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May 30, 2009



A search on google throws up the name of a few restaurants serving Kashmiri food, there is nothing I could find that shows the beauty of this traditional Kashmiri utensil, so painstakingly carved out of hand, look closely and you will be able to see the "chinar" leaves reminiscent of beloved Kashmir...and a bygone era...


Immerse yourself in the intricate workmanship and you will realize you are transported back in time...to the Valley...


'Gar firdaus bar rue zameen ast / hameen asto, hameen asto, hameen ast'

(If ever there is Paradise on Earth / It is here! It is here! It is here! )

- A farsi couplet of Amir Khusrau believed to have been uttered by Jahagir for paradise Kashmir.

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May 28, 2009


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Summer fruits have flooded the Indian Market and I just had a couple of luscious juicy lychees, my favorite fruit since I was a child.It is one of those fruits, out of which very few things can be made and tastes best left alone, yesterday Gagan got 2 doz. Mangoes, peaches,bananas, and of course lychees and the refrigerator is overflowing, in the same order I want to make- Mango cheesecake, peach crumble and banana bread...but hate to think that making all that means eating it too and last week's cheesecake is already jiggling on my hips!

I think I will pass all this up for some guilt free Sugar free oatmeal cookies, at least I will fulfill my cravings and feel like a good girl afterwards...???

Can I have a teensy weensy slice of cheesecake now :)???(little girl voice in me!)

OKAY, OKAY.. Gotta be STRONG and not give way to TEMPTATION...

I made these with Sugar free "Natura" (low calorie sugar substitute powder concentrate), which is basically Sucralose, a derivative of sugar, the advantage of baking with it is that it is heat stable which means you can cook or bake with it without any loss of sweetness.The bottle comes with a tiny spoon for measuring, and one tiny spoon is equivalent to 1 tsp natural sugar, the bottle contains 200 spoons of the powder, I like the taste better than any other sugar substitute.Here is the list of Ingredients-

  • Wholewheat flour-1 cup

  • All purpose flour-1/2 cup

  • Quaker Instant oats-1/2 cup

  • Butter- 4 tbsp.

  • Raisins- a handful

  • Vanilla essence-1 tsp

  • Sugar free natura- about 5 tiny spoons (measure with the spoon provided in the bottle)

  • Baking soda-1 tsp

  • Milk- as required


Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, rub in the butter with your hands add as much milk as needed to knead into a smooth dough, shape into balls and flatten with the palm of your hads, place on foil lined cookie sheets and bake till golden brown on top..Enjoy with a cup of coffee for some guilt free snacking.

My friends at work loved these and so did my diabetic father-in-law, my husband tasted them and never noticed that I had used Sugar free!For me they win hands down as they are high fiber and low cal and most important thing they take care of my sweet tooth!

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May 25, 2009


"Sometimes a recipe comes along that's so spectacular that you feel compelled to climb your way up to the top of the nearest alp and sing like Julie Andrews, giddy and overflowing with such love for the world that the power of your emotions threatens to send you skidding down the mountain on the backside of your lederhosen.

"Or you could just blog about it.

Either way, this is one of those recipes:

apt words of Susan of the Fat free Vegan kitchen, I could not have described it any better...

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Panch phoran (Bengali: পাঁচ ফোড়ন) (also known as panch puran, panch phutana (Oriya), or five-spice mix) is an Indian-Bengal, Assamese and Oriya spice blend typically consisting of five whole spices in equal measure, as defined below. In Axomiya or Bengali, panch phoran, and in Oriya, panch phutana, literally mean "five spices".(Source-Wikipedia)

The recipe is from Susan's blog and can be found here

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I relished the delicious dal with freshly boiled rice, roasted poppadums and green chilli pickle, just thinking about it makes me drool...believe me it was so amazingly fabulous!

This wonderful traditional recipe is off to Vaishali for her Tried and tested event started by the lovely Zlamushka

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May 23, 2009


mascarpon cheesecake.JPG

I have a whole list of stuff you don't get here in India, like blueberries or asparagus or for that matter mascarpone...Sometimes I wish for the really little things like maybe hundreds and thousands...and all that lovely cake decorating and yummy eating stuff that is so readily available abroad! Top of my wishlist is filled chocolates aaahhh..

Anyways you can imagine my happiness when I came across Vera's recipe for homemade mascarpone cheese... and it turned out sooo beautifully

The minute I added the lemon juice to the gently heating cream, you won't believe it-I got a whiff of CHEESECAKE! So that's what I made...no kidding here :)

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I had an eye on Abbey's infamous cheesecake , ever since the daring bakers took it up and with mascarpone at hand who could stop me?I took the recipe from Sunita's World which can be found here.The only change I made was the addition of 1/2 cup chopped luscious mangoes, and another half a mango, sliced for the top..., super soft, light, creamy and delicious is all I can say about this divine cheesecake...

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This cheesecake is off to Poornima, who is hosting my event this month-These are a few of my favorite things:Cheese, thanks dear, and to Neha who is hosting MBP-Mango masti, event started by Coffee of Spice Cafe


The pic above -I topped the cake with some more sweetened mascarpone and chopped mangoes....oooooh yummy!

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May 20, 2009


chocolate ginger cookies.JPG

The recipe for these cookies is adapted from Jugalbandi's Smart Sweets:Vegan Ginger-Chocolate Chip Cookies, do read up their post which highlights the numerous health benefits of these cookies before making these so that you feel really great, just like I did!.

I used the following ingredients( you can include or omit according to your preference and availability) I however omitted chocolate chips altogether since I was making this for a diabetic, they turned out very, very good...


  • All purpose Flour-1 cup

  • Wholewheat flour-1 cup

  • Quick cooking Oats (ground to a powder in a coffee blender)-1/2 cup

  • Molasses-1/2 cup crushed

  • Baking soda-1 and 1/2 tsp

  • Cocoa-1 tbsp

  • Cinnamon-1/4 tsp

  • Fresh ginger- 1/2 tsp grated

  • Salt-1/2 tsp

  • Water-2-4 tbsp

  • Refined oil-1/3 cup

Method- Exactly the same as here

chocolate ginger cookies1.JPG

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May 17, 2009


fresh peaches.JPG

The minute I saw this cake I knew I HAD to make it and fast, I don't think I need any accompanying stories, introductions or declare my love for peaches, the pictures and the gorgeous cake says it all...

I made this the exact same way as Susan of Fat free Vegan kitchen had in her gem of a recipe which can be found here, Lolo of Vegan yumyum made it too and had taken it a notch up with a tutorial on how to cleanly peel and slice peaches, you can find her post here, a must read... so go ahead make this simple, low calorie delight, you will not be disappointed, I promise!

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This fab cake is on it's way to please Vaishali of Holy Cow who is hosting Tried and Tested, an event started by the lovely Zlamushka.

peach upside down cake1.JPG

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May 13, 2009


My grandmother lived the life of a princess in Kashmir... before partition. She would reminiscence about the "Bals" a lot, (father and grandfather of the famous Indian designer- Rohit Bal") they were apparently great family friends! and also about the magnificent clothes she would wear, sometimes her dupattas had hand carved fishes set out in real gold, sewn on them, and all the great parties they would go to all the time, little did she know that it was all shortlived, and with the British Raj, all of this would also go away...

After partition the family fled Kashmir with whatever little they could carry, one of those things was a beautiful Teaset in pure silver, and with little money decided to start a new life.Her father soon met with simple young man hailing from Hoshiarpur (Punjab) who I am told had nothing to his credit but was hardworking which was the only quality seen and soon my grandmother was married off to him, after marriage the real struggles of life began and I am told that at times they had no money to eat also, and my nani would sell off her precious possessions one by one for the next meal.

Inspite of the trends of those times, she was well educated and a Dentist by profession, had done a number of courses specially in Food and preservation, and was a fabulous cook, her Chicken pulao was to die for!,some other things she used to make were not common in any Indian kitchen in those times, like her famous Brinjal sauce, Walnut cake, Caramel pudding and so on....my guess is that the influence of the British was apparent, but mind you her recipes were a closely guarded secret and one she would never like to disclose and alas!..have all gone with her, though otherwise she was kind, spent all her time in the kitchen and never scolded her two children!My family says I take after her where cooking is concerned..but I have tried to recreate her pulao hmmm with little success...

Time passed by and I think because of all that she went through my nani developed an Obsessive compulsive disorder and would never throw out even a piece of scrap, she also turned into a miser and a hoarder of mammoth proportions!, as my grandfather worked hard and was sucessful, my grandmother refused to budge and would always keep aside money in case bad times would befall upon them again, you will not believe me but when she passed away and we went through her stuff, it was heart wrenching to see that she had hoarded sugar, ghee, spices, dry fruits in her bedroom!, we also came across like a zillion metres of fabric, and atleast six pairs of the same design of shoes and sandals!

Well coming to the heirloom, more than a 100 year old pure silver teaset, I wonder how it never got sold off!, I guess so that I could blog about it here!!...

It is actually poetry in silver, with the signature "chinar" leaf , the beauty and spirit of Kashmir etched out by hand by a master craftsman...

so peaceful and serene hiding all the turmoil within, just like the Valley...

Savour the pictures...

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If you are interested in Kashmir or in the cuisine of the Valley do read my previous posts- Wazwaan the heart and soul of Kashmir

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May 11, 2009


hyderabadi style chicken.JPG

Try this chicken curry once and you will never forget the taste, I promise..I have no words to describe how delicious it is...so without further ado, here's the recipe.

  • You would be needing one tandoori chicken prepared this way

  • Onion-1 medium ground

  • Tomatoes-2 pureed

  • Lefover curd masala mixture from Tandoori Chicken


Fry onion in 2 tbsp of the oil leftover from frying the chicken, in the same pan, after onion turns light brown add the tomato puree and cook for 5-6 minutes now tip in the leftover curd masala mixture, and cook for 15 minutes, add chicken pieces, serve hot with naan or rice, yum!

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May 9, 2009


marble cake1.JPG

I have had a fascination for this Cake since childhood, I guess colors always capture your imagination and tasting different flavors in the same slice must also have added to the magic,The basic recipe I chose was my favorite Butter pound cake, after you have the batter ready, simply divide it into three smaller bowls and add vanilla to one bowl, 1 tbsp cocoa powder to the second and 1/2 tsp orange flavor and few drops orange color to the third, that's done. Grease and flour the cake pan and alternate tablespoons of all three favors, like one tbsp.vanilla, next cocoa and third orange, till all are used up, sprinkle some slivered almonds and pistachios on top, bake for 30-40 minutes.Here's a picture of the unbaked, vibrant cake batter, pretty na??-

marble cake.JPG

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May 6, 2009


chicken butter masala1.JPG

I like chicken and Gagan likes mutton so there is always a tiff there, thus I alternate between both for the sake of peace!, last time I made mutton curry so this time around, chicken was on the cards!

So here people... a really fab chicken curry with the subtle hint of butter to tease your taste buds!...it was really divine with fresh boiled rice and a crunchy green salad, will definitely be making this many times over!


  • Fresh chicken- 1 cut into 8 pcs

  • Onions-2 large (ground with little or no water in the blender)

  • Ginger+garlic paste-1 tsp each

  • Tomatoes- 2-3 large pureed

  • Garam masala-1 tsp

  • Green chilli-1 sliced

  • Butter- 50 gms

  • Refined oil for shallow frying.

  • Cumin-1/2 tsp

  • Cayenne pepper(deggi mirch)-1/2 tsp


Fry the chicken a few pieces at a time in the refined oil, keep aside.Take a heavy bottom pan and fry the onion paste in butter on a slow flame till brown add ginger,garlic and the spices and the tomatoes+green chilli, fry for 15-20 minutes till the masala leaves oil as well as sides of the pan, next add about 2 cups water and the chicken pieces, season with salt , cover and cook for atleast 15 minutes more, serve hot.

Hey, I have received my set of MOO mini cards , thxxx foodbuzz they are soooo cute!!

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May 3, 2009


pineapple cooler.JPG

I had mentioned earlier how much we love pineapple and Gagan never misses a chance to procure one the moment he sees it, with fresh pineapple however there is a little hitch-they are normally sour and one has to give them a good blanching in sugar syrup to be able to enjoy them, whenever I buy a fresh pineapple I am reminded of this particular fellow in Dehradun (my hometown) who used to make this summer cooler, after school if we used to go there and in the hot, thirsty summer months it was no less than nectar of the gods, how much I loved drinking it, the fellow is still there quenching the thirst of passerbys bang opposite Punjab National Bank in Astley Hall, I think this is how he used to make it..


  • Fresh pineapple-1 (skin,chop into bite sized pieces and boil in atleast 5 cups of water+1/2 cup sugar, cool and chill)

  • Limes or lemons- a few

  • Rock salt

  • few sprigs of mint


Spoon some of the pineapple pieces in a glass, add the boiled and cooled juice to it, squeeze half a lemon, add a pinch of rock salt, stir and taste ,adjust sugar acc. to taste, add lots of ice and garnish with mint, the combination of all these refreshing ingredients is unbeatable, do remember to put in a fork too, to scoop out the juicy pineapple chunks....enjoy!

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