Monthly Archives: October 2015

Baby Corn Chops, a Vegetarian Snack

Vegetarian snack from ashuskitchen
Vegetarian snack from ashuskitchen

Each person have their varied moods and fancies, all different from one another. Many a times the urge to try out something different from the regular makes some moments of a foodie’s life memorable. But, sometimes I do get to see the day when a new recipe try results in only me ending up eating what I cooked, well  I do believe in respecting other’s taste. But mommy chefs have the added advantage of bullying, kids have to finish what is served in the plate, also the family is aware that most often the new try outs do taste good. For me the meals served to the family need to be nourishing, appetizing as well as relishing, hence the bullying is allowed once in a while while experimenting!

Well, if one does not try out new things then the monotony would make life quite boring. It applies to home meals too.

The last couple days saw hectic activity in the house. Members of my family were dashing in and out of this place, and me chauffeuring them  to the airport. When the boys were away, the mother daughter team did get to spend some ‘gal-time’ together. If you have a daughter, then you would know what I am talking, how the shopping trips are always good-times especially when the boys are not around. We had our overeating time too, at the neighborhood Pizza Hut, my Instagram post will tell you which pizza we ate that day.

As I already mentioned that I like trying out new recipes, I had made something similar to this recipe couple years back and never made it again. My Jr. had liked that, and every time I bought baby corns the thought crossed my mind to make that recipe again, but it never was done. One of my reasons of writing this blog was also to document the many recipes that I make and later forget, but now they remain handy as a menu-card to go back to again and again. The day I made this version of the chops, I used only the ingredients that were handy in the refrigerator. I have posted Mutton Chops, a non-vegetarian recipe and always wanted to make a post using vegetables and call them vegetarian chops, and finally here I am posting it today. It was one of the days when the daughter wanted to eat something simple like only Rice & Dal with ghee for dinner. I surprised the kids by making these veg chops, which were liked by both, and the simple dinner turned out to be simple yet a little fancy! Small surprises add liveliness and increase the happiness quotient, true for mealtimes too! Try it out with your family.


Baby Corn: 1 Packet

Boiled Potatoes: 2 (Medium-sized)

Green Peas: 1 Bowl

Carrot: 1 (Medium size, Grated)

Ginger/Garlic Paste: 2 Tsp

Cumin Powder: 1 Tsp

Green Chili: 2 (finely chopped or paste) OR Red Chilli powder -1 Tsp.

Green Coriander: 1 Tbsp (finely chopped)

Cornflour: 100 gm

Breadcrumbs: 100 gm

Salt: As needed

Oil: For frying

NOTE: (Cornflour is used for binding as well as coating. Breadcrumbs are required for coating. Breadcrumbs and cornflour quantity use as required, little amount might remain OR may be required more than stated)


Assemble and prepare all the required ingredients.

Mash the boiled potatoes, green peas, and add the grated carrot, ginger-garlic paste, green chilies, chopped coriander, cumin powder and salt. Add 2 or 2 1/2 tbsp cornflour and mix all the ingredients together. The mixture should be firm to hold.

Mashed Vegetable mixed with cornflour.
Mashed Vegetable mixed with cornflour.

Roll the baby corns in cornflour that is seasoned with salt and chili powder, and keep them in a plate.

Mix little water in this remaining cornflour and make a medium thick batter.

Cornflour batter
Cornflour batter

Make lemon-sized balls of the vegetable mixture, flatten it and place the flour dusted baby corn in the center and fold it, press tightly. Only half portion of the corn should be covered with vegetable coating.

Dip this vegetable and baby corn chop into the cornflour batter, then coat with breadcrumbs and pat tightly with both hands so that the extra crumbs are removed. Make all the chops and keep it in a plate ready to fry.

Baby corn chop
Baby corn chop
Baby corn chop
Baby corn chop

Heat oil in a Karahi, and deep fry the chops until crisp and golden brown from outside.

Deep Fry
Deep Fry
Deep Fried Baby Corn chops.
Deep Fried Baby Corn chops.
Baby Corn Chops from ashuskitchen.
Baby Corn Chops from ashuskitchen.

Serve hot with tomato ketch-up or a green chutney or chilli sauce.

These chops can be enjoyed as a finger food for parties, snack, or a weekend special breakfast item. Do try them in your kitchen and leave your thoughts about the recipe.

Have a great weekend.


Many a times one is tempted to rest against a tall tree trunk to catch some breath during a nature walk, but be careful, creepy crawlies are lurking around!

WPC: Be Careful
WPC: Careful

Were the ants aware of the danger ahead on the path??IMG_3306 IMG_3307IMG_3305

Be Careful, watch your step, I am crossing!!!


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Careful.”

Sweet Pongal Rice


Sweet Pongal, a sweet dish introduced to me for the first time by a person who is as sweet as the dish itself, my Tamilian friend, Raji. She holds a special place in my heart.

Friends, have you ever felt connected with a person in an instant? Some people are just meant to be in our lives and hence the pathways of our lives get crossed so that we can form a bond, a connection that would remain in spite of moving away from the place where the friendship started. Yes, those who are meant to be in our lives do walk into it somehow, we just need to connect and make an everlasting friendship with them. There is always a lot to learn from each other.

I met Raji a couple of years back when I had shifted to a new residential colony in Delhi, and was on my way to the pre-nursery school to inquire about admission procedure for my son. I could see a gal, short in stature, with the same aged boy as my son, walking from the opposite end of the road. We saw each other and smiled,  introduced each other and it happened that her son was going to the same pre-nursery school that I was walking to. She lived in one of the neighboring buildings, so our daily to and fro walks to drop our sons made us get to know each other more. Thus our friendship started and her house happened to be the most frequented or knocked at place during my stay in that colony. We went for our daily morning or evening walks, sometimes grocery shopping, sometimes mall shopping, sharing the new dishes cooked at our homes with each making extra portions for the other. I have always found a liveliness and enthusiasm in her and her bubbly laughter, infectious. We sure had our laughter moments; on reminiscing, now, as I think, of those moments we sure giggled like school girls. I had never made vegetable biryani or used beetroot in rice preparations, it was she who introduced me to some of the yummy recipes. One auspicious day she made the sweet pongal as prasad and got a bowl for me. I fell in love with that prasad, she made sure to add extra ghee to the bowl that she brought for me, yeah making me gain more calories (he he 🙂 ), but I would always finish the whole bowl at one go, it was the best, always has been the best Pongal that I got to eat. I have tried making this dish as prasad on couple of occasions over the years, but I would say hers was the best and I can never ever recreate that same very dish in my kitchen; her love is always missing in my pongal!

We moved countries from our Delhi days, kids have grown up, we kept in touch as and when, sometimes no contact for months to years, but every-time I am reminded of her, I instantly feel the warmth of the friendship and a sense of happiness. She has since then moved back to India and lives in Tamil Nadu, and now we are more in contact, more calls, and are there for each other at the buzz of the app, yeah Whatsapp!

It is a wonder how sometimes the small meet-ups, talks or chance encounters stay with us over the passage of time, always fresh as if they had occurred in the present day. I cherish these connections of mine, the individuals who have made an impact on me, whose simple and humble natures left an imprint that has remained fixed somewhere in the mind. I feel one needs to give time and make efforts to keep these warm relations the source of our daily happiness. I am thankful for few wonderful people who have crossed my path and are part of my life.

Now moving to making the Sweet Pongal. This is the way I make this dish in my kitchen, the recipe might not be the exact traditional way of cooking, but its my style of making Pongal. I generally like less sweet and hence I add less sugar or jaggery, hence do increase the quantity of these ingredients as per your taste.


Rice: 1/2 Katori

Water: 2-2 1/2 Katori

Jaggery: 70-100 gm (Use self discretion for the preferred sweetness and increase the quantity)

Cashewnut: 25 gm

Raisins: 25 gm

Freshly Grated Coconut: 2 Tbsp

Almond Slices: For Garnish

Green Cardamon powder: 1 Tsp.

Ghee: 2 Tbsp

Milk: 1/2 cup. (one could cook the rice in milk)


Wash and soak the rice in water for 10-15 min.

Pressure cook the rice adding double the amount of water in ratio to the rice. For half a katori of rice add 2 1/2 katoris. Cook to 3-4 whistle of the pressure cooker so that the rice is cooked soft.

Heat pan and mix the rice and milk, with continuously stirring this so that milk gets mixed and dries.

In a Kadai or pan heat the ghee, fry the cashews and raisins, taking care not to burn. The cashew nut should be lightly golden in colour. Keep them in plate.

Add the jaggery to the ghee in kadai, and with continuous stirring melt the jaggery, care should be taken that it should not burn. It should not be cooked for long or it would become thick and hard. Add the cooked rice and mix so the jaggery gets mixed evenly with the rice.

Add the fresh coconut and cardamom powder and mix. Then add the fried cashew nuts and raisins.



Remove in a serving bowl and garnish with sliced almonds.

This is the picture of the prasad that I made today. I used the jaggery that was little dark in color, and hence the darker color of the rice.


I made this prasad today on the occasion on Vijayadashmi/ Dussehra, a Hindu festival of India. My mother would always make another sweet called Basundi, my favorite on this special day of mine, which is made by evaporating milk. I made Basundi just a couple of days ago.

Basundi, a Maharashtrian sweet dish, from ashuskitchen.
Basundi, a Maharashtrian sweet dish, from ashuskitchen.
I enjoyed writing my thoughts about the dish Sweet Pongal Rice, and I am the only one in the house who loves eating this!!

Tomorrow is the weekend in this part of the world. You all too have an awesome weekend, friends.


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “(Extra)ordinary.”

My travels across cities of India have made me stop and capture some ordinary trees that I found to be (extra)ordinary and have become part of my photographs for this weekly challenge.

As with any sight-seeing we come across many beautiful things that instantly gets our attention and also ordinary things that we simply pass by without a blink of the eyelid. But sometimes giving a pause and just letting the trail of thought carry us makes us witness the ordinary in an extraordinary way. I have always been fascinated by the tall trees, their growth, the spread of the roots on the ground below, the width/girth of the age-old tree trunks, the majestic swaying of its branches when the wind blows, and the new saplings sprouting from the seeds that fall on the ground. While planting a sapling one does not know how the full-grown tree would shape, look like. These trees witness the passage of generations and still are seen around. I have always marveled at this thought.

Visiting the Grand Mysore Palace, in Mysore Karnataka, I saw these magnificent trees, giving a grand welcome to all the visitors who visit the palace premises. The branches of the tree below resembled to me the opening of fingers when we hold our palms together. These palace trees were in the perfect location, visitors got spell-bound by the grandiose and majestic look of the Mysore palace, and they added the most scenic natural beauty to the premises of the beautiful man-made structure. Also, they have seen many generations of visitors and sightseers.

Trees at the Mysore Palace:

Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace

Pictures below show Coconut trees seen while touring Goa, India. These ordinary lofty and slender trees seen throughout the landscape of Goa show extraordinary strength, standing tall facing the strong winds that blow and  thus make us look up at them in awe. I found them to be (Extra)ordinary!

IMG_0746 IMG_0802

The pictures below were clicked at a guesthouse after a heavy downpour, during the Monsoon season in India, and as we sat and were eating our lunch it again started raining, The small Papaya tree loaded with its fruit was facing the strong Monsoon rains and holding on to its roots, this ability to withstand the weight made it (extra)Ordinary for me.

Papaya tree clicked after a heavy downpour of the harsh monsoon rains in India.
Papaya tree clicked after a heavy downpour of the harsh monsoon rains in India.



Madeira Cake, my birthday bake.

Ashus version of the Madeira Cake.
Ashu’s version of the Madeira Cake.

The month of October dawns with loads of anticipation, excitement and lots of parties lined up. Yup, for me this is one of the favorite months of the year. This unique individual was born in this month, happens to be the birthday month of my dad as well as sisters. In fact, their is a long list of family members celebrating birthdays in October. Thus this is a a month of celebration, and calls for a recipe to post as the cake -of-the-month!

For this mother, baking cakes and organizing birthday parties comes in stride as annual events that are looked upon with great eagerness. This birthday I took special efforts to bake a cake for myself, something that I am very much fond of eating. Since my trip to my motherland India, I had not baked cakes as frequently and hence was eager to taste my handmade cakes, and what better day to make than for one’s own birthday! I have taken the recipe from a cookbook and adapted it a little with regards to the taste. I believe each person is different and tastes differ and there is always room for little changes in any recipe. It is a rich, dense, buttery-tasting cake to which I have added the juice of one orange, that gives it an orang-y flavor that I liked. The top of the cake is layered with my choicest dried fruits instead of the fruit peels as per recipe. The whole process from assembly of the ingredients to the actual steps of baking the cake, fond memories of my late Dad, the self love and feelings of happiness, all resulted in quite an enjoyable process of baking, and not to forget the divine buttery aroma that engulfed my senses and made the wait for tasting it an exceptionally long one.

This birthday was special, the people connected to me, those who are far yet near, who love me made it special in their own unique ways. I feel blessed to have my wishes fulfilled and to be surrounded with people who make it special. My Jr. gave me some precious moments of the day that brought happy tears to the eyes. His effort in shopping gifts for his mamma brought to notice once again his excellent taste. My week long celebrations saw me enjoy different food preparations, something that is of interest to me. Arabic cuisine dinner, homemade South Indian snacks Brunch, Barbecue dinner and finally my wish of eating at my favorite chef Vikas Khanna’s restaurant Junoon at Shangri La Hotel, Dubai. It was a notable eating experience at Junoon. Chef Vikas Khanna with his humble and down to earth quality has won over many hearts, and to experience the most friendliest and excellent service at his hotel be it the dish presentations, the taste, the different flavors creating a riot, the food cooked to perfection, the ambiance all that made the eating experience worth the money spent. Thanks to dear hubby who made this birthday dinner my most special and memorable evening. I loved the open kitchen concept of this restaurant and the friendly staff was well aware of the numerous ingredients that went on to make those special dishes on the menu.

Arabic cuisine
Arabic cuisine
South Indian dishes made by me for friends
South Indian dishes made by me for friends
@Absolute Barbecue
@Absolute Barbecue
Birthday special Dessert for me from Junoon Restaurant, Dubai.
Birthday special Dessert for me from Junoon Restaurant, Dubai.

Let us get ready to bake this Madeira cake. It is a simple, tasty and a good choice of cake for serving with tea, dense, and quite similar to a pound cake. The ingredients used are as per my taste with modifications from the original recipe.


Butter: 180 gm (Unsalted, softened)

Grated Orange Rind- 1 Tsp

Orange: 1 (Juice)

Sugar: 150 gm (little less if you prefer less sugar)

Eggs: 3

Refined Flour: 225 gm

Baking Powder: 1 1/2 Tsp

Mixed dried fruits of choice: 50 gm (Finely chopped)

Sliced Almonds:  25 gm or (as per own wish)

(I used a mix of dried apricots, cranberries, figs, raisins, and a red cherry)


Preheat the oven to 160 deg C (Fan assisted). Grease a square tin and keep ready for use. (Line with parchment paper, as it is easier to remove the cake.)

Sift the refined flour and baking powder together.

Beat the softened butter and sugar together using a hand mixer. Then add the orange rind and juice of the orange. I used orange rind instead of the lemon as per the recipe. Mix until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Beat the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time and continue beating batter for sometime.

Fold in the flour with the batter mixture. Pour into the greased and lined baking tin. Bake for 10 min and remove tin from oven and sprinkle with the dried fruits mix and again return the tin to the oven. Bake for 35-40 min or until done, a needle inserted into the batter should come out clean.

Cool the cake in the tin for sometime then remove and let it cool on a cake stand or wire rack.

Sprinkle or arrange the dried fruits on top of the cake and bake till done.
Sprinkle or arrange the dried fruits on top of the cake and bake till done.

Enjoy this delicious buttery delight with hot cups of tea or coffee, or as a dessert after meal.

NOTE: As I baked it the previous night of my birthday, the picture quality is not very great, do bear with me.

I hope you would like baking this sweet delight and enjoy it as much as I did. It was nice to share with you all a few memories of the extended birthday celebrations. I chose this day to post in remembrance of my late dad who was fond of the cakes that I baked for him. All feel the loss of the dear departed ones, but moments like these make us relive the old memories that one shares with them. While baking the cake I had thoughts of my dad with me and was recollecting our old October celebrations, and made a small heart-shaped cake too along with the square one, one mine and one dads. I cut this one when my friends visited for the birthday brunch.

Heart shaped cake for myself 🙂

Have a wonderful day dear readers.


It has been a while that I have done a photo challenge post, and it took sometime for me to select which pictures to post for this particular challenge. I love the theme, one could come up with so many interpretations. I have couple pictures that I have always been fond of, these show us the boundary of open plots in a vast stretch of land.

These pictures are from last year, from a trip to my motherland India, during the monsoon season in the month of July. All the pictures where clicked while travelling through the road in a car, and one from a train window during train travel. They show the farmland, the boundaries of the cultivation fields and barren land, dividing each field from the other plots of land. It is a marvel to see long stretches of farmland with just a heap of mud/soil or stones that are mounted on top of one another forming a small wall, that is enough to separate the farm plots. One of the pictures show the farm workers busy sowing in the paddy fields.

Our family too owned agricultural plots at sometime, and each visit would make me wonder how the farmers can identify their plots of land among the so many without a proper landmark or signboards. Grandma used to tell that they would plant some shrubs, sesame or pulses plants or some big trees and those plants or trees would form the landmark of identification, or would form the boundaries of the plots and also hold the water in the field.

In one of the pictures one can see a river flowing along the sides of the rice fields. The beauty of the spot- the abundance greenery that surrounds the land with the onset of monsoon, vivid shades of green in the frame, the dark mountains, the streams of water gushing down as small waterfalls, and the rapidly moving white and black clouds made me get completely lost, capturing my full attention and then the button of the camera would not stop from being rapidly pressed and the images locked.

Sharing below the snaps from my amazing road trip and a memorable travel. Hope you all too enjoy viewing them.








In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Boundaries.”

Spicy Mushroom

From ashuskitchen
From ashuskitchen

The food cooked in my kitchen has a good mix of spices that are used in most Indian households. The kitchen masala box is the most essential or rather my magic box that is opened for adding its contents to each dish that I am preparing, and a good amount of turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala etc. gets used on a daily basis for making the vegetables or non-vegetarian food of the day. I add turmeric to all the sabjis and dals that I make, but of course with some exceptions like the Dal Makhni and some legumes etc.  I have always marveled at the magic of the different spices and herbs in our Indian cooking that makes each dish so unique and different. India being a big country comprising of different states, with the methods of cooking  varying from region to region, it sure is my pride to belong to this wonderful nation. The south style of cooking varies from the Maharashtrian style, the state from where I belong. Having moved residence within few states of India since the time I got married, yeah you can say the time since I started cooking on a daily basis, resulted in a little bit of adaptation of cooking styles of those particular regions. Having lived in Gujrat I was able to learn the Gujrati cuisine, new dishes for me then, from my friendly neighbors, now they have become part of my frequently cooked menus, with the Undhiyo a vegetarian delicacy made during the winter season being the most favorite.  Similarly, living in the north of India, the cold weather during winters saw me making a whole lot of paratha varieties that were definitely never eaten during my own growing up days. The point to emphasize here is that travelling from one place to another definitely enriches our lives as well as benefits our food habits, we get to learn a lot and include a lot of variety in our regular home menus. So those who all love travelling do keep venturing out to new destinations, and those who have not moved from place to place then folks it’s high time that you need to start exploring new places.

Let us get cooking our today’s recipe. The Spicy Mushroom is my method of cooking and giving them the perfect spicy taste that works best as a filling in rolls, wraps, and even Sandwiches.  The mushrooms used are the ones that are abundantly seen in the supermarkets here.  The spices used are all easily available at home, used in my daily cooking. This is a very easy and Zatpat cooked sabzi, and this is one of the many that is made for kids school lunch, which they have always loved eating.



Oil-1 Tbsp

Chili Powder- 2 Tsp

Coriander & Cumin powder- 1 Tbsp

Salt-To taste



Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth or kitchen towel. Dice them or cut them into small size.


Heat oil in a pan or Karahi on the gas stove. Add the mushrooms and sauté, the gas flame should be on high. This helps to dry the water that is seen while cooking mushrooms.


Then add the spices and salt, and cook till all the water is dry. Cooking on high flame with continuous stirring helps to dry the water and the mushrooms get cooked fast without becoming too soggy and limp.


Mushrooms do not take long to cook and after adding the masala care should be taken as to not burn the spices by reducing the flame of the gas stove to medium, if required. The sabzi is ready once all the spices are mixed with the mushrooms . Remove the karahi from the gas stove and empty the contents into a bowl. Our spicy mushroom filling is ready for use.


Tips: The mushrooms could be used as filling in Roti Rolls/Wraps, along with other salads, chutneys, or sauces. Check the Fulka/Roti recipe here. It can be eaten along with plain roti, ghee roti or parathas too.

Do look out for my future post of how I make use of this spicy mushroom filling for my breakfast dishes. Until next time, have a great culinary experience friends.