Friday, 16 February 2018

Quick Masala Corn & Paneer

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What would you do if you were to walk into an empty refrigerator after a vacation? Order from restaurant? No way, you have already been eating out for so many days. Definitely, not going for grocery shopping in such a tired state. Chances are, you would be so tired that you would settle for a dal rice meal.

When we had gone to vacation in Kerala last month, I finished every possible perishable item in my fridge. Ironically, we returned at a time when most restaurants had closed for lunch, not that we would have ordered anyway. While I was gazing at my fridge and blaming myself for having finished all the grocery, a packet of corn kernels and frozen paneer in the freezer compartment smiled at me, as if saying, "Main Hoon Na!"

So, this is how I prepared this quick and easy Masala corn and paneer and not in a kadai, but in my time saver pressure cooker!

Do try it out and let me know in the comments section how it turned out. Also, let me know if you have been in a similar situation and how you managed!

Okay okay enough of my bak bak, now over to the recipe. 

Ingredients (Serves - 4)

Cottage Cheese/Paneer - 200g
Corn kernel - 100g
Onion/Pyaaz/Kaanda - 1 medium
Ginger/Adrak - 1 small piece 
Oil - 2tbsp
Cumin Seeds/Zeera - 1tsp
Cloves/Laung - 3-4 pieces
Asafoetida/Hing - 1/2 tsp
Black Peppercorns - 3-4 no.
Bayleaf/Tejpatta - 1/2 
Salt - 1,1/2 tsp or to taste
Red Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder/Dhaniya - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder / Haldi - 1,1/2 tsp
Tomatoes - 2 large, pureed 
Water - 1/2 Cup


1. Grind the onion and ginger into a fine paste.

2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cloves and bayleaf.

3. Add the ginger onion paste and saute for 2-3 minutes. We don't have to make it golden brown, just saute till the raw smell of onions goes away.

4. Add the corn kernels and mix well.

5. Add the spices - salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Saute on medium flame for 2-3 minutes.

6. Add the tomato puree. Saute for 3-4 minutes or till the oil separates.

7. Add water, mix well. Cover the lid and give 2 whistles.

8. Now that the gravy is done, add the cottage cheese cubes. Give it a nice boil for 2-3 minutes. 

9. Masala Paneer and Corn is ready!

P.S. I was broke on grocery that day else I would have garnished the dish with some chopped coriander leaves and would have added 1-2 tsp cream/malai to make the gravy rich. So, if you are preparing this on a good day, I suggest these to enhance the flavour. The dish nevertheless comes out to be lip smacking even without these!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Mixed Vegetables in Indian Style Poppy Seed Gravy

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Each time I relish a white gravy dish at a party, I secretly aim to prepare it back home. But the good old onion tomato gravy is a comfort zone for us Indian women! Quick, easy, tried, tested and loved by everyone, how can things go wrong with the tomato gravy?

But then, I HAD to come out of my comfort zone. So this Sunday afternoon, the Rajma, Chhole and Shahi paneer were ditched for vegetables in poppy seed (khus khus) gravy. It wasn't tough at all, rather easier and richer than the tomato gravy. As for my family, well...their happy faces said it all!

So, here's the recipe. Do try it out. Also, you may wanna google the health benefits of poppy seeds for some motivation!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Cauliflower - 1/2, cut into mouthful size florets
Potatoes - 2 medium, diced
Green Peas - 1 cup (I use a small katori)
Capsicum - 1 large, diced
Carrot - 2 medium, diced
Poppy seeds/khus khus - 3tsp
Cashews - a handful, chopped (You can increase the quantity as per preference)
Nutmeg/dalchini powder - 1tsp
Onion - 1 large
Green chilies - 2
Ginger - 1 small piece
Desi Ghee - 2tbsp
Cumin seeds/Jeera - 1tsp
Asafoetida/Hing - 1/2 tsp
Clove/Laung - 3-4 no.
Black pepper powder - 1tsp
Green cardamom powder - 1tsp
Full cream milk - 250ml, boiled
Salt - to taste


The Poppy Seed Paste

Soak poppy seeds and cashews in 1 cup warm milk for about half an hour. Then grind the mixture into a fine paste. Add the nutmeg powder. Keep aside.

The Vegetables

Heat ghee in a kadai. Roast the potatoes. 

Once the potatoes turn golden brown and soften a bit, add the remaining vegetables (cauliflower, capsicum, peas and carrots). 

Add some salt as it will help soften the veggies. Add cardamom powder. Saute well. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes our till the veggies soften a bit. Take care not to overcook the vegetables else they will break and get mashed once they go inside the gravy. Keep the vegetables aside. 

Onion Paste 

Blend the onion, ginger and green chilies into a fine paste. Keep aside

The Gravy

Heat ghee in the kadai. Add asafoetida, cloves and cumin seeds. (You can see a pea here since I used the same kadai in which i sauted the vegetables).

Once the seeds splutter, add the onion paste and saute on medium flame for about 2-3 minutes.

Add the sauted vegetables. Mix well.

Add the khus khus cashew paste and mix well on low flame (since poppy seed paste tend to thicken the gravy in no time!)

Add salt and black pepper powder. Cook for 2 minutes on low flame. 

Mixed vegetables in poppy seed gravy is ready!

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Is an RO purifier your best for pure water?

When it comes to my children, I make no compromises on quality. As a mother to an infant and a toddler, I am always proactive about minimizing the risk of infections. Since small children are very susceptible to water borne infections, I began to use boiled water for his consumption. As kids, I had always seen my parents do the same so I followed suit. 

However, soon I realized it was a task easier said than done. Managing two small kids, office and household chores meant a mad race with the clock, so boiling and cooling water seemed a tedious task. Hence, I began to look for other convenient options. While the age old filters was a known option, a little bit of online research told me it was no longer the best method to have the purest drinking water as there may still be heavy metals, harmful chemicals, and excessive salts left in the water. 

Thankfully, we live in a technologically advanced world. Discussions with friends and online research told me that RO purifier is the best and safest way to ensure purest water. RO purifier uses Reverse Osmosis technology to purify water. Yes, the very same Osmosis that we studied in school is now helping us keep our water safe! 

Unlike the conventional gravity based water purifiers or water filters, RO purifier uses fine osmotic membranes to filter out the smallest of the impurities dissolved in the water supply. This makes them ideal for home and office use. There is a wide range of RO purifier depending on the level of product testing and the quality of filters used to assemble the purifier.

A little bit of research and online comparison helped me pick the best ro purifier and life is a lot easier now. There is a wide range of RO purifiers available in the market and one can compare the RO water purifier price online.  Considering the quality, features and price, you can choose the bestRO water purifier in India and keep your family safe from water borne diseases. 

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Keeping my children mosquito safe

As mothers, we tend to fight a never ending battle with diseases and infections. If nature would allow, I am sure each mother would love to set a protective kavach (layer) around her babies to protect them from anything and everything negative. While there are infections and diseases beyond our control, we definitely wouldn't want our babies to have diseases that could have been avoided by taking simple precautions. Mosquito related diseases are one such example. Mosquitoes often come uninvited wherever we go and bring with them harmful diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya, Malaria etc. Therefore, when it comes to these diseases, each mother wants to play safe by keeping mosquitoes away from their little ones.

Being a mother to a toddler and an infant, I have to look for mosquito repellent options which work at home as well as in the playground. My 2.5 year old son just hates being confined indoors while my 5 month old daughter gets cranky each time a mosquito bites her. Here is a list of options I have tried over a period of time and my experience with each one of them.

1. Mosquito Nets
This is the first option that comes to our mind the moment we bring our little ones home for the first time. We feel scared to use chemicals for newborns hence mosquito nets come in as a safe option. I too invested in a baby mosquito net. 

While it seemed like a good option initially, soon I realized that it was tough to monitor the baby through the net at night. My daughter loves kicking and would often kick away the net, forcing me to explore other options. So, I purchased a large, camp size mosquito net which fitted on my double bed. 

Life was good, till summers came calling. No matter how much cooling the AC gave, it was always stuffy inside the net. I felt imprisoned. Also, it was tough to move in and out of the net at night and the baby would often wake up by the noise. It was time to kick away the net and look for other options.

Since I was least inclined towards the smoky mosquito coils, Good knight Activ+ was my obvious choice of mosquito killer machine. My parents used Good knight when we were kids, so I decided to zero down on the tried and tested brand. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed at all! I would shut the windows in the evening and switch on Good knight and this ensured a good night sleep for my children. I even have the option to switch from a Normal to Active mode when the mosquito menace is high. We carry the machine with us while travelling and even plugged it in the train compartment. 

While it worked wonders for my daughter, I was still worried for my son who loves playing outside in his T-Shirt and shorts. However, the next option solved my problem.

This has come like a boon to mothers of hyperactive toddlers since it is certified pediatric safe. Since overdressing your kids isn't a viable option in all weathers, the outdoor mosquito repeller works wonders. All I have to do is play a 4 dot game with my son and I can take a sigh of relief that he is safe from mosquitoes while playing in the park.

While the Roll-On is a natural product, the strong smell of citronella oil & eucalyptus oil sometimes turns my son off. But I soon realized there is another option that my son just wouldn't be able to refuse!

My son loves animals, so when we got him these patches, he just jumped with joy! Keeping mosquitoes away is now a fun activity as my son chooses his patch of the day!

This is a great option to do away with the mosquitoes who love to play hide and seek in the room. Just four shots in the corners of the room keep the mosquitoes at bay.

These easy and child friendly options help me stay tension free about mosquitoes, for prevention is always better than cure!

Thursday, 23 November 2017

The Love Affair and Vermicelli

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I was happily married to Maggi....till vegetable vermicelli lured me into an extramarital affair!

No matter how much the advertising gurus fool us, each time I eat a bowl of ready to eat noodles, my health conscious heart says, "Get a life dude!"

The love affair began soon after my son was born, and the bond has gone deeper and deeper ever since!

The advantages are many - easy way to include vegetables, the goodness of durum wheat vermicelli, no preservatives and most importantly, the ease of preparation. In fact, a night before I delivered my daughter, I wanted to eat something spicy but was feeling too lazy to cook, so it took me 10 minutes to prepare this vegetable vermicelli. Its the best alternative to preservative laden ready to cook stuff, and can make up for a quick, healthy breakfast, snack or solution to a midnight hunger pang!

For preparing 2 plates of vegetable vermicelli, you need
Roasted vermicelli - 2 small katori/1 cup
Onion - 1 medium, sliced
Tomatoes - 2 medium, finely chopped
Capsicum - 1 medium, coarsely chopped
Potato - 1 small, cut into small thin pieces
Carrot - 1 chopped
Peas - 1 fistful
Green chillies - 2 
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves - 3-4
Red chilli powder - 1tsp
Salt - to taste
Vegetable/Oilve oil - 1tbsp

Lets get started!


Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Enjoy the spluttering for a minute
Add sliced onion and saute till golden brown
Add the potatoes, peas and capsicum
Add the chopped carrots and tomatoes
Add salt and red chilli powder. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes or till the vegetables are tender
Add water just to cover the vegetables and increase the flame to high. Adjust seasoning
Add the roasted vermicelli and mix well. Cover and cook on low flame for 3-4 minutes

Veggie vermicelli is ready!!!