Monday, February 16, 2015

Kaali masoor dal- Whole brown lentils

Dal- roti are the back bone of Indian home cooking. This dal spells 'comfort food' for me. It goes well with chapati and/or rice and is one of the family's favorite.

Kaali masoor dal- 1/2 katori
Ginger- 1' piece, grated
Onion- 1, chopped
Tomato- 1 , small , chopped
Garlic- 2 cloves, chopped
Whole red chilli-1
Salt to taste
Ghee- 1 tsp
Haldi (turmeric powder)- 1/4 tsp

How to make:
Wash the daal thoroughly.
Boil the dal in a pressure cooker with 1 and 1/2 katori water. Please add salt, haldi and grated ginger before boiling.
In the meantime, prepare the tadka (tempering). Heat Ghee in a small Kadhai. Add chopped Onions and fry till pink.
Add finely chopped Garlic and fry for a few minutes. Add red chilli.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they are mushy.
Now add the boiled dal to it. Dal should be soft but not mushy. Adjust for salt.
If your dal is still not cooked (it happens with mine), add the tadka into the pressure cooker and let it cook some more. Usually after 2-3 more whistles , it is done.
Garnish with coriander leaves (optional)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Gobhi Masala- Cauliflower gravy

This is a borrowed from a dear friend. I just went to her place for an impromptu lunch and voila! She comes up with this yummy recipe.  It was a pity that I could not see her in action or take pictures.
Anyways, I followed her recipe (with slight modifications) and though my cauliflower was not the same, it was good and hubby liked it.

  • Cauliflower- 1 head, washed , dried and cut into florets
  • Onion- 1 medium, made into paste
  • Bay leaf- 1
  • Milk- 1/2 cup + Water - 1 cup
  • Tomato - 2-3 , pureed
  • Ginger and green chili paste- 1 tsp
  • Haldi (turmeric powder)- 1/4 tsp
  • Dhaniya powder (coriander seed powder)- 1 tsp
  • Roasted Jeera powder (cumin seeds)- 1/2 tsp
  • Tomato ketchup- 2 tsp
  • Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves for garnishing (optional)
  • Oil- 1Tbsp

To make:
  1. Boil water and turn of flame. Add 1 spoon salt to it and soak the cauliflower florets. Cover and keep aside for use.
  2. Heat oil in a pan or Kadhai.
  3. Fry onion paste till oil leaves side. Add 1 bay leaf.
  4. Add ginger and green chilli paste. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add milk and water mixture.
  6. Cook till this mixture thickens (about 10-15 min.).
  7. Add the pureed tomatoes. Add Haldi, Dhaniya powder, salt and Jeera powder.
  8. Cook till oil leaves side.
  9. Add Garam masala. Mix.
  10. Drain the cauliflower florets. Add these to the cooked gravy. Turn them so the cooked mixture coats it well. Add Tomato ketcup.
  11. Now add 1 cup water to this and cover it. Lower the flame and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. 
  12. Make sure that the cauliflower florets are cooked thoroughly, but are not mushy. Add more water if required.
  13. The water should reduce to half or more. Here you can decide on the consistency of the gravy. Adjust for salt.
  14. Once done , remove from flame and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mixed vegetable - Potatoes, bell pepper and carrots

This is an everyday vegetable in which many variations can be made. Its a good lunch box option with paranthas or chapatis.  In fact this is one of the standard filling of the rolls that I make for hubby when he needs to be moving around in the car, the whole day.


  • Potatoes- 3, boiled, peeled and chopped
  • Tomatoes- 1, chopped into big pieces
  • Carrots (orange)- 1, chopped
  • Capsicum/green bell pepper- 1, chopped (big pieces)
  • Oil-1/2 tbsp
  • Heeng (asafoetida)- 1 pinch
  • Jeera (cumin seeds)- 1/2 tsp
  • Haldi (turmeric powder)- 1/4 tsp
  • Dhaniya powder (coriander seed powder)- 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder- 1/3 tsp
  • Garam masala (optional)- 1/4tsp
  • salt to taste (I used 1tsp)

Grind the following with mortar and pestle and keep aside for use

  • Dalchini (cinnamon)- half inch piece
  • Badi elaichi (black cardamom)- 1, cracked open
  • Laung (clove)-2

How to make:

  1. Heat the oil. Add heeng & jeera. Let it sizzle.
  2. Now add carrots and capsicum and fry for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add salt and let the carrots turn tender.Turn down the flame. Cover and cook for a few minutes. (If you are using the red carrots then it'll take less time to cook.)
  4. Add the boiled potatoes and tomato. Add all the spices except the ones ground by mortar and pestle.
  5. Mix well so that all vegetables are well coated with the spices. Cover and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Now add the ground spice mix. This gives a beautiful aroma to the dish.
  7. Mix well and serve.

You can garnish it with coriander leaves.
If you are out of tomatoes (God forbid!) then use amchoor (1/2tsp) to add the sour flavor.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Italian dinner Menu- Bruschetta, Pasta & Salad

Sometimes we don't want a party.
Sometimes we just want a little conversation.
Sometimes we just want to retell our stories.
Sometimes we are short of time.
Sometimes... a little time together is enough.

Hence we eat less and talk more...

Meeting with friends is very uncomplicated and, so we make what seems as the most fulfilling of meals, for an evening together.

Pasta and salad is one of those meals. You put in a starter just like that and, well dessert is there to sweeten the memories...

Menu for the evening
Starter- Bruschetta
Main course - Pasta and Salad
Dessert- Fruit custard (Ok! I know that is not Italian)
Coke, Sprite and Water to drink. (I'm a teetotaler!)

  • French bread- sliced into 20 pieces
  • Tomatoes- 3 medium, chopped
  • Olive oil-1tsp + 2 tbsp (for toasting the bread)
  • Mozzarella cheese- grated, half cup
  • Garlic- 2 halves
  • Oregano- 1/4 tsp (dried)
  • Black pepper- 1/4 tsp (crushed)
  • Salt to taste
To make

Mix tomatoes, 1tsp olive oil, oregano, pepper and salt. Keep in refrigerator.

Heat a skillet and pour 1 tbsp olive oil on it. Keep as many slices as possible and toast it well.

Now rub the garlic halves on the toasted bread and top it up with a spoon of tomato mix.  

Spread some cheese over it.Serve.

  • Cucumber- 2, chopped
  • Onion- 1, chopped
  • Tomatoes- 1 medium, chopped
  • Capsicum- 1 medium, chopped small
  • Feta - 30 gm, make cubes
  • Olive oil- 1 tsp 
  • Black pepper- 1/2 tsp
  • Parsley- Chopped, 1 tbsp
  • Kosher salt- to taste

To Make:

Mix the chopped vegetables. Add olive oil , pepper and salt.

Add feta cubes. Chill in the fridge and serve.


  • Penne Pasta- Cooked in hot water till al dante
  • Onions- 1 medium,thinly sliced
  • Mush rooms- 3-4, quartered or chopped ( you can put more if u like)
  • Olive oil- 1 Tbsp
  • Capsicum/bell pepper- 1, thinly sliced
  • Broccoli- 2-3 large pieces which are chopped small( I used frozen florets)
  • Parmesan cheese- about 2 Tbsp, grated
  • White sauce (recipe below)
  • Tomato and mint sauce (recipe below)

Tomato & Mint sauce

  • Tomatoes- 4
  • Mint-1/2 cup
  • Whole red chili- 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper- 1/2 tsp
  • Garlic- 4-6 cloves
  • Olive oil- 1tbsp (optional)

Blend all the ingredients together. Keep aside for use.

White sauce

  • Refined flour (maida)- 3 Tbsp
  • Cold milk- 2 cups
  • Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper- 1/2 tsp
  • Butter- 1.5 tsp (5-7 grams)

  1. Mix refined flour in milk with a wire whisk. Add salt & pepper. Mix.
  2. At this point you can refrigerate it to make the actual sauce later.
  3. Melt the butter in a pan and add the milk mixture. Keep stirring till it thickens and forms a smooth paste.

To make Pasta

  1. Heat live oil in a wok/Kadhai.
  2. Add Onion, capsicum, broccoli and mushrooms in that order. Fry at medium flame for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add Tomato & mint sauce. Cook till the raw garlicky smell is gone. 
  4. Add Penne pasta. Top this up with the white sauce.
  5. Mix well till the pasta is coated with the sauce (both tomato and white one).
  6. Adjust for salt and seasoning (you can add ready-made Italian seasoning if you want).
  7. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

Enjoy a relaxed evening!