Archive for August, 2010


I have used milk powder and sugar in several cake recipes. And when I had the Kalakand sweet at a friend’s place recently it struck me why not prepare similar – just khoya -mawa bites- using the milk powder for the grainy consistency. So finally after few experiments I got the exact measurements for the perfect sweetness and consistency. Here it is. This is from fatfree milk powder and using Stevia sugar which is Zero calorie sugar substitute. Enjoy without worrying about the calorie counting!!!

Makes about 20 pieces of 2 inch square


1 cup water

¾ cup splenda or stevia powdered sugar (can be adjusted per desired sweetness)

4 cups Non fat Instant Milk powder


  1. Warm up water in non-stick sauce pan on medium heat then add the sugar. Stir well and let it dissolve on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the dry milk powder 1 cup at a time – stirring well before adding the next cup.
  3. Stir well the entire mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring continuously to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Grease a deep-bottomed plate and spread the prepared Khoya evenly over it. Even out the top surface with the back of a spatula and cut into bite sized cubes. Optionally garnish with finely chopped almonds or shredded coconut. Enjoy hot or chill in refrigerator before serving.

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I have tried several grilling recipes – the Most hit was the Pineapple grilled with Honey sauce – which was actually my own accidental invention :):).  So I have used it for the grilled eggplant salsa filling in this wrap. The dressing is the sauce filtered out from the grill machine spread over the tortilla before putting the filling!!!! The wrap is filled with fresh romaine lettuce and pepper jack cheese!!! The wonderful thing of this recipe is the sweet-sour-hot-salty-garlicky taste I experienced!!!

Hope you will like it!!

This recipe has been submitted to Manjula Aunty’s August 2010 contest

Ingredients to serve 2:

A.      For the tortilla wrap

  1. ½ cup whole wheat flour
  2. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. ¼ cup water
  5. 1 tbsp crushed whole green moong sprouts


B.      For the grilling sauce and dressing

  1. 2 tablespoon honey
  2. 1 ½ tablespoon fresh pineapple juice (you can substitute with lemon juice – I consume a lot of fresh pineapple juice almost everyday so I have it handy!!!)
  3. 2 teaspoon garlic paste
  4. 2 teaspoon ginger paste
  5. ¼ teaspoon red cayenne pepper (you can add adjust for hotness)
  6. ¼ teaspoon sea salt (adjust per taste)
  7. ¼ teaspoon ajwain seeds
  8. ½ teaspoon dried parsley leaves

C.      For the tortilla wrap filling

  1. ½ inch thick Round Eggplant slices – 3
  2. 2 medium tomatoes – cubed
  3. ¼ cup finely chopped green peppers
  4. ½ cup fresh romaine lettuce
  5. ¼ cup shredded cheese (I used Weight watchers Pepper Jack cheese)


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For Tortilla:

  1. Turn on the tortilla maker on medium-high setting – Optionally you can also cook these on the tawa/griddle like roti/parathas.
  2. Take the flour in a bowl big enough to knead the dough. Add salt and olive oil- mix well. Add sprouted moong and mix well. Add 1 tablespoon water at a time and bind into firm and smooth dough – firm enough to not use extra dry flour while rolling – this will avoid brushing more oil while making the tortilla.
  3. Divide the dough into two pieces.
  4. Roll the dough into 7 inch diameter circles and place on the tortilla maker – do not close the top. Once you see few areas bubbled up on the roti – after 1-2 minutes. Flip over the tortilla-roti and cook the other side similarly. Then turn back-over and press the top side of the tortilla maker to press it well – just 1-2 seconds. Flip bck over and do the same for 1-2 seconds. Take out the tortilla and place covered in paper napkin in a roti casserole bowl to avoid from being dry and firm.

For the dressing and grill marinate:

  1. Add well the ingredients as listed above in a wide bowl and keep aside.

For the filling:

  1. Turn on the grill (or just do the entire process on the tawa/griddle on stove)
  2. Roll the eggplant pieces in the prepared dressing and leave it in the bowl until the grill is ready
  3. Put the eggplant pieces on the grill and let stand for 30 seconds. Then cover and grill for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile add the chopped tomatoes and peppers into the remaining dressing/marinate mix and keep it aside
  5. Flip over the eggplant pieces and continue grilling for another 2 minutes. Then remove and keep aside
  6. Now add the tomato-pepper mixture on the grill and add all the remaining sauce over it.
  7. Grill similarly for 2-3 minutes on each side. While flipping over take some of the collected sauce out of the grill and pour it back on the grill.
  8. Save the collected-drained sauce while grilling to apply on the tortilla as dressing!

Serving Instructions:

  1. Take the tortilla roti and apply the drained dressing sauce all over. Then spread with shredded cheese and lettuce. Chop the eggplant pieces and place over the lettuce with the tomato-pepper mixture.  Wrap the tortilla and “pin-up” using the tooth-pick.
  2. Use the remaining tomato-pepper mixture and the drained sauce mixture combined as “salsa on the side”. ENJOY!!!!


1.       Heat the ingredients of the dressing sauce in microwave or on medium heat on stove in double-sized bowl for 4 minutes – checking not to spill it over and stirring every minute.

2.       Grill the eggplant and tomato-pepper on the hot griddle/tawa once rolled in the dressing sauce or on gas grill pan.

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NANKHATAI – Indian recipe of sugar cookies

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This was a request from a couple of friends – I experimented from what little I knew about Nankhatai- not because I haven’t seen it before but just because I am not a big sweet-lover and cookies anyways are always the last resort! But I promised my friends and had to do this for them.. so tried it and to my utter surprise I liked them the first time in my life!!!! my husband liked them too:):) It was shared with many other friends on the INDIAN Independence day party so this recipe declares my Independence as a cook – cooking without help or guidance for the first time :):):):) So here it goes:

Nankhatai Recipe : Yields about 20 cookies

3/4 cup + 1 tbsp ghee at room temperature (clarified butter which is the secret to the rich-taste of these cookies and any Indian sweets)
3/4 cup  + 1 tbsp powdered sugar
2 cups sifted All purpose flour (Maida)
1 tsp baking powder

1. Mix well the sugar and ghee with a spoon. Then add the maida 1/2 cup at a time and mix well – adding more flour after prior batch is well combined.
2. Then add the baking powder and mix well.
3. Lightly grease baking tray with ghee.
4. Shape the nankhatai dough into balls (half-lemon sized) and slightly flattened and position them on the tray slightly apart. You can leave this  tray in refrigerator for 1 hr covered with foil or plastic wrap or other baking tray OR bake them directly.
 5.  preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for about 25-30 minutes (I baked for 35 minutes but you can keep 30 min and then if required increase by 5 more min). Remove from oven when the top of the cookies turn light pinkish or you can feel the base of nankhatai being little crisp and slightly hard – not falling apart.
6. Let the cookies cool to room temperature. Enjoy!!!

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Eggless Fresh Juice Cake

Our parents are in India but we celebrate every family members birthday here in US. I prepare a sweet dish for sure and celebrate with cake cutting sometimes!!!  So this time for my Mom’s birthday it was Cake time – but then it had to be eaten all by my husband so did not want all the sugar and maida. Also had to prepare an eggless version. I remembered reading somewhere that mashed banana can replace eggs. Fortunately I had a very ripe banana which I may have otherwise just thrown away – saved myself a sin of wasting food and used it in this Eggless Fresh juice cake.

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1 1/2 cups Unbleached White Flour
1/2 cup Cocoa powder
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup fresh date-jaggery pulp juice -will be sweet and orange juice consistency
2 tbsp melted butter
1 big very ripe Banana very well mashed
1 cup fresh blueberries or cherries – coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat Oven to 350 F
2. Mix the mashed banana with 1 tsp baking powder. Stir well and keep covered for 15 min. Then stir in the date juice and mix well. Add 1 tbsp melted butter and stir well.
3. Mix well the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, baking soda, salt. Stir in the juice mixture and mix well – stirring slowly.
4. Mix the fresh fruits and nuts, choc chips with the cake batter and add the batter to the greased cake pan.
5. Bake for 50 minutes. Check every 5 minutes after 45 minutes of baking by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean then turn off the oven. Cool the cake and serve!!!

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Vegetable Cutlets with sooji – Shallow fried

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I was planning to prepare Upma and vegetable cutlets since several days. But I did not have enough Sooji or vegetables handy when one-fine day I actually wanted to do so. I am very moody but then have to do my-say whenever I feel like — although my hasty decisions are only for me making sure it has nothing to do with others – after all everyone has a right to be moody and follow their own instincts but without hurting anyone else!!!!! I started anyways – knowing that my experimental attitude will help me get a filling meal even out of lesser ingredients… SO I steam cooked which ever little veggies I had for cutlet and started roasting sooji for Upma.


1 medium potato – steam cooked
1 medium plaintain – steam cooked
1/4 cup cooked and drained chickpeas
1/2 cup vegetable mix – steam cooked and drained – beans, carrots, corn and peas
1 tbsp clarified butter
pinch of asaefotida
1/2 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed ajwain seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon clove powder
2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 cup sooji – semolina
1/4 cup hot milk + 1/2 cup hot water
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt or adjust to taste
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoon oil

1. Mash all the vegetables and chickpeas – making sure they are all drained well – then add 1 teaspoon salt and mix well -keep aside.
2. Melt the ghee in a frying pan. Add cumin, ajwain and fennel seeds and let splutter, then add asaefotida, add ginger paste and cook for less than a minute.Add the remaining  dry spices and mix well. Then add sooji and mix well with the spices – stir continously on medium heat for 5-8 minutes until golden brown and then pour the hot liquid mixture slowly stirring continuosly to avoid any lump formation. let the sooji absorb all the liquid and become slightly moist than the Upma consistency. add salt, sugar and lemon juice and mix well. ( I add finely chopped onions and tomatoes with cilantro as soon as the Sooji is cooked because I like these veggies crunchy and raw flavored with Upma- so they were not added with the other spices and ginger earlier – and finally I skipped them altogether as reaching at this step I decided to make only cutlets adding sooji to the steam-cooked veggies!!!!!)
3. Mix well the cooked sooji with the mashed vegetable mixture. Form in cutlet shapes – round, oval, square or any desired shape with cookie cutter can be done.
4. Roll the cutlets in bread crumbs and coat well.
    Unlike other cutlet recipes this does not require dipping in all purpose flour!
5. Heat a pan and turn to medium flame. Add 2-3 teaspoon oil on the pan and then add the 3-4 cutlets or more at a time according to the size    of  the pan vs cutlets. cook until golden brown and flip over. Spread 1-2 teaspoon oil evenly over all the cutlets if required for cooking on the other side as well. It should take about 4 minutes for each sides.
6. Remove and place over paper towel to soak out any excess oil. Serve hot with Chutney.

1. Cut the cutlets to bite sized cubes and garnish with spiced yogurt, chopped onions, pomegranate fruit seeds and sev for chaat!
2. Spread cilantro-mint chutney and/or spicy garlic-redChilli chutney on cut-open sides of Pav bread and add sliced tomatoes and cucumber. Place the cutlet and cheese slice in between and serve as an Indian style burger!!! This was our dinner ultimately when I prepared this recipe:):):):):)

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Low Fat Gajar Halwa – prepared in pressure cooker!

I like to cook and share food and new recipes- but sometimes i stretch myself too much that I become like the hare in the hare and tortoise story. So what do i do then – give up? Oh NO, never – i find easier alternatives. Start with a phone call to India- my dear MOM. and here’s one such advice which worked so well!!!! Try it to believe it! And the most favorite dessert of Indians – this version is also a LOW FAT and LOW Sugar so enjoy!!



2 cup finely shredded carrots
1/2 tablespoon ghee – clarified butter
1/2 tablespoon condensed milk (Optional)
1/4 cup milk (increase to total 1/3 cup if not using condensed milk)
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar (increase to total 2 tablespoon if not using condensed milk)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 tablespoon roasted and chopped cashew nuts (Garnishing)
6-8 raisins soaked in water for 5 minutes and then drained (Garnishing)

1. Add ghee to the pressure cooker pan and let it warm up for a minute. Then add the shredded carrots and stir well to coat with the ghee
2. cook for 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat stirring frequently to avoid burning/sticking at the bottom of the pan
3. now add condensed milk and stir well – cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. then add the milk and bring to a boil. stir well and let it boil again on medium-high heat.
4. Put the pressure on the cooker and let it cook for 15 minutes on medium heat or upto 2 whistles. This saves a lot of energy used for stirring and some time too without  compromising with the flavor!!! Plus you need very little ghee (so low-fat) and less sugar – because pressure-cooked carrots release their own sweetness. Even better replace with Sugar-free powder.
5. open the lid and add sugar- mix well and cook open for 5-6 minutes. Stir occasionally. Always make sure that the bottom is not sticking/burning.
6. add cardamom powder and mix well. turn off heat and serve on a plate garnished with cashews and raisins!! Serve hot or chilled with 1 scoop of vanilla icecream — ENJOY!!!!

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Lasagna with Paneer Kofta

The story behind this preparation—- i love Lasagna – although the restaurant versions are loaded with cheese — it’s okay once in a while (long while :):)). So here it starts — have heard of Meat balls in sauce– i had prepared paneer kofta a few days back and had left few kofta balls unfried in the freezer to use later — but I tend to hardly repeat a recipe so soon — I also had some homemade paneer left from 2-3 days before and was willing to consume as soon as possible to have the freshness intact in the recipe – one fine evening I did not feel like cooking and my husband did not to force me into cooking — so he was okay to just do with plain tadka rice and dahi — how can I be so mean though — I know he loves food and cheese-pasta are one of his top favorites but I did not have the penne pasta or macaroni — lucky though there were lasagna pasta in the pantry just because I was avoiding to prepare them being afraid of the cheese it will require without which my husband would not eat it… So here comes a new idea– while playing with the kids from the neighbourhood — yes little wierd but I get ideas abruptly at odd hours and always follow them successfully asap. I used the paneer kofta balls-unfried so low-fat- in place of meat balls – replaced cheese with low-fat paneer and then prepared some tomato sauce. The result — another successful result of my experimental cooking!!!!!!

Lasagna with Paneer Kofta with an Indian flavor cheese and filling – serves 3-4

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Lasagna Pasta – 12 pieces

For Kofta

1/2 cup Paneer (Indian Cottage cheese)

½ cup boiled-drained-mashed potatoes (with no trace of water)

¼ teaspoon garam masala

¼ teaspoon coarsely ajwain

¼ teaspoon coarsely crushed cumin seeds

¼ teaspoon salt or adjust to taste

1 teaspoon olive oil

For sauce:

2 ½ cup cubed tomatoes (about ½ inch diagonally)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon red chilli powder

½ teaspoon coarsely crushed ajwain

½ teaspoon coarsely crushed cumin seeds

½ teaspoon coarsely crushed fennel seeds

½ teaspoon coarsely crushed coriander seeds

1 teaspoon ginger paste

2 teaspoon olive oil

For Cheese

1 cup well kneaded-shredded Paneer stirred quickly in ½ cup milk

¼ cup shredded Pizza cheese mix

For filling

½ teaspoon kasuri methi

½ teaspoon finely chopped mint leaves

½ cup pineapple cubes – about 1/2 inch diagonally


Kofta preparation:

  1. Mix all the ingredients of Kofta except the oil- rub the oil on your palms and make kofta balls – about 8 to 10.

Sauce preparation:

1.Heat oil in a pan. When hot enough add the ginger paste (optionally add onion-garlic paste prior to adding ginger paste and cook for 2-3 minutes). Stir well in oil and cook for a minute. Add the dry spices and cook for 30 seconds stirring well. Add the tomato puree- mix well, cover and cook for 30-40 minutes on medium heat- stirring occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Lasagna preparation:

1. Preheat oven at 350 F. then set on broiler.

2. Cook the pasta in flat bottomed pan per instructions on package. When cooked, drain the pasta and quickly brush each pasta piece with olive oil/butter on both sides and keep covered-aside to retain moisture.

3. Apply non-stick cooking spray in baking dish and arrange the kofta balls on it – place under broiler for 8 – 10 minutes turning sides half-way. Remove and keep aside

4. Spread ½ cup sauce at the bottom of the baking pan (I used bread-loaf pan which is exact size for the lasagna). Place 3 pieces of lasagna pasta over it. Cover with another layer of sauce, paneer cheese, pineapple cubes and chopped mint leaves. Place 4 pieces of pasta topped with sauce, Paneer cheese and kofta balls, another layer of 4 pasta pieces topped with sauce, pineapple cubes and kofta with kasuri methi. Final layer of the remaining pasta pieces topped with sauce, shred pizza cheese and any remaining kofta and pineapple. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Check every 5 minutes after 45 min.

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