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Kahani

Kahani

Hello there !

This is nive.Author/web master of handful of joy.I am SAHM of two wonderful kiddos,wife of a Godly and very hardworking husband and above all the child of God,Christ is my savior.

If you are wondering about the title of this page,let me tell you,writing an ‘about’ page is quite a task,so I procrastinated and postponed it for long.’Kahani’ is hindi for ‘story‘.Say it like (k-ha-ni).

I have been always interested in food,who isn’t?Over the years,it became more than an interest,my passion to know more about what I am putting in my plate and what I am serving to my family everyday on the table.I have become more curious,conscious and attentive towards the journey food makes in order to end up in my mouth.Cultural aspect of the food attracts me.I find it very fascinating that how some food has so many different names and nationality though they shares very similar identities even though probably prepared very differently across the globe.

I am certainly not a picky eater.However like my mom always says,you eat first with your eyes, definitely plays the vital role in what I will try and what I will leave out if served  on table in assortment.The word ‘hate‘ is too strong of a word for ‘food’ in my vocab.Being said that,some are my favs and some I would not try second time,unless of course I am left in deserted island with that one food or die !Only time I would turn down the food completely is if it is uncooked or  too salty or charred and burnt beyond recognition or I  am being served the meat I do not eat.I eat only chicken/turkey and very selective sea food,so that is what i cook.

I am not good in creating recipes in my kitchen out of blue,though I certainly try time to time !My food is deeply influenced by my Indian heritage,my mom’s cooking,place I grew up, moved around,visited, live and the food shows I watch of course !

I am not always good in copycat the recipe verbatim  while cooking.I find the practice monotonous,limiting and not fun.So I  often end up tweaking the original recipe,many times in order to improvise with what I have in pantry for the lack of original ingredient asked for and sometime just to take a chance and see what comes out of it.I am also averse to measuring and I think it is because I  never saw my mom,grandma or anyone I know of growing up  measuring while cooking  everyday meal and yet they always served the best tasting food.Indians don’t measure in general,dare i say it.I have gotten better at eyeballing over the time.When I am not following someone’s recipe,I work in reverse order for the site

  • I note down how much I added “approximately” in the notepad as i cook, just to give you some idea.So my recipes are not exact,there is a room left for your imagination:-)

After coming to US,I have gotten my hands on baking.I am not an avid baker and you can say it is partially because of my dislike for measuring.But since I enjoy those baked goodies so much that I do take a pain to measure it and follow the recipe verbatim ,quite contrary to cooking ha ! So my kitchen philosophy in short would be something like

Baking is science,i follow the empirical formula i am presented with but cooking is an art.Spices and condiments are the colors.There are hardly rules which can not be tinker with your imagination when it comes to cooking.So add little bit of your imagination in your ingredient list,just don’t forget the love.

Since I am not an original recipe creator most of the time,I would link to the site of that amazing recipe creator,if there is a site.Else,I will mention the source I took it from.I would love the reciprocation if there is anything which I made and if you liked.All food Pictures are taken by me,if its prepared by me.They are not great looking,cutting edge food photography standard astonishing pictures but they are all mine !


My family and friends share some of their food passion here too.You will get the glimpse of the food prepared where they are,different country and surrounding.

I would love the comments/feedbacks if you have anything to say about,please don’t hesitate.So keep browsing.You may find something you like to serve on your table !!!Thank you for stopping by.

‘b’ is for bunny

Posted by on Sep 13, 2012 in Alpha-lunch, Kids Lunch | 0 comments

‘b’ is for bunny

So today i packed my sweet little love  ‘b’ lunch which i am hoping gets A+ from her.Love the Dollar section Target steal lunch box.

  • Peanut butter and strawberry Jelly sandwich cut in bunny shapes,(do they have scary eyes?Wished Wilton made smaller eyes or Walmart carried one)
  • Turkey on sticks
  • White cheddar crackers
  • Clementine Orange 

Shrimp and Broccoli

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in NonVeg | 0 comments

Shrimp and Broccoli

By this time,you must have gotten an idea that we are big on shrimp in our house,next only to chicken.So to break the chicken rut,i wanted to try something different.Since our meat choices are very limited(really 1-may be 2),i decided on shrimp.Quick cook.I noticed broccoli when i was taking the shrimp out.

My husband loves shrimp with Broccoli from one of our favourite Chinese restaurant.

  • I think of Broccoli as green cousin of cauliflower.Certainly it took getting used to in my part,we didn’t had them growing up.So i am still partial towards cauliflower.
  • Broccoli,they  serve in restaurant is crunchy,not mushy,which my husband and I don’t mind.But for home,i cooked it little more.Our 3 year old boy is big on Broccoli.
  • Soy sauce is salty,so taste before you add more salt.
Veg Fried Rice | handfulofjoy.com

Veg Fried Rice | handfulofjoy.com

  • I do not throw  the Broccoli stem.It has lots of good stuff.I snip the bottom 2 inches,which are hard and use the rest.I added that in fried rice.
  • I served this dish with Fried rice,which is best prepared with day old rice.Since i am not that much of menu planner,i didn’t had leftover rice.So i took the hot rice out in a plate ,spread it out and stick in a freezer for couple of minutes.It works fine.
Shrimp and Broccoli | handfulofjoy.com

Shrimp and Broccoli | handfulofjoy.com

Shrimp and Broccoli

Ingredients

  1. 1-1/2 cup deveined small shrimp
  2. 1 cup Broccoli florets
  3. 1 Onion
  4. 1 clove of garlic
  5. Chili flakes(optional)
  6. 1 tablespoon corn starch
  7. 1/2-3/4 cup water
  8. Oil
  9. salt and pepper
  10. Marinade
  11. Grated ginger
  12. splash of sweet rice wine vinegar
  13. 2 Tablespoons Soy sauce
  14. Fried rice
  15. 1 cup mixed veggies(broccoli,onion,carrot, celery)
  16. 2 cups cooked rice(white or brown,short grain preferably)
  17. Splash of Soy sauce
  18. Sesame oil for drizzle

Instructions

  1. Marinade the shrimp while sauteing veggies.
  2. In pan,heat oil.
  3. Add onion and stir it until slightly translucent.
  4. Add Broccoli and garlic.Stir
  5. Add shrimp.
  6. Stir it for 30 second.
  7. Add water and cornstarch mixture.
  8. Let is come to boil and simmer it down until desired consistency is reached.4-5 minutes.
  9. Fried rice
  10. Saute the veggies in oil.
  11. Add splash of soy sauce.
  12. Add cooled rice and mix it well.
  13. Turn it off.
  14. Add a drizzle of sesame oil,mix it again.
  15. Enjoy !
http://www.handfulofjoy.com/shrimp-and-broccoli/

‘a’ for Apple

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in Alpha-lunch, Kids Lunch | 0 comments

‘a’ for Apple

My daughter’s kinder class is lerning phonics,vowels,lowercase alphabets..They are doing worksheets of ‘a’s.So i packed A-bbilicious lunch for her today.

I asked her if she wants sandwich or rice and beans for her lunch.Her response was Turkey and cheese sandwich but we are out of meat and jelly sandwich was her choice.She preferred rice and beans over it.Not surprising.She is my rice loving daughter.

a-licous sides

a-licous sides

I am little anxious to know how it goes.I packed it in funtainer and i hope she is able to open it without any help.They are very particular about lunchbox which kids can open by themselves and rightly so.Imagine if every kid needs help opening their box.

  • Leftover Rice and pinto beans with chicken in funtainer.
  • Honey roasted cashews with dried cranberries
  • Apple slices with grapes
  • White Cheddar cheese square.
a-bblicious lunch | Handfulofjoy.com

a-bblicious lunch | Handfulofjoy.com

Gobi(cauliflower) roast with Roti

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012 in Bread, Veggies | 0 comments

Gobi(cauliflower) roast with Roti

‘Gobi’..’Roti’..its Greek…errr Hindi to me?

‘Gobi’ is Hindi for cauliflower.So the dish is,roasted cauliflower with tortilla.Lets talk about both individually.

Gobi-Cauliflower : It was and still is one of my favorite vegetable.It surprises me every time when i hear someone saying,they don’t like cauliflower.I always think,it is probably because,they have tasted it from the veggie platter with ranch dip more often then any other way. Seriously?Raw?Really?I will save the adjectives.

Cauliflower roasted | handfulofjoy.com

Cauliflower roasted | handfulofjoy.com

Wish they had tasted my mom’s  ‘Aloo Gobi Dum’ with ‘Poori’.Heaven.She prepared it every year on Jan 14 or Jan 15th,during the festival of ‘Makar Sankranti’.A time of transition.Harvest season in many part of India,moving from winter to spring,as sun moves from one zodiac sign,Saggitarius to Capricorn(Makar).You get the idea.It is HUGE in India among Hindus.

Anyway,making ‘Aloo Gobi Dum'<Spicy dish of Potato,cauliflower and peas in thick gravy>is too much work.Aloo-gobi bhujiya (matchsticks potato and thinly sliced cauliflower sauted )is my next favourite.But since i am lazy,since i do not like cleaning dishes and standing by the stove all that much,i resort to roasting in oven.It still tastes great.

Gobi with Roti

Gobi with Roti

Gobi Fry

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 head of medium size cauliflower cut in florets
  2. Oil
  3. salt and pepper
  4. Seasonings
  5. 1-1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin
  6. Chili flakes
  7. 2 Teaspoon Paprika
  8. Turmeric to sprinkle

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven at 425F.
  2. In a baking dish,arrange the florets.Don't overcrowd.
  3. Sprinkle the seasoning to cover all the florets.You can also use seasoning mix of your choice instead of individual seasoning spices.
  4. Add oil,salt and pepper.
  5. Roast at 425F for first 20 mins.
  6. Lower the temperature down to 375F and roast it covered for another 20 mins.
  7. Let it cool.
  8. Enjoy .

Notes

You can use equivalent amount of curry powder to spice it up,Make sure every floret is well coated.

http://www.handfulofjoy.com/gobi-fry-with-roti/

 

Roti – Believe it or not,ROTI was the bigger story of the night i made the roasted cauliflower.Why?I had the eureka moment with ‘Roti’ for the first time using the flour available here.It looked and tasted very close to what i would have tasted back home.My mom would have been proud.

Guess what, i also realize it was not trouble,it was not too time taking and it was worth the effort.So yes,i am ready to bargain for 2-4 ingredients ‘Roti’ for 20 hard to read,unrecognizable ingredients, store bought tortilla by spending 30 minutes in the kitchen and 30 minutes less time surfing internet for nothing.I can handle that.Can you say,i am so excited.

Roti

Roti

Roti 

1-1/2 Whole wheat white flour
1/2 cup bread flour
3 tablespoons oil
3/4 cup milk,add water if needed.

Follow the instruction here to make Roti.

You must have noticed that i added oil and milk to it.Thats because i was trying to make ‘Roomali’ Roti ,story for another post,but ended up making ‘Roti’.By the way,dough kneaded using milk makes softer Roti then the one which uses water.

I have tried making Roti here using Indian Chapati flour,different brand of flour,whole wheat flour(red),all purpose flour.None of it came close to what i have been accustomed to India.I remember the flour which my mom used,freshly milled.I remember it being fine and white but not too white,had wheat germs but not coarse.It was very fine and i can now say,it closely resembled to Whole wheat white flour or pastry flour,very very fine and it made fluffiest ‘Roti’.

‘d’ is for dinosaur

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012 in Alpha-lunch, Kids Lunch | 0 comments

‘d’ is for dinosaur

Today i packed my kids lunch with leftovers i had which i know they liked.Tacos !! I asked my son,what shape he would like for today,his answer was dinosaur, so he got

  • Chicken and cheese quesadilla cut in dinosaurs shapes
  • Orange and grapes
  • Animal crackers which he loves
And for my daughter
Bean and cheese taco

Bean and cheese taco

  • Bean and cheese taco
  • Tortilla chips
  • leftover chicken and red peppers skewered
  • Smiley Mr Clementine and grapes

Whole Wheat carrot cupcake

Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 in Dessert | 1 comment

Whole Wheat carrot cupcake

Do you know what is the perk of living in consistent 90F-100F weather?

You get to enjoy the pool longer.

Yesterday we were invited to informal kick off for upcoming small group reading with a pool party. Hot Dogs, sausages, watermelon, chips,veggie tray and assortment of dessert were the part of the deliciously wet  party.We had trouble getting up this morning for the school after all that fun we had last evening 🙂

I had been thinking of making carrot cake for ages,so during my last grocery trip,i had bought some carrots.I thought this will be a great time to make these cupcakes,i can use some taste testers :-)My husband cringe at the thought of making something new for the group of people,but i am ALWAYS  the first taste tester and he is the second one, with plan B of chips and salsa,if testing fails !

carrot cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

carrot cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

I decided on this recipe with minor adaptations.Since it was eaten quickly by us and friends,i would give it a green light for future !

  • It asks for applesauce which would have been my choice but my applesauce were frozen,so i increased the amount of sugar by 1/4 cup.Cupcakes were very mildly sweet.We like it that way.
  • I did not had ground cardamom and cloves,i keep them whole.So i just ground 3 cloves and 5-6 cardamom in mortar pestle to get the powder.Cupcakes had sweet and spicy fragrant,very much like carrot cake.
  • I was concerned about the olive oil /grapeseed oil smell in cupcakes ,so i just used regular vegetable oil.
  • Would have loved to add flax seeds but didn’t had in hand.
  • Turbinado sugar works fine.

Whole Wheat carrot cupcake

Ingredients

    Dry Ingredients
  1. 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  6. 1 teaspoon cardamom
  7. 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  8. 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  9. Wet Ingredients
  10. 1 cup vegetable oil
  11. 3/4 cup Coconut sugar
  12. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  13. 4 eggs
  14. 2 cups grated/food processor chopped carrots
  15. Frosting for (12 cupcakes)
  16. 12 Oz cream cheese room temp
  17. 1/2 stick of butter
  18. 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven at 350F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in bowl.
  3. Beat eggs and add rest of the wet ingredients in another bowl.
  4. Add dry mix to the wet.Stir it well.
  5. Line up two set of muffin pan with cupcake liner.
  6. Scoop out the cupcake mix using ice cream scoop and fill 3/4 of the cupcake liner.
  7. Bake for 17-20 mins,until tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Let it cool completely.
  9. While cupcakes are cooling,beat the frosting ingredients.
  10. Once cupcake are completely cooled,frost away !
  11. Enjoy !
http://www.handfulofjoy.com/whole-wheat-carrot-cupcake/

‘c’ is for cupcake

Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 in Alpha-lunch, Kids Lunch | 0 comments

‘c’ is for cupcake

Yes,i packed cupcake for lunch this morning for our little girl.It is not rich,too sweet  and nutty like the carrot cakes  i have tasted but it is still a cupcake,i know 🙂 .

Today also stars the third week of kinder.I was out of meat this morning and had a slice of bread left.This is what i packed in her lunch today.

  • PBJ roll ups
  • Alphabet pretzels
  • Strawberry and grapes skewered(She loves her food on sticks !)
  • Whole wheat carrot cupcake with no frosting.My girl does not care for frosting much(must be a stage).

Plum Chutney

Posted by on Sep 9, 2012 in Condiments, Indian | 0 comments

Plum Chutney

Have you canned before?

My answer to this question would have been NO a while ago but now i can say i canned and it worked.Yippie!!! Canning intimidates me.Just the process of sanitizing and vacuum sealing seems like lot of work.In this case, i had to wait for a day to find out if my canning worked or not.Phew.Glad it was successful.

Plum Chutney

Plum Chutney

So what did i can?

Plum Chutney

I had been to one of those regular grocery trip and noticed that plums were on sale.With no plan of what i am going to do with bulk plum ,i bought it anyway.It stayed in my refrigerator for couple of days and then i decided why not make a chutney out of it.The way,my parents do it using Panch forun.

This is quintessential Indian chutney.By that i mean,it is spicy,sweet and sour all at the same time.You will smell the curry leaves and fennel seeds as you dip your chips in it.

I lacked one of the ingredients for ‘paanch foron’,so i would call it ‘Char Foron’ (4 spices) which were  : cumin, fennel, fenugreek seeds,mustard seeds.Though,my parents do not use curry leaves,i blended North and South and added curry leves to the seasoning .

My sister was visiting us that time,so I let my sister prepare it.This is how she did it.It made 1-1/2 cup of chutney.So i canned it 2 (6 Oz) jars and 1 (4 Oz) jar with it.

Plum Chutney

Plum Chutney

Plum Chutney

Yield: 1-1/2 cups

Ingredients

  1. 6-7 plums cut in pieces,seeds out
  2. 2 Tablspoon oil
  3. 2 Tablespoon Turbinado sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. Seasoning
  6. 1/4 teaspoon each of Cumin,Fennel, Fenugreek seeds, Black Mustard seeds
  7. 5-6 dry curry leaves
  8. 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in pan.
  2. Add seasoning spices.
  3. When it starts spluttering,add cut plums.
  4. Once it starts breaking down little,add salt and sugar.
  5. Keep cooking until plums are mashed up to thick consistency.
  6. Taste it and see if you need to adjust sugar or salt.
  7. Let it cool.
  8. Enjoy with samosa and paratha or any thing where you use ketchup.
http://www.handfulofjoy.com/plum-chutney/

Kinder flower

Posted by on Sep 6, 2012 in Kids Lunch | 0 comments

Kinder flower

Lunch i packed for my Ms Kinder today.Tomorrow i will let her enjoy fun friday pizza lunch at cafeteria with ice cream snack.

  • Heart/flower shaped PBJ sandwich
  • Alphabets pretzels
  • Strawberry and grapes
  • Cheese stick(which i was informed is not liked,so sadly it will make only occasional appearance  from now on)

First day Prek

Posted by on Sep 6, 2012 in Kids Lunch | 0 comments

First day Prek

Today our boy started second year of  preschool.He is going through  transition from being at home with me to the school.From playing by himself to  being in a company of bunch of other kids of his age.So i sent him off with this lunch.It came back empty,with the exception of orange(I do overstuff the lunch and give him the option to pick and choose :-))

  • Spaceship cut PBJ sandwich
  • Grapes and blueberries cup
  • Alphabets pretzels
  • Clementine Orange(Used wilton foodwriter to draw the face)