Over the years we have developed a taste for Tofu and so are slowly trying to replace paneer with tofu. Palak/Spinach is well known for its health benefits and so I try to include palak in as many dishes as possible. Luckily for me, our picky eaters are not picky about palak! Her how I make at home.. 

Ingredients - 

Palak (Spinach) 2 cups
Extra Firm Tofu cubed 1 cup
Onion 1 medium
Tomato 1 medium 
Cashews 3 Tbsp
Green chillies 2-3 (As per taste)
Dhania-Jeera Powder 1 tsp
Cloves 3-4
Cinnamon 2 1-inch pieces
Cardamom 1-2Milk 1/2 cup
Oil 1-2 Tbsp
Jeera 1/2 tspSalt as per taste

Method Of Preparation - 
In a heated skillet, pour 1tsp oil and saute jeera, add chopped onion and saute until golden brown.

Add chopped tomato and cook along with the onions. Also add the green chillies and take this mixture off the stove. Transfer into another bowl/plate to let it cool.

In a separate pan, spray some oil and saute the cubed tofu until they are golden brown and set them aside.

Meanwhile blanch (put in boil water for 3-4 min) the palak leaves (until the leaves are wilted) and keep them aside. Alternatively, the spinach/palak leaves can be sauteed in a little oil.

Make a paste of the onion - tomato mixture and cashews. Also make a paste of blanched/sauteed palak.

In the same heated skillet, add the remaining oil and add cloves, cinnamon and cardamom, saute them and add the onion-tomato paste and saute till oil oozes out (Add a little water if needed).

Add the palak paste and milk and let it simmer for a few minutes (4-5min) and then add the sauteed tofu and mix well. 

Give some time for the tofu to take in all the flavors, cover with a lid and switch off the flame. 

Some might like a dollop of sour cream or whipped cream to give it a rich flavor!

Serve it hot over rice/roti/naan.

Note - Tofu can be substituted with Paneer or Potato cubes!!

Sending this to 'Tasty Tofu Treats' hosted by PJ.

Serves 3-4 Adults

Preparation Time 25 min 

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Posted by Harini on Monday, May 31, 2010

After a tiring day at the mall, I had to cook up something for dinner and everyone was craving for a pizza and so I cooked it up from this recipe book I had "Betty Crocker's Bisquick Cook book". Pretty fast and easy (Both baking and eating!!). Please note that Bisquick Pancake mix is eggless.

Ingredients - 

Bisquick pancake mix 1 1/2 cups
Very Hot Water 1/3 cup
Pizza sauce 7-8 oz
Onion sliced 1/4 cup
Sliced Olives 1/4 cup
Grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup

Method Of Preparation - 

Heat oven to 450 deg F and Grease a pizza pan.

Stir Bisquick mix and  hot water. Knead well to form a dough.

Press the dough in the pizza pan and pinch the edge to form 1/2 inch rim.

Spread the pizza sauce ove the dough. Top with onions and olives and sprinkle cheese on the veggies.

Bake for 12-15 min or until the crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Serves 2 kids
Preparation Time 5 min Baking time 15 min 

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Posted by Harini on Thursday, May 27, 2010

After the success of my experiments with quinoa (Quinoa pulao and Quinoa-Strawberry Muffins), I am encouraged to try a different variation of quinoa pulao. So I decided to make Biryani out of quinoa with very mild spices as the main aim is to make my picky eaters get used to this ultra nutritious and delicious grain. If interested, quinoa biryani can be made like the traditional Vegetable Biryani substituting rice with quinoa. Check this out...

Ingredients - 

Quinoa 1 cup
Mixed Veggies chopped (Carrots, Beans, Peas, Corn, Edamame) 2 cups
Onion finely chopped 1 medium
Sesame Seeds 1 tsp
Cloves 3-4
Cinnamon 1 inch
Cardamom 1-2
Shajeera 1/2 tsp
Fennel Seeds(Sounf) 1/2 tsp
Mint leaves few (Optional)
Cashew 3 Tbsp (Optional)
Turmeric 2-3 pinches
Salt as per taste (1 tsp approx)
Lime/Lemon Juice 2 tsp (as per taste)
Oil 1 Tbsp (or more) For Seasoning

Method Of Preparation - 

In a hot skillet, pour oil and shajeera, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, sesame seeds, cashews and finely chopped onions and saute them.

Once the onions are golden brown, add the remaining veggies and mint and lightly saute them.

Also add turmeric and salt.

Add quinoa to the above veggie mixture and saute for a minute and transfer the contents into a rice cooker. Add 2 cups of water and after about 20-24 min the quinoa biryani would be ready. (Cooking on a stove top, also is an option)

I served mine with raitha and the kids absolutely luv this!!

Serves 3-4 Adults
Preparation Time 30 min 

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Posted by Harini on Monday, May 24, 2010

Potato freaks as we are, anything and everything with Potatoes in it are most welcome! This is one such kurma which occupies a special place at our table. I try to alter the spices each time but this combination of spices is by far the best. Try it to taste it :)

Ingredients -

Potatoes Cubed 2 large
Milk 1/2 cup (Optional)
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Dhania-Jeera Powder 1 tsp
Amchur Powder (Dry Mango Powder) 1/2 tsp
Salt as per taste
Oil and Jeera for seasoning
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish

For Gravy - 

Onion Chopped and Sauteed 1 medium
Tomato Chopped 1 large
Roasted Sesame Seeds 3 tsp (or Roasted Peanuts 3 Tbsp or Cashews 3 Tbsp)
Coconut (grated or powdered) 1 tsp (Optional)
Ginger Garlic paste 1 tsp
Green Chillies 2-3 (or as per taste)
Cloves 3-4 (or as required)
Cinnamon 2 inch piece
Cardamom 2
Fennel (Sonf) 1/4 tsp (Optional)

Method of preparation - 
Grind all the ingredients in the 'For Gravy' list.

In a hot pan, pour some oil and jeera. After the jeera is a little brown, pour the gravy mixture and saute till oil oozes out. 

Add Turmeric, Dhania-Jeera Powder, Amchur Powder, Salt to the above mixture. Also add a little water if it starts getting burnt.

Add the cubed potatoes to the mixture and cover with a lid so all the flavors get into the potato cubes and they get cooked well. To speed up the process, I microwave the potato cubes with a little salt and 1/2 cup of water until they are almost cooked (about 5-6 min in my microwave) and add it to the gravy.

Tip - Always add enough water and cover with a paper towel or a microwave safe plate/lid when cooking veggies in the microwave.

When the gravy comes together and oil oozes out, add a little milk and let it boil for a couple min to make a silky gravy! This is totally optional.

Switch off the flame , garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve it hot with roti/naan or with rice!

Serves 4 Adults
Preparation Time 30 min

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Posted by Harini on Monday, May 17, 2010

In my continuing zest for adding oats into our diet, I tried Oats uthappam and we all liked it! And to further this experiment, I probably will add some more veggies like carrots, spinach etc. I guess the same batter can be used to make Ponganalu or Paniyarams. I chose to make uthappam as I think this is faster to make when on a tight schedule! This is how I made.

Ingredients -

Oats (Old fashioned Rolled) 1/2 cup
Rice Flour 1/4 cup
Curds (yogurt) 3/4 cup
Onions finely chopped 1/2 medium
Tomato finely chopped 1/2 medium
Ginger 1/2 inch
Green Chillies 1-2 nos (or as per taste)
Mint leaves a handful
Coriander sprigs a handful
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Asafotida (Hing) a pinch
Salt as per taste

Method of preparation - 

Coarse grind the oats and mix it with Rice flour in a mixing bowl.

Add Jeera, Hing and salt to the above flour mix.

Add Curd to make a batter. Add water if required. Set it aside for about 10 min.

Just before making the uthappam, add finely chopped onions and tomatoes, grind ginger and green chilis and mix them in the batter.

Also chop coriander sprigs and mint leaves and add it to the batter.

On a hot Tawa, take a ladleful of the batter and spread it to an agreeable thickness and spray some oil and let it brown.

Turn it over and take it out once it is cooked.

Serve it with any chutney of your choice.

Makes  4 of small size (approx)

Preparation Time 25 min

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Posted by Harini on Thursday, May 13, 2010

Basil has made its way into our kitchen about 2 years back and when my husband got this herb and asked me to prepare Basil Fried Rice, I had to frantically search the internet for its recipe. I found the non-veg versions of this recipe and didn't really like to vegetarianize it since none of them appealed to me! Finally, after a lot of browsing, I found a simple and interesting recipe for Basil Fried Rice. I also liked the fact that the recipe calls for the use of vegetables which usually don't appear at my home! If you do have some left over rice, then its a bonus, since this recipe recommends using cold rice.

Ingredients -
2 Cups Sona masoori Rice, cooked and preferably cooled (the original recipe used Long Grain Rice)
2 Medium Carrots (Cut into long thick slices)
1 Medium Onion (Sliced vertically)
Beans (Cut into 2 inch pieces)
1 Cup Broccoli
1/2 Cup Zuchini
1/4 Cup Green Peppers (You could also add Red Bell Peppers and Banana Peppers)
1 Spring Onion (Finely Chopped)
3-4 Garlic Pods
3-4 Red Chillies (ripened Green chillies) or Green Chillies
1 Small bunch Basil
3 tsps Oil

Method Of Preparation-
Chop the garlic and green chillies coarsely either in a mortar or in a grinder. Heat Oil in a wide saucepan and when it is slightly hot, add the chilli-garlic mixture and saute it for a few seconds.

Add the carrots, beans, onions along with the white root portion of the Spring Onion and fry them for about 5 minutes. Add salt and the Soya Sauce.

Now, add the peppers and fry them for about 2-3 minutes. Ensure that all these veggies are not overly cooked. They should be kind of crunchy.

Add Broccoli and Zuchinni in the end and fry all the veggies for about 4-5 minutes and then add the cooked rice and mix it well. Finally add the Basil leaves to this and switch off the stove. Cover the pan and leave it for a few minutes so the basil leaves wilt due to the steam.

Serves 4 Adults
Preparation Time 15 mins
Cooking Time 20 mins

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Posted by Jaya on Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers..My daughter's teacher had organized a small party at school in honor of all moms and it was so sweet of her and all the kids...we were treated like queens at school and it was lot of fun..We were showered loads of gifts too..And here I am trying to frame words as to how best I can try and honor my Mom...hmmm.. I guess there wouldn't be any gr8 words in these dictionaries which can say so much as to thank Mom. So instead I tried to recreate the magic which amma has mastered...Someone said "Imitation is the best form of Flattery". So here it is Amma, this is for you..drum roll please....Chocolate Burfi..

In the picture - The "I Love You MOM" Pot holder made by my daughter at school and the Chocolate Burfi made by me .
Some history here..Amma makes this yummy Chocolate Burfi with Bournvita (a cocoa based drink) which we grew up munching on too many evenings. This has been on the 'to-do' list for close to a dozen yrs now. Even after we started blogging this gem of amma's never got to the forefront. Every time I would ask her for some of her age old recipes, she would ask me if I had the time to make this chocolate burfi and each time I would have some excuse or the other .. not now, not today...I made it at almost 10.30pm , called amma and wished her and told her that I finally gathered my guts to make this and she was so happy and excited. She was asking me about the proportions, how the final result was, the texture etc to make sure I got it right (So amma like...).. (If any of you remember the 'Nutrine' chocolate we used to eat during our childhood, this burfi tastes exactly like that. This compliment from my dear husband.) And Yes ! Amma said that I got the right texture. So here it is to all the Moms who derive happiness in their kid's smallest achievements!!

Ingredients -

Condensed Milk 3/4 cup

Bournvita 3/4 cup
Sugar 3/4 cup
Maida / all Purpose Flour 1/2 cup
Ghee 3 tsp

Method Of Preparation -

In a non-stick sauce pan, add condensed milk, bournvita, sugar and maida and keep stirring it so that the maida blends in without any lumps.

Keep adding 1 teaspoon ghee at a time and keep stirring.

The key to getting this right is to take it off the flame at the right time. When the sweet comes together like chapati dough and when u pinch a little, it should not stick to your hands. It took me about 16-18 min of stirring.

Pour the sweet onto a greased plate and with a greased knife mark the pieces in the desired shape and upon cooling the pieces can be broken apart as they would become hard and brittle.

Note - Amma says Bournvita can be substituted with cocoa powder also but then cocoa powder should be used in lesser quantities (about 1/4 cup) and the resultant sweet would be lesser in quantity and there might be a chance that the sweet gets a little bitter aftertaste if cocoa powder is not rightly proportioned. So I didn't want to spoil this mother's day by using the cocoa powder instead used the bournvita from my pantry!

Makes approx 20 burfis
Preparation Time 45 min

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After my successful experience with Pineapple gojju, I was thinking about what else can be made with the same masala base and then it struck me that there were fresh strawberries in the refrigerator which could be used up for the same kind of gojju. But I encountered stiff resistance from my husband which is very much unlike him. But I convinced him and reminded him of his comments on the pineapple gojju and so he gave in. I am happy  to say that  strawberry gojju didn't disappoint him in any way!! You should try and taste it to believe it! This is how I made it..

Ingredients - 

Strawberry Chopped 1 cup
Tamarind juice 2 Tbsp
Green chillies 2-3 (as per taste)
Salt as per taste
Brown sugar/Jaggery 1-2 tsp
Turmeric 2 pinches
Seasoning (Oil 2 tsp, Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp, Urad dal 1 tsp, Hing a pinch, Curry leaves )

Gojju Masala - 

Coconut Powder 4 Tbsp 
Chana Dal 2 Tbsp 
Urad Dal 1 Tbsp
Coriander Seeds 2 tsp
Cumin Seeds / Jeera 1 tsp
Sesame seeds 3 tsp
Methi Seeds pinch 
Dry Red Chillies 4-5

Method Of Preparation - 

In a saute pan, add the seasoning and after the mustard seeds splutter, add the strawbrry chunks and 1 cup of water.

Add Turmeric, green chillies vertically slit. Cover and let the strawberry cook.

Meanwhile, dry roast all the ingredients for the masala and grind them with a little water to make a fine paste. (Don't worry even if the paste turns  out a little coarse).

After the strawberry is cooked, add the masala paste, tamarind juice, salt and brown sugar and let it simmer for about 3-4 min. Check to see if the flavors feel right for your taste.

Serve it over steaming rice for a hearty meal!
Nupur of One hot Stove has announced an event called Blog Bites #3 - Adaptation where a recipe needs to be adapted from another blog and the main ingredient/s needs to be changed or a new ingredient needs to be added to get a different recipe. I have adapted the Pineapple Gojju recipe from Suma of Veggieplatter to replace pineapple with strawberry in this Strawberry Gojju.

Serves 4 adults

Preparation Time 25 min

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Posted by Harini on Saturday, May 8, 2010

We are happy to publish this post with which we would reach a milestone in blogging. This is our 100th post in about 70 days. We hope to receive as much support and encouragement as have been receiving so far and we would welcome any new ideas/suggestions/improvements which would make this blog of (y)ours much more interesting and appealing. We are receiving lot of requests to publish certain recipes and please bear with us, we would definitely publish those requested recipes in due course of time. Thanks to one and all..
Now coming to today's special post...

We were expecting guests on a sunday evening and I was so swamped with some other chores that I had no time to make any dessert. I had to make something in a jiffy. I wanted to make something interesting and healthy. Can desserts be all that healthy at all?? Ok that discussion is for another time..We at home have a sweet tooth and so anything sweet just vanishes in no time! Thats when I thought that I should make some sweet with oats. I looked through the pantry and picked up oats, coconut powder and sugar and immediately I knew what I had to prepare!! The Seven-cup sweet which Amma makes is our all time fav. So I adapted a similar formula except that I replaced Besan (Chick pea flour) with Oats. Lets see how I made..

Ingredients - 

Oats (Old fashioned Rolled) 1 cup
Coconut Powder (dry or fresh) 1 cup
Nuts (Powdered) (Cashews, Almonds, Walnuts) 1 cup
Sooji (Semolina/Bombay Rava) 2 Tbsp
Condensed Milk 1 Tbsp or Milk Powder 2 Tbsp (Optional)
Ghee 4 tsp
Milk 2 cups
Cardamom Powder 1/2 tsp

Method Of Ingredients - 

Coarse grind the oats. And powder the nuts. 
In a non stick sauce pan, add 1 tsp of ghee and roast the oats along with powdered nuts, sooji and coconut. (I used grated frozen coconut).

Add milk and let the whole mixture simmer for a couple min and then add sugar, cardamom powder and keep stirring and adding a tsp of ghee at a time when the mixture becomes sticky. Take care not to burn the sweet, keep stirring carefully.

When the whole mixture becomes a single mass and loses the stickiness, thats when it is done and is ready to be taken off the flame.

I used a parchment paper in a plate and transferred the sweet on it and spread another parchment paper and smoothened  it with a rolling pin. I let it cool for a few min and then with a greased knife / pizza cutter, cut it into desired shape and let it cool. After it is cooled (refrigerate if required) the pieces come out very easily. Any other procedure to cut out burfis is fine too..

Needless to say we all enjoyed this variation very much and so can you!!

Makes approx 25 pieces
Preparation Time 30 min 

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Ariselu..my mouth waters at the very thought. It is one of my all time favorites and I am yet to master the art of making ariselu. Ok, for those of you who are not aware of ariselu, they are a delicious form of rice + jaggery puris, to put in a very simple lingo. When my friend mentioned that she made ariselu with rava, I was intrigued and needless to say got the recipe from her and made them. It is such an easy process that I was surprised that I didn't come across this sooner!! We all loved them so much that I am tempted to make them again.. But too many sweets in such a short span of time...no..no.. But You guys out there can make and enjoy!!  Here goes the recipe and enjoy the clicks too..

Ingredients - 

Rava / Sooji / Semolina 1 cup
Rice Flour 1 cup
Jaggery 1 3/4 cup
Milk 1/2 cup
Poppy Seeds / Gasaalu 2 Tbsp
Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
Oil for frying

Method Of Preparation - 
In a skillet, dry roast the sooji until the raw smell goes away and it gets a light brown hue.
In another sauce pan, boil 2 cups of water and add the roasted sooji to it and cover. After about 2-3 min the sooji would get cooked.

Add grated jaggery to the sooji and let the jaggery melt and mix into the sooji.

Add Rice flour to the above mixture and mix rapidly and switch off the flame and cover. Leave it covered for a few more minutes. Don't worry if the rice flour doesn't get mixed well. The rice flour would get cooked in the steam.

After a few minutes when the mixture has sufficiently cooled down, transfer the contents into a mixing bowl and knead the mixture into a smooth dough with chapati like consistency by adding as little milk as needed.

Divide the dough into equal pieces and make discs of equal size on a greased plastic or aluminium sheet. Don't forget to sprinkle some poppy seeds on both sides of the discs. (I forgot about the poppy seeds until after I was half done :) )

In a wok/ kadai, heat oil and gently slide these discs into the oil and fry until they are golden brown in color. (They would puff out like puris)

Take them out onto paper towels to drain excess oil. A very good idea for Naivedyam (Offering to God). A treat for lovers of Ariselu!!

Makes approx 20 ariselu (2 inch diameter) 

Preparation Time 25 min

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Curry Puffs

Who can forget the curry puffs from 'Iyengar Bakery'? I can't. So to relive those 'Curry Puff' days, I prepared them the easier way, so to say. The puff pastry sheets are a boon in many ways as they enable you to satisfy certain cravings. On the other hand they are loaded with fat. So to strike a balance, is a big deal..Anyway this is the first time I made them owing to pressure from my cravings :). I guess the next step is to make these puff pastry sheets at home and see if it can be made with less fat..

Ingredients - 

Puff Pastry Sheet 1
For the filling - 
Potatoes 3 (medium sized)
Turmeric a pinch
Garam Masala 1/4 tsp
Chilli Powder 1/4 tsp
Pudina as per taste
Salt as per taste
Seasoning (Oil 1 tsp, Jeera 1 tsp)
Coriander leaves for garnish (Optional)

Curry Puff Filling

Method Of Preparation - 

Thaw the frozen puff pastry sheet as per instructions on the box (Approx 40 min).

Meanwhile chop the potatoes and boil them in the microwave or pressure cook the potatoes and cube them.

In a sauce pan, heat oil and add Jeera. After the jeera browns a little, add turmeric, and the cubed potatoes.

Also add the chilli powder, Garam masala and salt as per taste. (Chat masala or any masala as per taste can also be added).

I sprinkled dried mint leaves and mixed them well. The filling is now ready. 

Spread the thawed puff pastry sheet and cut them into nine equal pieces.

Fill in a spoonful of filling in each piece and close them.

Arrange all the nine puffs in a greased , foil lined cookie tray.

Preheat the oven at 400 deg F and place the tray in the oven and bake them for about 13-15 min. Mine were ready in 14 min. 

Makes 9 puffs

Preparation Time 30 min

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Posted by Harini on Wednesday, May 5, 2010
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