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Blog: Cooking with Madhu

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Curried Mushroom and Peas

Posted on 02/01/2016 at 7:41 PM

Curried Mushroom and Peas

Prep Time:  10 Minutes     Cook Time:  10 Minutes

Mushrooms have become a staple in American cuisine today. We add mushrooms to pasta, salads and everything in between. Since 1990, mushroom consumption has nearly doubled in the USA. I remember when mushrooms started being on the cover of every magazine and touted as the amazing miracle food. Back in the mid 90s my dietitian friend and I went out to eat and decided to order Portobello mushrooms as an appetizer. After all, we needed to know what the craze was all about. Well, neither of us cared for it, but at least we figured out what it was. My husband will still not eat them but my kids love them and I am ok with them.

In India mushrooms are called khumb. They are primarily available in North India, although they are gaining popularity all over the country. Mushrooms and peas are a winning combination. Serve this easy-to-prepare dish alongside any meal. I add slivered almonds for a nutty texture, although optional.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon ginger, finely grated

2 cups (12 ounces) mushrooms, sliced

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

1/2 cup water

1/4 teaspoon garam masala

2 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly roasted, optional

1. Heat oil in a nonstick fry pan on medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cover with lid, and cook for a few seconds, until the seeds stop popping. Add the onions and cook until transparent. Add ginger and stir.

2. Add mushrooms and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add peas, turmeric, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add the water, bring to boil, cover with lid, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the peas are cooked.

3. Sprinkle garam masala over mushroom mixture. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with almonds, if desired.

Makes: 4 servings                Serving Size: ½ cup

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 107; Total Fat: 7g (Saturated Fat: 0.5g); Carbohydrate: 8g; Protein: 3g Fiber: 2g; Sodium: 330 mg


Mixed Vegetables (Sukhi Subji)

Posted on 01/01/2015 at 11:38 AM

Frozen Mixed Vegetables (Sukhi Subji)

When in a hurry, frozen mixed vegetables can be a lifesaver. Great with any meal, Indian or Western.

I always have a bag of frozen mixed vegetables in my freezer. There are days when I am out of fresh vegetables or simply don't have time to cut them. The best part, my family loves them.

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 16 oz. package of frozen mixed vegetables

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon lemon juice 


Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook for a few seconds until seeds turn golden brown.

Add frozen vegetables, turmeric, salt, coriander powder, cayenne pepper and water. Stir well. Heat through, cover with a lid and simmer for 8–9 minutes till vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Add garam masala and lemon juice. If there is any liquid left, increase heat and cook for a few minutes to evaporate it. Transfer to a serving dish.

From: New Indian Home Cooking, Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D., Penguin Group 2000 (

Makes 4 servings (2 cups) Serving size: 1/2 cup

Nutrition Information per serving: Calories: 65; Total Fat: 1 g (Saturated Fat: 0 g); Carbohydrate: 12 g; Protein 3 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 300 mg


Kofte & White Curry Sauce

Posted on 11/23/2014 at 6:57 PM

Spinach Kofte in a White Curry Sauce


Koftas are basically meat or vegetable balls. Indians make variety of lamb and goat koftas but the most popular are the vegetable koftas. Once made into balls the koftas are always simmered in a curry sauce. The most common; vegetable koftas in homes are made with bottle gourd (lauki) and in restaurants with potato and paneer.  Spinach koftas are very rare.


This recipe has a little bit of inspiration & a bit of creativity to get it the way I wanted it. It does take some time to make koftas as they are a two-step process. I often make the koftas when I have some free time and then I freeze them and put them in the sauce when I want to serve them. I like to make the spinach koftas in a white spicy sauce.


I hope you enjoy them as much my family & I do!  Enjoy!


Spinach Kofte

2-10oz - Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed

10oz - whole milk ricotta cheese

1/3 cup - cashews, raw, coarsely chopped

3 Tbsp - golden raisins

¼ cup - cornstarch

¼ cup - besan (chickpea flour)

1 tsp - salt

½ tsp - cayenne

canola oil for frying


1. Thaw frozen spinach and squeeze out all the water between palms of hands or in a towel.

2. Place the squeezed spinach in a large plate and add ricotta cheese, chopped cashews, raisins, salt, cayenne, cornstarch and besan. Mix well with a large spoon until well blended.

3. Oil hands and make 1-inch balls. Set aside.

4. Heat oil to 300F and fry balls until golden brown.

Remove on to a plate lined with paper towel. Set aside. Makes about 30 balls.


Creamy White Masala Sauce

¼ cup oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

3 cups onions, chopped

6 garlic cloves, chopped

2-inch ginger, chopped

2-3 green chilies, chopped

6 cups water

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tbsp ground coriander

2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 cups half-n-half

2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped


1. Heat oil, fry cumin seeds. Add onions, cloves, ginger, and chilies. Cook until onions are translucent. Do not brown. Remove from heat and cool.

2. In a blender, grind the onion mixture with 2 cups water.  Return to stove. 

3. Add the remaining 4 cups water. Bring to boil.

5. Add cayenne, coriander, salt, and sugar. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

6. Add half-n-half and cilantro. Remove from heat.

7. Place koftas in a single layer in a baking tray. Pour the onion sauce over the koftas. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and serve.

Copyright Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D., 2014

Fried Bread (Puri)

Posted on 11/16/2014 at 10:08 PM


Puri (fried bread) makes any meal a celebration. Everyone, young or old, enjoy puries. Although you can make them alone, they are easier to make with two people; one fries and the other rolls.

Puri technically falls in the category of flatbreads. It seems wrong to call the deep-fried bread known as puri a flatbread, since it puffs up like a balloon in the hot oil, but within seconds it looses its steam and gently falls flat. Puri is a special bread made on holidays, special celebrations, weddings, parties, and banquets. Sometimes on weekends, especially if I have company over, I will serve hot puries and potato curry for brunch. It is sure to bring a satisfied smile to the guests as well as to my family.

Most puries are plain with just a hint of salt, and they are used to scoop up flavorful curries. They keep better than other flatbreads and thus are often taken when traveling long distances and at Indian picnics. Puries can also be stuffed or flavored for a different twist.

They are simple to make and need no prep work. I would highly suggest you use white whole wheat flour to make Indian flatbreads. White whole wheat flour is easily available in most local grocery stores. Roti-atta/flour is only available in Indian grocery stores.

2 cups roti-atta/flour or white whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
7/8 to 1 cup water
7/8 cup (plus or minus 1 tablespoon) water
2 teaspoons canola oil - canola oil for frying

(Dough can also be made in a food processor or electric mixer.) 

1. In a mixing bowl combine flour, and salt. Make a hole in the center of the flour. Add water gradually as you mix dough. (Depending on the type of flour, the amount of water needed may vary slightly.) Knead the dough thoroughly until smooth and elastic. The dough should be soft but easy to roll into a ball. It should not stick to your hands. Dough is slightly harder than bread dough in consistency. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes or longer.

2. Lightly oil you hands. Divide dough into 20 balls. Roll each ball between palms of your hands in a circular motion until the dough is smooth. Press to flatten.

3. Heat oil, about 3-inches deep, in a karhai/wok or skillet on high heat. Oil is ready when a little bit of batter dropped in the oil rises to the top right away (about 400ºF).

4. Using lightly oiled surface and rolling pin, roll-out each ball to about 3-inch circles. If you are frying alone, roll out all the puries and place between towels to prevent drying. If you have help in frying, one person can roll the puries and the other one can fry.

5. Carefully drop one puri at a time into the hot oil. Using a large flat frying spatula turn the puri as it rises to the top. Lightly press with the spatula and it will puff into a ball. Turn the puri again and lightly brown both sides.


6.Drain the puri on the side of the karahi and place on couple layers of paper towels. Continue frying one at a time, making sure the oil is hot.

7. Serve immediately as puffed breads or store in airtight container. Once the puries are drained of excess oil and slightly cooled, the puries will deflate. While they are still slightly warm, place them in an airtight container. Or stack them on top of each other and wrap them in an aluminum foil.

Note: If the puries are at room temperature it is best to not warm them for they can dry quickly. Serve them with hot curry instead. If refrigerated, for best result, place the puries stacked and tightly wrapped in an aluminum foil, in a 350ºF-preheated oven for 10 minutes. Do not overheat the puries as they will become dry.

Nutrition Information per serving: Calories: 152; Total Fat: 8 g (Saturated Fat: 0.5 g); Carbohydrate: 17 g; Protein 3 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sodium: 118 mg

From: The Indian Vegan Kitchen, Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D., Penguin Group 2009 (


November 2014 Indian eRecipes Newsletter

Posted on 11/07/2014 at 5:51 PM

November 2014
Happy Holidays

Dear Madhu,

I’m happy to be finally writing this newsletter and connecting with you after several months of hiatus. All I can say is that things just spun out of control, and it was impossible to keep up with everything. There have been couple of life altering changes; I moved back home to Iowa and have a new job. I am very happy to be back home and am now working with K -12 private schools (FLIK Independent School Dining). To tell you the truth I do not know how things fell in place; I am just grateful that they did.  

Diwali - Festival of Lights

Among the hustle bustle of moving and adjusting to a new job, there were the Diwali celebrations. Diwali is an Indian festival celebrated with similar reverence as Christmas or Hanukkah. Diwali celebrations like Christmas celebrations last 3 -4 weeks. Symbolically, Diwali – festival of lights - is a celebration of the “victory of good over evil” and signifies the lifting of spiritual darkness. For over 20 years we have been hosting a Diwali party. The whole family helps out, but, of course, the majority of the work falls in my court (as with all moms). I plan the menu, shop, and start prepping about two weeks in advance. I like to prepare most of the things myself, but I do ask for help from some of my friends – all of whom are fabulous cooks and always willing to help.

Now it’s time for Thanksgiving and soon it’ll be Christmas. I am sure you will fall into a similar holiday frenzy of trying to get everything done. Remember to take care of yourself – see “Healthy Holidays” below for some self-care tips.

Healthy Holidays

Holiday season can be a challenging time to stay on track with healthy eating goals. How can you eat well and enjoy your favorite homemade treats, office parties, and big meals? Here are three healthy things I do for myself to celebrate the season without feeling guilty or deprived; you need to find things that work for you. After all savoring food is part of enjoying the holidays.

1.     Eat regularly. Skipping meals to “save calories” is counterintuitive. Have you noticed that every time you skip a meal you end up eating more at the next meal or at the party? Basically, you give yourself permission to eat an extra appetizer or dessert - after all you’ve earned it - and the net calories are always more. To help manage intake during the holidays have a lighter meal leading up to the party and remember to include your favorite holiday foods in your meals.

2.     Be Realistic. It is impossible to lose weight during the Diwali time. Holidays are never the ideal time for you to start a weight-loss program.  My only hope is that I maintain my weight. Help yourself to succeed with positive and specific self-talk and remember portion size matters. For example, if you tell yourself you’ll eat only half a slice of apple pie at the Holiday dinnr and pass on the potatoes, you’re more likely to follow through than if you plan to skip dessert completely.

3.      Exercise. However busy, I try to make time for exercise. During super busy times it is not possible to stay with my typical exercise routine, but at least three days a week, I will walk out for minimum of 20 – 30 minutes. Even that little bit will help me stay sane. Trust me, the time spent on exercise, will actually give you more energy and thus you will get more done. Try it on yourself.

Perfect Gift

Buying gifts can be stressful. There is the financial pressure as well as the struggle of finding that ideal gift. As a shameless plug, how about The Indian Vegan Kitchen and/or New Indian Home Cooking!

November Recipes

This month I’m sharing some recipes that are great for any holiday meal. For most holiday parties we have our traditional dishes that are a must; for example, it would  not be a Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie or for me a Diwali without Puri (Fried bread) and Kaddu (Sweet and Sour Pumpkin).  Once the musts are added to the menu, I try to balance the meal with variety of exotic dishes. After all it’s a celebration. This year I also made Chole (Chickpeas), Palak Kofte (Spinach Balls in a Creamy Sauce),  Dahi Vade (Bean patties in yogurt), and Chirote (Crunchy Blossom Pastry) for dessert. (All these recipes are in the New Indian Home Cooking or The Indian Vegan Kitchen.) For Diwali or any other religious holiday the meals are typically vegetarian.

Check out the recipes for Puri and Palak Kofte in the blog. You will also find recipes for Kaddu (Sweet and Sour Pumpkin), Sukhe Alu (Curried Potatoes) and Kheer (Rice Pudding), which are all great party additions.

Puri (Fried Bread)
Palak Kofte (Spinach Balls in a Creamy Sauce) New Recipe

Happy and Healthy Holidays!  
Madhu Gadia


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