Uncategorized

Mutton Palak


Mutton Palak

Mutton Palak

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 kg. Mutton
  • 3 bunches fresh spinach or ½ kg. frozen (whole leaf) spinach
  • 1” pc. Ginger
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • Small bunch coriander leaves
  • 4 to 6 green chillies
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 2 medium sliced onions
  • 1 medium tomato chopped

Method

  1. Clean and wash mutton, cut into 2” cubes. 
  2. Wash spinach and soak in salted water for 10 minutes, rinse and chop finely.
  3. If using frozen spinach, step 2 is not required. I have used frozen spinach. 
  4. Grind all the ingredients from ginger to salt to a fine paste. 
  5. Heat ghee, fry onions for a couple of minutes till soft. 
  6. Add the paste and fry well for further 2 inutes. 
  7. Add the mutton and saute till it changes color and ghee begins to separate. 
  8. Add sufficient water to cook the mutton till almost done. 
  9. Add the tomato and spinach and continue cooking on low flame till mutton is tender.

Aloo Chutneywale


Extraordinary dishes prepared with ordinary vegetables!!

Potatoes stuffed with paneer and cooked in a tangy chutney gravy, sure to leave your palates tingling!

Clean the potatoes and trim the sides to make barrel shapes.  Scoop out the centre to form a hollow leaving  ¼ inch around.  Deep fry in oil till light brown.

Grate paneer and mix with the chopped chillies and cashewnut pieces.  Stuff the potatoes with this filling.  Keep aside.

Grind the chutney ingredients to a paste.  Whisk yogurt in a bowl.  Wash and chop tomatoes. Heat ghee in a vessel, add cumin and finely chopped onions or the ½ cup boiled onion paste and sauté for a minute.  Boiled onion paste will give you a smoother gravy.  Add the ginger garlic paste with ¼ cup water and stir till fat leaves the masala.  Add the chutney masala and red chilli powder, sauté for few seconds.  Add yogurt and 1 cup water, mix, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer till fat leaves the masala. 

Add the whole stuffed potatoes and simmer for few minutes until fully cooked.  Add tomatoes and simmer for a minute, add cashewnut paste and stir carefully.  Sprinkle the garam masala and bring to a boil.

Aloo Chutneywale

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 6 medium potatoes
  • Oil for frying

Filling

Chutney

  • 2 cups coriander leaves
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • ¼ cup raw mango or 2 tbsp. lemon juice

Gravy

  • 2 tbsp. ghee
  • 2 medium onions, chopped finely or ½ cup boiled onion paste – To make boiled onion paste: Peel, wash and roughly chop onions.  Place in a vessel, add 1 bay leaf, 1 black cardamom and ½ cup water.  Bring to  boil and cook on low till onions are transparent and liquid has evaporated. Grind to a paste.
  • 2 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • ½ cup tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp. cashewnut paste – To make cashewnut paste:  Soak the cashewnuts in water for 30 minutes and grind to a paste.
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • Salt

Method

  1. Wash the potatoes and trim the sides to make barrel shapes. 
  2. Scoop out the centre to form a hollow leaving  ¼ inch around. 
  3. Deep fry in oil till light brown.
  4. Mash the paneer and mix with the chopped chillies and cashewnut pieces. 
  5. Stuff the potatoes with this filling.  Keep aside.
  6. Grind the chutney ingredients to a paste. 
  7. Whisk yogurt in a bowl. 
  8. Wash and chop tomatoes.
  9. Heat ghee in a vessel, add cumin and finely chopped onions or the ½ cup boiled onion paste and sauté for a minute.  Boiled onion paste will give you a smoother gravy. 
  10. Add the ginger garlic paste with ¼ cup water and stir till fat begins to separate. 
  11. Add the chutney masala and red chilli powder, sauté for few seconds. 
  12. Add yogurt and 1 cup water, mix, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer till fat leaves the masala. 
  13. Add the whole stuffed potatoes and simmer for few minutes until fully cooked. 
  14. Add tomatoes and simmer for a minute, add cashewnut paste and stir carefully. 
  15. Sprinkle the garam masala powder and bring to a boil.
  16. Adjust seasoning.  Cook in and open vessel, do not cover. 
  17. To serve, cut the potatoes carefully in half to reveal the stuffing.
  18. Serve with any Indian bread of your choice.

Extraordinary dishes prepared with ordinary vegetables. Also check out Musallam Phool Gobi & Imam Bayildi.

Musallam Phool Gobi


Extraordinary dishes prepared with ordinary vegetables!!

This recipe has been in my book since I was in school in the early 70’s, which was shared by Irene Vaz. In those days “Dalda” a brand of hydrogenated vegetable oil, was an household name for an affordable ‘ghee’ substitute, made famous by Lintas the company responsible for their advertising. One of their vigorous campaigns was a recipe contest and the winning recipes were published. A must ingredient in every recipe was Dalda! Have your ever seen a recipe calling for ‘Parachute’ rather than ”Coconut Oil’? But with Dalda it was the brand that was made famous rather than the product (vanaspati). Vanaspati is a thick vegetable oil NOT Ghee, but was commonly used instead of ghee.

Musallam Phool Gobi is from this recipe contest. Although I had it since the 70’s I tried it only in the 90’s when we invited two of our friends and their families over for Lunch as their parents were visiting Kuwait. The parents were strict vegetarians and wanting to impress them I prepared this dish, but they didn’t believe that it was home-cooked and kept insisting that it was certainly ordered from a restuarant. So that’s how delicious it turns out!

To prepare Musallam Phool Gobi, clean cauliflower and remove the leaves.  Wash whole flower well and soak it in warm salted water to 10 to 15 minutes.  Drain and rinse. 

Immerse in salted water

Wash and cut tomatoes into fours.  Slice onions finely.  Grind the ingredients from garlic to salt.  Heat 2 tbsp. ghee in a pan and fry the onions till golden brown, remove and set aside. 

While the onions are frying, take a deep broad vessel and add 2 tbsp. ghee, when hot, add the cardamoms, cinnamon and bay leaves.  Add the ground paste and fry for a few minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook for five minutes.  Then add the whole cauliflower, stem side up. 

Cook on low heat till half done.  Turn over and cook  till tender and light brown.  Do add any water.  Garnish with the browned onions and serve hot with parathas or chapaties or any Indian bread of your choice.

Musallam Phool Gobi

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 4 large onions
  • 10 flakes garlic
  • 1” pc ginger
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp. chilli powder or to taste
  • 1 tbsp. poppy seeds (can be substituted with cashewnuts)
  • 2 tbsp. dry coconut
  • 8 groundnuts
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp. Ghee
  • 8 cardamoms
  • 1” cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves

Method

  1. Clean cauliflower and remove the leaves.  Wash whole flower well and soak it in warm salted water to 10 to 15 minutes.  Drain and rinse. 
  2. Wash and cut tomatoes into fours. 
  3. Slice onions finely. 
  4. Grind the ingredients from garlic to salt. 
  5. Heat 2 tbsp. ghee in a pan and fry the onions till golden brown, remove and set aside. 
  6. While the onions are frying, take another deep broad vessel and add 2 tbsp. ghee. When hot, add the cardamoms, cinnamon and bay leaves.
  7. Add the ground paste and fry for a few minutes. 
  8. Add the tomatoes and cook for five minutes. 
  9. Then add the whole cauliflower, stem side up. 
  10. Cook on low heat till half done. 
  11. Turn over and cook  till tender and light brown.  Do not add any water. 
  12. Garnish with the browned onions.
  13. Serve hot with parathas or chapatis or any Indian bread of your choice.

Extraordinary dishes prepared with ordinary vegetables. Also check out Aloo Chutneywale and Imam Bayildi.

Eggciting Breakfasts


Eggs form an essential part of our diets providing us with quality nutrients like protein, iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids and is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin.

Eggs should also be cooked in the right manner to benefit from the nutrients. For perfectly boiled eggs check out my post on Think you know how to boil an egg.

For those who love eating eggs, here are several options to enjoy this nutrient dense food for breakfast or even as lunch or dinner.

  1. Egg Frittata with potato and sausages
  2. Egg Omlette with Cherry Tomatoes
  3. Eggs Benedict
  4. Egg Roll
  5. Mughalai Egg Paratha
  6. Omlette Pao
  7. Toad in a Hole
  8. Low Carb Toad in a Hole
  9. English Breakfast
  10. Egg Bhurji
  11. Egg Mayonnaise Sandwich
  12. Bacon & Eggs
  13. Egg Dosa

The Irresistable Mangalorean Ghee Roast


The ultimate mangalorean ghee roast!

Chicken Ghee Roast is a popular Tuluva Mangalorean Chicken recipe whose origins go back to a small town, Kundapur, close to Mangalore. Chicken Ghee Roast is fiery red, tangy and spicy with a flavor of ghee roasted spices. Chicken ghee roast is pan roasted with spices and generous use of ghee. Source : Wikipedia

I am presenting the Chicken, Mutton (Lamb) and Prawn Ghee roast recipes. Although the spices are similar but there is some variation in the ingredients and preparation for each of the recipes. Click on the title for the recipe –

A typical speciality of the Bunt community made popular at Shetty restaurants, the first time I had ‘Ghee Roast’ was in Mangalore on our last visit about two years ago, at Guthu Restaurant.  We had Kori Roti, King Fish fry and Chicken Ghee Roast. The fiery Chicken Ghee Roast which immediately hit our head on the first morsel and had fire coming out of our ears had our eyes, nose watering and our mouth burning. Although it was exciting, we just could not handle the spice level, with the result we could not enjoy the meal.

The advantage of creating traditional dishes at home, is you can adjust the recipe to suit your taste to get maximum satisfaction from the meal. Our spice level is always medium spicy, hence the Prawn, Chicken and Mutton Ghee Roast does not have the usual number of chillies.  Secondly, Baydagi and Kashmiri chillies are both used, but I have used only Kashmiri as I did not have Baydagi chillies. You may increase the chillies according to your taste.

P.S.: Any leftover ghee roast (if at all any remains of these delicious dishes) can be reinvented the next day.  Just add some water when re-heating to make a curry and you have a Kundapur Curry to go with freshly steamed rice!

Click on the link for the recipes:-

Chicken Ghee Roast

Mutton Ghee Roast

Prawn Ghee Roast

5 Desserts to cool and heal in hot summer weather


Consuming foods that are cooling to the body help with heat exhaustion, indigestion, sleeplessness and other ailments associated with hot weather.

Hear are a few desserts made from foods that have a cooling effect on the body, while also providing the essentional nutrients and nourishment.

  1. Pistachio Arrowroot Pudding
Pistachio Arowroot Pudding

Arrowroot powder: Gluten free, has a cooling effect on the body and helps in digestion.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Arrowroot powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup coconut milk or regular milk
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ¼ cup Pistachios, shelled
  • A pinch cardamom powder
  • 2 to 3 drops green food colour

Put the arrowroot powder in a large bowl and mix it with 2 cups of water and leave it aside for 2 to 3 hours.  The powder will settle to the bottom.  After 2 to 3 hours discard the water carefully without disturbing the arrowroot paste.  Meanwhile, soak the pistachios in water for half an hour.  Peel the skins and slice thinly. Grease a plate with ghee and set aside.

Add the 1 ½ cup water to the arrowroot paste and dilute it. Take a saucepan and add the arrowroot mixture to the saucepan alongwith the sugar and coconut milk, mix and keep on medium low flame and cook till the mixture thickens, about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the green food coloring and mix well. Once thick and glossy, add the cardamom powder and sliced pistachios.  (I have added vanilla essence instead of cardamom) Cook, stirring till the mixture turns translucent and begins leaving the sides of the pan. Total cooking time should take 10 to 15 minutes.  Overcooking will cause the mixture to thin.

Take off flame and pour into the greased plate and tap the plate so the mixture spreads evenly.  Cool completely and refrigerate for atleast 6 hours.  Cut into cubes or triangles and serve. 

Variations in flavoring: Keep the pudding white and add a i) few saffron strands with chopped cashews or ii) toasted coconut flakes with sliced almonds.

P.S.: Arrowroot powder may be substituted with corn flour.

2. Mango Sago Pudding

Sago Mango Pudding

With mangoes in abundance this season, enjoy the goodness of this nutritious fruit with the cooling effects of sago pearls

Mango: High in Vitamin C, folate & beta-carotene in addition to variety of nutrients.

Sago: Gluten free, cooling and antioxidant, reduces inflammation and improves immunity.

Ingredients

  • 2 Mangoes
  • ½ cup sago
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup crystal sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt optional

Bring 2 cups water to boil in a saucepan, add the sago and cook for ten minutes. Switch off the flame and leave covered for ten mintes.  Drain and add the sago to a bowl of cold water to rinse. Drain. 

Add the sago pearls alongwith the coconut milk, 1 cup water and crystal sugar and salt to a pan and cook on medium flame till sugar dissolves and mixture thickens a little.  Remove from flame and leave to cool.  Chill till ready to serve.

Chop or slice the mangoes and reserve, before serving top with mango slices or pieces.  If you wish, puree some mango pieces and add the puree to the sago pudding and mix, top with chopped or sliced mangoes. Garnish with candied fruit is desired.

3. Moong Kheer (Godshem)

Moong Kheer (Godshen)

I remember my mother making this often as an evening tea-time snack.

Moong bean: Rich source of protein and nutrients, cooling effect on the body

Ingredients

  • ½ cup whole moong beans
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup jaggery or to taste
  • ¼ tsp salt (optional)
  • ¼ cup cashewnuts, broken into bits (optional)
  • Flavoring : Saffron or pandan leaf or a large pinch cardamom powder.

Wash the moong and bring to a boil in 2 cups water alongwith the salt and the saffron or pandan leaf (if using). Reduce flame and cook till the moong is tender and fully cooked.  The water should be almost absorbed. 

Add the coconut milk, 1 cup water, jaggery and cook till the jiggery dissolves and the mixture thickens.  Remove the leaf and discard, add the cashewnuts and simmer for 5 minutes.

Garnish with cardamom powder, if using. Serve warm or cold as a dessert.  Can also be served hot as a tea-time snack.

The following two recipes have been posted earlier and can be accessed by clicking on the recipe title.

4. Kulfi and Rose Falooda

Rose syrup: has a cooling effect and promotes restful sleep as it reduces stress and anxiety and calms the mind, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Sabja (Basil seeds): Also called Tukmaria, they resemble chia seeds. Immunity boosting, rich in anti-oxidants, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, reduces body heat and relieves constipation.

5. Lychee and coconut custard

Lychees: High in Vitamin C, B-Complex, anti-oxidant, high in fibre

Lychee and Coconut Custard

Greek Chicken Souvlaki


Inspired by Suzy of Themediterraneandish.com

Souvlaki is a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. It is usually eaten straight off the skewer while still hot. It can be served with pita breadfried potatoeslemon, and sauces, but the souvlaki itself is eaten on its own, with the side dishes eaten subsequently. The meat usually used in Greece and Cyprus is pork, although chickenbeef, and lamb may also be used. Source: Wikipedia

Cut the chicken into cubes, blend the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken pieces and leave to marinate for 4 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile soak the wooden skewers in water. Use as many as required and the balance can be dried again and stored.

Skewer the chicken, alternating with the onion.

Place on a preheated grill and roast till brown on both sides. Can also be grilled on a pan grill or frying pan. Use smaller sized wooden skewers to fit into the pan and roast on a well greased pan till brown all over.

Greek Souvlaki

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 kg. Chicken breasts, boneless
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp. chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper powder
  • ¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup whie wine (or 2 tbsp. vinegar)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium onions cut into fours and petals separated
  • Wooden or metal skewers

Method

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into 1 .5“ cubes. 
  2. Blend the ingredients for the marinade from garlic to lemon juice. 
  3. Place chicken in a large bowl and add the bay leaves. 
  4. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat evenly. 
  5. Cover and keep for 4 hours or overnight. 
  6. While the chicken is marinating, soak the wooden skewers (if using wooden) in water.  
  7. When ready to grill, preheat the grill. 
  8. Skewer a piece of onion petal, then a piece of chicken alternating with onion. 
  9. Place on a rack with a tray underneath to catch the drippings. 
  10. Grill till golden, turn and grill other side till done. 
  11. Serve with pita bread, roasted garlic hummus and tzatziki.

Set Dosa


‘Pole’ for Mangaloreans and ‘Kallappam’ for Keralites, these soft spongy pancakes can be relished with chutney for breakfast or even with jam, butter or eaten just plain dipped in your tea or coffee!! These dosas are quite popular in the South of India.

For lunch or dinner serve with a chicken curry, mutton curry or vegetable stew so the dosa mops up the delicious gravy giving you a succulent morsel of food thoroughly satisfying to your tastebuds and your tummy!

Set dosa can be made with sanna or dosa batter which uses rice and urad dal (black gram dal) as its ingredients. 

The following recipe does not use urad dal but uses coconut and rice making the dosas lighter & spongy.  The recipe is similar to Appam, but the consistency of the batter should be kept slightly thicker for making Set Dosas. The size is smaller than the Udupi masala or sada dosas. You can use a dosa pan for making them but a smaller cast iron pan or frying pan would give a uniform and perfect circular shape to these dosas.

Idli rice can be used, if available, but I used basmati rice with good results. If fresh coconut is not available, use ½ cup coconut milk or ½ cup coconut milk powder. If the batter is fermenting overnight, do check on it in case you wake up in the night (to drink water or use the washroom) and if it has risen but it is too early to make the dosas, promptly put the risen batter in the fridge and make the dosas once you are ready. You don’t have to worry about having to prepare them at 4 or 5 am just because the batter is fermented. The Batter will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

Soak the rice for 4 to 6 hours and grind to a thick paste alongwith the cooked rice and coconut. Mix the yeast with the sugar and warm water and leave to bloom for 10 minutes. Add to the rice paste, mix well and leave to ferment for 6 to 8 hours.  Fermenting time will depend on room temperature.  If weather is cold, use warm (not hot)  water for grinding the batter. In warm weather it will ferment in 4 hours.

When the batter has risen, add salt and mix.  Heat a cast iron pan or a frying pan on medium high heat until very hot. 

Pour one ladle or 1/2 cup of batter on the hot pan. (Do not spread the batter like you would do for the Masala dosa).  Leave as is, cover with lid and cook till underside turns golden and dosa gets spongy and translucent and is covered with holes. 

If you wish you may turn and cook the other side. 

Serve with red coconut chutney.

Set Dosa

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rice, preferably idli rice
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup fresh coconut
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. warm water

Method

  1. Soak the rice for 4 to 6 hours and grind to a thick paste alongwith the cooked rice and coconut. 
  2. Mix the yeast with the sugar and warm water and leave to bloom for 10 minutes.
  3. Add to the rice paste, mix well and leave to ferment for 6 to 8 hours.  Fermenting time will depend on room temperature.  If weather is cold, use warm (not hot)  water for grinding the batter. In warm weather it will ferment in 4 hours.
  4. When the batter has risen, add salt and mix.  Heat a cast iron pan or a frying pan on medium high heat until very hot. 
  5. Pour one ladle or 1/2 cup of batter on the hot pan. (Do not spread the batter like you would do for the Masala dosa).  Leave as is, cover with lid and cook till underside turns golden and dosa gets spongy and translucent and is covered with holes. 
  6. If you wish you may turn and cook the other side. 
  7. Serve with red coconut chutney

Red coconut chutney

Same as green coconut chutney but substitute the green chilles and coriander leaves with two to three red cillies.

Rest of the recipe is the same.

Foccacia with garlic and herbs


I have been making Foccacia over and over since few years but I don’t know why it did not occur to me to post it sooner. My family just loves this bread and more than half of it gets gobbled up no sooner it comes out of the oven while still warm and crisp.

Top it with chopped olives, roasted tomatoes, roasted peppers, caramalized onions, etc. Foccacia is best eaten alone as a snack, but you can use it for sandwiches or pair it with dips for a delicious appetizer.

Here are the step-by-step pictures and method.

Mix flour, salt and active dry yeast in a large bowl.  Add the water and with a wooden spoon or whisk, mix till all the flour is incorporated.  Cover the bowl and keep in the refrigerator for 8 hours upto 24 hours. Alternatively, if you wish to bake the same day, leave to rise at room temperature for 2 hours.

After the dough has risen, add the Italian seasoning and knead the dough to incorporate the seasoning. 

Take two rimmed trays 9” x 12” each and pour a tbsp. of olive oil in the centre of each. Divide the dough into two pieces and place each on the pan. 

Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for two hours or more till the dough  spreads and covers most of the pan. 

Preheat oven to 220  deg C or 425 deg F.  With your fingers make depressions all over the bread, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. 

Bake for 25 minutes, until tops are golden and edges and underside are brown and crusty.

Foccacia with garlic and herbs

  • Difficulty: Average
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • Italian seasoning, as mentioned below
  • Flaky sea salt

Italian seasoning

  • 2 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. Basil
  • 1/2 tsp. Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • Mix all the above together and keep to infuse until required. I have used dried herbs, use fresh if available. Secondly, you may omit one or the other as per availability, but increase the quantity propotionately so the bread is well seasoned. You may also use chopped olives.

Method

  1. Mix flour, salt and active dry yeast in a large bowl.
  2. Add the water and with a wooden spoon or whisk, mix till all the flour is incorporated. 
  3. Cover the bowl and keep in the refrigerator for 8 hours upto 24 hours.  Alternatively, you can also keep to rise for two hours, if you plan on making it the same day.
  4. After the dough has risen, add the Italian seasoning and knead the dough to incorporate well. 
  5. Take two rimmed trays 9” x 12” each and pour a tbsp. of oil oil in the centre of each.
  6. Divide the dough into two pieces and place one on each pan. 
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for two hours or more till the dough  spreads and covers most of the pan.
  8. Preheat oven to 220  deg C or 425 deg F. 
  9. With your fingers make depressions all over the bread, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, use more oil if required and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. 
  10. Bake for 25 minutes, until tops are golden and edges and underside are brown and crusty.

Cookies for every occasion


This post is inspired by my eldest grandson Rhys, all of four years, who one day very sweetly and shyly requested “Grandma can you make Strawberry cookies”? And very thoughtfully enquired “Do you have strawberries”?  This was enough to melt my heart.  Not that he loves strawberries or wants them in the cookies but he loves anything red and associated the red strawberry colour with the cookies he wanted.  Little does he know that you don’t require fresh strawberries for Strawberry cookies. When he saw the cookies, he asked for Blueberry cookies for his brother!  That set the ball rolling………  There’s no way I can turn down my grandchildren!!

These cookies can be enjoyed anytime of year, celebrate them with family and friends!! Click on the title for the recipe page.

Nowadays as we spend more time working from home, teaching from home, learning from home and managing the household, etc, frequent intermittent breaks more from quarantine fatigue, have become necessary and a break with a cup of tea or coffee just makes everything better!  Pair that with a couple  of cookies and it goes to another level.  Children also need their regular breaks from their online classes, tuitions, etc. and what can be more satisfying than some baked cookies or biscuits with a glass of milk for a healthy snack!

I would recommend you bake several types of cookies back-to-back, not only will you have a variety of cookies and biscuits but it just makes it quicker and easier and you would have cookies that your family can enjoy for weeks. They are also perfect for gifting!

Here are some tips as a guide to baking cookies, specifically for making multiple types of cookies at a time:-

  1. Prior to Baking

Read the recipes well, several times if necessary.  Many a failed recipe is attributed to having overlooked an ingredient or missed a step.  Check if you have all the ingredients.  If not, check if it can be omitted (i.e. if it does not affect the basic recipe) or if it can be substituted with ingredients on hand. 

2. Baking day

To make it easier on yourself, plan on baking several types of cookies back-to-back on the appointed day and set aside a couple of hours  i.e. an  afternoon or morning if you prefer. Cookies store very well.  Alternatively, just bake a quick batch of ‘fresh from the oven’ whenever you feel like cookies!!

3. Ingredients

Gather all your ingredients and make sure everything is at room temperature, eggs, butter, etc.  Hence ingredients that are refrigerated must be kept out on the kitchen counter in advance so that they are at room temperature when you begin mixing the ingredients. ‘Flour’ refers to All purpose flour, unless otherwise specified.

4. Measuring cups/spoons

I have used cup measures in most cases i.e. the actual ‘Cup measure’, not yogurt cup or icecream cup,  glass, etc.  Use exact measurements for best results.  I find it is just easier using a cup rather than the scale but do use the scale where necessary.

5. Mixing bowls

Always use two bowls, a medium one for dry ingredients and a larger one for wet ingredients.  Also using separate measuring cups and spoons for dry and wet ingredients will just make it easier to bake back-to-back.  Since the main ingredients in cookies are basically the same i.e. flour, butter, sugar, eggs, would be less effort to avoid changing the utensils after each batch. Cookies requiring coloring can be made last, as the bowls would then definitely require washing.

6. Baking trays & parchment

The same baking trays can be used for several batches, just change the parchment and after you have baked two or three batches, you will find you don’t need the parchment as the trays will be well greased by then. Just wipe off the residue, if any.

7. To prevent cookies from spreading too much

Chill the cookies – TO AVOID THIS!!

For cookies other than cut-out cookies (as most cut-out cookies require prior refrigeration) form the cookies by hand or a scoop, place on baking tray and chill in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes before transferring to the oven.  This will avoid the cookies spreading too much and running into each other.

8. Cut-out Cookies – customization

Some recipes, mainly cut-out cookies, require the dough to be refrigerated for a specified period.  After refrigeration work with small portions of the dough and put the balance dough back in the fridge. Begin with such recipes so that while the dough is getting chilled, you can move on to the next recipe. After rolling, cutting and placing on baking sheet, bake directly.

Cut-out cookie shapes can be customised to suit the occasion or festive season. Use regular cutters like round, flower or anyother shape.  For festive occasions use the appropriate cutters. Easter bunnies, chicks, eggs, carrots, rabbits etc. at Easter season and Christmas designs like tree, candy cane, snowflake, santa etc. at Christmas and so on. The cookies can also be decorated with royal icing.

9. Oven Temperature

Always  heat oven to 180 deg C or 350 deg F and position rack in the centre of the oven.  If using multiple racks, rotate the trays on the lower rack to the upper mid-way through baking, if the cookies are browning too quickly. 

10. Storing

Make sure the cookies have cooled completely, preferably on a wire rack before storing.  In case you wish to store several types of cookies in one large container,  put each type in a separate plastic bag, seal well and place in the box, so the cookies don’t lose their crunch.  Will stay fresh for weeks!

Tea & cookies, like milk & cookies or coffee & cookies usually go together.  The act of drinking tea or coffee is so ingrained in us that consciously or unconsciously it becomes a necessity at the break of day, mid-morning, early evening and several times in between.  I therefore, leave you with this beautiful thought, tea and coffee being interchangeable here (as I am an ‘only coffee’ person) –

If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.
-William Ewart Gladstone

I have listed the cookies in the order they are to be made, incase you wish to take up my suggestion of making several types in one go. Just click or tap on the name to access the recipe :-

  1. Cake Toast – Bake the cake, cool completely, slice & toast again in the oven.
  2. Gingerbread Cookies – Chill the dough for one hour & customise.
  3. Easter Bunny Biscuits – Chill the dough for one hour & customise.
  4. Jam filled Cookies – Chill the dough for one hour. Cut-outs can be customised.
  5. Tea Cake Cookies – Freeze the dough for 30 mns. Cut-outs can be customised. Chill briefly for 10 mns. before baking.
  6. Butter Cookies – Roll the dough into cylinder shape between plastic wrap and chill 30 mns. Sliced and bake.
  7. Strawberry Cookies
  8. Oatmeal & Raisin Cookies
  9. Lemon Cookies
  10. Ginger Snaps
  11. Chocolate Chip Cookies
  12. Last but not the least, my mother’s famous Nankatia Biscuits also called ‘Snowballs’ which has been a christmas tradition since years.

Thiklem and Randho food for lactating mothers


My recent post on Pospartum care Thiklem & Rando gave details of the traditional recipes for Thiklem (Dry Randho also called Sukho Randho) and Randho (Wet, jam like consistency) and the simple version with readily available ingredients.

I will re-state here only the simple version of the recipes, with some modification, to make it easier to understand and prepare.

Randho (Wet)

Ingredients

  1. 1 Litre coconut milk
  2. 750 gms. Palm Jaggery
  3. 250 gms. Poha (flat)
  4. 250 gms. Tup/Pure ghee
  5. 100 gms. Onions, sliced
  6. 100 gms. Garlic, sliced
  7. 50 gms. Dill Seeds (Shopa)/or Fennel seeds
  8. 50 gms. Kuskus (Poppy seeds)
  9. 50 gms. Cumin seeds
  10. 50 gms. Ajwain/Carom seeds
  11. 50 gms Fenugreek seeds
  12. 50 gms. Corainder seeds
  13. 50 gms. Mustard seeds
  14. 50 gms. Black Pepper corns
  15. 50 gms. Turmeric
  16. 10 gms. Cardamom
  17. 1 no. Nutmeg
  18. 1 gm. Saffron (Kesar)
  19. 100 gms. Dry Dates
  20. 50 gms. Raisins
  21. 100 gms. Almonds
  22. 100 gms. Cashewnuts

Method

  • Roast all the spices from Dill seeds to Black pepper and grind to a paste with some water.
  • Take a pan, place on heat and add the coconut milk alongwith the ground paste.
  • Mix well and cook stirring consantly.
  • Add turmeric, sliced onions, garlic, grated nutmeg, powdered cardamom and grated jaggery.
  • Cook till mixture turns dark brown.
  • Add ghee and mix till well incorporated.
  • Add the chopped dry fruits, kesar, poha and cook till glossy.
  • Remove, allow to cool and store in glass or steel container or bottle and refrigerate.
  • 1 tbsp. to be given warm, once day at breakfast to the mother of new born baby after ten days.

Thiklem (Dry) Also called Sukho Randho

Ingredients (Same as above except coconut milk but add fresh or dessicated coconut as stated below)

  1. 250 gms. Coconut (Fresh or dessicated)
  2. 750 gms. Palm Jaggery
  3. 250 gms. Tup/Pure ghee
  4. 100 gms. Onions, sliced
  5. 100 gms. Garlic, sliced
  6. 50 gms. Fennel Seeds
  7. 50 gms. Kuskus (Poppy seeds)
  8. 50 gms. Cumin seeds
  9. 50 gms. Ajwain/Carom seeds
  10. 50 gms Fenugreek seeds
  11. 50 gms. Corainder seeds
  12. 50 gms. Mustard seeds
  13. 50 gms. Black Pepper corns
  14. 50 gms. Turmeric
  15. 10 gms. Cardamom
  16. 1 no. Nutmeg
  17. 1 gm. Saffron (Kesar)
  18. 100 gms. Dry Dates
  19. 50 gms. Raisins
  20. 100 gms. Almonds
  21. 100 gms. Cashewnuts

Method

  • Dry roast all the spices from Fennel seeds to Black Pepper. Grind to a powder.
  • Slice the onion, garlic, dates, raisins, almonds and cashews.
  • Take some tup/pure ghee in a wide pan or kadai and gently fry the sliced onions till golden brown.
  • Add the coconut and fry till golden brown.
  • Add the garlic, almonds, raisins, cashews and kuskus and fry gently.
  • Pour the remaining ghee in the kadai and add the spice powder, turmeric, powdered nutmeg, powdered cardamom and kesar.
  • Pound the jaggery and add to the other ingredients, mix well, heat on medium flame and cook till dry.
  • 1 tbsp. to be given warm, once or twice a day at breakfast & evening tea to the mother of new born baby after ten days.

As stated in my Postpartum care Thiklem and Randho post, I have not yet tried these recipes and as soon as I have managed to make this, I shall post the pictures and fine tune the recipe, if necessary. Meanwhile, if anyone makes it would love to know/see the outcome.

Due to the lockdown many new mothers are having to fend for themselves post delivery with no mothers/mother-in-law/grandmothers, etc. to be with them and assist as restrictions on travel continue to be in place. As a result, I have received several requests for these recipes. Other recipes for lactating mothers and baby care are already menioned in my previous posts on Foods for lactating mothers.

Postpartum Care Thiklem and Randho


Above picture is indicative

Finally the Thiklem and Randho recipes are here. I have given the most traditional of the recipes, mainly for reference, as I was unable to source majority of the 41 ingredients required, so could not prepare it myself, but anyone enterprising enough and is able to procure all the ingredients could very well try the recipe. I have also given below a more recent and easier recipe which I am sure will be more appealing and can be easily prepared.

I absolutely do not post any recipes unless I have tried atleast a couple of times to satisfactory results. But as I have been receiving constant requests for Randho & Thiklem, I have decided to post the recipes as is.

In my post Postpartum Care – Foods for lactating mothers, I stated my intention to post the Thiklem and Rando recipes as and when I find them. This traditional olden days recipe is for Randho – both the wet and dry version – the wet jam like paste is called Randho and the dry version is called Thiklem. This recipe from the book “Randpi” by Isidore Coelho, was kindly given to me by Mrs. Jenifer Dias, who also helped me with the english translation, to whom I am grateful for sharing with me so that it can benefit all new mothers.

I am posting a picture of the Konkani recipe which contains all the traditional medicinal herbs and spices, all of 41 ingredients, that go into its preparation. Those who can read konkani would understand the recipe better. I have given a translation, with assistance, as I can neither read nor write konkani. I have done my utmost to provide it accurately. The ingredient pictures should assist further in your understanding. This recipe seems to have been published in the 1940s, most likely so I am not aware of the quantity one could get for 50 paise!

Thiklem/Randho Page 1 of 3
Thiklem/Randho Page 2 of 3
Thiklem/Randho Page 3 of 3

Randho (wet) (Translated from above Konkani recipe)

Ingredients

  1. 50 paise          Badishep/Fennel
  2. 50   ”                Lutipal ?
  3. 50   ”                Lutiphol ?
  4. 75   ”                Pepper (Nanji Mirian)
  5. 75   ”                Vayu Vilanga/All Spice
  6. 75   ”                Peempli (Long Pepper)
  7. 50   ”                Cloves
  8. 75  ”                 Chor Owon/Ajwain (Same as 22?)
  9. 75 ”                 Poulancho Kando ?
  10. 75  ”                 Ratan Purush
  11. 75 ”                 Hasigundi ?
  12. 25 ”                 Taraviti Jeera
  13. 75  ”                 Neggina Mullu
  14. 1.00 Rupee     Nilpee
  15. 75 nos             Cardamom
  16. 1.00 Rupee     Kesar
  17. 75 nos.            Pepper (Hadi miri)
  18. 1 spoon          Mustard seeds
  19. 15 gms           Kala Misri
  20. 15 gms.          Safed Misri
  21. 125 gms.        Jeera
  22. 125 gms.        Ovon/Ajwain
  23. 250 gms.        Small Badishep
  24. 75 gms.          Dry Ginger
  25. 500 gms.        Doodhval ?
  26. 50 gms.         Coriander seeds
  27. 100 gms.        Garlic
  28. 300 gms.        Arbi Gond
  29. 250 gms.        Kuskus
  30. 500 gms.        Small Badam
  31. 500 gms.        Khadi Sakkar
  32. 500 gms.        Kismis
  33. 750 gms.        Ghati Jaggery
  34. 500 gms.        Ushe God ?
  35. 4 pcs.              Nutmeg/Jaiphal
  36. 3 pcs.              Myfol
  37. ¼ Litre           Coconut oil
  38. 1 Litre            Tup
  39. 1/2 litre Milk
  40. 5 pcs.              Flat round jaggery
  41. 5 nos.             Coconuts

(If I have made an error in the translation or a misrepresentation in the illustrations, I would love to know so I can correct myself).

Method

Pick, clean and wash all medicinal herbs and dry well in sun, grind to a powder. Clean and dry all spices in the sun, grind to a powder. Grind the kuskus and remove juice and grind the herbs and spices powder with this juice. Remove juice of the coconuts. Heat the oil and fry the gond till it puffs. Remove and keep aside. Add the kuskus-herb-spice paste, coconut milk, jaggery, milk, misri, khadi shakar, mix and cook on slow flame for one hour. Then add the tup, oil and gond, mix and simmer. Add nuts and kismis and cook for 8 hours making sure it does not stick to the bottom of he pan.

Thiklem (Dry) Also called Sukho Randho

Ingredients (Same as above)

All above ingredients (with some variation).

Take the medicinal herbs and spices, clean, wash and dry in the sun and grind to powder. Scrape 6 coconuts and slice 750 gms. onions. Mix both and dry in the sun for half a day. Extract juice of 1 and half coconuts, take 750 gms basmati rice and the medicine/spice powder and grind to paste with the coconut milk. Form into small balls and fry in some oil/tup. Remove and pound the fried rice balls. Put gond in oil till fluffy. Add garlic, almonds (assume the garlic and almonds would be cut into slivers), kismis and kuskus and fry gently. Pour the remaining oil in the kadai and fry the onion coconut mixture. Pound the jaggery and khadi shakar and add to the other ingredients, mix well, heat on flame and cook till dry.

I have had the sukho Thiklem/Randho, made by my ‘Balanti Posteli’ in 1983 in Kuwait when my first child Raoul was born. But it was definitely a very simple version of the above recipe. I distinctly remember munching and enjoying a tablespoon each morning of a crunchy and loosely dry mixture of deep fried onion, coconut, almonds, raisins and garlic which were the predominant ingredients. That was the only time I had it.

I have tried to get the pictures of the herbs and spices, as much as possible, for easy reference (Some may be indicative).

 However, don’t be overwhelmed wih the above recipe, here is a simple one (I recently came across) to save your day!

Randho (Wet) (Indicative picture below)

Randho – Jam like consistency similar to picture

Ingredients

  1. 1 Litre coconut milk
  2. 750 gms. Palm Jaggery
  3. 250 gms. Poha (flat)
  4. 250 gms. Tup/Pure ghee
  5. 100 gms. Onions, sliced
  6. 100 gms. Garlic, sliced
  7. 50 gms. Dill Seeds (Shopa)
  8. 50 gms. Kuskus (Poppy seeds)
  9. 50 gms. Cumin seeds
  10. 50 gms. Ajwain/Carom seeds
  11. 50 gms Fenugreek seeds
  12. 50 gms. Corainder seeds
  13. 50 gms. Mustard seeds
  14. 50 gms. Black Pepper corns
  15. 50 gms. Turmeric
  16. 10 gms. Cardamom
  17. 1 no. Nutmeg
  18. 1 gm. Saffron (Kesar)
  19. 100 gms. Dry Dates
  20. 50 gms. Raisins
  21. 100 gms. Almonds
  22. 100 gms. Cashewnuts

Method

  • Roast all the spices from Dill seeds to Black pepper and grind to a paste with some water.
  • Take a pan, place on heat and add the coconut milk alongwith the ground paste.
  • Mix well and cook stirring consantly.
  • Add turmeric, sliced onions, garlic, grated nutmeg, powdered cardamom and grated jaggery.
  • Cook till mixture turns dark brown.
  • Add ghee and mix till well incorporated.
  • Add the chopped dry fruits, kesar, poha and cook till glossy.
  • Remove, allow to cool and store in glass or steel container or bottle and refrigerate.
  • 1 tbsp. to be given once a day at breakfast to the mother of new born baby after ten days.

Thiklem (Dry)

Using above simple Randho ingredients, can be prepared as per recipe given under the traditonal Thiklem i.e. Sukho Randho stated above.        

Have detailed the simple Thiklem and Randho receipes on this post.          

Lockdown Cooking with minimum ingredients


  • A quick reference list of recipes for easily available ingredients to prepare simple nutritious meals.

Pursuant to my ‘COVID-19 Break’ post on the 16th of March 2020, we were little aware of the seriousness of the pandemic at the time and that the Lockdown directives would continue to be operative even after over a month and a half. We have realised the numerous ways people are trying to cope with the lockdown with no relaxation in sight although many data driven predictions have been made.

The Lockdown has created a shortage of food supplies and while some do have regular supply, many are having to struggle for their daily meals with their means of subsistence being suddenly non-existant due to loss of jobs, restrictions on movement, etc. As a result of which we need to manage our kitchens with ingredients at hand and adjust our meal plans accordingly. With this in mind, I have prepared a list of recipes using the least number of main ingredients (mainly grains and pulses) for your ease of reference.

All recipes are available on this site and by clicking on the name the corresponding link will take you to the recipe page.

I. RICE

Menu Item Main ingredients

  1. Rice
  2. Rice
  3. Rice Poha
  4. Rice flour + Rava
  5. Rice + Urad dal
  6. Rice + Urad dal
  7. Rice + Urad Dal + tomatoes
  8. Rice + Urad dal + Onion
  9. Idli (Rice) rava + Urad dal
  10. Idli (Rice) rava + Cucumber
  11. Rice + Coconut
  12. Rice + Urad dal very small quantity
  13. Rice + Cumin/Jeera small quantity
  14. Rice + peas or any available veggies
  15. Rice + Moong or Masoor dal
  16. Rice (leftover) + Besan/Gram flour small qty
  17. Rice + peas/capsicum or as available
  18. Rice + Red kidney beans
  19. Rice + Cabbage, capsicums as available
  20. Rice + some sugar
TIP: If you don't have Idli or sanna molds, 
     use a round steel pan or cake tin and 
     steam in a pressure cooker or ordinary 
     vessel, then cut into desired shapes.

II. Wheat/All Purpose Flour/Gram flour
  1. Wheat flour
  2. Wheat flour
  3. Wheat flour + Potatoes
  4. Wheat flour + Cabbage/Paneer, either if both not available
  5. Flour +eggs/blueberries/bananas as available
  6. Wheat flour + Doodhi(pumpkin)
  7. Flour + Rice flour small qty + yogurt
  8. Wheat flour + eggs
  9. Flour + yeast
  10. Flour + Olive Oil + yeast
  11. Gram flour

III. Eggs

  1. Eggs + Bread roll or use chappatis
  2. Eggs + Sliced bread
  3. Sliced bread + eggs + milk
  4. Eggs + Onions
  5. Eggs + Cherry or regular tomato
  6. Eggs + Mayonanaise + Bread
  7. Eggs + Milk + Bread
  8. Eggs

IV. Potatoes

  1. Potatoes + wheat flour
  2. Potatoes + wheat flour
  3. Potatoes
  4. Potatoes + Yougurt + gram flour
  5. Potatoes + gram flour
  6. Potatoes + minced meat

V. Chana/Chick Peas

  1. Chick Peas + Bhature – flour, rava, yogurt
  2. Chick Peas + Potatoes
  3. Black chana
  4. Chick Peas + Olive oil

VI. Dals – Tur/Masoor/Moong (Yellow)/Moong (green with skin)

  1. Dal + Onion + tomatoes if available
  2. Tur dal + veggies as available
  3. Moong dal with skin
  4. Rice + urad dal + channa (gram) dal

VII. Whole Moong beans

  1. Moong + grated coconut
  2. Sprouted moong + potatoes
  3. Sprouted moong + methi sprouts if available

VIII. Black Eyed beans & Red Kidney beans

  1. Black eyed peas + grated coconut
  2. Black eyed peas + Palak/pumpkin
  3. Rice + red kidney beans
  4. Red kidney beans + Onions + tomatoes

IX. Rava (Semolina)

  1. Rava + Ghee + Sugar
  2. Rava + Rice flour + Butter milk or yogurt
  3. Rava + Rice flour

The above list includes mainly non-perishable ingredients. For more recipes explore the following links and continue to refer to the book Mai’s Recipes, which most of you must be having:-

  1. Indian cooking
  2. Traditional cooking
  3. Chinese & Asian cooking
  4. Continental cooking
  5. Breakfast Diaries
  6. Middle Eastern Cooking
  7. Sweets & Desserts
  8. Soups
  9. Sandwiches
  10. Salads

Experiment with new recipes if supplies like vegetables, meat, fish, chicken, etc. are freely available and indulge your family and yourself. Make use of the time available productively. Take care, stay safe, stay happy! 🙂

Growing Mung Bean Sprouts


Bean (Mung or Moong – Green gram) sprouts are usually sold as a premium item in our super-markets here so I was delighted to learn that it is really simple to grow them at home.

The sprouts are highly nutritious and commonly used in Asian cooking, in stir fries, Chinese chow chow, american chopsuey, Veg Chow Mien, as filling for spring rolls, dumplings, wontons, in salads, soups, etc. They have a crunchy texture and mildly sweet taste. To retain its nutrition, avoid over-cooking. Best consumed fresh or lightly cooked.

Wash and soak ½ cup mung beans overnight or for atleast 8 hours. If using a smaller container to grow use 1/4 cup beans.

Take a sieve or colander or a plastic mesh basket and line it with muslin cloth. Spread the beans on the muslin cloth, preferably in a single layer and fold the cloth over to cover the beans completely. Spray well with water, place the basket in another vessel to catch the excess drained water.

Cover the basket with a black cloth or any dark towel as you need to block the sunlight to avoid the leaves becoming green (which gives it a bitter taste). Also we are not growing the moong plants just the sprouts.

Spray water four times a day, while keeping covered with the muslin cloth. This ensures the sprouts grow nice and plump. After watering cover with the black/dark cloth or towel.

On the 6th or 7th day they should be ready to harvest. Snip off the roots and rinse well to remove the mung bean skins and use as required.

If the sprouts are allowed to grow without covering the beans with the muslin cloth they tend to grow thin and long as shown below. The plump sprouts however are more tender.

You can make a quick bean sprout salad. Blanch the sprouts for 2 minutes in boiling water, drain and rinse with cold water. Season with salt, chopped spring onion, chopped garlic, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp, soya sauce, pepper powder and chopped green chilli. Mix well and serve immediately.

Check out my post on Growing methi indoors without soil & Sprouting Seeds and Beans

Pickled Jalapenos


A COVID-19 Lockdown post

Pickled Jalapenos

1 cup vinegar

½ cup olive oil

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. salt

¼ kg. Jalapenos

Mix together the vinegar, olive oil, sugar and salt.

Slice the jalapenos into rounds.  Add this to the vinegar mixture, to cover the jalapenos completely. 

Transfer all of it to a bottle or covered bowl and keep at room temperature for two days.

Thereafter refrigerate and use when required, in garnish, sandwiches, salads, hummus, etc.

1 2 5
%d bloggers like this: