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.


Shahi Matar Paneer- Cottage Cheese and Peas Gravy

When I was a kid, eating out called for only special occasions, and Matar Paneer was staple on our menu with garlic Naan and ending it with some chickoo milkshake, we were so predictable that we never ever saw the menu and the waiter got our order without even ordering. My mom's home even being in suburban Mumbai is still very much like a village, where everyone knows everyone. There was only one cinema theatre, and 2 restaurants till the early 2000. Although all that has changed now and it is taking shape of being a very busy town in Suburban Mumbai. The old charm is still there but dying sooner than I am ready to accept it.

Times change, things change and most importantly people change. Eating out is a every weekend affair for me now. Sadly, as much as I love to cook, some days it's impossible to get my lazy self in the kitchen and make fresh food. Eating out in the Indian restaurants is also not a favourite option for me, I tend to worry about few things more than enjoying the food, like how spicy, what oil do they use, how old is the paneer on....if you are like me, you will tend to eat out at Subways; it is my all time go to, but it tends to get boring for others, so we go the semi homemade way..frozen parathas or nans that we stock for such nites and a quick gravy based curry, with some steamed rice. a complete meal is on the table under 30 minutes. I am huge fan of Master chef Sanjeev Kapoor and follow his recipes to the T, this is one such treasure tweaked to my family's liking, hope you will like this also.

Green peas and paneer cooked together into a delicious gravy.

You will need;

To Make Paneer--at home( or Use store brought)
Milk 4 cups
Lemon 1

** I used the store brought paneer as I was low on time and somehow I am yet to master the art of making chunky paneer at home, I always get the paneer mashed or in crumbs when I make at home. Maybe will start using Whole or full fat milk, 2% does not seem to work for me.

For the gravy;
Green peas 400 grams
Oil 2 tablespoons + to deep fry
2 large Onions
2 Tomatoes--Pureed or use 1/4th of the 8oz can
1 inch piece Ginger
1/4 tspnTurmeric powder
1 tspnRed chili powder
1 tspn Coriander powder
1 tspn Garam masala powder
1 pod green Cardamom-broken with but with the skin in tact
1 tbspn Cashew Paste
** Soak Cashews in milk for 1 hour and grind it into paste.
Salt to taste

Making paneer;
Boil milk twice on high heat and add juice of one lemon. The whey will separate from paneer. Drain the whey, tie up paneer in a muslin cloth and hang it up all day to allow excess water to drain away. Place the muslin with the paneer under a heavy weight to ensure that all the moisture is squeezed out. This will flatten the paneer into a flat round cake when removed from the muslin.

Cut the paneer into strips or cubes. Heat sufficient oil in a kadai and deep-fry till light brown. Drain onto an absorbent paper.

Making Gravy;
Peel and chop onions and ginger finely.
 Heat two tablespoons oil in a pan and add chopped onions and ginger  and tomato puree and the broken cardamom pod. Breaking the pod is simply making a slit in the pod but not separating the seeds from the skin.Sauté till lightly browned. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, salt and peas and cook, adding a little water, till the peas are tender and a little gravy remains. Add the cashew paste, fried paneer, garam masala powder and boil for five minutes. Serve hot with chappatis.

** Note; You can substitute paneer with potato, cauliflower or button mushroom, cubed into large pieces, steamed or fried and added to the gravy in the last.

This can be made  a very high calorie dish by adding cashew paste and/or heavy cream. It can be totally left out, which I often do when cooking for the only four of us, it's only when I am entertaining that I add the nuts and cream. I believe in moderation, so the fat from paneer and the cashew paste is enough to make me feel guilty, I left out heavy cream.The choice as always is yours.

Hope to see more entries at all these events.
Love Ash.


Ratalyacha kees-Sweet Potato Hash

Ratalyacha kees or Sweet Potato Hash Browns are very common in Maharashtrian houses specially during the months of fasts or a quick breakfast. It is very filling and sweet potatoes are now the new age potatoes.. as they are considered to be much more  healthy and a source of good starch.  I love potatoes be it sweet, yellow or is the most versatile and accommodating root and besides being yummy it adapts to any forms you try to use it in.. be it fried, boiled or baked.

I have made sweet potato baked fried chips and kheer before and now I made this hash on  a Saturday Morning for Brunch. I used only 2 big Sweet Potatoes and had enough hash for 3 adults, depending on the number of people you want to feed, you will need about one medium potato per person or 2 large per 3 count.

You will need;
2 large sweet potatoes, grated using a box grater
(**wash and dry with a dish towel before grating. It is advisable to soak the potatoes in cold water for few minutes and then brush it lightly with the potato brush and remove all the dirt hidden in the skin.)
1/2 cup roasted peanut powder
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
1 tsp red chili powder
1 medium green chili chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbspn Oil
Salt and Sugar to taste
Cilantro to garnish

In non-stick pan, heat the oil on low to medium, once oil is enough hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle and turn one shade brown, then add the chopped green chili, and then add in the grated sweet potatoes hash, at this point add the red chili powder, salt and sugar and stir well to mix in the spices and cover and let cook for about 3-5 minutes. keep stirring in between at every 3 minutes. Then add in the fresh grated coconut and stir well to incorporate the  coconut in the hash. Cover and let it cook on low for another 3-5 minutes. Keep checking as this mixture as it tends to stick to the pan, if the mixture is sticking to the pan add in one tsp of oil more. Using a non stick should take care of it. Do all the cooking on low to medium heat. Alternatively, after you add in the coconut, take the mixture in a microwaveable bowl and cover with a microwave cooking lid and microwave it for 3 minutes in two intervals. Once it is cooked, garnish with cilantro and serve hot with some chilled yogurt.

Sweet Potatoes are very fleshy and its flesh is hard, but they cook relatively faster, so if you have never ever cooked with sweet potatoes or yams, don't be fooled with their appearance. They are very friendly and adapt to any forms very easily. After all not all first impressions can be the last.

Love Ash.


Chatpata Rice

Diwali is gone before the excitement died.. the party weekend was snowed on the East Coast this year and the houses that would have otherwise been glowing with Diwali and Halloween lights were darkened by power cuts. Nonetheless, we had hungry mouths to feed and then make up for the cancelled holiday parties, we decided to have a party at home with the leftover snack/faral items and this rice for lunch and then end the party with mouth watering Kalakand. Some days are good to be alone with your family without the hustle and bustle of kids running around, yelling, fighting and acting weird. This was the first Diwali when we did not meet many friends that we usually meet and visit during the festival, exchange a lot of faral boxes, but we did miss them and miss tasting their goodies and I am thankful for those precious friends who came all the way with the boxes and gifts for me, you guys rock my world!!!

Back to the post and the main reason you all are reading this blog.

You will need;
2 cups cooked rice/ vegetable pulav or jeera rice (good way to use the leftover rice)
1/2 onion chopped
1 small tomato
1 cup mixture of corn, broccoli and carrots-- diced and steamed in a microwave for 2 minutes.
1 Tsp Ginger/ Garlic paste
1 Tsp pav bahji Masala
2tbspn Green Cilantro chutney
Oil for tempering
Water as needed
Salt and Sugar--as per taste

In a pan over medium heat, heat oil, add the ginger garlic paste, add the onions, tomatoes fry for 2 mins , then add the vegetables, add little water and let cook for 1 minute, then add the pav bhaji masala and green cilantro chutney, mix well, add salt and sugar, mix well and lastly add rice with little water. Stir well and cover. Cook for abt 3 mins. The rice should not be liquidy but slightly sticky. once you get to this stage, the rice is done...garnish with Cilantro or Spring Onion, add a dash of lime if needed and Njoii Chatpata Rice.

Traditionally this is a Street food, which I have hogged on many years, when I was in college in Amchi Mumbai. Here in US, I still miss those days...but I have come a long way from then!!!

Love Ash.


Malai Peda

The festivities of Diwali have gone now and i am left with some yumm yumm snacks and mithai. There is a huge Desi junta/population in Central NJ and if you plan on buying mithai from the Indian sweet shops, be ready to stand in the line for more than an hour at times, Phew. I mean why will I waste that precious time when I can simply Google the recipe and make double the amount in half the price. I chose the second option and went the DIY way!! Being  a blogger also helps in the motivating department and DIY is the way to go. Another benefit is that I will use the best and freshest ingredients, make smaller portions as to not feel guilty of eating a sweet mava and sugar loaded goodie and be proud in parties as "I Made it with my own hands" slogans. if you look at it this way, you will find that making your own sweets at home is a breeze. Believee me this is very very simple..all you will need is only 2 main things, rest will depend on your creativityy and level of expertize.

I had already made Kalakand once this Diwali, so I had the Ricotta cheese and Condensed milk on hand, I put the my lazy bones to work..

You will need;
1 can condensed milk-14 oz** I used the milkmaid brand
1 can Ricotta cheese-15 oz
a Microwave safe deep glass bowl
1Tsp elaichi or cardamom-Optional
1tbspn Pista Powder-Optional
Saffron and cashew nut powder-Optional
1 tspn rose water-Optional but highly recommended

In a  safe Microvabeable deep glass bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and the condensed milk and stir till it is well incorporated. then;
microwave it on high for 5 minutes. Remove and stir.
Then again microwave it for 3 minutes, remove and stir.
Microvave it for 2 minutes covered.. remove and stir
Keep doing this, i .e microwaving the mixture in batches of 2 minutes; till you get a reasonable crumbling mixture.. I had to do this for about 18 minutes in total..

When you have a crumbly mixture, add the pista powder, elaichi (and saffron if desired), mix well and keep aside..When it reaches room temperature, keep it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Then roll out the pedas. Note these pedas are not hard like other pedas and are very soft and can easily loose its shape.. hence make them in bite size pieces, I used mini cup cake liners to serve each peda. I felt extra special and very festive serving it like this.

Sending this entry to Srav's Festive Food event

Love Ash.