In Reviews

One Stop Shop = Big Basket

For over a month, I was into a deep slumber and when I woke up I just realized that my dormancy was little longer. So you can picture that this effect was replicating on my blog. I know it’s a busy season and for me December is the best month in the entire 12 month clock. It’s the finest month to enjoy with friends and family where we all can indulge in appetizing snacks or dish up some lip-smacking varieties “guilt-free”.

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When we make plans for an elaborate meal, we tend to stock up all the ingredients a day before to avoid any last minute hustle bustle or change of plans. This happens with me most of the times wherein I tend to lose out on the key ingredient and then its non-availability gives me a shock and I am forced to prepare something which is not very much to our liking and ends up with a disappointed me.  It’s very difficult all the groceries(incl.vegetables) in one roof unless it’s a hypermarket and my tedious shift does not give me a spree time wherein I can lavishly shop for hours together.  Also, if you end up men in the house they will surely get what they fancy and miss on something or the other ingredient even though you give them a reminder list (well, it’s a personal experience ;))

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Convenience leads to Innovation… What do you say? I believe in it strongly and if it is doubled with affordability you get thumbs up from me.  Online shopping has got into new avenues and it is now focusing on a key area where one can avail groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables, exotic items just with a mouse click. Isn’t that cool?

Yes, right!!

The above synonymously links back to BigBasket.com.

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I have seen these BigBasketdelivery vehicles many a times in my apartment but never realized that it actually has a unique concept. After a little googling and reading reviews online, I tried it by myself and I was surprised by their collection as their collection is not only vast but it is bundled with some exotic vegetables/products which are a rarity at resident markets.  You do not get some imported brands in your local supermarkets as their focus mainly on “local or country brands”.

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I liked the easy to navigate user interface where I was able to check and confirm the details of a particular product ( Say Olive Oil- different olive oil brands, their brand information, price and quantity availability) were explicitly mentioned. This is something I would love because most of the times we do not tend to get the best product because of lack of explanation.

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I selected all my groceries, vegetables and hit check out wherein I could review my selected items list, increase or decrease the quantity of a selective and then proceeded.  Again convenience was given more weightage wherein you can pay with Sodexo, Credit card, debit card or avail cash on delivery Apart from this you can select your convenient slot and have all your items delivered tension free.


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Bigbasket also has a very nice customer service team who are very prompt in their service. When I called up to let them know that one of my delivered package had a leakage, they were happy to replace it and further sent an apology mail.

Check out the Online supermarket- bigbasket.com

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For a lazy Bug like me, you even have cut vegetables which they are selling a tray method so this further saves your time if you are pressed for time. Also, if any item is not available during your delivery time, the amount is put back into your wallet which can be used later. Even you have the liverage of selecting items from your previous order list or re-order the same list, so you don't have to prepare long lists and rack your brains.

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As a consumer, I would love to avail bigbasket for my regular needs and also suggest my viewers to try it out.  Two things that I would like them to focus – Expand their shopping chain to all major cities and also on the quantity wherein some products are available only above 1 kg, this might lead to wastage if you have a small family of 2 like mine.

So Check out the largest online Grocery store www.bigbasket.com 

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In @ Aathidhyam Chinese Curries Yin Yang

Assorted Veggies Stir Fry

Oh boy!.... I was very surprised when I saw colored bell peppers, purple cabbage and broccoli in a super market near my house. They are like White Elephants in my area as most people are hard core biryani lovers and probably these exotic veggies are  Like a hungry jack I picked up all of them only to repent on the exorbitant price that I had to pay while billing. Well that's okay... May be I can make up an excuse that way as my mind was mentally preparing all possible recipes that I can prepare. So here is the small story behind this recipe. I promised to make a stir fry along with Fried rice for my Mr.P with all these exotic recipes and he was a happy camper this afternoon.


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He is the one who suggested this name. So let's hit the road with my Assorted Veggies Stir Fry.

Assorted Veggies Stir Fry
Ingredients

Broccoli - 8 florets
Beans - 5 (cut into 1 inch pieces)
Bell peppers- 1/2 cup (red, yellow & green)
Carrot - 1 medium( cut into rounds)
Onion -  1 medium (cut into squares)
Cabbage -  1/4th cup (cut into squares)
Soy Sauce - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilly Sauce - 1 tsp
Green Chilly Sauce - 1 tsp
Tomato Sauce - 3 tbsps
Salt- as per taste
Pepper Powder- 1/2 tsp
Sugar-  pinch
Garlic - 10 cloves (minced)
Ginger - 1 inch piece (minced)
Green Chilli - 1 chopped finely
Sesame Oil- 1 tbsp

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Procedure:
1) Heat oil in a wok and fry garlic, ginger and green chilly until they turn slight brownish.
2) Meanwhile you got to parboil broccoli with little salt. Strain water and keep it ready.
3) Come back to your wok and add all the vegetables along with a pinch of sugar. Give them a good stir and turn your flame to high.
4) Toss all these vegetables on high flame. This ensures that they are crunchy and retain their shape.
5) Add all the sauces and other ingredients.
6) Stir these vegetables and ensure that all these sauces coat your vegetables.
7) Allow these vegetables to be on flame for 2 mins and then transfer these contents onto a serving bowl.

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Serve it with steamed rice or Fried Rice.

Aathidhyam has many rice varieties.... Check these rice varieties by clicking this link

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Note:
1) Mr.P wanted garlicky stir fry, so I added almost 10-13(ooopss...lost the count). Do decrease if you don't like this garlicky flavor.
2) Adjust spiciness according to your heat levels.

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In Dabba-Lunch Box Rice varieties

Vegetable Pulao

Simple and easy to prepare pulaos are always a "Yes Please" from me.... I don't know why I can't have plain rice and dal every day. My disliking is little on a higher side when it comes to dal,rice and curry in lunch dabba. Because I was a fussy kid,  my mom would ensure a one pot meal or tiffin so that she can  get back a cleanly "licked" dabba, else I would trade my dabba with my friend's.
Now I realize my mom's nerve racking pain and menu deciding burden when I pack lunch dabba with so much care and love for Mr.P,  He is very good at trading his lunch box on "those" sad lunch days. He calls sad lunch days when I pack something which is not so exciting to eat. I have to plan and let him know at least a day in advance about his lunch so that he can take it without fuss.
Coming to me, though I can "claim" that I am not good at barter system, I can only skip my meals and nibble snickers to satiate my hunger pangs when my lunch is simple dal and rice. I often make one pot meals and make my lunch dabba exciting.

I am back to my comfort zone. I was getting late so captured them using my Galaxy S4.


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So try this easy vegetable pulao and make your dabba's interesting.

Vegetable Pulao
Ingredients
Mixed Vegetables - 2 cups (Carrots, beans, potato,green peas, cauliflower and sweet corn)
Mint Leaves - 1 tbsp
Coriander- 3 tbsps chopped finely
Bay Leaf- 1
Cloves -3
Cardamom - 2 crushed
Cinnamon stick - 1 piece small
Ghee- 2 tbsps
Onion - 1 medium thinly sliced
Red Chilly Powder- 1 tsp (adjust as per taste)
Green Chillies - 2 sliced lengthwise
Fried Cashews- 6-7 (I din't use)
Salt - as per taste
Sugar - a pinch
Garam Masala - 1 tsp (optional)
Ginger Garlic Paste -1 tbsp
Rice/long grained or Basmati- 1 cup
Water - 1 cup
Coconut Milk - 1/2 cup

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Procedure:

1) Heat ghee in pressure cooker or a cooking pan. Fry cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick and bayleaf until fragrant.
2) Add onions, green chillies, ginger garlic paste and mint leaves. Fry until pungent smell of ginger garlic paste subsides. It will take roughly a min or two.
3) Your onions turn translucent now. Now add in all the vegetables and saute well for 3 mins.
4) Time for salt, red chilli powder and garam masala. Mix all the ingredients well.
5) Add rice, coconut milk and water.
6) Cover this mixture with lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles.


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7) Alternatively, you can cook in electric cooker as it gives you more control and ensures separate rice grains.
8) Once pressure releases, stir rice grains.
9) Add chopped coriander, cashews, 1 more tbsp of ghee and adjust salt if required.
10) Serve hot with any curry or raitha
11) I'd suggest serving with mild curries because pulao is on a spicy side.

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Notes:
1) Go for electric cooker cooking because it evades issues like mushed rice or overcooked vegetables which are inevitable with pressure cooker cooking.
2) You can use any vegetables of your choice but remember this ratio of 1 cup rice = 2 cups of vegetables
3) Usage of coconut milk is optional but it gives richness. Replace coconut milk with water.
4)  You can even add pepper powder if you find pulao very bland.
5) You can do the cooking in a pan and use left over rice. Just mix and rest do the talking.

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In @ Aathidhyam Chinese Tangy delights

Veg Manchurian Gravy - Chinese Tonight!!

My love for Chinese food is unending. Its a never say "no" for me cuisine. It always tops my anytime order list at any restaurant. Most of the times, i find it a safe game to play rather than experimenting at places where I am not really sure about the food. On a side note, I do read the Zomato user reviews ;)
So coming back to the recipe, its little tedious and back breaking one but the end result is all worth it. It tastes good even after a day of refrigeration as well. I mean that's my personal opinion but still you can try if you'd like to... This was again a request from Mr.P who wanted to have Fried Rice and Manchuria for his dabba. He often makes these out of the blue requests when I already have the lunch menu for the next week ready and plan my groceries accordingly.

This is a no fail recipe which I had tried a zillion times now and it turns out super tasty bursting with flavors -garlicky....peppery...crunchy...tangy...spicy etc etc..... I love it and so did Mr.P who was happy with his lunch box.

Let's hit the road.

Veg Manchurian Gravy
Ingredients:


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For Balls:

Cabbage - 1/2 cup
Beans - 1/4th cup
Carrot - 1/4th cup
Onion - 1 small
Ginger n Garlic - 1 tbsp
Green Chillies - 2 (optional but recommended)
Soya Sauce - 1 tbsp
All Purpose Flour - 1/2 cup
Corn Flour - 1 tbsp
Water - as required
Salt- as per taste
Pepper Powder- 1/2 tsp

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For Sauce

Spring Onions - 3 sprigs
Onion- 1 small chopped finely (optional)
Garlic - 6- 8 flakes finely finely (adjust as per liking)
Green Chilly - 1 chopped finely
Soya Sauce - 1  tbsp
Hot & Sour Sauce - 1/2 cup
Pepper Powder- 1 tsp
Corn Flour - 1 tbsp
Water - 1 cup
Oil - as required (for frying + 2 tbsps for gravy)
Sesame Seeds- for garnish
Salt- as per taste

Procedure:

Run all the vegetables like carrot, beans and cabbage through food processor/chopper separately. Trust me this makes life easier instead of fine chopping.
Grind all the vegetables into itty bitty pieces. Do not puree. Pulse them twice and you are good to go.
Transfer them into a bowl and repeat the same procedure with onion, garlic-ginger and green chillies.
Add them to your vegetables bowl and combine all the other ingredients included under Manchuria balls list.
Do not add water.
Ideally the water content from vegetables itself should help you combine the mixture into a dough. But if required, you can add water but little by little. I din't add water to the dough.
Heat oil for deep frying in a wok and once oil is hot, turn your flame to medium low.
Shape the mixture/dough into balls(small or medium) and drop them in hot oil.
Fry until dark golden brown in color.
Transfer them onto a kitchen towel to let the excess oil go. We don't need extra oil right...:)

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Let's prepare the mmmm...tangy..spice sauce.
Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a cooking pan, once it is hot add garlic, green chillies and onion(include white part of spring onions + normal onion{if using}).  Fry for a min on high flame.
Turn the flame to medium low and add both the sauces one by one and give a good stir.
Once all the ingredients are combined.
In a small bowl make a thin paste of corn flour and water. No lumps please.
Add this to your sauce. Ensure that your flame is low before you add corn flour paste, else you will have a sticky mass instead of saucy consistency.
Keep Stirring.
Your sauce turns deep chocolate brown and becomes glossy which is the right stage.
Add salt  and pepper powder.
Time for Manchurian balls to get dunked in the gravy. Go ahead and drop them in your sauce.
Add spring onions & Sesame and switch off the flame.
Serve hot with fried rice.

You can check out the below fried rice combinations
Veg Corn Fried Rice
Veg Fried Rice

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My Notes:
1)If you find making sauce little tedious, then you can get Knorr Chinese Chilli or Chings Manchurian gravy Sauce Mixes. Just mix it with water as per packet instructions and add manchurian balls.
2)Adding onions to sauce is optional. My mom makes it that way and I love the crunch flavor onions imparts.
3) You can omit ginger, garlic and green chillies while making manchurian balls. Just increase pepper powder over a tsp for spice.

If you still have any questions/suggestions, I am happy to answer them over my FB page (find it on the top-right side header)

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In @ Aathidhyam Curries Easy To Make Tangy delights

Easy Chole Masala or Chana Alu Masala

Hey....

Its raining sweets and desserts on my FB news feed. Though they tempt me to the core, I am trying hard not to indulge in sweets as I promised my mom that I am gonna be more careful with my eating habits. Every time I feel chocolate, I am gobbling a date down or settling in for dark chocolate. May be I can have change in mind sometime next week and I am sure that I am gonna indulge in some guilt free or vegan options.
This is just another random post which popped out of no way from the blue. I loved the simplicity of this recipe and the bursting flavors of spice and tang. Its a perfect go to with rotis and mild pulaos. Its a simple, no mess and no fuss recipe. I was given clear instructions by Mr.P that he wants it to be spicy and not too too tangy (that's what he says for over powering tomato curries) So here we go with his much appreciated dish.

Well I am not so happy with the clicks due to low lighting. I promise to replace them soon.

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Easy Chole/Chana Alu Masala
Ingredients:
Chole/Chick Peas- 1 cup
Potato - 2 medium sized
Tomatoes Hybrid- 2 (medium chopped finely)
Onion - 2 small chopped finely
Green Chillies -2 -3 chopped
Kasuri Methi - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Chilly Powder- 1 tsp
Coriander Powder- 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder- 1 tsp
Tomato Ketchup- 1 tbsp (refer notes)
Fresh Coriander - 1 bunch chopped
Ginger- Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Water- 1/2 - 3/4th cup
Oil- 1 tbsp
Jeera- 1 tsp

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Procedure:
Soak Chick peas overnight and pressure cook along with potatoes until 3 whistles.
Once pressure is released, reserve 1/2 of boiled potato and 2 tbsps of chick peas and mash it..
Heat oil in a cooking vessel and let jeera crackle.
Add chillies and onions to this mixture. Fry onions until translucent.
Its time for ginger garlic paste (freshly made works great, but a good ready made one also does fair job). Fry till the pungent smell subsides.
Now add tomatoes and cook them to mush (takes about 7-8 mins) without adding water.
Add all the spice powders and add about 2 tbsps of water.
Cook till all the spices are absorbed into tomato mixture.
Crush kasuri methi with your palms and add it to tomato paste.
Now add chick peas and boiled potato to this mixture.
Give a good stir to ensure even coating of masala.
Add 1/2 cup of water and cover this mixture with a lid.
After 2 mins, add the mashed alu-chick peas mixture you've reserved.
Add tomato ketchup (if using)
Mix all the ingredients well and cook till you get desired consistency.
Add chopped coriander and switch off.
Serve hot with Roti or Mild Pulaos.

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Notes:
1) If you are using local tomatoes then use 1 medium instead of 2 and avoid tomato ketchup.
2) You can use Tomato Puree instead of tomatoes. Use 3/4th cup.
3) Increase the level of spice according to your taste.
4) If you dislike this kind of gravy and love creamy gravy then grind the mixture into smooth paste after tomatoes are added. (This is before spice powders are added) Just fry this smooth paste for 2 -3 mins and follow the rest procedure
5)You can make simple chole by omitting potatoes.
6) If your gravy is too runny, then add 1 tbsp of wheat flour along with 2 tbsps of water and add it to the gravy.

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In @ Aathidhyam Dips or Bread Spreads

Honey Peanut Butter

Ever Since I tasted peanut butter, I became a big fan of it and I would love to have it sandwiched between brown bread and settle in for quick fixes. I tend to skip my meals because of work demands and taking even 30 mins break becomes suffocating as day progresses making you repent for the break. So the best alternative I found out is to pack some sprouts or some cold coleslaw or sandwich with peanut butter spread or jam or some dip alongside dates or granola bars. This makes me a happy camper wherein I can nibble and also not worry about putting on weight.
Not sure what's wrong, my local vendor stopped getting these peanut butter jars and gave me a no stock story week after week. Surprised to see no stock board for peanut butter, I decided to make my own and it was my mom who gave me this easy peasy recipe. Only thing it lacked was the color but tasted it really nice and was easy for me to spread unlike the tough not so very easy Saffola peanut spread.
Before I hit the recipe, I have another happy news to share, my dad gifted me a DSLR. Wow!! I have been saving money to gift myself a DSLR next year and my Secret Santa(my dad) heard this wish and bought me one as a surprise during my last visit. So better pics for my readers and more fun for me!!

Let's hit the road.
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Peanut Butter
Ingredients:

Peanuts: 1 cup
Oil - 2.5 - 3 tbsps
Salt - 2 pinches
Honey -1- 1.5 tbsps (optional) refer Chef Says

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Procedure:

Dry roast peanuts in a skillet till they turn brown.
Allow them to cool and remove their skins.
In a food processor or mixie, add all these ingredients and keep blending till your mixture is creamy and shiny.
Transfer it into an air tight container and store in fridge.
This should stay good for few weeks.

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Chef Says:

1) You can make spicy or sweet peanut butter by adding ingredients of your choice.
2)  Instead of honey you can add sugar and this makes normal peanut butter.
3) You can make chocolate or cinnamon peanut butter by adding cocoa powder in chocolate and 3/4th tsp of cinnamon powder in Cinnamon Peanut butter.
4) You can make crunchy peanut butter by reserving itty bitty pieces of peanuts and finally mix them in the prepared butter.

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In Reviews

College Dunia

Thought this is an offbeat post from my regular food blogging, I nudged myself to write because of its effectiveness.

College Dunia is my blog post for the day.


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Before I could jump in right away with my review. Let me share my personal experience to give you better insight. Most of my regular readers know that I work as a Senior HR currently and I got into working post completing graduation. Even after repeated sirens from my dad asking me to continue my studies(let me add I was a merit student), my day job kept me so so occupied that these sirens couldn't ring a bell.

As if I woke up from a deep slumber after 4 years, I realized what I have lost and wanted to pull my academic thread from where it was left. Trust me, I googled, searched, seeked help from near & dear, ex -employees etc on persueing my Masters. I wanted a college which offers more flexibility with regards to studying and managing my schedule. Any haphazard oscillation in this balance between work life and student life will press me like a straw.

I researched for about 2 months but couldn't find something which could offer me that convenience  whilst most websites had incorrect  information, exam dates or outdated schedules or some irrelevant stuff.  Nothing could direct me to what I was looking for.... Though not so happy, I had to settle in for a business management school near my place which is not so very recognized but serves the purpose of Masters Degree.

When I was reviewing College Dunia  site, I was left with a feeling of remorse and I really wish I could have found this site atleast a couple of months before. It's a neat and clean layout with precise information contributing as headlines and Top news. You have all the major streams presented in tabs.

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All you need to click is the stream (say medicine-which I love doing) and you get all the information in an explicit manner giving you the options of full time, part time, distance mode and On Campus and most importantly the location from where you can avail this courses.

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If you wish to do it from a top notch college, then just scroll down and you have a plethora of premium college catering to your needs and all you need to do is find the one which aligns to your needs and go ahead to build your golden future.

You even have news column with data about exam entrances categorized based on dates which makes it really easy.

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So incase if somebody is on a hunt about career prospects or looking for some guidance, why don't you suggest them Collegedunia.com . Remember you are helping them becoming something worthwhile.

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In Curries Dabba-Lunch Box Paneer Recipes

Kadai Paneer

Ever since I tried this Kadai Paneer recipe it became a family favorite. Not sure what's the X factor that demarcates this dish from others, but I have been having frequent requests from Mr.P to pack this in his lunch dabba along with some mild pulao and he is so happy that he doesn't want to share his dabba with anyone. I love the simplicity of this recipe as it does not involve any grinding or roasting works. It just involves simmering and blending of subtle flavors.
I am blogging from my mom's place and I am not having all the pictures of Kadai Paneer with me.  Will be adding more pics shortly.

So lets hit the road.

Kadai Paneer
Ingredients
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Paneer: 200gms cubed
Tomatoes - 2 finely chopped
Onion - 1 medium chopped finely
Green chillies- 2-3 slit length wise
Ginger - 1/4th tsp Julienned
Red Chilly Powder- 1 tsp
Garam Masala -1 tsp
Salt- as per taste
Tomato Sauce- 2 tbsps
Kasoori Methi - 1tsp
Oil- 2 tbsps
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Capsicum - 1 squared.
Water- 1/2 cup
Coriander - 1 small bunch chopped
Coriander Powder- 1 tsp

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Procedure:
If using frozen paneer, keep it immersed in hot water until use.  Take a heavy bottomed pan and heat oil in it.
Add cumin seeds, ginger pieces and green chillies. Fry for about a min.
Add onions and fry until translucent.
Its time add Tomatoes, so go ahead with finely chopped tomatoes.
Lower your flame and cook till tomatoes turn to a mush.
Add your masalas and ensure that they are blended well into your gravy. Crush Kasoori Methi with your palms and add it to your gravy. Also add your tomato sauce.
Time to add Capsicum pieces. Just mix them and do not cook them till tender. They should be crunchy.
Remove paneer from hot water and gently squeeze them between your palms to remove excess water.
Add them to your saucy gravy.
Mix all the ingredients well and add water to this gravy. Cook till you get a semi dry consistency.
Adjust salt if required.
Garnish with coriander and serve.

Chef Says:
1) I would suggest adding capsicum after paneer is added. So that they do not lose their crunchiness.
2) Tomato sauce is optional.
3) You can use tomato puree instead of chopped tomatoes.
4)  Make sure your gravy isn't too tangy. I used hybrid tomatoes to cut on the tanginess.
5) If you don't like ginger, you can use ginger garlic paste as an alternative. Just fry till your raw smell subsides.

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In Healthy Living

Energy Bars- No Bake

This post comes right after an exciting win at Nirlep. So yours truly made all the way to winning first prize and here I stand(type) quite elated in front of you.

Leaving that news aside.

So last week Nature's Valley Granola bars caught my attention and I ended up picking one big pack . Though I found the price little on the higher side, I thought after a tiring day I could nibble one and get some instant energy. Without even waiting for the week to pass, I completed all those 6 bars big bars.

So much so that I was waiting to get my next pack. That supermarket is quite far from my place and so was the price of granola bars. I google searched for some easy energy bars... but to my luck I could find some chewy bars and they are least to my liking. So taking experience from my chocolate making classes, I prepared these crunchy bars using simple ingredients...Just the way I wanted..

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These quickies are easy peasy and so far the best I have tasted. They are healthy, tasty and crunchy.
So let's hit the road.

Energy Bars
Ingredients

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Dark Chocolate compound- 1 cup (roughly chopped)
Muesli- 1 cup
Strawberry or honey cornflakes - 1/2 cup (optional)
For garnish- cooking oats and cornflakes - 1/2 spoon
Butter- 2 tbsps (I used low fat)
Salt- 1 pinch

Procedure:
Melt dark chocolate using double boiler method or alternatively microwave for 20-30 secs.
To this melted chocolate,  add 1 tbsp of butter and remaining ingredients.
Combine all the ingredient and  this mixture is rigid to handle.
Apply butter on a plate and pour this mixture in it. Using back of a spoon, level this mixture evenly.
Refrigerate this mixture for 15-20 mins.
Once it is set, use a sharp knife and cut them into pieces.
Store in an air tight jar.
These bars stay good in room temperature for 2 days but best for about a week in fridge.

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Chef Says:
You can replace butter with softened peanut butter and add honey to melted  chocolate for extra taste.
I used Saffola Nuts Muesli which is loaded with nuts. If you are using sugar free muesli or one which is devoid of nuts, then you can add nuts of your choice.
You can also add flax seeds, sesame seeds and roasted oats.

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In Reviews

The Savings Loot.

I still remember the day I shifted to this rented house instead leaving hostel (read it as terrible) life behind. Without any plans as to how I will be surviving or what are the minimum things that I will need to get on, I just took a decision in jiffy only to repent post shifting.

The major challenge was what to buy... because everything in the supermarket appeared to be useful or pretended to be of use soon.  So to eliminate my everyday chase and multiple lists and consolidations, I went room by room to buy quite essentials.

Tik....Tik...Tik... There enters the dragon....The Kitchen.
I went to shop for my kitchen essentials and I shopped as much as I could keeping my list in the bag. Also note that I bought some blog props etc as well. I was under the impression that they wouldn't cost me more than a couple of thousands. I was completely taken when I saw the bill that I was no where close to the couple of thousands budget that I went by,

When I started rechecking the items I bought, I realized that I had to get some off from my shopping bag or I had to compromise on quality of the kitchenware if I had to accommodate all. I was not really convinced on compromising with quality or the choice of kitchenware. Somehow huffing puffing and quite embarrassed I left the shop because I had to Compromise somewhere on the quality or I was unsure if it was the disappointment that I couldn't get something off my choice.

That was 3 years back story.... Now I am happy camper here... I make most when there is a sale going on. Let me rephrase my sentence... It is my loot.. Guess what Just in the month of August I got some super cute and branded cookware for my kitchen at cool prices and also got some cashback for my shopping.

Doesn't it sound interesting......?

Yes right!!

Personally after that experience.... I have decided that I wouldn't compromise on quality or would I take any not so nice unbranded stuff. So the best way to hit the nail right on without weighing my wallet is to make the most during the sale.

You might be curious to know as to why am I talking so much about saving on Kitchen appliances now...

This is all for my readers.... there is a loot going on at Zoutons and you can go ahead and really make most of it.....

What say???

Click on the link and fill your shopping bags.....

http://zoutons.com/stores/flipkart/

Don't forget to thank me for this exciting deal.....:)

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In Celebrations Desserts Festive Menu Sweet Treats

Rice Kheer - Rice Pudding

Its been real long since last posting and I owe it to my work pressure. With built in work pressure my blogging took back seat. When I was on a quick breather and was randomly checking fb posts, what caught my attention is that my blog is gonna reach 2000 likes soon.

I felt so happy viewing those insights of my page and the never ending love I am receiving from you folks. Thank you readers!!
I am truly humbled at this point and want to share a virtual sweet treat with you all.

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Rice Kheer
Ingredients

Cooked Rice - 1 cup
Milk - 3 cups
Jaggery - 1 cup (remove 3 spoons or adjust as per taste)
Ghee- 1 tbsp
Nuts - 3 tbsps (cashews, raisins and almond slivers)
Cardamom Powder- 1 big pinch
Salt- 1 pinch

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Procedure:
Bring milk to boil. Once it starts boiling change your flame mode to minimum or Sim.
Add cooked rice to this mixture and allow it to cook for 2-3 mins.
Now add jaggery to it. Keep stirring continuously and make sure that rice-milk-jaggery are combined well.
Meanwhile heat ghee in a kadhai and fry all the nuts until golden brown.
Once done keep them aside and allow them to cool.
Once your kheer attains desired consistency, add nuts, salt and cardamom powder.
Give a final stir and switch off the flame.
Serve hot or cold. While serving you can drizzle honey or chocolate sauce to give that X factor to your kheer.

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Alternative method:
You can make syrup of jaggery with 2 cups of water and pressure cook rice along with this syrup until 2-3 whistles. Once this mixture is cooled, add milk and mix well. Add nuts, cardamom powder and salt to this kheer and serve.

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My Notes:
Instead of using cooked rice, you can add uncooked rice to boiling milk and cook. This consumes lot of time but tastes good.
Adding salt enhances flavor of your kheer.
If you add roasted nuts directly to your kheer right after roasting them, milk might get curdled.
Leave your kheer little runny. As it cools it becomes thick.

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In @ Aathidhyam Dabba-Lunch Box Lunch Menu Rice varieties

Vegetable Layered Dum Biryani~ Indian Biryani

I have heard lot about Hyderabadi Dum Biryani before coming to Hyderabad and was really tempted to taste it once the moment I came here. But somehow after multiple tasting(yes, I only tasted it but couldn't eat much), it failed to impress me miserably. I found it very bland with scanty masala paste and loads of white rice. It lacked that kick or X factor flavor. I chanced this recipe in a local magazine and I instantly knew I am going to give it a shot. When I tried it, it turned out amazing and this biryani makes into my every week menu. 
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Be assured to have flavorful yet tasty and spicy Veg Biryani.


Vegetable Layered Biryani

Ingredients

Basmati Rice or any long grain rice – 1 & 1.2 cups (Cook along with 2 bayleaves, 1 star anise, 1 clove, 1 cardamom and ½ inch cinnamon stick)
Ghee- 1 + 1 tbsps
Mint + Coriander leaves – 1/4th cup (chopped finely)
Browned Onions – 1/4th cup
Cashews- 2 tbsps
Raisins- 1 tbsp

Vegetables:
Carrot – 1 chopped
Beans – 8-10 chopped finely
Cauliflower – 8-10 florets
Potato- 1 (boiled & cubed)
Green Peas- 1/4th cup
Sweet corn – 2 tbsps (optional)
Onion- 1 medium chopped
Green Chillies - 3

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Spice Powders:

Red Chilly Powder- ½ tsp
Biryani Masala – ½ tsp
Garam masala – ½ tsp
Pepper Powder- ½ tsp
Turmeric Powder- ½ tsp ( avoid if you are using orange or yellow food color)
Salt – as per your taste.
Sugar- 1/4th tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste – 2 tsps
Curd- ½ cup

To temper
Oil- 2 tbsps
Cinnamon Stick – ½ inch piece
Cloves- 2
Cardamom -2
Star Anise- 1
Bayleaf – 1

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Procedure:
Wash and cook rice with salt, a tsp of oil, 1 and ½ cup of water and spices mentioned. Once your rice is cooked, fork it to get separate grains and reserve for later use.
Heat oil in a pan, fry cashews and raisins. Keep them aside.
In the same pan, add a tbsp of ghee and fry the ingredients mentioned under “To Temper” section until fragrant. Now add onions, green chillies and fry for 2 mins. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell subsides.
Add all the vegetables and masalas. Cook this mixture for 5 mins.
Once vegetables shrink in their size, turn your flame to sim and add curd. Ensure it coats all the vegetables and cook for another 3-4 mins.
Add 2 tbsps of coriander-Mint leaves and mix. Ensure that your curry consistency is semi dry.
Once done. Switch of the flame.
Layering
Take a wide sauce pan or a bowl. Spread a layer of rice followed by vegetable layering. Sprinkle fried onions, nuts and chopped mint+coriander leaves mixture. Repeat this process till you are done with rice and masala. On the top layer, add remaining ghee and close the lid.
Now take dosa pan and add 1/4th cup of water. Let it boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the flame to low and place your bowl containing layered mixture on it. Allow it to cook for 10-15 mins and take care of the water level and add water to the pan if it gets evaporated.
After 15 mins, switch off the flame. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl. Adjust salt if required and serve hot with simple raitha
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Notes:
The ingredient list is quite lengthy but the end result is flavorful and tasty veg biryani.
Adjust the spice levels according to your taste.
You can even bake your biryani at 140 degrees for 15 mins as an alternative to the dosa pan method.
Do not skip on any ingredients.
You can add saffron milk to give nice color to your rice.
Team it up with simple raitha . Any spicy curry will get overboard to handle.

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In Rice varieties Yin Yang

Veg Fried Rice

I love Indo Chinese dishes for their simplicity and flavors. The best thing about fried rice is its peppery flavor which gets me hooked and it matches perfectly with any semi dry or gravy based curry. After many not so bad or not so fine attempts, I nailed this recipe to perfection. Now this recipe makes its entry into my lunch box every week :)

Happy Independence day to all my readers!!

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So let's hit the road.

Veg Fried Rice
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Ingredients:

Basmati Rice- 2 cups
Carrot- 1 medium (chopped finely)
Beans- 10 chopped finely
Onion- 1 medium chopped
Capsicum - 1 small piece (chopped)
Spring Onion (Whites) -2 tbsps
Spring Onions (Greens) - 3 tbsps
Salt - as per taste
Pepper Powder- 1 & 1.5 tbsps (adjust as per taste)
Soy Sauce- 1/2 tsp
Green Chilly Sauce- 1 tbsp
Garlic - 2 pods chopped finely
Sugar-  pinch
Olive Oil - 2 tbsps + 1 tbsp

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Procedure:

Wash and Cook basmati rice with salt, olive oil and water of 1 and 1/2 cups. Once your rice is cooked, fork it to get separate grains and keep it aside.
Heat oil in a pan and fry chopped garlic and spring onion whites until the raw smell subsides. Then add onion and fry for a min.
Now add all the vegetables one by one. Add carrots and fry them for a min and repeat this process till you are done with all the vegetables.
Do not allow them to cook. Just the raw smell needs to subside.
Now add soy sauce, green chilly sauce, sugar,salt and pepper powder.
Ensure that all the ingredients are blended well.
Finally add rice and chopped green onion.
Mix all the ingredients.
Turn your flame to high and fry for 2 mins. Make sure that you do not burn your rice.Keep Stirring to avoid burning.
Transfer the contents to a serving bowl and enjoy!!

I served mine with Semi Dry Gobi Manchuria and I loved it. Recipe for Gobi Manchuria will be up soon.

Check out Schezwan Fried riceHoney Paneer

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Chef Says:
1) You can use Sesame Seeds oil instead of olive oil.
2) You can even add 1 cup of cabbage along with these vegetables. Chop it finely.
3) Do not use more soy sauce, it gives a dark shade and it over powers the rice.
4) Make sure that your rice is separate and grainy.

5) I find it extremely difficult to mix rice and vegetables in the same pan. Most of the times, I tend to mess. So I mix rice and vegetables in a wide bowl and fry them.

This recipe is going to participate in my friend SJ's Independent India Event.

                                                 

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In @ Aathidhyam Desserts Sweet Treats

Dates Kheer

Before starting this recipe, I bore a clear idea how I wanted it to taste. Dates should play the main character, consistency should be creamy, mild flavor of cardamoms and itty bitty pieces of nuts playing their part. Accordingly, I went ahead with this idea and built my recipe around it.  I was immensely pleased with the result as I was able to recreate this dish just the way I wanted it.

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So get ready for a simple and easy to make Kheer this Sunday.

Dates Kheer
Ingredients:

Seedless Dates- 15
Milk - 2 cups
Coconut Milk - 1/4th cup (optional)
Nuts - 2 tbsps (cashews & almonds chopped finely)
Ghee- 1 tbsp
Chopped Dates- 1 tbsp
Cardamom Powder- 1 pinch

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Procedure:
  • Soak dates in 1/2 cup of warm milk for 20-30 mins.
  • Grind dates into smooth paste by adding milk used for soaking.
  • Bring milk to boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the flame to sim and add this dates mixture.
  • Combine all the ingredients well. Allow this mixture to cook for about 7-8 mins or until you get the desired consistency.
  • Add nuts, cardamom powder and coconut milk. Mix all the ingredients.
  • Cook for another 2 mins and switch off.
  • Serve warm or chilled.
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Chef Says:
  • You can make this kheer with just 4 ingredients- Milk, dates, nuts and ghee. The taste remains almost the same.
  • You can add condensed milk for a creamier kheer. Adjust dates quantity accordingly and avoid coconut milk.
  • Coconut milk is purely optional.
  • You can ghee roast coconut bits and add it to the kheer.
  • Adjust dates according to your sweet tooth. Mine was little less sweet. So I had to use some honey to match my taste.
  • Mejdool dates work perfect.

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