Rosemary Bread (Macaroni Grill)

Most of us have Italian cuisine somewhere in the top as one of our favorite cuisines.Especially, when it comes to the carbs loaded bread served before the meal. While we are frequent visitors to Olive Garden, Macaroni grill's and Carrabba's breads need a special mention. The Carrabba's olive oil dip or the Rosemary bread served in Macaroni grill are simply irresistible. There were times when we just got bread for take out...That sums up my love for the bread, I guess!!

Those of you who subscribe to the Food Network Magazine might know about the 'Almost Famous section' where the Food Network Kitchens try to create a recipe similar in taste to a famous dish.Their recipes are very close if not the same exact taste.

Recipe - Food Network Magazine;Inspiration Macaroni Grill

1 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and serving
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
Freshly ground pepper

  • Mix the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Let it sit until it is foamy. It takes anywhere from 5 min to 12 min.
  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, the flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary, the fine salt and 3/4 cup warm water.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.Knead the bread with your palms for about 8 mins, until the dough is elastic and smooth. When you press the dough it should spring back.
  • Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover it.
  • Let is double in size for about 2 hours
  • Brush 2 baking sheets with olive oil.
  • Put the dough on a floured surface. Divide the dough into 4 parts
  • Sprinkle some flour onto the dough, then fold the top and bottom portions into the middle
  • Now, fold in the sides to form a square.Tuck the corners to form a ball
  • Place the seam side down onto the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 3 parts
  • Place 2 dough balls on each baking sheet.
  • Let it stand uncovered for about 2 more hours
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Bake the loaves for 10 minutes
  • Brush the loaves with Olive oil and sprinkle salt and 1/2 tbp rosemary
  • Bake until the loaves are golden brown about 10 more min.
  • Serve the bread with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Black Pepper

Kadhi Pakora

With different versions and tastes, Kadhi Pakora is very popular across India although it is primarily a Punjabi dish.Typically, it has the bay leaves and in some cases masala as well, but I skipped all of it. I simmer onion pakoras in a simple gram flour and buttermilk mixture seasoned with Ginger, Cumin seeds, Curry leaves and Red chillies. The Kadhi or also called Majjiga Pulusu in Telugu is my Ammamma's recipe, rather how she used to do it.

2 Medium Yellow onions
3 tbsps of Besan/Gram flour
1 tsp of red chilli powder
1/2 cup Vegetable oil

  • Cut the onions thinly into half moons.The slices should be less than an 1/8th of an inch
  • Stir in the flour,chilli powder and salt
  • Let it stand for a min or so
  • Mix the flour until well combined
  • Heat the oil a wok
  • Drop a tablespoonful into the oil
  • Fry it till golden brown;Set aside on a plate covered with paper napkin to drain any excess oil
  • Repeat until all the besan mixture is over
4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup gram flour/besan
1/2 inch ginger root, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp turmeric
4-6 green chiilies, vertically slit
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
6-8 curry leaves
1 tsp chilli powder
Pinch of Hing
  • Stir buttermilk, salt, turmeric and gram flour
  • Whisk it until well combined
  • Add the ginger.
  • Boil the mixture until it is thick and coats the back of a spoon
  • Heat oil in a small pan
  • Add fenugreek/methi seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chillies and hing
  • Pour the seasoning into the buttermilk mixture
  • Simmer it for 3-4 min
  • Stir the red chilli powder
  • Add the deep fried Pakoras
  • Serve hot with Rice/Khichdi

Mexican Gumbo (Qdoba Style)

People who know me well, know that I love NYC. Over the years that I have stayed in the East Coast, it wouldn't be an overstatement if I said, I visited NYC at least twice an year.And every time I visit, the place gets me excited even more. I could walk down the streets & avenues without feeling monotonous.I don't believe I felt that with any other place that I visited.
My SIL and my brother got us into this Gumbo at Qdoba. PA does not have many locations within a decent driving distance and while I would like to call NYC my backyard with just an 1.5 hr drive, it wouldn't be practical for me to drive all the way every time I crave for the Gumbo:-(..So I have decided to make my own Gumbo of course to mimic the original 'masterpiece'.


1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil. I think Olive Oil workes best
2 Yellow Onions, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Cumin Powder
3 Banana Peppers , chopped
1 tsp Black Pepper POwder
32 Oz Vegetable Broth
16 oz water
1 Big Can of diced Tomatoes
1/4 cup Medium/Hot Salsa
1 cup cooked rice, preferably short grain
Lime Wedges
1 cup Black Beans, soaked overnight and cooked till tender;Alternately you can use the canned version but use it after draining all the liquid and washing the beans through the sieve
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Sour Cream
Chopped Corainder
4-5 Tortilla Strips; If you cant find them in the store, cut the tortillas into strips and deep fry them.

  • Heat the oil in a large nonstick pot
  • Add the onions and cook till soft.
  • Add the garlic and banana peppers and cook for a few min.
  • Stir in the Cumin Powder and black pepper
  • Add the Broth, water and diced tomatoes
  • Simmer it for about 20 - 30 min.
  • Stir in the Salsa and garnish with chopped coriander
To layer-
  • Place a scoop of cooked rice,2 tbsps of black beans, a big ladle of the soup, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, a few lettuce leaves (optional).
  • Serve with a scoop of sour cream and a lime wedge on the side with a few tortilla strip on top.
  • Serve hot.


Mirchi Ka Salan

The Hyderabadi cuisine is very popular for dishes like Baigara Baingan,Dum Biryani , Khabuli and Mirchi Ka Salan. Having lived there for a decent part of my life, I can eat any amount of gravy curries and the strong Biryanis.
Mirchi Ka Salan can sound like a hot and spicy dish. While you can make your tongue burn with spiciness you can also make a mild version of it without losing the inherent taste of the Mirchi.
It is best served with Biryani or Roti.


10 Jalapeno Peppers
1/2 cup Sesame Seeds
1/2 cup Peanuts
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
Fresh Coconut - 1 cup
1/2 cup Vegetable/Canola Oil
2 Big Yellow Onions, sliced into semi circular rings
2 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
1 1/2 tsp Red chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/4 cup Fresh chopped Coriander
1/4 cup thick Tamarind Pulp; I like to microwave for 3-4 min and then let it sit for 15 min to get a thick pulp
2 tsp Cumin Seeds
8 - 10 Curry Leaves
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds

  • Slit the chillies in half vertically. If you dont want the dish to be to spicy, scrape all the seeds from the chillies.
  • Do not take the stems out
  • Dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds separately, until it is slightly browned or changes color to a more dark version
  • Once the spices are done, cool them off and rub the skin of the peanuts
  • Blend the Peanuts, Sesame Seeds, and the fresh grated coconut. It does not become a powder but will be a smooth paste
  • Blend the coriander seeds and cumin seeds separately to make a fine powder(You can always use coriander cumin powder)
  • In a pan, roast the onions till brown. Once they are soft, keep them aside and let them cool.
  • Once it is cooled down, blend them into a puree
  • Heat the oil in a wok.Add the chillies and fry them till the skin has blisters.
  • Remove the chillies and place them on a plate with a paper napkin to remove any excess oil
  • In the same wok, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and fenugreek seeds.
  • Add the pureed Onion and cover the lid.
  • Cook for a minute; Add ginger garlic paste and cook for 3-4 min
  • Add the coconut, peanut and sesame paste and cook unti you can see the oil separate on the top
  • Stir in the Red Chilli powder, Salt and Turmeric well
  • Continue to cook until the raw smell of peanuts goes away
  • Then add the Coriander seeds & cumin seeds powder
  • Add the chopped coriander until well combined
  • Add 4 cups of water and the tamarind pulp
  • Add the fried chillies and stir in well
  • Cover the lid and cook for about half hour until all the flavors are well absorbed
  • The oil should separate from the gravy
  • Serve it with Bagara Rice
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