Thursday, December 2, 2010

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

I know it's been a while since I've posted any recipes on here, things have been hectic!  We went to visit family for Thanksgiving and I decided to try my hand at butternut squash soup.  The first time I was introduced to this yummy soup was at a small take-out food market in Princeton, NJ called Olives, where they served this delicious, comforting soup every winter.  
I used Ina Garten's recipe and it came out great, but I would definitely do a few things differently next time.  For example, instead of using scallions for garnishing, finely chopped chives and a dollop of creme fraiche would taste great! 
I also think this soup is best eaten as soon as it's made, it was a hit at our Thanksgiving dinner!
Sorry I don't have any pics, was too busy eating all the delicious food!
Here's the recipe:


  • 3 to 4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 McIntosh apples, peeled and cored
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (I use Tyler Florence's recipe, minus the turnips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon good curry powder (I used less curry powder, like 1/4 teaspoon)
  • Scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced diagonally for the garnish


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut the butternut squash, onions, and apples into 1-inch cubes. Place them on a sheet pan and toss them with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Divide the squash mixture between 2 sheet pans and spread in a single layer. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, tossing occasionally, until very tender.
Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock to a simmer. When the vegetables are done, put them through a food mill fitted with the medium blade. (Alternatively, you can place the roasted vegetables in batches in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add some of the chicken stock and coarsely puree.) When all of the vegetables are processed, place them in a large pot and add enough chicken stock to make a thick soup. Add the curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Taste for seasonings to be sure there's enough salt and pepper to bring out the curry flavor. Reheat and serve hot with condiments either on the side or on top of each serving.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Zucchini Bread

I was having a craving for Zucchini bread (the fall weather makes me want to eat all things Squash), so I decided to do some research on a quick and easy recipe.  I came across this recipe on, and made a few changes of my own.  I didn't put walnuts in this bread, I used a splash of lemon juice instead of lemon rind, and I used just under a cup of sugar.  I think I'm going to try using brown sugar next time, since I've seen some recipes call for that.  I also peeled the zucchini and then shredded it, used two eggs instead of one, and dusted it with some confectioner's sugar.  Anyways, it came out lovely!  Here are some pics:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spiced Bulgar with Tomato

Bulgar is not the usual go-to grain for us desis, so it's a refreshing change.  This whole grain, compared to white rice has more fiber and protein, and is commonly used in Middle-Eastern cuisine.  I must say, it's great comfort food.

We first tried this recipe on, but it has since evolved into a whole new recipe:

- 1 cup medium grind bulgur 
- 2 cups chicken stock (for a more risotto like texture, you can add a bit more liquid)
- about 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

- preheat oven to 325 degrees
- heat oil and cook tomato paste until bronze
- cook 1/2 teaspoon of allspice until fragrant
- then slowly add the chicken stock while whisking as to avoid any lumps
- bring it up to a simmer and add bulgar, whisk it together
- cover and bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes
- mix in chopped parsley
- garnish with fried onions (optional)

Some tips:
- You can eat it on its own or as a side it would be great with roasted lamb/chicken/shrimp or even beef koobideh.
- Best cooked in a cast iron dutch oven, like this one.

Here are some pics of our finished product:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Savory Oatmeal with Fried Onions

For as long as I've known, oatmeal is eaten as a breakfast dish, and brown sugar is a must.  My mother-in-law introduced me to savory oatmeal, and it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner with a nice warm chapati.  Last week, we decided to do our take on the dish, and the little one loved it too!  This recipe serves about 2 people.


- canola oil
- one yellow onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup oatmeal (quick cooking oats)
- a healthy pinch of salt
- generous amount of freshly ground black pepper


- fry onions until they turn deep, dark red, then let them drain on a paper towel
- reserve oil
- cook oatmeal according to directions (stovetop is better) and add some salt, but continue to whisk the oatmeal to maintain a nice consistency
- once oatmeal is cooked and onions are fried, stir some friend onions and 2 teaspoons of the reserved oil  into oatmeal and garnish with onions.

My mother-in-law also sliced up a cloves of garlic, fried them up separately and added those to the mix as well.

bon appetit!

Curried Couscous with Cranberries & Walnuts

This past weekend, my parents came up for a visit, so I decided to make this couscous dish as a side dish to accompany falafel sandwiches.  I've made it a few times, it is super yummy and filling, and can be eaten on its own too.  It's a great dish to take to a picnic or one-dish party. We found the recipe off of the Foodnetwork website.  

Few tips: 
- only use 1 tspn of curry powder
- make sure you use 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 5.8 oz of couscous is about a somewhat heaping cup so you'll need a cup of water to cook it

Here are some pics (one is a bit blurry, sorry!):

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Cake

This past May was my baby girl's first birthday, and we had a small celebration with the grandparents and immediate family members, and the theme was based on Eric Carle's book, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."  I love baking (be it from scratch or the box haha), and wanted to make a caterpillar cake, so I began a search and was inspired by Coco Cake Cupcakes out in Vancouver.  Now I don't think mine is anywhere near as cool as their hungry caterpillar cake, but I tried! 

Here are some photos of my rendition:

So I was a bit pressed for time so I ended up using the box mix (in chocolate) and cream cheese frosting.  I got food coloring for the green frosting from Michael's and was lucky enough to find ready made fondant in red there as well.  I used licorice for the legs and nose.  Looking forward to next year and this time I hope to make the cake from SCRATCH!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sheer Khurma

This past weekend, I made sheer khurma, which is a traditional South Asian dessert made during Eid.  As a child I remember coming home from prayer every Eid and having a bowl of this sweet yummy concoction, and then eating it every day for like a week!  It tastes great hot or cold.

Now that I have my own daughter, I want to continue this tradition and this is my second Eid trying my hand at this dish.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find all of the ingredients I needed in the few shops I looked in, so I made do with what I had.  

This is the recipe I used:
(combination of a recipe off of Desicookbook and Khanapakana)


1 cup Vermicelli (Sewaiyan) 
1/2 cup of sugar
4 cups of milk
1/4 cup of slivered pistachios
1/4 cup of slivered almonds
about 1/2 tspn of kewra essence (optional)
about 2 tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter) or unsalted butter
6 crushed cardamom pods
1-2 cloves

  1. Heat ghee add clove and cardamom and clove, then add vermicelli and fry lightly
  2. Take out the vermicelli with a slotted spoon and fry the nuts lightly in the same ghee, remove nuts and remove pot from heat for a few minutes
  3. Pour milk in pan and add sugar and bring it to a boil, then put it on low heat to simmer (add in the vermicelli and nuts after about 10 minutes) and continue to simmer for about half an hour until sugar dissolves completely and mixture thickens
  4. Add kewra essence and remove from heat
Here are a few pics of the finished product, I garnished it with some nocochi (A simple, small cookie made out of finely ground chickpea flour, flavored with saffron)

I am still trying to perfect it, so my notes below reflect how it could be improved.
  • A little less sugar
  • A little more sewaiyan
  • A LOT less kewra
  • Some dried dates and golden raisins
  • We should remember that milk has some sugar in it, so should take that into consideration.
It's so nice to involve your children in all steps of the cooking process, and although the little one just started saying a few words, and always accompanies me to the grocery store, I'm really looking forward to the time when we can buy ingredients and cook together!