Category: Snacks

During my childhood days, visits to Udupi would be incomplete without dropping by the very famous Diana. I still remember very well that I always ordered Puri Kurma and Rose Milk. While others would order Diana special cutlets, I would not as much as sniff them. I would happily hog on my favourite palette. There was one more favourite which my Ajja would get parceled from Diana if ever he visited Udupi just for us back home. The dish was Dingri Paneer and it used to taste out of the world. We used to literally lick off the containers. Now that I am a Mommy and educate my kids on how important it is to eat veggies for them to grow ‘beeeg’ and ‘strong’, I have no other way but to eat them myself. Cutlets are one of the best ways to consume lots of veggies while gastronomical pleasure is guaranteed.

On this Valentine’s Day, make these cute looking, tongue tingling, beet red, heart shaped snacks for your loved ones.

Recipe Source: Divya’s Easy Cooking
Potato – 3 medium, cooked and mashed
Carrots – 3 medium, peeled and grated
Beetroot – 1 big, peeled and grated
Onion – 1 medium, chopped
Green chilly – 1, chopped
Garlic – 2-3 cloves, chopped
Salt to taste
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Bread slices – 4, dipped in water and squeezed to a pulp
Bread crumbs – 100 gms
Maida – 2 tbsp
Oil – for frying

1. Heat oil in a kadai and add green chillies and garlic paste.
2. Saute for a minute and then add the chopped onion.
3. When the onion starts turning light brown, mix in the grated carrot and beetroot.
4. Add garam masala and salt to taste and mix well.
5. Cook on a low flame till the water evaporates and the mix becomes dry.
6. Let it cool and then mix in the mashed potatoes and bread pulp.
7., Make small balls of the mix and flatten it using your palms. You can use a cookie cutter or a round shaped lid of any container to cut into desired shape
8. Keep it in the fridge for a while to firm up.
9. Make a paste using ½ a cup of water and maida. (You may use whisked egg instead)
10. Dip the flattened discs first in the maida-water and then roll it in the bread crumbs.
11. Arrange on a plate and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
12. Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying the cutlets. Make sure the oil is really hot before putting in the cutlets.
13. Add the cutlets to the hot oil and fry till they become dark brown on both sides.Serve hot!!



Sichuan Sauce

I love love love this sauce… I can have it as a side dish. Back in Kolkata, Momos are one of the popular street foods and they are served along with this sauce. We went out to eat Chinese food and saw the next table being served some Dimsums while our desert arrived. Since then the steamed beauties have been haunting me. Made Mushroom Suimai to go along with Sichuan Sauce. Kids gorged on Suimai by dipping in Tomato Ketchup while Abbas and I drenched our sore throats in Hot Sichuan Sauce. Yummm…

I followed recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor’s

Red chillies – 10-12
Oil – 1/2 cup
Garlic cloves – 10, finely chopped
Green chillies – 2, finely chopped
Spring onions – 2, finely chopped
Ginger – 1″, grated
Vegetable stock or water – 1/2 cup
Celery Stalk – 2-3″, finely chopped (I skipped this)
Tomato Ketchup – 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Whitw Vinegar – 2 tsp
Spring onion greens – 2 stalks, finely chopped

1. Boil red chillies in a cup of water for 5-7 mins. Drain, cool and grind to a fine paste.
2. Heat oil in a pan, add garlic, green chillies, spring onions and ginger. Saute for one minute. Add red chilli paste and continue to saute for a few more seconds.
3. Add vegetable stock, celery, tomato ketchup and salt to taste and stir well to mix.
4. Add vinegar and spring onion greens. Simmer for one minute and then take the pan off heat.
5. Cool and store preferably in the refrigerator. It will keep for about one month.

PS: Recipe for Momo to follow….

Mirchi Bajji always brings me back the memories of Thiruvanmiyur Beach in Chennai. I have some very good memories to cherish associated with this beach. This is where I played Holi for the first time in my life. In Konkani tradition, Holi is only celebrated by men and girls / women are made to simply watch them from a distance. I always thought how much fun it would be to play in colours but never got an opportunity. The funniest part was that Holi is not celebrated in Chennai, so we bought some Rangoli colours. I went with a group of friends, we played Holi in the beach and had all eye balls in the beach instantly rolling towards us. Not only that, we also went back drenched in colours walking back to the main road earning glares and stares of people in the streets.
I also have a beautiful memory of Abbas and I going to this beach early in the morning to watch sunrise. Co-incidentally there were many people out there with telescopes and certain other gadgets… We wondered what was going on there. We learnt later that they had gathered to witness a rare phenomenon (eclipse perhaps, not sure) and sun would appear as though a part of it has been bitten away like an apple. Unfortunately we had forgotten to carry our camera that day! Sigh! But we were glad we captured the scene in our minds and I can still remember it!
You’ll find stalls serving deep fried goodies with coconut chutney. Honestly, I like to eat only the outer cover and leave the actual ingredient aside. Amma used to drop the left over batter in oil as a stream just for me to savour li’l gram dumplings…
Long green chillies – 6-8, slit  (These are specially available in markets for making bajjis)
Bengal Gram flour / Besan– 1 cup
Rice Flour – ¼ cup
Ajwain – a pinch
Asafoetida powder – a pinch
Salt – to taste
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp (optional)
Water – for batter
Oil – for deep frying
  1. Mix together all gram flour, rice flour, salt, ajwain, asafetida powder, red chilli powder along with water. The batter should not be too runny or too thick.
  2. Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan. Once the oil is hot, dip chillies in the prepared batter and drop in hot oil. Reduce heat and let it cook, invert in between. Once you think the chillies are cooked, increase heat and remove from oil.
  3. Sprinkle chat masala and serve with coconut chutney or tomato ketchup.

Piyaji – Onion Fritters

I was proud of the speed at which I had mastered Bengali. My ears were (and are) all open to grasp any new word that was not in my Vocabulary yet. I had a colleague, Nilanjanda – he was the master of Bengali proverbs. He would mutter a quote apt for any situation, and immediately I would start bugging him to know what it meant and in what context it can be used. I would then be on the lookout for the right situation at home to declare the newly learnt proverb. And everybody at home would be taken aback to hear the proverb coming from ME! All thanks to Niluda for strengthening my Bangla literally!

These are some I still remember:
‘Bel paakle kaaker ki’
‘Baar kheye khudiram hoye jaoa’
‘Gache kathaal gope tel’
‘Joto dosh Nanda ghosh’
While I took pride at my newly honed language skills, I was in for a shock. Those days we were looking for a cook at home coz kids were barely few months old and I was going to join back work soon. Requirement was spread by word of mouth through maids. And anything that goes into one of their ears spreads like forest fire. They have such high bandwidth and network speed. Bang came a lady to check about the vacancy. Ma handled the interview and final negotiation. Compensation was bargained and settled at a ‘Not yours – not mine’ amount. The lady had a demand apart from the salary offered. She said that we must offer her with ‘Jal Khabar’ daily evening. And there you are! Me being the silent spectator scratched my head as I didn’t know what that meant. Jal means water and Khabar means Food. Now what on earth does ‘Water Food’ mean??? Later on, I found out that that it’s an expression that means the light (?) snacks that we have along with evening tea. Hmmm, learning never ends…
Piyaji or Onion Fritters are my favourite Water Food! (You know what I mean) Few months back when we were staying along Bhabi, Kakima and Kaku (Bhabi’s parents) had also come down to stay with us. We had Piyaji on the platter and Kaku declared with contempt ‘Tomra Piyaji banaate paro na!’ (You guys are incapable of making Piyaji) He announced that he will make Piyaji one day and we were all to wait and watch. But there was a condition that nobody had to enter the kitchen while he was at work! Hmmm, we were all curious now as to what was that secret ingredient that he would add to make the so-called perfect Piyajis. On pestering him we were allowed entry into the kitchen and I witnessed the entire process. He did everything the way we would do. But the patience and passion with which he fried those beauties was unmatchable. Abbas and I are eagerly waiting for Kaku and Kakima’s next visit to hog on all the delicacies Kakima prepares, along with Kaku’s Piyaji…. (Oh have heard about Kaku’s famous Beguni as well which is long due)
Onions – 3, medium sized, very finely chopped (The finer the better)
Green chillies – 2, finely chopped
Gram flour – ¾ cup or as required
Salt – to taste
Baking soda – a pinch
Nigella seeds – ¼ tsp
Water – as required
Oil – for deep frying
  1. Mix all the ingredients expect oil.
  2. Heat oil in a deep bottomed vessel.
  3. Make thin patties out of the onion mixture on your palm and slowly slip it into hot oil. Fry on both side till they turn light brown.
  4. Remove from oil and place on absorbent papers to absorb excess oil.
  1. Can be served with evening tea.
  2. I like it with Puffed rice and a dash of mustard oil.
  3. Bengalis like to have it for brunch along with left over rice soaked in lots of water. They call it ‘Paanta Bhaat’.
  4. We also like to have it with Rice and Dal as a side

Pani Puri

Going back in time:
During summer holidays, we would get hooked to watch all the TV serials that Annamma (granny) and Amma (mom) used to watch. There were two such Kannada serials called ‘Maya Mruga’ and ‘Naaku Tanti’ which were class apart from the normal ‘Saas Bahu’ or daily household ‘Khitpit’ saga. They were stories of 3-4 protagonists all different natured and from different walks of life. They used to be aired at 4:00 PM. Once the school re-opened, we would miss watching at the comfort of our house couches. While they were being aired, our school would have just dispersed and we would be walking our way back home. Luckily people who used to live on the streets that we walked were also the audiences of these serials. We would hault whenever we could sense that the serial was going on. We would sheepishly eavesdrop not to miss any dialogue. During break, we would again walk to stop at any hint of the second segment beginning. When the last segment would begin, we would have reached home.
Amma would make snacks for us for the 4 o’ clock apetite to be quenched. One of those snacks would be Pani Puri. I don’t know the exact recipe, but recreated some with instincts and memory. Picked recipes of Pani, Green and Tamarind chutney from Sailu’s blog. The filling here is hot curried green peas with hot, sweet and sour chutneys, raw onions, sev. The filled puris are dipped in chilled tangy water and like Sailu says “Explosion of flavours” happens when you put it in your mouth. I specially like the combination of green peas and cold ‘Pani’. Simply mind blowing.
My mom occasionally made puris at home but I never tried a hand at it. I conviniently buy my puris from supermarkets. I had all the chutneys left and wanted to make papdi chat. Couldn’t find Papdis being sold in any super market here. Went to a chat stall and asked the Bhaiyya there. He gave a whole bunch of Papdis for 10 bucks! The woman in me was delighted! God bless him!
PS: I regret bad quality of photos. As we had savoured this in the late evening, the darkness has cause poor quality pics.
Pani Recipe

6-7 cups cold water
1/2 cup packed pudina leaves
1 green chilli
Small piece ginger
1 tbsp amchur pwd

1/2 tsp chaat masala pwd
1/4 tsp cumin pwd
Pinch of black salt (optional)
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
Salt to taste

1. Make a paste of mint leaves, green chilli and ginger and keep aside
2. Take a vessel, add the cold water in it, followed by the green mint paste and combine well.
3. Add cumin pwd, chaat masala pwd, amchur pwd, black salt, salt to taste. Garnish with coriander leaves. 4. Chill in refrigerator till use.

Green peas filling Recipe:

Dry green peas – 1 cup (soaked overnight and boiled)
Tomatoes – 2 medium sized, finely chopped
Ginger paste – 1 tsp
Bay leaves – 2
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Red chillies – 1, beoken into 3-4 pieces
Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Sugar – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

1. Heat oil in a pan. Add cumins seeds, red chillies and bay leaves.
2. Once cumin seeds splutter, add ginger paste and saute till raw smell goes.
3. Add chopped tomtaoes and saute till they are well blended and oil oozes out.
4. Add green peas, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, sugar and a little water and mix well together.
5. Cook till all the gracy has dried out and keep aside.

Khajur Imli ki (Sweet) Chutney Recipe
3/4 cup grated jaggery (adjust)
10-12 dates
Small orange sized tamarind (de-seeded)
3/4 tsp chilli pwd
1/2 tsp saunf pwd (optional)
1 tsp roasted cumin pwd
Water as required
Salt to taste

1. Soak tamarind in 2 cups of warm water for 5 mts. Heat a heavy bottomed vessel, add the tamarind along with the water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and cool.
2. Once cool, grind this tamarind mixture along with dates to a fine paste, adding very little water. Strain through a sieve and pour this tamarind-date paste back into the heavy bottomed vessel.
3. Cook on slow to medium flame for 2-3 mts. Add the grated jaggery and allow it to melt and blend well with the tamarind date mix. Continue to cook till it becomes a thick pouring consistency, approx 15-18 mts.
4. Add chilli pwd, cumin pwd, saunf pwd and salt to taste and combine. Turn off heat. Even if the chutney is thick, its fine.
5. Once cool, refrigerate and use as required.

Green (Hari) Chutney Recipe
2 cups chopped fresh coriander leaves, packed
1 cup fresh pudina/mint leaves, packed
2-3 green chillis (adjust)
2 tbsps lemon juice
2 tbsps water
1 1/2 tsps sugar
Pinch of salt

1. Wash pudina and coriander leaves thoroughly and allow the water to drain.

2. Grind the pudina, mint leaves, salt, sugar, lemon juice and green chillis to a fine paste, by adding 2 tbsps water.
3. Remove into a bowl. Refrigerate until use. Goes well for chaats like Pani Puri, hot snacks like Samosa or as a spread for sandwich.
Red Chutney:
(This chutney has raw garlic and could be avoided while assembling coz many detest the flavour of raw garlic. But personally I am a garlic patron)
Red chillies – 10 -15
Garlic – 5-6 pods
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
1. Just grind all the ingredients with a little water.
Make a small hole at the top of a puri by lightly pressing. Take care not to break the puri. Place a tsp of hot green peas filling. Add 1 tsp of tamarind chutney, 2 drops of green and red chutneys each. Add a tsp of chopped onions and sev on top. Arrange filled puris on a plate in a circle. Place a small bowl of Pani in between and serve. Puris are be dipped in the bowl of Pani and directly stuffed into mouth without any delay.

Dahi Vada

I was a very choosy and fussy eater in my childhood, rather till getting married. I remember my Ajja (Grandpa) would say ‘Khanche mulle baisunu assaki tugele bammunu. Tukka poLoche aile tenna, tu khainattille itemache list kornu divka takka’ (Meaning, wonder which corner of this world is your partner sitiing. when he comes to see you, I would hand him over a list of all that you don’t eat.) I would say ‘Ajja, haanv khavche itemache list kelleri sulabha.’ (Grandpa, it would be better if you list all that I eat coz it would be a tad smaller list). I had a few favourite dishes of mine which I would determinedly stick to, unwilling to experiment.
We used to frequent an age old famous restaurant in Udupi called ‘Diana’. I would always order ‘Poori Kurma and Rose Milk’ Now when I look back, I say to myself ‘Wierdo!’. I would not have raw onions, tomatoes, coriander leaves even! Sighhhh… I would pick the minutest piece of tomatoes and coriander leaves from my curries and my banana leaf would end with a neat heap of all the ‘wastage’ at its right top. I used to not have curds. Hence only chat I could opt was masala puri with specific instructions to not garnish with raw onions or tomatoes or coriander leaves. Phewww! Wasn’t it too much??
I would not eat Tomato Saaru which is one of my comfort foods now. I remember one of my aunts who was a great fan of my Amma’s cooking would politely advise me – “Seema, you must try to taste all kinds of food. Your Amma makes the world’s best Tomato Saaru. You are truly missing out on lot of good stuff”. Now I crave for Amma’s food which I don’t have access to…
After marriage, my life dimensionally changed. All those food tantrums were put to an end, not at once but gradually. Nobody forced me to but somehow, absence of Amma and the way she would pamper me by cooking only what I ate. I was the one responsible to cook according to my family members’ likes and dislikes. Also Bengali food is so magical that I could hardly say no to it inspite of the presence of ingredients I never laid hands on before. My parents and especially my sis, Sindhu would pester me to try out several things but in vain. If they see me now, they would be surpised.
This is one of the dishes I never tasted before marriage but people aound me were crazy about it.
Recipe source – Ria’s Collection (Don’t go by the length of the recipe, it very easy to make)

For the vada/croquettes
Whole Urad / Black gram Dal – 1 cup
Water- 1/2 cup
Salt -to taste (about 1 1/2 tsp)
Green chillies- 6-7
Rice flour- 5-6 tsp
Oil- for deep frying

For soaking:
Warm water – 4 cup
Salt – to taste (optional)

For the dahi/Yogurt sauce:
Thick yogurt- 2 c
Water *- 1/2 c
Salt-to taste
Sugar- to taste

For garnishing:
Tamarind chutney- 4 tbsp (optional)
Red chilli powder/ Paprika- 1 tsp
Coriander powder-1 tsp
Cumin powder-1 tsp
Cilantro/Coriander leaves- 4 stalks, chopped fine.

For Tamarind Chutney: (optional)

Tamarind pulp – 2tbsp
Water- 2 cups
Salt- 1 tsp
Jaggery-1/2 cup, powdered & packed
Red chilli powder-1 tsp
Cumin seeds-1 tsp
Fennel seeds-1 tsp

How to prepare Tamarind Chutney:
1. Heat one cup of water in a microwave (or stovetop) and add the tamarind paste to it. Mix well making sure there are no lumps in it.
2. Add the other one cup of water and boil it.
3. Once it starts boiling, reduce the flame to medium and add the jaggery. Mix well and let it melt.
4. Let it boil till it reduces to half quantity.
5. Meanwhile, dry roast cumin seed and fennel seeds and powder them.
6. Once the chutney starts coating the back of a spoon, switch of the stove and add salt, red chilli poweder and powdered spices. Mix well.
7. Adjust the salt if needed.


For the vada/croquettes:
1. Wash the urad 3-4 times until the water is clear.
2. Soak the whole urad for 4-5 hours or overnight. In the morning, drain the excess water.
3. Grind it to a thick smooth paste along with 1/2 cup of water, salt and green chillies.
4. We need a real thick batter, thicker than cake batter. Basically it should be scoop-able and shape-able.
5. Add the rice flour to achieve that consistency. Rice flour also adds a crunch to the vadas when fried.
6. Heat oil on medium high for 3-4 minutes. Once it is hot, reduce the heat to medium.
7. Scoop out some batter using a spoon and drop it . Deep fry them till golden brown.Each batch will take 4-5 mins.
8. Drain the excess oil on a tissue paper.
9. Soak them in water +salt (add only if you need more salt for the vadas) for 2-3 mins and squeeze out the excess water.
10. Arrange them in a big serving bowl. Keep aside.

For the Yogurt sauce:
1. If your yogurt is thick, add water and whisk till smooth. Add salt & sugar to taste.
2. If your yogurt is loose, do not add excess water. Just add salt & sugar to taste.
3. Pour over the arranged vadas.

1. Sprinkle red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder over the dahi.
2. Drizzle few tablespoonfull of homemade tamarind chutney over it.
3. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve chilled!

Crispy Indo-French Fry

This is my favourite tea-time snack. Why I called it Indo French fry is because its the Indian spicy version of French Fry…. It can be prepared in a jiffy and a delight to eat…

Potaoes – 3 medium sized, cut in French fry style
Rice flour – 1/2 cup
Red chilli powder – to taste
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Asafoetida – a pinch
Salt – to taste
Oil – for frying
1. Mix all the infgredients together.
2. If the potatoes are moist, mix a little more rice flour.
3. Deep fry in oil.
4. Serve hot with tomato ketchup.