Thursday, March 22, 2007


Sometimes I avoid passing by a street in my neighborhood because the Indian ice-cream parlor there is too much temptation. Falooda, (faluda faloodeh ou faludeh) is an interesting concoction made of ice cream, milk, Rooh_Afza syrup, thin noodles, known as cellophane noodles, and basil seeds, which become gelatinous after being soaked in water and have many medicinal properties, according to ayurvedic medicine. This exotic "sunday", very popular in India and Pakistan, has Persian origin. My version is light and low fat but Shaheen's and Ashwini's recipes are more traditional.

Falooda/ Falooda

Rose syrup, Rooh Afza
Nonfat milk
Nonfat or lowfat vanilla ice cream
Falooda or Celofane noodles, cooked
Basil seeds (takmaria ou sabja)

Soak the seeds in water for at least 15 min. Place the syrup and two scoops of ice cream on the botton of a tall glass. Make one layer of noodles and another of soaked seeds. Top it off with milk and finish with more syrup, noodles an seeds on top.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Easy Pad Thai

I hadn't made Pad Thai in a long time. At first, I wasn't a big fan of this dish but then, I met a Thai lady that gave me a whole new perspective on it. According to her, there are thousands of variations and recipes for it. Some are more traditional, others less conventional and it's even possible to find some innovative ones that make use of ketchup. The important thing, though, is to balance all the flavors (sweet, sour, salty, spicy) well.
Today, I decided to try a simple and not so elaborate recipe that was adapted from here. My husband is on a vegetarian mood lately, I used smoked tofu instead of seafood and left out the eggs and the traditional fish sauce.

Tofu Pad Thai
250 grams pad thai noodles
3 cloves garlic, minced
Peanut oil
Smoked Tofu, cubbed
Green onions, chopped
Bean sprouts
Roasted peanuts , crushed

1 TB soy sauce
2 TB tamarind paste
1 TB sugar (add more according to taste)
Chili powder to taste

Cook noodles according to instructions. Heat oil and sautee tofu cubes. Reserve. Turn up heat and, on the same skillet, sautee garlic. Add chilli powder, carrots strips, soy sauce, tamarind paste and 1 tablespoon water. Cover and let simmer for a while. Add noodles. Stir fry well. Add some bean sprouts, green onions and the reserved tofu. Stir carefully. Serve with carrots strips, beans sprouts, green onions, cilantro and peanuts on top.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gorgonzola & Spinach Pasta


My Dad hates Gorgonzola with a passion and most people I know either love it or hate it. This recipe reminds me of a certain occasion when a former coworker's lunch disappeared from the cafeteria. She had been looking forward to trying the Gorgonzola and Spinach lasagna she made for lunch but ended up having to make do with a ham and cheese sandwich on that day. It turned out someone had thrown her food away under the impression it had spoiled. To this date, this whole episode makes me laugh.

Spinach and Gorgonzola Pasta

9 oz any pasta
1 TB butter
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 TB all-purpose flour
1 (12 oz) can evaporated low-fat milk
3/4 cup (3 oz) Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (use more or less according to taste)
black pepper
Fresh baby spinach (about 2 cups)

While pasta cooks, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and saute garlic. Add flour, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add the milk, increase heat to medium-high. bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer until sauce thickens slightly. Stir frequently. Remove from heat, add cheese, salt, and pepper. Combine the sauce, pasta, and spinach, tossing gently to coat.

Source: Cooking Light

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Masala Chai

I learned to like hot tea with my in-laws. Every single day, at 5 pm, they have the Indian style tea. Nowadays, for me, there is nothing more relaxing than sip a cup of chai when the weather gets colder. Masala chai is also my entry for the event Rei dessa Quinzena. There is no specific recipe for it, people make it different ways and use various combinations of spices. Quantities are also adjustable, according to one's taste.

Masala Chai

3 cardamomo pods, cracked open
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anis
2 slices fresh ginger,
5 black peper seeds
Loose leaves or bags of black tea
Steep, strain and serve.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Yesterday's Mint

Today, I had a craving for some refreshing juice, like those that can quench one's thirst and also cool off his soul. Suddenly, I remembered the orange juice with mint that I used to have in Salvador. and since all I had was a pineapple, I had to make do with it, substituting pineapple for OJ. Why not? Checked on the Internet first to make sure the mixture wouldn't be fatal, after all "pineapple is a heavy fruit", according to my folks. It turned out the concoction is very popular these days. Now, I'm addicted to it and I won't miss it anymore.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Pulao or Pulau?

No matter what the spelling is, pulao is always welcome. I usually tease my husband's folks because they eat rice three times a day, every day. Although I can not do the daily thing, I pretty much enjoy different preparations using rice, like this one, for instance, that one of his aunt's makes. The rice is so vibrant and aromatic, seansoned with a mixture of coconut, mint and spices. The smell, different flavors and textures in your mouth as you eat it make it a real sensory experience.

Coconut & Mint Pulao

1 tsp black mustard seeds
Curry leaves(opcional)
5 Cloves
1 Cardamon
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Star anise
1 tsp peppercorns
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 Onion
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
2 green chillis
1 Bay leaf
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup grated coconut
2 cup Basmati rice

Heat all the dry spices in a cast iron pan or skillet. Grind and recerve. Puree onion in a food processor. Reserve. Puree the coconut, mint and ginger together. Reserve. Heat some oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they start popping, add curry leaves and onion. Saute until it starts to get brown and then, add garlic and chopped green chilli. Stir often. Add dry spice mixture and allow it to get aromatic. Pour in the coconut mixture, bay leaf, rice and salt. Add enough hot water ( I usually use 1:2 ratio for rice and water, in this case 4 cups). Cover and allow it to cook on very low heat.
Source: Molly Aunty

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Improvised Gratin

One of my husband's coworkers also distributes cheeses and occasionally he gives us some samples of different kinds. Yesterday, we got a block of Feta, which is very finicky so I decided to use it right away.

This was actually an adaptation to a friend's recipe. She uses yellow squash but I tried butternut and spinach. They went well with the feta. I just used too much topping and will use less next time.

Butternut , Spinach and Feta Cheese Gratin
3 cups butternut squash
2 cups spinach
1 leek stem only (no leaves), cleaned and sliced (or 1 onion, sliced thin)
4 cloves of garlic chopped and minced
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 /2 cup fat-free greek iogurt
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
2 cups cooked basmati rice
1 cup crumbed or cubbed feta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 TB parsley chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 TB olive oil or melted butter.
Pulse 3 times or until moist.
Preheat oven to 375°. Saute garlic and leek/onion. Add butternut squash, half the amount of pepper, oregano and some salt, if necessary, because the cheeses already contain salt. Cover and cook until squash is tender. Add the spinach leaves and remove from heat. Reserve. Combine leftover pepper, yogurt, milk, egg, squash mixture, basmati rice, cheeses, parsley, and left over oregano. Pour into a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over rice. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until brown on top.
source: Julie

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


I always tell my husband that he found the way to my heart through my stomach. Rasmalai was the first Indian sweet I tried and it was instant love. I was always hesitant to try making it at home but I followed RP's instructions. It was easy and simple.

2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp rose essence (optional)

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 can evaporated milk
Sugar to taste
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp rose essence (optional)
Using an electric mixer or a whisk, cream ricotta, sugar and rose essence. Fill up a muffin pan with this mixture (or spread it on a regular baking sheet). Bake at 350 F for 35-40 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Meanwhile, mix milks, cream and cardamom powder. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add rose essence and stir well. Remove baked rasmalais from muffin pan (or cut them into squares if using regular baking sheet). Pour milk syrup over them. Refrigerate and serve with crushed pistachios and/or almonds.