As someone who loves a good meal, cooking one, came to me as a natural passion. I belong to a family where meal times consisted of not just food, but also noisy conversation centered around the events of the day and discussing the menu for the next. (ah yes, we are a greedy lot! )

For the most part of my life so far, my contribution in the kitchen was assisting mom and my duties were limited, to chopping veggies and laying the table. Then along came the great Indian wedding, and I was suddenly the queen of my very own kingdom. My curiosity about this magical world, coupled with an enthusiastic sous-chef (my husband, Vineet), led me to take on the challenge of preparing meals on a daily basis, and not succumbing to the convenience of hiring a cook.

This blog is a product of my experiments with food (not all are life threatening :D) for my fellow culinary enthusiasts - especially the newly weds and hungry bachelors and is dedicated to the women who've inspired me in the kitchen;
Aji (s),Ma and Nigella Lawson.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pancakes with Instant Blueberry Jam-Sauce

Vineet doesn't like pancakes! I almost dint believe him the first time he said that !!     
After detailed interrogation, I discovered that my dear husband, has trouble accepting what he calls, "deceptive" foods! Things that look like one thing but taste COMPLETELY different!
Like Shrikhand (a sweet-sour yoghurt, saffron & cardomom based indian dessert) for example - the first time he tried it, he was convinced it was mango ice-cream...and it very obviously wasn't. So it seems his enemity with pancakes was that he thought that they were omlettes, and they turned out to be sweet!
I on the other hand LOVE them! Mom made these for Rahul & me during the school holidays, where I'd spend nights devouring Enid Blytons mysteries, dream about my own adventures, and wake up in the morning demanding pancakes... if the FAMOUS 5 had them with bacon on the side.... I wanted it them too! :)
So since Vineet was away on work, I treated myself to these as a lovely Saturday breakfast.

Ingredients: (makes 8-10 pancakes)
1-1/2 cups All-purpose flour (maida)
1-1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tbsp Olive oil (or butter)

1.) Measure out all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

2.) Whisk the egg using a fork till its light and fluffy. Add the milk, vanilla and olive oil and whisk lightly to mix.

3.) Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly pour a little of the milk-egg mixture. Stir it in and repeat till you have a nice thick batter. The consistency should be like a cake batter/ or even like dosa batter. If its too thin, add a couple of teaspoons of flour to thicken it.

4.) Heat a non-stick pan. Spoon a little of the batter onto the hot pan and gently spread making clock-wise circular motion, till they're about 4-5 inches in diameter. Keep the heat gentle and wait for bubbles to form and the top to set ( like the photo).Lift the edge of the set pancake and peek to see if its golden-brown.

5.) Using a flat wooden spoon, flip the pancake over to cook on the second side. Transfer to a plate. Make the rest of the pancakes.

Enjoy these will maple syrup or honey, or if you're in the mood for something more special, try the 


I made this right before I started with the pancakes, so it had some time till it was cool enough to eat.

1 pkt dried Blueberries
5-6 fresh Blackberry or mulberry (optional)
1 tsp grated Lemon zest
1 tsp Lemon juice
2-3 tbsp Honey
1/2 cup Water

1.) Heat a saucepan. Add the water, honey and dried blueberries.  Roughly chop the blackberries, and add them to saucepan.

2.) Turn the heat to high and let the contents bubble away and gradually thicken. Stir in the lemon zest and turn off the heat. At this point the sauce will be really thick and very sticky. The dried blueberries will have softened and the blackberries , if used, will get easily mashed. Squirt the lemon juice and mix well. Transfer into a bowl and set aside to cool.

3.) Drizzle over the pancakes and Enjoy!

I had a few extra tablespoons of this instant "jam" left over, which on refrigerating became even stickier. I was just wondering how to use it up, when I spotted the tub of Yoghurt on the top shelf... and Bingo! I had instant home-made fruit yoghurt ! Without all the horrid sugar, that shop-bought flavoured fruit yoghurts have!! :)

Also, I preffered to use dried blueberries instead of fresh ones, since I wanted the berries to retain their shape, and also wanted the sauce to be thick-ish... fresh blueberries made a delicious, runny sauce, so use that if you like! :)

Sabudana Khichdi

When you're normally used to cooking for 2, no matter matter how much you enjoy cooking, it seems like a chore to do it for myself. At the best time it is the best time to treat yourself to the stuff that you love but your significant other might not miss if not made for a long time :) Today's posts are about the things that I treated myself to in the past week while Vineet was away on a work-trip to India.
Sabudana khichdi is a childhood favorite of mine, and I realised I had'nt eaten it in really long time...So, I made a big bowl and enjoyed it with my dear pal Seema, who came over to spend Sunday afternoon with me.

The only prep you will need to do in advance is to soak the Sabudana (sago) a couple of hours before you plan to cook it.
Calculate 1-1/2 cups of un-soaked Sabudana (sago) to feed two persons a hearty breakfast, or 2 cups if you want to make a meal out of it.

- 1-1/2 cups Sabudana (raw)
- 2-1/2 cups Water
- 1 cup Roasted Peanuts (coarsely powdered)
- 1 medium Potato, cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp Olive oil (or ghee)
- 2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 2-3 green Chillies, chopped into 1" pieces
- Salt & Sugar, to taste
- Red Chilli powder, to taste
- Coriander & lemon wedges, to garnish


1.) Measure out and put the Sabudana (sago) in a sieve. Hold under running water. Transfer the rinsed Sabudana into a large bowl. Pour 2-1/2 cups of water over it and cover and set aside for the next couple of hours till it absorbs the water and puffs up. Toss the puffed Sabudana gently with your fingers. Sprinkle the roasted peanut powder, salt, sugar & red chilli powder. Toss gently to mix well.

2.) Heat the ghee/ oil in a thick-bottomed kadhai/wok. Add the cumin seeds. When they begin to sputter, add the chopped green chillies and fry. Add the cubed potato and saute till they're golden brown and cooked.

3.) Lower the heat and add the Sabudana-peanut mixture to the tempering. Stir to coat the Sabudana in the tempering. Cover and allow mixture to cook over a gentle heat. Switch off the heat and keep covered to let the steam work its magic.

4.) Serve garnished with Coriander and lemon wedges. Is also delicious when eaten along with some chilled plain yoghurt. Eat up!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato & Herb Mini-Muffins

A friend from work had made savoury muffins a few months ago as a mid-morning treat for us. I had never tried savoury muffins before, and needless to say they were something I just simply had to try out on my own... After a couple of not-so-sucessful attempts (disasters), I finally got them right today... Made two batches, just to be doubly sure :) And now I have lots of little muffins to pack up and take to work!

* Note: These tend to be on the saltier side, as cheddar and feta both are very salty cheeses. So check the batter before you add any...

This recipe makes about 24 mini-muffins.

- 1 cup plain Flour (maida)
- 1 tbsp Baking powder
- 1 tbsp Black pepper, cracked
- 1/4 tsp Salt (optional)
- 1 tbsp Dried herbs (thyme+oregano etc)
- 1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil
- 1 long red Chilli, chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin Olive oil 
- 1 egg, beaten with + 1/4 cup water

1.) Pre-heat the Oven to 200 deg C.

2.) Sift together the flour and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt, cracked black pepper, dried herbs, crumbled feta, grated cheddar, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and chopped chilli. Mix gently with a rubber spatula and set aside.

3.) Beat the egg with a fork till light and fluffy. Add the water and oil and stir-in to integrate. Make a 'well' in the flour and pour the egg mixture into the flour gently and stir in with the spatula / wooden spoon to form a thick batter.

4.) Line a muffin tray with paper cups. Spoon the batter into the paper cups till 3/4th full and bake @ 200 deg C for about 16-17 mins, till the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.

5.) Cool the muffins on a wire rack. Eat up!

What I loved about these is that the outside of the muffins are crusty/ crumbly and soft- and bread-like on the inside. The little bits of feta and sun-dried tomato make them just irresistable! :) I think these would be great as appetizers for a dinner party or even as a mid-day snack :)

The 3 C's Breakfast Omlette

Breakfast is my most favourite meal of the day... and nothing celebrates a glorious Sunday morning like a freshly made Omlette dotted with brightly coloured bits of Chillies, Coriander & Cheese... I used bright red fresh chillies to contrast the green of the coriander and it made a delicious omlette even prettier :)

- 3 Eggs
- 1 large Red Chilli, finely chopped
- 1 small bunch Coriander, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup grated Cheddar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- Freshly cracked Black pepper
- 1 tsp Olive oil, for frying

1.) Crack the Eggs into a bowl. Whisk with a fork until light and fluffy. Add the salt & pepper and whisk again.

2.) Add the cheese, chillies and coriander into the eggs and lightly whisk to mix well.

3.) Heat a frying pan on medium flame. Drizzle the olive oil and swirl it around to coat the surface of the pan. Pour the egg mixture onto the pan and allow it to spread out evenly and thinly. Cover with a lid and cook over a low-medium flame, so that the eggs are cooked through but do not 'brown' too much.

4.) Uncover the pan, and check if the eggs are set by a simple swirling action. Cover and cook if the top is still a little runny.Switch off heat when cooked.

Fold in half and transfer onto your plate. We enjoyed this with some toast and a glass of freshly squeezed Orange juice :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Spinach-Grape-Pecan Salad

Made this for dinner last night, since I wanted something crisp and light at the end of a rather hot day.
I had come across a recipe a while ago, that used - Arugula leaves, Pecans and Pomegranate in a salad - that I wanted to try... But, I dint want something as peppery as Arugula... so I decided to use Baby Spinach. Then I couldn't find any Pomegranate, so I thought, why not Grapes? and luckily, I did find the Pecans ... but before I knew it , I  had substituted all of the ingredients from the original recipe, and ended up doing my own thing :) The result was a fresh, light , crisp Salad that is perfect with grilled / barbecued chicken / lamb, or even just on its own!

- 3 fists-full, Baby Spinach leaves,
- 1-1/2 cups Black or Red seedless Grapes, halved
- 1 cup Pecans, roasted & roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup fresh Mozzarella balls in water
- 1/4 cup Extra-virgin Olive oil
- 5-6 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tsp Lemon zest, freshly grated
- 1 tsp Salt

1.) Wash the baby Spinach leaves in chilled water and drain.

2.) Toast the Pecans (nuts similar to Walnuts) on a non-stick pan or in the oven. Allow them to cool down and give them a rough chop. Add to the Spinach leaves.

3.) Remove the mozzarella balls from their water and drain. Cut into chunks ( Fresh Mozarella is a soft milky cheese... a lot like fresh Paneer) and add to the salad bowl along with the crumbled Feta cheese and Grapes.

4.) Whisk together the Olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, Salt & lemon zest to form the dressing. Pour over the salad and toss gently to mix. Eat immediately or cover and chill in the refrigerator till its time to serve.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Eggless Coffee Cake with Baileys & Chocolate frosting & Toasted Almonds

My first Eggless Cake! :) Have been wanting to try eggless-baking, since I have a couple of friends who are pure vegetarians. My research on the same surprised me, since I discovered that the substitute for eggs were a few tablespoons of simple vinegar...nothing fancy! :)
I flavoured the cake with instant coffee, and used brown demerara sugar instead of regular white sugar, for the slightly smokier flavour it has. The frosting is chocolate spiked with Bailey's Irish Cream, my favorite liqueur...with toasted flaked almonds that I patted onto the cake, to make it this cake even more decadent! :)

Btw, a big thank you to Rahul, my dear brother, for getting me the lovely cake platter as a birthday present! :)


Dry Ingredients (for cake):
- 2 cups Cake flour (maida)
- 1/3 cup instant Coffee powder
- 1-1/4 cups Demerara sugar
- 2-1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1/3 tsp Salt
Wet Ingredients (for cake):
- 1-1/3 cups Water
- 2/3 cups Vegetable oil
- 2-1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 2-1/2 tsp Vinegar

Method for Cake:

1.) Preheat the Oven to 190 deg C. Sift the flour,coffee powder, baking powder and salt. Add the sugar and mix gently to distribute evenly.

2.) In a seperate bowl, whisk together the Water, Oil and Vanilla extract. Make a 'well' in the bowl with the dry ingredients. Pour a little of the Water-oil mixture into in and stir gently to mix. Keep adding the liquid mix little by little and mix gently until well combined.
Be careful about not over-mixing or the cake with bulge in the middle as it rises in the oven.

3.) Pour the batter into a prepared 9" round cake tin. To prepare the cake tin, rub the insides with a few drops of oil. Dust with a teaspoon of flour to coat the surface evenly. Alternatively, use a non-stick or teflon-coated cake tin.

4.) Stir in the vinegar into the batter, just before you pop the tin into the oven. Bake at 190 deg C for about 50-55 mins, or till a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool down. Loosen the cake from the tin and remove gently. Place on a wire rack and allow the cake completely before you begin frosting it.


1 cup semi-sweet Chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsalted Butter, at room temperature
4-5 tbsp Baileys Irish Cream liquer
1 cup Almond flakes, toasted on a pan or in the oven

1.) Heat a large pan with water. Place the chocolate chips in a glass bowl and immerse the hot water. Melt the chocolate chips by stirring gently. Add the Baileys into the melting chocolate. Remove from heat and allow the chocolate to cool a little.

2.) Add the butter into the chocolate. Whip using an electrical beater on medium and then high speed. Continue beating till the mixture thickens slightly. Chill the frosting in the refrigerator for about 10 mins.

3.) Lay the cake onto the serving platter. Line the sides with paper towels to protect the plate from any accidental drips. Slather the frosting onto the cake using a rubber spatula or any other broad-flat spoon.

4.) Cool the cake in the refrigerator while you toast the almond flakes on a non-stick pan or in the oven, till they're golden brown. Sprinkle the almonds all over the cake and 'pat' gently to make sure that they hold onto the frosting.

 Chill the cake in the refrigerator, and remove about 10 mins before you plan to serve it, so that the frosting is firm yet soft....

I  was very pleased with the results of my first eggless cake... and although I love eggs in baked goods, I plan to experiment more for the benefit of my friends who dont :) 

Happy eating! :)

Prawn Biryani with Saffron & Carmalised Onions

I know, today's posts are prawn-obsessed... but if you ask me (and my pal Krithika), there is no such thing as "too much prawns" or "prawns too often" :) I made this as a part of a meal I planned for some friends...turned out absolutely yummers! And the best part? If you have the prawns in your freezer, the rest of the ingredients, you will most likely already have in your kitchen...which means... you can whip this up any time :) Quantified to feed 4-5 persons, but feel free to add more prawns and boneless fish if you like!

- 3 cups Basmati Rice
- 3 cups medium-sized Prawns
- 1 cup Yoghurt (Dahi), slightly tangy
- 2" piece Ginger
- 4 to 5 cloves Garlic
- 2 green Chillies
- 3 large Onions, sliced
- 5 cups hot Water
- 2 Vegetable stock cubes
- 1-1/2 tbsp Red Chilli powder
- 1 tbsp Turmeric powder
- 1-1/2 tbsp Garam Masala
- 2 tbsp Coriander powder
- 1-1/2 tbsp Butter+ 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1/4 cup Oil for frying Onions

- Whole Spices:
3" Cinnamon stick + 3-4 Black Cardomoms + 4-5 Green Cardomoms + 1 tbsp Black Peppercorns + 3-4 Star Anise + 2 Bay leaves
- 1 large pinch Saffron
- 1 medium bunch Coriander, chopped
- 1 small bunch Mint leaves, chopped
- Juice of One Lime to squirt

1.)  Wash the Rice and set aside in a bowl with just enough water to keep it soaked. Let the rice soak for about 45-50 minutes.

2.) In a mortar pestle, pound the ginger, garlic and green chillies together till well mashed.
Whisk the yoghurt and add half the Ginger-Garlic-Chilli paste to it along with 1/2 tbsp of Turmeric and some salt. Marinate the prawns in this yoghurt for about 45 mins or so.

3.) Deep fry the sliced Onions till dark brown and caramelized. Drain and set aside on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Dissolve the Vegetable stock cubes in 5 cups of hot water. Set aside.

4.) In a large Handi ( I used a large 5 litre pressure cooker), heat the butter along with the olive oil till the butter is foaming. Add all of the whole spices (as per list above) till they sizzle and are fragrant. Add the remaining Ginger-garlic-chilli paste. Saute for a few seconds.

5.) Remove the excess water from the rice and add to the Cooker. Stir and saute for a few minutes. Pour the hot Vegetable stock into the rice. Stir in the Red chilli powder, Garam masala, Coriander powder and remaining Turmeric powder.Add half of the fried Onions. Reserve the rest to use as garnish.

6.) Add the Prawns along with the yoghurt marinade. Add the chopped coriander and mint leaves and stir well. Add the Saffron threads and Cover and simmer for about 12-15 minutes till the rice is tender and cooked. Switch off heat and keep covered. Allow the Biryani to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with fried onions and chopped coriander with a squirt of lime juice. Yum! :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Prawn Coriander Quick Curry

This super-quick Prawn curry needs all of 5 minutes to grind the spice paste and needs about 10 minutes to cook. The fresh Coriander and Coconut milk give this curry a lovely pale green colour...If you have prawns stashed in your freezer as I usually do, then the rest of the ingredients for the curry hardly need any planning in advance!

Ingredients for Curry:
- 20-25 medium Prawns (frozen)            
- 1 small tetrapak Coconut milk (225 ml)
- 1/4 cup Tamarind water

For Spice Paste:
- 5-6 Dry red chillies
- 1 tsp black Peppercorns
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric
- 1" piece of Ginger
- 4-5 cloves Garlic
- 1 medium bunch Coriander leaves

1.) De-frost the prawns under running water and set aside to drain.

2.) Put all the ingredients for the Spice paste in a mixer-grinder along with 1/4 cup of water. Grind to a fine paste.

3.) Heat a non-stick pan. Transfer the spice paste into the pan. Add the coconut milk and stir gently. Allow the gravy to simmer for a few minutes. Add the prawns followed by the tamarind water.

4.) Add salt, as per taste and simmer gently till the prawns are cooked through...about 5-7 minutes.

Enjoy along with piping hot steamed rice.