September 22, 2017

Lamb kofta (meatball) Pulao

Lamb meatball pulao

Another school year has started and this year brings a big change for us. Tiny M has started in a Young Five program this year and goes to the same school as his older brother Lil A. So far he is transitioning into his new school well. He likes his classroom and that he gets to do music, gym and especially library.

I just want to take a minute to slow down and remember this because before I know he will be finishing his elementary school.

Coming back to the recipe, I have something special to celebrate the pujo season.

I have made this lamb kofta pulao a few times now experimenting with some spices, herbs and fried onions. Now I stick to cooking the rice and the meatballs separately and combining them towards the end.

If you are entertaining this pujo season, it is a special dish. It does involve a few steps especially if you are making the meatballs but totally worth the effort.

September 09, 2017

Eggs Kejriwal on a Sunday morning

Eggs Kejriwal


We heard about Eggs Kejriwal first when Tejal Rao's piece appeared in The New York Times and have been meaning to make it since then. But it came to fruition just a couple of weeks ago when the summer vacation was coming to a close and we needed just something special for that send off.

Yes, even though it's called Kejriwal it has nothing to do with Arvind Kejriwal, rather it originated in Mumbai five decades ago. Rao's fascinating history of toast, egg and cheese is here.

We followed most of the recipe through, but there is tons of variations that can be done and we have done a couple and have several more in mind. Instead of mustard, we have tried it with harissa, or another turkish pasta Aswin brought home recently, and have dressed it up with Zatar (which has become routine) and each time it tastes delicious.

It makes a perfect brunch center piece because it cooks quickly. Once the guests arrive, just grill the cheese in the oven and top it with the eggs and serve.

Here is the recipe from The New York Times with some adaptions.

August 15, 2017

Tanjore marathi recipe - Vangi dahi bharit

We wait all year here for summer. We get through probably the toughest month of February in the hope of June and July. Sure the spring is a lot of work - cleaning, getting the vegetable patch ready, planting the seedlings, pruning.

But come summer the school is off, no lunch menus to be planned, movie night can be any day ;-), vegetable patch gives a small supply of tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, chillies, peppers, farmers market is is full swing.

These two cucumbers were hiding under the plant for almost a week before I spotted it. How is your summer going?

This summer Lil A is riding his bike without training wheels, Tiny M is learning how to read. There are spell books and star wars from the library.

But before I get too far, let me tell you about the recipe. I have another special Tanjore marathi recipe - Vangi dahi bharit.

Vangi Dahi bharit

My MIL was visiting a few weeks ago and when she comes I am always waiting to learn a new Tanjore marathi recipe. She suggested Vangi dahi Bharit. It is a version of bharta but instead of tomato, the recipe uses yogurt.

When Aswin's cousin and her mom were visiting, they mentioned that the recipe can be made either with yogurt and sometimes the yogurt is substituted for tamarind juice.

Similarly, the eggplant can be replaced with other vegetables which are sautéed then then added to the yogurt with a tempering. This version is quite simple, but you can add ginger, onions, or even a hint of coconut to the bharit.

It goes as a great side for many things. We served it with a simple dal and pulao.

June 27, 2017

Instapot Palak or Saag Paneer

Instapot Palak Paneer


When it comes to trying out a new technology, A is better than me. He got us hooked to Echo (now kids have more conversation with Alexa than us), fitbit, and now Instapot.

When we got it last year, he was the one who cooked food in it - delicious egg curry, then sambar, rice, dal and Palak paneer was the ultimate. Since it is Lil A's favorite we make it every week.

And soon enough I was hooked to the Instapot too. The masala chole was another discovery. But I digress.

I cook the palak in the instapot and saute the paneer in a pan and it's ready within 30 minutes.  The one trick I have learned is to add some herbs with the greens and it makes it taste fresh and delicious.

June 13, 2017

Tarkari diye chanar dalna (Paneer and vegetable curry)

Vegetable and paneer curry


When all the leaves fell down last fall, we discovered an abandoned nest in the red maple tree in our front yard. It was small and lasted through most of the winter. In the spring rain last couple of months, it almost disintegrated.

The leaves came back in the maple and we forgot about the nest. Then just yesterday, we found that the birds have come back to the nest, readied it and made it their home again. Now there are four little babies hanging out in the nest.

In other news, the veggie patch has been planted, the roses are blooming again and it is the last week of school.

The temperatures are soaring, we had a few days in the 90deg F. When it happens, I switch to light curries and this chanar dalna or paneer curry is one of them. With onion, ginger and tomatoes as the base, you can add any vegetable available. I added potato, carrot, peas and beans, but you could add some cauliflower, broccoli, summer squashes too.

May 28, 2017

Black beans and vegetables rice

Blackbeans & vegetables rice

School year is slowly coming to a close and as we near it somehow it increasingly get busier - class trips, holiday planning, activities for kids and summer planning. While it is exciting, it is a little nerve-wrecking too.

The local YMCA here has a bunch of kids camps that are fun but fill up quickly. Last year, I was on time and managed to sign up Lil A. This year, I didn't have the summer plans ready in February when the camps opened. By the time I went to register, the classes were full. I managed to find other camps.

But am curious, how do your kids spend summer holidays?

On the other hand, summer means lot of outdoor fun and grilling.

As the grilling season begins, I am always looking for sides to go with the entree - tandoori chicken, grilled veggies, kabobs, etc. Watermelon salad is a favorite. And I think I may have found a new favorite.

This black beans and vegetables rice will go with everything. I made it quickly over a weeknight dinner with some friends and served it with some chicken curry and a lettuce and cucumber salad. I used snow peas, cherry tomatoes and green beans, but you could put virtually anything. The flavor of the rice comes from the fresh vegetables, garlic and fresh herbs. I used cilantro and parsley but I could see dill and mint adding a bunch of flavors too.

April 28, 2017

Teriyaki Salmon curry with vegetables

Salmon Teriyaki with vegetables

Now that the weather is warming up, what have you been up to?

The Eberwhite woods are in front of us. When the weather is nice, I sometimes cross through the woods for Lil A's school which is on the other side. The woods is home to a pair of great horned owls. We hears the owls in the fall when Lil A had his soccer practice outside.

This spring the owls have babies - two little baby owls. They are high up in the tree and we could see them with a binocular. We have taken several trips to get a glimpse of the babies.  In the process we also met some western painted turtles who live by the swamp, and even saw a snake.

The babies are now learning how to fly. Here is a story that appeared in the local media about it.  

Coming back to the recipe. Lil A loves salmon and snow peas and peppers too. So I combined all of them together in a recipe. It was delicious. Except for the kids, I had to separate them and serve it.  I served it with some plain rice, but you could even serve it with noodles. 

I bought a bottle of teriyaki sauce and a pack of panko crumbs. I also added a small tomato puree in the sauce and the sweet and sour sauce was delicious. 

Here is the recipe:

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