Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Vegetable Kichadi: Comfort Food

Kichadi. A lazy day idea. A meal which is complete in itself. I never thought I would ever post a kichadi recipe on my blog because this is easiest thing one can cook. Probably a recipe, that all mothers teach their kids when they leave home-either for job or further studies. My mother told me once-learn how to make kichadi properly, one day you will need it. Ah so true. Kichadi is my lazy day meal idea. Kichadi is my comfort food. A bowl of kichadi with dollops of ghee can do wonders.

So what is kichadi. Kichadi is a mix on lentils (yellow moong daal) and rice cooked together. The consistency is like mashed potatoes or mashed peas. There is basic kichadi which is just rice and lenthils cooked with salt and turmeric –this type is mainly served to someone who is recovering from some illness. The other type is vegetable kichadi where in you can add veggies like peas, spinach, potatoes, bell peppers and almost anything. This type makes it a complete meal and very fulfilling.

If you are keen on trying the recipe then I would strongly recommend to buy a pressure cooker. Pressure cooker not only gives you that perfect kichadi texture/consistency but it also saves a lot of time. Now how to serve kichadi. I have for you two traditional and yet evergreen ideas.

1)       Serve with plain salted yogurt, salad and papad.
2)       Serve with Kadhi, pickle and papad.

Now lets see the recipe. Vegetable Kichadi or Massala Kichadi

2 cups rice (I used basmati)
3 cups yellow moong dal
1/4 cup green peas
1 potato chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 green chilies
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste

Soak rice and moong daal for 2-3 hours in water.
In a pressure cooker, add ghee. When ghee is hot add asafoetida. Add all vegetables.
Mix turmeric in it. Add 2 and 1/2 cups water as well.
Drain water from soaked rice and moong daal. Add the rice and moong daal in the cooker. Add salt. Cover and cook on medium flame for 4 whistles.
Open the cooker when steam is released.
Serve hot.

Feel free to add more veggies like beans, tomato, spinach.
Serve it with dallop of ghee for that perfect kichadi taste.
If you dont have prssure cooker, cook it an large vessel/wok. Keep stiring in between.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Coffee Suagr Body Scrub : Last Minute Gift Idea

20 days to Christmas. Yes that’s right, and if you are still wondering about Christmas gift idea then I am here to save you. A perfect last minute gift that is -personalized, quick and will be loved by everyone. How about homemade body scrub? Everyone buys body scrubs from Lush cosmetics and the body shop and pays lot of money, why not make one for yourself.

Coffee Sugar Body Scrub. Yes. No preservatives or harmful chemicals- just some ingredients from your kitchen pantry. Coffee- I chose the cheapest one. Take any coffee powder. Coffee is supposed to tighten and tone your skin. Coffee is also great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and of course the smell is to die for.

Next ingredient is sugar. I used white granulated sugar. If you have sensitive skin I would suggest that you go for brown sugar. Sugar acts as great exfoliator and removes dead skin.

Coconut oil- I used KTC cooking coconut oil. I believe that coconut oil that is suitable for cooking is the purest. When ever you scrub or exfoliate you need some moisture and coconut provides enough moisture and nourishes the skin. For, that festive touch be creative- pack in fancy bottles or monsoon jars.

1 cup coffee granulated
1 cup white sugar
5 tablespoons coconut oil

Take a mixing bowl and mix everything togather. The consistency should be like of wet sand. Not to dry and not to runny.
That’s it. Fill it any jar or bottle and you can use it within 1 month.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Best Chocolate Cake: Full Proof Chocolate Cake Recipe

Cake- I love cakes. Both baking and eating. Baking is a therapy and eating is pure indulgence. What’s the definition of a good cake? I asked this question to few of my friends and relatives. Cake should me beautiful, light, moist, fluffy, crumbly, not to eggy, rightly sweet and must make you forget your stress- were the answers. Honestly I don’t bake often and whatever I bake is with attention to detail. My cakes will taste good, they may not cater to all the characteristics mentioned above but the taste will always be fine.

Beautiful cake, I really don’t excel here. I can do simple icing and decorations but something too perfect and good looking is difficult for me to outcast. I have been baking Mr. Husband’s birthday cake for last 5 years and I love doing it for him. A home baked cake is so much better than those readymade ones. A home baked cake shows your love, passion and compassion. My cakes might lack that good looks but it will outshine any other beautiful looking cake in taste. I promise!!

For me, in this uncertain world, a good piece of cake is an undeniable pleasure. Period! My husband loves chocolate cake and that’s what I have been baking for him for all these years. Below are the cakes that I have made, also shows how my food photography has changed over years ;-)

A good chocolate cake. Now, everyone has the recipe that says this is the best chocolate cake-ever. I don’t want to brag that my cake is the best but what I want to explain is that everyone in this world should have one great recipe for chocolate cake that they can follow blindly. A simple recipe with handful of ingredients and this is my ‘that’ recipe.

A jaw-dropping chocolate cake- Moist sponge slabs layered with whipped cream and finally topped with coffee chocolate icing. If you are a serious chocolate lover then get ready for this ultimate chocolate cake recipe.

You can top it with any icing or just drizzle on some honey and enjoy. I made chocolate coffee ganache for this cake and it was super duper goooood (recipe coming soon). Serve the cake with tea, coffee or just enjoy whenever you want.

2 cups all-purpose flour/maida
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon coffee
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup hot boiling water
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven at 180C. Prepare 9 inch round pan. I used some butter to grease the pan.
In a bowl add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and coffee powder. Mix well. I used a electric beater and mixed these ingredients well.
Add milk, oil and vanilla to dry ingredients. Mix well.
Take one egg a time and mix/beat for 1 minute. Take another egg and beat well for 1 minute.
Mix water and beat the batter on high speed for 1 minute.
Pour the batter on the greased pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Keep an eye on the cake. Bake until a toothpick or knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool on wire rack. Remove the cake from the pan and frost with your favourite icing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ape Snaks: Coconut Curls: Healthy Snacking

'Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.’ This quote has changed my life in many ways. A lot of motivation to take some important changes in life has now become a habit.  I have started taking baby steps toward good health and better living. Made some important changes in life- like drinking more water, not skipping breakfast, including one apple everyday in my diet and counting my steps.

It’s believed that little workout or exercise is very important for everyone. On weekends I would generally do yoga, lunges, squats and some jumping jacks but on weekdays I hardly get time. So I decided to count my steps; everyone in London who travels by tube walks a lot and if you count your steps you will be motivated to reach and walk more. 10,000 steps a day is my target and I am counting it through a device called Up by Jaw. It’s a small device that is paired with my phone and it tells me everything-my steps, my sleep and also my calorie count. I stay so motivated with this that some day when my steps are low, I would get up and start walking for some time-be it in office or home.

Another thing, please choose your food wisely. Choose salad and fruits over smoothie; choose hummus over ketchup; baked chips over fried ones-oh there are so many such examples. That’s why when Ape Snacks approached me for a review I said yes in one go. The brand was the brainchild of young entrepreneur, Zack Nathan, who is on a mission to make snacking better in the UK. He explains, “With the explosion of “healthy” snacks over the past few years, Brits are clearly hungry for something that they can genuinely feel good about eating; consumers are moving away, rightly so, from traditional fried snacks and are starting to appreciate the numerous health benefits of nature’s wonderful coconut. What we do is provide both these benefits in an easy-to- eat format that is perfect for on-the- go snacking. We know consumers will love our genuinely delicious, but actually healthy, snacks!”

This summer ditch the crisps and pass on the popcorn, as there’s a new deliciously healthy snack in town, coconut curls from ape. Not only are ape snacks completely natural, they contain just two products; 100% coconut and seasoning. Plus they are gluten free, count towards your 5 a day and have no more than 109 calories per packet, so you can munch happy! A great choice for health-conscious snackers, coconut lovers and picnic goers.

The curls are thinly sliced directly from the coconut before being slowly dried to retain their natural flavor and nutritional goodness. They are not fried, have no added sugars or chemicals - and they are even crunchier than chips.These coconut curls, my steps counting device, earphones and walk-just made my life complete. Other ways that I am going to try and use these snacks are on my porridge, salads, soups, rice and pasta. You can use it my following recipes:

-Add in kiwi yogurt dip to add crunch
-sprinkle curls on burnt garlic  pasta
-skip papadamos and serve along rice and curry
-Sprinkle on Strawberry Lassi
-Roll it put with wraps or use it in tacos.

Ape’s coconut curls are available in two flavours: Lightly Salted and Slightly Peppered, with a third variant set to be released in the near future. They are available from Co-Op; Ocado; Whole Foods; PlanetOrganic; As Nature Intended; Harvey Nichols and Revital.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking Ape Snacks  for sending the packets for review. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

10 Minute Chickpeas Curry: Everyday Kind Of Curry

Its believed in the UK that Indian curry and beer is the match made in heaven. And if you are in London and have ever been to any of the curry houses (read brick lane) you would know the popularity of this pair. The British love affair with curry stretches back over 200 years, with the first curry house opening in London at the start of the 19th century. In every curry house, on each table you will find poppadoms, chutneys, Indian curries, naan, rice and bottle of a chilled beer. The rich, fiery zing of a fragrant curry balances well with a glass of cool and crisp beer, and thats why Indian curries and beer are sooooooo good together.

To celebrate summer in Indian style guys at kingfisher sent me kingfisher beer. Here is the Kingfisher Story:Established in Mysore, Bangalore in 1857.  Kingfisher has risen from a soldier’s tipple to a nation’s pride and joy. Kingfisher is India’s No.1 beer and is one of the country’s most heralded exports.  Now brewed in Britain, this triumphant tipple can trace its roots all the way back to 1857 when Castle Breweries first started brewing in the majestic city of Mysore. As it has grown, the beer has become synonymous with the exciting side of Indian life.  It is a sponsor of the Bangalore Royal Challengers, the Force India Formula 1 team and countless music festivals. More on

Make it an Indian summer with kingfisher- celebrate in the sunshine with the real taste of India. Spice it up or cool it down this summer with Kingfisher. Crisp, clean and unfailingly refreshing, it’s a top choice for summer, whether you’re having a BBQ with the boys, enjoying a summer of sport or looking for a perfect curry companion. With its deft balance of light bitterness and subtle citrus flavors, Kingfisher is the perfect partner to Indian food.

My idea of an Indian summer with an Indian beer was lazy kind of a meal. Just a can of chickpeas with some spices and this curry gets ready in a jiffy. Serve it along some naan or jeera rice and you are good to go. Preparing chickpeas curry from scratch is elaborated process. Overnight soaking of chickpeas and then boiling it the other day needs lot of preparations but using canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans) is faster.

Honestly I don’t know what to name this curry. Its not Kadai chole (Punjabi north indian curry) nor it is channa masala (dry chickpeas curry). So let’s call it 10 Minute Chickpeas Curry. Yeah that’s about it. No planning at all. No grand affair in this curry- a homely or an every day kind of a curry is what you can call it. If you have less time or just don’t want to slave yourself in the kitchen that do try this curry, I promise you will be hooked.

1 can of chickpeas
2 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger piece
1 onion chopped
1 tomato
2 tablespoon oil
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
1 bay leaf/tej patta
1 inch cinnamon/dal chini
2 cloves/laung
1/4 teaspoon turmeric/haldi
½ teaspoon red chilli powder (to taste)
1 teaspoon coriander powder/dhaniya powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon kasuri methi

In mixer or grinder. Grind ginger, garlic, onion and tomato in fine paste.
Strain water from chickpeas and keep it aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. Let it splutter. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Add bay leaf, cinnamon and clove. Roast for 20 seconds.
Add the grinded paste with 1 cup of water. Mix.
Add in all dry spices- salt, turmeric, coriander powder, sugar and red chili powder. Mix. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes.
Mix chickpeas and lemon juice. Add 1 cup of water. Cover and let it boil for 2 minutes.
Finally mix kasuri methi and serve.

Kingfisher comes available in 330ml or 650ml bottles (4.8% ABV), perfect for sharing with a fortuitous friend.  Buy as a four pack or stock up the fridges with case of 12 (650ml) or 24 (330ml) bottles.  Find in-store at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and curry houses across the country or online at responsibly, details on-

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking Kingfisher  for sending the beers for review. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Eggless Mango Mousse

Am I too late to post a mango recipe?? May be, may be not! Last year I managed to pen down at least three mango recipes- mango lassi, mango milkshake, mango cake. This year, well, better late then never, here comes- Mango Mousse.

What is mousse?? It is a sweet or savory dish made as a smooth, light mass in which the main ingredient is whipped with cream. Another main ingredient in most of the mousse recipe is egg whites. Egg whites are beaten till it forms stiff peak and then used, this sets the mousse and also gives that light taste.

But, I wanted my mango mousse to be egg free. Yeah, Eggless Mango Mousse. Mousse, in spite of its reputation, is really not that difficult to make, and, this recipe will prove it. I used canned Alphonso pulp mango pulp, but you can use fresh pulp as well. Also,  this mousse is bit desi (Indian) style, because it has ginger and lemon juice as well.

Without eggs then how did I set the mousse? Well I used a vegetarian gelatin also know as china grass or agar as we say in Hindi. Agar (china grass) is been used in Indian and Vietnamese cuisine since 1650’s. It is used to set desserts, jellies and sweets. It is easily available in any Indian grocery stores and online. If not you can use Dr. Oektor Veg-gel, it will also give same results.

Things to keep in mind before making mousse:
-chill the bowl and the whisk attachment in the fridge, this will help fasten the process for whipping the cream.
-Make sure you have ice/ice cubes in the freezer.
-Sugar and lemon juice quantity might differ based on the taste of mango pulp. So please taste and adjust.
-Do not over mix the mousse. Please remember to use fold and cut technique.
-Mousse needs to be chilled overnight-so plan accordingly.

Now there goes the recipe.

1 can mango pulp (500 grams)
250 ml double cream
1/4 cup sugar (divided in 2 parts)
4 tablespoons china grass powder
1/4 cup milk
5 tablespoons water
2 tablespoon ginger juice (2 inch ginger)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Grate ginger and strain out the juice. Keep it aside.
  2. Soak china grass in cold water for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Whip the cream. Keep adding little sugar and whip till you get soft peaks. Keep in fridge. (keep 5 table spoons of whipped cream separately in a bowl for garnish)
  4. Mix milk, mango pulp, sugar and gelatin mix in a pan and let it boil on a medium to low heat. Keep stirring. Boil it bubbles appear.
  5. Take a bowl and fill it with ice cubes. Now take another bowl and put it on ice cubes.
  6. Sieve the mango mixture on the bowl kept on ice cubes. Make sure there are no lumps.
  7. Now keep mixing the mango mix till it turns thick and begins to set. Take out ¼ cup of this mix and keep it aside. (for garnish)
  8. Mix the whipped cream in the mango in small batches. Fold the cream.
  9. Take the serving glasses and fill the mousse. Chill for 5 minutes.
  10. Take the remaining ¼ cup of mango mix and put/layer 1-2 spoons on each glass. Chill again in fridge for 5 minutes.
  11. Lastly take the remaining whipped cream in a piping bag and swirl it over the mousse.
  12. Chill overnight and serve.

You can garnish with mint leaves as well.
Fell free to throw in chopped nuts like pistachios, cashews or almonds.
You can also serve with chocolate chips.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Dahi Ke Kebabs:Yogurt Kebabs:Yogurt Patties

Yogurt kebabs. Yogurt patties, I have been planning to create it in my kitchen for months so when Arla Foods sent their new range of yogurt for review and I just timed it right.

Arla Foods, the farmer-owned dairy company has continued to expand its portfolio of the UK’s pioneering lactose-free* dairy range by introducing Arla Lactofree® Natural Yogurt. Arla Lactofree Natural Yogurt is deliciously smooth and creamy, as well as being versatile. Frida Kjellberg, Brand Manager for Arla Lactofree, comments: “Our ambition is to ensure that wherever there is a dairy option, there is a Lactofree alternative; so this launch is another step towards fulfilling our goal. We’ve seen a huge demand for a Lactofree natural yogurt from our consumers and we are delighted to add it to our range.” Find more details on

Velvety, creamy and sooooo yum. I used it in your smoothies, salads, indian curries and what not. With the pack I was sent this blue coloured lunch bag, shaker, oregano, bay leaf and mustard seeds. The challenge was to prepare a savoury dish from the yogurt and what could be better then these kebabs.

Looking for yogurt recipes? See this- Roasted BeetrootYogurt Dip, Yogurt Soup (kadi), Strawberry Lassi.

Yogurt kebabs or dahi ke kababs are made with hung yogurt and is becoming a very popular Indian appetizer. So velvety, smooth and use of simple flavours is what make these kebabs very different from other Indian style kebabs. Hung curd is mixed with grated paneer, followed by green chillies, coriander leaves and some basic seasoning. Later this mixture is shaped into patties and then roasted on a pan till it gets golden colour.

Here is how to make Yogurt Kebabs. Dahi Ke kebab.

1 cup hung yogurt (see notes)
1 cup grated paneer
2 tablespoon roasted gram flour (besan)
1 green chilli chopped
4 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
½ teaspoon oregano (optional)
Salt to taste
Oil for shallow frying

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (expect oil). Keep in fridge for 30-45 minutes.
Place oil in a pan and let it get hot.
In the meantime, form patties. Take 2 tablespoons of mixture and form a ball.  Then flatten the ball into pattie shape and keep aside. Do the same with remaining mixture. I got around 10 patties.
On a low flame, fry the kebabs/patties till you get good golden colour. Turn and repeat the same on other side.
Serve hot.

  • Take around 3 cups of yogurt and put it muslin cloth. If you don’t have muslin cloth use handkerchief. Place the yogurt on the cloth and take all the edges of the cloth and tie it with a rubber band. Hang this cloth on your kitchen tap for 4 to 5 hours. All the liquid will be drained out and you will be left with very thick yogurt-that is called as hung yogurt.
  • Some people like to add corn flour in the mixture for binding, but I skipped it.
  • Feel free to add any other spice like red chilli powder, chaat massala or garam massala if you wish.

Arla Lactofree Natural Yogurt is available in ASDA from 27th June and will appear in other retailers in the coming months including Co-op from 6th July.  RRP £1.35

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking Arla Foods  for sending the yogurt for review.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

ICHAI Review: Spicy Chai

Indians and chai is a bond, and, only an Indian can understand that. In India, chai is more than just a cup of tea to start the day. It is a ritual, a habit and a conversation opener. A pot of boiling water with aromatic spices, loose tea, sugar and milk is an everyday scene in Indian houses. Tea is always paired with some snacks-sweet or sacoury. At my home we are always keen on trying new tea brands and thats why when Ichaitea approached me for review I agreed in one go. I was sent some tea pouches samples, a tin of spiced tea and tea infuser.

The brand is the brainchild of Dr Helen Saini (PhD), who previously worked as a plant biologist developing better tasting, healthier plants for Unilever. Newly launched spiced loose leaf tea brand called ICHAI  has 8 different varieties of chai that have some interesting wellbeing benefits  and uses specialist milling and blending techniques (which are unique to the brand) that ensure the best possible retention of taste & aroma after packaging. 

Forget instant mixes and too-sweet syrups to get your chai fix this year. Instead explore the new range of ICHAI spiced teas for a traditional taste of India. Each of these eight all-natural, speciality teas are blended and packaged at ICHAI HQ to ensure the best, freshest taste, using only the finest quality loose leaf black tea and containing absolutely no artificial flavours, additives or preservatives.

I tried Spicy Chai: A deeply warming with the taste of ground cinnamon, green cardamom, black pepper, cloves and ginger, making it the perfect blend for a chilly day.  It reminds me of the massla chai that we have in India. I was also sent a tea infuser which gave me that ‘perfect tea’.

Make sure you shake the tin or foil pouch before you remove any ICHAI to achieve the most even distribution of tea and spices. Use one to two heaped teaspoons of ICHAI per person, depending on how strong you like it, add freshly boiled water and cover immediately to lock in the aroma because the volatile component of ICHAI is an important contributor to the overall flavour. If you are making ICHAI in a mug then some infusers come with a lid - but if you don't have an infuser with a lid then just use a saucer.

Remember –‘a cup of tea can make everything better.’ Accompany this tea with cookies, bread, biscuits, Indian snacks-well almost anything and everything. If you know someone who loves tea then I feel ICHAI is also a great gift idea.

All ICHAI blends are available from in 25g and 125g pouches, with half the range also available in 75g caddies.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking ICHAI  for sending tea to review.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Honey and Cayenne Pepper Roasted Almonds

Honey and Cayenne Pepper Roasted Almonds. Highly addictive! Handful of almonds that are roasted on medium heat, later mixed with pepper and honey with hint of salt is a perfect nibble or a companion for any drink.

Recently folks from Ugly Drinks sent me a box of soft drinks. Say no to sugar and sweeteners this year and refresh your hydration habits with Ugly Sparkling Water, a brand new range of unsweet, naturally infused sparkling waters that are set to take the country by storm.  Ugly drink is made with sparkling water infused with natural fruit flavours; you'll find no sugar, no sweeteners, no calories and nothing artificial in these guilt free, beautifully different waters.

There are two flavours in the Ugly family, each offering a great, natural taste:
  • Lemon & Lime – a great alternative to sugary sweet lemonades. Drink ice cold for maximum refreshment.
  • Grapefruit & Pineapple – awesome tropical refreshment. Like a disco in a can.

I haven’t tasted grapefruit and pineapple yet but Lemon and Lime was amazing. Perfect balance of taste, flavour and fizz. I hate those sodas that are so called diet drinks but are actually loaded with sugar. This is an honest soft drink, a guilt free refreshing experience. Why to have extra sugar, when you are sweet already ;)

I paired it with these roasted almonds- which are also a healthy alternative from deep fried snacks. You can roast the almonds on pan (hob method), microwave it or even oven roast-the choice is yours. I used the pan method as I find it easy and quick. I have used cayenne pepper, but feel free to use red chilli powder instead. That's it no rules, just use your own flavours like chaat massala, garam massala or even simple salted ones.

1 cup almonds
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil or butter

Line a baking tray or plate with foil. Grease the foil with oil. Keep aside.
Take a pan add oil or butter. When oil gets hot add almonds and reduce the flame/heat to medium low. Roast the almonds till you hear crackling sound and the skin or almonds turn dark in colour. Mine took 2 minutes.
Next, mix in, cayenne pepper, salt, honey and lemon juice. Mix quickly before honey caramelizes. Make sure that almonds are well coated with spices.
Spread the roasted almonds on greased foil and let it cool. Once cooled store it air tight container.

Please make sure to use them within one week.
You can do same with any nuts like cashews or walnuts.

The full Ugly Sparkling Water range launches into Selfridges, Whole Foods Market and other leading independents next month. RRP £0.99, 330mls. Go grab yours. #glugugly

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking Ugly Drinks for sending to review.