Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gulab Jamun with gulkand.

Happy Diwali to all of you!!

 I wanted to make something my kids liked. My daughter loves gulab Jamun. This was also one of the first desserts that I made growing up. Gulab Jamun is nothing but dumplings in rose flavored sugar syrup. There are several ways gulab Jamun is made: using milk solids ( mawa/Chenna), using paneer, using flour, using milk powder, using potato or sweet potato too... I like the one with the milk solids the best.

 Today to make it quick and to use what is readily available, I have used milk powder and pancake mix!! Yes, most households have both of these in their pantry. I have made this interesting by adding more gulkand( a paste made from rose petals) and a little pink food color into the batter. It is festive season after all!! My daughter loved it!

I am sure you will like this easy recipe too.

Servings: 6-8 ( serving size: one per person) 


For the dumpling ( Jamun): 

Pancake mix: 1 cup
Milk powder: 1 cup 
Milk: 2 tbsp 
Gulkand: 2 tbsp ( optional)
Pink food color: 1-2 drops ( optional)

Ghee or oil: for frying and greasing hand. 

For the syrup:

Sugar: 2 cups
Water: 1 cup
Lemon juice: 1/2 tsp 
Rose essence: few drops ( optional)
Cardamom : 1-2 pods, peeled and seeds crushed.



Add water, lemon juice and sugar to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Continue boiling until it reaches 1-string consistency. This is checked by taking a little syrup in a spoon. Now touch the pad of your index finger to the syrup. Make a pinch with the thumb. While trying to separate the thumb and index finger, you should see a string formed by the sugar syrup. Then the sugar syrup is ready. Turn off the flame. Add rose essence and cardamom powder. 

The dumpling( Jamun): 

Add the pancake mix, milk powder, gulkand and food color to a bowl. Using few drops of milk at a time, make a soft dough but enough to roll into a ball. The dough shouldn't be too soft or too hard. Do not overknead. Pinch a teaspoon of the dough and roll it between grease palms into small oval shaped ball. Do this with all the available dough. 

Heat ghee/oil in a kadai/wok until just hot. Do not make it very hot as the Jamun will burn. If the oil is cold, it will become very oily. Deep fry all the jamuns. The jamuns should puff up a little upon frying. Drain on paper towels. Immediately add it to the hot syrup. 

Let the Jamun sit in the syrup for atleast an hour. They will atleast double in size. If they don't then something was wrong with your batter.

Can be served cold or at room temperature. 
Refrigerate for later use.


Cooking made easy: 

Upon frying if the Jamun is too hard, just steam it for a few minutes and add it to the hot syrup. 

Tip for healthy living: 

Deep frying in ghee/clarified butter is a healthier option than in oil as the ghee takes longer to smoke or chemically disintegrate when compared to the oil. 

Food for thought: 

The actions of men is the best interpreters of their thoughts. James Joyce 

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Cherry Iced Tea

It is sweltering hot here. Summer tends to be like that here. Sometimes I wonder if we especially feel it more because we don't have hot weather all year long! We wait for summer eagerly and then we are too hot! We are always looking for ways to cool down, which ends up being something cold to drink. I often feel that people end up drinking calories without even realizing it! All the store-bought or prepackaged drinks are laden with sugar and fat! I look for healthier, low calorie drinks to keep my family and myself cool. That's why I prefer to make the cooling beverages at home. Of course, water is the best way to stay hydrated, but sometimes, people want more than just water.

 I personally drink more of water than anything else! For those other times, I make varieties of lassi, smoothie, lemonade, daiquiri etc. This summer, I seem to be in the mood for iced tea! I have been making a lot of fruity iced teas! For some reason, I used to think making fruity iced tea was a chore! But believe it or not, it actually isn't quite so time-consuming and is quite easy! The only time consuming part is making the fruit syrup. The rest is a breeze. My way of combating this issue is by making the syrup when I am cooking other stuff in the kitchen or doing chores in the kitchen. You can make the syrup and keep it handy in the refrigerator to make the tea anytime you wish! The inspiration for my recipe is this recipe that I came across..

Make this tea and keep it in the refrigerator. You and your guests will both be happy!

Servings: 6-8

Prep time: 10 minsCook time: 30 minsTotal time: 40 mins


For the syrup:
Cherries: 2 cups, pitted
Sugar: 2 cups
Water: 4 cups
Lemon zest: from 1 small lemon  ( optional)

For the tea:
Tea bags: 3-4 ( I used Lipton teabags)
Water: 500ml ( may need more for the pitcher).
Mint leaves: for garnish, 1-2 leaves per glass ( optional)
Ice cubes: 2 trays ( may need more depending on the size of the ice)


For the syrup:

Take the pitted cherries, sugar, lemon zest and water in a saucepan. Bring this to a boil. Reduce the flame and cook it for 15-20 mins or until the cherries have softened. Using a potato masher, mash the cherries as much as possible. Continue boiling for another 10-15 mins mashing the cherries in between.

Now strain it using a strainer. Let it cool. Pour the strained syrup into a pitcher or in a jar if you plan to make the tea at a later time.

For the tea:

While the syrup is cooking, you can prepare the tea. To do this, boil 500 ml water in a pot. Once the water comes to boil, add 3-4 tea bags depending on how strong you want your tea. Let it steep for 4-5 mins. Turn off the flame. Cover and keep aside to cool down with the tea bags in it.

Serving the tea:

Add both the tea and the syrup into the serving pitcher. Add 1 tray of ice to it. Garnish with mint leaves. Check for the sweetness. You can add sugar /honey /sweetener if you wish for more sweetness.

Take serving glasses, fill it with ice cubes until half-way. Pour the tea on top of the ice cubes to fill it the rest of the way.


Enjoy! I am bringing this to  my dear friend Angie's Fiesta Friday#183. If you haven't been to her fiestas, you are truly missing something!! Her 
cohosts this week are Sarah @ Sarah’s Little Kitchen and Shinta @ Caramel Tinted Life.

Cooking made easy:

You can double the ingredients and make a bigger batch of syrup and keep it in the refrigerator. It stays good for 7-10 days.
The tea when made stays fresh for 3-4 days.

Tip for healthy living:

Homemade beverages are much better than store-bought ones as not only the amount of sugar in them can be controlled but there are no additives/preservatives in them.

Food for thought:

When mind is weak, the situation is a problem; when mind is balanced, the situation is a challenge and when the mind is strong, the situation is an opportunity. Unknown

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Mango Lassi, cardamom-flavored ( Mango Smoothie)

Lassi is a traditional North-Indian thirst-quencher and energy booster. It is basically yogurt/buttermilk that has been churned and sweetened with sugar. Sometimes it is flavored with cardamom. It is an age old drink made in all homes to beat the heat. Everything is natural with this drink: it is freshly made and there are only 2-4 ingredients: yogurt/buttermilk, sugar, water and may be cardamom. 

You will find this in most Indian restaurants. One popular version of Lassi is mango lassi when it is whipped with fresh mango pulp. I love this version more than the plain. During mango season, I love to make this and relish it instead of the store-bought ones. If the mango is sweet and the yogurt is not sour, you don't need to add any sugar. If you wish you can add a dash of honey. I like to use yogurt and mango pulp in the ratio of 1:1 . You can vary it based on your individual preference. You can substitute other fruits instead of mango. There you have the recipe! It is that simple and easy! You can use it for breakfast, mid-day meal or to wake you up from the afternoon slump. 

Do give this a try. You will love it. I just blend it in my magic bullet in the morning and take it with me to work.

Servings: 2

Prep time: 5-8 minsCook time: 0 minsTotal time: 5-8 mins


Ripe Mango pulp :2 cups ( from 1- medium sized mango)
Plain yogurt/curd: 2 cups
Honey : 1 tbsp ( you can use sugar too)
Cardamom: seeds from 1 pod
Ice: 1 cup


Add all the above ingredients to a blender. Pulse and blend until well mixed , around 1 minute. 

Serve chilled. Can add more ice if needed.


I am bringing this delicious Lassi to Fiesta Friday #182 so that all our friends can cool down in this heat! Angie's cohosts this week are Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoonsand Jenny @ Jenny Is Baking.

Cooking made easy:

If the yogurt/curd is sour, substitute 50%of it with milk. 
Depending on the desired thickness you can add water or milk. 

If you are vegan use almond, coconut or soy milk instead of yogurt.

Tip for healthy living:

During summer, to combat the heat we tend to drink more than eat. The sad part however is that we end up drinking more calories than when we would have eaten. The reason being all the juices, smoothies and beverages that we buy and consume. Either drink water to quench thirst or make the juices freshly at home so that you know exactly how much sugar you are adding. 

Food for thought: 

Self-preservation is the first law of nature. Samuel Butler

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Devasthana Saaru/ Vattunu saaru ( Temple Rasam with freshly ground spices)

We Mangalorean Konkanis swear by our temple rasam or Devasthana Saaru as we call it. "Devasthan" means "temple" in English and "Saaru" is the Konkani word for rasam. What is rasam?? Rasam is a spicy, tangy soup that is made with tomatoes and spices. It is usually served as an accompaniment to rice the same way dal is served with rice. People love to drink it too. It is also purported to be the perfect remedy for cough and cold. It not only clears your sinuses but also rekindles your appetite. 

So why is Devasthana Saaru so special?? It is because it is almost impossible to recreate the taste of it at home. This rasam is usually served with food at events in the temple. Why is food served at the temple? Well, like anywhere else in the world, food is the greatest motivator. Therefore during big religious events/activities in the temple, lunch/dinner is served afterwards. It also feeds many hungry people. Coming back to the rasam, this particular rasam is always made by freshly roasting and grinding the spices and then making it. A powdered version is never used. That is why this rasam is also called "Vattunu Saaru "which translates to "Ground rasam" or "Arachi rasam" as South Indians call it. The aroma and flavor of this rasam both as it is made and when it is consumed is unlike any other! You have to make it to believe it!😊 

For the longest I used to think that the task of making it was very tedious. But in reality it is not. It is actually quite easy and uses ingredients normally present in your kitchen. Do try it.. You will never buy rasam powder again! This recipe has been kindly shared by my very talented cousin Karuna who is also an excellent cook!

Servings: 6-8

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 20-25 mins Total time: 25-30 mins 


Coriander seeds: 2 tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera: 1/2 tsp
Chana dal ( split chick peas): 1 tbsp 
Urad dal ( split matpe beans): 1 tbsp
Pepper corns: 5-6
Methi/ fenugreek seeds: 4-5
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Hing/Asofoetida powder: 1/8 tsp
Salt: 1 tsp ( adjust as per taste)
Dried Red chillies: 5-6 
Tamarind pulp: 1 tsp 
Green chillies: 4-5
Tomatoes: 2 medium sized, chopped
Coriander leaves, chopped: 2 tbsp
Water: 1 Liter

For seasoning:
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig 
Hing: a pinch ( either powder or paste)


Take 1 liter water in a pot. Add the chopped tomatoes, green chillies and salt. Bring it to a boil. Continue boiling for 10 mins. 

While the above mixture is boiling, 
dry roast the coriander seeds, cumin,  urad dal, Chana dal, pepper corns, methi, haldi, curry leaves, hing, red chillies. Once cooled add it to the blender. Add tamarind, little water and grind to a paste. 

Add this to the pot with boiling water and tomatoes. Continue boiling for 5-10 mins. Turn off the flame. Garnish with curry leaves. 

Heat coconut oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the curry leaves and a pinch of Asofoetida. Turn off the flame. Add this to the above pot. 

Serve hot with rice or drink it like a soup!! 


I am bringing this delicious soup to Fiesta Friday #182 so that all our friends can enjoy something very Indian! Angie's cohosts this week are Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoons and Jenny @ Jenny Is Baking.

Cooking made easy:

Cleaning as you cook reduces the stress of cleaning after a meal. It also ensures that the kitchen is not messy. 

Tip for healthy living:

Try to incorporate atleast one vegetarian meal per week or per day whichever is feasible for you. It helps keep the system clean!

Food for thought:

Fortune is like glass-the brighter the glitter, the more easily broken. Pubilius Syrus 

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Rawa Fish Fry/ Rawa masala : Fish coated with cream of wheat and shallow fried.

We Mangaloreans love our fish! May be because we live in a coastal region. 😊 I am specially partial to fried fish. We fry our fish several different ways. We fry it plain with just the spicy marination, or coat it with a spicy masala and dip it in rice flour and fry it. We also dip the marinated fish in rava or cream of wheat and fry it when it is called Rawa fry!! I love the texture that you get with rawa fry. If you are gluten free, you can use corn meal instead of rawa. You get the same result.

The rawa fry can be a tawa fry ( pan fried), can be deep fried or shallow fried! I like to tawa fry it or shallow fry it for 2 reasons: a) it is healthier than deep-fried. b) the rawa does not drop off into the oil and get burnt.

Either ways, it is very easy to make. You can do this with any kind of fish. I have used tilapia. It works great with King fish, mackerel, porgy, pretty much any fish! You can use fillets it steaks. It makes a great combination with rice and Dali thoy ( dal) or rasam or with just plain rice kanji ( rice porridge).
Try it for yourself!!

Prep time: 10 mins + atleast 15 mins marination timeCook time: 10 mins
Total time: 35 mins

Servings : 2


Tilapia pieces : 2 big ones

1/4 cup Oil: for frying ( can use more if needed).
Onion rings: 6-8,for garnish
Lemon wedges: 2, for garnish

For marination:

Red chilli powder: 1 tbsp ( I use Kashmiri chilli powder as it is not too spicy and give a nice red color).
Turmeric powder ( haldi): 1 tbsp
Asofoetida ( hing)powder: a pinch
Salt: to taste
Lemon juice: 1 tbsp
Water: to make a paste
Rawa /sooji( cream of wheat) or cornmeal: 4 tbsp


Clean the fish pieces and keep aside.

In a bowl mix together red chilli powder, salt, haldi, hing, lemon juice and water to make a nice thick paste.

Apply this liberally to the fish pieces and keep aside for atleast 20-30 minutes.

Heat  oil in a frying pan on medium flame.

Take the rawa/sooji in a plate. Dip the fish in it so that the rawa coats it completely on all sides.

When the oil is slightly sizzling,  place the fish steaks in the oil and let it cook on medium-low heat for 7-8 minutes on one side. 

Now flip it and cook for 5-6 more minutes on low heat.

Drain on paper towels.

Serve hot with onion rings and lemon wedges. 

You can also serve it as a side with rice, dal and other accompaniments to make a complete meal.

I am bringing this to Angie's Fiesta Friday #179! Her cohosts this week are Petra @ Food Eat Love and Laura @ Feast Wisely. If you have never been to one of her fiesta's, you is tons of fun!

Cooking made easy:

Whenever you fry something, make sure that the oil is not too hot or cold when you drop the fish in it. If the oil is too hot, the fish will get burnt and if the oil is not hot enough, the fish will absorb too much oil and become oily! To check the temperature of the oil, drop into oil a drop of the marinade or batter. It should float right up to the surface of the oil. If it sinks, the oil is not hot enough.

Tip for healthy living:

Using minimal oil while cooking greatly reduces the total fat ingested by the body on a given day. Also using healthier oils that are meant to sustain high heats like coconut oil, mustard oil, sesame oil is healthier.
Some oils are not meant to be heated! They lose their nutritional value upon heating!

Food for thought:

If a plan doesn't work, change it. Don't change the goal. Unknown

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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