18 December, 2014

Harive Soppu Bendi Recipe | How to Make Vegan Amaranth-Coconut Curry

Learn how to make Vegan Harive Soppu Bendi /Amaranth-Coconut Curry ~ Vegan green amaranth cooked in mild coconut gravy

Life in India is like living in food heaven for someone who loves fresh and local farm produce. One of the best things about living in India is availability of local and seasonal vegetables and greens in abundance without the need to travel for hundred of miles to Asian speciality stores! For someone who loves cooking and eating local produce, the early morning call from the vegetable vendors delivering the fresh vegetables and greens plucked with dew drops along with the mud and sand stuck on their skin and roots is enough to make my heart skip a beat!

Organic Tender Green Amaranth Leaves ~ Fresh from farm

Mild Amaranth-Coconut Curry

But what makes my heart sing is the fresh produce straight from our estate or from the farms of our extended families. There is no better gift than a fresh home grown, organic produce gifted by loved ones. Last time when I visited my Doddamma’s home, they sent us back with car boot full of home grown produce from their farm and backyard vegetable garden. One such produce was these tender amaranth leaves plucked straight from backyard vegetable garden. I didn’t waste time in making good use of it and made this simple coconut based curry from my native Udupi-Mangalore.

04 December, 2014

Paneer Stuffed Mirchi Bajji/Pakoda Recipe ~ How to Make Stuffed Mirchi Pakoda

Learn how to make Paneer Stuffed Mirchi Bajji/Pakoda ~ Spicy mashed potato and paneer/Indian cottage cheese stuffed chillies coated in spicy gram flour batter and deep fried till crisp

Coming here after months is deja vu all over again! The feeling is same as unlocking the house that has been locked for months. My feet makes an imprint on the thin coat of dust on the floor as I gingerly step inside the house which at the m. My eyes well up from sneezing uncontrollably as I
lift the dust covers from the furniture.The house starts to feel like a home as the cobwebs are brushed off and the floor is wiped sparkling clean… And finally the sense of belonging hugs me as I sit back and look around the familiar surrounding. I am home… Finally!

I have been away from blogging and social network for a very long time now. Although it wasn’t intentional, a long break from social media was simply rejuvenating and helped me clear my mind from the narcissist world of social network! This break helped me in rekindling my love affair with books, yoga and meditation. We as a family have been spending more time with one another, rediscovering the forgotten lanes of Bangalore, visiting our old favourite food joints, finding new favourites, introducing Lil Dumpling to the vibrant Indian culture, visiting family and friends, making new friends and of course, cooking family meals together.

04 September, 2014

Spicy Dhania/Coriander Chutney Recipe | Simple and Easy Coriander Chutney Recipe

Coriander Chutney
Learn how to make Spicy Dhania Chutney ~ Simple and easy spicy coriander chutney with aromatic spices

I have neglected this blog for a long time now. For some reason or the other, the joy of sharing recipes and need to document tidbits of my life have abandoned me. I have withdrawn into my thick, secretive shell, and the urge to remain there is keeping me away from the space which is an extension of my own life.

Coriander Chutney
Ingredients for Spicy Coriander Chutney

Coriander Chutney

I guess would have continued to hibernate if not for some of you who gently kicked me from my deep slumber. I am wondering if I should be thankful or just ignore and duck under the thick blanket of anonymity! :) Decisions, decisions… Thankfully it’s not a difficult one to make.

13 August, 2014

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16 July, 2014

French Macaron Recipe with Salted Caramel and Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling | Guest Post by Nisha of My Kitchen Antics

Learn how to make French Macarons with Salted Caramel and Cardamom Cream Cheese Filling from Nisha of My Kitchen Antics
“There was a mood of magic and frenzy to the room. Crystalline swirls of sugar and flour still lingered in the air like kite tails. And then there was the smell-the smell of hope, the kind of smell that brought people home.”
~ Sarah Addison Allen

I am reminded of the above lines from a book ’The girl who chased the moon’ when I think of today’s guest blogger. I asked her if she could do me a favour and write a guest post for my blog for the second time. She not only agreed to be a guest blogger for the second time, but sent me five amazing recipes to choose from! Again!!! This girl leaves me spoiled for choices and salivating at the most amazing and tempting recipes she whips up in her kitchen. I am talking about my gorgeous friend Nisha who blogs some scrumptious treats at My Kitchen Antics. Her blog is filled with stunning photographs, wonderful recipes and witty anecdotes which makes you want to come back again and again! It didn’t take me too long to choose the French Macarons recipe from the 5 different recipe choices she gave me. If there is someone who can make mean Macarons, then it definitely going to be none other than a macaron diva herself who is also happens to be a consultant at Bobo Macarons! Nisha, thank you for sharing one of my most favourite recipes with us all. You can read more about Nisha by following her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I am back again with a guest post for Sia. And this time, we decided to go with French Macarons. I would totally understand why Sia asked me to go with Macarons because everyone on my FB page kinda know I'm obsessed with these sweet lil things.

I can’t claim I'm an expert at macarons, because there are still instances where something terribly goes wrong and im left wondering if I will ever figure it all out some day. But once you get the hang of it, you will realize it’s one of those things you'd want to experiment with over and over again with different colours, flavours, shapes etc etc.

04 July, 2014

And you turned 4!

Just like that…
I blinked my eyes and you turned 4.
I ruffled your silky long hair and you turned 4.
I kissed the boo-boo on your knees and you turned 4.
I gently touched your scraped knees and you turned 4.
I wiped the tears rolling down your cheeks and you turned 4.
I pressed my nose to your button nose and you turned 4.
I tickled your tummy and you turned 4.
I smiled at your silly antics and you turned 4.
I laughed to your sillier jokes and you turned 4.
I saw you become daddy’s boy and you turned 4.
I picked up pieces of my broken heart and you turned 4.
I blinked back the tears and you turned 4.
I heard you calling me from far and you turned 4.
I saw you running towards me with open arms and you turned 4.
I picked you up in the air and you turned 4.
I swirled around holding you close to my heart and you turned 4.
I danced with you to our special music and you turned 4.
I saw you smile down at me with delight and you turned 4.
I felt you planting a deep kiss on my lips and you turned 4.
I felt the joy of being a mother to such kindred spirit and you turned 4.
Puff… no it’s not a dream… I am not dreaming… You really turned 4!
… Just like that, you turned 4!!!

Dearest Little Dumpling, 

FOUR! My little baby, you are now 4 years old! Wasn’t it just yesterday when you were the gurgling and giggling baby giving me the most beautiful gummy smile? When did that baby turn into this bundle of energy that I am finding difficult to match with?!

12 June, 2014

Avocado Mint Pesto Recipe | Guest Post by Prerna of Indian Simmer

Learn how to make Avocado Mint Pesto from Prerna of Indian Simmer
“The most talented people are always the nicest.”
― James Caan

That really holds true for a very talented and gorgeous Prerna behind equally gorgeous blog Indian Simmer. As her food simmers on a stove, she takes you on a beautiful food journey with stunning food photographs and heart-warming anecdotes. Through her lens she magically transforms everyday food into the most beautiful, exotic and exciting visual experience. If you enjoy good writing which makes you walk down the memory lane and nostalgic, then Prerna’s blog is sure to win your heart! Thank you dear Prerna for taking time from your busy schedule to do a guest post. Please make sure to follow her on Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram if you do not want to miss any amazing posts that Prerna churns out!

Thank you Sia for sharing your beautiful space with me today. Monsoon Spice was one of the few Indian food blogs which I literally grew up following as a food blogger so you can imagine my excitement today when I get to share my work on the space.

29 May, 2014

Savory Multi Millet Pancakes with Garlic-Herb Cheese Spread Recipe | Guest Post by Sanjeeta of Lite Bite

Learn how to make Savory Multi Millet Pancakes with Garlic-Herb Cheese Spread Recipe from Sanjeeta of Lite Bite
Cheerfulness is the best promoter of health and is as friendly to the mind as to the body.
~ Joseph Addison
And there is someone who spreads her cheerful personality through her innovative recipes, interesting anecdotes, and beautiful photographs and she is our one woman wonder Sanjeeta of a stunning blog called Lite Bite. True to her blog name, Lite Bite is a treasure trove of healthy recipes and beautifully styled photographs that will leave you in awe! From simple home cooking to fusion cooking, Sanjeeta’s tremendous talent shines through her blog where she easily transforms the not so healthy food into light, delicious and flavourful affair. You can’t help but marvel at her unique recipes that will make you wonder why you didn’t think of cooking it before?! Lite Bites is full of innovative and delicious recipes that demonstrates eating healthy and balanced food doesn’t mean one needs to compromise on taste, flavour and comfort. I feel honoured and privileged to share my virtual kitchen with Sanjeeta today who is going to share another ‘lite bites’ from her amazing recipe repertoire with us. You can follow Sanjeeta on her Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

Food blogging is the ultimate hobby I could indulge in for hours on end. A captivating hobby turned into a full-time passion now, which fills me with excitement and self-worth every single day. Food blogging gives me endless entertainment, raises curiosity, creates memories and helps connect with wonderful online friends to grow together.

For many people, food is just fuel for body and an everyday comfort to celebrate life. To a food blogger ‘food is a subject’ which they seek to understand and explore. They don’t just eat good food but are inspired by it and visualize many forms of art in it. They take food to a different altitude.

21 May, 2014

KaaTu Mavina Hannina Saaru/Gojju Recipe | Wild Mango Soup from Udupi-Mangalore

Learn how to make KaaTu Mavina Hannina Saaru/Gojju ~ Sweet, spicy and tangy wild mango soup/curry from Udupi-Mangalore

A big hello from India! :) It’s been 3 weeks since we landed here and the life has been, well, little chaotic trying to do hundred and one things at once! We have been struggling to come up with the fact that this is not our annual month long holiday with our loved ones and we are actually going to live here permanently!

Sometimes I feel it’s all a dream and I will wake up next moment in our old house in England listening to the howling wind, grey skies and rain drops splattering around! But that is not the case as every time I wake up here in my parents’ home, all I can hear are the noise of tweeting birds, bright sunlight streaming through the curtains and to the lull of ceiling fan… Life is so much different to the life that lived just a month ago… I will write more about our Indian adventure later as we are still living out of suitcases.

08 May, 2014

Panch Mishali Torkari Recipe | Guest Post by Pia of The Peppercorns in My Pocket

Learn how to make Panch Mishali Torkari Recipe from Pia of The Peppercorns in My Pocket
Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . ."
~ C.S. Lewis
That’s pretty much sums up the friendship I share with this multi-talented girl! I am talking about my gorgeous friend Pia, author of a one of THE most beautiful blogs called the Peppercorns in My Pocket (don’t you just love the name?!). I was smitten with her wonderful photography the moment I chanced upon her blog, and her soul stirring narration that made me eagerly look forward to every new posts. Over the years I have become friends with few food bloggers and Pia is someone if we’re to meet in person, we’d really get on like a house on fire! As she rightly said one day while exchanging emails, we both have quite a lot of things in common; our love for books, food, family, prettying our home with pretty things and our love and yearning for the place we call home, India! Pia’s blog is a place where you can get lost in her words as she vividly paints the stories of her past and present. Hop over to her amazing space, I will assure you that you will be transported to the world of simple joy. If you enjoy some really good write-ups accompanied with recipes, then you can be sure to leave her space with big smile and happy thoughts. The stories of Chotu Ma, Pia’s chirpy, big dreamy eyed, beautiful little girl is an added bonus :) It is such a privilege to have you here, Pia and thank you for sharing such comfort food when we need it the most :) You can follow Pia on her Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram too.

Backwards and forwards

Can one walk backwards and forwards at the same time? Or do the two actions negate each other and make distance disappear, so that you stay in the same place like a tree - torso moving with the wind, toes digging into earth? I have a feeling, a good way of staying centred is to pretend you're riding a unicycle. One-pedal-forward-one-pedal-backward. That is what you need to do to achieve fine balance. To find your centre-of-gravity. Your rootedness. Rootedness has always had its root in movement.

My friend Sia, is moving from England, back to India, with her husband and little son. They're going back the way they came; walking in reverse. But towards family and old friends. Towards familiar roads and a well-known rhythm. Towards home. Backwards and forwards.

23 April, 2014

As we write a new chapter of our life... In India!

My mind is filled with millions of thoughts and my heart is beating at the pace that is giving me scare! My hands are trembling and I feel bit nauseous. It looks like I am showing every signs of nervous breakdown as I try to calm my loud heart. I am afraid that loud noise of my beating heart will wake my Lil Dumpling lying next to me without any worry in the world. How I wish I could sleep that way without having to worry about anything! Well, it’s been a while since I slept through the night without worrying about the never ending list of things to do...

As I try to calm the voices that shout and scream loudly in my mind, I look around the dimly lit room that was once filled with little bits and pieces of our life. This is a room where we three lay our head in the night on a soft pillow, cuddling and hugging one another, our arms thrown carelessly around each other and our legs tangled under the blanket. I try to visualise the bed, the dresser, cloths in the closets, photo frames scattered around the room, night lights, piles of books and many other pieces of furnishing that once made this room a peaceful sanctuary are now carefully wrapped in a bubble wrap and packed in a brown cardboard boxes. I slowly get up from the makeshift bed on the floor, not to wake my little boy, and tip toe to next room which is as bare as the room I just left. I run down the stairs, very well knowing the sight that will welcome me. I walk from one room to another that were once filled with pieces and mementos of our lives, colours, cushions, books, toys, lovingly hand picked knick-knacks, pots and pans, photos and frames, cry and laughter, tears and joy, light, warmth and every other things that makes a house into a home. It’s all gone! It’s now just an empty shell… But…

17 April, 2014

Aloo Methi Recipe | How to make simple Aloo Methi

Learn how to make Aloo Methi ~ Simple stir fried potato and fresh fenugreek leaves with aromatic spices

I reach out for a bag of spuds when I am craving for comfort food. I reach out for the same bag of potatoes when I have very little time to cook dinner for the family. I reach out for this bag of tuber when I am cooking for friends, or a large gathering because I know that there is hardly anyone who says no to the food made using humble potato!

Since I am going through the so called writer’s block as I am juggling hundreds of things at once, I decided to just write an ode to potato! So you can simply skip to the recipe part if you are in no mood to listen to my rants and rambles about my love for this brown, unattractive tuber!

10 April, 2014

Spicy Dill Chutney/Pickle Recipe | Andhra Style Sabbasige Soppu Chutney

Learn how to make Spicy Dill Chutney/Pickle ~ Andhra styled spicy sabbasige soppu /shepu chutney with aromatic spices and jaggary

My fingers hover over the laptop’s keyboard. It’s been little over 15 minutes since I’ve been starting at the blank screen with a curser blinking on a blank page. A blank page and a blank mind! Pretty deadly combination for a blogger who is known for her rants and rambles! ~sigh~

It makes me wonder if it is the life changing event that is taking place in our life that’s making me twiddle my thumbs and raise my heart beat rate? Is it the excitement and nervousness that’s making me lose my sleep, and may be even my mind! I wanted to talk about it as there is no tomorrow, but it seems it’s not going to happen today! Hopefully the words will come to my mind and flow through my fingertips as they will tap and dance on the keyboard like those Irish dancers I saw few weeks ago. Since the words refuse to surface in my mind, I will share the recipe that I experimented few months ago and to my pleasant surprise it turned out to be one of best tasting chutneys.

02 April, 2014

Gobi Manchurian with Gravy Recipe | Indo-Chinese Gobi Manchurian Recipe

Learn how to make Gobi Manchurian with Gravy ~ Indo-Chinese recipe of deep fried cauliflower fritters in sweet and spicy vegetable gravy

Did you know that there are food trends, quite similar to fashion trends? Yes, it’s true! While the year 2013 saw everyone go crazy about kale with kale chips, salads, stir fries, smoothies and what nots, the humble cauliflower is set to rule this year as it being crowned as the super food of 2014! If anything to go by the buzz and the hype that kale created last year, then we might braze ourselves for some unusual and unique cauliflower recipes to flood in the food blog and food magazine world!

Cauliflower for Gobi Manchurian with Gravy

18 March, 2014

Gujje Podi Recipe | Vegan Tender Jackfruit Pakoda/Fritter Recipe

Learn how to make Gujje Podi/Tender Jackfruit Pakoda/Fritter ~ Vegan and Gluten-Free Tender Jackfruit Pakoda/Podi

When I was a kid, the everyday meal cooked using the ingredients grown in your own backyard was something that I considered ‘blah’, well, boring! There was nothing interesting in eating the food cooked using the ingredient that grew right in front of my eyes.

Gujje Podi/Tender Jackfruit Fritters ~ Deep fried goodness!

Bendi, simple coconut based curry made using large pumpkins growing in a vine? Boring!
Huli Menasina Kodhel, lightly spiced coconut curry made using ivy gourds covering the portion of wall and roof in the back of the house? Well, boring!
Tomato Majjige Huli, sour buttermilk and coconut based curry with tomatoes plucked right from the plant in a big planter? Let’s not even talk about it!

07 March, 2014

For Tea and Coffee Lovers ~ KT and Rimjhim Coffee at Lakshmi Nivas, Kalladka | Photo Essay

Rimjhim Coffee at Lakshmi Nivas Hotel, Kalladka

On National Highway 75 which connects Bangalore and Mangalore, probably the road I have travelled most in my lifetime, there is a small town called Kalladka. It is like any small towns with little shops lined on both sides of the road, some almost decrepit and few oozing old world charm! For many travellers passing through this NH 75, there is a tiny little hotel called Lakshmi Nivas that has become a holy grail for all coffee and tea lovers.

Lakshmi Nivas is a small hotel, with its wooden bench and tables, which one can easily miss visiting if not for their speciality: KT (Kalladka Tea) and Rimjhim Coffee which is not available even in star restaurants or posh cafes! Both KT and Rimjhim coffee is served in a small transparent glass are a treat to eyes, nose and taste buds! Like any other teashops or roadside coffee shops one comes across during road trips in India, Lakshmi Nivas too serve their coffee and tea in a small glass cup that sits in a small stainless steel bowl with a spoon to stir the hot beverage.

28 February, 2014

Nimbu Ka Achaar | Simple Spicy Indian Lemon Pickle Recipe

Learn how to make Nimbu Ka Achaar or Spicy Indian Lemon Pickle ~ Spicy lemon pickle with garlic and aromatic pickling spices

To Indians ‘Pickle’ is not just a word, it is a sacred word that injects the feeling of happiness and joy! Imagine yourself wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold night, your feet tucked under the blanket while you sip a cup of hot chocolate made by someone you love. You feel warm, relaxed, happy and content… To me when a jar of homemade pickle gifted by my loved ones invokes the same feeling!

Herbs and spices used in Nimbu Ka Achaar/Spicy Indian Lemon Pickle

My country India is diverse country and that diversity doesn’t confine to regions, languages and people. Indian cuisine is as diverse and colourful as the country and the people living there and the varieties of pickle that we make and consume will blow your mind if you are just used the idea of few vegetables immersed in a jar or vinegar! Hundreds of these extraordinary varieties of pickles are the pride of our country and we can’t imagine ending our meals without a smidgen of tongue tickling pickles adorning our plates. Whichever part of the India we might come from, pickle is mostly likely to be part of our earliest food memories that has ingrained into our culture, life and memories. Pickling techniques and the finished products vary from one region to another and even differ from one house to another, but the joy it brings and the bond it creates is same all around the country!

21 February, 2014

Poori Bhaji Recipe | Poori with Potato Bhaji/Aloo Bhaji/Poori Masala ~ A Pictorial

Learn how to make Poori Bhaji ~ Puffed deep fried whole wheat bread served with vegan potato curry

It’s been close to two months since we returned from our trip to India. While enjoying very much needed break with our family and friends, I managed to take few photographs of the amazing food we tasted coked by our loved ones. Ever since we returned from our trip I wanted to share the recipe with you, but little laziness and truck load of never ending tasks kept me away from writing the blog post.

Perfectly puffed Poori!

07 February, 2014

Sante, A Small Town Farmer's Market ~ Photo Tour | Part 3 ~ The People

Sante ~ Photo tour of small town farmers' market

I do realise that I have not been regular in this space and the posts have become quite erratic. Believe me when I say that I had a plan of posting one of my most favourite recipe today. But if everything went according to our plans then life wouldn’t half as exciting as it is now!

23 January, 2014

Instant Andhra Tomato Pickle Recipe | Simple Andhra Style Tomato Pickle Recipe with Nirlep Cookware Product Review and A Giveaway!

Learn how to make Instant Andhra Tomato Pickle ~ Instant Andhra style tomato pickle flavoured with spices, tamarind and garlic tempering

It is always hard to come back to England after a fun filled trip to India! The colours, weather, buzz, noise, and the sense of never being alone are just other things you miss apart from family and friends. The holiday is always too short when one visits home!!!

Juicy, firm, red Tomatoes for Instant Andhra Style Tomato Pickle

This holiday with our family was one that finally helped us in taking one of the big and most important decisions of our life. I will talk about it in one of my next posts in coming days. For now all I want to talk about is food... The food cooked by our loved ones and the few I cooked for them, like this Instant Andhra Tomato Pickle!

09 January, 2014

03 January, 2014

Sante, A Small Town Farmer's Market ~ Photo Tour | Part 1 - Herbs, Spices, Sun Dried Fritters and Greens

Puttur Somavara Sante, farmers' market

Today I am going to take you on a virtual tour around my hometown, Puttur. I grew up in this small town in Southern Indian state of Karnataka with a strong sense of community. It was not until three or fours years ago the town saw it's very first small supermarket. Until then the whole community was served by the small shops selling everything from daily groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables and other essential goods. Our town has everything one needs at our door steps from high end electronic goods to retail stores, it still managed to preserve the age old beauty of traditional shops and markets.

01 January, 2014

Beetroot Pachadi Recipe | How to make Beetroot Pachidi

Learn how to make Beetroot Pachadi ~ Beetroot in spiced coconut and yogurt gravy

We three have been very busy here.... Busy doing nothing! Oh wait... We are enjoying the bright sunny days with clear blue sky, lush greenery around us, a lazy stroll in our parents farms, breathing fresh air, warmth of sun shining on our faces, reading books in the cool evening breeze, sleeping under the twinkling stars, playing in the mud and building sand castles in the beach and eating whatever our heart desires! We really have been busy... ;)