Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pineapple Raita

Here's another Raita recipe, courtesy: Mom-in-law. I tried it yesterday and liked it quite a bit. Very cooling and delicious.

The basic ingredients are the same as used for Spinach Raita (, except of course you use pineapple instead of spinach.


1. Pineapple chopped up into tiny chunks. If you want to go absolute fresh with this, that is great! As for me, I think canned pineapple works just fine
2. Nice and thick plain yogurt
3. Pinch of salt
4. Pinch of Chaat Masala* (I used red chilli powder and cumin powder as I did not have chaat masala, nor did I have all the ingredients that make up chaat masala) OR you could use freshly ground black pepper

*Chaat Masala is a spice mix that consists of a powdered mixture of dried mango, cumin, coriander, dried ginger, salt, pepper, asafoetida, red chilli powder and most important of all, this special salt called "kala namak" that literally stands for black salt. It is this black salt that imparts that very characteristic pungent sulfurous odor and taste to chaat masala. Not everybody likes this black salt, but it is very often used in raitas, fruit salads and other snacks in India. Supposedly cools the tummy and as they say about almost every other spice, good for digestion!


The method is so simple and straightforward that I could probably just insert the final picture here and you will know what to do! Well, I shall write it down here, nevertheless:

1. Chop up some pineapple into tiny chunks (easy to do this with pineapple from a can).

Pineapple chunks from a can
Chopped up further
2. Take some plain yogurt (should be nice and thick) and add a pinch of salt and a pinch of chaat masala, if you have-- else red chilli plus cumin powder will work. If you prefer, you could just add some freshly ground black pepper. To this add a few tablespoons of the pineapple juice from the can. Whip it all up until nice and smooth.

3. Fold in the pineapple chunks and voila! your pineapple raita is ready!

Sweet-tangy Pineapple Raita
This raita is perfect with a little bit of sweet, a little bit of tang as well as a hint of spice and biting into those pineapple chunks simply brings joy to your palate! It can not only be eaten as an accompaniment to spicy Indian food, but can also be eaten all by itself. It could work as your morning breakfast. You have your calcium from the yogurt and you have a good dose of manganese and Vitamin C from the pineapple. What a healthy and delicious way to kick-start your day! Oh and it can work as dessert too. And what a guilt-free dessert this is!

Thanks for this cool recipe, Mom. I love it!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Nifty Quesadillas

Kwesadilla? No, KEsadiYa! What is it? Hmm, looks like they spread some of that salsa, some grilled veggies/meat and a ton of grated cheese onto a tortilla (remember, it is pronounced TortiYa!), cover this with another tortiya, oops, I mean, tortilla, then grill it for a moment and cut the finished product with a pizza-cutter into wedges and serve the finished product, now a Quesadilla (yes, yes, I remember- pronounced kesadiYa!) with a dollop of sour cream and a dollop of that mashed avocado dip thingy on the side. That was me, 13 years ago, absolutely fascinated with the whole concept of a Quesadilla.

Uhh, quesadilla? Naah, I'd rather order their Mexican gumbo. I can make quesadillas myself at home. No biggy; heck, my 12 year old makes quesadillas for herself and her brother! That's me now.


1. Tortillas (uncooked flour tortillas work best- if not, those pre-cooked tortillas are fine too. Rotis/chapatis will work too)
2. Salsa (if you've run out of salsa- just chop some tomatoes+onions+bell pepper+green chilies, add a dash of lemon and perhaps some vinegar, some crushed cumin seeds and salt- tada! u have your salsa!)
3. Some veggies (your choice). If you want meat, grilled chicken strips would be good or if you are one of those "chicken-haters" (if you are reading this, you know who you are!), you could use the meat of your choice.
4. Some cheese (monterey jack/pepper jack/cheddar works for me)


1. Get that pan going on the stove.
2. Place one tortilla on the hot pan. If it is an uncooked tortilla, I cook one side and then flip it to cook the other. If it is a ready-to-eat tortilla, I still like to do that because I like to get rid of that "packety" odor and flavor. I keep the stove to a minimum to prevent the tortilla from getting burnt.

Side 1 cooked, flipped to cook Side 2
 3. Then I spread some salsa and the last time I also spooned in some pesto (the green stuff you see in the picture) all over the tortilla. Then spoon in some veggies (here I used mushrooms and corn-- you can get all creative) on one half part of the tortilla. Then finally tear a slice of cheddar cheese (we usually have cheddar slices in our fridge) and place the cheese atop the veggies. Yep, it is pretty much like you add toppings to a pizza!

Salsa & Pesto

Finally some cheese
4. Now instead of covering this with another tortilla, I just pull the other half where I don't add the veggies and cheese over the part with the veggies and cheese to make a "half-moon." (And yes, I do realize that I am doing a horrid job of explaining this.........hey, I can get a little tongue-tied, you know!). Perhaps the picture will help:

Folded over......(now you get it, right?)
5. That's it. The cheese begins to melt and the tortilla gets all nice and crispy (without getting overly burnt) and basically your quesadilla is ready to be eaten! You can jazz it up with some sour cream and guacamole on the side.

Nifty Quesadilla- ready to eat!
Takes barely a few minutes to create a quesadilla! Like I mentioned earlier, even my daughter makes quesadillas. It is that easy! And of course, you can get all creative with the inside filling. The good thing about a quesadilla is that you can make it for yourself on any busy week night and it is party-friendly too.

I may not order it anymore in a Mexican joint, but I still quite like the concept of a quesadilla!