Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mojito Fruit Salad

It is almost summer in Arizona and nothing beats the heat like a fresh cold bowl of fruit salad.  I can have fruit salad for breakfast, lunch or dinner. 
This fruit salad is non-alcoholic.  It just uses some of the ingredients used in a Mojito.

  • Strawberries - 2 cups (cut into bite size pieces)
  • Mango - 2 cups (cut into bite size pieces)
  • Pineapple - 2 cups (cut into bite size pieces)
  • Grapes - 2 cups (each grape cut into half)
  • Blueberries - 1 cup
  • Lemon/Lime juice - 1 table spoon
  • Agave nectar - 1 table spoon (this can be substituted with Sugar, Maple syrup or Splenda)
  • Mint leaves - 1 table spoon lightly packed (chopped small)
  • Ginger powder - 1/2 tea spoon
  • Salt - 1 pinch

Mix all the fruits together except the Blueberries in a bowl.  To a small box with a tight lid, add Lemon/Lime juice, Agave nectar, Ginger powder, Salt and Mint leaves.  Close the lid and shake it well.  Pour this dressing over the fruit salad.  Add the Blueberries, just before serving and give it a light toss. 

  • If you mix in the Blueberries along with other fruits, all the fruits take on the color of Blueberries. 
  • You can top it with whipped cream or Vanilla ice cream.
  • You can add in a table spoon on Rum for those late night desert fruit salad for adults.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Root Vegetable curry

This is a quick and easy curry to make and has an authentic taste to it.  Give it a try and no one will know it was made under 30 minutes.  Most of the times I use frozen vegetables to make my life easier and also to get some vegetables into our diet. 

  • Lotus Root (frozen) - 12 ounces cut into bite size pieces
  • Ratalu / Violet Yam (frozen) - 12 ounces.  cut into bite size pieces. You can substitute this with Potato or Yam.
  • Val Lilva (frozen) - 12 ounces.  You can substitute this with Peas or Tuvar Lilva.
  • Coconut milk (light) - 2 cups
  • Water - 3 cups
  • Salt - 1 tea spoon (add per taste)
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tea spoon
  • Coriander powder - 1 tea spoon
  • Sambar powder/ Curry powder- 1 table spoon
  • Clove powder - 1/2 tea spoon
  • Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tea spoon
  • Tamarind paste - 1/2 tea spoon
  • Coconut oil - 1/2 tea spoon
  • Crushed Red pepper - 1/2 tea spoon (add per taste)

To a pan on medium heat, add Coconut milk and water.  Let it come to a boil.  To this, add all the above ingredients except Crushed Red pepper and Coconut oil.  Cook it for about 15 to 20 minutes until the Lotus root is cooked.  Add the Coconut oil.  Keep some curry aside for the non spicy version.  Add the Crushed red pepper and turn the heat off.

This can be served with plain white rice and some papads and yogurt dried chilies.

  • I found Rutalu, Lotus Root and Val Lilva in the frozen section of the Asian market. I have also seen it in Indian grocers.
  • I used Madras appalam made out of urad dal.  4 papads took about 1 min in the microwave to crisp.
  • Use the sambar powder which does not have chili powder in it if you would like to keep aside the non spicy version. 
  • Yogurt dried chilies-Indian spicy chilies dried after they are marinated in Yogurt and Salt first for a few days.  You will find this in Asian/Indian grocers.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tofu and Egg scramble

I created this recipe one day when I was short of eggs to make scrambled eggs.  I used tofu along with eggs and it tastes delicious!  Since then, it has been one of the favourites at our home.

This takes about 20 minutes to make.


Tofu semi firm/firm - 1 pound crumbled (strain the water before crumbling)
Eggs - 4 large
Garlic powder - 1 tea spoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 tea spoon
Onion powder - 1/2 table spoon
Salt - 3/4 tea spoon (add per taste)
Turmeric - 1/2 tea spoon
Garam masala powder / Curry powder - 1/2 table spoon
Chili powder - 1/2 tea spoon (add per taste)
Olive oil - 2 table spoons
Mixed vegetables - 2 cups (mine had Beans, Carrots, Peas and Corn)


To a non stick pan on medium heat, add oil.  Once the oil gets heated, add the mixed vegetables and saute it for about 3 minutes.  Add a sprinkle of salt to this.  Saute it for one more minute.  Then crack the eggs and scramble them for about 3 minutes.  Add the crumbled tofu.  Saute this for about 4-5 minutes until the moisture in the tofu is almost gone.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the Chili powder and saute it until the eggs cook thoroughly and all the ingredients are mixed in evenly.  Take some aside for the non spicy version.  Add the chili powder and saute it until the chili powder is mixed evenly with the scramble.

Serve it with Phulka, Chapati, Roti or whole wheat Tortilla.  My daughter loves it with Whole Wheat pita with scramble as a filler.

  • Use the Tofu that can be crumbled but does not have a lot of moisture in it.
  • Usually, my dishes make about 5 servings (3 dinners and 2 leftover lunches for next day)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Paya soup (Goat soup)

Paya soup is one of my favourites.  It reminds me of my childhood days with my parents and sister.  My mom used to make this over winters and monsoons.  I can almost taste the bowl lickingly tasty soup and it's heavenly aroma. Mmmm....

It is a one pot soup and takes less than 30 minutes.  This recipe does not use oil as Goat meat releases some fat when cooked.

  • Goat meat with bones - 2 pounds (originally, Goat trotters are used for this soup. We do not get it where we live. So, I use Goat meat)
  • Turmeric - 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder - 1/2 table spoon
  • Ginger paste - 1/2 table spoon
  • Garlic paste - 1/2 table spoon
  • Clove powder - 1/2 tea spoon
  • Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tea spoon
  • Pepper corns crushed - 1/2 table spoon
  • Red Chili powder - 1 teas poon (add per taste)
  • Salt - 2 tea spoons (add per taste)
  • Lemon juice - 1 table spoon
  • Cilantro, chopped - 1/4 cup

To a pressure cooker, add the Goat meat and all other ingredients except lemon juice, Red Chili powder and Cilantro.  Add about 3 cups of water to this.  Pressure cook until 3 whistles.  Open the cooker and place it on low heat.  Add Lemon juice and chopped Cilantro to this.  Keep some aside for non-spicy version (this will have a hint of spice due to crushed black Pepper.  If you do not want this, add the pepper along with Red Chili powder at a later stage).  To the rest, add Red Chili powder (and Pepper if not added earlier).  Bring it to boil and switch off the heat.  The soup is ready to be served.  This will taste good by itself or you can eat it with plain white rice or roti.

Trim the Goat meat of fat as much as possible before cooking.  If the soup still feels a little too oily once it is cooked, wait for the soup to cool down and remove the fat once it solidifies on the top.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mung bean noodles stir fry

My daughter loves noodles.  To bring some variety, I used Mung bean noodles instead of the usual egg noodles for stir fry and we all love it! It takes on the flavors of the ingredients used to cook really well. 
My husband is a vegetarian and my daughter does not eat very spicy food.  So, usually, I end up making 3 versions of the same food I cook.  I keep some noodles aside before adding spice and stir in the grilled chicken for my daughter. I add only tofu for my husband, chicken for myself once I add the spice.
This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prep and cook.

  • Mung bean noodle - 250 grams
  • Firm Tofu / Grilled chicken - 200 grams cut into bite size pieces
  • Frozen mixed vegetables - 2 cups (mine had Carrots, Beans, Peas and Corn)
  • Olive oil - 6 table spoons
  • Salt - 1 table spoon (add per taste)
  • Coriander powder - 1 table spoon
  • Turmeric powder - 1 table spoon
  • Sambar powder / Curry powder - 2 table spoons
  • Cumin powder - 1 table spoon
  • Chili powder - 1/2 table spoon (add per taste)
  • Soy sauce - 1 table spoon
  • Vinegar - 1 table spoon

Bring half a gallon of water to boil.  Drop the Mung bean noodles into the boiling water and cook for about 7-8 mins. Strain the noodles and place aside.  Heat a wide pan to medium.  Add tofu / grilled chicken and vegetables to this and saute for about 4-5 mins.  Add the remaining ingredients except chili powder and saute for 1 more minute.  Add the Mung bean noodles and stir thoroughly until the ingredients mix evenly with the noodles.  Keep some aside for non spicy version. Add the chili powder to the rest of the noodles and stir it evenly.

  • The Mung bean noodles tend to be very long.  I cut them using scissors once they are cooked and strained.
  • You can find Mung bean noodles in most of the asian markets

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Savory Cereal Snack

    My husband loves to snack between meals.  So, I'm always in search of healthy quick snacks.  The idea for this actually came from my husband.  One day when I was urging him to eat cereal with milk for snack, he told me that if I can give him a savory cereal, he would happily eat it (he is not a big fan of sweets).  Hence the birth of Savory Cereal Snack.
    This takes about 5-7 mins to make and tastes wonderful with Tea or Coffee.

    • Cereal - 4 cups. I used Uncle Sam's whole wheat berry flakes and flax seed original. Any other unsweetened cereal works good, specially corn flakes.
    • Salt - 1/2 tea spoon (add per taste)
    • Chili powder - 1/2 tea spoon (add per taste)
    • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tea spoon
    • Cumin - 1/2 tea spoon
    • Turmeric - 1/2 tea spoon
    • Garlic powder - 1/2 tea spoon
    • Curry leaves - 10-15 leaves
    • Whole peanuts - 1/2 cup
    • Olive oil - 1 table spoon
    Take a pan and heat it to medium.  Add oil.  Once the oil is heated, add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add peanuts and saute for 2 mins. Turn the heat to low.  Then add all other ingredients except the cereal.  Mix the ingredients well and immediately add the cereal.  Mix it well and turn the heat off.  Let it cool before you eat to allow the cereal to crisp.  Serve it with Tea or Coffee.

    Serving suggestion: Use unbleached coffee cones in cups to give a fancy touch.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Daliya (Bulgar wheat) Khichdi

    This is one of the easiest and fast foods to make. Good for those days when you are back from work and want to just eat something simple, tasty and healthy.  It uses only 5 ingredients and takes about 15 minutes to cook once you close the cooker.  Also, no prep time.

    • Moong Dal (Yellow split Mung bean) - 2 cups
    • Daliya (Bulgar or cracked wheat) - 3/4th of a cup
    • Salt - 2 teaspoons (add per taste)
    • Crushed black pepper - 2 teaspoons (add per taste)
    • Ghee (Clarified butter) - 2 tea spoons - For health conscious, please replace this with extra virgin Olive oil

    Place the pressure cooker on a medium high flame.  Add the ghee and let it heat for 1 min.  Then, add the crushed black pepper and Moong dal to the heated ghee.  Saute for 2 mins.  Then add the Daliya and saute for 1 more minute.  Add salt to taste and 5 cups of water to this and close the cooker and cook until 3 whistles.  Khichdi is ready to eat. I like the khichdi a little runny.  Please adjust the water if you do not like it this way.
    Serve with Mango pickle and plain yogurt.

    Where to find a pressure Cooker: In USA, Bed bath and beyond has a good selection.

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Red Chicken – Chili Chicken

    Red chicken as my daughter calls it, is one of her favourites.  This is based on my mom's recipe - her preparation is of course my favourite.  My husband and I love spicy food but my daughter prefers less heat. So, I usually add the spice at a later stage after I keep aside a non-spiced portion for my daughter.
    • Boneless chicken thigh cut into bite size pieces – 2 pounds
    • Egg – 1 medium
    • Paprika – 2 tea spoons
    • Chili powder – 2 tea spoons (add per taste)
    • Curry leaves – 20 leaves
    • Green chilies (Thai chilies) – 5 Number - slit in the middle
    • Olive oil – 3 table spoons

      For the Marinade:
    • Salt – 2 tea spoons (add per taste)
    • Turmeric – 1 tea spoon
    • Ginger paste – 1 tea spoon
    • Garlic paste – 1 tea spoon
    • Plain non-fat yogurt – 1 cup
    • Clove powder – 1 tea spoon
    • Cinnamon powder – 1 tea spoon
    Marinate the chicken with the marinade ingredients for at least an hour.  Add the egg and paprika to this.  Mix it well.  Take a few pieces aside if you want to make the non spicy version for your child.  Take a broad shallow pan and heat it to medium heat.  Add 1 table spoon oil for the first non-spicy batch.  Turn the heat to high and saute the chicken for 3 mins. Lower the heat and let the chicken cook for 6-7 minutes (or until completely cooked).  Turn the heat to high again and saute it for 2 more minutes.  Remove it from the pan and keep aside.  The non-spicy version of the red chicken is now ready to eat.
     Add the remaining oil and chicken to the pan and repeat the process until the chicken is completely cooked.  Remove and keep it aside.  To the same pan, add the curry leaves and chilies and saute it for 1-2 mins on medium heat. Add the spicy chicken to this and saute it for 2 mins. The spicy chili chicken is ready to eat.
    This goes really well with Ghee rice (recipe coming soon) or just plain rice.

    For my daughter!!

    Hello All, welcome to my blog!!   I have been wanting to start this blog for a long time. Yesterday while my 5 year old daughter and myself were watching the movie ‘Julie and Julia’ on STARZ, my daughter said ‘mamma, I want u to write a cook book like Julia (Child).  You cook awesome food and if you write a book, I will have all the recipes and I can learn to cook too.  I will be your taster and tell you if the food is yummy or not.’  She made me promise that I will start writing a book (she also made me a poster today with the name of the book and the pricing information).  Working towards a book as promised, I am starting to maintain a recipe blog for her.