December 29, 2013

Bell peppers/ Capsicum rice

I am here with yet another recipe using my favorite tricolor bell peppers. Good news is, its also a quick lunch box recipe. And yet another yummy way of using bell peppers. Look at those gorgeous colors!

Bell peppers - 3
Cooked Rice - enough for 2- 3 people

For roasting and grinding, as masala: 
(can be made double or triple the quantity, and stored in air tight container for a couple of weeks)
Dry red chilies - 2
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - a pinch
Garlic pods - 2
Peanuts - a fistful

mustard seeds
cumin seeds
fresh curry leaves

1. In a pan, dry roast the ingredients listed for roasting and grinding, over medium heat. You may as well roast them in a couple teaspoons of oil, if you prefer.
Gringing Paprika

2. When it is cooled off, grind it finely.

3. In the pan, heat a tablespoon of oil and add seasoning ingredients listed above. When they splutter, add finely cut bell peppers and fry them until they are tender fork but still crunchy.

4. Add the ground masala powder and a teaspoon salt to the peppers in the pan and mix gently.

5. Mix in the cooked rice and adjust the salt according to taste. Mix gently but thoroughly so that there are no lumps of ground masala in between the rice.

Enjoy this wholesome delicious dish..!!


1. Spice level of this dish can be adjusted according to our taste by the number of dry chilies roasted in making the ground masala.

2. The spice level can be even more brought down for kids by keeping aside a little white rice and mixing later while giving to them.

November 21, 2013

Kobbari Vundalu - Coconut Jaggery Laddus

There is something very comforting about making traditional snacks or sweets at home. For me, it is about the childhood memories that are invoked by the look and taste of those dishes. There are quite a few such sweets which I haven't ever seen or eaten elsewhere except at home, made by mom or ammamma. These are mostly festive sweets which are elaborate to make, requiring big lists of ingredients and demanding  lot of time and effort. My grand mother used to make them in large quantities during festivals for family, kids and also to offer to neighbors. But there are also few dishes which are undeniably simple, with just a couple of ingredients, but when prepared tastes so heavenly delicious. Kobbari Vundalu is such a humble home-made sweet.

Can you believe it needs just TWO ingredients!

Freshly Grated Coconut - 2 cups
Grated Jaggery - 2 cups (can be adjusted a half-cup more or less based on our sweet tooth)

1. In a thick bottomed pan mix the both ingredients and keep on medium flame.
2. Keep stirring continuously.
3. The jaggery melts and the coconut gets cooked slowly in the syrup. If the mixture looks too dry, add few spoons of water.
4. While stirring all the way, keep cooking until the mixture becomes thick and feels kind of sticky. When done, remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
5. When the mix is warm enough to be handled, make medium size balls and store in an air tight container after they are completely cooled. They stay good for a week, if at all they last that long :-)


  • Color of jaggery determines the color of laddu. I have dark colored jaggery and my laddus ended up so dark! 
  • Use best quality jaggery and fresh coconut, since just they determine the taste!
  • The trick is to know when to turn off the heat! The success of this sweet depends on the texture of the mixture when cooking is done. If the under cooked, the syrup would not be sticky enough and the laddu will not be chewy, which gives the best taste. If over cooked, the mixture when cooled becomes dry and laddu will be hard.

Give it a try in your kitchen, and you would be very happy that you tried! :-)

Spinach Rice

This is just another quick fix meal that appears at least once a week on my menu. It is quick to make and needs minimal ingredients and lots of spinach. Convenient way to use up left over rice! Tasty and easy way of bringing fresh green spinach into our diet. I find this dish very helpful especially for my toddler who does not eat rice with our conventional curries! :-)

Rice - 2 cups (washed n soaked)
Spinach - a bunch (washed n chopped)
Garlic - 2 pods (finely chopped)
Dry red chilies - 1 or 2 (broken into halves)
Oil - 2 tsps
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida  - a pinch
Fresh curry leaves - a few
Salt to taste

1. Cook the rice and keep aside. Left over rice can be used conveniently.
2. Heat oil in a wide deep pan. When oil is heated add asafoetida, cumin, mustard seeds, dried red chilies, chopped garlic and curry leaves in the end.
3. After couple of minutes add the chopped spinach and keep mixing until the leaves wilt and reduce in volume. Then reduce the flame to medium-low and keep the lid on the pan.
4. The spinach gets cooked in 7 to 8 minutes. Then add the cooked rice and around 2 teaspoons of salt and mix thoroughly. Keep stirring loosely and adjust the salt for taste and turn off the stove. Close the pan with lid and let it rest for few minutes for the flavors to get absorbed.

That's it! Healthy, tasty and comforting Spinach rice is ready!!

Tip: Dry red chili is the only ingredient that affect the spice level of the dish, just adjust that to suit your taste.

October 19, 2013

Overnight Oats

Oats aren't a new thing. They made an entry into my kitchen shelf a few years ago. I used to make oats porridge for breakfast at times when I felt like. My idea of oats was oats porridge, that was it. But after I started following food blogs from around the world, I got introduced to several interesting ways of bringing oats on to our plates. I gave it a try in making Instant oats idli, oats upma and also this Overnight oats breakfast recipe. 
Nothing ever clicked like the overnight oats recipe did!

Put a prefix SUPER for every word that follows: Quick. Delicious. Filling. Healthy. 

It is so yummy and refreshing that I really enjoy it having for breakfast, most of the mornings. I prefer this over any other breakfast during week days, because it keeps me good until lunch time without any sign of hunger in the busy routine. It is so quick and can be whipped up in a few minutes the night before.

Step 1: The night before

In a container with proper lid, mix together 3 or 4 tablespoons of oats, half a cup of plain yogurt. Place it in the refrigerator overnight.

Step 2: First thing in the morning - Top up

Chop up the fruits & dry fruits & nuts that you like-- half a banana, half an apple, a few strawberries, 2 dates, a few almonds/pistachios and the possibilities go on. Here you can experiment as much as you like! 
Put them in the already creamy oats, you might want to add some milk to adjust the consistency of your choice. You might also want to adjust the sweetness as per your liking. MIX thoroughly.

I prefer it just the way it is, with the sweetness of fruits and creaminess of yogurt!

As you see, that's a lot of fruit and goodness, isn't it! It's like treating yourself with the best and healthy breakfast ever possible :-)

Step 3: 

Enjoy the spoonfuls of goodness, while browsing through the morning mails/ news/ your favorite things.

Some more topping ideas:

  • Fresh fruits chopped
  • Dry fruits chopped
  • Chopped nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios
  • Raisins
  • Seeds sprinkled (like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Favorite fruit jam or marmalade
  • Maple syrup or date syrup
  • Chocolate sauce 
  • Chopped chocolate or chocolate chips or cocoa
  • Crushed granola for crunch
Happy eating & Healthy eating!!

May 21, 2013

Tomato Rice

Here comes the next one in the series of lunch-box-recipes, the Tomato rice. Yes, this too is a quick one that fits into the busy morning cooking schedule, and the below line holds good too :-)

Simple. Quick. Flavorful.

  • Basmati Rice - 2 cups ( wash and soak for 15 minutes)
  • Tomatoes - 4 medium sized
  • Fresh Mint leaves - a few
  • Fresh Coriander - a few sprigs
  • Green Chilies - 3 (more or less based on required spice level)
  • Onion - 1 (finely sliced length wise)
  • Ginger-Garlic paste - 2 tsp
  • Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Biryani masala powder or Garam masala - 1 tsp
  • yogurt  - 1 tbsp
  • Oil / Ghee
  • Salt - 1 1/2 tsp 
  • Water  - 3.25 cups
  • Whole spices: cloves - 3, cinnamon - 1 inch, bay leave - 1, cardamom - 1, star anise - 1, shajeera - 1/4 tsp
  1. In the pressure pan, heat oil and ghee. Add shajeera followed by all other whole spices. Do not over heat the oil or the spices will be burnt.
  2. Add the slit green chilies and chopped onion.
  3. Saute till the onion turn translucent. Then add ginger-garlic paste and fry for another couple of minutes. 
  4. Add the red chili powder and masala powder. Fry a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and on medium flame fry until mushy. Add 1/2 tsp salt.
  6. Add fresh mint leaves and chopped coriander leaves.
  7. Drain the rice soaked in water and add to the pan. 
  8. Add yogurt, water and adjust salt. Combine everything well. 
  9. Place the lid of the pressure cooker and do NOT keep the weight. Keep the flame high until the steam starts escaping with pressure. Then reduce the flame to the lowest and cook. Turn off the flame in 12 minutes. 
  10. Open the lid 10 minutes after turning off and fluff lightly with a fork. This yields a lovely aromatic rice.

Some ideas:

  • Boil and keep ready a couple of eggs while preparing this dish and toss them into the lunch box along with the rice. Instant egg biryani is ready :-)
  • A cup of fresh green peas can be added after the Step 4, a nice way to sneak in some green veggies.
  • A cup of soy chunks (soaked in boiling water for 10 - 15 minutes and the water totally squeezed out) can be added after the step 4, making it a protein rich dish.

Eet-smakelijk! / Bon-Appetit! / Enjoy!

March 30, 2013

Fruit on the bottom Yogurt

Of many good things I got introduced to in The Netherlands, the myriad variety of yogurts is one among the best. They are outright addictive, at least for me. My connection with it dates back to my childhood. I have been a yogurt lover ever since I was a little girl. My brother used to loathe all kinds of dairy products and hence I used to get all the cream, butter, milk, yogurt and everything of that sorts, far more than my share, to my joy. Cut the long story short, I am now in a dreamland of dairy products :) After eating loads and loads of store brought fruity-yogurts, I suddenly got inspired to make it at home, a little healthier version with more fresh fruits and lessened sweeteners. Google helped me find an awesome recipe, and here I am with my own version of healthy home made fruit-on-the-bottom-yogurt..!

More than all that, it is a pleasure to try making these simple things :)

  • Strawberries - 200g 
  • yogurt - 2 cups
  • honey - to sweeten the yogurt as much you like
  • corn starch - 1 tsp
  • cold water - 2 tsp ( to stir in corn starch)
  • salt  - a pinch

  1. Chop the fruit into small pieces. 
  2. Take a sauce pan and put the fruit, a pinch of salt, a spoon of water and heat. Let it simmer, stirring frequently.
  3. When the fruit becomes mushy, mix corn starch in cold water without lumps and add to the pan.
  4. Simmer for few minutes, stirring often, until thickened.
  5. Let this cool off completely. Meanwhile sweeten the yogurt with honey, if you prefer and keep it chilled.
  6. Spoon the fruit compote into serving bowls or cup and top it with generous amounts of yogurt. Serve chilled.

  1. Can make also with other fruits like plums or peaches or lychees or currants or other berries.
  2. Can use flavored yogurt as well.
  3. Throw in some chopped nuts for crunch and your on-the-go snack is ready.

Now, You can either daintily eat spoon after spoon or you may stir yogurt n fruit  together and dug into it. Choice is yours :-)


March 29, 2013

Pudina Pulao

This is a simple yet flavorful dish which is great to pack for lunch. I am, in fact, planning to post a series of lunch-box-recipes that I have mastered in recent times :D. Off late, almost every day I am packing lunch box for Krishna, all of them are one pot meals!
Simple. Quick. Flavorful.

Here comes the first one in the series. Pudina rice..


  • Basmati Rice - 2 cups ( wash and soak for 15 minutes)
  • Fresh Mint leaves - 1 cup (tightly packed)
  • Fresh Coconut (grated) - 3 tbsn
  • Cashew Nuts (optional) - a few
  • Green Chilies - 3 (more or less based on required spice level)
  • Onion - 1 (finely sliced length wise)
  • Ginger-Garlic paste - 2 tsp
  • Oil / Ghee
  • Salt - 1 1/2 tsp 
  • Whole spices: cloves - 3, cinnamon - 1 inch, bay leave - 1, cardamom - 1, star anise - 1, shajeera - 1/4 tsp


  1. Cook the rice and keep aside. Do not cook rice to be mushy, each grain should be separate.
  2. Take the mint leaves, green chilies and coconut in blender and make a paste.
  3. In a pan, heat oil and ghee. Do not over heat or the spices will be burnt. Add shajeera followed by all other spices. Add cashews if you like them.
  4. After a couple of minutes add the onions and saute till they turn translucent. Then add ginger-garlic paste and fry for another couple of minutes.
  5. Add the blended paste of mint-coconut-chilies, fry on medium to low flame for around 5 minutes, until the raw smell goes. Add salt to taste.
  6. Add the cooked rice to it. Combine everything well. This is the time to adjust the salt as per the taste.

Eet-smakelijk! / Bon-Appetit! / Enjoy!

March 22, 2013

Aloo Kurma

Aloo kurma is a thick gravy side dish which goes very well with vegetable pulao. It is a simple recipe with ingredients that are commonly found in every Indian kitchen. Fresh mint leaves are must, they bring out the real flavor of the dish!

potatoes - 5 (boil and keep aside)
onion - 1
tomato puree - 3tbsp
green chilies - 3
ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
red chili powder - 1tsp
coriander powder - 1 tsp
garam masala - 1/2 tsp
yogurt - 2 tbsp
fresh coriander leaves - a bunch
fresh mint leaves - around 15 leaves
oil - 2 tbsp

Masala paste: (grind to a thick paste)
grated coconut - 2 tsp
poppy seed(khus khus) - 4 tsp
almonds - 2
cashew - 12

1. Take a thick-bottomed pan, I used pressure pan. Add oil and heat it.
2. Add chopped onion and green chilies and fry till done.
3. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till raw smell goes. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala and stir evenly. Add salt per taste.
4. Add the pureed tomatoes and mint leaves. Reduce the flame and let it cooked until oil separates.
5. Peel off the skin of boiled potatoes and cut into big cubes. Add in and stir evenly. Place the lid and leave for a couple of minutes so that the potatoes absorb the flavor.
6. Add in the beaten curd, masala paste and a little water. Stir well and place the lid. After few minutes check the consistency of gravy, if its thick enough, its done.
7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.