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Friday, September 27, 2013

Peanut Usal-Navratri recipe


Navratri around the corner and it's time to pray Goddess Durga for Shakti ie,power.Navratri-Nine nights of festival is celebrated allover India.

In North India,people restrict their food to only specific items when they perform 'vrat' .
Peanut usal/usali is one of the North Indian Navratri fast recipe as it meets the fast criteria.
Whereas in South India they don't have any special restriction.Each region celebrates it differently.

All the nine evenings you offer Prasad to Goddess and usually call the kiddos and serve them.

Peanut usal is a perfect recipe for navratri.Rich in protein and delicious.Moreover kids will love the soft texture of peanut.

Common lets give it a try for this NAVRATRI.

2 cups peanut
4 string curry leaves
3 greenchilly slit into haves
3 Tbspn grated fresh/frozen coconut
2 Tbspn oil
1 tspn mustard seeds
2 pinch hing/asafetida
salt to taste

1)Soak the red skin peanut for 3 hours.
2)Pressure cook it with salt for 3 whistles(some cookers may take only 2) or until completely cooked.
3)Heat oil in a pan,add mustard seeds and  allow it to pop.Add hing, curry leaves,greenchillies.
4)Drain the water from boiled peanuts.Add the peanuts ,coconut and fry for 3 min.
5)Ready to serve.


Monday, September 23, 2013


Taco is a traditional Mexican dish where corn,wheat or plain flour shells are wrapped around filling and topped with guacamole,salsa,onions,tomato,lettuce etc.

Tacos can be made with lot of variations to suite your tastebuds.The shells can be crispy or soft.The filling can be vegetarian,non-vegeterian with your favourite combination.

Taco is gaining popularity all over the world.They are one of the popular food chains in US.

A quick filling grab and go meal.Forgot to mention,kids love it!

I made tomato soup ,healthy vegetarian tacos and some besan ladoos from my refridgerator for dinner tonight.Its nice to have something different than usual.

11/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup black eye peas
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup  finely chopped tomato
1/4 cup lengthwise cut capsicum
1 Tbspn cilantro(coriander leaves)
1 Tbspn lemon juice
1/4 tspn chilly powder
1/4 tspn pepper powder
(1/4 tspn garam masala,1/2 tspn chat masala for indian taste)
4 Tbspn Guacamole-click here for guacamole recipe
1 tspn sour cream(optional)
grated cheese or i prefer paneer
salt to taste

1)Soak black eye peas overnight and cook it with salt, till soft but not mushy.
2)Mix cooked rice with cilantro and lemon,salt.
3)Mix the cilantro rice,boiled beans, capsicum,carrot,pepper,spices,
3)Microwave the tacos for 30 sec just to make it crisp.
4)Fill the prepared mixture,top it with Tbspn of guacamole and grate some cheese or paneer.
5)Enjoy these delicious tacos :-).

Make these with some soup for a delicious unique meal .

Check out the restaurant style tomato soup recipe -click here

Make these when kids come back from school and enjoy these as snack or make it for your healthy breakfast! avacados,beans,vegetables...super nutritious!An energetic day ahead for sure:)

Sending it to Healthy Breakfast event at nandoo's Kitchen

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Channa Masala(Chole Masala) with rich gravy

Channa masala/Chole is very popular among Indian vegetarian dishes.Basically from Northern part of India and has gained its popularity all over.

Chole masala is chickpeas( also called garbanzo) curry cooked with tomato,onion,spices and simmered to get a perfect tasty side dish.

Chickpeas has a good amount of protein and hence good for everybody-kids,pregnants and all of us.

Goes well with poori,roti or even tastes great with rice .

I always like my side dish if it has rich gravy .So common lets make it for dinner tonight!A tasty warm chickpeas curry with a rich gravy...hmm yummm!

2 Big Onions
3 Tomatoes
2 inch cinnamon
3 cloves
2 clove star anise
1 Tbspn Cashew
1/2 tspn poppy seeds
1 tspn sesame seeds(optional)
1/2 inch ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbspn oil.

1)Heat oil in a non stick pan,add clove,cinnamon,star anise.Immediately add  roughly chopped onion.Fry for 2-3 min.Now add  roughly chopped tomatoes and fry till its done.Don't overcook.Keep stirring and add few drops of oil if required.

2)Lets grind the mixture with cashews,sesame seeds,poppyseeds,ginger,garlic
 to a very very smooth paste.You can add 2 Tbspn water to grind.

Chole Masala
11/2 cup chickpeas soaked in water overnight
1 small onion(finely chopped)
1 tomato(finely chopped)
1 bay leaf
2 Tbspn oil
2 pinch turmeric
1 Tbspn chole masala
1/2 tspn chilly powder
1 Tbspn kasuri methi(dry fenugreek leaves)
1 Tbspn milk(optional)

1)Pressure cook soaked chickpeas till completely cooked and very soft.
2)Heat oil in a pan,add bay leaf,onion,turmeric.After 2 min add tomato and cook it.
3)Add the prepared gravy+chole masala,chilly powder+kasuri methi.Bring it to boil.
4)Add boiled chickpeas along with water,adjust the water if u are not using that water.
5)Keep in medium-low and cook for 20 min.
6)Add 1 Tbspn milk cook for 2 more min.

Serving Tip:Serve warm with rice and cucumber,onion,tomato salad.

 Note:If u don't have chole masala.You can substitute with garam masala and pav bhaji masala or just garam masala.You can increase the quantity to make it more spicy!

Ganesh Chaturthi festival Celebration-banana leaf lunch!

GANESH CHATURTHI  festival is celebrated on the birthday of Lord Ganesha also called Vinayaka Chaturthi. Its widely celebrated by Indians all over the world.During Indian war of Independence,Lokamanya Bala Gangadhar Tilak started celebrating this domestic festival as Public event.From then,Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as a grand public event.

You get to celebrate both in home as well as in your community streets,neighbourhood streets.Uh!you can enjoy this festival weeks together.

Market will be filled with variety of  clay Ganesh idols like standing,sitting,dancing Ganesh!on the peacock,operating computer and much much more variety of themed lord Ganesha.You not only get the one's with painted but also eco-friendly one's.Some people don't get the clay ganesh idols.They pray idol made with silver,brass,gold and other precious metals.In that case,people donate it to priest or keep it their mandir and worship next year.

Its really nice to roam around in markets during this festival.I am a Banglorean,as a child or even after that this is one of my favourite festival.It can be any corner of Bangalore,all the main streets of each and every area will have this public event.Gigantic idols of Lord Ganesha,Creative decorations,shamiyana,smells of exotic flowers like shamanthige/sevanti,various patre(leaves).They even  plan cultural activities like orchestra,dance,drama from kids as well as adults.Everything to make Lord Ganesha happy:-).....

Checkout eco-friendly ganesha festival we celebrated here in US.


Managed to get most of the things this time including variety of leaves,sugar cane and ya!this is the first time I got fresh banana leaf...Everytime I used to get frozen.Let me tell you what was in the menu.

Upper part starting from right:Starts with salt,instant mango pickle,chana dal kosambir,moon dal kosambir,green beans dry fry-palya,chayote squash fry-seeme badanekai palya,pineapple gojju,ambode(dal vada).

Bottom part starting from right:tamarind rice,rice-dal,sweet.Since it was ganesha habba I made karjikai otherwise its usually kheer.

Will post the detail recipe for the banana leaf thali (bale yele oota)soon.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sambar-side dish for Idli,dosa,pongal,thalipeeth etc

 Sambar is south indian wholesome delicacy.Its a  tasty combination of lentil/dal and vegetables seasoned with spices and tamarind.

Sambar goes well with anything and everything!My daughter doesn't eat lunch and dinner if there is no sambar.This is a mandatory item in my dialy menu.Sambar is a perfect combo of carbs and proteins from dal and vitamins from mixed vegetables.Try making this to your little one and to your family.

Sambar can be made variety of ways.I being from Karnataka,we eat variety of sambar each day each tastes so very different from others!.Recipe varies by region from simple to complex.

If u have this in ur kitchen u are free to make anything like rice,chapati/roti,poori,idli,dosa,pongal,rotti(thalipeeth)....hmmm much more.I call it king of all recipes:-)

Today I will share the recipe of  Simple  Mixed vegetable sambar like the one's u get it in hotels like udupi,saravana bhavan,kamath,adigas..a few to note.

11/2 cup Toor dal
21/2 cup mixed  vegetables
1  big roughly cut tomato
11/2 Tbspn sambar powder ,click on the link for the recipe- sambar powder
1 Tbspn peanut(optional)
1/2 tspn jaggery
Tamarind big lemon size
2 pinch  turmeric
fresh/frozen grated cocnut 1 Tbspn.

tempering:1 tspn ghee,1/4 tspn mustard seeds,2 pinch asafetida/hing


1)Pressure cook Toordal,peanut with water and turmeric until 2 whistle  or until compeletely cooked .Some pressure cooker requires 3 whistle.Allow the cooker to cool down completely,if you are in a hurry put it down under running tap water.

3)Lets boil the mixed vegetables in water and salt until 3/4th done.I used greenbeans,chayote squash(seeme badanekai),carrot,radish,cucumber with skin(don't skip this),onion.

4)Soak tamarind in water for 20 min and squeeze out the juice.(u can also microwave tamarind and water for 2 min high and keep it in the freezer for 2 min and then squeeze out).Even use tamarind pulp if u have.

4)Mix cooked toor dal,boiled vegetables,sambar powder,4 string curry leaves,tomato.Adjust water.Bring it to boil for 5 min then add the tamarind juice, jaggery and boil it for 15 min in medium.

5)Next add 1 tspn ghee in a pan,add mustard seeds and allow it to pop then the asafetida .Add tempering to sambar.

I made Dosa Sambar for lunch today.
click here for Dosa recipe

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Guacamole-Mexican Delicacy

Guacamole is a Mexican delicacy prepared with ripe avacados as its main ingredient and usually had with tortilla chips ie,corn chips.A tasty and healthy appetizer.Also used as topping for burritos,wraps,tacos or even taste great with salads.I love eating with any kind of chips it can be pringles or any other thick variety of  chips.

In India,avacado is popular by name 'butter fruit' for its buttery creamy texture.I used to drink butter fruit milkshake in juice centers of Bangalore while returning from school, I didn't realize this for a long time! that this was avacado.My friend here in US  told me she got some cheap avacados in the store today and I was like oh!new fruit and made a note in my next week grocery shopping list.I went to walmart & I was like oops,this is Butter fruit:-)

I started loving it more after reading its health benefits in a top magazine.Its considered superfood by many nutrition experts.Rich in folate,omega-3,contains good fat,heart healthy are a few to note.

One more plus point about this recipe is you need not to cook at all!!!!Good news ladies:-).Its just mixing up of all raw ingredients.Isn't is good?:-).A super easy recipe.Love these kind of quick fixes for evening much time.

Here are the ingredients

2 Ripe Avacado
1 Tbspn finely chopped onion
1 Tablespoon finely chopped tomato
1 tspn lemon juice
1  minced garlic
1/2 tspn red pepper flakes or green chilly chopped or a combination of both.
1 Tbspn  cilantro leaves chopped
salt to taste

1)Peel off  the skin and chop the avacado.
2)Combine all the ingredients,gently smash and mix it well.
3)Enjoy with some corn chips.

Note:Don't over mash it and make it creamy

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Panchamrita/Panchamrutha - Puja Offering

Panchamrita or also called panchamrutha is used as puja offering to God.If u visit temples in south India,a spoonful of panchamrita prasad is given after the main aarti.This sacred mixture is also used for abhisheka ie, to bathe the dieties/idols.

This is very easy to make and comes in handy when we perform pujas like varamahalakshmi vrata,vaibava Lakshmi vrata,baba parayana or even dialy pujas.

This holy drink is a mixture of  five main ingredients and hence called panchamrita .Milk,curd,honey,sugar,ghee  are its main ingredients.There is usually regional variations in ingredients.Its very common to add ripe bananas to it.Some even add mixed fruits and some like it with nuts.

This nutritious drink can also be served as dessert.

Have tried lots of variations and this combination tastes great.

1 cup fresh raw milk.
1/4 cup beaten fresh plain yogurt/curd
1 Tbspn Ghee
2 Tbspn honey
2 Tbspn sugar
2 Tulsi leaves/Indian basil
1 ripe big banana
2 Tbspn pomegranate seeds

1)Lets combine milk,curd,honey,ghee,sugar.Mix well till sugar dissolves.Add chopped tulsi.
2)Add ripe banana cut into semi circle pieces and pomegranate.
3)Use it to bathe dieties for abhisheka or offer to God
4)Even serve it chill as dessert for your guests.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Medu Vada

Medu Vada is also called Urad vada/Udhina vade and is very popular dish in south India.Its usually had along with Idli for breakfast and also comonly had as appetizer or a evening tea time snack.

This vada is crispy outside and fluffy soft inside.Kids will love this.Make this for your kids and family for evening snack and enjoy beautifull evenings with this yummy vada.

2 cup urad dal
1 tspn rice flour
2 greenchillies finely chopped
1 inch grated ginger
1 tbspn finely chopped coconut
1tspn coriander leaves chopped
6 curry leaves chopped
1/4 tspn eno fruit salt
 Oil for deep fry
salt to taste
1)Soak urad dal for 3 hr min.Grind dal it with very less water,add water in drops just enough to grind.You may have to stir now and then as we don't add lot of water.Make it very fine paste.The only tough part in vada is grinding with very less water.
2)Lets whisk the batter for 10 min (you are aerating the batter making it foamy,it yields soft and crisp vada) ,add rice flour.
3)Add salt ,greenchillies,ginger,coconut,coriander leaves.
4)Add eno at last ,mix well
5)Keep a bowl of  water,dip ur fingers in it,then take batter and form vada shape forming a hole inside.You can also drop them in round shapes to get urad bonda .Put it in heated oil immediately.
4)Fry in med-low flame till golden crisp...!


Lemonade/Lemon Juice

Lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C.We all know that Vitamin C is essential to our body in a number a ways.Some of them to mention are it boosts your immune systems whose main job is to protect you from illness,so it prevents/cures cold , flu etc.Lemons are also have anti-oxidant,anti-cancer properties!

Its always good to refresh your day with freshly squeezed lemon juice which keeps you energized .

Very famous in India as panaka,panakam,nimbu pani is usually spiced up with cardamom which makes it more aromatic and flavourful

India is one among the biggest producers of cardamom.


6 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Liter or 33 oz water
1/2 cup sugar
2 pinch salt
4 cardamom powdered
ice cubes
sliced lemon to decorate

1)Lets warm half of the water and to the sugar and stir till sugar dissolves completely.
2)Add rest of the water,lemon juice,pinch of salt,cardamom powder.
3)Add ice cubes,sliced lemon and store it in a jug and enjoy your day.

Note:To powder the cardamom,peel the skin add 1 tspn sugar and run the rolling pin over it couple of times applying pressure.If u don't have fresh cardamom,then use around1/4 tspn cardamom powder.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kadabu/Modak/Karjikai - Ganesh Chaturthi Special

Kadabu,a traditional indian sweet made specially for Ganesh Chaturthi.Lord Ganesha loves this sweet.There are two variations ,one is steamed and the other in deep fried.Today I have chosen the deep fried one-Crispy Yummy!


One of the huge,grand festivals celebrated in India.This kids favourite festival is celebrated very lively -gigantic idols in all the main streets  filled with music and dance,decorated very creatively with lot of themes.

Ganesha Chaturthi is never complete without offering kadabu/modak/gujia .Lets make this today and worship Vinayaka.

Outer Shell
11/2 Cup Maida/All purpose flour
2 Tbspn Fine Sooji
11/2 Tbspn hot oil
water to make dough

Lets mix maida and fine sooji(chiroti rava),hot oil and mix well.Let make a little stiff than chapati dough by adding little water at a time.Cover and let it rest for 15 min.

11/2 Cups grated fresh/frozen coconut
11/4 cup jaggery
1 tspn cardamom/elachi powder
4 Tbspn water

1)Lets add jiggery and water in a heavy bottom pan.Allow it to melt.
2)Add coconut and fry for 5 min,now add cardamom powder and fry for another 3-4 min
3)Let it cool down.

Make Kadabu
1)Take a lemon size dough and roll it into circular shape poori
2)Place 11/2 tspn of filling for a medium size poori.
3)Fold it to form a semi circle.
4)Wet your hands with sugar water,form a border at the ends.
5)Deep fry in medium hot oil till completely done.

Note:Also made some modak.Form a oval shape and protrude it ends.