Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Very Own Hand Made Ganesha

Was fortunate enough to have been invited by a friend to Make-Your-Ganesha workshop, went along with my boys and we had a great time creating our very own for the first time Ganesha. it turns out the lady who was teaching the class was my ex-collegue ,tell you it's a small world. Kids and adults alike had fun and kudos to the teacher for she does this just out of good will bless her heart. All the while, while teaching us how to make Ganesha she told stories about him and made the class interesting.

So thanks a bunch to my friend for inviting and my ex-colleague for the effort and time in trying to teach kids our culture, hats off ..

So this is how our little Ganesha came home

Step1 : A big blob of wet clay cut into rectangles were distributed to all the kids.

2. Step two made a base for Ganesha and made his cute big round tummy and wrapped around legs.

Step 3: Added head and hands

Step 4: added trunk and ears and few decorations around his neck
Step 5. Ganesha gets a crown and his face is much more defined.
step6 : Black eyed peas make excellent eyes, add trunk and his ride the mooshika/rat.
Step7 : Ganesha gets few blings and he is already to come home.
 Ganesha's made by other kids, you can tell that they were a creative bunch.

Our little one day old Ganesha all ready to be worshipped, it's going to be hard to let him go in couple of days.

Wishing everyone a very peaceful and a gastronomic Ganesh Chaturdi.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spicy Tortila Stir Fry Loaded With Vegetables

Spicy Tortila Stir Fry Loaded With Vegetables

Today’s recipe comes from inspiration of our visit to my beloved restaurant Sarvana Bhavan, love the fact that taste is always consistent and you get what you expect with no surprises, love the kottu parata, it’s a spicy concoction of roti’s made with Maida ,vegetables and spices served with a side of raita, portion size is so huge that its hard for one person to polish off the whole plate and not go to sleep the next moment. Had tortilla lying in my refrigerator for a while, decided to make the same with tortilla’s and taco seasoning must say it was as tastier in comparison to its original and since I added tons of veggies made for an healthy dish as well.

On a personal note mom left few days ago, seems like she left abruptly wish she stayed so more time or wish I lived close to her, had a ball of time with her. Miss the tea time sessions, her advice and above all just her presence added so much fun this summer, miss you mom !!
School is in service thank god for everything seems to fall into a routine, I am a person who gets very fidgety when things are not in order , I prefer to plan and know what’s ahead as much as I can in advance, openness as much as I love scares me and put’s me under pressure.

Without much ado her goes today’s recipe

Makes for about 3 cups serves 2-3 hungry stomachs
1 cup shredded cabbage
½ grated carrot
1 cup red onion finely grated
1 cup tomatoes cubed
½ cup scallions/green onion
1 cup spinach (optionally)
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
½ cup finely grated chilies (adjust according to taste)
2-3 garlic chopped finely
ginger about an inch chopped finely
For seasoning

For Mexican flavor
2-3 tbsp taco seasoning 
1 tbsp of pepper flakes
2 tbsp of ketchup

For indian version
2-3 tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp cumin/corriander powder
pinch of chaat masala

salt according to taste
2-3 tbsp of olive oil

1. Heat a pan with tbsp of oil, when hot add garlic,ginger saute for few second, add tomatoes,red bell peppers , green onions and salt and saute for 3-4 minutes till all the ingredients are well cooked.

2. Now grind the above into a fine paste and keep aside.

3. Now heat a pan add 2tbsp of oil, when hot add the remaining vegetables and saute for 2-3 minutes till all the vegetables are well sautéed.

4. Now cut tortilla into thin stripes.
5.Now add the cut strips to the sauted vegetables and add your choice of either mexican or indian flavors and add the vegetable paste and saute till tortilla strips are well coated. Cook covered for about 2-3 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and sprinkle lemon juice and corriander leaves and top with toasted peanuts

Served spicy tortilla stir fry with my home made jalepeno guacamole .

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Spicy Pepper Coconut Yellow Thai Curry

Spicy Pepper Coconut Yellow Thai Curry

Last few days before school starts it seems like calm before the storm, enjoyed the last few months without having the pressure of drop off’s and pick ups, few more days before the start of vicious cycle.

This summer has been fun and relaxing got a chance to spend some quality time with parents and family, mom is going to leave in few days and I am already sad about it, but glad that she was able to spend time with us. Did quite a bit of shopping with my mom last few weeks we explored quite a lot of restaurants, malls and all my favorite stores and one of them being Trader Joe’s, I am a huge fan of TJ’s picked up Yellow Thai curry sauce and yesterday after ages got a chance to cook something for my mom and decided to spruce up the yellow curry sauce with pepper and coconut, so here goes the recipe ...


 *   1 can of coconut milk coconut milk
 *   1 big tbsp. of freshly ground pepper
 *   1-cup yellow curry paste/sauce (My recommendation Trader Joes Thai Yellow curry sauce)
 *   1 small cup potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
 *   2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
 *   1 small onion, chopped
*   1 small zucchini, chopped
 *   1 small cup of broccoli cut into small florets
 *   1/2 red/green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into small pieces
 *   1 Thai chili optionally Jalapeno
 *   ½ cup green onions
 *   1 cup of Thai basil
 1 big tbsp freshly grounded pepper


1.      Bring the coconut milk and yellow curry paste to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until smooth, about 1 minute. If the mixture seems thick add little bit water to thin it out.
2.      Add the potato, carrots, zucchini,onion, bell pepper, broccoli, and chili, basil sprigs and pepper.
3.      Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
4.      Remove the lid and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve hot over steamed hot rice.

Mom really loved thai curry and I am so glad I tried it .....

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dannon Activa Giveaway !!

How about free Dannon Activa for a healthy snack or breakfast, loved the greek yogurt flavor. (Restrictions apply check below...)

Visit the Activia Selects Facebook page to get your FREE coupon now!

This sponsorship is brought to you by Activia Selects who we have partnered with for this promotion.
FREE coupon offer good 8/3 /11 - 8/15/11, up to 1 million coupons, on any Activia Selects Single Serve, up to $3.00. One coupon per household. Offer valid in the U.S only. VOID IN LA, NJ, CA. Coupon valid until 8/15/11.
Residents of LA, NJ, CA will be given a '$1 off 3 Activia Selects' coupon.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Little Pleasures In Life - Garden Chronicles

Little Pleasures In Life - Garden Chronicles

It's the small things in life that add so much color , meaning and fun like an unexpected hug from kids out of the blue,  reading without disturbance better homes and gardens the day it arrives, like all your traffic lights synced to green when you are late to work or like today unexpected bloom in the yard.
I have this beautiful Arabic Jasmine in my yard which always seems like it's counting days before it dies, yet every year tree blooms and gives me a handful of Jasmines which transport me back instantly to Indian summers.

Though the blooms are few in number they are gigantic in size for a Jasmine flower and the fragrance fills the entire room , no kidding !!!
It's always sad to see the season end but again just like today I hope it will bloom again in about a year out of the blue and will brighten my day !!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Vangi Bhaat- Spicy Eggplant/Aubergine Rice- Mouth Watering ..........

Vangi Bhaat- Spicy Eggplant/Aubergine Rice- Mouth Watering ..........

Summer vacation for kids is almost coming to an end well in three weeks, this summer sure has been a busy one with parents visiting time seems to fly by even faster. My parents are awesome cooks both my mom and dad, they are very open to trying out new cuisines, new ingredients and are a very sportive, We have pigged out on restaurants quite a bit we have had few good hits and few misses either way experience was much relished err cherished.
My dad is an creative cook he can come up ideas which I can never think of whereas my mom is well organized and methodical , she can cook for a crowd in no time and show no sign of stress or pressure. Few weeks back we had few friends over for dinner and mom made today’s recipe , fresh tender eggplants added so much more flavor to the dish.

It sure is time taking to prepare the dish but let me tell you end result is well worth the effort ..

Feeds about 4-6 people
Fresh Ingredients
1 lb. of tender eggplants/brinjal/aubergine cut into cubes o about an inch
2-3 green chilies adjust according to taste
About 2 cups of coriander/cilantro
2tbsp or about a size of quarter tamarind
1 bunch of green onions (optionally)
1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves (optional)
about an inch of ginger crushed

Dry ingredients to be ground into fine powder
3 tbsp. channa dal
2 tbsp. urad dal
2 tbsp. dhania – coriander seeds
4-5 red chilies
About 1/3 cup grated coconut
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
¼ tbsp. of fenugreek seeds/methi seeds
Pinch of hing

For seasoning
1 tbsp. urad dal
1 tbsp. jeera
1 tbsp. mustard seeds
About 10-15 curry leaves
Pinch of hing
Choice of nuts like cashew/peanuts/almonds
2-3 cloves
1 cardamom/elachi pod
2-3 cinnamon barks
2 star anise

For Rice1 cup rice ( Used regular sona masoori, basmati rice would be just fine too, any type that does not get sticky works best)
4-5 tbsp. of oil
Salt according to taste
About a tbsp. of turmeric


1. Boil rice in a rice cooker, add couple of tbsp. of oil which will make rice grain non sticky
2. While rice is cooking, heat a skillet and dry roast all the dry ingredients mentioned for about a minute or two until you smell a strong aroma.
3. Grind the above into a fine powder and keep aside
4. Now heat a skillet add 3-4 tbsp. of oil, when oil gets hot add all the ingredients mentioned for seasoning, sauté till mustard seeds start to splutter.
5. Now add sliced green chilies, brinjal and green onions.
6. Add salt ,tamarind ,turmeric and freshly ground masala powder.
7. Toss all the vegetables till well coated add few sprinkles of water and cook closed for about 6-8 minutes stirring in between till egg plants are tender and well cooked.
8. Check for salt and adjust accordingly.

9. Now let the rice cool down to room temperature, add the cooked eggplant mixture and mix gently will every grain of rice is well coated.
10. Add oil if required and garnish with coriander and serve hot.

I can tell you this will be really awaken your taste buds and make you crave for more, no kidding….

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