Wednesday, March 21, 2018



Many thanks to my family, friends and followers of this blog, for your continued encouragement and support for "Cooking With Shobana" over the last 5 years. Today happens to be the 5th anniversary of this blog, which has been my passion since it's inception.

I am delighted to inform you that  "Cooking With Shobana" continues to feature in Feedspot's
100 Top Indian Foodblogs and Websites, a list that is updated from time to time.

Since I had some strawberries handy, I decided to make halwa (an Indian sweet) which is quite easy to make. Today's dish is adapted from "Strawberry Halwa" from my friend Aparna Bhat's popular blog called, "Flavors n Colors."

The amount of sugar needed depends on the sweetness of the strawberries you use, as also your individual taste.

  • Strawberries ( fresh or frozen) : 10-12 or about 250 gms
  • Corn flour: 1/2 cup
  • Sugar: 1 and 1/2 cups, or to taste
  • Cardamom Powder: 1 tsp or from 3-4 Cardamom (Elaichi ) pods
  • Ghee: 2-3 tbsp + a little for greasing the plate
  • Cashewnuts: 10-15 broken into pieces
  • Water: 1/2 cup ( for cornflour paste) + 1 cup (for dissolving sugar)


Wash the strawberries and discard their tops. Chop the strawberries, place them in a mixer and make a puree (without adding any water) and keep aside.

Break the cashewnuts into pieces.
Grease a plate or thali with ghee and keep aside

Combine the cornflour with half a cup of water to form a mixture making sure that no lumps are formed. Add the strawberry puree to the cornflour mixture and mix thoroughly.

Heat a thick bottomed pan add the sugar and 1 cup of water, mix well and keep stirring on medium heat till the sugar is dissolved.
To this, add the add the strawberry-cornflour mixture and continue to stir till the contents become thick
Add the ghee, cashewnut pieces* and cardamom powder and mix well so that they are evenly distributed * Retain a few cashewnut pieces for the garnish
Keep stirring on medium heat till the halwa gets a jelly like consistency with a glossy finish
Transfer the halwa to plate that has been greased and kept ready
Allow the halwa to cool
Cut the strawberry halwa into the desired shapes and garnish with a few nuts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018



In South India, we refer to small onions used for making sambar as shallots. They are also called Baby Onions and are much smaller in size than the regular onions.  Elsewhere in this blog you will find the recipe for Ulli Theeyal, a popular dish from Kerala made using shallots.

One of the most famous dishes prepared using shallots is the famous Chinna Vengaya Sambar of Tamilnadu. This goes great not only with rice at the meal but also as an accompaniment with idli, dosa, etc at breakfast.

It takes more time and effort to peel the shallots but I can assure you the sambar makes it worth it. Fortunately, peeled shallots are readily available, for a price of course, in many Supermarkets these days.

Today's recipe has been adapted from Onion Sambar/Vengaya Sambar from the popular blog, Subbu's Kitchen. We tried this out and it was very aromatic and so delicious!


  • Shallots, ( Baby Onions), 250 gms or 25-30 nos. approx. 
  • Tur Dal, (Arhar Dal), 1/2 cup
  • Tamarind, lemon-sized ball
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Salt, to taste 
  • Coriander Leaves, finely chopped, for garnish

To Be Roasted & Ground Into A Paste ;

  • Asafoetida, (Hing), 1/4 tsp
  • Byadgi Red Chilies, 7-8
  • Channa Dal, 1 tbsp
  • Coriander Seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds, 1/4 tsp
  • Shallots, peeled, 5
  • Coconut Gratings, 2 tbsp
  • Oil, 2 tsp (for roasting) 
For Seasoning: 
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves, a few
  • Asafoetida, a pinch
  • Oil, 2 tsp

Wash and peel the shallots 
Wash and cook the tur dal in adequate water adding the turmeric powder, in a pressure cooker for 3-4 whistles or till it gets well cooked. Once it cools, remove the cooked dal from the pressure cooker, mash it and keep aside
Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract the juice. Keep aside.
Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pan and when it gets hot, add the asafoetida and fry for a few seconds till it gives off a good aroma
Add the red chillies and when they get roasted remove them and keep aside.
In the same pan, add the channa dal, coriander seeds, and fenugreek seeds and fry them on medium flame till the dal changes colour
Once they are cooled, transfer the roasted red chillies, channa dal, fenugreek seeds and coriander seeds to a mixer and grind them along with the coconut gratings and 5 peeled shallots to a smooth paste adding a little water. Keep the ground paste aside.
Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pan  and when it gets hot add the mustard seeds on medium flame and when they splutter add the curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida and saute for a few seconds
Now add the remaining peeled shallots and saute till they turn transparent and continue till they turn slightly golden in colour. (Do not saute them excessively as this will make them burnt and taste bitter.)
Add the tamarind extract and salt, mix well and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes
Next add the cooked and mashed tur dal and the ground paste prepared earlier and mix well
To this add the required amount of water to get the sambar consistency and bring to a boil
Let it simmer for about 5 minutes, switch off the gas and finally garnish with the chopped coriander leaves

Friday, March 9, 2018



"Ghugni" is a dish popular in the Eastern Parts of India and is had either as a snack or as a side dish. It can be made with fresh green peas or with dried peas.  This being the season for fresh green peas and they are available in plenty, I chose to make this using them. You could even use frozen peas if you wish.

Since we had this as a side dish with rice and dal, I have kept this more on the spicy side. If you are having it as a snack, you may like to reduce the spice level.

This recipe is adapted from Matar ki Ghugni by ChezShuchi. We enjoyed this very much.

  • Fresh Green Peas, 2 & 1/2 cups
  • Large-sized Potato, 1
  • Cumin Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida, 1/8 tsp
  • Green Chillies, 2-3
  • Ginger,  1" piece
  • Chilli Powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder, 1 tsp
  • Kitchen King Masala Powder, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon Juice, 1 tbsp
  • Coriander Leaves, finely chopped, 2-3 tbsp
  • Oil, 1 & 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste


Wash the green peas. 
Peel, wash and chop the potatoes. Keep them in water to avoid discolouration.
Chop the green chilles. 
Finely chop the ginger. 

Heat oil in a kadhai, and when it gets hot on medium heat add cumin seeds and when they sizzle add asafoetida, saute for a few seconds till it gives off a good aroma
Add the chopped green chillies and ginger and saute for a few more seconds
To this add green peas and chopped potatoes, mix well and saute for a couple of minutes
Add salt,  chilli powder, and coriander powder. Mix well.
Sprinkle a little water, cover and cook till the peas and the potatoes are done 
Now add the masala powder, mix well and cook for a couple of minutes more
Turn off the gas
Add the lemon juice and mix well.
Finally, garnish with the finely chopped coriander leaves.

Monday, March 5, 2018



Today's recipe uses two common vegetables, namely carrots and French Beans cooked in a masala made with coconut, peanuts and tomatoes. The gravy adds to the distinctive taste of this dish and makes it a good choice as an accompaniment for rotis and chapatis.

I have preferred to add onion and garlic but this dish can be made without them too.  This is adapted from Gajar Beans Sabzi by the noted culinary expert, Nisha Madhulika.

  • Large-sized Carrot,  1
  • French Beans, 200 gms
  • Medium-sized Tomatoes, 2-3
  • Green Chillies, 2
  • Peanuts, 1/4 cup
  • Fresh Coconut Gratings, 1/2 cup
  • Cumin Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Small- sized Onion, 1
  • Ginger Garlic Paste, 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida, (Hing) a pinch
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander Powder, 1 tsp
  • Chilli Powder, 1/2 tsp or to taste
  • Garam Masala Powder, 1/8 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 1 and 1/2 to 2 tbsp
  • Coriander Leaves, finely chopped, for garnish

Wash, peel and dice the carrot
Wash, de-string and cut the French Beans into 1 " pieces
Peel and chop the onion
Dry roast the peanuts and allow them to cool. Remove the skin and keep aside. 
Cook the beans and carrot together with adequate water and a little salt, making sure they remain crunchy and don't get overcooked or you could pressure cook them for 1 whistle. Keep aside.
Roughly chop the tomatoes into chunks. Grind this along with green chillies to make a paste
To this add the roasted peanuts and coconut gratings and grind again to a fine paste. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a thick bottomed kadhai and when it gets hot add the cumin seeds. When they sizzle add the chopped onion and saute till it becomes translucent
Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes
Now add the asafoetida, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and garam masala. Mix well and saute
Add the ground paste of tomatoes- peanuts and coconut gratings and mix well.
Fry the masala till the oil leaves the sides of the kadhai
Add 1 cup of water and salt to taste and bring the mixture to a boil *
Next add the cooked carrot and beans, adjust the consistency of the gravy and let it simmer on medium flame for about 4-5 minutes
Switch off the gas and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

* When adding salt, remember that the carrots and beans have already been cooked in a little salt.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018



At home, we like okra/lady's fingers and make dishes using them quite often. They have numerous health benefits too. In India, you will find okra or lady's fingers, as they are more commonly called here, used in different cuisines. Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for a Punjabi dish called Bharwan Bhindi,  for Bhenda Sagle from Konkani cuisine, and for Bhindi Shengdana from Maharashtra.

The best part of today's recipe, which gives the dish it's name, is the flavour of garlic called Lahsun in Hindi.

In making this dish, take care to choose tender lady's fingers for best results.

I have adapted this recipe from Lahsuni Bhindi in the popular blog, Veg Recipes of India.

We enjoyed this dish with hot rotis.


  • Bhindi, (Lady's Fingers/Okra), 18-20 
  • Garlic Cloves, 6-8
  • Cumin Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Hing, (Asafoetida), 1/8 tsp
  • Large sized Onion, 1
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Green Chilli, 1
  • Chilli Powder, 1/2  to 3/4 tsp, as per taste
  • Coriander Powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Amchur (Dry Mango) Powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Kitchen King Garam Masala Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Coriander Leaves, finely chopped, for garnish


Wash and pat dry the bhindi with a clean kitchen towel. Snip off and discard the two ends and slice the bhindi vertically.
Thinly slice the onion
Peel and chop the garlic cloves and slit the green chilli

Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and when it gets hot, on medium heat add the cumin seeds. When they crackle add the chopped garlic and the hing and saute til the garlic gives off a good aroma and turns slightly golden in colour
Add the sliced onion and saute till it becomes translucent
Next, add the turmeric powder, slit green chilli and saute again for a few seconds
To this add the sliced bhindi and salt and mix well
Cover and cook the bhindi for about 5 minutes on medium heat stirring from time to time
Add the chilli powder, coriander powder, dry mango powder and garam masala powder,  and mix well
Cook uncovered, stirring from time to time, till the bhindi gets fully cooked and well blended with the masala
Finally garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves
Serve lahsuni bhindi hot with rotis

Friday, February 23, 2018



Often, the simplest recipes become the best ones. When you have eaten out for several days in a row and look for homely food, there is nothing as satisfying as the simple Dal Palak made with Moong Dal  (Split Green Gram) and Palak ( Spinach.)

As is commonly known, Spinach has numerous health benefits. 

In this recipe we use split green gram dal ( which is called Dhuli Moong Dal in Hindi). Please see picture below.

Today's recipe is adapted from Dal Palak from MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor.

We had this with hot rotis and it was most enjoyable. We particularly liked the flavour of the sauteed garlic in this dal.


  •  Moong Dal (Split Green Gram ) 3/4 cup
  • Palak ( Spinach), a small bunch or around 20-25 leaves
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds,  1 tsp
  • Hing (Asafoetida), 1/8 tsp
  • Onions, medium sized, 2
  • Green Chillies,  2
  • Ginger, 1" piece
  • Garlic, 6-8 cloves
  • Lemon juice, 1 tsp
  • Oil/Ghee, 1 and 1/ 2 tbsp
  • Salt, as per taste


Wash the moong dal and pressure cook with 2 cups of water adding salt and turmeric powder for 2 whistles or till the dal is fully cooked. When the cooker cools, remove the cooked dal and keep aside
Wash the spinach leaves in several changes of water and later shred them and keep aside.
Peel and finely chop the onions.
Peel and chop the garlic cloves
Wash and chop the green chillies and ginger.

Heat oil/ghee in a thick bottomed kadhai. When it gets hot, on medium heat add the asafoetida and cumin seeds.
When cumin seeds sizzle and start to change colour, add the chopped onions and green chillies.
Saute till the onions become soft and translucent.
Add the chopped ginger and garlic. Saute till the garlic gives off a good aroma.
Now add the cooked moong dal, mix well and bring to a boil
Check for salt and add if required
Next, add the shredded spinach and the lemon juice
Reduce the flame and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes till the spinach is cooked
Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot with rotis.

Monday, February 19, 2018



In Konkani and Maharashtrian cuisine, we often use Drumsticks which are a good source of calcium, iron and vitamins apart from having other health benefits. Elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for Potato & Drumstick Upkari,  Drumsticks Pithla, and Magge and Mashingasaang Koddel. 

Today's recipe is for a side dish made with drumsticks paired with brinjals (eggplants) and moong dal curry. I have adapted this from Drumstick, Brinjal & Moong Dal Curry video by the well-known Chef Sanjay Thumma in his cookery channel, Vah Chef.

As you know, there are different types of brinjals. I have used the purple ones as shown in the picture below. Adding of moong dal is optional but I would recommend using this as it adds to the nutritional value of the dish. I have used only 1 green chilli instead of 3 recommended in the original recipe.


  • Drumsticks, 2
  • Brinjals, 3 or about 150 grams
  • Moong Dal, 1/4 cup 
  • Onion, 1
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/8 tsp
  • Ginger Garlic Paste, 1/2 tsp
  • Tomato, medium-sized, 1
  • Green Chilli, 1
  • Coriander Powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli Powder, 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 1-2 tbsp
  • Coriander Leaves, 2 tbsp

Wash, scrape and cut the drumsticks into 1" pieces
Wash and slice the brinjals into bite size pieces. Immerse them in water to avoid discolouration.
Soak the moong dal in adequate water for  about  2 hours
Slice the onion
Wash and slice the tomato.
Slit the green chilli and chop the coriander leaves

Heat oil in a thick-bottomed kadhai and when it gets hot add sliced onion and a little salt and saute for 2 minutes till the onions turn translucent 
Then add turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste, and the drumstick pieces. Mix well
To this add the sliced brinjals and salt to taste. Adjust the salt keeping in mind that a little has been added to the onions earlier.
Cover and cook on low flame for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time
After about 4 minutes, add the sliced tomato, slit green chilli, coriander powder, and chilli powder, 
Mix well and cook covered till the tomato gets cooked and becomes mushy
Now add the soaked moong dal, chopped coriander leaves, mix well and cook covered on medium heat till the moong dal is fully cooked
Switch off the gas and transfer to serving bowl
Serve with rotis etc