Tofu Bean Curd Makhani



Photo Courtesy Little Blue Hen

Nowadays all types of Tofu are available on the market, both fresh and processed.The coagulant used  to curdle the soya milk to make fresh tofu is what makes the difference in the final product.

Making tofu is similiar to makiing paneer and you can use lime juice or vinegar to curdle the milk though this gives it a slightly sour taste and this type of tofu does not lend itself well to making sweet dishes.

Fresh Tofu should always be kept underwater in the fridge and should be used within a few days or it  will get cloudy and slimy.

Our local make is a little dry as compared to the "Silken Tofu" from Japan but it works well for Indian style dishes.Here is a nice recipe for all vegetarians wondering how to dress up their weekly dose of Tofu.

Perhaps the heaviness of the Makhan is offset by the healthiness of the Tofu....


250 gms tofu

1/4 cup soy curd

1 tsp ginger paste

1 tsp garlic paste

1 tsp salt

2 tsp red chilli powder.

450 gms tomato

2 cups water

3 cloves/ lavang

3 cardamom/ elaichi

1 " stick cinnamon/ dalchini

1 tsp oil

1/2  tsp turmeric/ haldi

1 tsp cumin /jeera powder

1 tsp coriander /dhania powder

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup cream

1 1/2 tsp dried mathi leaves / kasoori methi

1 tsp sugar



Mix the beaten soy curd with half of the ginger and garlic paste, the red chilli powder and salt .Cut the Tofu into cubes and mix with the curds. Stand for 15 minutes. Shallow fry the pieces in hot oil till slightly brown on the surface.

Cook the tomato in two cups of water along with the clovesm cinnamon and cardamon.

Put into a blender and make tomato pulp of it.

Heat the oil and fry the tomato puree till it reduces and the oil seperates.Add the rest of the ginger and garlic paste and fry for a couple of minutes.Add the cumin and corainder powder, the red chilli powder and the turmeric and fry for another minute.

Add water to make a thick gravy. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes to let the flavours mingle. Now add the butter, cream and kasuri methi. Add th e sugar and the tofu and let it simmer on a low fire for another 5 minutes.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and strips of fresh ginger.

Wonderful with roti.

Do not plan on eating another meal for the next 12 hours!

Karanji- Maharashtrian Diwali Sweets


Mama's Karanji recipe

It is that time of year again.Curtains are being washed, cupboards organised, long forgotten corners swept clean and ceilings brushed. New clothes are bought and stocks of diyas inspected while paper thin layers of cotton are rolled to make wicks. Pungent bottles of mustard oil are stocked up, ready to fill the diyas for the the first day of Diwali.

Besides the traditional meaning of the festival, the victory of good over evil and light over darkness, the beginning of a New Year, a prayer for the forces of light, prosperity and wisdom to enter our lives, it is , for me, a remembrance of time past, of family and ancestors with whom we each have celebrated this glorious season.

One way to do that is through food ofcourse.

For us Diwali sweets mean just three of the best, all made in the old way like my mother made them. Her recipe and old notebook are pictured above. The Old Way is labour intensive and there's the joy, as it's a labour of love.

The kitchen staff ( me) goes into high gear. First a mixture of coriander seeds and jaggery makes the Naivedya , an offering to the Gods.Then out comes all the paraphernalia for "The Making of the Sweets".

The ghee, the gehu, the copra, the coconut, dried fruits, spices and sugar, sugar, sugar. There is nothing like cooking in quantity  that brings about a complete sense of  abundance and satisfaction.

The cornucopia of ingredients are  ground,roasted, fried, stirred and fashioned into delicately garnished sweets. These are packed away in large boxes for the five wonderful days to come, when family arrive and lamps are lit  and we worship together for new beginnings with a glance over our shoulders to those who taught us all these things.


My Mothers recipe for Karanji-



1/2 fresh coconut ,grated

1/4 cup sugar, powdered

1/4 cup almonds, powdered

8 elaichi / cardamom, powdered.

Mix all these ingredients and saute in a heavy bottomed pan or kadhai till all the moisture from the fresh coconut has dried up.


1 cup flour

1/4 cup suji / semolina

1 tbs ghee

Salt to taste

Mix these ingredients and add water to make a dough.Knead the dough. Divide into 14 pieces. Roll out to make 3 " circles. Hold the circle in one hand and fill with a tablespoon of the filling.Fold over and seal the edges with a bit of water.

Deep fry in hot ghee.

Double , triple or quadruple the quantity depending on the number you want.

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Arrabiata with Mince and Margherite


 Italian food is so much more than pasta and pizza.

Pasta actually is served as the Primi Piatti, the first course . It comes after the antipasti which are appetizers,

Then there is much more on the menu. The Secondi or Main course, usually a meat or fish dish, along with Contorni which are side dishes and vegetables. Then follows the Dolci or dessert  and ending with  coffee or liqueur.

It is possible to eat Italian food for a month and not touch pasta or pizza.

In India we seem to have taken those two forms of food to heart and pasta is now on the menu in every little resturant offering MULTI CUISINE. This means," Indian, tandoori, Punjabi, Chinese, Thai ,Continental" and now Italian.

We tend to cook pasta as the main dish with the addition of meat and veg in the sauce. Here is an Arrabiata made "angrier' with the addition of green chillies.


Serves 4-6


400 gms Margherite

500 gms mince

2 tbs olive oil

4 garlic minced

1 green or red chilli

4 tomatoes

200 ml tomato paste

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1 tbs basil leaves torn

2 tbs Grated Parmesan ( optional)


Heat the olive oil and saute the garlic, chopped chilli and onions till soft.Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till all the juice has come out. Add the mince and cook, stirring frequently till brown, about 5 minutes. Now add the dried herbs, the tomato paste  and the basil.Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Check the liquid level and top up with 1/3 cup water if necessary.

Cook the pasta in salted water for 14 minutes and drain.

Spoon over a generous amount of the Mince Arrabiata, grate some cheese on top and serve hot.