Dumrot / Kashi Halwa/ Ash Gourd Halwa

Dumrot or Kashi Halwa is this decadent dessert that is also a standard feature in Kannada wedding feasts. It is mostly served with Idli and Pongal for breakfast and I love such a lavish breakfast spread. But otherwise it is a mostly made as offerings for gods during festivals and special occasions. In my place, this is one of the offerings made during the 9 days Navaratri/Dasara festival when we are supposed to make offerings twice a day all 9 days. But this time around I made it Janmastami. Because I was quite bored with just the used raveunde, Hesarunde, Chakkli, Karjikai etc.. This dish is one of the easiest to make and I love it for this. It is also a a great fit for Janmastami for the recipe calls for Cream and Milk and Ghee all of which were Lord Krishna's favorite foods..


Ash Gourd 2 lbs or about 2 cups grated and drained and squeezed thoroughly
Sugar 1 1/2 cups more if you like it sweeter. (I use 2 cups if I am serving my FIL)
Whole Milk 1 cup
Cream 1/2 cup
Ghee a little over 1/4 Cup
Saffron a few strands soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
Raisins 1/4 cup fried in ghee.

  1. Heat the ghee in a think bottomed pan. I generally use my small cooker. It is somehow perfect for this kind of recipes.
  2. Throw in the grated and squeezed Ash Gourd. Toss well and cook till the vegetable is almost transparent.
  3. Now throw in the remaining ingredients. Cook till the mixture thickens to a jam like consistency. Finis with the raisins. Serve warm
P.S: A note on the cream.
I prefer to use home made cream, (cream that has been accumulated for a couple of days or so.) the cream that is sold in supermarkets tends be have a higher percentage of fat and a lower percentage of milk solids that the texture of the finished dish gets altered to a great extent and definitely not to my liking. Also if Khoa is available, grated khoa can be used instead of cream. That gives the dish a better finish.

Sending it out to FIL Milk . Dedicating this dish to my Honey.. He loves the dish. It had once happened during Dasara festival that I had as usual prepared this dish and had placed it in front of the deities as offering. Half an hour past the pooja, I see the offering is all gone.. My Honey then started blaming stray cats. We all knew which was that cat. So it is for him


Hearty Janmastami wishes to all. Today is the commemoration of Lord Krishna's birthday. Very auspicious day. The day is generally marked by fasting and mid night prayers. This year I am not fasting. But yes tried to keep away from rice, onions and garlic. The obvious choice on such days will be something with Avalakki/beaten rice/ poha. So dished up some Gojjavallakki, Kashi Halwa, Shavige Uppittu and Kai halu. Honey will not be home for dinner. So it is just me and I am not complaning :)
All the recipes will follow shortly.

For now, dear Lakshmi has tagged me, so here it is.

1. What is your current obsession?
Research and food…Trying to combine both :)
2. What are you wearing today?
A cotton wrap skirt and a linen blouse
3. What’s for dinner?
It is Janmastami therefore Gojjavalakki and Kashi Halwa
4. What’s the last thing you bought?
Haldiram’s Rasgolla
5. What are you listening to right now?
Birds chirping out in the yard
6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?
Lakshmi is a wonderful person. She encouraged me when I started my blog and of course her blog ‘taste of Mysore’ is like my go-to-recipe-reference!!
7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
J.P.Nagar, Bangalore!! I am pretty specific about J.P.Nagar
8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?
Cotton sleeveless blouses, Jeans (for all season), cotton dresses.
9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Home, Maddur or Bangalore.
10. Which language do you want to learn?
Sanskrit ..or may be Spanish
11. What’s your favourite quote?
Live and let live; If only we all appreciated the quote enough, the world would have been a better place today.
12. Who do you want to meet right now?
My sister
13. What is your favourite colour?
14. What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own closet?
Black skirt (Lycra Spandex mix) and my Maroon top.. (That’s what Honey saw me in for the first time and here we are today )
15. What is your dream job?
Consultant Economist, researching on an array of problems ..
16. What’s your favourite magazine?
Economist, Reader’s Digest, Science Reporter, Kurukshetra and Yojana, Sudha (when available)
17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
I did stash it away in my bank
18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?
Faux Pas…. copycat clothes that’s ill fitting and those that makes absolutely no sense to wear just because some Celebrity or some fancy designer promoted the wear.. Unseasonal dresses…
19. Who are your style icons?
My sister, she carries off anything and everything with the grace of a real princess…
20. Describe your personal style.?
Comfortable and youngish
21. What are you going to do after this?
Continue reading ‘Satanic Verses’
22. What are your favourite movies?
Roman Holiday, Casablanca, Lamhe, Half Ticket, Beladingala Bale, Eradu Kanasu etc… mostly feel good comedies and oldies.
24. What are three cosmetic/makeup/perfume products that you can't live without?
Neutrogena Mineral Sheer Powder Foundation, L’Oreal infallible eye liner and C O Bigelow lip gloss.
23. What inspires you?
Success, Talent and Achievement
24. Give us three styling tips that always work for you:
Accessories, scarves, chunky jewellery and little make-up
25. What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)?
Close my closet and tell myself thrice that I have all that I need in the world!! It works.
26. Coffee or tea?
Neither.. how about some frooti…
27. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?
Forage the fridge
28. What is the meaning of your name?
29. Which other blogs you love visiting?
All those that I follow
30. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?
Rasgulla, Kashi Halwa, Kaju Burfi, Holige, Chocolate, Indian-style ice cream….
31. Favorite Season ?
32) If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me?
Today is Janmastami, so it is going to be Phalahara or just some fruits, some sweets and may be Avalakki…

My addition to the list of questions is,
33) What is your favourite snack?
Chickpea vada!!!!

Passing it on to
Deesha of Vegetable platter,
Paru of Brindavan ..
Vanamala of Nalapak
Gayatri of Gayarti's adigemane
Archana of Archy's recipe book

Garam Masala

A very important spice blend in our pantry is Garam Masala. Aromatic, floral and powerful, this particular blend adds a zing to most North-Indian, Punjabi dishes. I have been making my own Garam Masala for quite some time. One reason why my recipes call for such small quantities of Garam Masala. However, the quantity will need to be increased if using the store brought version. I am unhappy with the store brought version because they are mostly a combination of cumin and coriander and much less other floral spices that actually make dishes fragrant. It is indeed very simple to make and a little goes a long way. In fact the quantity mentioned below lasts me for more than 4-5 months :)
This is also a versatile blend. I know we have our favorite spices, not-so-favored spices and cannot-stand-spices. Honey for instance hates cloves, I for instance cannot take too much of cardamom. This blend therefore can be altered according to ones taste. I am after a couple of tries, we will end up with out perfect version of Garam Masala. I did after a couple of attempts and this is my favorite version from my test kitchen!!

Also Garam Masala especially the home made kinds should be used almost at the very end of the cooking process;overcooked spices sort of smell acrid and I hate it. Most store brought varieties withstand rigorous cooking because they are more of a coriander-cumin mixture than a combination of delicate floral spices.

Garam Masala

This makes about a few tablespoon fulls. But it does last a long time. I store it in a tiny glass jar with a tight fitting lid. In fact the lib is so tight that when I open it there is a whiff of all wonderful spices seducing my nose !!!

Cardamom pods 1 tbsp
Cloves 2 tbsp
Cinnamon 2 tbsp
Cumin 1 tsp
Pepper corns 1/2 tbsp
Star Anaise 1
Maratha Moggu 1

  • Heat a small pan. Toast the cardamom pods till fragrant. Set aside to cool
  • Toast all the other spices one by one till fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  • Shell the cardamom and separate the seeds. Discard the shells.
  • Combine all the spices in a coffee blender and blend till the mixture resembles the texture of fine sooji. I prefer mine to be on the coarse, Somehow when the spices are ground very fine, they somehow tend to loose their aroma.
Store it in a small jar with a tight fitting lid.

Dahi wali Saag Panner/ Spinach & Cottage Cheese in Yogurt Sauce

Summers on the east coast is lovely. The trees are lush green, the lawns emerald and flowerbeds colorful. The air is filled with the smell of grass and the chirping of the sparrows, blue bird, robin, black birds and numerous other birds.. So much to look around and so little time. This summer has been pretty mild, yet I have been preferring lighter, cooler foods than our normal fare. Tambli has become a favorite, I am making it often. Along with it, I have been experimenting with other yogurt based dishes that are lighter and cooler as well. This is what I ended up the other day. Me and Honey both loved it. What was meant for two meals, disappeared right at lunch :) So I guess it was good.

Dahiwali Saag

Here is what we need,

Spinach 1/2 lb washed and chopped
Onion 1 medium diced
Tomato 1 medium diced
Ginger 1/2 tsp scant grated
Garlic 1/2 tsp scant granted
Chilli powder 1 tsp (adjust according to taste, Mine is not too hot this time around)
Garam Masala 1/4 tsp (more if it is ready made)
Panner 1/2 lb cubed and fried
Yogurt 1 cup (Use non-fat, low fat, anything of your choice)
Oil 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp

  1. Heat oil in a Kadai. Throw in the cumin seeds.
  2. Once the cumin stops spluttering, throw in the onions. Cook till translucent.
  3. Throw in the ginger and garlic puree. Toss the vegetables a few times till the raw garlic smell disappears.
  4. Throw in the chilli powder and the diced tomatoes . Cook till the tomatoes are mushy.
  5. Add the Spinach. Cook uncovered for all the liquid to evaporate.
  6. Now toss in the Panner. Mix gently, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes till the Panner is spongy and flavourful.
  7. Turn off the heat.
  8. Now beat the yogurt well. Stir in the yogurt into the spinach- Panner mixture. Adjust salt.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature with Pulkas or a choice of bread.