September 08, 2011

Baba Ganoush

I had been thinking to make the middle eastern baba ganoush for a while now. Tangy , healthy, refreshing and equally easy to make. The simplicity of the recipe will make you wonder why u bought the prepackaged or tinned version for so long.

A great appetizer to start a great party. 

August 31, 2011


A month beginning with notes of celebration. Now be it Eid, Ganesh Chaturthi or the Labour day weekend that you may be enjoying with your family,here's a super simple recipe of the most delectable dessert that tops my list of the sinful ten.

Shrikhand is Indian sweetened saffron yogurt, eaten on its own or sometimes with puris /deep fried bread.Traditionally, curd or plain yogurt is hung in a cheese cloth for 7-8 hours or overnight and flavored the next day with some aromatics. Like a blank canvass, you can bring your own spin to this basic recipe that i present by adding cubed fruits or fruit pulp.

August 21, 2011

Rajasthani gatte

Lately, we have been marathoning flavors from home. Quintessentially rajasthani, gatte (pronounced ga-tte) are savory gramflour dumpling. A great dish to surprise your palette, if you have'nt tried it already. 

Rajasthani cuisine like many other cuisines, is truly influenced by the availability of ingredients locally. An arid land, vegetation in the region is scarce.In the era gone by, food mainly consisted of many variations of lentils and dried produce. The hot climate required eatables which could  last longer. Fast forwarding to the present times, this recipe comes handy when you find your refrigerator scarce by the end of the week :)

August 18, 2011

Rajasthani garlic chutney

Our home smells great today. I just made dal bati with the boldest lahsun-ki- chutney (garlic chutney) for lunch. The perfect compliments bati dal garlic chutney, are the weekend staples in any rajasthani home like mine. Though i'll confess , our global diet these days lends an empty slot for this favorite food from the rugged land of warriors, only once a month. I 'll share the circle of my rajasthani plate soon but today i wish to highlight this fiery , fully packed chutney recipe.

This chutney is made mostly in winters as large quantities of garlic in it keep you warm. But like rest of the things which are year round now, garlic chutney is a must must in any rajasthani's pantry. History has it that lahsun ki chutney formed the working lunch of peasants in rajasthan, along with bajra ki roti /millet bread and onions.

August 12, 2011

Mangoes and cream

Feels really long that i posted some love ! So here i am again.

Mangoes and many stories of summer embrace my mind . As a kid i remember the whole joint family sitting and eating mangoes by the buckets and yes literally. Water was stored overnight in big earthen pots and stood covered on our big terrace under the glittering  blanket of stars and moon. The cool water quenched our thirst like no refrigerated or iced water can or could back then too. Well continuing, the next morning, cartons of washed mangoes were immersed in the pot which were then shifted in shade. And done lunch, we all would sit and relish the super delicious mangoes around an appetizing platter of  family talks, jokes and gossip. Hmm summers could never be summers enough if not for our siblings cousins aunts uncles parents grandparents. Sitting far away from home, i feel cocooned,  to know i have a train of relatives to call mine and call anytime :)

August 05, 2011

Summer borscht

Borscht had been on my 'have to try ' recipe list for long. It comes in two variants - cold and hot. Summer borscht is akin to gazpacho or any other cold soup, a delicious variant in the latter pedigree, from parts of Central and Eastern Europe. 

Quoting from wikipedia , ''Borscht began its existence from trimmings of cellared vegetables consumed throughout the winter months. Most families had a container, usually a kettle or stove pot, kept outside to store those trimmings. Around the first spring thaw, that pot was placed on the fire and cooked into a soup-like meal. One of the primary vegetables of the Slavic diet consumed during the winter months was beets. Hence the recipe changed into what is traditionally known as a beet soup''

We try the cold version to fend of the heat today. So if u love yogurt and beets- look no further at all. And BTW i levitated towards the bright colors of this soup at first and now am totally hooked to the flavors too. The color pink reminds me of the dry colors we played with, during a festival called Holi in India. 

A good make ahead recipe which you can easily store in your refrigerator for 2-3 days. I feel it tastes better, sitting over a day definitely. 

August 01, 2011

Curried Indian yam / Suran ki sabji

Extreme heat in the helm and thus everything outdoorsy looked mundane and unexciting for the past 2-3 days. Sitting at home this whole weekend, i felt lethargic and bored. Before i noticed, my focus ,shifted inward- but one which meandered the full loop of my random day.

I started on the periphery, donning the shoes of the usual homemaker -cooked a meal, cleaned the closets, polished some furniture, vacuumed and re-arranged the rooms (pet peeves: unorganized, dirty space!!) Obvious next, it proceeded to a good soak for myself. Still more time on hand, i indulged at a near by salon. Back home, a light snack and I was immersed into the couch with the day's headlines and a business magazine. A slave to still more time, the question was on the horizon and it soon shone-- Where am i headed , what are my goals?? Grave question and one which settled steadily on me ,like the early twilight seducing the sun to rise. I tried to think , but could'nt concentrate. I pondered deep but my answers felt enveloped, as if in double shrines. I felt an impermeable wall within , for i cud'nt gain any sincere evocation. My mind drew an analogy, the purpose the goal that i strived for- was like the familiar but unlit foyer of an outhouse, deep in the yard, beside a bright cheerful home at night.

July 26, 2011

Dark banana bread

Disclaimer: This is a mushy post.

Mushy, because its banana bread for one.. LOL and mostly because its my sweetest friend's birthday sole reason to bake this bread. She lives in India, across the ocean from where i live, but that does not stop a small celebration at home here. Reason to load up some extra calories perfectly :)  Best friends , BFFs? Well i think the concept is a bit archaic now ,with both of us on the other side of 30's ;) And yes, 'best' does not capture the higher superlatives at all , nomore!

Words are less as i try to pick some threads, from the remeries of a colorful tapestry, our friendship has been. 

A classical dancer by choice, she and i met during our post graduate program in Mumbai. A butter fingered me , met this prim and proper girl from the land of ghazals and ghalib. A poet too herself, i credit whatever i understand in urdu prose, to her. The first whiff of independence, just out of our respective homes then-  i endearingly remember siting and talking for hours on the edge of her building's uppermost terrace where she rented an apartment. Haven't called her yet to wish ,but frequently our birthday conversations start with what budding double digit the other is rollicking on. Its a tradition now, to tease and giggle. Talking of traditions, we made a pact to celebrate and host birthdays for each other at a restaurant called Pizzeria, facing the bright Marine drive, when in Mumbai.. and we did keep up to it too. The varied discussions later by the sea, on life love career choices .. i remember we totally discovered an algorithm on love .. naive certainly :)  And , how can i forget the ice cream sandwiches at rustomjee's on our way back to churchgate station, those were yum yum!

Hmm ,it's all so fresh ..even after a decade, just  like.. some wet mud on a potter's hand, feverishly working in his own barn.

We were starkly different, complete opposites.. but life has a way for setting up pieces in a jigsaw like one can never imagine.. and here we are today, so connected not literally but in our thoughts and well wishes, that a phone call or an email does not matter really. Wishing you a happy happy birthday my friend, hope u have a  long peaceful and an absolutely beautiful life..

July 25, 2011

Chilled cucumber and dill soup

The temperatures are soaring by the Gulf. Humid and hot is the way of life in the summers here. But looking at the glass half full, i feel its the best time to get in shape, run and lose those chubby cheeks. Thus running strong, eating healthy and reading a book was my motto for the day, yesterday. After completing a great run in the early evening, a bowlful of cold cucumber soup with an adventure e-book by the name - When the tiger roars, came into limelight for a perfect supper by my own.

July 23, 2011

Baby button mushrooms in fresh coconut gravy

A simple experiment which yielded very refreshing yet complex flavors. We called this our south indian and thai plate in one :) 

The story : This week's shopping landed me with loads of fresh dessicated coconut, some of which i used for my coconut chutney.The site of still more coconut (phew!) ,coaxed me to randomly enquire for ideas from a friend. She generously shared her recipe with me. Here's how i recreated the same in my kitchen. 

July 20, 2011

Vegetarian Gumbo and Black bean quesadilla with minty sour cream

This winter we went on a road trip from Dallas to New mexico-- the land of hanging 'ristras',which is mexican for bunch of long red chillies. And incidentally yesterday,i  sited these Egyptian red chilies- pictured above ,in a hypermarket here and.. bang! did life flashback? indeed it did :)

The fiery red looked so pretty that i cudnt muster myself to cut chop the chilies just yet..still oogling them , totally chilli-struck!  lol. But the memories that flashbacked gave me a reason enough to recreate what we had at this mom and pop store in downtown Santa Fe- Bean quesadilla with piping hot vegetarian gumbo. It was perfect to soothe us on that cold snowy night then.

So here's how i recreated the entrees for the two of us last night.

July 15, 2011

Eggless chocolate mousse

I am ecstatic today ! This recipe has empowered me in a strange way as i am the one keeping tabs on my dessert police.. my husband now. lol. The culprit is captured and the proof of his crime is what u see above:) 

What's with men not liking sweets , may be liking but how on earth not overindulging ;)  Mini mousse is what i made when we invited some work friends home recently. Made it again today and we clinked clanked our way to a satiated and a happy weekend.
Columbus would have celebrated his discovery of America sometime in retrospect and but I celebrated mine right here right  now.. on discovering another guilty sweet tooth beside me ;)  Still intoxicated with the flavors , here's the recipe to the luscious little chocolate devil.

July 12, 2011

Watermelon balsamic skewers

Its a balmy weather by the gulf today. And i wished not to drink a glassful nor eat a plateful , just when this new idea fitted well. Take a look.

Vividly remembering the day when we first stepped in this city, and how i was mesmerized by the beauty and colors of the gulf in front of our hotel suite! Waking up one morning to get immersed into this beautiful view of water again, i was humming some lines to myself and surprised i was, for they rhymed :)  and thus i became a one day poet as my husband puts it now. Let me share those lines with you- amateurish certainly. but here it goes:
                                  This Persian gulf and its varied hues, from black velvet to royal blues.
                                  The sun  howling through the day, the gulf growling in emerald grey.
                                  The coral whites shinning bright, telling a story for the sky to site.

I was taken by the beauty not just literally but more on a deeper level which u may have learned in the lines above. The sun by this side of the world is so scorching that anything living would get light headed outside if  not cautious.. and its this irony between us (the living) and the nature around  that struck me then! For as the sun was turning into a ball of fire with the day, the gulf was gleaming brighter and much more brighter as if adapting its colors to suit the sun. The battle if i call it or an inner instinct to survive, the gulf always outshined the overbearing sun ,usually by deep noon. And in my mind i learned --change is best embraced when adapted to accordingly, becoming my first lesson for our move beside these new shores :)

Well today taking the same red from the sun and emerald from the sea, i have a very quick very enticing appetiser/ palate neutralizer for you. The idea for my no-not-so-much-a-recipe germinated from a beautiful picture which i saw on - The cool hunter( via facebook )

July 11, 2011

Snap salad

I call this my snap salad for a reason alone- Super crunchy,truly refreshing , snapping  you out of your 2pm zZzzZZzzzZz's at work. Crackles your senses out of the monotony of the first half of your day. Hmm, just past 2pm here and i am wide awake..did u notice ;D

By the way,the true USP of the salad is that its starts your first course in a snap with a big bang! We loved it, do make it and share the love too:))

July 09, 2011

Strawberry pots

Just another reason to savour the beloved strawberries and cream :) This miniature version is sinfully denser and decadent with mascarpone in the limelight. A fun no cook dessert to make with your kids or a versatile one adding the oomph and the chic to your distinguished dessert platter.

We loved it and so did our new friends on dinner. A must try for all of u definitely.

July 06, 2011

Roasted peppers, fennel flatbread with zaatar and grana padano

For they say the distance makes the heart grow fonder and these few months that i could not do what i like doing the most- cooking with my complete heart and soul .. i felt all the more allured by food and everything around it. We recently shifted to a new abode to call it our new home. Mesmerized by the mystique and magic of this persian land, it was normal for us to dwell into their culture and what better way to dwell deep than through food. Simple, representative of roots and innovated or improvised from the heart are three ingredients that i feel are the essence of the often used and almost cliched term we all know very well as gourment! Walking though the aisles of hypermarkets here , i almost feel like a kid -- all so happy all so curious to look at all that is new-- fruits i have'nt heard of before, fromagiere with varied cheeses from around the globe, breads in shapes and textures still to be explored and well how can i forget sweets-- they are to die for certainly. umm..

So with an open mind and a sensitive heart , i open the doors of my arabian kitchen to the world today. Today is the day the cook in me ignited the oven and literally, i mean coz unlike in the US we purchased a gas oven here :) Even before i placed anything to bake or char , i loved the whiff of the burning metal as i started my new kiln. Like the first day at the gym when u go easy with ur weights, my idea with my new "kiln" was much the same. So today was the day for something semi homemade,quick yet fresh and truly tantalizing for the tongue- The layered flatbread with some old and few new.

February 07, 2011

Seven layer dip

Eating the seven layer dip has become a tradition  in our house every super bowl . And truly,the energy surrounding the big game demands a tantalizing tackle for the tongue, every touchdown!  You may or may not be lucky to find  your favorite team huddled up on your big screen this super bowl, but you will definitely find your friends and family huddled around this platter of awesomeness always! 

February 06, 2011


I love avocado in its various avatars. And guacamole comes to my mind instantly, whenever i hear of the fruit.

This creamy, chunky , tart dip makes  a perfect pairing with thin and crisp tortilla chips. A definite layer in my seven layer dip. Makes an excellent appetizer!

January 20, 2011

Pastry squares

This week has been a sifting and a shifting week for us. Sifted my refrigerator while shifting to a new place to make use of the many ingredients staring at me from the shelves, demanding an instant makeover. Among them- Puff pastry, dozen tomatoes, cheese and immediately i knew together they can make some sweet music. So pastry squares and a creamy tomato bisque gave way for a cozy dinner date with my husband beside our warm fireplace. An experience grander than all the chic and upscale dinners we have had outside. 

I detail the recipe of pastry squares here, soon to be followed by the recipe of the bisque in my posts later.

January 14, 2011

Scalloped tomatoes

Simplicity can never be overrated. But do not get mugged by the simple look of this dish , its devilishly camouflaged to hide a burst of flavors inside. A perfect marriage of ingredients to devour and keep your taste buds immersed in it for a long time!

January 11, 2011

Gajjar ka halwa

Happy New year's all ! I thought of starting my 2011 recipe box on a sweet sweet note.  Gajjar ka halwa , considered the dessert of desserts , is frequently prepared in the winter season in northern India. A favorite among people of all ages, this recipe will certainly quench and satisfy your sweet tooth  if you have any!

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