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!