Cook's Hideout: April 2013

April 30, 2013

Eggless Chocolate Cake for Wilton Course 1 - Class 4

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 4/ Day 7
Theme: Miscellaneous - Wilton Decorating Course 1 - Class 4
Dish - Eggless Chocolate Cake
It is the last day in April which means it is the last and final day of our Blogging Marathon# 27. Kudos to the entire group for successfully completing this challenge and thanks to Valli for being the best organizer as ever. 
Coming back to my Wilton decorating course, for 4th class we had to bring a cake that was torted, leveled and frosted ready to decorate. Final class was dedicated to making roses and writing/ printing on the cake -- all the final touches for a good looking cake.
Eggless Chocolate Cake

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was the only student left in the class and I had the undivided attention of the instructor. I'm not sure if this was good or bad, since I felt like an unfocused 5 year old making these roses. There are about 10 things that need to be remembered while making the roses like right hand should be steady, hold the tip at a certain angle, rotate the flower nail in one direction and so on. I kept forgetting one instruction after the other much to my chagrin. Oh well, finally I got the hang of it, but my roses where nowhere as cute as the instructor's. I need to practice a little more on my technique.

April 29, 2013

Eggless Chocolate Cupcakes for Wilton Course 1 - Class 3

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 4/ Day 6
Theme: Miscellaneous - Wilton Decorating Course 1 - Class 3
Dish - Eggless Chocolate Cupcakes
For Class 3, we were asked to bring 6 cupcakes and butter-cream icing ready to use in piping bags. So by 3rd week, I realized that this decorating course definitely needs quite a bit of prior preparation. It took me  about 3-4 hours spaced out in 2 days to prepare the cupcakes, make the icing, fill the bags and get everything else ready. So if you want to take the course make sure that you have some free time to prepare for the class. We started out with 3 students in the first class, we were 2 in second class and I was the only one in the last 2 classes. It was good in a way that I got 100% attention from the instructor, but I would have liked to see how others did in the class as well.
Eggless Chocolate Cupcakes for Wilton Course
Week 3 is about decorating cupcakes, using various tips to make flowers, leaves, scrolls etc. What I learnt was different consistency icings are used to make different shapes, for example medium consistency icing is used to make the flowers and swirls (pink & blue icing in the pics below) and thin consistency icing for leaves.

April 28, 2013

Eggless Vanilla Cake for Wilton Course 1-Class 2

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 4/ Day 5
Theme: Miscellaneous - Wilton Decorating Course 1 - Class 2
Dish - Eggless Vanilla Cake with Wilton Butter-cream frosting
Wilton decorating course is a once a week 2 hour class for a total of 4 classes. For the second class, we were required to bring a 8" cake and 2 recipes of butter-cream frosting ready to use in the class. This class focused on torting (slicing a cake into layers) and leveling a cake, frosting and then transferring a design on to it. Again we were asked to buy quite a few tools to do this. Since I'm planning to make more cakes, I bought everything they had in the list, like this cake levelerturntable and cake lifter. Fancy stuff, eh?? Good thing was I had a 25% off store coupon which saved me quite a bit.  
What I learnt was to always use thin consistency icing for frosting the cake and it's not as easy as it looks (at least that's what I think). We also learnt some piping techniques, like curving lines, zigzags and filling in.
Eggless Vanilla Cake using Yogurt
I made an eggless vanilla cake and I think this will be my go-to vanilla going forward. I saw the recipe on Sharmi's blog and than Suma made it too, so I went ahead and made it for the class. It is a fluffy and moist cake that stands up to the frosting. Double the ingredients and make 2 cakes if taking to the decorating class.
Just as a side note, it was my choosing to make eggless bakes for the course, you can make any of your favorite recipe or store-bought mix. Also Wilton's butter-cream recipe has meringue powder in it, which is nothing but pasteurized powdered egg whites, so if you want to make this completely egg-free, then you might want to not use it in the recipe.

April 27, 2013

Chocolate Cookies for Wilton Course 1 (Class 1)

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 4/ Day 4
Theme: Miscellaneous - Wilton Decorating Course 1/ Class 1
Dish: Chocolate Cookies
I have been planning to take cake decorating classes for a long time now. Schedule never seemed to work out. Finally I signed up for the Wilton Decorating Course 1 in our nearest Arts & Crafts store. Even though I've been baking for years now, my decorating skills were non-existent. I feel bad looking at the pictures of cupcakes I had sent to my son's daycare on his birthday -- very pathetic. I'm glad that the kids liked the taste, if they hadn't and if they had gone with the looks, I would have gotten the whole batch untouched.
Chocolate Cookies
Course was only $20, but they give a list of things to buy. Wilton Course 1 kit and the course book are the two important things to buy before the first class along with few other things. You are also required to bring 6 cookies to decorate. I made chocolate cookies for the class (recipe follows) using recipe from Joy of Baking. I halved the original recipe and instead of making roll out cookies, I made the dough into log and then cut them into cookies.

April 26, 2013

Corn Pulao

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 4/ Day 3
Theme: Miscellaneous - Cooking Rice on Stove top
Dish: Corn Pulao/ Pilaf
I made this one pot Corn Pulao for my lunch today. Rice is cooked along with the veggies. There was a time when I tried to cook rice using the open pot method, it would either end up uncooked or burnt at the bottom. I have gotten better over time and now I make decent rice dishes without using the pressure cooker.
This corn rice has both corn kernels and baby corn. It is lightly spiced, so I served it with some tomato raita. It makes for a filling and delicious weeknight meal. Add some paneer or soy chunks or other protein to make this a complete meal. This is another recipe adapted from the Telugu cooking show I have been talking about a lot in my previous posts.

April 25, 2013

Soy Methi Rice

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 4/ Day 2
Theme: Miscellaneous - Rice dish using leftover rice
Dish: Soy Methi Dill Rice
I sometimes crave for simple and easy dishes that don't take too long to cook and are filling and tasty. Even though I love spicy and masaledar (does this translate to more spicy in English?), sometimes all you want is food with simple flavors. Today's dish is just that and much more in terms of healthy ingredients used.
Recipe is courtesy of my new found Telugu cooking show. This dish is a great way to use up leftover rice and if you really want to amp up the health quotient of this dish, use brown rice instead of white or even better use quinoa or any other whole grain.
Soy Methi Dill Rice
It has soy in the form of granules or TVP, methi (fenugreek leaves) and dill leaves (called 'soya'kura in Telugu). I'm not a big fan of dill, because I feel it is a little strong to my palate, but I didn't even notice its presence. It blended with the methi and the taste was very pleasant.

April 24, 2013

Bagara Rice (How to cook Pulao/ Pilaf in Pressure Cooker)

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 4/ Day 1
Theme: Miscellaneous - Tips to cook Pulao/ Pilaf in Pressure Cooker
Dish: Bagara Rice
We are in the last week of our Blogging Marathon# 27 and the theme for this week is 'miscellaneous" and 'arts & crafts'. I've to say that I'm a little crafty. No, I guess I have to say I was crafty more than 10 years ago and now I can't even think of anything fancy for my kindergartner's projects. 
When Valli announced that the theme for the last week is arts & crafts, I started watching a Telugu cooking show that had a segment on food carvings. I made note of quite a few and started trying out my crafting skills. After seeing my creations -- Tomato tulips/ Strawberry flowers & Cucumber Chinese fan, my husband decided to start cooking himself because of the amount of time and energy I was spending on trying to precisely cut the fruit/ veggie to get the right shape. Oh, mind you none of what I made actually looked what they were supposed to look like and it seemed waste of resources to the husband. After hacking away a week's worth of tomatoes for one trial, I had to agree with him and accept my failure.
So for the next few days, I'm going to post some quick and easy rice recipes. Also I'm planning to post  what I learnt in my Wilton Cake Decorating course later on in the week.
Bagara Rice
Today, I have a very simple and tasty rice dish. It is spiced with whole garam masala (spices), mint and cilantro. I cooked it in the pressure cooker. Recently couple of my blogging buddies have asked me how my pressure cooked pilaf/ pulao's come out so fluffy. There was a time when my pressure cooked pilafs were either mushy, burnt at the bottom or uncooked. So after some experiments, I think finally I've started to make some decent rice dishes in the cooker.

April 23, 2013

Chocolate Panna Cotta with Agar Agar

Blogging Marathon: Week 3/ Day 8
Theme: Seasonal Dishes - Winter Dessert
Dish: Chocolate Panna Cotta without Gelatin (with Agar Agar)
This is a rich chocolaty dessert that is perfect for a holiday party. I was always under the impression that Panna Cotta is a fancy and very "gourmet" dessert. But come to find out it is quite simple to make and what better time than the holidays to serve this sinfully rich dish.
With a house full of chocolate lovers, my obvious choice was to make chocolate panna cotta. I used agar agar powder  instead of gelatin to make a completely vegetarian dish. Agar Agar or China grass needs be dissolved in hot liquids in order for it to gel or set.

April 22, 2013

Baked Risotto with Butternut Squash & Kale

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 3/ Day 7
Theme: Seasonal Dishes - Winter Entree

Dish: Baked Risotto with Butternut Squash & Kale
Winter is not one of my favorite seasons. But over the course of last 10 years, I've started to appreciate the holiday spirit and the festivities that winter brings. I still don't like snow and shoveling. Winter means cozying up in the house with a big bowl of soup and a chunk of bread. But winter also brings the much awaited holidays and tons of yummy and sometimes not so healthy food.

Today I have a risotto recipe that is much easier and faster to make when compared to the traditional stirring method, all you have to do is par-cook the rice on the stove top and then bake it off in the oven until rice is tender and cooked through.

April 21, 2013

Pumpkin Milkshake

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 3/ Day 6
Theme: Seasonal Dishes - Fall Dessert
Dish: Pumpkin Milkshake
It has been a very busy weekend, so this is going to be a short post. Fall brings HalloweenJack o Lanterns ,  pumpkins and apples. I had actually planned on making a proper fall dessert like apple bread pudding or apple crostata or pumpkin cheesecake. But after meyer lemon cake and coconut ice cream, I thought it is best to make something light and something I don't have to eat out of the refrigerator for too long.
I never bought a whole pumpkin, but I always keep canned pumpkin puree in the pantry. Here's a quick and easy milkshake to enjoy fall.

April 20, 2013

Sweet Potato Curry with Peanut sauce

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 3/ Day 5
Theme: Seasonal Dishes - Fall Entree
Dish: Sweet Potato Curry with Peanut Sauce
Before I talking about Fall and the dish, just wanted to tell you what my 5 year old asked me this morning: "Weekend separates one week from the other, that means weekend has to be really strong, right??" I was like 'I guess so', not knowing what else to tell him.
We say fall is in the air as soon as the days start to get shorter. We have sunlight until around 8:30PM in summers i.e., June-August. Around the end of August, it starts to get dark around 7:00PM and nights start to get chilly. There's a slight nip in the air and the trees start slowly changing color. Its beautiful to watch trees go from green-yellow-red, very pretty. What's not pretty is when the leaves start to fall and you have to clean the yard constantly :-(
Sweet Potato Curry with Peanut sauce
We crave for dishes that are spicy, warm and comforting. This is one such dish that gets its spiciness from ginger, garlic and some good dose of sriracha hot sauce. It is quick and easy to make too, perfect for weeknight meals. I added some chopped Chinese Broccoli, but any hearty greens like kale, collard greens or swiss chard can be used.

April 19, 2013

Coconut Ice Cream

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 3/ Day 4
Theme: Seasonal Dishes - Summer Dessert
Dish: Coconut Ice Cream
Summer means time for ice creams. Even though some might say (I'm sure my husband will agree) that ice cream can be eaten any time of the year. But at least in summer I don't have to say it's too cold outside to eat an ice cream :-)
I have stopped buying store bought ice creams more than 3 years back, when I bought my ice cream maker.  I make sure that the freezer is always stocked with vanilla and mango ice creams and I keep making new / fancy flavors when I feel like it, may be once every 3-4 months, but more frequently in summer.
I like my ice creams nice and creamy. I don't like icy stuff and since we are pretty good at portion control, I make full fat ice creams, so we can indulge once in a while.

April 18, 2013

Mango Masala Rice

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 3/ Day 3
Theme: Seasonal Dishes - Summer Entree
Dish: Mango Masala Rice
After Spring (March - May) comes Summer (June - August), the funnest of all seasons in terms of outdoor activities are considered. Great season to have some fun in the sun, picnics in the park, barbecues, visits to the lakes/ beaches etc. All in all wonderful time to enjoy with family and friends.
Summers also mean mango season. We get mangoes all through the year here in the US, thanks to the imported mangoes from Hawaii and other tropical countries. But I think the best mangoes are available only in the summer. Indian stores are stocked with juicy, sweet mangoes and we always end up with big crates of these yellow beauties even though it's just the 2 of us who eat them in my family. 
Mango Masala Rice
So for today's Summer seasonal recipe, I made this tangy and slightly spicy Mango Masala Rice. Recipe courtesy from one of the Telugu cooking shows that I'm practically obsessed with these days. This dish is almost like mango pulihora with some added spices to give the kick. Do try when you get good raw mangoes.

April 17, 2013

Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 3/ Day 2
Theme: Seasonal Dishes - Spring Dessert
Dish: Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake
Spring reminds me of Easter, colors and lemons, exactly in that order. I know lemonade is great for summer, but hearty desserts with lemon are excellent for Spring as well, me thinks. Bright, lemony desserts are the perfect way to end a Spring or a Summer meal. So today I have a lemon cake that is just oozing with fresh lemony flavor.
I used Meyer Lemons that have a nice citrusy background and are not as tart as regular lemons. You can of course make this cake with regular lemons. Meyer lemons are usually available end of winter and beginning of Spring.

April 16, 2013

Penne with Asparagus & Pistachio Pesto

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 3/ Day 1
Theme: Seasonal Dishes - Spring Entree
Dish: Penne with Asparagus and Pistachio Pesto
Growing up in South India, the only seasons I knew were Summer and Rainy. There was winter, but it wasn't 'really' winter by any standards. There was no seasonal cooking and I don't think I even heard of such a thing while in India.
Living on the east coast of US for the past 12+ years, we enjoy (or not) all 4 seasons. My favorites being Spring and Fall. I especially like Spring and love seeing the little buds on the trees, the greenery and the nature waking up from long harsh winter. Spring makes me really happy, I guess it's because I start to feel life around and it just gives me pure joy.
Penne with Asparagus & Pistachio Pesto

We start our 3rd week of our month long blogging marathon and the theme for next 8 days is "Seasonal dishes". I'm planning to showcase dishes for all the 4 seasons we experience in our neck of woods. These dishes either use seasonal ingredients or are made during that season for various reasons.

April 15, 2013

Kid's Delight Event Announcement - 5 Ingredient Fix

This month is probably the busiest I have ever been since I had my daughter, both in blogging and personal life. If you haven't noticed I've been blogging everyday in this month along with some amazing bloggers for our monthly blogging marathon. I signed up Wilton Cake decorating class and that keeps me busy for 3days a week with the baking and prepping for the class and the actual class itself. Then it was my son's spring break, so had to keep him entertained during the day, thank god he's back in school today.
All that introduction was to tell you that I'm also hosting Valli's this month's edition of Kid's Delight event. Since I know how busy all of us are, I thought it would great to compile recipes that use 5 everyday ingredients to make something healthy and tasty for our little ones.
Put on your thinking caps and start cooking some kid approved foods, anything from breakfast foods to desserts, just make sure the dish has 5 INGREDIENTS OR LESS. I'll give you salt/ sugar, pepper/chili powder, oil/butter, tempering ingredients as freebies, everything else will counted towards the 5 ingredients. Lets have fun in coming up with some delicious dishes that our kids would love.

Event runs from April 15th to May 15th, 2013.
Here are the rules:
  • Cook any kid approved dish with 5 INGREDIENTS OR LESS and post in your blog between the dates mentioned above.
  • Freebies are Salt/ Sugar, Oil/ Butter, Pepper/ Chili powder and tempering ingredients.
  • Link to this post and Valli's Kid's Delight announcement post is mandatory.
  • Old posts need to be reposted with links to this post and Valli's Kid's Delight event announcement post.
  • Do not have blog, but want to contribute, then email me your recipes to I will post them on my blog and include them in the round up.
  • Multiple entries are allowed, in fact they are encouraged.
  • Only Vegetarian dishes please, eggs are allowed.
  • Use of logo is optional.
Here's how to send in your entries:

Email your entries to before end of day May 15, 2013 with the following information:
  • Your name
  • Blog name/ Blog URL (if applicable)
  • Entry Name
  • Entry URL (if applicable)
  • Include a brief description of the dish and how he/she enjoyed it
  • I can take the pictures from your posts, but if you have disabled right clicking in your blog, please send me a picture of at least 580px wide. Non-bloggers please email me a picture along with your recipe details.
Looking forward to all your entries.

Palli Paakam (Palli Chikki/ Peanut Fudge)

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 2/ Day 7
Theme: Traditional Dishes
Dish: Palli Paakam/ Palli Chikki/ Peanut Fudge
I have another traditional sweet that my mom made during her recent visit. Chikki is one of those dishes I stay away because of my lack of experience with sugar/ jaggery syrup consistency. I always end up with the wrong consistency and thereby messing up the dish.
My mom also makes cashew chikki in similar way. Hopefully I will learn to make these two soon because my husband likes these chikkis a lot.

April 14, 2013

Bobbatlu (Puran Poli)

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 2/ Day 6
Theme: Traditional dishes
Dish: Bobbatlu (Puran Poli)
I made bobbatlu on Ugadhi day. This is my first attempt at making these traditional sweet stuffed breads and they turned out pretty good - soft and delicious. I believe in mass production, as in making burfis or halwas, I'm not a big fan of hand crafting individual pieces. But I took the leap and decided to make bobbatlu and I'm really glad that I did. It was kind of a confidence booster because they came out much better than I had imagined.
Traditionally bobbatlu are made with all purpose flour (maida), but since I always like to sneak in some fiber and a little nutrition in the form of wholewheat flour, I added ½ cup of atta (wholewheat flour) and 1 cup of AP flour. May be next time I will add more atta to make it even more nutritious.

April 13, 2013

Rajasthani Gatte ki Biryani

Blogging Marathon: Week 2/ Day 5
Theme: Traditional Dishes
Dish: Rajasthani Gatte ki Biryani
I have been planning to make this dish for over a year. I wanted to make it for BM# 12 when Valli had a theme for Rajasthani dishes. It was when BM was for 7 days and I actually made 4-5 dishes, but had to opt out of the marathon because I started having some serious morning sickness in my initial stages of pregnancy. So finally got to make it for this week's "traditional' dishes.
Rajasthani Gatte ki Biryani

"Gatte' are boiled besan/ chickpea flour logs that are cut into bite size pieces and cooked with other masalas and layered with rice to make this hearty, protein rich biryani. This is a very filling dish and one bite into 'gatte' will have you hooked with the earthy taste and soft texture.

April 12, 2013

7 Cup Sweet (Burfi)

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 2/ Day 4
Theme: Traditional Dishes
Dish: 7 Cup Sweet
Today's traditional dish is very simple and easy to make, but the end result almost makes you look like you slaved away in the kitchen for hours. These burfis just melt in your mouth and all the effort you put into it is mix it for may be 10-15 minutes.
7 Cup Sweet (Burfi)
The recipe is quite self explanatory - there are 7 cups of ingredients that are mixed until it thickens to burfi consistency. I have already posted the recipe for 7 cup sweet a while back, but this is one has slightly different ingredients. I used half cup each of cashews and almonds instead of 1 cup of coconut for a smoother burfis.

April 11, 2013

Bedmi Poori

Blogging Marathon: Week 2/ Day 3
Theme: Traditional Dishes
Dish: Bedmi Poori
Today's traditional dish is from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. It is a poori stuffed with  spiced urad dal paste. The end result is this slightly different pooris that are very filling and delicious.
Bedmi Poori
I followed the recipes from Valli's and Vaishali's posts. My pooris didn't fluff up like Vaishali's, but they tasted great anyway.

April 10, 2013

Boondi Laddoo

Wish you all a very Happy Ugadhi.
Andhariki Vijaya naama samvathsara Subhakankshalu

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 2/ Day 2
Theme: Traditional Dishes
Dish: Boondi Laddoo
This year's Ugadhi day has been a little confusing. Everyone in India is celebrating on April 11th, whereas the North American telugu calendars say it is the 10th. So 10th it is for us NRIs in America and hence the wishes a day early.
For the second day of traditional dishes I chose to post the boondi laddoos that my mom made. I think  my mom makes the best home made boondi laddoos that I've ever tasted. I remember her sitting on a small stool with the stove on the floor and making these laddoos almost like Sridevi in English Vinglish. Like I said before I wish I had learnt making these earlier because most of the traditional dishes need practice to perfect the technique. Well, I guess it's never too late to start trying. Hopefully I can learn to make at least some of these goodies soon.
Boondi Laddoo

You can easily tell the difference between a well made boondi laddoos and a so-so laddoo. Some of the store-bought ones, you can see the sugar crusted all over the top and they are too dry to eat, a well made one very moist and there is no extra crunchiness from the sugar.

April 09, 2013

Pappu Chekkalu/ Thattai

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 2/ Day 1
Theme: Traditional dishes
Dish: Pappu Chekkalu/ Thattai
Today we begin the second week our month long blogging marathon. Theme for the next 7 days is going to be traditional dishes. I rarely make traditional dishes myself because I'm not comfortable making them. My mom makes excellent traditional dishes and it's sad that I have never watched her making them so I can learn to make them myself. 
My mom made us quite a few traditional dishes during her recent visit and lucky for me I clicked pictures of some of them, hoping to post them. They have been sitting in the drafts till now and what better time than now to post my mom's traditional dishes.
Pappu Chekkalu/ Thattai
For the first day, I have these crispy and crunchy deep fried savory snack made with all purpose flour (maida), rice flour and soaked chana dal. These stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

April 08, 2013

Eggless Pineapple Cool Cake

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 1/ Day 8
Theme: Occasions/  Birthday
Dish: Pineapple Cool Cake
For the last day under "occasions" theme, I made this simple Pineapple cool cake. Cool cakes are basically moist cakes that are chilled and are very common in India. I made this cake for my daughter's 7th month birthday. Time seems to fly by and before I know it will be time to plan her 1 year birthday. But thankfully my blogging buddies have posted everything one needs to have a party. So don't forget to check them out here for tons of party ideas and delicious recipes.
Eggless Pineapple Cool Cake
Cool cake is something I wanted to bake for quite some time now and finally got to try it now. I used the eggless pineapple cream cake recipe from Divine taste.

April 07, 2013

Pistachio Sandwich Cookies

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 1/ Day 7
Theme: Occasions/ Goodies to Blog buddies
Dish: Pistachio Sandwich Cookies
When blog buddies meet there is going to be food to eat, food to talk about and food to take home. So after our lunch at I wrote about here, I sent my buddies home with some of my homemade goodies. These pistachio sandwich cookies were one among them.
I love slice and bake icebox cookie recipes. What that means is the dough is made into a log and chilled in the ice box for 4 hours (or up to 3 days, it can even to frozen) and then sliced and baked. I don't like rolling the dough and cutting the cookie using cookie cutters. It seems to too time consuming and messy. I actually have a whole box of cookie cutters that I have never used until now. Maybe when my daughter grows a little older, I can learn with her :-)

April 06, 2013

Banana Brownies

Blogging Marathon: Week 1/ Day 6
Theme: Occasions - Birthday Celebration
Dish: Banana Brownies
Today we are celebrating one of kid's favorite occasion, birthday. Cakes and brownies are great as desserts for kids parties. These brownies are a little different with the addition of mashed bananas. I found this recipe at Fuss Free Cooking and it looked so yummy that I had to try it right away.
Banana Brownies
I like my brownies cakey than fudgy. These banana brownies have a cakey texture and they are not overly sweet. I used half wholewheat pastry flour and half all purpose flour to sneak in some fiber into the dessert. 

April 05, 2013

Mixed Vegetable Salan (Mixed Veggie ka Salan)

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 1/ Day 5
Theme: Occasions - Lunch for Blog Buddies
Dish: Mixed Veggie ka Salan
This past weekend I finally got to meet 4 of my blog buddies (Mireille, Nisha, Sandhya & Usha) that lived in the greater New York area. I invited them over to my house for lunch and we had so much fun chatting, eating and laughing. It was great to have foodies over because they took over the making of the naans when I had to attend to my 6 month old daughter. Big thanks to Valli for helping us make new friends and hugs to my new buddies, I hope we can do these type of things more frequently.

Here's what I made for our lunch:
Appetizers: Aloo bajji Chaat & Sprouts in Puris with green chutney and khatta meeta chutney
Drinks: Strawberry and Peach Soda (recipe coming up soon)
Main dishes: Mix Veggie Salan/ Fried Rice/ Paneer-Chickpea Curry/ Wholewheat Naans/ Raita
Dessert: Eggless Mango Cheesecake (recipe coming soon)
Mixed Vegetable Salan
Lunch or Dinner parties with Indian food theme usually involve a rice dish, one or more curries, Indian breads (naans, parathas, rotis etc) and a dessert. Today's curry fits right into the gravy dishes that are perfect for parties. This is a variation to one of Hyderabad's famous mirchi ka salan.

April 04, 2013

Paravannam (Paramannam/ Rice Pudding - Indian style)

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 1/ Day 4
Theme: Occasions - Birthday
Dish: Paravannam (paramannam/ Rice Pudding)
No occasion is complete without a sweet dish in any Indian household. Paravannam or Rice pudding is probably the most made sweet/ dessert on any special occasion. There are probably infinite variations to this dish and I'm sure each household has its own version of it depending on which state in India you are from.
It is a must however for birthdays. The first thing my mom would ask is if I made paravannam for any of my kids birthday, not the cake, not any other special dishes that are made. It's this simple rice pudding that signifies the occasion along with new clothes to wear :-)
Paravannam (Paramannam/ Rice Pudding)
My mom makes one version with just sugar and the second one with a combination of jaggery and sugar. I have the second version today. But my jaggery is very golden and didn't change the color of the dish that much.
Paravannam (Paramannam/ Rice Pudding)

April 03, 2013

Meyer Lemon Pulihora (Meyer Lemon Rice)

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 1/ Day 3
Theme: Occasions - Birthday
Dish: (Meyer) Lemon Pulihora
Pulihora is the first dish that is made for any occasion in Andhra Pradesh. Be it a simple birthday celebration at home or a big fancy sit-down meal for a wedding, pulihoras in different avatars make their appearance. There are 2 types of pulihoras: lemon pulihora - this is the quickest and I usually make it when I don't have too much time, but still want to make something festive for an occasion. The second variety is made with tamarind -- this needs some time to prepare and to let the flavors mingle with each other, but is the tastiest among the two. 
Meyer Lemon Pulihora
I used meyer lemons instead of regular lemons in today's dish. Meyer lemons are fruitier and have a slightly sweeter taste. Their skin is also not as thick as regular lemons.
Meyer Lemon Pulihora

April 02, 2013

Vegetarian Bread Lasagna & Kale - Fig Salad

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 1/ Day 2
Theme: Occasions - Casual Lunch with Friends @ Home
Dish(es) - Bread Lasagna with Kale & Fig Salad
Today's occasion is a casual lunch with friends at home. We had a couple of friends over for lunch recently and I made this simple Bread Lasagna along with Kale & Fig Salad. Lasagna with bread is such a great idea and when I found this recipe from Vegan Yumyum, I wanted to try it right away.
Traditional lasagna with the wide noodles is time consuming and a little tricky to make. I have torn the cooked lasagna noodles in the past, so using rustic bread is such a brilliant idea. I used a wholegrain French bread and layered it with roasted eggplant, store bought tomato sauce and grated cheese. Veggie layer is actually very versatile and any sauteed or roasted veggies would taste great in this dish. Using store bought tomato sauce cuts down on the prep time, but homemade would taste awesome too.

April 01, 2013

Gutti Vankaya Kura (Dry)-Stuffed Eggplants Curry

Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 1/ Day 1
Theme: Occasions - Andhra Feast
Dish(es): Gutti Vankaya kura, Kanda Bachalikura & Dosakaya Pappu
April 1, April fools day, the day I started the job that I recently resigned 8 years ago and today I am starting my first ever month long blogging marathon. I have done month long Vegan Mofos before this, but never blogged continuously for 30days. I'm joining my fellow marathoners on a month long non-stop blogging marathon. What's interesting is Valli gave us 4 different themes for the 4 weeks of April. So each week we will be sticking to a theme and posting different recipes that fall under that week's theme.

Theme for the first week is "Occasions". I am going to post dishes that fall under couple of different occasions. For the first day, I chose a very broad and non-specific occasion where traditional Andhra dishes are served. This can be a gruhapravesam (house warming ceremony), satyanarayana puja, baby shower or anything other occasion for that matter.


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