Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Masala Puri (Spicy fried flat Indian bread)

Winters and festive season – a perfect time for yummy food.  So today I'm going to share an easy way to enjoy festive season with you – it's called masala puri/ poori  .

1 Tsp               Black cumin or Kalonji  
1 Tsp               Bishop's weed or Ajwain 
2 cups              Full-wheat flour
4-5 drops         Oil
Salt (according to taste)
Red chillies (according to taste)
Turmeric (a pinch)
250 ml Oil


1.               Put 2 cups flour in a bowl.
2.               Add kalonji, ajwain, salt, red chillies, turmeric and oil. 

3.               Knead the dough.

4.               Make a small ball with the dough.  Ensure that there's no crack in the ball. 
5.               Put oil on the flat board and flatten the ball on it.  Use rolling-pin and make a 2 – 2.5 inch circle.
6.               Pour 250 ml oil in a wok or frying pan.  Heat it.
7.               Put a minute piece of dough in the oil to check that it is hot enough.  If it is then it will rise and become brown.
8.               Once oil is hot enough, put the raw, flat 2.5 inch circle of dough in the oil.
9.               Take a sieve like steel spatula and start giving light taps on the puri.
10.            The puri will puff up.
11.            Take it out and drain the excess oil.

12.            Serve it with potatoes or chaney or raita or any other vegetable.

Of course, puri is considered heavy but then so are several things that we eat.  Anyways, how many of us have puris everyday.

Enjoy a hearty and healthy meal this festive season.

Friday, 16 December 2011

The magic of garlic

Quite a few of us love the taste of garlic but avoid eating it because they are scared of smelling of garlic.  Everyone has his or her own preference.  Personally, I don't have anything against the fragrance of garlic.  Though my father's family doesn't consume garlic because it is considered 'tamasika' according to Indian philosophy but it is consumed in my mother's family.  So I didn't really eat garlic in the beginning but tasted it from time to time when I stayed at my maternal grandparents' house.  I used to like it so I use it from time to time whenever I am alone. 

Of course, as my maternal grandfather was into Ayurveda and Hippocratic medicine, I learnt the benefits of garlic from him.  It is tamasik in nature and is beneficial for root (i.e. Muladhara) and sacral (Swadhishthana) chakras. 

Garlic is considered excellent for preventing heart diseases and digestive system.
So if you are one of those who avoid garlic because of its smell, here's how you can eat it and yet avoid smelling of garlic at the same time. 


Other benefits of garlic include, but are not limited to:
1. It helps increase hunger.
2. Helps maintain body heat and glow on face.
3. Helps one get rid of intestinal parasites (commonly called stomach worms).
4. Increases blood
5. Is considered useful in asthma, cold, whooping cough, head-ache, etc.


1. Peel garlic.
2. Take a garlic clove. 
3. Cut it longitudinal and look carefully.  You'll see a greenish white part in the middle that is sort of a seed. 

4. Take a knife and point it at the bottom of the germ and simply remove this part.

Now you can use garlic and you won't smell of garlic as much. 

Easy, isn't it?

Monday, 12 December 2011

Simple Indian Tea (Chai)

Though tea is not a traditional Indian drink and was introduced in India around 1820 by the British but Indians have adopted it willingly.  Today, even though India is one of the largest producers of tea, it consumes almost 70% of its produce.  And tea, or chai as it is lovingly called in India, is an important part of Indian hospitality.  Tea is best when one has it with one's friends and loved ones.  It is not just a drink, it is an institution.  There are several ways to make tea and I'm sharing the recipe for making basic tea.


1 Cup               Water
1 Tsp               Sugar
½ Tsp              Tea-leaves
¼ cup              Milk


Put 1 cup water on gas and add sugar immediately.  Bring it to boil. 
When it starts boiling add tea-leaves.  Let it boil for 1-2 minute. 
Add Milk.
Bring it to boil.  Lower the flame and let it simmer for 1 minute.
Take off the heat and sieve it.

Look at the picture, do you see a light cream (almost white) ring around the brownish circle? Well, as far as I am concerned that is when my tea is perfect ;-)  Of course, I am a chai lover :-)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Basic sauce for North-Indian cooking

When we talk of Indian cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind is the sauce or as some people wrongly call it curry, a misnomer as curry is probably derived from Kadhi which is a different dish altogether.  Knowing how to make this basic sauce is a very useful step of making Indian cuisine.  So, today, I am going to share the recipe of this basic sauce.


4 teas spoons   Grated ginger

1                      Grated Onion

1 tea spoon      Garlic paste (optional)
500 ml             Tomato purée
1 Table spoon Desi Ghee (clarified butter) or Sunflower oil
Salt, according to taste
Red chilli powder, according to taste


Heat oil in a pan, add grated ginger. 

Sauté till it is red. 

Add garlic paste and grated onion. 

Continue stirring from time to time till it is reddish-brown. 

Add tomato purée.  Stir and let it reduce till it is completely solid. 

Add salt and red chilli powder.

Mix well.


If you know how to make this basic sauce then it simplifies things a lot for you.  At times, I just make this sauce and I keep it in ready my fridge (3-4 days)/ freezer (2-3 months) as then it saves me a lot of time when I'm actually cooking.

Note that ginger is excellent for health, especially in winters.  Ginger and garlic also help avoid gas.

Armed with this basic sauce, now you are ready to enter the world of Indian cuisine.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Simply delicious

The other day I bought some precooked frozen vegetables.  These had been advertised as Chinese wok-style vegetables and were so tasteless that I didn't know what to do.  I didn't want to throw it all.  And I was actually considering that when I had an idea and as it turned out this simple idea saved the day for me. 

The vegetables were finely cut and I think that they hadn't added anything.  I guess some supermarket giants think that we vegetarians will eat anything.  Please note that this is not the case and we do deserve well cooked food.  And if you are like me and can't eat anything that's bland and tasteless, here's what I did to make it eatable.


1 cup   Precooked frozen vegetables (finely chopped)
1 Tsp   Mustard seeds
2          Whole red chillies
Curry leaves
Salt (according to taste, please taste the precooked vegetables and adjust accordingly)
4 Tsp   Grated Coconut


Heat oil in a pan.
Add mustard seeds, red chillies and curry leaves. 
Add Salt and mix.
Add Grated coconut and mix.  Lower the flame.
Add precooked frozen vegetables, mix.  Cover and leave for 2-3 minutes.
Serve with rice and lentils.

It took me 5-6 minutes and I didn't have to throw the whole thing out and had a delicious meal.  I hope that you'll enjoy this recipe. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

McDonald's for Vegetarians in France and Germany

Those vegetarians who live in Europe are often confronted with the problem of what to eat, where to eat and especially what should they do when their friends eat at fast-food joints.  Earlier whenever I went to McDonald's, it was because I had no choice but to accompany my friends.  All I found was a small portion of salad or had to be content with French Fries or Deluxe Potatoes.  And this was the reason why I avoided it as long as I could.  Recently, I had a pleasant surprise when I went to McDonald's the other day. 

McDonald's in France has introduced a 'McWrap Chèvre' which is just the thing for us when we want to go out to McDonald's with friends.  The filling is cheese made of goat's milk.  It is wrapped in corn-flour and egg is used as a binding agent.  The wrap contains two small pieces of fried cheese, salad leaves, tomatoes, fried onions and a sauce made of cheese made of goat's milk.  At 4.70 Euros it's good value for money.  You can also have it as part of a Best of menu with French Fries and a drink for 6.90 Euros or a Menu Maxi Best of Meu for 7.40 Euros.   I love cheese.  Though I avoid eggs as far as I can, I tried and I loved it.

And if you live or happen to be in Germany, you are in for a pleasant surprise, too.  You can get a McVeggie Burger now.  I've tried it and I loved it though it is not really filling.  I can eat at least two of these.  But then I don't diet, have never and can never diet.  Priced at 1.49 Euros, it is excellent value for money.  The filling is a vegetable patty along with cheese, salad leaf, tomatoes.

If you don't mind the fact that eggs are used as binding agent then the next time all your friends want to go to McDonald's, you don't need to try all those reasons to avoid accompanying them. 

Personally, I'd prefer that they find a substitute for eggs.  Why can't McDonald's in the other parts of world learn from those in India?  McDonald's in India have a much better range for vegetarians.  I hope that things will change in the rest of the world as well.

But in the meanwhile, we'll have to take what we get... maybe fewer visits but then we can still feel free and enjoy!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Beating winters simply

Winter means cold weather and often people fall prey to diseases like flu.  But there are some simple ways to beat cold and I'm going to share one of them with you today.  It's called Besan ki barfi or simply Besan. 


250 Gms Besan (chickpea flour)
250 Gms Ghee (clarified butter)
Single string Chashni (Sugar syrup made in such a manner that it forms a single string when it flows)
Powdered khus-khus (poppy seeds)
Almonds (whole or crushed)


Heat ghee in a wok.  Add besan to heated ghee and heat till the fragrance of besan fills the house.  Take it off the flame.  Add powdered poppy seeds and almonds and mix well.  Add sugar syrup to it and continue mixing.  It should be semi-liquid.

Take a metal plate with rim and butter it.  Pour the mixture in it and let it lie for 7-8 hours.  It will become solid.

After that cut it into small square pieces with a knife and take it out carefully and store.

You can store it for some time if you manage not to finish it that is :-)

It is easy to make and the most crucial part is making the chashni or the sugar syrup.  If you are unable to make perfect sugar syrup you may end up with either too soft or too hard barfi or it may be too sweet or not sweet enough. 


It helps reinforce immunity during winters and is considered a good remedy for cold.  Besan is very rich in proteins and is good for health.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Welcome to the World of Healthy Vegetarianism!

Well, like many Indians I am a lacto-vegetarian which is probably the oldest form of vegetarianism in the world.  Every time I tell someone that I'm vegetarian, people ask me all types of questions:  Isn't it difficult?  Do you get all necessary nutrients?  What about proteins? 

Often, people think that I should eat more than others to compensate for the fact that I am vegetarian.  Please note that being vegetarian doesn't mean that I need to eat more but what is required is to have a balanced meal and it is possible even if you are vegetarian.  The fact that we have survived till date implies that we get all nutrients that we need and this in spite of the fact that we are vegetarian. 

So this blog is an answer to all such queries and a place where you'll find vegetarian recipes as well as information about vegetarian food joints and restaurants all over the world.

In addition to this, you'll also be able to read about various qualities of food items that are used commonly in Indian homes in order to help cure ailments.  If you are a vegetarian and looking for such information then you are at the right place.  And if there is a good vegetarian recipe and/ or restaurant and/ or food joint about which you'd like to add information then please feel free to write to me and I'll do the same.

Welcome to the world of healthy vegetarianism! :-)