March 25, 2014

Tri-colored Potato subzi

Most people I know love the tuber more than any other vegetable, including my own sister. Not me- I detest potatoes! While I was in school, I stopped eating potatoes all together for months, and I was very happy in my potato free world until Mom coerced me to eat them because she was running out of lunch pack ideas without potatoes :) While I do still eat them, I rarely make any potato dishes at home.

The ONLY potato preparation I liked was a potato bhaji that my maternal grandma made with thinly sliced potatoes, with the skin intact. I called it 'chhilka walu shaak' ie potato subzi with skin intact. Here's my twist on that recipe using much more interesting tri-colored fingerling potatoes - Purple, Red and Yellow.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Serves: 4

8-9 medium sized potatoes (I used 3 purple, 3 red and 3 yellow); washed thoroughly
2 tbsp Canola or any white oil
1 dried red chilli
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt (to taste)
11/2 tbsp Coriander powder
1/2 tbsp   Cumin powder
1 tbsp red Chilli powder

  • Slice the potatoes very thin, about 1/8th of an inch. You might want to soak the sliced potatoes in a bowl of water to prevent browning, its purely optional, though.
  • In a medium fry pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds and let them pop. Once the popping subsides, add dried red chilli, bay leaf and ginger and fry for a minute or so.
  • Add the sliced potatoes. If soaked in water, squeeze gently to remove excess water before adding to oil.
  • Toss gently till the tempering coats most potato slices, and then add turmeric and salt. Cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Once the potatoes are slightly translucent, add the remaining spices - coriander, cumin and chilli powder. Toss gently to avoid breaking the thin slices.
  • Cook uncovered in medium-low heat till the potatoes are done, and some are crispy golden brown.
  • Serve hot with paratha or roti.
Bon Appetit!
Hetal from Houston

March 4, 2014

Berry Berry Berry Lemony cake

This winter has been the longest, by far. We're seeing hard freeze days here in the south in March. That's way too cold for tropical creatures like me. I love the summer months, primarily because of the wide variety of fruits that hit the market - including all the yummy berries, lemons and of course, mangoes! :)

One of the few days when Houston weather was nicer, I saw some wonderful berries in the local market. I knew I had to buy them the moment I set my eyes on them. It was probably my attempt to feel that warm summer days are here again! One of my friends has the sweetest tooth I know. She loves cakes with fruit in them, so I decided to bake one with lots of berries for her birthday. It turned out to be 'Berry Berry Berry Lemony'! Based on a recipe by smittenkitchen, here it goes: 


2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed.
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon (I used a zester, but a small cheese grater works well, too)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 cups mixed berries, rinsed and dried (I used blackberries, raspberries and blueberries)

2 cups powdered or confections’ sugar Juice of 1 lemon 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, very soft.

·    Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 10-cup Bundt pan with softened butter and set aside. I used my favorite Fleur-de-Lis bundt, for added pizzazz.
·    In a medium bowl, whisk or sift 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. I used my newly acquired flour sifter.
·    In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. It is crucial that the butter is at room temperature, so the butter and sugar fluff up nicely.
·    Now, with the mixer on a low speed, add eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla extract.
·    Add 1/3 flour mixture to batter, beating until just combined, followed by half the buttermilk, another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk and remaining flour mixture. It is important to start and end with the flour mixture. Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl from time to time.
·    In a small bowl, toss the berries with 2 tablespoons of flour and gently fold the berries into the cake batter. The batter will be very thick.
The batter is very thick
·    Spread cake batter in the prepared baking pan and spread the top smooth. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. The cake is done as soon as a tester comes out clean of batter.
·    Set cake pan on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes, before inverting the cake onto a serving platter. I find that taking the cake out before it cools completely helps unmold a Bundt cake easily. Cool completely.
·    Once cooled completely, prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and butter until smooth and thick, almost like crepe batter. Spread carefully over top of cake, letting it trickle down the sides.
·    Serve at once or keep it covered at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. I garnished the cake with some more berries with the help of my friend’s 3 year old! 

Glazed Berry Berry Berry Lemony cake
Berry Berry Berry Lemony cake

Bon App├ętit!

Hetal from Houston