Thursday, December 25, 2014

Masala Khichdi | Vaghareli Khichri : Gujarati Style

During the last couple of years, I learnt many Gujarati recipes. Masala Khichdi is one among them too. Thanks to my friends here. I usually make this on a lazy weekend. It is healthy, filling and I wont feel guilty for not cooking a complete meal. This is a complete win-win deal :)

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30-40 mins
Serves: 3-4

Basmati rice: 1.5 cups, refer notes
Split gram dal | hesaru kalu | hara moong: 1/4 cup, with skin
Moong dal | hesaru bele | skinned gram dal: 1/4 cup
Salt: As needed

Vegetables: 2.5 cups, diced (I used French beans, carrots, potatoes, and eggplants)
Onion: 1 medium sized, chopped fine
Spinach: 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Green peas: 1/4 cup, I used frozen

Oil: 2 tsp
Ghee: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Cinnamon: 1 inch stick
Clove: 4-6 nos
Curry leaves: 4-6 torn
Green chili paste: 1 tsp, more or less
Ginger paste: 1 tsp
Garlic paste: 1 tsp
Garam masala: 1/2 to 1 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
Water: As needed

Wash both the lentils thoroughly and let them soak for 30 mins.
Wash the basmati rice separately and keep it aside.
In a big sauce pan, add ghee and oil. When hot, throw in the mustard seeds, cinnamon and clove. When mustard seeds splatter, add the cumin seeds. When cumin seeds turn golden brown, throw in the curry leaves, the onion and saute until the onions become translucent.
Add the diced vegetables, chopped spinach and mix. Cook the vegetables on a medium heat uncovered for 3-4 mins.
Put the turmeric, green chili paste, ginger and garlic paste to the vegetables and mix.
Add water and allow the water to boil.
Once water starts boiling, throw in the soaked lentils, salt and garam masala. Give it a stir.
Keeping the pan half covered, cook the lentils for 10 mins in medium heat. Once the lentils are half cooked, add the green peas and rice.
Cook it until the rice is soft and fluffy. (It will not take more than 10-15 mins).
Once rice is cooked, cover the sauce pan and let it sit for another 10 mins.
Fluff up the khichdi and serve it with raita or kadhi or any side dish of your choice.


  • I generally add water in the below mentioned proportions. 1 (rice + lentils) = 2 to 2.5 water
  • This recipe can be customized according to what you have or what you want. You can replace moong dal with toor dal, basmati rice with any other rice (like sona masoori, ponni or long grain rice). Throw in whatever vegetables you have. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rawa Idli Recipe (Without Yogurt or curd) | Vegan Rava Idli Recipe : South Indian Recipes

How to make the popular Rawa idli?

I got a sudden craving for rawa idli one day and decided to do it the same evening for dinner. As usual roasted the rawa, only to find out that there was no yogurt in my pantry. The determined me decided to make rawa idli without yogurt. The idli turned very spongy and soft even without the yogurt. Do want to know, what did I substitute yogurt with? Jump to the recipe!!

Some side dishes that go well with this idli are:
Bombay Saagu
Ginger Chutney
Kadlebele Chutney | Gram dal chutney

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins (for each batch)
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients: (Makes about 25 idlis)
Semolina | Rawa | Cream of Wheat: 2 cups
Quick cooking oats: 3/4 cup
Avalakki | Poha | Rice flakes: 3 tbsp, optional

Oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Urad dal | Black dal: 2 tsp
Channa dal | Gram dal: 1 tbsp
Cashew nuts: 1 tbsp

Coriander leaves: 1/4 cup
Grated carrots: 1/4 cup

Salt: To taste
Eno fruit salt: 1.5 tsp, refer notes
Vinegar: 1 tbsp
Water: As needed

Other ingredients:
Oil: Few drops to grease the idli mould

Wash the rice flakes thoroughly and soak them in water for 5-10 mins.
Heat oil in a broad sauce pan or wok. When oil is hot, throw in the mustard seeds, urad dal, and channa dal. When dal turns golden brown, add the cashew nuts and mix until the cashew nuts turn golden brown.
Add the rawa to the pan and roast the rawa on a medium heat for 3-4 mins. Add the oats and roast again for a minute.
Remove the roasted rawa from the heat. Allow it to cool completely.
Drain the water from the rice flakes (poha) and add it to the rawa mixture.

Add about 2 cups of water to the rawa and mix well to make a thick batter.

Mix the vinegar with a quarter cup of water and pour it to the batter. Mix again and allow it to rest for 20 mins.

Put water to the steamer (or idli cooker or pressure cooker). Turn on the heat and let the water boil.
Just before making the idlis, add the salt, more water, grated carrots, and finely chopped coriander leaves to the batter. Mix well.

Finally, add the Eno fruit salt to the batter. Whisk the batter well.

Grease the idli moulds. Pour about 2-3 tbsp of batter to each mould and steam the idlis for 15 mins.
After 15 mins, turn off the heat and allow the steamer to cool for 5 mins.
Scoop out the idlis and serve it with chutney of your choice.

If you are using pressure cooker to steam the idlis, refer this post.
You can substitute Eno Fruit salt with the same amount of baking soda. If you are making the idli in two batches, divide the batter into two. Add fruit salt only to the batch going to the steamer. Do not add the fruit salt at once.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tips to freeze parathas ( Step by step instructions and pictures )

........  How to make Indian food in bulk and freeze?
......... How to freeze parathas for parties?

This space took a back seat because of my travel, many unplanned events and mostly my laziness. However, I am still active in my facebook page.and Instagram . If you want updates about my life, you are free to like me there. Now, hopefully I'm back here too....

Before leaving to India, I had to cook food for three weeks for my kiddo and hubby. So, I started experimenting with freezing the food that I cooked. Not that I didn't do it before, but I did try freezing idlis, dals too. So, I thought I'll share with you some of the tips about freezing the parathas. Parathas can be easily freezed for upto a month.

Here are some paratha recipes that you can cook and freeze.

All you need is....
Some freshly rolled parathas

Wax paper sheets(cut into a 5" square)

Ziplock bag

Roll about 10 parathas. Heat the skillet on a medium-high heat.
When the skillet is hot, drizzle about 1/4 tsp of oil to the skillet. Dust the parathas and warm both the sides of the paratha for 20 secs only. Very few brown spots should be formed on both the sides of the paratha.
Remove it from the griddle and repeat the same procedure for the remaining parathas.

Allow the paratha to cool completely. Dont stack them. Spread them on a big plate.
Once completely cool, place the wax paper sheets in between each paratha and pop them in the ziplock bag.

Label them and freeze until further use.

This is how the zip-lock looks after being  freezed for 6 hours.

Do not thaw the parathas. Just remove one at a time from the freezer and roast/cook on a hot skillet. (The same way you cook the freshly rolled parathas). 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Nippattu | Thattai : South Indian Crispy Snack Recipe

Nippattu is a deep fried Indian snack that is perfect for the coming Deepavali festival. You can prepare this couple of days in advance too. It stays fresh for up to 10 days.

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins

Ingredients: (Makes about 30 nippattu)
Rice flour: 1 cup
Maida | AP flour: 1/2 cup
Chickpea flour | Besan: 1/2 cup
Roasted gram | Hurigadale | Putani: 2 tbsp
Roasted peanuts: 2 tbsp
Grated dry coconut: 1/2 cup
Sesame seeds: 1 tsp
Hing | Asafoetida: a big pinch
Red chili powder: 1 tsp, more or less
Salt: As needed
Hot oil or Vegetable shortening: 1 tbsp, refer notes
Water: As needed

Other ingredients:
Oil to deep fry the nippattu

Sieve the rice flour, maida and chickpea flour separately and keep them aside.
Roughly crush the roasted peanuts and putani (roasted gram). Keep them aside.
Take a mixing bowl. To that add rice flour, maida, chickpea flour, salt, hing, chili powder and vegetable shortening.

Mix until the shortening is incorporated in the flours. The flours should be slightly crumbly.
To this, add the grated dry coconut, sesame seeds, crushed peanuts and roasted gram. Mix again.

Add little water at a time to make a soft and yet not sticky dough. Refer note # 2 below.

Grease an aluminium foil or parchment paper.
Make marble sized balls out of the dough.
Flatten the dough on the greased foil. I made about 2 inch circles. Do not make it too thin.

Heat oil in a wok. When oil is hot, drop 2-3 nippattus (depending on the oil used) at a time & deep fry it on a medium heat until they turn golden in color.

Drain the fried nippattu on a kitchen towel & allow it to cool.

Repeat the procedure of flattening and deep frying until you finish the dough.
Once cool completely, store them in air tight containers.

  1. I used Crisco Vegetable Shortening (similar to Vanaspati or Dalda). You could use hot oil instead of vegetable shortening. If using hot oil, add about 1.5 tbsp. 
  2. If you are making the nippattu in big batches, divide the mixed flour into 2-3 equal parts. Add water to one portion at a time and make the dough. You should not let the dough rest for a long time. Hence, dividing the flour and making dough helps. 
  3. I repeat. Do not flatten the nippattu too much. It should be the thickness of a cracker or marie biscuit.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Eggless condensed milk cake | Eggless sponge cake

PS: I am a beginner in frosting the cake, so please bear with me until I perfect the art.

It's raining cakes & cupcakes at my home. I baked 2 large cakes and about 45 cupcakes for my son's and hubby's birthday. Both their birthdays are in the same week. It was a baking fiesta for me at home.

I normally use the yogurt/curd recipe to make the eggless vanilla sponge cake, but this time thought of making it rich using condensed milk and butter. I prefer this over the yogurt one. I have made it many number of times and it is always a hit at home :)

This is a basic sponge cake. You could frost it however you want or have it as is. I have tweaked the recipe a little as I did not have orange juice at home.

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Baking Time: 35-45 mins
Recipe Source: My Diverse Kitchen

Ingredients: This cake yields about 16 pieces (I made it in 9" round tin)
Dry ingredients:
AP flour/Maida: 2.5 cups
Baking Powder: 2 tsp
Baking soda: 1 tsp
Salt: A pinch

Wet ingredients:
Sweetened Condensed milk: 14 ounce can or about 400gms
Butter: 3/4 cup or 1 & 1/2 sticks
Water: 1 cup
Vinegar: 1 tbsp
Vanilla Extract: 2 tsp

Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C.
Grease the baking tray using a non stick baking spray.
Sieve all the ingredients mentioned under the dry ingredients section.
Melt the butter.

To the melted butter, add the condensed milk, water, vinegar and vanilla extract.

Mix gently and keep them aside.
Scoop the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl & mix them gently. Make a well in the center of the flour.
Pour the mixed liquid over the flour & mix. Use a whisk or a spatula to mix them. Do not whisk. Just mix them gently.

Once both the ingredients are mixed well, pour the batter to the greased baking tray. Little lumps here and there is okay.

Tap the tray and bake the cake for about 35-45 mins. Mine got done in about 42 mins.
Remove the cake from the oven & allow to cool for 10-15 mins on a cooling rack.

After 15 mins, run the knife on the edges of the cake & flip the baking pan over the cooling rack.
Tap the bottom of the pan gently and remove the baking pan. The cake will slide off easily.

Allow the cake to cool for a minimum of 1 hour before slicing them.
To frost the cake, you need to cool the cake for couple of hours.

I frosted the cake with the left over chocolate butter cream icing and sprinkled some powdered sugar. I decorated it with some chocolate chips and the cake is ready.

  • Baking time of the cake depends on the kind of baking pan/tray used. If you use dark colored pan like the one shown above, the baking time will be more. If using a aluminium foil or thin aluminium tray, the baking time will be less. So, keep a close eye on the cake after 25-30 mins. 
  • To check if the cake is baked or not, insert a toothpick to the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is done.
  • You could use Nestle's Milkmaid to make this cake. 
  • I will give the chocolate frosting recipe in my coming posts. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ribbon Pakoda | Ribbon Murukku | Indian deep fried snack: Gokulastami Recipes

Are you wondering why I am posting a Gokulastami recipe now, when the festival was over about a month ago. Hold on.., for few of us... the festival is not over yet. We are celebrating the Gokulastami (Krishna Janmastami) on the coming Monday (15th September 2014).

I noted down the ribbon pakoda recipe during my visit to India. When I searched the internet, I found many recipes for ribbon pakoda. Each of them was different. Hence, I went ahead with what I had noted down. It came out very crisp.

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: About 30 mins

Rice flour | Akki hittu: 1 cup
Gram flour | Kadale hittu: 1/2 cup
Butter: 1.5 tbsp, melted or softened
Salt: As needed
Asafoetida | Hing: a pinch
Pepper powder: 1 tsp
Water: As needed

Other ingredients:
Oil: For deep frying

Add the rice flour, gram flour, salt, asafoetida, pepper powder to a mixing bowl.Add the softened butter.

Mix well. The flours should get coated with the butter.
Add water little at a time to the flour mixture and make soft, non sticky dough. The dough should be smooth but non sticky.

Heat the oil in a wok for deep frying.
Grease the murukku maker. Use the ribbon pakoda plate. Add the dough to the murukku maker.

When oil is hot, press the ribbon murukku directly on to the oil. Cook it on a medium high heat until it turns golden brown.

Flip the pakoda & cook on both sides.
Drain the ribbon pakoda on a paper towel. Repeat pressing the pakoda & frying until the dough is over.

Cool the pakoda & save it in a air tight container. Can be stored for about 10 days.


  • As soon as the murukku is dropped in oil, the oil makes a "shh" sound and you see lots of bubbles in the oil. As the murukku gets cooked, the sound reduces to zero & the oil becomes clear.
  • You could use about 2 tbsp of hot oil instead of butter to make a vegan version.

Featured Post

Noodles and Vegetables with Honey Ginger Sauce

Am I the only one who crave for noodles when sick with cold and sore throat? I love this noodles with honey-ginger sauce and it is perfe...