Classic Italian Pasta

Classic Italian Pasta


All of us love Pasta, especially when it is made very succulent and tasty, certainly it becomes our favourite. This recipe is very simple. A couple of ingredients, one of the most yummiest pasta, our favourite dish at home. This recipe is very special to me as I learnt it from my husband . In one of his trips to Italy, he learnt this recipe .  I have used fusilli pasta . Serve this pasta hot , it tastes divine.


Fusilli pasta – 4 handfuls ( cooked )

Very finely chopped garlic flakes – 15 flakes

Very finely chopped onions –  3/4 cup

Very finely chopped tomatoes – 6 ( peel and chop the tomatoes )

Salt to taste

Dry red chillies – 4 ( deseeded and broken to small pieces )

Olive oil – 4 to 5 tablespoons

To Garnish

Grated Parmesan cheese – little

Torn basil leaves – little


Heat a pan. Add olive oil. Add the broken red chillies and sauté on medium flame till dark golden colour. Add the minced garlic. Sauté on sim flame till golden. Next, add the chopped onion. Sauté till golden. Add the chopped tomatoes. Cover and cook on sim flame till mushy. Open the lid and add salt to taste. Add the cooked pasta and sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes. Cover and cook for further 3 minutes. Switch off the stove. Garnish. Mix well and serve hot topped with some more grated Parmesan cheese.

Chef’s Tips

1) Cook the pasta  al dente. Do not over cook the pasta.

2) Do not chop the basil leaves with a knife. When the metal touches the basil leaf it will discolour. Best is to tear the basil  leaf with your hands.

3) Can use any pasta of your choice.







Khoya Kaju

Khoya Kaju


A rich gravy dish, a very apt match for the saffron pulav. The use of khoya takes the gravy to a higher plane. Khoya is our Paal gova  and Kaju is cashewnuts. I used the regular garam Masala Powder for this dish, I was not happy with the flavour. I  formulated this Khoya Kaju Masala Powder.  I was extremely happy. The taste was just perfect.

Goes well with roti, phulka, puri, naan, plain rice, bread toast, kulcha and  Saffron Pulao.


Halved Cashewnuts – 1/2 cup ( soak in hot water for 1/2 an hour)

Cover the Kaju and leave it aside till the time of use

Grated sugarless khoya –  2 tablespoons

Turmericpowder – 1/4teaspoon

Kashmiri Chilli powder – 1 and 1/4 teaspoon

Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Sugar – 1  teaspoon

Khoya Kaju Masala Powder – 1 teaspoon

To Grind To A Fine Paste

Chopped onions – 1

Chopped tomatoes – 3

Chopped garlic flakes – 4

Chopped ginger – 1 tablespoon

Chopped green chilli – 1

Grated carrot – 3 tablespoons

Milk powder  – 2 tablespoons

Make a fine paste with little water

To Season

Oil – 2 tablespoons

Ghee  – 1 tablespoon

Jeera – 1 teaspoon

To Garnish

Boiled green peas – little

Crushed Kasoori methi – little

Grated Khoya – little

Finely chopped green coriander leaves – little


Heat a pan. Season. First fry the paste on sim flame. Cover the pan. Fry till the raw smell goes. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt to taste, sugar and khoya. Sauté on sim flame for 3 minutes. Add the Khoya Kaju Masala Powder and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the drained cashewnuts. Sauté on sim flame for 3 minutes. Switch off the stove. Mix gently. Garnish. Serve hot with Saffron Pulao.

Chef’s Tips

1) If the gravy is thick, dilute it with little hot water.

2) The consistency of the gravy has to be like dosa batter thickness.




Khoya Kaju Masala Powder

Khoya  Kaju Masala Powder


Before making the Khoya Kaju gravy, let us first make the Masala Powder. Make this Masala Powder fresh. The taste will be simply great.


Cloves – 10

Cardamom – 4

Cinnamon –  2 small pieces

Saunf ( aniseed ) – 1 tablespoon

Star anise – 2 petals only

Jeera – 1/4 cup

Nutmeg –  a very tiny piece


Heat a big pan. Keep the flame on sim. Add all the above mentioned spices. Dry roast on sim flame till golden. Switch off the stove. Cool. Powder in a blender to a fine powder. Store in an airtight  container. Use when you want .

Chef s Tips

1) Always roast the whole spices on sim flame. Let it take it’s own time to roast. The flavours will be really nice.

2) Can use this Masala Powder for making Veg  Curry and  a little sprinkle on the dhal tastes just yummy.



Saffron Pulao with Khoya Kaju

Saffron Pulao


A very simple subtle flavoured Pulao, which only has the flavour of saffron, indeed  our family favourite. A rich gravy truely complements this rice dish.


Basmathi rice ( washed and soaked in water for 1/2 an hour ) – 1 cup

Saffron – 2  big pinches

Salt to taste

Water – 1 and 3/4 cup

To season

Oil  – 1 tablespoon

Ghee – 1 tablespoon

Shahjeera – 1/2 teaspoon



Heat a  pan. Add 1 and 3/4 cup water. When the water boils, add the saffron. Cover and leave it aside.

Heat a big pan. Season. Add the drained rice and salt to taste. Sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes. Add the saffron water.  Mix well. Cover and cook till done. Mix gently. Serve hot with Khoya Kaju.

Chef’s Tips

1) Cook the rice on sim flame, so that it will not discolour.

2) Leave the Pulao as it is. Do not add any veggies or any extra spices.






Hubli Special Upma

Hubli Special Upma


Karnataka is very popular for it’s  variety of  breakfast dishes. This Hubli Special Upma is very appealing and very tasty. This  recipe  comes out well  and my friend Priya Rao is an expert in making  this dish. I learnt this Upma from her. The addition of spring onions is the main highlight in this Upma.


Raw rice – 1 cup ( soak in water for 2 hours )

Toovar dhal – 1 tablespoon ( soak it along with the  rice )

Chopped spring onion greens – 1 cup

Grated coconut – 1/2 cup

Tamarind paste – 1 teaspoon

Water – 1 cup

Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Cumin seeds ( jeera ) – 1 teaspoon

Red chillies – 5

Roasted  white sesame seeds – 1 teaspoon

Roasted Bengal gram dhal – 1 tablespoon

Roasted Urad dhal  – 1 tablespoon

Roasted whole coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon

Salt to taste

Grated jaggery – 1 teaspoon

( Dry roast  Urad dhal, Channa dhal, White sesame seeds and  Coriander seeds to a golden colour )

To Season

Oil – 2 and 1/2 tablespoons

Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

Urad dhal – 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida powder – 2 pinches

To Garnish 

Finely chopped green coriander leaves – little

Grated carrot –  just a sprinkle

Grated coconut – just a sprinkle

Boiled green peas – little



Strain the rice and  toovar dhal. Put in a blender. Add the red chillies, grated coconut, salt, jaggery, tamarind paste, jeera, turmeric powder, dry roasted ingredients  and add the water and blend to a thick paste. Take a  bowl. Transfer the blended mix into it. Add the chopped spring onion greens. Mix well. Grease a bowl. Pour this mix  into the bowl. Pressure cook for 4 whistles. Cool. Open the cooker . Take out the mix. Cool. Crumble. Cover and keep it aside .

Heat a pan. Season. Add the crumbled mixture. Keep on sim flame and leave it for 5 minutes. Stir well. Switch off the stove. Garnish. Serve hot with thick curds.

Chef ‘ s Tips

1) Do not over roast the Upma as it will not be soft for a long time.

2) Ideal for lunch box.



Kalavai Uppadan

Kalavai Uppadan


A little cousin to the Vatral Kuzhambu, Venthiya Kuzhambu and Race Kuzhambu. The flavours are just just unbelievable. Kalavai means a mixture of veggies and Uppadan is a Tangy Kuzhambu very popular in Kerala. This is a favourite Kuzhambu at our place. This is a  recipe that I  learnt at my friend’s place at Pattambi. Uppadan goes well with plain rice, rice upma, adai and  ven pongal. Tastes just delicious with soft dosai and curds. When you finish the Kuzhambu you will simply love the aroma .


Iadies finger ( cut to pieces and deep fried in oil to a golden colour) – 1/2 cup

Brinjal ( cut  to cubes and deep fried in oil to a golden colour ) – 1/2 cup

Yellow pumpkin (  peeled and cut to little chunks ) – 1/2 cup

Tamarind paste –  1 and 1/4 teaspoon

Turmeric powder –  1 pinch

Salt to taste

Grated jaggery –  1 teaspoon

Manathakkali Vatral ( Black night shade berries ) – 1 teaspoon

( Fry the Manathakkali  Vatral in little oil to a nice golden colour )

water – 3 cups

Dry roast and powder 

Raw rice –  1 tablespoon

Dry red chillies – 4

Methi seeds ( fenugreek seeds ) –  1/4 teaspoon

White sesame seeds – 2 pinches

Dry roast in a pan to a golden colour,  cool and powder  finely.

To Season

Oil – 2 tablespoons

Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida powder –  3/4 teaspoon

Torn curry leaves – little


Heat a pan. Add 2 cups water.  When the water boils, add the cubed pieces of yellow pumpkin. Sim the flame. Cook till done. Now, add the tamarind paste, turmeric powder, salt to taste and jaggery. Cook on sim flame for 5  minutes. Add the fried pieces of ladies finger and brinjal. Mix the ground spice powder with little water and add it to the kuzhambu. Simmer for 3 minutes. Switch off the stove. Season.

Last, add the fried manathakkali vatral to the kuzhambu. Mix  and serve hot.

Chef s Tips

1) Uppadan also goes well with our  ever favourite curd rice.

2) If the kuzhambu becomes a little thick, dilute it with little hot water .



Kadai Palak Chole

Kadai Palak Chole


A very unique recipe from Sweetie Singh’s Dhaba. As I was preparing    this dish, the flavours just wafted in and around my kitchen. The Kadai Chole Masala Powder gave a new facelift to the dish. Goes well with naan, puri, roti, Peeli Pulao and plain rice.


Boiled white Channa – 1 cup

Blanched and ground Palak purée – 1/2 cup

Finely chopped  onion – 1

Salt to taste

Sugar – 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon

Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 teaspoon

Kadai Chole Masala Powder  – 1 teaspoon

Grind to a fine paste

Chopped tomatoes – 2

Chopped garlic flakes – 6

Chopped Ginger – 2 teaspoons

Chopped  green chilli – 1

Grind all the above mentioned ingredients to a fine paste in a blender.

To Season 

Oil – 3 tablespoons

Jeera – 1 teaspoon

To Garnish

Butter – 1 teaspoon

Crushed kasoori methi – little

Red chilli flakes – little

Finely chopped green coriander leaves – little


Heat a pan. Season. First fry the chopped onions on medium flame till golden. Add the turmeric powder. Sim the flame and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the ground paste. Cover and cook on sim flame till the raw smell goes and oil seeps on top. Add salt, sugar, chilli powder, Kadhai Chole Masala Powder. Sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes. Add the boiled Channa. Cook on sim flame for 5 minutes. Switch off the stove. Add the Palak purée. Mix. Garnish and serve hot with Peeli Pulao .

Chef’s Tips

1) Mash little boiled Channa lightly and add to the gravy. The consistency of the gravy will be good.

2) Can add a sprinkle of black salt in the end for that extra special touch.


Kadai Chole Masala Powder

Kadai Chole Masala Powder


A very aromatic, perfect  tasting Masala Powder.  The stone flower gives a light smoky taste. Can use this Powder for dhal, curries, and a little sprinkle on the Biriyani is just heavenly.


Coriander seeds – 2 tablespoons

Cumin seeds –  3 teaspoons

Methi seeds ( fenugreek seeds ) – 2 pinches

Black pepper – 12

Cardamom – 2

Cloves – 5

Cinnamom – 2 small sticks

Saunf ( aniseed ) – 1 teaspoon

Stone flower (  kal  paasi ) –  1 very small piece


Heat a pan. Add all the above mentioned ingredients. Keep on sim flame and roast to a golden colour. Switch off the stove. Transfer to a plate. Cool.  Blend to a fine powder in a blender. Store in an air tight bottle. Keeps good for a fortnight .

Chef s Tips

1) Always roast the spices on sim flame.

2) Make these Masala Powder ‘s  fresh. Make small quantities.

Peeli Pulao with Kadai Palak Chole

Peeli Pulao 


Peeli in Hindi  means yellow in colour.


Dhaba is a road side eatery which serves fresh local food. One of my trips to Fatehpur Sikri  which is near Agra, I had a chance to meet Sweetie Singh the owner of a Dhaba on the highway to Delhi. He served us  such superb, tasty food. I tried Kadai Palak Chole there. The taste was so unique. He also told me the difference between Kadai Chole Masala and Kadai Masala. The curd he gave us was just fantastic. The pricing was so so reasonable. Also I tasted Peeli Pulao .

The Pulao was subtle and light yellow in colour throughly complimented the Jade green Kadai Palak Chole. I still cherish the memories of our trip to Fatehpur Sikri. I have given the recipe for Kadai Chole Masala. Do try the recipes. I want you all to enjoy making these recipes as much as I have enjoyed making them. Cheers ! 


Washed , soaked and drained Basmathi rice – 1 cup

Carrot – 1/2 cup ( cut to thick strips )

Beans – 1/2 cup ( cut to long pieces )

Green peas – 1/2 cup

Onion – 1 ( chopped finely )

Garlic – 6 flakes ( chopped finely )

Salt to taste

Turmeric powder – 2 pinches

For the Almond Masala Water

Blanched almonds – 3

Garlic flakes – 2 ( chopped )

Green chilli – 1 ( chopped )

Chopped ginger – 1 tablespoon

Water – 2 cups

Grind these above ingredients to a fine paste and mix it with 2 cups of water nicely and strain it n a bowl, cover and leave it aside.

To Season

Oil – 2 tablespoons

Ghee – 1 teaspoon

Cloves – 4

Cardamom – 2

Cinnamon – 2 small sticks


Heat a pan. Season all the above mentioned seasoning ingredients. Fry the onion  on sim flame till transparent. Next add the chopped garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add all the veggies, salt to taste. Sauté for 3 minutes on sim flame. Add the drained Basmathi rice, turmeric powder and sauté on sim flame for 5 minutes. Add the Almond Masala Water. Once the mix boils, cover and cook on sim flame till the rice is  cooked. Switch off the stove. Serve hot with Kadai Palak Chole , pappad  and thick curds.

Chef’s Tips

1) Cook the rice on sim flame . The colour will be just excellent. Children will love this Peeli Pulao.








Paal Pongal ( Milk Pongal)

Paal  Pongal ( Milk Pongal)

Happy Pongal


The first time I tasted this Pongal, I still remember – was just incredible. The taste was so so perfect. I had an opportunity to live in Trichy for some years  after my wedding. Both me and my husband were very active  in the Rotary Club. It was there I got to see Maheshwari Gunasekar. We became very close. She had called us home for a get together. She made this Pongal.  Simply Classy. I learnt this recipe from her. Since then this Pongal has become our family favourite, especially my daughter loves it. I am very happy to share this recipe. It takes almost an hour and half to make this dish. Towards the end be very careful as it will start to splatter. Cover and cook on sim flame so that your kitchen back splash will not get soiled. Also use a big ladle to stir.


Raw rice – 1 cup ( washed and soaked in water for 20 minutes )

Boiled milk – 9 cups  ( I have used full cream milk )

Light goldencolour jaggery moulded to small squares ( Achu Vellam)

Choose a light coloured jaggery – 1/2 kilo ( a 1/2 kilo packet will have about 26 to 28 pieces of these  jaggery pieces )

You can see the image of Achu Vellam in the picture on top

Water –  1 cup + 1  cup

To Season

Ghee – 3  tablespoons

Halved  cashew nuts –  little

Raisins – 2 tablespoons


Heat a big thick bottomed pan. Add 1 cup water. When the water starts to boil, add the drained rice. Cook on medium flame for 5 minutes. Once the rice mix starts to boil add  1  cup of milk.Keep adding milk little by little. Cook on sim flame. Now, the rice would be soft and mushy. Once all the milk is used up, and the rice would have cooked nicely, the whole mix will become soft and creamy, leave it on sim flame.

Heat another pan. Add 1 cup water.  Once the water boils, add the jaggery pieces. Cook till the jaggery dissolves . Boil for 10 minutes on sim flame. Switch off the stove.

Now, strain this jaggery syrup into the simmering Pongal. Cook  on sim flame till  nice and thick. Season. Switch off the stove. Serve hot.

Chef’s  Tips

1) Using this Achu Vellam gives a  very nice  rendering flavour to the Pongal.

2) Choose a light golden coloured Achu Vellam to give a beautiful golden colour to the Pongal.

3) Cook only on sim flame so that it will not discolour.