Leftover makeover – dal partha

It is spring break for the kids and by the end of each day, we were running out of ideas on how to keep kids fed. After a long day of feeding and cleaning, i decided to try an old trick known to all experienced mothers in India of making chapati dough with leftover dal, whole wheat flour and onions and then making parathas (griddle Indian bread). Kids eat it with plain yogurt or ketchup and us with leftover curry. The process was so quick…

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Spring cleaning of my pantry & refrigerator

] My pantry is usually very well stocked with different types of grains, flours, beans, legumes, nuts, spices, noodles, pastas, sauces, oils etc. I keep a running shopping list on my phone for items that run out or running low as a reminder to buy it when I am at the store next time.I don’t like to waste food so I am on the lookout for things that might go stale or bad. But periodically or sometimes a month or two before a long vacation,…

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Paneer Achari Kati roll masala

Kati rolls (look here for an explanation) using achari paneer (Indian cheese cooked with spices used for pickling) has become a staple in our house. What is there not to like?  These rolls filled with paneer cooked in flavorful pickle spices and vegetables are easy to make and one of the favorite foods for my kids. Sometimes when I am puttering around in the kitchen (like today), I will make a big batch of paneer achari masala and keep it. Once you have the masala already…

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Karela: my new favorite vegetable and minimalist way to prepare

Comfort food at its best – arhar dal, rice and karela! All leftovers enjoyed for a quick lunch. I was talking to my sister in India and she mentioned she had prepared Karela (करेला ) that day. Karela is a summer season vegetable and since this is the beginning of the summer in India, my sister told me that fresh karela was available in the market. I could picture tender green karela piled up in the vegetable markets in India. As I talked to her more,…

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School auction dinner – Home cooked Indian Vegetarian meal

Its no secret that i love to cook. But I really like planning and cooking for special occasions. Over last 10 years or so, I have been donating a home cooked Indian Vegetarian meal for fund raisers for my kids schools and other organizations. The idea is simple – The person who buys the meal gets to host the party for their friends and family at their house while I cook and provide food. It is great way for me to connect and offer my cooking…

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Trying no knead bread

I have had the recipe for a long time but for some reason, it just sat there in my recipe drawer. Every now and then, i will draw it out as the “next” thing to try but never ended up trying it. The recipe calls for a large oven safe pot for cooking, preferably a cast iron dutch oven. Last week I decided to sneak in an order of a 5 quart cast iron dutch oven while I was ordering other things from Amazon. It…

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Wonton Samosa

I think of samosa as the king of all snacks (described here). In India, good samosas are available everywhere and trying to make it at home is not worth the effort. There are halwai shops (read here for a definition) everywhere that make good samosas and sell at a reasonable price. Usually each shops has a set time in the afternoon to make fresh samosas. Since most of the neighborhood knows this time, you can see people queuing up around that time to get the…

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Baigun Bharta – smoked spicy eggplant

Roasted eggplants & preparation Baigun bharta is my ‘go to’ vegetable dish for all sorts of occasions. It is a great accompaniment in any Indian meal and can also be served as a dip/topping with crackers, bread. I prepare it for parties, picnics, potlucks and camping trips. Here I am preparing it as part of a vegetarian dinner meal I offered as an auction item to support my neighborhood school.  Eggplant is first roasted, usually directly on top of the gas flame, and then cooked…

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Fresh ground spices for bold flavors – Bhuna Jeera (Roasted cumin) and Dhaniya (coriander) pwder

It goes without saying that fresh ground spices will make your food more aromatic and flavorful. Grinding your own spices is easy and require hardly any time or technique as long as you know how to measure and have some machine to grind small batch of spices. I use a small coffee grinder. I do buy already ground spice powders but there are some that I always make my own. Making bhuna jeera (roasted cumin seeds) powder or dhaniya (coriander) powder is totally worth the…

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