Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kale Chip


Kale Curly Leaves - hand pull into roughly 2 inch pieces and spread out in one layer in a baking tray
Salt/Pepper - sprinkle lightly on the leaves
PAM Canola Oil Spray - spray lightly on the leaves


Pre-heat oven to 375F
Bake for 8 mins - it's nice crispy and green in color

Store in an air-tight container once it cools down

Instead of Salt/Pepper, Sea Salt or Lemon Pepper seasoning can be used. Enjoy this healthy and quick appetizer!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kale Juice

Serves 2


5 large Kale leaves
2 Cucumbers
1 Carrot
1 Lemon (Juice)
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 inch Ginger (Peeled and fresh)
2 Celery Stalks


Grind all the above ingredients chopped.
Since I don't own a juicer, I use a strainer to separate the juice from the fiber.

I think the fiber can be added to Roti\Chappati dough to get healthy and nurtritious Roti\Chappati. I use store-bought Roti - so don't keep it.

Will keep thinking of other ways to use them instead of throwing them away as I do right now.

I make the above quantity - I keep one glass for the next day by wrapping the glass with wrap to make it air-tight. I don't find the drink tasty - but knowing it is good for health is what makes me keep making it.

Inspired from the recipe here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sabudana Upma - Pearls of Tapioca!

Every ingredient needs to be processed and cooked in it's own appropriate method. Tapioca pearls aka Sabudana is one such delicate ingredient. You have to handle it one particular way - else you end up with the gooey mushy bubblegum-texture dish - which is definitely not appetizing at all! :)

With a few disasters behind me - or as few of us would proudly pronounce that as experience - this time round, I was determined to get this right. The first time I had it as hubby's friend Jyoti's place. She had made it as an appetizer and it was delicious. She had mentioned about the overnight soaking to get the right texture - but I had totally forgotten the bit about putting just enough water till the surface of the Sabudana in the container. Anything more or less will make it go "crazy" - too mushy or the other extreme of under-cooked! :) 


Sabudana - 1 cup, soak overnight. Put it in a container and soak it overnight with water such that the water just covers it, not more, not less. Leave it covered.

Canola Oil - 1 tbsp
- Begin of Seasoning
Curry Leaves - 7-8, fresh
Dry Red Chillies - 3
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Chana Dal - 2 tbsp
Urad Dal - 1 tbsp
Asafoetida - 3-4 pinches
- End of Seasoning
Peanuts - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1 Medium
Lemon Juice - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp, or as per taste


Soak Sabudana overnight.
Heat Canola Oil.
As the Oil warms up, add the Seasoning ingredients and let it flavor the Oil.
Add the Peanuts and let them roast and turn golden brown.
Add the chopped Onions and let it cook till transparent and the raw smell is gone.
Add the soaked Sabudana and cook till the pearls are transparent. Takes about 5-10 mins. They should not turn back to white again - if they do, then they have been overcooked. Keep stirring them to prevent them from sticking to each other and turning into a gooey mess. :)
Turn off the heat, cover it and let it sit for 10 mins.
Add the Lemon juice and mix well (optional). Some garnish it with chopped Coriander (optional).

Serve hot with Garlic Pickle, Roasted Papad, or just as-is.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mudi (Puffed Rice) Mixture

We Baripadias (my paternal grandparents place is in Baripada of Mayurbhanj district of Odisha) love our Mudi (aka Puffed Rice). If you have been following this blog, you would seen a few other posts where I mention this.

I can have Mudi with almost every curry. I am not kidding when I say that my mom literally blackmailed me as a kid with it to make sure I eat my veggies.

One favorite breakfast item is mixing Mudi with milk (cream adds richness) and eating it with Potato fries (not French fries) or some other dry curry like Aloo Dum/Brinjal fries/Saag/what not.

Marriage celebration is not complete without one meal of Mudi with fresh-caught Fish fries. And another meal of Mudi and Mutton curry. Yes, we are a non-veg centric cuisine. If the host does not provide this, they are judged severely irrespective of whether they did everything else right and treated the guests royally!!;)

One common snack item is Mudi Mixture. It is nothing but mixing an Indian spicy mixture (store-bought) with Puffed Rice. You can add chopped Onion, Green Chillies, Lemon Juice and Coriander leaves - everything is optional. It is pretty close to the Bhel Puri sans the chutneys.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Modak prepared by my lovely friend aka sister aka partner-in-crime Vrinda for Ganesh Chaturthi!

Recipe link : http://www.aayisrecipes.com/sweets/modak/

Bon Appetite!

Kala Chana Pulao

A Rice preparation that is wholesome, delicious and also an one-pot wonder - what is not to like in it? :) Found the recipe here - Thank you, Ujwal!


1 cup Rice - soaked for 1 hour
2 tbsp Canola Oil
3/4 tsp Jeera (Cumin Seeds)
1 Onion sliced, medium in size
1/2 tsp Ginger Paste - 1/2 tsp Garlic Paste (I used 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste)
1/2 -1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Vegetable Curry Powder
Salt (to taste)
2 tsp Lemon juice
Coriander leaves (A few with stalk)

Soak together overnight
1/2 cup Kala (black) Channa
1  Cinnamon
2-3 Cloves
2 cups Water


  1. Soak Channa overnight with all the ingredients given under "Soak together overnight" and pressure cook for one whistle, Keep on low flame for 20 mins thereafter. Reserve the stock.
  2. Strain Channa. Measure stock and add enough water to make it upto 2 cups (double the volume of the rice).
  3. Heat Canola Oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add Jeera. When it turns golden, add the sliced Onion and stir fry till the raw smell is gone.
  4. Add Ginger Garlic paste and fry for a min. 
  5. Add in cooked Kala Channa, Lemon juice, salt, Garam Masala, Vegetable Curry Powder, Red Chilli powder. Fry for 2 minutes. Add Rice. Mix. Add coriander leaves.
  6. Add the measured stock and water mixture. Boil.
  7. Cover with a well fitting lid. cook on low flame until almost done.
  8. Fluff with fork to let the steam escape so that rice grains do not stick to each other. If needed, cover it for a few mins to continue cooking the Rice in it's steam.
  9. Garnish with a sprig of Coriander leaf or Mint leaf.
Serve hot with cool Raita!

Bingsu .. no cousin of Bingo!

Tried this dessert this past weekend and how I regretted not having tasted it so far. Sometime back, I had carried it out and of course, it was a disaster. Never ever carry it out - even if you do, have it soon after.

Bingsu is a Korean dessert consisting of shaved ice, condensed milk, chopped fruits and red bean paste. The wikipedia page for the same is here. I had this at Shilla's Patisserie at Centerville, VA. It is served in large portion - two or three people can easily share it depending on appetite. Do check it out! As well as the Mango Souffle Cake pic below - so light, creamy and delicious.

While we are on Korean food, sharing a pic of the Vegetable Pancake and Mushroom Tofu Soup from Lighthouse Tofu next door. I can have this seven days a week - that should tell you how much I like it!! Enjoy!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fragrant Lemon Rice

It is surprising that we eat Rice often and yet I had not made Lemon Rice ever! From childhood memories, there was one Holi (the color festival of India to welcome Spring season) when my mom had prepared Lemon Rice. After the exciting morning playing colors with friends and family, the Lemon Rice was distinctly fragrant and flavorful. It is one of those meals that leaves a distinct mark in your memory.

When having friends over for a simple dinner this past weekend, I decided to try my hand at making the Lemon Rice. So scoured the websites and VahReVah! video tutorial on the same. Finally decided to use the recipe posted here at "Chef In Making - Recipes with a twist" and slightly modify it. Thank you, soniaabrol, for the recipe.

To prepare for approx. 20 people, use the following measure of ingredients when you have a few appetizers and other side-dishes to accompany. For more or less people and more or less menu items, change the rice amount accordingly.


Rice - 4 cups (raw)
Canola Oil - 2 tbsp
Asafoetida (Hing) powder - 1/8 tsp or 6-7 pinches
Mustard Seeds - 1 tbsp
Dry Red Chillies - 6-7 (or depending on taste)
Curry Leaves - a bunch, approx 15-20 leaves
Peanuts - 1 cup (more or less on preference)
Cashews - 1/2 cup (optional)
Chana Dal - 1/2 cup
Urad Dal - 1/4 cup
Turmeric Powder - 1/8 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp (or depending on taste)
Sugar - a pinch
Lemon Juice - 2 tbsp (or depending on taste)
Coriander Leaves - to garnish (optional)


  1. Soak and clean the Rice. Keep it soaked for 10 mins or so.
  2. Boil a large pot of water. I cook Rice in open pot instead of Rice cooker. So the Rice should be nicely submerged in water and boiling. I let the Rice boil and continue cooking for approximately 10-15 mins. The Rice should be cooked so that it retains it's shape and is not mushy. Strain the remaining water from the Rice.
  3. Spread out and cool the Rice under a fan so that it does not continue cooking in the steam. Stir it every now and then so it uniformly cools down. I use a flat large plate or container for this part to increase the surface area of cooling.
  4. Take a large pot. Add Canola Oil.
  5. Add Asafoetida (hing) powder and let it sizzle a bit and flavor the Oil. 
  6. After a couple of seconds, add Mustard seeds. Let the seeds splutter.
  7. Add dry Red Chilies, Curry leaves and raw Peanuts.
  8. When the Peanuts are almost roasted, add the Cashews if you are adding. Cashews get browned faster, so keep a close watch once you add them.
  9. Add Chana dal and Urad dal. Let them cook until they are nicely brown and fragrant. Keep a close watch here as well as they brown quickly. You want them roasted and have a light golden brown color on them.
  10. Add Turmeric Powder, Salt, Lemon Juice and Sugar. Mix well. I don't like the Rice too sour, so I add less Lemon Juice - depending on your taste, you will want to add more or less of the same.
  11. Stir in the cold rice and fold it into the spice mix. The rice will turn a beautiful light yellow in color.
  12. You can garnish with fresh chopped Coriander leaves. I skipped this part coz the Rice was flavorful as-is and did not want the dominant smell of Coriander leaves to take over the same.
Enjoy with Cucumber Raita. It can be made with left-over Rice as a quick breakfast as well. This can be a one-dish meal as well.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Marbled Choco-Vanilla Bundt Cake by my darlings Shriya and Vindhya

My dear friend aka sister Poonki's 6 year old twins Shriya and Vindhya love cooking. So instead of saying "even 6 year olds can make it!", I need to say "6 year olds made this!".

They are both such a divine bunch of energy - any day I am feeling down, just talking to them for 5 mins gets me going! Thank you, girls, for all the love and affection. And for this recipe - everyone, please encourage them. I have a feeling they will soon have their own blog  (which I think they should start .. like yesterday!) - all my blessings and love for the little angels. Enjoy the video when we have them uploaded (both their mom and aunt are debating the best medium for it still!) - they truly sound like professional chefs! :)

Here is the video link (Update on 09/01/2014)

Set 1

1/2 tsp instant coffee powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
11/2 tbs sugar
1/4 cup hot water

Set 2

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Set 3
1 cup maida
1tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt


1) Lay out the ingredients.

2) Mix ingredients in set 1. Set aside the cocoa mixture
3) In a bowl , add butter, sugar and vanilla extract in set 2 .
4) Beat with a mixer for 10 min
5) Add eggs and beat for 2 min
6) Add set 3 ingredients
7) Add cocoa mixture to half the batter

8) Pour both the batter alternately in a cake tin and bake for upto 40 min at 170 C
9) Take out and eat!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Baked Sambhar Powder Small Eggplants


Small Purple Eggplants : about 12 (small as in closer to egg-size, try to get all of them of same size for uniform baking)
Sambhar Powder - 8 tsp
Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
Salt - 1 tsp (or as per taste)
Pepper - 1 tsp
Garlic - chopped into tiny pieces - 8 cloves

Give two diagonal cuts on the Eggplant leaving the stem intact.
Mix all the ingredients except Eggplant together to prepare the oil-spice mix.
Place the oil-spice mix using a small spoon into the Eggplant cuts.

Place them lying on their side in a baking pan lined with Aluminium foil.
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Bake for 15 mins
Reduce heat to 375 degrees F.
Bake for 10 mins
Note - Keep a close watch since oven temperature and cooking time may vary.
Poke with a knife and make sure the Eggplant is cooked.
Take it out and cover with an Aluminium foil to continue cooking and let the juice flow.
Serve hot.

It was a good side-dish with Biryani. It is so easy and quick to prepare that I will be making it more often for sure. This was definitely something I just came up with combining a number of baked Eggplant dishes as inspiration for this Indian-taste twist. It will be a good side-dish for Rice-dal and Chapatti for sure. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Achari Vegetable Curry


Shan Achari Masala - 1 pack (Shan Achari Gosht also works, but it is less spicy)
Cauliflower (aka Gobi) - 1, chopped into florets
Mushroom - 1 large pack, remove the stem of the mushroom and chop into 3-4 pieces each
String Beans - 1 bunch, chopped into 2 inch pieces
Dry Green Chana - 1 cup, soak overnight and pressure cook with an inch of chopped ginger and Salt for approx. 2 whistles
Potatoes - 2-3 medium, chopped to match the cauliflower florets size
Paneer - a few pieces, as per taste
Canola Oil - 2 tbsps
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Dry Bay Leaf - 3-4
Dry Red Chilli - 2-3 (optional)
Salt - 1 tbsp (or as per taste)
Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Tomato - 2 medium, chopped into small pieces
Onion\Ginger\Garlic paste - 12 tbsp (grind 1 large Onion, 1/2 inch Ginger, 7-8 Garlic cloves, 2 Green Chillies is optional)


Grind Onion-Ginger-Garlic-Green Chillies together
Heat Canola Oil.
Season the oil with Cumin Seeds, Dry Bay Leaf and Dry Red Chillies.
As the spices start browning, add the Onion-Ginger-Garlic-Green Chillies paste. If there is any of the paste remaining, freeze it to use later. I keep it in refrigerator if I intend to use it within the next day or two in a tightly sealed container.
Mix the paste with the seasoned Oil and stir till the paste is cooked and the Oil separates. Takes about 5-10 mins.
In the meanwhile, heat another pan and start frying the veggies one-by-one. I do one veggie at a time since that will make sure the veggies are uniformly cooked. If you don't have one or more of these veggies, don't worry - it is perfectly okay to skip them. Different combination of veggie stuff will give it a slightly different taste - not that much of a difference though! I leave them half-cooked so that when mixed with the Onion-Ginger-Garlic-Green Chillies, they can cook together completely.
As the Onion-Ginger-Garlic-Green Chillies paste is cooked, add the Shan Achari Masala. Mix together and stir for 2-3 mins.
Add the fried veggies and mix well.
Cover and cook for a few mins, particularly if the veggies are half-cooked.
Serve this hot with Rice\Chapatti.

Achari Vegetable Curry with Peurto Rican Beans in the background

Fried Plantains (Puerto Rican)

One of my friend's mother-in-law and a very dear friend of mine was recently in town. She very sweetly remembered that I had expressed an interest in learning more about the Puerto Rican cuisine and maybe a recipe or two. We ended up meeting last Sunday and cooking together. That was one of the most memorable get-togethers that I have had. We ate, drank, laughed and cooked some. "Life is good" because of such moments that we share with near and dear ones. Thank you, Beita ... love you and always count my blessings that I have you as a friend. Amen to many more such moments to be blessed on all of us.

She taught us Puerto Rican Beans and Rice (will post later) and Fried Plantains. Both were delicious, full of flavors and the best part - easy peasy to make. The whole house smelt so good when both these dishes were being cooked.


Plantains - not too ripe, just perfect
Canola Oil - for frying one side at a time (not as much as one would need for deep frying)


Cut the plantains as shown in the pic.

Heat the oil.
Place the plantains in a layer so that one side gets cooked.
As it slightly browns, turn over the other side.
It is meant to be slightly cooked, but we also liked a batch that was slightly overdone and crispy. Or as Beita said "If you kids like it, go for it!" :)

As we kept making these, they kept disappearing. So you can imagine! Even the kids love it..so plan the portions accordingly when preparing. We had it as a side with the Rice & Beans as well. The sweetness of the fried plantains gave a nice twist to the savory Rice & Beans. Bon appetit.

Thank you, Beita, for the wonderful recipe and the memories. A shout-out to my fellow learners in this cookout - dear A-Chau and Huey :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Mediterranean Restaurant Zeitoon @ Sterling, VA

Different types of Olives
Note - This is not a paid post!:)

We tried out a local Mediterranean restaurant and loved it - so I thought I should share. Loved the food and the service. Can't wait to try it again. Every dish was fresh and flavourful. The lamb was perfectly cooked - just the right amount of spice without being overwhelming. The plums in the dish were a unique addition to a meat dish for me and gave a nice twist. Actually if it were not for the plums, it would have been very much like the good ol'  Odiya Mangso Tarkari (Goat Meat curry). Hummus was one of the best I have ever had. I dont have (or thought so) the taste buds for Olives but liked the different varieties they served.

Sharing a few pics.

Note: They make Baklava every few days (I forget the exact days) but it was sold out the day we visited - will def try it the next time we are there. 

Appetizer samplerLamb Tajine - loved the plums in it!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lotus Root Crisps


Lotus Roots - fresh or frozen defrosted 2 cups
Shan Tandoori Masala - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp, or as per taste
Rice Flour - 3 tbsp, for crunchiness


Cut the Lotus roots into pieces as shown in pic. If frozen, they come pre-cut; make sure to defrost.
Mix with the rest of the ingredients
Deep fry in hot oil.
Serve hot with Rice/Dal or eat as-is.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tuna Dip


8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/4 teaspoon Hot Sauce, to taste
1/4 teaspoon Salt, or as per taste
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 (6 ounce) cans Albacore Tuna in Olive Oil, drained and flaked
2 whole Green Onions, minced
3 Celery Stalks, chopped fine
A pinch Sugar


Remove the oil from Tuna and put in a paper towel to wring out as much of the liquid as possible.
Mix everything together.
Keep it refrigerated till ready to serve.
Like it room temperature.

Can serve as appetizer with Crackers or Chips.
Also liked it on subs or breads as sandwich - a multi-purpose dip, for sure!

Inspired by the recipe here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Posto Bara (Poppy Seeds fritter)

In most Odiya households, there are certain days of the week that are followed as vegetarian days (Mondays and Thursdays are the most commonly followed ones). I am not sure but this may be an entirely unique trait of the Odiya culture. That is in comparison to most other cultures where people are either vegetarian or not. So in those vegetarian days, my mom had to be really innovative to keep us happily fed (us being me and Baba - my dad). Posto Bara was a favorite for those days. It is one of those dishes which is made widely in Odiya and Bengali households.

My dad is from Mayurbhanj and they use poppy seed a lot in their cuisine. Patua also known as Patrapoda is a delicious flavorful poppy seed and mustard seed paste-based dish with tiny fishes cooked in leaf-wrap in the clay oven. My mom can make it in a regular pot as well. I have tried but can never get the same flavors. It is an intricate and careful preparation. My Didi (my paternal grandmom) also used to make it really well. Some food memories for sure...

Posto Bara is something I have been planning to make since ages. However, my last few attempts at making anything using poppy seed has been a disaster - too much mustard leading to bitter taste, coarse paste texture due to incompetent blender, etc, etc. So finally I turned around and got enthu to take another stab at it. Voila - it was a success. We loved it! Friends visiting us loved it! Got another friend who was missing her mom's food to try it - She also loved it! :)

My childhood friend Sonali's preparation - One of the best cooks, for sure! :)

This is so easy to make - I am pretty sure I will make it more often now.

Ingredients (makes about 60 small fritters)

Poppy Seeds - 2 cups
Maida - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1 medium, chopped finely
Potato - 1 large, chopped finely
Green Chilli - 3-4, chopped finely (optional)
Garlic or Onion-Ginger-Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
Cumin-Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
Salt - as per taste
Canola oil for shallow frying


Soak the Poppy Seeds overnight. I add warm water to begin with.
Take 1/2 tsp Canola oil and fry the finely chopped potatoes to cook it. It can be added as-is to the batter but I did not want to take the chance of it remaining raw.
Grind the Poppy Seeds to a fine batter - not too watery. As you take the batter in your hand, you should be able to mould it to the shape you want.
Add all the ingredients with the Poppy Seed batter and mix well.
Heat oil for shallow frying. Add the prepared batter to the hot oil as shown in pic below.
Cook one side. As it turns crispy and browns, it will easily move. Turn it upside down so that the other side can cook.
Place them in paper towel to pull away the extra oil.
Place them in a wax paper lined container.
Serve hot. Goes well with Rice-Dal as well as an appetizer.

Let me know if you get to try it. Have a great day!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Interesting brown bag..(Thanks, Chipotle!)

Just as I was about to garbage this bag, chanced upon the writing on it and enjoyed reading it in detail. Being mindful is important to not lose out on these small surprise packages, literally! :)