The day I prepared dinner for my family - for the first time

It had been a month and half since I came to Bangkok and had not cooked anything special for my family except baking cakes a couple of times.  So yesterday I cooked the entire dinner from appetizer to dessert for my family for the first time.  I had major butterflies in my stomach if they'd like my food as much as others always did, but the dinner turned out great.

tropical drink virgin pina colada with fancy pineapple straws

Moong Dal ki Kurkuri Poori Recipe | Korma ki Poori Recipe | Tea Time Snack Recipes

She deep-fried them one at a time in a small kadhai and told me it's called Korma ki Poori.

"Why is it called Korma ki Puri?" I asked.  "What's the korma in this?"

Aate ka Sattu Recipe | Marwari Badi Teej Festival

Sattu is a sweet that's spread and set in a plate specially for the Marwari Badi Teej festival, but it's a sweet that you can make anytime of the year in the form of laddoo or barfi.  I had mentioned in an earlier post that Sattu for Teej can be made from roasted gram dal (phutani dal aka dalia: phutani dal ka sattu), rice flour (chawal ka aata), chickpea flour (besan), and whole wheat flour (gehun ka aata).  This post shows you real quick how to make a simple whole wheat flour sattu (aate ka saatu).

Three ingredients are all you need!

Greatly Missed, Fondly Remembered

I had a very loving and caring uncle who passed away four years back at the young age of 42.  It was a sudden, unexpected, and shocking death during his flight from India to Thailand, and the airlines had to make an emergency landing midway in another country altogether.  Traveling with him was my younger brother who was only 20 at the time along with my grandfather who was 72 years old.  Imagine their generation gap, imagine the young boy seeing his uncle choke to death, imagine the father seeing his youngest son die in his arms.  And all of this had happened just one week after my wedding.

Rajasthani Sattu | Badi Teej Sattu

I have observed people from my Marwari community here in the US celebrate our Rajasthani festivals like Teej and Gangaur with so much zeal.  Last year for Badi Teej Sinjaara about 90 women had a get-together at an event hall, we had potluck menu that was pre-decided and selected from (I took Pav Bhaji), a henna artist was called to apply henna on hands, some of my friends planned a game for everyone to play together, they performed a group dance, and we all had so much fun in those 4 hours of our Teej Sinjaara event!

Crater Chocolate Cake | Eggless Baking

Molten chocolate cakes or Chocolate lava cakes are very popular.  When you cut into one, the chocolate "lava" magically flows out.  So you basically have a chocolate cake that you can eat with the rich, saucy chocolate "lava" which is like a chocolate pudding, or a chocolate sauce.  This Crater Chocolate Cake is NOT the Chocolate Lava Cake.

Sweet, Sour, and Spicy Mango and Strawberry Salad Recipe

When my mom came to stay with us after my delivery to help us with our babies, she also cooked a full meal for lunch and dinner so we could eat healthy and fresh food every day.  The full meal basically consisted of roti, curry, rice, dal, and salad, and once in a while there were desserts.  She made several kinds of salads and the best part was that there were no fancy salad dressings needed.

One such salad was this simple, delicious, sweet sour and spicy Mango and Strawberry Salad.

On Festival, Fasting, and Food

I think I started fasting for Gangaur and Teej festivals since age 13.  Usually by then a lot of girls my age were told to start fasting to get a "good husband".  While young girls or older women kept their fast by eating once a day or at least having fruits, I used to not even drink water until I saw the moon (for Teej puja).  I think I did that all the way until my undergrad years.

Easy Eggless No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake Recipe | Eggless Dessert Recipe Ideas

There are three parts to making an eggless no-bake blueberry cheesecake:

1. Base / Bottom Crust Layer
To make the base crust for cheesecake, you can use graham crackers, digestive biscuits, Nilla wafers, Oreo cookie biscuits, or any such biscuits that can be crushed to a texture that feels like sand.  You can easily make graham crackers at home with this recipe.

Healthy Homemade Mango Roll-ups and Oven-dried Tomatoes

Call it mango leather, mango fruit roll-ups, mango cigar rolls, or oven-dried mango strips - it's the same thing.

Call it sun-dried tomatoes, oven-dried tomatoes, or dehydrated tomatoes - it's the same thing.

What would take 3-4 days under the sun for their water content to evaporate and dry out will take only 3-4 hours in the oven (the trade-off is smaller quantity).  And since making one or the other in an oven required 4 hours of electricity, I just made the mango roll-ups and oven-dried tomatoes simultaneously.

Singhare (Water Chestnut) ki Poori and Arbi (Taro Root Vegetable) ki Sabzi Recipe

After my marriage I was at my in-laws’ place for a month before coming to US.  During my stay there was some festival or some religious fasting day that occurred, I cannot recall which one.  But I very clearly remember when my mother-in-law prepared Singhare ki Poori and Arbi ki Sabzi for lunch that day and served me, after asking for two servings I was so embarrassed to ask for more even though my tongue and tummy screamed for more.  It was the first time I was eating those dishes, that combination, and it became my instant favorite.

Simple Chocolate Bark Recipe

Here's another recipe without quantities that I will share today.  Because let's face it - just how many teaspoons and tablespoons and cup measurements in different recipes can you remember?  But a basic idea - you will always remember whether or not you have the tools to measure.

Here's a simple recipe to make Chocolate Bark in which once you understand how to melt the chocolate the correct way - adding flavors or nut toppings or all other variations are absolutely up to you.

food photography: from my perspective - by a beginner, for a beginner - part 5

When I shared a few of my behind-the-scenes pictures along with explanations on my Facebook Page, I was pleasantly surprised to see that a lot of people are interested to learn some food photography tips.  So here's another behind-the-scenes food photography post along with my comments on the thought process that went behind it, why I added what I did, some tips and tricks, and simple food photography from my perspective.

This is one heavy photo-loaded post.

Tilli Phalli ke Karele Recipe | Bitter Gourd in Sesame and Peanut Gravy Recipe

My mother-in-law makes very good karele (bitter gourd) ki sabzi, in both dry and gravy form.  This recipe of karele ki sabzi made in a delicious sesame and peanut gravy made by her tastes great and you can’t even tell any bitterness of the bitter gourd.  (Boohoo, bitter gourd!)

Gond ke Laddoo Recipe | Edible Gum Laddu

Gond is called edible gum in English. Gond provides heat to the body, so food items (for example, laddoo, panjiri, chikki, etc) made with gond are great to eat during winters.  The heat in gond is said to help lactating mothers produce more milk, so gond ke laddoo made with other nutritious ingredients are excellent for new mothers after delivery.

Ker Sangri Sabzi Recipe | Rajasthani Cuisine

Ker Sangri ki sabzi is a very popular dish from Rajasthan.  Ker (the small balls) are the sour berries and Sangri (the sticks) are the beans.  These unique variety of berries and beans grow on trees in places as dry as Rajasthan.  The green ker berries and sangri beans are dried until they shrink and turn a dark brown, almost black color.

Spicy Ker Sangri Sabzi Recipe

Corn Capsicum and Cheese Toast Recipe

On days when husband surprisingly returns home from work earlier than usual and the preparation for dinner has not even begun and he is hungry and there are no leftovers from the day before or the day....

It's a situation that calls for a quick fix.  Let's hurry up and look in the refrigerator.

Spusht | Corn Capsicum and Cheese Toast

Aate aur Badam ke Laddoo (Whole Wheat Flour and Almond Ladoo) Recipe

When my mother-in-law came to visit us, she made some really yummy aate ka laddu and made them wholesome by adding almonds.  These wheat and almond laddu were so appetizing, I loved eating them every little while especially with a savory mixture or bhujia.  Sweet ladoo paired with savory/spicy mixture had become my favorite snack to munch on all day.

Two-Minute Microwave Eggless Chocolate Cake | Eggless Baking

There are days of hunger pangs for a yummy homemade cake.  Then there are times when there is no patience for preheating an oven.  Then there are days when baking a big cake for just one or two persons is not practical.  Ahhh.  What to do?!

This two-minute microwave eggless chocolate cake is the solution.  Trust me.