Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gajar ka Halwa

Neither I am a big fan of desserts nor can I make them perfect. As HE has got sweet tooth, I have managed to master a few of them and this is one among them. This is must in Winter Season. Warm Halwa in freezing cold is sheer bliss. The traditional recipe requires milk and khoya hence making cooking process lengthy and little tiresome. Instead, I started using condensed milk and now it’s easier and faster.

Yields 4-5 cup
Preparation Time: 1 Hr
Cooking Time: 30-40 Minute

3 LB carrots (I used 16-18 pc medium thin carrots)
1 cup ghee **
14 oz can of sweet condensed milk
15-20 pc raisins
15-20 cashew nuts
½ tsp cardamom powder
Sugar, if required
** Start with smaller quantity of ghee, add more if required after mixing carrots

1. Grate carrots and keep them aside
2. Heat ghee in sauce pan and add grated carrots
3. Stir continuously until carrots are cooked and ghee starts leaving on the edge
4. Add condensed milk, raisins and cashew nuts
5. Stir constantly until milk evaporates and thick consistent mixture takes place
6. Add sugar, if required
7. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with cardamom powder

Monday, December 20, 2010


I had homemade Enchiladas prepared by a friend the very next day I arrived in US and I fell in love with Mexican Food

Makes 8 Enchiladas (10’)
Preparation Time: 30 Minute + soaking time
Cooking Time: 30 Minute

8 pc corn flour tortillas
1 cup rajma/Kidney Bean **
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
A can of medium enchilada sauce
1 cup Mexican blend cheese
2 tsp taco seasoning
Jalapeno and Olive Slices (Optional)
Salt and Pepper

1. Soak beans for 6-8 hours and pressure cook them
2. Heat oil in skillet, add onions
3. When onions turn translucent, add taco seasoning, beans, half a can of sauce and ½ cup cheese
4. Stir it for couple of minute and turn off the heat when cheese is melted
5. Warm tortillas in microwave for 20 second
6. In a baking tray, spread each tortilla with Avocado Salsa, fill it with bean stuff and turn it into tight roll
7. Pour over remaining sauce and cheese
8. Top with olive and jalapeno slices
9. Bake it at 350 degree for about 12-15 minute or until cheese is melted

Monday, December 13, 2010

Soji Malai Toast

Sandwich is our all time favorite menu for weekend supper. Ranging from conventional alu-mutter to experimental corn and spinach to American sub style sandwich, we try everything. I have always liked open-sandwich, especially after finding it in weight loss diet menu :). I have very fond memories with my sis-in-law for this sandwich. We would love this as a perfect evening snack. Well, here we hardly have a chance for evening snack so along with soup and salad I converted it into dinner menu.

Makes 10 slices
Preparation Time: 25-30 Minute
Cooking Time: 30 Minute

10 slices of white bread
1.5 cup coarse soji
4 tbsp cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 medium tomato
1 medium onion
1 tsp chopped green chili
¼ cup chopped spinach (out 15-20 leaves) **
Salt and Pepper
Oil for frying

** Spinach is optional. You can also use green and/or red peppers

1. Dry roast soji on low flame until it starts turning pink-brown
2. Finely chop all veggies
3. In a mixing bowl, mix soji, veggies and cream cheese
4. Texture should be like a spread. In case, it’s too hard add little water/cream
5. Add salt and pepper
6. Spread this mixture on one side of a slice
7. With little oil, cook it on both sides on griddle until crispy
8. Serve hot with ketchup and green chutney

Cream of Tomato Soup

This soup is pretty common, generally found as an appetizer in most wedding parties and liked by almost everyone. I still remember, in my childhood days this soup and garden salad would be 'a default order' in any North Indian Restaurant :). I make tomato soup quite often but never got typical ‘Cream of Tomato Soup’ Taste. Well, I realized that I had missed basic step, use of plain flour.

Serves 2-3
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: 30 Minute

4 pc medium plum tomatoes
1 tsp butter
8-10 whole pepper corn
A bay leaf
1.5 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp fresh cream
1 tbsp grated cheddar (optional)
Salt and Sugar per taste

1. Dice tomatoes into large cubes
2. Heat butter in sauce pan on low flame
3. Add bay leaf, pepper corn and tomatoes
4. Stir it for about 5 minute until tomatoes become soft
5. Add flour and cook for about 5-10 minute
6. Take out the bay leaf and grind the mixture into puree
7. Add water, salt and sugar and bring to boil
8. Turn off the heat, add cream and cheese
9. Serve hot

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Vegetable Machurian

Here I am with another Chinese Dish. The other day I came across video on how to make Veg. Manchurian by Sanjeev Kapoor. After watching video, I was tempted – both to cook and to eat. I used more or less same recipe to make sauce but made some modifications for Manchurian Balls.

Serves 4 (Makes about 25 Manchurian Balls)
Preparation Time: 45 Minute
Cooking Time: 45 Minute

For Manchurian Balls,
1 cup string beans, finely chopped
1 cup cabbage, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, finely chopped
½ cup green pepper, finely chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp corn flour
Salt and Pepper per taste
Oil for frying

For Manchurian Sauce,
1 tbsp olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp green chili, finely chopped
½ cup onion, finely chopped
¼ cup soya sauce
2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
4 tbsp corn flour
Scallions for garnishing
Salt and pepper

1. Mix all finely chopped veggies, add salt and keep them aside
2. Squeeze veggies in muslin cloth to remove access water
3. Add plain flour, corn flour, salt and pepper
4. Deep fry these balls on low flame until crisp brown
5. If balls break or do not come out crispy, add some more flour
6. Heat olive oil in sauce pan, add garlic, ginger, chili and onions
7. Add soya sauce (I used little less than ¼ cup), vinegar, salt and sugar
8. Whisk corn flour with 4-5 cup water and add to sauce pan
9. Bring mixture to boil, add more water/corn flour depending on consistency you want
10. Turn off the heat and add pepper
11. Add Manchurian balls to sauce, leave for 10-15 minute and garnish with scallions

We had it with plain white rice, but brown rice/fried rice tastes even better. Also, in Manchurian Sauce, vegetable stock will bring better taste than just water.

Hakka Noodles

I had never loved Chinese food much while I was in India. My mom would also not make it very often, since almost all dishes require use of soya sauce and vinegar. In USA, I found it difficult to sit and eat in authentic Chinese Restaurants due to smell problems. Gradually I started making few dishes at home. Now I can perfectly make Hakka Noodles. With soup, it has become our favorite Friday Dinner Menu.

Serves 2-4
Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
Cooking Time: 30 Minute

7 oz pack of Ching Noodles
½ cup string beans, thinly sliced
½ cup shredded cabbage
½ cup carrots, thinly slices
1 cup onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup green pepper, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp Ching soya sauce
2 tbsp Ching green chili sauce
1 tbsp Ching chili vinegar
2 tbsp scallions, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper

1. Cut/chop all vegetables and keep them aside
2. Boil noodles as per instruction with salt and little oil, it should be little undercooked
3. Meanwhile steam beans and carrots in microwave for 2-3 minutes
4. Heat oil in saucepan, add garlic and onion
5. When onions turn translucent, add carrots, beans, cabbage and pepper
6. Add salt, soya sauce, chili sauce and vinegar
7. Cook covered until desired tenderness is achieved, I like them little crunchy
8. Add noodles, stir gently
9. Turn off the heat, add black pepper and garnish with scallions

Cabbage Curry (Alu-Gobi)

After moving to Maryland, getting fresh vegetables has become pain in neck. Even vegetable like cabbage, which is usually available in Indian/Chinese/American store has become difficult. Due to lack of many options, I ended up buying it though it was not very fresh. After cutting I realized it was very dry and hard. Then I thought to add tomatoes to give gravy like texture. Wait, then I remembered a friend of mine telling me about generous use of curry leaves, udad dal and coconut in cabbage curry made South Indian way. I was little scared while cooking since I had no alternate curry in case something goes wrong with this one. But we both loved the end result and just a simple little twist can give completely different and delicious taste.

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

4 cup cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup diced potato
1/3 cup peas
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 green chili, finely chopped
1 tsp udad dal
8-10 pc curry leaves
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds,
Pinch of asafetida
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp sugar
½ tsp red chili powder
1 tsp grated coconut
Coriander leaves for garnishing

1. Heat oil in skillet on medium heat
2. Add mustard seeds, asafetida, curry leaves and udad dal
3. When udad dal turns light brown add tomato, stir it for a minute or two
4. Add cabbage, potato and peas
5. Add salt and turmeric powder and cook covered until tender
6. Add red chili powder and sugar, turn off the heat
7. Add grated coconut and garnish with coriander leaves

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tomato-Broccoli Salad with Mozzarella Cheese

Something good comes out of bad and this salad is a perfect example. Couple of years ago we went to Orlando, FL. By the time we reached hotel, it was already past 10 PM and the only open restaurant was ‘Macaroni Grill’, just across the street. We both love Italian so we were sure that we would get good options to choose from. But there were only a few options and we ended up ordering an appetizer with tomato and mozzarella cheese. It had 5-6 slices of tomatoes, topped with cheese and basil and they charged $7 for it!! I added broccoli in addition to tomatoes to give striking red and green color combo. Fresh basil leaves will definitely be a better option, but I used dried basil and garlic powder.

Serves 2
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: 10-15 Minute

2 medium tomatoes
½ cup broccoli florets (about 6-7 pc)
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried basil-garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1. Steam broccoli in microwave for 40 second
2. Cut tomatoes into thick slices, about ¼ inch
3. Arrange broccoli and tomato slices in baking tray and drizzle generously with olive oil
4. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil powder
5. Top each slice with mozzarella cheese
6. Bake at 350 degree for about 10-12 minutes or until cheese has melted and formed a nice crust