Aug 29, 2012

Chilli Cheese Corn Toast

                      One of the most simple and delicious appetisers to be served along with soup or just to be served as snacks is Chilli Cheese toast. Its so simple and easy to make, it can be fixed at last moment even when surprise guest drop in. Just any kind of bread would do, be it brown bread slices or baguette or even lad pav bread cut into two halves..The capsicum isn't fully cooked in this recipe. It still retains some crunch. if you prefer your capsicum completely cooked, I suggest you saute the chopped capsicum with some oil for few min on a skillet and then top on the bread.
            It is an open sandwich which is topped with some capcisum, sweet corn, garlic and cheese and popped in oven. This recipe can be a good project to cook along with your toddler, who can help you place all the toppings on the top of bread. They will surly enjoy cooking along with their parents.. Give it a try...

Serves 3
  • 6 thick slices of bread
  • ½ cup boiled sweet corn
  • ½ cup chopped capsicum
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup grated cheese

Mix the minced garlic with butter and apply the garlic butter to the bread slices. Top with some boiled corn, chopped capsicum. I have used green, colored capsicum will taste and look much better. Grate some cheese on the top. Place in preheated oven at 350C for about 10 min, until the cheese melts and edges of the bread are toasted.

Aug 28, 2012

Aluvadi/ Patra/ Stuffed taro leaves

                        Aluvadi/ stuffed taro leaves are one of the most favourite Maharashtrian delicacies. It is also very popular snack in Gujarat called as Patra... When I came to Bangalore, I realized "Patrode" are also very popular snack in Mangalore Community, wherein the batter is fermented rice batter. Aluvadi is made usually in the monsoon season especially in Shravan and during Ganesh festival.

       Aluvadi is of a special importance to me, cos that dish is specifically associated with one and only person. I don't think anyone else in the world can create that taste which my dearest aaji used to make. My mother's mother, my granny was a culinary expert. She was quick and fast with her recipes which used to turn out always great. She was the cute ever smiling strong lady who is an inspiration for me. She was not only good with cooking skills in kitchen, but was very very good with managing relations with everyone. She knew what each of her grandchild loved and she was sure to make them in jiffy for them before she came over. She used to bring her Kurmura laddoos every single time she visited our home.....
Oh! how much I miss her... Can't type any futher with my vision turning blurred with every memory of hers hitting me now... Love u dear aaji.. This post is dedicated to u,,,, wont be able to make the ALUVADI as nearly good as yours.... 

Makes 10 pieces
  • 4 colcassia leaves/ taro leaves/ aluchi paana
  • 1 cup besan/ gram flour
  • 2 tbsp jaggery
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • First lets make the batter. In a large bowl, add besan, salt, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, jaggery and tamarind paste. mix it well by adding water a tablespoon at a time to make a medium consistency smooth batter. 
  • Wash the taro leaves and wipe them dry with a paper towel. Cut the central thick vein and the thick stem.Place the largest leaf on a flat surface.

  • Smear the paste all over the leaf. Now place the other leaf over the top, but turn the leaf such that the pointed portion of the leaf points in the opposite direction,,, CONFUSED,, see the pic below
  • Apply the paste all over the leaf. Repeat for the rest two leaves as well.Keep in mind the topmost leaf should also be covered with batter. 
  • Now fold the upper, lower ends and sides of the leaves to resemble a rectangle.

  • Smear the folded edges with batter and start rolling the leaves tightly

  • Steam the roll in the steamer or in a pressure cooker without whistle for 25- 30 min. Check if the roll is well cooked by inserting a toothpick in the centre.
  •  Let the roll cool down. Then cut the roll into 1/2 " slices
  • Now either you could shallow fry or deep fry or just temper with tempering of oil, curry leaves, mustard seeds, sesame seeds.
  • I just heated a shallow girdle/ tava . Placed the aluvadis and trickled some oil around them. Shallow fried the aluvadis and savoured every bite of them missing my dear aaji...

Aug 27, 2012

Choco pecan banana bread

      Good Morning ... And yet another weekend has quickly passed by ,, here comes the MONDAY.. We experience very bad MONDAY NEILS (Blues). Neil is not at all happy when his dad cant any longer play with him. So I need to make something special to take him put of his blues.... And what better than a piece of warm just baked chocolate loaf... We dont eat non veg on mondays.. Hence this is the eggless choco banana nutty loaf

Neil enjoys this warm loaf on Monday morning.. Its soft and moist cake with little chocolate surprises. the loaf tastes best when its just warm , fresh outta oven. If you are going to consume it later, I suggest to warm it for few seconds in microwave before eating it. It is also a perfect tea time loaf to have with afternoon tea.

Serves: 8 pieces
  • 1 ½ cup of all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 ripe large bananas
  • ½ cup curd
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil
  • ½ cup pecans/ walnuts
  • ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • Preheat oven at 180 C degrees.
  • In a large bowl, mix curd with oil till it becomes smooth. Add brown sugar and mix well. Add mashed bananas and mix well.
  • Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a mixing bowl
  • Now sift the flour mixture in the liquid mixture and fold it nicely till it comes together and you cant see any dry flour. The mixture is quite lumpy, thats the way it should be.
  • Add the chopped pecans/ walnuts and chocolate chips.
  • Grease a 9' x 5" loaf pan and line with parchment paper and pour the lump mixture into it.
  • Bake in the preheated oven at 180 C/ 350F for an 45 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean. 
  • Cut the pieces after the cake cools down a bit. 

    Aug 23, 2012

    Creamy Chicken Pasta/ Corn Pasta

                                      PASTA.... We all love pasta, and most importantly Neil loves pasta. He smiles and jumps all around teh house saying " neil pasta khanash... chaan chaan aahe aai". It is the best feeling in th world to see Neil happy about eating food. Nowadays he has become very choosy about food. he needs variety and different tastes and textures. The best part about Neil is that he appreciates food if he likes it and also makes a sad face about the food he doesn't. but when my eyes grow big, he unhappily eats his food... My cute little bunny... 
                              And he loved this pasta dish which had his favorite Chicken in it. Nowadays I cook same meal for the entire family. So I made chicken version for me n Neil and veggie version with sweet corn for hubby.. 

      Creamy chicken pasta is surly the best Pasta dish I have ever made. It tasted great and we all really loved, So I insist you give it a shot.. Trust me you wont regret it....
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp minced garlic
    • 1/2  cup sliced onion
    • 1/3 cup bite size boneless chicken pieces/ 1/2 cup boiled sweet corn kernels
    • 1 cup water + 1 maggi vegetable seasoning cube/ 1 cup vegetable stock
    • 100 ml cream
    • 1/4 cup grated cheese
    • 1 cup penne pasta
    • salt n pepper (to taste)
    • Boil a large pan of water and start cooking penne pasta with 1/2 tsp of salt. Cook al dente for adults and softer for kids.
    • In a large frying pan,  add olive oil, crushed garlic, sliced onions and chicken cubes.Season with salt n pepper. Saute for 2-3 min, till onions are transparent and chicken is completely cooked
    • Add 1 cup water and 1 maggi vegetable seasoning cube.Cover and boil for 2 min...
    • Reduce the heat to low and add cream to the simmering broth..
    • Add cooked, well drained penne pasta to the sauce...
    • Top with cheese and cook covered for 2 min.
    • Allow the pasta to stand for few min before serving. This allows the sauce to thicken and coat the pasta well.
    • If you are doing the vegetarian version, add the boiled corn kernels along with the cooked pasta. You could boiled the corns along with pasta, when the pasta are half cooked. the other substitution would be with sliced mushrooms, which need to be sauted once the onions are translucent.. just go ahead and experiment,,, Sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives......

    Aug 17, 2012

    Feeding the baby for the first SIX months

                     Breastmilk is the BEST food for your baby for first six months of his life. But if the mother are unable to breastfeed your baby, the next best thing is to feed him iron fortified formula milk. If  arent able to gain access to the formula, its best to give him cow's milk and iron supplements.
                 All the pediatric associations all the over world recommend that the child should be exclusively breastfeed for 6 months. Introduce solids after at 6 months, but also continue to breastfeed till atleast your child is 1 year old.
       It is very important for the nursing mom to take a very healthy diet during the period she is breastfeeding. When the mother is nursing, she is making all the food baby needs in the form of breastmilk, So the body uses any and all the available nutrients from the body to make the breastmilk. So if the mother doesn't eat nutritious diet, the body will still give the best possible nutrient combo mix breastmilk to the baby. As the result, the mother wont have adequate nutrients and will become tired and drained.
                   One more important thing I realized was that, nursing mother needs to drink lots and lots of water, atleast 10 glasses of water minimum everyday, to prevent dehydration and to ensure adequate supply of milk.    
       In India, its common for nursing mothers to drink ayurvedic herb powder called as "Shatavari" which is a galactagogue. Its dissolved in milk and consumed by the nursing mothers. You can get shatavari capsules by Himalaya company, which is indeed a blessing for moms who arent fond of milk. Fenugreek seeds are also known to increase lactation.
                        Few precautions for nursing mothers, AVOID alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. If you see someone smoking near you, ask that person to move away from you and your baby. If drug is prescribed to nursing mom, she needs to inform the doctor about breastfeeding, as many drugs pass though the breastmilk and can have bad effects on your child. DO NOT consume any medication without referring to the doctor.

    In India, the nursing mom have a different diet.The food prepared for the nursing mom is hot and freshly prepared. Few vegetables and beans are avoided for atleast first 3 months. This prevents the baby from developing gases and colic. The babies tend to get colic usually till 3 months.
    The food avoided are:
    • Pungent spices such as chilli powder, garam masala, garlic
    • All types of beans (chole, rajma, lobiya,....)
    • Cabbage
    • raw vegetables
    One last but very important thing I HAVE to mention is to keep your baby's mouth healthy, wipe her gums with a soft, clean, warm wet cloth before going to sleep at night.