Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Indian-Style Eggplant Dish (Eggplant Sabzi)

Eggplant is prepared in many ways. It has many names, such as Brinjal, Baingan, Ringna and Waange. Eggplant comes in many varieties, shapes, sizes, and colors. Here I am going to describe how to prepare Japanese eggplant in an Indian style.

Ingredients (Serves 2):
  1. Dice eggplant into 1/2 inch thick discs.
  2. Dice tomato into medium size pieces (about 18).
  3. In a 2 quart pan, add oil. Heat on medium heat.
  4. Add mustard seeds. When they begin to make noise, turn off the heat.
  5. Add cumin followed by fenugreek, asafoetida, and subrus.
  6. Add eggplant and toss so as to cover all pieces with oil and spices. Add 2-3 tbsp water. Put on medium heat with cover for 10 minutes.
  7. Add tomato pieces and Rajah Garam Masala. Mix well. Cover and simmer for another 7 minutes.
  8. Add coriander just before serving.
It can be made as a mixed vegetable by adding complementary vegetables such as potato, carrot, peas, or spinach.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Aloo Paratha

Aloo paratha is one variety of Indian flat bread that is quite popular. It is invariably included in most Indian restaurant menus. The recipe below is slightly modified from the traditional aloo paratha recipe.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  • 2 large potatoes (2 inch diameter, 4-5 inch long Russet potatoes)
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 4 tsp subrus
  • 1 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 2 tsp aamchur
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cup chopped raw spinach
  • 4 cups wheat flour for dough
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • Oil to shallow fry or Pam Original No Stick Cooking Spray

  1. Boil or microwave potatoes to cook them.
  2. Peel the potatoes, then mash them.
  3. Add ginger paste, cilantro, hing, subrus, aamchur and salt.
  4. Mix well. Make 8 balls of potato stuffing
  5. Mix spinach, flour, oil and salt to taste. Make a dough soft to touch but not sticky. Make 8 balls.
  6. Making the paratha ball: In left hand take a dough ball and with right hand thumb and fingers start making a bowl. Put potato stuffing ball on top. At this stage both hands work: the right one pushes the potato ball gently downwards and then the left thumb and fingers gradually cover it by dough. At the end, it looks like a big ball of dough. Pat it and make a patty.
  7. Using rolling pin on a clean surface covered with dry flour, make a circle of about 8 inches diameter. This is a raw paratha.
  8. Frying paratha: If afraid of lifting paratha without breaking by hand, use aluminium foil. Put on non stick gridle at medium hot temperature. Flip it when color darkens. Put some oil and cover whole surface. One can use brush. Alternatively use Pam Original No Stick Cooking Spray. Again flip and cover the surface with oil. In a few minutes, paratha starts showing bumps and developes few brown patches on the bottom surface. Flip the paratha over and cook it until both sides show brown patches.
  9. Put on cooling rack. After cooling briefly, the paratha is ready to serve.

I usually serve it with plain yogurt and mango pickle. Instead of potato stuffing, one can use grated paneer, grated cauliflower, grated raddish/mulee or any other combination to create your own variety of paratha. The only consideration is that the stuffing and dough should have similar dryness and soft texture. You may serve paratha as a full meal and dessert of pie or cake.

If you are interested in seeing high quality images of many Indian dishes, some of which are described on this blog, I strongly recommend browsing Cooking with My Indian Mother-in-Law: Mastering the Art of Authentic Home Cooking

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Nankatai is an Indian style butter biscuit. In winter, we were to enjoy it with hot pakoda or hot samosa. The shortbread cookies Lorna Doone from Nabisco remind me of Nankatai.

(For approximately 48 pieces)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Cream Of Wheat
  • 1 and 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spices
  • 4-5 cardamom pods
  • 12 almonds or 24 pisachio

  1. Mix sugar and powdered cardamom. Add butter and beat until smooth.
  2. Mix flour and cream of wheat. Add this to butter sugar mix gradually and make a soft dough.
  3. Make small round balls and press them to make thick circle. At the center of each press 1/4 th almond or 1/2 pistachio. Bake on cookie sheet at 350 degree Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until turns light brown.
The crumbs of Nankatai can be used to make a base for cheese cake.
Looking for more vegetarian dessert ideas? Check out BabyCakes!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gulab Jamun

Gulab jamun is a common Indian dessert, made of milk powder, flour, and using rosewater flavoring. The word gulab means rose.

Ingredients (Serves 4 to 8) :
For balls (Jamun)
  • 4 cups milk powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (not baking powder)
  • 2 cups yogurt (Vary according to the firmness of yogurt to get soft dough)
  • Vegetable shortening or ghee for frying
For Syrup
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • For flavor (a) Rose water 1/4 cup, OR (b) Cardamom powder 1/4 tsp and 1/8 tsp saffron

  1. In a bowl, mix the milk powder, flour, and baking soda.
  2. In a cup, beat yogurt to make it uniform.
  3. Add yogurt gradually to the mix and make a dough that should be soft to touch.
  4. Make 1/2 inch diameter balls (use ghee on palm to reduce dough sticking).
  5. In a frying pan with ghee on medium heat, deep fry 4-5 balls at a time till they turn brown. Put balls in strainer to get out the excess ghee.
  6. In a pan, mix sugar and water. Heat until sugar dissolves completely and mixture starts boiling. Turn off heat.
  7. Float the balls in syrup and cover them completely with the syrup.

Several variations are possible. While making the jamun balls, one can put at the center a variety of ingredients such as saffron, nutmeg, cardamom, sugar cube, or pistachios. Or, you can try the jamun-within-jamun approach: mix a small portion of dough with powdered spices of your liking and place this at the center of a larger jamun ball.

Related Posts:

Friday, July 24, 2009

ChocoFrost Chocolate Cake Frosting

Want something besides vanilla frosting for your cake? Try this chocolate flavored frosting from Denise (1986).


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup instant powder milk
  • For Spicy Flavoring, use 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves, or 1 tbsp grated orange rind, or cut milk powder to 2/3 cup and add 1/3 cup chocolate powder.

  1. Mix butter, honey, vanilla in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
  2. Add powdered milk, flavoring and milk gradually while mixing well and keeping the preparation light and fluffy.

This amount of icing should cover a 10" diameter cake. Adjust proportionately for different sized cakes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Puri is a deep fried Indian flat bread preparation made of wheat often served on special occassions. Various curries or desserts such as kheer, Srikhand, or Aamrus often accompany puri. Halwa and sabji go well with puris also.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  • 4 cups of wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup besan flour (Gram or Soya flour: optional)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (increase amount for fragile crisp puris)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (for crisp puris)
  • Oil or ghee to fry

  1. Mix all dry ingredients.
  2. Work in oil and knead dough to firm consistency.
  3. Divide dough in to 24 parts and make balls. Apply some oil to keep balls from sticking to each other.
  4. Using a rolling pin, flatten each ball to about 4" circle (puri). Use a drop of oil if needed.
  5. Heat the oil in a frying pan. After the oil is heated, fry each puri as follows:
  6. Details of frying: As soon as each puri is dipped in hot oil, it should be covered with oil. When it comes to the surface, it should swell up; if not, help it by gently pressing with a spatula (zaara) in the oil. Once sufficiently puffed, turn it over and fry till lower side becomes light brown.
  7. Remove from the pan, and put it in a big sieve to drain excess oil.
  8. After 5 minutes, put it in a plate with absorbent paper at the bottom.

The left over puris can be stacked like Pringles and wrapped in foil.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Puran Poli

Puran poli is a flat bread dish popular in central India, particularly Maharashtra and Karnataka. It is similar to paratha with sweet stuffing of jaggery and gram daal.

Ingredients (Serves 2):
For dough

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • Wheat or rice flour for rolling poli
For Puran
  • 2 cups Chana-daal
  • 2 cups Jaggery
  • 2 tbsp Nutmeg fine fresh powder
  • 6 pod seeds of cardamom, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt (optional)


For making dough
  1. Depending upon the quality of wheat, the amount of water needed will change, so add water gradually while kneading. The final consistency of the dough should be soft, like a cheese spread.
  2. In a bowl, put oil. Add a little more water, and knead dough to make it glutenous. Cover with extra oil and set aside for an hour.
  3. Make 1 inch diameter balls.
For making puran:
  1. In a 2-1/2-Quart saucepan, wash Chana-daal 2 to 3 times, and add 2 cups of water, turmeric, oil.
  2. Start cooking on medium heat.
  3. Remove the foam that forms and keep cooking on medium heat. Add 2 cups of water if want to make "Katachi Aamti" when daal is completely cooked. To check, put one grain in spoon and press with finger tip. Cooked daal will be crushed and feel soft. Note: Steps 1 and 2 are combined if a pressure cooker is used.
  4. Remove excess water and add jaggery. Mix well and while stirring intermittently cook till mixture becomes moist but solid.
  5. Make a smooth paste using food processor or crush it and pass through sieve. Add nutmeg and cardamom. Mix well.
  6. Make 1 inch diameter balls.
For making Puran Poli:
  1. Start heating 10 inch non stick griddle (tawa) on medium heat.
  2. Take a ball of dough. Using your index fingers and thumbs, make a bowl with a small opening out of the ball.
  3. Put the ball of puran in it and slowly cover the puran ball with dough without breaking it. Make a nice ball and press gently. Note: Depending upon the quality of wheat and the stretching capacity of dough, experts put almost double the quantity of puran. For very soft poli, add excess puran; for increased stiffness, reduce the amount of puran.
  4. Use dry flour to cover the ball. Sprinkle some dry flour on the clean, dry surface (use smooth cutting board or Chakalota) and roll the ball in to about 6-8 inches diameter poli.
  5. To remove it from surface without breaking, use an aluminium foil square bigger than the roti and flip the roti on the square supported by one spread out palm.
  6. Immediately flip it onto pre-heated griddle.
  7. When color starts to change and roti becomes little firm, flip using spatula. Brush both sides with oil and cook until both sides develop reddish-brown patches.
  8. Remove from the fire and put on cake rack for 5 minutes to cool.
  9. Serve with ghee and milk.
Puran poli will stay fresh for 2 to 3 days. This dish can also be modified by adding khoya or coconut. Coconut milk can be substituted for plain milk. Areas such as Ratnagiri may opt for coconut milk, whereas dairy producing areas like Gujrat are more likely to use milk.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Banana Mango Smoothie Shake ( Banangilla! )

Bananas and mangoes are pretty simple as fruits go. However, as I sit here sipping my first and newest concoction made on my new Oster Cube 12-Speed Blender, I can't help but marvel the richness of the flavors produced from these two fruits. I like to call my drink "Banangilla" after its 3 main ingredients. Enjoy your first Banangilla today!

Ingredients (Serves 1)
  • 1 cup mango juice or puree
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 2 bananas, sliced about 1/2 inch thick

  1. Pour 1 cup of mango juice into the blender.
  2. Scoop out 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream and add them to the mix.
  3. Slice two bananas to approximately 1/2 inch thick slices, and add them in.
  4. Set the blender to puree/cream and blend for 1 minute.
To make more servings, simply increase the amount of ingredients proportionally. Blending time should remain about the same.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Tehri is the name given for rice preparation with thirteen ingredients. In fact, one can add many varieties of vegetables and dry fruits. The dish can be easily prepared in a crock pot.

Ingredients (Serves 2):
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 tbsp Cprriander seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 15 split cashews
  • 1/2 inch ginger finely chopped or paste
  • 1 tsp Rajah Garam Masala
  • 2 tsp subrus
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 2 tsp salt

  1. In a 2 quart pot , add 2 cups of water and 2 tsp of salt.
  2. Dice all vegetables and then add to pot along with corriander seeds.
  3. When water starts to boil, add ghee and rice. Mix well, cover, and steam for 5 minutes at medium heat.
  4. Add garam masala, subrus, and dry fruits. Mix well, cover, and steam for 10 minutes at medium heat
  5. After 10 minutes, check that the tehri is well steamed, then lower the heat.
  6. Cover and let it simmer for 5 minutes at low heat.
For easy preparation, put all the ingredients into the crock pot in the morning and set it to low heat. By the evening, it will be ready! Simple! You can't beat easy beginner crock pot recipes =)

One can alternatively use 1 cup of water and 1 cup of V8 Vegetable Juice (Low Sodium) to add more flavor. The tehri goes well with yogurt, raita, papad or simple diced tomato and cucumber mix.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Homemade Pizza

Pizza has become our favorite f00d 0n weekends. Also while out of town we typically eat pizza to replace a few meals. Pizza is simple, fresh, and appetizing when done right. Here is a pizza recipe that I have modified to suit our tastes.

(Serves 4) : 15" pizza and 8 bread sticks OR two 12" pizza
for pizza dough (modified from booklet accompanying bread maker)
  • 1-1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil in dough + some to brush
  • 4-1/4 cup whole wheat flour + dry flour to roll
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 carrot coarsely grated
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 packet Fleischmann's RapidRise highly active yeast
Pizza sauce:
  • 2 ripe tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 4 stems of celery chopped
  • 2 tsp subrus
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt

Pizza toppings:
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 large bell pepper seeded and diced into 1/4" square pieces
  • 1 cup olives sliced
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks from can or fresh

  1. In a bowl, put all the dry ingredients for dough and mix well.
  2. Add spinach, carrot, and oil and mix well.
  3. Add warm water and knead well for about 5 minutes to make a ball.
  4. Cover bowl and set aside to rise for about 2 hours.
  5. Get sauce and toppings ready meanwhile.
  6. For sauce: in a pan, put oil, and add celery, diced tomato. Fry on medium heat till soft.
  7. Add tomato paste, subrus, herbs, salt. Stir to mix, cover and cook for 20 minutes on medium heat. Cool it to room temperature.
  8. When dough is raised enough, punch it down and take out dough to make eight 1/2" balls.
  9. For bread sticks roll, balls into about 5" long strands. Arrange them on baking sheet and brush with oil.
  10. Roll remaining dough in to a circle about 15" diameter. Put it on a lightly oiled pizza plate.
  11. Keep 4 tbsp sauce aside for bread sticks. Spread the remaining sauce evenly on pizza base.
  12. Arrange pizza toppings evenly and cover with cheese.
  13. At this point, adjust time by refrigerating pizza and bread sticks. About 25 minutes before serving time, follow the remaining steps.
  14. Bake pizza at 425 degrees Celsius on middle rack for 12-15 minutes. Start bread sticks at the same time but remove when they become brown in about 8-10 minutes.
  15. Take out of the oven. After 5 minutes cut pizza into 8 slices. Serve hot
For making pizza pockets, divide dough in to 8 balls. Roll each ball in to 4-5" diameter circle . Mix sauce, toppings and cheese. Use it as a stuffing. Make 4" x 2" rectangles or half circles like calzones. Bake as in Step 14 above.

You can also prepare the dough using a breadmaker. If interested, check out the following products:


Khichadi described here is a mild but nutritious dish that can be served to person under weather because of upset stomach, fever, headache or kids just starting to eat solid foods.

Ingredients (Serves 2):
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup mogar (yellow moong daal)
  • 1 tsp haldi (turmeric)
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. In a pot, rinse rice and daal together.
  2. Add 4 cups of water and put on medium heat.
  3. Add haldi, hing, and salt. When it starts boiling, cover pot partially.
  4. Check after 15 minutes. If needed, add water, cover, and reduce heat to low.
  5. After 10 minutes, adjust consistency to semi-solid or soup-like by adding water.
  6. Let it simmer for anther 10 minutes.
  7. For a smooth consistency, mix well with swirling motion.
  8. Serve with ghee.
Khichadi can be served with mango pickle, kadhi, papad, yogurt, or on its own. There are also regional variations of khichadi. In Gujrat, khichadi has ginger, raika tadka, and curry leaves. In Maharashtra, "Mugachi Khichdi" has rajah garam masala and is served in place of pulav.


This soupy preparation can be made mild, zesty, or rich by varying the spices added. Yogurt or mashed potatoes can be used to thicken the preparation. On special occasions, one may use almond paste, and add cashews or raisins.

Ingredients (Serves 2):
  • 2 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 medium ripe tomato
  • 2 tbsp oil (use ghee if adding yogurt)
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 3 tsp subrus
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • Corriander leaves, finely chopped

  1. Peel the potato and dice them into about 1/2 inch cubes. If not using immediately, store in cold water. Alternatively, use steam-cooked potato, remove skin, and make 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. Dice tomato into 1/2 inch cubes.
  3. In a 2 quart pan, start heating oil on medium heat. Add 1-2 seeds of jeera.
  4. When a seed of jeera puffs, add remaining jeera, followed by hing and subrus.
  5. Add potato and fry so as to cover all pieces with oily mix. If using raw potato, cover and let simmer for 7 minutes.
  6. Add 2 cups of water, salt, and peas. Cover and let it simmer for another 7 minutes.
  7. To thicken the gravy, mash 4 pieces of potato. Add diced tomato, ginger paste. Cover and let it simmer for 7 more minutes.
  8. Add corriander just before serving and mix. Serve hot in a bowl.
This dish with rice or bread serves as a simple meal. Many vegetable soups can be made this way. With little modification it can be made in a crockpot. Non-vegetarian friends coming over too? Share these crockpot bbq recipes with them.


Kadhi is a yogurt preparation that goes well with rice and goes well with the heavy greasy food to change the taste. Like Daal Chawal, Kadhi Chawal, Khichadi Kadhi are the combinations used commonly. Generally Kadhi replaces soups, rasam, daal. Moong Chawal and Kadhi or Rajma Chawal Kadhi type of triplets are popular also.

(Serves 2):
  • Yogurt 1 cup
  • Besan 1/2 cup
  • Kadhipatta ( Curry leaves ) 2 twigs
  • Ajwine 1/4 tsp
  • Methi (Fenugreek) 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera (Cumin ) 1/2 tsp
  • Rai (Mustard seeds) 1/2 tsp
  • Hing (Asafoitida) 1/8 tsp
  • Ginger paste 1/2 tsp
  • Subrus 2 tsp ( may replace with 1 Jalapino cut in 10 circles added in Tadka)
  • Salt 2 tsp
  • Ghee (seperated butter) 2 tbsp
  1. In a bowl mix yogurt, besan, subrus, Ajwine, ginger paste, salt to make a uniform mix
  2. Add 2 cups of water and mix well this is the kadhi mix
  3. In a 3 quart pot put ghee at medium heat for making tadka
  4. Ghee is hot enough when single mustard seed added makes sound, reduce heat and add all the mustard seeds
  5. Add other ingredients in given order, Jeera, Methi, hing, kadhipatta (and Jalapeno)
  6. Partially cover the pot and add 1 cup water
  7. Add kadhi mix and stir to make a uniform mix. At this stage one can adjust the consistancy by varying the water quantity
  8. Let it boil on medium heat
One can add Pakode(fritters) to make Baddon ki kadhi or Childa (spicy pancake) or Gutte
to the boiling kadhi at the end. Kadhi has an appetizing effect.

Kachumera ( Koshimbir )

Any vegetable that can be consumed raw can be used to make this dish "Kachumera". The vegetables used commonly, alone or in combination are carrot, cucumber, cabbage, radish, tomato. Below I will describe the cabbage carrot combination.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  • Cabbage finely chopped 2 cups
  • Carrots 2 coarsely shredded
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
  • crushed pepper 1/2 tsp
  • Fresh lemon half or lemon juice 1 tbsp
  • salt to taste 1tsp
  • roasted peanuts powder 2 tbsp (optional, works as a binding agent)
  1. In a 1 quart pan add olive oil and heat on medium heat till a cumin seed added puffs up immediately.
  2. Remove pan from the heat and add cumin seeds followed by crushed pepper immediately.
  3. Add cabbage followed by carrot and cover the pan
  4. After 10-15 minutes add salt, lemon juice and if desired peanut powder and mix well
It is ready to serve. One can add chopped cilantro for added flavour. Also lemon can be replaced by orange or grapefruit. If red pepper is too hot for you reduce the amount or replace it by black pepper. It can be used in sandwich also. Other favorite combinations are Cabbage Tomato, Cucumber Tomato, Carrott Cucumber, Spinach Tomato.

Monday, June 22, 2009


The name subrus is a part of saying, "haldi-dhania subrus". I use this mix of three spices. Haldi is turmeric, it gives yellow tinge to food but has many good properties of which blood purifier is the one. Now a days there is lots of research going on. Dhania is the powder of coriander seeds it is a diuretic. The third ingredient is red pepper powder, specifically ground cayenne pepper. This mix is the basic mix that is used in everyday cooking of vegetables and curries. By mixing them together one saves time as well as proportion of the three remains consistent. Subrus means all juices!

Ingredients : Buy following ingredients, for sure they are available in Indian Grocery stores.
  • ground coriander seeds ( One can buy coriander seeds and grind them fresh).
  • ground cayenne pepper ( I get it from Sams Club or Cosco )
  • ground Turmeric

  1. Make sure all ingredients are freshly made and added from largest to smallest proportion.
  2. Mix 6 parts ground coriander seeds, 3 parts ground cayenne pepper and 1 part ground Turmeric so that mixture looks uniformly colored. Put it in a air tight jar in a dry cool space easily accessible. Mixture stays fresh for long but prefer to make it for about 15 days. I put it in a jar with a 1/4 tsp spoon. 
The proportion of these ingredients can be changed to make mix hot ,lighter yellow or darker. For mild to medium spicy food current combination works well. For fried vegetables little extra amount works. While using it in stuffed vegetable preparations it can be used as a stuffing directly or with addition of ground coconut or besan. For soups and daal add 1 tea spoon per 1cup of liquid. Visit or to know more about these spices

Monday, June 8, 2009


Halwa is a sweet dish made out of grain and a sweetener such as jaggary, dates, or sugar. It can be a part of heavy breakfast, brunch, or evening party. Halwa is often combined with other dishes in combinations such as "Halwa-Puri-Sabji" or "Halwa-Pohe." Other names for Halwa include Laapshi in Marwad or Satyanaryan Pooja Prasad on Hindu religious occasions.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
  • 1 cup cream of wheat ( 10 minute variety )
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water or milk
  • 6 pods of cardamom powdered
  • 8-10 strands of saffron, powdered or soaked in 1 tablespoon of water
  • Almond or cashews and raisins for decoration

  1. In a 10" non-stick pan, add the butter and let it melt on medium heat. Cover the bottom and sides by swirling 1-2 times.
  2. Add cream of wheat and using wooden spatula mix it and move it to and fro until it turns brownish and is uniformly roasted.
  3. Add water/milk slowly while mixing it and cover.
  4. Let the pot simmer for 10 minutes at low heat.
  5. Add sugar and mix well. If the halwa still looks dry, add a little liquid. Again cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes at low heat.
  6. Turn off the stove. Add cardamom and saffron. Decorate with dry fruits.

There are many variations of this. If you master the basic Halwa dish, then you can easily learn to make Gajar Halwa, Doodhi Halwa, Daalka Halwa, Badamka Halwa and other Halwa varieties.

Friday, June 5, 2009


In north kheer and in South Payasam are the names given to a preparation similar to rice pudding. Instead of rice vermicelli, almonds , doodhi, dates can be used. When nothing else is added but milk is concentrated resulting dish is known as rabdi in hindi and Basundi in Marathi.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  • 1 Gallon of homogenized milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • Pistachio w/o salt, powdered or sliced
  • Saffron 1/4 tsp
  • Cardamom 5 pods, seeds powdered fresh
Directions :
  1. In a big pot put ghee and fry washed and dried rice till it turns reddish brown
  2. Add milk gradually with continuous stirring.
  3. On medium heat with stirring reduce milk to about 2-3 quarts ( One can use condensed milk to shorten the time)
  4. Add Pistachio and continue heating for 5-10 minutes
  5. Add sugar, mix well and take off the heat
  6. Add Saffron, Cardamom, pistachio and cover
  7. This dish can be served hot or cold
There are many ways to modify the procedure, beauty is it comes out good always. This is the simplest delicacy.

Cucumber Raita

Raita is generally a semi-liquid preparation with a yogurt base. It usually goes well with greasy food. Cucumber, doodhi, and boondi raita are well known types of raita. Since yogurt is used, tadka should be made of ghee (separated butter).

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  • Cucumber about 5" long and 1- 2" diameter
  • Ghee (separated butter) 1 tbsp
  • Jalapeno about 2" long sliced in to 10-12 circles or 1 tsp crushed pepper
  • Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Fresh green cilantro finely chopped 1tbsp or dried crushed mint leaves 1/2tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Yogurt or sour cream

  1. Peel cucumber and shred it using larger mesh or dice it to very small size pieces
  2. In a pan put ghee and heat till a mustard seed added makes sound, at this point add all mustard seeds. when they stop making noise add cumin seeds followed by jalapeno or crushed pepper. Take off the heat. For jalapeno make sure that all pieces get fried. crushed pepper does not need extra frying as it is dried.
  3. Add cucumber, cilantro or mint and mix well and let it cool down to room temperature.
  4. Add yogurt, salt and mix well.
In cucumber raita chopped tomato can be added also. Use of sour cream increases calories but gives thicker consistency to use it as a dip with chips. Doodhi raita can be prepared similarly but in step 3 steam it for 3 minutes. Roasted bellpepper raita is made by substituting bell pepper in place of cucumber. On picnics and barbecue parties it is a good addition


Sabzi is a general term for vegetable. Here I am going to describe a tri-color mix of fried vegetables, specifically carrot, potato, and bell pepper.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 3 tsp subrus
  • 2 tsp salt to taste
  • 2 tsp amchur (dried mango powder)
  • Sugar or jaggery to taste

  1. Peel potatoes and carrots, and cut into 1" julian strips.
  2. Cut bell peppers in half, seed them, and cut into 1" julian strips.
  3. In a nonstick pan, put oil on medium heat. Add 1-2 cumin seeds to the pan. When they puff up, the oil is sufficiently hot.
  4. Add the remaining cumin seeds, asafoetida, and subrus. Fry it by moving the pan 2-3 times.
  5. Immediately add the potato and carrot. Coat the vegetables by moving them to and fro with spatula (Chefs do this by tossing). Cover and let steam for 10 minutes.
  6. Add cut bell pepper, mix them well, cover and let steam for another 7 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle salt, amchur, and sugar. Mix well and cook for 3 more minutes.
  8. Turn off the heat.
Most Indian fried vegetables follow the basic pattern laid out in this recipe. Similar tri color combinations can be made with cauliflower, peas and tomatoes, or with green beans, carrots and potatoes. Fried okra sabji can be made same way. For okra, one must add amchur, as it removes the strings that steamed okra will have. Enjoy!