Food General Indian Cooking Recipes

How to Make Paneer

I just wrote a post about my favourite quick snack: paneer bhurji rolls. As a companion post, I thought it would make sense to write about how to make paneer at home. It’s actually very easy and absolutely worth it, given how amazing fresh paneer tastes!

All you need is:

2 litres Whole Milk

1/4 to 1/2 cup Lime Juice

Salt (optional)

A cheese cloth

A colander

A Large Saucepan

Two Plates

Heavy Books



  1. Pour the milk into the saucepan and bring it to simmer on medium heat (to about 200 F). Keep scraping the bottom of the pan so that the milk at the bottom doesn’t burn.
  2. Take the pan off the heat.
  3. Add the lime juice to the milk, place the lid on the pan and leave it be for about 10 minutes.
  4. Check on the milk. It should have “broken” with the solids separated from the whey. If this has not happened. Add some more lime juice.
  5. Strain the “broken” milk through a colander lined with a cheese cloth.
  6. Then try and squeeze as much of the whey out as you can. I like to tie the ends of the cheese cloth to the top of the tap over my kitchen sink (very securely) so that gravity does the work for me and the whey just drips down slowly.
  7. Once most of the whey is out, place the paneer (still wrapped in cheese cloth) on a plate. Place a second plate on top of the paneer. Then place some heavy books on top of the plate. I like to also place some paper towels on the lower plate around the paneer to soak up the extra whey.
  8. In about 30 minutes, the paneer should have hardened into a nice block that you can now use 🙂



Cooking Food General Indian Cooking Recipes

Paneer Bhurji Roll: A Great Portable Snack!

The one thing I hate about busy days is that one doesn’t get to sit down and properly enjoy one’s lunch. I hate rushed meals, you see. So on days when I am swamped, I just eat cookies or brownies for lunch and make up for it with two delicious dinners when I get home.

I know, however, that this isn’t the healthiest way to go about things. And sometimes, I miss being able to eat something spicy and not-sweet for lunch (followed by a brownie, of course). That’s where this roll comes in.

It’s inspired by the concept of a Kathi roll and quite easy to assemble. So if you make the bhurji the night before, it becomes an easy snack to put together for lunch on a busy day. And you can eat easily while you work on something without getting your hands all messy 🙂

If you want to try making it, here’s what you will need:

1 Pound Paneer (for instructions on how to make it, go here; you could also buy some at Indian stores, but freshly made homemade paneer really is several orders of magnitude better than the store bought kind)

1-2 Tbsp Vegetable or Sunflower Oil or ghee (go here for my recipe)

1 Medium Sized Onion (ideally red; diced)

2 Green Chillis (ideally, the slender, thai ones; slit length-wise)

1 Medium Sized Tomato (you can use more tomatoes if you like your bhurji a little sweeter) (diced)Salt to taste

1-2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder

1 Tsp Coriander Powder

1 Tsp Cumin Powder

1 Tsp Garam Masala

1/2 Tsp Turmeric

1 lime

Rotis (for more on how to make rotis, go here; you can also use tortillas or buy pre-made rotis at an Indian store).


  1. Take the Paneer and chop it up into little small pieces. You can also process it in a food processor until it is broken up into fairly small chunks (not larger than 1/2 inch cubes).
  2. Add the oil/ghee to a frying pan. Heat the pan at medium-high heat.
  3. Once the oil seems hot (test it with one small onion piece) thrown in the diced onions and sauté them until they are slightly browned.
  4. Throw in the green chilli and sauté it as well. Reduce the heat to medium.
  5. Add the tomatoes and toss them about in the pan.
  6. Add the salt and all the masalas (red chilli, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and turmeric powders). Toss the contents of the pan until the spices are well-distributed.
  7. Place a lid on the frying pan and let the tomato-onion-spice mixture cook for a few minutes, until the oil separates from the mixture (stirring intermittently).
  8. Toss in the paneer chunks and stir well, breaking up the paneer in the pan even more as you stir.
  9. Cook until the paneer looks well cooked but still moist. You can taste it after a few minutes and decide whether or not you want it cooked some more.
  10. Take the pan off the heat. Squeeze lime juice on the paneer bhurji, to taste. It’ll add a bit of tartness to it that I love!
  11. Place a roti or tortilla on a plate. Spoon the bhurji into the centre of the roti.

Roll the roti up, so that it looks like a burrito.

Your snack/portable lunch is ready 🙂 I like eating it with yoghurt (I am a yoghurt fiend!)

General Recipes

Drink your Vegetables!!!: A Healthy Carrot Beet Juice Recipe

I’ve started drinking fresh juices! If you’ve been reading other posts of mine, you know that I struggle with eating vegetables. I especially hate how crunchy they are. Which is why, if I ever eat them, I eat them very cooked. I have found, however, that I can “drink my vegetables”,  even raw vegetables, without too much difficulty.  A carrot, beet (beetroot), orange, and ginger concoction I made yesterday for instance, was actually pretty refreshing!

Healthy Carrot Beet Juice

Of course eating whole vegetables is so much better for you. If you’re simply not eating enough vegetables though, for whatever reason,  juicing is a good way to supplement your nutrient intake. Also, when it comes to people like me who dislike vegetables, I see juices as the opposite of a gateway drug, they’re a gateway to healthier eating. At least, I am hoping they are.

Anyway, it’s week 2 and I am still keeping at it. Every day, I make myself some juice, varying the vegetables so that I am getting a range of nutrients. If you’re looking to try your hand at juicing and haven’t done it before, this is a great starter juice. I use a juicer, but I have heard of people using a Vitamix and then straining out the pulp if they don’t like it.


8 Carrots (with the ends cut off)

2 Beets (peeled, with ends cut off) (you can use just one beet if you don’t like the strong “root” flavour of beets and just use 2 extra carrots instead)

1 Orange (peeled) (you could also use an apple)

2 inch Piece of Ginger

Healthy juice Recipe



  1. Wash the fruit and vegetables well.
  2. Cut them as needed depending on the size of your juicer feeding tube.
  3. Feed the ingredients into the juicer.
  4. Pour the juice into a glass.
  5. Enjoy your juice 🙂

How to make your diet more healthy

P.s. You could use the pulp to bake muffins. I plan on trying this out at some point and will update this post, when I do.

Baking Chocolate Food General Recipes

Easy Chocolate Cupcakes (with Dark Chocolate Centers and Cream Cheese Frosting)

Dearest readers, I must begin by apologizing for my long absence. I’ve had a very busy summer indeed. But, I am back now, and I thought a great way to apologize would be to bake you all some delicious cupcakes.

Yes, yes, I know that some people are saying that cupcakes are ‘dead’ now and all that, but really, that’s all stuff and nonsense. Like chocolate, cupcakes are forever, or at least, chocolate cupcakes are forever. I can’t speak for lemon flavoured ones, or even about Kiwi ones, or really about any fruit flavoured ones, but chocolate ones, mmmmm…. even contemplating a world without chocolate cupcakes is enough to drive me to utter and complete despair.

I mean, just look at this cupcake:

Easy Recipe for chocolate cupcakes

Can you imagine this ever not being delicious?

So you see, I am convinced that cupcakes are here to stay, whatever the naysayers may say (I agree with most things on Jezebel, but on the issue of cupcakes, Jezebel and I disagree, vehemently, see:

So, given their classic status (at least in my home and heart), here is a delicious and easy recipe for chocolate cupcakes, with some optional frills you can add to make them even more yummy!


(I’ve divided the ingredients into three groups, so it’s easy to refer to them collectively in the recipe.)

Group A:

1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

0.5 teaspoon baking soda

3-4 pinches of salt

Group B:

1 cup sugar

0.75 cups cocoa

0.75 cups sunflower or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 eggs

1 cup 1% milk

Group C (for frosting and chocolate fillings):

Icing sugar (to taste, usually not more than a cup)

8 ounces cream cheese

About 140 g dark chocolate (this amount will vary depending on the darkness of the chocolate you choose and your taste as well).

About 40 g milk chocolate

1 teaspoon vanilla essence


1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees celsius).

2. Whisk all the ingredients in ‘Group A’ together in a bowl.

3. Whisk the sugar and cocoa together in another bowl. Add all the other ingredients in ‘Group B’, except the milk, and beat with an electric mixer on medium to high-speed, until the mixture is smooth.

4. Now beat the ‘Group A’ ingredients into the mixture from step 3, a few spoonfuls at a time, alternating with the milk. Beat until smooth. This is your cupcake batter. You can mix a handful or two of chocolate chips, if you like, at this stage.

5. Ladle or pour the batter into cupcake cups placed in a cupcake or muffin baking tray.

6. Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean. Do not over bake as the cakes will then end up dry.

7. Once the cakes have cooled, take them out of the mold/tray. You can eat them as they are, or you can give them dark chocolate centers and frost them.

8. To give them chocolate centers, melt 6 squares (about 60 g) of your favourite dark chocolate (make sure it’s not too dark, as you want the centre to be soft at room temperature, rather than hard and gritty) with 4 squares (about 40 g) of milk chocolate in a bowl in the microwave on a very low heat setting, or in a double boiler. While the chocolate is melting, use a cupcake corer, or a knife to carefully bore a hole into the cupcakes from the top, to about midway into the cupcake (make sure not to go all the way to the bottom), and take out some of the cake to create space for the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted, spoon some chocolate into each cupcake. Let the chocolate cool. (Note: don’t wash the bowl you use in this step to melt the chocolate in, just yet.)

9. In the meantime, place an 8 ounce brick of cream cheese in a bowl, and beat it with an electric mixer, until it’s smooth and creamy. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and a few tablespoons of icing sugar, then beat the mixture, and taste it. Keep adding sugar by the spoonful until it tastes just right. Now melt about 8 squares of dark chocolate (80 g) (my measurements for the chocolate are approximate because each person will want different amounts of chocolate in the frosting; so go by what tastes right) in the same bowl used in step 8. Pour this chocolate into the cream cheese-sugar mixture. Make sure that the chocolate is only warm, not hot. Now beat it all together until smooth. Your frosting is ready.

10. Spoon the frosting into an icing bag (if you don’t have one, you can spoon the icing into a sandwich bag or other type of plastic bag and cut a whole at one corner of it). Holding up each cupcake, swirl frosting on it.

11. Top off the cupcake with dark chocolate shavings, if you feel like.

12. You can also make cupcakes with mint buttercream frosting, as shown in the photo below. Just beat a cup of unsalted butter with a few drops of mint essence, a few drops of green food colouring, and icing sugar to taste. Then follow the same steps for frosting the cupcakes as described in 10 and 11.

13. Eat the cakes yourself, or throw a cupcake party for your friends 🙂

Cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese icing

Chocolate cupcakes with mint buttercream frosting

Food General Recipes

Mint-Limeade for a Summer Study Break

My protest against the weather continues, as I explore yet another summery treat at home this morning, pigheadedly refusing to acknowledge that it is cold and frigid outside. Given the huge windows and skylight in my apartment, it isn’t that difficult to pretend that it’s summer; all I have to do is imagine that it’s as warm and sunny outside as it is on my couch. So imagine I did, and made up this pitcher of fresh mint limeade:

Cool fresh, minty limeade/lemonade

Limeade, is of course easy to make, and most people could easily make up a pitcher in minutes, without thinking to look up a recipe for it. So I am not posting a recipe for it here so much as sharing my take on, or version of traditional limeade, which, by the way, I maintain, is useful not only to deluded summer enthusiasts like me, but to everyone really. Every once in a while, even when it’s not summer, we all need a nice refreshing drink to hydrate and cool ourselves. It also makes for a great drink on a morning (or afternoon), following a late night filled with a little too much, ahem, shall we say merriment? Not, of course, that I am ever in need of such a treatment. No one who knows me, or has read this blog, could ever accuse me of excess of any sort 😉

I made the limeade very light, using about 1 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup, the juice of 2 limes, 2 pinches of salt and a handful of torn mint leaves, for a pitcher of limeade. You could of course intensify the flavour by adding more sugar, syrup, or even more lime juice. It’s best to add the sugar and syrup in small increments, tasting as you go, since each person’s preference is likely different.

Mmmm, I think I am going to make up a pitcher of this stuff for all my summer tea parties 🙂

Cooking Food General Indian Cooking Recipes

Buttery, Fiery Fish Kebabs, Inspired by Hyderabad

The wonderful weather we had over the Easter weekend had me excited about summer being around the corner. Then, as some of you know, the weather took a turn for the worse; it’s been rainy, grey and relatively unpleasant, on and off, since that weekend, and summer seems like a far away dream. This combined with the fact that I miss India, my parent’s home, the sun, my family and most importantly (:P) the ease with which I could get my hands on some delicious food, and the whole thing made me depressed.

But, instead of giving in to the grey, I decided that I was going to protest the gloom and the fact that I was not in India any more, by making some spicy, nay, fiery Indian food! And what combines Indian spices with the suggestion of summer in North America better than kababs (kebabs in this part of the world)?

Since I eat neither meat nor chicken, I decided that I was going to use fish instead. Also, since it was Hyderabad in particular, that I was missing, I wanted to make something with a Hyderabadi base (for more on Hyderabadi food, read this post). So I did some reading and thinking, and revisited memories of some of the more delicious kababs I’d eaten in my good old meat-eating days, and then went to work.

It took some experimenting, but I finally ended up with a literal and figurative mash-up: fish kababs that pay homage to Hyderabad. I won’t of course stake any claim to either originality or authenticity; all I will say is that these turned out to be spicy, soft, buttery and delicious fish kababs.

Spicy, buttery fish kebabs!

If you’d like to re-create this magic, read on for my instructions.


1 pound white fish fillets

1 pound salmon fillets

1 tablespoon yoghurt

4 tablespoons butter

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons coriander leaves

2 tablespoons mint leaves

4 spring onions

4 Indian green chillies or two jalapeño peppers, coarsely chopped

Zest of 1 lime, finely grated

3 cloves of garlic, with their skins removed

1 teaspoon ginger, grated

2 egg whites

1 tablespoon red chili powder

Oil or ghee (indian clarified butter, go here for more information on this and a recipe for making it at home) for frying or grilling the kababs

Spices to be Dry Roasted:

1.5 teaspoons fennel seeds

1.5 teaspoons black peppercorns

1 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 tablespoons Chana dal

3 whole dried red chilies

2 cloves

Seeds from 1 black cardamom pod


Place the spices to be dry roasted in a pan, and roast them on low heat until fragrant. Take them off the heat and let them cool.


In the meantime, place the coriander, mint, spring onions, chilis, lime zest, garlic and ginger in a food processor.


Whizz the ingredients around until they are finely chopped up, like this:


Remove (what I am going to elegantly refer to from now on as) the ‘green mixture’ into a bowl.

In the same food processor, process the fish fillets until they become an even paste, like this:


While the fish is being processed, grind the dry roasted spices (with a mortar and pestle or in a dry grinder) to a powder.

Once the fish is processed  mix in the ‘green mixture’, chili powder, dry roasted and ground spices, and salt.


Add the yoghurt, egg whites and butter, and process until smooth, like this:


Your ‘kabab batter’, if you will, is now ready. You can refrigerate this. Whenever you’re ready to eat, take it out, and cook up your kababs.

I tried pan searing the kababs, and that worked out fine. However, the best way to cook them, in my opinion, is to grill them in the oven on a baking sheet, at a fairly high temperature. I went with 450 fahrenheit. Also, instead of oil, I used ghee to grease the tray, and halfway through the grilling (about 7 minutes in) I flipped the kababs and brushed some ghee on them with a basting brush.

And voilà, you have some delicious, buttery, spicy as hell kababs, right in the comfort of your home! I felt a wee bit less home sick after a few of these!

Spicy, buttery fish kebobs!

A great way to serve these kababs is with some green chutney. This is the recipe I used to make it. 

Spicy Indian fish kebab recipe!

Adventure General Reviews

An Island Paradise 5 Minutes from Downtown Toronto?

The Toronto Islands are surprisingly beautiful, all things considered. I’ve been before, several years ago, but it was only on a recent trip there for the first time in years, that I realized how picturesque the islands are! Obviously, they’ve got nothing on any island in the Caribbean, but for a beach in a busy metropolitan centre, it’s pretty gorgeous. Far more peaceful than the beach in Chicago, and more beautiful than the beaches on Sentosa Island in Singapore for instance, by several orders of magnitude.

I think Toronto residents often don’t get to enjoy the beaches on the Islands as much as they could and should.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

Best beach in Toronto

Toronto Islands

We even managed to stay long enough to enjoy a beautiful sunset:

Beautiful beach on Toronto's Centre Island

Chocolate Food General Recipes

Velvety Hot Chocolate Fudge

Of all the lovely chocolatey treats in the world, chocolate-themed ice cream is one of my favourites. If you’ve seen my post on the best ice cream in the world you know I am not kidding or exaggerating when I say that I am hooked to chocolate filled, chocolate topped and chocolate sprinkled chocolate ice cream.

Now ordinarily, I eat my ice cream with Sanders Dark Chocolate Fudge, which is an absolutely delicious ice cream-topping that you can get in grocery stores all over Michigan. I haven’t found a decent substitute here in Canada though, and believe me, I’ve looked. So I stock up on Sanders every time I am in Michigan. When I run out, which is always fairly soon after I return to Canada, I settle for whatever generic fudge is available at my local grocery store. This makes me immensely discontent. Really, it gets in the way of me being truly happy here. Also, store-bought fudge is often filled with high fructose corn syrup and tonnes of sugar and preservatives. Given this unfortunate state of affairs, I’ve tried on 3 separate occasions to make a homemade fudge topping, following recipes from different sources each time. Alas, the result was sub-par each time.

But today, as I sat down on my couch to a new episode of “Luther”, I was struck by an idea. You see, the biggest problem with the homemade sauces I made was that none of them were gooey and fudgy enough. Also, there is a warm, velvety feeling that the Sanders fudge fills my mouth with, and I haven’t been able to re-create this texture and taste in all my fudge-making attemptsI’ve been telling myself that my refusal to use high fructose corn syrup lies at the root of my failure. “Or perhaps, it is some other, secret ingredient that I am missing”, I would think to myself morosely, in my dark moments. But the thought that came to me this evening, the question rather, was this: could it be, that the secret ingredient was caramel sauce? (Side note: I have now discovered that this inspiring epiphany was the result not of divine intervention, but a happy co-incidence. You see, I was eating caramel chocolate ice cream on the couch, while watching the tv show).

I was intrigued, I was inspired, I was impatient! I pranced over to the kitchen, and began concocting. What I ended up with wasn’t as good as Sanders chocolate fudge, but it was pretty darned delicious nevertheless. Also, I think that this recipe is slightly healthier, because I used no corn syrup or preservatives, just good wholesome, somewhat fattening ingredients 🙂 If you want to try it, here’s how:

Homemade Dark Chocolate Sauce for Icecream


1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp organic unpasteurized honey

1 tbsp organic grade B maple syrup

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 tbsp good quality, unsalted butter

A few pinches of salt to taste

1 tsp vanilla essence

150 g 80% good quality dark chocolate


Place the sugar, water, honey and maple syrup in a little saucepan and heat on medium heat. Don’t stir the mixture at all; instead swirl the liquid about in the saucepan once in a while. Use a basting brush dipped in water to brush down the sides of the pan if needed. Wait until the sugar dissolves and then turns a deep amber (the maple syrup will make the mixture a little brown right from the start, so wait until the mixture turns even darker), about 8 minutes.

Next, take the pan off the heat and add cream and butter to the mixture. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth.

Homemade hot chocolate fudge

Then add the chocolate, salt and vanilla essence. Mix it all up until you have a nice smooth texture.

Homemadel hot chocolate sauce

You can serve it warm, as most people like it, or you can wait until it cools and thickens. I like my sauce thicker and more fudgy, so I wait until it has cooled down before I drown my ice cream in it. Either way, whenever you’re ready, pour this delicious goeeyness on your ice cream and eat away to your heart’s content.

Homemade Dark Chocolate Topping

Pour the left-over fudge into a jar and store it in the fridge.

Homemade Dark Chocolate Sauce Recipe


Ikea Side-Table Remixed

Like the Chair I wrote about a few weeks ago, the Lack side table I’ve had lying about my apartment for years now has always struck me as a perfect DIY project. I’ve put off doing anything about it though, precisely because it has so much potential. I’d keep having various ideas, and then, unable to settle on one, I’d just give up on thinking about it and invent a new type of chocolate truffle instead.

One weekend, I finally got around to it though, and here’s what I ended up with:

Lack Table Remixed

Here are all the raw materials I used:

Raw Materials for Lack Makeover

And of course the table itself:

Ikea Lack Table Hack

I got the idea for this project from another blogger, Lizzie, you can find her blog post here. I started by tracing the shape of the table on the underside of the wallpaper with a pencil. Next, I cut along the pencil lines, so that I ended up with a piece of wallpaper, the exact shape and size of the table.

How to jazz up a side-table

In order to make the wallpaper stick, I sandpapered the surface of the table and applied wallpaper paste all over it with a medium-sized paintbrush.

How to jazz up a side-table

The next step was a little time-sensitive; I quickly spread out the wallpaper on the table, before the paste began to dry. Then, using the rolling-pin I got rid of any air bubbles that may have formed and any extra paste.

Ikea Hack

This was a two-day project; I had to let the whole thing dry and set for at least 24 hours. The next day, I carefully peeled the edges of the wallpaper off and used gorilla glue to glue it back firmly. Again, I let this set for an hour and finally, finished off the surface with two coats of varnish made of a polyurethane base.

The next day, it was ready to be used 🙂

How to jazz up an Ikea table

Cooking Food General Recipes

Scrumpalumpous Sunday Morning: Pumpkin-Apple Pancakes topped with my ‘Sugar and Spice Butter’

I woke up this morning with a hankering for delicious pancakes 🙂 but I didn’t want just plain old pancakes, I wanted to make something interesting. Of course, I could have made nutella pancakes, or ice-cream pancakes, but I wanted to try to make something a little, well healthier.

You see, over the past few days, I’ve been trying to eat more fruit and vegetables. It is however, not an easy thing to do, given that I dislike most veggies and nearly all fruit. Yesterday, I even tried making myself a carrot smoothie, because I hate eating carrots. I chopped up a few skinned carrots and threw them in the food processor with some water. This experiment did not go too well, and I do not recommend trying it at home. I ended up with what can be best described as orange glop, of which I unfortunately took a large gulp. This was, in equal measure, both brave and stupid.

So this morning, I woke up with renewed determination; I was going to eat fruit, and I was going to enjoy it! I decided on pumpkin and apple pancakes topped with maple syrup and a flavoured butter that I call ‘Sugar and Spice Butter’. This I washed down with hazelnut and chocolate tea.Delicious and Simple Sunday Brunch

This was a delicious and fairly easy to set-up, sunday brunch. And yes, while it wasn’t really that healthy, it was most definitely a change from my usual chocolate-themed food 🙂

And this did go into the making of this breakfast 🙂

Apple Pancakes

I admit that I did take a shortcut, just this once. I started off with pancake mix. Calm down dear readers, there is a reason, a justification for this otherwise unpardonable sin! First and foremost, I am NOT a morning person! Second, this Trader’s Joe’s mix is absolutely delicious. You really should go and stock up on a whole lot of boxes of this in the fall- it’s a seasonal product you see.

So I followed the instructions on the box, except that I added chopped up apple bits to the batter. For the flavoured butter all you need is:

1/4 cup good quality unsalted butter

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

A few drops vanilla essence

Whip all this up in a bowl and then heat the mixture for about 45 seconds on low heat in the microwave, just enough to melt the sugar. Then whip it all up again and place it in the fridge to cool and harden. And there you have it: flavoured butter for pancakes, crepes or bread!

Recipe for 'Sugar and Spice Butter'

Oh and I have to fess up, I did finish up my brunch with a little dessert. I moved over to the coffee table, with this:

Tea and a side of a Nutella

Another cup of tea and a little cup of home-made hazelnut chocolate butter 😉

Mmmm…I can’t help it, I am a chocolate nut-butter fiend.