Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Box of Jalebi and the Fantastico Memories

 Yes, you guess correct. This blog post is about Jalebi, or should I say, Doodh Jalebi - The Celebration Sweet of India

Finding freshly made Jalebis is not that difficult in the state of New Jersey and then enjoying it with home made Saffron Rabri is a beautiful feeling. But still there is a kind of a hitch, as if, I am missing something...Though we've driven our Impala a few miles extra to get to that sweet shop in Edison, NJ, after reading all the good reviews on Yelp. I even did a lot of Indian grocery shopping from that area. The box of Jalebi was waiting on the back seat of my car for about two hours, while I was busy exploring this area, which is also known as Mini India of America. Finally coming home, a bit tired, thinking of from where to start preparing the Rabri. I don't have to think twice about the milk, as I always prefer full vitamin D whole milk for all my daily usage. The box of Jalebi is now lying on my counter top, waiting to be dunked in the saffron Rabri, as I've already started preparing it. Its been more than an hour while continuously stirring the milk to reduce it to half, when finally my husband says that you might get a swollen arm. Somehow, after few more minutes, I manage to finish the product by adding saffron and leaving it for a few minutes to cool down. 

Having Doodh-Jalebi on my laz y boy recliner, in front of my big screen tv, in a fully heated living room, along with my husband, who simply loved it, takes me down memory lane...some fantastico memories I had of having Jalebis or Doodh Jalebis 

During my childhood days, on a winter Sunday morning, when you are tucked in a thick Indian quilt, and you get a wake up call from your dad, saying that I'll be back in half n hour, and you guys should be ready by then. Inspite being a holiday, me and my brother somehow manage to get ready in that little time and then wait eagerly for our dad to arrive with one of our most favorite sugary breakfast - Jalebi's'. The only store-bought breakfast which everyone in my family loves. 

On the other hand, the beautiful aroma of homemade Rabri coming from the kitchen and the most sweet smile of my mom, somehow makes us more excited and hungry. The milk from which Rabri is bein made, is the best-est in town, which my dad use to bring in the wee hours of morning. It is the fresh milk from the milk-man, who use to have two to three cows in his own backyard. I still remember my dad taking more than a mile walk early morning with his stainless steel container, with a basket like handle, regardless of any weather, to get the fresh milk for the house. Till date, in my house, back in India, we never prefer packet or store-bought milk. The only difference is, now we get a home-delivery from the milk-man, as nowadays it is not allowed to keep the cows in the residential area. So all the milk-mans have moved to nearby villages, and they travel more than 50miles to deliver fresh milk to their permanent customers. 

The half n hour waiting time never use to be the same, as I knew my dad will wait longer just to get the fresh batch of Jalebis from the wok. Its really an experience to see how the fresh batches of Jalebis are made and how they get vanished in just a few minutes. Then comes my hero, my dad, along with a huge box of Jalebi, yes its never less than three pounds for four of us, in one hand and the bag of savory Samosas in the other hand. We literally use to jump out of our seats to help him out. Can never forget those moments when the whole family could together sit at ease and nosh upon the garma-garam, aka hot, Jalebis, with the home-made Rabri, aka evaporated thick milk and the spicy Samosas, aka savory snack. 

It was the same scenario at least on one weekend of the month, but for sure every year on January 26th, the Republic Day of India and the August 15th, the Independence day of India. Thus, this sugary sweet is also known as the Celebration Sweet. 

Having the SWEET SUGARY WAFER-THIN, HOT N CRISP JALEBI, followed by spicy and savory "Samosas" on  a cold winter morning with your family, is a luxury now....but somehow my parents manage to repeat the entire scenario, whenever we visit them till date. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Hearty Mix Vegetable Soup

So many variations, so many different recipes, but rate to find one who does not like it, it's a super quick, very simple, hearty mix vegetable soup. Here, I have combined tangy tomatoes with carrots and cucumber. Yes, you heard right - Cucumber :-) A hearty tasty soup with more energy and less preparations.

What all you need - Two Tomatoes, two Carrots, a cucumber, a dash of salt n pepper and a little butter. 

How to make - Boil tomatoes and carrots with very less water for few minutes. Discard the skin of tomato(it's completely optional to remove the skin.) Peel cucumber n cut into small pieces.
Blend all three veggies.
Heat a small chunk of butter in a pan. Add the blended mixture. Season with salt n pepper.
Enjoy hot n fresh.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Easy Quick Chili Paneer

Chili Paneer is cottage cheese recipe with Paneer cubes, white onions, capsicum and garlic cooked with/without gravy in Chinese hot and sour sauces. 

Preparation Time:    Cooking Time:     Makes 2 servings


1 cup Paneer (cottage cheese)
1 cup Capsicum

1 cup White Onion1 cup Spring Onions
1 tbsp Ginger (adrak) paste
1 tbsp Garlic (lehsun) 
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp crushed Red chili paste

  1. Cut paneer, capsicum and onions into cube size pieces. Chop garlic finely.
  2. Deep fry the paneer in hot oil until golden brown and crisp from all the sides.
  3. Drain and put in warm water to soak for 10 minutes. Keep aside.
  4. Heat oil in a kadhai, add chopped garlic, ginger paste, white onions and capiscum and stir fry for a minute.
  5. Add the red chili paste and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the paneer and stir fry for one minute.
  7. Add the soy sauce and toss well.
  8. Add a little water if making chili paneer with gravy. 
  9. Add spring onions as garnish before serving

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Box of Spices

 What's in my Masala Dabba!!

I love Spice Carousel - I have one. Looks beautiful on my kitchen rack, but for daily use, three to four times a day, I prefer and will always prefer a MASALA DABBA, a round, stainless steel container with cover, that holds several small removable bowls, depending upon the size of the container. Each of them holds traditional Indian spices, depending on the region you come from, and based on the spices you use in everyday cooking. 

In short, my MASALA DABBA is my time-saver and space-saver, as it does not require opening several lids every-time you require the spice. It stores the sufficient quantity of frequently used spices - all at one place. 

My spice box comprises of - 

  • Red Chili Powder - Gives Taste! Full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and minerals
  • Coriander-Cumin Powder - Gives Aroma! Carries many healing and cooling properties beneficial for good health. 
  • Turmeric Powder - Gives Color! Has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
  • Nigella Seeds - Gives Flavor! One the most revered medicinal seeds in history! Search web
  • Mustard Seeds - Fives the tempting Arome! Rich source of essential oils, minerals and vitamins
  • Cumin Seeds - Gives an earthy and warming feeling! Include its ability to aid in digestion, improve immunity
  • Poppy Seeds - Gives the crunch! Contains good amount of minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.
Some less frequently used spices, such as whole cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, and many other are best stored in spice carousel - Below is mine with glass containers.

There is no rule as to what goes into your MASALA DABBA. Create your own as you experiment and feel free to modify over time. Mastering the essence of each spice and lentil is a sign of an accomplished Indian cook.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Rajasthani Dal Baati Churma

Rajasthani cuisine is a splendid array of colorful, spicy and unique dishes. Rajasthani food is incomplete without the mention of the famed Dal-Baati-Churma, a distinctive dish of the state. A delicious, rich, flavorful and a whole meal in itself.

Baati is the flaky round wheat bread baked over firewood or over kandas (cow dung), and here in US, conventional oven. Baatis can be baked in gas tandoor or an electric oven as well. You can also drop the batis in boiling water and allow them to cook for 15-20 minutes. Drain, and cook directly over stove top to give the crispy brown outer layer. Traditionally the Batis are plain, but variations may include various kinds of fillings, including onions, peas,mix vegetables, etc. But one thing is common for baatis, irrespective of their cooking or filling technique, is , that they are always served dipped in "GHEE"

Dal (Panchmela Dal), is the lentil soup served with Baatis which includes five lentils cooked all together with spices and more Ghee.

Churma is made using unsalted dough shaped into small rounds and deep fried in Ghee. Later these deep fried balls or baatis are crushed and mixed with sugar or jaggery to get this sweet traditional dessert.

This is a dish that many people acquire a taste to. Many people do not like it the first time they have it. But eat it 2-3 times and i am sure you'll be hooked for life!
No Rajasthani festival or wedding menu is complete without this popular recipe. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rajasthani Gunda Methi Recipe

For Recipe, please click - Rajasthani Gunda Methi Recipe

Another special, seasonal and authentic Rajasthani vegetable is Glue Berry/Cordia/ Lasode/ BirdLime or commonly known as 'Gunda ki Sabzi ' ( गून्दा की सब्ज़ी )

Fresh Gundas are available during summer season at most of the Vegetable markets in Rajasthan and many Indian Grocery Stores in United States. I personally bought fresh Goondas from "Patel Cash and Carry" while living in New Jersey and from "Laxmi Palace" while living in Richmond, VA.

Gunda is a kind of wild berry with a very sticky seed inside, that needs to be removed. These can be boiled and de-seeded OR else, Gundas can be cut by hitting a pestle on the gunda and splitting it halfway and then removing the seed using a pairing knife dipped in Salt Water. Salt helps to remove the stickiness so after cutting a few gundas, just dip your fingers in salt and rub them together before rinsing them under water. (You can use gloves while cutting the gundas)

Although Gunda/ Cordia is a very sticky vegetable. Its stickiness disappears while cooking on a slow flame for a long time. It can be made in a large amount and kept in the refrigerator. It can be then reheated and consumed within a week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


For me Diwali means lights,crackers and Gujiyas. Decorating your house with beautiful candles and diyas has always been my passion.
Though after moving to US, I was amazed to see so many different types and shapes of candles. And let me tell you, there are no power cuts here😀. So my love towards candles is kind of fufilled throughout the year, and a little more on the occasion of Diwali.
Also, I don't miss playing with crackers here, as I have seen the world's best Fireworks show on many American Festive occasions. Love their creativity. 

The only item that I was missing was "Gujiyas". Still remember my childhood days, when the entire family worked together to make big batches of Gujiyas during Diwali days. Though Mom is always the Master Chef in every house, but we all, me, my grandparents, my Dad, my brother, used to help her in small small things.
I so much want to do that all over again. Keeping all the sentiments and emotions in my head, I already started planning to be at home for the next year Diwali. So I dropped the idea of making Gujiyas this time and thought of preparing an easy to prepare sweet Malpuas.
I read somewhere "Malpuas make you Happy"
Also I had been wanting to make this for a long time

Here is a completely different way of making Malpuas

Ingredients Required

1 cup All-Purpose Flour (Maida)
3/4 cup Semolina (Soozi)
3/4 cup of Jaggey or Raw Sugar
1/2 Cup Milk (Or enough to make a smooth runny batter.)
1-2 teaspoon Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
A pinch of Salt and Black Pepper
A pinch of Baking Soda
2 teaspoon of Hot Clarified Butter (Ghee)
Oil for deep Frying
7-8 Cashews and Pistachios for Garnishing

Starting off-
In a bowl, sift through the Flour and Baking Soda together. Add Semolina, Sugar, Salt and Black Pepper. Mix well.
Now, add in the Milk. Pour it in a bit by bit. You need just enough milk to make this a smooth runny batter. Fold it all in. At this point, you can add 2-3 teaspoon of Hot Clarified Butter or vegetable oil to the batter, it makes it smoother, moist and flavorful. 
Let it rest for 7-8 hours or overnight. 
You will be adding the crushed Fennel Seeds and Cardamom just before frying the Malpuas.

Now, take a non stick pan, a skillet, or whatever catches your fancy. Pour in enough amount of oil to deep fry Malpuas one by one. Drop in a small dollop of the batter. Make it a thin, round shape.
As the batter is runny on its own, it by itself will roll out into a circle, just help it get there. Let it be for about 30 seconds or so, and soon you’ll notice the edges going brown.
Once edges are brown, it is time to flip! Somewhat like this - 

So gorgeous. *Sigh* Let the other side cook for about 30 more seconds, and take it out. Repeat till the batter exhausts. Garnish each n every Malpua with crushed Cashews and Pistachios. Then, its time to stack em’ up

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Crunchy Diamond Cuts - NamakPare / Shankarpali

Its festival time. My most favorite festival, Diwali. It all about lights and love; sweets and snacks. Just like my mom, I do try to make many different varieties of snacks and a little batch of sweets during the Diwali season. Back home in India, she makes big batches of savory snacks in a wide heavy-bottomed skillet, full of oil for deep frying. Here in Us, I make small batches just enough for me, my husband and/or close friends. 
Among all the savory snacks, this crunchy, salty, flaky "NamakPare" is my most favorite. I can finish an entire plate in no time. Tastes heaven with a hot cup of tea.
Very easy to prepare. You can also make in big batches and store for more than a week in an air-tight container.

Ingredients required - 
All purpose flour (Maida) – 1 cup; Semolina (coarse sooji or rava) – 2 tablespoons
Carom seeds (Ajwain) – 1/2 teaspoon; Baking Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt – to taste; Oil – 2 tablespoons + more for deep frying
Warm Water – as required to make a stiff dough

Utensils required - 
Glass bowl for mixing; Flour Sifter; Rolling Board and Pin; Slotted Spoon; Heavy-bottomed skillet for deep-frying

How to prepare - Oh! its so easy
Sift All purpose flour in a mixing bowl; Add Semolina, Salt, Baking powder and Carom Seeds. Mix well.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil to smoking point. Let it cool for a minute. Always be careful when it comes to hot oil.
Add oil to the flour mixture; Rub well till you get a crumbly texture. 
Now add a little water and start kneading the dough. The texture should be semi-soft, neither tight nor soft.,,,somewhere in the middle.
Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 15 - 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, knead the dough once again. Divide it into 2-3 equal portions.
Flatten it out between your palm before you start the Rollin part. 
Roll it into a big circle (about 9-10 inch in diameter). 
Cut into desired shape using sharp knife or pizza cutter. Let the cuts dry over kitchen cloth for some time. This adds a little more crispiness. 
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan.  Once oil is hot, add few pieces of Namakpare in the oil. Do not over crowd them.
Fry from both sides till it become golden brown and crispy over medium-high heat. 
Remove it to the paper towel lined plate.
Let it cool completely, about 20 minutes. And it will become more crispy. Once cooled down completely, you can serve them or store them in a airtight jar or container. Enjoy anytime!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Kheer (Rice Pudding)

Payasam or Kheer or Payesh or Rice Pudding is an essential dish made during festivals and celebrations in India anytime of the year. A wholesome homemade dessert with endless variations of flavor - saffron, cardamom, raisins, almonds, pistachios, nutmeg, cinnamon, rosewater.. Even the forms of Kheer vary - it can be made with rice, vermicelli, tapioca, semolina..Different regions in India encounters different versions of Kheer....common is the LOVE associated with this sweet dish.

I have been a die-hard fan of Kheer since my childhood....I still remember my birthday celebrations...whatever may be the menu for the evening party...but we have to start our day with Kheer. Present days...whenever I am with my Mom..I am like everyday craving for Kheer and my Daddy always wanting my Mom to add a lot of Saffron and dry-fruits in the Kheer preparation :)
Even my Husband and my little Brother will eat Kheer only when it is full of dry fruits and saffron. I can eat Kheer of any type..anytime...

As I said earlier...different regions have different versions of Kheer...similarly the method of preparation also varies from region to region...and below is the recipe of my Mom's method of cooking Kheer...

  • 4 cups whole Milk
  • 2 tablespoons Basmati Rice, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Almonds -  blanched, peeled and split
  • 2 tablespoon Cashews, finely chopped lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon Pistachios, finely chopped lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup Raisins, soaked in 1/4 cup warm milk for half an hour
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder/ 3-4 Cardamom Pods
  • A large pinch of Saffron threads, soaked in lukewarm milk for at least half an hour
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee (preferred more than butter)  
    • Boil milk in a saucepan, and remove from heat {My mom always boil milk just before start preparing Kheer}
    • Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed saucepan or non-stick pot, add rice and roast over low heat until the rice begins to change its color, approximately 5-7 minutes
    • Add the milk and sugar. Increase the heat to medium-high and let it come to a boil.  Give it an occasional stir to ensure the rice does not stick to the bottom. Also take care not to let the milk burn. Even a little burn spoils the milk.
    • Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the milk has reduced to half and the rice has become soft not mushy. Keep stirring often. This process of reducing milk with rice and sugar takes approximately 30-35 minutes with occasional stirring.
    • Add the rest of the ingredients except cardamom ; almonds, pistachios, cashews, raisins and saffron with milk. Give it a stir until combined and cook another 2-3 minutes. 
    • Add cardamom powder and remove from heat.
    • Serve hot or cold.

    Good chefs always taste their Recipe.....Go Ahead....And say Wow.

    Wednesday, August 26, 2015

    Fluffy American Pancakes with warm Maple Syrup

    A fluffy inner crust and a crispy outer crust makes the perfect Pancake. 
    America's favorite breakfast. 
    Once you prepare them from scratch, you'll never look back to those boxed pancakes mixes - as the basic pancakes preparation requires hardly any special ingredient or extra effort. 
    I have used the basic traditional recipe for pancakes that can be further modified by adding any types of fillings or fruits or nuts. 


    • 1 cup All purpose flour
    • 1 tsp Baking Powder
    • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
    • 1 cup Buttermilk
    • 1/4 tsp Salt
    • 1 Large Egg
    • 2 tablespoon Brown/White Sugar
    • 1 cup Buttermilk
    • 2 tablespoon melted, unsalted Butter
    • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
    • Honey or Maple Syrup for drizzling

    1. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt) into a large bowl and whisk a little.
    2. Mix the wet ingredients (egg, buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla extract) in a separate bowl.
    3. Now mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix well and set aside for 1 hour. { I prefer using electric mixer at this point to make sure no lumps are left in the mixture.}
    4. Heat the non-stick griddle until a few drops of water tossed onto the surface ran around frantically. ( If the water jumps off the griddle, then turn down the heat. If the water just sits there, increase the heat.) Now, melt a pad of butter onto the griddle to lubricate it. and rub the butter on it. { There should not be too much fat on the griddle or you'll be frying the pancakes.}
    5. Then pour a medium ladle full of batter steadily onto one spot until it forms a near perfect circle. Let still for 1 minute until bubbles covered the pancake surface and begin to pop. Then flip the pancake and cook for 1 more minute. { Don't press the pancake.}
    6. Stack the pancakes and pour the warm maple syrup/honey and serve hot.
    7. If you need to make a lot of pancakes, you can stack them on a plate in a 200°F oven.
    8. Extra pancakes can also be frozen in an airtight container.

    Good chefs always taste their Recipe.....Go Ahead....And say Wow.

    Sunday, August 16, 2015

    TIRANGA PULAO { Tri Color Pilaf }

    Happy 69th Independence Day INDIA
    August,15th 2015

    Going down the memory lane, how we use to celebrate the Independence Day during our childhood days. Flag hoisting ceremony, participating in various cultural programs, getting sweets and a half-day holiday, was more than enough for happiness and excitement.

    The National Flag is hoisted by the Prime Minister of India on the ramparts of Red Fort, Delhi after which his speech is followed.

    People celebrate this auspicious and significant day with full patriotism and enjoyment.

    Families and friends meet and have dinner together or go out to have fun or just relax at home watching old or new patriotic movies.

    At my home, my father used to bring special sweets, called 'Jalebi' with some savory snacks, complimenting each other and the occasion. A late sweet n savory breakfast with family and friends, accompanied by my Mom's special dish - Basmati Rice Pulao, was a fixed routine of celebrating Independence Day at my place.

    Till date, the same routine is followed at my home, back in India.

    To relish the beautiful memory and taste of my Mom's Pulao, and to enjoy something different as food, I start my day from my kitchen making an item that reflects "The Colors of India"

    Today, I prepared a Colorful Pulao with Shrimp Red Curry.

    An easy recipe - Basmati Rice prepared in three parts - with Green Peas Paste, with Tomato Paste and Plain White Rice.

    Shrimp curry, prepared with Coconut milk and veggie medley.

    Green Peas Paste and Rice

    ~Blend a handful of frozen Green peas with one one small size tomato, few green chilies and a little water.
    ~Heat butter/oil in a non-pan. Add the Peas paste and pre-soaked Basmati Rice, with a little salt.
    ~Add water. Cover and cook till rice is done

    Tomato Paste and Rice

    ~Blend a medium size Tomato to purée.
    ~Heat butter/oil in a non-stick pan. Add a little Red- Chili Powder and the Tomato paste with the nect bunch of pre-soaked Basmati Rice and a little salt.
    ~Add water. Cover and cook till rice is done.

    We all know how to prepare Plain white Basmati rice.

    Shrimp Red Curry- Recipe Coming soon

    Friday, August 7, 2015

    Egg Spinach Curry

    Honestly, I’ve never had Spinach Egg Curry in my life, also never heard of it, so I’m not quite sure how the idea came to me. May be, the idea of making Palak-Paneer (Spinach-Cottage Cheese) or Saag-Chicken (Chicken in Spinach Gravy) or a plain Egg Curry, led me to an idea of pairing these two nutritional ingredients, Spinach and Egg, for a super delicious, healthy meal. 

    It can be served with Naan(Indian Bread) or white Basmati Rice. 

    • Fresh Spinach – 1 10 ounce bag (washed, boiled, & grinded)
    • Ghee (Clarified Butter) - 1/4 tsp
    • Cage-Free Organic Eggs – 8 (boiled & peeled)
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Cooking) – 2 tbsp
    • Cumin Seeds – 2 tsp
    • Green Chilies – 2-3 (Your heat intake capacity)
    • Garlic – 4 big size cloves (minced)
    • Ginger – 1 inch piece (chopped)
    • Onion – 2 medium (chopped)
    • Tomatoes – 2 (Pureed)
    • Red Chili Powder – 1/2 tsp
    • Coriander Powder – 3 tsp
    • Boiled Water – 1 to 1 1/2 cups
    • Garam Masala – 1 tsp
    • Salt, to Taste

    • Hard Boil Eggs. Peel and keep aside. 

    • Preparing Spinach - Wash thoroughly the spinach. Drain water; Heat a few drops of Ghee (Clarified Butter) in a wide non-stick skillet. Add whole Green Chilies and Spinach leaves. Sprinkle a little water and cover. No need to stir. Turn the heat to medium-low. Let it cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn off heat and wait till cool. Once cooled, blenad to smooth paste with a pinch of salt.
      **Adding Green Chilies to Spinach paste gives a punch to bland taste of Spinach, specially for Indian Curries**

    • Preparing Eggs - Heat EVOO in the same Non-stick skillet. Lightly saute the boiled and peeled Eggs in oil. This sauteing of Eggs gives a light-golden color to the outer layer of eggs. 
      **The sauteing part of boiled eggs is completely OPTIONAL**
      **Another way to give a light-yellow color to eggs - Boil water. Remove from heat. Add a pinch of turmeric or Saffron water. Add boiled and peeled eggs. Let it rest for few minutes and drain. It will give a light yellow color and a soft-fluffy texture to hard-boiled eggs**

    • Gravy - Heat EVOO in the same skillet. Add Cumin Seeds, minced Garlic, chopped Onions. Fry till onions gets a nice brown color. Add Ginger Paste. Fry for 1 more minute. 
    • Lower the heat, add Red-Chili and Coriander powder with a one tbsp of water. Fry the paste for few minutes.
    • Add Tomatoes. Cover and let tomatoes cook nicely. The paste should start leaving oil from sides. 
    • Add pureed Spinach and Salt. Mix well and add boiled water, if required. The curry should not be too much diluted. Cook it uncovered on medium-low flame for about 4-5 minutes. 
    • Add Eggs. Mix them well with Spinach paste. Let simmer for another 4-5 minutes, covered. Turn off the heat. Add 3/4 tsp of Ghee (Clarified Butter) for an extra taste, optional though.
    • Serve hot with Naan (Indian Bread) or white Basmati Rice. 


    Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    Mumbai Pav Bhaji - Street-Style

    PAV = BUN
    BHAJI = Mashed boiled mixed vegetables (mainly Capsicum, Potatoes, Peas, Tomatoes, and Onions) cooked in spices and straddled by a slab of butter.

    It's a simple dish, cooked with many different ways and flavors. 

    My version of cooking Pav Bhaji is not that simple, takes a lot of time and patience. But let me tell you, it comes directly from the Street Vendor of Mumbai Juhu Beach. 

    If you’re visiting Mumbai and are really looking to get a taste of the city, avoid trawling Colaba's tourist spots for fry-ups and cereal, try breakfast the way true-blue Mumbaikars have it. From students to businessmen, everyone has their favorite grab-and-go Pav in Mumbai. 
    It is a crime to have these in Air-Conditioned restaurants, best had from the alfresco style stalls on the city streets and at Juhu Beach. 
    Mumbai undoubtedly makes the most finger-licking Pav Bhaji in the world! Bhaji is mashed boiled mixed vegetables (mainly Capsicum, potatoes, peas, tomatoes, and onions) cooked in spices and straddled by a slab of butter. The Pav served with it is shallow fried in even more butter and served with lemon and chopped onions. Squeeze some lemon on the bhaji and dig in with your fingers. It’s a week’s worth of butter but worth every calorie!

    Keeping all above points in my mind, one beautiful smokey morning I was wandering at beachside stalls from one Pav Bhaji Vendor to another, and finally I selected one, who was just about to open his stall. In few minutes, everything was ready....Com'on, these vendors can challenge any good chef in the means of time and taste. I started chatting with him as if, he's one of my 'lost n found' friend, as seen and initiated by dear husband. 

    To my surprise, he told me NOT TO ADD CAULIFLOWER to the Bhaji, and, the reason behind that is Cauliflower florets can overcome any other veggie used for making this dish. I was more than surprised, as I have always seen my Mom adding 4-5 Cauliflower Florets while preparing the "Bhaji"

    Keeping all the surprises at one end, I saw that vendor making the whole Bhaji, from scratch, 2-3 times....yeah, I was there standing near his stall for more than one hour, and my husband was like, are you planning for a joint business. HaHaHa... :-)

    Never mind, it tasted awesome and kind of "Paisa Vasool" typo..

    It was difficult for me to erase my Mom's version and adopt his "no cauliflower" version. But then too I tried his version, and the TASTE was like above all my expectations JUST TOO GOOD. 
    That was the day, I bookmarked the recipe and always try to make the same version of not adding cauliflowers. Though never got chance to thank that Vendor, but my Mom-Dad, my Husband and my complete family likes this tastes better than any other Pav Bhaji we had till date. 

    So here is my version of Pav Bhaji recipe........

    • 2 big size Green bell peppers, finely chopped
    • 4 big size Potatoes, boiled and coarsely mashed
    • 1 cup Green Peas, boiled
    • 3 medium Tomatoes, finely chopped
    • 2 medium Onions, finely chopped
    • 2 teaspoon Pav Bhaji masala, heepful and readymade
    • 1/2 tsp Red chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
    • 7-8 Big Cloves of Garlic, freshly chopped or pressed using a Garlic-presser
    • 1 teaspoon Ginger Paste
    • 1/2 tsp Kasoori methi powder, ready-made
    • 1 tsp Lemon juice
    • 1 bunch fresh coriander / cilantro leaves, chopped
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 pack of Dinner Rolls("Pav")
    • 6-8 tbsp salted Butter
    To Garnish : 1/2 cup finely sliced Onions and Lemon juice.

    1. In a large heavy bottomed flat saucepan, melt 1/2 tsp butter and add chopped bell peppers. Saute on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add little water and cover the pan to half cook the peppers, for 5-7 minutes.
    2. Add boiled peas and fry with half-cooked peppers for 5-7 minutes. 
    3. Add chopped tomatoes, again sauté on high heat for 5-7 minutes.
    4. Add ginger paste, chopped Garlic and coarsely mashed Potatoes. Mix well. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, 2 tbsp butter and mix everything stirring continuously for 3-4 minutes. Keep mashing the vegetable using the potato/vegetable masher. This requires a lot of patience. 
    5. Add half cup of water to the vegetables. Cook on medium flame for 7-8 minutes with stirring and mashing of the veggies here and there. The consistency should not be very thick. If required add more water.
    6. Add 2 tsp Pav-bhaji masala, salt and chopped coriander. Sauté and mash till the spices start to give out a wonderful aroma. Turn off the heat and keep this mixture aside in a separate bowl.
    7. In the same pan melt 2 tbsp butter, add chopped onions, 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste, red-chili powder, 2 tsp Pav-bhaji masala and some lemon juice. Saute for 2-3 minutes .
    8. Add the vegetable mixture to the above masala. Now this mixture requires some more patience. Continously stir and mash the bhaji to get the real taste. 
    Tip: The Bhaji should not look like a gravy instead it should be granular. The granular texture is achieved by frying the bell peppers and onions properly.
      To prepare the "Pav" or Dinner rolls:
      1. Slit the buns/rolls into two keeping the base intact.
      2. Melt butter in a flat pan and add 1/2 tsp Pav-bhaji masala. Spread this butter with masala evenly all over the pan with the help of a spatula.
      3. Arrange all the buns on the pan. Roast both the sides as well as the inner surfaces of buns on the butter.
      Serve the "Pav" or rolls with the "bhaaji" and a lemon slice. Garnish with chopped onions and a chunk of butter.

      Good chefs always taste their Recipe.....Go Ahead....And say Wow.

      Thursday, April 2, 2015

      Beat the Heat - Carrot, Orange and Ginger Zinger

      It's springtime, the air is fresh, the sun is out. Time to sit out on the balcony (or patio, or fire escape...) with a glass of something cold in hand.  But if you don't drink alcohol or wanna try something fresh and fruity, you can enjoy the sweet pleasures of a spring cocktail via mocktail.  

      This idea of punching Orange with Carrots came to my mind just while glancing through my refrigerator, There lies a single-alone-tired Orange with a bunch of tired Carrots. Combining both with a hint of fresh Ginger - & here comes the punch. 

      Prep time: 5 mins
      Total time: 5 mins 
      Serves: 2


      1-2 medium Carrot; I large Orange; a bite size Ginger; Sugar(optional); Water(optional); a small pinch of Salt; Juicer/Blender


      Wash your three ingredients thoroughly, even if you're using organics, scrub the carrots with a knife edge to get rid of any dirt and grime; Cut off carrot tops; Peel oranges and break them into 1/4 halves; Juice the Carrots first, then add Oranges and then Ginger; Add sugar, salt and water to taste; Serve at room temperature or chilled. 

      You can even blend the ingredients in a bender and strain over glasses; Juice with fiber.


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