Sunday, February 22, 2009

Special spicy cauliflower

Cauliflower is an easy dish and gets cooked several times every week at home. Funny thing is I realized everyone likes it their own way. My kids like is slightly boiled and then sauteed in oil or of course deep fried, my husband likes it as a curry while I like it cooked with potatoes (dry). With so many different ones being made at home each week, it was difficult to pick one to post. Finally picked this dish - its adapted from one that my Mom makes when we have friends over. She learnt it from one of my friends who is a great cook and hostess. She makes it with chicken but my Mom's version is with Cauliflower. I wonder how the same vegetable can taste so different depending on the ingredients used.
This is my entry for JFI :Cauliflower event intiated by Indira of Mahanandi and hosted by Paajaka recipes..


1 Cauliflower (cleaned and cut into small pieces)
2 large Onion (cut into thin slices)
Green chillies (cut into thin slices)
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tea spoon
Curry leaves - 1 stem
1 Lemon or 2 table spoon of lemon juice
Turmeric powder - to taste
Salt - to taste
Besan - 2 or 3 table spoon
Oil - 2 or 3 table spoon

How to

Marinate the cauliflower with ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice, chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and 1/2 the cut onions. Sprinkle the besan and mix well and aside for 2-3 hours.
Add oil to a saute pan and then add green chillies and curry leaves.
Once it sputters, add the additional onions and fry.
Let the onion start changing colour, before adding the marinated cauliflower and cook on low heat until the cauliflower cooks through.
Put the heat on high and fry. Adjust spice level at this point.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kakharu Aloo Santula

Santula is basically any vegetables cooked with less or no oil . Bhaja santula is one in which the vegetables are 1st boiled and then sauteed in a drop of oil to get a nice flavor. Kakharu is nothing but Yellow pumpkin.

Whenever I make any bhaja santula I remember this story. This story is about a friend's Aunt who lives in Cuttack. She belonged to a rich family and was in 9th or 10th grade when she got married off to budding IAS officer in the 70's. She being newly married wanted to impress her husband with her culinary skills (limited then). So she asked one of her numerous servants to cut several vegetables and leave for the day. Then she made a big Bhaja Santula of all the vegetables together and then then spent an hour separating it out before dinner. She had a huge variety of vegetables laid out as dinner and her husband was left wondering for days as to why everything tasted the same. She happens to be an awesome cook now but tells this story with a hearty laugh whenever anyone praises her culinary skills.

This is a typical oriya dish. Its pretty common as a pakhala dish too. I love the combination of sweet and spice to it...

This Oriya speciality goes to FIC: Orange, hosted by Aparna.


1/2 tea spoon of oil (very less amount required)
2 tea spoon panch phutan
3-4 dry red chillies (whole)
turmeric powder - to taste
salt - to taste
red chilli powder - to taste
2 big potatoes - cut into long thin strips
a piece of yellow pumpkin - cut into fat pieces. (the quantity of poatoes should be a little more than the pumpkin after cut)

How to

Heat oil in a pan and add dry whole red chillies and then phutan. When it starts to splutter, add the potatoes and fry for a minute. Then add the pumpkin pieces.
Stir well and add salt and turmeric and chilli powder.
Cover and cook for 10 mins or until the vegetables are nearly cooked. Then cook without the lid for 2 minutes on high heat. The dish is ready when vegetables are completely cooked.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chatu Rayee or Mustard Mushroom fry

Growing up, we rarely used to eat mushrooms at home. I remember during rainy seasons there used to be lovely mushrooms growing on the pretty green lawn - but we used to stay away from it. I think once they started selling processed famed mushrooms in packets that we started eating mushrooms. I love this preparation of mushroom, but my kids and husband do not like this combination of mushroom with mustard paste. So when my Mom or my mother-in-law come over, this is a regular dish.


1 packet of fresh cut mushrooms
1/2 an onion cut into think slices (Optional)
2-3 Dried mango slices ( ambula ) soaked in water for 1/2 hr
1 tea spoon mustard seed
2-3 tea spoon mustard paste( grind 2-3 tea spoon mustard seeds + 1/2 tea spoon Jeera seeds + 3 cloves garlic )
turmeric powder to taste
salt to taste
1 tea spoon Oil
1-2 green chillies

How to
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and once it sputters add the green chillies.

Add the Onions and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Then add the Mushrooms and add salt and turmeric powder. Cover and cook until the mushroom cooks through (in about 5-10 min).

Add the mustard paste and the ambula and let it cook in high heat. Adjust water level as needed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hearty Carrot Biryani

Yesterday my daughter came home with many valentines from school. It seemed so sweet and innocent and so magical. Growing up I never knew or heard of Valentine's day and nor is it anything special for me now. But looking through her eyes - it seems like a wonderful celebration of love. So this carrot Biryani is inspired by her.

I usually make this biryani with all vegetables (like Carrots, Peas and Beans), but it is a slight modification here to keep the hearty spirit going...

This carrot Biryani goes to FIC: Orange, hosted by Aparna.

This is also my entry for Bindiya's My favorite things- LOVE-HEART SHAPED FOODS.


1/2 Carrot cut into tiny pieces
Cooked Rice - 1 cup
a pinch of saffron
1/4 tea spoon of butter
a pinch of Biryani Masala
salt to taste

How to

Take a little water and add a pinch of saffron and keep aside for 10 min.

Take the carrot and add enough water to cover it and microwave for 3-4 minutes. It cooks the carrot without changing the color.

Add the saffron water to the cooked rice. This gives a nice flavor to the rice and also a pretty pinkish color.

Take a small pan, add the ghee and once it is hot add salt and biryani masala. Don't add too much masala, since you don't want to overwhelm the saffron or carrot taste. Add the rice and carrots and mix well and serve hot.

How did it fare with the food experts ?

My daughter loved the artful display. She thanked me and said it looked lovely, looked at it and ate the rest of the food. She didn't touch this dish. My foodie son kept saying that he doesn't like carrots, but ate this saying but 'yeh accha hai'. Mission accomplished ? Probably not - but maybe 1/2 way there...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Kid friendly Chicken soup

I walked in from home tried and really really cold. This winter seems worse than usual - or do I feel like this every winter? I am craving for a cup of hot tea and I see my kids gobbling down this soup. Looks like they have convinced my Nanny to make Chicken Noodle soup again! Both my kids love this soup and it is a lovely way to get them to eat the vegetables. Also its a meal in itself and tastes better the next day...

Neha of "Tasty recipes' Blog is guest hosting "SWC-Soups" event this month. SWC event is started by Lakshmi of "Taste of Mysore" blog. Neha has chosen "healthy soups with fresh vegetables" as a theme. Thanks to both of you. Here is my soup. It has all fresh ingredients - though it does have the chicken too...


2 chicken legs
Enough water to cover chicken
2 handful of dried pasta
1 potato peeled and cut into small pieces
1/4 celery stick cut into small pieces
1 /2 carrot cut into small pieces
1/2 tea spoon of olive oil
Salt to taste

How to

Cover chicken pieces with water and little salt and cook until chicken comes off the bones easily.
Debone the chicken and cut into small pieces.

Take a separate pan and add little oil. Fry the vegetables in it for 2 minutes, until all vegetables are coated niceley with oil but before they change color. Add the broth from above and boil the vegetables on slow fire for about 45 min.

Once the vegetables are nearly done, add the chicken pieces and dried pasta and let it cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the pasta is soft.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nadiya pachidi

I love coconut in pithas. But since I rarely make pithas and I had nearly the whole packet of fresh shredded coconut I decided to make this and take it for the Saraswati puja too. It took 2 minutes to make, but tastes really yummy.


3/4 packet of frozen shredded fresh coconut (of course thawed)
2-3 green chillies
2-3 red chillies
3/4 box of yogurt (about 3/4 lb)

1 inch of Ginger
4-5 Curry leaves
Salt to taste
Black salt - pinch (optional)
1 tea spoon of mustard seeds
1 tea spoon oil

How to

Beat the curd nicely. (Full disclosure - I got my 2 1/2 yr to do it - of course I had a nice mess to clean up too). Add about 1 cup of water for thinner consistency.

Add the salt, black salt and coconut to the curd and keep aside in a bowl.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Add curry leaves, grated ginger and green chillies and red chillies and fry them little bit. Let it cool a bit before adding to the yogurt - coconut mixture.

This is a dish that is served on puja days and also in traditional Oriya marriage feasts.

Nadiya Pachidi is my entry to the Chutney/Dip Mania" Event @ Mane Adige hosted by Ramya.