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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tomato Rasam and Awards

Today's recipe is a quick and easy recipe. Tomato Rasam goes well with plain hot rice. It could also be served as is as a Soup.
Also today is April 1st, which is also known as April Fools' Day. So do you believe in this day and enjoy pulling pranks on your friends and loved ones. I have to confess I do..and I love this day...I'm not telling you what mischief I'm upto today..maybe in my next post...Enjoy and be careful the day is not over yet... You still have time for some mischief and to FOOL someone or be Fooled and I know its all in good faith...Its alright to have some fun, right ....
  • 4-5 tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2-3 green chillies slit
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Sambhar powder
  • 1/2 mustard seeds
  • pinch of asafoetida/hing
  • 2 tsp oil/ghee
  • 2-3 curry leaves
  • 5-6 black peppercorns freshly crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro freshly chopped
  • 3-4 cups water
  • salt to taste
Preparation :
  • Boil enough water in a pan. Add the whole tomatoes to the boiling water. Bring it off the flame and let it cool. Within minutes the tomato skin will peel off. Now chop these tomatoes.
  • In another pan add 3-4 cups of water and let it boil for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, grated ginger, green chillies, turmeric power, salt and freshly crushed peppercorns and let it cook on medium flame till the tomatoes are cooked and look well incorporated (for 8-10 minutes).
  • Now add the Sambhar powder and chopped cilantro and mix well.
  • Next is the tempering, take a small tempering pan/Kadai and heat the oil/ghee. Add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the curry leaves and asafoetida . Add this to the rasam. Mix well.
  • Tomato Rasam is ready to serve. This recipe serves 4.

Its Award Time now..... I'm a bit embarassed that I took so long to collect my awards. I love each and every one of them. It shows the love and support of my fellow blogpals. As always Its an humbling feeling. Thanks !!!!

Shahana from Me N my Apron is a dear blogpal who has passed me the following awards. I can't thank her enough for her kindness and friendship. I love her blog and her repertoire of recipes combined with her awesome eyecatching photography.

Shahana and Vineetha from Ruchi have gifted me with this awesome sunshine award. Thanks Vineetha you are a sweetheart and I enjoy visiting your space with a diverse range of recipes.
Shahana and Cecily Anthony has passed me this , "Honest Scrap award". Thanks a lot. When I visit Cecily's blog I'm always impressed by her cake creations. They are just Perfect... and so detailed. Her other recipes are equally impressive too !!!.
Rules for accepting the Honest Scrap award:
Thank the giver, display the award , say 10 honest new things about yourself and pass it on to 10 people.

10 honest new things about me....Believe me its so hard to write about oneself.
  1. I admire my mom and dad for the way they raised us and I try to instill the same values in my kids.
  2. I'm very impatient and I am married to a guy who has tons of patience. I guess after being married I'm developing my patience..but there's a long way to go.
  3. I 'm a outdoorsy kind of a girl. I love going for long walks and hiking and being out admiring nature.
  4. I could be impulsive at times.
  5. I love drinking tea and I am always looking for some company for tea...Interesting gupshup(chitchat) over tea never hurt anybody. In fact I can never really understand when occasionally I'll meet someone who says he/she does not drink tea/coffee.
  6. I love listening to music. Be it in my car or at home. It could be any kind of music. My favorite though still are Kishoreda's old songs.
  7. I must say I'm very sensitive and get affected by mean remarks and manipulative people. I'm also surprised as to how a few people could be so vicious when life has so many beautiful things to offer.
  8. I collect a lot of costume jewelry and my favorite attire is Salwar Kameez. Its so elegant and classic and you could go from being casual to formal and I love to match it up with the matching costume jewelry.
  9. I could get angry so quick and lose my temper and within minutes be back to normal. My mom used to call me a pressure cooker. I have gotten much better at this (thats what they all tell me).
  10. I like to say a prayer before going to bed every night and I have my kids do the same. I feel its our way to show gratitute to God and be thankful for all that we have.

I would love to pass on this "Honest Scrap award" to - Vinolia, Sangeetha , Sangeetha , Ms. Chitchat, Sayantani, Vineetha, San's Kitchen, Asha, Tina, Sarah Naveen.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rajma - Curried Red Kidney Beans

Welcome Spring. !!! Finally Spring is here and I hope you are enjoying the great weather as much as we are here in Philadelphia. My son had his Spring break and so I took a short blogging break as well. The highlight of my break was that I got to see in person none other than President Obama himself and I'm still in that happy and excited phase. He was rallying for his health reform bill at the George Mason University in Virginia and since we were visiting some friends there it was a perfect opportunity to hear his speech first hand. I was impressed and since I have been and still am a great fan of President Obama , this was a great occasion for me. So thought about sharing this with my blogpals. Hope I'm not sounding boastful..LOL...
Here is a proof I was there, Moi posing for the Big Event!!!!. This only took a few seconds and I did listen to the President for the entire time except when clicking a few pictures...

Alright lets get down to the Recipe part of the post. Today's recipe is one of our favorites at out house. Its Rajma or Red Kidney Beans. Best combination to enjoy Rajma is with Chawal(Rice). Rajma-Chawal is comfort food to me and I'm sure there are many more who will agree with me. This Recipe was requested by one of my friend's daughter Richa, who really encourages me a lot by her feedback and she is also very passionate about cooking and trying out recipes on her. Stay tuned for her recipe in tomorrow's post. So, Dear Richa This is for you ......
Ingredients :
  • 1 cup Rajma/Red Kidney beans
  • 1 cup onion puree
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin-cilantro powder
  • salt to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped Cilantro

You could substitute 1 cup dried Red Kidney beans for two 14 0z cans of Red Kidney beans. For the onion puree I don't grind it too fine, its like a finely grated texture. You could even just grate the onions.

Preparation :

  • Wash the Rajma/kidney beans and soak them in about 4-5 cups water overnight.
  • Pressure cook the Rajma with enough water(4-5 cups), turmeric and salt for upto 4 whistles or until cooked. If you were to use canned Rajma/Red Kidney beans you would skip this step. Just wash the canned beans in a colander and discard the stock(canned liquid).
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add the Bay leaves and cardamom.
  • Next add the onion paste. Saute the onion till it becomes golden brown .
  • Add the garlic/ginger paste. Saute for about 2 minutes and then add the tomato puree. Fry for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the red chilli powder and the cumin-cilantro powder. Let it cook until the oil leaves the surface (about 5-6 minutes). Now add the Rajma/Red kidney beans with the liquid and let it simmer covered for about 10-12 minutes. (At this step you could add a little water if you think the consistency is too thick and adjust the salt).
  • Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve with rice. Enjoy my comfort food- Rajma Chawal with plain Yogurt or Boondi Raita.
  • This recipe serves 4.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Corn Bread

This is the recipe I had promised in my last post. This was the corn bread which really complimented our lettuce soup. Now if you are not really a fan of lettuce soup, thats alright you can still give this Corn Bread a try and you will love it just as is. I did add a little red chilli flakes and in my opinion it balanced the sweetness of this corn bread.

Ingredients :
  • 1/2 cup Indian Head Yellow Corn Meal
  • 1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
Preparation :
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • In a bowl combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and red chilli flakes.
  • Add the butter at room temperature and mix.
  • Mix egg and milk together and add to dry ingredients with a few swift strokes.
  • Bake in greased bread pan for about 25 minutes.
  • Corn bread is ready to serve. You could serve it warm right from the oven or cold.
  • This recipe yields 10- 12 slices.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lettuce Soup

Today we had beautiful weather and why did I make soup you may ask.. It had rained for the last 3 days and we were waiting for the sun to shine bright and the weather reports did give us some hope of sunny days. But then when the weather is so gorgeous who can resist the temptation to be outdoors. Also it was my son's spring break as well. We had a wonderful day and went for a walk and to soak up the sun. This reminds me of Sheryl Crow's " Soak up the Sun" song, its one of my favorites...

This explains how I had enough time to make this Lettuce Soup with some home baked fresh Corn Bread for dinner. The Corn Bread was contributed by my DH and my older son who wanted to help with dinner. My toddler was our tester. So tonight's dinner was a joint venture.

Ingredients :
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 2-3 gloves of garlic chopped
  • 4-6 cups Vegetable stock / water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp lime juice


  • Heat butter in a pan. Saute the onions and garlic till golden brown.
  • Add the shredded lettuce and saute for a minute.
  • Add about 3-4 cups of stock/water and cook for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Now puree in a Blender and transfer it back to the pan and add the remaining stock/water. Stir it well. Let it simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Season with Salt and pepper and add the heavy cream. Let it simmer for about another 2-3 minutes. Add the lime juice.
  • Ready to serve. This recipe serves 4. We enjoyed our soup with spicy Corn Bread. Stay tuned for the recipe of home baked corn bread in the next post.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dal Pakhtooni and Sanjeev Kapoor

This particular recipe is from Sanjeev Kapoor's cookbook- Khazana of Indian Vegetarian Recipes. It was a gift from my MIL when I was married and soon after moved to the United States in a month. In those days (yeah, can't believe its been 10 years.) Just celebrated our 10th anniversary on Valentine's Day. Alright readers, Its only been 10 years, the way I have described it makes me look ancient..which I'm not..LOL.

In those days we did not have as many blogs to look out for new recipes like today. If I was in a mood to try my culinary adventures I would take ideas from this book. It was my GOTO book. If I had friends coming over and had to decide a menu for a party, this was the book to go to. Every party hosted in those days had recipes from this book, atleast one. This was before I had kids. After I had kids, it was'nt that I did not cook, but had fewer parties. But by then I was confident enough to try out my own recipes.
So you get the idea I hope, how special this book has been to me in my early married life and I'm sure Sanjeev kapoor may have inspired so many of you and he still inspires people with his passion for cooking and his great presentation skills. I must say I had a fantastic time with his recipes with great results and many happy people. Now if they are reading this they will know where I got all those awesome recipes from. Well, the secret is out Now. If you have such stories, incidents and secrets, would love to hear from you.
Here is a youtube video I found of the same recipe presented by none other than Sanjeev Kapoor himself. What more can you ask for..Its the same recipe from this book. I made this Dal Pakhtooni following the directions on this video and the results were amazing.
I'm listing the ingredients and preparation for the benefit of many who may not have the book or may not be able to spare time to watch this video.
Ingredients :
  • 1 cup Black whole urad /Black gram
  • 100 gms butter (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
  • 2 tsp Garam masala powder
  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • salt to taste

Preparation :

  • Wash the black urad and soak it in four cups of water overnight.
  • Cook it in four to five cups of water along with salt, red chilli powder and ginger paste. Bring it to a boil. Reduce flame and simmer till it is completely cooked and tender.
  • Melt butter in a thick bottomed pan and add garlic paste dissolved in half a cup of water. Cook for about two minutes stirring constantly.
  • Add tomato puree, garam masala and cooked dal. Cook on a low flame for an hour. Stir occasionally. Add water if required.
  • Add fresh cream and simmer for about ten minutes.
  • Serve hot with any Indian bread of your choice or even rice.
  • This recipe serves 4.

You could even do the quick soaking method if you do not have time to soak it overnight. Just wash the Black urad and soak it in boiling hot water for 30-40 minutes covered.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tomato Chutney

This is a repost. Its one of my earlier posts when very few or sometimes nobody read my blog. So its about time this one sees the light of day and gets some acknowlegement. Also of late I have been involved in so many things and could not devote time to my dear blog which I love and visit my blogpals. To make things worse my laptop died on me leaving me helpless and many pictures are inaccessible on its hard disk. Hopefully can retreive them and can continue blogging regularly. If not I'm trying to be comfortable on my hubby's computer. Also thanks a ton for your love and support and for enquiring about my whereabouts... Till then enjoy this Tomato Chutney recipe.

Tomatoes are an integral part of indian Cuisine. They are high in Vitamin C and a good source of Vitamin A. There are researches being done that show that cooking Tomatoes for example, may enhance the nutrients, providing you with more health benefits than eating raw tomatoes. They say that more of the phytochemical lycopene is absorbed by the body from cooked tomatoes — such as canned tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce — than from fresh. Also when lycopene is combined with a small amount of fat, absorption is even better, making olive oil and tomato sauce a perfect and healthy combination. So this proves that tomato chutney is good for you and its very easy and quick to make. You could serve it with parathas , as a side dish, with dosa or idli .

  • 1 Onion
  • 5-6 big fresh tomatoes
  • 1-2 green chillies
  • 4 gloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin-coriander powder
  • salt as required
  • a pinch of Asofoetida (hing)
  • Olive oil
Preparation. 1. Finely Chop all the vegetables. 2. Heat oil. Add Mustard seeds and asofoetida. Allow the mustard seeds to splutter. 3. Add Onions and fry till golden brown. 4. Add Garlic and ginger and fry for a minute. 5. Add the tomatoes , green chillies and all the dry spices (turmeric,red chilli,cumin-coriander powder,salt). 6. Cook on medium flame till the oil leaves the surface. 7. Ready to be served.