Cooking class tonight at Torrey Pines

As some of you already know, in additional to providing cooking recipes on this website, I also teach cooking classes in person.  I give evening lessons at some of the high schools in the San Diego, CA area, which is where I reside.

This evening I will be giving cooking classes at Torrey pines high school. Since it’s the holiday season, I will be teaching holiday cooking for social events and for gift giving.

I never dreamed that I would enjoy teaching these classes so much. Rarely do I have somebody from India in my class. The students ages vary from 20 to 70 years old. Every body is very enthusiastic and surprised to see how easy it is to cook a flavorful Indian dish. All the students have eaten Indian food and their perception was it will be hard to cook and not very healthy. I am surprised nobody questions me, why I don’t use onion and garlic. They enjoy the flavors from the spices, vegetables and lentils and they love home made yogurt.

If you live in the San Diego area and are interested in signing up for my classes, please call the the San Diguito School disctrict for rgistering: 1-760-753-7073 ext. 5103

No butter in butter paneer masala?

Another frequently asked question is why do I call this recipe Butter Paneer Masala when I don’t use any butter in this recipe. Personally, I call this recipe Paneer Masala. I have had lots of requests for Butter Paneer Masala, so I researched this recipe and discovered that butter isn’t used. My recipe uses yogurt instead of cream to “butter up” the paneer. Also you can add blended cashews to “butter up” the paneer. I feel better and healthier using yogurt.

How to store cilantro (green coriander) for 10 to 12 days?

After much experimentation, I find its better not to wash cilantro until you are ready to use it. Before refrigerating, chop off the heavy steams and remove the leaves that are going bad. Pat dry the cilantro. Wrap the cilantro in the paper towel and store it in a paper bag. I like using brown paper lunch bags.

I have been able to store cilantro for almost 10 to 12 days.

Make pizza with Naan

Today I was busy doing chores around the house. By late afternoon I was tired and my husband Alex made dinner for me. He used a quick and easy recipe for pizza that your kids may enjoy as well.To start, Alex used a ready-made plain frozen naan for the crust. (He used the simple round naans, not the fancy frozen naans). On top of the naan he added crushed tomatoes from the can, shredded cheese, shredded zucchini, chopped cilantro and chopped green chili. Then he cooked the pizza in our toaster oven.

It tasted great! Alex is good making this kind of pizza with different toppings. Frozen naans are a great substitute for a pizza base.

Tomorrow we will be videotaping sandesh, a Bengali sweet dish.

Diwali Festival

We are getting ready for Diwali which is on Oct 28 this year.

Diwali or Dipawali means “rows of lighted lamps” and the celebration is often referred to as the Festival of Lights. Behind the celebration of Diwali there are many myths. While preparing for Diwali, homes are cleaned and windows are opened to welcome Laksmi, the goddess of wealth. Candles and lamps are lit as a greeting to Her. Gifts are exchanged and festive meals are prepared. Diwali is celebrated with great sprit and enthusiasm all over India. The celebration is as important to Hindus as Christmas is to Christians.

Starting on the 26th, for three days our family will have a family dinner and play cards. We have made a special menu for each day. Especially for Diwali day we will have a traditional dinner, spiced nuts, bread pakoras and samosa for appetizer. The main course will be puri filled with urad dal, kadhu khata meeta, aloo gobi, matar paneer, dahi vada, and cumin rice. For dessert we will have moong dal halwa, gulab jamun and ras malai.

I designed the menu keeping in mind that each meal should be very traditional and include something special for every family member.

To celebrate Diwali there will be many social gatherings. Our Mandir (Hindu church) will have a Diwali fair, and we will have a fundraiser at the fair. On the 28th there will be another Diwali function that I won’t attend but as a volunteer I will be making burfis. This event will be held in Balboa Park at the Museum of Art.

I am also working on some new recipes:

Sandesh

Sandesh:  This is a specialty from the state of Bengal.
Sandesh is a delicacy, made several different ways using freshly made paneer. Sandesh is an exquisite dessert. If you pay attention to all the minor details, then it is easy to make. My version will probably be a little different from the original recipe, although I tried to keep it as original I could. I have experimented with the dish already but want to make it one more time before posting it at the website.

Cabbage subji: this is easy and great for any meal. Again I have to make this maybe 2 more times just to get the right measurement for spices before posting at the website.

I wish you all a very happy Diwali.

Karva Chauth

We are getting ready for the upcoming holidays — tomorrow is karva chauth a traditional Hindu festival for married women that begins with a fast. Karva chauth is celebrated especially in northern Indian states including Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. I don’t believe in too many rituals myself but my daughter-in-law practices this one.

Women will have henna on their hands as part of the celebration. I will apply the henna for my daughter-in-law and for my granddaughter, who loves that.

Married women will fast all day, wishing for their husband’s health and for their long life. Usually in the evenings families will get together in groups to celebrate. They will dress up in the same way they would for a wedding party. After seeing the moon they do prayers and break the fast; dinner is a feast.

My daughter-in-law is hosting this celebration at her house. She is expecting twelve families and the meal is going to be a potluck dinner.

I will be making Getta ki sabji, a Rajasthani dish and my daughter-in-law’s favorite.

The menu will be dinner salad, samosa, of course Getta ki sabji, potatoes with cauliflower, spinach with paneer, raita, vegetable rice pulav, puries, rasmalai for dessert, and chai at the end.

The next two weeks will be very busy for me with my cooking classes and the holidays. The next holiday will be Diwali and this is my favorite (Diwali is like Christmas).

Tomorrow — karva chauth — is going to be a great day with lots of fun music and dance.

Best wishes to all.

My Recipe Process

I started this website because I wanted to share my passion for cooking. Doing these online vegetarian cooking videos aren’t an easy task and they have been a great challenge and learning experience for me. I always did the cooking at home like most of us do – a little of this and little of that. When my husband especially enjoyed a particular dish I made, he asked me “where is the recipe, please write the recipe down.” He would complain because I could seldom duplicate what he liked before. He is the biggest critic of my cooking and a big fan at the same time. Now I wish I had listened to him and written down the recipes! It is a challenge to write and test these recipes but I love every minute. I have to cook each of them several times. I want to make sure when you cook using these recipes that your efforts will not be wasted.

When you have any questions about a recipe I will try my best to answer them, so in a way we are learning together.

New Blog Section Launched

First and foremost, I would like to thank all my wonderful viewers. I enjoy sharing my delicious vegetarian recipes and it would not be possible without your ongoing support. My recipes are your recipes now.

Stay tuned for frequent updates and general news here. I will be posting information about upcoming holidays and preparing special menus too.