Popular Recipes

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"Chatpata Chaat"- Basket Chaat

Who doesn't like chaat?? It's mouthwatering tasty, sweet-sour,spicy,crunchy ....with so many textures and tastes going in one dish it's hard to resist.....and too tempting!
'Basket chaat' is especially dear to me.It takes me back to days..when 'M' and I were dating (the Indian way! )There was this place on FC road..'Maan meet'....(has anyone else been there?) which served all kinds of Lucknowi chaats.'M' and I went there ..well to 'hide' from everyone else and also for the 'Basket chaat'.They used to make their baskets with sev molded into baskets.
I am sure all the Puneites are nostalgic about this chaat.I know my friend 'A' is.....just last week she was asking me about the recipe.....
My mom read the recipe somewhere and tried it.She made the baskets differently though..with rava and maida.I like to make the way she makes it....and here is her recipe.
For the Crispy Baskets-
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup rava
1/4th tsp salt
1tbsp hot oil
Oil for frying
1) Mix Rava,all purpose flour,salt, hot oil and knead well.The dough should be 'hard' and not soft.
2) Roll out into thin circle.Place the circle on a steel bowl/mold/vaati.Make the dough fit snugly on the molds outer side.
3) Fry the dough along with the mold in hot oil. Remove the mold gently after the dough is set in oil.
4) Fry both sides of the basket on low flame till golden brown.Drain on paper towel.
5) Store in airtight container after cooling.
For Filling
Filling in Basket chaat is pretty versatile.You can add whatever you like..like boiled potato/corn/ chick peas/soya chunks etc etc.
Season the above with salt,chili powder,cumin coriander powder,chaat masala.
For Tamarind-Jaggery-Mint Chutney
1)Dissolve 1/4 cup jaggery in 1/2 cup water.Add 1/2-1 tsp tamarind paste.Mix
2) Add 1tsp mint paste,salt,chili powder,chaat masala.Stir.
Assembly of the Basket Chaat:
1) Place the basket in serving plate.Fill with boiled mashes potato/corn/chick peas filling.
2) Top with finely chopped onions,tomatoes,sev/farsan, tamarind chutney,cilantro.
3) Dig in!

'Everyday Cooking'- Layered Chicken Biryani

Before starting to cook for lunch, asked 'M' whether he would like 'Chicken curry' or Chicken Biryani' for lunch? 'M' is not a big fan of rice.He says,when he was a graduate student in Chicago,all he and his roommates would cook was....rice. It was easiest thingto cook and so he has had so much rice during those years..that now..he tries to avoid it whenever possible!

But, I have seen him eat rice whole heartily in one dish....'Chicken Biryani'.

With his approval on hand,I set to cook Chicken Biryani with 'layers'. Many 'dum biryani' recipes layer the rice and chicken alternately..and that's how famous 'Trushna's Biryani house' in Pune used to make it ,that's how my mom used to make it..and that's how I like to cook it too!

Recipe for Chicken :


1 lb boneless chicken( you can use with bones too) cut into cubes

2 medium onions chopped vertically

1/2 cup grated coconut(fresh or dry)

2 tbsp tomato puree

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp grated ginger

1/2tsp sesame seeds

2tsp cilantro leaves and stems

1/2tsp chicken curry masala

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp cumin-coriander powder

2tsp mint paste

1tsp cumin seeds

1-2 bay leaves

1tbsp oil

salt to taste

1) Heat 1tsp oil, add the chopped onions and fry till golden brown.Add coconut,roast till brownish colored.Blend into smooth paste along with cilantro,garlic,ginger,sesame seeds.Keep aside.

2) Heat 2tsp oil,add bay leaves, cumin,the above paste and fry for 5-6 mins.Add turmeric,garam masala,chicken curry masala, chili powder,cumin coriander powder,tomato paste,mint paste,salt and fry again for 2-3 mins.

3) Add the cubes chicken and let it cook till well done.Add little water as and when needed.But the gravy should be thick and not too runny.

4) Garnish with cilantro leaves.
Recipe for Rice Pulav:


1 cup Basmati rice,washed and drain

2 cups hot boiling water

1/2 cup mixed vegetable cut into small pieces (carrots,green beans,peas,corn etc)

2tsp ghee/butter

1/2tsp cumin

5-6 cloves

1/4tsp cinnamon powder

1/8tsp black pepper

1/8tsp cardamom powder

5-6 saffron sticks

Salt to taste

1) Heat 2tsp ghee,add cumin,cloves,rice and fry for 3-4 mins.

2) Add boiling hot water,black pepper,cinnamon,cardamom,saffron ,salt,vegetables etc and let it cook till almost well done.

3) Rice should be cooked,but individual grains should be seen (rice shouldn't be sticky).

4) Remove onto a plate and let cool.

For garnishing:

1) Fry 1 potato into finger chips

2) Fry 1 small onion into vertical chips

3) Roasted cashews

4)Chopped cilantro

5) Saffron sticks mixed in 1tsp milk

Layering Chicken and Rice to make Biryani:

1) In a heavy bottom pan, add 1tsp oil.Add 1/2 of the cooked chicken with gravy,some fried onions.

2) Add about 1/2 of the cooked rice on the chicken.

3) Sprinkle few drops of saffron milk and sticks

4) Add the remaining chicken,onions, cashews etc

5) Layer with remaining rice ,fried onions,potatoes,cashews.Sprinkle with saffron sticks in milk.

6) Close the pan with a tight lid.

7) Place the pan on a tava and then on a stove (this way the biryani won't burn when steaming/dum)

8) Steam the biryani for about 8-10 mins Without letting much steam escape.

9) Garnish with cashews,cilantro and Serve hot.

10) Can be served with cucumber raita/tomato soup/papad etc

Friday, September 18, 2009

'Everyday Cooking'- Moong Dal+Rava Uttapa

Moong Dal+ Rava Uttapa
Amongst my favorite cuisines, I would rank 'South Indian' food in the top places.Growing up in multicultural Pune (Maharashtra,India),south indian food was on the menu of most of the restaurants. Though the variety was limited to idlies, dosas, uttapas and vadas. Even at home, idlies and dosas were made quite frequently.After coming to USA, amongst the many things I miss about India, are, the udipi restaurants and their paper thin,crisp dosas served with steaming hot sambar and spicy coconut chutney.'M' and I sometimes visit New Jersey for 1 reason....eat authentic south indian food! Yeah..it sounds crazy..that we drive 3-4 hrs from here down to NJ...but it is worth it! Even the temple in Bridgewater,NJ has a very good cafeteria with good south indian food.
My mom used to make these fluffy moong dal uttapas at home in Pune.I make them a bit differently.She made them with moong dal alone.I prefer to add rava.I don't even know, whether there is 'really' this particular kind of uttapa in south indian cooking (My South Indian friends..can help me here),but let me tell you, it is delicious and nutritious. Even 'E' loved it! Actually today, when he got back from his pre-school,first thing he said was' mummm mumm' i.e food.He was starving,he probably did not eat any snacks they gave him at school.So, as soon as I gave him the uttapa with chutney and sambar,he finished it right away!
1 cup yellow split moong dal
1&1/2 cups rava
1/2 cup sour yogurt
1 green chili
2 cloves garlic
1 onion finely chopped
1 green chili finely chopped
1 tomato cut into thin rounds
2tsp cilantro finely chopped
1/2tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste
1)Soak the yellow moong dal overnight
2) Grind with 1 green chili,and garlic into a smooth paste.
3) Add the rava,yogurt,and water to make thick batter.
4) Put in a warm place for 4-5 hrs.
5) Add cumin seeds, salt, mix the batter.Thin out with water if needed.
6) Heat a nonstick pan on medium heat.Rub the surface with oil, and spread 1 tbsp batter into a thick circle.
7) Top with tomato,onion,cilantro and green chillies.Dab little oil on the edges.
8) Cover with lid and cook for about 2 mins.Flip the uttapa and cook again for 2-3 mins until golden brown and crisp.
9) Serve with spicy Coconut-cilantro-mint chutney and steaming hot sambar.

Coconut Cilantro Mint Chutney
1/2 cup grated coconut (fresh or dried)
1 tbsp dalia (i.e yellow 'pandharpuri' dal added to chivdas)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2tsp chopped mint
1 green chili
1 clove garlic
salt,sugar to taste
1tsp oil, 1/4tsp cumin,mustard seeds for 'tadaka'
1) Grind together coconut,cilantro,mint,green chillies,dalia,garlic with salt and sugar.Grind into smooth paste.
2) Heat 1tsp oil and mustard seeds,cumin. Once they crackle, add to the chutney.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

'Everyday Cooking'-Tomato soup (semi homemade way)

Tomato Soup/Saar

Was driving 'E' back from his gymnastics class yesterday evening and thinking as I was driving...umm what do I feel like eating for dinner?? Pizza...yes Pizza! But quickly dismissed the thought....as I remembered there were enough left overs from lunch which we could eat for dinner. And also, last week, during our Cape Cod trip we had pizza a lottt of times..So..no pizza

:( I thought...

But.....when I got home 'M' said he was wondering if we could order...(guess what????? ) for dinner?? PIZZA!!!!!! Even he was craving the same! This has happened a lot of times before...'M' and I think alike a lot of times! You know..as they say....married couples start becoming like each other in each others company....I believe its true! We are becoming 'one' truly!

It's good in lot of different ways...but I guess..NOT..when both feel like eating pizza ...way too many times! Especially when worrying about going past certain(don't want to mention!) mark on the weigh scale!

Anyways.....we ordered the 'Chicken supreme' pizza with extra jalapenos from Pizza Hut. To go along with the pizza (and to feel less guilty about ordering outside food) I decided to make my 'semi homemade' tomato soup.

I have been making this soup for quite sometime now....and it has sort of become a staple for all my party menus.The reasons being: its easy to make, and evvvveryyyyone likes it....from my mother in law to my mom.....and from 'E' and 'M' to all my friends seem to love it...

I buy the canned Campbell's condensed tomato soup cans,and jazz it up my way...

The canned soup saves me tons of efforts of boiling the tomatoes, peeling...blending etc etc.And believe it or not....its cheap to buy this can than to but tomatoes to yield the same amount of soup.

I don't really know how I have come up with this recipe...but this concoction works just perfect!

It's mix of Indian and Italian spices and herbs.....which gives this soup a very warm and comforting flavor.It's sour, sweet, spicy all at the same time.Perfect on those cold winter nights or as an accompaniment to other dishes.


1 can Campbell's canned tomato soup(or any other brand would do)
1&1/2 to 2 cans water (usually on the can,recipe calls for only 1 can water.But I add more)

1/4 tsp cumin

5-6 curry leaves

1/8tsp black pepper powder

1/8tsp grated ginger

1/8tsp Italian seasoning/or just dried basil

1/8 tsp cinnamon powder

1/8tsp chili powder

Salt,sugar to taste

2tsp ghee/butter

Croutons,cilantro for garnishing


1) Heat 1tsp ghee/butter in a pan.Add cumin,grated ginger,curry leaves.Fry for 30 secs.

2) Add the canned condensed tomato soup, 2 cans of water,mix well and let simmer.

3) Add black pepper,chili powder,Italian seasoning,cinnamon powder,salt and sugar.

4)Let it simmer for 3-4 mins

5) Garnish with cilantro, ghee and croutons

6) Enjoy Hot!

About my Blogs name...

'M' just pointed out to me this morning that he found blogs with similar names when he was browsing the net....there was 'Aromas of my Kitchen' ...'My Kitchen Aromas' etc etc...
My sincere apology to those other blog owners, but the resemblance in the name was purely unintentional and did not mean to 'copy' or hurt anyone.
When I was thinking about starting this blog....the first thing came to my mind was....sharing my kitchen/passion with everyone.....and what other quality of food other than 'aroma' can travel faster?
So....'Kitchen' and 'Aroma' were definitely the words I wanted in my blog. And so.....put them together to make: MyKitchensAroma
But did not quite realize in this 'blogging' world....there are many who think alike...my mistake!
Anyways..as long as all live in harmony and have no hard feelings....we are good!
Hope 'MyKitchensAroma' brings the joy and satisfaction I desire from my cooking and sharing.... to me and to all!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

'Everyday cooking'-Butternut Squash curry and chutney

Butternut Squash

Went grocery shopping last evening with 'E'. 'M' stayed @home because he wasn't feeling very well( and well..he isn't a grocery shopping enthusiast either!) He has this theory,where scientists work on making a 'food capsule',which you take once every 6 months..and you don't need to go grocery shopping,cook, eat and do the dishes! How convenient..and ya..how lazy????
At the grocery store,there were these fresh pumpkins and all kinds of colorful squash.'E' loved to look at those and touch them. I usually buy the 'precut' butternut squash,as it makes my life easier and they do a pretty good job of cutting into neat squares.But yesterday I thought..oh well..'E' will love to take a whole one home.So I bought this whole butternut squash.
This morning 'E' woke up and sensed that we are getting him ready for his pre school(Which just started last week..and ohh boyy..there is a lotttt of crying and 'mumma' mumma' there.) He started crying and telling me he doesn't want to go to school.Just to distract him,I reminded about the pumpkins we saw at the grocery store yesterday...and that mumma is going to make 'pumpkin curry/bhaaji' for him today after he comes back from school. I got him ready..and started for school.Throughout the way he kept crying..and telling me 'I want to eat pumpkin bhaaji..I want to eat Pumpkin bhaaji'!!!!! My poor little one...he thought if I make the bhaaji now,he doesn't have to go to school! How innocent!

Squash Curry/Bhaaji

2 cups Butternut Squash cut into cubes
1 green chilli
5-6 Curry leaves
1/4tsp methi seeds
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 cup ground peanut/cashews(I use cashews because 'E' is allergic to peanuts)
Turmeric,asfoetida,salt to taste
1tsp oil
1/2 cup Water
1) Heat 1tsp oil,add cumin,methi,mustard,turmeric,asfoetida,curry leaves.
2) Add the precut squash.
3) Saute,add water,salt,water and simmer for about 7-8 mins
4) Add peanut/cashew powder,mix
5) Garnish with coriander.
6) Serve with warm rotis/chapatis/rice
Squash Chutney

This year when we visited India,my mother in law mentioned that pumpkin is her favorite vegetable.She said,it not only tastes good,but you can use all the parts of the pumpkin and nothing goes waste.She makes curry/bhaaji out of the pulp(is that what you call it?) ,she makes chutney from the pumpkin peel/skins and dries the seeds to use as snack later! Wow! I decided to follow her foot steps and use the squash to the fullest!
1/2 cup Squash peels ground in a blender
1/4 cup peanut/cashew powder
1/4 tsp Cumin,mustard ,sesame seeds
1 green chilli ground along with squash peels
1 clove garlic ground along with squash peels
Turmeric,asafoetida,salt,sugar,chilli powder to taste
1tsp oil
1) Heat oil,add mustard,cumin,sesame seeds.Add the ground squash peels.
2) Saute on low flame for 6-7 mins
3) Add salt,peanut powder,chilli powder,sugar.
4) Saute again for 2-4 mins.
Feel good about using the squash to the fullest and stretching the dollar!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

'Everyday cooking'- Ziti Pasta bake with broccoli and tomatoes

Ziti Pasta Bake with Broccoli and Tomatoes

Opened the refrigerator this morning,only to realize...'time to go grocery shopping'! With the very few things left in the fridge,'what to cook' for lunch becomes more prominent.Found a head of broccoli and 4-5 large jumbo sized tomatoes(which we bought @ the Tomato festival on this weekend).Always have some kind of Pasta on hand( coz... well ..easy to cook and both 'E' and 'M' seem to like it).And then..put together this pasta bake.Usually I like Spinach in white alfredo sauce,but didn't have any..so well...used up the broccoli head.'E' asked me to take out all the broccoli when I was feeding him..but ate the pasta and the tomatoes.


2 cups uncooked Ziti Pasta

1/2 cup brocoli cut into bite size pieces

2 tomatoes cut into round slices

1 cup milk

2tsp corn flour

2 cloves garlic crushed

2 pinches of owa/ajwain seeds(taste similar to Oregano)

4tsp Ketchup/marinara sauce

Black pepper,salt,red pepper flakes,italian seasoning to taste

1tsp butter

1/2 cup shredded mozarella

1/4 cup pepper jack cheese


1) Boil the pasta till cooked (8-10 mins),drain well.

2) Heat 1tsp butter,added crushed garlic,corn flour.Saute for minute.Add broccoli and saute again for 1-2 minutes on low flame.

3) Add milk slowly,and cook the sauce till thick.Add salt,black pepper,italian seasoning,red pepper flakes,ketchup 1/4 cup of shredded mozarella etc.

4) Add the cooked pasta and mix.

5) Pre-heat the oven to 375.

6) Put the pasta in oven safe dish,sprinkle with ajwain seeds.Place the sliced tomatoes on top.Cover the tomatoes with shredded cheese.

7) Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 15 mins till the cheese melts.

8) Broil for 2-3 mins till the cheese turns golden brown.

9) Garnish with cilantro/parseley leaves

10) Enjoy hot.

'For Little Tummies'-Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Fritters

What to make for snack? Everyday the same question....and have to meet the following criterion-must be healthy and nutritious, easy to digest, must appeal to 'E's eyes, tasty,easy to pick up with his little fingers etc etc.Last evening remembered the 'ghosavalyachi bhaji/fritters' my mom made @ home in Pune. Vegetable resembling ghosavala....ummmm..ummm...tadah!....Zucchini! And luckily had a zucchini in the fridge,so tried this out.Came out really well....and appealed to my little 'E' who by the way gets his 'picky eater' genes from 'M'.I served it with Ketchup...coz....anything dippable in Ketchup...is 'yummy' (As E thinks)!
1 medium Zucchini cut into thin rounds
1/2 cup besan/gram flour
1tbsp rice flour
1/8 tsp owa seeds/ajwain seeds
Oil to fry
salt,chili powder,turmeric,asafoetida powder to taste.
1) Mix besan,rice flour,turmeric,salt,owa seeds,chili powder etc together.Add water and make into smooth paste.Not to watery nor too thick.Must coat the zucchini well.
2)Dip each zucchini round into the batter and fry in heated oil till golden brown and crisp.
3) Serve with ketchup/mint chutney.
4) Enjoy hot!

Monday, September 14, 2009

'For Little Tummies'-Shevayi Upma/ Vermecelli with vegetables

Shevayi Upma

'E' is a bit of a picky eater.I have to modify recipes to suite his taste.He likes 'softer' foods ( or is it the laziness to chew?). This Shevayi(Vermecelli) Upma is a fusion between 'upma' and 'chinese noodles'. It is easy to digest,easy to make, has vegetables for nutrition and if pumped up with 'chilli sauce' is perfect for 'bigger tummies' too!


1 cup Roasted Vermecelli ( or roast the non roasted vermecelli in 1tsp ghee/butter till golden brown)- I use the 'Savorit' Vermecelli found in 'Indian' section in the grocery stores

1 tsp ghee/butter

1/8 cup shredded carrots

1/8 cup frozen corn kernels

1/8 cup other veggies(onions,peas,capsicum)

1/2 tsp roasted sesame seeds

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1/4tsp Mustard seeds

1/2tsp tomato ketchup

1 cup hot water

Salt and sugar to taste

Pinch of chilli powder/black pepper

1/8tsp Turmeric powder

1/8tsp Garam masala powder ( optional)

3-4 Curry leaves

Cilantro for garnishing


1) Heat 1tsp ghee/butter add cumin, mustard seeds and saute the carrots, corn, onions, capsicum etc till nice and tender.

2) Add the roasted vermicelli and roast for another minute or so.

3) Add the hot water,salt,sugar,ketchup,chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala and put on a lid for about 2-3 mins.

4) Remove lid, mix, again put lid till all the water is evaporated.Fluff up the noodles with a fork.

5) Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro before serving.

6) Tastes great when warm and with additional ghee/butter on top!

Getting Started...

Finally got myself to start blogging! Today,September 14,2009.....and I am all set to cook, click and share!
Been a food fanatic,have always wanted to share my recipes,thoughts, get advice and so much more than just usual day to day cooking in my kitchen. Though I like cooking,and love doing it for my family.....sometimes I find myself in 'lack of motivation' state.Can't really decide what I should make for lunch/dinner/snack etc etc.When I thought about starting this blog,one of the reasons was to feel motivated and come up with or try new recipes.This will surely relieve the boredom of day-to-day cooking..will feel like I am on a mission and have something to look forward to everyday in my kitchen.
My love for food began, when I was little.I have sort of 'inherited' the genes from my parents who loved to cook and try out different recipes.My mom would make these incredible recipes and my dad would reward her and us (me and my younger sister) for helping my mom in her passion.These I guess, were the roots of my passion.
As I grew older,I stepped on my moms footsteps and starting experimenting myself.It gave me immense satisfaction and also gave my mom some rest from her busy routine.
After getting married to 'M'(who is my longggg time friend and now husband of 6 years) and becoming a mom to the cutest little boy 'E',I have tried to keep up my passion and interest in food. To give it a 'scientific' edge,I am also pursuing a course in food science offered by Ohio State University.
What next:
Hope I succeed in my mission and get more than what I have expected out of this!
I have number of ideas for this blog and want to do it in segments.....some ....on top of my mind are....
'Everyday cooking'.....where I share my 'day to day' cooking experiences and recipes.
'For little tummies'......this one will reflect my experiences in cooking for my little one(who by the way turned 2 in June 2009).Their tummies are little, but let me tell you, its hard making that baby food!
'Around the world in 30 weekends'.......where I try out a recipe from some part of the world every weekend.
'Taste of India'.....as the name suggests ,will be making Indian recipes from North-South-East-Western India.
And....what else???
Ohhhh..almost forgot(how can I????) ....'Pat a Cake'.....where I want to share my baking adventures! Have already been praised by friends for my delicious cake pictures which I upload now and then on 'orkut'.
Enough of this ambitious planning...and get ready to cook for real and share 'MyKitchensAroma'!