Tuesday, 14 October 2014

1st Blog-versary!!!!

It's already a year for my blog!!! Can't believe it! So, actually i have consistently been doing cooking for a year? wow... that was so not me a few years back!! :)
But all for good, i have loved my journey... 

From making my first "Sheera" at in-laws place after marriage (1 and half years back) :

... To standing next to a renowned Italian Chef Luca of Grand Hyatt Regency and attending a Masterclass:

Just to recall the first few lines from my first post :

I was wondering, there are soooooo many food blogs on the internet! You need to find a recipe? There is always one on google! I need not write a blog to make it stand out amongst rest. I  just want to contribute as much as my fellow home-maker chefs have done till now. I myself have borrowed recipes from Internet a lot of times and they have turned out super yummy. So my sincere Thanks to all those who take efforts to cook, click pictures and write about them, so it helps fellow cooks like us :) 

You can read it here : Cook... Click... Eat

There are a few times i read my old posts and feel i should edit them or sometimes feel silly at the way i have written things, but i want to keep it as it is, only to see myself years later of how i have grown and improved... not only in my cooking, but also in my writing.

And this ongoing journey wouldnt have been possible without mom and mom-in-law who keep giving helpful tips to me now and then.

Guess who's who? ;)

Also my best critic, my hubby who tries all the dishes i experiment, with immense patience and pats my back when they turn out good. A true-mate in all ways...

80 posts and 16700+ views....A big thank you to all of you readers, fellow bloggers, and friends who have given me all the support, read my posts, left comments and even tried some of the recipes...You make the whole purpose of starting this blog complete... A big heartfelt thank you...

Happy Blogging all of you!!!

Naralaachi Chutney : Coconut chutney

Coconut is something that i don't find commonly here in Delhi, and back home we use coconut in almost everything (even curries and everyday sabzis). So, when i go to the weekly market here, i make sure i stack the coconuts and scrape them and keep them in air tight container in refrigerator. Lasts me for a week, till i get my next buy. 

I had made Coconut Barfis for Dusshera and had some fresh coconut left in the fridge. So, i thought of making this coconut chutney and all i had to bring home was some idli/dosa batter. One scrumptuous meal was ready for dinner :) This chutney is very easy to make and goes well with anything. You can also serve this with tomato omlette or just spread it on a bread slice and eat it (i do that at times for breakfast and it's so yummy).


Fresh coconut (Grated) - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 1 (adjust according to taste)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt - to taste
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1/4 tsp
Fresh curry leaves - a few

I didn't have corriander leaves at hand which gives a nice green colour to the coconut chutney, so my chutney is white. It doesn't change the taste though. If you have corriander leaves, do add them.


Put the coconut, green chillies, corriander leaves, salt, sugar and lemon juice in a mixer and make a nice paste.

If you want the chutney thin or runny, add a little of water or curd. Curd also gives a nice taste to the chutney but make sure to increase the quantity of green chillies then to balance the spice flavour. Or you can also add red chillies in the tadka later on.

Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. When they crackle, add asafoetida and cumin seeds. Then add the fresh curry leaves and mix this well with the chutney.

Chutney is ready in less than 10 minutes :)

Happy Cooking!!! :)

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Kojagiri day: Special menu

I had already posted about the kojagiri special Masala Milk in my last year's post (Masala Milk), so this is kind-of a repost walking down the memory lane since yesterday was Kojagiri Pournima too. As the tradition goes, we kept the milk in the balcony for sometime for the moon rays to fall on it and then consumed it.

So, my kitchen menu for dinner was some hot Batata Vadas and the masala milk. But i added a twist to both the dishes yesterday and hence wanted to write about my new additions.

My masala milk recipe was as follows:

I have purposely reduced the milk to half and added more of the dry fruits (You will know why in my next post, as i had some other plans in mind to try too ;) If the trial turns out well, i will post it in my next post!!!
So, this version turns out a bit thicker. This thick version is of drinking consistency, but if you want it more thinner, what you can do is, either add milk to the thick mixture later on (It doesn't change the taste) or else reduce the milk to only 3/4th (or more) and follow the rest of the procedure.


Milk - 1 litre
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
Nutmeg powder - 1 tbsp (I basically grated the nutmeg)
Almonds, cashews, pistachios - 1 1/4 cup
Saffron - few strands


Boil 1 litre milk and then reduce the milk to almost 1/2 of the original quantity stirring in between, scraping the cream from the sides of the vessel.
Keep the flame low throughout.

Dry roast the dry fruits. Now, grind them to a fine powder. Mix in saffron, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder.

After the milk has reduced to 1/2, add sugar and let it boil till sugar dissolves completely. Adjust sugar according to taste.

Now mix in the dry fruit mixture and turn off the heat.

You can have it warm or cold.

I also did a new version of batata vada from my last post, for the mere fact that i didn't have a few ingredients at hand. :) 


Potatoes - 4 boiled
Urad daal - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Curry leaves - a few (I had the dried ones and not fresh. You can add any)
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (I didn't have green chillies, so i added chilli powder. You can either add both or one of these according to taste)
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp

For the batter : 
Besan (Gram flour) - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Baking soda - a pinch (I tried this for the first time, and i was happy that the vadas turned quite crispy from outside)


Mash the potatoes and keep aside.
In a pan, heat oil, and add mustard seeds. When they crackle, add asafoetida and cumin seeds. Then add the curry leaves and turmeric powder. Next add in the ginger garlic paste and saute for 15-20 seconds. Next, add the urad daal and saute till the daal becomes reddish.

Now add in the mashed potatoes and salt. Mix it all well and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Let the mixture cool and then make equal portions round balls.

Meanwhile, make the batter using all the ingredients mentioned. Add water little by little as the batter should not become too thin.

Dip the potato balls in the batter and deep fry in hot oil.

Crispy Batata vadas are ready :))) They were super delicious, with the addition of urad daal.

If your batter is left, after frying the vadas, don't throw it away. Add sliced onions to it, and make kanda bhajis :))

Happy Cooking!!! :)

Friday, 3 October 2014

Dusshera special : Naralachya vadya

Naralachya vadya or coconut barfi is an easy to make sweet and is usually offered as a "Prashad" (offering) to God on auspicious days. Today being Dusshera (Dasra as we call it in Marathi), i made these and some kheer as prashad and thought of sharing it with you all. So here's wishing everyone reading this a very Happy Dasra!!!!

The significance of Dasra is not just burning the Ravana idols, but removing the evil from within. This is the day we start fresh and new removing all impurities from ourselves. Dasha Hara is a Sanskrit word which means removal of ten bad qualities within us:

Kama Vasana (Lust)
Krodha (Anger)
Moha (Attachment)
Lobha (Greed)
Mada (Over pride)
Matsara (Jealousy)
Swartha (Selfishness)
Anyaaya (Injustice)
Amanavta (Cruelty)
Ahankara (Ego)

This day is also known as Vijaydashmi which literally means "Vijay" (victory) over all these 10 bad qualities. In mythology, it is victory over 10 heads of Ravana from the Ramayana. Mythology is really interesting, if you add real-life meanings to each verse/poetry or story.

So, while introspecting myself and deciding to start meditation from today religiously, i made these sweets. After all, cooking is also meditating right? :)


Fresh grated/scraped coconut - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup ( If you like it too sweet, add 3/4 cup)
Alternatively you can also add jaggery, it fives a very nice texture and taste to the vadis. About 3/4 jaggery for a cup of coconut will be good.
Milk - 2 tbsp ( I read somewhere that this little amount of milk adds richness and white colour to the vadis)
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
Sliced almonds - Garnishing
Ghee - to grease a plate

Recipe :

Grease a small plate with ghee and keep aside. This quantity of ingredients made about 12-14 vadis for me, so choose your plate accordingly.

In a non stick pan, put the coconut, sugar and milk and mix well. 

Keep the flame low, and stirring in between let the mixture cook.

The sugar will dissolve and the mixture will get watery...After some time, it will start leaving sides and form a lump of mixture.

Once the lump is formed, switch off the heat. If u overcook, the vadis will still taste great but will turn out to be little hard.

Now mix in the cardamom powder.

Put this mixture on the greased plate and with the help of spatula or the back of a small katori, spread it even.

Let it rest about 15 minutes and then cut the desired shapes and garnish with the almonds.

It stays well for 3-4 days without refrigerating, but i put them in the fridge since it's too hot here. 

Remove the vadis from the plate only after they are well cooled down.

Happy Cooking :)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Experiences at Kasauli : Part 3 (Food!!!)

Now comes the most interesting part, isn't it ;) Hehehe... 

Well, i want to be honest and frank here that Kasauli is not a food-place but every hill station adds their own taste to the even-so-common dishes! Guess as they say, the ingredients, climate, water everything adds to the taste of food and it hence differs from place to place.

The chana chaat
So a normal chana daal chaat with just onions, green chillies, chaat masala and lime juice would also taste so flavourful that you wouldn't want to stop at one serving! 

Street food is what i love to gorge on when on a trip keeping all the hygiene issues at bay! And kasauli gave a lot of food sights for the same. Everywhere on the highway, we could see "thelas" of Chole-kulche on the way from Kalka railway station to Dharmpur (a centre hub for buses and taxis). 

A typical thela(cart) selling Chole-Kulche

There were also the famous "Meat-chawal" dhabas, selling meat gravy with rice. Hubby wanted to try it, but everytime we crossed passed any dhaba, we had already finished our meal :) 

A Meat-chawal dhaba popular in hills

We mostly dined at the awesome Rooftop restaurant in our Hotel-Hangout... But when we went for a walk during the day, we didn't miss eating the much-recommended Burger on the show HOMP (Highway on my plate, which comes on television, which we used to follow regularly until now) from the shop Better Deals right before the Christ Church on the mall road. When i spoke to the owner, he mentioned that this is the 5th generation since the shop has started and is running successfully due to their natural homemade stuff like chutneys and pickles. Reminiscing the past, he mentioned that those good old days were great as compared to the tourism now, since he felt things are getting commercialized now.

The paneer and chicken burger...Yumm is the word!

Up north, indianised sandwiches (with heaps of mayonnaise ;)) are quite popular. So, to say, they add stuffing/filling in between the breads and serve (and it does taste awesome!). So when we went to the Heritage market, we tried the spicy bun samosa from Narinder sweet house. Their gulab jamuns and jalebis are also famous, but we didn't have a sweet craving that time, hence gave it a skip. Everything at his shop looked so delicious...

Narinder sweet house at Heritagemarket
The Bun-samosa
And while strolling down the mall road, we also tasted momos, that the place is famous for, due to a lot of Tibetan population residing there. Couldn't click pictures as it was already dark and was a small little stall. Then we met a very interesting local old man who runs a small tea shop. He had stories to tell about his good old days, and we sat listening to them all over a cup of a nice strong aromatic coffee he made for us. 

We also dropped in at the very famous "Giani da dhaba", and felt guilty for not listening to one of the friends to avoid it. This was one of our wishlist places and with high hopes, we wanted to eat there just to put a tickmark on our "Been there, done that" places, but the food was quite dissapointing and the service pathetic (too rude i must say). There is just nothing to write about the kadhai chicken and paneer that we ordered. 

We also tried their famous local fruit beer - Apple beer which was too sweet for our taste. 

Himachal Pradesh has booming fruit wine industry and the excise laws there are very liberal as compared to other states in India. Retaining the original fruit flavours, there were almost 14 different types of wines apart from the regular red wine. These wines have to be consumed young, as thy don't age as grape wine. The Cherry wine makes for a perfect desert wine, the Rhodo wine is made of a local flower considered good for heart. We loved the Peach and plum wine too which we got a bottle of each back home! 

And how can we not come back home with a bag of goodies... I always love to carry some local food back home! So, as the place was known for, we got some herbal green teas, some homemade chutneys and pickles (which are very unique and tasty), and some bottles of wine! :)

And so, a wonderful trip ended ! Cookininpajamas team definitely wants to visit this place again :)

Hope you all enjoyed reading my 3 part-kasauli trip!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Experiences at Kasauli: A slice of heaven on Earth! Part 2 - The place!

A place to unwind, Kasauli already had started growing on us on Day 2. We decided to trek to the market and a few touristic places, to get a feel of the place. And we realized that this place was an abode of romantic walks.

An old couple enjoying the walk
Our romantic walk turned into a thrill when we lost ourselves strolling in the Heritage market and it was already past 7 pm. It does get pitch dark and the narrow 900 mts trek down the hill with no streetlights and wierd sounds of the monkeys seemed as much scary as thrilling. Thankfully, the Moon was shining for us and cellphone lights really come handy at times. Giving a deeper meaning to it, the walk made us realize that "Nature is a friend and fear is only in the mind".

Well, so the day went by catching glimpses of some lovely flowers along the way, paying a visit to the famous Christ Church which was inaugurated on 24th july 1853, the Monkey Point and Sunset point.

A beautiful residential property

To be honest, more than seeing the points i was enjoying the walks and that's what makes Kasauli beautiful. You don't have to rush here to see the famous places, you don't have to worry about missing going to point XYZ... The purpose of being there was just to be there! To feel the place, relax and "Feel good". 

Monkey-ing around

Established on 24th july 1853 by the same British family who established the town of Kasauli, this Christ Church contains imported Italian and Spanish stained glass windows. (we were not allowed to click pictures inside and fortunately when we went, there was a "Mass" going on). In it's mystical atmosphere, you can sit for hours together as it's majestic aura takes you in a different world altogether.

The well known Kasauli Club established in 1880 is located within the Indian Army premises and unfortunately, we couldn't see it from inside as it's a member-only entry. But the walk cross past it to the Sunset point was thoroughly enjoyable with cool air brushing past our skin. Every hill station has a mall road and this colourful market is a good evening walk and if you want to pick up some local stuff. The heritage market is nice too and gets crowded in evenings as everyone comes there for a cup of chai or to eat some jalebis and samosas :)

And as i said before, i can't keep away from dogs even on vacations. The best thing i saw in Kasauli was that most of the pet dogs were not leashed and none of the dogs were a problem due to this. I wanted to go and talk to some pet owners about their beautiful Pahadi dogs, but somehow didn't (I am always bad at initiating conversations :( ) But we did pay a visit to the Central Research Institute of India. Of course the lab visits require permissions, but we got to know that established in 1905, it provides training in microbiology and production and quality control of vaccines such as rabies. So someone who wants to gain some expert knowledge on dog and snake bites treatment, this is the place!

My Journey continues in the last (And most important part- Food!!!) Part-3...