Sunday, March 31, 2013


~ Easter -2 ~

May the spirit of the Easter fill your lives with love, 
peace and joy of spring ..

Little Food Junction wishes all its readers a very Happy Easter !!
The beauty and vibrance of spring has enveloped the entire atmosphere,
budding leaves , blooming aromatic flowers , sweet wind and buzzing
 bees and butterflies beautifully reflect the picturesque aura of spring . 
The beauty of spring is not just confined to outdoors , the warm sunny 
days fill the Indian markets with various seasonal goodies too -
 strawberries, cape gooseberries ( rasbhari), figs, jujubes (ber) , 
grapes-a riot of color and flavors adds a perfect zing to 
the seasonal produce.

Berry Bees .....

Cape gooseberries ( rasbhari), blanched and split Almonds, peanut butter n 
candy eyes (I made my own with royal icing and choco chips- pipe drops of 
royal  icing on a   acetate/ ohp  sheet , place a choco chip on each 
and leave to set overnight ) In absence of candy eyes - use some tiny mint 
holes with choco chips .
Make tiny slits on both the sides of the cape goosberries and top
 on a skewer.  Insert in the almond halves in the slits. Using some
 peanut butter stick the eyes .

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Aromatic Lassi

~ Happy Holi - 2 ~

Little Food Junction wishes all its readers a very Happy Holi !!!

India celebrates Holi today - the festival of color, prosperity and  love .
While my lil one is gearing up for wafting and smearing tons of color 
on her friends and collecting her Holi paraphernalia ( boxes of aromatic 
herbal pigment Gulal, water gun n still filling some tiny water ballons)
 for the celebrations in the apartment lawn after some time, I've squeaked
  out a few minutes to share with you our Holi breakfast today .

There was still some aromatic thandai powder left in the box after 
baking the Thandai Cake , so before lil one started with all fun I had
 to make sure to fill something yummy in her little tummy !!!!!! 

In most of the Indian families the celebrations had started yesterday , 
by lighting a big bonfire and offering some sheaves of new harvest and 
colorful pigments to the mythical deity of fire - Agni. Our first smear of 
the red Gulal pigment today was again a part of the deity offering . 

Thandai Lassi 
( with the goodness of oats)

Lassi or yogurt smoothies is one of the most loved tradional 
beverages . It is usually made in the summer season by blending 
together curd , sugar and spices . This version has  zing of the 
aromatic Indian flavors and a goodness of Quaker Oats .

1 1/2 cup curd , 2 tbsp premix Thandai powder, 3 tbsp Quaker Oats , 
2 tbsp powdered sugar, 1/4 cup milk, 1 cardamom powdered coarsely, 
3-4 strands saffron, 4-5 ice cubes , 1 tbsp chopped nuts (opt)a few 
dried rose petals and flaked pistachios. 

Cook oats in milk for 2 mins and cool for a couple of  minutes.
Blend together cooked oats , thandai powder, sugar , cardamom
 saffron and 2 tbsp curd till smooth . Mix in the remaining curd 
and ice cubes and  whisk for another 30 secs. Add in chopped nuts
 (opt) and pour  in glasses . Garnish with some saffron, flaked 
pistachios and dried rose petals. Serve .

(adjust sugar as per  liking and the sweetness of the Thandai premix)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Thandai (Spice) Cake

Happy Holi ~ 1 

If wishes come in rainbow colors then 
I would send the brightest one to say Happy Holi ....

India is a land of colors and flavors and the festival of colors or Holi
 truly justifies it . The tradition that started ages back as a festival of 
harvest  took a turn during the epic period and became a  symbolic
depiction  of the immortal  love between Lord Krsna and Radha.  
 Also another story of devotee Prahalad who was saved from the cruel 
hands of his  aunt Holika is also linked to the celebrations .Festivities 
begin by smearing each other's faces with powdered pigments . 
Like all celebrations it is  the time of merrymaking and also feasting , 
right from traditional sweets and  savories to Indo fusion cuisine, 
the delicacies on the tables are simply unending .

The festival is incomplete without the traditional Indian beverage
 Thandai - a drink prepared by pounding together pistachios , almonds, 
saffron, rose petals, pepper , cardamom ,fennel, melon seeds and sugar 
with milk and rosewater . The aroma of this mix is absolutely divine -
 my mother used to mix this fresh concoction with curd to make a lovely
 lassi (smoothie ) , or with gram flour to give a twist to traditional 
ladoos (truffles ). Inspired by her I added some premix to my cake
 batter for a pre Holi bash with friends. 

Thandai is believed to have superb cooling powers to gear one up for 
scorching summers ahead .Earlier  the Thandai  ingredients were
 pounded on  traditional grinding stones but now  readymade pre mix 
Thandai powders are readily available at all grocery stores. Of course 
premix have a much  milder flavor in comparison to freshly pounded
version but then it surely makes the flavor of festivities much easier :) 

The flavors of the mild premix can blend beautifully with any egg , vegan  
or eggfree recipe but a generous sprinkle of chopped nuts , dehydrated
 rose petals,cardamom ,some more saffron and  rose water surely adds
 to the flavor .  I just love the  basic eggless vanilla cake recipe from Nita 
mehta and used it as the base . 

Some shade dried  rose petals from my rose bush gave a perfect 
zing to the recipe . You could dehydrate some fresh petals
 in shade /oven or simply use chopped fresh ones if time is 
a constraint . 

Thandai Cake ( Eggless)

1 1/2  cup all purpose flour (maida), 1 cup yogurt( room temp), 2 tbsp
 milk, 2 tbsp readymade Thandai powder(sweetened) , 3/4 cup powdered  
sugar ,1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 1/4 tsp baking powder , 1/2 cup refined oil,
 1 cardomom pod coarsly powdered(opt) , 1 tsp dehydrated rose petals (opt) ,
 1/4 cup chopped nuts( almonds and  pistachios) ,6-7 saffron threads,
 1/2 tsp rose water , A few sliced pistachios and rose petals for topping 

Preheat oven to 200C. Sift the refined flour and keep aside.
Whisk together yogurt, milk, thandai powder, saffron, sugar, rose
 water and  cardamom powder till creamy . Sprinkle baking soda and 
 baking powder, gently mix and leave aside for 2-3 mins .Once the mixture 
turns frothy mix in oil . Gently fold in the sifted flour ( make sure not to 
overmix). Mix in the petals and nuts .Pour in a greased and dusted 8" pan
sprinkle the sliced pistachios and  petals  on top and bake in a preheated 
oven at 200C for 10 mins. Reduce the temp to 180 and further bake for 
30-35 mins or till the toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. 
Cool for 35- 40 mins unmold, slice , sprinkle some powdered 
sugar , chopped rose petals and serve. 

Its advisable to use readymade thandai powders as freshly ground
 homemade powders are much more sharp and aromatic . You might need to 
adjust the sugar in cake owing to the varied  sweetness levels of
readymade  thandai powders. 

Friday, March 22, 2013


~ Lets Paint the town Pink ~
(Pickled eggs and labneh dip)

Spring is the time when there is color and  joy everywhere . Right 
from the vibrant flower beds displaying the most outrageous hues
 to the exuberant colors of the Indian festival  Holi -the enigma of
 Pink seems to conquer the northern hemisphere in the 
colors of celebration. 

With Easter and  Holi right around the corner , what could be better than 
adding a bit of fuchsia to our humble eggs too. These pickled egg appetizers 
are  colorful , healthy , delicious and best of all absolutely a breeze to
make !! After all with all those festivities & fun around who wants to be
 in the kitchen for long........

Spring is the season of garden delight too , its the  time when nature 
awakes from its long sleep to  welcome the colors of warmth and life, 
and the gorgeous trees and  shrubs loaded with bunches of flowers 
silently seem to bid adieu to the winter frost & chill . 

The deep pinks of the pickled eggs are perfect for spring !!!
As per wiki -pickled eggs are hard boiled eggs that are cured in brine .
 Just like  other  preserved foods the recipe evolved in the olden times
 to preserve surplus eggs from the farm , so that they could
 be consumed later . 

While many parts of the world relish this pickled version as a favorite
 hors d'oeuvre some places confine it to as pub food served with pickled 
onions and  fish. Owing to the presence of beets in the pickling solution the 
eggs from  Pennsylvania Dutch country  have a beautiful pink color. 

Pickled eggs 
( The easy peasy way)

Ingredients - 4 hard boiled eggs ( peeled) , 1/2 cup white vinegar, 
1/4 cup beet juice, 1/2 tsp sugar , 6-7 black peppercorns , salt to taste. 

Method - Mix together all the ingredients ( except eggs) till the 
sugar dissolves. Keep the eggs in a glass jar and pour the vinegar 
mix over it. Refrigerate for 5-6 hours . To Serve- drain the liquid ,
divide into halves and  season with some freshly crushed  pepper .
( Don't soak the eggs for too long or else they'd be tough and chewy)
( If you don't like pickles replace vinegar with water for just  
beautiful pink color)

Opt for a healthier yolk free version by removing the yolks and filling up
 the cavities with some freshly whipped caramelized onion labneh dip . 
The mild tanginess of Lebneh and crunchiness of the onion will surely 
leave everyone  craving for some more .....(BTW a generous spread of 
labneh tastes great on sandwiches , pitas and paratha so go 
ahead n indulge)

Caramelized Onion Labneh Dip
2 cups regular yogurt ( home made curd is perfect too), 2 large red 
onions finely diced, 1 tsp chopped onion greens/ chives , 2 tbsp blanched
 peas ,1 tsp olive oil  , salt to taste 

Combine yogurt n salt and place the mixture on a large muslin cloth . 
Tie from all the four ends and hang on the kitchen faucet to drip . 
Remove after 3-4 hours . Untie and keep the cheese aside. 
Drizzle some oil in a skillet and saute onions till golden .Cool and
mix with the cheese. Mix in peas, chopped onion greens n drizzle
 some olive oil( opt). Serve. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


~ Easter -1~

Easter is just around the corner which means its time to
 think about those lovely decorated sugar eggs, chirping little chicks 
and  big ear bunnies .... Its the time of the year when the flowers bloom
 and the sun shines bright spreading its love and warmth everywhere. 
Have fun with your kids this easter with these quick  and easy to make 
breakfast ideas. This chick and  rabbit sandwiches will not only
 liven up the breakfast table but will leave you with lots 
of quality time to spend with the kiddos too !!! 

Cheep cheep ..

Whole wheat  bread cut into circle & topped with a sunny side up egg , 
red pepper, olives, cucumber & lettuce ( To make a perfect round egg- 
Grease a large circle cookie cutter n put it on a hot greased skillet ,
 crack an egg and gently pour in the cutter , cook till set ) 

Easter Bunny 

 Whole wheat  bread cut into circle  with a sunny side up egg , sliced 
red radish, olives, cucumber ,peas, cherry tomato , beans , carrot & parsley. 
 (To make a perfect round egg- Grease a large circle cookie cutter n put it on 
a hot greased skillet , crack an egg and gently
 pour in the cutter , cook till set ) 

Sunday, March 10, 2013


~ Baked Noodles ~ 

Fusion cooking is the most wonderful part of cooking at home . 
Often with sudden guests around we tend to experiment with the 
available ingredients  and come up with a new version of the
 recipe that is much different to  its traditional counterpart. 

Some friends of lil one had come over and she wanted me to treat the 
tiny palates with some baked spaghetti ..... ' Sure honey ' - I said and 
walked towards the kitchen . Took out some tomatoes,  broccoli n
 cheese from the refrigerator and some spaghetti from the larder ....
Spaghetti !!! where is the spaghetti ?????? 

Ah the essential ingredient was out of stock .... The kids had already salivated
 their taste buds for the upcoming meal and thus changing the menu was not a
 great idea thus with a little tweak in the recipe instant noodles came to my rescue.

Some instant noodles, lots of veggies and a few eggs  was all that I needed
to fill my house with peals of laughter. 

Baked Noodles 

Serves 4 
(Can be made in a large baking dish or 4 individual bowls / ramekins ) 
Ingredients - 2 packs instant noodles(Maggi) ,5 large tomatoes, 1 small beet
 ( chopped) , 1 small onion finely chopped , 3-4 flakes crushed garlic,
1 cup mixed veggies (chopped  bell peppers and olives, blanched broccoli,
corn n carrots) ,1 tbsp tomato ketchup,  2 tbsp grated cheese (opt)
 4 eggs, salt,  pepper n oregano to taste 

- Blanch the tomatoes , peel dice and coarsely grind along with chopped beet . 
-Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan add in crushed garlic, 1/2 tsp oregano and chopped
 onions ,saute till onions turn pink. Mix in ground tomatoes and salt 
Cook till the water evaporates and is thick and sauce like.
-Boil the noodles ( without the tastemaker) in plenty of water  and a
few drops of oil till just coked ( make sure not to overcook it) . Drain .
-Mix the boiled noodles to the prepared tomato sauce along with veggies 
ketchup and some black pepper .
-Divide the noodle mix into 4 greased ramekins (or a large baking dish).
- Sprinkle some grated cheese on top(opt) .Crack an egg on  each. 
- Season with some salt,  pepper & oregano & top with a few
 blanched broccoli florets .
-Bake in a preheated oven for 15- 18  mins at 180C or till the eggs 
are set . Serve hot . 

Don't forget to pair it with some freshly squeezed juice
for an added zing. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Women's day

~ Women's Day~

I push doors that clearly say PULL, 
I laugh harder when I try to explain why I'm laughing.  
I walk into a room and forget why I was there.
I still count on my fingers to calculate  .
I hide the pain from my loved ones.
I say it is a long story when it's really not.
I cry a lot more than you think I do .
I care about people who don't care about me .
I try to do things before the microwave beeps.
I listen to to people even when they don't listen to me 
I strongly believe that a hug  always helps. 
Yes, I'm a woman !!And proud to be one .........
                                          ( -from Facebook quotes)  

Little Food Junction wishes all the wonderful ladies across the globe
a very Happy Women's Day .... Even when the whole world is rushing , 
there are some who take time to mentor , encourage and inspire. 
Thanks for being here . 

Say it with Flowers

Bread and mayo sandwich topped  with cucumber, olive , cherry
 tomatoes and ketchup. Served  with sliced strawberries , grapes 
and blanched green bean . 

You have everything in you and thats the reason why world is 
celebrating you!! So follow your dreams ......and make
 them come true !!!!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dr Seuss


~ Happy B'day Dr Seuss ~

If we didn't have birthdays, you wouldn't be you .
If you'd never been born , well then what would you do..
                                                           - Dr Seuss 

March 2 , Dr Seuss's birthday is a great opportunity to broaden our 
little ones imagination by narrating them beautiful stories and getting
 them excited about reading. Theodor Seuss Geisel, who wrote using the
pseudonym Dr Seuss influenced the young minds through  his beautiful
 rhyming words. We are great  fans of Lorax and  the Truffula trees !!! 

Lorax Snax...........

Lorax- Slice of Orange topped with grapes, cape gooseberry and lettuce 
eyebrows and moustache. Truffula trees- spring onion with slices of tomato,
 cape gooseberry and purple carrot 

'Lorax' - beautifully chronicles the plights of environment and how we 
humans are destroying nature. Lorax , the guardian of the forest 
" Speaks for trees, for the trees have no tongues"and beautifully conveys
 the message of saving  our trees and our environment . As a tiny effort to
 reduce our carbon prints we buy local and seasonal produce , use native
 species of plants with organic manure , unplug electric  devices when not in 
use , walk for short distances and carry a reusable water bottle with us !!
What about you ?? 

Some oranges and  some grapes , 
For  a healthy Lorax brake .......

Some lettuce and  some carrot 
To keep you chirping like a parrot !

Some tomatoes and  some berry 
To keep you  cheerful & always merry .



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