Dinner Day 11 to 20 | 30 Days of Homemade Vegetarian Meals

What started out as only a "30-day challenge" for me to cook some dishes and serve myself a plate full of freshly prepared food for dinner has now become a fun thing that I feel like continuing.  I get into the kitchen at about 5pm and it takes me about 1-2 hours from start to finish.  If I could reduce that time somehow, probably freeze or chop or roast or prepare some things ahead of time, then it might work out even better.

And once this becomes a routine-like thing to have homemade dinners as often as I can make, I guess I will start looking for another 30-day challenge.  Because if I don't challenge myself to do better, who will?!

Dinner Day 1 to 10 | 30 Days of Homemade Vegetarian Meals

I have not been getting much time to cook (and I haven't baked in monthssss) because of my twins.  There have been days when amidst taking care of my kids and catching up on the household chores I had to skip my lunches, and days I went without eating a proper meal.

So I decided to start a 30-day challenge for myself (because eating food has become more of a challenge with my kids around than a necessity!!!) to cook at least 2 dishes if not more for dinner and serve it for myself like my aunts in India did for me last year (check out the meals for a month I had in India!)

Mirchi Vada | Pakora | Bhajji | Bhajiya Recipe | Chili Fritters

You can call it Mirchi Vada or Mirchi Bhajji or Mirchi ke Pakore, or Mirchi Bhajiya, or Bharwan Mirchi ka Pakora, or Chili Cutlet, or Chili Fritters, or Stuffed Chili Pakora, or there are probably 20 other names for this.

These are spicy chilies stuffed with a spicy potato mixture, dipped in chickpea flour batter and deep-fried...this snack is for those who can handle the spice on their tongue and the smoke out of their ears.

Beetroot and Peanut Salad | Easy Simple Salad Recipes

It is rare for me to spend time preparing a salad when I'm already spending time cooking 3-4 other items for a meal.  It is very easy for someone like my mom to serve a salad along with an already elaborate meal.  And looking at how she makes salad-making pretty easy (here is my mom's amazing Strawberry and Mango Salad recipe), here's another salad that she makes, that I like, that is so simple, that I want to share: Beetroot and Peanut Salad

Carom Seed Crackers | Ajwain Biscuit | Eggless Baking

What British call as scones and what Americans call those soft, fluffy breads that they can eat with soups and stews as biscuits are different from what people in India, for example, call the crunchy and sweet or salty crackers as biscuits.  The sweet biscuits can't be called cookies (for those who know Indian brands--think Parle G biscuits or Britannia biscuits!).  Crunchy biscuits and other 'namkeen' snacks make a great accompaniment to the Indian Chai.  These flavorful and savory carom seed biscuits (aka ajwain biscuits) do too.

My Meals for a Month | Vegetarian Indian Homemade Food

I was in Amravati (Maharashtra) last year for a month visiting my maternal side of the family.  Going to nanihaal (nani's house) every summer vacation was something we used to look forward to as kids.  And this trip was all the more special because my mom's mom (Nani--my gradmom) became great grandmom to my twins, so the pampering was multifold-for me and for my kids.

My Nani and both my Mamiji (mom's brother's wife) cook such delicious food and so much variety everyday.  In this post I'm sharing my lunches for the one month that I stayed with them (too bad I did not click pictures of my dinners.)

You know there are times when love reflects through food...this is one of them.

Lapsi Chawal Kadhi Recipe | Rajasthani Cuisine

Another popular but still not the worldwide-popular dish in Rajasthani cuisine is Lapsi.  And just like how the Dal Bati Churma goes together, or there's the Dal Chawal Khatta combo -- this one is a Lapsi Chawal Kadhi combination:

Lapsi is sweet, made with broken wheat.
Kadhi is sour and savory, spiced and flavory.
Chawal is plain rice, versatile and nice.

recipe for lapsi chawal kadhi rajasthani cuisine

Gift Ideas for Family to Carry from USA

Three years ago I wrote a blog post on gifts from USA for family back home and shared ideas on what to buy from America for family members in your home country.

I traveled to Bangkok and India again few months back and this time, I have some more ideas on what to carry for families.  And this time, I have divided the gift suggestions into categories and some quick notes.

Colorful Mixed Salad

I have eaten a lot of dishes from the Apple headquarter's cafeteria in Cupertino, California.  From their pizzas to pastas, from their healthy juices to mango lassis, from their Indian food to Mexican quesadillas.  But of all their foods, my favorite is their mixed salad.  You can choose the ingredients and dressings to build your salad, and if you choose it well - you can enjoy a crunch-a crisp-a soft-a sweet-a tangy and a lot of flavors and textures in each bite.

Mixed Salad Recipe

I do not try to recreate their salads when I make salads at home now, but the way I make salads has changed.

Quick Vegetable Pulao

Ever since I started handling my twins on my own, my workload for cooking and cleaning has increased multi-fold.  So I’m trying to prep a little faster, make things a little simpler, and cook a little quicker these days.  While two years back I used to do a lot of things from scratch and use individual whole spices and follow all the detailing, it has changed quite a bit now.  So when I made this quick vegetable pulao one day – instead of adding black peppercorns, cardamom pods, bay leaves, and all those whole spices for pulao – I added some garam masala powder that is made of the similar spices that go in pulao.  Taste was not entirely compromised upon, just prepping and cooking time was.

vegetable pulao veg pulao

Rava Dosa Recipe | How to make Rava Dosa at Home

Earlier when we used to go to South Indian restaurants, I never used to order Rava Dosa.  Because I always used to feel why would I order an 8 dollar dosa with holes - I'd rather have Mysore Masala Dosa so it would come with the potato filling and be filling for me as well.  But once I tasted Rava Dosa at a restaurant when our friend chose it for her meal, I was sold.  So crunchy and crispy and delicious, and yes--filling.

But then after that I still never ordered and ate it outside -- because I learned to make awesome Rava Dosa at home.