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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Diwali

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Dasara

Hope you all had a Happy Dasara.
Being my first time, I didn't have that many bommalu, but here is my bommala kolu.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Varalakshmi Vratham - 2010

Hope you all had a great Varalakshmi Vratham !

I am off to India tomorrow for my brother's wedding. Really exicited about it.
I will be a back after a short break.
Have a great Ganesh Chathurdi y'all !

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Asian Edamame salad

I really loved this salad from Corner bakery. I must have gone there several times just for this. Never heard about the Edamame beans before, but when I came to know about these young soybeans and how loaded they are, I really want to try it myself.  Their description of their salad clearly says this "Edamame, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell peppers, carrots, green onions, fresh basil, and cilantro in a ginger citrus dressing."  I guess that says it all, right?. Also it was sweet so there should be honey in it. So here is my try on this.


1. Edamame beans  - 1 cup
2. Carrots - 1/2 cup shredded
3. Cucumber - 1/2  cup cubed
4. Red bell pepper - 1/2 cup cut
(I would definely add cherry tomatoes and green onion, but I didn't have any, so I skipped).

For the dressing:

1. 1/2 inch of ginger - grated  (if you want to just use the juice, then you may need 1 inch)
2. 1 tbsp of Agave nectar or honey (add more if you want it sweet)
3. 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
4. 2 tbsp of orange juice (I used orange juice for the citrus in their description, may be a little lemon juice may also work)
5. Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp (less or more depending upon your taste.)
6. Salt

Mix all these well.


Cook the edamame beans as per the instructions. They are available as beans or beans in pods. I bought frozen organic edamame beans in pods.I have to just put it in boiling water with some salt, boil it for 3-4 minutes, drain and wash it in cold water. Then remove the beans from the pods. I shredded the carrots into thick ones. Add shredded carrots, cubed cucumbers, chopped red bell peppers, finely chopped basil, cilantro and mix it all along with the dressing. That's it, healthy tasty salad is ready. I may still be missing some secrect ingredient that the restaurant may have used, but this is very close.

My husband is not a big fan of salads. Its like one of those ads where the mother does everything to prevent the kid from hearing the word "vegetables" because he may not eat it... Like that, I cannot say "salad" to my husband, he wouldn't eat it :-) So I made this sundal style snack for him. With the beans, I just mixed some finely shredded carrots, coconut, one small finely chopped green chilli, few drops of lemon juice, salt and chilli powder.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mystic India

Has anyone watched this film "Mystic India"? If you did, you will know why I get so excited talking about it. Wonderful movie, that rediscovers India in a way that is truly enchanting.

What has that to do with my art work? Everything. I am always inspired by the art of India in our day to day life. Be it a mehandi pattern or a rangoli design, the intricate patterns and vivid colors always amaze me.  There was this scene/image from the film that caught my eye. I couldn't resist its grandeur and wanted to bring it close to me in the form of this acrylic canvas painting. There was a picture of it on their website. Being just an amateur, I could not do complete justice to this painting but really enjoyed making it. This is a 40''x30'' canvas. I guess I got too excited getting this large of a canvas because I have never done this large painting, for that matter, I have not even done that many smaller ones.

Here is a detail:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Indo Chinese meal today

Browsing blogs related to food and art are my favorite time pass I would say. On one such visit, I happened to be in the blog Anubhavati -Tastes from my kitchen of Shoba and loved her Restaurant Style Indo Chinese Veggie Fried Rice. I just couldn't wait to try it out being a lover of Indo-Chinese food. So here, exactly as she narrated, along with my Gobi Manchurian and raitha. The credit for making gobi manchurian also goes to her as she mentioned the combination in the blog.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Potlakai pala kootu (Snake gourd cooked in milk)

This is a dish I first tasted in my sister-in-laws house. Turns out to be a south Indian dish that I never heard of. My sister-in-law who is an expert cook, says this dish is especially great during winter because it sooths the throat troubled by the winter cold. This is one of those vegetables I always ignored as a kid. I used to wonder what to make out of it whenever I saw it in Indian stores. Now this dish has become my favorite that I make often.


1. 2-3 cups of potlakai cut into circles
2. 3/4th cup of dry coconut (either cut into small pieces or slices or grated)
3. 1/4th to 1/2 cup of pepper corns - depending how strong you want
4. 1 cup of milk
5. 1 tbsp of rice flour for thickening
6. 2 tbsp of oil
7. Salt, about 1 tsp or so


Wash the potlakai thoroughly and cut them into circles with the skin in tact. In a frying pan on medium heat, add a oil and fry the potlakai just a little. Add salt and about 1 cup of water and allow it cook with the lid closed. Meanwhile, grid the dry cocunut and pepper corns into a smooth paste adding little water. As the potlakai is half cooked, add the ground paste. Mix well and allow it cook again in this paste for a few minutes. The paste should be enough to cover all the potalakai generously. Then add milk and close the lid and allow it to cook again. Once the potlakai is fully cooked, add the rice flour dissolved in a little water, to thicken the milk into a sauce. If all the milk is already absorbed, and you don't see enough sauce, add more milk and bring it to a boil. Depending on what consistency you like, you can add more or less milk. I prefer it to be thick while eating with roti or chapathi, and thin while eating with hot rice.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Raw Mango instant pickle (mavidikai menthi mukkalu)

This is one of my favorite instant mango pickles as I was growing up, even more than mango avakai. My mom used to make this all the time in summer.

1. Raw firm mangoes - 2
2. Sesame oil - Indian kind - 1/2 cup to 3/4 th cup
3. Methi seeds - 2 tsp (1 tsp for each mango)
4. Red chillis - 10-15 (about 2 inch long ones) (I go a bunch of red chillis for each mango)
5. Salt to taste
6. Jaggery powder - 1 tsp (removes the bitterness from methi, if any)


Wash and peel the raw mangoes, pat it dry. Cut them into about 1/4th inch pieces, mix well with salt and jaggery powder. Add a spoon of oil and fry the red chillis, just after you switch off the heat, add the methi seeds. Let it cool and grind them into powder, add to the cut mango pieces and mix well. Now heat the oil, be careful not to burn it, but heat it well. Let it cool and add it to the mango. My mom says that if you add warm oil, it will make the mango pieces soft. Keep aside for half a day or overnight so that the mango pieces absorbs the spices.

I prefer eating it with hot rice, but this can be server with idli or dosa too.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Bloom from my new jasmine plants. They are just a few, but the scent is divine.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bangle box

It was one of those days, I was done with all my chores, and with an excuse of getting some activity and not just sitting around, I set out to the mall, on my way back I was just stopping at my favorite stores with nothing specific in mind. I stopped by the store "Tuesday mornings" and was just browsing, I came across these wine boxes. They were so colorful, some even had sparkle, very attractive. I stood by this aisle for a long time thinking what I can do with it because I really wanted to have it but I don't drink.

The idea of using it as bangle box came to my mind. I bought these two boxes. I then went to a craft store, where I bought these wood dowels and a few wood decals that can fit into the box. I just screwed in the wood decal to the wood dowel. I then made a paper tube to fit the size of my bangles using thick cardboard paper and covered it with some gift wrap. The tube just slides on the dowel.

There you have it, a colorful looking practical bangle box.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Asian inspired Penne pasta

Have you ever been inspired to make a dish just because a vegetable looked beautiful while you are browsing through the isles at the grocery store? Happens a lot right.. This is one of those dishes. I make pasta every now and then, but this time it is these little cherry tomatoes that inspired me. Look how cute they look, though my photo is not of good quality. Fresh ingredients inspire my cooking, a lot.

I never liked the pasta with red sauce. Also when I used to do pasta without any vegetables, I feel like it is just useless calories and carbs going into me. Today I came up with this pasta which has all asian inspired ingredients and atleast one green vegetable. I know there are pasta recipes with asparagus, but asparagus is still foreign to me. So I tried mine with snow peas.The ingredients list may seem long, but trust me, its easy and its worth it.

I'm sharing this recipe with Presto Pasta Nights #169, an event created by Ruth from Once Upon a Feast. This week host is Fun and Food cafe. Check out her delicious round up.


1.  1.5 cups of pasta (I use penne, you can use any kind)
2.  Some cherry tomatoes - I had about 14
3.  2 tomatoes
4.  Half of a medium size red onion
5.  3-4 green chillis
6.  10 garlic
7.  1 cup of cilantro
8.  1 cup of snow peas
9.  1/2 cup of basil - optional, but it is really good if you can find it
10. 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning - available in the grocery isles in dried form where you find spices like oregana, thyme etc.
11. 1/4 cup of Olive oil or peanut oil
12. 1 tbsp of sesame seeds
13. 1/2 cup of peanuts
14. 1-2 tbsp of crushed red pepper
15. 1.5 tbsp of peanut butter


Boil water in a wide pot. Sprinkle some salt and add a spoon of oil to it. When the water starts to boil, add the pasta. Cook it until tender. Drain and wash with cold water and keep aside.

Now slice the cherry tomatoes into halves, sprinkle some salt and pepper on the cut side. Place them in a pan covered with a bit of oil, sprinkle some italian seasoning lightly and cook them covered for a few minutes in low heat. We are not trying to cook them all the way through. You can lift each one separately using thongs and keep them aside.

Also roast or fry in little oil the sesame seeds and peanuts. Keep them aside.

Dice red onion, slice garlic and chop green chillis and add them to heated olive oil and fry them until the onion is tender. Add diced tomatoes to this and cook uncovered until all the tomato water is all dried up. Now add the snow peas and cook covered for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. You can actually cook this as little or as much as you want depending upon whether you want your snow peas nice and crunchy or well cooked and soft. Add finely chopped fresh cilantro, chopped basil and italian seasoning. Stir in peanut butter. Cook uncovered for 2 more minutes. Add the cooked pasta to this and mix well without breaking the pasta. Finally season with the roasted sesame seeds and peanuts and once you are ready to serve, arrange the cherry tomatoes on the top. Crushed red pepper can be set at the table so that people can add it according to their taste.

Notes: Adding crushed red chilli flakes at the table helps keep the spice mild in the rest of the portion so that kids can eat easily. For kids, I also add some grated cheese on top while it is still hot.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vankaya Perugu pachadi (Brinjal Raitha)

This is a dish that I do very often. It is so easy to make, it comes very handy when I don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Brinjal used to be my least favorite vegetable while I was growing up. My mother used to make a koora which is the only way I used to eat brinjal. I will share that recipe later. But now, after coming here, lot of things changed and my choice of vegetables is one of them. Its my husband's favorite too, so how can I stay away any more.


1. One big brinjal
2. 1 inch piece of ginger
3. 4-5 green chillis
4. 1.5 cups of curd (plain yogurt)
5. Cilantro to garnish

For tadka:
1. Mustard seeds
2. Cumin
3. Asafoetida
4. Curry leaves
5. 2 tbsp of oil


Wash and wrap the brinjal in aluminium foil. Place it in a preheated oven and let is cook in the foil for about 30 minutes at 350 degress. When you try to take it out, it will feel very soft, that is how you know it is done. Allow it cool, chop off the top and peel the skin. Meanwhile grind the ginger and green chillis into a paste with some water. Do the popu with mustard, cumin, asafoetida and curry leaves in oil. Add the ginger/green chilli paste to the oil and fry for a minute. Now add the brinjal and mash it in the pan itself with a masher or the spoon. You can even mash it before added it to the pan if you want.

Let all the ingredients get incorporated in the pan in low to medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Now allow it to cool. Add beaten curds, mix well. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Notes: In case you find that the brinjal is still hard when you start peeling, just chop it into small pieces and when you have it in the pan, just fry a bit longer. You can add more curd if you are going to eat with rice or less if you are going to eat with chappathi or roti.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cabbage Kura

This is a simple cabbage curry that I learned from my mother. Very easy to do and its an instant hit in my family.

1. 1 small cabbage
2. 3-4 green chillis (I use more, use it according to your taste)
3. 1 inch ginger
4. 1-2 pinches of turmeric
For tadka/popu:
1. 1 tsp mustard seeds
2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
3. 1 tbsp urad dal
4. 2 tbsp channa dal
5. Hing
6. 2-3 tbsp peanut oil

Grind the raw ginger and chillis and make a paste. Do tadka with the above tadka ingredients after you get the oil heated. Then add the ginger/chilli paste. Add finely chopped or shredded cabbage as soon as the raw smell of ginger goes away. Add turmeric and salt and give all the ingredients a nice stir. Then cover the lid and cook until all the water is absorbed. (No need to pour any water, the cabbage will leave enough water to cook).

Notes: Instead of grinding the ginger and green chillis, I sometimes just grate the ginger and finely chop green chillis, easy when I am in a hurry.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"A rose is a rose is a rose"

My first spring bloom. A beautiful red rose.
I was not very much motivated in blogging because the number of visitors to my blog has not been really encouraging. Here I am back again, to what I started to be an outlet of my thoughts, my art and my food.

Looking at my rose I remembered the quote "A rose is a rose is a rose" which just simply means that "Things are what they are". What a good thought to start blogging again this year.