Yellow Pumpkin with Cashewnuts and Coconut

This is a dish that mom makes often at home. A typical mallu dish :). I love it coz its so simple. The flavors are mild and you can taste each and every ingredient in the dish.

300 gm yellow pumpkin
1/3 cup cashew nuts
45-50 gm coconut, grated
1 heaping tsp cumin seeds
2 green chillies or to taste
salt to taste
8-10 curry leaves
coconut oil to drizzle

Grind the coconut, cumin seeds and green chillies to a smooth paste adding little water.
Cut the pumpkin into small pieces. Cook adding some salt and very little water (just sprinkle about two handfuls of water into the pan).
When almost done, add the cashews and cook for a few more minutes. 
Add the coconut paste and curry leaves. Mix gently and cook for 3-4mins. Check seasonings.
Remove from heat and drizzle some coconut oil. Mix before serving.

This is my entry to '15 mins cooking' event hosted by Mahima

& 'Let's go Nuts - Cashew Nuts' hosted by me, event started by Aquadaze.

Black Forest Cake

I love frosted cakes, but as a rule I prepare them only on special occasions. There was one last week, it was Manoj's Birthday and this is what I made for him. It was no surprise but he really loved it. It was a working day, but this cake and a wonderful dinner at Cheesecake Factory made it real special.
The recipe is from Chococraft, the best part is that though it looks so rich, its quiet low fat actually. The cake is a fatless sponge and this time I used the non fat whipped cream topping and filling that you get here. Makes you almost guilt free:). You could use any chocolate sponge cake as the base. I also used cherry pie filling for a change. The sweetened canned cherries work just fine.

T&T: Paneer with Tomatoes, Mushrooms & Chickpeas

This month it's Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen on the spotlight for T&T and my, what a collection! She has a lot of dishes I would love to try. This veg medley is something that caught my eye, I love all the ingredients and most importantly I had everything that was needed to make this.
The dish was really simple to make, what was different was the prominent taste of kasoori methi, which I don't use much and we loved it. Find the original recipe here. I made a few minor changes to the recipe. Just added some onions and ginger garlic paste. I cut the paneer into small pieces instead of shredding it and I also made it completely dry. A wonderful dish, Thanks Lisa.

T&C : Meringue Cookies with Chocolate Swirls

This is the first time I'm participating in Taste & Create, a wonderful event in which participants are paired up and have to create something from their partners blog. For this month, I have been paired with Ivy of Little Ivy Cakes. I was so tempted by so many of her recipes and was unable to make a decision about what to make.
A couple of days back I just wanted to bake something simple that I could serve when Manoj got back from work, when these cookies caught my eye. They were so simple and I knew we would love them as we are real fans of meringue. The cookies were awesome, just as Ivy promised, crisp and crunchy outside and a chewy, marshmallowy texture inside. I halved the recipe, so they were gone in minutes. 

Chocolate Meringue Cookies

4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup bitter-sweet chocolate (use semi-sweet if you like it to be really sweet)

Melt the chocolate until smooth and keep aside.
Preheat the oven to 275˚F.
Heat the egg whites and sugar together stirring continuously until quite hot.
Remove from heat and beat the egg mixture till its glossy and forms stiff peaks.
Drizzle the chocolate over the meringue and fold gently to form ribbons of chocolate. Do not stir too much, we don't want to mix in the chocolate.
Drop large spoonfuls on a lined cookie sheet and bake for 35 mins.
Cool completely on a wire rack and store in air tight jars (ie. of you have leftovers).

Sending these cookies also to 'Event for Eggs' hosted by Sudeshna who is celebrating her blog's first B'day.

Chicken Korma

This is the first time I tried making chicken korma at home and was really satisfied. I got the recipe from a book I got from the library, 'Savouring the Spice Coast of India'. It's a great book and I'll be trying a few recipes from it. The gravy was rich and delicious, Of course you can't have something like this everyday, but its a wonderful recipe for an occasional treat.

3 tbs cashew nuts
1/4 cup fresh coconut, grated
2 tbs oil
1 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tbs ginger garlic paste
1 cup tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 tbs coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
1/2 - 1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbs yogurt
salt to taste
2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces

Grind the coconut and cashews with little water to a smooth paste.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the onions till golden brown.
Add the green chillies and ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 mins.
Add the tomato, cilantro and the spice powders and fry till the tomato is mashed and the oil separates.
Add the yogurt and stir for a min till well blended.
Add the chicken and salt and fry for 2 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water, bring to a boil and cover and cook on medium heat till the chicken is almost done.
Add the cashew paste and mix well. Simmer for another ten minutes.
Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves. Tastes best with rotis.

This is my entry for "
Lets go Nuts - Cashew nuts."

Mocha Brownies and an Award!

First of all I want to thank you all for those lovely comments about the pictures, I loved reading them. After all the fun I had, I was down with a fever for the past few days. I'm much better now and eager to blog again, though I have nothing new as yet:). I also wanted to apologize for all the wonderful events I have missed, I had so may ideas but just couldn't find the time. Lot to catch up.
Every time we plan road trip I make this long list of all the food items that I would carry with me. No, we don't have kids with us and I'm not talking about proper meals. I mean all kinds of junk food that I'm not even supposed to think of. I have this horrible habit, but from the moment we start driving and especially if we have a long drive ahead, I need to be constantly munching on something.  I'm not hungry or anything, but I just have to keep eating. So I usually carry lots of varieties of chips, cookies, fruits(the fruits are usually untouched on our return) and some home-made stuff if I have the time. I made these brownies for our last trip. They were actually awesome, all gooey and fudgy. The picture doesn't do it any justice. It was taken after we reached the hotel, so it is coated with crumbs from being in the box for too long. The recipe is one I had written down a while back and I'm not sure from where, but they tasted great so had to share it. This is another one for my event 'For the Love of Chocolate'

Hey Everyone...I'm Back!

Hey Guys, wish you all a very Happy Vishu (I know I'm late). Hope you'll enjoyed the day and the yummy sadyas you'll must have prepared. We didn't really do anything special this year, we returned really late from LA, and were so exhausted from the long drive, we just didn't have the energy to do anything.

LA is such a beautiful place, you can't help falling in love. We really enjoyed the theme park at Disneyland and I loved Universal Studios. The shows were just awesome. Just didn't want to leave. We only had half a day to explore the rest of LA and so we just drove around some of the famed streets like Mulholland, Rodeo, Sunset Drives and Hollywood blvd and had lunch at the Farmers market. The homes in these streets are so magnificent and beautiful you just can't stop staring. Shopping is of course great and you have a lot to choose from. The sad part is that we could not visit any beaches. There is so much to see and three days is just not enough. Will definitely be going back.

I'm still tired from my trip and have not cooked anything worth posting. Its gonna take a while.
So this is just a short post so u'll don't forget me:).

Here are a few random pics of our trip...

Disneyland...Fantasy World

Universal Studios

Hollywood Lake

We got our caricature done at Universal. I love it. Isn't this cute:)

A gift to myself from Disney...

Keep sending in your entries for the Lets Go Nuts - Cashewnuts Event and the Chocolate Event....very few days left.

Chicken Biryani

My weekend starts today...I'm off to LA for a few days. Can't explain how excited I am, this is a much awaited trip. Will be back on Tuesday, so I'm gonna be on  a break from blogging until then. Though I would be carrying my laptop, I'm not sure I'd be able to check regularly. So wishing all of you'll a happy weekend in advance. 
As a parting shot, thought I'd serve some chicken biryani, a dish I wouldn't mind having for breakfast:)....

Chicken Biryani

500gms chicken, (preferably leg pieces)
1/4cup yogurt
2tbs ginger garlic paste
1tbs lemon juice
1/2tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

1 tsp ghee/ oil
1 cup basmati rice
10 peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
4 cardamoms
1 star anise
2 bay leaves
2 cups water

1tbs oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3-4 green chillies, finely chopped
1/3 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbs coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
salt to taste

Wash the chicken well. Make a marinade by mixing yogurt, ginger garlic paste, lemon juice, turmeric powder and some salt. Mix in the chicken, cover and marinate for a couple of hours.
Wash and drain the rice. Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pan and add peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, cardamoms and bay leaves and fry for a few seconds. 
Add the rice and fry  for about a minute till glossy and all the water has evaporated. Soak the rice along with the spices in 2 cups water for 30mins.
In the meantime, heat 1tbs oil in a pan and fry the onions and green chillies on medium heat till brown. Add the coriander leaves, mint leaves, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Fry for 1min.
Add the chicken with the marinade. Mix well and cook on medium heat till the chicken is almost done and there is no gravy left. The dish must be almost dry.
Add the rice and water and salt to taste. Mix well and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low heat for 15mins. 
Turn off the heat and keep aside covered for another 15mins (do not uncover the pan in between cooking or when resting).
Fluff up the rice and serve hot with a raita of your choice.

P.S. Please do not forget to send in your entries for the cashew and chocolate event. Eagerly looking forward to your contribution. See you guys next week.

Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry

We had gone camping over the weekend to Yosemite and had a wonderful time. We had our share of snow and the waterfalls were in their best form. Just beautiful. Returned home late Sunday night and was so exhausted that I spent most of yesterday sleeping and catching up with some pending work. I just checked my dashboard and I've got a lot to catch up with. I may not be able to comment on all your wonderful posts, so please excuse me. 
This stir-fry was something I made for dinner last night. Was too lazy to cook something elaborate. We had it with some salad greens and it was awesome.

Shrimp and Vegetable Stir-Fry

250 gm shrimp
2 bell peppers, cut into cubes (I used one red and one yellow)
300gms broccoli, medium florets
4 scallions, white and green parts separated, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 - 2tbs soy sauce
1tbs red chilli sauce
1tsp white pepper powder
salt to taste
1tbs oil

Clean the shrimp well. Steam the broccoli till almost cooked. It should still be crisp.
Heat oil in a wok on medium high. Add the garlic and fry for 30 secs. 
Add the chopped scallions ( whites only) and bell peppers and fry for 2mins. 
Add the shrimp and cook uncovered for 3-4mins till almost done. 
Then add the broccoli, soy sauce, red chilli sauce, pepper and salt and stir fry till well blended and dry, about 2-3 mins. Stir in the scallion greens and serve hot.

Spiced Hot Chocolate

I am not so crazy about beverages, especially hot ones. I don't have tea or coffee. Milk is a thing of the past. But a steaming cup of hot chocolate, that's a different story altogether. There is something totally seductive, something magical about this drink. I could never have enough of it. Of course it depends on how its made. I can't stand the powder mixes, they are just horrible and I've tried a lot of them. The ones we get in some coffee shops are great, but they add a lot of stuff to it and you can't have them all the time. 
Homemade hot chocolate is definitely the best option. all it takes is two minutes. You can create different flavors by adding powdered nuts, essences and spices. There are so many recipes available that use cocoa powder, but I prefer using chocolate. Has a much better texture and makes it really rich and creamy. 
Sipping some hot chocolate with a hint of cinnamon when reading a good book is my idea of a perfect afternoon...

Spiced Hot Chocolate
Serves 2
2cups milk (low fat is fine)
1/2 heaping cup good quality semi-sweet chocolate
1 small stick of cinnamon

Take all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and micro for about 3-4 mins, stirring in between till the chocolate has melted. 
Discard the cinnamon stick. Mix with a whisk till combined and there are no chocolate pieces left in the bowl.
You could strain the mixture if you want. I never do this, its a sin to waste chocolate:).
Pour into two mugs and serve hot. Re-heat if necessary.
You could garnish it with some whipped cream if you like.

This goes to 'For the Love of Chocolate', hosted by me.

Announcing Let's go Nuts about Cashew Nuts!!

I am very excited to announce the fourth edition of Let's go Nuts and  I want to thank Aquadaze of Served with Love for giving me the opportunity to host this wonderful event she started in January.
The star of this edition is the Cashew Nut. So Lets go Nuts about Cashews!

Cashew nuts are actually the kidney-shaped seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, the fruit of the cashew tree.
Cashews are a very good source of monounsaturated fats and copper, and a good source of magnesium and phosphorus. One of the healthiest nuts, you can find more about its nutritional details here.
The mildly flavored cashew is a very popular snack, often roasted and salted. Cashew nuts are an integral part of Asian Cuisine. They are used whole in meat and vegetable curries and are also ground with other ingredients to make rich and delicious gravies. The nut is also used to make wonderful desserts and as a garnish in several sweets. The cashew nut can also be used as a cheese alternative for vegans, especially in homemade cheese recipes.
Well with so many options lets get cooking with cashews! Here are the rules of the event...
Post a dish in your blog that has cashew as one of the main ingredients in it. Include a link to this post and to Aquadaze
Email me at with the following details
Subject Line : Let's go Nuts - Cashew Nuts
Your Name
Blog Name and Url
Dish Name and Url
Picture of the dish

Please use the logo on the right sidebar in your post.
You can send in as many entries as you like, there is no limit. 
Archived entries need to be posted again with a link back to this announcement.
Non bloggers kindly send in the recipe and picture and I will include them in the round-up. 
Deadline is 30th April, 2009 and the round-up will be posted in the following week.

Looking forward to your support and participation. Can't wait to see what you'll come up with.