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Fun with Family

The end of March brings the celebration of two of my favorite holidays. Holi is on March 27th and Easter is on March 30th. I look forward to these holidays as I traditionally spend them with my grandkids.

Holi, also known as the festival of colors, is celebrated with great enthusiasm by farmers. Holi is also known as harvest time. It is the time of year when adults become kids and celebrate with neighbors, friends and family. Adults and children celebrate this holiday by playing with colored powder by putting it on each other. Some get very enthusiastic and use color water! On Holi, snacks are offered and a special drink known as Thandai (milk and almond drink) is offered. I will be making Besan Para and Mathri to satisfy savory cravings. I will also be making Gujia and Besan Burfi to satisfy sweet cravings.

I also enjoy celebrating Easter. My grandkids come over and both Alex and I have the kids participate in an Easter egg hunt. I also love making colorful Easter baskets for my grandkids. The Easter egg hunt is a big hit with our grandkids and the house is filled with their joy and laughter. After the Easter egg hunt, we enjoy a nice brunch. I will come up with the menu just keeping the kids in mind. It’s a fun time for the entire family!

I hope everyone enjoys these upcoming holidays as much as I do. Happy Holi and Happy Easter everyone!

Until next time…

 

 

Challenges

As many of you know, there are some challenges I face when doing my video recipes for you all. First of all, these videos are taped at my home kitchen, and Alex (my husband) is responsible for many things. He is the videographer, editor and essentially does everything aside from developing the recipes and cooking. With that said, my first challenge is him. I need to be ready when Alex has time. Alex also gets busy with his own work. There are many times where we are ready to tape with all the preparations done for the recipe and just then my next door neighbor’s dog decides to bark. This dog is very loud so we often have to wait until he calms down. Then there are the other disturbances like someone mowing their lawn or trash pickup! This can be frustrating especially when I am so eager to share my recipes and dishes with you. When I get upset, Alex will make me a cup of hot chai and try and make me laugh. He always knows how to put a smile on my face. I also spend a lot of time with my four grandchildren as they are my priority. Despite all these obstacles and time constraints, we always manage to do the videos, all the while laughing and have a great time doing so! Until next time….

 

 

Holiday Fun

Christmas has once again come and gone! These days I feel time is going by far too quickly. I had a lovely Christmas with my two sons and their families, including my four grandchildren. We decided to have a casual dinner with homemade pizza. Each person got to make their own personal pizzas with their choice of toppings including tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, green peppers, red peppers, and olives. I also had the toppings for my take on spicy cabbage pizza (see recipe for this delicious pizza on this site). After dinner, we enjoyed fresh chocolate cupcakes and apple crumb pie (recipe for this dish is also on this site!). After dinner, we sat around and talked while the children had a blast playing with their Christmas presents. We ended the night with a nice cup of hot tea and more conversation. What a great way to spend a holiday!

This week I plan to continue working on new and creative recipes for you all. I can’t believe there are only a few days left of 2012. This year has had its ups and downs, but overall I have to say 2012 was a great year. This year also marked the six year anniversary of my You Tube videos which in turn, launched Manjulaskitchen.com. This website is a dream come true. It has allowed me to further my passion for cooking and inspiring others to cook as well. I look forward to what 2013 has to offer!

Until then!

Friendship of a Lifetime

Some very close friends of mine visited me this Thanksgiving holiday from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I really should say they are more like family. We make the effort at seeing each other, but I wish we could see each other more often. Ideally, they would live right here in San Diego! It would be great to walk to each other’s houses, have meals together, or just going for a walk together. When we are together, it is just so much fun. We never run out of things to talk about, whether we have conversations about politics, our kids, or life in general! I feel that great friends are hard to come by. In that regard, I feel very blessed.

In fact, one of my biggest supporters of my website are my friends who visited me. Their suggestion to me was to post recipes consisting of simple comfort food. Some favorites that came to mind were great recipes for grilled cheese sandwiches, vegetable quesadillas, Aloo Parathas, or Parathas using leftovers. I have decided that I will be working on a great recipe for a Grilled Potato Sandwich. Comfort food at its finest, especially during this holiday season! Until then!

Diwali Menu

Deciding on the perfect menu for the upcoming holiday of Diwali can be challenging! I have been trying to decide the menu for a Diwali party I am hosting for the last couple of days. It’s the time of year to indulge in delicious and tasty food, without a regard for calories! This year I am leaning towards a very traditional menu. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions about this menu.

To start out the evening, I would like to serve:

   

My main courses will include:

     

Finally, for dessert, I would like to serve:

 

I know this is a very big menu so I need to start making some preparations now!

Let me know what you think? Does this traditional menu sound good to you, or do you think I should incorporate some non-traditional items as well?

 

San Diego Diwali Mela!

Diwali is the most celebrated festival all over India. It is also known as the Festival of Lights and celebrates the victory of good over evil. We just had a Diwali Celebration at Balboa Park which was simply amazing. If you reside in San Diego, please come join us for another DIWALI MELA, which is being organized by the Shri Mandir, on Saturday, October 27th at the Shri Mandir parking lot, between 4 pm and 9 pm. The address is 9474 Black Mountain Road. It is sure to be another evening filled with fun and masti. Enjoy delicious Indian food and great performances! There will be a variety of food, including the Jain food stall, where I am volunteering at.

I look forward to hopefully seeing some of you there, along with your friends and family!

 

Diwali Celebration in Blaboa Park!

I am very excited to be a part of the upcoming Diwali Celebration in Balboa Park. It’s sure to be an evening fill with fun and masti with delicious Indian food, dance, and music! If you reside in San Diego please come join us at the 5th Annual Diwali Celebration in Balboa Park on Sunday October 21, 2012 between 3:30 and 8 p.m. The tickets are $5 per person. Some of the highlights of this celebration include the following:

• A collection of unique large lamps

• Lighting of 1008 lamps

• Cultural displays and activities

• Stage Dance Show

• Access to three art museums

• Access to Indian Art Galleries at Museum of Arts

I look forward to hopefully seeing some of you there!

 

 

Holiday Season!

I really love this time of year. The weather gets cooler, the leaves change color, and it’s the time to really enjoy great food with family! These upcoming three months have many Indian holidays including Navaratri, Dusshera, Karwa Chauth, Diwali and Diwali Mala. I love hosting family get togethers and fancy parties during this time.

I also love the American holidays coming up such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and celebrating the New Year!

With that said, it’s time to start planning. This year I need to come up with creative and festive menu ideas for the parties I plan on having this season. I will keep you updated as to what I decide! What are your favorite foods during this holiday season? Feel free to tell me and maybe I will be inspired!

Until next time!

 

Cooking with the Right Appliances

Many of you have questions about which appliances I use when cooking. Most of the questions have been about the blender, grinder and food processer I use. Using quality appliances can be a great help when cooking.

I am very happy with my KitchenAid 5-Speed blender and have been using the same one for the past 5 years. It still works great. I use this blender for almost everything, such as blending daal for Dosa, Pakoras, Vada, chutneys, and drinks with crushed ice.

When I need to grind in small quantities, I love to use my Magic Bullet. It’s simple to use works efficiently, and best of all it is easy to clean.

Additionally, a small KRUPS GX4100 Electric Spice, Herb and Coffee Grinder is very handy for grinding spices. I love this so much I have two of them! One is purely for grinding spices and the other is for grinding nuts and cardamom.

My Cuisinart 7-Cup Food Processor is the other small appliance I use frequently. It works best if you need to blend coarsely. This appliance is not good for blending anything smooth and pasty. It comes with a few attachments like a shredder and slicer. I do use these attachments when I need to slice or shred in large quantitie. I also use this food processer for making dough. It is especially good for making firm dough when you make puris or matris. I have had this food processer for at least 10 years and it is still in great condition!

Jaljeera in the Summertime!

I have been wanted to work on my recipe for Jaljeera for a very long time now. Jaljeera is a very easy and flavorful drink to make up. I have many great memories of drinking Jaljeera in the summer. Jaljeera is similar to flavored lemonade. So I finally decided to work on the recipe and start formulating the ingredients and measurements for it. I decided my old Jaljeera recipe needed a revamp. So I decided to get inspiration from Google! While researching, I came across a blog for Jaljeera, where Naini Setalvad explains the benefits of all the spices used to make Jaljeera. Check out this interesting article at  http://www.dnaindia.com/health/column_jaljeera-magic_1263764  I thought it was interesting and wanted to share. This article reminded me of my grandmother’s thoughts on why Jaljeera is a great drink to enjoy on hot summer days.

With that said, I am working on finalizing my recipe for Jaljeera! The recipe will be coming soon!

Back To Reality And Back To Working On Some Fresh New Recipes!

I just returned from an amazing vacation and it’s time to get back to work! As you know, we went on an Alaskan cruise with the family. It was a wonderful time. Lately, I have spent a lot of time traveling. I am glad that we are making the most of life and doing so. However, it’s often difficult to come back from a vacation and get back to work as I am sure you all know!

I am long overdue to share a recipe and video. I am working on some fresh new ideas though. I was inspired by some of the food we enjoyed on the cruise, such as melon soup and melon salad. These dishes were perfect as they were light and tasty. I think melons are a great food for summer as they are refreshing. Plus, summer is the season to find the best melons. But I do think I need to jazz up the melon with some flavor. I am working on some melon recipes and will share with you soon. I look forward to your ideas and input. The first recipe I will do will be with Garam Masala as I know some of you are eagerly awaiting this.

Working on Few New Recipes

Lately I have been in mood to work on new recipes and create some new dishes! Some recipes are inspirations from my trip to India and others are my own.

I am especially excited about a new dessert using coconut milk with Agar-agar. For those of you that don’t know Agar-agar is a sea weed and works like a vegetarian gelatin (similar to Jello-O). I have no idea why I wanted to make this as I have not tasted anything like this before with this combination. My first attempt as this dessert was not the best as it ended up like a brick as I used too much Agar-agar. However, I knew that I could perfect this recipe into something great! I knew I had to be patient and keep trying different variations. By my second, third and fourth attempt, the recipe was getting better and better. I like it more and more every time. Some of my friends have already tried this dessert out and the responses have been very encouraging. I am coming to the final trial; hopefully, my final perfected recipe will be ready soon. But still I don’t have a name for it.

Today my niece and her husband came for dinner. I decided on a menu with many of the recipes that am working on for the website. They both enjoyed the Masala Papad, Bread Vada, and lotus stem. Their opinions mean a lot to me and they are often my samplers of new recipes. I even had them sample the Coconut Agar-agar dessert and they came up with the name “Coconut Dream Dessert”. I think I like this name for the dessert!

My Coconut Dream Dessert will be coming pretty soon – just as soon as I perfect it. But in the meantime, look out for my next recipe of Besan Ki Roti, which is a gluten free flat bread. I truly enjoy putting in my own twists and variations to recipes to create something new and unique. Until next time….

Our Journey Ends….

We are back from our trip to India! When we got back to San Diego, we got a great welcome from our grandchildren. They wanted to make sure we will never leave them again!

This trip was definitely a trip one to remember! I don’t think I have ever taken such a long vacation. We visited relatives that we had not seen for many years. We also did a lot of sight-seeing, something we don’t usually do when we are in India. Various family members were able to sight-see with us so it was even more enjoyable!

We visited Varanasi (also known Banaras), an old Hindu historical religious town situated on river banks of Ganges. This is a town with many old temples and many old religious myths. Temples are all along on the banks of the holy river Ganga. After sun set the side of river banks are lid with oil lamps and you can hear melodies prayers sang by devotees. It is a beautiful site not to be missed. We also enjoyed the food from street vendors, Tomato chaat a new dish I never had before. One of my viewers has suggested to try “Malaiyo” this brought lot of my good childhood memories as we called this Daulat Ki Chaat.

Our next stop was Jaipur also known as Pink City. Citi has lot of royal charm. Jaipur has many old historical forts and still keeping up with old traditions. This town offers many things to do and see. The highlights were Hawa Mahal, Citi Palace, Jantar Mantar, Amber Fort and list goes on. Of course we ate on local restaurants and did shopping. We stop to Agra and saw Taj Mahal among other things.

We also visited Mumbai great town very different. In Mumbai I enjoyed the most visiting my family. Walking on the beach with my uncle and tried much local food. My niece made sure to take me to the different restaurants, she knew I will enjoy and these dishes were not as traditional but very interesting.

Most time we had spent in Delhi and around. My other niece wanted to show me other side of upcoming India. With her we visited different places and tried variation of food and did different kind of shopping, I will admit I had a blast with her.

Now that our vacation is over, I think it is time to get back to work and experiment with some new recipes, flavors and cooking techniques I learned during my travels to the various parts of India. Recipe and video to be posted soon!

 

Getting the royal treatment!

As you know, we have continued with our vacation to India. We have been here for almost two weeks and are having the time of our lives! With so much family, it is getting hard to decide just who to spend time with! That is a good problem to have. We have spent the days sitting and talking; and of course laughing. Both Alex and I are enjoying getting pampered and catered to. Alex is meeting many family members after a long time.

I have enjoyed eating here in India as everyone has made the dishes they know are favorites of mine. I have to say food in India has changed. It has become very cosmopolitan and a mix of different types of food – some would say fusion. I have to say I am old-fashioned and still enjoy the food from my childhood. In fact my nieces and nephews laugh and tell me to change with the times!

I have talked to many local chefs during my trip. However, I have learned a lot from my sisters and sister-in-law as they are excellent cooks. I prefer their cooking style as it is the food I have grown up with

Our next stop is Banaras, which is also known Varanasi. After that, we plan on visiting Jaipur Rajasthan.

Until then!