I wasnt a tomato pickle fan till my mom made this quick version. This is no way close to  the traditional recipe. My mom as well as my mother in  law both make a traditional version. While folks in my family on both side are quite ga ga over the traditional version, me not that much. The traditional way somehow lacks that flavor kick, “bam” if you will !. I have survived many a meals in my grad school days with this pickle. This had been my trusted ally with curd rice, quick idlis, parathas, dosasand  bread and all. Many of my north Indian friends also prefer his version to the traditional one. So here goes..

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What you need

For the pickle
Diced Canned Tomato – 1 pound
Tamarind –  30 grams /1.25 ounce
White / Yellow Split mustard or coarsely ground – 30 grams /½ cup
Methi – coarse powdered ¾ teaspoon
Chilly Powder According to taste and hotness of chilly powder
Sugar 2 table spoon
Asafetida – Hing ( In crystal form) ¼ tea spoon
Turmeric Power 2 tea spoon
Oil 40 ml
Whole mustard seeds ¼ tea spoon
Saturated salt water as needed to soak and grind tamarind*
Salt To taste

For the Choka / Tempering
Oil 20 ml
Mustard seeds ¼ tea spoon
Turmeric powder A pinch
Chilly powder 2 pinch
Asafetida – Hing ( In crystal form – powdered) ¼ tea spoon

How to make

Make saturated salt water by adding 1/3 cup of salt in 2 cups of water and bring to boil. Boil the mixture till crystals start forming at the top side of the vessel
Use only as much water needed to soak tamarind and soak it for about 3-4 hours till it becomes soft
Take out the seeds from tamarind and grind it to a fine paste
Strain the tomato and take out the excess water.
Heat the oil in a kadhai – preferably non stick – on medium flame
Put the mustard seeds in oil and let it crackle
Put the drained tomatoes in oil and let it fry for about 5 minutes
Add methi, tamarind paste, white mustard , chilly powder, sugar and turmeric
Add salt to taste
Dissolve the asafetida in 2 tea spoon of saturated salt water and add that to the mixture
On slow to medium flame continue to cook stirring till the tomato pieces are cooked and desired consistency is reached
Let it cool completely. Make sure not to close while cooking to avoid water getting into the pickle.

For Choka,

Heat oil in a small vessel
Add whole mustard seeds
Off the flame after mustard starts crackling
Let it cool for a minute
Add the Asafetida , turmeric and chilly powder
Let the oil cool completely
Mix ½ of this oil with the cooled pickle
Now put the pickle in a dry jar.
Add the remaining choka oil on top

Tip for a tasty twist
(all other measures stay the same as above)

Add about 1/3 cup ginger garlic paste to the oil and fry for about 2-3 minutes.
Then follow with the pickle procedure.



This has always been one of my favorite sweet stuff to eat. Even back when I absolutely had no sweet tooth whatsoever. That could also be because like all other things, my mom makes a killer modak ! Back home we have many coconut trees in our backyard. If the rain and wind knocked a few coconuts down, modak would be one of the things that would be made. There is nothing like steamy modaks made from fresh coconuts and topped with ghee that melts slowly! Yum yum yum!

Now I gotta make do with a coconut that was picked from a tree months ago and the unspoiled state of which is a big gamble when I pick it up in the farmers market. I aint complaining, its still mom made, I still get to eat it steamy hot with homemade ghee! Two out of three isn’t bad at all! Ever since I delivered my son two of three is totally OK for the OCD perfectionist that I am 🙂 Well what happened during delivery is another story another post and certainly not for here 🙂

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What you need

For Stuffing
1 cup(pressed packed) grated jaggery
1.5 cup(pressed packed) grated coconut. ( Fresh grated is better, frozen will work)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg powder
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder

For Ukad / covering
1 cup rice flour
1 cup water
2 tablespoon butter
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar

How to make
Mix jaggery and coconut and cook on medium flame stirring continuously.
Keep cooking till the mixture seems dry enough for stuffing but not very powdery. If it is in dry powdery state is overcooked.
Add nutmeg and cardamom powder and keep aside.
Take water in a non stick pot, add sugar salt and butter and bring to boil.
Turn the heat to very low, add rice flour and mix till you get a smooth mixture with no dry lumps.
Cover the lid and cook it for a 1 to1.5 minute more on low heat.
Keep for few minutes till the mixture becomes warm enough to handle.
Take a small ball of dough mixture in one hand, flatten it to a small round thin covering. Almost to a poori size.
Keep the dough in one hand and from another put the stuffing leaving about a 1.5 cms from the edges.
Close into dumpling shape making small pinches.*
Line the steamer with saran wrap.
This will help form modak’s not sticking to the steamer and tearing if in case you over steam a little.
Arrange the assembled dumplings on the steamer like so.

Add hot water to the steamer base.
When the water starts boiling keep the steamer on top cover it and continue cooking on medium heat.
When the steam starts going sideways, you are done steaming.
*These days you get mold for modak. If you have one of those, instead of making the dough in to a poori on hand, you can put a thin layer on the mold and continue to shape dumplings.

Come back (with) Kid

Ok, so I have been gone long long time. Yes almost for 14 months. So long that hibernation also wont suffice to describe!
But I do have couple good reasons.
I have a brand new (not so much brand new anymore – 6 months old more like it), baby boy. Of these 14 months, I was nausea loaded for the good part of 7 months. Of course I did eat oodles of sweets as I craved them, but for the most part of it, site smell and mention of food had me make a dash to bathroom. So keeping up with my posts wasnt even an option.
And I havent cooked more than may be 10 times in all these months. No I havent been eating out and no my hubby dear hasn’t suddenly become Bobby Flay. I have simply been luckily blessed to have my mom live with me and take care of us 🙂

After I had my son, I thought of starting back on posts everyday. Well yes of course, even if I succeed in my persuasion of my mom staying with us for a while longer, I will ultimately need to document all those yummy stuff that she has been making. But man o man, being a mom is so much demanding. I didnt know between my son and work I wouldnt have time for anything! I cant refrain from everything else with that excuse. And if I did I wouldnt even measure half as good as my mom and my sis ;). So I bravely decided that I will get back to posting recipes may be at least once a week and keep up with my goal of preserving my delectable memories.
All those known and unknown visitors and emails have also encouraged me to get back to posting and I do sincerely hope I will be more active in this blogsphere.

That said, I will be back shortly with a recipe post. 🙂

Seems like I come out and post when Giants get some action 🙂 What a game it was –and this comes from a newbie to the game! They had their line up and I have mine 🙂 In my mind one half of the bun that’s little squashed is the Patriots QB 😉

It’s been a while that we have given up our unhealthy eating habits. Just because I pledge to eat better doesn’t make me taste dead either. It just compels me to be more creative to figure out ways to make my favorite junk foods a healthy choice. So now when I crave spicy buns, I couldn’t anymore drive to Hot Breads. A while ago this post coerced me to try out spicy buns at home. But I had to figure out a healthy bun recipe with whole grains. Sure enough I did and it turned out great. When I made these for a family visit they literally flew off like hot cakes 🙂

If you are not way into healthy eating you can try this with totally all of all purpose flour. My bet is it will yield you more fluffier flaky buns. The difference is same as in white bread being flaky and whole wheat bread being dense. Many times I have no energy or time to make low fat paneer. So if you are in that boat, be sure to check your local Indian stores. Derle Farms who first bought desi natural dahi now have a low fat paneer which works just fine for me.

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What you need

For Bun
2.25 cup whole wheat flour
.75 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon active dried yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt

For egg wash
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

For Stuffing
12 oz Low fat paneer cut into small cubes
One medium red onion finely diced
One medium green capsicum finely diced
1/2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
3-4 green chilies – finely chopped
1 tablespoon red chili powder – use to your hotness level
1/2 tablespoon garam masala powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste

How to make
In a pan heat oil on medium heat.
Add green chilies and fry for a minute.
Add diced onion and sauté till it turns pink
Add ginger garlic paste
Sauté the mixture for a minute
Add diced capsicum and continue to cook till it’s almost done.
Now add salt, chili powder and garam masala and sauté for another minute or two.

Dissolve yeast in couple tablespoon of water. Let it bubble up
Melt the butter.
Heat milk and stop before it starts boiling.
Mix flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.
Add butter, milk and bubbled yeast to the flour mixture
Lightly Knead the dough until you have smooth and shiny surface.
Cover bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours or until dough is doubled

Punch down the dough and knead gently.
Divide dough into 16 equal sized balls.
Flatten each ball in your palm
Fill it with completely cooled filling.
Now get all the edges of the dough together and seal the bun neatly and smoothly.
Gently rotate the bun repeatedly until it forms a smooth ball.
(Once the edges are sealed you can gently keep pressing and rotating with both palms)

Lightly Grease a cookie sheet or a baking dish with olive oil or baking spray.
Place the rolled bun on the dishes with distance in between.
Cover the buns with an aluminum foil tent.
Make sure there is room for the dough to rise and edges are sealed so the dough doesn’t dry on surface.
Let the buns rise in a warm place for about an hour or the bun almost doubles up in size.

Beat the egg yolk and water together.
Using a pastry brush egg wash the buns on the upper surface.

Pre heat oven to 375F and bake the buns for about 20- 25 minutesI mix the dough and then make the filling so it’s cooled and ready to be stuffed by the time dough has risen up.


For all those who personally know me and are wondering if I became a crazy football fan overnight don’t sweat – no I didn’t ! 🙂 Now that I have let cricket go a long time ago I need to find a following. So figured why not get on the train that my hubby is already on? And like the broadcaster who quoted Eli Manning– “if you are in it you might as well win it” (‘enjoy it’ suits my state).
And I wish they squash the undefeated patriots on February 3rd.

Having said that prayer, if you were wondering where I was for over a month? I was busy getting pampered by visiting family then pampering family that visited me and later just busy crunching year end numbers! I was talking with Shilpa and she gave me much needed nudge to get out of the daily grind and get back in touch with any creative side that I have…

While I am trying to do that this egg bake kept popping up many times – may be because I ate it few times in the busy time when I became a football follower 🙂
This is originally a Pillsbury recipe . My sister adopted that with changes she wanted. I make it the way she makes it. Why invent a wheel when you have one that runs just fine? This is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. I have made it several times for people who were just eggetarians to who were carnivores. It hasn’t failed me once. Also it is a good make ahead breakfast / brunch. So works very well with me when I stay up into the wee hours of the morning, talking with or getting drunk with family or friends. I personally love to eat and serve a hearty breakfast, but I will never sign up to cook individual omelets for a crowd.

You can make it with vegetables of your choice and add ham / bacon or shrimp if you want. Just make sure not to add watery vegetables like tomato etc which will just make a soggy bake.

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What you need
14 oz. shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend (I use anything that I have on hand except mozzarella)
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 (8 oz) can Sliced Mushrooms, drained*
10 eggs
2 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups milk

*you can substitute with fresh mushrooms, then you will need to saute mushrooms first till all moisture is gone.

How to make
In medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper and mushrooms.
Cook until onions bell peppers are tender and all moisture from mushrooms has evaporated.
Add onions and cool for another couple of minutes.
Spray 13×9-inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Sprinkle half of cheese evenly into sprayed baking dish.
Arrange cooled vegetables over cheese in baking dish.
(If you are using any ham / bacon or shrimp layer them on top of vegetables. Ensure that bacon and shrip are cooked and cooled)
Sprinkle remaining cheese over vegetables.
Beat eggs in large bowl.
Add flour, and milk to eggs; blend well.
Pour over mixture in baking dish.
(If you are making ahead then cover; refrigerate overnight.)
Heat oven to 350°F.
Uncover baking dish; bake at 350°F. for 55 to 65 minutes or until mixture is set and top is lightly browned.
Mixture is set when a tooth pick inserted in the center will come out clean and not wet.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
To serve, cut into squares. Optionally you can Garnish with parsely .

As far as my knowledge goes Yakhni Pulao is a traditional Kashmiri dish. Other than the fact that may be many generations ago my family may have had Kashimiri lineage, I have nothing common with that state or the cuisine. My early remembrance of eating anything Kashmiri was when I visited my sis in her college days and she had taken me to a restaurant. I was I think in sixth grade and to this day I can remember the sweet rice loaded with raisins which was absolutely nauseating! Then came my dear friend in college, hailing from Kashmir she talked so fondly of shalgam ka achar. (Turnip pickle). Now I am a die had fan of pickles and I can make a meal out of them. However this was again revolting to my palate. At that point I decided there was not much to dwell on in Kashmiri cuisine and the cold weather may have just made their taste buds blunt! What can I say I thought in my short span of years on earth I knew it all. 😦
Fast forward few years, add some of cooking experience and a situation where I had to cook different stuff everyday to keep both my and my hubby’s palate engaged. A Shalimar spice packet and an enthusiast neighbor who advocated that packet I set out to try Yakhni Pulao. First trial was a disaster. Not taste wise but texture wise. I lived, I learnt, I put my internet skills to good use, I looked at few recipes and inherited the goodness from them all! Voila, now not only can I make perfect yakhni pulao, I am so intrigued by Kashmiri cuisine which so intricately marries the spices.
Disclaimer: I don’t think this is the authentic way of making this dish.

What you need
1 pound mutton pieces (cut in to about 1 inch pieces)
1 1/2 cups Basmati rice
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 small onion chopped lengthwise
1 tablespoon fennel powder
1/2 tablespoon dry ginger powder
3-4 Cloves
6-7 black peppercorns
2 inch stick cinnamon
1 Bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder
3 tablespoon ghee / oil
1 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
5 Green chilies cut length wise
3 cups chicken stock
½ cup Yogurt
10 – 15 mint leaves

How to make
Mix mutton with ginger garlic paste, salt, fennel powder, dry ginger powder, cloves, black peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves and green cardamom powder.
Leave to marinate for about half an hour.
Heat ghee in a deep pan over medium heat.
Add caraway seeds sauté for a few seconds.
Add onions and sauté for couple of minutes
Add the marinated mutton and sauté for two to three minutes.
Add whole green chilies.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Cover and cook on medium heat till mutton is almost cooked, stirring in between.
Alternatively, you can cook in pressure cooker for 3 whistles on medium high heat.
In another thick bottomed vessel (or pressure cooker), whisk yogurt till smooth.
Separate the cooked mutton pieces from stalk.
Add to yogurt the mutton pieces one by one stirring all the time so that yogurt doesn’t curdle.
Mix in 2.5 cups of the stalk mutton was cooked in.
Wash and drain rice and mix well in to the mixture.
Cook on high heat.
When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook covered till both mutton and rice are done.
Garish with chopped mint leaves

Galette Exotique

I won’t call myself a French food enthusiast. Nothing against the much celebrated cuisine, it’s just my palate preference.
However if we are talking about piquant galettes or scrumptious crepes I could eat them almost everyday.
There is a café near my home where I frequently have eaten Galette Exotique during my Grad school days.
Now that I am all done with school, I am trying to wear off the effects unhealthy eating has left on me.
Thus I don’t eat at Café Paris that frequently anymore.
With this backdrop, I certainly had to find a way, healthy enough to sneak my top craving into my diet.
I looked on the net for a basic galette recipe, didn’t find much. I tweaked the ones I found to what I think would fit our taste memory and the calorie count the best.
So here goes….

What you need
For Galette
1 / 4 cup butter
1 cup buckwheat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2large eggs + 1 large egg white
1 ¼ cup skim milk
Cold water if needed

For filling
1/2 pound chorizo*
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 red large peppers cut lengthwise
2 medium red onions cut length wise
Salt to taste
4 table spoon sour cream
1 tablespoon olive oil if needed

How to make

Remove chorizo casing if it’s easily removable and cut it into thin slices.
Heat a skillet over medium heat.
Add chorizo and cook.
Remove it to a paper towel lined plate.
If you feel you need more fat / oil than whats left behind from chorizo add olive oil.
Add onions, peppers and salt and sauté for few minutes.
Turn off the heat when onions are caramelized and peppers are cooked.
Alternatively if you want you can grill peppers and onions.

In a small sauce pan melt the butter and keep aside. Make sure it doesn’t solidify.
In a large bowl swift together buckwheat flour and salt.
Make a well in the center and whisk in the eggs till flour and eggs are thoroughly mixed.
Add about 3/4 milk gradually making a smooth batter.
Now stir in half of the melted butter and remaining milk and allow to stand for 2 hours.
Before beginning check the consistency of the batter.
It should be thin and like light cream, if not add water to bring it to desired consistency.
Heat an 8 inch skillet or crepe pan if you have over medium heat.
When the pan is heated brush a little melted butter.
Using a deep ladle pour in about 1 /4 cup batter in the pan.
Pick up the pan immediately and tilt and swirl so bottom of the pan is coated evenly with the batter.
When the edges start lifting up peel the galette carefully with a spatula or hands and flip over and cook.
To Serve
Once galette is cooked on the flip side, turn over and sprinkle with cheese.
Take the galette of the pan in to a plate when cheese starts to melt a little.
Put a part of the filling in the center and top it off with sour cream.
Fold galette in to a square or a rectangle.
This recipe will make about six galettes
Bon appetite !
*What I ate at the café had a spicy sausage. I had some chorizo at home and hence I used that.

Excusez moi, for the poor quality of the picture, I tried hard to capture all the details and yet keep it good looking, this is how far I could get.