Friday, February 25, 2011

#83 Unconventional Kerala Ada Dosa

In most parts of South India this pancake is served in many ways. The variations are in the making of the batter. Ada Dosa is a Pancake or Dosa made from a special batter . The only one I have tasted is the Kerala version my Amma used to make almost every week. She used a larger proportion of rice to that of  lentils. Her main ingredient was Toor Dal or yellow split peas, but I have eliminated Toor dal without compromising on taste. The batter may be made with any lentils and rice of your choice, however, I made this particular batter with two lentils and a sooji and rice combination.  The "unconventional" part was to substitute Sooji or Cream of Wheat to this version for almost half of the rice.  Another choice is to add kidney beans or whole garbanzos to the mix for a nice texture to the dosa. No matter what, it is such an adaptive recipe that you can use all kinds of beans and legumes to your liking and change the proportions as long as you keep the  rice and Urad dal in the same proportion.  Adding more whole red chillies will give it a bright red color and to eat an Ada Dosa with a Tablespoon of Indian jaggery... Mmmm it brings back a lot of memories from the past.

Long grain rice - 1/2 cup
Sooji/Rawa-1/2 cup
Moong Dal/yellow cheruparippu - 1/4 cup
Urad Dal/white uzhunnuparippu-1/4 cup 
Onion(medium) - 2 nos
Red chillies - 3 - 4
Green chillies-4
Asafoetida(Kayam) powder - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 stems
cilantro leaves - 2 sprigs

1)Soak the rice and daals for few hours.
2)Grind all the ingredients except for the onion, green chillies, curry leaves and cilantro. Add salt to your taste to the batter. 
3)Chop finely the onion, green chillies, curry leaves and cilantro. Add it to the batter and make it into a consistency of dosa batter.
4)Make nice thin dosas, pour oil on the sides and make it crispy. Serve with sweet mango chutney and coconut mango spicy chutney(stay tuned for the recipe!).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

#82 Irresistable Black Forest Cake

Isn’t it amazing how the bitter seed of the cocoa tree got converted into such an exquisite sweet delight that has warmed up the hearts of women all around the world!! I have an immense love for chocolate and may even be one of the worst Chocoholics that you have ever met. Of course, as any chocolate lover will tell you, you don’t need a holiday or special occasion to indulge in a chocolate recipe, besides who doesn’t like chocolate? Who can look at chocolate and not want a bite? What is a cookie without chocolate chips? How can you pass by a chocolate bar complimented with nuts and fruits and not want to take a bite?

The Black Forest Cake is German in origin -a chocolate layered cake with Kirsch, whipped cream, cherries and chocolate curls. The Germans called it Schwarzwälderkirschtorte.
So here’s my big indulgence on the excuse that it is “Valentine’s Day”--a black forest cake filled with strawberries substituting Kirsch with the Bourbon I found in my cabinet  Not that I don’t love fresh cherries, but I simply love strawberries with chocolate. The display will look spectacular and beautiful for any special occassion. Here's how...........

Ingredients :
For the cake layers:

4 ounces chocolate chips melted
½ cup all purpose flour
1 tspn baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
For Whip cream topping:
3 cups heavy cream
3 oz Confectioners sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence

For Strawberry filling:
Strawberries- 1 pint
Sugar-1 oz
Bourbon- 2 oz

For the Visual effects:
Chocolate Bar
Toasted Sliced Almonds
Few fresh cherries

1. For the cake: Grease 2 deep 9 inch round pans, line with parchment/wax paper.
2. In a mixing bowl, add softened butter and sugar and beat with
electric beater at high speed for about 15 mins until the mixture is creamy and pale yellow.
3. Add the eggs one at a time until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Sift the plain flour well. add the baking powder to it.
4. Now fold the dry ingredients very gently into the wet slowly folding and mixing.
 5. Do not over beat the batter or the cake will lose its fluffiness.
 6. Now divide the batter into the 2 pans and bake for about 25-30 mins at 375 degrees until a tooth pick inserted into it comes out clean. Cool on rack.
 7. To prepare the cream filling pour the whipping cream and sugar into a large bowl and beat it real well until steady soft peaks are formed.
 8. Add vanilla extract and combine well.
 9. Take the strawberries and slice them thick. Add Bourbon and sugar and toss well. Keep aside.
10. Melt chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler and when melted spread the chocolate over a cutting board and let cool.
11. With a large knife shave long curls from the chocolate and preserve in refrigerator until ready to use.

To put the cake together
  1. If the cakes are firm, slice each cake into two(for four layers)or you may leave them as two layers.
  2. Place the first slice of cake on a serving platter lined with wax paper. Spread a layer of whipping cream.
  3. Spread a layer of strawberries over the cake and top with another layer of whipping cream.
  4. Based on the number of cake layers you may divide the strawberries and whipping cream into 2 or 4 parts.
  5. Top with the last layer of cake and spread the remaining whipping cream on top and sides of the cake.
  6. Spread and smooth evenly on all sides. Take the cake carefully on the palm of your hand and take  a handful of toasted almonds and pat it around the sides of the cake.
  7. Using a piping bag filled with whipping cream make some rosettes on the top.
  8. Place cherries on each rosette. For the finishing touch place a small batch of chocolate shavings at the center of the cake.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

#81 Crunchy Tuna Cutlets

This time I am making a croquette that I believe is almost impossible to dislike. My girls and I just love these little potato and fish packages and can eat them any time of the day although, R always favored the ground beef cutlets over the others. Cutlets are delicious little appetizers served at almost all Indian homes and restaurants, can either be made of ground meat, flaked fish or mixed vegetables and they come in round, oval or egg-like shapes. Along with a little side salad, ketchup or lemon wedges they can be a tasty treat.  My mother--bless her heart-- found some cutlet moulds which she made sure to send with friends just so that I get a perfect oval shape when I make my ground beef or vegetable cutlets.

With cutlets, I am getting lazier and looking for shortcuts  …so to make it even easier upon myself I used tuna fish from a can and this time I even eliminated Amma's “oval” mould.  But I insist on making  homemade cutlets and love it when the beautiful spice flavors fill the kitchen with a wonderful aroma. Every bite has an awesome crunchiness loaded with luscious little bits of fish and potato, I think it is ingenious on the part of the person who first developed this bountiful crispy croquette. 

Tuna Fish in Water- 1 can
Potatoes-2 full boiled and mashed.
Onions and shallots chopped- 11/2 cup
Ginger chopped fine- 2 Tblspn
Garlic chopped -1 tblspn
Green Chillies-3 chopped fine
Cilantro chopped fine- ½ cup
Garam Masala- powder- 1/2 tspn
Salt and black pepper to taste
Italian herb or plain Bread crumbs-1 cup
Eggs- 2
Oil for deep frying

  1. Drain the tuna from the water in the can and toss with mashed potato, chopped onions/shallots,ginger,garlic and chillies.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste and the chopped cilantro and garam masala powder.
  3. I usually add some chilli powder if needed at this time and mix the ingredients together.
  4. Make small balls the size of limes with the mixture and shape into round or oval shape .
  5. If you have the oval “mould” you can fill the mould tightly with the mixture and turn it out keeping the shape.
  6. Set up the cutlet rolling station with a bowl of beaten eggs and a plate of breadcrumbs to help you out.
  7. Starting with the cutlets dip them in egg and then breadcrumbs and cover completely. I leave them in the fridge to come together for 10 mins.
  8. Heat oil in a deep wok or saucepan. Drop the cutlets gently into hot oil and deep fry these until golden brown in color.
  9. Serve hot with ketchup and sliced onions in lemon juice.

Monday, February 7, 2011

#80 Game Day "Mini Me" Curried Lamb Sliders

This Sunday we gathered around the family room TV  to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers tackle the Green Bay Packers for Superbowl XLV.  NFL predictions were made by my colleagues, friends and family but we all saw the Green Bay Packers winning at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington TX. I have hosted many a Superbowl party at home but this time was quiet.
We had a couple friends join us to cheer and enjoy the game. This meant that everybody was looking for fine tasting finger food to accompany the hospitality. To be honest all of us stayed glued to our seats… some of us to watch the commercials----Yay!!, the halftime show and others to watch the actual gameJ. Ladies, I hope you all enjoyed the Doritos commercial as much as I did--- the one where the guy is taunting the pug and the pug takes his revenge? LOL!!!  Anyway, I had a small spread for the event with “small bites” and food you can nibble on while watching the game. Mostly store bought snacks.

While I was planning my "small bites" menu, some interesting questions like "what kinds of “Burgers” are out there in the food world?" and "how big can a colossal burger be?" piqued my curiosity. So I had to dig around and here's what I found-

The Wall Street Burger Shoppe on Wall Street, NY serves a burger with a huge price on it $175. Why you ask? It is made of Kobe beef and covered with foie gras, truffles and to top it all- a gold leaf. The mayonnaise sauce  also has a touch of truffle and gold leaf which explains the price…

Next, an absolutely ridiculous burger--- no I am not kidding .The Mallie’s Sports Bar in Southgate, Michigan serves up a 75 pound burger ---actually called“the Absolutely Ridiculous Burger” with a price tag of $499----- I hate it when they have prices like that. I don’t understand why they don’t just round it up to $500.
Then again, that is the reason it is called “Ridiculous” isn’t it? The size of the burger is enormous and you must order it at least 70 hours ahead. When you come in, you can bring about 30 friends to help you eat this hilariously huge burger.  If anyone has ordered one of these please feel free to share the story with me:)

While we are talking about large giant-size burgers let me say that mine are tiny “bite size” versions that I love to eat.simply because they are much easier to handle without the struggle of the toppings falling out of the buns at every bite.  I also piled up some fairly medium sized burgers for those with bigger appetites.

Vindaloo Curry Paste- 1 Tblspns(Any curry paste may be used)
Onions Chopped very fine-1 onion
Ground Lamb-1 lb
Ginger paste- 1 tspn
Garlic paste-1 tsp
Green chilli-1 chopped very fine
Almonds- a ½ cup chopped fine
Mint and Cilantro- 2 Tblspns each chopped fine
Lime juice- 1 Tblspn
Yogurt- ¼ cup
Mayyonnaise- ¼ cup
Medium and Mini Buns-8
Salt and pepper to taste
Baby Spinach leaves and small tomato slices.

    1. Mix together the ground lamb, almonds, chopped onions and green chillies, garlic, ginger, curry paste and salt to taste.
    2. Add most of the chopped mint and cilantro and mix well along with the egg. Save about 2 pinches for the spread.
    3. Form into some medium and mini patties. Heat Olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and sear the patties about 45 seconds to 1 min on each side.
    4. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.
    5. Make the spread by whipping together the saved mint, cilantro, yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice salt and pepper.
    6. Slice the buns and toast lightly. Put a dollop of spread on the bottom half of the bun and then spinach, tomato & the mini pattie on top of it.
    7. Place a small dollop of spread and  top half over the patti and pop one into your mouth,
    8. If desired you can serve the slider with a cool cucumber salad.

#79 Cool Cucumber Salad with Dill

If there’s one thing I know for sure, healthy recipes don’t have to be boring or bland. A little spice or seasoning adds tons of flavor to any vegetable..  They say “Cool as a Cucumber”and how right they are! Just look at this cucumber! Juicy, fresh and luscious with the dark green rind but you slice them open and the bright white flesh flashes out a brilliant glow.  They are part of the squash family and are versatile vegetables that can be sautéed, boiled, or eaten raw. Cucumbers may be full of seeds, but no-one minds since they have cooling properties and are soft and digestible. Although, when they are fresh and young there are little to no seeds inside them.

2Tblspn red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
2 Tblspn cup mayonnaise
2 Tblspn sour cream
2 cucumbers, scored and thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, chopped
salt to taste

Stir together vinegar, sugar, pepper, and dill in a large bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the mayonnaise until smooth, then add cucumbers, celery, and red onion until evenly coated with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and stir once again before serving.
This is an entry to Pia's "Cucumber" event at 

Friday, February 4, 2011

#78 Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

I have fond memories of crispy fish tacos that I ordered at a local San Diego restaurant. My Chipotle Red Wine Adobo Sauce came to mind, and I grilled up some fish filets in my East Coast kitchen by soaking the fish in the adobo sauce for a few hours until all the flavors are soaked up before they went on the grill.  I hope you find this as refreshing and juicy, because my recipe replaces the usual fried fish stuffed tacos served in most restaurants with some flaky grilled chunks of fish.


1 pound tilapia fillets
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup my recipe # 76  Chipotle Red Wine Adobo Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tblspn Lime juice
Sour Cream- ½ cup
Cilantro chopped- 1 cup
2 cups shredded cabbage
¼ cup shredded carrots and red onions.
Salt and pepper to taste

8 (7 inch) flour/whole wheat tortillas, warmed
Chopped lettuce or tomatoes.

1, Place the tilapia fillets in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over the fish. Add the lime juice
2. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours.
3. To make the dressing, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, ¾ cup cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste.

4. Toss the Cabbage, carrots and red onions into the dressing, mix and refrigerate until ready to serve.
5. Preheat and outdoor or indoor grill for high heat and grease the grate.
6. Remove fish from the marinade, drain off excess and discard the marinade.
7. Grill fish until easily flaked with a fork turning just once.
8. Assemble the tacos by warming the tortillas on grill or microwave.
9. Place the fish pieces in the center of each tortilla (lettuce,tomato are optional).
10. Add a heaping pile of refrigerated slaw and roll up tortillas.
11. Drizzle dressing, grated cheese and cilantro over the tacos and enjoy.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


  When R traveled on a work assignment to Seattle, I took a couple of days off work to join him in February 2009.  It was a pleasant trip and of course we went up to the Space Needle and Seattle Aquarium which were interesting tourist spots. We walked from the Qwest field to Safeco field and further down to the Pacific Place Shopping center to do some shopping and sightseeing.

Looking up at the Space Needle
  What fascinated me most of all, was the Pike Place Market.  I had a fun time there with the antique galleries, food and restaurants to enjoy. If you are a food enthusiast like me you will love this place too. La Buona Tavola Truffle Cafe and Specialty foods is the first place that was memorable. They have a dainty Truffle Tasting table where you can actually sample a collection of Truffle Oils and specialty foods to your hearts content. I did find a delicious bottle of Pinot Noir by Belle Pente, for under twenty dollars at the Pike and Western Wine Shop.

Tucked away in a distant corner is an interesting little Russian bakery called the Piroshky-Piroshky. They always have a long line of eager customers going all the way down the street just waiting to get morsels of flaky pastry stuffed with meat or cheeses.  We joined the line to get a Beef & Onion Mushroom Piroshky each and a Cinnamon Cardamom Braid with coffee, all of which were delectable and quickly devoured to our satisfaction. I will recommend this little place to anyone who has plans to go to Seattle!! You will not regret it.
The Pike Place Chowder won for their best chowders at the Great Chowder Cookoff in Newport and Rhode Island at least four times. It was awesome to share the four chowder sampler with R, right outside on the cosy iron cafe chairs.  Now I know why they won... I wasn't even hungry and I wanted more chowder!!!
We  had had our fill of food for the day so we carried out a light dinner from Café Campagne. I picked from the menu one of the Les Tartines that are open faced sandwiches with salmon gravlax, a touch of fromage blanc and arugula salad.


My First Award

Reva of has been such a supporter of my posts and has been nice enough to send me an award of appreciation!! My first Blog Award!Yay!!!!Thank You Revathi!!

 Thanks for all the encouragement and motivation extended to me by all the other fellow bloggers like Revathi without whom I could not keep this blog going.... without my visitors I would not be motivated to keep posting and exploring new cuisine. I started up this blog as a trial, without any intention to expand and it has only been 3 months. So to get such an honor within a short time really encourages me to continue with my project. I certainly appreciate all the feedback from my foodie friends and it means more than anything else to read about your opinions since that is the only path towards improvement.

I would like to pass this award to a few fellow bloggers to keep the ball rolling:
1.Accept the award. Post it in your blog with the name of the blogger who has given u this award with a link to his/her blog.
2.Pass it on to 15 other blogger friends.
3.Let the nominated blogger know about their award by commenting on the site.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

#76 Chipotle-Red wine Adobo Sauce

Adobo is a piquant spice mix used for flavoring meats. This adobo is liquid and may be used for tougher cuts of meat. It works fabulously on turkey or chicken breast and wonderful for fish filets. This recipe yields about 3 1/2 cups of sauce but save it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and grill up meat, fish and even vegetables with it. I am sure I can come up with some ideas and recipes within the next week to use up every drop of my spicy sauce !!

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce- 1 7oz can
Garlice- 7 cloves
Cumin seeds- 1tspn
SPanish onion- 1 cut into cubes
Red wine- 3 cups
Vinegar- 3 Tblspns
Celery Seeds- 2 Tblspoon
Rosemary dried- 1 Tblspn
Thyme dried- 1 tspn
Salt- 11/2 Tblspn

1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree.
2. Tranfer to an airtight jar and store in refrigerator and use as needed.

#77 Parmesan-Panko encrusted Fish and Avocado Salsa

I have examined literally hundreds of recipes for grilled, baked and poached fish over the course of my life. Most of them have either too many ingredients or too many steps to follow. This is such a simple and tasty recipe that I even convinced my daughters to bake when they were in high school –sort of told them to make it with extra love and it would be baked in a jiffy.


For the fish

Fish filet- 2
Mayonnaise-1/4 cup
Parmesan cheese grated-2 Tblspns
Panko breadcrumbs- 2 Tblspns
A dash of hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat your oven’s broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil/
  2. In a plate, mix together Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the Mayonnaise, a dash of hot sauce, salt and pepper 
  4. Take each filet and dip in Mayonnaise sauce until completely coated.
  5. Dip in the dry ingredients until fully coated and place each filet on the broiling pan.
  6. Spray with Baking spray and broil until the fish is just done. Remove, serve with salsa.

For the Avocado Salsa

Avocado-1 scooped and cut up
Grape tomatoes-5 sliced up
Capers in juice-1 Tblspn
Onion- ¼ chopped fine
Garlic-1 crushed and chopped fine
Cilantro- 1 tspn
Lime juice- 1Tblspn
Cumin powder- a pinch
Red pepper flakes- 1 pinch
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place the avocados, onion, tomato, capers, garlic, and cilantro into a mixing bowl. Season with cumin,  red pepper flakes, lime juice, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir gently until evenly combined; set aside.

To serve: Place the Fish filet on the plate and top with salsa and capers

#75 Cucumber Cups Two Ways

One Way- with Horseradish Tuna salad

  • 2 ounces Mayonnaise
  • 1 can tuna in water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon drained prepared horseradish
  • 1-2 cucumbers
  • Lime juice-1/2 tspn
  • 1 stem chopped celery
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Open the tuna can and drain out all the liquid from it.
    2. In a small glass bowl, mix together celery, shallots, salt, pepper, lime juice and mayonnaise.
    3. Whip up the sauce and stir in the tuna chunks. Keep in fridge.
    4. Peel most part of the cucumber leaving a few lines of dark skin still on.
    5. Cut into about 3-4,  2 inch blocks  and using a small paring knife carefully scoop out most of the seeds.
    6. Be careful to leave the bottom part intact so that each block looks just like a small cup.
    7. Spoon the tuna salad into the cups and fill it. Garnish with mint sprigs.
    8. Serve over whole wheat spaghetti tossed in olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes.
I have entered this on Pia's event(cucumber)...thanks for inviting me Pia :) 
Another Way- with Curried Lima Beans

1 Cucumber
½ cup Lima Bean curry without gravy.

Note: Any leftover curry can be used. I used a dry Lima Bean Masala that has very little gravy.

1. Peel most part of the cucumber leaving a few lines of dark skin still on.
  1. Cut the cucumber into 3-4, 2 inch blocks and using a small paring knife carefully scoop out most of the seeds,
  2. Be careful to leave the bottom part intact so that each block looks like a small cup and holds the weight of the lima beans.
  3. Spoon the Lima Bean Masala into the hollow parts and serve as appetizers
  4. You have some cooling and appealing little cups of lima beans.

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