Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Our Christmas Dinner : Baked Lobster tails in Lemon Butter, Mussels in Yellow curry sauce, Roasted Potatoes, Sauteed Asparagus and cheese platter

Baked Lobster tails in lemon butter : I washed and towel dried the loster tails. Then made a long slit till the end of the tail and loosened the flesh from shell. Poured the Lemon butter and baked in 475F preheated oven for 30 min.

Lemon Butter : Stir together 3 tbsp melted butter , 2 teaspoons and grated lemon rind until blended. Stir in 1tsp parsley.

Roasted Potatoes : Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut 2 large potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1tbsp garlic; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan and spread out into 1 layer. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning.Remove the potatoes from the oven, toss with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

Sauteed Asparagus :  Cut and discard 2 inch bias from bottom of the Asparagus. Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large skillet and add 1chopped garlic followed by 12 asparagus. Stir fry for 3-4 min or until done. Sprinkle salt and pepper.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


A gift basket can be a great idea for any occasion. A little bit of creativity and baking skills will help you to put together a fabulous holiday gift basket for the season. I made this gift basket for my daughters kindergarten teacher.
Holiday food gift basket for teacher
What you need :

  • A basket (I got mine from Ross for $5)
  • 2 jars (same place -  Ross, $4 and $3)
  • Ceramic mini loaf pan (i got this cute one from Micheal's for $1)
  • Ribbons and tags (I got it from Target Dollar counter, $1 each)
  • Large  Basket Bag to cover the whole gift basket (I got it from Dollar store, two for $1)

Holiday food gift basket for teacher
How to assemble a gift basket?
  • Nan Khatai (cardamom cookies) - It is a perfect holiday gift and is a fail proof recipe. Bake, cool and transfer the cookies to the glass jar.
  • Peanut butter cranberry tea bread - I baked the tea bread in 4 parchment lined ceramic mini pans for 30 min. After cooling, I shrink wrapped the loaf and put it back in the mini pan. (This is not a sweet bread, it is a breakfast loaf to have with jam / butter)
  • Dry fruit and seeds Granola:  I used 2 cups of oats and 1/2 cup of nuts and 2 tbsp of seeds to make the granola. 
  • Transfer the goodies to a gift basket, label them and cover with gift basket bag.  A festive ribbon on top completes your gift basket. 
  • Viola!! we are done. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Planning for a vegetarian Indian Lunch /dinner party ?? 

I always enjoyed planning a party menu and in years i had helped many of my friends and readers in fixing their Party menu. If you decided the menu, you can do your dessert / Appetizer on previous day. I have uploaded a tab in my blog earlier-  'Party Menu and Ideas ' which gives you more detailed information about planning a party menu.

Malai mushroom kebab, naan and paneer butter masala

You can choose south Indian Lunch / Dinner Party or North Indian Lunch / Dinner party menu. I like to Include more colors and different flavors to my cooking. If you are hosting a party include these,
  • Appetizers / Starters
  • side dish dry / gravy / both
  • Rice
  • Roti / Naan / Paratha
  • Dessert
This is a regular north Indian Dinner Party which i made for my family. Dishes were
I hope you will wow your friends and family with these recipes. 


Thursday, December 3, 2015


This simple and colorful mango salsa is super easy to make! It's sweet, mild spicy and absolutely delicious. Serve this fresh mango salsa with chips, on tacos or salads, or as a salad.  

Mango salsa for Tacos / Tortilla chips / baked chicken / grilled fish

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 15 mins
Serves: 2 cups


Ripe mangoes : 2, diced (see photos)
Red bell pepper : 1 small or 3/4 of a medium bell pepper, chopped
Purple onion : 1/2 Cup, finely chopped
Jalapeno : 1, seeded and finely chopped
fresh cilantro / Coriander leaves : 4 tbsp ++, finely chopped
lime juice from 1 large lime
Salt  to taste

Mango salsa for Tacos / Tortilla chips / baked chicken / grilled fish


In a serving bowl, combine the prepared mango, bell pepper, onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Drizzle with the juice of one lime and mix well. Season to taste with salt. For best flavor, let the salsa rest in refrigerator covered for 10 minutes or longer.


  1. You can add 1/4 cup fresh diced cucumber to make another delicious Mango cucumber salsa.
  2. You can make avocado mango salsa by using cubed avocado pieces instead of bell peppers.
  3. Use finely chopped fresh pineapple pieces instead of bell peppers to make Mango-Pineapple salsa.

Mango salsa for Tacos / Tortilla chips / baked chicken / grilled fish

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

TOMATO SOUP - Step by step

Nothing says comfort more than a warm bowl of  Tomato soup. It may be served hot or cold and may be made in a variety of ways. Today i am sharing my favorite Tomato soup with Fresh tomatoes. Somehow i felt the canned tomatoes are not giving the real flavorful Tomato soup. So ditch the can and try out my classic version of Fresh tomato soup by blanching tomatoes, removing the skins, then blending into a puree.

Fresh tomato soup - Indian Style

How to make Tomato Soup with Fresh Tomatoes in the traditional way ?
Cooking time : 15 min
Preparation time : 5 min
Serves : 3 
Ingredients :

Tomatoes : 4
Finely chopped White Onion : 1/2 of a Medium onion or 1 cup
Bay leaf : 1
Garlic : 2 large cloves, finely chopped
Dried Basil : 1/2 tsp or 2 fresh basil leaves , finely chopped
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Carrot  : 1, chopped roughly
Beetroot : 1 large slice or 2 wedges (optional, but i use it always for the color)
Corn flour : 1 1/2 tbsp
Butter : 2 tbsp
Vegetable Stock / Chicken Stock : 32 oz / 4 cups*
Salt and pepper to taste

Step by Step Directions of Fresh tomato soup:

1. Blanch your Tomatoes. Blanching is a heat-and-cool process. It stops or slows natural enzymes in the tomatoes that could cause loss of flavor and color. It also makes easy work of peeling the tomatoes.

Blanching Tomatoes : shallow " X " on the bottom of tomato with a sharp knife
2. Boil a pot of water. (There should be enough water to immerse the tomatoes). Choose the Right tomato which is firm, fresh and juicy. I use vine ripened tomatoes / plum tomatoes. Using a sharp knife, cut a shallow ' X ' on the bottom of each tomato.

3. Add the Tomatoes in to the boiling water and allow to boil for 60 to 90 seconds maximum. Immediately transfer the tomatoes into an ice filled bowl using a slotted spoon. 

Blanching tomatoes : Transferring the boiled tomatoes to ice filled bowl
4. Remove the tomatoes from ice water when it cools. Now it is easy to peal the skin. Peel it and allow to cool.

5. Meanwhile boil the carrot and beetroot pieces in a pressure cooker and allow to cool.

Blanched and peeled tomatoes are ready for tangy tomato soup
6. Transfer the blanched tomatoes and cooked veggies along its water to a blender and puree it. Keep aside. 

7. Heat butter in a soup pot or dutch oven and add the bay leaf. Now add the chopped onions and garlic, Saute till the onions are translucent. Stir in the tomato - veggie puree and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar, chicken stock / vegetable stock and allow to boil for 10 minutes. 

8. Combine corn flour in a small bowl with few tbsp of warm soup and make a smooth paste. Now add it to the soup and allow to thicken for 2-3 minutes. Add the salt and dried basil and turn off the flame. Transfer to 3 bowls and top with croutons or a dollop of Greek yogurt / Sour cream.

Tomato soup with fresh tomatoes
Notes *

Stock is the base of any soup. If you are using water instead of stock, you are missing the key ingredient of any stock - Celery. So if you are using water instead of stock, use a rib of celery stalk when you boil veggies.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Thai Yellow Curry – delicious and easy yellow curry with vegetables / chicken / prawns / Tofu. I have tried with all these options and i just love it.  So i am uploading all varieties of Thai yellow curry today. 

If you are a Thai food lover, I am sure you love the different types of Thai curries, named after the color of the curry: red, yellow and green. One of my favorite Thai curries is yellow curry- mild spicy, aromatic curry simmered in coconut milk with yellow curry paste, potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, baby corns, and onions served with steam rice

A Simple Thai Curry Dinner Party with Pad Thai, Jasmine Rice and Thai Yellow Curry
Making yellow curry is so easy and takes only 20 min, and much cheaper than eating out. The primary spices in kaeng kari / Yellow curry are Turmeric, lemon grass, garlic, shallots, galangal, dried red chillies, coriander seeds, kaffir lime peel, cumin, cinnamon, mace and cardamom. A touch of palm sugar enhances the flavor of this creamy coconut milk based curry. 

Thai Yellow Chicken curry with Jasmine Rice
How to make Thai Yellow curry with Tofu / vegetables / Chicken / Shrimp at home :
Serves : 3 Adults
Cooking time : 20min

Ingredients :

White Onion : 1/2
Mae Ploy Yellow Curry Paste : 2 tbsp
Sesame Oil : 1 tbsp
Canned Coconut Milk : 1 Cup + 1/2cup
Warm water : 1/2 Cup
One Chicken breast, cubed /  Tofu 100 g , Cubed / Shrimp 10, deveined
Bell peppers : 3/4 cup, cubed, I used  green, red and yellow bell peppers
Carrots : 1, finely chopped or thinly sliced 
Palm Sugar : 2 tsp
Potato : 1 medium , Peeled and  Cubed
Coriander leaves : 2 springs, finely chopped
Basil : 2 leaves, finely chopped

Thai Vegetarian Yellow curry with Tofu, zucchini, bell peppers and carrots
 Directions For Thai Yellow Chicken Curry :

1. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil until very hot, then drop in the onion and cook until it is translucent. Spoon in the curry paste and stir it around for a few seconds to begin to cook the spices and release all the flavors. Next, pour in the coconut milk and let it come to a bubble.

2. Stir in the chicken pieces, boiling water, potatoes and combine well. Cover and Allow to cook until the chicken and potatoes are cooked 90%. Now add the carrots, baby corns and bell peppers. Allow to cook but still firm to bite. Now add palm sugar and rest of the 1/2 cup coconut milk . 

3. Adjust the seasonings. Add coriander leaves and basil leaves and allow to boil for two more minutes. Serve hot with Jasmine Rice.

Thai Yellow Shrimp Curry with vegetables and potatoes
Directions For Thai Yellow Tofu Curry / Thai yellow Shrimp Curry :

1. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil until very hot, then drop in the onion and cook until it is translucent. Spoon in the curry paste and stir it around for a few seconds to begin to cook the spices and release all the flavors. Next, pour in the coconut milk and let it come to a bubble.

2. Stir in the boiling water, potatoes and combine well. Cover and Allow to cook until the potatoes are cooked 90%. Now add the tofu, carrots, baby corns and bell peppers. Allow to cook but still firm to bite. Now add palm sugar and rest of the 1/2 cup coconut milk . 

3. Adjust the seasonings. Add coriander leaves and basil leaves and allow to boil for two more minutes. Serve hot with Jasmine Rice.


Monday, October 26, 2015


Chowder is a rich and thick soup typically containing Clams / Chicken / Fish / Sweet corn, cooked in medium flame with cream.

A Simple Italian Dinner Party Menu : Corn and Cheese Chowder, Buttermilk marinated Crunchy chicken thighs and Sun-dried tomato Pesto Pasta
How to make perfect corn and cheese chowder  
Preparation time : 10 min
Cooking time : 20 min
Serves : 6

Ingredients :

White onion : 1/2, Finely chopped
Bacon : 1, finely chopped (Bacon gives the traditional chowder flavor, but Vegetarian can omit it and use butter : 2 tbsp)
Bell peppers : 1 Cup (i used half of each green, yellow and red bell peppers )
Yellow Sweet Corn : 1 ear of corn , kernels sliced off or 1 cup frozen kernels
Celery Stalk : 1, Chopped
All purpose flour / Maida : 1/2 cup
Half and half : 2 cups or (1 cup heavy whipping cream + 1 cup stock)
Chicken Stock / Vegetable Stock : 2 Cups
Cheddar cheese : 1/2 Cup (You can substitute with  Monterey jack too)
Pepper Jack : 1/2 Cup
Green Onion  : 1 Stalk, sliced thinly to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Corn and Cheese Chowder 
Directions for easy Corn and Cheese Chowder

1. In a large pot / dutch oven, add the finely chopped bacon and cook for 2 minutes. If you are not using bacon add butter to the pan and melt in medium to high heat. Add the Onion and saute till translucent.

2. Now add the celery and saute for a minute and then add the bell peppers and cook for 3 -4 minutes.  Add 1 tbsp butter now, followed by the sweet corn kernels (Fresh / frozen) and saute for 1 minute.

3. Sprinkle the flour and stir to combine, about 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and stir well. Allow this to thicken, 3 or 4 minutes, and then reduce the heat to low. Stir in the half-and-half, and then cover and allow to simmer and thicken for 10 minutes . Stir in the cheeses and allow to melt. Add salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with green onions.

4. Serve hot :)

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Sunday, September 27, 2015


"Honey Chilli potatoes" is a famous Indo-Chinese Vegetarian Appetizer. Traditional method is to toss fresh fried potato wedges in a honey Chilly sauce. To make this healthy instead of deep frying the potatoes I shallow fried each sides.

The reason i suggest this method is that even if you deep fry the potatoes, tossing them is honey chilly sauce will make them loose the crispiness in 20 to 30 minutes.  So I recommend the healthy option of shallow frying the potatoes wedges. 

How to make Sesame Honey Chilly potatoes
Preparation time : 5min
Cooking time : 30min
Serves : 2 adults and 1 child

Ingredients :

Potato : 1 large or 2 medium (I used one large potato)
Sesame seeds : 1 tsp
Vegetable oil : 2 tbsp 

For the batter : 

Corn flour / Rice powder : 2 tbsp
Maida / All purpose flour : 2 tbsp
Vinegar / Lemon juice : 1/2 tsp
vegetable Oil : 1 tsp
Orange / red food color : a drop ( optional )
Beaten egg : 1 (optional)
Peeper and Salt

For the Honey Chilly Sauce : 

Honey : 1 tbsp
Ginger : 1/2 tsp, finely chopped
Ginger : 2 cloves, finely chopped
Onion : 1 slice, finely chopped
Tomato Sauce : 1 1/2 tbsp
Soy sauce : 1 tsp
Chilly Sauce : 1 tsp ( i used 1 tsp chilly powder )

SESAME HONEY CHILLY POTATOES with Fried rice, peanut and pineapple noodles and spicy stir fried chicken
Method : 

1. Peel the potato and cut in to wedges or fingers. Combine batter ingredients and make a thick batter. Vegetarians can substitute egg with water. Add potato wedges to the batter and keep aside.

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan on medium flame and add the battered potatoes. Shallow fry each side until crispy (20 minutes). Transfer them to a plate.

3. In the same pan, add onion, ginger and garlic. Combine honey, 1/4 cup water , tomato sauce, soy sauce, salt and chilly sauce in a small bowl. Turn the heat to low and add the sauce mix to the pan. Allow it to boil for few minutes until it becomes thick. Taste and adjust salt / Chilly powder/ honey as required+. Now transfer the shallow fried potatoes to the pan and toss well.  When it is coated well, sprinkle sesame seeds and turn off the flame.

4. Serve hot with Fried rice or noodles or as a appetizer or after school snack.

Sesame Honey Chilly potatoes with Spicy chicken sir fry, pineapple and peanut noodles and fried rice
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Satisfy your snack cravings with these roasted Chickpeas in oven. These are high in protein and ideal for kids snack boxes. It takes less than five ingredients and less than 5 minutes active cooking time. I love such recipes :) . Ditch the croutons and use these roasted chickpeas as a perfect crispy topping for salad too.

Kids snack Box Series : Oven Roasted Chickpeas
How to make crispy roasted chickpeas in oven
Active cooking time : 2 or 3 minutes
serves : 5 Adults

Oven-roasted chickpeas are as simple as it gets — toss with olive oil and salt, roast, eat — but there are a few key things to keep in mind to get successful crunchy roasted chickpeas. First- don't skimp on live oil, second - Add the seasonings after roasting the chickpeas.

Ingredients :

Dry chick peas : 2 cups (you can use a can of garbanzo beans too)
Olive oil : 2 tbsp 
Sea salt :1/2tsp
Seasonings : i used a pinch of pepper, dried rosemary, cinnamon powder and 1tbsp of honey (see the flavor suggestions below for more variations)

Method :

1. Soak the dry chickpeas overnight. Now cook chickpeas with salt in aa large soup pot till they are soft but it should not be mushy, i don't use my pressure cooker for that reason. It is a must to cook the chickpeas before roasting them to get that "crunch".Now drain and keep aside. If you have time, allow it to air dry(i never could to do that).

2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Spread out in an even layer on the baking tray and season with sea salt and Olive oil. Stir with your hand or spatula to make sure chickpeas are well coated.

3. Bake for 45 minutes, shake the pan every 15 minutes. Now take it out add the seasonings (i mixed homey , rosemary and cinnamon in a bowl and added to the roasted chickpeas)and bake again for few more minutes till it becomes crispy 5-10 minutes. 

4. Serve while it is warm and crunchy. 

Kids snack Box Series : Oven Roasted Chickpeas
Flavor suggestions :
1. Chilly powder / Paparika and garlic powder
2. Any dried or fresh herb with garlic powder
3. Thyme and onion powder
4. 5 tbsp buffalo sauce 
5. Honey, Soy sauce and sesame seeds
6. Garam Masala and Chat masala

Happy Cooking,

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Thinly sliced pickled radishes make a delicious addition to any sandwich, grilled chicken, steak, tacos, burgers, salads or even on an omelet. If you've been wanting to learn how to make refrigerator pickles, start here!

House Made Pickled Baby Radishes
How to make Pickled Radishes / Baby Turnips :

Makes : 2 pint jars 

Preparation time : 20 min 
Use with in 4 weeks 

Ingredients :

Baby Radishes : 2 cups
White Vinegar : 1/2 Cup
Water : 1 Cup
Sugar : 1/4 Cup
Honey or Maple Syrup : 1 tbsp
Salt : 1/2 tsp
( Optional Add-ins : 2 Garlic cloves / 1/4 tsp Black pepper corns / 3 cloves / 1/4 tsp Dill seeds )

Refrigerator pickle with Baby Radishes
Directions :

1. Prepare the radishes - slice off the top and bottom of the baby radishes. Using a sharp Chef's Knife or mandoline, thinly slice the baby radishes into small rounds. Transfer them to Glass jar and Keep aside.

2. Prepare the brine: In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil with sugar, salt and honey or maple syrup. Remove from the heat and add the vinegar. Stir and pour over the radishes / turnips. Allow to cool in room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 days before eating. Shake the jar from time to time and remove from the brine with a clean slotted spoon. 

Important Notes for Pickling Radish :

1. Container matters : Refrigerator Pickles should be stored in glass jars, not plastic containers. I use mason jars for refrigerator pickles and salad dressings. You can use any glass jar with a tight lid.

2. Smell : Radish pickles can give off a strong odor if it sits long time in refrigerator. Make sure you use a tight lid for the container and try to use it with in 4 weeks. 

Happy Cooking,

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

GARLIC PICKLE - Step by Step

Happy Onam Readers,

This year 'Lemon n Spice' is giving you an easy to follow Garlic pickle, with the ingredients which you can find in your pantry at any time. This garlic pickle has a thick gravy from ground roasted garlic cloves and tamarind extract. I will definitely say this is the best garlic pickle recipe ever!!! and it goes very well with rice/ dosa / curd rice.

Easy to make Garlic Pickle / Veluthulli Achar
Kerala garlic pickle / Kerala Style Veluthulli achar / Sadya Veluthulli achar
Cooking time : 20 minutes
Preparation time : 30 min (It depends- i am very slow to peel garlic. If you have peeled garlic, you can cut the preparation time in to half)

Ingredients :

Garlic cloves / Veluthulli : 2 Cups / 325 gm
Chilly powder : 3 tsp
Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds / Kaduku : 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds Uluva  : 1 tsp
Dried Red Chilies : 2
Curry leaves : 1 Spring
Salt : 1/2 tbsp
Asfoetida Powder : 1/2 tsp +1/4tsp
Jaggery / Sugar : 1/2 tsp
Tamarind / Kolpuli : Lime sized / 100g
Sesame oil / Gingeli oil / Nallenna : 3tbsp

How to make Authentic Kerala garlic pickle / Kerala Style Veluthulli achar / Sadya Veluthulli achar :

1. Soak tamarind in one cup of water for 15 minutes. Squeeze and make a thick extract and strain it using a sieve. Keep aside.

2. Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil in a heavy bottom Kadai and add peeled, washed and pat dried garlic cloves.  I used large and medium garlic cloves, so i cut the large ones into half. When it turns to slightly golden brown, transfer it to a plate and allow to cool.

Easy to make Garlic Pickle / Veluthulli Achar
3. When it cools, transfer half of the roasted garlic to a mixer bowl and make a coarse paste of it ( one mix in the blender is enough). Meanwhile, Add remaining 2 tbsp oil to the same kadai and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add fenugreek seeds followed by dried red chillies , curry leaves.

Easy to make Garlic Pickle / Veluthulli Achar
4. Simmer the flame and add red chilly powder, turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp Asfoetida powder and saute until you get a nice aroma. At this point add tamarind extract, Jaggery and allow to boil. When it thickens, stir well until the oil separates.

5. Add coarse garlic paste, roasted garlic and allow to cook in low - medium flame for another 10 minutes. Now turn off the flame and add the remaining 1/4 tsp Asfoetida powder, adjust the salt and allow to cool.

Easy to make Garlic Pickle / Veluthulli Achar
6. Transfer it to an air tight glass container when it is really cool and add enough oil to cover the top surface of pickle. (1/2 tbsp )

7. Pickle stays fresh in room temperature for 4 days and stays up to 3 months in refrigerator. Make sure you use clean, dry spoon each time to take the pickle.

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