A friend of mine taught me how to make this mouth-watering Lemon cilantro chicken dish. She served it to me for dinner one evening, and it was so delicious that I asked her for the recipe and made it the very next weekend.

When you first bite into this Lemon Cilantro Chicken you will discover an intricate burst of flavor explosion in your mouth- so I thought the dish would consist of numerous different ingredients and be fairly time consuming to prepare. However, when she told me the method, I couldn't believe that this tasty chicken could be so simple to make! I have changed the recipe to make the dish healthier. My friend told me that she browned/fried the chicken in butter ahead of time. I tried leaving out this step, and the result was just as good, if not as rich in flavor. My family thinks that left-overs next day are even tastier!

Serves 4

1 whole medium sized chicken cut into medium pieces, or 8 drumsticks - cleaned and deskinned.
3-4 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 " piece of ginger minced
4-5 green chillis (to taste)
1 cup of water or chicken stock-if needed (helps to the cook of the chicken, and add gravy)
1 tbsp Cumin Powder
1 tbsp Coriander powder
1 tbsp crushed coriander
2-3 cups of cilantro, chopped
The juice of 1-2 lemons, to taste
Salt to taste

Marinate the chicken in turmeric, ginger paste and salt for at least 2 hours. Add oil to a wok, and heat over a medium flame. Add the minced ginger, chillis, coriander powder, cumin powder and onions (if using). Fry for a few minutes. Add the marinated chicken, and fry for a few minutes, until the meat is no longer pink. Add water or stock, and cook until chicken is almost done. Add all the chopped cilantro, mix well, and cook for a few more minutes, 'till chicken is tender. Pour the juice of 1-2 freshly squeezed lemon over the dish (to taste). Serve with rice or Pasta

Authors Note:
I do skip the marinating when I am in a hurry, and it still tastes great, but marination for a couple of hours will yield a superior flavor. If you do not have time to marinate, then omit the ginger paste. I have used store bought lemon juice in this dish, with good results too. As a variation try replacing 1 cup of cilantro with chopped mint to make mint-cilantro chicken.


Here I am back again with another potato recipe... I can't seem to keep away from those potatoes! This is a mouth watering snack or side dish and not as unhealthy as its fried counterpart. Try it and let me know how yours turns out!
Serves 4
4 large potatoes with skin sliced into wedges
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tbsp crushed dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
3-4 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Lemon wegdes (to squeeze over the potatoes)

Parboil potato wedges in water for 8 - 10 minutes, and drain. Mix together all the spices, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Now Smear the spice-oil mix over the potatoes to coat well. Place wedges on a non stick roasting pan and drizzle a few drops of olive oil over them.
roast in a preheated oven at 350 deg. for 20 mins or until crisp on the outside and well done inside.

Authors Note:
Try serving these with the regular ketchup, honeymustard, mayo etc. Or dip them in some cilantro chutney!

Spicy French Toast

This spicy version of french toast is a favorite snack of mine. Sometimes I aerve it for breakfast or as a mini meal. Mom used to serve us this quick, tasty dish pretty often. It's a great snack to make for kids, when they get a snack attack after school. It's quick, easy, healthy, nutritious and most of the ingredients are easily available in the pantry. Unlike the sweet version, this french toast has a little kick to it. I wager that you will find this toast really delicious and will have a hard time stopping at one slice :).

Serves 2

4 slices of white or brown bread (use your favorite kind)
2-3 eggs - beaten
A splash of milk
A pinch of turmeric
A pinch of ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder (use paprika for less spicy)
1 green chilli chopped (optional)
1 onion, finely chopped
salt to taste
a pinch of sugar (optional)
a few cilantro leaves
One teaspoon of oil or butter

Heat oil or butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Pour the eggs into a shallow wide bowl. Add the milk, turmeric, chopped chillis, chilli powder, cilantro, salt and sugar to the beaten eggs and wisk lightly with a fork. With a pair of tongs, take a slice of bread and soak both sides with the egg mixture making sure that every inch of the bread is covered. Transfer the slice of bread into the hot oil in the frying pan. Fry on both sides until golden brown and crispy. Cut into triangles, and serve with tomato ketchup or your favorite dip.

Authors Note:
You can easily use egg beaters in this recipe, to make it healthier - and cooking spray may be used instead of oil or butter - however, make sure that you use a non-stick frying pan if you do.

Lemon Rice

This Lemon rice is a favorite in my home. My hubby loves it, and he prefers to add peanuts instead of the cashew nuts indicated below. We eat it with all kinds of curry's or even on its own with salad. But you can serve it with just about any dish. Try it with a steak or with steamed veggies. Serve alone with raita (salad in a yogurt dressing) or try serving this rice with a fajita or tacos instead of Spanish rice.
Serves 4
1 1/2 cups cooked long grain rice
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp split black gram (optional)
1" piece of ginger, chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Juice of 2 limes or 2 sprigs of lemon grass (ground to a paste)
3-5 green or red chillis
fresh cilantro
5-10 cashew nuts

Heat oil in a wok, and add split black gram (if using). When they turn nearly golden, add the mustard seeds. When they start sputtering, add the turmeric powder, ginger, green chillies and cashew nuts. fry a little and then turn off the heat. Add all the rice, and mix well. Add the lime juice and salt, then mix again. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Authors Note:
Split black gram can be found in most any grocery store or Asian store. You do not need to add this, however, it adds a nice crunch and texture to the Lemon rice. You can add peas, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus or your own favorite veggies to this rice, and make it a one meal deal.


My mother is a fabulous cook. She is the type of mother who believes in feeding up her family. She could never eat dinner herself until we were all home, and had finished eating. Even now, when my sisters and I are all grown and married, she still worries about whether we are all eating properly. I feel terrible when I think of all the times that my sisters and I should have been helping her in the kitchen, but thought up all kinds of excuses not to!
Most of the dishes I cook up today - mom taught me to make, but try as I may, they just don't taste as good. There was no such thing as dieting in my mom's home...mom disliked dieting - she preached portion control - which was very difficult to keep to, when confronted with the mouth watering, calorie laden dishes she placed in front of me. Unfortunately for me, I was always struggling with my weight and my more serious diet binges resulted in disapproval and arguments, which led me to sneak out of the house to skip lunch: 'cause I knew that once I sat at the table, all my good intentions would be 'gone with the aroma'... and it would completely blow my diet off track. I had great willpower in those days... these days when I have no one to oppose my dieting, I just can't keep it up... hmmm... that is probably nature's way of punishing me for giving mom all that trouble :)
Shrimp or Prawn Risotto is a particular favorite recipe of mine, and mom would make it often for me and my sister. It is called prawn pulao in India, and is usually served with salad mixed in yogurt called Raita.
It is a classic and needs no accompaniments. Just a little salad, and presto! A meal fit for a queen! And the best thing is, its quick and simple to make. A one pot dish. Try it for yourself:

Serves 4
20-15 small shrimp shelled, cleaned and de-veined.
2 cups white basmati rice
4 cups of water or chicken broth
1 large or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, chopped (optional)
1 cup peas (optional)
4-5 garlic flakes, chopped
1/2" piece of ginger, chopped
2-3 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 whole cardamoms
2-3 pepper pods
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1-2 tsp chilli powder or to taste
2-3 tbsp canola oil
salt to taste
handful of cilantro and roasted cashew nuts to garnish

Soak the rice for 1/2 an hour. Marinate the shrimp with turmeric and salt and set aside in the refrigerator. In a pan add oil and heat on medium. When well heated, add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper and bay leaves. Now add the chopped onions, ginger and garlic and fry for 10 -15 seconds. If using tomatoes, add now and fry for a few minutes. Add the turmeric, chilli and garam masala powders and fry for another 30 seconds. Add water or broth, and cook until the rice is done. fluff with a fork, and cilantro and roasted cashews to garnish if desired.

Authors Note:
You will find that a yogurt Raita is particularly tasty with this dish. Just mix together - finely chopped tomato, cucumber, carrot, beetroot and onion (or any combination of veggies that you like). Add yogurt, a little sugar, and salt to taste, then garnish with chopped cilantro. I find that this dish tastes best when it is served immediately.

Cilantro Chutney

Chutney is a term for a class of spicy preparations used as an accompaniment for the main dish. Chutneys contain spices and vegetables that complement one another.
They are usually slightly wet, having a coarse to fine texture. Both fresh and pickled forms of chutneys can be made. Generally, fresh chutneys do not contain any preservatives, and are supposed to be consumed immediately, while pickled forms tend to use a little oil or vinegar as preservatives.
In the olden days, Chutneys were ground with a mortar and pestle made of stone. However,the electric blender has now replaced the stone mortar. Originating in India, chutney was imported from India to Western Europe in the 17th century. European reproductions of chutney were often called "mangoed" fruits and vegetables, due to the fact that the mango is a common fruit used to make chutney. The word chutney is derived from the Hindi word 'Chatni'. The Hindi word for "to crush" literally means "to make chutney." This signifies the process by which chutney is made; often the ingredients are crushed together with a stone.

Like jams and jellies, chutney can be chunky or smooth. In India, spicy chutney is served with many dishes and often with pancakes. meats and vegetables. Sweet chutney is a pleasant addition to bread or crackers and cheese, and can serve as a snack or small meal.
Some of the more popular ingredients for chutney, in addition to mangoes, are limes, apples, peaches, plums, apricots, tomatoes, lemons and even coconut. Additional spices may include cloves, garlic, cilantro, mustard, cinnamon, ginger, chillis, tamarind and mint. Chutney is so diverse that it can be made with only a few of these ingredients or several, to make a variety of flavors and styles.

Cilantro Chutney makes a versatile dip or spread. It can also be stuffed or spread on meat and vegetables before cooking. It is very healthy and low in calories. I like to spread it on veggie sandwiches, burgers and wraps, and use it as a dip with pancakes and rice cakes, tandoori chicken or chips. This is a truly versatile sauce and can be used in so many ways as a healthy alternative.

Makes about 1 cup

1 bunch fresh washed green cilantro leaves
2-3 Thai or cayenne green chilies,
2-3 large garlic cloves,
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
½ onion chopped (optional)
the juice of ½ a lime
a little water
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar

In a blender, blend all ingredients to a fine puree. Add a little water if required, to help the blending process - making sure not make too wet. The chutney should be puree like in consistency, not watery. Refrigerate and use immediately. The chutney tastes best fresh but will last for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Authors Note:
1 bunch of Mint leaves can be substituted for the cilantro leaves or a combination of both mint and cilantro can be used. Add more sugar or lime juice to combat the spiciness if needed. To use as a spread, the chutney should be dry in consistency (to avoid soggy sandwiches) and to use as a dip, the chutney should be like a puree - so only add water as needed.


Cumin is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to East India. The English "cumin" derives from the French "cumin", which was borrowed indirectly from Arabic 'Kammūn' via Spanish 'comino' during the Arab rule in Spain in the 15th century.
The spice is native to Arabic-speaking Syria where cumin thrives in its hot and arid lands. Cumin seeds have been found in some ancient Syrian archaeological sites. The word found its way from Syria to neighbouring Turkey and nearby Greece most likely before it found its way to Spain. In Northern India and Nepal, cumin is known as 'jeera' or 'jira', while in Iran and Pakistan it is known as 'zeera'. Cumin is hotter to the taste, lighter in colour, and larger than caraway or the fennel seed - spices that are sometimes confused with it. The seeds come in three colors: amber, white or black. Amber is most widely available, but the black has such a complex flavor it should not be substituted for the other two. Cumin is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern, Asian, Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines, and is one of the main ingredients in garam masala powder (Also called curry powder in the US).
This recipe is fragrant and tasty. Try serving the rice with a meat curry or chickpea stew!

Cumin Rice:
Serves 2-3

1 cup basmati rice (wash and drain)
pinch of turmeric (optional)
1.5 cups water
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 minced or thinly sliced onion
1-2 green chillis slit (thai or jalapeno)
1 bay leaf
3 whole cloves
1/2 " whole Cinnamon stick
1 tsp canola or olive oil
8 - 10 cashew nuts
Salt to taste
A handful of Cilantro leaves
lime juice (optional)

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon and cumin seeds, and turmeric (if using) & fry for few seconds. Stir in the onions and green chilli and saute until the onions are transparent.
Add the rice, water and salt, and mix well. After it comes to a boil, cover the saucepan with a lid and cook on low until the rice is done. Fluff the cumin rice with a fork and garnish with roasted cashews and cilantro leaves, and squeeze some lime juice over before serving.

Authors Note:
If you do not want to chew the whole spices while you eat, take them out before you serve the rice. however, keep in mind that they must be fried before the rice is added, so don't try the little muslin bag trick. Serve hot with a curry or meat stew.

Shepherds Pie

Shepherd's Pie is a layered, British casserole made with ground lamb, (shepherds tended the sheep)mixed with vegetables and topped with mashed potatoes. The dish was traditionally made on Monday, with Sunday's leftover roast lamb. In America, beef is commonly used in a shepherds pie, but the British would actually call this a cottage pie. It is one of my favorite British foods, and I can fondly remember that it was served very regularly for lunch at school -when I lived in England. English schools serve their student's full formal sit-down meals (they had to be paid for but were heavily subsidized) which were so much better than the cafeteria fare available in today's American schools! I really wish my son had access to these kind of lunches today! All the children would regularly check the menu each morning to see what was going to be served for lunch. The older students served the younger ones at the table, and made sure that they ate their lunch - and it was always nice to be a server, 'cause it meant more food for you (most of the little ones didn't eat that much! LOL).

This delicious Shepherds Pie recipe is my variation of the classic British favorite. It is made with chicken and has lots of carrots, peas and red and green pepper pieces that add flavor to the ground chicken or beef. Believe me, you can leave out the vegetables if you like, and this dish will be equally delicious (serve veggies on the side). Top it with mashed potatoes and breadcrumbs and bake until browned.

Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs ground chicken
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1/2 cup diced green & red peppers
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup carrots(optional)
1 medium tomato (optional)
3 hot green chillies (optional)
1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 large)
2-3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp black pepper powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 cup chicken stock/broth or water
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
handful of fresh cilantro to garnish (optional)
Salt to taste
Peel and quarter the potatoes and boil in salted water until tender.
While the potatoes are cooking add 2-3 tbsp of canola oil to a shallow pan and add onions, carrots and ginger/garlic pastes. sauté over medium heat until tender. If adding tomatoes add them now and cook until soft. Add green chillies, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, pepper powder, chilli powder and garam masala powder, mix well. Add ground chicken and saute for a few minutes. Add the peas and peppers, and saute. Add half a cup of chicken broth or water, and cook, uncovered over low heat for 8-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through, adding more chicken broth as necessary to keep moist (not wet). mix in the fresh cilantro now, if using.
Mash potatoes in bowl with 1 tbsp of butter, season to taste.
Place chicken in a baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top and even with a fork. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top.
Author's Note:
The breadcrumbs on top add crispiness, color and texture to the mashed potatoes after the baking process, however, this dish can be made without breadcrumbs - or with shredded cheese on top instead. All the spices used are available in any Asian store, however, McCormick does carry many of the spices too.

Peas 'n' Potatoes

One of the first dishes I learned from my mother was Aaloo Mattar or Peas 'n' Potatoes. This delicious potato and pea gravy is a staple in South Asia. You will find this dish in most all Indian Restaurants and it can be eaten with Rice or bread. It is nutritious and easy to make.


1-2 tbsp canola or olive oil
1 large onions,finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste(optional)
1 bay leaf
1 large potato, boiled, peeled and chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup tomato puree or 1 small tomato chopped(optional)
2 teaspoons garam masala or curry powder
1 teaspoons chilli powder or paprika
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a shallow pan or wok, over medium heat. Stir in the onions, ginger garlic paste, and bay leaf, and cook until the onions are tender. Mix in the potatoes and peas. Cover and cook until about 10 minutes till peas are tender (less if using tinned or frozen peas). Remove the bay leaf if you like. If using, now stir in tomato puree or chopped tomato, garam masala or curry powder, chilli powder or paprika, sugar, and salt into the vegetable mixture. Continue cooking, covered for about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Authors note:
Try this dish with steamed white rice, roll it up in a wrap, or sandwich between two slices of toast. This vegan dish is really easy to make and very quick!

HASH BROWNS...with a difference! (Aaloo Sabji)

A potato by any other name would still taste like a potato and we still wouldn't be able to live without it! Or at least I couldn't. Potatoes can be cooked in so many different ways and are so versatile! They can be grilled, fried, pureed, mashed, boiled, roasted, baked.... and each time
the end result tastes different!

Tonight I made my dad's favorite dish in the world....Hash Browns.. with a difference! These aren't just ordinary hash browns. Oh no! These are a delicious, I-dare-you-to-stop-eating-them , kind of hash browns! Traditionally, mom served them to us with Rice or Chapattis, which is how they are eaten in India and the dish is called batata bhaji (potato vegetable dish). However, try them as you would traditional hash browns - under fried or scrambled eggs, in wraps, in toasted sandwiches - and you will taste the difference! The recipe is extremely simple and very quick to make.

Serves 3-4

5-6 medium Potatoes, diced
2 tbsp Canola or olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala (optional)
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
6 Curry Leaves
1 tbsp Red Chilli Powder (to taste)
Salt to taste
Cilantro leaves to garnish (optional)

In a shallow pan or large frying pan, heat oil on high. When oil is hot(check by dropping a few mustard seeds-when they pop, oil is hot)add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Next add the curry leaves, Asafoetida,turmeric powder and sizzle. Add potatoes, mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes,covered. Now add the chilli powder and the garam masala powder and mix. Cook covered for about 10 mins on med-low heat. Take off the cover and check to see if potato is cooked. Cook uncovered on medium-low,for another 10-15 minutes, turning every now and then to prevent burning, until the potatoes are crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside! Enjoy!

Authors Note:v
These hash browns can be made with green chillis (to taste) substituting the red chilli powder, and although this is delicious too, I find the chilli powder recipe adds more flavor to the hash browns. Traditionally batata bhaji is made with goda masala, a sweeter kind of garam masala, which is hard to find in the US, but I find this recipe turns out very well even with the more easily available garam masala, or without any masala at all. Again, all the ingredients are available in Indian or Asian stores - and some supermarkets carry them as well.


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