Monday, May 15, 2006

Kakarkaya Fry (Bitter Gourd)

My friends loved the kakarkaya which my mom made. It's a long procedure but it tastes really good. Friends who did not eat kakarkaya because of the whole reason that it was bitter loved this one. I've improvised the lengthy version to a smaller version but the quicker version is comparitvely bitter. So people who love the bitterness can stick to the short method. Again these recipes use approximation

The long-lengthy process

Onions - 2
Bitter Gourd - around 6-7
Gud (Bellam/Brown Sugar)- 4-5 small marble chunks depending on how sweet you want it or how much less bitter you want it
Chillies - 4
Chilli powder - 2 tbsp
Buttermilk - 1-2 cups

Cut the kakarkaya into thin circular slices. Soak them with the buttermilk and a little salt. This is the first step to remove the bitterness. You can soak them overnight and next day boil them slightly in hte same mixture. You should see the buttermilk beginning to boil and that should do. Let it cool and then squeeze out the pieces so you get rid of the buttermilk from them and put aside.

In a deep dish pan add oil and then deep fry the pieces. You do not want to deep fry until they are crisp, they should be still a little soft. Be careful while deep frying them as they have water content and might splash. Keep them aside in a dish. Use a paper towel underneath the dish to absorb any extra oil.

In a pan, fry the seasoning(urad dal, jeera, mustard seeds), curry leaves, onions, green chillies and fry. Add the deep fried kakarkaya pieces into it. Fry for 10-15 min. After it cooks. Add chilli powder and then add Bellam(gud) according to your taste. If you want less sweet add very little.
Garnish with corriander.

The quick process
This needs to be fried for a little longer than the previous process.
Instead of deep frying the bitter gourd pieces this is a short process. Fry seasoning, curry leaves in oil. Add onions, green chillies and let fry for a while. Cut the bitter gourd into really small pieces and then add it to the onions.
Fry the whole thing for atleast 15-20 min until the bitter gourd is cooked. Add chilli powder and gud (Bellam) just before removing. Garnish with corriander.

Friday, May 12, 2006

(Indian/Chineese) Chili Paneer

This recipe was shared by my friend Vasanthi. I've not yet tried it out but looks like its going to be good.

2 packets of paneer
1 big red onion thinly chopped
1 bulb of grated garlic
2 big red pepper (cut them in long stripes)
2 big green pepper (cut them in long stripes)
Maggi chili garlic sauce about 2 tbsp (found in any Indian grocery store)
Ketchup about 1 tbsp
Chili sauce about 1 tbsp (found in any Indian or Chinku grocery store)
Black pepper
Veg oil
Freshly grated ginger (about 2 tbsp)
Coriander leaves thinly chopped (about 3 tbsp)
Green chilies (4 to 5 )

Add oil in pan. When oil is heated, add the onion and garlic.
Stir fry. Add the peppers and continue to fry.
Mix all the sauces in a bowl with little water.
Add the sauce mix to the pan and stir fry.
When sauce starts to bubble, add the paneer pieces, black pepper and salt.
Mix well. Let it cook in low flame for about 5 to 7 min.
Turn off the gas.
Now add the grated ginger, coriander and the green chilies. Cover again.
When cold, transfer in other container.

Goes well with Chineese Fried rice or Noodles

Thanks for the recipe Vasanthi.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Gumadikaya (Pumpkin) curry

This is one of my all time favorite. The curry is a little bit sweet but the chillies in it give the spiciness. So if you are not a person who relishes the sweetness in an Indian curry then probably you might want to check out other dishes. Now I am not sure what the name of the pumpkin is and whether you can buy the pumpkin in an American grocery store. But I cook this curry using the pumpkin pieces available in the indian grocery store. Next time I will try and note the name and update it here. This will be again approximate quantity.

Pumpkin - 1 medium size piece
Onions - 2
Green chillies -5
Tomatoes - 2
ginger & garlic paste - 1 tsp
Gud (Bellam) - 3-4 chunks depending on how sweet you like it
salt, chilli powder as per your taste

Urad dal, mustard, cumin, turmeric, curry leaves

Peel and cut the pumpkin into medium cubes. You do not want to cut it too small else they will get mashed in the process of cooking and you might end up with mashed pumpkin curry instead.

In a pan add oil and add the seasoning ingredients and let them pop. Add the diced onions, chillies and fry till golden brown. Add the tomotoes and fry them until they are cooked and the oil should be seperated. Add the pumpkin pieces and salt and allow it to cook by closing the pan with a lid. You can stir it a couple of times to avoid burning the bottom but dont overdo it.

When cooked add chilli powder and then add the gud(bellam) and cook for another 5 min. The gud should melt. Garnish with corriander.

Things to remember:
  • Do not over cook the pumpkin pieces
  • Do not mix it too often

Potlakay Perugu Pachadi (Snake Gourd)

This is something which my mom used to make and I like it. No major disasters to report here with this recipe. This recipe is approximation with quantity.

Snake Gourd - 1/2
Onions - 1
Yougurt - 2-3 cups
Green Chillies -2

For seasoning
Urad dal, Mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin, red chillies, Hing (asafoetida), turmeric

Cut the snake gourd into fine pieces and boil them slightly in water with salt. Dont boil it to an extent that it gets mashed, it should still be crunchy. Drain the water.
In a pan add oil and add all the seasoning ingredients and keep aside. Let this seasoning cool to room temperature.
Add the snake gourd pieces to the yogurt and then add the cooled seasoning to it. Taste and add salt if needed.

Things to remember:
  • Do not add the hot seasoning to the yogurt else you will curdle it.

Banana Muffins

How many times did you throw away bananas because they were ripe? Did you regret throwing them away? If you have a little time then you make muffins. Here is a recipe which I got from one of the students who worked along with me. IT was her mom's recipe and as usual its easy :)
I did not have any difficulties making them, they were pretty simple and easy. Here is the recipe:

3 very ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup Flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 325 F
Mash the bannanas well and beat the eggs and the oil using an electric mixer.
Add the rest of the dry ingredients.
Pour or scoop into muffin cups and bake for 25- 30 min

Lessons Learned:

  • Always check the muffin by poking it in the middle with a toothpick. If the muffin sticks to the toothpick then they are not done and if it comes out dry then they are done

Butter Chicken

I did not think butter chicken was so easy to make until my cousin (Thulasi) made it and served. Me as usual could not help but take the recipe and try it out. Its really really easy and tastes so good.

Here is the recipe:
3 pounds boneless chicken pieces
Oil (for frying)
1-2 tbsp of ginger-garlic paste
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon chilly powder
2 tablespoon Tandoori Chicken Masala (Yes its not butter chicken masala but tandoori chicken masala)
2 cups half-and-half or whipping cream
2 cups canned tomato sauce
4 to 6 tablespoons melted butter ( I skipped this ingredient )
Chopped coriander (for garnish)

Marinate the pieces with salt, Tandoori chicken masala, chilly powder, ginger-garlic paste and set aside for 15 min.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large saute pan and brown chicken pieces. Remove and set aside. Add more oil to pan. Fry onions, garlic and ginger until transparent.

Add chili powder and tandoori chicken masala, cook about 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce, cook about 4 minutes.

Add cream, return chicken pieces to pan. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour melted butter over it ( I skipped this part) . Cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

Your butter chicken is ready!!!!!

Do this dish a day before you want to serve. For some reason the curry tastes much better that way since the gravy seems to seep into the chicken making it more flavorful but again having it the same day also is great

Chilli Chicken

I've been cooking this dish for a long time now. I've varied it so many times. I initially made the dry chilli chicken and tried to make the wet one by using website recipes but every time I make them there is something wrong I do which I still dont know. Finally one day I was watching Food Network where there were making some other recipe and they made a little gravy and I used there technique which I will describe below to make the wet one. Again this is my approximation with the measurements

Skinless boneless chicken cut into small pieces -- I used a small tray of chicken
Ginger cut into small pieces - aprrox. 2 inches long ginger
Garlic cut into small pieces -- around 3-4 cloves
Coriander leaves -- 4-5 stems
Onions diced -- 1 big
All purpose flour - 4 tbsp
Egg - 1
Green pepper - 1 cut into small pieces
chilli powder, salt, balck pepper to taste
Vinegar - 5 tablespoons
Soya Sauce -2 tbsp.
Green chillies - 10 cut into small pieces
Food color - red

- Mix the all purpose flour, beaten egg, ginger garlic paste, salt, chilli powder to make a paste.
- Add the chicken to the paste and let it for 45 minutes
- Deep fry the chicken pieces.
- In another pan heat a little oil in a pan and fry the onions, bell pepper, ginger and garlic pieces and the green chillies.
- Add the vinegar, soya sauce
- Mix the food color
- Add the fried chicken pieces to the mixture.

Now this is your dry chilli chicken and you can garnish with corriander. But if you want the wet one. Take chicken stock and add to the mixture before adding the chicken pieces. Allow the stock to boil. In a seperate bowl mix around 1 tbsp of corn starch with water and add it to the boiling mixture. I would add little by little to attain the consistency. And then add the chicken pieces. Wait for 3-5 min and turn off the heat. Garnish with corriander.

Lessons learned:
  • Do not add too much corn starch. It will turn out sticky
  • Adding Chicken stock works way much better than adding water as most of the recipes suggest.

Mushroom Curry

I am not a big fan of mushrooms for some reason but do not mind them either. So I thought I should try mushroom curry. I've tried to do this 2 years back and did not like it. So yesterday I bought some mushrooms (the round button ones). Firstly they were so many when I went to the grocery store. I knew that portebello tasted good in Italian cooking and the white button ones are used in pizza and to go with the Indian cooking I chose the white button. This recipe again will have approximations so please feel free to vary the quantity. I did not have tomatoes in the house but had tomato paste so used that instead.

Things I've learned:
  • Never wash a mushroom. They say mushrooms are like sponges and take in the water or the flavor of whatever you cook them in so if you wash them they are already saturated with water and will not take in the flavor. So instead take a wet paper towel or a cloth and wipe them clean or save yourself the small hassle but pay a little extra to get pre-cleaned mushrooms. Your choice.

Mushrooms - 1 package (around 10)
Onions - 1 large
chilies -2
Tomato paste - 1/2 small can
Ginger & garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Madras curry powder - 3 tbsp
Chilly powder - 2 tbsp
Salt- according to taste
coriander - 4-5 stems

To garnish
Urad dal (1tsp) , Mustard(1tsp) , Cumin seeds(1tsp) , Curry leaves(3-4), Turmeric powder(1/2 tsp), Red chilies (2)

Alright to get started out take a saute pan and then add around a little oil. Well I'm not sure about how much exactly approx say 4 tbsp. Let the oil heat and add all the garnish ingredients. Wait until you hear popping sound. Now add the onions, ginger-garlic paste and chilies which of course I diced them. When the onions turn brown add the tomato paste and let fry till oil separates. Add in the salt, chilly powder, madras curry powder. Add around 6 tbsp of water. You don't need to add a lot of water since when the mushrooms cook they are going to give out water. Cover the pan and leave it on medium flame until the mushrooms are cooked. Garnish with finely cut coriander.

Whola!!!! the taste was good and I liked it. I happen to have madras curry powder in the house, you might want to change by adding coriander powder and a little garam masala if you wish.

Chocolate Cake

This recipe was a recipe of my collegue (Leanne). She baked this cake and it was sooo yummy that I had to try it out. There were no major disasters with the recipe try out. Everything went smooth.

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
1 Box instant French Vanilla Pudding Mix
1 6 oz Bag Chocolate Chips (small semi-sweet morsels)
1 bar German’s Sweet chocolate (Bakers brand green box)
4 eggs
½ cup oil
1 cup water
2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar ( powdered sugar)

• Preheat oven to 350
• Combine: cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, water.
• Grate ½ of chocolate bar and fold into the batter
• Spread batter on 13 x 9 greased pan
• Sprinkle chocolate chips onto batter
• Bake at 350 for about 40 min
• Grate other half of chocolate bar
• Mix it with 2tbsp of sugar powder
• Sprinkle on cake after it cools a little, but is still lightly warm.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I love tiramisu and heard one of my friend (Lohita) had tried it out with slight variations. Here is the recipe. I havent tried it out myself but plan on and will update on how mine turned out.

Here is the recipe:
3 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 (8-oz) container mascarpone cheese
(1 scant cup) 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
2 cups very strong brewed coffee or brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature
2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine
18 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers, 6 oz)
1/4 cup fine-quality bittersweet chocolate shavings (not unsweetened; made with a vegetable peeler) or 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in mascarpone until just combined.
  • Beat whites with a pinch of salt in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, then continue to beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks.
  • Beat cream in another bowl with cleaned beaters until it just holds soft peaks. Fold cream into mascarpone mixture gently but thoroughly, then fold in whites.
  • Stir together coffee and Marsala in a shallow bowl. Dip 1 ladyfinger in coffee mixture, soaking it about 4 seconds on each side, and transfer to an 8-inch glass baking dish (2-quart capacity).
  • Repeat with 8 more ladyfingers and arrange in bottom of dish, trimming as needed to fit snugly. Spread half of mascarpone mixture evenly over ladyfingers. Make another layer in same manner with remaining ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture.
  • Chill tiramisu, covered, at least 6 hours.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle with chocolate.

Here are a couple of suggestions and variations my friend did.

  • Instead of marsala wine use brandy or whiskey and not 2 tablespoons use about 6 tablespoons
  • Recipe says dip the ladyfingers in the coffee alcohol mixture for 4 sec I would do it for a 1 sec or less on each side or else the tiramisu will get very soggy
  • Recipe says to use mascarpone cheese 8oz but use about 12oz
  • Stick to unsweetened cocoa powder for a better flovor
  • Heavy Cream is not heavy whipped cream you have to get whipping cream and whip it yourself and throw away atleast 80% of the water ( I did not know this part)

Thanks lohita for sharing the recipe


Tried the recipe and it came out really good except for a few glitches here and there with my filling being a little loose :) but it tasted really good.

Easy Breezy Grilled Chicken

Alright grilling might be the easiest thing in the world or could be the other way round. But I've never done it so I wasnt sure how it was....I'd never owned a grill too. Anyways, I wanted to eat grilled chicken so called my sis and asked her how to start out. She said mix this mix that and put it in the oven. I was like is that all. She said yes well here you go with the recipe. I used approximation in the quanity.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast -- 2
Tandoori Chicken Masala -- 4 Tbsp.
Ginger & Garlic Paste -- 1 Tbsp
Oil -- 2 Tbsp
Salt -- as needed
Chilli powder -- 1 tbsp.

Mix the Chicken and everything else in a bowl and marinate for half hour. Take a baking dish spray some cooking spray and place the chicken in it. Place it in a pre-heated oven (350F) and turn the chicken to other side after 5- 10 min. Let cook for another 5 min. I would suggest you look at the chicken to see if it is cooked. I did not note the time, probably next time I will and update.

Trifle Pudding

This recipe is from another friend (Char). I loved it so much that I took the recipe and I made it at every other get-together and many of my friends liked it. It is so easy to make. I think this is so easy even a novice can make it. My experience with this pudding the first time was that instead of using the cool whip in the tub I accidently misread the recipe and bought whipping cream which is in the can. Duhhhhhh I should kick myself for not reading the recipe properly. But as I said this recipe is so easy nothing can go wrong. It tasted good. The next time I made it with cool Whip it tasted even better.

Here is the recipe.....

1 box of either vanilla or white chocolate instant Jello Pudding prepared according to directions

1 medium container of Cool Whip stirred
1 can of Wilderness pie filling (I used Strawberries)
Fresh sweet fruit cut into bite size slices ( I used Strawberries)
1 angel food cake cut into 1/4" wide in slices
Gently fold the Cool Whip into the pudding. (Do not beat. Use a spoon or spatula and fold)

Line the bottom and sides of a large bowl with cake slices.

Add a layer of pudding mixture.

Spread 3/4 of the pie filling on cake slices at the bottom of the bowl.

Add another layer of cake slices.

Layer the fresh fruit on top of the cake slices, spread the remaining pie filling over the fresh fruit, add another layer of cake slices, then spread the remaining pudding on the top, making sure it reaches the side of the bowl to seal in the flavors.

Keep in the fridge overnight for more flavor.

Traditional trifle calls for liquor to be drizzled over the bottom and second layers of cake slices. I didn't do that. You can if you want to.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Welcome to my Tryout Cook Blog site. I will be posting the recipes I've tried out using either online recipes or friends and families recipes. Some recipes are which friends have tried out but I am still yet to try. I wanted these recipes to be in an easy accessable place and hence I am publishing them here. You should note that some of the recipes say approximate measurements since most of my friends and myself do not bother to measure how much to add but I will try to watch my measurements and update them.
Please feel free to leave comments by clicking on the comments link below each recipe. I'd love to hear from you.