Pineapple Upside Down cake

December is the time for year ending, throwing away the old and bringing in the new and making way for new resolutions, some do able and some realistic. Ending the year on indulge-ashsconer on  a sweeter note and keeping with my resolution to eat healthy, I present this cake to you sans any icing, because it really does not need any icing or sugar or even a dusting of sugar on it. It is pretty as is and tastes even divine without any ornaments.
I have been baking a storm since past few days, being the holiday season and also being the potluck time. Mr. Ash had a bring in a breakfast/cookie exchange at work, so I made 4 dozen of my old and trusted Chocolate Chip cookies. Then kids wanted me to make something for them, something that I had never made before. I was searching for that something special, when I found the can of pineapple slices calling my name. What better than this, for that something special, something different and something new.

I prepared the batter with my Vanilla Cake recipe. To make the pineapple upside down cake, butter the bottom of the pan that you want to bake the cake in, then sprinkle the base with Brown sugar and then arrange the pineapple slices with a cherry in the center and then pour the cake batter over it and bake as recommended.

After baking and 10 minutes cooling time, invert the pan and let the cake cool on  a rack. I did not use  a lot of butter and lot of sugar, just barely sprinkled it, but you can use  a whole  lot, the melted sugar and butter gives out very nice caramelized taste.

Hope you make this today.


I wish you enough!! Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings!!

Today is a non food post about wishing you all my readers enough and  a very Happy new year!!!!

I received this share in an email some time back and every time I read it, the meaning and depth of each word seeps in little more. This is the best and the purest wish we can wish for anyone. After reading this,
the world seems alright, yeh meri zindagi pal mein theek ho jaye... jaane kyon!!!!
(** name the movie--luv this song!!!)

***Recently I overheard a Father and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the Father said, 'I love you, and I wish you enough.' The daughter replied, 'Dad, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Dad.' They kissed and the daughter left. The Father walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?'Yes, I have,' I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?'.  I am old, and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the
reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral,' he said.. When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?'He began to smile. 'That's a wish that has
been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.' He paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and he smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.' Then turning toward me, he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.

"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how grey
the day may appear.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may
appear bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

He then began to cry and walked away. They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to
appreciate them, a day to love them; but then an entire life to forget them. 

Take Time To Live..
To all my friends and loved ones, and every one who reads this ,I wish you Enough !



Lowfat Almond Banana Bread

I mostly make my Banana Bread, in the way V my BFF shared with me. I usually do not have any leftover Banana's on hand, But this time I was lucky enough to have 2 on hand., so without any delay, I put myself to work and made the cake and around 6 muffins. We ate one right when It came out of the oven, so it's missing in the picture. This is also Low fat as made with oil, you can use any kind of oil, I had vegetable oil on hand, but any low fat oil or applesauce can be used to eliminate the fat totally.

You will need;

1 and 1/2 very ripe banana's
1 and 1/2 cup All purpose Flour
1 cup brown Sugar, I used white sugar
1/2 cup almonds coated with 1 tbspn All Purpose flour
1/2 cup oil
1 and 1/2 tsp bakg soda or use 1Tbspn ENO(Fruit Salt)
1 tbspn vanilla essence
1 egg

Cream oil and Sugar, add the egg, add the flour and baking soda, add vanilla essence and nuts
Beat well for 4-5 mins on medium,Fold in mashed Ripe bananas to the mix well..please fold in as mixing will make it hard and the cake will not be soft and spongy. Preheat oven @ 350, Bake @ 350Degree for 15-20 mins or till knife comes out clean.

Make some and enjoyy!!!

Sending this to the Snack Mela.Round-up



Kobi chya Bhajani wadya-Cabbage nuggets

We love anything and everything fried, but when there is so much to choose from the cookies, cakes and savouries, I feel guilty about letting my resolution to eat healthy go down the drain and munch on the treats that holidays bring us. I mostly make Kothimbir/Cilantro Wadya. nuggets, but then adding some vegetable makes me happy. As per my younger son, potato is also an vegetable, so he has started disliking that also. The list of vegetables that he likes is so short, that I constantly hide the veggies or change the form to make him eat them.

Since coming to US, the festivities start from  Halloween and go on till new year. giving us a solid 3 months of enjoyment. Even though we enjoy each and every festival from decorations to the food. our healths take the toll and the weight gain keeps going left, never to the right, which again is not right. So I am taking the short cut to the goodies by twisting traditional recipes and modernizing them to suit our tastes and balances. These wadi/fritters or nuggets can be eaten after steaming or shallow frying to get them crisp or simply spray them with Pam and fry them on a hot wok with no additional oil. I also used Bhajani flour, which is  a Maharashtrian mix of 2-3 flours to make it more healthy. If you do not get this flour, mix any 2-3 kinds of flours in same proportions.

You will need;

1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 bunch Kothimbir/Cilantro--washed and coarsely chopped
1 cup Bhajani Flour
2 tbspn  rice flour
2 tbspn Gram Flour/Besan
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp cumin/coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp lime juice
salt and sugar as per choice
water as needed
dhokla stand.. grease the dhokla plates.. in a cooker keep three cups water for steaming...

Now in a Bowl add the cilantro leaves and the shredded cabbage.. add the ginger garlic, chili powder, turmeric and coriander ans cumin powder.. mix well..add salt and sugar.. now add the flours...use water and mix well..till the mix is pourable consistency...In the well greased dhokla plates.. pour the batter and steam for 10-12 min or till the knife comes out clean...cut and make small pieces like dhokla...
**Traditionally now you would need to deep fry.. but you can either shallow fry this or eat as is...these nuggets taste equally good after steamed, but as I said before, spray them with some oil spray and then fry them in a hot wok. But again, Deep fried Wadi's are amazingggggggggggg.

Sending these nuggets to the snack mela.



Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani needs no introduction. It's the most common dal found on most if not all Indian Buffets. Also popularly known as Maa ki dal, precisely so because it requires long hours on the stove for the spices and cream to mingle and sing a happy song. Makhani meaning made in butter or loaded with butter/fat, cream is also added to make it a rich and heavy dal. Today we are all concerned about the vast waist line, so we tend to eat healthy, but please do not shy away form the butter and feel free to keep the cream out. Whole Black urad/gram dal is very difficult to break down and digest by out body, so butter is essential to cut the protein and make digestion easy.

As always, I turn to my guru in cooking, Master chef Sanjeev Kapoor. Being from  a Purely Marathi home and under the influence of my mom, who adds jaggery and goda masala like adding salt to curry, I tend to take  a different guru for non Marathi food, and who else to help me on that journey, than Mr. Kapoor himself. His recipes are tried and tested and generally very simple to make. Having grown up watching him cook and whip up food on TV since 1990's, he has had an huge impact on my cooking.

You will need;
1/2 cup Whole black gram (sabut urad)
** I used 3/4 cup split black gram dal
2 tablespoons Red kidney\ beans (rajma)
Salt to taste
1 tsp Red chilli powder
2 inch piece Ginger,chopped
3 Tbspn Butter
1 tbspn Oil
1 tspn Cumin seeds 
3 cloves Garlic,chopped 
1 Large Onion chopped
Green chillies,slit 2
2 medium Tomatoes,chopped
1 Tspn Garam masala powder

Pick, wash and soak sabut urad and rajma overnight in three cups of water. Drain. Pressure cook sabut urad and rajma in three cups of water with salt and half the red chilli powder (you can add half the ginger too if you wish) for three whistles. Open the lid and see if the rajma is totally soft. If not cook on low heat till the rajma becomes totally soft. Heat butter and oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When they begin to change colour, add ginger, garlic and onion and sauté till golden. Add slit green chillies, tomatoes and sauté on high heat. Add the remaining red chilli powder and sauté till the tomatoes are reduced to a pulp. Add the cooked dal and rajma along with the cooking liquid. Add some water if the mixture is too thick. Add garam masala powder and adjust salt. Simmer on low heat till the dals are totally soft and well blended. Serve hot.

Serve hot with some steaming white rice with a dollop of ghee or some hot phulka's or paratha's. This tastes better the next day as well.


Balushahi-Badushai-Glazed Donut Biscuits

Diwali is the time, at least in my home, when we go extra miles to make and share goodies, if we can meet in person during the festival, it is great, but if work and life keeps us away, we can use postal services and share the good times.

Another time when I make the treats is around Christmas time. We all love to receive gifts, the joy is unmeasurable and however many years we add to our birth date, we are all kids at heart and we all love to get gifts. It's a thought that someone somewhere is thinking and caring about me to send me the gift is all it is. It gives out a different kind of warmth within you, when you open  a gift..I had made a few snacks this Diwali and except for the milk based sweets like Kala Kand, and Malai Peda, I had also arranged the rest of faral/snacks in small packages and then in a bigger box to be shipped to my family and friends in the US.

It has been my effort to try at least one new item every Diwali, and keeping with my self imposed tradition, this year I tried not one but three new dishes, namely, Kala Kand, Malai Peda and Badusha or Balushahi. I have seen very talented girls make decorative Balushahi's and Indian mithai's, but I have no patience for the decorative aspects of the long as it tastes good, I am good.. But someday I would also like to build up the kind of patience of making my dish look good and taste good, I am working towards it...

**Recipe Source; I had downloaded this recipe a while ago, but forgot the save the source, am kicking myself for that, Please if this is your recipe, I want to credit this amazing recipe to its owner.


(makes about 15 pieces)

For the fritters:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tbsp zero-trans fat shortening like Crisco
2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp powdered cardamom
1/4 tsp baking soda
Some milk for mixing the dough
Oil for deep frying

For the sugar syrup:
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp powdered cardamom

To make the fritter dough, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and cardamom powder in a bowl. Now add the oil and the shortening. Using your fingers, break the shortening into the flour until you have a fairly grainy mix.

Add a little milk at a time, mixing with a fork, until you have a dough that comes together and holds together but is not sticky. Place the dough in the bowl, cover and set aside.

To make the syrup, mix the sugar and water in a saucepan along with the cardamom and bring to a boil. Let it continue to boil until it easily coats the back of a spoon. To test if it's ready, pour a drop on a greased plate and pick it between your thumb and forefinger. Slowly separate them. If the syrup forms a single thread that holds together for a few seconds, it is ready. If it doesn't form a thread, it needs to boil some more.

To shape the badushas, divide the dough into fifteen pieces. Now roll each piece between your palms to get a smooth ball.

Place the ball on one palm and flatten it into a disc with the fingers of the other hand, around 1 1/2 inches in diameter. With your thumb, make a depression in the center of the disc. Set aside and shape the remaining badushas.

Heat about 1 1/2 inches of oil in a cast-iron or steel pan, preferably with a rounded bottom. When the temperature reaches around 350 degrees, immerse one or more badushas, taking care not to crowd them. I have a cast-iron skillet about six inches in diameter that I use for deep-frying and I fry around 4 at a time. The oil should not be too hot or the outside will cook faster than the inside, and you don't want that. It should take at least a couple of minutes for each side of the badusha to turn golden-brown.

Remove the fried badushas from the oil with a slotted spoon, let the excess oil drip off, and drop into the sugar syrup. Make sure both the badushas and the syrup are hot or they won't absorb the syrup. Let them stay immersed for at least four minutes. Flip over if required to ensure that the syrup distributes evenly.

Remove the badushas to a rack placed on top of a plate and allow them to cool until the sugar syrup hardens up.

My son called it Glazed Donut Biscuits and was munching on it the entire day..I had to make 2 batches of it the same day, these were so good!!


Net Dosa/Dhirdi/Ghavan

The name is very unique as my kids named this dosa as "Net Dosa". When my mom used to make this for us, we used to call it dhirdi or ghavan. This was a staple at my mom's home and still is my go to menu, when hunger strikes and there is not enough time to make anything elaborate. This is best when eaten hot, from pan to plate. Moms are happy as this is made from rice flour and kids are happy as they feel like eating fried crunchy junk.....the trick to getting the net is to heat the pan real hot.. and then splutter the batter on it, like we make  for rava dosa...I discovered this by mistake. I was making our good old ghavan for dinner one night and the phone rang.. I completely forgot the pan being so hot, that when I put the batter on it, it just made this net dosa. My kids were super excited and thus the name NET DOSA...if any of you know the real name, help me please..

You will need;
1 cup rice flour
salt and sugar to taste
water to mix into  a thin batter
oil to fry

In a bowl, mix the rice flour and water into  a very thin batter, add salt and sugar to the mixture. Heat the pan to very hot, once hot, grease it with some oil, pour the thin batter on the hot pan. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook the other side. Once done enjoii the crunch net dosa with some chutney or ketchup or as is.


Sooji halwa/Sheera for Satyanarayan Katha Prasad

Satyanarayn Katha prasad
If you remember how much my family loves the "nehmicha sheera", the usual satyanarayan prasad sheera, I realized that I had posted the Pineapple Sooji Halwa/sheera recipe, but had not yet posted the Sooji Halwa or sheera recipe yet. So without any more delay, here it goes. My mom is the sheera maker for any puja that we have at home or in my close family. Her Sheera is still not matched by the young chefs around, or as we say, we never try and compete with the master.

You will need;
1 and 1/2 cup of sooji/ semolina/ cream of wheat, **I prefer Coarse sooji than fine sooji.
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
3 cups mixture of milk and water or use milk wholly.
6-8 tbspns Ghee-Clarified butter
1 cup sugar
1 Over Ripe Banana-Mashed
1 tsp Elaichi or Cardamom Powder
1 tbspn Cashew nuts-Optional
1tbspn Raisins Optional
few Saffron strands-Optional

-In a pan/wok, heat the ghee over medium or low flame and then add the sooji, roast the sooji stirring continuously, till the sooji changes colour and the aroma fills the house. Add in the mashed banana aad continue roasting for 2-3 minutes.Simultaneously boil the milk+water mixture and once boiled, add the milk+water mixture and continue stirring...the sooji will be slightly wet, cover for 2-3 minutes, taking care that the sooji is not getting burnt, if needed reduce the time to about 1.5 to 2 minutes. After this add in the sugar  and stir well, the mixture will be wet now, cover and lower the flame to low and cook for 5-7 minutes. Then add the saffron, elaichi and the raisins. Serve hot or cold. It's yummy either way.

This is  a staple at my home with my kids, anytime I am lost on what to make for lunch, school lunch or simply when I crave for some comfort food. I make it when I am feeling sad, unhappy or when I just cannot control my happiness.

Try and let me know, how your family likes this. A traditional fix at most Indian homes.

Love Ash.


Excited!!! My cake is on Coolest Cakes website!

Dear All, Thanks a lot for all your support and encouragement. My Disney CARS Cake was featured on Coolest-Birthday-Cakes Website. Do check out their FB page and Like my cake.

Once again I truly and deeply appreciate your support and all your comments are like diamonds on this blog.
Love Ash.


Palak Tomato Shorba

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Don't you just love this time of the year, when the air is cold and the wind is blowing your hair making you look like a lion and Christmas songs playing everywhere from coffee shops to shopping malls and even buses and trains. Such times after a long day at work, my body craves for some soup, hot comforting and earthy soup. I make soups with whatever veggies I happen to have and need to finish, so whatever is left out during the week gets boiled and tossed into the soup. I have added pumpkin, squash, raddish and even spring onions at times. I had posted my Tomato-Broccoli Shorba some time back. keeping the process the same, I substituted the broccoli with spinach this time around and added some curry powder for the added heat.

to Serve 3 hungry humans, you will need;
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 medium Red Gold potato with skin on, peeled and cubed,
1  cup fresh spinach leaves, including stems, chopped
1.5 cup Tomatoes chopped
2 cups low-sodium, fat-free vegetable broth--I used water, so needed to add salt
1 tspn curry powder-I have medium hot, but use whatever you prefer
Salt and Black Pepper powder as per taste

Heat oil on medium heat in a soup pot. Gently saute onion and celery for 3-4 minutes, until onion is softened. Add potato, tomatoes and chopped spinach, followed by the broth/water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. If using water adjust salt  and add black pepper powder and curry powder to taste. Heat for another 5-10 minutes. Run this through a stick blender to puree and serve hot with a piece of toast or some steamed rice.

Enjoii and Stay Healthy,
Love Ash.


Date Rolls-Khajur Roll--Guest Recipe by Kalgi

Today's post is by a dear friend Kalgi, who is a Doctor by education, yet a chef at heart. I was introduced to Dr. Kalgi through a  friend of mine. When I first met her, I had no clue of how talented she was.. She is a very charming young lady who is a very talented henna artist  and  a rangoli artist along with being a equally talented Doctor. Perfect trait of an all rounder.  Her designs are simple and astonishing all in the same line.

This recipe was requested by yours truly and she was more than happy to share it with all of us. When I asked her for the recipe, I greedily asked her if she could also include a picture of the final look. She obliged my request not only by giving me the final look but a proctorial and step wise recipe for the blog. Thanks a lot Dr, Kalgi for the step by step pictorial and the amazingly easy rolls recipe. Indulge-ashscorner will be ever Thankful for your kindness.

You will need;
2 cups--grate seedless raw khajur/pitted dates
1 cup almonds-powdered
1 cup cashew- powdered
2 tbspm ghee/clarified butter
Dry Coconut roll the dates mixtures

Keep a pan on medium heat and heat the 2 table spoons ghee and add crushed khajur. mash it for 5 mins.
Then add almonds + cashew and mix well. Make roles and roll it in dry coconut powder, Cut it into small round pieces and store in an airtight container.

Hope you all will make this this holiday season and share with your loved ones. 

Have a Date today!!!
Love Ash


Disney CARS Cake

Today my little guy turned 4...what a day?? I baked two cakes, a 10 inch and another 6 inches and used the store brought cake mix. and the new Wilton colored mist to decorate the sides and mini chocolate chips for the dirt road and then green colored sugar for the grass.I had the set for CARS 2 toy which came with the cars in it along with the place mat, which I forgot to use.

To make the store brought cake not taste like store brought, use a few tricks and no one can tell that it the cake is baked from out of the box. I do not like the smell of eggs in the cake, so I use only one egg per box and sometimes none at all. I also substitute water with store brought Buttermilk and use jams as fillings for the unique taste.

The icing for this cake is my regular whipped cream icing,

** Whipped Cream icing can be made by using simply Heavy Whipping Cream and Conf Sugar,, The Rec is as
One Cup heavy Whipping Cream
Half Cup Conf Sugar
 **One packet Instant pudding mix. OR
IF desired One Packet Unflavored Gelatin dissolved in water.

Take a bigger bowl and keep some ice cubes in that.. Over the cubes place anr bowl. Take one cup cream and add sugar and Gelatin/ Pudding mix( if needed )... and beat with electric mixer for about 5-7 mins on medium till soft peaks are on the blade. The icing is ready.

Hope you enjoy this cake as much as I enjoyed baking it.

Another big news to share is, THIS cake is featured on

Am speechless to find words of Thanks you's for the encouragement, you all have been to me.


Masala Idli

Yet another mind blowing dish loved by one and all. My kids take this to school and it is the start of the happy day for all of us. Idli is the next versatile thing after Rice and takes on the role that you assign to it. They are like that universal friend in my kitchen that you can rely on when going gets tough. you can make this masala idli by using the leftover idli you might have, coin idli's if u have that stand or simply by chopping the bigger idli's into bite size pieces. They are good as snack, for picnics, travel or just for munching.

You will need;
24-30 coin/mini idli's-- See Note on idli's
1 small onions diced very fine
1 tbspn chutney powder or gun powder podi
** you can this in any Indian grocery store-I swear by MTR brand
1 tspn Pav Bhaji masala
salt and sugar to taste
1 tbspn Oil for tempering.
Cilantro to garnish

In  wok, heat oil, then add the onion and let it sweat a bit for about a minute. Then add the Chutney powder and pav bhaji masala and then salt, let it fry for another minute. Finally add the idli's ( use either mini.coin idli's or chop big idli into quarters) and then toss it in the masala. Cover and heat for about 2-3 minutes. garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

** You can make idli from either the ready to mix idli packet or make from scratch.

To make from scratch;
2 cups rice or idli rava
1 cup Urad dal

 Soak the rice and urad dal in water for 6-8 hours. If using idli rava skip soaking the rava; soak only the dal and then grind it fine into a smooth paste, use the water from the soaking if needed. remove this in a bigger vessel, then grind the idli rava or soaked rice and remove it in the same vessel as the grinded dal. Mix the grinded dal and rava with your hand. This is because the heat of your palms will help in fermenting the batter faster. Then cover this vessel and keep it in a warm place to ferment and rise up. Take  a bigger vessel and fill the batter only half way as the batter will rise and double in size. After the rising, add the oil and the salt to the batter and mix with a spoon. Grease the idli stand with some oil and steam these idli's for 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy the steamed idli's with sambar and chutney or make masala idli.

Love Ash.


Vegetable Sambar- Cook with Pedatha ishstyle

 Sambar with Vegetable--Pedatha's Way!!

Ever since I received my copy of that award winning cookbook with traditional recipes "Cooking at Home with Pedatha", a book from Pritya Books, the publishing house of the author-duo Jigyasa Giri & Pratibha Jain. I was dying to try out her recipes. I have been eating and eventually cooking Maharashtrain food all my life, but Idli and Sambar are Indian foods and they can be found at every nook and corner of India. They are no longer south Indian Specialties. Some foods are second nature to us. Making the art of sambar requires patience and some knowledge of the process. All this while I was making Sambar, but knew that it was lacking something. it never hit the mark. But now no more, all thanks to pedatha. Her recipe for the sambar was truly SIMPLE. I mean it guys. Just follow her words blindly and you can master the art of making Sambar and all the recipes in the book. I an a newbie to this style of cooking specially with Tamarind. We use  a lot of Kokum and Lime in our food to sour up things, so learning to cook traditional Andhra Recipes was a challenge for me.

I read  the recipe and re-read it more times, thinking if I missed anything, any trick. It sounded so easy, with basic stuff , basic spices, then where was I going wrong? So I attempted the Sambar her way and it turned out a bit tangy for our tastes. Cooking with tamarind needs adjusting and a little more than required can make or break the dish.So with this in mind, I gave this a second try. Must say, this is a Keep recipe and never will I make Sambar my way. The only thing that my way was missing was Cooking with love and letting things do their own thing without being rushed. She says to boil the veggies in the water before adding the dal with the Sambar Podi/Masala. I did exactly that and let the veggies mash up well. My kids refuse to eat eggplant, squash in the form where they can see and identify them, so it is  a very important step for me to cook the veggies till they can be mashed up. Carrots they eat, so they can be visible. My kids literally drank bowls of it and requested some more.

Cooking with Pedatha is like cooking with your aunt or an experienced chef who will not only teach you basic traditional simple cooking, but what cooking and serving food is all about. It is an art form just like any dance or music form, where you need to practice for hours and months and years to master the perfection. Every time I open the book, I feel like her spirit is watching over me, talking to me, guiding me and helping me understanding the nuances of Andhra cooking, helping me with the never heard of pronunciations and names of ingredients. I am dedicating this page and post to her and will post all recipes that I try from her book. Truly  a treasure to be shared.

For the exact recipe, you guys will need to order her book from Pritya Books. But since this is the season of giving , I will post the recipe which I tweaked to suit our tastes here.

You will need;
1 Cup Toor dal, Boiled with little Turmeric and Hing and mashed well
1 small Eggplant, chopped fine
1 Onion
2-3 Cloves Garlic
1 Tomato chopped
1 Small Carrot- Chopped into discs
1 tbspn Tamarind Pulp
1 tbspn Pedatha's Sambar Powder
** if you do not have this ready to use, use any Sambar powder that you have on hand.
Salt to taste
Little Jaggery/Gur
1 tbspn Oil

1 Tspn Oil/Ghee
1 tspn Cumin/Jeera
Few Curry leaves

In a pot heat some oil, add the onions and the eggplant and the tomato and saute for a minute. Then add the Crushed garlic and  carrots and enough water to cover the veggies. After the veggies are fully cooked and mashed, add the Sambar Powder and salt and the Tamarind Paste. Lastly add the cooked dal and Gur and bring it to a boil. Simultaneously prepare the tempering. Heat the ghee in another pan, once hot, add the jeera and the curry leaves and then add this tempering to the dal mixture. Garnish with Cilantro and serve hot with Idli, Dosa or rice.

Cook with me from Pedatha's book and share your links in comments with all of us.

Love Ash.

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookie

Come December and we all are set to welcome Mr.Santa and his tired reindeer Rudolph with the red nose.. After coming to the US and especially after having kids, it has become a tradition to mix some oats and coloured sugar and sprinkle it on the grass the night before Christmas.This is for the tired reindeer's, so they can rest and have a bite before they rush to their jobs of delivering toys to kids worldwide. My kids make it a point to keep some cookies with a glass of milk for Mr. Claus as well, hoping that this gesture will be remembered by Santa's elves the next year, when they account the good V. bad behavior.

So, Mr. Ash and myself gear up every December as Mr. Claus and Elf respectively and account for all the good deeds on behalf of our children and get them toys under the tree. Someone needs to be Santa's special helpers, you see.

Each year I make special cookies for Santa (Mr.Ash), and since this particular Santa dislikes peanut butter, I make Chocolate Chip cookies; But come on now, same cookies every year, makes zero sense, so to jazz it up, i have used three kinds of chocolate for my cookies here

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
3.4 oz (96 g)-2 pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c mix of semi-sweet chocolate chips. milk chocolate chips and M& M candies
4 Mini Marshmallows per cookie-Optional

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until light and
fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beat in the pudding
mix. Scrape the bowl again and add the eggs one at a time, beating
well and scraping the bowl after each addition eggs. Add vanilla. Add half of the pre-mixed dry ingredients to the batter and mix just to combine. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining half, mixing until fully incorporated. Stir in the mix of M& M Candies and chocolate chips.

* I prepared the dough and froze it for about 4 days. When I had to bake the cookies, I thawed the dough and then with one tbspn measure , portioned the cookies on the lined cookie tray and baked in preheated oven @ 350 for 9 mins. After the 9th Min mark, I added a smile with 4 mini marshmallows and let it sit in the hot oven for about 2 minutes. The heat was just enough to melt the marshmallows and the smile on my kids face to melt my heart.

 I am sending this entry to Edible Entertainment's event Jingle all the way!!

Roundup to this event is here

and to Bake Fest

Love Ash.


Dahi Wade/Dahi Balle

So here we are, all relaxed and fresh after the Thanksgiving break. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, I went to Visit Atlanta in GA In USA. We went to the CNN center, Coke Factory where we tasted around 60 different flavors of Coke. I was super thrilled to taste all of the 60 flavors they offered yet was sad to find India missing on the Flavor chart. We also visited the GA aquarium where the Dolphins and the Penguins won my heart. They are very interactive and playing with them was  a fun experience. I had made Dahi wade or Dahi Balle before I went on my mini vacation. I am not good when it come to Dahi Wade, I have made them a few times only, but each time, they turned out to be hard and not soggy enough.. not the melt in your mouth types..I was skeptical/ scared and made only one cup batter. They turned out to be very good, that sooner than expected, I got demands to make them again. The trick to make them soft is I guess to add little amount of Moong Dal to the Urad dal when soaking.

Recipe tweaked to my like..( Orig is by Masterchef Sanjeev Kapoor)

You will  need;
1 Cup Urad Dal 
1/2 Cup Moong Dal
Salt as per taste
1Tbspn cumin/Jeera seeds
2 Cups Oil for frying

To Sprinkle
Rock Salt
Red Chili Powder
Tamarind chutney
Chopped Cilantro Optional

Soak dal for three to four hours. Drain and grind, using very little water, to a thick, coarse batter. Add salt and cumin seeds and mix well with hands to make a well blended mixture. Heat 2 cups oil in a kadai. Fry a small portion of the batter in hot oil to test if the batter holds well.. Gently drop the batter with the help of the spoon into hot oil. Repeat with remaining batter. Fry till wadas are golden brown. Drain and soak in cold water. Squeeze out wadas and arrange on a serving dish. Pour chilled yogurt over them and serve garnished with rock salt, red chilli powder, cumin powder, sweet tamarind chutney and black pepper.

Life is sweet and tangy, Hope you do make them today.

Love Ash.

Desi Style Falafel

If you remember, I had made the Pumpkin Stuffing Kebab for Thanksgiving, I had few leftovers, so I made this Falafel and used the kebabs instead of the falalfel pattie made out of traditional chickpeas. The Tahini sauce was replaced by sour cream and used the Falafel sauce that you can easily find in the Indian store for the just required heat.

Try this and use it for stuffing in a burger, or grilled cheese or bake it on  a stick to make a veggie version of the sheekh kebab.

Kindly ignore the fingers that belong to yours truly. It is really difficult to hold the Falafel in one hand and take pictures with the other.

Love Ash.


Thanksgiving Special-Pumpkin and Stuffing Kebabs

Can we vegetarians have fun and enjoy Vegetarian food, in keeping with the Thanksgiving tradition? then the answer is YES...Thanksgiving is much more than just turkey. There is green beans, and stuffing along with dessert...I will give a small and simple menu in keeping with the Thanksgiving spices and theme and do similar posts in the next few days/weeks. Kindly bear with me, I am after all working dual jobs; one is of being a mom and the other is working a day job. We all sail in the same boat.

Thanksgiving is all about saying Thanks and giving Thanks. And what better way to Thank you all, then by sharing  a simple recipe which has spices like Rosemary, Oregano and Garam Masala, a perfect east meets west. With these measurements, I could make approximately 21 coin size patties. This is my take on the Thanksgiving stuffing, just making an appetizer instead of a side dish.

You will need;
1 cup Yellow Pumpkin grated
1 cup bread crumbs- I used seasoned crumbs. The label read spiced with oregano, thyme, parsley and some Parmesan cheese and salt added.
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tbspn dry rosemary
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sugar
Salt as needed--The crumbs I used had salt added
 2cups Oil for Deep frying

--Take the grated pumpkin and mix in the crumbs..let that sit for 10-12 minutes. Then add the spices, sugar and red chili powder, one after the other and salt. Add salt only if needed. DO not add any water. The Pumpkin will give out water and the bread crumbs will be wet enough to bind the patties. (Use 1 tbspn crumbs if the pumpkin gives out more water).

Heat around 2 cups oil in a wok on medium heat. Make small balls and flatten to shape like small discs and deep fry in hot oil. Fry till deep brown and then drain on a paper towel. The patties are ready to be served. This is  a good appetizer, as you can make the mixture and freeze the balls and fry when you are ready to serve them. Serve them on toothpicks or make medium size patties for the burger or pita pockets. Do have fun and make them often, not just for thanksgiving.

Sending this to Siris's Healing foods event hosted by Sridevi

Also won the prize on Indibloggre Master Chef 2 India Contest.. Thanks all for the love.

MasterChef India 2 IndiBlogger Contest Runner Up

Love Ash.

Tomato-Broccoli Shorba

The winter is slowly approaching and the air is crisp. Thanksgiving is almost here and sooner than we know, X'mas madness will start. Admist all the crazy shopping and gift wrapping, we all will need a comforting warm bowl of soup, hearty and filling. The aroma of soup simmering on the stove brings the sweetness and comfort of home, that can be replaced only by your mom's cooking. Not all can have their moms around, hence this soup is an attempt to give you an excuse to indulge in something soothing during the stress such holidays bring along.

This can aslo be jazzed up and served warm or hot depending on your call of the day, to kickstart any Thanksgiving feast or enjoyed as a meal in itself.

to Serve 3 hungry humans, you will need;
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 medium Red Gold potato with skin on, peeled and cubed,
1  cup fresh broccoli, including stems, chopped
1.5 cup Tomatoes chopped
2 cups low-sodium, fat-free vegetable broth--I used water, so needed to add salt
Salt and Black Pepper powder as per taste

Heat oil on medium heat in a soup pot. Gently saute onion and celery for 3-4 minutes, until onion is softened. Add potato, tomatoes and chopped broccoli, followed by the broth/water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. If using water adjust salt  and add black pepper powder to taste.

The soup is chunky,therefore run it through a food mill or use a stick blender to puree. The shorba is ready to be served with some, crackers, grilled cheese or some pasta, like I did.

Hope this shorba/soups warms your heart and bone and you enjoy the rush and madness of the Holiday season.


Pajama Cake

Holidays are upon us, in a week it will be a time for Thanksgiving. Holidays anywhere in the world call for big family reunions, get-together and some Hakuna Matata which means no worries. Adding to such festivities,  both my kids birthdays come in November and December so the party season is on in full swing in Ashland. Now that kids are growing up, sooner than later loosing the baby fat and baby talk, they have a set idea on what they want to do on their birthdays, what would be their guest list and he agenda for the day is decided by them. I still have a good 3-4 years to decide for my younger one, but the elder one is already spreading his wings out. He turned 8th this year, an I was stuck by some weird lightening called realization, that in about 5 more years he would be a teenager, I mean where did all this time go. I had made lists of what we were going to do together for each age , each milestone achieved by both of us, what happened with that..Already eight, and I am still making lists for the years ahead. Come on now, I will not stop you growing at this speed, but would wish you to be  a fine human being coz no amount of money and fame can give you the peace and solace which Being Human can give you. Here's wishing my first born a very Happy Birthday and may God be kind to bless u with his healing touch.

The design of the cake is significant and in time for the holiday season, as most late night parties for grownups end into being Pajama parties for younger ones...Some families have  a tradition of wearing similar or same Pj's and taking pictures in front of the Xmas tree, opening the presents. We have no such tradition as when we were growing up, Xmas was not the most popular and most celebrated holiday for us. We had a small class party in school,, but nothing at home was done. Now I believe everything is changing and I hear my friends and family back home going out of the way, decorating a tree getting presents for kids for Xmas. Being in US for so long and having US born kids, we try to bring the best of both worlds into our homes. So our festivities start from October when either Diwali or Halloween start the holiday season. We try to celebrate Thanksgiving in a true Desi style with vegetarian food making the cuts.Traditions are built and customs are tweaked to suit our needs and wishes, only thing that does not change is the spirit of uniting with loved ones and spending time with friends who eventually become our family. Value of relations is recognized when one has lost it or come a long way in life where the chances of gaining it back are weak.

Coming back to the cake, I had no set design for the cake, I only had a direction and final image in my head that I used  as a template for the design. to start with I baked  two rectangular cakes and cut one cake in half for the pants..I further cut it in to 3-4ths length wise to reduce the height and used the 1/4th for the sleeves. The second rectangular cake that I baked I cut it into half and used halves for the upper body of the shirt..

In short I made  a "T" initially and then shaped the cake to look like  a pajama set. Since this was a lot of work I used boxed cake mixes. The cream is regular heavy cream whipped with some confectioner sugar and I added one packet of instant pudding mix along with the sugar. The pudding stabilized the cream icing and it was a breeze to work with. It also gave the icing a very light vanilla flavor. 

Mr. Ash commented that it does look like a home sewn DIY project gone wrong, but the birthday boy thought that Ms.Ash did a FAb Job and it made my day!!! The smile on my baby's faces is worth 100 praises from Mr.Ash. (Just Kidding). I love Mr. Ash for his frankness, he is very straight in his talk and no wishy washy works for him, he calls a spade a spade, which hurts but works like magic for me. the strive to excel and get good comments from him keeps me creative and going.

** Whipped Cream icing can be made by using simply Heavy Cream and Conf Sugar,, The Rec is as
One Cup heavy Cream
Half Cup Conf Sugar
IF desired One Packet Unflavored Gelatin dissolved in water. or use instant pudding mix

Take a bigger bowl and keep some ice cubes in that.. Over the cubes place anr bowl. Take one cup cream and add sugar and Gelatin( if needed )... and beat with electric mixer for about 5-7 mins on medium. The icing is ready.

Hope you make this cake for any pajama party, sleepover party or just for fun. 

Happy Holidays!!
Love Ash..


Gulab Jamun-Ricotta Cheese bites

Gulab Jamun need no introduction, they are found on almost all Indian Buffets..and all Indian grocery stores carry canned versions of these pieces of sheer pleasure, simple heaven, where the Khoya or mava or cheese balls are dipped and floating in sugar syrup, it's  a match made in heaven. finding pure khoya or mava in US was a hunt when I was newbie here, my friends made the gulab jamun for ready to make kits.. so there was some relief but somehow the texture and the taste from back home never matched. The hunt for perfect Gulab jamun initiated many discussions with fellow food bloggers, one such was with Ms. Spiceroots and that was my lucky day..she said she could lead me the almost perfect recipe for the most awaited sweet.. almost because there was still no pure mava or gulab jamun khoya.

Without any pestering, she showed me the way and like a sheep I followed my Shepherd to the path of ending all misery and dancing in the sugary sweetness.

You will need;

For the entire step by step approach go here

But since I want you to make them ASAP I will give you the shopping list

15 oz pack whole milk Ricotta

Milk Powder [about 200 gms)
Oil for frying – 1Cup

Sugar syrup/Chashni
4 cups sugar
4 cups water
a few strands of saffron crushed
1/4 tsp powdered cardamom

for the rest of the recipe Visit Ms. Spiceroots as per the link above....

**I followed her recipe to the T", still the mixture I had was little wet, so I added in some All Purpose Flour till the mixture was no longer wet, and then let it rest under a damp kitchen towel for about 15-20 minutes.

Alternate way to make Gulab Jamun using the ready to mix pack is;

1 ready to make Gulab Jamun mix..I use Chitale's, which is very easy to find in NJ, if not then use MTR or GITS...
add the ricotta cheese to the powder instead of water as needed.. start adding little by little till you have a soft dough which if poked springs back and does not stick to the bowl that you are mixing it in...make small balls and see if any cracks appear on them...if not then you are set for the frying...
After frying the balls dip them in the sugar syrup and you are all set to dig in...

Thank you Square Meals for this award; My VERY FIRST AWARD..

I would like to Share this award with
Smitha @
Khushi @ A Girls Diary
Ms. Chitchat @
Ansh @ Spiceroots

'Liebster' means favourite or dearest in German. Rules for accepting the award :
- Thank the person who gave the award and link back to their blog.
- Copy and paste the award to your blog.
- Reveal the 5 blogs you have chosen to award and let them know by commenting on their blog.
- Hope they pass it forward by accepting and awarding it to bloggers
 they would like to honour.

I am also Sending this to Julie's event, Christmas Delicacy and Radhika's Lets Cook Mughal cuisine

Life is sweet,
Love Ash.

Thanks Amy for the award on your monthly Food of the month contest. I truly appreciate this. Loads of good wishes coming your way.

Love Ash.