January 28, 2010

JFI: Fennel - an event announcement

When I started food-blogging approximately 2.5 years ago, JFI was the first event I ever participated and felt a very special attachment to the event and more-so with Indira, the person who conceived this event idea. Finally, I get to host my all-time favorite event, here at my  blog. :)

As Indira says -  Jihva, the Sanskrit word means taste, desire and deep longing. This powerful word also represents tongue and taste buds.

..and the ingredient chosen as the theme must be a natural one, preferably related to Indian cuisine.

Fennel (Hindi - Saunf; Telugu - Sompu; Tamil - Shombu), also called sometimes as 'sweet cumin' is an aromatic spice very widely used in Indian & Middle-eastern cuisines. Added to any dish, this spice accentuates its taste & flavor profile. Most importantly, its numerous medicinal values make it even more valuable.

...also did you know  according to a Greek myth, knowledge came to man from Olympus in the form of a fiery coal contained in a fennel stalk.

So, let us all celebrate this stimulant spice all this month and create some creative and tasty recipes with it..

Here are some simple rules about what to do -

1. Cook a vegetarian dish using 'Fennel' in any form (bulb, foliage, seeds etc) and post it in your blog from now and February 28th 2010. Eggs are allowed.

2. Please link this announcement & Indira's blog in your posts.

3. Multiple entries are more than welcome - more the merrier!

4. Send your details - Name, Recipe URL and Photo (any size, optional) with a subject line of 'JFI' to info(dot)siri(at)gmail(dot)com before February 28th 2010, midnight.

5. You can send in previously blogged entries too. All you have to do is link this event announcement in your post. No need to re-post it again.

6. Non-bloggers can participate by sending in their recipes with the details mentioned above to the same email address.

You still couple of days left for January's edition of JFI - Ragi, hosted by dear Madhu.

UPDATE: JFI: Entries received until now.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons


January 24, 2010

Healing Foods: Avocado - an event announcement

'You are, what you eat'.. Food that we take everyday has the power to protect & heal us and they are our first line of defense to fight off our illness. Surprising as it may sound, following a simple diet & skin regime - just by making sure you have 'certain foods' in your daily diet-in-take can make a lot of difference and they become key contributors for a very healthy well-being.

..this new series - 'Healing Foods' aims at focusing one food item, every month by highlighting their health benefits and challenging you to come up with recipies in their most 'healthy form'.

This month's theme is - a melt-in-your-mouth-marvel - 'AVOCADO'.

Here is an excerpt from Vegetarian Times describing the health benefits of our Avocado:

"Avocados are revered for their buttery taste and texture, a quality that stems from the "good" monounsaturated fats they contain. It is also these fats that make avocados champions for heart health. Studies have found that oleic acid, one of the monounsaturated fats in the smooth green flesh of the fruit, helps to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels significantly. Also rich in potassium, fiber, folate, and Vitamin K, the luscious fruit of guacamole fame is surprisingly versatile: Brazilians use it to make ice cream, and in the Philippines it's blended into a creamy avocado shake."

So, dear friends...let us all come together and explore the goodness of Avocados this month.

Here are some simple rules of participation -

1. Create a vegetarian dish, using Avocado and post the same in your blog. Eggs are allowed. Non-Bloggers can send their recipes with the details mentioned below to the same email address.

2. Please link this announcement in your posts. Usage of the logo is optional.

3. Multiple entries are more than welcome - more the merrier!

4. Send your details - Name, Recipe URL and Photo (any size, optional) to info(dot)siri(at)gmail(dot)com before February 28th 2010, midnight.

4. You can send previously blogged entries, provided they are re-posted!

Let's get cooking then..


January 21, 2010

Dal Pakwaan

Life .. like a journey on a train.. you meet people, they share a tiny part of your life & then they leave..like birds who are ready to migrate for greater pastures.. but still you remember them.. and cherish the time you spent with them..forever...

..during the course of our journey, we learn so much from each other, share so many moments of joy, laughter & sometimes sadness too..all these stay right with you, wherever you are..to be really honest, roommates are two types - one who are damn sweet & become friends for ever and the second type - you better stay away from them. they irritate you, give you no space what-so-ever, interfere in every little thing .. But, I have always been lucky to find only the first one and not the second..

..my sindhi roomie G, got a new job recently & left us last week and the day before she was leaving, G made (and taught me) this dish for us. though, in andhra households we make similar things , the combination of pakwan with dal was new to me and was v.v.v.v yummy!

..thanks G for sharing those wonderful moments with us. May god bless you & You achieve greater accomplishments in life..:)

Dal Pakwaan (recipe by my sindhi roomie)

For Dal:

1 cup chana dal
5-6 whole green chillies,slit lengthwise
fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp mango powder (amchur powder)
salt - to taste

1 tbsp canola oil/ghee

For Pakwaan:

2 cups all-purpose flour/maida
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
salt - to taste
water - for kneading
1 tbsp canola oil
oil - for deep frying


Pakwaan - Sieve the flour (if necessary). Take the flour in a mixing bowl and add - cumin seeds, oil, salt and enough water to form a soft (not too soft) dough. Divide it into small lemon-sized balls.

Roll out, each ball into a thin,round roti. With a fork poke holes on each of them. (So that it does not rise when frying.)

Heat oil in a kadai and when the oil is well hot, turn flame to medium-low. Drop in, carefully one pakwan at a time, press down on one side for 30 secs (to cook evenly) and turn, when you see small tiny brown bubbles on it. Press down again and fry on the other side no more than 30-45 secs. It gains a golden brown color after it rests for a minute or so. Place them in paper towels, to drain any excess oil.

The pakwaans will stay fresh for months, if stored in an air-tight container. Enjoy these as-is (or) with the dal mentioned below..:)

Dal - Soak the washed chana dal for couple hours (if time permits). Pressure cook them for 2-whistles. Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds & green chillies. Fry for 1 minute and then add cooked lentils. Season with salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and amchur powder. Simmer for 3-4 mins and add or garnish with coriander leaves. this dal is very versatile and can be served as a side-dish for pakwaan, rice or any bread. Enjoy!

G, you will be missed by all of us, here!..:)


January 13, 2010

Chilli Tofu

One of the many, the only resolution I made for this New Year 2010, like many of you out there is to eat & stay healthy..to be really specific, I wish to follow the mantra of - 'You are what you eat' and am earnestly working towards having a 'healthy looking skin'..:)..For that..

1. I am making sure, I drink a lot of water, so the skin in properly hydrated.
2. Use sunscreen, every single day.
3. Eat loads of fruits & veggies & beans ofcourse.
4. Drink a glass of milk (with Horlicks, elaichi flavor..Yum Yum!), everyday before going to bed.
5. Wash face, put a teaspoon of yogurt every night, let it stay for 10-15 mins, wash off and apply some night cream.

If you guys have any other ideas which might help to stick to my resolution, please share with all of us :)

Phew!!.. these are some of the things I have been doing rigorously from past 13 days & nights ..and I hope to keep up these as much as I can.

.. I also heard that taking multi-vitamins (recommended brand: Nature-made) is good.. but unfortunately..when I take them, I feel very acidic and the result is this..:(.. Any ideas about to get around with this problem because I know for the fact, that multi-vitamins, taken every alternate day is good for health??

....talking about today's recipe..is the easiest 'Chili Tofu' version I ever knew.. it can be made in a jiffy and it is so good to taste. :)..for this recipe, I used extra firm variety ...next time, I wish to make this with a 'firm tofu'..

Chilli Tofu


1 (whole) cube of extra firm tofu
1 tsp chilli garlic sauce (store-bought)
2 tbsp soya sauce
salt - to taste
1 tsp canola oil


1. Cut the tofu into equally sized cubes. In a bowl, whisk in chilli-garlic sauce & soya sauce. Add the tofu cube to it and marinate for atleast 10 minutes.

2. In a shallow pan, heat oil and add the marinated tofu. If you are in a hurry, on HIGH flame, toss the cubes in oil and cook for 6-7 minutes.
If you have some-time in hand, on MEDIUM-LOW flame, cover and occasionally toss to cook for 9-10 minutes.

Serve warm on a bed of jasmine rice!!! Enjoy..:)

Wishing you all a very Happy Sankranthi :)


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