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Here is my third entry for the Sweet Potato Contest under the “Sugar -Free ” Category.

1/4 cup long grained rice

2 cups, 2% milk + extra if needed

1 large sweet potato

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup half and half

1 tbs unsalted butter

1/2 tsp powdered cardamom

2 tbs unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tbs sliced almonds.

2 tbs pure maple syrup


Wash and put the sweet potato on a baking tray and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 45-50 minutes till a fork goes through it cleanly. Remove from the oven and when cooled peel the skin and mash the sweet potato and measure out 3/4 cups and set aside.

Meanwhile wash the rice and put it in a thick bottomed pan and add 2 cups of milk and turn the stove on to medium. Let the milk come to a boil while constantly stirring the rice so it doesn’t catch in the botom. After the milk has boiled, let it simmer and let the rice cook in it while stirring constantly. It will take about 40 minutes for the milk to be absorbed and the rice to be cooked. If need be add extra milk.

Now add the 3/4 cup of sweet potato to the cooked rice and stir.

Add the powdered cardamom.

Melt the butter in a pan and turn the heat off. Add the raisins to the butter to reconstitute. Put the butter, the raisins and the half and half in a blender and puree. Then add this to the sweet potato milk pudding and heat through.

Now toast the coconut lightly in a dry pan along with the sliced almonds.

When the sweet potato rice pudding is done, garnish with the coconut and almond. Drizzle with maple syrup. Serve.

Here is my second recipe under the “Vegetarian’ Category.

Sweet Potato Hasselback

2  medium sized sweet potato

1 tablespoon melted butter


Wash the sweet potatoes and dab it dry. Trim the ends off. Place the sweet potato securely on a cutting board and make 2 mm cuts starting from one end to the other. Make sure you don’t cut all the way down. The tuber should be in one piece but with cuts running from top to almost all the way to the bottom.

Brush most of the melted butter over the sweet potato going in between each cut  if possible. Keep a little bit of the melted butter for basting later.

Put the buttered tubers on a baking tray and put it in a preheated oven of 400 degrees. Leave it uncovered and bake for about 40 minutes. Of course times will vary depending on size of the sweet potato. About 3/4 the way baste with remaining butter getting it inbetween each slice of the SP.

When a fork goes through easily through the slices of the SP,  it is done.

Remove and set aside.

Buttermilk Cheese Dressing

1/4 cup buttermilk

2 oz regular feta cheese

2 wedges Laughing Cow spreadable cheese [light]

1 tablespoon chopped green part of a spring onion + 1/2 tbs for garnish

I tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1/2 tablespoon good quality olive oil with a mild flavor

Salt and pepper to taste.

Blend everything except the 1/2 tbs of chopped spring onions,  salt and pepper.

You can either blend to a smooth consistancy or leave it a little bit chunky depending on your preferance. Check for salt and pepper, add to your taste. Put the dressing in a dish and sprinkle the remaining spring onions.

Serve the potatoes with the dressing.

Top with a tablespoon of chopped candied pecan and serve on a bed of salad greens.

I love a good  challenge when it comes to developing recipes. The three recipes I’ll be posting today are for a bloggers contest to showcase the humble sweet potato as a healthy and nutritive tuber. I have been using a lot of sweet potatoes in my cooking, over the past few years, since becoming aware of its low  glycemic index and its excellent nutritional profile. Please go here for all things sweet potato

The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission has a contest for bloggers to come up with healthy recipes under three categories.

My first recipe is for the Kid Friendly Category.

Sweet Potato Croquettes

1 heaped cup peeled and cubed sweet  potatoes  [about 6 oz] from a small sweet potato

1/4 heaped cup panko bread crumbs + some extra for coating

1/4 cup baby sweet peas

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter for shallow frying.


Cover the cubed [1/2 inch dice] of sweet potatoes with just enough water to submerge it and boil till the sweet potatoes are just done but not too mushy. Should take 6-8 minutes. Drain immediately and spread on a linen towel to air dry. Mash the sweet potatoes when cooled.

Meanwhile thaw the peas.

Add the panko crumbs to the sweet potato mash and incorporate. Then add the peas, then salt and pepper to taste and mix well trying to keep the peas whole.

Now form  about 8 croquettes. Spread the Panko crumbs for coating on a plate and roll the croquettes in it. Take each croquette and press the panko onto its surface gently and shake off the excess and set aside.

Heat a pan with the butter in it. Gently drop the croquettes onto the pan and shallow fry for about 5 minutes till they turn golden brown all over. Remove from stove and put on a paper towel to take off any excess oil.

Serve with apple sauce and ketchup. Kids will love it!

Thanks for dropping by

Best, s.

I’ve been cruising along and enjoying the ride these last 6 months. I’ve browsed through many different blogs, appreciated some seriously good photography, experimented with new ingredients and cooked up a storm, more than ever before, in order to put tried and tested recipes in my blog and the other sites I contribute to.
Having gone with the flow, I think I may want to navigate a little bit more purposefully. For sure I want to improve my photography skills and maybe even explore the history of food in different cultures. However for now I want to focus on one area in this blog. Developing recipes for children of all ages. A lot of people ask me for vegetarian ideas for kid’s school lunches that don’t involve 2 slices of bread and the usual suspects in between. So I thought it would be a great idea to do a monthly post on children’s breakfasts, lunches and snack ideas. Maybe some recipes that  kids can cook along too with their parents? Maybe cooking ideas for kids in college dorms? Having posted a couple of times on the Meatless Monday site I thought it would be fun to do kid friendly recipe posts for this website so there can be options for parents who might be wanting to get their kids on board. Coz I don’t see Sammy answer to his mom’s call to “Come and eat your sprouted quinoa honey”!
This post is also very special to me. My lifelong friend, who lives in India, recently asked me to give her suggestions for an Italian pasta dish she could cook in her ‘traditional Tamilian kitchen’. So S, this one is especially for you.
Specialized ingredients are hard to find in India or would involve a trek to the only market in the city where it may or may not be available at all times. So this recipe is something that anybody, anywhere can make, the only two tricky ingredients could be celery and fresh basil leaves. The celery can be left out and fresh basil could be substituted with dried basil, Italian herbs or dry packaged soup mix.                                                           

So here is a no chopping, no stirring, easy, kid friendly

Child’s Play Spaghetti Sauce

6  medium ripe tomatoes, 2lbs/900gms

3-6 cloves garlic

1 tbs good quality olive oil or a mild cooking oil

Salt and pepper to taste

5-6 large basil leaves, roughly torn or 1 tsp dried Italian spice mixture



Take a wide enough pan to hold all the tomatoes in a single layer. Scoop out the ‘eye’ of each tomato and insert the garlic cloves into the tomatoes through here. Start the pan on a low to medium heat and add a table spoon of oil. Then place the tomatoes scooped side down on the pan. Push the cloves really deep into the tomato so it doesn’t burn on contact with the pan. Put a tight fitting lid on the pan and forget about it for the next 10-12 minutes. The tomatoes steam cook and the juices released ensures the tomatoes don’t burn as long as the heat is on low or medium.                    

When you remove the lid after about 10 minutes you will see the tomato skin have split.  


If you want, you can pull the skin off very easily with a pair of tongs, or you can leave them on if you are going to puree the sauce completely. I remove the skins as I process it minimally. 


Now pick up each whole tomato and put them top side down on the pan for the other side to cook and put the lid back on. From this step on you might want to take over the cooking from over your child. Give the tomatoes another 7-10 minutes on this side.

Turn the stove off and mash the tomatoes carefully with a potato masher or use an immersion blender [which is what I use] to get the consistency you desire, chunky or smooth. Alternatively put the whole thing in a blender and puree. Then add the torn basil leaves, salt and pepper to taste and turn the stove on again and cook the sauce till it is bubbling.                             

I remove all the garlic cloves before blending the soup as I prefer the sauce with just a mild garlic perfume. The garlic cloves can also be floated in the sauce, it will certainly make a pretty sight. Or remove the whole cloves from the sauce and use it to rub it on your grilled bread.

This sauce should be easy enough for a teenager to whisk up right? Next let’s make the

Meatless Balls

1 Tbsp oil + oil for shallow frying

1/4 Cup each of very finely chopped onions, celery and carrots

¼ Cup unseasoned toasted bread crumbs [not Panko]

1/2 Tbs dried Italian seasoning or dried basil

1 Cup cooked lentils

1/4 Cup cooked rice

1/4  Cup boiled potatoes, mashed to a creamy consistency.

1 Tsp salt

Everything measured, packed and heaped

A few basil leaves for garnish[optional]                                                                                                                                      

Please see my earlier post here and follow all the steps with a few changes brought on by changing a few spices. Instead of forming patties make about 12-16 balls.                                                                                                                    

Shallow fry these meatless balls for a few minutes [about 7-10] till they are golden brown all over. Just remember not to move the balls in the pan until they are done and release easily on their own. Otherwise the balls will stick to the pan and the crispy exterior will not form.

Now add  the golden brown meatless balls to the bubbling sauce and let it cook for a few minutes and then turn the stove off. Garnish with basil if using and serve with spaghetti.

Thanks for dropping by,

Best, S.

The land of the rising sun

As we all know of you from day one

It may look like the sun is setting

But Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Kobe later

You were still standing proud and strong

Sendai will not crush your spirit either

That you have to bear so much is plain wrong

You are in our thoughts and in our prayer

Let us know what we can do how and when

So once again you are the land of cherry blossoms and Zen.

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