Monday, 30 May 2011


Potato is probably the most widely eaten vegetable across the world. Perhaps it’s the versatility of the potato that makes it a favourite; it can be enjoyed baked, mashed, fried, steamed, creamed or any which way that one likes to consume it! Though frying it for too long or deep frying it makes it lose its food value, yet it is an excellent source of fibre and carbohydrates. I believe for this reason, my gym instructor advised me to eat a boiled potato along with an apple before hitting the gym.

Non-vegetarians should take their potatoes seriously. Recent studies have shown that eating potatoes along with meat dishes actually reduces the risk of cancer posed by the red meat.

This ‘fast to cook and good to eat’ recipe of potato is an excellent side dish with meaty dishes and vegetarians can eat it as a side dish with crusty bread. 

Here is a simple yet tasty recipe given by a friend:

6-7 potatoes; boiled and sliced in thick roundels (I chose longish and slender ones; you may use baby potatoes for this recipe)
3 medium sized onions (peeled and cut in roundels and separated)

½ tsp finely chopped plump red chillies or as a substitute you can use chilli flakes (you may use crushed black pepper instead if you wish)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp lemon zest (optional)
Fresh chopped coriander (optional)

Juice of half a lemon (you can adjust the amount to suit your taste buds)

Heat a wok and add oil. On a high flame, add onions and give them a quick fry till they just about start to turn translucent. Immediately add the potatoes (add a little more oil if you feel the need at this point) and give them a quick stir. Now add the salt, chilli flakes and lemon zest. Stir the ingredients together and transfer them out in a bowl. Serve hot.
Serves 3-4

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Saturday, 7 May 2011


You will probably find the recipe for gulab jamuns without fail on almost every blog or website dedicated to Indian food. I think rasogullas and gulab jamuns will win hands down as almost everyone’s favourite Indian sweet.

I usually avoid cooking very elaborate recipes. Indian traditional sweets, especially, are quite elaborate and involve a lot of time and effort in either the preparation or the cooking.

My husband was posted abroad for almost a year and the one thing that all Indian expatriates missed the most in food were the Indian sweets. To cater to one’s sweet tooth one had to either rely on the Indian cooks working in some Indian restaurant or dish them out themselves. I didn’t quite like the preparation of the cooks who charged a bomb and still the taste was nowhere near satisfaction.

Exasperated I surfed the net for an easy gulab jamun recipe. Since no khoya (reduced milk) was available so I hunted for the recipes which required powdered milk.

I found this recipe, which I believe, is the most foolproof recipe that I have ever used to make gulab jamuns. It is simple, easy and yields almost professional results. The gulab jamuns are soft and grainy, exactly the way they are supposed to be. Though I have made a few changes in the recipe - instead of using rose water, I have used saffron; to make the syrup I have changed the ratio of water and sugar.

Though I can’t recall which website I downloaded it from, since I had surfed so many websites  for the recipe (and I wish to thank the person for posting this wonderful recipe!!), but I can definitely claim that whenever I served the gulab jamuns at the parties, they were always a hit and I was bombarded with requests for its recipe. So go ahead and... INDULGE!!

Here is the recipe:

250 gms milk powder
50 grams refined flour
100 ml whipped cream
2 gms baking soda (soda bi-carbonate)
Milk to knead the dough
Ghee (clarified butter) for deep frying

300 ml water
300 ml sugar
½ gm saffron
5 ml lemon juice
3 gm cardamom powder

Mix the sugar, water, lemon juice (to get rid of the impurities) and bring to a boil. Remove the scum and add saffron. Remove from heat and add cardamom powder.
Keep the syrup in a casserole to keep it warm.

Mix all ingredients for the jamun and make dough. Rest it for half an hour (I kept the dough covered with moist cloth to prevent it from becoming dry)

Divide the dough into small sections using your palm; shape them into small round balls (when the dough started to harden or dry out, I added a little milk to bring it to the required consistency).

Heat the ghee until hot, then reduce the flame, deep fry on very low flame till they are golden brown in colour. (For perfectly turned out  gulab jamuns it is important that they are NOT cooked on high or medium heat as this will result in uncooked interior)

Drain them and add to the syrup. Then jamuns should be immersed for at least 20 minutes or till them soften and absorb the syrup. You can serve with their syrup or drained. Serve hot garnished with nuts (optional). 

(Makes approximately 42 gulab jamuns!!)

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