June 30, 2008

Diced Chicken with Vegetables

This is another one of the recipes from the cookbook of Leeann Chin, the famous restaurateur. I adapted the recipe to work with the vegetables that I had and I must say we enjoyed it very much. It actually tasted a bit like the Knorr Chinese soups that we used to have in India. Since JM was working from home on Friday, I was actually spirited to try out another recipe from the book, and I chose this. Excellent quick stir-fry!! If I had to compare between this and the hot and sour pork with celery (the first recipe I tried from this book) I prefer the pork and celery over this one, but this is also an excellent chinese recipe. The recipe seems long because it has detailed step-by-step instructions, not because it is tough! Watch out for more recipes from this cookbook. Since this is a yummylicious recipe with chicken, I am sending this to "Chicken - My Favourite" event at Vandana Rajesh's Cooking Up Something Nice. Since this a no-carb, low-fat source of protein, I am sending this to "Eat Healthy - Protein Rich" event at Sangeeth's Art of Cooking Indian Food.

Recipe (Serves 2) :

Chicken breast - 8 oz, skinless, boneless
Salt - 1/2 tsp
White pepper - a dash
Cornstarch - 2 tbsp + 1 tsp, divided
Carrots - diced, 1/2 cup
Celery - diced tender heart center, 1 cup
Oyster sauce - 2 tbsp
Chicken broth - 1 1/4 cup, divided
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Vegetable oil - 2 tbsp
Onion - diced, 1/4 cup
Minced garlic - 1 tsp
Ginger - 1 tsp, finely chopped
Button mushrooms - 4 oz can, drained
Green onions - 1/4 cup, chopped


Cut the chicken into 1/2" pieces.

In a medium bowl, combine the salt, pepper and 1 tsp cornstarch.

Stir in the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Add the carrots and celery and return to a boil.

Cover and cook for 1 minute.

Immediately drain and rinse in cold water, drain.

In a small bowl, mix the oyster sauce, the remaining 2 tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 cup chicken broth and the sugar. Set aside.

Heat a wok or nonstick pan over high heat until very hot.

Add a tbsp of vegetable oil and the chicken pieces and cook until the chicken turns white, stirring to separate the pieces, about 2 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan.

Reheat the pan over high heat.

Add the remaining vegetable oil, the onions, garlic and ginegr and cook for a minute.

Add the celery, carrots and mushrooms and cook for a minute.

Add the chicken and the remaining 1 cup chicken broth.

Cook until the broth comes to a boil.

Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Garnish with the green onions.

Serve hot.

Source: Everyday Chinese Cooking by Leeann Chin and Katie Chin.

  1. I didnt have mushrooms, onions or green onions, so I omitted those.
  2. I used about 1 cup of frozen green peas instead.
  3. The dish can actually serve 3-4 if used as a side dish.
  4. I cooked the green peas along with celery and carrots.

I also received a giant bear hug from Srilekha of Me and My kitchen. Thanks a lot Sri, that really felt good!! :-) I would like to pass the award on to,

Asha of Foodies Hope and Aroma!
Meeso of
For The Love of Food!
Sig of
Live To Eat
Cham of
Rachel of
Tangerine's Kitchen

Enjoy your hugs girls!

June 29, 2008

Danish Braid with Butterscotch and Apple Filling - My First Daring Bakers Challenge

There it is... My first Daring Baker's challenge - Danish Braid. It looks lovely, doesnt it, or is it just me? I am so happy that I got to finish my first challenge, even if it did not turn out perfect. It is supposed to be a closed braid, but mine opened up while baking, but it sure tasted awesome!! Now I can say that I love danish pastry a lot!! Well...it was not a lovey-dovey relationship from the start. This is my second braid, after the super disappointment on my first try.

FLASHBACK: It all started when Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’? announced the June 2008 edition of Daring bakers - Danish Braid using Sherry Yard's recipe from "The Secrets of Baking".

I was very nervous when I started on my first braid on Tuesday last week. I felt that this was one very-tough challenge. I did everything according to the recipe, made enough dough for two braids. I decided to make one a vanilla-creme braid with chopped strawberries and lychees. The second braid was to be a savory one with curried onions and boiled eggs. The only thing different from the assembly was that I made the cuts for the braid at an angle and only made about 5 cuts. I spend the entire day doing the pastry turns and finished baking the braids individually by about 9.00 at night.The sweet braid actually became over-proofed and had risen a lot. The savory one was just right and I finished baking it perfectly. While I was baking the sweet one, I did a few mistakes and it browned a lot, but still was ok. But when I took it out of the oven, it slipped from my hand and fell on the floor!! It broke in half and was on the floor before I could take any pictures!! GASP!!! I actually shed a few tears. A whole days work down the drain! Only because JM encouraged me, did I decide to try making another sweet braid, from scratch! The pictures below show the savory one that I made with curried onions and boiled eggs (much like the egg puffs that we get in the bakeries of Kerala).

The second time, I decided to do the braid in two days - making the dough and completing the turns in one day and the proofing and actual baking on the second day. So I made half the dough enough for a single braid and reduced the amount of orange zest. I actually ran out of yeast (I usually have several packets, so I hadnt bothered to check) and added about 1 1/4 tsp where I needed 1 1/2 tsp. When it was time to make the butter block, I see that my butter stock is almost over. Is this some kind of a joke!!? Is this really happening to me!? But I dont know why, I was kind of cool with the setbacks (when compared to the previous days disaster and tears!)! I decided to go through with it anyways, and used only 3 tbsp of butter in the place of 8 tbsp (1/4 cup) that I needed. I did all the four turns as specified in the instructions given and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day I had finalised a different filling for my second sweet braid - butterscotch and apple filling! I made the butterscotch filling using this recipe. I only made half the amount and that too was a bit too much. The braid was rolled out to 7 1/2" by 10" rectangle and I spread the butterscotch filling in the middle third of the pastry. Then I placed the fresh chopped fuji apples (about 1/2 an apple) on top. I braided the pastry according to the instructions. This time I made closer cuts perpendicular to the filling. I kept the braid for proofing for about 2 1/4 hours, because 1) I could see that it wasnt rising as much as the previous one did 2) it was refrigerated for almost 16 hours 3) that was the time specified for proofing the refrigerated dough at 75F. I made sure that it didnt over-proof by checking it at intervals. Some of the butterscotch filling leaked out during proofing, which I just cleaned off before keeping in the oven.

I baked the braid at 400F for only 7 minutes on one side (instead of 10 minutes). I could see that the braid had actually opened up (it was perfectly closed even after proofing)! Then reduced the temperature to 350F and sprinkled a few almond slivers on top. I turned the baking sheet 180 degrees and baked for about 12 minutes (instead of 15-20 minutes) for a total of 19 minutes. The braid was baked to perfection with crisp and browned pastry which was flaky (even with a lot less butter than specified!!) I waited for JM to come home from his office to enjoy it, and enjoy we did!! As I write this, I only have less than a quarter of the braid left! :-) I am glad I could make it atleast healthier by even a bit by reducing the amount of butter, eventhough it was quite unintentional! So finally I can say that I am proud to be a Daring Baker and I completed my first challenge with some satisfaction. Eventhough the first trial of making the danish bread ended in a mishap and I vowed that I will never make this again, the bounce-back on the second day has made me atleast consider making this again! :-)

I am sorry for my rambling, but this IS my first challenge!! :-) Please take a moment to check out the wonderful creations of the other Daring Bakers!! Email me if you would like to see the entire recipe.

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend. Dont forget to leave your thoughts on my Danish braid.

June 27, 2008

Hot and Sour Pork with Celery

Mmmm..Chinese food. Who doesnt love chinese food!? My family and I are great fans, we could eat almost everything if its made the Chinese way. The theme for AWED this month is Chinese and that made me hunt for Chinese cookbooks at the library. And I just found three books, but they were gems!! In one of those books I made a great discovery that it was by the famous restaurateur Leeann Chin who has several namesake restaurants around Minneapolis and a few other states. I've always enjoyed eating out at her restaurant, maybe thats why I wanted to try all ..... and I mean you cannot really choose .... all of the recipes from her book. I had some pork at hand and decided on making hot and sour pork with celery. When I try to do wannabe chinese, without a recipe, I just dump a few sauces in and be content with what I get. But with this recipe, I followed the recipe exactly, and what a difference it made! It simply was awesome! I would suggest this recipe to anyone in a heartbeat! For non-pork eaters, the book mentions that pork can be substituted with chicken. I just though I would mention it so that many more of you can enjoy! Since this is a non-veg dish, I cannot send it for the event, but I am only happy to find another vegetarian recipe from her cookbook!! :-) Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Recipe (Serves 4) :

Pork tenderloin - 8 oz
salt - 1/2 tsp, divided
White pepper - a pinch
Cornstarch - 1 tsp
Hot red chilli pepper - 1
Celery stalks - 8
Vegetable oil - 1 tbsp
Minced garlic - 2 tsp
White vinegar - 2 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Light soy sauce - 1 tsp
Sesame oil - 2 tsp


Cut the pork into thin matchsticks 2 by 1/8 by 1/8 inch.

Toss in a bowl with 1/4 tsp salt, the pepper and cornstarch.

Cut open the chilli pepper and remove the seeds, then cut into thin 2" strips.

Remove and discard the celery leaves and the stringy stalks.

Cut the stalks into 2 by 1/4 inch.

Heat a wok or skillet over high heat and add the vegetable oil, garlic, celery and remaining 1/4 tsp salt.

Stir fry for 30 seconds and add the marinated pork strips.

Turn the heat down to medium and stir-fry for an additional 2 minutes.

Add the vinegar, sugar, soysauce, sesame oil and chilli pepper.

Stir fry over high heat for 1 more minute.

Serve hot or cold.

Source: Everyday Chinese by Leeann Chin and Katie Chin.


  1. Chicken can be used instead of pork, in this recipe.
  2. I used a small serrano pepper in place of hot red chilli.
  3. Distilled vinegar was used as the white vinegar.
  4. It is a good accompaniment to Noodles with Peanut sauce which I will share with you once I try it out!

Try this out friends, you wont be disappointed.

I was tagged by Sailaja of Sailaja's recipes for a meme. Since I did the meme just a week back, I am hereby redirecting eveyone to that post. Read my meme here. Anyone who is interested can take up this meme.

My blog was given a giant bear hug by Vani of Illatharasi. Thank you sooo much Vani, I am so happy that you like my blog!!

I would like to pass the hug to,

Ranji of Ranji's Kitchen Corner
Bhags of Crazy curry
Shubha of Chutki Bhar Pyar who badly needs a hug
Laavanya of
Cookery Corner
Sailaja of
Sailaja's recipes

Once again, have a great weekend everyone! Oh, one more thing, my wrist is feeling much better now, thanks for all your concern! Your comments themselves made it all the more bearable! :-) Hugs!

I am sending this to Eat Healthy - Protein Rich event at Sangeeth's Art of Cooking Indian Food.

June 26, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chickpeas for 3 - events!!

I think I am a pleased woman since I blush so much
I am so soft and shiny to your delicate touch
But look what I have for relatives, so different with no common string
One used for smoking, one for hotness, one used to refer idler and one referred as veggie's King

I am not what you refer to me most often
I am 'fruit' of labour but never called one so
I am neither a wolf nor a peach in the scale of one to ten
but then why do you think I am called one as so?

I can go green with envy, or completely red with anger
A little crown on my head makes my walk look like a swagger
You cant do without me in your day to day cooking
Tell me what veggie I am without too much thinking.

No, I did not become a poet all of a sudden! This is what jumped out at me when I opened Box 2 of "Open Sesame-2" event. These riddles are the poetic words of Dhivya of "Culinary Bazaar" for the event organised by Siri of "Siri's Corner". This was my first riddle, and I was super nervous! It reflected on my guess, I guess. I guessed it to be bell peppers, but I was wrong! Oooops, there went my 25 points!! Then I got the first hint which was "In early 17th century, these were referred 'Love Apples'". Well, I sent my second guess... ooooh yes, the pleasant woman who blushes a lot is the TOMATO! Phew! that went well, 20 points in the bag! A message to all who havent signed up for Open Sesame - please do, its loads of fun doing the riddle! I loved it!

Coming to the recipe, this is a quick and easy recipe (and certainly new to me) which can be used as a side dish with rice or with any of the Indian breads. As the name implied, the chickpeas curry was sweet and sour, but a little too sour for my tastes. JM also remarked that it is a bit sour (note: sour not bitter) which I should have expected with tamarind and tomatoes. I had used fewer tomatoes than suggested, but even then, I felt that for my tastes it shouldve been a bit more on the spicier side. So I would suggest you to reduce either the amount of tamarind or tomatoes. But I think it would be ideal for chaats. I should tell you that it looked awesome with a thick gravy and it tasted heavenly with naan. I used canned (and thereby cooked) chickpeas and so my work was reduced in half. Enjoy!! :-) For another tasty recipe with tomatoes, check out my Turkish tomato pilaf.

Recipe (Serves 6) :

Chickpeas - 2 1/4 cups (500g)
Oil or ghee - 2 tbsp
Large red onions - 2, thinly sliced
Ginger - 3/4", finely chopped
Sugar - 2 tsp
Ground coriander - 2 tsp
Ground cumin - 2 tsp
Chilli powder - a pinch (otional)
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Tamarind puree - 3 tbsp
Ripe tomatoes - 4, chopped
Water - 2 cups
Chopped cilantro or mint - 4 tbsp


Soak the chickpeas (if using raw peas) overnight in 8 cups of water and drain.

Cook the peas in 8 cups of water until tender. Drain and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan.

Fry the onion until soft and brown.

Stir in the ginger and stir fry for about 30 seconds.

Add the chickpeas, sugar, coriander, cumin, chilli powder, garam masala and a pinch of salt.

Stir and then add the tamarind puree and tomatoes.

Simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Pour 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and cook until the sauce is thickened.

Stir in the coriander leaves.

Serve warm.

Source: The Food of Indian - a journey for food lovers by Priya Wickramasinghe.


  1. I used canned cooked chickpeas (425g/15oz).
  2. I used 3 medium yellow onions and chopped them up finely, rather than slicing it.
  3. I had store-bought tamarind puree.
  4. To make up the 2 cups of water, use the drained liquid from the can + water.
  5. Since I wanted a somewhat dry curry, I kept the chickpeas mixture on the heat longer, to make it drier.

So here is my submission to the OS-2 event with our dear vegetable TOMATO....Well, I've actually targeted three events with this recipe! I am also sending this recipe to JFI - Tamarind hosted by Sig of Live to eat and Eat Healthy - Protein Rich Contest hosted by Sangeeth of the Art of Cooking Indian Food. Enjoy!

June 25, 2008

Mango Lassi

Is it Wednesday already!!? I feel like I just dont have enough time nowadays! My mind is racing and I seem to be tense about something. Its probably because I am........you know what, I dont know!! I am not feeling that well, I hope I dont fall sick! I plan a lot of things for a day, but that dont seem to get done! But some days I do manage to do a bit of cooking for the blog! ;-) I always have elaborate plans for the recipes, but because I am not feeling super duper, I end up doing simple recipes. To top it off, I sprained my left wrist yesterday. Its a bit painful, I can "support" somewhat heavy stuff during lifting, but cannot "hold" even delicate things!

Anyways, I wanted to participate in the "Tried and Tasted" event started by Zlamushka of Zlamushka's Spicy Kitchen. The bloggers are to cook from Nupur's One Hot Stove this month. This is my first time at the event. But again because of the time-restrictions, I am not prepraing anything great, but decided to stick with probably the simplest of all recipes - Mango Lassi. I followed her recipe exactly (whats there to change!? Its that simple!) and here is the result. Eventhough I didnt make anything sophisticated, I am happy that I was introduced to Nupur's blog and I sure will be trying out recipes from hers soon. Do make this lassi, its one of the best coolers you could have in these sunny summer days! We gobbled it down in no time! :-)

Recipe (Serves 2) :

Canned mango puree - 1/2 cup
Plain yoghurt - 1/2 cup
Milk/ Soymilk - 1/2 cup
Cold water - 1/2 cup


Blend all the ingredients together.

Serve on ice.

  1. Since canned mango puree is already sweetened, there is no need to add sugar. If you have to, add sugar to taste.

I am sending this to Zlamushka's "Tried and Tasted" event. Enjoy!!

June 24, 2008

Cappuccino Nanaimo Bars

The Nanaimo bar is a dessert of Canadian origin popular across North America. A type of chocolate no-bake square, it receives its name from the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia. It consists of a crumb-based layer, topped by a layer of light custard or vanilla butter icing, which is covered in chocolate (wiki). I enjoyed taking part in Sugar High Friday May 2008 event, so I was looking forward to participate in June's event too. This month the theme is "Mmm...Canada" calling everyone to make something (either sweet or savory) Canadian! The sweet version is hosted by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess. Coincidentally, the theme for AFAM is Coconut. Since this recipe has coconut in it, it would fit AFAM too. It was a bit of work making them, but it sure was well worth the effort! I only made half the recipe, and almost everything worked out perfect. The taste was exceptional!! I took them to a gathering of a few friends and they all loved it! I expected them to be put off by the sweetness, but they mentioned in unison that they didnt mind because the bars were awesome! This is a calorie-laden sweet but excellent to take to a gathering or to a party. So make sure you have some friends to share the guilt and the calories! ;-) I am posting the halved recipe here. Check out this link for the original recipe. I hope you all enjoy these yummy bars! To all the chocoholics ( I am one of them!) out there, this is for you!!

Recipe (Makes 8 bars) :


Chocolate cookie crumbs - 3/4 cup
Unsalted butter - 1/4 cup
Cocoa powder - 2 1/2 tbsp
Sugar - 1/8 cup
Egg - 1/2
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Unsweetened grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Walnuts - 1/4 cup, toasted and chopped


Icing sugar - 1 1/2 cups, sifted
Unsalted butter - 1/6 cup, at room temperature
Custard powder - 3/4 tbsp
Milk - 1/8 cup
Instant coffee powder - 1 tsp
Vanilla - 1 tsp


Semisweet chocolate - 4 oz
Unsalted butter - 1 tbsp


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan (I spread the mixture on half the pan) with vegetable oil or spray.

For base, melt butter and stir in sugar.

Sift cocoa powder into mixture and blend well.

Whisk together egg and vanilla extract and add.

Blend in chocolate cookie crumbs, coconut and chopped walnuts until evenly incorporated.

Press into prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes then chill for 20 minutes.

For cappuccino filling, beat butter by hand until smooth and beat in custard powder.

Heat milk with coffee powder to dissolve and cool to room temperature.

Add milk to butter mixture a stir in sifted icing sugar a cup at a time, combining well.

Spread over base and chill while preparing topping.

For topping, melt chocolate and butter over a pot of gently simmering water.

Pour over vanilla filling and spread to cover evenly.

Chill for 30 minutes.

To serve, slice with a hot, dry knife into 1-inch squares.


  1. I used oreos for the crumb base.
  2. Reduce or omit the sugar if using oreos for the base (or if using sweetened coconut), because it already has the creme-filling.
  3. I used chopped mixed nuts instead of toasted wlanuts and flaked coconut from the store (it was actually a bit sweet).
  4. I would recommend reducing the amount of sugar for the filling to 3/4 - 1 cup. I added about 1 1/4 cup and still it was very sweet.
  5. For instant coffee powder for the filling I used Nescafe instant coffee granules.
  6. For custard powder, I used the Jello vanilla pudding powder (not the instant one).
  7. For the topping I melted the chocolate and butter in the microwave.
  8. The preparation method mentions chilling the filling until the chocolate topping is made. I would recommend keeping it in the freezer until you make the topping because, when I poured the topping over the custard filling, it hadnt set properly, so I didnt get three distinct layers. So I just worked with what I had and made swirls of chocolate on the vanilla layer. This didnt compromise the taste at all.

I am sending these bars to "SHF - Mmm Canada" hosted by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess and to "AFAM - Coconut" hosted by Suganya of Tasty Palettes. Enjoy!! :-)

Dont forget to check out the new pictures over at "Through the looking glass".

June 23, 2008

Coconut pancakes and awards!

Coconut pancakes or madak saan as we used to call it, is one of the well-loved breakfast items from my childhood days. The flour and egg pancakes enclose a juicy mixture of freshly grated coconut and sugar which just scream "sweet and tasty breakfast" to the kids! I have come across a variety of names for this tasty marvel including love letters, probably referring to the way in which they are folded!! But dont you think it could also be because of the sweet content of both the letters and the pancakes!? Anyways, it is a very simple and quick breakfast that anyone can whip up in minutes. I did not have fresh coconut with me, so I used flaked coconut available in the baking section. It has already been sweetened, so you dont have to add extra sugar. It is not as juicy as using freshly grated coconut either! Expand your creativity and use a variety of fillings like fresh fruits and nuts, or serve them as such or with pancake syrups, fresh fruit puree or some sugar on the side. This is a perfect kid-friendly breakfast that can be enjoyed by adults too.... Enjoy!! :-) (The pictures are not perfect, I know!, I am sorry! There were two impatient, stomach-growling people on my heels!). Check out the tips for making the recipe - vegetarian.

Recipe (Makes about 6 pancakes) :

All-purpose flour - 1 cup
Egg - 1, beaten
Milk - about 6 oz
Vanilla essence - 3/4 tsp
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Flaked sweetened coconut - as needed
Grated coconut with sugar - as needed


Mix flour, beaten egg, milk, sugar and vanilla essence to form a somewhat loose batter which is lump-free.

Heat a non-stick skillet and add a small ladle full of batter.

Swirl the skillet around so that the batter coats the base of the skillet uniformly.

You can also spread the batter in dosa fashion, lightly placing the ladle on the center of the batter and spreading it out in a coil fashion to the outside (like making dosa).

Once the upper side looks dry, flip the pancake over and cook the other side.

Remove from heat, fill with coconut and/or any other filling.

Place the filling on the center and then fold over either sides of the pancake or place the filling towards one edge and then roll up the pancake from that side.

Enjoy warm!

  1. I used about half water - half milk mixture to make the batter.
  2. For my vegetarian friends out there, omiting the egg , adding 1/4 tsp of baking powder and increasing the amount of milk accordingly should give similar results! I have not tried it out without eggs, but I guess it should be just fine.

I am sending these pancakes to the Pancakes on Parade event at Susan's "The Well-seasoned Cook" and Sweet Series at Mythreyee's "Paajaka".

Now its .......... award time!! :

Last week was really great for me with lots of awards bestowed upon me by my dear friends, my talented fellow bloggers!! Once again, I was ecstatic when I recieved an award which is new to me - "Blogging with a purpose" award! All these gestures of love and support from all of you makes me reinforce my passion for blogging, a LOT!! I should mention once again, how much this small space on the internet has come to mean to me, I dont even have words to express it!! I cant think of stopping, EVER...I hope it doesnt come to that !! I thank Ranji of
Ranji's Kitchen Corner who again is one of my closest friends on the blogosphere and who has come to mean a lot to me, and also Trupti of Recipe Center, who again is a very talented blogger, who first saw to it that I receive encouragement in the form of my first award ever! It definitely meant a lot coming from the both of you, and thanks a lot for thinking about me!

I would like to pass this on to,

Shubha of Chutki Bhar Pyar
Bhags of Crazy curry
Madhuram of Eggless cooking
Swati of Chatkhor

I also received the Rocking Girl Blogger award from our beloved lil blogger - Swati of Chatkhor. I would like to pass this on to,

Ranji of Ranji's Kitchen Corner
Trupti of Recipe Center
Sukanya of Hot n' Sweet Bowl
Divya Vikram of Dil Se

Hope you all would accept and enjoy the awards! Lets start this week's blogging with all this love in the air!

June 20, 2008

Coconut rice

Nowadays I am trying out so much variety in rice itself, I am so happy I could find new favourites with almost every recipe variation of simple basmati rice. Being from Kerala, the land where coconut is added to anything and everything, I had to keep aloof from this tasty nut after coming to US. I had no means of grating or even breaking open the coconut, and ofcourse trips to the Indian store were almost unheard of (for us)! Blogging has brought me back to the wonderful Indian cuisine and is inspiring me to try almost everything that dont sound very complicated! These days trips to the Indian store is more frequent, but that too not at par with many others. Thankfully I had some frozen grated coconut that I got from the Indian store this week. Eventhough it wasnt nearly as tasty as fresh coconut, it did its purpose. We thoroughly enjoyed it. JM couldnt contain his hunger once he saw the rice, and lil LM wasnt far behind. I was surprised about the simplicity of the dish and if you have the cooked rice, its just a matter of minutes before you could enjoy a steaming bowl of coconut rice. Enjoy and have a great weekend!! BTW, this is my first time making or eating this! :-)

Recipe (Serves 2-3) :

Basmati rice (white) - 3 1/2 cups, cooked
Grated coconut - 3/4 cup
Urad dal - 1 tsp (optional)
Curry leaves - 4-5
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Dried red chilly - 1 medium
Cashewnuts - 6 whole unsalted
Chopped cilantro - a few sprigs
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt - 1/4 tsp or to taste
Groundnut or vegetable oil - 1 tbsp


Heat oil in a skillet big enough to hold the rice.

Add the mustard seeds.

When they start to crackle, add asafoetida, urad dal, dried red chilly, curry leaves and cashewnuts.

Saute for a minute or two until the cashewnuts and urad dal are light brown.

Toss in the shredded/grated coconut and fry for a minute more.

Mix in the cooked rice and stir until mixed well and heated through.

Adjust the seasoning by adding salt as needed.

Sprinkle the chopped cilantro and mix well.

Serve hot with Indian curries.

Source: India with passion by Manju Malhi.


  1. I used frozen grated coconut after thawing.
  2. We had it with curd, pickle and pappads.

Once again its award-time. Rachel of Tangerine's kitchen passed me two beautiful awards - The Yummy Blog award and the Rocking Girl Blogger award. At this time, I am dedicating and awarding these two awards to all of you - especially my fellow rocking bloggers, my lovely readers, all my friends and family who are encouraging me everyday to keep up the blog! Love ya all!! Again, wishing you all a great weekend!!

I am also sending this to EC's "Mixed Rice Varieties" event at Simple Indian Food. I am also sending this to Archana's "One Dish Meal event" at Archana's kitchen.

UPDATE: I am sending this to "Rice Mela" hosted by Srivalli of Cooking 4 all seasons.

June 19, 2008

Onion-omelette-sandwich with mushrooms (havita i m batzal b' pita)

I took a Middle eastern cookbook from the library for AWED, but I was attracted to a lot of recipes from the book. So I decided to pick another recipe from the same book for WBB - Express breakfast theme. This is an omelette which is very easy to prepare with the beautiful flavours of cumin and thyme blended together to form something exceptional! Indians routinely use cumin in their cooking but thyme is not something that is common in Indian cuisine. But the Middle eastern cuisine combine this spice and herb artistically to produce a dramatic flavour combo. This is a must try for everyone because 1) its very easy, not at all time-consuming, 2) because I highly recommend it (because you do not need any hi-fi ingredients except for probably the thyme, which most of you culinary masters would already have!) :-)! The recipe I am giving here is the halved recipe. The cookbook actually mentions serving the omelette in a pita bread and adding the mushrooms into the pita pocket. I served the mushroom mixture in between the halves of the omelette and enjoyed with some toasted wheat bread. JM and I shared this, even then it was pretty filling. Go on make it now, (I am pretty sure) you would like it! I am sending this to Raaga of the Singing Chef who is hosting WBB - Express Breakfast.

Recipe (Makes 1-2 servings) :

Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Small mushrooms - 3-4 oz, thickly sliced
Ground cumin - 1/4 tsp
Dried thyme - 1/4 tsp
Onion - 1/2 medium, minced
Eggs - 2
Italian parsley - 1 1/2 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Ground pepper - as needed
Pita bread - 1 or 2, halved


Heat a bit of the oil in a heavy medium skillet.

Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, cumin and thyme.

Saute over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until just tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Remove to a plate and keep aside.

Heat a tbsp of oil in the skillet.

Add onion and cook over medium heat until tender and beginning to turn golden, stirring occasionally.

Leave the onions in the skillet.

Thoroughly beat eggs with salt, pepper and parsley.

Add the remaining oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat and swirl the pan slightly to coat the sides of the pan as well.

Pour the egg mixture on top of the onions.

Cook without stirring, occasionally lifting the edges of the omelette and tipping the skillet so that the uncooked part of the egg runs to the edge of the pan.

When the top of the omelette is nearly set, turn it over to cook the second side over medium-low heat for 30-60 seconds or until just set.

Cut the omelette into wedges and slip into a pita bread.

Add the mushroom mixture and enjoy!

Source: Feast from the Mideast by Faye Levy.


  1. I made the eggs without parsley, but added some green onions (green part only) to the beaten egg mixture.
  2. The omlette is very light, so if be gentle while turning the omelette over (mine tore, but I have no problem with that!). The book suggest slipping the set omelette on to a plate, then inverting it over another plate and then slipping it back into the pan, to cook the second side.
  3. The picture shows a half of the omelette topped with sauteed mushrooms with the other half folded over.
  4. We had it with regular toasted honey wheat bread.

Yesterday I received the "Rocking Girl Blogger" award from Sukanya of Hot n' Sweet bowl. I appreciate it, Sukanya, thanks a lot! I would like to pass it on to

Meeso of My Humble Kitchen
Madhuram of Eggless cooking
Purnima of Fantasy Cooking
Swati of Chatkhor
Bhags of Crazy curry

I have also been tagged by Sukanya of Hot n' Sweet Bowl. I love doing these memes (atleast for now!), they are fun, arent they!? I would like to tag,

Ranji of Ranji's Kitchen Corner
Happy cook of My Kitchen Treasures
Shubha of Chutki Bhar Pyar
Skribles of Food with a pinch of love
Rachel of Tangerine's kitchen

I hope you girls will take upon my tag. It would be great if you could. Now here goes mine!

WARNING: It might be a boring read for some! In that case, please do NOT read any further!! ;-)

What was I doing ten years ago?

I was doing my schooling (+1/ 11th) in Trivandrum, Kerala.

What are five things on my to-do list for today (non-work related)?

I wrote this on Wednesday, so I am talking about the to-do list for Wednesday!

1. Take lil LM to the park for a play-date.
2. Blogging and blog-hopping
3. Clean the house before JM comes! ;-)
4. Do a little bit of reading
5. Keep in touch with my friends (old and new) through mails and messages!

What are five snacks that I enjoy?

1. Nuts
2. Spicy mixture with peanuts and those sev kind of things
3. Banana chips
4. Murukku
5. Anything sweet that I can get my hands on ;-)
I guess I like everything! ;-)

What things would I do if I were a billionaire?

I would definitely travel more, do a lot of shopping and bring you all to my big mansion so that we can have a world bloggers meet! ;-)

Places I have lived at?

Trivandrum - India
Cochin - India
Kottayam - India
Gurgaon - India (3 months)
Bangalore - India
Minnesota - USA
Spent 3 yrs shuttling between Cochin, Kottayam and Bangalore!

Jobs I have had:

A full-time wife and mom (if you would call that a job! Being a daughter and a sis was not that hard ;-)), but seriously, I didnt get a chance because I moved to US immediately after my post graduation. If it were not for these visa restrictions......!! I wish I would get one soon!

June 18, 2008

Banana-pepper fritters (Chilli baji/ Mulaku baji)

This is probably one of the common street side foods in India. As most of you are aware, this month's Monthly Blog Patrol theme is Street Food. I guess it gave all of us a good excuse to indulge in some of the tastiest snacks with which many of us have memories associated! I have a good memory to share with you. When I was a child I was not that into, nor was I allowed to have a lot of these street side snacks, eventhough I got many of these from the "bakeries" of Kerala. I dont remember the first time I had Chilli baji, but all I know is that I have loved them for so long! After my marriage, three of the intial years were spent apart from JM, in a hostel, because I was pursuing my Master's degree. Every weekend I would get on a bus for the two-hour journey back from my college to JM's place. He would come to pick me up at the bus-stop with a small packet of these yummy, crispy chilli bajis. I would gobble them up in the car itself, on the way back home, with much glee and satisfaction!! Thus my memories came flooding back when I saw these bajis on Injipenn's blog Ginger and Mango. Eventhough it wasnt exactly a fine dining treat (BTW, we had a lot of those too ;-)), I still recollect those initial sparks of love with much warmth!! Who knew MBP would bring back such fond memories! I wish I could relive those days! ;-)

This is the first time I've made these at home and its been a very long time since I've had them. I have made a few tweaks to the original recipe which can be found here. Try these out and possibly your own memories will come flooding back! This is my entry to the MBP - Street Food hosted by Sia of Passionate about life and spice. Enjoy!

Recipe (Makes 5 bajis) :

Banana peppers - 5
Chickpea flour (Besan) - scant 1 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Asafoetida - a small pinch
Red color - a pinch (optional)
Ginger - 1 tsp, finely minced
Water - about 1/4 cup or as needed
Oil - for frying


Mix all the ingredients except banana peppers to form a somewhat thick batter.

Make slits on the sides of the peppers without going all the way through or without splitting the pepper.

Dip the peppers in the batter.

Deep fry the peppers in hot oil on medium heat, until crisp and cooked.

Drain on paper towels.

Serve hot with ketchup.


  1. The red color added to the batter is entirely optional. No additional flavor is imparted.
  2. Banana peppers are not very hot. But if you are not fond of spicy snacks, either remove the seeds without splitting the peppers or do not consume the end near the stem.
  3. If there is excess batter, you can also use onions, potatoes, cauliflower etc to make yummy pakodas!