22 December, 2015

Aam Papad Recipe | Mango Fruit Leather Recipe

Learn ho to make Aam Papad ~ Mango Fruit Leather recipe two ways

Last few days have been absolutely crazy with festive school performances, school trips to the local church, volunteering, Christmas shopping, signing hundreds of cards, product and recipe testing in the kitchen and a mountain high load of never ending things! I am not exaggerating! If that was not enough to bring the whole house down, I have LD hanging upside down holding on to my apron strings moaning he is bored every 5 minutes. Bored 5 years old?! Like, seriously?!!! I can’t wait for the school to reopen in a fortnight! Just kidding. :)

We are off to meet our friends up north in Yorkshire for the Christmas and then travelling to London for the New Year. There will be a lot of partying, eating, cooking, shopping and activities planned for the week long fun filled holiday season. I have been busy sorting out the presents, packing our bags, going through the truck load of laundry, ironing never ending pile of cloths, dusting and cleaning every nook and cranny, answering to dozens of emails, running around the energetic 5 year old, and god knows what else! In between the entire hullabaloo, I decided to make some edible presents for friends! I tried to find the reason and completely failed to answer why I am doing this!!! Call me crazy, but the perfectionist and the ever lurking OCD in me makes me go an extra mile to make everything perfect for my loved ones.

03 December, 2015

Aloo-Guvar Subji Recipe | Spicy Potato & Cluster Beans Curry

Learn how to make Aloo-Guvar Subji ~ Spicy potato and cluster beans curry recipe

After running like headless chicken during Diwali, I decided to slow down and smell the roses. As the winter has slowly crept in my corner of the world and I went on hibernation from social networks. It was rejuvenating, relaxing and most of all uplifting, just like a spa experience for a mind.

My days are full with reading, learning, creating, writing, working on a project which I love, recipe testing and of course, lot of cooking. With the Christmas just around the corner, LD’s school is gearing up for the festive season with school fayre, plays, choir, festive lunch and many activities which means close involvement with the parents. I am really looking forward to watching LD perform on the stage. Interestingly, LD is very cool about performing in front of big audience while I am the one who is hyperventilating! Fingers crossed, I should be fine! ;)

12 November, 2015

Besan Ke Laddu Recipe | How to Make Besan Ke Ladoo

Learn how to make Besan Ke Laddu ~ Sweet chickpea/gram flour balls flavoured with cardamom and ghee

The festival of lights is here… Diwali or Deepavali is the occasion which brings lot of joy and laughter to fill our days with cheer and hope for something best to come! We are having a quiet Diwali at home as the man of the house is away in Scotland attending a conference and will only be back on Friday night! Which means the young man of the house is seen following me everywhere chattering and asking me non-stop questions as why we have lit dozens of the candles and diyas, what am I cooking, why the house is decked as a bride, what is Diwali, why are we celebrating it, why are we Hindus, who made us Hindus, does it mean we can’t celebrate Christmas, will he still get Christmas presents from Santa and many more until I pretend to faint! I don’t miss the fire crackers back in India as my little fire cracker is here to bombard me with his never ending questions and chatter. :)

On the Diwali eve, our home came alive with flickering of diyas and candles lit in every nook and corner with the soulful evening raga playing in the background. The fragrant smoke of incense, camphor and dhoop waltzed with the fragrance of roses and jasmine. The clang of pots and pans, the heady aroma of saffron, rose water and cardamoms and the joyous laughter in the background was everything that any festivals are about. Unlike last year’s extravagant and loud Diwali which was the first for LD with his grandparents, this year’s celebration is quiet and mellow with just three of us. As it was the case with any festival, we were missing our loved ones on this joyous occasion. The beautiful memories of Diwali of my childhood are something I treasure the most. The light, laughter, joy, great food and a lovely company is something that makes this festival so special. So I feel the real need to create wonderful memories for my young man by carrying out century old traditions passed from one generation to the next. And what better way than the stories of the festival accompanied with a delicious food which is heart and soul of any Indian festivals?!

04 November, 2015

Tameta Reveya | Vegan Stuffed Tomato Curry Recipe from Kaushy's Prashad at Home

Learn how to make Tameta Reveya/Stuffed Tomato Curry ~ Sweet and spicy peanut stuffed tomato satay

After the success of her first cookbook ‘Prashad Indian Vegetarian Cooking’ which is one of my most favourite cookbooks, Kaushy Patel’s second cookbook ‘Prashad at Home’ focuses on simple, quick and fuss free Indian cooking from her vegetarian kitchen. The recipes are little quicker and easier compared to the restaurant recipes from her first cookbook which will find its way into your dinner tables and hearts! The heart and soul of the cookbook remains the same, Gujarati inspired vegetarian Indian food with tantalising recipes which any home cook will find delightful to cook with easy to follow recipe instructions.

There is a short introduction by the author Kaushy Patel in her own words mentioning the idea behind the cookbook with simple home food which is quite different from her previous cookbook showcasing the restaurant dishes.  The recipes range from fuss free recipes to cook on weekdays to suit the busy lifestyle to elaborate dishes to enjoy in leisure to Indian fusion dishes. Kaushy emphasises on enjoying the cooking whether you have 20 minutes or 2 hours, bringing you and those you are cooking a great pleasure. Kayshy’s ‘Spice Tin and Seasonings’ contain the detailed guide to ingredients used in the cookbook and the ‘Practical Points’ shares top tips and how-to's  into preparing and using the ingredients in cooking.

30 September, 2015

Khara Kaddi or Spicy Sev Recipe | How to Make Kharada Kaddi

Learn how to make Khara Kaddi or Spicy Sev ~ Deep fried spicy chickpea or gram flour sticks flavoured with cumin, carom seeds and asafoetida

It’s been over a fortnight since Lil Dumpling started his big school and finally, I feel I can pen down the whole experience without my heart shattering into thousand pieces or shedding truck load of tears. There was no surprise when LD started school it wasn't him who cried. It was me! The sight of that small person vanishing with unfamiliar faces into an unknown classroom was terribly painful. I couldn't understand the pain I was feeling.

Spicy Sev or Kharada Kaddi

For weeks, I had prepared LD to start his new school in a new town. I was so immersed in preparing LD for his first day in school, making the school sound like a fun place, I completely forgot to prepare myself for the day when I had to let go of him and place his small hands into the capable hands of his class teacher. I kept my mind busy making sure that the transition will be as smooth and as painless as possible. By doing so, I kept pushing every worry and thoughts of my own feelings in the back-burner. It was a lethal combination, LD’s pride, joy and excitement mixed with my whole range of worries, apprehensions and anxieties! I never imagined in million years that it would be one of the most painful experiences of my life.

24 September, 2015

Whole Wheat Tibetian Vegetable Momo Recipe | Step by Step Recipe for Veg Momos

Learn how to make Whole Wheat Tibetian Vegetable Momos ~ Steam cooked whole wheat dumpling stuffed with crispy vegetables, a delicacy from North East India

Who would have ever thought that the day will come where I will sit down to write this post?! A post about blog-anniversary! Believe it or not, Monsoon Spice just turned 9 years old. It’s been NINE YEARS since this blog was born on a lazy afternoon and I really find it difficult to digest the fact that I have stuck to blogging after all these years. With my two men army fighting nasty cold and fever, I almost missed the blog milestone. 9 years of blogging is a huge milestone for someone who strongly believes ‘change is the only constant in life’! It looks like my love and passion for food blogging has not dulled or died down even after all these years of food blogging and if anything else, my love affair with food writing, photography and blogging has grown stronger and deeper.

 It was the peak of winter in 2005 when the days were really short and the sun disappeared for days. I was a new bride in unknown city, new country and different continent and had nothing worthwhile happening in my life. After spending long hours on phone, reading books and flipping the channels on idiot box, I was still left with many more hours of solitude and boredom! I began to spend more time in kitchen to relive the husband of mine from cooking the same meal every day. Slowly I began to cook one dish after another that I learnt from my mother through our hour long telephone conversations and expanded my recipe repertoire which was limited to half a dozen recipes. After many misadventures, small kitchen accidents and blunders, I decided to document my culinary journey for posterity to have some laugh at my expense! After couple of months I decided to take a plunge and give my personal diary an online presence for amateurs home cooks like me who struggled to differentiate pigeon peas from split chickpeas and cilantro from parsley. Well, who would have imagined that the blog born out of boredom and necessity would complete 9 enjoyable years! Not me!!! Never in zillion years! It has come a long way from being amateur cooking blog to much confident and passionate cooking blog of today!

17 September, 2015

Ela Ada Recipe | Steamed Sweet Rice Flour Cakes in Banana Leaves

Learn how to make Ela Ada ~ Sweet coconut-jaggery stuffed rice cakes/parcels steam cooked in banana leaves, a traditional delicacy from Kerala

Last few weeks have been really busy on home front which required my full attention. This was good enough reason for me to wean myself from spending hours on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+. It was a good break, away from social networks and spending more time on what I do best, annoying my family! ;)

This year the weather god has been really generous, blessing us with beautiful long sunny days and cool breeze in between to keep our cheer high. So we decided to make the most of it. The days were spent with Lil Dumpling, mostly in garden, caring for the plants and painting under the shade of tree. We took a break by chasing butterflies, watching the ants gather food for the winter, twittering with birds, jumping on trampoline and having impromptu picnics.

06 August, 2015

Dum Aloo Kashmiri Recipe | How to Make Kashmiri Dum Alu

Learn how to make Dum Aloo Kashmiri ~ A traditional Kashmiri dish of deep fried baby potatoes cooked in creamy almond and cashew gravy, no onion-garlic recipe

After a month of sultry hot summer days, the skies have opened their doors to cool showers. The welcoming sight of rain drenched plants and trees and the pearly rain drops on a window pane is what exactly we needed after a days of heat waves. As the temperature dropped couple of degrees, our cravings for some spicy delights just went up a notch! Another reason to love the pittar-patter rain!

Husband had come home with a bag of baby potatoes from market and dropping few hints about the Dum Aloo Kashmiri he had had couple of years ago! I pretended not to hear him as the last few attempts of making the famous Kashmiri Dum Aloo were far from being a success story! And the triple sin of not just cooking the potatoes, but also deep frying them before dunking in a rich cashew-almond gravy was something I wanted to avoid when I am on a path of eating healthy! Well, I don’t have to say who won in the end! Interestingly I am not even ashamed to have had committed this triple sin! Ha…

30 July, 2015

Watermelon-Citrus Cooler/Juice Recipe | Simple and Quick Summer Cooler Recipe

Learn how to make the Watermelon-Citrus Cooler/Juice

It’s been a wonderful summer so far… In fact, it’s the best summer season I have ever experienced in Britain! The flowers in rainbow colours are in full bloom, the rich green foliage of trees kissing the bright blue skies, the fluffy white sugar candy like clouds drifting away in the bright sky, the dainty white daisies smiling on a rich Persian green grass carpet and the smiling tanned faces that greets others in the streets. Ah… Blissful days of the year!

Summer is the time when I am busiest, inspite of the fact that the schools are closed. I see myself like an ant working long hours. With five year old for a company, the 24 hours in a day is not long enough to get everything done in a day. By the end of the day, I am so tired that I snooze off as soon as my head hits pillow.

16 July, 2015

Mango-Coconut Chitranna Recipe | Quick and Easy Mango-Coconut Rice Recipe

Learn how to make Mango-Coconut Chitranna - A spin to South Indian tangy yellow rice of coconut and raw mango flavoured with generous tempering of peanuts and aromatic spices

The meaning of ‘home’ is ever evolving. When I was a kid, home was a palatial bungalow where I was born and surrounded by dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins, my grandparents and parents. It was a place where I woke up to jingling of anklets and bangles, clattering pots and pans, aroma of rasams and sambars bubbling in a large copper pots, sound of sizzling tadka and gossiping women in the kitchen. Home was the warmth of being held closely to my uncles chests, tickling fingers of my aunties, skipping and running bare footed with my cousins, splashing waters in a crystal clear streams, sleeping peacefully on a cosy bed of my grandpa’s chest, morsels of food being fed by my grandma under the star lit skies, and being sandwiched between my parents before drifting off to sleep.

When I was 6 years old, my parents moved to their current home to be close to the best schools and dad’s clinic and it became our home where we drove each other absolutely crazy one moment and made one feel like million dollars the next. It was a place which nourished me and always made me feel safe, loved, and cherished. Home was a place that welcomed me with open heart and a plate of amma’s home cooked meals peppered with spice and love!

30 June, 2015

Mangalore Bonda Sharbat Recipe | Tender Coconut Lemonade

Learn how to make Mangalore Bonda Sharbat ~ Tender coconut sherbet or tender coconut lemonade

“Echara, we want some bonda. Please!” pleaded a girl with two missing front teeth and two pigtails bouncing as she jumped up and down with her sister and cousins.
“Let me first finish peeling these arecanuts, and then I will get you kids the tender coconuts”, said Eshwara.
“No, we want you to come with us right now. We are very, very thirsty”, said all the kids in unison.
“There is no escaping from you little brats”, said Eshwara as he smiled indulgently.

He got up from the low seat of wooden plank with a blunt moon shaped knife designed especially for peeling the skin of arecanuts. Wiping the sweat from his forehead with the towel tied around his head as a turban called mundaas, once red when it was new and now turned a shade of burnt rust after many washes, he flexed his five feet short body and joined us as we bounced along a narrow footpath around grandma’s ancestral two-storey art deco styled house with huge panelled windows.

18 June, 2015

1, 2, 3, 4, 5... High FIVE!

Dear Lil Dumpling,
You will be 5 in few days. One, two, three, four, five! 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5! All those five fingers of your not so little hands. Whichever way I count or how many times I count, it’s the same. 5 years old! Why are you in such a hurry to grow up so fast? Can we slow down a little bit? A wee bit? Pretty please!

I know I say the same thing every year, but its true isn’t it? You rather seem to be in a hurry to grow up and I just want to pause the ticking of clock. At this time of the year your Appa and I can’t help but talk about the time you were born. We recall the day when I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance all alone while your dad followed like a mad man behind the wheels. My well researched and hand typed birth plan which took most part of 7 months was torn to pieces as your dad signed the form for emergency C-section. I was scared at the last minute changes to my perfect pregnancy period as it abruptly came to an end. The fear so powerful that it made me breathless took over as I prayed for the safe delivery of a bub whom I loved more than myself. The doctors and the nurses assured me and told me not to worry, but it was the worry lurking in your dad’s eyes that made me take a deep breath and smile reassuringly at him. But the anticipation of meeting you, the one who moved, rolled, kicked and somersaulted in my belly for all of 9 months and one day was something I have never experienced before.

13 May, 2015

BaLekai Sippe Palya Recipe | Learn How to Make Vegan Raw Banana Peel Stir Fry

Learn how to make BaLekai Sippe/Raw Banana Peel Palya ~ Vegan hot and sour raw banana skin stir fry with South Indian spices

Last one year has been a crazy year for us, with many twists and turns which made us gasp and halt before we gingerly stepped forward. It was not an easy year for us, but at the same time it turned out to be a very special and most memorable one.

When I wrote this post a year ago about starting a new chapter of our life in India, I had no idea that we will be back in Britain exactly in a year! It’s funny how we think that we have sorted out everything, smoothed the little wrinkly problems, prepared for every challenges that life throws at us and feel that we have planned even the minute thing to last detail, there will still be a little glitch that will pop up somewhere on the way of our near-perfect and well planned life! Well, it didn’t take long to learn even the best laid plans can fail sometimes. Life has taught me many things, and the recent lesson made me realise how important it is to live in a moment and not moan over things when they fail to meet our expectations. In everybody’s life there is a point of no return, a point where we can’t go forward anymore. And when we reach that point in our life, all we can do is quietly accept the fact and face reality. Well that the thing about lessons, you always learn them when you don’t or least expect them!


BaLekai Sippe/Raw Banana Peel Palya served with Kerala matta rice and banana crisps

19 February, 2015

Restaurant Style Paneer Jalfrezi Recipe | How to Make Paneer Jalfrezi


Learn how to make Restaurant Style Paneer Jalfrezi ~ A quick stir fry of paneer, bell peppers, onion and tomato in a spicy tomato paste

India is the largest producer of milk and it is no surprise that we Indians love milk and milk produce. Starting our day with strong milky coffee or tea, we integrate milk and milk products in various recipes. And our meal is incomplete without a glass of yogurt or buttermilk, either spiced with few green chillies, cumin powder etc or sweetened with sugar. Milk, yogurt, buttermilk, ghee, butter and cream are part and parcel of Indian meals. And there is one more milk product which we all love, Paneer.

Ingredients for Paneer Jalfrezi

Restaurant Style Paneer Jalfrezi Recipe

It is Paneer or Indian cottage cheese and there are very few who doesn’t like Paneer. Paneer is used in many dishes like the ever popular Matar Paneer, Kadai Paneer, Nawabi Paneer, Paneer Butter Masala (Fried cottage cheese served in creamy and buttery onion-tomato gravy), Malai Kofta (Deep fried cheese dumplings in rich, creamy tomato gravy), Paneer Tikka (grilled paneer cubes marinated in spicy yogurt), Paneer Paratha and many more. Since the large population are pure vegetarians in India, the use of milk and milk produce are given more importance for their protein and calcium supplements and Paneer is something which is loved by all, especially the little ones. Lil Dumpling is no exception and he loves Paneer cooked in mild gravies. Bored of making same paneer curries, I ventured into little adventure of making spicy Restaurant Style Paneer Jalfrezi.

28 January, 2015

Bimbli Mosaru Gujju Recipe | Simple and Easy Bimbli Recipe

Learn how to make sweet and sour Bimbli Mosaru Gojju ~ Bimbli in sweet and spicy yogurt sauce

Year 2014 came and went by in the blink of an eye. A lot of things happened in 2014; many exciting things, many stressful events, and a whole new beginning. 2014 was the year where many life changing events happened in our lives. We uprooted our lives from a place that had become our home and moved to a place which we hope to make a home that we all love. It’s not been an easy year to say the least, but we never settled for anything less adventurous.

Bimbli or Bilimbi or Bimpuli


Happy New Year dear readers who still patiently wait to read my rants! With my blog posts becoming so sporadic, I am not surprised to see dwindling readership to this almost abandoned blog. With my life getting maddeningly busy with things that are out of my control, the blog has to take a back seat. As much as I want to replenish my recipe repertoire and breath some life into this blog, the lack of motivation and writer’s block, which seems to have made a comfortable permanent home in my so-called creative side of the brain, are enough reasons to almost abandon this much loved part of my life! On top of that, the never ending personal task list and unrealistic deadline I have set for personal commitments in real life is keeping me away from virtual world.