Sunday, November 9, 2014


Children  who would eat everything that is set in front of them at the table are virtually extinct…or I think I will be so right in saying that such a species never existed!!  No, No…..never existed.
I remember my mum giving us an ultimatum that we will not be able to move our butts off the dinner table till those greens and veggies we had so conveniently set aside on our plates are not gobbled up.  And gobble up we did, gulping them down with a glassful of water.  I try and do the same to my kid today, and see a stomping of feet and and a river of crocodile tears and I shamefully have to let go. I have to learn some lessons in motherhood I guess.  
However, on  the hindsight to fight with the inefficiency of not being assertive enough (sigh!!) I have to pat myself on my back for having learnt a few tips and tricks that help me give her what I like without her even knowing it, and it is my pleasure to share the same with you.  It certainly takes a little preparation and you will see yourself serving your kids a flurry of dishes that they just love and still manage to retain your own happiness.   So here I am sharing my secret to being a happy mom.

1.  Puree, puree and more puree.  It is time to give the blender a dust.  Be as innovative as you have never been in your life.  Boil up the veggies (anything and everything) and puree them and freeze them in small batches.  Maybe once in 15 days.  Remember, the trick is to keep the colour consistent.  Carrots and pumpkins together, can very conveniently go into pizza sauces, pasta base, soups of their choice, add a tspn to pancake batter, chappati dough or their favourite curry.  Likewise, zuchinni, pumpkin and be done together.  The trick is to retain the original colour of the dish they like but still be able to add these purees here and there.  Meat and mushrooms go very well, add in mushrooms with the ground meat or casseroles, and they sure wont know.   Don’t be over enthusiastic and add  so much that the kids will find out something is wrong!!

2.  Smoothies – These are the best places you can sneak in some fruits and even veggies.  Like add a piece of avocado to that chocolate smoothie.  Half a pear to the banana shake,  or bananas to chocolate milk,  try a grapes smoothie or a beetroot.  A bluberry or a strawberry shake will also camouflage something in a lighter shade like a zuchinni or a white pumpkin or a mix of fruits.  You will have to remember to be patient, have a lot of love and patience at that.  Experiment first, if they like it make it again – but then remember they can change their liking as quickly as they dump a toy right after the toy shop!!!

3.  Bake them in – a carrot muffin can also easily hide a zuchinni or a little pumpkin puree.  A chocolate cake will definitely accommodate a little beetroot which is pureed.  Infact, a chocolate cake will accommodate  a lot of other stuff – applesauce, a little grape puree, avocado, pumpkin.  Anything in moderation will surely blend well . Just remember not to overdo it.

4.  Freeze them out – add fruits and veggies pureed into yoghurt and freeze them into popsicle moulds to serve as a eye catching desserts.  Drizzle them with their favourite chocolate or strawberry sauce.
5.  Mix  and match - Mix a handful of healthy cereals to their sugary cereals.  They really wont mind if their cereals still retain the sweet and sugary stuff.   Make the use of the blender if they are still fussy.  Just grind the good stuff and add into their milk just before the sugary stuff goes in.  Give a slice of white and a slice of wholemeal bread.  Lots of mixing ideas here.

6.  Talk and get them involved.  Kids love to be a part of what you do.  Use them in the kitchen to do tiny bits like brushing the tray, making a few cookies, cleaning the veggies.  When they are involved in cooking they are most likely to eat it too.  Just keep saying how delicious the food they cooked is!!  Make the food interesting….carrots help you have sharp eyes, fish helps your hair to grow longer, greens make you strong like superman.  Talking rather than shouting goes a long way.  Oh, and don’t forget the rewards please.  Always give a reward for finishing a meal.  You need go and buy a whole toystore but a little goes a long way. A sticker, a pencil they like, a lollipop. Anything.

7.  Have the kids eat with you.  Try and merge mealtimes..  You will see a marked difference in the kids eating habbits.  They like to eat what you are eating and this will also teach them in being independent because they will make attempts to eat by themselves.  Kindly cooperate.

Phew.  ….thats a long list of to do !!  If you can even incorporate a few of the above into your  kitchens I am sure you will be rewarded by  having the satisfaction of seeing your kids eat good and healthy food.  Hey, bring your ears closer… can even try this with grown up kids who are picky eaters!!!  You really don’t have to tell them.

Am sharing a bread pizza which my kid happily eats and I hope yours will too.  If I say I dont love it, it would be denia.


2 wholegrain bread slices cut into small rounds

For the sauce
2 tbspn tomato paste (cooked)
1 tspn mayonnaise
¼ tspn  mixed herbs
4 tbspn of any veg puree
1 tbspn ketchup
A little mustard for flavour
2 pods garlic (grated finely)
Olive oil
Mix of grated cheddar and mozzarella cheese
Any veggies or ham they happily eat.

For the sauce
Add a tspn of olive oil and first saute the garlic, then heat the tomato paste and one by one add in the ketchup, mayo, mustard and the herbs.  Let this cook for a minute or so, but not too much

On a slow flame heat a pan.  The flame should be really low.
Butter one side of the bread and on the other side spread the sauce liberally.
Top with cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and mozzarella slices just torn roughly).  Add whatever else your kids fancy.
Now carefully place this pizza on a pan with a very low flame
Use a lid and let that crisp from below and the cheese melt on a low flame it will take about 5 minutes.
Drizzle a little olive oil and serve to kids.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Since I never get enough time to seperately post recipes on my blog, I decided that henceforth I will at least post whatever I am sending in for print!! 

Wonder why I didnt think of it earlier?

So here's the article for October 2014 in What's Happening in Dar

Marriage is a thousand little things put together – it is giving up your right, to be right in the middle of a heated argument.  It is forgiving, when the other lets you down. Its loving the other so much, that you step down, so that they can shine.  Its being a friend, a cheer leader, a confidant.  It’s a place of forgiveness that welcomes one home, and arms to run to in the midst of storm.  Marriage is Grace!!!
And this is the reason why Weddings are a time to celebrate.  It brings together not just two people, but two families, and therefore a lot of selflessness and sacrifice and patience goes into making that relation work and last a lifetime….because they are meant to last a lifetime.  That’s how God chose it to be.
And what celebration is complete without Food…none at all!!  Infact, Food remains and will always remain the “cherry on the cake”.  People may forget everything after a while, but the food remains in their minds and even for years to come they will not overlook to mention the taste and quality of food they relished at a wedding. 
Weddings world wide have a totally different trend of serving their guests.  Some serve as buffet, some as sit down menus, some a course-wise meal.  Personally I prefer the buffet anyday to a sitdown meal.  It gives me the pleasure of feasting my eyes on the extensive array of mouthwatering food while I can still catch up with guests. 
Traditional and modern, regional and multi-cuisine Menus are set and the guests are spoilt for choices.  While one’s own traditional cuisine is a must, however, Indian, Chinese, Italian, and Continental cuisines are the most popular cuisines that seems to find a place in the list.
I am today sharing a recipe which would blend itself in the Indian as well as African cuisine and this is exactly what I had in mind when this month’s issue was focusing on “Weddings”. I wanted to put up something which could find a place for both an Indian as well as an African wedding.  Other cultures are welcome to try this out for themselves, and wow their guests too.
It’s the humble Chicken Pulao….you might just say, why a Pulao at a wedding.  But I feel that the concept of the chicken and rice being cooked together along with whole spices can beat the Biriyani anyday.  Though Biriyani has its own charm, but the marriage of spices and the heartiness of the rice and chicken makes your tongue sing and soul dance, making it perfect for any wedding feast.

Prep Time – 20 minutes
Cooking Time – 30 minutes
Serves – 4


6-8 good pieces of chicken
250 grms good quality basmati rice (washed thoroughly and soaked for 20 minutes minimum)
4 big onions sliced thin
8-10 flakes of garlic
1 inch pc ginger
4 big tomatoes
4 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
5-6 cloves
4-5 pods of cardamom
2 star anise
6-8 whole pepper corns
1 tspn shahi jeera or caraway seeds
2 mace
1 tspn garam masala powder
1 tspn chicken masala powder
2 tbspn coriander powder
1 tspn fennel powder
1 tspn turmeric  powder
2 tspns chilli powder (optional – increase or decrease as per your liking)
½ cup plain yoghurt (Tanga Fresh Mtindi or any other)
1 tspn lemon juice
a big bunch coriander leaves
1 big bunch mint leaves

In a wide mouthed pan take 2 tbspn oil and let it heat
Add the whole spices in this order shahi jeera, crushed cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon sticks, whole peppercorns, star anise and mace.
Add the onions and fry till they start sweating
Add grated garlic and ginger and fry till onions are brownish golden colour
Add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, fennel powder, chicken masala powder and stir well.
Add the tomatoes and cook till they are pulpy and oil starts separating.  Add about a tbspn of salt
Add the chicken and fry  on high for about 5 minutes
Add yoghurt and cook till it dries up
Add the soaked rice and stir well along with coriander and mint leaves
Add the garam masala and enough salt to season your rice now and mix well
Add 500 ml + 1 cup more of water
Close the lid and let the water come to a boil once and then lower the flame and without stirring cook till the rice is done and water is absorbed. Switch off the flame.
Once this is done spread 2tbspn of clarified butter (ghee) or normal butter, give a gentle mix and close the lid again leaving it to assimilate for another 5-10 minutes

If you wish garnish with fried onions and serve with chilled onion and tomato yoghurt.


Monday, October 13, 2014


Phew I managed a gap in blogging once again.  I didnt mean to though.  Lots of reasons. I have been plainly too lazy and a little ill too.  A bout of cough and chest congestion brought me down and it look me long to just come out of the spell of lethargy.  I must confess I am still under it.

In all this, I am happy to share with you all that I have started writing the Food and Wine section of another magazine in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania "Incredible Dar".  So now its two magazines.  Makes me really happy and worthwhile.  If you wish you can check it out at

So far so good.  Its constructive use of my time sitting in a country from away from my own and having quite a lot of time to spare.

Life gives us so many opportunities here and there.  It is upto us to lookout for them and make the best use.  An opportunity once lost might not knock again, so dont let it waste.

Today I am sharing with you a recipe which is traditional in my mother-in-law's kitchen.  I really love the wholesome earthiness of the dish.  Its a simple channadahl pulao.  I have had another version of this in my mom's kitchen, and both are very different.  Mine is even more different.  What I am giving is my MILs recipe.  Anytime comfort food.

Ingredients -

1 cup basmati rice - washed and soaked
1/2 cup channa dahl - washed and soaked for about 1 hour
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods(crushed slightly)
1 tspn sugar
1 big onion - thinly sliced
1 tbspn jeera
1 tspn garam masala
1 tspn amchoor powder 
1 tbspn salt (more or less according to taste)

Recipe -

In a pan add a tbspn of ghee or oil, and let it heat.  Add the whole spices and after half a minute add the onions and sugar and saute till they are sweated and pinkish golden and caramalized
 Add the amchor, salt and the lentils.  Fry for about a minute.
 Add 1/2 cup water and and let the lentils cook till the water is consumed.
 Now add in 2 cups of water, i.e., double the quantity of rice and after one boil let it simmer and cook till done.
Add in the garam masala and a tspn of ghee (clarified butter) or butter and mix gently.
Leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Serve with pickles and any kind of raita

Sunday, August 31, 2014


Energy is something we all look forward to begin our day with.  In this fast paced life, where we are all short of time, and are always on the run, and unhealthy cravings and food are readily available , it is very important that we pay a little attention which will help us in the longer run.

“Health is Wealth” goes a very old saying – and it is true.  If we are healthy, we can push ourselves,  strain a little more, work towards that goal and yet be there for our families spending time with them and making them smile.   But for all this we need to be healthy mentally and physically.  Good food and exercise is what counts.  We should not ignore these two aspects at any cost.  It is not always possible that you eat the most healthy food, but what I am stressing here is try and maintain a balance.  If you are gorging on heavy hotel  food at one meal, try and keep the others light  and healthy.  Or even if you are travelling and are eating all your meals in a hotel, try and include more salads, fruits and grilled. Avoid the salad dressings though.  However much those fried potatoes and the dessert bar calls you  to look their way – avoid the temptation.   You might be sad momentarily, but you will be happy in the times to come.  

If you are someone like I was, just a month or so before, without a trace of guilt on eating calorie laden, sinful food, and could go on and on without winking an eyelid, then stop it immediately.  Awaken yourself and start to think what it could do to your arteries and other important body functions just a few years from now. 

Eat sensibly and small quantities of food you love, to be able to eat them till you are alive.  And exercise is imperative to keep your body fit. 

I am sharing with you a easy to do yet very healthy bake, which you can make ahead and keep in the fridge or outside (if the weathers cool) and have whenever the craving strikes. 


Prep Time – 5 minutes
Cooking Time –  30-40 minutes (if you are baking a cake) and 15-20 minutes (if its muffins)
Makes – 1 big loaf of cake or about 10- 12 muffins

2 cups wholewheat flour (I used Azam Whole Wheat Atta)
1 tspn baking powder
¼ tspn – baking soda
1 egg (room temperature) or substitute with ½ cup plain yoghurt
¾ cup – light brown sugar
2 ripe bananas
½ cup – refined vegetable oil
¼ tspn  - cinnamon powder
¼ cup – chopped walnuts
1 tspn  - vanilla essence


Preheat oven to 160 deg
In a pan add the wheatflour, cinnamon powder,  baking soda and powder and mix well.  If you wish, you can sieve these together
In a separate pan beat the oil and the egg. If you are using yoghurt – beat the oil and sugar and add into the dry flour and add the whisked yoghurt and mix everything together.
Now add the sugar and and mix well.  You don’t have to beat it to melt
Add the vanilla essence and mix
Now pour this into the flour and combine properly. 
Mash the bananas and mix them and the walnuts into the batter and fold in well.  If the batter is too thick add in some milk and combine well.  The batter should not be very runny
Pour into greased and dusted cake tin or muffin cups and bake as suggested in the beginning of the recipe.
Check with a toothpick to see if baked entirely.