Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Custard with Fruits

Wherever you turn to for news TV, Internet, Newspapers, blogs there is alwasy some news item talking about adding more fruits to the diet. But eating fruits is not always easy unless you jazz it up. Custards are a wonder accompaniment for a fruit medley. It is also very easy to prepare. I bought Brown and Polson Custard Powder from the Indian store. The instant pudding mix you get in most grocery stores also works great.

1. 2 Cups of Fat Free Milk
2. 2 tbsp Custard powder (follow directions from the box) / instant pudding mix
3. 2 tbsp of sugar (or to taste)
4. Fruits and Nuts(Pomegranate, pears, apples, grapes, bannanas, orange slices,nuts)

1. mix the custard in 1/4 cup of cold milk, bring the rest of the milk to boil.
2. Take the milk away from the heat add the custard mix and boil for a few more minutes
3. Cool, refrigerate, mix the fruits and serve

Tip: Seeding Pomegranate "834 Kitchen Quick Tips" (America's Test Kitchen)
Found this in today's Washington Post Food Section. I know the struggle with seeding a Pomegranate - splattering seeds and juice all over the kitchen. So the tip seemed interesting.

Cut the Pomegranate in half and place in a large bowl of cool water. Break the pieces apart underwater and separate the seeds. The seeds sink to the bottom and the pith and membrane float to the top. Sounds cool, will have to try it out.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Samba Ravai Upma - Broken Wheat Upma

Thanksgiving day rained out but the days(holidays) following Thanksgiving were absolutely gorgeous. Perfect Fall days for picnic and games in the National Mall. We love visiting the mall, there are people/tourists/locals visiting, jogging, playing soccer, volley ball,or just leisurely strolling. The Indian in me craves places were there are people and activity around. Living in the suburbs and hardly seeing anyone whenever we get a chance we escape to the city to take in the crowds, enjoy the walk and a game of soccer. Usually pack a picnic lunch to eat. Coming home in the evening too tired to cook up something Samba Ravai upma it will be. I like the Samba ravai better than the White semolina ravai because this is lighter and tastier. Samba Ravai is whole wheat kernels ground coarsely. I usually bring this from India but now you can get them at the Indian grocery stores.

National Mall

Capitol Hill in the distance, Washington Monument at the World War II memorial

Perfect Picnic and soccer spot

World War II memorial

Samba Ravai Upma

1. 1 cup Samba Ravai (2 cups of water)
2. 1/2 onion chopped
3. 2 small green chillies, chopped, 2 red chillies split in half seeds removed
4. 1/2 inch piece ginger grated
5. seasonings: cumin, split urad dal, curry leaves,mustard
6. 2 tsp oil
7. 2 tsp lemon juice
8. salt

1. Heat oil in a pan (kadai) add the seasonings, mustard last and when the mustard starts to pop add the chillies and then onions and saute till soft.
2. Add the 2 cups of water and salt.
3. When the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and add the samba ravai, keep stirring to avoid lumps.
4. Cover the lid and cook for 5-8 minutes till the ravai is cooked, it should look bloated.
5. Squeeze the lemon juice and mix and turn of the heat, keep the lid on till ready to serve.

Serve with brown sugar, lemon pickle and curd (yogurt).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Apple Almond Pancakes

Is economics more important than everything else, it certainly seems so. Look what happened to freedom of expression. Read this op-ed in the New York Times "Gaining Power, Losing Values" I am certainly not proud of what my home country is doing. The article was forwarded by a friend R.

"Happy Thanksgiving" everybody.

If you have friends visiting and would like to please them with something different this is a very easy and delicious recipe. H and D are very fond of pancakes, they found a recipe for Walnut and Apple pancakes and made them one weekend and it was a big hit, thought I had saved the recipe but lost it. This is our attempt to recreate the recipe.


Ingerdients (makes 14 pancakes)
1. 2 Cups of All purpose flour (substitute with 1 1/2 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup all purpose flour)
2. 2 apples peeled and shredded in a food processor or grated
3. 12 almonds peeled and shredded
4. a pinch of baking soda
5. 1 tbsp brown sugar
6. 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2% milk, if using water use a little less)
7. 2 Eggs beaten
8. 1 tbsp of butter (it is thanksgiving after all)


1. Mix all of the ingredients without any lumps. Mix the apple, almonds and eggs first, follow by adding flour a little by little and milk.
2. Heat a griddle or pan smear with butter and add a laddle of batter, cook on one side, flip on other side and cook till golden brown.

Serve warm with syrup, jelly or whipped cream. The pancake did not need any additional syrup it was tasty just by itself. The family and my cousin absolutely loved it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Brinjal, Spinach and Brussel Sprouts Curry

I felt like eating some brinjal curry but also wanted to add spinach and had a few brussel sprouts and so was born the brinjal,spinach and brussel sprouts curry. The Curry turned out pretty good and tasty and went well with chappathis. This is also another way of adding more greens to the diet which I am trying hard to do.


1. 6-8 small Indian brinjals, each slit into 4 but with the stem intact.
2. 1 1/2 cups of spinach(or any greens) washed and chopped
3. 4-5 brussel sprouts chopped (substitue with a cup of cabbage)
4. 1/2 red onion chopped.
5. seasonings, cumin, mustard, asfoetida, curry leaves
6. 1 tsp oil
7. 1 tsp turmeric powder
8. 2 tbsp of tamarind juice

For the paste
1. 1/2 red onion
2. 2 tbsp corriander seeds
3. 2 tsp cumin
4. 1 tsp pepper
5. 3 red chillies (seeded and broken in half)

Dry the roast ingredients 2-5 and saute the onions till brown with a little bit of oil and blend to a paste.

1. In a Kadai or pan heat oil add the seasonings and when the mustard starts to pop add the onions and saute till translucent
2. Add the cut brinjals and saute till the outside starts to turn slightly brown, add the brussel sprouts, saute a little bit, add the spinach and turmeric and mix well.
3. Add the ground paste and tamarind juice and 1/2 cup of water, salt, mix well. (the amount of water added depends on how thick or watery you want the curry)
4. Cover the lid and cook till the brinjals are soft.
5. Open the lid and cook for a few more minutes.

Serve with chappathis, tasted great.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thanks for the Simple Things in Life

Meeta, thank you for this wonderful thanksgiving opportunity. All parties have guests who turn up late. I am one of those. But I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks.

Driving to work, I get frustrated with the bumper to bumper traffic and fume at the car that cuts in front of me when I have been waiting forever to merge. Come home turn on the TV or glance at the newspaper and see the sufferings of the people in Sudan, Iraq, Burma and I am absolutely Thankful that the traffic and mundande things are what I have to worry about.

Thankful to two great countries that I can call home.

Thankful for my parents, my mom who drops everything and comes here when I ask her to, my dad who deals with things back home to keep the ship running. Thankful for my inlaws who in the midst of their busy life come here to help me out.

Thankful for my grand parents, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, neices, nephews whom I take for granted and now that I am far away from home miss dearly.

Thanks for my brother who has been there for me always, and my cousins who live in the same continent as I do.

Thankful for my neighbors who have helped more than I can ever thank for, Babysitting, playing watchman, gardener, cook, they have done it all.

Thankful for my colleagues at work who have gone out of their way to help me a regular telecommuter accomplish my work.

Thankful for my friends and ofcourse I can never thank them enough, who make me a better person.

Thanks for my babysitter who always comes on time so I can get to work.

Thanks to blogspot for this free blogging space in the Cyber World.

Thanks to my blog friends, my first friends Vineela, Priya S&S, InjiManga, RP, Pushpa, Krishna Arjuna who by their regular comments gave me the enthusiasm. Vineela and Inji would love to know you are doing fine and we miss you. Please let us know. Then slowly I made more friends and some more, Shaheen, Asha, Indira, Ashwini,Sumitha, Linda, Revathi, Sandeepa,Vaishali,Priya, Priya,Kalyn,Archana,Menu Today, Krithika, LakshmiAmmal, Prema, Maithreyee whose comments and posts brighten my day. Thank you. Thanks to the others and to steal Asha's words who don't leave their keyprints.

Finally and my no means the last I am most grateful and thankful for my family my H who puts up with my idiosyncracies, my kids who apperciate almost anything I do. A big Thank you.

I am most Thankful for the simple everyday things that make my life rich and here is a simple dish which makes my family happy every single time.

Dosai and Tomato Chutney

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Onion and Goat Cheese Tartlets

From Panic To Party ran the headline on the Sunday Source of the Washington Post and sounded pretty irresistible. Irresistible it was not to cook when I read few of the recipes. Onion and Goat Cheese Tartlets particulary interested me because I could easily play with the ingredients to make it spicy. The recipe there was adapted from the way we Cook by Sheryl Julian & Julie Riven. This is also a dish for kids to help out and then eat it all up without any fuss.


1. 1 Puff Pastry Sheet thawed
2. 2 Onion sliced thin
3. 1 tomato deseeded and cut into strips
4. 1 cup crumbled goat cheese (I used combination of goat and Pepper Jack cheese)
5. 3 pickled Peppers deseeded and cut into strips (red for color)
6. 2 tbsp corriander leaves chopped
7. 2 tsp chilly powder or sambhar powder
8. salt
9. 2 tsp (oil + ghee)


1. In a pan heat the oil and saute the onions till brown. Add the tomatoes,salt and chilly powder and cook till tomatoes are soft. Keep aside.
2. Cut the pastry sheet to 9 pieces, tear along the folds and cut into 3 pieces each.
3. Place a spoon full of onion mixture. Leave the margins free.
4. Sprinkle cheese to cover the onions.
5. Top with the cilantro and the peppers.
6. Preheat oven to 400F, place the tartlets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20-25 minutes till the edges are browned.

Serve hot.

Sandeepa asked why don't I post this for the WBB #7, I checked the event and the dish was apt one. So here goes,

This will be my submission to Saffron Trail Nandita's WBB #7 Baking for Breakfast.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sinfully Delicious

Look at these deep fried Chicken Wings and legs from the Lancaster Dutch Market. Enter the store and the smell are delicious and there are long lines for their fried chicken and Pretzels which they cook on the premises. I go there mostly to buy vegetables, milk, fruits which are fresher than any grocery store. They also have delectable baked goodies. The whole store smells amazing. The Apple cider tastes out of this world. Don't go there specifically to eat the chicken but invariably buy some.


Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Hearty Breakfast (Oatmeal with Fruits and Nuts)

The elections are finally over. No more "I am ... ..... I approve this message". Election night is the only time you hear politicians say "The people have spoken". "It is the will of the people". Then we the poeple are forgotten and it is business as usual . So some of them may be happy with a "blue dawn" while the others are seeing red. Anyway I am happy with the fact that the US Congress is going to possibly have its first Women Speaker ever. Now on to my breakfast.

Breakfast is the supposed to be the most important meal of the day. But lot of us just grab a bite while heading out the door. I read somewhere that you have to eat Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dinner like a pauper. But it is usually the reverse for many of us. Breakfast does not have to be an elaborate affair, quick and nutritious and easy is this recipe. I usually buy Baby Oats from Lancaster Dutch Market. This is a wonderful market where you have several different stores owned and operated by different Amish families. Fresh baked goodies, fried chicken and other grocery and Pantry items can be purchased here as well.

Oatmeal with Fruits and Nuts (Serving for one)
1. 1/4 - 1/2 cup of baby oatmeal (any oatmeal would do)
2. 1 Cup of milk, 1/4 cup water
3. 1 tbsp brown sugar
4. 1 tbsp of chopped nuts (I used pecans)
5. 1 tbsp of raisins
6. Fresh fruit 1/2 cup

Method1. In a saucepan heat the milk and water, when it is warm add the oatmeal, mix reduce the heat to medium.
2. Add the nuts and raisins and the sugar
3. When the oats are swollen and plump remove from heat. I like the oatmeal not too dry so the amount of milk you add depends on the texture you prefer.
4. Top with fresh cut fruits. Alternatively the fruits can be added when the raisins are added.

I prefer cooking oatmeal on a stovetop as opposed to a microwave because it tastes so much better.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Paruppu Dosai (Adai)

No fish in another 50 years? A study again out of Great Britain says exactly that. What is the poor consumer to do? How can we eat fish responsibly? Here is an article to read. Fish for thought.

What do you do if you have different kinds of dals but not quiet enough to make a dish out of those, make Paruppu dosai ofcourse. No need to ferment the dough, blend the dals should be a slighty coarse texture and can be used immediately. You could add grated veggies, greens anything, can be as creative as you want. Last time I made this daughter complained about gas. I added ginger and also washed the soaked dals a couple of times before blending.
1. 1 1/2 cups of rice
2. 1 cup Split peas
3. 1/2 cup toor dal
4. 1/4 cup masoor dal
5. 1/4 cup whole green moong dal
6. 1/4 cup horse gram
7. 1/2 cup urad dal

soak the above rice and the dals separately overnight. Get rid of the water the dals were soaked in and also wash the dals atleast a couple of times. Add

8. 4 red chillies, broken and seeds removed
9. 2 inch piece of ginger grated
10. asfoetida 1/4 tsp
11. Curry leaves
12. 3 tbsp corriander leaves
13. Salt
Combine all the ingredients and grind to a coarse dough. The batter should not be too watery. Add grated veggies or cut greens and mix in the batter. I did not have any veggies or greens handy so did not add any.


Now on a hot dosai pan, make the dosais, they should be browned on both sides and cooked through. Serve hot with Coconut chutney or tomato kuzhambu.

Check out Adai recipes from
Manpasand - Spinach Adai
Kitchenmate - Adai