My award

My award

Sunday, December 2, 2007

lemon rice with spicy pork curry

A perfect meal for the snowy evenings is comfort food mixed up with great flavor. One of my favorites is the fast fix to the busy lifestyle. As much as I love veggies, I love meat with lots of flavor and a zing to it.

Here is one my winter meals- lemon rice with pork curry.

What you need-
Left over rice/rice
Mustard seed- ¼ teaspoon
Red dry chilli-1/2
Turmeric- a pinch
Pork- in small pieces
Ginger and garlic paste-1 spoon
Salt and pepper
Soya sauce
Red bell pepper

Here’s is what you do-
Heat up a pan with 1 table spoon of oil
Throw in the mustard seed and one dry red chili
Let is fry and add the pinch of turmeric to it and stir
Add the rice, stir till all is mixed up
Squeeze in half a lemon or according to taste

Make sure there are chopped in small pieces
In a bowl, add one table spoon of ginger and garlic paste, pinch of turmeric, black pepper, soya sauce and salt.
Mix it well and marinate the pork in it for a minimum of half an hour.
Chop in some green bell pepper and onions and add to the pan with oil
One browned, add the pork to it and keep on stirring
When its seems all done, add water to it and cover the pan
Let it boil for half an hour
Open the lid and dry off the water as you keep on stirring it.

Serve it steaming hot and enjoy with an episode of Grey’s Anatomy !

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Holidays you all!

I know I am late. I have been cooking but haven't managed to write a lot for the blog.

Here is my recipe for the potatoe fritters which I love and doesnt take a lot to make-

  • boil potatoes with a pinch of salt.
  • once done, mash it well.

  • add chopped onions, peppers to the mashed potatoes.

  • mix it well, till you can take it in your hand and turn it into a ball

  • take it in the palm of your hand and press it to give a strong shape.

  • once done, beat one egg in a bowl.

  • if you dont like eggs or you are a vegetarian, you can avoid this step completely and it turns out as tasty.

  • heat the pan and add oil to it.

  • dip it in the egg bowl and straight to the pan.

  • it takes 1-2 minutes per side.

Once done, serve with any sauce you like for a perfect holiday snack!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

fastest appetizer

Have you ever been in situations when you have friends over at your place and suddenly realize that your refrigerator is empty? Of course you can order Chinese or pizza but I always like doing something on my own as a way of appreciation to show that I am glad they came over. Dinner can always be ordered if the kitchen is not well stocked enough.

Since I brown bag my lunch in trying to control the calorie intake, I always have bread at hand. Here is a recipe; you can whip up even if you have nothing at hand. It’s a good appetizer with drinks or just starters while you call up for the delivery guy.

I have always hated soggy bread and I like things crisp and clean, while trying to cook up something fast I came up with the idea and it has been a hit with all my friends for years. The gathering always ends with people taking this recipe home. So, here’s my secret-

All you need-
Bread (white preferably)
Cilantro (if you have/optional)
Salt and pepper
Chili flakes

What you have to do-
Warm up a wide skillet with oil
Take a big bowl and fill it up with water -2 cups
Take slices of bread and soak it in water (1 mint)
Chop the onions, while the bread soaks and oil warms up
Take the soaked up bread and give it a tight squeeze to get rid of the water.
Add it to the owl with chopped onions and add salt and pepper and cilantro
Mix them well together and turn them to small balls
Once the ball is done, press them a little (so its looks flat) which will help them cook sooner.
Now, fry them up till golden brown and serve with ketchup or any sauce.

They are done astonishingly fast and your guests won’t even know it’s made with bread. They taste amazing and every bit of it will be devoured.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

random pics

My trip to "Traders Joe" and the cute little pet parking lot caught my attention. the ice cream is from there too amd is worth a try. Perfect and not too sweet.

The leaning tower is from Chicago, yeah in a YMCA area.
The tom yum paste is a thai ingedient which is sweet and tangy and is perfect to make a huge pot of tom yum. something i always have in stock.
Some strawberries I bought, a dollar a box and so sweet. The best I had in a few years.
My refrigerator- a peek inside. Yes, I really cook everyday and eat loads of vegies ( I told you!).
I have finally found the perfect hang out spot- the Lutz pastry place. it has some amazing collection of pastries and cookies and you can pair it with wine, soda, beer or coffee. The best part is the ambience, light music and decorated with good taste. if I opened a cafe- it would be excatly like that, the right nook for friends and family and even small business meetings. Need I say more.

my favorite kitchen gadgets

Thats my tiny kitchen and gadgets i can't live without.

The slicer and right knives along with the red pepper grinder, a blender and my fun tea pot.
These are all valuable products and yet very affordable and worth every buck you spent. Most of them are available in regular stores and my tea pot in asian stores.
Take time to build up your kitchen because that will make you feel more at home than anything else.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Thai food in seconds

I am amazed at everyone who dedicatedly take pics after they are done with cooking and post it along with their recipe. I'm too lazy or may be very instinctive. I never plan on cooking something unless I have been craving it for a week or so.

By the time the food gets done am all in the eating mode and realise once the plate is cleaned up that i should have taken the pic. Anyways here is the Thai Green chicken curry. If you have seen my earlier post you know I had my bottle of the curry, you get it everywhere these days in international grocery stores.

to get

  • green chicken curry paste or sauce

  • chicken (boneless)

  • oil

I had drumstick chicken in my fridge, so I defrosted and cut off the chicken from the bone.

to do

  • heat a pan and add 1 table spoon of oil

  • add the chicken and just let it sear in the pan on both sides (cover the pan)

  • once done, open up the green chicken curry (bring it to room temperature)

  • remove the chicken and add the curry paste in the same pan

  • let it boil for a few minutes and add the chicken to it

Remember the drumstick that I have used for the chicken and I had stripped the meat clean from the bone. So, now I take a stock pot and add 5-6 cups of water, salt and pepper, one onion and 5 cloves of garlic and add in the bones. The product- home made chicken stock. Let it boil for an hour and strain off the liquied or easier (what i do), just throw away the bones.

the chicken rice

  • to be served with the green curry

  • take a small container and add the stock to it and let it boil

  • rinse a cup of rice (make sure you have the right amount so extra liquid does not stay behind, i eyeball my measurements)

  • let the rice boil and add a little black pepper or chopped bell peppers if you like.

  • once it is done, serve with the green chicken curry

You can add vegies to it and you can serve yourself one hearty meal even without the chicken curry or throw in some leftover meat to the rice.

(pics: courtesy google images. I promise will try to think of clicking pics and restrain myself from eating the delicious food next time)

magazine scribblings

I have been scribbling in this Chicago local magazine for a while now............ and I thought it would be nice to have the link here.

My article is on page you have to use the navigation buttons! Last week I tried green chicken curry and will place the recipe soon. Enjoy the Sunday!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Award

Look what I have got! Look to your right- the cute pink award. Rv just handed it over to me and am so excited!

More posts coming your way.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

grocery today

I love to cook and nothing is better than a well stocked kitchen-
  • red potato
  • white potao
  • red onions
  • yellow onions
  • egg plant
  • cilantro
  • salmon steak
  • tuna steak
  • salt
  • thai green curry in a bottle
  • italian bread
  • mango preserve
  • cauliflower
  • turkey slices
  • pickled jalapeno

steak time

Tonight for dinner I am planning on having tuna steaks and veggies. I had a salmon steak a few months back and liked it so much I decided to try tuna today.

Yesterday, we actually went for a steak dinner at “Chilies” and I enjoyed it too. We ordered a plate with half rack of baby back ribs and a steak with a side serving of mashed potatoes and veggies. The dinner ended with a cheesecake.

The portion size was so big that two of us actually could share it easily. It was a cool think to do, instead of ordering two entrees which happens most of time times and I never end up eating it entirely. So I have to pack them because I don’t want to waste it and it doesn’t feel so good the next day.

So, we actually decided to split one entrée for both of us and waited to see the quantity. It turned out to be a smart decision. The meal was delicious and it also gave us the chance to grab a dessert- the cheesecake.

Ah- all that gibberish. Today I got both the tuna and the salmon steaks. Now for the dinner plans-

The tuna steak
Season with salt and pepper on both sides
Heat a wide pan with vegetable oil
Add the tuna and fry both sides
When done heat up your oven top grill and place it there
One minute on both sides and they look yummy

The veggies
Clean fresh beans
Dice one red potato ( I like to keep carbs to minimum)
Boil one pot of hot water and add salt to it
Blanch the beans and potato in it
Drain off the water
Add the veggies to the pan with a little oil and one clove of garlic
Add salt and pepper

Serve the tune steak with veggies and if you are in a mood light up a candle and pour for yourself a glass of wine.

(the other pic is a to-go tiramisu available in downtown Chicago in cafe BACCI).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

garbanzo salad

A light salad is a perfect snack or meal anytime. Here is the 10 minutes summer chick pea/garbanzo salad salad.
You need-

  • garbanzo beans
  • green pepper
  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

It's as simple as it looks, just heat up your grill and throw some onions and green pepper, even tomatoes if you want to. Rinse the garbanzo beans and add it to a bowl. once the grilling is done, chop it finely and all the green pepper and onions to the bowl, add salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon and some oilive oil, toss it and you are good to go!

delicious potstickers

Sunday is the only day I get to try experimenting new dishes. I have been eating out a lot and it has added a few visible calories on my waistline. I decided to stop it right there and get back to cooking more at home and eating healthy.

I love going to downtown everyday and though I bag my lunch, after a hectic day and all those eating places all around i sneak out to get some lunch. I did find some great places and fabulous dishes.

Today, I decided to try making some potstickers, I bought the potsticker wrappers last month and have been sitting in my fridge like forever. I had some shrimp and decided to give it a try. what came out was really good......I didnt expect it to turn out that perfect!

So, try this out and here's the recipe-

You need-
  • potsticker wrappers (available in asian/international grocery stores)
  • oil
  • shrimp (fresh/frozen)
  • onion
  • garlic
  • turmeric
  • chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper

To do

The filling

  • keep your potsticker wrappers in the refrigerator and not in the freezer.
  • pull them out and let it come to the room temperature.
  • meanwhile clean up your shrimp
  • put your pan in medium flame and add vegetable oil
  • out the shrimo and let it get lightly fried
  • add the onions and garlic and stir it all together
  • when almost done, add a pinch of turmeric, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
  • when they are almost red and done, take it off the flames and let it rest for a minute.
  • transfer the whole pan to the food processor/blender
  • pulse it, till it is all smooth and done. add a little water if needed.
  • transfer it to the pan and heat up a little and stir, so the water evaporates and you potstickers don't seem runny.

The Final Act

  • keep a bowl of room temperature water.
  • take a wrapper and fill in a scoop of the shrimp filling
  • dab our index finger with water, add wet the sides of the wrapper.
  • fold the wrapper and make sure to have it sealed.
  • once done, add some oil to the pan and out it on medium flame
  • add the potstickers to the pan one by one and let them fry 1 minute each side.
  • now the trick, add a little water to the pan (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan)
  • close the lid of your pan and let it steam
  • the water will evantually evaporate and since it had the left over oil in it, will fry ligtly again.
  • transfer them to the dish and serve with a tomatillo salsa.

Now, thats a perfect Sunday meal and couple it with some good reads and you are ready for a grilling week coming ahead.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

10 minute Lunch

How much do you cook on weekdays if you are working full time?

Yeah, I do but really it's more of a way to feed my hunger than trying out new things. After working for long hours I most of the time don't have the energy to cook. Do you take lunch along or take it as an oppurtunity to find out new places and cuisines to eat during lunch hours?

As for me I brown bag my lunch, days that I dont I look for some eats outside. The positive sit that you dont end up over eating and adding calories you dont need. I make my lunch early morning, which means it's a relatively short process. Last week was mostly burrito- it works great. To do that better I get some sauces or salsa prepared during the weekend and I refrigerate it. It definitely adds flavor, doesnt have preservatives and is all healthy.

So, today here are some recipes of sauces and my 10 minute burrito that kept me going for lunch last week. First, a cilantro sauce and second a salsa and third hummus.

Cilantro Sauce-All you need is a food processor.
  • Add one entire bunch of cilantro
  • 3/4 cloves of garlic
  • green chillies
  • salt
  • pepper

Thats it, pulse it till it's done and you can keep it in the refreigerator for the rest of the week to use in sandwich, pita bread, burrito or even grill chicken with.

Tomatoe salsa- A food processor is needed.

  • tomatoes
  • green chilli
  • chopped onions-1
  • garlic- 3/4 cloves
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • cilantro

Put everything together in the processor except the onion and cilnatro and just pulse it, till its done. Once it gets the consistency, transfer it to air tight containers to be refrigerated. Add the choppped onions and a handful of cilantro and if you have a squeeze of lemon. To give it a twist roast the tomatoe and the garlic, it brings out the flavor more.

Also, if you keep tomatoes in the refigerator for a longer period of time it kind of gets mushy, so this is a better way to store it longer and not having to throw it away.


  • garbanzo beans-2 cans
  • garlic-3/4
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • roasted sesame seeds

Rinse the canned beans well and add the rest in the food processor and pulse it. You are all done. you can use it as a dip with fruits or chips or in burrito.

Now that you are all prepped up all you need is just 1o minutes in the monring to get your lunch all together.

10 minute Burrito

  • warm up your skillet while you make your morning coffee
  • warm the burrito in the skillet
  • add olive oil and toss in some mushroom, or some mixed vegies (i use the frozen packet- saves time)
  • if you have some left over chicken/fish/eggs/bacon you can chop it to or just use vegies.
  • place the burrito on a flat place and add the vegies and whatever you want to include
  • add your choice of sauce from above- cilnatro/hummus/tomatoe salsa and wrap it up carefully
  • place the inner contents in the middle of the burrito and then fold it horizontally first and then veritically.
  • wrap it up in paper and finally in a foil.
  • even if you dont have time to warm it up at lunch, it will taste wonderful.

I hope you like it. Next week is my all sandwich week and may be some salads. So, I got some French bread, fruits, chives and my sauces ready today.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Biryani- well almost

Last weekend was fabulous I visited my newly found friends in Elgin and had a wonderful time. To top it off, they took me out for dinner and lunch (the next day) and we chatted till I had a sore throat. It was great, very relaxing and their wonderful house is picture perfect. The next evening she had invited a few of their close friends for dinner and I stayed back before driving all the way to the city.

Working women and kitchen have not always been best friends but I disagree. While it is easier to order out and save the hassle to cook and then clean which no one enjoys after a hectic day at work, some perform it graciously. The party was a hit, people enjoyed and sipped their drinks and talked about the difference between the working and stay at home women/wife. My friend with her high profile full time job had managed to cook for all her friends a complete seven course meal. The meal was perfect and yet people pondered if she had actually cooked. It was weird as if women with degrees and a job are not supposed to be good cooks. I drove back later with food all packed in by her to keep me going for the rest of the week.

I have enjoyed her hospitality and the food. So, while am still seated in my couch with Doris Lessing’s “Golden Notebook” and jotting down pointers to be included in my next column, I’ m thinking about dinner and the fact that I love to cook.

Here is one of my recipes that work best if you have left over rice and want a good meal and yet don’t want to spend your entire Friday in the kitchen. Biryani or Chicken fried rice is fast and yummy. Don’t take it as the authentic recipe for Biryani, because it is not. It’s the fast way out to enjoy some traditional cooking.

Left over chicken/fresh chicken/lamb
Left over rice
Biryani spice mix (in Indian grocery/multi-ethnic grocery stores)
Salt & pepper
Ginger and garlic paste
Yogurt (if you have in refrigerator)
Chili powder/flakes (optional)

Add the ginger and garlic paste, salt, pepper, half chopped onion, chili powder, one tablespoon of yogurt to the chicken and marinate. Make sure it’s all mixed well. If you have planned it early marinate for 3-5 hours, if not as long as you can. Half an hour would be fine.

To Do
Heat a skillet in high flame
Add oil
Lightly toss and turn the chicken don’t have to fry it completely (if you are watching your calories).
Keep the skillet covered so that the chicken gets cooked. If you don’t want to fry it all the way, add ½ cup water to it and let it simmer.
Remove the chicken and keep it aside.
In the same skillet add oil, then the rest of the chopped onion and fry until light brown
Add garlic and pepper and 1-2 tablespoon of the biryani mix powder, according to the amount of rice used.
Once mixed together and lightly fried, add the rice and mix it well. Stir it for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken to the rice in the skillet and cover it with the lid and let it cook for a minute before you serve.
Serve with a garden salad and enjoy!

(Pic: Courtesy Google images)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Egg Roll

I get ideas at the middle of the night and decide to put them on the blog. I have been lazy, I cook and then somehow dont take the photographs. So, now I have the recipe but no pics.

Here's the best snack I know, sometimes a fast meal. It's simple and fast and you will love the taste.

You need (for one person)-

  • Eggs-1

  • Tortila-1

  • Onion-1/4

  • Lettuce

  • Salt and Pepper- according to taste

  • Oil- 1 tablespoon
To do-

  • Heat a skillet in high flame

  • Beat the egg in a bowl, add salt and pepper to it

  • Add the oil in the skillet and pour the beaten egg in the skillet

  • Give it 5 seconds and before it settles down place the tortilla on the egg

  • Press the tortilla so that it sticks to the egg

  • Give it 5 seconds and then turn it over

  • When both sides are done, take it off on a plate

  • Add chopped lettuce, onions, salsa and hot sauce and fold it over.

Enjoy the egg roll , next time you need something fast you know what you can do.

(Pic: Courtesy Google images)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Eggplant Feast

Food bloggers are everywhere, like me they love food and the power to share it on the web. If you have a soft corner for cooking and food, you will love the blogs. The home made recipes, the effort to make the food look nice in the pictures and the happiness in finding fellow food bloggers.

As for me, I have started writing a food column for a local Chicago magazine. Everytime I write something about my journey in the foodland, it ends up getting archived for the magazine.

So today, I'm going to post one my my special vegan recipes exclusively for 'Ginger n Garlic'. I love meat in every form but I love vegies as well. I love trying out new dishes and eggplant/brinjal happens to be one of my favorite vegies.

You need:

  • Eggplant- 1 (big)

  • Onion-1 (big)

  • Garlic- 5 cloves

  • Tomatoe- 1 (big)

  • Turmeric- optional

  • Curry leaves- 3/4 leaves (optional, it brings in a earthy flavor, mostly used in the South Indian cooking).

  • Green chili- optional

  • Salt & Pepper- as per taste

  • Oil-vegetable oil.

To do:

  • Heat a wide skillet in a high flame

  • Add oil to the pan and a few green chillies more for flavor than for the heat.

  • Add the eggplant because it takes the maximum time to cook.

  • Let the whole thing settle down and start cooking for a few minutes and stir it once a while.

  • Add the curry leaves and the garlic and onion to it.

  • Give it 3-4 minutes.

  • Stir well

  • when the eggplant is soft and breaking up, turn the flame to meduim and add turmeric to it and mix it well, till you get the yellow color spread evenly.

  • Add salt and pepper and let it cook.

  • When the eggplant is soft and everything is mixed well and seems cooked, add the tomatoes to it.

  • Mix it very well and stor at at times.

  • It is done when the eggplant and the tomatoe have mixed perfectly and has a slightly mashed consistency.

  • Taste to reseason, and serve with Pita bread, naan or plain rice.

Advantages- Tastes heavenly and perfect for bigger gatherings and very easy to cook, fewer chances of making mistakes.

Disadvantages- Takes half an hour to get it done, mostly slow cooked and cannot be done it one tablespoon of oil. Needs constant attention, you have to stir if often to make sure the bottom of the pan doesnt get burnt.

Enjoy with your friends over the memorial day weekend and store the left overs to make a great sandwich next day for brunch.Just add some lettuce and you are good to go. Hope you like it as much as I do. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sunday Brunch

Last Sunday instead of heading for a brunch, I decided to take a walk to the nearby "Borders" store to flip over some latest cookbooks.
The cookbook section seems deserted, except once in a while visits and I decided to step into the space for the next few hours. You have to be there to realize there are cookbooks for about almost everything. From how to cook healthy meals, to the crowded Food Network stars, international cooking to baking- you have it all.

A few minutes into the store and you get the idea of buying a cookbook that fits your wallet. Recipe cards are mostly under $10; no frill, just plain recipe. The hard bound cookbooks with loads of inserted colored photographs can cost you $20 and above. If you want something in between, go for the cookbooks which have recipes but no inserted culinary photographs or food stylists ($10-$20). Browsing through the store, I also found this amazing audio book of Chef Anthony Bourdain called "Kitchen Confidential" (adventures in the culinary underbelly). Priced at $19.95 it's an 8hour 20 minutes audio that promises to leave you asking for more.

"Mangoes and Curry Leaves" (Culinary travel through the great subcontinent), catchy title, it sure did get my attention (see the photograph). An interesting collection of recipes and some amazing photographs, it tastes the subcontinent (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) food from the out of the country traveler’s point of view. I truly admire the spirit in which it was done but it left me with this lingering thought, if including cookbooks about subcontinent cooking was best done with books by the sub continent authors to get the real taste.
I did like a few books and my votes go for Rachael Ray’s classic- 30 minute meals (the all occasion cookbook) for $19.95. It’s about simple cooking and is reasonably priced. The essential baking was too sweet on the eyes; I loved the cupcake feeling that got translated through the cute pink cover.

Do you have a favorite chef, a cuisine that you are partial towards or a cookbook you wish someone had the idea of gifting you?
( Pics courtesy: Borders,

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Indian Kitchen

Either you like it or you don’t. While some people go gaga over Indian food and rush to the Indian restaurants on weekends and I swear by Devon Street in Chicago ( the Indian hub), some are not a big fan of the excessive spice and the lingering after taste that even strips of Listerine fail to wash away.

Unlike the prevailing concept that Indian food is all about spices and loading up on calories which so many of us deny to make it a part of our lifestyle and constantly are on a hunting spree for recipes that satisfy our palette and at the same time don’t take a toll on our waste line.

While most of the eating joints are really not an attestation to the fact that Indian food could be a low calorie meal, it’s nothing but the truth. While “curry” is the only known lingo linked to Indian food, it should one among the many.

Indian food in its true original form is one of the best known ways to have a perfectly balanced meal. I don’t mean the over oily restaurant food or frozen quick Indian dinners available in the market, though I would be lying if I say I don’t enjoy them during my crazy schedules.

If you mastered the guts to visit India and tasted traditional meals you know what I’m talking about. Whether you have been to India or just visited a family here Indians treat their guests with lot of attention and food. Its part of the culture, you are fed till you belch.

The traditional meal is balanced with grains (typically rice or naan), lentils (protein), typically two or three dishes of vegetables (seasonal), fish/chicken/egg curry and yogurt or sweet to finish it off. The restaurant food typically available here are a version you would find in Indian weddings or lavish food events and not in an everyday household meal.

Regular meals are low in oil content and the use of different spices allow for the range of available flavor. Unlike the assumption that Indian spices are all about turmeric, curry powder and cumin; it is actually a lot more. I have to admit that after all the cooking that I have done for the last ten years which started in my college dorm to avoid the tasteless food, I am still not aware of the dozen of spices that exist in Indian cooking.

After religiously watching Food Network, I think that kitchens here restrict themselves to zucchini, spinach and broccoli. What about other greens- gourds, cabbage, cauliflowers and so many others? My great grandmother lived till she was 97 and the story goes that while she was visiting my parents, a friendly neighbor said that he hated green gourd. A week later, she invited him over Sunday lunch and he praised for the next five minutes how perfect the lunch was. She smiled and said “am glad you liked the gourds”. Two of the served vegie dishes were made of it and he never realized just because it tasted so different and good. I’m not sure if I can pull a similar trick but then she was one of best cooks ever. That’s what is so amazing about Indian cooking; you can keep the original flavor or tweak it to the extent you wouldn’t know what it is.

Indian food is not all about the spices; it is about cooking infused with love and care. As in most places, food is an integral part of the culture and cooking and entertaining is part of your daily schedule, whether you like it or not.

(Pic: Courtesy Google Images)