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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Quick Thin n Crispy Mexican Pizza

MOM...what is for lunch..this is what hear every day when kids are home....and being a mom I feel bad that when they are away from home..they have to make their own lunch.. so I give in and make something for them...Although once in while I wish to hear...MOM we made lunch for you today..but I know it is only a wishful thinking..

However I do have to come up with something quick and easy to fix that can keep them going for few hours at least before I hear..MOM what's for dinner.
Here is an easy quick light lunch/snack that you can prepare in 10 min.


You will need following to make this delicious pizza: here is the recipe for one and you can make as many as you like.
1 Tortilla any kind wheat,white, tomato, spinach or whatever you have in your fridge
1/4 cup Cheddar cheese shredded
2 table spoon Ortega taco sauce: mild, medium or hot..whatever your taste bud desire or rather whatever you have in your fridge
1 Chopped green onion
1 Chopped Roma tomato or any kind would do
1 Chopped small yellow onion
1/4 tablespoon of chopped cilantro (optional)
3-4 slices of pickled Jalapeno


• Place the tortilla on a on griddle/skillet on med to low flame.
• Make the tortilla slightly brown on both sides by flipping it and putting some pressure on it, I use this special tool that I have, but you can use spatula for same results.
• Make one side more done than other.
• Now flip the tortilla with more done side facing up and turn the heat to low.
• Spread taco sauce on the tortilla.
• Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on it followed by all the chopped veggies.
• Cook for about 1 min on low till it becomes crispy but does not burn.
• Now transfer the pizza to a microwave safe dish and microwave it for 30-40 sec till all the cheese is melted.
• Leave the griddle on stove on low heat.
• Take it out of microwave and place it back on hot griddle fo 30-45 sec.
• Transfer it on serving plate and make slices with pizza cutter.
• Serve immediately.

It is the thinnest and most delicious pizza with all the scrumptious topping.
You can add or delete any toppings to your own taste and can substitute cheddar cheese with shredded Mozzarella or pepper jack cheese. You will not go wrong with this quick recipe.

Enjoy :)

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Mango Mousse


• 1 cup of heavy whipping cream

• 16-20 oz of Mango pulp from can of Mango pulp (I like Ratna, Alfonso mango pulp available at local Indian grocers if comes in 30 oz can, you can use any brand, but I like this one) or you can use 6 fresh mangoes to make pulp, will have to add some sugar (about 1/2 cup) to this if using fresh mangoes)

• ½ cup lime juice or lemon juice (I prefer fresh lime juice)

• 2 small packets of unflavored gelatin from Knorr box of gelatin

• 4 eggs

• One cup milk

• ½ cup hot water

• 1/2 cup sugar (can use 3/4 cup if mango pulp is not too sweet)

• Pinch of salt


• Soak the gelatin in hot water keep it aside.

• Separate egg yolk and whites.

• Beat egg white and keep it aside.

• Mix lime juice and mango pulp.

• Whisk the whipping cream until thick.

• Fold in mango pulp and lime juice mix.

• Heat egg yolk + sugar + milk in container kept in big container full of water with constant stirring for about 25 min till it become thick.

• Add gelatin to this and mix it well and let it cool.

• Once cool add this to mango pulp, whipping cream mix and add pinch of salt.
• Add egg whites (beaten) and mix well.

• Mix well until everything is well incorporated.

• Pour into a big size serving bowl or dish, or into individual dishes, and chill in the fridge for 4-6 hours, or until set.

• Decorate with the chopped pistachios or sliced mango, kiwi slices or strawberries slices for color.

• Serve chilled.

For variation and to make exotic Saffron Mango Mousse you may dissolve few desired amount of strands of saffron in 1 table spoon of milk (crushing it well) and pour the extract in to mango pulp and mix well.

Hint: if using fresh mangoes, make sure they are of smooth texture and NOT fibrous.

You may substitute whipping cream with 8 ounces of cool whip or any whipped cream, if don't have heavy whipping cream.

Recipe modified by Surekha from a recipe given to her by her good friend Bhadra K.

Photographs by Surekha.


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Roasted Corn Salsa


4 cups roasted corn kernels, just shave off the kernels after you roast the 6 corn on the cob grill or open flame. (if you don't want to make roasted corn salsa, you can make it with regular corn by using 2 15 oz can of corn kernel or 4 cups of frozen corn thawed)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh jalapeno peppers or to taste

1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper

¼ cup sliced green onion

1 small chopped Spanish red onion

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon of paprika

1 teaspoon cumin powder (I prefer roasted cumin seeds powder for more flavor)

3-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice or to taste

2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt or to taste


Mix all ingredients.

Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled. Store tightly covered in refrigerator up to 2-3 weeks.

Recipe by Surekha

photograph by following sources:
by oomni

by jacqueline sweetbeetandgreenbean

by sizeofguam

by Ed Yourdon
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eggless Turtle Brownies

These brownies are eggless, very delicious, but just a word of caution, these are very, very rich.


• 1 box German chocolate cake mix

• 2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided

• one 6-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips

• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

• 1 bag caramels (10 oz)

• 3/4 cup melted butter


• Combine dry cake mix with 1/3 cup evaporated milk, melted butter.

• Press half of mixture into greased 9x13-inch pan.

• Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

• Melt caramel squares and melt remaining 1/3 evaporated milk over low heat.

• Sprinkle chocolate chips over partially-baked brownie base. (You don't have to let this partially baked brownie base cool before adding chocolate chips.)

• Sprinkle walnuts on top.

• Pour caramel mixture over top.

• Pat reserved cake mixture into flat pieces with your hands.

• Lay them randomly on top of caramel.

• Bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes.

• Let cool, cut and enjoy!

Photograph by seelensturm
Recipe source:
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dal Makhni

Dal makhani is a treasured staple food, originally from Punjab in North India. This dish is a type of daal (boiled lentils or other dried legume/pulse) eaten in India (in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and the Bhojpuri area of Bihar) and Pakistan. As well as with roti or rice, it is also commonly eaten with either naan or chapatis.

Dal Makhani is one of Punjabi cuisine's most characteristic signature dishes, and is high in protein--an important attribute in primarily vegetarian cultures. Traditionally this dal is cooked on low flame, for hours, on charcoal, which gives it a rich creamy texture.

When cooked at home today, more moderate amounts of cream or butter are often used. When prepared in restaurants in India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom or United States, it is cooked slowly on low heat and usually has a large amount of cream and/or butter added.

To make it last min you may want to use the pressure cooker, if you plan it ahead of time you can used slow cooker to cook this.


1 cup black urad sabut (black lentils)
½ cup of round masoor sabut (lentils 50g rajma (red kidney beans)
¼ cup of kidney beans (I used one can of Kidney beans)
¼ cup of Channa dal (Bengal gram dal)
¼ cup of Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves available at local Indian grocers)
2” piece of ginger (divide it in half)
6 cloves of garlic (divide them in half)
2 green chilies or 1 Jalapeno pepper
2 small onions finely chopped in food processor along with above green chilies/jalapeno pepper
Salt to taste
½ stick of butter or ghee of equivalent amount, you can use oil if preferred
2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
2” cinnamon stick
2 pods of dry red chili
¼ teaspoon of asafetida
1 cup of tomato puree
1 table spoon of cumin powder
1 table spoon of coriander powder
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of paprika powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
¼ cup of ketchup
1 teaspoon of garam masala or all spice
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and ½ stick of butter for finish
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves


• Wash all the lentils (urad, masoor, rajma and channa dal) in water 3 -4 x changing water every time.

• Soak them in water for 4-6 hours or overnight.

• Boil all of the lentils with salt, the half of ginger and garlic, and kasoori methi, in pressure cooker. (I usually add one teaspoon of baking soda if did not have time to soak the lentils I also add 2 tea bags for nice brown color.

• If you don’t have pressure cooker, you can cook them on stove and simmer until tender and well cooked.

• Drain off excess water and mash the lentils lightly with the back of a ladle.

• Heat the butter or ghee in a heavy pan until hot.

• Add the cumin seeds when they crackle, add bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and red chili pods.

• Stir in asafetida; add garlic and ginger paste, sauté until light brown.

• Add onions and green chili paste and sauté until light brown.

• Add tomato puree and stir and cook for 2 min.

• Add all the powdered spices except garam masala and cook for 1-2 min.

• Add cooked dal, mixing well, add ketchup and mix well.

• Bring the dal to the boil again, add butter and cream.

• Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes with occasional stirring to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of pan.

• Add the garam masala, taste and adjust salt and seasonings.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

This recipe yields about 8 serving.

Description of Dal Makni source:

Photographs and recipe by Surekha.
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Monday, October 25, 2010


Diwali is around the corner, so I decided to post this recipe. The one thing I miss about India is ..... Diwali.... the festival of lights… just like Christmas here, there is a feel of joy, happiness, customs, ceremonies, traditions, fun, shopping and festivities with lot of cheer in the atmosphere.

Diwali (based on lunar calendar) falls around the beautiful season of autumn when in India everyone is getting relief from the scorching heat of summer. Various flavors of good food and good spirit in in the air….everything and everyone feels so festive and joyful that it is contagious. This year it falls on Nov 5th.

The name Diwali is itself a contraction of the word Deepavali (Sanskrit: दीपावली Dīpāvali), which translates into row of lamps (in Sanskrit). Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (diyas) (or Deep in Sanskrit: दीप) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. Indian business communities begin the financial year on the first day of Diwali, hoping for prosperity the following year. If you like to read more about Diwali and its religious signficance, please refer to the source of the description at end of this recipe.

These sweet dumplings are made of wheat flour and stuffed with dry fruits, nuts and dry coconut delicacies. Generally, they are most popularly consumed around the time of Diwali in Western and Southern India. They are a very popular delicacy among Maharastrians and South Indians.

The presentation of a Gujhia or Ghugra is very much like that of a samosa, however the it has a very distinct shape. The gujhia is filled with a mixture of grated and roasted dry fruits, Khoya (the solid mass remaining after milk has been heated for a very long time and when all the water has evaporated from it, similar to milk powder), coconuts and to add a grainy texture, a little cream of wheat.

In Uttar Pradesh, Gujia are usually made on the occasion of Holi, the Hindu festival of colors. Here they dip the ghujia in sugar syrup, but I prefer the following recipe which is passed on to me by my mother in law.

Gujia is also popular as "Karanji" (Marathi) in Maharashtra or "Karachika" (Tamil), "Kajjikayi" (Kannada, Telugu) South India respectively.

The traditional recipe calls for deep frying these ghugra's in ghee (clarified butter). But you can bake them for a healthier version.

This recipe will make about 40-50 pieces.

Ingredients for the stuffing

• One 15-16 oz container of Traditional Ricotta cheese
• 1 stick of butter
• 1 cup of Almonds
• 1 cup of pistachios
• 1 cup of cashews
• ½ cup of figs chopped to fine pieces
• ½ cup of golden raisins
• ½ cup of dry coconut powder (optional)
• 1-2 teaspoons of freshly powdered cardamom
• 4 tables spoon of cream of wheat
• ½ lb of powdered sugar

Ingredients for crust

• 6 cups of AP flour
• 3/4 cup Crisco
• 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
• Little more than 3/4 cup of warm water
• Crisco or Ghee for frying

If you prefer to bake them instead then preheat the oven at 350 F.


For Dough:

Combine the flour, Crisco and salt, in a large bowl. Mix all of these ingredients well with your hands till everything is incorporated well. Add warm water little at time to this mixture and make the dough with your hands and kneading it into a firm manageable ball of dough.

Cover it with damp cloth and keep the dough aside.

For Filling:
• Grind all the nuts in a food processor to powder form.
• Roast the cream of wheat on medium low heat with constant stirring for about 5 min until light brown min in a nonstick pan, set aside to cool.
• Heat one stick of butter in a large pan, add Ricotta cheese and cook it on medium to low heat with constant stirring until most of the water from cheese is evaporated. Remove it from heat, let it cool.
• Add the nut mixture, sugar, cream of wheat, figs and raisin.
• Mix well until all the ingredients are incorporated well.
To make the Gujia/Googhra pastry:
• Divide the stuffing mixture into 40-50 equal portions.
• Divide the dough into 40-50 equal balls. Roll these balls on floured surface to small 3-4 inch circle.
• Place a teaspoon full of stuffing mixture on one half of circle.
• Gently fold the circle into a semi circle, forming a half moon shape. Seal the edges by pressing the filling in between and twisting the edges it as the picture shows.
• You can deep fry them in Crisco or Ghee until golden brown or if you like to bake them then place them on a baking sheet in preheated oven (350 F).
• Bake for 25-30 min until golden brown. May have to turn them in between to make sure both sides are evenly baked.
• Fried or baked, let them cool in open air and then store them in airtight container when completely cool.

Tips: if you want to keep the pastry for longer than a week, you may want to omit the ricotta cheese and add more nuts to the recipe. Milk based pastry may not stay good for more than a week. You can make there ahead of time and put them in the freezer.
You can always make variations in the filling ingredients based on your taste, likes and dislikes, as I feet the best recipe for good cooking is to have no recipe at all.

Enjoy and Happy Diwali and Happy New and Prosperous New Year.. to all...According to Hindu calendar it will be 2067 !!

Recipe source: My dearest mother in law Mrs. Hemlata.

Image and description of Gujia Source:
Description of Diwali source:
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Greek /Mediterranean Kataifi Bird Nests

I love this pastry, it is Mediterranean pastry made with a special form of shredded dough which is also called kataifi. Most forms of kataifi are sweets, typically with nuts and honey which make them flavorful, crunchy, and very sweet.

You can find them at Greek or Middle Eastern stores or restaurants.  You can make them in to small cylinder like 3" rolls, or squares, I made them like small nest roll filled with nuts and I also tried out the squares which came out pretty good too and somewhat are easier to make than the bird nest.

Pictures that you see here are of double recipe, I doubled all the ingredients.


• 1 pound of kataifi dough, defrosted per package instructions

• 1/2 pound of butter, melted

For the filling:

• 1 cup unsalted pistachios coarsely chopped

• 1 cup of walnuts, coarsely chopped

• 1 cup of almonds, coarsely ground

• 1 cup of unsalted cashews, coarsely chopped

• ¼ cup of fine granulated sugar

• ¼ cup of brown sugar

• ½ cup of orange marmalade

• ¼ cup of Honey

• 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

• ½ teaspoon of ground cloves

• 1 teaspoon of cardamom seeds ground

• 1 tablespoon of brandy or red wine

• Some extra pistachios for garnish

For the syrup:

• 3 cups of sugar

• 2 1/2 cups of water

• 5 table spoon of lemon juice

• 2 table spoon of thin strip of orange peels

• 8 whole cloves

• 4 sticks of 2” cinnamon

• 1/2 cup of thin honey

• 10 drops of Rose essence (optional)



* In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the filling and blend well with a wooden spoon.


* Heat the water in a saucepan over low heat.

* Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.

* Add the lemon juice, orange peels, and cloves, cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil.

* Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

* Stir in the honey.

* Remove from the heat, strain, and set aside to cool.

* Once it is cool add drops of rose essence. Keep it aside.

How to Prepare the pastry with Kataifi dough:

* This dough comes commercially packaged in a long strip, about 3 inches wide in 16 oz box, I double the recipe and made the Kataifi out of 2 pounds of dough. It looks like fine white hair strands twisted in figure eight manner.

* To prepare it for this recipe, undo the figure eight twist and lay the long strip out on a parchment paper and have the melted butter with pastry brush, a wet cloth and the baking sheet next to it.

* Divide it into 18-24 pieces, gently spreading the strands out a bit if they clump together.

* Based of how long of the roll you want, divide the dough in that size strips.

* I chose to make very small rolls, like a bird nest shape.

* Brush butter on strip while working with the dough.

* Each piece will be used to create an individual kataïfi roll.

* Keep unused dough covered a damp towel on top of that to keep it from drying out.

* Brush a strip with melted butter.

* Place a tablespoon of the filling at one end of the strip and roll up into a
cylinder, or small roll like I did, tucking in any stray pieces of dough.

* Take care to roll the pastry tightly so that the filling is securely enclosed.

* Place the rolls seam side down in a lightly buttered baking dish, close together but not squashed, and brush well with remaining butter.

Believe me when you first open the box, you will say, how the heck I am going to work with this…. It does get easier. make sure you are not going to do anything else, because once you start this process you have to finish.

One box makes about 18-25 pieces of pastry depending on the size of rolls you make.

Since I doubled the recipe, I made the pastries in shape of small rolls until the baking sheet was full.

For the remainder of the dough and nuts I just took a 8x8 pan, greased it with butter and divided the remaining dough in to half and on the bottom of the pan spread this half and then I put all the nut mix on it and pressed it followed by the remainder of the dough and pressed the dough evenly. Brushed it with butter.

However, I did bake the sheet or rolls and one with 8x8 pan separately.

Also if you don't want to fuss with individual roll you can make few big rolls with nut filling inside, bake them then pour the syrup and cut them in to slices when they are soaked with syrup and cold.

Baking the pastry:

* Preheat oven to 350F.

* Bake the rolls for 60 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy looking. (The 8x 8 pan took only 35 min to bake)

* Remove from oven, pour cool syrup over the hot pastry and cover with a clean towel.

* Let it cool about 3-4 hours as it absorbs the syrup.

* Roast the pistachio nut of a frying pan, crush them and sprinkle them on the pasty rolls for garnish.

Recipe modified by Surekha from a recipe at

Photographs by Surekha.
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