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November 25, 2009



I first read about dulce de leche at David's blog several months ago and I must admit it has been on my mind ever since,... then why has it taken me so long to actually make it?, because I was scared!, scared of all those calories in the can of condensed milk and of the long cooking process, so I finally hit upon a really easy way- dulce de leche in 3 minutes flat!, what could be better??, I took these to work and believe me I have people asking me for more everyday, these caramels are beyond delicious, rich, silky, gooey,melt in the mouth...

My mom once made some kind of toffee from a can of condensed milk, it was cooked on the stove top is all I remember and I absolutely loved it, now I think it must be something like dulce de leche caramels, so I did get a taste of them as a child!

I made these in the microwave, and they came out perfect, no long hours of baking, no danger of explosions, this was like a walk in the park!, to make these I took one can of condensed milk and emptied the contents into a LARGE microwaveable bowl, large because the milk bubbles and rises to the top-

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Place bowl in the micro and set on medium for 3 minutes, remember that you have to keep a CONSTANT EYE ON IT, do not leave unattended, pause and stir initially at 30 second intervals and then at 15 second intervals, after 3 minutes you will have something which resembles curdled milk, don't be scared just whisk well and it will form into a silky paste-

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If you are looking for the runny dulce de leche, stop here but if you are planning to make caramels, cook for a further 30 seconds, as you can see in the picture below, the milk starts pulling away from the sides and forms a lump upon cooling.

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Shape into small rounds when slightly warm and roll in clear sheets, like toffees, pop one in your mouth, enjoy! beware they are highly addictive!!!


This is my 100th post for this year and my second blog anniversary whizzed by recently, so to celebrate both I am giving away this beautiful traditional polki bangle, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post, I will ship this anywhere in the world so everyone can participate :)

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November 21, 2009


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In my previous post I had mentioned about how our childhood influences our tastes and preferences towards food, this is another one of those recipes which is unforgettable and a childhood favorite, these coconut laddus are probably the easiest, practically fool proof and delicious way of making laddus in minutes with just two ingredients!.They are on the table in a jiffy when unexpected guests arrive or when I am feeling lazy but craving something sweet, inspite of the simplicity of the recipe there is absolutely no compromise on the taste and they simply melt in the mouth.These laddus are really luscious and gooey which means that kids just love them.To make these you need-

  • Dessicated coconut- 2 cups

  • Condensed milk- 5-6 tbsp

Toast coconut lightly in a heavy bottom pan, add the condensed milk and cook for 2-3 minutes till it leaves sides of the pan and forms a lump, let cool a little, shape into small laddus, roll in some more coconut and serve when completely cooled.ENJOY!

These laddus are off to Indrani for her event-Festive snacks of Navratri and Diwali and to RV for her kids special event.

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November 17, 2009

MEXICAN TACOS FOR VEGETARIANS...made from a scratch!


Much of my food choices and preferences are influenced by what I liked and disliked as a child, though as a grown up, now I love certain foods which I detested earlier, but I find myself craving for stuff I had sampled as a child and liked, it attaches a certain sentimental value to the whole cooking process.We were a bunch of happy, hungry kids and there was never a dull moment in the house, there was this certain sense of security that you can have only as a child, that your parents are there to take care of everything :).Now when I think back of any place as home it is of that house in Dehradun, with a large mango tree and a lush bougainvillea canopy in the verandah, and that time when we were careless kids and would dance with gay abandon.It is in this same house that my love for food was born and some of my best childhood memories center around Black forest cake (my mom made on her wedding anniversary ) with a very messed up cream piping and a fallen souffle...

Mexican Tacos was a two letter food word we read in the books, as kids we were really excited that mom, who was taking cookery lessons at that time had learned how to make these and would be trying them out, they turned out so good and we gorged on them, so the memory stayed and today after years I made them from what I remembered, for my new family, another place another time so far away yet so near my childhood ...

Ready made taco shells are yet to hit the Indian market so I made mine from a scratch, once you get all the ingredients ready these tacos are really easy to just assemble and serve, in fact guests can also just do it themselves, to make these you need-

  • for the taco shells-1/2 cup flour

  • 1/2 cup corn flour (makki ka atta, this is not the fine white cornflour but a pale yellow coarser flour)

  • salt to taste

  • Oil-1 tbsp

  • Refined oil for deep frying

  • for the bean filling- 1 cup cooked kidney beans (rajma) or baked beans

  • Cottage cheese/ cheddar- grated according to liking

  • for the salsa-Spring/green onions- 1/2 cup

  • Tomato- desseded and chopped- 1 large

  • Green chilli- desseded and chopped- 1

  • Lemon juice- 1 tbsp

  • Shredded cabbage- 1/2 cup

  • for taco seasoning-Mix together 1 tsp chilli powder, 1/4 tsp ground cumin pwdr, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp chilli flakes, salt and black pepper in a bowl and keep aside.

To make shells- Combine the flours, oil and salt and knead into a pliable dough, heat oil in a kadhai on medium heat.Roll out small balls of dough, if the edges are jagged, cut out with a katori or a small plate into a perfect round, fold into half or a semicircle and lower into oil, with the help of a slotted spoon keep the ends slightly open to stuff in the filling ...don't worry once you make 1 or 2 you will get the hang of it.Fry all the shells like this, drain and keep aside.If you are using leftover cooked rajma, dry them out completely, same with baked beans and keep them warm.Combine all the ingredients for salsa.To assemble-Take a crisp taco shell, layer gently with dried beans, then cheese then salsa, ending with more cheese, lastly sprinkle taco seasoning, as little or as much as you like and enjoy, serve immediately as they lose their crispiness on keeping.Guests can assemble their own shells as per their liking, these can me made 2-3 hours ahead of time and asembled at a minute's notice.I know that the real deal is different but I made them keeping my family's tastes in mind, believe me they turned out superb and everyone simply loved them!In fact now I know why they are Mexico's favorite street food!


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November 12, 2009


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All of us desire it, lust after it and spend thousands on it, yes I am talking about flawless skin, it is every Woman's dream and envy at the same time, yet there is nothing as beautiful as good skin, have you ever touched the skin of a new born?, oooh pure bliss!.Let's make a super salad that takes you closer to the skin of your dreams, and I promise you if you have a bowl everyday, in a month's time your skin will absolutely glow :).To make this you require-

  • Guavas (firm green one's)-2

  • Carrot- 1 large

  • Radish- 1 small

  • Baby spinach- few leaves

  • Walnuts- a handful

  • Lemon juice- as required

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Slice guavas lengthwise, discard seeds, slice guava, carrots and radish into matchsticks, wash spinach well, toss together in a large bowl squeeze lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle walnuts on top.Chill for half an hour so that flavors mingle in, serve.

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I used the freshest baby spinach you can ever use, plucked right off my kitchen garden :)

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  • Guavas can help improve your skin texture and avoid skin problems more than the best of beauty creams or skin toner gels can do. This is chiefly due to the abundance of astringents in its fruits (more in immature ones) and in leaves. It will tone up and tighten the loosened skin.In addition to the astringents, guava is very, very rich in vitamins A, B, C and potassium which are very good anti-oxidants and detoxifiers and keep your skin glowing and free from aging, wrinkles and other disorders.

  • Carrots are regarded as the 'herbal healer' of skin diseases as they promote the repair of skin tissue. Carrots are a valuable source of Vitamin A, which is a major vitamin for skin health. Carrots are rich in antioxidants, including phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, which protect, nourish and moisturize the skin. Nutrition received from carrots helps to reduce photosensitivity to promote skin renewal and protect the skin from sun damage.

  • Ever noticed that Popeye has great skin as well as bulging biceps? Probably not :). But you can credit his love of spinach for his great health. Spinach - and other leafy greens like cabbage, kale and watercress are a great source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, E and the mineral iron - essential for keeping your blood healthy and your skin bright. They're also rich in B vitamins, so they have the added benefit of boosting your energy (and so in turn your activity levels and your 'glow' factor). Try adding rocket, watercress or baby spinach to your regular salad and in sandwiches.

  • Eating walnuts regularly is a good way to help improve the general smoothness and softness of the skin.Walnut oils contain linoleic acid, which helps to maintain the skin's structure, keeping it well hydrated.Vit E and Zinc, also found in walnuts are great for the skin.

Reason enough to go make a bowl of this salad???

I am a dietician/nutritionist by profession, mail me if you have any diet related queries :)

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November 9, 2009


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The other day I came across some green tomatoes at the farmer's market and bought them with Fried green tomatoes on my mind, trying to imagine what they would taste like but not really getting it, when I did make them however I was pleasantly surprised, they were just what my tastebuds crave- sour and deliciously crispy, they really looked like tikkis or cutlets and no one could make out by just looking that there is a hot and juicy tomato slice inside!

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They are incredibly simple and with very few ingredients, yet they are fun and tangy, you can bread them ahead of time and keep in the fridge, even a day before, I even took them to work for breakfast with scrambled eggs and toast and they were very good!, here's what all you need to make them-

  • Fresh green tomatoes-4

  • Egg-1

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Fresh or dried breadcrumbs-1 cup

  • Refined oil for frying

Wash the tomatoes and dry, chose very firm unblemished tomatoes, slice 1/2 inch thick and pat them with paper towel to soak excess liquid, crack open egg and beat well with salt and pepper.For the fresh breadcrumbs I simply take 3 slices of brown bread and pulse in my coffee grinder, ta-da fresh breadcrumbs are ready!.Season breadcrumbs with salt and pepper too, if like me you like it hot, sprinkle some chilli flakes in too :), now take the tomato slice and dip in egg, coat well with the crumbs and press down gently so that they stick well, shallow fry in a non-stick pan till golden and crispy, serve immediately.

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November 5, 2009


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Deliciously soft and moist, in fact one of the best cakes I ever made! my brother was raving about carrot cake and pressing me to make it, I just did not understand what the fuss was all about, but never the less decided to give it a shot, maybe because of my fixation for carrot halwa, I thouight it might taste somewhat familiar, though it does not taste even a wee bit like halwa but this sure has turned to be one of my favorites, and will be making it all through the cold winters, since this cake is so heart warming.

The thing here is that I used clarified butter or desi ghee as we call it here, to make this and boy! was I glad, it was sooo good, Desi ghee is a staple in all Indian households and especially here in Northern India we tend to stock it up for the winters, and a dollop is lovingly put on top of all lentils and veggies, to give it an extra special warm taste that is so good for the soul! .To make it at home- melt butter in a pan and let it bubble away gently till the residue at the bottom turns golden, cool and filter into clean jars, this clarified butter will keep for several months, I think I will be using desi ghee for a lot more baking from now on...

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This cake has a lot less amount of fat than normal, I guess since the carrots are also moist and with just a subtle hint of cinnamon, very good with some Vanilla Ice cream or clotted cream, a friend at work tasted it, raved about it and said it would be even more awesome if I sandwiched a layer of icecream and did a flambe with rum on it! hmmm good idea, I still have some left :)... to make this cake u require-

  • Clarified butter-3 tbsp (60 gms)

  • Sugar (powdered)-1 cup

  • All purpose flour-1 cup

  • Baking powder-2 tsp

  • Carrots (grated with the big holes side of grater)-1 and 1/2 cups

  • Raisins- a handful

  • Walnuts (if desired)- a handful

  • Eggs-2

  • Vanilla extract-1 1/2 tsp

  • Cinnamon-1/4 tsp

Beat softened clarified butter and sugar together till creamy, add the eggs and vanilla essence, tip in the carrots and mix well.Combine flour and baking powder, and add to the egg mixture, next add the raisins, nuts and cinnamon.Pour into prepared cake tin, bake in preheated oven at 180 C for 45 minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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