Let’s Enjoy the Outdoors!

It’s hard to believe but summer is around the corner. It’s the perfect time to host a fun outdoor get together.  I like to serve fun street foods at these types of events.  Delicious foods combined with some fun games – what can be better than that? My grand kids love when I plan these types of outings.  Here are my suggestions for a different menu. I picked some items from different parts of India.

Jhaal Muri

Jhaal Muri (Kolkata Puffed Rice Snack) Recipe by Manjula
This puffed rice snack is a popular street food of Kolkata.

Mirchi Vada (Chili Fritter)

Mirchi Vada (Chili Fritters) Recipe by Manjula
This is a spicy hot snack – a favorite in Rajasthan.

Dabeli Spicy Potato Sandwich

Dabeli Spicy Potato Sandwich Recipe by Manjula
This delicious sandwich is a great “to-go” snack which is popular with street vendors in Mumbai.

Aloo Tikki (Potato Patties)

Aloo Tikki (Potato Patties) Recipe by Manjula
Everyone is familiar with this street food from North India.

Pani Puri

Pani Puri
This item is popular all over India and known by different names. I suggest buying the readymade puris and make the pani using my recipe.

Kulfi or Falooda Kulfi

Falooda Kulfi (Indian Ice Cream Recipe) by Manjula
No one can say no to this dessert!

Strawberry – Orange Popsicle

Strawberry Orange Popsicles Recipe by Manjula
Try this natural healthy recipe. Kids love this!

Mint lemonade

Mint Lemonade
This is the perfect summer drink – delicious and refreshing.

 

High Tea Time Snacks

There is nothing better than a relaxed afternoon with friends enjoying a cup of tea and tasty snacks. Show your friends you appreciate them and have them over for high tea.  It’s a great way to beat an afternoon slump and it’s also an excuse to enjoy life’s little pleasures with friends!  These snacks below are simple and can be prepared in advance.  Try these snacks as they are sure to satisfy everyone’s palate.

Chickpea and Spinach spread
Chickpea and Spinach Spread Recipe by Manjula
This is a healthy and delicious spread.  Serve with toasted pita bread or crackers.  It can also be served as dip with fresh veggies.

Potato skins or Potato bowls
Potato Skins Recipe by Manjula
Boiled potatoes filled with spicy chickpeas.

Bhel Puri
Bhel Puri Chat
This snack is popular with street vendors in Mumbai. If you enjoy savory, this is the snack for you.

Dhokla
dhokla
This is a traditional Gujrati snack that is mildly spiced.

Carrot Burfi
Carrot Burfi (Gajar Ki Burfi) Recipe by Manjula
This is a classic dessert.  This burfi is packed with all the goodness of carrots.

Cucumber cooler
Cucumber Cooler Recipe by Manjula
Try this refreshing and soothing drink on a hot day.  This drink also can be prepared a day in advance.

Lunch Box Suggestions

I personally think that deciding what to have for lunch can be difficult.  It’s important to have variety.  Of course it also important that should be is nutritious, healthy and we look forward to eating!  Something easy to prepare the night before is an added benefit. Here are some of my go-to suggestions for an easy and delicious lunch!

Cream Cheese SandwichesCream Cheese Ssandwiches Recipe by Manjula
These are my favorite not to mention super simple to make. If you are doing these for kids, you may skip the ginger and green chili.

Black Eyed Peas Salad
Black Eyed Peas Salad
This is a popular salad among my friends especially for a takeout lunch. Often I use this salad to make a wrap that makes for a very satisfying lunch. To make a wrap I use tortillas or left over plain parathas.  Simply spread the hari cilantro chutney over tortillas or parathas and put about 1/4 cup of salad length wise leaving about 1 inch from the top and fold it tightly like burrito.

Masala Khichdi
Masala Khichdi - Rice and Moong Dal Recipe by Manjula:
  This is the ultimate healthy comfort food. Khichdi is basically prepared with rice and lentils. Adding a few vegetables with spicy tomato seasoning makes khichdi a complete meal.

Yogurt rice or curd rice
Yogurt Rice (curd rice) Recipe by Manjula This is a popular South Indian dish. This dish tastes especially great on hot summer days.

Spinach ParathaSpinach ParathaThese parathas can be prepared two to three days in advance. Add a side of spicy pickle and you have a great lunch!

Breakfast Suggestions

Breakfast is unarguably the most important meal of the day. So why not start your day off right with a healthy and delicious meal?  Many people skip breakfast because they’re rushing to get out the door – either to get to work, drop kids off the school, or both! Breakfast kick-starts your day.  Below are some easy-to-prepare breakfast suggestions that will give you the energy you need to tackle the day. Much of the preparation for these meals can be done in advance.

Besan ka Puda
Besan Puda Dosa Recipe by ManjulaThis is an all-time favorite with my family. This dish is both vegan and gluten free. Besan is also good for diabetics. Serve this dish with yogurt, pickle or hari cilantro chutney.  You can prepare the batter in advance and add the shredded zucchini just before making the puda.  Puda batter can be refrigerated for 3-4 days.

Moong Dal Dosa
Moong Dal Dosa

This is another vegan and gluten free healthy breakfast. You can serve this with aloo masala, sambar, and your choice of pickle or chutney.  This is another dish where the batter can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Yogurt Sandwich
Yogurt Sandwich

If you are tired of the usual toast or bagel, this is a good replacement.  The filling can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.  This can also be a quick lunch dish.

Upma Sooji
Upma Sooji (cream of wheat) Recipe by ManjulaThis is another family favorite.  You can prepare part of this dish in advance.  Follow steps 4, 5, and 6 to prepare the sooji mix.  You can refrigerate this for about one week.  Simply add boiling water with peas when ready to serve.

Enjoy!

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You’ve watched all of the videos and followed all of Manjula’s time tested Recipes on the website. Now, you can have the best of Manjula’s Delicious Recipes, all in one book.
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Family Dinner With Mexican Cuisine

Family Mexican Dinner

Last night was our weekly family dinner night! Hosting a family dinner has been a little challenging as my husband has started a gluten-free diet and my older son is vegan. Then there’s the challenge of making something my grand-kids enjoy too!  After some thought I decided that Mexican cuisine would be the perfect solution!

My menu was:

  • Chips and salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Bean Tostadas
  • Enchiladas
  • Mexican rice

I used corn tostadas which have no wheat.  My son can eat everything without cheese. For dessert, I served everyone’s favorite – ice cream! After dinner we played some board games. What a perfect way to celebrate the end of the week!

Holiday Gift Snacks

Holiday Gift Snack Package by Manjula

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  The holidays are around the corner and this time of year is all about family, friends, and good cheer!  I love the holidays as they create positive energy, happiness, and gives us an excuse to get in touch with friends and family.  I like to visit friends and family this time of year with a small gift.   I like gifts that come from the heart.  For me, nothing shows love like something home cooked.  This year I wanted to make something simple and easy, but also something that would have a long shelf life.  I decided to make spicy cashews and almond brittle. These snacks are perfect gifts during the holiday season.


Holiday Menu Suggestions

It is a true winter day here in San Diego. I know my family is super excited about the upcoming holidays. I feel like holidays are all about indulging yourself and treating yourself to what else – great food! Food is a way to bring people together and it’s the simple pleasures in life that really matter.

Today’s menu suggestions are in line with the rainy weather here and includes: a steamy cup of vegetable soup, followed with Aloo Paratha, Tomato Chutney, Yogurt, Green Chili Pickle and for dessert Gajar Ka Halwa.

This meal can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. For breakfast, I would suggest the Aloo Paratha served with Tomato Chutney. This menu is an old family favorite and reminds me of happy times with my family growing up! Enjoy!

Vegetable Soup Recipe by Manjula

Vegetable Soup

Aloo Paratha Recipe by Manjula

Aloo Paratha

Tomato Chutney

Tomato Chutney

Yogurt

Yogurt

Green Chili Pickle

Green Chili Pickle

Gajar Ka Halwa

Gajar Ka Halwa


Happy Holidays!!

The holidays are officially here! It’s the time to look forward to vacations and relax with family and friends! So what’s better than having family and friends over for a great meal?! For the upcoming holiday season I’m going to be suggesting some dishes that I think will be perfect for your upcoming holiday get togethers. Today’s ideas include starting with carrot ginger soup, followed with Chola Battura, Aloo Gobhi, Vegetable Raita, and Kheer as a traditional Indian dessert. Try these and enjoy!

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

Battura (Fried Puffed Bread) Recipe by Manjula

Battura (Fried Puffed Bread)

Punjabi Chola

Punjabi Chola

Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi

Vegetable Raita Recipe by Manjula

Vegetable Raita

Kheer Rice Pudding

Kheer Rice Pudding

 

 

Happy Karva Chauth!

To all the lovely married people: Happy Karva Chauth!

This year Karva Chauth fall on October 11th. It is celebrated with great joy in the northern states of India. My elder daughter-in-law enjoys this special festival very much. She really takes pleasure in all the rituals associated with Karva Chauth.

This day is celebrated by married women, who fast all day as a way to wish for their husband’s health and long life. Many husbands also join in on the fast as a way to show their suport for their wives. In the evening, families typically get together in groups to await the moon.

Women dress up in their finest outfits and jewelry. Bright colors and gorgeous outfits are a must! The moon usually takes a long time to appear on this day! Finally, when the moon makes its appearance, everyone celebrates. Prayers are then done and the fast can then be broken. Dinner is typically a huge feast as it should be!

This year I will be making Gulgula, Gatte Ki Kadhi, and crispy Spinach Pakoras:

Gulgula (Mini Donuts) Recipe by Manjula

Gatte Ke Kadhi Recipe by Manjula

Crispy Spinach Pakoras Recipe

Gulab Jamun Variations for Festivals

Gulab Jamun Variations by Manjula

Many festivals are coming soon, starting with Navratri, Durga Ashtami, Ram Navami, Dussehra, Diwali, Bhai Dooj, and the list goes on. I am always planning to what make something new. Something different and festive but not needing too much work, at the same time the family should enjoy it. I thought why not make the sweets and snacks that my family likes and I will also like to share this with my extended family by the series of blogs.

First one I selected is gulab jamuns because I just made them. Also gulab jamun is one of my favorite dessert. It is easy to make and also have a long shelf life. Gulab jamuns can be served in many different ways and the bonus is they make good holiday gift.

I have fond memories of the festivals while growing up. On special occasions we will receive box of sweets from family and friends and most of the time the box will have gulab jamuns. Of course these gulab jamuns were not in the syrup but they were still moist. They tasted great and almost appeared to be a different dessert.

These are some of the variations and suggestions the way I serve them. I think warm gulab jamuns taste the best, they are my boy’s favorite. For serving them with any other variations, take gulab jamuns out from the syrup for about half an hour before garnishing. Drizzle gulab jamun with chocolate gnash, you may also put few pieces of sliced almonds. This is my grand kids favorite.

Roll them in coconut powder, this is the only way one of my daughter in law likes them.
Slice them in center making them in two pieces then topped them with malai (reduce milk),
Slice them thinly and serve them with vanilla ice cream and garnish with few pieces of broken pistachios. I will like to hear from you, how you like to serve them.


Happy Navratri 2014

Navratri, or “Nine nights” is a festival which marks the onset of autumn. It is celebrated in different ways all over the country. It is a festival of worship, dance and music. For 9 days, women dress up in beautiful clothes and jewelry. Many people keep a fast for Navratri. Some suggestions for this auspicious time period include: Laucki kheer, sabudana khichdi, sabudana vada, kuttu Ki Puri, and stir fry arbi.

 

Making of my Eggless Chocolate Cake Recipe

Eggless Chocolate Cake

Eggless Chocolate Cake

I have been working on how to make eggless chocolate cake, baking is not what I am good. Some times I like to bake for my grand kids and that I enjoy. Many of my viewers have been requesting to do more cake recipes. I have been trying chocolate cake, I have looked many recipes and to substitute eggs I am still playing with some ingredients, I don’t want to use the egg replacer for sure, my choices are tofu, condense milk, yogurt. I have used tofu before to make chocolate brownie and used condense milk for pineapple cake. Both recipes were good but I keep feeling something is missing so last few days I am trying again, my kitchen has been mass and I think I am getting there. For Easter I baked cup cakes using condense milk, kids loved it because I baked that’s a good part it is so easy to please your grandkids most of the time or they really know what to say when.

This is first time I have tried adding some corn starch and tapioca powder. I like corn starch that made a big different. Today I think it came out good and decided to garnish few pieces with sugar powder and few pieces with chocolate ganache. It was time to get the approval from the family and wow my older granddaughter and son approved.

Good thing is you can use same batter for cup cakes or cake. You should see this recipe soon and really hope you will approve because that’s count the most and I will wait for your unbiased comment.

Manjula’s Kitchen e-book: Best of Indian Vegetarian Recipes


Manjula's Kitchen: Best of Indian Vegetarian Recipe (2nd_Edition)

Best of Indian Vegetarian Recipes SECOND EDITION is now available for purchase

You’ve watched all of the videos and followed all of Manjula’s time tested Recipes on the website. Now, you can have the best of Manjula’s Delicious Recipes, all in one book.

This beautiful Second Edition of the ebook is now available in PDF format with updated recipes, full color photos, and embedded links to accompanying videos.

Manjula's Kitchen ebook

I have some exciting news for all of you. Due to your requests that I make a compilation of some of my recipes into an easy-to-reference book, I am excited to let you know that I have published my first book, Manjula’s Kitchen: Best of Indian Vegetarian! It is available on Amazon right now! Here’s a quick link to purchase it: http://amzn.to/17fgiJL

So why did I do this book? Well the answer is simple: for you the viewers. You all have inspired me in so many ways that I cannot thank you enough! Of course, my husband Alex has been my number one supporter and has been working hard towards getting this book published. My book is a great reference for all of your cooking needs – for both the beginning and experienced cooks. So go to Amazon and check out my new book!