Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Whole Wheat Breakfast Bagels

Bagel is a bread product traditionally of Jewish origin.They are made of yeasted wheat and are boiled in water and then baked.This makes them different from other breads.A single bagel can replace two bread slices.They can be used as sandwiches with various toppings.They are easy to make and so here they are.


Wheat gluten
Boiling water: 1/4 cup
Honey: 3/4 tbspn
Warm water: 1/4 cup
Yeast: 1-2 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Whole Wheat flour:1/4 cup + more

Other Bagel ingredients:
Whole Wheat flour: 1 .25 cups or more as needed


In a bowl add,honey,salt and Hot boiling water.Cool to luke warm.In another bowl, mix yeast in warm water and keep aside.Once it foams add it to honey-salt-water mixture.Slowly add in 1/4 cup of wheat flour and beat well to form a thick paste.Sometimes you may have to add in more wheat depending on the water you have used.This paste is our wheat gluten or rather homemade wheat gluten paste.You can buy powdered wheat gluten from stores as well.

In a big bowl,add the remaining flour,add glutten little by little to form a dough.Knead well to make the dough elastic and smooth.Divide the dough into small portions and knead each portion into a thick rope.Join the ends of the rope to form a circle.Other wise the easier way is take each portion,knead into a ball and then make a hole in the centre.(I tried both).Cover and rest the bagels for 30 minutes or until they double in size.No need to re-knead them.

In a big pan,boil water,add salt,boil each bagel for a 1-2 minutes-place a bagel in water and when done,it will puff up to the top and them turn to the other side with a slotted spoon.Remove the bagel from water and keep in a greased/ungreased baking sheet (I used ungreased).You can top the bagels with whatever you like,sesame seeds,cinnamon sugar etc or leave plain.I baked them plain.

Bake the bagels at 375F for 25-30 minutes.Cool for few minutes and serve with toppings of choice.

Final Product...

On Opening.......

They looked like this from the oven.They are crisp outside,denser and chewy and taste,--just like bread.Whole wheat makes it denser compared to white flour.Slice a bagel and apply jelly/jam/cheese/butter/honey/pizza sauce etc..................... and enjoy your breakfast

With cream cheese

With honey...

Pizza bagel(my favourite)

Cut the bagel into two,spread marinara sauce on each slice and top with favourite cheese and munch on or if preferred broil/toast till cheese melts and enjoy warm.

Now,the estimate given is for 2 large bagels,I also had extra gluten and I again baked a batch of same estimate and totally had 4 bagels- 1 very large,2 large and one medium.I had actually added extra water while making gluten and had to add more flour and thus the entire got messed up,but the bagels came out perfect.You can make bagels any size,but breakfast bagels are larger in size.

The entire recipe is easy to make-make wheat gluten and slowly add to wheat flour and then shape and boil and bake.It takes less than 2 hours to make including the oven heating and doubling up time.I would be making them again,coz bagels can be had anytime,not just breakfast.

So these Bagels travels to Aparna of MyDiversekitchen where she is in search of Grains in Breakfast with WBB, an event started by Nandita of SaffronTrail. They also go to Suganya of TastyPalettes where she is celebrating the JFI with Whole grains.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Roasted Tomato Soup

Tomato soup is a favourite with all.I love tomatoes in all forms.I tried a roasted tomato soup that was easy to make and so here's it.


Ripe Red Tomatoes: 4 big
Onion: 1 medium
Garlic: 1 clove
Butter: 2 tbsp
Veg Stock/Broth: 1cup or simply water
BayLeaf:1 or 2
Basil leaves : few (optional)
Salt & Pepper: as per taste


Cut tomatoes into halves.Cube the onions and chop the garlic.Put these on a greased baking sheet and top with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.Roast on a pre-heated oven at 450F for 20-25 minutes,until they caramelize on top.

Melt butter in a pan,add bayleaves and roasted items along with the water/juice in the baking sheet and stock/water.I did not use the veg stock but little starchy rice water from the rice I cooked.Cook on simmer till the water is reduced to one-third,or gravy thickens.Add basil leaves if using and blend in a blender.Add required salt,pepper and cook on simmer for a few more minutes.You can add water/stock to obtain the desired thickness.Serve hot with croutons or preferred accompaniments.

This is a simple,good-tasting soup.I will not not say it was out of the world,but yes it was filling and comforting,especially since it was raining outside. Hope you enjoy too.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bengali Cuisine/Bangla Ranna

Bengal has a varied cuisine as does most states of India.Be it the rice dishes,sweetmeats like mishti doi or fish dishes.Its variety of vegetarian dishes is also a gastronomer's delight.It is said that there are several courses of items even in a modest Bengal household.Here I am trying to present a simple Bengali thali with Khichidi/khichuri, Doi Begun and Subz Bhaja.


This is actually vegetables and spices cooked with rice and moong dal/yellow split lentils,similar to Pulao.I used this recipe as a base but adjusted it as per taste and availability of items.This is simple and easy to prepare pulao dish and tastes great with or without raita.


Basmati Rice: 1 cup
Moong Dal: 3/4 cup
Vegetables: 1 cup mixed (Potatoes,peas,beans,carrot,cauliflower etc)
Onion: 1 medium
Ginger:1 inch piece
Garlic: 1 clove
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Salt:as per taste

Spices to be crushed:
Bayleaves: 1 or 2 small leaves
Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp
Clove:1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves


Roast moong dal till it turns lightly brown.Wash and soak the rice.Chop onions finely .Crush/mince garlic and ginger or paste them.Crush the spices.

Heat oil in a pan,add jeera,bayleaf and other crushed spices and saute.When it splutters,add chopped onion and minced ginger and garlic and slit chillies.As the onion turns brown,add the cubed veggies and turmeric and salt and mix well till the veggies are coated well.Add dal and rice and mix well.Add enough water and cook till done.Add more water in between if needed and when done garnish with coriander leaves and ghee.

Doi Begun /Eggplant Raita
This is a simple eggplant raita.I found several versions and found one that was easy to make and modified it.


Eggplant: 1 small
Yoghurt: 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder:1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder: 1/2 tsp
Salt:as per taste


Cube the eggplant pieces and apply salt.Leave them in the colander for about 15 minutes to remove the bitterness.Squeeze the eggplant pieces carefully and place them on a greased baking sheet.Mix in half turmeric and chilli powders on the eggplant pieces and drizzle little oil on top.Bake for 12 minutes on a pre heated oven at 475F for 12-15 minutes.Once done,allow to cool for a few minutes and mix in with remaining spice powders,little salt and yoghurt.Serve chilled with the rice/pulao.

Subz Bhaja/Vegetable fritters

I found that Khichuri/Khichidi is always accompanied by vegetable fritters.I found this recipe and modified as per items available in my pantry


Rice flour: 1tbspn
All purpose flour:2 tbspn
Chilli powder: 1 tsp
Onion seeds/kalonji: 1/4 tsp
Mixed vegetables:1/2 cup(I used spinach and potatoes)
Salt:as per taste


Mix flours,salt,chilli powder and onion seeds into a thick batter.You can also use grm flour/besan instead of all purpose flour and even avoid rice flour.I have added rice flour as it gives crispiness to the dish.Chop the vegetables-slice the potatoes and chop the leafy vegetables .Marinate them in the batter and deep fry in hot oil.Serve as a snack or a side dish with Khichuri.

It was a delicious meal,but you know what,I am still reeling under Sia's magic, so past few weekends I am trying out thali meals from other Indian states.But Thank GOD,its not International!.To be honest,I was a bit sceptical about Khichuri,because Bengali is something that I have not tasted except for rasgullas,but once I inhaled the aroma wafting from the pan,I started working on other accompaniments.

Sending this simple Bengali thali to SWC:Bengal hosted by Sowmya of CookingStation and Laksmi of tasteofMysore,Hope you enjoy this too.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cheese Pennies

This is a wonderful cracking cracker recipe from Nupur.I have bookmarked most of her recipes,but these cheese pennies looked too good and inviting. They are quick and easy to make but I did not believe that they could melt in the mouth,but they did.So here's my Cheese Pennies.

All Purpose flour: 1 cup
Unsalted Butter: 1 stick softened
Shredded sharp Cheese:1.5-2 cups
Chilli powder: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Sesame seeds: few for garnish


Sift together flour,salt and chilli powder in a bowl.Beat the butter in another bowl until creamy.Add shredded cheese to butter and blend together well.Add the flour mix to butter-cheese mix in batches and incorporate slowly and completely.Knead on a floured surface if needed and form a dough.Shape the dough as a log and wrap in a plastic sheet and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.Remove the dough from the fridge and the plastic wrap and cut with a knife into 1/4 inch thick slices.Place in an greased/ungreased baking sheet,top with sesame seeds or any other preferred garnish and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.Cool for a few minutes on a wiring rack and then serve.

I have followed Nupur's recipe completely,except that I reduced the amount of cheese to 1.5 cups and instead of sharp cheddar,I added Mexican blend cheese.Also check for baking from the 7th minute onwards.First time I made these,I was in a hurry and unknowingly reduced the amount of flour.At the time of baking only I realized this.But they still tasted heavenly though they did not hold together.Also I found that creaming the butter with a hand blender works fine for this recipe.(Normally it is my hand that creams and they become a mess).From the step where the flour is added,I resorted to using my hands as the blender would have mashed it more.So once you add the flour ,blend it for 1 minute till it starts to mix and then use your hands for forming a dough.

This is a keeper recipe.You can make the dough early and refrigerate it for days as such.If you are freezing it,then thaw it in the refrigerator section while the oven is preheated.Cut only the required amount of crackers or cheese pennies and keep the rest of the dough in the fridge.

If you are a lover of Cheese It crackers,you will love this recipe.

So these Cheese Pennies along with Cheesey Bell Pepper Rice are saying 'Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeese' to Siri where she is hosting MBP:Cheese an event started by Coffee.

My Good Friend Suma of Sumascuisine has gifted me a 'GOOD JOB' award.THANKS A TON SUMA,I cherish this award.IT HAS MADE MY DAY.Its nice to be appreciated by a beautiful and wonderful fellow blogger.I would love to pass this award to

Lubna of KitchenFlavours,

Deesha of Vegetable Platter

Divya of ..a little bit more..

Enjoy the award with a wonderful microwave halwa from Suma and cheesy crackers from me. ;D

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cheesy Bell Pepper Rice

This is a dish that I adapted from Mansi's blog.Why I say adapted is because I think I made too many adjustments.But the dish tasted divine and we loved it.

Basmati Rice : 1 cup
Red Bell Pepper:1
Poblano pepper: 1 or 2 green chillies
Onion: 1 small
Shredded yellow cheese : 1/2 cup
Shredded mozzarella cheese/italian cheese blend: 1/4 cup
Garam Masala: 1 tsp or cinnamon+clove+cardamom +bayleaf
Tomato Puree(optional): 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1 tbsp
Saffron: few strands
Warm milk: 1 tbsp (for soaking the saffron)
Salt & Pepper: as per taste
Cashew halves: few


Clean and cook rice with turmeric and salt.Soak saffron in warm milk. Roast the cashew halves in a pan with little oil till lightly browned.Keep aside.Chop the bell pepper into small thin strips.Atleast make them look shredded or if possible grate them into short thin strip.I chopped them. Chop onions finely.Deseed the poblano pepper,wash them to reduce the spiciness(optional) and chop them finely.You can substitute the poblano with normal green chillies.

Heat oil in a pan,Add jeera and when it splutters add chopped onion and poblano and saute till transparent.Add all the spices/garam masala powder and pepper and tomato puree and the bell pepper strips.Saute till the peppers are cooked through.Add halve of the roasted cashews,saffron-milk mixture and half of the cooked rice.Mix well and add half of the yellow cheese and then remaining rice.Mix well.Remove from the gas.Top with remaining yellow cheese and mozzarella cheese and remaining cashew halves and coriander leaves.Cover and keep in a warm place till serving time.

On opening you can see an ooey gooey cheese spread across the rich yellow rice.Serve hot with a raitha of your choice.

Now the original recipe here does not have tomato puree or pepper.What happened was I added poblanos and as they are so hot I went for sweeter red bell pepper and tomato puree.I added a bit more tomato puree that specified above and found that the entire mix was sweet.So to balance I added pepper.So its better to stick with green chillies than all this extra work.

Also I used whole spices(cinnamon+cardamom+cloves+bay leaves) than the one used in original recipe.You can also add saffron to water than milk for this dish.I used milk for richness.I also cooked the rice with turnmeric powder than adding it later.

We enjoyed the dish warm as said in the original recipe.Thanks Mansi for sharing the recipe and hope I have not tweaked too much. So this cheesy bell pepper rice Says Cheeeeese to Siri who is hosting MBP: Cheese an event started by Coffee.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Couscous stuffed mushrooms

This is actually a simple recipe.I had few stuffing mushrooms and a new packet of couscous.I wanted to try couscous as it involved very less cooking.I had actually another Chinese style mushroom recipe in my mind.Since couscous sounded innovative I went for it.It turned out well and so here's it.


Couscous: 1/4 cup
Stuffing mushrooms: 5 atleast
Spinach: 1/4 cup
Frozen corn kernels: 1 tbsp
Onion: 1 small
Garlic: 1 clove
Oregano:1/2 tsp
Salt &Pepper: as per taste
Shredded cheese : 2 tbsp


Clean mushrooms and remove the stems and the gills inside.Chop the stems into fine pieces.Make sure you do not break the mushrooms.Chop onion,garlic and spinach finely.Thaw the corn kernels.

Heat oil in a pan,add onion and garlic.Saute till transparent,add thawed corn,chopped spinach and mushroom stems.Add salt,pepper and oregano.You can use any seasoning you want apart from these.Saute till spinach releases water and starts cooking.Add little more water and boil.Once the bubbles appear,simmer and add couscous.Boil for one minute and then switch off.Cover the pan and keep aside.The couscous will absorb all the water and will get cooked within five minutes.

Take a mushroom,add little salt and pepper inside to season it and then put spoonfuls of stuffing inside it.Top the stuffing with shredded cheese and place it in a greased baking sheet.Do so for all the mushrooms.Drizzle with olive oil.Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 400F.

Serve as side dish,snack or appetizer as per your imagination.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pasta alla Norma

Sicily is a largest region in Italy and has contributed much to Italian Cuisine that it is sometimes known as God's Kitchen.Pasta alla Norma is a traditional Sicilian Pasta dish named so after the Norma-heroine of Bellini's Opera of the same name.

Legend has it that the opera was so successful and the chef who saw it was so delighted that he concocted this dish using all the Sicilian regional specialities and blended it with pasta and to show its perfection named it Pasta alla Norma honouring the opera,the artist Bellini(born in Catania,Sicily) and the dish itself.Another version says that the successful opera created a new standard(una vera Norma or "A Real Norma")and this perfect dish was named so by Bellini's compatriot Nino Marthaglio.

The dish which uses eggplants,tomatoes and other flavourings and herbs available throughout Sicily and is blended with tubular pasta like Penne Rigate or even thin string Spaghetti, is widely popular in Sicily.Here is my version of Pasta alla Norma.


Penne Rigatte: 2cup
Olive oil: 1 tbsp
Red Onion: 1 small
Garlic: 1 or 2 cloves crushed
Eggplants: 1 medium
Tomato Puree: 1/4 cup
Ricotta Cheese:1/4 cup
Fresh Basil Leaves:few
Salt:as per taste

Dried thyme(optional):a pinch
Red Pepper Flakes(chilli flakes):1/2 tsp
Pepper:1/2 tsp

Ingredients in an assembly line...


Chop onions finely.Crush garlic and chop the eggplants into bite sized pieces.Salt the eggplant pieces and keep aside for 15 minutes.This is to remove their bitterness if any.Chop or snip basil and keep aside.

Heat olive oil and add garlic.Put the stove on simmer and slowly allow garlic to flavour the oil.Once it starts turning brown,switch off gas and remove the garlic and put the pan back to simmer.Add finely chopped onions and stirfry.Once they turn transparent,squeeze the salted eggplant carefully within your palms or using papper towels and add to the onions and stir fry till they are lightly browned and cooked through.Add tomato puree,little salt,pepper,red pepper flakes,small amount of chopped basil and dried thyme.Cook for a few more minutes until the tomatoes blend and raw smell disappears.Now your sauce is ready.

While the sauce is being cooked,cook the pasta as per the package instructions or until al dente(firm and not hard).Add the cooked pasta to the hot sauce and toss in little ricotta chese and mix it well together.

Garnish with remaining chopped basil and ricotta cheese,while serving.

In this version I have used only ricotta cheese and not the "Ricotta Salata" or salty,dried ricotta cheese available in Sicily.

I removed the garlic because I found that when allowed to remain in the hot pan for a long time it browns and adds bitterness to the dish.

You can use any other spices/herbs apart from red pepper flakes and thyme.

Also you can use chopped/crushed tomatoes rather than pureed ones.I used store-brought tomato puree as it reduces the cooking time and also imparts a smoother consistency.

Another version of the same pasta separately fries/roasts the eggplant and then adds it to the sauce.I find that this brings forward the individuality of the eggplant rather than blending with other ingredients whicle forming the sauce.So I stir fried the eggplant along with onion while making sauce.Some other versions I have referenced uses bacon,ham or even panchetta while forming the sauce.

I have used the vegetarian version of the dish which is traditional as well as simple and is also a hearty delightful meal.

Pasta alla Norma is not just another pasta.It is a classic that uses all the Sicilian ingredients (including olive oil) and also honours the great art culture of the region including the 19th century opera composer-Vincenzo Bellini and his classic opera-Norma.

So this dish makes its way to La Cucina Italiana hosted by Meeta of WhatsforLunchHoney

And also to Simona who is hosting Fresh Produce of the Month:Eggplant,an event started by Martha.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Granita Time

Granita is an Italian semi frozen desert originally from Sicily.It is made of water,sugar and flavourings.It has a coarser or rough texture compared to smoother sorbet.It looks like flavoured crushed ice.Common flavourings are lemon,berries,mint,almonds etc.

Chocolate Granita:
Chocolate granita is traditional in Catania in Sicily.I obtained the chocolate recipe from Oprah magazine site and so here it is.

Water: 1 cup or more
Unsweetened cocoa powder: 2 tbsp
Sugar: 3 tbsp or more per taste

Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and boil.As soon as bubbles appear on the edges,reduce heat and cook for 1-2 minutes whisking continuously.Let it cool.

There are 2 methods for freezing granita.

Classic method:

Pour the cooled mix into a shallow container(shallower the dish,quicker it will freeze),cover with a lid or foil and freeze.After 1-2 hours when it is solid around the edges,scrape it with a fork, mixing from the edges to the centre.Refreeze.

Repeat the process atleast 3 times for every 30 minutes, until the entire mixture has turned into coarser ice flakesor crushed ice.

When time to serve, thaw for a few minutes,scrape it again to loosen it and serve

Quick method:

Pour the cooled mixture in a tray and cover and freeze.At the time of serving,cut the ice and process in a blender and serve.

Apple Lemon Granita:

I got the idea of an apple lemon granita from KitchenFlavour's Apple Lemon Sharbat.I twisted it a bit to suit my needs.


Water: 1cup
Sugar: 1/4 cup
Lemon juice:2 tsp
Lemon zest:1/4 lemon
Apple sauce: 2 tbsp
Apple Juice: 2 tbsp


Combine water,sugar,zest and lime juice and boil.Once it bubbles,reduce heat and add apple sauce and apple juice.Simmer for a minute and remove from heat.

Once cooled,use one of the above specified methods for freezing and serve.

You can avoid the apple sauce and use more apple juice.If you do not have apple sauce/juice use peeled,cubed apple and boil.In this case you have to blend the mix before freezing.

The texture of granita varies with the method used.I used the classic freezing method and did the scrapping only twice.I am a chocoholic,I liked the chocolate one but the apple lemon granita was better.Thanks Kitchen Flavours.

It is very easy to make a granita and it is a must in summertime,and so enjoy the very last summer days(beginning of fall in US)with a granita.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Simple Bihari Thali

Bihar always reminded me of floods,famine and corruption.But when I came across a Bihari Thali in Sia's Monsoonspice,I was like,"Thali and Bihar?!".But as I read through it and tried it myself I was like a cat who purrrrred after a nice meal of milk(No fish for my cat).It was simple but tasty.THANKS A LOT Sia for introducing me to this cuisine and also your photography is fantastic.I hope I have captured a teeny weeny bit of that .

A simple Bihari thali consists of Phulka,Aloo Chokha,Subzi Pancharanga Kurma and Kheera.These dishes are easy to prepare and here they are.

Phulkas are similar to chappathi,but lighter in texture and are served hot.


Wheat flour/aatta: 1 cup
Oil/Ghee: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Warm water:as needed to form the dough


Mix together flour and salt in a bowl.Add oil and mix well to obtain a coarser structure.Add enough water to form a dough.Knead the dough a few times to make soft and elastic.Rest it for 30 minutes.

Make small balls out of it and roll out into a thin circle on a floured surface.

Heat a tawa/skillet.Place a phulka and fry till bubbles appear on the surface and flip over.Cook the other side similarly.

Take the phulka off the tawa and place it directly over the flame.The phulka will puff up to a balloon.Take it off and serve immediately.

Aloo Chokha:
Chonkna means tadka or seasoning.I have used panchphoron mix as specified by Sia.It is equal measure of onion seeds/kalonji,jeera/cumin,mustard,fenugreek and fennel/aniseeds.


Potatoes: 2 big
Onion: 1 small
Garlic: 2 cloves
Green chillies: 2
Lime juice/amchur powder:1 tsp

Panchphoron mix: 1-2 tsp
Red chillies: 1

Coriander leaves: few sprigs chopped


Peel and cube the potatoes.Chop onions nicely.Slit the green chillies and mince the garlic.You can adjust the red chillies and green chillies as per your taste.

Heat oil in a tawa,add broken red chillies and panchphoran mix.As they start spluttering,add chopped onions and saute.Add slit green chillies and minced garlic and saute till the onion turns brown.Add in the cubed potatoes and saute till they turn brown.(I was in a hurry so I did not wait till they were brown).Add in enough water and cook the potatoes till done,mixing periodically so they do not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Mix in amchur powder/lime juice and coriander leaves and saute for a few minutes more.Serve with hot phulka/rotis/rice as a dry curry.

Subzi Pancharanga Kurma:

This is a very tasty but simple kurma.I am hoooooooooooked to it.


Mixed Vegetables(potato,peas,cauliflower,carrot,beans):2-3 cups
Tomato chopped/paste/puree : 2 tbsp/1 large
Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp
Red chilly powder:1 tsp
Turmeric powder:1/2 tsp

Fresh/Frozen Coconut gratings: 2 tbsp
Poppy Seeds: 1/2 tbsp
Cashew Nuts: 10
Almonds: 5
Green Chillies: 2
Coriander Leaves: 3/4 cup


Cube the vegetables and cook them in enough water and little salt and keep aside.Grind the specified ingredients to a fine paste.

In a pan heat oil,add ginger-garlic paste and saute till raw smell goes.Add the ground paste and saute till raw smell disappears.Mix in tomato chopped/paste/puree and powders and saute for a few minutes till oil separates.

Mix in vegetables along with the water in which they were cooked and mix well.Adjust salt and boil on a medium heat till the flavours are blended and you get a thick gravy.Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve with rice/rotis.

Kheera/Cucumber raita
This is a simple cucumber raita.I did not have black salt and Kashmiri chilli powder. I simply used what I had with me.


Cucumber :1 medium
Yoghurt:1 cup
Garam masala:1/2 tsp
Chaat masala:1/2 tsp
Chilli powder:1/4 tsp
Cumin-Coriander powder:1/4 tsp
Salt: as per taste


Wash,peel and grate cucumber.Squeeze out excess water and keep in a mixing bowl.Add all other ingredients and mix well.Chill for minimum 15 minutes before serving and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

To tell you the truth,I did not go for garnishing.The aroma from the dishes and hot phulkas did not allow me.Somehow I took the required photos and enjoyed my dinner.Hope you enjoy too.

This simple Bihari Thali goes to Zlamushka's Spicy Kitchen where she is celebrating the monsoon of spices with Tried&Tasted:Monsoonspice.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quick Pecan Bites

This is an easy recipe using puff pastry.I was craving for something sweet and nothing was there.I had pecans and as always went to combine it with my favourite cinnamon and chocolate and made bite sized pecan -cinnamon squares.

Puff pastry sheets: 1
Pecan:1/2 cup
Chocolate syrup(optional):1 tbsp
Cinnamon powder: 1 tbsp
Sugar: 1 tbsp

Thaw the puff pastry sheet as per package instructions.Roll out the thawed sheet into a long thin rectangle on a floured surface.Crush/halve/chop the pecans.I crushed them roughly in a mixer.Mix together sugar and cinnamon.You can actually use any nuts you want,or even a combination of nuts.

Top the sheet with cinnamon-sugar,crushed pecans and drizzle with chocolate syrup.Make sure you use only little amounts of syrup,if you are using it,as it will overflow and make a mess of the baking sheet. Leave out the small border on the sides,especially the longest.Roll from the longest side to form a long cylinder.Seal the edges together so that the filling does not fall out.

Cut into bite sized pieces and put them on a greased baking sheet and bake on a pre-heated oven at 400F for 10-15 minutes.

Another closer look...

Cool for a few minutes and relish.

Sending this off to Hima of Snackorama's Sunday Snacks event,where the theme is Bake It.

EC of SimpleIndianFood has again awarded me the Friendship award.THANKS EC,Friendship is always precious.

Enjoy the pecan bites with a hot cuppa!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Poached Eggplant Salad

When DK of CulinaryBazaar announced A.W.E.D-Vietnamese,I was at a loss.I had never ever tried Vietnamese.Eventhough she provided the required links,somehow things did not come together.Whole last week,I was searching and searching for an easy Vietnamese dish but no luck.Two days before, when I was searching for something else,up popped Vietnamese recipes.I was so excited and made one right away from here.It is an eggplant salad and is easy to make and tastes nicely.So here's it.

Chinese/Japanese/purple Eggplant: 1 big

Sesame Oil: 1 tbsp
Garlic salt: 1/2 tsp or {garlic+salt}
Soy Sauce:1 tsp
Sugar:1/2 tsp
Pepper:1 tsp
White/Rice Vinegar:2 tsp. [I used white]
Salt:as needed

Coriander Leaves/Cilantro: few sprigs


Cut the stems of the eggplant.In a pan boil water,and add the eggplants into it.Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.This process,called poaching,cooks the eggplants and slowly they change the colour and begin to wilt.Remove the eggplant from the pan and drain it.Once cooled ,cut the eggplant into cubes or bite-sized pieces.

In a bowl,mix together all the dressing ingredients except sesame oil.Add in sesame oil using a fork or whisk,so that all the items are well blended.You can use minced garlic and add salt as per taste.I had garlic salt and so used it.

Pour this seasoning over the eggplant and toss to blend.Garnish with cilantro/coriander.Serve with rice/breads as a side salad.

If you are a Chinese food fan,you will enjoy this sweet sour salad as well.I enjoyed it and this salad will be a regular in my table.

A Closer Look..

So this salad goes to DK's A.W.E.D-Vietnamese

And also to EasyCraft's WYF:Salad/Starter/Soup event

Srilekha of Me&My Kitchen has gifted me a Friendship Award.THANKS SRI,True Friendship strenghtens you in times of despair and also brings you down to earth when you begin to fly too high.The award is much appreciated.

I would like to gift this Friendship award to KitchenFlavours, EasyCrafts, Brindavan Recipes and Vegetable Platter. Hope you too enjoy the hot sweet cuppa of friendship!

Update on September 12,2008:This salad also goes to Fresh Produce of the Month:Eggplant hosted by Simona .

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chocolate Orange Sandwich Cookies

These are eggless Italian cookies that I saw few days back in FoodNetwork.I decided to give it a try as I was searching for Chocolate fruit combination and they were eggless.So that made it all the more better.They turned out nicely and here they are.


Butter: Unsalted at room temperature:1 stick
CornMeal:1/2 cup
All Purpose Flour:1/2 cup
Sugar:1/3 cup
Cocoa Powder:2 tbsp
Baking Powder:3/4 tsp
Salt:a pinch
Orange Zest: 1/4 orange

Cream cheese:2 tbsp
Butter:1 tbsp
Orange zest:1/4 orange
Orange Juice: 2 tsp
Powdered white sugar: 3 tbsp or more per taste


In a bowl,mix cornmeal,flour,cocoa powder,baking powder and salt.Keep aside.

Cream butter and sugar using a mixer till light and fluffy.I used hands ie 2 forks to cream these.If you are using hands like me then you have to keep on beating the sugar and butter for 10-15 minutes or more depending on your patience.Also you can powder the sugar so that creaming with hands becomes easy.

To the butter-sugar mix,add the dry ingredients little at a time and mix well.Take your own time to knead the ingredients and finally you will be left with a dough.Put the dough in a plastic wrap,gather into a round ball and chill in the fridge for minimum 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out within the sheet itself to 1/4 inch thickness.It saves the rolling pin and your hands from getting dirty.
Using a cooking cutter of preferred shape or your hands cut into cookies and place on the baking sheet.I am bad at shaping with or without a cookie cutter.So I used the latter option.This option is also better if your dough is still crumbly.I made small balls of the dough and then flattened them in my palms and put them on the baking sheet.
You have to keep cookies a little distance apart on the baking sheet,as they tend to expand and stick together if they are close enough and we may have to tear them apart if this happens.

Bake on a preheated oven at 350F for exactly 15 minutes.Cool the cookies.Even if you feel they are not hard enough,not to worry as they harden upon cooling.

Fresh from the oven..

In a bowl mix together all the ingredients for filling.

Take a cookie,Put a dollop of filling and close with another cookie.Do so with all other cookies.They are very tasty as such,but sandwiched,they are heavenly.

The final product....

(I have filled my cookies more than a dollop,as you can see...)

Sending this off to Monthly Mingle -Fruit & Chocolate hosted by Meeta of Whats For Lunch Honey.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Chile Relenos

Chile Relenos means "Stuffed Pepper" in Spanish.It is actually roasted Poblano Pepper stuffed with cheese and meat or vegetables and then deep fried or shallow fried and then served with salsa.It is similar to Milagu Bajji served in India as a snack.Click here for more info about it


Poblano Pepper: 2
Prepared Rice: 1/2 cup
Jack Cheese/Mexican Blend cheese:1/2 cup
Corn Meal: 2 tbsp
Salsa: 1/4 cup
Salt: as per taste


Roast the pepper on all sides over the gas or broil/roast it in the oven till the skin looks charred.Do not Remove the stem of the pepper.Immediately put in a brown paper/plastic(ziploc) bag and cover tightly and keep aside.This allows the steam in the hot pepper to cook the pepper completely.After you put one pepper inside the bag,make sure to close it.Then when the second one is ready,open the bag and put the second one in the same bag along with the first.After 10 minutes, the peppers may have cooled down and then take one by one and remove the charred part.You will get a dark green pepper.

Make a small slit on the pepper for stuffing.Make sure you do not cut the entire pepper into two,but it should be large enough for you to inseert your fingers/spoon.Once you make a slit,remove the seeds from inside the pepper carefully with your hands.(You can wash the pepper, insides as well, now if you want,so that the spicy juices are thoroughly removed,I did not)

Using a small spoon carefully,open the slit edge, stuff the pepper with little prepared rice,salsa of your choice and then top it with shredded/sliced cheese.Fill the pepper completely and close the slit and then keep aside.Do the same with the other pepper.

They look like this after stuffing..

In a small plate,add cornmeal.Roll each pepper in this cornmeal and roast/pan fry till the cheese melts and the edges are sealed.This takes only 1-2 minutes per side.Make sure you put the slit side on the pan first.
After rolling...

The final product:

On Opening:

Serve with dip of your choice.

You can stuff the pepper with anything of your choice,I had some broccoli and cheese flavoured rice that was leftover and used it.Also instead of serving the salsa on the side I stuffed store brought salsa as well.Cheese is a must though.

You can also make a batter of flour/cornmeal with egg/buttermilk/water rather than simply rolling in the cornmeal.But I did the rolling in cornmeal.The cornmeal/flour is sure to stick to pepper.

You can even make a casserole of this poblano pepper.Click here for such a recipe.Also see Indian Mirchi Bajji here. Hope you enjoy this Mexican style as well.It was tasty,but too hot.You can increase/decrease the heat using stuffings/cheese.I enjoyed it as I like hot n'spicy snacks.It really wakes you up.

So this Chile Relenos is going for Food In Colors: Green event to heat up the things there.SunshineMom has also posted a round up of food in red,and I am sure this green dish will make her see 'red'.

Thanks for visiting my Blog

/*TYNT script starts here */ /*TYNT ends */