Tuesday, July 31, 2007


When Vanamala tagged me to write a meme about myself, I was all up for it. I don’t know whether I have so many things to talk about me. But here it goes:

  • I am Marwari Jain, originally from Rajasthan but born and brought up in Chennai. I love my childhood days. I grew up in big family and lived with my grandparents, parents, 1 uncle, 5 aunts, 2 sisters, 1 brother and 2 cousins all under one roof. It was jus t like a Hindi TV Soap, but way more fun!

  • I have wonderful memories of my childhood – enjoying festivals and summer vacations, playing with or just talking to my cousins till late in the night, going on vacations and of course, cooking and eating. I still, to this very day, miss my cousin - she was my best friend. We do keep in touch even after being far away from each other.

  • In all the important occasions in our house, food was the main thing and there was always an extra emphasis on it. My grandmother and mother are great cooks. They used to cook so many dishes and even now they do it with the same zeal and enthusiasm. I love their hand made Marwari dishes - dal batti, churma, lapsi, magadh... The list just goes on and on.

  • When I got married I didn’t know how to cook at all. Immediately, thereafter, I came to the United States along with my In-Laws, who had come for a vacation here. It was very fortunate because, it helped me to learn from my mother-in-law (mummyji) so many intricacies about cooking that I was oblivious to. She is a great cook.

  • I finished my studies and came to U.S. While in the United States. I heard about Montessori from one of my friends and it sounded like a perfect thing to do. I love kids! So I joined Montessori course where I learnt about how to teach kids for 3 to 6 years old. I did the certification course for 1 yr and worked for 2 yrs.

  • Me and my husband love to travel, watch movies, go for hiking, camping etc. We both have many things in common.

  • I just started to blog last month. My husband thought I should share my recipe with everyone else. I started this as a time pass, but now I am so hooked on it. Apart from blogging I love to cook and do some art and craft work. I have done crochet, knitting, making flowers, candles etc.

I will end up my MEME…..
I have tagged Padma of http://padmaskitchen.blogspot.com/ and Poonam of http://poonamphatak.blogspot.com/
Please feel free to play only if you have the time.

Monday, July 30, 2007

French Onion Soup

There are few things more comforting than making a real French Onion Soup – slowly cooked, caramelised onions that turn mellow and sweet in a vegetable stock. The whole thing is finished off with crunchy baked croutons of crusty bread topped with melted, toasted cheese. This soup is hearty and filling enough for a light supper.

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time:
Serves: 4-6 people

Make a bouquet of spices:
3 bay leaves
12 peppercorns
10 to 12 leaves of parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
2 cloves or 3 garlic (whole)

6 cups thinly sliced onions
3 ounces of butter
1 tbsp of all purpose flour (Maida)
6 cups water or vegetable stock
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tsp soy sauce
4 slices to 6 slices French bread -- toasted
Slice of cheese

For the Garnish:
Sliced scallions or minced parsely

1. Make a bouquet of spices by placing bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley, thyme, and garlic in the center of a 12" square of cheesecloth, and tying the cloth's ends together. Set aside.

2. In a heavy pot, saute onions in oil over medium-low heat. Add salt to prevent sticking, and stir frequently. Cover pot with a lid, but leave it slightly ajar. Onions should saute for 30 minutes to 1 hour.They will reduce to about a third of their original volume and become sweet and golden. Then add flour and fry till the raw smell of flour is gone.

3. Add water or stock, soy sauce, along with the bouquet garni. Simmer at least 30 minutes. Remove bouquet of spices.

4. Season soup with extra salt,pepper, soy sauce, if desired. Place in bowls and top with French bread. Lay slices of cheese to cover the entire opening of the bowl. Bake at 350 degrees F or 5 minutes under a hot broiler. Garnish with sliced scallions or minced parsely. Serve hot.

Notes: The secret to onion soup is letting the onions caramelize slowly. If this step is rushed, not only could the onions burn, but your soup will lack depth of flavor. Once the soup is finished, divide into 4 soup bowls and top with French bread cubes then cheese. Broil just until cheese has melted and browns slightly. Make sure to put the bread cubes in first (and not omit it if using cheese) because the cheese will sink to the bottom of the bowl.

Friday, July 27, 2007


I love to try new receipes so I always surf online for something new and easy. So one day I was looking for some dessert receipe and I found this Brownie receipe online and it was a vegan version. I always thought that you cannot make brownie without egg, but when I saw this receipe I immediately tried it and it came out awesome. I forwarded this receipe to some of my friends and they really liked it. Then to try something else I thought of maybe putting choclate frosting on them. But they were perfect without it. Enjoy.

Ingredients (vegan version):
2 cups flour (use 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour)
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup baking cocoa powder
1/2 cup oil - preferably vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (optional)

1. Boil 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of the flour(wheat flour) over low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches the consistency of a thin gluey paste. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

2. In a bowl mix brown sugar, sugar, salt, vanilla essence, cocoa powder and oil. Then add the flour - water mixture. Mix well.

3. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour, baking powder and the nuts or chocolate chips, if you choose to add those.

4. Spread mixture into a greased 11 x 7 pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted and come out clean.

5. Cool it on a cooling tray. Cut it into squares and ready to eat.

Hyderabadi Zafrani Pulao

Believe it or not, this recipe is taken from a Hindi movie. Really!! When watching the movie "Cheeni Kum", the other day, Amitabh Bachchan (who acts as Chef in this movie) mentions this recipe in one of his dialogues. Every time Amitabh Bachchan said “Hyderabadi Zafrani Pulao” my stomach drooled and wanted to have it. I was very keen to try out this recipe. So today, at last I tried it; And to my delight it came out good. Zafrani is commonly known as Saffron. Usually Zafrani pulao is sweet, but this "Hyderabadi Zafrani Pulao" is the savory dish. I researched about this dish on the Internet and found that this very dish was considered to be a delicacy of the Nawabs (the Royals of the South) in India. This recipe has a very rich ingredients and with a rich aroma. Enjoy it!!

I posting this recipe for the Jihva for Rice hosted by Sharmi of Neivedyam. Thanks for organizing such a wonderful event on Rice. This is my entry for rice.

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins

450 gm (2 cups) basmati rice
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tablespoons ghee
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1 inch stick cinnamon
1-2 cardamoms (elaichi)
2-3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1"(25mm) ginger
2 cloves of garlic (optional)
pinch of saffron strands
10 tsp milk
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp sour curd
50 gm (1/2 cup) slivered almonds
25 gm green raisins or sultanas
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

1. Soak saffron in 2 tablespoon of warm milk for few minutes.
2. Meanwhile rinse rice and soak in fresh water for 30 minutes in a pan.
3. Heat ghee in a heavy saucepan. Add cumin seeds when they crackle, add onion and all the spices(cloves, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon), ginger and garlic except saffron to the hot ghee. Stir-fry until the onion turns golden brown.
4. Add almonds, raisins and well-drained rice, chilli powder, milk and sour curd, stir-fry for a further 5 minutes.
5. Pour water into the rice, It should be just the right quantity - one inch above the rice level.
6. Add the salt and saffron, stir well and bring to the boil.
7. Reduce heat, cover the pan tightly and cook on slow fire for about 20 minutes until the rice is tender and fluffy and the water is absorbed.
8. Fluff up the rice with a fork and serve immediately.

Note: Rice and water ratio is 1:2 so use accordingly.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Onion Tomato Chutney

This tangy chutney is usually served with idly, dosa and rice. You can also apply this chutney on the bread and eat as a sandwich. It taste yummy!!!

Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins

1/2 large onion, chopped
2 small tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
2 tbsp fenugreek (methi)
1 tbsp channa dal
2" long tamarind piece
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
2 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste

1. Take oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they start to crackle add fenugreek (methi), channa dal, pinch of asafoetida (hing) and tamarind piece. Fry for sometime.

2. Add onions, fry till they are translucent.

3. Then add tomatoes and fry for sometime.

4. Turn off the heat and allow them to cool..

5. Grind to a smooth paste.

6. Fry the paste by adding little bit of oil and mustard seeds when they crackle add the paste and fry it for few minutes.

7. Serve it with dosa, idly or rice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tandoori Gobi Masala

In this dish succulent pieces of cauliflower is marinated in tandoori spices. You can also marinate chunks of paneer, mushrooms or even boiled potatoes to make more interesting variation to this dish. You can serve it with roti or paratha. Enjoy!!!

Preparations time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 4

2 cups cauliflower florets, parboiled
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 cup onions, sliced
1 cup capsicum, sliced
salt to taste
1 tsp oil

To be mixed into a marinade:
1/2 cup curds, beated
1 tsp Bengal gram flour (besan)
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp kastoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1/2 tsp tandoori masala (optional)
1 tsp chaat masala
salt to taste

For the garnish:
1/2 tbsp chopped coriander

1. Marinate the cauliflower florets in the prepared marinade for approximately 15 mins.
2. Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the onions and capsicum and saute till they are translucent.
3. Add the cauliflower along with the marinade and saute for 10 to 12 mins till the cauliflower is cooked.
4. Add salt and serve hot, garnished with the coriander.

Note: Parboil the cauliflower florets in salted water. Blanch them in a bowl of ice water to stop their cooking. Take them out and pat them dry. The cauliflower florets should be underdone

Monday, July 23, 2007

Corn in Tamarind sauce

Corn in Tamarind sauce - a dish that I make sometimes, but every time it's a hit. I made this last night on a whim when I saw a corn sitting in the pantry, untouched for the past few days. I thought I will make this. In this receipe, Corn is cooked in gram flour (or besan) and tamarind pulp with our very own spices. Tamarind, which is a very intense in flavor in this dish, lends sweet and sour taste to the dish. Enjoy!!!!

Preparation time: 5mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 4

4 fresh whole corn
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds(jeera)
pinch of asafoetida(hing)
3-4 curry leaves
1/4 cup gram flour(besan)
1 cup tamarind pulp
1 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
salt to taste

1. Heat the pan add oil and mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they start to crackle.
2. Add asafoetida(hing), curry leaves fry for some time.
3. Add the chilli powder, tumeric powder and gram flour(besan) and fry till the lumps are gone and the raw smell of the flour is gone.
4. Add the tamarind pulp and salt to taste. Mix well then add the water mix again.
5. Place the corn in the sauce and cook it in the sauce or you can also pressure cook it for 3 whistles or till it is done.
6. Garnish it with corainder and serve it hot.
Note: You can cut the whole corn into halves.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Besan puri

Cooking is my passion, I keep on trying new recipes. As my husband always says "Cooking Is An Art, Don't be scared of trying new things". I totally agree with him on this. I originally learnt this recipe from my mother in law when she came to Seattle to visit us. The first time I tasted this it was good. A perfect dish for those nice rainy days. She makes this dish without onions, but in my pursuit to try something different I thought of adding onions. I personally feel that Onions goes with anything and the extra Oomph! factor. And it came out awesome. Loved it. Hope you try it and like it too.

Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins

For the dough :

1 cup of Wheat Flour (Atta)
Salt to taste
Water as needed to make the dough

For the stuffing:
1/2 cup gram flour
4-5 green chillies finely chopped
1 cup onions finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
3-4 pinches asafoetida(hing)
2 tsp amchur powder(Green mango powder)
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1"(25mm) ginger grated
1 tbsp. coriander finely chopped
Oil / Clarified butter for making the puri

1.Knead the flour with water and salt into a soft dough. Keep aside.

For the stuffing:
1.Heat a pan add oil, add the cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds starts to crackle. Add green chillies, ginger and asafoetida(hing) cook for sometime.
2. Add onions, fry till they are translucent. Add Chilli powder, tumeric powder, garam masala, amchur powder. Mix well. Then add gram flour and fry it till the raw smell of the flour is gone and it is cooked.
3. Add chopped coriander leaves and salt to taste. Mix well. Remove from the flame and keep it aside.

4. Roll out the dough in 4 cm diameter. Place 1 tablespoon of the stuffing in the centre and closed the edges. Roll out with a light hand using dry flour, in order not to break the dough open. Roll out aprox. 6 inches round.

5. Now cook on a tava (Griddle or pan) with Ghee (clarified butter) until light brown on both the sides.

6. Serve hot with yogurt or pickles.

Note: If you think there is less gram flour in the stuffing you can add more as needed.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Paneer Chettinad

Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest, oiliest and most aromatic in India. The name Chettinad cuisine comes from the fact that it is prepared by Chettiars – a community known for their extravagant lifestyles in southern Tamil Nadu. Pepper, chilly, garlic and ginger are some of the key ingredients, which are used by our chefs in Chettinad preparations. And since most of the masalas are home-made, they give a distinctive taste to the dishes. If you have a taste for the hot and spicy, this is the cuisine made for your palate!

Preparationa time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves : 6

200gm of paneer cut into big squares. Pierce the paneer with fork or knife
3 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp maida
1 tbsp besan
1 tbsp chilli powder
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup corainder leaves
8-10 green chillies finely chopped
2 tbsp jaljeera powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
salt to taste
1 tbsp curd
Pinch of tandoori color or orange food color
1 lime ka juice
4 tbsp of water
oil for deep frying

For the Garnish:
1/2 cup onions
salt to taste
1 tsp red chilli powder
few drops of lime juice
1 tsp oil


1. In paneer, add all the ingredients. Mix well with hands.
2. Marinade for 1/2 - 1 hour.
3. Shallow fry it in the tava with little oil or deep fry it in a kadai till it becomes crisp.

For the Garnish
a. Cut the onions into thin slices round.
b. Take oil in the pan add onions and fry it for few minutes till translucent.
c. Remove from pan and add lime juice, red chilli powder, pinch of tandoori color or orange color and salt to tste. Mix well
d. Place it on the side of the plate and place the paneer chettinad in the middle.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lemon rice

This is an quick and easy receipe which you can make with left over rice.

Preparations time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 4

2 cups basamati rice
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds(jeera)
pinch asafoetida(hing)
2 tsp urad dal
6-7 green chilli
1 inch (25mm) ginger
6-7 piece curry leaves
5-6 tbsp lemon juice
Pinch of tumeric powder
salt to taste
2 tbsp Indian butter(Ghee)

For the Garnish:
Chopped corainder leaves

1. Wash and cook the rice with 4 cups of water. Cook it in pressure cooker (wait for 1-2 whistles and then switch off the gas). You can also cook it in a pan or do microwave cooking just the same way as you cook ordinary rice.Once the rice is cooked, keep it aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan or a kadai.
3. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds, when they start to crackle
4. Add pinch of asafoetida, urad dal, green chilli, curry leaves and ginger. Saute for few minutes.
5. Add pinch of tumeric powder and rice and mix it well.
6. Add salt to taste and lemon juice. Mix well very gently so that the rice grains does not break.
7. Garnish with chopped corainder leaves.
8. Serve hot with chips or papad

Lapsi (Sweet Porridge)

We offer this sweet to the God and then distribute to everyone else as a prasad. Lapsi is believed to be the most auspicious food of God. Made of wheat, it is sweet to taste. The lapsi seems to be chosen by Goddesses as their food as it is very easy to prepare, good to taste, filling to have and the ingredients are easy available. In olden times the villagers made lapsi as a sweet note to dish for any household celebrations. Wheat used for daily bread, jaggery for curries and desi butter (ghee) with some water is all you need to make it.

Preparations time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins

1 cup cracked wheat(porridge)
3/4 cup Indian butter(ghee)
1 1/4 cup jaggery
3 cup water
pinch of saffron(kesar)
1 tsp of cardomom powder(elaichi)

For the garnish:
Chopped pistachios
Chopped almond(badam)

1. Take a pot boil 2 cup of water.
2. In another pot add jaggery and 1 cup of water and boil till the jaggery dissolves in water.
3. Take a pan add ghee and cracked wheat, cook it for few minutes till it is golden brown in color.
4. Then add jaggery water to it . Mix it and cover the lid till the liquid is evaporated by mixing occassionally.
5. When the liquid is evaporated add the boiling water and cover the lid again till the liquid is evaporated and the cracked wheat are cooked. If it is not cooked you can add more water if necessary.
6. Add the saffron and cardomom powder and mix it.
7. Garnish with chopped pistachios and badam.
8. Serve hot.