Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dumplings And An Award!


I picked up dumpling wrappers from the grocery store yesterday. I was thinking about making raviolis out of them and ended up making these tasty dumplings! I happened to have all the ingredients in my fridge and pantry for dumplings. And I got enough wrappers to make both, dumplings and ravioli. Since I was making it for Sunday supper, I decided to go with dumplings as they are much lighter than raviolis. Mark was kind of skaptical at first. All he had until now was noodles and curried dishes with rice as Chinese. He still gave it a try and simply fell in love with it! Gave me a thumbs up! At the end , I shallow fried some dumplings for him to enjoy. These dumplings were vegetarian and no one could tell it!

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chili paste
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons freshly chopped mint leaves
1 tablespoon freshly chopped Thai basil leaves

Peanut oil, for cooking
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

1 cup Nutrela granules, soaked and squeezed dry per package directions
1/2 cup grated cabbage
2 finely chopped green onions
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tbsp grated garlic
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp or more Sambal Olek
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1-2 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg
Water to seal the edges of dumplings

How to:
For the dough:
Whisk the flour with the salt and stir in the water until dough is shaggy. Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead briefly; dough should be soft and pliable but not too sticky. Rest, covered, while you make the filling and the sauce.

For the filling:
Mix everything except corn starch in a food processor. Now depending on consistency, add corn starch. The filling should be on dry side. Not to dry though. Take one disc and place about 1 tbsp of filling in the centre. Do not overstuff the discs. Line the edges with a touch of water and seal the dumpling. Make all the dumplings and keep them covered under moist kitchen towel.

Heat a skillet, just large enough to accommodate the number of dumplings you want to cook over high heat. Add a thin coating of oil, heat, then add the dumplings in concentric circles. They should be touching. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown, 3 or 4 minutes (reduce the heat if they are browning too quickly). Add enough water to come about 1/4 of the way up the sides of the dumplings-it will spatter. Cover the skillet, adjust the heat so that the water is simmering, and cook for about 7 minutes. Uncover the skillet and, if there is water left, let it cook off. Check the dumpling bottoms-if they need to brown a bit more, let them, adding a bit more oil if necessary.

Serve the dumplings immediately, drizzled with some dipping sauce and garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.

Now the award time! Wonderful Aipi was too kind to me and she shared this award with me. 

 I can't thank her enough to honor me with this lovely award... Versatile Blogger Award. This is so cool 'n exciting.

Thanks Aipi. You've got rocking recipes and a wonderful blog.

To accept this award the guidelines are -
- Thank the person/people who gave it to you - Did so!
- Tell 7 things about yourself - too difficult, looks like I don't know myself!
- Pass the award on to 15 bloggers who you think are fantastic - Man, don't even know this many bloggers! So  I am passing on this award to the friends I know.

I am trying to come up with 7 facts about myself
1. I am a Gujarati Christian, people think I look like from South India(I've got big black eyes and curly hair)!
2. A true family person
2. I love travelling, especially cruises!
3. Used to be an avid reader, don't have enough time these days. I could read the piece of paper comes with the fish n chips! Go figure!
4. Love to collect cool kitchen gadgets
5. I don't hate people! I dislike so many but never hate them
6. I don't drink coffee regularly! That's my weekend fair(funny my blog has hot n steamy coffee picture!)
7. I love to cook but can't just consider myself a foodie. There is so much to learn.

It is my pleasure to pass this award on to the following loving blogmates of mine, and Aipi, coming back at you again!

1. Sayali-my first ever blogger friend
2.Priya- thanks to who I've been able to get wonderful friends like you all, girls!

Breakfast Club

Sunday I wanted to make a quick, light and healthy breakfast for us. I didn't want to toast up the breads to go with jam or butter neither did I want to have the bagels or waffles. I had some leftover bread in the fridge from the week before so I thought, hmmm….. Let's try breakfast club sandwich! When I was in university in Ahmedabad, all of us friends used to go for either the vegetable sandwich filled with cucumber and tomatoes with usual cilantro spread and ketchup or vegetable club sandwich which was originally same vegetable sandwich with 3 slices of bread instead of two! Here in the restaurants, I have noticed in the menu big club sandwiches. I can't have that much bread either. So I decided to go for 3 slices of bread per sandwich.

Here's what you need and how to do.

Breakfast Club
6 slices of regular bread
Good quality margarine spread
4 slices of chicken bacon, cooked as per package instructions
4 slices of tomatoes (beefsteak preferred)
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 leaves of head lettuce

For egg cake
5 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful of fresh basil and parsley, julienned

How to:
Heat the oven at 350° F. Beat eggs, salt and pepper and fresh herbs together in a bowl. Pour it in the baking dish lined with the parchment paper. Make sure the dish is wide enough that could give you 4 good slices of eggs. Bake for 10 minutes or until the eggs are set. Keep aside.

Toast the breads. Slather margarine on one side of each bread. Now arrange 2 bacon slices, a slice of an egg and top it off with another bread slice. Arrange on that bread, 2 slices of tomatoes(use salt and pepper liberally), another slice of egg and a leaf of lettuce and place the 3rd slice of bread on the top. Arrange tooth picks properly so that everything can hold up and slice the club the way you like.

I couldn't take the picture of the sandwich with the tomatoes that I made for myself. So, here is the picture of the club without the tomatoes that I made for Mark and hubby!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quick N Easy - Kalakand

This is one of the easiest and quickest mithais. I love to make mithais and hubby loves to eat them, so blogging about these home-made Indian sweets is kind of keeping a track of what I make for him and what he eats! I love to make Kalakand as it only takes 5 ingredients and is sooooooo easy!! Don't believe me? Look at the ingredients list and you will know that I am not lying!

Makes about 16 pieces

15 oz. container of full fat ricotta cheese
8 oz. Carnation skimmed milk powder
8 oz. granulated sugar
1/2 cup ghee
A pinch of cardamom

Garnish: slivered almonds, pistachios( Optional)

How to:
Mix all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.
Cook for 3 minutes.
Stir and cook for 3 more minutes.
At this time, you will see that there is much less water content remaining in the mixture.
Depending on the water content and the capacity of the microwave(my Panasonic takes only 7 minutes in total!) you need to adjust the time to cook.
Once a solid mass forms, pour and spread in a well greased plate.
Garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios, let it cool down for a couple of hours and cut into pieces.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mozzarella Sticks

Who doesn't love cheese?! So gooood! And who doesn't love fried cheese?! Even better and delicious. I've made this recipe so many times now, I can tell that I make one of the most delectable fried mozzarella cheese sticks! No kidding! Read on and you will know. A friendly warning: this is lip smacking, waist widening food! So use your discretion! I bet you won't be able to stop once you start biting into this yummy sticks and letting that ooey gooey stringy cheese flow out!

Mozzarella Sticks

1.5 cups breadcrumbs
1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
1-1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 tsp salt
2-16 oz blocks of mozzarella, cut into half inch sticks
4 large eggs
1.5 cup vegetable oil
4 cups Marinara sauce, recipe follows

How to:
Stir the bread crumbs,Italian seasoning, 1 cup of Parmesan and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl to blend. Dip the cheese in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the cheese in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the cheese sticks on a baking sheet. Repeat dipping the cheese sticks in the egg and bread crumb mixture to coat a second time. Cover and freeze until frozen, about 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the fried cheese to plates. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve with the Marinara Sauce.

Marinara Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (32 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mango Tango

Today, I am posting two recipes with mangoes. 1. mango smoothie and 2. mango kulfi! Aren't you all excited?! I am! I love summer because I love to enjoy mangoes! I love to eat mangoes just they way they are, raw and ripe. I like to make cool treats using mangoes. I freeze mangoes in summertime so that I can enjoy smoothies all year long. Smoothie is my usual breakfast. Mango lassi and mango smoothie are different things. It's confusing for people which is what. Lassi takes lots of yogurt. Smoothie is pure fruit and a bit of juice or water, with a bit of milk for added protein. Whatever they call it, if it is loaded with the mango taste, I am in for it!

Mango Smoothie

1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 cup cold milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup mango pulp
A few ice cubes

How to:

I like to crush the ice first in my blender. Then add the rest of the ingredients and whip everything up till nicely blended. Enjoy.

Mango kulfi
(nothing gets easier and tastier than this cool treat!)

1 tub Cool Whip Lite
1 can mango pulp

How to:
Blend both ingredients on medium high speed till airy. Pour into kulfi molds(I used small paper cups!) and freeze. Within 12 hours, kulfi is ready for you to enjoy.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tawa Vegetables

There is this Indian restaurant near my home which serves a fantastic buffet. They claim that they are the largest buffet in North America! Well, I have to believe them as they truly have this wonderful spread of breads, soups, pizzas, pickles, other condiments like olives, pasta salads etc. vegetarian and meat dishes, Hakka dishes, chaats and pakoras and finally, the desserts! They have ice creams and Indian sweets to finish off the meal with. But there is one particular dish that always catches my attention and actually I am eager to savor that dish only is Tawa Vegetables. I tried to chat with the chef and find out how exactly they make it. He was reluctant at first but I didn't give up! I was pestering him for so long, he finally described a little method! The horrible thing was, all the veggies were deep fried! Well, it's a buffet, what else can we expect? After that day, I haven't eaten that dish there again! So I decided to give it a try at home by trying steaming and grilling the veggies instead of deep-frying them. And the result was so satisfying, I couldn't believe it!

I forgot to buy bitter melon so that wasn't included in this dish. Practically all the veggies that can be added in this tawa. At the restaurant, they present this dish on a large tawa, all the veggies separately and it looks very pretty. For the 3 of us, I didn't have to do all that! But if I ever make this for my parties, I will present it that way.

Tawa Vegetables
1 cup each big chunks of cauliflower, colored peppers, small eggplants(I used the Japanese one as I couldn't find small ones at the super market), whole baby potatoes, pearl onions(couldn't find them either!), paneer(thickly sliced), brussels sprouts, okra
Salt to taste
Whole cumin seeds,1 tbsp
1 tbsp kasoori methi
Red chili powder
Turmeric powder
Cumin powder
Garlic powder
Chaat masala - all to taste
Oil as required

How to:
Put chunks of veggies separetely in a baking dish. Drizzle with oil, toss a little and bake in 400° F oven till the veggies are tender.
Steam brussels sprouts.
Bake the brussels sprouts, potatoes, onions, okra, egg plant and paneer the same way.
Keep them aside.
Heat up the oil in a wok.
Add cumin seeds and roast them.
Add red chili powder and kasoori methi and cook for a few seconds.
Now add rest of the spice powder but chaat masala and veggies.
Add little water so that all the vegetables get cooked.
Sprinkle with chaat masala and serve.

Chicken Tikka With Steamed Veggies

I love to barbeque. It is very quick and gives nutritious dishes and the most important part is: No cooking odor in the house! Indians in North America can relate to this very well! I bbq so many foods, you name it. It is not only for hot dogs and hamburgers! Lots of vegetables, marinated chicken,fish etc and above all, desserts! Grilled fruits make great dessert. Serve them with a dollop of whipped cream or sugared ricotta cheese, and you've got yourself a pass to heaven! This one was very simple. I bbqed tandoori chicken, some steaks and steamed veggies. Veggies look so pretty, aren't they? This same tandoori chicken will be used for sandwich wraps and chicken tikka masala in the week to come.

Chicken Tikka
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into about 1.5" pieces
1 tbsp each ground ginger and garlic
1 tbsp kasoori methi
2 tbsp tandoori spice mix(available at most Indian grocery stores)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp lemon juice

How to:
Marinate chicken with all these spices for at least 3 hours. Grill them on oiled grates at 400°F grill for about 10 minutes, rotating the skewers to get a good char. Enjoy with cilantro chutney or roll up in naans with some cilantro chutney and salad.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Steamed Beet Leaves(Paatra!)

I love beets - raw, fried as chips, baked in oven, you name it. Last week I bought beets with the stems and leaves as the supermarket I go to for grocerys, ran out of regular beets. I used up the beets and had no heart to trash the leaves! I knew if I cook them up,they would wilt down to nothing. Out of nowhere, I thought about making paatra with those leaves! Now paatra is a traditional Gujarati snack made out of Eddo leaves, smeared with the paste of besan, lemon juice, salt, red chili powder, turmeric and coriander powder. Then steamed to cook them and saute in oil etc. I followed the same steps, excpet the leaves! I used up the beet leaves, made little pockets out of them and steamed them. Then I sauteed in little bit of oil, green chilies, curry leaves, sesame seeds and dried coconuts. The result was just fantalicious!
Raw leaves ready to be steamed!
Steamed parcels of beet leaves
Ready to eat paatra!

Beet Paatra
about 16-18 large,whole beet leaves
1/4 cup besan
salt to taste
juice of a half lemon
red chili powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder to taste
a pinch of sugar

How to: Mix everything with little water to make thick paste. Smear on one leaf, place another leaf on top and smear that leaf also with the paste. Roll up or make a parcel. Prepare all the parcels like this and steam on high heat for about 10 minutes.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Anniversary Breakfast

Last Saturday, July 10th, we celebrated our 17th anniversary! Seems like just yesterday we got married! And now we have a 15-year old son with us! We are blessed by God Almighty abundantly. We've been very much grateful for that.

I had planned a wonderful breakfast for us. Our anniversary breakfast was the perfect way to start our day together. Saturdays are our favorite day of the week, too. We lounge around in our PJs, relax, sit at the kitchen table & eat, and watch news on TV. Hubby loves parathas and eggs for Saturday breakfast! I didn't want to deprive him of that! So instead of making one big paratha each for us, I made bite sized parathas for us. Eggs were there too. On top of it, stuffed French toast! Both father and son love Nutella! So I made Nutella stuffed French toast with the dusting of the confectioner's sugar! And boy oh boy! Those French toasts were fabulous. To wash down the food, we had our usual steamy coffee with a twist! I made mocha for us! We were going out for dinner so the big breakfast did take us through the day.

Nutella stuffed French toasts
6 slices of plain white bread, day old at least
3 eggs
salt to taste
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup mik
3 tbsp.Nutella
icing sugar to dust
butter to fry the tosts

How to:
Whisk eggs, salt, cinnamon, sugar & milk thoroughly.  Toast the bread lightly. Spread 1 tbsp each of Nutella on 3 slices of bread. Top of with remaining 3 slices. Cut diagonally. Soak in egg mixture till butter gets heated in a skillet. Shallow fry till golden brown on both sides. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mango Ice Cream

Cold N Creamy from Hot N Steamy! Yes, that's what I am going to present today. A cool treat of luscious mango ice cream! This one is to die for. It turned out so good, the reactions of hubby and Mark were: how did you make such good ice cream without an ice cream maker?! This is so yummy! Can I have more?

This treat was full of mango flavor. And no preservatives, no artificial color, no chemicals. Only natural ingredients and just the 4 of them. So get ready to get such comments from your family and make them mango ice cream.

Mango Ice Cream
3 large Hayden mangoes, pureed
1/2 tub Cool Whip Lite
1 can condensed milk
1/2 can mango pulp(Alphonso preferred)

How to:
Mix all the ingredients on medium speed with hand blender till the mixture is airy and fluffy. Transfer into a freezer-safe container with the lid and freeze for about 24 hours. Enjoy the cool ice cream! Ice cream tastes at its best when mashed a little with a wooden spoon! Seriously, I am not kidding. Don't eat ice cream frozen. Let it thaw a bit for a few minutes and you can taste the flavor hidden in it. Frozen treats tend to freeze your taste nerves so that you can't really taste the food.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Little Trip to Bangkok!

Here we go again! We are flying to Bangkok, Thailand!  Don't have passports and visa ready?!  No need to panic!  Let's bring a little Thailand in our kitchen!

This is my favourite dish to have at the Spring Rolls restaurant near work.  I always have chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce(the post is coming soon!) with mango salad.  They use roasted peanuts, I used cashews.  This was the only difference.  Other than that, this salad tasted just as good ( or should I say better?!) as the one at the restaurant.

Again, no recipe. Mango salad, obviously you need mangos! And lots of it.  Then a red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, sugar and a touch of fish sauce.  You can omit fish sauce but I found it a nice flavoring agent.

Enjoy the Summer with mangos!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Iced Coffee

Who doesn't love iced drinks on hot days? With the mercury rising, it feels more tropical here than in the tropics! We are under sweltering heat for so many days now. It gets over 100° F during the day and you don't feel like eating any thing. Just gulping down gallons of iced cold water and other goodies. At work, I go for the iced coffee and at home, we prefer cold buttermilk with black salt and roasted, ground cumin. I remember how mom would refrain us from having any cold drinks when we'd have cold! Not cold, mostly allergy! I was talking to my mom on the phone from work and I sounded stuffed up. So mom advised me to not drink cold beverages! I was like, yes mom, whatever! Put the phone back and heded staight to Star Bucks for a tall iced coffee! I hope mom wouldn't read this.

1/2 cup brewed coffee, cooled (hazelnut vanilla is heavenly), 3/4 cup milk,sugar to taste, 2-3 ice cubes Mix up everything and enjoy!

I usually make a potful of coffee in the morning and leave it in the fridge. So whenever I am ready, my iced coffee is there to mix up. Sometimes I add cream to make it rich. Other times, I use flavored coffee whiteners. But most of the time, I stick with regular milk.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chocó Banana Chip Muffins

Last weekend was a blessing! July 1st was Canada day and we took a day off Friday, making it an extra long weekend. It was much needed. We had so much fun as we did lots of stuff. Lots of outing, working around the house, getting things done that were waiting to be done for a while now. And of course, food! I barbequed 3 out of 4 days. I simply love bbquing. It is faster to cook and no smell of the cooked food in the house at all! That's the part hubby loves! He has such sensitive smelling. Anyways, Sunday morning I wanted to make muffins. As I was 'clutter freeing' my bedroom the day before, I found an old milk calendar! I was flipping the pages and came across this recipe. I had everything on hand so I thought why not make muffins for breakfast. The recipe called for a cup each of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour. I used 1.5 cups of oat flour(I simply ground up the bag of quick cooking oats I had!) and 1/2 cup of all purpose flour. I knew I was doing good to my family's health. At 300 calories and 12% of Iron a piece, anyone can afford to have this guilt free muffin.

Chocó Banana Chip Muffins
1.5 cups oat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp each salt and baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
2 large bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate morsels

How to:
Heat the oven to 375°F. Mix all the dry ingredients in one large bowl. Mix all the wet ingredients (upto egg) in another bowl. Stir in wet ingredients into the dry ones. Now add chocolate chips and fold in gently. Divide into 6 large or 8 medium muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes or until the tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Enjoy the warm muffing with lots of olive oil margarine!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Molten Chocolate Cake

Mark's favorite dessert! What I think about this cake? It is that someone was rushing to make the chocolate cake and pulled the cake out of the oven before it was properly baked! And when cut, the chocolate oozed out and thus, to cover up the mistake, the smarty pants baker gave the new name to the dish! Molten Chocolate Cake! Whatever and however the story goes, it works perfectly for me! And you get the same ooey gooey result every time you bake this cake. What's more does one want?!

Molten Chocolate Cake
Makes 4 individual cakes

1 stick of butter, cut into pieces
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
3 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp icing sugar
How to:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place rack in center of oven.
Generously butter 4 ramekins and dust the insides with flour.
Place the prepared molds on a baking sheet.
In a bowl, place the butter and chocolate and microwave for 3 minutes or so.
Stir till the chocolate is melted.
Set aside.
In electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick, pale, and fluffy.
Beat in the vanilla extract and then fold in the melted chocolate mixture.
In another clean bowl, whip the egg whites until frothy stiff peaks form.
With a rubber spatula, gently fold the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture, just until incorporated.
Do not over mix or the batter will deflate.
Divide the batter between the prepared molds, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the outside edges of the cakes are set but the middle still looks a little wet.
You may have cracks on the top surface of the cakes.
Immediately remove from oven and let them rest for a minute or two.
Run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake and then invert onto the center of each serving plate. Carefully remove the mold.
Sprinkle the top of each cake with icing sugar and place a dollop of softly whipped cream if desired on top of each warm cake.

Tip: You can prepare the chocolate mixture several hours ahead of time. Simply make the recipe, pour into the prepared molds, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Bake just before serving. When the batter is cold the cakes may take a minute or two longer to bake.

Friday, July 9, 2010

My little sister's dish

I would never have imagined my sister as a good cook, let alone a cook! Growing up in India, she never stepped into the kitchen! Maybe mom and I were there. I was always around to help mom out and her, she would be watching TV or doing something else but the cooking! After my departure from my parental home upon getting married and coming to Canada, I heard from mom that my sister had started cooking a few dishes for herself. Once she got married and moved to the USA, she has become a very good cook. With two little kids to look after, she still manages to make dinner every day and tries to come up with variations in our day-to-day foods. Today, I am presenting her Sambari Cauliflower recipe. This is her dish, her recipe and the picture also was taken by her. You will see from time to time her recipes on my blog from now on. This one is pretty easy and tasty dish, goes well with hot rotis or parathas.

Sambari Cauliflower
2 cups cauliflower florets, chopped
1 medium tomato,finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
2 tbsp sambar powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp kasoori methi
1 tsp each turmerick powder, cumin-coriander powder
1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
1 tsp whole cumin
1 sprig of Curry leaves

How to:
Heat oil, add cumin. When the seeds crackle, add curry leaves, all the spice powders and tomato. Cook on medium heat till tomato is pulped. Now add cauliflower, peas and salt. Cover and cook on medium low heat for about 15 minutes or till cauliflower is cooked to desired doneness.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Phở - A Vietnamese soup. I had this a few days ago at a co-worker's house and since then, I was itching to make it at home!  So simple, so delicious, so healthy.  Served piping hot in cold winter months or at room temperature on a hot evening, nothing beats it.  I had chicken bones to use up, so I made chicken stock with them.  I just boiled the bones in a slow cooker with lots of carrots, onions, celery, bay leaf and a few whole pepper corns.  Let it cook in the slow cooker for a few hours, and you've got yourself a nice homemade chicken stock that can be used for soup or to make rice and rich, flavorful curries.

This soup calls for lots of fresh herbs too.  And I love it.  I love the flavor of Vietnamese Basil a lot.  So get ready to prepare Phở and enjoy the pure comfort!

2 litres chicken stock
Handfuls of fresh Cilantro, green onions, Vietnamese Basil
Sliced rotisserie chicken
salt and pepper to taste
50 gms rice noodles, uncooked

For garnish: lime wedges and bean sprouts, soy sauce, hot sauce

How to:

Boil chicken stock on high heat. Add rice noodles and cook till the noodles are tender. Now add fresh herbs and chicken slices and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Delicious Coconut Macaroons!

I am a sucker for these petit cookies!  Ever since I was  a little girl, I've been in love with these cookies.  They are perfect any time. I have to try to not make them often as I keep on popping them in my mouth every time I open my pantry and see these yummy bites!  After having tried a few recipes, I finally have managed to get the recipe for these macaroons that gives me the similar taste of the cookies I used to have in Ahmedabad.  Can't believe this is such an easy and fail-proof recipe to make my favourite cookies.

Coconut Macaroons

2 - 8oz. packages coconut
1 - 15 oz. can condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda

How to:
Preheat oven to 350 °F.
Mix all ingredients together.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet or cookie sheet covered with baking parchment.
Bake 10-12 minutes.
Cool slightly, remove from the sheet.
Store in air-tight container.

Better yet, pop one or two in your mouth first! Now, stop and put the container back in the pantry!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Veggie Chow Mein

I love to make Chinese dishes. I have so many Chinese co-workers and when I see them heating up their lunches, I am always surprised to see how nutritious their food looks! Unlike the Indian Hakka fusion cooking, which requires lots of frying, they use lots of steamed veggies, tofu and other protein. The only problem is, heat! I can't take too much heat in the food but their food is not spicy for Indian palate. So of course, here I am, with my version of chow mein with steamed noodles, jazzed up with spicy sauces.

Veggie Chow Mein
1 lb steamed chow mein noodles
5-6 cups sliced veggies, like mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, snow peas
1 big onion, sliced
Garlic, ginger and jalapeno, finely chopped, per taste
3 tbsp oil

For sauce
Mix 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, 1/4 cup light soy sauce, 2 tbsp Sriracha sauce(adjust per your taste), 2 tbsp Maggie chili garlic sauce(again, adjust per your taste). Mix everything in a bowl, set aside.

How to:

Boil water in a sauce pot.
Place fresh noodles in boiling water for a minute, set aside.
In a wok, heat oil, add onion and cook till translucent.
Add ginger, garlic and jalapeno, stir fry for a minute.
Add broccoli, carrot and cabbage and sauté on medium high heat till the veggies are crisp tender.
Now add the rest of the veggies and sauté for a couple of minutes only.

Separate the noodles and add to the stir fry veggies, add sauce.
Toss everything nicely and keep on sautéing for 2 more minutes.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Usual Baby Gifts, New Way!

Baby Bouquets!!
So  much fun to make and much more fun to look at and use afterwards!  Seriously, give this a try and you will be surprised to see the reactions of the mother-to-be! And you will be able to give a whole bunch of gifts in one cute bundle!  These were made on different baby showers i.e.for co-workers, family members over the years, and they have been a huge hit!  I've also made a few diaper cakes which I don't have pictures of! So like me!  These all contain baby towels, clothes, little knick knacks like combs, soothers, safety pins, rubber duckies(cute!) etc.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Red N White Dessert!

To all my friends in the US, Happy Independence Day in advance!

Canada Day marks the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867, the beginning of a united country. From its earliest settlements by Native Americans, through French and English settlements and wars, Canada was a divided land. Some territories had banded together before 1867, but Confederation was the first large step toward total unity, from sea to sea. Canada is today a very large country, with a very large population and a very large economy. Well, enough of the history lesson for today!

For my family, Canada day holiday is the official day to go strawberry picking! We love to go to the farm and celebrate Canada Day with so many other Canadians, eat lots of strawberries(upto the throat!) and bring back home buckets of strawberries which later get transformed into jam, muffins, desserts and of course, most of them in the freezer for my smoothies!  We had a blast at the farm today. Watched the dog show(so many cute little and big dogs doing their tricks!), had the birthday cake(!) and came home without strawberries! Yup, this time, there was not that good of the berries to pick. Must be because of the torrential rain we had been having over the past few weeks. Anyways, we didn't break the tradition of the July 1st at least!
Dinner was of course, the bbq!  and I've got to make the red and white dessert!  I did come up with a very easy and quick vanilla mousse pie with strawberries. Don't ask me where I got the berries from!  They were storebought people!

Mousse was very easy to make. I had a few cups of Hunt's vanilla pudding and some of the Cool Whip left over.  So I quickly mixed them together, threw in the berries and lo and behold!  my dessert is done!  Mark enjoyed it very much.

Happy Canada Day!