Monthly Archives: January 2012

Kadai Bhindi/ Okra in gravy

Yet another simple dish with a simple vegetable. Okra/ Lady’s Finger/ Gumbo is either liked or hated. People who dislike Okra cite it’s sliminess. Kadai Bhindi is one recipe which reduces the sliminess by shallow frying the pods. If prepared correctly with patience, this vegetable gives a delightful taste.

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Phool Gobi Subzi/ Cauliflower Curry (Dry)

Cauliflower is one vegetable used in my cooking on a regular basis. It is a delicacy and a simple saute’ with a pinch of spices can bring out it’s pleasing flavor.

This recipe is simple and can be prepared in less than 20 minutes. It tastes best with Phulkas or Chapathis.

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Blueberry Preserve

Blueberries….mmmm. Among all berries,with it’s lively purple hue this is the best berry.

These tasty morsels contain high antioxidants and low calories. I buy blueberries when on sale or in season, because they can be pretty pricey. When in Dublin, a handful or more blueberries costed €4 from Superquinn. I got greedy when I saw 3lbs for less than $ 10 in Costco. This summer I bought tonnes and loaded a few freezer food bags full of berries for later use. It freezes well without destroying it’s flavonoid content.

I haven’t seen fresh blueberries in India. It is sold as jellies, jams or flavored squash. The frozen berries came in handy when I wanted to take something homemade from here to India. So I made bottles of blueberry preserve for my  family – one for my mom and another one for my mom-in-law.

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Brown Rice Spaghetti with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto (Gluten free)

Who doesn’t love pasta? I love pasta for it’s shape – tubular, spirals, angel hair, ridged, ruffled, grooved, twisted, stuffed, twirled, curled, elbow shaped, little spindles, diagonally cut, bronze cut, bow-ties, corkscrews, wagonwheels, dumpling like, pea pod shaped, conch shells, stamped coins, cock’s comb shaped, flat sheets, basket shaped, half moon shaped, star shaped, purse shaped and lots more.

Specialty pastas have added ingredients, such as vegetable colors and flavors, herbs and other seasonings. Spinach - green color, Carrots – orange color, beets or tomatoes – red color, black beans – brown color and squid ink – black color. Herbs and seasonings include basil, rosemary, black pepper, garlic, lemon peel and chilli..

It’s interesting to know that a Pugliese blend pasta named ORECCHIETTE MARITATE  literally means ‘married’ (the round orecchiette and the long casarecci consummate their ‘marriage’ when cooked together)

My knowledge about Pasta was limited to cray fish pasta cooked in tomato sauce in Swensen’s, Singapore. Until, I saw the display of different types of pasta in a food shop in Ascona, Lugano. I stood enthralled by the available variety of Italian staple. Since then, Pasta is one of the regulars in my list.

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Banana Raita

Raita is a cool, creamy condiment made with plain yogurt, vegetables or fruits, herbs and other seasoning. Whole milk yogurt soothes the palate and acts as a cooling counterbalance for many spicy Indian dishes. The ‘good’ bacteria in the yogurt helps in digestion. But a good raita needs precise balance of the right ingredients.

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Red Rice Murukku or Chakli

India with it’s colourful mosaic of cultures, has a festival anytime of the year. All the festivals are associated with special food items. One such savoury snack is Murukku. This is made for Diwali by Hindus and for Christmas by Christians. Mine is a mixed household which allows me to enjoy the pleasure of celebrating both the festivals.

Murukku is typically made from a mixture of urad dal flour, rice flour and other spices. The West/ North Indian Chakri or Chakli is normally made of Besan and rice flour. Every household has their own way of making this dish. This was my first try and I nailed it. It was crispy and tasty. That’s the reason the recipe hit the blog.

The variation from the regular recipe is that I used ‘Puncha’ red rice. This red rice is produced in the Kuttanad region (rice bowl of Kerala). It retains the distinct colour and flavour of the brownish rice bran, which is also powdered along with the processed grains. I consider anything brown to be ‘Healthy’  :)   The red color gave the snack a distinct look.

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Valor Beans Poriyal / Avaraikai Poriyal

Poriyal means sautéed or sometimes fried vegetables. Poriyal serves as a side dish to a three course meal of rice with sambar, rasam and curd. This poriyal is made by shallow frying thinly sliced valor beans along with spices.


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Orange Pomanders

I made these Orange Pomanders for Christmas – A female with a pink bow and a male one. Pomanders – fruits studded with cloves are used  for their fragrance. They add a wonderful holiday scent to your home. They are natural air fresheners. Remember, as you are sitting and poking cloves into oranges, that you are not simply making pomanders, but participating in a sacred craft that has been practised for centuries.