January 31, 2009

Apple Vanilla Cake and (a happy ending)

These days, I seem to be obsessed with adding fresh fruit to cakes. I think they make all the difference to the texture of the cake. And of course, it is healthy. I can't believe that around 6-7 months ago, I hadn't baked cakes with fresh fruit and now I seem to be doing that a lot. I didn't get to taste this cake. I'd made two of these cakes, one each for my friend and her mother. (She told me that the cake was excellent. Moist just way she liked it.)

1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
a Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Apple, peeled, cored and chopped finely
1/4 cup Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1/4 cup Raisins
1 Egg, beaten

To Decorate:

2 tsp Icing Sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon Powder

Sift all the dry ingredients for the cake together into a food processor jar with the dough blade. Pour in all the liquid ingredients and run the processor for 2 minutes. Blend in the apple and raisins.

Prepare an 8 inch round/square cake tin by first smearing a little butter all over the tin and then dusting it with flour. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 minutes at 350 F.

Bring the cake out of the oven and remove it from the cake tin. Sift the icing sugar and the cinnamon powder over the cake. Allow to cool.

What better way to celebrate the fact that Sulekha has removed all my content and has removed and banned the users who violated my copyright? Some of the photographs are still there, but Sulekha says belong to flickr. I figured that one of my pictures which I had sent to Laks for the Ganesh Chaturthi event that The Yum Blog had hosted also found its way to Sulekha through flickr. I have written to flickr and shall hope to hear from them. I am quite certain that Laks is also unaware that her pictures are out there on Sulekha. I am glad they listened. Thanks to them for taking quick action and to you all for standing by me and giving me support.

January 29, 2009

Phaggila Phodiyo (With a Sulekha Update)

Phaggil and Parval – two vegetables that we didn’t see on a regular basis. Maybe that is why I like them. I get a lot of Parval in Delhi and Gurgaon, and I have cooked it once. S doesn’t really like it. He also doesn’t like Bitter Gourd. So, he didn’t take too kindly to Phaggil either. It looks like bitter gourd. It is even called Jungli Karela in Hyderabad. I found this vegetable in the market many months ago. I brought some home, sliced them and stored them in the freezer. Someday, I thought. Someday.

We had invited two couples home for lunch a couple of weekends ago. I decided to make some vangi bhat, vendakka pachadi, rice, sambar and cabbage karumadhu. At the very last minute, I decided to make use of the contents of my Ziploc bag. So, when I started the preparations, I brought the bag out and let the contents thaw. I figured that even if S doesn’t are much for the vegetable, the others might enjoy it. My hopes were dashed when I served these on the table and one of the guests asked, “Yeh karela hai kya?”(Is this bitter gourd?) and S promptly replied, “Haan.”(Yes) I quickly said, “Nahin, yeh karela nahin hai. Ise jungli karela kehte hain.” (No, this is not bitter gourd. This is called Wild Bitter Gourd.) And then S went on to say something like, “It’s the same thing.” That did it. A couple of the guests didn’t even want to touch it. But hey, I don’t get phaggil everyday and I don’t deep fry everyday. So, if my guests didn’t eat it, it is a good thing (for me, that is). A couple of them did try it and maybe they liked it. Even S said, “Hey, this is not bitter at all.”

1 cup Phaggil, sliced

2 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1 tbsp Rice Flour
Oil for frying
Salt to taste

Place the phaggil slices on a plate and apply the salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder and asafoetida. Keep aside for 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a kadhai.

Sprinkle the rice flour over the phaggil pieces and make a coating of sorts. Deep fry the pieces in the oil and drain on a paper towel.

Serve with some rice,

dali-saar and any masla randeyi and make it a complete amchi meal.

Here's an update on the Sulekha issue:

I got an email from the lady in member relations:

Dear Arundhati Raghavan,

Thanks for the mails.

I would like to inform that based on your report & our investigations; that your blogs were plagiarized by our member “AndhraMirchi” I have deleted all blogs and the blogger completely from Sulekha’s records.

In regards to “saraamulu”. I’m sorry I can’t take action immediately because most of my technical team are away for their vacation’s; Monday being a holiday for the republic day. Please give me a week’s time to check, assess and delete. Meanwhile I request you to please send me a few links that have been plagiarized by saraamulu. I’m sorry for the inconvenience caused. Have a nice weekend.

Warm regards,


I have sent them this email and shall wait patiently for the week to end:

Dear Neha,

I hope you had a good weekend. I also hope that your technical staff is back from vacation.

Here's an update from my side.

I still find my photograph on this page:

The content on this page: is still what it was earlier. Saraamulu still seems to be a member.

The photograph on this page: is mine.

The photograph on this page: is also mine.

This photo: is also mine. Please let me know when all my content will be removed.



January 27, 2009

Pumpkin Walnut Soup

At one time, I only knew how to make a few basic soups. The summer of ’92 changed all that. I had 14 weeks of vacation and nothing to do. I started trying out new soups. Many years and many cookbooks later, I must say that this is now what I’d consider an “area of expertise”.

Since I make soups almost every night, I find that all the pictures look the same. Or do they? To add to this, we seem to drink the soup from the same bowls. And since I take a picture just before we eat it, I even forget to dress the coup up before taking a picture.

Without further ado, I present this foreign soup with very Indian flavours.

2 cups Pumpkin, cubed
1/4 cup Walnuts, chopped
1 Onion, diced
1 tbsp Oil
¼ tsp Chilli Powder
1/3 cup Milk
A pinch Garam Masala
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a pressure pan. Add the onion and fry for a minute. Add the chilli powder and garam masala and fry for another minute. Add the pumpkin and walnuts along with 4 cups of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles.

Drain the liquid and pour it into a pan. Blend the pumpkin-walnut mixture in a liquidizer and pour the contents back into the reserved liquid. Bring the soup to a boil over a low flame. Add the milk, salt and pepper and serve hot.

P.S. I used the yellow pumpkin (kaddu/parangikkai) in this recipe.

January 26, 2009

Date and Fruit Cake

Sometime between Christmas and New Year, S and I were invited to a dinner party. For us, it was an impromptu invitation. Until about 5 or 6 in the evening, we had no idea that there was a party nor that we were invited to it. And I usually can't think of what to take, especially at such short notice. Since I had some rum soaked fruits handy, I decided to make this easy date and fruit cake. I was told it was tasty (by S' colleagues). I didn't get a chance to sample this cake at all. I baked two of them in aluminium take away containers. I took one to the party and S took the other to work the next day.

1 cup Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Baking Soda
a Pinch of Salt

1/3 cup Date Syrup (mixed with 1/3 cup warm water)
2-3 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Dry Fruits (soaked in rum, optional)
1 Egg, beaten

Sift all the dry ingredients for the cake together into a food processor jar with the dough blade. Pour in all the liquid ingredients and run the processor for 2 minutes. Blend in the dry fruits.

Prepare an 8 inch round cake tin by first smearing a little butter all over the tin and then dusting it with flour. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 minutes at 350 F.

The cake has a Christmas Cake sort of appeal without any of the fuss. It is also quite healthy, low in sugar and fat, with the goodness of dates and other dry fruits. It is the perfect cake to celebrate Appa's birthday. By the time you see this post, my parents will be with us. I have tried very hard to be with my family every year in his birthday. (I used to make it a point to be there for Amma's birthday, until in 2001, she went to Bombay to attend a wedding about a fortnight or so before Appa and I had planned to go.I missed her birthday then, and somehow have not been very regular since. I still try. The only time I missed being with Appa on his birthday was in 1984, when he was in the U.S. and our visas took ages to come, so we joined him only later that year.) We shall celebrate the day in the best posible manner.

Happy Birthday Appa!

January 25, 2009

Ripe Plantain Fritters

Tea-time. I've really forgotten about that concept. At my parents' place, we had coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon. I had a glass of milk both times. There was always a stock of biscuits at home, and tea time didn't mean snacks of any sort. At almost all my relatives' places, tea-time was a ritual. So, while I can't say the concept is alien to me, I definitely don't relate it to it all the time.

We happened to be home one afternoon and I decided to make tea. I also found a couple of plantains in the fridge that didn't seem that raw to me anymore. I made these fritters that are usually made with Rajali Bananas (Nendrampazham). It didn't taste the same, but I we relished them nonetheless. And I was glad I didn't have to throw the plantains out.

2 Ripe Plantains, peeled

1 tsp Chilli Powder

1 tbsp Rice Flour

Salt to taste

Oil for frying

Cut the plantains in half and slice lengthwise. Add the salt and chilli powder and keep aside for 4-5 minutes.

Heat the oil in a kadhai. Add the rice flour to the plantains and mix well. Drop the plantain slices into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.

Enjoy these with a hot cup of tea. Just make sure the tea is ready when these fritters are. If you make these first and then make the tea, you may not have any left for you by the time you're done making the tea.

January 23, 2009

Tomato-Coriander Chutney

I can't remember the last time I made coconut chutney at home. I have started making thuvayals to go with idlis and dosas. I figured that if I sneak vegetables into the most unusual of dishes, I wouldn't have that much of a problem if one of my meals turned out to be a vegetable less one.

I made this chutney to go with these mixed dal and dalia cutlets. I made it again to go with some onion uttapams. It is full of flavour and I love the fact that we can eat as much chutney as we eat whatever we're eating it with. And not feel guilty!

3 Tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup Coriander Leaves, chopped

1 tsp Oil

1 Green Chilli, chopped

1 tsp Ginger Paste

2 Pods Garlic, chopped

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the chilli, ginger paste and garlic. Fry for a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and salt. Add the coriander leaves and cook until the leaves wilt. Grind the entire mixture to a fine paste.

The tomato chutney is ready. As a variation, you could also add some mint leaves. In a pinch, I'm sure I could have this chutney with some hot rice as well.

January 22, 2009

Chana Saar Upkari (and an update on Sulekha)

A cold winter day.

A hot raging fever.

A nastier cold.

A painful throat.

A runny nose.

This must be a familiar scene for a lot of people. I know that it was for me. Almost every year, when the weather changes, I seem to catch cold from someone or the other. My otherwise strong immunity takes a beating at about the same time each year. This recipe is perfect for those times.

1 cup Brown Chickpeas

4 Red Chillies

1 tbsp Tamarind Paste

1 tsp Coriander Seeds

Salt to taste

For the seasoning:

1 tsp Oil

1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds

1/4 tsp Asafoetida

7-8 Curry Leaves

Pressure cook the chickpeas with 4-5 cups of water. Drain the liquid into a vessel. Keep the chickpeas for the upkari.

Grind together about 2 tbsp of cooked chickpeas with the coriander seeds, tamarind paste, and red chillies. Add this paste to the liquid in the vessel. Add the salt and bring to a boil. In a frying ladle, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds and the asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves. Add this to the saar.


Cooked Chickpeas (from recipe above)

1 tsp Oil

4 Red Chillies

1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds

4-5 Curry Leaves

1 tbsp Jaggery

1 tbsp Coconut, scraped

Salt to taste

In a kadhai, heat the oil. Add the mustard, red chillies and the curry leaves. When the mustard splutters, add the cooked chickpeas, salt and jaggery. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Uncover and add the scraped coconut.

We had this as our Sunday lunch with some dali-saar, patrodo and rice. I'm sending this over to this month's edition of JFI: Chickpeas and to Srivalli's MLLA.

Update on the Sulekha issue:

I wrote to asking them to remove my content and ban the person who goes by the Sulekha username of AndhraMirchi. I got this response from them:

Dear Arundhati

Based on your mail, we have sent a mail to the blogger who posted the blog to remove the blogs. We were waiting for the blogger for an action till tomorrow and then we thought of removing the same. This is just to let you know that the reported content has been removed from our site.Also we would like to know if you could post your recipe blog in our site then it would be great. Please feel free to contact us at and we are happy to help you.



It doesn't look like the content has been removed. I spoke to someone in Member Relations and she told me that Sulekha contacted AndhraMirchi and the person responded by saying that the posts were made by a friend. When asked to remove the content, the person said that he would do this after checking if the content is really lifted from somewhere else.

In the meanwhile, I found these additional links:



The photo on this page is lifted directly from my blog post:

and the content is lifted directly from


Photo and content is lifted from:

3. Bread Upkari:

Word for word content lifted from:


Copied From:


Copied From:

I was told that everything will be done in 2 hours. What is the result? Nothing much except that in a few posts, the extremely creative AndhraMirchi has made some cosmetic changes. Changed cumin to jeera, changed 2 cups to 5 cups etc, etc. The cheapness of some people.

More recent update: I got a call from the same lady at Sulekha Member Relations. They were able to confirm that this person did indeed make these cosmetic changes during the course of today. They have removed the user from and along with the user they have removed all copied content. I don't think that is entirely true. I can still see some of the posts. Maybe it will take some time.

Cauliflower Phodiyo is word for word a copy from my post: The blogger is a different person called Saraamulu. I don't even know how to keep track of things like this.

January 21, 2009

Arisi Upma

Here I am with yet another variant of upma. It is a well established fact that I love this snack. I haven't made it that often with rice rava. And that's probably only because I didn't have easy access to rice rava. This is an absolute favourite with S and I.

1 cup Rice Rava/ Idli Rava
1 tbsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Urad Dal
1/2 tsp Chana Dal
1 Red Chilli
1 Green Chilli
1/2 tsp Ginger Paste
7-8 Curry Leaves
Coriander leaves for garnish (optional)
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a kadhai and add the urad and chana dals. When the urad dal starts to brown, add the mustard and asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the red and green chillies, curry leaves and ginger paste. Add the rice rava and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cups of boiling water to this. Add the salt and mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. The upma is done when the rava sets and is not sticky. Add the coriander leaves, if using.

Enjoy this upma with some lime pickle on the side. It's guaranteed to remind you of everything homely and nice.

January 19, 2009

Karnakizhangu Mashiyal (and some plagiarism)

Just as I can handle copious amounts of coconut, I love sour food. I have a problem with acidity and so I don't indulge in sour, hot or spicy food too often. But on Pongal, one of the dishes we make is Lemon Rice. I love eating it with another citrus flavoured dish, the karnakizhangu mashiyal.

Karnakizhangu is a vegetable very similar to Yam. Think of a sweet potato shaped vegetable with the taste and texture of yam and you'll have pictured the karnakizhangu. This is truly a "once a year" vegetable. At least at home. I doubt I've even seen this vegetable in the shops at other times.

2 Karnakizhangu, peeled and diced

1 tbsp Tamarind Paste

2 Red Chillies

1 tsp Oil

1/4 tsp Mustard seeds

1/4 tsp Asafoetida

7-8 Curry leaves

Juice of 1-2 Limes

Salt to taste

Pressure cook the vegetable with the tamarind paste and red chillies. Grind to a paste.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves. Add the paste along with the salt and cook for a few minutes. Add the lime juice.

Serve hot with rice. Or, if you're like me, enjoy a double dose of lime and have it with Lemon Rice. I'm sending this to SunshineMom for this month's edition of FIC-Yellow.

I was at Divya's blog and I noticed that she had a recipe for breadfruit fritters. I googled to get my own recipe so that I could share that link with her. The google search for Divkadgye Phodiyo actually revealed this link as the the top most link:

I was curious to see what that recipe looked like and I found my picture sitting right on top. I also noticed that the recipe was copied from my blog word for word. Someone called AndhraMirchi blogged about this dish on September 16, 2008, whereas the original post on my blog was posted on September 13, 2007:

I have left a comment asking her to remove the post. I have written to outlining my problem. I do hope something will come of this.

January 18, 2009

Mixed Vegetable Curry

There's a certain thrill in finding a new recipe and trying it out, however complicated it might be. But there are times when all you want is a simple something. Amma used to make this dish every once in a while. It went very well with chapatis. Or even with rice and dal. The rice and dal combination is my absolute favourite way to eat this vegetable.

2 Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" long pieces

2 Carrots, peeled and cut into 1" long pieces

20 French Beans, strung and cut into 1" long pieces

1 tsp Oil

1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds

1/4 tsp Asafoetida

1 tsp Sambar Powder

Salt to taste

Cook the vegetables in a pressure cooker for 1-2 whistles.

In a pan, heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. When the cumin seeds crackle, add the vegetables and saute them for a couple of minutes. Add the sambar powder and salt. Mix well, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. Garnish with some coriander leaves if you wish.

Simplicity at its best. You can vary the vegetables in this dish to include whatever you like. This is just what I happened to have on hand.

January 17, 2009

Here's what we thought...

I know this round up is about as late as it can get. I had everything ready for this post on time. I was rather organized (and I hope I haven’t left anyone out) this time around and as I wanted to save myself the last minute running around. But as luck would have it, I have been very busy otherwise and I am spending this morning, despite being under the weather, posting the round up as I am fairly determined to post my round up before the round up of the January event is up!

I received 17 entries in all to my Think Spice Think Carom event, and with the addition of my own entry, my event went on to become a full grown adult. Since we all thought about Carom so much, instead of a Pot Luck Party, we had a Thought Luck Party.

Here’s how the coming of age (well, sort of) party went:

Alka walked in with a plate of samosas. We set those up on the table with my masala arbi fries. Navita brought a plate of pop in pakodas. As everyone started digging in, Gayatri opened her box of savoury shankarpali. Then Aquadaze, who had brought some grilled chicken noticed that one plate was empty and went back to bring some more masala arbi. That is when Deepika opened her box of low-fat grilled cauliflower sandwiches. The children and adults seemed to enjoy everything that was on the table. Some of the children found the snacks a little spicy. That’s when Sanika pointed them to her khari biscuits.

Suddenly, it was time for dinner. Aparna brought a stack of hot misi rotis. We ate those and Sanika’s ajwain parathas with Bee and Jai’s fansi dhokli. There were avocado parathas from Priya and some more ajwain parathas from Preety. I opened up a bottle of pickles and we polished off Chandni’s thepla and Meera’s masala rotli. I ran in and brought out some curd so that we could savour Soma’s ajwain dal paratha and Suma’s ajwain onion parathas.

We were all really full and PJ had exactly what we all needed to settle our stomachs after that fantastic meal, some vata tea.

So, all in all, it was a fun party and a rather great way to ring in the new year. Thank you all.

January 14, 2009

Sakkara Pongal

The harvest festival, Pongal, is here. And I took the day off and cooked. I would normally put such stuff beyond me, but S had the day off. I requested the day off and since it was granted, I decided to make the most of it. Deepavali is my favourite festival, but Amma tells me that Pongal/Sankranti was really the most important festival. Considering we've been in the city for about 4-5 generations, I probably haven't made that all important connection with my agrarian ancestors. So, as with many other festivals, for me, this one, too, is about food.

A meal on Bhogi is the typical "pandigai saapadu". On Pongal day, Amma says the grinder is to be given some rest. So, our meal is mainly pongal. In different avatars of course. The basic rice and moong dal combination is used to prepare Coconut Rice, Lemon Rice, Curd Rice and Sakkara Pongal. And since it is the harvest festival, we have a sambar made with just about every vegetable. On Kaanum Pongal, the day after Pongal, we usually have Coconut Rice, Tamarind Rice and Avial.

Sakkara Pongal is the highlight of the Pongal lunch. I almost stopped eating Sakkara Pongal years ago when the mothers of two friends (both Palghat Iyers) gave me Sakkara Pongal with chopped jackfruit in it. This happened on two consecutive days. That killed both flavours at once for me. I have not been able to eat jackfruit since. Sakkara Pongal I have managed to start eating (once a year). Very soon I might get around to liking it again.

1/4 cup Rice

2 tbsp Moong Dal

1/4 cup Jaggery

1/4 tsp Cardamom Powder

1/4 cup Milk

a few strands Saffron

1 tsp Coconut, scraped

1 tbsp Ghee

2 tsp Cashews

2 tsp Raisins

Pressure cook the rice and the moong dal with 1 cup of water. Mash well. Dissolve the saffron in the milk and add this to the rice. Mix well.

Dissolve the jaggery in a little water and heat it until the jaggery dissolves completely. Strain this and bring the mixture to a boil. (It should come close to a one thread consistency.) Add the cardamom powder and the coconut. Stir in the rice-dal mixture.

In a frying ladle, heat the ghee. Add the cashews and the raisins. When the cashews turn golden, add the contents of the ladle to the pongal. Cook for a couple of minutes. The sakkara pongal is ready.

This was what our Pongal lunch looked like last year. Nothing really changed except the dining table itself. For two years in a row, I have managed to cook up the exact same meal that I ate year afyer year. (The only dish that I didn't make was Karnakizhangu Mashiyal. And that was only because I couldn't find the vegetable. I will post that soon. It is languishing in my drafts.) I must say I am proud of myself. The picture of this table full of food tells me that I did complete justice to my day off.

Happy Pongal/Sankranti to all of you. May you harvest every happiness this year.

January 13, 2009


During all those growing up years, I sneered at this dish. I developed a taste and even started loving its Gujarati cousin, khichdi. But Pongal was not something I liked. I could tolerate it with copious amounts of green coconut chutney. Wait, there was this one dish with which I think I may have even bordered on the “looking forward to this breakfast number”. Katrikkai Gojju (Gotsu) with chana dal. I somehow don’t make pongal that much and thanks to my logic of pairing stuff, I haven’t made the gojju either. Soon, soon.

It is that time of the year. The trio of festivals, Bhogi, Pongal and Kaanum Pongal, is here. Today is Bhogi. Had I been at home, I’d have eaten a typical “pandigai saapadu”. Mor kuzhambu, yelai paruppu, rasam, vadai and payasam. I ate a pasta salad for lunch today and maybe I’ll make up for it at dinner time.

Pongal or Venn Pongal (Venn = White) is a very popular breakfast dish across Tamilnadu. I am certain that you get this dish in Karnataka and AP as well, but considering how enthused I could ever be about eating Pongal for breakfast at a restaurant (where there are nicer things like dosas), I just probably haven’t noticed this. And as always, there are ways and ways of making this dish. This is the way I make it simply because this is the way I’ve always seen it made.

1 cup Rice
1/3 cup Moong Dal
1 tsp Peppercorns
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Asafoetida
1 tbsp Ghee
2 tsp Cashews
Salt to taste

Pressure cook the rice, moong dal, peppercorns and cumin seeds together with 4-5 cups of water, until the rice is soft and mushy. When done, mash well with a spoon and add the salt, asafoetida and half the ghee. In a frying ladle, heat the remaining ghee and fry the cashews until they turn light brown. Add this to the rice mixture. Serve hot with some sambar, chutney or katrikkai gojju.

This dish also forms the base for the entire Pongal lunch. Do come back tomorrow to see the traditional Pongal lunch we had each year while I was growing up. Happy Bhogi!

P.S. The round up of the Think Spice Think Carom will be up on the blog very soon. Sorry for the delay.

January 9, 2009

Beetroot-Carrot Soup

Cooking for one person isn’t always fun! But there are times when it can be interesting. I make stuff that I want to try out. It is nice to make something without thinking about whether the other person will like it or not. Less pressure!

I made this soup one night when I wasn’t expecting S home for dinner. My carpool mate suggested adding bottle gourd to the vegetable mixture. I was a little skeptical, but as it turned out, it was a very good suggestion. This recipe makes enough soup for one person.

1 Beetroot, peeled and diced
1 Carrot, peeled and diced
½ cup Bottle Gourd, peeled and diced
1 Onion, diced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pressure cook the vegetables with a cup of water. Blend this mixture in a liquidizer and bring it to boil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

January 7, 2009

Baked Soy-Vegetable Cutlets

Cutlets in some form make their way into our lunch boxes at least once a week. Sometimes they get inside a bun and take the form of burgers, sometimes they’re a snack and not the main meal. And while I pan fried them initially, I found that baking takes far less effort. And I can get other things done while the cutlets are baking away. Healthy, effortless and quick, these tasty cutlets are great at any time of the day.

1 cup Mixed Vegetables, cooked
1 cup Potatoes, cooked
1 Onion, chopped
2 tsp Ginger Chilli Garlic Paste
2/3 cup Soy Granules, prepared as per instructions on the pack
3 tbsp Bread crumbs
Salt to taste
1 tsp Oil + oil for greasing the baking tray

Heat the oil and fry the onions for 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger chilli garlic paste and fry for another minute. Add the potato and vegetables and mix well. Add the salt and mash the mixture.

Drain the soy granules and add to the vegetable mixture. Add the bread crumbs, mix well and shape into cutlets.

Grease a baking tray and place the cutlets on it. Bake at 200F for 15 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes.

Serve hot with sauce or chutney. I got around 12 cutlets from this recipe.

January 5, 2009


The dosa is my favourite while eating out. For some reason, I almost never order upma at a restaurant. Actually, it is simple. While eating out, I have a simple benchmark to rate the place: me. The deal is that if I can make something better than the chef at the restaurant, then it isn’t worth my while. Idlis can definitely be better at a restaurant as can be dosas, but I think I make a mean upma!

These dosas are very amchi. They have only three ingredients in all, are light and leaf thin and taste absolutely divine with the famous pitti chitni. Amma made this very often when we were kids. We’d put some pitti chitni over the already folded dosas and then spread some ghee. H used to eat each dosa in exactly three bites. That is my strongest memory of this dosa. I think I can now eat one of these in three bites. I choose not to. I take a very long time and savour each bite.

Polo in Konkani means dosa. I am told that the name panpolo (or panpole for plural) comes from the fact that the dosas are leaf thin.

2 cups Rice (Ponni / Sona Masoori)
½ cup Coconut
Salt to taste

Oil for frying

Soak the rice for 4-6 hours. Grind to a fine batter with the coconut and water. Add the salt and enough water to give the batter a consistency that is thicker than milk and much thinner than normal dosa batter.

Heat a well seasoned cast iron tava. Take a ladleful of the batter and splash it over the tava. Tilt the tava to allow the batter to cover any empty spots. (This is not a round dosa, so don’t fret over the shape.) Pour a little oil all around and over the dosa and allow it to cook. When done, fold in half and then fold over once more.

Serve it hot with pitti chitni if you can lay your hands on some. Else, coconut-coriander chutney works very well too.

January 3, 2009

Mooli Ki Roti

Amma made chapattis every once in a while when we were kids. The real treats, however, were her stuffed parathas. For a long time, she made just two varieties: Aloo Paratha and Mooli ki Roti. For some reason, we don’t call them Mooli Parathas just as we don’t call the spud cousin Aloo ki Roti. Ours is not to question why, ours is but to open our mouths wide.

Each time I took this in my lunchbox, a colleague complained endlessly about the smell. Again, quite like cabbage and cauliflower, I must be “immune” to the smell. Or I’m simply not that gifted. I don’t exactly like radish, especially in dishes like sambar. The parathas, I simply love. Maybe it is because we didn’t get them as often. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.

A spicy toasted radish salad sandwich, where the bread is the roti!

1 cup Radish, grated
1 tsp Chilli Paste/ 1 Green Chilli, thinly sliced
¼ cup Coriander Leaves, chopped
Salt to taste

4 chapattis, untoasted
2 tsp Oil

Mix the radish with the chilli paste or cut chillies, coriander leaves and salt. Keep aside for a few minutes. Squeeze the liquid and divide the mixture into two portions.

Spread out half the salad on one chapatti and cover it with another chapatti. Press and seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining salad.

Heat a tava and toast each “sandwich” with half a teaspoon of oil for each side. Serve hot. This is perfect for breakfast and lunch/dinner, or as a snack. As long as you have chapatti dough ready, this can’t take you more than 10 minutes.

January 1, 2009

Walnut Raisin Cake

The New Year is here. Although we couldn’t see it very clearly when it came (the fog caused it, not the spirit), it did eventually dawn on us. We went on a really long drive to Karnal, gave our car for servicing and headed towards The Haveli for lunch. Hot sarson ka saag with makke ki rotis, some paneer methi malai (a dish I have vowed to recreate at home) with tandoori rotis and some namkeen lassi to end the meal.

I am so glad we started the year with a long drive. We barely took any trips in 2008 and we’re determined to go out and see more of this part of the country before we head back south, whenever that is.

Here’s a simple cake that seems perfect to welcome 2009. The recipe makes two cakes, so you can keep one and give the other away, spreading some cheer along the way. (It is actually a walnut raisin cake, but I had some chopped apple that I had to use up, so I threw it into the batter.)

3/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Oil
1/4 cup Apple(optional)

1/2 cup Walnuts

½ cup Raisins
2 cups Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 tbsp Baking powder

1 tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
1/4 tsp Salt

Heat oven to 350 F. Prepare two 8" cake tins by greasing and flouring.

Mix milk, oil, vanilla and egg in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Beat until well blended. Add the raisins, walnuts and aples , if using. Pour the batter into the two cake tins. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Here's to a safe and contented 2009! My heartfelt wishes to you and yours.