Friday, March 25, 2016

Versatile Vegetable Curry

Many a curry recipes have been shared by me previously but this one is nothing like any other: it's a totally different curry; a versatile vegetable curry. So what is this versatile vegetable curry? It's a curry base for so many dishes but totally unlike any other curry base. I have prepared and shared many curry bases like tomato base, yogurt, cashew curry, green curry and so on.. But this base curry contains vegetables. Yes, vegetables which are not liked, hidden in the base curry and more visible vegetables added to the curry in form of koftas etc. So, how about vegetables inside vegetable curry? A double dose of vegetables in a single meal, isn't it?

This curry is prepared adding vegetables which can be carrots, beetroots, zucchini, peas, pumpkin, bell pepper, or any other greens etc. which are usually eaten less or straight away disliked: both by kids and adults. This is also a great way to add nutrition to the diet by adding vegetables which are otherwise lying in the refrigerator and nobody is agreeing to eat, which happens with everyone at some point of time. I have used carrots and beetroots in this recipe but you can use any disliked/less preferred or to-be-used-soon vegetable to this curry. The fun part? Nobody can make out the taste of vegetables in the curry.

This curry can then be used as a base for so many vegetables like zucchini kofta, potato kofta, paneer kofta, paneer, base for egg curry and even as masala base for tempering dal. You can also use it with any simple stir fry like potato and peas stir fry: just add this curry base and voila! your potato peas curry is ready (which has more vegetables in it.. shhh don't tell anyone). Stir fry any vegetable: zucchini, brinjal, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot and add this base to make vegetable curry inside vegetable curry (inception). This can also be used to transform any left over subzi. You get the idea..

So how to prepare? Here's a description:


Cooking oil: 3 tsp.
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp.
Asafoetida: a pinch
Onions (chopped): 1
Ginger-garlic paste: 3 tsp.
Tomatoes (chopped): 4
Beetroot (chopped): 1
Carrots (diced): 3
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp. (optional)
Coriander powder: 1 tsp.
Garam masala: 1 tsp.


  1. Make a puree of the beetroot and carrots with enough water (grind in a mixer until smooth, there should be no chunks of vegetable otherwise it will no longer remain a secret). Keep aside. 
  2. Heat oil in a deep pan/kadhai. I used my cooker without lid. Crackle the cumin seeds and add asafoetida. 
  3. Add the onions and saute until they are transparent. Now add the ginger-garlic paste, tomatoes, salt, red chili, turmeric and coriander. Mix and let cook on low flame. 
  4. When the tomatoes begin to soften, add the vegetable puree. Mix well. Let cook on low flame for about 20 minutes until the gravy begins to thicken. 
  5. Add garam masala and mix well. Turn off the flame. 
  6. The curry base is ready. Congratulations, you have now hidden the vegetables inside a curry and nobody will ever know. Add some paneer or koftas and serve with chappatis or rice. 
  7. If someone asks why the taste is different, just be really confident and say you experimented a new curry base today and you think it's awesome. Don't tell about this recipe to your husband/kids. Enjoy!

Loved this recipe? Do share your valuable comments and/or feedback in the comments section below and do share a picture if you try this recipe. Also, don't forget to connect with me on Facebook for regular yummy updates. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Instant Rice Flour Dhokla (3-minute recipe)

Dhokla recipes have always been a hit on my blog and the Instant Microwave Dhokla is the most viewed recipe as well. I have tried many versions of instant dhokla for tea time snacks because I'm always looking for easy snacks recipes. I have tried Dhokla in idli standInstant khatta dhoklaInstant Methi dhoklaInstant Poha dhoklaInstant rawa dhokla and Instant Beetroot dhokla.

This is another instant dhokla recipe which is very light and quick to make. It turns out super awesome and I have tried it a lot of times and finally found the time to post it.


Rice flour: 2 cups
Semolina: 1 cup
Yogurt: 1/2 cup
Sugar: 2 tsp.
Salt to taste
Cooking oil: 2 tsp. + for greasing dhokla mold
Lemon juice: 3 tsp.
Asafoetida: a pinch
Eno (fruit salt): 1 tsp.
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp.
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp.
Desiccated coconut to garnish
Chopped coriander leaves to garnish

  1. Mix rice flour, semolina, salt and sugar in a wide bowl. 
  2. Add in the yogurt and make a batter by adding enough water. Add 1 tsp. oil and mix well. 
  3. Add asafoetida and lemon juice and mix well. Leave for about 20 minutes. 
  4. After 20 minutes, mix it well again. Add little more water if the batter feels dry. It should be like idli batter: not too thick and not too flowing and watery. 
  5. Add the Eno and sprinkle little water. Bubbles would start to form. Lightly mix in the eno with the batter and pour the complete mix in a greased microwave safe mold. 
  6. Cover and microwave it at high power for 3 minutes. 
  7. Remove and let cool for about 5 minutes and then remove from the mold and transfer to the serving plate or tray. Cut in desired shape. 
  8. Sprinkle red chilli powder. 
  9. Heat the remaining 1 tsp. oil and crackle the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add 2 tsp. water and turn off the flame. Pour this mix over the dhokla. 
  10. Garnish with desiccated coconut and freshly chopped coriander leaves. Serve with Mint-coriander chutney and hot tea! Enjoy! 

Loved this recipe? Please leave your comment/feedback in the comment section below. 
Don't forget to connect with me on Facebook for yummy updates. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

One minute whole wheat microwave chocolate cake: A milestone

A fork full of happiness: Mini chocolate cake 

So this year we were blessed with an extra day in February: the leap day; 29th February. This day comes once in four years so it's very special for me. I try and live this day completely, I always celebrate the 29th of February. I feel this day will never come back again. Technically it does after every four years but then our lives change so much in four years: so much uncertainty, so many challenges and as always life is unpredictable; so nobody of us have got any idea where we would be in next four years. I try to do something extra: something special on this day to celebrate it. Something I love, something just for myself, something I have always wanted to do, anything big or small, or maybe something I haven't got time/opportunity/been convinced enough to do in the last four years. Something new, taking a leap of faith, believing in myself and celebrating, soaring, enjoying. Something that fills up my soul, satisfies me.

So, like every leap day; 29th February, I was totally wanting to do something special. Something to celebrate the day, something for myself, something I haven't done maybe in these four years. I have always been a crazy and creative person and have loved to let my hair down, be crazy, have fun, read, run and dance for fun, get soaked in the rain, draw, paint, write poetry or stories (have published my own book on women empowerment many years ago). But lately I have felt my spirits dulling; I'm losing my creative charm; so wanted to lift back my creative side. I had not decided what I would do until the morning of 29th. I wanted to decide because I wanted to get up and actually do something instead of wasting about in the house.

And then it struck me: I'm going to BAKE! Yes, the one thing in the kitchen that has always scared me was baking. I have always had such a huge phobia of baking I never thought I would do it. I have used my microwave a lot. I have used my oven a lot: I do have made chicken tikka and tandoori chicken in my oven, broil aubergines for Baingan bharta, tandoori roti , made herbal baked potatoes; and much more. So what scares me? It's the baking soda and baking powder. I just, just, just can't use them right. Don't even get me started on how I failed hugely with baking a chocolate cake for hubby's birthday which was just the taste of baking soda in the mouth, more than the chocolate: and I had to trash it. And that was the worst experience ever! I shared the recipe with so many people and most of them told me the recipe was absolutely perfect! I had followed the recipe to the T and still a big fail!! Nope. Baking just isn't for me. Or I'm not made to bake. (Whatever).

It was my birthday in 2014 a dear friend gave me a recipe for a cake to be prepared in microwave. And I just looked away. I told her I don't want to try anymore. I wasn't even hearing. She told me it's quick, it's simple, it's easy to be made in two minutes, in microwave (even no need to use oven). I just ignored. But then I made it my year 2015 resolution to bake. 2015 came and went and I did not bake. I can tell a million reasons why I did not (or could not). But the thing remains: I did not.

So as it stuck me that I was going to bake, I felt immensely happy. And great. And scared. But as I had decided, I just had to take the leap to overcome my fear. And then I dug out the recipe my friend Khanak had given me long time ago. Found the recipe and the ingredients were actually simple; also healthy, whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour. That looks interesting (I said to myself). Just the vanilla essence was missing from the ingredients. I looked out my window: it was cold (-2 degrees) but the sun was shining in the blue skies. Decided to go out to get some fresh air and the vanilla essence for my baking. Went to the grocery and while I was picking up the vanilla essence, I saw a ready mix pack for chocolate cake and I instantly put it in my grocery cart, thinking will prepare this if my cake fails. Then kept it back on the shelf. Picked it again. Kept back again. After about 5 times of this activity, I kept it back and left it there. Today is the day my cake is going to be right. If not today, then when? Determination, yeah.

So here's the recipe for the two minute microwave chocolate cake.
Recipe credits my dear friend Khanak Shekhawat.


Whole wheat flour: 4 tbsp.
Granulated sugar: 4 tbsp.
Milk: 4 tbsp.
Oil: 2 tbsp.
Unsalted butter: 1 tsp.
Egg: 1
Vanilla essence: 1/2 tsp.
Baking powder: a pinch
Cocoa powder: 2 tbsp.

  1. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients: whole wheat flour, cocoa powder and the baking soda. Mix well so there are no lumps remaining. 
  2. Beat the egg in another bowl and mix in the granulated sugar. 
  3. Add the vanilla essence, butter and oil. Mix everything really well. 
  4. To this bowl, slowly add in the flour mixture. Keep mixing nicely. 
  5. Add the milk and mix well. The mix should now be of pouring consistency. f the mixture feels a little dry, then you can add more milk. Mix well but don not over mix.
  6. Grease a microwave safe mug and pour this mix in the mug. Fill the mug only half way as it will increase in size. I have never baked previously and so I didn't realize. I filled up the mug 3/4th. 
  7. Microwave on high power for 1 minute. Remove and see if the top feels cooked or still soft. If it's soft then microwave for 30 seconds more. It depends on the power of your microwave. Mine got cooked in one minute.  
  8. Remove from microwave and let cool for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle more granulated sugar on top if desired. 
  9. Take out in a serving dish and pour melted chocolate over it if you want. Decorate as desired. Instant dessert is ready. This can be prepared whenever you crave sweet (which I'm not recommending lol) without the hassle of the oven. 
  10. Now, I was over the top as I tasted this as it had no smell of baking soda and was just moist and perfect! Omg did I actually bake a cake? Couldn't believe myself. So then I decided to surprise myself and bake it in oven as well. 
  11. What I did: I preheated the oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes while I prepared the same mix with the same proportion of ingredients  (I know it's too less for a big cake) again. I only wanted to remove my baking fear. 
  12. I greased a round baking form and poured the mix. Kept inside oven and baked for 25 minutes. Removed and let it cool. Decorated as desired. Ta da! Done! No more scared of baking: bring it on! If I can do this, anybody can !!! 

And this was not the only thing I did on THE 29th. I went out and let myself breath the fresh air, even if it was cold. I soaked in the sun for about an hour and then watched the beautiful sunset. I clicked a million pictures. I walked on the streets I have never been on before. I kicked the beautiful, white snow.

To mark this day as more special and as a beginning point, I took two resolutions as well. I have been ignoring few things in my health and skin-care regime. Lately I have been checking my mobile and Facebook for notifications in the middle of the night and early morning as soon as I'm getting up. I have been having heaviness in my head and some pain in my eyes and I had already figured out  it was because of this habit. So the two resolutions I made: 

  1. No mobile in bedroom. 
  2. Removing make up every night before sleeping. 
These might seem small for so many people but I've been so lazy in removing my makeup a lot of times that I actually needed a resolution. Also I've been checking the mobile with the excuse that sometimes I need to wake up in the middle of the night; so bough myself a pocket LED torch. Kept a big pack of baby wipes on my bed side table. Both problems solved: no more excuses! 
I also plan to close all the electronic and mobile devices at least half an hour before sleeping and half an hour after I get up: TV, mobile, laptop, computer. 

As I have always been a creative person who loved to draw, paint and write. After all of this (and the baking adventure), I wasn't left with much of the time but still managed to draw something inspirational for myself. I was a very sensitive person and used to get hurt by everyone. I used to think I'm responsible for everything bad happening with everyone; used to get sucked in negativity everywhere but now I'm getting stronger, and happier. Learnt to pull the plug :) 

Was up for another adventure so I decided to listen some Bollywood songs of the present times! I haven't heard Bollywood songs since so many years I can't even remember and I stick to the good old songs years ago as I believe there are so many useless, meaningless and high pitched and item songs today that they aren't even worth spending time on. But that day I thought: bring it on. Will give them a try. And I did. And I came across a lot of songs: funny, cheesy, meaningless (as expected), loud, strange lyrics; and then there were some nice and lovely romantic songs. So overall it was an okay experience. And I got to know not all the songs are that bad: some are okay and fine too. Here are the songs I came across if you want to hear (on your own risk).

Kar gayi chull (Kapoor and sons):

Ladki beautiful, kar gayi chull.
Ladki nahi tu hai garam maamla.
Kanya kunwaari, adbhut naari... blah blah..

Jabra fan (Fan):

Follow karun twitter pe, tag karoon Facebook pe
mere dil ke mobile ka tu unlimited plan ho gaya..
Main tera jabra fan ho gaya.. ! 

Whistle baja (Heropanti):

Mere naal tu whistle baja
Hey baby ni to ban meri lady, seekh le pyaar ki A B C D; sau mein se sau le le.. 
Na milna mujhe google karke.. 
(I know, irritating right?) 

Hua hai aaj pehli baar (Sanam re)

Hua hai aaj pehli baar ki aise muskuraya hoon
Tumhe dekha to jaana yeh ki kyun duniya mein aaya hoon..
Ye jaan lekar ke jaan meri, tumhe jeene main aaya hoon
Main tumse ishq karne ki izaazat rab se laaya hoon.. 
(Romantic, right? Loved it.)

Deewani Mastani (Baajirao Mastaani):

Nazar jo teri laagi main deewani ho gayi
Deewani haan deewani deewani ho gayi..
Mash'hoor mere ishq ki kahaani ho gayi.. 
(Lovely lyrics).. 

Bolna (Kapoor and Sons):

Chhuteya na chhute mose rang tera dholna
Ik tere baajo dooja mera koi mol na
bolna maahi bolna.. 
(Lovely and sweet, soft romantic).. 

High heels te nache (Ki & Ka)

High heels te nache tu badi jache
Ruk ja tu hang on, ye to bata tu hai kaun.. 
(Headache begins... Stop.)

So, that was the summary of my special day: 29th February. I feel I did enough things to remember this day for the coming four years. Most importantly this day marked the beginning of my baking journey. I have also not written anything for a very long time so planning to begin writing again as well. Had written this poetry long time ago: Over The Time

Hoping the next 29th February brings newer adventures, takes me to newer places and makes me learn and unlearn a lot more. Hope to meet the next leap day with a positive spirit as always with new milestones, new creativity and new stories. 
Till then, 


Thanks for reading this. Please leave your thoughts and comments in the comments section below. And if you love food, do join me on Brijdeep's Kitchen on Facebook. Would love to connect. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Soup Spice Mix (Soup masala)

Soup is a lot like family: each ingredient enhances the others, each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.
- Marge Kennedy.

Soups and winters go hand in hand. And that's the reason I got a Soup Maker as a Valentine's day present from my husband. I've been trying a lot of soup recipes ever since and it's warm and comforting in these cold, snowy evenings. Sometimes I try to replace my dinner with a hot, comforting bowl of soup these days. It's warm, flavorful and healthy. But here's the soup spice mix that makes my soup delicious.

This soup spice mix is made of Indian spices and Indian spices are well known for their wonderful properties if consumed in limited amounts. So here's the mix made with these spices: just add a tsp. of this spice mix while your soup is simmering and feel the difference.


Cumin seeds: 2 tsp.
Coriander seeds: 2 tsp.
Cinnamon: 3 sticks
Cloves: 8
Black peppercorns: 2 tsp.
Fenugreek seeds: 1 tsp.
Dry coriander leaves powder: 1 tsp.
Asafoetida: 1/4 tsp.

  1. Dry roast all the ingredients except dry coriander leaves powder and asafoetida: cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and fenugreek. 
  2. Remove from heat and let cool. 
  3. Grind to a fine (or coarse) powder. Add the dry coriander leaves (crushed) and asafoetida. Mix everything well. 
  4. Store in an air tight container and add a tsp. or more (according to choice) of this amazing spice mix while your soup is simmering and feel the difference in taste!  

Check out more spice mix recipes from Brijdeep's Kitchen:

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