April 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spices- Herbs

Spices are an integral part of vegetarian food. Adding spice to your life may reduce heart disease and diabetes. Seasonings are concentrated sources of disease-fighting phenols. Allspice, cinnamon, cloves, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, turmeric and pepper are all good. One needs regular doses in small amounts more frequently than just once in a year.

Spices add aroma and zest to food. For a long time in India and Asia, spices have had great monetary value as well as value in the kitchen. Some uses are just habitual and used from generation to generation with out knowing the real effects of particular spices in food. But with advance science, researching their values and importance has grown. Most of the spices are used to offset foods negative effects. As with any milk recipes, the use of Nutmeg is recommended. In combination with cardamom it becomes a good mixture. Because of milk intolerance, nutmeg it adds digestive trait to milk products. It can be taken as a medicine for stomach ache, flatulence, dysentery, vomiting and nausea.

I have a short list of commonly used spices and herbs which are used in day-to-day cooking.  The idea is to use spices and herbs in every-day cooking. It helps in prevention of harmful bacterial growth and is an aid to wellness. Spices and herbs should be used in small amounts but incorporated into each meal so one can experience their benefits. Hence came the idea of the Spice Box. If the box is homemade, spices can be stored dry in a air-tight container. They have approximately a two year life span.

Herbs have to be fresh. They gives distinct taste and personality to food. No doubt they help to aid in digestion and give character to recipes. Herbs such as bay, basil, thyme and dill are used in flavoring many recipes.

Anardana- pomegranate seeds- dried and made powder form uses as needed.
Asafoetida- Use it very very less almost half of 1/4 tsp.
Ajawan- also called Bishops weed use only 1/2 tsp gives little pungent spice taste
Basil- Popular Herb  in America, use as you like. It pairs perfectly with any vegetables. It improves in taste with fresh chopped basil leaves.
Black cumin- also called kalunji used is Naan -black seeds like
Black pepper- used whole or crushed
Chili- red pepper ,cayenne pepper or paprika - taste range from hot to mild
Caraway seeds- also called shah jiru -various uses
Cardamom- uses as whole or seeds and powder form
Cinnamon- uses as sticks as well as powder
Cloves- uses as whole or powder -spicy
Coriander - uses as herb fresh cilantro or/and seeds ,roasted and powder
Cumin- called jira also used as whole or powder
Curry leaf- called limdo - is used as Herb fresh available at Indian grocers  instantly adds flavour
Dill- Various uses fresh and /or as seeds called Suva
Fennel- also called variali can be used as seeds and or in powder form
Fenugreek- is also called met hi seeds is available in fresh leaves as herb or used as powder form
Ginger- used as fresh grated when dried for a long time is called sooth used as herb in a powder form still widely use in most of the household
Amchur- is dried mango powder is used in pieces or powder form
Mint- is famous herb various uses
Mustard- called rai seeds used both seeds and powder form
Nutmeg- Used in deserts and biryanis used in powder form also
Oregano- Famous Italian spice
Poppy seeds- white seeds uses for sweets and drinks
Saffron- uses are in strands crushed with milk
Tamal patra- called Tejpatta gives flavour can be almost optional
Turmeric- Famous haldi uses are very small amount 1/4 tsp gives yellowish colour to the food
Vanilla- popular foods flavour
Jagri- sugarcane juice boiled and made thick cake is better than sugar
Kokam - is dried fruit and sour taste is used instead of lemon juice
Garlic and onion can be used in any vegetable and legumes recipe.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Savaiya - Vermicelli Kheer - Pudding

Preparation time: 40 Minutes
Serves: 4-6


4    Cups Milk
1    Cup Very Thing Vermicelli
6    TBsp Sugar
1    Tsp Ground Cardmom
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
1    Can Mandarin Oranges (Garnish)
1    TBsp Ghee or Unsalted Clear Butter

How to Prepare:
  1. In a sauce pan warm the butter and sauté vermicelli on medium heat.
  2. Add milk to it. 
  3. Let it boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Add Sugar and let it boil for a few minutes while stirring so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Remove from heat. 
  6. Add cardamom and nutmeg. 
  7. Let it cool for at least 2 hours.
  8. Serve with oranges on top.
Tips: This recipe can be easily done in microwave oven in an appropriate container.


Stuffed aloo Paratha

prep time 2 hrs
serves 10-12 pcs

For fillings:
6 medium potatoes boiled and smashed
1tsp green chili paste
1tsp ginger paste
chopped coriander
salt to taste
1tsp amchur dry mango powder
1tsp crushed black pepper
3 tbsp oil or ghee

For the dough:
2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp of ghee or butter
water to make dough
salt to taste
white plain flour to roll
oil to skillet fry

How to make:
1.prepare the dough as roti and set aside.
2.Mash the potato add all the spices. Divide dough into 10-12 round balls so it is ready to fill.
3. Roll out dough balls into a circle and put potato stuffing in it. Make a pouch holding all the corners into center. Gently roll out dough little bit more as to flatten it.
4. In a skillet on a medium heat place paratha gently. Fry it golden brown with little bit of ghee or oil. Turn it other side . With spatula pick it up and ready to serve.

Tips: Paratha is filling. It goes great with dahi or raita even pickle.

Labels: , , , , ,

Puran poli Sweet roti

prep time 2 hrs
serve 10-12 pcs

For fillings:
11/2 cup of toovar or Channa Dal( split pea or split chick peas)
1 cup jagri or sugar brown can be used
1tsp ground cardamom
8 strands of saffron
For Dough:
2 cup whole wheat flour 2 tsp oil
water to make dough
white flour to dust
butter or ghee

How to make:
1. Prepare dough for roti as usual and set aside.
2. Cook Dal in pressure cooker or separately.
3. In a bowl mix boiled Dal cardamom sugar and saffron. Microwave Dal for total 10 Min's.
in between stir 3to 4 times.Let it cool. set aside.
4. Knead the dough and divide into equal parts as to ready to roll.
5. Make ball of Dal into equal proportions.
6. Fill Dal ball into rolled dough. Gently handle the ball and roll it evenly and smoothly.
7. In a skillet on a medium heat place gently rolled roti.
8. Turn it over once and apply ghee. turn it over twice. fry it other side.
9. Puran poli is ready and satisfying. It serves to sweet teeth.

Tips: it does require some practice and patience. But it is fun and good to eat.

Labels: , , , , ,

Gluten free Makkai roti - corn bread/millet roti

prep time 30 Min's
serves 4

2 cups corn flour or 2 cups bajra or millet flour
salt to taste
ghee or butter to apply

How to make:
1. Mix salt and flour together. Make a dough . It will be soft.
2. Divide into 7-8 balls.
3. If it is needed white plain flour can be used to dust off balls.
It is handy to use saran wrap to roll out dough.
4. On a medium heat on a skillet gently place roll out roti to cook.
5. Turn it over once. Place roti on open flame with the help of screen or rack.
use the tongue to cook both sides of roti. It will change color and some spots will show.
It is done. It is must with spinach sabji.
MY Favorite.

Tips: For millet Roti add 2 tbsp of whole wheat flour for easy making.
millet roti is gluten free.

Labels: , , , , ,

Methi thapla Fenugreek Roti

Prep time one hour
serves 12

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp oil
salt to taste
1/4 tsp astofedia
1/4 tsp turmeric
1cup frozen thawed chopped fenugreek leaves from Indian store
1/4 tsp sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
oil to skillet fry
ginger and chili paste to taste

How to make:
1. Mix all the ingredients ,mix it well then with room temperature yogurt make dough.
It is rough texture dough. It is OK. Let it sir for 1-2 hours.
2. Grease hands with oil and knead dough for couple of Min's.
3. Divide it into equal parts of same size balls. Roll it into plain white flour.
and make round shape. It may be difficult at first. It is OK.
4. Heat the skillet on medium heat and gently place thapla on skillet.
5. Turn it once after couple of seconds. Apply little bit of oil on both sides. Use spatula to turn upside down till it changes color or brown .
Hard work but Tasty!

Tips: It is known that this can bread stays longer and good for traveling.

Labels: , , , , ,

Paratha fried Roti

prep time:35 Min's
serves 15 pcs

1cup whole wheat flour
1/tbsp oil salt to taste water to knead the dough
clear butter or oil
1/2 cup plain white flour to dust

How to make:
1. In a mixing bowl mix all the ingredients and make a dough. Let it sit for half an hour.
2. Knead the dough and make balls of equal amount. Dust each ball with flour.
3. Rolling is very special. First roll out dough little bit. Now spread ghee and sprinkle some flour on it and fold in half. Again fold into quarters . Shape will look like triangle.
Roll out that triangle shape.
4. On a medium heat in a skillet gently cook parathas. Turn it over once. Apply oil or clear butter both sides and turn over till medium brown with spatula.

Paratha is very tasty .Yes it is yummy yummy!

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, April 13, 2009

North indian baked Bread - naan

prep time 1 hour
serves 10-12

3 cup unbleached flour
1tsp sugar
2tsp butter or oil
3 tbsp warm water for the yeast
2tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup yogurt
salt to taste
1tsp kalunji seeds or black cumin

1.Sift flour.baking powder and salt.
2.Dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar.
3.Knead the dough with yogurt and butter and make it smooth.Cover it with wet cloth and set
aside to rise in a warm place for 4-5 hours.
4.Divide the dough into 10-14 portions. Roll into oblong shapes. sprinkle the kalunji seeds.
5. Bake into pre- heated oven at 400 degree .until its done. for about approximately 7-10 Min's.
Butter the Naan with garlic or plain butter. and serve with your favorite vegetables or daal.

Tips: Naan can be cooked on skillet. and can be cooked on both sides.

Labels: , , , , ,

North Indian Bread Bhatura

Prep time 30 Min's
serves 12-14 pc

2 cups plain all purpose flour
1 cup yogurt
1/4 tsp baking soda
salt to taste
oil for deep frying
2tsp butter

How to make:

1. Mix flour, baking soda butter and salt in a mixing bowl.
2. Add yogurt and make a dough. Cover and leave for 6-7 hours.
3.Knead the dough and smooth out.
4.Make small 12-14 portions of balls. Roll out the balls into rounds.
5.In a frying pan fry them as they puff up. Turn it over once. One at a time.

Tips: Batura is is must with cholay- chick peas

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thandai indian milk drink

Prep time 20 Min's
serves 4


2 cup fresh rose petals
4 cup milk
4 tbsp sugar
30 almonds soaked
4 tbsp fennel seeds
4tbsp poppy seeds
4 ground black pepper
2 tsp cardamom powder
Fresh fruit can be added optional

How to make:
1. Grind all the Ingredients in a blender jar and make it a paste. Add in it milk and may be fresh fruit. Blend till smooth. Let it chill in a refrigerator for few hours. Please strain it before drinking ,can be added vanilla ice cream or ice.


Masala Milk

Prep time 10 Min's
serves 2

few almonds,pistachio.cardamom powder and saffron
2cup milk
2tsp sugar

How to make:

1.Silvered almonds and pistachio, crushed saffron st rends with mortar.
2.In a small pan on medium heat boil the milk add all the ingredients stir it for few Mn's
till it gives yellow tint. It is great cold or hot.


Rose Milk shake

Prep time 10 Min's
serves 2

2tbsp rose syrup
2 medium glass milk
2 scoop vanilla ice cream

How to make:
1. mix ingredients very well with a hand blender. Serve with ice in a glass cold.



Prep time 10 Min's
serves 2

3 tbsp sugar
1 lemon or lime juice
2 medium glass water
1/4 tsp chat masala

How to make:
1. Mix all the ingredients. Hand blender can be used to mix. Serve with ice.
Refreshing and quick energy booster in hot summer days.


Pineapple and prune

prep time 20 Min's
serves 4

1 can pineapple
1 pkt dried prunes
1/2tsp grated ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp black or rock salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup black raisin

How to make:
1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Microwave for 3 Min's. Let it sit for couple of hours.
2. Eat and Enjoy! i like it this way. Instead you can blend to a desired consistency.
It can be used with any meal.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

spanish Rice

Prep time 20min
serves 2

2 cup cold left over cooked rice
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 cut and cubed onion
2 tbsp pic ante salsa
2 tsp taco seasoning
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 tsp oil and salt to taste

How to make:
1.In a skillet heat the oil on medium heat saute vegetables for couple of minutes , add all the ingredients. Mix it well for couple of minutes.

Tips: In a frozen section at a grocery store bell pepper, corn, black beans, onion comes in a package as Tex-Mex that comes very handy.
This is a quick fix once a week and kids love it and most of all it taste very good.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Vegetable Pakora

prep time 30mins
serves 4-5
1small garden cucumber slices
1 small onion peeled and round slices
2 small potato
1 Eggplant or Banana
1 green bell pepper
1 cup swifted chick pea flour or besan
salt to taste
1tsp cumin and coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
oil to deep fry

How to make:

1. Mix chickpea flour in a bowl with salt and spices. Add water and make it a batter.
2. Add the desired vegetable in the batter.
3. Heat the oil on a high heat so it warms up to ready to fry.
4. Add the desired vegetable to batter to dip into and coated well with besan.
5. Fry them on medium heat till it is golden brown.

Pakora is a savoury treat for people in India. It goes with chutney or one can use catchup with it.

Tips: This is a gluten free recipe.


Papdi chat

Prep time 25 Min's
serves 3-4

1 can chickpeas
2 medium potato boiled cubed
1 small cut onion
1 bunch cilantro washed and finely chopped
2 cup yogurt
tam rind and cilantro chutney to taste (see recipe)
chaat masla and salt to taste
roasted cumin seeds powder
1 pkt flour tortillas
oil to fry

How to make:
1. Cut flour tortillas into small pieces with scissors into triangle shapes.
2. Heat the oil and deep fry them. set aside. This can be done in advance.
3.When ready to eat just before few minutes arrange first papdi into flat platter first.
4. Spread chick peas ,potato, onion on the papdi.
Add yogurt ,chutney and spices. garnish with cilantro.

Yumm! This is one of my favourite snacks.


Jeera Rice

Preparation Time: 30 Minutes
Serves: 4


1    Cup Rice
1    TBsp Oil or Butter
1    Stick Cinnamon
2 or 3 Cloves
3    Cardamom Pods
Salt to taste
1    Tsp Cumin Seeds
3    Cups Water


  1. Wash rice and soak for an hour.
  2. In a saucepan, add oil or clear butter over medium heat. Add Cinnamon cloves, cardamom
  3. and cumin seeds. Fry them gently for a quick 30 seconds.
  4. Add rice, water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  5. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer until water is absorbed.