Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Moong dal with Zucchini

Zucchini, funny name isn't it:-). Not knowing what to do with this summer vegetable, i was reluctant to buy them. But my husband said that i could use them in stir-fry. Ofcourse it was good in stir-fry. Almost everyday we have roti's for dinner and so i get really confused what to make as side dish for roti's. Yesterday i thought of making dal for roti's and then suddenly it strike why can't i use this zucchini in my dal. Guess what, turned out to be delicious. Being calorie consicious i checked the nutritional information on zucchini. Zucchini is low in calories (19 calories/cup). It is low in fat and carbohydrates. One cup of zucchini is a significant source of vitamin C and adds vitamins and minerals when added to recipes. Also found that overcooking(adding too much water and heat)zucchini might destroy the vitamin C in the vegetable. Here is how i made the dal with zucchini.

Moong dal - 1 cup.
Zucchini - 2 nos diced.
onion - 1 medium
Tomato - 2 nos.
Green chillies - 3
Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Corriander leaves to garnish

Pressure cook moong dal till soft, mash and set aside. Chop onion, tomatoes. Slit green chillies. Heat oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric powder. Add the chopped onion,green chillies and fry till transparent. Then add the tomatoes and fry till it gets mushy. Stir in zucchini and fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add sambar powder, fry for a minute. Sprinkle some water over this and let it cook till the zucchini is half cooked. Do not add more water or overcook zucchini. Cook in medium heat. Add the cooked dal and mix well. Let it boil for another 4 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with Chapathi or rice. Add a tsp of Ghee on top before serving for added touch.

Check out fellow bloggers zucchini dishes.

Zucchini Kurma from Mahanadi
Easy Potato-Zucchini Stir-Fry from Foodie's hope
Zucchini and Feenel fritata from WFLH

Friday, March 23, 2007

Pineapple Salsa - Contribution to AFAM event

Dietians say that we should eat three servings of fruit per day. My husband is a big fan of fruits and he drags me to the fruit aisle when we go for grocery shopping(i am not used to eating fruits regularly). But i volunteered to the fruit aisle this week to buy pineapple after reading the AFAM event by Maheswari Madanan of beyond the usual.I 've been trying to participate in AFAM event since she announced it. Ofcourse lack of time is the reason, finally i did manage to contribute this time.
Read about AFAM event here.

Now lets get into some details of this tropical fruit.
Pineapple is native to south america and was found by Christopher columbus(Discoverer of the Americas). But they are thought to have originated in Brazil and Paraguay. It contains large quantities of vitamin C. As far as medicinal uses are concerned, pineapple is said be rich in fibre which can cure constipation. It helps to improve digestion, increase appetite and reduce excessive gastric acids. The enzyme, bromelain present in pineapple aids digestion.
Though it has a prickly top, once removed it is a delicious juicy fruit. I made Pineapple salsa and here is how you make it.
Pineapple Salsa - a colorful treat

Pineapple slices - 3 or 4.(Remove the outer skin, edges and slice them horizontally).
Onion - 1 medium
Red bell pepper - 1 thinly sliced
Green bell pepper - 1 thinly sliced
Cayenne pepper - 1 tsp
Corriander leaves - 2 tbsp chopped
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste.

Combine pinepple slices, onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper in a large bowl. Add the cayenne pepper, corriander leaves and lime juice to it. Add salt and mix well. Jalapeno pepper is an optional additional to this salsa. Cover tightly and refrigerate until serving time. Serve with tacos, an ultimate party snack.

Check out this Easy pineapple slicer

Friday, March 16, 2007

Spicy Tomato Pulav

Thanks to all fellow food bloggers who took a peek at my blog and dropped their valuable comments.

Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C(which most of you might know very well), but do you know it can prevent cancer. The presence of pigment lycopene, which gives the red color to the tomatoes is the most powerful antioxidants which can protect us from the free radicals that cause cancer. It's also rich in vitamin A and E, which is good for your skin. All these information, i learnt by reading about health and diet. To me, its pretty much the one and only vegetable(or fruit???) i use in my everyday cooking. Be it dal, chutney, curries and so on, tomatoes are the main ingredient in any indian kitchen. I am sure you guys will agree with this. This spicy tomato pulav is a recipe which i got from my mother-in-law. BTW she is a great cook. You may also call it as tomato rice, but i prefer saying it as tomato pulav because of the varied spices used in this dish. There goes the recipe.

Tomatoes - 5 nos. chopped
Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Red Onion - 1 big chopped
Garlic - 2 pods
Ginger - a small piece
Coconut - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 2 or 3
Aniseeds/Fennel(Saunf) - 1 tsp
Poppy seeds - 1 tsp (optional)
Garam masala powder - 2 tsps
Cinnamon stick, bay leaf, Clove, cardomom - 1 no. each
Coriander leaves
Oil and salt to taste

Wash the rice well in water, drain and set aside. Grind Coconut, green chillies, garlic, ginger, saunf and poppy seeds into paste adding little water. Heat oil in a kadai and the whole spices(lavang elaichi, patta fry for a minute. Add the onion and fry for a minute. Add the ground paste and fry till the raw smell of the paste leaves. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy. Add the garam masala powder and fry for a minute. Then add the rice and mix well till the rice gets coated with the tomato curry. Transfer this to a pressure cooker, adding 3 cups of water. Add salt, coriander leaves and leave the pressure cooker open until it starts to boil. Place the lid and leave it in high until the regulator weight blows twice.
Switch off the flame, let it cool and serve with potato fry or onion-curd raita.

P.S. If you follow the measurements of tomato, rice, water and the time to cook exactly as given above, the pulav will definitely not stick to the bottom of the pressure cooker.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Interior decorating I - An inviting and comfortable space to dine

I have been thinking of posting my ideas on decorating a home for a while and voila! Apart from food blogs, i also read a lot about interior decorating.
Interior decorating is an art of creating a beautiful home by improvising color plans and accessorizing with elegant features. We often confuse interior decorating with interior designing. There is a distinct difference between these two. Interior decorating mainly focusses on finishes/accessories. Interior designing focusses on creating a lifestyle with the architecture of the interior space by analyzing the human psychology.
Basically we will be discussing about decorating ideas for each room in a house one after another. While i was thinking of which room to start with??! Since aahaar vihaar is a food blog why not start with the dining room...
Yes, here are some steps by which you can decorate your ordinary dining room to an attractive yet easy to use space. I greatly appreciate your comments on improving this subject. Check out this Dining Hall


  • Select a theme for the dining room which uniquely blends with the living room.
  • Painting the room with varied color palettes will be the next step. Select a color for the wall and match the ceiling with the contrasting color. The color on the wall should be in contrast with the floor color.
  • The window treatments should complement the paint color in the room and also the furniture in the room. One example, a pale colored drapes will suit well to a dark cherry dining table furniture.
  • Add a rug to the dining room based on the floor type and the one that enhances the look of the furniture.
  • Choose furnitures that are simple and gives room for a family of 6-8 for dining. Floral slip covers for the dining room chairs matching the theme of the room adds an elegant look. Also, adding buffet/server is optional, but they can help you organize your serveware and dinnerware. Keep it simple and not too cramped.
  • Choose a center piece for the dining table, let it be a floral arrangements or candle holders. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules of center pieces, you can decorate with the flowers or the candle holders or with an antique center piece. But in spring, bring in some fresh flowers instead of the silk or artificial floral arrangements.
  • Adequate lighting will project your rooms beauty. Select a chandelier that will lighten up the entire dinging area and also enhances your center piece.
  • Then comes the wall hangings. Choose pictures that suites best for the color of the wall. Again, no hard and fast rules, choose according to your ideas.
  • Tablecloths, placemats and runners should be chosen to mix with the furniture.
  • Choosing the dinnerware which resembles the color of the room is a wise idea, but going on with a classic white and cream based set of dinnerware is also a good choice.
  • Last but not least, keep your room so comforting and serve your food with love.