Showing posts from April, 2015

Mumbai Pav Bhaji/ Mashed vegetables in butter!

Pav Bhaji is one of most enjoyed street food of Mumbai, India. Pav translates to bread and bhaji is a vegetable dish. The origin of this dish is traced to textile mill workers in Mumbai in the 1850s.The mill workers used to have lunch breaks too short for a full meal, and a light lunch was preferred to a heavy one, as the employees had to return to strenuous physical labor after lunch. A vendor created this dish using items or parts of other dishes available on the menu. (WIKI)

The bhaji made today is a medley of mashed vegetables of the consistency of sloppy joes. On the streets of Mumbai, the vendors cook it on a big flat pan smashing the vegetables as they flavor with the spices. The unhealthy but tasty element is the oodles of butter added. Also the bulk of the dish is mashed potatoes.I have tried to make it healthy by going easy on the butter and using mashed cauliflower as the base of the dish.

I also made Gluten Free Pav to go with it. Recipe is here.

1 small head of c…

Thai Pumpkin Sweet Potato Curry

Born into a Goan Family, coconut is woven into all aspects of our culture - its a must ingredient for every goan dish. Coconut also plays a very important role in our religious rituals. I didn't think much of it till my dad was diagnosed with Heart ailments and the doc asked us to go easy on the use of coconut. It must have been so hard for my mom to reinvent all our recipes without the use of coconut.
Its even more surprising now as everything Coconut has become the new health fad. Coconut oil, coconut water, coconut flour, coconut milk, freshly grated coconut. Of all these, my most favorite is the coconut milk. And with the ease of canned varieties available its a breeze to cook with it. Coconut milk is traditionally used in goan cuisines to make desserts. But i use it very often with vegetables, fish or chicken to make creamy curry paired with flavorful spicy paste. Here is one such recipe of coconut milk with thai yellow curry paste.

Ingredients :
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp Thai yellow cu…

Chicken Quinoa Stoup!

Funny name...unusual combination...intrigued me ...had to try it to find out. On a cold wet day like today, I really needed something comforting to warm me up and what's better than a big bowl of chicken soup.

This interesting recipe has been adapted from the Chicken Quinoa Stoup recipe in Edible Toronto magazine's Winter 2015 issue. I find this magazine very interesting as it publishes inspiring facts about food grown here in Canada, all the challenges faced by the farmers and amazing recipes. I have Indianized the recipe with my pantry staples and still this soup tastes refreshing different from my usual chicken soup. This is a definite keeper.

This recipe has been published with the kind permission of Edible Toronto.

4 whole chicken legs, skin removed and chopped into pieces (always use meat on bones for soups as it adds so much more flavor)
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste/ketchup
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into big chunks
1 red p…

Kadai Chole/ Dry Chickpea Curry!

My family loves Punjabi food and i cook chickpeas at least once a week on our predesignated vegetarian days. My daughter who is usually averse to vegetables, gorges on chole(chickpea curry) and puris(deep fried Indian bread). I am always searching for different ways to make it. Usually I cook it in an onion-tomato gravy or in a spinach gravy base but this time discovered another gem.

This recipe is from a celebrated Punjabi chef Harpal Singh. Original recipe is here. This recipe gets ready in a jiffy. I have reduced the amount of ghee as per my family's needs but don't' skip it as the ghee elevates the dish to a new level. I am usually very paranoid about the amount of fats that go into my food but for this recipe i gave in and used ghee though much less than the recipe asked for. This recipe also omits onions and garlic but taste awesome.

2 cups Chickpeas- soaked overnight or at least for 3-4 hrs in hot water till they have doubled in size
6-7 pieces -Dried Amla…

Mushroom Paneer Koftas

My daughter is usually a non fussy eater. But her food preferences can be extreme. She relishes exotic foods like fish heads and goat bone marrow but hates broccoli and mushrooms. I have tried many variations of both vegetables with no luck. Usually I am not in favor of hiding vegetables as I believe children should learn to enjoy their taste. But this one time I decided to try and camouflage mushrooms with her favorite paneer to get some of its goodness into her system.

As I was cleaning the mushrooms, she did peak into the kitchen but didn't raise an alarm. I took it as a good sign and went ahead with the recipe. My efforts were a success. She loved the koftas and had so many of them. I had to hide a few to be able to add them into the curry.


For the koftas-
1 8oz box of cremini mushrooms - finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
1 cup grated paneer
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 tsp. cumin pdr
1/4 tsp. garam masala.
salt to taste
Oil for sauté and frying

For the grav…

Shrimp in Mustard sauce/ Chingri Shorshe Bata

Marriage into a Bengali family introduced me to a whole new food culture. Though I adored their huge selection of sweets, I found certain spices very challenging to accept. One of them was liberal use of mustard oil and mustard paste in various curries. Mustard lends a strong pungent flavor and aroma to foods. Its a unique taste which takes a while to acquire and enjoy.

With time, I have learn to use and enjoy the flavor of mustard with some of my own variations. Addition of poppy seeds and coconut mellows the sharp mustard flavor making it more palatable.

The below recipe is one such adaptation of the authentic recipe which is a win-win situation as it makes the food enjoyable for the whole family.

2 tbsp. black mustard seeds
2 tbsp. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. kalo jeera (Kalonji)
1/4 cup grated fresh coconut
20-25 medium raw shrimps - de-shelled and de-veined
1/4 tsp. turmeric pdr
1 tbsp. mustard oil
1-2 slit green chilies
Salt to taste

Marinate the shrimps with turmeric and sa…

Hyderabadi Shrimp Biryani

Biryani is traditionally made with meat - chicken or goat. It's an extensive process with marination and cooking times going over a day. This is the simplest and fastest recipe with shrimp as the main star. The biryani masala is freshly roasted and ground. The Shahi jeera (black cumin) spice predominates the flavor of this dish creating a unique experience. Though the ingredient list may seem long, most of the spices are commonly found in an Indian pantry. The entire process takes about an hour.

Serves :3-4

1 cup shrimp
1 cup rice
1/2 cup yogurt
1 large onion sliced
1/2 inch ginger grated
4 cloves of garlic grated
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stalks, chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 tsp. turmeric pdr
1/2 tsp. red chili pdr
1/2 lemon juice
few strands of saffron soaked in 1/4 cup of warm milk

Biryani Masala -
1 tbsp. Shahi jeera (black cumin)
1 tbsp. Fennel seeds
4 green cardamoms
5 cloves
1 inch piece of cinnamon

Rice seasoning -
1 bay leaf
3-4 cloves
1 piece mace
1 piece star anise
1 sm…

Gluten Free Egg Free Oats Pancakes!

This is the simplest gluten free, egg free pancake recipe ever. With the shortest ingredient list and oats as the main base it is the healthiest pancake I have made. I was so happy and relieved to get a single flour recipe. Most gluten free flours are a comboof many different flours and starches. The Oat pancakes get ready in a jiffy and are delicious. And you don't have to be gluten free to enjoy them. Recipe adapted from here.

Last Sunday, my 6 yr oldwanted to make breakfast with me. She measured all the ingredients, mixed them well, carefully poured the batter onto the pan. Apart from flipping the pancakes, these were her babies all along. Then she decorated the pancakes with maple syrup and berries.

Makes: 5


1 cup oat flour (grind about a cup of gluten free oats in a blender. I used Bob's Red Mill) 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup milk 2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter or oil (I used butter) 1 – 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (I use…