Friday, December 21, 2007

Veggie Panini Sandwich

Yeahhhh!!!! after a long wait and a long fight with my miles I finally got my Panini Grill and I could not wait any longer to try out hot panini sandwiches.

I had no clue how to start so I browsed the www and finally made my own version. Here are the ingredients
Cibata Bread
1/2 Green bell pepper sliced long
1/2 onion sliced long
2 slices of Montery Jack Cheese(You should most likely use Mozaralla but I wanted it spicy so chose this)
1 tbsp hot mustard
2 tbsp pesto sauce (store bought)
2-3 Sun dried tomatoes (I always have a jar at home... I love these for pasta too)
Salt, pepper and 1 tbsp dried basil (fresh is even more better)

So here is what i did.
I sauted the onions and green pepper until they were nice and brown something like you would do for a Fajita. Put them aside.

Pre-heated the panini.
Cut the bread into two halves.
Applied pesto sauce on both the halves.
Put hot mustard on both sides
Put each slice of cheese on each half.
The below steps I only did for the lower half
Put the sun-dried tomatoes (cut into pieces)
Put the onion-green pepper.
Added salt,pepper and basil.
Cover this with the top half of the bread and put it on the pre-heated panini and slowly press it down as it gets heated. When you see the cheese melting take it out. Cut diagonal and serve hot with chips.

You can use other types of bread too but from what I read Cibata bread was the most used and of course it tasted really good.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tomato Chutney

With the amount of tomatoes I got this season. Tried out a tomato chutney recipe by Devi aunty. It was really superb and I even made so much that I froze it and kept using it. This is the chutney for dosa/idle etc. but it tastes fine with rice too.

I am not writing down the measurements since I had so many tomatoes that I used approximation and I dont remember the measurements now but next time I make it I will remember to update it.

Cut the tomatoes into 4 pieces. Cook tomatoes until soft. They should become paste. This takes a lot of time. In a seperate pan fry Red chillies, Dhania, Jeera.
Grind them with salt and tamrind. When the tomatoes are cooked and cooled add them to the ground powder. At the end add the pope (Mustard seeds, urad dal, jeera, curry leaves)

And then enjoy!!!!

Bean Salsa

This has always been a hit appetizer at all the parties. Make sure you buy thick golden chips for extra flavor.

Black Beans - 1 can
Red kidney beans - 1 can
Corn kernals - 1 can
Onions - 1
Green Chillies - 4 (the more spicy the higher the quantity_
Mixed shredded Cheese - 1 pack
Salsa - 1 bottle (I like spicy salsa but depending on your preference please buy appropriate)
tomatoes - 3 chopped
chopped olives - as much as you like
Green pepper - 1 or 2 chopped
Corrainder - 1 bunch chopped

Wash the canned beans. I like to do this and remove all the liquid in them.
Just mix everything with half a pack of cheese and put it in a pan. Put the remaining cheese on the top. Put this in the oven at 350 for 10 min. And you are ready to dig in. This unlike other dips is going to be chunky and very healthy.


Before I knew how to make salsa I thought it was so hard and then I did not really like eating the store bought ones... I did not like those very much so one day I looked up online and made it myself. Depending on how spicy you want adjust the chillies

Tomatoes: 4
Green Chillies: 2
Onions: 1 to 1 1/2
Garlic: 2
Salt: 1 tbsp
Sugar: a pinch
lemon juice: 3-4 tbsp
Corriander - 1/2 bunch

I used a food processor to do this (Warning: The onions might give you a bitter taste if you do it in a food processor and the tomatoes might get over chopped, so watch out!). Add green chillies, garlic, onions and chop them. Now add the tomatoes (Add tomatoes at the end as they would chop easily). Add salt, sugar, lemon juice and coriander. If you dont have a food processor you can just finely chop everything and just mix it. I think that would work.

Cream Cheese Rolls

5 years back or so I think I went out with my uncle and aunt to a desi party and they had this and I loved it so much that I asked my aunt if she knew the recipe and she said it was really simple and I tried it out later and it was always a hit. Friends keep calling and asking me about the recipe so I thought I'd put it online..

1 bread packet, the crust needs to be trimmed (if you are lazy then just buy uncrusted)
1 packet I think 8 oz of plain cream cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 tbsp finely chopped green chillies

Now mix the cream cheese with the onions and green chillies. Apply this mixture on a piece of bread. Roll the bread. With the cream cheese it should stick and make a roll. Now cut the roll into two. Do it for the rest.

Heat oven to 350 and in a lightly greased pan put the rolls. Let it bake till about 15 min or so.. The bread should lightly turn brown as if you were toasting it. Check to make sure you are not waiting too long and actually burning it on the bottom. This is best served immediately. The crusty top with the soft cream cheese filling will definetly win everyones heart.

My aunt suggested that if you had to do a lot.. do everything and just put it in the oven so that it is not totally done but a turns a little crispy then cool and freeze it and whenever your guests come in you can put them back in the oven and finish the cooking.

Guthi Vankaya Curry

This recipe was obtained online (dont remember where) and modified by me. Everyone loved it and my friend kavitha wanted it so I thought I should put it online goes the recipe for stuffed brinjal. I used approximations so please modify as per your taste.

Garlic -3
Round Brinjal - 7

Corrainder seeds - 1tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1tbsp
red Chillies - 3 to 4
Tamrind Paste - 1 tsp

Fry the chopped onions and garlic. After they are done, let them cool. Grind and make a smooth paste. Keep them aside.

Fry corriander seeds, cumin seeds, red chillies and then grind them along with a little butter, sugar and salt.

Add this ground mix to the onion paste and mix. Make slits into the brinjal and stuff this paste. Keep the extra remaining paste and add it to the dish later.

In the pan add oil and add cumin, curry leaves, mustard seeds etc. Add the brinjals and the extra left-over paste. Add salt and chilli powder. Add Tamrind paste and a cup of water. Let them cook and then when finished garnish with corrainder.

I was too lazy one day to stuff the brinjals so I just cut up the brinjal into 4 pieces and then just added the paste... the curry still turned out good. I will try and remember to take a picture next time I make it and post it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Dosa Recipe

This dosa recipe was so far the best recipe... My goodness the batter disappeared so quickly. Anyways here is the recipe

2 cups rice
1 cup parboiled rice
3/4 cup urad dal
3/4 cup poha/rice flakes
4-5 methi seeds

Soak both the rice together with methi. Urad dal and poha separately for overnight or atleast 6 hours. Grind the rice to a smooth paste and then grind urad dal and poha and mix together. Let it stay overnight to ferment. One trick that I learnt is ... if you mix a little with your hand for some reason the batter ferments more than if you mix it with spoon. So try it and the have fun!!!!

Update --- Well I tried to make idli's with the same batter and it was too good. First time my husband complimented saying it almost [ALMOST] tasted like my mother-in-laws .... which I think is a great compliment. So feel free to use this mixture for making a dosa too... but I forgot to add methi seeds this one time and the dosa came out comparitvely white than brown .... which was good for the idlis so if you want to make idli too skip the methi seeds.

Here are a couple of pictures I took later... my wet grinder and my dosa on the pan

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sorakaya (Bottle Gourd) Kofta

Well I had too many bottle gourds in my garden this year. After trying to give away as many as I could I had to try out a new recipe apart from what I know. So I ventured into the www and found a recipe and changed it to make my own. The original can be found at

I had like 6 cups of grated bottle gourd but ended up deep frying only 2 cups probably. I did not add cream as instructed in the original recipe. Anyways here is my version
For the Kofta:

2 Cups Grated sorakaya
3 tbsp Besan
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp red chilly powder
1 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste
5-6 tbsp corriander leaves chopped
1 tbsp garam masala

1/2 cup tomato puree
1 tbsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
Salt according to taste

Masala Paste
1 large onion
2 tbsp grated fresh coconut
2 green chillies
2 red chillies
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp dhania seeds
1tbsp khus khus (gasagasalu)
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
salt to taste

Making Koftas:
You will need to grate the sorakaya and if I havent advocated enough for my friends and family to buy a food processor here I go again "Life is easy with a food Processor". I took out my madeline and was trying to grate when I decided this is not happening and took my food processor and used hte grating option and woooohoooo in like 2 min the big entire sorakaya was grated. I LOVE MY FOOD PROCESSOR :)

So this is how much I had after grating and this is how it looks

Add a little salt to it and wait for a minute and then squeeze out the water from it. My trick for it rather than squeezing by hand was to use a strainer and press down the grated sorakaya so the water would just drain down.

Make sure you squeeze out as much water as possible. Add all the rest of ingredients needed to make the kofta (listed above) and this is how it looks later. One word of advice if you have large quantity mix the ingredients batch by batch else letting the grated mixture stay will ooze more water making it more harder for you to work with

Shape into balls and deep fry in oil

Deep fry until it turns into nice brown. Make sure your stove is not too high since you want the balls to cook inside. It will still be soft but then it should be cooked inside. Only the outer layer will become crispy.

Grind all the masala ingredients (listed above). If you need to add a little water to get a paste please do so. Heat some oil in a pan and then fry the masala paste you just ground. Fry this paste for sometime until you see oil floating. (Make sure you have a lid covered else your stove will be a mess for the splashing). add Chilli powder, tomato puree and little water and let it cook.

Once done just before eating add the balls into the curry and garnish with corriander.

Enjoy!!! Well this one turned out to be a good expirement. I did not mix the gravy and the balls thinking they would become soft when in gravy so I had them seperate until serving time.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Vinayaka Chavathi Undralu/Kudumulu

Happy Vinayaka Chavathi!!!!!

Above pictures are flowers from my garden and after the pooja of lord ganesh

I used approximations for the below recipe and also this recipe is for the plain ones. There is also the stuffing one which usually consists of grated coconut with elaichi, and bellam pakam (Gud syrup) made into a thick ball and stuffed inside the plain one.

Rice Flour -1 cup
Grated Jaggery (Bellam) - 1 cup
Elaichi powder

In a sauce pan put some water and add jaggery. Heat it for 5 min so that the jaggery dissolves. Turn off and let it cool. Mix in the rice flour slowly into it. Make balls and patties out of it. In a Idli plate, grease with some ghee and put these and cook as you would for idli and the undralu and kudumulu are ready

Friday, September 14, 2007


Another recipe from my ammama and which I want to and havent tried out yet.

Besan 1/2 kg
Rice Flour 1/2 kg
Vamu (not sure what the english name is) 1/2 tsp
Butter 5-10 gm( seems less here but she said small ball and this is what she thinks is a small ball, will update when I actually do it)
Salt as needed
Chilli powder as needed

So mix all with water and to the required consistency and then use the chakali press to make the murku and deep fry in oil


My husband wanted to eat chekkalu and got this recipe from my Ammama. Havent tried it out yet but will for sure. So that I dont loose the recipe, I am posting this here

Rice flour - 1/2 kg
Moong Dal (pesara pappu) and Channa Dal - a fistful (that was her direction, will update on how much I used)
Chillies -10 (depending on how spicy you need)
Butter - 10 gm (that seemed a little low, she actually said a small ball and when asked for measurement gave me this)
Curry leaves
Salt as needed mixed in water

She also mentioned some people add ginger but she prefers without it

Well mix everything and then make the consistency soft so that it is not sticky but not too hard. and then make small balls and then press with your fingers to get the chekkalu. Deep fry them in oil.

Well let me try this and update on how it came out later.....


For Varalakshmi vratam I wanted to try out my favorite poornam. After many attempts of tasting the poornam my craving for it wasnt satisfied and none made the mark which I had tasted back home. So I made an attempt to make my own and Whola!!!!! great success. So here goes the recipe

For the filling:
  • Chana Dal: 1 Cup
  • Bellam (Jaggery) 2 to 2 1/2 cups grated. I think I tasted a little and added more as needed. You might want to do that too :)
  • Elaichi Powder: 2 tbsp (a lot of flavor comes fron here)

Soak the Chana Dal for atleast 2 hours and then cook it in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water (double the amount of chana dal). Wait for 2 whistles and leave it until the pressure totally goes off.

Mix in the grated Jaggery and the elaichi powder. Turn on the stove to low and keep mixing frequently to avoid burning. Oh! forgot to mention I think I added little butter too during the mixing so that it wouldnt stick to the bottom of the pressure cooker. You have to cook for a really long time until the filling thickens. To test it take a small amount, let it cool and try and make a ball. It shouldnt be really sticky. After this point you are done doing the filling.

For the outer batter I used my Dosa batter measurements and it turned out perfect
  • Rice: 2 cups
  • Urad Dal: 1 cup

Soak the Rice, Urad Dal overnight.
Blend to a smooth paste as you would do for dosa. What I did is I did not let it ferment as we would usually do for dosa after making the batter. I think the outer coat would give you a sour taste. Well some people like it and my preferance was to try without it. And I added a little sugar (1 tbsp) and salt (small pinch) which I was going to use. Mind you, don't add this to the entire batter because you could use the rest for making dosa.

Well the batter and filling are done. All you need to do now is make medium size balls with the filling and then dip the ball into the dosa batter. Here is a trick so the filling does not ooze out of the batter and spoil your oil. Use only two fingers when dipping and dropping the ball into the batter and oil. Also, the batter consistency should be correct. Too thick your outer layer is going to be thick, too thin you are going to expose the filling to the oil. And enjoy the delicious Poornams.

Oh! I still have some filling left over but did not have the patience to do the poornam and of course finished the dosa batter making dosas. So I decided to make bobattu or poli. Well got the outer recipe from a friend (Suman) but havent tried it out yet.

Here is what it is

1 cup wheat flour

1/4 cup maida/all purpose flour

Will update with my results later...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Vermicelli Idli

I was bored with the regular idli so I searched online and found this recipe at Aayi's recipe site which I thought was really good when I made it. It tastes something like a Rava Idli but not really. I loved the taste. I am writing down the recipe as taken and tested from the Aayi's website.

A Couple of things I learnt or changed in the recipe.

I used Idli Rava not sure if that is same as Wheat Sooji as given in the recipe and I skipped the coconut from the recipe too. The more you let the batter soak the more tastier it is and also you should take care of the consitency. I had to try it a couple of times to get it right. If the batter is too thick you tend to get hard idlis. So Good Luck and Enjoy!!!!!!

1 cup vermicelli
1/2 cup rava(wheat sooji) 3/4 cup curd/yogurt
3-4 strands coriander leaves
2-3 green chilies
2 tbl spns fresh/frozen coconut
1 tea spn ghee
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
A pinch baking soda
1/2 tea spn urad daal
4-5 curry leaves
A pinch asafoetida

Heat ghee and fry vermicelli and rava for around 5-6mins.
Add curd and keep it aside for around 1/2 an hour. If the vermicelli and rava soaks well, the idlis come out very soft. Add more curd if the batter becomes too dry.
Add coconut, salt, coriander leaves and green chilies (cut into small pieces).
Heat oil and add mustard seeds and urad daal when mustard starts popping and urad daal becomes brownish, add curry leaves, baking soda and a pinch of asafoetida. Add this seasoning to the batter and mix well.
Put the batter in greased idli stand and steam them.
Serve with chutney pitto/powder.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 20min

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My Favorite Pasta

I hated pasta with marinara sauce... so I created my own version (the dry version) here is how it goes... The measurements are approximations.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - 2 pieces ( I use a mallet to flatten them and if needed cut them into half)
Penne Pasta (I like this but I guess you can use linguine or any kind)
Olive oil
Onions -1 cut longwise
Red and Yellow Peppers - half of each
Parsley - finely chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves finely chopped
Rosemary (I used dry one out of the spice rack)
Salt, Pepper
Sun dried Tomatoes (I love these and would use in any dish if I could) cut into small pieces
Artichoke hearts (from a can) chopped up
Onions 1/2 finely diced

  • Boil pasta according to the packaging instructions. I add salt and a little olive oil to it. Drain and keep aside
  • In a pan heat some olive oil and saute onions, garlic, peppers
  • Once they are cooked add in parsley , rosemary, sundried tomatoes and artichoke
  • Either you can use the same pan or in another one add olive oil and add the chicken and cook it thouroughly. Add salt and pepper.
  • Once the chicken is cooked cut into long pieces
  • Add them to the onions, parsley etc. in the pan
  • Add the cooked pasta
  • Stir so that everything is combined. Add Salt, pepper according to your taste

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

This one was supposed to be served hot but did not serve it that way. I made it cold but tasted really good

2 small packs of thawed spinach
1 small pack of thawed artichoke hearts
6 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 grated paremsan
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 min. or until hot and soft. Stir in rest of ingredients and serve hot.

Garbanzo/Chick Pea Salad

Easy and quick salad. This is approximation, so depending on what you like and dont like either increase the quantity or decrease

1 can Garbanzo beans
Black Olives
Green Chilies

Chop tomatoes, scallions, green chillies, onions and mix along with the chickpeas. Add lemon juice,salt, pepper, coriander.

Mix and serve.

Plum Cake

I ate this cake at a friends house and loved it so much. It was prepared by her mom so I took the recipe and tried. It was a little dry (but tasted really good) so I tweaked the recipe a little bit by adding Instant Vanilla Pudding mix to it. Here goes the recipe

200gm of Sugar
200gm of All Purpose Flour/Maida
200gm of Butter
200gm of Eggs
Basically all the above should weigh the same no matter how much you are making.
1 small Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
Baking Powder 1/2 tbsp
Baking Soda 1/4 tbsp
4-5 drops Vanilla Essence
Crushed Nuts: Almonds, Pecans, Cashews (You can add many, but this is what I added. You can also add Raisins)

You will need around 20-25 tbsps of sugar to caramalize. Heat sugar in a pan without any water and watch it get almost burnt. Add a little water at the end so it does not become hard. It should be in a liquid form. Be careful when adding water, it will splash so use caution. Keep aside and let it cool.

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Mix sugar and butter in a separate bowl using a hand-mixer. Add the eggs and beat and then add all-purpose flour, vanilla pudding, baking soda, baking powder. After it blends into a smooth batter. Mix caramel into it. Add the vanilla essence and then mix all the nuts. Do not use the mixer to mix the nuts. Use a spoon and mix them in. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees for approx. 40-60min. Keep checking with a toothpick to make sure it cooks in the middle. If the toothpick does not have the cake sticking to it then it is done.

Let it cool and cut into pieces and serve.
Please feel free to leave comments by clicking on the comments link below each recipe. I'd love to hear from you.