- Very healthy recipes from the kitchen to the table in minutes

I know! its crazy what one can do with a pizza base. Store bought or home made dough could create the chaat magic. By experimenting with di...

Chaat Pizza

I know! its crazy what one can do with a pizza base. Store bought or home made dough could create the chaat magic. By experimenting with different toppings I kind of ended up making pizza with the left over mint and sweet chutney.I must say, this is my favorite kind of pizza on any given day. I love chaat flavors and this pizza hot out of the oven is something I would not like to trade anything for. By adding the chaat ingredients it was so colorful and aromatic. I was drooling that it was hard for me to photograph the pizza . In fact,I have been meaning to make it ever since Lavi announced that she was having the global kadai event where she called for Indian flavors inspired pizza. But before I can get my camera the pizza's were gobbled. Not this time, I sustained the torture to post it and send my belated entry to Lavi's event and keep my promise. For all the chaat lovers like me I give you the "Chaat Pizza".


9 inch baking pan - 3
Measuring cups and spoons for dry ingredient
Measuring cups for wet ingredient
Cling Wrap
Rolling pin
Cutting Board

Ingredients for Pizza Topping: ( Makes three fool proof 9 inch pizza)

All Purpose Flour - 2 1/4 cup plus extra for making the base
Salt- 1 tsp
Yeast - 2 1/4 tsp
Sugar- 1 1/2 tsp
Milk- 1 cup
Oil-2 tbsp plus extra for prep the bowl


1. Add the flour, salt and yeast in the food processor or electric mixer with a dough hook. Mix the ingredients.

2. In a liquid measuring cup add milk,sugar and oil and heat it in the microwave for 1 minute or until it is warm to touch or 110 degrees F.

3. Turn on the food processor and pour the liquid little at a time and let it run. When all the liquid is added to the mix it must form a dough. Keep running the food processor or electric mixer for 3 to 4 minutes. You will be left with the most perfect dough to work with.

4. Make a ball coat with 1 tsp of oil and place it in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and put it in a warm area in summer and in winter heat your oven to 200 degrees, on preheating turn off the heat and put the bowl in until it doubles in size ( from 45 to 60 minutes).

5. Once the double doubles remove and place it on the cutting board. Divide the dough into 3 parts. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

6. Take the three 9 inch pans. Add sufficient oil ( 2 tsp/pan) and spread well. Roll out one portion of the dough taking care to see that they are thinner in the center and thicker in the sides.

7. Place it in the baking pan and add the desired topping.

Ingredients for Chaat Topping:

Mint Chutney - 1/3cup (Make sure the chutney is not watery)
Sweet chutney - 1/3cup
Ketchup or Marinara Sauce - 3 tbsp
Onions - 2 large finely chopped
Deseeded Tomato ( Roma) - 3
Cilantro - 1/3 cup chopped
Sev/ Om podi - 1/2 cup
Chaat Masala Powder - to taste
Green chillies - 1 finely sliced ( or more for spice)
Mozzarella Cheese - 3/4 cup shredded ( or more)

1. Take one 9 inch pan with the pizza dough( as mentioned above). Mix the 2 chutneys and the sauce together. Spread lightly.
2. Sprinkle the onions and tomato and top it off with cheese. Place it in the 425 oven for 15-16 minutes. The base must be golden brown and if you lift the pizza with a spatula it must show a golden crust in the bottom.
3. Remove from the pan and place it on a wooden board. Sprinkle some fresh onions, cilantro, green chillies and sev. Cut and serve it hot.


S affron is an elegant, sophisticated and colorful spice. Though only a few strands are added to the preparation of delicious dishes, ...

Saffron Rice - Truly Elegant

Saffron is an elegant, sophisticated and colorful spice. Though only a few strands are added to the preparation of delicious dishes, its flavors are so rich that it makes the end product exquisite and aromatic. A saffron flower looks as colorful as the saffron itself. The red stigma that you find in the flower is the saffron that we use. This red stigma when added to dishes makes it pleasantly yellow and this yellow cannot be duplicated by any food coloring available in the market. The name saffron is derived from the Arabic word za'farān, (asfar meaning yellow). In Tamil it is called Kumkuma Poo. Kumkum is very red and since the stigma resembled the color I believe it could be named Kumkuma Poo (Poo meaning flower).

Apart from the flavors it has a lot of medicinal uses and therefore added in the preparation of food. In general, saffron rice is very popular in Persian cuisine. In India they are mostly added to desserts. Often there is a lot of talk  regarding Indian food. Most non- Indians who taste the food feel that we do not allow the taste of any ingredient to come through because of the use of a lot of spices. It was mentioned again in the Iron chef America show where an Indian Chef went against a Japanese Iron Chef in the Leeks Battle. Though she had many creative dishes she lost the battle because the true flavor and taste of leeks was not delivered.

The recipe below is my attempt on creating saffron rice where I did not add any pepper or chillies to create spice, but rather wanted to focus on the saffron and try to bring out its flavor in the rice. It does has the kind of spice that create warmth to the body through the use of cloves,ginger and cinnamon. This is such a perfect rice to be served along with some spicy side dish or any thing of your choice. I am so pleased with this recipe because it was reproduce able. The rice was not yellow like most saffron rices, but rather pale yellow in color with specks of yellow here and there. I liked it so much that I decided not to make it too often because I want to treat this one very special.


Heavy bottom pan with lid
Cutting Board
Measuring cups and spoons
Stainless steel bowl


Basmathi rice – 1 cup
Cashew Nuts – ½ cup ( cut into smaller pieces)
Raisins (jumbo)- ½ cup
Bay leaf – 1
Cinnamon- 1 inch stick
Salt – 1 tsp ( or to taste)
Red Onion – 1 finely chopped
Ginger grated – 11/2 tsp
Garlic – 5 cloves ( finely minced)
Cilantro – 2 tbsp chopped
Water – 2 cups
Oil – 1 tbsp
Butter – 1 tbsp
Milk – 1 tbsp
Saffron – 1 pinch ( 6-7 strands)


1. 1. Wash the rice 3 times or until the water is clear and soak the rice for 30 minutes.
2. Warm the saffron along with warm milk. Allow it to soak.
3. In the heavy bottom pan add oil and butter. When it melts and warms up, add the nuts and raisins. Allow the nuts to turn golden and the raisins to plump up. Remove and place in a plate.
4. Add bay leaf, clove and cinnamon and allow the oil and the spices to mix for 10 seconds.
5.Add onions and allow it to cook a little before adding the garlic and ginger and cook on low until they turn pale and look cooked.
6. Add the water and allow it to boil before adding the rice. Add salt and  check the taste and allow the water to reduce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 3 minutes.
7.Take the saffron that is soaked in milk and using your fore finger and thumb rub to get the yellow color. Mix the color back into the milk.
8.Pour this milk over the rice and mix gently. Check to see if the rice requires more water. If it needs to cook more add 1/4 cup, cover and cook.

    (Note: Sometimes when the type of rice used is old rice it will consume more water and is a good brand of rice. This will be known only when the rice is cooked. Hence the addition of water)



Yes! I know it is bananas that is used in the preparation. No! Please don't say YUK! IOOOOOOOOOO! THuu! Makes me want to throw up! beca...

Banana Thair Pachadi/ Banana Raita

Yes! I know it is bananas that is used in the preparation. No! Please don't say YUK! IOOOOOOOOOO! THuu! Makes me want to throw up! because that is what most  people expressed when I mentioned that I was going to make this pachadi. But, let me tell you it was very tasty that it almost surprised me a little. It was so delicious that it was gone before I could help myself to some pacahdi. A very simple recipe that I adopted from Swami Dhayanandha's Ashram recipe book. The trick is you have to use a banana that is neither ripe or raw. The kind of banana that is lightly green in the top(please refer to the photo below). So all of you who are thinking Naa - AaH please give it a try.


Cutting Board
Measuring Spoons
Seasoning wok


Banana ( a little raw a little ripe) - 1
Yogurt or Store bough butter milk - 1 cup
Sour Cream - 1/4 cup
Coconut - 1 tbsp
Green chilli - 1 chopped without seed
Red dry chilli - 1
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - 4 leaves
Asafotida - a few shakes
Oil - 1 tsp


1. In a bowl whisk together butter milk, sour cream, coconut, salt and green chilli.
2. Cut the banana into big cubes and add it to the buttermilk mix.
3. In a seasoning wok add oil, asafotida, mustard seeds, allow it to pop and add red chilli. Add it to the banana mix.
4. Serve with some hot rice or roti.


With just a month and a half to go before school closes, my daughter's school has a lot of activities lined up. One such event is the ...

Pecan Discs

With just a month and a half to go before school closes, my daughter's school has a lot of activities lined up. One such event is the school roundup where they have a mini fair at school. One fun activity in the round up is the Cake Walk.  Cake walk is similar to musical chair and bingo, only here they have squares drawn and each square is assigned a  number. The number of squares is equal to the number of people participating in the cake walk. When the music is turned on the participants walk along the boxes and when the music stops a number is called out. The person who stands in the square with that particular number walks up to the table loaded with goodies and picks up the treat she/he desires. The treats are usually something that parents donate in the form of baked goodies like cakes, cookies or cupcakes. So, my daughter and I baked Pecan Discs( as she called it) this afternoon for the event. It was a lot of fun and was finally approved by my little pastry chef. Her evaluation was that, she liked it a lot because it was chewy in the center, had a mild sweet on the inside but, the sugar on the outside was perfect to even out the sweet taste. This is super easy to make and we were done baking in less than 30 minutes.


Measuring Spoon
Measuring Cup
Baking Sheet
Parchment Paper
Whisk or Electrical Mixer


Butter - 1/4 cup ( at room temperature, very important)
All Purpose Flour (APF)- 1 cup
Pecan Meal - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup for coating in the end.
Vanilla Essence - 2 tsp

Preparation: ( Recipe makes 24 cookie discs)

1.Set the oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl whisk the butter until it is smooth, then add sugar and mix well.

2. Add in 1/2 cup at a time the APF and the pecan meal and mix well.

3. Add the vanilla essence. It will  become a very dry dough, but you will be able to make balls with it. Shape it to the size of a small limes.

4. Once the balls are made, place each ball in the middle of your palm  and press so that they become slightly flat like a space ship.

5. Dab them in sugar on both sides and place it in the parchment lined cookie sheet and into the oven to be baked for 8 minutes. Then remove the tray from the oven and turn it around (so that the side that was facing the inside of the oven is now closer to the oven door) and bake for another 8 minutes.

6. You will see the bottom of the cookie turn a little brown. Remove and allow it to cool on a rack and enjoy some good cookies from your cookie jar.


Happy New Year! Pathir Payni is an over the top kind of dessert that is served at weddings along with almond milk/ kheer. It takes great...

Pathir Payni with Almond Milk/Badham Pal

Happy New Year!
Pathir Payni is an over the top kind of dessert that is served at weddings along with almond milk/ kheer. It takes great skill to make something that is as big as a roti /chapathi, when fried puffs like a puri, but is flaky like a puffed pastry and the flakes resemble the shredded phylo dough. This sweet when prepared perfectly is such a treat to enjoy after it has been soaked in hot or cold almond milk. This dish is such a specialty that it is not very easy for the home cook to make it like the chefs at the wedding. Not that it is impossible, but to get it like the pro all the tools and tricks are necessary. Though most Indian sweets are available in the stores here, payni is hard to find. So for all of you who like it as much as I do here is the easy version of the recipe for you to enjoy any time.

The idea for this recipe came to me when I tasted the baklava made with shredded phylo dough. Its texture and taste reminded me of payni. On deciding to make the payni I got a box of the shredded phylo dough from our local Mediterranean store.  I baked the phylo dough instead of deep frying because I felt it would be easier to work with the shredded dough. The result is a healthy version of the payni though not a 100% of the original version, but still is the closest relative of it. It was a breeze to make this payni and was a delicious dessert to have on any occasion.


Cookie Sheets
Parchment paper
Cutting Board
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Heavy Bottom Pan or Milk Cooker

Ingredients: ( Makes 8 Payni's)

Shredded Phylo Dough (Kataifi) - 1 packet
Oil -3 tbsp
Ghee/ Melted Butter - 3 tbsp

For Almond Milk: ( 3/4 cup per payni = 5 cups)

Cashew Nuts - 1/2 cup
Almonds - 1/2 cup ( skin removed)
Sugar - 12 tsp of sugar ( increase if you have a sweet tooth)
Milk - 5 cups
Saffron - a pinch
Cardamon - 2 pods
Pistachios - a few for garnish

Preparation of Payni:

1. Buy a packet if Kataifi ( available in Mediterranean Stores) and allow it to defrost as per the instructions. I left it on the kitchen counter for 2 hours and it was ready to be used. 

2. Set the oven to 375 degrees F.Place the shredded phylo dough on a parchment paper cut to the size of the cookie sheet and uncoil the phylo dough and spread them out. Take some ghee and oil in your hands and spread it on the dough almost as if you are massaging your hair and coat the ghee and oil well without breaking the strands.

3. Once you feel that you have spread the grease well, take a rope of the shredded  dough and start shaping into a circle or coil so that it has 1 inch thickness and is about 6-7 inches wide. This is very important because if you make it very thin they tend to roast faster and turn too brown. So please pay attention to this step.

4. Place it on the cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes on one side. Flip and bake it for 10 minutes on the other side. Turn off the oven and allow the payni to sit keeping an eye to flip after 5 minutes. You might see white areas here and there but that is fine,they will be toasted.

 5. Place this payni on the plate and add hot almond milk over it and     serve it hot. 

Preparation Of Almond Milk:

1. Soak the cashew nut and almond in warm water for 10 minutes.Grind together the soaked nuts and cardamon into a grainy paste.

2. Transfer this nut paste into a heavy bottom pan and cook it on medium low heat while stirring it well continuously.

3. Boil the milk using a heavy bottom vessel or milk cooker and add this mixture to it. Turn the heat to medium low and allow the milk to cook for 10 minutes.

4. Add sugar, saffron and allow the milk to simmer for 5 minutes.The milk should not be very thick like a kheer. 

5.It must be more of a milky consistency. Please test for the sweetness and pour 3/4 th cup over each payni, garnish with a few pistachio's and serve it hot or cold.( Allow the payni to soak up the milk and then taste)


This week schools are out in our area for Spring break. Today my daughter and I decided to make some home made popsicals. We made our own ...

Strawberry Popsicles For Spring Break

This week schools are out in our area for Spring break. Today my daughter and I decided to make some home made popsicals. We made our own version of popsicles inspired by the recipe we found in the "Kids" cook book sold at Ikea. As usual we had to get creative and make our version of the recipe. It took us a solid 45 minutes reading through the recipe, deciding on what we wanted to use, gathering the ingredients, cleaning them and preparing and storing. It was a very fun morning for us with all the spills and clean ups and tasting. 

These days making a snack or treat at home has become very common. It all began because I have become an ingredients cop.I found that I have been buying snacks without looking at the labels and feeding my daughter all the unhealthy, very addictive snacks. What shocked me was to find high fructose corn syrup added to most products. This allows your waist line to grow very fast without you being aware of it. I felt that if she wanted something sweet it was better to prepare something with sugar at home than eat the store bought products. That was what our grandma's and mother's did. Making a snack a week with her, teachers her a lot of things. Even as a kid they do know what is good for them and they are so excited to cook if we are ready to take the time to spend with them.


Cutting Board
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Popsicle Container or better any container you have
Popsicle sticks.

Ingredients: Makes 8 popsicles

Strawberry - 3 cups (hulled and sliced)
Blueberry - 1/2 cup
Banana - 1 ripe sliced
Lemon Juice - 4 tsp
Yogurt - 8 tbsp heaped
Sugar - 8 tbsp

1. Add the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
2. Transfer to popsicle mold, (we used all sorts of cups that we found) and put it in the freezer over night or if you are impatient like us for 6 hrs or until it sets.
3. To treat yourself to one of these popsicles just keep it out for a few minutes or wash them in hot water and try to move it out of this mold.