Sunday, January 28, 2007

Kuch Jhatpat ho jaye...

On weekends we wake up late and then instead of having breakfast or lunch, we tend to have 'Brunch'. I know you got it, the recipe that I am presenting today is fairly simple brunch dish, which is very satisfying and can be made in number of ways. In India, generally people make it sweet with milk, sugar and dry fruits, but today we will be cooking a savory version of it. It is called Veggie Seviyan (Vermicelli). Seviyan or Vermicelli (we call them "JAVE" at home) is made up of all-purpose flour. In Indian homes, elderly women (in general) make these by hand on a piece of paper and dry them in sun for a while. Nothing like the hand-made one, you can easily make out the difference in taste and texture. Now-a-days, we get these pre-made by machines in grocery stores, but one has to roast them without oil on a gas stove or in the microwave, before using them. I do roast mine in the microwave. Back in India, at my home we have a solar cooker which is the best way to roast them without any effort. Just pour them in the solar cooker containers and forget about them. In the evening they will be ready to use, if the sun is at its best. :) So lets get cooking something colorful and delicious, anytime of the day. It also happens to be one of my hubby's all-time favourite dishes...

Serves 2

Seviyan/Vermicelli (1.5 Cups, Roasted)
Yellow Bell-Pepper (1/2, Finely Chopped)
Green Peas (1/4 Cup, boiled)
Cauliflower (1/2 Cup, Par-boiled) optional
Red Onion (1, Chopped)
Tomato (2, Finely Chopped)
Green Chillies (2, Finely Chopped)
Green Onion (3, Finely Chopped, for garnish)
Black Mustard Seeds (1 Tsp)
Turmeric Powder (1 Tsp)
Red Chili Powder (To Taste)
Garam Masala (1/2 Tsp)
Salt (To Taste)
Curry Leaves (5-6)
Oil (1.5 Tbsp)
Water (3 Cups)
  1. Boil Seviyan with salt and 3 cups of water in a separate pan.
  2. In another pan, heat oil and put mustard seeds and let them crackle or wait till the time they become gray in color.
  3. Now add onion, bell-pepper and curry leaves, fry until transparent. Then add all the other spices and fry for 30 seconds more.
  4. Now add green peas and cauliflower along with Seviyan and mix well.
  5. Serve hot garnished with Green Onions.


  1. Use Chinese technique (they use it for noodles) of putting the seviyan in cold water as soon as they are boiled for 3-4 minutes and then straining them. They will stop cooking immediately and it will prevent them from sticking to each other.
  2. Use Ajwayan and corriander powder (1 tbsp) instead of mustard seeds and curry leaves for giving it a North Indian flavor.

Also check out something here...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lots 'n' Lots of Thanks to you all..!

My Dear Fellow Bloggers & Friends,

Today the voting phase has ended in Treasured Recipe Contest at

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being my support and helping me by voting for my recipe BELL-PEPPER RINGS, through out the Voting Phase. No matter if I will make it to the cook-off or not, or if I'll win the contest or not, but I will always be greatful to those who supported me when I needed them and I will also be there for them.

I would also like to thank Lakshmi, Trupti and Asha for mentioning about this and about me on their blogs. Thank you so much.

My Mom always says, "Put in your sincere efforts for achieving your goal, some people will encourage you and some will definitely try to pull you back, have faith in yourself and keep moving".

I would again like to Thank all of "YOU".

With Best Regards,


Monday, January 22, 2007

3 Things MEME & An Inspiration!

I would like to thank my friend and fellow blogger Maheswari of 'Beyond the Usual' for tagging me for 3 Things MEME. I enjoyed writing it a lot. Thanks once again... Enjoy!

Three things/ People that make me laugh

  1. My sister.
  2. Watching Raymond.
  3. When some people say they know a certain thing for years and actually they don't have a clue of it.

Three things that scare me

  1. Driving in snow.
  2. Being alone at home at night.
  3. Sitting in a roller-coaster ride.

Three things I love

  1. Apart from cooking, I love gardening, drawing and other crafts.
  2. I love Cooking for myself as well as for others.
  3. I love getting dressed in traditional outfits.

Three things I hate

  1. I hate Tofu, even though its very healthy.
  2. I hate those who back bite.
  3. I hate myself (sometimes) for not keeping my body fit.

Three things I don’t understand

  1. Why I become so impatient sometimes..
  2. Geeky science stuff.
  3. Politics

Three things on my desk

  1. Our Photograph.
  2. My cell Phone.
  3. Fresh Flowers.

Three things I am doing right now

  1. Writing MEME for the first time.
  2. Listening to some good old Hindi songs.
  3. Looking back in years.

Three things I want to do before I die

  1. I want to be famous ;)
  2. I want to give someone deserving (who cannot afford, but want to..), a gift of education.
  3. I want to see my family here in the U.S., enjoying life as much as I do.

Three things I can do

  1. I can try to make someone comfortable, whose in pain..
  2. I can try to learn, as much as I can, because learning never ends.
  3. I can make tasty food ;)

Three things I cannot do

  1. I cannot swim.
  2. I cannot sing.
  3. I cannot see someone suffering.

Three things you should listen to

  1. Listen to your elders.
  2. I love to listen to Aartis in the morning, infact I don't like Alarm clocks for making me wake up but these aartis work best for me.
  3. News.

Three things I'd like to learn

  1. I would love to learn, how to swim, because then I can enjoy water.
  2. I wanna learn how to keep myself fit along with eating all the wonderful food I wanna eat.
  3. Yoga

Three favourite foods

  1. Mummy ke haath ka khana.
  2. Bengali Rasgulla.
  3. Idli & Dosa.

Three beverages I drink regularly

  1. Water
  2. Jal-Jeera
  3. Milk

TV shows I watched as a kid

  1. Hum-Log
  2. Mungeri Lal ke Haseen Sapne
  3. Nukad

Three books I read as a kid

  1. Rusee Lok Kathaaye
  2. Little Red Robbin hood
  3. Snow White

Three fellow bloggers I would like to tag

  1. Priya
  2. Meena
  3. Trupti

I would also like to Thank Archana of 'Spicyana' for giving me a lot of inspiration to learn how to make the wonderful cakes that she makes and posts on her blog. Hey, Archana... Thanks a lot, I am trying to follow your foot steps and here is my first attempt, my first cake that I decorated... Looking forward for your feedback and of everyone else. Enjoy!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Tomato Bisque Soup, my way..

It was a chilling winter evening and I didn't felt like cooking anything at home, but was really feeling like eating some thing hot and spicy. Abhi generally comes back home at around 6:00-6:30 and needs a hot cup of Masala Chai and something to munch, as soon as he arrives...That day it was only 5:00 in the evening, I called him and said, "can you bring something from Wendy's Carry-out??" He was a little surprised to hear that, because its always like he wanna buy stuff from outside bring it home and eat, while relaxing in the sofa and watching 'Everybody Loves Raymond' and I am the opposite of him. The moment he comes back home, I keep myself ready, so that we can go and eat out, no matter how cold it is outside.

In a rush to come back home, he forgot to bring food from Wendy's. He was trying to make it up by giving me so many different options, but...I was very upset. He knows I love soups and won't refuse a nice bowl of soup. We have a 'W.G. Grinders' near to our home, we went there had a nice 'spicy and toasty chicken sub' with a bowl of soup, which I never had before. It was looking like Indian tomato soup and was very yummy! I had the whole bowl.. :)

The other day, some of our friends were coming for dinner and I thought why not to try that soup. I searched a lot of recipes online and finally I made it. It was a big hit among our friends and specially the kids. So, here is my version of Tomato bisque soup, which is a fusion of Indian and Italian flavours...

Serves 6


Tomatoes (8-10, Large, Red and Juicy)
Carrot (1, Sliced)
Red Bell-Pepper (1/2, Chopped)
Red Onion (1 Large, Finely chopped)
Heavy Whipping Cream (1/4 Cup)
Ginger (2 Tsp, Grated)
Garlic (4-6 Cloves, Grated)
Chicken/Vegetable broth (4 cups)
Dried Methi leaves (1 Tsp)
Mixture of Italian herbs and spices (1 Tsp)
Sugar (2 Tsp)
Black Pepper (to Taste)
Salt (to Taste)
Olive Oil (1 Tbsp)
Red Food color (10 Drops)
Cream (2 Tbsp, for garnishing)
Green Onion (2, Finely chopped, for garnishing)

  1. In a pressure cooker, boil all the vegetables, with a little salt and Dried Methi leaves and italian spices along with half of each onion, ginger and garlic in chicken/vegetable broth. After a whistle, put off the gas and let it cook in pressure.
  2. Now open the pressure cooker lid and let it cool completely. Then puree it in a blender. Strain and Keep aside.
  3. Heat oil in a deep pan and fry the remaining onions, ginger and garlic until golden brown.
  4. Now add salt and pepper along with sugar. Cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the pureed vegetables along with food color and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Put of the gas and add heavy whipping cream.
  7. Reheat on low flame and serve garnished with chopped green onions and cream along with some fresh croutons.

Note: Add Beetroot for color instead of food color, it will act as a natural coloring agent. To reduce the calories even more, you can add 1/2 cup of whole milk instead of 1/4 cup of cream, but then you have to cook it more to bring it to a right consistensy.

Monday, January 08, 2007

My Experience.......

Lets start from the very beginning......I got married to Abhishek in December 2004 and came to US. I always had this passion for cooking, so I used to make a lot of traditional Indian dishes for both of us. Abhi use to enjoy them a lot, as before getting married either he use to eat frozen food or he used to cook himself...infact he is also a great cook, but at the time we got married he didn't liked sweets at all and I am a sweets person, specially Bengali Sweets.

One day I thought of making Rasgullas at home and called my mom in India to ask how to start with it. "You have to make fresh paneer for making rasgullas and than boil paneer balls in a simple sugar syrup", she said. The same day I started of by making paneer and than boiled the paneer balls in than syrup, but it was a complete disaster and I was very upset. Abhi tried to console me a lot but in my head only one thing was going on, and that was if I cannot even make a simple dish like rasgulla than how will I move forward in this field.... :O(

One day we called one of Abhi friends on dinner and she got some homemade rasgullas for us and they were awesome. Without letting a minute go, I asked her (Rashmi), how do you make it and she said I can teach you right now if you have whole milk and a big pressure cooker at home. I started to think in my head, that how can you make rasgullas in a pressure cooker. Anyways, I asked Abhi to bring milk at the same time from a nearby grocery store and we started by making Paneer and than rasgullas from it.....and thats how it all began or I can say thats how I started making paneer for all Bengali sweets.

I kept on experimenting with Paneer and making myself efficient in making these sweets at home, unaware of anything like FOOD NETWORK or any person named Emeril Lagasse. Actually, we didn't used to have additional channels at first, we just had those basic channels. So, I used to watch a lot of TLC shows and slowly it became my favourite channel.

Then one day, in the end of August 2005, someone knocked at our door and Abhi answered. A person from Time Warner Cable was there and he said there is an offer going on for free subscription of additional channels for the whole month of September and if you like them you can get them for an additional payment of just $10 per month, but this offer is for now only. Abhi immediately said yes for it and than we thought, lets see it for a month and than we'll extend it, if we'll like it.

As usual, I used to watch TLC and TLC only, but one day while flipping the channels I saw someone cooking and suddenly I stopped. That someone was Paula Deen...didn't knew at that time though and I got HOOKED on it. It was a whole new world for me. Day and night FOOD NETWORK and FOOD NETWORK only. Thats how I came to know about EMERIL Live, what a nice show.....OK lets watch it.

As far As I remember, in October, Emeril announced this contest called "Emeril Live Scratch Contest" and said they wanted something from stratch which should not be a complete dish, but can be put use for making some other dish and than Emeril will create one of his own dishes from it. Now I got something to think about and I kept on thinking that, what can I send that should just be a basic ingredient for making the dish and not a complete dish in itself. Nothing was coming to my mind and I was not even exposed to American Food that much. Never used to like Pasta or any type of cheese. But knew one thing and that was 'Americans Love Cheese'.

Abhi was in the office that day and was very busy in meetings....I called him and asked if I can send the recipe of Paneer in Emeril Live's contest, he was in a rush, so he said OK..OK, send it and I got a green signal. I wrote a small introduction about India and about my family along with the recipe of Paneer and sent it.

On 11th of February 2006, one of our very close friends Ila and Diwakar, met with an accident on their vacation and it was a big shock for us. Diwakar (Abhi's college friend) got hurt very badly but with the grace of God nothing was life threatening and all the injuries were curable. We went to see him and he was recovering fast. Everybody was trying to make him laugh and make him feel comfortable, as if nothing has happend and he was also enjoying it. Next day we were taking him out for a change and suddenly my phone rang. At first I thought of not picking it as the number was not familiar, but than I don't know what happend and I took the call.

"Hi, this is Alan Madison calling from Emeril Live, may I speak to Nidhi Gupta please", he said....I said, what??? He repeated that same thing and I said "OK, yes, this is Nidhi here"... "Congratulations Ms Gupta, your recipe has been selected as one of the 100 semi-finalists, can you tell me something about yourself, your husband and your family back in India." I immediately said, which recipe, I didn't send any recipe....actually, I totally forgot about it. Then he reminded me of sending the recipe of Paneer and I said, "Oh! yes, I remember." Everybody was waiting outside for me in the car, but Ila was there and as soon as she heard that its a call from FOOD NETWORK, she started telling everyone...."celebrity ban gayee" and I was still taking to Alen. After keeping the phone done, I thought I am a semi-finalist with 99 others...whatever.., I again forgot about it.

In May 2006, I was packing for our vacation to NY and again a call from a somewhat familiar number. "Hi Nidhi, this is Alan Madison"...he said and I said, (my heart was pounding out of my chest), "Oh! ya, tell me how are you doing?" He said, "I am good and just wanted to say Congratulations, you are one of the Four lucky winners of 'Emeril Live Scratch Contest' from 1600 entries. I'll be coming to your home along with my crew on 30th Of June 2006 to Shoot the recipe of Paneer." I was so happy....I thanked him a lot and immediately after it, I called Abhi.

At 30th of June 2006 at 8:00 am, they came for shooting of the recipe and stayed till 4:00 pm. They were amazed to see all the different Indian Spices and how Indian dishes like Palak Paneer, Matar Paneer, Rasgulla, Rasmalai etc.etc. are made from scratch in India. They were even more surprised to know that this type of cooking is a day-to-day part of Indian lifestyle. Alan asked me to speak in Hindi as well as in English and he specifically liked the word "NAMASTE". That day I prepared a lot of Indian dishes featuring paneer in them like Palak Paneer, Paneer Tikka, Matar Paneer, Rasgulla, Rasmalai, Paneer Cheese cake and some other dishes like Dal Makhani, Fruit Skewers, Jeera Rice, Naan, Chivda etc.

After the shooting of making Paneer was over, we all enjoyed all the dishes that I prepared. One of my close friends Jeene was also there with us during the shooting. Then they interviewed me for almost 45minutes, asked me all types of questions related to India. Alan said, he wanted to take some of my shots at the nearby Indian store. So, from there we went to the Indian store and did a little bit shooting there as well.

Alan and the crew had there flight back to New York at 4:45 pm, the same day, so they had to rush to the airport now. They said good bye to us and appreciated my food a lot. We both thanked them and came back home discussing each and every moment of the day that we spent with them.

On August 21st 2006, I recived a call from the same area code, different number though....again a surprise for me. I thought it was over, but no...there was something more for me in store... "Hi this is Patricia LaMorte from FOOD NETWORK, may I speak to Nidhi Gupta please", she said. I said, "yes this is Nidhi here"..."Hi Nidhi, this Patricia and I have called to say Congratulations to you and to set up your flight and hotel reservations for 21st of September 2006 (which is my birthday), you are invited on the show and the shooting will take place on 22nd September 2006 at 4:00pm. You can also bring 5 other people with you to the show".

Abhi (was sitting next to me during the show) and Two of my favourite Uncles and Aunts, my father's youngest brother and his cousin brother along with their wives, went with me to the show and we all enjoyed a lot. Rest you have already seen on the Television. In the end, I would like to say..........

..It was an awesome and one-of-a-kind experince....I will never forget it in my life.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

See Me on Emeril Live............

Dear Fellow Bloggers and Food Lovers,

I am very excited to share this news with you all. I will be on TV on Emeril Live.........................

I am one of the four lucky winners of 'Emeril Live Scratch Contest'. The episode named "Emeril's Scratch Contest" with all four winners was shot in New York on September 22nd 2006. The episode will be aired on FoodNetwork channel on January 7th, 2007 at 8.00pm EST/PT. My recipe will be the first one on which Emeril will create one of his own alterations.

I feel good to see a very Traditonal recipe from India highlighted on National TV with one of America's best known chef.

See you there...

Best Wishes, Nidhi.