Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lotus Root Crisps


Lotus Roots - fresh or frozen defrosted 2 cups
Shan Tandoori Masala - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp, or as per taste
Rice Flour - 3 tbsp, for crunchiness


Cut the Lotus roots into pieces as shown in pic. If frozen, they come pre-cut; make sure to defrost.
Mix with the rest of the ingredients
Deep fry in hot oil.
Serve hot with Rice/Dal or eat as-is.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tuna Dip


8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/4 teaspoon Hot Sauce, to taste
1/4 teaspoon Salt, or as per taste
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 (6 ounce) cans Albacore Tuna in Olive Oil, drained and flaked
2 whole Green Onions, minced
3 Celery Stalks, chopped fine
A pinch Sugar


Remove the oil from Tuna and put in a paper towel to wring out as much of the liquid as possible.
Mix everything together.
Keep it refrigerated till ready to serve.
Like it room temperature.

Can serve as appetizer with Crackers or Chips.
Also liked it on subs or breads as sandwich - a multi-purpose dip, for sure!

Inspired by the recipe here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Posto Bara (Poppy Seeds fritter)

In most Odiya households, there are certain days of the week that are followed as vegetarian days (Mondays and Thursdays are the most commonly followed ones). I am not sure but this may be an entirely unique trait of the Odiya culture. That is in comparison to most other cultures where people are either vegetarian or not. So in those vegetarian days, my mom had to be really innovative to keep us happily fed (us being me and Baba - my dad). Posto Bara was a favorite for those days. It is one of those dishes which is made widely in Odiya and Bengali households.

My dad is from Mayurbhanj and they use poppy seed a lot in their cuisine. Patua also known as Patrapoda is a delicious flavorful poppy seed and mustard seed paste-based dish with tiny fishes cooked in leaf-wrap in the clay oven. My mom can make it in a regular pot as well. I have tried but can never get the same flavors. It is an intricate and careful preparation. My Didi (my paternal grandmom) also used to make it really well. Some food memories for sure...

Posto Bara is something I have been planning to make since ages. However, my last few attempts at making anything using poppy seed has been a disaster - too much mustard leading to bitter taste, coarse paste texture due to incompetent blender, etc, etc. So finally I turned around and got enthu to take another stab at it. Voila - it was a success. We loved it! Friends visiting us loved it! Got another friend who was missing her mom's food to try it - She also loved it! :)

My childhood friend Sonali's preparation - One of the best cooks, for sure! :)

This is so easy to make - I am pretty sure I will make it more often now.

Ingredients (makes about 60 small fritters)

Poppy Seeds - 2 cups
Maida - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1 medium, chopped finely
Potato - 1 large, chopped finely
Green Chilli - 3-4, chopped finely (optional)
Garlic or Onion-Ginger-Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
Cumin-Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
Salt - as per taste
Canola oil for shallow frying


Soak the Poppy Seeds overnight. I add warm water to begin with.
Take 1/2 tsp Canola oil and fry the finely chopped potatoes to cook it. It can be added as-is to the batter but I did not want to take the chance of it remaining raw.
Grind the Poppy Seeds to a fine batter - not too watery. As you take the batter in your hand, you should be able to mould it to the shape you want.
Add all the ingredients with the Poppy Seed batter and mix well.
Heat oil for shallow frying. Add the prepared batter to the hot oil as shown in pic below.
Cook one side. As it turns crispy and browns, it will easily move. Turn it upside down so that the other side can cook.
Place them in paper towel to pull away the extra oil.
Place them in a wax paper lined container.
Serve hot. Goes well with Rice-Dal as well as an appetizer.

Let me know if you get to try it. Have a great day!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Interesting brown bag..(Thanks, Chipotle!)

Just as I was about to garbage this bag, chanced upon the writing on it and enjoyed reading it in detail. Being mindful is important to not lose out on these small surprise packages, literally! :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sunday Sausage and Pasta Soup

Sunday evenings are detox evenings in our house. We like to keep it light in terms of food and activities to prepare ahead for the week and acclimate ourselves from the weekend's erratic schedule. This soup is something we like to prepare and have fresh on evenings like this.

Modified from the recipe here.


Italian Sausage (any sausage will do) - 4 or 1/2 pound, chopped into small pieces like coins.
Celery - 3 stalks, chopped into small pieces
Onion - 1 large or 2 medium, chopped into long pieces
Garlic - 5-6 pods, crushed
Tomato - 3, chopped into small pieces
Chicken stock - 6 cups
Parsley - 4 tbsp
Black Pepper Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Bowtie Pasta - 1 cup (any pasta similar to this will do, even Macaroni)
Canola Oil - 1 tbsp
Green Chillies - 6-7 (whole)


Heat the soup pot.
Add the Canola Oil.
Once the oil is hot, add chopped Onions.
Once the Onion is half-cooked, add the defrosted and chopped Sausages and continue cooking till sausage is fully cooked (no pink).
Add chopped Celery and crushed Garlic.
Once the garlic flavor emanates and it is cooked, add the chopped Tomato, chopped Parsley and Black Pepper Powder and let it continue cooking uncovered.
Add Chicken broth and let it boil.
Stir in Pasta\Macaroni and mix it well. Add the whole green chillies (for added heat, you can crush them while eating). Cover and cook for approx. 10-15 mins in Medium-High heat till the Pasta is cooked. It helps to start a timer so you don't lose track of time here.
Fix the Salt as per taste.

Serve it with bread or just eat it as a one-pot meal. Bon appetit!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Salmon with Crabmeat filling

Salmon is good for health - full of those Omega-3's so crucial for a balanced diet. I never liked it before till I tried it in this recipe. Was meeting my childhood friend at a Mexican restaurant in DC and chanced upon this preparation. Had to try it and it resulted in a creamy salmon with mild flavors. Hope you like it as well.

  • 1/2 Can Phillips Crabmeat (~1/2 lb)
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 4-5 Pods of Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Chopped fresh Coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 long Salmon fillet, deskined
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a skillet, warm 1 tsp Canola oil with 1/8 cup butter. Add chopped onion and stir till half-cooked. Add garlic followed by the Crabmeat and coriander leaves. Add salt. Cook for about 5 mins. 
  3. Fold the Salmon fillets to hold the cooked crab meat in it.
  4. Brush butter on top while leaving a small piece underneath it as well as on the top.
  5. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily. Broil for 1 min on low each side after the baking.
  6. Garnish with chopped Coriander. Extra salt and pepper can be tossed.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Korean Cuisine - Love it! Love it!

Sweet and Sour Chicken @ Kang Chon

I have recently been introduced to Korean cuisine. Few months back, my colleague took a bunch of us out to a Korean Tofu Soup place for lunch. To be honest, I was going without any expectations. End result, me and hubby kept going back for Tofu Soup as weekend lunch almost every weekend for the entire winter!!

The tiny utensils with delicious side-dishes (called "Banchan") are tangy and appetite-inducing. Interestingly, Korean and Indian culture are two cultures that use stainless steel utensil to serve food extensively. The side dishes are called Banchan and they include Kimchi (Napa Cabbage, Cucumber), Pickled Radish, Bean Sprouts and so on.

The soups are served in indigineous bowls that retain the heat for a good amount of time. The soup is so hot as it gets to your table that you break an egg into the soup, it will get cooked in matter of seconds! Getting to see the egg get cooked still gives me a kick like no other!! ;)

Apart from the soup, we like the Pancakes which come with vegetables, Shrimp or Seafood. As my friend suggested, I love to have it with some Kimchi for accompaniment. 

At the end of the soup meal, they give you the rice container from where they served the rice with hot green tea. Scrap the sides and enjoy the hot drink with crunchy rice remainings - it immediately cuts down the heat (taste) of the soup from your throat. Amazing how instantly it works.

Some of our favorite restaurants in Northern Virginia are (no, not getting paid to list them! :)):

  • Lighthouse Tofu
  • Woo Lae Oak
  • Yechon
  • Kang Chon
Korean Chinese Noodle Soup  @ Kang Chon

Tofu Soup with Banchan @ Lighthouse Tofu

Table full of Banchan's @ Yechon

Banchan's @ Lighthouse Tofu - love it all!