Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lamb Lollipops

Succulent pieces of grilled lamb over vegetable pilaf makes a fine dinner!

Rosemary is not traditionally used in Indian cooking: however, it goes well with lamb and pairs beautifully with Indian spices.

My trusty cast iron stove-top grill makes it easy to have grilled food during winter months when it is too cold to fire up the barbecue.


rack of lamb cut into lollipops - 8
whole cumin - 1/2 tsp
whole black pepper - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tsp
turmeric - 1/2 tsp
crushed red pepper - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
extra virgin olive oil/cooking oil - 1/4 cup
garlic - 4 cloves minced
rosemary leaves - 2 tbsp (optional)
fresh lemon juice - 1 tbsp

Powder cumin and pepper in a spice grinder. Mix in coriander powder, turmeric, crushed red pepper, and salt.

Heat olive oil in a heavy pan. Turn off the heat. Add minced garlic and rosemary followed by the powdered ingredients. When it cools, add lemon juice. Marinate the lamb in this mixture for at least an hour.

Grill lamb done to your liking.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Poori Masala

Poori Masala tops the list of my favorite breakfast dishes. Fresh made pooris with spicy potato masala, and my day starts well!

Poori tastes great with a spicy chickpea curry or a vegetable stew as well! The combinations are endless!

*Atta (wheat flour) - 2 cups
water to make dough
salt to taste

Make a soft dough with flour adding sufficient water. I use a food processor to make the dough, but the hand method works very well too. Let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes.

Using a rolling pin, roll out pooris in circles of approximately 4" diameter. To prevent the poori from drying out, cover with a kitchen towel.

In a frying pan add oil to 2" depth. When the oil heats up, fry pooris one at a time. Drain well on paper-towels. Serve with potato masala.

*Atta is available in Indian stores.

Potato Masala:
potatoes - 2
onions - 1 cup (finely chopped)
green chilis- 3 (finely minced)
ginger - 1" piece (finely minced)
curry leaves - 6
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
urad dal - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
water - 1 cup

Skin and cube potatoes. Heat oil in a saute pan. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and urad dal. When the mustard seeds have finished popping add chopped onions, green chilies, ginger, and curry leaves. When the onions have wilted, add potatoes and turmeric. Stir well to coat. Add water and keep it covered. Let the potatoes cook well. Depending on the variety of potato, you may need to add more or less water. When potato is cooked and the spices well blended, take off the stove. Serve with poori.

The same potato masala may be used for stuffing dosa.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007


Upma is India's answer to Southern grits and Italian polenta! My go to dish for breakfast, Upma is easy to make and satisfying. You can make it elaborate by adding a cup of vegetables or keep it simple with just a few cashew nuts for crunch. Delicious either way!

The following recipe is for the simpler version.


*cream of wheat/Sooji -1 cup
vegetable oil - 2 tbsp
onion - 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
ginger - 1/4 tsp (finely chopped)
spicy green chili - 3 (finely chopped)
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
urad dal - 1 tsp
curry leaves - 6
cashew nuts - 1/4 cup (broken into pieces)
ghee - 1 tbsp (optional)
water - 1 cup
salt to taste
coriander leaves for garnish

*Cream of wheat is available in Indian grocery stores. It comes in 2 varieties, thick and thin. I like the thicker version for Upma because it gives a nicer texture to the finished dish.


Heat a heavy pan and dry roast cream of wheat for 3-5 minutes. It burns easily, so keep a watchful eye! Remove before it starts to take color. Keep aside.

Heat oil in the same pan. When the oil heats up add urad dal and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds have finished popping add the chopped onion, ginger, green chilies, and curry leaves. Saute till onions have wilted, don't let it brown! Add water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add roasted cream of wheat. Stir well. Keep the pan covered for a 2 - 3 minutes. Remove lid, and stir. At this point, the water is absorbed and upma is moist and fluffy. Add ghee and take off heat. Stir in the roasted cashews. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

I like to eat with a sunny side egg on top or a banana. My husband prefers pickle and spicy chutney. To each his own!

Note: If you prefer Upma to be more moist, add a little bit more water, about 1/4 cup.

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Sunday, November 4, 2007


Dosa is probably the most popular of Southern Indian dishes. Though served mostly for breakfast, it makes a wonderful lunch or dinner! Serve it plain or stuff with potatoes to make Masala Dosa.

My mother used to make it with a little ghee and sugar in the middle for the kids. She would just sprinkle a bit of sugar and ghee as it is cooking. I still love to eat it this way, though sometimes I use splenda and olive oil instead to make an adult version!

Serve with coconut chutney and/or sambar.


long grain rice - 3.5 cups
Uncle Ben's parboiled rice - .5 cup
urad dal - 1 cup (available in Indian grocery stores)
ghee/vegetable oil - as needed
salt to taste

Clean and soak the rices and dal separately in plenty of water for 4-6 hours. Grind dal in a heavy duty blender till very smooth. Add enough water to facilitate smooth grinding. Similarly, grind the rice till very smooth. Mix ground dal and rice together and keep in a warm place to ferment overnight. In winter, you may have to leave it in a preheated oven to achieve fermentation. Just warm the oven, turn it off and leave the batter inside. When fermented, the batter would rise and become foamy. At this point, it would have the consistency of pancake batter. Add salt and mix well. Dosa batter is ready!

Heat a 10" non-stick pan or well seasoned cast-iron griddle. Moisten a papertowel or piece of cotton cloth with a little bit of oil and apply to the pan. This step is critical to keep the dosa from sticking to the pan and should be repeated each time.

Pour the batter (approximately 1/3 - 1/2cup) with a large serving spoon, and quickly spread in concentric circles with the back of the spoon till the batter is spread out evenly. Add 1/2 tsp of vegetable oil or ghee on top. When it crisps, fold over and remove from the pan. Serve immediately.

If dosa is thick, you may have to flip it over and cook the other side too. If it is thin, this step may be eliminated. To make Masala Dosa, add a heaping spoonful of spiced potato masala in the middle of the dosa before folding.

The recipe may be halved or quartered. The batter keeps well in the refrigerator for upto a week. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

It may take a few trials to master spreading dosa. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

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