Cooking with Soy

Am planning to experiment cooking with Soy (soya) granules, which is considered a good alternate for meat, since I became a “temporary” vegetarian :).  Although it is a cheaper and healthier way to get protein than mean, I am not sure why it never gained more popularity.

This receipe site by  Aarthi is a source of great inspiration.

Look forward to sharing the results of my experiment 🙂

Viva la resistance

I have a confession to make.. I like Big Macs and Krispy Kreme Donuts :). And they have contributed heavily to the increase in my .. hmm.. how do I say this.. mid section :). Plus, it doesn’t help that there is a Krispy Kreme factory and a McDonald’s right on my way to work. And add on to the fact that I haven’t been running for the last year or so, I am proud to say that I have joined the >65% of Americans that are obese.

On my way to work yesterday, I was thinking about what shape (physically) I would be in when Virat grows up. I am sure he doesn’t want to have a dad that can’t play some hoops with him :).

So here’s my 2 month resolution. I am starting with a couple of months because there is a good chance that it might become a habit and then go from there :).

  • Exercise for 30 minutes a day (7 days a week)
  • Eat dessert only once a week
  • No krispy kreme
  • No Big Mac
  • No fries
  • No pop

For every pledge I break, I am going to leave work at 5:00 PM for a week. Believe me when I say that is a tough punishment :). You see.. I love what I do :).

Viva La Resistance!!!

Celebrating Ugadhi

Jhanvi and I visited India in April and were lucky to celebrate Ugadhi with our family back home. Ugadhi is the an important festival in South India and is essentially the celebration of the begenning of a new year (yep.. new year in April 🙂 ). One of the specialities of Ugadhi in Andhra Pradesh is something called “Ugadhi Pachadi”. It is a mixture of 6 ingredients (Neem Flower, Jaggery, Red Pepper, Green Mango, Salt and Tamarind) which designate the different “tastes” of life (bitter, sweet, hot, salty, tangy etc).

I haven’t been able to celebrate Ugadhi with my family for more than 10 years. So it was a special occasion. And mom went all the way to make it even more memorable. Here are some pictures.

Hanging Mango Leaves


Ugadhi Pachadi : Ingredients

Ugadhi Pachadi : Final

Thanking the divine ones

Foods of India

Ran across this picture showing the best of each state’s food in India. I think I only tried 10% of these dishes… and I consider my self a food junkie on top of being an India :).

Click on the picture to get to an enlarged version

I will try to convert the data in this picture to an excel spreadsheet when I get some time..

The data in tabular form..(work in progress)

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RECIPE : Palathalikalu

Recipe for Palathalikalu, a dessert from the Guntur region in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. It is a classical dish and is usually made during the Sankranthi festival. This used to be a “must have” dish in my childhood, but it has become into a exotic dish in recent times. My brother in law made some recently and I was surprised, how easy it is to make the dish. Here is an attempt to share the knowledge :).

Ingredients :

  • Rice Flour (1.5 cups)
  • Brown Sugar (2 cups)
  • Milk (1/2 Gallons)
  • Butter (Ghee) (3 tablespoons)
  • Cashew Nuts (1/2 cup)
  • Cardamom Seeds (eilachi) (~15)

Preparation :

  • Knead the rice flour into a dough by adding 1 cup of brown sugar and some warm milk.
  • Add the rest of the brown sugar to the milk and bring it to a boiling point
  • Put the prepared dough in a cookie press and drop it into the milk as short noodles (use the cookie press template with round holes of ~0.25 inches in diameter)
  • Roast the cashews slightly in butter and them to the milk (along with the butter)
  • Crush the cardamom seeds and add them to the milk.
  • Let all the ingredients boil for ~15 minutes and you are ready to enjoy palathalikalu

Wasn’t that easy? :).. You can also add raisins to the dish based on your preference.

Visuals :

The Ingredients

The Cookie Press (Indian Version 🙂 )

Creating the noodles


RECIPE : Beerakaya Royyalu

Receipe for beerakaya royyalu (Shrimp with Ridged Gourd). This dish is mainly cooked in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. Meat and vegetables are usually not mixed in Andhra I thought this one deserves a blog entry.

Ingredients :

  • Shrimp (uncooked, medium size)
  • Beera Kaya (Ridged Gourd.. you can get it at an Indian grocery)
  • Red Onions
  • Red Chilli Powder
  • Salt
  • Ginger Garlic Paste
  • Coconut Milk (check out the ethnic aisle in any grocery)
  • Cloves
  • Cardamoms
  • Cilantro
  • Garam Masala (ground spices..another thing you can get at an Indian grocery)
  • Vegetable Oil

Preperation :

  • Peel and cut the ridged gourd into medium sized cubes and the onions into small pieces.
  • Cook the shrimp (2lbs) in coconut milk (3 tablespoons) and ginger garlic paste (2 teaspoons) without adding any water for ~20 minutes. There is no need to add water, since the shrimp has a lot of water in it. This process helps with cooking the shrimp and elimninating the “fishy” odour.
  • Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet and fry the cloves, cardamoms. Add the onions after a couple of minutes.
  • When the onions turn golden, add the shrimp.
  • Add some more ginger garlic, red chilli powder and salt
  • Wait for a couple of minutes and add the ridge gourd
  • Let the whole disk cook for ~15 minutes (let the water evaporate).
  • Add the garam masala and cilantro
  • Serve hot with rice.

Visuals  :

Shrimp being boiled with coconut milk and ginger garlic

Chopped Onion and peeled beera kaya

Shrimp and Beera Kaya cooking together

Beerakaya Royyalu served hot with rice

Places to eat : 90 Miles Cuban Cafe

If you are ever in Chicago and looking to get some great breakfast or good cuban sandwiches, try out the 90 Miles Cuban Cafe at 3101 North Clybourn, Chicago, IL 60618. I was looking for a place to get some brunch today and Rich recommended that we go to this cafe. I really liked the decor and the simple menu. The food was visually pleasing and tasty. Here are some pictures of the food (credited to Rich).

Rich’s Lechon (Roast pork, Romaine lettuce, grilled onions, sweet plantain, garlic sauce)

Janvi’s Cuban (Cuban ham, roast pork, swiss cheese, pickles, mustard) 

My Frita Cubana (Cuban hamburger, Romaine lettuce, tomato, shoestring potatoes)

And to top it all.. some Banana pudding

RECIPE : Bokkala Pulusu

Recipe for Goat soup (AKA known as Bokkala Pulusu in Telugu). Credit goes to Banda and his mom. This dish is mainly prepared in the Telangana region of the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a spicy soup made from Goat meat with bones. Hence the name Bokkala Pulusu. Bokkala means bones and Pulusu means soup in Telugu.

Ingredients :

  • Goat Meat (with bones)
  • Onions
  • Green Chilli
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamoms
  • Garam Masala
  • Oil
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Chilli powder
  • Tamarind Paste

Preperation :

  • Cut the meat into medium chunks. Don’t skin the meat from the bones. Let the meat cling onto the bones.
  • Heat some oil in a skillet and gently roast the cloves, cinnamon and cardamoms after crushing them.
  • After a minute, add the sliced onions and half cut green chilli.
  • When the onions turn golden, add the meat and gently turn it around until it becomes light pink.
  • Sprinkle some turmeric and add salt, chilli powder (according to your taste).
  • Let the meat cook for another 3-4 minutes and add garam masala.
  • Add plenty of water (should be at least 2 inches about the level of the meat) and the tamarind paste.
  • Let the meat cook for at least 1 hour on medium flame.
  • Serve hot with white rice..

Visuals :

The meat..


Cinnamon, Cloves &  Cardamoms

Onions & Chilli

All mixed together..

Served with a bunch of other dishes 🙂

2009 Superbowl

The only cool thing that came out of the 2009 Superbowl (Other than the fact, that the Cardinals played their heart out.. but still lost), were the 3D ads!! Dreamworks and NBC partnered up with Pepsi to show two ads in 3D after the first half.. I don’t know if the hype generated by the ads justified the millions of dollars spent to create them.. I am sure the picture below was reflected in most of the households across America 🙂

Thx to Sri and Kirthi for hosting this year’s Superbowl party.. The Guacamole and Haleem were yummy..Pictures from the party (

Why I added 5lbs of weight in 3 weeks…

Five Guys, a burger chain from the east coast opened their first franchise in Chicago… If you want some fresh juicy burgers and peanuts to eat while the burger is being made, this is the place to go to. I first tasted the Five Guys burger when I was in Washington DC, a couple of years ago, on work.. I thought how cool, it would be to open one in Chicago. Looks like some enterprising entrepreneur actually took my idle thought and opened one :-).. It is located at 2140 N. Clybourn Ave.

Coming to the title of this post.. Why did I add 5 lbs of weight? These three pictures should tell you why..




OK.. That is my friend Rich.. but you get the idea :-)..