30 November, 2017

Bengali Ghugni Chaat Recipe with Moodi/Bhaja Masala | Calcutta Style Vegan Yellow Peas Curry

Learn how to make Bengali Ghugni Chaat ~Calcutta style vegan yellow peas curry garnished with assorted fresh toppings

My love for Indian street food has no beginning and no end… This ongoing affair with street food is unparalleled to any other food, including the comfort foods, and I can quite happily go on living just eating street food for rest of my life. As much as I love deep fried, calorie loaded foods which I like to binge on occasionally, it’s the nutritious, delicately spiced street foods bursting with big flavours I am enslaved to. Apart from being highly addictive, these Indian street foods are packed with nutrition, nourishing and guilt-free. And there are couple of street food that screams comfort food, which wraps you in a warm blanket on a cold, cold night. One such recipe is Ghugni Chaat, a delicious yellow peas snack is a popular street food of Eastern Indian states of West Bengal, and some parts of Orissa, Assam and Bihar.

Ingredients for Calcutta Style Ghugni Chaat

To make Ghugni Chaat, dried yellow peas are soaked overnight and pressure cooked until soft and almost mushy and then simmered in a spicy and sour gravy of finely chopped onions, tomatoes, ginger and a special spice blend called Moodi/Bhaja Masala. A traditional Ghugni is made with dried yellow peas, sold as vaTana in Indian groceries in the lentil and bean aisles. Although there are other versions of Ghugni made with black or white chickpeas or dried green or white peas, I personally prefer the dried yellow peas which easily takes in layers of flavours added to it. Some versions of Ghugni Chaat also included meat, such as lamb, and some are made without garlic and onions during the festival times.

17 November, 2017

Rotimatic Review, FAQs and Discount Code | Everything You Need To Know About Rotimatic

A complete Rotimatic Review, FAQs and Discount Code 

About a year and half or two years ago, a video went viral on social media where a robotic kitchen appliance measured, kneaded and rolled the dough balls, flattened it, puffed and roasted it and pushed perfectly cooked round rotis. I was very sceptical when I first saw the video, but at the same time I was really excited to see this staple unleavened Indian flat bread called Roti, with over 4000 years of History dating back to Harappan civilisation, and consumed by millions of people of Indian subcontinent finally have its own dedicated modern machine which makes roti from scratch with a touch of a button. This dream was made into reality by inventor wife and husband team Pranoti Nagarkar Israni and Rishi Israni with their 8 years of hard work and never give up attitude.

If you haven’t already guessed by now, I am talking about Rotimatic which is world’s first ever automated roti maker with its cloud based software and an impressive assembly line with chockful of robotic goodness! The look and finish of the product is quite sleek and minimalist with glossy white exterior that belongs to the 21st century design concept. So, does the Rotimatic live up to its hype? I am hoping that my extensive review of Rotimatic with FAQs will help you in finding out everything you need to know about this ‘smart’ kitchen appliance. 

But before we go through the detailed review, I am teaming up with Rotimatic who are giving exclusive discount of US  $75 to the readers of Monsoon Spice. Order via https://rotimatic.com/order-priority-uk-monsoonspice to jump the queue and order Rotimatic directly without signing up on the wait list PLUS receive a discount of US $75!

03 November, 2017

Kolhapuri Usal/Misal Recipe with Kat and Kolhapuri Masala | Popular Indian Street Foods Series

Learn how to make Kolhapuri Usal/Misal with Kat and Kolhapuri Masala ~ Sprouted Moth Beans cooked in a spicy gravy of onion, coconut and flavoured with Kolhapuri misal masala

Who likes spicy food?
I mean super spicy… Spicy as the one that turn your nose crimson red and brings tears in your eyes! Spicy as you are left with wiping your nose and eyes and yet you are smile and happily continue to devour the food! Yeah, I am talking of hot and fiery spicy food.

Ingredients for Kolhapuri Usal/Misal

If you are still reading this and nodding your head in agreement then this recipe is for you. We have hot and fiery Kolhapuri Usal or Misal in our today’s menu. Last time I had it was in Belgaum where my friend took me to this small hotel in one corner of the city. It was not a fancy hotel with crystal chandeliers and comfortable chairs. Instead it was a small, modest hotel with wooden tables and long benches in a small square room with sea green coloured walls and red roof tiles. The hotel’s owner was sitting right next to the entrance door on a beautifully carved high rosewood chair. And in front of him was the ancient rosewood table with half a dozen big glass canisters filled with coloured peppermints and shortcrust cookies studded with colourful tutti-frutti. The wall behind him was adorned with frames of colourful pictures of Goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth), Lord Ganesha (elephant faced Hindu god) and Goddess Saraswati (goddess of knowledge). The owner himself was a pleasant looking guy with kumkum on his forehead and wore pristine white cotton kurta and dhoti.

18 October, 2017

Garam Masala Recipe with Braun MultiQuick 3 Vario Hand Blender MQ 3126 WH Spice Review

Learn how to make Garam Masala ~ Mildly spiced aromatic Indian spice blend for curries and soups

Every cuisine of the world hasn’t gone untouched by a sprinkle of spices, but none of them embrace spice as close to its bosom as Indian cuisine which unashamedly uses them to the brim! Everything from curries to chai, our food and drink overflows with spices. Throughout the past, there have been great wars fought for these spices; some won and some lost leaving a path on the map marked with riches and sacrifices. The spice routes were formed, lands were plundered and looted in a quest for Indian spices which as the history says was so valuable that it was worth more than gold in weight! Such was the lure of spices which makes them not just mere ingredients in Indian cuisine, but a way of life!

Whole spices used in making Garam Masala

In Indian kitchens, the spices and herbs are used to enhance the natural flavour of food, and not to disguise or obscure it and this takes years of experience gained only by practice and patience. There is no general rule for the correct amount of spices and herbs to use as the pungency of each spice and herb differs and its effect on different foods varies.

17 October, 2017

Quick and Easy Diwali Sweet Recipes | Deepavali Sweet Recipes

There is always something warm and bright about this time of the year, when everything has a special glow! There is always something special about this time of the year when all our hearts are full of cheer!

Yes, the festival of lights is here… Diwali or Deepavali is the occasion which brings lots of love and laughter to fill our days with cheer and hope for something best to come! 

The Monsoon Spice household is gearing up for this special occasion. The house is dusted, the vessels are scrubbed, the Diyas are glowing, and the kitchen is a hub of activities! We are hosting a Diwali party for our close friends and that can only mean one thing; fun, laughter and good food!

For the next couple of weeks, I will be posting the recipes of the delicious and exquisite food I am cooking for our friends. But for now here are some of the sweet/desserts that you can cook for your loved ones!  While you are at it, don't forget to check the list of Simple and Easy Snack Recipes for Diwali to delight your taste buds!
Wishing you all a very Happy and Sparkling Deepavali!

Warm Regards

Belgaum Kunda
Besan ke Laddu
 Mysore Pak
 Semiya Kheer
 Carrot Kheer
 Pineapple Kesari
 Saffron Nan Khatai (Eggless)
 Kesari Bhaat (Suji Ka Halwa)
 Vegan Avalakki Payasa
 Doodh/Milk Peda
 Sabudana Kheer
 Peanut Laddu/Chikki
 Mango Panna Cotta
 Rava Laddu
Ela Ada

Payasa/Kheer (Indian Pudding)

Quick and Easy Diwali Snack Recipes | Simple and Easy to Make Snack Recipes for Deepavali


It is almost that time of the year in India when winter begins. It is almost that time of the year when the dawn is lightly caressed by the frost. It is almost that time of the year when the golden rays of morning sun passes through the dew drops on the grass making them look like a precious diamonds sewn on the lush green carpets. It is almost that time of the year when the trees sway to the gentle morning breeze in the cool mist. It is almost that time of the year when the soft sun light appears from the distant hills and the birds tweet as they flutter through the dew laden sky! It is almost that time of the year when the summer’s blistering heat and the monsoon’s thundering rains give way to a season of crisp winter months. It is the golden season of Kartik, a season of cool air, chirping birds, dew drops laden fresh grass, the blossoming trees and the time when the entire Indian subcontinent adorns itself in the silky golden hued sunlight to greet the heavenly bodies into welcoming arms!

When the paths are dotted with the carpet of heavenly perfumed dainty paarijata flowers and the air is heavy with the aroma of sugary treats, it is that time of the year... It is the time of Deepavali or Diwali, a Hindu festival of lights!

With the festival of lights just a week away, our house gets busy with preparing for the Diwali. It’s that time of the year when clattering of pots and pans are heard for most part of the day and the evenings as we plan the menu for the festive food. So while planning for the Diwali party menu, I thought it may be useful for my dear blog readers to have a compilation of some simple, quick and easy snacks recipes for Deepavali. I hope you will find this post useful in deciding what to cook for your friends and family and make this Diwali a special one for your loved ones.While you are at it, don't forget to check the list of Simple and Easy Sweet Recipes for Diwali to sweeten your taste buds!

May the festival of lights be the harbinger of joy and prosperity. As the holy occasion of Diwali is here and the atmosphere is filled with the spirit of mirth and love, here's hoping this festival of beauty brings your way, bright sparkles of contentment, that stay with you through the days ahead. Wishing all my dear readers and friends, a very happy and prosperous Deepavali!

Warm Regards

Paneer Stuffed Mirchi Bajji
Khara Kaddi
Chattambade/Masala Dal Vada
Aloo-Kala Chana Chaat
Mangalore Buns
Delicious, deep fried sin! Aloo Bonda
Gobi 65
Methi nu Muthia
Spicy Stuffed Buns

From Home (Udupi-Mangalorean)

26 September, 2017

Heerekai Bajji Recipe | Turai/Ridge Gourd Pakoda Recipe

Learn how to make Heerekai Bajji or Turai/Ridge Gourd Pakoda ~ Crispy deep fried ridge gourd fritters in a spicy gram flour batter

It’s been three weeks since we came back after a month long stay in India; from one home where I was born and spent most part of my life to another home which has been our home for more than a decade. I brought with me a bag full of homemade treats, pickles, masalas, heirloom pieces to adorn our home and most importantly, beautiful memories to cherish! I have many stories to tell, recipes to share, photographs to show in coming days. But now, I am trying to fight the homesickness that engulfs me… One would think that it becomes easier after 12 years of leaving the motherland, but it’s as fresh as the first time I left the country where my soul lives… As I continue to struggle with homesickness and writer’s block, let me share this quick recipe of simple Heerekai Bajji or Ridge Gourd/Turai Pakoda that my Amma made on a beautiful monsoon evening.

There is something magical about eating hot, crispy pakodas with chai or filter kaapi on a monsoon evening which is difficult to put in few words. For me, a plate of crisp pakodas, hot cup of freshly brewed filter coffee and a book in hand while watching the monsoon rain weave their magic is something I can never tire of. On one such evening when it was raining cats and dogs, Amma made these delicious Heerekai Bajji or Turai/Ridge Gourd Pakodas and one bit of it, I fell in love with it. In between stuffing my face with this crispy goodness, I managed to click couple of photographs and write down the recipe to share with you all. :)

There are couple of things to keep in mind when buying the ridge gourd for this recipe. Choose ridge gourd which has firm dark green coloured skin with fresh green stem. A good ridge gourd has firm flesh and tender seeds. If you find their flesh to be cotton like soft texture, it’s best not to use for this recipe. Make sure the pakoda batter is neither too thick or thin. It should be of dosa batter consistency. It should stick to the ridge gourd and coat evenly before deep frying. Fry the pakoras on medium flame to make sure it is cooked thoroughly inside out. Don’t be tempted to cook them on high flame as you will end up with half cooked, chewy pakodas. So keeping all these in mind, let’s get cooking this delicious Heerekai Bajji or Turai/Ridge Gourd Pakoda. Let’s get cracking! :)

Heerekai Bajji/Ridge Gourd Pakoda (Crispy, deep fried ridge gourd fritters coated in spicy chickpeas batter)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginners
Spice Level: Medium
Makes: About 15-20
Shelf Life: Best served fresh
Serving Suggestion: On their own or with any spicy chutney or ketchup with a cup of tea or coffee

1 medium Ridge Gourd, peeled and sliced into ¾ cm thick rounds
Oil for deep frying

For the batter:
¾ cup Gram/Chickpeas Flour, sifted to remove lumps
1 heaped tbsp. Rice Flour or Semolina
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds, crush it in your palms to release their flavour
¼ tsp Ajwain/Carom Seeds, crush it in your palms to release their flavour
½-1 tsp Red Chilli Powder (Adjust as per taste)
¼ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
A generous pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
A pinch of Cooking Soda/Soda Bi Carbonate (Optional)
Salt to taste

  1. Prepare the batter by mixing the sifted gram flour, rice flour or semolina, cumin seeds, carom seeds, red chilli powder, turmeric, hing, cooking soda and salt to taste. Add little water at time to make batter which is not too runny or thick (dosa batter consistency). Taste and adjust the seasoning and keep it aside until needed.
  2. Heat the oil for deep frying on medium flame.
  3. While the oil is heating, wash and scrape the ridge gourd with a help of a sharp knife or peeler to remove the hard ridges. It is not required to peel the ridge gourd completely. Slice the ridge gourd to 3/4 – 1 cm thick discs and keep it aside.
  4. Line the plate or tray with kitchen towel and keep it aside.

Proceed to cook:
  1. Dip the ridge gourd discs in a batter, making sure that the batter is well coated on all sides before gently dropping it into a hot oil, one at a time. Fry the pakodas in a batch of 5-6 on medium flame, flipping them in between until they turn golden brown and crisp. It takes around 3-4 minutes per batch on a medium flame.
  2. Remove the cooked pakodas from oil using slotted spoons and place them on a plate lined with kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil.
  3. Serve this delicious Heerekai Bajji or Turai/Ridge Gourd Pakoda on its own or with any chutney or ketchup along with a steaming hot cup of tea or coffee. Enjoy!

Sia’s Notes:
  • Choose ridge gourd which has firm dark green coloured skin with fresh green stem. A good ridge gourd has firm flesh and tender seeds. If you find their flesh to be cotton like soft texture, discard it.
  • Make sure the batter is neither too thick or thin. It should be of dosa batter consistency. It should stick to the ridge gourd and coat evenly before deep frying.
  • Fry the pakoras on medium flame to make sure it is cooked thoroughly inside out. Don’t be tempted to cook them on high flame as you will end up with half cooked, chewy pakodas.