September 09, 2017

Eggs Kejriwal on a Sunday morning

Eggs Kejriwal

We heard about Eggs Kejriwal first when Tejal Rao's piece appeared in The New York Times and have been meaning to make it since then. But it came to fruition just a couple of weeks ago when the summer vacation was coming to a close and we needed just something special for that send off.

Yes, even though it's called Kejriwal it has nothing to do with Arvind Kejriwal, rather it originated in Mumbai five decades ago. Rao's fascinating history of toast, egg and cheese is here.

We followed most of the recipe through, but there is tons of variations that can be done and we have done a couple and have several more in mind. Instead of mustard, we have tried it with harissa, or another turkish pasta Aswin brought home recently, and have dressed it up with Zatar (which has become routine) and each time it tastes delicious.

It makes a perfect brunch center piece because it cooks quickly. Once the guests arrive, just grill the cheese in the oven and top it with the eggs and serve.

Here is the recipe from The New York Times with some adaptions.

(serves 2-3)
2-3 slices of bread (we just used regular bread but a thick slice will work out nicely)
11/2 tspoon butter (1/2 tspoon for each slice)
1 1/2 spoon mustard (1/2 tspoon for each slice)
2 tbspoon minced onion
1 tbspoon minced cilantro
2 green chillies sliced (can be increased or changed based on heat preferences)
2-3 eggs
2 tbspoon grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 spoon zatar.

Mix the onion, cilantro and the minced chilies in a bowl.

Butter the toast and fry it in a pan lightly. Then add the mustard on one side and put it on a try, mustard side up. This is where we have also added something different too I earlier mentioned - the turkish paste, the harissa sauce.

Eggs Kejriwal

Now switch the oven to broil and put the onion-cilantro mix generously on top of the mustard. Then add the cheese and slide the slices in the oven. Keep an eye as the cheese melts quickly.

Now, in the same pan where the bread was fried, add some oil and fry eggs, one for each slice. We kept the yolk melty and it was made it easier to scoop up a little bit everything together in one bite.

Eggs Kejriwal

Once the bread it out, slide the egg on top of the slice and garnish with a pinch of zatar.

Serve warm. 

August 15, 2017

Tanjore marathi recipe - Vangi dahi bharit

We wait all year here for summer. We get through probably the toughest month of February in the hope of June and July. Sure the spring is a lot of work - cleaning, getting the vegetable patch ready, planting the seedlings, pruning.

But come summer the school is off, no lunch menus to be planned, movie night can be any day ;-), vegetable patch gives a small supply of tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, chillies, peppers, farmers market is is full swing.

These two cucumbers were hiding under the plant for almost a week before I spotted it. How is your summer going?

This summer Lil A is riding his bike without training wheels, Tiny M is learning how to read. There are spell books and star wars from the library.

But before I get too far, let me tell you about the recipe. I have another special Tanjore marathi recipe - Vangi dahi bharit.

Vangi Dahi bharit

My MIL was visiting a few weeks ago and when she comes I am always waiting to learn a new Tanjore marathi recipe. She suggested Vangi dahi Bharit. It is a version of bharta but instead of tomato, the recipe uses yogurt.

When Aswin's cousin and her mom were visiting, they mentioned that the recipe can be made either with yogurt and sometimes the yogurt is substituted for tamarind juice.

Similarly, the eggplant can be replaced with other vegetables which are sautéed then then added to the yogurt with a tempering. This version is quite simple, but you can add ginger, onions, or even a hint of coconut to the bharit.

It goes as a great side for many things. We served it with a simple dal and pulao.

(serves 4-6)

Two eggplants
1 cup yogurt (the thicker the better, we used greek yogurt)
1/4 cup cilantro - chopped
handful curry leaves - chopped
salt to taste
Oil to coat eggplants for roasting

For tempering
1 1/2 tbspoon oil
2 pinches of asafetida
1/2 tspoon mustard seeds
1/4 tspoon urad dal
2 green chillies (can be substituted with red chillies)

Vangi Dahi bharit
Make incisions in the eggplants and coat the eggplant with oil. Roast the eggplants till it is soft and mushy. Then peel the skin and mash it up.

Vangi Dahi bharit
Add the cilantro, curry leaves and salt. You can store this for a few days and add yogurt right before you are ready to eat.

Vangi Dahi bharit
Add the yogurt to the eggplant and adjust salt as necessary.

Then temper the oil with all the ingredients and add it to the bharit. Mix it well and the bharit is ready to be served.

June 27, 2017

Instapot Palak or Saag Paneer

Instapot Palak Paneer

When it comes to trying out a new technology, A is better than me. He got us hooked to Echo (now kids have more conversation with Alexa than us), fitbit, and now Instapot.

When we got it last year, he was the one who cooked food in it - delicious egg curry, then sambar, rice, dal and Palak paneer was the ultimate. Since it is Lil A's favorite we make it every week.

And soon enough I was hooked to the Instapot too. The masala chole was another discovery. But I digress.

I cook the palak in the instapot and saute the paneer in a pan and it's ready within 30 minutes.  The one trick I have learned is to add some herbs with the greens and it makes it taste fresh and delicious.

Here is how to do it.

1 big bunch of greens - I have used both Palak (spinach) and Chard fairly regularly and both come out well.
cilantro - handful, chopped
1 medium onion - chopped
1 tspoon ginger and garlic paste
1 medium tomato - chopped
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/4 tspoom red chilli powder (I make mine with no chillies, but you can add heat as per your taste.)
1/2 tspoon coriander powder
2 bay leaves
1 tspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tspoon garam masala powder
1 tbspoon oil
2 tspoons ghee
salt to taste
1 packet of nanak paneer - chopped into cubes

Instapot Palak Paneer

Heat the instapot to saute, add the ghee and then add the cumin seeds and bay leaves.

Immediately add the ginger garlic past and saute for a minute. Then add the chopped onions and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Then add the chopped tomato along with turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and let it cook for another couple of minutes.

Now add the greens except for a handful and the cilantro. Add a cup of water and mix it all well. Let it saute for another minute and then change the setting to poulty and cook for 20 minutes.

You can still follow the same steps without an instapot.

The leftover handful of greens - soak it in hot water and take it out immediately.

In a saute pan, add the oil and saute the paneer cubes - a couple of minutes on either side. Then soak it in salty warm water.

Take the greens out, add the wilted greens and puree it together. The wilted green gives it a vibrant color.

Add in the paneer pieces and serve with parathas or rotis.

June 13, 2017

Tarkari diye chanar dalna (Paneer and vegetable curry)

Vegetable and paneer curry

When all the leaves fell down last fall, we discovered an abandoned nest in the red maple tree in our front yard. It was small and lasted through most of the winter. In the spring rain last couple of months, it almost disintegrated.

The leaves came back in the maple and we forgot about the nest. Then just yesterday, we found that the birds have come back to the nest, readied it and made it their home again. Now there are four little babies hanging out in the nest.

In other news, the veggie patch has been planted, the roses are blooming again and it is the last week of school.

The temperatures are soaring, we had a few days in the 90deg F. When it happens, I switch to light curries and this chanar dalna or paneer curry is one of them. With onion, ginger and tomatoes as the base, you can add any vegetable available. I added potato, carrot, peas and beans, but you could add some cauliflower, broccoli, summer squashes too.

Here is how I made it:

(serves 4-5)
1 1/2 lbs chana or paneer, cut into cubes  
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped  
1 medium onion - sliced thinly
1 tspoon grated fresh ginger
2 green chillies
2  potatoes cut in cubes
1/2 cup green peas
2 carrots - cubed
1/2 cup green beans cut
2 tspoons  cumin and coriander powder
2-3 green cardamoms
1 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 tspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder  
4-5 tbspoon oil
1/4 tspoon sugar
Salt to taste
bunch of cilantro for garnishing

Heat all but 1 tbspoon oil and put in the paneer pieces and saute them till they start to turn brown. Then put them in salted warm water. 

In the same oil, add the potatoes next and saute them lightly. Keep them aside.

Now add the rest of the oil and temper it with cumin seeds, bay leaves, green chillies. Then add the cardamom and cinnamon. Saute for a minute and then add the onions. Story for 3-4 minutes till it turns translucent  Now add the ginger and the turmeric powder. 

After a minute add the vegetables - carrots, beans, potatoes and peas. Let it all salute together for a minute. Then add the tomatoes, cumin and coriander powder. 

Let it cook together for a couple of minutes till it starts to stick. 

Add the salt and about 1 1/2 cups of water. Let it cook for another 5-6 minutes till the potatoes and carrots are cooked.

Vegetable and paneer curry

Take it off the heat, garnish with cilantro (optional) and serve warm with rice or chapatis. 

May 28, 2017

Black beans and vegetables rice

Blackbeans & vegetables rice

School year is slowly coming to a close and as we near it somehow it increasingly get busier - class trips, holiday planning, activities for kids and summer planning. While it is exciting, it is a little nerve-wrecking too.

The local YMCA here has a bunch of kids camps that are fun but fill up quickly. Last year, I was on time and managed to sign up Lil A. This year, I didn't have the summer plans ready in February when the camps opened. By the time I went to register, the classes were full. I managed to find other camps.

But am curious, how do your kids spend summer holidays?

On the other hand, summer means lot of outdoor fun and grilling.

As the grilling season begins, I am always looking for sides to go with the entree - tandoori chicken, grilled veggies, kabobs, etc. Watermelon salad is a favorite. And I think I may have found a new favorite.

This black beans and vegetables rice will go with everything. I made it quickly over a weeknight dinner with some friends and served it with some chicken curry and a lettuce and cucumber salad. I used snow peas, cherry tomatoes and green beans, but you could put virtually anything. The flavor of the rice comes from the fresh vegetables, garlic and fresh herbs. I used cilantro and parsley but I could see dill and mint adding a bunch of flavors too.

April 28, 2017

Teriyaki Salmon curry with vegetables

Salmon Teriyaki with vegetables

Now that the weather is warming up, what have you been up to?

The Eberwhite woods are in front of us. When the weather is nice, I sometimes cross through the woods for Lil A's school which is on the other side. The woods is home to a pair of great horned owls. We hears the owls in the fall when Lil A had his soccer practice outside.

This spring the owls have babies - two little baby owls. They are high up in the tree and we could see them with a binocular. We have taken several trips to get a glimpse of the babies.  In the process we also met some western painted turtles who live by the swamp, and even saw a snake.

The babies are now learning how to fly. Here is a story that appeared in the local media about it.  

Coming back to the recipe. Lil A loves salmon and snow peas and peppers too. So I combined all of them together in a recipe. It was delicious. Except for the kids, I had to separate them and serve it.  I served it with some plain rice, but you could even serve it with noodles. 

I bought a bottle of teriyaki sauce and a pack of panko crumbs. I also added a small tomato puree in the sauce and the sweet and sour sauce was delicious. 

Here is the recipe:

April 13, 2017

Gajar matar er tarkari - carrot and peas

Carrot and peas curry

Aswin went to India in February for a short visit. While he was at my parents place, my mom made the gajar-matar er tarkari for dinner. A staple that is made during the winter months with the red carrots that are available during the season with simplest of phorons (tempering) and served with hot rotis.

You know where this is going. Aswin loved it so much that I was on the phone asking my mom the recipe.

I didn't have the red carrots, but I made it immediately with the orange ones available here. One bite and it took me straight back to the cold winters, when one is covered in a shawl constantly drawing the edges closer, the fog of the cold winter washing by as the auto whizzes through a street still waking up. And in the bag in the lap is a tiffin-box packed with parathas and this sabji.

Carrot and peas curry

That's the power of taste, and memories embedded somewhere deep inside.

March 26, 2017

Making jalebi from scratch

Making Jalebis - Indian sweet

I had an unusual request this week. Doing an Indian food demo for a class of undergraduate students learning about "Foods of Asia".

This was my first demo class ever and I was nervous. It was in a residence hall kitchen and the faculties are pretty spectacular. I chose to make - Chicken tikka masala, dal with dill and tomatoes and pulao.

I prepped and marinated the chicken before but other than that, we did the rest during the class. The students helped me chop the vegetables, stirred the dal and rice, and made the chicken tikka.

The funniest moment came when an Indian-American student in the class refused to eat dal saying he ate it every day growing up. I told him "that is what I do to my kids too. I hope they won't hate dal when they grew up."

It was a fun experience - interacting with the students, the professor and the graduate student. Tasting food with them and watching the interactions. Thank you for the opportunity.

Now I am interested in doing some cooking classes. Friends who have done it, will you give me some advice? What are some of the key lessons/tips?

Coming back to the recipe, it's one of the things I learned to make at home because the kids like it. Such a balance - making them eat what I want them to eat and what they want to eat.

Here is how I made it. I just searched the internet and used the recipe from the blog - Madura's kitchen.

February 13, 2017

Brownies for Valentine's Day


Time for Valentine's Day, what are you doing? Any chocolates, cookies or brownies in the making? I love a good brownie. For years, I resisted making it at home and then caved in when Tiny M confessed to a major chocolate love. How can you not, right?

For recipe, I turned to the famous Browneyed Baker's Bake Brownie. I've like that it doesn't use any baking powder or soda like some of the others did. I tried it with only chocolate and only cocoa and the it tastes best when both of them are added.

I've made it many times and the brownie turns out just the way we like it, rich, dense, and fudgey. It is rich and indulgent, and just perfect for Valentine's Day.

Here is the recipe with my tweaks. For original recipe, click here.

January 27, 2017

Pikachu birthday cookies

Pokemon cookies

Pikachu, Charmander, Bunnelby and the list goes on. These names were alien to me just a year ago and now I hear them non stop as Lil A debates their power, damage and strengths. In case you were wondering, they are all Pokemon characters and Lil A is into collecting Pokemon cards.

Pokemon cookiesIt all started last summer when a couple of his older friends gave him a few Pokemon cards and he was hooked. Slowly he figured out the trading part. He was so excited when he got his first EX card. Yes, it is supposed to be a big deal!

So when his birthday rolled by, I decided to surprise him with some Pokemon cookies. I ordered a few Pokemon cutters and got to work. As this was a school treat, I decided to minimize glazing.

I put some food color in the cookie dough and just colored the eyes and mouth with sugar and food color mix.

It made the impact I was hoping it would make. Lil A was all excited and he and his friends enjoyed the treats.

Here is a small trick I learned with this cookie. For best results, refrigerate the dough before putting it in the oven as well.

Here is how I did it.

January 17, 2017

Kashmiri lamb rogan josh to start the year

Kashmiri Lamb roganjosh

It's been a while since I have been here. When things get busy with illnesses or some difficulty, I tend to draw in and focus my energy on getting through it. You know how it goes, right. With two little kids, it is kind of inevitable.

Everything is fine now and I am coming back gingerly, having been away for so long.

Wreath cookies Hope you had a good holiday season. I had a couple of cookie exchange and here is what I made for one of them - wreath cookies. Regular sugar cookies. Tiny M and I had a lot of fun making it.

He was very interested in helping me, carrying them to the tray, and occasionally tasting little cookies that came from the donut holes of the cookies. I set aside some cookies for them and they colored their own.

When I was at the Farmer's Market last month, I picked some  lamb shoulders with nice marbling. The next day a couple of foodie friends were coming for dinner and I knew I had to make something special with it. I settled on lamb rogan josh without knowing it was one of their favorite dishes.

I got the recipe off the web from one of the blogs. The recipe called for 3 tbspoon of kashimiri chilli powder. I am usually cautious and will taste, but for some reason I forgot to this time. So when it was time to taste, I almost choked. The heat was too much, overshadowing the taste of other spices.

I decided to throw out the entire curry and start all over again. This time settling on a much lesser amount of the chili powder. Maybe our tastes are milder, maybe the kashmiri chili powder I had was too spicy, or maybe both. I will never know. But now I have a recipe that works well.

This recipe has no onion, or garlic. The flavors come from the black cardamom, dry ginger, fennel and asafetida (hing). Use ghee for best flavors. If it feels too much, temper in ghee and use oil for the rest.

The second version came out great and it turned out to be a great evening.

Here is how I did it.


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