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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mango Panna Cotta ~ Indianized with a bit of cardamom, ginger andSaffron - Happy New Year 2012

New Year and New Resolutions!! new resolutions???....well I don't even think I completed my this year's resolutions!!! as one joke goes 'My New Year resolution is not to make any New year resolutions' :)....just take life as it comes and be happy!...
Be Happy I say -- can anyone be just happy with what one has?....we always want more, its human nature right!!...

Wishing all my Friends and my silent and secretive readers a very Happy and Prosperous New Year! May All your wishes and 'resolutions' come true! May you reach your goals and commitments with much energy and happiness as when you made them in the first place!! :)) Love to you all!

As all good things come at once or come pouring on you, here they are pouring on me...New year, 300th post.....what better occasion to celebrate!!

300th post!!! and what way can be more exciting to celebrate the coming New Year, than to celebrate it with something sweet and something delicious. Something easy to make and equally decadent to eat!
A guilt-free and sinfully yummy dessert made healthy and more over served up with fresh fruit!!

I couldn't get a more beautiful and easy recipe to blog about on this occasion. Thanks to my 'Facebook Friends' and wonderful 'blogger friends' who gave me this beautiful idea and passed on some wonderful recipes using mango. Out of a few, I chose to make Panna Cotta incorporating the mango completely into the mix. Since I was going to use canned Mango puree, I guessed that would be the best way to go.

I wanted to make a dessert which had to be palate cleansing and light, so the addition of ginger and saffron did the trick. The combination of these to ingredients with mango gives a awesome flavor. To make the light version I chose to make it with half and half (as David Lebovitz suggested). A Indianized Mango dish can never go without a pinch of cardamom to enhance the flavor to Kulfi style (yum!)

You can omit any of the ingredients as required. Adding brown sugar gives it a nice touch to sweetness! Regular sugar can be used in its place.


2 and 1/2 cups half and half (you can use cream or whole milk for a more richer version)
1 and 1/2 cups mango pulp
4 tbsp brown sugar ( or 5 if you want it more sweet or use white sugar in its place)
1/4 tsp ground ginger (I added a bit more)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom or elaichi powder
pinch of saffron strands or kesar
2 packets of gelatin


In 1/2 cup of half and half, sprinkle the gelatin and leave it aside for 5 mins. (I did this first and did the rest next, so the gelatin had enough time to soften up, up to 10 min.). It blooms and softens up.

Heat rest of the half and half in a pan, until it just starts to boil.

Add the ginger, cardamom and saffron strands along with the brown sugar and whisk it in.

Remove from heat, add in the gelatin mixture and whisk so that it combines well.

Stir in the mango pulp and whisk it in well.

Pour into tiny tea cups or ramekins and refrigerate for about 2-6 hours.
Can be made the previous day, so that you can be sure it set completely!

To unmold - let the cup sit in a large dish filled with hot water for about 2-3 minutes and then turnover on a plate. If you have some more time before serving, or you think it melted more than required, immediately put it in the freezer, it will harden up beautifully and hold shape. This can be done after unmolding on to a plate too.

Serve it up just like that or with freshly cut fruit.


Update: Thanks to an observant reader who reminded me that I had forgot to write the step in which I added the mango pulp in. I added that step now. Thank You!

Linking this to Srivalli's Snacks Mela.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best of the year 2011

And here it is...sneaking up on us ever so quietly and quickly! "THE END OF THE YEAR"!! Cannot believe that year 2011 is already leaving us and we are gearing up for the new year 2012.
Lots of new things have happened in the past year, lots of things which I looked forward to and some which I haven't looked forward to.

Thanks to Srivalli, I decided to take part and post for Srivalli's Best of the Year 2011 event, so that I can go back up and live thru the yummy memories of 2011. I didn't think I will be able to do it, but I took out some time and did it yaayy!!

The very big thing which has happened this year, is our move to the west coast, to San Francisco.
This move has some good things and a few not so good things attached to it! Well whatever they are we have come to like this place slowly and the process of getting settled in, is slowly ending! I know its taken so long...almost 6 months....but maybe that's small compared to the 10 years which we have spent in the east coast!

There are times when I couldn't or can't blog regularly and that's what I have missed the most! Times when I can't visit other blogs and enjoy their yummy creations is what I miss most..I love oogling at yummy pictures and there are so many yummy ones out there! It gives me peace to watch at delicious posts of yummy pictures...the best way to spend my day!

I miss doing the Blogging Marathon and the Indian Cooking Challenge, which kept me on my toes and let me to discover new dishes and make new ones to enjoy.
I miss taking part in events ...oh these time constraints!!! Not liking it a bit!!

End of the year always makes me busy with all the festivals and holidays and making me not blog regularly.
I wish in the new year I will be able to overcome these issues and be more regular and come around more! Oh how I wish I will be able to do this!!

Thanks to Facebook, I have made so many friends with whom I share common interests and I know I can depend on them for prompt answers to any of my questions!...Love you all!

Not that I am not cooking or taking any pictures, I have so many in drafts that I wish I could put them in front of you guys more often! :)

Here are a few clicks for you to enjoy!

Coming to the Best of the year 2011 on my blog...I should say all are yummy, delicious, simple and easy to make! but since I am going to highlight a few, here they are -

Vegetarian Dishes -

Karam Annam

Vangi Bath

Lemony Quinoa

Zucchini Sambar

Mixed Vegetable Paratha

Quinoa Side Dish with Peppers and Onion

Non-vegetarian Dishes -

Chepala Pulusu / Fish in tangy, sweet and sour gravy

Kasoori Methi Chicken

Lamb / Mutton Kofta curry

Roghan Josh

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Chilli Soup

Appetizers, Snacks and Sweets -


Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Borugulu / Puffed Rice snack

Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels

Flat Mediterranean Pizza

Cinnamon Sugar Twists

Mini Zucchini Pancakes

Brown Rice and Flax seed Dosa

Blueberry Pound Cake

Vegetable and Corn Chowder

Here to name a few....
And Many Many More....I hope you guys will find time to go thru them and enjoy them as much as I did!

And soon to come my 300th Post and a delicious post yet - Mango Panna Cotta

Thanks To all of you for bearing with me and reading thru this post :)
Happy Holidays!!! :)
I will be back soon with my 300th post to welcome the new year - Mango Panna Cotta - Keep watching this space....

Sending this LiteBite's Virtual New Year's eve party, hosted by Sanjeeta of Lite Bite

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rava Kobari ladoo / Ravva Coconut ladoo

So how is everyone doing?...Is everyone busy with the holidays coming up?...
We went around San Jose and San Francisco.. Christmas tree watching or should I say beautiful lights around the city watching...:)
This anyway wasn't very much possible back in the east coast, where it used to be cold and snowy sometimes that making a trip to downtown seemed as big hassle than enjoyment. That's what is different here...My plants are still sitting on the deck and its December!!...well I would have bought them in back in the east coast, but here tho it does get cold in the nights, morning sun is much warmer than in the east coast...
OK this post is becoming more like a comparison contest, let me stop here :)

Here is one of the easiest and flavourful ladoo you can make. Almost all the ingredients will be found in an Indian pantry and so its not at all difficult to put it together.
And who doesn't like the round balls of yummy goodness! :)
These are so easy and instant to make that you should really think about making them to potluck or a party which came upon you as a pouncer :). really they are so easy to make.


1 cup rava
1 cup powdered dry coconut
1 cup sugar
pinch of elaichi
1 tbsp cashew
1 tbsp raisins
4 tbsp of ghee


Dry roast the rava in a open pan, till it starts to turn color. Remove from heat and keep aside.
In one tbsp of ghee, brown the cashews and raisins and keep aside.
On very low heat, combine the dry coconut, sugar, elaichi and roasted rava along with the remaining ghee. Mix till you feel the sugar is starting to melt. This should take like 5 minutes.
Add in the cashews and raisins.
While it is still hot, starting making ladoos, by rubbing tiny amount if ghee on your palm so that the mixture won't stick to you.
This can be stored for up to 10 days in an air tight container.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A quick twist on the regular breakfast or snack - Podi Idli - Steamed Rice cakes tossed up with delicious lentil powder

Fun time is almost here...its almost Christmas and New Year's is around the corner! More importantly school vacation is almost here and Kids will be home 24/7 for 2 weeks.
Well one more week for that to happen, but I need to get prepared before vacation starts...sound proof my ears, increase voice pitch, increase in high energy and decrease on sleep!!! Isn't that the way to go?...How much we like our kids spending a few days at home hoping that we will have a well spent vacation together with quality time, things such as above have to be taken care of ;)) We do enjoy all the things and have lots of fun in the end (by breaking up fights between brothers) fast do these kids grow up really...cant they slow down a bit??

So as long as they are at home, I love to cook for them, make a variety of eatables, some which they enjoy, some which I want to cook :). Keep them filled and happy.

Here is a quick and easy twist on the regular idlis, steamed rice cakes. I am sure all of us at one point of time must of ordered this in the South Indian Vegetarian restaurants, so we are familiar with it.
The recipe which is a sharing with you is surely much tastier and different from the ones you get in the restaurants, I should say much more spicier and yummier too..:)

This can be quick breakfast or a mid-day snack!!

I use the mix of Kandi podi and Dhaniyalu podi (coriander spice mix powder), but you are welcome to use which ever powder you have stocked at home.
If using only single powder, don't hesitate to add a little jeera powder and coriander powder to give it a lift in taste.
Leftover idlis are best for this prep, but if using fresh ones, use ones which are cooled down completely, to avoid them breaking apart or falling apart when tossing.

Ingredients: (for single serving)

3-4 leftover or well cooled down idlis, cut into bite sized pieces
1-2 tbsp kandi podi and dhaniyalu podi mixed

1/4 red onion, sliced
2 green chillies, sliced
1/4 tsp chana dal
1/4 tsp urad dal
pinch of mustard seeds
pinch of cumin seeds
2 dry red chilies, broken
few curry leaves
chopped coriander leaves for garnish
1 tsp olive oil or if you prefer neyyi or ghee


Heat the oil in a kadai or a pan.
Start tempering with urad dal, chana dal. When they are about to turn brown, add in the mustard seeds and cumin. When they splutter add the curry leaves.
Add the onions, red chillies, green chillies and saute till they are almost translucent, but not completely!
Add the pieces of idlis along with the lentil spice mix powders or kandi podi and dhaniyalu podi. Toss the idlis so that they get completely coated with the podi.
Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and Serve!!
Enjoy with some delicious chutney or plain! Yum!!!

Linking this to Srivalli's Snacks Mela.

Linking this to Sweet Heat Challenge -Let's rock Indian on Michelle's bog!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baked whole wheat carom biscuits / Baked Limkilu / Baked Diamond cuts

Days are just flying by, can't believe it already December 2011. I remember Jan 2011 like it was y'day. Now its already December. Where did all the months go?
Well there surely were some major changes this year for me. Still getting used the newness of this place. Do not know when I will wholly get used to this place!

With the winter coming upon us, there are times when you need something to munch on...something crispy ...if you are like me....salty the better. I do like sweets but, surely I love to munch on something salty more.
This is a simple recipe which I modified from the original recipe I had. The original recipe is called "Limkilu" and are deep fried, made of all purpose flour.
Here the modification is that, its made of whole wheat flour. Instead of using butter or ghee completely, I used vegetable shortening. And best of all, its baked like crackers, instead of deep fried.


2 1/2 cup whole wheat
1/4 cup or 4 tbsp vegetable shortening
1/4 cup or 4 tsp butter
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp carom seeds
salt to taste
1 tbsp yogurt
warm water to knead
Olive oil to brush

let it rest for 10 min

bake @ 350


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix all the top ingredients together to form a soft dough. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
Roll it out to a thin chapathi. Using a knife, cut into squares or diamonds shapes.
Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, turning over once and brush lightly with olive oil on both sides.
Remove when browned. This shouldn't take another minute or two.
Serve when cool. Store in an air tight container. Will keep good for a week to 10 days.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Appalu...different version / Fried flat sweetened dough

As the days get shorter, I get lazier is probably in the correct ratio!...well not really, but still so many things to do and shopping ;) has been keeping me away....I am trying to click pictures before the sun goes down and that's a real I don't have my light box made (again) as yet...which maybe now since its a sign, by the sun setting so soon, that i should go ahead and make one again!.....only problem is where can I keep it safe, without my kids getting to it!!....IN THIS TINY HOUSE!!!

Coming to the recipe, this is also one of the naivedhyam offered to God for Lakshmi Pooja. It is kind of different since it has rava, maida and coconut, and most of all its deep fried.
What doesn't taste good when its Deep fried!!...I am sure Gods love it too! :)
Anyways...the fresher the dough made...the better, so that it doesn't fall apart in the oil.
Kneading the dough well also helps in not falling apart.
The traditional way for this to be made is deep frying, but if you don't want to, then surely try the shallow fry. Just brown it on both sides.


1/2 cup ravva
1/2 cup maida, all purpose flour
1/2 cup fresh coconut, grated
1/2 to-3/4 cup bellam, jaggery
pinch of cardamom powder
1-2 tbsp ghee, neyyi
water to need to dough

Oil for Deep frying


Roast the rava, for 2 min.
Mix this with maida, freshly grated coconut, grated jaggery, elaichi powder and neyyi.
Use slightly warm water to mix...and knead for a aleast 5 mins. Keep aside for 10 minutes.
Heat oil in a kadai or if shallow frying, in a open pan.
Take small pieces of the dough, flatten it in yor palms, using tiny bit of ghee or oil.
Fry till they are golden brown on both side. Remove onto a paper napkin.
Serve as Naivedhyam, serve warm if possible.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sweet Boondi / Sweet crunchy petite balls

In my house, almost all of us will first go for any hot and spicy eatables rather any sweet stuff. My kids are now only starting to like some of the Indian sweets and are willing to try them out.

For that reason, I usually prepare spicy snacks more than sweet ones.
When I was making sweets for Diwali, I wanted to make something which would be easy and also easy to eat and something which they already know kind of thing....

I am sure we all know and have eaten sweet Boondi at one point of time in our life but the kids probably only know Boondi Ladoo and not the simple version which is the sweet Boondi.

That's the reason I went on to make Sweet boondi and it is very easy to make and takes about an hour from start to finish.
The sweetness and aroma of the saffron strands and cardamom powder makes this a very tempting and addictive snack.
This is also sometimes served as naivedyam and prasadam in Temples. So what are you waiting for, go ahead and try it out!

Required: a Boondi Ladle

1 cup besan
1 cup rice flour
pinch of baking soda
warm water to make into batter

Oil for deep frying

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
pinch of saffron strands
pinch of elaichi

2 tbsp golden raisins
2 tbsp cashews or cashew halves
ghee for roasting the cashews and raisins


Mix the ingredients together with some warm water into a thick batter.

When oil is hot enough, Use the regular ladle to spoon some batter onto the boondi ladle.

Use the regular ladle to make circular motions on the Boondi ladle so that the batter drops as balls into the oil.

The batter, when in oil, will puff up into balls. Fry for minute, not till they are totally crunchy or brown.

Remove onto paper napkin. Make all the boondi with the rest of the batter.

Make sugar syrup in a wide pan with the sugar and water. Let it boil until it comes to one string consistency. Add the cardamom powder and few strands of saffron.

Add the Boondi and mix well to get all of them coated. They also absorb the syrup and become dry when cooled.

Fry the cashew pieces and raisins in a bit of ghee to golden brown and add to the sweet boondi.

Note: Refer to the post Spicy Boondi on how to make the boondi.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Twist on the traditional 7 cup burfi / Almond Besan burfi

Its been kind of a busy few days after Diwali....and also it seemed like a good time to take some rest :)
Now as more and more holidays are coming our way, its time we dish out more sweets and entertain more friends...I am talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays....Ya they are right around the corner and kids will be home too...

Most of the sweets which I had made for Diwali are almost over, but I didn't find time to write about them, so I will post them...keep a eye on that...
And since its time to again can feel to make these sweets for your awesome guests and I am sure they will love them! :)

Here is a quick and simple sweet, something like Mysore Pak, and something like 7 cup sweet burfi. That's why I said a twist on the traditional 7 cup burfi :)...basically I used the same type of ingredients with 1 or 2 being different to come up with the 7 cup ratio.
Its quick and easy  to make and it may take anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes from start to its surely is easy right!!!
My kids loved this and the mysore pak I made, will post mysore pak soon....and they were gone in a week. They can be stored for about 10 days in a air tight container.


1 cup almond powder (I powdered some almonds as required)
1/2 besan
1/2 oil
1 cup ghee
2 sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup grated or powdered coconut (I used grated)
pinch of elaichi or cardamom powder


Grease a pan or tray or plate on all sides and keep aside.
Boil some milk in a heavy bottomed pan.
After it comes to a boil, add sugar and let it completely melt and keep simmering till the milk and sugar thicken to a one string consistency. Add in the elaichi.
Add the besan slowly so that it does not form any lumps. Stir in well.
Add the almond powder slowly as not to form any lumps. Mix in well.
Add the grated coconut and mix in well.
Slowly add the oil and stir it in so that it is well incorporated into the mix.
Then add the ghee or clarified butter, 1 tbsp at a time, so that it gets well incorporated.
Keep stirring until the whole mix leaves the sides and bubbles on the sides.
Remove onto the greased plate. Pat it down and even out the thickness.
Let it cool for 5 mins before cutting into it and making shapes.
Let it cool completely before you can break it into pieces.
Can be stored for couple of weeks in a air tight container.
Serve and Enjoy!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mexican Tortilla Soup

For the last and final day of the marathon, here is my another favorite 'Mexican (Chicken) Tortilla soup'

Another hearty and wholesome soup which can be called a full meal. Made with chicken and black beans, topped with crispy tortilla chips, this one is a sure hit in the winters.
Add or minus more veggies, add a avocado and its just becomes more healthy...nothing can go wrong with that.

Not a very difficult soup to create and you can always use fresh marinated chicken in place of shredded chicken, just make the cooking more more, till the chicken gets cooked.
You can always delete the chicken and add a variety of beans to make it a vegetarian soup. :)

Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Anaheim,  jalapeno chili, chopped up
4 cups chicken broth or veggie broth for vegetarians
1-2 tbsp tomato paste
1 can, diced tomatoes, or 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
Salt to taste
1 can of black beans
1 cup shredded cooked chicken (optional, can add a variety of beans instead)
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
Chopped fresh cilantro

1 tbsp lime juice
Few broken pieces of tortilla chips or freshly made chips out of corn tortilla


Heat oil in a pot.
Add the onion and garlic. Cook till translucent.
Add the chopped chili, tomato paste and diced tomatoes.
Add the broth and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 -20 minutes.
Add the cumin powder, coriander powder and chili powder.
Add salt and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Add the shredded chicken along with black beans. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Before serving add in the lime juice and chopped cilantro leaves.
Serve topped with sour cream, some Monterrey cheese and the crispy tortilla chips.

Jump on here to see what's cooking on the final day of the marathon in my fellow blogger's kitchen.

Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salad's Mela.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Simple and Easy Cucumber Salad

Today recipe for the 6th day of the blogging marathon, is probably the easiest one since I started blogging....not that most of the recipe are not easy, but this one beats all hands down!!
With just one main ingredients and rest of the items which are always stacked in the pantry, it makes for quick easy crunchy who can beat that! ?? lol....
Now this is not only a quick salad, but if your kids love to eat cucumber, you could try it this way and they might just enjoy the change.


1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp sugar (or less)
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
1 tbsp chopped parsley


Thinly slice the cucumber with the skin on.

Mix water, lemon juice, sugar, salt and black pepper.

Add to cucumber and chill for at least 1-3 hours.

Before serving, drain the liquid and add chopped parsley.

Serve chilled.


Jump on here to check on whats cooking in my fellow marathoners' kitchen.

Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salads mela.