Friday, December 25, 2009

Mrs. Dalal attends the 10th anniversary special PETA celebration.

Being a vegetarian has always been of utmost importance to me and I feel that it is everyone’s responsibility to protect the rights of all animals and follow the principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on or use for entertainment.

On 18th of December 2009, I was delighted to attend the PETA India celebration for completion of their 10 years in India. The star studded gala was hosted by long time PETA supporters John Abraham, Hema malini, Anoushka Shankar, Raveena Tandon and Atul Kasbekar.

PETA stands for “people for the ethical treatment of animals”, with more than 1.8 million members and supporters, is the largest animal right organization in the world. PETA is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights for all animals.

PETA India felicitated all long time PETA supporters who have helped them in the last ten years in speaking up for the voiceless beings. The list included Bollywood stars, musicians, Photographers and Government officials for passing Animal friendly Laws.
Celebrated Santoor player Rahul Sharma mesmerized the audience with his melodies, while Ash Chandler brought in some International Flavour with his singing and Ishq Bector made the audience kick of their heels to his foot tapping performance.
Mentor Emeritus for PETA India, Ms Anuradha Sawhney was awarded by PETA India’s founder Ms Ingrid Newkirk for her 9 years of service for Animals.
All PETA supporters showed their love for animals by showing solidarity to PETA’ Cause and congratulated the PETA India team for completing 10 long years of victories for animals.
I was enthralled to see that the guests were treated with Delectable Vegan food in a special Menu created by Simran Kodesia for PETA along with the team of Chefs at the Trident Hotel.
The guests also received a Gift bag full of vegan goodies, which included Vegan Chocolates, Vegan Cosmetics and a Book authored by PETA India’s founder Ms Ingrid Newkirk.
It was a delight to be part of this Anniversary celebration and I wish PETA all the best for their future endeavors.

Friday, December 04, 2009



The popular round of advice that nutritionists dish out is to have snacks that are around 100 calories with the right balance of nutrients. But 100 calories itself is a dicey number. One can get 100 calories by having either two fat-laden sweet cookies or one portion of low calorie mix sprouts bhel. The key to right snacking lies in the right selection of food and the right amount. This is how the concept of creating a “100 Calorie Snacks” cookbook took shape.

The book is filled with 30 scrumptious recipes that have been classified under 6 different categories of Chatpata Chaat, Waffles & Pancakes, Instant Dishes, Dry Snacks, Wraps & Kebabs and Multi-Cuisine Snacks. The recipes have been designed by my team of nutritionists and chefs in a manner that they are filling as well nutritious. I suggest you to stick to the portion size as mentioned in each recipe to avoid over exceeding the calorie intake.

Sticking to these recipes will surely satisfy your taste buds, avoid unnecessary bingeing on high-calorie snacks and help you overcome the thinking that 100 calorie snacks can only be raw fruits and vegetables.

The book also busts several common myths about snacking and provides helpful hints and tips.

So, go ahead and enjoy these snacks whenever your tummy cries for snacks.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Healthy Eating For Life…The Glycemic Index Way

You've probably run across it before, and if you're diabetic, it's almost guaranteed that you've at least heard of it. Glycemic Index is the much talked about health aspect today! And it is essential for us to understand it rightly and apply it in our day to day lives because of it being simply a wonderful way of eating, according to me. This is what makes me take you through a short stint on “Glycemic Index of Foods” leaving you to think and revisit your eating habits.

Why should people use the Glycemic index as a basis of their Food habits? This is a big question for many - whether as a magic formula for diabetics or for people who are overweight, and looking for a cure? Heart diseases? Simply put, why?

Well, for one, the glycemic index isn't just some random diabetic diet you can find online or in a book somewhere. It's actually a scientific system to deal with your blood sugar levels. Always keep in mind that spikes in the body sugar levels can be devastating for health!

Basically the glycemic index ranks carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, and it's based on how they can raise your blood sugar levels after you eat. Foods with a higher GI level are digested faster, and therefore create a spike in your blood sugar levels. However, foods with a lower ranking are digested much slower. This allows the sugars to gradually be introduced in the body, and that means no spiking of the levels.

A food with a glycemic index of less than 55 is considered a Low Glycemic food while 56 to 69 is Moderate and over 70 is considered High. Most of the vegetables, dals and legumes, nuts, oilseeds, milk and products and some fruits are relatively low on GI.

Have you ever eaten a large Chinese meal, with lot of noodles and rice, only to find yourself hungry again an hour or two later. What most of us experience regularly is the feeling of lethargy that follows an hour or so after a fast food lunch, which generally consists of High GI foods (Carbohydrate dense processed foods). The surge of glucose followed by the rapid drain leaves us starved for energy which makes us once again crave and gulp caloric and fat dense snacks and meals.

When one eats a high GI food and experience a rapid spike in blood sugar, pancreas releases the hormone insulin. Insulin does two things extremely well. First it stores glucose as fat. On top of that it also inhibits the utilization of body fat. Since insulin does all nasty things to the body, it is crucial to maintain its low levels to prevent obesity and lifestyle related conditions like Diabetes, CVD etc.

The general rule of thumb is to replace as many processed and refined-grain carbohydrates like Maida based foods, Biscuits, Pastries etc with fibre rich foods. Unhealthy eating habits and over consumption of such foods could take you on the obesity trail that would leave you regretting later. So beware! The combination of low GI food with few calories, i.e. low in sugar and fat is the magic bullet for staying slim and fit.

High-G.I. foods cause blood sugar surges, which play havoc with insulin levels and appetite. Understanding the glycemic index is a vital first step in helping you control sugar surges and achieving steady and permanent weight loss. While a single, high-GI meal might not cause significant health problems for our body, frequent consumption of high GI foods and food preparations can result in perpetually high insulin levels.

Best of all, I present some Low GI Low calorie healthy recipes .These when incorporated in the family menu would offer freedom from hunger and craving and would assist you to manage weight and health effortlessly.










Mail Your comments and queries at


Friday, August 14, 2009

Trip to Bhopal,Shree Gujarati Samaj

I am honored by the invitation to participate in a National level seminar organized by Shree Gujarati Samaj, Bhopal. They have completed 50 glorious years providing a platform for non-residential Gujaratis- and in true Gujarati style. And celebrating this momentous occasion by way of organizing a two-day National level seminar. This seminar will be held on August 15-16, 2009 at Hotel Jehan-Numa Palace, Bhopal. I am very excited to be a part of this prestigious event.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mumbai's Roadside Snacks

I hope ypu enjoy my latest release. We worked for months on end going to every street corner of Mumbai.

India finds expression in its streets – be it culture or be it cuisine! This is truer than ever when said in the context of Mumbai, where street food is relished even by the millionaire who travels in a Mercedes Benz. For just a few rupees one can purchase hot, fresh and delectable snacks sold by vendors from makeshift or portable stalls. Add to this a range of thoughtful accompaniments, and you can have a wholesome and delectable meal at less than half the price of any restaurant.

Indian street food varies from region to region. However, wherever you are, you will surely find a large selection of scrumptious snacks, each prepared more temptingly than the other. The snacks are prepared right in front of your eyes, enticing you with the wonderful spicy aromas. The vendor remains unfazed however high the order-load, and continues to serve each customer with a smile – remembering to cater to their individual preferences, whether they want the dish without onions or extra spicy, or by-two!

Walk alongside me as we explore the streets of Mumbai like PAV SNAKCS, FAMOUS CHAATS, IDLIS & DOSAS, ALL TIME FAVOURITE PAY BHAJI, SANDWICHES, CHINESE FOOD and a lot more! The snacks are prepared right in front of your eyes, enticing you with the wonderful spicy aromas. In fact, some of the vendors gain such a reputation for their snacks that people will journey far to experience the food from a specific vendor. Orders come pouring in as the vendor prepares freshly-fried or mixed snacks right in front of your eyes. He never seems overwhelmed however high the order-load is! What is more, he also caters to everybody’s preferences.... ”Bhaiyyaaa…zara theeka kam banana”, “Aur ek papdi do na”, “Ek Jain sandwich banana”… everybody is heard and served with equal attention!

However, for those who wish to make these in the safety of their own kitchen, this book serves as a guiding light, presenting the basic technique of making each dish, apart from capturing the intricacies of each street food and taking you for a walk along the Mumbai roads, showing you the foodie’s favourite spots and even the price range of each food! Recreate the magic on your kitchen table… but don’t forget to put aside your expensive Chinaware and bring out the paper plates, to bring alive the true spirit of street food! Dig in!

Mumbai Roadside Snacks Price Rs 250/. All color. 96pages.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Cookery show at Hyderabad

I'm really excited for my upcoming trip to Hyderabad on the 8th of July. I will be holding a cookery demonstration at Hotel One Continent Atria and the proceeds of the show will be donated to the Narayan Seva Sangh and Diksha project. They will be using the donation amount for several humanitarian causes like polio eradication, literacy for girls and purchase of tri-cycles. I love being part of such shows whereby I can reach out to people and do my bit for the society. Watch out for this space, for updates on my trip.

Given above are a few pictures of the event held. Thank you Hyderabad for the good turn out at the show.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Faraali Fare with Kokilaben Ambani

On Ekadashi a few days ago, my good friend Kokilaben Ambani gave me a surprise visit. Since she was fasting, I thought of preparing food accordingly. The moment I started preparing for Sabudana Khichdi, she interrupted and insisted that she will cook. She was so persistant I couldn't refuse. Within two hours she managed to create a meal that left me speechless. Instead of the standard fasting food like Sabudana Wada and Khichdi, she served an amazing variety of food, ranging from Dahi Wada to Idli-sambhar!

A great cook, Kokilaben loves cooking for her children and grand children, and is always gracious enough to share her recipes with me. I was so impressed by the faraali fare that was laid out by her, I immediately asked her to teach me some of them. They are so good that you'll want to try them even during your non-fasting days. Try them out during the Shravan month– take my word for it that they will turn out great!


An interesting twist to the regular dahi wada makes this a treat during fast

Serves 5-6

For the wadas
½ cup sanwa millet (samo) flour
¾ cup thickly grated bottle gourd (lauki/ doodhi)
1 tsp ginger-green chilli paste
Rock salt (sendha namak) to taste
1 tbsp arrowroot flour
Oil for cooking

For the curds
2 cups fresh curds (dahi)
2 tbsp milk
A pinch of rock salt (sendha namak)

For serving
½ cup khajur imli ki chutney
¼ cup green chutney (optional)
1 tsp roasted cumin (jeera) powder

For the garnish
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander (dhania) (optional)

For the curds (dahi)
1. Whisk the curds and milk together till smooth.
2. Add the salt and mix well. Refrigerate to chill.

For the wadas
1. Combine all the ingredients, except oil, in a bowl and mix well.
2. Divide the mixture into 10 to 12 equal portions and shape each portion into a round flat wada.
3. Heat a non-stick pan on a medium flame and cook each wada, using a little oil, till both sides are golden in colour; keep aside.
How to proceed
1. Just before serving soak the wadas in a vessel full of water; drain and squeeze gently.
2. Arrange the wadas on a serving plate and pour the prepared curds, khajur imli ki chutney and green chutney on it.
3. Sprinkle cumin seeds powder.
Serve immediately garnished with coriander.


Surprise yourself with these spongy idlis that taste great with Faraali Sambhar.

Makes approx. 15 idlis

For the idli batter
1 cup sanwa millet (samo)
½ cup sago (sabudana)
1 cup fresh curds (dahi)
2 tsp ginger-green chillies paste
Rock salt (sendha namak) to taste

For the stuffing
1 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 tsp ginger-green chillies paste
1 cup boiled and peeled potato cubes
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Rock salt (sendha namak) to taste

Other ingredients
½ cup roasted peanut powder

For the idli batter
1. Clean and wash the sanwa millet and sago. Drain and keep aside.
2. Combine with the remaining ingredients for the idli and soak for at least 6 hours.

For the stuffing
1. Heat the oil in a broad non-stick kadhai and add the cumin seeds.
2. When they crackle, add the ginger-green chillies paste and sauté for a few seconds.
3. Add potato cubes, sugar, lemon juice, and rock salt and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Keep aside to cool.
4. Put 1 tbsp of the idli batter into greased idli moulds; layer it with a tbsp of the potato stuffing, sprinkle ½ tsp of roasted peanut powder over this, and top it with a tbsp of the idli batter. Steam for 10 to 12 minutes or till done.
Serve hot with Faraali Sambhar.


Prepared with the base of vegetables instead of dal, this spicy sambhar is perfect with Faraali Idli.

Serves 4-6

To be boiled and blended into a smooth purée
1 cup bottle gourd (lauki/ doodhi) cubes
1 cup peeled and chopped potato
1 cup peeled and chopped yam (suran)

To be ground into a faraali sambhar powder
5 tsp coriander (dhania) seeds
2 boriya chillies
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
1 tbsp grated dry coconut (kopra)
25mm (1”) stick cinnamon (dalchini)

Other ingredients
½ cup boiled bottle gourd (lauki/ doodhi) cubes
½ cup boiled yam (suran) cubes
Rock salt (sendha namak) to taste
2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2-3 boriya chilies
1 tsp lemon juice

1. Heat the prepared purée with 1½ cups of water in a deep non-stick pan; mix well and simmer on a medium flame for 7 to 8 minutes.
2. Add the bottle gourd, yam, ground sambhar powder and rock salt, mix well and bring to boil.
3. For the tempering, heat the oil in a small non-stick pan and add the cumin seeds.
4. When the cumin seeds crackle, add the boriya chillies and sauté for a few seconds.
5. Pour the tempering over the boiling sambhar, mix well and simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes.
6. Add the lemon juice and mix well.
Serve hot.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Paneer Snacks on Itunes

I am happy to say that we have launched one of our latest books, Paneer Snacks on itunes.

I loved the way the book looks on my iphone. Each recipe has great photography to it. You can search through the book for a recipe, increase font size on the iphone for all the recipes. What's incredible is that we allow you to record a voice message for each recipe. You can also add your own note to a recipe.

For those who have iphones, its a must buy.

Happy cooking!!!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Birthaday Celebration!

On the 3rd of June, I started of my day as i normally did. I woke up at 6a.m., went for a walk, got ready and went off to work. Little did I expect, that my team of researchers had planned a surprise birthday party for me. They sneaked in the cake and the snacks inside the office before my arrival. The moment I stepped into the office everyone of them wished "Surprise! Happy Birthday!". I was completely taken aback and was left speechless. I was completely overwhelmed by the love that was showered on me.

As the age advances things like birthdays do not matter much. All that matters is that one continues to get the love and affection of near and dear ones. And I think I have a lot to thank God for. When my team asked me to wish for something before cutting the cake, I really couldn't think of anything except for asking God to help me in my journey of life to help others.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


On The Lighter Side

Soups and clear broths accompanied by salads are a very satisfying meal especially when it begins to get hot. Simple to prepare, they are easy on the pocket and light on the stomach too!
It's no secret that we tend to ingest too many calories, too much saturated fat, and too much sugar. A raw food diet is low in sodium and saturated fat, and high in magnesium, potassium, folate, fibre and antioxidants. While we are aware of the goodness of raw food, many of us find it tedious to eat salads everyday unless someone peps it up for us. If you use a little imagination you can add interest to your meal yourself just by juggling ingredients and mixing them with unusual dressings. .

We’ve created a simple menu of soup and salad that you can serve with garlic bread or a grilled sandwich to make a complete meal. Toss out the heavy gravies and go light this season!


Serves this low calorie soup, all laden with nourishing vegetables, with warm whole wheat pita bread to square up your`11111 meal.

Preparation time : 10 minutes. Cooking time : 15 minutes. Serves 2.

1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, French beans, cauliflower, peas, baby corn), finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped garlic(lehsun)
¼ cup finely chopped onions
2 tbsp quick cooking rolled oats
1 tsp oil
salt and pepper to taste

For the garnish
2 tbsp chopped coriander (dhania)

1.Heat the oil in a pan, add the onions and garlic and sauté till the onions are translucent.
2.Add the vegetables and sauté for a few minutes.
3.Add 2 cups of water and salt and pepper. Allow it to come to a boil and simmer till the vegetables are tender.
4.Add thef oats and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Serve hot garnished with the coriander.

Moong Osaman

This tangy and light soup works best for detoxification. Moong is easily digestible and this soup contains no spices and little oil. It just has a mild flavouring of curry leaves and lemon juice etc.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes. Cooking Time: 20 minutes. Serves 4.

¼ cup moong (whole green gram)
1 tsp oil
¼ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
4 to 5 curry leaves (kadi patta)
¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)
Salt to taste
2 tsp lemon juice

For the garnish
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander (dhania)

1. Clean and wash the moong, add 4½ cups of water and pressure for 3 to 4 whistles.
2. Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid.
3. Heat the oil in a deep pan and add the cumin seeds.
4. When the seeds crackle, add the curry leaves, asafoetida and the cooked moong, mix well and bring to a boil.
5. Add the salt, mix well and simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes.
6. Add the lemon juice, mix well and serve hot garnished with coriander.

Barley Vegetable Soup
Barley Vegetable Soup

This soup is loaded with health and taste. Fibre-rich barley is a key ingredient in this soup while the use of vegetable stock and other veggies enhances its health profile. Adding cheese to hot soup causes it to melt and mix in well with soup thereby pepping up the flavour – what more can I say, taste it and you’ll believe me!

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes. Serves 4.

2 tsp oil
2 tbsp finely chopped onions
½ tsp finely chopped garlic
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp chopped carrots
3 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp chopped tomatoes
Salt to taste
2 tbsp cooked barley (jau)
3 tbsp cooked macaroni
¼ cup finely chopped spinach (palak)
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dry red chilli flakes (paprika)

For the garnish
1 tbsp grated mozarella cheese

1.Heat the oil in a deep non-stick pan, add the onions and garlic and sauté over a medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes, while stirring continuously.
2.Add the vegetable stock, carrots, tomato purée, tomatoes and salt, mix well and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
3.Add the barley and macaroni, mix well and simmer for another minute.
4.Remove from the flame, add the oregano and red chilli flakes and mix well.
Serve immediately garnished with cheese.

Handy tip: To cook barley and macaroni, boil a vesselful of water, add the barley and macaroni and boil for 10 to 15 minutes or till they are cooked. Refresh them using cold water, strain and use as required.


Sweet lime with spring vegetables makes a lovely vitamin C rich summer salad.

Preparation time: 20 minutes. Serves 4.

For the salad
1 cup macaroni, cooked
¼ cup capsicum, chopped
½ cup carrot, chopped and par-boiled
3 spring onions, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
¼ cup orange, segmented
¼ cup sweet lime, segmented

To be mixed into a mint dressing
¾ cup thick fresh curds(dahi)
3 tbsp finely chopped mint (phudina) leaves
¾ tsp mustard powder
¾ tsp powdered sugar
salt to taste

1.Mix all the ingredients for the salad and chill.
2.Serve chilled with the mint dressing


An interesting combination of textures which is dressed with vitamin A enriched flavourful muskmelon dressing.

Preparation time: 10 minutes. No cooking. Serves 4.

1½ cups iceberg lettuce, torn into pieces
½ cup bean sprouts
½ cup broccoli florets, blanched
2 celery stalks, chopped

For the dressing
1 cup ripe muskmelon (kharbooja), chopped
½ tsp roasted cumin seeds (jeera), crushed
3 tbsp chopped coriander
salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing
1.Blend the muskmelon to a smooth purée in a blender.
2.Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate till required.

How to proceed
1.Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a bowl and refrigerate.
2.Just before serving, add the dressing and toss well.
Serve immediately.

for more soup and salad recipes simply click on to
and ://

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Memorable Visit to Chennai

One of the best parts of being a known face, is the opportunity to travel to different destinations and meeting new people. Travelling provides you opportunity to learn about new cultures, places and people. In the process, you as an individual become enriched with experiences which subsequently leads to a change in the way you view the world and the people around you.

Recently, I was invited to Chennai by Ladies Circle to conduct a cookery workshop on 27th February.I was really excited to visit this beautiful city, which has unique culture and vibe. It was a fund-raising event for Vidya Sagar.

Vidya Sagar is a voluntary organization based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The organization works with children and young adults with cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism, learning disabilities and multiple disabilities: their families and the communities they live in.

The 24 year old organization focuses on the holistic development and education of children and adults with special needs, on demystification of disability, empowering persons with special needs and their families with knowledge and skills, while strongly advocating on issues of inclusion. The organization believes in the right to equality of opportunity, an inclusive society where differences are celebrated, that disability is a development and a human rights issue.

What sets as apart is our belief that all disabled persons (no matter how profound the disability) have a right to education and inclusion.

It is this vision and belief of this organisation that made me want to do my bit for the children of this organisation.

I was greeted by Rakesh and Manjari, two of the many children whose responsibility rests on the shoulders of Vidya Sagar.I was touched by the courage of these children to take up life's challenge with a smile on their face. The show started off with a small speech by Guneet, one of the leading organisers.

It was followed by a demonstration of few of my recipes. The interactive audience made the session truly enjoyable.The event was well-organised and well-attended by 300 women.

Following the demonstration, I along with Mrs. Usha Ramakrishnan, the Chairmerson of Vidya Sagar and Dr. Puna Shankar were asked to a small talk on our respective jobs.

My stay was well taken care by the hardworking members of Ladies Circle group. The members of the group ensured that my needs were well taken care of during the stay. This is one of the few visits that is very close to my heart. I was inspired to continue helping people who are less privileged than we are.

Here are the recipes that I demonstrated to the audience of Chennai...


Preparation Time: 10 mins. Cooking Time: 5 mins. Setting Time: 1 hour.
Serves 6.

For the biscuit base
1 cup digestive biscuits, crushed
1/3 cup butter, melted

For the filling
2 lts full fat milk
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp cheese spread
1½ cups chopped dark chocolate
½ cup fresh (100 grams) cream (rich cream)
6 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup fresh (200 grams) cream, whipped (rich cream)

For the biscuit base
1. Mix the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter and press the mixture into the base of a 175 mm. (7") loose-bottomed pie dish.
2. Chill until firm.

For the filling
1. Melt chocolate with cream on a double boiler. Keep aside
2. Boil the milk when milk starts boiling after 2 minutes add lemon juice. When it curdles, stir once and strain.
3. Immediately mix prepared cream cheese with milk and sugar and blend well in a mixer.
4. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture, cream and vanilla essence. Keep aside

How to proceed
Spread the filling over the set biscuit base and chill until firm.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes. Cooking Time: 15 minutes. Serves 8.
Baking Time: 20 minutes. Baking Temperature: 200°C (400°F).

4 medium potatoes
½ cup chopped onions
1 teaspoon finely chopped green chillies
2 cups boiled mixed vegetables (broccoli, corn, baby corn, etc.) cut into cubes
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup fresh cream (rich cream)
¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the tomato sauce
4 large tomatoes
1 bayleaf (tejpatta)
4 to 6 peppercorns
½ cup finely chopped onions
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil or oil
Salt to taste

Other ingredients
Oil for greasing

For the tomato sauce
1. Put the tomatoes in a vesselful of boiling water for 10 minutes.
2. Peel, cut into quarters and deseed the tomatoes.
3. Chop finely and keep the tomato pulp aside.
4. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the bayleaf and peppercorns and sauté for a few seconds.
5. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for a few minutes.
6. Add the tomato pulp and allow it to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce reduces a little.
7. Add the sugar and salt and simmer for some more Time.
8. Finally, add the oregano and mix well. Remove the bayleaf and peppercorns and discard. Keep aside.

How to proceed
1. Parboil the potatoes peel and allow them to cool.
2. Heat a small non-stick pan, add the butter and sauté the onions and green chillies.
3. Grease a 250 mm. diameter baking dish and spread the sautéed onions and green chillies at the base.
4. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and then grate the potatoes evenly over it.
5. Arrange a layer of vegetables over the potato layer and sprinkle salt, pepper and oregano over it.
6. Pour the tomato sauce over the vegetable layer and finally a layer of cream.
7. Top with cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes.
Serve hot.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes.
Cooking Time: 15 minutes.
Serves 4.

¾ cup moong dal with skin
2 to 3 chopped green chillies
2 tablespoons chopped fenugreek (methi) leaves
2 teaspoons gram flour (besan)
a pinch asafoetida
¼ teaspoon soda-bi-carb
2 pinches sugar (optional)
2 teaspoons oil
Salt to taste

Green chutney

1. Soak the moong dal in water for 3 to 4 hours. Then wash it very well.
2. Blend the soaked dal in a blender with the green chillies and a little water.
3. Add the fenugreek leaves, gram flour, asafoetida, soda bi-carb, sugar, oil and salt and mix well.
4. Pour a little batter at a time in a preheated waffle iron and bake until crisp. Repeat for the remaining batter.
5. Serves hot with green chutney.


Preparation Time: 15 minutes. Cooking Time: 15 Makes 4 tikkis.

1 tsp olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped onions
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp finely chopped green chillies
½ cup finely chopped broccoli
Salt to taste
¼ cup boiled and grated potatoes
2 tbsp grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs for coating
2 tsp olive oil for cooking

1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the onions, ginger-garlic paste and green chillies and sauté for 2 minutes while stirring continuously.
2. Add the broccoli and salt and sauté on a slow flame for another 5 to 7 minutes or till the broccoli is almost cooked.
3. Remove from the flame, add the potatoes and mix well. Keep aside to cool.
4. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and shape each portion into small rounds.
5. Press a little in the centre of each round to make a depression and put 1½ tsp of cheese and shape them into flat tikkis (approximately 1½” in diameter).
6. Roll them in the bread crumbs. Keep aside.
7. Heat a non-stick pan and cook each tikki using ½ tsp of oil till they turn golden brown on both the sides.
8. Cut each tikki into 2 pieces and serve hot.

Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 25 minutes. Serves 4.

½ cup orange segments
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp ghee
1½ tbsp quick cooked rolled oats
2 cups low fat milk (99.7% fat-free, readily available in the market)
4 sachets sugar substitute (1gm each)
1 tbsp low fat mava (khoya), recipe below
1 tbsp skim milk powder
¼ tsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp low fat milk (99.7% fat-free, readily available in the market)
2 tsp orange flavoured drink mix (preferably Tang)

For the garnish
1 tbsp orange segments

1. Heat a small non-stick pan, add the orange and sugar, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Remove from the flame and keep aside to cool. When cool, refrigerate to chill.
3. Heat the ghee in a non-stick pan, add the oats and sauté for few seconds.
4. Add the milk, sugar substitute and mava, mix well and simmer over a low flame for 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Add the milk powder and cornflour paste, mix well and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or till it thickens, while stirring continuously.
6. Remove from the flame and keep aside to cool. When cool, refrigerate to chill.
7. Add the orange drink mix and cooked orange segments to the chilled rabadi and mix well.
8. Serve immediately garnished with orange segments.

Low Fat Khoya (Mava)

Preparation Time: 5 minutes. Cooking Time: 15 minutes. Makes 1½ cup.

1 cup skim milk powder

1 Combine the milk powder with 6 tsp of water in a bowl and make a hard dough.
2 Wrap the dough in a thin cloth and place in a sieve
3 Place this sieve on a pan of boiling water and cover it with a lid. Let it steam for 10 minutes, then it take of the flame and keep aside.
4 Once the dough has cooled, remove the cloth and grate the dough to make the khoya.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Makar sankranti is also known as kite’s day. It is celebrated on 14th January every year. It is the day when according to the Hindu astronomy the sun enters the rashi (zodiac) of Makara (Capricorn). It is a holiday when every family can be meet outdoors 'cutting' each other's kites. This immensely popular kite flying festival is held in all the important cities of Gujarat. A plethora of designer kites are also put on display. People surrender themselves to the joy of kite flying.

The sky-since morning to evening-remains dotted with vivid splashes of colour The excitement does not end with nightfall, which is the time for illuminated box kites, often in a series strung on one line, to be launched into the sky. Called "tukkals", they add a touch of splendour to the dark sky.

The International Kite Festival is always held in Ahmedabad, to coincide with the festival of Makar Sankranti. It is a joyous day, with a bright sun, clear skies and breezes strong enough to lift innumerable kites aloft. It is in fact a celebration to mark the end of winter, when the heat of summer is still to come. Kites are flown all over Gujarat, and Ahmedabad and Baroda become cities of kite-flyers, when all other work is forgotten and cares are put aside for the morrow. Besides the primary kite flying, the participants and spectators at the festival can also enjoy the cuisine and the crafts of the state. To be in any one of these places during this festival is to feel the heart and pulse of Gujarat and its people.

People of all ages gather on terraces or rooftops and engage in kite flying. There is music in the air and traditional delicacies are especially prepared for this day.
One of the sidelights of the festival is the Patang Bazaar, which is open 24 hours a day in the heart of Ahmedabad during the Makar Sankranti week. A visit to this bazaar in the middle of the night proves beyond all doubt that the entire population of the city is obsessed with patangs and they crowd the streets and buy their stocks while haggling and enjoying through the night.

Special traditional food is eaten, usually in the open field or a park, or in the garden of one's home. For those who needed food for sustenance, delectable dishes such as surati jaman, oondhiyu, kathiawadi bhanu, til chikki, khichada and others, typical of Gujarat, is served. Even for the religious, it is a time to rejoice, for it marks the movement of the sun into the Northern Hemisphere. The gods who are believed to have slumbered for six long months are now awake and the portals of heaven are thrown open. Devotees throng the temples of the city and distribute alms freely.


A classic Gujarati recipe.

Cooking Time : 60 mins.
Preparation Time : 30 mins.
Serves 6.

1/2 kg. Surti papdi
1/2 kg. purple yam (kand)
1/2 kg. yam (kand)
250 grams small potatoes
250 grams sweet potatoes (shakkariya)
250 grams small brinjals
3 bananas
1 recipe methi muthias
1 tablespoon carom seeds (ajwain)
2 teaspoons green chilli-ginger paste
1/4 teaspoon soda-bi-carb

To be ground into a masala
1/2 fresh coconut, grated
3/4 cup chopped coriander
1/2 cup green garlic, chopped
4 teaspoons coriander-cumin seed powder (dhana-jeera)
1 tablespoon green chilli-ginger paste
2 teaspoons chilli powder
4 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste

For the tempering
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
6 tablespoons oil

1. String the Surti papdi, taking care not to separate the 2 sides.
2. Wash the papdi, put the carom seeds, soda bi-carb and salt and mix well.
3. Peel the purple yam, yam and sweet potatoes and cut into big pieces.
4. Peel the potatoes.
5. Make a criss-cross slit in the potatoes and brinjals taking care not to separate the segments. Keep aside.
6. Cut the bananas into big pieces and cut a vertical slit in the centre of each piece.
7. Fill half the masala mixture into the slits of the potatoes, brinjals and bananas. Keep the remaining half for later use.
8. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker and add asafoetida.
9. Add the Surati papdi, potatoes, yam, purple yam and brinjals and 1/2 cup of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
10. Allow the steam to escape and open the pressure cooker.
11. Transfer the cooked vegetables into a large pan and add the stuffed bananas, methi muthias and the remaining masala mixture.
12. Cook on a slow flame till the bananas are tender, stirring occasionaly.
13. Serve hot.

Oondhiya is traditionally served with puris and shrikhand.



A speciality from the village of Dakor in Gujarat.

Preparation Time: 30 min.
Cooking Time: 15 min.
Serves 4.

1 cup Bengal gram flour (besan)
½ cup semolina (rawa)
1 teaspoon green chilli-ginger paste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
½ teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (til)
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
A pinch soda-bi-carb
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon citric acid crystals (nimbu ke phool)
3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
Salt to taste

Other ingredients
Oil for deep frying

1. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and make a batter using 1/2 cup of water.
2. Allow the batter to stand for 15 to 20 minutes.\
3. Stir vigorously and deep fry small pakodas on gentle heat so that the insides cook as well.
4. Drain on absorbent paper and serve hot with sweet chutney.

If you do not have citric acid crystals at home, you can use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.



This is a typical Gujarati sweet and spicy khichda. You can use jaggery instead of sugar to get a darker colour. Spicy khichada, a variation of the original, can be made by omitting sugar and by adding very little jaggery.

1 kg soaked and coarsely pounded wheat (chadela ghau)
400 gm toovar (arhar) dal
50 gm split Bengal gram (chana dal)
750 gm sugar
50 gm broken cashew nuts
50 gm raisins
50 gm khus khus (poppy seeds)
250 gm grated ginger
100 gm dry grated coconut
50 gm sliced dried dates (kharek)
2 tsp green chilli- ginger paste
4 small sticks of cinnamon (dalchini)
4 cloves (laung)
¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
150 gms ghee

For the wheat (chadela ghau)
1. Soak the wheat overnight in water
2. Drain water and dry the wheat thoroughly by spreading evenly on a cloth placed in the sun.
3. Pound till the skin comes off. Store in a container and use as required.

For the khichda:
1. Cover the wheat overnight with wet cloth.
2. Add enough water to cover the wheat and keep aside for 3 hours
3. Cook in pressure cooker until soft and keep aside till the grains swell.
4. In another vessel, boil toovar dal, chana dal and kharek, do not over cook
5. Remove from flame, and mix with wheat and boil again.
6. Add turmeric, khus khus, cashews, raisins, grated ginger, dry grated coconut
7. Heat ghee, add cinnamon, cloves, fry for a while and add to the wheat mixture
Cook for a few minutes
Serve hot.



Another great version of til-gul – the perfect option for those who wish to avoid harder whole-til laddoos.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 10 minutes.
Makes 20 vadis

1 cup roasted groundnut powder
2 cups roasted til (sesame) powder
3 cups grated gur (jaggery)
¼ cup grated roasted dry coconut powder
1 tbsp ghee
½ tsp jaiphal-elaichi (nutmeg-cardamom) powder

1. Put the ghee into a heavy-bottomed pan.
2. Add the gur and stir continuously, till the gur melts, but take care not to let it caramelize.
3. Take it off the heat.
4. Add all the other ingredients and stir thoroughly.
5. Immediately transfer into lightly-greased thali or tray.
6. Make a grid of diamond-shaped cuts.
7. Separate into vadis on cooling.