Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Snacky Tasty Spinach Mushroom Quesadilla

A great little vegetarian snack, a quesadilla is basically a mexican-style stuffed pancake, like a toasted sandwich, made with two tortillas sandwiched together with cheese and vegetarian filling.


  • 6 tortillas home made or store bought
To make tortillas
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp vegetable shorting/dalda
  • a pinch of salt
Mix all the above ingredients with enough water to form a smooth and form dough,like roti dough .Let it sit for 30 min. Divide into large lemon size ball and with a sprinkle of flour , roll them with a rolling pin to approximately six-inch diameter.

Heat a frying pan(tawa), place tortilla on it and cook on moderate heat for few minutes till it get light golden spots on each side. Prepare all the tortillas and keep aside.

For Filling
  •     1/2 cup sliced onions
  •     1 cup sliced bell pepper (any color)
  •     1 cup chopped spinach
  •     1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  •     1/2 cup baby tomatos
  •     1/4 tsp pepper
  •     1/4 tsp roasted cummin powder
  •     1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  •     2 tbsp olive oil
  •     1 tbsp grated cheddar cheese per casadia
  •     salt to taste

Heat oil in pan and add onions and fry for 2 min ,then add bell pepper and mushrooms and sautee for 3 min,add spinach ,baby tomato and sautee for 2 min then add salt and pepper,roasted cummin powder and keep the filling aside

Take one tortilla ,sprinkle the good amount filling on top of it ,sprinkle some cheese,chilli flakes and place another tortilla on top of it and press it softly and place it on hot tawa (fry pan) and let it cook each side one min.

I used a quesadilla maker but a tawa would do the same if you press it evenly all over the tortilla.

Remove ,cut them into wedges and serve hot with guacamole dip, tomato salsa or your favorite ketchup

Guacamole dip

  •  2 ripe avocados
  •  4 spring onions chopped
  •  1 small tomato chopped
  •  1 tbsp chopped jalapenos
  •  1 tbsp lemon juice
  •  3 tbsp of chopped cilantro (coriander)
  •  1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
  •  salt to taste

Scoop out the avocado and put all the ingredients in a bowl

Use a fork and mash it .

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Simple Oyster Mushroom Stir Fry and Sandwich

Fresh oyster mushrooms are hard to find in chennai, I accidentally came across a shop which was selling fresh oyster mushrooms. I was excited to see oyster mushrooms as they look so beautiful  Known to have many health benefits to fight cholesterol and cancer I think they deserve to be included in our diet at a regular basis.

The sandwich was very delightful to have with the soft mushroom filling and complimented very well with the flavors. This is a healthy low fat sandwich, you could also have it like a stir fry if you don't want to have it with the bread.


  • 1 cup sliced oyster mushroom
  • 4 bread slices
  • 2 tbsp sliced onions
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/4 tsp chopped garlic 
  • 1/2 tsp mustard sauce
  • 1/2 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
Heat oil in pan, add chopped garlic and mushrooms and fry till mushroom gets tender.
Add oregano, chilli flakes, salt and mix nicely, then add the chopped onions and stir mildly.

Toast the bread in the same pan and spread the prepared mixture on the bread slice, add some mustard sauce , tomato sauce and cover with the other bread slice. And press mildly, flip over and toast till it has a golden crust.

Serve warm.


1.In place of raw onions you can use caramelized onion.
2.You could spread mayonnaise and top it with the mushroom filling or use a cheese slice too with the filling
3.You could add salad leaves, fresh tomatoes, pickles jaleponos to the filling

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ash Gourd Halwa / Boodida Gummadikaya Halwa

This White pumpkin /winter melon/ ash gourd is commonly available in south indian markets and recently I was gifted this ash gourd from my neighbors garden. My mom used to prepare this halwa in my childhood so I got inspired to prepare it again after many years.

You would also be surprised to know the famous agra petha is also prepared with this ash gourd, this halwa has a similar texture however more soft and juicy.


  • 7 cups grated ash gourd
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3-4 pods crushed cardamom
  • 1/4 cup mixed dry fruits(kaju,almond,pista,sultanas)
  • 5 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • pinch of saffron (optional)
Heat half tbsp ghee in a pan ,add dry fruits and fry in medium flame till they turn golden color and then keep aside.

Cut the ash gourd to big chunks ,discard the seeds and remove the skin.Grate the ash gourd ,squeeze the excess water .Keep the pulp in a bowl.

Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a deep bottom non stick pan,add the grated squeezed ash gourd and fry in low flame ,cover and cook till all the water evaporates ,add the sugar increase the flame to medium and stir continuously and then add the remaining ghee spoon by spoon and cook until the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan.

Add the cardamom powder, a pinch of saffron and fried dry fruits , mix nicely till  they blend properly. Switch off the flame and serve warm. 

This halwa has good shelf life of 2-4 days and can also refrigerate for 2 weeks.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tongue Tingling Coriander Baby Potato Curry

This flavorful tongue tingling baby potato curry prepared with fresh cilantro/coriander with a blend of indian spices makes it a perfect accompaniment for rice and rotis.

  • 1/2 kg baby potatoes
  • 1 cup tightly packed coriander/cilantro
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1/4 tsp cummin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp urad dal/black gram without skin (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • a pinch of hing / asafoetida
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste
Cooking Procedure
Boil the potatoes ,peel the skin and keep aside
. Make a fine paste of cilantro n green chillies with an addition of 1 tbsp water and keep aside

Heat oil in a pan ,add urad dal,cummin seeds,mustard seeds and stir nicely .Once mustard seeds splutters add hing ,red chillies and fry for a 30 sec then add boiled potatos,turmeric and fry till it become golden brown ,at this point add cilantro paste,salt and mix properly
Cover the pan and reduce the flame to low , stir occasionally ,fry for 5 min and let the cilantro paste  properly coat the potatoes .  Add 1 tsp of lime juice , stir well and switch off the flame.Serve with hot rice or rotis .

In place of baby potatoes one can use normal potatoes too.Boil the potatoes ,peel them and cut them into long cubes and use.

If you are in a rush ,then simply peel and cut them into chunks ,fry them and once potato soft add the paste and cook.

You can add few garlic pods while making cilantro paste ,if you love garlic flavor in your food.

In place of coriander u can use methi/fenugreek leaves too,it will also taste awesome.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Exotic Chenna Poda / Caramelized Cottage Cheese

If there is one sweet that is famous in orissa as a signature dessert it would be chenna poda. This exotic baked cottage cheese cake is traditionally baked in oven or earthen fire. The burnt smell is awesome and good to taste.The literal meaning of chena poda is burnt cheese; chena is cottage cheese and poda means burnt.

Without wasting a moment try out the recipe and enjoy a mouthwatering dessert.

  • 1 1/2 cup grated paneer
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp rava/semolina
  • 3 crushed elaichi/cardamom
  • 2 tbsp kishmish/dry grape
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
For caramel
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp water 
Mix the paneer with semolina and knead it till becomes a soft and smooth dough. This process will take approximately 5 min. Now add the sugar, cardamom ,kishmish and baking powder and knead it for 3-4 minutes.Cover and keep it aside for 15 min

In the meantime prepare the caramel.

Heat a non stick pan low flame, add the sugar and let it melt.Shake the pan occasionally to make the sugar melt uniformly.It will become liquid and slow turn to golden brown.Keep a close watch over it otherwise it will burn.Once its caramelized to golden brown add the water and it will start bubbling and again  it will become more liquid.

Now pour the caramel into the baking bowls/tray and spread it quickly as much as possible and keep aside and let it cool.I used four ramekin bowls.

Fill the bowls with the paneer dough , press it uniformly and cover with aluminium foil.

Preheat the oven for 180 degrees, take a big bowl and fill with 1 inch deep water.Place the bowls/tray in this water and bake for 45 - 50 minutes or till it becomes light golden brown, test with a toothpick and it should come out clean.

Remove from oven and let it cool, invert the chenna poda out of the bowls in a small plate and serve warm.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kobbari Bellam Laddu / Coconut Jaggery Sweet Balls

Wishing all my blog friends a very happy diwali, a festive moment  is never complete with this simple recipe my mother taught me. This soft and delicious indian sweet is prepared in every indian home on festive occasions.


  • 1 big coconut grated
  • 200 gms jaggery grated
  • 2-3 crushed elaichi/cardamom
In a heavy bottom pan, mix the coconut and jaggery and cook it in medium flame.Stir occasionally every 1-2 minutes. The jaggery will begin to melt and  start binding with coconut and thicken slowly.

To  know the final stage for binding take a small  portion and try to make a ball out of it, if it binds properly then add the cardamon powder to the whole mixure , stir well switch off the flame immediately. Shift it to a clean plate and let it cool.

Once it is cool to handle yet warm and start making balls out of it.

You coconut jaggery laddu is ready.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Eggless Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

With a moist creamy texture and a enticing flavor of chocolate this cake would be the perfect weekend treat or potluck take-along and maybe a perfect treat for a deepavali get together as it is eggless !! .Its very light on the stomach and you can enjoy every soft bite. So here is it ...

  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup hot milk

Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.Grease the 8 inch round baking pan and keep aside. Sieve the dry ingredients,all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder together 3 times.

In another bowl add sugar,sourcream,butter and hot milk. Beat till sugar melts.Combine with the above dry ingredients and mix nicely until all lumps dissapear. To mix this you can use the hand blender with minimum speed.

Pour the batter in the greased pan, tap it for all air bubbles to escape. Bake it in the preheated for 30 minutes or test it with a toothpick until it comes out dry and smooth.

Take it out and keep it on a cooling rack. Once it cools overturn it on a plate.Decorate it with a little icing sugar sieved through a stencil.

Note:You can make your own sour cream at home by mixing 1 tsp yogurt with 1/2 cup low fat cream and keep it in a warm place for 3-4 hours to set. And you can use in your recipe as a sour cream.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Oriya Style Aloo Potala Rasa / Aloo Parwal Gravy

I am always excited to pick parwal from the star bazaar in chennai.This authentic dish is prepared in the northeast part of India. It is traditionally cooked with mustard oil, the aroma of mustard oil complements the other flavors of this gravy really well . So here is the authentic oriya style recipe that will make your family and guests asking for more ...

  • 12 to 15 parwal
  • 1 1/2 cup diced potatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cummin powder
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil (see the note)
  • 1/2 tsp himalayan salt or salt to taste.

Cooking Procedure
Wash the parwal and scrape them lightly with knife ,cut the ends and cut them half horizontally.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and shallow fry the parwal on medium flame till they become little soft and golden brown. Keep aside.

Then heat another 1 tbsp oil in the pan and shallow fry the diced potatos till they become little soft and golden brown and keep aside

In the pressure cooker heat another tbsp oil , add cumin seeds when it splutter, add onion garlic ginger paste,turmeric powder and stir till light golden brown. Add tomatoes and cook till soft.

Add all remaining powders,sugar,salt and stir until oil begins to saturate out of gravy.Then add the shallow fried parwal and potatoes and stir and blend the mixture with the veggies.

Add one cup of water mix nicely and cover the lid ,pressure cook for three whistles.Once it cools open lid and switch on the flame again and bring it to a boil.Mash some potato chunks in the curry to make the gravy little thicker.Check the consistency if needed add a little water.

Serve hot with rice or rotis.

1.To cook food with mustard oil,first heat oil until the mustard oil begins to smoke otherwise the mustard oil would smell and spoils the dish.

2.Dont peel the skin of parwal completely otherwise it will become mushy.

3.Cooking with mustard oil is purely optional, but I prefer to cook my gravies with mustard oil for the authentic flavor and healthy benefits.

4.Parwal is normally is deep fried before using in the curry however I preferred to shallow fry.


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