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Sunday, July 31, 2016

The easiest ice cream recipe ever! (Pista Kulfi)

Indian ice cream is known as kulfi.

There are many different kinds from pistachio, mango, rose, cardamom and saffron flavors.

The basic ice cream base is 3 ingredients... yes you read that right!

Then you can add whatever you want. In my house growing up the kids didn't like the pistachios, so my mom would make this with M&Ms, oreos or Reese's pieces.


1 can of evaporated milk
1 can of condensed milk
1 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip
Optional: a splash of vanilla extract

Then choose whatever flavor you want. Rosewater and red food coloring if you want a Rose-flavored ice cream that's pink. Pistachios and green food coloring to make a mint-colored pista kulfi. Mango pulp for the mango kulfi or for a spicy kick cardamom.


Place all ingredients in a bowl and whip with a hand mixer until it's a thick, creamy liquid. Add flavorings (reserve some of the mix-ins for the top)

Then put in a freezer safe dish or tupperware and freeze for several hours until firm.

Chanar Jalebi

Are you a huge fan of gulab jamun?

Well if you are, Chanar Jalebi is a dessert for you. It's basically gulab jamun, but instead of round balls, the pastries are shaped like pretzels. The pastries is made from cheese, but it's fried and put into syrup.

You fry the pastries and then place them in a simple syrup to soak. Store in syrup in fridge.  

Preparation time: 1 hour
Serves: 6-8 people

  • 1 cup powdered milk (you may need a few tsps. more)
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour (set aside 2 tsps. of flour in case)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 4 cups of oil for frying (try something without a lot of flavor) 
  • 4 cups of water
  • 10-12 pods of cardamom


Make the dough:
  1. In a large bowl, mix the wheat flour, powdered milk and baking powder thoroughly. 
  2. Slowly add the heavy cream into the mixture and store constantly.
  3. Mix until the dough is soft with a smooth texture. If you need to add more milk or flour to get it to the right consistency, do so. 
  4. Set aside the dough and let it rest while you make the syrup.
Make the syrup:
  1. In a large pot, add the 4 cups of water, 4 cups of sugar and cardamom pods. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  2. Heat until it boils and boil for 5 minutes. 
  3. Then turn off the heat and let the syrup continue to cool in the pot.

Back to the dough:
  1. Divide the dough into 2 halves. Then into half again. Divide a third time. Divide again. You should 16 balls of dough.
  2. To create the pretzel shape, roll the dough ball in between your palms. You want a string of dough about 8 inches long. 
  3. Fold the dough into a pretzel by bringing first side over to the center than connect it. Repeat with the other side. 
  4. Repeat with all the remaining dough balls.
  5. In another large pot, heat the 4 cups of oil until you see it sizzle by putting a small bit of dough into it.
  6. Fry the jalebis 4 at a time. Flip when one side is dark brown. They should be dark brown on both sides.
  7. Once it's fried, drain them and directly add to syrup water in the other pot. 
  8. The jalebis will soak up the syrup as they cool.
Recipe adapted from Bengali home

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Chicken Curry

NOTE: Allow chicken to marinate overnight for better flavor. 

  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, peeled (you can substitute 2 tsp. garlic paste)
  • 1 inch of ginger, peeled (you can substitute 2 tsp. of ginger paste)
  • 3 green chilis (thai)
  • 1.5 cups of yogurt
  • 1 tsp. of turmeric
  • 3 tsp. of curry powder (see my family's recipe)
  • 1 whole chicken, skinless and broken down. (bones are fine, but you can do the boneless variety, too.)
  • 2 medium or 1 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp. of tomato paste.
  • 3 cups of water (or chicken broth for extra flavor)
  • At least 1 tsp. of salt, rest to taste
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro, cleaned and chopped. 
  • the juice of 1/2 lemon 
  • 2 tsp. vegetable or grapeseed or canola oil.


  1. In a blender or food processor, add onions, ginger and garlic. Blend or process until it's a thick paste-like substance (you can add 1 or 2 tsp. of water if needed). Add salt, lemon, turmeric and yogurt to the blender and continue to mix. If you want this chicken to be spicy, blend in two of the chilis, without stems. For medium spice, blend in 1 chili; for mild don't blend in chilis.  The mixture is the marinade for the chicken. 
  2. Once all is combined, allow chicken to marinate overnight. 
  3. Next day, in a large pot -- add the oil and heat. 
  4. When the oil starts smoking slightly, add diced tomatoes and allow to "fry" in the oil for one minute. 
  5. Add curry powder and allow the spices to bloom for another minute. 
  6. Then add chicken to pot with it's marinade. The chicken will begin to cook in the marinade, which now will act as the based for the sauce. [Note the marinade will be heated and any possible contamination from the poultry won't exist anymore. However, if you can't imagine using the marinade as the sauce, repeat Step 1 and make a "fresh" marinade to use with the chicken. Pull the chicken out of marinade and sear off, adding marinade as the base to the sauce.
  7. Once you see the chicken is starting to cook, add in the tomato paste, sugar and water or broth to the pot. Add the remaining chili to the pot to add more flavor.
  8. Bring to a boil. Cover then cook on low for 30 minutes; stirring occasionally.
  9. After 30 minutes, check for seasoning; add salt to taste or more spice if necessary. [Fans of sriracha, this is a good place to add at least 1 tsp.)
  10. Turn heat off. Add cilantro and stir in. Cover pot until you serve it. 
  11. Serve with rice.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Corriander Chutney (or Cilantro-Mint Chutney)

It's the green stuff you get with papadum when you go to an Indian restaurant.

Corriander chutney is the Indian's version of chimichurri, a refreshing, yet spicy sauce with a hint of citrus that is served with spicy kebabs, tandoori meats and appetizers like samosas and pakoras.

So how do you make it?

When you search the internet there are many versions that make an appearance; and in many cases they add too much extra stuff that I really don't think adds to the flavor.

Here's a simple recipe for this chutney that also tastes pretty spot on.


  • 1 bunch of cilantro (wash and soak allowing any sand to be removed)
  • 1 bunch of mint (again make sure it's cleaned, no grit)
  • 2 serrano or Thai chilis; seeded (if you don't want it to be spicy)
  • the juice of one lemon, more may be needed.
  • a tsp of white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of oil, grapeseed of canola (something that doesn't add a flavor) & more if needed 
  • 1 tsp. of ground cumin 
  • salt to taste


  1. Add cleaned cilantro and mint into a blender with half of of the lemon juice and pulse in blender. 
  2. Continue to add lemon juice until the cilantro and mint are combined and chopped up.
  3. Add chilis, cumin, vinegar and pulse again.
  4. Stream in oil while pulsing the mixture. If it remains to thick add some more oil & lemon juice or just add water. 
  5. Finally, add salt to taste and pulse to mix in. 

Makes 2-3 cups. You can store in fridge for a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Lamb Tangine Over Preserved Lemon Couscous

This is by far one of my favorite recipes. I first made it with a few friends when I was living in Hoboken, NJ. We had an international food night and would pick a random country and then pick a dish we wanted t make. 
The recipe screams fall and winter and warms -- as it's filled with spices that warm you but aren't insanely spicy. 
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.
Lamb Tangine

Serves 6
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hours 

3 1/2 to 4 pounds of lamb, cubed (bone-in) 

Spice rub:
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika (regular is fine, but smoked paprika is better) 
  • 1 tbsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of ginger powder (or 1 inch of ginger root, chopped)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 preserved lemon, chopped (reserve half for couscous)
  • 3 tsp of lemon juice 
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil

STEP 1: Put the spice mixture on the lamb and allow to marinate, rest in a bowl.

Prepare the rest of the ingredients:

  • 6 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced 
  • 2 red potatoes, or one small Idaho potato, cubed (optional) [you could also substitute sweet potato]
  • 1/2 cup of pitted olives (Spanish or Mediterranean), halved
  • 1/2 cup of dates, pitted and halved 

  • 1/4 cup of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken or beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 threads of saffron, crumbled
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup of cilantro, chopped

STEP 2: In a large pot, add some olive oil and throw in the cinnamon stick, cloves, onions and carrots (and potatoes, if using) and sauté. 

STEP 3: Once the onions are translucent, add the spiced lamb. Brown the lamb on each side. 

STEP 4: Add tomato paste and honey. Stir. Allow the honey to begin to caramelized. 

STEP 5: Add chicken broth & water and saffron. 

STEP 6: Allow it to simmer for 15 minutes without lid. Then add the olives and dates. 

STEP 7: Simmer with lid for 30 minutes to 45 minutes up to an hour. Skim off any fat. 

Remove lid and check tenderness of lamb. Taste for salt, add to taste. If you're satisfied, add cilantro and parsley. Serve over lemon couscous. (Recipe to follow)!

Preserved lemon couscous:

  • 2 cups couscous
  • 1 tsp of oil
  • Chicken broth
  • 1 large clove garlic, keep whole
  • Remaining chopped preserved lemon (from lamb recipe) 
  • Salt to taste (start with 1/2 tsp because preserved lemon has salt) 

STEP 1: In a pot, sauté couscous with 1 tsp of oil. Slightly toast, don't brown or burn (makes it bitter) 

STEP 2: Cook couscous using directions from package. Normally you boil the liquid and add the dry couscous to it. It's about 1 1/2 cup of liquid per cup of couscous, but it depends on the type so follow the directions on the box.

But you should use chicken broth as the liquid. 

STEP 3: When adding the liquid, also add the preserved lemon and the garlic clove whole. 

STEP 4: Set aside until ready to serve. You can pull out the garlic clove before serving as it's used to flavor. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Almost Vegan Acorn Squash Lasagna

So it's been a while since I updated, but it doesn't mean I haven't been cooking. Instead since I left grad school—I got a job and have been working so much, that on my off time, I don't want to write.

But I've recently rekindled my relationship with blogging and also hope to expand this blog beyond the boundaries of solely Indian cuisine.

One thing that is common for first-generation Indian children is that their parents and grandparents are not as open to different cuisines. In my case my grandmother and my maternal uncle are not so open to eating Italian food. My grandmother thinks marinara sauce is to tart and my uncle favors eating Indian, Chinese and other foods of Asian decent. Although my mom loves Italian food, she's vegetarian, so often when she eats it, the meal is full of carbs and dairy rather than protein. This recipe is sweet and hearty with a hint of spice. It's not tart at all.

A couple of things inspired this Almost Vegan Acorn Squash Lasagna:

1. On Trisha Yearwood's (yes, the country singer) new Food Network cooking show, she and Garth Brooks (yes another country singer) made Black Bean Lasagna using a faux ricotta made with tofu. Using tofu instead of ricotta really cuts down on the fat in lasagna.

2. My mom recently went to a work lunch at a fancy country club where she dined on butternut squash ravioli with brown butter sauce. I might be great in the kitchen by ravioli is pretty intense to make and I figured a squash lasagna would really mimic the flavor without the work.

Take note: it's almost vegan because I used one egg and parmesan. You could make it without the egg, use egg-free lasagna, and substitute the real parmesan for a vegan version. I also will be using whole wheat lasagna next time I make it, but I had to regular boxes on me and I like to use what I have.

Almost Vegan Acorn Squash Lasagna
Serves 4-5, Prep Time: 1 hour, Cook time: 50 minutes.


  • 2 cups of faux ricotta (make it the day of) recipe below)
  • 2 cups of marinara (store bought is fine - I used Trader Joe's organic)
  • 1 cup of Parmesan
  • 1/8 of Italian breadcrumbs
  • 12 pieces of lasagna (you can make extra just in case and use the leftovers later)
  • 1 acorn squash, roasted with spices (can be made ahead of time, recipe below)
  • 1 large onion, caramelized


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Place a 1/3 of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the lasagna pan to help prevent the noodles from sticking.
  3. Add one layer of lasagna (4 slices overlapping) on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Layer a 1/3 of the marinara sauce to the noodles and spread out across the pan, covering all the noodles. 
  5. Add 1/2 of the acorn squash over the noodles and spread out across the pan again, covering the sauce. (A trick: wet the back of the spoon, helps with sticking)
  6. Sprinkle 1/2 of the caramelized onions over the squash
  7. Add 1/2 of faux ricotta over the onions and squash
  8. Repeat the layers once more, but don't use the tomato sauce (reserve for top layer). 
  9. Place the last layer of lasagna noodles in the pan. 
  10. Add the remaining 1/3 of the tomato sauce onto the noodles.
  11. Mix the Parmesan and breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top.
  12. Cover with foil (Trick: spray foil with cooking spray to prevent sticking).
  13. Bake for 40 minutes. 
  14. Remove foil. Bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbling. 

Roasted Acorn Squash:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/8 cup of olive oil 
  • 1 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. of pepper
Split the acorn squash in half—lengthwise. Remove the stem and slice the bottom of the squash so it's flat. Drizzle olive oil over the squash and sprinkle all of the spices over the squash. Roast the squash at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Once roasted scoop out the pulp and let cool. Store in refrigerator if making ahead of time. Makes 2 cups

Faux Ricotta

  • 1 container of tofu (I used light silken, but you can use firm or extra firm)
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts or cashews (toasted)
  • 10 leaves of basil
  • 1 tsp. of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 1 tsp. of lemon juice

A few hours or even overnight, wrap the tofu in a couple of layers of paper towel and place in a colander in a bowl with a weight over it so all the liquid drains. Once drained: place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until everything is mixed together and consistency is similar to ricotta. Set aside. Makes 2 cups. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tandoori Tostadas

So last weekend in honor of my last weekend at my apartment I threw a dinner party -- with apps and wine.

I'm a huge fan of Mexican food and often find huge similarities between Mexican and Indian food.

So I decided to make tandoori tostadas. Yes, I said it -- tandoori.

It actually tastes great and most of the components can be made ahead of time and then compiled together.

First, make the tandoori chicken. You can substitute chick peas (2 cans) or paneer (2 packs) if you're vegetarian, but then omit the yogurt.

Basic marinade recipe:
1/2 cup of yogurt, 1 tbsp of curry paste, 2 tsp of tandoori powder, 2 tsp of lemon juice. Mix ingredients in a large bowl until combined.

  1. Take two bone-in chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Place the chicken in the marinade and leave in fridge overnight or at least for two hours (but then cut slices into chicken breast so marinade can get into the meat.) 
  3. Roast chicken (with all of the marinade) for 45 minutes covered with foil in the oven -- 375 to 385. Remove foil and cook another 30 minutes at the same temperature. 
  4. Shred chicken and combine with cooking juices. Set aside. 
  5. Prepare tostadas by toasting corn tortillas, or buy prepared tostadas. 
  6. Combine salsa ingredients: 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, chop a 1/2 of a large red onion, dice two tomatoes, dice 1 red bell pepper, the juice of a lime, 1/2 tsp of salt and more to taste.
  7. Combine 1 cup of sour cream with 1 heaping tablespoon of cilantro chutney. Place the mixture in a squeeze bottle. 
  8. Choose a green - can be sprouts, spinach or lettuce. 
  9. Place tostada on plate, add greens, chicken, salsa and squeeze cilantro-sour cream mixture on top, repeat. 
Will make 12 tostadas, serves 3 to 4 people.