Anniversaries Time

December is an important month; the old year is ending and a New Year is about to begin. In December, people think about their lives and make New Year’s resolutions; I don’t know how many of us follow our resolutions but it is still good to make the resolutions and try to live up to them. Coming up with my own resolutions makes me think about the past year and what really happened. It reminds me of things I enjoyed or was excited about and other things that made me feel down. In both cases, thinking about why I felt and acted as I did helps me to see what I should be doing in my life, today and in the future.

Another important thing about December for me is that this is the month of my own and my elder son’s wedding anniversaries.

Two years ago, on December 23rd, my husband put the very first video recipe (Gulab Jamun) on YouTube for me. I get a great deal of satisfaction and happiness from doing these videos. I want to thank my viewers for their support and their interesting and satisfying comments. My husband sometimes has a big smile while reading some of the comments and will tell me they are feeding my ego. Well, speaking as a cook, egos need to be fed, too, don’t they?

Enjoy Namak Paare

We just did the video for Namak Paare. This is a very traditional staple snack. Usually Namak Paare is made with all-purpose flour (plain flour, maida) but I make it using half all-purpose and half whole-wheat so I
can keep my husband and daughter-in-law both happy. My daughter-in-law likes to replace all-purpose flour with whole wheat whenever possible. Namak Paare is an all time favorite with my family to take on trips. They especially enjoy it with mango pickle.

Next I will be doing Potato Paneer Tots. I came up with this recipe while I was making Malai Kofta. I hope you will like it as much my family does.

Happy Holidays

I always look forward to this time of year. I don’t celebrate Christmas as I am not a Christian, but I do enjoy the Christmas spirit that my community shows. I enjoy seeing the festive spirit in my students and neighbors. This time of year also means that I get to spend more time with grand kids!

I plan on doing craft projects with my grand daughter. We will probably do some bead work and coloring.

I will also be doing what I love most which is cooking! I am planning meals for family dinners. For appetizers, I will be making khasta kachori, papdi chat, and masala peanuts. For desserts, I will make gulab jamun, gajar ka halwa, pineapple and cherry cobbler (my friend made this for me and everyone liked it). For dinner, chola battura is my younger son’s favorite. And one night this season I will prepare an Italian meal. Some of my neighbors have done a great job decorating their homes with Christmas lighting. We like to drive around to see the Christmas decorations.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is a time to offer thanks, for family gatherings and holiday meals. There are lot of things I am thankful for, but I have to say I am most thankful for the unconditional love and support of my family. My two sons and their families will be coming to my house this Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I am planning on making an Italian meal. I am also trying out a new bread dessert recipe. Make sure to check back for the video recipe! Then we will enjoy the rest of the evening by talking and playing games. It will be a great weekend enjoyed by all!

Apple Crumb Pie almost finished.

Yesterday, we went out with my younger son and his wife for a movie and dinner. We saw Slumdog Millionaire and we liked it very much. The movie is about social awakening of the poor in India. My younger son always likes to tease me about how much time I like to spend with him and I will say just wait till you are a father in two more months and then we will talk about it.

Today, I made Apple crumb pie for the third time and my husband finally approved.  So we will be taping tonight. Stay tuned…

Today’s Dinner – Fettuccini with Balsamic Vinegar and Bruschetta

Besides Indian, Italian food is my next favorite cuisine. Today, I experimented with pasta cooked with butter and balsamic vinegar and it came out really good. My family really enjoyed the pasta and I think this recipe should be shared, though I have not decided on a name yet for this dish. Most likely, I will call it Fettuccini with Balsamic vinegar. I served the pasta with green salad and Bruschetta topped with tomato and basil. The video will be posted soon, but here are some photos of the Fettuccini and Bruschetta.

Upcoming videos

I am behind schedule in producing video recipes. Today, we finally recorded the video recipe for Moong Dal with Spinach. I am hoping the video will get uploaded to You Tube later tonight. Last week I was really busy entertaining guests that were visiting from out of town. Also we had a wonderful baby shower for my daughter in law. I have two grand kids from my older son and for my younger son this will be his first child.

I am working on a few new recipes including:

  1. Paneer Potato tots
  2. Namak Para which is a saltine finger snack
  3. Apple Oat crumb will be the next dessert, my grand daughter enjoys this dessert a lot and she thinks I should do this next for sure.

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:  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.