Saturday 29 May 2010

Lamb Filled Börek

The members of Walima Cooking Club are celebrating Turkish Cuisine this month. This months challenge was to make home made yufka /Phyllo pastry and stuff it with anything of our choice. And we were also given the option of using store bought yufka/ phyllo sheets. And me being very lazy and busy this whole month, didn't have the courage and time to make the phyllo sheets at home :-( Its lot of effort you know.... So, I bought the phyllo from the store and used minced lamb to stuff and make börek. But for those who are not lazy like me, here is the link to step by step guide of making phyllo at home from Nihal's Crossroads. And let me tell ya.. that I promise to try making this Yufka at home someday :-)

And now as usual we will learn more about Turkish cuisine before we move on to the recipe:
Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Caucasian and Balkan cuisines. Turkish cuisine has in turn influenced those and other neighboring cuisines, including that of Western Europe. The Ottomans fused various culinary traditions of their realm with influences from Middle Eastern cuisines, along with traditional Turkic elements from Central Asia (such as yogurt), creating a vast array of specialties- many with strong regional associations.
Taken as a whole, Turkish cuisine is not homogeneous. Aside from common Turkish specialties that can be found throughout the country, there are also many region-specific specialties. The Black Sea region's cuisine (northern Turkey) is based on corn and anchovies. The southeast—Urfa, Gaziantep and Adana—is famous for its kebabs, mazes and dough-based desserts such as baklava, kadayıf and künefe. Especially in the western parts of Turkey, where olive trees are grown abundantly, olive oil is the major type of oil used for cooking. The cuisines of the Aegean, Marmara and Mediterranean regions display basic characteristics of Mediterranean cuisine as they are rich in vegetables, herbs, and fish. Central Anatolia is famous for its pasta specialties, such as keşkek (kashkak), mantı (especially from Kayseri) and gözleme.
A specialty's name sometimes includes that of a city or region, either in or outside of Turkey, and may refer to the specific technique or ingredients used in that area. For example, the difference between Urfa kebab and Adana kebab is the use of garlic instead of onion and the larger amount of hot pepper that kebab contains.

Börek is a family of baked or fried filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough known as yufka (or phyllo). It can be filled with cheese, often feta, minced meat or vegetables.A börek may be prepared in a large pan and cut into portions after baking, or as individual pastries. The top of the börek is often sprinkled with sesame seeds.Börek is very popular in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire including The Northern Slavic cuisines, historically living in close contact with the Turkic peoples of Asia and Europe, also feature derivatives of the börek.



4 phyllo pastry sheets/ yufka,
500 grams(1/2 kg) minced lamb meat,
2 tbsp of cooking oil,
1 Onion-finely chopped,
1 cup chopped tomatoes,
2 tbsp of chopped flat leaf Parsley,
1/2 tsp red chilli powder,
1/2 tsp crushed peppercorns,
1/4 cup melted butter/ oil and
salt to taste.

Method:Heat the 2 tbsp of oil in a utensil, add the chopped onions and saute until translucent. Add the meat and and cook on high heat until it turns brown all over. Stir in chopped tomatoes, parley , chilli powder, crushed peppercorns and salt to taste. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20-30 minutes or till all the liquid dries up. Increase the heat to high, to reduce liquid to a thick sauce if necessary. remove from heat and keep aside.
Pre heat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Spread 1 pastry sheet on a working surface, brush it with butter and fold it into half. Place 2-3 tbsp of the lamb mixture towards one end , leaving the sides clear. Fold the end of the pastry over the filling(roll once) and then fold sides in, then roll up. Place seam side down on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients and bake until light golden in colour , about 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.

The other way of making this Borek is by rolling the Phyllo pastry thinly and then, cutting the pastry sheet into 4 rectangles . Moisten the sides and press to seal instead of folding sides over the filling.

Monday 24 May 2010

Bread Chaat

Today's post is an easy breezy chaat. Who doesn't love chaats.....I am sure everyone have many fond memories of eating roadside chaats with friends and family. Be it the yummy and tangy Pani poori/ gol guppa or crunchy and crispy bhel poori or spicy and delicious masala poori. I am a big fan of all these chaats and even now, just writing these names makes me drool :D And one more chaat which I always make at home is this easy bread chaat. I was first introduced to this chaat by my mom-in law, when she had made this chaat for a party, where I had invited 25-30 people. And this chaat pleased all the guests present in that party. Even now, when I make this eye catching chaat for my parties, the guests get so impressed and pleased.
And also this chat is a easy and healthy alternative for dahi vada. Because there is no deep fried vadas is this chaat.....The star ingredient in this chaat is Tamarind chutney. If you make the chutney earlier or a day before and keep it handy, it will hardly take 15 minutes to assemble this chaat. So, this bread chaat can be served an easy appetizer for parties or potlucks or any other special occasions and believe me your guest will go gaga over it :-)



10 bread slices,
1/2 cup milk,
500 grams yogurt,
1 tsp chaat masala,
1/2 tsp red chilli powder,1 carrot-grated,
a pinch of salt and
Tamarind chutney.

With a sharp knife cut the crust(sides) of the bread slices and fold them into triangle or cut them into triangles. Arrange them in a tray or a deep bowl(see the pic). Pour the milk in a bowl.Now take each triangle of the bread and dip it in the milk(just to moisten it a bit) and keep it back in the tray.
In another bowl, beat the yogurt, 1/2 tsp of chaat masala and a pinch of salt to a smooth paste using a spoon or fork. And pour this yogurt mixture over the bread slices evenly. decorate with grated carrot, remaining chaat masala, red chilli powder and tamarind chutney. Voila !! A delicious and mouthwatering chaat is ready.

Instead of dipping the bread in the milk to moisten them, you can sprinkle some milk directly on the bread slices arranged in the tray.
Sprinkling some khara sev or spicy boondi on this chaat will make it more appealing and will add a little crunchiness to this bread chaat.If using either of these, sprinkle it on the chaat, just before serving.

100 grams dry tamarind,
200 grams of Jaggery or brown sugar,
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds,
1/2 tsp of cumin powder,
1 tsp of red chilli powder,
a pinch of salt and
1/4 tsp of chaat masala or black salt.

Soak the tamarind in a bowl with a glass of hot water. Cover the bowl and keep aside for 30 -45 minutes. Make a thick extract of the pulp. Bring the tamarind pulp to a boil in a saucepan with the jaggery. Cook on slow flame till it thickens. Add the remaining ingredients- cumin seeds, cumin powder, chaat masala ,chilli powder and a pinch of salt and cook for further 5 minute.Switch off the flame and keep aside to cool completely.

Note :
2-4 dates can also be added while cooking this chutney, to make it more thicker.
Jaggery can be substituted with brown sugar.

I am sending this mouthwatering chaat to Niloufer's Twenty-20 Cooking Event . And As I have used cumin seeds in the Tamarind chutney I am sending this to Cooking with Seeds -Cumin Seeds hosted this month at SARA'S CORNER, event by Priya of Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes. And finally to Think Spice- Think Tamarind hosted this month by PJ of Seduce your Tastebuds, event by Sunitha of Sunitha's World.

Thursday 20 May 2010

'Box of Chocolate' Cake - My 100th Post

Finally !! Finally I have reached my 100th post :D I took soo long to reach this milestone. But I am so happy that I am writing my 100th post because I never knew I would come this far. A blog, which I started just to store the recipes that I learned from family and friends, to show my mom that her daughter is learning to cook and to show her the pics of the food I am cooking, now has become my passion. Yes !! Blogging has become my passion and I am addicted to this world of blogging. Blogging has helped me to make new friends, to learn new cuisines and to love cooking.
And for coming this far, all the credit goes to my husband first, for introducing me to this wonderful world of blogging and for patiently waiting for the food( like any other food blogger's husband) till I click and click all the photos :-). And for appreciating and encouraging me to learn new recipe.And to my parents for encouraging me through my learning process. (YES, My husband is lucky, because I had already gone through the experimenting and learning process before getting married) It was my parents, who went through it and encouraged me. I still remember how, I used to make different maps of the world with the chapathi/roti dough and my father used to eat the roti very happily. And when I was making raita for the first time, I had added lots of water with the yogurt and instead of raita for biryani, I had turned it into spicy lassi :-) but still... my family supported me and encouraged me to cook. And also my mother-in law, who introduced me to so many new recipes and for teaching me to cook with confidence.
And the most important people to make this blog successful are my blog friends and readers. I wouldn't have come this far without the encouraging comments they leave on my blog. And those appreciating and encouraging words from my blog friends urges me to do better and better every time. Thank you soooo sooo much for the lovely comments you all write on my blog.
Now, coming to today's recipe, I wanted to celebrate this milestone with something sweet. So, here is the recipe for 'Box of Chocolate Cake'. Though I didn't bake this cake exclusively for my 100th post, I had decided to post this recipe as my 100th post. I baked this cake for our 5th wedding anniversary few weeks back :-)Now coming to this cake...this is a perfect cake for wedding anniversaries, for Mother's Day and for those celebrating Valentine's day. This cake is covered with sugar paste icing. One can make the sugar paste icing on their own or the store bought ready rolled icing can be used. I first tried making the icing at home, but went wrong somewhere and I also didn't like the raw smell of the eggs in it. So, I have used the store bought Icing here, known as ready rolled icing. This cake is adapted from the book 'Cakes and cake decorating step by step' by Sarah Maxwell, Janice Murfitt and Angela Nilsen .
For the chocolate cake:
175g /6oz butter, at room temperature,
175g /6oz self-raising flour,
50g /2oz unsweetened cocoa powder,
3 eggs, at room temperature,200 /6oz caster sugar,
1 tsp baking powder,1/8 tsp of salt and
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Other ingredients:
6 tbsp of apricot jam-warmed and sieved,
275 grams/ 10 oz of yellow marzipan,
900 grams/ 2 lb of sugarpaste icing,
red food colouring,
store bought hand made chocolates.

Materials and equipments:Heart shaped cake tin,
9 inch square piece of stiff card,
9 inch square / round cake board,
small heart shaped cutter.
For the cake:
Pre-heat the oven to 180 C or 350 F. Grease the tin and line the base with greaseproof paper and grease the paper. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together three times and set aside.
Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat until light pale. Add he eggs and beat with an electric beater , until the mixture doubles in volume and is thick enough to leave a ribbon trial when the beater is lifted, about 10 minutes.Add the vanilla.Sift over the dry ingredients in 3 batches, folding in carefully after each addition.Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
leave the cake in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire wrack, peel off the lining paper and leave to cool completely.

Place the cake on the square piece of card and draw around it with a sharp pencil. Cut the heart shape out of the card and set aside This is for using as a support for the lid.
Using a sharp knife. cut the cake horizontally just below where the cake starts to dome. carefully lift the top section and place it on the heart shaped card and place the bottom section on the cake board.On a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, roll out the yellow marzipan into a long sausage shape to place it on the bottom section of the the marzipan sausage on the cake around the outside edge . Brush both sections of the cake evenly with apricot jam.

Colour the sugarpaste icing with red food colour and divide it into 3 portions - 1 for the bottom, 1 for the lid and a small portion to cut hearts for the lid. Now on a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, roll the icing to a 14 inch square ans use it to cover the bottom section of the cake.
Stand the lid on a raised surface like a bowl or a glass. roll out the reserves 1/3rd sugarpaste and cover the lid section of the cake. With the remaining portion of the sugarpaste, cut small heart shapes with the cookie cutter and stick them around the cake lid. carefully lift the top section on the the heart shaped card and place the bottom section on the cake board.Arrange the chocolates in the bottom section of the cake and position the lid, placing it slightly off centre, to reveal the chocolates inside. And serve with lots of love :-)

This is off to Meeta's Monthly Mingle and the theme for this month is Special Sweet Treats hosted this month by Erin of The Apartment Kitchen .

Saturday 15 May 2010

Cauliflower and Carrot Pickle

Hurray !! This is the first pickle, which I made on my own. All these years, I had just been watching my mother and mother-in-law making yummy and mouthwatering pickles with different ingredients. And after much hesitation,I finally decided to to try some easy pickle at home.So, I started with this easy, crunchy and mouthwatering pickle with some easily available vegetables- carrot and cauliflower. And I loved the crunchiness of the veggies in this pickle. And, it was really yummy, though it was on a very spicy side :) So, without much ado, lets see the ingredients we need for this pickle.

(adapted from

1 cup florets- cut into bite size pieces,
1 cup carrots- cut into small cubes,
1/2 cup of red chilli powder,
1/4 cup mustard seed powder,
1/4 tsp fenugreek/ methi powder,
1/4 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tbsp of crushed garlic,
Juice of 1 lime and1 tbsp of salt.

For tempering:
1/2 tsp mustard seeds.
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
a pinch of asafoetida/ hing,
2-3 whole red chillies,
6-7 pieces of garlic cloves- chopped,
few curry leaves and1/2 cup of oil.

In a dry bowl, mix all the dry spices- chilli powder, mustard powder, methi powder, turmeric powder and salt. Add the garlic paste and lime juice and mix well again. to this add the Cauliflower and carrot and mix well, keep aside.
heat the oil in a pan and add cumin and mustard seeds, add the whole red chillies- cut into small pieces, asafoetida and the chopped garlic to the oil. saute for 1-2 minutes and switch off the flame. Now add the curry leaves to the oil. Let this tempering cool completely before adding it to the vegetables. When, the tempering cools down to room temperature, add this to the vegetables and mix well . Store in sterilized glass bottle and consume within 1-2 weeks.

cool the tempering completely before adding to the vegetables, because adding it to the vegetables, while the oil is still will make the veggies saft and they will loose their crunchy texture.
The quantity of the oil can be reduced, bit it will reduce the shelf life of the pickle.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Chilli Potatoes

This a very easy and quick recipe and taste delicious. A must try for potato lovers like me. Potato has been my favourite vegetable since childhood. I still remember how I used to ask my mom to add potatoes in each and every curry, she used to cook :)
And that love for potatoes can still be seen. Even now,I never fail to try any potato recipe, that I come across in any recipe book. And trust me this recipe was finger lickin good(scroll down to see the verdict) : D This can be served as a side dish with fried rice or can be eaten on it own. And I am definitely going to make this again and again.

(adapted from

Ingredients :
4 Potatoes,
1 onion- sliced,
1/2 cup of chopped spring onions,
4 whole red chillies,
6 cloves of garlic-chopped,
3 tbsp of cornstarch,
1 tsp of red chilli paste,
1 tsp of soya sauce,
1/4 tsp of sugar,
1 tbsp of vinegar,
2 tbsp of vegetable oil +
Oil for deep frying and
salt to taste.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into thick wedges. Soak these wedges in cold water for half an hour. Par- boil the potato wedges in a saucepan , drain and cool them.
Heat oil in a kadai/ wok , dust the wedges with 2 tbsp of corn starch and deep fry until crisp and golden brown. Remove and drain excess oil on a kitchen towel.
Heat the 2 tbsp of oil in a pan, break the whole red chillies into two and add them to the pan. Stir fry briefly and add the chopped garlic , sliced onion and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. now add the red chilli (blended in a quarter cup of water), soya sauce, sugar and salt to taste. Add the fried potatoes and toss them in the pan . Now add the remaining 1 tbsp of cornstarch and mix well again, add the vinegar and stir fry briefly. Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve hot.

This dish can be made even with leftover french fries.
And instead of of deep frying the wedges, they can also be baked until they turn light brown and crispy.

Sunday 9 May 2010

Tri-colour Pulao

I have seen this pulao at many restaurants and many recipe books. Some call it Tri-colour pulao and some name it panchranga pulao, though the vegetables and ingredients used are the same. So, I was wondering what to name this pulao...If it is Panchranga Pulao which means 5 coloured rice..I couldn't count five colours. Like if you notice, there is orange carrot, yellow corn, green coloured beans, bell pepper and peas. So, where are the other 2 colours? Is it white colour of the rice and cauliflower and black colour of the spices? so, I decided that tri-colour was a better name :D ....But, do let me know, if anyone out there knows why is this Pulao called Panchranga Pulao.

Anyways ....the name doesn't matter as much as the taste does, right? So, this was very aromatic and flavourful, which we all loved. Yes...yes..even my husband and son who are not big fans of veggies loved this rice. So, here goes the recipes to this aromatic and colourful rice.

Recipe source:
Sanjeev kapoor's book ''Recipes for Indian kitchen''

3 cups of basmati rice,
1 carrot-chopped,1 green bell pepper,
1/2 medium cauliflower,
6-8 french beans- chopped,
2 chopped onions,1/2 cup of green peas,
1/2 cup of corn kernels,
2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil,1 stick of cinnamon,
3-4 cardamoms,
3-4 cloves,
1 bay leaf,1 tsp peppercorns,
1 tsp cumin seed and
salt to taste.
Wash and soak the rice for half and hour. Finely chop the vegetables into small bite size pieces as shown in the pic above and keep aside.
heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the whole spices- cardamom, cinnamon, cloves , bay leaf, cumin seeds and peppercorns and saute briefly. Now add the onions and saute until translucent. Add carrots, cauliflower, beans, peas and corn and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Drain the water from the soaked rice and add to the vegetables and stir-fry fot 2-3 minutes.add 5-6 cups of water to the rice and add salt to taste. Bring to a boil and cook till all the water is absorbed. At this point add the green bell pepper and stir the rice. reduce the heat and cook covered for 8-10 minutes or until the rice and vegetables are cooked. Serve hot and enjoy :)

The capsicum/ green bell pepper is added in the end to maintain its crunchiness.
Turmeric powder can also be added to this pulao, to make it colourful.

I am sending this colourful pulao to Cooking with Seeds- Cumin seeds event by Priya of Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes hosted this month by Sara of Sara's Corner.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Kiwi smoothie

Last week I had bought lots of kiwis from the grocery store. And they had become ripe and I wanted to use them before they went bad. So, made this smoothie coz smoothies are simple and easy to make and the best way of tempting kids to consume fruits.KIWI SMOOTHIE

2 ripe bananas,
2 kiwi,2 cups of cold milk and
2 tbsp of honey.
Method:Place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth and creamy.Serve chilled .

Sugar can also be used instead of honey.Tastes best when served chilled.Its award time again...I am very delighted to receive these bunch of award from my blogger friend Suhaina who blogs at My Singapore Kitchen... Thanks a ton Suhaina for these awards.

There is rule for these awards that we have to indicate 5 recipes which we like the most from our blogs. So, here it goes , my favourite 5.

First on my list comes Black Forest cake
Strawberry Cheesecake


Sesame Naans

Achari gosht

Monday 3 May 2010

Peppery Corn Salad

When I visited India in march, I brought some cookbooks with me to UK. No...No..I didn't buy any. My mom-in-law gave me many recipe books she had for some years now, which no one was using much at home. And as you all know..being a food blogger, we love to collect recipe books, lots and lottttts of 'em :D the one book which I loved the most is a book which has traditional Kashmiri Wazwan cuisine. My father-in-law had got this book from Kashmir many years ago. It has all the authentic and traditional Kashmiri recipes. And the other book is Sanjeev Kapoor's- ' Recipes for Indian Kitchen' which is a set of 8 books. And I must say, I am loving these recipes and these books and thats what do in my spare time- go through each and every page of these books :) All thanks to my mom-in-law for these books...I have bumped into so many yummy and delicious recipes. So, watch out for more recipes from these books.

And thus, when I was going through Sanjeev kapoor's book 'Recipes for Indian Kitchen'-Soups and Salads , this colourful salad caught my attention first..I really wanted to give it a try and I am glad I did. This salad was just delectable. I loved the crunchiness of the peppers, the sweetness of the corn and pineapple, the soft and juicy tomatoes and a lil tartness from the lemon. It was totally a perfect and mouthwatering salad for me. I am sure everyone will fall in love with this salad at the very first sight.


2 cups of corn kernels,
1 yellow capsicum,
2 green capsicums(bell peppers),4 slices of tinned pineapple,
3 tomatoes,
1 green chilli(optional),
1/4 bunch fresh mint-chopped,1 tbsp of peppercorns-crushed,
2 tbsp of lemon juice and
salt to taste.


De-seed the yellow bell pepper, green bell peppers and tomatoes and chop them neatly into small cubes. Boil the corn kernels if using fresh corn. Cut the pineapple slices into small cubes.
In a bowl, combine the bell pepper (both green and yellow), the chopped tomatoes, chopped pineapple, corn, chopped fresh mint and chopped green chillies. Mix well and add crushed peppercorns, lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve chilled.
Note: The corn kernels should be boiled, only if using fresh ones. if using the canned one, just strain the water and wash thoroughly.
Those who don't want to bite into those green chillies and completely skip it.I would say its better, coz one cannot find it easily between those green bell peppers and chances are that your tongue will be on fire, if you bite any pieces :)


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