Friday, December 28, 2012

Baby Taro Roast

          I love baby vegetables, like potatoes, carrots and eggplants, I can't resist myself from picking up a bag of baby potatoes when I see them. The other day I saw this baby taro/colocasia, they looked so cute and since I don't see them that often like the potatoes, I picked a bag. I just made this simple roast with it, goes very well rice and dal or sambar saadam and looks very appetizing..
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cabbage Pongal/Khichdi

          My daughter has started wearing braces, the first couple of days, she had to eat something soft. I had to make something that was easy for her to eat and at the same time nutritious too. This Cabbage Pongal is made with rice, split moong dal with skin and cabbage, rich in fiber, protein and other nutrients. An healthy one pot meal, very easy to make, yet very tasty one..
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Brownie Cookies

          Merry Christmas ! It's cakes and cookies time, I was not able to bake anything elaborate, but I made these brownie cookies. They are very easy to make, the baking time is very less and they turned out really well. These tasted a lot like brownies, hence the name. This is for all the cookie and chocolate lovers out there..
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Three Cheese Elbow Pasta

          My daughter's favorite restaurant is the Olive Gardens (back in US), and the dish that she orders almost every time we went there is the Five Cheese Ziti Pasta. Now we are in India and she misses the Italian food. This week she is getting her braces done, and one of the foods that she cannot have much after that is cheese, which she loves. So, for the past few days it has been all pasta and pizza. I made her this Three Cheese Elbow Pasta, named so, because I had used multi grain elbow pasta and the three variety of cheese that I had. It is a very easy dish, even kids can put it together, tasted very good, my daughter's verdict was, ' tastes close to the Five Cheese Pasta', well, what more can I ask for..
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Potato Parsley Curry

          Whenever I go to Nilgiris in Chennai for my grocery shopping, I stop by the vegetable shop, that's close to it, mainly to pick up some basil or broccoli or zucchini, which are not available at all the vegetable shops. This time, they didn't have basil but they had parsley and it was really fresh, so I picked up some. I have a couple of recipes that I have posted with parsley, but none of them are curries, and this time I wanted to do a gravy dish with it along with potatoes. I started doing it, with no idea about, how it was going to taste or smell (parsley has a strong flavor). But then, the final dish turned out too good, it went very well with rotis, it should also taste equally good with all pilafs. Give this a try, the next time you get some parsley..
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chana Dal Sundal/Split Chickpeas

          I wish I could be a little more organised, have my posts ready, a week in advance, take part in events, but nothing seems to work, I am always this 'last minute' person, I edit my pictures, write and post, all on the same day. Since the next few days are going to be a little busy, I am going to keep my posts, all easy and simple. For today's post I chose this simple Chana Dal Sundal, a common snack during the Navarathiri season and a very healthy one, can also have it as a side dish with rice and some spicy kuzhambu like the Kathrikkai Kuzhambu and Poondu Kuzhambu..
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cauliflower And Soy Roast

          Cauliflower and Soy Roast, this is yet another easy and very tasty side dish that goes well with almost anything. I need not go into the nutritional value of soy, a good source of protein - to say the least. Cauliflower pairs with it very well, and the ground masala that I have used gives a nice taste to the otherwise bland soy chunks, give it a try, you'll like it..
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Monday, December 17, 2012

National Blogging Day Of Remembrance

           My heart bleeds for those affected, the victims of the Connecticut shooting, let their souls rest in peace...

National Blogging Day of Remembrance
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chocolate Sandesh

          Today is a special day at Aromatic Cooking, it was this day one year back.., yeah you guessed it right, it's the 1st Blog Anniversary. I can't believe it's been so long, it was an unplanned beginning, but an enjoyable journey. At this point, I can't thank enough my blogger friends for their encouraging comments and not forget to mention their wonderful blogs from where I get the inspiration to keep going. I should also thank my family, especially my husband and daughter for putting up with my delicious (sometimes disastrous) experiments. I know I have to work still harder to make the blog even more appealing but I'll be also equally enjoying doing it. So today, to celebrate this big day, I have made some Chocolate Sandesh. It turned out really good, my daughter who's not a big fan of Indian sweets, liked this because I had made it a chocolate one. If you like milk sweets and like chocolate, then do give this a try..
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Lemon Rice

          Lemon Rice is one among the typical mixed rices of South India, a simple yet very tasty one. This along with potato fry is an awesome combination. But during my college days when I was in the hostel, I used to simply hate this rice, I never knew that lemon rice could be made so bad until then, the rice had a dark yellow color from an overdose of turmeric powder and didn't have a hint of the lemon flavor. The perfect lemon rice should have the light yellow color and you should be able to taste the slight sourness from the lemon juice added to it, also I add some chopped ginger which compliments the lemon..
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Capsicum Saute/Stir Fry

          You have less time in hands or you are feeling bored to do something elaborate, but still want to have something tasty ( this is always me in the house) and of course you have a few capsicums in hand and most important, you like them, then this Capsicum Saute is for you. The preparation time is very less, just slicing the capsicums, and the cooking time is less than 15 minutes. A nice curry which can be had with rotis or mixed with rice or even stuffed in some bread, tastes good whichever way you choose..
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Keerai Paneer Parathas/Spinach Cottage Cheese Flatbreads

          I had got this bunch of arai keerai, a type of greens like spinach and mustard greens. I had wanted to do the Keerai Masial and rice, but my daughter didn't want to have rice that day. I had to use the spinach the same day and I had some paneer in the freezer, so put the the two together and made these Keerai/Spinach Paneer Parathas. They came out very well, we had it with some tomato thokku and curd..
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thakkali Thokku/Tomato Pickle/Spread

          I always have some kind of thokku/pickle at home which comes in handy, when you don't have time to make chutneys or other side dishes. Of all the thokkus, the house favorite is the Thakkali Thokku, we use it as a spread on bread, mix it with rice or as a side dish for our idlis, dosas and rotis. Though you get a lot of ready made ones, I always prefer home made, the main reason being you can make it less oily and less salty.   Everybody has their own version, this is the way I make it..
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Potato Masiyal/Mashed Potatoes Indian Style

          Potato/Urulai Kizhangu Masial, this is one of my favorite dishes with potatoes, that goes well with almost anything. I usually make this as a side dish to go with rice and kuzhambus like the Kathirikkai Kuzhambu here, it's the perfect combination. It's once again an easy dish, no super skills required, if you leave out the time to boil or steam the potatoes, it hardly takes about a few minutes to put together this dish..
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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thakkali Rasam/Tomato Rasam

          Whenever we want to have something simple, we say 'oh just make some rice and rasam'. Though rasam might be a very simple dish, if not made properly, can end up tasting like hot water. A good rasam (sort of a South Indian soup) should have the correct balance of sourness, salt and spice. Usually everybody has a ready made rasam powder that is added, even I have one, but for today's rasam I am using a freshly ground one. Also there are so many varieties of rasam, some with added lentils, some without, this rasam here is with tomatoes and lentils, very refreshing with freshly ground black pepper and cumin..
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Friday, December 7, 2012

Cabbage Saute

           Till before marriage, the only curry that I knew with cabbage was the South Indian Cabbage Poriyal, not that it's not good, in fact it's my favorite, but never thought that you could make something with it, that would actually go with rotis. Only later on, once I got some interest in cooking, did I learn that you could make curries for breads with almost any vegetable. This particular Cabbage Curry, I've tasted at one of my friend's, it's very easy and it goes very well with the Ajwain Parathas that I have posted earlier..
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kathrikkai Kuzhambu/Eggplant Gravy

          Kuzhambus are a nice variation to the regular sambars and when grouped with rice and some kootu (dal/lentil and vegetable prepration) they make a very tasty and complete meal. I make them at least once a week, and one of the best vegetables to be used in it is the brinjal/eggplant/aubergine which is also a house favorite. This Eggplant Gravy also goes well with idlis and dosas and you can also have it with rotis and last but not the least (in fact the best) with some thayir saadam (curd rice). I've also added some boiled peanuts, which gives an extra taste to this dish..
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Moong Dal Soup/Split Green Gram Soup

          The weather here has become a little colder or should I say, a lot pleasanter, it's this time of the year when you feel like having hot appetizers or soups. I prefer clear soups to creamy ones and I also like these filling soups made with some dal or beans. They are rich in protein and when had with a slice of bread make a complete meal. Today's moong dal (split green gram) soup is a very simple and refreshing one, flavored with some ginger, lemon and lots of coriander, perfect for those lazy days when you don't feel like cooking much..
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Palak Paneer/Mashed Spinach With Indian Cottage Cheese

          Whenever I make a batch of paneer at home, the first dish I do with it is this Palak Paneer, mashed spinach gravy with Indian Cottage Cheese, this being my daughter's most favorite dish. I had made it so many times, but something or the other went wrong, nothing wrong with the dish or its taste, but with the pictures. This time, I think the pictures turned out better, so I thought I'll go ahead and do the posting. There are couple of versions that I do, this is one of them with some freshly ground masala. This is a version that I make when I have to make it for a group, the added masala increases the quantity of the dish, it's a very tasty side dish to rotis and naans..
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Monday, December 3, 2012

Coriander Rice

          Coriander, also known as Cilantro or Chinese Parsley, is one of the most common herbs used in Indian cuisine. It's made into chutneys, dips, soups and also used very often to garnish a dish. It has a very fresh flavor, and like most herbs has some medicinal properties, a good antioxidant and is said to be effective in reducing the cholesterol and triglycerides levels. I made this simple rice with fresh coriander, requires very few ingredients and the cooking time is also very less. The rice had a fresh taste and would go well with any side dish or curry, try this out if you like the flavor of this wonderful herb..
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Friday, November 30, 2012

Eggless Molten Lava Cake

          It's the end of this month and time to reveal the challenge for the Eggless Baking Group and this time it is Eggless Molten Lava Cake. I have seen so many pictures of this delicious cake, so rich and goey and had wanted to try it out for a long time. The cake looks so challenging but in reality it's pretty easy if you used the proper measures of the ingredients. Thanks to the number of queries raised by the members of the group I started a little cautiously, though the basic recipe with egg was from NoobCook, I googled a little more to make sure about the measurements. Finally I decided to use orange juice as the egg replacement and went along with the following recipe. The cake turned out very good and I should warn you here, it's simply too rich and super delicious, so limit your portions..
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tomato Onion Masala

          Whenever my mother has to make a side dish for rotis, in a hurry, she makes this Tomato Onion Masala, a very easy but extremely tasty one. It requires very few ingredients, the regular items found in the kitchen. She does not add peas to it, I added them just because I had fresh peas and also it gives a lovely color to this dish. You can also mix this masala with some cooked rice, tastes very good and serve it with some raitha for a complete meal..
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pori Urundai/Puffed Rice Balls

          We celebrate Karthikai Deepam for three days and one of the festival dishes that we prepare during these days is this Pori Urundai/Puffed Rice Balls. This is a healthy snack of the olden days when all the fancy chocolates were not widely available and made with aval pori (puffed rice flakes) and vellam (jaggery). Everyone has a version, this is the way my mother makes it..
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ajwain Paratha/Indian Flat Bread With Bishop's Weed

           Since it's Karthikai Deepam festival today and more work, thought I'll post a simple recipe. Though simple to make these ajwain parathas are very flavorful and goes very well with any type of gravy or vegetable curry. Ajwain also known as bishop's weed/carom seeds is said to be good for the digestive system and is commonly used in the Indian cuisine. One of the easiest way to include ajwain in the diet is adding them to these parathas, so simple and tasty..
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Monday, November 26, 2012

Masoor Dal/Split Red Lentils

          Masoor Dal or Split Red Lentils is one of my favorite dals, it has a nice flavor when cooked. Just with the basic tadka or seasoning this dal tastes great, I would say a beginner's recipe, that nobody can go wrong with. But it tastes really good and is a great combination with both rotis and rice or even have it as a soup..
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Peerkangai & Verkadalai Saadam/Ridge Gourd & Peanut Rice

          Peerkangai or Ridge Gourd is widely used in Asian cooking, and in Indian cooking we make a variety of dishes with it, the most common being the kootu and chutney. This vegetable has a unique flavor and a slightly sweetish taste, in fact if it is bitter it's not fit for cooking. I usually make sambar or kootu or chutney with it, for a change I used it in this rice along with some peanuts. It turned out really delicious, the softness of the vegetable and the crunchiness from the peanuts complimented each other, you can try this out even with left over rice..
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cauliflower Capsicum Curry

          Making curries every single day is sometimes really tiring and deciding on the curry to be made is actually the bigger task than making it. There are only so many vegetables, but then by mixing two or more vegetables you can end up making a different curry. I like cauliflower and I always have capsicum in stock, (adding it to any curry or dish gives it a nice flavor) so I mixed them both in this curry, it turned out to be very flavorful and tasty and a nice side dish to rotis..
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


          I had made only two sweets for Diwali, one was the Almond Chocolate Burfi and the other was this rabri. Ever since I tasted this at one of the chat places here in Chennai, I had wanted to try this at home. Rabri is nothing but milk which is boiled and reduced to 1/3 of its volume, I would say, a cousin to the South Indian Basundi. It's a very delicious and rich dessert, not many ingredients, but requires a little patience which  of course pays off at the end..
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Potato Fry

          Potato fry, everybody ( well, at least most of us) loves this dish and everybody has their own way of doing it. This is the way my mother makes it, loved by all of her kids and now her grand kids join the list too. Especially on a cold rainy day, I love to have this with some rice and rasam, very comforting. A very simple and flavorful dish, give it a try, you'll love it..
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Eggplant With Coconut And Fennel Seeds

          Another curry with eggplants/brinjals/aubergines, well I cook this vegetable quite often, not only because everybody at home likes it but also because it doesn't take much time to slice or chop it. I have used sliced baby eggplants and cooked them with ground coconut and fennel seeds, it tasted very good, a nice side dish to both rotis and rice..
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ash Gourd (Winter Melon) Curry

          Winter Melon or Ash Gourd or White Pumpkin is a vegetable widely used in Indian cooking and that too most commonly in yogurt and coconut based dishes, like moru kuzhambu ( buttermilk gravy). For a change I wanted to try out a curry with it and without the usual curd and coconut. Since this vegetable gives out a lot of water when cooked I had to add a ground paste of cashews and onion to get a thick curry. The end result was very satisfying,  the curry tasted great with rotis, also check out this moru kuzhambu with this vegetable..
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Almond Chocolate Burfi (Fudge)

          Happy Diwali ! I had a small break from blogging, not an intended one, but was a little tired from my US trip. Well, now back to routine, I made this burfi two days back and made it two layered with a chocolate layer on the top. This is a very easy one, especially if you have the already peeled and sliced almonds in hand, saves the time of soaking and peeling the almonds and the whole cooking process is under 30 minutes..
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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Simple Okra Curry

          As I have mentioned many times, okra (lady's finger) is one other family favorite, and whenever I buy it, most of the times it is this simple curry that I make with it. This is a very basic curry that goes well as a side dish to both rotis and rice with some dal..
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cabbage & Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) Curry

          Usually when I make paneer dishes at home, it's mostly palak paneer ( spinach with Indian cottage cheese). This time I didn't have spinach in hand and so I tried this Cabbage & Paneer stir fry, I used homemade paneer but the store bought one also tastes good, I also added some capsicum and kasoori methi ( dried fenugreek leaves) to add a little more flavor to the dish. It turned out to be very delicious and flavorful and a great combination with both rotis and rice..
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Eggless Butter Cake

          It's the end of the month and time to reveal our Eggless Baking challenge for the month of October, and the challenge we had was Butter Cake. The cake as such was easy to bake, very delicious, rich and buttery (true to the name) and the recipe is adapted from Reader's Digest. The recipe calls for a 7" spring form pan, since I had only a 5" pan, I halved the recipe. I've replaced the eggs with milk and lemon juice, try it, once in a while we can have such rich desserts..
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Homemade Paneer

          Though I have made over 150 posts, there is not a single post about a basic recipe like our sambar and masala powders or making a good idli batter, so today I thought I'll make some posts in between other dishes about them. I feel a food blog is not complete with these basic recipes and to start with, today's post is about making paneer ( Indian cottage cheese ) at home. It's very easy and it comes out very well, you'll stop buying it from the store..
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Taboule ( Couscous Salad )

          I am on a two weeks trip to the US, we haven't yet completely moved back to India. I was checking in the pantry for something that'll make up for a light lunch and found this box of whole wheat couscous. While checking the packet, I found the recipe for this salad ( Taboule) on it, and since I had all the ingredients in hand, went ahead and made it. Try it, it's so easy, ready in minutes and very healthy too..
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mushrooms & Peas Kurma

          Most of the days during the week, we have rotis or chappathis for dinner, and I have to come up with some side dish using any vegetable that's in hand. I had bought this pack of button mushrooms the previous day, I like to cook them when they are fresh and white and  since it's been a long time that I had cooked any kind of kurma, I made this one with the mushrooms. To add some color to the dish, I threw in some fresh green peas, the result was very satisfying, this goes well with any kind of bread or any pilaf or briyani..
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Monday, October 22, 2012

Puffed Rice With Boiled Peanuts

          Anybody who has been to Indian beaches would be familiar with some kind of snack with Puffed rice.  I came across this one in Chennai, my daughter and niece, both wanted to have it, I was very reluctant to buy it for the fear of falling sick after having it. But finally got a single packet and shared among ourselves ( thinking, that the less we have, the lesser chance of food poisoning, well, nothing happened, we are all fine). I took a mental note of the ingredients and made it at home whenever we felt like having it. The snack itself is a very healthy one, no deep frying and a nice way of making kids have their veggies. Yeah, we add shredded cabbage in this, try it, I am sure you'll love it..
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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Keerai Masial (Mashed Spinach)

          Keerai Masial or Mashed Spinach, this is a very easy and healthy dish, and a favorite in my home. It's literally fat free, not even a drop of oil is used but still tastes really good. I have used sirukeerai ( a type of greens) available in India but you can do this with regular spinach too. Everybody has their own way of doing this masial, even I do it a couple of different ways, give this a try if you like the flavors of pepper and garlic..
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cauliflower Masala

          Cauliflower, I love this vegetable in any form, but my daughter, like many others can have this only in the manchurian or pakora form, now, I love them too but both the dishes are deep fried. Cauliflower Masala, well I gave it a name, I've tasted something similar to this long time back and I've tried reproducing it in my kitchen. It was a definite hit, tasted awesome, my daughter loved it so much. She had it with rotis for dinner and the next day, she had it just like that, as a snack, I should say, an healthy alternative to the manchurian and pakoras, give this a try, you'll love it..
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chickpeas (Chana) Sundal

          Sundal, everybody from the southern part of India would be very familiar with it, there are a couple of festivals for which we make different varieties of it, especially during Navarathiri. It's one of the healthy snacks recommended for kids and adults including diabetics, a good source of protein and fiber, and very filling. I made this sundal with chickpeas on Ganesh Chaturthi, used the darker variety which is supposed to have more fiber content than its white counterpart. This is a basic sundal recipe, which goes well with most of the other bean varieties too..
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Pav Bhaji

         Pav Bhaji, this is one of my favorites, something that I order most often in a chat house, it's a very popular Indian fast food. Pav ( soft buns) with bhaji ( a gravy with a mixture of vegetables) makes up for a nice snack or as in my home, a good dinner. Today I've used regular, store bought pav (buns made with all purpose flour), but when you use whole wheat buns and use butter sparingly, I can say this dish becomes healthy too..
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Black Beans & Basil Rice

          Now that basil is available here in Chennai (at Nilgiris) I get some whenever I go there. The first time I used it in the tofu curry, the second time I got it, I used it to make this rice. Basil along with black beans makes an excellent combination, I added some beans and potatoes, making it one healthy one pot meal..
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Strawberry Jelly Milkshake

          How many times in a day or in a week we get excited about something, and then what are all the things for which we get excited, well, this differs from person to person. But as a food blogger there is one more thing we get excited about, when the dish we make comes out super good and it's a double bonus when it's just two ingredients that go into it and it's super easy too. Well this strawberry jelly milkshake is one such, it tastes very different from the regular strawberry milkshake but very tasty..
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chana (Chickpeas) & Mint Pilaf

          What's the difference between a pilaf and a briyani, as far as I know, the pilaf or pulao is mildly spicy compared to the briyani but both are equally flavorful and I like both of them. They appear in the weekly menu atleast once and so many varieties can be done by changing the vegetables or the spices. This chana or chickpeas pilaf is again a very flavorful one, gets it from the loads of mint added to it, rich in protein from the chickpeas added and forms a complete meal with some vegetable raitha..
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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Eggless Apricot Pistachio Orange Biscotti

         For this month's challenge for the Eggless Baking Group, Gayathri had chosen Apricot Pistachio Orange Biscotti from Baking Obsession. The recipe called for orange blossom water, which I couldn't find in Chennai, so I went ahead with the recipe, replacing the eggs with orange juice which I thought would also make up for the orange blossom water. However, I would like to try this recipe again using the orange blossom water which I hope to get soon on my US trip. Anyways, these biscottis turned out really good, but they were a little too sweet for my taste, I would reduce the sugar by a few tablespoons on my next attempt. Try them out, they are a great teatime or a mid-morning snack..
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chickpeas (Chana) Raitha

          I have been a little busy the last few days, couldn't spend much time with my blog, and today's dish is also a very simple one. A simple raitha that would go well with any briyani or mixed rice, or if you are on a diet, this could be a complete meal by itself..
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Minty Eggplant With Peanuts

          We can find so many different varieties of eggplants in India, different colors and different sizes. And also, this is one of the vegetables that everybody likes at my home, so I make this at least once a week and try out different combinations with it. This is one such, mint and peanuts compliment the eggplants, adds a nice flavor and crunch to the curry, goes well with both rice and rotis..
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Rajma Masala

          Rajma Masala, this is a long time due post, I have done this dish so many times, couple of times couldn't take pictures and when I took them, the pictures were not that good. A bowl of rice, a cup of rajma (kidney beans curry) and some curd, or like they say it 'rajma chawal' ( chawal meaning rice), I simply love it, a simple and satisfying meal. You can either soak the dry beans and pressure cook them and then do the masala or if you are in a hurry, can use the canned ones and get done with the whole cooking within 10 mins. Everybody has their own way of doing it, this is the way I do it..
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