Sunday, December 11, 2016

Spicy garlic gravy

Garlic lovers - This one's for you.

The perfect combination of spicy, tasty and healthy. This is a dish that can be had with rice, quinoa and rice combo, with dosai or south Indian pulav. Every so often I get a craving for this garlic gravy/sauce that my mom used to make. I had it to my heart's content this afternoon with some rice and was in heaven. Try this recipe. There 's a whole load of garlic, some ground to make the gravy slightly thick. I wreak but it's well worth it. Sorry co-workers. Tomorrow will be better, be happy you were nowhere near me today.

Spicy Garlic Kozhambu (garlic gravy)


  • 1/2 8oz cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 8oz cup shredded fresh coconut
  • 5 to 6 dried red chillies
  • 1 1/2 8oz cups tamarind extract from lemon-sized fresh tamarind ball (found in Indian or Mexican grocery store)
  • 2 Tbsps. fresh coriander seeds
  • 3 tsps. canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

  • Method:
    Take a pot. Extract juice from tamarind by soaking it in warm water. Sauté the garlic for about 8 minutes in a Tbsp. of canola oil. Drop the garlic into the boiling tamarind water and start heating on medium flame. Let the garlic cook well.

    Toast the red chilies and coriander in canola oil. Let it brown a little. Add about 4 to 5 cloves of garlic and grind them with the shredded coconut to a smooth consistency. Mix the ground paste into the pot of tamarind water. Add salt. Let the ingredients cook for about 15 minutes.

    Finally garnish with curry leaves. Serve with rice or pulav.

    Sunday, December 4, 2016

    Spicy, saucy mushrooms

    Food is the spice of life. Spicy food makes food worth eating. On a cold winter evening what's better than some spicy, saucy mushrooms, a  side dish for your chappthis (Indian bread) or rice.

    Here's the recipe.

    Regular button mushrooms work best for this recipe. Spice it up as much as you want, sauce it up as much as you'd like to. A combination of spicy and saucy is what we want with this prep.

  • 2 cups fresh crimini mushroom
  • Olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, chopped
  • 4 ripe campari tomatoes
  • 2 green chillies, sliced
  • 2 tps. turmeric power
  • 2 tsps. red chillie powder
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salt to taste

  • Sauté in a hot pan, cloves, garlic, green chillies, and onions in the order here. Let onions become translucent a bit. Add turmeric, chillie powder mix in with the ingredients on the pan. Add tomatoes, sauté for a couple minutes. Add salt. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms, a cup of water, cover, and continue simmering. Adjust salt and spice to your liking. After 10 minutes of low simmer, transfer to a serving dish. Add coriander leaves and serve with rice or chappathi.

    Sunday, August 14, 2016

    Home made mango ice cream

    Mangoes always remind me of my childhood days in India. Our home was surrounded by mango and coconut trees. As many are aware there are 100s of varieties; some of the best were in our garden.

    Every other summer provided a bumper crop. We distributed them around the neighborhood. The constantly flowing guests had their fill too. My mom prepared several types of pickles and juices but never mango ice cream.

    Here's an easy recipe to pull together for any occasion. Prep time is only 20 minutes. Freeze time is about 4 to 5 hours.

    Try it from

    Saturday, August 13, 2016

    New India Kitchen: The authentic tastes keep luring you in

    New India's Kitchen - Ballwin, MO, United States. DahipuriThis St. Louis suburban Indian restaurant appears to be typical in its looks located in a nondescript shopping area in Manchester. However, food here is far from plain. The dishes are remarkably tasty and honest. Chef Niraj has transported his expertise all the way from New Delhi without compromising or distorting the taste one bit.

    The restaurant has become a favorite of lunch buffet lovers all through the week. On any giving day, you will find a good spread of appetizers ranging from pakoras to pani puris to colorful salads, an assortment of chats, kabobs and samosas. Combined with a good mix of vegetarian and meat dishes you are certain to come out totally spoiled by the taste and friendly service. I have had their lunch buffets several times and my all time favorite are the hot naans and dhals. Oh, don't miss the Jalebi, the best dessert here. 

    New India's Kitchen - Ballwin, MO, United States. What a meal yummmmDinner menu is a mix of sizzling tandoor kabobs from the clay oven, marinated chicken tikka, shrimp or paneer preparations in aromatic sauces. There are plenty of usual options in the entrees featuring delectable breads and vegetarian dishes like chana, palak paneer, makhani, kofta, korma, gobhi or bharta. Except, they are far from usual. Chef Niraj pays attention to every ingredient and the way it is prepared, making the outcome extraordinary. The exotic tastes are sure to spoil you and keep you going back for more. 

    If you had any preconceived notions about Indian restaurants or Indian food being all the same, an experience at New Indian Kitchen will wipe them out. The place is clean, the chef and his wife Jyothsana are cheerful, courteous hosts whose only interests are in making the guests feel welcome, well attended to, and satisfied after their meal. 

    Eating out in Indian restaurants should not be about finishing up a meal and moving on to the next in the list of chores. It should be about titillating the senses. That's exactly what you experience at the New India Kitchen. It is several cuts above the rest. Try once and you will be hooked.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2016

    Red Potato Salad from Swamy's kitchen

    This is a Bobby Flay recipe with my own enhancements. Anything with Dijon mustard tastes good, this is no different.

    • 1 pound red potatoes
    • 1 cup mayonnaise or 1/2 cup ranch dressing
    • 1/8 cup Dijon mustard
    • 3 chipotle peppers, seeded and chopped
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    • 2 green onions, finely chopped
    • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
    • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
    • 3 tsps. kosher salt
    • Freshly ground pepper

    • Method:
    Wash and cook potatoes. They should be well cooked but not mushy. Cut them into cubes.
    Mix together the rest of the ingredients. Add potatoes and toss. Serve immediately. For more spice do not remove the seeds off the Chipotle peppers.
    Sprinkle with crushed pepper over salad at the table.  For more healthy and tasty vegetarian recipes go to

    Tuesday, July 5, 2016

    Gothsu, a side dish for you southern Indian breakfast meals

    Eggplant in Lentil (Gothsu)
    This is an easy, simple side dish that goes well with all south Indian breakfast meals. It dish does not have any sour ingredients such as lemon, tamarind, tomatoes or garlic and onions. It takes in all about 20 minutes including the lentil cooking time.
    If you have a pressure cooker, the time can be cut short by another 5 minutes.  Take a look at the recipe here.

    Sunday, June 12, 2016

    Cauliflower Manchurian

    Pointer 1: Use fresh ginger and cauliflower.
    • 1 cauliflower
    • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup corn flour
    • 1 tsp chillie powder
    • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
    • 1 cup green onions, chopped fine
    • 3 Tbsps. tomato sauce
    • 1/2 cup fresh coriander chopped
    • 4 green chillies diced
    • 2" ginger
    • 4 cloves garlic diced
    • salt to taste
    • corn flour mixed in some water – 1 tbsp
    • Oil for frying

    • Method:
    Break cauliflower into florets. Mix the flours,add chilie powder and salt to taste. Create a batter by adding water.. Dip florets in batter and deep fry until golden brown. Set aside.
    Take a wok^, add a Tbsp. of oil. Sauté garlic, ginger and green chillies. Add the diced onions, continue sauteing. Add tomato sauce, a touch of chillie powder and soy sauce. Mix well. Finally add the fried cauliflower. Transfer to a container. Add the green onions and coriander. If needed, additional salt to taste. Serve hot. This is a popular appetizer.

    Sunday, May 22, 2016

    Tofu Kadai dish, a substitute for cheese

    This dish is a perfect substitute for cheese.  A gluten-free dish, high in protein, it's also good for women who prefer plant-based phyto-estrogen after menopause.

    Check out this recipe from swamyskitchen.

    Sunday, May 1, 2016

    Simple, Spicy, Nutritious Gujarati Dhal

    Dishes from Gujarat, India are one of the best Indian cuisines. Food is the central activity of households in India;  and the state of Gujarat tops the charts when it comes to delicious food. Every meal is an important activity and production.

    Try this dhal. Takes in all about 30 minutes to prepare and you'll keep going for more Gujarati food. This is just a sample.

    Bottle gourd side dish called Ghiya

    Bottle Gourd called Ghiya in New Delhi, India
    There are many ways to cook this vegetable. Here is a recipe with a Punjabi touch and my added twist. Absolutely delicious. In spite of the long list of ingredients, it is an extremely simple dish to make. I would say start to finish it takes about 35 minutes. Check out other tasty, healthy vegetarian dish at
    • 1/4 cup toor channa dhal
    • 1 bottle gourd, chopped
    • 4 medium-sized tomatoes
    • 2 Tbsps. fresh ginger, diced
    • 2-3 cloves garlic, diced
    • 4 tsps. turmeric powder
    • 2 green chillies
    • 4 dry red chillies
    • 2 tsps. cumin seeds
    • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
    • 1 tsp. asafoetida
    • 1 tsp. red chillie powder
    • 1/3 cup tamarind juice
    • Oil or a mix of oil and clarified butter (ghee)
    • Salt to taste
    • 2 Tbsps. fresh, chopped coriander leaves
    Soak channa dhal for an hour. Then cook dhal, ghiya and 2 slit green chillies with 2 tsps. turmeric powder in pressure cooker. Let it cook well. Remove when done and mash the contents.
    For garnish:
    In this dish, the final seasoning is the major taste enhancer. Use a pan, add oil. In order, add the following after the oil warms. Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, the remaining turmeric powder, chillie powder, asafoetida.
    Let it all cook for about 5 mins. Now add the tamarind juice. Close pan and let it boil for at least 7 minutes so it doesn't taste raw. Open pan and add the entire cooked dhal and ghiya. Add salt, close pan and let them cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
    Finally garnish with coriander.
    Last recipe posted - Plain dhal.

    Sunday, April 10, 2016

    Eggplant saute with coriander and ginger masala

    A simple, delicious vegetable for Indian breads and rice. Check out more recipes on

    Use long or small Asian/chinese eggplants, fresh coriander and ginger. Subsituting fresh ginger or using coriander powder is not recommended if you'd like to experience the fresh, authentic taste of this dish.
    • 3 long or about 8 small eggplants
    • 2 cups fresh coriander
    • 2" long fresh ginger
    • 2 green chillies
    • Olive or canola oil to sauté
    • 1/2 tsp. tamarind or lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
    • Salt to taste

    Cut eggplants into 2" long pieces. Grind to a paste ginger, coriander and chillies. Take a pan or wok^ and warm on low heat. Use a Tbsp. of oil, raise the heat and throw in the mustard seeds. After they sputter, lower the flame. Add the ground mixture and sauté for about 8 minutes.
    Add cut eggplant to the mix. When they are half-done, add salt to taste and the tamarind or lime juice. Let the mixture cook until done. Garnish with a sprinkle of coriander right before serving.

    Sunday, March 6, 2016

    Mango Salsa

    Now that spring is here, it's time to enjoy fresh dips, sides, sauces and salads. You are likely to find recipes that include these items in my blog and website.

    Here is a delicious salsa for your nachos and tortilla chips.

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

    Pasta with sautéd veggies in garlic and olive oil

    Pastas may be prepared any which way if you want to be creative. Here's one of those simple, yet delicious recipes. Preparation time: 20 minutes.

    Check out the recipe here -

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

    Doodh Peda, milk dessert

    • 1 1/2 cups carnation milk powder
    • 1 can, sweetened condensed milk
    • 1/2 stick butter, melted
    • 1/s tsp. saffron

      Mix ingredients together to form a smooth mixture like that of a thick pancake batter.
    Cook on high heat in microwave for 2 minutes. Remove, mix well,and heat again for 3 minutes.
    Cool mixture for a few seconds. While still hot but bearable to handle, rub some of the melted butter in your hands and roll them out to balls, then flatten slightly to the regular size of a peda. Or flatten on a board, then cut to any shape with a cookie cutter.
    May top the peda with a mix of nuts or dry fruits. I generally like the pure taste of the dessert as is. Store them in refrigerator. Warm for 10 seconds to get the fresh taste of again for the next serving.

    Sunday, February 7, 2016

    Homemade yogurt

      • 1/2 gallon whole or low fat milk
      • 1 1/2 Tbsps. plain yogurt

      Boil the raw milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil stirring often. Do not leave stove unattended to prevent the milk from boiling over. Once it gets to the boiling point and rises up, turn off stove.
      Cool down to a temperature that's warmer than lukewarm. Mix in the yogurt, cover container and let it stand overnight undisturbed in a warm place. It takes about 5 hours to turn to yogurt. During winter it might take up to 10 hours. As soon as the yogurt sets, store it in the refrigerator to prevent it from becoming tart.
      For more recipes go to

    Saturday, January 23, 2016

    Bread Uppuma

    This is one of the best recipes for transforming an ordinary bland starch such as bread to something quite interesting.

    • 6 bread slices cut into small cube
    • 1 medium onion, coarsely cut
    • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
    • 4 green chillies, chopped
    • A sprig of curry leaves
    • 2 cloves, garlic
    • 2 spoons, ginger chopped into tiny pieces
    • 2 tsps. lemon juice
    • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
    • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
    • 1 tsp. turmeric
    • 1/5 cup water
    • 2 Tbsps. oil
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh coriander for garnish

    Add oil to a warmed pan, increase heat, splutter mustard seeds, add cumin and let it turn light brown. Add chillies, garlic, onion and ginger, sauté lightly. Add tomatoes, turmeric powder and curry leaves. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes, do not pulp.
    Add the bread cubes and mix in with the contents of the pan. Add water and salt, toss lightly. Cover and turn off heat. Before serving onto a plate, garnish with coriander leaves.
    Cooking time with prep is about 30 minutes.

    Sunday, January 3, 2016

    New Year's Eve dinner at Lorenzo's Trattoria on the Hill. An experience.

    Our 10-day trip to Costa Rica exceeded expectations in every way. We came back rejuvenated - indescribable nature, food, people ... What a country!  Life there seemed to be uncomplicated, pure, and innocent.

    While still reminiscing the trip and still in a daze, I went to work the next morning and took care of several of the pending items. I didn't realize we were just a day away from New Year's Eve. So, what do we do on the 31st? I had no plans. And, really was not in a mood to party. The flip side was nobody had invited us either!

    At almost 10 P.M. on December 30th, I called up a few restaurants on 'The Hill', the center for some of the best Italian restaurants around here. Note, the words 'around here'. That's because Italian food in St. Louis, i.e. even on The Hill is at its best mediocre compared to the Italian restaurants in Philadelphia. Good food can completely spoil you and turn one into a unforgiving critic. That's me.

    I got reservations for 6 P.M. at Lorenzo's on The Hill. We were there at 6:05 P.M. and seated immediately. The place appeared to be a home turned into a homey restaurant, extremely elegant. We started off with an appetizer. I will stick to what I ordered and not tread on areas that are not my expertise or hardly of any interest. So, strictly sticking to vegetarian here.

    Tomato Mozzarella
    Tomato and fresh mozzarella with red onions, capers, Kalamata olives, fresh basil and red wine vinaigrette. Nothing unusual and quite delicious. 

    Potato Gnocchi

    House-made potato gnocchi with luganiga and arugula in gorgonzola, fontina and parmesan sauce.  The presentation as you see here looked delectable. However, I found the white sauce was so white and bland lacking any kind of intrigue or interest. I doused it with crushed red pepper but that hardly added much except for a kick here and there. I was quite hungry, so dug in right away but after a few helpings decided to abandon it completely. Hmm, on a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a 4.5.

    What was quite annoying through this expensive dining experience was the fact that at least four times if not more, the waiter and the maître d' asked us if they can box our dishes while we were just about a fifth done. Maybe they were trained to do so or maybe they had people waiting for the next seating. We had not planned to be seated at 6 P.M. to get up and leave at 6:45 P.M.


    The next course was the dessert, a traditional Tiramisu, the best of course of the evening. I should have ordered one for just myself but we decided to share as people around seemed to be in a hurry to be seated, and couldn't wait to get us off our seats.

    The final vote? It would be our first and last time. There are other Italian restaurants to try anyways. We will come back to The Hill but definitely not to Lorenzo's. They lost us not so much for the average food as for the service. We did not feel it was a dining experience at all.

    A dessert with puffed rice called 'Aval'

    This dessert is called Aval Kesari, a no frills, no drills kind of a dessert.

    In India, it is made as offering for prayers. Follow the steps in my recipe, start to finish it should take about 20 minutes.

    Take a look at the recipe here from