Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kadai Paneer ki subzi

Paneer (cottage cheese) is  a milk based ingredient, and can be used to prepare a number of dishes. Like Paneer butter masala,  paneer pakodas (cottage cheese fritters),these dishes are yum but can be quite heavy so some times one  feels like just having the paneer (cottage cheese) prepared in a lighter and quicker way, this is just that dish and kids love it too:) great for Vegetarians!!

500 gm paneer (cottage cheese) cut into cubes
1 medium green bell pepper cut into little cubes
1 small onion cubed small
1 inch ginger piece chopped fine
2 to 3 cloves of garlic crushed
2 green chilies chopped fine
1 tsp salt ( as per taste)
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1/3 cup water.

Paneer Kadai Subzi

1.Heat oil. in a wok. Add cumin seeds, coriander seeds,allow to splutter.Add in diced onions, stir and   brown a little add in tomatoes,continue cooking on low heat.
2.Add the bell pepper,ginger ,garlic ,salt,red chili powder.Add 1/3 cup water and cover with a lid for about 5 minutes to allow capsicum to get softened but not too soft.Add the paneer cubes, stirring gently, simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes and your kadai paneer is ready.
3.Garnish with dried fenugreek leaves or freshly chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with Indian bread.
Just takes less than  20 minutes to serve an easy to prepare healthy dish for you and your family.

Crunchy karele ki subzi with cashews

I Know I know what your thinking ... its bitter its bitter!!! I felt that too until I tried out this recipe at my mom's place. So go ahead give it a try, its super easy to prepare and tastes yum!!

250 gm karela (approximately 4 to 5 medium size karela)
1 small onion sliced thinly
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
50 gm cashew and raisins
1 tsp jaggery (Gur)
4 tsp oil

Crunchy Karele

1.Using  a peeler scrap the outer green skin of  all the karela gently, wash  well and slice them into 1/2 '' thin  round slices .Apply salt and turmeric and leave it for about an hour.Allow the karela to sweat ,after an hour squeeze out the water from the karela's. This will help to take out the bitter taste from karela.
2.Heat 4 tsp  oil in a wok, add cumin seeds, allow them to crackle, add the sliced onions,allow them to turn slightly golden brown , then add in karela, stir and cover to cook  them on low heat  for 10 to 12 minutes. As they soften add in cashews and raisins..
3.Continue cooking on medium heat till the karela appear lightly browned and crisp.Add 1 tsp jaggery and coriander powder,stir for 5 minutes and close burner.Serve them along with Indian bread as aside dish.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Trip to Disneyland

Friends, last weekend we made a trip to Disneyland in Southern California. It was a good 6 hours drive for us, about 400 miles from where I live. The very thought of Disneyland reminds you of two famous characters - namely Mickey and Minnie. No matter how old you are, it brings the child in you. We were making this trip after a good 7 years. Obviously we were all very excited, especially my son, who was 6 when we went the last time.
Map of California

For those who have not been to Disneyland, it is located in Anaheim, CA. California is 3rd largest state of USA after Alaska and Texas. 

It was the President's Day weekend, so we were prepared for large crowds at the park. Weather played sport with us. It was a nice day with not so cold weather and not very sunny. The queues at the rides ranged from 30 minutes to almost 90 minutes. Had no choice but wait in the lines to enjoy the 90 seconds ride. The park's attractions are Adventureland, Frontierland, Critter Country, Fantasyland,Main Street, Mickey's Toontown, New Orleans Square and Tomorrowland. Each of these attractions have different rides or things to do / see.
Main Street

Tomorrow Land

From Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain, Star Wars, Big Thunder Rail to Peter Pan or Snow White, each ride has its share of fun and excitement. Besides meeting with Mickey and Minnie are always big attractions.  

Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrow Land

Disney Castle

Disney Parade

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dal Makhani

Friends, today I would like to share the recipe of a famous North Indian dish, Dal Makhani. It is popularly also known as Kaali Dal or Maa Ki Dal. 

The secret to a good tasty Dal makhani, is to soak the dal overnite and pressure cook the lentil next day or you can even use aslow cooker, but dont forget to saok dal overnite.
Black gram lentil cooked over  low heat for couple of hours added to the rich creamy flavor of this dish, making it a comforting and special treat. You can enjoy these warm lentils with rice or Tandoori naan.

Dal Makhani


2 cups black gram lentils
1/2  cup red kidney bean (Rajma)
5 cups water ( to soak the lentil's)
1 small onion chopped finely
2 to 3 fresh cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp salt
1 tsp red chili powder
3 to 4 green chilies
1 medium tomatoes chopped fine
1 tsp freshly ground garam masala powder(dry roast in a skillet, on low heat for about 5 minutes,cool and dry grind to a powder :- 1 tsp coriander seeds, 2 small cardamom, 2 to 3 cloves,1 stick cinnamon, 2 to 3 peppercorns)
1/3 cup fresh cream or take same amount milk for lighter version
2 tsp oil


1. Wash well the lentils, and Soak both lentils overnight.

2. Next day pressure cook the lentils ,adding chopped onions, cumin seeds, chopped ginger, garlic,salt and red cili powder and about 4 cups water. Allow to cook for about an hour till the lentils are soft and light mix the cooked lentils with a spoon and keep aside.

3. In a pan, heat 2 tsp oil, add chopped tomatoes, allow to sizzle, add garam masala powder, chopped green chilies, add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp red chili powder, stir in the cooked lentils and continue cooking lentils on low heat by adding 1/2 cup water. 

4. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes. Add fresh cream and serve warm with rice or Indian bread.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vegetarian Biryani

Vegetarian Biryani is a  favorite in my family. When I got married, I didn't have much experience in cooking, so I decided to learn few dishes and this is an outcome of that learning.
Biryani  is prepared by cooking rice and layering it with vegetables and spices.  Saffron and mint leaves are used in this dish that give it a flavorful aroma. Its a great dish for entertaining or as a main dish too.

2 cups Basmati rice
2 cups water to cook the rice
1 medium carrot chopped in cubes
1/2 cup peas (semi cooked or fresh)
1/4 cup cut cauliflower florets
1/4 cup  fresh green beans chopped in  small cubes
2  medium size onion pureed
1 medium size onion sliced thin and shallow fry to use later.
2  medium tomato pureed
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
4 to 5 green chilies chopped
3 to 4 mint leaves
2 tsp salt
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 to 3 bay leaves
2 to 3 small cardamom, peel and use the seeds
1 tsp Freshly ground garam masala powder/ready masala powder  available in Indian stores.
5 tbsp oil
4 to 5  strands of saffron, soak saffron strands  in 1/4 cup milk.
1/4 cashews ,shallow fried.
1/4 cup water

1. Rinse the rice well ,soak in 2 cups water for about 10 to 15 minute ,cook rice in open pan for approximately 20 minutes, till fluffy and cooked, but don't overcook the rice,drain and keep aside. 
2. Heat oil in a skillet,add  onions, bay leaves saute till  onions appear golden brown,add in the spices,ginger garlic paste,green chilies, small cardamom and tomato puree. Cook another few minutes,add in the vegetables, garam masala and 1/4 cup water, cover with a lid  to cook the vegetables over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Keep the ready vegetable gravy aside.
3. To start layering, dish out a layer of cooked rice on the bottom of  a rectangular baking  dish.Add few sprinkles of saffron milk over the layered rice,next add a big tbsp of cooked vegetable gravy. Follow with the cooked rice layer, Layer with fried onions,cashew and chopped mint leaves. Again follow with rice layer,followed with vegetable gravy layer.
4. Repeat these layers, Cover with silver foil and bake in oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.Take out of oven, garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves Serve hot biryani  with raita or  plain yogurt.

Vegetable Biryani

Do share your recipes & ideas with all . Could be something new you tried out or something that your family loves to eat together. You can email the photo and recipe at  my gmail address (viyasameer@gmail.com). 

Sending this post to Srav's event of Vegan Diet 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Family Favorite- Rajma

Rajma a popular dish  in all North Indian homes,but now it is also enjoyed by everyone. At my place we like to  eat this dish with plain rice, and usually prepare it on a Lazy Sunday afternoon .
Rajma is prepared by using Red  kidney bean, it is full of protein and good for health. The tip to cooking Rajma is to plan ahead and soak the beans overnight and cook it the next day.


200gm red kidney beans
2 cups water for soaking beans overnight
1 medium sized onion chopped fine
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 to 3 green chili chopped fine
2 tsp salt
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
4 tbsp oil
1 tsp freshly ground garam masala (dry roast tin a skillet for 4 to 5 minutes, 2-3 cloves,1 cinnamon stick,2 bay leaves, 1tsp coriander seeds, 2 to 3 peppercorns and 1/4 tsp cumin seeds)on cooling grind to powder.
1 medium size tomato grated
1. Wash thoroughly and soak overnight the red kidney beans,next day pressure cook the beans using  2cups water ,add  1 tsp salt,red chili powder and allow the beans to  pressure cook for  30 to 40 minutes or  till they are soft and cooked. Keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan,add ginger garlic paste,add onions, stir till onions appear golden in color,add in green chilies,turmeric and tomatoes.Continue to cook another 5 to 10 minutes, add in  boiled kidney beans(along with the water) continue to  cook another 10  minutes, check for salt ,add 1 tsp, if less salt.Add freshly prepared garam masala powder,boil another 5 minutes ,till the gravy appears thick.Serve hot with steamed rice or Indian bread.

Participating in Srav's event Vegan diet


Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine Day

Friends it is Valentine's Day  ,a day that celebrates love and that's what makes it so special. We all love this day and look forward to plan out something special and to spend the day with some one special.

 You can feel the romance in the air. Also stores are decked up with items in red color, be it balloons, heart shaped candies, cards. Along with the gifts, cards, & flowers; food too plays an important role. People go out for candle light dinner or plan out something special at home. 

Add a bottle of nice wine with romantic music playing in the background, you will be all set for a great romantic evening. If you don't drink wine, get sparkling cider. Desserts and chocolates and giving gifts to each other can also make the day so special for each other. Happy Valentine Day!!!

I would love to share the recipe for Valentine Cupcakes.
Valentine Cupcakes

1 Box ready cake mix vanilla or chocolate flavor cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1cup water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line up the cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
In a mixing bowl empty the contents of the store bought cake mix and following instructions add 1/3 cup
oil, mix together using an electric or hand mixer, slowly alternate by adding eggs and water, ending with
water and mix to a smooth fluffy mixture. Use an ice-cream scoop; fill each liner with 2/3 full.
Bake each cupcake tray for about 20 minutes; till they appear done, test it by using a toothpick lightly
pierces into the cupcake if it comes out clean its ready. Allow the cupcakes to cool well before frosting

Ingredients for Frosting:
1 sticks butter or ½ cup softened butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Few drops of red food coloring
¼ cup milk
In a mixing bowl, mix the butter with the sugar, mixing well for about 3 to 4 minutes; add vanilla extract,
milk and food coloring. Using a spatula spread the frosting on top of the cooled cupcake or spoon into a
piping bag to decorate the cupcake. Sprinkle colored sprinkles.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kutch Speciality - Dabeli.

Friends, today I am going to share with you a speciality dish from Kutch. It is called Dabeli. People in Western part of India are familiar with this dish as it is available in Gujarat and major cities of Maharashtra. Others may not be aware of it. However, once you try it,  you will enjoy it and will want to have it again. I learnt this dish from my mother in law. She was born and did her schooling in Mandvi, a small town in Kutch. Before I start writing about the dish, I would like to start with saying few things about Kutch. 

Kutch district is a district of Gujarat state in western India. Covering an area of 45,652 km², it is the largest district of India.  Kutch District is surrounded by the Gulf of Kutch and the Arabian Sea in south and west, while northern and eastern parts are surrounded by the Rann of Kutch. To the North of Kutch is the Pakistan border. The Rann of Kutch boasts of beautiful white sand. The language spoken predominantly  is Kutchi language, sort of a mix of Gujarati, Sindhi, and Hindi. The place is becoming a popular tourist attraction after Gujarat Government started promoting the natural beauty of the place. Credit also needs to go to the popular ad campaign featuring none other than the Big B - Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. The Rann Utsav, in December, and Kite festival in the month of January have added to the popularity of this place. These festivals are attended by thousands of people from across the world.  Here are couple of photos of Rann of Kutch.

Rann of Kutch
Rann Utsav - Celebrated on full moon in December

Kutchi Dabeli

2 pounds potatoes boiled
4 tbsp oil
1 cup raw peanuts
2 tsp salt
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp garlic chutney (available in Indian store)
1/4 cup ready sweet tamarind chutney
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp dabeli powder (roast and grind to a powder- 1 cinnamon stick, 2 to 3 cloves, 1 tsp coriander seeds,2 red chilies,1 tsp cumin seeds)
pomegranate seeds- for garnish (optional)


1.Boil the potatoes till well done,peel and mash the potatoes.Keep aside.
2.In a large skillet, heat oil,add in the peanuts, saute till brown in color, careful not to over brown them. .Remove from oil and keep in a container.Add 1/2 tsp salt,1/2 tsp red chili powder,1/2 tsp cumin powder,sugar to the peanuts. Keep aside.
3.In the same skillet add garlic chutney,red chili powder,tamarind chutney,salt,lemon juice,garam  masala,dabeli powder and mix in the potatoes.Stir together for about 5 minutes.Close burner.

Enjoy with bread buns and peanuts.



Monday, February 6, 2012

A little bit of Italy in my Cuisine.

The other day we wanted to try out something different for Diner. In my family we love Italian cuisine. And for the very first time I decided to try to make Chicken Marsala, as we all love that dish. The dish is prepared by using boneless chicken breast and cooking them in the Marsala wine , which originates from a coastal town in Italy,by the name Marsala. It is an elegant dish and initially I was definitely hesitant a bit as I have never tried cooking with wine. But now I'm glad I tried it out, and it came out just nice, my family loved the taste , so it's worth the try and do share your experience cooking it too:) Happy cooking!!!

Chicken Marsala

4-5   boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour for coating
1/2 cup  sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1 cup chicken stock
2  tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder, 1tsp cayenne pepper,1 tsp garlic powder,1 tsp dried oregano,1 tsp dried thyme.
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper.

1. In a shallow dish combine flour,salt, black pepper,garlic powder,onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried  oregano,dried thyme.
2. Using a meat tenderizer pound (flatten) the  chicken breast to 1/4 inch thin and coat with the seasoned  flour mixture , shaking off any excess.
3.Heat a skillet,add olive oil ,  butter and cook the chicken breasts to a golden brown color on both side for 3 to 4 minutes.Remove and keep on a plate. In the same skillet cook the mushrooms till they sweat and water evaporates,add the Marsala wine,making sure the flame is on low heat. Bring to a boil,scrapping the browned tidbits from the pan,add in stock,allow the sauce to thicken and transfer the chicken breast back  to the pan and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.
 To give the dish a creamier taste, you could add in 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream in the end.
You could also add boiled vegetables,garlic toast or a salad as they all go great with this dish.

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