Monday, December 27, 2010

Sweet Potato Waffles

Another sweet potato recipe - I really like this, although it is a little heavier than your typical waffle.

1 3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 1/2 cups milk (room temperature)
1 to 2 tablespoons honey (optional)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup pureed sweet potatoes (I used 1 can cut sweet potatoes and blended them)

Heat waffle iron.

Whisk together: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl put the egg yolks, milk, honey, butter and sweet potatoes.  Blend together well.  Pour into dry ingredients and mix with a spatula JUST until combined.  Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold gently into the batter. Put about a 1/3 cup of batter on each side of the waffle iron (I used the rectangle waffle iron).  Cook according to manufacturers instructions.

Makes about 8 waffle squares.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sweet Potato Bread

We were given several cans of sweet potatoes . . . I predict a few more sweet potato recipes coming up. This one is adapted from version.

1/2 cup vegetable oil (or, substitute applesauce)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes (1 can, rinsed and mashed)
1/3 cup water
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together sugar and oil.  Beat in eggs, one by one.  Stir in mashed sweet potatoes and water.  In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Stir into the sweet potato mixture 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well.  Pour into 2 small greased loaf pans and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Tomato Chutney

My mother-in-law makes this chutney to go with dosa or idli.  Thanks to Shobana who gave me her version of the recipe!  Delicious!

4 small onions, roughly chopped
2-3 small tomatoes, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil

Heat oil in a frying pan.  Saute onions, tomato, garlic, salt in pan until tomatoes are soft and pulpy.  Allow to cool.  Put in blender along with 1 red chili (if you don't have a whole red chili substitute red chili powder, to taste).  Blend until smooth, set aside.

In a teaspoon of oil, temper:
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon urad dal
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

When the seeds pop, switch off heat and add 6 or 7 curry leaves.  Pour into the tomato puree.  Tomato chutney is ready to serve!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gingerbread Men

1 cup butter
1 ½ cup sugar
3 T. molasses, light
1 egg
2 T milk

Cream all of the above together. Sift and add the following:

3 ¼ Cups flour
2 t. soda
½ t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 ½ t ginger
1 t. cloves
½ t cardamom

Roll the dough out and cut into shapes. Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes.

Candy Cane Cookies

Candy Cane Cookies

1 C shortening
1 C. powdered sugar
1 egg
1 ½ t almond extract
1 t vanilla
2 ½ C flour
1 t. Salt
½ t. Red food coloring
½ c crushed peppermint candy
½ c sugar

Heat oven to 375. Mix shortening, sugar, egg, and flavorings (vanilla and almond). Stir half of flour into shortening mixture. Work rest of flour in with hands. Divide dough in half. Blend food coloring in one half. Roll dough into snakes, how ever big you want, one at a time. Twist a red and white strip together and put into a candy cane shape. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9 minutes. Mix together 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup crushed peppermint. While cookies are warm sprinkle with this mixture.

Peanut Brittle

Microwave Peanut Brittle

1 C. raw peanuts
1 C. sugar
½ C. white corn syrup
1/8 t. salt
1 T. butter
1 t. vanilla
1 t. soda

Stir first four ingredients in 1 ½ quart glass casserole dish. Cook 4 minutes on high (inmicrowave). Stir well. Cook 4 minutes on high. Add vanilla and butter. Blend well.Cook 1 minute. Peanuts should be lightly brown. Add soda carefully. Stir gently until light and foamy. Spread on a lightly greased cookie sheet. (Try to warm cookie sheet so brittle flows easier) Let cool. Break into pieces.

Dust Balls

Dust Balls or Russian Teacakes

1 C. Butter
¼ t Salt
1 t Vanilla
½ C. Powdered sugar
2 ¼ C Flour
¾ C Chopped nuts (opt’l)

Cream butter and sugar. Sift flour and salt. Add to the butter mixture. Work in well. Blend in vanilla and nuts. Form in 1 inch balls. Bake 14 minutes at 350. Roll in powdered sugar after removing from the oven. Cool.

Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn

Pop 9 quarts of popcorn.

Put in 2 9x13 pans.

Mix together and boil 5 minutes the following stirring occasionally:
2 C. Brown Sugar
½ C. White corn Syrup
1 C. Margarine

After 5 minutes are up add ½ t soda, pinch of cream of tartar, and a dash of salt. Pour over the popcorn (divide between the 2 pans) and mix well. Bake at 200 for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.


Fanny Farmer Fudge

4 ½ C sugar
1 (13oz) can evaporated milk
3 (6 oz) pkg Nestle Choc Chips
½ t salt
2 sticks butter
3 t. vanilla
1 C. Chopped nuts (opt’l)

Boil sugar and milk for 6 minutes. (Start timing when it starts boiling) STIR CONSTANTLY!! Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients except nuts. Beat 1 minute. Fold in nuts. Spread in a 9x13 pan and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate.

Peanut Blossoms

Peanut Blossoms

3 ½ cups flour
2 t. soda
1 t. salt
1 C. Sugar
1 C. Brown sugar
1 C. shortening
1 C. peanut butter
2 eggs
¼ c. milk
2 t. vanilla
96 Hershey kisses

Cream shortening and peanut butter. Add the sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla and milk. Add the dry ingredients. Roll in balls. Roll the balls in sugar. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, immediately press a chocolate into the middle. Put on cooling rack.

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cup butter, unsalted, room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

In a medium size bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla together with a spoon (or hand mixer) until smooth. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, then roll out on a floured board. Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter and put on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. Cool completely. (For frosting, mix 2 cups powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons milk and half a teaspoon vanilla extract. Add a drop or two of food coloring as desired.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wild Rice Pilaf

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery (optional)
1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts (optional)
1 cup wild rice (raw)
2 1/2 oz package sliced almonds
3 cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a skillet than add mushroom, onion, rice, and almonds. Saute for a few minutes, then put in a 2 quart casserole dish and add chicken broth. Bake covered for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crazy Chocolate Cake

A childhood favorite passed on from my grandmother.

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup oil
2 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13" pan.

In a bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Pour into 9x13" pan. Make three wells in the mixture. In the first well put the vinegar, in the second well, the vanilla, in the third well, the oil. Pour the warm water over this and mix together with a fork just until combined. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Frosting Option 1

2 sticks of softened butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3-3/4 cup milk

Cream the butter and vanilla (beat until fluffy) with a hand mixer. Adding one cup at a time, beat in the powdered sugar and cocoa. Stir in enough milk to make the frosting the right consistency, spread over cake.

Frosting Option 2

Sift together a couple cups of powdered sugar and 1/3 cup cocoa (or, to taste). Whisk in enough milk (tablespoon by tablespoon) to make a creamy frosting. Spread over cooled cake.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Turkey Gravy

From my dad, the Thanksgiving turkey, gravy and mashed potato master.

1-2 teaspoons kitchen bouquet
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Chicken broth
Turkey drippings (fat skimmed off) from bottom of roaster pan

Remove turkey from roaster pan. Empty contents of roaster pan into a large measuring cup or bowl. Skim out as much as much fat as you can. Reserve a couple tablespoons of it and discard the rest.

The roaster pan should have a sort of "crust" on it - this is yummy, scrape it up and keep aside!

In a sauce pan put in couple tablespoons of fat, to this add the cornstarch. Combine well, then slowly add the turkey drippings/juices from the measuring cup, whisking as you add. Add chicken broth (per your desired amount of gravy), salt, pepper, and kitchen bouquet. Bring to a boil, constantly whisking. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat and gravy is ready.

Turkey Dressing (Stuffing)

Another Thanksgiving Classic! From my mother.


1 c. butter
2 c. chopped onion
2 c. chopped celery
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sage
12-13 cups torn stale bread (2-3 loaves)*
2 beaten eggs
4-4 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp chicken bouillion powder or 2 chicken bouillion cubes

Melt butter in a large skillet, then add onion and celery. Saute until onion is translucent, then add: poultry seasoning, salt, sage. Beat together in a separate bowl: eggs, chicken broth, chicken bouillion.

Pour the onion mixture over torn stale bread. Then, pour the egg and chicken broth mixture over the bread and mix until well combined.

Cooking methods: Stuff into raw turkey and bake until turkey is done (approximate internal temp of 180). Cook in a crockpot on high for 45 minutes, low for 5 hours. Put in 9x13 pan and bake in oven at 350 until done.

*To prepare stale bread, chop or tear a few days prior - allow it to sit out on the counter for a couple days so that it gets hard and dry.

Cranberry Salad

Thanksgiving Classics! This one's from my maternal grandmother.

1 lb. cranberries
1 c. sugar
1 c. crushed pineapple, well drained
3 c. miniature marshmallows
1 c. whipping cream, whipped (or Cool Whip)

Grind the cranberries in a food processor or blender. Mix with sugar and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Then add pineapple, marshmallows and whipped cream. Mix and chill overnight for best results.

We usually double the recipe.


9 lasagna noodles - cook according to instructions and keep in cold water until ready to use
1 can (16 oz) tomato sauce
2 cans italian-style diced tomatoes
1 lb hot italian sausage
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
salt to taste
14 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 cups or 10 oz mozzarella cheese - shredded/grated

Cook sausage until browned, drain fat. Saute onion then add to sausage. Add spices and tomato sauce and tomatoes. Simmer for about a 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix ricotta, parmesan and oregano together, set aside.

Put enough sauce to fill bottom of 9x13 pan then a layer of noodles. On top of that spread or drop lumps of cheese filling. On top of that sprinkle a layer of mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers: sauce, noodles, cheeses. 3rd layer: noodles, sauce then mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven for about 30 minutes. Take off foil and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Apple Rhubarb Crisp

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples
1 cup chopped rhubarb (or strawberries)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Stir until crumbly.

In a medium saucepan, combine white sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla and rhubarb. Cook, stirring, until thick and clear, 10 minutes.

Put apples in bottom of 9x13 pan. Pour the rhubarb-sugar mixture over it. Cover fruit with crumble mixture. Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Serve with ice cream and/or whipped cream.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

8 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 1/2 cups oat bran
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup flax seed (opt)
1 cup chopped walnuts (opt)
2/3-3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bring to a boil: oil, sugar, syrup, honey and spices. Meanwhile mix together in large bowl: oats, bran, seeds and nuts. Pour sugar mixture over the oat mixture and combine well. Put in two 9x13 pans and put in oven for 25 minutes. Stir. Put back in oven for about 20 more minutes, then remove. As the granola cools it will harden. If you don't like "clumps" in your granola, stir it as it cools.

Serve with yogurt and fruits for an excellent source of protein, calcium and fiber, and other vitamins and minerals.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Crispy rice crepes! Served with a ground mixture of spices (podi), various chutneys (coconut, tomato), chicken curry and of course, sambhar.

3 cups of idli rice (or long grain rice)
1 cup of urad dal (buy the kind that has the the black outer layer removed)
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

In separate bowls soak rice and dal with water and 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds each. Soak for at least 6-8 hours. (I often soak it overnight.)

Drain water off of urad dal, then put in a blender. Add enough water just to cover the dal. Grind on a high setting for about 5 minutes, adding water only to keep the blender moving smoothly! When done the texture should be smooth and silky. When it is done, pour into a large bowl that has a tightly fitting lid.

Next drain water off of rice and dump into the same blender. (I usually have to blend the rice in two batches because my blender has a tough time.) Blend for about 7-10 minutes. When done the texture should be smooth with just a little bit of coarseness. Blending time will vary depending on how effective your blender is. Pour into the same bowl as urad dal. Then, stir the dal and rice with your hand to combine. (They say that the batter will ferment nicely if you mix with your hand.)

Next, put the lid on the bowl, and put it in the oven and turn on the "proofing" setting, if you have it. (Alternately, before you start grinding the rice/dal, turn your oven to 180, let it warm up, switch it off. By the time you put the dosa batter in the oven it should be the right temp. It's similar to the process of making bread, which needs the right temperature for the dough to yeast to activate and allow the dough to rise.) Leave it in for 8-12 hours.

When you check it it should have slightly fermeneted, yielding a fluffier batter, a slight sour smell. At this point if the batter is thick (i.e. you have to "scoop" it like ice cream!) add some water to thin it out a bit. (Not too much!)

When ready to use, take out as much batter as you desire, add salt to taste and water (should be slightly thinner than pancake batter). Put on a preheated frying pan/tava (ungreased), and swirl it around with the bottom of your ladle. If you desire, sprinkle with a few drops of oil. When it is golden brown, flip it over and cook on the other side.

Hot, crispy dosa is ready!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hard Boiled Eggs

How to cook perfect hard boiled eggs.

Put eggs in a pot, fill with cold water until 1/2-1 inch above the eggs. Place on the stove on high heat. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil for a couple minutes, turn off the stove and put a lid securely on the pot. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before peeling and eating! I've never overcooked, or undercooked the eggs using this method. (No more green yolks!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Our all time favorite waffle recipe which yields light (in texture, not calories), fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside waffles. Originally from Joy of Cooking.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2-1 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk


Preheat waffle iron. Mix all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl mix all wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until JUST combined. (Do not overmix.) Pour about a 1/4-1/3 cup batter into waffle iron.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cabbage Fry

Thanks to Priscilla for her Sri Lankan version of cabbage fry!

1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon urad dal (optional)
2-4 green chiles, cut lengthwise
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, core removed and grated
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in frying pan. When hot add seeds and dal, stir fry until mustard seeds pop and urad dal browns. Add onion and green chiles, saute until translucent. Add cabbage and stir fry for a good 10 minutes, until tender. Add turmeric, chili powder, salt and mix well.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Potato Gravy (Curry)

This is sooo yummy and simple at the same time. To be eaten with poori (basically a chapati dough, rolled a little smaller and a tiny bit thicker and fried), chapati. Without adding water I think it would be delish with dosa . . . I tried various other versions, but this is the one my husband was very excited about. Thanks to my friend, Anu, for her recipe!

4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (not too small)

Cover with water and a pinch of salt, bring to a rolling boil on high heat, reduce heat to medium and cook until JUST tender (don't overcook), drain and set aside.

1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon split chickpeas (channa dal)
1 medium to large size onion, thickly sliced (1/3-1/2 inch thick, about. The reason being, in this gravy you want to enjoy the taste and texture of the onion while eating. You don't want it to disintegrate.)
2 green chiles, sliced lengthwise (decrease or increase depending on your heat tolerance)
10 curry leafs (there is really no substitute for curry leaf; omit it if you don't have it. Most Indian stores will carry at least the dried curry leaf if not fresh)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Heat oil in a large frying pan. When hot add the channa dal and roast until slightly browned. Add curry leaf, chiles and onion. Saute until the onion JUST becomes slightly translucent (again, don't overcook). Add turmeric powder, mix thoroughly. To this, add your potatoes, and stirfry for a couple minutes, slightly mashing the potatoes (be sure to leave some of the pieces whole). To this add salt, to taste, and then pour in water until potatoes are just covered. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until desired consistency is reached. (Keep in mind the gravy will thicken as it sits.) Garnish with fresh coriander leaf.

Cooking Perfect Beans and Chickpeas

After my pressure cooker broke, I have pretty much stopped cooking beans/peas. I just was tired of soaking the beans overnight, boiling them for 2-3 hours the following day and babysitting them to make sure there was sufficient water, etc. And still after all that time some would be undercooked, others overcooked, and often they were not left in tact after the cooking process. Even with my old pressure cooker the beans/peas would be "broken" and tasteless after cooking. Even if you use the beans/peas in an entirely separate dish, they should have a good flavor in and of themselves, right? How to get that wonderful creamy texture while keeping them in tact? How to get the nutty flavor?

At last, I have found the perfect method to cook beans and peas (I mean the dry peas, not green peas, in case you were wondering)! I say perfect because it is so simple and absolutely fool-proof. And joy, the days of soaking are gone.

Supplies: Slow cooker or crock pot.

1. Pick through desired amount of dried beans or peas to remove any rocks, dirt, etc. Keep in mind that once cooked, the beans will increase in size (I would say by 150-200%, roughly, depending on the variety.)

2. Dump in a crock pot (slow cooker) along with 4 times the amount of water. (i.e. The ratio of beans to water should be 1:4; you could probably do less, but I like to stay on the safe side especially considering I am not babysitting this while it's cooking.)

3. At this point you can add some basic seasonings. If I'm making chickpeas for an Indian dish I
will add a few pieces of cinnamon stick, cassia (Indian bay) leaf, salt. If I'm making beans for soup I might add a bay leaf, a few cloves of garlic, roughly chopped onion, various herbs, salt. But doesn't salt make the beans hard as they cook? I heard that too . . . but, at least with this method, it's not true. I think it's absolutely necessary to cook them with salt to get the best flavor.

4. Put the lid on the crock pot, turn to "low" and leave for a good 8-10 hours. (Usually I turn it on before I go to bed. Not sure if this is a safety hazard . . . :-)) At the end, test the beans, I usually will turn it on "high" for 1-2 hours. Again, I think this will vary based on what kind of bean or pea you use. And the joy is . . . I think it's very hard to overcook using this method. Unless of course you leave it on high for 5 hours . . . if I try it I'll let you know.

5. The result -- delicious, perfectly in tact, nutty, creamy, seasoned beans that you can enjoy right out of the crock pot or use to create another mouth-watering dish. With no effort or hovering over the stove!

So glad I found this use for my crock pot! It's gone from being used once a month to once a week, and has happily expanded its life's calling beyond meatballs and velveeta cheese dip.

Try it, let me know how it works.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Chicken Curry

I cannot count the number of failed attempts I have had with chicken curry. Finally here is a version which works for me without fail.

2 tablespoons yogurt
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
5 chicken thighs, deskinned and chopped into bite size pieces

In a medium glass bowl, mix together yogurt with spices and salt. Grate the garlic and ginger (or, put in blender with a little water to make a paste), it should come to about 2 tablespoons combined. Add to yogurt mixture. Add the chicken pieces and coat well with the yogurt mixture. Marinate for 3o minutes to 2 hours.

1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 whole cloves
3 whole cardamom pods
4 pieces cinnamon stick
2 cloves garlic, 1/2 inch ginger grated or blended together
1 1/2 onions (medium), sliced
5 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon fennel seeds and 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds, dry roasted in a saute pan then ground (or you can keep them whole if you prefer)

Heat oil in a saute pan. When hot add mustard and cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick. When mustard seeds "pop" (30-45 seconds), add ginger-garlic and saute for 30 seconds then add sliced onion and saute until onion is browned (be patient, this takes some time). When onion is cooked add chopped tomato. Continue cooking until tomato is soft and pulpy. Add salt and ground fennel and poppy seeds. Add marinated chicken (along with marinade) and stirfry for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of water (or, per your taste), bring to boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken cooked all the way through. (If you want the liquid to reduce, simmer uncovered.) Garnish with cilantro leaves.



A lentil stew, of sorts, usually eaten over rice with a side of chicken, or served alongside dosa, a South Indian rice-dal crepe. From my cooking lessons with my sister-in-law!

 Sambhar, idli and coconut chutney

Servings: 2-3 days worth for us. :-) I strongly recommend halving the recipe for those are not sambhar lovers like my husband.

1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
10-15 curry leaves
3 dry red chilis
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
3 or 4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup vegetables -- (i.e. one of, or combination of the following: cubed eggplant, vegetable drumstick, thinly sliced carrots, green beans)
4 cups water
1 scant cup toor dal (split yellow peas)
2 cups water
3 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 inch piece of tamarind pulp, soaked in warm water
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon sambar powder (Dahlia's recipe is perfect!)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Heat oil in a pot. When hot, add all mustard, cumin and fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, red chilis. When mustard seeds begin to "pop" add the chopped onion and saute until onion is translucent. Add tomato and saute until softened.  Add vegetables, saute for a minute then add 4 cups of water.  Gently boil the vegetables for 15-20 minutes, or until softened.

Meanwhile, in a pressure cooker combine toor dal, water, turmeric and garlic. Cook for 3 whistles, turn off heat and wait for the pressure to naturally release. Set aside

Mash the softened tamarind pulp in the soaking water.  Pour through a filter and into the pot of vegetables.  Stir in chili powder, sambar powder, and salt.  Simmer for a few minutes.

By now the pressure will have released from the toor dal.  Open the cooker, pour the contents into the vegetable mixture.  Simmer, adding water and salt as necessary.  Stir in cilantro leaves.

Serve with idli, dosa, white rice.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mango Cheesecake


2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or any vanilla biscuit/cookie crumbs)
2 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together graham cracker, sugar and butter and press into the bottom of a 10" springform (cheesecake) pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Cool.


3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar (can increase, per your taste)
5 eggs*
2 cups mango puree**
3 teaspoons lemon juice

Oven temperature: 300 degrees. Using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Mix in sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Mix in mango puree and lemon juice. Pour into crust.

I used a water bath method to cook it.*** (This prevents cracking.) Place the pan in 1 or 2 layers of aluminum foil, then place in a large roasting pan. Pour in enough cold water to go 3/4 the way up the side of the cheesecake pan. Bake for 90 minutes. (The cheesecake should be firm, but still "jiggle".) Turn the oven off and let the cheescake sit in the oven at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight. Before serving, run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen it, then unclip the clasp and remove the outer ring of the springform pan. Garnish with mango slices and/or mango puree.

*Next time I would try decreasing the amount of eggs to 3 or 4
**The canned mango puree from the Asian stores is presweetened
***I suppose if you are in a hurry and don't mind possible cracking (easy enough to cover the cracks with a sauce, fruits or whipped cream), you can increase the oven temp to 325, skip the water bath and bake for about 1 hour, cool and refrigerate.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Palak Dal

Palak Dal
(Orange/Red Lentils With Spinach)

1/2 cup mysor (red) dal
3 cups water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

Bring dal, water and garlic to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until dal is soft. Skim off any foam that rises. To this, add:

2 handfuls of spinach (palak) leaves, rinsed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Continue to simmer.

Meanwhile, heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a small pan. When oil is hot, add:

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

When the mustard seeds begin to "pop", add:

3 red chilies, broken in half
1 green chili (jalapeno), sliced lengthwise
1 small onion, chopped

Saute until onions are soft and translucent. Add to cooked dal/spinach mixture along with:

1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (to taste)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)

Simmer for 5 minutes to meld the flavors.

Serve with chapati or rice.

Chicken Marsala

2 large chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Old Bay seasoning (or seasoning of your choice)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil
2 pieces of bacon, chopped
16 oz mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup marsala
1 1/2 cup water
1 chicken bouillion cube (about 1 teaspoon of granules)
2 tablespoons butter

Slice chicken breasts in half. (Mine are always large and thick, but I like them to be serving size.) Flatten between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound out with a rolling pin until 1/4 to 1/2" thick.

Mix together about a 1/2 cup of flour, a teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning (to taste), oregano and the salt and pepper.

While heating the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, toss the chicken breasts in the flour mixture. When oil is hot, add the floured chicken breasts. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. (Chicken should be fully cooked. If both sides are browned and chicken is not fully cooked, can place in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes to complete the cooking process.)

Remove the chicken breasts and lower heat. Add bacon and saute until browned. Add mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper to taste and and cook until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add marsala and cook for about 7 minutes. Add hot water and chicken bouillion, and simmer until desired consistency is reached. Add butter. Add chicken breasts, heat.

Serve over pasta or with a side of yummy garlic mashed potatoes . . .