Thursday, February 27, 2014

Video Tutorial: Aloo Tamatar Mattar Ki Subji/ Potatoes Tomatoes Peas Curry

Less time to cook?

Don’t know what to cook tonight?

Not feeling well and still need to cook something?

Bachelor; away from home and want a recipe that is easy?

If the answers of the above questions are positive then you must try this Aloo Tamatar Mattar Ki Subji/ Potatoes Tomatoes Peas Curry.

A curry that is quick, needs no fancy preparation, and uses minimal ingredients that every kitchen possesses. 
Whenever I have little time or no mood to prepare dinner, this warm, spicy, tangy subji comes in my mind. Just chop potatoes and tomatoes roughly, add the peas with simple Indian massala and you are ready to go. This curry is made in different style, the royal way where garlic and onions are added in gravy with fried potatoes; or cooked in kadai with boiled potatoes; or the drier version with less water. Whatever the method be, the fact is that everyone loves this.

In winters when peas are available in abundance most household makes this dish. I made it in the simplest way possible, no onion, no garlic, no tomato puree, no boiled potatoes.... Basically I mixed everything in the pressure cooker and waited till 4 whistles.Not to forget I added just 2 teaspoons of oil which means this is healthier when compared to other Punjabi recipes. When I opened the cooker, the potatoes and peas were coated with tomato and spices to the right consistency-ah! delightful. You can watch the video below to understand how easy it is.

Next time when you are in hurry and still want to make a subji you know what to cook-right?

2 chopped potatoes
4 medium tomatoes
2 cups peas
2 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin/jeera
1/4 teaspoon aseofteida/heeng
1/2 teaspoon turmeric/haldi
2 teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya
1 and half teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch
1/4 teaspoon dry mango powder/amchur
2 glasses water

Watch the video

I have used frozen peas, but fresh peas will taste better.
Use the water as per the consistency you want. More water means runnier and vice versa.
Add curry leaves and silted green chillies with cumin seeds for better taste.

Mild spicy, warm and tangy.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday's Tip- How To Freeze Beans And Legumes?

After a very long time I am back with Tuesday’s tip. You all have been so encouraging about the Tuesday’s tips section-so thanks very much. How to deodorize the fridge is the most popular tip so far. Next tip that got attention is Quick Soak Method for legumes.

Legumes like chickpeas, beans, black eyes beans, white peas etc...are very healthy and is infact the most vital source of proteins for vegetarians. Legumes are soaked (generally overnight) before boiling for two reasons – one, they need to be softened before they boil, and two, pre-soaking helps to make the beans more digestible. I understand that most of you prefer canned legumes as the whole process of cooking them can be very tedious. But why waste money on those canned beans which by the way is loaded with sodium content?

So here is a quick tip on How to freeze legumes? Yes! Next time you soak chickpeas to make Kadai Chola Massala, or beans to make Mexican rice, or Cannellini beans for curry; all you have to do is soak them in large quantities so that you can freeze it for the future use.

You can freeze almost all kinds of legumes, just soak, wash and boil (with or without salt-your choice) until tender, once boiled, drain the water and allow it to cool. Next simply put in the Ziploc bags (freezer safe) and freeze. This way the legumes will remain fresh upto 6 months. If you want you can also use freezer safe jars instead of Ziploc bags.

Just take them out and put in boiling water before use. Trust me this will make your life easy. The boiled beans readily available in the kitchen are such a wow factor. I can make Rajma Tikki, Punjabi Chola, Ragda Patties anytime I wish.

Yeah! So next time you soak any legumes, remember you can soak more so that it can be used in the future.
Hope you will like the tip. Do follow this and let me know it was.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Confessions Of A Food Blogger...

You are always told and taught that no work is less important- right?? So how would you feel when someone thinks what you are doing has no worth or is super easy. When someone asks me what I do, I tell them I am a food blogger. OK, so you write recipes-that’s it? This is what people generally reply or think.

So here are some confessions of a Food Blogger-
  • That I produce recipes; I follow the recipes and then publish them on my blog. I do this, so that my errors are not repeated by someone else. I do this, so that others learn from my experiences. I do this, so that someone else is benefited through my tried recipes.

  • That there are times when I click 200 pictures of the new meal that I have prepared and not even one is good enough to go on the blog. So, so, so many times I have cried and prayed to  Weather God to let the sun shine because I am baking a cake and want to click pictures.*cry*cry*. I wish they could appreciate that clicking good pictures, understanding the camera, styling the food is a very time consuming and difficult task- just like any other work.
  • That the whole process of blogging is a complex structure. One needs to think about not just what to cook, but to also buy the required ingredients, cook it up, note the quantities of the ingredients used, let the food cool, present with style, click pictures keeping in mind unlimited camera settings, edit the pictures, typing the recipes, write the content so that it is enjoyed by the it doesn’t end here. Then one needs to share the post on social networking sites- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and many such online communities. This by the way helps us to get traffic, page views and visitations.

  • That I receive questions, suggestions and emails that want my immediate attention. For instance, once a mother saw this Mango Pickle recipe and she wanted to know what can be done to preserve the pickle as her daughters were travelling to USA for studies (she mentioned it was urgent). I saw that email at 6am and I did reply to it right away.  So yes, food bloggers do have some urgent emails and queries to respond to.

  • That I can handle criticism but not insanely rude comments on my site. Okay! I understand that you tried my recipe and you didn't like it, but, remember we all have different taste buds- right??
  • That so many people copy our content without giving any due credits. It is hard to fight and argue with such people. Sigh! But this is the fact.

No guys, neither I am sad that I am a food blogger, nor am I trying to show off what I do.  I just want people to read this and understand that like any other 9-5 shift job, blogging is also 24/7 profession that needs complete dedication, hard work and patience.

My food blog is not a hobby. It’s not my ‘work’. Merry Tummy is my world and I am so glad and happy to do something that I love every single day. Thank YOU all, for appreciating my work, leaving comments, following my blog and doing any little thing that makes me feel special about being a Food Blogger. THANK YOU.

What do you think food blogging is? Have you come across people who think blogging is easy? How do you handle criticism? Please share your stories.

(All the posters and pictures above are my creation)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Coffee Whiskey Cake With White Chocolate Glaze And Orange Zest

I will begin by saying that, there is nothing better than a cup of coffee in the cold evenings.  I prefer tea in the mornings and coffee in the evenings. Yeah-I am a caffeine freak!  Some kick is always needed to stabilise these wintry days. With so many cafes around London, I tend to pick up coffee very often, and I can declare that it’s new found love for me. 

Oh my! I have tasted all kinds of coffee here- espresso, cappuccino, late, mocha, caramel, mint, black eye and what not. Few weeks back, I added another feather in the cap- I tried Irish coffee (only after my husband compelled me to do so). For those of you who don’t know, Irish coffee is a cocktail consisting of hot coffee, whiskey, sugar and topped with thick cream. So it is like having two addictive ingredients - whiskey and coffee, in one glass. One shot of Irish coffee was such a jolt that I thoroughly enjoyed in the freezing weather. Wow, I am so glad that I tried it.

Even after weeks I could easily recall the wonderful and different taste it had. A great way to revise the taste was to make something which was infused with flavours of Irish coffee. So I baked a cake with coffee, with hint of whiskey in it. Still there is one difference if compared to the real Irish coffee; in Irish coffee espresso(hot water and coffee) is used but I used coffee powder (ground coffee) to make this. Lastly to balance the bitter and strong feel of coffee and whiskey I topped it with white chocolate Ganache and orange zest. An experiment worth doing again-for sure!

Most of you will think that this cake is very fancy and complex but, actually it is one of those cakes that don’t demand any extraordinary baking skills. If you like straightforward crumbly cakes with strong bitter-semi sweet taste then you have got to bake this one. Simple and yet elegant, is what describes this cake the best.

For the cake:
2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon black pepper powder
3 teaspoons coffee
2 tablespoon hot water
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons whiskey
For Glaze:
1/4 cup White Chocolate chopped
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons orange zest

For Cake
Heat oven to 180C. Butter the pan. Dust with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
On a low heat combine coffee, water and whiskey. Just heat this, do not boil. Let it cool.
Sift together flour, black pepper, baking powder, salt, baking soda.
In a large bowl beat butter and sugar till butter is fluffy.
Add one egg at a time and beat. Beat till mixture is smooth and airy.
Alternately fold flour mixture and coffee. Mix till the batter is without any lumps.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cake is just starting to pull away from the sides of the cake pan. Carefully turn the pan out onto a rack
For Glaze:
Heat cream on a very low heat. Do not boil.
Mix chocolate in the cream and mix till the glaze is silky. Let it cool
Drizzle this glaze on the cake and sprinkle orange zest.

If you like strong flavours then you don’t need to have the glaze. Just enjoy the plain the cake
Use all ingredients on room temperature.
Whiskey is optional but if added it certainly oozes more flavour.

Decoration ideas:
Fresh cream can also be topped on cake. Like HERE
Or cover this cake with mango mousse. Like HERE
Even chocolate Ganache will do in this recipe as glaze. Like HERE
Grated chocolate, fresh fruits, candied dry fruits can also be chosen for decoration.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ghugni Chaat, Bengali Street Food

I have a secret love affair with Indian street food. But I guess everyone has the same story. You go to any part of India and you will never be disappointed when it is about street food. Forget about hygiene factor though!

I haven’t been to many Indian cities, but which ever I have visited I made sure that I try its street food. Like in Mumbai I always had pav bhaji, missal pav on the roads. In Ahemedabad, batata poha, dabeli were my favorite. And in mount abu (my hometown) I always chose pyaz ki kachori and kadi bhajia over any other dish. Again forget the hygiene factor. 

Some street food like pani puri, pav bhaji, tikki, dosa-idli have become so common that they are sold in every nook and corner of the Indian cities. Again forget the hygiene factor.

There are some things that we have done at least once when having street food. Like:
-Asking for extra puri or water after having pani puri.
-Asking for a little more sambhar when idli or dosa gets over.
-Ordering one plate for bhel puri and then share with 3-5 spoons.

Few days back, my husband and myself were looking at some old pictures and we remembered our visit to Kolkata, which finally led me thinking of its street food. Serenaded by the constant stream of honking, foot traffic, and hawkers, there’s nothing better than biting into a tasty snack in the busy Kolkata, be it- spicy jhalmuri or puchkas you are sure to get tasty kicks. They like their food to be very spicy or as they call jhal. May be that’s why I love it even more.

Puchkas and jhalmuri are the  most common street food of Kolkata, but one dish that will surely catch your attention in Kolkata is –Ghugni Chaat. From a distance it looks like a giant doughnut, bright yellow in colour, and fenced around the outside with a row of ripe red tomatoes and steam coming from the center. I still don’t know how they shape it up like that- all I know is –it was delicious!

The same dish is popular in Bhiar and Uttar Pradesh known as Matar Chaat or Matra Chaat. There it is very dry in consistency and less spicy. I like the bengali version :)Ghugni is made with dried yellow or white peas. Peas are soaked, boiled, tempered, and cooked with tomatoes and spices. The smoldering hot peas are added to a small leaf bowl garnished with spoonful of hot green chutney, lime juice and chopped onions.

In this cold weather I just love to have this chaat. Piping hot and spicy- ah a perfect way to bid bye to the winter blues.

Dried Yellow peas - 1 cup
Tomatoes, chopped - 1
Onion, chopped-1
Green chilies, chopped -1
Ginger, grated -1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 3/4 teaspoon
Red Chili powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam masala - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds-1 teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Black salt - 1/4 teaspoon
Fresh coriander, chopped - 2 tablespoon
Lemon juice - 2 teaspoon
Green chutney - 4 teaspoon (Recipe here)
Tamarind pulp - 3 teaspoon
Roasted cumin powder - 1 teaspoon

  1. Wash the peas and soak them in enough water for 6-8 hours.
  2. Then take the soaked peas along with 2 cups of water, salt and turmeric.  Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Let it crackle.
  4. When the cumin turns golden, add the chopped tomatoes, green chilies and ginger.
  5. Saute till the tomatoes become soft, then add the chili powder, black salt and saute for a minute.
  6. Now add the boiled peas along with the water and tamarind pulp (can add some more water if needed).
  7. Cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes till done.
  8. Now add the garam masala and mix well .
  9. Take around 3/4 to 1 cup of ghughni in a serving bowl. garnish lemon juice roasted cumin powder, onion, mint chutney and coriander leaves. 
  10. Serve immediately.
Spicy, hot

Street food :

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chocolate Cake, Have A Healthier Valentine's Day

Love is not finding someone to live with; it's finding someone you can't live without. I find this statement to be 100% true, as there can be many many people with whom you can live but there can only be one special without whom you can’t. A lot of people have tried defining love, however, I don’t understand how love can be defined into words. Love is way more than words- right???

The countdown for Valentine’s Day has begun.  Markets are loaded with greeting cards, themed chocolates, exclusive jewelry- what you are buying for that someone special? When it comes to gifts I am not very feminine; I mean I don’t like teddy bears, balloons or flowers; I find them waste of money, I would rather prefer something that I can use in my day to day life. Example a piece of jewellery, watch, dress, shoes, gadget....anything that I can use; I hope my husband reads this *wink* *wink*

Before moving ahead I will like to share some facts about Valentine’s Day.
  • More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine's Day each year.
  • About 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged in USA alone each year. That's the largest seasonal card-sending occasion of the year, next to Christmas.
  • 73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.
  • Every Valentine's Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.
  •  About 3 percent of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets.
  • The most fantastic gift of love is the Taj Mahal in India. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife.

So some exchange gifts, some plan for holidays...I have the simple formula- A way to man’s heart is through his stomach.  We both are not huge Valentine’s Day celebrator; who needs ONLY one day to celebrate love. We both never go out on Valentine’s Day, not even for dinner. Reason??? Well, all the restaurants are overcrowded and way too pricey. Instead we have fun at home with some red mulled wine, food and a movie. And we will carry on with the same ritual even this year.

I prepare the whole menu in such way that I am not in the kitchen half of the time. I choose dishes that I can make beforehand and just have to heat it up before serving. As far the dessert goes, we equally love chocolate. So it has to be a chocolate dish but this time I hunted to give it some healthy twist.That is why I experimented making a healthier cake before 14th Feb. There are two healthy variations in this recipe, one- it is made with whole wheat flour and secondly, I used only milk instead of butter, cream or condensed milk with 90% dark chocolate for making ganache.

The cake was super moist and even chocolate ganche tasted scrumptious. I completed with colourful sprinkles and two red hearts. Taken as a whole, the cake looked cute with luscious chocolate around. Over all, I think everyone must bake this cake for Valentine’s Day because it is very important to keep the heart of that someone special healthy. Love cannot be measured in things, but I tried anyway.

For cake
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour/Atta
1/4 cup Sugar
2 large eggs
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
1/4 teaspoon Instant Coffee
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1/4 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
2-3 teaspoon hot water
1/4 cup butter
100 grams
For Chocolate Ganache:
100 grams 80-90% chocolate
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

For cake:
Start with the oven. Pre heat to 180C/350F.
Greece the cake pan and keep it ready
Mix the cocoa powder with the coffee with the hot water
Next mix sugar, butter and eggs till sugar dissolves. Then add vanilla essence to it.
Sift the bicarbonate soda and salt with the flour twice.
Now fold the sifted dry ingredients into the wet (eggs and cocoa powder mixture). Do not over mix.
Put the batter in the loaf tin and bake at 180C till 15-20 minutes or till when knife inserted it comes out clean.
For Chocolate Ganache:
Chop the chocolate bars into very small pieces. (This will help it to melt fast)
On a low heat, boil the milk and mix cocoa powder in it.
When milk comes to boil, add in the chopped chocolate and mix. Mix till it becomes smooth and no lumps are remains.

Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature.
For eggless version, omit eggs and use ¼ cup of yogurt/curd.
I used whole wheat flour; same recipe can be followed with all purpose flour as well.
Double the recipe if you want to make larger cake.
Mixture or only milk, white or dark chocolate can be use to make the sauce. Even chocolate chips can be used.

Decoration ideas:
Fresh cream can also be topped on cake. Like HERE
Or cover this cake with mango mousse. Like HERE
Grated chocolate, fresh fruits, candied dry fruits can also be chosen for decoration.

Chocolaty, moist and healthy

“You are my best friend as well as my lover, and I do not know which side of you I enjoy the most. I treasure each side, just as I have treasured our life together.” These are the lines from the most romantic novel- The Notebook

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Winners Announcement Of Cook With Red Event

How is the new year coming up for you all? I am busy reading some novels that I picked when I went to India last month. Also I am trying my best to take some good photos and thank you all for lovely comments specially praising my clicks :) So Cook With Red Event has come to an end. I never expected that I would receive 112 entries but you guys are wonderful. You all sent the recipes of all the genres- be it, delicious Christmas bakes, simple chutneys to tasty spicy curries. Thanks everyone for making this event a grand success. *happy dance*

The triumph of the event would not have been possible without you contributors. I am very grateful to each participant who linked the recipes. Thank you for your support at my FB page, Twitter account. As a token of appreciation - here is your Participation Certificate. Please grab and show off to your readers. 

Best Recipe Award goes to Lincy’s Cook Art for Christmas pudding. This dish firstly looked so lip smacking-the colour –the texture and not to forget the Christmas theme. Also, she took pain and provided us with step by step pictures. Totally loved it .Thanks, please grab your award. Hope you will like it :-)
Best Innovative Recipe goes to Rajma Dosa from Easy And Simple Food. She gave new makeover to simple rajma and chawal-The unique idea makes this dish outstanding. I know I am no expert to decide but being a blogger I felt that the recipe was very creative. Please collect your valuable award :)

The next is Best Click award. I am so happy to say that this also goes to Lincy's Cook Art for Dum Aloo. All her pictures were crisp, clear and attractive. Again, I am no professional judge, but I like the clicks that are sharp and neat.  You nailed it, below is your second earned award :)

Top contributor award goes to Chikku’s Kitchen. She with full enthusiasm sent me maximum number of entries from starters to mains to desserts. I congratulate her with all my best wishes. Below is your deserved certificate-hope you like it :)

Now the most awaited one- the winner of the giveaway. I selected one lucky blogger through and the fortunate one is number ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­9-Mutter Paneer from Cuisine DelightsCongratulations :-)

I also promised that I will give one special award to anyone who comes with beautiful decorated cake. Sadly, I dint get any entry for it. So I have chosen another lucky blogger through And the number is 43-Upside Down Peach And Saffron Cake from Melange ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­. Congratulations :-)

Both of you please mail me your complete Indian postal address. Also mention what you will like to have as prize -cookware, bakeware, cook books or kitchen accessories. Please mail me within 24 hours else I will choose another winner. 

Through these events I have seen some amazing recipes and spotted passionate bloggers-kudos to you. Again, thanks very much- means a lot.

In march I will be completing 2 years of Blogging, I am planning something real huge for you guys. So stay tuned for that event. Hugs :-)

Round Ups-