Sunday, January 30, 2011

This & That

Trip to local farmers market and boys of the house come back with a bunch of Daisies , nothing more I can ask for and the elder one says "Mom by the way we picked Orange since that's your favorite color", me thinking so it's not that bad they do pay attention.

It's my kind of weather in the bayarea, rainy and wet. Chores for the week done, prep for next week done, laundry folded and most importantly kids homework done. Opened all the doors and windows to let some smell of rain in, love the sound of rain drops so soothing and well beautiful. Have old hindi melodies playing in the background and sitting here and blogging while sipping hot cuppa chai. Life takes a pause once in a while I guess so for now I close my eyes and take deep breath.

Wishing everyone a happy week ahead, mine is one hectic one for sure ..

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stuffed Cabbage Parata

Stuffed Cabbage Parata's

Today's recipe is courtesy my punjabi aunty who helps me with roti's , she is awesome and she has been helping since past decade. I figured if there is food on the table after a long day without me having to slog every single night, I could give into some minor imperfections she comes with . It's all about priorities as they say !!
Cabbage parata's are delicious just a bit tricky when it comes to rolling, aunty's experienced hands do a perfect job and she rolls out these perfectly round, beautiful color, melt in your mouth parata's every single time. LOVE IT !!

Ingredients makes about 8 10 parathas
1 medium sized cabbage chopped finely

1 small potato boiled and cubed
1 tbsp kasoori methi
1/2 tbsp haldi
1 tbsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp corriander powder
1/2 tbsp red chilli powder
a pinch of amchoor (dry mango powder)

tbsp of chat masala (optional)
tbsp of fennel seeds
2-3 green chilies finely chopped (optional)
handful of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
and salt according to taste

For Roti
1 cup atta (flour)
salt according to taste
water for kneading
oil for shallow frying (optional)

Process For filling

Note : Cabbage shreds water when mixed with salt, to avoid making a mush with dough you either pre grate and mix all the ingredients and leave aside in the refrigerator for few hours or make it ASAP within few minutes of grating.
1. Grate cabbage, green chillies and coriander together or separate if you wish , I use food processor and mix all of them together.
2. To the grated cabbage add boiled and cubed potato and rest of the dry ingredients and mix well.

For Paratha
1.Mix all ingredients except water. Add a little at a time and form a soft dough. try to make this at least 30 minutes before using.
2.Always keep covered with a moist cloth, and see that the cloth is kept moist
For stuffing paratha
1.Roll a thick roti and place a small portion of the filling in the center
2.bring all the edges of the roti together and make sure that the entire filling is covered
3.and then roll into a nice round shape dusting with flour as required
4. heat a griddle/tava and place Paratha
5.let it cook on one side and then repeat on the other side
6.Add a tspn of oil to paratha and let it fry till it gets golden brown.

Serve hot with raita.

Previously blogged  Parata's/ breads 

Aloo Parata - Stuffed Potato Parata
Paneer Parata - Stuffed Cottage Cheese Parata
Gobi Parata - Stuffed Cauliflower Parata
Methi Parata- Stuffed Fenugreek Leaves Parata


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vik's Chaat @ Berkeley - Restaurant Review

Made a trip to UC Berkeley today to attend Science and Engineering fest which was a family event, to me going to Berkeley meant having to eat chaat at Vik's, Vik's has been a bayarea landmark since decades, before mushrooming of indian restaurant's in bayarea only choice to have authentic India street fare was at Vik's, and believe me we regularly used to make this trip 50 miles up north just for food.
Todays trip was after about a year, so was surprised that its moved from it's original location to few blocks down.

Vik's is an iconic example of Berkeley living, you get to see people from all walks of life and ethnicity and ordering food with exact pronunciation and complete understand without confused look especially non-indian, that pretty much tells about their frequency.

Complete new decor with warm and inviting colors, not to mention its about twice the size of its original.
Menu still stayed the same with addition of more counters and south Indian items.
One look at the crowd at cash register and that pretty much gives  you a review of restaurant, though the line was out  the door today, they opened additional counters and made the ordering process much much quicker.

Home made fresh sweets, you just can't stop at one :)

Vik's classic Chole and Batura with classic sides of mixed vegetable pickle, green chutney and onions, yum !!

Paneer Kathi, stuffed roti with paneer and green chutney was light and not stuffy as it sounded. Dosa though was OK something was a miss with samabar, not sure what.

Pav Bhaji again lived up to what it looks like, mouth watering, Vik's doles out large quantities and we had enough leftover for dinner.

Overall my rating would be 3 star for food,service and decor. If Berkeley falls on your way make sure to stop for an authentic desi fare.

Vik's Chaat Cafe , 2390 4th St • BERKELEY, CA 94710

(510) 644-4432 (p)

For more reviews on Vik's check out Yelp

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quinoa Kichidi - Protien Packed And Guilt Free !!

Quinoa Kichidi - Protien Packed And Guilt Free !!
Are you on the Quinoa bandwagon yet if not I think you are missing out, Quinoa is the new fad , its described as THE perfect food. Internet, local magazines, newspaper, gourmet stores, boutique restaurants are all a buzz with the new found love for Quinoa. To me it's a new found love, must say it’s an acquired taste, it’s not the kind of food that you fall in love one bite into it.

Never the less the benefits out way the taste and now if you have friends who dole out one amazing recipe after another with Quinoa as their star ingredient , you can’t help but start loving the taste. 

Today’s recipe comes from a dear friend , protein packed with a satisfying taste. Makes for a perfect dinner on a cold wintery night. Quinoa comes in two forms from what I know either shelled or unshelled, it tastes so much better when its mixed grain.
Moong, Masoor and Lentils
Recipe require a bit of prep work ahead, all the ingredients cook really well soaked overnight.


½ cup Quinoa
1/3rd cup Moong dal
1/3rd cup Red Masoor dal
1/3rd cup Lentils
Mix all the above and soak overnight

Soak all the above ingredients overnight
1 cup cabbage shredded
1 carrot
½ cup broccoli flowerets
1 tomato cubed
2-3 green chilies (adjust according to taste)
About an inch of ginger.

For seasoning/thadka
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
Few bay leaves
6-8 cloves
Few cardamom pods
½ tsp. fennel seeds
½ tsp. ginger garlic paste (optional)
½ tsp. ghee/ clarified butter ( I know ,I know it’s supposed to be a healthy recipe)

1. To the overnight soaked Quinoa and lentils, add turmeric , ginger, salt and a cinnamon stick, few cloves . Pressure cook until 3-4 whistles.
2. Allow the cooker to cool down and for the lid to open.
3. Heat a pan big enough to fit the cooked Quinoa, add tbsp. of oil and all the ingredients mentioned for thadka.
4. Add ghee and add the cooked Quinoa mixture and mix all the ingredients .
5. Adjust for salt.

Feel free to substitute with your choice of vegetables, lentils and spices, few vegetables that I think would work well would be cauliflower, zuccini, and squash.

Serve piping hot with Raita and makes for a satisfying no guilt, healthy and protein filled meal. This keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, the above recipe makes for about 5-6 cups so adjust according to your usage.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Citrus Bounty - Looking for Ideas

As cold the weather is ,we still had a beautiful crop of Oranges and Lemon, a bounty indeed. Looking for some ideas, recipes to put these beauties to use. If you have any creative ideas on how to make good use of them, leave me a comment saying so ..

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sankranti/ Pongal delicacies and Not Your Everyday Yogurt Rice

Not Your Everyday Yogurt Rice

If there is one time of the year I yearn to be in India it has to be hands down for Pongal, have fondest of memories growing up during Pongal/Sankranti. Relatives, new clothes, movies, endless sessions of cards and lastly food , boy did they cook in humongous quantities. Miss my grandparents and their home quite a bit, my family, my brothers and my cousins too, home truly had a festive spirit with all the laughter and fun.

Today’s recipe comes from my cousin who fortunately lives in the same country as I, we were like sisters growing up, cannot tell you how many all-nighters we pulled , there wasn’t a thing we could hide from each other, our moms dressed us the same, we took same classes, attended same schools we pretty much were a carbon copy of each though she was a year younger to me. I always share that special connection with her. This is her recipe and trust me once you try this there is no going back.

1 cup rice, cook rice with little more water than usual
1-2 cups of yogurt/curd
1/2 cup milk
grind the following ingredients into a fine paste
2 spoons of thil/sesame seeds/nuvvulu
2 spoons of fresh grated coconut
1/2 spoon of dhaniya jeera powder
2 spoons of aijwain
pinch of hing
green chillies
cashew (20 count)
ginger or ginger paste
For thadka
1 tbsp oil,
few curry leaves
pinch of hing
a tsp of urad dal and mustard seeds
1. Add grounded paste to yogurt and grind it once again.
2. Add the above mixture to cooked rice and mix well.
3. Now add milk and add tadhka , adjust for salt. 
Garnish it with coriander, black grapes or pomegranate seeds.
Makes for one yummy yet different from your run on the mill yogurt rice.

Now what festival is complete without food huh ?
Few of my previously blogged festive dishes
                                                                  Parvanam - Rice pudding
                                                                Coriander-Pudina rice

Wishing all of you a bellyfull Pongal/Sankranti.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hara Bhara Palak Paneer with Broccoli, Asparagus and Spinach

Hara Bhara Palak Paneer with Broccoli, Asparagus and Spinach

Today's recipe is a kicked up version of Palak Paneer, addition of Broccoli and Asparagus add depth to the otherwise blah flavor of Palak Paneer.

2 cups of Paneer cubes about an inch in size
2 cups spinach washed and chopped finely
1 cup of broccoli florets
1 cup finely chopped tender Asparagus
3-4 green chilies (adjust according to taste)
3-4 whole garlic cloves
about an inch of ginger
1-2 tbsp of garam masala
1 tsp dhania powder
salt according to taste
2-3 tbsp of oil
1 tbsp of jeera.

1. Heat a pan add oil and when hot add jeera, ginger ,whole garlic and saute for few seconds.
2. Microwave broccoli and Asparagus on high for 5 minutes,till they turn tender.
3. Add steamed Broccoli,Asparagus and Spinach to the pan.
4. Add salt and saute for few seconds and allow to cook closed for about 5 minutes, stirring in between.
5. Allow it to cool for few minutes ,use a hand blender and blend to make a puree.
6. Now add Paneer and garam masala and mix well.
7. Optionally you can add a cup of milk to make it creamy.

Remove from heat and serve hot with roti's or rice.

Trust me Palak Paneer never tasted this good !!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Grilled Apple Salad @ Thomas Hill Organics

Grilled Apples Salad @ Thomas Hill Organics

Grilled Apples, Endive, Frisee, Treviso and Arugula, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Pecan-Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette

No vacation is complete without exploring neighbourhood restaurants and cuisines. On our way back home from a lovely trip to Santa Barbara during winter break stopped at Paso Robles for lunch. Thanks to iphone and reviews on Yelp decided to check out Thomas Hill Organics. I ordered grilled apple salad and the mention of it makes me drool. Beautiful salad with apples and other ingredients grown right in their own farm, I don't think it can get any better than this. Loved all the flavors and texture and it was a huge portion which I polished off without any qualms.

Click on the link for more  info on Thomas Hill Organics

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach

Looking forward to a fab year. Took this pic while on vacation during Christmas.

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