Monthly Archives: January 2014

Shyla’s Crème Brûlée


  • Preparation time: 10 min
  • Cooking time: 35 min
  • Total time: 45 min
  • Serves: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Easy


  • 4 cups Full cream
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 1 Egg (whole)
  • Vanilla essence or Amaretto
  • ¾ cup White sugar
  • ½ cup Brown sugar for the topping


Boil the cream till scalding point. In a large mixing bowl beat together the egg yolks, whole egg and sugar. Add vanilla or Amaretto to the mix. Add the hot cream to the egg mix and continue beating. Spray 12 oven- and broiler-proof ramekins and place them in a pan. Fill the bowls with the mixture. Fill the pan with water up to ¾th height of the bowls. Bake in the middle of the oven at 350oF for 30 min. The custard must be a little wobbly. Do not overcook. Take the bowls out of the water. Dust by sieving brown sugar evenly over the custard. It should be a nice thin layer. Spray them. Place in a pan. Fill the bowls with the mixture. Place in a flat tray and broil under the broiler at 450oF till the sugar is caramelized. Keep a watch over the ramekins to avoid burning the sugar layer.

Gutli Pao

Gutli Pao

  • Preparation time : Assembly: 15
  • Ferment:  Overnight
  • Shape: 10 
  • Rise: 1 h
  • Cooking time: Bake 30 min
  • Rest: 15 min
  • Serves: 4-6


For 8–10 gutli paos:

  • ¼ tsp Dry active yeast
  • 1½ cups Water (room temp)
  • 1¾ tsp Salt
  • 4 cups (18 oz) Refined flour (Maida)


Mix the ingredients and knead into dough. Cover the dough and keep aside for 12–14 h to allow the dough to rise or until doubled. Punch down the dough and shape into a loaf. Divide the rolled out loaf into 8 pieces. For each piece, roll the dough into itself and then shape into a ball. Let the dough balls rise covered with floured plastic for 30 min to 1 h or until almost doubled. Use a scissor to make a small cut on top of each loaf–smooth out the cut. Place a pan of water in the oven and bake* at 550oF for 15 min or until well-browned; rotate the buns once.

*Spray with water before baking, at 5 min and at 10 min during cooking time.

7 Minute Mahi Mahi with Red Pepper Pesto


  • Preparation time:
  • Cooking time:
  • Serves: 4


  • 1 lb Mahi mahi pieces or frozen pieces from Trader Joe’s (thawed)
  • 3 tbsp Red pepper pesto (Costco)
  • ½ tsp Garlic
  • ½ tsp Crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp Oil


Heat the oil in a pan. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Stir fry for half a minute. Add the pieces of fish and top with red pepper pesto. Cover the pan and lower the flame–let it cook for 5–7 min. Toss the pieces and serve with rice or vegetable rice paella style.

French Beans with Potatoes in a Curry Sauce


  • Preparation time: 10
  • Cooking time:
  • Serves: 4-6


  • 1 lb French beans
  • 2 large or 3 small Potatoes
  • ¾ tsp Cayenne powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 2 Tomatoes, blended
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Ginger paste
  • 1 tsp Garlic paste
  • Salt to taste (½–1 tsp)


Heat oil in a nonstick or cast iron pan. Add the cumin seeds. When the seeds start browning add the onions, stir fry till they are browned. Add garlic and ginger paste. Fry for a minute. Add the cayenne and turmeric, then pour in the blended tomatoes. Add the chopped French beans and quartered potatoes. Add salt and mix well. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat–stir every 10 min–till ready. Dish is ready when potatoes are cooked–around 30 min.

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken

  • Preparation time: Overnight
  • Cooking time: 45 min
  • Serves: 4-6


  • 2 pounds Chicken
  • 1 tsp Garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp Ginger, crushed
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 1½ tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ cup Beaten yogurt
  • 1 tsp Red food color
  • 3 to 4 Green chillies
  • 1 tbsp Coriander leaves, chopped


The chicken can be used either whole or cut into pieces, and prick with a fork or knife. To the yogurt add coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, green chillies, chilli powder, garam masala, salt and food color. Mix well to the chicken and marinate for at least 2 h or better still overnight. For chicken tikkas, use boneless chicken pieces. Place chicken on a baking sheet, dribble some oil on it and bake at 350oF till done (about 35–45 min depending on boneless or not).

Chicken Biryani


  • Preparation time:
  • Cooking time: 45 min
  • Serves: 6-8


  • 2 tsp Ginger, crushed
  • 2 tsp Garlic, crushed
  • 6 sliced Medium-sized onions
  • 1 cup Yogurt
  • 1 Chicken
  • 4 Potatoes, quartered
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • ¼ cup Raisins
  • ¼ cup Cashewnuts
  • 1 pack Shan Biryani mix (available in most Indian stores)
  • Salt to taste


Fry the onions till dark brown and set aside. Pan fry the raisins and cashewnuts and keep aside. Wash skin and cut the chicken into small pieces. In a bowl, beat yogurt till smooth, add biryani mix, ginger and garlic. Add the chicken into the bowl and marinate overnight or for 6–8 h. Add ¾ of the fried onions, quartered potatoes and half cup of water to this mix and cook over medium flame in a large utensil for approximately 30–40 min. Boil the rice in a pot of water and strain it in a colander or cook the rice in a rice cooker. When the chicken is cooked and the gravy is almost dry, layer the chicken in a flat dish and top it with the rice. Garnish with the remaining fried onions, fried raisins and cashews. You can also add sliced boiled eggs as garnish.

Serve with a bowl of yogurt.


“Curries, Spices and More…” Cook book is released on

I could not live without them. They envelop all the cooking I do. If my kids do not have spices in their food they do not find the food tasty enough. Spices make for variety in dishes. A vegetable, fish, meat or a bird can be cooked in a myriad of ways with spices.

I also use spices and herbs to treat common ailments. For a toothache a clove works wonders. Put one clove on the tooth that is aching and bite down on it – the tootache will shortly disappear (cloves have numbing properties). Ginger helps relieve cold symptoms and is great on the stomach. My kids eat raw ginger to stop bilious attacks. Sushi ginger is not a substitute for raw ginger to stop vomiting. My two-year old son would yell “picy” “picy” but he ate the crushed raw ginger and trusted it to help.

Curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric, “has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses,” according to a review in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. A glass of milk with a half a teaspoon of turmeric stirred in it, helps build immunity.

Sound sleep comes my way after drinking a tall glass of milk with unsweetened cocoa powder. I have recommended this sleep remedy to my kids who are now grown men. My kids follow my footsteps with regard to this piece of advice – as soon as you wake up drink a warm glass of water with some lime or lemon juice in it. If you can tolerate more water in your system, have two more similar drinks. That’s a cleanse.

Onions are great remedies for many ailments. A few raw onion slices with a squirt of lime or lemon does wonders for the throat. When we had fever and chills, my mother would smash raw onions and rub it all over our bodies. We hated that because of the stink but had no choice but to tolerate it and sleep with onion juice rubbed on us. Another remedy for a wound that is bleeding that my mom used was raw cane sugar.

When we had a wound that bled, in addition to a tourniquet (tying a piece of cloth below the wound to stop the blood flow), she saturated the wound with raw cane sugar and held it tightly and that caused the bleeding to stop..

The staples in my daily kitchen are cayenne (red chillies), turmeric, mustard seeds, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, onions, ginger and garlic. I also use poppy seeds, Bishop’s weed (ajwain), fenugreek, bay leaves, star anise, mace, asafetida, nutmeg, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, tamarind, and kokum. You just need a spice or two to change the texture and taste of a dish. I hope you will experiment with spices through the recipes on this blog and our new book has been released. Most spices are natural immunity builders.

Natural honey works wonders. It brought a bee back to life in my home. A bee had entered my kitchen and was lying limp on the floor. I put a teaspoon of natural honey in a small bowl and put the lifeless bee in it. The bowl was left out in the porch as it was summer time. The next morning the bee started moving and in front of my eyes got up and buzzed away. My yard got pollinated very well that summer and the bee buzzed around me whenever it saw me. Go figure. I have included at least one teaspoon of honey in my daily food intake.

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