Monthly Archives: September 2014

Mixed Vegetable Korma

Mixed Vegetable Korma

Trying to be a vegetarian the whole of this month (tamil month)…. and it is just not easy with everyone biting and chewing next to you.

When you think of a vegetarian menu, the first thing I can think of is a mixed rice and a korma with the addition of the sides. I have even been mocked at because of this (hope you read this)… but still, being a non-vegetarian this is what I think of first.

Vegetable korma is something I make very often in my house. Especially this korma, which goes well with almost everything.

It does not matter if you haven’t got all the vegies…you just need to have some basic vegetables to add to the korma and still it tastes good.



Potatoes (cubed)                                                                          –              1 no

Carrot (cubed)                                                                              –              1 no

Cauliflower (small florets)                                                               –              ½ cup

Peas                                                                                           –              ½ cup

Beans (chopped)                                                                          –              ¼ cup

Onion                                                                                          –              2 nos

Tomato                                                                                        –              2 nos

Ginger-garlic paste                                                                       –              1 tbsp

Cloves                                                                                         –              3-4 pcs

Cinnamon stick                                                                            –              1 no

Cardamons                                                                                  –              2-3 nos

Bay leaves                                                                                   –              2 nos

Turmeric powder                                                                           –              ¼ tsp

Red chilli powder                                                                           –              1 tsp

To grind to a paste:

Coconut (grated)                                                                          –              3 tbsps

Saunf                                                                                         –              1 tsp

Cashew nuts                                                                               –              8-10 nos

Poppy seeds                                                                               –              ½ tsp

Salt to taste




Chop the onions and tomatoes and grind them to a smooth paste using a blender without adding any water. Keep aside.

Grind the coconut, poppy seeds, saunf and cashew nuts to a fine paste and keep them ready.

In a large pan, heat the oil. When the oil is hot enough, add the whole garam masala’s i.e. the cloves, cardamons, bay leaf and cinnamon stick.

When they sputter, add the ground onions and tomatoes and sauté.

Sauté this for a minute or two and add the ginger-garlic paste.

Keep sautéing till the raw smell of the ginger-garlic goes and then add the dry powders i.e. the turmeric powder, red chilli powder.

Mix well into the gravy and keep frying on a low heat or else the dry masala powders would get burned. Keep frying till oil leaves from the sides of the pan.


Add all the cubed vegetables and mix well. Add a cup of water and close with a lid to cook the vegetables.

Cook on a medium flame till the vegetables are fully cooked.

Season with salt and reduce the heat and cook for further 5 minutes.

If the water has reduced add just half a cup of water and mix well.

When the gravy is bubbling, reduce the heat and add the ground coconut and cashew paste. Mix it well into the gravy.

Let it boil for just a minute or till the gravy thickens and remove from heat.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve garnished with a wedge of lemon.

Enjoy with anything rice, roti even dosai.


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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Side Dishes, Vegetarian Dishes


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The festivities have begun at home.

We are South Indians and do not have any fasting rituals like the North Indians, but we have kolus where we arrange dolls made of clay and make different “sundals” for the nine days and a lot of sweets, made fresh each day to serve along with the sundal. It’s just another reason to have sweets at home.

For the first day of navrathri, made these awesome mouthwatering rasmalai’s. It was a “neivedhyam” but I had to take pictures of it, as it looked and tasted just awesome.

Try it out one of these days or make them for diwali, you’ll love them.



For the rasgullas:

Whole Milk                                                                –              1 litre

Lemon Juice                                                              –              2 tbsps

For the sugar syrup:

Sugar                                                                        –              ½ cup

Water                                                                        –              1 ½ cups

For the milk(ras):

Whole Milk                                                                –              1 litre

Milkmaid                                                                   –              ½ tin

Cardamon (powdered)                                                –              1 tsp

Rose water                                                               –              1 tbsp

Almonds and pistachio slivers for garnishing



For making the paneer:

In a pan, boil the milk. When the milk begins to boil, pour the lemon juice a tablespoon at a time, and wait for the milk to curdle.

When the milk curdles, strain the solids in a sieve. Wash thoroughly in water.

Press all the water out of the milk solids and tie them with a muslin cloth. Hang this cloth or just place it over the sieve for the remaining water to drain. Leave it for 15-20 minutes.

After all the water has drained out, the milk solids/ paneer should have a crumbly texture.

Keep kneading the milk solids/ paneer with your hand till the mixture is smooth and forms a dough like ball, smooth in texture.

Make small balls out of this and slightly flatten them. Repeat the same for all the paneer

Keep aside.

To make the sugar syrup:

Boil the sugar and the water together in a large pan.

Bring this to a boil and wait till all the sugar has dissolved.

Lower the heat and keep boiling.

To make the rasgullas:

Once the sugar syrup has come to a boil, gently put the prepared paneer balls/ discs into the syrup.

Cover and cook the balls/ discs in the sugar syrup. This process should take around 15-20 minutes.

You will know the discs are done when they start to sink to the bottom.

Remove from heat and let them cool.


To prepare the milk (ras) syrup:

Boil the milk in a large pan. When the milk begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer till the milk reduces.

Keep scraping the milk solids which form on the sides and push them back into the milk.

When the milk is almost half, add the milkmaid and cook.

Add the cardamom powder and cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool.

To assemble the rasmalai:

Now, your rasgullas are cooked in the sugar syrup and the milk is ready.

Remove the rasgullas from the syrup and press them gently to squeeze out the sugar syrup.

Place these into the prepared milk. Repeat the same for all the remaining rasgullas.

Refrigerate the rasmalai till it is cool.

Serve garnished with the almond and pistachio slivers and the rose water.




The rasmalai can also be made with kesar/ saffron. Instead of the cardamom powder add, kesar to the milk, you will get kesar rasmalai.

I have used low-fat condensed milk, you could also use sugar if you want.

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Posted by on September 28, 2014 in Desserts, Festival Dishes, Indian Desserts, Sweets


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Leek and Mushroom Soup

Leek and Mushroom Soup

We have never made any soup on this blog, have we?

So for those of you who like eating light and healthy, here we go…

The leek and mushroom soup, it as tasty as any soup can get. The leeks give the soup such a wonderful flavor along with the mushrooms and the garlic. The addition of the milk/ cream just gives the creaminess to soup, but we can do without it too.



Leeks (sliced)                                                                        –              1 whole leek

Mushrooms                                                                           –              250 gms

Garlic                                                                                    –              2 pearls

Onion                                                                                    –              1 no

Stock (chicken or vegetable)                                                   –              3-4 cups

Milk/ cream                                                                           –              ¼ cup

Any herb                                                                               –              1 tbsp

Salt to taste

Olive oil



Slit the leek lengthwise and wash them thoroughly. Then, slice them thin. Keep aside.

Clean the mushroom and slice them thin. You could use any mushroom you like or use assorted mushrooms.

Heat oil in a pan and add the sliced onions and leeks. Cook the leeks till they are tender.

Add  the chopped garlic and sauté for a few minutes.

Now, add the mushrooms and cook them. The mushrooms have to become soft and cooked.

Pour in the chicken/ vegetable stock and bring it to a boil.

Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the milk/cream.

Season with salt and pepper.

Now, using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.

Serve hot garnished with the herbs and sautéed mushroom.




Adding milk/ cream is optional.

If you still want the creaminess without adding milk/ cream, you could sauté a few florets of cauliflower/ potato and cook them along with the mushrooms and blend them later.

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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Appetisers, Soups


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Ricotta Cheesecake with Cherry Compote

Ricotta Cheesecake with Cherry Compote

Ricotta cheese is made from the whey got from making other cheeses. It is cooked to produce a mild, soft and granular cheese.

This ricotta cheesecake is both light and fluffy. It is wonderfully creamy because of the cream cheese and is light because of the ricotta. The cheese cake tastes very nice by itself but serving them with a sauce just cuts the creaminess and the cleanses the palate.

The process may seem long, but trust me, it’s very easy to make..

Enjoy your cheesecake with or without the sauce.



For the crust:

Digestive biscuits (crumbs)                                                             –              1 cup

Powdered sugar                                                                             –              2 tbsps

Unsalted butter (melted)                                                                 –              2-3 tbsps

For the filling:

Ricotta cheese (drained)                                                                 –             1 cup

Cream cheese                                                                                –            1/2 cup

Eggs                                                                                             –              2 nos

Sugar                                                                                            –              ¾ cup

Lemon (zest)                                                                                  –              1 no

Vanilla extract                                                                                –              1 tsp

For the cherry sauce:

Cherries (fresh and pitted)                                                                –              1 cup

Sugar                                                                                             –              ¼ cup

Cornstarch                                                                                     –              1 tbsp

Lemon juice                                                                                   –              1 tsp



Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade. Prepare a spring form pan or a pie tin with loose plate by coating it with a layer of oil inside. Wrap the spring form tin/ pie tin with two layers of the aluminium foil on the outside. This is to prevent any water from entering into the crust while baking it in the water bath.

For the crust:

In a food processor, blend the digestive biscuits, sugar and melted butter together. The crumbs would resemble wet sand.

Pour the crumbs into the prepared tin and press them evenly at the bottom.

Cover and cool them in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, till you make the filling.

For the filling:

In a large bowl, add the cream cheese. With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese till it is light and fluffy.

Add the ricotta cheese and sugar and beat till they are well combined. This should take approx 5-7 minutes.

Now, add the eggs, one at a time making sure to mix them well before each addition.

Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl, to make sure everything is incorporated into the mixture.

Finally add in the cornstarch and the lemon zest and mix well for 2 minutes.



For assembling the cheesecake:

Remove the pie crust from the fridge and pour the prepared filling into it.

Place the tin in a large tray and pour enough hot water into the larger tray to come up to half way of the sides of the pie tin. The larger tray acts as a water bath for the pie-tin.

Bake for 40-50 minutes till the cheesecake has cooked well on the outer and has a slight wobble in the centre.

Remove the pie tin from the water bath and cool.

Refrigerate the cheesecake for 4-5 hours and serve with the sauce.

For the sauce:

In a medium sauce pan, combine all the ingredients for the sauce and cook on a medium heat.

Keep stirring till the sauce thickens and is bubbly.

Remove from heat and let it cool.

Serve with the cheesecake.




The cheese cake has to be done with all the ingredients at room temperature.

Beating the cream cheese and ricotta and after adding each egg makes the cake fluffy and light.

The water bath is used as the cheese cake is like a custard and cooks best in a water bath.

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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in Cakes, Cakes and Brownies, Desserts


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Garlic Knots

Garlic Knots

It’s been 2 weeks now since we’ve been having only south Indian food. Don’t know about you, but I can’t have any more, need something different now.

When I was thinking what I could make, dint want anything much, just a simple soup for myself and pasta for the kids. So, what would go along with this?

Yes, garlic knots….

These are absolutely easy to make and the kids love them ‘cos they are tiny and covered with garlic butter. The inner layer of the knots are soft and spongy and can soak up any soup.



For the dough:

All purpose flour                                                                  –              2 ½ cups

Olive oil                                                                              –              ¼ cup

Dry yeast                                                                           –              1 ½ tsp

Warm water                                                                        –              1 cup (almost)

Sugar                                                                                 –              ¾  tbsp

Salt                                                                                    –              ½ tsp

For the garlic coating:

Olive oil                                                                               –              2-3 tbsps

Unsalted butter                                                                    –              2 tbsps

Powdered garlic                                                                   –              2 tbsps

Parsley (finely chopped)                                                       –              2 tbsps

Salt to taste



In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, sugar and the dry yeast with the warm water. Mix well for the yeast to dissolve and froth.

Leave it aside for 10 minutes.

In a slightly larger bowl, add the flour. Pour in the yeast mixture and knead well to form a dough.

The dough will not be a sticky dough, it will be soft to touch but will not stick to the hands.

Cover the dough and keep in a warm place for it to proof and double in volume. This process should take approx an hour or two.

Once the dough has doubled in volume, it is ready for knotting.

Divide the dough into smaller balls and with the help of a rolling-pin, roll them into ½” thick rectangles.

Now, with the help of a knife or a pizza cutter, cut them into strips 5” in length and 1/2” wide.

Sprinkle flour on the counter top and roll the cut strips into a rope.

Tie into a knot i.e. over the rope, then under and then through. (follow the picture)


Place these knots on a tray lined with parchment paper. Place the knots 1” apart giving them enough space to double, again.

Continue making the remaining knots, making sure to cover the prepared knots with a tea-towel.

Place them in a warm place again for them to double. This would take around 20-25 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Bake the knots in the oven for 15-18 minutes, till they have a golden crust. Keep checking after 15 minutes as every oven has a different temperature setting.

While the knots are baking, we need to prepare the garlic butter.

In a pan, over medium heat warm the olive oil, butter, powdered garlic, salt and the chopped parsley. When all the butter has melted, remove from heat and set aside.

After the knots are done, remove from the oven and brush the garlic butter over them while they are still hot.

Serve with pasta or just soup.




For the amount of flour used, I got roughly 15 knots.

The dough after having doubled in volume, can be stored in the fridge for use later. Just wrap the dough with cling film or put it into a zip-lock pouch and store in a fridge. Before using, bring it back to room temperature and tie the knots.


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Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Breads, Eggless baking


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Vangi Bath

Vangi Bath

Too much of anything is boring…

I know that too and now I have decided to make something different from a different place …finally!!!

So how many of you don’t like brinjals/ aubergines… I never liked them too till I tasted this vangi bath.

The vangi bath is nothing but spiced brinjal/ aubergine rice. The brijals/ aubergines are slit lengthwise and sauted with the masala powder and they become soft and soo tasty, it will be hard for anyone to resist.



Brinjal                                                                                       –              6-8 nos

Rice (sona masoori)                                                                   –              1 cup

Small onions/ shallots (sliced)                                                    –              5-6 nos

Garlic (sliced)                                                                            –              3-4 nos

Curry leaves                                                                              –              2 sprigs

Turmeric powder                                                                        –              ¼ tsp

Salt to taste



To roast and grind:

Red chillies                                                                             –              4-5 nos

Coriander seeds                                                                       –              1 tbsp

Bengal gram                                                                            –              1 tbsp

Jeera                                                                                      –              1 tsp

Saunf/ fennel seeds                                                                 –              ½ tsp

Coconut (grated)                                                                      –              1 tbsp

Tamarind (puree)                                                                      –              1 tbsp

Cinnamon stick                                                                       –              1” piece



Cook rice with slightly less water for them not to get mush and spread on a plate for it to cool. I used the normal everyday rice, you can use basmati if you prefer. Keep aside.

In a small pan, heat a tsp of oil and roast all the ingredients for roasting, except the tamarind which you add while grinding. The Bengal gram should turn a nice golden brown. Remove from heat and let it cool.

When the roasted ingredients are cool, grind them to a powder with the tamarind. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a deep pan and let it get hot. Add the sliced shallots and garlic and sauté.

Let it turn a nice golden color and then add the curry leaves. Sauté for a minute.

Now, add the brinjal’s slit lengthwise and sauté them with the shallots and garlic.

When they are soft and cooked, add the powdered masala powder and turmeric powder sauté for a further 5 minutes, covered.

When the brinjals are fully cooked and the masala is blended well with the shallots, add the cooked rice and mix well.

Season with salt and cook on a low heat.

Remove from heat, garnish with curry leaves and serve with capsicum raitha and rice appalam.




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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Mixed Rice


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Ghee Biscuits

Ghee Biscuits

Having spent all my summer vacations, winter vacations and any other holiday in Pondicherry, I think I know a bit about the place.

In the evening after our compulsory siesta, we had to walk to the nearby bakery, either with our mami or take a rickshaw with our “papma” my grandmother to get our evening snack. It could range from cakes, stuffed buns or even biscuits.

Ghee biscuits are a very common sight in the bakeries. Though the bakeries use only maida for the cookies, I used almond meal also in my cookies, which made them extra tasty.

These cookies hardly take any time to make but are really tasty.



All purpose flour/ maida                                                                  –              100 gms

Almond meal                                                                                 –              100 gms

Powdered sugar                                                                             –              ½ cup

Powdered cardamoms                                                                    –              4-5 nos

Ghee (or unsalted butter)                                                                 –              ½ cup (melted)

Milk                                                                                               –              1-2 tbsps

Salt a pinch



Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees centigrade.

In a bowl, mix the all purpose flour, almond meal, powdered sugar, cardamom powder and pinch of salt and keep aside.

Melt the ghee and add to the flour mixture.

Mix the ghee into the dough with your fingers.

Add just a tablespoon of milk and knead the mixture to a stiff dough.

Roll out the dough and using a cookie cutter, cut into desired shapes and arrange on a baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes till they are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let them cool.

Dust the cookies with powdered sugar and serve.



Ghee can be replaced by unsalted butter.

Almond meal is powdered almonds.

The cookies stay fresh in an airtight container for upto a week.



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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Eggless baking, Snack Time


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