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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Diwali goodness

"There's always something warm and bright, about this time of the year, when everything has a special glow, and hearts are full of cheer, that's why, this special greeting comes your way, to wish you all life's best, on Diwali and in the coming year, too."

I made some of my favorites and had a wonderful Diwali , I hope you did too .

from l to r : Pathishapta( Crepes with sweet coconut cardamom filling), Moong daal vadas (Savory fritters from moong bean), Matar(akin to mathari, savory fritters made using flour), moong daal halwa (a dense , sweet confection made with dal , sugar, mava and dry fruits  and  Rasmalai (cottage cheese dumplings soaked in sweetened , thickened milk flavored with saffron)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Chocolate and banana wontons

Happy Monday everyone. Hope you had a fun and relaxing weekend.

Starting the week with a dessert seems is just what I need here in the cold, dark and very gloomy Pacific North West. I am sure my fellow Washingtonians agree. So, what do you get when you take wonton wrappers, chocolate and bananas. Find out below. Having never tried sweet wontons, I thought would be a good idea . Turns out it was a good one, sweet success !

My recipe is inspired from food network, but I did take some detours from their recommended steps.

You need :
2 milk chocolate candy bars(I recommend grating them )
16 wonton skins
2 bananas, sliced
1 pint vanilla ice cream(optional)
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar cinnamon sugar (mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1tbsp cinnamon powder and keep in a dry jar)
4 cups vegetable oil to deep fry the wontons

This is how you make it :

Start with leaving the milk chocolate in a warm place to make it slightly pliable. Then grate the chocolate bars and keep aside. Lay the wonton skins out on a surface and 1 at a time; paint the edges with water. In the center of the wonton skin, place a tsp of chocolate mixture and top with a banana slice. Fold the wonton skin like a wrapper and press together well to seal completely. Cover with plastic wrap and keep aside.

Heat the oil and fry the wontons (one at a time) till they are golden brown.Meanwhile, place the cinnamon sugar in a bowl. Take the fried wonton out of the soil and dredge in cinnamon sugar to coat the wonton. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream( optional). I tired both versions and both were good.

ooey-gooey and scrumptious..enjoy:)

Chocolate -Banana Wontons

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Something new something fresh - AGAIN

A couple years ago , I started a weekly series on my blog called " Cooking with friends "and brought something new something fresh to you every Wednesday, It was very well received and popular series and so I am back with it yet again:))

As I said back then , "Cooking for family, friends and fun is integral to my blog, this is where I publish stories and recipes around the three.Today I begin, a weekly feature on my blog Cooking with friends. Every Wednesday, I will feature a friend of mine and her wonderful recipe:)). I am very excited and hope you all enjoy reading it as well. "

Today's chef is my friend Mehnaz . We have a lot in common - the alphabet M in our names, our passion for cooking and love of food , our zodiac signs , the biggest year of our lives( we became moms within 2 days of each other, last year), and too many other things to discuss here. shes an absolute sweetheart and I feel lucky to have a person that's so pure of heart, as my friend .You get the drift right ? Every year on Id, biryani, sevaiyaan and kebabs are a must haves at her place -she runs out of food within minutes and I am never surprised.

Mehnaz and I at our combined baby shower last year

Today, I will share another one of her recipes which is finger licking good -Roghan Josh.

the story behind the dish -Roghan josh is an an aromatic lamb dish and is Kashmiri by origin.Originally Rogan josh was brought to Kashmir by the Mughals. Characteristically, by Kashmiri interpretation, the name Roghan josh is derived from the word rogan meaning color and josh meaning either passion or low-moderate heat and the dish classically involves slow cooking at moderate heat for prolonged period of time. Powdered chillies are never used but essentially an extract of grinded chillies devoid of seeds. Kashmiri chillies being mild do impart, at least partially the red color and yet still keep the food mildly hot, but the real color of the dish is attributed to the extract from dried flowers.Classically, garlic paste and paste of a local variety of shallots fried before grinding called prawn locally in Kashmir is typically as essential as is saffron, but a wide array of spices go into the making of this dish.( wikipedia.)

You need:
1 whole chicken, skin removed, cut into pieces.
1/4 cup desi ghee or oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced ginger
5-6 finely chopped green chili’s
2 cups finely chopped coriander leaves/hara dhania/Cilantro
6-8 crushed Almonds
6-8 crushed Cashew nuts
1 ¼ Cup hung curd
Few saffron (Kesar/zafran) strands
3-4 drops kewra water
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 cup crispy fried onions (crushed)
2-3 teaspoon coriander seeds (roasted and crushed)
Salt to taste

This is how you make it:

Marinate the chicken with hung curd, chopped green chilies, coriander, salt, crushed almonds and cashews. Set it aside for an hour. Heat oil or ghee in a skillet or karahi and sauté ginger garlic paste for 1 minute.Add marinated chicken (only pieces) to it, continue to fry until they turn brown.Add the remaining marinade, cover and cook on medium for 30 to 45min until the oil begins to leave the edges of the pan and gravy starts to get thick and creamy.Mix fried onions (crushed), coriander seeds (roasted and crushed), saffron and Kewra in a separate bowl.Then add the mixture to the gravy, cover and cook on low for 10 minutes. Add water if curry gets too dry.Garnish it with shredded ginger.

You can make Roghan josh with lamb or chicken . And you ask me why it was finger licking good. Look at the picture-enough said ! Serve this delectable Roghan josh with naan or rice.

Roghan Josh

Until next week , stay happy but not hungry. Also, try cooking with your friends - its a lot of fun :)

Pumpkin Cheesecake

"A pumpkin(Pie, cookie or Ice cream) a day, keeps the doctor away"

The Pumpkin mania begins before Halloween. Pumpkin spice for cookies & soups, pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks , beauteous pumpkins everywhere at doorsteps, stores , offices. After peaking at Halloween this transcends into pumpkin pies and various desserts for Thanksgiving.

Definitely had to make pumpkin something this year - maybe a cheesecake. But before that I needed to know why do we eat pumpkin pies and desserts for Thanksgiving . Here's why, " The pilgrims probably didn't have pumpkin pie per se at the first Thanksgiving because they didn't have an oven to bake the crust in. This squash, which dates back 9,000 years to Mexico, had been cultivated by the Native Americans for centuries, roasted or boiled for survival. The pilgrims might have made stewed pumpkin by filling the shell with a mixture of orange flesh, milk, honey and spices and baking it in ashes, but the first pumpkin pie did not appear until 1670."(courtesy: organic authority.)

Alright then ...with my curiosity satiated, I quickly scrambled for a way to bake my cheesecake. Thanks to Paula Deen, I found just the one . It was scrumptious and made me smile. Oh, the joy of trying wonderful new recipes .

You need :
1 and 3/4 cups graham crackers
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick melted butter

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

This is how you make it:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside. (Disclaimer : I was strapped for time so did not make the crust, but used a store bought one.)

For filling: Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Make sure to really watch out for the cake otherwise it will get burnt. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream

Pumpkin Cheese Cake

Green bean Salad

So you have seen -warm wild rice salad and garlic mashed potatoes thus far. Today I present before you - Green Bean Salad

A clear family favorite, this recipe pops up without fail during our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations and on countless days during year. WHY...you ask? Being quite health conscious , I really need to know why I am eating something (a logic I conveniently forget on days when I eat myself into oblivion on holidays). Beans are very good source of fiber ,vitamins , minerals and plant derived micro nutrients (most importantly Iron) and most of all - very low in calories , so guilt free eating. Makes for a happy Moi:)

The crunch of the walnuts , onion coupled with tartness of the Dijon mustard elevate it several levels and take it from the slightly boring , bland bean to a multi dimensional casserole/salad.

Go ahead , try this and Iam sure you will love it. Thank you to Ellie Krieger (food network) whose recipe this is:)

You need :
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 teaspoons walnut oil or olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

This is how you make it :
Bring a large pot of water with a steamer basket to a boil, add green beans and steam for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they become fragrant, about 2 minutes, and then transfer them to a small bowl to cool. Add the parsley and onion to the walnuts and stir to combine.

In another small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Toss the dressing with the green beans, top with the walnut mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Stay healthy and Enjoy

Green Bean Salad

Coming up- Pumpkin cheesecake, butternut squash soup, Cranberry chutney, turkey .

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Garlic mashed potatoes

Hopefully you will try the previous dish and enjoy it . Now, on to the next. How can any Thanksgiving meal be complete without a potatoes or sweet potatoes?

Here's my version of the quintessential mashed potato dish ..... Garlic mashed potatoes

You need :
2 tbsp garlic paste
Olive oil
2 pounds russet potatoes -boiled
Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
chopped chives for garnish

This is how you make it :

Boil the russet potatoes and add some salt . Cook until tender and once done , mash them until smooth. Keep them aside. In the meantime , heat butter and cream until butter melts. Add the garlic paste and potatoes and cook well. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped chives. Serve immediately.

These turned out so yummy , enjoy:)

Garlic mashed potatoes

Coming up next - butternut squash soup.

Warm Wild Rice Salad

After waking up from the a food coma and shopping till I drop at Black Friday sales, I am back here to get started with the all recipes from my thanks giving dinner . Are you ready ? So without further ado, lets get started.

Today it is warm wild rice salad. This recipe is from the Food Network, courtesy the Neely's) I tried this for the first time and I assure this will not be the last time. Yummy and so easy to cook , I am glad I decided to include it in this year's thanksgiving menu .

You need :
3 1/2 cups water
2 cups rice (1 cup long-grain wild rice and 1 cup brown rice
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 red bell pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup slivered almond
3/4 cup frozen peas
1and 1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves (I used corriander leaves)

This is how you make it:

Bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil in large saucepan. Add rice and reduce heat to medium. Cook until just tender about 35 to 40 minutes. Fluff with a fork when ready. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions, celery, carrots, peppers, salt and pepper. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

In a separate pan over medium-low heat, toast almonds. Stir occasionally until browned. Add peas and red pepper flakes to the vegetables. Add rice to skillet. Mix together and allow to cook for a few minutes. Remove from pan. Add almonds and top with parsley

A very healthy and perfect side dish to the star of the show ...the thanksgiving turkey :))

Warm wild rice salad

Coming up next - Roasted garlic mashed potatoes

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
~Author Unknown

A very happy thanksgiving to all of you. May you remember this day every year that you have a lot to be thankful for :))
Here's the thanksgiving meal I cooked today - turkey, butternut squashsoup, green beans with walnuts(in mustard dressing), cranberry salsa, warm wild rice salad, roasted garlic ,mashed potatoes and pumpkin cheesecake (recipes follow soon :)

What was your thanksgiving meal like ?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Diwali harks the beginning of the the Festival season that goes on nonstop till the end of the year . So excited its here ! With celebrations comes guilt free eating and for me that guilty pleasure would be mithai. I will repent later but for now I have to have all that ooey-gooey sweet delicious-ness.

This year, I wanted to try something new so I went looking for some inspiration. Wait....!!! How about that kesari served at the local south Indian restaurant(which shall remain nameless here) . I skipped past the pineapple and the mango version and decided to stick with just plain kesari for now. Lets see how this turns out and then I shallst get more adventurous.

You need:Sooji/Rava/Semolina -1/2 cup
Sugar-1/2 cup
Water-1 cup
Ghee- 2 tbsp
Saffron- a few strands
Milk-3 tbsp
Chopped dry fruits(raisins, pistachios, almonds)
Cherry- 1 (for garnish)

This is how you make it:
Soak saffron in warm milk.Heat ghee in a pan , roast the dry fruits and keep aside. Now, roast the rava in the pan( in the ghee still left in the pan) for about 6 minutes . Add the saffron milk mixture, water and keep stirring to avoid lump formation. Fold in the sugar and cook . Add the roasted nuts , stir a little bit more and take it off the stove. Garnish with glazed cherry and serve.

I offered this as bhog(oblation) for the Diwali pooja and got glowing reviews from my friends and neighbors as well . I loved that the saffron/kesar imparted a vibrant yellow color to the kesari-so festive!

Kesari - Mission Successful

An offering to Goddess Lakshmi for Diwali

Try it and let me know how your kesari turned out. Happy mithai making.


Hope you had a happy happy Halloween :)

Watch this space as I return with more recipes, reviews ,stories and series ..

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Diwali

My favorite Diwali wish this year ...

"Troubles as light as air, love as deep as the ocean, friends as solid as a diamond, and success as bright as the lustre of gold... This is what we wish for you this Diwali. May darkness never touch you and may your life always be lit with joy, happiness and prosperity. "

Rangoli to brighten up your place

Some home made Kesari and gulab jamun to sweeten your palate (recipes to follow in the next few posts)

Have a happy and safe Diwali . See you soon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Of Opportunities lost

"Most people dont recognize oppurtunity when it comes , because its dressed in overalls and looks like a lot of work -Thomas Alva Edison"

6 years have passed since I gave birth ...to my blog. While there's no denying that I love it dearly, sometimes I wonder if I have treated it like a stepchild and not been able to nurture it the way I could have, so definitely feel some big time guilt. What if I could have had a gazillion more recipes on there, written tons more, connected more with my virtual family and readers and made more of a mark on the blogosphere. WHAT IF?
Lots of time has gone by and more food bloggers than I care to count , have sprouted on the horizon. Lots of opportunities gone..sigh! Looks like the pessimist in me has surfaced today.

(source: www.toonpool.com)

But the optimist is never behind and it nudges me and says , " So what,time may have passed you by but one thing that hasn't changed over all this time is your connection and love for food." True that:)

Also "opportunities always look bigger going than coming" so maybe nothing is lost after all (breathes sigh of relief) I guess time will tell!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Iam alive, Iam kicking and I am BACK

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."Virgina Woolf

I cannot agree more. The last two years have been really intense, busy, eventful and nail biting in every possible way. I had a baby, got a new job , bought a new house, spent endless sleepless nights being a mom and learnt how to balance all of the above or atleast try.If I didnt have good food to nourish my body and soul , things could ended a very different way.

Happy to report food and cooking are still my passions and that can never change no matter how life changes, so what if I applied the breaks for a little bit.Iam excited to return to it and now harbour dreams of teaching my daughter to cook someday just like my mom did. Can't wait :)

In the meantime, Iam alive, Iam kicking and I am BACK to Meenal's Kitchen:)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Something new something fresh–part 5

4 posts to my friend's series and going strong still. And I have more coming up:)It just keeps getting better.Check part 4 here.) and part 3 here.)

I am very excited to introduce you to today's chef-Richa. Richa and I have been friends for over 2 yrs and she's a wonderful friend. A fashionista, who loves to sport the latest trends and designers, a go-getter, beauty with brains and sweetness personified is who she is. I can safely say that so far that I have never seen upset or angry even once and that's no mean fate :))Shes great..you get the picture, right?:)

Richa and I

The recipe Iam about to feature here was yummy- Bharwa Mirchi . She made this along with some other with a bunch of other delicacies and I truly loved it.Just the picture, makes me want to have some again.I assure you, you will feel the same way once you look at it.Here goes the recipe:)

You need:
Green Chilies: 13 large sized
Grated Coconut: 4 tbsp
Potato: 1
Fresh Coriander leaves: a few springs
Oil: 5 tbsp
Asafoetida: 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Red chili powder: 1/2 tsp
Aniseed powder:1/2 tsp
Cumin powder (roasted and grinded):1/4 tsp
Coriander powder (roasted and grinded):1/4 tsp
Amchoor: 1 tbsp
Salt: to taste

This is how you make it
Wash & wipe green chillies. Slit and deseed. Apply a little salt and keep aside for thirty minutes. Wash well and let drain.Boil, peel and grate the potato. Clean, wash and finely chop coriander leaves. Heat two table spoon of oil and temper with asafetida and mustard seeds .Add coconut and sauté till lightly colored. Add grated potato and sauté for another five minutes. Add red chili powder, aniseed powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and amchoor. Sauté till well mixed.Season and add coriander leaves. Remove from heat and set aside.Stuff mixture into chilies and keep aside. Heat remaining oil in a shallow pan. Place chilies, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and serve hot. Yes, it was D-E-L-I-C-O-U-S :))Enjoy the Bharwa Mirchi.

Bharwa Mirchi
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