Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

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..

For a printer friendly recipe click here

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.


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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 🙂

For a printer friendly recipe click here
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.

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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.

For a printer friendly recipe click here

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.

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I have been in a non food mood for about a month now. Though I have had phases where I didn’t want to cook, this is the first that I don’t even want to eat much.
I don’t look for answers to my quirkiness, I just live that phase out. In order to survive this phase I try and look for recipes that I wouldn’t usually cook. But I am in no mood to write down measurements, or take pictures! So I dug into my drafts and stumbled upon this recipe.
This is my mom’s recipe. I absolutely relish to last morsel whenever she makes this. It has a distinct maharastrian influence and taste.   So here is an attempt at getting my groove back 🙂
TidBit While I was googling to make sure tondekai was called ivy gourd, I found out that ivy gourd is a good source of protein and fiber, has medicinal effects and also is used in diabetes and sugar control  

What you need

1/2 cup length wise cut onion
2 cups of lengthwise cut ivy gourd (You can make 4 pieces from one ivy gourd)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 teaspoon red chilly powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1.5 cups of basmati rice
3 cups water
1 tablespoon goda masala *
3 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon ghee
4 teaspoon cilantro leaves chopped
4 Salt to taste
tablespoon grated coconut fresh / frozen

How to make

Heat oil in a wide mouthed pan, preferably non stick on medium heat
When the oil is hot add mustard seeds
When mustard starts cracking add the onions
Sauté onions till they turn slightly pink
Add turmeric powder and 1/2 of chilly powder and continue cooking for a bit
Add ivy gourd pieces and salt (salt per taste for onions and ivy gourds only) and continue cooking while stirring
Once the ivy gourd is cooked 3/4 of the way add 3 cups of hot water
Add basmati rice and continue cooking on medium low covered
When rice is cooked halfway (about 5 minutes in to cooking), add salt enough for rice and rest of the chilly powder. Mix gently
Cover and cook for another 3 minutes
Now add goda masala, and mix gently so as to not break the rice grains
Cover and cook for another 4 minutes till rice is cooked
At the end add ghee
Garnish with plenty cilantro leaves and coconut.
Points to Note
Much of the heavenly taste comes from garnishing, so don’t omit that step.
If you have a tangy tooth you can also add a dash of lemon juice. Add lemon only to what’s in a plate. Adding lemon to al of the rice will make it bitter when reheated.

* Goda Masala – My mom makes me a fresh batch of goda masala, and I have never bothered to learn what exactly goes into it. When I run out of what she has made, I turn to old faithful bedekar, which these days is easily available in Indian stores here in US. Till I learn from my mom how she makes it, here is a refence

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I have a very funny story behind this one. When I was very young (talking about when I was 6-7 years), me and my siblings would visit my aunts in Maharastra every summer. I remember eating these rolls during those visits. Then as my elder siblings got busy with their studies our visits stopped. Now after many years, a few weeks ago one night I was sitting and watching TV and out of no where had cravings for Khandvi. I could try and make it, but there was one problem- I didn’t know what it was called!? So I called my sis, described what was I craving for but neither did she remember eating them (she isn’t weird like I am 😉 ), nor did she know the name. It was too early in India to call anyone and ask for the name. What do I do now? Of course plunge into Google. Since it’s a popular Gujarathi / Maharastrian dish, it doesn’t take much expertise in Google pics to land the name. Name led me to recipe which led me to making it. It turned out pretty well and very close to what I remembered but wasn’t the same.
Then I called my mom as soon as it was a decent time back home, she understands my desperation of cravings which pop out from nowhere 🙂 She called my aunt and then I had the recipe which I had tasted many years ago 🙂 Ah! The simple pleasures of life!

What you need
For Rolls

1 cup Gram flour
1.5 cup sour buttermilk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon all purpose flour / maida
1 teaspoon cumin powder / jeera powder
1.5 teaspoon green chili paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
Pinch turmeric powder
Pinch sugar
Salt to taste

For Tempering
1/2 cup grated coconut fresh / frozen
4 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves
2 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoon dry roasted sesame seeds
2-3 green chilies finely sliced
1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Pinch of asafetida / hing

How to make
In a bowl mix all the ingredients of the rolls without any lumps
Take the mixture in a thick bottom vessel and on low flame cook for 7-8 minutes
If you don’t have a non stick or thick bottom vessel then take 2 teaspoon oil, heat it before the mixture is added.
Keep stirring continuously while it is cooking
Turn off the heat
Don’t let the mixture cool off
Immediately With a large ladle spread the mixture as thin as possible (ideally it is as thin as couple of paper sheets) on the back of a big steel plate or a thick plastic sheet
Let it cool for a while
Cut the spread out into about 1 – 1.25 inch wide strips
Carefully roll the strips and lay them on the serving dish with the end side down In a tempering ladle or vessel heat the oil
Add mustard seeds and asafetida
When mustard starts to crackle add sesame seeds and green chilies
Turn the heat off
Spread the tempering evenly on the rolls
Garnish evenly with grated coconut and coriander leaves
My Aunt’s Trick
If you are looking at cutting the oil for the tempering and to avoid the oily feel in the mouth here is what you can do: when the tempering has cooled a little add few drops of water to it and mix well. Apparently this will also enable for an even spreading of tempering.

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I had seldom eaten Ash Gourd before I got married and moved to USA. Perhaps the only form I ever ate Ash Gourd would have been in Petha. This was just one of those vegetables that my mom tried all she could to have me eat.
I don’t make majjige huli much often only because when I do, I can gulp down a big bowl with even bigger bowl of rice and loads of mango pickle or ambodes. So, this is one of those indulgences which we enjoy only during festivals. Yes I am still covering the recipes I cooked on for Ganesha 😦
This may not be the most traditional majjige huli recipe out there. However I had made it many years ago backtracking the taste from what my mother in law had made. I absolutely love this version!. Do try it, am sure you will too.

What you need
3.5 cups of Ash Gourd (aka white pumpkin in Indian stress here) cut into about 1 inch cubes
For the Curry
4 tablespoon chana dal
1 ( cup pressed) fresh / frozen grated coconut
4 tablespoon of finely diced ginger
6-7 small green chilies ( adjust per your hot scale)
1.5 tablespoon cumin seeds / jeera
1.5 tablespoon mustard seeds
4 to 5 strands of coriander leaves ( whole strands)
1 quart buttermilk ( You need little shy than a quart)
6 to 8 black pepper corns
5-6 curry leaves – roughly torn
pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste

For Tempering
1 tablespoon oil
Small pinch of asafetida
1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
3-4 dry red chilies roughly torn into 1/2 inch long pieces

How to make
Soak chana dal in water for about 30 – 45 minutes
In a vessel take the ash Gourd pieces and water to just cover the pieces
Add salt to salt the ash Gourd pieces
Boil it till the pieces turn little translucent
Take it off the heat
Let it stay in hot water for 10-15 minutes then drain the pieces and discard the water
While the pumpkin is boiling, grind all the ingredients for the curry except curry leaves and turmeric to a fine paste
In a thick bottom vessel mix the ground masala, buttermilk, turmeric and curry leaves
On medium heat bring this to a boil while stirring in between
Add the boiled gourd pieces and bring to boil
In a tempering ladle heat oil
Add mustard seeds, asafetida and red chilies
When the mustards start cracking and chilies are done pour the tempering over the boiled huli

Things to note
This curry is also made with either of: cucumber, capsicum, beans and greens
Never use the water in which you boiled the pumpkin in the curry, it will leave the curry with a funky taste
While buttermilk made from yogurt works just fine, try and use the low fat buttermilk you get in stores here in USA. This in particular gives a nice tangy taste.

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Mavinakai chitranna
We had many mango trees in our back yard. I fondly remember spending all summers climbing the mango trees, eating raw baby mangoes with salt when elders were napping in the afternoon and nibbling on salt soaked mango pieces being dried for pickles. Ah the good old days! Well but I never remember eating mango rice though? May be because my dad didn’t like rice in these forms? I would always see mango rice in my friend’s lunch boxes during Ugadi time.  There is something in the aroma of that rice which casts a spell on ya J          

  Now that I have my own family and making my own traditions, I always make mango rice during Ugadi and Ganesha time. It’s my humble attempt to relive those wonderful summers and lunch box nibbling. I have tried making this one in many ways and this particular one is a winner. The simplicity of ingredients keeps the aroma of raw mangoes mixed with turmeric intact and taste is just perfect. 

What you need

3/4 cup grated raw mango (use the widest tooth on grater)
6 tablespoon peanuts
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
5-6 small green chilies (cut in to thin slices)
5-6 curry leaves (roughly torn)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 tablespoon oil
2 cup cooked rice

 How to make

In a wide pan on medium flame heat oil along with peanuts*
When the peanuts turn light brown, add mustard seeds
When mustard seeds start to crackle add green chillies, turmeric power, curry leaves and mango
Season with salt and fry for couple of minutes
Add the cooked rice, mix thoroughly and continue frying for another couple of minutes
Turn the heat off and serve hot.

* I have seen that many people have overdone / burnt peanuts in many dishes.To avoid that, add the peanuts along with oil. This way peanuts cook thoroughly without being burned and     turn perfectly crispy. Same goes for chanda dal or Urad dal  use. If you add peanut / chana dal / urad dal after the oil has heated then there is too little time for them to cook before they start burning. That yields undercooked but surface burnt peanuts.

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