Monday, August 17, 2015

Tomato Ketchup

While growing up, I have fond memories of my mother buying several kgs of tomatoes in peak season. She would make ketchup in few batches and couple of days later, freeze would be stocked up with ketchup jars. I hardly remember having store bought ketchup.

My daughter has taken up after me and she wants to have ketchup whenever I open the refrigerator. I am always hesitant after certain point as store bought ones are always full of preservatives. Though I always had homemade ketchup during my childhood/teenage days, ironically, it never occurred to me to do the same for my daughter until my mom suggested.

I tried with just couple of tomatoes first. It came out good so I tried in large quantity with farm fresh tomatoes. Result?Happy mother and happy daughter!

Yields: 3-4 cup
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: 1 Hour

2 lb ripe tomatoes
2 tsp lemon juice

For Spice Bag,
2 dried red chili
2-3 cloves of garlic
4 pc cloves

1. Put all the spices in muslin cloth and fasten it thoroughly
2. Cut tomatoes into large cubes
3. Add salt, lemon juice and spice bag to tomatoes and pressure cook them for 3 whistles
4. once cool down completely, remove spice bag
5. Grind tomatoes into fine puree and strain it
6. Heat the puree in a thick bottom pan. Taste it and adjust salt/sugar quantity
7. Cook it on medium flame stirring constantly
8. To check if it is cooked, pour a drop in a plate. If it doesn't leave water at edges, you are all set and turn off the heat
9. It stays good for at least couple of months in refrigerator

Friday, August 14, 2015

Misal Pav

I have always been a morning person but was never a breakfast one. After I moved to Mumbai for my first job, we had dedicated half an hour for breakfast before official start of the day.  Lunch served at office cafeteria used to be nearly horrible,  so would make sure to have breakfast (the same cafeteria served far better breakfast than lunch). This habit has still stayed with me. These days I don't know when and whether I would have lunch on time with two kids.

Anyway,  the company cafeteria usually served Misal Pav on Thursdays.  We have somewhat parallel dish called  Sev-Usal in Gujarati cuisine. But Misal is very spicy and served with raw/cold Pav. Lately I have been remembering  a lot about my Mumbai days and decided to give this dish a try.

Ideally,  it's made with Math/Matki but I used combination of both green moong and math. I didn't make it very spicy and served with whole  wheat bread. I like my bread toasted and smeared lightly with butter.  Also gravy requires tamarind juice but I stick to my healthier lemon juice.

Serves 2
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

For base,
3/4 cup green moong
1/2 cup math
2 medium potatoes
1 small onion
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of hing
8-10 curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
Lemon juice

For rassa/gravy
1/2 cup dried coconut chunks
1 medium onion
2 medium tomatoes
1 tsp + 1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of hing
10-12 curry leaves
1/2 tsp green chili paste
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
I/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp sugar
Lemon juice

To serve,
Chopped onions
Chopped tomatoes
Farsan mix

For base,
1. Soak moong and math for 8-10 hours and sprout them
2. Pressure cook with little water for five whistles
3. Boil potatoes and dice them
4. Finely chop the onion
5. Heat oil. Add cumin seeds. When crackles, add hing, curry leaves and garlic paste
6. Add onions and saute until they turn translucent
7. Add approx half a cup of water.when water comes to boil, add all spices except lemon juice
8. Let it simmer for 5 minutes and add sprouts and potatoes
9. Mix well. Turn off the heat and stir in lemon juice

For gravy,
1. Dry roast coconut chunks and keep them aside
2. Dice onions and tomatoes
3. Heat 1 tsp oil. Add chili-ginger paste and onions.  When they start turning brown,  add tomatoes
4. Keep stirring until tomatoes turn mushy. Let the mixture cool down and grind into a fine paste along with coconut
5. Heat remaining 1 tsp oil. Add mustard seeds,  hing and curry leaves
6. Add gravy and all the spices except sugar and lemon juice
7. Keep stirring until it starts leaving oil on the edge
8. Now add about 2-3 cup of water and bring it to boil
9. Add sugar, turn off the heat and add lemon juice

To serve,
1. Add sprouts base in the bowl and pour gravy
2. Add chopped onions and tomatoes
3. Top it with farsan
4. Serve immediately

Monday, July 20, 2015

Jada Mathiya/Math Poori

While growing up I had rarely seen my mom buying readymade snacks.  I got my first lesson of importance of homemade stuff from her. And I wish to continue the same with my kids. My little girl always wants to munch on something in between the meals. And I always have both healthy and fried snacks available.

These mathiya are quite popular among Gujaratis, at least in my household. they were must haves while traveling. Being thicker and smaller in size, they are quick and easy alternative of traditional Mathiya.

Makes approx. 60 pc
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

2 cup math flour + 1 tbsp for dusting
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp carom seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp oil
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp soda
A big pinch of asafetida
Oil for frying

1. Mix sugar and soda in 1/2 cup of water.  Heat it up till sugar dissolves. Let it cool down
2. Meanwhile, in a big mixing bowl sieve both the flours. Add all spices and knead a hard dough using sugar water. Add more water as needed
3. Divide dough in equal portion and roll thick poori
4. I prefer resting them at room temperature for couple of hours.  That way they consume less oil while frying. But you can also fry them immediately
5. Fry on both sides on medium-high flame until golden brown
6. Once they cool down store in air tight container. They stay good for couple of weeks

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tutti Fruity Cake

I am no expert at baking but once in a while I do try my hands at it. My little one now and then asks for cake and being a health conscious mommy,  I refrain myself from giving her sugar and cream loaded stuff.

I have very fond memories attached to this cake. When I was working,  we always had this available in our office kitchen from a local Indian bakery.  We would devour a slice of it in dessert. 

There are hundreds of recipes for a simple cake like this.  Here is my version which is eggless and butter less. Also, I have replaced half quantity of plain flour with whole wheat flour.  This guiltfree version stays good for 4-5 days without refrigerator and tastes heavenly when consumed warm.

Makes one small loaf
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-45 minutes

For the batter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup confectionery sugar
1 cup fresh thick Curd
1/3 cup cooking oil
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
For the fruit and nut mix
(As per your preference)
1/3 cup tutti fruity or fruit cake mix
1/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts (I used walnut and almond)
1 tsp plain flour

1. Mix fruits and nut mix with flour. Keep it aside
2. In a large mixing bowl,  mix curd and sugar till sugar dissolves.  Add baking powder and baking soda to it. Keep it aside till it becomes frothy and bubbly
3. Meanwhile, sieve both flours and mix them well
4. Add oil and vanilla extract to curd mixture and mix gently so bubbles don't subside
5. Now gradually add flour to curd mixture
6.  Lastly, add fruits and nuts and mix well. Pour the batter into greased baking pan
7. Pre heat oven at 350 F and bake it for about 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Basil Tomato Vinaigrette

I usually prefer making my own vinaigrette. That way, I can play with ingredients and always come up with new combination. This offers variety in lunch which usually consists of cold salads. We both like vinegar based dressing over cream based. 

In this dressing, I have combined two of my favorite ingredients which assures great taste anytime. Use it with any cold salad, sprinkle some cheese and delicious meal is ready within minutes.

Yields 3/4 cup
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: NIL

1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic
Salt and pepper

1. Add basil, garlic, vinegar and sundried tomatoes to blender
2. Gradually add olive oil till it become smooth
3. Add salt and pepper

Basil Walnut Pesto

Freshness of Basil, crunch of walnut and goodness of freshly shredded parmesan cheese are heavenly combined in this simple pesto. Use it with bread, sandwich, pizza, crostini or even crackers.

Yields 1 cup
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: NIL

3 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1 cup walnut
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil, approx.
Salt and pepper

1. Add basil, walnut, garlic and cheese in blender
2. Gradually add olive oil and make a coarse paste
3. Add salt and pepper
4. Put it in a jar and layer it with olive oil to avoid discoloration

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dahi wale Aloo/Baby Potatoes in Yogurt Sauce

My husband comes from a hard core potato loving family and well, I am not a big fan.  I like potato in paratha,  pakoda etc but not in the curries where it's a main ingredient. So I keep experimenting and after trying this dish, now I am in love with potatoes too ;).

I have used baby potatoes (I have soft corner for them, you know? ), but you can very well use regular ones. I used marinade recipe from barbecue and then cooked curry in traditional way. No grinding,  no gravy making and use of everyday spices make this curry score some extra points. You can replace potatoes with paneer.

Serves 2
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients 10-12 baby potatoes
1 large onion
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of asafetida
1/2 tsp kitchen king masala
1/4 tsp ginger paste
1/4 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp oil

For marinade,
1 cup thick yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chaat masala
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp kasoori methi

1. Pressure cook baby potatoes. Make sure not to overcook them
2. Meanwhile,  finely chop the onion
3. In a large bowl,  add all the spices to yogurt and whisk thoroughly
4. Peel the potatoes and prick them with fork. Add them to marinade and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Keep it aside for about an hour
5. Heat oil in a large pan. Add cumin seeds.  When crackles,  add asafetida
6. Add ginger and garlic paste. Saute for about a minute
7. Add onions and saute them on low flame until they turn translucent
8. Add kitchen king masala and potatoes with yogurt marinade

9. Add salt and water as per desired consistency
10. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve hot with paratha/roti/rice/pulao

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Soji Corn Appe

I try to keep weeknight meals simple and healthy. That way I have to spend less time in the kitchen and I can have fun with my two little angels.

My little girl can have Sambhar almost everyday.  So I am glad to offer her one more option that goes perfectly well with Sambhar. Today after dinner she asked me if we still have leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.  Isn't it cool?

These balls are crispy from outside and soft from inside.  You can use any veggies of your choice.  I used corn, tomato and green pepper. Making them in appe pan means they are almost oil free. They turn out super crispy and can be made in advance.  Just re-heat them in conventional oven and serve with Sambhar/Chutney.

Makes about 45 pcs
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

1.5 cup idli rava
1/2 cup soji
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp green chili paste
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tbsp cilantro
1 medium tomato
1 small green pepper
3/4 cup + 1/4 cup corn kernels
A big pinch of soda

1. Mix both flours in a large bowl
2. Chop tomato and green pepper and add them to flour
3. Boil corn.  Chop/crush 3/4 cup. Add both crushed ones and whole ones to flour mixture
4. Add remaining ingredients except soda
5. Mix well with warm water and keep it aside for at least couple of hours
6. When ready to make, add soda and mix again
7. Heat appe pan and cook on both sides with little oil. I cook first side covered and then transfer them to flat skillet to cook on other side
8. Serve hot or re-heat in conventional oven to maintain the texture

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Methi Gota

We Gujaratis are by default foodies. The most popular Gujarati Dishes are Farsan and Snacks. One such dish is Methi Gota. Be it time for late evening snacks or elaborate lunch, these deep fried besan dumplings are everyone's favorite. 

Methi Pakora are quite famous all over India but what makes these Gota special is addition of Gujarati trademark - sugar. Sweetness from sugar combined with bitterness from methi seems to create some amazing taste chemistry. These sweet and savory crispy balls are always craved for especially on a rainy day.

Makes 30-35 pc
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20  minutes

1 cup coarse besan
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 cup chopped methi
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1.5 tsp sugar
2 tbsp yogurt
4 tbsp chopped coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp whole black pepper, coarsely crushed
1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
Pinch of asadfetida
1/4 tsp soda
Oil for frying

1. Sieve both flours and mix them in a large bowl
2. Add methi and all the spices except soda. Add watee as needed.  Keep the batter on thicker side as it tends to get softer. Let it rest for at least an hour
3. Heat oil in frying pan. Add soda and 2 tsp of hot oil in the batter
4. Mix well and fry dumplings on medium flame until golden brown
5. Serve hot with your favorite chutney/ketchup. We like ours with yogurt chutney

Friday, May 29, 2015

Tofu-Veggie Sandwich

Making sandwich is like starting your creation from blank canvas.  You choose the bread, stuffing and sauces/seasoning and you literally can have endless possibilities.

We are a sandwich lover duo and well,  an apple doesn't fall far from the tree. My little girl now and then asks for sandwich and this is perfect way to sneak in tofu and veggies. 

I like tofu but was tired of old school tofu-bhurji and stir fried tofu. Then thought of making some sort of sandwich. Also threw in some veggies and Chinese Sauces. And voila, my fusion sandwich is born :).

Pair it with your favorite soup/juice and healthy meal is ready in minutes. 

Makes 8 pcs
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 lb extra firm tofu
1 large potato
1/4 cup cabbage,  shredded
1/4 cup carrots,  shredded
1/4 cup green pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp Ching's red sauce
1 tsp Ching's green sauce
1/2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp mayonnaise
16 slices of bread
Salt and pepper

1. Boil the potato and mash it thoroughly
2. Remove excess water from tofu by pressing it gently in kitchen towel
3. Crumble the tofu using fork
4. Heat olive oil in skillet
5. Add cabbage, carrot and green pepper
6. Saute it for 5 minutes and then add tofu along with salt
7. Mix well and cook it on medium-high flame until water evaporates and mixture becomes dry
8. Add mashed potato and pepper
9. Once it cools down, add all three sauces
10. Apply mayonnaise and butter on each slice, put the stuffing and grill it

11. Serve warm with hot and spicy tomato ketchup


P.S. I didn't add any sauces for kiddie version. Instead I added Chat Masala.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mango Salsa

A nice, tasty meal is staring at you and you still want little something more on the side.  Does it happen to you? Well, it happens to me (rather us) all the time.

The other day I had Fajitas for dinner. Of course, had guacamole and lemonade on the side,  but still had nagging feeling of 'want something extra'. Then suddenly husband suggested to try Mango Salsa.  We love mangoes and consume almost everyday through out the summer. But my experiments are limited to aam ras, smoothie,  milk shake or ice cream.  But finally I decided to go little adventurous and I was not at all disappointed. 

A must try when you are bored of good old tomato salsa. Sweet mangoes combined with spicy jalapeno give just perfect boost to an entire meal.

Serves 2-4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: NIL
Cooling Time: 1 hour

1 medium ripe mango
1/4 cup red pepper, diced
1/4 cup cucumber,  diced
1 tbsp green onions, finely chopped
1 tsp jalapeno,  finely chopped
1 tbsp cilantro
1/2 tsp lime juice
Salt and pepper

1. In a large bowl dice/chop  mango and all the veggies
2. Add remaining seasonings
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill it for at least an hour

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Choco Kulfi

When every night is an ice cream night in this blazing summer, you need to get little creative,  don't you?  If your family is also like ours that can consume chocolate anytime in any form,  I am sure you would love this Kulfi. Treat yourself and your family with this 'ready in minutes' weeknight dessert. 

Makes 8 pc
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 6-8 hours

1 cup milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dry milk/milk powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix all ingredients and whisk thoroughly so there are no lumps
2. In a thick bottom pan pour this mixture and cook it on low flame
3. Stir continuously until raw taste of milk powder disappears (about 10 minutes)
4. Once it cools down, pour it into kulfi mold and freeze it for 6-8 hours

Sunday, May 17, 2015


These days I stock up my freezer with frozen roti and paratha. Don't know when I would need to use this treasure with two kids running around! Usually, I dig into it during weekend when we have lazy start of the day and I also have plans to cook elaborated curries. But once in a while, when I am in 'Good Food Mood', I go an extra mile to make them from scratch.

Today was my first attempt to make kulcha. This soft and butter loaded delicacy from Punjab region of India goes best with Chhole.  But we like them with any North Indian Curry. They are usually stuffed with potatoes/paneer/onions. But this being my first attempt,  I decided to play safe.

Final outcome was short of my expectations,  but definitely way better than frozen ones. I replaced half quantity of plain flour with whole wheat flour and I baked them. So here is my version of healthy kulcha.

Makes 6 kulcha
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup yogurt
1 tsp kalonji
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp coriander leaves
Butter (I prefer Amul)

1. Mix flour, salt, sugar,  baking powder,  oil and yogurt.  Knead soft dough using warm water
2. Let it rest for at least couple of hours
3. Knead again with little oil and divide into 6 equal portion
4. Gently roll it using your fingers
5. Apply kalonji, red pepper flakes and coriander leaves

6. Now roll it again using rolling pin. It should be little thicker than paratha
7. Pre heat oven at 350 F and bake kulcha till they puff up and turn into light brown color

8. Apply butter and serve hot

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Evergreen Smoothie

Looking for a light brunch or an evening snack but don't feel like making something?  Then this quick and healthy smoothie is your perfect rescuer. Not only it satiates your hunger, but also recharges you.

Eversince my husband had this organic juice at local deli, he was after me to make it at home. I tried to replicate it without knowing the exact ingredients and it turned out quite close to what he had.

The best part is that kids don't usually eat salad but they would love to drink it in juice form. My little one gulped this down within seconds.

Serves 2-4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: NIL

1 cup pineapple cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1 orange
2" seedless cucumber
2 cup kale leaves
10-12 mint leaves
1/2 inch ginger
Lime juice

1. Mix all ingredients and blend smoothly
2. Add water and ice cubes as per desired consistency