Friendship of a Lifetime

Some very close friends of mine visited me this Thanksgiving holiday from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I really should say they are more like family. We make the effort at seeing each other, but I wish we could see each other more often. Ideally, they would live right here in San Diego! It would be great to walk to each other’s houses, have meals together, or just going for a walk together. When we are together, it is just so much fun. We never run out of things to talk about, whether we have conversations about politics, our kids, or life in general! I feel that great friends are hard to come by. In that regard, I feel very blessed.

In fact, one of my biggest supporters of my website are my friends who visited me. Their suggestion to me was to post recipes consisting of simple comfort food. Some favorites that came to mind were great recipes for grilled cheese sandwiches, vegetable quesadillas, Aloo Parathas, or Parathas using leftovers. I have decided that I will be working on a great recipe for a Grilled Potato Sandwich. Comfort food at its finest, especially during this holiday season! Until then!

Diwali Menu

Deciding on the perfect menu for the upcoming holiday of Diwali can be challenging! I have been trying to decide the menu for a Diwali party I am hosting for the last couple of days. It’s the time of year to indulge in delicious and tasty food, without a regard for calories! This year I am leaning towards a very traditional menu. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions about this menu.

To start out the evening, I would like to serve:

Diwali Menu Diwali Menu Diwali Menu Diwali Menu

My main courses will include:

Diwali Menu Diwali Menu Diwali Menu Diwali Menu Diwali Menu Diwali Menu

Finally, for dessert, I would like to serve:

Diwali Menu Diwali Menu

I know this is a very big menu so I need to start making some preparations now!

Let me know what you think? Does this traditional menu sound good to you, or do you think I should incorporate some non-traditional items as well?


San Diego Diwali Mela!

Diwali is the most celebrated festival all over India. It is also known as the Festival of Lights and celebrates the victory of good over evil. We just had a Diwali Celebration at Balboa Park which was simply amazing. If you reside in San Diego, please come join us for another DIWALI MELA, which is being organized by the Shri Mandir, on Saturday, October 27th at the Shri Mandir parking lot, between 4 pm and 9 pm. The address is 9474 Black Mountain Road. It is sure to be another evening filled with fun and masti. Enjoy delicious Indian food and great performances! There will be a variety of food, including the Jain food stall, where I am volunteering at.

I look forward to hopefully seeing some of you there, along with your friends and family!


Diwali Celebration in Blaboa Park!

I am very excited to be a part of the upcoming Diwali Celebration in Balboa Park. It’s sure to be an evening fill with fun and masti with delicious Indian food, dance, and music! If you reside in San Diego please come join us at the 5th Annual Diwali Celebration in Balboa Park on Sunday October 21, 2012 between 3:30 and 8 p.m. The tickets are $5 per person. Some of the highlights of this celebration include the following:

• A collection of unique large lamps

• Lighting of 1008 lamps

• Cultural displays and activities

• Stage Dance Show

• Access to three art museums

• Access to Indian Art Galleries at Museum of Arts

I look forward to hopefully seeing some of you there!



Holiday Season!

I really love this time of year. The weather gets cooler, the leaves change color, and it’s the time to really enjoy great food with family! These upcoming three months have many Indian holidays including Navaratri, Dusshera, Karwa Chauth, Diwali and Diwali Mala. I love hosting family get togethers and fancy parties during this time.

I also love the American holidays coming up such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and celebrating the New Year!

With that said, it’s time to start planning. This year I need to come up with creative and festive menu ideas for the parties I plan on having this season. I will keep you updated as to what I decide! What are your favorite foods during this holiday season? Feel free to tell me and maybe I will be inspired!

Until next time!


Cooking with the Right Appliances

Many of you have questions about which appliances I use when cooking. Most of the questions have been about the blender, grinder and food processer I use. Using quality appliances can be a great help when cooking.

I am very happy with my KitchenAid 5-Speed blenderCooking with the Right Appliances and have been using the same one for the past 5 years. It still works great. I use this blender for almost everything, such as blending daal for Dosa, Pakoras, Vada, chutneys, and drinks with crushed ice.

When I need to grind in small quantities, I love to use my Magic BulletCooking with the Right Appliances. It’s simple to use works efficiently, and best of all it is easy to clean.

Additionally, a small KRUPS GX4100 Electric Spice, Herb and Coffee GrinderCooking with the Right Appliances is very handy for grinding spices. I love this so much I have two of them! One is purely for grinding spices and the other is for grinding nuts and cardamom.

My Cuisinart 7-Cup Food ProcessorCooking with the Right Appliances is the other small appliance I use frequently. It works best if you need to blend coarsely. This appliance is not good for blending anything smooth and pasty. It comes with a few attachments like a shredder and slicer. I do use these attachments when I need to slice or shred in large quantitie. I also use this food processer for making dough. It is especially good for making firm dough when you make puris or matris. I have had this food processer for at least 10 years and it is still in great condition!

Jaljeera in the Summertime!

I have been wanted to work on my recipe for Jaljeera for a very long time now. Jaljeera is a very easy and flavorful drink to make up. I have many great memories of drinking Jaljeera in the summer. Jaljeera is similar to flavored lemonade. So I finally decided to work on the recipe and start formulating the ingredients and measurements for it. I decided my old Jaljeera recipe needed a revamp. So I decided to get inspiration from Google! While researching, I came across a blog for Jaljeera, where Naini Setalvad explains the benefits of all the spices used to make Jaljeera. Check out this interesting article at  I thought it was interesting and wanted to share. This article reminded me of my grandmother’s thoughts on why Jaljeera is a great drink to enjoy on hot summer days.

With that said, I am working on finalizing my recipe for Jaljeera! The recipe will be coming soon!

Back To Reality And Back To Working On Some Fresh New Recipes!

I just returned from an amazing vacation and it’s time to get back to work! As you know, we went on an Alaskan cruise with the family. It was a wonderful time. Lately, I have spent a lot of time traveling. I am glad that we are making the most of life and doing so. However, it’s often difficult to come back from a vacation and get back to work as I am sure you all know!

I am long overdue to share a recipe and video. I am working on some fresh new ideas though. I was inspired by some of the food we enjoyed on the cruise, such as melon soup and melon salad. These dishes were perfect as they were light and tasty. I think melons are a great food for summer as they are refreshing. Plus, summer is the season to find the best melons. But I do think I need to jazz up the melon with some flavor. I am working on some melon recipes and will share with you soon. I look forward to your ideas and input. The first recipe I will do will be with Garam Masala as I know some of you are eagerly awaiting this.

Working on Few New Recipes

Lately I have been in mood to work on new recipes and create some new dishes! Some recipes are inspirations from my trip to India and others are my own.

I am especially excited about a new dessert using coconut milk with Agar-agar. For those of you that don’t know Agar-agar is a sea weed and works like a vegetarian gelatin (similar to Jello-O). I have no idea why I wanted to make this as I have not tasted anything like this before with this combination. My first attempt as this dessert was not the best as it ended up like a brick as I used too much Agar-agar. However, I knew that I could perfect this recipe into something great! I knew I had to be patient and keep trying different variations. By my second, third and fourth attempt, the recipe was getting better and better. I like it more and more every time. Some of my friends have already tried this dessert out and the responses have been very encouraging. I am coming to the final trial; hopefully, my final perfected recipe will be ready soon. But still I don’t have a name for it.

Today my niece and her husband came for dinner. I decided on a menu with many of the recipes that am working on for the website. They both enjoyed the Masala Papad, Bread Vada, and lotus stem. Their opinions mean a lot to me and they are often my samplers of new recipes. I even had them sample the Coconut Agar-agar dessert and they came up with the name “Coconut Dream Dessert”. I think I like this name for the dessert!

My Coconut Dream Dessert will be coming pretty soon – just as soon as I perfect it. But in the meantime, look out for my next recipe of Besan Ki Roti, which is a gluten free flat bread. I truly enjoy putting in my own twists and variations to recipes to create something new and unique. Until next time….

Our Journey Ends….

We are back from our trip to India! When we got back to San Diego, we got a great welcome from our grandchildren. They wanted to make sure we will never leave them again!

This trip was definitely a trip one to remember! I don’t think I have ever taken such a long vacation. We visited relatives that we had not seen for many years. We also did a lot of sight-seeing, something we don’t usually do when we are in India. Various family members were able to sight-see with us so it was even more enjoyable!

We visited Varanasi (also known Banaras), an old Hindu historical religious town situated on river banks of Ganges. This is a town with many old temples and many old religious myths. Temples are all along on the banks of the holy river Ganga. After sun set the side of river banks are lid with oil lamps and you can hear melodies prayers sang by devotees. It is a beautiful site not to be missed. We also enjoyed the food from street vendors, Tomato chaat a new dish I never had before. One of my viewers has suggested to try “Malaiyo” this brought lot of my good childhood memories as we called this Daulat Ki Chaat.

Our next stop was Jaipur also known as Pink City. Citi has lot of royal charm. Jaipur has many old historical forts and still keeping up with old traditions. This town offers many things to do and see. The highlights were Hawa Mahal, Citi Palace, Jantar Mantar, Amber Fort and list goes on. Of course we ate on local restaurants and did shopping. We stop to Agra and saw Taj Mahal among other things.

We also visited Mumbai great town very different. In Mumbai I enjoyed the most visiting my family. Walking on the beach with my uncle and tried much local food. My niece made sure to take me to the different restaurants, she knew I will enjoy and these dishes were not as traditional but very interesting.

Most time we had spent in Delhi and around. My other niece wanted to show me other side of upcoming India. With her we visited different places and tried variation of food and did different kind of shopping, I will admit I had a blast with her.

Now that our vacation is over, I think it is time to get back to work and experiment with some new recipes, flavors and cooking techniques I learned during my travels to the various parts of India. Recipe and video to be posted soon!


Getting the royal treatment!

As you know, we have continued with our vacation to India. We have been here for almost two weeks and are having the time of our lives! With so much family, it is getting hard to decide just who to spend time with! That is a good problem to have. We have spent the days sitting and talking; and of course laughing. Both Alex and I are enjoying getting pampered and catered to. Alex is meeting many family members after a long time.

I have enjoyed eating here in India as everyone has made the dishes they know are favorites of mine. I have to say food in India has changed. It has become very cosmopolitan and a mix of different types of food – some would say fusion. I have to say I am old-fashioned and still enjoy the food from my childhood. In fact my nieces and nephews laugh and tell me to change with the times!

I have talked to many local chefs during my trip. However, I have learned a lot from my sisters and sister-in-law as they are excellent cooks. I prefer their cooking style as it is the food I have grown up with

Our next stop is Banaras, which is also known Varanasi. After that, we plan on visiting Jaipur Rajasthan.

Until then!

The Journey Continues……..

As you know, we took a short break from our vacation and returned back home to San Diego to spend time with our family. This time spent with family was much needed and I am happy we were able to come back. We are now ready to finish our vacation with a trip to India! I am very excited about visiting India. It is always fun spending time with family members. I am pampered and spoiled when I spend time with my siblings. What can be better than that? I am especially excited to meet my brother and sister’s new grandkids!

Our first stop and base will be Gurgaon. We will then venture out to Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Banaras, and Mumbai. So far these are the cities we have decided to visit. We may visit more, but we plan to play it by ear.

So far what I cook is all trial and error and I make the recipes to my family taste. Every recipe has been a learning curve for me.

During this visit to India, I want to learn and experience the recipes of the local chefs in the cities I visit. I am hoping to learn new techniques that will greatly enhance my recipes. I think these little details can make a huge difference in the dishes and can really enhance the flavors. Of course, I will share these tips with you.

I will keep in touch.

Until next time…

A Brief Change in Plans

As you all know, Alex and I were having a great time on our vacation, traveling throughout the United States visiting family and friends. I have to say that this trip has really been a great experience and we have had the time of our lives. With that said, I have to admit I was really missing my family back home. Both Alex and I missed our family (especially our four grandchildren) so much we decided to come back home for a little while before continuing with our vacation.

So much to the surprise of our family, we came back to San Diego. I have been spending a lot of time with my grandchildren to make up for the time I was away. These days I have been cooking a lot with my younger granddaughter, who is 2 years old. I am trying to introduce some of my son’s childhood favorite dishes. So far we have made delicious chocolate chip pancakes and puda folded with fresh spinach and cheddar cheese. I think I may have a future chef-in-training!

I feel like I made the right decision coming back home for a while before continuing on with our trip to India. After all, what can beat spending quality time with your family?

Until next time…


Time To Celebrate!

The month of October is a month of celebration. This month the Hindu calendar is filled with many holidays. As you know, this year I am celebrating these holidays with friends while I am away from home. We have already celebrated Navratri and Dashara but there is still some celebrating to do!

The next holiday coming up is Karva Chauth which is a festival where married women observe a fast to ensure the well-being of their husbands. Karva Chauth is celebrated with great enthusiasm with wives getting together dressed in their best colorful attire. In my family, we enjoy celebrating by making Gatta Ki Kadhi, Rice, one green vegetable and my daughter in law’s favorite Gulgulas.

After Karva Chauth, it is time to get ready to celebrate Diwali, which has been coined the festival of lights. Diwali is the time to get together and socialize with friends and family and exchange gifts. I love to celebrate Diwali with my friends by giving them home-cooked treats. I would recommend the following as great treats to bring at Diwali festivities: Coconut Burfi, Mohan Thal, Besan Ladoo, Baklava Rolls, Besan Para, Shakkar Para, Masala Peanuts. I have many recipes for these items.

Right now, I am in Ann Arbor, Michigan having a great time with family. Recently we took a trip to Niagara Falls. It was just spectacular.

I plan to enjoy the remaining holidays with my family and friends. I will be posting a new recipe which is perfect for Diwali – “Mava ki Kachori”. This is a delicacy from the state of Rajasthan. This dish is a fried pastry filled with an aromatic nut mixture – it is the perfect Diwali treat. Make sure you do not miss the recipe for this delicacy!

Until then…Happy Diwali!

Enjoying Seattle, Washington

Our journey has now taken us to Seattle, Washington where we are staying with my aunt. They live about 2 hours north of Seattle and have a beautiful countryside home. Many of you have noticed my new surroundings in my last video posted about Zucchini Pasta. This video was taped at my aunt’s house. She has a beautiful vegetable garden and I used fresh zucchini from there. I will have to come up with a recipe using more of her fresh vegetables very soon.

Downtown Seattle is very lively and interesting. We enjoyed walking through the Farmer’s market fresh fruits and vegetable stands, spice shops and small gift shops and restaurants. It actually reminded me a little of India.

We have been doing a lot of driving and walking near the water and in the woods. Seattle is a very scenic town. Tomorrow we will be taking the ferry to Vancouver, Canada. We are looking forward to that!

I have to say the best of part of this trip is sitting down with my aunt and having heartfelt conversations about our childhood and family members back in India. We are amazed at how life has changed for both of us since moving to the U.S. We have spent many late nights laughing and crying when reminiscing.

My next video for Veggie Hash Browns will be posted very soon.