Indian cuisine - The Healthy and Tasty way to Life

Indian cuisine has been around for at least 2500-3000 years and it has changed much over the years. The use of many different herbs and spices make each dish quite unique. Each different region in India is known for it's wide selection of different recipes and Indian cooking styles and tastes. Though about one third of the population is strictly vegetarian, there are many different dishes that include chicken, lamb and goat meat. In India though the cow is thought of as a sacred animal therefore you will not find many recipes including beef. Food is such an important part of Indian culture as in most cultures, and plays an important role in the family life and in festival celebrations. There is also usually a dessert served as well.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Peas and Mushroom Biryani

At my home, biryani is always a hit. After all, what's not to love in a dish that combines the richness of a spicy sauce with the pure fragrance of basmati rice and the decadent sweetness of raisins and nuts?But biryanis in restaurants often suffer from fat overload. The rice is usually greasy and so is the sauce. And while all of it tastes pretty good, you get up from the meal feeling like you ate for four instead of one.

1 1/2 cups Basmati rice, washed and drained
4 cloves
4 cardamom pods
1-inch stick of cinnamon
2 bay leaves
3 cups water
1 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 cup green peas (I used frozen)
3 tomatoes1 cup coconut milk
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 1-inch piece ginger, grated finely
6 garlic cloves, crushed into a paste
1/2 cup of cashew pieces and raisins
1 tbsp + 1 tsp canola oil
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
In a spice grinder, grind to a powder, then toast lightly in a dry skillet:
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
3 cardamom pods
3 cloves
1-inch stick of cinnamon
In a saucepan, heat the water and add the whole spices to it. When the water comes to a boil, add the rice.
When most of the water is absorbed by the rice, turn the heat to low, cover tightly with a lid, and let the rice cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in another, larger pot with a tight-fitting lid.
Add the sliced onions and saute over medium heat until the onions turn golden-brown.
Add the ginger and garlic and saute another minute.
Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes have broken down completely.
Add the toasted spices and stir in.
Now add coconut milk and peas and salt. Cook another 5 minutes over low heat.
Now layer the cooked rice on top of the sauce in an even layer. Cover with the lid and cook for about 15 minutes on very low heat.
Heat 1 tsp oil in a saucepan. Add the raisins and nuts and stir until the cashew nuts are lightly browned.
Garnish the biryani with the nuts and raisins and coriander leaves. You can also garnish with crisply fried onions.



Shredded colocassia leaves cooked with chana dal, peanuts and gramflour. Ingredients Colocassia leaves (arbi ke patte) 8 Split Bengal gram (chana dal) 1/4 cup Oil 3 tablespoons Mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon Asafoetida a pinch Fenugreek seeds (methi dana) 1/4 teaspoon Green chillies, chopped 4-5 Turmeric powder 1/4 teaspoon Curry leaves 5-6 Peanuts, roasted and crushed 1/4 cup Salt to taste Jaggery (gur), grated 3/4 tablespoon Gram flour (besan) 1/4 cup Coconut, scraped 1/2 cup

Preparation Time : 1 hour

Cooking Time : 20 minutes


1. Clean the colocassia leaves well and shred them finely. Soak the chana dal for an hour. Drain.

2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, green chillies, turmeric powder, curry leaves and sauté.

3. Add shredded colocassia leaves and sauté for a minute. Let it cook in its steam for three to four minutes.

4. Add soaked chana dal, crushed peanuts, salt and jaggery. Mix well.

5. Add a little warm water and when ingredients are cooked mash it well.

6. Make a thick batter by adding a little water to the gram flour and add to the mixture. Cook till it thickens a little.

7. Add fresh coconut and mix well. Serve hot.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mamidikaya Kura Recipe - Sweet Mango Curry

Mamidikaya Kura Recipe - Sweet Mango Curry
Recipe source:

Prep & Cooking: 40 mts
Serves 6 persons
Cuisine: Andhra

Ingredients:1 raw mango, chopped into pieces along with skin – preferably thotapuri or bainganpalli variety
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp methi (fenugreek seeds)
½ tsp cumin seeds
10-12 crushed garlic flakes
2 big onions finely chopped
2 tomatoes finely chopped
salt to taste
¼ tsp turmeric pwd
1 tsp red chilli pwd
3 cups of water
½ cup grated jaggery

1 Pre-heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the methi and cumin seeds and let them turn brown.

2 Add the crushed garlic flakes and fry for a few seconds. Add the chopped onions and sauté till pink. Add salt, turmeric pwd and chilli pwd and combine.

3 Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 5-6 mts. Now add the mango pieces and mix well till they are well coated with the masala mixture. Cook covered for 4-5 mts on medium heat.

4 Add water and cook on high flame for 5 mts. Reduce heat and cook further for another 8-10 mts or till the water evaporates.

5 Add the grated jaggery and cook for 10 mts on low flame till water evaporates and you get the curry consistency.

6 Serve with hot steamed white rice or rotis.

Homemade Almond Milk

Almonds (Badam) - one cup
Water - 5 cups
Maple syrup - Half cup (or sugar to taste)

Soak almonds in water overnight or for at least four hours.Drain the water. Rinse the almonds and take them in a blender.Adding water gradually, puree to smooth.Pour through a muslin cloth into a big pitcher or bowl to extract milk.Run the pulp through blender one more time, adding water.Strain through muslin cloth for milk, and save the pulp to add in curries.To the almond milk, add maple syrup. Mix with a spoon.Refrigerate for half an hour. Drink or enjoy with cereal, oatmeal or poha.

Murgh Hara Tikka

Serve these creamy soft kebabs with a spicy mint and coriander chutney to make a decent impression.

Feeds 10-15:
Murgh Hara Tikka
1.5 kgs chicken breast
140 ml sour cream
4 tbsp thick, full fat natural yogurt
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp fennel seeds
6 cloves
6 green cardamoms
Quarter tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
2 tbsp meat tenderiser
Handful of fresh coriander leaves
2 green chillies
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt to taste
Dhaniya Pudina chutney
125 gm fresh coriander leaves
125 gm fresh mint leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
3 green finger chillies
Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade (400 degrees Fahrenheit).
Cut the chicken breasts into large bite-sized chunks. Normally I never use chicken breasts, but these are going to be beaten into submission with the tenderiser and marinade.
Sprinkle the whole spices onto a baking tray and heat for a minute. Turn the oven off. Then blitz the spices in a food processor with all the ingredients bar the oil and tenderiser. Add salt to make a strong marinade.
In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients and leave to sit for an hour or as long as you can. When you are ready to go, preheat the oven again and bake for 10 minutes on either side.
While the chicken is cooking, make the chutney. Discard the hard stalks on the herbs and puree all the ingredients together to make a spicy, tangy green sauce.
Arrange the kebabs around a little pot of chutney and enjoy hot or cold.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spiced Curry Leaves Rice Recipe

Spiced Curry Leaves Rice Recipe
Prep & Cooking: 30 mts
Cuisine: Andhra
3 cups cooked and cooled white rice (each grain should be seperate)
1 1/4 cups fresh curry leaves
1 tbsp split gram dal
1/2 tbsp bengal gram
8-9 black pepper corns
pinch of turmeric pwd
2 tsps oil
salt to taste
For tempering/poppu/tadka:
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida (optional)
1 Heat a tsp of oil in a heavy bottomed vessel and add the dals and toss them till they turn red. Add the pepper corns and toss for a minute. Turn of heat and cool.
2 In the same vessel, heat another tsp of oil and add the curry leaves and on low-medium heat, toss them constantly till they change color and turn crisp. Don’t burn them. This could take about 4-5 mts. Turn off heat and cool.
3 Grind the toasted dals and pepper corns to a coarse powder. Add the toasted curry leaves and grind to a coarse pwd. Remove and keep aside.
4 Heat oil for tempering in the same vessel, add the mustards seeds and let them splutter. Add the asafoetida and toss for a few seconds. Turn off heat.
5 Add the cooked rice to the tempering, sprinkle salt and turmeric pwd. Add the ground curry leaves-spices pwd and combine till well blended. Adjust salt.
6 Serve hot with yogurt (perugu) or pachadi of your choice.

Garlic Infused Ghee

The following quantity makes about one cup of garlic-infused ghee and quarter cup garlic-ghee puree.
Unsalted butter - 4 OZ (113 grams)
Garlic cloves - 6 to 8, skins peeled
Black peppercorn - 8
Salt - a pinch
Tea or coffee strainer
Small mortar and pestle.
For preparation
1. Finely slice each garlic clove into thin layers. Inside you see white or pale green stem. The pure white ones are preferable for this recipe, and discard the garlic if you see any green growth inside.
2. Place the garlic and butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

The garlic and ghee will look like this in the beginning.
3. After about 20-30 minutes of slow simmering, the butter changes to crystal-clear, aromatic ghee. Pale reddish-brown sediment forms at the bottom of the pan. The garlic also changes to soft and golden. Turn off the heat now.
4. Pour the garlic-ghee through a strainer into a cup. The golden sediment and garlic will get separated from garlic-infused ghee.
5. Take the contents of strainer in a mortar. Add peppercorn and salt. Gently mash them to coarse paste.
6. Allow the garlic-ghee puree and garlic-infused ghee to cool. Store them in clean jars.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chocolate Coconut burfis

12 medium sized Coconut burfis

1 chocolate bar of your choice.

Break the chocolate bar into big chunks.

Take them in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave, stirring in-between. Usually it takes one to two minutes for the chocolate to become shiny liquid.

Line a plate with parchment paper or wax paper.

To chocolate coat: Dip the coconut burfi into the melted chocolate with your fingers or with a fork. Completely submerge and cover. Lift, and run a knife underside and to the sides, to remove excess chocolate. Place the burfi on a wax or parchment covered plate. Quickly coat all the pieces in same way. Place the tray in a cool place, or refrigerate. Once the coating firms-up, gently remove them from plate and store them by placing a wax paper in-between.

Coconut burfi coated with chocolate tastes superb and for choco-cocoholics, this is a simple and easy way to indulge in chocolate-coconut cravings.

Chestnut Kosambari

Chestnut Kosambari ~ Recipe
Roasted chestnuts (Snack section, Chinese grocery)
Homemade yogurt
Black pepper and salt to taste
Roughly chop chestnuts, lettuce and watermelon to bite-sized pieces.Take them in a bowl and combine.Whisk yogurt with pepper and salt. Pour over the chopped ingredients.Toss and serve immediately.Enjoy the chestnut kosambari as a light mid-day meal.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Doi maach or Yoghurt fish curry

Recipe which feeds 4

2 large pieces of skate, halved
2 large onions
1 inch fresh ginger
Half tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
2 bay leaves
2 green chillies
1 tbsp raisins
Half tsp garam masala (optional)
1 tsp sugar
350 gm thick natural yogurt (Greek or full fat version)
1 tsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp mustard oil
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt to taste

Wash the fish well and marinate with the turmeric and chilli powder, some salt and leave to sit in a mixing bowl.
Slice one onion finely and puree the other with the ginger. Then bring the sunflower oil to heat over a high flame in a heavy bottomed and preferably non-stick frying pan.
When the oil starts sizzling, fry the fish pieces gently on either side until pale brown and well sealed. Now remove them onto to a plate.
Next, add the mustard oil to the pan and bring it to heat over a high flame. When it starts sizzling, add the bay leaf and almost immediately the sliced onions.
Fry this, stirring regularly until the onions yellow from the turmeric fish marinade starts going golden brown on the edges.
At this stage, mix in the pureed onion and ginger. Stir like a maniac on a high flame, helping the whole lot turn a pale golden colour. You will need to keep adding two tablespoons of water at a time to prevent the masalas from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
This takes a good 20 minutes and don’t give up too early or the dish will taste raw at the end. While the onion masala cooks, beat the yogurt with an equal amount of warm water, the sugar and flour. This will prevent it from splitting.
When the onion stops smelling raw and pungent and takes on a brown colour, lower the flame to low for two minutes. Stir in the yogurt and the green chillies and simmer until the curry has an even pale, golden colour.
Add this stage, lower the fish into the curry, sprinkle the garam masala and raisins and leave to simmer until oil reappears through little pores on top of the curry.
Serve with rice cooked with a tablespoon of ghee for an authentic touch.

Plum Fruit Chaat

Recipe : Use your favorite fruits in this recipe.

5 plums - peel the skin. Halve. Remove the seed. Slice to small

1 apple - peel, core and slice to bite-sized pieces.

Ruby orange - cut and squeeze the juice

¼ teaspoon each - salt, black pepper and amchur powder

Take salt, black pepper and amchur in a mortar. With a pestle gently mix them together. This is chaat masala, my version. You could also add cumin to the mix.
Take the fruits in a bowl. Pour over the ruby orange juice. Sprinkle the chaat masala. Add honey or sugar if you like. Toss. Spoon the chaat into cups. Enjoy. Makes two to four servings.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thotakoora (Chauli) Vepudu - Amaranth leaves stir fry

Thotakoora Vepudu Recipe
Prep & Cooking: 30 mts
Serves: 3-4
Cuisine: Andhra

4 big bunches fresh amaranth leaves (picked, use tender stalks) chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
big pinch turmeric pwd
salt to taste
2-3 tsps oil
Make a coarse paste:
2 tbsp coriander leaves
2 green chillis
1 tbsp coconut (optional)
For popu/tadka/seasoning:
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp split gram dal
1 dry red chillis de-seeded
1 sprig curry leaves
pinch of asafoetida/hing

Boil the chopped amaranth leaves in just enough water (half a cup of water, approx) for 8-10 mts.
1. Drain the left over water and use it to prepare chapati dough.
2 Heat oil, add the mustard seeds and once they splutter, add the cumin seeds, split gram dal, red chillis, curry leaves and saute for half a minute. Add asafoetida and stir for 2-3 seconds.
3 Add the onions and saute till transparent. Add salt and turmeric pwd and saute further for a minute. Add the ground paste and stir fry for 5-6 mts.
4 Add the boiled amaranth leaves and saute for 12-15 mts (without lid) or till done. Serve hot with rice.

Another option is to soak 1 tbsp yellow moong dal for a few mts and drain and grind it along with green chillis and coriander leaves.

Info on Amaranth greens - very good source of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, dietary minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese. More info on the nutritional values of amaranth leaves - cooked, boiled and drained.

Peanuts with Pudina Pachadi

1 bunch fresh pudina (spearmint)
1 onion and 4 green chillies
Marble-sized tamarind
1 tablespoon peanut oil
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
Soak tamarind in quarter cup of warm water for about ten minutes to soften, so that it blend well. Meanwhile wash and pluck the pudina leaves and also tender stems. (Two cups tightly packed.) Peel and slice onion to big chunks. Cut chillies to two pieces.
Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet to a smoking point. Add and toast cumin for few seconds. Add the onion and chillies. Saute to pale brown. Remove to a plate. Then in the same skillet, add the pudina and saute until leaves collapse. Remove to a plate. Wait for the contents to reach room temperature.
Take peanuts in a
Sumeet style mixer or blender. Pulse for few minutes. Then add the roasted onion, chilli, cumin and mint leaves. Also salt and the tamarind along with the water it soaked in. Puree to smooth paste. Add water if necessary, about another half cup for easy blending.
Pudina pachadi is best eaten the day it is made.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bengali cheesecake for the soul

Feeds 6:
500 gm low fat natural yoghurt
400 gm condensed milk
4 green cardamoms
About 10-12 saffron strands
2 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 190 Degrees Centigrade. Put the cardamoms in a large shallow baking tray in the oven for about five minutes. Heat the milk with the saffron strands in the microwave fr 10 seconds and leave until later.
In the meantime, mix the yogurt and condensed milk together until smooth. Crush the cardamoms and stir them into the cheesecake mix.
Fill six little ramekins or a pyrex baking dish with the doi or yoghurt. Place in the large, shallow baking tray. Fill this tray with enough hot water to come half way up to the ramekins/dish. Then carefully place the whole lot in the oven for 10 minutes.
After this time, spoon a couple of saffron strands and a little bit of the golden milk on top of the yoghurt. Keep cooking for another five minutes until the cheesecake has set. A fork inserted should come out clean.
Leave to sit for 10 minutes and then refridgerate for later. This is a delicious low fat desert after a full meal - only 6 grams of fat per serving.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Homemade naan

Homemade naan
I got the time needed to get these babies finished down to three hours.
Of course, two and half of those you don’t actually have to do anything.
Except take loving looks at the dough. And gloat about your own genius.
The dough really is the sticky part. First it clung to my powder pink painted finger nails like Elasto Girl. I got it off with a butter knife and plain white (all purpose) flour.Then the whole lot doubled into this enormous, heaving pile of naan dough that no amount of finger nail action could rescue. So I rolled them in some more plain white flour. The whole lot contracted. Making the early addition of yeast fairly pointless. At which point I stormed out of my kitchen swearing like a Bengali fishwife.
If I am perfectly honest, this recipe was not bad for a first try.
However, it is in no way ready to be sprung upon you greasy-elbowed lovelies.Thankfully, I am not ready to accept defeat yet. A blow by blow account of try 2 will follow. Hopefully, with a recipe in tow.In the meantime, cherish your nearest readymade naan. And remember: naan means bread. So saying “naan bread” is inexcusable. However sticky the situation…

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Paneer Tikka

Cottage cheese and capsicum marinated in tandoori spices. This is a complete microwave dish.

2 cups panir, diced(cottage cheese)
1/2 cup red capsicums, chopped
1/2 cup thick curds
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves(kasuri methi)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1 teaspoon chat masala
1 tablespoon oil

Combine the curds,ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder, kasuri methi, garam masala, coriander, oil and salt and mix well to prepare a marinade.
Add the paneer and capsicum and keep aside for 15-25 minutes.
Arrange the marinated paneer and capsicum pieces in a shallow glass dish and microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes.
Serve hot,sprinkled with chaat masala.

Basic sweet lassi

This is a basic sweet lassi recipe that is slightly lower in fat and sugar than the type found in restaurants. It can be doubled, tripled, etc. If all of your ingredients are cold you can skip the ice cubes (my preference).

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons Splenda sugar substitute
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon rose water

Blend all ingredients together.
Pour into a cup.
If desired, garnish with an ice cube, some ground cardamom, or a tiny sprinkle of crushed almonds or pistachios (all optional).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How to make Good Masala Peanuts

The Best Chicken Biryani Masala Video

Super Easy Chicken Biryani

Super Easy Chicken Biryani

I know easy is a relative term. Making Biryani is never that easy, it is normally a multi step process - prepare the meat and the gravy, fry the rice, cook the rice, mix the rice with the gravy and bake for a while… give or take and mix and match some steps here and there, it is a slightly complicated process! So when I found a recipe in one of my cookbooks where the process is made much simpler, really just a two step process, I was a little skeptical, but wanted to give it a try anyway.

This recipe is adapted from Mrs.B.F. Varughese’s Recipes for All Occasions Part 2. What makes this an easy recipe is, there is no frying rice beforehand, or baking afterwards. Prepare the chicken gravy, add some coconut milk and water to get the desired quantity of liquid to cook the rice, add the soaked rice and leave it on the stove on low heat till you are ready to eat! Isn’t that simple? There is no oven or pressure cooker involved in this process. All you need is a Dutch oven or any deep pan with a heavy base and a tight lid.

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

2 cups Basmati rice
1.5 lb chicken with bones (I used two whole legs)
1.5 tbsp ground ginger
1.5 tbsp ground garlic
1.5 tbsp ground shallots
1.5 tbsp coriander powder
1 cup yogurt
2 cups water
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cups coconut milk
3 cups thin onion slices
10 whole black peppercorns
1 star anise
8 cloves
8 cardamoms
1″ piece of cinnamon
4 green chilies sliced thin (I used the Serrano chilies, if using a smaller variety, add more according to desired spiciness).
1 cup diced tomato pieces
1/2 cup minced mint leaves
1/2 cup minced coriander leaves
Salt to taste
cashew nuts and fried onions for garnish
5 tbsp ghee (I use oil, doesn’t really make a big difference in taste to me)


Wash and soak the rice in water for about an hour.
Cut the chicken into medium sized pieces. I cut each leg into three pieces.
Mix the ground ginger, garlic and shallots with the coriander powder to make a paste.
Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a pan large enough to cook the chicken pieces. Add the ground paste and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and fry till the pieces start to brown. Add the yogurt and 2 cups of water and cook till chicken pieces are about half cooked and more than half the gravy is gone. Mix the lemon juice and remove from fire, there will be about 1 cup of gravy remaining at this point. Make sure you don’t overcook the chicken.
Heat the remaining oil in the Dutch oven. Add the star anise, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and saute for a minute. Add the sliced green chilies and saute for another minute. Add the onion slices and fry till they start to brown. Drain the prepared chicken pieces from the gravy and add to the onions along with the tomato pieces and saute till the juice dries up.
In the mean time measure the remaining gravy from the chicken, add the coconut milk and enough water to make the total amount of liquid into 4 1/2 cups. Add the liquid into the Dutch oven and bring it to a boil. Add the mint and coriander leaves and stir well. Add salt to taste.
Now drain and add the soaked rice to the Dutch oven. Bring the liquid again to a boil on high heat. As soon as it starts boiling, reduce the heat all the way to the lowest setting and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Leave this on the stove for about an hour or more, till you are ready to eat. Do not by any means remove the lid in the mean time. I know, you will be tempted to open and check if the rice is getting ready. But the rice is being cooked by the steam and you don’t want to waste away any of the steam do you? Just trust me and trust the steam to do its job.
After an hour (or more if you have the time), open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Garnish with fried nuts and fried onions and serve with a side of plain raitha.
This biryani was delicious! Siv even commented that this is the best chicken biryani he’s ever had, which doesn’t really mean anything, but he did polish off a lot of it.
The best thing I like about this recipe is the process. The recipe and the ingredients are very versatile. You can stick with your normal biryani ingredients, make the gravy and just follow this process, you won’t make out that the rice is not fried and baked. This involves a slightly longer cooking time than the regular biryani, but the majority of the time is spent on the stove without you having to do anything with it. So you can concentrate on more important activities like blogging during that time.

Source :

Tuesday, March 11, 2008



Ingredients refined flour (maida) 1½ ,cupssoda bicarbonate ¼, teaspoonolive oil + to deep fry 2/3 cup, yogurt beaten 8 tablespoons , sugar 2 cups , milk 2 tablespoons ,pistachios finely chopped 4-5

1. Sift refined flour and soda bicarbonate together into a bowl.
2. Rub in two-thirds cup of olive oil into the flour mixture till it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add beaten yogurt and knead into soft dough. Cover and allow it to rest for forty-five minutes.
4. Divide into twelve equal portions and shape into smooth balls. Take care not to overwork the dough.
5. Make a slight dent in the center of the ball with your thumb. Keep the balls covered.
6. Heat sufficient oilin a kadai and when it is medium hot, add the prepared dough balls and deep fry on very low heat. If necessary you may place a tawa below the kadai so that the oil does not get too hot.
7. Gradually the balushahis will start floating to the top. Turn gently and fry on the other side till golden. The entire process may take around half an hour to forty-five minutes.
8. Drain and allow to cool to room temperature. This can be an overnight process.
9. Heat together sugar and one cup of water till it reaches a two-string consistency. Midway through add milk to the cooking syrup so that the scum rises to the surface. Carefully remove this scum and discard.
10. Remove the syrup from heat and soak the fried balushahis in it for thirty minutes.
11. Gently remove the balushahis from the sugar syrup and place on a serving plate. Garnish with pistachios. Serve when the sugar has hardened.
Mention of balushahi takes me back to my childhood days in Delhi. Especially during Diwali it was a must. Flaky but not hard, with a sprinkling of pistachios this round doughnut like mithai is what sweet dreams are made of.

The Famous Chicken Tikka

Badam (Almond) Katlee

Badam (Almond) Katlee

250 gms. almonds (soaked overnight)
200 gms. Sugar powdered
few tbsp. milk
Silver foil (optional)
1. Drain and change water from almonds.
2. Peel almonds, keep aside.
3. Wash once more, to remove any traces of brownishness.
4. Grind to a fine paste, using as little milk as possible.
5. In a heavy large skillet, mix paste and sugar.
6. Cook, stirring constantly, using a large handled spoon or spatula.
7. Take care of splattering in initial stages.
8. Also, do not stop stirring, or the mixture burnt and stuck to bottom of skillet will spoil the taste.
9. When a soft lump is form, which leaves sides of skillet easily, take off fire.
10. Grease a clean work surface and a rolling pin with melted ghee.
11. Put lump on it, roll quickly while still warm, to 1/5" thickness.
12. Apply silver foil, and press lightly with foil paper.
13. Mark out long diamond shapes with a sharp knife.
14. When almost cool, remove carefully with a sharp edged wide spatula.
15. Cool completely before storing in layers between sheets of butter paper.
Making time: 1 hour (excluding soaking and grinding time)
Makes: 35 katlees (approx.)Shelflife: 1 week (more if refrigerated)

Indian cuisine has been around for at least 2500-3000 years and it has changed much over the years. The use of many different herbs and spices make each dish quite unique. Each different region in India is known for it's wide selection of different recipes and Indian cooking styles and tastes. Though about one third of the population is strictly vegetarian, there are many different dishes that include chicken, lamb and goat meat. In India though the cow is thought of as a sacred animal therefore you will not find many recipes including beef. Food is such an important part of Indian culture as in most cultures, and plays an important role in the family life and in festival celebrations. Most families in India still sit down together to enjoy their meals with one another. There are a couple of main courses and they are usually served along with different pickles, chutneys and of course different types of Indian bread, which is called "roti". There is also usually a dessert served as well.

Indian cooking has many different styles throughtout all of India. For that matter, there is really not one accepted style of Indian cuisine but rather many different styles. So if you travel to India you will find that the food prepared by the people and restaurants in that area will be different in each area. Of course there will be some similarities but it will also be very different from place to place.