Easy Cooking for Busy Folks

All about cooking food the fast, easy way w/o loosing taste & nutrition.

Archive for March, 2009

Instant Fruit Custard

Posted by Dipti Shah on March 24, 2009

We went to a friends birthday party, where this delicious custard was served as a dessert.

I was so impressed not just by its taste, but also by the “instant” part.

I know this would appeal to lots of busy moms like myself. Thanks Jayashree!! for this instant recipe.


  • 3 cups of vanilla icecream
  • 1 cup of frozen mango pulp
  • 1/2 cup of “Kesari” canned mango pulp
  • 1 tsp of sugar (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups of cut fruits (grapes, strawberries, apples, banana. kiwis etc)


  • Defrost vanilla icecream in the microwave for 25 seconds.
  • whisk with spoon or hand whisk.
  • Mix in the mango pulps & sugar.
  • Add the fruits & mix well well together.
  • Serve chilled.


  • You can try a variation with any fruit flavoured ice creams.

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Mango Milk Shake

Posted by Dipti Shah on March 24, 2009

This is a delicious, refreshing, and easy-to-make drink for hot summer days or any day.

We tend to serve this at a party when we have no sweets/dessert planned.

I remember those glorious summer day in India, when I was a child. Come summer & all we ate was mangoes. Alphonso Mango Slices for Breakfast with khakra, Payari for 10:00 snack. Payari juice/raas for lunch & for dinner my mom would make alphonso cubes mixed in payari milk (payari raas mixed with milk) along with theplas. YUMMMMMM……

She’d also make a deadly milkshake.

Here’s her recipe ( I’ve just added the icecream part)



  • 1 cup mango pulp
  • 1 cup chilled milk
  • 2-3 tblsp powdered sugar
  • 2 scoops of vanilla icecream
  • 1 tblsp Chopped cashew, pistachio & raisins
  • Few strands of saffron
  • cool-whip or redi whip for decoration


  • First blend the mango pulp in a mixer properly.
  • Then add milk and sugar to it and blend once again.
  • Pour in tall glasses.
  • Put a scoop of vanilla icecream in each glass.
  • Put a dollop of reddi-whip on once side of each glass.
  • Decorate with chopped nuts & top them with 2-3 strands of saffron.


  • I prefer frozen mango pulp over the canned pulp.
  • If you want creamier milkshake substitute 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 cup of vanilla icecream.
  • If you’re like me & want liquidie milkshake, add 1/4 cup of milk more. You’ll have the adjust the amount of sugar according to the amount of milk
  • Don’t use fat-free or 1% milk for milkshake. Go for 2% or Vitamin D milk.

Posted in Milk Shakes | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Paneer Pulao

Posted by Dipti Shah on March 20, 2009

I make most of my pulaos/biryani in the Hawkins Futura pressure cooker ( Hey I’m not advertising them. I got this when I came from India & this is all I have)

Paneer Pulao

Paneer Pulao


  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 -1/2 tblsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp green chilli paste
  • 3 tblsp ketchup
  • 1/2 roma tomato chopped
  • 1 cup paneer cubes
  • 3 tblsp yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Palmful of dried parsley
  • a pinch sugar
  • 1/2 tsp butter , oil each
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tblsp whole cashewnuts



  • Wash the rice, soak and keep aside.
  • Put 2 cups of water to boil.
  • Heat the butter and oil in a pressure cooker, add the cashewnuts & fry until golden brown. Remove & keep aside.
  • In the same oil fry onion, ginger, garlic and green chilli paste and stir for a few seconds.
  • Then add the tomato, ketchup and paneer cubes and cook for some time.
  • Then add garam masala & drained rice. Fry for 30 seconds.
  • Then add whisked yogurt, parsley, sugar, 2 cups of hot water and salt and pressure cook on high until you hear the pressure had built up.
  • Reduce the stove to med or med -low & cook for 3 mins only.
  • After 3 mins remove from stove & let cool for 5 mins.
  • After 5 mins forcefully allow the steam to escape by lifting the whistle.
  • Fluff the pulao with a fork/spoon gently & transfer to a serving dish.
  • Garnish with fried cashew & parsley.
  • Serve hot with chilled raita & papad.

If you don’t have the futura, pressure cook in regular cooker only for 1 whistle. Allow the steam to escape before opening.

I serve this pulao with carrot raita.

I’ve substituted paneer with slightly pan-fried firm tofu.
Parsley can be substituted with kasoori methi

Posted in Rice | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Corn Raita

Posted by Dipti Shah on March 20, 2009

A raita is a simple preparation made by adding fruits, vegetables or any other thing to beaten yogurt. Most Indian families enjoy curds either plain or in the form of delicious raitas as an accompaniment with lunch or dinner.

Raitas are unique because they are cool and flavourful at the same time. Indians cherish a large variety of raitas.

We at our house always have raita with any Biryani. I personally eat more raita than biryani.

Today I’ll talk of Corn raita. This has been a hit with kids too.


  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 2 cups Dannon yogurt ( I don’t like Pavel’s or home-made for raitas)
  • 1 tblsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic (roughly crushed)
  • 2 green chillies slit lengthwise.
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • tsp oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • Pinch of hing/asafetida
  • Lots of fresh coriander leaves or a palmful of dried parlsey


  • Take yogurt in the serving bowl.
  • Add sugar, salt & black pepper powder & whisk it properly with a spoon.
  • In a very small kadai or vagharu heat oil.
  • Add mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter remove from gas & add hing, green chillies, curry leaves & garlic. Put back on stove for few seconds,
  • Transfer this tempering in the yogurt bowl.
  • Add drained & washed corn, coriander leaves/parlsey & mix well.
  • Garnish with freshly ground cumin powder & serve CHILLED.


My kids don’t like garlic , so right before serving I hunt & remove the garlic pod. That’s why I don’t finely chop the garlic.

Posted in Raitas | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Plain Rice

Posted by Dipti Shah on March 19, 2009


  • 1 cup any rice (basmati, long grained, sona-masoor, jasmine)
  • Salt to taste
  • Lots of water for boiling rice.
  • Juice of ¼ lime (optional) or 1 tsp of lime juice
  • Few drops of oil/ghee (optional)


  • Wash rice at least 3 times & soak in water for minimum ½ hour.
  • Meanwhile put a huge stockpot filled with water to boil.
    Add salt to taste. The gas setting should be high & cover with lid to speed up the boiling process.
  • When the water comes to a rolling boil. Take the drained soaked rice & dump it into the boiling water.
  • Switch the gas settings to med.
  • Add lime juice & mix well.
  • Keep stirring occasionally.
  • After 15 minutes check to see if the rice is done. It should not be too mushy , but al dente.
  • Once rice is done drain in a colander.
  • Transfer to serving dish/bowl & fluff once with a fork.

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Bhinda nu Shaak (Bhindi Fry)

Posted by Dipti Shah on March 19, 2009

Bhinda nu Shaak
Gujrati Okra Stir Fry

• 1/2 lb Okra/ lady’s Finger, cut into 1 inch strips
• Salt to taste
• 1 tblsp coriander-cumin powder
• 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
• 1 tsp red chilli powder
• 1 tbsp oil
• 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
• 1/4 tsp asafetida/hing
• ½ tsp of jeera

• Wash & thoroughly dry the okras.
• Cut okra lengthwise into 4 strips. Further cut each strip into 1 inch length
• Heat oil in a non-stick kadai/wok.
• Once the oil is hot, add jeera & mustard seeds.
• Once the mustard seeds splutter add hing,
• Add turmeric powder, coriander-cumin powder, red chilli powder. & mix well taking care that the masalas don’t burn.
• Add okra Add salt. Give a quick & thorough stir. Make the gas/heat settings to med-low.
• Stir fry from time to time.
• Let it cook on low flame for 15-20 minutes or till okra is cooked.


If you want the okra to be crispy increase the oil by ½ tblsp & keep the kadhai on low – flame until the desired crispness is achieved.

If you want the okra to be tender, cover the kadhai with a thali which hhas 1/2 cup of water. DONOT ADD WATER DIRECTLY TO OKRA.

Posted in Veggies | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gujrati Kadhi

Posted by Dipti Shah on March 19, 2009


* 1 cup Yogurt ( homemade or Pavel’s)
* 2 1/2 cups water
* 1 tbsp besan
* 3 green thai chiilies — slit into halves
* 1 inch ginger grated
* 4/6 curry leaves
* 1/2 tsp jeera
* 1/2 tsp rai
* 2 whole dry red chillies
* sugar to taste
* salt to taste
* 1 tbsp oil


1. In a kadhai mix yogurt & 2 cups of water. Mix well so that the liquid is homogeneous.
2. In a small bowl mix sieved besan & 1/2 cup of water. Make sure that the besan has completely dissolved & no lumps are left. Mix this besan paste/liquid with the yogurt liquid.
3. Put the kadhai to boil on slow/med-low flame or setting.
4. to this add curry leaves, slit green chillies, salt, sugar & grated ginger. Mix well.
5. On the other side, heat oil in a small small kadhai or vagharu.
6. When hot, remove from heat, add rai, jeera, hing, red chiilies & turmeric powder. Mix well put on heat again for 10 secs & pour this vaghar on top of the kadhi which is getting boiled.
7. Serve hot with hot rice, bhinda nu shaakh & fresh raw mango pickle.

Heat the kadhai mix on med-Low/ low flame lonely. Stir the mix frequently.

Posted in Daals/Kadhis | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Easy cooking Ingredients…

Posted by Dipti Shah on March 19, 2009

Let’s backtrack…. I posted a recipe & then decided the direction I want to go. So now keeping in tune with my direction we’ll talk of the things you should always have in hand to cook quickly & easily.

Let’s divide this list in different section:

soy sauce
bread crumbs
3-4 veggies per week
curry leaves

frozen vegetables(peas & other combinations of your choice)

black pepper
Red Chilli powder ( I mix 1 packet of Kashmiri red chilli powder
Coriander powder
Tumeric powder
garam masala ( home made or store bought)
Whole red chillies ( I like kashmiri
bay leaves
cinnamon sticks
whole black pepper
big black cardamon
regular green cardamon
star anise

extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
dried pasta
pasta sauce
canned beans
confectioners’ sugar
granulated sugar
brown sugar
baking powder
baking soda
unsweetened cocoa powder
pure vanilla extract
pure maple syrup
peanut butter
chocolate chips
dried fruit
Poha/Pressed Rice

This list is a reflection of what I have in my kitchen. You should modify it according to your lifestyle & food habits.

Always check your pantry. Don’t let anything expire on your shelf. Remember the golden rile FIFO: First In First Out.

Posted in Organization | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

What should I talk of…

Posted by Dipti Shah on March 19, 2009

Deciding to write a food blog was the easy. Now came the difficult part — the actual writing. Being a non-vocal person, this was pretty difficult for me. But I had decided so I began my research & found tons of food blogs.

Now obviously a food blog will talk of food, recipes, restaurant reviews etc, but I wanted to my blogs to offer something different at the same time shouldn’t take a lot of time (remember I work 24 X 7 ).

So keeping this in mind, I decided to be Rachael Ray & Sandra Lee combination (Rachdra Lol !!!!!!) & hope this will help me get more & more organized.

Posted in Welcome | Leave a Comment »

Daal Fry

Posted by Dipti Shah on March 18, 2009


  • 1/2 cup Gram [Toor] daal
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 Tomato finely chopped
  • 2 Green Chillies Split in half
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
  • A pinch of Asafoetida [Hing]
  • A pinch of Turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Few Coriander Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 5-6 Curry leaves


  • Cook the Gram Daal and water in a pan
  • Cooking in a pressure cooker is the easiest
  • After its cooked, mash it and add turmeric powder in it.
  • Heat oil in a pan and season it with Mustard seeds, Cumin Seeds, Curry leaves and Green Chillies.
  • Add the chopped onions and fry till golden brown.
  • Then add the tomatoes and Asafoetida to it.
  • Add Red Chilli powder and stir it well.
  • Now pour the cooked Gram Daal in it and add water if required.
  • Let it boil for 1 minute.
  • Garnish it with Coriander leaves before serving


    You can substitute gram daal with yellow moong dal or split masoor dall  or 1/2 masoor  & 1/2 moong dal .

Posted in Daals/Kadhis | Tagged: | 1 Comment »