November 14, 2010

Walnut cookies

I have been thinking to write about these awesome and simple cookies for some time now. These walnut cookies are my favorite. I can eat tens of them together. I had it for the first time when Blaž’s grandmother made and instantly fell in love with it. The crispiness, taste of walnuts, sweetish taste of vanilla sugar, all simply melts in the mouth. And it is such simple to make!! One can give any shape, but the classic horse-show shape is my favorite. With a layer of homemade marmalade in between it can form another delicious combination. These old classic grandmother recipes are forever.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Makes a box full)

250g flour
100g walnut flour
100g sugar
1sp vanilla sugar
150g butter
1 egg
Vanilla sugar powder


1. Mix everything to form uniform dough.
2. Wrap it and keep in fridge for 15 minutes.
3. Pinch off small balls from the dough, roll it over palm and bend to give a horse-show shape. Use flour in this step to avoid stickiness if any.
4. Preheat oven at 200°C and bake in batches until the cookies turn light golden. It takes around 15 minutes.
5. After taking out from oven, dust with vanilla sugar while still hot and remove into a box carefully. Take care, as while hot the cookies are quite delicate.

You can make cookies in pairs of circles with a hole in one of the cookies in a pair. After baking, add a little marmalade of your choice on the base cookie and cover it with the one with hole. Dust with vanilla sugar.
The walnut power should be ‘airy’ and not compact or sticky. It is best to get it from store as simple grinding will take the oil out and make it sticky and clumpy.

November 11, 2010

Corn and prawn salad

I am not a fan of green salad. However, I find salads interesting when it is a mixture of different tastes, textures and colors. This makes it look very palatable, and interesting. I wished some quick dish that would use the corn that was sitting for some time now, would be healthy, and interesting. And thus came out this colorful salad. The sweet taste of the juicy corn and the saltiness of the prawns with a hint of chili complemented each other. Salad greens and fresh tomato gave a crunchy freshness. The soft creamy mozzarella topped it. Looking at my colorful plate, I couldn’t resist eating and just got time to quickly take a few pictures. The taste was great, an excellent mixture of flavors and textures.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves 2)

100g lamb’s lettuce (corn salad)
300g sweet corn seeds
400g prawn (small)
1 medium sized tomato
8 fresh mozzarella balls (small)
Wine vinegar
Chili oil


1. Wash the lamb’s lettuce, dress in wine vinegar and salt.
2. Heat chili oil and sauté the corn seasoned with salt and pepper.
3. In chili oil, fry well the prawns. Season it with salt and pepper at the end.
4. Cut the tomato in slices.
5. Cut the mozzarella balls in half.
6. On serving plate, make a bed of the lamb’s lettuce. Next make a layer of corn. Put on top the tomato slices. Add the fried prawns as last layer. Top with fresh mozzarella balls.


This simple salty snack with subtle flavor of Nigella seeds reminds me always of Kolkata and childhood. I have always seen my parents and grandmother making nimkis after Durga Puja. I always enjoyed looking at the little diamonds getting deep fried and slowly turning golden. And later I enjoyed devouring them all along the day. They can be stored for months, but in reality would not last a few days. This year after the Durga Puja, I decided to follow the tradition and make nimki. Though I sort of had the idea about the recipe, I called my mother to know it in details, and specially learn the tricks or tips from their experiences. Having no experience of making crispy snacks from dough, I was a bit not confident in the beginning. The dough is similar to paratha dough and I couldn’t imagine how deep frying it will turn it nicely crispy. But in the end they did turn crispy. Though I over fried the first batch making it a bit too hard, there was no compromise in the taste. And I was happily munching these nimkis for days.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Makes a bowl full of nimkis)

2cups flour
3tbsp refined oil
2sp Nigella seeds
1/2 sp baking soda
1sp salt
Warm water
Oil for deep frying


1. Take the flour in a bowl and add baking soda. Make the flour lighter and airy by rubbing in between fingers. After sometime you will be able to feel that the flour is lighter.
2. Rub in the oil; mix for a couple of minutes to form fine crumbles.
3. Add salt and Nigella seeds. (Rub the Nigella seeds in palm before adding, this brings out the flavor.)
4. Make smooth and tight dough using warm water.
5. Divide dough into 2-3 balls and roll each into 0.5cm thick.
6. Cut into small diamonds (1cm apart vertical cuts followed by 1cm apart diagonal cuts).
7. Heat oil for deep frying.
8. Gently put the nimkis in oil and fry on low heat in batches until they turn light golden.
9. Drain excess oil and store in airtight container when cold.

Making the flour lighter, and rubbing with oil (also amount of oil used) is the key to the crispiness. The more you do, the crispier it is. But doing too much can result in making brittle nimkis.
To test if oil is hot enough, put a little dough in it, if it floats with initial foaming of a few seconds, the oil is ready.
Fry on low heat such that nimkis get cooked in middle and are not too borwn.
Over frying can result in a bit harder nimkis.

Potato slices

I always love this simple baked potato slices. Salt and freshly ground black pepper being always my favorite seasoning for potatoes, it is great when served with main course.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves 5)

15 medium sized potatoes
Ground black pepper


1. Set the oven to preheat at 200°C.
2. Wash and peel the potatoes, and cut them into thick slices.
3. Add a little oil to the slices and garnish with salt and pepper.
4. Line a baking tray with baking sheet, and put the potato slices in layers.
5. Bake uncovered for 45mins to an hour.

Can turn the potatoes a bit (if there are a few layers) at around 30mins into baking.
Can keep the skin if using bio-potatoes. Wash very thoroughly in that case.

Gajar halwa

For long I had not made gajar halwa and decided to make it for the occasion of Diwali. Actually, this rich and tasty dessert is made (or bought) in almost every household of northern India during the festive occasions. Therefore, it was a perfect time to prepare it last Friday. The dish (like most of Indian desserts) is very time taking but really worth all the effort and time. The carrots, slowly cooked in milk and rich with nuts and raisins, brings out an excellent taste and texture to entice the taste buds. To it the ghee and cardamom add a subtle but rich flavor. The recipe has two distinct steps and in many cases the recipe is followed in a reverse order than given here. My mother had tried both the versions and this recipe brings the best and real taste. And I follow her recipe which makes the perfect gajar halwa every time.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Makes 10-12 portions or more depending on serving size)

1kg orange carrots
2lt milk (full cream)
3-4tbsp sugar
5-6 green cardamom
2 bay leaves
150g ghee (clarified butter)
3/4 cup chopped nuts (almonds, cashews)
1/2cup raisins


1. Clean the carrots and coarsely grate.
2. In a large pot start heating the milk and add the grated carrots. Also add the cardamoms and bay leaves.
3. Boil it on high-medium temperature stirring occasionally, till the milk reduces and the whole mixture is almost solid.
4. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. In a large wok, heat the ghee.
6. When the nice aroma of the ghee comes (much before reaching smoking temperature), add carefully the carrot milk mixture to it and mix well.
7. Add also the sugar, nuts and raisins.
8. Cook until it is solid and everything is mixed well.
9. Serve cold garnished with nuts, raisins.

Rinse the pot with cold water (do not dry) before pouring the milk. This prevents burning at the bottom to some extent.
Use a really large pot while boiling the milk carrot to prevent any spill over and this will also allow you to use high heat.
When the mixture is almost semi solid, it can splatter a bit.
As the milk reduces take care so that the bottom does not burn.
Unsalted butter can be used in case you do not get ghee or clarified butter.
 Also you can decrease the amount of ghee or use low fat milk for health reasons.
You can vary amount of raisins and nuts according to choice.
I personally do not like too cold desserts from fridge, to me it tastes less full, and hence I bring it to almost room temperature always.


This thick flatbread baked in the special tandoor oven (a type of clay oven) was always my favorite. But, while in India, I never really tried making it except once. And as I had tried to bake them in normal oven at home then, the naans came out hard and crunchy instead of its soft chewy texture. After that failure I never really tried again. Now here in Slovenia I tried making it once more. And this time on a flat pan over heat. To my surprise, it turned out perfect, soft and chewy with this amazing smell of fresh yeast breads. Greased with a bit of butter on top, they are eaten much quicker than I can make them.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Makes 10)

750g flour (bread flour that contains high gluten)
7g dry active yeast
1 cup light yogurt
Warm water
1sp salt
3tbsp oil


1. Make a hole in the mound of flour and add the yeast in it. Add salt and oil on the side and start making the dough with a bit of warm water.
2. Add yogurt and make tight dough adding a little water at a time.
3. Knead the dough for 10mins more.
4. Cover it with kitchen cloth and keep in warm place for an hour to let it rise.
5. When the dough has doubled in volume, knead again for 5mins.
6. Divide in 10 equal balls.
7. Roll each ball into an elongated or teardrop shape.
8. Dust a little bit of flour on both sides of the naans, cover them and keep aside for 30 more minutes.
9. Heat a flat pan uniformly and then reduce the heat to medium.
10. Bake each naan at a time, gently pressing with spatula on the already baked side.
11. When the naan is baked through and is getting brown spots, remove it from the pan and grease it with butter (optional).

You can also of course use other forms of yeast instead of dry yeast.

Meaty nutty pepper boats

It was a successful cooking weekend. I call it successful not only when the taste is good, but when it is exactly same to what I wished and imagined it to be before cooking. And this pepper boats were exactly that. The cheesy and spicy meat was complemented with the crunchiness of the nuts and the raisins gave a hint of sweetness to the bites from time to time. I loved the balance of spicy, crunchy cheesy and sweet taste in the juicy peppers.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves 4)

4 red bell peppers
300g minced meat
Paneer from a liter of milk (How to make paneer)
1 cup of unsalted peanuts
1 handful of raisins
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 big tomatoes
1 small potato
1cup grated cheese
Cayenne pepper


1. Set the oven to preheat at 200°C.
2. Chop the onion, garlic, and tomatoes.
3. Grate the potato.
4. Grind the nuts very coarsely and chop the raisins
5. In a wok, heat oil and add the onion garlic.
6. When it starts turning golden, add the minced meat.
7. Cook on medium heat until the meat changes color and the water dries up.
8. Now add into it the chopped tomatoes, grated potato, and crumbled paneer.
9. Season with thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and salt.
10. Cook on medium heat for 6-7mins.
11. Add the grinded nuts and chopped raisins and cook for another couple of minutes before removing from heat.
12. While you are preparing the filling, cut the bell peppers in halves, and deseed them.
13. Sprinkle a bit of salt and brush their outer surface with oil.
14. When the filling is cold, stuff the pepper boats with the filling.
15. Sprinkle cheese on top.
16. Bake uncovered for 30mins with the baking tray in the middle rack.

Malai raisin chicken

I cooked this on the special occasion of Diwali. I was thinking of doing something in similar line to malai chicken. But then, I made quite some modifications that resulted in an exquisite misture of aroma and flavors. The subtle aroma of juniper berries and the sweet aroma of saffron complemented the hint of sweetish taste coming from raisins. Whereas, cayenne pepper added a hint of spiciness to it. I have this habit of imagining the exact taste I want before I start cooking something new, and this dish perfectly satisfied my buds. This sweetish creamy chicken dish was soon savored with the naans.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves 4)

750g chicken breast
180g sour cream
1 cup milk
1/2cup golden raisins
1 small onion
1 inch ginger
2 colves garlic
Cayenne pepper (to taste)
Nutmeg powder
A few strands of saffron
Dry whole spices:
1-2 bay leaves
1 black cardamom
3-4 green cardamom
4 cloves
1 inch cinnamon
4-5 juniper berries
5-6 whole black pepper


1. Cut the chicken into small pieces, marinate with salt, pinch of sugar and cayenne pepper for 30mins.
2. Soak the raisins in warm water for 30mins, and then chop coarsely.
3. Soak the saffron strands in a little warm milk.
4. Chop the onion and coarsely grate the ginger garlic.
5. Heat oil in a wok and add the dry whole spices.
6. As the spices crackle and a nice aroma comes out, add the chopped onion and ginger, garlic.
7. Cook on medium heat until onion turns transparent and soft.
8. Add the marinated chicken and chopped raisins.
9. Cook on medium to high heat until the chicken is almost done.
10. In the meantime, beat the sour cream in a bowl with milk. Season it with salt, a dash of nutmeg powder and a bit of cayenne pepper.
11. Add the beaten cream to the chicken, mix well, and cook on low-medium heat for 3-4mins.
12. Remove from heat and place it in a serving bowl.
13. Garnish with the saffron milk before serving.

October 31, 2010

Honey lemon fish

For quite some time I was trying to get this perfect blend of honey and lemon for a sauce. Last time I tried with chicken and the blend was not perfect. This time I tried it with fish. And it turned out quite well this time. Tangy lemon and sweet honey almost perfectly complemented each other. The rosemary added a hint of flavor. I loved this simple preparation.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves two)

4 fillets of fish (silver hake)
1 inch ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 lemons
2tbsp honey
1sp rosemary
Olive oil


1. Dry the fish fillets and rub with salt and pepper.
2. Heat olive oil in a pan and fry the fillets until golden brown.
3. Drain the oil in kitchen napkins and keep aside the fried fillets on serving dishes.
4. In the meantime, squeeze the juice out of lemons.
5. Grate the garlic and ginger, and add only its juices to the lemon juice.
6. Now add the honey to it and mix uniformly with a little bit of warm water.
7. Season with pepper and rosemary.
8. Simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes on a hot pan.
9. Pour the sauce over the fried fish fillets.

October 29, 2010

Gajorer nonta halua (Salty carrot halwa)

It is one of my favorite vegetable preparations. When I was little I would set aside some of it for the end of the meal. And I do the same even now. My ma learnt it from one of her friend’s mother. And I am so very glad that she learnt. It is simple, and awesome. I can never have enough of this preparation. I love it also how it gives the rice a hint of orange hue when mixed with rice. During winters in Kolkata, ma often used to cook it for lunch. I bought some carrots from the fresh market and cooked it after a long time. And it was so deliciously delightful to indulge in it.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves 2-3)

500g carrot
1 cup green peas
1sp nigella seeds
2tbsp ghee


1. Coarsely grate the carrots.
2. In a wok heat 1 and 1/2 tbsp ghee.
3. When ghee is heated, take the nigella seeds and rub on your palm and add in the wok.
4. As the aroma of the spice comes out, lower the heat to low-medium.
5. Add grated carrot and peas.
6. Stir for a couple of minutes on low heat and add salt.
7. Cover and let the carrot cook on low heat until tender with occasional gentle stirring.
8. When the carrot is tender, add a pinch of sugar.
9. Garnish with 1/2 tbsp of ghee.

Do not add any water; let the carrot cook on low heat in its own water.
Tastes best with rice.

Pepper ham wrap

A breakfast with fresh and crunchy vegetables is always delightful. And this pepper ham wrap is a quick and healthy way to start the day. The crunchiness of the colorful pepper added with the salty cheesy taste wrapped in tortillas is just what is perfect for a Sunday breakfast. I was aiming to realize this idea for quite some time, and finally made it a few weekends ago. Now, I cannot wait to try it again and try out some other variations.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves two)

4 tortillas
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 small carrot
100g ham
1 cup grated cheese
Lemon juice


1. Thinly slice the bell peppers and coarsely grate the carrot.
2. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper and lemon juice according to taste.
3. Chop the ham.
4. Load a tortilla with vegetables and ham, leaving the edge.
5. Generously cover half of the tortilla with cheese.
6. Fold the tortilla in half and press gently on the edge.
7. Heat a pan and carefully place the tortilla in it.
8. Cook on medium-high heat for a few minutes pressing the edge gently with the spatula until the cheese melts sealing the edge.
9. Turn over the wrap gently and do the other side for a couple of minutes.

Use bigger tortillas, it is easier to handle.
Any cheese can be used as long as it is easy to melt and seal. I used general light cheese in this recipe.

October 28, 2010

Orange prawn

I love prawns, easy to cook and very tasty. I enjoy the fact that how I can combine it with different spices and cook it up in different gravies. Moreover it is so little time taking (except the cleaning part). Therefore, it is no wonder that I cook it often. For some time I was planning to cook prawn in a tangy orange sauce. Originally I had got this idea while browsing thought internet searching for interesting prawn recipes. But then I lost the links as I have this habit of never bookmarking the recipes. It was only a vague idea somewhere in the back of my mind that stayed. And then finally a few weeks ago I decided a recipe of my own, gathered the ingredients and prepared the dish. It was special for the festive occasion. And I was pleasantly surprised with the result. It was better than expected. The prawns in the fresh tangy orange sauce with a hint of spiciness were delectable Served with boiled veggies, it made a delicious and simple to cook dinner.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here:  PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves two)

250g prawns
1sp garlic paste
1sp ginger paste
1sp orange zest
Juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 sp ‘hot & sweet’ sauce
Chili oil
Rice bran oil
Freshly ground pepper


1. De-shell and de-vein the prawns. Take care to not remove the tails.
2. Heat chili oil in a wok and fry the prawns until golden.
3. Mix the orange juice with soy sauce and ‘hot & sweet’ sauce.
4. In the same wok, heat a little of rice bran oil.
5. Add ginger garlic paste and orange zest.
6. Fry on medium heat for a couple of minutes.
7. Add the mixture of orange juice and sauces.
8. Simmer the gravy for 5-6 mins.
9. Season with freshly ground pepper and salt.
10. In a serving dish put the fried prawns and then pour the gravy over it.

Try to use fresh orange juice to have a natural fresh tangy sweet taste.

September 3, 2010

Chicken korma

I had promise to cook something for Blaž as a treat for his birthday, and finally yesterday got the opportunity to do so. When I asked him what he would like, the answer was, anything with roti. He loves roti, the Indian flat breads; and so he would like to have it even if I cannot make just the perfect ones like my mother. And what should I cook as the main course? For days now, Blaž was all the time saying “korma.. korma.. korma..”. So I thought, why not try it. Korma successfully uses the braising technique to get this mild delicate flavor of yogurt and cream that gets subtly incorporated into the meat. Thus, chicken korma was in the menu.


500g chicken pieces (boneless)
1 big onion
3-4 cloves garlic
150g light yogurt
1tbsp heaped sour cream
2tbsp ground cashew
1sp coriander powder
1/2sp cumin powder
1/2sp ginger powder
1/2sp chili powder
1 dry red chili
1-2 bay leaves
4-5 cloves
1inch cinnamon
6-7 whole black pepper
1 black cardamom (gently crushed)
1cup water
Ghee (Clarified butter)


1. Finely chop the onion and garlic.
2. Heat ghee in a wok and fry onion and garlic on medium heat till it turns golden brown. Set aside.
3. Now in the same greased pan, put the chicken pieces and fry on high heat for 3-4 minutes till it turns brown.
4. In a pot now heat ghee.
5. Now on low heat add whole red chili, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper. And let these crackle.
6. Next add the fried onion garlic and chicken.
7. Add the spices (ground cashew, ginger, cumin, coriander, chili powders) and mix on low heat. Add salt and a pinch of sugar.
8. Add the chicken pieces and mix with the spices.
9. Mix the yoghurt and sour cream with water and pour it over the meat.
10. Cover the pot and braise on low heat for around 15 minutes.

The liquid should be cooked on heat below the curdling point of yoghurt.

August 29, 2010

Mung zucchini

The initial plan was to cook a zucchini from the garden for lunch. Accompanied by some lentils, it would make a simple and good lunch with rice. To fetch ‘masoor’ lentils from the utility, I saw a packet of green mung beans that is there for quite some time now. Why do not I combine these green mung with the zucchini into a single preparation? As I thought, I went ahead with mixing the lentils, zucchini, and spices. And out came this simple and tasty dish.


500g zucchini
250g green mung (green soy)
1 small onion
1/2sp turmeric
1sp red chili powder
1tbsp mustard powder or seeds
1/2sp garam masala


1. Boil the mung lentils with a bit of salt and sugar. Take care that it is not over boiled. Remove from heat when the beans are soft and starting to split but still separate. Drain and keep aside.
2. Make a paste of the mustard powder if you are using powder. If you are using seeds, make a fresh paste of the seeds. Do not use the Dijon or similar mustard sauce.
3. Peel and cut the zucchini into medium sized long pieces, and finely chop the onion.
4. Heat oil in a pan and add the zucchini pieces.
5. Fry them on medium to high with minimum stirring until they are a bit soft.
6. Add mustard paste, salt, sugar and chili powder.
7. Cook on high heat for a couple of minutes and remove from heat.
8. Heat oil in a separate pan.
9. Add the chopped onion and fry until it turns brownish.
10. Add the boiled mung and fry on high heat for 4-5mins.
11. Next, add the fried zucchini.
12. Add the garam masala.
13. Stir gently. Cook for 3-4mins.
14. Serve with rice.

Take care that the mung beans are not over boiled.

August 28, 2010

Paneer pepper bhurji

I invited Blaž to my place for a simple dinner of vegetable pulao. I had got all the vegetables beforehand but messed up with something. Therefore, that day on way home I decided to buy chicken and make chicken pulao instead. However, luck was not in favor of pulao that day. The small nearby shop had its meat section closed and did not have any good vegetables. It was a bad situation. The dinner was supposed to be simplest, but I had nothing to cook even for the simplest dinner! With only one big bell pepper at home, I was supposed to cook a dinner for two! I was annoyed, and searching for ideas. And then, I remembered how simple it is to make paneer. My problem was solved. Paneer pepper bhurji was on the menu with rice; and it was liked. The crunchiness of pepper and freshness of paneer makes it a quick and tasty dish.


225g paneer (from one lit. milk)
1 big red bell pepper
1 small onion
1sp whole cumin (Indian)
1/2sp chili powder
Ground pepper


1. Make paneer from 1 lit of milk (how to make paneer), crush it and set aside.
2. Finely chop the onion and cut the pepper in cubes.
3. Heat oil in a pan.
4. When oil is heated, add the whole cumin and let it crackle.
5. Add the pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes.
6. Add the fresh crushed paneer.
7. Season with chili, salt, a pinch of sugar and pepper.
8. Cook on medium heat until the pepper is crunchy but not soft, and the paneer is fried.
9. Serve with steaming rice or hot roti.

Kaju barfi (Kaju katli)

Kaju barfi (katli) is one of the most popular and tasty sweets of India, a must for almost every occasion. No wonder, it is one of my favorite too. And here is Slovenia, I missed it. I had brought a packet from India, which even after eating ‘miserly’ did not last long. Thus, I decided in venturing to make it on my own. I searched online a bit for recipes and found dozens. Different recipes said two different methods, one with milk, and another with water. The one with milk would take much longer time, and I decided to start with the simple water one. Adjusting and combining a few recipes/measurements to make it easiest, I tried it for the first time. The only thing missing was the thin silver foil; otherwise, I could have easily said it to be from market. This quick and simple recipe makes such delicious, authentic kaju barfi that now I do not think of trying with milk anymore. Adding milk can reduce shelf life, but that, however, is not a concern, it hardly lasts for days! Maybe I will try someday for fun. But this one is just perfect.


250g cashew
120g sugar
50ml water
Silver foil (if available)


1. Grind the cashew in a fine powder (the finer the better).
2. In a pan, add the sugar and water. Start heating slowly.
3. Heat until the sugar melts and the syrup start boiling and frothing.
4. Make the heat low and quickly add the cashew powder with continuous stirring.
5. Cook on medium heat for 3-4 mins more to make smooth dough.
6. The dough will leave the pan. Take a small pinch and roll it between fingers. If you can make a smooth ball, the dough is ready.
7. Remove it from heat and put the dough on a greased surface.
8. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes while it is still hot (wear gloves!).
9. Roll the dough into 0.5cm thick; (add silver foil on top if you are using it), and cut into diamonds.
10. Separate the pieces and let it cool before serving.

Add a little bit of milk if the dough is too dry and brittle. However adding milk can reduce shelf life.

July 4, 2010

Tarragon cake

Blaž's mother got this simple recipe of cake with tarragon herb from a colleague of hers and we thought it as an interesting idea to try. It is light and non-creamy. The sweet vanilla flavored golden cake studded with tiny green leaves is tempting. The tarragon, delicacy of French cooking, adds a subtle but extraordinary hint of spice and aroma. This complex blend of flavors and aromas is however the yield of a simple recipe. It gives an interesting idea to experiment with herbs in cakes!


250g flour
200g sugar powder
8g vanilla sugar
8-9g baking powder
100ml oil
100ml milk
5 eggs
1-2 bunch of tarragon


1. Beat egg white until it is stiff and keep in the fridge.
2. Mix egg yolk with sugar powder and vanilla sugar until creamy.
3. Add oil to it and mix.
4. Next add milk and mix.
5. Add flour and mix well.
6. Add chopped tarragon to the mixture.
7. Finally add egg white and gently fold such that it does not drop in volume.
8. Put it in a greased baking dish (round ridged baking dish with hole in middle).
9. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 30 minutes.
10. Check with a needle, and when baked let it cool.
11. Turn it on the serving plate and dust with vanilla sugar powder.

Spinach lasagna

I like lasagna and decided to make some variations from the classic one with meat sauce. Making a spinach sauce was good idea. A search over the internet displayed many recipes most of which use mushrooms along with spinach. I, however, decided to use only spinach. Sour cream gave a nice creamy taste and texture. It was creamy, juicy and cheesy crunchy.


1 pack lasagna sheets (500g)
500g spinach
500g sour cream
250g cheese (Parmesan or Gouda or any other light cheese)
1/2cup breadcrumbs
125g butter
150g four
1lt milk


1. Cook the lasagna as per instructions on the packet if required.
2. Heat oil in a wok and add the breadcrumbs.
3. Let it brown a bit with constant stirring.
4. Add the spinach, salt and pepper.
5. Cook until the spinach is dry and it wilts to form a mass.
6. Remove from heat and set aside.
7. In the mean time, heat butter in a separate pan.
8. Add the flour and let it brown stirring continuously.
9. When it starts frothing, add the milk slowly stirring continuously. Take care so that no lumps are formed.
10. Add freshly ground pepper, salt, and nutmeg when it starts boiling.
11. Cook for 10 minutes more or until it reaches a creamy consistency.
12. Now mix uniformly the sour cream with the spinach when the later is a bit colder.
13. Grate the cheese.
14. Make a deep baking tray ready with baking paper.
15. Arrange a layer of lasagna sheets.
16. Add a layer of the creamy spinach and the white sauce. The amount of creamy spinach should be more than the white sauce.
17. Make several layers (3-4 with these quantities).
18. Cover it with another layer of lasagna sheets. Smear it with white sauce and sprinkle cheese generously.
19. Bake it in preheated oven at 180˙C for 45 minutes.
20. Take out from oven and let it stand for a few minutes before serving.

Do not add too much of the white sauce in each layer so that the taste is not too floury.


Panner (Chana) is an acid-set cheese common in Indian subcontinent cuisine. It is not matured unlike other cheeses and it doesn’t melt, making it a good ingredient in cooking and for stuffing. In India, at home we would always buy it. Only when I was little, it was made fresh at home. I would eat it fresh, warm, without pressing in its crumbled form, with a little sugar. And I still remember its creamy fresh taste. After coming to Slovenia, getting paneer and substituting it with any other cheese was a problem. Many Indian dishes call for it as an ingredient and substituting with cottage cheese was not an option as it melts. Therefore, I decided to try making it on my own. And after a few trials and errors, I can make it perfectly. It is fresh, tasty and easy to make. Great to eat warm with little sugar, or ready for the tasty paneer dishes.


1lt milk
3sp lime/lemon juice OR 2tbsp vinegar
1/2cup warm water


1. Boil the milk.
2. In the mean time, prepare the limejuice (vinegar) by diluting it with water.
3. Also, make the strainer ready with cheesecloth on it.
4. When the milk starts to boil, lower the heat to minimum.
5. Add slowly the limejuice (vinegar) with constant stirring.
6. The milk will start to curdle. Stir gently until the greenish transparent whey separates out.
7. Strain the paneer and wash it with cold water to remove sourish flavor if any.
8. Drain the paneer completely.
9. Wrap it in cloth in the desired shape and keep it pressed under something heavy for a couple of hour to make a slab of the paneer that can be cut into pieces for cooking.

Add a little more of limejuice or vinegar if this amount is not enough.
Save the whey, it is a healthy drink and good for making dough, lentils, cooking etc.

Potato moussaka

I read the recipe of Moussaka in some Sunday magazine and thought of making it someday. However, I lost magazine by the time I decided to make. Therefore, instead of looking up in the internet for a recipe, I checked some books and decided to try making a modified version of potato moussaka instead of the classic Greek one with aubergines (eggplants). The layered potato and meat had a rich juicy flavor with the pepper adding a crunchy taste. In the end, it was a real savory dish.


500g minced meat
1kg potato
1 small onion
2 bell peppers
2 big tomatoes
Fresh thyme
Fresh rosemary
2 eggs
2 tbsp flour
2-4 tbsp cream
250ml milk


1. Chop the onion finely.
2. Dice the tomatoes and bell peppers into small pieces.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onion.
4. Fry until the onion is soft and transparent.
5. Add the minced meat.
6. The meat will leave water and loose its pinkish red color.
7. Cook with occasional stirring until the water dries.
8. Then add the chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, salt, black pepper powder, thyme and rosemary.
9. Let it cook on medium heat until the meat is cooked and it is not too watery and remove from heat.
10. Remove the shoots of thyme and rosemary from the meat sauce.
11. When the meat is cooking, boil potatoes in a pot. Take care that the potatoes are a bit undercooked.
12. Peel the potatoes and slice them.
13. In the mean time, make the sauce. Beat together eggs, flour, sour cream and milk. Season it with pepper, salt and nutmeg powder.
14. Now grease a deep tray.
15. Put a layer of potato slices, and then a layer of meat. Make alternate layers of potato and meat, with potato as the bottom and topmost layer.
16. Spread the sauce evenly over it.
17. Bake it in preheated oven at 200˙C for 45minutes.

One can use sliced raw potato instead of boiled potatoes. In that case, bake it for a hour and half.
Add a bit more milk, sour cream and flour to increase the amount of sauce.

June 29, 2010

Methi Chicken (Chicken with dried funegreek leaves)

Most Indian spices and herbs are not available in Slovenia. Therefore, this time from my visit to India, I brought with me a good supply of the spices that are not available here. Among those is Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves). I love the flavor and smell of fenugreek and it goes equally well with both vegetables and meat. Though I am in search of fenugreek plant in the herbariums, I really doubt the chance of getting it. Nevertheless, for now, I have my supply of Kasoori methi. Thus, for some time, I was planning to do this chicken with methi and finally did it. What I love about this recipe is that it is rich, and yet in a way subtle. And I simply love the flavor of funegreek.


500g chicken
125g yoghurt
3tbsp Kasoori methi
1sp coriander powder
1/2sp turmeric powder
1/2sp chili powder
1 big onion
1 clove garlic
2 inches ginger
1 big tomato
1-2 bay leaves
1-3 cardamom
1 inch cinnamon
4-5 cloves
Whole black pepper (few)
Garam masala powder (a pinch)


1. Wash and dry the chicken pieces.
2. Beat the yoghurt.
3. Thinly slice the onion and grate the ginger and garlic.
4. Chop the tomato into small pieces.
5. Heat oil in a wok.
6. Add bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and pepper. Let it crackle.
7. Add onion, ginger and garlic. Cook on low heat until it is soft and starts getting color.
8. Add tomato, and all the spices (turmeric powder, coriander powder, chili powder, sugar).
9. Cook on low heat until the tomato softens and the masala (the spiced mixture) leaves oil.
10. Add the chicken pieces and mix well with the spices.
11. Cook on medium heat for 10 mins.
12. Add beaten yoghurt, a little bit of water and salt.
13. Cook on low-medium heat until the chicken is cooked.
14. Add the Kasoori methi and a pinch of garam masala powder.
15. Cook a couple of minutes more and it is ready to serve.

The amount of Kasoori methi and chili powder can be increased depending on preference.
Chicken can be substituted by paneer or vegetables like cauliflower etc.
If it is too dry, to increase the quantity of gravy add a little yoghurt and water.

June 27, 2010

Cauliflower curry (Fulkopir torkari)

This cauliflower curry is a typical one that my mother makes often for dinner in winter. I remember how when I disliked eating cauliflowers when I was little. However, later I started liking it and its crunchiness. I like cauliflowers in many different preparations, and this simple dish is always appetizing. However, I was never able to make this dish to perfection. Cauliflower taking longer time to cook always made me impatient and I would just add water and let it get cook. However, I was patient enough to cook it on low heat. And, the result was yummy!! It was tasty and like I always wished it to be. In this preparation, the crunchiness of cauliflower comes out wonderfully with the subtle hint of spices. It is simple and enticing.


1 big cauliflower
1 big white onion
1 big tomato
1 inch ginger
1/4sp cumin powder
1sp coriander powder
1-2 bay leaves
1 inch cinnamon
1-2 black cardamom
3-4 clove
1/4sp turmeric
Sugar (pinch)
2-3tbsp oil
Handful coriander leaves


1. Cut the cauliflower into florets.
2. Grate the ginger and thinly slice the onion.
3. Cut the tomato into small cubes.
4. Heat oil in a wok.
5. Put in the whole cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, bay leaves and let it crackle.
6. Add cauliflower and on low heat fry for 5-7 mins.
7. Then add tomato, onion, ginger paste, turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt and sugar.
8. Cook in medium heat for around 10 mins with occasional stirring until the florets are almost cooked.
9. Add a little bit of water and cook until the cauliflower is soft but still crunchy.
10. Remove from heat and garnish with a handful of freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Boil the cauliflower before hand in case it is old or end of season harvest. Boil salted water. Remove it from heat and add the florets. Leave for a couple of minutes and drain off the water.
Potatoes cut into quarters can be added. In that case, add it at the same time with cauliflower florets.
Fresh green peas are also a good addition. Add it when the cauliflower is almost cooked and before adding water.

June 20, 2010

Classic Tomato Salsa

I love classic tomato salsa. It is tangy and fresh. Though I don’t like raw onion so much, the fresh tomatoes with the lime juice is yummy! I like it with tortillas, chips, simply like a dip. It is so easy to make and so refreshingly tasty.


4 big tomatoes
1 large white onion
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 lemon juice
¼ sp sugar
3-4 chilies (Serrano chilies if available)


1. Chop the tomatoes into small cubes.
2. Chop the onion also into cubes.
3. Roast the chilies.
4. Deseed the roasted chilies and chop finely.
5. Mix everything together with lemon juice, salt, sugar, and lemon zest.
6. Add chopped cilantro.
7. Mix and set aside in the fridge for cooling.
8. Serve cold.

Chicken Fajita

It is a rainy day today, and good time for eating chicken fajita with tortillas. Moreover, I was eating it after a long time. I like Mexican food. And this is just so easy, quick and tasty dish. I also like the accompanying salsa sauce. The tangy and fresh taste of tomato and lemon is refreshing and appetizing. To me fajita is interesting because of its freshness. It is juicy with the pepper giving it certain kind of crunchiness. I used bought tortillas and guacamole sauce today; however, I plan to make the latter soon, when I get some good avocados. Thus I enjoyed my Sunday lunch with the fajita and tortilla, and though there wasn’t any sour cream, it was still good..
I had originally got the recipe from some Mexican cookbook and used that with some little modifications.


800gm chicken breast
1 lime
½ sp sugar
2 tbsp oregano
1tbsp cayenne pepper
1sp chili flakes
½ sp ground pepper
2 onions
3 bell peppers


1. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a kitchen cloth and cut into thin strips.
2. Add into it lime juice and zest, sugar, oregano, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, salt, pepper. Mix thoroughly and marinate for around half hour.
3. In meantime, cut pepper into thin strips.
4. Finely slice the onion.
5. In a pan, heat oil.
6. Stir fry the chicken until it starts getting the golden color.
7. Add the onion and pepper.
8. Cook on high heat until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are soft but still crunchy and juicy.
9. Check the seasoning and add more salt if required.
10. Serve hot with tortillas, salsa sauce, guacamole sauce and sour cream.

If the vegetables leave water while cooking, cook until water dries.
One can increase the amount of cayenne pepper or chili flakes according to desired amount of spiciness.

April 11, 2010

Thai Green Curry Chicken

I was planning to cook this from the time when I had had it for first time in a Thai restaurant, and finally got the opportunity to make it today. The Thai Green Curry Paste I had got was also lying in the shelf for months. Finally I got all the ingredients and tried making it today. I used the curry paste from the market as it I was not getting all the ingredients for the paste easily, and wished to not make my own substitution, keeping it more authentic. After looking at the many recipes online that had different ingredients cooking method, I decided to use pepper and cherry tomatoes along with chicken. But while shopping I saw a can of bamboo shoots in water and decided to put that in too. However, I couldn’t find lemon grass and simply used the lemon grass powder for the flavor. Served with jasmine rice, it turned out like I remember from the restaurant. It was a perfect blend of the spicy curry paste and coconut milk, with the lime giving it a pleasant refreshing flavor. I have more curry paste left and will be glad to cook it again soon, maybe even for guests!


700gm chicken breast
400ml coconut milk
140gm bamboo shoot
1 big red pepper
10-15 cherry tomatoes
1 shoot of lemon grass (I used 2tbsp lemon grass powder)
1 small onion
1inch ginger
6tbsp green Thai curry paste
6-8 Kaffir lime leaves
1 lime
1sp oil


1. Chop the onion and cut the pepper in thin slices.
2. Drain the bamboo shoot pieces and keep aside if you are using it from a can.
3. Chop the lemon grass.
4. Finely grate the ginger or make a paste.
5. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces.
6. In a wok, heat 1sp of oil.
7. When heated, add the sliced onion and vegetables.
8. Let it fry for 2-3min on medium heat. Stir from time to time so it doesn’t turn brown.
9. Add the Thai green curry paste, ginger and lemon grass. Let it cook for a couple of minutes until the
10. Fragrance of the spices come out.
11. Add the coconut milk, and on medium heat let it come to boil.
12. Add the chicken, lime leaves and cherry tomatoes.
13. Let it cook for around 15mins, until the chicken is tender and there is the subtle fragrance of lime and coconut.
14. When done, add salt if needed.
15. Stir in the juice of 1 lime and let it cook for 1 more min.
16. Garnish with lime leaves, lemon grass and serve hot with rice (Thai or Jasmine rice).

If you are using Thai green curry paste from a store, it may have salt added, so check it before adding salt in the gravy.

February 28, 2010

Chicken with Mangold

It is Sunday, and the morning saw me waking up without a mood for doing anything at all. It was lazy, and I was lazy to cook even. I was even thinking of ordering a pizza for lunch. But somehow with even less than half the wish, I decided to cook the lunch. There was only mangold (Chard or Spinach Beet) and some chicken breasts to cook. Yesterday I somehow thought I will cook the chicken into some sauce and make mangold separately. But today I was too lazy to think of what kind of preparations to make and was rather wishing for a short cut. So, the easiest way was to cook the chicken with mangold in some sauce. And I put in it randomly some spices I got hold of, both Indian and European. I didn’t much think of how it will turn out, but the end result was quite satisfying. It had an interesting and unusual taste, some kind of spices saltiness, which I liked. And it was quite good with hot Basmati. I am really pleased and happy with how it turned out. And it lifted up my mood too. At the end, on a day when I had no mood for cooking, I cooked something that was good, something that I will like to cook again, and even for guests!!!


300gm chicken breasts (2-3 pieces)
200gm mangold leaf
1 small onion
2 big cloves of garlic
1 bayleaf
1sp whole black pepper
1sp Mediterranean spice mix
1/2sp ground black pepper
1/2sp ground coriander
1/2sp ground Indian cumin
Sea salt

1. Wash and coarsely chop the mangold leaves (I didn’t use the stem).
2. Pat dry the chicken breasts and fork them lightly. Rub each with Mediterranean spice mix, ground black pepper and sea salt.
3. Chop the small onion and crush the garlic cloves.
4. Heat oil in a frying pan. And when it is hot, add the whole pepper and bayleaf.
5. When it crackles, add the onion and garlic.
6. Wait until they turn pinkish brown and add the coriander and cumin. Stir for half a minute.
7. Add the chicken breasts. Put it to medium heating/flame.
8. Fry them until both sides turn golden brown and the meat turns soft.
9. Next add the chopped mangold leaves. Stir, and cook it covered for around 10-12mins on medium heat/flame.
10. When the leaves wilt and the chicken is tender, uncover and cook for another minute to evaporate a bit of the water that the mangold had left.
11. Serve hot with plain rice.

One can use spinach or any other similar leaves instead of mangold.
The Mediterranean spice mix had the usual thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, pepper, salt etc. One can also use some spice mixes for grill/tandoor to have similar effect and taste.

January 15, 2010

Methi Palak Prawn

I made this dish first time for the Durga Puja this year. I planned to cook prawn. It is a fish available here easily, and also simple to cook. Moreover, I really like prawns. My wish was to cook a not common preparation of prawn, and was thinking of making up something on my own. Spinach I thought was a good choice to make the gravy with, something similar to palak (spinach) paneer, a popular Indian dish. However I did not like the idea of using the usual whole cumin seeds. Though I like the flavor of cumin very much and like to put it in almost everything possible, it was puja and I was in mood of trying some new flavors and combinations. Therefore, I decided for fenugreek seeds. It is a seed used in Bengali vegetarian cuisine sometimes along with a few other whole spices or alone. I don’t use it too often and so thought why not give it a try with prawns. I must admit the result was quite surprising. The rich aroma of fenugreek seeds blended perfectly well with the taste of prawns and spinach. A lot of fenugreek and a bunch of spinach worked wonders with the prawns!! It turned out as some unconventional dish that can be cooked when guests are invited.

500gm prawn
1 bunch spinach (palak) - coarsely chopped
2tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 big tomato - chopped

1. Heat oil in pan, enough for both frying prawns and cooking.
2. Fry the prawns until they turn gentle golden, and set aside.
3. In the same oil put fenugreek seeds. When they turn black, take them out.
4. Now in the oil put tomato and spinach together.
5. Add salt, sugar and pepper.
6. Cook in low heat for 5-10 mins so the tomato and spinach get cooked and form gravy like consistency. No water is required.
7. Now add the prawns, mix well and add a few table spoons of water. Cook for another couple of minutes.

This preparation goes well with rice.
Fry the prawns and cook in the same oil, this will give the flavor of the prawn in the preparation.
The fenugreek seeds are taken out after frying, as if left behind it will give a bitter taste when chewed. If you take the seeds out, it gave the flavor without the bitterness, and you can use it in large quantity.
You can add a bunch of fresh fenugreek leaves along with spinch.

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