Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs

This weekend was a dull one, with nothing planned, we spent it at home just lazying around. For the first time I didn't even cook anything, we survived on bread and some leftovers from the week before. 
The meatball marinara is my favorite sandwich from Subway, but I've never had spaghetti and meatballs. Since I've decided to give up red meat (atleast for now), I thought of making chicken meatballs. It was different, but delicious!! Be very careful to not overcook the meatballs, that is the most difficult thing about this very easy recipe!!. The meatball recipe is adapted from here. Its really simple and you could even serve the meatballs as a starter, its really yumm. Enjoy!

For the Meatballs
(Yields about 20 meatballs)
1tsp oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 lb minced chicken
1 large egg
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 big cloves of minced garlic
1tsp pepper powder
2tsp dried oregano
salt to taste

For the sauce:
1tbs olive oil
2lbs ripe red tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2tsp red chilli powder
1tsp pepper powder
1-2 tsp sugar
1tbs dried basil
salt to taste

1lb spaghetti
Grated Parmesan and pepper flakes for garnishing

Both the meatballs and sauce could be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator or in the freezer for a longer time. 

For the Meatballs:
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking tray with foil. Coat with non-stick spray.
Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions on medium heat just until transparent. 
Remove from heat and add to the chicken mince. Add all the other ingredients and mix with a fork just until combined.
Lightly grease your palm and shape into small balls. Place on the tray and bake for 15-20 mins till done.

For the sauce:
Blanch the tomatoes and peel off the skin. Chop roughly. 
Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Fry the garlic till aromatic and golden.
Add the tomatoes, chilli powder & pepper powder and cook for about 10-12 mins. Crush the tomato as you stir. When thick, add the sugar and salt and stir for 1min.
Cool and pulse in a processor to make a sauce. Add the dry basil and check seasonings.
This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator, re-heat as needed.

To Assemble:
Heat the sauce and meatballs together on low for a few mins. Add some water if too thick and adjust the seasonings.
Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and arrange in a dish. Top with the meatball mixture. Sprinkle fresh Parmesan, pepper flakes or other Italian seasoning and serve hot.

Sending this to Presto Pasta Nights # 107 hosted by Ruth

and to Sanghi's FIL - Tomato event.

Chocolate Chews

Here is another one from Suganya's Tasty Palettes. One look at these cookies and I knew that would try and taste them. 
These Chocolate chews were like a dream come true for a chocolate crazy person like me. They are so incredible chocolaty, a little firm on the outside and gooey and fudgy inside. What more could you ask for. They are almost brownies shaped like cookies. I got 10 out of the recipe. This is definitely something I'm gonna make often. It uses only 1 1/2tbs of butter and is ready in no time. What more could you ask for?
The only change I made was adding some coffee powder for a little mocha flavor. Thanks toSuganya for this awesome recipe. Find it here.

Sending these cookies to the following events
1. Tried and Tasted hosted by Sweatha. The event was started by Zlamushka.
2. For the Love of Chocolate hosted by me.
3. MBP-Snacks and Savouries hosted by Ashwini, event started by Spice Cafe.
4. EFM : Cookies event hosted by Srilekha.

Walnut and Date Teabread

I always have a stock of walnut and dates in my pantry, the two things I love to snack on at any time. When BBD#18 - Quick Breads was announced I just knew what I wanted to make. Had this recipe bookmarked since long.
The dates, walnuts and the spices together give the bread an awesome flavor and texture that's just hard to resist.

Recipe from Cakes and Bakes

1 cup chopped pitted dates
3/4cup boiling water
1/4cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4cup soft dark brown sugar
1/4cup caster sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2tbs brandy
1 1/4cup generous all-purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
3/4tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3/4cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Place the dates in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Set aside to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F/ 180˚C. Line and grease a 9x5in loaf pan.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and brandy and then set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together at least three times.
Fold in the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the dates and water.
Fold in the chopped walnuts.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45mins. 
Cool in the tin for 10mins and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sending this to BBD#18 - Quick Breads event hosted by Mansi. 

Farfalle with Chicken Curry going to Presto Pasta Nights # 106

Aquadaze of Served with Love is hosting the 106th instalment of Presto Pasta Nights. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to send, but unfortunately I couldn't get around it. So sending one of my archived entries to this wonderful event.

Spicy Fried Fish

I wanted to tell you guys that I did manage to get 12 jars from Ikea in the sizes I wanted inspite of the heavy rush. Was I relieved and happy! The sale was well organised, there was a lot of security, apparently the last sale almost led to a stampede. It was really amusing to hear people talk about the madness in the last sale, I mean could people be that desperate? Obviously yes!
Anyway, I was quiet pleased with myself for sticking to my list and not buying every other thing that caught my eye. We returned home about 5hrs later totally famished. Luckily our meal was already planned. 
Nothings more comforting than simple dal rice with a piece of fried fish. So here goes...

1tbs ginger garlic paste
1-1 1/2tbs red chilli powder
1/2tbs pepper powder
1/2tsp turmeric powder
1tbs lemon juice
salt to taste
500gms fresh fish (I used king mackerel)
semolina/ rava for breading
oil for shallow frying

Clean the fish and pat dry to remove excess moisture.
Mix together the ginger garlic paste, chilli , pepper and turmeric powder, lemon juice and salt to make a thick paste. Add water only if necessary. Check the salt before marinating the fish.
Coat the fish well with the marinade and keep aside at least for 1 hour. 
Heat a shallow pan with a little oil on medium heat.
Take the semolina in a dish. Coat the fish on both sides evenly. Shake the piece a little to remove any excess coating and place gently on the hot oil. Cook on each side for about 5mins or till done. Cooking time will vary according to the thickness of the fish pieces.
The semolina coating gives the fish a great crispy crust and also protects the marinade from sticking onto the pan.
Serve hot with rice. 
Use boneless fish and serve as a starter with some salads and lime wedges.

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Whoa...Another weekend is here! The days are passing so fast, I don't know about you guys but I've just completely lost track of time. March is almost over and I feel like I just celebrated New Year. 

We are off to Ikea early tomorrow morning. I'm always looking for an excuse to go there and whats a better one than a sale. Boy, was I excited seeing the sale booklet in the mail. I'm totally crazy about all kitchen items, from cutlery to electronics, and my hands start itching from the moment I step into that store. Manoj teases me that my nostrils flare up whenever I see something I want and that's his cue to pull me away:). Anyways, I just love the storage jars they sell out there and they're gonna be selling each one for just 99c, irrespective of size. They are gonna be gone so quick, hoping I get a few. Happy Weekend you guys!
Onto the recipe now...this one is going to Think Spice...Think Pepper event hosted by Divya of Dil Se. The event was started by Sunita of Sunita's World.

1lb boneless & skinless chicken
1 1/2tbs lemon juice
1tsp red chilli powder
1/4tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1tbs oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1tbs grated ginger
1tbs grated garlic
1/4 cup tightly packed curry leaves
1-1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper powder

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Add the lemon juice, chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt and mix well. Marinate for at least 2hrs.
Heat the oil and fry the onions till golden. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for about a minute.
Add the marinated chicken and curry leaves and fry on medium heat till done, about 10-12mins. Do not add any water and take care not to over cook the chicken.
Add the pepper powder and toss to mix well.
Serve hot as an appetizer or as a side dish.

Almond & Oat Cookies

Cookies are one of my favourite snacks and I always buy the huge box of mixed cookies that we get at Costco. This weekend they were out of stock and if you knew me you would know that such things really irritate me and I'd be grumbling about it for the whole day. 
After lunch as usual I started leafing through one of my baking books when I saw these cookies. They looked so tempting and after the morning incident, there was no need to think twice and off I marched into the kitchen.
The cookies were awesome. They were chewy, the nuts and oats added great flavor and texture. Just my kind of cookies. No more store bought cookies for sure.

Recipe from Cakes and Bakes 500

Ingredients :
(Makes about 18 cookies)
3/4cup butter at room temperature
3/4cup caster (superfine) sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1tsp baking soda
1/tsp salt
2/3 cup almonds (chopped)
2/3cups rolled oats

Method : 
Cream the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy.
Mix in the egg yolk.
Sift the flour, baking soda and salt over the butter mixture and stir lightly.
Add the oats and almonds and stir till blended. Do not over-mix.
Chill covered for 15-2omins till firm.
Preheat the oven to 375˚F/ 190˚C. Grease 2 large baking sheets.
Roll the mixture into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Flatten slightly using the base of a floured glass.
Bake until golden, about 10-12mins.
Transfer to a wire-rack to cool completely.
Store in air-tight containers.

Sending these cookies to the following events:
1. Recipes for the rest of us event hosted by Trupti which was started by Ramki.
2. Sunday Snacks - Grab and Go event hosted by Pallavi.
3. Lets Go Nuts with Almonds event hosted by JZ.
4. EFM : Cookies event hosted by Srilekha.
5. SWC-Meals on Wheels event hosted by Lakshmi.

Dundee Cake and Badam Burfi - Off to Lets Go Nuts with Almonds

Re-posting the two dishes for 'Lets go Nuts with Almonds' event hosted by JZ. The event was started by Aquadaze.

Palak Paneer

200gms spinach
4-5green chillies
handful of coriander leaves
few mint leaves
1tbs oil
1tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3big cloves of garlic
2tsp cumin powder
1tsp kasoori methi
1tsp coriander powder
1/4tsp turmeric  powder
4tbs yogurt
1/4cup water
salt to taste
150-200gms paneer

Cut the paneer into cubes and soak in warm water. 
Wash the spinach and place in a microwave safe bowl. Micro on high for 1-2mins to blanch the spinach. Cool and blend to a smooth paste with the green chillies, coriander leaves, mint leaves and yogurt.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the cumin seeds till they crackle. Add onions and fry till golden. 
Add the garlic and fry for 1min. Add cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder andkasoori methi and fry for 30secs.
Then add the spinach paste, salt and 1/4cup water and cook for 5mins till the raw smell disappears.
Drain the paneer and add to the gravy. Cover and cook on low heat for 5mins.
Serve hot with chappatis or rice.

Sending this to RCI-Lucknow Cuisine event hosted by Lavi. The event was started by Lakshmi.

Announcing... "For the Love of Chocolate!!"

It was about three months ago that I started blogging and about 2 weeks later that I participated in an event and I've enjoyed each one tremendously. Ever since, I've wanted to host an event but was not sure about the theme and to be frank I was worried about getting enough participation. Well I've finally decided to take the plunge :) and it is with much excitement and anxiety that I'm announcing this event.
Since this is my first, I wanted it to be about something I'm totally crazy about and the first thing that comes to mind is 'CHOCOLATE'. So here is an event to celebrate my (not just mine I'm sure) favourite ingredient.

The word "Chocolate" itself has a magic about it and its lovers all over the world will agree that its taste is quite definitely magical. Chocolate is the most popular flavour and there are no limits to the creative ways in which chocolate is used in cooking. Cakes, cookies, ice creams, hot and chilled desserts, the possibilities are endless.

The Rules:
  1. Cook a dish that has chocolate, as an ingredient or flavor. You can also use cocoa powder. Post in your blog between 15th March and 30th Apr, 2009. 
  2. New posts would be great and preferable but archived entries are also welcome. Kindly make a new post of the dish for this event.
  3. You can send in as many entries as you like. 
  4. Please use the logo without fail, a smaller version is available on the right sidebar and link your post to this post announcing the event.
  5. Send me an email at -, with the subject line as "Chocolate", along with the following details
                   Your Name
                   Name of your blog and 
                   Name of your dish and the 
                   Picture of the dish

    6.  Non-bloggers may send in the recipe and picture of their dish to the above email id and I will include it in the round-up which will be posted by the following weekend.

Looking forward to receiving your yummy entries. I am counting on your support and participation in making this event a success. So, think CHOCOLATE!!

Magnificent Click Contest

Below are my entries to the 'Magnificent Click Contest' being hosted by Gayathri of Just Urs. I am an amateur when it comes to photography, but I know that I have improved a lot since I started and I still have a looooong way to go. I watch and learn. All of us try very hard to portray our creations in the best possible way. Thanks to Gayathri for this wonderful event that recognizes all our hard work behind the camera. 

Dundee Cake/ Fruit Cake

Elaichi/ Cardamom Shrikhand

The only way my mom could make me eat my veggies (spanking of course was another option) was by tempting me with some shrikhand on the side. There was even a time when I would much rather have those small Amul shrikhand cups instead of ice-cream cups. Yes, I was that crazy about it. Now, it has become an occasional indulgence and Holi was a perfect excuse to make some. 

Elaichi Shrikhand
1kg whole milk yogurt
1 1/4cup super-fine sugar
6 cardamoms, seeds removed and crushed
few saffron threads
chopped pistachio nuts

Place a large strainer over a bowl (ensure that there is a gap between the bottom of the strainer and the bowl) and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth. 
Spoon the curd onto the cheesecloth and tie the ends together to cover. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 12hrs( I sometimes keep it for a day). 
Discard the whey that collects in the bowl a couple of times. 
You will be left with smooth and thick curd cheese. Transfer it into a food processor. Add the sugar and crushed cardamom seeds. Pulse till well bended. 
Do not over mix or it will become runny. You are looking for thick and creamy consistency.
Transfer to a bowl. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. 
Garnish with chopped pistachios and saffron threads and serve with hot puris or chappatis.

Thank you so much Akal for sharing the 'Super Duper Chef Award' with us. This is a real honour. Feels great to be called a ' Super Chef ' :).

I would like to share this with all my fellow foodies who are truly awesome chefs. 

Sending this to 'Holi Hai' event hosted by Purva.

Puran Poli to celebrate Holi!

Happy Holi Friends!! The most colourful and fun-filled festival of the year is here. Holi is probably the least religious festival in India. Although Holi does have religious and mythological significance, today it is all about a day of fun for all. Smearing colours and splashing water on each other. It is so delightful to watch even adults shed all their inhibitions and join in the chaos.

As a kid, holi was my favourite festival and was much awaited. Now its been about 4years since I have played holi. I sooo miss the bonfires on the eve of holi and the day of the festival when all of us kids from the society would meet in the mornings each carrying a heavy bag of water balloons and of course the latest trendiest pichkaris (water guns). I remember being camouflaged with colours and bombarded with balloons within a minute of stepping out of my building. I also remember running inside the building for cover when all the big boys would come with oil paints and those long lasting black and silver colours:). Finally around noon, all of us completely exhausted would feast on various snacks bought from the neighbouring restaurant. After all the fun one thing I dreaded most was washing away all the colours, after all there was school next day.

Dad always bought delicious Puran polis from a store in Dadar, my mouth still waters thinking of them. I really haven't really found a good version in any store out here as yet. This is a recipe I learnt from one of my neighbours in Mumbai and we love it. The polis are soft and has just the right amount of sweetness.

Puran Poli
100gms all purpose flour
100gms wheat flour
1/4tsp salt
milk for kneading the dough
2-3tbs oil
200gms chana dal
1cup water
225gms jaggery, grated
8 green cardamoms, seeds removed and crushed

Mix together the flours and salt and make a soft dough(not sticky) using enough milk. Add oil 1tbs at a time and knead well till all the oil is incorporated. Transfer to an air-tight container and keep aside for at least an hour.
Wash the dal several times. Add 1cup water and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Do not over cook the dal, it should be whole when done. Open the cooker when the pressure has released completely and drain off the excess water. Spread out on paper towels or cloth and let it cool.
Add the jaggery and cardamom powder to the dal and pulse till the mixture is smooth (small bits of dal is fine).
If the mixture is too soft, place in a pan and stir over medium heat till dry. Cool.

Take the dough and knead again for a minute. Make 10 small balls. Divide the puran and make 10balls. The size of the puran balls would be much bigger.
Using a little flour, roll the dough into a small circle. Place puran in the center and and fold the edges to completely enclose the puran. Again coat with flour and roll out the polis as thin as possible without exposing the puran. Repeat with the others. Handle the rolled polis very gently to avoid tearing.
Heat a pan on medium heat and roast each poli till light brown and fluffed up. Smear some ghee on both the sides as you roast. Serve hot.

This picture is my entry to 'CLICK : June 2009 Stacks'.

Sending this to 'Holi Hai' event hosted by Purva and to 'Lentils Mela' hosted by Ashwini.

Lamb Kofta Curry

I'm sure I've mentioned a number of times that I'm trying to lose a few pounds and blogging isn't helping a bit, not that I'm complaining:)....there is nothing more I enjoy doing now. I have made a few changes to my diet and one of them is avoiding red meat. But once in a while especially on weekends the craving is too intense and I allow myself to indulge. This Sunday, the special item on our menu was Lamb Kofta curry.  
Although eager to share my recipe with you'll, I have decided to forward this as my contribution to BloggerAid.

BloggerAid is a wonderful network of international food bloggers, who have come together to contribute for the alleviation of hunger world wide. Their latest fundraising project is a cookbook featuring International cuisine and profits from the sales of the book will be directed to School Meals, a program of The World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations frontline agency. All members and non-members are requested to contribute to the cookbook, last date for submission is 31st March 2009. The book is targeted for sale on amazon by the year end. Find more details here.
Isn't this something that all of us foodies can do. I'm so excited to be participating.

The recipe of course cannot be posted now. Hopefully it will be included in the cookbook, if not I shall definitely post it here.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Fries are definitely the most popular snack in the world and although I hate to admit it, I was addicted to them for a long time. I still am but I bake them now and do so quite regularly. 
Tried and Tasted is back and on the spotlight this month is Suganya's Tasty Palettes. What a wonderful blog to make a comeback with! I had Suganya's blog bookmarked long before I started blogging and have drooled over so many of her dishes. The photographs are just splendid. 
So when I saw these Baked Sweet Potato Fries I knew what I was gonna snack on in the evening. 

I followed Suganya's recipe, but my fries were cut into thin wedges, so I baked them only for about 12-15mins and then broiled for 2-3mins, I just love the slightly burnt taste. I also tossed them in Italian seasonings. 
The fries were delicious and had an amazing texture. We could not stop munching. With sweet potatoes being actually good for us, I have decided to switch. No more regular fries for me.
Thanks Suganya for this wonderful recipe.

Sending these baked fries to the following events
1. Tried and Tasted hosted by Sweatha. The event was started by Zlamushka.
2. MBP - Kids Food hosted by Trupti, event started by Coffee of Spice Cafe.
3. Tasty Bites for Toddlers hosted by PJ.
4. Cooking for Kids - Potato hosted by Deepa, event started by Sharmi.

Mixed Vegetable Khichdi

We usually go shopping for groceries on Saturday morning, so Friday meals are dependent on whatever is left over. I usually have a little bit of different vegetables and I try to use them all up. Today I decided to make mung dal khichdi adding all the vegetables.
Khichdi is a mushy mixture of rice and lentils cooked with mild spices. Very popular in North India, it is a nutritious and wholesome meal by itself. Addition of vegetables gives the khichdi great flavour and of course makes it more healthy.
Sending this to 'Lentils Mela' hosted by Ashwini.

I always pressure cook my khichdi, however if cooking in an open pan, use about 4 - 5 cups water. After bringing to a boil, cover and cook on a low flame till done. 

2 tbs oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cloves
5-7 peppercorns
1 medium onion, chopped
5 green chillies or to taste, slit 
1 sprig curry leaves
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
500gms mixed vegetables (carrot, peas, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage - any vegetables you like)
3/4 cup rice
1/2 cup mung dal (split mung beans)
3 cups water
salt to taste

Wash the rice and dal and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pressure pan and add the cumin seeds, cloves and peppercorns. When they splutter add the onions, green chillies and curry leaves and fry till golden.
Add the tomatoes, ginger, coriander, cumin and turmeric powder and fry for 2 mins.
Add the vegetables, rice and dal and mix well. Add water and salt. 
Cover the pan and pressure cook for 2 whistles and then on low heat for 15mins. 
Open the cooker only after the pressure has released completely. Serve hot.

Khichdi is usually served with kadhi, a yogurt based curry. I had no time to prepare it today, but will post it another day.

I want to thank Ashwini of Ashwini's Spicy Cuisine for sharing these cute awards with me. 



Akal Of Akal's Saappadu has shared the Friends award with me. Thanks Akal. Glad to be your friend.

This award comes with the below clause that is not very easy to meet.

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement (? big word, lol). Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

I would like to share it with 8 dear friends who have always encouraged me and request them to forward the chain.