Spring Rolls & Eggplant Curry

With my folks in town, I am not able to get time to browse all the great blogs there or post all the drafts on my computer.I know I have a lot of catching up to do and I hope to do it in the next week.I merged two posts into one purely due to lack of time:-( Also, I will try to keep my yapping short..With 2 dishes, the post will be long anyway!

When I first started blogging 4months back, eggless cooking was one of those sites that impressed me.She makes everything without eggs, of course, and she makes it sound simple.Even novice cooks and bloggers like me can muster some courage to cook up some feats!

This month, T&T is hosted by Poornima, an event started by Zlamushka and she chose Madhuram's blog and I have chosen to make Madhuram's Baked Spring rolls.

You can find the spring roll sheets in the freezer section or the refrigerated section.I got mine from the frozen section of the Indian stores (Brand name :Kawan).

You will have to excuse me for the picture quality for the first 2 pics .I have no idea why they came out so hazy but the last pic seems fine to me.

These sheets are extremely fragile.They are very similar to the phyllo sheets in thickness.Once you remove them from the cover ,place a moist towel or tissue on top to prevent them from drying. Thaw according to the directions on the package.The kawan brand's thawing time is about 30 mts.

6 cups shredded cabbage
3 Med carrots, grated
1 scallions bunch
2 tbsps fresh minced ginger
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
4 dashes of Soy Sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
Veg Oil for brushing
Spring roll wrappers

For the filling

1. Shred cabbage and carrots, slice scallions finely.
2. In a frying pan add a tablespoon of oil and saute all the vegetables, add salt, soy sauce and pepper powder.
3. Let it cool.

1. Thaw the spring roll pastry as per the instructions in the package.
2. Carefully remove a sheet and spray with non stick spray on both the sides. (I don’t know whether spraying on both the sides is necessary, but I did it anyway.)
3. Keep the filling in the bottom and wrap it as you would wrap a tortilla.
4. Grease the baking sheet and place the wrapped spring rolls and bake it at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until they are golden brown.

This goes to you know where....

Eggplant Curry

This simple curry used to be a regular in my house when we were growing up. I love eggplants but for some reason, my lips used to get itchy everytime I ate eggplant.For a while, I stopped eating it but when I resumed eating it, may be, after 4 years,it stopped.I cannot explain the bizarre reason behind it but , I thoroughly enjoy eating eggplant now!

4 chinese egg plants, made into quarters (horizontally) and sliced lenghtwise
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes
1 medium potato, peeled, cubed and boiled
3 green chilies,sliced lengthwise
4-5 curry leaves
1 tbsp Besan (Chickpea flour)
1 oz of Tamarind pulp

1 tbsp of Urad dal
2 tsps of cumin seeds
1 tsp of mustard seeds
Pinch of Hing

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add urad dal,cumin,mustard seeds and hing.

To this add curry leaves, chilies and onions.

Saute the onions till translucent and add tomatoes.Cook the tomatoes till tender and add eggplant.

Pour some water in a plate (should be slightly deep in order to hold the water) and place it on the pan.

Cook till the eggplants are tender and add boiled potatoes to the curry.

Now, add tamarind pulp and besan.Stir well such that the besan is well combined and there are no lumps.Let that cook for 5 -8 minutes.

Garnish with coriander and serve hot with rice or roti.

This goes to IAVW hosted by Graziana of Erbe in Cucina, an event started by Vaishali.

Take Care,

Kothimeera Karam (Spicy Coriander Chutney)

A few years ago,we visited my husband's uncle and aunt who live in VA.It was a long drive but a beautiful one especially along the Chesapeake Bay bridge which offers spectacular views.That truly is an engineering marvel, I think!I wish I could share a picture or two but I could not find a single pic from that trip on my computer.
Anyhow, the day we went, his aunt made the coriander chutney to be eaten with idlis.It was a tad spicy for me but the overall chutney tasted so good that I took this recipe from her.I always make it this way since then and we all love it.I took the recipes for almost all the dishes that she cooked during our 2 day stay there.You can imagine how good the dishes must have tasted.
I must say, there is some magic when elders cook!The food tastes more appetizing, perhaps they add extra love when they cook;).

1 1/2 bunches coriander, stalks removed
4-5 red chilies (change the proportions according to your taste)
2 green chillies, chopped
2 tsps Urad dal
1 tsp Chana dal

1 oz of Tamarind pulp
pinch of Hing(asafoetida)

Roast chana dal, urad dal , half the quantity of red chilies (2)in a pan, with out oil.

Heat about a tablespoon of oil and fry green chilies and the remaining red chilies.

Remove them and put aside.

In the same pan, fry coriander leaves until they are wilted but not dry.

Grind/Blend the coriander leaves, roasted mixture(red chilies, chana dal , urad dal, green chilies) with tamarind pulp

For tempering:

Heat a tsp of oil and fry Jeera (cumin seeds), mustard seeds and a pinch of hing.

If you wish to have a sour taste, add lemon juice.

Serve it hot with rice or idlis or dosas!

This is off to Think Spice: Think Chilies hosted by Lakshmi Venkatesh, an event started by Sunita


Simple Greek Salad, Chana Masala & Mango Lassi

Summer is not even officially over yet and it is already chilly here in PA!I was hoping the weather will be pleasant at least until late Nov.Why did I think so? No compelling logic there!Just thought...hoped!Hoping this is a passing phase and we will have good weather again but again its just a hope!
Do any of you guys feel down during Winter, with day light savings gone? Or is it JUST ME?
Before the brutal weather kicks in , I thought we can have a good meal on the deck and so I made this simple meal.

Greek Salad
The dressing is from Ellie Krieger's recipe of Greek Dressing
1 packet mixed greens
1 Red Onion, Halved and thinly sliced
1 Medium Tomato, Chopped
1 Cucumber, Peeled and Cubed
Pepperoncini, to your taste;I used less than 1/4 cup
1 can Kalamata Olives or Olives of your choice
Feta Cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper

Whisk Olive Oil, lemon juice, Oregano, Salt and pepper together well.
For the dressing, blend/whisk all the ingredients.
Toss the salad ingredients,add Feta cheese and drizzle the salad dressing

This goes to No croutons required hosted by Lisa.This month's theme is Mediterranean Salad.

Chana Masala with Plain rice

16 oz can of Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans
1 Medium Onion, chopped+extra for garnish
1 Med ripe Tomatoes,chopped
1 Med Potato, Peeled,cubed, boiled
1 1/2 oz Tamarind Pulp
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 tsps Ginger-Garlic paste
2 green chillies, chopped
Pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
Salt to taste
3 tsp ground cumin coriander

Boil or pressure cook Chana/Chickpeas and Potato in a pan until tender but not mashed up.
In a pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil ,fry cumin seeds till it splutters and add onions and green chillies.Cook till onions are soft and translucent.Add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, garam masala, cumin coriander powder.Cook for about 2 -3 min.
Add Tomatoes and tamarind pulp and cook till the tomatoes are well cooked.
To this, add the boiled/cooked potatoes and Chickpeas
Cook for about 5-8 minutes , until all the flavors are well combined.

This goes to MLLA_15 hosted by Sia of MonsoonSpice, an event started by Susan of the well seasoned cook

Mango Lassi

1 cup (8 oz) Buttermilk;You can make Yogurt into Buttermilk or use the store bought buttermilk.
1 1/2 cup Mango Pulp
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground Cardamom
2 threads saffron,optional

Blend the ingredients in a blender or if using a whisk, combine them thoroughly.Serve the Lassi with a garnish of Saffron!

This goes to Soup n Juice event hosted by Sireesha.

The whole meal is going to Well Balanced 3 course meal hosted by Yasmeen of Healthnut!

Have fun the rest of the Summer:-)

Chocolate Pots De Creme

This recipe caught my eye while I was going through Food Network Magazine.It was made in a blender by Food Network's Sarah Copeland!I was eager to try it given that it is made in a blender and more than anything, the name sounds fancy!LOL!
Besides that, my daughter is a big milk addict and likes to eat anything chocolatey!This goes to her!

Serves 6 to 8
9 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate,Chopped
1 1/2 cups Whole Milk
1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
2 egg yolks,lightly beaten
5 tbsps granulated sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1tbsp confectioners' sugar

Place the chopped semi sweet chocolate in a blender.
Combine whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, egg yolks,sugar and salt in a pan and bring it to boil by stirring constantly, about 5-6 min.

Cook until it is thick and coats the back of a spoon.
Pour immediately in the blender.
Beat it until it gets smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula.
Pour it in small cups and refrigerate it until set, at least 2 hrs
Place the remaining heavy cream and confectioners' sugar in the blender and beat it until soft peaks form.

Top the pots de creme with Cream.

This delicious dessert is off to FIL:Milk hosted by Sanghi and CFK:Chocolate hosted by Hema, an event started by Sharmi of Naivedyam.

Off for now:)


Pineapple-Mango Upside Down Cake

A few years ago, it all started when I was throwing up food as soon as I finished eating. After evaluating me, the doctor decides to send me for an Ultrasound for any esophagus problems but to everyone's surprise they find a lesion in my liver. The next step was to find out if that was benign or malignant growth. While Cancer in general is bad, Liver Cancer is supposed to be worse!After a few tests, the doctor had asked me to go for a biopsy-a procedure I dreaded!I can still remember to this day how every one around me including me were prepared for a 'potentially unfavorable test result'.I went through biopsy and it took a few days to know the result.That was the toughest time of all..The Waiting period.Thanks to God, I was not diagnosed with Cancer, they stated the tumor as a benign tumor!But then I felt, it was close!I was very young then doing my Masters and ready to start a new job!I am not quite sure how I would have taken if I had cancer but since then I don't take life for granted.That was a night mare for me and there was not a single day I did not cry during the 2 month ordeal!When I look back,it seems like a trivial thing but at the time, it felt overwhelming.

Having said that, true heroes are people like Armstrong or Barbara who actually fought Cancer.

I was planning on some other dish for this event, but the cake seemed apt as the pineapple rings remind me of the LIVESTRONG bands!

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Pineapple Mango upside down cake from Martha's Baking Handbook

I followed the recipe almost exactly except for using a different dimension pan

1 9 inch Spring foam pan or 8 X 8 square pan

10 tbsps unsalted butter
1 Medium Pineapple ,peeled and cut cross wise 1/4 inch thick
1 Ripe Mango, peeled
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat the pan to 350 F.
Grease and line the baking pan with parchment paper.
Using a 3 inch cookie cutter, cut 3 rounds from the pineapple.Using half the size of the big cutter (about 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter), remove the centers of the cut out rounds.You could discard this or eat it:D You will get rings with holes in it.

Chop the remaining pineapple such that you have about a cup.Strain the chopped pineapple through a sieve to remove liquids from the fruit.

Slice the mangoes lengthwise, about 1/4 inch thick.Using the 1 1/2 inch thick cookie cutter, cut out 3 rounds from the mango slices.Chop the remaining mango to give about a cup of fruit.Place it in the sieve along with chopped pineapple.

Beat 2 tbsps of butter and brown sugar until fluffy.Spread the butter mixture in the bottom of the pan.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.Put the pineapple rings on the four corners of the pan , if using a square pan.If using a round pan, place the rings such that they form a triangle.

Place a mango round in the center of the pineapple ring.

Beat the 8 tbsps(1 stick) of butter and sugar until light and fluffy.Add eggs one by one, combining after each addition.Beat in Vanilla and add the dry ingredients(flour mixture)alternating with Sour cream, beginning and ending with flour.

Transfer the chopped fruit from the sieve to the cake pan.Discard the juice.

Spread the fruit on top of the cut out fruit evenly such that there are no gaps.

Pour the prepared batter on top of the fruit evenly.

Bake it in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Invert onto a cake plate and serve it with a scoop of ice cream.

This goes to LIVESTRONG with A Taste of Yellow hosted by Barbara of Winos and Foodies.

For now,

Bushkill Falls

Nestled in the beautiful Poconos, the Bushkill Falls,also known as the 'Niagara of Pennsylvania', is a series of 8 falls.It was first opened by Charles Peters in 1904 and is still owned by the Peters family.

The waters start at the Bushkill creek flowing toward Delaware river, forming 8 falls.The tallest, main falls forms as the stream falls off the edge of a 100 ft cliff.

The views of the embedded wooden bridges are scenic and spectacular.

This fall photo is from my hike in '06.

Honest Scrap!

Jyoti, Mythreyi, Sushma,Parita have passed me the honest scrap!Thanks a bunch, gals!

This award comes with the following rules:
I must thank the person who gave me the award and list their blog and link it
I must list 10 honest things about myself
I must put a copy of The Honest Scrap Logo on my blog.
I must select at least 7 other worthy bloggers and list their links
I must notify the bloggers of the award and hopefully they will follow the above three requirements also.

Here are 10 things about me:

-I love to watch cartoons and I follow the story of Dora or Diego or you name it! Every show that my daughter watches, although my favs have to be Tom and Jerry & Mickey. I find them very inspiring. I know its odd for my age!
-I am sentimental
-I am over protective of my daughter. I should change that and let go of her!
-I overreact to things/issues which are not worth the energy and time.
-I hate to use medicines for any problem that I have! I bear the pain through the night than take a Tylenol. My husband hates me for this :D :P
-I am known to be a secretive person among my friends as I don't open up easily
-I love collecting souvenirs, mostly magnets and I have one from every place/country I visited!
-When I fight with someone, I get itchy to patch up.
-I can cross stitch(Counted) for any no of hours
-I love ice skating....Oops..Watching!:D

Passing this onto:

Sadhana and Muskaan

Till next time,


I have not been around for the last 5 days or so as I was out of town.With Summer ending (although I am not quite ready yet), we planned a vacation to OBX and it was absolutely fantastic there. The weather scared us a bit initially with Hurricane Bill and later Danny near the islands. Luckily, the weather cooperated and we went around! I will post the pictures soon. I know I have to post the Bushkill falls trip pics as well. Once I ease back into my routine, I will post the pics and some pending recipes too! For now, I am posting some of my Germany trip pics.

Germany, A beautiful country famous for great musicians like Beethoven, for the black forest cuckoo clocks, for Volkswagen and Porsche, for the Autobahn, has a distinctive cuisine. When you think of German food, Sauerkraut and beer cross the mind.But, there is much more to it than just these!
The Germans have a tradition of five meals a day. The day starts with Frühstück (Breakfast), which is followed by a second breakfast, a few hours later –Zweites Frühstück.At midday is their dinner, Mittagessen which is usually a hot meal.In the afternoon, comes their snack time-Kaffee which is more than just coffee!The day concludes with a light supper called Abendrot.I wonder if they still follow this tradition!
When I was making Lebkuchen, I was recollecting my trip to Germany in ’04.My food there primarily consisted of French fries and ate Lebkuchen once. The cookies were very delicious. I have heard that the cookies do not contain ginger although the recipe that I used does contain a small quantity of powdered ginger.
Here are some of the pics of my trip. I would have loved to share more but the ‘Devil’ seems to be in almost all the pics: D. Thought will spare you some fright!

Heidelberg Castle

Castles you can see alongside Rhine.You have to excuse me for the picture quality.We took it while we were cruising.:)

This Cuckoo clock is the size of a small house.On the hour, the dolls (couples) come out dancing.
The partial head that you can see is of my DH's:D

Cologne Cathedral

Decoration is an important aspect in making Lebkuchen. The decorations were made with inscriptions, made into heart shapes cookies, or even Christmas cards with angels cooing!In the story written by Gottfried Keller, ‘Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe’ ( A Village Romeo and Juliet), the heroine gives her lover a Lebkuchen heart with an inscription “A sweet almond kernel is in this heart, but my love for you is sweeter than the almond”

Adapted from: Better homes and Gardens New baking Book

Makes 40 cookies; The recipe from the book yields 48 cookies. They used square cookie cutters.

1 egg
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup honey
½ cup molasses
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cardamom
½ cup chopped almonds
½ cup mixed candied fruits and/or raisins
1 recipe lemon glaze

Beat the egg on high speed. To this, add brown sugar, by beating on med speed until fluffy. Add molasses and honey to it and mix well

Sift the dry ingredients-flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom. Combine the dry ingredients with the egg mixture. Combine well using hand. The dough will be stiff and tough to handle. Add almonds and the candies mix. Refrigerate the dough in a bowl covered for 8 hrs or until the dough is easy to handle.

Preheat the oven to 350F.Line a baking sheet with al foil and grease it.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide the dough into 2 halves. Roll the dough into a 12X8 inch rectangle. Since I had the round cookie cutters, I made them into circles instead of squares.
Cut 2 inch circles. Place them carefully on the baking sheets.

Bake them in the oven for 10 min. Remove the cookies and cool them on the baking sheet for a minute or so.

While warm brush with lemon glaze and decorate with candied fruit. You can store it in an airtight container for up to 7 days for the flavors to mellow. It tastes better when stored for several days.

For the glaze:
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp lemon juice

Combine all of them by adding 3- 4 tsp of water such that it forms a drizzling consistency.

This goes to AWED German, guest hosted by Lakshmi Venkatesh, started by DK of Chef in You.

Jyoti, Sushma and Mythreyi passed me some wonderful award(s)/scrap again!Will post it in the next couple of days!

Have fun now:)
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