Thursday, December 25, 2008


Thepla and Chhundo (sweet mango pickle) are as common breakfast in Gujarat as bread and butter are in western part of the world. Theplas come in different flavors, bottle gourd theplas, fenugreek theplas, cabbage theplas, rice theplas etc. With the use of these ingredients, the theplas become moist and soft. One can also opt for plain masala theplas, too. Almost all types of theplas have a long shelf life. Also, theplas can fit in with anything: subjis with gravy, subjis with no gravy, sweet pickles,  hot pickles, chutneys, or all by themselves. These qualities make them very good food to keep while traveling as well.

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup grated bottle gourd and/or carrots
2 tbsp kasuri methi (optional)
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger-chili paste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp cumin-coriander powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paav-bhaji masala (optional)
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt plus more if needed
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
2 tbsp oil (I use 2 tbsp yogurt instead of oil)
water to knead the dough
oil spray/oil for cooking theplas

  • Mix all the ingredients to make the dough. Keep aside for an hour.
  • Divide into 7-8 equal portions. Roll them out (make them slightly thicker than regular rotis).
  • Heat a non-stick pan to a medium-high heat. Start by roasting the theplas on one side. Turn over, and apply oil spray/oil. Repeat for the other side.
I would like to send these yummy theplas over to the Singing Chef's Think Spice-Think Carom event. I'll also send them over to EFM-savories event hosted by SriLekha.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Khajur (Dates) Ladoo

This is one dessert that is totally guilt-free!! It has no added sugar, no butter, ghee, oil and all the ingredients are full of nutritional values. This dish also lasts for a long time. 

2 cups dates (chopped) (I used Madjool Dates)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, almonds, pistachios
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp dried ginger powder
1 tbsp shredded coconut 

  • Put 1 cup chopped dates in a microwave-safe flat plate/bowl and heat for 30-50 seconds. (This is done to soften the dates so that they mash easily.) Mash with a potato masher and set aside. Do the same for the next cup of dates.
  • Add chopped nuts, cardamom, ginger powder into mashed dates and mix well. 
  • Roll bite-sized balls and coat with shredded coconut.
Dates are a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals. They provide energy and also help strengthen the muscles. Instead of added sugar, this dessert gives the benefit of natural sugar contained in dates. 
Almonds contain calcium, magnesium for strong bones, vitamin E which help protect against cardiovascular disease.
Walnuts are considered to significantly lower the LDL cholesterol.
Pistachios provide a great source of vitamin B which is essential for energy.
Because of all these amazing benefits of various ingredients used in this dessert, I think it is a perfect entry for Eat Healthy during Pragrancy event. 
I would also like to send this over to Purva's Christmas Feast Event and Tasty Treat's Santa's Holiday Challenge.
This dessert is so easy to prepare I'd also like to send this to Ramki's Recipes for the rest of us.



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas FruitCake

The festive season of Christmas is around, people have decorated their houses with lovely light decorations, shops and malls have started to play Christmas songs, all the food blog afficianados have started hosting festive events, and everyone over here is preparing cakes, cookies, puddings, pastries and pies. Also, mood is more than cheerful in town as Steelers are performing so well this season.  
I thought that making a cake and posting a recipe for it would be very fitting on such an occasion. The cake I present over here is ideal for gift-giving, too. 
Hope you will enjoy this... 

3 cups whole-wheat bread flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup each of dates, crystallized ginger, dried apricots, dried pineapples, pecans, almonds, walnuts, pistachios (chopped)
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup cranberries
10-12 maraschino cherries
1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp orange zest
1 1/2 cups applesauce
2/3 cup oil
1 cup molasses ( use 3/4 cup if you the dried fruits are sweetened)
1/8 cup vinegar

  • Preheat the oven to 300F. Grease and flour a bundt pan or two 9-inch round pans.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Add all the fruits and nuts to the flour mixture and toss until well coated.
  • Blend together the applesauce, oil, molasses and vinegar. Working quickly, mix the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring only until mixed thoroughly. Pour the batter into the pan and place in the oven.
  • Bake for about 1 hour for round pans or 1 1/2 hours for bundt pan. Let it cool completely.
  • Garnish with cherries, pecans if desired. It slices more easily if made a day or two in advance. 
I would like to send this cake over to Purva's Christmas Feast Event, Happy Cook's Homemade Christmas Gift Event, Tasty Treat's Santa's Holiday Challange and Vandana's Baking for Beginners Event.


Friday, December 12, 2008


I think Dhoklas are the most popular food Gujarati food. I have been asked to demonstrate Dhokla preparation by my non-Gujarati friends more often than any other item so far, making Dhoklas an absolutely worthy dish for my posts. Nisarg also loves Dhoklas very much, so I get to make them often :).

1 1/2 cups rice
1/2 cup urad dal
1/4 cup yogurt
1 tbsp ginger-chili paste
2/3 cup shredded bottle gourd
1 tbsp urad dal-chana dal
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (I didn't use it this time)
1 tbsp cilantro (chopped) (optional)
1/4 tsp asafoetida
3/4 tsp soda-bi-carb
1 tsp oil
1 tsp black pepper (coarsely ground)
salt as needed

  • Soak the rice and urad dal overnight and grind in a mixture the next day. Add yogurt, 1/8 cup of hot water and allow to ferment for 6-7 hours.
  • Add all the ingredients except black pepper and mix well.
  • Apply oil spray on a flat metal dish (see picture-2) and pour batter to fill half the height. For thinner dhoklas, make this layer thinner (see picture-3).
  • Sprinkle black pepper on top and steam for 13-14 minutes. Repeat with rest of the batter. 
  • Cut into pieces and serve hot with green chutney.
I'd like to send this dhokla over to Lubna's FIC-white (Food in color),which was started by sunshinemom of ToungeTicklers.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bharelu Shak (Stuffed Brinjals with Potatoes)

My dear Jagufoi sent me this mouthwatering recipe few days back along with photos. She took the pictures specially for this blog :). Nisarg is not a great fan of brinjals but when he saw the photos sent by her, he really wanted me to try it! I was planning to use onions too, but Nisarg wanted it just as Jagufoi made it :).
So, I made this yesterday with rotis and it turned out fantastic! 
11-12 small brinjals
4 small potatoes 

For stuffing:
1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup peanuts (coarsely ground)
1 tbsp ginger-chili paste
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp cumin-coriander powder
1 tbsp aam-churan ( I didn't have this so I used 1 tsp tamarind paste)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt + more if needed
2 tsp oil 
For Tadka:

1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp asafoetida

  • Wash and dry the brinjals and remove the stem. Slit them vertically and horizontally like a cross sign, without breaking them into halves.
  • In a bowl, mix all the ingredients needed for the stuffing. Stuff it into the brinjal slits. Keep the remaining mix for the potatoes.
  • Put the brinjals into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. Turn the brinjals and heat again for 3-4 more minutes.
  • Put the sliced potatoes in the microwave with little amount of water and cook for 3-4 minutes. When they are almost done, mix with remaining masala and heat until done-about 2-3 minutes.
  • Put cooked brinjals and potatoes in a big bowl. Add tadka on top and mix gently. 
  • Serve hot with rotis.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dahivadas-with a twist :)

The twist in the recipe is---'There is no frying involved!!'  For someone like me, who is not very fond of frying, this is a great option. 
We have new Indian neighbors in our apartment (We haven't met them yet) and every evening when Nisarg returns from the office, the whole lobby area smells of some delicious Indian food :). Last week or so, he informed me that the neighbors were having dahivadas, and I suddenly remembered that my bhabhi used to make this dish without frying the vadas!! So, I got on the phone with bhabhi and made these the very next day. 

For Vadas:
1 cup green moong daal (husk makes the vadas softer)
1 tbsp ginger-chili paste
15-17 raisins
oil spray, salt as needed
For Garnishing:
2 cups yogurt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup tamarind chutney
1 tsp sugar
chili powder, roasted cumin powder to sprinkle
salt as needed

  • Wash and soak moong daal for about 4 hours. Grind in the mixie along with ginger-garlic paste and salt. Use minimum amount of water to make the vada batter.
  • Heat up the sandwich maker and once it is hot enough, coat with oil spray and pour batter. Top with raisins and let it cook.
  • Place the cooked vadas in lukewarm water and soak for 30-40 minutes. 
  • Mix yogurt, salt, sugar with a hand-mixie and add some amount of water to make smooth consistency. 
  • Squeeze the vadas gently to remove water and place in a large bowl. Pour yogurt mixture over it and let it soak for 15-20 minutes.
  • Drizzle tamarind chutney over the mixture and sprinkle with cilantro, chili powder and cumin powder. 


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fruit Shrikhand

My kaki(Aunt) makes yummiest fruit Shrikhand.  This time I tried making it myself, of course after consulting her. One of the good things about this dessert is that it is almost fat-free, and yet there is no compromise with the taste!! Not many desserts fall into that category. We originally had decided to eat it bit-by-bit and to finish it off in 3-4 days, but once we started eating it, it only lasted one evening :).

3 cups non-fat yogurt ( about 2 cups of hung yogurt)
1/3 cup sugar (add more if needed)
1 1/2 cup mixed fruits ( I used pineapple, mango, apple, grapes. Avoid bananas as   they tend to get black)
1 tsp cardamom powder
7-8 strands of saffron
chopped pistachios and almonds for garnishing 

  • Put paper-towel covered colander in a large bowl and pour yogurt into it. Put this in the fridge overnight so that all the liquid from the yogurt gets drained off.
  • Mix together this hung yogurt, sugar, cardamom and saffron and mix really well. Use hand mixie if needed.
  • Add all the fruits and mix properly. Garnish with pistachios-almonds and serve cold.

I'd like to send this to Srilekha's  Sweet Event.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Blueberry-Orange Oatmeal Sundae

Last Friday night, I was browsing through various recipes looking for some nice oatmeal breakfast. I had bought a large box of old-fashioned oats some weeks ago for a particular dessert, and after that one-time use, I had forgotten all about it!! I found this really easy, healthy and yummy recipe, although I had to make some changes according to what I had in my pantry. I must say the end result was as delicious as it looks in the snap :).

1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup frozen/fresh blueberries
1/2 cup mandarin oranges
1 cup orange juice
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 tbsp corn-starch
2 tbsp honey (add more if you need)
2 tbsp roasted walnuts (chopped)
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt (optional)

  • Put orange juice, blueberries, honey, nutmeg, corn-starch in a pan and bring to a boil. Set aside.
  • Heat water and milk in a pan and bring to a boil. Add oats and salt. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes or until oatmeal is thickened.
  • Pour oatmeal into two bowls and top with warm blueberry sauce, mandarin oranges and walnuts. 


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Red and Green Lasagna

Lasagna is an Italian pasta dish made with alternate layers of pastas and cheese. Traditionally, lots of Ricotta and Mozzarella cheese is used in Lasagna, but we are not too fond of Ricotta cheese, so I always used to avoid making Lasagna. This time I decided to make it, thinking that using very less Ricotta cheese and adding other veggies would be able to provide us proper flavor. 
I am using two kinds of sauces here: Marinara Sauce and White Sauce with Spinach, that's why the name 'Red and Green Lasagna':).  I browsed through different recipes and here is my mixed-and-matched version of Lasagna.

8-9 sheets of lasagna no-boil noodles
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (I used store-bought. Here is the home-made recipe)
2 1/2 cups white sauce ( 2 tbsp wheat flour, 2 1/2 cups milk)
2 cups frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
1/2 onion (chopped)
1/2 yellow pepper (thinly sliced)
2 small eggplants (sliced)
1 tbsp sundried tomatoes
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
2 tbsp ricotta cheese (I used fat-free)
2 tsp oil
cooking spray
mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper as needed ( I used fat-free cheese)

  • Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and add chopped onion and garlic paste. Once the onion gets cooked, add marinara sauce. Simmer it for a while. Add 1/2 tsp chili flakes. Set aside.
  • To make white sauce, blend wheat flour and milk with a hand mixie. Heat on the stove at medium flame. Add salt, pepper and stir continuously. Remove from the heat when it's thick. ( I like to make this as healthy as possible. You can make the white sauce the usual way by using butter, all-purpose flour and milk.)
  • In a pan, add 1 tsp oil and add chopped spinach. Let it cook for a while and add sundried tomatoes. Remove from the heat and add in the white sauce.
  • Preheat the oven at 375 F. Put sliced eggplants and bell peppers on the aluminium-foil wrapped baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray and sprinkle salt and pepper. Put in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Take a conventional-oven safe bowl and put some spinach-white sauce on the bottom. Cover with lasagna noodles. Put half of marinara sauce on top and cover with eggplants and bell peppers.
  • Now, spread ricotta cheese on these vegetables. The next layer again will be lasagna noodles. Cover the noodles with rest of the spinach-white sauce mixture. 
  • Put the final layer of lasagna-noodles on the top. Pour rest of the marinara sauce on top and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese.  Sprinkle some chili flakes on top if desired and put in the oven for 55-60 minutes.

I would like to send this dish to Mansi's Vegetarian Thanksgiving Event.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Apple-Paneer Toasts

My husband, Nisarg, comes home so hungry after the end of his workday that he attacks almost anything that is in vicinity and is edible. Along with that, he also wants something that is light, so that he can exercise/workout properly before we have dinner. This recipe fits right into that category, light and yet satisfying the appetite. 

2 apples (peeled,cored and sliced)
4 slices whole wheat / multigrain bread
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup paneer(cottage cheese) (grated)
1 tbsp lemon juice 
8 cashew nuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tbsp honey

  • Sprinkle lemon juice on the apple slices.
  • Pre-heat the oven at 300 F.
  • Toast the cashew nuts in the microwave for 60-90 seconds, till golden. Let cool and crush coarsely.
  • Heat a non-stick pan and gently poach the apple slices in the orange juice for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add more juice if needed. 
  • Cut the bread slices in half and toast them.
  • Mix paneer with crushed cashew nuts. 
  • Put about 4 apple slices on each bread slice and cover with paneer-cashew mixture. Sprinkle cinnamon powder and put in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Drizzle the honey on the toasts and serve.

Because this dish is novel and delicious, children and adolescents enjoy eating it. My younger cousins and my nephew-niece really love it. The ingredients used in the food such as honey, oranges, apples, cinnamon etc. are rich in their nutritive values as well, making it ideal for children's snacks.
Madhavi has organized Children's Day Event in her blog, and this recipe is perfect for it!!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Chilaquiles and my first Awards:)

I saw this recipe for the first time on Rachael Ray Show. Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican dish. It is usually eaten at breakfast/brunch, but at our place we eat this for dinner.  In the traditional recipe, the tortillas are fried but the baked version works very well,too.  

10 6-inch tortillas ( I use wheat tortillas)
3 cups frozen corn (thawed)
2 15 ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 15 ounce cans black beans
1 tbsp cumin-coriander powder
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 red onion (chopped)
3 cloved garlic ( grated)
1 green chili (chopped)
1 tsp hot sauce
2 scallions (chopped)
1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
2 tsp oil
1 tsp butter
cooking spray
cheddar cheese, salt and pepper as needed

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Stack the tortillas on top of one another and slice them into strips about an inch thick. Place into a mixing bowl along with cumin, coriander and lime zest. Mix well along with oil spray and place them into a baking sheet. Bake the strips untill they are crisp and golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and toss red onion, garlic, green chili. Once the onion gets cooked, add fire-roasted tomatoes. Season with salt-pepper and stir to combine. Put in the mixie and pulse it till it resembles salsa. You can add some store-bought salsa to enhance the flavor. Set aside.
  • Heat butter in a pan. Add corn and cook until they are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Stir only occasionally. Set aside.
  • Use the salsa pan to cook the beans. Add 1 tsp oil and add 1 can of beans. Using a potato masher, mash the beans to a paste and then stir in another can of beans. Add hot sauce and some salt.
  • Assemble the chilaquiles by putting half of the salsa into a 9x13" baking caserole dish. Arrange the toasted corn strips in the dish and top them off with black beans, followed by corn and the remaining salsa. Top with cheddar cheese and put in the oven for about 7-8 minutes.
  • Squeeze lime juice on the top and garnish with scallions and cilantro before serving.

Yasmeen of Health Nut has passed me my very first blog awards- Great Buddy award and the Kreativ Blogger award. Thank you so much dear:).
[kreative_award.jpg]  [great+buddy+award.jpg]

My nephew is very fond of corn. Ever since he was small, one his all time favorite foods has been 'corn on the cob' :). When I heard about Sharmi's 'Cooking For Kids' event which has key ingredient 'corn', I knew I had to send in this recipe. I am sure other kids are also going to love this,too.

Thai Fresh Spring-Summer Rolls

Here is another yummy thai dish I made few weeks ago. 
I was planning to make spring rolls for our guests, but couldn't find spring roll wraps in our local grocery store. So, I had to work with rice wraps. When we tried these wraps for the first time in a restaurant few months ago, it took us some time to realize that the rice wraps were edible :). 
I searched online for the recipe and found some very good vegetarian thai dishes at The recipe I have written here is adapted from the website. 

1 package of large dried rice wrappers
1 cup firm tofu (cut into strips)
3-4 oz thin dried rice noodles 
1 cup boiled broccoli (cut into small florets)
2 spring onions (sliced thinly, lengthwise)
1 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
1/2 cup fresh basil (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tbsp grated ginger 
1 tsp oil

2 tbsp vegetarian fish sauce (available at vietnamese stores)
2 tbsp black bean & garlic sauce (optional)
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp chili sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp honey 
3 tbsp water

Thai sweet chili sauce for dipping (available in the asian aisle at the grocery store)  

  • Heat oil in a pan and fry chopped onions, garlic and ginger. Add tofu strips and broccoli florets. Add some water if the mixture gets too dry.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients together and add to the pan. Stir-fry for a while and remove from the heat. Do a taste-test. Add some sauces if needed. If it is too salty, add some lime juice.
  • Place a pot of water on stove. Bring the water to boil and add rice noodles. Turn off the heat and let it stand for 8-10 minutes. When the noodles are soft, drain them and wash with cold water (to avoid sticking). Keep aside.
  • Pour some hot water into a large bowl (large enough to soak rice paper). Make sure it is not too hot, as you will be dipping your fingers into it. 
  • Place a rice wrap into the bowl and let it soften. This will take about 30-50 seconds. Lift the wrapper and put it on a flat surface (cutting board) for rolling. 
  • Lay out little bit of tofu-broccoli mixture, rice noodles, spring onions, cilantro and basil leaves as shown in the picture.
  • Start by folding at the end and then go for the sides. Now lift the long side of the wrapper and tuck it over the filling to create a roll. Press the end down to secure the roll.
  • Serve with sweet chili sauce.
These rolls can be made quite in advance. Wrap them in a wet towel and put in the fridge. Remove from the fridge about 30-40 minutes before serving.

I would like to send this over to DK's  Culinary Bazaar for  A.W.E.D. Thai Event.