Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Aloo Gobi with Kasuri Methi

You know how it is sometimes. You prepare a new recipe, you like it so much, you have to make it again the next day. That’s what happened to me with cauliflower. I loved the gobi I prepared last weekend very much, I made it again today. This time, I also added few potatoes to the pot. The friendship between brain-like cauliflower and belly-like, comforting potatoes is legendary. The fragrant kasuri methi and the sweet golden raisins addition made this lovely friendship even more endearing to me. I can surely say that this is the best cauliflower curry I have ever made next to my amma’s recipe. Good use of cauliflower that’s in season.

Aloo Gobi with Kasuri Methi and Golden Raisins


3 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup, cubed potato
2 cups, finely chopped tomatoes
½ cup, finely sliced onion
1 tablespoon each – grated coconut, and kasuri methi
½ teaspoon each, or to taste – Turmeric, red chilli powder and salt
¼ cup – golden raisins
For popu or tadka:
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 garlic, finely chopped and a pinch each- cumin and mustard seeds

The preparation is easy. Heat oil in a sturdy pot over medium heat. Add and toast garlic to pale brown, and then cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add onions. Saute to soft. Next goes the tomatoes. Cook them to soft on high heat, and mush them using a sturdy spoon or spatula.

Add potatoes, and cook to just tender. Add cauliflower. Also the items listed in seasoning, along with half cup of water. Mix. Cover the pot and simmer. When cauliflower reaches the tenderness you desire, turn off the heat. Serve the curry hot with rice or with roti.

Kasuri methi adds wonderful aroma, whereas golden raisins soaked up in spices add khatta-metha taste to aloo-gobi. Delightful!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Cauliflower,Methi, Kasuri Methi,Potato (Tuesday November 27, 2007 at 5:40 pm- permalink)
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Gobi Kasuri Methi with Golden Raisins

Cauliflower, Golden Raisins, Dried Fenugreek Leaves
Gobi, Golden Raisins, Kasuri Methi


Peanut oil, slivered garlic, cumin, and mustard seeds for tadka
Red onion, ripe tomatoes and fresh cauliflower
Kasuri methi, golden raisins, grated coconut, turmeric, chilli powder and salt
With puri, chapati or with rice.

Puri and Gobi Kasuri Methi with Golden Raisins
Puri and Gobi Kasuri Methi ~ for Weekend Brunch

Feel free to size up the recipe, for a sweet tasting and serenely scented Gobi Kasuri methi.
From Hindi to English, Gobi=cauliflower, Kasuri Methi=Sundried Fenugreek Leaves

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Cauliflower,Golden Raisins,Methi, Kasuri Methi (Monday November 26, 2007 at 1:10 am- permalink)
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Weekend Kittaya Blogging

Kitti Maharaja

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kittaya (Saturday November 24, 2007 at 4:45 pm- permalink)
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Happy Thanksgiving!

 Pleasant Fruits of Autumn Season
Blessing of Fruits ~ on Thanksgiving Day

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Thursday November 22, 2007 at 4:50 pm- permalink)
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Crispy and Crunchy Chickpeas

Fried Chickpeas
Fried Chickpeas ~ A Tasty Snack on a Cold, Rainy Day

It has been so dreary cold here lately. Soup like dal-rice combo has been my main meal most of the days. Worn-out of my routine tomato dal, I thought of dazzling it a bit. That started a craving for crispy, crunchy chickpeas. A cup of rehydrated chickpeas, 20 minutes in front of hot oil. Now, I remember why I don’t make these often.:) Next time I will simply buy or bake.

For those of you who would like to try the recipe, here we go:

Soak dried chickpeas in water to plump.
Drain and then pat them dry using a kitchen towel.
Deep-fry in batches, in hot peanut oil to crisp.
Prepare spice mixture: Heat a teaspoon of ghee. Add and toast curry leaves, chilli powder, amchur and salt to taste. Toss and coat the chickpeas in spice mixture.

The fried chickpeas are great to jazz up the dal and sambar rice. Also to munch on, and to add to salads.

What’s This?

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Chickpeas (Tuesday November 20, 2007 at 11:12 pm- permalink)
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Pecan Persimmon Cake for Thanksgiving


“Do you dream in chocolate?”

The television ad voice for Lindt chocolate asks us.

I don’t dream in chocolate, but I do dream in recipes. The following combination is what I dreamt last weekend:

Persimmon coated with maple syrup
Ghee and
Wheat-barley pancake flour

The pecan-persimmon cake turned out to be a vision in real life as well. A delectable, one of a kind dessert that taste buds never forget.

Pecans and Persimmon
Pecans and Persimmons


Pancake flour – 2 cups
Persimmon, 2 ripe fruits, peel the skin and finely cube – 1 cup
Pecans, finely chopped – ½ cup
Maple syrup – ½ cup
Ghee, melted and at room temperature – ¼ cup
Baking powder and crushed cardamom – ¼ teaspoon each

8 mini cake pans

Take the flour in a vessel. Add the persimmon, pecans, maple syrup and ghee. Sprinkle baking powder and cardamom. Stir in about half to one cup of warm water. Combine thoroughly. Divide the batter between the cake pans and spread evenly.

Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Place and bake the cakes to warm sunset hue, for about 20 to 30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and invert to serve.

Pecan Persimmon Mini Cakes
Just Out of the Oven ~ Pecan Persimmon Cakes in a Warm Sunset Hue

Pecan Persimmon Cake
Pleasures of Persimmons ~ Pecan Persimmon Cake

Recipe Source: My own creation
For this recipe, I used Maple Grove Farms brand buttermilk-honey pancake mix, which has both wheat and barley flours in it. The flour-mix worked beautifully and offered a great remedy to my egg-fruit combo cake phobia. I purchased this pancake mix from Fred Meyer’s grocery.
This is a egg-free cake, but it came out crumbly and flaky due to buttermilk in pancake mix. The acidity of buttermilk, warm water and maple syrup combo created cake crumbs full of flavor.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida),Maple Syrup,Pecans,Persimmon (Monday November 19, 2007 at 1:57 pm- permalink)
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Pear and Persimmon ~ Pleasant Fruits of Fall

Pear and Persimmon ~ Pleasant Fruits of Autumn Season
Red Bartlett Pear and Persimmon

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Fruits (Sunday November 18, 2007 at 12:48 pm- permalink)
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Weekend This & That ~ Cool Tool and Treats

Google Indic Transliteration in Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu
Cool, New Tool from Google, Finally!
Congratulations to Google team for coming up with an intuitive transliteration tool for Indic languages (Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and Kannada).

Cool Treats:

Gulab Jamun Cake ~ from Recipes N More
Jowar Vada (Jonna Garelu) ~ from Nourishing Indian Food
Mango Lassi Frozen Yogurt ~ from Evil Jungle Prince
Potatoes Mashed in Coconut Milk ~ from Tofu for Two
Saffron Rava Badam Cake ~ from Red Chillies

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday November 17, 2007 at 8:23 pm- permalink)
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Saffron (Kesar, Kumkuma Puvvu)

Saffron, Kesar, Kumkuma Puvvu (Copyrighted Image by Indira Singari)

The majestic Saffron is one spice that rightfully deserves our respect. The number of hours spent plucking the saffron flowers and then the stigmas is just mind blowing. Something like 50,000 flowers, a football field-sized patch, must be grown to produce just one pound of saffron.

Saffron is the stigma of crocus flower, so the botanical name Crocus sativus. Harvest season lasts for 2 weeks and the flowers are picked each morning. The 3 stigmas in each blossom are hand-picked. After plucking, the stigmas are light roasted which dries the stigmas and fixes the flavor in the threads. This delicate stage of roasting is done only by the most expert of farmers. Even as little as a minute too long on the fire and the whole batch would be ruined.

The saffron crocus is sterile and the crop is propagated by corm multiplication. Each corm lasts only for one season and then is replaced by up to 10 cormlets. The size of the corm has a very significant effect on the production of daughter corms, and on the production of flowers and the yield of saffron. Saffron flower is amazingly beautiful and fragrant. It has pale lilac petals with dark colored veins. Saffron crop can tolerate frosts and an occasional snow. It grows in a wide range of soils but thrives in clay-calcareous soil.

Saffron is used in Ayurveda as a good heart tonic for all three doshas, and is also an important ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines. For example, “Shatavari Plus” has saffron as one of its main ingredients. Saffron has circulatory stimulant properties, is warming and very rejuvenating. Saffron milk is an excellent remedy for Anemia. It is also known to tonify the female reproductive system. The cosmetics industry uses saffron in lotions and creams for its ability to nourish and lighten the skin.

And, of course, we all are familiar with the bright golden yellow Saffron robes of Buddhist monks. The color of their robes speaks volumes of their renunciation. When a young green leaf turns yellow or orange, it falls off from the tree. The Buddhist monks wear yellow saffron robes to constantly remind them to let go and not cling to the earthly pleasures.

Since Saffron and Kashmir are inseparable and I am such a big tea fan, we have to have a cup of Kahva (Kashmiri chai with saffron). This tea is amazingly aromatic and an experience in itself. Here is a very good post on Kahva. Note that this Kahva is different from Kava, a herbal drink from south Pacific.

A classic and simple dessert with Saffron is Shrikhand.

Classic Shrikhand with Saffron:

1-cup whole milk yogurt
1-cup sugar
Saffron – 1 teaspoon, or to your liking
Charoli (chironji) – 1 tablespoon, or to taste
Crushed cardamom seeds – ¼ teaspoon

Tie yogurt in a clean muslin cloth. Keep in a sieve and place a heavy pan over it. Keep overnight to drain all water. Once all water is drained from the yogurt, add sugar and mix really well. Sugar must be dissolved completely. Add crushed cardamom, saffron. Serve with charoli on top.

Some of you might remember that I mentioned once about growing mustard seeds and enjoying the beauty of Punjab in my own backyard. Now, how about a little Kashmir in your back yard. We can grow our own Saffron!. Looks like some avid gardeners are even growing Saffron in containers. There are a lot of online vendors and nurseries where you can buy the saffron corms. Growing Saffron is time consuming and needs a lot of patience. But I think I am up for this project too.

Now let’s see… I have mustard from Punjab, Saffron from Kashmir… Hmm … what’s next?

by ~ Anjali Damerla of Supreme Spice

For a fabulous array of saffron recipes: Think Saffron


Play, Learn and Earn Rice to Help
What was the score, and how many grams?:)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Anjali Damerla,Herbs and Spices,Saffron (Kesar, Kumkum Puvvu) (Thursday November 15, 2007 at 4:07 pm- permalink)
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Jihva for Toor Dal ~ Bisi Bele Huli Anna

Bisi Bele Huli Anna

They see each other everyday.

Unassuming and simple, darling daughter of lentil family – the golden Toor Dal.

The upright, some even call almighty – the proud and pristine Rice.

A hill of rice on a banana leaf, and a ladle full of dal next to it. Served and seated next to each other, the attraction between them was instantaneous and electric. It hasn’t escaped the wise hostess notice. The marriage was inevitable. Nourishing vegetables and sensual spices were added for a seductive liveliness. Under the sacred fire, they seized to be toor dal and rice, instead became Bisi Bele Huli Anna. “A match made in heaven, for good times and for hard times”, people praised the joyful union.

Bisi bele huli anna. Yes, all would be all right!

That was the “once upon a time” story for Bisi Bele Huli Anna, the famous south-Indian comfort food. Originated in Karnataka region of India, the rustic and rural Bisi bele huli anna with its uncomplicated, unfettered and fundamental recipe has many fans. From children to very elderly, many Bharatiya find delight in this humble food.

This week’s cold snap made Bisi bele hule anna a prudent choice for us. And, I remembered I had a jarful of Rosematta rice. The plump, terracotta colored rice from Kerala region absorbs flavors very well and I know that toor dal will be swooning in Rosematta company. My preparation started with fresh Bisi bele ground masala and cutting up the vegetables. We can add any number of vegetables and I went with gawar beans, red bell pepper, red onions, peas and carrots. The Bisi bele huli anna turned out to be a delightful meal. Long live Bisi Bele Huli Anna!

Rosematta Rice, Toor Dal, Vegetables and Bisi bele Masala
Rosematta Rice, Toor Dal, Vegetables and Bisi Bele Masala ~ for Bisi Bele Huli Anna


1 cup Rosematta rice
1 cup toor dal (Kandi Pappu)
3 cups cut vegetables (beans, carrots, peas and peppers etc)
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
1 tablespoon jaggery
½ teaspoon each – turmeric and salt
2 tablespoons – Bisi bele masala (Homemade or store-bought)
Popu or tadka ingredients:
(12 Curry leaves, pinch each- cumin, mustard seeds and hing)

Take rice and toor dal in a wide pot. Add about 6 cups of water. Cook the dal and rice to very tender. Gently mix and mush them. I resorted to pressure-cooking, but back at home, they cook it for an hour or so on slow heat. Results in superb taste.

While the rice and dal are cooking, in another big vessel, heat a tablespoon ghee or oil. Add and toast the tadka ingredients (curry leaves, cumin, mustard seeds and hing).

To the tadka, add the cut vegetables and saute. When they start to get tender, add the tamarind pulp, jaggery, turmeric and salt. Also the cooked and mashed rosematta rice-toor dal mixture. Stir in the masala along with two cups of water. Combine well. Have a taste and adjust the spices to your liking. Cover the pot and simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes on medium-low heat.

Serve hot with a teaspoon of ghee drizzled and with papads.

Bisi Bele Bhath
Bisi Bele Huli Anna with Papad ~ My Jihva for Toor Dal and Our Meal Today

Recipe Notes:
Rosematta idea from My Chow Chow Bhath. Brown rice or brown basmati also works well for this recipe.
My recipe for Bisi bele masala:
5 dried red chillies, 1 tablespoon each- chana dal & coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon each -cloves, cinnamon, methi seeds and black peppercorn. Dry roast. Cool. Then take them in a Sumeet Mixer or blender. Add 2 tablespoons of freshly grated coconut and pinch of salt. Grind to fine consistency.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice),Rosematta Rice,Toor Dal (Tuesday November 13, 2007 at 3:35 pm- permalink)
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Diwali Mithai

I Made Sunnundalu for Diwali
Sunnundalu for Laxmi Devi

Assorted Sweets - A Gift from Friends
Diwali Mithai for Jihva

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Friday November 9, 2007 at 8:25 am- permalink)
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Shubha Deepavali!

Happy and Prosperous Diwali to Dear Family, Friends, Fellow Bloggers
Asato Ma Sadgamaya; Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya!
Shubha Deepavali to Family and Friends!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Thursday November 8, 2007 at 5:39 pm- permalink)
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Pomegranate Yogurt

Pomegranate Yogurt
Pomegranate Yogurt ~ Food as Unexpected Beauty

I love fruit-flavored yogurts. I often make them at home with whatever fruit I have at hand. I cut and crush the fruit and mix with homemade yogurt. Depending on the fruit sweetness level, I usually add sugar or honey and salt to the yogurt. Takes only few minutes to prepare and offers a very cool way to end the meal. Also, no matter what time of day it is, a small cup of fruit-yogurt always has the power to cheer me up.

Homemade Yogurt ………………………..Pomegranate

(for two)
1 cup fresh homemade yogurt
1 pomegranate fruit, or 1 cup pomegranate seeds
Salt and Sugar ~ a pinch each, or to taste
Rinse, and make a shallow, vertical cut on the pomegranate. Separate the halves. Pull the fruit open and shell the seeds over a bowl. Add yogurt, also salt and sugar. Whisk the yogurt to blend well. Refrigerate for about half an hour. Serve and enjoy. The pure, sweet juice that pops out of ruby-red, gem like seedsacs combined with chilled yogurt, it’s a simple food with an extraordinary beauty.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Pomegranate,Yogurt (Wednesday November 7, 2007 at 7:02 pm- permalink)
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Cranberry~Pomegranate Jam/Relish

Plump pomegranates and tart cranberries are in season right now here in Seattle. I purchased few pounds last weekend with the idea of preparing jam/cooked relish. I thought it would be fun to try something new with these two tart and fruity ingredients.

I’ve combined the cranberries with pomegranate juice and water. The sweetener was the jaggery. I let them simmer on medium heat to jam like thick consistency. It was an easy process.

I made pecan pancakes for lunch. The carbos and the bright tasting jam, I really liked the whole combination. People who go for unique flavors and anti-oxidant fanatics alike will enjoy this jam/relish, I think.

Pomegranate Seeds and Cranberries


2 cups pomegranate seeds
2 cups cranberries, rinsed
2 cups jaggery, crushed
1 cup water

Coarsely crush pomegranate seeds (blender, citrus juicer, food mill or with your hands). Pour through a coffee filter to remove the seeds and extract the juice. (I carried this process somewhat carelessly, thinking few escaped seeds won’t hurt, but I will be taking extra precautions next time to remove seeds completely.)

Take pomegranate juice, cranberries and jaggery in a wide pot. Add water. Bring to a boil. Then simmer, uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes, till the cranberries pop and the whole thing thickens to jam like consistency. Let cool and store in a clean jar.

Enjoy with pancakes, or as bread/ chapati spread.

Cranberry~Pomegranate Jam/Relish

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Cranberries,Jaggery,Pomegranate (Tuesday November 6, 2007 at 7:34 pm- permalink)
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Green Split Peas with Acorn Squash

Dazzling Dals ~ Matar Kadoo Ki Dal

Last week I watched a documentary on pumpkins called “Lords of the Gourd,” on PBS. The effort that goes into the giant pumpkin production was really amazing to see. Pumpkins were bathed in milk for prize winning looks, fed on bathtub sized fertilizer solutions, and grown to a groan-inducing size of 800, 1,200, 1,500 pounds – it’s pumpkin passion, godzilla style. The documentary covered many aspects of this competition craziness, but they forgot to mention how these giant pumpkins taste. It doesn’t matter I guess.

If I ever participate in such competition, my pumpkin would be nourished on food blogs feed.:) Thousands of food blogs and all those mouthwatering recipes, the baby pumpkin would have no choice but turn in to a big balloon. Here is the rough sketch of how-to setup. The overfed champion would not only be big, but I am confident that it would also win in taste department. If not, I can always rely on my prized pumpkin recipe “Matar-Kadoo ki Dal”, the kind of dish that will thrill the taste buds and delight the eyes.

“Matar-Kadoo ki Dal” is a traditional Indian recipe, with green split peas and pumpkin. Typical Indian masala seasoning, and for special spicy touch, wadis (sundried dal-spice rounds) and peppercorn are added. Perfect for cool weather, but watch out for those intracranial explosions.:)

Acorn Squash and Green Split Peas for Matar Kadoo Ki Dal
Acorn Squash and Green Split Peas for Matar Kadoo Ki Dal

(for two, for two meals)

2 cups green split peas
2 cups pumpkin, peeled and cubed. (I used acorn squash)
½ cup wadis (available at Indan grocery)
1 big red onion, finely chopped, about a cup
1 teaspoon, ginger-garlic-cilantro paste
1 teaspoon goda masala powder (or garam masala)
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns- coarsely crushed
Salt and turmeric to taste
For tadka or popu:
2 tablespoons peanut oil,
Pinch each, cumin and mustard seeds
8-10 curry leaves

Take green split peas in a vessel. Cover with water and simmer to tender (but not too soft).

While the split peas are cooking, in another big pot, heat peanut oil. Add and pan-fry the wadis to crisp. Remove them to a plate and set aside.

In the same pot, to the heated oil, add and toast cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Next goes the onion and ggc paste. Cook until onions are soft. Add the cubed pumpkin, and saute for about five minutes.

Stir in the cooked green split peas along with the water they simmered in. Also, add the goda masala powder, peppercorns, salt and turmeric. If the dal looks too dry, dilute it with water, about a cup. Mix, cover, and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, till the pumpkins reach the softness you desire. (Both pumpkin and green split peas cook to soft in short time.)

Sprinkle the crisp wadis and serve with rice or roti. It tasted great on its own also.

Green Split Peas with Acorn Squash (Matar-Kadoo Ki Dal with Wadis) and A Palate Refresher, Mandarin

From Hindi to English: Matar = Peas, Kadoo = Pumpkin
Recipe adapted from “The Spice Box by Manju Shivraj Singh”

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peas (Split),Pumpkin (Monday November 5, 2007 at 7:38 pm- permalink)
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