A Cool Lassi(e)

The minute I came to know about two days off in a row for my kid and husband, I started packing. Our choice of vacation spots are almost always the same. My parents place or my brother’s place. With my parents on their own vacation (humph!) the only choice is my brother’s place.

The place has an added attraction of my 3 month old niece, who coos and goos and does the most cute belly laugh when the mood hits her. So there is a good demand for live entertainment and the place is overcrowded with grandparents, aunts and uncles making funny faces and noises. I am here, determined to do my share for my niece!

For Radhika’s Blog Hop Wednesdays, I am assigned to Vatsala’s awesome blog for this week. I get things done only in the last minute and this time, since my camera’s memory card got damaged, I had to wait till I reached my brother’s place. I had to cook after I reached there and had to use his camera to take the pictures.

After a sleepless night of travel, I preferred something comforting to perk me up. Hey, I have some serious comedy to do for the little one! So finally zeroed down on the all time favorite, Lassi from Valsala’s blog. The pistachos really added a ‘rich’ flavor to this.


  • Yogurt                                    :   1 cup per person
  • Chopped Pistachos            :   1/2 tsp per glass
  • Sugar / Salt                           :   per taste
  • Vanilla Extract                    :  1/2 tsp, if using sugar (optional)
  • Ice Cubes                              :   Optional, if using cool yogurt


  1.  Blend the yogurt with sugar or salt, per preference. You can add vanilla extract too here.
  2. Pour into a glass, add the ice cubes and decorate with pistachos.

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Microwave Chocolate Pudding


I had zeroed down on a garlic rice recipe and a simple potato stew, as the last two recipes under the 5 ingredients or less category. Now, what should have been a post for garlic rice, is replaced with another decadent recipe!

Why? Because I tried doing things I shouldn’t have, and messed up our camera’s memory card. I have assigned (read as : bugged and threatened) Harry to fix it for me, so can’t post the garlic rice photo nor take a new one till the issue is fixed. So, here is a recipe from the draft.

I had made this a couple of months back and it was extremely delicious. Microwave makes it even simpler to make, making it all the more dangerous!

Honestly, I don’t need more calories, but I am like an ant when it comes to sweets. There is an undeniable and inevitable pull towards anything sweet. I don’t seem to have any control over it!


Makes 4 servings


  • Sugar                         :  1/2 cup
  • Cocoa powder       :  1/3 cup
  • Corn Flour              : 3 tbsp
  • Milk                           : 2 cups
  • Vanilla Essence    : 1 tsp
  • Chocolate strands, few silver balls : for decoration


  1. Combine the sugar, cocoa and corn flour in a microwave safe bowl. Add the milk, a little at a time, and whisking so that there aren’t any lumps.
  2. Cook on high in the microwave for 3 minutes. Stir, then cook again for 2-5 minutes – keep stirring in between at one minute intervals. The pudding is done when its shiny and thick.
  3. Add the vanilla essence or extract and a tbsp of butter (optional, I didn’t add) and refrigerate once it’s cooled down. Serve cold. Decorate with chocolate strands and silver balls.
You can check out the original recipe here.
Before my brother accuses me of stealing his idea, let me tell you that the description for sweet tooth (ant attracted towards sweets) came from him.
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Deceivingly Simple Peanut Chikki

I had mentioned about my pathetic memory only a couple of posts back (or, did I?!). Now to the portion where things get affected because of that. The beautiful peanut chikkis you see here, is the result of – not 1st, not 2nd, but a 3rd trial!

I visited quite a few sites and saw a couple of videos to familiarize myself with the process. Ingredients: only two items – sugar (or jaggery ) and peanuts. Process : Melt the sugar or Jaggery to soft ball stage and then mix in the nuts. That’s it, can’t get simpler than this – can it?

Now, I had the ingredients, I had the information. I had made fudge only the day before, without any disasters. So I was confident. Nothing can go wrong, or so I thought!

Step 1, Take 1 : Melting jaggery. Simple. Quite simple. But wait a minute, did I read something about water being added?

I went to check the recipe and by the time I was back, the jaggery had started burning. Stir. Stir. Stir. Phew, avoided a disaster. Need something to cool me down. A glass of cool water perhaps. Now what’s that smell again? Oh oh, forgot about the jaggery completely! Now there is no doubt about it. They are absolutely ruined.

Step 1, Take 2 : Scolding myself, I started once again from scratch. This time I tried with sugar. I didn’t move a bit from my place and I was stirring continuously. Stupid thing I did was to use the non stick pan. I couldn’t see the sugar getting caramelized and before I realized, I was stirring a stubborn black mass. Sigh…

Step 1, Take 3 : Melting jaggery once again. Not taking any chances. Added LOTS of water, too much actually. And no nonstick pan too this time. Stir, stir, stir. Yes, the syrup became thick (finally)! Soft ball, yes! Mixed in the peanuts and switched the heat off before I did more damage.

I poured this into a greased plate, preferring a square to a ball. Now, to flatten them, you need to press them with another plate of the same size. I did that, now this time, I should have used a non stick plate, which I didn’t. So half of the peanuts ended up in the bottom of the plate meant to press them down!

Can’t have a square with gaping holes, so peanut balls it is! I am seriously contemplating whether I should stop here or I should mention that the balls kind of flattened out in 4-5 hours! Apparently, the syrup was not set properly. Deep Sigh…

They tasted fantastic though, at least that made up for effort!

Lesson learnt : Don’t judge a recipe by the number of the ingredients or the simple method. Sometimes, these might be the most difficult to make.


  • Roasted Peanuts   :  1 1/2 cups
  • Jaggery / Sugar    :  1 cup
  • Water                        :  1/2 cup


  1. Break the jaggery into small pieces and add to the water. Heat this till the jaggery or sugar melts. Its a good idea to filter this at this point to remove the impurities from jaggery.
  2. Let this come to a boil, stirring continuously. Once they start getting thick, check whether they have reached the soft ball consistency.
  3. For that, add a drop of this slowly into a bowl of cold water. If the sugar or jaggery forms a soft ball and feels slightly thick when rolled between fingers, the consistency is correct.
  4. Add the peanuts and stir in low flame for a minute, till the nuts are coated with the syrup.
  5. Pour into a greased plate and once it cools down a bit, form balls of same size.


You can check here and here for better luck with these. You can check here for video.

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Candies – The Daring Bakers Challenge, August 2011

In this post, you will find

When there is almost 4 weeks notice time for me to whip something up, one would think it will get done by the third week at least. Mmm Hmmm – No No. This is my second DB challenge and I ended up doing this too in the last minute.

This month’s challenge was hosted by  Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives, and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. The challenge was making candies, a real challenge – since I didn’t know where to stop!

Tempering of chocolate is out of question for me since I don’t have any candy thermometer and again, for the hot and humid weather here,  it wouldn’t have worked well.

So truffles it was, since it didn’t need any thermometer. I decided and planned, in my mind of course, but didn’t spring into action till the last minute. Now for truffles, you need cream. And last week I went to at least three supermarkets in my area and they were out of stock. I have never had that problem before. Its always there when I don’t need it, and now that I want it, its out of stock!

Well, I came home and made some chocolate bark instead. I would have loved truffles though. I didn’t temper the chocolate, but melted them in microwave. Added a bit of this and that and tada… a beautiful chocolate bark.

I made peanut chikkis, called kadala mittai locally. The cooking disasters there deserve a separate post. So reserving that for a full post later, but the picture shows what I had after the third trial.

I had made Dulce De Leche too, unrelated to this challenge. Scroll down for a photo of that, the full post is available here.

The last one is Chocolate Fudge. The plain old traditional recipe. It was yum yum yummy! I made it in the evening one day and there was hardly any left by morning. The recipe is adapted slightly from here.

Ingredients: Chocolate Bark

This is not really a recipe, just the summary of what I did.

  • Chocolate                                              : 150 gms
  • Tutti Fruity (Candied Papaya)     : 1-2 tbsp
  • Sugar crystals                                     : 1 tbsp
  • Almonds, chopped                           : 1 tbsp
  • Peanuts                                                  :  1 tbsp
  • White chocolate                                 :  40 gm


  1. Melt the chocolate and white chocolate in separate containers in the microwave. Mix thoroughly every 30 seconds.Stop when all the chocolate has melted, making sure that the chocolate doesn’t burn.
  2. Keep the white chocolate aside.
  3. Spread the chocolate in a parchment paper. Put the toppings and press them a bit so that they won’t come out. Drizzle the melted white chocolate on top.
  4. Refrigerate till it is set. Break into pieces and enjoy!

Ingredients : Chocolate Fudge

  • Cocoa Powder          :  1/2 cup
  • Sugar                            :  2 cups
  • Milk                              :  1 cup
  • Butter                          :  2 tbsp
  • Vanilla Essence       :  1 tsp


  1. Grease a square baking pan and set aside.
  2. Add milk, sugar and cocoa in a big, thick bottomed vessel and mix till well combined.
  3. Bring this to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce the heat to minimum and stop stirring completely.
  4. This needs to be cooked till temperature reaches 238 degrees F(114 degrees C) in a candy thermometer.
  5. Else, you can cook till a drop of this mixture forms a soft ball when put inside a cup of cold water. The ball should flatten slightly between your finger when you touch it.
  6. Remove from heat. Add the butter and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon until the fudge loses its sheen.
  7. Pour into the greased pan and let it set.

Thank you Lisa and Mandy, the real challenge wasn’t making these – it was resisting the temptation to finish these off in one go!

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Potato, Potato!


My memory is really bad. Really, really bad! If I am trying a recipe from the internet, I come and check the recipe at least 20 times while making it.

Reminds me of how I used to make rasam, when I was in college. It was the same recipe and I would make it 5 times a week. One would assume that after making the same thing again and again, I would have gotten a hang of it. But no, I used to ask my grandma the recipe at every single stage. ‘The water is boiling, what should I do next?’ , ‘How many spoons of rasam powder should I add?’, ‘Can I add the curry leaves now?’. Same questions every single day. After sometime, grandma started answering me before I even ask the question!

This is a recipe from my old neighbour and it was so simple that I didn’t bother noting it down. Big mistake!! Because I would try a different version of this and get disappointed, since it didn’t taste the way its supposed to be. By sheer coincidence, we were in the same locality once again, but in a different country. I got the proper recipe from her and this time, I wasn’t making any mistakes. I wrote it down in my recipe book and have recorded it here in my space as well.

The original recipe requires you to do the whole cooking in stove top. But the microwave version makes it easy to prepare and uses less oil as well compared to stove top.



  • Potatoes                                     :   4-5, medium size
  • Onion                                           :   1 big, cut into chunks
  • Jeera                                            :   1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Chili Powder                             :   1 -2 tsp, per taste (or 2-3 red chillies)
  • Oil, turmeric powder, salt


IMG_4728 Wash  and cut the potatoes into wafer thin slices, like for potato chips. You needn’t peel them. IMG_4732 Cut the onion into big chunks and grind into a paste along with chili powder (or red chillies), jeera (if using), salt and turmeric powder. IMG_4735Apply this paste all over the potato pieces till everything is well coated.
IMG_4738Add 1 -2 tsp of oil and  microwave without covering, till the potatoes are 3/4th cooked. It took about 6-8 minutes in my machine. The time will vary from machine to machine, so keep watching it. 
IMG_4744Add 2 tsp of oil in a non-stick pan and add the partly cooked potato mixture and cook in low flame for  about 10-15 minutes, stirring every now and then. The more you cook, the more the potato is going to be roasted. I cook for even 20 minutes at times.
IMG_4746Check the seasoning and adjust. Take off the heat when potatoes have reduced in size, cooked fully and roasted partially.


This can be cooked completely in the microwave, without moving it to the stove top. You will have to add more oil and will have to keep stirring in between. You will need another 8-10 minutes.

This is my entry for Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon, under the category ‘Cooking with 5 ingredients or less’.

Check out here to see what the fellow participants are cooking.


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Mild Soya Nugget Curry

Bebo’s reaction to soya chunks are worth watching. He closes his eyes, rubs his tummy and says ‘MMmmmm…’. No idea where he learnt that from!!

I like soya in a hot spicy gravy, where in it can absorb all the flavors and taste really yummy, but Bebo prefers everything on the milder side. So this easy-peasy milk-based mild curry that features  now and then in our menu for the kiddo’s sake.

This is adapted from one of  Nita Mehta’s cookery books.



  • Soya Nutri-Nuggets                :   50 gm, about 1-2 cups (dry weight)
  • Hot Milk                                       :   1 cup
  • Tomatoes                                    :   2 big, pureed
  • Green Peas                                  :    1/2 cup, frozen
  • Chili Powder and Salt             :    1 tsp each, or per taste


  1. Wash the dry soya chunks and soak them in hot milk for at least an hour.
  2. Puree the tomatoes. Heat a big pan and add the tomato puree. Add salt and chili powder.
  3. Add the frozen peas and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the soya chunks along with the milk. Cook till the gravy is slightly thick.
  5. Check the seasonings and adjust accordingly. Serve hot with chapatis or puris.
The original recipe had lemon juice, garam masala, 1″ cinnamon & 2 cardamoms, but I always skip them.
Increase the spice level for adults.
Check out this page to see what other fellow bloggers have cooked up!
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Soya & Spinach Puris

While contemplating about weight gain over a bowl of ice cream, my friend reflected that – If the food is very very tasty, you can be sure that its  fatty. True… how true!!

The foods that make you drool are almost always fattening! Cakes, chocolate, ice cream – Uh hmm… not good for your backside! Try switching your tracks and think about savory goodies. The first thing that comes to your mind is potato chips. Slowly other deep fried items like vada, bonda, puffs follow…Sigh…

Poori is also one of the guilt treats. Harry and Bebo love these. I don’t know how to deep fry, am simply scared of handling hot oil. On second thoughts, its good that I am scared of oil. I am doing enough damage in the form of baked goodies!

These were made finally when Harry’s mother was visiting us. It has soya flour and spinach. This is as healthy as an unhealthy item can get ;-).

These colorful Palak Pooris, made with less than 5 ingredients, are my entry for the second day of Blogging Marathon.


  • Wheat Flour/Atta               :   1 cup
  • Soya Powder                         :   1/4 cup
  • Rava/Semolina                    :   1 tbsp
  • Spinach                                   :   1 cup chopped, half of a small bunch
  • Oil                                              :    to deep fry


  1. Grind soya chunks into a fine powder. Measure 1/4 cup of this and add the wheat flour and rava (if using) to it.
  2. Wash and clean the spinach leaves. Boil in a quarter cup of water for 2 minutes. Cool and blend into a puree.
  3. Add the soya, rava and wheat flours to the spinach puree and kneed to get a dough without adding any water.
  4. Divide the dough into small balls. Roll them into slightly thick circles of about 5″ diameter.
  5. Deep fry in oil and serve hot with potato masala.


The original recipe is from Nita Mehta’s book ‘Food for Children’.

The addition of rava makes the puri crisp. I didn’t use this though.

You shouldn’t rest the puri dough, since that would make it greasy (it seems).

Beetroot or pumpkin puree can be substituted for spinach to get purple or yellow puris.

Check out here to see what other fellow bloggers are doing.

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Dulce De Leche

I am up for quite a challenge this time. I am not talking about getting up early in the morning, I am talking about the Blogging Marathon. I am all ready for the seven day blogging sprint – the menu is planned, cooking has been started, photos are being taken and write ups are being drafted. All that is left is, upload and publish.

Now, that’s where I take the hit. The internet, my holy guru for everything, is pretty slow for the past some days. It will be slow till this month end, it seems.  I have to wait forever for the pages and the pictures to load, which drives me crazy. So I don’t come near the laptop as much as I used to. I am sure I will start showing withdrawal symptoms in a while if this continues!

Anyway, back to the event. Blogging Marathon is about seven continuous days of blogging, about the theme you have chosen from the list provided. I was born lazy and I plan to maintain it that way. So anything that makes my life easy, catches my attention fast. So I chose ‘Cooking with 5 ingredients or less’.

The first entry for the event is the sinfully tasty Dulce De Leche. This is something I am addicted to. All you need is a can of condensed milk and a pressure cooker. Its simple, easy and over in 30 minutes flat.

Enjoy the gooey goodness!


  • One can of 400 gm Condensed Milk


  1. Clean your pressure cooker and keep the condensed milk can inside. I make it lie down. Remove plastic cap or paper wrap, if any, from the can. I have a 5L cooker and I can cook two cans comfortably in it.
  2. Fill the cooker with water until the can is completely immersed in water. There should at least be 3″ of water above the can.
  3. Switch on the heat and wait for the first whistle. Lower the heat and cook in low heat for 20 -30 minutes after the first whistle.
  4. About 20 minutes on low heat (after the first whistle) will give you a not too thick Dulce De Leche, where as 30 minutes will give you one with thick consistency. Either way its yummy!
  5. Once the pressure drops, take out the can and let it cool completely before opening it.

Note: I use pressure cooker in my everyday cooking. So I am quite used to it. If you are not familiar or comfortable using a cooker, then please don’t try this method.

Don’t bother to find a recipe for using this, it will get over much before you get to that point.
Check out here to see what other participating bloggers are cooking up!
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