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Pineapple and tomato chutney

Today is Earth Day…a day we all pay homage to the planet that houses us, feeds us, hydrates us and nourishes us, in body soul and mind. Each moment, around each corner, the hues, patterns, shapes, sounds in the immense natural beauty that surrounds us are ever present to brighten our outlook.

A recent visit to the land of Costa Rica reinforced this sense of being blessed by varying ecosystems. On account of its sheer greenery and a rare observation that each person, whether living in a tiny dwelling or a massive mansion, was not only aware of this abundance, but was instrumental in preserving it as well, through simple civic sense, Costa Rica was the most fascinating place that I’ve visited. Read More

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Learning to make a Serbian treat!

This is a conversation, a conversation with a beautiful soul and learning the art of creating donuts, not just with a recipe but with a heart full of love.

Being in the same community for a decade or more has its own charm when despite hectic schedules, a brief “hello” or “how are you” from a neighbor keeps you in the loose yet comfortable knit of your surroundings, knowing that there are people who do care to know and interact with you.

I am blessed with some lovely neighbors where I live, all of them from different countries, different professions, and different backgrounds, all here for the one and only “American Dream!” One such family is of Serbian heritage. Read More

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Rajmah/Indian kidney bean chili

Two protein- and fiber-rich go to foods that we make at home quite often are “Rajmah,” or Indian Chili, and “Chole,” or Garbanzo beans. Both of these are quick to make, delicious and super nutritious! As a stew, all one needs is a steaming bowl of rice (brown, white or wild) or Chapatis (Indian bread), and a simple fresh salad to complete the meal. Read More

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Spiced cheesecake

Making Cheesecake at home was always daunting for me. Nonetheless, I decided to try it out for once, what with the yearning desire to eat a melt in the mouth cheesy delight at that very moment. Spurred on, we did get to dig in to the creamy, scrumptious dessert for sure! Read More

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Moong daal, moogache medge, whole green mung stew

Nostalgia…

I have vivid memories of all the comforting Indian food my mom used to make for us. Since she was a working mom, she always harbored a little guilt for being away from home all day long. She made it up to us with her sumptuous, healthy and delicious home-cooked meals. I still struggle to understand how she managed to come up with all the variety of food before sending us to school and heading off to work with my dad every day! Or coming home and then dishing up one of her soothing daals with rice.

One of our favorite comfort foods used to be the moogache medga she made. We would know that dinner was ready by training our noses to the heavenly scent of rice wafting from the kitchen and engulfing the whole house. Read More

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Vegetarian eggplant vindaloo

Spurred on by a Vindaloo recipe given to me by my cousin who recently visited us, I modified the recipe to create a dry blend for a quick and painless Vindaloo! It has similar hot and spicy flavors that culminate into one single burst that makes you cry for more!

Vindaloo, as I found out from the extensive literature available on the web, is a Portuguese dish that was brought into India when Portuguese people settled there for a while. Vinho is wine or vinegar and Alhos means garlic, the two main ingredients of this dish. India, abounding with spices eventually recreated the Vindaloo with a delectable yet simple combination of spices and red chili peppers in addition to the original vinegar, garlic and sugar. Read More

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Cranberry sauce with clementines and chai spice

I had always wanted to taste authentic cranberry sauce, especially since we were never before introduced to this simple Thanksgiving staple until we entered a world where we learned of Thanksgiving traditions. Always pictured as red, luscious and seemingly tempting, all I got was a mush of cranberry, sort of a solidified cranberry jelly.

This year, since venturing into the world of spices and experimentation in a different kind of a science, I happened to look at the fresh organic cranberries twice. I am glad I did! They were these gorgeous bright red berries, some darker, a few that were still pink. Plump yes, fragrant like most other fruits? Not really, no, not at all…either an attribute of my congested nasal passages or true to them being themselves. You must have gauged my ignorance about this fruit already. Read More

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Green beans and sweet potatoes

University days…grown up, independent and wanting more independence, I moved into my friend’s place to be closer to the university is what reasoning I could come up with at best! It is a distant memory and I think I lasted just a month or two away from my parents!

What I did come away with from this experience was the awesome simple cooking that my friend Priya would come up with. She has always been a brave one, fiercely independent, dedicated, intelligent and strong! She took care of everything, including the “bai,” who would come help her in the mornings. One of those mornings, before going to class, she was busy preparing a green beans and potato dish and I could not help but admire the speed with which she executed this wonder! Simple, delicious and marvelously fragrant, the concoction was spiced by her mom’s homemade spices. If I remember correctly, it was garam masala, ground coriander and ground cumin. Read More

A trifecta of desserts

Sweet tooth, dessert-a-holic whatever you may call sweet lovers, they will not shy away from a bowl of sweetness or from any confectionery for that matter. Except for a few who try as you may, will not touch them. You don’t believe me, do you? It is true, it is true. No, not those who are medically inclined to decline, not those who want to shed those extra pounds…I’m talking about people, kids and adults alike who refuse sweets.

I love to indulge in a bite or bowl of something sinfully sweet and rich after a meal. In stark contrast though, I find my 6-year-old refusing to touch sweets! Good for him, sure, but how can this be so? Read More

The lure of vegetables!

Bhaji e, Bhaji e, Aji pahije ka Bhaji…., Tondli, Gavar, Palak, Methi, taze tamatar…(translated as: Vegetables, vegetables, Grandma, would you like some fresh vegetables…and the names of different veggies) and the Bhaji wala would go on on until my mom would give in to the vision of fresh vegetables and the clever persistence of the vegetable vendor who cycles his way along the clean swept street where my mom’s home is tucked in.

Despite the refrigerator being quite full of vegetables that she bought from the same vendor on the previous day, my mom will be back in her kitchen with at least another kind or two from him again. Read More