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October 30, 2007


This is a lovely quick and easy snack, don't worry if you do not have sambhar and chutney-it's just as delicious with Tomato Ketchup!

There are times when you just want to have a limp, fluffy uttapam and not that crisp ,good-looking dosa!, right??, just tailor-made for those times,another comfort food from my kitchen to yours!


    Rava Masala Uttapam with Sambhar and Tomato Chutney 


  • Rava/Suji/Semolina- 1 cup
  • Flour- 2 tbsp
  • Curry leaves- 4-5, chopped
  • Curd/yogurt- 2 tbsp
  • Tomato- 1 chopped
  • Onion- 1 chopped
  • Green chillies- 2-3, chopped
  • Salt and red chilli pwdr to taste


Combine everything together in a large bowl, add enough water to make into a pancake like consistency.Spread ladlefuls onto a hot non-stick griddle, pour little oil along sides ,let sizzle , flip, then let turn golden brown.

Serve hot with sambhar and chutney.


             COUNTDOWN TO DIWALI-  9 DAYS TO GO !!!             

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October 29, 2007


karvachauthhenna on feet

  Application of Mehandi -a beautiful ritual on Karvachauth

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Calling all Coffee lovers- this one is a treat for you!, there's lotsa rich coffee flavor and to add that special touch I have added chopped bits of that famous toffee- Coffee bite -Toffee main coffee ya coffee main toffee???!!!(remember the ad???) , you can use any coffee flavored toffee for the purpose too, the result- a delicious chocolatey-coffee flavor with rich nuggets of Coffee taste in between!

25092007547-001                                                           Coffee bite Muffins

The basic recipe that I have used is the same as in KOKONUT ~KISSED MUFFINS all that I have added extra is-

  • 1/4 cup Cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp Coffee powder(Nescafe)
  • 4-5 Coffee bite toffees- chopped

Just omit the coconut and jam on top.I have purposefully not omitted the bananas ,since you can't really taste them and they lend a lovely softness to the muffins.Enjoy with Tea OR COFFEE?!

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October 24, 2007


The first time I had this soup was in Darjeeling, out of sheer curiousity-the name itself got me interested as to what it might be,and I haven't forgotten the taste ever since....

All of you who have ever been to this part of India would totally agree-the place is breathtakingly beautiful, I had gone there on a school trip - my first ever experience of staying away from home for  10 days! Can you imagine the sense of freedom :) only any of you who have studied in a Convent will be able to understand what I am talking about!!!

Anyway's apart from eyeing all the guys around (haha the good ol' days) ,we learnt a lot too- mainly about Buddhists(the place is dotted with beautiful monastries)we also saw Sikkim, Gangtok and all the neighbouring areas.Darjeeling has loads of Tea-gardens as all of you know, we bought several tins of this prized tea back with us.

Sikkim has Tiger Hill close by ,which is supposedly the closest you can get to seeing the Sun rise anywhere on Earth,we had to get up at 4 in the morning and jeep's take you up a very steep hill, almost vertical -then all you got to do is wait with chattering teeth and bitter winds -for the Sun to rise,but it's totally worth it,the Sun as it rises seems HUGE right in front of you,if you can imagine in your head what I am talking about,the Sun is so close you will feel direct heat on your face-Memorable sight!

Last but not the least the huge variety of Orchids and the Cuisine you get there, makes you want to go there again and again and again...

Now let's make the Thukpa first !


  • Tomatoes- 5 large and ripe
  • Ginger & Garlic paste-1 tsp
  • Carrots-1/2 cup sliced
  • French beans- 1/2 cup chopped
  • Cabbage- few leaves (tear into bite-sized pieces)
  • Cauliflower- separate into small florets
  • Aji-no-moto- a pinch
  • Green chillies- 2 sliced
  • Noodles/pasta- 1/2 cup raw
  • Lemon juice- 1 tbsp.
  • Chopped coriander/cilantro-a handful
  • Sugar- 1/2 tsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Chop tomatoes roughly add ginger and garlic and give several whistles in the pressure cooker, cool, blend and strain.

Put on heat again ,add the rest of the ingredients except for salt, lemon juice ,cabbage, coriander and ajinomoto and cook till veggies are done but still crunchy, add the seasonings and cabbage, cook for few seconds, garnish with cilantro and serve- SLURP! SLURP!


                         Thukpa- a spicy Tibetan soup

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October 23, 2007


Delicious, digestive, fresh, and spicy- I guess that totally sums up this pickle andddd of course EAZEE!!

Ready in under 5 minutes, make it- it's yum!!

I always keep a huge stock of so many pickles since I love them so much - so I have mango, mixed, stuffed red chilli, cauliflower-carrot-turnip,green chilli, mushroom, garlic, hot tomato, chilli garlic- the list just goes on and on.....! LOL


13102007734                                                      Fresh chilli,lemon,ginger pickle


  • Fresh lemons-6
  • Fresh ginger- 1 large piece
  • Green chillies- 15-20
  • Oil- 1 tbsp.
  • Deggi mirch(cayenne pepper)- 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds- 1 tsp.
  • Salt to taste


Chop everything into bite size pieces , reserve the juice of 1 lemon,mix everything together along with the lemon juice and add salt, transfer to a clean jar and refrigerate. THIS PICKLE CAN BE KEPT FOR UPTO A WEEK IN THE REFRIGERATOR.

Enjoy with everything and anything! at least that's what I do!!!!


                   Ek tazaa achaar



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October 18, 2007


etizersThis is a wonderful- quick, easy and Instant snack with unlimited variations, whip it up in a hurry ! ,when unexpected guests arrive or hunger pangs hit at mid-night !

It makes great use of leftovers too....and is ready in 2 minutes !

18102007758                                                                    Papad Rolls

The recipe is so easy and versatile I don't even need to write down quantities, all you need is a- couple of ready-made papads and a filling of choice-

  • mix vegetable-mashed up
  • paneer bhurji
  • mashed potatoes like we use in paranthas or
  • leftover aloo subzi mashed
  • any other leftover/cooked vegetable you prefer


Wet the papad slightly, carefully put a couple of spoons of filling and roll-up, the papad will stick together nicely like so-


the rolls- ready to go into the microwave

Microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes,  cut into pieces, let cool, the papad will become CRISP, serve with tomato ketchup/chutney.

These are rolling off to Srivalli ,thanks for hosting the event, and somehow I really wanted to participate inspite of the fact that I have recently picked up a new job which is very demanding BUT my love for blogging, will always be there so see you till next time and more quick,easy, instant recipes !.


Microwave Easy Cooking Event!

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October 14, 2007


Ever since Jai and Bee announced the "Click" event I HAVE had this stellar recipe spinning in my head, but it took me a long time to put everything together,reason being -I knew I needed an absolutely FREE day and loads of patience to pull this together. A long time back I had entered this recipe in a Cooking contest ,the theme of which was-"EGGS" and it had won the first prize.

 12102007692                                              Macaroon eggs in spun caramel nest

The "Coconut macaroons "as most of you must be aware of comprises mainly egg white and the recipe here makes them just the way I LOVE them -crisp on the outside and coconutty softness on the inside, the "NEST" is made up of spun sugar much like the candy floss that all of us {kids and grown-ups alike}love so much.

Making the "NEST" is slightly tricky , if you have no experience handling caramel  temperatures, but if you have even little experience, it will be easy.


(for 14 bite size macaroons)

  • Egg white- 1
  • Sugar- 4 tbsp.
  • Flour- 1 tbsp.
  • Baking powder- 1/4 tsp.
  • Salt- a pinch
  • Dry grated Coconut-4 tbsp.

for the caramel-

  • Sugar -1/2 cup
  • Water- 4 tbsp.


for macaroons-

Preheat oven to 180 deg. C.Take egg white in a CLEAN bowl, start beating , add salt , gradually add sugar , the egg white will start to thicken and resemble heavy cream -


           beating egg white and sugar

Tip in the rest of the ingredients and softly fold in with a large metal spoon. I am using mini muffin liners here so carefully put a small teaspoon into each liner, smoothing the top to make them resemble "eggs" :).Bake for 10-15 mins,cool.


                 the ready macaroons

For the "NEST"-

Now very carefully and with complete attention ,combine the sugar and water , place on stove, stir the mixture till sugar is completely dissolved, now bring to a rapid boil. Keep a small bowl filled with cold water ready, after few minutes of boiling the sugar syrup rapidly you will notice that it becomes very thick, and sticky and color changes to caramel brown, a drop of this syrup when dropped into the bowl of water should form into a firm ball, once it reaches this stage, remove and cool slightly.


caramel for spinning the nest

After 4-5 minutes , when syrup is sufficiently cooled, take a round steel bowl and working carefully, dip a wooden spatula in the syrup, when you pull it out it will leave silken threads- keep wrapping these threads around the bowl, till it is completely covered.


beginning of spinning the caramel around bowl

Upon cooling the nest slides off easily, add macaroon eggs and they are ready to serve.Enjoy the macaroons with a cup of Tea/coffee, my hubby crushed 4 macaroons, added a scoop of vanilla Ice cream , sprinkled the caramel on top ,and was in Heaven on Earth in 5 sec. flat, (acc. to him) !


12102007687121020076971210200769912102007711                                       coconut macaroons in the spun sugar nest

(sorry for the large number of pics, but just could not help myself )!

The first picture is off to "incubate" at Jai and Bee's event, till the roundup-

  This recipe and post is singularly the one I have put all my love, time and attention into till date(read almost 6-7 hours, about 60 pics and making the caramel 4 times !) but I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT !!!


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October 12, 2007


I think I have it with ALMOST all my meals, as a spread, as a dip ,in Devilled eggs too, I AM ADDICTED TO IT!!!, and so will you be once you make it :). This is my mom's recipe- she learnt to make it from a Tibetan couple during our stay in Mussoorie, this couple would make jars and jars of this pickle and eat it with EVERYTHING all through the long ,bitter winter in Mussoorie, and sometimes when it snowed and roads were blocked and no fresh vegetable was available, this pickle came to their rescue along with lentils for a satisfying, hearty meal.12102007717                                                           Green chilli~garlic pickle


  • Green chillies-3 cups, chopped
  • Vinegar/Lemon juice- 6 tsp.
  • Mustard/Refined oil- 6 tsp.
  • Salt-6 tsp. or acc. to taste
  • Mustard seeds-6 tsp.
  • Turmeric- 1/2 tsp.
  • Garlic- 5 tsp. ,crushed
  • Asafetida(hing)- 1/4 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder- 3 tsp.


Wash chillies, keep for few hours under the sun or fan to dry thoroughly, then chop into 1/2 inch pieces.Heat oil ,add the asafetida, and let cool.Grind the mustard seeds, toss everything together except for the vinegar/ lemon juice. Transfer to a clean glass bottle/crock pot. Keep in the sun and next day add the vinegar/lemon juice.

Let the pickle "ripen" and sour up preferably 1 week, in the hot sun, make sure to stir frequently, Happy Pickling !                                                

This pickle will definitely be relished by dear Zlamushka, I have gift- wrapped it up with a khadee worked (gold embossed) silk scarf, for her, since I wanted to send her a piece of India .12102007725

So THIS is  my entry to your event-"a spoonful of Christmas" -http://www.burntmouth.com/2007/10/spoonful-of-christmas.html

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October 11, 2007


RPulao ,possibly the most sought-after preparation ,whether it is veg or non-veg, pulao lovers want it all the time, and yes! for all of us who have had a hard day at work, a one-pot meal like this, is a boon. No making chapatis, dal, vegetable separately, just add everything in one go ,and there you are done !

Pulao's normally tend to be on the heavier ,greasier side, but here I am baking the pulao, which translates into simply, less toil, less time in the kitchen, all the veggies are intact and it's great for health, plus a touch of saffron for the exotic-loving ,so what are we waiting for, with just simple side-dishes of cucumber-tomato raita , achar and papad, your family will be left asking for more ! 21092007503                                                        Baked saffron rice pulao


  • Onion - 1 medium, sliced
  • Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
  • Capsicum - 1 medium, chopped
  • Carrot- 1 chopped
  • Garlic- 3-4 cloves, chopped
  • Rice- 1 cup, soaked for 15 mins.
  • cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
  • Oil- 2 tbsp.
  • Bayleaves- 2
  • Garam masala- 2 tbsp
  • Mint- 1 tbsp.,chopped
  • Green chillies,chopped- 2
  • Few strands of Saffron ,mixed in 1 tbsp milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven .Take a large baking pan,add oil spread onions,tomatoes, capsicum, carrots, cumin, garlic, green chillies and bay leaves, bake for 15 minutes, everything will get lightly browned and will be sizzling, add the rice ,masala and the salt and pepper, add water approximately one inch above the level of the rice ,sprinkle the saffron strands and milk on top, sprinkle mint and bake for approx, half an hour.21092007498      

       all the sliced and chopped veggies in the pan- ready for baking

I was very pleased with this pulao when I first made it, since it is absolutely no-fuss, and perfect for all those times you just don't feel like cooking much( and for lazy bones too). Each grain of rice separates perfectly and the veggies retain a light crunch, you can taste the subtle flavor of saffron and and the sharpness of mint as well, all in all highly recommended !                                         

The aroma of this pulao will find it's way to Sunita's event-at  http://sunitabhuyan.blogspot.com/2007/08/my-monthly-event-think-spice-think.html    My monthly spice event...

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October 7, 2007



The West Gopuram(entrance gateway to the temple enclosure),Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu (India).

FESTIVAL FOOD ! AAHHHH ! Nothing better, let the calories pile on,NO GUILT, SWEAR WILL DIET FROM TOMORROW ! HAHAHA!

Diwali is also just round the corner,yipee!,let the party begin !I am starting my personal party with Tamil festive food, wanna join in???

Just take a bite of this rich,creamy,nutty,sweet,delicious Pongal/payasam-


  • Rice-1 cup ,cooked
  • Milk- 3 cups,full cream
  • Sugar/Jaggery- acc. to taste
  • Dry fruits- mixed 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom- 1/2 tsp. powdered
  • Dry coconut- slivers 2 tbsp.


Boil milk in a heavy bottomed skillet, add rice ,cardamom and sugar/jaggery  and let cook , stirring all the time till thick and creamy, dry fruits can be- fried in desi ghee(clarified butter), then added or added without frying, choice is yours .Add the coconut slivers,grate some more on top.Serve warm or chilled,tastes excellent both ways !

Note:I know that traditionally yellow moong dal is added in Pongal, but I prefer it like this, much like the kheer ,we make in North India.Maybe this recipe could have also qualified for-Bellam Paramannam(sweet jaggery rice)!.23092007521                      Rich and creamy-sweet pongal/payasam

This pongal is on its way to vcuisine -http://vcuisine.blogspot.com/2007/09/rci-tamil-festivals-regional-cuisine-of.html

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October 6, 2007

Where did the word "Muffin" come from???

Cup cakes, Fairy cakes, Muffins almost all the same, but why the word "Muffin", is it because it is SUCH a cute name???, or because it rhymes with Magnificent, but then they most definitely are magnificent, I decided to delve a little deeper into history.

Researching the history of bread-related products is difficult because bread is THE universal food. Muffins, cakes, crackers, biscuits, cookies, sticky buns & Twinkies are not inventions. They are evolutions. All of these are variations on the theme of what happens when flour & water mix with human ingenuity.

What the food historians have to say about the origin of muffins...

"Muffin...a term connected with moufflet, an old French word applied to bread, meaning soft....The word muffin first appeared in print in the early 18th century, and recipes began to be published in the middle of the 18th century. There has always been some confusion between muffins, crumpets, and pikelets, both in recipes and in name. Muffin' usually meant a breadlike product (sometimes simply made from whatever bread dough was available), as opposed to the more pancake-like crumpets...Muffins were most popular during the 19th century, when muffin men traversed the town streets at teatime, ringing their bells. In the 1840s the muffin-man's bell was prohibited by Act of Parliament because many people objected to it, but the prohibition was ineffective..."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999(p. 517)

"Muffin...In Great Britain, a muffin is a traditional light-textured roll, round and flat, which is made with yeast dough. Muffins are usually enjoyed in the winter - split, toasted, buttered, and served hot for tea, and sometimes with jam. In the Victorian era muffins were bought in the street from sellers who carried trays of them on their heads, ringing a handbell to call their wares. In North America muffins are entirely different. The raising (leavening) agent is baking powder and the muffins are cooked in deep patty (muffin) tins. Cornmeal and bran are sometimes substituted for some of the flour."
---Larousse Gastronomique, Jenifer Harvey Lang editor [Crown:New York] 1988 (p. 703)

"Muffin...a small yeast cake usually sweetened with a bit of sugar. In England muffins were once called "tea cakes," while in America muffins are served primarily for breakfast or as an accompaniment to dinner...The origins of the word are obscure, but possible it is from Low German muffe [meaning] cake. The term was first printed in English in 1703, and Hannah Glasse in her 1747 cookbook fives a recipe for making muffins. Mush muffins (called slipperdowns in New England) were a Colonial muffin made with hominy on a hanging griddle."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Freidman Books:New York] 1999 (p. 211)

"Sometimes misnamed gems, muffins were baked in deeper pans and were not quite as breadlike as gems. Muffins graduated from being cooked in a utensil called muffin rings to a special baking pans. Muffin rings were hooplike accessories placed directly on a hot stove or the bottom of a skillet. Batter was then poured into them. The rings did not prove to be as popular with muffin consumers as molds of the same period. However, their demise as holders of raw muffin batter was not in vain, for they remain a valuable kitchen accessory to make popular English muffins or fried eggs. The muffin molds of the nineteenth century turned out to be an extremely deficient product. The baked their contents thoroughly and very evenly..."
---The Old West Baking Book, Lon Walters (p. 34)

About English muffins
"English muffins" as American know them today are most closely connected with the ancient Welsh tradition of cooking small round yeast cakes known as "bara" [bread] "maen" [stone] on bakestones. "English muffins" were later cooked on griddles, as opposed to muffin tin.

Guess that falling in love with Muffins is good for learning History! hahaha !

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I have to confess- I am in love....with Muffins !!!!, I am baking them well almost everyday in all their glorious avatars!, adding and deducting ingredients along the way,they give me immense satisfaction and very happy neighbours too !

Make these, it's the perfect muffin recipe I have !The bananas lend them a sweet,creamy,honeyed flavor and soft texture and a heavenly aroma while baking.The coconut is  grated or sprinkled on top just like a light, soft ,feathery kiss !

04102007640                                kokonut~kissed muffins


(makes about 12)

  • Butter- 2 generous tbsp.
  • Sugar- 1/2 cup
  • Flour- 1 1/2 cups
  • Baking soda- 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking powder- 1/2 tsp.
  • Bananas- 2 overripe, mashed
  • Walnuts- 2 tbsp. chopped
  • Egg- 1
  • Vanilla essence- 1 tsp.
  • Salt- 1/4 tsp.
  • Dry/ dessicated coconut- little for sprinkling over


Cream butter and sugar together very well, add the egg and beat, tip in the rest of the ingredients and stir, it will be a thick batter, drop tablespoons into lined muffin trays ,grate some dry coconut or lovingly sprinkle on top, bake for 20-25 mins. at 180 deg.C, after 10 minutes check that the coconut on top should not be burning, lower temperature if it is.Cool add 1/2 tsp. of jam on top.04102007627   04102007644                     Delicious banana,walnutty,kokonutty muffins

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October 4, 2007

CUTE LIL' COCKTAIL IDLEEZ... with Sambhar and Rasam

A lazy weekend brunch, of IDLEEZ-(EASY IDLIS / IDLIS WITH EASE!) is something that satisfies and soothes, I am giving you the recipe for exactly that kind of thing, and it's sooooo easy!

The Idleez are ready in minutes, are soft and spongy , and look real cute, recipe of sambhar I am not including since all of you are experts at it, recipe of Spicy tomato rasam you can find here.

03102007616                                        Cocktail idleez with sambhar and rasam

for the Idleez-

(makes 22 bite sized one's)

  • Semolina/suji- 1/2 cup
  • Sour curd- 3 tbsp.
  • Soda-bi-carbonate- 1/2 tsp.
  • Cashews/almonds- 2 tbsp.
  • Desi ghee/clarified butter- 1 tsp.
  • Salt to taste


Heat ghee in a skillet, add the broken cashews/almonds , roast till golden brown, add suji , dry roast , stirring continously till light creamy brown.


                     dry roasting the suji

Add the curd and enough water to make into a thick batter like consistency, add baking soda and salt.Grease cocktail idli stand(which is the same as a regular idli stand but the molds are much smaller, to give you bite-sized idlis) add 1  teaspoon of the batter into each little mold, steam for 10-15 minutes, serve with sambhar and rasam.

I ate them by alternately dipping one idli in sambhar and one in rasam and polished off at least 10 of these beauties at one go!0310200760703102007618                                       Cocktail Idleez, sambhar and tomato rasam

Another variation I love to do for a packed lunch/snack is - heat a tsp of oil, add mustard seeds and a few curry leaves, as well as juliennes of veg. like carrot, beans and capsicum some sliced onions and green chillies ,add idlis, toss around and pack it up for a healthy idleez tiffin/snack.



                 MTR Rava Idli Instant Mix

Did you know that Rava Idlis were first invented by MTR , during World War II ,when rice was in short supply, MTR experimented and came up with the enormously popular- "Rava Idli".

The packet contains a dry mixture of suji, hydrogenated veg. oil, bengal gram dal, cashewnut, curry leaves, mustard ,green chilli and ginger, just add curd and steam, makes 10-12 idlis of about 45-50g each.Serve with coconut chutney and potato sagu.

Another MTR product I use all the time -my beloved Sambhar powder03102007611              

                MTR Madras sambhar powder

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