31 October 2013

Trick or treat - My Pecan buggy freaks| Quick Halloween snack


Today is one of the spookiest day of the year here in the US, for today is Halloweeeeeeeeen Scared Ghost. The day of spirits , ghosts, evils,devilssssss...... It's believed that during the Halloween night ,the boundary between the living and the dead becomes translucent and the spirits of the dead returns to the Earth Big Skeleton.............and to ward off the evil spirits, people decorate their homes with scary stuffs like scarecrows,cobwebs,bats,witches,brooms,skulls,skeletons etc, carve pumpkins,wear costumes ,light bonfires and kids go from house to house asking for "Trick or treat". A celebration or a superstition ???

Isn't it strange , though parents make sure that kids don't accept anything from strangers, this day even that rule is broken happily :) .It's like a candy day for kids :) . I love watching my neighborhood kids in different costumes and I wait for them eagerly with a big bag of candies to distribute in the evening :). Wish I had such a celebration during my childhood days especially :P. Candies and chocolates for free !!! Ohh heavenly hell-oweeeen...

Back in India we just celebrated the festivals marking the destruction of evils and in western countries it's a day dedicated exclusively to evils.. Spooky yet funny !! Still I weirdly like this festival as I can see the festival spirits in everyone's face especially kids planning on which costume to wear this time, carving pumpkins and parents thinking all the ways and means to reuse or recycle the costumes of previous years and save some bucks thereby :D .Even the supermarkets are filled with spooky decorations for sale, cute -themed costumes of Spiderman, witch, vampires,bumble bee, rabbit and what not :)..it's a creepy yet cute visual treat!!....by the way I wonder if Lady Gaga ,Nicky Minaj celebrates Halloween every other day :P (no offense to them though :P I am infact their big fan too and love their "Be yourself" attitude )  but on a funny note, I think one day they will be selling all their costumes themed ,"Halloween special" for wholesale I believe LOL (I'm not laughing):P.

I celebrate this festival by becoming a slave to my idiot box as at this time loads of horror movies are being aired and I love horror movies .The only thing I look like this then->Very Nervous. Yeah I watch it with a brave but pounding heart, one eye closed and hugging tight honey P and making sure he doesn't leave his seat at any cost and all lights on and screaming , shouting in between.... Not to mention I enjoy it thoroughly Scared .......I don't understand why my hubby says that , it's not the movie, it's me who scares the hell out of him :O ..don't know why ..hmmmm...

This Halloween I made an easy Trick or treat using just 2 ingredients - Pecans and colored cake fondant and some ready made gummy worms .I call them ,"My Pecan freaks". Here's how I made my easy breezy, not that spooky Halloween snack.(but if you ask me, for me any bugs on this Earth are spooky )

Pecan freaks-Halloween snack


Pecans - 10 nos.
Fondant (Beige/white color) - lime size
Food color
Long Plastic strings -20 (for decoration)
Ready made gummy worms - 10


  • Make pea size mini balls and roll it to make it look like thick thread shape and make a bend in between to use as legs for the bugs .Keep it aside but use it ASAP otherwise they'll dry.
  • Take a pecan , use any dark food color and put two dots as eyes and attach the above made legs to them.
  • Put two 6" long plastic strings as their antennas.
  • My Pecan freako edible bug is ready .
  • I gave them a company - ready-made gummy worms.
The demon in me broke their legs ..enough is enough !

So, what do you think.. Was it a Trick OR a Treat??

Here's wishing all my readers ,"Happy .. Wait a minute or a spooky Halloween day ?".. Have a Helluva-een day !!

See you later..if I am aliveeeee :O..

Green Monster Waving

Sending this freaks as a trick & a treat to Shey Divine's "Let's Celebrate Halloween" event 

30 October 2013

Pepper Chicken Biryani


I love Biryani. Biryani is basically a (famous Indian/Pakistani recipe) , a rice (Basmati) based dish made with different aromatic spices,butter/clarified butter(Ghee) and either egg/mutton/beef/prawn/fish/Vegetables/Chicken mainly and since I believe in ,"Variety is the spice of life ". Biryani just fits the bill thereby. It's a dish that doesn't really need a side dish for it's self-sufficient. There is rice, then there is either vegetable for vegetarians or meat/seafood for non-vegetarians covered with flavorful spices and all mixed together to form one helluva lip smacking main course/meal of the day.

Needless to say,I love making different versions of biryani's .One such Biryani I made is Pepper chicken biryani .Myself and my hubby love spicy food and what's more spicier than pepper .So,Pepper chicken biryani is a mildly spicy biryani ,one pot meal made with pepper chicken masala and Basmati rice .To balance the heat of the pepper and other spices ,I used peas ,carrots and pure maple syrup (Yes,you heard it right ..trust me it's awesome it just blends with all spices and just disappears balancing the heat of the spices without compromising the flavor in any way thereafter,infact it works like honey here but better substitute sugar content wise & that's why I called it mildly spicy and is healthy too and so I realized it's just not for the pancakes & waffles anymore,there is more to it ) .Let's just say I wanted to make a healthy quick Biryani here.The Indian spices + the vegetables +the Chicken+ little pure maple syrup = one Super food as every one of them are loaded with their own medicinal values and the result...A yummy healthy Biryani .Moreover though the typical biryanis are time consuming ones,this one is made in a pressure cooker.So,it's an instant biryani as well.What more could you ask for? Did you say ,"The recipe" ?.. Well, here it comes:

Pepper Chicken Biryani


For marination

Chicken - 750 gram
Pepper powder-1 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Lemon juice - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste

For Masala

Big red onion, sliced - 1 no.
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
Medium size Tomato, sliced - 1 no.
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Red Chili powder - 1 tablespoon
Coriander powder - 2 teaspoon
Garam Masala powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Pepper powder - 2 tablespoon
Pure maple syrup - 1 tablespoon (Optional)
Peas - 1/2 cup
Carrots , sliced matchstick size - 1/2 cup
Butter/oil - 2-3 tablespoon
Cinnamon stick - 1'
Cloves- 4 nos.
Cardamom- 4 nos.

Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Water - 2 1/2 cups
Butter-1 teaspoon
Salt to taste


  • Marinate the chicken with pepper powder, turmeric powder, ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice and salt and refrigerate it for 30 minutes- 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, heat the butter or oil in the pressure cooker and add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom (low flame) for a minute.
  • Add onions and keep sauteing until they are transparent.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste, saute till the raw smell disappears.
  • Add tomato , turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder, pepper powder , garam masala powder and salt.
  • Cover the cooker so that the tomatoes gets mushy and all spices mixed well on low to medium flame. Do check in between so that they don't get stick to the bottom and get burnt.
  • Once everything looks like a paste , add the pepper marinated chicken and keep sauteing.
  • Cover it again so that chicken is partially cooked on a low - medium flame.
  • Wash and drain the Basmati rice and add to the chicken masala above.
  • Give a stir for a minute or two so that everything is nicely mixed.
  • Add peas and carrots.Stir well.
  • Add water, butter and stir.
  • Pressure cook for 5-7 minutes on medium flame.
  • Once the pressure inside subsides, allow it to rest for 5 additional minutes , now open the cooker carefully and use a fork to fluff the rice slowly to avoid breaking the rice and mix everything together once again.
  • Pepper chicken Biryani is ready to eat just like that or with a yogurt sauce or salad by side.

  • Garam Masala is a blend of ground spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, mace, fennel seeds etc.. Ready made garam masala powders are easily available in Indian stores or can be prepared at home .For this recipe (Dry roast and grind Cinnamon stick - 1', cloves - 3, cardamom - 3 , fennel seeds - 1/4 teaspoon).
  • Adjust the pepper and red chili powder as per the spiciness desired. If more add little pure maple syrup again to adjust.
  • I used a US cooker here. For Indian cooker , the rice and water ratio will be 1:2 and cook for 3 whistles or until they get cooked.
  • This was for a contest to prepare a one pot meal with pure maple syrup .Instead of that syrup honey can be used otherwise.

Bon Appetit

Proud participant of Pure Canada Maple Syrup

29 October 2013

Wonder Tip#1 - How to stop Onions make you cry ?

After peeling onions , cut them into half and soak in water for a few minutes, 10 minutes approx before cutting them further.

Sending them to Cooks joy's Basics, Tips & Tricks : Even

28 October 2013

Hide & seek Quick Creamy chocolate pie


We all know we should eat fruits a lot and chocolates , pies , etc. (likewise) less. However what if we combine both of them together like a win win two-in-one wonder. Here I came across one such irresistible pie recipe from the famous Indian food writer & chef , Tarla Dalal called "Creamy chocolate pie" .Well what to say about this recipe, look at the picture above, doesn't it look like a spread of colorful fruits but as a matter of fact, it's not just fruits- it's like a sin discreetly covered or camouflaged meaning a seductive creamy chocolatey dessert covered with varieties of colorful fruits to slowwwwly coax you :) .How clever is that? I guess it'll be the best pie to lure especially kids to eat all those bunch of fruits first to finally reach the scrumptious pie hidden inside and that's exactly why I named it "Hide & seek creamy chocolate pie " .Moreover , it's a 10 minute quick fix pie made with an easy homemade pie crust ,a creamy dark chocolate filling & an awesome makeover later with any fruits of your choice .This recipe is not only yummylicious with a healthy kick but also will become quite handy if you are expecting or having guests at home and you wanna make something decadent instantly. Sounds Awesome ?? Alright so let's check the recipe then.

 Creamy chocolate pie

                                                 (Adapted from Tarla Dalal)


For The Crust
8 digestive biscuits/Any biscuits/cookies , crushed
1 tsp powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp melted butter

For The Filling
1 cup grated dark chocolate
1/2 cup fresh cream
1/2 cup whipped cream

For The Decoration
(Any fruits of your choice, I used)1 kiwi , sliced
strawberries , sliced
3  Pineapple, sliced 


  • Prepare the crust by mixing the crushed biscuits, sugar and butter together and put it in a lightly greased glass pie plate or into a 150 mm. (6") diameter loose bottom tin.(where the bottom can be easily removed).
  • Pat and push down the mixture into the container like the shape of the wide plate used in a way it can hold the pie in the middle completely .
  • Refrigerate it for 15-20 minutes or until set/firm.
For the filling:
  • Boil the fresh cream in a deep pan stirring continuously.Once it comes to the boiling point,turn the flame off.
  • Add the grated dark choclate to it.Stir until it becomes a smooth thick sauce.
  • Allow it to cool and then add the whipping cream to it.
  • The filling is ready to go into the crust now.
Final preparation:
  • Spread the filling over the crust and refrigerate it for 2-3 hours or until set/firm.
  • Decorate with the fruits you wish.
  • Serve it right away.
  1. To crush the biscuits/cookies,either use a mixer/food processor to grind it into fine crumbs not powder though or put the biscuits/Cookies in a ziplock bag and using a rolling pin crush it into fine crumbs.

Sorry this was the last piece of pie left ..somehow managed to snap it.

So what do you think "Piece of cake" right or "Piece of pie" ??? ..Figure it out people :) 

Have a piecious day,

24 October 2013

Easy healthy Pineapple Jam


Happy Times<-- Does anybody have any idea who they are ,the crazy dancing couple??  Anyone? Raise your hands people....Dang !! You all are dancing huh ? learning those steps ..hmmm..alright ,"Dance like a star like no one is watching " :) ...Keep it up..and now let ME answer that question because you seem to be really busy...Well,that's us-myself and Honey P!!


No we are not in a dancing competition or having a party ,actually that's what we call a "Rock & roll Jam effect".Yes that's exactly what happens whenever my hubby would come across any Jams in any store.He loves Jam.Jams remind him his childhood days he says.........and now I can hear you asking why the hell I am dancing with two braided hair,ribbons etc :P ..well,I am dancing because I am thinking now I don't have to make any breakfast ..for he'll be happy with his toast and jams everyday and i'll get more time to sleep :P or braid my hairs,put that ribbon etc...Happy husband,Happy wife right!! ...yeah even I thought so until my hubby said,"Dearo,these jams are terrific but then I would love to eat the jam made by my wife."


...wellCrying... After thinking for a while ,I realized that's true, it's time,it's time to make Jam by myself because the store bought jams are just loaded with sugar & preservatives which is not good for my hubby's health especially..so ,I asked my momma dear for the pineapple Jam recipe and gave it a try and Boom,it was awesome,fresh,natural and I dumped sugar for honey and voila,the Pineapple Jam is just healthily yummy!! ..I am super happy now ..I mean both of us..and now back to the tango mood !! So while we are tangoing why don't you check out the easy breezy healthy  recipe ;)..Hope you'll like it :).

Pineapple Jam


Pineapple - 750 g
                                   Honey - 1-2 cup (depending upon the sweetness desired)
Cinnamon pwder - 1/4 teaspoon(optional)
Nutmeg powder- a pinch(optional)
Lemon juice - 2 tablespoon

Preparation Method :

  • Sanitize the jar (preferably small ones) and it's lid and let it dry completely.
  • Puree the pineapple in a mixer and keep it aside.
  • Now heat a deep bottom pan and add the pineapple puree and allow it to boil.
  • Once boiled reduce the flame to medium and add the honey to it.
  • Let it simmer until everything thickens up.Keep stirring so that it doens't stick to the bottom.It may take 30-60 minutes to thicken up.
  • Once they get thickened up add the cinnamon and nutmeg powder.Give it a stir .
  • Turn the stove off and allow it to cool completely.
  • Once cool,add the lemon juice to it and put it in the "Completely dried and sanitized jar".
  • Healthy quick pineapple jam is ready.
  • Have it with toast ,roti,chappathi or even as a sweet sour sauce .
  1. I used canned pineapple slices in it's juice here and once with just regular pineapple.
  2. Day before Jam preparation(preferably) -Use glass jars especially small ones and sterilise it before using it.First wash it well with soapy water and boil them in a deep pan of hot water for like 10 minutes and after that turn the stove off and then put the lids of the jars to sterilise as well until the water cools off.Later dry the jar and lids under sun  until completely dried.
  3. To check the jam is set-put a little between your thumb and index finger and they should kinda stretch.
  4. Do check for the sweetness and adjust as per your preference.You can substitute it with sugar as well.
  5. Lemon juice helps in setting the jam further and kind of preservative.
  6. Once the jam cools down it tends to thicken by itself more gradually.
  7. Cinnamon and nutmeg are optional but preferred as it gives an extra zing to the jam.
  8. Keep it always refrigerated.


Have a sweet day !!

Sending this to Nayna's Lets cook Preserves, Jams and Chutneys event

22 October 2013

Quick Gajar ka Halwa|Carrot pudding|Festival sweets


Today is technically speaking,"Husbands day" for all Indian married women especially North Indian women as today is one of the famous Hindu festival "Karwa Chauth",a festival dedicated to husbands in short.The day when all married women observe from dawn to dusk strict fast of no food,no water and pray to almighty for their husband's long life and total well-being .This day once again the married women adorn themselves as a bride clad in beautiful sarees/bridal costume,loads of jewelery ,mehendi/henna on their hands & legs,bindi on their forehead,Sindoor/Vermilion on their head (in parting of the hair),beautiful makeup on her face,heart full of prayers for her spouse,stomach growling but she ignoring happily,lips smiling,face glowing ,in short sizzling like a pretty bride ALL FOR HER BETTER HALF :).

Finely Chopped carrots
The fasting she happily undertakes is broken only at night after seeing the moon through a sieve directly or in a water as a reflection and offering prayers later on and she literally starts eating the first bite fed by her dear husband lovingly . Sweet !!:) A day for husbands indeed :).

I certainly ,like other festivals love this festival but still I am not a big fan .First of all, I can't imagine the plight of those women who unfortunately don't get to see the moon that day by chance and that means an ill omen ,inauspicious for her husband.Secondly,I believe women are already doing loads of sacrifice ((read) as her pure love & genuine responsibility) for their family by hook or by crook,more than anyone in the family .Doesn't that imply how loving,responsible ,sacrificing she is already? Does she have to observe a fast from day to night without any food or a drop of water to prove her love for her family,her spouse ?

I would have loved it if there was a wife day as well like a "Men"wa chauth something lol :P..excuse me ;D...I mean there are husbands who don't even remember their wedding days ,their wife's birthdays ...Anyways,it's all beliefs,customs and part of our culture as a reminder ,rejuvenating the sacred bond I believe but if you ask me how I celebrate this day,then for me every day is a Karwa chauth sans any fasting but the most important thing wholehearted prayer to almighty for my man's long life and prosperity forever ..That's my ideal Karwa Chauth infact :).


Anyways, since it's a whole day fasting for women there's a lot of celebration in between to keep her occupied, loads of delicacies are prepared for the day and even though I don't celebrate it, I certainly prepared one such popular Indian sweet pudding,"Gajar ka Halwa" , made up of grated carrots, milk, sugar, ghee (Clarified butter). It is rich , yummy and also a nutritious dessert .This is a very simple version but the best for me.Really apt for people who do festival fasting.

This dessert is so popular in India that in most of the Bollywood movies this delicacy is a celebrity of the dessert kingdom there:D..All Indians can recall those hilarious line by all amma/moms in the movie,"Aaja beta ,maine aaj tere pasand ka gajar ka halwa banaya hai"/"Son,I've prepared your favorite dessert,Gajar ka halwa for you" :D.

 Gajar ka Halwa


Fresh Carrot , grated - 3 cups
Milk - 3 cups (Preferably whole fat for richness)
Sugar - 1 cup
Cardamom Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Raisins and Cahewnuts - a few (10-20)
Ghee (Clarified butter) - 1/2 cup

Preparation Method:

Watch me how to make an easy gajar ka halwa in the video below :
  • Wash, peel and grate the carrots using any grater or I used my mini chopper that just chops it finely just the way I want it.
  • Pressure cook the grated carrots, milk and sugar together for one whistle.
  • Turn the flame off and once the steam escapes completely & cooker calms/cools down, open the lid carefully.
  • Now put it on medium flame , stirring now and then until all liquid/milk evaporates.
  • Now heat a wide pan with ghee, fry raisins and cashew nuts till light brown.
  • Now transfer everything from the pressure cooker into the above pan.
  • On medium-low flame keep on stirring until everything mixes well  & finally ,starts leaving the edge of the pan,for say 10-15 minutes approx.
  • Add cardamom powder to it. Give a final stir.
  • Transfer it to a plate greased with ghee & allow it to cool.
  • Quick Gajar ka Halwa is ready to serve.
  • Decorate it with raisins and cashewnuts.
  1. I used pressure cooker to make the halwa fast,saves lots of time when compared to making it in a pan directly.
  2. Once the halwa cools down, I kept it in the freezer to harden them a bit and then used cookie cutter to cut it into diamond shapes.
  3. Adjust the sugar as per your sweet tooth and adjust ghee to keep it as it is or to increase richness.
Happy Karwa Chauth to all married women out there !Hope your married life will be just like this gajar ka halwa-rich ,yummy ,may your sindoor on your hair be as vibrant and colorful as this carrots forever......

Reminds me that Bollywood song from ,"Hum Dil de chukey Sanam"

Chand Chupa Badal Mein, Sharma Ke Meri Jaana ,(ofcourse she is looking that beautiful afterall)
Seene Se Lag Ja Tu, Balkha Ke meri Jaana,(She is looking forward to)
Gumsum Sa Hai, Gupchup Sa Hai
Madhosh Hai,Khamosh Hai, (Hogi hi na because of the fasting yaar,jaanam samjha karo )
Haan Ye Sama, Haan Ye Sama Kuch Aur Hai, ..(Bilkul ye Karwa Chauth jo hai ) :D

(Ok jokes apart,let's get serious)
Aaja Re Aaja Re Chanda,
Ki Jab Tak Tu Na Aayega, Sajana Ke Chere To Dekhne Ye Man Tarsa Jayega,
Pyaar To Naam Hai, Sabra Ka Humdam
Aaja Re Aaja Re Chanda,Tu Laakh Duayen Payega...

Those few lines here and there sums it up :))

God bless you all lovely ladies & their lucky halves,