Saturday, January 31, 2009

Almond-Coconut Cookies(Eggless)

I was elated and over-the-top when I made my first cookie.Though I was armed with a cookie cookbook and my fluctuating confidence,I set about making them and fortunately the cookies came out great.I came across many wonderful recipes for cookies and have tried many of them successfully.As I’ve said many times before,the Butter cookies are the best of the lot and they come out great and taste wonderful each and everytime I make it.

Many of the readers and my fellow bloggers have asked me how I make Eggless cookies and get good results.I am a beginner baker and have no idea how it comes out great,but one thing I know,I would always make it eggless.I don’t mind adding/having cakes/brownies with eggs,but when it comes to cookies,its an absolute NO.

A dear friend,Purnima-one who constantly encourages and appreciates me told me that the butter in the cookie is what makes it expand.So who needs the eggs..??She was the one who gave me the link to Pravs and asked me to try out this recipe.Her encouraging words work like magic and this recipe worked like magic too!!The flavour of the Coconut and nutty taste of Almonds make this cookie a super-duper HIT!!Thanks so much dear dearest are simply superb!!

Recipe Source - Pravs of Simply Spicy

Cookies will look mushy straight out of the oven,leave them to cool on a wire rack and they will become crunchy.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sprouted Moong Ghashi with Bamboo shoots

Sometime back,I wanted to buy a Sprouts maker and a Yogurt maker.Two people dissuaded me from it.My friend Deeps,who gave me tips on how to make thick and yummy curd at home and my ma-in-law who taught me the simplest way of making sprouts.I was never really a fan of sprouts,they attracted me more than anything else.I liked the whole process of soaking the pulses,leaving them to sprout and the way they form sprouts at the end of it.

Few years back,during Ajay's birthday,I wanted to surprise him by making this curry since he is such a big fan of Keerlu/bamboo shoots,for lunch.I was so looking forward to his reaction and when I checked on the moong expecting a lovely batch of sprouts,I saw that the adamant moong had refused to sprout-that was the last time I tried making sprouts on my own!!Ma-in-law,as always,came to rescue and taught me the right way to do it and I’ve been successful in making sprouts and as for the still lacks the ma-in-law punch!!


Kirlayile Mooga Ghashi with Keerlu(Sprouted Moong Curry with Bamboo shoots)


Sprouted Moong* – 1 cup
Salted/Fresh Bamboo shoots** - ½ cup,chopped
Drumsticks – 2,chopped into 2’ pieces
Salt to taste

For the Masala

Grated coconut – ¾ cup
Red chillies – 4(roasted with a tsp oil)
Tamarind lump – 1 channa size

For seasoning

Oil – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs


*To make the sprouts- soak moong(green gram) overnight.
Next day,wash it well and spread it in a pan-cover and keep aside to sprout.
After 12 hours,check on it-it would have started to sprout-wash it well and drain(this ensures that the sprouts don’t turn bitter).
Next day(24 hours after you’ve kept it for sprouting) it will be ready and you can use it.
Wash well and remove the green skins as much as possible.

**I used salted bamboo shoots.These require to be soaked overnight.Before adding them to the curry,add it to boiling water and squeeze it out once it cools down.

Cook sprouted moong,bamboo shoots and drumstick in a pressure cooker for 2-3 whistles.
Make a fine paste of grated coconut,red chillies and tamarind.
Add this paste to the cooked sprouts and mix well.
Let it boil and then simmer it for 5 minutes.
Check for salt and if required add salt(since bamboo shoots are salted the ghashi will have enough salt).
Prepare seasoning in a pan with oil.
Splutter mustard seeds and add curry leaves.
Add it to the ghashi.
Serve hot!!
Sending this bowl of Sprouted Moong Ghashi to Srivalli for My Legume love affair an event started by Susan of Well seasoned Cook.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Simple Potato Upkari

Very often,while we dine out I come across single diners who just sit on a table facing the wall carrying a book or laptop in their hands and eating alone.I really get amused seeing them coz eating alone(let alone,dining out alone) is something which I absolutely detest.Many a times,I wait with a hungry stomach for hubby just so that I have company while I finish my meal.But its not always possible and I end up eating alone(without any choice) once in while.

If its dinner time,I usually make do with Maggi or cut fruits with milk but lunchtime is difficult.I have to make something for one(me) and that is something which I don’t much enjoy doing.I usually make quick fix items like Pulao/Fried rice in my one-whistle pressure cooker method,but last time I was not in a mood to make all that.I scanned the kitchen for the usual culprits and saw my favorite vegetable-Potato.I decided to make a simple potato upkari and while I was making it,it opened a box full of memories for me..

As kids,all three of us loved this upkari(which is a very VERY rare thing),so if in doubt,amma made this and satisfied all three of us.It was one of the first dishes I learnt to make.We loved it with chapathi too.I once made it with chapathi and packed it for our long bus journey,for me and my granny and she still says that she is not able to recreate that taste.I take it as a great compliment and have not bothered to ask her whether she really means it or she simply liked it because I made it!!
Simple Potato Upkari


Potatoes – 2-3,medium chopped into cubes
Oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Curry leaves – 1 sprig


In a kadai,add oil and splutter mustard seeds.
Add the chopped potatoes and mix well.
Now add the chilly powder and salt to taste.
Mix well,cover with a lid and let it cook on simmer.
[No need to add water,however if you feel that they are getting burnt,sprinkle a few tbsps of water].
Add curry leaves and mix well.
Serve hot.
I like having this upkari with plain rice,curds and my favorite pickle-puddi ghallele.While I was uploading the pic,I was just wondering-does this pic/dish qualify for;-)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Aloo Gobhi

Aloo gobhi reminds me of two things.One,a dialogue from the movie Bend it like Beckham where the “Punjabi” mom tells the football playing daughter---“Arrey..learn to make aloooo gobhee” and the second is my hubby’s dialogue”its tasty,but its not like what his mom made”.Not his mom,but his North Indian friend Rajiv’s mom!!

I don’t remember tasting aloo gobhi in a restaurant ever coz I never felt like choosing it over my regular PBM.I first made it when I chanced upon a recipe in Vanitha[Malayalam magazine] which featured authentic[!!] Punjabi wedding recipes.I found the recipe pretty easy and made it for dinner along with chapathi and eagerly waited for hubby’s reaction.I was in for a shock since he felt the dish did not deserve to be called aloo gobhi,instead I should name it cauliflower-potato side dish!!!

He gave me a rough idea as to what in his terms was the “real aloo gobhi”.I made it quite a few times and had completely lost hope on making it according to his taste.Few days back,I had chopped cauliflower,potatoes and onions for a simple upkari and then suddenly we decided to go out for dinner.I shoved it into the fridge and kept it for the next day.I forgot about it and when I finally got to it,it didn’t look as fresh for the upkari.The shriveled look of the gobhi gave me the idea to get into my apron and whip up alooooo gobheee(do we ever give up???).I made it completely according to my instinct and surprisingly,this time the reaction was “hmm..this one’s close enough”.Did I tell you my hubby is difficult to please….hmmmm.
Aloo Gobhi


Aloo/Potato – 1,chopped
Gobhi/Cauliflower – 1 medium,chopped
Onion – 1,chopped

Oil – 1 tbsp
Jeera/Cumin – 1 tsp

Make a paste

Haldi/turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Chilly powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp

Salt to taste
Coriander leaves
Kasoori methi


Parboil the potatoes and cauliflower.
In a kadai,heat the oil and splutter jeera.
Add the onions and sauté till they turn translucent(not brown).
Add the parboiled aloo and gobhi and sauté well for a minute or two.
Add the masala paste and salt and mix well.
Cover and cook till the masala coats the veggies and the dish becomes semi dry.
Keep the flame on high and stir the veggies till they become dry.
Add chopped coriander leaves and kasoori methi.
Serve hot.

*This is not the “real” recipe for aloo gobhi.I have made it according to my instinct and it has come out well too.If anyone has a recipe,I would love to have it.If you have posted it in your blogs,I would be glad to check it out!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hittu/Khotte - Idlis steamed in Jackfruit leaves-Step by Step Recipe

Hittu/Khotte is a total amchigele(Konkani) food according to me.I mean,in which cuisine can you find idlis steamed in jackfruit leaves?To many(almost every other person who’s not an amchi),this is labour-collecting and cleaning jackfruit leaves(also called as ‘kholli/khotte paan’),collecting shigir/small sticks used to join the leaves together(even though these days its easy to use toothpick as a substitute),and yeah joining the leaves together-that is one big hiccup.You ask ten people how to join the leaves for khotte and you’ll get ten different ideas.But the point is,if you can do it without any batter leaking from the khotte,you are doing it fine.
There are several occasions in the Konkani calendar where Khotte is made.At my place,the toppers were during “suthan punav” or “aavani avittam”-the yearly ceremony of changing jannave/sacred thread,various “parab”s throughout the year-Samsar padavo/Ugadi,Diwali,Aarat and many other.And yeah,how could I forget the main one-when I land in Ekm,that is one big festival right?*wink wink*.Jokes apart,amma makes it whenever she can lay her hands on khotte paan and she makes sure it is made for breakfast one of the days am there.
Same goes with my ma-in-law.She makes it at least once every fortnight.Khotte paan is available in abundance at her sis’s farm so that one is easy.I think,ma-in-law is the only person I have seen who makes the khotte with such ease.She makes it so fast,before you can learn to make one,she would have finished making the whole batch.Whenever she has family/guests coming over,it goes without saying that khotte is on the breakfast table.

I got some lovely khotte paan when they came here during Xmas.She made one big batch for breakfast one day and kept some leaves for me to experiment upon.Quite reluctantly,I started the process of making khotte.I had double duty,to take the pics too as I made it.I don’t think my khottes came anywhere near to my ma-in-law’s or amma’s for that matter and they didn’t look as pretty too,but as they say not even a single drop of batter leaked through it,so its fine.

You'll need

Jackfruit leaves
Shigir/sticks or toothpicks
Pedavan/Idli steamer

Let me try and guide you through the process of making khotte.

Clean the jackfruit leaves by wiping them with a wet kitchen towel & arrange them together according to their size(small,medium&large).
Cut the sticks/shigir to small pieces and keep aside-you could also use toothpick if shigir is not available.
Take four leaves of the same size together and hold like this-one on top of each other.
Join the four leaves together using a shigir/stick-you could use more than one shigir for joining-whichever you are comfortable with.This is called "pathravali",this process is done first with all the leaves and then at the end the khotte mould is made.Once you finish making pathravalis,start making the moulds.Join two leaves together with the shigir like this,take care there isn't any gap between the leaves.Follow the same method at the opposite side of the joined part-this makes it easier for joining rest of the parts.
Now join the other two sides together and the mould will get this shape.
Do not worry if you don't get the perfect shape the first time you make it-keep trying and you'll get it right.I am satisfied if my khotte is made without any gaps/holes in between and it holds its shape when kept straight.Now you can start making the khotte-you could cut three stems and keep only one for easier handling.Pour batter in the moulds-do not fill it to the brim-upto ¾ is fine.
Carefully place the batter filled khotte mould into a Pedavan-Idli steamer.Arrange the khotte in such a way that they stand straight or else the batter will leak and the khotte will lose its shape.Steam for about 20-30 minutes and the khotte should be done.The colour of the leaves will change from dark green to pale green(mine did not have much difference because the leaves I used were not so fresh and were kept in the fridge for sometime).Peel off the leaves and serve hot with Coconut chutney or Channe ghashi.For more flavour,pour few drops of coconut oil on the hot khotte and then serve,tastes divine.

Incidentally,this is my 200th post and what better way to celebrate than having this special Konkani Breakfast!! I am very happy that I completed a double century and I hope to post many more traditional and experimental(!!) recipes!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Eggless Banana-Nut Muffins ~ Just for You!!

Couple of days back,I was chatting with a young friend of mine about this blog.I was amused when she said that she has cooked up most of the Paneer dishes that I have posted here.Amused because I never knew she could cook and then secondly,she has not left any comments on my posts!!!But I felt happy that she tried.

I met Nirmala aka Chutki as my cousins friend.It was just a hi-bye kind of thing.She was a friend of my bro too and when she was in Chennai for a while,we met couple of times.The first and foremost thing that I liked about her is her confidence.I’ll explain why.She was a CA aspirant and had topped her foundation tests.She had not written the CA Inter along with her classmates,she waited for a while and then wrote.When I asked her why,this is what she had to say-“I want to pass both Inter and Final exams in my first attempt itself and right now am not prepared,I’ll write the exams when I am fully prepared”.I was mighty impressed and here is the update-she did as she said and is a CA now,passed in first chance.

I told her I’ll make a sweet dish just for her.She said she wanted something either made with Paneer or something with Cheese or Cocoa.I had bookmarked a recipe for Choco-chip muffin from Nigella Lawson’s website and checked out the video too.But I made Eggless Banana-nut muffins instead(read on to know why).

When I made Banana Loaf,I had decided that next time,I would try out an eggless version.I searched for it and landed at Saffron hut.At least 3 or 4 links I followed had the same recipe.I decided it must be quite successful and popular then and went ahead with it.I absolutely loved it and so did my friends whom I shared the muffins with.With just the right sweetness,a distinct banana flavour and crunchy nuts in between,this one’s a keeper recipe and I can see myself making this again soon..

Click here for the original recipe or read on..

Banana Nut Muffins-Eggless (adapted from Saffron Hut)


Ripe bananas - 4
Sugar – ¾ cup
Melted butter (unsalted) – 1/3 cup
Maida - 1 ½ cups
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Small handful of walnuts, chopped.


Preheat oven to 180*C.
Line muffin pan with muffin paper cups .
Mash bananas well,add sugar and melted butter.
Sift the dry ingredients together and then add to banana mixture.
Add the chopped nuts.
Mix just enough to bring everything together
Fill muffin cups about ¾ to the top.
Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
Bake for 20 minutes or till the muffins are golden brown.
This makes 12 large muffins.( I got 15)

I made these muffins for Nirmala to celebrate her achievement.Three cheers to her confidence!!!So this one goes to Alka for her Just for you event.

Choco chip muffin sad story – I set out making these muffins keeping my laptop in the kitchen counter to ensure that I don’t miss any step.I watched the video and did everything step by step.I tasted the batter,it was fine and the first few minutes,it smelled nice too(in the oven).After a while,when I checked on it,I saw that the muffins had risen and then collapsed and it did not make a pretty picture.I waited till it finished its baking time and when I took it out I instantly knew that it would go down in my hall of shame.It was everything that a muffin shouldn’t be..very very hard crust,almost batter-like layer at the bottom and a hollow kind of say I was disappointed would be a huge understatement.I feel sad for my precious choc chips that went in,I had added extra to ensure that it become some more chocolatey...well.I still don’t know what went wrong.Two reasons that I think could have gone wrong-

1.I should have added powdered sugar which would get mixed in the batter easily and would not have formed a crystal crust kind of a thingy at the edges.
2.I should have creamed the sugar along with the wet mix.

One more thing,I should have guessed its outcome from the video itself coz it did not show the end product!!!

Disclaimer - I watch Nigella Lawson's show on TV quite religiously and I like the way she presents each recipe.I got a disastrous result with the Muffin recipe,but that does not mean in any way that this is a bash-Nigella kind of thing.I got unlucky perhaps..!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jeevkadgi Phodi - Shallow fried Breadfruit

I was a very fussy eater[still am;-)] while growing up and always caused trouble to amma on the eating front.There were very few vegetables I liked and I insisted she cook only with those ones.I was very happy if she made Cabbage upkari or Valval or Ghashi on a daily basis.It was only after I started cooking that I realized how bad it feels if someone doesn’t enjoy eating what you cook(irrespective of whether that person actually likes eating that particular dish).

After wedding,a sea change occurred in my eating habits.Partially because I couldn’t say No to some dishes which my ma-in-law made and partially because I actually seemed to enjoy the new taste I was discovering.But of course,there are many vegetables which I still don’t like and haven’t cooked,fortunately some vegetables are jointly disliked by me and hubby;-).

I had this Phodi(fry) made of Jeevkadgi(Breadfruit/Raw jackfruit also called as Gudhgo in Kerala Konkani) while in Bangalore at hubbys place.I tried it without actually knowing what it was and I think that’s why I liked it so much.Otherwise I don’t think I would have relished eating breadfruit fries.Since we are on a diet mode,I made this phodi using the shallow fry method and I don’t think the taste is different from the usual deep fry method.

Jeevkadgi Phodi ~ Breadfruit fries


Jeevkadgi – 1,medium sized
Red chilly powder – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Asafoetida/Hing – 1 tsp
Rice flour – 1 -2 tbsp
Oil as required


Chop the breadfruit into thickish slices like this.
*Be careful and apply oil on your hands as well as the knife,it could get very sticky and messy.
Add chilly powder,salt,hing and rice flour to the pieces.
Mix well and keep aside for sometime(about ½ an hour should do).
Keep a dosa tava on flame and add 1-2 tbsp oil.
Arrange the marinated breadfruit pieces on the tava.
Sprinkle a bit water on top and cover with a lid.
Keep the flame on simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
When it has browned evenly on one side flip and cook the other side too(no need to cover this time).
Serve hot with rice and dalithoy or simply munch on it during tea-time!!

Raaga calls it Divkadgi..check out her version here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nimbya adgai~Lime pickle

Nimbya adgai/limbya nonche/lime pickle,one of my favorites while having a bad cold,when everything else tastes bland,this one’s a wonder pickle which does magic to your palette.I can have rice and this pickle alone and still feel very very satisfied.In fact,it was one of the first few dishes I prepared for hubby[amma prepared and I assisted;-)] before marriage.I avoided answering his question as to who ‘really’ made the pickle;-).

During my last trip to Ekm,I assisted amma(again!) to make this yummy pickle.We used a large sized lemon(also called Narthang in Konkani).I packed in a big bottle for myself and use it in ration;-).Recently we had it with curd rice and I just cant explain in words how tasty it was..;-).Taste it to believe it!!

Nimbya Adgai~Lime pickle


Lime – 1,big size OR 10-15 small
Salt – as required
Boiled water – 2 cups
Red chillies – 200 gms
Hing/asafoetida – 2 tsp
Green chillies – 7
Ginger – 1’ piece
Oil – 2-3 tbsp


Chop lime into small pieces.
Add a handful(about 4 tbsp) salt,mix well.
Keep this mixture on heat and keep stirring-do not add water.
When the mixture starts getting dry switch off the flame and let it cool.
Roast the red chillies in a few tsps oil.
Make a smooth paste using the boiled water(as required) and add to the lime-salt mix.
Add the hing and mix well.
In a little oil,fry the green chillies and ginger and add to the pickle.

P.S-As with regular pickles,this one too can be made according to one's taste buds.If you want it more/less spicy,add more/reduce chillies.

This pickle remains good for a few days in room temperature and for 2-3 months if kept refrigerated.[If it lasts that long..;-)] .

Sending this reddish beauty to Jai & Bee for this month's Click event-Red.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Paneer Tikka

I have raved and ranted about my liking for Paneer and also about people who hate it.Each time I order a paneer dish,I see a frown on their faces.But if there is one dish which the non-paneer lovers are willing to try,it is Paneer tikka.I have had friends asking for a bite even while they are having their tandoori chicken and chicken tikkas.I think its mainly because of its looks and then the overpowering smell of the tandoor grilled paneer.

Me and my friend D(who’s also a veg) always order this whenever we eat out.Everytime the taste is different but we don’t mind as long as it is Paneer tikka..;-).Last year,on New years eve,we tried making it at home using readymade tikka masala.I used a toothpick as the skewer and cut the veggies in small bite sized pieces and grilled in the microwave.It came out excellent,very soft and juicy,but the burnt look was missing.We were too busy ringing up the new year and didn’t notice it;-).

After that,I have made it many times and just like in restaurants,each time the taste differed.Sometime back,I tried making paneer tikka from scratch-making the marinade and all,and it came out great-just the way I like it,soft and succulent.I have to buy skewers or else be content with the bite-sized paneer tikkas..;-)

Paneer Tikka


Paneer – 200 gms,cut into squares
Capsicum – 1,cut into 1’ pieces
Onion – 2,cut into cubes
Tomato – 2,cut into cubes

For the Marinade

Hung curd – 1 cup(hang dahi in a muslin cloth for 20 minutes)
Thick malai/cream – 3 tbsp
Oil – 1 ½ tbsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilly powder – ½ tsp
Tandoori masala Or Chicken masala – 1 tbsp
A pinch of red/orange food colour(optional)
Salt to taste


Take all the ingredients for the marinade in a mixing bowl and add paneer and rest of the veggies.Mix well and keep aside for an hour.
Grease wire or grill rack.
Arrange the tikkas on a skewer or a toothpick(if using toothpick the paneer and veggies should be chopped in a small size).
Preheat oven to 200*C.
Place the tikkas in the hot oven and cook for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle some melted butter on the tikkas and cook again for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle chat masala and lemon juice.
Serve hot!!
*Recipe source – Nita Mehta

Sending this one to Rak's kitchen for MEC-Paneer.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Banana Nut Loaf

Wishing all of you a very happy and prosperous new Year 2009!!

The year 2008 will be a special one-I started my blog and am still at it..something definitely worth cheering about.I made so many new friends in the virtual world and am encouraged by so many to do new things and appreciated by many for my efforts.I don’t think I could have come this far without all this,I sound repetitive,but that’s exactly what I feel and have to say-without you guys,I surely couldn’t have come this far.Thank you folks!!

I started the new year with a healthy banana cake/bread.Which reminds me,when I was small,every thing was done carefully on the new years day,every step was watched carefully because I hopelessly believed that whatever was done in the new years would continue throughout the year..;-).So I played safe and made a healthy cake,hoping that this whole year,I’ll make healthy stuff..silly me;-).

I followed Raaga’s recipe blindly and as usual the result was fabulous.Next time,I am gonna make an eggless version.Thank you Raaga for this wonderful loaf!!

Banana Nut Loaf (adapted from Raaga)


Flour – 1 cup
Wheat Flour – ¾ cup
Baking Powder – 2 tsp
Baking Soda – ¼ tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Jaggery – ¾ cup, grated(I used a cup of jaggery syrup)
Toasted Walnuts – 2/3 cup, chopped
Bananas (overripe)-3-4, peeled
Oil – 1/3 cup
Eggs - 2

Oil and flour for lining and dusting


Heat the oven to 175*C. Grease and dust a loaf tin.
Sift the dry ingredients together.
In a big mixing bowl combine bananas,eggs,oil and jaggery.
Blend all the ingredients using an electric mixer to a rough paste
Add the dry ingredients and make a smooth batter.
Add the toasted walnuts.
Mix well and pour the batter into the prepared loaf/cake tin.
Sprinkle some slivered almonds on top.

You can omit the egg and use 2-3 tsp sour curds and 1/2 tsp baking soda.

Bake for 35-40 minutes (or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean).
Cool on a rack for a few minutes.

Slice and serve!!
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