Sunday, 29 June 2014

#22 Lavender Victoria Sponge Cake

First, an apology for having disappeared for so long. We have finally managed to set up shop and have started of with a pizza home delivery service in Ahmedabad. Getting things organized and experimenting had taken up all our time and we didn't get a moment to breathe, let alone keep the blog updated! We are now back in action with lots of interesting things to share!

Contrary to popular belief, a sponge cake is quite a difficult cake to master! It must be soft, airy, moist and have a super tender crumb. I've tried innumerable times to reach that perfection but failed miserably. Finally, after much experimenting, I've found the perfect recipe. This is a classic Victoria Sponge with equal amounts of egg, butter, sugar and flour. It is moist, and has the most tender crumb ever! 

The twist that we added to this was fresh lavender! It adds a completely new dimension and I wouldn't suggest leaving it out!

  • 3 Eggs
  • 175g Butter
  • 175g Sugar
  • 175g Flour
  • 2tsp Baking Powder
  • 1tsp pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1tsp Lavender leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream
Cream the butter and sugar together till it is pale and light, crack in one egg at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition. Stir in the Vanilla Extract.

Sift the baking powder and flour together, add the lavender.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet till just mixed. Over mixing is the only thing that can go wrong with this recipe!

(Traditionally one would make two 8" cakes and sandwich them together. Considering I have only one 9" tin, I made my cake in that and sliced it in half.)

Pour your batter into a greased baking tin and place in an oven pre-heated to 180C for about 20 minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, whip up the cream till soft peaks form, you can add sugar as per your taste. You won't need a lot as the cake is fairly sweet.

Slice the cake in half and sandwich with the whipped cream. A light dusting of cocoa on top and you are ready!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

#21 Dahi Vada

Happy Holi and Dhuleti!! On this festive occasion, Dahi Vada's are a perfect way to celebrate. Holi is all about the harmony in life, the balance. This balance also reflects in the food that we eat on this day. One of the traditional dishes that is made every year in my family are Dahi Vada's. They have a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy (we're always looking for excuses to eat Dahi Vada's).

This recipe is fairly simple to make, it's just a little time consuming as there are a number of elements that go into the dish. You will need Urad Dal, curd/yogurt, tamarind paste, jaggery, cumin seeds (jeera), red chili powder and salt for this recipe.

Start off by thoroughly washing the dal, and then soaking it for a couple of hours, preferably over night. The convenient part of this recipe is that you can get most of the prep like making the chutneys and the vada batter done the previous day itself.

Grind the dal with a little bit of water till you have a thick batter.

Meanwhile, make the meetha chutney (sweet chutney) by gently heating the jaggery, water and chili powder, till you have a thick chutney. Make the khatta chutney (sour chutney) by mixing the tamarind paste with some water. Whisk the curd/yogurt till it is quite smooth. Roast the cumin seeds till they are fragrant and grind to a fine powder. Heat up a pan with oil and drop spoonfuls of the vada batter in. Fry on a medium heat till golden brown.

As soon as you have removed them from the oil, drop the vadas into a bowl of water. Soak for about 10 minutes, squeeze the water out and flatten.

Now comes the fun part, lay out a few vadas on a plate. Start by spooning some dahi all over, and then adding a few spoonfuls of the two chutneys. Sprinkle some salt, red chili powder and the roasted cumin powder all over. You are good to go!!

Makes about 25-28 vadas


  • 250g Urad Dal
  • 200g Curd/Yogurt
  • 100g Jaggery (gudd)
  • 2tbsp Cumin Seeds (jeera)
  • 2tbsp Tamarind Paste
  • 2tsp Red Chili Powder
  • Salt 
  • Red Chili Powder to sprinkle on top
  • Oil, for deep frying
Soak the dal overnight (or 4-5 hours) and grind to a smooth, thick batter.

Melt the jaggery in 3 tablespoons of water with the 2tsp of chili powder. This is your meetha chutney.

Mix the tamarind paste with 4 tablespoons of water. This is your khatta chutney.

Roast the cumin seeds till fragrant and grind to a fine powder.

Whisk the yogurt till it is quite smooth.

Heat up a pan of oil, and drop small spoonfuls of the vada batter in. Fry on a medium heat till golden brown. This should take about 8-10 minutes per batch.

Drop the fried vadas into a bowl of water and soak for about 10 minutes (or till the next batch of vadas are out of the oil). Squeeze out the water by placing a vada between the palms of your hands.

Lay out the vadas on a plate, pour the yogurt on top. Spoon some of both the chutneys and sprinkle with the roasted cumin powder, salt and red chili powder. 

Serve cold.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

#20 Potato and Egg Salad

This is the simplest salad you could think of. It is ready in minutes and so incredibly yummy!

You need eggs, potatoes, mayonnaise, spring onions, green chili, pepper and salt for this recipe.

You need to boil, peel and dice the potatoes, and boil, peel and slice the eggs. Simply mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and you're ready to rock and roll!

You could arrange the sliced egg on top of a bed of the potato salad and finish it off with a sprinkling of spring onions. Just to make it look pretty :)

Serves 3 (hungry people)


  • 1kg Potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced
  • 6 Eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced (into four length-ways)
  • 100g Spring Onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise (you can substitute this with Greek Yogurt)
  • 1 Green Chili, finely chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, adjust salt and pepper as per taste.

Serve cold.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

#19 Cheesy Yogurt Dip

Cheese is awesome. Dips are awesome. Combine the two and life couldn't get better! This cheesy yogurt dip is finger licking and bowl licking delicious. We like to say it's healthy because it has yogurt in it, and barely any cheese. It still gets quite a cheesy flavor because we use a strong Parmesan. This dip is best served cold with crunchy chips, cucumber, carrot, celery and even tomatoes.

You need some hung curd, mayonnaise, Parmesan, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of chopped spring onion. You make the hung curd by taking regular curd and literally 'hanging' it in a fine muslin/cheese cloth till all the water drips out and you're left with a ball of thick, creamy yogurt (curd). You should hang it overnight, or at least 2 hours. If you don't have Parmesan you could use any other DRY cheese. A soft cheese like the regular Amul Processed Cheese won't really work for this (but we do have another cheesy dip recipe which uses processed cheese which we'll put up soon). Now the spices, we went with simple salt and pepper for this dip, but you can add whatever you like - dried herbs, fresh herbs, chili flakes, Dijon mustard; the options are endless.

Simply mix all the ingredients together and add salt to taste. Sprinkle some chopped spring onion on top and you're done!

  • 1 cup Hung Curd
  • 1tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1tbsp Parmesan
  • 1tsp Pepper, finely ground
  • Spring Onions, finely chopped
  • Salt
Mix the first five ingredients together till thoroughly combined. Add salt to taste. Sprinkle some more spring onion on top.

Serve cold.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

#18 Sambhar

Sambhar is quite an essential in a South Indian home. I love South Indian food. Though I don't really know how to make most of the dishes. This is a shortcut method to making Sambhar, it's tangy and spicy and the perfect accompaniment to hot dosas or idlis!

You need toor (arhar) dal, sambhar powder, tamarind paste, whole red chilies and mustard seeds.

Cook the toor dal in some water with a pinch of turmeric and salt. This should take about 3 whistles if you're using a pressure cooker.

Add the sambhar powder and the tamarind paste to the sambhar and mix thoroughly. Bring the mixture to a simmer and turn the heat off. You could add some more water at this point if you prefer a thinner sambhar; or, you could cook it down for a few minutes if you prefer a thicker sambhar! You then heat up some oil and throw in some mustard seeds and red chilies. Once the mustard seeds have finished spluttering pour the tadka into your sambhar.

Serve the sambhar piping hot with dosas or idlis.


  • 1 cup Toor Dal
  • 3 cup Water
  • 1 pinch Turmeric
  • 1tbsp Tamarind Paste
  • 1tbsp Sambhar Powder
  • 2 dried Red Chilies
  • 1tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1tbsp Oil
Cook the dal with the water, turmeric and salt till it is soft.

Mix the cooked dal, tamarind paste and sambhar powder together and simmer for a minute.

Heat the oil and splutter the mustard seeds and red chili.

Pour the oil mixture (tadka) over the dal and stir.

You could boil the dal again but its not necessary.

Serve hot with dosas and chutney.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

#17 Golden Fried Baby Corn

Varun loves everything crispy. I don't know how many times we've tried to get the perfect crispy chicken. It comes out crispy; but it's never THE crispy chicken. Finally, after months and months of frustration over just not getting it right; he figured out the perfect batter for the crispiest chicken ever. We've made this recipe with baby corn because we had some and didn't want it to go bad! If you love crispy and crunchy things as much as we do, you will LOVE this recipe!

You need baby corn, rice flour (the secret ingredient!), baking powder, salt and water for this recipe.

Mix the water, salt and rice flour together till you have a really thick batter. You can spice your batter with whatever you like. We just used red chili powder and garlic salt. You could add some herbs, or fancy paprika. Whatever tickles your fancy!

Meanwhile, slice each baby corn into half length-ways.

You then dip each piece into the batter and deep fry till golden brown. They take about 5 five minutes per lot. Serve hot with tomato sauce. Don't burn your fingers!

  • 1 cup Rice Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chili Powder (optional)
  • Herbs (optional)
  • Oil for frying
Mix together the rice flour, baking powder, salt and water till you have a thick batter.

Add red chili powder and any other spices or herbs that you like and give it a quick stir.

Wash and slice baby corn in half length-ways.

Dip each piece in the batter and place in hot oil. Deep fry for about five minutes or until golden brown.

Make sure not to crowd too many pieces into the oil as you want to keep the temperature of the oil nice an high. Plus they tend to stick to each other.

Remove from oil, dry on a paper towel and serve with ketchup.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

#16 Cheesy Onion Paratha

This recipe is inspired from my paternal grandmothers Cheese Paratha. There are just a few differences in the flavors, she only fills the parathas with cheese while we go a step further and add onions and red chili flakes. You could go with her way if you want a cheesier paratha. We find this is a little lighter but still as yummy!

The ingredients are very similar to the Aloo Paratha recipe, you just change the potatoes for cheese. So, you need whole wheat flour, cheese, red chili flakes, onions, garlic salt and water for this recipe. You could use regular salt but then add about 2 cloves of minced garlic.

You start off by kneading a soft dough by mixing the flour and water together. You then simply toss the filling ingredients together.

The remaining steps are the same as the Aloo ka Paratha; you fill each little ball of dough with some of the filling, roll it out, and lightly fry it in some clarified butter. These parathas are best served with tomato ketchup and green chili pickle. (Links for the Aloo ka Paratha, Garlic Salt and Green Chili Pickle recipes).

Makes 10 Parathas


  • 200g Cheese, grated
  • 1 large Onion, finely diced
  • 1tsp Red Chili Flakes
  • 1/2tsp Garlic Salt/Regular Salt
  • 2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour (aata)
  • 1 cup Water
  • Clarified Butter (ghee)/Oil for frying
Knead a soft dough by mixing the flour and water together. You may need a little more water or a little less; it depends on the grade of flour used and the weather. Divide into ten equal parts.

Mix the cheese, onion, red chili flakes and garlic salt together. Divide into ten equal parts.

Take a portion of dough and flatten slightly. Place a portion of filling inside and bring up the sides of the dough to encase the filling completely. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly dusted surface. Repeat the same with all the dough and filling.

Cook the parathas on a medium flame for about a minute a side. You won't need more that 1/2 a teaspoon clarified butter/oil per side.

Serve hot with tomato ketchup and Green Chili Pickle.

Friday, 7 March 2014

#15 Cheesy Pea Soup

This is the recipe that changed Varun's opinion on soup. He always imagined soup to be fiddly and nothing to rave about. This soup is nothing like that. It is a meal in itself. Cheesy, peasy, wholesome deliciousness in a bowl. 

You need peas, cheese, water, garlic, red chili powder and salt for this scrumptious soup. You can use either frozen or fresh peas. Parmesan cheese would be really delicious, but even regular processed cheese works!

The first step is to throw your peas, water, garlic and chili powder into a saucepot. You boil this on a medium heat till the peas are softened and cooked through. The proportion of peas to water is 3:1. The easiest way to measure is to fill your mug 3/4 with peas and top it up with water. You can easily multiply this recipe. Pour your cooked peas (water and all) into a food processor. Top it off with some grated cheese; and grind till the soup is quite smooth and creamy.

  • 3/4 cup Peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/4tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 2 cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 50g Cheese, grated
  • Salt
Add the peas, water, garlic and chili powder to a saucepan and boil till the peas are softened.

Pour the mixture into a blender and top off with the cheese. Grind till smooth. Add salt to taste.

If the soup is still hot you can pour it directly into your bowl/mug. If it's cold then give it a boil and then enjoy!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

#14 Roasted Garlic Salt

Well this isn't really a recipe in the traditional sense. It's more of an idea. Numerous recipes call for garlic salt and onion salt. I finally got my hands on some but it was Rs 200 for a bottle. A little steep I say! I still bought the garlic salt and I loved it. It was perfect for dishes where there isn't a lot of cooking involved; you could now have the yummy garlic taste without the stress of raw garlic! Salads and dips were taken to a completely new level with a sprinkle of this scrumptious salt. Even french fries tasted so much better when we used garlic salt in place of regular salt. Understandably, the teeny bottle of salt was finished in two weeks. No way was I going to buy another. I used my brains a bit and figured that I could try making my own. It came out perfect; in fact I'll say this is even better than the bottled garlic salt!

You just need garlic, salt and some herbs for this recipe. Well the herbs are optional, if you have something lying around then you could throw it in; but you don't really need to. You do get garlic flakes and dried garlic in the market so I suppose you could use that. I just used regular garlic in a pod. If you are using dried/flaked garlic then you can go straight to blitzing the garlic and salt in the food processor.

Peel the garlic and roughly chop it up. Spread it out on a baking tray and sprinkle some salt all over. You then pop this in an oven pre-heated at 200C for about 15 minutes. If you don't have an oven, you could actually dry out the garlic in the sun. It won't be 'Roasted Garlic Salt' any more, just 'Garlic Salt'; but it's still yummy. I used to dry the garlic in the sun earlier; but it would take almost a week for the garlic to get dried through. The roasting method is just way easier.

You'll know the garlic is ready when it is beautifully golden and fragrant.

Grind the roasted garlic and remaining salt till it's rather fine. The smell will blow you away! You can add your herbs now - I've used chives, oregano, mixed herbs, Italian Seasoning and so on in the past. This step is entirely up to you and not necessary. You can use this salt as a substitute for regular salt. Even a couple of sliced tomatoes with a sprinkle of garlic salt are yummy! The salt lasts for 3 months at least. It always gets over by then so I don't know the actual shelf life!


  • 2-3 pods Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Salt
  • Herbs (optional)
Spread out the garlic on a baking dish and sprinkle 1/4 cup of salt all over. Roast in an oven pre-heated to 200C for 15 minutes or till the garlic is golden.

Grind the roasted garlic and the remaining salt in a food processor till it's rather fine. You can add the herbs at this point.

Store in an air-tight bottle.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

#13 Easy Peasy Masala Peas

First, an apology for not having posted anything yummy for the past few days. We have had a number of things going on. For starters we finally got curtain rods in the house. So, I was busy stitching the curtains and Varun was busy with his CAT studies (he'd been on a rather extended break). Also, Varun bought me some gorgeous fabric and I've had a lot of stitching inspiration! I've joined a design course, so got rather excited and have been playing around with my new 'drawing book' and all the different kinds of pastels. We really haven't had the time to cook, and have been eating khaman for the past few days! We couldn't take it any longer and the fastest, easiest thing that came to mind were these masala peas.

Varun is a genius when it comes to shortcuts. All his recipes are incredibly easy to make and barely take any time. In spite of that, they are incredibly yummy and you can't help but ask for seconds. Varun's Easy Peasy Masala Peas literally take less than 30 seconds to make. He's made these yummy peas hundreds of times and they are the perfect 'biting'. Also, they are incredibly healthy so you can eat them by the kilo!

The recipe is fairly straightforward. You need peas, red chili powder, dried mango powder, coriander and cumin powder and some salt. You can use either frozen or fresh peas, as long as they're sweet. If you're using frozen, make sure to thaw them (or they'll release water once they hit the heat). You can also adjust the amount of spices that go in, the amounts given below produce a slightly tangy and moderately spicy product.

Heat up just a tad of oil in a frying pan on a high flame and throw the peas in. Quickly toss them for about 10 seconds so they get lightly coated with the oil. Sprinkle all the spices on top and saute for a further 10-15 seconds till the spices release their delicious fragrance! A squeeze of lemon and done!


  • 250g Peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 3/4tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 2tsp Dried Mango Powder (amchur)
  • 2tsp Coriander and Cumin Powder (dhania-jeera powder)
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 2tsp Oil
  • Squeeze of lemon (optional)
Heat up the oil on a high flame and add the peas. Saute for about 10 seconds.

Add all the spices and saute for 10-15 seconds or till the spices become fragrant.

Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

#12 Goan Sausage Chili Fry

We were recently in Goa for a long awaited holiday. The sand, the water and the sun were absolute bliss. Though what people often tend to forget about is Goan cuisine. It has so many influences and the flavors are completely different from other parts of India. It's just been a few days since we got back, but the trip is already fading away. Luckily, we brought something back from Goa that can bring back that moment of bliss for a while - goan sausages (chorico).

We were doing some grocery shopping on our last day in Goa, when I saw a packet of interesting looking sausages on one of the shelves. They simply said 'Goan Sausages' on the packet. Intrigued, I asked Varun if we should pick them up; for Rs250 it was worth the risk. We went back to our hotel and were wondering how exactly you eat them. By asking around, we understood that you have to remove the sausage meat from the casing and cook it. We also managed to get a chili fry recipe from one of the locals. Now, considering we have never eaten this before, we're not sure exactly how 'authentic' the recipe is; but it sure is delicious!!

The sausage chili fry is quite tangy and spicy with a rounded, smoky flavor. It is generally served with pau, but we decided to serve it with hot dosas.

Unfortunately, we only bought one packet :( So, if anyone is coming to Ahmedabad from Goa then please call me!

You will need some goan sausages, potatoes, onions and chilies for this recipe.

Remove the sausage meat from the casing and chop into rather small pieces. Fry in a pan on a medium heat (don't add any oil). These sausages are essentially small pieces of pork mixed with a whole lot of vinegar and spices. They are then smoked before being dried for a couple of days. As the sausage meat is rather fatty, you don't need to add any oil at all!

Fry the sausage meat till the fat releases.

Add the diced onions and stir about. Also, if you feel that your sausages aren't spicy enough you can add some chili now. We added about 1/2tsp of red chili flakes.

Fry the onions with the sausage meat on a medium heat till the onions are translucent.

Add diced potatoes and a splash of water. Cover and cook till the potatoes are soft and cooked through. You may need to add some salt, but this will depend on the intensity of the sausages.

Serves 4


  • 250g Goan Sausage (chorico)
  • 2 Medium Onions, finely diced
  • 1 Large Potato, finely diced
  • Red Chili Powder
  • Salt
Remove the sausage meat from the casing and fry on a medium heat till the fat releases.

Add the onions and chili (if using) and fry till the onions are translucent.

Add the potatoes and water and cover. Cook on a low heat till the potatoes are soft and cooked through.

Taste and add salt accordingly.

Serve hot with bread/dosas/rotis.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

#11 Green Chili Pickle

Dal and rice is a meal that we eat on a regular basis. After some time, one can get a wee bit bored of the same old and need to spice it up a bit. Indian condiments are the best at it. We love pickles and chutneys and always have a couple of bottles lying around.

This pickle came to be for a rather strange reason. We came home one day to find that Aisha had discovered the magic of online grocery shopping. Considering that she rarely buys any groceries; she ended up buying large amounts of things we didn't need and small amounts of those that we did! As you probably guessed already, 250 grams of chilies was something that we definitely didn't need. So I called up my grandmother and after she was done laughing she told me what to do. After a bit of trial and error we have gotten the proportions perfect.

This pickle takes about five minutes of prep, and only 3 days of curing. It couldn't get any better. It's tangy, moderately spicy and 'light' and it's never lasted for more than a week. Hope you love it as much as we do!

We start off by washing a whole bunch of green chilies. You'll also need some vinegar, mustard and salt.

Slit each chili lengthwise.

Now the fun part, throw all the ingredients into a sterilized glass jar and shake-shake!! Once everything is combined, just leave the jar in the sun and shake it every now and then. Done!


  • 250g Green Chilies
  • 50g Mustard Seeds
  • 2tsp Salt
  • 2tbsp Vinegar

Wash the chilies thoroughly and slit each one in half length-ways. Wash the chilies once more.

Grind the mustard seeds to a fine powder.

Sterilize a glass jar in some hot water. Allow it to dry completely.

Fill the jar with the chilies and add all the remaining ingredients. 

Shake the bottle till everything is evenly combined. 

Place the bottle in the sun for 3 days, shaking it every now and then.

This pickle lasts for about a month, and even longer if refrigerated.