Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A Wonderful Dinner at Zazies

A Wonderful Dinner at Zazies

In an earlier post I have described our brunch at Zazies, a French restaurant in the Cole Valley area of San Francisco.

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of going there once more- for dinner this time. We began the meal with drinks, chilled sparkling water for me and red wine in the form of Chateau Haut Sarthes Merlot for my husband Prem who manages this blog with me.

There was so much to choose from!

Each dish sounded more exotic than the other. Finally, we made our choices and had Ricotta Raviolis with wilted arugula, leeks, white wine and Parmesan. This tasted divine!!

We then had the delicious Poisson en Papillote ( Fish and Potatoes) made up of wild steelhead salmon with fingerling potatoes, wilted arugula leeks, and mussel cream.

As usual we chose to eat in the heated Garden Patio and enjoyed the warmth as we had a leisurely dinner while it was pretty cold outside.

So the next time you are in San Francisco, do make it a point to dine at Zazies. I can assure you it will be well worth the time and money spent.

Monday, November 25, 2019



Dear Readers,

It's that time of the year when my blog and I take a break!

You will find very few posts, if at all, for the next 6 weeks in this blog.

Shall resume active blogging in the middle of January 2020.

In saying bye for now, I take this opportunity to wish you and your families Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Best regards,


Wednesday, November 20, 2019



Nellikai or Nellikayi is what gooseberries are called in Tamil and Kannada. We call them Aavalo in my mother tongue, Konkani. They are called Amla in Hindi. This happens to be the right season for gooseberries and we see them in plenty in the vegetable markets in Bengaluru where I live.

Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes with gooseberries such as Nellikayi Chitranna Nellikayi Thokku and our own Avale Kadi.

Rasam, as you know, is a popular accompaniment with rice in South India.  It is more watery than sambar and has a soup-like consistency. Rasams give off a nice aroma thanks to the spices that go into making them.

Recently, I tried out Nellikai Rasam adapted from the well-known cookery website Subbu's Kitchen  and we loved it with steaming hot rice.

  • Nellikai ( Gooseberry), 5 
  • Toor Dal, ( Split Pigeon Pea), 2 tbsp
  • Green Chilli, 1
  • Ginger, 1 and 1/2 " piece
  • Tomato, 1 
  • Black Peppercorns, 1and 1/2 tsp to 2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida, 1/8 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander Leaves, finely chopped, for garnish
  • Salt, to taste
For Seasoning -
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli, broken into halves, 1
  • Curry Leaves, 8-10
  • Ghee, 2 tsp


Wash the toor dal and pressure cook it along with turmeric powder and 1 cup of water for 2-3 whistles or till done
One the cooker cools, remove the cooked dal, mash it and keep aside
Wash the gooseberries and de-seed them
In a small mixer jar, grind the black peppercorns and the cumin seeds to a powder and keep aside
In the same mixer jar, grind together the de-seeded gooseberries, green chili and ginger to a smooth paste adding just the required amount of water. Keep aside.
In a pan, heat the ghee and on medium heat add the mustard seeds and when they splutter add the broken red chili and the curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds
To this add the peppercorn-cumin powder, and the asafetida and sauté for a few seconds
Now add the chopped tomato and a little water and cook till the tomato becomes soft
Next add the ground gooseberry paste, along with turmeric powder, salt  and 1 cup of water
Mix well and bring to a boil
Lower the flame and let it simmer for 5 minutes
To this add the mashed dal, mix well and add water as required to get the right rasam consistency
Cook for a few minutes till a frothy layer forms on top of the rasam
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves
Serve the Nellikai Rasam with hot steamed rice along with ghee

Friday, November 15, 2019



Today's recipe Palak Zhunka is for an easy to make side dish made with Spinach ( "palak" in Hindi), Besan (Chickpea Flour) and spices. This type of side dish is called "Zhunka " in Maharashtra, Goa and the Northern part of Karnataka.

We make many dishes using spinach in India. For example, elsewhere in this blog you will find dishes as diverse as Palak Corn Subzi, Palak Parantha, and the famous Palak Paneer!

We enjoyed this Palak Zhunka with hot rotis.

  • Palak, (Spinach) , 1 large bunch or about 200 gms
  • Besan, (Chickpea Flour) 1 cup 
  • Large-sized Onion, 1
  • Green Chillies, 2
  • Garlic Cloves, 3
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Chilli Powder, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 2 tbsp


Remove the palak leaves from their stalks and wash them in several changes of water
Chop the palak fine and keep aside
Chop the onion and finely chop the green chillies and garlic cloves
In a pan, dry roast the besan on medium heat for 3-4 minutes or till it gives off a good aroma. Keep aside. 
Heat oil in the same pan and on medium heat add the mustard seeds and when they splutter add the cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds sizzle, add the finely chopped garlic and sauté till it turns slightly golden brown 
To this, add the chopped onions and green chillies and sauté till the onions become translucent
Add the turmeric powder and chilli powder ( if being used) 
Next add the chopped palak and salt
Mix well and cook the palak till it is almost done. ( Please note that palak gets cooked very fast. Also that salt added to the palak will release water) 
Now mix in the dry roasted besan and sprinkle a little water
Cover and cook on medium flame till the besan gets cooked, stirring from time to time till it gets well blended with the palak
Switch off the gas and transfer the Palak Zhunka to a serving bowl
Serve hot as a side dish

Monday, November 11, 2019



Pumpkin is one of those vegetables that have inherent health benefits. This article in the prestigious WebMD site gives us details of the many health benefits provided by pumpkins. I was encouraged to use more of pumpkins in my preparations after reading this article.

Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for dishes made with pumpkins such as Mathanga Pullinkari from Kerala, Red Pumpkin Soup, and Yellow Pumpkin Kootu.

Today's recipe is for a side dish made with pumpkin and sesame seeds commonly made in Tamilnadu. This has been adapted from Paringikai Ellu Kari or Pumpkin Sesame Curry by Kannamma Cooks.

We had this for lunch a couple of days ago and were very impressed with the taste. They have suggested the use of sesame oil but I made it with regular cooking oil.

  • Pumpkin, 400 gms
  • Cumin Seeds, 1/4 tsp
  • Byadgi Dry Red Chillies, 2
  • Curry Leaves, 1 sprig
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 1 tbsp
For the Coconut Sesame Masala:-
  • Fresh Coconut Gratings, 1/4 cup
  • White Sesame Seeds, 2 tbsp
  • Byadgi Dry Red Chillies,  2
  • Cumin Seeds, 1/4 tsp


Wash, peel and cut the pumpkin into bite- sized pieces after discarding the core and the seeds. Keep aside.
Grind together the fresh coconut gratings, sesame seeds, dry red chillies, and cumin seeds, adding 1/2 cup of water to form a coarse paste. Keep this coconut sesame masala aside. 
Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan and on medium heat add the cumin seeds and when they sizzle add the curry leaves and the pumpkin pieces
To this, add the turmeric powder, salt and 1/2 a cup of water
Cook covered on medium heat till the pumpkin gets done ( about 6-7 minutes)
As pumpkins get cooked fast, make sure they don't get overcooked
Now add the ground Coconut Sesame masala,  mix well and let it simmer for a few minutes
Serve hot with steamed rice

Thursday, November 7, 2019



My husband used to hate some vegetables like pumpkins, ash gourd etc in his youth and childhood. I always tell him that there is nothing wrong with any vegetable, it all depends on how it is cooked !!
I am glad to say that he not only eats them without complaint these days but has actually begum to enjoy them!!

One such vegetable is ash gourd, also known as White Pumpkin or Winter Melon. We  call this  "Kuvale" in my mother tongue, Konkani. It is called, "Boodagumbala " in Kannada, "Petha" in Hindi, and "Neer Poosinikai" in Tamil.  Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for our Konkani style Kuvale Sasam, for Ash Gourd Mor Kuzhambu from Tamilnadu and for Ash Gourd Pumpkin Coconut Stew from Kerela.

Today's recipe is adapted from Ashgourd Coconut Curry from Udupi Recipes a website which largely features recipes from the Udupi region of my home state of Karnataka.


  • Ash Gourd, about 750 grams 
  • Tamarind, a ball of gooseberry size
  • Jaggery, grated, 1 and 1/2 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Salt, to taste 
For the Coconut Masala :-
  • Coconut Gratings, 1 cup
  • Coriander Seeds, 3 tsp
  • Urad Dal (Black Gram), 1 tsp
  • Chana Dal ( Bengal Gram), 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Byadgi Red Chillies, 4
  • Curry Leaves, a sprig
  • Oil, 2 tsp
For Seasoning :- 
  • Mustard Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Urad Dal, 1/2 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, a few 
  • Red Chilli, broken into two, 1
  • Oil, 1 tsp


Wash, peel and cut the ash gourd to bite-size pieces discarding the core and seeds
Soak the tamarind in warm water for 15-20 minutes, extract the tamarind juice and keep aside
In a small pan, heat 2 tsp of oil and on medium heat roast separately, one after the other, the urad dal, chana dal, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, Byadgi red chillies, and curry leaves
Allow this to cool and transfer to a small mixer jar
Grind these roasted ingredients along with the coconut gratings and the required amount of water to a smooth paste and keep aside
In a vessel cook the ash gourd pieces along with 1 cup of water, salt, and turmeric powder and bring to a boil
To this, add the tamarind extract and cook till the ash gourd gets done. Make sure the ash gourd is cooked but remains firm. (Please note that ash gourd gets cooked very soon so take care that it does not get overcooked.)
Now add the ground coconut masala and the grated jaggery and mix well
Adjust the consistency of the curry by adding water, if required. Check for salt and add only if required.
Bring to a boil  then let it simmer for a few minutes and switch off the gas
Finally season by heating oil in a small pan. On medium heat add the mustard seeds and when they splutter add the urad dal and sauté till the dal changes color
Add the broken red chili and the curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds
Pour this seasoning on to the Ash Gourd Coconut Curry
Transfer to serving bowl and serve hot with rice or chapatis.

Sunday, November 3, 2019



One of the veggies I use pretty often is Ivy Gourd, variously called Dondakaya in Telugu,
Tindora in Hindi, Thondekayi in Kannada and Tendle in my mother tongue, Konkani. This vegetable is used all over the country.

Elsewhere in this blog you will find recipes for Tendle Bhuthi from Konkani cuisine, Thondekayi Yennegayi,  from North Karnataka and the North Indian Tindora Masala.

Today's recipe is for a chutney from Andhra called Dondakaya Pachadi and has been adapted from the popular cooking website Sailu's Foods.

For best results, choose ivy gourd that are tender yet firm.

Traditionally, this Dondakaya Chutney is served with steaming hot rice and ghee.

  • Dondakaya, (Ivy Gourd), 250 grams, 
  • Cumin Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Channa Dal ( Bengal Gram), 1 and 1/2  tbsp
  • Urad Dal (Black Gram Dal), 1 tbsp
  • Byadgi Red Chillies, 2 
  • Green Chillies, slit, 3, 
  • Garlic Cloves, peeled and lightly crushed, 6 
  • Tamarind, size of a small marble  
  • Jaggery, grated, 1/2 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 1 tbsp
For Seasoning :-
  • Mustard Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Hing (Asafoetida) Powder, a pinch
  • Curry Leaves, a sprig
  • Oil, 1 tsp

Wash the ivy gourd and snip off their ends and cut them into thin roundels
In a thick-bottomed kadhai, heat oil and on medium heat add the cumin seeds, channa dal, Urad dal and red chillies and sauté till the dals change color
To this, add the slit green chillies and the peeled garlic, followed by the ivy gourd, mix well and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes stirring from time to time till the ivy gourd turns slightly golden
Switch off the gas, allow this to cool and transfer contents to a mixer jar
Next, add the tamarind, salt, grated jaggery and  2 tbsp of water
Grind to a coarse paste in pulse mode and transfer the ground chutney to a bowl
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a small pan and do the seasoning by adding the mustard seeds on medium heat
When they splutter, add the asafoetida powder and the curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds
Pour this seasoning on to the Dondakaya Pachadi
Serve this as an accompaniment with hot steamed rice