Dec 9, 2008

Lavash falafel wrap

I happened to have this in a Middle Eastern restaurant and I got hooked to its taste. Lavash is an Armenian flatbread which was introduced to me by an Armenian friend in college. It is also known as also known as lahvash or Armenian cracker bread. It is used in several ways and one such way to have this lavash is this recipe. It also comes in the whole wheat version. It is similar to our Indian chapathi but prepared in a different way. This lavash-falafel wrap is just a matter of assembling.


Lavash - 1

Falafels - 3 to 4

Hummus - 3 tablespoons

Onions - chopped 1/4 cup

Chilli powder - 1 teaspoon


Tomato - 1 sliced thinly


Heat a lavash in a tawa and spread the hummus evenly.

Assemble the onions, tomato, lettuce, chilli powder and falafel and wrap it up and enjoy.

I used the classsic version of hummus, any variety of hummus can be used.

Falafel recipe

Hummus recipe

Dec 5, 2008

Keerai kootu

This is a healthy way to have spinach. It is both tasty as well as nutritious. It tastes best when accompanied with rice and dhall. Even people who hate spinach tend to like this version of spinach. This can also be prepared with frozen spinach in a matter of minutes. Just squeeze out excess water if using frozen spinach.


Spinach (chopped) - 4 cups

Moong dhall - 1 cup

Ginger - 1 inch grated

Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon

Onion - 1/2 small sized

Green chillies - 3

Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon

Urad dhall - 1 teaspoon

Oil - 1 spoon

Curry leaves - few

Asafoetida - 1 pinch

Salt to taste


In a pressure cooker, add the moong dhall, turmeric, asafoetida and water and pressure cook for 1 whistle. In another vessel cook the spinach with a little salt until it starts getting wilted.

In a saucepan, add the oil, mustard seeds and urad dhall. Once it starts spluttering add the chopped onion, curry leaves, grated ginger and green chillies. Saute for a while.

Add the cooked spinach and moong dhall and cook in medium low for about 5 minutes.

Adjust salt and remove from heat.

Serve warm with dhall and rice. Just yummy!

Dec 3, 2008

Ragi Puttu / Finger Millet Cakes

Ragi (red millet) has many health benefits. It is widely used as red millet flour. Having known the health benefits of ragi, i wanted to make a quick and healthy snack. I tumbled upon a ragi puttu recipe in some website. I tweaked it a bit to suit our palate and created this recipe. It was filling and there was no compromise on the taste part as well.

My other puttu recipe: Sweet Puttu
Ragi (Red Milet) flour - 1 1/2 cups
Rice flour - 1/2 cup
Sugar / Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder - 1 teaspoon
Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Dry roast the rice flour for about two minutes. once it turns fragrant, mix it together with the ragi flour, coconut, salt, jaggery/sugar, cardamom powder and mix well.
Sprinkle some water and rub in with fingers so that it forms a crumbly texture.
To check if the right amount of water is added, just take a some mixture in your hand and clasp it within the palm.If the mixture holds together then it is in the right consistency.If it is still powdery and falls off, sprinkle little more water.

Now shape the mixture using any mould.I used a small bowl.Take the mixture in whatever mould you have and just press it with your hand,so that the particles are held tightly.Invert the bowl and tap it slightly.The mixture comes out easily.With care, transfer the shaped puttu to the steamer.
Steam cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Serve warm!

Sending this to JFI:Ragi hosted by Madhuram and started by Indira.

Dec 1, 2008

Spinach Pastry

This is similar to the greek pastry Spanakopita. This is nowhere close to the authentic recipe but this combination of pastry was born as a result of me finishing up all items in my fridge. It is made with puff pastry with a filling of spinach, cottage cheese and onions. The cottage cheese can be replaced with feta cheese, ricotta cheese etc.


Puff pastry - 3 sheets

Spinach - 1 cup

Cottage cheese - 1/2 cup

Onion - 1 small sized

Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon

Oil - 2 teaspoons

Salt and pepper to taste


Thaw the puff pastry as per the manufacturer's directions.

If using frozen spinach, sqeeze out all water and chop spinach. 

In a saucepan, heat oil and add the cumin seeds. once they start spluttering, add the chopped onions and saute till translucent. Add the spinach and saute until it just gets wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the cottage cheese. Season with salt and pepper.


Cut the puff pastry to the required shape. Roll out a wee bit with the help of a rolling pin. Add a spoonful of mixture and seal the edges together with a fork.

Brush the top with some butter or with an eggwash to get a nice crust.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degree F for about 20 minutes until the pastry turns golden brown.

Serve warm!

Nov 28, 2008

A Date to remember - Dates Milkshake

This is one drink which I am having for breakfast every other day. i saw the recipe in Mahimaa's blog and got hooked to its taste the moment I tried it. It tastes heavenly and you ought to try it. It is healthy and nutritious combining the goodness of almonds and dates. Banana gives a rich consistency to the drink. Just blend a glass for yourself and enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 2 tall glasses)

Dates - 5 pits removed

Almonds - 10

Banana - 1

Cold Milk - 2 cups

Cardamom powder - 1 pinch (optional)


Soak the almonds overnight. In the morning peel the almonds. You can use the almonds with the skin too. Slice the banana. Blend together the dates, almonds, cardamom powder, banana, cold milk until a smooth consistency. If you find it to be too thick, add a little water.

Serve chilled.

Sending this to FIL:fruits

Nov 26, 2008

Fruit Cake

This fruity cake is generally associated with the festival season. We used to get this cake especially during Christmas. I loved each bite which had the juiciness of the raisins and dry fruits and the goodness of the nuts. I always wanted to try this cake and I never knew it was this simple. I made this for a potluck party and it was a big hit!

Here comes the recipe right in time for the festive season! The dry fruits and nuts I have used are my own measurements. If there are certain fruits or nuts you don't like, you can always include more of another, or some of your own favorites.


All-Purpose flour - 2 cups
Brown Sugar - 1 cup packed
Milk - 1 cup
Butter - 1 stick
Baking powder - 1 tablespoon
Baking soda - 1 teaspoon
Eggs - 2
Cinnamon powder - 1 teaspoon
Nutmeg powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cardamom powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Walnuts - 1/2 cup chopped
Cashews - 1/4 cup chopped
Almonds - 1/4 cup chopped
Prunes - 1/4 cup chopped
Golden raisins - 1/4 cup chopped
Currants - 1/4 cup chopped
Cherries - 1/4 cup chopped


In a large saucepan, bring together the brown sugar, butter and milk. Keep it on medium heat for 5 minutes until the sugar carmelises. Bring it to a boil. Add all the dry fruits, nuts, cinnamon, cardamom powder and nutmeg. Give it a stir and keep on medium low for 3 more minutes. Allow it to cool.

Beat the two eggs together. In another vessel, whisk the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Once the mixture has cooled completely, add the eggs and mix well. Finally add in the flour mixture. Stir all the ingredients so that there are no lumps. The batter will be of a thin consistency.

Grease and flour a cake pan. Line with aluminium foil and pour the batter and spread evenly.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degree F for about 45 minutes until a fork inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan. Cool in a wire rack.

This cake can be wrapped in aluminium foil and stored for about 4 to 5 days. It tastes even better the second day because the spices might have infused well with the other ingredients.

Some tips that might be useful while baking this cake:

To prevent overbrowning, line the bottom and sides of the pan with foil. Leave extra foil overlapping the sides so that it is easier to remove the cake from the pan.

When baking, set the fruitcake pan in a baking pan half-filled with water to prevent burning around the edges. however, be careful while removing the pan from the oven as the water might be boiling and extremely hot!

Let fruitcake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

For long-term storage, bury the linen and foil wrapped fruitcake in a tin filled with powdered sugar.

Sending this Fruity Nutty Cake to Vegetarian Thanksgiving and Children's Day Event and to FIL:Fruits

Nov 24, 2008

Aval / Poha Laddu

This is a quick snack recipe which i adopted from a cook show. It uses aval/poha as the main ingredient. The poha gives a different texture to the laddu and is different from the normal laddoo varieties. It is a very easy and tasty snack and can be fixed in a matter of minutes.


Aval / Poha - 1 cup

Sugar - 1 cup

Ghee/Clarified butter - 1/2 cup

Cardamom powder - 1 teaspoon

Cashews and raisins


In a saucepan, dry roast the aval/poha until it turns crispy and fragrant.


In a mixer, grind the poha to a fine powder. Then add equal amount of sugar  to the poha powder. Also mix in the cardamom powder. 

Fry some cashews and raisins in ghee and add to the mixture.

Heat the ghee and add it to the entire mixture and form small balls.

Store in an airtight box.

This goes off to Sunday Snacks-Fix it 

Nov 22, 2008

Blackberry Smoothie

This is a funfilled fruity, creamy, colorful smoothie filled with the goodness of blackberries and dates! What else can you ask for? This is a great way to have the juicy berry! I happened to pick a bunch of these beauties. We had some fresh and made a smoothie with the remaining. It is enriched with dates and nuts which makes it more healthy and good especially for children. The best part is it doesnt contain sugar!

We are leaving to India tomorrow! So I will be in a break for a while. I have however scheduled some posts for the days to come. See you all next year!

Ingredients (Makes 2 tall glasses)

Blackberries - 1/2 cup

Dates - 5 (pits removed)

Almonds/Badam - 10

Cold Milk - 2 cups


In a blender combine together the dates, almonds, blackberries and milk and blend to a smooth consistency.

Serve chilled topped with berries or whipped cream.

It is that simple!

Sending this to FIC:Purple and Children's Day Event

and to FIL:Fruits

Nov 20, 2008

Mushroom Tofu Fried Rice

This Mushroom Tofu Fried rice makes a protein packed meal since it con tains the goodness of both mushrooms and tofu combined with spices and veggies. Most species of mushroom are high in fibre and provide vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, cobalamins, ascorbic acid. Tofu is undoubtedly rich in protein. This takes hardly any time to prepare and it is a great way to finish up left over rice and veggies. You can add in any of your favorite vegetables as well.

Ingredients ( Serves 3)

Long-grain rice (Basmati) - 1 1/2 cups Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced (or any variety) - 1 cup White mushrooms, sliced thin - 1/2 cup
Extra-firm tofu (diced)- 3/4 cup 
Capsicum/ Bell Pepper - 1 chopped
Tomato - 1 finely chopped 
Dried red-pepper flakes - 1/4 teaspoon 
Grated fresh ginger - 1 tablespoon 
Scallions(green onions) including green tops, sliced thin - 5 to 6 in number 
Teaspoon salt - 1/2 teaspoon 
Soy sauce - 1 teaspoon or as per taste 
Cup frozen peas - 1/4 cup 
Cooking oil - 3 tablespoons


Cook the rice with enough water . Fluff with fork and seperate the rice grains.

Shallow fry the tofu in a teaspoon of cooking oil till it turns into a golden brown color. This helps the tofu to maintain its shape and stays crisp.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil over moderately high heat. Add half the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.


In the same frying pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of cooking oil over moderate heat. Add the red-pepper flakes, ginger, bell pepper, tomato and scallions and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase the heat to moderately high and add the rice, salt, and soy sauce. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes and then add the peas and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until everything's warm, another 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve warm with raita or any chinese side dish.

I served this fried rice along with Gobi Manchurian.

This goes off to Srivalli's Rice Mela

Other dishes for Rice Mela

Corn-Peas Cheese Pulao

Kalkandu Satham/Misri Bhath


Mushroom - Peas Corn Pulao

Thakkali Satham/Tomato Rice


Vegetable Biryani

Carrot rice


Coriander rice

Easy Peas Pulao


Nov 18, 2008

Corn bread

As we are leaving to India coming Sunday , I am in the process of using up all leftover veggies and stuff in my refrigerator. As I was making a list of items in my pantry to be finished, i was astonished at the number of items I had. The list was pretty long, and this corn bread came into existence as I had to finish up some cornmeal. They were too good and they go well with any soup. Googling through a number of recipes, I came up with a recipe of my own.


All-purpose flour - 1 cup
Coarse stone-ground cornmeal - 1 cup
Granulated sugar - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1 tablespoon
Baking soda - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Canola oil 2 spoons
Butter at room temperature - 2 tablespoons
Buttermilk - 1 cup
Large eggs - 2
Lemon zest - 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
Fresh corn - 1/2 cup (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degree F.

Butter and flour a loaf pan of about 9x5 inches.

In a large bowl, combine together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another vessel, whisk together oil, butter, buttermilk, eggs and lemon zest. Add to the flour mixture and stir quickly until well combined. Stir in the fresh corn if desired. Transfer the mixture to the buttered and floured loaf pan.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. If it needs to bake longer but the top is already golden, then place a a piece of tin foil over the top of the bread to prevent further browning. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool. Serve hot with some butter.

We had warm corn bread along with some hearty soup for a fulfilling dinner.

Sending this to AWED : American hosted by dear Dhivya.

The following are my entries to AWED :American

And finally, the voting for the Diet Foods event is over. Mahimaa of Indian Vegetarian kitchen won the poll hands down!! Congrats Mahimaa. Thanks to everyone who voted :)

Nov 16, 2008

Carrot Chutney

I did not have coconut at hand and I wanted to make a quick side-dish for dosai immediately. I made this spicy carrot chutney after seeing Ramya's blog. At first I was hesitant because I was doubtful it might turn out too sweet and might not go well along with dosai. But instead, it turned out exactly the way I like. It was hot and spicy and it was a healthier option compared to coconut. Here is the simple recipe.


Carrot - 2 large
Onion - 1 small
Tomato - 1 small
Garlic - 1 clove
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Channa dhall - 1 tablespoon
Red chillies - 2
Oil - 1 spoon
Salt to taste

For the seasoning
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Urad dhall - 1 teaspoon
Red chillies - 2
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Oil - 1 teaspoon


Chop the onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes. Grate the carrots.

In a saucepan, dry fry the channa dhall and red chillies and keep them separately.
In the same saucepan, add the oil and saute the garlic, ginger and onions. Once they translucent, add the chopped tomatoes and carrot and fry for a minute until the raw smell disappears.

Cool the mixture and transfer them to the blender. Add salt to taste and blend into a smooth paste.

Season with urad dhall, mustard seeds, asafoetida and red chillies and add it to the chutney.
Serve with idly or dosai.

Sending this to to the following events:

Nov 13, 2008

Couscous stuffed Bell Peppers - A Medley of colors

Couscous granules are made from semolina (coarsely ground durum wheat) or, in some regions, from coarsely ground barley or pearl millet.The couscous available to buy in most Western supermarkets has been pre-steamed and dried, the package directions usually instruct to add a small amount of boiling water or stock to the couscous, cover tightly for 5 minutes. The couscous swells and within a few minutes is ready to fluff with a fork and serve. Pre-steamed couscous takes less time to prepare than regular couscous, dried pasta, or dried grains such as rice. [Wikipedia]

Having heard a lot about couscous, I wanted to try some dish with the grain. Seeing this recipe Sunita's blog I was tempted to try it for dinner. My pictures do not do justice to the dish. Hopover to Sunita's blog to see her amazing pics. This dish is an easy one to prepare and serves as a change to a normal dinner. The juiciness of the bell peppers go along well with the nuttiness and crunchiness of the couscous-vegetabe stuffing.


Bell Peppers - 3 (different colors)
Olive oil - 2 spoons
Couscous - 1/2 cup
Very finely chopped vegetables - 1 1/2 cups ( Carrot, cauliflower, peas)
Onion - 1/2 chopped finely
Garlic - 2 cloves
Chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Vegetable stock/water - 1 cup
Feta cheese / any cheese - 1/2 cup
Salt and pepper to taste
Corinader leaves for garnish


Half the peppers and scoop out the contents inside. Rub oil to the inside and outside of the bell peppers and arrange them cut side up on a baking sheet.Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degree F for about 20 minutes till the bell peppers turn soft.

In the mean time, mix together the couscous, chopped vegetables, garlic and onion. Bring the stock/water to a boil and pour it over the couscous-vegetable mixture. cover and let it stand for 20 minutes until all the water gets absorbed.

Once the couscous is done, fluff it slightly with a fork. Add the cumin powder, chilli powder, salt, pepper, half the cheese and coriander leaves. Mix until combined.

Spoon the couscous mixture into the baked bell pepper halves. Top with the remaining cheese and return back to the oven. Bake for about 15 inutes until the cheese is slightly browned.

Serve warm with a soup.

This makes a wholesome meal with the bell peppers and the couscous stuffing.Hence I am sending this to 

Nov 12, 2008

Diet Foods roundup III and Voting for a surprise giveaway!

Here comes the final roundup of Diet Foods event. This roundup is composed of meal and dessert entries. I once again extend my thanks to all those who sent in their lovely entries and made this event a grand success. As a token of gratitude i wanted to give a small gift to a winner. See the end of the post for more details.

Diet Foods Roundup Part I (Soups and Salads)







Please let me know if I have missed out any of your entries. Will add them to the roundup.

And coming to the surprise giveaway, I have decided to select the winner by conducting a poll. See the sidebar for the participants and vote for your favorite entry. Voting ends on November 18th, 2008 and the winner will be announced the next day. I will be able to mail the gift to people residing in India and US only.

Thanks again friends for your lovely participation.It was indeed a pleasure hosting the event!

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