“The easiest diet is, you know, eat vegetables, eat fresh food. Just a really sensible healthy diet like you read about all the time.”
Drew Carey

Baby mustard greens stir fry 800Baby Mustard Greens Indian Stir Fry  … quick, as spicy as you like it, simple and fuss free. Fresh produce is one of the highlights of winter in North India, and mustard greens a quintessential favourite. Someone asked me the other day if I only bake, and I almost gawked! I cook more than I bake, or maybe equal amounts. I love to cook, and love trying new stuff. I just don’t blog it often enough.

Fresh produce, Winter, North IndiaSo turning a corner near home yesterday, I chanced upon this young lad selling a cartload of farm fresh vegetables. The greens caught my glad eye and I hit the brakes. They weren’t the normal greens we see everyday. They were tiny, or rather baby, mustard greens … fresh, tender and absolutely delightful. All I could think of was ‘I wish I had my camera‘. The next best thing was of course to buy some, take it home and shoot! So I bought a bunch of stuff for a princely Rs100 {less than $2} and raced home in excitement.

Baby mustard greens stir fry North Indian winter is incomplete without a meal of sarson ka saag and makki ki roti. It’s a dish I make often through the winter, yet this year I haven’t got there for some silly reason. The upside of course that winter is longer and colder this year, so there’s plenty of promise of the dish showing up in the days to come. Since that is a more involved dish to make despite the several shortcuts I take, the Baby Mustard Greens Indian Stir Fry seemed a simpler option.

Baby mustard greens stir fry A quick consultation with Sangeeta who rules the roost for fresh produce and is a ‘food knowledge bank‘ in my eyes, and I knew what I would make. I cooked up a simple stir fry … loads of green chilies and loads of flavour, and served it up with one of my favourite non vegetarian dishes – a chicken korma. Kept the leaves whole for this since they were small and tender, yet you can always chop them up.

Baby mustard greens stir fry& Chicken kormaAlso feel free to reduce {or increase } the green chilies. they add a nice touch of heat served alongside the mild and flavourful Awadhi Chicken Korma, which incidentally is one of our family favourites. That korma, shared here and seems to get better each time we make it! It’s simple and uncomplicated too, with staple pantry ingredients.


[print_this]Recipe: Baby Mustard Greens Indian Stir Fry your picture

Summary: Baby Mustard Greens Indian Stir Fry  … quick, as spicy as you like it, simple and fuss free. Fresh produce is one of the highlights of winter in North India, and mustard greens a quintessential favourite.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

  • 750g baby mustard greens, leaves picked
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 whole dried red chili
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 green chillies, finely sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash and spin the baby mustard leaves in a salad spinner to get rid of extra water. {You can chop the leaves f you like]
  2. Heat oil in a wok, add the whole red chili when the oil reaches smoking point, and discard it once it blackens.
  3. Add asafoetida, green chillies and tomato to oil and stir fry to mix.
  4. Add all the leaves, reduce heat to simmer and cover and cook for 5-7 minutes until the leaves wilt.
  5. Open, season with salt, stir to mix well, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the leaves are cooked.
  6. Increase heat and stir fry until dryish. taste and adjust seasoning.


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“Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.”
Auguste Escoffier

Mushroom and Onion Scape Soup Mushrooms and Onion Scapes Soup … for the soul! I was completely mesmerised by the onion scapes I bought at the local bazaar. I love this fantastic season. Each time I step into the overflowing fruit and vegetable shop, I rediscover seasonal produce from last year. That day two large bunches of scapes stared at me, and again, shouting my name out LOUD!

Mushroom and Onion Scape Soup How could I resist it? I asked the guy for a few stalks, and he packed the whole bunch off with me. Said, “Take the whole bunch. I know you’ll do something with it. All yours!!” Seriously, they are beautiful. I put some in a milk-jug and they began opening into the most beautiful flowers a while later.

onion scapesWasn’t very sure what I’d with so many, but knew how pretty they would look in a vase! Sometimes the real beauty of nature comes from flowers like these. I love them! A discussion with Man Friday followed where he declared these were garlic scapes. A nibble later, I figured they were definitely more oniony than garlicky. 

Mushroom and Onion Scape Soup 550 Mushroom and Onion Scape Soup I had mushroom soup on my mind that morning. With the weather nippy all over again, soups offer the ultimate comfort; a healthy option, even better. This one is simple, uses staple pantry ingredients, and can go gluten free too.

Mushroom and Onion Scape SoupIn the past I have made it with mushrooms, potato and a generous amount of fresh coriander. The base is often milk and some vegetable stock as I usually have a large jar of homemade stock in the fridge. When I feel indulgent, you can find me pouring in some low fat cream too! Oh and often walnuts to add texture…

Mushroom and Onion Scape Soup Some onion scapes needed a more handy alternative to sitting in the milk jug as it was rather full. The soup offered the perfect destination. As I said, you can pretty much play around with the ingredients. Is fun!

Mushroom and Onion Scape Soup I did something else with the soup too that night. I was making breaded chicken fillets for the kids. Instead of doing the normal egg, flour and breadcrumbs coating assembly line, I sneaked some soup into a bowl. Dunked the Italian seasoning marinated breast fillets first into soup, then into wholewheat home made breadcrumbs, and shallow fried the fillets.

Mushroom and Onion Scape Soup While the son enjoyed his in burgers, the ‘constantly on a diet’ daughter ate crumb fried fillets with char grilled broccoli. The son came back to say these were the best tasting burgers ever! “Really nice Mama!” Must have been the soup!! Soup has been the call this  winter! Loads of it.

Handi cookingSo what’s your favourite comfort or soul food in winter? Do you make soup from scratch? I did an amazing Smokey Roasted Tomato Soup {pictured above} for a client I am developing recipes for. Heard the other day that a friend was making pumpkin and peanut butter soup. I was completely intrigued. I guess it’s time to explore more soups as winter is still here.

Handi cookingAnd before I scoot, it’s time to announce the winner {s} of the Nirlep giveaway on my blog. A 1000 apologies for the delay, but I was travelling a little bit, and now the elder teen has her board exams. Between driving her up and down, and feeding her ‘comfort food’ on demand 24 X 7, there seems to be little time to blog!

Handi cooking Food however is always cooked in the PAB household, so the handi has been put to good use. I am really happy to have received it for review because I didn’t know what I was missing! The Nirlep handi is very very versatile indeed. From cooking pasta until al dente to making pasta and pizza sauces, to numerous rounds of steamed bathua leaves or chenopodium{or lamb’s quarter}of bathua ka raita, to delicious stir fried chicken mince, then meatballs too, I have seriously used it a lot!

Nirlep Anodized Cookware

I am thrilled to offer one as a giveaway that was announced when I reviewed the utensil.  The winner of the Ebony Handi is Swapna Mickey. Since we had a load on entries, Nirlep offered to send Nirlep Cookware to two more participants. They are Reeta Skeeter and Manjeet Kaur. Congratulations ladies and thank you so much for joining the giveaway {and for waiting so patiently}. Will mail you shortly.

[print_this]Recipe: Mushroom and Onion Scapes Soup your picture

Summary: Soul satisfying, rich and creamy without extra calories, Mushroom and Onion Scapes Soup is pure comfort food for winter. Serve with a chargrilled broccoli salad, oven wedges, crumb fried chicken / fish, some crusty bread, maybe a green salad. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6-8 onion scapes, chopped
  • 200g button mushroom, chopped
  • 1 green chili, halved {optional}
  • 1 small potato, diced
  • small bunch fresh coriander
  • 450ml low fat milk
  • 1 tsp cornflour {dissolved in 1 tsp cold milk}
  • 150ml water {or vegetable stock}
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Stove top
  2. Heat oil in the handi or a heavy bottom pan. Add the onion and garlic and sweat until light pink. Add the onion scapes and saute briefly.
  3. Now add the mushroom, chili and potato. Saute for a minute.
  4. Add the milk and water / stock. and simmer covered for about 20 minutes until the potato is cooked.
  5. Stir in the cornflour mix and stir until the soup thickens. You can skip the cornflour for a GF version. Reduce the water/stock, or add it only if required.
  6. Add salt to taste. Take off heat once the desired consistency has been reached. Puree with an immersion blender once it’s cool enough to do so.
  7. Thermomix version
  8. Place onion, garlic and onion scapes in TM bowl and process for a few seconds on speed 5 to chop.
  9. Drizzle in olive oil and cook on 100C, reverse speed 1 for 3 minutes.
  10. Add whole mushrooms and a quartered potato and run on speed 5 for a few seconds until chopped.
  11. Add the milk, cornflour, salt and water. Stir for 10 seconds on reverse speed2.
  12. Cook to 15 minutes on reverse speed 2 at 90C.
  13. Blend at speed 10 for 1 minute to puree.


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“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple…”
J.K. Rowling

GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumble ... with oats and finger millet {ragi}GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumble … you might have noticed a shift towards whole grains here on PAB. We all learn over time, and we all notice health trends. It’s been a while since I’ve used all purpose flour in my food. Savoury Phyllo Pot PiesThat was of course until I succumbed to two things … the Daring Bakers savoury pot pies challenge above {the post yet to see light of day}, followed by baklava {below} since I made double the amount of phyllo pastry! BaklavaWith autumn finally setting in, our days of apple crumbles, pumpkin pies, soups and the like have set in too. There’s a definite nip in the air and the wind is becoming colder by the day! Winter already seems just a heartbeat away!


GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumble ... with oats and finger millet {ragi} 2I gave up wheat almost 7 months ago as I thought I was allergic to it. 6 months later, even though the pounds haven’t fallen off as many peeps claim, I am feeling better. Yet, me giving up wheat was different. You see, I don’t have a sweet tooth, so desserts, or the lack of them, don’t bother me.

GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumble ... with oats and finger millet {ragi} Inspired by me and troubled by a few minimal health issues, Mr PAB decided to follow suit. That spelt trouble for me. Me I can take care of. He is another ball game altogether. The mains I can handle. It’s the desserts that bother me at times. This was a crumble I made for him, having scouted the local shops for finger millet flour.

GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumble ... with oats and finger millet {ragi} Interestingly it came out quite delicious and went down rather well with the rest of the sweet-toothed bunch too. They love everything apple in dessert, and this got a thumbs up. I did throw in some pistachios and cranberries for colour as otherwise finger millet {ragi} lends a rather dull tone to the crumble.

Dark chocolate Buckwheat roasted almond browniesAmaranth chocolate cakeI did Dark Chocolate Buckwheat Almond Brownies and an Amaranth Chocolate Cake recently, the latter not my own recipe though. Both wonderful. I am clearly enjoying the challenge! Suddenly everything seems gluten free! {You can find more gluten free recipes here}. Any GF dessert {and breakfast of course} suggestions are welcome with open arms. 

Gluten free dessertsNext on my list is was amaranth brownies since I recently bought some amaranth flour. My previous experiment with amaranth brownies with amaranth that I tried to grind at home resulted in a slightly granular texture. This time around they came out great!

Khari Baoli, Old DelhiThis post has been sitting for quite a while in drafts. I made the crumble after a recent trip to Khari Baoli in Old Delhi. Khari Baoli, Asia’s biggest spice market is fascinating, chaotic, colourful, loud, noisy and a shoppers paradise for folk like me. I stocked up on my supply of dry fruits and garam masalas. Khari Baoli, Old Delhi

[print_this]Recipe: GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumbleyour picture

Summary: A comforting fall/winter dessert with the goodness of fruit. This GF Apple Pistachio Craisin Crumble is a good make ahead dessert option. Rewarm it in the oven for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • Apple mix
  • 300g green apples, cored, peeled, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 25g finger millet flour
  • 50g chopped pistachio and craisins {or raisins}, mixed
  • Crumble Topping
  • 50g finger millet flour
  • 50 g oats
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 25g chopped pistachio and craisin mix


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Toss all the ingredients in the apple mix together well. Place in pie plate or baking tin.
  3. Topping
  4. Run the finger millet, oats and sugar in the processor briefly to mix. Cut in the butter {or pulse briefly} to distribute evenly through topping.
  5. Sprinkle over the apple mix, pressing firmly into place. Sprinkle over the reserved pistachio craisin mix.
  6. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the top is lightly coloured. Tent with foil if the top looks like it’s colouring too quick.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with a drizzle of chilled unsweetened low fat cream. {The kids love it cold too}


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