Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Season's best wishes to all of you from our kitchen at Ginger & Garlic! May the new year bring us all peace and happiness and get us closer to achieving our dreams, big and small :)

Here is to wishing all of you lots of delicious cooking, eating and love to spread this season...

Here is a Christmas fruit tree I prepared many years ago which still continues to be a huge reader's favorite after so many years.. super easy and always gets the oohs and aahs and wows whichever Christmas party it goes... enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Vegetable Biryani

Biryani is like the ultimate rich comfort yet classy food for us. It is also a dish I feel is made for potlucks and get togethers. It travels well and is made to be cooked ahead. You can make it as simple or as rich as you want with addition of roasted cashews, raisins and deep saffron.

When perfectly spiced, biryani can be as warming to the Indian soul as people would say chicken soup is over here :)

I have made chicken biryani a few times but we make veggie biryani a lot more often. I like the veggies slightly undercooked, but if you want fully cooked veggies then just increase the veggie cooking time by 5 mins and check for doneness.

Every biryani needs a yogurt raita to tango. Our yogurt raita is usually super simple, just beaten non-fat yogurt, grated half a carrot, few mint leaves torn, salt, pepper and pinch of cumin powder. Mix, taste and let rest in refrigerator.

If there are two things I feel are crucial to this biryani they are fresh mint leaves and a good quality saffron. I add mint leaves at every stage - while rice is cooking, while veggies and simmering and also in raita. It gives a wonderful aroma and balances the rich spices very nicely!

There are a few steps in this dish but with proper planning it can go from start to finish in less than an hour and is sure to be a crowd pleaser!


1.5C rice (ideally basmati, but any long grain rice should do)
2.5C water
6 cardamom pods, 3 bay leaves, short cinnamon stick, handful of fresh mint leaves
dash of oil & salt

Mix everything together. Cook in rice cooker. Turn off heat a little before cooker says rice is done. Keep checking periodically - I look for a stage where water is just absorbed and grains are separate but rice is not fully cooked - about 80% cooked.

Remove from rice cooker. Spread in a large plate and fluff. Add a touch of ghee or butter. And leet cool to room temp.

1C cauliflower florets, 1 carrot chopped, 3 small potatoes - chopped, 1/2 red pepper, few musrooms (really any combination of 2-3C chopped veggies)
2Tsbp oil
1/2tsp mustard seeds and cumin seeds each
1/2tsp turrmeric powder
2tsp biryani spice blend
1/4C water
1/4C yogurt
few mint sprigs

Heat oil. When hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric powder and biryani masala. Add all the veggies, water, salt and cover and let cook for 5-7 mins. Then remove from heat and add yogurt. Mix well. Let cool uncovered.

Fried onions:
1/2 of large onion - sliced. Heat in 2 Tbsp oil over low-med heat until onions are nicely browned and slightly crunchy. Set aside

Roasted handful of cashews

Warm 2Tbsp milk and add 1/4tsp saffron strands. Mix well and let sit.

2Tsbp beaten yogurt

Chopped cilantro and lemon wedges

Pre-heat oven to 375
In a largee cassarole pan, layer 1/4th of the rice. Then add 1/2 of veggie mix. Dash over some saffron milk and a Tsbp yogurt. Repeat with another layer of rice and veggies. Top with another rice round. Add more saffron milk, cashews, half of fried onions on top. Seal tightly with an aluminium wrap and then close the lid.

Cook for 20mins @375.

Remove from oven, garnish with cilantro and remaining fried onions and serve warm with raita and lemon wedges.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Pesto Pinwheels

Holiday season is a time for family, friends, lots of chats and laughter and an endless stream of potlucks! 

We kickstarted the holiday season with two potlucks. I signed up to bring appetizers for both. I love to bring appetizers because that's a course which gets the first share of hungry tummys. And besides with a side of a good glass of wine and a healthy appetite, anything tastes super great and gushing compliments are over to the cook :)

I brought these pinwheels for both potlucks. They are super easy - I mean really can not get any easier and are guaranteed crowd pleasers.

I have always had people ask for more beyond what I made and that I consider as a crowd pleasing appetizer!

During holidays I always keep a packet of frozen puff pastry dough from Trader Joe's and a couple of pestos - the usual basil pesto, sun dried tomato pesto - and that's all you need for this recipe.

The only forward looking prep is to thaw the dough in refrigerator. Then a half an hour before serving take it out on counter and unroll. Spread a thin layer of one or multiple pestos. Roll it back up. Using a serated knife cut small rounds lenghwise (so you get more rounds). Bake at 400F for 12-15 mins or as per pastry package instructions.

That's it - you have a green pesto pinwheel, or a holiday red and green pinwheels or let your imagination be unbound!

These pinwheels travel well too. You can always assemble at the host's kitchen or make them in advance and just pop in microwave or pre-heated oven for a few minutes before serving. And I usually just serve them on their own, no other condiments necessary.

This appetizer is also great for chilly evenings - just make a batch, serve with your favorite wine or beer and munch and sip while watching a good movie -- one of the many blisses of a merry season :)    

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Banana Cake

It was my daughter's birthday recently.. I can't believe how fast time has flown! She is also my sous-chef in the kitchen - she is foodie by birth and just like her mom loves cooking and eating and restaurant hunting :)

Every year for her birthday I try to make fancier cakes like almond cake or chocolate cake with frosting but this year I thought of making a simple banana cake. She loves banana bread and after many iterations I have a much less fattier version of banana bread which we love eating. So I thought why not try that into a cake? 

The result was absolutely delicious! And we devoured the full cake in a matter of 2 days. This is absolutely going to be my go-to kids cake. 

I avoid frosting as much as I can on kids cakes, so we skipped frosting and instead dusted the cake with powdered sugar. But by all means frost away! Vanilla buttercream frosting would be divine with this cake!


4 ripe bananas - smashed with potato smasher
5Tbsp unsalted butter - melted
1 egg - beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
handful of chopped walnuts (optional)
handful of dried cranberry (optional)
1.5C all purpose flour
1/2C + 2Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1.5tsp baking soda

Pre-heat oven to 360F

Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda). Set aside.

Mix wet ingredients (bananas, butter, egg, vanilla extract). Add walnuts and cranberries. Mix well.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Grease a 9" round baking pan with butter. Pour cake batter into the pan and bake for 35-40 mins until the top is slightly browned and center is cooked through (insert a toothpick to check). 

Remove from oven and let cook on a rack for 20 mins before prying the cake out of the pan.

Serve warm or cold - but we like our banana cake warm!

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This page and all of its contents is copyright of Prajakta Gudadhe. All rights reserved.

This is a web catalog of the recipes that I have tried and tasted in my kitchen. While these recipes and instructions have worked well for me, please use all the information and the recipes from Ginger and Garlic at your own risk.