Friday, October 27, 2017

Hasselback Garlic Cheese Breads

Garlic Bread gets a makeover with this Hasselback Garlic Cheese Bread. Perfect appetizer or snack, this comes together in under 15 minutes! 

The Holiday season is coming up and I can't wait to get started with the parties! From Spooky Halloween to Friendsgiving and finally Thanksgiving; every dinner calls for something special from start to finish. Yet, the dishes should be PERFECT to make in a few minutes and taste perfect even after a few hours of making.

Our Holiday parties start this weekend and the first one will have this recipe for my friends. Garlic bread, a favorite amongst folks of all ages, gets a new form with this recipe. The ingredients are just like any other garlic bread, but the BEST part here is the Pepperidge Farm Stone Baked Artisan Rolls

These Stone Baked Artisan Rolls have an amazing crust and super soft inside. The first time I bought these, I gobbled a couple slathered with butter. Then, I started to think how I want to make an appetizer using them! 

I wanted to make something that would be great to serve to friends without the hassle of dividing, cutting or separating. These mini rolls are perfect for one person. And the ingredients needed to make this quick appetizer are easily available in any pantry.

Besides, these breads can be made ahead of time and freeze really well. To serve, just heat them in the oven for 4-5 minutes and you have a perfect appetizer ready to go! Plus, your friends will LOVE that. The day I first made these with pizza, we almost skipped the pizza and made another lot of this bread. The package has EIGHT rolls, and we were out in no time! 

I guess I should make a bigger lot next time and in case of leftovers, freeze the remaining for our next meal. The frozen breads can be heated in a few minutes in the oven and served. The breads taste best when warm, but we loved them at room temperature too. 


I made Garlic butter version of this. If you would like to make it without garlic, just use spiced butter and make it the same way. Besides, if you have a preference of cheese, use that instead of the Cheddar and Mozzarella Cheese. Lastly, if you like it HOT, add some minced jalapeno to the butter. It makes the bread super yum! 

So wait no further; head out to your closest store and grab a package of Pepperidge Farm Stone Baked Artisan Rolls and make this today! These rolls are AMAZING as sides for all you Holiday entrees too. They taste awesome with some warm butter! 

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Unsalted Butter 1/4 cup
Garlic 4-5 cloves, minced
Dried/Fresh Oregano 1 tsp
Chilli Flakes 1 tsp
Shredded Cheddar and Mozzarella Cheese 1/4 cup
Parsley a few stalks


In a bowl melt the unsalted butter. Add in minced garlic, oregano and chilli flakes. Mix well and set aside.

Place a Pepperidge Farm Stone Baked Artisan Roll on the cutting board. Using a sharp knife make slits on the bread but ensure that it does not cut all the way. 

Using a spoon, add some garlic butter in the cracks. Also add some shredded cheese there.

Preheat oven to 400 F/ 210 C. Place the breads in the preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes; till the cheese melts and begins to ooze out. 

Remove and serve warm with some parsley leaves on top and marinara sauce on the side. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pesarattu Upma | Green Moong Dal Dosa

Green Lentil Crepes stuffed with Semolina Upma; this Pesarattu Upma recipe is a winner for breakfast or dinner!

Diwali just went by and we celebrated to our heart's content. From sweets and savory snacks to delicious meals and desserts; we had it all. Now with the festival behind us, we are back to eating regular meals that are still yummy but healthier.

While I was in India, my mom made protein rich pancakes; green Moong Dal dosa really often. Not just dosas, the batter was also used to make fritters, idlis and dhoklas. I always loved it and thought that the dish was a Gujarati delicacy. 

When I moved to US, I saw a dish Pesarattu Upma on the menu of many South Indian restaurants. I never understood what the dish was, until I saw someone order it in front of me at a restaurant. I could not believe that he was handed out a plate with green moong dal dosa stuffed with upma. 

The combination looked pretty with all the chutneys that were served and I looked up online to find that this is actually a very popular combination from Southern India. So I tried it the next time I visited the restaurant and then replicated it at home. We LOVED how it came together so well, the crisp dosa and the soft upma together with gunpowder chutney and coconut chutney made a perfect meal. 

Since then, I always make Upma whenever I make these crepes. Besides, if I have made Moong dal fritters or idli one day, I use the remaining batter to make these dosas with upma for breakfast. Served with either tea or coffee, it makes a protein rich breakfast that is delicious too! 

This dosa is one of the easiest types; needs no fermentation, is made from just one grain so no hassle of proportions and quick soaking time. Whenever you need some meal in a jiffy, just keep the batter ready a few hours in advance or refrigerate it up to two days. Beyond that the batter starts to smell so avoid keeping it for too long. 

Plus, these crepes are FULL of protein and can be made with minimum oil. If using a nonstick tava, there is no need to use oil in the dosa. The only oil that comes in is from the upma. 


While I made these crepes with a filling, these green dal dosa taste awesome without any filling too. Besides, if you like you can stuff them with grated paneer or mixed vegetables too. 

If you want a variation, use the same batter to make savory pancakes. Just lay them out thick and cook covered for a little extra time. Add some gunpowder chutney and chopped onions on top. It tastes really good. 


Green Moong Dal 1 cup
Salt 1 tsp
Black Pepper Powder 1 tsp
Shredded Coconut 1/4 cup
Green Chilli 2-3
Ginger 1 inch piece
Onion 1/4 medium, diced
Oil as required
Upma as required (Recipe here)


Wash and soak the green dal in 2 cups water. Let it soak for 4-5 hours. Once soaked, grind with salt, pepper, shredded coconut, green chilli and ginger. I ground it to a smooth paste. You can keep it little coarse if you like.

Add more water as required to get the dal mixture to a dosa batter consistency. 

Heat a tava and add 1/4 tsp oil (optional; no oil is required for non stick tava). Once hot, add a ladle of the mixture and spread to a round disc. Cook for 3-4 minutes, till the bottom is crisp. 

Add 3-4 tbsp of upma and a some chopped onions. Spread out the upma and fold the dosa. Serve with coconut chutney and gunpowder chutney. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Gujarati Sev | Fried Chickpea Noodles

Gujarati Sev, an addictive snack made from spiced Chickpea Flour is something you need this Diwali and beyond! Make it today with this no-fail recipe! 

I can barely believe we are so close to Diwali already. My favorite Indian festival, I love how everything is upbeat and full of enthusiasm through the festival! Firecrackers, rangoli, lamps, lanterns and LOTS of yummy food.

My best memories of Diwali recipes encompasses everything from Ladoos and Kaju Katli to Puris and the Diwali special Mathiya, Fafda and Chora Fali. These are traditional Gujarati recipes that we relish through Diwali and beyond. And mind you, they are ALL fried, but when it is festive time; you do not count calories right?

Along with all the regular snacks, my grandma made the best ever sev and gathiya ( a thicker version of sev). From the yellow non spicy version to garlic, mint and spicy kind; she made it all. And it was always the BEST! 

This year I decided to make it myself and asked my mother for the recipe. She quickly told me how to go about it and I tried it with a super small amount of dough. The result was awesome and I HAD to make another larger lot as this happens to be on my husband's favorites list! What seemed intimidating at first now looks at child's play and I am so glad my Mother in Law advised me to get a muruku press with me to US! 

Are you also like how I was? Think sev is something that should be bought off the shelf? You need to try this recipe once and I promise you will not regret! There are few things as satisfying as seeing strands of dough fall into the hot oil and bubble around to give perfect sev rounds. I have looked at them when my mother and grandma made it, and it is so good to see I can make them too! 

Coming to the recipe, there are very few points that need to be considered while making it. The most important thing to consider is that any add-in to the dough should be smaller than hole in the sev maker. Else, the dough will keep getting stuck and you will have to open up to de clog the hole. 

Adding a little oil to the dough makes it awesome to slip away into thin strands over the oil. Taste test a small amount before making the big batch. Any changes to the dough can be made if required. Add some flour it it is too thin and add some oil if the sev breaks while falling. 

Uses of Gujarati Sev

Apart from being a great snack by itself, we make a lot of uses of this sev. Mix it with roasted rice flakes (mamra) and make another savory snack, use it in bhel or other chaat recipes or make this famous Gujarati recipe Sev Tameta nu Shaak (a side dish for rotis made from sev and tomatoes with spices). The possibilities are endless, so make a LARGE lot of sev and use it for a week or more! 


I made a rather simple version of sev as I wanted to use it with mamra. But the variations that one can make are endless! Make naturally colored sev using turmeric, beet and spinach puree. Make Mint sev by adding powdered mint into the dough. Add chilli garlic paste to make garlic sev or get adventurous and add your favorite spice like oregano or basil to flavor the sev! 


Besan / Chickpea Flour 2 cups
Oil 3 tbsp
Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder 1 tsp
Asafoetida a pinch
Salt 1 tsp
Water 1/4-1/2 cup
Oil to fry


In a bowl sieve besan with all other ingredients except oil and water. Mix everything well. 

Add in 3 tbsp oil and mix it in. Add 1/4 cup water and mix together to make a dough. 

Use more water if required to make a soft dough. Let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes.

Heat oil in a pan to fry the sev. Using a greased sev maker/ sancha add half the dough. 

Hold the sancha over the oil and twist it to drop sev in the pan. Keep moving the sancha to avoid sev from overlapping and sticking. Do not overcrowd the pan. 

Fry for a couple of minutes and flip. Fry again for a couple of minutes and remove on paper napkins/kitchen towel. 

Let the sev cool and then break it into small bits. The sev can be stored in an airtight container for 10-15 days. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sparkling Pumpkin Pie Mocktail

Packed with Fall flavors; this Pumpkin Pie Mocktail is delicious yet easy to make. Plus it needs only FIVE ingredients and under 5 minutes to bring together! 

Fall is going strong and we are looking forward to all the Holidays that are coming up! When it comes to celebrating Fall, the FIRST thing that comes to everyone's mind is Pumpkin. While making main dishes, desserts and appetizers using pumpkin is pretty easy, drinks is where I struggled not long ago.

Every year I would think I could whip up some pumpkin drinks; but never went beyond pumpkin smoothie or pumpkin soda. This year I started preparing for Fall a few months ago and made a superb Simple Syrup using Pumpkin. That is when I realized the potential of using pumpkin in beverages; both alcoholic and non alcoholic.

Plus I started writing for Target Made Me Do It, and my theme was Fall inspired drinks. So I quickly whipped up an awesome Peach and Pumpkin drink using a lot of ingredients from Target. 

This drink has quickly become a favorite recipe among us and our friends. I made this drink for a party and each of the guest wanted to know the recipe! It is not very often that people like recipes made from Pumpkin, but this was clearly different. 

The reason I would think this happened is because the distinct taste of Pumpkin did not overpower the taste of other ingredients in this drink. It was well balanced with everything else and turned out amazing! 

Here is a little interesting variation I used in this recipe: This drink does not use ice cubes. Instead of that I used frozen peach slices to cool the drink. As we sip the drink, the peaches thaw and make the drink cool. This works really well when you do not want your drink diluting quickly. 

Still wondering how to make the drink? Head straight to Target Made Me Do It and read it all: Sparkling Pumpkin Pie Mocktail.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The BEST Sweet + Savory dishes for Diwali

A perfect collection of sweet and savory dishes everyone needs this Diwali!! Super yummy, addictive yet easy to make recipes!

Diwali is now almost here and we cannot wait to get started with all our Diwali Preparation. This festival of Lights is celebrated across India with a lot of grandeur. With tons of lights, sweet delicacies, fireworks and lots of religious ceremonies, this festival is celebrated over FIVE days in October or November depending on the Hindu Calendar. 

When we moved to US a few years ago, I was not sure how everything would pan out here. However, it has been so good here; friends meet for Diwali parties, burst firecrackers and exchange gifts and sweets for the festival. Plus, there is every celebration happening in the temples, making is PERFECT to celebrate with family and friends. 

Coming to the dishes we enjoy, there are a TON of recipes that are made year round, but there are a few that we enjoy especially during Diwali. From store bought snacks like Mathiya, Fafda and Chora Fali to homemade delicacies including sweets and savory snacks; we LOVE them for Diwali. It is amazing how we can find all these yummy snacks in US too! 

With Diwali now being only a few days away, here is a collection of all dishes sweet and savory that are MADE FOR DIWALI! Click on the title of all the recipes to be redirected to them:

Sweets for Diwali

Sweet Saatha

Flour discs fried and coated with sugar, these make perfect edible hostess gifts or sweets to be served to friends and family. The flavors are amazing in this one, and this is our family favorite for Diwali!

What is Diwali without Nankhatai? Baked rounds of flour sugar and ghee, these are full of cardamom and almonds. Try this instant version now and enjoy Diwali! 

This peda recipe is not only our personal favorite; it is one of the most liked and reader tried recipe on the blog! Made from Ricotta Cheese, these super soft pedas are full of kesar and super easy to make!

For those who love ladoos but not the calories, try this one! The Churma in this recipe is BAKED and eliminates a lot of oil/ghee needed to fry the churma. However, the look, texture or taste is not compromised! 

A signature Mumbai special dish, this wafer thin halwa is perfect as a gift. With a long shelf life, I LOVE these for Diwali.

Taking a cue from Lauki Halwa, this barfi is just a different version of the sweet. Made from bottle gourd, this dish is super easy to make yet delicious! Make this and surprise your family!

A signature Gujarati sweet dish for Diwali, this Besan based sweet is a must have in most families! This does look intimidating at first, but is super easy once you get a hang of it. Do try this for Diwali this year! 

Another 'healthier' version of a famous sweet, this baked Sutarfeni is essentially super fine strands of phyllo dough that is baked and topped with sugar syrup. A lot of my friends are fans of this sweet! 

Who wants a sweet in under 30 minutes? This recipe is PERFECT then. With just a few ingredients and ready in under half an hour, this is something you MUST make this Diwali and otherwise! 

For all those who love Gujiya for Diwali, this fusion recipe is not just tasty, but also relatively easy to make. Baked instead of fried, we LOVE this for Diwali and Holi alike! 

A famous Halwa made using corn flour, this halwa is superb for all kinds of celebrations, especially Diwali! This recipe needs just a few ingredients that can be found in the pantry and it comes together in no time! 

Last but not the least is this king of sweets! A favorite amongst many, this Kaju Katli can be easily made at home. Nop stressing over the ingredients used in store bought ones and no tension of how old they might be! 

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Savory Snacks for Diwali

A signature recipe made on Kali Chaudas, these fritters combine the flavors from sorghum flour and wheat flour. This is a recipe that has been handed down from the previous generations in our family! 

Looking for a quick appetizer for Diwali parties? These rolls are PERFECT; logs of paneer rolled in papad pieces and fried, these rolls are my go to recipe for many parties! 

Break away from traditional fried chakli by making these BAKED chaklis! These are not just yummy but also relatively easy to make! Try this once and I promise you, these will be on your mind for Diwali every year!

Another popular snack that is PERFECT for Diwali parties, this Kothimir Vadi is addictive yet super easy to make! A traditional Maharashtra recipe gets a makeover by this recipe! 

I can confidently say this recipe is my husband's favorite recipe from the blog! He is a fan of Kachoris and when you get a baked one, you cannot ask for more! 

A fried delicacy from Gujarat, these fritters are made from fenugreek and flour. These fritters are super yummy, with a signature sweet and savory taste! 

Whether it is mathri to enjoy as is or to make sev puri using them, these baked puris are totally addictive! Plus doing away with frying makes them perfect for weight watchers! 

Craving Dahi Vada but no time to soak dal? Try these Instant vadas. Made from urad dal flour, these are made in an appam stand. Perfect for a sudden plan of dahi vada, this is one of my favorite recipes from Diwali parties.

A Gujarati special dhokla, these khaman dhoklas are easy to make yet addictive! Try it once and it will become your favorite party food!