Sunday, 28 September 2014

Almond-Raisin Potato Balls + Chilly-Raisin Chutney

"Oh Sunday! You're here. And what a particular delight you are today. You are a Sunday on Navratri. That deserves special treatment. Don't you worry. I have taken care of everything. You won't be disappointed."

Hey folks! Please excuse my Sunday rantings. It's been a long time since I got a Sunday to myself. And clearly, I am too pleased about it. And I bet you all are too. But is the Navratri Sunday daunting you with the difficult choice about what to make that will satisfy you and your family without you crossing the safe fasting zone? You will be happy to know that I have a solution. Aww! You are welcome.

Stop. Stop! Don't think about having sabudana wada or sabudana khichdi. It's the fourth day of Navratri and haven't you had enough of it already? I am sure if you aren't saying yes out loud, you are slowly swearing it under your breath. Cool it now. I said I have a solution. It is these savoury yum balls of potato. I decided to call them Almond-Raisin Potato Balls, well, for obvious reasons. But that wasn't enough. I wanted to serve it and serve it right. So I paired them with this incredible sweet and spicy Chilly-Raisin Chutney. I know. Sounds hot! It is.

Enjoy this recipe with your family. Not just during Navratris, but on any occasion.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Dry Fruits Kheer

Fasting is something of a Catch 22. On the one hand you learn to resist temptations and on the other it's the time for indulgence. While you are allowed only a limited food items, those allowed are the richest and the best. Take for instance this dry fruits kheer. It's what's you are supposed to be eating when observing a fast. It is a popular Navratri special recipe and includes loads of dry fruits, your favorite ones, is very nutritious too. And talk about flavors! It's thickened, sweetened milk with your favorite dry fruits. Thank the Navratras!

What I like best about dry fruits kheer is that I can easily adjust the sweetness of the dish. I prefer mine less sweet than most I believe.It may reflect in the quantity of sugar I have used in the recipe. But like I said, adjust it to your liking. 

Since I wanted to do this post early in the day so you guys can prepare it tonight, I actually had it for breakfast. It made my day! And do you know what the best part is? I am not even keeping these fasts and yet getting to eat all these delicious things. Guilty!

You guys enjoy this kheer while I go and look if some of it is remaining in the kitchen.


Milk- 2 cups
Mixed dry fruits (almonds, walnuts, pista, raisins, etc.)- 1/2 cup 
Makhana- 1/2 cup
Rajgir- 1/4 cup
Sugar- 5 tbsp (adjust)
Green cardamom- 2-3 nos
Saffron- a few strands
Ghee- 3 tbsp


Heat ghee in a pan.

Add dry fruits and makhana and roast.

Let cook. Chop/slice dry fruits as desired.Slightly crush makhanas.

In a pan, warm milk and add dry fruits, makhana, rajgir, sugar, crushed cardamon and saffron, saving a few strands for garnishing.

Bring to a boil and let simmer for 7-8 minutes until thickened to your likeability. Not too thick though.

Garnish with a few strands of saffron and serve hot.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Falahari Jeera Aaloo

The festive season in India has officially begun with the onset of Navratri. On this occasion, a few of my friends have asked for Navratri special recipes and this is a very simple recipe that can be had when observing fast. This is my mom's recipe and it is one of those recipes that strengthen my belief that the simplest flavors can work wonders. I understand that the funda behind observing a fast is learning to live simply and not give into temptations. But then, one has to eat at least once. This simple recipe is filling and and can be whipped up in easily in large batches to be taken to a group gatherings during the Navratris.

It helps to keep boiled potatoes handy during Navratris as it can be used in other recipes such as Sabudana Wada, Sabudana Khichdi etc.

I will be adding more Navratri special recipes. I had not planned posting Navratri special recipes so it will be one at a time. But they will be easy and my friends will have plenty of time to prepare.

Happy Navratris everyone.

Side note: I did not use any haldi in this recipe and yet the potatoes look fairly yellow. That's because the potatoes I used were slightly yellow on their own owing to seasonal availability.


Boiled potatoes- 2 large
Green chillies- 3 nos (adjust)
Curry leaves- about 20-25 nos.
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder- <1/4 tsp (optional)
Rock salt to taste
Oil- 1 tbsp


Peel and cut boiled potatoes into big pieces. Potatoes that are not too soft (after boiling) work best for this recipe.

Cut green chillies into 1/2" pieces.

Heat oil in a pan.

When heated, temper with cumin seeds, curry leaves and green chillies.

If using, add red chilly powder at this point.

Add potatoes. Add Salt.

Sauté for 3-5 minutes with only occasional stirring.

These potatoes taste best when allowed to develop a slightly crispy crust while sautéing. This can be achieved by not stirring potatoes too frequently and letting them stick to the pan but taking care they don't burn.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Colorful Bell Peppers Veg Fried Rice

A variety of colourful bell peppers (capsicum) are available around the world, though, I have only come across green, yellow and red bell peppers in India. I have used all three in this veg fried rice recipe. There is a perceptible change in taste of green and red/yellow bell peppers. Whereas the green ones are tangy and taste better, to me, once cooked; the red/yellow ones a slightly tangy-sweet taste that makes them a favourite for raw salads and sandwiches.

Every time I use yellow bell peppers, my dadi asks me what it is and she looks surprised to learn that bell peppers can be yellow. She is 90. Then I shock her even more by telling that the red things in her rice are not tomatoes and that they too are bell peppers. She grows even more wide eyed. Then to top it all off I tell her that bell peppers come in many other colors such as orange and purple. At that point she resigns and just eats her food. She probably thinks I am crazy!

I am so happy how delightfully tasty and easy this recipe turned out. I have used minimal spices, no powdered spices at all. My mom suggested I add some paneer but I said naaa! Then I thought I could add some peanuts but again I decided to go with naaa! It's a complete meal in itself . Serve with a simple raita or, what the heck, with plain curd and you'll not crave anything else.

This gorgeous rice is just perfect for Sunday brunches, a lazy weekend lunch with friends or a 'let's kill the rut' dinner on a weeknight. It is also a great way to use leftover rice.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Palak Paneer

When you are bored of eating the same vegetables everyday and want to have something that is rich yet light and easy to cook, Palak Paneer is your rescue. I love to make Palak Paneer for lunch/brunch on Sundays. It offers a simple, non-time consuming, tasty way to to incorporate healthy greens in your diet and have a wonderful meal.

It is even better when prepared out of the blue on a weekday. The surprised smiles of your loved ones is worth more than the effort you put. I made it today for lunch and the aroma tempted me so much that I almost gave up photographing it for the post. Somehow, I controlled my temptations and was able to click a few good pictures before running back to the kitchen to serve it for lunch.

Palak Paneer is probably the paneer recipe I like best; and for reasons more than one.
The ease- all you need to do is steam and purée spinach. That's probably the most time taking (read-which isn't really time taking) task in the whole recipe.
The flavor- mild and rich flavors of ginger, garlic, minimal spices and spinach..
The texture- buttery and smooth. The curry just melts in mouth.
The paneer- you can opt to either shallow fry or deep fry paneer or use it as it is; tastes superb any way.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Water Chestnuts and Green Beans Salad

Lately, I have been drawn into making salads and this Water Chestnuts and Green Bean salad in today's post is a testimony to my increasing love for salads. And if it wasn't for the aforementioned love, I would have popped these superbly fresh water chestnuts just as they were.

I spotted these fresh water chestnuts on way home from an errand in the vegetable market today. I bought a whole kilo of it. As soon as I reached home, I peeled out a few (or may be more) and relished the subtle sweetness and watery crunch that makes it a favorite of many. While I was buying these, a kid asked his mom what these bull-face shaped things were called? Wouldn't you agree? These do look like bull-faces with horns!

I set about peeling these I found them to be really tender, fresh and sweet. It is important that you buy the smaller-medium size water chestnuts since the bigger ones tend to get harder and bland and wouldn't taste so well in a salad. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Veg Hakka Noodles

Hello folks! It's been a while.

Today I bring to you a brightly colored, mildly flavored recipe- Veg Hakka Noodles.

But before we get going with the recipe, I want to let you guys in on the reason for my long absence. Last month has been an exciting one for me as I was busy forming a group of cooking and food enthusiasts in my small town area (actually 80 km away from my town, I travel there for meetings and activities) where a search on interest specific group activities will draw you out a blank. I met with the owner of a popular hangout place,Nukkad, The Teafe, and explained to him my desire and reason to form such a group. He enthusiastically agreed to collaborate and we had our first meet 2 weeks back which was attended by 20 people. We had a fun potluck lunch party last Sunday and will meet soon again.I am much thrilled to bring this culture in my region and it's the support of the group members that it has been possible. All of us have become friends, and as I write this, the rest are having fun at the birthday party of a group member.