Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mashed Potatoes

I came to know about this dish after coming to US. And initially, I found it little funny, like a trivial job. I was like, what’s the big deal in boiling and mashing potatoes? We do that frequently to make any potato-based farsan or stuffed paratha. I tasted this first at Maggiano’s, we order it as a side with pasta-alfredo. And then, I realized ‘mashed potatoes’ are far more than just ‘mashing potatoes’. Later on, I found a recipe online and made myself along with Pasta and Salad. It was good, but not resembling to what I had ate at Maggiano’s. Then couple of days back, I was reading a suspense novel and something was mentioned about making mashed potatoes. I found out, my very basic mistake – so far I was boiling, peeling and mashing potatoes. Correct method is, peeling, cutting, boiling and mashing potatoes. Yesterday I tried this new way and yes, it indeed came out very delicious.

Serves 2
Preparation Time: 5 minute
Cooking Time: 15 minute

3 medium potatoes (About 2 cup after mashing)
2 tsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic
½ tsp parsley (optional)
Salt and Pepper

1. Peel potatoes and cut them in ¼ inch of pieces
2. In a large pot, bring water to boil, add potatoes and cook them covered until they are fork-tender
3. Once cooked, drain the water and mash thoroughly when they are hot
4. Add butter, milk, salt, pepper and parsley
5. Heat olive oil in skillet and add chopped garlic
6. Stir garlic until it changes color to brown and then turn off the heat
8. Add it to potato mixture
9. Mash thoroughly until it’s creamy and consistent mixture
10. Serve Hot

If you add couple of tbsp shredded cheddar cheese, it will taste even better. But we already had pasta as a main dish with cheese; hence I avoided it in mashed potato. You see, we are calorie conscious ;)

Farsi Puri

These puris are healthy, quite filling and quite easy to make. Though I have been making these puris quite often, I was never completely satisfied. And yeah, yesterday I found out the mistake. So far I was using coarse rava and maida to make the dough. But now I know, I should use only rava-coarse and fine rava combination.

Make about 30 puris
Preparation Time: 10 minute
Cooking Time: 45 minute

¼ cup coarse rava (soji)
½ cup fine rava
1 tsp coarsely grated pepper
1 tsp coarsely grated cumin seeds
2 tbsp ghee
Oil for frying

1. Mix above all ingredients and sieve it thoroughly
2. With warm water, knead dough, like puri
3. Divide it into small balls and roll puris
4. Let these puris dry for about 30-40 minutes (So they consume less oil while frying)
5. Deep fry until golden brown

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Salad Crackers

We both are fond of side dishes than the main course. Though we will have full menu, dal-rice-sabzi-roti, we would need something as an accompaniment like salad, raita, farsan, sweet-anything, leftover, very little quantity will be absolutely fine. Last Saturday, could not think of anything in this category and hence was feeling bad since HE was fasting and I wanted to prepare an extensive menu. I had everything to make a nice salad, but we were kind of bored with it. So I came up with this last minute fix.

Makes 25 crackers
Preparation Time: 15 Minute
Cooking Time: NIL

25 pc topping crackers
1 carrot
1 zucchini
1 tomato
1tsp olive oil
1 tsp grated cheese
1 tsp fresh parsley (optional)
Salt and pepper

1. Finely chop carrot, tomato and zucchini
2. Add olive oil, parsley, cheese, salt and pepper
3. When ready to serve, top crackers and serve immediately

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Baghare baigan

We both love alu-baigan sabzi, especially with khichdi- on little sweet side with hint of garlic. Sometimes, with little variation, I cook potato and eggplant in onion –tomato gravy. But I did not know any other recipe using these two veggies as main ingredients. Here, when we go to Indian restaurant, we get limited options in vegetarian category and bagahre baigan or masala baigan is one among them. So far it never clicked to give it Punjabi, spicy taste. I thought to make it in a restaurant style and now I am happy knowing one more curry.

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 20 Minute
Cooking Time: 45 Minute

6 Small eggplants
2 Medium potatoes
2 onions
1 tomato

For gravy
1 dried red chili
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 cloves of garlic

Dry spices
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chili powder
½ tsp kitchen king masala
1 tsp grated coconut
1 tsp kasuri methi
½ tsp Sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Oil for frying
Fresh coriander for garnishing

1. Cut potatoes and eggplants in ¼ inch pieces and deep-fry them until they are light brown and tender
2. Chop onions and tomato
3. Grind all ingredients for gravy with little water and make a thick paste
4. Take 2 tbsp oil in skillet, when heated add chopped onions
5. Once onions turn golden brown, add tomato and stir for 2-3 minutes
6. Add gravy and then all dry spices
7. Once everything is properly mixed, add fried potatoes and eggplants and water, if required
9. Turn off the heat and garnish with coriander

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chocolate Walnut Truffles

Every summer, I try hands on baking. Among different experiments these truffles are must have. Not only they are tasty but also easy and fast to make. After trying few times, I have perfected this recipe.

Makes 15-16 balls
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: 30 Minute

1-can condensed milk (14 oz)
1.5 tbsp unsweetened coco powder
1.5 cup walnut
14 pc unsweetened biscuits/crackers (I use marie biscuit from Indian store)

1. Coarsely grind walnut and biscuits
2. Take a thick bottom pan and start heating condensed milk
3. Add coco powder and stir continuously
4. When mixture is nice consistent and warm, turn off the heat
5. Add walnut and biscuits
6. Refrigerate it for about 15 minutes and make small balls

These balls are creamy, crunchy and chocolaty at the same. Of course, they taste yummy just by themselves; but even better with ice cream and/or whipped cream. Also they stay good for up to 15-20 days.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pudina (Mint) Puri

Nowadays, HE has to commute quite a lot, though he is not extremely busy at work, so outcome? In addition to regular lunch and fruit, I have to give him some snacks everyday, which is healthy, easy to carry and also, easy to eat while driving. Due to ‘healthy’ criteria, store bought packets are out and I am also not much fond of it. We both like different kinds of ‘puris’ preferably made of wheat flour, since it’s good for health and also consumes less oil compared to plain flour. I experiment quite a bit in this area and here is my version of Mint Puris..

Makes about 40 puris
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: 45 Minute

2-cup wheat flour
1 tbsp gram flour
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp cumin seeds – coarsely crushed
1 tsp pepper – coarsely crushed
2 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp pudina – finely chopped (I used dried one straight from my home garden, fresh will be even better)
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chili powder
2 tsp oil
Oil for frying

1. Mix above all ingredients and make nice firm dough
2. Divide dough in equal balls and roll puris
3. Let them get dried for about an hour at room temperature
4. Fry until they are crisp golden brown

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gobi Paratha

I had bought cabbage from farm and I did not know any other full-fledge use of it except Gujarati style vegetable. So I thought to use it little different way, to make paratha. Anyway we both love paratha. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, we would never say no to paratha.

Makes 16-18 parathas
Preparation Time: 30 Minute
Cooking Time: 45 Minute

For Stuffing,
1 medium cabbage
2 medium onions
1 tsp green chili paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tbsp coriander leaves
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp clove-cinnemon powder
½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp red chili powder
2 tsp oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
¼ cup freshly grated cheese (if you are diet conscious, use paneer instead)

For Dough,
4-cup wheat flour
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp oil

Oil for making parathas

  1. Mix all ingredients for dough and kneed roti like soft dough and divide it into balls, keep them aside
  2. Finely chop cabbage and onion
  3. Add salt to this mixture and leave it aside for 15-20 minutes
  4. Squeeze the mixture to remove access water (this is very important)
  5. Heat oil in skillet and add sesame seeds, when crackles add cabbage-onion mixture
  6. Add remaining spices and cook uncovered till water evaporates and mixture becomes dry
  7. Once cool down, add cheese/paneer and mix well
  8. Now take each ball, put the stuffing and roll it into a paratha. Fry golden brown on both sides


When I came to US in 2007, HE took me to Sahara Grill, a small Mediterranean restaurant in Philadelphia downtown. He was bit scared whether I would like the food or not. But I loved it and now it has become a rule to visit Sahara Grill whenever we go to Philly. Unfortunately, we do not find many options for this category of food in NJ (Except Maos). So I was determined to make this recipe perfect, at least for our taste.

Yields 25-30 balls
Preparation Time: 15 Minute + soaking time
Cooking Time: 30 Minute

1-cup chickpeas
2 medium onions
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
3-4 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup plain flour
Salt-pepper as per taste

1. Soak chickpeas for about 6-8 hours and pressure cook them
2. Mix chickpeas, onions, garlic, cumin, cilantro and parsley and grind into a thick paste (try to grind without water, water absorbed by chickpeas is enough to grind a paste)
3. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to the paste
4. Add flour to paste and fry the balls. In case, balls break or do not come out crunchy, add some more flour

How to Serve
1. Take pita bread and cut it with paring knife to make a pocket
2. Add Hummus, couple of falafel balls, yogurt dressing (salt, garlic and green onions) and salad (lettuce, cucumber and tomato)


Yields about 1 cup
Preparation Time: 10 Minute + soaking Time
Cooking Time: 20 Minute + refrigeration time

1-cup chickpeas
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt-pepper-lemon juice
Chopped parsley, red chili flakes for garnishing (optional)

1. Soak chickpeas for 6-8 hours and pressure cook them with salt
2. Mix all ingredients except for garnishing and grind into a thick paste (use 1 tsp olive oil while grinding)
3. Add water if required (I used water retained after pressure cooking chickpeas)
4. Take out paste in a serving bowl, add remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and garnish with parsley and chili flakes
5. Serve cold

Leftover can be frozen and it stays good fro couple of months

Friday, July 9, 2010


I have always loved this dessert, specially the way mom used to serve in earth ware. Cannot even remember when I had this last, but yesterday all of a sudden I started craving for this. I searched for a recipe online and then adapted it for my taste.
Considering, first attempt and my impatient nature while making dessert, it indeed came out good.

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: 40 Minute

4 cups whole milk
4 tbsp rice
6-8 tbsp sugar, as per taste
1 tsp cardamom powder
Sliced Almond-Pistachio for garnishing

1. Soak rice in warm water for about an hour
2. Grind rice along with ½ cup of milk and make a fine paste
3. Add rice paste to remaining milk
4. In a thick bottom pan, bring milk to boil, stir continuously to avoid lumps
5. Once starts boiling, add sugar, stir continuously
6. Once it starts becoming consistent paste like structure, turn off the heat
7. After cooling down, add cardamom powder
8. Pour this mixture in individual serve ware
9. Garnish with sliced almond and pistachio
10. Serve cold

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tea Masala

Though I don’t drink tea at all, sometimes have to make for Kunal and once in a while for guests too. I thought as I do not drink, probably I cannot make either. But I have been told that tea turns out very good, especially with fresh mint and ginger. So far I used tea masala sent by mom in parcel every year but this time I just forgot to ask her. Before buying from Indian grocery store, I preferred to ask mom first about recipe and luckily, I had all ingredients available.

Though I do not drink tea, I love this masala in milk, particularly on a rainy day.

Yields about 1/4 cup
preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: NIL

5 tsp સૂન્ઠ(dried ginger)
3 tsp pepper powder – about 30 pieces whole pepper corns
1 tsp cinnamon powder – 1 big stick
1 tsp clove powder – about 15 pieces
1 tsp ગન્ઠોડા powder

Mix and grate all ingredients into fine powder. 
Store in a tight container

We do not use this masala on regular basis and just a pinch is required, so it lasts about couple of months for us.

Kidney Bean Salad – version II

I had little time to cook and also had to use leftover pasta. So I came up with this version of salad, which would be a great combo with pasta and also a healthy option. Moreover, day before yesterday we went to a local farm to pick vegetables and fruits. So I was really looking forward to use them

Serves 2
Preparation Time: 20 Minute + soaking time
Cooking Time: NIL + refrigeration time

½ cup of kidney beans
¼ cup chopped green pepper
¼ cup chopped yellow pepper
1 small cucumber
1 small onion
1 small tomato
1 carrot
5-6 florets of broccoli
3-4 leaves of iceberg lettuce

For Dressing,
1 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp red pepper sweet salsa
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Freshly grated cheese for garnishing (Optional)

1. Soak kidney beans in warm water for about 6-8 hours and pressure-cook them
2. Steam broccoli and chop pepper, onion, tomato, cucumber, carrot, lettuce
4. Mix above all ingredients
5. In another bowl, whisk together sour cream, salsa, olive oil and rosemary
6. Pour dressing to beans mixture
7. Season with salt and pepper
8. Refrigerate the salad, when ready to serve, add croutons and garnish with cheese

Yesterday we had this salad with pasta and garlic bread – a great combination. Also, farm picked veggies could bring so much freshness to taste.

Pasta/Pizza Sauce

My mom is expert at making Pasta/Pizza Sauce. But I never tried sincerely in that direction, mainly because here we get wide range of ready-made sauce and secondly I will make pasta when I am running out of time to make Indian food. But then I realized store bought sauce is full of vinegar or any other preservative, which is not very good for health. After so many trials and errors, here is the recipe that is just perfect for us.

Yields about 4 cups
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: 20 Minute

2 cans of Tomato Sauce (8 oz pack, with Basil, Garlic and Oregano)
2 medium tomatoes
6 medium red onions
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp basil leaves
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp whole black pepper
3 cloves of garlic
Salt and oregano per taste

1. Heat oil in skillet and add pepper, garlic, basil and rosemary
3. Add 4 onions, cut into big pieces and add salt
4. Continuously stir the mixture till onions turn golden brown
5. Keep this mixture aside and grind it into smooth paste
6. Now in the same skillet, take remaining 1 tbsp olive oil
7. Chop remaining 2 onions and tomatoes and add to skillet
8. Once it starts leaving aroma and onion turns brown, add canned sauce
9. Add onion and herb paste and oregano
10. Stir it until mixture even and smooth

If pasta sauce, do not use chopped onions and tomatoes. Instead, grate them and make a puree. If pizza sauce, I like it little crunchy way, hence add more chopped onions and tomatoes.