Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

An awesome weekend Breakfast / Brunch

This is a recipe Amit loves so much that he time and again requests for it. But generally I make it for breakfast so I did not find the time to actually get the pictures. Last night I got the request once again, last night. And since I had the time, I managed to click some pictures this time. And therefore managed to post the recipe. I modified the recipe just a teeny-weeny bit from the recipe posted by Meeta at

This is a very quick recipe. Takes about 10 minutes of prep time and depending on how long you would like to soak the bread in the eggs, it takes another 3-5 minutes per french toast.


  1. 4 slices of bread
  2. 8 tbsp of chocolate spread (4 squares of milk chocolate + Hershey’s chocolate syrup)
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1/2 cup milk
  5. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  6. pinch of nutmeg
  7. pinch of salt
  8. 2 tsp butter
  9. icing sugar


  • Spread the chocolate spread on slice of bread and place another slice on top of it.
  • Beat the eggs and milk together with the spices.
  • Soak the sandwiched bread slices in the egg mixture.
  • Heat a pan and melt the butter in it. Now place the sandwiched bread slices in the pan and cook it for about 2 minutes on each side or till the french toast is cooked.
  • Sprinkle some icing sugar on the french toast. Serve the french toast plain or with some warm maple syrup.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do. It’s an easy recipe and is very quick to make too. You can make these and place them in a warm oven till they are ready to be served.

A secret passed on from Mother to Daughter

All of us have that one dish that come what may, whoever else makes it, it’s never perfect. It has to be made by your mom and no one else. One such dish for me is the sambhaar she makes. I grew up having sambhaar every week either with rice, dosa, vada or idli. Being a south indian that hardly surprising. Given that I was so used to having sambhaar in my daily diet, I asked my mom to write down the recipe for me before I came to the US 4 years ago. And guess what she wrote down the recipe but since she never actually made the sambhaar based on measurements or a recipe, she never gave me the measurements either. But I guess it’s in my genes, and I managed to make a pretty decent sambhaar based on the measurement less recipe. But I decided that I am going to put down the recipe on paper someday. And then Cook, Eat and Relax happened and then a good friend of mine, Amol, asked me if I would ever be blogging about sambhaar. I promised him that I would, so here goes my version of my Mom’s Sambhaar from scratch. I do not use the readymade sambhaar masala that you get at the store. I make the masala from scratch just like mom used to.

Also my blog crossed the 1000 hits mark on the 21st Dec 2010. Thank you everyone who’s visited my blog, I hope I can keep it interesting so that you continue to read about my adventures in the kitchen. So to mark the special occasion I am going to blog about a this special recipe that’s very close to my heart. One which takes me back to my mom’s kitchen in an instant. This recipe takes about an hour from start to finish, a little more or less depending on how ready you can keep the ingredients before you start.


  1. 3/4 cup toor dal (split pigeon pea)
  2. 1/2 cup chopped eggplants (1″ pieces)
  3. 1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded coconut (frozen or fresh)
  4. 4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  5. 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  6. 5 dried red chillies
  7. 1/2 onion
  8. 3 garlic cloves
  9. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  11. 1/2 teaspoon urad dal (black lentils skinned and split)
  12. 1 dried red chilli
  13. 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
  14. 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  15. salt to taste
  16. 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves


  • Wash the split pigeon pea and cook in ample amount of water.
  • In the meanwhile fry the 5 dried red chillies, 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida, coriander seeds and the fenugreek seeds in a saucepan.
  • Chop the onion into big chunks and add it along with the garlic cloves to the slightly browned whole spices.
  • Let the onions turn slightly pink, then add the grated coconut. Fry this entire mixture taking care that the coconut does not get too brown.
  • Set this aside till cool enough to make a paste in a food processor. Add enough water to make a smooth paste with no chunks in it.
  • Fry the eggplant cubes in a little oil till they are almost cooked. Add these cooked/slightly fried eggplant pieces into the cooked dal.
  • Place the dal back on the gas on low heat.
  • Add the turmeric powder, tamarind paste and salt and bring to boil.
  • Add the masala paste to this (add a little at a time so that you can adjust the taste based on what you like) and let the mixture come to a boil.
  • You may need to add some more tamarind paste, salt or red chili powder depending on how you like your sambhaar.
  • Simmer the sambhaar for about 5-10 minutes so that the dal and masala paste and completely cooked together.
  • Set the sambhaar aside and add a teaspoon of oil to a small pan. Once the oil is hot, add the black mustard seeds. Once the seeds sputter add the urad dal, 1 red chili and the asafoetida.
  • Once the urad dal is slightly brown, add this (tadka) to the sambhaar. Garnish the sambhaar with coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with rice, dosa, vada or idli.

This recipe lasts me for a couple of meals. A couple of nights back we had the sambhaar with vada for dinnner and then with dosa for the lunch on the next day. I just drink the sambhaar like soup also anyways so this recipe may actually last you for more than just 2 meals for two persons. You can substitute the eggplant with okra, small onions or almost any other vegetables. I do not put too much anyways as I do not like the sambhaar to be too thick. I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you like it, all credit to my mom.

Eggs Benedict

Posted: December 21, 2010 in Breakfast, Brunch, Eggs
Tags: , , ,
My first Daring Cooks challenge

For those who are not aware, I shall first give a little background on what the title means. I shall quote from the website about it’s history:

In November 2006, Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice decided to challenge themselves to bake pretzels for the very first time using the same recipe. They each went ahead and posted about it on November 18, 2006.

Having enjoyed that experience tremendously, they decided to try it again the next month, this time choosing to bake biscotti. And to make matters even better, they were joined by a few more food bloggers.

As the months went by, their baking group continued to grow, until it was finally decided that this “little baking group” had to have a name and The Daring Bakers were born!

The Daring Cooks were formed in 2009 as a way to learn how to become better home cooks. The idea spread like wildfire with 1000’s of people who also wished to learn more joined in on the monthly challenges.

Today, The Daring Bakers and The Daring Cooks span the world as bakers/cooks of all nationalities come together once a month to try something new in the kitchen!

The website hosts monthly challenges for both those who are interested in baking and cooking. I decided to be adventurous and join both. I registered at the website a few days before my PhD qualifiers were to start. That was a big mistake!!! I ended up not being able to complete the first challenge because I was too busy. I really do have bad timing. And then today I realized that I was already past the date when you are supposed to post the challenge (14th Dec). But luckily I was still in the grace period but the very last day.

Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn the perfect technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anna Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato and Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

I decided on the Eggs Benedict as it was a quick recipe and I was really really hungry this evening. So it ended up being our dinner. Well being a graduate student, you don’t really demarcate between what you can have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It basically depends on the amount of time you have and how hungry you are. So I rushed to the grocery store to get some eggs and chives cause I had all the other ingredients at home for completing the challenge for Dec 2010 – Eggs Benedict.

Amit and I were not in a mood to have bacon so I decided to substitute the bacon in the original recipe with some hot italian sausages (chopped and broiled). I also had some biscuit mix which I have been wanting to try from some days now. So I substituted the English Muffins (called for in the original recipe) with some buttermilk biscuits. Other than that I pretty much followed the entire recipe for both the poached eggs and the hollandaise. It took about 15-20 minutes to mix and bake the biscuits. And about 20-25 minutes to make the hollandaise and the poached eggs. This recipe serves two.


  1. 2 eggs
  2. 3 biscuits (halved and toasted)
  3. 1 sausage (sliced)
  4. chives (for garnish)
  5. splash of vinegar and some salt (for poaching)

For the hollandaise

  1. 3 large egg yolks
  2. 1 tsp water
  3. 1/4 tsp sugar
  4. 12 tbl unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  5. 1/4 tsp salt
  6. 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  7. pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)


  • Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer.
  • Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and set aside.
  • Whisk egg yolks and 1 tsp. (5 ml) water in a mixing bowl large enough to sit on the saucepan without touching the water (or in top portion of a double boiler). Whisk for 1–2 minutes, until egg yolks lighten. Add the sugar and whisk 30 seconds more.
  • Place bowl on saucepan over simmering water and whisk steadily 3–5 minutes (it only took about 3 for me) until the yolks thicken to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Remove from heat (but let the water continue to simmer) and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time. Move the bowl to the pan again as needed to melt the butter, making sure to whisk constantly.
  • Once all the butter is incorporated, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper (if using).
  • Keep the hollandaise warm while you poach your eggs in a thermos, carafe, or bowl that you’ve preheated with warm water .
  • If the water simmering in your pan has gotten too low, add enough so that you have 2–3 inches of water and bring back to a simmer.
  • Add salt and a splash of vinegar (any kind will do). I added about a tablespoon of vinegar to my small saucepan (about 3 cups of water/720 ml of water), but you may need more if you’re using a larger pan with more water.
  • Crack eggs directly into the very gently simmering water (or crack first into a bowl and gently drop into the water), making sure they’re separated. Cook for 3 minutes for a viscous but still runny yolk.
  • While waiting for the eggs, broil the sausage in the oven and toast your biscuits.
  • Place 3 halves of the biscuits on each plate and top with about 6-7 slices of sausage. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place on top of the sausage pieces. Top with hollandaise and chopped chives, and enjoy!

This recipe serves two persons. I was really worried about the poaching of eggs as I have never done it before. But the recipe was so easy to follow and gave such detailed instructions on how to do it that there was no way I was going to go wrong. The end result was fabulous. This recipe is a keeper – it’s quick to make and almost all the ingredients are usually available at home. Those who have never poached an egg and want to, should try this recipe. You will definitely be successful and very happy with the end result. Thank you daring cooks, my first challenge was so much fun that I am already looking forward to the next one.