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Sunday, December 29, 2013

I remember my early days in the kitchen. I used to find all the varieties of lentils so confusing. Instinctively, I am posting these pictures to help you identify the three lentils which can be cooked without a pressure cooker. Please note that soaking prior to cooking cuts down the cooking time. 

              Masoor Dal /Split Red Lentil

                         Moong Dal / Split Yellow Lentil

         Mung Dal Chilti/ Split Whole Moong 


SAMBHAR (Masoor Dal)
A lentil preparation from the South of India. Traditionally, it's made with Tuvar Dal which needs to be cooked in a pressure cooker. I have substituted it for 'Masoor Dal' which if soaked for an hour or more, cooks in a pan in under 20 minutes. Perfect recipe for one pot cooking.
Delicious wih rice or dosa or idlis.
Or on a winter evening, as a soup.
I have posted pictures of Masoor Dal and Sambhar .

  1.  Masoor Dal              1 cup
  2.  Onion                       1 medium chopped
  3.  Tomato                     1 large      chopped
  4.  Mustard seeds           1/4 tsp. 
  5.  Methi seeds                1/4 tsp
  6. Turmeric powder        1/2 tsp
  7. Vegetable oil              2 Tbsp
  8. Sambhar Powder        2  tsp. (more if you like spicy)
  9.  Curry leaves             4 -5    (optional)
  10.  Dry red chilly            1         (optional)     
  11.  Hing (Asafoetida)      a pinch (optional)
  12. Coriander leaves         2 Tbsp  (optional)
  13. Salt to taste           
  14.  Lemon juice as desired       


  1. Wash the masoor dal . Add enough water to cover the dal and let it soak for an hour or more. (I tend to soak them the previous night )
  2. In a medium size pot, add the oil. 
  3. On a low to medium heat, add the mustard seeds,methi seeds and dry red chilly.   Wait till the seeds crackle or turn colour.  (I like to keep the heat low ,or else if the heat is high,the tempering splatters out of the pot and the last thing I want to do is clean the stove and the area around. I tend to cover the pot with a lid ) 
  4. Add hing and curry leaves. Stir quickly.
  5. Add onions. Stir. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Add turmeric. Stir.
  7. Add Sambhar powder. Stir.
  8. Add tomatoes. Mix well. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Drain off the water and add the dal. Mix well.
  10. Add 3 cups of water.
  11. Increase the heat and bring it to a boil.
  12. Turn down the heat .Cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  13. Stir and add some more water if required. Cover and cook further for 5-10 minutes till the lentil is cooked.
  14. Add salt to taste.
  15. Add coriander.
  16. Add lemon juice as desired.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Curry Leaves 
Kadhi Patta

Fennel and String Beans

A very simple dish. Quick , healthy and delicious.
Great with any pasta. 
Or along with a soup , salad or a slice or two of pizza.
Some bruschetta or garlic bread if you like.

  1. 1 medium fennel , washed and cut into slices 
  2. 250 gms string beans , washed, topped and tailed and cut into halves
  3. 6 cloves of garlic , peeled and cut lengthwise
  4. 2 medium onions , peeled, washed, cut half and then lengthwise.
  5. 2 tbsp olive oil or as preferred
  6. salt - to taste
  7. pepper - freshly milled 1/2 tsp. or to your taste
  8. Fresh or bottled lemon juice - 1 tbsp.

I prefer to use a wide non-stick pan with a lid. A wok will do great too. 


  1. On a low heat, warm the oil in a pan.
  2. Add garlic. Stir for few seconds.
  3. Add onion. stir. Cover. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the string beans. Stir. Cover and cook further for 2 minutes on a slightly higher heat.
  5. Add the fennel. Stir. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Stir again. Cook for further 2 minutes.
  6. Try to poke a sharp knife into a bean. If it goes through with ease, its cooked.
  7. Add salt , pepper to your taste. 
  8. Add lemon juice.
  9. Stir and serve.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

White Sauce 

This is the simplest white sauce you can ever make. 
And it is with no butter or oil . So for those who are health conscious, its a great way to enjoy vegetables and pasta minus the fat.

  1. 800 ml milk (low fat or fat free)
  2. 4 heaped tablespoon white all purpose flour
  3. Oregano
  4. Pili Pili
  5. Black pepper powder
  6. Nutmeg Powder
  7. Salt to taste

  • In a large pan, blend together with a hand mixer. 
  • Keep whisking for few minutes on a low/medium heat
  • The mixture will soon become thick
  • add oregano, pili pili flakes, salt to taste ,black pepper powder and nutmeg powder.
  • whisk for further few minutes.

Add your choice of steamed or sauteed vegetables .
And /or
Cooked,drained pasta

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Cloves (Lavang)

Its supposed to have :

  • Antimicrobial
  • Antifungal
  • Antiseptic
  •  Antiviral properties

It is considered helpful in relieving toothaches.

It aids in blood circulation and digestion.


Place 1 clove near the painful tooth and gently clamp with your teeth. Let the juices seep in slowly to help relieve toothache.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


                                                              CORIANDER CHUTNEY

You will need a blender which can grind fine. 

Washed ,roughly chopped fresh coriander        2 bunches
( Use the tender stalks)

Green Chillies ,washed,roughly chopped          1  or  2 

Lemon juice                                                   1 tsp

salt to taste

                                 Water - just enough to enable the mix to grind with ease.


Dalia (roasted split gram dal ) OR roasted Peanuts  1 tbsp. powdered
Ginger    1/2 inch piece peeled and chopped
Garlic      1 or 2 peeled and chopped
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp.


  1. Grind dalia ( or Peanuts) into a powder
  2. Add garlic,ginger ,green ,chillies and grind further.
  3. Add coriander in batches ( if the grinder is small) and grind till you get a fine paste.
  4. Add salt to taste, lemon juice and cumin powder and grind so that its blended properly.
  5. While grinding, add water as required to help grinding with ease.


If you like,you can add:

Mint leaves
Sweet neem(adhi patta/Limda) leaves
Sunflower seeds in case you don't have dalia
Dessicated coconut -a tablespoon or two.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bhindi Masala 
(Punjabi Style)

 Don't be afraid to try without all the optional ingredients. 
It will be way better than any shop bought food anyways!

Bhindi  250 gms
Onion       2 medium
Tomato     1 medium (optional)
Ginger      1 or 2 inch piece(optional)
Coriander leaves few sprigs (optional)
Green Chilli       1        (optional)
Lemon juice       1 or 2 tsp (according o your taste) (optional)

Cumin seeds  1 tsp
Asafoetida  a pinch (optional)
Turmeric        1 level tsp
Red chilly powder  1/2 tsp (or less according to your taste)
Coriander cumin powder (Dhana jeeru powder)   2 heaped tsp. (Optional)

Oil  2 tbsp
salt to taste

  1. Wash and wipe the bhindis with a tea towel. Cut and discard the end bits. Cut into halves and then lengthwise into four parts. Discard if you notice any black bits in any.
  2. Peel onions, rinse and cut in half and then cut into long thin strips or chop.
  3. Wash and cut tomatoes. Discard the green bit.
  4. peel and grate or pound ginger.
  5. Slit green chilli lengthwise.
  6. Wash and chop coriander

In a wide non stick pan:   

  1.  On a medium heat, add oil in the pan. 
  2. Add cumin seeds, green chilli .
  3. When the cumin changes color,add asafoetida and turmeric.
  4. Give a quick stir and add onions.Mix. Cook till softened.
  5. Add ginger, red chilli and dhana jeeru , a quick stir and add tomatoes.
  6. Lower the heat and let it cook covered for a minute.
  7. Add the bhindi. Mix well. 
  8. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  9. Uncover and mix and cook further for 5 to 7 minutes. Stir if needed so it cooks evenly.
  10. Poke a sharp knife through a bhindi, if it cuts into it with ease,its cooked.
  11. add coriander, lemon juice salt and mix well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


It is an antioxidant,antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
It aids in digestion and is very beneficial for a clear and glowing skin.

Acne: Mix turmeric powder with gram flour (besan) and make a paste with lemon juice or water.Apply to the face and wash away after 10 minutes.

Medicinal Value:  

Reduces cough,inflammation,congestion,cold etc. 
It also aids in suppressing nausea.

Boil water.
Add a 1/2 inch piece of ginger( pounded or grated)
a little cinnamon(dalchini) powder 
and 1 teaspoon of honey.

Strain and drink at regular intervals to relieve discomforts of a sore throat.