Adrak Elaichi ki Chai Recipe | Ginger Cardamom Flavored Indian Tea Recipe

I grew up drinking Bournvita in India, then Milo in Bangkok, and Ovaltine here in US every morning for breakfast.  Although the men in my family needed their individual style of tea twice a day, it seldom made me want to drink.  Individual style, oh yes – one wanted his tea with condensed milk, one wanted with more milk, one wanted with less milk.

Ginger and Cardamom Flavored Tea with cookies
Ginger and Cardamom Flavored Tea with cookies

how to make vegetable stock at home | homemade vegetable broth

There are some things I have never and will never buy from the store: peeled garlic, vegetable stock, and baby carrots.  Peeling garlic does not take forever, chopping carrots into small pieces is not a big deal, and vegetable stock or broth - can be easily made at home.
Spusht | how to make vegetable stock or vegetable broth at home
make vegetable stock / vegetable broth at home
Here's how.

failed attempt: blueberry tart - what to do?

Instead of something red on Valentine's, I thought of going blue.  Tried making blueberry tart for the first time.  But after eating just half of one tart, we stopped.  The crust did not taste right, may be I did not bake it well.  And the blueberry topping made at home did not set well, may be because I was stingy in adding cornstarch.  So, the truth is, my dessert for valentine's dinner sucked.

But what do I do with the failed blueberry tart now?
Spusht | Blueberry Tart did not turn out right?  No problem, here's a solution.
Blueberry Tart did not turn out right?  No problem, here's a solution.

Aamras–Poori | Mango Puree & Unleavened Fried Indian Bread

‘Tis the season of mangoes in the store.  A ripe mango has a strong fragrance you can sense from a distance.  On its outside skin you see a slight green, some yellow, a little orange, and some red hues.  On the inside you get golden, sweet, ripe, succulent mangoes.  In India, mango is called as the king of fruits.  One bite of a juicy mango and you will know why.
delicious ripe mangoes
ripe mangoes

Building an Indian Pantry | Stocking Pantry Essential Items

I was very paranoid about cooking the first few days after moving to USA since I had not tried cooking entirely by myself before marriage (always had mom or the help around).  I had to start from scratch here on my own, and what more - I did not come prepared with anything for the kitchen: no recipes, no list of things required in the kitchen, no tips, no experience, and basically NOTHING.

My first challenge was to stock the pantry with essential pantry items.  Then as I began experimenting more dishes, I started building my Indian pantry with spices, grains, flours, lentils, seeds, powders, and so on.  Since then, I have been gradually stocking up items to my pantryunderstanding the basics, the essentials, the substitutions, the extras and unnecessaries, learning about a new ingredient, challenging myself to cook a new dish, making mistakes and learning from them.

Here are some spices, grains, flours, lentils, seeds, powders, etc from my kitchen with their English and Hindi names.  These are probably just 5% of the entire stock in my kitchen.  I will add more, gradually.

Pantry Essentials for the Indian Pantry (and beyond…)

shoe rack from milk boxes for zero dollars

For two years, this is how the entrance of my apartment has looked like, and this is how the coat/shoe closet has looked like.  Mess.
shoe inside and outside the shoe closet
I had to find a solution since:
a) Alok would not let me buy things I need,
b) I cannot find reasonably-priced things I need,
c) Alok would not make the effort to keep things in place,
d) even sticking instructions everywhere does not make a difference to him anymore,
e) it is annoying to organize things around the apartment every day, and
f) because ...

baking and decorating a three tier cake at home

Referring to this birthday cake I made for Alok last year (May 2012) as a surprise ...

eggless cake for my husband's birthday
A reader recently asked me:  "may i know the cake which u made for your husband is that homemade if yes may i know the recipe an was it a one day job?"

And last year my cousin had asked me:  "how did you make it" - to which I promised her a start-to-finish pictorial.

And one of my closest buddies, upon seeing the 65 people "like" the photo of the three-tier cake and 25 people leaving comments with tons of compliments on my personal Facebook profile last year, had asked me:

"what was the big deal about the cake that everyone is praising so much?  you just made three cakes and put on top of one another!"

mooli ki sabzi | vegetarian indian radish recipes

Am I the only one who feels radish does not seem to have many fans, or many recipes, or many variations?  At least when I have to cook radish sabzi to eat with roti for lunch or dinner, I am usually stuck.  Radish paratha (mooli ka paratha) is the only thing that used to come to my mind the first, and we have eaten enough of those already.

Here are some mooli ki sabjis to go along with phulka.  These radish recipes tried and adapted from the authors mentioned below have tasted well so far.

Carrot Chutney Recipe

Imagine you throw a chutney party or somethin'.  Not that anyone does.  But if you do, you can display a wide variety of colorful chutney options at your party.

There is...
coconut chutney: white color
tamarind and date chutney: blackish-brown color
red tomato chutney: maroonish color
peanut chutney: pale brown color
and now here comes...
carrot chutney with a nice orangish hue.
carrot chutney