Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Personally i think just doing the south coast is enough ( days 1-4) but with added hikes and activities ( whale watching, waterfall hikes, secret lagoons, land cruiser trips into the interiors, boat trips int he glacier, glacier hike, volcano hikes etc). Spend 2 days at each place and explore rather than rush the whole ring road as it is allt he same after 3 ays. The north part is rugged and beautiful but you wont gain much.

Places we stayed at with the girls- Gerdi , Hofn / Welcome hotel, Vik/Glaesibaer guesthouse, Akureyi/Hofdi  cottages , Dalvik/Moar Guesthouse, Akranes.

Also I would not splurge out on accomodations as you will hardly be indoors and also the acco are usually of very high standards. Clean and simple.


Days 1-6


Days 1-9


Google MapsFind local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.goo.gl
Google MapsFind local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.goo.gl

Day 1- Blue Lagoon

Total Driving Distance and Time: 21km, 22 mins

DAY 1- Reach airport, car hire and go straight to Blue Lagoon Spa ( saves time). Early morning or after 2 is better to avoid crowds. Buy tickets in advance.


Day 2- The Golden Circle: 

Total Driving Distance and Time: 165 km, 2.5 hours

Visit Gulfoss waterfall, Geysir and Thingvellir Park ( mid-Atlantic ridge) . 

Day 3- Reynisfjara black sand beach, Dyrholaey Arch, Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss ( we went behind this waterfall )

Total Driving Distance and Time: 153km, 2 hours

All these places have been in the KJo – Dilwale 🙂

Day 4-Jokulsarlon, Glacier hike, Skaftafell waterfall ( where we got nearly kicked out!)

Total Driving Distance and Time: 140 km, 2 hours

Day 5-

Total Driving Distance and Time: 350 km, 4.75 hours (not including detours)

Longest day as it involves driving to the north west. Better not to stop for any detour unless you are really keen.

Day 6-Myvatn

Distance and Driving Time: 225 km, 3.5 hours

Myvatn town with its baths , Dettifoss waterfall ( missable place as you would have by now be fed up of waterfalls. So jsut relax and take it easy here)

Day 7- Akureyi

Distance and Driving Time: 140 km, 2 hours (not including the detour to Aldeyjarfoss)

Akureri, GodaFoss waterfall , whale watching

Day 8- Kirkjufell

Driving Time and Distance: 480 km, 6.5 hoursKirkjufell- supposedly the most photographed place in Iceland. I was not much impressed. Would personally not do this and go to reykjavik instad.

Day 9 – Reykjavik

2 days at least, it is a nice place, people usually overlook it. 


Chicago marathon 2022-The tale of 26.2 miles and 26.2 months

My 7th marathon! A shiny metal! The Mallu in me said that I could have had a real gold medal with the amount spent in these countless marathons! True and yet so far from the truth.

Been there, bean that …

So why do we, the human race, spend countless hours of time and energy in pursuit of pain and suffering. These thoughts echoed in my mind as I waited in line with 45,786 runners at the start coral. Flashbacks to hours of planning, dreaming and visualising the finish strategies, runs, long runs and not so long runs, slow runs and the so-called fast runs, all seemed real.

The marathon is an eye opener. Every time I marvel at the runners. They come in all shapes and sizes. From the seasoned , minimalistic, slick marathoner to the novice armed with all sorts of weapons ie water bottles, hat, gels, phones, camcorders too, etc. Lean, mean, fat, tall, old, grey, young, you see them all. and that’s when you realise that a marathon is not a race of the body. It is of the mind. And the person who actually reaches the start line is the victor because they dared to dream, they dared to run.

The Chicago Marathon was 26.2 months late, thanks to Covid and several health delays, but it was there, and our excitement was palpable. But more than that was the thrill of being joined by Varsha Joshi and Priya Nadeem Anis , forever my source of strength and comfort and the prospect of meeting yet another angel RT Gazula . We experienced home away from home at Suraj Aggarwal maasi’s who welcomed us with wide arms and smiles.

The pre-race day went past in a blur of laughter, excitement and girly gaggles. We gossiped past midnight over college infatuations and laughed about whoever entered our wine drenched thoughts. I just didn’t want the night to end. Med school days were revisited again and again and we fell asleep, still mumbling into the dark.

Varsha woke up at an unearthly hour of 4.30am , a combination of race and tummy nerves in full swing. I opened one eye and groaned into my pillow. Priya watched us amused and fascinated at the same time. Subhash arrived like clockwork at the strike of 6 and before we realised, time just fast forwarded, and we were jostling shoulder to shoulder along with the thronging hordes to the start line.

And so the race started. and from the word go, it was a dream. Perfect weather, perfect route and even more than that, perfect crowd support. People shouted out in the now much-loved American drawl ‘ Go, Smidaaa, you gaaat it, gurrlll……. Posters, placards, gels, sweets, all shouted out for us in unison. The aid stations were faultless, dispensing cooling gels and brufens when needed.

Subhash and I were cruising like a dream, our 4th marathon together, and very much in reach of the sub5 timing, when at mile 18, I felt the twinges of cramps in my calves. It escalated to full blown golf ball sized bundles of excruciating pain and at that moment, I knew that either I push ahead and take the risk of not completing or slow down and walk-run the rest of the distance. I chose the latter and crawled ahead with my mind, one step at a time.

When I faltered at mile 19, a lady jumped in, hugged me, whispered ‘you look amazing, you are nearly there’ and softly pushed me ahead.

Mile 19-24, everything appeared to be in slow motion . The mile markers appeared distant, people seemed to fade in and out of my eyes and I felt lightheaded and nauseous. But I knew that I had to inch ahead. The 5-hour pacer went ahead, and I let him go. I watched with regret at the 5.15 pacer and brushed aside the fog in my head. I could do it, I have done it and I will do it.

The final 2 miles, I decided to just run. I thought of Ram and his race, how he would have run, would do anything to run again. And that was the turning point! Cramps or no cramps, I bounded ahead, picked up my pace and whatever ego and passion I had for running and I charged to the finish line. Tears welling, hands outstretched, I heard someone hug me and whisper softly, Girl, you’ve done it. Someone garlanded me with the medal. Another arm reached out with the foil blanket. The rest was blurred by the tears gushing from my eyes and on my cheeks!
….5.19 hours , an eternity immortalised forever.

The pain is temporary, the glory is of a lifetime!
I am a marathoner 💖 and so were the 45,786 others who dared to dream, who dared to start…. so, just start 🙂


Cyprus in 5 days

Cyprus is a labyrinth of unending beaches, modern towns catering to all cultures, dramatic mountains and sleepy hamlets. Yes, it is famous for its beaches so much so that most people end up in their resorts and miss exploring the mountains and hamlets of this beautiful country.

Covid era, lest we forget!
Troodos mountain range

We went towards late summer and the weather was very pleasant. We flew into Larnaca airport and smoothly got into an upgraded airport rental car for our journey to Paphos, which was 2 hours away.

Check in: Hotel

The resort is around 3 miles from Paphos town centre and just a 10 minute drive away. It is big, modern and very clean. A lovely canopy of vibrant pink bougainvillea drapes the buildings. The reception of cavernous and staff are very welcoming. We stayed in the sea facing suite and had great sunset views. There are 2 pools including one exclusively for adults. Plenty of restaurants and beach bars nearby. Very clean beach. Would recommend the resort for families and adults only holidays.

Nothing on my mind…

Day 1 –

Chill day at the resort – I had promised Rhea that we will spend a full day doing nothing, absolutely nothing at the resort. And so that started as soon as we reached. Spent the whole day moving from one pool to hte other, to the bed and repeat. Dreaded it at the start but started enjoying it after a few cocktails 🙂


Day 2 – After breakfast, we drove to Latchi Harbour via the beautiful mountains with spectacular views of the glittering sea and white washed towns below. At the harbour, we took a half day cruise which took us to the famour Blue Lagoon. Spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the lagoon and then savouring the BEST barbeque chicken ever on the boat.

Dinner was an exclusive experience at the St George Tavern, known as one of the best by the locals. We had a unique experience there. There is no menu and you get totally spoilt by the constant small plates of food that get delivered by the ever so attentive staff, most of whom are related to the business itself. The owner just had one request- that we should try and eat everything as its his mother who has worked hard int he kitchen to make the food. There was never any doubt that the food would all be devoured instantly, it was so tasty.

Day 3 –

Aprodite Rocks-

Aphrodite Rocks

An hour’s drive from Paphos took us through the meandering roads uphill to the well sign posted area, apparently Aphrodite’s birth place! Ample parking. Once parked, you can descend down to the beach which is pebbly but with gorgeous views. Wear good shoes though! There is a shop nearby to buy water and icecream etc. It was very very hot.

Paphos town-

The whole of Paphos is a world heritage site. The old town itself has all the flavours of an european haunt and with gorgeous sunsets. We spent the afternoon relaxing by the beach followed by strolling around the harbour in the evening.

Paphos beach

Day 4 –

Troodos Mountains and Monastery

The Troodos mountains are home to tranquil forests, magnificient mosteries and ancient cobblestone lined villages. We visited one of the villages Omodos nested deep in the mountains. The focal point was a 11th centruy Byzanthine church with bright murals and an eerie tranquil around it. The village was pretty with beautiful facades, locals mingling with scattered tourists, some playing cards, nibbling on mezze and wine and watching the world go by. We joined in and sat for 2 hours, half of it was just watching some workers help navigate a large truck through a narrow bend in the village square!

Paphos Harbour

The drive back from Troodos mountains was stunning and we were starving by the time we reached the resort. Dinner was at the harbour at Theo’s restaurant. Spent the rest of the day just watching boats go past in slow motion, trying to keep the sands of time still.

A slow eveing by the harbour, sipping some more cocktails and it was rest time again.

Paphos Harbour

Last day we spent mainly by the beach, not wanting to leave, watching the sunset together over and over again. Promise to come back.

Northern lights- the Holy grail of sky watching

I have been a sceptic about the actual brilliance of the Auroras but Ram, knowing how photo crazy I am 😃 insisted on the tour in Akureyri, Iceland… so as usual, i read, researched, chewed up everything online about it and soon realised that it all came down to fate, lady luck, kismat! If it was destined, then we would spot the stunning dancing waves of light that had mesmerised for millennia.

So, one cloudless evening, we joined a bus tour with a bunch of excited American tourists (average age group 80 years and above) that promised to take us far into the darkness to watch the Aurora. The guide, Sigurður was rather excited and bundled us up hurriedly into the van but soon stopped in a field 5 minutes away!

I was sceptical and looked up at the sky, nothing. Sigurður kept staring, nothing. People started fidgeting, nothing. Only Ram seemed excited, clumsily setting up the tripod, asking Sigurður hundreds of questions while other minions like me kept squinting half heartedly into the inky darkness.

Suddenly Sigurður whispered, guys, look to your right…. she is coming. All heads turned like meerkats, cameras pointed, ready to shoot, Ram , the first bencher that he was, was already clicking away in sheer child like enthusiasm.

There was a faint grey flicker and suddenly without warning, the Aurora exploded, as if someone had splashed green paint across the skies. We gasped in unison, shutters clicked, Ram shuffled into the dark, in search of a ‘better spot’, his heavy tripod in tow!

Sigurður announced triumphantly, ‘she’ is about to dance, this is rare, I have not seen it in 30 years! And right in front of us, ‘she’ started moving, gliding towards us and lo behold, the Aurora formed a perfect circle over our heads and stated spinning, furiously! It was like the cartwheel fireworks , chakri .

She went on and on for around 40 minutes, Sigurður pointing in all directions till we had a crick in our necks! Except for Ram, of course ! The cameras kept shooting away, Ram’s oohs and aahs, interspersed with Smita, look there, come here, reverberated loud and clear in the crisp night.

As for me, I just put my phone down (yes, I can do that too ) and watched from a quiet spot. The Aurora came close, enveloped me in her warmth, took me with her when she receded and slowly floated me back again to earth after a while. She was truly alive. I was no longer cold, I was oblivious to those around me, there was only ‘she’ and me.
My next sentence may sound cliché and am sure, will elicit some cynicism, but I actually felt close to some divine power, something that was way bigger and magnificent than anything I had ever witnessed.

Don’t think any more words are needed 😍💕

Fun fact- named by Galileo in 1619 after Aurora (goddess of dawn) and Borea (god of the North wind). Inuits believe that they are the spirits playing ball with walrus heads while the Vikings thought the phenomenon was light reflecting off the armor of the Valkyrie, the supernatural maidens who brought warriors into the afterlife.

Easy Pad Thai Sauce

Easy pad thai sauce –
Everyone loves pad thai, who in the world doesn’t like pad thai… And if so, there is something wrong with you or you have not had proper pad Thai 😘😘😘
This is my simple and very easy Pad Thai sauce recipe. Try it and you will be hooked, I swear 🙏
Fish sauce (a must) + rice wine vinegar on equal amounts (3tbsp each).
( vegan fish sauce substitute – https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-vegan-fish-sauce-130535)
Brown or palm sugar 5tbsp ( if not, use treacle or maple syrup)
Soy sauce 1tsp
Siracha sauce 1 tbsp
Peanut butter 2 tbsp

Whisk all together and add to hot cooked noodles and vegetables.

Coriander chicken

Happy Friday folks

Hara bhara chicken ( or veg)!

A lip smacking curry bursting with the fresh flavours of coriander and lemon juice. I know that this is a common curry in most houses, but Phir bhi, share karne mein kya jaata hai😋

Recipe –
Grind to a paste – bunch of coriander leaves, 5-6 green chillies, lemon juice, 2-3 cloves garlic, 1/2 onion, ginger, salt.

  1. Heat oil, add bay leaf, star anise, elaichi and cloves.
  2. Fry masala till the raw smell disappears. Add chicken pieces and stir well.
  3. Add 1 tbsp coriander powder and 1/2 tsp garam masala
  4. Cover and cook till oil floats on top.
  5. Add a dollop of yoghurt in the end to get the required colour.

Chicken chukka – Tharamel style!

Tharamel is our ancestral house in a sleepy town, Mavelikkara in Kerala. Of course, memories of that place are the best but I have no recollection of the taste of all the food that my grandma made other than it was heaven and I always ended up spending most afternoons totally overfed and dizzy with sugar and spice!!
But today, when I made this chicken, mainly by feel, mum just jumped up with joy at the first bite and said this is exactly what ammuma’s chicken tasted like! That was the best compliment I ever got (and now she is complaining of tummy ache because of overeating 😂)!
So quickly adding it here, there and everywhere so that I don’t forget in future. #ammuskitchen #chicken
Served with hot piping rice and gur ki kheer 😍

Video in the instagram Post below. Please click and subscribe.

Chettinad chicken curry

Chettinad chicken curry –

On Sunday,  mum marched into the study where I was finishing some work and loudly proclaimed – main chettinad bana rahi hoon, video lena hai to abhi aana padega!! I said, maa, dhamki kyun se rahi hai, abhi se star jaise tevar 
Anyway, maa ne bulaya and I dutifully followed for another interesting and hilarious session in #ammuskitchen.
Chettinad chicken is basically chicken curry with premade masala ( roasted and ground coconut, coriander and garam masala which is easy to make and can be stored in the fridge too).


1 kg chicken, washed and marinated in lemon juice, salt, turmeric.

Onions, sliced – 2

Masala ( fry in 2 tbsp oil and grind to fine powder with some water) – 3/4 cup coconut fresh, 3 tbsp coriander, 5 red chillies, 2 tbsp fennel seeds, 1 inch ginger, 5 garlic, 2 star anise, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 badi elaichi)

Method –

Heat oil, add onion slices and curry leaves. Add chicken pieces and stir till it changes colour. Add the masala paste. Stir for 10-15 mins. Cover and cook till done.

Send with hot paratha or rice.

Aditi’s Aai cha ambat varan – Mummy’s khatti meethi Daal

When you missing your mom, you try and make things which remind you of her. As much as she doesn’t like her dal , pappa and me love it.
Today is Sunday, coincidentally pappa asked her to make the ambat varan and I called her to get her exact recipe as it’s different to my recipe
She laughed us both off, saying you can’t make this on Sunday! Sunday lunchtimes are special and it has to be mutton, chicken, fish or at your worst – eggs.
Well she didn’t make ambat varan today for pappa but made her egg curry.
I made her ambat varan and really enjoyed it with warm steaming rice and papad

Here is her special recipe

Cook toor dal in pressure cooker with hing, haldi,mirchi and dhaniya powder.

Make a paste in the blender with 2 tomatoes , 2-3 garlic pods, kadi patta and 2 green chillies

Now take oil in pan add urad dal , mustard seeds when they splutter add hing and red dry green chillies

Add the tomatoe garlic chilli paste and sauté it well till oil separates

Add the dal , add lemon juice salt gul and a bit of sugar to balance the khatta meetha teekha flavour

Let it boil for 5-7 mins

And serve hot

It tastes even better the next day

Saving her recipe as I call her every time when I want to make it 

Egg curry with black eye beans

Give me some egg fry, give me some plain
Give me egg florentine, I wanna taste egg all again  – anda premi

That’s me. Noone can beat an egg when it comes to versatility. You can have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or with the drinks ( a pure Punjabi will always serve boiled eggs with whisky! )

So this is my anda curry from yesterday with added black eye beans ( well, that tin was lurking at the back of the cupboard for years ) but the combo tastes great. Try it out…

Tips –
Added coriander to the onion masala. Gave a nice flavour.

Recipe – no particular measurements

Heat oil. Add chopped onion /ginger /garlic /coriander stem ( i use my hand grinder for this)
Fry till translucent.
I added KTC tawa fry masala. Stir fry for another 5 mins.
Add black beans from the tin.
Add a tin of chopped tomatoes.
Let it bubble for at least 5-10mins till the oil releases and floats to the top. The weight watches can remove the oil then but soaking it in kitchen towel. But my principle is…… Yes, portion control 
Add salt and a bit of sugar.
Garnish with coriander.
Serve hot!

Moroccan chicken ( but with wine)!

This is a great soul food, easy midweek feast. Don’t get fooled by the name, you will have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

A great explosion of lemon, honey, cinnamon and cumin with a smooth silky texture, what’s not to like 💃💃

I had always wanted to make Moroccan tagine chicken so checked out the recipe and started making it. In between, spotted some more leftover wine 🤣( yes, a cardinal sin to waste wine!) and one thing led to another and this is what I got. Try it, you will love it…. Served best with couscous or sweet potato slices.

Ingredients –
Chicken – around 1/2 kg
Cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt, coriander pd- 1 tsp each
Butter – 2 tbsp
Onion – 1 chopped
Ginger minced – 1 tbsp
Plain flour – 1 tbsp
Red wine – around a glass full
Honey – 2-3 tbsp
Cream – as required
Olives, carrots

Chicken pieces or thighs

Marinade mix – a tsp each of cumin, paprika, cinnamon, rock salt, coriander pd. Add juice of a lemon and mix well with chicken.

Method –

Heat oil
Cook marinaded chicken well and remove once done.
In the same pan, add 2 tbsp butter.
Add chopped onions and garlic. Stir till slightly brown.
Add plain flour and stir till dry.
Add stock, red wine and let it bubble till you get a sauce like consistency.
Add desired amount of honey.
Add cream, some more seasoning, coriander leaves.
Add chicken pieces, some more lemon juice, rind of lemon, olives.
Serve immediately.

Buffalo chicken and teriyaki chicken

Crispy chicken in spicy buffalo sauce
Crispy chicken in teriyaki sauce

This is a super easy recipe!!!
I know you will say that its what I always say but trust me, this is a child’s play! Varun made this yesterday and I don’t think I am ever going to order buffalo chicken from the takeaway ever again.
No specific measurements!

Recipe –
Coat well in a dry mixture of cornflour, baking pd, ginger garlic pd, chilli flakes, salt.
Deep fry and keep aside.

Heat a saucepan. Add a generous amount of butter ( around 2 tbsp).
Add tomato sauce, siracha sauce, nando’s peri peri sauce, lemon juice, honey
Mix all well.

Pour over the fried chicken ( or vegetables)
Sprinkle chopped spring onions.

Heat butter in a saucepan
Add dark soy sauce, siracha sauce, brown sugar and mix well.


Shakshuka, yet another egg fan

Shakshuka- quick and refreshing – a very popular middle Eastern dish made of poached eggs in spicy tomato and sweet pepper sauce. Tried it once at a local restaurant and was hooked since. You can add olives, sun dried tomatoes, beans, feta cheese etc to it too. The key is to take it out of the oven in time so that the yolks are still runny.

Method –
Heat oil
Add chopped onions
Add chopped sweet peppers, stir till soft.
Add tinned tomatoes, tinned beans
Add extra tomato paste (optional)
Season with chilli flakes, garam masala
Add salt and bit of sugar to counteract the tangy taste of tomato.
Once the sauce is done, break the eggs into it, keeping the yolks intact.
Place in the oven and cook for not more than 8 mins.
Garnish with coriander.

Christmas menu 2020

Merry Christmas, dear cooks forum friends. So impressed and thrilled with all the cooking and sharing. Each and every post has been a virtual treat. At ours, the story was totally different. Yes, we did have a feast but didn’t hands much time to plan something elaborate. Also, somehow the madness took over and most of the food was massacred before I could get them to pose for photos 😂😂
So, apologies for the bad photos but can vouch for the taste ❤️❤️

This is a dinner menu that can be cooked in less than an hour. All the recipes are quick and easy. (except the cakes) not my department

Butternut squash and sweet potato soup with chilli flakes and creme fraiche.

Cheese and breads

Cocktails galore ( bartender special 😍)

Murg mussallam ( the usual tradition)

Butternut squash stuffed with feta cheese, cranberries and olive crumble

Kerala stew ( again, a tradition)

Roast potatoes and roast vegetables ( Rashmi special).

Lemon drizzle cake

Peach melba

Butternut squash and sweet potato soup-
Heat olive oil, add chopped onions, add the vegetables, chicken stock, seasoning. Cook till soft. I did it in my soup maker. Serve with chilli flakes and creme fraiche
Murgh musallam stuffed with paneer bhurji and served with saffron rice-
Rub chicken tikka masala generously over and inside chicken and marinade overnight.
Heat oven to 190 degrees.
In a kadhai, heat oil, add chopped onions, akkha garam masala, saute. Add tomato chunks, lasun, Adrak. Poppy seeds, almonds. Once cooked, cool and grind to a smooth gravy. Make paneer bhurji with some raisins and cashews. Stuff in to the chicken. Bake for 30 mins. Add half the gravy over the chicken and cook again. Serve with saffron rice
Elixir of life ❤️
Tequila, triple sec, fresh squeezed lime, cranberry juice, 1 egg white, salt, paprika
Muddled grapes, lime juice, pink gin triple sec ice, lemonade top cucumber and lime

Creamy red wine sauce with prawns and ravioli/any pasta –

Christmas leftover cooking continues. Last night, after ages, added some red wine and tastes amazing. So give it a try for that ‘hattke’ taste. Tastes better than it looks.
You will need – butter, onion, garlic, prawns, red wine, cream, pasta

Saute chopped onions and garlic in butter till translucent. Add prawns, sprinkle piri piri pd, stir till cooked.
Take prawns out. In the same pan, add a generous splash of red wine. Let it bubble and sizzle stirring all the time till it is thick. Add cream to it and let it bubble away.
Add a bit of salt.
Prepare the store made ravioli.
Pour the sauce over the ravioli. Top it up with prawns and a handful of parmesan cheese.
Sprinkle tarragon leaves on top.

Mango Badam Pedha

Desserts, my weakness. Mangoes, my weakness. So here is one of my favourite recipes, a 15 min jhatpat one which combines both of them into an irresistible, fool proof delicacy which will have your family and friends permanently wanting more….

Recipe –

2 cups mango pulp good quality

2 cups milk powder

2 cups almond flour

A pinch of saffron in warm milk, a tsp cardamom powder, cashews as garnish

Method – Heat mango pulp in a thick bottom wok till it reduces to half its amount. Will take around 10 mins. Add milk powder and almond flour. Keep stirring till the paste starts leaving the sides of the pan. That takes another 10 mins. Once lumpy enough, add saffron, remove to cool on a greased plate. Make laddoo size balls and shape into pedhas. Place a cashew in the centre. Refrigerate to set.

Makes 25 pedhas

#4 Sweet potato, chick peas and red lentil soup

My brood has a soft spot for sweet potatoes. It fades a bit when it comes to chick peas and it disappears completely for red lentils. Since years, I have had to find to ways to mask lentils in their food. This wholesome heart warming dish does exactly that and is a hit with them, thanks to their creamy, slightly sweet flavour and smooth consistency.


500 gms sweet potatoes, 

1 can chick peas

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp ginger , chopped

1 cup dried red lentils

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tbsp lemon juice

chilli flakes, coriander leaves, ginger juliennes for garnish


  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Add chopped onions and ginger. Stir till onions are translucent.
  • Add chopped sweet potatoes, half can of chick peas and red lentils.
  • Add vegetable or chicken stock and bring to boil.
  • Add cumin ,coriander powder and lemon juice. Cook till potatoes are soft.
  • Blend to a smooth consistency.
  • Add rest of chick peas.
  • Garnish with chilli flakes and ginger juliennes.
  • Serve with fresh coriander leaves.

The Humble Aloo- Mathura waale

One of my most memorable trips was to the land of Braj, Mathura, a couple of decades ago. I was wonderstruck by the dusty lanes, byzantine bylanes, the innumerable visions of Krishna and equally devout pilgrims. There were shrines around every corner with monkeys and kids playing with gay abandon as were the odd glimpse of a group of widows, their heads clean shaven, a stark reminder of certain practices that are still prevalent in our country.

Anyway, one memory that stuck with me was wating Dubke waali aloo with Puris. Dubke means immersed in. So this is a watery simple potato curry with minimal masalas and easy to make. I am sure we have all made this regularly at home but for a south indian like me, calling it dubke waali aloo imparts it a rather exotic flavour.


500 gm Boiled potatoes

3 onions, sliced

1 tbsp – ginger chopped

Oil, cumin seeds, green chillies for tadka

Heat oil, add cumin seeds and green chillies.

Add onions, ginger and stir till transclucent.

Add potatoes and water. Add turmeric, chilli powder, salt, aamchur powder. boil for 5 minutes.

Add coriander leaves at the end.

Hot and Sour Chicken Soup

One of my fondest memories of med school life were the carefree evenings, zipping around on our two wheelers, hair carelessly flying in the wind in gay abandon. The thrill of unlimited freedom for those few hours still remains unmatched. A regular stop used to be the Indo-Chinese street cart and sharing a bowl of hot and sour chicken soup was a regular routine.

This soup is very addictive. It is super hot, spicy and crunchy, all at the same time. It is very easy, super easy actually and can be altered to our taste buds if you don’t fancy having a runny nose on your first date!

Many of us know this recipe but I had to include it in my list for posterity! You can make it in a soup maker but i find it easier in a saucepan because of the sheer amounts needed in my perenially starving family!


2 tsp vegetable oil

2 tsp ginger garlic pieces

1 cup of Finely chopped frozen vegetables ( peas, carrots, mushroom, beans)

1 can creamed corn ( or boiled sweet corn coarsely blended with water)

1/2 cup shredded chicken ( or cook finely chopped chicken in water)

1 egg beaten

2 tsp each soy sauce ,fish sauce, rice vinegar ( use less if using malt or white vinegar)

2 tbsp siracha sauce

salt and sugar to taste


  • Heat oil, add ginger and garlic pieces and stir well.
  • Add water and chicken and cook till done.
  • Add shredded vegetables, creamed corn, soy sauce, fish sauce, siracha sauce and vinegar.
  • Add cornflour mixed in water and bring to a boil. The soup will thicken gradually.
  • Add drops of beaten egg with a fork to the boiling soup, stirring all the time.
  • Season to taste adding extra siracha or chillies.

Apple and carrot soup

Apple and carrot soup –
The average time for any gadget to reach its resting place in the dark recesses of our garage is 4 weeks. So it has been only 2 weeks that the soup maker has entered the house, too early to pack it away .
Hence today was apple and carrot soup day. This soup is slightly tangy so the option of adding cream at the end is always there if you don’t like tangy flavours in your soup. I love it though, lip-smacking yum yum !
Winter days calls for this hot soup drizzled with chilli oil and of course warm bread!

Recipe –
2 apples, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp Cumin, chicken stock, 1/2 tsp garam masala or curry powder.

– Sauté cumin seeds and onions in 2 tbsp oil till translucent.
– Add chopped apples and carrots.
– Add vegetable or chicken stock.
– Season with sugar and salt.
– Cover and cook  till done. If not in a soup maker, blend it smooth once it is cool enough to handle.
– Serve with a drizzle of fresh cream and chilli oil.

Easy apple chutney

So, I finally got some apples from my neighbour…. No, not stolen, in fact, he actually delivered it to the front door, in the rain. So made apple chutney and my neighbour  loved it. In fact, as I write this, I can see him on the ladder trying to pluck some more apples from his tree…

Apple chutney ( Instapot)
4-5 apples
1/2 tsp each mustard , cumin, fenugreek, fennel, kalonji seeds
Curry leaves
1/2 tsp each turmeric pd, chilli powder, ginger powder
Salt and sugar to taste ( I added 1/4 cup sugar)
Apple cider vinegar optional (usually 2 tbsp)

Method –
-Peel, core, chop apples.
-Heat oil in instapot. Add mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and kalonji. Stir till done.
-Add apples, curry leaves, turmeric, ginger powder. Stir for 5 mins.
-Cover and pressure cook for 20mins.
-Release the lid . You will get a rich syrupy chutney.
-Add mirchi powder, salt and sugar and heat on saute function till you get the chutney consistency.
-You can add a bit of vinegar ( I try to avoid it, not much of a fan)
-Remove from heat and store in a dry container.

Green tomato sabji and chutney

Since life is returning to nearly normal, gardening in my world is reaching its autumn too…. I accidentally stumbled upon a huge crop of green tomatoes, unloved and forgotten, in the corner of our garden. The label on the pot had promised red beef tomatoes and I realised that it was not to be. Never made anything with green tomatoes in my life, so decided to make a simple green tomato sabji with our produce .

The sabji is lip smacking tangy and sweet, yum yum
The chutney is mild with coconut and peanut flavours.
Serve it with piping steaming hot plain rice to attain nirvana !

Green tomato sabji-
6-7 big green tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 red chillies
1tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Urad dal seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 tsp jaggery or sugar

Heat oil, add mustard and urad seeds. Add curry leaves (optional).
Add onions and stir till translucent.
Add tomatoes, stir, add half a cup of water, cover and cook for 5 mins.
After that, remove lid, add turmeric pd, chilli pd, coriander pd. Stir well.
Add tamarind concentrate and jaggery.
Stir till you get a nice sauce at the base.
It’s done!

Heat a tbsp oil, add 1 tbsp sesame seeds, roast till light brown and remove.
Add urad dal, 1tsp, red chillies 2, jeera 1 tsp, roast and remove.
Grind it all together with tomatoes and coconut.
Add salt to taste.

Broccoli and Stilton Soup

Rhea loves broccoli, Varun hates it.

Varun loves spinach, Rhea hates it.

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The ‘perfect mum’ at the back of my mind threatens me with dire consequences if I dont make them eat both. Hence this has always been my go-to whenever I feel that there has been a lack of ‘green’ options in the family. And it has always been a hit hit. The lush creaminess of the Stilton cheese melts into the flavours of broccoli and spinach to create this amazing winter warmer soup.


1 head of broccoli, chopped into pieces

2 cups of spinach, rough chopped

1 potato, cut into chunks

1 onion, chopped

1 lt water or stock

150 gm Stilton cheese

Saute onions with a dash of olive oil till translucent. Add it to the remaining ingredients ( except cheese) into the soup maker. Put it on smooth setting and let it cook. When done, in 20 minutes, add crumbled cheese and stir well.

Serve with croutons.

A bowl of heaven 🙂

Karela stir fry with coconut

Karela stir fry-
This is yet one of those green monsters that has plagued me and given me countless nightmares in my childhood!  Eventually came across some really nice ways of cooking and masking the bitter taste. This combined the flavour of karela with fresh coconut, sourness of  tamarind and sweetness of jaggery, a win win situation. Do try it….you will love it!

Recipe –
2 cups sliced karela, soak in salt water and squeeze out after 20mins
1 chopped onion
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 handful chopped coconut optional
1 handful desiccated coconut fresh
1 handful cashew pieces
1 tsp sambar masala
1 tbsp tamarind concentrate
1 handful jaggery

Heat coconut oil
Add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana Dal, hing, curry leaves.
Add chipped onions, ginger
Add karela slices and stir till dry.
Add sambar powder, jaggery, tamarind, cup of water and keep stirring till dry.
Add dedicated coconut.
Serve with a smile 

Hyderabad Mirch ka Salan

Hyderabadi mirch ka salan-
This is a peanut based curry and tastes amazing. Important tip is to make a very very smooth paste first! Don’t rush on that step.
Rest all is just adding the ingredients!

Recipe –
Fry deseeded chillies in oil and keep aside.
Roast sesame seeds 3 tbsp, peanuts 5 tbsp, poppy seeds 1 tbsp, 1/4 dessicated coconut.
Grind with ginger garlic and a bit of water.

Heat oil, add cumin, chopped onions, ground paste, haldi, chilli pd, garam masala.

Add 3 tbsp tamarind sauce ( or tamarind water and jaggery)

Stir well.

Add fried chillies…


Creme brulee

Creme Brulee-
Finally managed to make my man’s favourite dessert and also made use of one of my top 3 useless purchases during covid season 😜
Love the dessert for 3 reasons –

  1. Super easy and quick to make. That’s why I have added the video to make you believe me.
  2. Only 3 ingredients.
  3. Great fun using the blow torch.

Don’t overcook your custard or else it will curdle.
Don’t whisk it all at once, use a ladle at a time at the start.

Trust me, it tastes really really nice.
Ingredients –
500ml double cream
5-6 large egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar
Demerara sugar for the crust at the end.

Warm the cream.
Beat egg yolks and sugar till frothy.
Add cream, a ladle full set a time and whisk.
Pour in chilled ramekins and set in fridge or bake in a water bath at 180* for 20mins till set.

Masala bhaath

Masala bhaat (traditional maharashtrian style)
Accompaniments- kadhi, shengdana koshambir, coconut chutney, beans sabji, sheera.

Aai was very proud and particular about her cooking, and why not, she made some utterly delicious dishes. She always insisted on spending time in cooking it on sim (which is now fashionable as the show cooker method 😁) and never allowed anything to get burnt. Tadka was as scientific as ever and so was the value of ‘mohun’.

Masala bhaath was something she made with a lot of love. Sharing the recipe here.

Some tips-
Always make the masala fresh.
Part fry the potatoes beforehand.
Add a dollop of ghee at the end.
Always serve with kurdya and saandge (if not, then crisps will do) 😜

Recipe –

Soak 2 cups rice in water
Heat 1tbsp ghee and brown 20 cashews.
Take the cashews out and brown cubed potatoes. Keep aside.
In the same pan, roast and make a fine powder of the following –
1tbsp coriander seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp poppy seeds
1tsp sesame seeds
Star anise1
Cloves 6
Dried coconut
3 garlic

Heat oil, add mustard and cumin seeds.
Add bay leaf
Add chopped onion x1
Add chopped tomato / puree
Add the ground masala
Add mixed vegetables (peas, beans, carrot, potato)
Add rice
Add 4 cups of boiling water
Add salt and sugar to taste
Cover and cook till done.
Serve sprinkled with fresh coconut.

Mini puddles of joy

Cheesecake is like marmite, you either love them or hate them….. And we are split down the middle in our home. However since my princess loves it, it is but natural, the piece de resistance of the house!

I have made cheesecakes in the past but always get annoyed with the multitude of ingredients. But this one is simple, needs fewer stuff and tastes great.

Also, the size makes it easy for serving which is a win win in itself.

Some important tips though for the perfect final product –

1. Enjoy the journey, cream cheese tastes heavenly along the way.

2. Mix the cheese and sour cream with sugar till fluffy but once the eggs are added, don’t whisk it too much. The cake will crack.

3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees but reduce the heat to 130 degrees when you put the cake in.

4. Cook only for 15 mins. Turn the oven off and leave it in with the door open for another 10 mins. The cake will be wobbly by don’t worry, it will set eventually.


For the crust –
Ginger nut or digestive biscuits or oreo – around 100 grams or 1/3 rd pack
Soft butter – 3 tbsp

For the cake –
Cream cheese – 400 gms or one large tub
Sour cream or Greek yoghurt – 200 gm
Sugar – 3/4 cup
2 eggs at room temperature
Lemon zest
2 tbsp plain flour

Grind biscuits to fine powder. Add butter and mix well.
Grease a cake tin with removable base. Add parchment paper to the base. Press the biscuit mix to the base and press well.
Cake- mix cream cheese, sour cream and sugar till light. Add eggs and mix lightly. Too much mixing will lead to cracks while baking.
Add plain flour to give it body.
Pour into your cake tin.
Place in a preheated oven ( preheat 180 degrees) and reduce the heat to 150 degrees.
Bake for 15 mins.
Your cake will be wobble but resist the urge to cook a bit more.
After 15 mins, reduce the heat, open the oven door and let cook for another 10mins.
Take cake out and leave to cool at room temperature.
Cover and chill in the fridge.

Just look around you…

Dear kids,

I always have happy dreams, well most of the time.

As a result of which, a routine day starts with me jumping out of bed, super excited at the prospects that loom in front of me. Within minutes, I am bounding down the stairs, shrill cooing sound which is oh so inappropriate that early in the morning and that makes both of you shout out in anger for disturbing the calm and peace. The only person who finds this attractive is Romeo, who awaits my brouhaha with an equally ebullient thump of his tail.

But it doesn’t take long for this bubble to burst. Some days, I feel that I am on top of things, most days I know I am not. Some days I feel that today is the day when I will finish each and every target to be achieved only to realise that I have not gotten even to the start.

And suddenly I am tired. Tired of being the juggler, tired of the false confidence, tired of the smile. And that opens the floodgates of guilt….and oh what a flood it is. Only mothers know how strong and powerful guilt can be. The guilt of not have the perfectly perfect home for kids that is rubbed into your faces in the advertisements, the crisp linen and folded sock drawers. The guilt of not cooking three meals a day like my mum used to. The guilt of ignoring hubby in favour of useless worthless telephonic conversations with friends. The list is endless.

I sit down for a moment, collect my thoughts and look around me. Yes, I see your rooms which resemble a typhoon wreck, but I also notice the half curled smile on your lips while you sleep. I see a rather worn out shaggy dog, wet and breathing heavily after his rather successful romp in the park, still dreaming of the rabbits that he once again could not catch. I see hubby spread out on the sofa watching the latest in a series of mutant movies, eyes glazed and mouth open in astonishment as if they were actually communicating with him. I see my parents in their own corners of the house poring intently over the latest whatsapp video with televisions blaring full blast, heralding the imminent arrival of the latest doom in India and the world.

And that is when i know that I am not doing a bad job, in fact, i am doing a xxxxxxx amazing job. And I am not doing it alone. I take a deep breath, suck my sagging tummy in, tuck that unwanted grey hair behind my ear and gather a smile…..

Its time for that well deserved gin and tonic! My moment of joy, my well earned joy.

So remember that when life hands you lemon, you go ahead and make lemonade or gin and tonic. You can always make it a lot better than what it actually looks like. You just have to look around you.

And the cycle repeats itself again and again and again…….tbc