (just like Nupur's recipe asked for) etc etc.. I have so many ideas..and I wish to do them all..:))).

Today is Day Four of our recipe countdown to New Year..browse through the side-bar to see what everyone else is cooking.

until tomorrow,

December 27, 2009

Methi Pulao

Andhra Pradesh, the state in India I hail from is sweetly named as 'Rice bowl of India'. We eat rice almost every day and we love it to the fullest...:)..

.... but some unfortunate events ,happening back in my state are threatening the very integrity of it. Some want a separate state called - 'Telangana'..on the sole reason that the region is being neglected and proper funds are not allocated for its development. though the demand for separate state is not new, recent events took a new twist and every day - the first thing I tell my parents, when I call them is 'to be careful' is sad that when politics become pre-dominant, the voice of the people is snubbed and the result of that is ...utter chaos.. I fervently hope things would settle soon, back home and everything comes to its normality.. Do I support this 'separate state'.. Hell No!.. It is so hard for  me to comprehend the thought that my state will be broken into pieces.. It is entirely my opinion & there might be others who totally disagree with me.

....coming back to today's a rice dish ofcourse..'Methi Pulao'..and the recipe is of sindi roommate....we ate this with a spicy eggplant-tomato curry and it was simply heavenly..:) Enjoy.

Methi Pulao (Fenugreek Pulao) [my sindhi rommate's recipe]


1 cup fresh fenugreek leaves
1 cup long-grain basmati rice
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 cup vegetables - I used beans, carrots & corn.
2 green chillies, very finely chopped
2 bay leaves
2 cardamom & clove pods
2 tbsp ghee (butter or oil)
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
salt - to taste


1. Clean rice and soak for atleast 15-20 mins.

2. In a pan, heat ghee and drop cloves, cardamom and bay leaves. let them crackle. Add green chillies and tomatoes. Cook until a little mush. then add the rest of veggies. cook until tender.

3. Add methi leaves and cook for 5 mins till it releases the aromatic smell of fenugreek..:). Add rice and fry for couple of minutes. Add 2 cups of water. Season with salt and garam masala. Mix well. Do not cover yet.

4. Let it come to a rolling boil, then cover & cook on medium heat until rice is done.

Optional: Garnish with fried onion and cilantro & serve hot with a spicy side dish.

Heaven! :)

Eggplant-Tomato Curry -

Today is Day Three of the recipe countdown to New Year know what other participants are cooking.. please scroll through the right-hand-side-bar.


December 26, 2009

Stuffed Bell peppers

Today's recipe is very dear to me.. why you ask? - it was made not by me.. but by 'S' (Are you listening?)....:)) Ok, here is what happened yesterday.

I love surprises...truly lady-like.. (jaise filmo me hota hai) I expect 'S' to surprise me ..not everyday..but atleast for special occasions...and as it always happens - 'one always finds their opposites in life'..'S' doesn't believe in the concept of 'surprising'..of any sort - his philosophy about this: "What if the person doesn't like whatever he got? waste of effort, time and money. Right?. Instead take the person to the store and ask him/her to choose whatever (s)he wants..I will pay the bill.;) Done-done!"..I mean.. 'surprises' do not work that way right?.. I have been struggling to explain this to him for such a long time.. that now I gave up..:)..

..but this christmas..(which was yesterday)..he did the 'unexpected'..where he volunteered to make 'lunch' for both of be really honest I didn't know what to expect.. he said absolutely nothing about what he was gonna make.. though it took him quite a long time to come out of the kitchen.. the end-result was heavenly, I must say. I never thought of adding yogurt to any kind of stuffing.. he did.. today's recipe - 'Stuffed Bell peppers' is all-his and when served with hot rice.. I can't express in words how tasty it was....he indeed made my day..:)))

Stuffed Bell peppers


5 medium-sized bell peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
salt - to taste

For stuffing:

1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp yogurt
2 tbsp roasted peanut powder
2 tbsp roasted sesame seed powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
fresh corainder, finely chopped
2 tsp chilli powder
salt - to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 cup water


1. To make stuffing: Heat oil in pan, add cumin seeds,garlic and onion - fry till golden brown. Then add besan and saute till light brown. Season with salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir in yogurt and mix well. Finally add roasted peanut powder and sesame powder. For a paste-like consistency, add a cup of water. Towards the end, add freshly chopped coriander and mix well. the stuffing is ready!!

2. Cut the top part of bell peppers, remove the stem & seeds. Fill the hollow peppers with the stuffing. Lightly rub the outer skin of the peppers with (oil + little salt) mixture.

3. In a pan, heat a few teaspoons of oil and drop the stuff peppers. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat, flipping each side get the charred skin taste of the peppers. Serve hot with rice. :)

This is my recipe for Day Two of recipe countdown to New Year, 2010. scroll down the right sidebar of the blog, to see what other marathoners are upto..

Hope you all had a joyful Christmas,

until tomorrow,

December 25, 2009

Cheesy Brown Rice Cakes

What do you do when you are waiting to be attended to at a beauty parlor? my favorite past time is to browse through their cooking magazines..and there are some recipes which you see and instantly fall in love with. Your subconscious mind already sets the plan and all the rest of the body has to do - is follow it ;)...One such recipe is this cheesy rice cake recipe.. which I saw in Rachel Ray magazine (No! I am not a fan of hers).

Cheesy Brown rice Cakes (Adapted from Rachel Ray magazine)


1 cup brown rice medley (It is a blend of long-grain brown rice, black barley and radish seeds, which I got from my local Trader Joes. this can be substituted with any kind of firm rice. the original recipe used 'arborio rice')
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (original recipe: 1 cup)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (original recipe: 1 cup)
salt & pepper - to taste
crushed red pepper flakes - as per taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs
olive oil - for shallow frying
1 egg (optional) - I had to omit this as my friend, whom I was serving this was - a staunch vegetarian.


1. Cook rice as per package instruction. Set aside and cool slightly.

2. In a bowl, mix rice, both cheeses and egg (if using). Season with salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. (Don't let the mixture cool, as it would be hard to make patties then.)

3. Heat some olive oil in a pan. Make patties of desired shape, roll in bread crumbs and shallow fry both sides (turning very carefully) on medium-low heat. Drain on paper towels & serve warm with spinach salad on side.  Yumm-o!!

I am sending rhis as an entry to Superchef's event - Sunday Snacks:Cheese. Enjoy!

Today is the Day One of Nupur's 7-day recipe marathon countdown to New Year. To check what rest of the 25 bloggers are cooking , check the 'Recipe Marathoners' feed on the right-side bar of the blog.

Merry Christmas to all....

Merry Christmas

............... and Happy Holidays 2009

December 21, 2009

Menu For Hope # 6

What is Menu for Hope?

Menu for Hope is an annual fund-raising campaign hosted by a group of food-bloggers in the month of December and it has proudly entered its 6th year now. The idea was conceived by Chez pim, 5 years ago to raise funds for people effected by tsunami-hit South-east Asia. In the past three years, Menu for Hope have raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars to help the WFP end world hunger.

This year, Menu for Hope is in support of the UN World Food Programme, especially highlighting the new initiative Purchase for Progress (P4P). P4P enables smallholder and low-income farmers to supply food to WFP’s global operation, helping farmers improves their practices and putting more cash directly into their pockets in return for their crops. This will immensely help their local economy by creating jobs and income locally.

We, as fellow food bloggers can make an impact  and every dollar donated will make a huge difference to a farmer in thelow income countries to buy his own seeds and produce food locally..ultimately making them self-reliant.

Here are the rules for participation:

1. Use this Menu Hope Donation Form to view the master list of bid items and for a simple 3-step checkout process.

Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a bid item of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02. This would be entered as “2xEU01, 3xEU02″.

2. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

The Menu for Hope raffle runs until December 25, 2009 (only 4 days left) and the results will be announced on January 28, 2010 at Chez Pim.

Let us all join hands and donate as much as we can to support such a great cause.

until next time,


December 20, 2009

(Snow) Men.. in my life!!

Which one is your 'handsome hunk'? :-)

P.S: I hope you all like the new festive look of my blog. Happy Holidays to you all!

December 9, 2009

Chickpeas with Spinach

There are some books which evoke such nice feelings in you that you wanna go back and read them again and again...and again.. One such book is 'Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant', which is a collection of essays from many renowned foodie people who basically open up and talk about what would they do cook when they are absolutely alone. It can be quite challenging and boring, I must say to cook just for oneself and this book says it all - it has many funny moments.. where you just laugh-out-loud and think what would you do then.. if you were them!

... sometimes it feels nice to know that there are people out there who most of the times enjoy and sometimes loathe to cook - just for themselves...

Today's recipe is something I made just out of a whim.. not as elaborate as our Indian version of 'Chana Palak'.. just a quickie version of that.. but equally yummy and tasty...Enjoy!

Chickpeas with Spinach


1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
1 bag of fresh spinach
1 medium onion, finely chopped
a very small ginger piece, very finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
salt - to taste
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 tsp amchur powder (raw mango powder)
1/2 tsp chilli powder


1. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Saute ginger and chopped onions until golden brown.

2. Add chickpeas and cook for about 2-3 mins. Add turmeric, salt, amchur and chilli powder. Mix well and let the flavors blend in together.

3. Finally add spinach and mix & cook for 3-5 mins on medium-low flame, covered until wilted. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve hot as side dish with rice or bread.

I am sending this recipe as an entry to My Legume Love Affair 18, this month guest hosted by Srivalli. Originally the idea for this event was conceived by Susan of 'The Well-Seasoned Cook'.

Hope you are all gearing up for the upcoming holidays!

P.S: Just ONE day left, if you wish to vote for my blog @ Indibloggies 2008 awards for 'Best Food Indiblog' category . Click here for more details.

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