Monday, October 24, 2011

Coconut Burfi

First of all let me wish you all a very happy and a peaceful Diwali.

Diwali is round the corner and I am sure most of you are almost done with the cleaning and shopping and are now trying to find out the tastiest sweets and savouries to be prepared in the shortest possible time.

I prepared this burfi two days ago. It turned out perfect. My mom used to prepare this quite often and I remember helping her out during my school and college days. This is one of the easiest sweet that one can prepare, especially for the busy moms. The cooking time is only 20 mins

Besides this sweet, I also prepared Chirm Undo (Laddoo), Naan-katai (indian cookies), Tukdi and Nippat.

Coconut Burfi


Freshly grated coconut
1 cup
Fine Semolina (Sooji /Rawa)
1 cup
21/2 cups
Ghee (melted)
1 cup
1 cup
Cardamom powder
1 tsp
Saffron  or Food colouring
A few strands or a drop
Mixed nuts (coarsely ground)
(optional) 1-2 tbsps


Gashes made and allowing it to cool
    Stirring the mixture for 20 mins
  1. Take a kadai (preferably non-stick) and place the above three dry ingredients (coconut, semolina and sugar) in it.
  2. Next add the melted ghee (clarified butter) and milk. Add the saffron (by crushing a few strands of it in warm milk) or a drop of food colouring. Mix well.
  3. Now place the kadai with the mixture on a medium fire and note the time. Keep on stirring for 20 mins.
  4. At this time you will notice the whole mixture solidifying and the ghee leaving the sides of the vessel. Switch off the gas and immediately pour the contents on a greased plate. Spread it evenly with the back of a greased steel tablespoon.
  5. Before the mixture cools down, make gashes of desired shapes and allow it to cool completely on the plate itself.
  6. Once cooled completely, it will harden. Now cut and separate each piece and store it in an air-tight container.

Preparation time : 15 mins
Cooking time       : 20 mins
Makes                 : About 46 pieces (depending upon the size and shape) in a 81/2" diameter plate.

  • When stored in an air-tight container, it will last for about 10 days without refrigeration (in cooler climates).
  • Instead of saffron, I used red food colouring this time. Just a drop of it is enough. 
  • For mixed nuts, I used pistachios and cashews.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Gar Dudhiya Saalli Upkari (Bottle-gourd (peel) skin curry)

    This humble “Gar Dudhi Saali upkari” is prepared in most homes of the GSB community especially from Mangalore and Udupi region. I have however made this with a slight twist.

    “Gar-dudhi” in Konkani language means Bottle-gourd and “Saali” is the peel/skin and of course upkari means a dry curry. In Hindi it is known as "lauki".  This is normally prepared by cutting a slightly thick slice of the skin and then chopping the skin into strips (breadthwise). Potato is generally added in this curry.

    Gar-Dudhi was never a favorite in our family. But believe it or not the Gar-Dudhi Saalli upkari was always welcome. It’s a simple dish but tastes really wonderful. Try it out once and you will never ever discard the precious skin of the Dudhi !

    The slight twist that I was talking about is that I have used the manual grater to grate the skin lengthwise so that it resembles like noodles. I have also incorporated carrot to add colour to the otherwise dull looking dish. Hence the whole dish gets a makeover and looks very appealing and to use the well known phrase - “old wine in a new bottle”.

    Bottle Gourd Skin(peel) curry (Gar-Dudhiya Saali upkari)


    Bottle gourd
    1 medium
    1 medium
    1 medium
    ½ cup
    As per taste
    For Seasoning:

    2 tsps
    Mustard seeds
    1 tsp
    Dry Red chilies
    For Garnishing

    Chopped coriander leaves
    1-2 tbsps
    Grated coconut (optional)
    1-2 tbsps


    Grated vegetables with the grater
    Grated (Bottle-gourd peel, potato and carrot)
    1. Wash all the vegetables and wipe them dry with a kitchen towel.
    2. Peel the potato and carrot and keep them aside.
    3. Cut the bottle gourd (Dudhi/ Kaddhu) in two or three pieces roughly the same size of the carrot. Then grate each piece of the (bottle gourd) lengthwise in such a way that only the outer skin is grated leaving the flesh of the gourd intact as we need only the skin of the gourd for this recipe.
    4. Immerse the grated skin into a bowl of water immediately to avoid discoloration.
    5. Once this is done, grate the potato in the similar way.
    6. Finally grate the carrot also lengthwise so that the length of all the grated vegetables is more or less equal.
    7. Heat the oil on a medium flame in a Kadai or pan. Add the seasoning ingredients. Once the mustard seeds start spluttering, lower the flame, add the grated potato (discarding the water). Increase the flame and give it a good stir.
    8. Next add the grated carrot and grated skin of bottle gourd and mix well. If it sticks to the bottom, add a little water and stir well. Add salt and allow it to cook for about 10 minutes or till done. Switch off the gas.
    9. Finally garnish it with chopped coriander leaves and freshly grated coconut.


    • I totally forgot to add the freshly grated coconut while photographing it.
    • This dish tastes good with rice and dal or rasam. Also goes well with chapattis.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Healthy Veg Burger

    Burger requires no introduction. However, the word “burger” brings to mind words like “fatty”, “cholesterol” “junk food” etc. and not very encouraging though everybody agrees on its delicious taste.

    I came across this recipe of Healthy Burger while watching Sanjeev Kapoor’s food show on TV. I tried the recipe but made two changes to the original one. Firstly, I did not soak the soya nuggets in the milk – instead soaked it in hot water (for 15 mins) as per the pack’s instruction and squeezed out the water from it completely thereafter. And ground the nuggets to a fine paste with some milk. Secondly, I added gram flour to the soya nugget paste for better binding. This way, I found that the patties were more manageable.

    Anyway, the final result is here for you all to see. It tasted just delicious minus the guilt pangs!

    Healthy Veg Burgers


    Burger buns
    For shallow frying
    For the Burger

    Soya Nuggets
    1 cup
    Water (hot)
    2 cups
    Milk (boiled & cooled)
    About ½ cup
    Boiled mixed vegetables
    1 chopped
    Green chilies
    1-2 chopped
    Coriander leaves(chopped)
    ½ cup
    Besan (gram flour)
    4 tbsps
    As per taste
    For the filling

    1 large (sliced)
    1 large (sliced)
    Lettuce leaves
    Mustard sauce
    As per taste
    Tomato ketchup
    As per taste


    1. Soak the nuggets in hot (boiled) water for about 15 mins Or, as per the instructions in the pack (to soften it). When cooled, squeeze out as much water as possible from the nuggets and keep them aside.
    2. Grind these softened nuggets in the mixer by adding little milk at a time to form a smooth paste. 
    3. To this ground paste, add the chopped onions, green chilies, mixed boiled vegetables, chopped coriander leaves, besan (gram flour) and salt. Mix well and shape into patties.
    4. Fry these patties (burger) in a pan or skillet using little oil till they turn golden brown. Flip it and fry the same way on the other side too.
    5. Now slice (horizontally) the burger buns and slightly warm them (on both sides) on the pan (without using oil). Remove.
    6. Apply mustard sauce and tomato ketchup on half the slices. Then place the lettuce leaf, tomato slice, an onion slice, and the burger, (one on top of the other). Finally dribble some tomato ketchup on top and cover it with the other half of the bun.
    7. Same procedure is to be followed for all the remaining buns too.
    8. Serve immediately.

      Softened nuggets ground with milk

      Ingredients ready for mixing

      Burger mix

      Getting ready for serving

      One Veg Burger ready to be served

      Serves: 4


      • Butter and cheese have been avoided to make it healthier. You may use butter and cheese if you are serving these for the kids.
      • You can also grind the soya nuggets with water (instead of milk) to a smooth paste. 
      • For vegetables, I used  green peas and corn kernels (frozen), capsicum and carrots (fresh).                                                      

      Wednesday, October 5, 2011

      Spaghetti with Basil & Bell Peppers

      This dish is my daughter’s creation and I had absolutely no part in its preparation. The only major part I played is in photographing it and eating it!

      When she platted the dish and was in the process of serving, it looked so attractive and tempting, that I could not help but photograph it. And when that was done, I heartily joined everyone in relishing and eating it to our heart's content. It was delicious!

      Though this was prepared sometime back, I was not able to post it due to some reason or the other. Anyway, here it is now!

      Spaghetti with Basil & Bell Pepper


      250 gms.
      Bell Peppers
      3 (preferably yellow, green & Red)
      Tomatoes (ripe)
      3  (roughly chopped)
      Red onion
      1 large sliced
      1 tsp
      Garlic cloves
      3 (peeled and crushed)
      Fresh Italian basil leaves
      A small bunch
      Pasta seasoning
      1-2 tsps
      Jalapeno Peppers
      Pitted olives (black/green)
      Olive oil
      3-4 tsps
      Dried Red chillies
      2 (chopped into flakes with seeds)
      As per taste
      Soya Flakes
      ½ cup

      Method :

      1. Place dried pasta in large vessel, cover with water according to pack.
          Add salt. Cook according to instructions on pack.

      2.While it boils, cut bell pepper into large flat chunks. Discard seeds. Trim fleshy
          white bits off. Place on a grill and over low flame, such that the outer skin starts to
          char (turns black).  Turn them over and after few minutes remove from flame and cut
          off a few bite size pieces for garnish. To retain the smoky taste, don’t peel off the
          blackened bits. Set the rest aside.

      3. In pan, add olive oil (not extra virgin - save that for non-cooking uses). Add garlic,
          roughly sliced red onion and the red chilli flakes with seeds for heat.
         Add some sugar to caramelize the onion. When onions start to brown, add the roughly
         chopped tomatoes ( can also place the tomatoes in the oven instead ).
         Add salt to taste (add much less than you normally would). When tomatoes start to
         soften, add remaining grilled peppers ( not the reserved ) and switch off gas.

      4. To add protein for vegetarians -
          Place soya flakes in hot water according to instructions on pack,
          squeeze out water and add to ingredients in pan.
      5. Put all contents of pan into mixer. Add a few olives to the mixer. Whizz for a short

      6. Meanwhile pasta should be al dente (firm but not hard), switch off gas and tip pasta
          into colander (place a large bowl under colander to collect the water) to strain and pour
          chilled water over it (dont delay this or pasta will go soft ). Retain some of the pasta
          water (this is essentially starch with salt, this can be used to add to the sauce instead of water).

      7. Now pour mixer contents into pan, place on low heat, add pasta seasoning, add pasta
          liquid / water as required to thicken / thin the sauce. Taste and add salt if needed. Add
          sliced olives or whole if you like to the pan, add jalapenos if using. Add fresh basil
          (chopped into strips). Reserve a few whole leaves for garnish. Switch off gas.

      8. To serve, place pasta in bowl, add extra virgin olive oil and toss it to ensure even
          coating. Pour piping hot sauce over pasta and garnish with reserved grilled pepper and

      Serves: 4

      Note :
      • For special occasions use the expensive imported Italian pasta (MTR and Bambino are cheaper and faster to cook, but they lose their shape and turn to mush if you are not careful).
      • Dont make the mistake of using tulsi or indian basil as a replacement, I have tried this once, it will taste quite strange.
      • Use cuban oregano instead (but add it early finely chopped and let it cook through)