Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I was never an oats person, but as when I came to realize the benefits, I started loving it, and wanted to add in Oats in everything.....well, almost!!!

When you are looking for a delicious yet healthy start to your day, you know you are on the right track towards keeping yourself fit for your life. Nothing beats beginning your morning with a meal that will keep you energized and active throughout.

A healthy breakfast is the call of the hour for every household and each individual be it a child, a teenager, an adult or old person. Everybody should vie to fulfil the nutritional needs of their body with a breakfast that will add to your lifespan. A little effort and some planning is worth all of it.

Addiing Oats to your meals can provide you with the kickstart you are looking for. High on fibre especially beta-glucans , which aid in reducing blood cholesterol levels. They are a high source of Vitamin E , and consumption of Oats regularly aid in control of Blood Sugar, Blood Pressure, Anti Cancer, along with regulating your bowel function.

This multifunctional cereal can be added in your daily lives in many ways – add them to your cookies, breads, chappati flour, cakes – try adding a handful into all your cooking.

Today I am giving a recipe to make delicious savoury pancake made of oats. Addition of carrots give them a boost in antioxidants and Vitamin A. They are easy and quick to make, and will never fail your taste buds

Preparation Time : 5minutes

Cooking Time : 5 minutes

Ingredients :-

½ cup – oats
¼ cup – coarse semolina
½ cup – low fat yoghurt (maziwa lala)
1 – onion chopped finely (small)
1 – green chilli (optional)
A small bunch of coriander leaves – chopped finely
½ carrot – grated
Ginger – a small piece grated

Method :-
Mix all the ingredients except the carrot and keep aside for 2-3 minutes.
Add enough water to make it into a pouring consistency
Heat a non stick pan and when its hot pour a ladle full of the batter and spread it
Spread the grated carrots on the top
Let it cook on one side and flip it over cooking the carrot side too

Serve it with any accompaniment of your liking or eat it plain.  If cooked on a good quality non stick pan it is zero oil yet delicious!!

 I served it with a simple takkali kootan (tomato onion curry).

Friday, April 26, 2013


Today we celebrate 12 years of our wedding!!  Yes 12 years have passed and a two lives from the North and South of the country came together and mingled to become a family.

Our marriage was a movie story kinds.  The boy - a North Indian Punjabi Hindu and the girl - a Delhi born and brought up Keralite Christian girl.  My family was so totally against the marriage and they tried all tactics and tricks and emotional blackmail to pull me away from this so called alliance that I had sought for myself.  And his family had happily accepted me as a part of their family because they knew that their son had made up his mind and they would not be able to change his mind.  My parents finally gave in to their stubborn daughter after a lot of melodrama and mein shaadi karoongi to isse nahi to kunwari reh jaoongi!!!

Today we have withstood a lot of phases in our lives and stuck by each other through thick and thin.  Ups and downs of lives and careers, making tough decisions and enjoying the sweetness that life offered us.  Most importantly a beautiful daughter who is the light of our lives, and the most precious gift God could give us.

Life witthout each other would be incomplete and infathomable and so I pray that God blesses our togetherness now and till death do us apart.

This cake was made some while before but I am posting it today, since the anniversary cake was brought from the market.  I had made this cake on the occassion of the farewell of a good friend of mine leaving Kenya and resettling in Canada.

For the first time I made a 3 layered cake and I must say it was HUUUGEEE.  The cake must have weighed at least 3 kgs..............but it was delicious.  I had strawberries and a fruit cocktail can that Rajeev had brought from the Del Monte factory, which I also wanted to use fruitfully :)

Ingredients :-

For the sponge

1 cup - maida / refined flour
1 cup  - atta / wheatflour (I add to increase the health quotient of the cake)
1 tspn - baking powder
1 tspn - baking soda
1/2 cup - warm milk
3 eggs
1 cup - butter or refined oil (I mostly use oil to increase the health quotient of the cake)
1 cup - sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tspn - vanilla essence


Seive the flours, salt, baking powder and soda together
Separately beat the oil and sugar together till creamy
Add the egg one by one till fluffy
To this add the vanilla essence
Add this mixture to the flours and mix well
Add the milk mix well
Pour this into a greased and dusted pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180 deg cel till 45 minutes

For the strawberry frosting

1-1/2 cup - fresh cream
1 cup - icing sugar
1 tspn - strawberry colour
1 tspn - strawberry essence

Beat the cream till soft peaks form
To this add the icing sugar and beat till stiff peaks form
Add the stawberry colour and essence and mix till you get the desired colour
Put this in the fridge till you are ready to use it

For the assembling

1 cup - juice (use any flavour you like but orange or pineapple goes best, I used the residue from the fruit cocktail and some pineapple juice)
Fruits from the fruit cocktail
Strawberry fan to garnish


Cut away the top of the cake to make a smooth surface
Now cut the cake carefully with a big serrated knife into three slices
Keep these safely and separately
Now on the tray you are going to serve put the first layer and sprinkle juice on this till it is well moist
Spread a layer of the cream on this and spread small peices of the fruit cocktail on the cream
Next take the other layer and sprinke juice till well moist
Very carefully place this on top of the fruit and creamed layer.  Press lightly and again spread the cream and fruits
Now add on the last layer and this time cover the whole cake with cream.
Top this with strawberry fans which I made by cutting slices of strawberry but without cutting right through and spreading these slices with very soft hands I used a fork to make a design on the cake and added some sprinkles on the corners

Sunday, April 21, 2013


My little daughter loves animals just like me.  Since she was about 3 months old, I have been showing her picture books of animals and her first love was HOOORRRSSEEE.  She loved the horse, and still loves it,
now that she gets to ride on one every Thursday in school!!!

We took her to the Safari Walk today and she just loooved it soo much.  We too enjoyed the lovely green surroundings with amazingly cool breeze and even though we had to walk through the whole park it was not tiring.  The walkway was made of wooden planks which were surprisingly very strong and reliable and took us through the jungle.

We came to celebrate with this lovely muffin which was not too difficult to make

Recipe Source - My own Time taken - Preparation (15 minutes), Baking (25-30 minutes) Ingredients :-

1/4 cup - maida / refined flour
1 cup - full cream / malai
1 cup - caster / powdered sugar
cherries - halved and 4 each per cake
1/4 cake  - raspberry jam
Milk - enough to make into a thick flowing batter (room temperature)
1 tsp - baking powder
1/2 tsp - baking soda
1tspn - vanilla essence

Recipe :-

Preheat oven 180 deg Cel
Seive the flour, baking soda  and baking powder together
Beat the cream and the sugar just till mixed welll
Now add this to the flour
Add the vanilla essence
Mix milk till you achieve a pouring thick consistency
I took the halved cherries and laid 4 of them side by side covering the bottom of the cupcake liner with the rounded side down and the cut side up
Now pour batter covering 1/2 the cup
Microwave the jam along with a tbspn of water and beat well till its loose
Add a tspn of this jam and cover another tbspn full of batter on top
Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

The cake was moist and soft and we enjoyed it very much, especially my girl

Friday, April 12, 2013


As I mentioned before that when it comes to food, I really dont think too much of the calories, since it spoils my taste. My habbit is to eat the food, and then worry about the calories, feel guilty for a split second and then say "aaaaahhhhh what can I do", and move on..... But it is not that I like only calorie laden food. There are sooo many things that are low on cals, but still taste awesome, and today's recipe is one of them. Dhokla. It is a humble steamed cake that hails from the Gujarati cuisine, though I have seen various other parts also making versions of this. It has surely become a favourite amongst most people owing to the healty yet delicious factor. I just looooove dhokhla, but I like one where the sweetnees of the sugar and tartness of lime is balanced. I dont like a bland dhokla with a overly sweet syrup like tadka, or one where there is little sweetness. There are very few places in Delhi which have that balanced tasted, and there are unfortunately NONE in Nairobi. And there are times, when I just crave to eat this spongy sweet and sour snack, which I can gorge on guiltfree. The result of many many trials and errors finally resulted one day in the following. There have been soooo many experiments, some turning out hard like rock, some uncooked, some falling apart - but this one was perfecct, and I was sooo happy. Happy for the fact that my craving is over, I will not have to crave anymore..... Here goes the recipe


For the base / dhokla

1 cup - besan / gramflour
2 tspn - rawa / sooji / semolina
1/2 tspn - citric acid
1/4 tspn - baking soda
1/2 tspn - turmeric powder
2 tbspn - sugar
1/4 tspn - salt
1/4 tspn - grated ginger
1/4 tspn - green chilli paste (optional)
2 tspn - oil
1/4 tspn - hing (levelled)

For the tadka

1 tbspn - oil
1/2 tspn - mustard seeds / sarson daane
1/4 tspn - cumin seeds
curry leaves - a few sprigs
1/2 tsp - salt
2 tbspn - sugar
1 cup - water

For garnish
Grated carrots
Grated coconut
Chopped corriander
Green chillies


For the base / dhokla

Mix all the ingredients except the bakind soda and add water to make a thick pourable paste
Ensure there are no lumps
Once this batter is formed, add the baking soda and beat till the batter rises
Keep aside for about 5-10 minutes
Grease a glass bowl and pour the batter
Now steam the same for about 15 minutes, checking if the batter has cooked through
I am assuming at this stage that this can also be microwaved.  It may take about 8 minutes.

For the tadka
In a pan heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds
Once they sputter add the curry leaves.
Now pour in the water and once boiled add the sugar and salt

Pour this onto the dhokla and leave it for about 1/2 hour

Garnish with the grated carrots, coconut and corriander leaves
You can also make the chillies.  I just leave a little water from the tadka, slit the chillies add some sugar, salt, garam masala, amchoor and fry them for 3 minutes.

I am assuming that the type of gramflour and other factors make a difference how the dhokla turns out. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


There are so many memories that friends bring along.  Right from our first friends when we were toddlers, running  around with them, then as we go to school, the first people we connect with, and then as we grow older we blend along with those around us in school and some near our homes.  There are some who last a lifetime, and some who come and go like a whirlwind.........

What would we do without friends??

Over the years, I have learnt that no friends are perfect, coz we ourselves our not.  To except all that we need of just one person is unfair to say the least.  There are friends who we can cry with, there are those who we can laugh openly with, there are those with whom we can share our deepest thoughts, our lives secrets, there are some with whom we can shop incessantly, there are some with whom we can just be quiet.........  I have learnt that I cant expect one person to be the best.  It is just not possible.

When it comes to being friends, I can always go back to my friends with whom I used to go to our local chaat vaala and enjoy endless servings of gol guppes.  Crispy balls filled with tangy sweet water and some boiled potates and chole to give it a texture............Wow, whoever invented this was a great person.  Indian food would be incomplete without the street food it offers, and gol guppe are an inseparable part of that.

After coming to Nairobi, I have soooooooo miiisssssseeeed the chaats.  There are days, especially evenings when we just looong to have these foods, which satiated our souls and tummies.  But there is nowhere to go.  There definitely is chaat available in Nairobi, but I have never relished them.  They lack the taste and texture.  This has resulted in a lot of learning, yes learning to do these on my own.

When I was in Delhi, earlier this year, I picked up 2 packets of ready to fry gol guppe from our local namkeen store.  So I had these, now I had to arrange for the paani and the chutneys, which I sure did.

And this was the result.  Now I dont crave for them anymore.  Almost every weekend we have a chaat party at our home with Gol Gappe, Chaat Paapdi and Tikki.  No dinner....

Havent tried my hand at making the gol gappe since I have the packets.  Will do so when I run out of them.

Here goes the recipe for the paani

Paani for Gol Gappe


1 cup - mint / pudina leaves
1 big ball - tamarind (add half cup water and microwave for a minute and let rest for 5 minutes)
1 tbspn - kaala namak / rock salt
1 tbspn - jeera powder / roasted cumin seeds powder
1 tspn - hing / asofetida
2 tbspn - chopped dhaniy leaves / corriander leaves
1 - 1/2 litre - water
2 tbspn - raita boondi
2 green chillies (optional)  I avoid it since my LO will say mamma minchi hai
1/2 inch pc - ginger


Just whizz everything in the blender except the boondi, remembering to remove the seeds from tamarind.

Strain n adjust the masalas to your liking.

Serve them with some boiled potatoes which are mashed and add a little chaat masala and some meethi saunth (sweet tamarind and jaggery chutney)

Beleive me the first time I did this, we were soooooooooooo happy as if we were having a peice of heaven.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Everybody is becoming very health concious. Gone are those days when people, especially Indian people load their phulkas with a dollop of ghee (clarified butter). Also gone are the days when Sunday breakfast meant - stuffed aloo, gobhi, mooli, paneer etc etc parathas, first fried in ghee and then topped with maa ka pyar (mother's love) i.e, a dollop of big butter!! and the lunches meant Chole Bhature, and the dinner meant daal chawal...... Times have changed and people are seriously moving onto healthy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, thought all the above things that I mentioned still remain a favourite amongst homes.

Honestly I am not one of those people who counts each bite that I put into my mouth. When it comes to food, I really dont like to think about the calories. I just love to enjoy the taste irrespective of the amount of cals its adding onto my already sooooo overloaded existence !!!

But my DH sure is a person who likes to count his calories. So I have to think about various options for his breakfast. Vegetable Upma happens to be a good choice that I make which keeps both him and me happy. Quick to make and delicious too, and not to mention healthy too.)

1 cup - semolina / rawa / sooji
1/2 cup - chopped vegetables (carrots, beans, corn, peas)
2 tbspn - peanuts
1 tspn - mustard seeds / sarson a few sprigs - curry leaves
1 tspn - sugar
1 tspn - salt (pls adjust this to taste)
1/2 inch ginger - grated
1 green chilli - chopped fine
1 onion - chopped fine


First and foremost roast the semolina without oil in a wok Roast till it starts giving a nice warm smell
Remove it into a dish In the same wok add about a tbspn of oil and fry the peanuts
Remove the peanuts and keep them separately
Now the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and wait till they stop spattering Pls remember that the oil should be hot
Now add the chopped ginger and fry well
Add the onions and fry till pinkish brown
Now add the curry leaves and green chillies (I avoid green chillies for my LO)
When this is done add 2 1/2 cup of water and let the water come to a boil
Meanwhile put all the veggies in a microwave safe bowl and boil them for about 5-7 minutes, or till they are cooked and tender Strain them
To the boiling water add the salt and sugar (yes I learnt to add sugar from my mom, and blv me it enhances the taste of the upma)
Now add the veggies
Slowly add the roasted semolina and keep stirring with one hand
Cook till the semolina is cooked and all the water has dried up

We used be served this with sugar sprinkled on top most of the time, and I love it, and so does my LO. My husband loves it with some sweet jam.