Heavenly Rose Phirni



I must give some credit for this recipe to Asha at http://www.selfveda.com and another friend GB. Adding fruits comes from Asha as her post shows. And adding rose syrup comes from GB. She actually served this on top of vanilla ice cream. Thanks for the inspiration! Wish my kids were here to try it:(

The coarse grinding of the rice gives this a custardy pudding like consistency.
I made this for church and think everyone enjoyed it.Someone said this was a very girly dessert! This is perfect for a party.

Rose Phirni

Serves 6-8
1  cup  Basmati rice
4 cups milk
1 c sugar or to taste
1/4 tsp cardamom pdr
1-2 tbs rose syrup
Strawberry ice cream topping or mango pulp ( can also use fresh fruits)
Sweet coconut flakes
Chopped pistachios, optional
Saffron dissolved in a tablespoon of milk

Rinse rice well and soak for 4 hrs. Grind slightly in food processor until somewhat grainy.
Boil milk in a heavy sauce pan. Add ground rice and stir continuously to avoid lumps. Cook for 10-15 mts, stirring frequently. When rice is cooked add sugar, rose syrup, and cardamom pd and saffron milk. Top with fruit topping, garnish with coconut and pistachios. Serve chilled or room temperature.

Here are some pics of how the rice should look and the Phirni made in a larger quantity. ( Also made Vellayappam for church)



For Easter- Chocolate Nests



I am posting this recipe before Easter if anyone wants to try making them before Sunday. I made these for a friend to practice it before making it. Sorry N. and N., you girls were the Guinea pigs! The both of them as well as my niece, M. will be making them for Easter and I will post their pictures when they are done.

These are soo cute as an Easter centerpiece and very easy to make. Enjoy!

Chocolate Easter Nests

2 cups Chow Mein noodles ( these crunchy noodles can be found in the Asian section of any supermarket)
1 cup milk chocolate chips ( can use white/dark chocolate)
1/2 c shredded sweetened coconut
Few drops green food color
Egg shaped M&Ms
Cupcake/muffin  tray

Mix coconut with food color until uniformly mixed. Keep aside
Melt chocolate in the microwave at 30 sec intervals mixing in between. Should be smooth and melted. Do not overheat or the chocolate will separate. (Melt chocolate in small batches if making a large quantity)
Mix the noodles in a little at a time  into the melted chocolate and coat well. You may need more or less of the noodles. Place plastic wrap onto muffin tray wells and press chocolate mixture into it. Depress the center slightly. Rim the edges with the coconut and place in refrigerator for 15-20 mts until hardened. Remove from tray and place 3 eggs in center of nest. Makes about 10-12 nests. More if you use a smaller muffin tray  and shallower depth.

Variations- You can use white chocolate  instead of milk chocolate and color the coconut pink and put mini peeps in the nest. You can also use pretzel sticks instead of the noodles. This would make a nice Easter centerpiece if displayed on a large tray with scattered peeps and eggs.

Happy Easter!!

Kerala Uppumavu



In Kerala, uppumavu, made from rava,is usually eaten with a banana. There is a balance of sweet and savory. In other parts of South India mixed veggies are added and served with chutney.

My grandmother used to serve this with Kerala beef fry or Pothe erachi fry for breakfast. (Pothe is water buffalo, a very lean meat). This is still my favorite way of eating this dish.

This is the way my mom makes it..very soft with the addition of butter. The rava is not dry or grainy.

Kerala style Uppumavu

1 cup Rava ( Cream of Wheat)
2 cups water
1/8 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 chopped onion
2 green chilies, diced
1 tsp grated ginger
1-2 tbsp cashews and raisins
Few curry leaves
1-2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil

Heat oil in a frying pan and add mustard seeds. When done spluttering add onions, green chilies, curry leaves, grated ginger , cashews and raisins and salt. Sauté for a few minutes then add butter and water. Check salt and add if more is needed. Bring to a boil and add the rava slowly while mixing to avoid lumps. Be careful as the rava can bubble up and splutter.Cover and turn off heat. Let sit for 5-7 minutes. Serve with a banana. Usually it is mashed into the uppumavu and eaten together.

Grape Salad


I had bought some green grapes that were more sour than sweet so decided to make a salad out of it. I have seen a similar salad at my friends house adding pomegranate seeds. It is very light and a perfect side item anytime.

Grape Salad:


A bunch of grapes, halved
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 onion, diced
2 green chilies, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped cilantro

Toss a ingredients together and chill. Serve as side salad. Feeds 5-6.

A Very Inspiring Blogger Award! For ME!



I was surprised to get this award for my humble blog from Asha at http://www.selfveda.com. Thank you Asha. She has some awesome posts about cooking, entertainment, parenting etc…so check her out!
This blog has mainly been private as I was building up content and then I posted a comment and link on another successful website and got referrals–243 views in one day!. Got 500 views in 3 days!This has given me some steam to add more content quicker. It’s nice to know people like what they are reading.

The rules of the award are as follows:

1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you.

2. Post the award image to your page.

3. Share 7 facts about yourself.

Here I go…
•I am a Virgo but on the cusp- dependable, very loyal, analytical, self obsessed with the details, and at times critical, but in a good way?? (It’ s all for your own good)

•Love the creative process very unlike my scientific profession
•I am a Diva and very Proud like my dad ( acc to my husband)
•I enjoy organizing  parties/events around a theme—from food, décor to centerpieces
•Pet peeves-BAD GRAMMAR, anything tacky, assymetry
•I am more than my recipes

I am more than my trademark laugh.

4. Nominate other blogs and inform them about it.











My Own Creation- A Designer Saree


I am taking a break from recipes for a bit to post something new.

I have been going through my closet and drawers doing a little spring cleaning. I found 2 sarees I never wore because I never liked them much. One is a bright pink/magenta silk saree with black beading/ embroidery. ( my friend calls this “village pink”.) It was just too bright to wear during the day or night. It is at least 7 yrs old. Another was a newer black chiffon saree with silver beaded edging… This one was just too black.
So in a spurt of creativity, I combined the two! I split it down the middle and just stitched them together. So the pallu and front part is black and the pleats are pink. I love how it turned out! The pink is more palatable now since it is partially hidden and since both had some silver and black, they went together seamlessly. I went to Joann’s fabrics and got some black and magenta beads and strung them together to create a necklace that completes the ensemble. What do you think?
So take a look in your closets… You may never know the possibilities they hold. I can’t wait to see what else I can find!




Ohh… Bhatura!


Since this bread is fried, bhatura is great to make once in awhile. The soft, puffy bread is fried and served with any curry. Another Indian bread similar to bhatura is poori. Poori is made with atta or soft wheat flour and bhatura is made with all purpose flour and yogurt plus some type of leavener…yeast or baking soda.

2 cups All purpose Flour (or Maida)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda

Combine flour, sugar, salt baking soda and sift into a bowl. Add oil and rub flour into it until combined. Add yogurt and combine


Then add water a tablespoon at a time to make a soft, elastic dough. Knead for 5 minutes.


Cover with a moist paper towel, cover and place in a slightly warm place ( slightly heated oven) I am using my food warmer.


Let sit for an hour or two. Knead again and make lemon sized balls. Place little flour on a flat space to begin rolling.Warm up oil in a frying pan.
Roll out dough balls into circles making sure it is not too thin.Since the dough will be very elastic, make the circles bigger than what you want the final product to be.

Fry immediately, gently pressing down on the bhatura as it puffs up in the oil. Flip and fry other side. Drain onto a paper towel. They should be golden brown in color. Serve immediately with any curry.



Mushroom Peanut Couscous


We went to Costco last weekend and I bought a 5 lb bag of Israeli couscous.Now I have to figure out what to make with it. We will be eating this for awhile. Since we are veg for lent thought about using the mushrooms I had. Adding crushed peanuts adds some protein.


Mushroom Peanut Couscous

1 cup Israeli couscous
2 cups water ( or any stock)
1/2 onion diced
1 container sliced mushrooms
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbs chopped cilantro or parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs chopped roasted unsalted peanuts

In a sauce pan heat up oil, add onions and mushrooms. Saute unto soft, then add, salt, pepper, turmeric, chili flakes. Mix in couscous to combine. Add water and cover. Simmer for 8-10 mts until water is evaporated. Top with 2 tbs chopped peanuts and parsley or cilantro. Serve warm or cold.


I’m having this for lunch with some diced cucumber topped with feta cheese.


Baked Pearl Spot-Meen Politchathu


My husband is a true Keralite and a any Keralite worth their salt loves the fish called Karimeen. Also called Pearl Spot, this fish found in the fresh backwaters of Kerala, is a white fleshed, extremely flavorful and scaly fish. Fresh is of course best but here in the US we can only get the frozen variety at the Indian store, and that on occasion. If you cannot get Karimeen, any whole medium sized fish will do ( Tilapia, Red Snapper, etc)
The technique of “Politchathu” is after lightly frying the fish, it is smothered in a thick gravy and then wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled. This is an American version, using parchment paper, foil and oven. This dish tastes more authentic when made with coconut oil.


Karimeen Politchathu:
2 whole Pearl Spots
1/2 c coconut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 lg onion, sliced ( using small red pearl onions is better,if available)
2-3 Roma Tomatoes, sliced
4 green chilies
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp Periyar fish masala
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
3-4 tbsp coconut milk
Few sprigs curry leaves
Chopped cilantro for garnishing
For fish marinade:
1/4 tsp red chili pdr
1/4 tsp fish masala
1/2 tsp salt
A few pinches
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice20130310-101426.jpg

Method :
Take cleaned fish and rinse well. Make linear cuts and mix all ingredients of marinade and coat fish and inside cavity and gashes. Let sit for 15 mts in refrigerator.
Take 1/2 coconut oil in a frying pan and fry fish lightly on both sides and remove. To the same frying pan, add rest of oil, when heated up add mustard seeds and after done spluttering add chopped onions, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, green chilies. Sauté until soft. Add all powdered spices and salt and mix well. Add sliced tomatoes. Then add coconut milk and keep mixing until somewhat absorbed…. Should be a thick mixture.
Place the fried fish on a parchment paper and smother with the onion and tomato mixture, add cilantro. Wrap in aluminum foil. Place in an oven preheated at 350 deg… Bake for 20 mts. Serve with rice.