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Friday, February 24, 2012

Baingan ka Bartha / Eggplant Chutney

Eggplant Chutney / Baingan Ka Bhartha!!! Hmmm just by thinking of it, my mouth is watering already! I have always enjoyed my MIL’s preparation of Bhartha, but never ventured into preparing this dish until last year, when I discovered the North Karnataka version!! We had a friend visiting us from there for few days. When she saw the fresh Eggplants, she volunteered to prepare it in North Karnataka Style. I can never forget the taste even after nearly a year. The secret behind that taste is, she actually pounded each ingredient meticulously by hand and kept it raw, except the roasted eggplant.  I have tried this recipe several times now and never got the same taste!! That is because I don’t take the pains in pounding each ingredient, and always look for shortcuts to reduce the time it takes to cook :P.  But I encourage you to pound each ingredient, if you want the authentic taste, it is worth all the effort!!

Eggplant / Baingan ka Bhartha
Preperation Time: 30 minutes
Serves 6-7 persons
Eggplant – 2 large and roasted
Whole Jeera/Cumin 1 ½ tbsp
Red Chili powder 2 tbsp
Garlic peeled – 15-20 pods
Tamarind – small size of a lemon
Coriander/Cilantro – ½ bunch
Curry leaves 10-15
Jaggery / sugar 1 tablespoon
Onions chopped finely – 1 large
Oil -1 tbsp
Salt to taste

1.   Apply 1 tsp oil on Eggplant/Baingan and roast it on direct flame on the stove cook top, till the skin turns charred and eggplant turns soft. Once done, peel the charred skin and mash them roughly.
2.   Chop onions, washed Coriander and curry leaves
3.   In a grinding stone, first pound jeera/cumin, add garlic, coriander and curry leaves and pound coarsely.
4.   Add red chili powder, tamarind and pound again, add jiggery /sugar and salt, pound until the spices mix thoroughly. By this time you can smell the aroma of freshly pounded spices.
5.   If the grinding stone is large enough you can add the roasted eggplant and mash roughly until eggplant juices and spice mixes well or you can give it light whip by using your hand or blender.
6.   Heat a pan and add oil. Season it with mustard seed if you like, mix the blended eggplant mixture into it, add chopped onions and mix well.
7.   Serve the spicy and aromatic Eggplant Bhartha with Rice/Roti/Bread.

Since this dish doesn’t require much of cooking, it gives a raw/pungent smell and taste. If you do not like the rawness you can cook it for 5 minutes on low flame to tone down the pungent taste.  When I don’t have much time in hand, I just put all the ingredients in a mixer and grind it coarsely and add the roasted eggplant and give it a whip and follow step 6 directly for convenience. It tastes as good as the original one. J  It keeps well for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator!

Points to Ponder:
Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.     Proverbs 12:24 (NIV Bible)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

South Indian Rasam Recipe/ Spicy Rasam Recipe

Hot and spicy Rasam with Rice is always a go to food when we are struck with a bad cold for most of the South Indians.  Whenever I try to prepare Rasam at home, it has never turned out all that great, because I am too stingy when it comes to the quantity of ingredients that goes into it.  More than being stingy, I tend to think too much as to  what if it becomes too spicy, or too sour or too salty etc.,  Rather I should say, I tend to become extra careful since I have a toddler to feed, and each member of the family has their own mind when it comes to food.  But on the other hand, if my mom cooks anything, only two things will be on her mind.  First one is, the food has to be HEALTHY and the other factor is, it has to be TASTY.  She doesn’t compromise on any of these things.  She made this Rasam on one of those days, when the weather was quite chill and we all needed something to warm up our bodies! We were left asking for more and completely satisfied after the meal and even my little one welcomed the change and enjoyed though it was spicy. J
There are many ways to prepare this comfort food, and what I am posting below is my Mom’s version.  The measurements given below is approximate as she follows only eye measurement J  so, the taste may vary according to the measurements you use.  Here goes my mom’s second recipe on this blog…….

Hot & Spicy Rasam
Preperation Time : 20 minutes
Serves : 4-5 people

Black pepper 2 tsp.
Whole Jeera/Cumin seeds 1 ½   tbsp
Garlic 10 cloves
Tamarind – a size of a small lemon
Coriander few springs

For tempering:
Curry leaves 15-20
Mustard seeds 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Red chili powder ½ tsp
Oil or Ghee 1 tbsp.
Salt to taste


1.      Soak tamarind in hot water for 10 minutes or microwave it in ½ cup of water for 1 minute, once cool squeeze and make a paste.
2.      Grind Black pepper, Jeera, Garlic, and coriander into a course paste.  You can also add few curry leaves while grinding. It gives a nice flavour!
3.      Heat a deep pan/pot and add oil/ghee. Once it becomes hot, add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Then add curry leaves, turmeric powder. Add red chili powder only if you like it extra spicy. Stir quickly and add the ground spices and sauté for a minute.
4.      Now add tamarind paste, salt and water, bring it to a boil. You can keep it thick by adding only 2 cup of water. You can add about 3-4 cups water
5.      Serve hot with Rice and Papad.

Treat yourself with this comfort food when you are battling with that contagious cold! It will do some good to your body and soul!! The goodness of Cumin, Garlic and Black pepper are the right ingredients to keep the cold at bay!

Points to Ponder:

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.      
                                                                                                                       Isaiah 55:2. (NIV Bible)

If you take this verse literally, it sure makes some sense. But, here, Isaiah speaks about reading the word of God, which provides nourishment to our souls just as bread nourishes our bodies, instead of wasting our money and labour on worldly things which does not satisfy us!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Aloo Palak & Matar Korma

This is one of my mom’s spontaneous recipes which turned out quite delicious.  As I said earlier, she is an enthusiastic and spontaneous cook at any time. She just sees what is available at that moment and dishes out some drool worthy food that only an experienced mother can prepare.  Since, my Mom is staying with us to care for our baby, I am enjoying her tasty food every day.  Many a times it will be a surprise for me after returning from work.  From the time I have started this blog, I am taking every opportunity to record such good recipes and photographs so that I can post them on this blog.  I can’t believe the number of dishes that I have captured in a short span of one month.  I am yet to find time to post all of them J    
I am looking forward to capture as many dishes as possible that Mom cooks before she goes back home! Here goes my mom’s first recipe on this blog...

Aloo Palak & Matar Korma/Sabji
Preperation Time:20-30 minutes
Serves 4-5 people

Aloo/Potatoes  - 3-4 medium sized
Matar/Green Peas fresh or frozen – 1 cup
Palak/Spinach – 1 bunch
Chili Powder – 1 tsp.
Dhaniya Powder – 2 tsp.
Garam Masala Powder ½ tsp.
Turmeric powder ¼  tsp.
Cumin Powder – ½ tsp.
Ginger/Garlic paste – 2 tsp.
Onions – 2 chopped
Tomatoes – 2 pureed
Coriander/Cilantro few springs.
Oil 2 tbsp.
Salt to taste

1.   Wash the peas, peel and wash potatoes ( don’t peel if its clean. My mom never peels the potatoes or most of the veggies, because the skin has more nutrition than the insides) and chop them into small cubes and cook them with a little salt until soft and done. Save the stock to add  in step 4 if you need more gravy. 
2.   Chop onions and spinach roughly.
3.   Heat oil in a large kadai and add onions and sauté till translucent. Add palak and sauté till the raw smell goes away. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté. Add turmeric, red chili, dhaniya & cumin/Jeera  powder and fry for few second.
4.   Add precooked peas and potatoes and cook on low heat for 1-2 minutes. Finally add tomato puree and veg. stock, garam masala and salt to taste and cook for 8-10 minutes or till the raw smell of masala and tomato disappears. 
5.   Garnish with Coriander/Cilantro and serve hot with Roti/Rice/Bread.

Points to Ponder:
"A mother understands what a child does not say."      
                                                                               - Jewish proverb

Quick Tomato Rasam / Saaru

This is a good recipe to follow on one of those days, when you don’t feel like cooking at all but still want to eat some homemade food.   I tried this recipe to supplement all the leftover food from the previous day, just in case if the curry falls short for anyone and we were set for lunch in 30 minutes!!  I really become lazy some days and just don’t feel like cooking at all, especially after a week of rushing and chaos.  Cooking is inevitable on any given weekday and that’s when I enjoy it most. Since starting this blog has given me some motivation, I have decided to try cooking different dishes on a holiday and TRY to record them.

I have adopted this recipe from Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s collections, which has some easy and delicious looking dishes with easy to follow steps even a beginner can try. The picture posted below almost matches the original that I saw in the book, except mine looks spicier.  Treat yourself with this light and tasty Tomato Saar/Rasam. Here goes the recipe!

Tomato Saar/ Tomato Rasam
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4-5

5-6 Large sized Tomatoes
½ teaspoon Red chili powder
6 cloves garlic
1 cup Coconut scraped
1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
3-4 Green Chilies
2 -3 Tablespoon Sugar
Salt to taste

For tempering:
8-10 Curry leaves
1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
2 tablespoon Pure ghee or Oil
Asafoetida/ Hing  a pinch

1. Wash, chop tomatoes roughly. Take a wok and add chopped tomatos, salt, red chili  powder, three cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and  make a puree once cooled. Keep the remaining water to add it in step 4.
2. Make a paste of scraped coconut, garlic and cumin seeds.  I used only ½ cup coconut instead of one cup to get Rasam like consistency.
3. Wash and slit green chilies, clean, wash and finely chop coriander leaves.  Wash curry leaves and pat them dry.
4. Heat oil/pure ghee in a pan and add mustard seeds.  As they begin to splutter, add asafetida and curry leaves.  Add tomato puree and slit green chilies saute for a minutea nd add the remaning water in which you boiled tomatos.  Bring to a boil and add sugar and coconut paste.  I skipped sugar in this step, since I didn’t want it to turn out sweetish!
5. Cook on low heat for ten minutes, adjust seasoning and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
6. Hot Tomato Saar / Rasam is ready to serve with Rice and Papad .

Points to Ponder:
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies."
   Prov:31:10  (NIV Bible)                                                                                                                                              

Friday, February 3, 2012

Carrot & Cucumber Salad

Salads became one of my favorite eats from the time I started living in hostel.  Young ones and teenagers realise the importance of home cooked food only when they start living alone or in a hostel. It is impossible for the hostel cooks to please everyones taste buds since each one has their own liking and preferences when it comes to food. It was the same scenario in the hostel I stayed in. Many of them were from Northeast parts of India like Nagaland and Manipur,  few were from Andra Pradesh, who had come away from their hometowns to pursue their theological studies and equip themselves to get involved in Christian Ministries.


I thoroughly enjoyed living with them and experienced different cultures and their food habits which was totally different from us the South Indians.  Most Nagas and Manipuris liked boiled vegetables and spicy chutney or salad along with rice, unlike us, where we use lot of spices in Dhal, Rasam and almost every dish that we prepare.  I remember some days when we did not feel like eating the routine food, the boys and girls wood pool in some money to buy salad veggies.  One of the boys would make some refreshing salad for all of us.  This was like a life saver many a times.  Some days the girls would save all the boiled eggs that we got for lunch (2 eggs each on a particular day) and prepare some spicy egg salad for supper!  This is how the love for salads began in me and even to this day, it is a sure quick fix when I am left to face those boring meals.  This is my first salad post on this blog and I look forward to posting some refreshing and quick salad recipes for all the salad lovers. 

Carrot & Cucumber Salad
Preparation time : 15 minutes
Serves: 3-4

2 Carrot
1 While radish
1 Cucumber
2 Green chilies
1 teaspoon lime juice
3 tablespoon groundnuts/peanuts
Salt to taste


  •       Peel  & wash  the carrots, radish and cucumber and grate them.  You may like to      chop cucumber finely since, it becomes watery while grating. 
  •       Slit green chilies and remove the seeds and chop them finely.  Do not remove the   seeds if you like it hot and spicy. 
  •       Roast the groundnuts/peanuts with a teaspoon of oil till it turns from pink to brown and crush them in to coarse powder in a mixer or pound them using a stone/wooden roller.
  •       Mix all the ingredients well in a serving bowl and season it with salt and lemon juice. 
  •       Refreshing and crunchy salad is ready to serve
PS: You can also add one chopped onion and tomato for different variation which adds some tanginess.

Eat healthy and stay healthy!! =)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bell Pepper & Babycorn Stir Fry - glazed with honey

This is one of the recipes which is quick to prepare and delicious as well.  I had seen this preparation on a Kannada TV channel sometime ago…may be 2 years ago and I don’t even remember if I ever prepared it, though I had taken note of the recipe.  The original recipe actually called for Paneer , baby corn and capsicum, but  I only had the baby corn and red/yellow pepper that busy morning, where I had no way of getting paneer from the store. So, I gave paneer a miss and was delighted that It turned out quite delicious and never missed paneer in it.  The aroma of freshly ground spices at home truly enhanced the flavour.  

These days, I prefer to grind / powder the spices at home than buying them from the stores, since there is a lot of food adulteration going on and you never know what goes behind those powdered stuff.  The taste of the readymade stuff can never match the authentic produce.  It is very sad to see, to what extent people go just to make extra money, no matter how it affects other people’s lives and their health.  In the recent past, the media is trying to bust all kind of scams that are going on around us.  Inducing drinking water with harmful chemicals to soften the hardness and taste,  creating fake milk, butter, ghee etc.,  colouring and injecting veggies/fruits with harmful chemicals to retain its colour and size, injecting chemicals to poultry etc., to develop their muscles which are hard to digest from human body is to name a few. The list goes on. Please check out this link Kitchen Tricks  where you will find some useful information to check the level of food adulteration in your own kitchen.    

Sometimes I keep wondering, it is better to settle in a village and cultivate a farm of our own and get fresh and unadulterated produce!! Yeah…it seems so easy to talk but it, but when it comes to practicing it, our mind goes numb, just to imagine leaving all the comforts that the city life can offer which our bodies get adjusted to!! 

Yeah, I will bury my farming aspirations for now and present you the picture and recipe of the delicious dish below!

BabyCorn & Pepper/ Capsicum Honey Stir Fry
Total Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 4


300 grams Baby corn
1 Red Pepper/Capsicum
1 Yellow/Green Pepper/Capsicum
1 Big Onion
1 Big Tomato
½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste (optional)
1 teaspoon Jeera
1 teaspoon Black pepper
4 Red chillies
2-3 tablespoon Honey
1 tablespoon oil/ If you are health conscious use Olive oil
Salt to taste


Clean and Chop baby corn , capsicum, onion and tomato into 1 ½ inch strips and keep them separately.  Slightly roast Jeera, black pepper and red chilies on a pan and grind them into a coarse powder.  Heat a large frying pan and add oil, onions and sauté till translucent. Add chopped baby corn and stir fry for 2 minutes.  Add chopped capsicum and salt, sauté for a minute.  Add ginger garlic paste and sauté for few seconds and add tomatoes immediately to avoid burning the bottom.  Add the ground powder and mix well and simmer for 1 minute.  Take off the stove and glaze it with honey and serve with rice or roti.

P.S. Don’t overcook the veggies if you want them crunchy and to retain high nutrition level. J

Some drool worthy food is always good for the tummy!! What say!

Till the next one comes up, Share the good taste and stay healthy!

Points to Ponder:

"It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory. He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls."

Proverbs 25: 27-28

See Whats Cooking!!


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