Wednesday, April 30, 2008


As I blogged around, I came across the food photo event at
Though I think mine would be the last entries, for this months event, I did manage to get a shot.


Strawberries are in abundance this season. Lots of them, red, ripe and bursting with flavour. All by themselves or as a smoothie, or added to a dessert, strawberries are "the thing" now.

Along with other berries, I churned up a smoothie with a few twists. here is the recipe

You will need

  • Strawberries- 1 cup chopped
  • black berries- 1/2 cup
  • blue berries - 1/2 cup
  • banana- 1
  • yogurt- 2 cups
  • strawberry jam- 2 tbsp
  • sugar- 2 tbsp (this is optional. first taste)
  • water- 1/2 cup
You have to
  1. blend all the berries first in the blender.
  2. then add the banana and blend.
  3. add the yogurt along with the jam. blend
  4. taste for sugar. if less sweet then add the sugar.
  5. add little water, and blend everything.
  6. pour in glasses, and serve.

check out the luscious colours added.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Yes, its that day of the week when I sit down and update my blog with the tiffin menus. After I started putting down my menus, it has actually helped me to keep a track of what I cook, and even avoid any repetetions. Wonder why I did not think about this earlier...hummmmm, I guess its better late than never.
Anyways, here is the menu. Will be posting the recipes of a few items.

Mon: Panchkuti dal + jeera masala rice

Tue: Paushtik missi roti + mixed raita

Wed: Blackeye pea curry + coconut beans

Thu: Moong dal + carrot and cabbage bhurji

Fri: Kassori meethi aloo mutter masala.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I got a request for the dishes posted in my Monday and Tuesday menus. Since I had not planned to put them up before, hence no pictures.

The first recipe is super simple. All one needs to have is a pressure cooker and in no time the dish is ready.
Ghiya also known as BOTTLE GOURD, is usually available in the Indian store and is packed with a lot of curative properties. According to Ayurveda and a lot of home remedies, the bottle gourd juice is excellent for lowering cholesterol, as well as a detox.
Chana dal or GRAM DAL, is from the lentil family and is available easily in Indian stores.

Gram dal with bottle gourd or ghiya chana dal, is a well known combination that is healthy and yet good to taste.
So here is my recipe. I made this without any onions and garlic, so for all those who do not eat onions and garlic, this is a great recipe.

You will need

  • Bengal gram or chana dal- 1/2 cup
  • Bottle gourd or ghiya- 1 medium size
  • Ginger and chilly paste- 1 tbsp
  • Tomato puree- 1/2 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chili powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander and cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala powder- 1/4Th tsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4Th tsp
  • Oil- 1/2 tbsp
You have to

  1. Soak chana dal in warm water for 15- 20 mins.
  2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker.
  3. Saute the ginger and green chilly paste.
  4. Add the soaked chana dal.
  5. Cube the bottle gourds.add the cubed bottle gourd to the chana dal.
  6. Add all the spices.
  7. Add enough water, and pressure cook for 2- 3 whistles.
  8. Turn off heat and let it cool off.
  9. Open the lid, turn on the heat, and add water, and the tomato puree.
  10. Mix everything well. check for seasoning of the dal.
  11. Pressure cook for one more whistle if the lentils are slightly uncooked.
  12. Dish out and garnish with coriander.
  13. Serve with rice, roti, or puri.


The next recipe,is actually a twist on the regular "aloo baigan" (eggplant and potato). I used the baby eggplants for this. And I did take a picture.....but only in its raw form and not of the finished dish.......I wonder why though??? hummmm....well never mind. Here is the recipe.

You will need
  • Potato- 3-4
  • baby eggplants- 5-6
  • sliced onions- 1
  • tandoori masala- 1 tsp
  • amchoor powder- 1/2 tsp
  • red chilly powder- 1/2 tsp
  • garam masala- 1/2 tsp
  • roasted cumin powder- 1/4tsp
  • salt-to taste
  • oil- around 2 tbsp.
You have to
  1. slice the potatoes into wedges.
  2. slit the eggplant form the middle into four. do not cut it up fully.
  3. in a bowl, combine all the spices, and mix it up with the potatoes and eggplant.
  4. let it stand for at least 1/2 and hour.
  5. heat oil in a pan. add the oil.
  6. saute the sliced onions.
  7. add the eggplant and the potatoes along with the spices. you might have to add little water to get the spices together.
  8. cover and cook on low, till done.
  9. uncover and mix everything up.
  10. check if the potatoes and eggplant are done.
  11. garnish with coriander and lemon wedges.

I thought later on, that one could even fry the potatoes and then add them

hope all those who try it, like it.

have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I wonder how an authentic Chinese would respond to eating Chinese food in India?
hummmm!!! I guess he will enjoy the twist in taste too.
Welcome to the land where the authentic Chinese food got a tempering of the Indian taste and the result was "Indian Chinese". A cuisine that has grown in popularity all over India.

As for me, I have had an old connection with the cuisine. That is because I share my birthplace with that of the cuisine- Kolkatta (did not know this until I read about Indian Chinese in wikipedia).

Growing up, eating Hakka noodles, Manchurian, chilly chicken and a whole lot of other specialities, I ended up opening a small Chinese take away, in the market complex near our house, in Delhi.Its menu had all the famous "Indian Chinese dishes like, veg Manchurian, chilly chicken, chili paneer, momos, to name a few. The take away however had to shut down after I got married and came to the US.
After coming to the US, I have always craved for the taste of this cuisine. There are no places that I know of, that serve up all the favourites. So I end up recreating the flavours at home as far as possible.
Sweet and sour vegetable is the new addition to my list of Indian Chinese that I have tried recently.

I was quite surprised to actually find an entire article related to Indian Chinese on wikipedia. here is the link, if anyone would like to know more:

Here is the recipe.

You will need
Green bell peppers: 2
Potatoes: 3
Onions- 1
Carrot- 2-3
Cauliflower- 7-8 florets
Tomato- 3
Honey- 2 tsps
Chilli sauce- 1 tsp
Soy sauce- 1 tsp
Maggi hot and sweet tomato sauce- 2 tbsp (available in Indian store)
Wochestireshire sauce- 1/ 2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Pepper- 1/2 tsp
Red chilli flakes- 1/2 tsp
Sugar- 1/ 2 tsp
Garlic- 1 tsp
Oil- 1 tbsp
note: one can add any veggies. I just added the ones I had on hand. Zucchini, snow peas, broccoli etc. Can be added as well

You have to:

  1. Dice the vegetables, into cubes.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, saute garlic.
  3. Add the cubed onions. saute.
  4. Add the other vegetables, except the tomato.Add salt and saute.
  5. Cover and cook for 10- 15 mins.
  6. In a bowl, combine the honey, along with all the sauces, and the spices.
  7. Add very little water. Mix well.
  8. Add this sauce to the vegetables.Let it cook. mix well.
  9. Add the tomatoes and cook on high heat, till vegetables become tender.
  10. Check for seasoning. Here you will have to add a little bit of sugar, and spice if required.
  11. Turn off the heat once the gravy comes together.
  12. Garnish with cilantro.
  13. Serve with steamed rice, or noodles.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It took me quite sometime to think about the title of my blog.....what should I call it this time, "Monday tiffins", "Monday mania", "menu details".........frankly, I was at a loss of titles.....
so i simply put it as, "this weeks menu". I realised that this is going to be an ongoing affair, so thinking of different blog titles doesn't make much sense. Therefore from today, all my Monday menus will be simply titled " this weeks menu". What say you'll? isn't that a good idea?

so without further intros, here is what I made for tiffins yesterday

MON: Ghiya aur chana dal

TUE: Aloo baigan tawa fry with black chana

WED: Tomato rice with mixed raita

THU: Malai moong dal and gobi aloo mutter.

FRI: Hakka noodles with sweet and sour veggies.

I would be putting up the recipes for sweet and sour veggies, any other recipe requests are welcome.

Friday, April 18, 2008


There is nothing like a moist, creamy, chilled fruit cake. I had made this one for my husbands birthday. Though it did take a lot of time and effort, but you know, after all it was for his birthday. This cake looks so colourful, specially with all the fruits on a snow white creamy icing. I added praline to the sides of it, which gave it that little sweet crunch.
I made the sponge cake at home, but i realised that one could make it with store bought angel food cake too.
Here is the recipe

You will need:

8 inch round sponge cake (recipe below)- 2 cakes, cut horizontally into four layers. (or one full angle food cake, cut horizontally)
Fruit cocktail- 1 tin. (keep the syrup)
Chopped strawberry- 1/2 cup + a few slices to decorate
Chopped kiwi- 1/2 cup + a few slices to decorate
Heavy whipping cream-3 cups
Sugar- 1/4th cup
Praline (recipe below)- 1 cup.

You have to

  1. Whip the cream with sugar, till it forms peaks.
  2. Place a layer of the cake on a serving plate.
  3. Soak it with a tsp of the fruit cocktail syrup, that you kept aside.
  4. Add a tbsp of the fruit cocktail, some strawberry and some kiwis.
  5. Spread some whipped cream.
  6. Place the other layer on top, and repeat the process.
  7. After placing all the four layers, cover the entire cake with the whipped cream.
  8. Crush the praline, and stick it on the sides of the cake.
  9. Decorate with strawberry slices and kiwi slices.
  10. Add a few pieces of praline.
  11. Chill overnight (preferably).

For the cake


all purpose flour-1,1/2 cup
sugar- generous 1/2 cup
baking powder- 1/4th tsp
vanilla essence- 1/2 tsp


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease an 8 inch cake tin.
  3. Separate the egg yolks and the egg whites.
  4. Sieve the flour and the baking powder.
  5. Cream the egg yolks and the sugar, over hot water, till the mixture turns a pale yellow.
  6. Beat the egg whites till it stands in peaks.
  7. Slowly add the egg whites to the egg yolk and sugar mixture.
  8. Fold in the flour.Add the vanilla essence
  9. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  10. Leave in tin for 5 mins, cool.

For the praline


Mixed nuts-1 cup (cashews, pecans, hazelnuts)

Sugar- 1/2 cup

Water- 1 cup


  1. Dissolve the sugar and water. Heat.
  2. Once the sugar solutions begins to brown, add the chopped nuts.
  3. Grease a plate.
  4. As the sugar begins to caramelize, and the mixture started to stick.
  5. Empty it out on the grease plate, and spread it.Let it cool.
  6. Break into pieces, or crush with a rolling pin.
I know it got a little elaborate, but trust me the taste is worth all the effort.

happy eating.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


A very famous north Indian dish and a standard in all Indian restaurants, kali dal or black gram dal is easily available in any Indian grocery store.

Lots of different ways to make this Dal. The famous dal makhani, is made by mixing black gram dal and red kidney beans. This recipe of mine is without the red kidney beans.

You will need:

Black gram dal- 1/2 cup (soak for half an hour)
Onion- 1/2 chopped
Garlic- 1 minced
Ginger and chilly paste- 1 tbsp
Tomato-1 chopped.
Tomato puree- 1/2 cup
Cream- 1/4th cup
Red chilly powder- 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder- 1/4th tsp
Garam Masala- 1/2 tsp
Amchur powder- 1/4th tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil- 1 tbsp.
Fresh coriander- to garnish.

You have to:
  1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker.
  2. Saute the ginger chilly paste and the garlic together, till brown.
  3. Add the onions and saute.
  4. Add the chopped tomato and the tomato puree.
  5. Add all the spices, except the garam masala.
  6. Saute everything till the oil begins to separate.
  7. Now add the soaked dal. Add approximately two cups of water.
  8. Pressure cook for three whistles,and then turn off the heat.
  9. Let it stand till it cools off.
  10. Open the pressure cooker, and check if the dal is done. Add water if the dal is very thick and adjust the seasoning.
  11. Add the garam masala and the cream, let it simmer for 10- 15 mins. Or till it begins to thicken.
  12. Empty it out in a serving bowl, drizzle little cream and some chopped coriander.
  13. Have it with plain tandoori roti.



Yesterday was not all that hectic as I had to prepare tiffins for only two people. It was all simple, Indian food. no fuss,no fancy kinda stuff.

here is what I made yesterday

Mon: bhindi (okra masala) + kali dal

Tue: beans aloo + gujarati dal

Wed: undhiyo + thepla

Thu: veg biryani + kheera raita

Fri: vegetable kofta curry.

I will be putting up the recipe for kali dal, however if anyone wants any recipe from the menu above, do put in a comment and i will post it.

happy eating.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Paneer or the Indian cheese, is a very popular food item in a lot of Indian dishes. Its so versatile, that one can come up with so many different kinds of recipes with it. A great tasting food for vegetarians too.

My husband loves paneer in any form, and he can have leftovers, for the next few days (that is if it lasts that long). The only drawback is, that paneer is made out of whole milk, so it has a high content of saturated fat. But if one has it once in two weeks its perfectly fine. Though one can try making it at home with low fat milk, personally I would not take the trouble, as its a lot of work, and it doesn't even hold its shape, specially if you have to make paneer tikka, or paneer pakodas.
You can get paneer in any Indian store. The paneer we get here in San Diego, is not very soft, so I usually soak it in little warm water before using it.

I made paneer butter masala, for my tiffins last Monday, here is the recipe.
One can even substitute tofu for paneer. I wouldn't say that it tastes the same, but it doesn't taste bad either. I have made mutter paneer, using tofu.

Hope people try this one out.
Feed backs are welcome.
Happy eating



CASHEWS- 1/2 CUP (soaked)
SHAHI PANEER MASALA- 1 TSP (available in most Indian stores)
MILK- 1 TBSP (you can substitute milk with cream, for a creamier taste)
PANEER- 14 OZ (400 GMS).
KASOORI METHI- 1 TBSP (available in most Indian stores)


  1. Blend the cashews and the onions to a fine paste.
  2. Cut paneer into square pieces. (soak in warm water for 5 mins).
  3. Heat oil in a pan.
  4. Add the ginger and chilly paste.saute
  5. Add the onion and cashew paste. saute till the paste begins to brown.
  6. Add red chilly powder, turmeric powder and salt.
  7. Add tomato puree. add little water, and let the gravy simmer.
  8. Add the milk or cream. simmer for 10 min.
  9. Add the paneer pieces. mix gently.
  10. Add the garam masala, shahi paneer masala and the kasoori methi.(adding these at the end, gives the dish its flavour.)
  11. Mix everything well, add little water if needed. cover and simmer for about 10 mins.
  12. Garnish with chopped coriander.
  13. Serve hot with naan.
the picture above was taken while it was still simmering......


Monday, April 7, 2008


Its monday again.

The day,that is spent cooking, packed lunches for four of our friends,who come after work to collect thier tiffins, or "dabbas"(meaning boxes)

I give them wholesome, healthy, home cooked Indian meals for five days and all they do is freeze it and heat it whenever they want to eat. All set for a week.

The planning offcourse starts three days in advance. The major part of the planning is "what should I make?"..............once that is figured out, the rest is easy. And really speaking its just a day of cooking, and my husbands and my meals are also taken care off.

I am often asked by my friends and my mom, what do u make? everyone is in a dilemma, scratching their heads, thinking about what should be served at the dinner i thought why not put my every monday tiffin menus, on my blog. This way those who read can get a few menu ideas and even share a few ideas.

I try to give as much of variety as possible, coz or else I will get tired of cooking the same thing over and over again. More over, most of the stuff I cook, is easy to freeze and the taste doesn't alter once reheated. So that is that.

I do not want to waste more time giving silly intros, here is the menu, that i made this mon.


MON: fettuccinie in mushroom alfredo sauce + garlic bread

TUE: aloo parantha + curd

WED: rajhma masala + jeera rice

THU: cabbage peas vegetable + yellow lentils (moong masuur ki dal)

FRI: paneer butter masala


will be posting a few recipes of some of the stuff I cooked.
happy eating.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Its been a while now since I tried this recipe out. Its a recipe I got from my friend. She uses penne pasta to make it, but I used the tube pasta, as I had it at home.
It came out to be really good. Well actually if my husband passes any dish of mine.....means its good. Gave some to another friend of ours, and they had it for dinner. It passed their taste test too.
So it stood the test of Q.E.T.....quick, easy and tasty. yuhooooooo.........
try it out .
though i must admit that i could not take a better pic, but nevertheless.



macaroni pasta- 2 cups
onions- 1 small, chopped
tomato- 2, chopped
bell peppers- 1, chopped
baked beans- 1 small tin (use HEINZ baked beans, it gives this macaroni its distinct taste)
tomato puree- 1/2 cup (optional)
tomato ketchup- 1/4Th cup
mayo- 1 cup
milk- 1 tbsp
grated mozzarella cheese- 1 cup
chilly flakes- to taste
oregano- to taste
garlic- 1/2 tsp
salt and pepper- to taste
olive oil- 1 tsp


  • Boil the macaroni as per the instructions.
  • Heat olive oil in a pan. Saute garlic.
  • Add chopped onions and saute.
  • To this add chopped bell peppers and the chopped tomatoes.
  • Saute till soft.
  • Add the tomato puree and the baked beans. Mix everything well.
  • Add the salt, pepper, oregano and chilly flakes.
  • Add tomato ketchup. Cook for a few mins.
  • Add the milk slowly, mixing well.
  • Add the boiled macaroni and the mayo. Mix everything up.
  • Turn off the heat. Add half of the grated cheese. Check for seasoning.
  • Empty it out in an oven safe dish. Sprinkle rest of the cheese on top.
  • Bake in the oven at 350 degrees, till the chesse melts.
  • Let stand for a few minutes.

enjoy it with a salad, garlic bread, or all by itself.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Last year in November, I visited India for my cousins wedding. We all know wedding in India can be a lot of fun but can get a little overwhelming at times. So before all the celebrations started, we planned a small getaway trip to Amritsar (a city in the state of Punjab -India)

Amritsar, big on the tourists list of places to visit in India, is home to the famous GOLDEN TEMPLE. A city with history, a vibrant culture, and lots of good food.

Because the golden temple is a holy shrine, none of the eating joints in its vicinity serve non vegetarian food. But one doesn't need it. All that one needs is a good appetite, for some good, rustic north Indian food.

Our guide was my mom. Amritsar is her birthplace. So she was very excited to be there, and see how much it had changed in almost two decades. At her time there was a very famous "dhaba" (let me see, how should I translate that......simply put, a roadside diner.........ya a diner). Popularly known as "bhrawan da dhaba" or brothers restaurant.

We entered the place and it was bustling with people, more so tourists. We couldnt wait to order the specialities........AMRITSARI KULCHA, DAL MAKHANI, MAKKI KI ROTI SARSO KA SAAG.........oh my goodness. Everything was sizzling hot, and full of flavour. the butter on the dal, the soft kulchas melting in the mouth, the crisp tandoori roti with melted butter glistening on was just too good. and to add to all this, my brother ordered for rice pudding or kheer. hummmmmm, was it good or WAS IT GOOD...

Dinner was at MAKHAN MACHI WALLA (literally translated to fish with butter). Located in the central part of the city on Lawrence road. this place is famous for its soft, succulent fish,coated in a batter of gram-flour and egg, and then fried. for all those who love to snack with there drinks this is an awesome snack. our dinner ended with the most famous dessert, the fruit cream. served in ice cream cups, it simply soothed out taste buds, with its cool and creamy texture.

Next morning our breakfast was again at the "dhaba', after which we headed out of Amritsar.

For anyone who enjoys good food, and has a good appetite, Amritsar is a place to be. Its a foodie paradise, with a lot of good food to taste,and enjoy. I loved it.

Next time in Amritsar, don't forget to go to BHRAWAN DA DHABA and MAKHAN MACHI WALLA , apart from all the other food expeditation. And offcourse taste the famous fruit cream on Lawrence road.

Put your diet aside, forget the numbers on your weighing scale and give your taste buds a treat of a lifetime.