Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Hey Happy-Eaters,
                              How are you all? So how is your cooking going on… as I have already shared my knowledge about Pasta some days ago in a Chapter of my KITCHEN MISTAKES & MYTH series, so today I will tell you the detailed recipe of one of the mostly used Pasta sauce…MARINARA…Normally we called this RED SAUCE for Pasta also.

This sauce is one of the top 4 sauces used worldwide in pasta as pasta have more 100s of sauces to served with but sometimes the simplest way makes the best pasta itself and Marinara is very simple but tasty sauce. Traditional Marinara have lots of tomatoes with onion and garlic and basil in it but Marinara can be made with many variations like here I will share Marinara sauce with Olives.

Normally if you made pasta sauce fresh then it will tastes better but as we can get packed pasta sauces so you can also cook and store this sauce in your refrigerator for a long time also and you can use it whenever you need. Just take spoonful of sauce in a pan, heat and toss boiled pasta in it…ready. So here below is the detailed recipe for HOMEMADE MARINARA PASTA SAUCE with OLIVES…

Tomatoes – 3-4 big
Garlic – 4-5 cloves
Onion – ½ small
Butter – 2tbsp.
Basil – some fresh leaves or ¼ tsp. dried
Green olives – 6-8
Salt to taste
Black Pepper powder – 1/3 tsp.


Mostly when we made Marinara, we used canned tomatoes for 2 main reasons. First, they don’t have skin and give smoothness to sauce and 2nd, then are pulpy and softer but here we’ll use fresh tomatoes as canned tomatoes are not available everywhere and afterall, this is HOMEMADE series so why we have to use that canned ingredient. We’ll use normal fresh tomatoes but make them similar to canned. How??? Let me tell you…

First cut a cross on the top of the tomatoes and put them in boiling hot water for 2-3 minutes. Be ready with another bowl of chilled icy water. Take away tomatoes from boiling water and put directly in chilled water. Let them stay there for a minute. Now you can easily pull away the skin of tomatoes and this process also makes tomatoes soften. Remember, you must use tomatoes with hard skin only otherwise they will spoil in hot water. Now we got the tomatoes so we’ll start the cooking.
Chop garlic finely and onion little bit thickly. Heat butter in a pan with little oil (oil saves the butter from burning). 
Now add garlic for 30 seconds then add onion and cook another 2 minutes while you chop the tomatoes roughly.
Now add chopped tomatoes to pan , mix well and cook for 6-8 minutes till tomatoes complexly soften but still have texture. Marinara always have a crumbly tomato texture, not like silken.
Now crush olives with your hands directly to the pan and let it cook again for 6-8 minutes. You can little bit water if needed.
Add salt and pepper and cook another one minute.
At last add dried or fresh basil and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes and your Marinara sauce is ready.

Now you can store this sauce up to 1 month  but still I recommend to cook fresh sauce for pasta. Whenever need, just boil pasta as directions and add in this sauce, toss well and serve hot. If you like then sprinkle some grated cheese over it (optional).

Thank you…



Saturday, July 18, 2015


Hi Happy-Eaters,

              While Homemade series is going on, we will complete our Kitchen Mistakes & Myths also side by side. Specially in India but sometimes at many places, I saw that people either ignored this special preservative or don’t use in their cooking/baking. Most of the time people try to use it just for weight loss ot maybe sometimes for other health benefits and ya, this is a jewel for health benefit uses. I am talking about the king of the vinegars – APPLE CIDER. What is Apple Cider? How it made? What’s the uses in kitchen and what’s the health benefits? Today we’ll talk about all these things here.

Apple cider vinegar is a completely natural ingredient made with apple ciders and has tonnes of health benefits. Apples are crushed and their juice squeezed out, which is then fermented adding yeast and bacteria. This liquid turns into alcohol. In the second fermentation process, the alcohol turns into acidic vinegar giving it its sour taste.  Apple cider vinegar gives the food a fruity flavor. With its amber color it works best with all normal vinegar needs but has some special properties.

Dating back to 5000BC, the Babylonians made wine from date palm and the Egyptians made wine from barley. Around 2500BC, an ancient nomadic tribe called the Aryans developed a soured apple wine, the forerunner of apple cider.The name ‘cider’ is rooted in the Phoenician ‘shekar’ meaning wine or strong drink. So from the Babylonians to the Aryans to the Phoenicians, the soured apple wine recipe was passed to the Greeks and Romans and people started developing apple cider vinegar as a by-product to their soured apple wines (Rose, 2006).

Unlike white vinegar, apple cider vinegar is a light yellow-brown color and is often sold unfiltered and unpasteurized with a dark, cloudy sediment settled at the bottom of the bottle. Known as "mother of vinegar," this sediment consists mainly of acetic acid bacteria. Unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is sold in health food stores, online and in some grocery stores.
Some daily uses in your kitchen are :

SALAD DRESSING : Apple Cider is one of the best flavor to use in fresh cold salads or fruits salads to dress. Just mix Apple Cider with olive oil, some fresh herbs and little sugar/honey and you’ll get a amazing salad dressing

FRUIT DIPS/CHUTNEY : while making any fruit dip, just add Apple Cider to get nice flavour and also it help soften the fruits faster.

BOILING EGGS : it can prevent egg cracking while boiling. Just add a tsp. of Apple Cider while boiling the egg.

MEAT MARINATES : While marinating meat, use Apple Cider. It will tenderize meat faster and also give a distinct flavour to meat. It have acidic properties so thus it will remove and kill bacteria from the meat also.

FOOD PRESERVATIONS : One of the best vinegar to preserve the food in it to get their life longer and safer.

TO CLEAN VEGETABLES : Apple Cider has acidic properties and thus helps kill bacteria and pests from fruits and vegetables. Wash your vegetables and fruits in a mixture of water and Apple Cider. Or soak them for a while in this mixture. Cider vinegar also prevents cut fruits from turning black when soaked in it. A spoonful of cider vinegar added to boiling vegetables retains their colour too.

FOR BAKING : while baking any fruit cake or need acidic effect, use Apple Cider to get the best results.

These were the some of the many uses of Apple Cider in your daily uses. Don’t put this amazing thing back in your cupboards. Try it, it can give a amazing results to your cooking/baking.

Now coming to health benefits coming from Apple Cider. It have many benefits, some of them are below mentioned :
  • Apple Cider can helps in bacterial infection of stomach due to it’s antibiotic properties.
  • Apple Cider can cure hiccups also. And also soothes the sour throat. Just mix ¼ cup Apple Cider with ¼ cup warm water and gargle every 2-3 hours to get fast relief.
  • Apple Cider can boost energy as it have amino acids which acts as antidote. The potassium and enzymes of Apple Cider may relieve tiredness.
  • Apple Cider can reduce the bad cholesterol in your body.
  • Apple Cider can clear blocked nose as it contains potassium, which thins mucus and acetic acid to prevent bacteria growth. Mix 1tsp. Apple Cider in a glass of water and drink to help sinus drainage.
  • Apple Cider helps to get rid of dandruff also. Mix ¼ cup Apple Cider with ¼ cup water in spray bottle and spray directly on scalps, wrap head with a towel for 15 minutes then wash normally. Repeat twice a week for best result. It’s acidity changes the pH of your scalp and makes harder for yeast to grow.
  • Apple Cider can clear Acne also. It’s anti-bacterial properties helps keep acne under control.
  • Apple Cider controls bad breath, gargle with Apple Cider or drink a teaspoon (directly or diluted). It will kill odor causing bacteria instantly.
  • Apple Cider can help in weight loss also. You know how? The acetic acid suppresses your appetite, increase metabolism and reduce water retention. Start by adding 1tsp Apple Cider in 1cup of water and drink once a day then you can increase the amount of Vinegar in frequency of drinking up to 2tbsp. per 1cup water and 3 times a day.
  • It also can reduce blood sugar level in type2 diabetes  but please use as per your doctor advice only.

So this was the most of about the APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. Maybe from now you’ll use it as much as you can in your daily uses.

Thank you…


Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Hi Happy Eaters,

                              How  are you all? Hope you like the start of HOMEMADE RECIPE FEST by the first recipe of Homemade Gulkand. After the start with a sweet thing, today I will share one of the most amazing sauce recipe from china and the recipe is…SCHEZWAN SAUCE.

Schezwan or Sichuan, the word comes it self from the Sichuan region of china where we find Sichuan cuisine and this sauce is a integral part of their culture. Most of the time people made this at their own convenience with their own way but this dip/sauce has it’s own distinct flavor.

The main part of this sauce is “Schezwan/Sichuan Peppers” which is actually not a pepper but a berry. Which dried and we only use the outer part or you can say the husk of it. Most of the people also confused that schezwan/Sichuan pepper must be very hot or strong but let me tell you, this pepper have something else. It has slightly lemony flavor and also the main use of it that it creates a tingly numbness in the mouth. In schezwan sauce, when we add this pepper then it will cut the hotness of red chilies by making mouth numb(completely normal) andlet you taste the all flavors of the sauce, not only the hotness. Here below you can see the picture of original Schezwan/Sichuan peppers.

The authentic way to make this sauce says to use fresh red chilies but here normally we don’t get those fresh red chilies all the seasons so we use dried red chilies but if you got the fine fresh red chilies then use them to get more fresh flavors. Just prick the stems of fresh red chilies and dip them in white vinegar for 48-72 hours and after that make a smooth paste to use. I have that fresh red chilies paste also as you can see in below picture but to give you the detailed recipe and for your ease, I will use dried red chilies here now.



Dried Red Chilies – 12-15 (or you can use 250gms. Fresh red chilies dipped in vinegar then pureed)
Garlic – 8-10 cloves
Ginger – 1 inch
Schezwan peppers – 8 (you can use Black peppercorns also if you can’t find schezwan peppers)
Celery – 3-4 tsp. , chopped (I have used my frozen celery but you can also use coriander stems if you don’t have celery)
Soy sauce – 1tbsp.
Tomato sauce – 2tbsp.
Tomato puree (without seeds) -4tbsp.
Salt – pinch of
MSG – ½ pinch (Optional)
Brown sugar – 1tbsp.
White vinegar – 2tbsp. (if you are using fresh red chilies paste dipped in vinegar then skip vinegar here)
Oil – 1tbsp.


First break the dried red chilies and dip in warm water for 30 minutes around to get them soft to make paste.
Now add this soft red chilies in your mixer with Schezwan peppers, chopped celery/coriander stems, garlic, ginger and crush them to make a smooth paste.
Add vinegar and soy sauce to make paste smoother.
Now heat oil in a pan and add this ready paste to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add tomato sauce and tomato puree, mix well and cook another 3 minutes.
Add salt, brown sugar and MSG and cook for another 2 minutes.
Here your sauce is ready but if you think it’s thick enough then add 2-3 tbsp. water and cook another 2 minutes on high heat.
Now take it in a pot and when cool, store in your fridge. It can stay well for more than 2 months to use any time.

So now you can make this amazing spicy sauce at your own very easily. Make it and enjoy.

Thank you…


Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Hi Happy-Eaters,
                        Here I am back with the 3rd season of my HOMEMADE RECIPES FEST as we had done 2 reasons last year with 32 homemade recipes so far. In this season again we’ll make 15 more recipes which we normally buy from market but can make easily at home with less cost and better ingredients.

So as today we have to start this fest so why don’t we start it with something sweet and healthy. So here comes the easiest recipe of Homemade Gulkand. First we have to know what is gulkand? How to make and what’s the benefits of Gulkand?

 Gulkand is made by just 2 ingredients… Rose Petals and Sugar. But it have a long process to maturing the rose petals in sugar that takes time between 45-60days and so on. If you let it mature in right way then it can stay well outside in your kitchen for more than 3 years and you never need to put it in fridge.
Gulkand have many health benefits as it has cooling properties naturally. It can reduce pitta in body and control the heat of body. It can give strengthening to teeth and gums, very good treatment of acidity, digestive power. Gulkand is also a powerful antioxidant. It will also purify your blood naturally. It can reduce foul body odour. If you have to go in extreme sunshine with heat then just have 2tbsp. gulkand and it will save you from sunstroke also. At last it can also help in reducing stress. These are just some of the benefits of Gulkand. So when this simple thing have lots of health benefits then why don’t we make it at home.

If you have a good Rose bush at your home then mostly you can use them to make Gulkand. Traditionally Damask variety of Roses used to make Gulkand but you can use most of them if you have them organic way. In the making of the Gulkand , first thing we have to do is to pluck the rose petals. Most of the time people pluck the whole rose, that’s a completely wrong way. When the flower is fully mature, just pull the petals softly and they will come into your hand. This way the inner part will not come with petals and also the rose hips will safe. Rose Hips… maybe for many this is a new word but I’ll tell you the proper use of this part of the Rose later on in details. Let them stay on your bush for whole season.

So when you have rose petals with you, the first thing you have to do them wash properly. Take a deep big bowl with full of cold water and put rose petals in it and wash softly.

Now take them out on a towel and rub softly to make them dry.

Most of the people don’t have so many roses at one time so that they can make it in single way, one time. Even me also have just 2 bushes but still I can manage to have more then 1kg Gulkand at my first batch. You can start your process and can add rose petals at daily basis till your pot fill. Remember, take small pot like 250-300ml. capacity at one time to get it better if you have smaller amount of roses at daily basis.

Now after drying, you have two different ways to carry on. Either you can chop rose petals roughly or you can roughly grind them in a mixer(if you have good quantity). Cutting/chopping or grinding is most importance to release the natural juices from the petals which can start the maturing process.

After cutting/chopping/grinding put them in your pot and add double the quantity of powdered sugar over the rose petals. You can use simple sugar also but powdered sugar will do better work. One more thing, try to use stainless steel pot because metal will work much better in sunlight for maturing than plastic or glass.

Now when you done with it, just put this pot daily in direct sunlight under cover. Now you can add rose petals daily under same process and mix well till your pot is full. After some days you will see that the mixture is going dry that time make a thick sugar syrup by mix sugar with water as ratio of 2:1, cook for 5-6 minutes on high heat and let it cool for sometime then add to the pot and mix well.

When your pot get full after this process, just keep that daily in sunlight for 30-45 days more. Keep it mix after every 2 days and you will see the changing of the color soon.

 When you get it first that time you will get as dark pink color which will change to lighter pinkish brown and brownish at last.

Sometimes people add melon or watermelon seeds to Gulkand but Gulkand never need these ingredients because Gulkand itself have many benefits for us. So why wait as 2nd season of the year for Roses is already started. Start collecting now to make a batch full of antioxidant and nutritions.

Thank you…


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

KITCHEN Myths & Mistakes - Chapter 3 - The Truth of CINNAMON

Hi Happy Eaters,
              How are you all? Sorry for being busy in my work and didn’t got much time to write here. So I am back with one of the biggest confusion in Indian kitchens. Mostly from every part of the world, a Indian kitchen is well known for their deep knowledge and amazing use of 100s of spices in many ways but most of the people don’t even know about one of the best spices we are using is not the true spice. Ya, I am talking about Cinnamon or Dalchini.
Cinnamon is a very important spice in our daily use, sometimes in gravies or in rice dishes and sometimes in cakes also but do you know that 95% of households in india didn’t even know that they are using Cassia instead of cinnamon. Even both comes from the same family but actually the true spice is cinnamon but we have some other same species in same family as substitute. This family is really big with more than 2000-2500 species including Bay leaves and surprisingly Avocado also. But here we’ll talk about Cassia and Cinnamon (True Cinnamon) only.

Mostly cinnamon grows in Sri Lanka (Ceylon Cinnamon)  and Burma and India also. Don’t surprise when I said that we have true cinnamon in our own country also but still we can’t find it in stores easily because most of them export to other countries and we get Cassia instead of that which is bit different. Cassia mostly grows in China (China Cinnamon), Vietnam (Vietnamese Cassia) and Indonesia (Indonesian Cinnamon). Java also a good place where both varieties grows.

The biggest difference in both is the taste. And that’s the reason where the dishes comes out different. True cinnamon is sweet and delicate but cassia is bit strong and peppery and this can change the whole dish.

The other big difference is related to health. True cinnamon has been shown to contain far lower amounts of a naturally occurring substance called coumarin, which can pose toxicity risks if consumed in an excessive amount. Some studies have found one teaspoon of cassia-type cinnamon to contain between 5-12 milligrams of coumarin. Outside of the U.S., organizations like the European Food Safety Authority have recommended no more than 0.1 milligrams of daily coumarin intake from food per 2.2 pounds of body weight. For a person weighing 150 pounds, this recommendation translates into about 7 milligrams of coumarin. These numbers show how it would be possible for a person routinely consuming sizeable amounts of cassia-type cinnamon to increase his or her risk of potential toxicity problems

So how to buy a true cinnamon? Actually cinnamon is a thin bark of C. verum (also called C. zeylanicum) when dried. It rolls inside just as newspaper but Cassia is bark of Cinnamomum iners which is much thick and hard than cinnamon and breaks in pieces when took from the tree.Some good quality Cassia also turn inside and rolls but not smoothly like cinnamon and it doesn’t have layer b’cause of thickness. Cinnamon  have a smooth texture but Cassia is completely rough and uneven. Cinnamon is in light brown or tan color but Cassia is dark brown or reddish brown.

There is no harm to use a little quantity of cassia instead of cinnamon if you can’t find the true cinnamon easily but you must know the difference and the complete knowledge about what you have to use but what you are using in the name of. Some companies in india now labeling Cassia as Cassia but many still using name of Cinnamon while packaging Cassia inside. True cinnamon is also a bit costly than normal Cassia but the taste and aroma is truly deserves the price. So next time when you goes for spices shopping or buying online, just look for Cinnamon and you’ll get the difference.

Thank you…


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