April 28, 2017

Teriyaki Salmon curry with vegetables

Salmon Teriyaki with vegetables

Now that the weather is warming up, what have you been up to?

The Eberwhite woods are in front of us. When the weather is nice, I sometimes cross through the woods for Lil A's school which is on the other side. The woods is home to a pair of great horned owls. We hears the owls in the fall when Lil A had his soccer practice outside.

This spring the owls have babies - two little baby owls. They are high up in the tree and we could see them with a binocular. We have taken several trips to get a glimpse of the babies.  In the process we also met some western painted turtles who live by the swamp, and even saw a snake.

The babies are now learning how to fly. Here is a story that appeared in the local media about it.  

Coming back to the recipe. Lil A loves salmon and snow peas and peppers too. So I combined all of them together in a recipe. It was delicious. Except for the kids, I had to separate them and serve it.  I served it with some plain rice, but you could even serve it with noodles. 

I bought a bottle of teriyaki sauce and a pack of panko crumbs. I also added a small tomato puree in the sauce and the sweet and sour sauce was delicious. 

Here is the recipe:

(serves 3-4) 
For fish
3-4 6 oz salmon fillets cut into small cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1 pack panko bread for coating
3-4 tbspoon oil for shallow frying

For sauce
1/4 tspoon black sesame seeds
5-6 small peppers or 1 big one - cut into small pieces
8-10 snow peas cut into small pieces
2 tbspoon teriyaki sauce
2-3 garlic cloves - sliced
1 small tomato puree 
1/2 cup water
2 tbspoon oil
salt to taste
cilantro for garnishing
salt to taste

Salmon curry with vegetables
Add salt and pepper on the salmon cubes and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then roll it in panko crumbs and shallow fry 2-3 minutes on each side.  
Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a saucepan and temper it with black sesame seeds. Add the sliced garlic and saute for a minute.

Then add the peppers and snow peas and cook for 2-3 minutes with closed lid on medium heat.

Salmon Teriyaki with vegetables

Then add the teriyaki sauce, tomato puree and salt and mix well. Then add water, salmon pieces and let it cook for another 3-4 minutes with closed lid on medium heat. 

Take it off the heat, garnish with cilantro and serve.

April 13, 2017

Gajar matar er tarkari - carrot and peas

Carrot and peas curry

Aswin went to India in February for a short visit. While he was at my parents place, my mom made the gajar-matar er tarkari for dinner. A staple that is made during the winter months with the red carrots that are available during the season with simplest of phorons (tempering) and served with hot rotis.

You know where this is going. Aswin loved it so much that I was on the phone asking my mom the recipe.

I didn't have the red carrots, but I made it immediately with the orange ones available here. One bite and it took me straight back to the cold winters, when one is covered in a shawl constantly drawing the edges closer, the fog of the cold winter washing by as the auto whizzes through a street still waking up. And in the bag in the lap is a tiffin-box packed with parathas and this sabji.

Carrot and peas curry

That's the power of taste, and memories embedded somewhere deep inside.

(serves 3-4)
5-6 carrots chopped small
1 cup peas (I used frozen ones)
2-3 tbspoon oil
1/4 tspoon asafoetida (hing)
3/4 tspoon cumin seeds
2 green chillies
1/2 tspoon grated ginger
salt to taste
cilantro (optional) - if I have it handy I add it or I serve without it.

I chop and boil the carrots to reduce the cooking time. Just 3-minutes in the microwave does the trick.

 Heat oil in a pan and temper it with asafoetida, and then add the cumin seeds and green chillies. Saute for a minute before adding the grated ginger.

Then add the carrots and peas (if the carrots are not boiled, add the carrots first till they are half-done before adding the peas).

Saute it well. Add salt, about a cup of water and let it cook for another 5-6 minutes till the carrots and peas are done and the water is absorbed.


Serve warm. I served it with rice and a warm dal. It goes well with rotis and parathas as well.

March 26, 2017

Making jalebi from scratch

Making Jalebis - Indian sweet

I had an unusual request this week. Doing an Indian food demo for a class of undergraduate students learning about "Foods of Asia".

This was my first demo class ever and I was nervous. It was in a residence hall kitchen and the faculties are pretty spectacular. I chose to make - Chicken tikka masala, dal with dill and tomatoes and pulao.

I prepped and marinated the chicken before but other than that, we did the rest during the class. The students helped me chop the vegetables, stirred the dal and rice, and made the chicken tikka.

The funniest moment came when an Indian-American student in the class refused to eat dal saying he ate it every day growing up. I told him "that is what I do to my kids too. I hope they won't hate dal when they grew up."

It was a fun experience - interacting with the students, the professor and the graduate student. Tasting food with them and watching the interactions. Thank you for the opportunity.

Now I am interested in doing some cooking classes. Friends who have done it, will you give me some advice? What are some of the key lessons/tips?

Coming back to the recipe, it's one of the things I learned to make at home because the kids like it. Such a balance - making them eat what I want them to eat and what they want to eat.

Here is how I made it. I just searched the internet and used the recipe from the blog - Madura's kitchen.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon corn flour
1/4 teaspoon lemon/lime juice
1/2 teaspoon eno or any other fruit salt
1 teaspoon yogurt
Oil to fry the jalebis
about 5-8 tablespoon water to make a thick pancake like batter

For syrup
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice (to keep the sugar from crystallizing)
pinch of cardamom power and some saffron strands

For the sugar syrup
Heat the water and sugar together till they get thick - one string consistency. Add in the cardamom and saffron and keep it warm.

Making Jalebis
Making Jalebis - Indian sweetMix the flour, corn flour and yogurt together. Now add the water and lemon juice to make a thick batter like consistency.

It's important to remember to add the eno/fruit salt at the very end. The batter will froth and will be ready for frying as soon as you add it.

Pour the batter into a ketchup bottle or something to pour it out in a consistent way into hot oil.

Heat oil in a wok or karhai. Then put the batter in concentric circles. Mine is smaller so I had to do one at a time, you can put more then one. It may look easy, but it is hard. Mine looked nowhere as good as hers.

Making Jalebis - Indian sweet

As the jalebi come out, dunk them quickly in the sugar syrup for a couple of minutes and take them out on a plate.

Eat warm and enjoy. Keep the extras (if they last that long) in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

February 13, 2017

Brownies for Valentine's Day


Time for Valentine's Day, what are you doing? Any chocolates, cookies or brownies in the making? I love a good brownie. For years, I resisted making it at home and then caved in when Tiny M confessed to a major chocolate love. How can you not, right?

For recipe, I turned to the famous Browneyed Baker's Bake Brownie. I've like that it doesn't use any baking powder or soda like some of the others did. I tried it with only chocolate and only cocoa and the it tastes best when both of them are added.

I've made it many times and the brownie turns out just the way we like it, rich, dense, and fudgey. It is rich and indulgent, and just perfect for Valentine's Day.

Here is the recipe with my tweaks. For original recipe, click here.

1 1/4 cup flour  (I have replaced all purpose with whole wheat white flour and it works well)
1/2 salt  (I've reduced the amount from 1 tspoon)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
7 oz dark chocolate  (I've reduced it too, this is about 2 bars of chocolate and it makes it choclatey for us)
1 cup unsalted butter (about 2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups granualted sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar (I've also done 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup brown sugar and it works nicely too)
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanila extract


Preheat the over to 350 deg. Butter a baking pan and add a parchment paper to the botton.

Sift the flour, salt and cocoa powder together. I always try to do this as it gets rid of any lumps.

Put the chocolate and butter in a large bowl and set it in a bath of simmering water, stirring till the chocolate and butter has melted into a smooth mix.

At this point, turn off the heat, keep the bowl in the water and add the sugar mixing till the sugar combines completely.

Add the eggs now, 2 at a time. Then add the vanilla and stir till it is combined.

Sprinkle the flour mixture in the chocolate bowl. Fold it in gently till the flour is combined.

Pour the batter in the prepared baking dish and bake for 28-30 minutes. For best results, rotate the pan midway. Let it cook and then take it out with the parchment paper, cut it in pieces and keep in a airtight container. I also keep it in aluminum foil and it stays fresh for a week.

Happy Valentine's Day.

January 27, 2017

Pikachu birthday cookies

Pokemon cookies

Pikachu, Charmander, Bunnelby and the list goes on. These names were alien to me just a year ago and now I hear them non stop as Lil A debates their power, damage and strengths. In case you were wondering, they are all Pokemon characters and Lil A is into collecting Pokemon cards.

Pokemon cookiesIt all started last summer when a couple of his older friends gave him a few Pokemon cards and he was hooked. Slowly he figured out the trading part. He was so excited when he got his first EX card. Yes, it is supposed to be a big deal!

So when his birthday rolled by, I decided to surprise him with some Pokemon cookies. I ordered a few Pokemon cutters and got to work. As this was a school treat, I decided to minimize glazing.

I put some food color in the cookie dough and just colored the eyes and mouth with sugar and food color mix.

It made the impact I was hoping it would make. Lil A was all excited and he and his friends enjoyed the treats.

Here is a small trick I learned with this cookie. For best results, refrigerate the dough before putting it in the oven as well.

Here is how I did it.

January 17, 2017

Kashmiri lamb rogan josh to start the year

Kashmiri Lamb roganjosh

It's been a while since I have been here. When things get busy with illnesses or some difficulty, I tend to draw in and focus my energy on getting through it. You know how it goes, right. With two little kids, it is kind of inevitable.

Everything is fine now and I am coming back gingerly, having been away for so long.

Wreath cookies Hope you had a good holiday season. I had a couple of cookie exchange and here is what I made for one of them - wreath cookies. Regular sugar cookies. Tiny M and I had a lot of fun making it.

He was very interested in helping me, carrying them to the tray, and occasionally tasting little cookies that came from the donut holes of the cookies. I set aside some cookies for them and they colored their own.

When I was at the Farmer's Market last month, I picked some  lamb shoulders with nice marbling. The next day a couple of foodie friends were coming for dinner and I knew I had to make something special with it. I settled on lamb rogan josh without knowing it was one of their favorite dishes.

I got the recipe off the web from one of the blogs. The recipe called for 3 tbspoon of kashimiri chilli powder. I am usually cautious and will taste, but for some reason I forgot to this time. So when it was time to taste, I almost choked. The heat was too much, overshadowing the taste of other spices.

I decided to throw out the entire curry and start all over again. This time settling on a much lesser amount of the chili powder. Maybe our tastes are milder, maybe the kashmiri chili powder I had was too spicy, or maybe both. I will never know. But now I have a recipe that works well.

This recipe has no onion, or garlic. The flavors come from the black cardamom, dry ginger, fennel and asafetida (hing). Use ghee for best flavors. If it feels too much, temper in ghee and use oil for the rest.

The second version came out great and it turned out to be a great evening.

Here is how I did it.

December 06, 2016

Roasted butternut squash and onions

Roasted butternut squash with onions

It is the season you know, for butternut squash. While the offerings in the Farmer's market are dwindling here, but you can still find a good butternut squash for $1 or $2. I have tried it baked, in soup and was ready for something new.

This past week, I was working on a story about an Indian poet and someone commented about his work, "the genius of this music is it has simple individual parts, but when it comes together it is modern and complex."

I would like to say the same thing for this dish by Ottolenghi that has been our companion multiple times. Don't be deceived by the simpleness of the dish. It will be the star of your table and what better time to make it than Christmas dinner.

Some adjustments we did on our end -- instead of chunks of squash and onions, we make them thinner like fries and it can double up as a starter as well. We opted out of the pine nuts, but you can easily toast some and add them on top.

Here is the recipe.


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