Friday, March 16, 2012

Pumpkin pie- an eggless dessert

When you throw a ladies party last in the chain, you have to really rack your brains to come up with a great dessert. Thankfully, I was all armed with this amazing eggless pumpkin pie recipe by Anushruti of Divinetaste.

My friend help me serve it, and by the time I came out of the kitchen..all was gone except a teeny-tiny piece for me. And with all the kudos came numerous requests for the recipe. I know I'm a wee bit late in posting this, but here's to all my friends here.

Pumpkin pie
from Anushruti of Divinetaste

For the crust:
○ 140 gm (1 cup) plain flour
○ 1/3 cup cold butter
○ 1/2 teaspoon salt
○ 5-7 tablespoons cold water

For the filling
○ 2 cups (500 ml) Pumpkin puree
○ 400g, sweetened condensed milk
○ 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
○ 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
○ 3/4 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
○ 1/2 tsp ground cloves
○ 1/2 tsp ginger powder
○ 1/2 teaspoon salt

Prepare the crust:

1. Mix the flour and the salt and cut the butter into the flour with your fingers until you get coarse breadcrumbs.
2. Alternatively, combine the flour, butter and salt in a food processor and process with short bursts until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
3. Add the cold water and form into a soft dough. Do not handle the dough more than required at this stage.
4. Gather the dough into a ball and chill well for an hour or so.
5. Place the dough on a floured surface. Roll out the dough to a circle, to line a 9-inch pie dish or cake pan with removable bottom. Prepare the edges and chill till you are ready with the filling.

Prepare the filling:
For the pumpkin puree:

1. Cut the pumpkin into wedges.
2. Scoop out the seeds, pith and fibre with the help of a spoon.
3. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
4. Place the pumpkin wedges cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the pumpkin is tender when pierced with a knife.
5. Scoop flesh out of the skins and puree with a hand blender or mash well by hand.

To make the pie:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C.
2. In a bowl, mix in the pumpkin puree, condensed milk,  cornflour, spices and salt and beat until there are no lumps.
3. Spoon or pour the filling into the chilled crust and level with the help of a palette knife.
4. Bake for about 60 minutes (the original recipe says 40 minutes, but i got better results in a longer period of time) or until the filling is set and the top crust is a nice golden brown.
5. Allow to cool, cut into wedges and serve. (I did not follow the cooling step well, couldn't keep everyone waiting!)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Home made Hummus

Every once in while we go out to have Lebanese food. Pita bread, falafal, hummus and Zatar are some of the favorites. I used to think that Hummus might be a very elaborate recipe, but I still wanted to know how is it made, so I set out to search for it.

Most of the recipes i had come accross were wanting Tahini which I knew nothing of, then luckily I read the post of Hummus and cucumber sandwich by Soma (of Ecurry). I tried my hand at it and was able to have this delicious hummus at home.

You can find her recipe here. I just omitted the paprika, since I did not have any at hand.

I would have loved to give the recipe here, but sometimes its better to hear from the creator herself..:)

Chapati porridge

As kids, we used to enjoy a porridge made by my grandmother. It was called "khankhre ki khichdi". She used sun- dried chapatis (called khankhra in the local language) and a mixture of veggies to create this tasty dish. We usually had this one in dinner as it tastes best when served piping hot.

    These sun-dried chapatis came from the leftover chapati of the household. After drying they were collected in a box till we had enough to make this porridge. This simple dish was a specialty of the household. We all loved it!
    Since the climate where I live, is humid during the better part of the year, I can’t manage to have sun-dried chapati. To overcome this, I just skipped this step and made my own chapati porridge from the memories of the taste. It’s a great way to enjoy leftovers, as it creates a whole new dish.
    Chapati porridge/roti poha
  1. Chapati-2
  2. Tomato-1, chopped
  3. Onion-1 small,  chopped
  4. Green chilly- 1, small, finely chopped (add more for a spicier option)
  5. Oil- 7 ml  (1 &1/2 spoon)
  6. Rai (mustard seeds)- 1/4 tsp
  7. Haldi (Turmeric powder)-1/4 tsp
  8. Lal mirch (red chilly powder)-1/4 tsp
  9. Dhaniya powder (coriander seeds powder)- 1 heaped tsp
  10. Salt to taste or 1/4 tsp
  11. Note:  You might add other vegetables like beans, potatoes, carrots, peas etc.
  12. Tear the chapatis into bite size pieces. Keep aside.
  13. Heat oil in a fry pan or a small wok. Add mustard seeds.
  14. When the seeds begin to pop, add onions and cook till they are translucent.
  15. Add the tomatoes, green chilies and the remaining spices in that order. Mix them well.
  16.  Let it cook on a medium flame, till you see the oil on the sides. Stir in between, it should not stick to the bottom of the pan. Add water if required.
  17. Add the pieces of chapati. Turn and mix so that all pieces are properly coated with the spice mixture.
  18. You can add a little water if you feel that its turning out to be too dry. I did not add any as my porridge was moist enough for my taste.
  19. Note: You can add boiled potatoes (mash them with back of the ladle/spoon) and water to have thickened gravy in the porridge

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy holi! (and how to make mathari at home)



The festival of colors reminds me of soooo... many good things. The colors, the Dhol(Drum) music, the dancing, the pranks we played, and the food....ahhh..the sweet Gujiya made by mom, the cool thandai at my nani's house and a variety of mathries (flaky, salted or spiced biscuits).

Today for holi, I have made these special mathris which my mom used to make. Can't say that it's easy; but it surely is worth all the effort...:)


1. All purpose flour- 2 katori (measure 400ml volume upto the brim)
2. Ghee (clarified butter)-1/5 of the flour
3. Ajwain seeds- 1& 1/2 tsp (you can add cumin seeds also)
4. Salt- 1 tsp (you can increase it to get a more salty flavour)
5. Oil for frying
6. Water for making dough

(Mathari's can be made by adding varied type of spices, this is a simple Ajwain mathari/mathri)


1. Add ghee,ajwain and salt to the flour and mix thouroughly. Add water and knead a little hard dough. Set aside for 15-20 min.

2. Now break the dough into small ball-like pieces.

3. Heat the oil in a wok/kadhai at a low flame.

4. With the help of a rolling pin, flatten the pieces of dough individually into 4 or 5 inch diameter circles. Pierce these circles with a knife or fork in a random manner.

5. When at least 5-6 are done, fry them at low flame. Remove when they become golden brown. Since frying will take time, you can continue rolling the remaining ones. (You can also roll and pierce all of them and then start with frying, but that just increases the time.).

6. Keep them on absorbent paper/paper napkin. Store in an air tight jar. They keep well for a few weeks.

These are usually served with spicy and yummy pickles, but taste pretty good all by themselves. I love them with my evening cup of tea.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gajar matar ki sabzi / carrot-peas vegetable

This is a classic from the winter menu at my home. The juicy red carrots and tender small peas were a tempting combination. It was served on the side with namkeen Khichda/Kheech ( salted porridges made from different grains). It could be eaten just with a normal chapati (Indian flatbread).

I had not made this veg in a long time, just because I did not find the right type of carrots. I usually get the orange/yellow ones in the markets here and many times they did not match up to the taste of the red ones. I was reminded of the recipe by my hubby, who wanted to eat this one. I tasted the carrot and thankfully it had a sweet flavor which is the USP of this recipe.
I decided to give it a try and I'm was pleased by the results ..:)

It brought back the cool winter memories of my home town. I know its nearly Holi (the festival of colours) time and here I'm writing the post for the departing winters.

Gajar- matar (For 2 people)
1. Carrot- 1 big, washed and cut into pieces (half moon shape)
2. Peas- shelled, 1/2 katori (fill a 100 ml bowl)
3. Oil- 10 ml approx (use less oil, if you are preparing in microwave)
4. Jeera (cumin seeds)- 1/2 tsp
5. Haldi (Turmeric powder)-1/4 tsp
6. Lal mirch (red chilly powder)-1/4 tsp
7. Dhaniya powder (coriander seeds powder)- 1 heaped tsp
8. Salt to taste

Take a kadhai/ wok and pour oil in it. Heat it up a bit.
Add jeera seeds and let them sizzle for 10-15 seconds. Add haldi followed by the carrots. Sauté the carrots for a while and add peas. Cook for about 30 seconds. You might need more time if your peas are not tender and small.
Add the remaining spices and mix well, so that spices coat the veggies.
Cover and adjust the heat to medium low. Cook for a few minutes. Keep turning in between. When the carrots become soft but not mushy, then your vegetable is ready.
Serve hot with Khichda, chapati or parantha.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Green salad (Hara bhara salad)

When you are reminded of home and the simple yet fulfilling flavors on your plate, then you end up making something from your memory.
    This is the first and the simplest salad I was ever introduced by the local restaurants'.  As children, when we went out for dinner with my parents my mother always used to order it for all of us. It was served as the first thing on the table. Then she started making it in a similar fashion at home. Here I'm making it from the memories of home. Even though I have made a hurried one ( as is evident in the pic); I've given the recipe of the original I ate long time back.
    Green salad
  1. Cucumber- 1, sliced thinly
  2. Tomatoes- 1 large or 2 small, sliced
  3. Onion- 1, sliced
  4. Green chilies- 2, slit in between to decorate
  5. Roasted Cumin seeds (Jeera)- 1/2 tsp
  6. Salt & pepper to taste (you can add chaat masala also)
  7. Nimboo (Lemon)- 1/2 for squeezing
  8. Method
    Place the cucumber, tomatoes and onion in a plate so that they make no more than 2 layers. You can be imaginative and decorate it with tomato peel (shaped like a rose). Arrange green chilies in a manner you like on the plate.
    Add salt, pepper or chaat masala to it. Sprinkle bhuna jeera or roasted cumin seeds all over it.
    Serve it with lemon on the side. Squeeze it before eating on the servings of individuals. You can also squeeze it just before serving.
    Serve immediately or keep in the fridge till the mealtime.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lauki/ Doodhi/ Ghiya Curry (bottle gourd cooked with tomatoes)

Lauki or Bottle gourd is called by various names at various places in India. This humble vegetable is somehow skipped when we talk about delicious foods.

Here I'm sharing a simple recipe which is a regular feature of our household as both me and my hubby relish eating this one. Usually when we both want a light, regular, home cooked meal; this is the one which comes to our mind. Though it can be cooked as a dry vegetable also; we usually use the curried one.

  1. Lauki- 1 (cut into medium sized pieces)
  2. Tomatoes- 1 big (chopped)
  3. Jeera (cumin seeds)- 1 tsp
  4. Ghee (clarified butter)- 1 tsp
  5. salt to taste
  6. Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  7. Haldi (Turmeric powder)- 1/4 tsp
  8. Dhaniya (coriander seeds powder)-1 &1/2 tsp approx.
  • Take a pressure cooker and add ghee to it.
  • Add Jeera and wait till it sizzles.
  • Add Lauki and chopped tomatoes and toss it around.
  • Add the remaining spices and 1 Tbsp water (optional).
  • Cover and cook at medium flame
  • After one whistle, the curry is usually cooked. You might need to cook more if the gourd was very stiff in the beginning.
  • Serve hot with Chapati or rice.

This simple vegetable it can be transformed into a delicacy by making 'Koftas'. Will write about that some other time.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sweet Corn soup

This is one of those recipes which are handy and tasty. When the weather is cloudy and you want something to cheer you up...this soup can do that. The simplicity of the recipe is alluring and you can add more sauces/seasonings as per your taste.
2 cups sweet corn ( I used the frozen ones)
A few carrots- small size
1 small capsicum
Shredded cabbage-3-4 leaves (blanch them)
Salt to taste
White pepper (freshly ground)

  1. Boil sweet corn. Crush/blend with a hand blender.
  2. In a wok/kadai, take oil and sauté carrot ,capsicum  and blanched cabbage.
  3. Add the blended sweet corn and add water/stock. Cook it for a 7-10 min.
  4. Add salt and freshly crushed white pepper.
  5. Serve hot.
Taste tip: You can also add ketchup or soy sauce to it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Laapsi (Sweet Bulger)

    This is a traditional Rajasthani sweet.  Whenever I have to serve something special and traditional, this one comes real handy. It's easy to make and is usually bang on target!
    In my home, it was usually made in the Diwali (Popularly known as, the festival of lights) "Annakoot" poojan (the traditional prayer with offerings during Diwali time). A lot of times it was a feast-feature when we had gathering of the whole family (yes, I happen to have a huge joint and extended family).
    This recipe is associated with old memories of childhood, where we just went running about the place and ate everything served on our plates (since we were at least 4 kids sharing a big plate).The kitchen would be crammed, because most women would be in there with aroma of goodies floating around.
    Those were the days…
    Recently my hubby got a taste for it! So he requested me to make it and I happily obliged. With a recipe that tasty & easy…who wouldn't?
  1. Daliya (broken wheat, Bulger)-1/2 cup
  2. Jaggary/ gur-1/2 cup
  3. Clarified butter/Ghee- 1 Tbsp
  4. Green cardamom (crushed)- about 1-2 pinch, discard the shell
  5. Dry fruits- (optional)
  6. Water for cooking

  1. Heat ghee and soak jaggary in water
  2. Roast daliya in this ghee till its golden brown.
  3. Pour water and let it cook on medium flame for a 5-10 minutes
  4. Strain the jaggary soaked in water and collect the water. The remaining jaggary can be kept for further use.
  5. When the daliya is cooked add jaggary water to it
  6. Let is cook for a few min. The visible water should evaporate.
  7. Add the crushed cardamom. You can also add dry fruits (almonds, cashews, raisins etc.) to this mix.
  8. Serve hot.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tamatar ka salan (Blanched tomatoes in creamy cashew gravy)

When you are bored stiff of cooking the same things again and again..and again..what do you do?

I try a new recipe!

Fortunately, this one came out to be very tasty and for the keeps. The aroma of the curry cooking on the stove was mouth watering.

My hubby had 3 second helpings ;P
And now you know why I dont have pics of this one. I'll click them next time...promise.

Tamatar ka salan 
For blanching tomatoes
Take 2 firm tomatoes and immerse them in boiling water. Remove from flame when the skin cracks. Drain water and remove the skin. Let it cool a bit. Keeping them joint at the base, make 2 cuts crossing each other.

For the gravy
You'll need:
1. Tomato-1
2. Cashews- 1 Tbsp, Steeped in water for 30 min.
3. Green chillies- 1
4. Ginger- 1" piece
5. Whole white pepper (Safed mirch)-5-6
6. Cloves (Lavang/laung)-2
7. Cinnamon (dalchini)- 1/2" piece
8. Black cardamom (badi elaichi)- 1
9. Musturd seeds (rai) -1/4 tsp
10. Cumin seeds (Jeera) - 1/4 tsp
11.Asafoetida (Heeng)- 1 pinch
12. Red chilli (Lal mirch) powder-1/4 tsp
13. Coriander (dhaniya) powder- 1/2 tsp
14. Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
15. Salt- 1/2 tsp or as per taste
16. Oil- 1 Tbsp
17. Milk (I used full cream)- 1 Tbsp

Let's start cooking:
  1. Cut tomatoes, green chillies and ginger and grind it to a paste in a blender.
  2. Take a wok/kadhai and dry roast white pepper,rai, jeera, cinnamon and cloves.
  3. Drain the cashews, mix them with the roasted spice mix and black cardamom. Blend them with about 1 spoon of water.
  4. Pour oil/ghee in the wok/kadhai. Add Heeng and jeera. When jeera crackles and rises, stir in the tomato paste and cook in moderate flame for about a minute. Lower the flame a little and cook till the oil seperates on the sides.
  5. Now add the cashew spice mix and milk. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add water (as per your preferance) to adjust for the consistancy of the gravy and let it boil.
  6. Now add the blanched tomatoes and let it cook for 1 min. Don't overcook as they might become soggy. Just let the flavors seep in.
  7. Serve hot with roti, rice or any favorite bread.
You can use black pepper instead of the white ones. 
Makes for 2 hungry people.
 Tasty tips
1. Instead of using blanched tomatoes, you can use boiled potatoes, paneer or even tofu !
2. For a richer gravy, use cream instead of milk.
3. Perfect for a party, people will be marvelling at your cooking for days.

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Year and some sweetness!!

Wishing all my readers a very happy and prosperous new year!!
and a joyous Makar sakranti!!

I know its a bit too late, but hey one has to recover from the new year parties and then festivals which continuously pop up on the traditional Indian calender.

Sakranti is a festival which marks the nearing end of the winter and it is believed that the sun changes hemisphere during that period. It is also celebrated as "Uttarayan" in Gujrat, "Makar Sakranti" in Rajasthan and "Pongal" in Andhra Pradesh & Kerala.

Here is a recipe of a sweet, savoury item which is usually a winter staple and is especially made in our household on the occasion of Sakranti.

Makes only 1 bowl

Til seeds-1 Tbsp
Sugar- 1Tbsp
Nuts- a handful
Green cardamom- 2-3 crushed

1. Dry roast the Til seeds til just fragrant and slightly browned.
2. Pulse in a blender with sugar and nuts.
3. Add the fregrant elaichi aka cardamom.

Isn't it simple! Just about perfect for winters too.